FJ3 3/4/2021

05 March 2021 1500-1630
Location: Overlook Park (1575 Spear St, Burlington, VT 05403)
Weather: partly cloudy, mild winds from the Northeast
Temperature: 27ºF feels like 16ºF
Habitat: Urban. Small clusters of vegetation surrounded by open grass patches. Vegetation consists of an isolated small pine stand, a grouping a young cedars with die off splotches, groups of young trees and woody shrubs/bushes.
During this time spent at Overlook Park I saw a total of 5 American Crows. They were flying in groups of two from Southwest to Northeast. They occasionally vocalized with “caws”. It seemed as though they could be going to their roosting spot after foraging for the day since it was a couple of hours before sunset. Birds might go in for the night earlier in the winter since it is easier to come home warm and stay warm rather than come home cold and try to get warm.
The House Sparrow I saw was hopping around in and amongst the bushes along the fence line presumably foraging for food. It might have been looking for some seeds to eat as there aren’t any nut producing trees in the area and insects are hard to find during the cold Vermont winters. It could also find sap on the evergreen bushes that were on the right side of the fence.
The male Northern Cardinal was seen sitting high in a woody shrub along the fence. It shook out its feathers and fluffed itself up before sitting in the same spot for a while. It was insulating itself by bringing in air and trapping it under its feathers to hear up and act as a person space heater. It then moved to lower branches in the shrub and under some evergreen bushes. It may be warmer closer to the ground where there is more surface area to absorb the heat from the sun that was occasionally breaking through the clouds. Getting closer to the base of vegetation could also provide warmth as the vegetation is heating itself as well and the thickness of the base may provide protection from the winds. The bird continued to rest underneath the bushes until it was out of sight.
Birds diets have to contain more fat in the winter. Fat creates a layer on the outer part of the body that will contain the heat inside the bird. Higher fat during the winter helps them not freeze. They also have to choose the aspects of their diet wisely as there aren’t as many options in the water as there are in other seasons. Efficiency is key where the item they eat contains many different nutrients to maintain the bird rather than just one. The only really good place to overnight on this landscape is the pine stand, in my opinion. This is the most concentrated area of vegetation that can block the birds off from the winter night winds. These trees were also the largest which may provide more area for the birds to roost in.
Snag Watch:
Larger snags most likely have the ability to hold larger cavities in which birds can nest. With more snags, there is most likely a higher abundance of birds as snags are an easy place to nest and be protected from predators within the cavities. Sleeping or nesting in shrubs or bushes is very dangerous for birds as they are at or near eye level for any predators that may want to eat them or their eggs. The only way shrubbery is a viable option for nesting is if it is very thick or there are thorns that predators can not get through. Snags, depending on age, can have strong walls that can prevent predators from getting through. Cavities in snags can also be high up off the ground so that predators can not reach the birds and their eggs. Species that most likely use snags are those that like to feed off the insects in the snags as well as predatory birds that can use the snags are perches to look for prey. The few snags I saw were not large enough to house an birds while the two within the pine stand, nothing emerged.
Map: https://www.flickr.com/photos/192385826@N04/shares/6k9833

Posted by catherinegullo22 catherinegullo22, March 05, 2021 18:15

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

Observer

catherinegullo22

Date

March 4, 2021

Description

Flying in groups of two from South West to North East

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis

Observer

catherinegullo22

Date

March 4, 2021

Description

-Male
-Sitting in a woody shrub/bush and fluffed itself up
-moved under an evergreen bush and stayed near the base on the ground

Photos / Sounds

What

Passerines Order Passeriformes

Observer

catherinegullo22

Date

March 4, 2021

Description

-Hopping around in and amongst bushes
-Heard cheeping

Photos / Sounds

What

Pine Grosbeak Pinicola enucleator

Observer

catherinegullo22

Date

March 4, 2021

Description

-Only heard vocalizations, not seen

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