Μάρτιος 19, 2023

FJ3: Ecological Physiology

Date: 3/18/23
Start time: 6:30 pm
End time: 7:30 pm
Location: Rosa Hartman Park in Stamford, CT
Weather: sunny/sunset, warm (45°F), no wind
Habitat: park with deciduous forest

Throughout the winter observations, I have seen many Black-capped Chickadees. Though these birds are small, they are able to survive the cold winters of the Northeast. In order to survive the cold, they eat lots of high-nutrient foods like berries and nuts. Additionally, they fluff up their feathers to trap air and keep in their body warmth-- this is why they look so round in the winter. In the spring, they likely go after insects (specifically caterpillars/etc) which are more abundant in the warmer times of the year. Most of my pictures of them have been at a feeder or in berry bushes, and they look very round in all of them. Other birds likely have the same or similar practices to survive the cold. Additionally, I know that penguins have a special circulation pattern to keep cold blood in their extremities and warm blood closer to their cores, so if other birds had something similar it could definitely help them retain heat in the winter as well. They also may sleep in dead snags, bushes/orb-shaped nests, or as a group as a sort of insulation. I would assume they spend most of their time feeding and resting, as the breeding season is usually in the spring when it's warmer.

On my walk, I came across several dead snags, though I wasn't able to see anything come out of them. I noticed that generally, the larger snags had fewer branches and larger cavities; the smaller ones had smaller cavities and more branches. It seems like birds use the interiors of the larger snags to rest or nest, while the smaller ones are used mostly to perch.

Posted on Μάρτιος 19, 2023 0404 ΠΜ by knobumot knobumot | 10 παρατηρήσεις | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Μάρτιος 16, 2023

FJ4: Social Behavior and Phenology

Date: 3/15/23
Start time: 7:45 am
End time: 8:45
Location: Wilton, CT (backyard)
Weather: overcast, 30°F
Habitat: backyard feeder (suet, hanging, flat surfaces) surrounded by woodland (mostly deciduous - ash, locust, maple, beech, river birch, spruce, white pine)

Since the feeders have very limited space, they are places where the birds interact pretty closely. I started out my field observation by watching the feeder for around 20 minutes (though I came back towards the end and watched it for another 10-ish minutes), and saw a good variety of birds visit. The hanging feeders had Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, Tufted Titmice, Blue Jays; the suet feeder had Downy Woodpeckers, the Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Dark-eyed Juncos; the seed scattered on the wall/ground attracted the American Robins. I noticed that when there were only smaller birds on the feeders, they would switch out with each other and take turns eating. When Blue Jays were present, they would take over the feeder and make the other birds leave (if they hadn't left already).

After observing the feeder, I went past the yard into the woods. It was hard to see any birds, but I could hear a lot of different calls. I didn't want to scare them away, so I sat and listened rather than walking around too much. From there, I heard several American Crows, a Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Cardinals, and a call I think was a European Starling (it had the crackle-like sound that the Cornell recordings have, though I didn't get a recording so I am not completely sure). I was actually able to see a couple Hairy Woodpeckers too. The woods were filled with bird noises, and many of them seemed to be calling out to each other, perhaps for signalling that there was food, or simply competing with each other. On my way back to the yard, I heard some House Finches and American Robins, though I was unable to spot them; I also had been hearing what I believe to be Song Sparrows for pretty much the whole trip and hadn't been able to look up the sound and ID them until I got closer to the house. The Song Sparrow calls were the most prominent noise when they were being made.

Of the birds that I was actually able to spot, I noticed that the Tufted Titmice in particular was able to blend in quite well with its surroundings. Previously, I had thought that their grey coloring would not help them hide in the trees, but the grey-ish bark of several trees in the backyard made it very difficult to see them until they flew out to the feeder. The Titmice tended to swoop from the tree and feed for a short moment (if there was another titmouse on the feeder they would take turns), and then fly back to the tree. Like the titmice, the nuthatches tended to come alone or with only one other. The chickadees came in larger groups of usually 3 or more. These birds being up and active in the morning makes sense with their circadian rhythm because they rise at dawn and go to sleep when it gets dark out.

I tried the pishing back at the feeder, though I am unsure if it actually drew in more birds or if they were coming anyway because of the feeder. I did not know about pishing prior to this assignment, so I looked it up afterward to understand it better. The sound itself seems to be similar to the distress call ('scolds') of chickadees and titmice, which causes these birds to come and see what all the fuss is about. It could also be heard as a beckoning for them to come together and take part in a group feeding event.

Posted on Μάρτιος 16, 2023 0321 ΜΜ by knobumot knobumot | 16 παρατηρήσεις | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Φεβρουάριος 20, 2023

FJ2: ID and Flight Physiology

Date: 2/19/23
Start time: 12:00 pm
End time: 1:15 pm
Location: Oakledge Park
Weather: Overcast, very windy
Habitat: Woodland, coast (lake)

Upon arrival, I decided to walk a couple of the paths before heading down to the beach area. By the tree house, there were many American Crows circling overhead and in the tops of the trees. I also heard an occasional call from a Tufted Titmouse, but I was not able to spot it anywhere. There was also another call that was far away and sounded like it could have been a Black-capped Chickadee, but I was unable to identify it. When observing the crows flying overhead, I noticed how they were soaring in circles and not flapping their wings very often. They seemed to primarily be using the wind currents to stay aloft, and when they did land, they tended to stay high up in the trees or in more open areas. Though I was not able to get a closer picture, I did see through my binoculars that their wings were long, broad, and ended in very prominent primary feathers. This shape and size likely help them to stay aloft for longer periods of time, and allow them to travel over farther distances than those with shorter, smaller wings. This makes sense since crows are known to travel a lot.

After spending around 20-30 minutes there, I moved to the beach area of the park. There were other people and some dogs there making noise, which definitely decreased the number of birds that I was able to observe there. However, I was hopeful that I would see some kind of waterbird, and I ended up seeing what I believed to be a Herring Gull circling overhead briefly. Due to the noise and the very high wind speeds, I thought I might have better luck spotting birds in a more covered area, so I moved to one of the woodland paths. There, I happened upon a clearing with a thicket of bramble bushes where there were many Black-capped Chickadees foraging. I sat there for a while and watched them, noticing how they flitted among the brush with very short wing flaps. They tended to hop along the ground or use quick flaps to get around in the dense thicket. Compared to the crows, apart from being smaller birds in general, the Black-capped Chickadees had much rounder and proportionally smaller wings. Given the habitat I saw them in, this makes sense-- they needed to get around in tight spaces, not soar. While I was watching this area, I also saw and heard a couple of Tufted Titmice, which have similarly-shaped wings. I also heard a Blue Jay somewhere in the woods behind me, but was unable to spot it.

Overall, the expedition was a lot less fruitful than I had thought it would be. This is likely due to the presence of other people and the dogs at the location, as well as the high wind speeds and the time of day. If I had gone at an earlier time, that would likely have given better bird-spotting odds (with fewer visitors and at a time where birds are more active). However, I was able to observe how differences in bird wings and flight patterns are helpful in identifying what kind of bird it is. Birds that have longer, larger wings (bonus if the primaries are prominent) are likely to be soaring birds who travel long distances, and will be found up in the sky or in places that they can spread their wings. These birds are likely scavengers or hunters. Birds that have smaller, rounder wings will likely be found in dense areas, like in the woods or shrubbery near the ground. These wings are more conducive to foraging and moving shorter distances quickly; they likely do not travel long distances.

Posted on Φεβρουάριος 20, 2023 0419 ΠΜ by knobumot knobumot | 6 παρατηρήσεις | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο