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Fauna Series No. 3







Faunal Position

Life Zones







Fauna of the National Parks — No. 3
Birds and Mammals of Mount McKinley National Park
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Vermivora celata celata [SAY]

GENERAL APPEARANCE.—A warbler of medium size without conspicuous markings. It is gray-green above and yellowish beneath. The orange-colored crown patch, which gives the species its name, in life is usually covered and concealed by the tips of the feathers of the crown. Length, 5 inches.

IDENTIFICATION.—The gray-green upper parts, the yellow under parts, and the lack of any distinct color markings are the best field characters.

DISTRIBUTION.—It breeds from Kowak River, Alaska, southeast to northern Manitoba.

HABITS.—Our experience both in 1926 and in 1932 leads us to believe that the orange-crowned warbler which Wright saw in a spruce wood on Savage River on May 21, 1926, at 2,800 feet altitude, was merely a late migrant passing through the McKinley region to its breeding ground farther north in the Yukon Valley. Repeated search in the McKinley region, both in 1926 and in 1932, failed to reveal any breeding birds of this species in the park in summer.

Dendroica aestiva rubiginosa [PALLAS]

GENERAL APPEARANCE.—A small warbler. The head and under parts are rich yellow, and the back is greenish. The breast of the male is streaked with fine rufous markings. The female and young birds are duller yellow and usually lack the rufous breast markings of the male. Length, 5 inches.

IDENTIFICATION.—The uniform yellow color is the best field character of these birds in summer.

DISTRIBUTION.—They breed in the Canadian zone, throughout most of Alaska and south to Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

HABITS.—An adult female Alaska yellow warbler was collected by Wright on June 1, 1926, on Savage River at 2,800 feet elevation. From our experience both in 1926 and in 1932 we believe that this warbler may breed in Mount McKinley National Park.

Dendroica coronata [LINNAEUS]

GENERAL APPEARANCE.—A warbler of medium size. It has a white throat and conspicuous yellow patches on the crown, rump, and side between the flank and throat. Length, 5.6 inches.

IDENTIFICATION.—This species is similar to the well-known Audubon warbler except that the myrtle warbler always has white instead of yellow throat markings.

DISTRIBUTION.—It breeds from northwestern Alaska, Mackenzie, and northern Manitoba south to British Columbia, Michigan, and the New England States. It is found in the McKinley region, chiefly among the cottonwoods which grow along the streams.

HABITS.—Charles Sheldon reports the first spring arrival of this bird on May 9. He found it to be the most abundant of the warblers on the Toklat. They were first observed by me on May 19, 1932. From one to six of the birds were seen daily during the week following. On July 1, 1926, Wright found a female myrtle warbler feeding a young bob-tailed warbler which was just out of the nest. The male parent was also present and was observed feeding other youngsters of this brood. At Savage River on July 25, 1926, Wright collected a juvenile of this species. In 1932 the species was common during the spring migration and then was rather rarely seen until the young of the year began to appear in July.

It is the most abundant warbler in the McKinley region.

Dendroica striata [FORSTER]

GENERAL APPEARANCE.—In the spring the male black-poll warbler is a distinctly black and white bird. The entire top of the head is intensely black. The sides of the head and the throat are white. The breeding female is quite unlike her mate; she is greenish in coloration on the head and back with yellowish under parts. Length, 5.5 inches.

IDENTIFICATION.—The solid black crown and the white patch on the throat and side of the head will distinguish the breeding male. The greenish female is highly streaked with black on the sides of the throat and the flanks.

DISTRIBUTION.—It breeds from northwestern Alaska to Quebec and south to Michigan, Maine, and New York. It is probable that only migrants occur in the McKinley region.

HABITS.—Our sole record for this species is based on Charles Sheldon's record of June 3, 1908. He saw a flock feeding in the woods at Toklat.

Seiurus noveboracensis notabilis [RIDGWAY]

GENERAL APPEARANCE.—This bird sometimes is aptly called "wag-tailed warbler." It is a true warbler with woodland ground-haunting habits. The upper parts are uniform brown, while the light buffy under parts are heavily streaked with dark brown. It has a distinct buffy line extending over and through the eye. Length, 6.04 inches.

IDENTIFICATION.—The ground-dwelling habits, the heavily streaked under parts, and the distinct whitish line through and above the eye are the best field characters for this bird.

DISTRIBUTION.—It breeds from northwestern Alaska, Mackenzie, and Manitoba south to British Columbia, Montana, Minnesota, and Michigan.

HABITS.—This bird has the general appearance in life of a small woodland thrush. At McKinley Bar on August 16, 1932, I noted a brown streaked bird which flew out of a brush pile and alighted for a moment on a dead log. The next day I collected another, or perhaps the same bird, at this identical spot. This is our only record for the species in Mount McKinley National Park.

Wilsonia pusilla pileolata [PALLAS]

GENERAL APPEARANCE.—A small spritely warbler with greenish-yellow upper parts and bright yellow under parts. The top of the head is velvety black, and the forehead is golden yellow. In the female the crown patch is restricted and brownish, or absent entirely, but a vague yellowish eyebrow stripe is characteristic. Length, 5 inches.

IDENTIFICATION.—The bright yellow color; small size; black cap, or the yellow eyebrow line when the cap is absent, are the outstanding field characters.

DISTRIBUTION.—It breeds from northern Alaska south to the mountains of New Mexico and central Texas.

HABITS.—Charles Sheldon noted the first spring arrival of this species on May 20, 1908. He states that it is a common summer resident on the Toklat. It was observed by us repeatedly late in May 1926. The first spring arrival in 1932 was noted by me on May 21, and it was seen regularly all through the remainder of May. No nest or young birds were found, but this is probably one of the regular breeding birds of the McKinley region.

Setophaga ruticilla [LINNAEUS]

GENERAL APPEARANCE.—A warbler with striking black and salmon coloration. The adult male has a black head, neck, and back. The sides of the breast and flanks are reddish-orange. It has a salmon-colored bar on the wings and tail. The salmon coloration of the male is replaced by yellow markings on the female and the black is replaced by gray. Length, 5.5 inches.

IDENTIFICATION.—The vivid black and orange color of the male, and the gray and yellow of the female are distinctive field characters.

DISTRIBUTION.—It breeds from northern British Columbia, Mackenzie, and Quebec south to Oregon, Colorado, Arkansas, Alabama, and Georgia.

HABITS.—On July 25, 1926, a male bird of this species was watched by several members of the National Park Service who saw it at close range in the willows near the head of Savage River. This is our only record for the species in the McKinley region. None was found there in 1932.

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Last Modified: Thurs, Oct 4 2001 10:00:00 pm PDT

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