Ecological Physiology on Mt. Philo

March 24, 2020 at 5:00 PM, Mt. Philo State Park, Charlotte, Vermont, habitat was very woodsy with spots cleared for recreational areas such as picnic tables, small restroom buildings, and grill areas. The trees in this habitat were evergreen and deciduous, and in the non-cleared areas, the tree density was variable, due to the large sections of land that were cleared from trees. There was some snow on the ground, but most of it had already melted. The weather was partly cloudy and partly sunny, with a wind speed of about 5 mph in the northeast direction.
There were many interesting patterns that I observed while watching the birds interact with each other. First, when I was sitting at the top of Mt. Philo, I saw one Red-tailed Hawk in flight over the flat, residential area, and as it was flying, it screeched a couple times. Although it was unclear what this individual was trying to communicate through this sound, in just a minute or two, two more hawks joined and the three birds circled for about 5 minutes. It is possible that the screeching bird was a male defending his territory or communicating that there is a food source below.
As I was watching the Black-capped Chickadees and the American Robins, I noticed how different their plumages are, even though they were both in similar habitats. The colors of the Chickadee (black, white, gray) seem to help them become less noticeable, especially when they are in shrubs. On the other hand, American Robins spend some of the year foraging in trees and shrubs, and the other part of the year finding worms and other invertebrates in the ground. Their plumage, grey-brown backs and wings with a rusty-orange belly, may be more helpful for them when they are foraging on the ground in the warmer seasons. This could be because they are not patterned and their colors could closely resemble those of dirt or other earthy mediums.
As I was observing the Red-tailed Hawks circling above in the sky, I found it very interesting to think about what it is they are doing, based on the time of year. After a quick internet search, I learned that they usually migrate back up to Vermont in the first weeks of March, in order to get ready for breeding. It is possible that the individual that was screeching was trying to attract mates, trying to defend his territory, or foraging, but either way, it makes sense knowing about the circannual rhythm of this species.

Posted by eisloan9 eisloan9, March 26, 2020 00:08

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura

Observer

eisloan9

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Robin Turdus migratorius

Observer

eisloan9

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus

Observer

eisloan9

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

Observer

eisloan9

Date

March 24, 2020

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