considerably reduced in numbers. At a place where we counted hundreds during the
Christmas Count I saw less than a dozen recently. Mr. McKay reported an unusual 132
species for January but remarked that many seemed to be below par in numbers. Birds
quickly stripped Yaupon, Privet and other berries and flocked to feeders in the area -
the Kokeshes had 18 species at theirs on Jan. 27, while I had some 35 seen only from
the house on a bitter Jan- 20 (24°). In the frantic foraging for food many birds
changed their habits and habitats. Mr. McKay tells of a King Rail which would appear
after the first cast of a net for bait (by Arnold McKay) and would wait for a handout!
This continued until-the heavy freezes ruined the bait-casting. Robins were noted in
ditches and marshes, on prairies, roadsides and the beach. That skulker, the Hermit
Thrush, became a common roadside bird, also appearing openly in yards and at feeders.
The high winds added another hazard to a bad situation, for many birds, flying low over
the roads, were hit by cars. On one stretch of Hwy. l46 North I counted some 25 dead
Robins, 4 Hermit Thrushes, and a dozen unidentified birds. Some dead owls along the
roadside were reported from other sections. L.S.
HERE AND THERE
Sequel on the misguided SWAN. The SWAN Homer Harmon called twice to his duck
blind went to another blind and was killed! The body was poor and full of lice, and
parts of both feet were missing. Harmon thinks it was a Mute Swan, possibly a stray
from a park. Submitted by Arlie K. McKay
The Kokeshes of El Lago Estates entertained a
feeders during the month of January.
Yellow-breated Chat at thair
Mrs. Frankie Daves Of Old River had a Catbird visiting her feeder daily.
The Snyders ran a clinic in their greenhouse - the patients being a frozen
Robin and a Sora Rail. The rail was very friendly In his unwell state even to the
point of climbing onto a shoulder! He ate moistened bread and swallowed 2-inch
minnows whole after stunning them with his bill. Both birds have been released to
battle the elements again.
A nice note to your editors from Jim Henderson of Midland added more to the
brant situation in Texas by enclosing the following reprint from THE AUK, Vol. 77;
"A Texas Record of the Black Brant.- The A.O.U. Check-list (5th ed., 1957,
p. 64) lists the Black Brant (Branta nigricans) as of only casual occurrence
in Texas. Wolfe (Check-list of the Birds of Texas, 1956, p. 14) gives only
one record of a bird shot in Tom Green County in 1884 and a sight record
near Brownsville in 1938. On 28 December 1956, I was goose hunting in
Wilbarger County, Texas, about 15 miles south of Vernon. An adjacent hunter,
whose name I did not learn, shot a black goose from a flock of Canada Geese
(Branta canadensis) that had been decoyed to a typical wheat field pit blind.
This goose was picked out and shot because it was observed to be entirely
different from any of the other geese in the flock. Recognizing that any
brant was an unusual species for Texas, I secured the bird as a specimen.
It was still warm when it came into my possession. A colored photograph of
this bird has been identified by Dr. John W. Aldrich as being Branta bernicla
nigricans. Unfortunately, neither I nor the taxidermist sexed this specimen.
The mounted bird is now in my possession." - J. C. Henderson, Box 5132,
Nancy Strickling sends in some information on martins. To keep the
nestlings from leaving the nest prematurely, place a teaspoon of sulfer in each compartment to kill lice, etc., and be certain there is enough ventilation to keep the
boxes from over-heating. Fallen young may only be replaced in their correct hole;
otherwise, place on house ledge or on a nearby branch for the parents to feed.
HEW EDITORS FOR THE SPOOBBILL - Your editors announce their premature retirement with
this issue. Jim Ellis, your newly elected editor, has consented to taking over the
two remaining issues. Send all future material to him: James 0. Ellis, Editorial
Engineering, Inc., 4901 Richmond Ave., or to home address, 54l4 Fairdale (27),
Tel. Bo. Mo. 5-1410.