No. 90 Monroe, Louisiana01 October 1980

L.O.S. FALL MEETING
The fall meeting of the LOS will be held in Cameron, Louisiana on the weekend of October 17-19, 1980. Both the Friday and Saturday night sessions will be held on the second floor of the firehouse in Cameron. The firehouse is located on main street on the west side of the Calcasieu Marine Bank.
 
The Friday meeting will be an informal get-together starting at 8:00 P.M. Volunteers are needed to bring cookies or the like to the meeting; if you can help please contact Mrs. Tanner.
 
The Saturday night meeting will start with a barbecue between 6:30 and 7:00 P.M. A large grill is available at the firehouse and everyone should bring their own hotdogs, hamburgers, steaks or other selections. A limited amount of space is available in the fire station ice box for those who would like to leave their meat there on Friday night. Several grocery stores in town will have a selection of food also. A small donation will be collected to cover the cost of the charcoal and related material. Depending on the weather, we can eat downstairs or upstairs as at the spring meeting.
 
The business meeting will be held as soon as most people have eaten. We will try to keep it as short as possible. The speaker for the evening will be an interesting one and up to our usual fine standards.
 
Motels in the Cameron area are the same as usual and may be full of oil company personnel. Plan your reservations accordingly.
 
MOTELS
 
Cameron
Town and Country Motel 318-775-5590
Cameron Motel 318-775-5115
Gulf Motel 318-775-5118
 
Hackberry
Island Motel 318-762-5735
 
Holly Beach
Tommy's Cabins 318-596-2127
 
THE NESTING OF CLIFF SWALLOWS
(Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
in Louisiana
by Marshall B. Eyster
On Saturday, June 21, 1980, four students were with me when we stopped at the bridge over Kayo Bayou just north of the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in Cameron Parish. The purpose of the stop was to allow the students to look closely at the Barn Swallows nesting under the bridge. They were able to observe the comings and goings at about a dozen nests. As we were ready to head back to the car I saw a swallow that was obviously a Cliff Swallow dart under the bridge. The blackish square tail and pale rusty rump were conspicuous, in contrast to the dark rump and deeply forked tail of the Barn Swallow. I stood surprised at seeing a Cliff Swallow at this time of year. Seconds later the bird emerged from under the bridge and soared up into the sky over the marsh. As it emerged I told the students to follow its flight but it was soon lost from sight. At that point I glanced back at the bridge and saw a second Cliff Swallow dart beneath. My thoughts then were, "Could the birds be nesting?" We had examined the horizontal concrete beams fairly thoroughly from the south side of the bridge while observing the Barn Swallow nests. So I crossed over the bridge to the other side and there, attached to the north side of the southern-most beam, was not one but two, Cliff Swallow nests. They were the typical globular shaped nests with an opening slightly below the horizontal. They were higher up on the concrete beam near the top angle than were the open cup-shaped nests of the Barn Swallows. At the one nest the pair alternated entering and leaving the nest and were apparently feeding young, however, they entered so rapidly that we could not be certain if they were carrying food in their mouths. At the second nest one of the birds entered the nest and remained there. The mate, when it returned, stuck its head into the opening and then flew away not to return for the next 10 minutes or more. This action probably indicated that there were either eggs or young in the second nest which needed incubating or brooding.
 
In Louisiana in summer very few Cliff Swallows have been reported after the first week of June until fall migration in August. Over twenty years ago two individuals were observed in Caddo Parish by Horace Jeter on June 28 which suggested that they might be nesting but no nest was located (see Lowery, Louisiana Birds, 1974). There has been no known report of this species nesting in Louisiana until the present discovery. Like the rapid increase in breeding of the Barn Swallow in Louisiana in recent years possibly the Cliff Swallow may be a common breeder in Louisiana in the near future.
 
Mr. and Mrs. Ben Coffey (Am. Birds; 30;968) in 1976 reported Cliff Swallows in Arkansas rapidly taking advantage of man made nesting sites such as new bridges. They found 350 nests at one new bridge and 125 at another in the north central part of the state.
 
LOS members should watch for Cliff Swallows possibly nesting beneath road overpasses and bridges.
 
HUMMINGBIRD OPEN HOUSE
January 10 & 11, 1981
LOS Members are invited to an Open House to observe hummingbirds at the home of Nancy Newfield, 3016 45th Street, Metairie, Louisiana 70001. Five species have been recorded in previous years. Several Rufous and Black-chinned are usually present at this season - other species are always possible. Phone 835-0105.
 
THE BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD IN LOUISIANA
- A STATUS REPORT
by Nancy L. Newfield
The Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) is considered rare but regular in winter in the southern part of Louisiana by Lowery (1974 Louisiana Birds). While that assessment is valid, a review of recent reports clarifies the occurrence of this western species.
 
I began maintaining hummingbird feeders in the fall of 1975. In late October, the first Black-chin arrived. The male bird was in juvenal plumage with just a few black and purple feathers on his throat. He was joined several days later by another juvenile male with a different pattern of black and purple feathers. By the end of December, there were seven differently marked juvenile males in residence. Several others were reported to me from scattered locations in the New Orleans area. A total of 15 sightings was reported to me in the winter of 1975-1976.
 
By compiling reports from 1975 until the present, I have seen a distinct pattern emerge. A few Black-chins are reported in fall migration. The earliest record is of a male in Franklin (St. Mary Parish) on September 3, 1974 at the feeder of Mrs. George DeSoto. There have been sporadic reports of this species through the fall until late October. At that time, they begin to concentrate at feeders for a winter residence which lasts in some cases into mid-April. Some birds remain constantly at one location. Others remain only a few days before moving on; still others use the feeders sporadically throughout the season. These patterns seem related to the severity of the winter and the availability of natural foods but there is no one single factor which influences these birds. In anyone season, there are some birds which fit into each category. The majority of reports are of juvenile males. Females may be overlooked. An accurate census of females at any location is difficult because of their similarity to each other and to the closely related female Ruby-throated Hummingbird (A. colubris) which are sometimes seen in winter also.
 
To better evaluate the population of all species of wintering hummingbirds, I initiated a program of banding and color-marking in 1979. The results of the winter of 1979-1980 proved most enlightening.
 
The first Black-chin was banded October 22, 1979. This bird, an adult female, continued migrating after a brief stay. A male and two females (all juveniles) were banded in December. Two more females (adults) were banded in January; followed by a juvenile male in February. In March, a juvenile male and an adult female were banded following a hard freeze which brought several new birds in to the feeders. These 9 birds were all banded at the same location in Metairie (Jefferson Parish).
 
Color-marking revealed the movements of female birds. Only two or three females were present at any time. While one bird marked purple remained in residence constantly from late December until April 16, others marked green, blue, red, and yellow rotated in and out. This pattern was suspected in previous winters but not proven until color-marking was used.
 
The compilation of data based on banding records is probably the most practical/accurate method of assessing the number of Black-chins which winter in the New Orleans area. Whether the species is increasing in occurrence or simply being reported more frequently remains a moot question but that it occurs regularly seems obvious.
 
PETERSON FIELD GUIDE REVISED
 
The fourth revision of A Field Guide to the Birds by Roger Tory Peterson will be available this month through Houghton Mifflin Company, 2 Park Street, Boston Massachusetts 02107. Price: $15.00 in hardcover, $9.95 in paperback.
 
The guide contains nearly 1700 drawings and paintings of 575 species of birds native to the Eastern U.S. and Canada. The guide has been completely revamped in that species descriptions run next to each painting, the latest nomenclature is used, and range maps are included.
 
Reviews indicate A Field Guide to the Birds will again assume its position as "the birders bible".
 
L.0.S. News Editor
Dr. Tom Kee Life Member - $50.00
Department of Biology
Northeast Louisiana University
Monroe, Louisiana 71209
LOUISIANA ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY
 
Dues for 19_____
 
Name__________________________
 
Address_______________________
 
City__________________________
 
State_____________ Zip ________
 
Regular Member - $2.00/year
 
Student Member - $1.00/year
 
Life Member - $50.00
 
Patron - $100.00/year
 
Please make checks payable to Louisiana Ornithological Society and remit to:
 
Mrs. Marianna Tanner
Secretary-Treasurer, LOS
P.O. Box 299
Cameron, Louisiana 70631

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King Rail neck feather (L'Hoste/1998) design
posted 10April1999