eWestern BirdsThe Quarterly Journal of Western Field Ornithologists
Vol. 53, No. 4
Western Field Ornithologists
Front cover photo by © Robert H. Day of Bentonville, Arkansas: Crested Auklets (Aethia cristatella) in communal display flight at Big Koniuji Island, Shumagin Islands, Alaska, May 1976. At Big Koniuji, flocks of Crested Auklets, sometimes as many as tens of thousands, sit on the water below the Yukon Harbor colony, peeling off to perform group aerial displays resembling starling murmurations. Since the 1970s, however, the number of Crested Auklets nesting in the Shumagin Islands has declined steeply, perhaps presaging a retraction of the species from the eastern end of its breeding range. In this issue of Western Birds, Day, G. Vernon Byrd, and Edgar P. Bailey review the entire avifauna of the Shumagins and its many changes since the islands were first visited by naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller in 1741.
Back cover photo by © Maria Leung of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada: Week-old chicks of the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) in a goat shed at a farm north of Whitehorse. In this issue of Western Birds, Maria Leung and Donald Reid summarize their study of the breeding biology of the Barn Swallow at the northern extremity of its range, where it nests in buildings, culverts, and other artificial structures. Six of 41 nests observed apparently represented second clutches, and of these five were successful; successful double-brooding by any bird is seldom confirmed at arctic or subarctic latitudes.