Following the first storms of the season the high alpine meadows, now filled with the seeds of wild flowers, have been alive with flocks of the sparrow-like Pipits. As one walks through the meadows he is constantly being startled by small birds starting almost from under his feet and disappearing again in the grass before a good view is obtained.
The impression given is of a bird about the size of a sparrow with white outer tail feathers, but without the black head of the Junco. Because of their ground feeding tendenciew they are seldom seen except in flight. Even when one notes exactly where a bird alights he must look very close to see the little gray bird in the weeds, for their drab colors match the earth and the dry vegetation. If seen, it is usually because their wagging heads and tilting heads help to catch the eye.
With the Rosy Finch and the Pine Siskin the Pipit holds the altitude record in the Park. All three are typical timberline birds and are occasionally seen as high as 12,000 feet elevation. Whether it is the early storms or the abundance of seeds that have brought these little high altitude dwellers down into the valleys, I do no know.
These are the only members of the Wagtail family found in the Park.
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