Nature Notes

Vol. II August 27, 1924 No. 10

By Park Ranger P.M. Fogg

The Clark Crow or Nutcracker is sufficiently numerous in the vicinity of Paradise Valley to raise many inquiries among visitors to the Park as to its identity. Quite frequently the office of the Park Naturalist is asked to identify this gray bird that is somewhat larger than a robin, and has the call of a crow. Its wings are black, bordered with white, and the tail has white margins. Usually the description as given is less complete than this, but it is not difficult to determine which bird the interested inquirer has seen.

Many species of birds in the Park are rather shy. The Clark Crow, however is bold, and by uttering its loud and penetrating cry succeeds in attracting far more attention to itself than other feathered citizens of more retiring dispositions. Like the Camp Robber or Oregon Jay, the Clark Crow feels free to raid the food supplies in the tourist's camp, and is a very hearty feeder. It is equally at ease whether travelling over the ground or flitting among the foliage of the hemlocks and firs, but is found above 5000 feet elevation more abundantly than in the lower and densely forested sections of the Park. When scraps of food from the campers' tables are not available it manages to subsist very well on insects, berries and the seeds of conifers and plants.

By Park Ranger P. M. Fogg

During these latter days of August the banks of many a little trickling rill in the Park are being brightened by the opening of the tight, berry-like buds of the Parnassus Grass (Parnassia fimbriata). Like the mimulus and the shooting star, this plant whose foliage closely resembles that of the violet, prefers the moisture of the meadows and brooks to the dryer slopes where so many of the other flowering plants thrive.

It has a five-petaled white blossom reaching an inch or more in diameter and is borne upon a long slender stem. The plant is found from the mountains of Nevada and California northward to British Columbia.

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