Field Observation 1: ID & Flight Physiology

I took a walk around UVM's campus on Tues. Feb 12th to see how many birds I could identify. The temperature was approximately 24 degrees Fahrenheit and the sun was out. There were not many birds I could see, and the background noise of cars and such made it difficult to hear any distant calls. Most of the birds I was able to see were concentrated in and around the green. Since UVM is packed with buildings and noise pollution, and the temperature was pretty low, I am guessing the reasoning for the lack of birds I saw was because the temperatures made them lethargic and most preferred to stay huddled somewhere warm. I was able to spot three different species: Rock Dove, Cedar Waxwing, and the American Crow.

The Rock Doves were sitting in a group of about 6 or 7 on top of the Davis Center. The group seemed pretty stationary as if they were basking in the sun. Some of them were cleaning/fluffing their feathers. They would bob/cock their heads as they walked along the roof. I was able to stand and observe them for awhile to analyze their flight pattern when they flew away. Their flight was almost frantic and they circled around before landing again.

There were tons of American Crows out and about. Between sight and sound I documented 11 separate occasions where I encountered them. Many of them were soaring through the sky with their distinct methodical rowing wing motions. Some of them would glide for awhile with their wings straight out from their body, circling around like they were looking for something.

Finally, I saw a group of almost 20 Cedar Waxwings. They were flying from tree to tree in the UVM green. When people were further away, they flew to the shorter trees with shriveled red fruit and ate them. However, when people came closer they would fly as a flock to a much taller Eastern White Pine. They did this back and forth pattern numerous times as I was watching. Their flight was very fluttery, and momentarily they keep their wings against their bodies and soar for a split second.

Cedar Waxwings are the smallest of the three species I observed, hence their fluttery flight pattern. They like to eat fruit and must be small and accurate to be able to pluck them out of trees so their fast fluttery flight pattern helps them to navigate small branches and such. This is much different than the crow and the pigeon. The pigeon's body is more plump which matches their behavior since they tend to hang out in open spaces and on infrastructure. Then the crow is more of a seeker, as they find roadkill, trash, and other nests to rob. The crows longer wings help them navigate the skies seemingly effortlessly in search of food.

Posted by taylorehwa taylorehwa, February 21, 2019 04:22

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

Observer

taylorehwa

Date

February 12, 2019

Description

Saw 3 crows fly overhead at this location.

Photos / Sounds

What

Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum

Observer

taylorehwa

Date

February 12, 2019 04:09 PM -05

Description

Saw a group of ~20 sitting in a tree.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Rock Pigeon Columba livia

Observer

taylorehwa

Date

February 12, 2019

Description

Group of them sitting on the roof.

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