Date of this Version
Jasper Park, with an area of approximately 4 200 square miles, is the largest accessible primeval wildlife sanctuary on this continent and as such its bird lite is of the greatest interest. The meagre available records of earlier conditions indicate that noteworthy changes in the park's avifauna have taken place in the last ,0 years. There can be little doubt that other changes will take place during the years to come. For this reason, then, if tor no other, it seems desirable that as complete a record as possible of the current situation be made, for only against it can the significance of future trends be evaluated.
The park area contains a section of the old fur traders' route from Eastern Canada to the Fraser and Columbia Rivers, and was visited by many of the explorers of the American northwest. It is unfortunate that so few of them left any record of the birds and mammals of the region. However, in 182, Thomas Drummond was sent to the present park region, to make biological collections, as a member of Sir John Franklin's second expedition. His specimens, described by Swainson and Richardson in their "Fauna Boreali-Americana," are the earliest record of Jasper bird life. There are in addition many references to birds in Drummond's own narrative of his trip in the first volume of Hooker's "Botanical Miscellany". Unfortunately, it is seldom possible to tell when he was in the park area, and whether any of his specimens were taken there. Because of this, Drummond's records have been used only where they suggest occurrences not otherwise established.