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The Gray-Checked Thrush at Point Barrow, Alaska

Ira L. Wiggins
3 (May-June)
From Field and Study
Online Text

The Gray-Chceked Thrush at Point Barrow, Alaska.-Bailey (Colorado Mus. Nat. Hist., Pop. Ser., 8, 1948:279-280) reported that the Gray-cheeked Thrush (Hylocichla minima minima) is very common throughout the Kotzebue Sound region of Alaska and inland among willows in the foothills bordering the arctic slope. Its normal breeding range extends along these foothills to the delta of the Mackenzie River, thence southeasterly to the Anderson River region and northern Newfoundland. However, he is able to list four vagrants to the northward as far as Point Barrow on June 8 and 10, August 29, and September 19. A fifth specimen can now be reported from Point Barrow. On September 19, 1952, I found a dead bird on the ground directly under the radar target located on the edge of the low bluff that constitutes the northernmost tip of Alaska. The bird apparently had flown into the heavy woven wire grid of the target’s vanes. A ragged wound found along the throat and a hemorrhagic area over the top of the skull indicated the violence with which the bird struck the screen. The specimen was amale, weighed 25.23 grams, and the gonads were 1.5 and 2 mm. long.

Bent (Bull. U. S. Nat. Mus. Bull. No. 196, 1949:199) gives September 8 and 9 as late dates for departure of the Gray-cheeked Thrush from Nome and St. Paul Island, respectively. It is reasonably certain that my specimen from Point Barrow had lingered in the arctic considerably past the dates quoted by Bent, for although the bird was cold when picked up, there had been no appreciable desiccation of the tissues and it could scarcely have been dead more than twenty-four hours.

The recently collected specimen is now No. SU 12159 in the Zoological Collections of the Natural History Museum at Stanford University.-IRA L. WIGGINS, Natural History Museunt, Stanford University, California, March 23, 1953

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