Field Journal 7: Reproductive Ecology and Evolution

April 20th, 2020
6:30am-8:15am
Derway Island Nature Trail
Sunny, 35°F

• 4 Mallards
• 5 Song Sparrows
• 10 Woodpeckers
• 1 Northern Cardinal
• 4 Canada Geese
• 1 Blue Jay
• 11 Black-capped Chickadees
• 1 Double-crested Cormorant
• 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
• 4 Tufted Titmice
• 1 American Goldfinch
• 3 American Robins

Some of the Robins I saw were sitting solo on a branch—usually of a tree with plenty of berries on it. When they were sitting alone, they made no sounds and just observed their surroundings vigilantly. It’s possible that these Robins were sitting on branches that were close to their nests. There were plenty of materials for nests covering the forest floor that they might have been looking around for. Later during my bird walk, I saw a Robin fly with amazing speed in a straight line across the Winooski River. Another Robin joined by its side. It’s possible that this was a pair flying off to their nest. They were flying too close to each other to not have some sort of relationship.

The Woodpeckers were everywhere. I saw a few, but was overwhelmed by the drumming that I heard in all directions. In contrast to the American Robin, Woodpeckers typically nest in cavities of snags. There were many snags throughout the area, but I didn’t see any evidence of nests. I did not want to be too nosy and scare anyone who was trying to set up a place for incubation. The woodpeckers I actually saw with my eyes were in close proximity to one another, but on separate trees. When one flew away, another one usually took its place, suggesting that they respect each other’s personal space but don’t mind sharing resources (at a distance). The frequent drumming I heard suggests that there were hundreds of Woodpeckers throughout the property trying to defend precious territory and/or attempting to find mates. In my opinion, the abundance of snags and diversity of the land suggests that there is a lot of prime territory. This might be why I saw Woodpeckers foraging relatively close to each other and not exhibiting aggressive behavior. It’s hard to say whether they had high fitness because of the plentiful resources. I wonder how they would do in a less ideal habitat.

The Mallards I saw were only in pairs. I didn’t get a great look at them because they flew away every time I got closer. They always landed together in the water after furiously quacking in the air. Their nest was probably on the ground on the other side of the river where there is less human activity. The other side of the river had a lot of marsh vegetation that would hide their nests well. It’s also probably a good place to easily pull pieces of shallow-root vegetation out of the ground without having he female having to leave her nest. I highly suggest this spot to anyone who wants to see a lot of birds and a diversity of great habitat!

Link to Mini Activity: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qXdxtzLac7U49LNu6LZ-xLwENv_bm8dV0QoCDrUVzqY/edit

Posted by nlay4185 nlay4185, April 22, 2020 18:37

Observations

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

Observer

nlay4185

Date

April 20, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia

Observer

nlay4185

Date

April 20, 2020

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Woodpeckers Family Picidae

Observer

nlay4185

Date

April 20, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis

Observer

nlay4185

Date

April 20, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Canada Goose Branta canadensis

Observer

nlay4185

Date

April 20, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata

Observer

nlay4185

Date

April 20, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus

Observer

nlay4185

Date

April 20, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus

Observer

nlay4185

Date

April 20, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis

Observer

nlay4185

Date

April 20, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor

Observer

nlay4185

Date

April 20, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Goldfinch Spinus tristis

Observer

nlay4185

Date

April 20, 2020

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

American Robin Turdus migratorius

Observer

nlay4185

Date

April 20, 2020

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