22, 24, 29, & 31 January 2018 – no casualties

Here’s a bit of a retrospective on the past year, though. I arbitrarily divide the calendar year into spring (Mar–Jul) and fall (Aug–Feb) monitoring. We’ve still got February to go, but my data aren’t likely to change much before the end of this next month.

The irony of having marked some windows in 2016 and seeing a new high count of dead birds in 2017 is not lost on me. I’m not sure what to think of that other than a standard admonition against drawing conclusions from just a year of data. Either way, 2017 was startling. My previous high count of 41 casualties occurred in 2010. The ensuing 5 years accrued fewer than 30; last year we were back up to 40. The 2010–2016 average was 37. Thus, the 61 casualties I found in 2017 was fairly shocking.

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30 November 2017 – Song Sparrow

I found this Song Sparrow at the south entrance portico today.  The junco in the northwest alcove is now gone, but the one in the southwest alcove remains.

28 November 2017 – two Dark-eyed Juncos

Both on the west side; one north and one south. Both evidently adult males, too.  I left both in place for a removal trial.

5 October 2017 – Ovenbird

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Regular readers might recall that I encountered this broken window on Labor Day.  I reported it that day, and it took three weeks for anyone to even apply caution tape. This week I encountered two window fellas replacing it with a bright new window.

Unfortunately, the new one was a little too clean for this Ovenbird, only the second I’ve had at the NRC.

This was an AHY-U bird, bulging with fat (coded to a 3) and tipping the scale at 23.5g.

 

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.

16 September 2017 – Mourning Dove

I found this hatch-year Mourning Dove in front of the main north entrance today.

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.