Our sparrows and their allies, taken together, form a very extensive family of very beautiful as well as useful birds. Like the warblers, they occupy themselves with searching for and destroying insects; but this is not all they do that is good. In fall, winter, and early spring, when mother earth has lost her brilliant green and rests in sombre browns or beneath ice and snow, the longspurs, snow buntings, snowbirds, and some of the sparrows that have remained with us, are busily engaged in gathering for themselves a living. They hop and fly about from place to place searching for and picking up little seeds of grass, grain, and weeds, of shrubs and trees, and appropriating the same to their use, chirping merrily as they work away.

514. Coccothraustes vespertinus (Cooper). — EVENING GR0SBEAK.

West Point, November 19, 1885 (L. Bruner); "a few times in winter" (Aughey); "Migratory, rare" (Taylor); "East to Manitoba, Michigan, and Illinois" (Goss); Peru, rare (G. A. Coleman); North Platte, "accidental visitant; a pair was seen in town frequently, and one killed May 11, 1895" (M. K. Barnum).

515. Pinicola enucleator (Linn.).—PINE GROSBEAK.

Grand Island (F. J. Brezee); Alda (Bull. No. 2, Div. Ornith., p. 178); "This species occurs in southeastern Nebraska in winter, but in small numbers" (Aughey); "Winter resident, rare, has been found as early as November and late as February" (Taylor); "Casually to Kansas, Kentucky, etc." (Goss); Lincoln, Nov. 11, 1895 (L. Bruner); Omaha (L. Skow); Omaha, "an irregular winter visitor—usually met with after cold north winds in midwinter" (I. S. Trostler).

517. Carpodacus purpureus (Gmel).—PURPLE FINCH.

West Point, Omaha, Lincoln (L. Bruner); "have only seen this bird in Nebraska in October" (Aughey); "Has been found in the state in May and October" (Taylor); "West to the high plains" (Goss); ,Omaha (L. Skow); Peru, not common (G. A. Coleman); "An irregular migrant and winter resident—occurs about Omaha during latter October to April 15" (I. S. Trostler); Lincoln, Oct. 30 (D. A. Haggard).

518. Carpodacus cassini Baird.—CASSIN'S PURPLE FINCH.

Sioux county (J. B. White).

521. Loxia curvirostra minor (Brehm).—AMERICAN CROSSBILL.

West Point, Omaha (L. Bruner); "Entered upon authority of Baird" (Taylor): "Chiefly far northward and east of the Great Plains" (Goss); Sioux county, Dec. 14, 1895 (L. Bruner); Fairbury (M. L. Eaton); Omaha (L. Skow); Peru, rare migrant (G. A. Coleman); Gage county, (F. A. Colby); "an irregular migrant and winter resident., occurs in vicinity of Omaha from latter part of October to March 1" (I. S. Trostler); Sioux county, Feb. 19 to 27, quite common (W. D. Hunter, L. Skow); Fullerton, Nance county (C. E. Barker).

521a. Loxia curvirostra stricklandi Ridgw.—MEXICAN CROSS-BILL.

Mr. L. Skow of Omaha reports having taken a number of specimens of what might be this Crossbill. "From eastern Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, etc.— wintering on Agricultural College grounds, Manhattan, Kansas" (Goss).

522. Loxia leucoptera Gmel.—WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL.

West Point, Omaha, December, 1887 (L. Bruner); "Entered upon the anthority of Baird" (Taylor); "South in winter to about latitude 39°" (Goss); Fairbury (M. L. Eaton); "an irregular winter resident, rare, seen in company with the American Crossbill, but only in coldest midwinter" (I. S. Trostler).

524. Leucosticte tephracotis Swains. GRAY-CROWNED LEUCOSTICTE.

"This bird is frequently seen in Nebraska in winter, but rarely in summer" (Aughey); Omaha (L. Skow); Sioux county, Feb. 18, 1896 (L. Bruner and L. Skow); "south in winter throughout the entire Rocky mountain region of the United States, but most abundant on the eastern slope" (A. 0. U. Check List); reported by Elliott W. Brown of Hat Creek, Wyo., as living in the nests of the Cliff or Eave Swallow during very cold winter weather (W. D. Hunter).

528. Acanthis linaria (Linn.).—COMMON REDPOLL.

West Point, Lincoln (L. Bruner); "This bird appears irregularly in Nebraska" (Aughey); "Winter resident, rare, has been seen as early as November and as late as February (Taylor); "South in winter through the northern to middle United States" (Goss); Omaha (L. Skow); Omaha (F. J. Brezee); "common winter resident and migrant, earliest seen in fall at Omaha, Sept. 30" (I. S. Trostler); Sioux county, December and February, exceedingly common (L. Bruner, D. A. Haggard, F. W. Taylor, W. D. Hunter, L. Skow).

528b. Acanthis linaria rostrata (Coues).--GREATER REDPOLL.

"A common winter resident and migrant, a large flock seen near Omaha, Nov. 17, 1895" (I. S. Trostler).

529. Spinus tristis (Linn..).—AMERICAN GOLDFINCH.

Omaha, West Point, Lincoln, Fremont, etc.—breeds (L. Bruner); "Common in northern Nebraska" (Aughey); "Summer resident, common" (Taylor); "Temperate North America generally" (Goss); Beatrice, De Witt—nesting (A. S. Pearse); Omaha—breeds (L. Skow); Peru—breeds (G. A. Coleman): Cherry county—breeds (J. M. Bates); several localities in state (D. H. Talbot); Gage county—breeds (F. A. Colby); "an abundant resident, breeds July 20 to Sept. 1(I. S. Trostler); Lincoln, Nov. 5 (D. A. Haggard).

533. Spinus pinus (Wils.).--PINE SISKIN; PINE GOLDFINCH.

Omaha, West Point (L. Bruner); "In December. 1887, two specimens were collected by members of the zoology class—has been found in the state as early as September" (Taylor); "Temperate North America" (Goss); Omaha (L. Skow); Genoa, Wood River (D. H. Talbot); "an irregular migrant and winter resident—earliest, seen October 10" (I. S. Trostler).

000. Passer domesticus (Linn.).—EUR0PEAN HOUSE SPARROW; ENGLISH SPARROW.

Nearly all of state in towns—breeds most of year (L. Bruner); Beatrice (A. S.Pearse); Omaha—breeds (L. Skow); Gordon, Nebr., and in towns this side—east—breeds (J. M. Bates); Beatrice (F. A. Colby); Omaha, a very abundant resident, breeds every month in the year except December, January, and February—rapidly driving out the Purple Martin, House wrens, and Bluebird" (I. S. Trostler).

English Sparrow

The European House Sparrow, or English Sparrow, as it is more commonly called in this country, while doing considerable in the line of destroying insects of various kinds that are common to the garden, is a nuisance in many ways. To those who are familiar with the bird no description of its habits are necessary; but to those who are not acquainted with it a few words may be of service.

A lover of cities and towns and the company and protection of man, this bird has become exceedingly numerous. It is very pugnacious, incessantly fighting with its own kind, as well as with all other birds that it can overawe by its repeated onslaughts. In this way it soon drives away orioles, bluebirds, wrens, etc., that would otherwise make their homes in our parks. Among the many other charges that have been made against this bird is that of injury to fruits; and I believe that much of the blame that has been laid to the orioles, robins, and thrushes should he laid to him. Quoting from Bulletin No. 1 of the Division of Economic Orinthology and Mammology, United States Department of Agriculture, we have the following:

"Among fruits, grapes appear to suffer most, and, although many grapes are raised without protection in places where sparrows are considered fairly abundant, there is every reason to believe that sooner or later this bird will discover and injure them wherever its increase is tolerated. It has been shown that grape buds are frequently destroyed in the early spring, and the fact that one hundred and twenty—seven observers, representing twenty-six states and the District of Columbia, now (1888) bear witness to injury to ripening fruit, may well cause apprehension among grape-growers who have not suffered any loss as yet." * * *

"Those who have watched closely the movements of the sparrow when among the grapes agree that he pecks many more grapes than he eats, and his actions at such times, together with the fact that he frequently picks off leaves and shoots, which he does not eat, lend some color to the statements that he willfully destroys simply for the pleasure of destruction."

534. Plectrophenax nivalis (Linn.).—SNOW BUNTING; SNOWFLAKE.

West Point, Omaha, Norfolk, Sidney, etc. (L. Bruner); "abundant in Nebraska in winter" (Aughey); "Winter resident, common, has been seen in November and February" (Taylor); "Casually to Georgia, southern Illinois, and Kansas" (Goss); Omaha (L. Skow); Omaha, "irregular migrant and winter resident, Nov. to March 1" (I. S. Trostler); Sioux county, Feb. 19, 1896 (L. Bruner).

536. Calcarius lapponicus (Linn.).—LAPLAND LONGSPUR.

West Point, Lincoln (L. Bruner); "Present in Nebraska" (Aughey); "South in winter to Kentucky, southern Illinois, Kansas, etc." (Goss); Beatrice (A. S. Pearce); Omaha (L. Skow); Cherry county (J. M. Bates); Wood River (D. H. Talbot); Gage county (F. A. Colby); "common winter resident, Nov. 20 to March 1" (I. S. Trostler); Lincoln, Feb. 8, March 2 (D. A. Haggard).

537. Calcarius pictus (Swains.).—SMITH'S LONGSPUR.

West. Point, Lincoln (L. Bruner); "Probably migratory, passing through the state in April and October" (Taylor); "From the Arctic coast to Illinois and Texas" (Goss); Lincoln, Oct. 25 (D. A. Haggard).

538. Calcarius ornatus (Towns.).—CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPUR.

West Point, Grand Island, Lincoln (L. Bruner); "Abundant in Nebraska, where it breeds" (?) (Aughey); "Summer resident, common, arrives in May" (Taylor); "A bird of the plains" (Goss); Omaha (L. Skow); Cherry county (J. M. Bates); Albion, O'Neill, Wood River (D. H. Talbot); a common migrant, March 20 to April 16, Oct. 1 to 15 (I. S. Trostler); Lincoln, Oct. 25 (D. A. Haggard).

539. Rhynchophanes mccownii (Lawr.). — McCOWN'S LONGSPUR.

West Point (L. Bruner); "A few found in Nebraska" (Aughey); "Summer resident, rare" (Taylor); " South in winter through Kansas" (Goss); Cherry county (J. M. Bates); Wood River (D. H. Talbot); "a not very common migrant, March 20 to April 16, Oct. 1 to 15" (I. S. Trostler); Lincoln, March 11 (D. A. Haggard).

540. Poocætes gramineus (Gmel.).--VESPER SPARROW; GRASS FINCH.

West Point, Lincoln, breeds (L. Bruner); "Abundant only in certain localities" (Aughey); "Summer resident, common, probably arrives in April and has been seen as late as September" (Taylor); "Eastern North America to the plains" (Goss); Omaha—breeds (L. Skow); Peru, rare—may breed (G. A. Coleman); Cherry county—breeds (J. M. Bates); several localities in east central part of state (D. H. Talbot); Omaha, "a not common summer resident, April 20 to Oct. 10" (I. S. Trostler); Lincoln, April 12 (D. A. Haggard).

540a. Poocætes gramineus confinis Baird.—WESTERN VESPER SPARROW.

Holt county, Sand Hills (L. Bruner); Cherry county—breeds (J. M. Bates).

542a. Ammodramus sandwichensis savanna (Wils.). — SAVANNA SPARROW.

West Point, Omaha, Lincoln (L. Bruner); "Migratory, common, arrives in April, May, and September" (Taylor); "West to the plains" (Goss); Omaha —breeds (L. Skow); Peru, common—may breed (G. A. Coleman); Cherry county—breeds (J. M. Bates); O’Neill, Genoa, Wood River—exceedingly common (D. H. Talbot); "a not common summer resident, arrive early in May—breeds June 1 to 12, departs late August and September" (I. S. Trostler); Lincoln, April 19, Oct. 14, 16, 23 (D. A. Haggard).

542b. Ammodramus sandwichensis alaudinus (Bonap.).-WESTERN SAVANNA SPARROW.

Lincoln (L. Bruner); "Western North America in general" (Goss); Omaha—breeding (L. Skow); Lincoln, Oct. 10 (D. A. Haggard).

545. Ammodramus bairdi (Aud.).—BAIRD’s BUNTING.

Lincoln, West Point, Sioux county—breeding in latter locality (L Bruner); "One specimen mentioned by Baird as collected at Ft. Union, Nebraska (Taylor); O’Neill, Nebr., September 1884 (D. H. Talbot); "from the plains of the Red river and Saskatchewan south to Texas (A. 0. U. Check List.); "quite a common migrant—I have a set of five eggs taken by myself May 30, 1893, near Omaha that I feel positive are of this species" (I. S. Trostler).

546. Ammodramus savannarum passerinus (Wils.).--GRASS-HOPPER SPARROW; YELLOW-WINGED SPARROW.

West Point, Lincoln, Holt county (L. Bruner); "Abundant in Nebraska, and breeds here" (Aughey); "Summer resident, abundant" (Taylor); "West to the plains" (Goss); Peru, abundant—breeds (G. A. Coleman); a number of east middle Nebraska localities (D. H. Talbot); "common summer resident, arrives April 10 to May 1, breeds May 15 to 25, departs Sept. 5 to 30" (I. S. Trostler); Lincoln, May 10, 17 (D. A. Haggard).

546a. Ammodramus savannarum perpallidus (Ridgw.).— WESTERN GRASSHOPPER SPARROW.

Cherry county—breeds (J. M. Bates).

547. Ammodramus henslowii (Aud.).—HENSLOW'S SPARROW.

Lincoln, West Point (L. Bruner); "I have only occasionally met with this bird in Nebraska" (Aughey); "Summer resident, rare, has been found in the state as late as September" (Taylor); "West to the Plains" (Goss).

548. Ammodramus leconteii (Aud.).—LE CONTE’S SPARROW.

West Point, Lincoln, Omaha, Holt county (L. Bruner); "The Great Plains, north to Manitoba", (Goss); Wood River, Ponca (D. H. Talbot); "from the plains eastward to Illinois" (A. 0. U. Check List); Lincoln, May 17 (D. A. Haggard); Lincoln (B. Shimek).

549a. Ammodramus cadacutus nelsoni Allen. --NELSON’S SPARROW.

"From northern Illinois northward to North Dakota and Manitoba, south in winter to Texas" (A. 0. U. Check List); "chiefly in the Mississippi valley (Goss); Ft. Sisseton and Devil’s lake, N. Dak. (Vernon Bailey).

552. Chondestes grammacus (Say).—LARK FINCH; LARK BUNTING.

Lincoln, West Point—breeds (L. Bruner); Abundant—breeds (Aughey); "Summer resident, abundant, arrives in May and remains as late as Septemher" (Taylor); "Mississippi valley, north to Iowa, Wisconsin, etc." (Goss); Beatrice—breeding (A. S. Pearse); Omaha—breeds (L. Skow); Peru, common— breeds (G. A. Coleman); Cherry county—breeds (J. M. Bates); Jackson, Ponca, Newcastle (D. H. Talbot); Gage county—breeds (F. A. Colby); abundant summer resident, arrives April 1 to 10, breeds May 20 to June 10, departs Sept. 5 to 30 (I. S. Trostler); Lincoln, May 10 (D. A. Haggard).

553. Zonotrichia querula (Nutt.).—HARRIS’s SPARROW.

West Point, Omaha, Lincoln (L. Bruner); "Common in eastern Nebraska along the Missouri" (Aughey); " Common" (Taylor); "west to eastern Montana and western Nebraska" (Goss); Beatrice (M. L. Eaton); Omaha (L. Skow); Peru, common migrant (G. A. Coleman); Cherry county (J. M. Bates); Wood River, Genoa (D. H. Talbot), Lincoln (D. A. Haggard, D. F. Hall).

554. Zonotrichia leucophrys (Forst.).—WHITE-CR0WNED SPARROW.

West Point, Omaha, Lincoln (L. Bruner); "Only occasionally seen in Nebraska" (Aughey); "Migratory, common; summer resident, rare" (Taylor); "North America at large" (Goss); Omaha (L. Skow); Cherry county (J. M. Bates); "a common migrant April 12 to May 1—not noted in autumn" (I. S. Trostler).

554a. Zonotrichia leucophrys intermedia Ridqw.—INTERMEDIATE SPARROW.

Lincoln, West Point, Omaha (L. Bruner); "From the eastern edge of the Great Plains" (Goss); Omaha (L. Skow); Cherry county (J. H. Bates); An abundant migrant and common winter resident, Omaha, Oct. 1 to April 2 to 30" (I. S. Trostler); Lincoln, Crete, April 19 (D. A. Haggard).

554b. Zonotrichia leucophrys gambeli Nutt.--GAMBEL'S SPARROW.

"Baird mentions two specimens taken in 1856" (Taylor).

558. Zonotrichia albicollis (Gmel.).—WHITE-THROATED SPARROW.

West Point, Lincoln, Weeping Water (L Bruner); "abundant in Nebraska during its migrations" (Aughey); "Migratory, abundant, arrives in May, September, and October" (Taylor); "West to the edge of the Great Plains" (Goss); Omaha (L. Skow); Peru, rare migrant (G. A. Coleman); Omaha, "a common migrant April 12 to May 15, Sept. 20 to Nov. 1" (I. S. Trostler).

559. Spizella monticola (Gmel.).—TREE SPARROW.

West Point, Lincoln, Omaha, Weeping Water, etc. (L. Bruner); "Abundant in winter and a few breed here in summer" (Aughey); "West to the edge of the Great Plains" (Goss); Beatrice, De Witt (A. S. Pearse); Omaha (L. Skow); Cherry county—winters (J. M. Bates); Gage county (F. A. Colby); "an abundant winter resident, arrives Oct. 1 to Nov. 1, departs before April 1" (I. S. Trostler); Lincoln, March 25, Oct. 21, Nov. 5 (D. A. Haggard).

559a. Spizella monticola ochracea Brewst.—WESTERN TREE SPARROW.

"Possibly may be found in Nebraska, mentioned in A. 0. U. Check List as ‘east to Dakota and western Kansas'" (Taylor); "East to Dakota, middle Kansas and Texas" (Goss); Peru, common winter resident (G. A. Coleman); Omaha (L. Skow); Sioux county, Feb. 18, 1896 (L. Bruner).

560. Spizella socialis (Wils.).--CHIPPING SPARROW.

West Point, Lincoln (L. Bruner); "Very abundant in portions of Nebraska" (Aughey); "Abundant in spring and fall, and probably breeds in the state" (Taylor); "west to the Rocky mountains" (Goss); Omaha (L. Skow); Peru, rare—breeds (G. A. Coleman); Omaha, "an abundant migrant and common summer resident, arrives April 1 to 15, breeds in June, departs Sept. 10 to Oct. 1" (I. S. Trostler).

Chipping Sparrow

561. Spizella pallida (Swains.).— CLAY-COLORED SPARROW.

West Point, Lincoln, Rulo (L. Bruner); "abundant in portions of Nebraska in May and October" (Aughey); "Migratory, common; summer resident, occasional; arrives in May and October" (Taylor); "Interior of North America; I am inclined to believe that the bird occasionally breeds in Nebraska" (Goss); Peru, common migrant (G. A. Coleman); Cherry county—breeds (J. K Bates); Omaha, "a common migrant, May 1 to 25 and Sept. 20 to Oct. 25" (I. S. Trostler); Lincoln, May 17 and Oct. 7 (D. A. Haggard).

562. Spizella breweri Cass.--BREWER'S SPARROW.

Cherry county—breeds (J. M. Bates).


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© 2001, Lynn Waterman