April 26, 2021


Date : 4/26/21
Start time: 2pm
End time:3:30pm
Location : Colchester Pond, Colchester, VT
Weather: Cloudy and overcast with temperature of 46 degrees Fahrenheit
Habitat(s): Pond, bank of pond, field, woodlands

While I did not see many birds while on my outing, I did hear quite a few songs and calls that may have been mating calls. Different calls communicate different messages to other birds of the same species, and they are used for alarms, begging for food, flock talk, and of course interactions between males and females. The songs of male birds communicate territory boundaries and defense of said territory.

I saw several nests higher up in medium sized trees which may belong to a House Sparrow or American Robin. There were lots of calls coming from these nests, indicating the possibility of fledglings being fed by their parents. Additionally a pair of Mallards were spotted on the water, but their nest and nesting behavior were not observed. Mallards construct their nests on the ground near the water surrounded by weeds, grasses, and bushes which are used to build the nest. These materials are commonly found near the banks of bodies of water, making it an easily accessible material for Mallards to use and reduces foraging time and energy wasted on nest building.

Posted on April 26, 2021 20:58 by bluter1 bluter1 | 6 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 05, 2021


Date - 4/5/21
Start time - 2pm
End time - 3:30pm
Location - Centennial woods
Weather - Party cloudy, some winds, no precipitation
Habitat(s) - forest, banks of stream

While I didn't see any migrating species at centennial woods, I did observe some year-round resident species such as the Herring Gull, American Crow, and Black-capped Chickadee. These species forgo migration because it is energetically expensive and they have a reliable food source in their native habitats that is sufficient in aiding them throughout the seasons. This can lead to adaptations in foraging methods, sexual selection, and nesting behaviors due to the changing conditions throughout the year for such species.

Posted on April 05, 2021 20:51 by bluter1 bluter1 | 8 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 22, 2021


Date: 3/22/21
Start: 2pm
End: 3:30pm
Location: Calkins trails, forested area and near Winooski river.
Weather: Sunny, warm, light winds.
Habitat: Farmland/forest/river

Throughout this lovely birding experience I saw several species of bird that I hadn't seen in previously. These included the waterfowl Mallards, Common Mergansers, and Canada Geese that were located around a small land mass within the Winooski river. I also observed two White-breasted Nuthatches and got to see them upside-down on trees as we had discussed in class, which helped in my identification of them.

The waterfowl were observed interacting with one another, but usually within their own species. There were two geese that stayed on one side of the mini-island within the river, potentially guarding their nest or territory.

I found several feathers along the river bank that were contour feathers from Mallards, and they were rounded at the top and fluffier near the bottom. They also dried out very quickly when I played them in my bag, which is beneficial to the Mallards for retaining body temperature and maneuverability on land and in the water. This is different than the red plumage of the Northern Cardinals, which is beneficial for attracting mates and is more adapted to mid-range travel in strictly air.

The Mallards and Common Mergansers swam around the land mass and down the river in their respective groups, and I observed several different takeoffs and landings of the Common Mergansers on the water. They would fly very close to the surface for medium distances until they were out of sight, which was juxtaposed by the behavior of the Mallards who only swam and occasionally hunted for fish. This behavior could be related to the circadian rhythms the Mallards have, and be representative of their daily movements. While gathered on the central land mass, they communicated through quacks and gurgles before breaking off from the main group. It is possible that they were trying to communicate movement plans or threats of predators, which I may have been viewed as. I also heard various unidentifiable calls while walking along the wooded part of the trail that may have been mating calls given the warming weather.

Posted on March 22, 2021 21:55 by bluter1 bluter1 | 11 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 23, 2021

FJ2: ID and Flight Physiology

Date: 2/22/21
Start: 2pm
End: 3:30pm
Location: Behind my apartment, South End in Burlington, VT.
Weather: Slight to moderate winds, slight snowfall, overcast.
Habitat: Urban forest and nearby road

This was an overall great birding experience for me. I saw several, and heard even more, species of birds than I even knew were in my backyard! However, I believe that my time of day, and weather may have influenced the types of birds I observed. While I heard many characteristic calls of birds in class, I couldn't actually get a visual on most of the birds. I was left staring at the many nests above me, listening to the chorus of vocalizations and trying to identify them as best as I could. Since I began my observations at 2pm, I believe most species had already been active for the day. The overcast skies and breeze left an icy chill down my spine, and I can imagine the birds were feeling similarly. In the future I think starting earlier and bringing gloves would really help.

One bird that stood out to me for it's wing shape was the American Crow. I had originally seen two of them flying high in the breeze, and noticed how their elliptical wings aided them in maneuvering through the wind and within the forest. After the call of a third, I saw three of them maneuvering around each other almost playfully, and they eventually flew off beyond my view.

This experience was later contrasted with a different sighting, a singular Ring-billed Gull soaring much higher than the crows had been. The gull, I noticed, had wings that appeared to be built for high speeds and had a distinctive bend in the wing. The difference in wing type aided the two species of birds in flight that was more conductive for their environment and movement. I wonder how these different morphological traits play into the ecological niches that American Crows and Ring-billed Gulls fill, and subsequently how they may interact with each other.

Posted on February 23, 2021 02:11 by bluter1 bluter1 | 8 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment