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
Today there was a House Wren in the southeastern alcove and an immature Ruby-throated Hummingbird at the main north entrance.
This morning there was a House Wren at the main north entrance and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird in the southwestern alcove.
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.
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.
Confirming Baltimore Oriole as the source of the wing.
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 . . .
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.
Though we’ll top out around 87 F today, autumn must be in the air because today I found my first Lincoln’s Sparrow on the ground. I left the bird in place, just opposite the Dickcissel.
It looked like two House Wrens, a Grasshopper Sparrow, and at least one other passerine were still hanging around the north entrance to the NRC, but I haven’t added these birds to the “trapped” list just yet (other than the one House Wren, that is).
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.