This page needs to be proofread.

124 THE CONDOR VOL. XII royo del Valle, and Corral Hollow regions in Southern Alameda County, where the bird was fairly common. Favored localities are extremely hot, dry, unsheltered hillsides with southern and western exposures, which harbor a growth of black and gray sage, and a scattering of white oaks. Vegetable matter being from 88 to 97 percent of their food, it is necessary that there be an undergrowth of grasses. Colonies are the rule, and the writer found usually a dozen pairs in the con- fines of a two or three acre hillside. The birds seldom leave the bushes for the oaks, their favorite perches being the tops of the sage. During the ante-nuptial season, the birds may be seen on their favorite perch, giving their peculiar cicada- like song, which has a w9nderfully ventriloquistic power,and is very confusing wheu one is trying to locate the bird. Fig. 40. NEStrING SITE (AT CROSS) OF RUFOUS-CROV?'NED SPARROV:, NEAR ARRO?'O DEL VALLE, ALAMEDA COUNT?', CALIFORNIA, JULY 8, 1908 It is impossible to locate a nest by the usual method of watching the female bird. The bird is a past-master of the sleuth stunt, and cannot be followed when going to or from its nest. Just as in poker a greenhorn cannot be beaten by a veteran, so in egg-collecting a novice will find the best nests. Overhearing a conversation between Mr. W. Otto Emerson and the writer, up- on eggs, Mr. A. F. Taggart, a member of our party casually askt, "What kind of a bird lays three little white eggs in a nest in a hole in the ground ur)der a sage bush?" Emerson and I needed no more iuformation. There was no other bird in that Arroyo del Valle that could do that but the Rufous-crowned Sparrow. Soon we had the assurance that Taggart had not smasht any of the eggs or stept on the nest