18 de março de 2023

3/18/2023, Ornithology Journal 3

Evan Griffin
• Date – 3/18/2023
• Start time – 10:00 AM
• End time – 11:00 AM
• Location – Henry Gerber Reist Bird Sanctuary, Niskayuna, NY
• Weather (temperature, wind speed/direction, precipitation) - ~36°F, partly cloudy and sunny, light breeze blowing east. Ground was covered with several inches of snow from storm last Tuesday.
• Habitat(s) – wooded area with trees bunched closely together, ground was damp from the sheet of snow, some naturally felled trees, paths in various directions with the main one going South, oak and maple trees, some lichen.

My mother and I pulled up to the beginning of the pathway shortly before 10:00 PM. It was difficult to walk through as easily as we did last time because our feet would sink through the damp snow and some surfaces were icy and slippery. We walked south along the main path but at first glance it was difficult to see any birds around. I managed to hear the mechanical songs of some Tufted Titmouses, the laughing call of a White-breasted Nuthatch, and the dee-dee-dees of a couple of Black-capped Chickadees, one of which I saw maneuvering from tree to tree. At about 10:15 I began walking by myself in an eastern path, I went a couple hundred feet but I failed to see any birds or distinguish any calls. Sometimes I thought I heard a bird but it was just the sound of the trees creaking in the wind.

I walked back towards the main path and met back with my mother at around 10:30. We went on a path heading west, I heard some more Tufted Titmouses, and briefly what sounded like a murder of American Crows, as well as a Hairy Woodpecker which I briefly saw fly by. We walked along that path until a dog in a nearby yard started barking at us so we went back. It was about 10:47 and we decided to walk around the main path more and find our footing, I briefly saw another Black-capped Chickadee and, most exciting of all, a Downy Woodpecker of which I managed to get a semi-decent picture. Once it reached 11:00 PM, we walked back North to the car and left.

Birds, like all animals, employ communication, mainly audio and visual. Often birds will use there calls to alert other nearby birds that a predator or threat is nearby, like disruptive humans such as myself. Birds may also use specific calls or alternate-colored plumages to attract mates during their species’ mating season. The Downy Woodpecker I saw had a black and white speckled abdomen, which I think helps it to blend in with the oddly-shaded trees of brown, black and white that occupy the forest in which it lives in order to blend in and avoid predators. I think the Black-capped Chickadee, with its shades of black, white and grey, also has its plumage for similar reasons, but the differences in patterns could mean that the two species might be better at blending in with different looking trees. Like the Black-capped Chickadee might be better with a more solid-colored tree or surface than the Downy Woodpecker. The Downy Woodpecker flew to one tree where it started pecking at the base and working its way up towards the top before flying over to another nearby tree. I believe it was foraging, looking for insects that might have been on or in the tree. This is likely part of the bird’s circadian rhythm and daily routine of gathering sources of energy to survive as well as generate warmth in the colder weather.

I attempted multiple times during my outing to pish, I did my best to replicate it from YouTube videos I found. I did lower volumes, higher volumes, falsetto, low pitch, whistling. Unfortunately, nothing really happened, no birds came near when I tried it. I’m sure some more experienced birdwatchers might have done a better job. Maybe birds come to the sound because it might resemble some form of audio communication they’re used to, like calls for danger or injury or congregation.

Posted on 18 de março de 2023, 09:32 PM by egriffin102701 egriffin102701 | 6 observações | 0 comentários | Deixar um comentário

02 de março de 2023

3/1/2023 Ornithology Journal 2

Evan Griffin
• Date – 2/26/2023
• Start time – 1:00 PM
• End time – 2:00 PM
• Location – Centennial Woods, Burlington, VT
• Weather (temperature, wind speed/direction, precipitation) - ~28°F, overcast, a light flurry and fresh snow on the ground from the previous night, breeze blowing north or northwest.
• Habitat(s) – A well-established place for hiking, the main path going due north and extending east. Very forested with several naturally felled trees. A babbling brook with bridges going over them. The ground and trees were covered in snow, but some signs said there was poison ivy on the ground. There were pine, maple, beech and oak trees, as well as various snags along the trailway.

I drove to the woods’ parking area at around 1, and walked along the road to the beginning of the trail. While on that journey I was near some trees on the side of the road when I heard the A-G pitch song of two Black-capped Chickadees, as well as the mechanical call of a Tufted Titmouse. I saw one of the Black-capped Chickadees but couldn’t get a proper picture. I made it to the beginning of the forest path at about 1:10, and I continued due north. There weren’t really any birds to be seen or heard so I walked further towards the center, over a fallen tree, down a snow-covered slope on which I slipped and fell, and across some bridges over a brook. As I walked the path that stretched more to the east, I heard the caws of a murder of American Crows, one of which flew directly above me very quickly. Eventually I saw about 4 American Crows chase after a different bird, which might have been a Hairy Woodpecker because I heard the call of one just before they flew away. I also gazed upon a Red-Breasted Nuthatch in a tree high above me. At about 1:40 I walked back to where I started but I still couldn’t find any birds, I suspect because of the nearby street noise. I walked a little more up and down the path until 2:00 PM and then I walked back to my car.
Birds such as the American Crows and Black-capped Chickadees can have multiple adaptations for staying warm in the winter. They have dense coats of feathers, they can store enough food to keep their weight up and can even regulate their body temperature at will to conserve heat. These birds will likely be spending more time of the day sleeping and resting than they would in the summer, gathering food just to stay warm, and waiting until the warmer months to breed to conserve their own energy. Birds such as Black-capped Chickadees might tend to eat seed and berries and certain insects that could be out in the winter, American Crows might also try to eat people’s trash. This would be different from the summer when there’s a wider variety of plants, insects like caterpillars and small animals like mice. At night, American Crows might roost in the trees towards the edge of the forest, while other birds might sleep in snags.
While walking along the trail I saw multiple snags. I saw a couple at around 1:11, the first one was pretty much a stump with no prominent holes and the second one had a whole about an inch wide and a couple of inches long. Another one I saw at 1:14 had a series of holes, some were less than an inch in diameter but one was about 2 or 3 wide. I took a gander inside, there weren’t any birds but some of the wood within the hole was twined like the bird was trying to make a nest out of it. I saw a snag at 1:18 with two necks, the right one had a cavity a couple of inches wide, it too had shaved twined wood shavings. One snag I saw at 1:28 had just a large chunk of the bottom gone, over a foot long, I don’t even know if one bird could do it, it too had no birds in it. I saw one other prominent snag that had several cavities going very high up but I couldn’t walk over to it. It’s possible that a smaller snag will have smaller cavities so that it maintains its integrity and isn’t lost to the birds who use them. Snags are important because birds can use the cavities as a place to sleep or hide from a predator, to store food that they may need later, and possibly keep their young. Birds like woodpeckers and nuthatches may be likely to use snags because they eat insects and insects can be found in the cavities.

Posted on 02 de março de 2023, 02:54 AM by egriffin102701 egriffin102701 | 1 observação | 0 comentários | Deixar um comentário

18 de fevereiro de 2023

2/18/2023, Ornithology Journal 1

• Date – 2/18/2023
• Start time – 10:30 AM
• End time – 11:30 AM
• Location – Henry Gerber Reist Bird Sanctuary, Niskayuna, NY
• Weather (temperature, wind speed/direction, precipitation) - ~28°F, sunny, light breeze blowing north.
• Habitat(s) – wooded area with trees bunched closely together, ground covered in leaves and branches, some naturally felled trees, paths in various directions with the main one going South, oak and maple trees, some lichen.

I arrived at the area with my mother at around 10:30, and as soon as I got out of the car I started to hear bird calls, to the west I heard the laughing call of a White-breasted Nuthatch, and to the east I heard the coupled jeering of a blue jay. As we walked further south into the wooded area I heard birds from various directions, it was difficult to isolate many but I heard a Black-capped Chickadee’s call multiple times. The first bird I actually saw was a Woodpecker, I believe it might have been a Hairy Woodpecker because it had a longer beak.
I looked around the same area for 20 or 30 minutes looking for birds of whom I could take pictures. Although some birds flew away so quickly that they escaped my gaze, I managed to get a look at 2 Red-breasted Nuthatches, 2 Black-capped Chickadees who flew around to various trees, a White-breasted Nuthatch and a Downy Woodpecker. At around 11:00 PM my mother and I walked further along the southern trail, across a small bridge where a couple other people were walking. It was more difficult at this point to see the birds themselves, but I was still able to hear some calls. I heard the mechanical sound of Tufted Titmouses, and I managed to briefly see one. I walked around a smaller trail for anymore birds to see to no avail. At 11:30 my mother and I walked back up to where we started and then left.
The bird I most closely observed was one Black-capped Chickadee. It moved its wings pretty quickly as it moved from one tree to another nearby in a single direction and perched on the side of the tree. It moved its wings in a forward and backward motion, extending its wings towards its head and then moved them back to its sides, while also extending its wings to soar. This is different from the White-breasted Nuthatch I saw, which moved its wings in a loop from forward to backward while flying to a tree further away. It’s possible that the flight pattern of the Black-capped Chickadee helps with maneuvering quickly between nearby trees, it doesn’t need to flap its wings so much to save energy and the shorter length of the wings, when compared to the White-breasted Nuthatch, is adaptive to this short-range flying pattern. If I needed to identify the bird, I could keep track of how it moves its wings as well as how far it may be willing to travel between trees and which trees it prefers.
I think what most held me back from seeing more birds was that it wasn’t too early in the morning, when songbirds are out the most. I think there would have been fewer out if it was precipitating, which it wasn’t, and I might not have seen so many if I was in a different habitat that wasn’t so wooded and isolated. Next time I might want to start earlier in the morning, and try to figure out where the center of the area is too see if ore birds gather there.

Posted on 18 de fevereiro de 2023, 10:16 PM by egriffin102701 egriffin102701 | 1 observação | 0 comentários | Deixar um comentário