25 October 2012

Grasshopper Sparrow Deaths Prevalent on Monday

After an early rain event during dark hours of Monday morning in latter October, weather conditions continued to be subdued as dawn descended. There was an irregardless drizzle from heavy skies, beneath low gray, clouds. Temperatures were comfortable for a bicycle ride, especially because locally reported weather radar indicated significant precipitation had moved eastward, so there would be no rainy inundation.

The morning started with some sort of unknown event in the area to the northward, where emergency sirens were prevalent along with the bright flashing lights of an emergency situation. Traffic seemed to be blocked on the thoroughfare, which was certainly appreciated since it made it so very much easier go cross Radial Highway, in comparison to so many other days of seemingly ceaseless rush-hour traffic.

At the first of the regular route downtown, upon arrival at the CenturyLink Center Omaha, dead or disabled birds were prevalent and strewn about the west side of the structure. The first obvious carcass was a Lincoln's Sparrow. Further south were other window-strike occurrences, with a common theme obvious to identify them as Grasshopper Sparrows, dead or alive. There was also a dead Savannah Sparrow along the west wall where too many birds have died.

Another Grasshopper Sparrow had been found at this building the previous morning.

Around the route of the Monday morning outing, other window strike occurrences were discovered, obvious by finding other birds at glass walls of buildings.

An Orange-crowned Warbler was noted at the southwest corner of the Holland Performing Arts Center. Once seen, its obvious intent was to escape the setting of a notable hazard of glass and light. The bird was, thankfully, still lively, and provided many exquisite closeup views as it tried to find a proper direction. It landed on the bicycle handle-bars, and then upon the cloth of the arm of a jacket. The moments were a singular, iconic experience ever with any bird during the past three decades. Eventually the bit of a bird flew away under its own wing-driven effort, hopefully to a better space.

There are so many words to express about this building of doom for birds, but that will have to occur at another time.

Grasshopper Sparrow carcasses were found elsewhere among the urbanity. There were two at the Union Pacific Center, at the south and east side of the building. Within the place's lobby, static signs promote an effort for employees to decrease window strikes, but to no avail this day for the migrants.

On the south side of downtown, a street slick with wet meant sliding further than intended upon trying to stop the bicycle and it nearly meant intruding into an intersection where there was a stop sign, and where several vehicles where crisply moving northward, and had the right-of-way. Whew, was the resultant attitude because only by quick moves of avoidance, was collision avoided, and the route moved onto the sidewalk.

Further along and just minutes later, another Grasshopper Sparrow was found at the Omaha-Douglas Civic Center, on the north side of the atrium where a glass wall is obviously problematic for wild birds trying to make a way through the river city.

At the end of the survey route of the morning, the route along sidewalks and street continued, in the progress to go elsewhere. There was the disjunct situation where school students — as they seem to regularly do, smoke marijuana in blunts and joints — which seem be appropriate terms for an unknown drug culture, there at the Dodge Street bus stop, a short jaunt just east from Central High School. From a birdly perspective, it is much more exciting to watch how the pigeons on a church roof respond to the swoop of a Peregrine Falcon on a morning hunt.

Results of this Monday outing were more of the same, yet distinct in the chronicles because of weather and the unknown calendar for birds migrating southward in the autumn. A deadly scenario occurred for several Grasshopper Sparrows. It was a condition of weather, temperatures, seasonal timing as well as the occurrence of precipitation that were known influences.

Many other sparrows were undoubtedly making their way along the Missouri River valley in a less traumatic manner. Local birders noted their occurrence on a local bird forum, but of course, they denoted birds alive in the environment.

For just one morning, this Monday was a tragedy for Grasshopper Sparrows. They were flying southward to a winter's haven, but some ended up as carcasses among the city of Omaha.