7–18 October 2017 – all kinds of stuff

I’ve been behind with stacks of papers to grade, and they’ve kept me from keeping up as often as I’d prefer. During the period from October 7–18, I conducted 8 surveys, skipping Oct. 8, 14, and 15. The data from these last 11 days look a bit like this:

  • Oct. 7: HOWR
  • Oct. 9: no casualties
  • Oct. 10: no casualties
  • Oct. 11: LISP
  • Oct. 12: TUTI
  • Oct. 13: no casualties
  • Oct. 16: OCWA, SOSP, LISP, and NAWA
  • Oct. 17: no casualties
  • Oct. 18: no casualties

Just past mid-October, and we are crushing the annual mortality count right now with 55 dead birds.

Oct. 7 – I found just the third House Wren on the project.  This one ended up on a warm air outflow grate from the air conditioning unit and was quickly desiccated.

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Oct. 11 – I collected this Lincoln’s Sparrow from the south portico.

Oct. 12 – This Tufted Titmouse was a surprise in the southwestern alcove.

Oct. 16 – This was not a good day for migrants. I found an Orange-crowned Warbler at the northeast alcove, a Song Sparrow at the south portico, and a Lincoln’s Sparrow at the southwestern alcove. Shortly after completing my survey, a Nashville Warbler was turned in from a collision in the southwestern alcove.

 

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5 October 2017 – Ovenbird

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Regular readers might recall that I encountered this broken window on Labor Day.  I reported it that day, and it took three weeks for anyone to even apply caution tape. This week I encountered two window fellas replacing it with a bright new window.

Unfortunately, the new one was a little too clean for this Ovenbird, only the second I’ve had at the NRC.

This was an AHY-U bird, bulging with fat (coded to a 3) and tipping the scale at 23.5g.

 

29 September 2017 – Lincoln’s Sparrow

It’s sad to realize that the real harbinger of autumn here in Stillwater is the first Lincoln’s Sparrow casualty at the Noble Research Center.

28 September 2017 – Our first Savannah Sparrow, a trapped yellowthroat, and some bonus birds

Since Monday night, we seem to have received at least 5 inches of rain here in Stillwater.  That’s great as I’ve been lamenting the lack of even clouds for a few weeks. The system that brought the rain might have kept birds bottled up to our north because once it cleared last night (Wed.) there was one heck of a flight.

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Of course, attempts to correlate window collision mortality with big radar echoes of migrating birds are fraught with confirmation bias.  There are plenty of big flights that result in no dead birds on my rounds, and I’m a lot more likely to check “last night’s radar” on a morning when I find multiple casualties.  Today was one of those days.

I walked to the Noble Research Center on a route that took me past the long row of windows on the southern side of the Food and Agricultural Products Building, aka, FAPC. This is just across a parking lot from the NRC and I’ve made several incidental finds there.  Today, these “bonus birds” numbered three: an Ovenbird, a Common Yellowthroat (collected) and, around the corner, a female Indigo Bunting that had been there for at least a few days. So before I even made it to the NRC, I encountered 3 window-killed birds.

The yellowthroat was an apparent AHY-male, with fat = 2 and weighing in at 12 g.

 

At the NRC was another surprise.  Surprisingly, after all these years and considering how common these birds are as migrants and wintering residents, I found the project’s first Savannah Sparrow, in the northwest alcove.

 

 

There was also a trapped Common Yellowthroat at the main north entrance and another Savannah sparrow flitting around – through not trapped – just west of the southern portico entrance. The Savannah Sparrow was AHY-U, weighing 18g with a fat score = 2.

27 September 2017 – Wilson’s Warbler

This 9.5 g, fat = 3, AHY-male Wilson’s Warbler met his sad end at the southwest alcove last night.

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22 September 2017 – Mourning Warbler

I’m mourning the loss of another one today – this AHY female I found at the northwest alcove. She was fat (=3) and healthy at 12.5g.

 

This was the unofficial 315th casualty on the project and, for a new sobering record, the 44th this year. The previous annual high was 41. We’ve surpassed that already in 2017 and, for us, migration is really just ramping up.