Thursday, November 01, 2012

Hurricane Sandy on Campus

If not for the eye of an observant little girl passing by, I might not have noticed the odd bird foraging in front of the Firestone Library on Princeton University's campus.
 I had gone in search of an internet connection, and found instead what may be a northern bobwhite quail, which a birder friend says may be "a farm escapee or a local bird displaced and disoriented by the storm." It certainly was tame. Other potential identities mentioned were spruce grouse and grey partridge.
 Elsewhere on campus, another evergreen tree was caught by the winds--this one a hemlock--
while the magnificent tulip poplar in front of Prospect House appeared unfazed, despite its high exposure to the gale-force winds. My daughter pointed out how the tree has plenty of room to spread its roots. Another factor is that all of its previous exposures to wind have strengthened it. Trees that haven't swayed in the wind, such as saplings that are staked for many years, or trees growing in dense stands, do not have a chance to develop the same strength.

Note: The website reports 50 trees on campus were blown down by the hurricane.


  1. That is indeed a female (or possibly juvenile) Bob White quail, and I believe it is very rare to see one in New Jersey these days. Hope it survives!

  2. Bob Whites are rare these days ...another possibility is a Coturnix quail .. check out Griggstown Quail Farm...somewhat local and while this does not look like an adult, it looks a lot like juvenile pictures of these quail. (I suspect that various juvenile quail look similar until they get adult plumage.)