Date: 7/2/19 9:14 am
From: DAVID A LEATHERMAN <daleatherman...>
Subject: [cobirds] Brown Creeper at low elevation (Larimer), and other miscellany.
A brown creeper is singing away in my Fort Collins apartment yard a mile east of CSU campus this morning. This is not normal in my experience for early July. Does this individual represent a "summer dispersal" (of an adult or maybe even young bird) from breeding areas to the west following the first breeding cycle?; is it a bird that has yet to breed and is tired of "circling the airport" waiting for snowy areas in the high mountains to melt and that returned to low elevation?; would a bird born in the mountains this summer be singing like this one already? Lots of questions.

Speaking of questions, did anyone have Mark Peterson's yellow-green vireo on their "next" list for the Colorado roster? Great find, Mark.

I have had red crossbills fly over my apartment lately (solo birds), and at Grandview Cemetery (group of about a dozen). I have not spent any time in the mountains this year and, believe it or not, the first one on 20June was a year list species, having had none down low or out on the plains last winter/spring. A few red crossbills fly over Fort Collins in summer and I have always wondered if they are "scouts" assessing urban conifer cone crops and that somehow convey intel to the mountain troops resulting in winter wandering to the lowlands (or not). I see where David Suddjian has had similar urban red crossbill sightings of late. Type 2?

Male Red Crossbill, apparently Type 2 "ponderosa" individual, at Grandview Cemetery in spruce on 26June2019.

Broad-tailed hummingbirds are into their second nesting at Grandview Cemetery. Production of fledglings from first nesting attempts this year was low, if at all. I think that last "bomb cyclone" event was harmful to many plant and animal species, including hummers. I also think predation on urban birds, including hummers, by grackles, jays, other birds and squirrels is significant.

Seems to me there are way more pewees at low elevation and out on the plains this year than is normal. I had one still half-heartedly singing in my apartment yard last week. This usually is the case around June 1, not late June. They normally nest out east on the plains in little pockets of trees in riparian corridors and farmsteads but the numbers away from the mountains feel inflated this year, probably by the extended cool, wet weather and all the snow at elevations above 5000 feet.

It needs to be mentioned the eastern wood-pewee I reported on 8June2019 from Limon was deemed a hybrid by Steve Mlodinow. His basis for this determination was the presence of subdued darkish markings on the undertail coverts. On a pure eastern, this area should be snow white (see photo).


Bushtits are certainly a "regular" species in Fort Collins now. Ten years ago they would warrant an asterisk. Family groups are wandering around dishing out free pest control in obscurity. They need a little truck and magnetic sign.

Dave Leatherman
Fort Collins

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