20 June 2017 – trapped Carolina Wren

Today I came upon this stunned Carolina Wren at the northwest alcove. It looked pretty out of it but as I approached it perked up, clinging to the bricks.  I was never able to catch it and it ended up flying strongly to one of the oaks in the parking lot to the west, so I’ll count it as a survivor.

13 October 2016 – trapped Lincoln’s Sparrow

Today I found a stunned Lincoln’s Sparrow on the south portico (no photo).


The bird couldn’t fly well, but it could fly.  I decided to give it the “perch test” to determine if I should consider it to be a casualty or simply a trapped bird. Once able to catch it, I walked the bird south toward Edmond Low Library and found it a dense and secluded place to perch and rest where it might feel protected – or at least better protected than out in the open of the portico.  I was pleased to see that the bird grasped a branch strongly and seemed to perch well.  This one had me on the fence a bit, but I ultimately logged it as trapped. Though stunned, it seemed otherwise healthy with fat score = 2.

13 October 2015 – 4 sparrows, 3 dead and 1 trapped

All right, it’s been several days so I’m comfortable listing that Lincoln’s Sparrow as trapped.  It’s still in fine shape, but I watched it bump a window (gently) as it tried to evade me.  There were at least two others and I think a Nashville Warbler hanging out in the trees by the main north entrance to the NRC this morning.  It could be there are 4 trapped birds there, but I’m being conservative about how I catalog them because they are all flying strongly, etc.

Not so lucky were three other sparrows this morning.  I found a Lincoln’s Sparrow at the southeast alcove and a Lincoln’s and Song Sparrow together at the south portico.  All were in great shape with fat = 2 or 3.  The Lincoln’s were both hatch-year; the Song was after hatch-year.

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10 October 2015 – trapped Nashville Warbler

I found this trapped Nashville Warbler today, chilly in the shade on a cool morning. It didn’t look too strong when I first approached it, but it immediately perked up and flew away when I tried to see if it could perch on a nearby oak branch.

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15 June 2014 – trapped Carolina Wren

On this Father’s Day 2014, I was surprised to find a mother Carolina Wren trapped at the NRC.  This is a common species in Stillwater, of course, but rarely seen on campus.  In 5 years, I’ve found one dead and had two trapped.


This bird was in a shallow corner by the main north entrance.  She was tired – panting – but I think she was just exhausted rather than injured.   Certainly when I took hold of her (sexed by brood patch, btw), she screamed incessantly, drawing the attention of every robin, mockingbird, and starling within about 200 m.  Here’s how I first found her:


Her disposition certainly illustrates that it doesn’t take much “depth” to trap a bird.

This is right before I grabbed her (the first time):


So I carried her away from the corner and to some trees in the courtyard.  I figured it was an open enough vista to the north that she’d either take off away from the NRC immediately, or at least perch for a while first in the trees.  Nope.  She flew directly back across my left shoulder to end up here:


Now that was a first for me!

Okay, no more fooling around.  I next picked her up and took her well away from the NRC, over near Cordell Hall.  From there she flew strongly away from me and perched in a tree amid some scolding robins.

Humor at her predicament aside, this is a bird that would probably have died today – from exhaustion or predation in her vulnerable state – had I not been there poking around.