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Bird Checklists of the United States

Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site

La Junta, Colorado

Mis-stan-stur - Ghost-Owl Woman

Little is known about Owl Woman, daughter of Gray Thunder, Cheyenne keeper of the sacred arrows, and wife of William Bent, Indian trader. "Mis-stan-stur" was sketched by Lt. J. W. Abert as she sat on the billiard table at Bent's Fort. In his 1845 journal he describes:

"In the evening I got a fine sketch of 'Mis-stan-stur,' (Owl Woman), a Cheyenne squaw, who although she has been married several years and has two children, yet shows signs of having been a remarkably handsome woman. Having a white man for her husband, she has not been obliged to work, therefore her hands are in all their native beauty, small, delicately formed, and with tapering fingers; her wavy hair, unlike the Indians generally, was fine and of silken soften. She put on her handsomest dress in order to sit for me. Her cape and under garment were bordered with bands of beads, and her beautiful leggins, which extended only to the knee, were so nicely joined with the moccasin that the connection could not be perceived, and looked as neat as the stockings of our eastern belles, and the modest attitude in which she sits is characteristic, but will be best conceived by the sketch."


Owls are creatures of the night
Ghosts on the wing
Predators whose silent approach is not heard.
The old Cheyenne sitting
under the cottonwoods
waiting to trade
will tell you that mistai,
are not natural animals.
Their feathers, correctly worn,
may impart power to see in the dark
and move quickly and silently through it.
But run to your home and hide
if you hear the call
of the mistai in the night.

Bent's Old Fort is a ghost from the past.
But, things are different now from then.
No more are eagles in the tower prison.
No more are meadowlarks caged for their song.
If you are lucky,
you can hear the call
of the great horned owl
in the evening
when night begins to fall.
Watch the hawk over the river soar.
Wait for the cranes in autumn.

Now, as then, birds are symbols to man.
Indians revered them,
took their names as gifts...

137 birds have been recorded at Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site. Of these, 29 are known to breed here. 15 species have been identified from archeofauna and diaries from the 1840's. This list is arranged according to the 6th Edition of the A.O.U. checklist. The park appreciates receiving details of any new sightings. Missing codes indicate a lack of documentation

* - species known to nest on the refuge
# - 1840's

c - common                                    R - resident
u - uncommon                                  M - migrant
r - rare
s - casual: present in some years,            Sp - spring
    absent in others                          S - summer
a - accidental                                F - fall
e - extirpated                                W - winter

GREBES ___ Pied-billed Grebe sM
CORMORANTS ___ Double-crested Cormorant --
HERONS ___ American Bittern -- ___ Great Blue Heron# cM, uWR ___ Great Egret sM ___ Snowy Egret -- ___ Green Heron rSp, FM ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron --
IBIS ___ White-faced Ibis --
GEESE, DUCKS ___ Snow Goose cM ___ Canada Goose# cM ___ Wood Duck* uR ___ Green-winged Teal# uM ___ Mallard* cR ___ Northern Pintail uM ___ Blue-winged Teal* cR ___ Cinnamon Teal uR ___ Northern Shoveler cM, uR ___ Gadwall -- ___ American Wigeon rM ___ Redhead -- ___ Ring-necked Duck -- ___ Lesser Scaup uM, sWR ___ Common Merganser uM ___ Ruddy Duck rM, rWR
VULTURES ___ Turkey Vulture# rM
HAWKS, EAGLES ___ Osprey sM ___ Mississippi Kite uSR ___ Bald Eagle# uWR ___ Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawk)* uSR ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk -- ___ Cooper's Hawk uWR ___ Northern Goshawk sM ___ Swainson's Hawk uM ___ Red-tailed Hawk*# uSR ___ Ferruginous Hawk* uSR ___ Rough-legged Hawk rWR ___ Golden Eagle rM
FALCON ___ American Kestrel cR ___ Merlin cW ___ Prairie Falcon rWM
QUAIL, PHEASANTS, TURKEYS ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* cR ___ Wild Turkey*# cR ___ Northern Bobwhite# cR ___ Scaled Quail sR
RAILS ___ Black Rail sM ___ Virginia Rail sM ___ Sora uM ___ American Coot rM
CRANES ___ Sandhill Crane# rFM
PLOVERS ___ Killdeer* cR
AVOCETS ___ American Avocet rSpM
SANDPIPERS ___ Greater Yellowlegs -- ___ Lesser Yellowlegs -- ___ Solitary Sandpiper sSpM ___ Willet -- ___ Spotted Sandpiper -- ___ Long-billed Curlew rM ___ Western Sandpiper sSpM ___ Least Sandpiper -- ___ Common Snipe sSR ___ American Woodcock sM ___ Wilson's Phalarope sSpM
GULLS, TERNS ___ Franklin's Gull -- ___ Ring-billed Gull -- ___ California Gull cSpM, rSR ___ Forster's Tern -- ___ Black Tern sSpM
DOVES ___ Rock Dove (Domestic Pigeon)* cR ___ Mourning Dove* cR
ROADRUNNERS, CUCKOOS ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo rSR ___ Greater Roadrunner# e
OWLS ___ Barn Owl rM ___ Great Horned Owl* uR ___ Burrowing Owl e ___ Long-eared Owl sM
NIGHTJARS ___ Common Nighthawk cR
HUMMINGBIRDS ___ Broad-tailed Hummingbird -- ___ Rufous Hummingbird --
KINGFISHERS ___ Belted Kingfisher uM
WOODPECKERS ___ Lewis's Woodpecker uR ___ Red-headed Woodpecker* cR ___ Red-naped Sapsucker M ___ Downy Woodpecker uR ___ Hairy Woodpecker uR ___ Northern Flicker (Common Flicker) cR
FLYCATCHERS ___ Western Wood-Pewee rM ___ Say's Phoebe* uR ___ Ash-throated Flycatcher uM ___ Cassin's Kingbird sSM ___ Western Kingbird* cR ___ Eastern Kingbird* cR
LARKS ___ Horned Lark uR
SWALLOWS ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow -- ___ Bank Swallow -- ___ Cliff Swallow sSR ___ Barn Swallow* cR
JAYS, MAGPIES, CROWS ___ Blue Jay* uR ___ Black-billed Magpie*# uR ___ American Crow rR ___ Chihuahuan Raven -- ___ Common Raven# rM
CHICKADEES ___ Black-capped Chickadee uR
NUTHATCHES ___ Red-beasted Nuthatch -- ___ White-breasted Nuthatch sWM
WRENS ___ Bewick's Wren -- ___ House Wren* uSR ___ Marsh Wren rWR, rSM
THRUSHES ___ Eastern Bluebird sSpM ___ Western Bluebird rM ___ Mountain Bluebird rM ___ Townsend's Solitaire -- ___ Swainson's Thrush -- ___ Hermit Thrush cSpM ___ American Robin* cR
THRASHERS ___ Northern Mockingbird*# cR ___ Sage Thrasher -- ___ Brown Thrasher uR
SHRIKES ___ Northern Shrike rWR ___ Loggerhead Shrike sSpM
STARLINGS ___ European Starling* cR
VIREOS ___ Solitary Vireo sSpM ___ Warbling Vireo -- ___ Red-eyed Vireo --
WARBLERS ___ Yellow Warbler -- ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) sM ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon) sSpM ___ Blackpoll Warbler sM ___ MacGillivray's Warbler sM ___ Common Yellowthroat cR ___ Wilson's Warbler sM ___ Yellow-breasted Chat rM
TANAGERS ___ Western Tanager rM
GROSBEAKS ___ Black-headed Grosbeak rSM ___ Blue Grosbeak cR
SPARROWS, BUNTINGS ___ Lazuli Bunting* cR ___ Indigo Bunting rM ___ Dickcissel sM ___ Green-tailed Towhee uM ___ Rufous-sided Towhee uM ___ Cassin's Sparrow -- ___ American Tree Sparrow cWR ___ Chipping Sparrow cM ___ Clay-colored Sparrow cM ___ Brewer's Sparrow -- ___ Field Sparrow uM ___ Vesper Sparrow uM ___ Lark Sparrow* cR ___ Lark Bunting uM ___ Savannah Sparrow uM ___ Grasshopper Sparrow -- ___ Song Sparrow -- ___ Swamp Sparrow rWR, uSM ___ White-crowned Sparrow cSpM ___ Dark-eyed Junco rM
BLACKBIRDS, ORIOLES ___ Red-winged Blackbird* cR ___ Western Meadowlark*# cR ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird uSpM ___ Rusty Blackbird sSpM ___ Brewer's Blackbird uSpM ___ Great-tailed Grackle uM ___ Common Grackle cM ___ Brown-headed Cowbird# cSR ___ Orchard Oriole sM ___ Bullock's Oriole* cSR
FINCHES ___ House Finch cM ___ Pine Siskin -- ___ Lesser Goldfinch aM ___ American Goldfinch cM
WEAVER FINCHES ___ House Sparrow* cR

Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site is administered by the National Park Service. For additional information contact:

                 Biological Resources Technician
                 Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site
                 35110 Highway 194 East
                 La Junta, Colorado 81050-9523       
                 Telephone: 719/384-2596
This resource is based on the following source:
Bent's Old Fort Historical Association.  1995.  Birds of Bent's Ford, a 
     checklist.  National Park Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
Bent's Old Fort Historical Association.  1995.  Birds of Bent's Ford, a 
     checklist.  National Park Service.  Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: 
     Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     (Version 22MAY98).

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