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The Kenai Song Sparrow in Washington

Mex M. Peet
6 (November-December)
From Field and Study
Online Text

The Kenai Song Sparrow in Washington.-A Song Sparrow in my collection, taken by the late D. E. Brown at Marysville, Snohomish County, Washington, on October 2, 1933, had been identified by H. S. Swarth as Melospiza m. caurina. Since it differed greatlv from other specimens of caurina, 1 sent it to Alden H. Miller. He identified it as kenaiensis, and commented: “It represents the first instance, as far as I know, of this race migrating southward. The bird simply does not fit in with caurina. Swarth, I note, so identified it, and I would hesitate to differ with his experience with Alaskan birds. However, the bird is definitely too gra.y and too large for cautima, and seems to correspond very well to our kenuienris.” Since Miller was unable to compare the specimen with insignis, I sent it to Alexander Wetmore and J. M. Aldrich. They agree that on the basis of present treatment it should be called Melospiza melodiu kenaiensis.

Wetmore commented as follows: “It differs from our series of ken&ens+ in being grayer above but has the size of that race and comes nearer to it in color than to any other. It is possibly an intermediate individual toward some one of the other races and it is, of course, possible that it may represent a population that some time may be described as new. That, however, is not evident from this single specimen. The bird is smaller than i&g& and also is grayer in color.

It is much larger than caurina and also much lighter in color.” The Washington specimen is very close in general coloration to one of our September birds from Kodiak Island, but the pileum and back are much more distinctly streaked, and the bii is much smaller than in the latter. The bill is similar to that of caurina. Perhaps this bird came from the Alaskan coast somewhere between the areas inhabited by typical itignds and kenuiensis. The specimen is marked female and has the following measurements: wing, 72 mm.; tail, 71; culmen, 13.-MAX M. PEET, Amz Arbor, Michigan, August 17, 1946.


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