April 22

Date: 4/21/19
Time: 5:30 – 8:00 pm
Location: Kirby, Vermont
Weather: 65 degrees, sunny, a few clouds, no wind
Habitat: open fields, open timber, think stands of timber (many different spots were explored)
While on my exploration, I saw a lot of mating behaviors. The main one that I was interested in was the wild turkeys. The toms could be seen strutting around with hens, despite the lack of interest from the hens which were more worried about feeding and finding a place to roost. I also saw small flocks of American crows, American robins, mallard, American woodcock, white-breasted nuthatch, and black-capped chickadee. The very cool thing that I heard for mating behavior besides the turkeys, was the courtship call of the woodcock. For years I have heard this but not know what it was, and I loved sitting there listening to the individual as the sun set.
Since the eastern part of the state is a little behind the western, mating is still in courtship and the nesting and breeding is just starting. All these species pick spots to build nests that are either tucked away in thick spots under trees/bushes, or up in trees. There is a mating pair of mallards that routinely use our pond at my house this time of year, but I have yet to see them build a nest. They love to hide in the tall grass though and I think that there is just too much activity for them to nest here. The turkeys and woodcock also love to get tucked into thick pockets that are easily missed by predators but also easily escaped. The other species prefer to nest in the trees, using the branches and leaves to hide them.
The woodcock I heard, if he is lucky enough to find a mate, will likely nest in the little finger of woods behind my pond as there is soft ground and the field close by for them to feed. They also can find thick spots to hide under the boughs of softwoods to make a nest and hide from predators. American robins are very different in where they would build a nest. I often find them building nests in our sugarhouse which has rafters to build a nest, and the roof to keep aerial predators away and the elements off them. Turkeys are also very different, they like to find high, dry ground. Yet, like the woodcock, they use brush to hide from predators while incubating the eggs. I have found many of them on field edges where there is a think edge with lots of visibility for the hens while they sit but still lots of cover to blend in with while they sit motionless.
Mini Activity: while doing the activity I saw/heard, black-capped chickadee, American woodcock, wild turkey, American robins, and American crow. I saw 9 turkeys and 4 crows, but I heard 6 robins, 1 woodcock and 7 chickadees. None of the species I encountered were unidentified. It was very cool to think about the songs and calls and then try to draw them as I really had to focus on the tone and pitch which really helps you realize the uniqueness and helps to provide hints identify them.

I was only able to get photos of the turkeys as all other species did not stick around for a long enough period to get photos on my phone using binoculars.

Posted by nigelwaring nigelwaring, April 23, 2019 03:08

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