7 October 2019 – Two House Wrens and still learning new things

The two House Wrens I found this morning (one at the main north entrance and one in the northwestern alcove) were the 3rd and 4th casualties since August. I had only found 3 prior to August 2019.

August 2009–July 2019: 3 House Wrens

August 2019–October 2019: 4 House Wrens

27 September 2019 – Another House Wren and Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Today there was a House Wren in the southeastern alcove and an immature Ruby-throated Hummingbird at the main north entrance.

23 September 2019 – House Wren and Ruby-throated Hummingbird

This morning there was a House Wren at the main north entrance and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird in the southwestern alcove.

16 October 2018 – Lincoln’s Sparrow and a bob-tailed House Wren

My first Lincoln’s Sparrow of the year showed up at the northwestern alcove today. I do much prefer to see them alive beneath my feeders. . .

Another feathered friend was very much alive, though stunned from a collision in southeastern entrance. He looked a bit shaky when I first found him, but he was actually fairly perky and difficult to catch. As it was chilly in the shade, I took the bird to a sunny spot near my office where he could more safely and quickly recover. Checking on the bird a bit later in the day, it was still there but flying strongly and looking to be recovering.

This bird was a wren of ambiguous affinity. It’s short tail was evocative of Winter Wren, but its plumage was a better match for House Wren. The bob tail might indicate a HY bird, but I didn’t spend much time examining its plumage for aging as my main concern was to make sure it had a safe place to chill out.

Spring/Summer 2017 was busy

As I’m about to head out for a conference this week, spring and summer monitoring comes to a close.  I’ll begin August 2017 the 9th consecutive year of (mostly) daily monitoring for window casualties at the Noble Research Center on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA.

It’s been a busy spring.

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Beginning Mar 1st, here’s what has turned up at the Noble Research Center.

Dead Birds

  1. Indigo Bunting – 5
  2. Painted Bunting – 5
  3. Ruby-throated Hummingbird – 3
  4. Lincoln’s Sparrow – 2
  5. Mourning Dove – 2
  6. Nashville Warbler – 2
  7. Orange-crowned Warbler – 2
  8. Baltimore Oriole – 1
  9. Chipping Sparrow – 1
  10. Eastern Meadowlark – 1
  11. House Wren – 1
  12. Northern Parula – 1
  13. Tennessee Warbler – 1
  14. Yellow-billed Cuckoo – 1

That’s 28 individuals of 14 species, and damn, that is disheartening.

On the plus side, my commitment to checking almost every day has put me in position to save a few birds by getting them safely away from the building and taking them someplace secure to rest and recuperate for a bit. I can’t guarantee that all 6 of these survived the ordeal, but they seemed to be in good shape when I last saw them:

  1. Northern Cardinal
  2. Common Yellowthroat
  3. Mourning Dove
  4. Song Sparrow
  5. Yellow Warbler
  6. Carolina Wren

 

 

6 May 2017 – Baltimore Oriole, Mourning Dove, and House Wren

Today was one of those “just when I think I have this figured out” days.

As I was rounding the west perimeter of the Noble Research Center between the southwest and northwest alcoves, some feathers caught my eye up against the brick side of the building.  This is the first time (in nearly 8 years) I found a bird at this spot and it was also pretty clearly one new to the study: a bright orange and black Baltimore Oriole, or at least a nice pile of feather remnants from what had lately been an adult male (ASY) Baltimore Oriole.

Though for consistency’s sake I’ll record that spot on the building as the location of collision, I in fact don’t know where the bird hit.  All I know is that a predator (and very likely a cat based on the neatly sheared primaries) appears to have eaten said oriole at that spot.

 

 

Around the corner and into the northwest alcove, I found the remnants of a scavenged adult Mourning Dove. Here again was a bird in a very odd location. Strangely enough, the bird was in the exact location (beneath an ornamental buttonbush) where collaborator and OSU PhD student Corey Riding had the week before left a Cedar Waxwing carcass for a scavenging trial.  Corey, however, had left neither a dove, an oriole, nor anything else at that spot since the waxwing. Puzzling for sure . . .

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Finally, there was another bird at the end of the alcove in front of one of the untreated panes. Here was another oddity – a House Wren.

 

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17 September 2012 – another Dickcissel and a Yellow Warbler

The House Wren is still hanging around, but still looks unharmed.  That’s unlike the remains of this Yellow Warbler and this unfortunate Dickcissel.  The Dickcissel was a HY female with a fat score = 3.

27 September 2011 – stunned House Wren

I found a somewhat stunned House Wren on the west side of the NRC today.  The little wren seemed to be in pretty good shape except that its right eyelid was closed.  It wasn’t panting or looking otherwise distressed as I walked up and crouched down next to it.  As I tried to catch the bird, it quickly popped up and landed on my right knee.  Then I tried to slowly grab it from behind but it spooked and flew to my left knee.  At this point, the little sprite had fully endeared itself to me.  I tried one more time to grab it and move it someplace more protected, but this time it zipped away from me and flew down one of the west alcoves.  I feared the worst (i.e., that it had flown right into a window), but it must have found a safe spot because it wasn’t waiting for me limp beneath a window.

For now, this House Wren has survived its encounter with the NRC, and I won’t count it as a casualty.  I’ll be a bit extra sad if I happen upon some wren feathers tomorrow morning . . .

Six-month summary: July–December 2010

Here is just a quick summary of casualties at the Noble Research Center from July through December 2010:


Very fat Mourning Warbler that never made it to the wintering grounds.

I detected 25 individuals of at least 16 species among the casualties. The complete list:

grasshopper sparrow – 4
ruby-throated hummingbird – 2
mourning warbler – 2
song sparrow – 2
Lincoln’s sparrow – 2
unidentified passerine (1 warbler, 1 sparrow) – 2
black-and-white warbler – 1
Carolina wren – 1
mourning dove (juv) – 1
least flycatcher – 1
common yellowthroat – 1
black-throated green warbler – 1
brown thrasher – 1
house wren – 1
red-breasted nuthatch – 1
white-throated sparrow – 1
field sparrow – 1

Because I was able to get to the NRC earlier each day during autumn than practical in 2009, I encountered more individuals that were stunned and “trapped” by the building for some time period without obvious mortal injury. Most of these birds are presumed to have eventually moved on, but it is quite likely that the house wren and one of the Lincoln’s sparrows on the “stunned” list were unsuccessful in their respective bids to escape from the confusion of the NRC, and are listed above. The bat represents the first mammalian “capture” by the NRC:

Lincoln’s sparrow – 5 (4 in one flock)
house wren – 1
common yellowthroat – 1
Nashville warbler – 1
grasshopper sparrow – 1
dark-eyed junco – 1


It’s dark when migrants like this Lincoln’s sparrow drop out of the sky and try to find a good spot in which to rest for the day. I’m beginning to think that most collisions are occurring in that last hour before sunrise.

October 2010 Summary

I checked for casualties on 25/31 days in October, and encountered the following:

1 unknown songbird
1 House Wren
2 Lincoln’s Sparrow
2 Grasshopper Sparrow
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow