21 August 2017 – Ruby-throated Hummingbird

I started my walk to class on this first day of the fall semester finding this window-killed Yellow Warbler at the Food and Agricultural Products building.

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After class, I ran my normal survey, finding this Ruby-throated Hummingbird (HY male with fat = 1) at the southwest alcove.

 

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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

 

 

7 May 2017 – Indigo Bunting and trapped Yellow Warbler

With special guest stars James O’Connell and David Mallen, today’s survey turned up a male Indigo Bunting and a trapped Yellow Warbler at the main north entrance. (No photo of the warbler; it was a male.)

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Let’s take a closer look at that Indigo Bunting:

 

The multiple obvious molt limits on this bird illustrate two generations of feathers on the same individual, some of which grew in last summer and some which have come in quite recently.  This confirms the age of the bird as second year (SY).

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.

9 August 2011 – Yellow Warbler

We’ve been experienced severe heat and drought in Oklahoma this summer.  As of yesterday, Oklahoma City has logged 45 days with temperatures in excess of 100 F, and daily high temperature records have been dropping left and right – usually by several degrees.  Yesterday we reached 108, but finally we had a cold front move through the region, spurring strong storms.  The gust front from these storms apparently exceeded 90 mph in various places, and many neighborhoods in Stillwater have sustained more damage than we’ve seen in our recent tornadoes.

Given that we’ve now entered the second week of August and there was a decent tailwind following the storms, I wasn’t that surprised to find an unfortunate migrant at the Noble Research Center this morning.  This is a Yellow Warbler, apparently an AHY female.  Fat  = 2.

27 June 2011 – baby starling and a bonus Yellow Warbler

There was a fresh, local starling at the NRC today, proving that at least sometimes these savvy urban birds can hit a window with the best of them.  The little guy was fat, his beak was still full of food, and his parents were nearby.  It’ll be interesting to see how long it lasts before removal as it would be quite a prize for a local scavenger, but it was also right out in the open and probably something that a groundskeeper might remove.

Walking into Ag Hall after checking the NRC, I found the remains of a small bird, obviously a warbler by its size, olive-yellow background color and bright yellow breast feathers.  Unfortunately, it’d been in place since sometime yesterday (I know it wasn’t there Friday) and it had been partially scavenged.  The entire head and tail were missing, as were most of the “insides.”  The legs, wings and some contour feathers of the breast and back were all that remained.  This made identification a challenge.  Here’s what I could discern:

There are no wingbars –  this narrows the field considerably.

There are distinct, rufous streaks on the breast that contrast strongly with the bright yellow background color.

These features confirm a Yellow Warbler.  The only question now is late spring or early fall migrant?

Here’s where Yellow Warblers have been reported this month via eBird: