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.
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.
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.
Beginning Mar 1st, here’s what has turned up at the Noble Research Center.
Indigo Bunting – 5
Painted Bunting – 5
Ruby-throated Hummingbird – 3
Lincoln’s Sparrow – 2
Mourning Dove – 2
Nashville Warbler – 2
Orange-crowned Warbler – 2
Baltimore Oriole – 1
Chipping Sparrow – 1
Eastern Meadowlark – 1
House Wren – 1
Northern Parula – 1
Tennessee Warbler – 1
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:
No casualties yet, but I’m up to the 3rd trapped bird of the new year: a Song Sparrow in the northwest alcove. This one was stunned – or exhausted – but before I could get any closer than about 3m it flew away strongly – good sign!
This bird was likely riding a wave of migration that really lit up the radar last night (as linked from Paul Hurtado’s birding page). Check out the big blue blobs in Oklahoma from a little after 11 pm last night:
Keep your eye on that slug of rain and storms (the green, yellow, and red) in the OK Panhandle, though.
Now check out the line of rain and storms that moved in overnight and set up shop on the Kansas border. This is from a bit before 6:00 am, and nobody moving north through our state kept on moving through that! This is a classic setup for a “fallout” of birds. More storms today followed by strong north winds tomorrow will likely keep some staging migrants around for a few more days.
This one, evidently collided and cat-scavenged, presented an identification challenge. The remaining feathers strongly suggested Melospiza sparrow, but it was really the pattern on the undertail coverts and other contour feathers that provided the necessary clues as to which one. Ultimately, the black centers in a dark brown band on a lighter feather are congruent with Song Sparrow, but not Lincoln’s.
A fairly strong cold front moved through last night, with some gusty storms. This morning I found a Song Sparrow (below, left: AHY, fat = 2) on the north side and a Lincoln’s Sparrow (HY, fat = 3) on the south side of the NRC.
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.