I >i«dMii<.ln.ruii.«Hk»i> i«
Lab of Ornithology
at Sapsucker Woods
Illustration of Bank Swallow by Louis Agassiz Fuertes
Cornell University Library '
QL 684.C6A29 |
The birds of El Paso County, Colorado /
3 1924 022 561 629
I ■ ^m iir
PRINTED IN U.S.A.
The original of tliis book is in
tine Cornell University Library.
There are no known copyright restrictions in
the United States on the use of the text.
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El Paso County
CHARLES E. H. AIKEN
EDWARD R. WARREN
Director of the Museum, Colorado College
Laboratory of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Lthaca^ Nevv Yorli I48£f0
THE BIRDS OF EL PASO COUNTY,
AREA INCLUDED IN THIS LIST.
The area covered by this list is the whole of El Paso
County, while various notes are given for points without the
boundaries of the County, but adjacent thereto, especially that
portion of the Pikes Peak Region in which are situated the
More than two-thirds of El Paso County is a rolling
prairie country, most of the eastern portion of which is dry,
with few or no permanent streams, though there are water-
courses in which water is found at times, and. various springs.
The exceptions to this statement are Fountain and Monument
Creeks, the former heading in the mountains above Ute Pasb,
and the latter on the Divide at Palmer Lake and in the foot-
hills west of there, and emptying into the Fountain at Colo-
rado Springs. These streams flow in a somewhat southeasterly
course along the east base of the foothills. As shown on the
map, the Fountain also receives other tributaries from the
west, which have their sources in the mountains.
The extreme western portion of the County is mountain-
ous, occupied by the Pikes Peak Range, which culminates in
the well known Pikes Peak, once the objective point of the gold
seekers of 1859, now that of the tourists of the twentieth
century, who may reach its summit, over 14,000 feet above
sea level, by rail. Part of this range is in El Paso County,
and part in Teller County, and the boundary lines between
the two counties were so drawn that it is difficult to write
of that portion of our area without, at times, including a part
of Teller County.
This mountain region is rugged, and includes besides
Pikes Peak, a number of summits ranging from 11,000 to
4S6 Colorado College PuBLICAtIo^f
above 12,000 feet elevation, and its eastern portion is cut by
canons, many of which are renowned for their beauty or
grandeur, such as the Ute Pass, Williams Canon, Bear Creek
Canon, and North and South Cheyenne Cafions. Ute Pass is
the outlet through the mountains by which the Fountain, once
called La Fontaine Qui Bouille by the old French trappers,
reaches the plains. The trappers called the stream by this
name because of the bubbling mineral springs where Manitou
is now, and the pass was so named because it was the high-
way by which the Ute Indians reached the plains. Streams
are found in all these various canons, and high in the moun-
tains about Pike's Peak are Lake Moraine and the Seven Laktes,
converted into reservoirs which belong to the water supply
system of Colorado Springs.
Standing somewhat apart from the rest, at the south-
easterly end of the range, is Cheyenne Mountain, rising abrupt-
ly from the plains, and though not lofty, but little over 9,000
feet, it is one of the most beautiful mountains we have,
many consider it the most beautiful.
Once the mountains were entirely covered with forest,
of pine, spruce, and aspen, but forest fires, some of them
many years ago, and some of them of quite recent date, have
destroyed considerable of this.
The extreme southwestern portion of the County is a
somewhat rolling region, with yellow pines, cedars, and piilpns.
The northerly edge of the County is occupied by the
"Divide'' region, the watershed between the Arkansas and
Platte Rivers. This has at Palmer Lake an elevation of 7,200
feet, and the summit of the watershed has an easterly trend.
It has an undulating surface, and where not cleared is largely
covered by a forest of yellow pines.
About five miles north of Colorado Springs are what are
known as the Bluffs, a range of low sandstone ridges pre-
senting sufficient vertical faces which, though low, enough to
justify the name. These extend easterly from the foothills
for about eight miles out into the plains. They have a few
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 457
yellow pines and cedars growing on them, and considerable
scrub oak and other shrubbery, and are good resorts for birds.
The westerly part of the County forms part of the Pike
Owing to its varied topography we have within the bound-
aries of El Paso County no less than five life zones, as follows ;
Upper Sonoran, Transition, Canadian, Hudsonian, and
Arctic-Alpine ; the first named comprising the plains region
and the very lowest foothills; the Transition the foothills and
the lower portions of the mountains, and the other three are
wholly mountain zones. Each of these zones is more or less
well characterized by the presence of certain plants and ani-
mals which are either peculiar to or largely confined to it.
UPPER SONORAN ZONE.
This zone, which is agriculturally the most important in
the County, as noted above covers the plains region. The
elevation of its upper boundary varies from a little over 6,000
to nearly 7,000 feet, depending on the steepness and exposures
of the slopes in the foohills, the limit naturally being higher
on slopes having a southern exposure than on those with a
northern. The pifions and cedars, which are usually consid-
ered as belonging to this zone, range even higher at times,
but such occasions are really overlappings into the Transition.
There are comparatively few of these trees in the County.
In El Paso County the following mammals are confined
to this zone :
Bailey's Wood Rat, Neotoma f. baileyi, Pale Grasshopper
Mouse, Onychomys I. pallescens, Yellow Pocket Gopher,
Geomys lutescens, Kangaroo Rat, Perodipus m. richardsoni,
Baird's and Plains Pocket Mice, Perognathus flavus and P
flavescens, Black-tailed Jack Rabbit, Lepns c. nielanotis ,
Bailey's Cottontail, Sylvilagus a. baileyi, and possibly a few
458 Colorado College Publication
The following birds are practically restricted to the zone
in the breeding season:
Woodhouse's Jay, Bullock's Ori-ole, Caiion Towhee, West-
ern Blue Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Long-tailed Chat, Western
Mockingbird, Catbird, Brown Thrasher, Baird's Wren, and
Western Gnatcatcher. The following species breed especially
in the cedar and pinon trees : Ash-throated Flycatcher, Pinon
Jay, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Gray Titmouse, and Lead-
The following trees and shrubs are characteristic of the
Upper Sonoran Zone :
Piiion Pine, Pinus edulis, two species of cedar, Juniperus
scopulorum and /, monosperma, Broad-leaved Cottonwood,
Populus occidentalis, Peach-leaf or Almond-leaf Willow, Salix
auiygdaloides, Gray Saltbush or Bushy Atriplex, A. canescens,
Western Clematis, C. ligusticifoUa, Flowering Currant, Ribes
iongifoHuin, Wild Plum, Primus americana, while six species
of scrub oaks are found in this and the lower part of the Tran-
The Transition Zone covers the greater portion of the
foothills and the lower parts of the mountains' proper, and the
Divide region in the northern portion of the County. The
former are naturally more or less rough, and the latter is an
undulating country. The upper limit of the Transition in El
Paso County varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet, changing with
the slope exposures. The cedars and pihons seemingly overlap
into this zone from the zone below, and there are some places
where it is difficult to decide to which zpne that locality
In this County there is but one mammal which can be
said to be restricted to. this zone, the Northern Tuft-eared or
Plain-backed Squirrel, Sciunts aberti ferreus, though the
Plains or Coues's Pocket Gopher, Thoinoinys clusius, Estes
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 459
Park Cliff Mouse, Peromyscns nasutus, and Gale's Wood Rat,
Neoto/ua in. fallax, are quite characteristic of it. Other species
range into it from the zones above and below.
The following birds are quite characteristic of this zone
in the breeding season :
Sharp-shinned Hawk, White-throated Swift, W'right's
Flycatcher, Long-crested Jay, Mountain Towhee, Green-tailed
lowhee. Plumbeous Vireo, MacGillivray's Warbler, Rocky
Mountain Nuthatch, Pgymy Nuthatch, Chestnut-backed Blue-
The following trees and shrubs are characteristic of this
Yellow Pine, P. scopulorum, Red or Douglas's Fir,
Pseudotsuga mucronata, Willow, S. irrorata, Rocky Mountain
Birch, Betula fonfinalis, Alder, Alnus tenuifolia. Beaked Ha-
zel-nut, Corylus rostrata, one species of Gooseberry, Ribei
ieptanthum, two species of Ninebark, Physocarpus intermedius
and P. monygnus, Meadow Sweet, Holodiscus dmnosa and H.
uustralis, and Rocky Mountain Maple, Acer glabrum.
The Canadian and the two following zones are strictly
mountain regions, this one covering the ground from the
upper limits of the Transition to between 10,000 and 11,000
feet, and is the most extensive in area of the three Boreal
zones. It may be characterized as normally a well forested
zone, though none of the trees are exclusively confined to it.
In El Paso County no species of mammal appears to be
confined to the Canadian Zone, though there are a number
common to it and the Hudsonian, to say nothing of others
which are also found in the Transition. The following mam-
mals are characteristic of the two lower Boreal zones :
Fremont's Squirrel, S. fremonti, Woodchuck, Marmota
sp., Colorado or Rocky Mountain Red-backed Mouse, Evo-
tomys g. galei, Colorado or Mountain Pocket Gopher, Thomo-
460 Colorado College Publication
mys fossor. Western Red Fox, Vulpes macrourus, Shrew?,
Sorex V. dobsoni, S. personatus, and 5". obscurus, and Water
Shrew, Neosorex navigator.
The following birds have their center of abundance in
the breeding season in the Canadian Zone :
Dusky Grouse, Alpine Three-toed Woodpecker, Red-
naped Sapsucker, Williamson's Sapsucker, Olive-sided Fly-
catcher, Cassin's Finch, Crossbill, Gray-headed Junco, Audu-
bon's Warbler, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet,
Townsend's Solitaire, and Audubon's Hermit Thrush.
Though found also in the Hudsonian the heaviest portions
of the forests of Limber or Rocky Mountain White Pine,
Pinus flexilis, and Engelmann's Spruce, Picea engelmanni,
are in, the Canadian Zone. The Aspen, Populiis tremuloides,
lias its center of abundance in the Canadian and ranges but
little above it. The following willows are common to it and
the Hudsonian: Nuttall's or Black Willow, 5". nuttalli, Bog
Willow, S. glaucops, and Green-leaved Willow, 5'. chlorophylla.
This is the zone immediately below timberline, above the
Canadian ; it is intermediate in character between that and the
Arctic -Alpine Zone, not having any very strongly marked
characters of its own, but in its lower limits having much in
common with the Canadian, and in the upper portions sharing
some of the characteristics of the Arctic-Alpine. Its upper
limit varies in altitude from 11,500 to 12,500 feet.
As stated above under the Canadian Zone, a number of
species of mammals are common to these two zones, or rather
characteristic of the two together. Of these the Woodchuck
is more abundant toward timberline, and rangps into the zone
above, and two additional species, the Cony, Ochotona saxa-
tilis, and Mountain Sheep, are more especially characteristic
of this and the zone above, the former being found, in the
Pike's Peak Region, mostly from a little below timberline up
to the summits of the mountains.
£ — e a
S U U U
^^^^ -^r -li^Mi
Gunnison County, Colo.
E. R. Warren, Photo.
Fig. s. L. L. Shaw, Photo,
youNG Sharp-Shinned Hawks, a Few Days Olp,
Crystal Park, Colo,
Fig. .?. E. R. IV.. Photo.
Young Sharp-Shinned Hawks, About Thrke Weeks Old.
rig. 4. L. L. Shaw, Photo.
Young Sharp-Shinned Hawks, About Four Weeks Old.
The Birds . of El Paso County, Colorado 461
Of birds, the Rocky Mountain Jay, Rocky Mountain Pine
Grosbeak, and Rocky Mountain Creeper probably breed prin-
cipally within the limits of the Hudsonian, though there are a
number of other breeders in common with other zones.
The only tree which seems to be confined to the Hudsonian
is tlie Foxtail Pine, Pinus aristata, which grows from 10,250
f ( et up to timberline. This zone also includes the upper por-
tion- r f the Engelminn's Spriice and White Pine forests, and
in it arc also found the willows mejilioned under the Canadian
as common to both.
The Arctic-Alpine Zone is the region above timberline,
characterized by slopes devoid of trees and with but four
species of woody plants growing thereon, though a number
of flowering plants are characteristic of it, or nearly so.
No species of mammals is restricted to this zone, but it
shares a number of species with the zone below, some of which
live here the year round, and others, like the Mountain Sheep,
Fox, Coyote, and Black Bear, range into it from below. Some
of the species living in this zone the year round are the Wood-
chuck, Cony, Rocky Mountain Field Mouse, and Colorado
One species of bird is restricted to this zone in the breed-
ing season, the Brown-capped Rosy Finch, atid the Pipit is
practically so, and the Desert Horned Lark also breeds in the
bare spaces, while the White-crowned Sparrow and Pileolated
Warbler breed in the willow thickets for five hundred feet
above timberline. The Sparrow has been known elsewhere
in the State to raise a brood at a lower elevation early in the
season, and then to move above timberline and raise a second
family, but we have no information as to whether it does
this here. A few other birds range intermittently above tim-
But four species of woody plants grow above timberline,
the Dwarf Willow, Salix saximontana, and another willow, S.
462 Colorado College Publication
brachycarpa, which are found from 9,000 up to 14,000 feet,
Shrubby Cinquefoil, Dasiphora fruticosa, 6,500 to 12,400 feet,
and the White Mountain Avens, Dryas octopetala, 11,500 to
The following plants are characteristic of this zone :
Catchfly or Campion, Silene acaulis, three species of Saxifrage,
Saxifraga debilis, austrouwntana, and rhomboidea, Stonecrop,
Sedum integrifolium, Alpine Mertensia, Mertcnsia alpina, For-
getmenot, Myosotis alpestris, Lousewort, Pedicularis parryi,
Polemonium, Polemonium confer turn, Knotweed, Polygonum
viviparum, Gentian, Swertia palustris, Mountain Avens, Siever-
sia turbinata, Phlox, Phlox condensata, Figwort, Synthyris
alpina, Clover, Trifolium nanuni, Colorado Candytuft, Thlaspi
In general the cHmate of El Paso County may be described
as temperate, usually without great extremes of heat or cold,
though the thermometer does on rare occasions in summer
go above ninety in the shade, and similarly in winter fall to
thirty below zero. But usually the temperatures are moderate,
and neither of the extremes are so hard to bear as in many
other places. The plains region has the higher temperature in
summer, while there is no great difference in the minimum
vv'inter temperatures over the whole county, though the daily
mean temperature is greater on the plains than in the moun-
The rainfall is greatest in the mountains, and least on
the plains toward the eastern edge of the County. The win-
ter snowfall is light, comparatively so in the mountains, where
it is probably not more than half that on the Continental Divide
and the other ranges to the west of us. The snowstorm early
in December, 1913, when about two feet of snow fell in Colo-
rado Springs and much more in the mountains, was a very
exceptional storm, the like of which had not been l<nown for
mare than thirty years, and as a rule the deepest snowfalls
are in spring, when the snow does not last long.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 463
The number of hours of sunshine are unusually great, a
day when the sun does not shine at all being extremely rare.
The heavy rain and hail storms which occasionally occur dur-
ing the breeding season are sometimes destructive to nesting
birds, their eggs and young, and a late cold storm in the spring
sometimes does much harm to migrants and late arrivals of
' summer birds. In winter an unusually heavy snowfajl may
prevent seed-eating birds from obtaining food for a short
time, but the snow rarely lays on the ground more than a
As a whole the climate of the County may be described as
favorable to bird life.
WORKERS IN THE REGION.
The first ornithologist to visit El Paso County was Dr. J.
A. Allen, who came here with an expedition sent out by the
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard College, early in
August, 1871, and collected along the east base of the foothills
from Palmer Lake to Colorado City. His report was pub-
lished in July, 1872, the first list of Colorado birds.
C. E. Aiken, the senior author of the present paper, came
to Colorado Springs, October 26, 1871, not long after the
founding of the town, and thenceforward spent much time
in collecting in the vicinity, his work for the first two years
being nearly all done at his ranch on Turkey Creek, fifteen
miles southwesterly from Colorado Springs. The first re-
sults of his work were edited by Dr. T. M. Brewer and pub-
lished in the Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural
History, December, 1872.
H. D. Minot of Boston spent some time in the County in
the summer of 1879, and the results of his observations were
published in the Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club.
In March, April, and May, 1882, Dr. J. A. Allen and
William Brewster were in Colorado Springs, and did much col-
lecting in the vicinity, publishing their list in- 1883, Bulletin
of the Nuttall Ornithological Club. Bendire's Thrasher and
464 Colorado College Publication
the Florida Gallinule were added to the Hst of Colorado Birds
by these distinguished ornithologists.
W. C. Ferrill and Horace G. Smith did a certain amount
of collecting in the County while doing work for the State
Historical and Natural History Society, making some addi-
tions to our list.
E. R. Warren, the junior author of this paper, came to
Colorado Springs the fall of 1881, but did no bird work until
the next winter, and then did considerable collecting during
the winters of 1882-83 and 1883-84. This was dropped for
several years, partly owing to absence from the city, and not
taken up again here until some dozen or so years ago, since
which time he has been making observations and collecting
William Lutley Sclater came to Colorado Springs in the
autumn of 1906 to take the position of Director of the Museum
of Colorado College, retaining this office until the spring of
1909, and spending most of the College year in Colorado
Springs, but his summers at his home in England. Though
Mr. Sclater did but little field work while here, it was through
his influence that the Aiken Collection of Birds was pur-
chased for Colorado College, and it was during his residence
here that "The History of the Birds of Colorado" was writ-
ten, a work which, though by one who had been in the state
but comparatively little, shows a great comprehension of the
a\ ifauna of Colorado, and represents a great amount of labor
on his part in not only going over all the specimens at his
command, but also in looking up all the records and literature
bearing on the subject. Colorado bird students owe Mr.
Sclater a debt of gratitude for the excellent work he has done.
A number of others have made brief stays in the region
and published popular articles or books on our birds, while
there are some local observers, who, while taking much inter-
est in observing our birds, have published little or nothing
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 465
SURVEY OF BIRD LIFE.
The bird life of El Paso County is of a very varied char-
acter, nearly all the groups of birds found in the State being
represented, while the number of species is a goodly one, 276
all told. The fact that within our limits all the life zones of
the State are represented has naturally much to do with this.
That the various species of water birds are not specially
abundant is due to the lack of suitable localities to attract
them, and any incnease in the number of artificial reservoirs
along the base of the mountains or on the plains will surely be
followed by an increase in the number of waterfowl coming
to the region and stopping for a short time at least.
Among the grouse we note the absence of the Ptarmigan,
of whose occurrence in the County there is no authentic rec-
ord. This is due to the fact that the Pike's Peak Range is an
isolated one, not connected with the other high ranges of the
State, or rather not by any mountains sufficiently high to afford
a continuous habitat for this Alpine bird, and moreover the
area in the Pike's Peak Range which would be attractive to it
is very limited, so that it is not strange it has not gained a
Two of our Gallinaceous birds have been exterminated
within the last forty years, the Sharp-tailed Grouse and Wild
Birds of prey are well represented, both in species and
individuals, and the type locality of one subspecies, Aiken's
Screech Owl, is within the limits of the County. The Wood-
peckers have a good number of species. The Poor-will and
Nighthawk and one or more Hummingbirds are commoik.
Flycatchers of various species are numerous, the Magpie ana
several jays are noticeable, and the Icteridcc are represented
by blackbirds, the Meadowlark, and Bullock's Oriole.
Sparrows of course show many species, a tanager is com-
mon, about all the swallows of temperate North America are
here, and a couple of vireos. The list of Warblers is fairly
466 Colorado College Publication
long, we have the Pipit, Water Ousel, and several of the
Miinida, wrens, nuthatches, several of the Paridcr, two king-
lets, a gnatcatcher. Solitaire, several thrushes, Robin, and three
This brief resume shows what a field for bird study the
County affords. It has given several! original records to the
Colorado list, and a considerable number of the rarer species
have been reported from here.
ANALYSIS OF THE BIRD FAUNA.
We have divided the birds of the County into the eight
following categories, the first six of which are identical with
those of Sclater in his History of the Birds of Colorado.
A — Resident throughout the year.
B — Summer residents, migrating south in winter.
C — Birds which' breed within the County, and occasionally
winter, though usually going further south.
D — Birds not known to breed within the County, but found
more or less commonly in winter.
E — Birds not known to breed within the County, but more
or less regular transients through in spring and autumn.
F — Birds not known to breed in the County, which have been
taken or seen on from one to half a dozen occasions.
C — Species which formerly occurred in the County but now
exterminated or not seen for many years.
H — Introduced species.
It is not always easy to determine in which category some
of the species should be placed, but we believe the following
lists are as near correct as they can be made with the informa-
tion at hand.
A — Resident throughout the year, 46 species. Virginia
Rail, Scaled Quail, Dusky Grouse, Ferruginous Roughleg,
Golden Eagle, Long-eared Owl, Aiken's Screech Owl, Western
Horned Owl, Acadian Owl, Rocky Mountain Pygmy Owl,
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 467
Road Runner, Rocky Mountain Hairy Woodpecker, Batcheld-
er's Woodpecker, Alpine Three-toed Woodpecker, Red-shafted
Flicker, Desert Horned Lark, Magpie, Long-crested Jay,
Woodhouse's Jay, Rocky Mountain Jay, Raven, Clarke's Nut-
cracker, Pifion Jay, Western Evening Grosbeak, Rocky Moun-
tain Pine Grosbeak, Cassin's Finch, Crossbill, Mexican Cross-
bill, Brown-capped Rosy Finch, Goldfinch, Pale Goldfinch,
Pine Siskin, Gray-headed Junco, Mountain Song Sparrow,
Canon Towhee, Water Ousel, Canon Wren, Rocky Mountain
Creeper, Rocky Mountain Nuthatch, Red-Breasted Nuthatch,
Pygmy Nuthatch, Gray Titmouse, Long-tailed Chickadee,
Mountain Chickadee, Lead-colored Bush-Tit, Townsend's Soli-
B — Summer residents, migrating south in winter, 84
species. Sora, Killdeer, Mountain Plover, Western Mourning
Dove, Turkey Vulture, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk,
Krider's Hawk, Western Redtail, Swainson's Hawk, Prairie
Falcon, Duck Hawk, Sparrow Hawk, Burrowing Owl, Belted
Kingfisher, Red-naped Sapsucker, Williamson's Sapsucker,
Red-headed Woodpecker, Poor-will, Western Nighthawk,
White-throated Swift, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Rufous
Hummingbird, Kingbird, Arkansas Kingbird, Cassin's King-
bird, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Say's Phoebe, Olive-sided Fly-
catcher, Western Wood Peewee, Western Flycatcher, Traill's
Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, Hammond's Flycatcher, Wright's
Flycatcher, Cowbird, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Thick-billed
Redwing, Bullock's Oriole, Brewer's Blackbird, Bronzed
Crackle, Arkansas Goldfinch, Arizona Goldfinch, Mexican
Goldfinch, Western Vesper Sparrow, Western Savannah
Sparrow, Western Lark Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow,
Western Chipping Sparrow, Brewer's Sparrow, Lincoln's
Sparrow, Green-tailed Towhee, Black-headed Grosbeak,
Western Blue Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Lark Bunting, West-
ern Tanager, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Tree Swallow,
Violet-green Swallow, Rough-winged Swallow, White-rumped
Shrike, Western Warbling Vireo, Plumbeous Vireo, Virginia's
Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Audu-
468 Colorado College Publication
bon's Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, MacGillivray's
Warbler, Western Yellow-throat, Long-tailed Chat, Pileo-
lated Warbler, Redstart, Pipit, Mockingbird, Catbird, Brown
Thrasher, Rock Wren, Western House Wren^ Ruby-crowned
Kinglet, Audubon's Hermit Thrush, Chestnut-backed Bluebird.
C — Birds which breed within the County, and occa-
sionally winter, though usually going further south, 7 species.
Spotted Sandpiper, Marsh Hawk, Lewis's Woodpecker, West-
ern Meadowlark, Mountain Towhee, Western Robin, Moun-
D — Birds not known to breed within the County, but
found more or less commonly in winter, 28 species. Wilson's
Snipe, Goshawk, Western Goshawk, Rough-legged Hawk,
Bald Eagle, Pigeon Hawk, Richardson's Pigeon Hawk, Short-
eared Owl, Rocky Mountain Screech Owl, Gray-crowned Ro,sy
Finch, Hepburn's Rosy Finch, Black Rosy Finch, Redpoll,
Alaska Longspur, Chestnut-collared Longspur, McCown's
Longspur, Western Tree Sparrow, White-winged Junco, Slate-
colored Junco, Intermediate Junco, Shufeldt's Junco, Mon-
tana Junco, Pink-sided Junco, Arctic Towhee, Bohemian Wax-
wing, Northern Shrike, Prairie Marsh Wren, Western Golden-
E — Birds not known to breed within the County, but
more or less regular transients passing through in spring and
autumn, 52 species. Eared Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Loon,
Black-throated Loon, Ring-billed Gull, Forster's Tern, Black
Tern, White Pelican, Merganser, Mallard, Gadwall, Baldpate,
Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal,
.Spoonbill, Pintail, Redhead, Canvas-back, Lesser Scaup, Gold-
en-eye, BufHe-head, Ruddy Duck, Bittern, Great Blue Heron,
Snowy Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Brown
Crane, Coot, Northern Phalarope, Wilson's Phalarope, Long-
billed Dowitcher, Baird's Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Semi-
palmated Sandpiper, Greater Yellow-legs, Yellow-legs, West-
ern Solitary Sandpiper, Western Willet, Long-billed Curlew,
Black-bellied Plover, Baird's Sparrow, Western Grasshopper
Young Western Horned Owl.
Delta County, Colo.
E. R. W., Photo.
Young Aiken's Screech Owls.
E. R. W., Photo.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 469
Sparrow, Gambel's Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Cassin's
Vireo, Tennessee Warbler, Myrtle Warbler, Black-poll Warb-
ler, Willow Thrush, Olive-backed Thrush, Alaska Hermit
F — Birds not known to breed in the County, which have
been taken or seen on from one to half a dozen occasions, 51
species. Bonaparte's Gull, Double-crested Cormorant,
Hooded Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, White-winged Scoter,
Snow Goose, Greater Snow Goose, Canada Goose, Hutchins's
Goose, Whistling Swan, Least Bittern, Egret, Reddish Egret,
Sandhill Crane, Florida GaHinule, Stilt Sandpiper, White-
rumped Sandpiper, Upland Plover, Golden Plover, Band-tailed
Pigeon, Swallow-tailed Kite, Mississippi Kite, Osprey, Spotted
Owl, Flammulated Owl, Arctic Horned Owl, Black-billed
Cuckoo, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Black-chinned Humming-
bird, Calliope Hummingbird, Gray Flycatcher, Blue Jay, Crow,
Bobolink, Rusty Blackbird, Snow Bunting, Harris's Sparrow,
Dakota Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Indigo Bunting,
Dickcissel, Scarlet Tanager, Bank Swallow, Cedar Waxwing,
Prothonotary Warbler, Northern Parula Warbler, Oven-bird,
Sage Thrasher, Baird's Wren, Western Gnatcatcher, Bluebird.
G — Species formerly occurring in the County, but now
exterminated or not seen for many years, 3 species. Colum-
bian Sharp-tailed Grouse, Merriam's Turkey, White-necked
H — Introduced species, 4. Bob-white, California Quail.
Ring-necked Pheasant, House Sparrow.
We wish to acknowledge help or notes from the following :
The Bureau of the Biological Survey, U. S. Department
of Agriculture, through its Chief, Mr. H. W. Henshaw, and
Assistant Ornithologist, Mr. H. C. Oberholser, has identified
various specimens for us, mention of which is usually specifi-
cally made in the text.
Mr. William Brewster has kindly examined his notes made
470 Colorado College Publication
in 1882, looking up certain points for us. Mr. Alex. Wet-
more sent a manuscript list of the birds observed by himself
and R. B. Rockwell at Palmer Lake, September 5 and 6, 1909,
with permission to make any use we desired of it. Dr.
Edward C. Schneider of Colorado Coollege was good enough
to read over the account of the life zones and give suggestions
as to the characteristic plants, while much information was
gathered from his "Distribution of Woody Plants in the Pike's
Peak Region." Mr. Lloyd L. Shaw has permitted the use of
manuscript notes made about Colorado Springs and in Crystal
Park as well as the photographs- of the young Sharp-shinned
Hawks. Mr. Clark Mellen of New York has kindly given
information as to the introduction of game birds at Glen Eyrie.
The cuts of the Long-eared Owl, Horned Owl, Burrowing
Owl's Nest, Three-toed Woodpeckers, Niglithawk on the
ground, the two of the young Magpies and the Magpie's nest,
and the two cuts of Cliff Swallow's nests, were loaned by the
"Condor," published by the Cooper Ornithological Club of
The nomenclature of the American Ornithologists' Union
has been strictly adhered to in this list, except in the case of the
Juncos, where it was departed from for reasons there stated.
It should be stated that Monument Valley Park, fre-
quently mentioned herein, refers to the park of that name in
the city of Colorado Springs, and not to Monument Park, some
six miles north of the city, and the location of the Woodmen's
Whenever the Aiken Collection is mentioned, the collec-
tion of birds purchased from C. E. Aiken by General William
J. Palmer and presented to Colorado College is referred to. It
comprises the results of Aiken's collecting from his arrival in
1871 until 1907.
Aiken, C. E., and C. N. Holden, Jr. Notes on the Birds of
The Birds of El Paso County^ Colorado 471
Wyoming and Colorado Territories. Proc. Boston Soc.
Nat. Hist., XV., 1872, pp. 193-210. This was edited by
Dr. T. M. Brewer, and only the notes signed "C. E. A.,"
contributed by Aiken, refer to Colorado. They are the
results of the field work of his first winter and spring in
Colorado (1871-72), and which was practically all done at
his ranch on Turkey Creek, southwest of Colorado
Springs. 59 species are credited to the State, in addition
to those hitherto known to occur here.
Aiken, C. E. A Glimpse at Colorado and its Birds. Amer.
Nat., VII, 1873, p. 13. Notes on birds seen on an October
day on Beaver Creek.
Aiken, C. E. A New Species of Sparrow. Amer. Nat., VII,
1873, pp. 236-7. Centronyx ochrocephalus described from
type taken on plains 14 miles east of Fountain, about
October 5, 1872. This proved to be identical with Cen-
tronyx (now Ammodramus) bairdi, and was practically a
rediscovery of that species.
Aiken, C. E. The Nidification of the Blue Crow [Pinon Jay]
and the Gray-headed Snowbird. Amer. Sport. V. 1875,
p. 370. The first account of the nests and eggs of these
Aiken, C. E. Seven New Birds for Colorado. Auk, XVII,
1900, p. 298. Adds as new to the state fauna Gavia arctica,
from Colorado Springs ; Ardea egretta, 5 miles south of
Colorado Springs ; Syrnium nebulosum, Holyoke ; Astra-
fjalinus tristis pallidus, Colorado Springs ; Geothlypis
agilis, Lake, Lincoln Co. ; Geothlypis trichas, Colorado
Springs (this specimen is now referred to G. t. occiden-
talis) ; Wilsonia canadensis , Lake, Lincoln Co.
Allen, J. A. Notes of an Ornithological Reconnaisance of
portions of Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. V.
List of Birds observed at the Eastern Base of the Rocky
Mountains in Colorado Territory, between Colorado City
and Denver, in July and August, 1871 ; with Annotations.
Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., Ill, 1872, pp. 113-183. A very
472 Colorado College Publication
important paper for Colorado Ornithology, and the first
list pertaining to our region as there are many notes about
Palmer Lake and Colorado City.
Allen, J. A. Ornithological Notes from the West. II.
Notes on the Birds of Colorado. Amer. Nat., VI, pp.
Allen, J. A., and W. Brewster. List of Birds observed in
the Vicinity of Colorado Springs, Colorado, during March,
April, and May, 1882. Bull. Nutt. Orn. Club, VIII, 1883,
pp. 51-161, and 189-198. A very important paper for our
region. Bendire's Thrasher and Florida Gallinule first
recorded for Colorado.
Arnold, W. W. Bird Enemies of the Chinese Cotton Scale.
Auk, XXIX, 1912, p. 113. Redpolls and Pine Siskins ob-
served to eat the cottony scale on maple trees in Colorado
Springs. T. D. A. Cockerell on page 400 of the same
volume corrects the name of the insect, and states that it is
Pulvinaria innumerabilis, and that it is a species native to
Bailey, F. M. Handbook of the Birds of the Western United
States, including the Great Plains, Great Basin, Pacific
Slope, and Lower Rio Grande Valley. Boston and New
York. First edition 1902. Several others published since.
Descriptions of the species, distribution, etc. 12mo.
Brewster, W. Recent Occurrence of the Flammulated Owl
in Colorado. Bull. Nutt. Orn. Club, VIII, 1883, p. 123.
Letter from C. E. Aiken in regard to the occurrence of this
specifes near Colorado Springs.
Chapman, F. M. The Warblers of North America. New
York, 1907. 8vo. Certain El Paso County references.
Cooke, W. W. Ten New Birds from Colorado. Auk, XI,
1894, pp. 182-3. Ardetta exilis first recorded for Colorado
from specimen taken near Colorado Springs.
Cooke, W. W. The Birds of Colorado. Bull. No. 37, State
Agricultural College, Fort Collins, Colo., 1897, pp. 1-144.
The Birds of El Paso County, Ojloeado 473
Further Notes on the Birds of Colorado. Bull. No.
4, 1898, pp. 145-176.
The Birds of Colorado. Second Appendix to Bulletin
No. Z7. Bull. No. 56, 1900, pp. 177-239. The most com-
plete list of Colorado birds up to time of publication, and
containing many El Paso County records.
Cooke, W. W. A New Bird for Colorado. Oregon Natural-
ist, IV, 1897-8, p. 165. Stellula calliope taken at Colorado
Felger, a. H. The Prothonotary Warbler in Colorado. Auk,
XXIV, 1907, p. 342; also Condor, IX, 1907, p. 110. Re-
ports capture of three specimens by B. G. Voight, one of
which was taken between Palmer Lake and Monument.
Henshaw, H. W. Report upon Ornithological Specimens
collected in the Years 1871, 1872 and 1873, in Geograph-
ical and Geological Explorations and Surveys West of the
One Hundredth Meridian. First Lieutenant George M.
Wheeler, Corps of Engineers, in charge. Washington,
1874. Pp. 133-507, pis. I-XV. Some El Paso County
notes by Aiken and Henshaw.
Keyser, L. S. Birds of the Rockies. Chicago, 1902. 8vo.
A popular work and containing some El Paso County
Miller, O. T. A Bird Lover in the West. Boston and New
York, 1894. 16mo. Popular book ; contains observations
made near Colorado Springs.
Minot, H. D. Notes on Colorado Birds. Bull. Nutt. Orn.
Club, V, 1880, pp. 181-2, and 223-232. Contains notes
made near Manitou and Seven Lakes.
Oberholser, H. C. The North American Forms of Astra-
galinus psaltria (Sag). Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash., XVI,
pp. 113-116, September 30, 1903. Reviews status of A. p.
psaltria, A. p. arisona, and A. p. mexicanus, concludes
variations in color are due to age, and cites a series of
specimens taken at Colorado Springs in the breeding sea-
son and containing all three forms.
474 Colorado College Publication
Pike, Z. M. An Account of Expedition to the Sources of
the Mississippi, and through the Western Parts of Louis-
iana to the Sources of the Arkansaw, Kans., La Platte
and Pierre Juan Rivers, performed by the order of the
Government of the United States during the years 1805,
1806, and 1807, etc., etc. Philadelphia, 1810, 8vo. The
portion relating to the attempted ascent of Pike's Peak has
allusion to the Pheasant, i. e., Dusky Grouse.
RiDGWAY, R. On Some New Forms of North American
Birds. Amer. Nat. VII, 1873, pp. 603-615.
Contains description of Junco hyeinalis aikeni from
type taken by Aiken in El Paso County.
RiDGWAYj R. On Buteo harlani (Aud.) and B. cooperi
(Cass.), Auk, II, 1885, p. 165.
Note on a specimen from El Paso County in the
Aiken Collection. (This specimen did not come from
El Pasn County, nor is the locality from which it did
come known. It is not now in the collection.)
RiDGWAY, R. The Birds of North and Middle America.
(Bull. U. S. Nat. Mus., No. 50.) Parts 1, 1901 ; 2, 1902;
3, 1904; 4, 1907; 5, 1911. (Incomplete.)
ScLATER, W. L. Winter Birds of Colorado. Ibis, 1908, pp.
443-450. Notes on birds about Colorado Springs.
ScLATER, W. L. A History of the Birds of Colorado. Lon-
don, 1912. With 17 plates and a map. Sq. demy 8vo.
The only work on Colorado birds giving descriptions,
habits, with references to all records and literature. Many
El Paso County notes and records.
SmitHj H. G. Another Scarlet Tanager for Colorado. Auk,
XIX, 1903, p. 290. Record of one taken by Ferrill at
Sturgis, Carolyn. The Meadow-Lark's Manual of Melody.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 475
No date (published m 1912). No place of publication or
Descriptions of songs of Meadowlarks as heard near
Colorado Springs, with songs of various individual birds
set to music.
Warren, E. R. Horned Larks in Colorado Springs, Colo-
rado. Bird-Lore, VI, 1904, p. 6. With 4 photographs.
Account of the birds in the city, winter of 1902-3.
Warren, E. R. A Hummingbird that wanted light. Bird-
Lore, IX, 1907, p. 81. 1 photo.
Account of a Broad-tailed Hummingbird building
nest on an electric light fixture on porch in Colorado
Warren, E. R. Photographing Magpies. Condor, IX, 1907,
pp. 5-9. Photographs of nests from about Colorado
Warren, E. R. Some Central Colorado Bird Notes. Con-
dor, XII, 1910, pp. 23-39.
Has some El Paso County notes.
Warren, E. R. Some North Central Colorado Bird Notes.
Condor, XIV, May, 1912, pp. 81-104.
Has some El Paso County notes.
476 CoLORAco College Publication
THE BIRDS OF EL PASO COUNTY, COLORADO.
Colymbus nigricollis califomicus. Eared Grebe. "Hell
A regular migrant in spring and fall, arriving in spring
about May 1. The autumn migration begins in September and
continues for a couple of months, the latest date we have
being October 27, 1906.
As there are not many bodies of water suitable for aquatic
birds in the County the opportunity for obtaining notes on
these forms has not been as good as might be desired, and
especiall3i has this been the case in the past. Various reser-
voirs have been constructed for irrigation purposes during the
last few years which are attracting more birds during migra-
tion. This explanation will account to some extent for the
paucity of notes orr this and the following species of aquatic
The grebes would no doubt breed in the County if there
were any suitable places, as they breed in many localities in
Li the early days of Colorado Springs there were a couple
of reservoirs on East Boulder Street, on ground now well
settled. It is interesting to note that Warren killed an Eared
Grebe on one of these reservoirs, October 23, 1882.
Podilymbus podiceps. Pied-billed Grebe. "Hell Diver."
A regular migrant, but not as common as the Eared
Gavia immer. Loon.
Rare migrant. Aiken has had several adults brought to
him, one of them in spring. It has been seen on Prospect
Gavia arctica. Black-throated Loon.
A not uncommon migrant, mainly in autumn. All that
Fig. S. E. R. W., Photo.
Long-Eared Owl. Young Just From Nest.
Fig. p. E. R. W.. Photo.
Young Alpine Three-Toed Woodpeckers.
Buffalo Pass, Colo.
North Park, Colo.
E. R. JV., Photo.
fig. II. E. R. W., Photo,
"Nest" and Eggs of Western Nighthawk.
North Park, Colo.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 477
have been examined were immature birds. Aiken has had a
good number brought to him during recent years. Three
were killed on Prospect Lake, Colorado Springs, in November,
1898. There is a mounted specimen in the Aiken Collection,
Colorado College Museum, which was sent in the flesh from
Monument, May 11, 1901, and presumably killed near that
Lanis delawarensis. Ring-billed Gull.
A common migrant, usually appearing in April. It has
been taken from March 10 to May 16 in spring, and from
September 7 to November 6 in autumn. There are three
specimens in the Aiken Collection, two taken near Colorado
Springs, the other labeled as from El Paso County. C. E.
Eldredge brought one to Aiken, January 2, 1890, recently
taken at his ranch in Chico Basin. An unusual date.
Larus Philadelphia. Bonaparte's Gull.
Rare ; but few have been taken in the County.
Sterna forsteri. Forster's Tern.
Rare. "Taken at intervals, according to Mr. Aiken."
Allen and Brewster. The preceding note, published in 1883,
holds good today. We have no recent records for the County.
Hydrochelidon nigra surlnamensis. Black Tern.
A not uncommon migrant. Aiken saw two at a reservoir
near Skinner's, southeast of Colorado Springs, July 30, 1907,
and there is a mounted specimen in the Aiken Collection taken
at Fountain, August 7, 1908.
Phalacrocorax auritus auritus. Double-crested Cormorant.
Rare. Has been taken occasionally near Colorado Springs
in migration. One was shot near Fountain, October 21, 1901,
by George Wright.
Pelecanus erythrorhynchos. White Pelican.
A not uncommon migrant, spring dates range from April
478 Colorado College Publication
27 to June 10, and autumn dates from September 18 to
October 13. A flock of 18 came to Prospect Lake, May 22,
1898, and 9 were killed. A large flock was reported to Aiken
on the Johnson Reservoir, southeast of Colorado Springs, in
first week in June, 1907, which remained there several days.
Mergus americanus. American JVlerganser. Sheldrake.
A not uncommon migrant ; most of Aiken's records are
in the autumn, one as late as November 27, 1905.
Lophodytes cucullatus. Hooded Merganser.
An immature bird of this species was brought to Aiken
several years ago, which had been killed near Colorado
Springs. This is the only record we have of its occurrence in
the County, but it occurs occasionally over the eastern part
of the State.
Anas platyrhynchos. Mallard.
A common migrant, occasionally winters where there
is open water. Seven were seen on a pond in Monument Vallev
Park April 9, 1913.
In February, 1895, Aiken visited Clear Lake, near Deserct,
Utah, before the marshes had thawed. Towards evening
ducks flying high and coming from different directions at in-
tervals were observed to drop down to a certain part of a
frozen marshy meadow. He approached cautiously to in-
vestigate when twenty Mallard drakes suddenly raised theii-
heads from above the grass and leaped into the air. They
had apparently come to this spot to sleep and were huddled
as closely together as possible.
Chaulelasmus streperus. Gadwall. Gray Duck.
Migrant, one of the most common ducks in spring and
autumn, beginning to fly north the middle or latter part of
March, and to come south again in late September. There is
one in the Aiken Collection, taken near Falcon, May 3, 1907,
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 479
and Aiken saw one near Calhan in June, which was probaljly
Mareca americana. Baldpate. Widgeon.
A common migrant, at about the same dates as the Gad-
Nettion carolinense. Green-winged Teal.
A common migrant, coming the last of March in spring,
and mid-September in autumn.
October 26, 1882, I killed one in the Colorado Springs
City irrigating ditch, where it ran along the west side of
what is now the D. Russ Wood Addition, and entirely built
ever, then there was not a house within several hundred
yards. (E. R. W.)
It has recently been seen on the reservoir in Monnmetit
Valley Park. As of course no shooting is allowed in the pai^k
the ponds there should become a refuge for water fowl.
Querquedula discors. Blue-winged Teal.
A common migrant. Aiken found a nest, without eggs,
June 4th, 1898, on Big Sandy Creek, near Ramah, on the
plains, forty miles northeasterly from Colorado Springs. A
pair were seen on the Monument Valley Park reservoir, May
10, 12, 14 and 23, 1913, giving rise to the hope that they
might be nesting somewhere near, which was never verified,
however. The species has also been seen at the same place
Querquedula cyanoptera. Cinnamon Teal.
Formerly common migrant, now rare. Aiken docs I'Ot
see as many specimens now as once, but possibly this is be-
cause of the closing of spring shooting, most of the birds for
mounting having been brought in in the spring. Aiken's last
records are April 25, 1886, and March 26, 1887.
Spatula clypeata. Shoveller. Spoonbill.
Rather a common migrant. Has been taken as late as
480 Colorado College Publication
Dafila acuta. Pintail.
A common migrant, and about the first of ttie ducks 1o
appear in spring, often arriving early in February. Comes
south in October. A male seen on Monument Valley Park
reservoir, May 6, 1913.
Marila americana. Redhead.
A rather common migrant.
Marila valisineria. Canvas-back.
Migrant ; not common.
Marila affinis. Lesser Scaup Duck. Little Blue-bill.
Common migrant. One seen on Monument Valley Paik
reservoir April 20, 1913, and two October 12, 1913.
Marila collaris. Ring-necked Duck.
Rare migrant. A few have been brought to Aiken.
Clangula clangula americana. Golden-eye.
A casual migrant. Aiken had specimens brought to liim
taken March 3, 1900,- and December 14, 1906.
Charltonetta albeola. Buffle-head.
A common winter visitor.
Oidemia deglandi. White-winged Scoter.
There is but one record of the occurrence of this species
in the County, a specimen which was killed on the Johnson
reservoir near Skinner's, October 16th, 1907, and mounted
Erismatura jamaicensis. Ruddy Duck.
A rather common migrant, arriving late in spring. One
was killed on Prospect Lake in the spring of 1912. Two
males seen on Monument Valley Park reservoir, April 17, 1913.
The fiiRDS OF El Paso County, Colorado 481
Chen hyperboreus hyperboreus. Snow Goose.
Occasional. Aiken has a mounted specimen killed at the
Pebbles Ranch on Squirrel Creek, 25 miles east of Colorado
Springs, October 27, 1885.
Chen hjrperboreus nivalis. Greater Snow Goose.
October 16, 1913, a flock of 9 or 10 geese came to the
reservoir on the Stevenson ranch, 12 miles south of Colorado
Springs, and two of them were shot by C. F. Anderson and
Alex.' Meredith of Colorado Springs. A third which was
crippled on the 16th was secured by R. A. Barton on the
19th. This last bird is mounted and has been examined by
Warren, as also the mounted head of one of the other two.
The mounted bird and one of the others were measured when
killed, their lengths being 28 and 30 inches respectively. The
lengths of the bills of the two specimens seen, with the length
of the wing of the mounted bird, together with the total
lengths above given, indicate that the birds were Greater
Snow Geese, and they constitute a third record of the species
for Colorado, the other two being a bird taken by President
Z. X. Snyder east of Greeley, March 20, 1895, and one killed
by John F. Campion near Loveland, April 9, 1899. All three
of the birds lately taken seem to be immature, having con-
siderable yellowish on the feathers of the head and anterior
portions of the body.
Branta canadensis canadensis. Canada Goose.
Reported by hunters who distinguish this form from the
Branta canadensis hutchinsi. Hutchins's Goose.
Occasionally killed by hunters who report it as more
common than the Canada Goose. Aiken killed one from a
flock at Chico Basin, December 3, 1871.
Olor columbianus. Whistling Swan.
Occasional migrant. An immature bird was killed on
482 Colorado College Publication
Prospect Lake, November, 1910. It is now mounted and in
the Aiken Collection at Colorado College.
Plegadis guarana. White-faced Glossy Ibis.
Rare; two killed by Charles Eldredge at his ranch in
Chico Basin southeast of Colorado Springs, October 10, 1890.
Mycteria americana. Wood Ibis.
Rare; Aiken has three specimens in his private collec-
tion, all immature birds shot near Colorado Springs in August
about 25 years ago.
Botaurus lentiginosus. Bittern.
Rather uncommon from lack of suitable conditions. Ar-
rives in April, leaves in September and October.
Ixobrychus exilis. Least Bittern.
Rare, but two specimens being recorded from the County.
One of these was taken near Colorado Springs somewhere
about 1886; this was the first specimen of the species to be
recorded from Colorado. The other was taken at Colorado
Springs, June 18, 1907. This bird was found in a yard,
alive, but injured, probably from having flown against a tele-
graph or telephone wire. Both specimens are mounted and
in the Aiken Collection.
Ardea herodias herodias. Great Blue Heron.
Migrant, rather common, arriving early in April; the
earliest date is April 2, 1889. No breeding colonic? have ever
been known in the County. November 27, 1897, a young bird
was sent Aiken from Divide Station, on the Colorado Mid-
landn Railway, 9,200 feet altitude. An unusually late record
for the species. This locality is in Teller County. The latest
El Paso County date is November 2.
Herodias egretta. Egret.
The first instance known of the occurrence of this species
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 483
in the County, as well as in Colorado, is a single bird seen
May 12, 1899, by Messrs. A. Gruber and F. Cikanck, taxi-
dermists then in the employ of Mr. Aiken, in a cottonwood
tree five miles south of Colorado Springs. As they were fa-
miliar with the species as well as with the more common E.
candidissiina, there seems no reason to doubt their identifi-
Charles O'Connor saw three birds near a pond on the
prairie 14 miles east of Colorado Springs, September 25, 1912,
which seem to have been this species rather than the smaller
Egretta candidissiina. Snowy Egret.
A not uncommon migrant, occurring irregularly in spring.
The earliest date is May 2, 1899, and six birds of this species
are known to have been killed in the vicinity of Colorado
Springs that spring. Aiken has received a number of speci-
mens from the mountains, indicating that it ranges as high
as 10,000 feet.
Dichromanassa rufescens. Reddish Egret.
Accidental. There is a single record of the capture of this
ppecies in the County and in Colorado. This is a juvenile or
immature bird which was brought to Aiken in the flesh, about
August, 1875, and which had been killed near Colorado Springs.
Nycticorax nycticorax naevius. Black-crowned Night Heron.
A not uncommon spring migrant. A Black-crowned Night
Heron with a broken wing was seen in a tree in Monument
Valley Park, April 16, 1911. One was seen in the same park,
April 9, one April 27, and two more May 10, 1913.
Grus canadensis. Little Brown Crane.
Taken occasionally near Colorado Springs. A flock of
15 was seen near Fountain by Dr. Heiple, about September
29th, 1913, one of which was killed and brought to Aiken.
484 Colorado College Publication
One was killed at Curr's ranch south of Colorado Springs,
March 27, 1900, and another near the city the following day.
Grus mexicana. Sandhill Crane.
Rare. One specimen which was killed near Colorado
Springs early in 1885 was mounted by Aiken. Hunters claim
that they have distinguished this species from the Little Brown
Crane in the County.
Rallus virginianus. Virginia Rail.
A rather uncommon resident, winters about sloughs along
Fountain Creek. Several seen and one secured near Skin-
ner's ranch, January 15, 1908, by Aiken. This was the morn-
ing after a severe snowstorm, with temperature 10 below zero
There is also a male specimen in the Aiken Collection shot
February 16, 1899, in severe stormy weather. These birds
were among rushes weighted with snow but near springholes
with open water. He obtained a male with its nest and 7
eggs near Fountain, June 4, 1872.
Porzana Carolina. Sora.
Common summer resident in suitable localities. Has been
seen near Peyton by Aiken, July 17, 1897.
Gallinula galatea. Florida Gallinule.
The only record for the County and the State is the one
mentioned by Allen and Brewster, who say: "Saw one in
the flesh, taken May 9, ." Presumably taken in El
Paso County, though the precise locality is not indicated.
Fulica americana. Coot. Mud-hen.
Common migrant, possibly breeding in suitable localities.
Lobipes lobatus. Northern Phalarope.
Rare migrant in spring, specimens taken May 14th and
29th, are in the Aiken Collection.
Steganopus tricolor. Wilson's Phalarope.
Formerly not uncommon. Aiken found them near Foun-
Pig. 12. E. R. W., Photo.
Broad-Tailed Hummingbird on Nest on Electric Light Fixture
Young Western Nighthawks.
Gunnison County, Colo.
E. R. W., Photo.
E. R. W., Photo.
Fig. 15. E. R. W.. Photo.
Young Say's Phcebe.
The Birds of El Paso County, 0)lorado 485
tain in 1873, and specimens were occasionally brought to him
in Colorado Springs in the eighties, but none since July 17,
1888. It is not at all uncommon in some sections of Colo-
rado, and breeds in various places in the State.
May 19, 1911, Warren saw 25 or 30 Wilson's Phalarones
on a small pond or reservoir at a ranch about twelve mi'es
southwest of Elbert. This possibly may have been in Elbert
County ; at all events it was very close to the line.
Recurvirostra americana. Avocet.
Migrant ; not uncommon.
Aiken witnessed a curious performance of Avocets in
Utah. In September, 1893, he visited the mouth of Bear
River where hundreds of acres of mud flats and shallow
water offer an attractive resort for various water fowl. In a
submerged grove where patches of mud appeared above rlie
water hundreds of Avocets were congregated. One little mud
island that differed from others in that it was quite round
seemed to have a fascination for the birds, and they were
packed together upon it in a mass which covered the island
to the water's edge. As the island was about 12 feet in cir-
cumference the number of birds probably approximated 150.
This mass of birds continued to revolve about from left to
right, and being so crowded the movement was rather slow
and their steps short and measured, so that the impression was
that they were all marking time in the marching. Birds on
the rim of the circle avoided walking off in the water and
crowded inward against the mass. Every moment or two
birds would leave the milling body and fly to a neighboring
mud island, and as many from near by would fly to take their
places and join the dance. Aiken advanced quietly to within
20 yards and viewed them for half an hour, but they con-
tinued undisturbed by his presence and he left them so. It
appeared to be a diversion of the birds.
The flesh of Avocets is not esteemed in places of their
abundance. Most of them are infested with worms which
486 Colorado College Publication
are found not only in the digestive tract but in the abdominal
cavity and the eye sockets. The flavor is rather fishy.
Philohela minor. Woodcock.
August 16, 1898, Aiken flushed a bird in oak brush on the
Starr Ranch on the slope of Cheyenne Mountain which he be-
lieves to have been a Woodcock. He was also informed that
two men hunting on Rock Creek killed two Woodcock. The
Woodcock is known to occur rarely in the northern part of the
State. Cooke mentions five records from the neighborhood
Edward H. Eyre says that while trout fishing in Manitou
Park about September first some years ago he plainly saw a pair
of Woodcock on the ground among willows bordering the
stream. This was about 30 miles west of Colorado Springs in
Gallinago delicata. Wilson's Snipe. Jack Snipe.
Common migrant and winter resident.
Wilson's Snipe is known to breed in favored localities
throughout the State on the plains and up to 9,500 feet in the
mountains, but there are no very suitable breeding grounds for
it in El Paso County. They begin to make their appearance the
last of August or first of September at the first autumn storm
and become plentiful in October. Many go further south by
the first of November but a great many remain through the
most severe winters, some until the first of May.
Fountain Creek rarely freezes over entirely below its exit
from the mountains, and along its banks there are many
places where water that runs through the sand comes to the
surface and forms springy holes and marshy meadows which
are warmer than surface water. These become the winter
feeding grounds for the Snipe and one or a pair often content
themselves with a very small area of muck. But at times of
severe cold many of the smaller holes freeze and then the
Snipe concentrate at places where a larger flow of water keeps
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 487
the holes open. On January 15, 1908, with six inches of snow
on the ground and below zero weather Aiken visited a small
beaver pond on the Skinner ranch six miles south of Colorado
Springs. A bit of marsh above the pond and a short stretch
of ooze along the outlet below remained open, and in this
small area of one-fourth of an acre were 25 to 30 Snipe.
Some years ago a Snipe was found running upon the ice when
everything in the vicinity was frozen solid. A few Snipe
winter along banks of streams in the mountains.
That Snipe know enough to protect themselves from
storms may be illustrated by narrating here one of Aiken's
experiences in Utah about 20 years ago. He was beating
a snipe marsh near one edge of which extended a narrow
arroyo or gully in which were some trees and bushes. The
weather had been fair until without warning a heavy snow
storm set in. At once Snipe began to rise wildly from differ-
ent parts of the marsh and one after another directed their
flight toward the same point in the arroyo and dove between
its banks. Upon investigation 8 or 10 Snipe were found
together in a little cave in the side of the arroyo that was
partly hidden by bushes so that they were well protected from
any storm. We conclude this was not the first time the Snipe
had resorted to this friendly shelter since they knew so well
where to go.
Macrorhamphus griseus scolopaceus. Long-billed Dowitcher.
Migrant, not common.
Micropalma himantopus. Stilt Sandpiper.
The only record for the County is a female in the Aiken
Collection, taken near Colorado Springs, May 14, 1884.
Pisobia fuscicollis. White-rumped Sandpiper.
A single record for the County, one taken by Aiken at
Colorado Springs, and identified by Ridgway.
Pisobia bairdi. Baird's Sandpiper.
Common migrant. It makes its appearance in the autumn
488 Colorado College Publication"
migration late in July, there being a mounted bird in the Aiken
Collection, taken at Skinner's ranch, July 29, 1907.
Pisobia minutilla. Least Sandpiper.
Rather common migrant.
Ereunetes pusillus. Semipalmated Sandpiper.
Uncommon migrant. Allen and Brewster mention see-
ing a fresh specimen at Aiken's, taken May 1, 1882.
Totanus melanoleucus. Greater Yellow-legs.
Rare. One noted by Aiken April 10, 1908, near Colorado
Totanus flavipes. Yellow-legs.
Not uncommon migrant. Allen mentions taking a single
specimen each of this and the preceding species at Palmer
Lake, August 5, 1871, and states that they were the only indi-
viduals seen of either species, a rather strange coincidence.
Helodromas solitarius cinnamomeus. Western Solitary
Rather common spring migrant. It was seen in Monu-
ment Valley Park, May 26 and August 10, 1913, a single bird
on each occasion. Aiken's earliest spring date is May 4, 1900,
and earliest summer date July 23, 1899.
Catoptrophorus semipalmatus inomatus. Western Willet.
Common migrant in spring.
Bartramia longicauda. Bartramian Sandpiper. Upland
The title of the Upland Plover to a place in this list rests
on the record of Allen and Brewster which says "Large num-
bers were brought in by gunners April 28, ." Aiken
has no personal knowledge of its occurrence here nor has he
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 489
met with it in his explorations on the plains to the eastward.
It has, however, been reported by Hersey and Rockwell at
Barr, near Denver, about ninety miles north. Aiken found
it common in South Park, Park County, in 1872, at the Salt
Works in July, a^d along the road from Faii-play to Hartse!
Actitis macularius. Spotted Sandpiper.
A common summer resident along the streams, arriving
about May first. Aiken stated in 1872 : "Common summer
resident, a few remain during the winter." There is no other
winter record than this, but it is no doubt correct. There are
no actual breeding records for the County, but it undoubtedly
does breed. First appeared in Monument Valley Park in
1913, May 4, and seen regularly after that whenever the park
was visited, the latest date when they were seen being Septem-
ber 10. Two were seen at Lake Moraine, 10,250 feet, Sep-
tember 2, 1905, by Warren, and Aiken saw a pair there July
Numenius americanus. Long-billed Curlew.
Formerly a common summer resident, breeding on open
prairies, now a rare migrant near Colorado Springs. Aiken
noted one on the Broadmoor ranch May 4, 1899. Sclater's
reference of the Hudsonian Curlew to El Paso County is
erroneous, the specimen in question proving to be an imma-
ture bird of the present species.
Squatarola squatarola. Black-bellied Plover.
A rare migrant, taken but a few times, once by Aiken in
1884 or 1885, and one or two others have been brought to
him to be mounted.
Charadrius dominicus domlnicus. Golden Plover.
But one known occurrence in the County, one or two taken
by Aiken near the Boulder Street reservoir, Colorado Springs,
about 1875, in the late autumn.
490 Colorado College Publication
Oxyechus vociferus. Killdeer.
A common summer resident, arriving sometime in March,
and mainly leaving in the fall by October first, but a few remain
much later. An early record is February 17, 1909, at Piiion,
Pueblo County, just south of our boundary. Most common at
Podasocys montanus. Mountain Plover.
Formerly a common summer resident.
In the early eighties a number of pairs nested on the
prairie land just north of Colorado Springs that is now built
over by the growing city. None have been reported near the
city for twenty years but there are a few breeding in the east-
ern part of the County. Aiken saw a female bird and newly
hatched young at Ramah^ June 7, 1898, and O'Connor says
one or two pairs bred near his ranch 10 miles east of Fountain
in 19.13. Aiken found a nest with three fresh eggs 30 miles
east of Colorado Springs May 25, 1878, which his notes state
"was discovered beside the road through the anxiety displayed
by the parent bird. The eggs were laid upon several soft
leaves of the prairie thistle with no other semblance of a nest
save the slight depression in the ground."
The Mountain Plover differs greatly in habits and char-
acteristics from its near relative tlie Killdeer. It shows no
preference for wet ground but on the contrary frequents
mesas or high rolling prairie land, often remote from water.
Their manner is quiet ; they have no wailing cry ; they run
rapidly a short distance and stand silent and motionless with
the head sunk low on the shoulders. Their unspotted plumage
blends with the color of the dry grass and parched ground and
makes them difficult to discover.
But in August, when the young birds shift for them-
selves, they gather in flocks and repair to the vicinity of
water holes and flooded fields. Cooke cites the fact that Cap-
tain Thorne shot 126 in one day at this season as evidence of
the abundance of this species, but that is not a fair basis for
The BiEds of El Paso County, Colorado 491
such a conclusion. A flock from which many may be killcl
at a single shot represents birds bred over an extended area.
The name of "plover" places this species in the class ,of
game birds which may be shot in the open season. As a game
bird in spring it compares with the horned lark but has some
advantage as to size, and presents an attractive mark to the
Colinus virginianus virginianus. Bob-white.
Not a native species but has been introduced at various
times. General Palmer turned out a number from Glen
Eyrie, bringing them from Kansas and Oklahoma. Mr. Clark
Mellen writes us that a good many broods were seen about
the place the first year but only a few the second. It is diffi-
cult to say what became of them, they may have died from
lack of food, exposure in winter, or been killed by lawless
hunters. E, A. Touzalin liberated some about 25 years ago
al his ranch on Cheyenne Mountain, and these seem to have
scattered about considerably. Ten years ago there were some
on the Bates ranch south of Colorado Springs, on Fountain
Creek, also about IS years ago there were some on a ranch
farther south, about 45 being seen there one day in January,
1898. One was heard near Buttes, July 9, 1907, and one May
16, 1908, and there are still a few in that region. These are
descended from birds liberated about 1888 by R. R. Taylor of
Colorado Springs. A pair of Texan Bob-whites from Texas
were liberated near, Colorado Springs in 1898 by George
Bonbright, but it is not believed that they survived.
There is not a great deal of cover for the birds and it is
easy for hunters who have no regard for the law to kill them.
Horned Owls are also partly responsible for their extermina-
tion. Dead Quail have been found in Owls' nests on Fountain
Bob-whites are plentiful in western Kansas and in recent
years have spread westward over the Colorado line at several
points where there is sufficient cover in this State to afford
492 Colorado College Publication
them protection. They have become plentiful along the Ar-
kansas Valley since its settlement and cultivation as far west as
least as La Junta where Aiken saw many in June, 1908. They
very probably may have extended as far west as Pueblo as
conditions are favorable for them all along that valley, but it
is not believed that any of the birds in El Paso County have
come from that source.
Callipepla squamata squamata. Scaled Quail. "Blue
Quail." "Mexican Quail."
Locally common ; resident.
Until recent years the Scaled Quail has been generally
known as restricted to the southern and central portions of
New Mexico, Arizona, and western Texas, yet as long ago
as May, 1876, Aiken learned of it as a common resident along
the Purgatoire River north of Trinidad in Colorado. It was
not recorded from the State, however, until 1895 when W. P.
Lowe noted in the Auk, Xll, p. 298, his finding one in the
Wet Mountains southwest of Pueblo. Previous to this, in 1884,
T. S. Brigham of Colorado Springs liberated several pairs on
his ranch west of Fountain, but it is not known that any of
these survived as they soon disappeared from the premises.
With the settlement and cultivation of the land along the
Arkansas River east of Pueblo this quail coming in from the
Purgatoire valley and the cedar hills east of it increased and
spread rapidly. For twenty years they have been plentiful in
the region of Rocky Ford and La Junta, later extending up
the valley to Canon City, and spreading northward. In the
spring of 1908 Scaled Quail made their appearance in El Paso
County in several localities. May 8 Aiken found a pair at the
mouth of Bear Creek (later their nest with 18 eggs was found).
A few days after this Sclater saw several near Glen Eyrie, and
in June Scheutze learned that two or three had been shot along
the mesa west of Colorado Springs.
Charles O'Connor reported that 42 had wintered at the
Franceville coal banks, taking shelter at night in a aeserted
coal shaft. A surprising appearance was that of a pair at
The Bikds of El Paso County, Colorado 493
the signal station on the summit of Pike's Peak on June
second. The female was shot at the time, and the male lin-
gering near was killed six days later. It is strangely at vari-
ance with the known habits of this bird that it should penetrate
so far into the mountains, but this is not the only instance we
have of its occurrence at high altitudes. In June, 1911, T. S.
Brigham saw a covey near a ranch at Lake George, over 30
miles northwesterly from Colorado Springs, in the heart of
the mountains, at 8,085 feet altitude. The ranchman told him
they were reared there by a pair which came there the year
From the first appearance of these birds in El Paso
County they multiplied rapidly. In the late autumn of 1911
. packs of one or two hundred were reported near Fountain and
Buttes. In defiance of the game law which then protected them
until 1915, and which protection has since been extended to
1924, many were shot. Later in the winter snows which cov-
ered the ground for a week or two at a time deprived them of
food. Whether they migrated or perished is uncertain, but
tiiere were few remaining the next year and they have not
since been plentiful.
The Scaled Quail does not usually hide for protection but
depends on its fleetness of foot to escape. On barren land
to the southward where little vegetation grows besides the
tree cactus they find a friendly shelter beneath the sharp-spined
branches from the attacks of hawks. That many do fall vic-
tims to birds of prey is certain. A Goshawk from Pueblo
County brought to Aiken February 15, 1909, contained in its
ciop one freshly eaten Scaled Quail, and in its stomach the
remains of another.
As noted by Aiken the call note of this quail is kuk chung
Lophortyx californica. California Quail.
An introduced species. E. A. Touzalin liberated some at
lis ranch on Cheyenne Mountain a number of years ago, and
494 Colorado College Publication
General Palmer also turned some out at Glen Eyrie.
It is not known to which subspecies these birds belonged-
"California Quail" have for years been reported to occur in
the neighborhood of Turkey and Little Fountain Creeks but
none have been critically examined. They are no doubt the
Scaled Quail as this is often called "California Quail" col-
Dendragapus obscunis obscimis. Dusky Grouse.
Resident in the mountains ; not common.
The Dusky Grouse was probably never as abundant in El
Paso County as it is or has been in the mountains farther
west. It is usually found above 8,000 feet. It winters in the
green pine and spruce timber at the higher altitudes, but
probably most of the broods are raised somewhat lower down.
This species was no doubt killed by Pike when he made his
attempt to get to the Peak. In his account he speaks of it as
Pedioecetes phasianellus columbianiu. Columbian Sharp-
This species is not now known to exist in El Paso County,
though it was formerly common on Monument and Kettle
Creeks and along the Divide. Allen states that it was said to
be abundant, especially near Palmer Lake. This was in 1871.
In 1875 they were still comparatively common in certain
localities, and in September Df that year Aiken found numerous
tracks at Sand Creek, east of Colorado Springs, but failed to
see any birds, though it had been reported that they were
there. From Sand Creek he proceeded northward until he
struck the headwaters of Kettle Creek, and there found a
covey of seven or eight birds, from which one or two were
secured. The farthest point south that the species has been
seen about here is a bird flushed by Aiken near the Bates
ranch 40 years ago.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 495
Meleagris gallopavo merriami. Merriam's Turkey. Wild
Formerly common in the foothills, now exterminated.
When Aiken located on his ranch in the Turkey Creek val-
ley in November, 1871, he was told that Jeff Steel, the pre-
vious owner of the ranch, had killed one or more Wild Turkeys
there the year previous. Years before that time the creek had
received its name from the abundance of Turkeys there. In
December, 1871, Aiken found evidence of the roosting place of
a Turkey on the edge of Barnes's Canon two miles east of
the ranch. In the spring of 1873 his mother, Mrs. J. E.
Aiken, while riding horseback a short distance north of the
ranch saw a Wild Turkey run across the road a few rods aheaa
of her. This is believed to have been the last survivor of the
species in the County.
Of the host of Wild Turkeys which once inhabited the
Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado none now
remain except a few along the southern border of the State.
Only one specimen from the devastated area remains, a
niounted bird in the Colorado Museum of Natural History,
Denver, which was killed in South Park, in January, 1878.
This specimen and existing birds of the southern border have
been identified as Merriam'§ Turkey, and beyond a reasonable
doubt all the Turkeys indigenous to the mountains intervening
between these points were of the same form.
Phasianus torquatus. Ring-necked Pheasant. MongoHan
An introduced species. General Palmer brought a num-
ber to Glen Eyrie, which after being kept confined for some
time were liberated. A good number of young broods were
seen about the first season, only a few the second, and event-
ually ihey about all disappeared. There are two or more in
Monument Valley Park which have been there three or four
years. In the fall of 1912 one was brought to A.iken which was
killed near Palmer Lake. It seems quite certain that this in-
496 Colorado College Publication
dividual may have wandered down from the north, as many
have been liberated in the vicinity of Denver, where they have
done fairly well and spread over considerable territory.
Columba fasciata fasciata. Band-tailed Pigeon.
No specimens of this bird have been taken in El Paso
County and its possible occurrence rests upon the following
reports : A flock was reported to Aiken as having been seen
in Queen's Canon, about 1880; a couple were described as
having been seen just west of Colorado Springs in the spring
of 1905. The first specimen taken in the State was killed by
Aiken at Del Norte, September 26, 1874. Three were seen
and one reported killed by Sam Keaton on Little Fountain
Creek in the autumn of 1910.
Zenaidura macroura marginella. Western Mourning Dove.
A common summer resident, arriving early in April and
departing early in October. Found practically over the county
in the more open country. Nests both on the ground and in
trees. Keyser found a nest near Ramah in the same tree with
nests of Eastern and Arkansas Kingbirds.
El Paso County
CHARLES E. H. AIKEN
EDWARD R. WARREN
Director of the Museum, Colorado College
THE BIRDS OF EL PASO COUNTY,
Cathartes aura septentrionalis. Turkey Vulture. Turkey
Summer resident; not common. Arrives early in April
and departs late in October.
Turkey Buzzards are not as numerous in Colorado as 40
years ago, but it is no uncommon sight to see one soaring aloft
near Colorado Springs in early spring and summer. They are
not known to breed within the County, but there is a roost just
beyond our lines at the Glendale crossing of Beaver Creek
from whence our soaring birds probably come. This Glendale
roost is very old ; Aiken's notes state that he found 20 birds
there in -May, 1872. A specimen in the Aiken Collection was
taken near Colorado Springs, April 12, 1911.
Elanoides forficatus. Swallow-tailed Kite.
Rare. The only known examples taken in the region were
captured in August. In that month in 1877 two were brought
in the flesh to Aiken, one of which had been shot at Colorado
Springs, and the other at Manitou Park, Teller County.
Ictinia mississippiensis. Mississippi Kite.
Rare ; the only record is one seen by Aiken, in Deadman's
Canon, southwest of Colorado Springs, during the summer of
Circus hudsonius. Marsh Hawk.
Summer resident; common. A few remain through the
winter. Arrives as early as the latter part of February, and
leaves in October. Rockwell and Wetmore, September' 6, 1909
saw at Palmer Lake Marsh Hawks all day long, migrating,
flying toward the southeast, sometimes singly, sometimes two
or three together. Found on the plains and the more open
spaces in the mountains. One was seen hunting on some
vacant lots in the northerly part of Colorado Springs, Septein-
498 Colorado College PuBucAtioM
ber 28, 1913. Forty years ago birds in the mature blue plumage
were frequently noted, now they are rarely seen.
Accipiter velox. Sharp-shinned Hawk.
Summer resident ; not common. Arrives the first week in
March, leaves some time in October. One was brought to
Aijcen December 21, 1913. This destructive little hawk is
found about the trees and thickets along the streams, in the
foothills, and the more open woods in the mountains up to
abpve 8,000 feet.
A nest observed by Lloyd Shaw in Crystal Park con-
tained, July 10, 1912, 3 young and one unhatched egg, the
young having been hatched a few days previously. The nest
was in a Douglass's fir tree about ten feet above the ground,
and was an old magpie's nest the roof of which had been torn
off, and the cup built up with small sticks until it was very
shallow, not much more than a platform. The fourth egg,
mentioned above, hatched after July 10, the young bird lived
two days, and then disappeared. August first the three sur-
viving young were of as many different sizes ; they were still
largely in the down, but the quills and retrices were about
half out of their sheaths, and the breast markings showed quite
distinctly on the largest bird. When disturbed at the nest
they fluttered down toward the ground, but had no control
over their flight, nor could they perch unaided, though they
could sit upright on a perch when placed thereon.
The well-picked leg of an Audubon's Hermit Thrush was
found in the nest on that date, and Shaw had previously found
the feathers of a flicker below the nest. The disapperance of
a young Three-toed Woodpecker from its nest not far away
was also charged against the hawks.
August 25 and September 1, 1912, a male Sharp-shinned
Hawk was seen in the Monument Valley Park. On the first
date it was seen chasing a Brewer's Blackbird. On the latter
date it was being mobbed by various small birds. Two Flick-
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 499
ers were there also and seemed as much afraid of the hawk as
any of the others, though so near its own size. A number have
been noted in the park and nearby the last year or two, espe-
cially in spring and autumn.
Accipiter cooperi. Cooper's Hawk.
Summer resident, not common, arriving in April. An
early date is March 21, 1900.
Astur atricapillus atricapillus. Goshawk.
Winter resident, rather common.
Three specimens in the Aiken Collection, from Monument,
near Colorado Springs, and El Paso County, respectively, are
labeled as belonging to the typical form. How destructive this
species can be to game and small birds is shown by the food
of one killed near Piiion, February, 1909. The crop con-
tained a freshly eaten Scaled Quail, and the stomach the partly
digested remains of a Blackbird and another Scaled Quail.
Astur atricapillus striatulus. Western Goshawk.
Winter resident, rather common.
Four specimens in the Aiken Collection, two from Turkey
Creek and two from near Colorado Springs are labeled as be-
longing to this subspecies.
Buteo borealis krideri. Krider's Hawk.
Summer resident, rare.
There are two Redtails in the Aiken Collection which have
been referred to this subspecies, one taken near Colorado
Springs, September 27, 1902, the other at Manitou Park, Teller
County, August 29, 1906.
Buteo borealis calurus. Western Redtail.
Summer resident, common. Arrives the first of March,
500 Colorado College Publication
departs the last of October (one specimen in the Aiken Col-
lection taken October 28, 1872). Occasionally winters: one
noted by Aiken, February 2, 1899.
One of our most common hawks, found everywhere dur-
ing migration, but breeds in the mountains from the foothills
upward. A very valuable bird economically as its food is
largely mice and ground squirrels, and in spite of its common
name of "Hen Hawk" it attacks poultry but little. It will kill
animals as large as cottontails, and one was seen by Shaw near
Crystal Park carrying a rabbit in its talons.
Buteo swainsoni. Swainson's Hawk.
Summer resident; common. Arrives in March and de-
parts in August and September.
This is one of the most characteristic birds of the arid
plains; a few go into the mountains, and there are several
records of its breeding at high altitudes in various parts of the
State, but we have no such records for El Paso County, as
the portion of the range within our limits presents no open
park-like areas such as they would likely prefer. They build
their nests in the cottonwood trees bordering prairie streams
or dry sand creeks. The nests are of moderate size, con-
structed mostly of coarse dead twigs and placed usually 12 to
15 feet above the ground; however, Aiken found one nest in
1878 on Horse Creek at an elevation of only six feet. On this
occasion 8 or 10 nests were found in which laying had com-
menced in only three by May 17th. He found a newly fin-
ished nest without eggs June 4, 1898, near Calhan, and one
May 15, 1904, at Ramah, which already held the full com-
plement of three eggs. We may therefore state that laying
takes place between May 10 and June 10.
Swainson's Hawk has the rather singular habit of placing
two or three green cottonwood twigs with green leaves across
the nest. These are placed in newly finished nests before any
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado SOI
eggs are laid, and also over newly laid eggs. The object of this
gives rise to some speculation, but we conclude that it is for
the purpose of disguise or concealment. One thing that sup-
ports this view is that the leaves are found quite fresh as
though the bird had plucked the twigs on sighting the in-
Young birds are plentiful the latter half of July, but soon
disappear with the adults. Nearly all Colorado breeding birds
are of normal coloration but Aiken found a pair in the melanis-
tic phase breeding at Resolis, Elbert County, May 26, 1899,
described in his notes as "a dark chocolate colored pair, one
darker than its mate." He saw one believed to be a migrant
near Calhan August 30, 1907. A notable flight of melanistic
hawks of this species took place in 1901. Following fair mild
weather during February snowstorms prevailed durmg the
forepart of March. On the morning of the eleventh of that
month snow was quietly falling and the sun was obscured by a
snow cloud. Word came to Aiken that ten dark-colored hawks
were in the shade trees on Cascade Avenue near St. Vrain
Street, and that a boy was shooting at them with a flobert
rifle. Hastening to the locality indicated four hawks were seen
perching in trees and five which had been killed by the young
shooter were secured for preservation. They varied in general
coloration from umber brown to umber black according to age
and sex. Two of these specimens now in the Aiken Collection
at Colorado College may be more particularly described :
No. 4507 (Orig. No.). Male. Above dark umber; below
gray umber shaded with umber brown. Under wing coverts
dark rufous. Under tail coverts rufous barred with paler and
v/hitish. Length 18.5 ins. ; Extent 46 ins. ; Wing 14.5 ins. ;
Tail 7.8 ins.
No. 4508 (Orig. No.). Female. Umber black above and
below. Under wing coverts paler, spotted with white. Under
tail coverts white, barred with brown; rufous shades almost
502 Colorado College Publication
entirely absent. Lenth 20.8 ins.; Extent 53.5 ins.; Wing 15.5
ins. ; Tail 8.8 ins. Weight 40 ounces.
It was noted that the stomachs in all the specimens were
A larger flock of melanistic hawks was seen in 1912 by
Charles O'Connor who brought to Aiken a beautiful example
shot by him a short distance east of Prospect Lake. He
counted at that place 36 hawks within a limited area, all of
the same form. This was on April 20, a bright sunny day
succeeding a period of stormy weather. The hawks were
sitting about on the open prairie and were engaged in catch-
ing grasshopper larvae. He could also discern another flock
similarly .engaged so far away that he could not determine
the variety. The specimen secured is a female similar in
coloration to the one described above, and weighed two ounces
Archibuteo lagopus sancti-johannis. Rough-legged Hawk.
Winter resident, common. Arrives about November 1,
and departs early in April.
A bird in the normal plumage was seen in Monument Val-
ley Park, January 10 and 12, 1913.
Archibuteo ferrugineus. Ferruginous Rough-leg. Squirrel
Resident, common ; much more abundant in summer than
This hawk is a bird of the plains rather than of the moun-
tains, living mainly on mice, ground squirrels, gophers, rabbits
and prairie dogs, and is an exceedingly useful bird, rarely if
ever attacking poultry or wild birds. While a number spend
the winter with us, there are more about in summer, and it is
quite possible that our summer birds leave in the autumn and
that the winter residents come from farther north.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 503
The breeding range of this species is coincident with that
of Swainson's Hawk but incubation begins about two weeks
earlier, eggs being found as early as April 15.
Aiken has had a number of specimens in the melanistic
plumage, and there is a fine mounted example of this in the
Aiken Collection at Colorado College.
Aquila chrysaetos. Golden Eagle.
Resident, not uncommon, especially in winter.
These winter eagles come from the north and the moun-
tains, and range out over the plains hunting jack rabbits and
piairie dogs, while dead cattle and horses are not disdained.
A pair breed in North Cheyenne Caiion ; they are said to
have two eyries, one on either side of the canon, and to breed
in each in alternate years. About 1875 Aiken had Golden
Eagle eggs brought to him which were obtained at the bluffi
north of Colorado Springs.
The Golden Eagle is reported to be one of the worst
enemies of the mountain sheep, killing many of their lambs.
A Mr. Waldron told Aiken that many years ago when driving
on the plains with several others he saw an eagle of this
species attack and kill an antelope. The bird pursued a bunch
of the animals, singling out one, and when close enough struck
it on the back with its talons, and while clinging there and
tearing with claws and beak it at the same time beat its prey's
sides with its wings. The men drove close enough to shoo:
the eagle, and found the antelope to be dead with its back
badly torn by the bird. Aiken was also told that an eagle was
seen to pounce upon a two-year-old calf near Hartsel but was
driven away before any harm was done. Rather large prey
for the bird to tackle.
Halisetus leucocephalus leucocephalus. Bald Eagle.
Formerly quite common, but have been killed ofiE.
504 Colorado College Publication
An immature bird was brought to Aiken, which was killed
at Buttes, January 10, 1910. The last full plumaged birds
which were killed in the County were killed in 1904 and 1905,
at the base of Cheyenne Mountain. Both were shot from
the same tree by the same man, who had observed in the first
mentioned year that the bird was in the habit of perching every
day in the same pine tree. He had a blind nearly, went there
before daylight, and killed the bird when it came. The follow-
ing year he secured the second bird in the same way, from
the same tree.
Falco mexicanus. Prairie Falcon. "Bullet Hawk."
Summer resident, common. Arrives in April.
Breeds about rocky places, and a pair was known by Aiken
to have nested in the rocks of the Garden of the Gods in 1874.
Young birds are common in July and August. Seems to be
confined to the plains region.
Falco peregrinus anatum. Duck Hawk.
Rare summer resident, and not common even in migration.
This hawk has been known to breed in the rocks at the
Garden of the Gods, where Allen noted it in 1871. Aiken's
attention was called to their presence in the place by Minot,
in 1879, and he secured a specimen there shortly afterward,
and also collected one there in 1884. One killed near Peyton
in July, 1912., is now in the Aiken Collection at Colorado Col-
lege, as are also the two specimens previously mentioned.
Falco columbarius columbarius. Pigeon Hawk.
Winter resident, not uncommon. Has been seen as early
as September 21, and as late as May 7.
Pigeon Hawks sometimes come right into the heart of
Colorado Springs, possibly attracted by an abundant food
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 505
supply in the shape of English Sparrows, which hardly an/ore
will begrudge them. December 22, IQll, one was seen on
Tejon Street, between Bijou and Kiowa Streets, in the business
district, and they are frequently seen farther away from that
part of the city. All records are from the neighborhood
of the foothills.
Faico columbarius richardsoni. Richardson's Pigeon Hawk.
Winter resident, not as common as the preceding.
Richardson's Hawk is a bird of similar habits to the com-
mon Pigeon Hawk, and frequents the same localities, living on
the same sort of food, small mammals and small birds. A
specimen killed near Colorado Springs was brought to Aiken
in October, 1913.
Falco sparverius sparverius Sparrow Hawk.
Summer resident, common. Arrives the last of March,
and leaves in October.
This species is hardly as common as it was years ago, be-
fore a bounty was placed on hawks, and which was in force
for several years. This bounty law resulted in the decimation
of this useful species. Since its repeal the birds have in-
creased, but have hardly reached their former abundance.
Still the Sparrow Hawk is a common summer bird throughout
the County, seen along the roadsides perched on telephone poles
and fence posts. Living as it does, very largely on mice and
grasshoppers, it is one of the most useful birds we have, and
of great value to the farmer. It nests in hollow trees, old
woodpeckers' holes, magpies' nests, and natural rock cavities.
Breeds on the plains wherever trees are found but is most
numerous in the lower foothills, breeding indifferently in
pines or cottonwoods. In the mountains it occurs less com-
monly to above 9,000 feet.
Pandion haliaetus carolinensis. Osprey. Fish Hawk.
Rather uncommon and irregular in migration ; not known
506 Colorado College Publication
to breed in the County. Two adults were brought to Aiken
in the autumn of 1912. Frequents both mountains and plains.
AIuco pratincola. Barn Owl.
The only record of this species for El Paso County is a
specimen taken by Charles O'Connor, September 16, 1911, 14
miles easterly from Colorado Springs, which was secured for
tlie College Collection.
Asio wilsonianus. Long-eared Owl.
Resident, quite common.
Asio flammeus. Short-eared Owl.
Winter visitor. Very common migrant, and many remain
tor the winter on the prairies. There is one in the Aiken Col-
lection taken by E. P. Scheutze a few miles from Peyton,
November 20, 1909. Two were seen at Ramah by Aiken,
February 24, 1899.
Slrix occidentalis occidentals. Spotted Owl.
Rare. A specimen killed near Colorado Springs was
brought to Aiken about 1875. Probably breeds as Aiken saw
one alive in Deadman's Caiion, in June or July, 1873.
Cryptoglaux acadica, acadica. Saw-whet Owl.
Winter visitor, rare. There are not many records of this
little owl in El Paso County; Aiken has had several brought
m to be mounted, and there is a mounted specimen in the
Aiken Collection taken at Buttes, January 24, 1908. One was
seen in April or May, 1902, at the corner of Cascade avenue
and Kiowa Street, Colorado Springs.
Otus asio maxwellise. Rocky Mountain Screech Owl.
Winter resident; rare. But two or three typical birds
have been taken in the County, but there are a good many
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado S07
birds taken in winter which are lighter than typical aikeni,
and which possibly may be a color phase or intergrades.
Otu» asio aikeni. Aiken's Screech Owl.
Resident, common. Aiken has never found it anywhere
except in cottonwood trees along the streams. It breeds com-
monly along Fountain Creek, and has been known to breed
in Monument Valley Park. A pair bred in 1913 in a flicker's
hole in a tree on St. Vrain Street, Colorado Springs, beside
the home of Dr. W. W. Arnold, raising four young. The
owls drove away the flickers which had bred in the hole the
year before, taking possession for themselves. One was found
dead in the vault of the cemetery at Colorado Springs, January
Aiken once found the feathers of a Pink-sided Junco in
the stomach of a Screech Owl which was killed in winter, but
the species no doubt kills many more mice and such small
mammals than it does birds, and is a very useful bird for that
January 9, 1904, a Screech Owl in the red phase was taken
near Colorado Springs, the skin of which is now in the Aiken
Collection. This skin was examined by Mr. William Brewster,
who pronounced it to be typical Olus asio asio. Later Mr. H.
C. Oberholser also examined it, and considers it to be the red
phase of aikeni, and tells us that he has seen several other
specimens of the red phase of this subspecies, and that while
very close to the red phase of typical asio they may be dis-
tinguished by being slightly paler in color. At the time of
Mr. Brewster's examination this was the only red example
of this subspecies known.
The following account of a pet Screech Owl may be of in-
terest to our readers. The bird was captured after leaving its
nest by a boy and brought to me alive and uninjured about
June 25th, 1905. It was in the nestling or downy plumage.
508 Colorado College Publication
the remiges nearly fully developed, and was able to fly. It was
named "Jimmie," though subsequently ascertained to be a
female, and became a great pet. It was allowed the freedom
of the shop and the store, and later was allowed to fly out of
doors evenings. She answered my call, alighted upon my
wrist to be fed, and followed me about in the shop and out
of doors. It began to moult about July 25th, and finished
September 10 to 15, renewing all feathers except those of the
wings and tail, which it did not shed.
Its baby or birdling call was like the smothered mew of
a kitten; this was frequently uttered as a call for food or in
answer to its name, or as a call to me for notice. After com-
pleting its moult this cry was not often uttered unless she was
hungry and demanding attention. A note that was uttered
when excited was a short wow, wow, repeated several times,
reminding me of a puppy's bark. This was uttered at times
when very hungry and demanding immediate notice, and was
also uttered as notice of the presence of a dog — very vehe-
mently when a dog came into the shop. A note like cr-r-oo-oo-
00-00-00-00 uttered gently and so low as to be heard only a few
yards away was seemingly a love note and was an affectionate
greeting to me as it would be to her mate. Then another note
similar, possibly the same under other conditions was like the
whistling of ducks' wings in overhead flight at night.
(C E. A.)
Otus flaiiuneolus. Flammulated Screech Owl.
Rare. The range of this species was extended to include
Colorado by Aiken on his finding the bird and eggs June 15,
1875 in Copper Gulch, in southern Fremont County. But two
specimens of this rare owl are recorded from El Paso County;
one in nestling plumage was caught alive about the middle of
September, 1883, on Fountain Creek at the mouth of Red Rock
Canon; the other was found dead along the same stream just
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado S09
south of Colorado Springs, May 9, 1898. Both these birds were
in Cottonwood groves on edge of plains, but other records from
the State are from the mountains from the foothills up to
over 8,000 feet.
Bubo virginianus pallescens. Western Horned Owl.
Horned Owls are common in El Paso County, more es-
pecially of course where there are trees, and range in the
nmuntains as high as there is timber. It even iinds its way into
the city occasionally, for Lloyd Shaw saw one on North Ne-
vada Avenue, Colorado Springs, June 1, 1911.
Nesting in hollow trees, using old Magpies' nests or build-
ing their own, and on ledges or in cavities in rocks or earth
banks, the eggs are laid in March and the young hatched early
in April. They are rather destructive birds and apt to attack
poultry, though they also kill many mice, ground squirrels and
gophers. April 10, 1899, one was brought to Aiken killed on
the nest, which latter contained newly hatched young, and a
rabbit and quail, the latter not torn or eaten.
Mr. Waldron, living at a ranch west of Pring, had a large
number of domestic pigeons, which were preyed upon by the
Horned Owls. One bird got into the habit of coming every
day and killing a pigeon. Its method of attack was to swoop
down on the birds as they rested on the roof of the barn and
frighten them into flying. Then singling out some particular
bird it would pursue that until it sought safety by returning
to the barn, and the owl would so time its pursuit as to seize
the pigeon just as it alighted, and carry it off.
Some years ago trout breeding was carried on at Manitou
Park. It was discovered that something was taking fish from
one of the ponds, and after some time it was found that
Horned Owls were the culprits. Posts were set about the
SlO Colorado College PuBLicATio>f
pond, steel traps set on top of these, and several owls were
captured. After that the fish ceased to disappear.
William Unruh, an old-timer who lived in the County
many years ago, had a curious experience with a Horned Owl
about 1875. He was camped in the mountains near Colorado
Springs in the winter, and lounging by his campfire in the even-
ing he made some movements of his head which caused his
heavy beard to move about, and to his great surprise a Horned
Owl suddenly pounced down upon his beard and seized it.
Unruh grasped the bird by its legs and killed it, and brought
it to town to Aiken.
There seem to be two forms of the Horned Owls in the
County, a lighter colored bird which lives and breeds on the
plains, following the streams a short distance into the moun-
tains, living in the cottonwoods, and a darker bird which lives
in the heavy timber of the mountains to timberline. While
the female of these rtiountain birds is as large as the female
of the plains form, the male is proportionately much smaller.
Bubo virginianus subarcticus. Arctic Horned Owl.
Rare winter visitor.
Four or five owls of this form have come into Aiken's
hands during the past forty years. One submitted to Ridgway
was referred to this subspecies.
Nyctea nyctea. Snowy Owl.
Winter visitor; rare. Two El Paso County specimens
have been brought to Aiken, one killed somewhere on the
Divide about 1875-77, the other near Ramah, about 1883. Be-
sides these one was taken at or near Calhan in 1898, and one
was described to him as killed on the Bates Ranch between
March 20 and 28, 1899. Two years ago a man named Light-
ner spent part of the winter at the Half- Way House on the
Pike's Peak Railway, and saw a Snowy Owl near there sev-
eral times, though he did not shoot it.
A Single Bird.
E. R. W., Photo.
Fig. 17. E. R. IV.. Photo.
Desert Horned Lark.
A Flock feeding in Alamo Park, Colorado Springs, February, 1903.
Fig. iS. E. R. W.. Photo.
Interior of Magpie's Nest, Showing Eggs.
Near Colorado Springs.
Young M.\gpie Just Feom Nest.
Gunnison County, Colo.
E. R. JV.. Photo.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado Sll
Speotyto cunicularia hypogaea. Burrowing Owl. "Prairie
Common locally about prairie dog towns. Apparently a
summer resident only for it is not seen in winter, November
2, 1871, being the latest autumn date we have.
Burrowing Owls are not now as common in El Paso
as they were formerly ; too many are killed by hunters as they
offer rather a tempting mark, and many are brought to the
taxidermist to be mounted. It is a pity to slaughter the queer
little fellows so uselessly and wantonly, for they are really of
use when alive, feeding on mice and insects. They live in the
deserted burrows of prairie dogs, laying their eggs several
feet below the surface late in May.
As a table bird the Burrowing Owl is not to be recom-
mended, Aiken says, and he should know, because he has tried
it. Some years ago one was brought to be mounted on Sat-
urday evening. The weather was warm and to keep the bird
from spoiling until Monday Aiken carried it home and placed
it in the family ice chest. Invited guests were present at Sun-
day dinner and when all were seated at the table Aiken's sis-
ter, who it may be stated is not as good an ornithologist as her
brother, remarked that she had prepared a special dish for him
— "the bird you put in the ice chest." At that moment the
the waitress brought in a dainty looking browned and buttered
fowl which from appearance might have been a woodcock,
but it wasn't. A mild outburst of indignation passed and the
laugh having subsided he generously offered to share his tit-
bit with each one present, but each as graciously declined.
Aiken, however, declared he would not allow the opportunity
of testing the quality of owl meat to pass, so he cut a choice
bit from the breast and ate it, after which he decided to save
the balance of the bird for his dog. This dog was very greedy
for meat. Anything in the way of meat offered he seized
voraciously and gulped down. When this bird was held
512 Colorado College PuBLICATIo^f
temptingly toward him he seized it as usual but instead of
swallowing it he very carefully laid it on the ground, took one
cautious sniff of it and then dropped his tail and went into
his kennel. No owls have been served at the Aiken table since
Glaucidium gnoma pinicola. Rocky Mountain Pygmy Owl.
Resident ; probably more common than is generally sup-
posed but often escapes notice from its habit of sitting quietly
on a branch as a person passes by.
This little owl ranges to timberline, breeding from 8,000
feet up, having been known to nest at the Strickler Tunnel at
almost 12,000 feet. It comes down to the plains in winter and
at such times is not uncommon. It has been known to make its
winter quarters in a barn on a ranch.
The bird seems to be of a perfectly fearless disposition,
paying little heed to the presence of man, and often attacks
birds larger than itself. William Unruh, in the winter of
1874-5, shot into a flock of Bohemian Waxwings on a dead
pine tree and dropped several, when a Pygmy Owl which had
been perching in the same tree flew down and seized one of
the wounded birds as it reached the ground, and was shot by
Unruh with the Waxwing in its claws.
Wallace Hook said that he was once walking through the
edge of some timber in the mountains when he saw one of
these owls dart after a flying Long-crested Jay, bearing it to
February 1, 1900, a Pygmy Owl was brought to Aiken
which had been caught at the Garden Ranch near Colorado
Springs under very peculiar circumstances. Two men were
at the house on the ranch and heard the squalling of birds.
They ran out to see what was going on and reaching the steep
bank of the arroyo in which the creek there runs saw a Pygmy
Owl and Bob-white Quail-by the edge, of the water. The owl
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 513
was on its back with the claws of both feet, clutched about the
quail's neck, and the latter was fluttering and struggling trying
to escape. The men jumped down into the gulch and picked
up both birds, the owl offering no resistance, but by this time
the quail was dead.
On the same date an employe at the Giddings Ranch, 12
miles east of Colorado Springs, told Aiken that he had seen
Pygmy Owls attack half grown chickens in the farm yard, the
method of attack being to swoop down from a nearby tree and
strike the chicken in the head, and to follow this up by re-
peated passes until the chicken was disabled or exhausted.
These various occurrences show it to be a day owl.
In 1884, a tie chopper working somewhere in the Ute Pass,
near Green Mountain Falls, cut down a hollow tree in which
were four young Pygmy Owls about two-thirds grown. Ont
was killed by the fall, the other three were brought alive to
Aiken, who kept them alive about two weeks. These birds were
nearly fully feathered. When first taken in the hand they
played possum, laying perfectly motionless, and it took a little
time to induce them to sit up on a perch. While they were
kept they made no cry nor any attempt to use their claws or
to bite, exhibiting none of the ferocity with which adult birds
attack their prey.
Geococcyx californianus. Road Runner. Chapparal Cock.
Resident ; rare. This odd bird is a resident the year round,
most of the records coming from along the Fountain Valley.
It has also been reported from the sandstone hogback just
north of the mouth of Bear Creek Caiion ; from near Glen
Eyrie, and has been seen several times on the mesa between
there and Colorado Springs. Also reported from Austin
Bluffs, Fountain, Bates Ranch, Barnes's Canon, Turkey and
Rock Creeks. There is a record fron) Palmer Lake. Where
tree cactus grows it frequents the places where it is, elsewhere
its is yery apt to be found albout oak brush.
Si4 Colorado College Publication
Pike mentions in his Journal a bird about the identity of
which there has been a certain amount of speculation, and
which Coues considered to have been the Carolina Paroquet.
The bird was taken by Pike December 25th, 1806, at which date
he was camped, as estimated by Coues, somewhere about the
neighborhood of Brown's Cation, 7 miles above Salida. Pike
"Caught a bird of a new species, having made a trap for
hin). This bird was of a green color, almost the size of a
quail, has a small tuft on its head like a pheasant, and was of
the carnivorous species; it differed from any bird we ever
saw in the United States. We kept him with us in a small
wicker cage, feeding him on meat, until I left the interpreter on
the Arkansaw, with whom I left it. We at one time took a
companion of the same species and put them in the same cage,
when the first resident never ceased attacking the stranger until
he killed him."
Instead of being a Paroquet it seems much more probable
that this bird was a Road Runner for various reasons. The
color, green, applies to that bird as well as to the other, for
many of its feathers are of that color, and there is a strong
greenish tinge or cast to most of its plumage; the size of the
body is just about that of a quail ; and the feathers of the
head are erectile and make a crest or tuft quite similar to that
on the head of a Ruffed Grouse, which Pike probably meant
when he compared it to a pheasant, that being the name by
which the grouse was and is now known at his home. The
fact that they fed the bird on meat is another point in favor
of its being this species, which lives almost exclusively on
animal food. It also seems that a Road Runner would be
more likely to be caught in any trap Pike could have made than
a Paroquet; moreover. Pike must surely have known what a
parrot was like, and if he had caught one would have called it
such, even though he might have expressed surprise at finding
it in such a locality. Then again, if a Paroquet, the first caught
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado SIS
bird would hardly have been likely to have killed the other when
put in its cage.
It may be objected that the altitude, above 7,000 feet, is
loo great foV the Road Runner, but it must be remembered
that there is a record of the bird on Marshall Pass, at 10,000
feet, not very many miles to the southwest, and the Arkansas
Valley is here (Brown's Caiion), in spite of the altitude, a
cedar and pinon region, in other words either Upper Sonoran
or the very lowest portion of the Transition zone, and these
zones are within the natural habitat of the bird, which is re-
ported common fifty miles farther down the river.
To Aiken belongs the credit of having first advanced this,
theory as to the identity of Pike's bird, but it seems the most
plausible to us both. Though somewhat beyond the limits of
our paper the preceding note hardly seems out of place hert,
in view of the interest which is taken in Pike's travels m
Coccyzus americanus americanus. Yellow-billed Cuckoo.
Summer resident ; rare. Arrives the middle or last of
May. There is a specimen of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo in the
Aiken Collection, taken at Ramah, June 4, 1898, at which place
two were seen. The bird seems to be very rare in El Paso
Ceryle alcyon. Belted Kingfisher.
Summer resident, not uncommon. A few remain through
the winter. Considering that suitable localities for them are
rather scarce in El Paso County, Kingfishers are not so very
rare. They are noted frequently in the upper end of Monument
Valley Park, where the small ponds contain suckers and such
fish. One was noted there regularly in 1912 from July 28 to
October 14, and in 1913 from April 10 to October 8. It was
seen by Aiken during the winter of 1871-2.
516 Colorado College Publication
Dryobates villosus monticola. Rocky Mountain Hairy
Resident through the year ; common.
Breeds from the foothills up to 10,000 feet or more, prob-
ably as high as there is suitable timber. Aiken took a nest
with four eggs on Turkey Creek, May 26, 1872. Frequently
seen in winter in the trees along the streams, and occasionally
comes into the heart of Colorado Springs. It has been founo
at Lake Moraine in January.
Dryobates pubescens homorus. Batchelder's Woodpecker.
Resident; common, but somewhat irregular in winter;
rare in summer. No breeding records known for the County.
This small woodpecker ranges over about the same area
as the preceding species, but seems more irregular in occur-
rence and distribution. It has been seen at Lake Moraine in
December, March, and June, and at Seven Lakes in January,
showing that it is in those high altitudes the year round, while at
the lower elevations it has been found at all seasons.
Picoides americanus dorsalis. Alpine Three-toed Wood-
Rare resident in the mountains.
There are but few records for this species in El Paso
County. W. C. Ferrill took one at Palmer Lake, June 4, 1900.
which is now in the collection of the State Historical and
Natural History Society at Denver. Dr. W. W. Arnold saw a
pair breeding near the Half- Way House, June, 1905. Harry
Amann killed one near Victor, Teller County.
In the summer of 1912, L. L. Shaw discovered a breeding
pair in Crystal Park. The nest hole was in a dead aspen tree
8 inches in diameter, and was five feet above the ground.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 517
There was but one young bird and that disappeared before it
was ready to leave the nest, possibly captured by the Sharp-
shinned Hawks which had a nest not far away.
Sphyrapicus varius nuchalis. Red-naped Sapsucker.
Summer resident ; common. Arrives in April. Breeds
in the mountains.
Sphyrapicus thyroideus. William's Sapsucker.
Summer resident; rather uncommon. Arrives early in
This woodpecker is a bird of the mountains, ranging from
the foothills to above 10,000 feet. Aiken took a female in
downy plumage on the Cheyenne Mountain road, August 29.
Melanerpes erythrocephalus. Red-headed Woodpecker.
Summer resident; common. Arrives the middle of May,
departs in October, having been seen as late as the 2Sth.
This species breeds over the lower portions of the County
especially in the cottonwoods along the streams, not going into
the mountains in the nesting season, but after that time may
wander quite extensively, and a young of the year was taken
at Lake Moraine, September 2, 1905.
In 1913 a pair apparently took possession of a hole in
Monument Valley Park which had been made and occupied
by Flickers that spring, and they were there as late as May
13, but on the 26th the Red-heads had it. The Flickers were
first seen at the hole the last of April. They could hardly
have raised their young and presumably were forcibly evicted.
The Red-heads were seen at the hole regularly after this into
June, and on July 27 both old and young birds were seen near
the nest site.
518 Colorado College Publication
Asyndesmus lewisi. Lewis's Woodpecker.
Resident ; common in summer, only occasionally seen in
winter. The spring migrants arrive the middle or latter part
of April, and the birds remain until the middle of November,
at least at times.
While this species, is noted above as a resident, it is much
more abundant in summer than in winter, and very probably
many winters none stay in the County. January 4, 1907, half
a dozen or more were seen in the bluffs north of Colorado
Springs, but this was a very mild winter. While it is found
over most of the County where there are trees from about
8,000 feet down, yet probably in the breeding season most, if
not all, are found in the yellow pines, though there are also
some in the cottonwoods along the lower streams. It, however,
leaves the pines to some extent when the young are fledged,
and scatters over the County, and is sometimes seen in family
parties on the plains at a considerable distance from the moun-
tains. August 2 and 3, 1909, they were common in the Foun-
tain Valley from the Pueblo County line north to Colorado
While on the Divide near Peyton in July, 1897, Aiken"
noted that this bird affected the tallest pine trees on the ridges
and was continually taking flights from the top of one tree
to another, often crossing ravines or going to a considerable
distance and high in the air. They sometimes ascend verti-
cally in the air 50 or 60 feet, perhaps to catch an insect, and
then sail off to a tree top two or three hundred yards away.
Centurus carolinus. Red-bellied Woodpecker.
Rare; taken but once in El Paso County, by Aiken at
Fountain, in 1873.
Colaptes cafer coUaris. Red-shafted Flicker.
c a =
li. B O
The Nest in the Tree.
£. R. W.. Photo.
Fig. 22. E. R. IV.. Photo.
Nest of Long-Crested Jay, Interior, Showing Eggs.
Near Bear Creek Canon.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 51''
A common bird all over the County where there are trees,
and ranging to timberline in the mountains, breeding through-
out its range. Often seen in Colorado Springs through the
year, in the summer devouring the ants on the lawns and
gravel walks, and gathering grubs and insects. There are
always some to be found in Monument Valley Park. As
noted under the Red-headed Woodpecker a pair of Flickers
had a nest there April 28, 1913, and were driven out by the
other species. September tenth following a female Flicker
was observed feeding young at this hole. A decidedly late
date for a brood of this species to be coming out and it would
be very interesting if one knew that it was the same pair
which were ousted from that nest in May.
The' majority of winter residents probably come from the
far north, but it is certain that some individuals remain
throughout the year. Dr. Arnold has fed the same pair
throughout .the year. Some of these winter birds have a well-
marked red nape, and there is a series of specimens in Aiken's
private collection which show every gradation from a mere
indication of red on the nape up to a strong nuchal band a
quarter of an inch or more wide. It would seem possible
that these birds represent a distinct race.
They are distinct from the so-called "Hybrid Flickers,"
which are rarely seen either in winter or during the breeding
season, but which are fairly common in migration, beginning
to come in March, but rare in April ; they return in Septem-
ber and October. These birds have the body coloration of
collaris, and the red mustache, with the undersides of the wings
and tail yellow or saffron. It is not uncommon to find breed-
ing birds with a few yellow feathers in wing or tail. May
15, 1904, Aiken found at Ramah a Flicker's nest with seven
fresh eggs, capturing the male bird on the nest. This bird had
the underparts of the wing and tail bright salmon-colored.
Some of our breeders with all red show a strong vinaceous
520 Colorado College Publication
tinge on the breast, a tendency toward the northwest coast
The holes are usually excavated in dead wood, at almost
any height from five to fifty feet or more from the ground.
O'Connor killed three Flickers with black cheek marks
and yellow shafts about May 1, 1911, ten miles east of Foun-
Phalaenoptilus nuttalli nuttallt. Poor-will.
Summer resident ; common. Arrives usually early in
May, the earliest date being April 27, 1899, and departs late
in September or early in October, having been noted on Oc-
tober 4th, 1904.
This species seems to be largely or entirely a bird of the
foothills, and apparently at times ranges quite high, for War-
ren found young in the Sangre de Christo mountains, July
11, 1909, at an elevation of above 10,000 feet, ^t spends the
day on the ground on the brush covered hillsides, flying out.
into the open spaces at dusk to hunt insects.
Chordeiles virginianus henryi. Western Nlghthawk. "Bull
Summer resident; common. Arrives about May 23, de-
parts usually by September 25.
The Nighthawk is common on the plains and the higher
open ground, its habits being similar to those of the eastern
bird, spending the day on the ground, on top of a post, or
perched lengthwise on a limb or fence rail: The eggs, usually
two, sometimes only one, are laid on the bare ground without
the slightest semblance of a nest.
August 2, 1909, what appeared to be a migratory move-
ment of Nighthawks was seen a few miles south of Buttes
station; altogether from 50 to 100 of the birds were seen, all
flying southerly in a leisurely manner and not hunting insects.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 521
They were not in a flock, but came along in a scattering fash-
ion, by ones, twos, threes or more.
August 4, 11 and 18, 1912, a Nighthawk was seen in
Monument Valley Park, always on the same place on a cer-
tain limb or a Cottonwood, presumably its regular roost dur-
ing the day. The tree was on the bank of the creek, and not
far from a walk which was quite constantly used. June 2,
1913, a Nighthawk was seen on the same high limb, probably
the same bird returned for the summer. Because of absence
from home no further observations were made until late in
July, when nothing was seen of the bird, but during the sum-
mer men were working on the creek bank close by and no
doubt disturbed the bird so that it abandoned the place.
Aeronautes melanoleucus. White-throated Swift.
Summer resident ; locally common. Begin to come the
last of March, Brewster and Allen having noted it March
24, 1882, but probably the main body comes early in April.
Departs the middle or latter part of September, the 18th of
that month being the latest date we have.
"Observed only at the Garden of the Gods, where many
pairs were breeding, though sought for at Castle Rocks and
other similar places. They breed in holes and crevices in the
rocks, usually far above gunshot. They seemed very shy.
and flew mostly near the tops of the highest rocks. Upon
ascending the rocks most frequented by them they moved to
other points, and thus managed to keep generally out of range.
By spending a considerable part of two days, we procured only
four specimens, though several others were killed, which fell
in inaccessible places. They fly with great velocity and are very
tenacious of life. As they swoop down to enter their nests,
the rushing sound produced by their wings can be heard to
a considerable distance. Hirundo thallassina (i.e. T. t. lepida)
was also breeding here in similar situations." Allen, 1872.
522 Colorado College Publication
The preceding description of the habits of this bird holds
good today. It is, as would be inferred from this, a lover of
cliffs and cafions, where it nests and raises its young in the
most inaccessible places. Besides the Garden of the Gods, it
is found about the Cheyenne Caiions, Bear Creek Cafion, and
Sclater records it from Glen Eyrie. Lloyd Shaw noted it in
Ute Pass and at the "Gateway Rocks" at Crystal Park, though
not breeding there. June 5, 1909, the present authors saw
tw or three near the Glen Cairn Ranch on Turkey Creek.
Several were seen about the reservoir in Monument Valley
Park, May 18, 1913. In May, 1908, Aiken observed a colony
about two miles east from Palmer Lake, on the crest of the
Divide, and saw some near St. Peter's Dome, in July, 1907.
Archilochus aLxandri. Black-chinned Hummingbird.
This species has previous to this only been recorded from
the southwestern part of the State; however, Aiken saw a
male hummingbird a short distance south of Colorado Springs
May 17, 1898, which he believes was the Black-chinned. Pie
also saw a female or immature hummingbird in Monument
Valley Park August 18, 1907, which from the oscillating tail
movement charactertistic* of this species he believes to have
been the same. In July, 1906, a visiting lady bird student in-
formed him that while sitting near the top of the Seven Falls
in South Cheyenne Canon a male hummer poised close before
her which she positively identified as the Black-chinned.
*Aiken had exceptional opportunities of studying the characteristics
3f the four hummingbirds listed in the present paper while collecting
in the White Mountains of Arizona in the summer of 1876. where all of
them were plentiful. Following is an extract from his field notes:
"Rufus most abundant species in August, frequenting open woods where
extensive beds of scarlet pentstemon (Pentstemoii torreyi) grow. Moults
forepart of August without becoming ragged. Habit in common with
blatycsrcus of chasing others of species. . These demonstra-
tions accompanied by chippering notes, very loud for such small birds.
Noise made by wings of rufus is a loud sharp hum approaching that
made by platycercus, which is a whizzing noise that may be heard at a
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado S23
Selasphorus platycercus. Broad-tailed Hummingbird.
Summer resident; common. Begins to arrive the first
week in May. Departs in mid-September, the latest date we
have being September 18, 1913.
This species is found all over the County, ranging well
up into the mountains, being known to attain an altitude of
above 10,000 feet, and breeding wherever found. In summer
it often comes about the gardens in Colorado Springs, seek-
ing its food from the flowers, and sometimes, when the leaves
have fallen, and the birds have retired to their winter quarters,
the delicate little nest will be noted on a shade tree by the
street. One confiding bird built its nest on the electric light
fixture directly before the front door of a house, on a porch
v/here people were continually going and coming, and raised
Selasphorus rufus. Rufus Hummingbird.
Summer resident ; rare.
Aiken found this species on the Divide near Peyton in
July, 1897, and noted one in Colorado Springs, August 21,
1898, and saw one near the mouth of Bear Creek, August 20
One spring some fifteen years ago the mummified re-
mains of a young Rufous llummer were found in a barn at
Manitou hanging to a piece of baling wire by the feet. It was
supposed the bird went into the barn the autumn before, for
distance of from 60 to 100 yards. Alexandri is less active, less ag-
gressive. Noise by wings a plain hum. Female similar to female of
platycercus but readily distinguished when hovering before a flower
by the oscillating (up and down or backward and forward) movement
of the spread tail. The other species carry the tail still. Calliope
frequents same localities as the others but prefers diiTerent flowers.
Keeps low in and among the plants where it easily escapes notice.
Noise made by wings is a low hum like that of a large bumblebee.
All four species have the common habit of alighting among trees,
usually on a dead twig of a lower branch. They are very cute about
S24 Colorado College Publication
refuge from a cold storm, and perished from the cold, possi-
bly freezing, and either thawed and dried out very gradually,
or else that the toes were so much contracted that the feet
did not lose their hold on the wire when the bird died.
Stellula calliope. Calliope Hummingbird.-
Rare; but one record for the County, which was also the
first for Colorado of the species. This was an adult male
which was found dead in Cheyenne Caiion, July 25, 1897, by
a Mrs. Martin, who brought it to Aiken. It was made into
a skin and taken away by the finder.
Tsrrannus tyrannus. Kingbird.
Summer resident; common. Arrives from the 5th to the
13th of May, and departs about September 7.
The Kingbird is common in the region in the summer, in
the lower portions, ranging up onto the Divide. Its favorite
breeding places are in the cottonwoods and other trees along
the watercourses, and on the plains it nests wherever it can
find suitable places. Keyser found a nest near Ramah con-
taining four eggs, in the same tree with the nest of an Arkan-
sas Kingbird and a Mourning Dove. He also found other
nests about a mile away. Between Pueblo and Colorado
Springs, August 2 and 3, 1909, it was seen frequently, but was
not as common as the Arkansas Kingbird. The young are
flying about the first week in July.
One August day an old bird was seen to feed its young
grasshoppers in a Colorado Springs street, catching the insects
on the ground in a vacant lot where they were plenty, and
carrying them into the tree where the youngster was perched,
beating them there on the branches, and then giving them to
At Ramah Aiken witnessed the attack of some Kingbirds
on a Swainson's Hawk, which is described in his notes as
The Bibds of El Paso County, Colokado 525 .
follows : "The hawk, which was sailing about the valley and
screaming scre-e at intervals, came toward the line of trees
fringing the creek, when three or four Kingbirds advanced to
meet it. One of them flying down upon it from above alighted
upon the hawk's head, and seizing the fathers of the forehead
in its beak, straightened itself and pulled vigorously, and in
this attitude was carried 40 or 50 yards through the air. The
hawk made no effort to dislodge the Kingbird, neither did it.
show particular annoyance, though it turned presently and re-
treated in the direction from which it had come."
Tyrannus verticalis. Arkansas Kingbird.
Common summer resident. Arrives and departs at about
the same time as the preceding species.
The Arkansas Kingbird is the most common of the three
species found in the County and is found through much of
the territory treated in this list. Between Pueblo and Coloradd
Springs, August 2 and 3, 1909, it was very common, and fam-
ily groups were frequently seen. In 1898, Aiken found breed-
ing near Ramah, in a quite limited area, about fifty pairs of
Arkansas Kingbirds, and only about eight pairs of Cassin's.
As noted under T. tyrannus Keyser found it breeding near
Ramah, and a nest he found contained three young and one
egg. Aiken found a nest there with eggs June 5, 1898, also
a number of freshly built nests which did not yet contain
eggs, showing that the nesting season was hardly in full swing.
This species is not altogether dependent upon trees for nesting
sites, for nests have been found in cavities in stream banks,'
between two fence posts, and under the rafters of a log cabin;
possibly the other species may use similar sites, but we have
not happened to notice such. In July, 1907, Aiken saw a nest
of this species upon the crossbar of a telegraph pole at the
Buttes station of the Santa Fe R. R., and the agent told him
the birds had nested on the same pole the previous year ; he
said they were a great protection to his poultry, attacking and
driving away every hawk which came in sight.
526 Colorado College Publication
Tsnrannus vociferans. Cassin's Kingbird.
Summer resident ; not common. Arrives and departs
at about the sarne times as the two preceding species.
Cassin's Kingbird is not nearly as common as the pre-
ceding species, being the least common of our three Kingbirds,
and thus its distribution through the County is not quite so
well known, though it inhabits the same localities. Its com-
parative abundance with the Arkansas at Ramah has already
been mentioned under that species. Lloyd Shaw noted a pair
breeding near Prospect Lake, June 1, 1911.
Aiken's notes compare the habits of this and the preceding
species as follows :
"Although the two species resemble one another so closely
in appearance there is much difference in the manners and
actions of the Cassin's and Arkansas Kingbirds. The Arkan-
sas Kingbird comes out to meet the intruder and hovers about
in the air, chattering continually; they hover about the top
of a tree and alight upon the topmost twigs. Cassin's King-
bird is more sedate, less active, and less noisy, and has less of
the fluttering motions. It alights usually upon the side branch
of a tree or in the body of it, and often sits quietly, though
usually their call note, cu-ver-o, is uttered at intervals of four
or five seconds in a harsh tone."
Myiarchus cinerascens. Ash-throated Flycatcher.
The only record we have of this species for El Paso Coun-
ty is a specimen taken by Aiken May 21, 1872, near 'Red Creek
Caiion, close to the Fremont County line, several other being
seen at that same time. It frequents pinon and cedar regions,
and probably is not uncommon in that portion of the Countv
as a summer resident. One was seen by Warren June 6, 1909.
ar Glendale, in Fremont County, but only a few miles south-
west of the above-mentioned locality.
■f ■*.:,■■ -''^.i ■
' Vs. fi^i- ■!••>■■)--■■■ •
E. R. ir., Photo.
Rocky Mountain Jav or Camp Bird.
Gunnison County, Colo.
Gunnison County, Colo.
E. R. U'.. Photo
Fig. 23. E. R. ]V., Photo.
Nest and Eggs of Desert Horned Lark.
Near Colorado Springs.
Fig. 26. E. R. W., Photo.
Nest and Egcs of Western Meadowlark.
Weld County, Colo.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 527
Sayomis sayus. Say's Phoebe.
Summer resident; common. Arrives about April first,
and departs the last week in September. The earliest date of
arrival being March IS, 1914, and the latest date at which it
has been noted being September 28, 1913.
Say's Phoebe is a common summer resident in the County,
ranging quite high at times, having been seen at Lake Moraine,
September 2, 1905, and June 17, 1900, found breeding at Di-
vide station. Teller County, 9,200 feet. Its breeding habits
are quite similar to those of the Eastern Phoebe, for it likes
to nest on the sills and joists of buildings about ranches and
farms, under bridges and similar locations, in cavities in
stream banks, under rock ledges, and even down in wells in
the stone curbing.
June 21, 1905, three young, able to fly, were seen with
their parents about a house, and the old birds were feeding
them. That their appetites were good was shown by their
swallowing Pyrameis butterflies whole. They are indefati-
gable insect catchers, and continually in pursuit of prey, and
the number of insects annually consumed by one must be
enormous. It has the habit of perching on trees, posts, fences,
or tall weeds, and continually uttering its calls, something like
that of the Eastern Phoebe.
Nuttallomb borealis. Olive-sided Flycatcher.
Summer resident in the mountains ; not uncommon. Ar-
rives May 20-25.
A large, rather heavily built flycatcher, with large bill,
easily recognized in its summer home by its habit of perching
on the topmost branches of dead trees, whence it makes its
flights in pursuit of insect prey. It breeds exclusively in the
mountains, going nearly to timberline. July 4, 1907, Aiken
found five or six pairs breeding on the hillside below St.
Peter's Dome station. It was common in Crystal Park, August
S28 Colorado College PuBLicAtioW
first, 1912. Several were seen about Monument Valley Park
May 26 and 27, 1913 ; this was of course just after their arrival
in the spring.
Myiochanes richardsoni richardsoni. Western Wood Pee-
Summer resident; common. Arrives about May 20,
departs the last of September.
Found practically all over the County wherever trees can
be found, whether on the plains or in the mountains. It was
common on the Divide north of Peyton July 17, 1897, 15 being
seen then. Aiken noted them singing as late as August 25,
the song being aee-a, uttered in an explosive manner.
Empidonax difficilis difBcilis. Western Flycatcher.
Summer resident; not common.
Most common in the mountains, and it is rarely found
along the Fountain during the spring migration. Its habits
are similar to those of other flycatchers of the genus. Noted
on the Divide north of Peyton, August 28, 1907.
Empidonax trailli trailli. Traill's Flycatcher.
Summer resident ; common. Arrives about May 25.
Common almost everywhere in the County, up to nearly
9,000 feet. Seems to prefer the neighborhood of the alders
along the creeks.
Empidonax minimus. Least Flycatcher.
.Rare migrant ; arrives in May.
This widely distributed Eastern species reaches the west-
ern limit of it range at the eastern base of the Rocky moun-
tains. It was first taken in Colorado by Aiken on Turkey
Creek, May, 1873, and in recent years he has found it several
times along Fountain Creek between the towns of Fountain
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 529
and Colorado Springs (May 13 to June 6), and at several
points along the line of the Rock Island Railroad eastward.
Warren has noted one in Monument Valley Park. The earliest
dates of arrival are those of Allen and Brewster, who have
recorded two specimens taken May 4 and 9, respectively, dur-
ing their visit to Colorado Springs in 1882.
The Least Flycatcher may be looked for among the scat-
tered cottonwoods that fringe the streams issuing from the
foothills, or which mark the occasional waterholes on the
plains eastward toward the Kansas state line. It has not been
found in the mountains and is not known to breed south of
Wyoming. A specimen taken by Aiken in the pine belt on
the Divide north of Peyton August 28, 1907. is the first record
of its capture at so high an altitude as 7,000 feet or among
conifers ; also the only autumnal record
Empidonax hammondi. Hammond's Flycatcher.
Summer resident; rare. Arrives in May.
The eastern range of Hammond's Flycatcher meets the
western range of the Least Flycatcher along the eastern base
of the mountains, an(4 except in favored localities it is scarcely
more common. A specimen taken by Aiken May 20, 1908, at
Butte Station on Fountain Creek is the most eastern reported
in the County. The distance from the foothills is about 12
miles. Aiken met with it several times in the early seventies
along Turkey Creek within the foothills, but it was somewhat
more common on Beaver Creek, which runs through a narrow
valley between piiion clad hills in 'Fremont County just west
of our County line. Allen and Brewster took it in 1882. All
migrants pass further north or retire to higher elevations to
Our opportunities for observation in the mountains have
not been extended enough to enable us to speak with much
assurance as to its nesting within the County, but we have no
530 Colorado College Publicatiok
doubt it does, Aiken found a small Empidenax in a willow
thicket on the south slope of Pikes Peak, July 9-10, 1899, be-
lieved to be of this species, which, however, he failed to secure.
Empidonax wrighti. Wright's Flycatcher.
Summer resident; rather common in migration. Arrives
in May and has been taken as early as the sixth (1899).
This species breeds in the mountains, probably to or
nearly to timberline. The nest, as found by Warren in Gun-
nison County, is a cup-shaped structure made largely from the
shredded inner bark from dead aspens built in the crotch of a
willow. The eggs are usually four in number and pure white
Empidonax griseus. Gray Flycatcher.
A single record for El Paso County, a bird taken by
Aiken at Fountain, May 3, 1872.
Otocoris alpestris leucolsema. Desert Horned Lark.
A common resident.
The Horned Larks are found on the plains and in the
open country west from Green Mountain Falls. In other parts
of the State they are also found above timberline in summer,
breeding there, but we do not have any records of this sort for
El Paso County. While the birds are residents, it is most
likely that their numbers are augmented in winter by migrants
from farther north, and quite possible that some of our sum-
mer residents may go south. Beginning to breed, as it does,
in early April, it raises at least two broods in a season, and
young have been seen being fed by their parents the last of
June. A nest with three eggs was found near Colorado Springs
May 14, 1903 ; the parent was incubating then. This nest was,
as always with this species, on the ground, almost flush with
the surface, and sheltered by a tuft of grass. Allen and Brew-
ster mention a nest with two fresh eggs April 1, 1882, and
full-fledged young seen April 22 and later. September 8, 1904,
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 531
a young lark was seen which could not have been long out
of the nest.
While the larks usually remain on the plains during the
winter and are not especially conspicuous by their numbers,
yet when severe weather comes, especially if it is accompanied
by snow which lays some length of time without melting,
making it difficult for the birds to obtain food, they will come
into town, sometimes by thousands. This has been the case
in several different winters. The winter of 1902-3 was quite
a notable instance of the sort. It was a very cold winter, with
snow on the ground much of the time, and consequently the
larks could find little or no food on the plains, being unable
to reach the ground under the snow. This being the case, they
were in Colorado Springs in great numbers. The people were
feeding them in many places, putting out millet and similar
food for them. One feeding place was near the County Court-
house in Alamo Park. A space 8 by 12 feet would be covered
by the birds feeding, and also at other feeding places they
would alight so thickly as to hide the ground. February was
the most severe month; after March first the weather moder-
ated and the birds began to disappear from the town. May
14, 1912, during a cold storm with snow, Horned Larks were
driven into Colorado Springs as far south as Weber and Co-
lumbia Streets. For some reason none came into the town in
February, 1913, though there was snow on the ground for
During these cold winters there is great mortality among
these birds, many perishing from cold or hunger. Many are
found dead under wire fences, and it would seem possible that
the birds light on the wires with their feet wet from being
in the snow, and the toes freezing to the wires the birds can-
not get away and so freeze to death there, and afterward fall
to the ground when the feet relax their hold from thawing.
Taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by the find-
ing of large numbers of Horned Larks dead at times of storms
532 Colorado College Publication
Aiken has carefully examined large series of such birds to
observe the range of individual variation and to discover if
extralimital forms occur. January 30, 1898, with 120 speci-
mens in hand he writes: "I detect only one form, lenco-
hema, and the differences are doubtless due to age and indi-
vidual variation. The majority of males measure 7.25 inches
in length, wing 4.23. The brightest colored are nearly as
bright as breeding birds and are assumed to be oldest, though
some with pale throats appear full adults. The yellowest
throated birds have this color suffusing the entire chin, throat,
and sides of neck, and tinging the frontal and superciliary
stripes. No males are found with immaculate white throats,
but many have a narrow whitish streak from chin to breast-
Streaked upper parts are taken to characterize immaturity,
but some marked thus have yellow throats and some with paler
backs have pale throats. It appears, therefore, that intensity
of yellow is not due to age, but to individual variation. The
same variation exists among breeding birds. An undoubted
immature plumage is seen with duller pinkish colors and un-
developed black loral and breast markings like females.
Females average considerably smaller. The brightest
have the yellow suffusion nearly as intense as in the brightest
males, but many females have white throats with no trace
Aiken has also ascertained that breeding birds at high
altitudes in the mountains do not differ from those breeding
on the lower plains. Only one specimen has been detected
that approaches the Mississippi Valley form ; this has been
pronounced by Mr. Oberholser as intermediate between leu-
■colx:ma and praticola.
Pica pica hudsonia. Magpie.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 53.1
The Magpie is possibly the most noticeable bird, at least
to strangers, in the whole Pikes Peak region. With its con-
spicuous black and white plumage and long tail it at once at-
tracts the attention of the tenderfoot, and the old-timer gen-
erally notices one when it appears. Found wherever there are
trees, it lives along the watercourses and through the moun-
tains, though avoiding the dense evergreen timber, and prob-
ably not breeding much above 9,000 feet, but it is reported
to occasionally visit the summit of Pikes Peak in summer.
The bulky nests are built in almost any sort of tree,
though deciduous growth seems to be preferred, but conifierous
trees are occasionally used. They are placed anywhere from
3 to 50 or more feet above the ground, and we find them in
the willows along the streams, in the scrub oaks of the foot-
hills, and up toward the tops of the tall cottonwoods. The
nests are quite remarkable structures ; built with a foundation
of twigs in which is a deep cup of mud lined with fine roots
and similar material, and over all is a dome or roof of twigs
and small branches, with the entrance hole in one side, just
above the edge of the cup. In this are laid the eggs, as many
as thirteen having been found in one nest in Montana ; from
six to eight is the usual number. The eggs are laid, in the
vicinity of Colorado Springs, the latter part of April, five were
found April 24, 1913, and there are other equally early dates,
while fresh eggs are likely to be found all through May. The
following dates give an idea of the laying season: May 3,
1904, a nest with one egg was found, and when next visited,
the 16th, there were 8 ; May 10, 1904, several eggs were
found in a nest so situated it was difficult to count them ;
May 11, 1904, nest with 2 eggs; April 25, 1910, 5 eggs; April
24, 1898, 4 eggs. The young come out of the nest about a
month after hatching, but can fly only a little then or not at
all, and merely hop around in the branches of the home tree
or bush, and are cared for by the parents for two or three
weeks longer, perhaps more. Shaw found a nest with 4 young
about 3 weeks old, June 25, 1912, in Crystal Park, at 8,500 feet.
534 Colorado College Publication
After the breeding season is over and the young can fly
well the Magpies scatter about everywhere, and especially in
winter are they widely distributed seeking food. They are
seen at Lake Moraine all through the winter, though they do not
appear to breed there, as no nests were noted in that vicinity.
In the fall there also seems to be a southward migratory
movement of the species, as they arc seen in large numbers
along the Fountain Valley moving in a southerly direction.
One day late in September, 1913, three or four Magpies
were seen near Monument Valley Park mobbing a couple of
Sharp-shinned Hawks, flying at them and annoying them in
every way possible.
Cyanocitta cristata. Blue Jay.
An accidental visitor, only one instance being known of
its occurrence in El Paso County, a bird seen in Colorado
Springs October 5, 1902, by E. P. Scheutze. Aiken took one
May 27, 1905 near Limon, about 20 miles northeasterly from
the northeast corner of the County. Blue Jays are abundant
i:i western Kansas almost to the Colorado line, and also at
Wray, in northeastern Colorado, and with the settlement of
the intervening region an overflow through our State within
a few years may be looked for. Aiken found them at Good-
land, Kansas, and over the country east of there in May, 1899.
They were observed in flocks flying from one tree claim to
another, which were in most cases several miles apart.
Cyanocitta stelleri diademata. Long-crested Jay.
Common resident in the foothills and mountains and on
The Long-crested Jay, or "Blue Jay," as it is usually com-
monly called about here, is nearly as familiar a bird about
the foothills and caiions as the Magpie, as it flits among the
trees and bushes, sociable but shy, and it calls forth many
exclamations of admiration from the tourists because of its
Male Brewer's Blackbird.
E. R. IV.. Photo.
■v- «''.•' V:
Wepterv Evening Grosbeak.
;:. R. ir.. Photo.
Western \'esper Sparrow.
E. R. W., Photo.
' ""* ■ ■ ^"^^P^y^
Western Lark Sparrow.
E. R. U'.. Photo.
The Birds of El Paso County^ Colorado 535
handsome plumage. Its range in winter is similar to that of
the Magpie, from the plains to high into the mountains, up to
Lake Moraine and Seven Lakes, 11,000 feet, but its breeding
range is much more limited, being between 6,500 and 8,000
Its food consists of almost anything eatable, seeds, grain,
insects, nuts, etc. A pair killed near St. Peter's Dome by
Aiken, June 13, 1907, had been after food for their young.
Each had its mouth full of food, and had used discretion in
gathering it. They had been first to the garbage pile of the
station, and filled the throat with soft bread, after which they
had caught several winged ants, grasshoppers and spiders that
were held by the bill, extending along the length of the man-
A nest was found by Warren in a gulch near Bear Creek
Canon, May 5, 1913, containing then 3 eggs, and there were
4 May 8, when the nest was collected, and which is now in
the Colorado College Museum. The nest was 6 feet from the
ground in a Douglas's fir sapling, only 2 inches in diameter at
the base, and on a branch close to the stem of the tree. The
outside diameter of the nest was about 10 inches, and it was 5
deep, the nest cavity being 4^4 inches in diameter inside, by 3
deep. The outer portion was a loosely constructed affair of
twigs, varying from J^ to J4 inch thick, while the inner por-
tion was of fine rootlets closely put together, and with the walls
of the cup varying from J^ to % inch in thickness. The struc-
ture was loosely laid on the few branches which supported
it, looking as if it might easily fall off.
This species differs in habits from the Eastern Blue Jay,
being less noisy, and not going in flocks in fall and winter,
though parties of half a dozen or more are seen at times.
Aphelocoma woodhousei. Woodhouse's Jay.
Resident; rather common from the edge of the plains up
to 7,000 feet.
fi36 Colorado College Publication^
Woodhouse's Jay is a bird of the foothills, being found
in the scrub oak brush along the base of the mountains, and
the lower parts of the canons, but not going to any great
elevation ; it is also found about Austin's Bluffs. Occasionally
in winter it comes into town; from November 20, 1910, to
April 16, 1911, at least four were about the north end of
Monument Valley Park and vicinity and were frequently seen
about houses four or five blocks east of the Park.
Aiken found two nests May 2, 1872, and his description
was the first to be published of the nesting of the species. The
nests contained 4 and 5 eggs respectively. His description is
as follows: "Nest composed outwardly of dead twigs, then
of fine roots, and lined with fine rootlets and horsehair. The
eggs, four or five in number, are laid about May 1st. They
are of a light bluish-green color, with the reddish-brown specks
thickest at the large end."
When Aiken was at his ranch on Turkey Creek in Oc-
tober, 1873, a migratory flight of Woodhouse's Jays was seen.
They were not flying high, but making short flights from point
to point, always in a southerly direction. It was estimated
that there were at least 500 scattered over from 50 to 100 acres
of ground, as they kept lighting after their short flights. After
this flight had passed the species seemed to be fully as com-
mon during the following winter as it had been during the
summer. The flight had undoubtedly come from a more north-
ern locality. Local birds appear to be non-migratory and are
found in the same localities throughout the year.
Perisoreus canadensis capitalis. Rocky Mountain Jay.
Camp Bird. Camp Robber.
A not uncommon resident of the higher elevations, from
above 10,000 feet to timberline.
This species is a bird of the Hudsonian zone, where it
spends most of its life, breeding in the heavy timber very
early in the spring. Occasionally in fall and early winter it
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 537
wanders lower down, and has even been seen in the streets of
Colorado Springs. It comes about the houses of the care
takers of the Colorado Springs water system in the mountains,
at 10,000-11,000 feet, to pick up what scraps may be thrown
out, and at times becomes very tame and familiar. It is quite
easy to induce them to take food from one's fingers. They
carry off more than they eat, presumably hiding and storing
it for future use.
Corvus corax sinuatus. Raven.
A few pairs of Ravens are resident on Pike's Peak about
timberline, where it is said they are increasing in numbers and
are supposed to breed in the "Crater." They are seen occa-
sionally by occupants of the house on the summit and one was
killed there by J. G. Hiestand in the autumn of 1912. It has
been noticed near Seven Lakes in January and on Bison Creek,
near Clyde, in September. In, winter they may descend to the
plains at rare intervals, probably less often than 40 years ago.
Several reports of a "crow" or "raven" seen have come to
Aiken within the past few years, but the descriptions were not
sufficiently accurate to make identification positive. One was
caught in a trap and brought to Aiken in 1901, and Dr. W. W.
Arnold kept one as a pet for two or three years which had
been brought to him with a broken wing.
Corvus cryptoleucus. White-necked Raven.
Formerly a common resident, now unknown in the County.
The following quotation from Henshaw's Report on the
Ornithology of the Wheeler Surveys published in 1875, gives
an account of its former occurrence and habits :
Mr. Aiken communicates the following:
"It seems to me not a little singular that I should have
been the first to detect the presence of this bird in Colorado,
538 Colorado College Publication
for it outnumbers all the other Corvi in certain localities. It
had previously been considered a bird of the southeast, and
was supposed to be confined mainly to the Staked Plains of
Texas, but I now know it to be common along the eastern
base of the Rocky Mountains, throughout the entire extent of
Colorado, and it even winters as far north as Cheyenne. It
has also been found at Tucson, Ariz., by Capt. Bendire, who
includes it among the resident birds of that locality, so that it
has quite an extended range. I first saw them in October,
1871, about twenty-five miles south of Cheyenne, on the line
of the Denver Pacific Railroad, where a large flock was hover-
ing over the plain. In the city of Denver I have often found
them searching for food in the less frequented streets, and
about one hundred miles farther south, on the Fontaine Qui
Bouille, I have seen immense numbers. At the latter place, a
Mock of probably one thousand individuals was resident dur-
ing the winter of 1871-2. Although so abundant in winter,
very few are to be seen in summer ; the greater number either
pass to the northward or become so distributed over the coun-
try as not to attract attention. Being seldom disturbed, these
birds have little of the shyness which the common crow of the
East exhibits, though it is not always easy to get within gun-
shot of them. I have on one occasion ridden along within
twenty feet of a fence on which sat thirteen of these 'imps of
darkness,' only one of which flew away, the others contenting
themselves by keeping a watchful eye on my demeanor, and
an instant's halt on my part, or a suspicious motion, would
have started them off instantly. C. cryptoleucus is mainly a
bird of the plains, being replaced in the mountains by the
common raven. The ^;wo birds resemble each other so closely
in notes and habits that it is difficult to distinguish between
them at a distance ; the greatest apparent discrepancy being
in size, though the croak of carnivorus (i. e. sinuatus) is
somewhat deeper and louder than that of the other. I have
sometimes found them both associated in the same flock. Each
succeeding year since I first saw these birds I have noticed
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 539
a marked decrease in their numbers in El Paso County, Colo.
The cause of this I do not know unless it is because as the
country becomes more thickly settled the solitude they love so
well is denied them." Pp. 326-7.
Since the above was written Aiken has changed his opin-
ion as to the cause of the disappearance of the White-necked
Raven from this region. Some strong incentive was necessary
to have induced these birds to wander northward from their
native range in western Texas and New Mexico. This was
offered by the slaughter and extermination of the buffalo herds
on the western plains which was going on during the late sixties
and early seventies. Pioneer settlers were pushing ahead of
the railroads ; transportation was by teams, and travelers
camped along the roads and fed grain to their stock. The
Ravens, probably first attracted by the buffalo carcasses that
strewed the northern plains later followed along the routes of
team travel and fed on scattered grain left by campers. By
1874 the buffalo were nearly gone ; completed railroads had
put the wagon freighters out of business ; frequent houses
along most roads provided shelter for travelers and camping
became unnecessary; the food supply of the White-necked
Raven was curtailed and the bird presently retired to its former
An unusual record for altitude is California Gulch, Au-
gust 27, 1872 (Aiken).
May 17, 1878, Aiken found on Horse Creek, some sixty
miles east of Colorado Springs, in what is now Lincoln County,
a nest of the White-necked Raven which contained 7 nearly
hatched eggs. Of two other nests of the same species found
five days later, one contained 5 half-grown young, and the
other 6 (traces of a 7th having been broken) nearly fresh eggs.
Nest cup-shaped, inside of hair and wool firmly matted and
woven and outwardly built of dry twigs.
540 Colorado College Publication
Corvus brachyrhynchos. Crow.
Rare. The Crow has been taken so infrequently in El
Paso County that it would seem to be nothing more than a
straggler. There are but two specimens in the Aiken Collec-
tion, one without date, taken near Colorado Springs, the other
from Monument, taken in November, 1906. It is strange it
should be so rare here when there are many places north of
the Divide where it is a common bird. This species was com-
mon 15 miles southeast of Colorado Springs in February and
March, 1914, where they they were feeding on carcasses of
sheep killed by heavy snowstorms.
Nucifraga columbiana. Clarke's Nutcracker. Clarke's
Not uncommon resident in the mountains, coming lower
down in winter.
Like the Rocky Mountain Jay, by whose names of Camp
Bird and Camp Robber it is sometimes called, Clarke's Nut-
cracker is a bird of the higher mountains, breeding quite early
in the green pine and spruce timber. There is a full grown
young of the year in the Aiken Collection, taken at St. Peter's
Dome, June 21, 1907. It is rather more of a wanderer than
the other species, and habitually comes down to lower eleva-
tions in winter and the early fall than that species does, Wet-
more and Rockwell noting a number at Palmer Lake Septem-
ber 6, 1909. It is plentiful in the Turkey Creek valley in au-
tumn. It has been seen at Lake Moraine in March, June and
September, and at Seven Lakes in January. In winter it is
found about the foothills and at Austin's Blufifs, and probably
wanders and straggles over most of the region where there
are trees. In September and October this species is apt to be
found among the pinons, living on the seeds or nuts of that
tree', getting them sometimes by clinging to a cone and hanging
upside down from it and extracting the seeds from below,
and again standing on top of a cone and reaching over and
I'he Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 341
picking out the seeds from above. A pair noticed on the sum-
mit of Cheyenne Mountain in May, 1913, by Aiken, are
thought to have bred there.
Cyanocephalus cyanocephalus. Pifion Jay.
Resident; common locally.
The Pifion Jays breed in the piiions and cedars, of which
there are but a comparatively small area in the County, laying
its eggs so early in the season that the young are out of the
nest by the first of May. Late in the summer and early in
the autumn they begin to wander about in flocks, often of many
individuals, reaching both higher and lower elevations than
their breeding range. Wetmore and Rockwell saw it at Palmer
Lake September 6, and Warren saw one on Bison Creek, near
Clyde, at 10,000 feet, September 8, 1911; extremely high for
this species. In winter it is now common at Austin's Bluffs,
near Colorado Springs, but thirty years ago it was very rare
there or not seen at all. The reason for this change may be
that in the early days there was no food for them about there,
and now there is considerable farming with corn and grain-
fields where food may be found. Occasionally flocks may
be seen flying over the city of Colorado Springs on their way
back and forth from their feeding grounds.
Dolichonyx oryzivorus. Bobolink.
Rare spring and summer visitor; no breeding records.
Allen and Brewster state that "A single specimen was
brought to Mr. Aiken May 18, , and another May 23;
two others reported as seen. But two specimens were pre-
viously known to Mr. Aiken as having been killed here."
There is a male in the Aiken Collection taken hear Colo-
rado Springs, September 5, 1897. May 20, 1913, Warren saw
two males in Monument Valley Park, and one on the 21st
542 Colorado College Publication
Molothnis ater. Cowbird.
Summer resident; common. Arrives about the last of
April. Departs in October, has been seen as late as the 29th.
The Cowbird, well known for its habit of laying its eggs
in the nests of 'other birds, is a rather common summer resi-
dent in much of the County. Bendire, in his "Life Histories
of North American Birds," figures a Cowbird's egg taken from
the nest of a Mountain Song Sparrow in El Paso County by
Aiken, and Aiken took two eggs from a Meadowlark's nest
near Ramah, June 4th.
Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus. Yellow-headed Blackbird.
Summer resident; common in suitable localities. Arrives
the last of April, and departs in September.
Localities such as the Yellow-headed Blackbird prefers
for breeding places are rather rare- in El Paso County, for
swamps and sloughs with plenty of tules and rushes are their
faivored resorts, and there are not many such within our lim-
its. Skinner's being the only place where we know of its breed-
ing within the County. The nest is woven to the stems of the
tules, and forms a rather deep cup in which 4 or 5 eggs are de-
\gelaius phoeniceus fortis. Thick-billed Redwing.
While the Red-winged Blackbird may be considered a
resident species as some individuals remain through the win-
ter, yet it is more abundant in the summer, the migrating birds
coming in the spring about the first of March, or the last of
February, the males always preceding their mates. Probably
most, if not not all, the winter birds are a different lot from
the summer residents. They are found all over the County,
at least below the foothills, where there is such ground as
they like, for they are always found near water, and breed
throughout their range.
Western Tree Sparrow.
£. R. ir., I'lwlo.
Fig. 32. E. R. W., Photo.
(In a pliotograph Shufeldt's Junco would look very like this).
PlNK-SlDED J UNCO.
II. K. ir.. riwto.
Gunnison County, Colo.
E. R. W., Photo.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado S43
All the Redwings in the Aiken and Warren Collections
have recently been examined and identified .by Mr. H. C.
Oberholser of the Biological Survey. These included 22 speci-
mens from the region now under consideration, taken at va-
rious dates through the year from January 24 to November
20, and all were labeled by Mr. Oberholser as A. p. fortis.
Stumella neglecta. Western Meadowlark.
Summer resident ; common ; a few often spending the win-
ter. Arrives early in March, sometimes the last of February.
Departs late in October or early in November.
One feels as if spring had really come when he hears the
Meadowlarks singing from the light and telephone poles in
town, and the fence posts along the roadside, for they are no
sooner here than they announce themselves with their cheery
notes. Found everywhere on the plains region, and in the
lower portions of the mountains where there are open spaces,
it is one of our commonest species, and most useful as well,
living very largely on insects of all sorts, of which it destroys
vast numbers in a season.
Two broods are raised, sometimes at least. In the summer
of 1903 a pair nested and raised two sets of young in a vacant
lot at the corner of Cascade Avenue and Caramillo St., in
Colorado Springs, with houses all about them. September 8,
1904, a young bird hardly able to fly was seen on the outskirts
of the town. The nest is built on the ground, usually well
hidden in long grass, often with more or less of a dome-shaped
roof of grass above it. The eggs vary from four to six. June
4, 1909, a nest with one egg and one young bird several days
old was by the Canon City road several miles southwesterly
from Colorado Springs.
The song of the Western Meadowlark has been the theme
of many writers, its beauty and variety arousing the admira-
tion of all who hear it.- Mrs. Sturgis has lately published a
little book with words and notes of a number of songs as heard
544 Colorado College Publication
about Colorado Springs; Keyser could hardly find words to
express his admiration and wonder of the lark's music, and
others have written in the same strain.
June 4-7, 1898, Aiken made notes on Meadowlark songs
at Ramah, as follows:
"The variety of its song is quite remarkable. I noticed
some styles of song different from those in the vicinity of Colo-
rado Springs, and some that are the same. It is a common
thing to hear a certain lark that has been singing one song for
a time change to another in different key, and with different
notes and inflections. I take it that each bird has two songs.
Two by one individual which I noted were : see, ching-ling,
ihick-le-pup, and see-saw, chick-a-lit-tle , chick-a-loop. The song
consists usually of seven or nine notes or syllables, a combina-
tion of clear flute or whistling notes with liquid and guttural
tones. Usually one or two notes receive special emphasis, and
the variation of accent is one point of difference. It is often
on the last note but is also given on various notes in the song.
The different key in which different songs begin and end is
another point, but the notes themselves differ widely in differ-
ent individuals. The following songs are most often heard at
Colorado Springs, and also at Ramah : See-saw-see, bil-lee-
co-bah; co-que-co, queed-lick, twee-pah; bah beep-a-lo, chuck-
a-luck. In the last the first part is the conspicuous part,
but in the two others the last part is most pronounced. I also
note at Ramah the following: ta ti ta ta, ta-ty-ta, the second
note on a higher key, and the last three uttered like tremolo ;
ee too, eat a little ee-tle doo-ple." Subsequently to writing this
Aiken heard five of the familiar songs uttered by one bird with-
in a few minutes.
In June, 1900, he made the following note on the song
of a lark at Hartsel, Park County: "I heard a song I had
never heard before, 'Come Wil-lie, come quickly home.' I
had almost ■ concluded the mountain larks had songs unlike
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 54S
those of the plains, when the same bird sung one of the most
Icterus bullockl. Bullock's Oriole.
Summer resident ; common. Arrives about May 10. Most
of them leave the latter part of August ; the latest date: at
hand is September 14, 1903.
Orioles are found all over the County wherever there are
trees, below 8,000 feet. When the leaves are gone from the
trees in autumn many of their pensile nests are seen hanging
from the extremities of the branches, testifying to the abund-
ance of the builders. Practically all the nests are built in the
Cottonwood trees, these being the most suitable kind we have
for their style of architecture. They are at home in the towns
as well as in the country, and Monument Valley Park is a
favored place for them. A male of this species in the Aiken
Collection taken at Ramah, June 5, 1898, is peculiar in having
no black on the head, this being rather bright yellow.
Euphagus carolinus. Rusty Blackbird.
Rare; but one record for the County, 3 seen and 2 killed
by Aiken at Skinner's, January 15, 1908. There are only a
few records of this species for Colorado, and this is the only
one south of the Divide.
Euphagus cyanocephalus. Brewer's Blackbird.
Summer resident ; common. Arrives the last week in
April. Most of them are gone by October first, but it has been
known to remain until January 1.
Brewer's Blackbird is one of our most common summer
birds, seen everywhere about the ranches on the plains and up
into the mountains, where a great many breed, gathering after
the breeding season is over into flocks, often of large size.
Since Monument Valley Park has been established a number
are there every season, at the north end, and L. L. Shaw found
S46 Colorado College PuBLicAtiorJ
a nest there, May 28, 1912, which contained 3 eggs. At
Ramah, June 4, 1898, nests contained young and eggs in ad-
vanced stages of incubation. It nests in all sorts of situations,
in trees and bushes, on the ground, and even in haystacks.
Q^iscaIu8 quiscula aeneus. Bronzed Crackle.
Summer resident; only locally common. Arrives the last
of April, the earliest date being April 19, 1899. Departs early
The Bronzed Grackle breeds in colonies, and there is one
near Buttes on Fountain Creek. The birds probably leave as
soon as the young can fly well, and no doubt all leave the
Cpunty long before winter sets in.
Hesperiphona vespertina montana. Western Evening Gros-
Resident; locally and irregularly common.
The Evening Grosbeak is better known as winter visitor
than as a summer bird, for but few of us are favored with a
sight of it at the latter season, though Aiken has seen the
species in the County every month in the year. And as a
winter visitor it is decidedly irregular, for several winters may
pass without one being seen, then there will be numbers around
town, always going in flocks and feeding in the yards and
among the trees. They are usually tame and ' approachable
then, and easily observed. They probably breed in the moun-
tains in this region, but their nesting places have not yet been
June 19, 1898, Aiken found in the oak thickets of the
lower foothills near Bear Creek a flock of 25 or 30 Evening
Grosbeaks, from which he killed five males. Both sexes were
together and had probably come down off the mountains to
feed on the larvae of insects that were devouring the leaves
of the oaks. The contents of the gizzard of one bird examined
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 547
appeared to consist of small black seeds mingled with the insect
larvffi. The testicles in all were of the size of large beans and
indicated that the birds were either breeding or on the point
o) doing so.
Pinicola enuclcator montana. Rocky Mountain Pine Gros-
Resident in the mountains. More common in winter.
It is difficult for us to say with the information at hand
what is the abundance of the Pine Grosbeak in this region,
but we do not consider that it is at all common even in the
localities where it dwells. It is a mountain bird, and seldom,
with us, descends to the lower altitudes, but remains above
9,000 feet most, if not all of the year, and does not seem to be
given to those wanderings which bring its eastern consins
down from the north into the eastern states, often penetrating
a considerable distance south. It was seen and taken by War-
ren above Seven Lakes, 11,000 feet, in January, and also seen
by him on top of Cheyenne Mountain, November 21, 1905. In
the case of those seen at Seven Lakes the care-taker at the
Strickler Tunnel said they had been about there all winter.
They were in the willows when seen. Aiken has had several
specimens from near timberline on Pike's Peak.
Carpodacus cassini. Cassin's Purple Finch.
Cassin's Finch is a resident of the mountains, where it
breeds, coming down to the foothills and edge of the plains in
fall and winter, but rather irregularly, not being observed at
all some seasons. At this season it is found in flocks, which
at first sight seem to be composed largely of fertiales, but many
of the supposed females are really males in their first winter
plumage, which is practically identical with that of the female.
They frequent the trees and bushes along the streams, in the
548 Colorado College Publication
foothills, and at the bluffs. It is doubtless more or less common
in the pines on the Divide, and has been noted at Eastonville
early in March. We have no records of its occurrence in the
mountains in this region in summer, though it should breed
among them as it does elsewhere in the State. Our winter
residents are doubtless migrants from more northern localities.
Carpodacus mexicanus frontalis. House Finch.
Resident ; common about towns.
House Finches are town rather than country birds with us,
apparently preferring the neighborhood of human habitations,
and are about the only birds we have which seem able to hold
their own against the imported House or English Sparrow.
While resident the year through, it seems possible there may be
a slight migration, a portion going south in winter, for they
do not seem as abundant at that season as in summer, though
that is partly accounted for by the fact that the birds do leave
the neighborhood of houses and go out among the fields search-
ing for food. However that may be, they return in good sea-
son, and in early March the brightly clad males may be heard
singing sweetly and courting their mates. They build their
nests about houses and other buildings, as well as in trees.
In 1903 a pair built their nest on the cap of a column on
the porch at my home, beginning to build April 20. There
was one egg in the nest the .evening of April 27 ; 3 eggs
on the afternoon of May 1 ; 4 eggs May 4, but I have no notes
of the intervening days. The three days preceding May first
the female spent a good deal of time on the nest as the weather
was cold. The morning of May 12 there were 3 young in
the nest and one egg; about six o'clock in the afternoon I saw
the female eat most of an eggshell; possibly the last egg had
just hatched. From May 12 to 28 I photographed these
young birds daily, sometimes one, sometimes all four. May
26 the largest escaped from me and flew across the street,
alighting in a tree, where its mother afterwards fed it ; all the
remaining young left the nest May 29. (E. R. W.)
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado S49
Two broods are, sometimes at least, raised in a season,
and possibly three. September 3, 1903, young House Finches
were noticed which seemed to have just left the nest. Lloyd
Shaw found a nest May 26, 1912, containing 4 eggs, and on
the 28th there were 3 young ; presumably these eggs were laid
from the 12th to the 16th of May. June 16, 1912, a young
bird just from the nest was seen in Monument Valley Park.
Two broods were hatched in one nest in 1913'; the first hatched
June 2 or 3, the second flew July 25.
The food of the House Finch consists largely of seeds of
various sorts. They sometimes eat the seeds of that pest the
dandelion, in fact Dr. W. H. Bergtold says the young are
largely fed on those seeds. In the fall they have been seen
eating the seeds of Clematis paniculata which was growing
o\ er a porch.
"A comparison of House Finches collected in El Paso
County with specimens from California, Arizona and New
Mexico, shows the local bird to be consistently darker with
broader streaks beneath, olivaceous brown rather than hair
brown. White of underparts purer or ashy, lacking the buffy
finge; the red more crimson. Bill and feet more robust and
darker. Culmen shorter (10 mm.), little more than depth of
bill at base. Average length of 11 males 153 mm. ; average of
17 males. Wing, 78.3 mm.; Tail, 61.3 mm.
I conclude that the House Finches of Colorado east of the
mountains and probably of southeastern Wyoming are sub-
specifically distinct from those of California, Arizona and New
Mexico at least as far east as the Rio Grande River. If
further investigation proves this conclusion correct the more
western and southern form becomes Carpodacus mexicanus
obscnnis McCall. Local birds are true frontalis since Say's
type locality is the Arkansas Valley.
Our House Finches are in part migratory and in part nop-
migratory. There are the same smoke-soiled birds with us
SSO Colorado College Publication
through the winter which br.eed here in the summer and there
is no evidence that any wintering birds are from more northern
locaHties. In April I meet clean plumaged birds coming north
from their winter resort. Flocks of House Finches are seen
migrating in autumn; August 13, 1907, I noticed flock after
flock passing south along the Fountain at Skinner's six miles
south of Colorado Springs. Young birds gather in weedy
fields in August where they linger a few days until the autumn
moult is completed and then most of them go southward, prob-
ably led by old birds. The percentage of these which return in
the spring seems to be small.
I first met with House Finches near Cailon City, April
26, 1872 ; a flock of several hundred were sweeping through the
valley. In the May following I found 2 or 3 pairs nesting in
the pinon hills northeast of there. I found none nesting in
those early days in Cafion City, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, or
Denver, but at Trinidad, in July, 1872, I first saw them utiliz-
ing human habitations. It was many years before the north-
ern birds took up with the advance of civilization and made
their homes in towns. When I returned to Colorado, in De-
cember, 1895, after some years absence, I found them fre-
quenting the city. The spring following a pair built their nest
in a wistaria vine close under the eaves of my front porch
and directly over the steps. They raised a brood and went off
with the young as soon as they could fly, and were not seen
again until the following spring (1897), when they cleaned
and reoccupied the old nest.
When the young in this nest were half grown the parents
built a second nest under my neighbor's porch and while the
male was attending the first brood the female raised another.
In 1898 the breeding impulse was even stronger. Tlie male
was first noticed December 27 of the previous year to come
and inspect the old nest. At intervals of ten days he came
after that for several weeks before he brought his mate. In
March the pair cleaned and relined the old nest and the female
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 551
began incubating. Soon after the young were hatched a second
nest was built adjoining the first and attached to it in which a
second complement of eggs was laid and the female sat on
these while the young were growing in the first nest beside her.
When the second brood were hatched a third clutch of eggs
was laid in the nest now vacated by the first brood and a third
brood successfully reared. A chronology of the domestic af-
fairs of the pair for the next year, 1899, follows :
March 8. Male bird seen inspecting the old nest.
April 13. Both birds had been house-cleaning since March
17 and had relined the original nest.
April 25. Female sitting and the male keeps out of sight.
May 8. Five young hatched.
May 28. Nest deserted and both parent birds presumed to
be with the young instructing them to provide for themselves,
but returned a few days later.
June 11. Female incubating second laying.
June 23. Second brood of young several days old. Male
not seen but heard singing in early morning.
July 3. Young of second brood left the nest.
In 1900 the male was seen inspecting the nest January 13,
and the female joined him February 23. March 8 the old nest
was relined. The first laying of eggs was thrown out of the
nest April 16 but April 20 the female was incubating a fresh
set, and May 11 the young were about a week old.
In 1901 one brood was reared.
In 1902 the pair seemed much annoyed to discover that
English Sparrows had occupied their nest as a roosting place
hut finally renovated it and occupied it about May 20. One
In 1903 the pair came early and finding their nest demol-
ished by sparrows built elsewhere in the neighborhood.
552 Colorado College Publication
In 1904 the pair appeared March 3 and after Hngering
about the old nest sometime began carrying material from it
across the street where the nest was constructed. Work
done by the female closely attended by the male. English
Sparrows then built their own nest on the platform of the
denuded finch nest.
In 1905 the pair of House Finches came February 26 and
for nearly a month kept near the old nest which they seemed
bent on reoccupying, but on March 11a catastrophe occurred
which closed their life history. In attempting to destroy the
pestiferous English Sparrows I accidentally killed both finches.
much to my regret. They had for ten years been members of
my domestic family. Their skins are preserved in the Aiken
Collection in Colorado College, their original numbers being,
male, 4577, and female, 4578.
My excuse for relating this extended history is that I be-
lieve that some light may be thrown upon the breeding habits
of various other species of birds by the, application of my nar-
ration. I have space to point out but one point here. I assume
and ami convinced that the birds were in their first neproduc-
tive year when they built the first nest. They reached the
height of reproductivity in the third year when they raised
three broods. In succeeding years they dropped to two broods
and then to one. This may be accepted as a law or rule appli-
cable to other species whose habit is recorded of producing
two or more broods in a season. We may conclude that the
more vigorous pairs produce two or more broods some sea-
sons but other pairs may produce but one.
Breeding male House Finches show a variable amount of
red in the plumage. Those with the least I have supposed to
be birds of the previous year which would acquire the full plu-
mage at succeeding moults, concluding also that deficiency
of red characterized all birds of the year. I think this is the
prevailing view. In 1907 I made investigations which throw
some light on the subject. Young birds take on the coat worn
The Birds of El Paso County^ Colorado 553
through winter and the following summer about three months
after leaving the nest. A large proportion of them and of
adults as well moult in August. The new feathers grow out
through the feathers of the old coat, gradually displacing them.
I observed at this time that moulting young males were
acquiring as extensive a distribution of red as the brightest col-
ored adults, in fact after completion of the moult in both young
and' adult they are not distinguishable. Several specimens
illustrating this moult were preserved. Evidently then the ma-
jority of young acquire the perfect coat at the first autumnal
Later in 1907, on October 4, I obtained an undoubted
young male just completing its moult which is indistinguishable
externally from a female at the same season except perhaps
for a faint tinge of red on the jugulum. It suggests a parallel
case to that of Carpodacus cassini in which young males regu-
larly take the coat of the female at the autumnal moult. What
may take place in further development of the plumage in such
cases as that of this imperfectly marked House Finch is open
to further investigation. Po.ssible conclusions are that it might
develop some increase of red at the breeding season and ac-
quire a perfect coat at the second autumnal moult, or it might
develop at the second moulting a phase of scanty red diffusion
that would exist through life and prove an individual variation,
perhaps an individual characteristic transmittable to progeny.
Orange-red mingled with or displacing crimson-red in
House Finches is accepted as indicating age. A male taken
May 22, 1904, shows a scanty reddish area of the orange shade,
so probably this bird lived a number of years without increas-
ing the amount of red.
*The red of the autumnal coat remains pinkish through
early winter, gradually deepens toward spring, and acquires
its greatest intensity at time of breeding without a spring moult
or apparent abrasion.
554 Colorado College Publication
Finally, it seems probable that these birds acquire no ma-
terial increase of the red. area after the second summer, and
that the extent of red is not dependent on age."
(C. E. A.)
Loxia curvirostra minor. Crossbill.
Resident in the mountains ; locally common.
Aiken found several about St. Peter's Dome in June and
July, 1907; also at Palmer Lake, June 26, 1907. Allen and
Brewster reported seeing a flock of about thirty at Austin's
Bluffs, April 26, 1882, and also noticed a few both there and
elsewhere at both earlier and later dates. Two birds taken at
St. Peter's Dome on June 13 were apparently just completing
their moult, and one taken at Palmer Lake, June 26 was in the
midst of moulting.
Loxia curvirostra stricklandi. Mexican Crossbill.
There is in the Aiken Collection a male Crossbill col-
lected on Turkey Creek, May 22, 1874, which is much larger
than the other birds just mentioned, and has a much larger
bill. Sclater referred this to stricklandi, while Oberholser calls
it bendirei Ridgway, but this latter subspecies has not as yet
been recognized by the A. O. U. There is a female in the same
collection belonging to the same form, and having a label with
the same date, but which was really taken in the White Moun-
tains, Arizona, in 1876, by Aiken.
Leucosticte tephrocotia tephrocotis. Gray-crowned Rosy
Winter resident ; irregularly common.
This species, in common with the two succeeding species
of Rosy Finch, is a winter visitor with us, but quite uncertain
in its occurrence. Probably they are fairly regular in their ap-
pearance in the mountains, but lower down, below the foot-
hills, they do not come so often, though Aiken has collected a
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado SSS
number in various winters near Colorado Springs and Colo-
rado City. Occasionally it comes right into town; thus one
was seen December 29, 1902, near the Plaza Hotel in Colo-
rado Springs, and February 12, 1903, two were seen feeding
with a large flock of Horned Larks on millet seed which had
been put out for the latter. They are often about the care-
taker's house at Lake Moraine in winter. Rosy Finches are
sociable birds and are almost always found in flocks, fre-
quently of many individuals, and sometimes including all four
of the forms which are found in Colorado. In April, 1874, a
flock fed about Aiken's dooryard in Colorado Springs and he
captured some alive and kept them in a wire cage for a time.
They evinced no fear and would occasionally sing an unpre-
Leucosticte tephrocotis littoralis. Hepburn's Rosy Finch.
Winter visitor ; not common.
This species is found associated with the others, but is not
nearly as common. Aiken has taken a few near Colorado
Springs and Colorado City, and Warren took two at Lake
Moraine, December 12-13, 1906, and saw one a mile southwest
of Colorado City, November 7, 1913, in company with about a
dozen of the preceding species.
Leucosticte atrata. Black Rosy Finch.
Winter visitor ; not common.
The type of this species was shot by Aiken at Caiion City
end the name atrata was suggested by him to Ridgway. The
Black Rosy Finch has been met with a number of times in
El Paso County where it occurs as a winter visitor with con-
siderable regularity and at all altitudes. Like others of its
kin it is a mountain bird but is sometimes driven down to the
plains by snow. Aiken obtained specimens from the summit
of Pike's Peak in 1877, Colorado City in 1878, and from near
Colorado Springs in 1883, while Warren found it at Lake
SS6 Colorado College Publication
Moraine in December, 1905, and March and December, 1906,
and secured a good series of specimens.
Leucosticte australis. Brown-capped Rosy Finch.
The Brown-capped Rosy Finch is a resident species, living
in summer on the summits of the mountains above timberline,
and was first met with by Aiken on the summit of Pilce's Peak,
July 4, 1873. The nest has never been found, but if its nest-
ing habits are like those of the Gray-crowned species, or rather
the Sierra Nevada Rosy Finch, the nest will be found hidden
imder stones in rock sHdes, for such was the situation of the
nest of its relative recently discovered in California. In sum-
mer it may be seen flitting around the mountain slopes, search-
ing for food, often, even in what would seem to be the breed-
ing season, two or. three together. In autumn, when the
weather becomes more severe, and food possibly more difficult
to secure, they go lower down and join with their visiting rela-
tives, the three preceding species, and make up large flocks,
and in these it often seems to be in a minority as compared
with the Gray-crowned. No doubt some of this species mi-
grate farther south in winter, leaving their places to be filled by
Acanthis linaria linaria. Redpoll.
The Redpoll is a decidedly rare winter visitor with us,
and not often seen ; possibly it may be more common in the
mountains ; Warren found it at Lake Moraine in December,
1906. There are specimens in the Aiken Collection taken in
the winter of 1878-9, near Colorado Springs, and also one col-
lected in Fremont County, April 25, 1872, which seems an un-
usually late date. Dr. W. W. Arnold reported a flock of 25
about Colorado Springs the winter of 1910-11, and noted that
the birds ate the cottony scale on the maple trees.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 557
Astragalinus tristis tristis. Goldfinch. "Wild Canary."
Summer resident ; common.
It is somewhat difficult to separate the records and occur-
rence of this from the following subspecies, as a sufficient series
of specimens for the purpose is lacking. With the exception
of the few which sometimes spend the winter the Goldfinches
arrive early in May for the summer and are quite common
over the County below 7,000 feet.
Astragalinus tristis pallidas. Pale Goldfinch.
Summer resident ; common. Found occasionally in win-
Aiken considers that the Goldfinches which spend the
winter in the County are all pallidus, and that the summer resi-
dents along the foothills are mainly this species, while most of
the typical form are found toward the eastern portion of the
County. More collecting of specimens is, however, necessary
to fully settle these points. Summer birds soon lose the paler
edges of the feathers by abrasion and are then not noticeably
different from the preceding form.
Astragalinus psaltria psaltria. Arkansas Goldfinch.
Astragalinus psaltria arizonae. Arizona Goldfinch.
Astragalinus psaltria mexicanus. Mexican Goldfinch.
Summer resident ; common. Typical psaltria usually ar-
rives the third week in June; extremely early dates are April
21, 1900, and May 13, 1898, and specimens taken at these dates
were still in their winter dreSs. Most of them leave in Sep-
tember and October ; an unusually late date is that of a speci-
men from Beaver Creek, Fremont County, November 11, 1872.
This is still in summer dress.
The A. O. U. Committee has eliminated the last two of
SS8 ■ Colorado College PuBLicAtioN
the above named forms from its Check-List, regarding the
differences in color as being due to age, this being the position
taken by Oberholser in a paper pubHshed in 1903, in which
he states that a series of summer males from Colorado Springs
"exhibits all gradations from the green-backed to the black-
backed forms, representing thus psaltria, arizona, and mexi-
canus — all breeding at the same place!" It is very true that
the series of males in the Aiken Collection represents these
gradations, but there is one point that has been overlooked
with regard to the occurrence of these birds in El Paso County,
at least, and that is psaltria alone is the breeding form, so far
as at present known, the dark forms not making their appear-
ance until later, arizonce coming in July, and mexicanus the
very last of July and first of August, and their actions then
would indicate that they have but just arrived, nor have any
dark colored birds been discovered breeding in the County.
The dates of skins of psaltria are April 20, 1900 ; June 25,
1898; July 23, 1899; August IS, 1907; September 2 and 5,
1897. Of arizoncE, July 16, 1872 (Fremont Co.) ; August 5,
1898 (2) ; August 6 and 7, 1897; August 12, 1907. A bird
seen by Warrer(, June 15, 1912, appeared to be this form.
Mexicanus, August 4, 1898; Salida, Chaffee Co., August 3,
1908; 5 or 6 seen by Aiken in yard August 11, 1907. Dr.
Bergtold reported seeing one in Denver, June 30, 1908, but
did not collect it.
The evidence of the specimens and of field observations
agree very well, though it is only fair to state that it is
difficult to always distinguish arizonce from mexicanus in the
field, as the birds almost invariably appear darker than they
really are. These Goldfinches are often seen about the town
on vacant lots, especially where sunflowers have grown up and
gone to seed, and are easy to approach and observe, so that
one can readily study them. An examination of the plumage of
these specimens gives us no clue, for it seems perfectly fresh
and unworn. A possible explanation which occurred was that
Fig. ,,\i. E. R. U'., Photo.
~iiE Xk>t UxriER THE Protectixg Branxh.
Fiq. s6. E. R. IV.. Photo.
Xest and Eggs of Gray-Headed Junco; a Close \'iew.
Xear Golden, Colo.
Male Black-Headed Grosbeak.
E. R. W., Photo.
Colons of Cliff Swallows.
Weld Counly, Colo.
E. R. IV., Photo.
The Birds of El Paso County^ Colorado SS9
the differences in color might be due to the wearing away of the
outer portions of the feathers leaving a dark inner portion
exposed, but the plumage of psaltria shows no dark portions
of the back feathers which could be thus exposed by wear,
though we have examined specimens taken August 15 which
are much worn, and as stated above the dark skins show no
indication of any such wear.
To summarize: Psaltria is the first of the three forms
to appear here in spring, and seems to be the breeding form;
ari::on(E makes its appearance in July; while mexicanus, the
darkest of the three, does not appear until about August first.
After that time all three forms are to be found and in flocks
We have tried to present the facts in this puzzling case
as clearly as possible, feeling the settlement of the matter by
the A. O. U. Committee is not as satisfactory as it might be.
Two of the males in the flock noted as seen in yard
August 1 1 were quarreling over a female.
Besides sunflower seeds the species eats almost any sort
of weed seeds, including those of the dandelion.
Spinus pinus. Pine Siskin. Pine Linnet. Pine Finch.
Pine Siskins are probably found at some season of
the year over all the County where there is any cover for
them, but they are rather irregular in their occurrence, at
least in winter, and some seasons but few will be noted. The
winter of 1910-11 a large flock was about the north end
of Monument Valley Park, while the following winter but
few were seen. It ranges at least as high as Lake Moraine,
where Aiken has taken it. May 16, 1913, a pair had a nest
at Ivywild, in a cottonwood tree, well out on a branch 30
feet above the ground. The birds could be plainly seen at the
560 Colorado College Publication
nest and identified. Dr. Arnold has seen this species eating
the cottony scale on maples trees.
Passer domesticus. House Sparrow. English Sparrow.
Resident; common about towns.
The House Sparrow was first seen by Aiken in Colorado
Springs in 1895, on his return after an absence of a few
years. At that time there were several flocks about the town,
most of which had probably been hatched that season, and
numbering about SO birds ; the following year it was estimated
there were 500 birds in the same area. The species probably
reached the town in the spring of 1895.
While the English Sparrow, everything considered, is a
pest and a nuisance, it does do a little good, possibly due to
the fact that it is greedy and omnivorous, and will eat almost
everything which comes its way. It has been seen to catch
grasshoppers and feed the fledged young with them in the
street ; to work about in the grass of a lawn, and dig up worms
or grubs of some sort, probably cutworms ; also to eat some
sort of plant lice on the branches of trees.
A good many summer in Monument Valley Park, and then
leave in the fall, presumably going up among the houses
for the winter, though it is probably there is a partial migration
in autumn as there are not as many of the birds around the
town in winter as in summer, and they become numerous
again in the spring.
September 24, 1912, a partially albino male House Sparrow
was seen near a residence in Colorado Springs. There were
one or two white feathers in the right wing, either the last
primaries or first secondaries, and one or two of the inside
feathers on the right side of the tail were white. When the bird
flew these white feathers in the spread wing and partly spread
tail made a striking contrast with the rest of the plumage.
It was never seen again though often looked for.
The Birds of El Paso County^ Colorado 561
In spring, before they begin to breed, on a bright da}',
especially after a storm, a flock will often gather on a bush
or the roof of a building, and sing and twitter together, having
as much of a song as some of our other sparrows.
Aiken has traced the progress across the plains of this
undesirable alien by ascertaining from residents through west-
ern Kansas dates of its appearance at different points along
the line of the Rock Island Railroad. He estimated that the
westward advance of the invading army of sparrows was at
the rate of about 50 miles a year.
Plectrophenax nivalis. Snow Bunting.
Winter visitor; rare, but one record of its occurrente
in El Paso County, a pair taken by Aiken at Colorado Springs,
in 1874. These are mounted and in the Colorado College
Calcarius lapponicus alascensis. Alaska Longspur.
Winter visitor; very irregular.
In the Aiken Collection are specimens taken near Colo-
rado Springs, January 5, 1874, at which date a large flock
was reported to be near town, and 20 specimens were brought
in ; specimens were also taken December 28 and 29, 1876 ;
January 12, 1877. In January, 1884, Warren took one on
each of three different days, always with a large flock of
Calcarius omatus. Chestnut-collared Longspur.
Winter visitor; common in certain localities. Arrives in
September, Aiken having seen it September 12, 1897, on the
plains east of Colorado Springs ; later in the same year, October
3 and 13, he found it at Broadmoor Ranch, his notes men-
tioning the Longspurs being in alfalfa fields which had been
mowed close. The species was near Colorado Springs in
February, 1899. In the seventies, when living on a ranch
562 Colorado College Publicai-ion
on Turkey Creek, Aiken used to frequently see this and the
following species on the open ground between there and
Fountain, out of the foothills. Allen and Brewster saw about
20 May 9, 1882, securing five. This is the latest spring date
Rhyncophanes mccowni. McCown's Longspur.
„ Winter visitor; irregular. Not quite as common as the
. . January 14, 1884, Warren took one just north of Colorado
Springs. This and the Alaska Longspurs were taken at a
time when we had severe cold weather with a little snow on
the ground. On the north edge of the city, somewhere about
the end of Wahsatch Avenue, were large flocks of Horned
Larks, and it was with these the Longspurs were found. Allen
and Brewster took one May 9, 1882, with the before men-
tioned flock of Chestnut-collared Longspurs.
Pooecetes gra^ineus confinis. Western Vesper Sparrow.
Summer resident; common. Arrives usually about April
18, the earliest date being April 9, 1899. Are probably gone by
about October first, the latest dates we have being September
25, 1913, and October 1, 1872.
The Vesper Sparrow is an abundant bird in the open
parts of the County, and should be found in the open spaces
in the mountains up to at least 9,000 feet. Nests in May,
an unusually early date being a nest found by Warren near
Colorado Springs, May 5, 1904, which contained 3 eggs. The
nest is_ always on the ground, often in a depression, and
usually hidden under a tuft of grass, a bunch of weeds, or a
Passefculus sandwichensis alaudinus. Western Savannah
Summer resident above 7,000 feet; common. Most of
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 563
them arrive the last of April and early in May, an extremely
early date being March 19, 1899. They begin to move south
the last of July, and are all gone by the middle of October.
In spring the Savannah Sparrow^ is found around
meadows and marshy places, taking refuge in old dead weeds
when disturbed, and is quite apt to be about alfalfa fields
during May and to June first. In the autumn it is around
weedy fields and grassy places. Before June first most of
them go into the mountains and northward, breeding in this
County from 7,000 to 9,000 feet. It has not been found
breeding along the Fountain. A pair seen near Ramah in
June appeared to be getting ready to nest. The nest is placed
on the ground, well hidden in the grass.
Ammodramus balrdi. Baird's Sparrow.
Migrant, but rare in spring, there being but one record
for that season, May 6, 1873. Autumn records are more fre-
quent, Aiken, in 1897, securing specimens at various dates
from August 22 to October 13 ; in 1898 it appeared as early
as August 10. Most of these specimens were taken about,
weedy fields near the Broadmoor Ranch south of Colorado
October 5, 1872, Aiken killed one on the prairie 11 miles
east of Fountain which was practically a rediscovery of the
species which had been unknown since Audubon first described
it in 1844 from a specimen taken in eastern Montana, near
old Fort Union. North Dakota. This specimen of Aiken's
was described by him as a new species, Centronyx ochrocepha-
his, as it did not agree with the descriptions of any other
sparrows known at that time, and as a matter of fact was
in a different plumage from the bird described by Audubon.
Mr. Robert Ridgway examined Aiken's bird and expressed
the opinion that it was a new species.
It is found on the prairies and in fields, but never in
brush or bushes, at least as observed in this region.
564 Colorado College Publication
Ammodramus savaimarum bimaculatus. Western Grass-
A rare autumn migrant, not observed in spring. The
only records for the County are specimens taken by Aiken at
Ramah, July 15, 1898, and near Colorado Springs, July 20,
1898, and August 8 and September 24, 1897.
Chondestes grammacus strigatus. Western Lark Sparrow.
Summer resident; common. Arrives about first week in
May, April, 17, 1907, being the earliest date. Departs in
September, the latest date being September 25, 1913.
Common on the plains, and probably in the open parts
of the Ute Pass region. It may raise two broods as young
not long from the nest have been seen on different occasions
in the first two weeks in August, which would be late for
a single brood unless the first nest had been destroyed.
Zonotrichia querula. Harris's Sparrow.
Rare, but two records for the County, a female taken by-
Aiken at Buttes, January 24, 1908, which was in company
with Juncos and Tree Sparrows ; and one seen by Lloyd Shaw
and others in Monument Valley Park, February 14, 1914.
Zonotrichia leucophrys leucophrys. White-crowned Spar-
Summer resident in the mountains; common. Arrives
about May 4. Allen and Brewster saw it April 24, 1882. It
has been seen as late as October first at 9,500 feet, and
October 12 in Monument Valley Park.
Just about the time the Gambel's Sparrows are beginning
to leave in the spring the White-crowns make their appearance,
and are found along the lower streams for a month before
they retire to the mountains for the breeding season. They
were noted by Warren in Monument Valley Park as late as
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 565
June 2, 1913, and Aiken saw 6, collecting one, at Ramah,
June 4, 1898.
This species breeds exclusively in the mountains, prob-
ably few breeding below 9,000 feet, and from that elevation to
above timberline. The nest is placed in low bushes of various
kinds, often evergreens, and never very far above ground.
Drew stated that in the San Juan Mountains it raised two
broods, the first at the lower part of its range, and then a
vertical migration was made to above timberline where the
second brood was raised.
On a trip to Strickler Tunnel July 9-10, 1899, Aiken
found White-crowned Sparrows "'abundant in willows above
timberline, and in the caiion below Seven Lakes, where birds
were seen skulking among the low bushes, where they
evidently had nests though they could not be found. The
males mount to a top twig and watch the intruder quietly from
a distance or utter a chirp of alarm on close approach. The
song from near by may be represented by the syllables
oo-dree-e-e, tix'ee-ty too. Inhale the "oo" through the teeth
and exhale the "dree" in higher key. Some times a low inhaling
sound follows the effort. Birds above timberline were in full
song. Those lower down where nesting was probably further
advanced were more quiet and skulking."
Zonotrichia leucophrys gambeli. Gambel's Sparrow.
Migrant; common in spring and autumn; a few winter.
Arrives usualh- about the middle of March, February 27,
1899, being the earliest date, and remains until the first week
in May. May 11, 1898 is the latest spring date we have. The
fall migration begins about the first of October, September
28, 1907, being the earliest date, and tthe majority have gone
on by the early part of November.
While with us these birds frequent the brush along the
streams and in the ravines, feeding on weed seeds and anything
else they may find to their taste. Just before they leave in the
566 Colorado College Publication
spring they are often found in company with their relatives,
the White-crowns, who have just arrived for the summer.
Spizella monticola ochracea. Western Tree Sparrow.
Winter resident; common. Arrives about the first of
October, the earliest date being September 22, 1912. They
begin to leave the last of February and early in April are
nearly all gone. The latest spring date is one taken by Aiken,
April 20, 1900.
The Tree Sparrow is one of our commonest winter birds,
found everywhere about the bushy places of the foothills and
plains, but does not go far into the mountains in winter. While
it is often associated with various juncos, yet they seem dis-
posed to keep somewhat apart, and when a mixed flock is
disturbed the sparrows will often separate to a considerable
extent from the others. In Monument Valley Park, the winters
of 1911-12, many have patronized the food tables where millet
and other seed is put out for them. Though they come to
these tables in large numbers they are rather shy while there
and will not permit a close approach. They are not entirely
dependent on these tables, however, even in the park, and can
be seen hunting food for themselves in the weeds and grass
there, possibly for variety's sake. As their food is practically
all seeds in winter, the Tree Sparrows and Juncos destroy
great quantities of weed seeds during that season.
Spizella passerina arizonae. Western Chipping Sparrow.
Summer resident; common. Arrives April 10 to 20, the
earliest dates being March 23, 1900 and March 24, 1899.
Leaves in October, probably are about all gone by the 15th;
the latest fall date is October 24, 1897.
The Chipping Sparrow is one of our most abundant sum-
mer residents and breeders; nests in trees and bushes along
streams and in gulches. Aiken noted a full fledged brood in
Colorado Springs June 21, 1897; very likely two broods
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 567
are raised in a season. The last of August and first of Sep-
tember they gather in large flocks, composed of adults and
young of the year, the latter often hard to identify in the
field, and are found about the brushy and weedy places every-
where. When the young are fledged and able to take care of
themselves the males separate into little flocks by themselves
and the females and young are in other flocks. The males
migrate first, which is a common habit with various birds.
Spizella pallida. Clay-colored Sparrow.
Migrant; rather common on the plains. Arrives about
the 7th of May and found until about the 25th. It has been
taken in the fall migration as early as July 25th, and by the
middle of September all have gone on.
Often found in flocks along the more open stream bot-
toms, and in weedy fields, avoiding the thickest brush; also
found on the prairies.
Spizella breweri. Brewer's Sparrow.
Migrant ; common ; a few breed on the plains. Arrive-?
about the first week in May, earliest date April -30, 1873 and
1898. The fall migration has passed by the middle of Sep-
Brewer's Sparrow probably breeds in small numbers in
the County. Aiken found it July 14, 1897, at Ramah; June
25, 1899, at the Garden Ranch, where several pairs were breed-
ing; and took a nestling near Colorado Springs, August 6,
1898, and also young in downy plumage August 22, 1897.
Breeds in low bushes, apparently preferring sage brush and
greasewood, of which there is but little in the County; here
it is found about tthe scrubby bushes along outcropping rock-
ledges. Aiken recorded the song as b::-c-3 te-e-e-e-e-e.
Junco aikeni. White-winged Junco. Aiken's Junco.
Winter resident ; common. Arrives the middle or latter
568 Colorado College Publication
part of October, the earliest date near Colorado Spring being
October 20, 1911, and the last spring date being April 11,
1882, by Allen and Brewster, probably most of them are gone
by April first.
Possibly this and the other Juncos go to the higher ele-
vations on their first arrival in fall, for Lloyd Shaw reported
seeing them in Jones Park, 9,000 feet, October 1, 1911.
This species' varies considerably in abundance during
dififerent years, and some seasons it is not at all plenty ; the
winter of 1912-13 seemed to be an example of this. On the
other hand the winter of 1909-10 it was unusually numerous ;
near Austin's Bluffs there seemed to be three times as many
of this as of /. mearnsi as shown by speciments shot indis-
criminately and field notes made at the time. The species
seems to prefer the foothills and bulffs, and to keep away
from the valley streams. It was found at Lake Moraine
March 8 and 9, 1906. The first specimens of this species
known to science were discovered by Aiken in Barnes's Canon
in December, 1871.
Junco hyemalis hyemalis. Slate-colored Junco.
Winter visitor, not common. Probably arrives and de-
parts at the same time as the other Juncos. The latest spring
date is April 25, 1899.
The rarest of our Juncos in winter but during a short
period of autumn and spring migration quite common, some-
times in large flocks.
Junco hyemalis connectens. Intermediate Junco.
Winter resident; not common. Times of arrival lud
departure no (Joubt the same as the other Juncos.
About as common as hyemalis, shufeldti, and montanus,
much more common in migration than in winter.
The Birds of El Paso County, Q)lorado 569
Junco oreganus shufeldti. Shufeldt's Junco.
Winter resident ; not common. Arrives and departs at the
same time as the other Juncos, extremes being October 15 and
For the names of this and the two following species we
follow Ridgway rather than the A. O. U. Check-List as it seems
to us that the treatment of the Juncos in the latter is exceed-
Shufeldt's Junco is not uncommon during the winter but
is not found in any such numbers as the Pink-sided or Gray-
headed Juncos, or even the White-winged in its abundant
seasons. In the field, without the use of a glass, it is often
difficult to distinguish between this and the Intermediate and
Montana Juncos, except when one is very close. At a near
view, the very black head and pink sides of the Shufeldt's
make it easily identified, but the females are difficult if not im-
possible. As a writer in Bird Lore says:
"For the female of the species is more puzzlin' than the
Warren took one at Lake Moraine in December, 1906,
and a black-headed Junco of some sort was seen there in
In migration this species is quite common.
Junco montanus. Montana Junco.
Winter resident; not common. Arrives and departs at
much the same times as the other Juncos.
There are seven specimens in the Aiken Collection taken
at various date from October 25 to April 24. This is probably
the least common of our Juncos in Winter; in the migrations
it is more abundant. The males arrive from the south about
February 25 and are around for ten days or more, and the
females follow somewhat later in March.
570 Colorado College Publication
Junco meamsi. Pink-sided Junco.
Winter resident ; common. Arrives early in October,
possibly usually not until the second week ; earliest record
September 30, 1913. Departs in April, lingering longer than
either of the Juncos previously mentioned. Latest date May
The most numerous of the Juncos, and usually forming
the greater proportion of the flocks one meets w^ith, but in
the winter does not usually go high into the mountains, keep-
ing more to the foothills and plains. It is always to be found
in Monument Valley Park in winter with the flocks of Tree
Sparrows. Possibly the reason they stay later in spring than
the other species is that they have not so far to go to
reach their breeding grounds, as many spend the summer it.
Junco phseonotus caniceps. Gray-headed Junco.
This, our resident Junco, breeds commonly in the moun-
tains down to 7,500 feet. It spends the winter in the foothills
and on the plains in varying numbers, but it is safe to say
that at that season it is always outnumbered by the Pink-
sided Junco, and frequently by the White-winged. It prefers
the foothills to the plains. Sometimes flocks of Juncos are
seen which contain a large percentage of this form ; one good-
sized flock seen by Warren on Bear Creek near the mouth of
the canon, November 18 and 20, 1912, seemed to be fully one
half of this species, the rest Pink-sided ; usually the proportion
is much smaller. Ordinarily but one or two at a time are seen
in Monument Valley Park. The majority of our summer
birds probably go south in winter, many of the winter resiaents
coming from other localities.
The nest is built on the ground, sometimes in a cavity in
a roadside bank or a stream bank. One found by Rockwell
The Birds op El Paso County, Colorado 571
and Warren in Jefferson County was sunken in the ground so
that the rim was flush with the surface. The nest proper was
made of grass, coarse outside, lined with finer, with a few
horsehairs intermingled. This was under a Douglas's fir tree,
and nearly covered by a spreading branch which grew out al-
most at the foot of the tree and actually rested on the ground
over the nest. This nest contained four fresh eggs and is
now in the Colorado College Museum. Taken May 30, 1912.
July 10, 1899, Aiken found a nest with five young a
week old at the Strickler Tunnel, 11,500 feet. The first nest
of the species known to science was found by Aiken, and the
description was published in 1875.
Aiken took two of the birds at Ramah, May 16, 1904, a
rather late spring record for the plains. One was also taken
May 16, 1908, at Buttes.
Melospiza melodia montana. Mountain Song Sparrow.
Summer resident; not common. A good many spend the
winter, and it is abundant in migration. The spring migration
seems to begin about March first, and in fall most of the
birds have gone on by the last of October.
As a winter resident the Song Sparrow is no doubt ir-
regular. November 8, 1897, Aiken took two on Fountain
Creek ; the 22nd he took three and saw about a dozen ; they
were not found December 6th following at the same place.
At Skinner's, January 15, 1908, he took 3 and saw 20. At
Buttes, January 24, 1908, many were seen. There is a skin
in. the Aiken Collection taken February 6, 1873.
Warren took one on each of the following dates : December
4, 1882, December 12 and 14, 1883. One was seen February 23
and 24, 1913, in Monument Valley Park and also later on in
March. November 17, 1912, two or three were seen in the
Park, and seemed to hold themselves aloof from the numerous
Tree .Sparrows. December 22, 1912, one was also seen there.
572 Colorado College Publication
December 8, 24, and 28, l^lS, after the unusually heavy snow-
storm of that year, one or two were seen in the Park.
Certain specimens from this region have been identified as
M. m. melodia, but are not typical.
Melospiza melodia juddi. Dakota Song Sparrow.
A Song Sparrow taken by Aiken near Colorado Springs,
March 20, 1898, has recently been identified by H. C. Ober-
. holser of the Biological Survey as Melospiza melodia juddi.
■ This is the first record of this subspecies for Colorado.
Melospiza lincolni lincolni. Lincoln's Sparrow.
Summer resident in the mountains; common. Arrives in
April, there being a considerable variation in the first arrival
dates, from April 9, 1899 to April 30, 1898. Near Colorado
Springs the migration lasts until the middle of May, and June
4-7, 1898, Aiken found it at Ramah, still migrating. A pair
was noted south of Colorado Springs the first week in
Lincoln's Sparrow breeds in the mountains, from 8,500
feet possibly to timberline, though we have no exact informa-
tion as to the upper limit of its breeding range. It prefers
the willow thickets in the mountain parks.
Melospiza georgiana. Swamp Sparrow.
Rare, but one occurrence known in the County, a bird seen
near Broadmoor Ranch by Aiken, August 8, 1897.
Pipilo maculatus arcticus. Arctic Towhee.
' Winter resident ; not uncommon. Earliest autumn date,
'November 11, 1909; latest spring date. May 12, 1878.
Most of out winter towhees are probably the Arctic
Towhee. They are found usually about the oak thickets at the
lower edge of the foothills and in the bluffs, industriously
The Birds of El Paso County, G)lorado 573
scratching among the leaves for whatever they can find in
the way of food.
PIpilo maculatus montanus. Mountain Towhee.
Summer resident; common. Winter resident; rare. The
spring migration seems to begin early in April and is in full
swing by May 1. Most of the birds are gone by the last of
A few individuals of this species spend the winter with
us, just how many it would be difficult to say without collect-
ing every Towhee one sees. The following are winter dates
of specimens from the County identified by Oberholser: Jan-
uary 16, 1910; March 12, 1877; December 13, 1909. There is
also one taken March 28, 1878, which might be either a winter
resident or an early spring arrival.
" A common breeder up to above 7,000 feet frequenting very
largely the oak thickets in the foothills, bluffs, and mesa
gulches. Aiken found a nest with four eggs May 29, 1872. A
pair probably bred in the Monument Valley Park in 1913.
Pipilo fuscus mesoleucus. Canon Towhee.
Rare; there are a few pairs locally distributed along the
lower edge of the foothills. A specimen in the Aiken Collection
was taken at Red Rock Canon, April 13, 1878. The winter of
1907-8 one or two were constantly seen on Camp Creek, not
far from Colorado City. Usually but one was seen, but Aiken
saw two January 29.
Oreosplza chlomra. Green-tailed Towhee.
Summer resident ; common. Arrives about May 1 ; earliest
date April 27, and by May 7th the species is here in full force^
It appears to be all gone by October 1.
This species is most numerous in migration, probably
comparatively few breed below 7,000 feet.. A pair no doubt
574 ' Colorado College Publication
bred in Monument Valley Park in 1913 as they were seen
constantly about a certain dense thicket during May and into
early June, and July 27 one was seen at the same place. At
least two males were seen courting their mates in the park
in May and their actions are interesting and differ from their
ordinary habits. Instead of skulking in the brush and dodg-
ing out of sight when an intruder appears, the bird perches
in a tree, spreads its tail out into a fan, and erects the feathers
on the head until the red cap makes quite a respectable little
crest, and sings its love song. While the bird is thus engaged
one can approach quite closely. "Its call note is pe-a-wee,
rather weak, and with something of the cat-like mewing tone
of the Catbird. Its song is one of the finest of the finches,
resembling the thrushes in variety, modulation and sweetness,
but lacking in volume." C. E. A., ms. notes.
This Towhee wanders to considerable elevations, breeds
to 9,000 feet, perhaps more. Aiken noted it at the Strickler
Tunnel and Seven Lakes, July 9-10, 1899; Warren saw it at
Lake Moraine August 30, 1905.
Zamelodia melanocephala. Black-headed Grosbeak.
Summer resident; common. Arrives about May 10. Are
all gone by September 1. Fotind commonly in thickets along
streams in the foothills and along the valleys ; probably does
not go much above 7,000 feet. Breeds early in June, though
nesting may continue through the month. Aiken found a nest
■ with three eggs near Colorado Springs, June 19, 1898, and
three nests near completion the same day. Young of the year
are common by August first. A female was sitting on eggs near
Ivywild, June 3, 1913.
A Black-headed Brosbeak kept in a cage for 8 years by a
Mr. Feets of Colorado Springs took on a peculiar plumage in
the last year. Aiken went to see it July 21, 1899 and notes
as follows :
"The upper- parts are wholly black. Beneath it is of the
Fig. 39- E. R. U'., Photo.
Cliff Swallows' Nests.
A part of the colony shown in Fig. 38.
Garfield County, Colo.
E. R. W., Plwto.
Fig. 41. E. R. W., Photo.
White-Rumped Shrike's Nest.
Elbert County, Colo.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado S7S
normal autumnal shade of brownish red, but this color is ob-
scured or hidden by sooty black tips to the feathers. The
general effect is that of a black bird." The bird died late that
Guiraca caerulea lazula. Western Blue Grosbeak.
Summer resident; not common. Arrives about June 1.
There are comparatively few records of the Blue Grosbeak
for El Paso County ; it has been taken or observed at Colorado
Springs, Skinner's, Fountain and Buttes at intervals from
1872 up to the present time, and the dates run from June 1
to August 13, nearly all being June occurrences.
Passerina cyanea. Indigo Bunting.
Rare; but one record for the County, a male taken by
Aiken May 8, 1872, at his ranch on Turkey Creek.
Passerina amcena. Lazuli Bunting.
Summer resident; common. Arrives about the first week
in May ; departs in August and September.
This beautiful bird is quite common in the brush along
the streams ; a number seem to spend the summer in Monu-
ment Valley Park, where one day three of the brightly clad
males were seen on a food table. Aiken found, June 19, 1898,
in rose bushes on a hillside near Bear Creek a nest of this
species containing 3 eggs and one Cowbird's egg. He notes
the song of one bird heard as tsup, tsup, tsip,'tsip,-tsip, uttered
in loud clear tone and repeated at intervals of a minute or so.
The vertical range of this bird extends but little if any above
Spiza americana. Dickcissel.
There is a single specimen of this bird in the Aiken Col-
lection, a male taken at Broadmoor Ranch, August 29, 1897.
576 Colorado College Publicatiok
Allen says that in 1871 it was "Frequent n^ ar Colorado City."
This statement seems rather odd in view of the fact that the
above mentioned specimen is the only one seen or taken in
El Paso County since.
Calamospiza melanocorys. Lark Bunting.
Summer resident ; common. Arrives usually early in May,
about the 10th. It was reported by Scheutze April 10, 1910,
and by Shaw April 15, 1912. Leaves in September.
A bird of the plains and open country, nesting on the
ground, laying 4 or 5 unspotted pale blue eggs. When first
arrived they are in flocks, the males paying active court to
the gentler sex, and singing continually. In western Kansas
Aiken found Lark Buntings very numerous and the notes on
their habit of singing on the wing apply so well to them in
Colorado they may well be quoted here : "The males are sing-
ing almost incessantly from daylight until 7 or 8 o'clock, and
frequently throughout the day. They frequent open prairie
without brush, but prefer cultivated districts where there is
an early growth of weeds and grass. The male mounts into
the air at an angle of about 60 degrees to the height of 15 or
20 feet, gives two or three broad flaps of his wings as he
steadies, and then floats off to the ground, alighting 15
or 20 yards from where he started, and singing continuously, in
one key as he rises, in another as he floats downward. Look-
ing out over the prairie one see them in their conspicuous
black-and-white dress going through this performance as far
as the eye can discern.
At this time of the day (morning) females are not seen
being probably on their nests, but during the heat of the day
they are seen feeding along the road or making short low
flights." This was May 24, 1900. He found full-fledged young
at Ramah July 15, 1897.
The Birds of El Paso County, Qilorado 577
Piranga ludoviciana. Western Tanager. "Louisiana Tan-
Summer resident; common. Arrives May 10-15. Begins
to leave early in September, but has been taken as late as the
middle of October.
The Tanagers arrive from the south in small flocks of
from 3 or 4 to 7 or 8, and in migration are found well out
on the plains. While the majority pass ori a good number
remain to breed. They are largely birds of the foothills and
the Divide, probably not breeding much above 8,000 feet,
though Aiken saw one in the neighborhood of St. Peter's
Dome, 8,700 feet, July 4, 1907. In summer they are con-
fined almost exclusively to the pines. Keyser speaks of finding
a nest in a pine tree at the entrance of Engelmann's Canon
near Manitou. While often seen in Monument Valley Park
in May it probably does not breed there, not having been ob-
served in the summer months. Aiken notes the call as clif-ic
or crif-ic, uttered at intervals of one or two seconds.
Piranga erythromelas. Scarlet Tanager.
Rare. One was taken at Palmer Lake, May 17, 1902, by
W. C. Ferrill. J. A. Jeancon reported seeing a considerable
number at Palmer Lake, May 16 and 17, 1909, during a severe
Petrochelidon lunifrons lunifrons. Cliff Swallow. Eave
Summer resident; common. Arrives the middle of May;
leaves the last of August or early in September.
This species reaches a high altitude, at least in its search
for insects, for it has been observed to above 13,000 feet. One
of our most common swallows. It breeds in colonies about cliffs
and buildings, on the latter under the eaves.
Z7& Colorado College PuBLicAtioK
Hirundo erythrogastra. Barn Swallow.
Summer resident; not numerous. Usually arrives about
May 1 ; has been seen as early as April 20, 1899. Departs the
\ns\ of August or early in September.
Found over much of the County, but not nearly as common
as the Cliff or Violet Green Swallows; perhaps the fourth in
abundance of our swallows. Like the others it wanders above
timberline in pursuit of insects.
Iridoprocne bicolor. Tree Swallow.
Summer resident ; rare.
Allen noted a pair nesting in June on West Monument
Creek. One of the rarest of our swallows, only a few seen.
Aiken has noted a breeding colony at Divide Station, Teller
Tachycineta thalassina lepida. Violet-green Swallow.
Summer resident ; common. Arrives about May 1 ; April
23, 1899, being the earliest date. Departs about September
1. Wetmore took two at Palmer Lake September 5, 1909.
This is the most abundant of our swallows ; it seems to
breed mostly in the mountains and foothills, nesting in hollow
trees, and often using old woodpecker's holes. Allen noted it
breeding in holes in the rocks at the Garden of the Gods in
1871, and the birds still continue to breed abundantly there.
Like the other swallows in August the Violet-green begins to
gather in flocks preparatory to the departure for winter quar-
ters. For days we see them congregated on the telegraph and
telephone wires, then some day they are gone and not seen
again until the next spring.
Riparia riparia. Bank Swallow. Sand Martin.
Rare ; Aiken mentions seeing it April 26, 1872. There are
no records of its breeding in the County.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 579
Stelgidopteryx serripennis. Rough-winged Swallow.
Summer resident; common. Arrives about May 10; de-
parts with the other species.
This species, while fairly common, is somewhat locally
distributed in the breeding season, owing to the comparative
lack of suitable nesting sites. Full-fledged young of the year
were taken along Monument Creek, north of Roswell, July
23, 1899, by Aiken.
Bombycilla garrula. Bohemian Waxwing.
\A'inter visitor ; irregular ; not seen at all many winters.
The first note we have of this species is January, 1872.
when Aiken saw a flock in Barnes's Canon, near Turkey Creek,
and a note that" Carter killed one on Pike's Peak the fall of
There are specimens in the Aiken Collection taken on
Cheyenne Mountain, January and February, 1880. There were
some around the winter of 1910-11, and they were in Colorado
Springs, February 26, 1911.
Aiken noted at Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1895, that in the
late afternoon the Waxwings, which had been about neglected
crcharfls near the town feeding on the apples still hanging
to the trees, began to fly in flocks up the canons toward the
mountains, evidently going to their roosting places in the
Bombycilla cedrorum. Cedar Waxwing.
"Noticed only two or three times and in the earlier part
of the winter." Aiken List, 1872. 5 or 6 seen on Beaver Creek
by Aiken, October 17, 1872. This was just over the line into
Fremont County. Several were also seen by him just south
of Colorado Springs, August 8, 1897.
580 Colorado College Publication
Lanius borealis. Northern Shrike.
Winter visitor ; common. Earliest date of arrival, October
17, 1874; latest spring date, April 9, 1899,
When one speaks of the Shrike as common it is not that
they are so numerous, but because, though individually few,
there are always some with us through the winter. It is
usually to be seen perched on a tree or post, near brush
frequently by sparrows or j uncos, watching for a chance to
get a meal. No doubt the bird also picks up a few mice, and
an occasional insect. Aiken shot one flying with a large field
mouse in its claws. One was seen in Monument Valley Park
one November day tormenting a Magpie much as a Kingbird
would. The Magpie was perched in a tree and the Shrike
would fly at it and make it move to .another place, and re-
peated these tactics until "Maggie" got disgusted and went
away altogether. This Shrike was about the park from October
20 until November 17, 1912. A male was seen singing in the
park November 1, 1913.
At Ramah, in March, 1899, Aiken saw this Shrike carry
away a Horned Lark which he had just shot and killed. The
Shrike pounced upon the lark and seized it by each shoulder
with its feet, and then rose into the air and flew off with it
against an exceedingly strong wind, the lark being held so
that its wings were outspread beneath the body of its captor,
thus helping to lift or support itself in the air.
Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides. White-rumped Shrike.
Summer resident; common. Rather irregular in arrival
in spring, from March 30 to May 1, probably most of them
come from the middle to the latter part of April. Most of them
have left by October first, but a few linger somewhat later.
Mostly a bird of the plains and foothills, but at times
ranges high in the mountains. Aiken once noted it above
timberline at the head of Tennessee Gulch, Lake County.
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 581
This Shrike builds a bulky nest of small sticks, lined
with wool and other soft material. Aiken found two nests at
Ramah with 7 eggs in each, June 4-7, 1898. He saw old birds
feeding young with grasshoppers at the same place, July 15,
1897, at which time 30 adults and young were seen. These
birds are great destroyers of grasshoppers and other insects
and probably do not kill as many birds as the larger species,-
though their actions and habits are in many respects the same.
Scheutze reported seeing a pure albino of this species May 1,
1904, on the plains east of Colorado Springs. A Shrike with
black crown was killed and mounted by the same party about
June 1, 1907, but before it had been critically examined it was
destroyed by a cat.
In reference to the black-headed Shrike Prof. Wells W.
Cooke writes :
"There are about six species of shrikes in the world
v/hich have a black crown, but they are all African species,
and since they are non-migratory the only way one of them
could have gotten to Colorado would be as an escaped cage
bird. So far as I know there is no European species of shrike
that has the crown black; their shrikes are closely related to
Vireosylva gilva swainsoni. Western Warbling Vireo.
Summer resident; common. Arrives about May 15 to 25;
departs the last of August and early in September.
Breeds on the plains and in the mountains ; Aiken noted
it near St. Peter's Dome, and Keyser at Lake Moraine. Breeds
in the trees near the streams, building a semi-pensile nest like
other vireos on the lower branches. Aiken found a nest in
Monument Valley Park in June, 1907.
582 Colorado College Publication
Lanivireo solitarius cassini. Cassin's Vireo.
Rare; one taken at Palmer Lake, September 6, 1909, by
Lanivireo solitarius plumbeus. Plumbeous Vireo.
Summer resident; common. Arrives about May 16; de-
parts early in September.
Frequents park-like areas with scattered pine, from the
foothills to 9,000 feet. Aiken noted it at St. Peter's Dome
July 4, 1907. Common on the Divide and along the foothills.
On Turkey Creek he found the nests in small second growth
pines, some as low as four feet from the ground. It has been
found breeding on Cheyenne Creek at Ivywild.
Mniotilta varia. Black and White Warbler.
A single specimen of this warbler was taken by Aiken
on Turkey Creek in the autumn of 1875, the only record for
Protonotaria citrea. Prothonotary Warbler.
Rare ; but one record for the County, a specimen taken
between Palmer Lake and Monument, May or June, 1900, by
B. G. Voigt, and recorded by Felger, Auk, XXIV, July, 1907,
p. 342. Aiken has visited the locality indicated and found an
extensive willow thicket flooded by beaver dams, producing
quite suitable conditions for this species.
Vermivora virginiae. Virginia's Warbler.
Summer resident ; common. Arrives in May, earliest date
May 2, 1872; most numerous about the 15th. Departs the last
of August and early in September. At Palmer Lake, Septem-
ber 6, 1909, Wetmore took three and saw others.
A bird of the foothills, ranging in the breeding season
to about 8,000 feet. In migration, especially in spring, it is
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 583
abundant along the valley streams in the trees and bushes.
The males come first, but their mates are not long in following,
and Aiken took a mated pair May 21, 1898, near Colorado
City. It is a characteristic warbler of the foothills, and perhaps
the most abundant of this group of birds in these localities.
The first nest of this species known to science was found and
described by Aiken. This was sunk in the ground in a tuft
of bunch grass growing in a clump of oak brush, with the
dead grass hanging over and completely concealing the nest,
which was reached through a small round hole like a mouse
hole through the protecting grass. This nest contained five
fresh eggs, and was found about June 1, 1873. The species
seems to nest exclusively about the oak brush.
Vermivora celata celata. Orange-crowned Warbler.
Common in migration. Arrives the very last of April,
having been observed on the 27th and 28th of that month in
This warbler is common about the trees and bushes of the
valley streams and in the foothills during the first half of May,
and is one of the very earliest of the warblers to arrive in
spring, but there are no breeding records for this County.
If Oberholser's subspecies orestera had been allowed by the
A. O. U. our birds would belong to it, being intermediate in
characters between celata and lutescens.
Vermivora peregrina. Tennessee Warbler.
Rare; but one record for the County, a juvenile male
taken by Aiken, September 28, 1872. Aiken has found several
near Limon, some distance easterly from our limits, and it is
undoubtedly a regular migrant in the eastern parts of Colorado.
Compsothlsrpis americana usneae. Northern Parula Warbler.
Rare, but one record for El Paso County, a male taken by
Aiken, May 11, 1872, on Turkey Creek.
S84 Colorado College Publication
June 14, 1897, and for six successive days after that,
Aiken observed in the top of tall cottonwoods at his home in
Colorado .Springs in the early morning a small grayish-olive
warbler, with a conspicuous white band on the wing, which
it seems must have been a Parula Warbler. It was seen again
July 7; it is presumed to have had a nest in the neighborhood.
Dendroica sestiva aestiva. Yellow Warbler.
Summer resident ; common. Begins to arrive the first week
in May, the majority coming in the second week. Departs
early in September.
This species is common almost everywhere in the County,
at least where there is any sort of tree or brushy growth, and
ranging up to above 9,000 feet. It builds its nest in the low
bushes and thickets along the streams. Aiken found a nest with
three eggs and one of the Cowbird near Bear Creek, June 17,
1898. June 3, 1913, a nest with 4 eggs was found near Ivywild.
It is one of the most common summer birds in Monument
Valley Park. Many of our breeding birds are very pale and
several skins submitted to Mr. Brewster were pronounced
by him to be "nearly typical sonorana."
Dendroica coronata. Myrtle Warbler.
Migrant ; not common. Arrives about May 1 ; earliest
date April 17, 1907. There do not seem to be any autumn
Dendroica auduboni. Audubon's Warbler,
Summer resident in the mountains ; common. Arrives the
last of April and soon becomes abundant ; the earliest record
is April 16, 1872. Departs the last of September, the latest
date being October 2, 1913.
This species breeds commonly in the mountains from about
8,000 feet to nearly 12,000 feet. Minot found a nest of the
Audubon's Warbler at Seven Lakes, June 24, 1880, which he
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado S8S
describes as follows: "June 24,  at Seven Lakes, I found
four eggs almost ready to be hatched. These are curiously
like a common type of the Yellow Warbler's, being greenish
white, marked, chiefly about the crown, with olive brown
and neutral tint and averaging about .70x.S5 of an inch. The
nest, composed of shreds and feathers, was built in a dead
bare spruce, about twenty feet from the ground, compressed
between the trunk and a piece of bark that was attached be-
neath and upheld above, where a bough ran through a knot-
hole; so compressed that the hollow measures 2j4xl^ and
1 1-3 inches deep. Such a position for the nest is not unusual,
for I more than once saw the birds about dead timber."
Audubon's Warblers are usually common in the trees and
bushes along the streams on the plains and in the foothills in
the spring from their first arrival until the middle or latter
part of May. A late valley record is one taken June 5, 1904, at
Fountain, by Aiken. On the whole it is the most common
warbler we have.
Dendroica striata. Black-poll Warbler.
Migrant; rare. The only records are of spring birds.
Allen and Brewster noted it May 8 and 9, 1882, at Austin's
Bluffs. Aiken took one May 18, 1872, on Turkey Creek ; May
8, 1904, at Fountain; June 1, 1907, at Skinner's.
Minot, 1880, recorded it as "local summer resident about
Seven Lakes." This record is open to question. Minot col-
lected no specimens, and the locality is so far south of any
other known breeding station of the species that the record
had best be disregarded until substantiated by specimens
Dendroica nigrescens. Black-throated Gray Warbler.
Local summer resident. Arrives about the first week in
May, Aiken having taken his first specimen May 6, 1872.
As far as we know this species is confined in El Paso
586 CoLoRAuo College Publication
County to the pinon and cedar region in the southwest corner,
where they were observed all through the summers of 1872-73
Seiurus aiirocapillus. Oven-bird.
Rare ; but one record for the County, a female with ovaries
well developed taken by Aiken at Ramah June 5, 1898. With
one exception this is the only Colorado record.
Oporornis tolmiei. MacGillivray's Warbler.
Summer resident; common. Arrives the first or second
week in May. Departs in September.
Breeds along creek bottoms from the lowest edge of the
foothills and in the mountains up to above 9,000 feet. Shaw
found it common in Crystal Park at 8,500 feet. It is common
along the plains streams in the spring migration, and Aiken
found it at Ramah, June 6, 1898, where it was very common
as a migrant.
Gcothlypis trichas occidentalis. Western Yellow-throat.
Summer resident ; common. Arrives usually the first week
in May; early records are April 13, 1882, and April 17, 1907.
Departs in August and early September. The latest date is
September 17, 1897.
Frequents the neighborhood of streams and ponds on the
plains and along the foothills, rarely going above 8,000 feet,
and breeding in datrp thickets and swampy places. Aiken took
a female near Bear Creek, July 25, 1897, which had an egg
in the ovary. He noted a pair in Manitou Park, 8,500 feet>
in June, 1905.
Icteria virens longicauda. Long-tailed Chat.
Summer resident ; common. Arrives the first week in May.
Leaves in September; latest date September 8, 1897.
Breeds along the valley streams to the foothills, but does
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado S87
not penetrate into the mountains. A shy and elusive bird,
though its song is continually heard in the early summer
months. Olive Thorne Miller mentions finding a nest with
three eggs near Camp Harding, on Cheyenne Creek ; and Aiken
mentions in notes young hatched June 25, 1872.
Wilsonia pusilla pileolata. Pileolated Warbler.
Summer resident in the mountains ; common. Arrives
about May 14. Leaves in September, latest date October 13,
This species is the western representative of the Wilson's
Warbler. It is rather common during the spring migration
in the thickets along the streams, found out on the plains
as well as near the mountains, remaining until the last of May,
but retires to the mountains to breed, and sometimes breeds
in the Alpine willows above timberline. Minot found a nest
at Seven Lakes which he describes as follows : "Here, June
22,  I found a nest five fresh eggs. The nest was sunken
in the ground, on the eastern slope or border of the swamp,
at the end of a partly natural archway of long"dry grass, open-
ing to the southward, beneath the low, spreading branch of a
willow. It is composed of loose shreds, with a nest lining of
fine stalks and a few hairs, and with a hollow two inches
wide and scarcely half as deep."
Setophaga ruticilla. Redstart.
Rare; not many records. Dates of arrival are May 17,
1905; May 14, 1898; May 18, 1882; May 21, 1872.
Allen saw it at Colorado City in 1871 ; he was there early
in August. Almost all the birds which Aiken has taken or seen
here have been immature males, in the plumage of the second
year, and but one full plumaged male has been taken. There
are no breeding records for the County.
S88 Colorado College Publication
Anthus rubescens. Pipit.
Summer resident at high elevations ; common. Arrives
on the plains the last of April and departs the last of September.
The Pipits breed mainly above' timberline on the open
grassy slopes, placing the nest in a hollow in the ground, often
protected by a tuft of grass. They, however, in some instances
breed below timberline on open ground. Aiken observed Pipits
just below the lowest of the Seven Lakes in June. In migra-
tion this species often occurs on the plains in large flocks.
Cinclus mexicanus unicolor. Water Ousel. Dipper.
Resident on the streams in the mountains ; not uncommon.
In winter a few come somewhat lower down along the streams,
outside the foothills.
Water Ousels are interesting birds, and if one takes into
consideration the fact that the species apparently numbers but
comparatively few individuals, might be termed common. It
prefers the rapid mountain streams for a residence and only
in winter does it come out of the foothills, and but few of the
birds do this, most of them stay in the mountains the year
round, always finging a little open water even in the coldest
weather. It is regularly seen in winter in Ruxton Creek just
below Lake Moraine, at 10,000 feet. One December after-
noon I was there, it was cold and windy and I was resting
in a sheltered place close to the creek, which had much fall
at that place. An 'Ousel came to a rock a few feet away;
the bird was down below the rushing water which splashed on
it continually, and the rock was wet and slippery, but the
Ousel did not mind a bit. Once it was down on a little twig
which was just out of the water and all wet; it looked like a
cold place to me, and I wondered how those delicate little feet
could possibly keep from freezing. Then the bird flew upon
the wet rock again and began to sing, and after singing
a little there went to another rock and stood there bobbing and
The Birds of El Paso County, Colokado 589
singing away. (E. R. W.) The song is sweet and thrush-like,
and heard under such conditions it sounds especially sweet.
The food consists mostly of aquatic insects, and one killed
on Fountain Creek, near Colorado City, December 1, 1882,
had a small fish in its stomach, too much digested to be
The nest is a rounded mass of the green moss from the
rocks along the stream, placed on or under a ledge of rock,
often beneath a waterfall, and always near the water. Keyser
mentions a nest with two young near Rainbow Falls, Ute
Pass, and another nest found farther up the Pass. A nest was
also found in South Cheyenne Canon, near the lower of the
Seven Falls. The nest under Rainbow Falls was occupied
annually for many years, until the falls were destroyed by a
cloudburst which washed away the rocks forming them.
Olive Thorne Miller saw an adult in South Cheyenne Canon
feeding a young bird large enough to be out of the nest.
Near Rainbow Falls Aiken was once able to observe closely
an Ousel feeding in the water. He says: "As I walked down
the Ute Pass road I looked into the gorge below Rainbow
Falls and saw a Water Ousel at the shore of the stream re-
peatedly dip into the water and return to rest on a certain
stone at the water's edge. Its 'actions were unusual ; I had
noticed nothing like it before and was curious to observe more
closely. So taking advantage of the moments when the bird
was beneath the water I moved toward the spot and when
it came to the surface I stood motionless. In this way I reached
the stream and stood within two feet of the Ousel's perch
without alarming him. He merely cocked his head and looked
up curiously but gave me no further attention.
The stream at this place dashes noisily over rocks and
boulders but on this side was a quiet pool. This was three
feet or more across and seven or eight inches deep with a
clean sandy bottom which was distinctly seen through the
clear water, as were also circling fragments of drift brought
S90 Colorado College PuBLicAtioN
in by an eddy from the stream. When the Ousel was ready
to go into the water it dove in head first and lit on the bottom
of the pool where it walked or ran about as if on dry
ground. It chased and seized in its beak certain small particles
of the drift that were perhaps water insects or insect larvae.
The time spent under water was some seconds, perhaps a
minute. When he was ready to come out for breath he walked
over to his resting place, popped to the surface of the water
like a bit of cork and stepped out perfectly dry onto the stone.
What a remarkable provision of Nature is this which
enables a little song bird to float without effort upon the water's
surface, or to sink at will and walk securely along- the bottom
beneath I The explanation, however, is not difficult. Its body
plumage is long, dense, and impervious to water. Under or-
dinary circumstances, and particularly if floating, the feathers
stand out loosely from the body and the outward -bulk of the
bird is great in proportion to its weight. Its bulk is lighter
than the same bulk of water and it floats. But if its plumage
and wings are tightly pressed against the body excluding all
air, the bulk is reduced so that its weight is greater than the
same bulk of water and the bird sinks."
Oreoscoptes montanus. Sige Thrasher. Mountain Mock-
Migrant ; not common. Arrives early in Apf il, from the
7th to the 15th. There are no breeding records. The only
autumn date we have, if it can be called such, is one seen by
Aiken six miles north of Colorado Springs, July 25, 1898.
This bird is not at all common in El Paso County, and is
only seen during migration. In the breeding season it inhabits
the greasewood and sage brush plains, of which there are
none in the County. An occasional bird may be seen at the
time of the spring snowstorms when they are driven from
Bison Keservnir, Teller Countv,
R. W.. Photo.
Fig. 43- E. R. W., Photo.
Bison Reservoir, Teller County, Colo.
Robins and Nest.
E. R. W.. Fhotu.
Young Mountain Bluebird.
North Park, Colo.
£. R. W.. Photo.
The Birds of El Paso County, CotoRADO S91
Mimus polyglottos leucopterus. Western Mockingbird.
Summer resident ; locally distributed. Arrives the first
week in May ; earliest date April 26, 1882, Allen and Brewster.
Mockingbirds are locally common in El Paso County; in
the Fountain Valley, toward the Pueblo County line, there
are many and Aiken found them rather abundant at Ramah,
where, June 4-7, 1898, he found two nests and eggs. Speaking
of their habits, his note book says : "The female bird is retiring
and noticeably browner. The male bird, on the contrary, is
much in evidence, taking extended flights across the open
country and from one part of a grove to another, conspicuous
from his brighter color and large white wing patches."
A year previous to this he was told of a pair coming
to a ranch on the open prairie east of Colorado Springs. The
ranchman set some branches from pine trees in the ground and
the birds nested in one of these. When the five young were
well grown they were put in a cage and were fed there by
the mother until they could take care of themselves. One
escaped from the cage and was followed off by the male bird,
but the female remained to feed the caged birds.
The species is rare at Colorado Springs ; instances are
known, however, of its breeding in the city. In 1904 a pair of
Mockingbirds nested in a tree beside the street on Wood
Avenue. Though the tree was but a small one its foliage was
so dense that the nest could hardly be seen, and would be un-
noticed by the casual passerby. The bird was seen on the nest
June 17. I went away a day or two after and was absent most
of the summer, but on my return was told that a brood had
been successfully raised. The last of May and early part of
June the male bird was continually singing, being heard even
in the night. Not another Mockingbird was seen in that
vicinity until May 7, 1913, when a male was seen, but only on
that one occasion. A few other cases have been known of its
breeding in the city, and for two or more years in succession
at the respective localities.
S92 Colorado College Publication
Dumetella carolinensis. Catbird.
Summer resident; common. Arrives from the 7th to the
14th of May. Leaves in September, the 16th being the latest
sure date, though one was thought to have been seen October
^ The Catbird is common in the thickets along the streams,
but does not penetrate far into the foothills and mountains.
There are many in Monument Valley Park. An occasion of
special abundance was June 1, 1907, when Aiken estimated
that he saw 100 at the Skinner Ranch.
Toxostoma rufum. Brown Thrasher.
Summer resident; not common. Arrives about the first
week in May, from the 4th to the 14th.
The Thrasher is found along the valley streams and
gulches but does not go far into the mountains. It is of rather
letiring habits and so escapes observation, but at best it is
not at all common in El Paso County. Aiken noted a brood
of young at Ramah, July IS, 1897.
Toxostoma bendirei. Bendire's Thrasher.
But one record for the County, and possibly for the
State, a specimen taken at Austin's Bluffs, May 8, 1882, by
Allen and Brewster.
Salpinctes obsoletus obsoletus. Rock Wren.
Summer resident; common. Arrives about April 16-20,
but does not become abundant until several days after. Latest
autumn date, September 23, 1907.
Rock Wrens are common about rocky places, and are also
found in the arroyos with steep banks on the plains. They
reach an altitude in the mountains of some 9,000 feet. They
breed wherever found, in holes in the banks or in crevices in
the rocks. The song of the Rock Wren is singularly like that
The Birds of El Paso County^ Colorado S93
of the Mockingbird; as might be supposed it lacks the power
and volume of the larger bird's song.
Catherpes mexicanus conspersus. Canon Wren.
Resident ; not common.
The Canon Wren is unquestionably a resident through the
year in El Paso County, for it has been found in various
months during the winter, and breeding in the summer.
Minot, June 8, 1880, found a nest near Manitou, which he
described as follows: "The nest was in the roof of a cave,
about ten feet from the ground, with an opening so narrow,
vertically, that I could neither look in nor introduce my hand.
Fortunately, however, the rock was so soft that I easily re-
moved the bottom slab on which the nest rested. This, as
one looks down upon it, suggests the Eastern Wood Peewee's.
It is composed of twigs, stalks, and bits of leaves, surrounded
by a few loose sticks, and thickly felted with, down silk, and
a few feathers. The hollow is 2j^ inches long, and scarcely
half as deep. The eggs measured about .70x.50 of an inch,
and are crystal white (rosy when fresh), sparsely speckled
and spotted, chiefly about the crown, with medium dull brown."
In the summer of 1912 Lloyd Shaw found a pair nesting
in the steep rocks at the Gateway of Crystal Park. One of
the birds was seen July 19 carrying food to the young. The
nest was located under an overhanging rock in the cliff and
was inaccessible. Allen found the species in the Garden
of the Gods in 1871, and he and Brewster found it there in
1882, also in North Cheyenne Canon. Olive Thorne Miller
found it in South Cheyenne Canon, where it apparently had
a nest in or near the Pillars or Hercules.
The Cation Wren has a habit of creeping around among
the rocks is such a fashion that when one gets just a mere
glimpse of the creature he is just as apt to think it is a chip-
munk as a bird.
S94 Colorado College Publication
Thryomanes bewicki bairdi. Baird's Wren.
But one record from El Paso County, a specimen taken by
Aiken at Colorado Springs, May 1, 1879.
Troglodsrtes aedon parkmani. Western House Wren.
Summer resident; common. Arrives the first week in
M^, earliest date April 24, 1898. Leaves in September, the
lafpst date being September 25, 1907.
, Probably found all over the County, ranging up to timber-
line, and abundant wherever found, and breeding everywhere.
Aiken found a nest with 7 fresh eggs in a cavity in a rock
ledge near Palmer Lake, June 26, 1907. Their favorite nest-
ing places are natural cavities in trees or old woodpeckers'
holes, but they will use almost any hollow they can find.
Telmatodytes palustris plesius. Western Marsh Wren.
Summer resident; not common.
Arrives in April. A Marsh Wren seen by Aiken near
Skinner's April 16, 1899, was probably of this form. One was
shot not far from the same locality by Allen and Brewster
April 22, 1882. The scarcity of records is due to the scarcity
of suitable ground in the vicinity of Colorado Springs. That it
breeds in the County is only presumptive ; there are no records.
Telmatodytes palustris iliacus. Prairie Marsh Wren.
Winter resident ; moderately common in suitable localities.
Aiken saw several at Skinner's, and took one, January 15, 1908,
which was examined by Oberholser and referred to this sub-
species. Probably all winter residents are visitors from the
north and should be so classed.
Certhia familiaris montanus. Rocky Mountain Creeper.
Resident in the mountains ; not common.
The Brown Creeper is not at all common in El Paso
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado S9S
County and it is rather unusual to run across one. It seems to
be nearly confined to the mountains and foothills, but it has
occasionally been seen within the city limits of Colorado
Springs. When seen it is usually in company with the chicka-
dees and nuthatches. It ranges as high as there is timber ; was
noted at Lake Moraine December 11, 1906.
SJtta carolinensis nelsoni. Rocky Mountain Nuthatch.
Resident in the mountains ; common.
This representative of the White-breasted Nuthatch is
frequently seen in the foothills and mountains, and is also
common on the Divide. In winter it drifts somewhat farther
out to the bluffs, and has also been seen in Colorado Springs.
A pair seen at Buttes May 12-20, 1908, by Aiken, were
thought to be breeding.
Silta canadensis. Red-breasted Nuthatch.
Resident in the mountains ; not common.
This is by far the least common of our three species of
nuthatch, and sometimes a year or more goes by without seeing
one, and again it may be seen rather frequently. It seems to be
mainly a mountain bird, but Aiken noted it at Fountain June
5, 190+, and May 7, 1905 ; he also saw it at St. Peter's Dome
July 4, 1907.
Sitta pygmaea. Pygmy Nuthatch.
Resident ; common.
This little fellow is the most abundant of our nuthatches,
seen in flocks when the others are seen singly. Like the others
it is essentially a mountain bird, but in the winter wanders
somewhat away from the foothills. It is found on the Divide
and noted at Palmer Lake and Eastonville ; also seen at
Austin's Blufifs in winter. It frequents evergreen trees almost
exclusi\'ely and is but rarely found in other kinds, and then
596 Colorado College Publication
the evergreen are usually not far away. While it is often found
associated with Chickadees and, the other nuthatches occa-
sionally good-sized flocks which seem to consist solely of this
species are seen.
Baeolophus inomatus griseus. Gray Titmouse.
Found only in the cedar and pinon region in the extreme
southwestern portion of the County, where it is resident, and
was found by Aiken to be common in winter but scarce
in summer. It was less common in December and January than
in November and February, in which months they were most
common. In winter they wander about in small flocks but in
spring separate into pairs.
Penthestes atricapillus septentrionalis. Long-tailed Chicka-
This western subspecies of the common Chickadee of the
Esist is found practically everywhere there are trees, except
that possibly it does not range as high in the mountains as the
Mountain Chickadee, though it has been seen at the Bison
Reservoir, Teller County, 10,400 feet, but possibly an abundant
food supply about a house might have had something to do
with its presence there. It frequents willows and other
deciduous trees. It nests in the valleys as well as in the hills
and Aiken's notes contain the following description of a nest
he found on the Fountain below Colorado Springs, May 6,
1899 : "I saw one of the birds fly and disappear near a stump
with something in its mouth. At first I discovered no hole but
soon noticed a small one at the edge just inside the bark.
Breaking away part of the bark I found a considerable
excavation, about 10 inches deep, with the bird sitting closely
at the bottom. A twig that I reached down to her she seized
in her beak and allowed herself to be lifted by it nearly to the
top. I was obliged to break away more bark to reach the
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado S97
bird, took her in hand and then Hberated her. The nest was
but half finished, only a mass of inner bark strips, So I
plastered the pieces of bark in place and left it."
While each of our species of chickadees is found in flocks
associated with the nuthatches and an occasional creeper, yet
they seem to prefer not to have much to do with each other and
are not very often found in the same flock, though they do
sometimes thus associate. At the Bison Reservoir above men-
tioned both species came about the house for the scraps
Penthestes gambeli. Mountain Chickadee.
Resident in the mountains; common.
This species, easily distinguished from the preceding by
the white stripe on the side of the head, seems equally common
with it, but is confined to the mountains in the breeding season,
though wandering just as much in winter. It has been known
to nest at least as high as the Strickler Tunnel, 11,500 feet.
Warren saw this species at Lake Moraine in January, March,
September, and December, but did not see the other species
at that place on any of his visits. Keyser saw a pair feeding
young in the nest near the Half Way House. It prefers to
frequent spruces and other coniferous trees.
Psaltriparus plumbeus. Lead-colored Bush-Tit.
Resident ; locally common.
Like the Gray Titmouse this species is found about the
pinons and cedars, which constitute its breeding range, but
unlike the other it wanders away from those trees at times
and is occasionally found along the lower edge of the foot-
hills, and has been known on at least one occasion to come
about houses at the edge of Monument Valley Park. Warren
found a flock of 40 or 50 in the northern part of the Garden
of the Gods in January, 1910. Aiken took a nest with five
598 Colorado College Publication
eggs at Red Creek Canon, May 10, 1876. C. N. Holden took
young birds on Turkey Creek about July 12, 1872.
Regulus satrapa olivaceus. Western Golden-crowned King-
Winter resident ; not common.
Tiiis species is found mainly in the mountains and foot-
hills, and at the bluffs. We have no records of it along the
valley streams. It ranges high in the mountains, Warren find-
ing it at Lake Moraine in January, and Aiken found a small
flock at Clyde, Teller County, January 12, 1908. It is some-
times found in flocks consisting of the one species, but is more
often in company with chickadees and nuthatches.
Regulus calendula calendula. Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
Summer resident in the mountains ; not uncommon. A
spring and autumn migrant in the valley and on the plains,
arriving early in April, and not all leaving until November.
This Kinglet breeds in the mountains from about 9,000
feet up, having been seen by various observers in the summer
season, though no one has yet taken its nest in this region.
The bird has something of a reputation as a songster, and the
volume of the song is remarkable when the small size of the
singer is considered. Aiken made the following note on its
song at Divide, Teller County: "A Ruby-crowned Kinglet
v/as singing vigorously from a large spruce tree. The song
as I took it down after carefully listening is Tu-n-u-u-u-u
Widdie Widdie Widdie Widdie Widdie Widdie Widdie. The
whole uttered rapidly and in monotonous key except the last
'Widdie' which had rising inflection."
Polioptila caerulea obscura. Western Gnatcatcher.
Rare; but few records for the County. "Seen May 6, and
killed May 7, 1872, on Turkey Creek. Rather common for a
The Biros of El Paso County^ Colorado 599
few days." Aiken, in note book. One take by Aiken north of
Roswell, May 22, 1904, is the only record for El Paso County
besides the preceding. It has never been seen in the breed-
ing season in the County though the nest was taken by Nash
Myadestes townsendi. Townsend's Solitaire.
Resident ; common.
The Solitaire is a breeder in the mountains at the higher
altitudes, coming lower in winter and spreading all over the
region. A solitary bird in summer, but sometimes they con-
gregate in flocks of 20 or more in warm, sheltered cafions and
gulches in winter. Early in 191 1 Solitaires were seen in the
residence portion of Colorado Springs several times, which is
Solitaires descend from the mountains about September
first, and soon become quite plentiful in the foothills. As the
season advances they seek the warmer sheltered nooks and
remain there through the winter, often in small scattered
flocks. Aiken first found them in Barnes's Canon, November
1, 1871, frequenting the cedars and pinons of the hillside.
Their flight and habit of alighting on the topmost twigs likened
them to bluebirds. They were feeding mostly on cedar ber-
ries, but on bright warm days were often noticed on the
ground beneath a bush or tree in search of insect food. At
this season they seemed in full song and their notes were
varied and melodious and akin to such famous songsters
as the Wood Thrush, Meadowlark and Oriole. Later they
were less musical and late in April when they had separated
m pairs singing had ceased. At about this date, unless de-
tained by storms, they ascend the mountains where parent
birds with flying young were seen late in July.
600 Colorado College Publication
Hylocichla fuscescens salicicola. Willow Thrush.
Migrant; not common. Arrives May IS. We have no
This is the least common of our thrushes with the ex-
ception of the Alaska Hermit Thrush. Henshaw, Allen and
Keyser report it from the lower mountains, 8,000-8,500 feet.
Hylocichla ustulata swainsoni. Olive-backed Thrush.
Migrant; common. Arrives May 9-15, and is abundant
the rest of the month.
At Calhan and Ramah, June 4-7, 1898, Aiken found this
species very numerous, estimating that over 100 individuals
Hylocichla guttata guttata. Alaska Hermit Thrush.
Migrant; not common. Usually arrives the first week in
May, earliest date April 20, 1907, at Red Rock Canon.
Migrates through the lower foothills and on the plains ;
found by Aiken along Fountain Creek from the town of Foun-
tain north, in the vicinity of Colorado City, and also taken at
Limon, Lincoln County. This is a bird of somewhat different
habits from our other thrushes, keeping more on the ground,
and in its flights not rising so high in the air; also much less
shy and more approachable.
Hylocichla guttata auduboni. Audubon's Hermit Thrush.
Summer resident in the mountains ; common. Arrives
early in May, earliest date April 13, 1882, Allen and Brews-
ter. A common migrant along the foothills and on the plains.
This species breeds in the mountains from 8,500 feet up,
for Shaw found it in Crystal Park at that altitude in summer
and notes that their songs were very common in the evening.
Keyser found a nest with 4 eggs near Lake Moraine, in the
lower limbs of a spruce. Aiken's notes contain a reference
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 601
to a nest found on Mount Manitou, July 6, 1872, containing
4 young; this was in a tree 2j^ feet from the ground. War-
ren observed it at Lake Moraine, September 2, 1905. Aiken
noted it July 9 and 10, 1899, as common about Strickler Tun-
nel and at intervals down to the Half- Way House. His notes
say : "Song not as musical close to as at a little distance. I am
reminded by the song of a musician, idly striking chords on a
harp and listening after each chord for the echoes to die away."
Planesticus migratorius propinquus. Western Robin.
Summer resident; common. A few frequently spend the
winter. The first spring arrivals sometimes come as early as
February 25, but they do not become common until some time
in March, usually the first or second week. The majority leave
As stated above a few Robins frequently winter with us.
The winter of 1904-5 there seemed to be a good many about
Colorado Springs, and they were often noted in the town
from November through the winter months and until the
spring migrants came to swell their numbers. One was seen
January 20, 1905, in a sheltered gulch in the foothills at about
7,000 feet. They do not seem to be afraid of the cold for they
have been seen in zero weather. Aiken saw Robins at the
Strickler Tunnel, 11,500 feet, April 22-23, 1899, and was told
they had just arrived.
This species is found all over the County, and as just
stated, ranges high into the mountains, and breeds wherever
found. About Colorado Springs they pair in April and build
'immediately. Monument Valley Park had many nests in 1913,
10 being discovered in a small area; some of the young had
left the nest by June 1. A young bird which was banded in
a nest May 27, 1913, flew through glass in a greenhouse of
the Pikes Peak Floral Co., June 23, 1913, and was killed.
602 Coi-ORADO College Publication
Sialia sialis sialis. BluebiKd.
Rare; but one record for the County, and this was for
many years the only record for Colorado. July 15, 1872, when
C. N. Holden, Jr., was visiting Aiken at the Turkey Creek
ranch, he took one specimen, an adult male.
Sialia mexicana bairdi. Chestnut-backed Bluebird.
Summer resident ; common. Arrives the middle of March,
leaves in October.
While this species is common almost everywhere in migra-
tion, though probably never ranging quite as high as the next
species, it breeds mainly in the yellow pine region between
7,000 and 8,000 feet, where it outnumbers the Mountain Blue-
bird. July 17, 1899, on the Divide north of Peyton, Aiken saw
20 Chestnut-backed to 5 of the Mountain Bluebirds, and it is
probably more numerous on the Divide than anywhere else in
the County. The two species are sometimes found in mixed
flocks in the spring, especially when the weather is stormy.
The appearance on the plains of this Bluebird during the spring
migration is but for a short time, as it goes into the mountains
and onto the Divide by the first of April, but the storms which
usually come early in May drive the birds down in small flocks
which remain until the weather clears and the snow melts.
At these times the birds often become much emaciated and
some die from starvation, being unable to obtain food while
the snow is on the ground.
Aiken found a nest on Turkey Creek, May 27, 1872, in a
woodpecker's hole, with young half fledged.
Sialia currucoides. Mountain Bluebird. <
Summer resident ; common. Arrives from the first to the
middle of March. The majority leave in October.
There are various December and January records, as well
as February. It had just arrived at the Strickler Tunnel April
The Birds of El Paso County, Colorado 603
22-23, 1899. It is very generally distributed, breeding where-
ever found, on the plains as well as in the mountains to timber-
Hne. It often uses deserted woodpeckers' holes for nesting
sites. Aiken found a nest with young in a woodpecker's hole
en Turkey Creek, May 29, 1872. His notebook says it was
seen occasionally (near ranch on Turkey Creek) throughout
the winter of 1872-3, and that it was very common in January,
In the early days of Colorado Springs this Bluebird bred
readily in houses put up for it, but nowadays it has no show
against the omnipresent English Sparrow. Like the preceding
fpecies this Bluebird congregates in flocks at the time of the
H. C. Oberholser in "A Monograph of the Genus Chor-
deiles Swainson, Type of a New Family of Goatsuckers," U.
S. National Bulletin No. 86, 1914, has described a new sub-
species of Nighthawk, Chordeiles virginianus howelli, and re-
fers the Colorado bird to it. If the form proves to be a valid
one our El Paso County Nighthawks should be known by that
Regarding two other species Mr. Oberholser has given us
the following notes :
He informs us that he now considers all the Horned Larks
breeding in Colorado, and most of the winter birds, to be
Otocoris alpestris enthymia, the Saskatchewan Horned Lark, a
race not as yet adqiitted to the A. O. U. Check-List.
He also finds that the Savannah Sparrows of Colorado
are not Passerculus sandwichensis alaudimis, but P. a. neva-
densis Grinnell, the Nevada Savannah Sparrow.
Acanthis linaria linaria, 556.
Accipiter cooperi, 499.
Accipiter velox, 498.
Actitis macularius, 489.
Aeronautes melanoleucus, 521.
Agelaius phceniceus fortis, 542.
Aluco pratincola, 506.
Ammodramus bairdi, 563.
Ammodramus savannarum bimac-
Anas platyrhynchos, 478.
Anthus rubescens, 588.
Aphelocoma woodhousei, 535.
Aquila chrysaetos, 503.
Archibuteo ferrugineus, 502.
Archibuteo lagopus sancti-johan-
Archilochus alexandri, 522.
Ardea herodias herodias, 482.
Asio flammeus, 506.
Asio wilsonianus, 506.
Astragalinus psaltria arizonae, 557.
Astragalinus psaltria mexicanus,
Astragalinus psaltria psaltria, 557.
Astragalinus tristis pallidus, 557.
Astragalinus tristis tristis, 557.
Astur atricapillus atricapillus, 499.
Asutr atricapillus striatulus, 499.
Asyndesmus lewisi, 518.
Baeolophus inornatus griseus, 596.
Bartramia longicauda, 488.
Bittern, Least, 482.
Blackbird, Brewer's, 545.
Blackbird, Rusty, 545.
Blackbird, Yellow-headed, 542.
Blue-bill, Little, 480.
Bluebird, Chestnut-backed, 602.
Bluebird, Mountain, 602.
Bombycilla cedrorum, 579.
Bombycilla garrula, 579.
Botaurus lentiginosus, 482.
Branta canadensis canadensis, 481.
Branta canadensis hutchinsi, 481.
Bubo virginianus pallescens, 509.
Bubo virginianus subarcticus, 510.
Bull Bat, 520.
Bunting, Indigo, 575.
Bunting, Lark, 576.
Bunting, Lazuli, 575.
Bunting, Snow, 561.
Bush-Tit, Lead-colored, 597.
Buteo borealis calurus, 49?.
Buteo borealis krideri, 499.
Buteo swainsoni, 500.
Buzzard, Turkey, 497.
Calamospiza tnelanocorys, 576.
Calcarius lapponicus alascensis, 561.
Calcarius ornatus, 561.
Callipepla squamata, 492.
Camp Bird, 536.
Camp Robber, 536.
Carpodacus cassini, 547.
Carpodacus. mexicanus frontalis,
Carthartes aura septentrionalis,
Catherpes mexicanus conspersus,
Catoptrophorus semipalmatus inor-
Centurus carolinus, 518.
Certhia familiaris montanus, 594.
Ceryle alcyon, 515.
Chapparal Cock, 513.
Charadrius dominicus dorninicus,
Charitonetta albeola, 480.
Chat, Long-tailed, 586.
Chaulelasmus streperus, 478.
Chen hyperboreus hyperboreus, 481.
Chen hyperboreus nivalis, 481.
Chickadee, Long-tailed, 596.
Chickadee, Mountain, 597.
Chondestes grammacus strigatus,
Chordeiles virginianus henryi, 520.
Cinclus mexicanus unicolor, 588.
Circus hudsonius, 497.
Clangula clangula americana, 480.
Coccyzus americanus americanus,
Colaptes cafer collaris, 518.
Colinus virginianus, 491.
Columba fasciata fasciata, 496.
Colymbus nigricollis californicus,
Compsothlypis americana usneae,
Cormorant, Double-crested, 477.
Corvus brachyrhychos, 540.
Corvus corax sinuatus, 537.
Corvus cryptoleucus, 537.
Crane, Little Brown, 483.
Crane, Sandhill, 484.
Creeper, Rocky Mountain, 594.
Crossbill, Mexican, 554.
Crow, Clarke's, 540.
Cryptoglaux acadica acadica, 506.
Cuckoo, Yellow-billed, 515.
Curlew, Long-billed, 489.
Cyanocephalus cyanocephalus, 541.
Cyanocitta cristata, 534. '
Cyanocitta stelleri diademata, 534.
Dafila acuta, 480.
Dendragapus obscurus obscurus,
Dendroica aestiva aestiva, 584.
Dendroica auduboni, 584.
Dendroica coronata, 584.
Dendroica nigrescens, 585.
Dendroica striata, 585.
Dichromanassa rafescens, 483.
Dolichonyx oryzivorus, 541.
Dove, Western Mourning, 496.
Dowitcher, Long-billed, 487.
Dryobates pubescens homorus, 516.
Dryobates villosus monticola, 516.
Duck, Gray, 478.
Duck, Lesser Scaup, 480.
Duck, Ring-necked, 480.
Duck, Ruddy, 480.
Dumetella carolinensis, 592.
Eagle, Bald, 503.
Eagle, Golden, 503.
Egret, Reddish, 483.
Egret, Snowy, 483.
Egretta candidissima, 483.
Elanoides forficatus, 497.
Empidonax difScilis, 528.
Empidonax griseus, 530.
Empidonax hammondi, 529.
Empidonax minimus, 528.
Empidonax trailli trailli, 528.
Empidonax wrighti, 530.
Falco columbarius columbarius, 504
Falco columbarius richardsoni, 505.
Falco mexicanus, 504.
Falco peregrinus anatum, 504.
Falco sparverius sparverius, 505.
Falcon, Prairie, 504.
Finch, Cassin's Purple, 547.
Finch, House, 548.
Finch, Pine, 559.
Finch, Black Rosy, 555.
Finch, Brown-capped Rosy, 556.
Finch, Gray-crowned, 554.
Gallinago delicata, 486.
Gallinula galatea, 484.
Gallinule, Florida, 484.
Gavia arctica, 476.
Gavia immer, 476.
Geococcyx californianus, 513.
Geothlypis trichas occidentalis, 586.
Glaucidium gnoma pinicola, 512.
Gnatcatcher, Western, 598.
Goldfinch, Arizona, 557.
Goldfinch, Arkansas, 557.
Goldfinch, Mexican, 557.
Goldfinch, Pale, 557.
Goose, Canada, 481.
Goose, Greater Snow, 481.
Goose, Hutchins's, 481.
Ereunetes pusillus, 487.
Erismatura jamaicensis, 480.
Euphagus carolinus, 545.
Euphagus cyanocephalus, 545.
Finch, Hepburn's Rosy, 555.
Flicker, Red-shafted, 518.
Fulica americana, 484.
Flycatcher, Ash-throated, 526.
Flycatcher, Gray, 530.
Flycatcher, Hammond's, 529.
Flycatcher, Least, 528.
Flycatcher, Olive-sided, 527.
Flycatcher, Traill's, 528.
Flycatcher, Western, 528.
Flycatcher, Wright's, 530.
Goose, Snow, 481.
Goshawk, Western, 499.
Grackle, Bronzed, 546.
Grebe, Eared, 476.
Grebe, Pied-billed, 476.
Grosbeak, Black-headed, 574.
Grosbeak, Rocky Mountain Pine,
Grosbeak, Western Blue, 575.
Grosbeak, Western Evening, 546.
Grouse, Columbian Sharp-tailed,
Grouse, Dusky, 494.
Grus canadensis, 483.
Grus mexicana, 484.
Guiraca cserulea lazula, 575.
Gull, Bonaparte's, 477.
Gull, Ring-billed, 477.
Haliaetus leucocephalus, 503.
Hawk, Bullet, 504.
Hawk, Cooper's, 499.
Hawk, Duck, 504.
Hawk, Fish, 505.
Hawk, Krider's, 499.
Hawk, Marsh, 497.
Hawk, Pigeon, 504.
Hawk, Richardson's Pigeon, SOS.
Hawk, Rough-legged, S02.
Hawk, Sharp-shinned, 498.
Hawk, Sparrow, SOS.
Hawk, Squirrel, SCO.
Hawk, Swainson's, 500.
Hell Diver, 476.
Helodromas solitarius cinnamo-
Herodias egretta, 482.
Heron, Black-crowned Night, 483.
Heron, Great Blue, 482.
Hesperiphona vespertina montana,
Hirundo erythrogastra, S78.
Hummingbird, Black-chinned, S22.
Hummingird, Broad-tailed, 523.
Hummingbird, Calliope, 524.
Hummingbird, Rufous, 523.
Hydrochelidon nigra surinamensis,
Hylocichla fuscescens salicicola,
Hylocichla guttata auduboni, 600.
Hylocichla guttata guttata, 600.
Hylocichla ustulata swainsoni, 600.
Icteria virens longicauda, 586.
Icterus bullocki, 545.
Ictinia mississippiensis, 497.
Ibis, White-faced Glossy, 482.
Ibis, Wood, 482.
Iridoprocne bicolor, 578.
Ixobrychus exilis, 482.
Jay, Blue, 534.
Jay, Long-crested, 534.
Jay, Pifion, S41.
Jay, Rocky Mountain, 536.
Jay, Woodhouse's, 535.
Junco aikeni, 568.
Junco hyemalis hyemalis, 568.
Junco hyemalis connectens, 568.
Junco mearnsi, 570.
Junco montanus, 569.
Junco oreganus shufeldti, 569.
Junco phaeonotus caniceps, 570.
Junco, Aiken's, 568.
Junco, Gray-headed, 570.
Junco, Intermediate, 568.
Junco, Montana, 569.
Junco, Pink-sided, 570.
Junco, Shufeldt's, 569.
Junco, Slate-colored, 568.
Junco, White-winged, 568.
Kingbird, Arkansas, 525.
Kingbird, Cassin's, 526.
Kingfisher, Belted, 515.
Kinglet, Ruby-crowned, 598.
Kinglet, Western Golden-crowned,
Kite, Mississippi, 497.
Kite, Swallow-tailed, 497.
Lanius borealis, 580.
Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides,
Lanivireo solitarius cassini, 582.
Lanivireo solitarius plumbeus, 582.
Lark, Desert Horned, 530.
Larus delawarensis, 477.
Larus Philadelphia, 477.
Leucosticte atrata, 555.
Leucosticte australis, 556.
Leucosticte tephrocotis tephrocotis,
Leucosticte tephrocotis littoralis,
Linnet, Pine, 559.
Lobipes lobatus, 484.
Lophodytes cucullatus, 478.
Lophortyx californica, 493.
Longspur, Alaska, S61.
Longspur, Chestnut-collared, 561.
Longspur, McCown's, 562.
Macrorhamphus griseus scolopac-
Mareca americana, 479.
Marila affinis, 480.
Marila americana, 480.
Marila collaris, 480.
Marila valisineria, 480.
Meadowlark, Western, 543.
Melanerpes erythrocephalus, 517.
Meleagris gallopavo merriami, 495.
Melospiza georgiana, 572.
Melospiza lincolni lincolni, 572.
Melospiza melodiajuddi, 572.
Nettion carolinense, 479.
Night Hawk, Western, 520.
Nucifraga columbiana, 540.
Numenius americanus, 489.
Xutcracker, Clarke's, 540.
Nuthatch, Pygmy, 495.
Oidemia deglandi, 480.
Olor columbianus, 481.
Oporornis tolmiei, 586.
Oreoscoptes montanus, 590.
Oreospiza chlorura, 573.
Oriole, Bullock's, 545.
Otocoris alpestris leucolaema, 530.
Otus asio aikeni, 507.
Otus asio maxwelliae, 506.
Otus flammeolus, 508.
Ousel, Water, 588.
Owl, Aiken's Screech, 507.
Loon, Black-throated, 476.
Loxia curvirostra minor, 554.
Loxia curvirostra stricklandi, 554.
Melospiza melodia montana, 571.
Merganser, American, 478.
Merganser, Hooded, 478.
Mergus americanus, 478.
Micropalma himantopus, 487.
Mimus polyglottos leucopterus, 591.
Mniotilta varia, 582.
Mockingbird, Mountain, 590.
Mockingbird, Western, 591.
Molotrus ater, 542.
Myadestes townsendi, 599.
Mycteria americana, 482.
J.Ij'iarchus cinerascens, 526.
Myiochanes richardsoni, 528.
Nuthatch, Red-breasted, 495.
Nuthatch, Rocky Mountain, 495.
Xuttallornis borealis, 527.
Nyctea nyctea, 510.
Xycticorax nycticorax navius, 483.
Owl, Arctic Horned, 510.
Owl, Barn, 506.
Owl, Burrowing, 511.
Owl, Flammulated Screech, 508.
Owl, Long-eared, 506.
Owl, Prairie Dog, 511.
Owl, Rocky Mountain Pygmy, 512.
Owl, Rocky Mountain Screech, 505.
Owl, Saw-whet, 506.
Owl, Short-eared, 506.
Owl, Snowy, 510.
Owl, Spotted, 506.
Owl, Western Horned, 510.
Oxyechus vociferus, 490.
Pandion haliaetus carolinensis, SOS.
Passer domesticus, S60.
Passerculus sandwichensis alaudi-
Passerina amoena, S7S.
Passerina cyanea, 575.
Pedioecetes phasianellus columbia-
Peewee, Western Wood, 528.
Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, 477.
Pelican, White, 477.
Penthestes atricapillus septentrio-
Penthestes gambeli gambeli, 597.
Perisoreus canadensis capitalis, 536
Petrochelidon lunifrons lunifrons,
Phalacrocorax auritus auritus, 477.
Phalsenoptilus nuttalli nuttalli, 520.
Phalarope, Northern, 484.
Phalarope, Wilson's, 484.
Phasianus torquatus, 495.
Pheasant, Mongolian, 495.
Pheasant, Ring-necked, 495.
Philohela minor, 486.
Phoebe, Say's, 527.
Pica pica hudsonia, SS2.
Picoides americanus dorsalis, 516.
Pigeon, Band-tailed, 496.
Pinicola enucleator montana, 547.
Pipilo fuscus mesoleucus, 573.
Pipilo maculatus arcticus, 572.
Pipilo maculatus montanus, 573.
Piranga erythromelas, 577.
Piranga ludoviciana, 577.
Pisobia bairdi, 487.
Pisobia fuscicollis, 487.
Pisobia minutilla, 488.
Planesticus migratorius propin-
Plectrophenax nivalis, 561.
Plegadis guarana, 482.
Plover, Black-bellied, 489.
Plover, Golden, 489.
Plover^ Mountain, 490.
Plover, Upland, 488.
Podasocys montanus, 490.
Podilymbus podiceps, 476.
Polioptila cserulea obscura, 598.
Pooecetes gramineus confinis, 562.
Porzana Carolina, 474.
Protonotaria citrea, 582.
Psaltriparus plumbeus, 597.
Quail, Blue, 492.
Quail, California, 493.
Quail, Mexican, 492,
Quail, Scaled, 492.
Querquedula cyanoptera, 479.
Querquedula discors, 479.
Quiscalus quiscula aeneus, 546.
Rail, Virginia, 484.
Rallus virginianus, 484.
Raven, White-necked, 537.
Recurvirostra americana, 485.
Redtail, Western, 499.
Redwing, Thick-billed, 542.
Regulus calendula calendula, 598.
Regulus satrapa olivaceus, 598.
Rhyncophanes raccowni, 562.
Riparia riparia, 578.
Road Runner, 513.
Robin, Western, 601.
Rough-leg, Ferruginous, 502.
Salpinctes obsoletus obsoletus, 592.
Sand Martin, 578.
Sandpiper, Baird's, 487.
Sandpiper, Bartramian, 488.
Sandpiper, Least, 488.
Sandpiper, Semi-palmated, 487.
Sandpiper, Spotted, 488.
Sandpiper, Stilt, 487.
Sandpiper, Western Solitary, 488.
Sandpiper, White-rumped, 487.
Sapsucker, Red-naped, 517.
Sapsucker, Williamson's, 517.
Sayornis sayus, 527.
Scoter, White-winged, 480.
Seiurus aurocapillus, 586.
Selasphorus platycercus, 523.
Selasphorus rufus, 523.
Setophaga ruticilla, 587.
Shrike, Northern, 580.
Shrike, White-rumped, 580.
Sialia currucoides, 602.
Sialia mexicana bairdi, 602.
Sialia sialis sialis, 602.
Siskin, Pine, 559.
Sitta canadensis, 495.
Sitta carolinensis nelsoni, 495.
Sitta pygmaea, 495.
Snipe, Jack, 486.
Snipe, Wilson's, 486.
Solitaire, Townsend's, 599.
Sparrow, Baird's, 563.
Sparrow, Brewer's, 567.
Sparrow, Clay-colored, 567.
Sparrow, Dakota Song, 572.
Sparrow, English, 560.
Sparrow, Gambel's, 565.
Sparrow, Harris's, 564.
Sparrow, House, 560.
Sparrow, Lincoln's, 572.
Sparrow, Mountain Song, 57L
Sparrow, Swamp, 572.
Sparrow, Western Chipping, 566.
Sparrow, Western Grasshopper,
Sparrow, Western Lark, 564.
Sparrow, Western Savannah, 562.
Sparrow, Western Tree, 566.
Sparrow, Western Vesper, 562.
Sparrow, White-crowned, 564.
Spatula clypeata, 479.
Speotyto cunicularia hypogaea, 511.
Sphyrapicus thyroideus, 517.
Sphyrapicus varius nuchalis, 517.
Spinus pinus, 559.
Spiza americana, 575.
Spizella breweri, 567.
Spizella monticola ochracea, 566.
Spizella pallida, 567.
Spizella passerina arizonse, 566.
Squatarola squatarola, 489.
Steganopus tricolor, 484.
Stelgidopteryx serripennis, 579.
Stellula calliope, 524.
Sterna forsteri, 477.
Strix occidentalis occidentalis, 506.
Sturnella neglecta, 543.
Swallow, Bank, 578.
Swallow, Barn, 578.
Swallow, Cliff, 577.
Swallow, Eave, 577.
Swallow, Rough-winged, 579.
Swallow, Tree, 578.
Swallow, Violet-green, 578.
Swan, Whistling, 481.
Swift, White-throated,. 521.
Tachycineta thalassina lepida, 578.
Tanager, Louisiana, 577.
Tanager, Scarlet, 577.
Tanager, Western, 577.
Teal, Blue-winged, 479.
Teal, Cinnamon, 479.
Teal, Green-winged, 479.
Telmatodytes palustris iliacus, 594.
Telmatodytes palustris plesius, S94.
Tern, Black, 477.
Tern, Forster's, 477.
Thrasher, Bendire's, S9Z.
Thrasher, Brown, 592.
Thrasher, Sage, 590.
Thrush, Alaska Hermit, 600.
Thrush, Audubon's Hermit, 600.
Thrush, Olive-backed, 600.
Thrush, Willow, 600.
Thryomanes bewicki bairdi, 594.
Titmouse, Gray, 596.
Totanus flavipes, 488.
Totanus melanoleucus, 488.
Towhee, Arctic, 572.
Towhee, Caiion, 573.
Towhee, Green-tailed, 573.
Towhee, Mountain, 573.
Toxostoma bendirei, 592.
Toxostoma rufum, 592.
Troglodytes aedon parkmani, 594.
Turkey, Merriam's, 495.
Turkey, Wild, 495.
Tyrannus tyrannus, 524.
Tyrannus verticalis, 525.
Tyrannus vociferans, 526.
Vermivora celata celata, 583.
Vermivora peregrina, 583.
Vermivora virginiae, 582.
Vireo, Cassin's, 582.
Vireo, Plumbeous, 582.
Vireo, Swainson's, 581.
Vireo, Western Warbling, 581.
Vireosylva gilva swainsoni, 581.
Vulture, Turkey, 497.
Warbler, Audubon's, 584.
Warbler, Black and White, 582.
Warbler, Black-poll, 585.
Warbler, Black-throated Gray, 585
Warbler, MacGillivray's, 586.
Warbler, Myrtle, 584.
Warbler, Northern Parula, 583.
Warbler, Orange-crowned, 583.
Warbler, Pileolated, 587.
Warbler, Prothonotary, 582.
Warbler, Tennessee, 583.
Warbler, Virginia's, 582.
Warbler, Yellow, 584.
Waxwing, Bohemian, 579.
Waxwing, Cedar, 579.
Wild Canary, 557.
Willet, Western, 488.
Wilsonia pusilla pileolata, 587
Woodpecker, Alpine Three-toed,
Woodpecker, Batchelder's, 516.
Woodpecker, Downy, 516.
Woodpecker, Hairy, 516.
Woodpecker, Lewis's, 518.
Woodpecker, Red-bellied, 518.
Woodpecker, Red-headed, 517.
Woodpecker, Rocky Mountain
Wren, Baird's, 594.
Wren, Canon, 593.
Wren, Prairie Marsh, 594.
Wren, Rock, 592.
Wren, Western House, 594.
Wren, Western Marsh, 594.
Yellow-legs, Greater, 488.
Yellow-throat, Western, 586.
Zamelodia. melanocephala, 574.
Zenaidura macroura marginella,
Zonotrichia leucophrys leucophrys.
Zonotrichia leucophrys gambeli, 565
Zonotrichia querula, 564.
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