14 May 2018 – Baltimore Oriole

I found just the second-ever Baltimore Oriole on the project today, at the main north entrance. This was a SY female (fat = 2, 33.5 g) showing extreme feather wear and asymmetrical flight feather molt. See especially the difference in the 2nd tertiary (S8, if you prefer) between the left and right wings.

Note – a dull-plumaged female Baltimore Oriole can be difficult to distinguish from Bullock’s Oriole. This bird was easy to discern as Baltimore owing to brightest yellow in the center of the upper breast/throat (instead of higher on the cheek/malar), more brownish rather than grayish upperparts, and dark centers to brownish feather of the scapulars.

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13 May 2018 – two Swainson’s Thrushes

The Indigo Bunting has been removed – May 12 – but the Painted Bunting and Yellow Warbler remain.

The odd thing today was that I found a dead Swainson’s Thrush along the northern wall. This might be the first casualty on this side of the building since monitoring began in August 2009. I then found a second – and alive! – Swainson’s Thrush in the southwestern alcove. The bird was feisty in the hand and perched strongly when I placed it in a nearby shrub.

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22 May 2016 – 2 Swainson’s Thrushes

Northwest alcove.  The only thing sadder than the sight of these two birds is the realization that they were probably traveling together.

15 May 2016 – Swainson’s Thrush

Whilst I was traveling this weekend, Corey Riding took over monitoring at the NRC for me.  On Sunday the 15th, Corey found this Swainson’s Thrush in the northwest alcove. For those keeping score, it’s 20 August 2009–30 April 2016: 2 Swainson’s Thrushes, and 1 May 2016–15 May 2016: 4 Swainson’s Thrushes.

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10 May 2016 – Swainson’s Thrush

I found this ASY male Swainson’s Thrush this morning in the southwest alcove.

 

Note the “booted” tarsus.  On thrushes the tarsus is smooth, i.e., without a lot of obvious scaling. It’s sort of like the leading edge of the tarsus is wrapped in one huge scale.

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The Painted Bunting lasted 2 days at the main north entrance; it has been removed.

3 May 2016 – another Swainson’s Thrush and a stunned Summer Tanager

Update: I got a call about a “cardinal” that had struck the southeast alcove window at the NRC around 1:00 pm today.  The bird was in fact a gorgeous ASY male SUMMER TANAGER (and me without my camera).  I was a bit concerned that it was on the ground (a well-meaning woman was offering it some water) and that it let me grab it pretty easily. The bird was pretty feisty, however, and when I took it to the opposite side of the building to see if it could perch on its own among the row of oaks there, it took off and strongly flew up into an adjacent tree.  It’s still dusting off the cobwebs as they say, but when I last saw it the bird was perched strongly about 20′ up in a sturdy red oak.

I’ll count this one among my stunned/trapped victims, and I’ve amended the map below accordingly.


In the last few days, the number of Swainson’s Thrushes killed by window collision at the Noble Research Center has doubled from 2 to 4. This one was an after second-year bird with fat = 1.

It’s really odd how predictably unpredictable window collisions can be.  In this case, one of the most abundant migrants through our area has only rarely fallen victim to the building I monitor – despite it being a fairly common window-kill in spring at other Stillwater buildings. I’m in my 6th year of near daily monitoring for casualties at the NRC, and during that time I’ve documented Swainson’s Thrush . . .

Is it just happenstance that two Swainson’s Thrushes are killed within a few days of each other in 2016 when the previous two records were 5 years apart?  Do the now 3 birds from 2015–2016 indicate that something has changed compared to previous years of monitoring? Do the two birds at the end of April/beginning of May in 2016 indicate that the primary movement  of Swainson’s Thrush is a week earlier than typical? My sample is, of course, much to small to help answer such questions, but it is questions such as these that keep me going day after day and year after year . . .

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1 May 2016 – Swainson’s Thrush

The longest stretch without a casualty in 6 years was broken this weekend, with the unfortunate Swainson’s Thrush below the first confirmed window kill at the Noble Research Center since 19 November, 2015.

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If you were in need of evidence to convince you that it is healthy individuals that succumb to window collisions, check out the fat deposits clearly visible in the furcular hollow and on the belly of this bird.  This bird was in the prime of life.