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Active Since: December 5, 2020
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Replies Created: 18

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Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    2. Most of the crows I have seen are generally cooperating together, and can sometimes be aggressive towards other species. I think on a few occasions I have seen acts of aggression between crows but cannot think of any specific examples at the time.
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    I think that the several options crows have due to their social structure most likely makes it easier for them to become a breeder than most other birds. However, it may be very difficult for them to find new territories if a particular crow opts to go that route.
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    I have seen crow families in groups of up to about 15 individuals, but I can't recall a specific instance where I've seen more (at least not on a birding trip, but I'll bet at some point I have whether I realized it or not). Other birds I've seen form large flocks include Canada Geese, Common Grackle, Brown-Headed Cowbirds, and several duck species such as Mallards, American Black Ducks, and in a few instances by the seacoast, Harlequin Ducks and Long-Tailed Ducks. As far as "neighborhood birds" I've seen American Robins and Dark-Eyed Juncos forage in large groups as well.
    in reply to: Life in a Flock #796723
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    Last fall, there was a dead squirrel, probably roadkill, on the street right outside my house. In the morning, I observed a family of crows (about 5 individuals) feeding on it, and noticed like it was mentioned in this lesson that there was a sentry perched atop a tree right nearby, watching for danger. The family was there for a brief period before the sentry alerted them and all the crows flew away. They did not return to the carcass (I was working from home and observing and had my eye on it for most of the day), but much later in the day around 4-5pm a Turkey Vulture did arrive and finish of most of the carcass.
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    It was interesting to know that young crows have blue eyes. Never observed this before but I will look for it next time I'm observing crows to see if I can use that as a cue to deduce age. Also, the analogy about the "crow's nest" on ships to describe where crows typically place nests was very good - will definitely help me remember where to spot crow nests. Very interesting to see how researchers are able to track individual crows for such extended periods of time.
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    I am confident in distinguishing crows from other blackbirds overall. It is a little more difficult in flight, but it's much easier to tell the American Crow apart from other blackbird species in general, such as the Common Grackle or Red-Winged Blackbird. I can distinguish an American Crow and Common Raven up close fairly quickly, but it's of course tougher in the field. This lesson has helped me reinforce the differences between these two species, and I will continue practicing in the field to differentiate crows and ravens (especially in-flight profile, I've been using mostly that along with vocal and behavioral cues to distinguish them when the opportunity presents itself).
    in reply to: Crow Not Crow #796638
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    That's really neat!
    in reply to: What is a Crow? #796622
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    Number 3) I live in eastern Massachusetts, where American Crows are much more frequently seen than the Common Raven. However, the Common Raven is seen in certain areas occasionally. One such place where I've seen both the American Crow and Common Raven is Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Concord MA. Most recently, I observed a group of crows and a raven interact. It was clear to me that crows and ravens must not get along well at all based on that interaction. The raven (whom I identified by relative size to crows, tail profile, and flight behavior of more gliding than consistent flapping) was being mobbed by the crows, and at one point a crow from above dived at the raven but the raven went up-side down with talons outward and the crow diverted. It all happened very quickly but was amazing. That I could see the Raven's feet from the distance I was viewing from really gave me a good idea of how large the Common Raven really is (not that crows are small birds generally either). Regularly in this location for the past winter, I've also seen a group of about 5-10 crows mobbing a Red-Tailed Hawk that frequents the area, along with a few Bald Eagles. The instance in which I saw the crows mob the adult Bald Eagle was quite a sight as well.
    in reply to: What is a Crow? #796621
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    Very good course. Most of the memorable information I'll take away is that related to the owls in my area, such as the Barred Owl, Great Horned Owl, and Eastern Screech Owl. Also, there was a very good few bits of information about Snowy Owls, which I have observed at a wildlife refuge somewhat nearby where I live this winter.
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    The bobcat, white-tailed deer, and common gray fox sounds all really surprised me. Especially the deer, I've seen them during daylight many times but never really heard them. I have heard several owls at night. Once in a while, I will hear a Great Horned Owl outside my house, with its hooting calls sounding very similar to those provided in the lesson. I have also heard an Eastern Screech Owl's drumming once or twice, but the Great Horned Owl I hear far more often.
    in reply to: Is It An Owl? #782630
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    I did not know there were several species of owls that specialize in eating fish. This is, to me, reminiscent of an Osprey as being the "fish specialist" of the diurnal birds of prey family. I also did not know that many owls eat insects!
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    I live in Northeast Massachusetts and regularly hear a Great Horned Owl at night time or early in the morning when it's still dark. In addition, I have seen on eBird regular sightings of a Barred Owl at a nearby lake / park area but have not seen that particular owl myself. This lesson did a great job covering Snowy Owls specifically. There is a very well-known wildlife refuge in Newbury, MA called Parker River NWR that I visit regularly on weekends, typically at least once a month. Earlier this January, I had the pleasure of seeing three different Snowy Owls in a group trip through my state's Audubon society. One of them in particular was a very good view on the ground, and even at one point the Snowy Owl was buzzed by a Northern Harrier! This year there have been many Snowy Owl sightings there, and as a relatively new birder I feel very fortunate to have been able to observe a Snowy Owl there. I hope that when I visit there again very soon I am able to see a Snowy Owl (among the many other amazing birds)!
    in reply to: Who Is That Owl? #781692
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    When I first began birding late this summer, I would just go out and not keep track of what I saw, becoming more familiar with using my binoculars and getting good sightings of birds, as well as using sound to find birds. Recently, I began keeping a list of birds during each trip with a pen and small note pad, which fits handily in a coat pocket. Writing down observations even regarding species I'm fairly familiar with now has really helped my understanding of birds, their behaviors, and in which kinds of habitats I expected to see different kinds of birds. In a few instances, it has also helped me make an ID without having to reach into my bag and pull out my guide book. Instead, I have been able to maximize the amount of time I spend actually watching the bird, jotting down notes about appearance, habitat, and behavior, then thereafter making an ID. Especially when I get to a "hotspot" where I am seeing and hearing multiple birds at once, I am able to make my observations and enjoy watching the birds for as long as possible, then I make notes before continuing on the trip. The eBird app is a great tool as well. I've begun entering my sightings into eBird and find the database and tracking of my old checklists very useful as I compile a "life list". It has also helped me tremendously in finding new great birding locations, as I can see that frequently visited spots by experienced birders have been highly productive. I didn't even realize just how many great birding spots there are so close to a major city (Boston, MA) until I started using eBird.
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    Plum Island is a great spot! I've only been a couple times as I'm a beginner (started birding this August), but both times I did see quite a few birds - especially raptors such as the Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcons, Merlins, and numerous hawk species. One day I was with a group and we got a nice view of an Egret in flight. I also was up there November 2020 and know there was a Snowy Owl at Sandy Point, but didn't end up seeing myself. However I did see some very nice photos the next day on eBird.
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    Nice post! I'm in Massachusetts as well but have only been to coastal areas for birding a few times. Nice photo as well!
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    The Northern Cardinals and Blue Jays are also very common in my neighborhood. Both beautiful birds. The Jays are especially interesting to watch as they're very intelligent and their behaviors show it. The bright red male Cardinals are hard to keep to look away from, despite being so common because they're just lovely. However, the females also have a nice contrast in color between their orange bill and brownish feathers that is very nice.
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    Nice! I live in a suburb where the Downy Woodpecker is frequently seen and heard. They're a joy to watch, the way they maneuver in the trees and forage so quickly is amazing!
  • Josh
    Participant
    jbennett1995
    Great photo! Love the Eastern Bluebird. There's a few places I go birding where I see and hear them regularly... always makes my day
Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)