Thursday, March 5 - Centennial Woods in Burlington, Vermont (16:10 - 17:40)

Birds were observed from 16:10 - 17:40 on Thursday, March 5 in Centennial Woods in Burlington, Vermont. The weather was 43 degrees F, partly cloudy, and winds were blowing 9mph NNW. Centennial Woods is a forested area within the city of Burlington. Birds were observed in the southwest corner of Centennial Woods. This is a forested area that is primarily made up of tall deciduous and coniferous trees. Most of the trees in Centennial Woods have heights of about 30 feet or higher. There was minimal underbrush and snow on the ground as well. This was a much warmer day than most days of the winter, but there snow still covered almost every bit of the ground throughout Centennial Woods.

I observed many American Crows flying over Centennial Woods. Most crows could be seen and heard as they flew heading North or Northwest. The largest flock of crows that I saw contained about 50 individuals. I also observed the calls of 7 Black-capped Chickadees. I was not able to see any of them, but they could be heard in the distance on several occasions. Most of the calls appeared to be coming from the western edge of Centennial Woods. I saw three Downy Woodpeckers flying from tree to tree, high in a canopy of primarily deciduous trees. They were making calls and pecking at branches at the tops of the trees. They were making high-pitched squeaky calls, and they may have been foraging. Finally, I heard repetitive loud drumming in the distance on a couple of occasions. I believe that the source of the drumming was a woodpecker, but I am not sure what species of woodpecker it was because I never saw the bird. I tried to walk closer to the drumming sounds, but did not want to venture off trail, and the bird was too far away, deep in the forest.

I tried to observe strategies that birds in Centennial Woods were using to stay warm during the winter. As I mentioned earlier, all of the observed American Crows were flying North or Northwest, which could mean that they were returning from a migration from the south. It has been getting increasingly warm in Burlington, Vermont, which could make it easier for birds to survive if they have to expend less energy to stay warm. I also observed several large holes in snags, or dead trees. These holes may have been made by birds to use as cover. These holes could be used to shelter birds from cold weather during the winter. Various species may also use these holes as shelter overnight, when temperatures drop. The American Crows that I observed were flying high over the forest and may have been looking for food below. This is very possible, because American Crows are known to be scavengers. The Downy Woodpeckers that I observed were pecking at trees. They may have been looking for small invertebrates to eat that were inside of the trees they were pecking. They were flying from tree to tree, pecking branches on each tree, which appeared to be a possible feeding behavior. The woodpecker that I heard drumming in the distance may have also been looking for food inside of trees or trying to attract a mate. I was not able to see any of the Black-capped Chickadees, but their calls were coming from the edge of the forest. Since it is winter, there are less food sources available deep in the forest. It is possible that the Black-capped Chickadees were foraging near the edge of Centennial Woods, where there could be more food sources. There are homes near the western edge of Centennial Woods, which could have feeders to attract birds.

As mentioned earlier, I observed multiple snags in Centennial Woods, and each of the snags had many holes on the outside. The observed snags were moderate (about 20 feet high) to large (about 30-40 feet high) sizes. I observed three moderately sized snags and three large sized snags. The large snags appeared more large holes than the moderately sized snags. The moderately sized snags also appeared to have more small holes than the large snags. I rapped on a few of the snags with snags but did not observe any birds pop out of them. Although I did not observe any birds utilizing any of the snags, snags are very important for providing birds with shelter. Numerous bird species are known to use holes in snags as shelter to raise their offspring. Birds may also use snags as shelter from uncomfortable weather conditions, to hide from predators, or to sleep in overnight.

Posted by andrewgigs andrewgigs, March 06, 2020 01:38

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

Observer

andrewgigs

Date

March 5, 2020

Description

I observed many American Crows flying over Centennial Woods. Most crows could be seen and heard as they flew heading North or Northwest. The largest flock of crows that I saw contained about 50 individuals.

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Downy Woodpecker Dryobates pubescens

Observer

andrewgigs

Date

March 5, 2020

Description

I saw three Downy Woodpeckers flying from tree to tree, high in a canopy of primarily deciduous trees. They were making calls and pecking at branches at the tops of the trees. They were making high-pitched squeaky calls, and they may have been foraging.

Photos / Sounds

What

Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus

Observer

andrewgigs

Date

March 5, 2020

Description

I also observed the calls of 7 Black-capped Chickadees. I was not able to see any of them, but they could be heard in the distance on several occasions. Most of the calls appeared to be coming from the western edge of Centennial Woods.

Photos / Sounds

What

Woodpeckers Family Picidae

Observer

andrewgigs

Date

March 5, 2020

Description

I heard repetitive loud drumming in the distance on a couple of occasions. I believe that the source of the drumming was a woodpecker, but I am not sure what species of woodpecker it was because I never saw the bird. I tried to walk closer to the drumming sounds, but did not want to venture off trail, and the bird was too far away, deep in the forest.

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