Black-chinned sparrows on Mt. Elden

jawilder

Active Member
Inspired by Eric's post about BCSPs in Show Low I scrambled this morning up to the south-facing slopes of Mt. Elden, where I have found a small population of apparently-breeding BCSPs in the past several years. I'm happy to report that the birds were easy enough to find (easy, that is, once I committed to scrambling up several hundred feet across steep rocks and through excruciatingly scratchy brush). I found several individuals, including a male & female interacting in what I can only assume is a courtship-type behavior (see photo below!). At one point several males were singing simultaneously. Given the amount of available habitat up there, I'm guessing there could be quite a few individuals present (10s probably), although it is very difficult terrain to survey.

The National Audubon Society has given BCSP "red" status on its watchlist because of recent severe declines in breeding bird surveys and loss of habitat. As such, its valuable to know that we have a breeding population right here within the Flagstaff city limits.

Other birds today included Townsend's, Orange-crowned, Black-throated Gray, Virginia's, and Yellow-rumped Warblers; Cassin's and Plumbeous Vireos, Lazuli Bunting, and Pinyon Jays.

Male and female, with the male showing off:
[attachment=13275]

[attachment=13273]

Habitat shot of the area where the BCSPs can be found on Mt. Elden
[attachment=13274]

Jason
 

Attachments

rauler

Member
Nice photos, Jason! By the way, I had a singing Hermit Thrush yesterday a bit west of Elden Spring, near the bitter cherry glade.

Ron
 

jawilder

Active Member
Earlier this week, on 5/14/19, I was happy to hear a singing Black-chinned Sparrow just above the base of Mt. Elden about a half mile east of Elden Spring. These birds tend to prefer the difficult-to-access habitat up on the rocks on Mt. Elden's south-facing slopes, and I believe breed up there regularly, as my post above from 2012 describes.

Jason
Flagstaff, AZ
 

jawilder

Active Member
This is the closest picture I can find to the behavior in that photo, and it's definitely a different species!

;)
Jason
 

jawilder

Active Member
A Black-chinned Sparrow was singing lustily this morning (31 May, 2019) east of Elden Spring, and clearly audible from the trail along the base of the mountain. The specific location was within a few hundred feet of the telephone wires that run up to the summit of Mt. Elden. If memory serves me correctly, this is very near the location where the pictures up above were taken in 2012.

Jason
 

jawilder

Active Member
Black-chinned Sparrow was heard singing heartily early in the morning of 5 May, 2020 on the upper western portion of the Fat Man's Loop Trail.. I suspect there's no more than a handful of birds in that patch of suitable habitat on Mt Elden, but the population has persisted for at least 8 years now.

Also of note around Elden Spring is the largest concentration of Yellow-rumped Warblers I've ever noitced in the area. They have been dripping from the trees near the spring (along with a smattering of other warblers) recently, and have been abundant throughout the area for the past 10 days or so - Audubon's, Myrtle and intergrades are all present.

Finally, twice now I've picked out a Zone-tailed Hawk masquerading as a Turkey Vulture around Elden Spring. I'm wondering if it has taken up residence for the summer.

Jason
Flagstaff, AZ
 
Top