Campus Bird Migration & Nature Log  
For a Real Treat check out Marjolein's campus pictures

May 17, 2016

Oh the birding joys of mid May! Today brought a 12 warbler morning, with:


Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)  20

Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  3

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  8

American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)  1

Cape May Warbler (Setophaga tigrina)  2    

Northern Parula (Setophaga americana)  1

Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia)  2

Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica)  1

Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens)  1

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  2

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)  1

Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis)  1




Cape May Warbler - despite the name an uncommon migrant in New Jersey.





May 16, 2016

Tony Amador took this picture of a Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi) . 

Tony saw the small snake fighting with an American Robin wich likely mistook it for a tasty, big worm.



May 12, 2016

Different morning, different birds, that's the beauty of birding during migration;

todays highlights:


Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  1

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  8

Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus)  1

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  1    

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  6

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)  12

Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  1

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  1

Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia)  1

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  1

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)  1

Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)  1

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  8

Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  1

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)  3

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  1



Black-throated Green Warbler peekaboo-ing


Black-and-white Warbler doing its thing: looking what's good and tasty on the underside of a branch.


May 11, 2016


Finally a morning with great weather and good birds:  among the 26 species seen this morning were


Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)  5

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)  1    

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)  1

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  5

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  1

Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina)  1

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  8

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)  10

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  8

Northern Parula (Setophaga americana)  1

Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia)  1

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  1

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)  1

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  8

Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  1

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)  4


Sometimes birding is easy


Common Yellowthroat


The beautiful male Northern Cardinal is parking illegially ...


...while his differently beautiful (in the eye of the beholder) offspring is hiding in the bushes  


May 4, 2016

Lousy weather (almost) never means no birds. This was the first morning with a good selection of birds on campus:

 among the 27 species seen this morning were:


Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)  4

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)  1   

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  1

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)  1

Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina)  1

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  4

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)  1

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)  5

Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis)  1

Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  1

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  3

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  1

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  1

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  8

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)  3

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)  2

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  1


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (below left), these woodpeckers are only migrants on campus and ought to be in

their northern breeding areas by now. No idea what this one is still doing here.

Eastern Towhee (above right), a timely migrant




April 27, 2016


Birding is as much about birds as it is about birders. Below are 3 local "bird brains" (Feighn 2016, pers. comm.)




It's beginning, avian migrants start to drop in. First Ovenbirds, Catbirds, Woodthrush, even an early Veery touched down here.



Downy Woodpecker & crabapple                              Woodthrush



April 20, 2016


Time to wake up from hibernation, birds are heading our way. Any day now ...   Some minor highlight (= "medium lights"?) this morning: Yellow-belied Sapsucker, Hermit Thrush and singing Ruby-crowned Kinglets (see below). Birdwalks start in May!





November 16, 2015


A good show on this (more normal) chilly morning.  9 American Woodcocks (7 of them alive still), 2 Fox Sparrows (among the 6 species of sparrows, 2 American Kestrels attacking a Red-tailed Hawk, 1 Hermit Thrush, 1 late Gray Catbird and a late and beautiful Woodthrush feasting on exotic oriental bittersweet (see photo).





November 4, 2015


Bird-quiet & very mild morning, sole highlights were a Yellow-breasted Chat

(see lousy record shot below) and a Brown Creeper.


Yellow-breasted Chat


November 3, 2015


Visit from Cape May. No, not a Cape May Warbler (we had those this year already), but David La Puma, the director of the Cape May Bird Observatory.  He gave a seminar on the splendors of Radar Birding.




David in action (below).

(Sorry for that psychedelic photo, my cell phone camera is stuck in that mode)



David La Puma



Bird news:  David spotted a White-breasted Nuthatch.  This is actually quite a rarity on our campus (now only 5 records). The other regular  nuthatch, the Red-breasted Nuthatch, is in NJ much rarer but has been seen here over 30 times.  This shows that only birds that move around a lot or migrate, are prone to be seen here. 



Otherwise, we have a good selection of sparrow species present. Below is a little lecture ...



Thick bill, strong streaking on the breast (often with a thick black patch in the center of the breast)

= Song Sparrow



Dainty Bill, very little (or none) streaking on the breast =

Swamp Sparrow



And now the quizz (3 points each)




October 20, 2015


Tales from (the) Crypt(ozoology): Dr. John Crow saw it last week, Shandell Rivera caugth a glimpse of it as well.

This morning the final proof:  Mark Feighn and I were alerted to something askew when all the birds and squirrels were

sounding nervous alarm calls. Good birders that we are, we were trying to find the hawk that caused this trouble - none to be seen!

 And then Mark spotted it in the Smith planter (see below).


  Red Fox


October 14, 2015


It seems like a fairly nomal Ocotber so fare and birds are definelty moving through. As uasula any day can and will be different form the next. Beside the "regualr" birds  we had sightings of Yellow-breasted Chat, Northern Parula, Pine Warbler, Least Flycather, Yellow-throated Vireo and Winter Wren -  just to name a few.   Ovenbirds are still here and our wintering flock of White-throated Sparrow is growing strong.  So keep watching and/or come to weekly bird walks (Wednesdays at 7:45). 



Common Yellowthroat

That's what it is all about, that brief encounter with that tiny,

incredibly colorful creature inmidst the tangle: Common Yellowthroat

 (photo  Steve Gold, Oct. 13) .


Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk having breakfast on campus:

first eating a House Sparrow, it later took the squirrel for lunch (October 14).


Thirsty Gray Catbird (Oct. 11).


Yellow-breasted Chat

This Yellow-breasted Chat collided with a window but revovered well (Oct.6).





September 7, 2015


Only few migrants today: Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat (photo below).

This is good time to hear and see Common Nighthawks feeding above campus.

 I saw one at dusk a few days ago.


Common Yellowthroat


August 7, last year


Here a report form the past:

A Northern Ring-neck Snake (Diadophis punctatuts) was documented

by New Brunswick graduate student Julia Perzley at the Hill Parking Lot. 

This doubles our reptiles list (see post from May 13, 2015)!


Northern Ring-neck Snake



August 25, 2015


A slow start of the fall migration (yep, the summer gets old!) as evidenced this morning by

2 Ovenbirds, 1 Northern Waterthush, 1 Common Yellowthroat  and 1 Black-and-white Warbler.


Northern Waterthrush

Working and walking the urban edges: Northern Waterthrush



August 2015


This month typically sees the stealthy start of fall migration and a keen observer might find a few surprises.

In this case, the careful observer is our trap camera recording the Northern Waterthrush below.


Northern Waterthrush



July 2015


Quiet time on campus (bird-wise that is).  However our winged predators are quite active. 

Look out for the NJIT Red-tailed Hawks (see pictures by Mirko below) that are quite adept at catching

squirrels or young American Robins. However, whenever one of them dares to show up on our plaza a

seemingly local American Kestrel will engage them in areial dogfights (look out for that above Robeson) . 

Apprantly we have a local nesting pair closeby. Anybody knows where? 


Red-tailed Hawk  

The NJIT Red-tailed Hawks enjoying lunch (a young American Robin)

(photos by Mirko Schoenitz)


Red-taield Hawk





May 27 & 28, 2015


Still a few migrants are passing through.  Yesterday we banded a Trail's Flycatcher (Alder or Willow Flycatcher) and a late Northern Waterthrush.  Today 2 Eastern Woodpeewees and a Blackpoll Warbler.  Ovenbirds and Common Yellwthroats are still here in low numbers. It appears that a pair of Gray Catbirds are ready to breed on campus, the male (or at least the one that sings?!) has been banded by us this spring.


Easter Woodpeewee

Eastern Woodpeewee: a flycatcher which calls "peeweeh" (you guessed it)


Polephemus Moth

Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus), one of two seen on campus.

We collected this one as it had been attacked by a hornet and was severly injured.



May 19 & 20, 2015


The dominant birds these days are clearly Ovenbirds (18 caught May 19!) and Common Yellowthroats. More rare birds included:

 Magnolia Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Swainson's Thrush and Marsh Wren (one banded May 19).

Single White-throated Sparrows are reluctant to leave and hang on.



The purposeful walk of the Ovenbird


What do'ya want of me? Why do you chase me into a tree?

Don't you have enough pictures of us Ovenbirds?


Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler: jewel with wings -  photo: Mirko Schoenitz 

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole:  young male


May 15, 2015


Again different birds this morning:  Black-poll Warbler, Magnolia Warbler,

and Northern Parula among others. Ovenbirds seem to peak now, we caught 10 (with 2 recaptures from two days ago).



 Northern Parula, one of the smallest of the Wood Warblers




Ovenbird: this one crashed inti a window close to our banding station

and "decided" to recover while observing the banding operation for a while.






May 14, 2015


Busy and birdy morning:  Great-crested Flycatcher, Magnolia Warbler and Cape May Warbler were the most notables.

Red-winged Blackbird

One of the most common  birds in New Jersey, yet not that often seen on campus:

Red-winged Blackbird - for once the name fits, doesn't it?



May 13, 2015


Birdwise, May is doing what May supposed to do (at a migratory stopover site that is): there is an costant up and down of birds.  Good birds recently were Canda Warbler and White-eyed Vireo.  A lonely (loonly?) Common Loon flying over campus today was an addtion to our list. Our bird banding effort today recorded 3 speices of thurshes: Veery, Wood & Swainson's Thrush.


Common Loon: in liue of a photo, an artist (?) impression of the first record for Rutgers Newark.




Woodthrush  being reflective after receiving a shiny leg band (photo by Anthony Brusa)

Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler: as American as the cookie* named after it (photo by Anthony Brusa)


* fun fact: that cookie is called in Germany "Amerikaner"


Brown Snake

Brown Snake (photo Anthony Brusa)



May 7, 2015


Birds are trickling in slowly. Noteable was a Magnolia Warbler (and late Yellow-bllied Sapsucker) today

and yesterday a Blue-headed Vireo. 


American Goldfinch

American Goldfich: New Jersey's state bird nests on New Jersey's State University.

Look for them now near the bird info box at the "AIdekman Woods".

A pair of this pretty birds is setting up nest close to it.


Weird Bird Alert, May 1, 2015


A Whip-poor-will, a member of the nocturnal goatsucker family chose to spend his day sleeping on campus (photos below). 





Whip-poor Will


Katheleen reported that the bird actually stayed on until Monday and tried to hunt insects after dark.





April 29, 2015


Our campus bird community changing from day to day - the beauty and thrill of migration time: 

Todays highlights were 1 Baltimore Oriole, a single Yellow Warbler and a lonely Savanah Sparrow 

Full list below:

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  1     flyover

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  3     flyover

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon))  2

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  6

crow sp. (Corvus sp. (crow sp.))  2 pair collecting nest material, did not call

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)  1

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  6

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  1

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)  2

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  10

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  1

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)  1

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  6

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  1

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  4

Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  4

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  18

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  1

House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  2

American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  4

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  25



Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow:  uncommon but regular during migration here.

Note the diagnostic yellow stripe above the eye.


  I keep half an  eye on the  birds of Military Park (so at least 1.5 eyes stay on campus!), and things are heating up there as well. 

A single Black-and-White-Warbler and Yellow Warbler were nice addtions to the list there.


Military Park Newark


Yellow Warbler

A needle-nosed burst of fresh yellow:  Yellow Warbler at Military park

(The Robert Treat Hotel provides the background).


White-throated Sparrow

A very crisp White-throated Sparrow at Military Park:

the ones we see now are clearly ready to embark northwards.

Enjoy their colors (and their songs) as long as you can! 



April 29, 2015


Spring and spring migration start to  heat up. There have been no big numbers of birds yet,  however this morning Mark  and I managed to add a good number of species: Ovenbird, Eastern Towhee, Lincoln Sparrow (1 singing), Hermit Thrush, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, House Wren, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (and more).  Nice to see the crisply plumaged White-throated Sparrows that are now full of hormoens and are singing their little hearts out  (listen to their  "Oh-sweet-Canada" songs). They have enough  of New Jersey (and points South) and long for their northern boreal forests, soon they will take off.  


campus rutgers Newark


Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow - a regular and at times common migrant on campus



April 27, 2015


Not to many birds this morning, but a new species decided to drop in: Green Heron.

This bird rested on the big oak and stayed only for a few minutes.

Senisbly so, as we do not have much habitat to offer for this small fisheater. 

The Green Heron is ABA's (American Birding Association) bird of the year 2015

and it therfore makes sense that we add this beautiful wading bird to our list.



Green Heron

Early morning gift: neither Christmas nor a 'Partridge in a pear tree',

but a Green Heron in an oak tree.



April 11, 2015


I have been here early to check if spring migration is finally starting.  It sort of is,

and while some of the wintering birds  are still here (White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco),

some new arrivals were around (4 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, 1 Flicker, 1 Chipping Sparrow,1 Eastern Towhee). 

Nice bird song to be heard as well! So hang in there, spring and birds are coming! 


Red Maple

Red Maple, always the first to bloom


Time to sing: the local House Finch (left) and the migratory Junco (right)


Yellow-bellied  Sapsucker

The tree sap must be running, time to suck sap (as these Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers clearly know)


April 4, 2015


Winter is hopefully over - has to be over by now, right? - but here is a picture from the (hopefully) last snow storm.

American Woodcooks have been on campus almost every day during the second half of March,

including his one caught on trap camera in the "Smith's Woods".

American Woodcock



2014 Statistics





Oct. 23, 2014


A visit to our green neighbor: Military Park 



The freshly reseeded north lawn is currently a magnet for migratory sparrows.

An this rainy day, I counted 480 (!!) White-throated Sparrows and few of other species

 (Song,  Swamp, and Savannah Sparrows)


White-throated Sparrow



The new plantings in the park already provide some needed cover for migratory birds:

can you spot the American Woodcock in the picture above?


American Woodcock


Oct. 13, 2014


A non-avian, yet (formely) flying casualty found and photographed by Mirko Schoenitz. 

Douglas Morrison identified it as a Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus).


Little Brown Bat



Oct. 11, 2014


Overcast at night and rains in the morning kept the birds mostly grounded. Much of the same birds from yesterday are still around and few addtional warblers dropped in.  Since fall is famously "confusing warbler season", here three pictures of a little guy found in the  cedars along Warren Street.






Here is what I think is the solution to this riddle:

- yellow area behind check patch

- yellow streak at breast/chest center

- indistinct striped belly and chest

- fine bill

- yellow-green rump

-greenish secondaries

All this seem to hint to Cape May Warbler - hatch year female

... but don't try this at home!



Palm warbler

Palm Warbler: inquistive look and whipping tail


Wood Thrush

Wood Thrush: this thrush, never common on campus, is rarely seen in

New Jersey after the begining of October.


American Robin

American Robin:  most likely banded here a few days ago.



Oct. 10, 2014


This has been one of these mornings.  Apparantly the conditions were just right, and many birds dropped in to rest and feed.

Our small nature planters had to serve lots of food today.


Below is our eBird list for the day (36 species):


Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  30     2 flocks going SW

Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)  1     1 female hunting

Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  3     flyover

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon))  3

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  6

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)  2

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  1

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  1

Common Raven (Corvus corax)  1     passing several times low and calling

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  2

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)  1    

Swainson's Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)  3

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)  1

Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina)  1

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  8

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  12     5 banded

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)  2

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)  2

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  30     still at roost

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)  2

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  15

Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia)  1

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  5     one windowkill

Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens)  1     banded

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)  5

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  10

Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)  1

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  25

Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)  5

Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  20

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  25

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  3

Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)  3

American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  2

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  30


Purple Finch

Purple Finch: one of the three seen today, this large billed finch is not common here

(the simlar House Finch is the regular species).


Gray Catbird: we still have good numbers of these common guys around.

However berry stocks are getting low ...


Sadly to note that this is our campus as well: birds killed by window impact.

Clockwise from top: White-throated Sparrrow, Lincoln Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ovenbird.





Sept. 24, 2014

Migration is rolling.  Bird banding has started as well.  You will find us out there Wednesdays and Friday mornings.



RUNBO* in full operation:  *Rutgers University Newark Bird Observatory©


Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole, female


Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager, female

Sept. 7, 2014

Some migration: It is still feels like summer but birds are on the move already. This morning brought several visitors: a few Ovenbirds, about 10 Common Yellowthroats, 2 American Redstarts, and single Magnolia Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, and Canda Warbler.  A single  Eastern Wood Peewee capped it off.



Not directly bird related: bird's nest fungus in the Smith planter.

Sept. 4, 2014


Rutgers Newark is for Lovebirds:  Merljin's vast tropical expercience helped him to spot a tropical parot yesterday. The lonely  Lovebird was still on campus today and all the trials  to catch him proved futile. That bird is activley feeding on grass seed (Digitaria, see Kylee Huff's photo on the left below), so there is a chance the bird will make it for a while.


This Parrot is a Yellow-collared Lovebird (drawing from Handbook of the Birds of the World).


May 28, 2014


It ain't over till the fat bird sings, or so they say.  However, today was the last bird walk and the ew participants saw (and/or heard) only few birds: Ovenbirds, Northern Waterthrush, Blackpoll Warbler, Swainson's Thrush, American Goldfinch, Cedar Waxwings, etc.


Common Yellowthroat




May 26, 2014


We are nearing the end of migration, but some birds are still here. Ovenbirds and Common Yellowthroats (see picture below) are still going strong and a single Northern Waterthrush, a Magnolia Warbler, a few Swainson's Thrushes and a late White-throated Sparrow add to the local avifauna.


Common Yellowthroat




The trap camera never sleeps:  a new mammal species for our list



Mourning Warbler

A first for this year, Mourning Warbler. This handsome and relatively rare warbler

is hard to see as it prefers thick underbrush. The trap camera sees it all.




May 20, 2014


Not too many birds on campus, yet we saw Gray-cheeked  (bird # 72 of the year) and Swainson's Thrush, Northern Parula, American Redstart, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler and flyby Cedar Waxwings.  Good numbers of Ovenbirds and few White-throated Sparrows are still here.




Ovenbird:  yes, they can sit on trees (if they need to)


Canada Warbler

"trapped" by the trap camera (May18):  Canada Warbler


May 14, 2014 2nd birdwalk

much quieter today, complete day list here:

May 13, 2014


Rutgers Newark

(Almost) bird-eye's view of our little green oasis. The plaza as seen from Hill Hall's  9th floor

White-throated Sparrow

In a few days they will be gone north:  White-throated Sparrow feasting on dandelion seeds 



The RUN flagship bird: Ovenbird near Hill Hall 


May 11 and 12

"Unseen" birds:  additions from the trap camera at the Smith Planter "pond":


Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Nashville Warbler, (presumed) Marsh Wren


May 10, 2014


American Robin

Viewed from the lab window at Boyden 3 floor: American Robin


Swamp Sparrow

Who says a sparrow needs to be drab: Swamp Sparrow


Swainson's Thrush

Swainson's Thrush, when the Hermit Trushes are gone, these guys move through


Northern Waterthrush

Sometime even our Northern Waterthrushes remember that they are shy skulkers


Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler: If you get the right angle the (reflective) blue comes out


Cape May Warbler

And here the star of the day: Cape May Warbler, nicely hidden by Eastern Redbud


May 7, 2014


Update: It's still here!  When I left my office at 9pm (yes we work/play hard in academia!) there Chuck was perched on the mist-net pole close to its former day roost. So if anybody will try to see it tomorrow, it might be still there.  Please do not  enter the planters though, we (a) keep the area as on-campus nature reserve and (b) it's an active research area with mist nets, insect pitfall traps, permanent research plots etc. 


Chuck-wills's Widow



Chuck-will's Widow

Oops, forgot to use red-eye reduction!



May 7, 2014 - 1st birdwalk

The obvious highlight was the Chuck-will's Widow of course, but there was a good number of other birds as well.

Complete day list here:

Here everybody is enjoying the visiting Chuck

Red-tailed  Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk (thinking of squirrels)


Black Swallowtail, female (Papilio polyxenes)


THE BIRD is still here! 

Here's a map on where to find its roosting location. Please don't spook it.



Chuck roosts on the barren, t-shaped spruce trunk in the center of the picture



Chuck today




May 6, 2014


... Crazy thing happend on my way to school ... I saw (the bird that might have inspired) the  Jersey Devil

I flushed it and it had the decency to rest breifly on a thick branch to allow photographic documentation.

So here it is


So here it is, the bird with the enchanting (and onomatopoeic) name: Chuck-will's widow

a new bird species for campus (#142)



you can see Hill Hall in the background (no photoshop!).


Chuck-wills' widows are southern birdsas that are reaching the northern edge of their range

southern Jersey (e.g.,  Cape May County). According to the database in there have been only very few

records north of the Raritan River.


Wood Thrush



Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush


May 4, 2014


I had to be on campus this Sunday morning again (fieldtrip!) and again, new birds came in.

Among them a single Great Crested Flycatcher and a singing Chestnut-sided Warbler

More photographic impressions below (including a forensic riddle) .  


Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush in our campus wilderness



Worm-eating Warbler

A sad and rare record:  Worm-eating Warbler found near the windows of the

library. Only the third known record for Rutgers Newark.


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Splendid looking, male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  The breeding plummaged

female (see pics from the days before) was also present. Are they up to something?

Unlikely, as the species only nest in NJ in the mountains in the NE.


Norway Rat


And here  the promised forensic riddle.  This "crime scene" photo seem to indicate that somethig

killed a Norway Rat (see the tail aand foot on top), there was also some brown fur on the scene (not seen

on the photo).  But do have rats such (beautiful) green entrails?  Does anybody know?  



May 3, 2014


Some photographic impression from today.  Bird things change now rapidly ...



Our flagship bird is back in good numbers - don't miss them

(next bird wlak next week Wednesday)



White-troated Sparrow

Spring makes for brillant White-throated Sparrows



Lincoln's Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow (no top hat - yes, I know not named after Honest Abe ...



Field Sparrow

Field Sparrow - a regular but fairly rare visitor


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Our late staying female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker really likes the cedar tree,

I hope the tree does not mind that much.


Yellow-belleid Sapsucker





May 2, 2014


Spring migration is picking up now. A check this morning resulted in 25 species on campus, among them:

 3 Chimney Swifts, 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 1 Hermit Thrush,  12 Gray Catbirds, 1 Golden-crowned Kinglets, 2 Ovenbirds, 1 Northern Waterthrush,1 Palm Warbler, 1 Black-and-white Wabler, 1 Eastern Towhee, 10 Chipping Sparrows, 2 Song Sparrows, 1 Swamp Sparrow, 4 Baltimore Orioles.  


Grey Catbird

Suddenly there were Grey Catbirds everywhere.  At least 12 were here this morning.


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker: there is still at least one on campus (this one is

an adult female. Look for her  in the two Atlantic Cedars.




April 16, 2014


Addition to campus biodiveristy found near Boyden Hall - not a pipe cleaner (who is using these anymore anyway?):

Wooly bear caterpillar (larva of the tiger moth Pyrrharctica isabella)


April 12, 2014


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker: the sap seems to be running again


Open House at RUN: Manpreet and Dominic inform potential studensts about Rutgers critters


Brown Snake

Another open house embassador: Northen Brown Snake (one of Norman's tribe)


American Robin

The American Robins are dressed for spring



November 13, 2013


The cold weather induced American Woodcocks to move south and a score of them chose to stop over on campus.  We counted 9 of them today, many collided with windows and even buildings.  If you look carefully, you see that the one on the photo below has a bloody bill.




Who says that the 'young generation' has bad eating habits?

This squirrel youngster is perfectly happy with a nutritious piece of apple.

As squirrels say: an apple a day keeps the Red-tailed Hawk away.




November 11, 2013


The single male Merlin is still here, it (he) was hunting this morning early near Hill Hall; too many tasty sparrows on campus for this bird to leave yet.  Still around are some Hermit Thrushes, the late Ovenbird, one Eastern Towhee and one Catbird.  A dead Woodcock in the Smith planter (photo) reminds us of the perils of migration.






November 7, 2013


It seems that fall migration is calming  down now.  The number of migratory sparrows is down, but about 8 Hermit Thrushes and a lingering Ovenbird indicate that the real winter is not here yet.  A single Merlin again (or still) was around and fed on our "precious" Sparrows.


Potential food chain:  Merlin and Hermit Thrush



November 3, 2013


Being a sparrow on canpus is not all candy ... at least when birds like this Merlin stop by to refuel.


3 Woodcocks were of note today as well.


Winter Wren at pre-dawn



October 30, 2013


Last bird walk of the season.  Sparrows are dominating the scene: many White-throated Sparrows , good numbers of Song Sparrows and Juncos and some  Swamp and Chipping Sparrows, 1 Field Sparrow.  Seen also:  single Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Common Yellowthroat and Eastern Towhee, plus a few Ruby-crowned Kinglets.  2 American Kestrels stopped by. 


Stunned Dark-eyed Junco at the Library (left) and record shot of the Field Sparrow



















This Hermit Thrush appears to be camera-shy and stays

well outside reach of the trap camera it sits on (photo M. Schoenitz). 


Common Ravens are typically seen here as fly-overs or give distant views when sitting on the rooftops. 

Note the "mighty" beard that separates the raven from a mere crow (photo M. Schoenitz).


October 28, 2013


Mirko Schoenitz found this freshly dead Whip-poor-will at the New Street Plaza.  This is the second we noted on campus.

End of October is very late for this species in New Jesey, and according to eBird this one seems to be latest ever reported in the state!


photos: M. Schoenitz



October 27, 2013


Our Urban Forest


Some of the Swamp Sparrows we see here are quite brightly colored


American Kestrel surveying the scene from the top of Boyden 



October 26, 2013


Two pictures taken by Marjolein Schat show that our Ovenbird(s) does quite well. 



October 23, 2013


Sparrow Fallout!!  Newark Mayor Cory Booker (now Senator-elect) recently said that "the most common bird in Newark recently is the crane".

Today more than 200 Chipping Sparrows proved him wrong. Add to that about 110 White-troated Sparrows, 20 Song Sparrows, 15 Swamp Sparrows, 4 Eastern Towhees, 15 Dark-eyed Juncos (the latter two are technically sparrows), 1 Lincoln's Sparrow, and  as rarities: 2 Clay-colored Sparrows and 1 Lark Sparrow (new species for Campus!) - then you have a sparrow fallout! Other good birds were 2 continuing Ovenbirds (late date for NJ), the first American Woodcock of the fall (sadly as a window kill) and hunting American Kestrel and Sharp-shinned Hawk (reducing the sparrow number by a bit).

A great morning to be on campus, Steve, Mirko and Kathleen who joined me for the bird walk will remember this chilly moring.



Chipping Sparrows: left adult, right immature


Aiding a recovering window strike (one of at least 6 Chipping Sparrows) out of harms way


Late but fit: Ovenbirds seem to gain weight on campus even this late in the year, this shows

Julian Rondon's research. And don't worry about obese birds, this little guy needs all the fat ist can have

- a long flight south awaits.

October 13, 2013


At least one Winter Wren can be seen on campus. These tiny needle-billed stub-tails are sometime trustingly in the open but most of the time skulk in the undergrowth.






Brown Thrasher in apple heaven (at the lower Hill Hall Lot)



October 10, 2013


Student Melanie Zarabadipour has two automatic trap camera posed in our campus wilderness. While the main purpose of these cameras is to learn more  about night critters, the camera aiming at the little pond near Smith Hall documents a lot of bird activity as well. As you can see below, on October 10 exactly at 2:47pm we had a  - otherwise unnoticed - rarity visiting:  a Marsh Wren (note the pearl pattern on the nape and back).  This is the 5th record of this shy marsh species on our campus (twice in May and 3 times in October).  Who knows, this species could me more frequent here?


Melanie tending to the trap camera in the urban wilderness right on campus



October 9, 2013

Four concerned students (sorry I did not get your names) brought me a stunned and likely injured Northern Flicker today that they had found near the parking deck.  We placed it in a box to rest and I released it later in nice forest at the Watchung Ridge.  The bird seemed to be fine (see photos), thank you concerned students!


The cleary stunned bird at left (photo Kimberly Plank), peeking calmy but alertly from his box at the release site

(middle) and seemingly happy at his tree after taking off on its own accord. 



Flickers are gorgeous!



October 9, 2013

A rather big push of migratory birds arrived on campus and we were able to see a good number of them on the weekly Wednesday bird walk.

Among the more notable were:


Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  1

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)  5

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1

Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens)  1

Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius)  1

Common Raven (Corvus corax)  1

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  1

Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis)  1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  3 

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)  2  (both window strikes)

Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina)  1

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  4

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)  1

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)  2 

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  6

Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum)  2

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  2

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)  4

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  3

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  1

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  35

Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  5

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  80

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  10

Song Sparrow: This morning brought a major push of sparrows.

The mighty Common Raven alights for a few moments on Aidekman: note that massive bill!

October 5, 2013

A quiet Saturday on campus - meant to catch up with some work - turned to be a quite birdy day.

Full eBird list for the day

Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  3

Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)  5

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  3

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)  3

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  4

Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)  20

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  4    

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)  1    

Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens)  1

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  2

Common Raven (Corvus corax)  1

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  1

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)  1

Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)  1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  6

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  4

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  10

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)  1

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)  2

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  30

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  2

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)  6

Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  1

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  20    

American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)  1

Mangnolia Warbler (Setopahga magnolia) 1

Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum)  10

Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus)  1

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  4

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  3

Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  3   

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  12

House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  2

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  35


Note the waxy scale insect on the stem and while you are looking the photo,

there is a potential, dinosaurian predator on it as well, can you spot it?



Palm Warbler and Brown Thrasher both use the grass lawns


...  as is this Northern Flicker


Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers need trees to - well - suck sap (How much sap does the sapsucker suck ...?)



Our local American Kestrels are not too fond of the local Common Ravens




October 2, 2013


Our first bird-walk of the fall produced a good array of birds and great views of both kinglet species (a good number of  Ruby-crowned and at least one Golden-crowned),  Brown Thrasher, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, incredibly tame Common Yellowthroats  and others. The single,  first-of-season Junco reminded us that  - despite the above 80 degrees - winter must come enventually. 



Pictures above by Anthony Brusa, 

top row: Ruby-crowned Kinglet; bottom row: Brown Trasher and Common Yellowthroat  
















Dark-eyed Junco:

the first of the snowbirds







October 1, 2013


Despite the summery weather its is October after all and the birds seem to know it.  This morning saw the first big migration push of the season and once gain our campus was awash (is that the right word ?)  with birds. The miracle that is migration did it its thing again.

Among the 31 species were:


Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)  8

Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens)  2

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  3

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  2

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  1

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  12

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)  3

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)  3

Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis)  1

Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  3

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  15

American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)  2

Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia)  1

Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata)  3

Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum)  1

Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus)  8

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  2

Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)  6

Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  4    

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  15

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  1  


A few record shots for the day:

Lincoln's Sparrow*, House Wren, White-crowned Sparrow (a semi-rarity on campus)

     * not named for Honest Abe but for Thomas Lincoln who went with Audubon on his 'Labrador Expedition' in 1833 on which this species was discoverd


September 24, 2013


As far as birds are concerned September was not too eventful here (yet). We got ome good birds for our (now) annual Bioblitz last week and this mornng proved to be be quite interesting: 1 Gray-cheeked Thrush, 1 Brown Thrasher, good numbers of Catbirds, 1 Lincoln Sparrow. Regretably also the first window casualties were found. Of the four dead  birds collected, two were actually Mourning Warblers, a species quite rare on campus (and for that matter anywhere in New Jersey).


Brown Thrasher: despite being quite large most thrashers are quite shy and seldom seen for long in the open. This one at least risks an eye.




September 11, 2013


While we having the last days of the summer (maybe) birds slowly getting ready for the big migration push.  While there were not too many this morning (1 Magnolia Warbler, a House Wren, A Carolina Wren, a few Common Yellowthroats and Ovenbird),  a welcome (and in its marsupial way also cute) visitor (or resident?) showed up.



Cute looks for sure      .......   Virginia Opossum (our one and only marsupial)


 ... but can something with a tail like that ever be truly cute?



House Wren and Ovenbird - both were quite alarmed to have an marsupial in their midst (and did not mind me much)



September  6, 2013


Catch and release rescue operation:

a Black-and-white Warbler was found stunned (a window strike), was allowed to rest a bit and succesfully relased.

photo: Anthony Brusa









August 22, 2013



I hate to break the news but summer is on its last legs (how many legs does summer have?). One good sign for tht is that birds starting to move (which is nice, of course).  There have been 1-2 Carolina Wrens on campus in the weks past (post-breeding dispersal, so no real migration yet), but today a few early migrants on campus (4 Common Yellowthroats, 1 Ovenbird, 1 Northern Waterthrush) were the vanguard of what to come. Below I posted a very distant photo shot of the local male American Kestrel sitting on Life Science Center  1. 



July 2, 2013


WILD Orchids on campus!


Broadleaf Helleborine

Epipactis helleborine , Ochidaceae, Orchid family


This the only strictly Eurasian orchid that grows wild in New Jersey. Though a non-native volunteer, this plant adds to our biodiversity.

Enjoy our only wild orchid  on campus!


These wild plants are not new to campus but it appears that they are doing much better than in the years before.



Have  look closer a the individual flowers,  they might be "weeds" but they are still precious orchids.


This species appears to have a lot variation to its flowers (green variety  on the left, purple variety on the right)



June 21, 2013


There is still a lone singing Ovenbird on campus. One can listen to its ringing song early in the morning.

 Another special bird this morning was a very late, single White-throated Sparrow.

As you can see by the abundance (=average number of birds seen on a given date)  graph below,

both species  normally vacate campus during the late spring /summer.

We normally do not expect them back before Mid September (WT Sparrow) or end or August (Ovenbird).

Note that the graph shows only data collected on campus.


 Image provided by eBird ( and created June 21, 2013.

Mourning Dove pair: you supply the caption ...



June 5, 2013


Just when you thought migration is over some late birds rush in (or hang on):


Gray Catbird  1

Ovenbird  2

Mourning Warbler  1     female (adult?) feeding on ground at Smith planter

Common Yellowthroat  1

American Redstart  1

Magnolia Warbler  1     adult male

White-throated Sparrow  1  (very late in NJ, photo below)  


                                                                                Across MLK: Double security at NJIT



June 4, 2013


a few late surprises: 


Yellow-rumped Warbler 1 (this is the first we see this season!)

Magnolia Warbler 1

Swainson's Thrush: 1 (photos below)



June 3, 2013


Now that the bird migration came to end (or just a lull?)  it's time to give the rest our urban nature some kind consideration

 (or can I say "admiration"?).

This morning while parking at the Bradley lot, I saw this magnificent flowering display:


Verbascum blatteria, Moth Mullein




That's what Wikipedia has to say:


"A native of Europe, Asia, and North Africa, the moth mullein has naturalized in most of North America since its introduction. 
It was first recorded in Pennsylvania in 1818, and was recorded in Michigan in 1840. It has since been found in almost every
one of the continental United States, as well as in southern Canada and even Hawaii. 
In the United States, itís found most abundantly along the east coast."



May 30, 2013


Last bid walk this spring. Spring migration appears to be almost over. Highlights:  1 Acadian Flycatcher, still one 1 Northern Waterthrush, 1 Yellow Warbler, still a few Ovenbirds and Common Yellowthroats,  1 Great Blue Heron flying over. 


Later that day 2 Cedar Waxwings (photo below)  stopped by.


May 23, 2013

Birdwalk. Little to be seen but a few fleeting glimpse of the remaining Marsh Wren (from May 21)


Red-tailed Hawk on top of Boyden (photo Anthony Brusa)



May 22, 2013

Quiet morning with banding highlights:


Canada Warbler (female) : only our second on campus






































Least Flycatcher



May 21, 2013


A rather quite morning, yet with a some surprises.  Not too many birds around but  a few highlights


Acadian Flycatcher  1     1 caught and banded, called, 2nd record for campus

Marsh Wren  1     singing in a dense shrub, 4th record for campus

American Robin  8

Cedar Waxwing  3

Ovenbird  8

Northern Waterthrush  2

Black-and-white Warbler  1

Common Yellowthroat  10

Blackpoll Warbler  1

Black-throated Blue Warbler  1

Swamp Sparrow  1

White-throated Sparrow 1 (getting late for those)



The now (starting to be) infamous NJIT Red-tailed Hawk swiped  another of our Rutgers squirrels (photo below)



Acadian Flycatcher:  these flycatchers are notoriously hard to identify, even in the hand. 

I find it much easier to distinguish them by their call and songs and luckily this one called for us. 



WANTED: Ovenbirds with color bands.  Julian Rondon is studying the foraging ecology of these little birds.

 I you see one please note the color combination (this one is: right aluminum over yellow, left green over red)  and location and tell us about it.



                                  Marsh Wren: this out-of-place individual spend almost all day singing in a dense shrub near Boyden Hall


Caught red-tailed on camera: The NJIT hawk carries off another Rutgers squirrel




May 16, 2013


Great morning for a bird walk. We tallied 39 species (maybe a record?) , among those 11 species of wood warbles, 4 flycatchers, 5 sparrows, 4 thrushes....


Here is a copy of the eBied report:


Herring Gull  2     flyover

Rock Pigeon  2

Mourning Dove  4

Chimney Swift  6

Eastern Wood-Pewee  1

Willow Flycatcher  1     banded

Least Flycatcher  1

Great Crested Flycatcher  1

Blue Jay  12

Common Raven  1

Veery  1

Swainson's Thrush  2

Wood Thrush  2

American Robin  12

Gray Catbird  15

Northern Mockingbird  2

European Starling  15

Cedar Waxwing  10

Ovenbird  15

Northern Waterthrush  2

Black-and-white Warbler  1

Common Yellowthroat  12

American Redstart  1

Cape May Warbler  1   male singing

Northern Parula  2

Magnolia Warbler  2

Chestnut-sided Warbler  1

Blackpoll Warbler  1

Black-throated Blue Warbler  2

Song Sparrow  1

Lincoln's Sparrow  3

Swamp Sparrow  2

White-throated Sparrow  24

White-crowned Sparrow  1

Northern Cardinal  4

Common Grackle  2     flyover

Baltimore Oriole  1

House Finch  4

House Sparrow  25


left: photo Anthony Brusa

The clear highlight of the morning: Cape May Warbler (3rd record on campus)


Northern Parula


Great Crested Warbler


Willow Flycatcher (?), these flycatchers are hard to ID, without their call that is.



May 14, 2013


Chilly morning with some birds; best of show:  Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green Warbler, Magnolia Warbler,

Veery (2 caught and banded), Ruby-throated Hummingbird (briefly checking out the tulips).


Happy couple despite the name:  Mourning Doves


May 12, 2013


Mother's Day special:  Using a spotting scope I could confirm that the Common Raven are indeed successfully nesting on the radio tower about 0.4 miles

from campus. I was able to see at least 2 almost fledged young ones flapping theri wings 


Veery  1

Hermit Thrush  1    

Wood Thrush  1

Gray Catbird  10

Ovenbird  6     1 window kill at Dana Library

Common Yellowthroat  15     (1 window kill)

Hooded Warbler  1    1i adult male as window kill (collected)

Black-throated Blue Warbler  1     1 window kill female at Dana Library

Chipping Sparrow  2

Song Sparrow  1

White-throated Sparrow  8

Indigo Bunting 1



New but sad news:  our first Hooded Warbler (birds  # 141) found as window strike



    This Hermit Thrush wears its band with pride but is in trouble. Its left wing is not fully functionally.

    Hermit Thrushes normally have left us for the North by now, but this has to linger.


Common Raven over Boyden Hall (the happy mother?)  and Northern Cardinal 



May 11, 2013


Good banding morning.


Woodthrush                                                                                                    Least Flycatcher (photos Melissa Sanchez)



May 10, 2013


Finally, migrants drop in like birds form the sky.

Highlights this morning:


Red-tailed  Hawk 2: hunted a starling on the plaza

Chimney Swift  5

Blue Jay  1

Common Raven  2

House Wren  1

Gray Catbird  12

Northern Mockingbird  2

Brown Thrasher  1

Ovenbird  8    

Northern Waterthrush  1   

Black-and-white Warbler  2

Nashville Warbler  1

Common Yellowthroat  5

American Redstart  1

Yellow Warbler  2

Black-throated Blue Warbler  2

Chipping Sparrow  2

Savannah Sparrow  1

Song Sparrow  1

Lincoln's Sparrow  1

Swamp Sparrow  1

White-throated Sparrow  25

Baltimore Oriole  1

American Goldfinch  2



May 9, 2013


The bad weather held most  bird walk participants (thanks Steve) at  bay - but not the birds. Finally bird migration seemed to pick up a bit.




Gray Catbird  5

Ovenbird  3    

Northern Waterthrush  1   

Black-and-white Warbler  2

Common Yellowthroat  2

Northern Parula  1    

Yellow Warbler  2

Chipping Sparrow  2

Swamp Sparrow  1

White-throated Sparrow  4

Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1


An American Kestrel was seen carrying food to NE seems that there is a nest there. 



May 6, 2013


1 pair of adult Red-tailed Hawks spend some time soaring low above the plaza.  Judging by the frenetic reaction of an American Kestrel the latter thought it was his territory.



May 3, 2013


Julian caught a surprise: the second Kentucky Warbler on campus (the first was window kill end of April 2009). Pictures of the beauty below.


 photos: Julian Rondon



Scarce on campus:  Veery (photo Julian Rondon)


May 2, 2013


The first bird walk of 2013 had excellent weather but not many birds:  a a distance we saw the 2 Common Ravens sitting on "their" radio tower (possible nest site) and among the very few migrants were one nice male Common Yellowthroat  (found by Jeanne) ) and  Gray Catbird (with a band).



April 24, 2013


The birds are still taking it slow. This morning did not bring many birds to our campus.  What is here seem to be lingering birds as quite a few of them have bands:  one Song Sparrow, one Swamp Sparrow and one banded Northern Waterthrush.   Somewhat of a rarity were 7 flyover Double-crested Cormorants. Still here are Towhees and a lone Pine Warbler.


Eastern Towhee                                                                                                                            Common Raven (the little blimp on the right)
                                                                                                                                                            near a potential nest site close to campus                           



April 21, 2013


Slow, cold morning. Highlight was a very common bird that is nevertheless rare on campus: Tufted Titmouse (photo below) .

Like Black-capped Chickadee or White-breasted Nuthatch (both very common in NJ), this little fellow make it only rarely to our urban green spot.  

Other good birds were: Northern Waterthrush (with band), most likely banded 2 days ago) and Brown Thrasher.


Tufted Titmouse: this one is only the 4th known record on campus

(Connecticut Warbler is more frequent!)


April 19, 2013


Not many birds on campus but quite a diverse assembly nevertheless; highlights:


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1

Downy Woodpecker  1

Blue Jay  4

Common Raven  2   - these "giant crows" are again more frequent on campus

Red-breasted Nuthatch  1

Hermit Thrush  2

Northern Waterthrush  1     banded by Julian Rondon

Palm Warbler  1    

Pine Warbler  1

Eastern Towhee  1

Chipping Sparrow  3

White-throated Sparrow  4

Dark-eyed Junco  1

Common Grackle  1



Palm Warbler: caught, banded and photographed by Julian Rondon


Shadbush (Amelanchier) is flowering now



April 17, 2013


Even thought he spring weather slowed down a bit birds are a moving through. migratory highlights today:


Northern Flicker  1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2

Hermit Thrush  2

Black-and-white Warbler  1

Eastern Towhee  4

Chipping Sparrow  10

Field Sparrow  1     banded

Song Sparrow  10

Swamp Sparrow  6

White-throated Sparrow  15

Dark-eyed Junco  10


Field Sparrow: this handsome little fellow is a scarce visitor on campus.

However this is already the second one Julian banded this year.



April 9, 2013


Spring is coming indeed and so are the birds & flowers. Here are the highlights of this morning:


Downy Woodpecker  1

Northern Flicker  3

Golden-crowned Kinglet  4

American Robin  12

Palm Warbler  2

Pine Warbler  1

Eastern Towhee  1

Song Sparrow  10

Swamp Sparrow  1

White-throated Sparrow  2

Fox Sparrow 1

Dark-eyed Junco  12

Northern Cardinal  2

Common Grackle  3

House Finch  2


Golden-crowned Kinglet, cuter is none.                                                         Red Maple in full flower




YEAR OF THE SNAKE it is     


Megan found this Brown Snake last November on the plaza.

Today two more were seen by Bethan and Julian.

Keep your eyes peeled.



April 8,  2013


Our campus awakes after a really long winter. Not only President Barchi visited today, also some of the early spring migrants were seen.

Mark Feign reports at least 4 Golden-crowned Kinglets and singing Pine Warbler. A Common Raven flew over.

Mark took this picture (of a Golden-crowned Kinglet). 
































November 2, 2012


Cooper's Hawk (male) looming above ...


.... and paying a brief visit to Julian's net!



Common Raven (formerly not so common and was

almost extinct in NJ) soars above campus



Ruby-crowned Kinglet


November  1, 2012 Post Sandy


This old Callery Pear finally broke in the hurricane/superstorm. It already took a hit last year in the October Blizzard and is now a goner.

It is being dismantled as I type this (Nov.2 ).  



These two guys stumbled onto campus post Sandy.

Black-capped Chickadees might be quite common in New Jersey but they are the exception

on campus. With these we have only 4 records in our database.

 Campus is strange place - bird-wise - here it's easier to find a Mourning Warbler than a Chickadee.


photo by Marjolein Schat


October 1, 2012


Indigo Bunting (young male , note the hint-of-blue feathers starting to come in),

quite rare on campus


Blue Jay, the second ever that Julian caught





September 29, 2012



Male American Kestrel with NJIT as a backdrop.  a pair of Kestrels nests in the neighborhood and visit campus frequently.

American Kestrels are dramatically on the decline in NJ and  2012 was the first year ever that NJ

had more nesting Bald Eagles (100 pairs!) than kestrels. We should be proud of Newark!


September 23, 2012


Marvelously clear sky brought hawks on the move. Here a section of a kettle of Broad-winged Hawks right above campus (as seen from the roof of Boyden Hall) .

In about 1 hour almost 110 hawks passed by at very high altitude:




This young Brown-headed Cowbird, a rarity on campus,  is here fpor a atl least 2 weeks already and

constantly hangs out with House Sparrows. It seems the foster parents of this bird  (of a brood parasite species)

were House Sparrows.



Record shot: a Savannah Sparrow, a species of grasslands that is out of place on campus and therefore quite rare.




September 19, 2012


Migration is in almost full swing and the day of the BioBlitz yielded 23 species (most day now have more though):


        Megan and the Magnolia Warbler of the day.



Blackpoll Warbler


September  16, 2012


At home at Rutgers: American Goldfinch feeding on Echinacea in the first sustainable garden.


























Rare window kill: Clay-colored Sparrow (at least that's what we think it is)



September  11, 2012



Clearly migration has started and already unusual birds are showing up.

This morning Julian got this Mourning Warbler, if recollect this correctly the 3 record for our campus:




May 3, 2012


New birds are arriving every day. In the last days we had a number of warbler species, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, etc. Clearly a good reason to come and watch what's new. Today's highlight was a gorgeous Blackburnian Warbler. But the color-award goes to this one (see photo below):



Not all birds have good names. Cape May Warblers are not too common in Cape May,

Palm Warblers nest in boreal bogs, ... you get the drift.

But this one got a fine and fitting name: Y.....w Warbler (you fill the blanks)




April 30, 2012


This spring's migration is strange, some single birds passed through early but the big wave is still to come. Julian's banding operation has started but not many birds make into the nets,   YET ...

Birds today included: 1 Brown Thrasher (banded), 1 Baltimore Oriole, 2 Northern Water thrushes, Ovenbirds, and the first,  crisp Common Yellowthroat (see photo below).




March 14, 2012



It clearly feels like spring and some shrubs are starting to leaf out. As predicted on eBird ( there is some bird movement noticeable on campus.  This morning I saw my first of season Eastern Phoebe, 18 Song Sparrows and the below shown Fox Sparrow.

Paul Axel-Lute saw an American Woodcock yesterday.



Fox Sparrow. These fox-colored songbirds are regular on campus but nevertheless rare (2-10 per year)



November 8, 2011


Migration is slowing down and soon Julian will fold the nets  for the season,

but in the meanwhile birds are still passing through.



                                                                    Fall on campus:  Can you see the net? Most birds don't.



Scarce bird on campus: Field Sparrow                            A Common Raven is making a brief pass in our airspace.

                                                                                                    What are they up to?


November 5, 2011


Cold, yet nice morning with a good number of species around:  3 (at least) Woodcocks, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Palm Warbler, Ovenbird, Gray Catbird, 2 Ravens, 2 Peregrines, 1 Field Sparrow (thanks to Sean and Andy), etc.



A late morning highlight was this little guy: Nashville Warbler


Where's Waldo the Woodcock? There are two of them actually, hunkering down near Smith Hall

(photo Sean Sime)





























Female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (photo Sean Sime) left and adult male on the right.  Note the different amount of red (or the lack of it)

on our sapsuckers, most  individuals we see here are different and allow us to tell them apart quite nicely (natural color-coding!).



November 1, 2011 - The bird of Wotan returns to Newark



This is an awful picture of a nice bird; with some Halloween relevance. 


A Common Raven as seen from the roof of Boyden Hall. Ravens provide an interesting local story. This bird  -  once a symbol of the New Jersey's wild - formerly did nest only in the mountains of New Jersey's NW and in the cliffs of the Palisades along the Hudson.  Then in 2006 a pair began to nest at Snake Hill in Secaucus (less than 5 miles away from campus - as the crow [raven] flies). I started seeing Ravens in Newark in 2009 and since the fall of 2010 they are regularly to be seen (or heard: note the rough, deep call of the raven) above campus. Last Sunday I witnessed a aerial dogfight between a Peregrine and a pair of Ravens  here (the former did win as the Ravens retreated - the smarter ones give in?).  



So , keep your eyes peeled and your ears peaked, not all big black birds around here are just crows.

I also promise to get better pictures of the magnificent Ravens, more like this one taken in Tibet this summer.






October 23, 2011





Birder Sean Some & Andy Lamy and Julian Rondon (our resident bander) witnessed a rare event on campus, a bird fallout.

Apparently the conditions were just right (peak of migration season, wind direction, weather) and great number of birds touched down here.

The campus was awash in more 500 bird individuals  early Sunday morning, astounding were at least 125 Yellow-rumped Warblers and 174 Chipping Sparrows (as reported on eBird). Julian caught and banded 51 birds that morning. 


                                                                                          One of the big catch: Ruby-crowned (obviously) Kinglet.  This one made into the net and was not    

                                                                                            too pleased to be handled.

                                                                                            The striking crown on this species is seen only when the birds get excited

                                                                                             (photo: Julian Rondon).




October 7, 2011






    Blue Jay:  these handsome guys are not too rare on campus but this one

      was the first that made into the nets. Note that the bander always matches his

      wardrobe to the birds at (in) hand, photo Julian Rondon)




































September 23, 2011



                                A strange nocturnal visitor made into the nets - Whip-poor-will : a first for campus (photo Julian Rondon)



August 16, 2011


Summer - fewer birds and neat insect around. This unusual one we found today on the plaza.



 Pelecinus polyturator (Pelecinidae): a parasitic wasp with an extremely long abdomen.

The larva of this species feeds inside beetle larvae.


August 3, 2011


It's the dreaded summer hole and even the Star-Ledger has to print reports on Bigfoot (or "Big-Red Eye" as the garden (state) variety is called) ) .


No Bigfoot on campus so far and not too many birds either (but just wait  till September!) Nevertheless an out-off-season sighting of otherwise common birds can be exciting.


Last Friday I noticed 2 White-throated Sparrows and reported them to eBird. I was asked to provide documentation for the sighting and here is what I wrote:


"I am glad you asked. One of the two WT Sparrows that I saw last Friday (July 29, 2011) has quite a history. Telling this history will alleviate all reasonable doubt, I am sure.  Both WT Sparrows were banded with regular alu bands by graduate student Julian Rondon. One of them is even more special, as it had also color bands.   The birds is called "Agyr" (= alu over green [right] yellow over red [left]).   The bird was banded Nov12-2010 as hatch-year juvenile here on campus and 'read' Dec. 3-2010 , July 29-2011 and today again (Aug.3-2011, Photo attached) . We are exited about two things: 1) that the individual bird(s) came back & 2) that they came so early (we did not have July records here so far and the earliest was on August 27). As you know, there are only 4 prior July records for NJ on eBird (one of them a few days earlier reported by me near the NY border). Nice story, isn't it?"



    This is now famous Agyr in the sweetgum tree in front of Boyden,

but he is hiding his color bands for a moment.


























June, 2011


Julian has finished his bird banding season now.  Some surprises included a Blackburnian Warbler, a new species for our campus.


Feathered jewels: Blackburnian (left) and Magnolia Warbler (photos: J. Rondon)




May 14, 2011


One is never prepared for what occurs here: a Marsh Wren in a Dawn Redwood tree.




May 14, 2011


Found today 2 good warbler species on campus:

1 singing Nashville Warbler and a male Wilson's Warbler (terrible record shot below) . The first is rare on campus (3 records) and the latter is a new record.


With two new species in as many days we stand now at the magic 30 wood warbler species (and 136 species altogether)  



Wilson's Warbler:  small, yellow with a black cap - unmistakable



May 13, 2011


Julian Rondon caught and banded a bird we have never seen on campus before:

Cape May Warbler!!


CM Warbler (photo J. Rondon)




May 3, 2011


A good bird list  this morning. 


31 species among those:


Chimney Swift     4

Red-bellied Woodpecker     1
Blue Jay     1
Hermit Thrush     2
Gray Catbird     15
Northern Parula     1
Yellow Warbler     1
Yellow-rumped Warbler     2
Prairie Warbler     1
Black-and-white Warbler     4
Ovenbird     15
Northern Waterthrush     6
Common Yellowthroat     4
Eastern Towhee     2
Savannah Sparrow     1
Swamp Sparrow     15
White-throated Sparrow     8
White-crowned Sparrow     2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak     1
Common Grackle     1
Brown-headed Cowbird     1
Baltimore Oriole     1


Baltimore Oriole, and banded Black-and-white Warbler





April 25, 2011


Things are picking up and birds arrive (and go). This morning brought first Common Yellowthroats, one Ovenbirds, two Gray Catbirds and this smart looking Northern Waterthrush (remember not a thrush but a wood warbler)









April 15, 2011


Graduate student Julian Rondon is continuing his mist netting and banding program. Today he got a  good number of Juncos, 3 Hermit Thrushes and a new bird for the banding list: Brown Creeper (see photo).






April 1(1), 2011








   The warm and southern winds brought exotic birds to our campus.  Among those today this lost Australian Budgerigar.  We expect more if the weather holds.  Since Emus are flightless, it might take a bit more 'till they show up.





















Feb 20, 2011


The snow is gone and most of the birds are not back yet.

A dead Woodcock in front of the library is a (unfortunate) sign of spring. One Hermit Thrush (photo below) is likely one of the over-wintering birds.

Big surprise: a single, immature Bald Eagle drifted above campus (photos below)








Jan 2, Twenty-eleven



Red-tailed Hawk   a brief visitor

American Woodcock 1 window kill

Red-breasted Nuthatch 1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2

Hermit Thrush 2 (1 banded)

Eastern Towhee 1 (banded)

White-throated Sparrow 45


Dec 29, 2010


All the best for 2011 wishes RAYG (pronounced "red-over-alu yellow-over-green")




Dec 24, 2010





December 3, 2010


Finally migration seems to have ceased.  However, still one American Woodcock, two Eastern Towhees and at least 4 Hermit Thrushes were on campus (2 of which were banded "long stayers": 2 and 4 weeks).  A Cooper's hawk seemed to be interested what's to snack on here (see photo below).




November 16, 2010


Finding Limpy!



I took this photo today of a banded Ovenbird in the plantings in front of Robeson.  Based on our last banding of an ovenbird , this individual is here at least since Oct.20 (27 days!).  If you see a banded Ovenbird let us know.  It seems to like the shrubs in front of Robenson but also has been seen on the west side of the library or the plaza side of Boyden. The bird has a slight limp (hence the name "Limpy").



November 8, 2010


More than a month passed and no updates appeared here, sorry. This has been a busy fall for us and for the birds.

Julian Rondon mist-netted and banded many birds in the meanwhile just here on the plaza (40 species!). A report on this will follow soon. One objective was to find out whether our urban island is a "good patch", that is migrants can used to fuel up.


Below is one bird seen Saturday (Nov. 6)  that gained weight, the lean weight of a White-throated Sparrow at least.



Cooper's Hawk.




September 16, 2010


We have not seen great number but birds are certainly migrating through. Everyday brings something else. New for us was a Tennessee  warbler, a Red-breasted Nuthatch was a rare visitor and all the other regulars are showing up. Don't miss the show. There will be bird walks in October (every Wednesday at 7:45 am).


These flycatchers are often hard to identify. This one called its name: Eastern Wood Pewee


September 6, 2010


You might still call it summer, you might still cling to it; but face it: fall is rolling in. Any day can have good birds now.

This morning:  Palm Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Red-breasted Nuthatch, etc.  Two new birds for campus even (if only as flyovers): Lesser Yellowleg (a shorebird) and Bobolink.


August 9, 2010


Its still summer of course, but there are signs that our little urban island receives the first migrants. This morning two dead (window impacts) and one alive Northern Waterthrushes & one Common Yellowthroat.  Otherwise fall is still a long way off.



July 6, 2010


We are in the summer doldrums (bird-wise). Just the few regulars around with a few sprinkles of specialties.  Today a singing Carolina Wren, last Tuesday a single Brown Thrasher. Every summer a few adult birds start to stray in a process called post-breeding dispersal. This means they either raised a family somewhere else, or failed to do so and move around. Our only chance to see something unusual this time of the year. But fall will come ...


May 21, 2010


Good and diverse morning with 28 species.


Among those were:

Eastern Wood-Pewee     1
Least Flycatcher     1     singing
Eastern Kingbird     1
Veery     1     singing
Swainson's Thrush     3
Wood Thrush     1
Gray Catbird     4
Cedar Waxwing     2
Magnolia Warbler     1
Black-throated Blue Warbler     2
Blackpoll Warbler     1     window kill
Black-and-white Warbler     2
American Redstart     1
Ovenbird     9
Northern Waterthrush     1
Common Yellowthroat     15
White-throated Sparrow     1
Common Grackle     2



Swainson's Thrush, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Blackpoll Warbler



Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Wood Thrush



May 19, 2010


Bird walk with 6 participants.  Some bird diversity but overall low numbers. The bad weather keeps birds from reaching us.



Chimney Swift     5
Least Flycatcher     1
Fish Crow     3
Swainson's Thrush     1
Gray Catbird     3
Cedar Waxwing     4
Black-throated Blue Warbler     1
Ovenbird     7
Northern Waterthrush     1 - the star of the show, actively singing in the "canyon" (the enclosed area

            between Aidekman, Hill and Olson)

Common Yellowthroat     9
Lincoln's Sparrow     1 ("rarity" of the day)
White-throated Sparrow     4
Brown-headed Cowbird     2



May 14, 2010


A tragic story again.  Like yesterday, a new bird species was found today. Bay-breasted Warbler: first alive and actively singing and then later as a window kill (see sad photo below).



Otherwise good number of migrants on campus:  1 Fish Crow,  1 Veery, 1 Wood Thrush, 8 Catbirds, 1 Brown Thrasher, 1 Northern Parula, 2 Black-throated Blue Warblers, 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler, 2 Black-and-white Warblers, 12 Ovenbirds, 1 Northern Waterthrush (still the same?), 15 Common Yellowthroat, 1 Eastern Towhee,  1 lingering White-throated Sparrow.










May 13, 2010





This could be happy news, if it were not for the circumstances.


A new bird species for our campus:



Mourning Warbler (window kill) discovered by student Victoria Ventura this morning.












May 10, 2010


The strong winds keep birds from moving, the diversity on campus is pretty low now.

Other than being (mildly) inundated by Ovenbirds (more than 15), a single Black-and-whit Warbler and a Veery are to be mentioned.



Ovenbirds seem to like bread                                                Home-grown Cardinal looks at you



May 5, 2010


First bird walk of the season with 8 participants and good list of birds, highlights below.

Clearly the best was a Northern Waterthrush taking a bath at the new pool.


Chimney Swift     2
House Wren     1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     1
Hermit Thrush     1
Gray Catbird     6
Northern Mockingbird     2
Brown Thrasher     1
European Starling     12
Northern Parula     1
Black-throated Blue Warbler     1
Black-and-white Warbler     1
Ovenbird     8
Northern Waterthrush     1
Common Yellowthroat     8
Eastern Towhee     1
Swamp Sparrow     1
White-throated Sparrow     12
Northern Cardinal    a family with fledglings

Indigo Bunting     1 (brief flyover)

Common Grackle     2


May 4, 2010


Beautiful morning with good numbers of birds. Hopefully the first bird walk of the year tomorrow will be same of better; full list below:


Rock Pigeon     3
Mourning Dove     6
Chimney Swift     5
Eastern Kingbird     1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     1
American Robin     12
Gray Catbird     15
Northern Mockingbird     3
Brown Thrasher     2
European Starling     10
Northern Parula     1 (Mark Feighn)
Yellow-rumped Warbler     1
Black-and-white Warbler     2
Ovenbird     15
Northern Waterthrush     1
Common Yellowthroat     10
Eastern Towhee     2
Swamp Sparrow     2
White-throated Sparrow     15
Northern Cardinal     2
Common Grackle     6
Baltimore Oriole     1
House Finch     3
American Goldfinch     2
House Sparrow     26


Is the bird in the hand better than the one in the tree? Slightly stunned (window-impact)                 Common Yellowthroat (male) and Northern Waterthrush (a warbler)



April 30, 2010


Good numbers of birds this morning and a decent diversity. Migration is on the roll:



Northern Flicker     1

American Crow     2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     2
Gray Catbird     1
Yellow-rumped Warbler     2
Black-and-white Warbler     1
Northern Waterthrush     1
Common Yellowthroat     1
Eastern Towhee     2
Song Sparrow     3
Swamp Sparrow     3
White-throated Sparrow     64


(Left) First spring Gray Catbird on campus. The arrival of catbirds was discussed on "Jerseybirds" yesterday and I predicted the first for today. I should have put money it.

(Right) The female of the Eastern Towhee pair that acts very suspiciously. Are they going to nest here for the first time? 



April 28, 2010


I expected more after the bad weather we had, but still it seems to pick up; complete list of this morning:


American Kestrel     1

Rock Pigeon     6
Mourning Dove     4
Blue Jay     1
Hermit Thrush     1
American Robin 10

Northern Mockingbird     2

European Starling     6
Black-and-white Warbler  1 singing
Northern Waterthrush     1
Common Yellowthroat     1
Eastern Towhee     2 , territorial pair, male singing
Chipping Sparrow     1
Song Sparrow     2
Swamp Sparrow     1
White-throated Sparrow     17
Northern Cardinal     2
American Goldfinch     2
House Sparrow     32


Today's highlight: Northern Waterthrush:

regular but not common warbler on campus.



April 23, 2010


Got secrets? Well if so, don't throw your shredded documents out. The Robins will

collect it and find out what you are up to!


Here's the little pool that we installed during Earthday 2010.  Olympic size, if you

are a Kinglet that is.


April 19, 2010


Where are the birds? Spring migration seems to be on hold, trees are green yet the migrants are very sparse.  One Ruby-crowned Kinglet today, one Black-and White Warbler yesterday.  A pair of Eastern Towhee that appears to setting up territory. That's it.

Interesting behavior: White-throated Sparrows are feeding on flowering oak catkins (see photo below).



Don't mess with da Wildlife, or: why squirrels are evil!







April 6, 2010


Looks like spring, feels like spring and judging by the birds, it is spring: the first migrants arrive finally:


Double-crested Cormorant     3     flyby

Northern Flicker     1
Eastern Phoebe     1
Pine Warbler     1
Eastern Towhee     1
Swamp Sparrow     2   (regrettably also the first window kill)


March 9, 2010


Definitely feels like spring now and 2 Song Sparrows  this morning were are a sign for that. But not much else yet.


This is "Smokey" one of our resident Northern Mockingbirds,

he (yes: he is a male and sings now) is recognizable by his

sooty plumage, the other Mockingbirds look much more clean.

Smokey isn't quite sure if he likes pizza.




March 2, 2010


Is it spring already?  Well, one Catbird doesn't make it so, or does it?

In any case, this morning brought the high count of species for the year: 14!!

This is modest, I know, but we are talking about our little urban island.

All the winter hardies are still here (Hermit Thrush, Eastern Towhee) and were joined by an early Grey Catbird.  These guys usually don't show up before mid April.




February 27, 2010


Snow again. Not much of birdlife around, but if you check the melted patches you'll find the few hardy ones.


White-throated Sparrows become beautiful and start to sing. The lonely Hermit Thrush (nomen est omen) enjoys the partial melt.



February 17, 2010


It's winter, not the most exciting time (bird-wise) on Campus.

But we do have nice male Eastern Towhee and a single Hermit Thrush that hang on.  Good time to tell your White-throated Sparrow apart from House Sparrows.  They mingle nicely now.



January 4, 2010


A happy 2010 to all!


Apart from a lonely wintering Yellow-bellied Sapsucker this morning nothing of note to report on the empty, cold campus.


2009 was good year for birds and a total of 101 species were noted.  Below is the breakdown by month.

Now you know why we have bird walks in May and October (April and September aren't too bad either).





December 27, 2009


full list of a mild winter morning:


Cooper's Hawk     1 (making a pass on campus)
American Woodcock     1   (see photos below)
Ring-billed Gull     3
Mourning Dove     1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     1   

Hermit Thrush 1 

European Starling     2
Eastern Towhee     1
White-throated Sparrow     28
Northern Cardinal     2
House Sparrow     32







December 17, 2009


How do you call a morning walk on campus that yields less than 10 species?



Most late fall migrants have left but Hermit Thrush and Swamp Sparrow continues. The last Woodcock was here Dec. 14.


Fluff your down coats, it's cold already (White-throated Sparrows in front of Conklin)


December 7, 2009


With a tiny bit of snow left on campus some of the birds left should be going south.

But still here are:

Common Yellowthroat 1, Ovenbird 1, Eastern Towhee 1


A single woodcock was still alive and later fataly crashed into the library.


Sapsucker and Hermit Thrushes and Swamp Sparrows hold on as well.


Pretty late birds (left Eastern Towhee, right Common Yellowthroat)



November 30, 2009


Good to be back. 

No, that one is not from our campus (Everglades, Florida)


But there are still (some more modest) birds on campus:


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     2
Hermit Thrush     3
American Robin     1
Common Yellowthroat     1 (pretty late for this one)
Eastern Towhee     1
Fox Sparrow     1
Swamp Sparrow     3
White-throated Sparrow     27


November 11, 2009


First Fox Sparrow of the season, Catbird and a few Common Yellowthroats hang on. Ovenbird not seen since November 9 (Paul Axel-Lute).  I hope it made by now to the Bahamas (the bird not Paul).



November 8, 2009


Some of the migrants are still here: Ovenbird 1, Common Yellowthroat 2, Eastern Towhee 1, Gray Catbird 1. 1 Pine Siskin, in contrast,  is a real winter bird.



Clockwise from top left: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Towhee, Winter Wren, Swamp Sparrow




November 4, 2009


Some of the migrants still hang on: Ovenbird 1 , Common Yellowthroat 6, Gray Catbird 1, etc.

3 dead Woodcocks (window kills), 1 Lincoln's Sparrow still at its regular spot at the greenhouses.



One of our residents: Northern Mockingbird


November 2, 2009


Birding is still going strong on campus. Common Yellowthroats, Ovenbirds and Catbirds continue and the Sparrow show is still pretty good (with single Field and Lincoln's Sparrow today). A single low-flying Cooper's Hawk raised the 2009 list to 100!! Woodcocks are arriving: 1 alive, 1 dead (window kill).


Ovenbird: November is getting late for this little guys.



Our wildlands on October 29, 2009


October 29 - 2009


One of this "at least it's not raining" mornings.  Birds are still around and highlights included a flyover Osprey (see record shot below) and a Winter Wren. As the leaves are falling, look for our small population of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, they are easier to spot and they all look different from each other (see photo below).



October 26 -2009


A single Marsh Wren (at the bird bath - what better place for such a species?) was a rare guest on Campus today (3rd record?). A good number and variety of sparrows continues.




October 23 - 2009


What started rather slow did produce some interesting birds:  Sparrows are still numerous and among the 8 species was a Grasshopper Sparrow (2nd record here) and a Lincoln's Sparrow.

One Blackpoll Warbler was regrettably a window kill.

12 Brant Geese, even only flyovers of course, were a new species for the campus list.


Since I log all the observation in eBird (, it's easy to report vital statistics:

124 species total,  98 in 2009 alone (we can make that 100!).


Hershey's Kisses Chocolate

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (6.5 g) - weighs only little more than an average Hershey's Kiss (4.5g)               - pictures not to scale!


October 21 - 2009


This Wednesday morning bird walk saw relatively few people but still a good number and variety of birds.  The only highlight may have been a Field Sparrow, but good views of all the regulars are always welcome.  Hermit Thrush, White-throated and Swamp Sparrow & C. Yellowthroat all foraging together on a grass lawn were nice to see.


Swamp Sparrow in the early morning sun in front of Robeson.


October 19 - 2009


Big influx of sparrows and a few others.  The highlights:


American Woodcock 1 (first of season here, I am nervous about all the window collisions to come)

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     2
Eastern Phoebe     1
Brown Creeper     1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     3
Hermit Thrush     7
Ovenbird     1
Common Yellowthroat     6
Eastern Towhee     5
Chipping Sparrow     5
Clay-colored Sparrow     1
Field Sparrow     1
Song Sparrow     25
Lincoln's Sparrow     1
Swamp Sparrow     10
White-throated Sparrow     110
Dark-eyed Junco     2


Brown Creeper: obviously a photo of a stunned window collision, this one recovered.




October 17 - 2009


A study in Lincoln's



Special Saturday feature: Backside Campus Birding (BCBô).


How well do you know your birds if they are bored with you and face away? *

The left one is easy: reddish brown tail and it's a thrush: Hermit Thrush.  How about the other bird?


For a clue click on the photo.


* note the eyes! It's like those stickers on trucks: "If you can't see my mirror I can't see you!".








October 14 - 2009


The second fall bird walk witnessed a major fallout/push of sparrows (and a good number of other birds).

It does not get much better than this!


The (first-year) Yellow-breasted Chat is still around, feisty and cooperative


Left the chat, right a House Wren

These two photo were taken by Michael & Chris Pazzani; for more great shots see:



Another more regular visitor: Ovenbird (left)



October 12 - 2009


A major push of (native) Sparrows this morning.  They were everywhere.  Best indication was the high number of window casualties:  3 WT Sparrow, 1 Song Sparrow, 1 Swamp Sparrow, and 1 Dark-eyed Junco. 

Nice was the Osprey soaring above campus (no fish here). Amazing number of Sapsuckers ...



Osprey     1     flyover

American Kestrel     1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     7
Eastern Phoebe     1
House Wren     1
Winter Wren     2 (not in 'Wren Canyon')
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     4
Gray-cheeked Thrush     1
Swainson's Thrush     1
Hermit Thrush     1
Ovenbird     1
Common Yellowthroat     11
Eastern Towhee     6
Song Sparrow     8
Lincoln's Sparrow     1
Swamp Sparrow     12
White-throated Sparrow     45
Dark-eyed Junco     1


Photos below: Osprey (left): distant shot, but note the angled wings, American Robin (right) in the apple tree at the Smith Hall parking lot. Yes, birds tend to make themselves look fat on cold mornings, but that one could hardly fly - is there such a thing as too many apples?



October 8 - 2009


Clear and crisp morning: mostly the same birds are still here.  The Yellow-breasted Chat continues and seem to like the shrubs near the library entrance East.


More Lincoln's Sparrows today, at least 7 were around (see photo below).




October 7 - 2009


First birdwalk this fall turned out to be nice.  The rain stopped just in time and birds were popping up everywhere.


Best bird was a cooperative Yellow-breasted Chat.  It's always good to start the day with a nice chat, inni't?


Other highlights:


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker    2
Downy Woodpecker     1
Northern Flicker     1
Eastern Wood-Pewee     1
House Wren     1
Swainson's Thrush     2
Hermit Thrush     1
Gray Catbird     11
Brown Thrasher     2
Black-throated Blue Warbler     2
Palm Warbler     2
Ovenbird     4
Common Yellowthroat     16
Eastern Towhee     1
Savannah Sparrow     2
Lincoln's Sparrow     2
Swamp Sparrow     3



Yellow-breasted Chat


 Lincoln's Sparrow




October 2 - 2009


Chilly morning with birds. Highlights:


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     2
Northern Flicker     1
Eastern Wood-Pewee     1
Eastern Phoebe     1
House Wren     2
Winter Wren     1
Swainson's Thrush     3
Gray Catbird     17
Brown Thrasher     2
Ovenbird     7
Common Yellowthroat     15
Scarlet Tanager     1 (see photo below, rather rare on campus)
Savannah Sparrow     2
Swamp Sparrow     3
White-throated Sparrow     19


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - juvenile               &                    distant shot of the Scarlet Tanager (female)



September 28 - 2009


(Fairly) Good Morning!


American Kestrel     1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     1
Northern Flicker     1
Eastern Wood-Pewee     1
Eastern Phoebe     1
American Robin     7
Gray Catbird     6
Nashville Warbler     1
Magnolia Warbler     1
Blackpoll Warbler     2
Ovenbird     1
Common Yellowthroat     6
Swamp Sparrow     2
White-throated Sparrow     8


                    Eastern Wood-Pewee



September 26 - 2009


Savannah Sparrow 1

Red-breasted Grosbeak 1



September 25 - 2009 Update


Hawks are on the move and can be seen if you care to look up:


Seen from the roof of Boyden 11:10-11:40 am):

68 Broadwinged Hawks (in 3 close kettles and a few stragglers)
2 Ospreys
1 Northern Harrier
12 Sharp-shinned Hawks
5 Accipiter spec.
(beside the urban residents: Peregrine, Kestrel and Redtail).



September 25 - 2009


Fairly good morning with a good bird diversity; Sparrows are coming - it's truly fall now: full list below:


Canada Goose     4     flyover

Herring Gull     2
Mourning Dove     2
Red-bellied Woodpecker     1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     1
Northern Flicker     2
Eastern Phoebe     2
House Wren     2
American Robin     17
Gray Catbird     15
Northern Mockingbird     2
European Starling     8
Palm Warbler     2
Ovenbird     2
Common Yellowthroat     12
Song Sparrow     1
Lincoln's Sparrow     3
Swamp Sparrow     1
White-throated Sparrow     17
Northern Cardinal     3
Common Grackle     2
House Finch     2
American Goldfinch     1
House Sparrow     23

September 18 - 2009


Short story:  I forced my way into our "urban wildland" (aka Smith Hall Planter) after dark in order to refill our micro-wetland (the little birdbath) when a dark, bulky form peeled itself from the thickets.


Great Horned Owl (a campus first for us).


Great Horned Owls are known to become urban sometimes, and the roost of Mourning Doves here might be a good food source (would give them something to mourn about).  So whenever you work late - look for huge things flying around. 



September 16 - 2009


rather quiet morning:


House Wren     1
American Robin     1
Gray Catbird     3
Ovenbird     1
Northern Waterthrush     1
Common Yellowthroat     12
Lincoln's Sparrow     1
Northern Cardinal     3
Common Grackle     1
American Goldfinch     2


Starling in paradise



September 15 - 2009


It's starting to get more interesting; this morning:


Northern Flicker     1
Eastern Wood-Pewee     1
House Wren     1
American Robin     2
Gray Catbird     2
Brown Thrasher     1
American Redstart     2
Ovenbird     1
Common Yellowthroat     11
Rose-breasted Grosbeak     2
Common Grackle     1
American Goldfinch     3



Later in the day Thomas Duchak found a Yellow-breasted Chat (a rare bird here, and good one in NJ anyway) that was still there in the evening.

A single Lincoln's Sparrow was in the "wilderness"  (aka Smith Hall Planter) in the evening as well.


Of note is a roost of almost 60 Mourning Doves in the trees of the Aidekman Planter, they assemble on the roof edge of Aidekman before flying into the canopy of the trees (the photo below show a section of the flock)







September 4 - 2009


Migration goes in fits and jumps. Its the beginning and some mornings can have a good variety of birds. This morning I had a few Common Yellowthroats, an Ovenbird and an American Redstart.  Tuesday (Sept. 1) was actually a bit better with a single Magnolia Warbler, a Northern Waterthrush and 2 Swainson's Thrushes (one sadly as window hit victim).  


Get out there, more feathered things will come. 

We will offer our guided Bird Walks again in October (every Wednesday 7:45). See you there.



American Goldfinch (female) feeding on Echinacea seedheads near Dana Library. Look for birds

feeding on the wide range of berries, fruits and seeds that now - after years of natural

"campus improvement"  - are available.



August 25 - 2009: The end of summer


Yes correct, net week fall starts for us at Rutgers. It seems that the birds feel with us, as a bit of songbird migration is on its way already. This morning this was attested by a single Common Yellowthroat (welcome back guys!) and a lone Northern Waterthrush. More to come.


Off campus news: don't miss on the shorebird migration along our coasts!  It's at its peak now.




July 29 - 2009: Humid summer notes


98% humidity should bring in tropical birds, right? A (bit ragged: see photo below) Carolina Wren by name appears to be a visitor from the Deep South.  Not really, Carolina Wrens are common in New Jersey, but are very rare on campus.  To prove my "tropic-summer-hypothesis" wrong even further: a single Northern Waterthrush this morning is a migrant from the north. In summary, it seems that some birds are on the move again.




GREAT NEWS: We are on the map!


Rutgers Newark gained HOTSPOT status on eBird (

What that means see here:

"Hotspots are public birding locations created by eBird users. Using Hotspots, multiple birders can enter data into the same shared location, creating aggregated results available through "View and Explore Data". When you suggest a location as a hotspot, it must first be approved by a hotspot administrator before it becomes available to the public.  The idea is to avoid the creation of duplicate hotspots, and to make sure that the location in indeed a hotspot (e.g. Point Loma) and not a personal location (e.g., My Backyard).  This process can be lengthy and involved, and our volunteer hotspot administrators sometimes can take weeks to approve requests"







July 22 - 2009: Summer notes


Finally I found signs of Catbirds nesting on campus.  They have been around constantly and the photo below shows a youngster seen today (as indicated by the white bill lining).  To my knowledge, this is the first nesting since 2004 and a sign of the 'rewilding" of campus?.

Anyway,  this years nesting birds include beside the default  House Sparrows and Starlings, American Robin (a locally born young one on the photo to the right), House FinchAmerican Goldfinch,  Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, Cedar Waxwing ( a family seen last week), Mourning Dove, and now Gray Catbird. American Kestrel and Chimney Swifts are nesting about half a mile away.   



It's also bee time. So check our flower display for them:






June 2 - 2009


 A few birds remain.  A single Swainson's Thrush is clearly a late migrant, but the energetically singing Grey Catbird (see photo below) might be on territory.  There are few Common Yellowthroats around, one was singing hard in the "canyon" (between Hill and Aidekman).  A single male Baltimore Oriole might be a resident too, 2 year ago orioles nested in front of the law school.  I could not  find any Ovenbird!.


American Goldfinch eating unripe mulberries                   Grey Catbird singing



May 29 - 2009


A stunned and eventually recovered Northern Waterthrush today is a sign that migration is still going on. A few of the regular Ovenbirds and Common Yellowthroats continue. 

I would be interesting to know for how long they will continue, however we have very little data for June. So if you see either of them (or other true migrants) please let me know. I am trying to get "public" status on eBird for our campus so eventually everybody can add data.


May 27 - 2009


It seems that spring migration is finished - but not entirely yet  ... 


Besides Ovenbirds and Common Yellowthroats are still hanging on and sing (happily?), we saw this morning:


Cedar Waxwing     2

Swainson's Thrush 1

Magnolia Warbler     1
Black-throated Blue Warbler     1
Blackpoll Warbler     1
Swamp Sparrow     1


May 20 - 2009


The weather pattern looked promising yet birds where scare and a lot of work was needed to pick them out.

Here's what 8 birdwatchers could find:


American Kestrel     1 flyby, seen briefly most likely this species
Ring-billed Gull     2
Rock Pigeon     2
Mourning Dove     8
Chimney Swift     2
Eastern Wood-Pewee     1
Swainson's Thrush     1 dead
Gray Catbird     2
Northern Mockingbird     2
European Starling     10
Magnolia Warbler     1
Blackpoll Warbler     1 (briefly singing)
American Redstart     2 (singing early)
Ovenbird     4
Common Yellowthroat     6
White-throated Sparrow     1
Northern Cardinal     2
Brown-headed Cowbird     2
House Finch     1
American Goldfinch     2
House Sparrow     22



May 18 - 2009


A cold front is still among us, little migration and few birds on campus.

Nice though was a collection of thrush singletons.  1 Veery, 1 Swainson's Thrush, 1 Hermit Thrush.


Veery: note the smudgy spotting at the chest



May 15 - 2009


Good numbers of Ovenbirds and Common Yellowthroats, Black-and-white Warbler, continuing Black-throated Blue Warbler & Least Flycatcher, a singing Scarlet Tanager (much better looker than singer)  and the star of the morning:

a singing Mourning Warbler (a campus first) doing its thing: being rather loud and hardly visible, then disappearing.


May 13 - 2009


Pretty quiet morning with few highlights:


Least Flycatcher     1

Cedar Waxwing     1 (only early)
Black-throated Blue Warbler     1 female
Rose-breasted Grosbeak     1 (only early)



A staple on campus - yet pretty: Common Yellowthroat. Listen for the

"wichita wichita" song.



May 11 - 2009


Still good numbers of migrants this morning.

Highlights were: 1 Least Flycatcher, 1 Eastern  Wood-Pewee, 1 Nashville Warbler, and as addition to the list of May 9 a single Veery. 



May 9 - 2009


This was not supposed to be a birding day at Rutgers.  I came only at 11:00 am and had to work.  8 species of warblers just while walking in changed that (a bit (10 total at the end of the day). Off and on until dusk, I birded for short time periods and the list grew and grew.


One of 41: Least Flycatcher


41 species,  my new daily record for our urban 8 acres. So here's  the Rutgers Newark version of the

World-Series-of-Birding (see 


It's boring - I know, but below is the full list:


Red-tailed Hawk     2

American Kestrel     1
Peregrine Falcon     2     1 with Mourning Dove in tallons
Ring-billed Gull     1
Herring Gull     2
Great Black-backed Gull     1
Rock Pigeon     6
Mourning Dove     8
Common Nighthawk     1     flying over NJIT at dusk
Chimney Swift     20
Ruby-throated Hummingbird     1     1 female attracted to red flag
Eastern Wood-Pewee     1
Least Flycatcher     1
Red-eyed Vireo     1
Blue Jay     1
House Wren     1
Hermit Thrush     1
American Robin     18
Gray Catbird     10
Northern Mockingbird     2
Brown Thrasher     1
European Starling     17
Nashville Warbler     1 (NEW for campus)
Northern Parula     2
Yellow Warbler     1
Magnolia Warbler     3
Black-throated Blue Warbler     1
Black-throated Green Warbler     2
Black-and-white Warbler     2
Ovenbird     5
Northern Waterthrush     1
Common Yellowthroat     12
Eastern Towhee     2
Field Sparrow     1
Swamp Sparrow     2
White-throated Sparrow     12
Northern Cardinal     2
Common Grackle     2
House Finch     2
American Goldfinch     2
House Sparrow     35


May 8 - 2009


This was supposed "the" morning, the first clear night after days of misery.  While numbers were not exceptional, variety with 31 species was good.

The chorus of White-throated Sparrows is amazing (the taiga is here!)


Highlights were:


Great Crested Flycatcher     1 (NEW for campus)
Ovenbird     12
Northern Waterthrush     1
White-crowned Sparrow     1
Indigo Bunting     1 calling
Red-winged Blackbird     2 (rare here!)
Brown-headed Cowbird     1 (also quite rare)


Scarlet Tanager 1 (seen by Megan Clock)


Pictures below: White-crowned Sparrow (left)

and Great Crested Flycatcher (right)



May 6 - 2009


First birdwalk with a nice break in the rain. 


Full list:

Ring-billed Gull     1

gull sp.     1
Blue Jay     3
Fish Crow     1 flyover ( a new species for the campus list!)
House Wren     1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     1
Hermit Thrush     5
Gray Catbird     12
Northern Mockingbird     4
Brown Thrasher     1
European Starling     10
Ovenbird     10
Common Yellowthroat     3
Eastern Towhee     2
Swamp Sparrow     1
White-throated Sparrow     18
Northern Cardinal     2
Indigo Bunting     1 (call only, we never saw it)
Baltimore Oriole     1
House Finch     2
American Goldfinch     1
House Sparrow     36


NJ State Bird on campus: American Goldfinch


                                                        If you need to know how to feed your catbird:  Chocolate Eclair will do



April 28 - 2009


not a major fallout this morning but still birdy:



Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     1

Northern Flicker     1
Blue Jay     1
House Wren     2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher     1
Swainson's Thrush     1
Hermit Thrush     3
Wood Thrush     1
Gray Catbird     3
Brown Thrasher     2
Ovenbird     2
Common Yellowthroat     2
Eastern Towhee     1
Swamp Sparrow     3
White-throated Sparrow     28


Sapsucker (left) and Flicker (right)




April 27 - 2009


It never ends.  Fatima Duenas found a campus first: a Kentucky Warbler that was killed by striking a window. This southern warbler seems out of place.  Later Fatima  together with Mark Feighn saw a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, another campus first (we stand at 115 species now). 


Kentucky Warbler                                                        Eastern Towhee (both photos Fatima Duenas)



EARTH DAY TODAY rain date:

Today we planted on campus to improve habitats and placed UV-reflecting decals on many windows to prevent bird strikes.  

Next time we see a Kentucky Warbler alive!




April 26 - 2009


The migration flood-gates are open (a bit)!  Yesterday Rebecca Buck found a Blackburnian Warbler in the garden of the Newark Museum, an excellent find for an urban location.

This early morning the plaza was alive with birds. Strangest of all was a lonely Spotted Sandpiper walking the brick paths in front of Robeson.



Other highlights:


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     1
Blue Jay     7
House Wren     1
Hermit Thrush     11
Wood Thrush     1
Gray Catbird     6
Ovenbird     4
Common Yellowthroat     3
Eastern Towhee     2
Song Sparrow     2
Swamp Sparrow     3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak     1



April 22 - 2009


Full list:

Rock Pigeon     2

Mourning Dove     6     1 nest build in the "ramble" (in pine)
Golden-crowned Kinglet     1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     3
Hermit Thrush     4
American Robin     6     nest 1
Northern Mockingbird     2
European Starling     8
Palm Warbler     1
Song Sparrow     1
Swamp Sparrow     1
White-throated Sparrow     2
Dark-eyed Junco     2
Northern Cardinal     2
Common Grackle     3
House Finch     2
House Sparrow     25



April 20 - 2009 (Mark Feighn)

Fox Sparrow 1

Hermit Thrush 2


April 18 - 2009

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1

Red-tailed Hawk 1

The real "Rutgers Eagle"



April 13 - 2009


This photo (not one of my best, granted) was taken at the Greater Newark Conservancy a few blocks up the hill from us.

Believe it or not, it shows an immature Bald Eagle migrating northwards.  The youngster drifted towards Rutgers Campus, so I count it for our campus (=bird species # 111).






April 10 - 2009


Spring is slow, not too many birds - but they will come ...


this morning:


Northern Flicker 1

Downy Woodpecker

Chipping Sparrow 3

Song Sparrow 3



(below) an American Robin sits on its nest in the large Himalaya cedar at

the West side of Smith




March 25 - 2009


There are some signs that spring is finally coming:

some birds are showing ...


Fox Sparrow 1 (photo below left)

American Kestrel 1

the American Robins are becoming active ....(photo below right)






January 29 - 2009


Not too many birds around, but single Red-tailed Hawks take advantage of the ever presence of tasty pigeons.  Eileen Burnash snapped this picture outside Bradley Hall.  







December 19 - 2008

besides the "normal" wintering birds


Woodcock a healthy one in front of Engelhard

    (woodcock movement/migration can occur almost anytime during winter,

     this one most likely escaped the winter weather N and E of us).

Song Sparrow 1

Swamp Sparrow 1

Hermit Thrush   1

Dark-eyed Junco 5



December 17 - 2008

still some interesting birds around, the sometimes mild weather clearly has something to do with it


besides the wintering White-throated Sparrows:

Eastern Towhee 1 male (used not to winter in NJ)

Hermit Thrush 3

Dark-eyed Junco 1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1 (used not to winter in NJ)


Special Report

- new addition to our urban biodiversity: Norman


We know by now that our urban campus is host to quite a number of wild migratory birds; our list topped 100 species a while ago.  But who would have thought that we also share our space with reptiles?  On this unseasonably mild Monday we found a small snake struggling with a wintering Hermit Thrush just outside Boyden Hall on Norman Samuels Plaza.  The bird seems to have mistaken the snake for an earthworm.  I initially thought the same, but I have never seen an earthworm putting up such a fight.  I identified the snake as a northern brown snake (Storeria dekayi), a small snake species that used to be quite common even in urban environments.  The advance of pollution and increased use of pesticides changed that and one has to be quite lucky to observe one today.  We took the snake into our care and called it Norman (obviously).  We hope tiny Norman, only about 7 inches long, gets settled into his new winter home and that we can release him (it) in spring.  You can visit Norman, our one and only Rutgers Newark snake in Boyden Hall if you want.




December 1 - 2008


one Woodcock window-kill today.

Several Hermit Thrushes are still around (see below)





send to us via Blackberry on Nov. 20


November  20 - 2008 (with Phil Huskey)


American Woodcock  1 window kill

Common Yellowthroat 1 late individual (which wore a band)

Fox Sparrow 1

Swamp Sparrow 1

Song Sparrow 4


Hermit Thrush (again): there are at least 10 now on campus and as with the Ovenbirds earlier, they are getting much tamer and allow close approaches.


American Woodcock: the lucky one I released yesterday in a forest in Westfield.

To date we recorded 28 this fall: 7 left (hopefully) on their own wings, 5 I was able to rehabilitate and release, but 16 died. 



November  19 - 2008


American Woodcocks are still coming through and mostly end up dead or stunned from window impacts. What to do?

To date 20 were taken this fall and only 4 could be released outside of town.


other sightings

Fox Sparrow 1 alive + 1 window kill

Gray Catbird 1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1

Pine Siskin 2 feeding with American Goldfinches near Conklin (in a sweetgum tree)


Fox Sparrow: at least 2 were here


Non-native (invasive) but still pretty: European Starling. They feed now on the seeds of the single pagoda tree (Sophora japonica) in front of Hill.



November  17 - 2008


Woodcock 2 window impacts (to be recovered) + 1

Fox Sparrow: 1 ("The Ramble")

Gray Catbird 1

Hermit Thrush 7, their migration seems to peak now


November  14 - 2008


Woodcock 2 window impacts (both recovered and released)

Winter Wren  1

Gray Catbird  1


November  12 - 2008


Woodcock 2 window kills

Hermit Thrush 5

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1

Gray Catbird 1 (late!)

Winter Wren 1 (old location)

Song Sparrow 6

Swamp Sparrow 1

Fox Sparrow 1 still there, among the other sparrows in the large planter box near

     Hill Hall

White-throated Sparrow c. 35

Dark-eyed Junco 10


Hermit Thrush: quite common in late fall. In fact, there are often several together now, thereby contradicting its name.


November  11 - 2008: clear and crisp, ideal for late migration pushes


Woodcock 1 alive and fine, 1 stunned (taken for recovery & later released in rural

     NJ), 1 window kill

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1

Hermit Thrush 10

Yellow-rumped Warbler 1

Golden-crowned Kinglet 1

Song Sparrow 4

Swamp Sparrow 1

Fox Sparrow 1 - a campus FIRST! (see photo below)

White-throated Sparrow c. 35

Dark-eyed Junco 12

Cedar Waxwing 7

American Robin  35 flyovers

Pine Siskin 3


Fox Sparrow: campus bird species # 109


November  7 - 2008: overcast and mild, migration time is not over yet


American Kestrel  1 male

Woodcock 1 (still) alive

Hermit Thrush 6

Black-throated Blue Warbler 1 male

Yellow-rumped Warbler 2

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3

Golden-crowned Kinglet 1

Winter Wren 2 (not in the "traditional" place)

Song Sparrow 1

Swamp Sparrow 1


Black-throated Blue Warbler (almost regular in late fall here)


November 5 - 2008


Woodcock 1 dead



November 4 - 2008!





October 30 - 2008: sunny again but chilly, some new birds came in over night (with Phil Huskey)


Woodcock 1 window kill

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1

Downy Woodpecker 1

Hermit Thrush 4 alive, 1 window kill

Palm Warbler 1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4

Golden-crowned Kinglet 1

Winter Wren 2 (Mark, you you got to "pish" them out!)

Song Sparrow 4

Swamp Sparrow 1

Chipping Sparrow 10

Field Sparrow 2 (1 stunned from window impact, see photo below)

Dark-eyed Junco 5

Eastern Towhee 1 male


Field Sparrow, this one recovered from window impact



October 29 - 2008: Bird Walk (Mark Feigh, Phil Huskey, Nancy Holmstrom)


Woodcock 1 alive!

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1

Hermit Trush 3

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1

Dark-eyed Junco 5


October 28 - 2008: cold, dark and rainy. But watch out - the bad weather might bring in good birds. There has been a frigatebird in Montclair!


American Kestrel    1 male

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2

Hermit Thrush 1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4

Golden-crowned Kinglet 1

Winter Wren 1 in the same spot the shrubs between Smith (E side) and  Olson.

Yellow-rumped Warbler 3

Chipping Sparrow 20

Swamp Sparrow5

Dark-eyed Junco 15

Song Sparrow 4

Pine Siskin 3 (in the pines (!) near the small Hill Hall parking lot)


October 24 - 2008, noon


Peregrine 1 hunting on campus, Peregrines are residents in downtown Newark but do visit us only very infrequently


October 24 - 2008, cold morning (36oF), birds are hanging on


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1

Hermit Thrush 1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 6

Eastern Phoebe 1

Winter Wren 1 (photo below)

Black-throated Blue Warbler 1 male (the same individual as before?)

Yellow-rumped Warbler 2

Field Sparrow 1

Chipping Sparrow 10

Dark-eyed Junco 10

Song Sparrow 3


Winter Wren: regular but scarce on campus. Tiny & round, and (maybe)

even cuter than a kinglet.



October 22 - 2008, chilly morning, little activity


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1 - the regular one

Hermit Thrush 3

Golden-crowned Kinglet 2

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1

Ovenbird 1

Common Yellowthroat 1 - it's getting late for these

Song Sparrow 3


October 21 - 2008 (Mark Feighn, Phil Huskey)


Black-throated Blue Warbler 1

Wood Thrush 1



October 20 - 2008, cold, clear morning. Birds ought to move now.


Merlin 1 fly-over

Cooper's Hawk 1 circling over campus at noon

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3

Hermit Thrush 3 (1 window kill)

Wood Thrush 1

Yellow-rumped Warbler 2

Palm Warbler 1

Song Sparrow 10

Swamp Sparrow 2

Chipping Sparrow 3

White-throated Sparrow c. 40

Dark-eyed Junco 15

Pine Siskin 2 - a Campus FIrst!, these finches are staging an irruption currently and are seen all other New Jersey.



October 17 -2008 (Phil Huskey)


Woodcock 1 (the first of the season here)

Eastern Towhee 1

Downy Woodpecker 1

Yellow-rumped Warbler 2



Campus nightlife! Mantis do migrate a bit (October 16, 2008)



October 16 - 2008, again little migrations apparently, but birds are certainly around, every morning something else shows up. Also, it's sparrow time.


some noteworthies:

Northern Flicker 2

Eastern Phoebe 2

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2

Hermit Thrush 2

Ovenbird 1

Common Yellowthroat 3

Yellow-rumped Warbler 2

Song Sparrow 1

Swamp Sparrow 3

Lincoln Sparrow 1

White-throated Sparrow c. 40

Dark-eyed Junco 1


Native sparrows - brownish but beautiful if watched carefully.

White-throated Sparrrow: checking out the tables in front of Dana




October 15 - 2008, wrong wind direction + very mild weather = birds don't want to move. Nevertheless our native sparrow community remains strong and rather diverse

Highlight today: a Clay-colored Sparrow (a campus first and a scarce migrant in NJ).



Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1

Downy Woodpecker 1

Eastern Wood-Pewee 1

Golden-crowned Kinglet 1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1

Hermit Thrush 1

Ovenbird 1

Common Yellowthroat 3

Song Sparrow 1

Swamp Sparrow 3

White-throated Sparrow c. 40

Dark-eyed Junco 3


October 14 - 2008, warm morning, rather quiet - apparently not much migration is taking place these days  - that might change tomorrow!


American Kestrel 1

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1

Flycatcher species (Empidonax spec.) 1

Golden-crowned Kinglet 1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2

Winter Wren 1

Hermit Thrush 1

Palm Warbler 1

Ovenbird 4

Common Yellowthroat 3

Chipping Sparrow 1

Song Sparrow 1

White-throated Sparrow c. 40


Song Sparrow


October 10 - 2008, warm and sunny morning, the native sparrows are here


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1

Downy Woodpecker 1

Golden-crowned Kinglet 4

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2

Gray Catbird 1

American Goldfinch 1

Yellow-rumped Warbler 3

Ovenbird 2

Common Yellowthroat 4

Eastern Towhee 5 (highest number ever)

Chipping Sparrow

Field Sparrow 1

Song Sparrow 3

Swamp Sparrow 3

White-throated Sparrow c. 45

Dark-eyed Junco 4


Ovenbird again - sorry, can not resist to take pictures and

to post  - my favorite Rutgers bird now


October 8 - 2008, morning, 2nd bird walk


Birds are still here but in smaller numbers - good variety still


Canada Goose c.15 fly-over

American Kestrel 1

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2 (1 nice adult)

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3

Gray Catbird 1

Swainson's Thrush 1

Blue Jay 1 fly-over

Black-throated Green Warbler 1

Palm Warbler 1

Yellow-rumped Warbler 1

Ovenbird 2

Common Yellowthroat c.10

Eastern Towhee 1

Song Sparrow 1

White-throated Sparrow c. 30

Grasshopper Sparrow 1 (NEW to campus list), sorry Mark!


October 7 - 2008, morning


Birds are everywhere!

There has been a major migration push. Below is just a selection: the sparrow are showing in force and warblers are still around; this the time for the highest diversity of birds here.

Bad news: high number of window impacts: 7 dead and 9 stunned birds (that will hopefully recover).


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1

Red-bellied Woodpecker 1

Eastern Phoebe 1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3

Cedar Waxwing    5

Winter Wren 1

American Goldfinch 1

Black-throated Blue Warbler 1

Palm Warbler 3

Yellow-rumped Warbler 2

Ovenbird 2

Common Yellowthroat 15

Eastern Towhee 1

Chipping Sparrow 2

Savannah Sparrow 2

Song Sparrow 10

Lincoln's Sparrow 1 (window kill)

Swamp Sparrow 5

White-throated Sparrow c. 40

Dark-eyed Junco 1

Dickcissel 1 fly-over (NEW to campus list)


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at its favorite gingko tree



Walks like a duck, but isn't.



October 1 - 2008


first bird walk - no rain - good birds!

Northern Flicker 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Mystery flycatcher (see photo below) turns into Eastern Wood-Pewee
Ovenbird	 1
Common Yellowthroat 4-6
Black-and-white Warbler 2

Brown Thrasher 1

House Wren 1

Common Grackle 1

Blue Jay 2

White-throated Sparrow 1

Song Sparrow 1

Eastern Towhee 1 


Mystery solved: two clues: (a) Chris Dobol

correctly identified the photo from yesterday (b) the

birds left its name today: "PEEawee" - Eastern Wood-Pewee.

Also: note the smudges on the undertail, the "vest" and

the forked tail.


Eastern Towhee


First sign of winter? White-throated Sparrows

begin to appear. These are most likely not the

ones that winter on campus.


September 30 - 2008


Rather quiet yet diverse morning - a bit of "work" pays off.


Northern Flicker 1
Mystery flycatcher (see below)
Eastern Phoebe 1
Ovenbird	 1
Common Yellowthroat 6
Northern Parula 1 (reported by Mark Feign)
Palm Warbler 3

Brown Thrasher 1

House Wren 1

Indigo Bunting 3 (a campus first!)

White-throated Sparrow (reported by Mark Feign)


"Large-headed Flycatcher. Seen Today. He Didn't Leave His Name".

Dunne (1998)

Well that's what it might be (Empidonax spec.). It left its photo though


September 26 - 2008


Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1


A stunned Ovenbird (window hit) on Sept. 24 -

it recovered, all what was needed was a bit of support



September 24 - 2008 


cool fall morning, certainly birds are on the move now

Gray Catbird	2
American Robin 2
Swainson's Thrush 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Ovenbird	 1
Common Yellowthroat 10
Palm Warbler 8
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Yellow-breasted Chat 1 (very rare here!)
Northern Cardinal	2
Common Grackle	2



September 20 - 2008


American Redstart 1

Blue Jay 2 (not regular in a down-town location)



September 18 - 2008


Finally - birds are coming through!


Ovenbird 4

Common Yellowthroat 8

Magnolia Warbler 1

Black-throated Green Warbler 1

Worm-eating Warbler 1 (a campus FIRST!)

Swainson's Thrush (1 casualty at Smith)



September 14 - 2008


a bit of activity


Palm Warbler 1

Common Yellowthroat 2

Common Grackle 1



September 11 - 2008


Get ready for the big migration push. Its still quiet out here, there was an Ovenbird last week and a few Common Yellowthroats are currently probing around.

Sadly, the very first migration push at the end of August was witnessed only by a few window casualties: one Least Flycatcher (a campus first) and one Magnolia  Warbler among them.  


But more (feathered) things will come, latest at the first bird walk October 1st!



May 27 - 2008 cool, windy


(almost)  end of migration season?


Chimney Swift 10

American Redstart 1

Common Yellowthroat 3

no Ovenbirds!

Swamp Sparrow 1

no White-throated Sparrows!


May 26 afternoon


1 Cooper's Hawk hunting Starlings

about 30 Cedar Waxwings



May 26 - 2008 slow, dripping morning


Eastern Wood-Pewee 1 (still hanging on, listen to it name-giving call, it perches on 
			on exposed branches often high up)
Cedar Waxwing	2
Gray Catbird	4
Magnolia Warbler	1 (gorgeous male still around, don't miss it)
American Redstart 1
Ovenbird	 3
Common Yellowthroat 5
Lincoln's Sparrow	1 (also still hanging on, actually a rather rare migrant in NJ!)
White-throated Sparrow	1

Lousy photo of beautiful bird: Magnolia Warbler


May 25 - 2008 migration is not over yet!

Mourning Dove	6		
Chimney Swift	10	
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1	
Cedar Waxwing	8	
Gray Catbird	4	
Swainson's Thrush 1 window kill
American Robin	2	
European Starling	first young fledged 	
Magnolia Warbler	 1	
Ovenbird	  5,  1 window kill
Common Yellowthroat 6, 3 window kills
Northern Waterthrush  1 window kill
Eastern Towhee	1	
Swamp Sparrow	2	
Lincoln's Sparrow	1 (singing!)	
White-throated Sparrow	3	
Northern Cardinal	2	

A campus first: regrettably not alive



May 21 - 2008  sunny morning, yet little activity (3 participants on bird walk)

American Herring Gull	1 flyover
Mourning Dove	4
House Wren	1
Gray Catbird	3
Hermit Thrush	1
Wood Thrush	1
American Robin	3
European Starling	10
House Sparrow	25
House Finch	1
American Goldfinch 1 dead
Ovenbird	  6  (+ 2 window kills)
Northern Waterthrush	1
Common Yellowthroat	10 (1 stunned at window)
Swamp Sparrow	2
White-throated Sparrow	5
Common Grackle	1
Baltimore Oriole	1


May 20 - 2008  45oF, doesn't feel like spring

Mourning Dove	3
Northern Mockingbird	1
Hermit Thrush	1
Wood Thrush	1
House Finch	3
Brown Creeper 1 (Mark Feighn)
Yellow Warbler	1
Ovenbird	 4
Common Yellowthroat 8, 3 window kills
Magnolia Warbler 1 (Mark Feighn) 
Lincoln's Sparrow	1 window kill
White-throated Sparrow	6
Northern Cardinal	1
Common Grackle	2

Common Yellowthroat at "the pool".



May 16 - 2008 rainy day


Red-breasted Nuthatch (reported by Phil Huskey)






May 15 - 2008 highlights (no morning count)


American Kestrel          1

Common Nighthawk      2 insect-hawking above campus

Chimney Swift              up to 20 in the afternnoon above campus

Brown Thrasher             1

Black-throated Blue Warbler 1 female

Cedar Waxwings           6

Common Grackle         10 fly-overs



May 14 - 2008 7:30-8:30 2nd Bird Walk (14 participants!)

Mourning Dove	5 (nesting again)	
Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon	2	
House Wren	1	
Gray Catbird	6	
Northern Mockingbird  1	
American Robin	2	
European Starling	12	
House Sparrow	25	
House Finch	2	
Yellow Warbler	2	
Black-and-white Warbler	1 window kill
American Redstart	2	
Ovenbird	 	18	
Common Yellowthroat	10	
Swamp Sparrow	2	
Eastern Towhee 1
White-throated Sparrow	2	
Northern Cardinal	2	
Rose-breasted Grosbeak	1	
Common Grackle	3	
Where is it?


May 13 - 2008 7:30-8:15 Slow, chilly morning, tomorrow's the day

Mourning Dove	5 (3 young birds)
Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon	4
House Wren	2
Gray Catbird	5
Northern Mockingbird	2
Wood Thrush	1
European Starling	12
House Sparrow	22
House Finch	2
Ovenbird	15
Common Yellowthroat	8
Eastern Towhee   1 
Swamp Sparrow	2
Eastern Towhee 2
White-throated Sparrow	2
Northern Cardinal	2
Common Grackle	1

Mystery dove: tiny and Rutgers bred, a Mourning Dove baby



May 7 - 2008 7:30-8:30 1st Bird Walk

American Herring Gull	1
Mourning Dove	2
Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon	5
House Wren	2
Northern Mockingbird	1
Brown Thrasher	1
Hermit Thrush	2
American Robin	3
Red-breasted Nuthatch	1
Blue Jay	1
American Goldfinch	2
Black-and-white Warbler	2
Ovenbird	 10 , 2 window kills
Common Yellowthroat	5
Eastern Towhee	2
Swamp Sparrow	5
White-throated Sparrow	8, 1 window accident


May 5 - 2008 7:15-8:00 spring is rolling on


Mourning Dove    2

Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon   4

Ruby-crowned Kinglet      2

House Wren 2

Gray Catbird  6

Northern Mockingbird 1

Hermit Thrush 1

Swainson's Thrush  1

Wood Thrush  1 singing & 1 window kill

American Robin 3

Red-breasted Nuthatch 1

Brown Creeper 1

European Starling 10

House Sparrow ~30

American Goldfinch 2

Black-and-white Warbler 3

Ovenbird 4

Northern Waterthrush 1

Common Yellowthroat 3

Eastern Towhee 2

Swamp Sparrow 6

White-throated Sparrow 12

Northern Cardinal 2



May 2 - 2008 7:30-8:30 first spring "fall-out"

			alive	Window accidents
Mourning Dove		2	
Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon	5	
American Robin		3	
Wood Thrush		1	
Gray Catbird		8	
House Wren		1	
Palm Warbler		1	
Black-throated Green W.	1	
Black-and-white Warbler	2	1
Ovenbird			4	2
Northern Waterthrush		1
House Sparrow		35	
Blue-headed Vireo	1	
Ruby-crowned Kinglet	3	
Song Sparrow		2	
Eastern Towhee		4	
Savannah Sparrow	18	
Swamp Sparrow		8	
Chipping Sparrow		10	
White-throated Sparrow	25	
Dark-eyed Junco		1	
House Finch		2	
Brown-headed Cowbird	1	
European Starling		12	
Baltimore Oriole		2	
Common Yellowthroat	3	



October 10-2007: 7:30-8:30 am -  overcast, ending drizzle, strong rain at night


Small "fall out", birds are here finally


window-kills: Common  Yellowthroat 1,

stunned and recovered: C. Yellowthroat 2, Eastern Towhee 1


Downy Woodpecker 1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1

Marsh Wren 1

Gray Catbird 6

Brown Thrasher 2 (pirating food from the little guys)

Palm Warbler 2

Ovenbird 5

Common Yellowthroat c. 25

Swamp Sparrow 3

White-throated Sparrow 12


new species: Scarlet Tanager (species # 100? - there's a mystery flycatcher waiting in the freezer for ID)



October 9-2007: 7:30-815 am - slight overcast


Some more action, apparently some migrants arrived (even though David predicted very little)


window-kills: Catbird 1


American Robin                        3

Gray Catbird                            7

Brown Thrasher                       2

Yellow-rumped Warbler            3

Black-and-white Warbler          1

Black-throated Blue Warbler     1

Ovenbird                                 3

Common Yellowthroat              11

White-throated Sparrows          2

Song Sparrow                          1



October 3-2007: 7:30-815 am - overcast slight drizzle


Very slow morning: the few (migrant) birds present have been around for a few days already


no window-kills


Ovenbird                         6

Common Yellowthroat      5

Eastern Towhee              1 female

where are the White-throated Sparrows?



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Copyright © 2006 Fusion Ecology Lab
Designed by Jack A. Chapman
Last modified: 05/17/2016