Birding Adventure #1

Date:2/19/18
Time: 3:30-5 (sunset)
Weather: Clear, no clouds
Location: Golf course, at a newly found secret spot.

Thinking about places where birds would be in city-like environments led me to believe that I would see only crows, mourning doves, maybe a couple chickadees. I didn't want to go somewhere where cars could be heard, and I remembered that the golf course is "open" to sled. Upon my arrival through a questionable route, I went to the sledding hill but heard no chirps of Dark-eyed Juncos or shrill sounds of a Grackle, but nothing. I went further, past the country club and down to a huge field with no trees, definitely not the place birds would be. I walked further and found an opening in the trees under some powerlines, and upon my arrival, a Pileated Woodpecker flies above my head. Now I know I am in the right spot.

Once the male arrived, he made it apparent he could hear me, at this point I was making a lot of noise at the sight of him. I would estimate the Pileated to be as big as they get, or as big as I have seen. As soon as I sat down to be quiet, he jumps away and flies off, the clear white stripe on the top wing visible as he flies effortlessly through the pine forest. After he flies away, I go down and try to find what he was doing and I find them, what I presume to be, nesting hole in a tree(pictured in my observations). After about five minutes, he comes back and latches onto a tree branch. I am led to believe that he was chipping out a nesting hole for his future offspring, as most males dig more of the nest. The Pileated woodpecker is an incredible flier, with manipulative primaries to swerve through dense coniferous trees, and a long fan-like tail to maneuver at high speeds. He flapped very quickly to get away from us and didn't return for 15 minutes.

As I left the spot, I realized that it was about 4:30 and that I should start to walk back towards my dorm. On the way back, I noticed that the birds were chirping instead of singing, and I could hear more varieties of birds than before. As I was closer to the sledding hill, I heard two Red-breasted Nuthatches perched in a 75-foot Red Oak tree. They didn't stay too long, and both flapped away quickly into a different pine forest. The size of the two birds is incomparable, the small robin-sized nuthatches were much slower and had more of a drop of the up flap. The nuthatches had a large red belly that was puffed out for warmth on the tree, and its flying was affected by it. Their flight also involved a lot more flapping than the woodpecker, and the speed was much slower than the sleek Pileated.

The main difference in the anatomy of the birds is their feathers. The nuthatches have a stomach made of feathers to maintain the warmth needed by the small frame. Nuthatches are not sleek by any means, especially in the winter. The tail feathers have a significantly smaller ratio of body to tail, making their flight less controlled by the bird, and more by the wind that is blowing it. The Pileated woodpecker has a tail which looks like a flame, with the longest feathers sitting in the back. Their wings show defined primaries, and secondaries which are dense and long, increasing the aerial agility needed to inhabit the forest. The pileated can easily fly where it wants, expanding its wings much father from its body and gliding through the air.

Posted by woodencabinets woodencabinets, February 21, 2019 00:51

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus

Observer

woodencabinets

Date

February 19, 2019 03:40 PM EST

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus

Observer

woodencabinets

Date

February 19, 2019 04:42 PM EST

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus

Observer

woodencabinets

Date

February 19, 2019 01:29 PM EST

Description

4 Birds in low bushes

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis

Observer

woodencabinets

Date

February 19, 2019 01:29 PM EST

Description

Pair in high beech Trees

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor

Observer

woodencabinets

Date

February 19, 2019 01:29 PM EST

Description

2 chirping in high beech trees

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

Observer

woodencabinets

Date

February 19, 2019 01:29 PM EST

Description

35 flying overhead of golf course SB VT

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