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Benson, A. M.

We documented the occurrence of eight rare passerines in central Alaska. Our observations of the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Arctic Warbler, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Tennessee Warbler, Palm Warbler, Mourning Warbler, and Clay-colored Sparrow provided new distributional information on the occurrence of these species in central Alaska. Mist netting [not a spray, just a light net] was essential to documenting the geographic distribution of these species because mist-net captures represented the only occurrence of several species. Additionally, many of these records could not have been identified to subspecies without collecting individuals as voucher specimens that could be verified by other scientists.
The brief subarctic summer limits the time available for birds to complete their reproductive activities, yet the temporal requirements of high-latitude passerine migrants are not well understood. Our analyses examined the timing of spring and autumn migration among 18 passerine species to obtain indirect estimates of the time they occupy their breeding ranges in northwestern North America. From 1992 to 1998, the Alaska Bird Observatory (64 degree 50'N, 147 degree 50'W) banded 31,698 individuals during the most intensive standardized mist-netting study ever conducted in subarctic North America.
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