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:
He’s pretty blue, but his molt limits reveal him to be a second year (SY) male.
Those three big feather visible on the folded wing are the tertials (aka, secondaries 7, 8, and 9 from outer to inner.
Tertials from above. On the right wing, 7 and 9 are brownish and worn but 8 is fresh and blue/black. Tert #8 has been replaced but 7 and 9 are originals from when this bird was a baby last summer. On the left wing, 8 and 9 have been replaced but #7 is original.
Paper plate and packing tape makes it a bit easier to see some things.
Left wing: alulua, greater coverts, secondaries 5 and 6, and terts 8 and 9 have been replaced. Primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries 1,2,3,4, and 7 are orignal.
Close-up of head showing trauma to lower mandible from collision.
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).
I was not able to check the NRC yesterday (9/15), but that’s when I think this Yellow Warbler actually came in and met its end in the northwestern alcove. I think it’s a HY male; fat = 2. I left the bird in place for a scavenging trial.
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.