February 23, 2021

FJ2: ID and Flight Physiology

Date: 2/22/21
Start: 2pm
End: 3:30pm
Location: Behind my apartment, South End in Burlington, VT.
Weather: Slight to moderate winds, slight snowfall, overcast.
Habitat: Urban forest and nearby road

This was an overall great birding experience for me. I saw several, and heard even more, species of birds than I even knew were in my backyard! However, I believe that my time of day, and weather may have influenced the types of birds I observed. While I heard many characteristic calls of birds in class, I couldn't actually get a visual on most of the birds. I was left staring at the many nests above me, listening to the chorus of vocalizations and trying to identify them as best as I could. Since I began my observations at 2pm, I believe most species had already been active for the day. The overcast skies and breeze left an icy chill down my spine, and I can imagine the birds were feeling similarly. In the future I think starting earlier and bringing gloves would really help.

One bird that stood out to me for it's wing shape was the American Crow. I had originally seen two of them flying high in the breeze, and noticed how their elliptical wings aided them in maneuvering through the wind and within the forest. After the call of a third, I saw three of them maneuvering around each other almost playfully, and they eventually flew off beyond my view.

This experience was later contrasted with a different sighting, a singular Ring-billed Gull soaring much higher than the crows had been. The gull, I noticed, had wings that appeared to be built for high speeds and had a distinctive bend in the wing. The difference in wing type aided the two species of birds in flight that was more conductive for their environment and movement. I wonder how these different morphological traits play into the ecological niches that American Crows and Ring-billed Gulls fill, and subsequently how they may interact with each other.

Posted on February 23, 2021 02:11 by bluter1 bluter1 | 8 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment