Field Journal #5

Date: 05/04/2021
Start Time: 1:30 PM
End Time: 3:15 PM
Temperature: 52°F
Weather: Sunny and breezy
Habitats: Temperate deciduous forest, swamp, pond, rural feeders

Walking out into the woods I was surprised to see less birds soaring through the trees than I had before. The snow was nearly gone, and due to the warm weather I was hopeful to see birds who had not been around for the winter months. Unsurprisingly there were many Black-capped Chickadees as there had been in every visit to the woods. Dominating the area with their many homes I realized that maybe the reason I was not seeing new birds was because the Chickadees left few territories for migrant birds to find in the Spring. The Chickadees, who eat seeds and fruits in the winter, are able to stay put all year round and have a well-established territory which they seemed to be maintaining throughout the breeding season. With their short little beaks, they are able to crack into seeds unlike those who feed primarily on insects, allowing them to stay with us even when there are few bugs out. As I had realized in a previous journal, the area where I observe birds has many snags which provide home for these cavity nesters who hide from the cold winters inside them. I was also able to see two more year-round species including a Song Sparrow and Red-breasted Nuthatch and also heard the call of a Blue Jay and Mourning Dove. Both the Mourning Dove and Song Sparrow seemed to take advantage of the many pines and shrubs that were in the woods and alongside the water which provided shelter during the winter. The Nuthatches, similar to the Chickadees utilized snags and were also one of the most common birds I saw. Interestingly, all of these birds had beaks that enabled them to eat seeds and fruits which leads me to believe it is a necessary trait for birds who winter in Vermont, not including raptors.

Despite having seen many Canada Geese flying back these past weeks and even Mallards and Mergansers in the water alongside roads, I was unable to see any migrants at the ponds. I quickly realized once I reached the ponds that there was still a layer of ice covering them, leaving no open water for these birds to hunt in. The one facultative migrant I was able to see on my hike was the American Robin. Four of them were bobbing around looking for food on the muddy grounds that had recently been uncovered from snow. Knowing that Robins love worms, it makes sense that I was unable to see them until recently since the ground had been frozen and covered. Having looked at a map showing the range of Robins it looks as if that these birds could have come all the way from Florida. It seems that the robins take advantage of the newly arrived food source of worms unlike the year-round birds and are able to create shelter from the new Spring growth as well as mud which is used in their nests. As to why these birds leave Florida, I am not completely sure, but I am guessing that competing for territories down South during the breeding season might not pay off for these birds. Since the Robins did leave Vermont though, they may have a hard time finding a territory free from the Chickadees and Nuthatches, but these ones seemed plump and happy from what I could tell.

Although I only saw one migratory bird species during my observation, I calculated that the four Robins would have traveled 1,140 miles each assuming they all spent their winters in Florida. This means that the overall distance traveled by migrant birds I saw was 4,560 miles. How impressive!

Publicado por anniee10 anniee10, 05 de abril de 2021

Observaciones

Fotos / Sonidos

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Carbonero de Capucha Negra Poecile atricapillus

Observ.

anniee10

Fecha

Abril 4, 2021

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Bajapalos Pecho Canela Sitta canadensis

Observ.

anniee10

Fecha

Abril 4, 2021

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No hay fotos o sonidos

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Chara Azul Cyanocitta cristata

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anniee10

Fecha

Abril 4, 2021

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Square

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Gorrión Cantor Melospiza melodia

Observ.

anniee10

Fecha

Abril 4, 2021

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No hay fotos o sonidos

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Huilota Común Zenaida macroura

Observ.

anniee10

Fecha

Abril 4, 2021

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Square

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Mirlo Primavera Turdus migratorius

Observ.

anniee10

Fecha

Abril 4, 2021

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