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October 1934Volume 9, Number 7


By Russell Grater, Ranger Naturalist.

MIGRATORY season has now arrived, bringing with it some very interesting data concerning certain members of the Sparrow family and closely allied species.

It was during the period of September 10 to 15, 1889 that Dr. Hart C. Merriam shot two Lincoln Sparrows (Melospiza l. lincolni) near the Canyon rim, and reported seeing many others. Since then none have bean recorded from Grand Canyon until now, almost forty-five years later. On September 9, 1934, a flock numbering about seventy-five was seen near the Post Office on the South Rim. The size of this band indicates without doubt that it was a migratory group. Truly this is an interesting record.

Sharing the spotlight with the Lincoln Sparrow record are those of the White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia l. leucophyrs) and its closely allied cousin, the Gambel's Sparrow (Z. l. gambeli). A male White-crowned Sparrow was collected by Mr. A. E. Borell on the North Rim on September 17. Since then 12 individuals have been banded at Bright Angel Point station. Gambel's Sparrows have recently been trapped on the South Rim and banded for the first time at Grand Canyon. To date, October 1, bands have been placed on 22 individuals.

Of lesser importance but equally interesting, are records of Brewer Sparrows (Spizella b. breweri) arriving on the South Rim. There have been numerous fall migratory records from Grand Canyon, but mostly from the lower parts. These Brewer Sparrows, on the other hand, have been paying daily visits to the Village area for several days during the middle portion of September. An abundance of Green-backed Goldfinches (Spinus p. hesperophilus) has been noted associating with these sparrows.

Judging from the records, Green Tailed Towhees (Oberholseria chlorura) have never been rare on the South Rim, but this fall they appear to be much more common than before. Thus far a number have been successfully trapped and banded.

For a region thought by many to be largely lacking in bird life, Grand Canyon is producing some very interesting material for the records.

Brewer Sparrow

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