Page:CooperBull1(1).djvu/9

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8
Bulletin of the Cooper Ornithological Club.

Western Wood Pewee, Western Blue Grosbeak, Phainopepla, Townsend's and Hermit Warblers, and the Long-tailed Chat. The Thurber's Junco and the Dwarf Hermit Thrush were the only species which had left since April 15.

Soon after the 25th, however, the great wave of birds began to show signs of decreasing, and by May 5 there had been considerable lessening in the numbers of a good many species. The Belted Kingfisher, the Intermediate, Golden-crowned, Black-chinned, and Lincoln's Sparrows, Green-tailed Towhee, Western Blue Grosbeak, Cassin's Vireo, Calaveras, Lutescent, Audubon's and Black-throated Gray Warblers, had entirely disappeared. There was yet to appear an important factor of the season's migration, and its magnitude was possibly more noticeable because it showed itself in its full strength after the greater part of the general migration had passed. Filling the entire valley with one of the most beautiful forms of bird-life, it was a pleasant sight to everyone but the orchardists. The first individuals of this migration-wave of Louisiana Tanagers appeared during the last few days in April. The birds were common by May 3, and from May 6 to 20 they were abundant everywhere in the valley. Two of the greatest centers of attraction for the mass of migrants were the blossoming grevilia trees and unfortunately, the cherry orchards, whose fruit was then in its prime. Never before had a spring migration filled the valley with such a number of brilliantly-colored birds of the same species. Even uninterested persons remarked the abundance of Tanagers. Happily this was only a migration, and by May 25 the greater part of them had gone, and May 29 saw the last one in the valley.

While so much attention was directed toward this remarkable migration of Tanagers, most of the other migrants had passed on, and all our summer residents had arrived. However, large numbers of Phainopeplas were still in the valley; and had it not been for the presence of so many Tanagers their numbers would have seemed very remarkable. The pepper trees and oaks were the feeding places of hundreds of these birds, which stayed in the valley until June 10, after which all but the breeding birds had left.

Since the last of February 1 had been busy watching the ever-changing representation of bird-life, and now could rest and wonder at the great transformation which had taken place. An avifauna only represented by residents and winter visitants had been gradually replaced by summerers. No date could be fixed when the summer visitants appeared and the winter birds departed; no definite line drawn between migratory and sedentary birds; but from the time when the first Violet-green Swallow obeyed the natural law which told it to return to its summer abode, until the last Phainopepla had reached its breeding home in our fields, there had been an ever-changing avifauna in the San Gabriel Valley.

* * *

John M. Welch of Copperopolis, Calaveras Co., writes of the Phainopepla as a common summer resident at that place. They were first observed in May, their single bell-like note acting as an index to their location. He says: "While the notes of these birds are heard all through the hills, each pair have their own foraging grounds which are not intruded upon. I endeavored to locate some of the nests but the female was probably on the nest and the male would not approach it while I was near and I could never detect him taking food. I watched for their broods but could never observe them. The birds have been gradually disappearing since the first of September but I have heard occasional notes up to the first of November."

Contributions for the next issue of the Bulletin are desired promptly. To fill the 16 pages bi-monthly means that you, as a contributor, must collect your field notes and prepare them for publication at once. No note of interest is too short to find a place in our Bulletin and we believe that those who have heretofore been discouraged at the time required to secure publication will appreciate the prompt appearance of their articles.