22 September 2017 – Mourning Warbler

I’m mourning the loss of another one today – this AHY female I found at the northwest alcove. She was fat (=3) and healthy at 12.5g.

 

This was the unofficial 315th casualty on the project and, for a new sobering record, the 44th this year. The previous annual high was 41. We’ve surpassed that already in 2017 and, for us, migration is really just ramping up.

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18 September 2017 – Wilson’s Warbler

The Mourning Dove remained intact this morning. There was also an apparent AHY female Wilson’s Warbler at the southeastern alcove. She was fat (=3) and healthy at 9g.

8 September 2017 – Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Moments after completing my survey this morning, ace hummingbird finder Aurora Manley sent me a photo of this headless Ruby-throated Hummingbird from beneath the south portico.

24 August 2017 – Mourning Warbler and Chipping Sparrow

On the heels of an impressive southbound flight last night,

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. . . I found two casualties this morning.

There was a HY Chipping Sparrow in the northwest alcove.  The bird had evidently been stepped on or perhaps run over by a maintenance vehicle. I left it in place for a removal trial.

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Also, near the main north entrance (actually at a west-facing facade in the corner) was a Mourning Warbler. The bold eyering and long undertail coverts looked tantalyzingly like a Connecticut Warbler. It was, however, an AHY-U Mourning Warbler. The bird was 13.5g and bulging with fat (3).

 

This was the 10th Mourning Warbler on the project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

19 August 2017 – Painted Bunting

I actually discovered it on my 8/20 survey, but this poor little bird on the 20th was already seething with maggots so I’m comfortable calling it an 8/19 casualty. This was a second year male.  Check out the feather wear on his primaries.  He was headed south to molt and then continue on further south.

12 August 2017 – Two Louisiana Waterthrushes

I’m sad for every casualty, but folks who know me know that there is a special place in my heart for the Pinnacle of Avian Evolution, the Louisiana Waterthrush. Today, not one but two of these splendid creatures met an untimely end in the southwestern alcove of the Noble Research Center.

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I moved them off the sidewalk and into the nearby lawn as a removal trial. Both were evidently AHY-U.

My sadness, of course, is tempered by my scientific curiosity. Louisiana Waterthrushes are rarely encountered in passage. The routes and timing of their travels are largely presumed but seldom confirmed, and this is confirmation of both.  Whenever two individuals are found at a window, it is tantalizing to consider that they were traveling together, perhaps “chip”ping every few minutes to stay in contact.  If so, were these a mated pair?  Siblings?  From the same neighborhood?  Did they leave from the same area or meet up somewhere along the way? Was this an agonistic encounter, with one chasing the other?  Were they even together?  Perhaps they hit the window hours apart, and were not traveling together but just using the same route?

With every observation, the follow-up intrigues.