Social Behavior and Phenology Journal

Mary Kuehl Field Journal 4
Date: 3/25/20
Time: 3:30-5:11 pm
Weather: 38 Degrees Fahrenheit, Cloudy, breezy
Habitat: The route was in urban neighborhoods, around the Old North End in Burlington, VT to Centennial Woods. In the neighborhoods there was mostly grass and common tree species like pine, maple, and birch. It was wet from snow melting which also created lots of mud and patches of snow. The route continued through Centennial where the habitat was forested and mostly Eastern White Pine. The forest in this area is mature and there is a generally open understory. There was more snow in this area as it is more shaded. There is also a small river that runs through this area.

Observations: My walk began from my house where I walked around the streets in my neighborhood before I decided to walk to Centennial Woods. The first birds I saw here were some Herring Gulls that were flying up above the houses and businesses behind our street. I usually see these birds where they can get food, like in the parking lot of a McDonald's. I think here they are more common because of our proximity to Lake Champlain. As I continued walking I noticed a group of American Crows that were roosting in a tree. There were three of them sitting on different branches. I think they might rest together so that one can alert the others for danger and keep an eye out while the others relax. A bird that I commonly saw or heard as I strolled through the neighborhoods was the Black-capped Chickadee. Their call is so distinctive and it seems like they are fairly common in more urban areas like neighborhoods as long as there is a bush they can hide in. I noticed three American Robins in a yard that displayed some surprising behavior. They were pecking at the ground looking for food. One of them found something and another tried to steal it. This resulted in some flapping of wings and angry calling. It was really interesting to observe this behavior. I think they might be fighting over food at this time because it is close to the end of winter and they are hungry and there may not be a huge food supply for them right now. They may also be feeling pressured to eat and pack on energy for breeding and reproduction in the spring.
The plumages of the White-breasted Nuthatch and the Black-capped Chickadee are very similar in my opinion but they do have some big differences. They both have white cheeks, black on the crown of their head, and gray-colored wings. They also both have a white breast. The biggest difference in their plumage is that the black on the head of the chickadee goes below their eye, whereas on the nuthatch it stops and then there is a stripe below their eye. The evolutionary advantage to their plumage might be that being dark on top and light on bottom could help camouflage them from predators. The cap may also work to break up the shape of the bird and make them look less obvious.
I tried spishing and I was able to attract some birds and get them to come closer to me. I think that they might be attracted to the sound because it could sound like insects moving around in leaves or something else they might want to eat. It might also be that they are just curious about the noise and want to make sure there is no danger.

Posted by maryrosek maryrosek, March 26, 2020 00:15

Observations

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Rock Pigeon Columba livia

Observer

maryrosek

Date

March 25, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Herring Gull Larus argentatus

Observer

maryrosek

Date

March 25, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

Observer

maryrosek

Date

March 25, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus

Observer

maryrosek

Date

March 25, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater

Observer

maryrosek

Date

March 25, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Robin Turdus migratorius

Observer

maryrosek

Date

March 25, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis

Observer

maryrosek

Date

March 25, 2020

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata

Observer

maryrosek

Date

March 25, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia

Observer

maryrosek

Date

March 25, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Downy Woodpecker Dryobates pubescens

Observer

maryrosek

Date

March 25, 2020

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