Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Sunday, March 03, 2013

{BIRD NOTES} ~ March 4, 2013


Bird Notes

Early TV

FOY Turkey Vulture near exit 4 in Putney this afternoon (2/26). 
---JoAnne Russo, Saxtons River, VT


West B Bluebirds

This past week during the snow storm, we were treated to the sight of 7 Bluebirds, five of them bright blue males as they gleaned the red berries from our euonymus bushes along the driveway leading to our home on Greenleaf Street. The eave troughs on the front porch were filled with running water from the melting snow.  Attracted by the dripping water, they were taking turns flying from the supply of berries to perch on the edge of the eaves for a drink. They had a steady shuttle going for about 20 minutes. We have resided here at Chipmunk Crossing for over 30 years and this is the first bluebirds sighted here.  Exciting!


Barred Owl at Chipmunk Crossing

Though we hear an occasional Barred Owl we don’t see the hooter very often. This morning there were no sounds to indicate its presence, but one suddenly appeared, landing in the crusty snow where there were several vole tunnel holes in back of the bird feeders. It sat for an instant looking about the area to its right, then quickly to its left taking flight with empty talons. It flew to a perch in a birch tree in front of some white pine branches where it could have an unobstructed view of our snow covered south yard. Several crows were alerted by an appointed lookout and they harassed it for a short time. When the owl just sat as if bored by their feeble feigning attacks and closed its eyes to mere slits, the crows ceased their alarm calls and flew off. That was at about 9 this morning. The owl is still present on its lofty perch at 4 p.m.


Talk Like a Bird?

Linguistics and biology researchers have proposed a new theory on the deep roots of human speech on how human language could have evolved from birdsong.  “The sounds uttered by birds offer in several respects the nearest analogy to language,” Charles Darwin wrote in “The Descent of Man” (1871), while contemplating how humans learned to speak. Language, he speculated, might have had its origins in singing, which “might have given rise to words expressive of various complex emotions.” 
          Now researchers from MIT, along with a scholar from the University of Tokyo, say that Darwin was on the right path. The balance of evidence, they believe, suggests that human language is a grafting of two communication forms found elsewhere in the animal kingdom: first, the elaborate songs of birds, and second, the more utilitarian, information-bearing types of expression seen in a diversity of other animals.
          “It’s this adventitious combination that triggered human language,” says Shigeru Miyagawa, a professor of linguistics in MIT’s Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, and co-author of a 
new paper published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

--- Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office


Feathered Snow Angel

An interesting print in fresh snow.  Consensus of opinion is that it is a small raptor, probably a Sharp-shinned hawk.

---Submitted by Tom Prunier


Tibetan Yak

Burt Tepfer sent this photo of a Tibetan Yak that he took while visiting Bhutan in the Himalayas. When people think of the animals of Tibet a Yak has to be the first they think of. Eighty-five percent, or about 10 million, of the world’s Yaks live on the Tibetan Plateau. They are built to survive tough environments. Yaks have three times more red blood cells than normal cows so they are able to live without any problems on the high elevation grasslands of Tibet. Their long thick hair insulates their bodies from winter temperatures that can get to minus 22 degrees F or colder. Most are black, but it is not uncommon to see white or grey ones especially on the grasslands of northern Amdo (modern day Qinghai province).



Please share your birding news with us.


What have you got coming to your feeders?


What have you seen while on a trip?


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT







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