Print

Print


Terry Swope has kindly sent to me a copy of "Birds of Swope Park," by Albert E. Shirling, written in 1920. It makes fascinating reading, and I intend to post comments about it from time to time it for the interest of  birders who live near Kansas City in both states.

Two things immediately struck me when I opened the book. The first was a statement by Shirling that Swope Park is in "the extreme southeast part" of Kansas City, MO. The second was a picture of  a large group of Purple Coneflowers growing in the "native prairie." Later on he refers to a vista of rolling hills visible from one place in the park. Swope Park seems right now to be right in the middle of a metro area that has been developed for at least a dozen miles in every direction. The prairie, the vista of rolling hills and the Purple Coneflowers are all gone.

Of especial interest to me are the changes in bird  life there. He found 12 species of warblers and 5 of vireos nesting in  the 1300-acre park. The numbers in his census are limited to male birds only (female birds being less in evidence during nesting), by which he evidently estimates the number of breeding pairs. Consider the following total numbers of male birds tallied in his census:

Kentucky Warbler                                                      74
Wood Thrush                                                             55
Cerulean Warbler (the 2nd most common warbler!)       34
Acadian Flycatcher                                                    27
Scarlet Tanager                                                         22
Worm-eating Warbler    (4th most common)                 21
Yellow-breasted Chat                                                 18
Blue-winged Warbler                                                   17
Redstart                                                                    17
Oven Bird                                                                   7
Cooper's Hawk                                                            3
House Wren                                                               1

Birds not listed in the census, but expected to be found today, include  Wild Turkey and Pileated Woodpecker. One warbler that does nest locally in northwest Missouri, but which Shirling did not find nesting in the park, is Yellow Warbler. No willows, I suppose.

It is also interesting to note that some species I had believed did not range to our area (e.g. Blue-winged Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Cerulean Warbler) are now being found at Weston Bend S.P. in Missouri, and at Leavenworth, immediately across the river from it in Kansas. Shirling's census suggests that we are not outside the traditional  ranges of these species! We just have so little habitat remaining for them that they are very hard to find.


Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
[log in to unmask]

__________________________________________________
*        Audubon Society of Missouri's           *
*         Wild Bird Discussion Forum             *
*------------------------------------------------*
* To unsubscribe send the message                *
*    SIGNOFF MOBIRDS-L                           *
* to [log in to unmask]                    *
* To subscribe send the message                  *
* SUBSCRIBE MOBIRDS-L your name                  *
* to [log in to unmask]                    *
*------------------------------------------------*
* To access the list archives from July 2002 on: *
* http://po.missouri.edu/archives/mobirds-l.html *
##################################################