I was worried being out of town yesterday morning that I would miss important data on a mid-September morning that had been foggy and rainy. This morning when I got to the NRC, it was clear that my worry was warranted. There had been a lot of activity at the north entrance since Friday morning. Here’s what was waiting for me today:
1) Live House Wren – very tame, allowing a close approach but apparently not injured.
2) Live Yellow-breasted Chat – this bird is a first for the project.
I was able to steer the chat away from the building so it should be okay. The wren – if it’s the same bird I found last week – might be in trouble, but so far it’s too energetic for me to steer anywhere, and it’s most interested in hiding out in the tiniest shrubs around.
In addition to these two live birds, I found the remains of 3 dead ones:
3) Sora (scavenged) – Identified from these feathers, I can only say that a Sora met it’s end at the building this weekend; I have no way to know if it’s the Sora from Friday that somehow got trapped again. My policy on found scavenged remains is to assume that the bird was scavenged in less than 24 hours, so it’s a day-0 event in this case.
4) Yellow-breasted Chat (scavenged) – These narrow, olive-edged rectices at 84 mm are just the right length, color, shape, and pattern to convince me that they came from a chat. I found them just a few meters away from the live chat. (Day-0 event, as well.)
5) Dickcissel (unscavenged) This Dickcissel has not been touched other than by ants and beetles that’ve started eating away at its back.
And finally . . .
6) Common Yellowthroat (live) – I found this bird in the northwest alcove. As I struggled to get a look at it before it made its way out of the area, I audibly asked “Are you a yellowthroat?” “Tchep!” was the answer.
For folks keeping track, this was one of the busiest days in the history of this project, with three trapped birds and three casualties. In addition, three species were new additions to the casualty list: Sora, Dickcissel, and Yellow-breasted Chat.