By Russell Grater, Ranger Naturalist.
THE status of the Band-tailed Pigeon (Columba fasciata fasciata) in Grand Canyon has been a constant source of interest among naturalists for the past few years. The sight of an isolated individual or of a small flock has always been regarded as news worth recording.
Just recently numerous reports started coming to the effect that Band-tailed Pigeons were deserting their secluded habitats and were being seen in fairly large flocks in the area of Grand Canyon village. An investigation of these reports proved very conclusively that they were based upon facts. Two or three times the writer observed flocks ranging from twenty to thirty in number, circling over the rim of the canyon near the Village area. It seems evident, however, that only one large flock is being seen, as the numbers reported by various observers are practically identical.
A study of prevailing climatic conditions within the region offers a solution for the continued appearance of the pigeons in the village area. Under normal conditions the month of July would have furnished the birds with an abundance of water in their natural habitats, but this year a very limited amount of rain during July forced then to seek water elsewhere. One individual actually visited the bird bath at the home of Mr. E. W. Fambrough in the village on July 17. A flock numbering from twenty-five to thirty was reported circling over the Hopi House by Ranger Satterwhite on July 20. This flock was also reported the same day by Mr. Anton Albert, gardener at El Tovar Hotel, and by Mr. Cook and Mr. Ruby of the local C.C.C. Camp. Five pigeons were seen by the writer near the corrals bordering the Recreation Field on July 24.
Recent rains during the month of August have evidently solved the water problem for the Band-tails as none have been reported for several days now. A flock, of approximately twenty-five was seen near Grandview on August 14, so it seems evident that the birds have once more returned to their normal habitat and resumed their old mode of living.
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