24 May 2012 – no casualties, but a bonus titmouse

For the second time this week, I’ve found a non-migratory bird in high breeding condition dead from a window collision on campus.  This time it was a female Tufted Titmouse outside the Kerr-Drummond residence hall.  Like the Red-bellied Woodpecker from a few days ago, this is a new species for the study, and a species I’ve never before confirmed on campus at all. She had some fat laid down (score = 1) and a well-developed brood patch evident in the photo.  (In case you’re wondering the answer is yes: It is difficult to blow on a bird’s breast to display the brood patch while holding a camera steady for a photo.)

Not an injury – the exposed skin between the breast feathers on this titmouse is part of the “brood patch”, an area of featherless skin that helps incubating birds transfer body heat to eggs and nestlings.