• New Yard Bird #48: Cape May Warbler

    Cape May Warbler on our deck railing, flew up to our feeder array then flew off.

  • New Yard Bird #47: Cooper’s Hawk

    Cooper’s Hawk flew in to try and nab an Eastern Chipmunk eating some seed. It was a failed attempt. 🙂

  • New Yard Bird #46: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

    Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has been visiting our feeder array last two days. Today had five total woodpecker/sapsucker birds at one viewing.

  • Audubon’s Bird Migration Explorer

    The Bird Migration Explorer captures the joy of birds and the wonder of migration through a series of interactive maps built using the latest and best-available migration and conservation science.

    Using this unique digital platform, visitors to the Bird Migration Explorer can learn about the full annual cycle for 458 species of migratory birds that regularly breed in the United States and Canada and use areas in Latin America and the Caribbean during other times of the year.

    Read full story here … https://explorer.audubon.org/about?threatOverlay=expand

  • Probable Jaeger species and shorebirds [Franklin]

    Hi All!

    At Rock Creek WMA, I had a probable Jaeger species sitting on the water right behind the ducks at the bridge around 9am. I took photos of it. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted them when cleaning up my photos! :>(

    This is how it sat on the water. Link to a photo (not mine and not the bird I saw) and not saying it is this particular type jaeger.

    At Sand Bar Bridge, I walked out to the middle of the bridge and got Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Plover and four Black-Bellied Plovers.

    The Vermont Birder Guy

  • Effects of supplemental feeding on nesting success and physiological metrics in eastern bluebirds Sialia sialis

    Supplemental feeding is a common anthropogenic influence on wildlife which, dependent on natural food availability, can have positive or negative effects on physiological condition. For example, animals may respond negatively to supplemental feeding if the artificial food source increases disease exposure or there may be negative consequences from removal of a supplemental food source. We manipulated supplemental food availability in a wild population of eastern bluebirds Sialia sialis to examine the influence on body mass, physiological metrics and nesting success. Adult and nestling bluebirds were randomly assigned to one of three feeding groups. The first treatment group received mealworm Tenebrio molitor larvae inside nest boxes throughout the breeding attempt, the second treatment group received mealworms from nest completion until nestlings hatched, and the third treatment group received no supplementation. We collected blood samples from adults and nestlings to quantify bacterial killing ability, corticosterone levels and heterophil to lymphocyte ratios. As measures of nesting success, we quantified hatching success and fledging success. Supplement group tended to impact nestling mass near fledging; however, neither the physiological metrics nor the nesting success metrics differed significantly among experimental groups. Our results suggest eastern bluebird supplementation is largely neutral with the exception of its removal at the time of hatching, at least when natural food sources are abundant. Bird feeding by hobbyists may attract birds to locations with available nesting sites without demonstrably negative or positive effects, unless practiced inconsistently during breeding.

    Read full article here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jav.02920

  • Habitat selection and site fidelity on winter home ranges of Eastern Whip-poor-wills (Antrostomus vociferus)

    The Eastern Whip-poor-will (Antrostomus vociferus), an aerial insectivore experiencing population declines, was recently upgraded from Least Concern to Near Threatened status by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), highlighting research needs to better understand threats to the species. Because little information is known concerning wintering ground ecology for the species, we used archival global positioning system (GPS) tags to examine wintering ground movement patterns and habitat selection for birds that breed throughout Massachusetts. Key findings document highly variable locations of overwintering home ranges (where birds overwinter from coastal South Carolina to mountains of El Salvador), 100% site fidelity to wintering grounds between years, and 20% of males occupying two home ranges in a season. Furthermore, birds avoided crop cover at the 5-km scale and preferred open and closed forest covers at the home range scale. Although some landscapes used by Whip-poor-wills had high crop cover, crop cover averaged 3.7 times greater in available plots than used plots at the 5-km spatial scale. Additionally, mean closed forest cover was 1.8x greater in the second home range for mobile birds than their first home range. The information gained from this study provides an improved understanding of the ecological needs for the Eastern Whip-poor-will on the wintering grounds and is critical for applying full life-cycle conservation strategies.

    Read full article here: https://ace-eco.org/vol17/iss2/art17/ACE-ECO-2022-2237.pdf

  • New Yard Mammal: Red Fox

    Yesterday morning appeared we believe beneath our front deck and scurried across the road in our neighborhood. Pretty cool.

    Red Fox
  • First Breeding Record of the Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) in Vermont

    Black Vulture

    We report the first breeding record of Coragyps atratus (Black Vulture) in Vermont. The birds nested in a dilapidated barn in downtown Burlington, and successfully reared a single chick despite the barn’s partial demolition shortly after the chick hatched. This record represents the northernmost breeding record in the US for the species, whose US range has extended steadily northwards in the past century.

    Read full story here: https://bioone.org/journals/northeastern-naturalist/volume-29/issue-1/045.029.0103/First-Breeding-Record-of-the-Black-Vulture-Coragyps-atratus-in/10.1656/045.029.0103.full

  • The Effects of Anthropogenic Noise on Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) Singing Behavior in Vermont

    Most species of songbirds rely on vocal communication as a vital tool for information transfer, reproduction, and survival. With recent expansions in human development and urbanization, songbirds are responding to these environmental changes. Several studies have observed developments in bird singing behavior in response to low frequency anthropogenic noise. These changes include birds singing at higher frequencies in areas of more anthropogenic noise, as well as changes in how often they sing. This study explored whether these changes occur within populations of Northern Cardinals inhabiting Vermont’s most densely populated county, Chittenden County. I quantified maximum and minimum frequencies (pitch), as well as singing rate with respect to time of day and background noise levels. The results suggest that cardinals sing at higher frequencies when anthropogenic noise levels are higher in Chittenden County, Vermont. Additionally, there was evidence to support cardinals singing at higher frequencies during later, and louder times of day within louder locations. The results of the study did not demonstrate other behavioral changes occur based on loudness as related to time of day, such as singing rate. However further testing is necessary to understand the full extent of the impacts of anthropogenic noise on Northern Cardinals in Vermont.

    Read full paper here: https://scholarworks.uvm.edu/hcoltheses/475/