21 February 2014

Davis Speaks on Scenic Byway Birding Trail

There will hopefully be more people enjoying the wonders of sandhills’ birds due to a grant recently received by the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway group.

"We hope to have more birding enthusiasts experience wildlife viewing in the undisturbed and wide open spaces of this region, and increase visitation," said Jeanne Davis, the group’s volunteer coordinator. "Birders can enjoy unique habitats and diverse birdlife. People will be able to share their personal experiences on the byway website."

"Habitats along the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway are home to a wide variety of bird species," Davis noted. "From the great spring crane migration in the Platte Valley to the amazing grassland dance during the courtship rituals of the Sharptail Grouse and Greater Prairie Chicken, this area offers birding enthusiasts fantastic opportunities to observe nature at its finest."

"There are many great birding sites" along the Highway 2 byway, Davis said. They include the Bessey Division of the Nebraska National Forest by Halsey, Valentine NWR, Crescent Lake NWR, several notable state recreation and wildlife management areas, as well as private wildlife viewing opportunities, according to the grant application.

Plans include advertisements in suitable publications, including Bird Watchers Digest, Bird Watching Magazine, Nebraskaland and Nebraska Life. Group volunteers will also have a booth at a Nebraska sports/travel show and state fair. There will be 10,000 bird guides printed for distribution to people interested in byway activities.

The $19,000 grant is from the Outdoor Recreation Marketing program sponsored by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Overall the group will spend over $30,000, including match dollars from the byway group.

Efforts are currently underway to initiate these projects, with "some of them underway by early summer," Davis said. The project will be completed during 2014.

"The byway has adopted the theme ‘World Class Natural Wonders’ and strives to inform the public on the unique ecological region found in central Nebraska."

The Sandhills Scenic Byway extends along Highway 2 from Alliance to Grand Island.

February 6, 2014. Jeanne Davis speaks on birding area along the scenic byway. Grant County News 129(27): 1.

Journey Across the Nebraska Plains

Correspondence of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.

Elm Creek, Nebraska, Aug. 6, 1865. — When I last wrote you from Elm Creek I was just about preparing for the most disagreeable of all a freighter's duties, night-herding. It is a sort of picket duty, only a good deal worse, especially if the night happens to be dark, as it was when I made my first attempt. The business of the night-herders here is to keep the cattle together during the night and within as short a distance of the corral as possible, and bright and early in the morning, drive them in. Well, "Two-story and a Half" and myself started out in the evening just before dark and took our posts. The oxen were grazing quietly about half a mile from the corral, the evening was clear and cool and every thing favorable for a good night.

We congratulated ourselves on the prospect, but alas! too soon, for about 10 o'clock P.M., it clouded up and soon was very dark. The wind began to blow and the cattle to scatter, and ere long the rain to fall. Oh! but we had a time of it. We kept them together as well as possible, but when morning came only fifteen head remained. "Two Story Brick" is an old teamster, that is he has been across the prairies (I cannot call it the "plains" for to me it seems absurd to call such an uphill and down sort of country as we have passed through ever since leaving Nebraska city a plain) once or twice and of course I put myself under his directions. He suggested that I should start off in a certain direction, while he would take another; and if we found any oxen, drive them in towards corral.

It was very early in the morning, just light enough to see, when I started. I walked on for about an hour, keeping a sharp lookout on every side; but no cattle appearing I bethought me that I had come far enough and that I had better be starting back, as most likely my fellow herdsman had met with better success than I. I turned to start, but which way was back? I looked round but no familiar tree, bush, stone or anything appeared; nothing but the broad rolling prairies. In chasing the cattle in the darkness during the night, I had become completely confused as to my whereabouts. It is true, there was the sun just rising in the east; but was I north or south of the road? I had not the most remote idea; I thought over it a few minutes and resolved to take to the north; a short walk brought me to the top of a swell or hill, and to my joy, within a quarter of a mile on another was the corral. In walking as I had supposed directly away from it when I found myself lost, was nearer the corral than when I started. "Second Story," as I had anticipated, had been more successful than I, and found all the cattle in a mile. The boys had a good breakfast prepared by the time I got in, which I enjoyed hugely and said nothing of my being lost. So ended my first night's herding, and I do not regret the useful lesson it has taught me: to be careful to note the points of the compass and the direction I take when I leave corral again for any purpose. I have often read descriptions of being lost on the prairie, but I never before realized how easily it may be done or what a terrible thing it would be to be lost in reality.

We yoked up and started soon after breakfast, and by sundown reached Salt Creek ford. Here is a small scattering village of the same name. The houses are mean log or wooden structures, and things generally looked scaly; we corralled on the high bluff on the upper side of the creek, and all hands being pretty tired, none of the men went down to town, some half a mile distant, on the opposite side of the creek. We got in motion about sunrise on Sunday morning. The view from our corral (which we could not see the night before), was very fine. The ground being very high it was quite extensive. To the west and below us was the village. To the north, within five miles, the Platte wound glistening in the morning sun; while far away to the southwest, as far as you could see, the Salt creek circled among the hills. The morning was perfect, and the air cool and bracing. I thought what a pleasant place to live when wealth and industry shall have connected it with civilization, or rather when they have civilized it. The creek is a pretty large one. the water, as the name would indicate, being salt, our cattle drank of it greedily as we were crossing.

When we got into the town, although it was Sunday, we found the two or three stores and three or four grop shops it contained open. My boss stopped the teams for more than an hour, to let the men get what they wanted, he said, and they did get it, sure enough, for by the time we were ready to leave most of them were under the influence of liquor. We had to stop about two miles beyond the town and then lay over until late in the afternoon, when, the drunken men having got sobered up, we again started and stopped after sundown. We were today joined by a party of six or more wagons. They are all of the same class of men that I am with; some of them worse. I am beginning to think I've gotten into a hornet's nest, but if the worst comes to worst, I can fight it out. It's hard to sit by and hear these rascals slandering the Government they get a living from, and extolling the rebels and all they have done, and I feel sometimes as if I could not stand it and must let out at them. But when I think the result of a quarrel would be that I would leave my bones to enrich the soil of Nebraska territory and none the wiser, I restrain myself; at least I have so far.

On Monday night we had a very heavy thunder storm; one of the heaviest I remember to have ever witnessed. The rain seemed to come down by buckets full and the wind blew almost a hurricane. The rain continued during the day following, so we did not get started again until Tuesday. We found the roads, when we did mover, very bad. There had been so much rain that the earth was soaked with it and the hollows were filled with water. We made very slow time.

On Wednesday night we reached the Wahoo, a very pretty little creek. We found it quite high from the recent rain, but forded it without difficulty. There was a ranche at the ford — a very miserable one. I have neglected to say that since leaving Salt Creek we have found them at intervals of about ten miles all along the road. They are generally log houses of the poorest description, sometimes with plank and sometimes with sod roofs. They keep on hand a supply of groceries and other necessaries, horse feed of various kinds, and liquors. They charge the most exorbitant prices, and I do not blame them, for it needs a big compensation to make such places at all inhabitable — at least, it would for me. Coming along to-day, one of the boys shot a prairie chicken. We had a stew made of it for supper. It was very good, though the bird was an old one. It is about a month too early for them.

On Sunday, August 6, we reached the Platte Bottom. It is a large valley, on either side of the river, varying from five to ten miles in width, and in most places level as a cricket field. The grass does not appear to be so luxuriant as it was on the higher land, and the level country is far less beautiful. The course of the river can be marked by the timber that lines its banks as far as you can see. It really does one good to see some woodland once more; it has been so long since we have seen any. Coming down the bluffs this morning, we saw a herd of about a dozen antelopes some 800 yards distant. I have strong hopes of getting a shot of one of them ere long. We are camped on Elm Creek, a little stream about a mile in the bottom.

August 30, 1865. A journey across the plains. Philadelphia Daily Evening Bulletin 19(117): 1. This correspondence continued, with several subsequent articles having a title of "A Journey Across the Continent" in the same newspaper. Known dates for articles include September 8 and 18, October 25 and 30, and November 2, 6 and 28. The author was always indicated as "T" which was a moniker.

Gunning in the Potomac Marshes

The Opening of the Season - Peppering Reed Birds and Ortolan - The Fancy Sportsman and the "Pot Hunter," &c.

Last Saturday being the first day of the month with an "R," besides having the distinction of opening the oyster season, was hailed with delight by the gunner and sportsman as the opening of the gunning season, particularly on the marshes. Very early in the morning the ring of the shotgun could be heard. All the skiffs and every boat suitable for conveying gunners over the marshes were engaged. Some of them were secured weeks in advance, and not a few were built expressly for the occasion. The vast marshes on the Eastern Branch, extending from the navy yard to Bladensburg, Md., were numerously patronized by the eager gunners. All day a line of crafts of nearly every description, from the new skiff to the flat-boat, and bearing gunners of all ages, were seen making all possible speed for the field of operations. Every gunner who could raise a firearm and a water craft was on the marsh, and many a department clerk was absent from his post Saturday. There was as much variety and contrast in the weapons borne by the gunners as there was between the craft and the gunners themselves. There was every variety of firing piece from the modern breech-loading shotgun to the blunderbuss improvised from an old government musket bored out, and in some cases with the stock tied on with a string. The number of gunners was rather larger than usual, and the number of birds killed rather small. The ortolan were not so numerous, but the reed birds and black birds were more plentiful than usual. None of the birds were in good condition, but the quality was up to the average at this time of the season. The ortolan received the special attention of the professional gunners, who took little account of the other birds, and consequently more of these were killed by the gunners. Of course there were amateurs who killed whatever they could.

Successful Hunters.

Mr.Wm. Wagner, of Eash Washington, is supposed to have killed the most ortolan. He took home eighty-seven ortolan. Among the other successful hunters were Chas. Williams, Richard Jones, Drs. Muncaster and Ball, Geo. Eckloff, Geo, Zurhorst, Prof. Sousa, Chas. Morgan, Mr. Campbell Carrington, and Jno. Waggaman. The majority brought home less than a dozen ortolan, and a few reed birds.

The anticipation of the gunners, particularly the professional men and government employees, were, but in a few cases, realized. Some of these gentlemen made great preparations, providing themselves with good skiffs, breech-loading guns and hiring men at from $3 to $5 per day to shove them, and coming out of the marsh with as few as three ortolan. One of this class who keeps a pack of hunting dogs all the yer round, to make it hard for the birds, felt particularly sore when a river urchin shoved his little scow by, and, showing a dozen birds, laughed at the fancy gunner for having so few.

The Fancy Shot and the Pot Hunter.

A riverman who has been guiding on the marshes for a good many years told a Star reported that he would like to say a word in reply to a communication printed recently about "pot hunters." "What I want to say is this," said he: "It is all well enough for those fancy gunners with their breech-loading guns to talk about 'pot hunters' killing birds before the season opens, but if they don't do this they get left, and might as well stay home. They talk about the killing of woodcock on their nests and destroying the whole family. This is no worse than a couple of these fancy shots going through a strip of country with their modern guns and killing every bird that gets up before them. I know of two men who went up a ravine out here — one on each side — and they could load up and fire so quick that they killed every bird that got up. When they go through a place first a 'pot hunter,' as they call us, might as well stay at home, because he can't find anything to shoot at." There was the usual accidental peppering of clumsy or unfortunate gunners Saturday, but no serious accident occurred.

September 3, 1883. Gunning in the marshes. Washington D.C. Evening Star 62(9474): 4.

Hummingbirds Slain for Fashion's Sake

The Way Little Californians Bring Down the Lovely Humming-Birds

From the Santa Barbara Press.

During the last two or three years, or since fickle-minded fashion has decreed that birds as well as feathers should be used to ornament the heads of the elite of feminine society, a new source of revenue has been opened to the natives of southern California. Santa Barbara, being the "land of flowers," is necessarily the home of the delicate little humming-bird, which lives upon the distilled pollen or bee food of our gaudiest flora. In a glass case upon the counter within the drug store of A.M. Rulz was discovered two rows of dead humming-birds, each with their little "feet turned up to the daisies." The "trade is a recently-developed one," said Mr. Rulz. "It is less than three years old, but it is steadily growing. We do not propose to engage very largely in it, as it is not exactly in our line, which is drugs and perfumery; but we find a profitable market for all we can obtain."

"How do you obtain these humming-birds?" queried the reporter.

"The little boys bring them in. There are four or five little Californians who live in or near town who are experts with sling-shots, a skillfully manipulated improvement upon the contrivance used by David to kill Goliah. Small pebbles or a teaspoonful of small bird shot is used, and when propelled by our little humming-bird hunters usually bring down the bird. These little hunters bring on in an average of about five birds a day."

"Why do they not use nets? It would not destroy or injure the delicate plumage of these little birds."

"Nets would be better, I believe, but the little Spanish children are used to their little sling-shots, and are as skillful with them as are their fathers with the tiara, and woe to the humming bird at which one of these little boys discharges a charge of pebbles or bird shot."

"Is there any money in the business?"

"No, not worth speaking of. I pay from ten to fifteen cents each for the birds and then I dress and stuff them and ship them to San Francisco. Then I am paid at the rate of fifty cents each for the female common bird and seventy-five cents each for those male birds of the brilliant plumage."

"Is there more than one variety of humming-bird in the market?"

"Yes, we have four. There is the 'fiery,' or that bird you see there with the red flaming throat. Then there is the sulphuretted or yellow bronzed bird. Next the ordinary male, which has a green and red plumage, and last, the brown, unbronzed female bird.

"What is the extent of the trade?"

"Last year we sent off less than a thousand birds; we could have found a market for at least three times the number exported."

In continued conversation it was discovered that while San Francisco obtains a large proportion of these delicate birds, the best and prettiest are selected and shipped direct to the fashion centers in Paris and London, where they command a high price.

September 26, 1883. Washington D.C. Evening Star 62(9494): 3.

Strange Sealskin Bird in Kentucky

A resident of Louisville, Ky., has a sealskin bird. The bird was recently shot in the wing by its owner, who afterward captured it. It is about the size of a hen, but has a monkey-shaped face, with a beak like no other bird that has ever been seen. The beak is very short and shovel-shaped, and has a destructive capacity beyond that of a bald eagle. The talons are exactly like those of an eagle, and the wings measure four feet nine inches from tip to tip. The legs are perfectly straight and without joint, and about nine inches long. It is the body of the bird, however, that attracts the most attention. This is covered with fur instead of feathers, and the hair is about the length of that on a sealskin after it is dressed to make a lady's sack with. It is of a dark brown color, but somewhat lighter than seal brown. The wings are covered with fur, commencing at the body, but feathers begin farther on, and the end feathers on the wing are as long as those of an ordinary-sized bald eagle. The bird lives on raw beef and English sparrows, and nothing delights it so much as to have an opportunity to catch, tear and devour a lot of sparrows. It has already become quite domesticated and a great pet with the ladies, who declare it too lovely for anything.

August, 6, 1884. A strange bird. Somerset Herald 33(8): 4.

17 February 2014

A Sporting Country - Fort Snelling

Fort Snelling is a military post of the U. States in the territory of Iowa, situated at the foot of the Falls of St. Anthony, on the majestic Mississippi, just where it receives the tribute of the river St. Peters, in the latitude of 45, as far north as Passamaquoddy, on the Atlantic, and about 16 degrees longitude west of Washington. Of this out-of-the-way corner of the country, in the midst of the Indians, some of our readers have never heard, and probably but few have any definite idea of its adaptation to the purposes of civilized society. The following extract of a letter from a gentleman residing on the spot, to a friend here, gives, in a very few touches, a picture of this wild country that will charm the heart of the sportsman:

"In shooting I quite distinguished myself last summer. I must tell you the quantity of game I killed during the hunting season: 300 ducks (mallard, red, black, &c.) 266 grouse, about 360 pigeons, besides woodcock, plover, snipe, quail, pheasants, and various other birds. I have but one pointer dog, but next summer I shall have four, having three others in training. I also caught 156 fine brook trout, and a few bass, pike, &c.
"We have had several Indian battles since we have been here. The last one was between the Chippewas and the Sioux. The former, 150 in number, attacked the Sioux while the latter were in a drunken frolic. The Sioux fought bravely, and drove the Chippewas from their ground, and killed 5. The Sioux lost 14. They rushed madly into the battle, with nothing but a small knife or club, and in that way killed 5 of their enemies, whom they cut in piecemeal. The troops at the post were ordered out to prevent further shedding of blood. So you see that we have sports of all kinds and to suit all tastes."
April 27, 1843. A sporting country. Pittsfield Sun 43(2223): 1.

Letter From Eastern Nebraska

Forest City, N.T., Oct. 24, 1865.

Dear Sir: — According to promise, I now proceed to give you as true a description of this country, as my limited knowledge will allow.

Omaha, the Capital of Nebraska, is located on the West bank of the upper Missouri river, and on the edge of a very extensive prairie. It is rather a pleasant place, and improving rapidly. The soil in this section is of the very best quality, and needs only to be broken up to be ready to yield the richest harvests of corn and wheat, (the staples.) Sorgum also grow luxuriantly, and the raising of which is very profitable. For stock raising, this country stands pre-eminent among all the States and surrounding territories. Fruit also grows to great perfection, and if farmers are without it, they must blame themselves alone for a lack of this desirable portion of the "staff of life," for surely nature will do its part.

This prairie is some six hundred miles in length and about one hundred and fifty wide. Timber is plenty along the streams, and a fine bed of coal underlies the whole; but the coal lies at a depth of from eighty to one hundred and forty feet below the surface. It is, however, of good quality. The entire country is nearly level, — just sufficient fall for thorough draining, should draining be necessary; but the greater portion of land is dry enough without drainage. Frosts hardly ever occur in this territory earlier than the 15th or 20th of October.

Taken, "all in all," I think that the farmer who would remain in Clearfield county, and resign himself to the fate of having sore chins and bruised heels, only for the sake of having plenty of stumps and stones for his pains, when he could better his condition so much by coming here, deserve to eke out his life under the weight of debts and poverty, that are usually his lot. As, to sickness, there is not near so much here, as in the more healthy parts of Pennsylvania.

Game, such as Antelope, Squirrel, and Prairie Chicken, is plenty. In a short tramp over the prairie, several days since, I succeeded in bagging a fine lot of the two latter.

I will now close this epistle, with the promise of another as soon as I can find time to do so, and gain information of sufficient interest as to warrant my writing.

A Pilgrim.
November 15, 1865. Letter from Nebraska. Raftsman's Journal 12(10): 1.

California Ducks and Geese

A correspondent of the San Francisco Bulletin, writing from Santa Barbara, October 26th, says:

The first week of October brought an early flock of geese from the north, which in a few days aggregated to thousands, and the plains near Santa Barbara and in the Saticoy Valley now afford abundant amusement to the sportsman. Ducks come in with gees, and fine fun is the killing of water fowl when they turn out in such plump condition as is the case this year. There are not less than four distinct species of Anser or white geese and five species of Bernicla or brandt — that is, brown geese — found within the borders of the State of California, making nine varieties of wild geese for the hunter and gourmand, which ceases to cause surprise that such a number of simple-minded people should be found in this country. To this may be added twenty-seven species of ducks and teal, among which is the genuine canvas back and a species of Eider in the far north — the teals being nearly one-half, and among the best articles of feathered food, and the delight of the fowler and sportsman. There are also two noble species of Cygnus or swans, which weigh from twenty to thirty pounds, and are among the most beautiful birds in the world, particularly the C. Buccenator [sic.] or trumpeter swan — an immense and magnificent creature of unsullied white, with a stretch of wings measuring sixty inches, or five feet. One of the most charming subjects in California nature is a flock of these long-necked trumpeters and their fellows — the C. Americanus — sailing over the surface of the lakes and ponds, and generally attended by the white pelican. In the Tulare lakes they may be seen some years by thousands, and they make excellent eating. The Californians call them burros or jackasses, from the music they keep up of early mornings. Nearly all these swans, geese and ducks range from the Arctic shores to the valley of Mexico, breeding in the numberless lakes of the great Cordilleras to the north, and emigrating in the fall months southward, returning in Spring and early Summer to "the haunts of their youth." On some calm, clear day they may be seen going south all day long in innumerable bands, darkening the air, in regiments and armies, each with their captains or chiefs in advance, while the flanks are kept up in the line by his aides and assistants. If a "gone goose" lags much behind he is soon lost to the troop and sets up an unearthly noise and cackle, flying about in confusing circles, till haply he sights his comrades, when the corporals and sergeants will set on him and drive him into the line with vehement spitefulness. White and brant geese all herd together at times, and are known among naturalists as Anser Hyperboricus, A. Gambelli, A. Frontalis, and A. Canigleus; while the brants are known as Bernicla Canadensis, B. Leucopareta, B. Hutchinsii, B. Brenta and B. Nigricans. The names of the twenty-seven kinds of ducks would make too much hard Latin for the crowded columns of the Bulletin, and particularly as some of them are not much larger than a quail. It is not to be understood that all these species of Anser are found in every flock of geese. This is only very rarely the case in certain districts, but four or five species may often be found feeding together, and this is the case also with duck and teal.

November 3, 1866. Sacramento Daily Union 32(4868): 2.

Ducks, Geese, Etc., of California

A correspondent of the Union, writing from Monterey, November 14th, desires to correct some errors of a correspondent of the San Francisco Bulletin in this connection. He says:

We have in California, from Shasta or Bodega to San Diego, the following birds of the swan, goose and duck families: Of the two species of swan the most common is the cygnus buccinator, or trumpeter swan, but this is almost always seen in small flocks, high in the air. When they are at rest the hunter will not often see more than two, six or eight together. The flesh of the trumpeter swan is very delicious, and is only equaled by that of the finest and fattest of California quails. The American swan, C. Americanus, is extremely rare on this coast; so much so that during a resident in California of twelve years, from Los Angeles to Shasta, and always observing and collecting objects of natural history, I have never seen one. The swan is never accompanied by pelicans, nor by any other bird. It always maintains a dignified and retired exclusiveness, as though conscious of its peerless and queenly beauty. Of the geese we have Anser hyperboreus, or small snow-white goose, with the tips of the wings black, and A. gambellii, or white-fronted goose, Bernicla Canadensis, or Canada Goose; B. Hutchinsii, or small Canada goose, and B. nigricans, or black brant, and this latter, and not the swan, is the "burro" or "jackass" of the Spanish Californians. We have, then, only five species of geese in California that are known with certainty to have been found here. Of the other species mentioned by the Santa Barbara correspondent, Anser frontalis is not found on the Pacific coast; Bernicla Cucopareia is a doubtful species and is only found from Oregon northwardly. B. brenta, the true brant, is only found on the Atlantic coast, and Chloephaga canagica (or Anser canagicus) is only found at the Aleutian Islands and the extreme northwest.

Of the ducks, there are found about twenty-three species, instead of twenty-seven; the most of them abundant, but some of them rarely seen — two or three species of geese are frequently seen together — and so also of the ducks; but the different species generally keep separate when flying. All that about "their corporals and sergeants" is entirely imaginary. My authority in matters of ornithology is Professor Baird's Birds of North America, the facts and statements of which excellent work have always been found truthful and reliable, I believe, by those who are familiar with our birds.

November 21, 1866. Sacramento Daily Union 32(4883): 2.

A Place for Hunters - Reel Foot Lake

The Nashville Press and Times tells the following;

Persons recently from Reel Foot Lake, in Obion county, West Tennessee, inform us that the assemblage of water fowls at that place is truly marvelous. Several years ago a large and well timbered region, some seven miles long suddenly sank during an earthquake, and the basin immediately filled up with water, forming the present Reel Foot Lake. Almost every species of aquatic bird, great and small, from the tiniest plover to the stately swan, now frequent the spot. Canvas back ducks dance on its surface like great fleets of Lilluptian vessels, wild geese sound their trumpet calls on all sounds, and tall cranes wade lazily about in regiments in search of food. Brants, cormorants, teals, mallards, di-dappers, and snipes darken the air at times with the sweep of their may colored wings. Not unfrequently a magnificent swan, robed in plumes of spotless purity, the very poetry of the wave, floats by the delighted sportsman, and too often falls the victim of his fowling piece. The traffic in these birds is becoming quite an item, and large numbers of them are shipped to Memphis. There is probably not a more attractive spot for fisherman or huntsman in the whole country.

December 29, 1866. A place for hunters. Philadelphia Daily Evening Bulletin 20(226): 3.

Frustrating Bold Attempt of Eagle to Carry Off a Boy

On last Thursday morning John Abernathy brought a monster eagle into town, which he had killed on his place, four miles from Forsyth, the day previous. He had gone to a field to work, carrying his little son, two and a half years of age, with him. It happened that he had his shotgun in his hands, thinking that we would need it to kill game. Suddenly he heard a sound in the air, which he describes as equal to the roaring of the wind, and saw a large shadow on the ground. Looking up he saw a huge bird swooping down upon his son. As quick as possible he raised his gun and fired and was fortunate enough to bring the eagle to the ground.

He picked him up and started homeward, carrying the bird on his shoulder. Suddenly the eagle buried his talons in his right arm, and seized his left with his beak. Mr. Abernathy called for help and his neighbors, four in number came to his assistance. It required their united efforts to release the bird from his firm hold. When relieved he found that his arm was badly lacerated, the flesh being torn from the bone in several places. The beak was sunk to the bone in the right hand. The eagle measured seven feet four inches from tip to tip, and weighed seventeen and one-half pounds. He was never seen in the neighborhood before, and it is probable he strayed from the coast. Mr. Abernathy says his strength was prodigious. He would readily have carried off the little boy had it not been that his father was fortunately armed with a gun.

November 8, 1881. Atlanta Weekly Constitution 14(n.a.): 4. Text from: November 26, 1881. Frustrating the bold attempt of a bird to carry off a boy. Memphis Public Ledger 33(75): 2 as from the Monroe (Ga.) Advertiser.

Acclimating Game in America

Some of our rich sporting men are trying to naturalize foreign game birds and animals in this country. Masseni quail and English pheasants have been tried; but our winters proved too severe for them. At Jobstown, N.J., Mr. Pierre Lorillard and other gentlemen claim they have successfully acclimated the English partridge and the French red-legged partridge. Mr. Lorillard has also brought east large flocks of prairie-chickens from the west. These ought to do well, for they were very common in New Jersey over 100 years ago. This fine bird is soon to be acclimated if possible in England and on the continent. Thousands of our quail are being sent abroad to see if they will not thrive in the old world.

Among those that are interested in introducing English game in America are Mr. Garrett Roach, pheasants and partridges on Long Island; Mr. Richard Muser, pheasant and partridges in New York state; Dr. Al. Watts, of Boston, Mr. Rutherford Stuyvesant, pheasants and partridges on his large preserve at Allamuchy, Warren county, N.J.; Mr. A.E. Godaffroy and Mr. E. Plock, hares, rabbits, pheasants and partridges, in Orange county, N.Y.; Mr. B.W. Pickard, English roe deer and partridges in the Adirondack region; Mr. H.R. Sterling, partridges and pheasants, in northern New Jersey, and the sporting club on Fisher's Island, Long Island sound, partridges and pheasants.

It is curious to note that as our country becomes settled, additional efforts are making to preserve and multiply game birds and animals. Sporting clubs are organized for the purpose of buying up shooting grounds, so as to check the depredations of the pot hunter. We have a great deal of land in this country, some swampy and the rest hilly and broken, that can be put to no better use than being turned into preserves for the protection of game.

April 8, 1885. Highland Weekly News 49(2): 4. From Demorest's Monthly.

After Prairie Chickens - Hunting in Illinois

The Hunters' Keen-scented Dogs - A Sportsman's Outfit - How the Birds are Found and Killed.

A Chicago letter says that a glance, almost any day, into the baggage cars of the trains leaving the city for the West and South will reveal an unusual sight. In addition to the piles of trunks, empty milk cans, and the usual promiscuous heaps of all kinds of luggage, anywhere from six to two dozen dogs of various sizes and colors may be seen securely chained in different parts of the car. They may be chained singly, in pairs, and sometimes in double pairs; but the different groups are kept carefully apart and out of each others reach. The reason is that they are apt to be belligerent and are extremely valuable, and a "scrapping match" of even short duration might result in the destruction of serious damage of several hundred dollars' worth of property of a kind not easily replaced, and the delay of a hunting trip just begun. The secret is out. They are hunting dogs and their owners are starting out for the corn fields and grain stubbles in search of prairie chickens. Contrary to what one would naturally expect, the dogs are far from being plump and sleek after the manner of well fed and comfortably housed pets. In fact, they are quite the reverse, and, as a rule, are lean and gaunt, although clean and sound of limb. They are kept thin on purpose, that they may work easily and without fatigue, and are trained with all the care bestowed upon a champion in the ring. Few of them are valued at less than $150, and a check for ten times that amount would not buy a number in the car. Born with the instincts of the hunting dog of pure pedigree, they have been as carefully trained as children, and at a large expense, by their owners or by professional trainers, who make a handsome living at the business. The ordinary pup is worth from $50 to $250, according to the size, color, disposition and pedigree, and his training costs from $50 to $100. If well treated and intelligently handled the trained dog is a miracle of docility and intelligence, and the hunter's bag would be woefully small without his aid.

In the smoking car will be found the hunters themselves. While their costumes are much alike, the similarity ends with their clothes and outfits. A dozen or more conditions of life and business interests are represented by the group. The chicken shooting in Iowa, Minnesota and the West is generally poor this year, and the hunters as a rule have obtained most of their sport in Illinois and Indiana. These men are bound for the central and southern parts of Illinois, and the rich corn and grain fields of the Prairie State. The outfit of each is quite similar, varying only in quality and completeness. It may be briefly enumerated as follows: A dog or two, a gun, a "shell-box" filled with loaded cartridges, rubber or leather hip-boots, a pair of lighter shoes or boots, stout breeches, hunting-coat and cap, rubber coat and game-bag. The coat is the most remarkable part of the costume. It resembles the Irish-man's cannon, which was built around a big hole, in that it appears to be constructed around innumerable pockets. It is made of stout canvas, the color of dried reeds or an oat stubble. The hip-boots are for use in the morning when the dew lies heavy on the fields and for wading in the marshy bits. In the afternoon in dry weather the lighter shoes or boots may be used. In the pockets of the coat are a short rawhide whip and a silver whistle, articles of whose use the dog is well aware. the prairie chicken is an accommodating bird, and may be hunted in pleasant weather; and this fact may partially account for the ardor with which it is pursued. Chicken-shooting, however, is a fascinating sport in itself, the game being wary, strong of wing, and extremely palatable. Daylight finds the hunters — for they generally, like their dogs, hunt in pairs — leaving the farm-house where they have passed the night. At the word of command the dogs leap into the wagon, and a few moments' drive brings the hunters to a "likely field." The hunters alight, slip a cartridge into each barrel of their guns, and turn into the field. The dogs are eager for the sport to begin, and at the words "Hunt 'em up," and a wave of the hand, spring out into the stubble at full speed, one hunter and one dog to each side of the field. The dogs work from the edge of the field to the centre, cross, keep on to the outer edge, return, and cross again, covering the field in every-varying and irregular circles. Now and then one pauses and snuffs the wind blowing down the field, or turns quickly aside from his course and follows up for a few yards an old scent in the hope of finding it grow stronger. Suddenly one of them running at full speed in long, elastic bounds, with ear and tail waving as he leaps, falls, flat as if paralyzed and remains motionless as a stone. Quick as is the movement, the other dog has also crouched and is pointing at the first dog, "backing him up" with implicit confidence, though the scent may not have reached his keen nostrils. Then the sagacious animals turn their heads and look back at their masters with intelligent eyes, as if he says, "Hurry up; here they are!" The men move rapidly and noiselessly up to the first dog. the intelligent animal, who has not moved a muscle, except to turn his head and look back, rises slowly and crouchingly to his feet, and with nose extended steals slowly forward, intelligence and wary caution expressed in every movement of his eloquent body. His feet are lifted and put down like paws of velvet, and his progress is noiseless and as true as the needle to the pole. The hunters follow carefully close behind, guns cocked and ready for use.

Down goes the dog as though shot dead, and this time he does not dare to look back, the tremor of his body giving warning that he can go no further without walking into the covey. The men take one, two steps — whiz, whirr — three birds rise, two to the left, one to the right! Bang! bang! bang! The man on the right kills his bird, the man on the left wills with his first barrel and misses with his second barrel. Neither hunters nor dog stir a step. The left-hand man breaks his gun, draws out the discharged shells and slips fresh ones into their places. While he is loading, up rises a fourth chicken, this time to the left. The right-hand man knocks it over, and at the discharge of his gun the chickens rise on all sides. The left-hand man gets in both barrels and knocks down two birds. They reload, and the dog is told to "hunt 'em up." If the birds are plenty and the stubbles in good condition, the chances are that a covey will be found in each stubble-field. Hunters often "draw a blank," as they term it, and sometimes two coveys are found in one field. The coveys vary widely in size; sometimes as many as thirty of forty birds are found together and sometimes an old cock is found alone with a field all to himself. The chickens in different coveys also behave differently. At times they will get up singly, and in such a case two shooters will get nearly the whole covey. At other times the whole covey will rise together, and it needs quick and skillful shooting to make each of the four barrels count. If the country and flight of the birds allow, it is sometimes possible to "mark a covey" and follow them from field to field, unless they fly into the corn, when pursuit is hopeless.

December 2, 1885. After prairie chickens. How the wild birds are hunted in Illinois. The hunters' keen-scented dogs - a sportsman's outfit - how the birds are found and killed. Forest Republican 18(33): 1.

Hundred Instances of Trash Pickup About Omaha

While birding among many sorts of urban Omaha environs, sometimes an alternative purpose got more attention, because there was an unwanted feature among the places where the birds occurred. Since trash is an unwanted, unsightly scourge, on multiple instances time was taken to pickup the debris, a piece at a time. This might have included focus on removing items from Happy Hollow Creek or Wood Creek in eastern Omaha, which is an especially messy effort because of the association of water and mud, often with tepid steps on unstable tree debris to reach a place where the trash could be reached for removal. On days of this sort, the garb worn was immediately thrown into the washing machine upon getting back to the house.

It seemed rather apropos that the 100th instance occurred at such a significant place, associated with so many visits. A plastic trash can at the Northwest Pond, was moved from the interior extent of the space to the curbside. It wouldn't fit over an area sign, in an attempt to indicate something. A short distance to the south, a big pile of tires still needs to be removed from the western extent of Levi Carter Park, for instance. It was described to the park man ten days ago.

The park caretaker is undeniably attentive to the ongoing trashing, destruction, vandalism and disregard that occurs weekly at Levi Carter Park. As a result of many discussions, his intent is to have a clean park, yet, the community makes it difficult.

These are the hundred records of remembered instances when trash was removed from community spaces.

  1. Northwest Pond Natural Wildlife Area; 02/13/2014; removed a big bag of trash during winter walk-about, which included some plastic bags, asphalt roof shingles; effort done done because there was a big, empty dog food bag in which to stuff things; results weredeposited in a nearby park trash barrel; there was also a thought that if birders from Lincoln came to the park, as scheduled for Sunday (the 17th), they could enjoy the wild birds rather than looking as the unwanted trash. Of course, the group did not visit this place, the only specifically designated natural area in the entire park. Its obvious that they were not aware of this space to enjoy.

    It's hard to keep this place clean because of the adjacent Omaha Paper Stock business which can't keep their products upon their property. A significant extent of trash, including plastic bags, etc., is carried by winds to adjacent places, including onto places northwest of Levi Carter Park.
  2. Browne Street Woods; 12/03/2013; a few items of debris added to trash from the pond
  3. Northwest Pond Natural Wildlife Area; 12/03/2013; one well-stuffed small plastic bag of trash removed, along with a piece of a plastic crate
  4. Northwest Pond Natural Wildlife Area; 11/20/2013; during first a.m. at just this site for grass seed spreading; personally for cleanup purposes, like concrete blocks; bunch of trash removed; additional work by Public Works employees; story and pictures at Wildbirds Broadcasting; 3 errant cedars pulled
  5. Northwest Pond Natural Wildlife Area; 11/18/2013; one plastic bag of trash and three miscellaneous items removed and placed at the nearby curb place for removal
  6. Levi Carter Pond; 04/24/2013; removed trash from northern extent of tree line which was then placed in a pile along adjacent street
  7. Northwest Pond Natural Wildlife Area; 04/24/2013; removed trash from water and pulled three errant cedar trees
  8. Northwest Pond Natural Wildlife Area; 04/13/2013; picked up trash about this place and heard this bird
  9. Levi Carter Park; 04/13/2013; at the park environs from 6:45 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., with most of the later time spent picking up trash in association with community effort
  10. Carthage; 01/02/2013; during an 8:15 a.m. walk northward, with some sidewalks icy; after placing trash and recyclables at the curb for the days' pickup
  11. Northwest Pond Natural Wildlife Area; 11/30/2012; plastic bag of trash and three larger pieces of plastic that were removed with specific intent
  12. Happy Hollow Creek; 11/25/2012; removed about ten pink marker flags from west side of creek, remaining from summer project, but now trash
  13. South Grove, Wood Creek; 11/25/2012; removed a couple of errant plastic bags, which were trash
  14. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 11/25/2012; near bridge west of grotto; removed construction laths, now trash from former botany spring area
  15. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 11/25/2012; removed a good-sized plastic bag stuffed with plastic bottle trash from creek near Wood Duck point, eastward of the drained pond
  16. Happy Hollow Creek; 10/31/2012; removed two small plastic bags of trash and eight old, pink marker flags
  17. Levi Carter Park; 10/21/2012; on a tree on the west side; several big items of trash nearby were taken to the trash cans, including a drawer, two pallets, a blanket, carpet remnants and a seat from the west side of the meadow
  18. Northwest Pond Natural Wildlife Area; 10/15/2012; removed a tire, seven pieces of larger plastic items, and several smaller items of trash
  19. Levi Carter Park; 10/15/2012; at southwest meadow; one bag of trash removed
  20. Northwest Pond Natural Wildlife Area; 10/10/2012; removed one plastic bag of trash while doing afternoon bird survey
  21. Northwest Pond Natural Wildlife Area; 09/30/2012; removed large piece of carpet and some pieces of trash
  22. Northwest Pond Natural Wildlife Area; 09/23/2012; removed tire and pallet trash before returning focus to birding
  23. Izard Industrial Zone; 09/22/2012; a fine evening at the CenturyLink building chimney; picked up a bunch of trash along street on the way back to the residence; especially westward of Radial Highway; it will look better in the morning
  24. Wood Creek Pond; 07/14/2012; noted before pulling trash from creek nearby at Wood Duck Point; three lumber pieces and plastic bag two-thirds full
  25. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 07/14/2012; nest noted under bridge while removing trash in vicinity; plastic bag 2/3 full and three lumber pieces
  26. Elmwood Park Meadow; 07/14/2012; seen while walking to undertake more trash removal - focused on the creek where no one else went - as a park volunteer; had to deal with no trash bags on VIP trailer
  27. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 03/14/2012; picked up can trash nearby
  28. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 03/14/2012; birds' expression enjoyed while picking up beer can trash at the bridge near the mosquito box
  29. Levi Carter Park; 01/18/2012; piled up some unremoved trash in northwest corner of Levi Carter Park, east of the railroad tracks and pic sent to Parks department and Omaha mayor
  30. Spring Lake Park; 01/10/2012; picked up one stuffed plastic bag of trash; also took away other errant trashy items, including a thrown-away cell phone, around the big flowing spring; some plastic bags gone; results place by swimming pool building as no other trash cans about
  31. Elmwood Park Ravine; 05/20/2011; picked up one more than full plastic grocery bag of trash; from one spot
  32. Elmwood Park Ravine; 01/05/2011; a bit of trash picked up
  33. Elmwood Park Ravine; 10/17/2010; one bag of trash removed from tree-limb fort just north of tree trunk crossing; branches were torn asunder, and trash gathered; a campfire was ready to ignite, with paper to start the flame, and tinder in a proper place
  34. Elmwood Park Ravine; 04/24/2010; heard while removing one small plastic bag of trash
  35. Elmwood Park Ravine; 04/17/2010; bird heard at construct site while removing trash and associated debris
  36. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 04/14/2010; removed four bags of trash, mostly gathered plastic bottles, plus one pallet where thrasher seen, and tore down one limb fort
  37. Elmwood Park Ravine; 04/14/2010; two bags of trash removed; plus one bag of trash including thrown about beer bottles, 1 long 2x4 and one shovel head removed from construct
  38. Happy Hollow Creek; 04/11/2010; one plastic bag of trash removed
  39. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 04/11/2010; one plastic bag of trash removed, mostly plastic bottles
  40. Elmwood Park Ravine; 04/11/2010; one plastic bag of trash, 4 16' 2x4s and 2 12' 2x4s, a hand saw and three foot long axe removed; construct material thrown over swimming pool fence
  41. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 04/05/2010; a pair on the creek bank; while Ralph, park worker, and I removed trash that filled a 55 gallon contained 1/2 full from creek just east of grotto, by street underpass; got the flow going much better by throwing out a bunck of limbs, and a four foot 2x4
  42. Fairacres; 04/03/2010; vultures soaring above the tree roost to the west in the evening; at Memorial Park, removed seven notecards from trees in east park (F5 on one) and three dog-missing signs taped to posts, with all thrown into the trash
  43. Elmwood Park Ravine; 04/03/2010; new tree swing mostly cut off and all but one wood steps nailed to tree removed and placed in almost filled trash receptacle near the swimming pool; tree with rope swing cut off on 31 March 2010 had fallen down and into the creek
  44. Happy Hollow Creek; 04/02/2010; a pair of wood ducks noted along the creek after removing one bag of trash, mostly plastic bottles that had already been thrown on the bank yesterday during flow improvement interlude, and three shoes, each different, including a youth size
  45. Wood Creek, Memorial Park; 04/02/2010; two pairs of wood ducks at pool just south of Underwood Ave. scared away upon arrival to pickup trash, with one stuffed plastic bag of mostly plastic sacks, was picked up and removed because of expected rain which would wash the stuff further downstream
  46. Elmwood Park Ravine; 03/31/2010; removed one bag of miscellaneous trash; cut down reachable portion of rope swing after picking up trash at the party place, partially demolished a new fort that has been built
  47. Wood Creek, Memorial Park; 03/31/2010; removed one bag of trash, mostly plastic, including several bottles from within the creek
  48. Elmwood Park Ravine; 03/18/2010; one big plastic bag of trash removed
  49. Happy Hollow Creek; 03/18/2010; one small plastic bag of trash removed, mostly plastic taken from creek, with flow work also done
  50. Elmwood Park Ravine; 12/05/2009; removed one small plastic bag of trash
  51. Happy Hollow Creek; 12/05/2009; removed one large plastic bag of trash from in and along the creek at several places especially
  52. Happy Hollow Creek; 12/01/2009; one stuffed small plastic bag of trash removed
  53. Wood Creek, Memorial Park; 12/01/2009; one well filled bag of trash removed
  54. Elmwood Park Ravine; 12/01/2009; one stuffed bag of trash removed
  55. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 12/01/2009; six grocery-sized plastic bags of trash removed, including on south side of creek; had to empty it three times at one area in order to get it all removed; also collapsed a hut of limbs where beer bottles were present
  56. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 11/27/2009; one well-stuffed small plastic bag of trash removed
  57. Shadow Lake, Elmwood Park; 11/27/2009; picked up a bag of trash after noting small plastic bag flapping in the wind and snagging it to use as a receptacle for unwanted stuff that ended up in the trash can
  58. Elmwood Park Ravine; 11/27/2009; removed one small plastic bag of trash; threw out some apple pieces
  59. Shadow Lake, Elmwood Park; 11/22/2009; well-filled small plastic bag of trash removed down the creek, especially from the grotto to the bridge
  60. Elmwood Park Ravine; 11/22/2009; heard; removed one small plastic bag stuffed with trash and one big traffic cone from the creek waters
  61. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 11/21/2009; removed one small plastic bag of trash, and a few other items that would not fit
  62. Elmwood Park Ravine; 11/13/2009; visit during 1 p.m. hour; a few pieces of trash picked up
  63. Elmwood Park Ravine; 11/01/2009; picked up small plastic bag of trash
  64. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 11/01/2009; removed a small plastic bag of creek-side trash
  65. Shadow Lake, Elmwood Park; 11/01/2009; removed plastic bag a bit bigger than grocery size of trash, plus an additional beer box of bottles and other miscellany that would fit
  66. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 08/03/2009; at bridge, while removing trash: three Sunday newspapers in plastic bags in creek, which were promptly thrown into a trash container
  67. Happy Hollow Creek; 07/25/2009; removed small plastic bag of trash
  68. Happy Hollow Creek; 07/14/2009; a handful of trash items removed
  69. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 06/13/2009; heard while removing three plastic bags of trash, plus errant lumber, from the creek on organized park cleanup day
  70. Elmwood Park Ravine; 06/12/2009; trash removed was two six packs of beer bottles, and paper sack
  71. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 06/04/2009; picked up plastic grocery bag of trash
  72. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 05/30/2009; picked up from along the creek a plastic grocery bag of trash that was well stuffed and removed from the creek and adjacent flow-way
  73. Happy Hollow Creek; 05/30/2009; removed a hefty plastic grocery bag of trash, mostly plastic, taken mostly from the creek
  74. South Grove, Wood Creek; 05/30/2009; removed a stuffed grocery-sized bag of trash, plus a couple of bigger pieces of plastic that would not fit within
  75. Elmwood Park Ravine; 05/25/2009; heard while picking up a large trash bag of litter from in the creek
  76. Elmwood Park Pines; 05/02/2009; heard while cleaning up a plastic grocery bag of trash along the needless roadway
  77. Elmwood Park Ravine; 04/25/2009; picked up a grocery-sized plastic bag of trash
  78. Happy Hollow Creek; 04/19/2009; cut down two errant cedar trees and picked up a few pieces of trash
  79. Elmwood Park Ravine; 04/17/2009; removed a small bag of trash; also some roadside bits picked up later from the pine grove to the west
  80. Shadow Lake, Elmwood Park; 04/17/2009; removed a small plastic bag of trash, including plastic bags from wetland
  81. Elmwood Park Ravine; 04/11/2009; removed limbs, wood and trash from the creek east of the swimming pool; done to rid wates of trash and limbs to restore a better water flow
  82. Botany Spring, Wood Creek; 04/09/2009; barely noticed while getting trash picked up
  83. Botany Spring, Wood Creek; 04/08/2009; noted while cleaning trash for picture of phoebe neighbourhood at the bridge across the flowing waters
  84. Botany Spring, Wood Creek; 04/08/2009; while picking up trash for phoebe picture
  85. Shadow Lake, Elmwood Park; 03/29/2009; flushed while removing a bag of trash from south end to south point of the lake vicinity
  86. Elmwood Park Ravine; 03/15/2009; heard during hour picking up trash along street on the west side
  87. Shadow Lake, Elmwood Park; 12/11/2008; cleaned up one plastic grocery bag of trash
  88. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 12/11/2008; cleaned up three grocery bags of trash while going along; also removed one errant cooler
  89. Elmwood Park Ravine; 12/11/2008; cleaned up four grocery bags of trash, plus a plastic bucket full and a thrown-away auto console
  90. Happy Hollow Creek; 12/11/2008; cleaned up two grocery bags of trash, including trash from sunken gardens
  91. Happy Hollow Creek; 11/27/2008; seen twice during a two-hour trash cleanup, including getting plastic out of the creek
  92. Shadow Lake, Elmwood Park; 11/23/2008; heard while removing trash bag of last weekend, remaining due to bag that ripped and thus prevented removal
  93. Elmwood Park Ravine; 11/23/2008; they were bathing, while my time was birding and gathering a hefty bag of trash
  94. Happy Hollow Creek; 11/23/2008; picked up relicts of trash on the west side, left from events of last weekend
  95. Wood Creek, Elmwood Park; 11/23/2008; heard while removing some trash
  96. Memorial Park; 11/16/2008; mostly picked up a large bag of trash
  97. Shadow Lake, Elmwood Park; 04/19/2008; during trash cleanup endeavours by community activists
  98. Elmwood Park Ravine; 04/19/2008; heard while clearing trash on the day of Omaha's Earth day celebration
  99. Shadow Lake, Elmwood Park; 12/03/2005; winter wren heard while doing video, moving some trash items to under the pedestrian bridge
  100. Spring Lake Park; 11/10/2003; moved out eight tires, seven bags of trash and other items

There may have been other incidental occurrences of this sort, but they were likely lesser efforts not specifically noted in any regard.

There will perhaps be additional occurrences of this sort to to continue my personal work, and that is what it takes to have a clean environment, so that the some Omaha urban spaces have a lesser extent of trash.

03 February 2014

Record Status of Ancient Avifauna Database

Additional records are still being added to the ancient avifauna database because of research at Criss Library at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Efforts continue to focus upon searching the variety of online historic newspapers, locating a pertinent article, and then printing it nearby the cubicle of the day. New website options and search methods have also meant a repeat of searches within known record sources, especially since it's now easier to evaluate, to an extent, whether found content is relevant or can be ignored.

Numerous unique records have been recently added that indicate significant details on occurrence and distribution of many species. Articles with interesting anecdotes pertaining to the history of ornithology have been documented. Key details embedded within this one-of-a-kind database as of the end of January include:

  • more than 148,045 distinct occurrence records for more than 1700 species, according to International Ornithological Council taxonomy of 2013, and from Canada, all of the continental states, including the District of Columbia, along with Mexico and southward to the Panama Canal;
  • a bibliography of 8215 items, with more than 500 newspaper articles or poems now posted online in their entirety;
  • items from at least 900 different newspapers, which have, thus far, contributed more than 5,300 records, primarily from the continental United States; and
  • 14,412 sites, though not all are distinct since some sites are repeated to allow a comparison of temporal differences.

These are the top-ten years for which records are currently available:

» 1882: 5547 records
» 1881: 5192
» 1883: 5144
» 1878: 4757
» 1880: 4659
» 1884: 4644
» 1875: 4330
» 1877: 4141
» 1876: 4036
» 1868: 3819

There are also more than 14,000 items in the game market prices datatable. Each item is separately documented. Additional details for this distinctive aspect of bird history are pending further research.

It is astounding to realize the extensive results of this endeavor. Years ago there was a sense that the records available at some particular time was the culmination of what could be achieved. This perspective quickly changed. In January 2008, the record count was about 25,000, which was supposedly thought to be significant at that time. By September of the same year, the tally was 50,000. The number of records continued to steadily increase, by increments of one record at a time, individually considered and documented. The tally was 75,000 records in February 2009, with 100,000 by November. It was 125,000 distinctive records in January, 2011 when there were only 3,000 items in the bibliography.

The focus on newspaper sources blossomed started in March, 2012 after an initial review of online sources. The bibliography was up to about 4,000. By June, 1000 newspaper articles had been found and dealt with in a documentary manner. By August of 2012, the tally was 2,000.

This quest continues unabated, thou sometimes stymied. There are still other records to be found from sources still unknown that will contribute to the tally of what could readily be 150,000 records. The effort will never be completed because there is no single-source to evaluate any record. It is rather a disparate bunch of stuff which does not allow comparison, evaluation and contribution. The wonderful variety of records associated with historic ornithology has not yet been embraced in an inclusive manner. Only through a cooperative effort will the vibrant old-time history of northern American birds be realized to its truest extent, with appreciation for every contributor.

Family contributions of some dollars have been essential to deal with project expenses, essentially to ensure having photocopies. The cost for printing at UNO recently increased to 7 cents per page from 5 cents, dramatically decreasing the value of a dollar.

The extent of boxes in the basement with copies continues to increase.

Others of the clan have helped with funds to get notebooks and sheet protectors to organize copies with a similar topic. Pencils have also been bought. This is a digital-based effort, but it could not have been done without a sharp-tipped pencil to indicate one-at-a-time, particulars upon a piece of paper. These are the details so essential to documenting the history of wildbirds in northern America.

Historic Trumpeter Swan Records from Oldtime Newspapers

Historic newspapers are chronicles of past times in many ways, and this includes notes or articles which mention a variety of different wildbirds, including swans. Notable among these accounts is a mention of the Trumpeter Swan, especially obvious because of their large size and being an unusual occurrence. When a bird of their size occurred and was seen, there may have been a note on a page of the local newspaper. Typically the account conveyed that the bird(s) were shot and killed by someone at a particular place.

During past times while researching the occurrence and distribution of birds in northern America prior to ca. 1885, a multitude of records have been gathered and compiled for all species, including swans. Published accounts were evaluated first, and newly available online resources have increased the extent of material available for review, especially from newspapers.

Especially valuable sources for past times have been digital versions of newspapers. The sources reviewed, include: 1). Chronicling America, as provided by the Library of Congress; 2). Elephind.com, which does not have its own unique content, but is a "search engine" for multiple online resources (i.e., California Digital Newspaper Collection; Door County newspapers; and, Pennsylvania newspapers, etc.), and is especially valuable because it provides a "textual content" helpful in determining whether or not to look further at the linked resource; 3). a personal endeavor based in New York state (fultonhistory.com) which has an immense number of searchable pages, mostly for this state; though it lacks some essential search options, it is still valuable because of the extent of its content; and 4). state initiatives such as Missouri and Pennsylvania. There are other sources of this sort to consider to a greater of lesser extent. Freely available sites obviously are preferable. The fee-based services have not been given any consideration. Most of the available sites worth considering can be found through the web-search "online historic newspapers."

Finding Swan Records of Past Times

All of online material is obviously in a digital format, and typically a portable document format which is a scanned image that has gone through a process of character recognition. Results convey a great lack of textual clarity in the computer interpretation of letters shown on the old pages, since many of them are a second-generation source, having been scanned from microfilm.

Despite the limitations, swan occurrences readily found were the result of text searches, simply because it would be impossible to review every page of every newspaper now available online. Especially useful search options were the phrase "white swan" or a proximity search using "tip to tip" and swan in combination. The latter option is especially significant in that many of the notations indicate the wing-span of the swan. This feature is also very useful in evaluating if the species being referred to was a trumpeter or a tundra swan. Trumpeter was the least useful word.

Once a record was located, the account was printed and key bibliographic details noted. The details were then entered into a relational database with a strict requirement for consistency and thoroughness. There are three entries for each record: 1). source details indicating a citation and source particulars, including date of issue ; 2). site details designated as a distinct geographic locale, if needed; and 3). specifics of the report, which is usually a summary of the article.

Four Decades of Newspaper Records

A first record for this evaluation is from 1843, and the final record considered is from 1885, the self-determined termination year for this project regarding ornithological history for northern America.

The following list is a summary of the found details. There are many more references to swans in the newspaper chronicles, but these appear to refer to the Trumpeter Swan, based on the particulars given.

An example of an indistinct species identification is this account: "A flock of white Swans made their appearance in Hempstead Bay last week, and one of them was shot. He was of full size, but rather thin in flesh, weighing but 17 pounds. It is very rarely that these birds visit our bays, and these must have been driven from their course by the late severe gales." — New York Post, December 1846

The records are given in a consistent manner, noting the year seen, a designated date is it could be determined, the record site and state (without the designated county which is part of the recordset), date when seen if indicated (with a special recognition of timeanddate.com for its essential service), notes derived from the newspaper item and the citation used for the publication.

One confounding aspect of these records are that a record may have been originally issued in one newspaper, then replicated in a second newspaper which used the same details so a reference to a particular day may actually refer to an event that happened weeks earlier.

This summary does not include all of the subtle nuances of the original mention in the paper. To enjoy the original verbiage and expression, the source material can be read.

This is a preliminary list, since additional interest and effort can contribute to the history of this swan.

Any incorrect misinterpretations are solely the responsibility of the author.


  • 1843; Feb 1843; Raleigh Vicinity; North Carolina
    on Tuesday last, white swan killed; measured 7 feet 4 1/2 inches from tip to tip of wings — Carolina Watchman 1843
  • 1843; May 1843; Mukwanago, Wisc.; Wisconsin
    white swan shot near Mukwanago a few days since by J. Colburn which stands 5 feet tall and measures 7 feet and 11 inches from tip of one wing to that of the other — Burlington Free Press Jun 1843


  • 1851; Feb 1851; Eastern Neck Island, Maryland; Kent County, Maryland
    gentleman shot with a rifle a swan weighing 30 pounds; measured 7 feet 4 inches from extremities of its spread wings — Southern Recorder Feb 1851
  • 1851; Nov 1851; Sandusky, N.Y.; New York
    George Littleton, near Sandusky, shot a swan on the wing which measured 8 feet from tip to tip of wings — Pittsburgh Morning Post 1851
  • 1851; Nov 1851; Kanawha River, Mason County, W.V.; West Virginia
    two swans killed last week; one by F. Dawson and the other by John S. Myers; one brought to town measures 7 feet from tip to tip of its wings; only kinds of these birds known to visit this section of the country — Gallipolis Journal 1851
  • 1852; Southeast Nebraska Territory; Nebraska
    occasionally small flocks of swans — New York Herald 1852
  • 1852; Jan 1852; Chautauque Outlet, Jamestown
    beautiful white swan, killed by Charles Barnes; measured 6 feet and 6 inches from tip to tip of wings; color purest white; two other swans present; bird purchased by E.A. Dickinson who succeeded in preserving the skin; placed in cabinet at Academy — Fredonia Censor 1852, et al.
  • 1853; Feb 1853; Heron Island in the Potomac
    eleven swans killed at a single fire by Leonard Neal, F. Thompson and a colored boy; all three guns fired simultaneously; also, six killed the next day; width between tips of wings 7 feet 3 inches — Pittsburgh Morning Post 1853, et al. as originally from the Leonardtown Beacon
  • 1854; Jan 1854; Bayside, Talbot County; Maryland
    F.W. Lowe shot a swan measuring across its wings 7 feet — Southern Recorder 1854

  • 1856; Dec 1856; Humboldt Bay; California
    white swan, measuring 8 feet from tip to tip of wings shot — Sacramento Union Jan 1857

  • 1857; Apr 1857; Pymatuning Creek, Trumbull County; Ohio; 4/2/1857
    George Thompson of Orangeville shot a large white swan; measured 6 feet 9 inches from tip to tip; a rare and beautiful bird — Western Reserve Chronicle Apr 1857

  • 1859; Jan 1859; Plain Township, Wayne County, O.; Ohio; 1/1/1859
    George Kauffman shot a very large white swan on New Year's day; measured 7 1/2 feet from tip to tip of the wings — Pittsburgh Gazette 1859


  • 1860; Feb 1860; Red Bluff, Cal.; California
    William Myers recently shot a swan, measuring from tip to tip of wings 7 feet and half an inch — Sacramento Union Feb 1860
  • 1860; Mar 1860; Skunk River by Newton; Iowa
    two large and beautiful white swans killed by Frank Reeves; largest measured some 7 feet from tip to tip of the wing; such birds rare in this region — Cincinnati Press Apr 1860
  • 1861; Feb 1861; Selinsgrove, Penn.; Pennsylvania
    persons shot a white swan in the river; measured 7 feet from tip to tip of its wings; Mr. Starick intends to stuff the skin — Union County Star 1861
  • 1867; Apr 1867; Bruces Marsh, Springfield Township; Ohio
    shown one of the finest of white swans that we have ever seen; measured from tip to tip of its wings 7 feet; shot by A. Guiles — Ashtabula Telegraph Apr 1867


  • 1871; Jul 1871; Stevens County, Minn.
    Prof. Moore returned from a hunting trip; one of the trophies was a large swan, the skin of which he dressed with the down on — St. Cloud Journal Aug 1871
  • 1871; Swan Lake by Estherville; Iowa
    annual nesting place for swans — Cedar Falls Gazette Sep 1871
  • 1872; May 1872; Greene County Pond; Iowa;
    train ran into an immense flock of birds; one stately swan had a wing injured in crash with railroad — Pueblo Chieftain 1872
  • 1874; Mar 1874; Little Sioux River, Monona County; Iowa
    swan recently shot on Little Sioux; measured 8 feet and 10 inches from tip to tip of wings — Cairo Bulletin Apr 1874
  • 1874; Apr 1874; Emporia, Lyon County; Kansas
    W.C. Smith, living a few miles east of the city, killed a white swan which measured 7 feet and 10 inches from tip to tip — Emporia News April 1874
  • 1875; Mar 1875; Dry Fork Jasper County
    V.G. Bradbury killed a wild swan on Dry Fork; pure white; and 7 feet from tip to tip of wings — Carthage Banner Mar 1875
  • 1875; Apr 1875; Quitman, Nodaway County, Missouri
    D. McH. Mckay and John W. Welsh killed a swan last Thursday; bird killed by McKay was at the Nodaway bottoms; Welsh killed his bird just west of Quitman — Nodaway Democrat Apr 1875
  • 1875; Sep 1875; Grand River, Portland; Michigan
    large white swan, measuring 6 feet 4 inches from tip to tip of wings shot by Geo. Goodwin — Cheboygan Northern Tribune Oct 1875
  • 1876; Dec 1876; Lake Winnebago by Oshkosh; Wisconsin
    for two or three weeks two or three large swans have been attracting the attention of sportsmen; Martin Madison on Tuesday shot one; measured 7 feet from tip to tip of its wings; color of purest white — Colorado Banner December 1876
  • 1877; Apr 1877; Whitewater Falls, Winona County; Minnesota; 4/3/1877
    large white swan killed by Stacy H. White; measured 8 feet from tip to tip of wings — Winona Republican 1877
  • 1878; Apr 1878; Peninsula of Sandusky Bay; Ohio; 4/6/1878
    John Bredehoft, a resident of the peninsula; shot a white swan a week ago last Saturday; bird exhibited at White's hardware in Sandusky; from tip to tip of wing the swan measured 9 and one-half feet and its length was 4 and one-half feet — Tiffin Tribune Apr 1878
  • 1878; Apr 1878; Eagle Lake, Dakota; North Dakota; 4/8/1878
    hunter brought in from Eagle Lake a white swan which measured 7 feet between its extended wings and 6 feet from the end of its bill to the end of its tail; while hanging in front of Hallett & Keatings Meat Market it attracted considerable attention — Bismarck Tribune Apr 1878
  • 1878; Nov 1878; Big Lake near Grand Tower; Illinois; 11/28/1878
    Sam Hewitt shot a trumpeter swan; white as driven snow or blemish that measured from tip to tip, 8 feet — Cairo Bulletin Dec 1878
  • 1878; Dec 1878; Dry Creek near Oroville; California; 12/9/1878
    wild swan measuring 7 feet 3 inches from tip to tip of wings shot — Sacramento Union Dec 1878
  • 1879; Mar 1879; Buck Pond, Monroe County; New York; 3/24/1879
    magnificent trumpeter swan shot at outlet of Buck Pond; five charges brought it down; body perfectly white; wings measured 6 feet from tip to tip — New York Post Mar 1879
  • 1879; Apr 1879; Greece, N.Y.; New York
    party of young men shot a large white trumpeter swan; measured 6 feet across the wings — Wellsboro Agitator Apr 1879
  • 1879; Nov 1879; Soap Creek near Corvallis; Oregon
    Mr. Bevens shot a swan that measured 7 feet from tip to tip of wings — Sacramento Union November 1879
  • 1879; Nov 1879; Ten Mile Creek, Washington County; Pennsylvania; 11/19/1879
    white swan measuring 85 inches across the wings, and weighing 11 1/2 pounds shot; will be presented to the Sportsmen's Club of Pittsburgh — Bradford Reporter 1879
  • 1879; Nov 1879; Santa Rosa, Cal.; California
    swan which weighed over 20 pounds and measured 6 feet from tip to tip of wings shot lately — Sacramento Union Dec 1879


  • 1880; Jan 1880; Toombsboro, Ga.; Georgia
    Dr. W.R. Robinson recently killed a perfectly white bird measuring 7 feet from tip to tip of its wings — Columbus Enquirer-Sun Jan 1880
  • 1880; Mar 1880; Winona - Homer; Minnesota; 3/31/1880
    Fred Moebus shot a large white swan; measured 8 feet 2 inches from tip to tip of wings; hunting between Winona and Homer — Winona Republican Apr 1880
  • 1880; Apr 1880; Prairie Creek, Platte County; Nebraska; 4/6/1880
    J.C. Tucker shot a swan on Prairie creek; measured 7 feet and an inch from tip to tip of wings; weighed 14 pounds — Columbus Journal Apr 1880
  • 1880; Dec 1880; Knappa, Or.; Oregon
    Mr. Minnaker killed a swan recently which measured 8 feet from tip to tip of wings; probably weighed not less than 30 pounds — Astorian January 1881
  • 1881; Mar 1881; Mount Vernon, Ohio; Ohio; 3/12/1881
    two white swans were killed out of a flock of seven; measured 7 and a half feet from tip to tip of wings — Indianapolis Leader Mar 1881
  • 1881; Mar 1881; Delaware River Flats, Jersey Side; New Jersey; 3/29/1881
    W.J. Oglesby was gunning for ducks; came across a pair of fine large white swans; killed one; measured 7 feet 2 inches from tip to tip — Chester Times Mar 1881
  • 1881; Nov 1881; Butte County, Calif.; California
    Butte county hunters killed a swan which measured 7 feet 9 inches from tip to tip of wings — Sacramento Union Nov 1881
  • 1881; Nov 1881; Smallwood Place, Shenandoah River; Virginia; 11/10/1881
    Jas. H. Smallwood shot a swan; measured from tip to tip of wing 7 feet, and from bill to tail 4 1/2 feet, and weighed 18 pounds — Stephens City Star 1881
  • 1882; Dec 1882; Rock Lake, Jefferson County; Wisconsin
    H.F. Conklin shot a white swan which measured 7 feet and 4 inches from tip to tip of its wings — Sturgeon Bay Expositor Independent Dec 1882
  • 1882; Spirit Lake, Ia.; Iowa
    swans; among large variety of birds; nest here — Spirit Lake Beacon 1882
  • 1883; May 1883; La Moure, North Dakota; North Dakota
    A.J. Smith shot a beautiful white swan, weighing 11 pounds and measuring 6 feet from tip to tip of wings; intention is to have it stuffed — Jamestown Alert May 1883
  • 1883; Jun 1883; Columbia Slough; South Dakota
    large white swan shot in the slough 5-6 miles east of Columbia; measured about 9 feet from tip to tip and is a beautiful specimen — Jamestown Alert Jun 1883
  • 1884; Mar 1884; Republican River, Webster County; Nebraska; 3/5/1884
    O.G. Roberts east of town on the Republican, shot and killed a large white swan which measured 7 feet from tip to tip; neck nearly 3 feet long — Red Cloud Chief Mar 1884
  • 1884; Apr 1884; South Stockton Pond, Chautauqua County; New York
    wild white swan shot; distance between tips of its wings measured 7 feet; on display at Jamestown — Buffalo Express 1884
  • 1885; Jan 1885; Umpqua River by Roseburg; Oregon; 1/10/1885
    Charley Clements and Perry Lewis killed three large swans; swan known as the trumpeter, according to taxidermist Langenberg — Marshfield Coast Mail 1885
  • 1885; Jan 1885; Canon City, Colo.; Colorado; 1/22/1885
    Mr. Gardner killed a swan which measured 8 feet from tip to tip of its wings — Colorado Transcript 1885
  • 1885; Mar 1885; Columbus, Indiana; Indiana
    James Pearce killed a white swan measuring 7 feet six inches between wing tips — Hocking Sentinel 1885
  • 1885; Mar 1885; Platte River, Fremont; Nebraska
    Frank Moore killed a swan on the Platte River near Fremont; measured 7 feet from tip to tip of wings — Sioux County Herald Apr 1885
  • 1885; Mar 1885; Tippecanoe City; Ohio
    A.E. Burkholder killed a large swan; wingspan of 8 feet — Springfield Globe-Republic Mar 1885
  • 1885; Jul 1885; Ludlow Falls, Ohio; Ohio
    white swan shot; measured 8 feet from tip to tip of wings; from tip of bill to tip of tail four feet seven inches; weights 18 pounds and is now on exhibition — Omaha Bee Aug 1885

More than twenty states are represented by these records, and include, in alphabetical sequence:

  1. California (5 records)
  2. Colorado (1)
  3. Georgia (1)
  4. Illinois (1)
  5. Indiana (1)
  6. Iowa (5)
  7. Kansas (1)
  8. Maryland (3)
  9. Michigan (1)
  10. Minnesota (3)
  11. Missouri (2)
  12. Nebraska (4)
  13. New York (5)
  14. North Carolina (1)
  15. North Dakota (2)
  16. Ohio (7)
  17. Oregon (3)
  18. Pennsylvania (3)
  19. South Dakota (1)
  20. Virginia (1)
  21. West Virginia (1)
  22. Wisconsin (3)

The records given here are new information regarding the historic occurrence of the Trumpeter Swan in North America. Not included here are a myriad of other published reports including historic journals or narratives, items in early ornithology journals and other miscellany — also from prior to 1885 — which refer to the occurrence of this iconic swan in northern America. In combination, they convey an indicative occurrence and distribution for this and other species prior to 1885.

Source Citations

This list of citations does not conform to the usual established strictures of some modern-era bird journals for several reasons. The records documented in the bird database are from more than eight thousand sources. There are instances of several records on different dates for one month in a particular year and from the same newspaper, so a suitable method to indicate a unique citation had to be derived. This was followed in a strict manner so the origin of the record was distinct and obvious. Multiple references for a single sighting had to be dealt with. This list of citations is derived from my database of records. Sometimes the published newspaper does not indicate the volume and issue, so there might be some inconsistency, since only what is available can be indicated.

» Ashtabula Weekly Telegraph 18(14): 3. Issued April 6, 1867. From the Reporter.
» Bismarck Weekly Tribune 5(45): 4. Issued April 12, 1878.
» Bradford Reporter 40(25): 2. Issued November 20, 1879.
» Buffalo Express, page 6. Issued April 9, 1884.
» Burlington Free Press 16(52): 2. Issued June 2, 1843. From the Wisconsin Courier.
» Cairo Bulletin, page 2. Issued April 3, 1874.
» Carolina Watchman 31(11): 2. Issued February 25, 1843. From the Raleigh Star.
» Carthage Banner 9(9): 3. Issued March 4, 1875.
» Cedar Falls Gazette 12(26): 1. Issued September 29, 1871.
» Cheboygan Northern Tribune 1(12): 4. Issued October 2, 1875. From the Portland Observer.
» Chester Daily Times 10(1411): 3. Issued March 30, 1881.
» Cincinnati Daily Press 3(38): 1. Issued April 4, 1860. From the Newton Free Press.
» Colorado Banner 2(13): 6. Issued December 21, 1876. From the Oshkosh Northwestern.
» Colorado Transcript 19(10): 2. Issued January 28, 1885.
» Columbus Daily Enquirer-Sun 22(7): 3. Issued January 8, 1880.
» Columbus Journal 10(49): 3. Issued April 7, 1880.
» Daily Astorian 14(1): 3. Issued January 1, 1881. On January 7th in Williamette Farmer.
» Daily Cairo Bulletin 10(140): 4, new series. Issued December 1, 1878.
» Daily Pittsburgh Gazette 72(27): 2. Issued January 11, 1859.
» Emporia News 17(15): 3. Issued April 10, 1874.
» Fredonia Censor 32(6): 4. Issued April 6, 1852. From the Jamestown Journal. Also: April 17, 1852 in the Erie Observer 22(49): 2.
» Gallipolis Journal 17(1): 2. Issued December 4, 1851.
» Hocking Sentinel 43(51): 1. Issued April 2, 1885.
» Indianapolis Leader 2(32): 2. Issued March 19, 1881.
» Jamestown Alert 5(47): 1. Issued June 15, 1883.
» Jamestown Weekly Alert 5(42): 4. Issued May 11, 1883. From the Lisbon Star.
» Marshfield Coast Mail 7(3): 3. Issued January 15, 1885. From the Roseburg Plaindealer of January 9th.
» New York Evening Post 78(n.a.): 1. Issued March 31, 1879.
» New York Herald 7141: 3. Issued May 20, 1852.
» Nodaway Democrat 6(23): 1. Issued April 15, 1875.
» Omaha Daily Bee 15(42): 2. Issued August 8, 1885.
» Pittsburgh Daily Morning Post 10(101): 4. Issued November 14, 1851.
» Pittsburgh Daily Morning Post 11(178): 2. Issued February 25, 1853. From the Leonardtown (Md.) Beacon. Also: February 26, 1853 in the Richmond Daily Dispatch 3(113): 1.
» Pueblo Daily Chieftain 1(29): 2. Issued May 31, 1872.
» Red Cloud Chief 11(34): 5. Issued March 7, 1884. Also: March 20, 1884 in McCook Weekly Tribune 2(42): 6.
» Sacramento Daily Record-Union 14(74): 1. Issued November 15, 1881.
» Sacramento Daily Record-Union 7(253): 3. Issued December 17, 1878. From the Oroville Mercury.
» Sacramento Daily Record-Union 8(308): 8. Issued November 8, 1879.
» Sacramento Daily Record-Union 8(332): 6. Issued December 6, 1879. Similar note in December 13, 1879 issue.
» Sacramento Daily Union 12(1802): 3. Issued January 5, 1857.
» Sacramento Daily Union 18(2776): 2. Issued February 18, 1860.
» Sioux County Herald 14(16): 2. Issued April 2, 1885.
» Southern Recorder 32(5): 7. Issued February 4, 1851.
» Southern Recorder 35(5): 3. Issued January 31, 1854.
» Spirit Lake Beacon 12(15): 1. Issued March 9, 1882. From Forest and Stream.
» Springfield Globe-Republic 5(111): 4. Issued March 30, 1885.
» St. Cloud Journal 14(3): 3. Issued August 3, 1871.
» Stephens City Star 1(20): 2. Issued November 26, 1881.
» Sturgeon Bay Weekly Expositor Independent 10(9): 4. Issued December 8, 1882.
» Tiffin Tribune 30(28): 2. Issued April 11, 1878.
» Union County Star and Lewisburg Coronicle, page 2. Issued February 15, 1861.
» Wellsboro Agitator 26(14): 4. Issued April 8, 1879.
» Western Reserve Chronicle 41(35): 3. Issued April 15, 1857. From the West Greeneville Times.
» Winona Daily Republican 18(5383): 3. Issued April 9, 1877.
» Winona Daily Republican 21(6203): 3. Issued April 1, 1880.

Notes in these newspapers contribute to a better understanding of the history of the Trumpeter Swan. Even more attention can be given to the historic records of this wonderful bird, if there were no limitations upon source material access.

There are opportunities for further evaluating historic occurrence and distribution. Especially since, overall, this database has 349 records for the Trumpeter Swan if all sources are included.

January Birds of Carter Lake Environs

A number of surveys during January, 2014 indicate that Carter Lake is a haven for waterfowl. Numbers and species may have changed but the birds are an essential and ongoing presence despite numerous days with sub-zero temperatures and even lower degrees due to wind chills. It has been a harsh winter in the Missouri River valley.

There were 34 species noted at the lake and in Levi Carter Park during January. Surveys were done primarily by local birder Justin Rink and myself via motor-vehicle. There was a greater focus on denoting waterfowl, but a couple of surveys within the park space helped to indicate the presence of songbirds. It has been too darn cold to bicycle about, except for one sort of balmy day when a thorough survey was done to include nooks of the park where songbirds were present.

The open water area in 2014 has been just south of the boat ramp area in the eastern extent of the lake. In 2013, the open water area was in the western portion of the lake near the pier point immediately northeast of the pavilion and care-taker residence.

These are the birding results for the month.

Common Name 1/1/2014 1/3 1/5 1/9 1/11 1/13 1/19 1/20 1/23 1/28 1/29
Greater White-fronted Goose - - - - - - - - 1 1 - - - - - - - - - -

Snow Goose

3 - - - - - - - - - - 1 1 1 - - - -
Ross's/Snow Goose - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - -

Cackling Goose

- - - - - - - - 40 - - - - 3 2 - - - -
Canada Goose 350 0 400 - - 2500 0 750 1100 650 1100
Trumpeter Swan 18 19 16 22 11 16 28 15 30 26 23
Tundra Swan - - 1 - - 1 1 - - 1 1 1 1 1
Gadwall 1 - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
American Wigeon - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3 - - - -
American Black Duck - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Mallard 45 0 10 250 100 0 150 450 250 350 250
Northern Shoveler 14 - - - - 15 15 6 - - 12 12 15 12
Green-winged Teal - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - -
Ring-necked Duck 12 - - 2 20 35 4 8 8 5 17 5
Lesser Scaup - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Common Goldeneye 15 - - 1 10 1 4 4 7 90 25 30
Hooded Merganser - - - - - - - - 11 2 2 4 4 5 4
Common Merganser 2 - - 1 35 45 7 - - 6 20 40 6
Bald Eagle - - - - - - - - 1 1 - - 2 - - - - 1
American Coot 7 0 2 8 8 6 6 5 6 5 6
Rock Pigeon - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - -
Downy Woodpecker - - - - - - 1 - - - - 1 - - 1 - - - -
Northern Flicker - - - - 1 - - - - - - 3 - - - - - - - -
Blue Jay - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 - - - - - - - -
American Crow - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 - - - -
Black-capped Chickadee - - - - - - - - - - - - 3 - - - - - - - -
White-breasted Nuthatch - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - -
European Starling - - - - - - 2 1 - - 73 - - - - - - - -
Song Sparrow - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - -
Harris's Sparrow - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 - - - - - - - -
Dark-eyed Junco - - - - - - - - - - - - 35 - - 12 - - - -
Northern Cardinal - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - -
House Finch - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
American Goldfinch - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Prominent in these details is the ongoing presence of many Trumpeter Swans. Numbers have varied but a basic bunch was present all month. A flux in numbers seems to convey that swans may come, and swans may go elsewhere. Notably, the swan with a tag on its wing wonderfully conveyed its travels from Minesota to Nebraska.

Wildbirds of January

Further details indicate 52 species have occurred in this area, based upon a summary of available counts, extending back to 2003.

The number of surveys done each year have been: 2014 (11); 2013 (9); 2012 (9); 2011 (one which was only a partial survey as only four species noted); 2006 (one and also a partial survey); 2004 (one survey with a limited list of species); and, 2003 (two dates). Only during the past three January's when multiple surveys have been done, there are the details available to compare specifics of bird occurrence. Surveys in the earlier years were not as extensive, but do indicate an interest in the occurrence of waterfowl significant to an extent that some details were recorded in the chronicles of Nebraska ornithology.

During the most recent years, there has been an increase in attention and focus on birdly details at Carter Lake. There have been multiple surveys each month which provide the details of bird occurrence.

The numbers given in the following table are a summation of the birds counted during surveys.

Common Name Jan 2003 Jan 2004 Jan 2006 Jan 2011 Jan 2012 Jan 2013 Jan 2014
Greater White-fronted Goose - - - - - - - - 3 7 2
Snow Goose - - - - - - - - - - 2 6
Ross's/Snow Goose - - - - - - - - - - - - 1
Ross's Goose - - - - - - - - - - 1 - -
Cackling Goose - - - - - - 40 31 37 45
Canada Goose 1450 1500 500 500 3714 21325 7400
Trumpeter Swan - - - - - - - - - - 15 224
Tundra Swan - - - - - - - - - - - - 8
Gadwall - - - - - - - - 260 - - 2
American Wigeon - - - - - - - - 25 - - 3
American Black Duck - - - - - - - - - - - - 1
Mallard 47 100 50 200 3135 1317 1855
Northern Shoveler - - - - - - - - 1365 1756 101
Green-winged Teal - - - - - - - - 1 - - 1
Canvasback - - - - - - - - 203 208 - -
Redhead - - - - - - - - 324 126 - -
Ring-necked Duck - - - - - - - - 340 163 116
Greater Scaup - - - - - - - - 1 1 - -
Lesser Scaup - - - - - - - - 62 29 1
Common Goldeneye 7 3 - - - - 361 63 187
Hooded Merganser - - - - - - - - - - 24 32
Common Merganser - - - - - - - - - - - - 162
Red-breasted Merganser - - - - - - - - 1 - - - -
Ruddy Duck - - - - - - 22 55 30 - -
Pied-billed Grebe - - - - - - - - 16 13 - -
Bald Eagle 2 3 18 - - 3 11 5
Cooper's Hawk - - - - - - - - 2 - - - -
Red-tailed Hawk 1 - - - - - - 6 7 - -
Rough-legged Hawk - - 1 - - - - - - - - - -
American Kestrel - - - - - - - - 3 - - - -
American Coot - - - - - - - - 2500 375 59
Ring-billed Gull - - 2 6 - - 1 - - - -
Rock Pigeon - - - - - - - - 11 - - 2
Eurasian Collared-Dove - - - - - - - - 2 - - - -
Belted Kingfisher - - - - - - - - - - 1 - -
Red-bellied Woodpecker - - - - - - - - 3 3 - -
Downy Woodpecker 1 1 - - - - 9 4 3
Hairy Woodpecker - - - - - - - - - - 1 - -
Northern Flicker - - - - - - - - - - 1 4
Blue Jay - - - - - - - - 1 2 4
American Crow 2 - - - - - - 2 8 4
Black-capped Chickadee - - - - - - - - 8 16 3
White-breasted Nuthatch - - - - - - - - 2 1 2
American Robin - - - - - - - - - - 11 - -
European Starling 35 - - - - - - 51 67 76
Song Sparrow - - - - - - - - 1 3 1
Harris's Sparrow - - - - - - - - 7 21 4
Dark-eyed Junco - - - - - - - - 33 79 47
Northern Cardinal - - - - - - - - 9 3 2
House Finch - - - - - - - - 5 1 2
American Goldfinch - - - - - - - - 6 4 1
House Sparrow - - - - - - - - 1 - - - -

There were no Redhead or Canvasbacks present in 2014. These two species were regularly seen in 2012 and 2013, but not one was present during January of 2014. These divers are omnivorous, as is the Ring-necked Duck. Also not present this year — though noted in past years — were the Ruddy Duck and Pied-billed Grebe.

No Common Mergansers were noted in previous years, but in 2014 they have been numerous, reported by nearly every survey. Both this species and the Hooded Merganser are piscivores, eating fish.

This transition may indicate a change in the lakes feature, perhaps from the extensive vegetation present following the lake renovation, to an increase in the extent of fish.

A Bird Refuge

The ongoing extent of fowl at Carter Lake indicate it is obviously an essential site for waterfowl in the Missouri River valley. There have often been more species present here than at regional wildlife refuges.

With an increasing extent of carp within the lake, there will be changes in the habitat which will be reflected in the presence of wild birds. This seems to already be occuring?

It is appropriate, based on the bird counts in the last two to three years, that appropriate recognition be given to the historic Sandy Griswold Bird Sanctuary designation of decades ago. This heritage needs to be recognized and pysically designated by a marker to convey the original recognition in the 1920s.

The birds do not care but their are legacy and attention aspects to consider...