Зображення сторінки

of May (March 17, 1892, to May 16, 1889). Like the blue-fronted species this jay eats a great many bay-nuts, acorns and almonds. These it carries to some suitable situation, such as a fence rail or the limb of a tree, and, holding them with one foot, deftly cracks them with its bill. I have known it to eat the eggs of Anna's hummingbird, the house finch, the green-backed goldfinch and the brown towhee. Corvus americanus. American Crow.

I have never seen the crow in this county, but Mr. J. M. Hyde tells me that he has found it near Gilroy, where it probably breeds. Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus. Yellow-headed Blackbird.

This handsome bird breeds in considerable numbers in the marshes south of San José. Sternella magna neglecta. Western Meadow Lark.

This was formerly a very common resident in all parts of the valley, but of late years the converting of grain fields into orchards has resulted in a great restriction of its territory. As a songster it is with us probably without an equal, unless the black-headed grosbeak or the California thrasher share its honors. The number of its eggs ranges from four to six. I have found fresh eggs from April 3 (1889) to May 31 (1890). Once in the breeding season, I shot one of these larks which had several wasps in its bill.

Icterus bullocki. Bullock's Oriole.

Bullock's oriole is a common summer resident which breeds abundantly in the valley, but rarely if ever in the foothills west of Los Gatos. It arrives about the middle of April (April 18, 1889; April 16, 1892; April 8, 1893) and begins to nest a week or two later (April 20, 1893). It is seen occasionally after the middle of August (August 17, 1892). Scolecophagus cyanocephalus. Brewer's Blackbird.

In many parts of the valley these noisy birds breed abundantly in April and May. Most of the nests that I have seen were in liveoak or cypress trees, usually close to water. The usual number of eggs is five, though sometimes only four are found. I believe that only one brood is reared each year. Small flocks remain through the winter.

Carpodacus purpureus californicus. California Purple Finch.

This purple finch is at no time common. Individuals or little companies, however, occur all through the year. I regard them as stragglers from the redwoods near the coast, though some may, perhaps, breed in localities where conifers have been planted. Carpodacus mexicanus frontalis. House Finch.

The linnet or redhead is probably our most abundant bird in spring and summer, but in winter is outnumbered by certain migratory species, such as the robin and the Zonotrichias. It does great damage to fruit, being especially fond of cherries, peaches and figs. It begins to lay about the middle of April, though eggs may sometimes be found a little earlier (April 9, 1888), and lays one egg each day until the set is complete. The number of eggs varies from three to six, but usually is four or five. I have known three broods to be raised in one nest in one year. Nests of the previous year not infrequently are relined and used, as are also those of other species, such as the brown towhee. The labor of nest building falls entirely on the female, but the male accompanies her on all her trips for material and sings almost constantly with great power and fervor. He, however, takes no part in incubation, and little or none in feeding the young, at least while they remain in the nest.

The following notes show, among other things, the period of incubation :

April 14, 1887. Found a nearly completed nest of the house finch.

April 15, 16. Female continued work on nest.
April 17. One egg
April 18. Two eggs.
April 19. Three eggs.
April 20. Four eggs.
April 21. Five eggs.
May 3. Four young birds and one egg.
May 4. Five young.
July 14, 1899. House finches began a nest in a vine.
July 15. Nest building was continued.

July 16. Female carrying lining materials. Male always accompanies her, but carries nothing.

July 17. One egg. Female sitting at night.

July 18. Two eggs. Female sitting off and on, it being a very warm day.

July 19. Three eggs. Female sitting intermittently.
July 20. Four eggs.

July 21, 22, 23. Four eggs. Three young birds, probably of an earlier brood, roost at night in the vine with the male.

August 1. Noon: Four eggs. Evening: One egg has hatched.

August 2, 8 A.M. Two eggs and two young. Noon : Same. 6 P.M.: One egg and three young.

August 3. Four young.

August 18. Noon: One young bird on edge of nest, three in nest. Later : Four young in nest. 5 P.M.: One young bird in vine a foot from nest. 6 P.M.: Two young in vine, then back in nest. 7 P.M.: Three of the young have flown to neighboring trees; one is still in vine.

Later: All are gone. On May 4, 1893, I found a nest containing four eggs and a female that evidently had died while sitting. All were cold.

In the spring of 1898 I transferred three young linnets from the nest where they had just hatched to the nest of a pair of domestic canaries whose young were of about the same size. The canaries showed no objection to this sudden addition to their family, and reared all successfully. Late in the summer two of the young linnets began to sing in low tones. To my surprise, their song was entirely copied from that of their foster parent, though of only about half its extent. Early in the summer of 1899, these birds were liberated. Their song then consisted of about one-half of the song of the house finch, followed by several trills from the song of the canary and for several months after this they could be distinguished by it. What finally became of them, I do not know. Birds which have been reared in a cage have the usual red of the plumage replaced with yellow. Caged adults also become yellow after moulting. Astragalinus tristis salicamans. Willow Goldfinch.

I have not seen this bird at Los Gatos in summer, although it occurs there in considerable numbers in winter. It is not rare at Palo Alto at any season. Astragalinus psaltria. Green-backed Goldfinch.

This beautiful goldfinch breeds very abundantly in all parts of


means rare.

the valley which I have visited. That it is also very abundant in winter and early spring may be seen from the following item from notebook :

“ March 21, 1888. Counted seventy-two goldfinches in a large white oak. Probably there were a hundred and fifty in all, mostly S psaltria, and the males were in full song, forming a charming chorus for all their lack of leadership.

Nest building begins early in April (March 30, 1889), and fresh eggs may be found as late as the ist of August (July 31, 1888). The number of eggs laid varies from three to five, but usually is four. Rarely, sets of pure white eggs are found. I found one set of four eggs, of the usual bluish tint, of which one was finely dotted with reddish brown. The nests are built in all sorts of trees and bushes (blackberry, raspberry, grape, maple, orange, apple, peach, oak, fig, bay, greasewood, bamboo, etc.), at heights varying from two to thirty feet. Astragalinus lawrencei. Lawrence's Goldfinch.

This species is not nearly so common as the green-backed goldfinch, but is by no

It nests in May and June and usually lays five eggs. Spinus pinus. Pine Siskin.

The siskin usually is a very common bird in winter, though sometimes few are seen.

I have not observed it in summer, but Mr. James M. Hyde tells me that a pair nested in Santa Clara several years ago. Ammodramus sandwichensis bryanti. Bryant's Marsh Sparrow.

I never have noted this bird at Los Gatos, though it is common at Palo Alto, especially in winter. Chondestes grammacus strigatus. Western Lark Sparrow.

The lark sparrow breeds commonly, throughout the county, in April, May and June. I saw one carrying nesting materials March 22, 1889. The nests are built either on the ground or in trees or bushes. The species does not occur at Los Gatos in winter (arriving in March), but probably is to me extent resident in the lower parts of the valley. Zonotrichia leucophrys intermedia. Intermediate Sparrow.

This form occurs in some numbers in winter, but is never so

abundant as Gambel's sparrow.

I believe that a few individuals of the true leucophrys occur, but of this I am not positive. Zonotrichia leucophrys gambeli. Gambel's Sparrow.

Gambel's sparrow usually appears at Los Gatos in September (September 22, 1891) and remains until the end of March (April 1, 1890). It is more abundant at Palo Alto and San José than at Los Gatos.

Zonotrichia coronata. Golden-crowned Sparrow. .

Probably the most abundant winter bird at Los Gatos is this handsome sparrow. It usually arrives in September (October 1, 1887; September 22, 1888; September 16, 1889; September 23, 1891; August 31, 1892), and leaves in April (April 3, 1889; April 11, 1892; April 20, 1893). It is common at Palo Alto, but probably less so than the white-crowned varieties.

Spizella socialis arizona. Western Chipping Sparrow.

The chipping sparrow is a fairly common resident, breeding usually in May. I saw none in 1892. Junco hyemalis oregonus. Oregon Junco. .

Junco hyemalis thurberi. Thurber's Junco.

Junco hyemalis pinosus. Point Pinos Junco.

A few juncos nest in the chaparral belt near Alma. They appear indistinguishable from the juncos which breed throughout the redwood region of Santa Cruz county, and which I have no hesitation in calling J. h. pinosus. This same pale-headed, pink-sided variety occurs during the winter. At this season one finds also dark-headed, pink-sided birds, which I call J. h. oregonus, and darkheaded birds, with comparatively little pink, which I refer to J. h. thurberi. The juncos usually arrive at Los Gatos in October (October 21, 1887; September 16, 1889), and a few remain until late in April. The October and April birds seem to be mostly J. h. pinosus. Amphispiza belli. Bell's Sparrow.

This bird appears to be of very local distribution in Santa Clara county. I have found it only on a small tract near the summit of the mountains west of Los Gatos. Here a considerable colony

« НазадПродовжити »