Field Journal 2

Field Journal 2: ID and Flight Physiology
Feb 20, 2021
Start time: 9:05
End time: 10:53
Location: UVM Campus, Burlington, VT
Weather: 19 degrees F, 70-80% cloud cover, NW wind at 5-10mph
Habitats: open areas with lone trees and buildings, suburban neighborhoods, forested areas

Observing the flight pattern of a House Sparrow is much different from that of a Ring-billed Gull. When looking at the House Sparrow, their wing flaps are very frequent and frantic during flight as they try to maneuver around their environment. The particular group of House Sparrows I was observing often moved locations in one small shrub to another, utilizing their elliptical shaped wings to easily change flight direction and speed to navigate their habitat. The Ring-billed Gull on the other hand exhibited very different behavior and flight patterns. The individuals that were observed primarily coasted through open air, with only very occasional wing flaps and no change of direction in flight. Their high aspect ratio wing shape allows them to efficiently glide long distances through the air, navigating their habitat consisting primarily of open spaces and lengthy travel.

Wing shape, flight style, and habitat niche are all very clearly related to one another. When looking at very specific habitats, often inhabited by particular species of birds, they may require specialized modes of transportation. For example, when looking at grassy fields and open habitats, species may benefit from being able to travel distances with high speed. This will allow them to efficiently travel throughout their habitat, and easily catch prey species such as flying insects and quickly avoid predators. However, a dense forest would demand a very different form of movement in order for a species to survive. Many obstacles and tight barriers require species to be able to maneuver with great control in both direction and speed of flight. This would allow them to fly efficiently and both find food or escape predatory species with ease.

Looking further into these relationships, wing shape often dictates the flight style of a given species of bird. For example, expanding on previous examples, an open field habitat requiring fast speed, would most likely contain species with a high speed wing. This wing shape, most notably containing a very fine and sharp wing tip, allows a bird to travel very quickly throughout the air with great ease. This adaptation would allow bird species to thrive in open areas with flying prey species, as they have the capabilities to take advantage of these available resources. On the contrary, species with elliptical wings will have very different flight capabilities. The short and wide wing shape allows a bird to have excellent maneuverability within the air, giving them great control over speed and movement of their flight. Species with this wing shape will often be found in densely forested habitats, that, as previously discussed, require species to have such great maneuverability to navigate their habitat and survive within it.

The mini activity was very interesting, as it really forced me to pay attention to very nitty gritty details of the species of bird that I would have previously overlooked. I really enjoyed taking the time to understand the integrate characteristics of the bird that make its species distinct from others, and I hope this will have evolved my identification abilities in the future.

Downy Woodpecker Sketch:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C93xe6DrzmTV6rbOjC6LIZf9vMDKlk-8/view?usp=sharing

Posted by acshiers acshiers, February 22, 2021 21:57

Observations

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Goldfinch Spinus tristis

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Canada Goose Branta canadensis

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

Individual making a clicking vocalization near UHN near Prospect St. followed by another individual in flight. Other individuals seen perched near the tops of trees throughout campus.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Downy Woodpecker Dryobates pubescens

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

Male individual pecking into a medium sized pine tree within the Redstone Pines.

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Common Raven Corvus corax

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

All three flying east, vocalizing.

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Robin Turdus migratorius

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

Large flocks of upwards fo 20 individuals flying around Redstone Campus. Other pairs seen flying around other on campus locations.

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

Three Ring-billed gulls flying east over Redstone Campus.

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

One individual within the ornamental trees on Redstone Campus. The others spotted on Robinson Parkway.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

All sparrows spotted in short shrubbery along Robinson Parkway. Other individuals heard along S. Prospect street but not visually seen.

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

One individual sitting on a telephone line behind a house on Robinson Parkway.

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Goldfinch Spinus tristis

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

Individual may have been male or female, difficult to identify given the similar plumage this time of year.

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

Two individuals flew into short shrubs along Robinson Parkway among 8 house sparrows, then proceeded to fly off.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

Two males chasing after one another. Female present nearby.

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

Found along an old tree on Robinson Parkway, among many other species.

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

Found along an old tree on Robinson Parkway, among many other species.

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

Found along an old tree on Robinson Parkway, among many other species.

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

Juvenal plumage, flying northwards.

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Canada Goose Branta canadensis

Observer

acshiers

Date

February 20, 2021

Description

Flying North-East, V shape formation.

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