The photos illustrate how obvious it is to find many of the carcasses at the Noble Research Center. Today it was an Indigo Bunting in the southeast alcove.
This was a hatch-year bird and probably a male owing to the faint bluish tinge in the wings and tail. Were those blushes of color resigned to the upper tail coverts, female would be a bit more likely. Fat = 0 on this bird.
That southwestern alcove continues to get a workout this fall, but again, the unfortunate victim was found in front of untreated glass panes.
Today it was a hatch-year (HY) Nashville Warbler; sex undetermined with fat score = 2.
When I found the bird in position on the cement as indicated in the above photo, it had already been heavily scavenged by ants. I moved the carcass to a location on the grass on the north side of this southwestern alcove (see photo, top right) to set up a removal trial.
So far, it’s exclusively been the southwestern alcove causing the problems this fall. That’s a bit ironic and potentially problematic, as I’ve completed more window treatments there than anywhere else on the building. However, none of the four birds that has ended up there has been found in front of a treated window, leaving open the suggestion that the treated windows have not cause any casualties, even if casualties have occurred at the partially treated alcove.
This morning, I found the first bird actually in front of a treated window pane: a Northern Waterthrush. The hopeful difference is that this bird was ALIVE.
Above right – Yep, that little white dot in the photo on the right is waterthrush splay in front of the window where I first encountered the bird.
The southwestern alcove was again the site of a window-killed bird this morning but, again, it did not appear to have struck one of the treated panes of glass.
The unfortunate victim was an after hatch-year (AHY) female Yellow Warbler, and the ants had gotten to her, big time.
The HY male Ruby-throated Hummingbird I found this morning means that, for 2016, a young male of this species was both the last casualty of “spring” (on July 11th) and the first official casualty of fall.
This bird was in the southwest alcove, illustrating the urgency with which I must complete my ABC bird tape treatments of the west entrances!
Northwest alcove. The only thing sadder than the sight of these two birds is the realization that they were probably traveling together.
This was an odd find, both for species and location. In monitoring since 2009, this is only the second starling I’ve ever found, despite the fact that starlings nest on the NRC in spring and roost there year ’round. Starlings are pretty well urban-adapted, however, and I guess that explains the infrequency with which I come across them. They either know how to recognize glass as a barrier or they are so likely to perch on the building as opposed to flying past it that they’re more often at a safer “stalling speed” on the wing when they get close.
Except, of course, when they aren’t, and then they’re just as susceptible as any other passerine to death by window. That happened to this inexperienced youngster (HY) at some point over the past 24 hours. I left it in place for a removal trial.
The other weird thing as I alluded above was the location: left side of the main north entrance, close to where the building begins to curve on the east side.
I found this ASY male Swainson’s Thrush this morning in the southwest alcove.
Note the “booted” tarsus. On thrushes the tarsus is smooth, i.e., without a lot of obvious scaling. It’s sort of like the leading edge of the tarsus is wrapped in one huge scale.
The Painted Bunting lasted 2 days at the main north entrance; it has been removed.
This was an interesting case. I received a message late morning yesterday (thank you, OSU undergrad Cassandra Rodenbaugh) that there was a dead Lincoln’s Sparrow at the Noble Research Center in a highly conspicuous location. The bird was not there when I conducted my daily survey around 7:30 am, so it must have flown in since then. Normally, I might have dropped what I was doing to go collect the bird, but I wanted to check first with Scott Loss who, with his PhD student Corey Riding, are using data from the Noble Research Center for a more expansive study of window-collision mortality. One of their current objectives is to check buildings for collision victims at different times during the day to address biases associated with survey time. They have also been engaged in calculating scavenger removal rates and identifying scavengers using camera traps.
We decided that the best course of action would be for me to pretend I did not know about the bird and simply go about my business checking the NRC this morning as usual. Corey and his team noted the casualty on their afternoon and evening surveys, and I saw from about 75m away as I walked to my car last night.
Despite this fresh, juicy, healthy Lincoln’s Sparrow sitting out in a highly conspicuous location on a sidewalk just outside a door, and despite the fact that I just photographed a cat at the NRC two days ago, there was the Lincoln’s Sparrow when I conducted my survey this morning:
Other than the tiny ants getting to its eyeballs, the bird was untouched. I have recorded it and will analyze it as a 4/23 casualty, even though we know that it was really a 4/22 (Earth Day) casualty. If the bird’s condition was any indication of others I’ve collected in a similar state (i.e., immaculate, but for some ant damage), then this suggests that several others I have collected as “day 0” birds might already have persisted unscavenged for the better part of a day.
The sparrow’s rects seemed fairly worn and tapered but I found no molt limit on this bird so I’m hesitant to commit to an age any more specific than AHY. The bird was in fine shape for migration with fat = 2. A close examination of the bill tip will reveal an injury that suggests it was moving at high speed when it struck the glass. Rest in peace, weary traveler.
I found this morning what looked very much like the same Carolina Wren as on June 15, trapped at the “bunting door” on the south side of the NRC. Again, the bird was panting but when I picked it up it screamed and when released it flew strongly away. I guess I need to start banding these trapped birds. (Mourning Dove carcass from 6/10 remains evident.)
Yesterday’s Mourning Dove had vanished without a trace today, so it lasted 1 day. I actually suspect that it was human intervention that removed it because predators so often leave feathers behind when dealing with Mourning Doves. This is one of those cases in which I would’ve missed the event completely had I not been here within 24 hrs of the collision.