There was a big flight of Yellow Warblers this week, culminating in tow individuals –– one trapped and one dead –– at the Noble Research Center. The collision victim was in a weird spot at the southwestern corner.
My walk to the Noble Research Center revealed two window-killed birds outside the Food and Agricultural Products building, a male Yellow Warbler and Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
I also found remains (wingtips) of the Summer Tanager and Indigo Bunting that were scavenged from the southwestern alcove.
New casualties this morning were a SY male Painted Bunting in the southwestern alcove and a male Tennessee Warbler (9.5g, fat = 1) in the northeastern alcove.
To me, these window kills are saddest when the victim is an older individual in its prime. Case in point, consider this outstanding male Yellow Warbler from this morning that senselessly met its end at the main north entrance. Note, too how conspicuous these casualties can sometimes be. As soon as I got a glimpse of the north entrance I could tell there was a casualty there.
With special guest stars James O’Connell and David Mallen, today’s survey turned up a male Indigo Bunting and a trapped Yellow Warbler at the main north entrance. (No photo of the warbler; it was a male.)
Let’s take a closer look at that Indigo Bunting:
The multiple obvious molt limits on this bird illustrate two generations of feathers on the same individual, some of which grew in last summer and some which have come in quite recently. This confirms the age of the bird as second year (SY).
Yesterday’s powerful cold front gave us this morning’s Octoberish morning, and a big flight of migrants last night. Check out this explosion of migrants in the Plains from around 10:30 last night:
At least one of those migrants, a HY-U (prob female) Yellow Warbler, made it no farther than Stillwater last night. She was in great shape with fat = 2.
The onslaught continues.
This morning, the Clay-colored Sparrow was in place and had not been touched. I was happy to not see a Gray Catbird, Painted Bunting, or Wilson’s Warbler limp on the ground, which means that I was at least successful yesterday in getting those birds away from the building.
There were, however, three new casualties today. First, there were two female Indigo Buntings, one in the southeast alcove and one along the north facing wall. I collected one and left the other in situ. The one I collected was an ASY female with fat = 2.
Female Indigo Bunting #1, collected:
Female Indigo Bunting #2, left in situ:
In the southwestern alcove, I found this gorgeous ASY male Yellow Warbler. This one had no visible fat, making me wonder if he exhausted himself as a trapped bird rather than dying suddenly from impact trauma.
Here they are together prior to internment in my freezer:
This hatch year female Yellow Warbler was cut short on her first southbound migration. Fat = 2. She was a classic “confusing fall warbler” with an olive back and yellow breast, but the clincher for her identification was the pattern of yellow inner vanes on her tail feathers. This is unique to Yellow Warbler among the North American parulids.