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Active Since: April 22, 2020
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Replies Created: 8

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Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Aiden
    Participant
    afwinsor
    Saw a Ruffed Grouse a few days ago. Watched it for over an hour, took photos, and also did some field sketches to try and capture the general idea of its shape, as this was the most distinctive part of it, with the small head and large, round body. The field notes were not very helpful for ID because I had photos, but they were an interesting creative opportunity and I see how they could come in handy if I did not have my camera on me. 26743280_Unknown
  • Aiden
    Participant
    afwinsor
    Birds are beautiful, wonderful creatures. They are an important part of nature, and they bring so much joy to people's lives. They are a great window into the natural world, and they help many people to get outdoors and experience nature. Also, all creatures deserve our protection and respect, definitely including birds. I am not sure how this course changes this for me. For activity 2, I am currently engaging in citizen science (eBird), and something I can do is reduce plastic use. This would help many creatures, not just birds. I have not noticed bird populations changing over my lifetime. Part of the reason that I have completed this course is as research for a large project that I am doing, where I am creating a documentary on birds. I have been getting out and birding much more, and once this project is done I need to make sure that I am getting out and birding often so that I don't lose this great hobby. Next steps really involve just making sure to keep birding. Also, I have been doing some photography of birds, and I enjoy it. I may want to get myself a better camera and start doing this more. I would say that this course has developed my interest in birding, and definitely my abilities in it. Thanks for a great course!
  • Aiden
    Participant
    afwinsor
    Two different areas where I go birding are a coastal location and one further into the mountains. There are many similarities in regards to passerine species, but there are many more shorebirds and wading birds at the coastal location. However, I think that the ponds and lakes at the more mountainous location attract a number of waterfowl. For the second activity, I chose the Arizona locations. Given the number of waterfowl, shorebirds and seabirds, as well as a range of passerines like warblers seen at Roger's road, I expected it to be a region with a body of water, lots of trees, and close to the ocean. The backgrounds of the photos confirmed my theories of trees and water, but looking at a the eBird hotspot map disproved my idea of it being anywhere close to the ocean. However, then where did the sightings of gulls, cormorants and a pelican come from? Looking at the comments on some of the sightings, it seems that many of them were very rare and seen in flight. For Mt. Lemmon, given the fact that it is presumably a mountain, as well as the much reduced numbers of water-dwelling birds and increased numbers of birds that one would associate with a shrubby mountainous environment, like many birds of prey, sparrows and other small passerines, I expected it to be mountainous terrain. Looking at the photos attached to various checklists, it does look like it is a mountainous region, although with more large trees than I had expected.
  • Aiden
    Participant
    afwinsor
    I saw a number of Dark-Eyed Juncos feeding. They appeared to just be pecking the ground. All about birds says that they do this by hopping around on the ground and also glean insects. At the Panama feeder cam, the hummingbirds take quick sips from the feeder then dart away. Given that it is nighttime, that's all I could see. At the Ontario feeder cam, I listened to a previous highlight recording. I heard at least four different species: a loud call that I presumed to be the woodpecker shown in the video, a whooping call (Northern Cardinal? We don't have any where I live), a number of higher pitched calls (maybe chickadees) as well as a common raven.
  • Aiden
    Participant
    afwinsor
    Activity 1: I just decided to spend 15 minutes watching birds through my window. I saw:
    • A flock of 13 dark-eyed juncos (the oregon variety). Very common here.
    That's it. Not a great birding session. Don't think that there's much to write for activity 2. Activity 3:
    • Mountain Bluebird
    • Northern Saw-whet Owl
    • American Kestrel
    • Common Goldeneye
    • Gadwall
  • Aiden
    Participant
    afwinsor
    Activity 1:   Northern Cardinal with Blackburnian Warbler: Northern Cardinal has a fairly consistent range throughout the seasons, only fluctuating slightly at the fringes of it's range. The Blackburnian Warbler migrates widely, from having a fairly dense population in Central America to being somewhat more spread out on it's northern migration up to roughly the great lakes, where it's population is once again denser. It then migrates southwards, but takes a different path than it initially did, going over the Caribbean. Scarlet Tanager with Western Tanager: The Scarlet Tanager has a roughly similar migration path to the Blackburnian Warbler, with the differences that it starts further south in South America and has a somewhat more southern distribution once it reaches the north eastern United States. As mentioned, it's migration is similar to the Blackburnian Warbler in that it migrates northwards through Central America and Mexico and southwards over the Caribbean. Ruby-throated Hummingbird with Rufous Hummingbird: The Ruby-throated Hummingbird winters in Central America and migrates northwards largely over the Gulf of Mexico to the eastern United States and south eastern Canada, as well as a band into the Canadian Prairies, and it appears to have a southern migration that is more over land, but may still be over the Gulf of Mexico for some birds. The Rufous Hummingbird winters in Mexico, then migrates north along the pacific coast to British Columbia, before migrating south more inland on it's southwards trip back to Mexico. Sandhill Crane with Yellow-bellied Flycatcher: The Sandhill Crane has a general northwards spring migration and a southwards winter one, but it looks somewhat messy. There appear to be a few populations across the United States in the winter, and in the summer they appear to fan out all over Canada and some parts of the United States. The Yellow-bellied Flycatcher has a somewhat more clear-cut migration, traveling from it's wintering grounds in Central America to several regions in Canada over land for some individuals and over the Gulf of Mexico for others. These summer regions across Canada include the southeast as well as a band across northern British Columbia and Alberta, most of the Yukon and some of Alaska. A few general things that I noticed are the importance of the Gulf of Mexico, as many birds need to choose whether to fly over of around it, and how the locations of birds are much more flexible and less defined than standard range maps may indicate. It is also amazing to think that many of the birds that we may watch have come from another continent, and will be going back there.   Activity 2:   Three birds that we have year-round are the Canada Goose, Evening Grosbeak, and Dark-eyed Junco. I have seen both Canada Geese and Dark-eyed Juncos, although I thought that Canada Geese were migratory. Looking at the Abundance Animation for Canada Goose, they are migratory, but where I live we always appear to have some. I haven't seen an Evening Grosbeak, although they look like beautiful beautiful birds and I would love to see them someday. Three birds that we have for part of the year are the Blue Jay, Barrow's Goldeneye and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. I didn't think that we had Blue Jays here other than occasional stray individuals. While it doesn't look like there are ever many, there appears to be a few at some points in the year. Not really knowing anything about ducks, I didn't know that we have Barrow's Goldeneyes from Mid-September to Mid-June. I knew what Ruby-Crowned Kinglets were, but didn't know that they were migratory.   Activity 3:  
    • Male American Goldfinch: The summer plumage is a very bright yellow for most of the body, with a black crown, and black and  white wings and tail. In the winter, the black crown turns brown, the head remains yellow, and the rest of the yellow turns brown. As can be expected, the breeding plumage is much fancier and arguably more beautiful than the non-breeding plumage.
    • Common Loon: In breeding plumage, a beautiful bird with white spots on black wings, a black head, and a black-ish coloured bar around the neck. This bar looks somewhat greenish. In non-breeding plumage, the bird white spots on the wings mostly disappear, and the definition between the white and black areas on the bird look less defined. The front of the neck becomes a clear white, and the black on the head recedes somewhat. As with the Goldfinch, the non-breeding plumage is predictably less stunning than the breeding plumage.
      Activity 4:   I have a few birding spots that I often go to, but one that is always nice is a pond next to a golf course that is often teeming with ducks, and often has a swan or two. Looking at the eBird hotspot for the location, the reasons for the swans being there is that they are captive. I was there a few days ago, and there were quite a number of Mallards, the swans, and a number of Buffleheads. According to eBird, in April (6 months from the time of writing this, I can expect to see a long list of birds, including Ruby-crowned Kinglets, American Wigeons, Hooded Mergansers, Wood Ducks, and many more in the pond and surrounding area.
  • Aiden
    Participant
    afwinsor
    Two birds that can be told apart by shape are Killdeer and this bird (photo attached). IMG_3266 I think it is either a Short-Billed or Long-Billed Dowitcher. These two birds are both shore birds and thus inhabit the same habitat, but they are very different sizes and different shapes, mainly in the bill. The colour that I chose was rusty red-orange. Three birds that have this are the American Robin, Chestnut-backed chickadee and varied thrush. Two birds on the search for food are the Belted Kingfisher, which swoops from a height to grab fish, and the Great Blue Heron, which stands still in the shallow water or shore and jabs it's head into the water to grab fish. These are two very different methods of functionally doing the same thing - catching a fish. Another was little shorebirds (I think Killdeer or a similar species), just pecking in the mud, presumably to find small creatures to eat. While naming a single favorite bird is hard, I would have to say that the Western Tanager. The male's jet-black wing with a clear white wing bar along with the bright red forehead is very distinctive. The female's colouration looks like more drab, greenish-yellow version of the male's. The general size is robin-sized and the shape is close to that of a robin. According to Merlin, it breeds mainly in high elevation coniferous forests, and can often be found high in the tops of trees. Also according to Merlin, it's range stretches mostly from the west coast of North America to roughly near the center. It's breeding range stretches a little bit into Nunavut, and all the way down to around the US - Mexico border, and it's winter range is mainly Central America.
  • Aiden
    Participant
    afwinsor
    For Activity 1, my three favorite families are:
    • Barn Owls (Tytonidae)
    • Owls (Strigidae)
    • Waxwings (Bombycillidae)
    I have never actually seen any birds in the barn owl or waxwing families, but would love to someday. For Activity 2, three species that I have seen recently and their groups are:
    • Killdeer - shorebirds
    • Song sparrow - songbirds; sparrows
    • Some sort of unidentified warbler - warblers
    For Activity 3, a favorite bird in my area is the song sparrow. They are a mostly brown and grey bird grey plumage on its head. While one might argue that this coloration is boring, I find it grounding and earthy. I also like that these birds are reasonably easy to approach and get relatively close to.
Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)