Nature Notes


Mr. E. C. Solinsky
Mr. D. S. Libbey
Park Naturalist
July, 1931 Vol. IV, No. 1

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This is one of a series of bulletins issued monthly during the summer season, by the staff of the Educational Division to give information on subjects of interest concerning the Natural History of Crater Lake. It is supplemental to the lectures and field trips conducted by the staff.

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Greetings For 1931
By D. S. Libbey, Park Naturalist

Come up the mountain to Crater Lake and behold the limpid deep blue of the waters in their varying moods! To you who have bided a time on the rim or have followed the trail down to the water's edge; to you who have scaled the nearby peaks and communed with the birds and the flowers -- we know there is a call beckoning your return again and again.

The same sense of awe which strikes one spellbound when he first views Crater Lake will recur. The mystery of this lake of lakes creates an undeniable urge to return as opportunity may permit. As the views vary from hour to hour and from day to day, they vary from season to season as the angle of light changes with the movement of the points of sunrise and sunset northward and southward along the horizon.

To the visitors of past seasons as well as to those who will come up to Crater Lake for the first time, we extend cordial greetings. This season the roads were cleared of snow so that visitors came up to the rim as early as April 1 -- the earliest date in the history of the park.

Camp fires are dotting the base of the moraine and nightly there are many at the Community House and the Lodge attending the lectures concerning the natural phenomena of the park.

In this issue we wish to introduce the members of the Educational Staff for the 1931 season.

Mr. Earl U. Homuth, who has served splendidly in the naturalist service in the past, is again a member of the force; Dr. W. Layton Stanton, Jr., from California Institute of Technology and Mr. Lincoln Constance, a graduate of the University of Oregon, who is engaged in graduate study in the University of California, are beginning their activity in a particularly enthusiastic and efficient manner.

This promises to be the season which will bring a record number of visitors to be inspired and recreated by our majestic scenery and climate.

By Don C. Fisher, Park Ranger

A list of birds seen in the park has been kept and added to from time to time as a new bird appeared in the park area until last year the number of birds seen in the park was seventy-six. Already this year a stranger has been added to the list. The latest addition being the Mourning Dove (Zenaidura macroura). The dove is essentially a bird of the fields and how they have drifted into wooded areas of the park is a question that is both interesting and surprising.

Members of the various crews have reported many nests of the Ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) and also the Sooty grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) more commonly known as the Blue Grouse.


Perhaps the most unlucky of the forest residents of the park is a pair of Mountain Robins who have resided at Annie Spring for a number of years. They have selected a tree near the spring for the site of their nest and each year have reared their brood. Last summer one of the rangers on duty heard the birds making a great commotion and walked over to the tree. The birds were all a flutter and would hop from limb to limb and then swoop down at something that the ranger could not see. Finally the ranger began to climb the tree and just as he reached the nest a frightened pine squirrel scampered down the tree and away to another clump of trees. Several times afterward the squirrel was soon going or coming from the nest.

pine squirrel

This spring the two birds, undaunted by the tragedy of last summer, returned and again took up their home in the same tree. All went well until one morning a great noise arose in the vicinity of the nest and on examination the ranger found that a large raven had settled near the nest and was attacked by the robins who forced it to leave but, however, no sooner did the parent birds return to the nest than the raven swooped down to the nest and seemingly unmindful of the robins, robbed the nest and departed. Thus the law of nature takes its course and the rangers wonder if the robins will return again next spring.

Of the seventy-six birds known to inhabit the park, only five care to stay here the year round. During the summer months the woodlands ring with the songs of the feathered inhabitants but when the old man winter comes creeping into the trees most of the songsters depart for lower elevations.

The five who are here all winter are Stellar Jay, (Cyanocitta stelleri), Oregon Jay (Perisoreous obscurus), Raven (Corvus corax)), Clarks Crow (Nucifraga columbiana), and the Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis).

In the spring the first of the migrants to return are Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus), Western Robin (Planestincus Migratorius propinquus), Mountain Blue Bird (Sialia currucoides), and the Oregon Junco (Junco oreganus).

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