April 26, 2021

FJ7: Reproductive Ecology and Evolution

Date: April 26th, 2021
Start time/ End time: 1:00-2:30pm
Location: Colchester Bog, Colchester, VT
Weather: 40 degrees F, cloudy and windy
Habitat: Marshy, swampy wetland forest. High-bush Blueberry and Tamarack plant species are common in the area. Common Garter Snakes were identified as well.
Number of Individuals: 37
Species: Black-capped Chickadee (22), American Robin (5), Song Sparrow (7), Downy Woodpecker (1), House Sparrow (1), Tufted Titmouse (2), Northern Cardinal (8).

Black-capped Chickadees were spotted most often in pairs of two. These Chickadees were notably trying to gain attention from their partners as is apparent when noting that one bird, standing alone on a branch, would watch closely as its partner flew circles around the other bird. Tufted Titmouse were identified circling a nest, high in the tree canopy. These birds were calling to one another and seemed to be building the nest simultaneously. The Tufted Titmice were spotted in the forested section of the property, high in the branches of the trees. On the other hand, Black-capped Chickadees are cavity nesters who depend on Downy and other Woodpecker species for their homes.
Northern Cardinals defend their territory by singing from high tree branches. Some other Northern Cardinals will sing from more dense vegetation and therefore are not as desirable to females. Northern Cardinals who are able to project their songs farther and from a more open space are considered more fit by other Northern Cardinals. American Robins build their nests from string and stripped wood they find on the ground and pick up around the forested area.
Mini Activity: After sitting in one location for a period of time and hearing bird audio, Northern Cardinals seemed to surround the perimeter of my area, Black-capped Chickadees would chirp up to the right and left on occasion. Song Sparrows sing from all branches and project their sounds a long distance.

Posted on April 26, 2021 20:04 by rebeccashayross rebeccashayross | 7 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 19, 2021

FJ6: Field Observation

Date: April 19th, 2021
Start time/ End time: 1:00-3:00pm
Location: Colchester Bog, Colchester, VT
Weather: ~50 degrees F, clear sky
Habitat: Forested, marshy area
Number of Individuals: 40
Species: Black-capped Chickadee (8), Northern Cardinal (8), Canada Goose (2), American Crow (1), Song Sparrow (10), House Sparrow (3), Downy Woodpecker (3), Tufted Titmouse (3), American Robin (2).

Black-capped Chickadees were found in groups of 4, 2 and 2.

Downy Woodpeckers were identified in one pair of 2.

Posted on April 19, 2021 20:04 by rebeccashayross rebeccashayross | 9 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 05, 2021

FJ5: Migration

Date: April 5th, 2021
Start time/ End time: 1:00-2:30pm
Location: Salmon Hole
Weather: ~50 degrees F, clear sky
Habitat: Flowing fresh water in heart of urban city
Number of Individuals: ~70
Species: Ring-billed Gull (~60), Common Merganser (3), American Robin (3), Song Sparrow (audio), Downy Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatch (2)

American Robins are one species resident in the state year round. These birds have adapted to the colder climates by waterproofing their feathers, lowering the temperature of their feet and accumulating thick down feathers close to their body for insulation. Foregoing a migration for these birds means a severe lack of food availability and drastically lower temperatures than usual.
A facultative migrant such as the Ring-billed Gull has arrived from areas in the southern United States, where the weather has been warmer so the species could more easily survive. Facilitating its arrival in Burlington means there have been warmer overall temperatures here as well as an increased density of vegetation in the area.
Obligate migrants such as the Red-winged Blackbird will soon return to the Burlington area. These birds migrate on a regular schedule each year. The down side to this behavior is that unexpected weather patterns may severely disadvantage the bird if it returns too early.
Winter migrations total about 5,600 miles across the migratory birds identified.

Posted on April 05, 2021 20:31 by rebeccashayross rebeccashayross | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 22, 2021

Social Behavior and Phenology

Date: March 21st, 2021
Start time/ End time: 7:15-8:45am
Location: Centennial Woods
Weather: ~40 degrees F, clear sky
Habitat: Forested area in heart of urban city
Number of Individuals: 59
Species: Herring Gull (11), Black-capped Chickadee (4), Northern Cardinal (1), Canada Goose (33), American Crow (8), White-breasted Nuthatch (1), Ring-billed Gull (1)
Canada Goose were found in groups of 11 and 22.
American Crows were found in flocks of approximately 4.

While Canada Goose was the most populous bird on this excursion, Herring Gulls were seen far more frequently. Canada Geese communicate mostly through honking, while flying in a straight line and at a higher altitude than most other birds I’ve noticed. Male Black-capped Chickadees communicated using a call that sounds similar to the words, “Hey sweetie” and would echo the call back and forth across the forest in an attempt to attract mates.
Canada Geese and Black-capped Chickadees have vastly different plumage which is used for vastly different ways of life. Canada Geese are waterfowl while Black-capped Chickadees are songbirds. Canada Geese use their plumage for flying long distances, diving for aquatic food sources and keeping warm. Black-capped Chickadees have plumage more suited for camouflage in the forest and less suited for aquatic diving.
On my birding excursion I came across a Northern Cardinal perched on top of an Austrian Pine Tree. The Northern Cardinal was calling a long, shrill noise in order to protect his territory. In terms of the circannual rhythm, Northern Cardinals become far more territorial and active in the spring and often stand on tall perches claiming their domain.
Spishing works to attract songbirds as it resembles the sound of insects swarming which is very enticing for insect-eating songbirds. Spishing may also sound like a mob of similar songbirds together. This could draw in others looking to chase away a nearby predator.

Posted on March 22, 2021 16:52 by rebeccashayross rebeccashayross | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 22, 2021

Journal Entry 1

Rebecca Ross
4:00- 5:30pm
Central Campus
10 degrees F, Clear sky

Over the course of my time observing birds Sunday, February 21st, I expected to see a greater amount of diversity than I did. 12 American Robins were counted in total though no other birds were observed closely enough to identify. American Robins have Elliptical wings which allow for a quick take off and tight maneuvering. Similar to other native birds such as the House Sparrow and American Crow, the American Robin can easily thrive in human-dominated environments using this type of wing shape.
Although on my walk I only came across American Robins- I am sure there are Black-capped Chickadees nearby as well which can easily be compared to the Robin. Black-capped Chickadees have elliptical wings as well and therefore they are suited for quick take-off and sudden in-air movements. These birds also thrive in human-dominated areas though they prefer more suburban habitats to cities; Chickadees were not spotted on my walk, most likely because they tend to prefer the more suburban areas around Burlington.
Chickadees are much smaller than Robins and because of this, it would not be hard to distinguish the two species based on flight patterns alone. Black-capped Chickadees also tend to fly for shorter bursts of time than the American Robin. In the future, I hope to travel out of Burlington and to an area with more species diversity. Going for the walk at dusk seemed to be a good idea however, I’m sure that going around dawn would have increased my chances for seeing some other species as well. Cities are a good place to find birds like Rock Pigeons, Robins, Mourning Doves and Sparrows but by leaving this bustling area and walking in a more wooded location, I’d be sure to increase my chances of seeing bird diversity.

Posted on February 22, 2021 21:06 by rebeccashayross rebeccashayross | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment