Journal archives for February 2023

February 19, 2023

2/15 on the Border of Centennial Woods

Date-February 15, 2023
Time: 7:50 am- 9:00 am
Weather: Cloudy and Windy with Drizzles
Location: Centennial Woods- Open Woods/Grassland, new growth trees and shrubs

I did not see many birds when I got to my location on the border of Centennial woods. The fairly open habitat boasted a combination of dead and alive trees, with lots of shrubberies. Many of the trees produced red berries which appeared to be a popular food choice for many birds. This specific area is usually bustling with bird activity, so I would assume the light drizzle that started around 8:10 am made most birds take shelter. I did, however, witness 3 different species of birds.

I first noticed several American Crows flying overhead. The generalist species has been very active all throughout Burlington this winter, so it came as no surprise when they appeared over the open woodland. The crows exhibited a flight pattern that consisted of near-constant flapping with very little gliding. American Crows have elliptical wings, which permits them to fly at high speeds with a great ability to maneuver. Their exposed primary feathers produce several airfoils which enhance the crow’s lift while reducing its drag. This wing type gives crows a high degree of control to effectively navigate its wide variety of habitat types, from forests to busy cities.

The second bird I encountered was the Black-capped Chickadee. The tiny generalist is another common Vermont bird. In flight, their bodies bob up and down. They alternate between quickly flapping their wings and folding them in, producing a bounding motion. I would assume they do this for energy efficiency reasons. Similar to the American Crow, Black-capped Chickadees also have an elliptical wing type that allows for high maneuverability. This is advantageous for navigating a wide variety of landscapes as well as escaping predators. I observed a group of 3 chickadees foraging for food on the tree with red berries. They hopped from branch to branch using their wings for stability. One chickadee dove from a tree branch to the ground.

The final bird I observed was the European Starling. A starling’s wings are most similar to the high-speed wing shape. The species displayed a flight pattern that consisted of rapid flapping followed by diving. Their flapping pattern produced a bobbing motion similar to what I observed in the Black-capped Chickadees. In comparison to the American Crow and Black-capped Chickadee, European Starling’s primary feathers are not as exposed while in flight. The alula of the starling is not exposed at all. They likely have a lower maneuverability in comparison to the crows and chickadees due to their wing type, which is optimized for reaching high speeds. This contributes to their preference for disturbed habitats.

Posted on February 19, 2023 10:31 PM by lhaigh lhaigh | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment