The Brewer Sparrow in the Oklahoma Panhandle
The Brewer Sparrow in the Oklahoma Panhandle.-Many bird students have long contended that Brewer Sparrows (Spizella b,reweri) were likely to occur as spring and fall migrants in Cimarron County, the extreme western county of the Oklahoma Panhandle. They had been reported from Baca County, Colorado, by E. R. Warren in 1906, having been observed by him on April 29, 1906, at Monon and at Springfield, forty miles north of the Oklahoma-Colorado line; and a few years later they had been found in Colfax County, New Mexico, sixty miles west of the Oklahoma-New Mexico line. Then, in their “Birds of Oklahoma”, published in May, 1924, by the University of Oklahoma, Margaret Morse Nice and Leonard Blaine Nice placed this bird in a list headed “Birds Whose Occurrence Is To Be Expected”, and stated that it should be a transient through Cimarron County. However, despite all of the foregoing facts and opinions, actual record of its occurrence here was lacking until within comparatively recent months.
During the past fifteen or sixteen years the writer had kept a close watch, each spring and fall, for this sparrow, but always without result until last October (1925)) when on the morning of the 11th it was my good fortune to find fourteen of the birds near the little inland town of Kenton, located in the valley of the Cimarron River. I was not equipped at the time for taking a specimen, but I studied the birds carefully and made note of their color, size and other distinguishing characteristics, which together with my previous knowledge of the species, gained through observations in Colorado and New Mexico, left no shadow of doubt in my mind as to their identity.
Though satisfied, personally, with my findings in the matter, I very much desired (since my record would, so far as I could learn, be the first for the state) to secure still further proof of their correctness, before making a report. In this I was again fortunate, as on March 20, 1926, I encountered twenty-two of the birds on a three-acre tract of land just south of Kenton, and at this time secured a specimen that made positive the identification of the species as the Brewer Sparrow, sometimes known as the “sage-brush chippie”. Thus a new name has been added to the already extensive list of Oklahoma migrants, and the writer takes keen pleasure in reporting the event, not only for this reason but because it also vindicates an opinion held by himself and his associates during a long period of years, and proves again that patience and perseverance in bird study bring their reward the same as in any other line of enquiry.- R. C. TATE, Kenton, Cimarron County, Oklahoma, April 2, 1926.