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.
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.
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.
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.