#391 Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus)

31 March 2021

Chipmunks have an omnivorous diet primarily consisting of seeds, nuts and other fruits, and buds. They also commonly eat grass, shoots, and many other forms of plant matter, as well as fungi, insects and other arthropods, small frogs, worms, and bird eggs. They will also occasionally eat newly hatched baby birds. Eastern chipmunks mate in early spring and again in early summer, producing litters of four or five young twice each year.

Fulfill several important functions in forest ecosystems. Their activities harvesting and hoarding tree seeds play a crucial role in seedling establishment. They consume many different kinds of fungi, including those involved in symbiotic mycorrhizal associations with trees, and are an important vector for dispersal of the spores of subterranean sporocarps (truffles) which have co-evolved with these and other mycophagous mammals and thus lost the ability to disperse their spores through the air

#390 Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica)

30 March 2021

The chestnut-sided warbler has benefited from the clearing of mature forests. They make use of the abundant second growth habitats. In the tropics where they winter however, the species occurs mostly in mature tropical rainforests. Their cup-shaped nests are placed in a low bush, which is usually located in young deciduous woodland or scrub. These birds lay 3–5 eggs that are creamy white or greenish with brown speckles in color. The nest is a small cup woven of bark strips, weed stems, grasses, and plant down. The nest is usually placed in a small crotch of a shrub or vertical tangle of vines no more than 2 m (6.6 ft) above the ground. This species is frequently parasitized by brown-headed cowbirds.

(Image from Wikipedia – copyright status CC BY-SA 3.0)

#389 Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)

29 March 2021

Endangered in this area because of loss of habitat and the insistence of too many farmers of cutting hay before the young have fledged (they nest on the ground) – seek them in grasslands, especially the field to the east of the arboretum opposite Ch. Pruche.

Breed in open areas across the northern United States and southern Canada, preferring large fields with a mixture of grasses and broad-leaved plants like legumes and dandelions. They formerly nested mainly in tallgrass and mixed prairie of the midwestern United States and south-central Canada. They now also nest in eastern hayfields and meadows, which became available as eastern forests were cleared, and west of the Great Plains in recently irrigated habitats. After breeding, Bobolinks move to freshwater marshes and coastal areas to molt before migrating. Their main wintering area is in the southern interior of South America, where they spend their time in grasslands, marshes, rice fields, and sorghum fields.

#388 Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

28 March 2021

Chickadees are active, acrobatic, curious, social birds that live in flocks, often associating with woodpeckers, nuthatches, warblers, vireos, and other small woodland species. They feed on insects and seeds, but seldom perch within several feet of one another while taking food or eating. Flocks have many calls with specific meanings, and they may contain some of the characteristics of human language. Overall populations increased slightly between 1966 and 2015, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Their western populations slightly declined during this time, but the loss was made up by an increase in eastern populations.

#387 American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea)

27 March 2021

In summer, American Tree Sparrows breed near the northern treeline, where straggling thickets of alder, willow, birch, and spruce give way to open tundra. Though some American Tree Sparrows nest in open tundra, most territories include at least a few small trees that the males can sing from, along with a source of water. During spring and fall migrations, they’ll search out weedy fields, marshes, hedgerows, and open forests for foraging between nights of flying. They winter in similar habitats in their southern range, adding gardens and backyards with feeders in settled areas.

Eat seeds, berries, and insects, but the relative proportions of those foods change radically from winter to summer months. From fall through spring, they’re almost exclusively vegetarian, eating grass, sedge, ragweed, knotweed, goldenrod, and other seeds, as well as occasional berries, catkins, insects, insect eggs, and larvae. In settled areas, they happily eat small seeds from feeders—including millet scattered on the ground. In summer, after their migration north, they begin eating a wider and wider variety of insects until, during June and July they eat almost exclusively insects such as beetles, flies, leafhoppers, wasps, moths, and caterpillars, as well as spiders and snails. These protein-rich foods are particularly important for the growing chicks. Once the chicks are gone, their diet begins reverting to its winter pattern. They may augment their summer food with seeds from alder, spruce, blueberries, and cranberries.

#386 Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)

26 March 2021

A small sea duck of the genus Bucephala, the goldeneyes. Migratory and most of them winter in protected coastal waters, or open inland waters, on the east and west coasts of North America and the southern United States. Their breeding habitat is wooded lakes and ponds in Alaska and Canada, almost entirely included in the boreal forest or taiga habitat. From 1966 – 2015, the bufflehead experienced a >1.5% yearly population increase throughout its breeding range.

Buffleheads have evolved their small size to fit the nesting cavity of their “metabiotic” host, a woodpecker, the northern flicker. Due to their small size, they are highly active, undertaking dives almost continuously while sustained by their high metabolism. They do not tend to collect in large flocks; groups are usually limited to small numbers. One duck serves as a sentry, watching for predators as the others in the group dive in search of food. Buffleheads are amongst the last waterfowl to leave their breeding grounds and one of the world’s most punctual migrants, arriving on their wintering grounds within a narrow margin of time

#385 Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)

25 March 2021

Nest only in wetlands. In the northern parts of the range, they use fens and bogs that have patches of open water, especially those dotted with shrubs. They also nest in peat bogs with little open water. Through most of the breeding range, look for them in freshwater marshes with cattail, sedges, and other tall reeds, rushes, or grasses; these areas often have willows or alders around their edges. In the mid-Atlantic states, “Coastal Plain” Swamp Sparrows (the nigrescens subspecies) nest in brackish marshes in tidal rivers, mostly in the higher portion of the marshes where salt-meadow hay is dotted with small shrubs like marsh elder and groundsel. During migration, large numbers of Swamp Sparrows mix with Song, Lincoln’s, and White-throated Sparrows in the East, especially in coastal locations prone to “fallouts” of migrants. In such cases, the birds might be a considerable distance from the nearest wetland.

#384 Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)

24 March 2021

Breed in fields, marshes, shorelines, wooded swamps, and beaver ponds throughout northern North America, preferring to live near bodies of water that produce multitudes of flying insects for food. For nesting they need old trees with existing cavities (typically made by a woodpecker), or human-made nest boxes. Migrating and wintering birds use habitats similar to their breeding habitat, except they may have no need for cavities and are free to live in open areas.

Tree Swallows live on a diet of insects, though they occasionally capture other small animals and may eat plant foods during bad weather when prey is scarce. They feed from dawn to dusk in sheltered areas full of flying insects, usually foraging no more than 40 feet from the ground. Tree Swallows eat all kinds of flying insects: dragonflies, damselflies, flies, mayflies, caddisflies, true bugs, sawflies, bees, ants, wasps, beetles, stoneflies, butterflies, and moths, as well as spiders, mollusks, and roundworms. Their prey may be smaller than a grain of sand or up to two inches long. They chase prey in the air, with acrobatic twists and turns, and sometimes converge in large numbers in an insect swarm. During the breeding season, Tree Swallows eat high-calcium items like fish bones, crayfish exoskeletons, clamshells, and eggshells of gulls or loons.

#383 Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

23 March 2021

Can be found in almost any wetland habitats, including permanent wetlands such as marshes, bogs, riverine floodplains, beaver ponds, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, city parks, farms, and estuaries. They also occur in prairie potholes and ephemeral wetlands; they may be found feeding along roadside ditches, pastures, croplands and rice fields. Generalist foragers and will eat a wide variety of food. They don’t dive, but dabble to feed, tipping forward in the water to eat seeds and aquatic vegetation. They also roam around on the shore and pick at vegetation and prey on the ground. During the breeding season, they eat mainly animal matter including aquatic insect larvae, earthworms, snails and freshwater shrimp. During migration, many Mallards consume largely agricultural seed and grain. In city parks, they readily accept handouts from parkgoers.

#382 Leucobasis moth (Caloreas leucobasis)

30 March 2021

Choreutidae, or metalmark moths, are a family of insects in the lepidopteran order whose relationships have been long disputed. It was placed previously in the superfamily Yponomeutoidea in family Glyphipterigidae and in superfamily Sesioidea. It is now considered to represent its own superfamily.

The forewings have a distinctive cream base. Beyond the base, they are heavily marked with black spots and bluish scaling. The median area and terminal line have chocolate brown shading and some cream is visible in postmedial area. The fringe is brownish. The hindwings are warm brown, but slightly darker toward the outer margin. The fringe is paler brown. The head and thorax are cream and the abdomen is brown with light scales at the end of each segment.

In Canada, adults have been recorded from mid May to early July.