Journal archives for February 2023

February 19, 2023

Field Journal Feb 20 Sean Devine

Start and End Times: 3:00pm-5:00pm
Date: 2/15/2023
Location: Milton Town Forest, Milton Vermont
Weather: Partly Cloudy, Mid-40s, 30 mph wind gusts
Habitat: Mixed hardwood forest, shrubs and small trees near marsh
Watching the movement of a Black-capped Chickadee, I could see that its flight was adapted to take off relatively quickly, and maneuver in tight spaces. This makes sense given their behavior and habitat, which often has them maneuvering through the branches of small trees and moving quickly to avoid predators. Physically, I imagine their relatively small size, including their wings, allows for this agility. The individual I was watching hopped from tree to tree, but when it did fly for a more extended period of time I could see its flight pattern was not very straight, it instead went up and down somewhat erratically.
I also saw about 4 American Crows flying relatively high above the open marsh. In their flight, they flapped fairly quickly for a few moments, before gliding for a bit. The ones I saw were flying into the wind, so I imagine they had to work harder and flapped more to continue in that direction. In terms of direction, they were moving one way but they weren't going straight. Some would occasionally veer off 45 degrees or ever circle around. The only other bird I got to see fly was a Hairy Woodpecker, but as it was busy pecking a tree I didn't see much. It was able to take off from where it was clinging on and ascend to another hole higher up the tree. This takes a lot of energy and requires wings which can immediately produce enough lift to overcome gravity. I also got to see it use its tail feathers to keep itself anchored when it was standing still pecking a hole. I didn't get to see any birds fly for long enough or distinctly enough to learn how to identify them from their flight, but I can imagine how one could at least deduce the type of bird from the flight. For example, the chickadee's quick, agile flight between trees would certainly rule out less agile birds.
I got to see or hear 4 birds, but I probably would have found more in different conditions. It was late afternoon, which can be a time of bird activity, but I was just a little too early because I only started hearing a bunch of chickadees in the trees as I was leaving around 5:15. Going in the morning would be more ideal, but if I do go in the afternoon it would have to be a bit later. A bigger factor however would probably be the wind. The weather showed 30 mph gusts, which were occurring quite frequently and were more than enough to shake the trees violently. This wind probably encouraged at least some species of birds to take shelter. The warmer temperatures might have increased activity, but it was still certainly winter and snow covered the ground. Finally, I noticed that I saw more birds on edges than I did in the interior of the forest. This could be many things, including easier visibility and the more common species (like chickadees) living on edges.

Posted on February 19, 2023 07:10 PM by sedevine sedevine | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment