Great NebraskaNaturalists and Scientists
NOU, Myron Swenk, Letter, 1904, Apr. 30
Falls City, Nebr. Apr 30 ’04. Dear Prof. Bruner:- Well, it is about time I am letting you know about the birds in this region. I am much disappointed, not with the locality, for it gives evidence of a veritable ornithologist’s paradise, but with the temporary conditions due to the high water. There is a lot of fine timber along the Nemaha but it cannot at present be approached to within a half mile, so I have been compelled to do most of the work up to this time in the little patches of timber along the Muddy Creek, and on the uplands. However the water is fast receding and I hope soon to get into the deep woods.
I have been keeping close migration notes, and to give you some idea of what has been doing this last week in arrivals, I will give some of my first seen dates. Apr 20. Lesser Yellowlegs. Semipalmated Sandpiper Apr 22. Junco last seen; also Pine Finch. Apr 23. House Wren (W) arr. Apr 24. Catbird, Chimney Swift, Bartramian’s Sandpiper arr. Apr. 25. Brown Thrasher, arr. Apr. 26. Orchard Oriole, Rosebreasted Grosbeak, Myrtle Warbler, Orange crowned Warbler, Tree Swallow arr. Apr 27. Sora, Kingbird, Grasshopper Sparrow, Northern Yellorthroat, Swamp Sparrow, Longbilled March Wren, arr. Apr. 28. Baltimore Oriole, Yellow Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, Redstart, Yellowthroated Vireo, Claycolored Sparrow, White throated & White crowned Sparrows, Chipping Sparrow arr.
Up to the 26th the cold wet weather kept back the middle migrants, but on that day and since they have been pouring in thick and fast. Some of them surprise me, but the whole list of Apr 28 are birds which will hardly reach Lincoln before the 2 or 3rd of May this year. It merely goes to show how little we really definitely know of these movements.
Until I can get to the deep woods I will occupy myself with getting the commoner birds which the University does not have, and try to fill up many of the gaps in the series.
As this is the last of the month I enclose my bill for April. The $6.00 is work I did at Lincoln before I left (up to Apr. 6) and the $5.20 the time I have put in here along with $1.20 expended for bobinette, primers, cotton, arsenic and thread, making in all $11.20. Of course I am but started, and next month will put in a great many more hours, so if you deem it desirable to “even up” by adding some hours to this month’s bill, say 50 hrs., why it might be well to do so.
I am banking on that Omaha trip, and unless I hear from you to the opposite, shall come home on the 12th to go up with the Lincoln folks. Shall I bring along the gun? It works fine with small shot but reloading goes slow because of the smallness of the wad cutter – as soon as Mockett gets the 45 cal cutter I wish you would send it to me. I got a Yellow-throated Vireo Thursday at fully 40 yards with 1 shot.
How is the “Manual” progressing? Give Wolcott my best regards and tell him if it is not too much trouble to drop me a card and let me know what the eastern authorities did with our determinations, as I am very curious about it. No doubt they squelched our Mosker and Sparrow hawk! I am paying particular care to find out as many of these subspecies problems as possible. Our House Wrens are all western, one yellowthroats brachidactyla and all the White-crowns I have yet seen are true leucophrys. The Field Sparrow is common but I have not yet been able to shoot a specimen. One that I saw in town seemed quite [illegible], but the song is not different from that of arenacia.
Say “Hello” to the girls for me and tell Ruth that if she should have occasion to print my lables to stick in a “Richardson County” and “Falls City.” I don’t remember whether we have “Rulo” or not. Well so long for this time, hope everything is going all O. K.