Jane Kim Mural

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August 26, 2014

Spotted Sandpiper Spotted

The Spotted Sandpiper is primarily terrestrial, often walking along shorelines. It sometimes perches in trees or on poles, especially while on lookout with chicks. We have seen the Sandpiper walking around in the large lily pads on Sapsucker Pond. The birds frequently teeter, an up-and-down bobbing of entire body in the manner of a teeter-totter or seesaw, while walking or standing still. Teetering increases in frequency when the bird is nervous or agitated and ceases with alarm, courtship, and aggression. The function of teetering has not been determined. The Spotted Sandpiper occasionally swims while feeding on the surface. They can also dive shallowly and swim underwater, powered by wings and feet, to escape predators or to avoid harassment from other birds, especially Common Grackle and Red-winged Blackbird. 

August 26, 2014

Common Birds Seen on Feeders- Summer

The most common species seen on the FeederWatch cam this Summer have been the following: Blue Jay (a common, large songbird with blue, white, and black plumage), Common Grackle (blackbirds that look like they've been slightly stretched with glossy-iridescent bodies), American Goldfinch (the state bird of New Jersey, Iowa, and Washington. Spring males are brilliant yellow and shiny black with a bit of white. Females and all winter birds are more dull but identifiable by their conical bill; pointed, notched tail; wingbars; and lack of streaking), Black-capped Chickadee (a black cap and bib; white cheeks; gray back, wings, and tail; and whitish underside with buffy sides), Mourning Dove (a graceful, slender-tailed, small-headed dove with brown to huffy-tan plumage overall, with black spots on the wings and black-bordered white tips to the tail feathers), Pileated Woodpecker (nearly the size of a crow- black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest), House Finch (a recent introduction from western into eastern North America and Hawaii. Adult males are rosy red around the face and upper breast, with streaky brown back, belly and tail. Adult females aren’t red; they are plain grayish-brown with thick, blurry streaks and an indistinctly marked face), Northern Cardinal (Male cardinals are brilliant red all over, with a reddish bill and black face immediately around the bill. Females are pale brown overall with warm reddish tinges in the wings, tail, and crest. They have the same black face and red-orange bill), Red-winged Blackbird (one of the most abundant birds across North America, and one of the most boldly colored. Glossy-black males have scarlet-and-yellow shoulder patches they can puff up or hide depending on how confident they feel. Females are a subdued, streaky brown, almost like a large, dark sparrow), Downy and Hairy woodpeckers (Downies and their larger lookalike, the Hairy Woodpecker have black upperparts checked with white on the wings, the head is boldly striped, and the back has a broad white stripe down the center. Males have a small red patch on the back of the head. The outer tail feathers are typically white with a few black spots), Red-bellied Woodpecker (pale, medium-sized woodpeckers common in forests of the East. Their strikingly barred backs and gleaming red caps make them an unforgettable sight), White-breasted Nuthatch (a common feeder bird with clean black, gray, and white markings) and finally the Rose-breasted Grosbeak (bursting with black, white, and rose-red, male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are like an exclamation mark at your bird feeder or in your binoculars. Females and immatures are streaked brown and white with a bold face pattern and enormous bill). Need help identifying birds on the feeders, why not try Merlin App- click 'More...' for further information. Don't forget to mark the location as Sapsucker Woods Pond, Cornell University. 

August 25, 2014

Fending For Themselves

At higher latitudes in the US the breeding season for Osprey is shorter than those living further south. Young siblings have much less time together, roughly 20-40 days, before migrating, which they appear to do alone. Young are able to learn to fish on their own, without parents, which suggests that Osprey fishing behavior is innate. Banding data suggests that juveniles lag behind in their first migration south, this is possibly due to them having less time to gain flight and foraging skills before migration begins, in caparison to populations further south. Once they have reached wintering grounds they may stay there until their third year- 29-32 months old (based on wing-molt patterns and on ages of banded first time breeders). 

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