28 de mayo de 2021

Field Ornithology Journal #5

On Friday, May 28th I went to Rock Creek Park in NW DC. The temperature was around 79 degrees, it was partly sunny, and there was no detectable breeze. The park is just one large forest with a small creek running through it that held less than a foot of water. The forest is deciduous, and ranged from dispersed trees and open canopy to a much more dense forest with a closed canopy and thick understory. The birding was ok there; there did not seem to be a ton of diversity were I was, but there was high abundance of the species. The forest has a lot of snags, and I saw three species of woodpecker (Flicker, Downy, and Red-bellied) interacting with the snags. I didn't realize where I am had such a large Acadian Flycatcher population, but they could be seen or heard everywhere I went today. I saw one for the first time which was interesting because I've only heard them! Around the stream I saw Common Grackles, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and American Robins. None were in the stream, but they were on the rocks that bordered it, or flying through the channel it created in the forest. The rest of the species I mostly had to ID by song because the trees were very tall and much of the forest was dense. I heard the usual songbirds like Carolina Wrens, American Goldfinches, as well as Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Eastern Wood-Pewees, and Scarlet Tanagers. I've always had a hard time IDing the Scarlet Tanagers by call, but today I did, and I also saw a male and female which I've never seen before! It's crazy to me that such brilliant species could live in a city. Overall I think that my auditory ID skills improved, but I definitely still need to work on them. Listening comprehension has all been a struggle for me and this class put that to the test! I also saw Carolina Wrens today hopping on the ground and that's another species that I've only heard and never seen!

Publicado el mayo 28, 2021 08:28 TARDE por iadeslaw iadeslaw | 24 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

27 de mayo de 2021

Field Ornithology Journal #4

On Thursday, May 27th I went to Huntley Meadows Park in Fairfax, Virginia from 7 AM- 12 PM. The temperature was around 85 degrees, and partly cloudy in the morning but the sun came out at around 9:45 AM and there was a light breeze throughout the day. The park begins in a dense deciduous forest with a lot of canopy cover and a dense under story. There were thunderstorms last night so the forest was particularly humid. The forest eventually opens up into a vast open wetland consisting of marsh lands with vernal pools that all eventually lead into a large pond. There was a board walk for traversing the entire wetland. In the forest, it was difficult to discern different species because of the thick vegetation, and loud cicadas. However, a few species were heard like the Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Wood -Pewee, American Goldfinch, and a few species of woodpeckers (Downy and Pileated), as well as other song bird species. They were mostly all in the tops of the overstory and singing fairly consistently. But the woodpeckers were climbing along the trees along with the White-breasted Nuthatches. Once in the wetland, the some of the species swimming or standing in the water were Mallards, American Black Duck, Great Blue Heron, and the Green Heron. They were in some of the vernal pools but mainly in the main pond. I saw a family of Canada Geese swimming across the pond which was really cool to see, and the gosling were still small which I don't get to see often. There were many species flying across the wetlands like the Common Grackle, Red-winged Blackbird, Tree Swallows, and Barn Swallows. They were all singing and flying and diving in and out of the shrubbery as well as flying into the dispersed trees. Many of them would interact in the air and chase each other regardless of the species type. There were Osprey and Red-tailed Hawks flying overhead, and the hawks appeared to just be circling, but I could see the Opsrey looking for fish, and trying to get better angles for hunting which I'd never seen before. I also so multiple American Crows chasing a Green Heron through the air which was the most exciting thing I saw today!

Publicado el mayo 27, 2021 10:39 TARDE por iadeslaw iadeslaw | 31 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de mayo de 2021

Field Ornithology Journal #3

On Wednesday, May 26th I went to Fort Dupont Park in Anacostia DC from 6:45 AM - 12:05 PM. The weather was 90 degrees, and the morning began as cloudy but by 9:30 AM it was very sunny and there was no wind. The park a large expanse of deciduous forest with intermixed grasslands that were about 50 yards long and ran parallel to the walking path. The grass was was shin height and full of grasshopper, crickets, and cicadas. The forest was mostly over story trees with very little understory species. There was a small stream that ran through the forest but it was mostly dried up. In the forest, I heard multiple species of flycatcher (Acadian, Least, Great Crested), as well as Wood Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, and song birds like the American Goldfinch and Yellow Warbler. These species were all on the tops of trees in the forest and were rarely seen on the ground. In the forest I saw a Black Rat Snake which was very exciting, and I also heard an Eastern Wood-Pewee which I've never heard in person before! In the grassland area, I saw species like the Indigo Bunting which was flying through the grass and landing on shrubs, and the a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Eastern Kingbird which were perched on trees at the edge of the grassland. I wasn't expecting to see the Downy Woodpecker I was just leaving the forest and there it was which was exciting. I didn't recognize the call at first but then I saw it hopping up and down the tree which was interesting to see. There was a mowed area just before you enter the forest where I saw more general species like Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals, Chimney Swifts and American Robins. The cicadas gave me some trouble because their non stop noises muted some of the bird calls but if I walked far enough away from the grasslands it was more manageable to discern the different calls.

Publicado el mayo 26, 2021 09:06 TARDE por iadeslaw iadeslaw | 25 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

25 de mayo de 2021

Field Ornithology Journal #2

On Tuesday, May 25th I went to Sands Road Park in Lothian MD. The temperature was 78 degrees, cloudy, and moderately windy the entire day, and I was there from 7:15 AM - 12 PM. The park consisted of a vast grassland with about thigh high dry grasses, and a deciduous forest surrounding it. There was one paved path that went about 100 feet into the grass but ended there, and there were a few trees dispersed along the edge of the grass before the habitat turned into forest. The only shrubs were a few near the edge trees, but mainly the habitat consisted of high grass and then some trees. In the grass its self, the only species observed was the Blue Grosbeaks, and Yellow-breasted Chat, and neither of these species were observed in the the trees. They were seen hopping between grasses and perching on some low shrubs, and they were both very fast moving.There were generalists found flying across the grass, landing in it, and flying in the trees such as the Red-winged Blackbirds and Northern Mockingbird, and American Crows and Common Ravens were observed flying over head. In the trees, more song birds were observed like the Indigo Bunting, Common Yellowthroat, and multiple sparrow and warbler species. They were flying between trees and often multiple species were seen on a single tree. Additionally, larger species like Eastern Kingbirds and Eastern Towhees were observed in some of the taller trees. I saw the same two Northern Mockingbirds chasing each other, interacting in the air, and calling to each other which I thought was really interesting to see. I've never spent much time in grasslands so it was really interesting to see which species were there but also overwhelming!

Publicado el mayo 25, 2021 09:31 TARDE por iadeslaw iadeslaw | 24 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

24 de mayo de 2021

Field Ornithology Journal #1

On Monday, May 24th I went to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in NE Washington, DC from 7 AM - 12:15 Pm. The weather was 73 degrees, and it raining until around 8 am and stayed overcast the rest of the day with little breeze. The wetland was composted of 8 small ponds with grass paths and trees intersecting them. There was a deciduous forest surround the wetland, and then as you continue, a more marsh-like habitat with a river running through it and a boardwalk to cross it all. There were many species observed, and calls and songs could be heard everywhere across the wetlands, marshes, and forest. The only species found in the water were the Mallards, and the Killdeer. However, the Canada Geese, and Great Blue Heron were observed directly next to the water. The species observed flying over the wetlands and in the trees were the Chimney Swifts, Northern Cardinals, American Robins, House Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbird, Song Sparrow, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, American Goldfinch, Eastern Kingbird, Gray Catbird, and Cliff Swallows. The Indigo Buntings were only observed in the forest around the wetlands, and the American Crows were only observed flying over the wetlands but not landing. There was a species heard in a tree on the edge of the wetland, but I was unable to identify it.

Publicado el mayo 24, 2021 08:58 TARDE por iadeslaw iadeslaw | 19 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

27 de abril de 2020

Field Journal #8

On Saturday, April 25th, I went into a small stretch of woods (about a half mile long) in North West DC that was made of deciduous tree that all had their leaves. There was a small pond in the middle that stretched the length of the woods and turned into a marsh area at the end. The weather was around 65º F, partly sunny, and no breeze. It had been raining for the past 4 days so the air was humid and the ground was still swollen with rain. There were puddles in the marsh area presumably from the rain. The trees were tall and dense making identifying species very difficult because it was hard to locate where specific calls were coming from. That being said, I observed House Sparrows, American Robins, Northern Cardinals, Carolina Wrens, Blue Jays, and a Mallard.

Publicado el abril 27, 2020 07:34 TARDE por iadeslaw iadeslaw | 6 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

20 de abril de 2020

Field Journal #7: Reproduction

On Monday, April 20th I observed birds around my neighborhood from 11:30 AM- 1:00 PM. I live in DC on Capitol Hill, and spring has completely come here with all the trees bearing leafs and many flowering trees already blooming. The weather was around 55º F, cloudy, and a bit windy. It has been cold and dreary for the past few days which has been unfortunate for birding. I live in a city so obviously this is not a lush forest, but there are many trees and bushes on each block. All the trees are deciduous and are either flowering trees (Pear, Cherry, Apple, and Dogwood), Black Walnut, Oak, and Maple Trees. I observed Northern Cardinals, European Starlings, House Sparrows, Gray Catbirds, Carolina Wrens, Mourning Doves, House Finches, and American Robins.
The House Sparrows were displaying a lot of behavior signals related to nesting. The most songs and calls were from sparrows, and these birds mostly create nests in under AC units in windows, in little burrows on the tops of houses, and other locations on buildings. I could tell that a nest was near because of increased singing and when I would look up, I could see a single male in a tree with his chest puffed, and then I would look at the adjacent building and there would be nests there along with a female. I know it's early but I could see and hear baby sparrows in the nests which could be why there were so many calls because the parents were actively protecting their young, and the males were guarding their mates. I observed individual sparrows carrying bits of dried grass, small swigs, and leaves in their beaks, which I assumed was for nest building.
When I walked outside my house, the air was full of calls and songs, but they were predominantly sparrows. They were in the tree next to me, the building besides my house, the buildings across from me, the air over my head and the trees. Building the sound map was a bit difficult because there were calls coming from all over. As I talked about earlier, the House Sparrows were nesting on the outside of buildings, but not other species were. This could be because the sparrows are small enough to make it work, but the Carolina Wren and House Finch were similarly sized. These species could be less accustomed to city living, so they nest in the trees because that is what the species has always done. The Carolina wrens were on the top of a tree together, so they could be building a nest in the high branches of a tree for protection because it is high up and a small nest is hard to spot.

(Link to the mini activity)

Publicado el abril 20, 2020 08:18 TARDE por iadeslaw iadeslaw | 8 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

13 de abril de 2020

Field Journal #6: Field Observations

On Saturday, April 11th, I went bird watching from 3:30-5:00 pm on the National Mall. I sat in a grove of cherry trees, and a long patch of tall deciduous trees. It was around 70º F, sunny with a light breeze. There were fair amounts of people out walking around, but not a ton. I observed European Starlings, American Robins, Common Grackles, Mallards, American Crows, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Rock Pigeons, Blue Jays, Ring-billed Gulls, House Sparrows, and White-Breasted Nuthatches.

Publicado el abril 13, 2020 03:38 TARDE por iadeslaw iadeslaw | 11 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

07 de abril de 2020

Field Journal #4: Migration

On Saturday, April 3rd, I went into Rock Creek Woods in NW DC from 2:00-3:00 pm. It was 65º and sunny with no wind. These woods are dense forest made mostly of deciduous trees with a few coniferous trees scattered throughout. The woods have an area of about 2.7 miles so for a city forest, it’s a large swath of land. In these woods, I observed an American Robin, Northern Cardinal, Downy Woodpecker, and Pileated Woodpecker. On Monday, April 6th, I sat in my backyard from 2:50- 3:30 pm. My neighbors have a feeder that many city birds come to, and there is a large deciduous tree next door as well as many shrubs in surrounding area. The weather was 70º, and very sunny with no clouds in the sky. There was a light breeze. I observed House Sparrows and a Mourning Dove.
The year round species I observed were House Sparrows, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, and Northern Cardinal. These birds could be non-migratory for a variety of reason including that DC does not get very cold in the winter, and I believe this winter it did not even snow. So, it could be energetically efficient not to migrate because it stays warm here and there is not a lack of food or resources. I think the sparrows rely on bird feeders and tourists for food in the winter because I have only observed them in the cityscape and not in the forests. The cardinals and woodpecker rely on insects and seeds to survive, and given the warmth there could be insect living in the trees still. The cardinal most likely relies on seeds from rodent droppings or twigs to survive and probably looses wait to compensate for the lack of food.
The only migrant I observed was the Mourning Dove, and it is a facultative migrant in DC. According the Cornel Bird Lab, Mourning Doves in more northern states will migrate to southern states, Mexico, or even South America. However, given that DC is a central district, the doves are facultative. A reason they could be migrating is that their foods are not available during the cold, or that the migration is not very intense, and there is more resources in the south. Their migration depends on if the expending the energy to go south is worth the resources or if staying for the winter is more efficient. A common wintering ground for them is Texas, so I calculated the distance from DC to Dallas TX, and it is a 1,328.2 mile trip one way, and a 2,656.4 mile round trip migration.

Publicado el abril 7, 2020 05:10 TARDE por iadeslaw iadeslaw | 6 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

18 de marzo de 2020

Journal #3: Ecological Physiology

From 2:00-3:30 PM on March 9th, I sat on the lawn of the Washington Monument in Washington DC, and observed birds in a grove of cherry trees, and two oak trees. It was 72º and sunny with clear skies and minor amounts of wind. There were people around but the spot I was in was not overrun with tourists. The breeze was coming off the bay that sat a couple hundred meters from where I was. Even though DC is a city, it has many trees so I was able to observe bird species in an environment other than the forests of Vermont. I saw European Starlings, House Sparrows, and Ring-billed Gulls.
The way the different species interact with each other varied. In both the sparrows and starlings, there was definitive flocking behavior, but the starlings appeared to have more of a hierarchy. For starters, only the starlings were making sounds at all. I could hear them all throughout the trees, on the ground, and in the air. And although they were in a group, there was tension. I observed an individual pecking at an apple on the ground, and then another starling came, made calls at the first individual resulting in the first bird's departure. This looked like a show of dominance which makes me believe that the calls from the starlings were a warning of territory control and dominance. I think that even though all these individuals were cohabitating they were not a cohesive unit, and made “threats” at each other to show who was in control. Alternatively, I saw a large group of House Sparrows (around 10 individuals), all in one location under a cherry tree, foraging, and not making a single sound. There was no chirping, no threat calls, no songs. They were all simply eating under a tree, taking dust baths, and sharing the unlimited resources. This looked like more cohesive flocking than the starlings.
The plumage of the Ring-billed Gull and House Sparrow are quite different. The gull is almost completely white while the sparrow is various shades of brown. Although these species can exist in the same or similar habitats, they occupy different niches. Gulls are water birds, so they need much more sleek feathers to cut easier through winds, and their white coloring could help with refracted light off the water and protect them from predators. Sparrows, on the other hand, do not need this advantage. They are living in trees, shrubs and cities and really just need to blend in. Their brown coloration helps them blend into trees and their down feathers help keep them warm. They do not need to fly long distances so it is not as crucial that they be as streamlined as the gull. These two bird species need to adapt to different circumstances because they are not concerned with the same predators or living circumstances.

Publicado el marzo 18, 2020 03:31 TARDE por iadeslaw iadeslaw | 3 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario