Birds spy on chipmunks

St. Albert Gazette - Veeries and ovenbirds are small, ground-dwelling birds that are relatively rare sights around St. Albert, says local birder Peter Demulder. (You’d have better luck finding them in Elk Island National Park.) Both nest on or near the ground, putting their eggs at risk of predation by squirrels and chipmunks and both have distinct calls: “VEE-ree VEE-ree” for the veery and “tea-CHER tea-CHER” for the ovenbird. The ovenbird’s nest is notable for its shape, which resembles a Dutch oven.

Veeries and ovenbirds are small, ground-dwelling birds that are relatively rare sights around St. Albert, says local birder Peter Demulder. (You’d have better luck finding them in Elk Island National Park.) Both nest on or near the ground, putting their eggs at risk of predation by squirrels and chipmunks and both have distinct calls: “VEE-ree VEE-ree” for the veery and “tea-CHER tea-CHER” for the ovenbird. The ovenbird’s nest is notable for its shape, which resembles a Dutch oven.

Quinn Emmering, a biologist at Texas Tech University, says he and his team had noticed veeries had a knack for finding “cold-spots” for predators like chipmunks in which to build their nests, and were more successful at reproducing when they did. He theorized the birds were listening for chipmunk calls to find where best to put their nests.

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