Today’s casualty will sadden my nephew: he loves Painted Buntings.
I found this female on the north side of the Noble Research Center this morning. Like other recent casualties, I have no explanation for what this bird was doing at that location today. We occasionally get them here in town in early May, but it’s early July and this bird should still be on a territory somewhere. Two days ago, I found three singing males in the shrublands of the OSU “North Fields” cross country course, so it’s still breeding season for Painted Buntings. Early migration? Post-breeding dispersal? Rounding up a wandering juvenile?
Regardless of her behavior that led this female to her unfortunate demise, she did have some fat laid down (fat = 1) and a dry brood patch. I don’t have my Pyle guide on hand this morning so my assessment of her age will be tentative: ASY.
Update: On the advice of a veritable zen master when it comes to passerine molt, this bird is now correctly aged as SY. Thank you Bob Mulvihill for pointing out the molt limit in the top photo: the distal alula covert is an original, issued to this bird when it fledged some time during the summer of 2011.