13 October 2010 – flock of Lincoln’s Sparrows

As the season progresses and I’m on a new schedule that gets me to work by 7:30 am, I’m ending up checking the NRC ever closer to dawn. This morning I heard several flight calls while out in the dark around 6:30; when I reached the NRC by about 7:20 (twilight) I flushed several small birds from a juniper border (~ 1m high) around the lawn surrounding the building. At least one was a warbler; the others appeared to be Lincoln’s Sparrows and Chipping or Clay-colored Sparrows.

When I got to the north side of the building, there were 4-6 Lincoln’s Sparrows in the bushes right at the glass. This event afforded me the rare opportunity to watch these birds right as they were looking for a place to settle in for the day and just as they were becoming trapped by the funneling effect of the building’s shape with its several recessed alcoves. As I herded individuals away from the glass, some bumped into other panes (at low speed) and simply flew away (just a foot or so above the ground) directly into the next adjacent alcove. So while there were no casualties today, there were probably 4 Lincoln’s Sparrows that became trapped by the NRC. Here’s one of them: