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Hon. Martin Burrell, Minister; R. G. McConnell, Deputy Minister. 


William McInnes, Directing Geologist. 


No. 3, Biological Series 

Birds of Eastern Canada 


P. A. Taverner 





No. 1563 

lo .^o^-^C.'""^ 




Introduction 1 

Acknowledgments 4 

Classification "5 

Geographical distribution 8 

Migration 10 

Protection 12 

Means of attracting birds 12 

Ornithological literature 13 

Key to the birds of eastern Canada 16 

Explanation 16 

Key 18 

Systematic index 29 

Descriptive ornithology 41 

Index 273 


Plate I. A. Pied-billed Grebe 223 

B. Common Loon 223 

II. A. HerringGull 224 

B. Common Tern : . . 224 

III. A. Red-breasted Merganser 225 

B. Mallard Duck 225 

IV. A. Black Duck 226 

B. Blue-winged Teal 226 

V. A . Wood Duck 227 

B. Canada Goose 227 

VI A. American Bittern 228 

B. Groat Blue Heron 228 

VII. A. Sora Rail 229 

B. American Woodcock 229 

VIII. A. Wilson's Snipe 230 

B. Spotted Sandpiper 230 

IX. A. Killdeer 231 

B. Bob-white 231 

. X, A. Spruce Grouse 232 

B. Ruffed Grouse 232 

XI. A. Mourning Dove and Passenger Pigeon 233 

B. Marsh Hawk 233 

XII. A. Sharp-shinned Hawk 234 

B. American Goshawk , 234 

XIII. A. Red-tailed Hawk 235 

B. Red-shouldered Hawk 235 

XIV. A. Duck Hawk 236 

B. American Sparrow Hawk 236 

XV. J A. Osprey 237 

B. Barred Owl 237 

XVI. A. Screech Owl 238 

B. Great Homed Ow 238 

XVII. A. Black-bUled Cuckoo; Yellow-billed Cuckoo 239 

B. Belted Kmgfisher 239 

XVIII. A, Downy Woodpecker 240 

B, Arctic Three-toed Woodpecker 240 

























































































Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 241 

Pileated Woodpecker 241 

Red-headed Woodpecker 242 

Flicker 242 

Nighthawk 243 

Chimney Swift 243 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird 244 

Kingbird 244 

Phoebe 245 

Horned Lark 245 

Blue Jay 246 

Canada Jay 246 

American Crow 247 

Bobolink 247 

Cowbird. „ 248 

Red-winged Blackbird 248 

Meadowlark 249 

Baltimore Oriole 249 

Bronzed Grackle 250 

Pine Grosbeak 250 

Purple Finch 251 

House Sparrow 251 

American Goldfinch ". . 252 

Snow Bunting 252 

Vesper Sparrow 253 

White-crowned Sparrow 253 

White-throated Sparrow , . 254 

Tree Sparrow 254 

Chipping Sparrow 255 

Junco 255 

Song Sparrow 256 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak 256 

Scarlet Tanager 257 

Purple Martin 257 

Barn Swallow 258 

Tree Swallow 258 

Bank Swallow 259 

Cedar Waxwing 259 

Migrant Loggerhead Shrike 260 

Red-eyed Vireo 260 

Warbling Vireo 261 

Black and White Warbler 261 

Yellow Warbler 262 

Black-throated Blue Warbler 262 

Myrtle Warbler 263 

Magnolia Warbler 263 

Blackburnian Warbler 264 

Black-throated Green Warbler 264 

Oven-bird 285 

Northern Yellow-throat 265 

Redstart 266 

Catbird 266 

Brown Thrasher 267 

House Wren 267 

Brown Creeper 268 

White-breasted Nuthatch 268 

Chickadee 269 



B. Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets 269 

XLVIII. A. Wood Thrush 270 

B. WUson's Thrush 270 

XLIX. A . Grey-cheeked and Olive-backed Thrushes 271 

B. Hermit Thrush 271 

L. A. American Robin 272 

B. Bluebird 272 

Figures 1 to 68. Illustrations to key 18 

Birds of Eastern Canada. 



Of late years there has been a great awakening of interest in the subject 
of natural history. More and more people are beginning to realize the 
pleasure and profit that can be derived from observation of common natural 
objects. In this growing field of nature study, few subjects have attracted 
so much popular attention as birds and few forms of life appeal so strongly 
to the aesthetic sense. They are beautiful; they arouse curiosity; their 
elusiveness piques the imagination; and by presenting constantly new 
aspects they never become commonplace. 

V(;,-The ornithological side is one from which the problems of nature can 
be successfully attacked from so many standpoints and in so many ways 
that there is interesting and valuable work for all to accomplish according 
to individual tarste or opportunity. Those who incline towards systematic 
work can spht their definitions as finely as human powers of observation 
permit. The animal psychologist can develop his problems as far as 
ingenuity can devise methods for experimentation. The ordinary nature 
lover can observe and note as painstakingly as opportunity permits; he 
can record information of scientific as well as popular interest, take pleasure 
in observing passing beauties, train his powers of observation, and acquire 
a knowledge that greatly increases his capacity for appreciation of nature. 
Even the unsentimental, practical man, who has little outward sympathy 
with abstract beauty, has his attention attracted by the evident economic 
value of birds. 

The "Birds of Eastern Canada" has been written to awaken and, 
where it already exists, to stimulate an interest, both sesthethic and practical, 
in the study of Canadian birds and to suggest the sentimental, scientific, 
and economic value, of that study; to assist in the identification of native 
species; and to furnish the economist with a ready means of determining 
bird friend from bird foe that he may act intelligently towards them and 
to the best interest of himself and the country at large; to present in a 
readily accessible form reliable data upon which measures of protective 
legislation may be based; to point out some of the pitfalls that have 
caught the inexperienced in the past; and to suggest methods for their 
future avoidance. 


This work covers all the birds that the ordinary observer is Hkely to 
meet with between the Atlantic coast and the prairies north of the Inter- 
national Boundary. This region forms a natural zoological area (see 
Distribution, page 8), including what may be called the eastern woodlands 
of Canada, a fairly homogeneous section, physically, geographically, and 
zoologically. The prairies are radically different in character and, con- 
sequently, exhibit an entirely different aspect of bird life. The birds of 

the open are naturally different from those of the woodlands; hence 
Manitoba has been taken as the western boundary of the zoological area 
dealt with in this book. 

Although not a scientifically complete check-list of the birds of Eastern 
Canada, this book is nearly so. A few species whose Canadian status is 
doubtful, and some of extreme rarity or of accidental occurrence, have 
been disregarded. The utmost freedom has been used in this respect and 
species have been admitted freely upon the basis of expediency; some as 
being of probable occurrence and to be looked for, others as illustrating 
some point of general interest more pointedly than regular native species, 
and some because in the past they have been confused with commoner 


The systematic arrangement (see Classification, page 5, and nomen- 
clature, page 7) used are those of the Check-list of the American Orni- 
thologists' Union, third edition, 1910. Though this arrangement is 
acknowledged to be somewhat imperfect and its details tentative, it is 
that upon which most of the recent American bird literature is founded and 
is the one in common use in North America. 

In the treatment of subspecies a departure has been made from cur- 
rent practice, which the writer believes to represent more accurately the 
facts of nature and modern concepts. Species have been treated as 
aggregations of subspecies, each of equal rank and importance, and 
not, as is customary, as species with subordinate sub-species depen- 
dent upon them. The species is first given as a whole, including its 
subspecific races, and under a subhead mention is made of the special 
subspecies that occur within the geographical scope of the work. This has 
caused no confusion or change except in the use of vernacular names in 
which the reader will find a few departures from those given and authorized 
by the American Ornithologists' Union. In the scientific nomenclature 
the true relative importance of species and subspecies has been expressed; 
but the common names have not heretofore always reflected this conception 
of subordination and this fact in many cases has caused the use of definite 
subspecific terms when it was by the very nature of the case impossible to 
determine their correctness or when it was unadvisable to recognize them. 
Thus there has been a tendency to attach unwarranted importance to 
these minor distinctions in popular as well as scientific estimation. In the 
correction of this condition certain adaptations of common names have 
been necessary, but as little change as possible from accepted practice 
has been made. Older terms have been revived wherever possible, but as 
current names have also been given no confusion should result. It has, in 
some cases, been necessary to apply the recognized type subspecific name 
to the whole species and adopt a new one for the form so robbed. In doing 
this it was advisable that as little change should be made in current usage 
as was consistent with the end in view. Therefore, except where good 
reasons prevented, the new subspecific name was formed by prefixing 
an adjective to the specific term hitherto applied to it. Each departure 
from accepted practice has been decided upon its own merits. Though 
there can be little doubt as to the advisabihty of the principle of the reform, 
the manner of carrying it out has been the subject of much thought, con- 
siderable consultation with others, and some hesitation in individual cases. 

The Horned Lark is one example of this problem. The type subspecies 
Oiocoris alpestris alpestris has generally been known as the Horned Lark 
regardless of the fact that any one of the fourteen or more other geogra- 
phical races have an equal claim to the name and that it is the only one 
for the species as a whole. The obvious course is to call the typical sub- 
species, Otocoris alpestris alpestris (only typical in the sense of being des- 
cribed first and not on account of any taxonomic superiority to other 
forms), Eastern Horned Lark and to apply the name Horned Lark to the 
whole collection of co-ordinate subspecies, making it synonymous with the 
scientific binomial Otocoris alpestris. 

The Migrant Shrike offered other difficulties. The logical proceeding 
would be to call the whole species Louisiana Shrike, from its scientific name 
ludovicianus. This would, however, introduce an unfamiliar name recog- 
nizable by only a few. The species has, therefore, been called here the 
Loggerhead Shrike and the form of eastern Canada the Migrant Logger- 
head, on the assumption that a geographical term such as southern could 
be appHed to the type race to which Loggerhead has hitherto been restricted. 

It would be too much to expect that the result attained will satisfy 
everyone; the writer hopes, however, that it will be accepted until the 
American Ornithologists' Union committee takes the matter up and 
makes authoritative decisions. 

In the following pages the number and vernacular name, with as 
little modification as possible, have been taken from the American' Ornith- 
ologists' Union check-list and appear first as a specific heading in heavy 
type. Following, in smaller type, are the more common local names by 
which the species has been or is known in various localities. The French 
equivalent is then given, preceded by the contraction, "Fr.". These 
formal French names have been adapted from "Dionne's Les Oiseaux de 
la Province de Quebec" and are followed when possible by vernacular 
terms in current use in French-speaking sections. Many of them were 
furnished by Dr. C. W. Townsend who has had considerable ornithological 
experience in the eastern provinces. Where French terms are missing, 
there is as far as the writer is aware no accepted French name. 

The Latin specific name follows in italics and is always binomial. 

Preceded by the initial "L" the length of the species is next given in 
inches and decimals of an inch. The length of a bird is determined by 
measuring it, in the flesh, in a straight line from the tip of the bill to the 
end of the longest tail feather, the bird being stretched only enough to 
straighten the neck curves. The measurements given are those of the 
average adult male and indicate the comparative size of the species under 
consideration. They are not for specific identification, as in most species 
there is more or less individual and sexual variation. 

Only an outHne description of species is given and where there are 
illustrations the description is omitted and the reader is referred to the 
illustration instead. 

Under "Distinctions," an attempt is made to bring out the salient 
points by which the species, when in hand, may be separated from other 
similar forms, and the work of other authorities has been freely drawn upon 
to supplement the writer's observations. Many of the distinctive points 
are naturally only superficial, but all are, as far as possible, reliable. 

Under the heading "Field Marks," the features by which the species 
may be recognized in life are mentioned. In these the writer has been 

guided largely by his own experience and has stated the points that seem 
most characteristic to him. In species with which he has had little experi- 
ence in hfe he has relied upon others. 

Under "Discussion," as many facts of general interest relating to the 
species have been included as the space allows or the importance of the 
species warrants. Scattered among the various species, where applicable 
under this head, numerous matters are discussed and general laws govern- 
ing zoological life stated. Many of these apply to a number of speci6s 
and some might well be repeated under each specific heading were it not for 
the constant repetition that it would necessitate. An attempt has been 
made to encourage a wholesome protective attitude from an aesthetic 

"Nesting" is merely a brief description of the nest and its situation. 
Much of this is drawn from other authors, especially from the invaluable 
"Handbook of Birds of Eastern North America." 

Under " Economic Status " is given a summary of present knowledge 
of the species in their relation to man. Most of this is drawn from the 
admirable work done by the United States Biological Survey. Of necessity 
anly a brief outline of the data upon which conclusions are founded can be 
given and the reader is referred to Ornithological Literature on page 13, 
for greater details. 

Under " Distribution ", it has been deemed best to give the distri- 
butions in such general and well understood terms that all can get at least 
a general conception of the ranges of the species. The result may be a 
little vague owing to the lack of sharply defined boundaries of the ranges, 
but the centres of distribution are made clear. For definite ranges the 
reader is referred to the " Catalogue of Canadian Birds " by John and 
James M. Macoun, issued by this department in 1909. 

Throughout it has been the endeavour to avoid the use of technical 
terms, substituting familiar words wherever possible. Some technical 
terms, however, have no general vernacular equivalent and a glossary of 
these is given on page 219, for the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with 


The writer wishes to acknowledge valuable assistance received in the 
course of his work from the following sources: 

Mr. Frank Chapman, whose " Handbook " has been invahiable in 
filUng out gaps in the writer's personal experience; in suggesting ideas of 
construction, and plan and methods of execution. 

The United States Biological Survej'- for data on the economic relations 
of birds. 

Mr. J. H. Fleming, of Toronto, and Mr. W. E. Saunders, of London, 
, who have been untiring in giving advice and assistance from the time of 
the inception of this work until its completion. 

Frank Hennessey, of Ottawa, and Claude Johnson, of this depart- 
ment, who are responsible for the illustrations; the former for the 
coloured pictures and the latter for the line details of the key. 

James M. Macoun, of this department, who has been a constant 
source of helpful advice, and has assisted in preparing the following pages 
for the printer's hands. 

To these, as well as to a multitude of other private and pubhshed 
sources I wish to express thanks for aid and assistance. 


The first step in any science is that of classification. The present 
system of generic grouping of species was first advanced by Linnaeus in 
his epoch-making " Systema Naturse " and has since been followed con- 
sistently by zoologists. By this, species are grouped together in genera 
according to fundamental structural relationships and not accidental 
resemblances. The fact that upon the discovery of the laws of evolution 
these relationships were found to agree with lines of descent proved the 
logic of the system and gave it an added meaning. Thus the various 
specific members of a genus can be conceived as having descended from a 
common specific ancestor; the genera of a family from a common generic 
one, etc. 

DeaHng only with existing North American birds, they may be divided 
into a number of Orders, which are the largest groups with which the 
Canadian ornithologist has direct concern. Orders are divided into 
Families, Families into Genera, and Genera into Species. These divisions 
may be again subdivided into Suborders, Subfamilies, Subgenera, and 
Subspecies whose positions in the scheme are evident from their titles. 

Though the limitations of book construction necessitate the presenta- 
tion of the classification scheme as a linear succession of forms following 
one another in single file, it should be borne in mind that the system is 
not linear in conception. The component species instead of following a 
single line of relationship and sequence from the lowest to the highest 
present many parallel or divergent lines of equal or subordinate rank. 
The class Aves or Birds may be represented by a tree, the height of the 
tree representing time in geological ages from the earliest at the bottom 
to the present near the top. The trunk should be shown as double at the 
base; one stem would be a short dead stump and would represent the 
fossil toothed birds which became extinct before present geological time; 
the other, large and thrifty, would represent the modern untoothed forms. 
This in turn would divide into two main branches a short way from the 
base and would represent the two subclasses, the Raft-breasted and the 
Keel-breasted birds. The former would be represented by much the 
smaller branch, whereas the latter would divide and subdivide into 
branches representing first, orders; next, families; then, genera; and 
finally species. 

The value of these divisions, that is, the amount" of differentiation 
sufiicient to raise a group of genera to a family, or a collection of famihes 
to an order, is a matter for experienced individual decision as there is no 
authoritative ruhng upon the subject. However, there has gradually 
grown up an approximate agreement on this subject, though the constant 
tendency among speciahsts has been to make finer and finer distinctions 
and to multiply the number of the various groups. 

The smallest division generally accepted is the Species. Though 
everyone has a more or less accurate conception as to what a species is, 
whether it be called by that name or another, no satisfactory definition 
has ever been constructed for it. It is what is commonly known as a 

*' kind of an animal ". Thus the horse is a different " kind " or species 
from a donkey, a bluebird from a robin. They are sharply marked off from 
each other, regularly breeding together within the species only and pro- 
ducing like species as offspring. Distinct species do not commonly interbreed, 
but, when they do so, they form crosses or hybrids that are usually sterile. 
Up to comparatively recent years no smaller division was recognized, but 
with intensive study of material it has become evident to advanced students 
that within the species there is considerable individual and geographic 

Individual variation is the natural difference that may occur at any 
time between members of common parentage such as amongst full brothers 
and sisters. Just as like begets like so within certain limits like begets 
unlike for no two creatures are ever exact duplicates. This is individual 
variation, usually small and irregular in appearance and direction, but 
sometimes persisting progressively generation after generation in one direc- 
tion and forming the basis upon which present day evolutionists explain 
the origin of new species. Individual variation, however, is disregarded in 
classification, unless it has proceeded far enough to produce marked 
and constant differentiation over a definable natural group of a species. 

Geographical variation can be regarded as the result of a common 
tendency of individual variation acting over a whole community of indi- 
viduals tending towards a common goal and is held to be induced and 
directed by local climatic and other conditions. Thus we often find that 
within a widespread species all individuals inhabiting certain localities 
have characteristics that separate them from those of the surrounding areas. 
Individuals in a dry desert country are apt to be smaller and lighter in 
coloration, whereas those in a warm, moist country are usually larger and 
darker. These differences are sometimes marked and obvious; at other 
times they are so slight as to be noticeable only by comparison of large 
numbers of specimens and can be detected only by averages. Thus there 
is every degree of differentiation, due to geographical habitat, from pro- 
nounced departures from type, of almost specific value, to the finest shades 
of differentiation that skilled specialists can distinguish and which are 
inappreciable to the ordinary eye. The outstanding fact, however, that 
prevents the most marked geographical variation from full specific standing 
is that these minor forms intergrade and in intermediate localities 
every shade of differentiation between the extremes can be found. Between 
species this gradual merging of character is not supposed to occur, and 
however fine the distinctions may be, the divisions should be sharp and 
defined. We, therefore, recognize these intergrading variations due to or 
based upon geographical distribution as Geographical Races, Varieties, or 
Subspecies, the latter term being now in best current use, and we regard 
them as species in the making before the connecting stages binding them 
to the original stock have disappeared, owing to the growing sterility 
between the extreme variants. Except in such rare cases of physical 
isolation, as where an oceanic island habitat precludes contin\ious distri- 
bution, we take, in practice, the existence of intergrades ap t^e evidence 
of subspecific status. Besides these divisions of taxonomic value there 
are a few other variants that, owing to their erratic occurrence, cannot 
be recognized in our classification. These are "Albinos," " Melanos," and 
" Dichromatic Forms." 

Albinism, or unusual whiteness, is the sporadic occurrence of white 
individuals, in species that are normally otherwise coloured, and may occur 
in almost any species. It may be either perfect or partial and is due to 
lack of pigment or colouring matter in the feather or skin substance. It 
can be regarded as a manifestation of physical weakness and is said to be 
induced, among other things, by close inbreeding. A good test as to 
whether a pure white coloration is albinism or is normal is the colour of 
the pupils of the eyes. In albinos the pupils are pink in colour, as 
the lack of normal colour in the retina allows the blood coloration 
to show. 

Melanism, or unusual blackness, is due to an excess of pigment. A 
good example of melanism is the Black Fox, which is a melanic variant 
of the common red species. 

Dichromatism is the term applied to occurrence of two different types 
of coloration in a single species, irrespective of sex, age, or season. Thus 
the Screech Owl occurs in both red and grey phases (see Plate XVI A). 
They breed together indiscriminately and the offspring may be of either 
coloration. The Rough-legged Hawk and the Jaegers occur in light and 
in almost black phases; the difference between dichromatism, and melanism 
in these cases is slight. 

Hybrids form another departure from specific type. They are the 
offspring of parents of two distinct species. It is only occasionally that 
such matings are fruitful, and when they are the offspring is generally 
sterile. Hybrids occur most often among ducks, especially with the 
Mallard as one of the parents. 

Every North American bird has a common or vernacular name author- 
ized by usage and recognized by the leading ornithologists and there is seldom 
necessity for using the scientific nomenclature. However, it is well for 
all who are interested in birds to familiarize themselves with as many of 
the scientific names as possible, as they are not only necessary in more 
advanced w^ork, but the}'- are of practical use in grasping the general re- 
lationships between various species. 

The present Binomial System of nomenclature was introduced by 
Linnteus, the great Swedish botanist, and embodied in his Systema Naturse, 
tenth edition, 1758, which is the authority accepted by American ornith- 
ologists. In this system each species is given a double name, the first term 
being that of the genus to which it belongs, the second that of the species. 
Generic names are not dupHcated within the sphere of zoology and specific 
names never within the genus. Thus, the American Robin is Planesticus 
migratorius; that is, that species of the genus Planesticus which is named 
migratorius. Other species of Planesticus have other names than migra- 

The three objects of scientific nomenclature are exactitude, univer- 
sality, and permanence. To this end the naming of zoological material 
is subject to strict laws whose principles are universally accepted and 
appHed according to strict codes. Under these laws the scientific name of 
a species is not a matter of personal preference, but is fixed, so that few or 
none can dispute it, and no changes can be made in scientific nomenclature 
except such as are necessary to correct current mistakes in the appHcation 
of the laws of the code. With increased knowledge it has become neces- 
sary to depart slightly in letter, though not in spirit, from the strict bi- 


nomial system of Linnaeus, and by adding a third term as name of the 
subspecies to make it a trinomial one. Wherever a three-term name 
is used, it is that of a subspecies of the original binomial form. The first 
specimen described, or the first specimen to which a name has been at- 
tached, is regarded as the so-called " Type " form. Therefore, in dividing 
a species into subspecies the form which was first named as a species 
becomes automatically the type race, and its subspecific name is formed 
by a repetition of its specific name. Thus the American Robin that was 
first described and specifically named by Linnseus in 1766 as migratorius 
when mentioned subspecifically in distinction from the Southern Robin or 
the western one becomes Planesticus migratorius migratorius. The Western 
Robin first separated from it by Ridgeway in 1877, was named by him as 
Planesticus migratorius propinquus, and the Southern Robin by Bachelder 
in 1900, is Planesticus migratorius achrusterus. In practice, where the generic 
or specific names are evident from the context, it is customary to indicate 
them by initial, as P. migratorius, or P. m. migratorius. 

Subspecific varieties are divisions of the species and, except in special 
lines of work, or where special exactitude is necessary, of minor importance. 
As these subspecies are also often based upon points of difference only 
perceptible to the most experienced observers, they generally lie outside 
the sphere of interest of the average amateur observer. 


The broader facts of the geographical distribution of life are patent 
to the most casual observer. The primary divisions of distribution, the 
Tropics, Temperate, and Arctic zones are obvious, but closer study shows 
that within these broad associations minor and less obvious ones can be 
detected. In America, north of the gulf of Mexico, there are three life 
regions, roughly following the above, called the Tropic, the Austral, and 
the Boreal regions. These are subdivided into life zones each characterized 
by its own peculiar assemblages of plants and animals. 

The Tropic region is sufficiently characterized by name and need be 
only mentioned. 

The Austral region corresponds roughly to the popular geographical 
conception of the Temperate zone. It is divided into three life zones, 
the Lower Austral, the Upper Austral, and the Transition zones. The 
Lower Austral might be designated as subtropic and extends north includ- 
ing the gulf and the south Atlantic states, not occurring in Canada at all. 
The Upper Austral is the first that we are directly interested in in eastern 
Canada, it merely crosses the border on the lake Erie shore and includes 
the famous Niagara fruit belt. The frequent or regular occurrence of 
numerous southern species on Pelee point in Essex county, Ontario, marks 
the strongest development of this zone in the Dominion. It slightly touches 
our southern boundary again in Saskatchewan and perhaps some of the 
warmer valleys running into southern British Columbia. The northern- 
most Austral or Temperate life zone is the Transition zone which includes 
the greater part of the more highly cultivated areas of Canada. It occupies 
the shores of the bay of Fundy, the upper St. Lawrence river, southern 
Quebec and Ontario, the lower sections of the prairie provinces, and a 

strip of sea coast in southern British Columbia and marks the limit of 
extensive cultivation. 

The Boreal region is divided into the Canadian, Hudsonian, and the 
Arctic zones. The Canadian includes the remainder of the forested land 
north of the Transition and is mostly coniferous, continuing across the 
continent to the northern limit of general cultivation. The Hudsonian 
zone is in the more northern country of small shrubs or stunted tree growth 
unsuited to agriculture, and the Arctic zone extends across the barren 
grounds north to the pole. 

These hfe zones based upon temperature and roughly following the 
lines of latitude, are, however, deflected from their natural east and west 
sweep by varying local conditions, the vicinity of cold or warm ocean 
currents, the presence of large bodies of water, elevation above the sea, 
the prevalence of cold or warm winds or mountain barriers to the same, 
and other causes. Thus instead of being even belts they are irregular 
and only roughly follow parallels of latitude. 

Elevation is an important factor in the distribution of life depending 
upon temperature. In the tropics in ascending a high mountain, repre- 
sentatives of each zone between that of the surrounding lowland and the 
Arctic of the snow-covered peak, may be met with and appropriate assem- 
blages of species will be found inhabiting each. The juncture of Arctic 
and Hudsonian zones at the straits of Belle Isle, in the same latitude as 
Lands End in England, illustrates the enormous effect of the cold Arctic 
current, coming down from Davis strait, in contrast to the influence of 
the warm Gulf stream that dies against the English shores. 

We can also observe minor groupings east and west based upon con- 
ditions other than temperature, these determining factors being mostly 
variations of humidity. Thus the life of the eastern woodlands is plainly 
different from that of the more arid plains of the prairie provinces and both 
are strikingly different from that of the moist Pacific slope. 

Taking the eastern forms as typical in the ordinary acceptance of the 
word, comparable birds of the prairie will be found to be sUghtly smaller 
and considerably paler in coloration, whereas on the humid Pacific coast 
they will be larger and much darker in colour. Through these influences 
we, therefore, find in the west many subspecies of eastern forms. A com- 
paratively few species range unmodified across the continent, many are 
represented east and west by two or more subspecies showing greater or 
less differentiation, and in other cases they are replaced by closely allied 
species or not represented at all. 

In noting these faunal divisions, however, it must be remembered 
that as far as birds are concerned, these associations have to be based 
entirely upon breeding individuals. Birds travel so widely and along so 
many devious routes in their migration, that they may pass through several 
faunal areas spring and autumn though breeding in only one. Therefore, 
in determining the faunal zone to which any given area should be referred, 
such transients must be disregarded. 

Though the distributions given under the specific headings following 
are rather vague and indefinite, many tend to follow similar general lines. 
Thus some are given as "the lower Great Lakes region"; these are prob- 
ably Upper Austral forms. "Southern Ontario and Quebec" refers to 
Transition species, whereas "beyond dense settlement or to the limit of 
cultivation" would naturally be species of the Canadian zone. 


Wood Thrush 
Yellow-throated Vireo 
Baltimore Oriole 
Field Sparrow 



Hudsonian Chickadee 
Red-breasted Nuthatch 
Olive-backed Thrush 
Three-toed Woodpecker 
Hermit Thrush 
White-throated Sparrow 
Canada Jay 
Grey-cheeked Thrush 
Slate-coloured Junco 


Rough-legged Hawk 
Fox Sparrow 
Northern Shrike 
White-crowned Sparrow 
Pine Grosbeak 
American Pipit 


The following species are given as representative of what birds are to 
be expected in each zone: 

Upper Austral 

Cardinal ' 

Orchard Oriole 
Carolina Wren 
Grasshopper Sparrow 
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher 

Snowy Owl 
Snow Bunting 


The migration of birds, their periodical and seasonal appearance and 
disappearance, is one of the most obvious phenomena of nature. The 
fact that many birds disappear in winter is common knowledge and has 
attracted attention for ages. Though once regarded as a mystery, and still 
far from being throughly understood in many of its details, we are beginning 
to wonder less but admire more as accurate knowledge gives place to vague 
speculation. To-day, where most of our northern species spend the winter 
is known and many of the routes by which they come and go have been 
mapped out. We know that on the whole they are governed by ordinary 
and well known, though perhaps highly developed, senses and common 
every day influences, and not by the mysterious powers and instincts once 
ascribed to them. 

The fundamental cause of migration is obviously the waxing and the 
waning of the food supply. Birds leave the northern land of their birth 
because there is no other way by which to avoid starvation. Many species 
can withstand extreme cold but none can go long without food and though 
some bird food still remains in Canada throughout the winter, its amount 
is small and only sufficient for a limited population and even that supply 
rapidly decreases, or to the north is buried under deep snow. The cause 
of the southward migration in the autumn then is obvious, but why should 
a bird leave the soft cHmate and plentiful food supply in the south to brave 
dangerous travel and finally find itself in a land where retiring winter still 
fingers and the danger of starvation is imminent. Many ingenious explan- 
ations have been advanced to account for this, longing or homesickness 
for the land of birth, hereditary memories of an ancient home enduring 
through geological ages, the seeking of special food for nestlings, and 
insufficiency of nesting sites in the southern areas, have all been given as 
possible reasons. However, it is unnecessary to advance a complicated or 
far-fetched explanation when a simple and direct one exists. If we 
remember that in the nesting season the bird population is increased many 

iMost of the species of this zone also occur in the Upper Austral, but reach their northern limit here. The occur- 
rence of these with the absence of the speciee of bordering zones are the most marked characteristics of the Transition 


fold by the birth of young ; that though in winter there may be room for a 
considerable number of birds in the southern stations, the natural spring 
increase of population outgrows the supporting power of the land; and that 
just at this critical time the whole northern temperate region is thrown 
open to occupation with an abundance of food, the subject is mysterious 
no longer. In fact, it is only by migration that it is possible to use the 
supporting power of the temperate regions unless the birds fast or 
hibernate through the winters, to neither of which the avian nature takes 

Though food supply is the fundamental or originating cause of migra- 
tion we must look for other and more immediate impulses for an explanation 
of its methods to-day. Originally forced to and fro by hunger, the annual 
movements now have become instinctive and take place before the situation 
becomes acute, the actual hunger pinch felt, or the physical system 
weakened by want. 

The extent of the migrations of the different species varies. A very 
few species do not, in the true sense of the word, migrate at all. In other 
species the more northern individuals only recede from their stations, 
the southern remaining practically stationary, though in the majority of 
Canadian species the whole body moves south. The bird of greatest 
length of migration is doubtless the Arctic Tern, a bird that nests from 
the gulf of St. Lawrence to the polar regions and winters as far south as the 
Antarctic continent. 

The methods of migration are nearly as varied as their extent. Some 
species drift along throughout the day from treetop to treetop, from wood 
patch to wood patch, gradually working their way in the desired direction. 
Others take long flights, some high in the air, others lower. Some travel 
altogether by day; others travel at night and we are only aware of their 
passage through accidental opportunities, their faint voices coming down 
to us from overhead in the darkness, or by their sudden appearance about 
us in the morning. They travel in flocks of single or mixed species, scattered 
groups, or as individuals. 

Many species, if not all, follow more or less definite routes to and 
from their breeding grounds and some go and return by altogether different 
paths. Comparatively small bodies of water deflect some species from 
their course, others unhesitatingly cross vast reaches of sea, indifferent 
to nearby and convenient land passages that are made use of by closely 
allied species. In some species the older birds precede and in others 
the males may precede the females. 

How birds find their way is still only vaguely understood, and indi- 
viduals far out of their natural range and course show evidence of being 
as hopelessly lost as any other animal would be on unfamiliar ground. 
Certainly experience has much to do with it and undoubtedly young birds 
are largely guided by the movements of their elders which, it can be 
assumed, through previous experience, already know and can lead the way. 
We can understand how birds can follow great landmarks — large river 
systems, mountain ranges, or sea coasts in their journey, but no sense with 
which we are familiar explains how some species return unerringly to lonely 
oceanic islands over wastes of monotonous sea. It may be that they have 
a special sense which aids them in orienting themselves. 




In food habits, birds are eminently adaptable; seeds, plants, fruit, 
insects, flesh, or fish are all acceptable to various species and, consequently, 
nearly all regions have their quota of appropriate birds. A bird lives fast, 
its heart beats more rapidly than that of other animals, the blood temper- 
ature is higher, and it consumes an enormous amount of energy in flight. 
This feverish heat and strenuous exertion requires a correspondingly large 
amount of food, consequently the bird as an economic factor is one to be 
regarded seriously. Though it may be an exaggeration to say, as some 
writers have inferred, that the whole balance of nature depends upon 
birds and that without them the country would be a barren waste peopled 
only by insects, yet birds cannot be seriously reduced in number without 
the gravest results. The destruction of tons of weed-seeds and millions 
of insects must necessarily have a great influence upon human welfare and 
neglect of this fact must seriously react upon any community that fails 
to give proper protection to its birds. 

However, the problem of the status of individual species of birds 
is not the simple thing that it superficially appears to be. More than 
a cursory examination is necessary and many things must be considered 
in order to arrive at the truth. Sometimes birds work in harmony with 
human welfare and sometimes against it. They may be directly beneficial 
at one season and harmful at another, or their indirect influence may alter 
the sum of their direct effects in a most surprising manner. 

General impressions then as to whether a bird is beneficial or harmful 
require careful checking. Mere casual observation in life is never sufficient 
to determine even its food supply. Modern practice bases such conclusions 
almost entirely upon the examination of the stomach contents of wild 
birds taken throughout the year, which is the only evidence that is not 
subject to question. In this work the United States Biological Survey 
has examined and passed upon thousands of bird stomachs and the results 
of its researches are available to those who care to study and use them. 

As one of the factors in the delicate balance of nature birds should 
be respected. 

There are certain birds which from their size, habits, and general food 
value are regarded as legitimate game. The pursuit of these is invigorating 
sport and tends to the healthful welfare of the sportsman, teaching wood- 
craft, hardihood, out of door adaptabihty, and marksmanship. The true 
sportsman has a code of ethics of his own founded upon economic as well 
as humanitarian principles. He shoots nothing without giving it a fair 
chance and little that cannot be used as food. He is also careful not to 
deplete the game upon which his future sport depends. Restrictive 
measures have invariably followed rather than preceded the results that 
have made them necessary, the regulations that are enacted to-day should 
have been adopted yesterday and the consequence is that over much of the 
country, game is a thing of the past. 


To anyone interested in birds, the pleasure of having them about 
the house and garden where they can be observed at leisure, is a very great 
enjoyment. A small garden patch can be made attractive to many species 


by proper methods. The effects of strict protection are well illustrated 
in some of the larger parks where the shyest waterfowl, finding there is 
notching to fear from man, become almost as confiding as barnyard poultry. 
This is the case also with the smaller garden species. Next to freedom 
from disturbance by the human inhabitants protection from the domesti-c 
cat is necessary. 

The supplying of food in winter is also important. Shrubs carrying 
fruit, suet hung in trees, and grain, broken nuts, and small fragments of 
dried meat sheltered from the snow, never fail to attract birds in the 
winter time. 

In summer, when natural supplies are plentiful, food seldom has to be 
supphed, though a row of fruiting sunflowers or the seed heads of many 
garden flowers well repay the trouble they may cost to provide. A shallow 
pool of clean water is a never failing source of pleasure to nearly all the 
common garden birds. They both bathe in it and drink it and on a hot 
day it is no uncommon sight to see several birds awaiting their turns to 
enjoy the grateful coolness. The simplest form of bird bath is a shallow 
pan, set well out in the open and away from cover as a protection from 
cats. In cities where the trees are well cared for and dead wood 
promptly removed, certain species of birds are always hard pressed to find 
suitable nesting sites. There are at least half a dozen species naturally 
nesting in hollow hmbs, that readily come to bird boxes of various kinds 
and a number of other birds can be occasionally induced to do so. Suitable 
boxes are described in some of the books Hsted on page 16. In many 
schools where manual training is taught the boys are encouraged to build 
bird houses. Scope is thus given to their natural inventive genius, 
and at the same time they become interested in the birds that occupy 
the houses. 


North American ornithological literature is rich and varied, and per- 
haps no natural science can be studied with such efficient written aids 
either to beginner or advanced student as that relating to birds. A publi- 
cation can be found to suit all stages of knowledge and almost any purse. 
The following list of books on the subject is recommended, the first named 
being specially suited to the requirements of the beginner. 

Birds guides, by Chester K. Reed: Part I, Water and game birds east of the Rockies 
(including the hawks and owls) ; Part 2, Land birds east of the Rockies. Doubleday, 
Page and Company, Garden City, N.Y., price each, $1 in cloth, $1.25 in leather. 

These are small, almost vest pocket editions in hmp bindings, 3j by 5? inches, 
very convenient for carrying in the pocket in the field. They contain small, easily 
recognized, coloured illustrations of all the birds in both sexes, and brief descriptions. 

Colour key and guide to the birds of eastern North America, by Frank M. Chapman and 
Chester K. Reed: 8 vo., Doubleday, N.Y., price $2.50. 

Similar in plan to above but more detailed and instructive. 

A guide to the birds of eastern New York, by Ralph Hoffman: 8 vo., Houghton, Mifflin 
& Co., price $1.50. 

A most desirable book, though dealing with an extraMmited area it includes most 
of the birds of eastern Canada. It contains keys for the birds of each season based 
upon colour, detailed descriptions, and also many illustrations in black and white 
showing specific details and gives much information of various kinds. 



The birds of Ontario, by Thomas Mcllwraith: 2nd edition, 1894, 8 vo., Wm. Briggs, 

An annotated list of all the birds known to the writer to occur in Ontario at that 
date, with descriptions and much information regarding habits, etc. Unfortunately 
it is now out of print and can probably only be obtained through second-hand book 
dealers who maJce a specialty of ornithological hterature. 
The handbook of the birds of eastern North America, by Frank M. Chapman: 12 mo., 
D. Appleton & Co., price $3.50. 

This is an almost complete text book on the birds of eastern North America and 
is invaluable for the advanced as well as the beginning student. It contains detailed 
accurate descriptions of aU plumages, measurements and migration dates, and an 
immense amoimt of interesting and valuable detail with a most valuable introduction 
on birds and bird study. As soon as a student is famihar with the rudiments of orni- 
thology, he should supply himself with this handbook. 
Key to the birds of North America, by ElUot Coues: 5th edition, 1903, vols. 2, large 8 vo., 
Dana Estes & Co., price $12.50. 

This is perhaps the most generally accepted authority upon the subject of Amer- 
ican birds. It is primarily intended for the advanced student but it contains a mass 
of information that can be found nowhere else and is a final court of decision to the 
majority of our working ornithologists. 
The catalogue of Canadian birds, by John and James M. Macoun: 8 vo., pubhshed by 
the Department of Mines, Geological Survey Branch, Ottawa, 1909. 

This is a complete Ust of all the species and subspecies of birds known to occur in 
Canada, Greenland, and Newfoundland, with their ranges both breeding and migra- 
tory as thoroughly stated as the condition of knowledge at the time of pubhcation 
permitted. It is based largely upon the explorations and experiences of the authors, 
supplemented by knowledge from all available sources and contains considerable 
information regarding breeding habits but little else of popular interest. The original 
EngUsh version is now out of print but the French translation is stiU available for 
distribution and can be obtained from the Department. 
The birds of North and middle America, by Robt. Ridgeway: Bulletin No. 50, 8 vo., 
United States National Museum. 

This is a monumental work planned in eight volumes but later extended to ten 
or more, of which seven are in print, the remainder to follow as rapidly as the work 
can be prepared. It is the latest and most detailed and scientific work on the subject 
but contains nothing on life histories or aUied popular subjects. It is not for general 
sale but may be procured from second-hand book dealers or through the Department 
of Public Documents at Washington. 

Besides these general works, the following, deahng with special divisions of birds, are 
recommended : 
The Warblers of North America, by Frank M. Chapman: D. Appleton & Company, 

price $3. 

The Water-fowl family, by Sanford, Bishop, and Van Dyke: The McMiUian Co., price, $2, 

North American land birds by Baird, Brewer, and Ridgeway: Little, Brown & Co., 3 vols. 

Reprint of the original. The water-birds of the series was originally pubhshed 

in Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard College, 1884, but is 

now out of print and very difficult to obtain. 

For general reading the following can be recommended : 

How to study birds, by Herbert K. Job: Outing Pubhshing Co., price, $1.50. 
The sport of bird study, by Herbert K. Job: Outing Pubhshing Co., price, $2. 
Wild wings, by Herbert K. Job: Outing Pubhshing Co., price, $3. 

These are all intensely interesting books and cont-ain a wonderful collection of 

photographs of birds from hfe. 
Bird craft, by Mable Osgood Wright: MacMillian Co., price, $2.50. 

Many full page illustrations. 
Rambles of a Canadian naturahst, by S. T. Wood: Illustrated, J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 

London and Toronto, 1916, price, $1.50. 

This is a series of short sketches and observations on the nature hfe about Toronto. 

They are well and sympathetically written — many, though not all of them, refer 

to birds. 
The bird, its form and function, by C. William Bebee: Henry Holt and Co. 


This list could be extended indefinitely but probably sufficient has 
been mentioned. 

On economic ornithological subjects the reader's attention is directed 
towards the immense amount of valuable literature published by the United 
States Biological Survey in their many bulletins, circulars, and reports. 
Though these were prepared primarily for use in the United States they 
apply to Canadian birds almost equally well, A complete list of them 
with prices can be obtained from the Superintendent of Pubhc Documents, 
Washington. The prices are merely nominal. 

Of Canadian publications of this nature, the following may be men- 
tioned : 

The birds of Ontario in relation to agriculture, by Chas. W. Nash: Ontario Dept. of 
Agriculture, BuUetin 173. 

Of literature of local application in Canada only a few of many can 
be mentioned, for their name is legion and they are scattered throughout 
many publications, periodicals, proceedings, and reports. 

Ontario : 

The birds of Ontario, by Thomas Mcllwraith, 2nd edition, 1894, 8 vols., Wm. Briggs, 

The birds of Toronto, by J. H. Fleming: Auk, vol. XXIII, pp. 437-453: vol. XXIV, 

pp. 71-89. 
The natural history of the Toronto region. Birds by J. H. Fleming: Published by 
Canadian Institute, Toronto, 1913, price, $2 or $2.50. 
Quebec : 

Lea oiseAux de la Province de Quebec, par C. E. Dionne: Dussault & Proulx, 1906. 
The birds of Montreal, by E. D. Wintle: Drysdale & Co., Montreal, 1908. 
Nova Scotia : 

Birds of Nova Scotia, by A. Downs, edited by Harry Piers: Proc. and Trans., Nova 
Scotia Inst. Sc, vol. VII, pp. 142-178. 
New Brunswick : 

A catalogue of the birds of New Brimswick, by M. A. Chamberlain: Bull. Nat. Hist. 
Soc, New Brunswick, No. 1, pp. 23-68. 

Ornithology, like all other branches of science, has its own periodicals. 
The principal one of these in North America is the Auk, a quarterly 
magazine, which is the official organ of the American Ornithologists' 
Union. In addition to purely scientific papers, it contains hundreds of 
articles of interest to Canadians, including local lists copiously annotated 
with life history notes from all over the Dominion and descriptions of 
habits popularly discussed. Subscription is $3 a year. Editor, beginning 
1912, Witmer Stone, Academy of Science, Philadelphia, Pa., Office of 
Publication, 30 Boylston street, Cambridge, Mass. 

The Wilson Bulletin, a bi-monthly magazine, is the official organ of the 
Wilson Ornithological Club and is devoted to the interests of the middle 
west. Subscription $1 a year, edited by Lynds Jones, Oberlin, Ohio. 
Address, The Treasurer, P. B. Coffin, 3232 Groveland ave,, Chicago, 111. 
This is a less pretentious publication than the Auk, but contains much of 
interest to the general reader and publishes some of the most popularly, 
interesting articles on birds and their habits. 

" Bird lore " is an avowedly popular, monthly magazine notable for 
its beautiful makeup and illustrations. It is the official organ of the 
National Audubon Societies and is devoted to the popular study and 
protection of birds. It is now in its eighteenth volume and is edited by 


Frank Chapman. Subscription $1 per year. Address, Bird-Lore, Crescent 
and Mulberry streets, Harrisburg, Pa. 

The Canadian Field NaturaUst, the continuation of the Ottawa 
NaturaUst, is a monthly (nine numbers a year) published by the Ottawa 
Field Naturalists Club, Editor, Arthur Gibson, Entomological Branch, 
Dept. of Agriculture, Ottawa, Ont. Subscription $1 per year. Address 
G. L. Patch, Sec, Geological Survey, Ottawa, Ont. This publication 
contains a great deal of interesting zoological material and numerous 
notes and articles on the birds of Canada. 

On the subject of protection and attraction of birds about the home, 
among the great mass of Uterature available, the following can be specially 

How to attract and protect wild birds, by Martin Hiesmann: Witherby & Co., London, 

Is. 6d. 

This is an extended account of the methods pursued by Baron Berlepsch in 

Germany and gives innumerable methods by which the end can be obtained on both 

large and small estates. 
Wild bird guests, by Harold Baynes: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1915, $2. 

This gives a most interesting and readable account of the method pursued by 

the writer and his friends whereby they made Meriden, New Hampshire, a veritable 

model bird village, where the birds became as famihar and friendly as household pets, 

coming when called and ahghting freely upon the person. It is beautifully illustrated 

with innumerable photographs showing both methods and results. 
The domestic cat, by Edward H. Forbush, State Ornithologist, Mass.: State Board of 

Agriculture, Bulletin No. 2, 1916. 

This is an exhaustive treatment of the house cat in its relation to wild bird life. 
Bird houses and how to build them, by Ned Dearborn: United States Department of 

Agriculture, Farmer's Bulletin No. 609. Address Department of PubUc Documents, 

Washington, D.C. Cost about ten cents. 

On the subject of the English Sparrow as a pest the following can be 
recommended : 

The English Sparrow in North America, by Walter B. Barrows: Bull. No. 1, U.S. Dept- 

of Agriculture, 1889, pp. 405. 
How to destroy the English Sparrow, by Ned Dearborn: Farmer's BuUetia No. 383, 

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 1910. 
The Enghsh Sparrow as a pest, by Ned Dearborn: Farmer's Bulletin No. 493, U.S. Dept. 

of Agriculture, 1912. 

These reports give the English Sparrow a fair trial and an honest conviction, and 

suggest various means of keeping its number under control. 



In zoological descriptions a " key " is a device through which a speci- 
men can be gradually referred from larger to smaller groups by picking 
out salient characters and its specific identity thus finally fixed. 

The key here pubhshed is a modification of one originated by Mr. 
Frank Chapman and Ernest Thompson Seton and published in the former's 
" Handbook to the birds of eastern North America." It is hoped that 
it will be found of great assistance to the beginner. One advantage of 
this key is that it is independent of the varying characters of age, sex, or 
season, and may be used for juveniles and females as well as adult male 


The method of its use is as follows: given a bird in the hand of un- 
known species to determine its name. It is first compared with the first 
heading in small capitals numbered in Roman numerals — i, feet fully 
WEBBED. If this description does not fit the bird, the next Roman 
numeral heading is referred to — ii, feet partly webbed, or iii, feet 
WITHOUT pronounced WEB. Assuming that the latter correctly describes 
the bird under discussion, we refer to the headings of next lower rank, 
which are numbered alphabetically with capital letters, where we find 
the alternatives — F, Legs long, and G, Legs short. Sometimes it may be 
difficult to decide whether a leg should be regarded as long or short, and 
the various pictured details following may then assist determination. In 
this case the legs we decide are not remarkably long, no longer in comparison 
to size of the bird than are the legs of a chicken or sparrow; we, therefore, 
under G, refer to a number of subordinate alternatives, distinguished by 
small initial letters — k, feet chicken-like, strong and compact for scratch- 
ing; 1, feet strongly clawed for holding prey; m, feet small and weak; 
n, feet small or medium-sized, solidly made and legs covered with horny 
scales or plates. Glances at various feet shown under each heading will 
assist in determination. Assuming a decision in favour of the last, we 
compare our specimen with the next alternatives, numbered with ordinary 
Arabic numerals — 19, two toes in front; 20, three toes in front. There 
can be Httle confusion here and we assume that our specimen having three 
front toes is one of the great body of perching birds. We, therefore, 
compare it with the following Une detail drawings to see with which it 
agrees most closely. The bill is not wide and flat; it is, therefore, not a 
flycatcher; there are no ear-tufts or long hind toe and the nostril is not 
covered with feather tufts, therefore it cannot be either a Horned Lark, 
a Crow, or a Jay. The next picture, the Bobolink's bill, catches our eye 
and the sparrow bill in the next lot. A glance through the remainder 
shows that our bird must be a bobolink or one of the sparrows. The picture 
p. 247, and description of the former, is nothing like it; therefore, we turn 
to the sparrows, read the general sparrow description, and remarks on p. 181, 
and then work through the pictures. After looking at all the illustrations 
we find that our specimen agrees with that of the Song Sparrow, and on 
reading over the distinctive characters we have our opinion confirmed. 
It has the sharply striped breast aggregated in the centre, and is without 
either the yellow stripe over the eye of the Savannah Sparrow or the 
white outer feathers of the tail, as in the Vesper. We are, therefore, 
confident that, starting with no other ornithological knowledge than that 
the specimen was an Eastern Canadian bird, we have been able to refer it 
to its proper species. 



^SupArcit/ary Line 

Figure 1. 

Plumage areas of a typical bird. 

L Feet Fully Webbed — Two or three complete webs to each'^foot. 

A, Toes, four, 

a, Tarsus flattened. 

Figure 2. 

Loons p. 44. 

Figure 3. 

Figure 4. 

Figure 5. 

b, Closed wing longer than tail, except in some Jaegers (Figure 3) 
and Terns (Figure 5), in which the rule only holds if the greatly 
elongated central tail feathers of the former or the outer ones of 
the latter are disregarded. Bills as shown 

Long-winged Swimmers — Gulls, Tern, Jaegers p. 48. 


c, Webs between all toes (3 webs) 

Figure 6. 

Full-Wehhed Swimmers — Gannets, Cormorants, etc., p. 59. 

/' ^ 

Figure 7. 

Figure 8. 

Figure 9. Figure 10. 

d. Bill toothed or flattened (Duck-like). 
Sieve-hilled Swimmers — Mergansers, Ducks, Geese, and Swans p. 62. 

e, Nostrils in tubes on top of bill. 

Tube-nosed Swimmers — Petrels, etc. 

Figure 11. 

p. 56 


B, Toes three (without hind toe), except Kittiwake 
(p. 50). 

Figure 12. 

Auks, Murres, etc p. 45. 

II. Feet Partly Webbed — Webs reduced to scallops, bordering flaps, or 
small webs at base of toes. Toes four, except as otherwise noted. 

C, Tarsus much flattened; webs as shown. 

Figure 13. 

Grebes p. 42. 

D, Bill extending on forehead and forming 

frontal plate. 

Figure li. 

Coot p. 90. 

E, Small birds; bill long and slender; toes 

three or four. c^^^ 

f, Bill without hard terminal enlargement; 

toes four, except Sanderling (p. 97). 

Shore Birds — Phalaropes, Snipe, Sandpipers, Plover p. 90. 


g. Bill with hard terminal enlargement; ^^ 1 ^^^-^^^ % 

toes three, except Black-belUed ^<::^ ^H f*" 

Plover (p. 103). ^, 

Figure 16. 

Flover p. 1 02. 


III. Feet Without Pronounced Web. 

F, Legs long, for wading in water or mud; 

toes long, slender, and flexible at joints. 

h, Bill stout and horny; bare space 
about eyes. 

Figure 17. 

Figure 18. 

1, Middle toe with comb. 


Figure 19. 

p. 80. 

2, Forehead bare. 

Figure 20. 


p. 85. 

i. Bills long, flex- 
ible, and even- 
ly tapered. 

Figures 21 and 22. 

3, Bill rather slender, 
not markedly deeper 
at base than tip. Toes 
four, except Sanderling (p. 97). 

Phalaropes, Snipe, Sandpipers , p. 90. 


4, Bill rather decidedly heavier at base 
than at tip. 

Figure 23. 

Rails (King and Virginia Rails). 

j, Bills short. 

5, Bill soft at base ending in hard 
terminal enlargement. Toes three, 
except Black-bellied Plover, (p. 103). 

Figure 24. 

Plover p. 102. 

6, Bill quite stout. 

Figure 25. 

Rails (Sora and Yellow Rails) p gg 

7, Bill stout with frontal shield extending 
on forehead. 


Figure 26. 

p. 88. 

8, Bill horny to base, wedge-shaped in 
profile, and appearing to be slightly 
turned up. 

Figure 27. 

Turnstone p. 105. 

G, Legs short for perching, walking, climbmg, 
and Hving in trees or on land, 
k, Feet chicken-like, strong and compact; 
toes less flexible; claws strong and 
blunt for scratching. Tarsus feathered 
or bare. With or without comb-like 
api>endages on toes. 

Figure 28. 


9, Bill rather conical; feathered 
to or about nostril. 

Figure 29. 

Grouse and Quail P ■ 106. 

10, Bill hooked; neck and head bare. 

Figure 30. 

Vultures p. 114. 

1, Feet powerful for hold- 
ing prey; claws long, 
strong, sharp, and 
curved, tarsus feather- 
ed or bare. 

Figures 31 and 32. 

Birds of Prey p . 113. 

11, Naked cere at base of bill. 
Tarsus always (except Roughleg 
Hawk and Golden Eagle) bare. 
Toes always bare (Figure 31). 

Figure 33. 

Hawks and Eagles p. 116. 


12, Cere hidden in feathers; eye •''J"^^^f^^^'^i''^'^^^''^\ 
in centre of more or less circular A'^^y^ y -■•'^^^ '^•^\*f 
feather disks. Tarsus and toes <U^^^4.^^^^^ *> '> 
feathered (Figure 32). ^V^^^ f|(#^^-^S/^ 

Figure 34. 

Owls p. 129 

m, Feet small and weak. 

13, Nostrils opening in a soft and somewhat 
swollen base. 

Figure 35. 

Pigeons P- HI 


14, Two outer toes joined together /^\ 
for half their length. u^^ {' — ' '^^\ 

Figure 36. 

Kingfishers P- 1^5. 

15, Two toes directed forward, two j<W^ — 
backward (see also Woodpeckers). /i?^^l 


Cuckoos., p ■ 135. 

16. Bill very small; mouth enor- 
mous, opening to below eyes. 

Figure 38. 

Goatsuckers, Whip-poor-will, Nighthawks p. 143. 


17, Tail feathers ending in sharp '^^s^'^s^^f-''*^*'' 
spines. ^^^^^^^5- 

Figure 39. 

Chimney Swift p. 145. 

18, Bill very slender and awl-shaped. ^ _-_. ■ --^^^ ^»^-' 
Exceedingly minute birds. "-<}''>',' 

Figure 40. 

Hummingbird P- 146- 

n, Feet, medium-sized or small, but not 
noticeably weak, flabby, or loose 
jointed. Legs covered with scales :^ 

or plates. 'CZI!3__^2Il3ir~vC^ ^' 

19, Two toes in front, either one " " — ^ "^^ 
or two directed backwards. Bill "''■- 
chisel-shaped at tip. Figure 4i. 

Woodpeckers p. 138. 

20, Three toes in front; hind toe as well 
developed and as long as middle toe; 
claw on hind toe usually as long as 
or longer than that on middle toe. 

Figure 42. 

Perchers p. 147. 

Recognition of Details of the Perchers. 

Bill wider than high at base; 

tip shghtly hooked. •\::*r- n. 

a Figure 43. 6 

Flycatchers p. 148. 

Note ear tufts and long hind "' ;>"^""^^^« 
toe nail. Longspur and 
Pipit only other species ^^f / 

having latter feature. '^^- / jf^=&^'^'^ 

« Figure 44. * 

Horned Lark p. 152. 


Bill stout, nostrils covered by bristly tufts. 

Figure 45. 

Crows, Jays, etc. 

Keel of bill us- 
ually extending 
more or less up 
on forehead. 

Cowbird and 
Bobolink (Fig- 
ure 46) have 
bills resembHng 
the sparrow, 
see species. 


Figures 46 and 47. 

p. 153. 

Figures 50, 51 and 52. 

Bill conical, stout for seed cracking. (Bills of BoboHnk and Cowbird 
superficially similar, see descriptions.) 

Sparrows p. 161. 

Shght or marked tooth on cutting side of 
upper mandible. 

Tanagers p. igo. 


Bill very small, wide, and flattened at base. 

(«) ' (b) 

Figure 54. 

Swallows P- 182. 


/ > 

Crest and black eye-band most conspicuous. 

Figure 55. 

Waxwmgs P- 184. 

Tooth near tip of upper mandible. ^<iC_/\^ 

• V. 
Figure 56. 

Yireos and Shrikes pp. 188, 186. 

Small, brightly coloured birds. Olive- ""^V-C'*-'' "V^^^ 

greens and yellows are perhaps the " '^' 

commonest colours, but blues, reds, 
and other colours are often present. — .,^ -. .. ^ 

Figures 57, 58, and 59. 

Wood Warblers p. 190. 

Fine sharp bill and long claw on j^-- — ^^r.^^^ A^ 
hind toe. C*>'"*i- .ArrfJ 

(a) (6) 

Figure 60. 

Fivii P- 205. 



Figures 61 and 62, 

Bills as shown. Thrasher large red-brown and white bird; Catbird even 
slate grey. 

Thrasher and Catbird p. 205. 

Small birds coloured in shades of wood-brown. ^ri=:=^^^! /^-ife 

Figure 63. 

Wrens p. 207. 

Small birds in wood-brown colours. Tail '^'" 

long and stiff, feathers pointed at end. '^ "^^^^^^s_^ 

■■•. .•: "^^^ 

Figure 64. 

Creepers p. 210. 

Bill pointing slightly upwards. "^^^^-^ ^ - ■^■t 

Figure 65. 

Nuthatches p. 210 

Very small birds coloured in greys, white, and black. _ __^ 

Figure 66. 

Titmice p. 212. 


Very small birds, olive-coloured. Males with small, 
brightly-coloured crown patch. 

Figure 67. 

Kinglets p. 213 

Medium-sized birds, coloured usually, 
except Robin and Blue-bird, in soft 
browns with more or less spotted 


Thrushes p. 215. 


Titles given in small capitals have special headings devoted to them; 
those in italics are mentioned incidentally in the text. Starred species 
are illustrated in colours. 

Class . . . . 
Subclass . 
Subclass . 
Order . . . . 
Family. . 

Family . 

Family . 

. AVES, birds 

. . . RATiTiE, Raft-breasted birds 

CARiNAT^, Keel-breasted birds 


Colymbi, Grebes 

coLYMBiDiE, Grebes 

Western Grebe 

holbcell's grebe 

horned grebe 

*pied-billed grebe 

GA viiD^, Loons 



ALCiD^, Auks, Murres, and Puffins 



Atlantic Guillemot. . . . 
Mandt's Guillemot . . . . 


Atlantic Murre 


Briinnich's Murre 









Order longipbnxbs, Long-winged Swimmers 48 

Family stbrcorariid^, Jaegers and Skuas 48 




Family larid^e, Gulls and Terns 49 

Subfamily larin^, Gulls 50 


Atlantic Kittiwake 51 

glattcous gull 51 

iceland gull 51 

great black-backed gull 51 

*herring gull 52 

ring-billed gull 53 

Bonaparte's gull 53 

Franklin's Gvll 53 

Laughing Gull 53 

Subfamily stbrnin^, Terns 54 

caspian tern 54 

forster's tern 55 

*common tern 55 

arctic tern 55 

black tern 56 

American Black Tern 56 

Order tubinares, Tube-v.osed Swimmers 56 

Family Procellariidoe, Lesser Tube-nosed Swimmers 57 


Atlantic Fulmar 57 

Genus PUFFiNUS, Shearwaters 58 




leach's PETREL 59 

Stormy Petrel 59 

Wilson's petrel 59 

Order stbganopodes, Full-webbed Swivimers 59 

Family sulid^e, Gannets or Boobies 60 

gannet 60 

Family phalacrocoracid^, Cormorants 60 

common cormorant 61 

double-crested cormorant 61 

Eastern Double-crested Cormorant.. 61 

Family l.ecanid^, Pelicans 62 

White Pelican 62 

Brown Pelican 62 

Order anseres, Sieve-hilled Swimmers 62 

Family anatid^, Ducks, Geese, and Swans 63 

Subfamily MERGiNiE, Mergansers 63 

AMERICAN merganser 64 



Subfamily anatin^, River and Pond Ducks 65 


*black duck 66 





Cinnamon Teal 67 

shoveller 67 


*wooD duck 68 



S^Jamily fuligclin.e, Bay, Sea, or Diving Ducks 68 







American Golden-eye 71 

barrow's golden-eye 71 

buffle-head 71 

old-squaw 72 

harlequin duck 72 

Genera somateria and oidemia, Eiders and 

Scoters 72 


Northern Eider 73 







S-ubJamily anserin^e, Geese 75 


Lesser Snow Goose 75 

Greater Snoio Goose 75 



American White-fronted Goose 76 


Hutchin's Goose 76 


American Brant 77 

Black Brant 77 

Subfamily cygnin^, Swans 77 



Order hebodiones, Deep Water Waders 79 

Suborder ibides, Ibises 79 

Family ibidid^, Ibises 79 

GLOSSY ibis 79 

Suborder herodii, Heron-like Waders 80 

Family ardeid^, Herons and Bitterns 80 

Subfamily botaurin.«, Bitterns 80 

*american bittern 80 

least bittern 81 

Cory's Least Bittern 81 

Subfamily ardein^, True Herons and Egrets 81 


Eastern Great Blue Heron 82 




Louisiana Heron 84 


Northern Green Heron 84 


Yellow-crowned Night Heron 85 

Order paludicol^. Marsh Birds 85 

Suborder grues, Cranes and Courlans 85 

Family gruid^, Cranes 85 


Little Brown Crane 85 

Whooping Crane 86 



Suborder raxli, Smaller Marsh Birds 86 

Family rallid^, Rail-like Birds 86 

Subfamily rallus, True Rails . 86 


Clapper Rail 87 


Black Rail 87 

*80RA RAIL 88 


Svhfam/ily gallinulin^, Gallinules or Mud-hens 88 



Subfamily fulicin^, Coots 90 

American Coot 90 

Order limicol^, Shore Birds 90 

Family phalaropodid^, Phalaropes 91 

red phalarope 91 

northern phalarope 91 

Wilson's phalarope 92 

Family . . recurvirostrid^, Avocets and Stilts 92 


Family scolopacid^, Snipe-like Birds 92 




Long-billed Doivitcher 94 


KNOT 91 


Eastern Purple Sandpip 95 





DUNLIN •. . 96 

Red-backed Sandpiper 96 



Wester7i Sandpiper 97 







Eastern Solitary Sandpiper 99 


Eastern Willet 99 

Western Willet 99 




Genus numenius, Curlews 101 




Family charadriid.e, Plover 102 



Eastern Golden Plover 103 



European Ring Plover 104 


Snowy Plover 105 



Family aphrizid^, Turnstones 105 


Rvddy Turnstone 105 

Family HiBMATOPODiD.E, Oyster-catchers 105 


Order gallin.e, Scratching Birds 106 

Suborder phasiani, True Fowls 106 

Family odontophorid^, American Quail 106 


Virginia Bob-white 107 

Family tetraonid^, Grouse 108 


Hudsonian Spruce Partridge 108 

Canada Spruce Partridge 108 

*RUFFED grouse 108 

Canada Ruffed Grouse 108 

Genus lagopus, Ptarmigan 109 


Willow Ptarmigan 110 

Aliens Ptarmigan 110 

ROCK ptarmigan 110 

Arctic Ptarmigan 110 

Reinhardts Ptarmigan 110 

Welsh's Ptarmigan 110 

prairie CHICKEN 110 

Northern Prairie Chicken 110 


Northern Sharp-tail Ill 

Prairie Sharp-tail Ill 

Family meleagrid^e, Turkeys Ill 


Northern Wild Turkey Ill 

Order columbjE, Pigeons and Doves Ill 

Family columbid^, True Pigeons and Doves Ill 



Carolina Mourning Dove 113 

Order raptores, Birds of Prey 113 

Suborder sarcorhamphi, American Vultures 114 

Family cathartid^, Turkey Vultures 115 


Northern Turkey Vulture 116 


Suborder palcones, Diurnal Birds of Prey 116 

Family buteoniad^, Buzzards and Eagles 116 

Genera el,anoii>es and ciRCVS,Kites and Harriers 117 

swallow-tailed kite 117 

*marsh hawk 117 

Genera accipiter and ASTvn,Accipiters, Short- 
winged Hawks 118 


cooper's HAWK 119 


Eastern Goshawk 119 

Genera- buteo and archibuteo, True Buzzards. 120 

*red-tailed hawk 120 

Eastern Red-tail 121 

*red-shouldered hawk 121 

Eastern Red-shouldered Hawk 122 

swainson's hawk 122 

broad- WINGED HAWK 122 

rough-legged hawk 123 

American Rough-legged Hawk 123 



Genera aqxtila and hali^etus, Eagles 123 



Northern Bald Eagle 124 

Family falconid^, Falcons and Caracaras 125 

Subfamily falconing, True Falcons 125 




Grey Gyrfalcon 126 

Black Gyrfalcon 126 


Duck Hwak 126 


Eastern Pigeon Hawk 127 


Eastern Sparrow Hawk 127 

Family. . . '. pandionid^, Fish-hawks, Ospreys 128 

*OSPREY 128 

American Osprey 128 

Suborder striges, Nocturnal Birds of Prey 129 

Family alttconid^, Barn Owls 129 


Family strigid^, Horned or Eared Owls 130 




Eastern Barred Owl 131 


Great Grey Owl 131 


Richardson's Owl 132 


Acadian Owl 132 


Eastern Screech Owl 133 


Eastern Horned Owl 133 

Western Homed Owl 133 

Arctic Horned Owl 133 

Labrador Horned Oiol 133 



American Hawk Owl 134 

Order coccyges, Cuckoos and Kingfishers 135 

Suborder cuctjli, Cuckoos 135 

Family cvcvlxdm, American Cuckoos 135 

Subfamily coccyzinjs, American Tree Cu/;koos 135 

*yellow-billed cuckoo 136 

*black-billed cuckoo 136 

Suborder alcyones, Kingfishers 136 

Family alcedinid^, Kingfishers 137 


Order pici, Woodpeckers 138 

Family PiciDiE, Woodpeckers 138 


Eastern Hairy Woodpecker 139 

Northern Hairy Woodpecker 139 


Northern Downy Woodpecker 139 



Eastern Three-toed Woodpecker 140 




Family picid^. — Continued. 

Eastern Sapsucker 140 


Northern Pileated Woodpecker 141 




Northern Flicker 142 

Order macrochires, Goatsuckers, Sivifts, and Hummingbirds 143 

Suborder caprimulgi, Goatsuckers 143 

Family caprimulgid^, Goatsuckers 143 

chuck-will's widow 143 

whip-poor-will 143 

Eastern Whip-poor-wiU 143 


Eastern Nighthawk 144 

Suborder cypseli, Svnfts and Allies 145 

Family micropodid^, Sunfts 145 

Subfamily chjettjrin^, Spine-tailed Swifts 145 


Suborder trochili, Hummingbirds 146 

Family trochilid^, Hummingbirds 146 


Order passeres, Perching Birds 147 

Suborder clamatores, Songless Perchers 147 

Family tyrannid.e, Tyrant Flycatchers 148 

scissor-tailed flycatcher 148 

*kingbird 148 

crested flycatcher 149 

*phoebe 149 

olive-sided flycatcher 150 

wood PEWEB 150 




Alder Flycatcher 151 

Western Alder Flycatcher 151 


Suborder oscines, Song Birds 152 

Family alaudid^, Larks 152 

*horned lark 152 

Eastern Horned Lark 153 

Prairie Horned Lark 153 

Hoyt's Horned Lark 153 

Family corvid^, Jays and Crows 153 

Subfamily garrulin^, Magpies and Jays 153 

magpie 153 

American Magpie 153 

*BLUE JAY 154 


Eastern Canada Jay 154 

Labrador Jay 154 

Subfamily corvine, Crows 155 

RAVEN 155 

Northern Raven 155 

*american crow 156 

Eastern Crow 156 

FamUy icterid^, American Starlings 156 


*COWBIR0 157 

yellow-headed blackbird 158 

*red-winged blackbird 158 

Eastern Red-wing 158 

Northern Red-wing 158 



Family icterid.e. — Concluded. 






* Bronzed Grackle 161 

Purple Grackle 161 

Family pringillidje, Sparrows, Linnets, Finches, or Buntings.. 161 


Eastern Evening Grosbeak 162 


Canadian Pine Grosbeak 163 


Eastern Purple Finch 163 



American Crossbill 166 


Genus acanthis, Redpolls 166 


Greenland Redpoll 167 

Hoary Redpoll 167 


Common Redpoll 167 

Holboll's Redpoll . , 167 

Greater Redpoll 167 


Eastern Goldfinch 168 



Common Snow Bunting 169 


Eastern Longspur 169 


Eastern Vesper Sparrov) 170 



Eastern Savannah Sparrow 170 


Eastern Grasshopper Sparrow 171 


Eastern Henslow's Sparrow 171 

leconte's sparrow 171 

nelson's sharp-tail 172 

Prairie Sharp-tail 172 

Acadian Sharp-tail 172 

lark sparrow 172 

Eastern Lark Sparrow 172 

Harris' sparrow 172 

*white-crowned sparrow 173 

Eastern White-crowned Sparrow. . . 173 

*white-throatbd sparrow 173 

*tree sparrow 174 

Eastern Tree Sparrow 174 

*chipping sparrow 174 

Eastern Chipping Sparrow 174 



Eastern Field Sparrow 175 



Eastern Song Sparrow 176 

Lincoln's sparrow 177 

Eastern Lincoln's Sparrow 177 



Genus acawthis — Concluded. 



Eastern Fox Sparrow 178 


Eastern Towhee 178 


Eastern Cardinal 178 



Eastern Blue Grosbeak 180 



Family tangakid^, Tanagers 180 



Family hirundinid^, Swallows 182 


Eastern Martin 182 


Eastern Cliff Swallow 183 





Family bombtcillid^, Waxicings 184 



Family laniid^, Shrikes, Butcherbirds 186 

northern shrike 186 

*loggerhead shrike 187 

Migrant Loggerhead 187 

Family vikeonid^, Vireos or Greenlets 188 

*red-eyed vireo 188 

philadelphia vireo 188 

*warbling vireo 189 

Eastern Warbling Vireo 189 



Blue-headed Vireo 190 


Northern White-eyed Vireo 190 

Family mniotiltid^, Wood Warblers 190 



Genus vermivora, Worm-eating Warblers .... 192 





Eastern Nashville Warbler 193 


Interior Orange-croum 193 



Northern Parula 194 

Genus dendroica, Woodland Warblers 194 

CAPE may warbler 194 


Eastern Yellow Warbler 195 


Northern Black-throated Blue Warbler 195 






denu--^ DENDROiCA — Concluded. 









Inta-ior P^ilm Warbler 199 

Yelloic Palm Warbler 199 


Genus sErTRUs, Wagtail Warblers 200 

*0\'ENBIRD 200 


Ea.<:U-rn Wattr-thntsh 201 

GrinrieU's Water-ihru^h 201 


Gefiera opororxis and geothlypis. Ground 

Warblers 201 





*Xartheni Yelhu^hroat 203 


Genus wilsoxia, Flycatching Warblers 203 



WiUon's Warbler 204 



Family motacilhd^, Wagtails or Pipits 205 


Family mimid^, Mockers and Thrashers 205 


Eastern Mockingbird 206 

*CATBrRD 206 


Family troglodttid^. TTre/iit 207 


Xorthem Carolina Wren 207 

Bewick's wren 208 

Easirrn BeiricX-'s Wren 208 

*house wrex 208 

Eastern House Wren 208 


East-ern Winter Wren 209 



Easlem Marsh Wren 209 

Family CERTEriiD^, Creepers 210 


Eastern Broum Creeper 210 

Family sittidj:. Xuthatches 210 


Whiie-breasted Xiithatch 211 


Ftttiily PARTDiE, Titmice 212 

tufted titmouse 212 

*black-capped chickadee 212 

Eastern Chickadee 212 

Carolina Chiekadee 212 


Hudscmior, Chickadee 213 

Acadian Chickadee 213 



Family bylviwjc, Old-vx/rUi Warblers and Kinffleis 213 

Subfamily eeoulin^, Kinglets 214 


Eastern Golderi^-crrjvm 214 


Eastern RiJjy-crovm 215 

Subfamily polioptilin^, OrMtcatcf^uers 215 


Eastern Gnatcatcher 215 

Family TuaoiDiE, Thrushes and Allies 215 

Subfamily tuedin^, T^m Thrusl-ves 215 

*wood theu8h 216 

*T\TLS0N'8 theush 216 

Veenj 216 

Willow Tkrij^h 216 

*alice'6 thrush 216 

Grey-c^i^eked Thrush 216 

Bickroell's Thrush. . . 217 


Swainson's Thrush 217 


Eastern Hermit Thru,!'.. . 217 


Eastern, Robin 218 


Greeniand Wheatear 218 


Eastern Bbjebird 218 




Birds, as a class, can be divided into toothed and toothless birds, 
although the former are now extinct and are known only by their frag- 
mentary remains preserved as fossils. All modern birds are toothless. 
Some species, as the mergansers, are furnished with serrations in the horny 
bill that have a superficial resemblance to teeth (Figure 7, p. 19), but 
examination shows that these are not true teeth. 


Present day, toothless birds are divided into two subclasses, the 
Ratitce or raft-breasted birds and the Carinatce or keel-breasted birds. The 
Ratitce include the Ostriches and Emues which are without a keel to the 
breast bone for the attachment of wing muscles and are flightless. There 
are none in North America and they are, therefore, not dealt with here. 
The term keel-breasted is derived from the high, thin, keel-like projection 
from the middle of the breast bone, to which the powerful breast or wing 
muscles are attached. 

Keel-breasted birds (subclass Carinatce) are divided into numerous 
orders which are considered in the sequence adopted by the American 
Ornithologists' Union. 

Order — Pygopodes. Diving Birds. 

General Description. The Divers, as their name implies, are birds fitted for subaquatic 
pursuits. The hip joint is set far back on the body and the leg mechanism is better fitted 
for swimming than for walking. The tarsus, the visible part of the leg, is much flattened, 
(Figure 2, p. 18), and the toes are either partly (Figure 13, p. 20) or completely (Figures 2 
and 6, p. 19) webbed. The wings are small in comparison with the size of the body. The 
bill is straight and generally tapered, moderately long, but occasionally flattened and 
deepened, as in the cases of the Auks and Puffins; in the latter species this specialization 
reaches its highest development in the order. 

Distinctions. Toes, three or four entirely or partly webbed, tarsus flattened, tail 
inconspicuous or small. 

Field Marks. Small wings and tail and straight, narrow, unduck-like bills. The 
Divers bear a supei-ficial resemblance to ducks but where the ducks would fly the Divers 

Nesting. In the immediate vicinity of water on reedy shores or rocky ledges, or in 
crevices and holes in the ground. 

In consequence of the peculiar leg construction, an unusually upright 
carriage of the body is necessitated when on land, and they walk with 
difficulty. Indeed some species are almost helpless on the ground and are 
unable to rise into the air except from the water, off steeply rising ground, 
or against a strong head wind. They swim and dive with ease and, though 
their wings are small in comparison to the size of the body, when once on 
the wing they fly with rapid beats, swiftly and strongly, in straight lines 
or long curves without evolution or manoeuvring. 


Economic Status. The Diving Birds feed almost entirely upon aquatic 
life usually captured by diving and pursuit under water. Economically, 
they are of slight importance. The Canadian representatives of this order 
are divided into three families: the Grebes, Colymbidce; the Loons, Gaviidoe; 
the Auks, Murres, etc., Alcidce. 


General Description. Grebes and Divers with feet lobed and not fully webbed, and 
without perceptible tails. Instead of full webs extending from toe to toe, as in most 
swimming birds, the digits are provided with a scalloped edging of fiat lobe-like flaps or 
processes hinged to the toe. These make excellent paddles during the stroke, and folding 
away, offer the minimum of resistance to the water on the return. Their wonderful diving 
ability has given these birds the common sobriquets of Hell-diver, Water-witch, etc. 

Distinctions. Scalloped toe webs (Figure 13, p. . . ), short tail, sharp pointed bill, and 
the peculiar silvery sheen of the feathers of the underparts. 

Field Marks. Pointed bill and inconspicuous tail. Feet carried straight out behind 
when flying. 

Nesting. In the reeds or rushes bordering sloughs or ponds, on either floating or 
stationary vegetable heaps. 

Distribution. Grebes are distributed over the whole of Canada, and north well into 
the Arctic zone. In the breeding season they are generally more common on fresh than 
on salt water. There are three species of this family occurring regularly in eastern Canada; 
a fourth species, the Western Grebe, not further mentioned here, has been incorrectly 
recorded several times, and only one case of its occurrence can be substantiated. 

Grebes are typically inhabitants of fresh ponds and lakes, though at 
times they frequent the sea in numbers. The adults are coloured in rather 
broad masses; the young show sharp stripes, especially about the head, 
indicating that the family has descended from a common striped ancestor. 
The grebe breasts, so much used for trimming and millinery purposes, are 
procured from birds of this family. The sacrifice of large numbers for this 
purpose and the drainage of many of their natural breeding grounds are 
continually reducing their numbers. 

Economic Status. Feeding almost entirely upon water-inhabiting 
creatures they are of little direct economic importance. Considerable 
masses of feathers are often found in grebe stomachs, but no satisfactory 
explanation of their presence there has been offered. There is no evidence 
that they are remains of birds preyed upon, 

2. Holboell's Grebe, red-necked grebe, fr. — le grIjbe a ecu rouge. Colymbus 
holboelli. L. 19. This is the largest of our Grebes. Siunmer adults have a rich chestnut- 
red neck. 

Distinctions. Size is usually sufficient to distinguish this Grebe. Juvenile birds gener- 
ally have only a suggestion of the rufous neck. 

Field Marks. Size will also separate it in the field from other Grebes; and the pre- 
sence of a white wing patch and an unmottled back, from the Red-throated Loon with which 
it might be confused. 

Nesting. On floating or stationary vegetable compost or marshy islands near the 
shores of freshwater lakes. 

Distribution. Across the continent; breeding in the east, north of present settlement. 
In the prairie provinces and west it nests southwards to and across the United States 

The bird, except in the west in the breeding season, is more commonly 
seen on large bodies of water than small. It is comparatively scarce in 
eastern Canada, 


3. Horned Grebe, fr. — le grebe cornu. Colymbus auritus. L. 13 50. The 
Horned Grebe is about the same size as the Pied-billed Grebe mentioned next, but with a 
much sharper and more slender bill. The summer adult has a red neck (much like Holboell's), 
prominent ochraceous ear tufts, and a full projecting ruff on the cheeks from hindhead to 
throat. In the autumn and winter a shining almost black and white head contrasts with 
the duller coloration of the Pied-billed Grebe. 

Distinctions. The juvenile, a plain, greyish-black and white bird, may be mistaken 
for the young Pied-billed Grebe, but can be distinguished by its shiny white forehead and 
breast, slender bill, and white wing patch. 

Field Marks. Slender, sharp bill, white foreneck and wingpatch. 

Nesting. Similar to the preceding. 

Distribution. Across the continent, breeding locally within the borders of present 
settlement and northward, but more commonly west than east. 

The Horned Grebe on migration inhabits the larger bodies of water 
and is less commonly seen on the small mud holes where the Pied-bill 
often occurs. 

6. Pied-billed Grebe, dab-chick, hell-diver, water-witch, pr. — le grebe a 
BEC BiGARRE. Podilymbus podiccps. L, 13 50. Plate I A. 

Distinctions. The Pied-bill can be separated from all other Canadian Grebes by its 
lelatively heavier and stouter bill with its spot and its more strongly arched cuhnen, and 
from the juvenile Horned Grebe in any plumage, by its darker, less shiny foreneck, breast, 
and underparts, and the absence of a white wing patch. 

Field Marks. Size and shape of bill, spot on bill, lack of white wing patch, and black 
throat patch in spring. 

Nesting. Along the marshy edges of ponds and lakes on stationary or floating plat- 

Distribution. Across the continent, breeding from our southern borders northwards; 
probably any grebe found nesting south of a line drawn between Ottawa and Sault Ste. 
Marie will be of this species. 

This is the common breeding grebe of eastern Canada, where it is 
found in the nesting season or during migration on nearly every pond or 
slough. It frequents clear, open water less than its relatives. The diving 
powers of the grebes are well known, and they are well developed in this 
species. Diving at the flash of the gun it is often safe under water by the 
time the shot reaches the spot it recently occupied. Even breech-loading 
guns are not always quick enough to catch it, though the general use of 
smokeless powder has put it at considerable disadvantage. The grebes 
have the faculty of swimming either low or high in the water. By pressing 
the air from the thick soft plumage and by compressing that in the body 
cavities the grebe can increase its specific gravity, and gradually sink into 
the water until only the bill is above the surface, in which position it will 
hide and, barring accidents, escape the most prying eyes. 

Economic Status. We have little accurate information as to the 
exact constituents of the food of the grebes. The Pied-bill, however, 
probably lives upon small fish and aquatic insects, supplemented more 
or less by vegetable matter. The fish, owing to the bird's habitat, are 
mostly mud-frequenting species of little economic importance. The 
insect content of its food probably consists largely of predaceous species 
like large water beetles that occasionally do some damage to fish fry. 
The vegetable matter is unimportant. On the whole, we can regard the 
Pied-billed Grebe as absolutely harmless except in the rare cases when it 
pays a passing visit to pools or ponds devoted to trout or other valuable 
fish culture. 




General Description. The Loons are large divers with straight, sharply pointed bills 
and with the feet fully webbed (Figure 2, p. 18). In the adult state they are coloured 
in strikingly contrasting patterns, mostly black and white. 

Distinctions. Larger than ducks and have shorter necks than geese. These points 
and the sharp pointed bill are diagnostic. Tails more evident than in the Grebes. 

Field Marks. Size, length of neck, and bill. In flight, the feet are trailed behind 
the tail. 

Nesting. On low shores in the immediate vicinity of water where they can dive 
directly into the water from the nest. 

The Loons are probablj^ even better divers than the Grebes but they 
rise less easily from the water, and unless there is a good breeze that they 
can face, require a long splashing start over the surface before being wing 

Economic Status. Their food is composed almost entirely of fish, 
but owing to the small number of loons in any given locality, their direct 
economic importance is small. 

7. Common Loon, great northern diver, fr. — le plongeon A collier. 
HUARD. Gavia immer. L, 32. Plate IB. 

Distinctions. The adult Common Loon is easily separated from other loons by its 
marked coloration, but juveniles are somewhat more difficult to differentiate. Size and 
the lack of spots on the back will separate it from the Red-throated Loon with which it 
is most easily confused. 

Field Marks. Size and unspotted back of the juveniles as above. Most loons seen 
on our inland lakes are of this species. 

Nesting. Close to the water on the boggy or rocky shores of inland lakes where 
when alarmed the loons can shde directly into the water. The rather bulky nest is built 
of decaying vegetable matter. 

Distribution. Over the whole of Canada, breeding wherever conditions are suitable 
and often remaining in the winter until the last open water is closed by ice. 

Most frequenters of our waterways and lakes are familiar with the 
long loud laugh of the Loon. The loon has another call beginning low, 
rising high, and then dropping suddenly. It is often noisy at night or just 
before a storm and birds frequently call to and answer one another across 
the water. 

Owing to the constant encroachments of settlement, and the consequent 
disturbance of its nesting places, the Loon has been growing scarcer of late 
years and in many of its old haunts it is seldom seen now except during 
migration. However, there are still great numbers of lonely lakes in the 
great uninhabited north where they can live and breed undisturbed, and 
the immediate loss of this picturesque species need not be anticipated. 
Proper local protection, enforced by an awakened public opinion, would 
undoubtedly restock our lakes and ponds with summer residents as well 
as augment the number that make passing visits. 

Economic Status. Although the Loon is a large bird the capacity 
of its gullet limits the fish it takes to comparatively small sizes. This 
fact, taken in connexion with the small number of birds on the smaller 
lakes and the immense numbers of fish in the larger bodies of water, makes 
its depredations economically unimportant. The species, therefore, should 
not be destroyed. 

11. Red-throated Loon, le plongeon a gorge rousse. Gavia stellata. L, 25. 
This is smaller than the Common Loon, and is without its intensely contrasted black and 


white back coloration. Its head and neck are grey and summer adults have a dull red 
throat patch. 

Distinctions. Adults can be distinguished from the Common Loon by size and colo r- 
ation as above. Juveniles can be recognized by their finely spotted backs in distinction 
from the slightly grey marginations of the Common Loon. 

Field Marks. Size and back coloration. 

Nesting. Breeding habits similar to those of the preceding species. 

Distribution. Ranges over the whole of Canada, scarce in the interior, more common 
on the coasts. Breeds in the east from northern Ontario, central Quebec, and New Bruns- 
wick northward. 

Economic Status. Similar to the Common Loon in this respect, but 
of less importance on account of its smaller numbers. 


General Description. This family is composed of strictly maritime species of rare or 
only acci dental occurrence on fresh water. Though most at home in the water they stand 
upright on land and walk about with considerably more ease than either the grebes or 
loons. Their bills are subject to a greater degree of variation than the aforementioned 
families, ranging from the straight tapering shape of the Murres to the deep compressed 
bill of the Puffin. 

Distinctions. The obvious diver-like form combined with webbed feet and no hind 
toes (Figure 12, p. 20) is diagnostic. 

Field Marks. General resemblance to ducks, but their short necks and pointed and 
sometimes deepened and narrowed bill are characteristic. 

Nesting. Breed in large colonies, often of mixed species, on rocky islets or on inaccess- 
ible sea-washed cliffs. Build no nest but lay their eggs directly on the ground. Their 
eggs are unusually large for the size of the bird and markedly pyriform, a shape that 
causes them to roll in circles rather than in straight lines and lessens the danger of their 
falling from the bare, rocky, nesting ledges. 

Distribution. Over our sea coast from our southern borders to the Arctic. They are 
only casual on fresh water, though one species has indulged in occasional abnormal, erup- 
tive migrations to the lower great lakes. 

This family frequents the open sea, coming ashore only to breed. 
They differ from the other divers in habitually using their wings under 
water as in flying. On the Labrador coast their eggs are much used by the 
fishermen for food. 

Economic Status. Eating nothing but the smaller sizes of fish and 
crustaceans taken at sea, where the supplies are more than ample, there is 
little harm that these species can do, 


Fratercula arctica. L, 13. The Puffin is a grotesque little diver, black above, white 
below, and with a grey face. It is notable for its absurdly deepened and flattened bill, 
nearly as high as long and highly coloured with reds and yellows. 

Distinctions. Bill is always distinctive. 

Field Marks. Bill can be recognized in life nearly as far as the bird can be seen. 

Nesting. Breed in the crannies and cracks of rocky chffs or burrow in the soil on 
lonely islets. Along the Canadian Labrador coast there are several "Paroquet" islands 
so-caUed from the great numbers of these birds breeding on them. However, the depreda- 
tions of fishermen have sadly reduced their numbers and unless protective steps are taken 
they will shortly be exterminated. 

Distribution. Puffins are distributed over the sea coast on both sides of the Atlantic 
from Canada and England northward far into the Arctic zone. 

A sight of this bird is suflBcient for recognition of the appropriateness 
of the names Parrot or Paroquet. Unlike other divers it stands up on 
its toes and is quite agile afoot. 
57172— 4i 


27. Black Guillemot, pigeon, sea pigeon, fr. — le guillemot noir. Cepphua 
grylle. L, 13. In summer the Black Guillemot is a small, coal black diver with large 
white wing patches and red feet. In winter the underparts are white and the feathers 
above are black but broadly tipped with white. The wings remain as in summer. 

Distinctions. In summer the species cannot be mistaken for any other. In winter, 
the size and wing coloration are almost equally distinctive. 

Field Marks. The characters above make easily recognizable field marks. 

Nesting. In cavities in the rocks or in openings in the rough talus at the foot of sea 

Distribution. The Atlantic Guillemot is common along our Atlantic coast but is 
rarely if ever seen inland. 

SUBSPECIES. There are two subspecies of the Black Guillemot in Canada, the 
Atlantic Guillemot, the type form, and Mandt's Guillemot, Cepphus grylle mandti, a 
northern race inhabiting Arctic regions and distinguished by having all the wing coverts 
white to the base instead of with a concealed dark wing bar. This form is given by 
the American Ornithologists Union check-list as a full species, but should probably be 
reduced to subspecific status. 

The Black Guillemot is one of the commonest inhabitants of our sea 
coast and is known to nearly all who visit there. It is less gregarious than 
the other members of the family and usually nests alone and not in rookeries, 
though sometimes numbers are drawn together in localities by a community 
of interest. 

30. Common Murre. fr. — mormette. le guillemot ordinaire. marmette.s. 
Uria troille. L, 16. The Murre in summer is white below, with the head and neck dark, 
smoky, seal brown. The back and wings are black. In winter the throat is light, veiled 
with more or less greyish, and the brown is replaced on the head and neck with black more 
or less shaded with grey especially on the throat. 

Distinctions. The Common Murre is very much hke Briinnich's Murre and the Razor- 
billed Auk. Can be differentiated in summer from the former by the lighter brown colora- 
tion of the head and neck and by the fact that the back of the neck is not darker than the 
front. At all seasons it has a somewhat shorter and decidedly heavier bill. From the Auk 
it can be told by its bill which is not markedly flattened or deepened. 

Field Marks. Bill sizes and neck coloration are the only field marks that can be given 
to separate the two Murres and in life these can only be seen under the most favourable 
circumstances. The birds are said to swim with level instead of up turned tail as does the 
Razor-bill. The difference between the latter's bill and that of the Murre, however, is 
quite obvious under ordinary conditions. 

Nesting. In large colonies amongst the rocks, making no nest and laying only a single 

egg. , , . 

Distribution. Abundant along the eastern sea coast, never or rarely ever being found 
in the interior on fresh water. 

SUBSPECIES. The Common Murre inhabits the northern parts of both Pacific and 
Atlantic oceans, being represented by different subspecies in each. The Atlantic Murre 
is the type form and is, of course, the one that occurs on our eastern coasts. 

The number of Murres that will occupy a nesting ledge is sometimes 
remarkable. At the edge of the rocky shelves they gather as close as they 
can stand, like files of soldiers, bearing strong resemblance to the lines 
of penguins that are familiar to us in pictures. 

31. Thick-billed Guillemot, brunnich's murre. fr. — le guillemot de BRtrN- 
NiCH. Uria lomvia. L, 1650. This Murre is almost exactly similar to the preceding 

Distinctions. Head and neck are darker and richer brown without the smokiness of 
the Common Murre and the neck is somewhat darker behind than in front. Bill is some- 
what larger and noticeably heavier. 

Field Marks. Longer, heavier bill and coloration of the head and neck will under 
exceptional visual conditions separate this bird in life from the Common Miu-re. Sharp 
and tapering instead of blimt and deep bill, and tail not turned up in swimming, should 
serve to distinguish it from the Razor-billed Auk. 

Nesting. Similar to the preceding species. 

Distribution. Somewhat more northern than that of the Common Murre. 

SUBSPECIES. The Thick-billed Guillemot occm-s in the northern Pacific and Atlan- 
tic oceans but as distinct subspecies. Our eastern form is the type and is known as Briin- 
nich's Murre. 

Brtinnich's Murre is the only member of this family that is found on 
the Great Lakes. The birds have at times come in hundreds on lakes 
Ontario, Erie, and tributary waters in late autumn and early winter, 
all in a starving condition, and none seem to survive or return to their 
sea homes. These occurrences are as yet inexplicable. 

32. Razor-billed Auk. tinker, fr.^ — ^godd or gudd. le pingouin commun 
Alca torda. L, 16' 50. The Razor-billed Auk is of the same general appearance as the 
last two species. 

Dislindions. Bill is considerably deepened and flattened (though not nearly as much 
so as in the Puffin); it is thus easily distinguished from the Mm-re especially in summer 
when a white line connects the eye and the base of the cuhnen, and the bill is crossed by 
a white band near the tip. Bill of the winter juvenile is less characteristic but may still 
be distinguished from that of the Murres. 

Field Marks. Deepened bill and, when swimming, cocked-up tail make good field 

Nesting. Similar to that of the two preceding species but rather less gregarious. 

Distribution. Frequents our Atlantic coasts north to the Arctic. 

33. Great Auk. gare-powl. fr. — le grand pingouin. Plautus impennis. L, 30. 
The Great Auk was the largest of the American Divers. Its wings were so reduced in 
size that though they made excellent swimming organs they were useless for other purposes 
and hence the bird was unable to fly. As the species is now extinct no further description 

is necessary. 

This bird had become so well adapted to an aquatic life that flying 
was no longer necessary and consequently its wings became reduced 
to mere swimming flippers like those of the penguins of the Antarctic, 
and flight was impossible. Though as well able to live at sea as any fish 
or marine animal, land was as necessary to it for reproduction as to any 
other bird. Even then, if it had inhabited the very extremes of the Arctic 
regions for nesting purposes it would probably have survived; but lonely 
outlying rocks and islets about the British isles and, on our side of the 
ocean, south to Newfoundland, were its nesting places and immediately 
in the course of the fleets of hardy fishermen who early in our history' 
flocked to our shores. To them, these then countless thousands of large 
sea birds inhabiting islets in the immediate vicinity of their fishing groimds, 
so helpless on land that they could be killed in unlimited numbers with 
sticks and clubs, w^ere irresistible. They took full advantage of their 
opportunities and the story passes current that to save labour, gang planks 
were placed ashore from the boats and the unresisting birds were driven 
aboard in droves to be clubbed to death on deck. Of course no numbers 
could long resist such destruction and to-day the Great Auk is only an 
interesting memory and is represented by only individual specimens and 
fragments in a few favoured museums. 

34. Dovekie. sea dove. fr. — le mergule nain. Alle alle. L, 8. The Dovekie 
is a diminutive Diver, the smallest of its family in eastern Canada. When in our waters 
it is generally black above and white on throat, cheek, and below. 

Distinctions. Its size is enough to separate it from any other Diver in eastern Canada. 
Field Marks. Size and extremely rapid wing beats make the best field marks. 
Nesting. On chff ledges in the far north. 

Distribution. In summer in the far north in the eastern Arctic, in winter along the sea 


On our coastal shores and harbours this Httle bird should be looked 
for onl}^ in the winter. It flies with a very rapid wing motion. 

Order — Longipennes. The Long-winged Swimmers. 

General Description. The Long-winged swimmers are sea birds, with four toes and 
two webs, and with the wings longer than the tail if the excessively lengthened middle tail 
feather of some Jaegers and the equally elongated outer swallow tails of some Terns are 

Distinctions. Can be recognized as an Order by their long wings and bill characters 
(Figures 3, 4, 5, p. 18) and are separated from the Tube-nosed Swimmers by the position 
of the nostrils which are in the sides of the bill and not in a tube on top (See Figure 11, p. 19, 
for comparison). 

Field Marks. No field marks can be given covering the order except length of wing 
and mode of flight. 

Nesting. Usually breed on the ground or on cliff ledges, but there is little uniformity 
in their nesting habits. 

Distribution. Some species are more or less common over all the waterways of Canada. 

The long-winged Swimmers are wonderful fliers, being both tireless 
and agile on the wing. In habit they are fishers, scavengers, or pirates. 
There are only two families of the order in Canada; the Jaegers and the 
Gulls, the latter including the closely allied Terns or "Sea Swallows". 

Economic Status. Being sea birds, the damage they do is slight and 
some of them are actively beneficial to man. 


General Description. The Jaegers are predaceous sea birds. In colour they are dark 
brown and white. The family shows a peculiar dichromatism and all Canadian species 
occm* in two coloiu* phases, an almost evenly dark brown one and a dark or slaty brown 
with white or hght head, neck, and underparts and an almost black cap. 

Distinctions. The bills of the Jaegers (see Figure 3, p. 18) are characteristic, 
there being a distinct nail at the tip forming a well-marked hook, plainly separable from 
the remaining cere at the base of the bill. This character separates them easily from the 
Gulls, whereas the presence of nostrils and two instead of three toe webs (Figure 6, p. 19 
for comparison), distinguishes them from the Cormorants which have bills similar in out- 
line. The fact that the nostrils are not in tubes (Figure 11, p. 19) differentiates them from 
the Petrels which they otherwise resemble. 

Field Marks. Jaegers are dark in colour above, have a quite conspicuous light band 
across the underside of the wing near the tip, and are hawk-Uke in flight. Two of the 
three species, in the adult state, show elongated tail feathers that are good recognition 

Nesting. On ground, in grass. 

The occurrence of the two colour phases as well as every possible 
intermediate plumage, makes the identification of some of the Jaegers a 
difficult matter. Jaegers are pirates of the air; they pursue successful 
fishing birds and force them to disgorge the fish they have swallowed; 
and eggs and young birds in the nest are never safe from them. 

Three Jaegars accur in eastern Canada and one Skua — the latter 
too rare and accidental, except off the outer Newfoundland coast, for 
further mention. 

Economic Status. The Jaegers are not very numerous and except in 
far away, wild localities where numbers give them local importance, they 
are of little economic influence. 

36. Pomarine Jaeger, bo'sn. (boatswain), fr. — le labbe pomarin. Stercorarius 
pomarimis. L, 22. (Tail 9-25, projections of centre feathers beyond outer ones 4-25.) 


This is the largest of the Jaegers. It resembles the other two species in coloration so 
closely that its separation is difficult except by size and in adult condition. The species 
occurs in two colour phases and in all intermediate stages. 

Distinctions. Elongated middle tail feathers of adult are wide and twisted at the 
tip so as to lie in a vertical instead of a horizontal plane. 

Field Marks. The broad, elongated, twisted tail feathers are propably the best 
field marks. 

Nesting. On ground, in grass. 

Distribution. Breeds on the islands and mainland in the Arctic across the contiaent. 
Occurs on the sea coasts farther south, only as a migi-ant. 

37. Parasitic Jaeger, fr. — le labbe parasite. Stercorarius parasiticus. L, 17. 
(Tail 8-25, projection of middle feathers beyond outer ones 3-25.) This species occurs 
in two colour phases, a light, and a dark one. In the dark phase the general colour 
is dark brown slightly hghter below and with a black cap. In the hght phase the under- 
parts, breast, neck, and face are white, with black cap. Intermediate stages of coloration 
also occur. 

Distinctions. The smaller size of this bird should distinguish it from the preceding 
in all plumages. In the adult, the middle tail feathers project only 3 inches beyond the 
others instead of 7 inches as in the next species and are slender instead of broad and twisted 
as in the last species. Immature birds of the Long-tailed species, not having the long 
tail feathers, are almost exactly similar to this species, and can best be distinguished by 
the colour of the shafts of the primary feathers. In the Parasitic, the shafts of the three 
first feathers are white and the remainder are progressively darker as they succeed each 
other on the wing. In the Long-tailed, there is an abrupt darkening of colour of the shafts 
after the third prunary. 

Field Marks. Small projection of the middle tail feathers as above and their not 
being twisted make a field mark of fair reUabihty in adult birds. 

Nesting. On ground, on the moors and tundras of the north. 

Distribution. Breeds in the Arctic across the continent and is much more common 
on the seaboard in migration than inland, where it is a very rare though possibly a regular 

This is the only Jaeger that is hkely to be met with in the interior on 
tlie Great Lakes. Other species have been recorded, but upon investigation, 
except in one instance, they have been found to be young birds incorrectly 
identified, usually on the ground of their lack of elongated tail. 

38. Long-tailed Jaeger, fr. — le labbe a longtje queue. Stercorarius longi- 
caudus. L, 21. (Tail 13-25, projection of centre feather beyond outer ones 8.) Very 
similar in coloration to the preceding, but the long slender middle tail feathers project 7 
or 8 inches beyond the others instead of only 3. 

Distinctions. The Long-tailed Jaeger although having nearly the measurements 
of the Pomarine, owing to the great tail length being included, is a much smaller bird 
than either of the other two species. Size should distinguish it. Juveniles are often con- 
fused with the Parasitic but the wing characters given under that species are diagnostic. 

Field Marks. It is possible to separate only adult Jaegers in fife; the long middle 
tail feathers being the best guide. 

Nesting. Similar to that of the other Jaegers. 

Distribution. Breeds in the Arctics of Europe, Asia, and America. Is only of rare 
occurrence on east coast. 

Though the Long-tailed Jaeger has been recorded on the Great Lakes 
most of such occurrences are misidentifications of juveniles of the preceding 


General Description. The Gulls and Terns are long-winged swimmers, easily separable 
rom the Jaegers by the shape and construction of the bill which shows a single continuous 
surface without distinct parts or joints (Figures 4, 5, p. 18). The colours of the adult 
are usually pure white, with white, pearl-grey, or black mantles, often with black wing 
tips, hood, cape, or cheek spots. 


Dislinclions. Bill with continuous surface and sharp projecting angle on lower man- 
dible is sufficient to diagnose the family in aU plumages. Colours are quite characteristic, 
though some species during juvenility are evenly (over all) dark, approaching the dark 
phases of the Jaegers. 

Field Marks. Coloration and flight characteristics are the best field marks. 

Nesting. Gulls generally build on gromid, on rocky ledges or flat shores, in either 
sandy, gi'assy, or marshy places; rarely, in trees. 

Distribution. Gulls and Terns are distributed over all the world, usually near large 
bodies of water, but sometimes occiu-ring fai- inland, for instance in our prairie regions. 

Subfa7nily — Larince. Gulls. 

General Description. With the family description in minti the Gulls can only be 
confused with the Terns, which follow (see p. 54). 

Distinctions. Can be distinguished from the Jaegers by the bill and coloration char- 
acters. (See family description on previous page); from the Terns, by their more robust 
build and mode of flight. Bills especially are heavier and stronger (compare Figures 4 
and5, p. 18). As a rule, tails are square without evident fork. Though as much masters 
of flight as the Tern they have less agility and perform fewer aerial gymnastics. Young 
Gulls are often quite brownish and dark in coloration, in marked contrast to the adult. 
Young Terns are usually light in coloration. 

Field Marks. Large birds of heavier flight than the Terns. Square tails and surface 
feeding habits; not diving from the wing and the horizontal carriage of the bill when flying 
(see Tern, p. 54) are the best guides by which to separate the Gulls from the closely allied 

Nesting. On rocky shores or cliffs near the water in various localities, depending 
upon the species and their distribution. 

Distribution. Almost cosmopolitan in range and few countries without representatives 
of the subfamily. In Canada about twenty-five species are known to occur, but some are 
only casual within the bounds of settled areas and are not discussed here. 

Though Gulls are essentially sea birds they are at times found at 
considerable distances from large bodies of water and flocks often follow 
the prairie ploughman to search for insects in the newly turned furrows. 
They feed from the surface of the water, never diving, or glean from the 
shores, beaches, or fields. 

Economic Status. Gulls eat anything in the way of animal matter, 
fish, crustaceans, molluscs, insects, offal, and even when opportunity offers 
young birds and mice. 

The amoimt of fish they consume is relatively unimportant, as it is 
usually only very abundant small species occurring in great schools that 
attract their attention; they are not patient fishers hke the Herons. They 
search low tidal shores for crabs and shell fish, showing considerable ingen- 
uity in breaking the hard shells and extracting the contents. The food 
supply from these sources is economically insignificant. The Gulls annually 
dispose of vast quantities of garbage and offal thrown into harbours and 
waterways; they frequent agricultural land for insect food and some 
species have been known to have been instrumental in stopping mouse 
and other small mammal plagues. The Gulls must be considered, therefore, 
to be beneficial and consequently should be protected, although they do 
sometimes destroy eggs and young birds. 

40. Kittiwake Tickler, fr. — la mouette a trois doigts. Rissn tridaciyla. 
L, 16. A small or medium sized Gull of the same general coloration as the Herring 
Gull (see p. 52). 

Distinctions. Rudimentary condition or almost total absence of a hind toe is always 


Field Marks. Resembles so many other Gulls in general coloration that it can only 
be separated in life by close observation of minute characters under favoui-able conditions. 
In size, is smaller than the Herring and Ring-billed Gulls and larger than Bonaparte's 

From the Herring and Ring-billed Gulls it differs by having black instead of flesh- 
coloured or yellowish legs and in lacking the small terminal white spots on the black primary 
tips. The bill is an even yellow in the adult, without the red spot of the Herring Gull 
or the black transverse band of the Ring-billed. Juveniles resemble Bonaparte's Gull 
very closely in having a black bill and similar colour pattern, but the forward edge of the 
outstretched wing is mostly black instead of conspicuously white. Juvenile Kittiwakes 
do not pass through a brown stage, as do the Herring Gulls, but resemble the adult in modi- 
fied but similar coloration 

Nesting. Makes a substantial and well built nest of sea-weed on small projections 
from the faces of perpendicular cliffs. 

Distribution. A marine species, the Atlantic Kittiwake occurs only casually on fresh 
water or inland. Inhabits both sides of the Atlantic; breeding, in America, from the gulf 
of St. Lawrence north to well into the Arctics. It should be recorded on the Great Lakes 
only upon unimpeachable evidence. 

SUBSPECIES. The Kittiwake occurs in distinct subspecific form on both the north 
Atlantic and north Pacific oceans. Our eastern form, the Atlantic Kittiwake, is the type 
and occurs in both Europe and America. 

Economic Status. The food of the Kittiwake is probably similar to 
that of the other marine Gulls, but its smaller size renders it even less open 
to objection than some other members of its family. 

42. Glaucous Gull, burgomaster, fr. — le goeland a manteau glauque. 
Larus hyperboreus. L, 28. The Glaucous Gull is one of the largest of the Gulls. In the 
adult, the mantle is only shghtly tinged with grey; younger specimens are nearly pure 
white all over. It is the largest of the white-winged Gulls (those having no black on the 
wing tips). Bu-ds of the year are only slightly barred with ashy or brownish grey. 

Distinctions. Its nearly white coloration separates it from the Black-backed which 
it resembles in point of size. 

Field Marks. Size, general white coloration, and lack of black wing tip make the 
best recognition marks in life. 

Nesting. On groimd, in the far north. 

Distribution. Breeds along the circumpolar coasts and islands of both hemispheres. 
Occui-s on our Atlantic coast in autumn and winter when a few individuals wander inland 
to lake Ontario and perhaps to lake Erie. 

Economic Status. Being only a winter visitor to our coasts and rarely 
appearing inland, its economic importance is unappreciable. 

43. Iceland Gull. fr. — le goeland a ailes blanches. Larus leucopterus. L, 24. 
The Iceland Gull is of about the same size as the Herring Gull, but with very light grey or 
white mantle and white wing tips — a smaller edition of the Glaucous. 

Distinctions. Size, and white instead of black wing tips. 
Field Marks. Size, wing tips, and general whiteness of coloration. 
Nesting. On ground. 

Distribution. Breeds in the Arctic regions of eastern America and western Europe. 
Visits our Atlantic coast in winter only, rarely straggling inland as far as lake Ontario. 

Economic Status. As it is only a winter visitor on our sea coasts and 
accidental on the Great Lakes, it has little if any economic importance. 

47. Great Black-backed Gull, saddle-back, coffin carrier, fr. — le goe- 
land A manteau noir. le gros GOTLAND. Larus marinus. L, 29. A very large Gull, 
the adult with a distinctive black mantle. 

Distinctions. Large size and black back are characteristic of the adult. Juveniles 
are brown instead of ashy or white as in the Glaucous Gull, more striped on back and less 
evenly coloured than the Herring Gull. 

Field Marks. Large size and black back are good field marks for the adult. Size 
is the only describable distinction for juveniles in hfe. 


Nesting. On ground, nest of sea weed or vegetable fragments. 

Distribution. Breeds on the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia northward to the high 
Arctic. Owing to advancing settlement nesting localities have at present been reduced to 
the more isolated situations. Is a more or less regular but rather sparse winter visitor 
upon lake Ontario, but rarely wanders farther inland along the Great Lakes. 

Economic Status. With similar feeding habits to those of the other 
Gulls, the superior size, strength, and numbers of the Black-backed Gull 
increase its powers for good or harm. The species is certainly not to be 
trusted in the vicinity of unprotected nests of other species, or even young 
birds, as both eggs and young are eagerly devoured when opportunity 
offers. To offset this, however, the opportunity to become an important 
pest is small except in a few localities, as on the Labrador coast where the 
Black-back breeds abundantly in close proximity to great numbers of 
Eiders and other sea birds. The damage it does on the Labrador coast, 
however, is small compared with the more serious and wanton waste of 
some of the fishermen. 

51. Herring Gull. fr. — le goeland argente. Larus argentatus. L, 24. Plate 
II A. 

Distinctions. Size and general coloration are generally sufficient to distinguish the 
Herring GuU from all other Canadian species, but as size alone is seldom a sufficiently 
rehable criterion when the contrasted species are not together for comparison, the following 
points will assist in accurate determination. 

The juvenile Herring Gull is the darkest of the family, approaching the dark-phased 
Jaegers closely in this respect, but the biU shape and gull habits will prevent confusion with 
the Jaeger. In the adult, the black wing tips serve to distinguish it from any of the white- 
winged GuUs and the small white terminal spots from the Kittiwake. The lack of a dark 
transverse bar on the bill distinguishes it from the adult Ring-biU. However, the juvenile 
Herring GuU at one stage, as the bill is turning from black to the yellow of maturity, shows 
a very similar mark and comparative size is then about the only distinguishing point of 

Field Marks. Size and the colour marks above given are the best field guides. It is 
often very difficult, sometimes impossible, to separate the Herring and the Ring-biU in 
Ufe when immature birds of either species are seen separately. 

Nesting. On ground, or on rocky ledges or the flat tops of large isolated rocks, in 
nests of seaweed or waste vegetable matter. 

Distribution. Found practically aU over Canada, and common in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the larger bodies of water either fresh or salt. Breeds either generaUy 
or locally in all but the more southern sections of Canada. 

The Herring Gull is the commonest of our Gulls. It is a wanderer and 
often seen on the smallest of our lakes, even at considerable distance from 
its nesting grounds. The Gulls that remain on the lower Great Lakes 
through the summer are immatures or non-breeding birds. In winter the 
species remains upon the larger waters until they are frozen over and 
often throughout the entire season, beating over the open water or 
perched on the floating ice. The Gulls haunt harbours for the offal and 
congregate in large numbers about sewer outlets. They have also learned 
that ships are abundant providers of toothsome scraps. Fishing stations 
are great attractions to them and there is almost certain to be a large flock 
in attendance about the cleaning tables on the shore. At the seashore, 
shell fish and crabs are eagerly sought for at low tide and the Gulls have 
learned the trick of carrying their hard shelled prey into the air and dropping 
it upon the rocks below, after which they descend and extract the savoury 
morsels from the broken case. In rough weather they congregate in numbers 
about foamy breakers off stormy points for the food that is brought to the 


surface. Occasionally they follow the immense schools of small fish that 
periodically visit our shores and take toll of the inexhaustible supply. 

Economic Status. It will be seen from the above summary of the 
Herring Gulls food habits' that as scavengers they are important and 
should be protected. 

54. Ring-billed Gull. fr. — le goeland de Delaware, mauve. Larus dela- 
warensis. L, 1S"50. Like the Herring Gull (see p. 52) but smaller; the adult with the 
biU crossed near the tip with a transverse bar or ring. 

Distinctions. Except when adult and ring on biU obvious, size is best guide to 
separation of this species from the Herring Gull. On the sea coast this species may be 
mistaken for the common but smaller Kittiwake. The presence of terminal white spots 
on the black wing tips serves to distinguish the Ring-bill. In juvenihty, the brown colora- 
tion of the Ring-bill is in contrast to the lighter coloration of the yoimg Kittiwake. It 
lacks the distinct termLaal tail band of those birds and has flesh-coloured instead of black 
feet and legs. The absence of the sharp, narrow, black tail band and dark cheek patch, 
and great difference in size should be sufficient to differentiate it from Bonaparte's Gull 
in juvenile or winter plumage. 

Field Marks. A careful study of the characters above will reveal the only good field 
marks known to the author. 

N^estiiig. On ground in nest of grasses or vegetable material. 

Distribution. Foimd over almost the whole of Canada. Breeds locally throughout 
its range in Canada except in the most southern parts of the Dominion in the lower Great 
Lakes region. 

Economic Status. The food habits of the Ring-bill are similar in a 
general way to those of the Herring Gull, but the smaller size of the Ring-bill 
reduces its influence. 

60. Bonaparte's Gull. fr. — le goeland de bonaparte. Larus Philadelphia. 
L, 14. Bonaparte's is our smallest eastern Gull. Its general coloration is similar to that 
of the Herring or Ring-bill but the adult has a black hood over the head and neck. Juven- 
iles and winter birds are without the hood, but ai-e marked with a veiled or indistinct dark 
ear spot. 

Distinctions. The black hood serves to distinguish this Gull from all eastern species 
when in summer plumage. In western Ontario, Franklin's Gull may occasionally be seen. 
It is a slightly larger bird with a red bill and almost black feet instead of black bill, coral red 
feet, and the exposed primary tips are mostly black instead of mostly white with small 
black tips. Juveniles may be recognized by their dark ear spot. They are distinguished 
from the Kittiwake which they somewhat resemble by the con.spicuous amount of white 
on the forward edge of the outstretched wing and by the dark terminal tail band. Bona- 
parte's Gull may at times be confused with the Common Tern or other Terns, but its 
heavier build and action, and lack of any suggestion of a forked tail should make differentia- 
tion comparatively easy. 

The Laughing Gull which occasionally occurs on our southern sea coast looks very 
much like this species, but the outer wing feathers are black instead of mostly white and 
it is a breeder not a winter migrant. It is, however, so rare that its identification should 
be accepted with the greatest caution. 

Field Marks. Size, black hood in summer adults, white on forward edge of wings, and 
the bill and feet colour on other plumages make the most valuable field characters for 
recognition in life. 

Nesting. On stumps, bushes, or trees, sometimes as high as 20 feet from the ground. 

Distribution. Breeds in Alaska and the far northwest, but occurs in winter or migra- 
tion practically throughout Canada. 

This little Gull is more often seen in passing or visiting flocks than the 
other species. It also haunts marshes and flooded lands more than they 
do and is rarely noted as a solitary individual. It shows a markedly com- 
munistic habit and flocks seem to be held together more by sociability 
than by a community of interest, as appears usually to be the case with 
other species of Gulls. 


Subfamily — Sternince. Terns. 

General DescriiHion . The Terns, or Sea Swallows as they are sometimes called, are 
small gulls of a lighter and more graceful build and habit (see bill. Figure 5, p. 18). 

Distinctions. The bill, lighter, and more slender than that of the Gulls, and the forked 
tail are characteristic of the Terns and will usually separate them without difficulty. All 
Canadian species have a more or less forked tail and all but one in summer adult plumage 
have a sharply defined black cap. The forking of the tails of young birds, though beginning 
to show early in their development, does not reach its maximiun until after they leave for 
the winter; hence through the summer and autumn many individuals will be seen with 
much smaller forks than the measurements indicate. 

Field Marks. The greater lightness of action on the wing and constant and rapid 
aerial evolution; the fact that Terns constantly dive from the wing, and the habit of 
commonly tm-ning the bill straight down towards the water instead of carrying it on a line 
with the body are characteristic. The forked tails and black caps are also good recognition 
marks for adults. 

Nesting. Whereas Gulls seem to prefer rocky shores upon which to breed, the Terns, 
except Forster's and the Black, favour sandy beaches, laying their eggs in a smooth circle 
of pebbles without other nest preparation. 

Distribution. As a subfamily, Terns are more southerly in distribution than Gulls, 
though at least one species, the -Ai'ctic Tern, has been found as far north as man has ever 
gone. All our species migrate, none remaining in eastern Canada through the winter. 

One has only to watch a flock of' Terns feeding to recognize the appro- 
priateness of the popiihir term Sea ShviHow. Their active grace and dainty, 
pearl-hke colours are a joy to the nature lover. Terns are on the whole 
less marine in their habits than Gulls and are not as often seen far from land. 
They haunt harbours, shores, and beaches, and live largely upon small 
fish caught near the surface by quick sudden dives from the wing, but 
they are not scavengers. In these dives the birds plunge in head first with 
a splash of white spray in which for a moment they disappear, but unlike 
Gannets and Cormorants they never go far under water. 

64. Caspian Tern, fr.^la sterne caspienne. le grand esterlette. Sterna 
caspia. L, 21. (Forking of tail 1 -50)1 The largest of our Canadian Terns. In colour 
very similar to the Common Tern (see p. 55). 

Distinctions. Large size of this Tern is characteristic. There are two other equally 
large species, but they are too rare to require more than passing mention here. The Cas- 
pian Tern is as large as some of the smaller Gulls; but its bill though comparatively 
heavy for a Tern is too gi'aceful and tapering to be gull-like. 

Field Marks. Characteristic Tern coloration, and habit and size make the best field 

Nesting. On sandy beaches, or rocky or gravelly islands. 

Distribution. A nearly cosmopolitan species. Found in the Old as well as the New 
World. Occurs rather irregularly all over Canada, but its known nesting stations are 
few and scattered over the continent from lake Huron to Labrador and the gulf of St. 

The peculiarly disconnected and irregular distribution of this beau- 
tiful Tern suggests that it is a gradually disappearing species. This is 
greatly to be deplored as it is one of the most beautiful of our sea birds 
and it is to be hoped that careful conservation of its few remaining breeding 
stations will be inaugurated so that it will continue to adorn our waterways 
for generations to come. 

Economic Status. Though feeding largely upon fish, the size of its 
prey is limited to small fry. The rarity of the species precludes its doing 
any appreciable amount of damage. 

^This measurement shows the difference in length between the middle and outer tail feathers. A great part o 
the total length of these birds is in the greatly elongated outer tail feathers and these do not reach their maximum 
in juvenile birds. Hence this figure is given to correct the oftentimes greatly misleading nature of the usual length 


69. Forster's Tern. Sterna Jorsleri. L, 15. (Forking of tail 4).' Closely resemb- 
ling the Common Tern (see next species) in size and coloration. 

Distinctions. Forster's Tej-n lacks the dehcate grey shading on the flanks and under- 
parts characteristic of the Common Tern, and the outer feathers of the tail have the dark 
web on the inside instead of the outside of the shaft. 

Field Marks. The pm-e white underpaits are the most reliable field guides. The 
species is, however, so rare east of lake Huron that its identification in life should be based 
only on birds in the hand. 

Nesting. On slight elevations in grassy marshes, in nests built of fragments of waste 

Distributioti. Western or interior bird. At one time it nested on the Detroit river, 
but seems to have deserted that station and ndw as a breeder must be sought for farther west. 

These Terns frequent marshes rather than beaches and do not usually 
gather in flocks like the Common Tern. They should be looked for as 
individuals in flocks of other species. 

Economic Status. Though fish eaters, their size and usual habitat 
prevent their being harmful. 

70. Common' Tern, wilson's tern. fr. — la sterne commune. Sterna hir undo. 
L, 15. (Forking of tail, 3-0 ).» Plate II B. 

Distinctions. The dark, outer, instead of inner, webs on the outer, long tail feathers 
and delicate greyish,, instead of pure white, breast and under parts distinguish the com- 
mon from Forster's Tern. The grey of breast and underparts is rather less pronounced 
than in the Arctic Tern and the legs and feet are decidedly larger and heavier. The bill is 
usually dark in colour towards the tip, whereas that of the Arctic is evenly red. Juveniles 
are more or less washed with brownish above and have blackish bills. With adults in winter, 
the black cap is replaced by a more or less broken dark cape over hind head and upper 
hind neck. In this plumage Forster's Tern has a broad black streak across the eye. 

Field Marks. Except in the few locahties where other Terns are known to occur 
commonly it is always safe to conclude that this is the species seen. The pearly-grey 
underparts will usually distinguish it from Forster's Tern, but it is difficult to separate it 
from the Arctic Tern which, however, is onty to be expected on our extreme eastern sea 

Nesting. Depression in sand on beach. 

Distribution. A circumpolar species migrating to South America and Africa. More 
or less common all over Canada and breeding in favourable localities throughout its Cana- 
dian range. 

This is the most abundant Tern of eastern Canada. Common about 
sand}^ shores, scarcer on rock}^ shores, it may be seen on any of our larger 
bodies of water, salt or fresh, throughout the summer. Its wonderful 
lightness of wing, graceful circlings, one instant hovering on rapidly beating 
wings stationary in the air as it regards some coveted prey below and 
the next dropping like a plummet with a sparkling splash, are constant 
delights to a seeker of the beautiful. Its shrill cry, harsh if taken by itself. 
blends harmoniously into the soft surge of the surf and remains in keeping 
with marine surroimdings. 

Economic Status. Though fairly numerous in suitable localities this 
species is too small to be seriously destructive. 

71. Arctic Tern. fr. — la sterne arctique. Sterna paradiscea. L, 15 -.50. 
(Forking of tail 4 -50)1 Closely resembling the Common Tern (see above) in size and colour. 

Distinctions. The Arctic Tern has a little stronger greyish suffusion over breast and 
imderparts than the Common Tern. Bill is red to tip and feet and legs are very small and 
weak. Its range separates it from Forster's Tern and there is only the Common and the 
Roseate with which it can be confused, but the latter is too rare in Canadian waters to be 

'See footnote, p. 54. 


Field Marks. Except the even red coloration of the bill, which is not an absolutely 
reliable guide, there is no field mark that can be described by which this species can be 
recognized with certainty. As in eastern Canada it is a sea coast species, it should be 
recorded on eyesight evidence only where it is known to occur commonly. 

Nesting. Depression in sandy beaches. 

Distribution. Nearly cosmopohtan, but of eastern and Arctic distribution in Canada 
and rarely if ever seen in the Great Lakes region. It is notable from havin-z; perhaps the 
greatest migration range of any species of bird. Though found in summer north close to 
the pole, it winters as far south as the Antarctic continent. 

The remarks made under the heading of the Common Tern will very 
well apply here, bearing in mind that this species is regularly onl}^ of extreme 
eastern and Arctic distribution. 

Economic Status. The small size of the fry it takes and the known 
abundance of such fish in the sea, renders this species as harmless as any 
of the other Terns. 

77. Black Tern. fr. — la sterne noire. Hydrocheledon nigra. L, 10. (Forking 
of tail, 0-8)' The smallest of our Common Terns, dark slate-grey deepening to dull black 
on head, neck, and underparts. 

Distinctions. The above diagnosis is sufficient to separate summer adults. Winter 
and immature birds have a dirty white face, throat, neck ring, and imderparts and the 
grey above is suffused with more or less brownish. It is, however, always considerably 
darker than corresponding plumages of other species. This fact and its small size should 
be sufficient to differentiate it at all times. 

Field Marks. Size and coloration make this species easy to recognize in life. 

Nesting. On slight elevations such as old muskrat houses or floating debris in wet 
marshes, nest of vegetable matter. 

Distribution. The American Black Tern is a bird of the interior, breeding from the 
Great Lakes region westward. 

SUBSPECIES. The Black Tern occurs in both Europe and America in aUied sub- 
specific forms of which the European is the type. The American Black Tern H.n. sur- 
inamensis is the only subspecies with which we are concerned. 

This is a bird of the inland marshes. It is rarely seen on the larger 
bodies of water, but within its regular range no extensive expanse of 
watery marsh is without it. Its general habits are much like those of the 
other Terns. 

Economic Status. The insect content of this bird's food is probably 
larger than that of the other Terns. In the south it is known to consume 
the larvae of the cotton-boll weevil and probably retains some insectivorous 
habits with us. Therefore, we can venture to state that it is probably 
actively beneficial. At any rate the fish it takes, if any, are mud-inhabiting 
forms of small economic importance. 

Order — Tubinares. Tube-nosed Swimmers. 

General Description. Tireless fliers of the deep sea, of various sizes from the large 
Albatross to the small Petrel. Usually dull and evenly coloured birds. 

Distinctions. Nostrils are encased in tubes laid on top of the bill proper (Figure 10, 
p. 19). 

Field Marks. General flight habits and coloration. Familiarity with the various 
species is necessary to recognize members of the order. 

Nesting. On ground or in burrows in out-of-the-way localities, often on rocky islets 
far out at sea to which they find their way in some mysterious manner that we cannot as 
yet explain. 

'See footnote, p. S4. 


Distribution. As a family, they are birds of the southern hemisphere, for it is there 
that they reach their fullest develop aent in numbers of individuals and species. How- 
ever, some inhabit the north far into the Arctics. 

The Tube-nosed Swimmers are essentially marine, using the land 
only for breeding purposes. The whole ocean is their home and its lonely 
waste is sufficient for all their needs except that of rearing their young. 
They, therefore, as a class, rarely come into shallow water and are most 
commonly seen by the deep water sailor, the offshore fisherman, or the 
ocean voyageur. There are two families of the order: the Albatrosses, 
Diomedeidce; and the Fulmars, Shearwaters, and Petrels, Procellariidoe; 
that are here called for convenience the Lesser Tube-nosed Swimmers 
owing to their inferior size. As there are no Albatrosses on our east coast 
we are concerned only with the Procellariidce. 

Economic Status. Owing to their pelagic habitat they are of little if 
any known economic interest. 



General Description. See previous description. 

Distinctions. Lesser Tube-nosed Swimmers are smaller than the Albatrosses and 
are the only members of the order found on our eastern coast. 

Field Marks. General coloration and flight habits. Wings stiffly held straight out 
from the body and long steady glides on motionless wings (Fuhnars and Shearwaters), 
or gently flitting close to the surface up one side of a wave and down the other with feet 
occasionally paddUng along as if running on the surface (Petrels). 

Distribution. The family is distributed over the oceans of the world from pole to pole. 
Though many species are regularly confined to the southern hemisphere they are great 
wanderers and the list of stragglers on our northern coasts is comparatively large. Of 
many species very little is known and our knowledge of several of them is confined to 
single or a few individual specimens that have found their way into collector's hands. 
Other species than those here listed may be found on our coasts or even occasionally on 
the Great Lakes in the interior, but their identification should be made with the greatest 

Economic Status. Though feeding almost entirely on fish and offal, 
their deep sea habitat renders them of little economic importance. 

86. Fulmar. fr. — le fulmar. Fulmarus glacialis. L, 19. A large bird of 
gull-like coloration (light phase), or evenly dark, slaty grey (dark phase), and tube en- 
cased nostrils. 

Distinctions. One of the larger of the Lesser Tube-noses, even grey or white and grey 
gull-like coloration. 

Field Marks. Fhght habits, stiffly-held outstretched wings, and long glides, together 
with light or grey coloration instead of dark brown as in the Shearwaters which approach 
the Fulmars in size, should usuaUy render this species recognizable in life. 

The Fuhnar occurs in allied subspecific form on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 
The Atlantic Fulmar is the type form. 

Nesting. In large communities on ledges of rocky cliffs. 

Distribution. The Fulmar is a bu-d of the north Atlantic, breeding in high latitudes 
and migrating to our southern coasts. 

More often seen by sealers and whalers, the offal of whose trade attracts 
numbers of Fulmars. They are often seen by transatlantic travellers in 
mid-ocean or near the shores. 

Economic Status. Of no economic importance. 


Genus — Puffinus. Shearwaters. 

General Description. Tube-nosed Swimmers from 17 to 20 inches long. The nasal 
tubes are apparent but much less pronounced than in either the Fulmar or the Petrel. 

Distinctions. The only two east Canadian species that the ordinary observer is likely 
to meet are either very dark or seem almost crow black from a distance. 

Field Marks. The long narrow wings held stiffly at right angles to the body and the 
long ghdes of half a mile or more on fixed wings are distinctive. Their colour in browns 
should separate them from the Fulmar which is grey but has much the same flight habits. 

Nesting. Very little is known of the nesting habits of the Shearwaters. Many of 
them nest in the southern hemisphere, migrating north in the summer. 

Shearwaters are wonderful fliers, breasting the storms and gales with 
the ease and grace of swallows. They are rarely seen by the casual observer 
except from the decks of transatlantic steamers. 

Economic Status. Gleaning from the surface of the high seas, taking 
small fish or such offal as is thrown from deep sea fishing or whaling boats, 
their economic influence is too small to be appreciable. 

89. Greater Shearwater, fr.— le grand puffin. Puffinus gravis. L, 20. The 
larger of our two commoner Shearwaters, lighter below with under tail coverts ashy grey. 

Distinctions. Its hght coloiu- below should separate this from the Sooty Shearwater; 
and its general browTiness of back instead of greyness and its variegated colour differenti- 
ate it from the Fulmar. 

Field Marks. Flight habits as described previously, together with brown coloration 
and white imderparts should separate this in life from either the Fulmar or the next species. 

Nesting. There is little if anything known of the nesting habits of this species. Pro- 
bably breeds in the southern hemisphere on lonely islets that have not been ornithologically 

Distribution. Ranges over the whole Atlantic ocean from the Aictic to Cape Horn. 
Visits Canada irregularly in summer. 

Economic Status. Of no economic importance. 

95. Sooty Shearwater. Puffinus griseus. L, 17. The smaller of our two more 
common Shearwaters. Very diirk brown, almost black, and but little hghter below. 

Distinctions. Size, when possible to estimate or measure, and general dark coloration. 

Field Marks. Flight habits as described imder Shearwater and very dark, almost 
crow black, appearance in life are probably the best field distinctions. 

Nesting. In burrows in the ground. 

Distribution. The oceans of the southern hemisphere, migrating up our coasts in 
summer rather rarely. 

The two Shearwaters and Wilson's Petrel are the only species of 
Canadian birds that are known to nest at the southern extremity of their 
migratory range instead of at the northern. Specimens seen here in the 
summer are migrants, not nesting birds. 

Economic Status. Of no economic importance. 

Genera — Oceanodroma, Oceanites. Petrels. 

General Description. The Canadian species of Petrel are small birds, scarcely as large 
as robins and of even dark brown coloration. 

Distinctions. Small size, general sooty-brown coloration, and white rump. 

Field Marks. Size, colour as above, and the habit of pattering up and down the waves 
as if walking on the water are diagnostic of the Petrels. 

The origin of the name Petrel is after Peter who walked the sea of 
Galilee. The birds are also well known to sailors and voyageurs under 


the name of "Mother Carey's Chickens" and their appearance is said to 
presage a storm. In spite of their diminutive size they are met with far 
out at sea and are seldom seen by the longshoreman except in the vicinity 
of their breeding grounds. 

Economic Status. The Petrels though feeding on fish are too small 
and their regular habitat is too far removed from man's usual activities 
to be of measurable economic importance. 

106. Leach's Petrel, fr. — le petrel de leach. Oceanodroma leucorhoa. L, 8. 
A small, sooty-brown bird, very slightly lighter below, with a white rump. Tail forked 
about one-half an inch deep. 

Distinctions. Forking of the tail, shghtly lighter general coloration, and all black 
feet will separate this from Wilson's Petrel, the only one likely to be confused with it. 

Field Marks. The shght forking of the tail is perhaps the surest specific guide in life. 

Nesting. In burrows in the ground or under rocks. 

Distribution. Inhabits both the north Pacific and north Atlantic oceans, breeding 
on the eastern side of the continent, from Greenland to Maine. 

This is the only Petrel breeding on our coasts. It may be locally very 
abundant in the nesting season and its burrows may riddle the ground 
without the observer having a suspicion of its presence. It remains in its 
burrow through the day, but at night comes out in great numbers, wheeling 
about the deserted neighbourhood, uttering a low, wierd oft repeated little 
song with most eerie effect. 

Economic Status. Of no economic importance. 

109. Wilson's Petrel, mother caret's chicken, fr. — le petrel de wilson. 
Oceanites oceanicns. L, 7. A shghtly smaller bird than Leach's Petrel, of same general 
colour but averaging slightly darker, less forked tail, and with toe webs mostly yellow 
instead of all black. 

Distinctions. Smaller size, sUghtty darker coloration, square instead of forked tail, 
and the yellow foot webs will separate this Petrel from Leach's. The Stormy Petrel also 
is said to occur off the Atlantic coast, but is too rare to be considered here. Unimpeachable 
evidence of its occurrence is desirable. It is recognizable by having the white rump feathers 
tipped with black. 

Field Marks. Square instead of slightly forked tail is probably the most rehable 
guide to the specific identity of this Petrel in hfe, but accurate observation is necessary 
to make the distinction. 

Nesting. In groimd burrows or rock crevices. 

Distribution. From the Antarctic to Labrador and to the British Isles across the 

Wilson's Petrel is notable as being one of the very few North American 
species that nest at the southern end of their migratory range. Hence 
individuals seen here in the summer time are migrants and do not breed. 

Ord er — S teganopodes . 
Totipalmate Swimmers. Full-webbed Swimmiers. 

General Description. Birds with webs between all four toes, making three webs in- 
stead of the usual two as in other orders (Figine 6, p. 19). 
Distinctions. The feet characters are always distinctive. 

Canadian Totipalmates are divided into three families: Sulidce, the 
Gannets; PhalacrocoracidcB, the Cormorants; and Pelecanidce, the Pelicans. 
There are other families that have occurred or may occur accidentally 
in Canada but are too rare to be included here. 


Economic Status. This order, being composed of large birds, all fish- 
eaters, and many of them frequenting inshore or inland waters in consider- 
able numbers, is open to a certain amount of suspicion as to its economic 
effect. However, no step should be taken against any species until careful 
investigation has proved its necessity. 


General Description. Large birds, mostly white when adult, bill sharp and straight 
without hook or pronounced throat or gular pouch. 

Distinctions. The bill characters of this family serve to distinguish it from all except- 
ing Tropic Birds, one species of which has been taken off Newfoxindland. As the Tropic 
Birds, however, have enormously elongated middle tail feathers there is little chance of 
confusion, even if they were not too rare in our waters to merit detailed consideration here. 

The Gannets are strictly marine birds never seen away from the sea 
except as stragglers. The family on the whole is tropical and only one 
species occurs in Canada. 

117. Gannet. solan goose, pr. — le fou de bassan. (old French — j. cartier- 
morgaud) m argot. Sula bassana. L, 35. A completely-webbed swimmer with straight 
bill without pronounced hook or conspicuous throat or gular pouch. 

Distinctions. The bill characters are distinctive. The adult is piu-e white except for 
the black primaries and a rich creamy suffusion over the crown and hindneck. The young 
bird of the year is greyish-brown, lighter below, and each feather has a small white V at 
the tip that gives an even mottUng over all. Several intermediate spotted stages occur 
between these plumages. 

Field Marks. Dazzling white body and black wing tips of the adult are distinctive. 
The habit of diving from the wing, entering the water head first Uke an arrow, and remain- 
ing under an appreciable length of time is also characteristic. Terns dive from the wing 
but they rise again almost immediately and seldom completely disappear from sight hke 
the Gannet. Even were it otherwise the great difference in size would be diagnostic. 

Nesting. In large communities on the rocky shelves of sea cliffs; nests made of sea- 

Distribution. Both sides of the north Atlantic, breeding in Canada only on Bird Rock 
off the Magdalen islands, and on Bonaventure island, Gaspe county, Quebec, both stations 
being in the guff of St. Lawrence. 

The Gannet had at one time a much wider and commoner distribution 
than now, nesting as it did on many of the rocky islets on both sides of the 
north Atlantic. Of very slight value either for food or other uses, except 
in the most primitive communities, it has been driven from one breeding 
station after another until in the New World only two remain and, unless 
prompt measures are taken, these will likely go the way of the others. 

Economic Status. Though the Gannets have been accused of doing 
considerable damage to fishing interests their harmful effects have been 
much overestimated. The greater part of the life of the Gannets is spent 
on or near the deep sea. When they come inshore for breeding purposes 
they can make very little impression on the mighty shoals of herring and 
other fish they pursue. 


General Description. Large birds of black or very dark coloration, with bills ending 
in a decided hook and with a small throat or gular pouch. 
Distinctions. BiU and small gular pouch are diagnostic. 


Field Marks. In life the Cormorants look somewhat similar to Loons, but have a 
distinctive wing action more easily recognized than described. In flight the Cormorant 
carries its neck outstretched and its feet hidden under the long tail, instead of trailing them 
behind like the Loon. On the water, it is easily recognized by its plainly visible tail, and 
even dark coloration. 

A cosmopolitan family, only two species of which are found in eastern 

119. Common Cormorant, fr. — le cormoran ordinaire. Phalacrocorax carbo. 
L, 36. See family description previously given. 

Distinctions. With the family description in mind, this species can easily be distin- 
guished from all but the one following. The adult of this species has a flash of white at the 
base of the gular pouch and another on the flank. In other plumages, its superior size 
and fourteen instead of twelve tail feathers are diagnostic. The absence of crest even 
when adult is not a reliable guide for the determination of the species (see next species). 

Field Marks. Unless size or the white marks are obvious it is rarely possible to separate 
the two Cormorants in life. 

Nesting. Similar to that of the next species. 

Distribution. The northern hemisphere of all three continents. In Canada, it is 
closely confined to the eastern coast and is rarely seen inland. 

Though called "Common" Cormorant this is the rarest of our eastern 
Canadian Cormorants. The species occurs on the European coast and was 
given the name "Common" because of its abundance about the British 

Economic Status. Owing to its rarity it is of little economic import- 
ance in Canada. 

120. Double-crested Cormorant, fr. — le cormoran a aigrettes. Phalacro- 
corax auritus. L, 30. See family description on previous page. 

Distinctions. This species is likely to be confused with the preceding one only. In 
adult plumage the absence of any white at the base of the gular sac and on the flanks is 
diagnostic. In other plumages, size and the presence of twelve instead of fourteen feathers 
in the tail must be rehed upon. Early in the spring the filamentous crests on the sides of the 
head instead of a ragged ruff as in the previous species are characteristic; but these features 
are lost early in the season, before nesting begins, and hence are usually of little help in 

Field Marks. Though Cormorants can be easily recognized by the characters given 
under the family heading, size and the presence or absence of the white spots are about the 
only features that serve to separate the two species in Ufe. 

Nesting. On the ground amongst rocks, or on cliff ledges, occasionally in bushes or 
low trees, in rather bulky structures of sticks or weeds. 

Distribution. The Double-crested Cormorant breeds on the gulf of St. Lawrence and 
on lakes in the prairie provinces. It is a rather uncommon though perhaps regular migrant 
on the Great Lakes. 

SUBSPECIES. The Double-crested Cormorant occurs in both the New and Old 
Worlds. Those of North America are divided into four subspecies, of which within the 
range of this book there is only one, the Eastern Double-crested Cormorant, the type 

This is the most common Cormorant of eastern Canada. Unlike the 
previous species it is not strictly maritime and is found on fresh as well 
as salt water. It captures its prey by diving and pursuit under water. 
Unlike the Gannet it never dives from the wing but first alights on the 
surface and then goes under with a serpentine, gliding movement like a 
loon. It remains under water not longer than forty seconds as a rule. 

Economic Status. The danger of jumping at conclusions based upon 
superficial observation or common report was well illustrated by the out- 


come of a study of the food of these birds in the neighbourhood of the 
Gaspe sahiion rivers.^ Though commonly accused of damaging the salmon 
fisheries by devouring the small fish and fry, careful examination of about 
thirty specimens showed that the hundreds of birds present were eating- 
fish of no economic value and no salmonoid remains were found in them. 
Probably the eels, sculpins, and other fish taken by the Cormorant make 
the species beneficial rather than harmful to the salmon, and probably 
more than compensate for the few valuable fish that it occasionally takes. 
This is a good example of the caution that is necessary before condemning 
any species of birds. 


General Description. Large bird with a very long, flattened bill and enormous throat 
or gular pouch. 

Distinctions. The enormous throat pouch, holding a gallon or more, and the long 
flattened bill are always diagnostic. 

These extraordinary birds are of too rare occurrence in eastern Canada 
to be specifically dealt with here. There are two species that have been 
occasionally taken, the White Pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos a western 
form, that may be looked for towards the Manitoba boundary and westward, 
but in the east only as stragglers; the Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, 
a southern bird of only accidental occurrence in Canada. The descriptive 
names are sufficiently explanatory to differentiate them. The White 
Pelican is practically pure white with black wing tip in all plumages; any 
other pronounced colours are indications of other species. 

Order — Anseres. Sieve-billed Swimmers. Lamellirostral Swimmiers. 

General Description. Swimming birds with four toes and two webs, having bills with 
a hooked or flat nail at the tip and furnished with tooth-like projections or thin laminae 
on the sides (Figures 7, 8, 9, 10, p. 19) through which they strain the water from their 

Distinctions. As above. 

Field Marks. The outstreched neck, obvious tail, and rapid wing beats of the ducks 
and geese are familar to most of us. In the water some species bear superficial resemblance 
to the divers, but the straight, narrow, unduck-like bills of the latter, the obvious tails of 
the ducks and their general readiness to fly instead of diving when disturbed should make 
diff'erentiation easy. 

Nesting. Usually on ground, sometimes in hollow trees, and rarely in deserted crow's 
and other large nests, but seldom far from water. The young are able to run about and 
take to water as soon as hatched, but how they are brought to the ground from a tree 
nest some 20 or 30 feet in the air is a subject upon which a considerable difference of opinion 

Distribution. The Anseres are of world-wide distribution. In America the great 
majority of the species breed north of the International Boundary. They can, therefore, 
be regarded as birds of northern distribution. In winter some few remain in Canada as 
long as there is open water and others journey south, even to the warm waters of the Caro- 
Unas, the gulf of Mexico or beyond. 

The order Anseres contains but one family — Anatidce composed of the 
Mergansers, Ducks, Geese, and Swans, and comprises, therefore, the great 
bulk of the larger wild fowl pursued by sportsmen. One of the greatest 
sources of confusion in distinguishing the various species is the occurrence 

i"The Double-crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus, and its relation to salmon industries on the gulf of 
St. Lawrence", Dept. of Mines, Geol. Surv., Can., Mus. Bull. No. 13, Biological Series No. 5, 1915. 


of what is called the eclipse plumage. Contrary to the rule that generally 
governs plumage changes, many of these species moult all their wing quills 
at once and are, therefore, flightless until refledged. During this period of 
comparative helplessness many males assume a peculiar plumage of less 
conspicuous character than that normally worn, usually approcahing that 
of the female. During this time the birds withdraw to the innermost 
recesses of their habitats and hide so closely as to be seldom seen by the 
casual observer. By the time the shooting season opens most have come 
out of the eclipse, but the few that still retain traces of it are sufficiently 
numerous to increase the number of plumages to be recognized and to 
comphcate their differentiation.^ 

Economic Status. Anseres is, economically, one of the most important 
orders of birds; not, as in the case of other birds, so much on account of 
their food habits, for these are largely of negative influence in human 
affairs, as in other ways. In the early days, of settlement of the country 
they furnished a most important food supply to the struggling inhabitants 
and even now the total annual number killed by sportsmen is an imposing 
addition to our food resources. 


General Description. As this is the only family included under the order Anseres the 
descriptive matter under the previous heading apphes here and need not be repeated. 

The family is divided into five subfamilies : the Merginoe or Mergansers; 
Anatidce or River Ducks; Fuligulince or Sea Ducks; Anserince or Geese; 
and the Cygnince or Swans. For the characters of these see under proper 
headings following. 

Subfamily — MergincB. Mergansers. Fishing Ducks. Saw-bills. 

General Description. Fish-eating ducks with a more cylindrical, tapering, and less 
spatulate or flattened bill, than the other ducks (Figure 7, p. 19). The cutting edges of 
the mandibles have a seriea of serrations giving foimdation for the popular name "Saw- 
bill". The nail on the tip of the bill forms a small but evident hook. The hind toe is 
developed into a flat paddle or fin-shaped lobe similar to that of the Sea Ducks but quite 
different from the hind toe of the River Ducks which follow. The males are brightly and 
strikingly coloured, mostly in black and white. The females are dull coloured with reddish 
heads and necks. Most plumages have crests. In the females and young birds the crests 
are ragged and without well-defined shape. 

Distinctions. The bill is always diagnostic and easily distinguishes the Mergansers 
from the Sea Ducks which resemble them in the character of the hind toe. 

Field Marks. Evident duck-Hke form combined with the long, slender, cylindrical, 
and shghtly hooked bill. 

Nesting. Mergansers are mostly river haunters in the breeding seasons, nesting either 
on groimd or in hollow trees. 

Distribution. A small family, most of its species inhabit the northern hemisphere. 

Mergansers feed upon fish and shell-fish captured under water by 
diving; for this method of feeding their hooked and serrated bills are admir- 
ably adapted. They are, during the breeding season, mostly freshwater 
frequenters though they visit the sea sometimes in large numbers. They 

'Another common source of confusion is the prevalence of a red rust coloration that often occurs on various parts 
of the head or body and is common to many species of Anseres. It is due to an iron deposit from the water the birds 
nhabit, and should not be regarded as normal plumage coloration. 


are not very desirable table birds, though some young autumn birds, 
properly cooked, are not to be altogether despised. 

Economic Status. Mergansers eat fish and, in certain waters, such aS 
at the heads of salmon streams, they may do appreciable harm. Ordinary 
trout streams are too small for these species, and as no careful examinatiori 
of stomach contents has been made they should not be condemned without 
more exact knowledge. 

129. American Merganser, saw-bill, goosander, shelldrake. shelldttck. 
FR. — LE HARLB d'amerique. Mevgus americanus. L, 25. Of the same general appearance 
aa the next species (Plate III A), but the males without crest or reddish breastband. 

Distinctions. See next species. 

Field Marks. General coloration and the lack of crest or breast-band in the male are 
distinctive. When flying, the long, outstretched head and neck and generally grey- 
coloured back will separate the females of these two Mergansers from other Ducks having 
white wing patches. 

Nesting. In hollow trees or rock cavities near water; nest of grasses, etc. 

Distribution. Common across the whole continent, nesting throughout eastern 
Canada except in the most southern parts. 

The American Merganser is a bird of small rather than large waters 
and hence is less common on the larger lakes or the sea than the Red- 
breasted. Otherwise remarks under that species will apply to the American 
Merganser as their habits are similar. 

Economic Status. See under subfamily heading. 

130. Red-breasted Merganser, saw-bill, fishdttck. shellduck. shell- 
drake. FR. — LE harle a poitrine rousse bec scie. Mergus serrator. L, 22. Plate 

Distinctions. The ragged crest, and reddish breast-band separated from the head by 
a conspicuous white collar, are sufficient to diagnose the male of this species. The female 
and the juveniles of this and the last species are much alike. The bill is, however, consider- 
ably lighter in build and the nostrils are slightly nearer the base than in the American 
Merganser. The head is not as rich a brown and the upper throat only a lighter shade 
of the same colour and not white as in that species. 

Field Marks. The crest and breast-band of the adult male and the lack of the white 
upperthroat in the females and young birds will separate the Red-breasted from the Ameri- 
can Merganser. The grey appearance of the back and the length of the outstretched 
head and neck will diagnose the species as a Merganser against other Ducks having white 
wing patches. 

Nesting. On ground near water, sometimes in trees. 

Distribution. Occurs more or less commonly over the whole of Canada, nesting where- 
ever found except in the more southern parts. 

A bird of the open waters, hence more often seen on the open lakes and 
the sea than the preceding species. 

Economic Status. See subfamily heading. 

131. Hooded Merganser, fr. — le petit harle. Lophodytes cucullatus. L, 17-50. 
The smallest of our Mergansers. The male is a most striking black and white bird with 
rich chestnut flanks. Its distinctive ornament, the hood, is a flat disk-hke crest spring- 
ing from the base of the bill, arching over the crown, meeting the neck at the base of the 
head, and coloured mostly pure white with a narrow black edge. The female is a much 
duller coloured bird with brownish-fuscous body, lighter below, and with a ragged, shghtly 
reddish crest, in shape similar to that pictured in Plate III A. 

Distinctions. The hood of the male is unlike anything else worn by American birds. 
The female can always be distinguished from other Mergansers by its smaU size. 


Field Marks. Hood of the male and reddish crest and size of the female. 
Nesting. In hollow trees. 

Distribution. Across the continent but scarcer in the east than in the interior. Breeds 
locally wherever found in Canada. 

The Hooded Merganser is a bird of the interior, of quiet ponds and 
woodland streams. It is the most edible of the Mergansers; this fact, 
combined with the clearing of the forests and too little restriction on 
shooting, is probably the cause of its growing scarcity to-day. 

Economic Status. It is doubtful if any serious charge can be substan- 
tiated against the Hooded Merganser. 

Subfamily — Anatince. River and Pond Ducks. 

General Description. Typical flucks with flattened spatulate bill furnished with 
flat nail tip and straining laminae or plates along the inner margins (Figure 8, p. 19) in- 
stead of tooth-hke projections (Figure 7, p. 19). Feet with a small though well formed hind 
toe, not modified into a flat lobe or fin-hke appendage. 

Distinctions. Bill will separate the River Ducks from the Mergansers and the hind 
toe as above from the Sea Ducks. 

Field Marks. Under the most favourable conditions of view the bill will separate 
the Anaiinoe from the Mergansers. The greater length of neck and more slender bodies are 
shght and rather uncertain guides to separate them from the Sea or Bay Ducks. The 
members of the subfamily are more easily recognized in hfe by species than as a class. 

Nesting. On groimd with the exception of the Wood Duck. 

Distribution. As a class the Pond and River Ducks are more abundant in the interior 
than on either coast. 

As their name implies, the River and Pond Ducks frequent our smaller 
inland waters more than they do the larger ones. They feed from the 
surface by 'Hipping" and reaching under the water. The food is gathered 
in the bill and the water squeezed out, the laminae of the bills retaining the 
solid portions. 

Economic Status. They are strictly water birds and vegetable and 
insect feeders, consequently their food habits are not a menace. It has 
lately been shown that Ducks feed largely upon mosquito larvae and that 
the good they may do in this direction is of surprising magnitude. By 
actual experiment a pair of ducks in a small pond did more to reduce these 
pests in it than a considerable school of goldfish. As game, they are of 
great importance, see p. 12, 

132. Mallard, green-head, grey duck. fr. — le canard ordinaire. Anas 
platyrhynchos. L, 2.3. Plate III B. 

Distinctions. The male cannot be mistaken for any other wild duck though many 
domestic strains approach it closely. The female is often regarded as belonging to another 
species and is sometimes called Grey Duck. There are several other ducks approaching 
her in coloration but the purple speculum with the white bar both before and behind the 
speculum will always distinguish her. 

Field Marks. Green head and white neck ring are conspicuous recognition marks for 
the male. The speculimi with its white bars wiU identify the female in life. Her tail has 
also a general whiteness in flight that is quite characteristic. 

Nesting. On ground usuaUy, in high grass or reeds not far from water, though occasion- 
ally at considerable distance inland. 

Distribution. Distributed over practically the whole of Canada but less common in 
the extreme east. Breeds throughout Canada except where disturbed by settlement. 

This is the "Wild Duck" par excellence, and is known as such to the 
sportsman of the Old World as w^ell as the New. It is the original stock 


from which our domestic varieties sprang and nearly any mixed flock will 
show the green-black heads, white collar, or recurved upper tail coverts 
denoting reversion to the original form. As well as being one of the best 
table birds it is one of the wildest of ducks, which latter accounts for the 
fact that it still breeds in limited numbers on the edges of civilization. 

133. Black Duck, dusky duck, black mallard, fr. — le canard noir. Anas 
rubripes. L, 22. Plate IV A. 

Distinctions. The general dark coloration combined with size renders this species un- 
mistakable among River Ducks. 

Field Marks. Size, dark coloration, and a silvery sheen to the lining of the underwings 
that shows in flight. The absence of the white bar boundiBg the speculum behind will 
separate it from the Mallard. 

Nesting. On ground, in grass near water. 

Distribution. The Black Duck is a more eastern species than the Mallard and is not 
commonly found west of the Great Lakes. It breeds in eastern Canada wherever found. 

Now that the Wood Duck is growing scarce the Black Duck is the 
commonest nesting Duck in the southern parts of Canada and the only 
one that can now be called a common breeder near the lower Great Lakes. 
Originally almost every little lake and pond raised its brood of Black Duck, 
but, owing to the drainage of the marshes and human interference with 
nesting, it is now practically restricted to the larger marshes or more 
inaccessible situations. 

It is still in dispute whether or not there are two forms of the Black 
Duck. Late in the autumn a number of very large birds with red legs 
are taken. Whether these are subspecifically distinct has not been con- 
clusively determined. 

Economic Status. Though the Black Duck often, especially in the 
breeding season, haunts the edges of cultivated fields where it gleans what 
food it can find, it does little or no harm. There is little crop to damage 
at that season and, as at other times it confines its attention to aquatic 
life, there is no harm that can be charged against the species. 

135. Gadwall. grey duck, speckle-belly, fr. — le canard chipeau. Chaule- 
lasmus streperus. L, 19 • 50. A finely speckled or vermiculated grey duck, of same general 
tone as the female Mallard, but with chestnut-red shoulders and a white speculum. 

Distinctions. White speculum is always diagnostic. Females are otherwise likely 
to be mistaken for small female Mallards or Baldpates. 

Field Marks. White speculum and general greyish appearance. 

Nesting. On ground, in grass or under bushes. 

Distribution. Nearly cosmopohtan. One of the rarest Ducks on the lower Great 
Lakes, nearly absent from the east coast, commoner to the west where it breeds. 

137. Baldpate. American widgeon, fr. — le canard d'am^rique. Mareca 
americana. L, 19. A mediimi-sized, greyish Duck, The male has white shoulders and 
cap, and a broad green stripe through the eye, a black speculum with green reflections, 
and a soft wash of pink over breast and back. 

Distinctions. The male is distinctive, the female might easily be mistaken for a female 
Mallard or Gadwall but for its black speculum and pure white underparts. 

Field Marks. The white crown and green eye-bar are characteristic of the male; 
the white underparts and the abrupt ending of the brown breast against the underparts 
distinguish the female in hfe. 

Nesting. On ground, in grass or under bushes. 

Distribution. Ranges over nearly all of Canada; rare on the Atlantic coast, more 
common to the west. 

Closely related to the Widgeon of Europe, which has occasionally 
been taken on our coasts and which it closely resembles. 


139. Green- winged Teal. fr. — la sarcelle A ailes vertes. Nettion carolinense. 
L, 14-50. The smallest of our Ducks. The male has a chestnut-coloured head, bar 
back from eye and speculum, iridescent green; finely vermiculated back, and spotted 
breast; nearly white below. The female is a duU-brownish bird considerably hghter below 
and has the characteristic green speculum of the species. 

Distinctions. Size will always separate this Uttle Duck from all others except the 
next species and the BufHehead, but the presence of the brilliant green speculum will separ- 
ate it from the latter and the entire absence of chalky blue on the shoulders from the 

Field Marks. Small size together with green speculimi and lack of chalky blue on 
shoulders are recognition marks for any plmnage. 

Nesting. On ground, near water. 

Distribution. Distributed across the continent but scarce in extreme east. Breeds in 
eastern Canada occasionally and probably originally nested commonly in the lower Great 
Lakes region. 

This is one of the daintiest of the Ducks. Its habit of flying in large 
flocks at great speed makes it well known to sportsmen. The European 
Teal also occasionally straggles to Canada but is very rare. 

140. Blue-winged Teal. fr. — la sarcelle a ailes bleues. Querquedula discors. 
L, 16. Plate IV B. 

Distinctions. Size will separate the Blue-winged Teal from any other Duck except 
the Green-winged and the Bufflehead and the hght blue on the wings will do so in these 
cases. The Shoveller also has a similar blue on the wing, but the small size of ihe Blue- 
winged and the lack of the broad shovel bi|l distinguish these two species. 

Field Marks. Small size, together with white face mark, dark underparts, and chalky 
blue on wings. 

Nesting. On ground, amidst grass. 

Distribution. Across the continent; now rather rare in the extreme east. It is one 
of the few species that still breed regularly though sparsely in the lower Great Lakes 

A western Teal, the Cinnamon Teal, is occasionally reported from 
eastern Canada, but most of such records are based upon the Blue-winged 
heavily stained below with iron^ from the water. 

142. Shoveller, spoonbill, fr. — le canard souchet. Spatula clypeata. L, 
20. The male is strikingly marked, with a green-black head, white breast and line over 
wings, imderparts rich chestnut, cutting in a sharp line against the breast. The shoulders 
are chalky blue and the speculvmi green. The bill widens out at tip to a broad shovel or 
spoon shape. The female is much like the female Mallard though distinctly smaller. 

Distinctions. Shovel bill separates this species from all others in any plumage. 

Field Marks. White breast, rich chestnut beUy, blue on the wings, and size dis- 
tinguish the male. The bill will distinguish any plumage and when it can be seen is perhaps 
the best means of separating the female from the larger female Mallard which it 

Nesting. On groimd in grass, not always in the immediate vicinity of water. 

Distribution. This is a bird of the west. It occurs sparingly on the lower Great Lakes 
and only occurs farther east as a straggler. 

143. Pintail, springtail. fr. — le canard pilet. Dafila acuta. L, 28. A very 
long and slenderly shaped Duck. Head seal brown, foreneck and underparts white, back 
finely vermiculated in greys, speculum bronze-green bounded by a light chestnut Hne before 
and a white one behind. The tail is graduated with two greatly elongated middle 
feathers. Female is much like the female Mallard. 

Distinctions. The long tail is diagnostic of the male, the Old-Squaw being the only 
other American Duck with anything like this feature, but otherwise the Old-Squaw is 
entirely different and is a Sea not a River Duck. The bronze-green speculum and its 
bounding lines of rufous and white are characteristic of any plmnage. Young Green- 
winged Teal show almost the same speculum features but the difference in size will obviate 

'See footnote, page 63. 


Field Marks. Long slender head and neck and long-pointed tail make good field 
marks. The dark head and white foreneck and underparts are recognition marks for the 

Nesting. On ground, sometimes at considerable distance from water. 

Distribution. Rare on the Atlantic coast, becoming commoner towards the west. 
Breeds from the prairie provinces north to the Arctic and formerly east to lake Erie. 

144. Wood Duck, summer duck, the bride, fr. — le canard hupp^. Aix 
sponsa. L, 18 50. Plate V A. 

Distinctions. With the illustrations as a guide there should be no difficulty in 
recognizing this species. The male even in eclipse plumage always retains a suggestion of 
the cheek markings. 

Field Marks. This is the only common summer Duck in our southern sections having 
a pure white underbody. The white eye-ring of the female is quite conspicuous. 

Nesting. In hollow trees or stumps in the vicinity of quiet water. 

Distribution. Temperate North America as far north as southern Canada and across 
the continent; more common in the lower Great Lakes region than on either of our coasts 
or in the prairie provinces. 

This is the brightest coloured and most beautiful Duck in America 
and perhaps in the world. The only species that can approach it is the 
Mandarin Duck of China which is often seen in confinement with it. The 
Wood Duck was originally the "Summer Duck" of our southern borders 
and almost every woodland stream and back-water pond had at least 
one pair; but, since the clearing of the land, the farmer's-boy-shot-gun 
combination has been too much for it. Its bright colours, the relative 
conspicuousness of its nesting places, and the ease with which it can be 
stalked or "jumped" in its more or less wooded haunts have made it an 
easy prey for even the inexperienced shooter and it is in great danger of 
being exterminated. A duck that alights in trees is more or less paradoxical 
to most European sportsmen, but this species does so commonly. It 
builds its nest in a hollow tree some distance from the ground, usually 
overlooking quiet oxbow pond or other dead water. How the young are 
brought to the ground is not authoritatively settled yet, and many con- 
flicting reports are circulated regarding it; such as the old birds carrying 
their young in their bills or on their backs, or shoving them out to take 
chances with their little unfledged wings in fluttering to the ground. In 
some way they reach the ground at an early age and follow the mother 
about the reaches of the streams or other quiet waters, the male keeping 
nearby to give his family the benefit of his (moral) support in times of 
danger. Later they seek the marshes, which they inhabit through the 
autumn, leaving for the south before the first frost has chilled the waters. 

As the Wood Duck takes readily to nesting boxes prepared for the 
purpose it would seem probable that its numbers could be increased in 
this way. 

Subfamily — Fuligulince. Bay, Sea, or Diving Ducks. 

General Description. Heavily or compactly built Ducks with typically flattened or 
spatulate duck-Uke biU sometimes swollen or high at base (Figure 9, p. 19), but always 
with flattened nail at tip (Figm-es 8 and 9, p. 19). Hind toe modified into a flat, 
paddle, or fin-shaped lobe. 

Distinctions. Bill will separate the Sea Ducks from Mergansers and hind toe from 
River and Pond Ducks. 

Field Marks. Bill, when observed, will separate these from Mergansers though they 
are more easily recognized in life as species than as a subfamily. 

Nesting. Usually on ground, though sometimes in trees. 


Dislribution. Although some representatives of this subfamily are found commonly 
on every water-way in Canada both species and individuals are more numerous on the 
coast than in the interior. 

The Bay and Sea Ducks, though more at home in large open waters, 
often frequent the marshes and shallower waters for feeding. They are 
good divers, sometimes descending to astonishing depths for shell-fish 
or vegetable matter. They include some of the finest table species. 

Economic Status. The direct economic importance of their food 
habits is even less than that of the other Ducks. 

146. Redhead, fr. — le milotjin a t^te rousse. Marila Americana. L, 19. A 
rather large Duck with an even coloured, brick-red head and upperneck; black breast: 
grey back finely vermiculated with black; white below. Head of female duller in colour, 
even to dull grey-brown, and canvas-coloured back replaced by an even wash of brown 
sometimes without hint of fine vermiculation. 

Distinctions. Male resembles the Canvas-back but back considerably darker and 
red of head does not come to shoulders as in that species. Females of these two species are 
even more ahke, but shape of the biU is always diagnostic (See Canvas-back). Female 
also somewhat Uke those of Scaup and Golden-eye but distinguished by grey instead of white 
speculum or wing patch and absence of any white face mark. Ring-necked Duck has a 
similar speculum but is a much smaller bird and has the white face mark. 

Field Marks. Colour of head and outline of head and biU. 

Nesting. Usually on land or elevated over water, nest of reeds with more or less 

Distribution. Usually only a migrant east of the prairie provinces, though at one time 
a few bred locally in Great Lakes region; rare on east coast. 

One of our finest Ducks and when fed on wild celery its flesh has as 
fine a flavour as that of the Canvas-back. It is rather less of an open 
water bird than many of the Sea Ducks and is often found on marshes 
and ponds. 

147. Canvas-back. fr. — milouin aux yeux rouges. Marila valisineria. L. 21 
A large Duck; male with dull brick-red head and neck; black breast; white below; back 
white with very fine dark vermiculations bearing a close resemblance to canvas and to 
which the species owes its name. In female the redness of head and neck is reduced to 
brownish-grey and the back is brownish. 

Distinctions. Colours very close to those of comparable Redhead plumages; dis- 
tinguished from Redhead by shape of bill which in Canvas-back is longer and heavier, 
springing from well up on forehead and giving an almost straight culmen line rather than a 
concave one as in Redhead. Male much whiter on back and the red comes down to the 
shoulders instead of stopping halfway down the neck. Young and females may possibly 
be confused with the Scaups, Ring-bill, or Golden-eye, but may be separated by superior 
size or the lack of white or grey on the wing or of white on the face. 

Field Marks. Red or reddish, or reddish-grey head, lack of white on face or wing, 
and shape and outUne of head and bill. 

Nesting. Built over water, in nest of reeds lined with down. 

Distribution. Of regular though not very common occurrence on lower Great Lakes 
east to lake Erie; rare on Atlantic coast but more common in western Canada where it 

One of the best known and most highly esteemed of the Ducks. The 
Canvas-back is associated in the popular mind with terrapin and high- 
Uving. This gastronomic fame is largely due to the wild celery, Vallisneria 
spiralis, upon which it frequently feeds and from which its specific name 
is derived. However, many other Ducks feeding upon the same plant 
become equally palatable. On the Great Lakes the introduction of the 
German Carp has proved very destructive to the once extensive beds of 
wild celery and wild rice both of which plants are extremely attractive to 


all kinds of Ducks. One of the first steps to attract Ducks to reservations 
and private waters should be the clearing out of carp and the planting of 
wild celery and wild rice Zizania aquatica. 

148. Greater Scaup Duck. American scaup, broad-bill, greater or lake 
BLUEBiLL. FR. — MORiLLON A T^TE NOIRE. Mania marila. L, 18-50. A medium-sized 
Duck — male, white below; head, neck, and upper breast black; and a black and white 
vermiculated canvas-Uke back. Females without canvas-back; blacks reduced to reddish 
browns of various shades; white face mark at base of bill. 

Distinctions. Greater and Lesser Scaups are of almost exactly similar coloration 
but can usually be distinguished by size, or by shape and size of terminal nail on biU. Nail 
proportionately wider and more nearly circular in the Greater. Head of adult Greater 
Scaup has greenish gloss instead of changing to slightly purple on crown. Reddish 
shade on heads of young and females sometimes quite noticeable, and they may be mis- 
taken for the Canvas-back, Redhead, or sometimes the Golden-eye, but white spot at 
base of biU and across forehead, or white wing patch are always distinctive of the Scaups. 
Ring-necked Duck, which also resembles them, has grey speculum instead of white. 

Field Marks. Almost impossible to distinguish the two Scaups in hfe. Males of both 
species in flight appear black on front third of body and on the remainder except tail, 
but including secondary wing quiUs, white. White face mark at base of bill, as above, 
is best field mark for female. 

Nesting. On ground, in grass near grassy ponds. 

Distribution. Uncommon migrant and rare breeder on Atlantic coast; common 
on Great Lakes; nests in numbers in northwest. 

The Greater Scaup is more of an open water bird than the Lesser as 
is indicated by one of its common names, but it often comes with other 
species into the marshes lor wild celery and rice. 

149. Lesser Scaup Duck, river broad-bill. little or marsh bltjebill. 
FR. — LE PETIT MORILLON. Marila affinis. L, 16-50. Almost exactly similar to the last 
but a little smaller. Crown of adult male has a purphsh instead of greenish gloss as on 
other parts of head. 

Distinctions. See previous species. 

Field Marks. See previous species. Scaups in hfe distinguished from each other 
only by size. 

Nesting. On groimd, near grassy ponds. 

Distribution. Shghtly less common in eastern Canada than the preceding. Breeds 
in western Canada and occasionally farther east to Great Lakes. 

This is one of the commonest ducks away from the seacoast and 
more of a marsh and small-water bird than the preceding. 

150. Ring-necked Duck, ring-billed duck. fr. — morillon a collier. Marila 
collaris. L, 16-50. Very close in coloration to preceding two species, but without the 
canvas-coloured back; with a light ring about bill near end, and faint brown or copper- 
coloured ring about neck. 

Distinctions. Young Ring-necks and females may be mistaken for either the Scaups, 
Golden-eye, Redhead, or Canvas-back', but may be distinguished from the Scaups by 
the grey instead of white speculum, the female by fine white eye ring, and from any of 
the other ducks by white face marks usually connected across chin. 

Field Marks. Male can be told from the Scaups by its black back, and female by 
its white chin and fine hght eye ring; and either, in adult plumage, by light ring on the 

Nesting. On groimd, near grassy ponds. 

Distribution. Scarce migrant in the east where it once nested occasionally; scarce 
on Great Lakes; breeds regularly in the west. 

151. Golden-eye. whistle-wing, whistler, great head. fr. — la buc£- 
PHALE d'am^rique. plongeur. Clangula Clangula. L, 20. A rather large, heavily 
built duck, strikingly coloured in black and white. The back and head are black; the 
remainder of the plumage, including a very conspicuous circular spot between the eye 

'See footnote, p. 63. 


and the bill, and the wing patch are white. The female and young male are marked with 
liglit greys and blacks on the back, large white wing patches, and a seal brown head; 
the upperneck usually strongly contrasted with white or grey neck and breast. 

Distinctions. In young and female plumages it may sometimes be confused with 
the Redhead, Canvas-back^, or the Scaups. In such plumages the lack of white face 
mark or its restriction to the sides of the face wiU distinguish it from the Scaups; the 
white wing patches from the Redhead and Canvas-back. 

Field Marks. The striking black and white coloration of the male and the brown 
head and lack of face markings of most juveniles and the females. The large head, short 
neck, and loud whistling of the wings in flight are characteristic. 

Nesting. In stumps or hollow trees. 

Distribution. Golden-eyes inhabit most of the northern parts of the northern hemi- 
sphere. The American Golden-eye, the only New World representative of the species, is 
generally distributed over most of Canada. A common migrant and locally a winter 
resident in eastern Canada, breeding sparingly in the eastern provinces but more com- 
monly in the northwest. 

SUBSPECIES. The Golden-eye is divided into two eubspecific races: an Old 
World and a New World form — the latter the American Golden-eye. C. c. Americana 
being the only one that occurs in America. 

One of the best known of the larger ducks. A very hardy bird remain- 
ing on our waters in winter until they close with ice. 

152. Barrow's Golden-eye. fr. — le bucephale d'isi.ande. Clangnla islandica 
L, 20. Like the American Golden-eye, but the male has a crescent-shaped instead of a 
circular face spot. The head glossed with purple instead of green and the biU relatively 
higher at the base. 

Distinctions. Males easily separated from the Golden-eye as above, but young birds 
and females of the two species more difficult to distinguish and shape of bill perhaps only 
reUable guide. Young males can be recognized by a slight lump in the forehead just at 
base of bill, which though not visible through the plumage can be plainly felt with the 

Field Marks. Exceptional circumstances may allow some of the above points to 
be recognized in Hfe. 

Nesting. In stumps or hollow trees when possible, otherwise probably in rock cavities 
or on ground. 

Distribution. A bird of very unusual distribution; common near the eastern and 
western coasts but absent from most of the great interior; eastern birds probably breed 
in northern Ungava. 

This is a more northern species than the former which it closely 
resembles in habits as well as appearance. 

153. Buffle-head. spirit duck, butterball. fr. — le petit bucephale. Char- 
itonetta albeola. L, 14-75. A very small duck, almost as diminutive as the Teal, but 
coloured in striking contrasts of black and white. Male : white below and around base 
of neck, black above with an iridescent black head broken by a large white triangular 
patch with apex below the eye meeting its fellow along the nape. The feathers of the 
cheeks lengthened, making puffs on the sides of the face, hence its name. Female : white 
below and dull brownish-grey elsewhere except for a vague white spot on each cheek . 

Distinctions. Male cannot be mistaken for anything else; female rather like the 
Scaup but can be distinguished by small size and dash of fight extending from behind 
eye towards back of crown instead of a white patch at base of bill. One facial spot instead 
of two and the evenly light underparts will separate it from the female Harlequin which 
it also resembles. 

Field Marks. SmaU size and white head spot for the male, and size, cheek spot, 
and white wing patch for the female. 

Nesting. In a stump or hoUow tree. 

Distribution. A common migrant from the Atlantic coast westwards; breeds in 
the west and northwest. 

The name Spirit Duck refers to its diving powers and the remarkable 
ease with which it disappears when wounded. 

^See footnote, p. 63. 


154. Old-Squaw, south-southerly, coween. long-tailed duck, old-wipe. 
COCKAWEE. FR. — Le CANARD A LONGUE QUEUE. Harelda hyemalis. L, 21. (Projection 
of middle tail feather beyond others, 4 -SO— 5.) A medium-sized duck showing remarkable 
seasonal change of plumage. Male in spring has a seal-brown breast, neck, head, and 
back; an almost white facial mask; and ochraceous striping over wings and at base of 
hindneck. Winter plumage white, with black or dark brown breast, back, and line across 
shoulders; a spot of same colour over the hindcheeks and upperneck; white stripes over 
wings. In both seasons male has two greatly elongated middle tail feathers about 8 
inches from base to tip and projecting 4 or 5 inches beyond other tail feathers. Plumage 
of female is intermediate between the above two plumages, showing mostly white without 
any sharp line between the dark of the breast and the white underparts as in males. 

Distinctions. Males are characteristic; females may be confused only with those of 
next species, but are much lighter underneath and head is mostly white instead of mostly 

Field Marks. Long tail of the male, and head mostly white with dark cheek mark in 
juvenile and female plumages. 

Nesting. On ground, near water hidden imder bushes or grass. 

Distribution. Breeds across the continent in the far north. More common on the 
coast or Great Lakes than on smaller bodies of water. 

This is, with us, essentially a winter duck. It haunts our harbours 
and often congregates about the mouths of sewers remaining as long as 
open water prevails, even throughout winter. It is a great diver and a 
fish-eater, but is nearly worthless as a table bird. It descends to great 
depths after food and is sometimes taken in the fishermen's nets far from 
land and at surprising depths — in one known case 90 feet. 

155. Harlequin Duck, rock duck, lord and lady. fr. — le canard his- 
TRiON. Histrionicus histrionicus. L, 17. A small duck appropriately named after 
particoloured Harlequin. Male's general coloration is from dull slate-blue to blue-black, 
but on this ground is arranged a striking series of crescents, stripes, circular spots, triangles, 
and a collar of pure white, each narrowly bordered with black that makes it stand out in 
striking contrast ; a brilliant splash of rich chestnut adorns the flanks and borders the sides 
of the crown. Female very dull and subdued, all brownish with white spotting on abdomen 
aggregated into a not quite continuous and even middle area. An obscure white blotch 
in front of and below eye and another more sharply defined one over ear. 

Distinctions. Male cannot be confused with that of any other species. Female 
resembles female Buffle-head in size and colouring, but has a more or less speckled bellj' 
instead of an evenly light one, two facial spots instead of one, and no wing patch. 

Field Marks. Male is unmistakable. Female may be recognized by size and general 
darkness of coloration, scarcely lighter below; absence of a wing patch; and two light face 

Nesting. On groimd, under rocks or driftwood or in hollow stumps. 

Distribution. Only a migrant in the east, very rare in the interior though common 
in the mountains of the west where it breeds. 

This is one of the prettiest of our ducks, coming next to the Wood 
Duck in point of beauty. Its proper home is in the brawling streams of 
the west and northwest where it is well known to the prospector and miner. 
In eastern Canada it haunts rocky bays and shores where it feeds largely 
on the sea fleas and small shrimps that throng the inshore salt waters. 

Genera — Somateria and Oidemia. Eiders and Scoters. 

Though not forming a recognized systematic division of ducks these 
two genera are peculiar and show enough common characters to receive 
special mention here. 

General Description. Large sturdily built birds, the largest of our ducks. Male 
Eiders have broad masses of sharply contrasting colours and dehcate tints; Scoters nearly 
all black, some with small accents of pure white. Both genera have swollen bills with 
strange excrescences and briUiant colorations (Figure 9, p. 19). 


Distinctions. General dark colorations unrelieved by much pattern of the Scoters; 
the bright coloration in broad masses of male Eiders; and finely and evenly barred tones of 
browns of females; size, build, swelling, and protuberances of bills of both sexes of most 
species are the most obvious characteristics. 

Field Marks. General coloration and bills. 

Nesting. On ground near water, sometimes imder shelter of overhanging rocks or 
bushes; nest hned with down from the parent's body. The eiderdown of commerce is 
obtained from the nests of the Eiders. 

Distribution. Distributed over the whole of Canada, nesting in the north; most 
common on the coasts and the large bodies of water during migration. 

These are "Sea Ducks" in the strict sense of the term, built for buffet- 
ing heavy weather and rarely coming in to the shallow pools or marshes. 
They feed on shell fish and marine life obtained by diving. 

Economic Status. Their food habits have little economic interest 
to man, but in certain localities, as in Labrador, they furnish in themselves 
and their eggs, the bulk of the fresh animal food available. As the down is 
a valuable object of commerce the Eiders are of distinct and easily recog- 
nized value. They are being rapidly reduced in numbers (see discussion 
of American Eider) and drastic steps should be taken for their conserva- 

160. Eider Duck. fr. — l'eider du nord. Somateria. mollissima. L, 23. Male: 
black below, cutting sharply against the white breast which is deUcately suffused with 
vLnaceous pink; white above; head white with nile-green suffusion from cheeks to nape; 
broad black bar through eye to hind head. Female : evenly coloured in a fine pattern of 
various browns, blacks, and hght ochres arranged in broken bars aroimd the body. Bill 
processes extending up either side of forehead in long fleshy tongues. 

Distinctions. Male unmistakable; female may be separated from that of King Eider 
by feathering of crown not extending as far forward as rear end of the nostril. This species 
is much hke the American Eider from which it can only be separated by size and shape of 
the bill processes on the forehead — in the Eider Duck they terminate acutely and are not 
rounded at the tips — and distance from point of feathering on side of biU to tip of process 
is less than in the American Eider. 

Field Marks. Size and general coloration. 

Nesting. On ground, nest built entirely of down. 

Distribution. Eider Duck inhabits northern parts of Europe and eastern America. 
The Northern Eider is the more northern of our two similar Eiders (see next species) . A 
strictly Atlantic bird breeding in the eastern Canadian Arctic and in Greenland. 

SUBSPECIES. The Eider Duck is represented in America by a subspecies, the 
Northern Eider S. m. borealis. The European Eider, the type race, has never been recorded 
in America. 

161. American Eider, fr. — l'eider d'amerique. moyak. Somateria dresseri. 
L, 23. Almost exactly similar to the preceding species. 

Distinctions. Female may be mistaken for that of King Eider, but can be separated 
from it by the feathering of crowoi not extending as far forward as rear of nostril. It may 
not be specifically distinct from preceding species and either sex can only be separated 
from it by rounded ends of bill process on forehead and the fact that the distance from 
point of feathering on side of bill to tip of processes is greater. 

Field Marks. Size and general coloration; cannot be distinguished from Northern 
Eider in hfe. 

Nesting. On ground, sometimes under overhanging rocks or bushes, nest built of down 
plucked from the parent's breast. 

Distribution. A bird of our eastern coasts, nesting on the north shore of the gulf of 
St. Lawrence. 

In Scandinavia and Iceland the Eiders are semi-domesticated and the 
down derived from their nests is an important source of revenue. Though 
on the Labrador and gulf of St. Lawrence coasts there are immense flocks 
of these birds no attempt has been made to turn them to account except 


as food; but the numbers have been so rapidly" reduced by reckless kiUing 
that only a small fraction of the original number remains. On these bleak 
and desolate coasts where fresh meat is scarce the Eiders should be con- 
served for food if for nothing else. An intelligent and far-seeing policy 
would conserve the Eiders for all time to come, supply a liberal amount of 
flesh food and eggs, and at the same time produce a crop of down worth in 
the markets far more than the carcasses of the dead birds. 

So closely is this species related to the last that it would not be surpris- 
ing were it eventually included together with the Northern Eider as a 

162. King Eider, king duck. fr. — l'eider remarquable. Sotnateria spec- 
tabilis. L, 23. Male much like the preceding, but the back mostly black, cheeks nile- 
green, top of head and hindneck light bluish-grey, and a black V on the throat; bill is 
distinctive, the bright yellow fleshy forehead processes almost meet on the forehead where 
they widen out to nearly an inch across, forming a comparatively mountainous hump on 
the forehead. Female is without the great bill process and is coloured in the same browns 
and blacks in fine-barred pattern as are the other Eiders. 

Distinctions. Male with its biU processes cannot be mistaken for any other species. 
Females resemble those of other Eiders but can be separated from two preceding species 
by feathering of crown extending as far forward as rear of nostrils. 

Field Marks. Less amount of white on the back and biU processes of the male. 
Females cannot with certainty be distinguished from the other Eiders in life. 

Nesting. On ground, nest lined with down. 

Distribution. The most northern of our Eiders. Nesting across the continent along 
the coast and islands of the Arctic. Wintering along the gulf of St. Lawrence and New 
England shores. It is the only Eider that straggles in to the lower Great Lakes with any 

163. American Scoter, black sea coot. fr. — la macreuse d'amerique. 
Oidemia mnericana. L, 19. Male all black; base of bill much swollen near forehead and 
bright yellow. Female without swollen bill; dusky all over, Ughter below and with evident 
d arker cap contrasting in a sharp line against Ughter cheeks. 

Distinctions. Male is the only Canadian all black Duck uru-eheved by any spot of 
colour. Dark cap of female is distinctive against other comparable species. 

Field Marks. Evident blackness and yellow bill of male, and the lack of white spots 
or facial marks and the dark cap on the female. 

Nesting. On ground, near water. 

Distribution. Breeds in the far north across the continent; common in winter on our 
eastern coasts and not unusual on lower Great Lakes. 

165. White-winged Scoter, white-winged coot. fr. — la macreuse veloutee. 
Oidemia deglandi. L, 22. Dark brown, almost black, with white wing patches and a 
small white crescent under the eye; bill is swollen at the base rising more abruptly forward 
than shown in Figure 9, p. 19, and the upper mandible is coloured with bright red and 
white. Female even dull brown. 

Distinctions. Wliite wing patch is distinctive of any plumage of this species. 
Field Marks. Large size, general and even darkness, and white wing patches. 
Nesting. On ground, under or among bushes. 

Distribution. Breeds in the higher latitudes across the continent; abundant on the 
coast in migration and is the commonest Scoter on the Great Lakes and in the interior. 

166. Surf Scoter, butter-bill coot, bottle-nosed diver, fr. — la ma" 
creuse a large beg. Oidemia perspicillata. L, 20. Male all black with white patch 
across forehead and a triangle of same colour at base of head; bill greatly swollen (Figure 
9, p. 19) and coloured most strikingly with reds, yellow, and black. Female dull brown, 
lighter below and much like that of American Scoter. 

Distinctions. White patches of the head are distinctive of male. Female can be told 
from that of the White- winged by lack of wing patches; and from the American by absence 
of cap and presence of two vague light spots on side of the face, one at base of bill and 
other over ear. 

Field Marks. White on head of male and the two vague spots on face of female. 

Nesting. In grass near water. 


Distribution. Of about the same distribution as last species, but perhaps more 
common on the coast and less so on the Great Lakes. 

167. Ruddy Duck. fr. — le canard roux. Erismatura jamaicensis. L, 15. 
A small duck. Male strikingly coloured, rich rufous-chestnut on neck, shoulders, back, 
and flanks ; crown and back of head almost black, and cheeks and lower face white. Female 
small, dull greyish-brown, hghter on underparts and cheeks, and with a dark cap. 

Distinction. Male is the only Duck that is largely red. Female can be told by the 
silvery grebe-like sheen of the underparts, and, in any pliunage, by the stiff pointed tail 

Field Marks. Size, short squatty shape, and thick neck. Its habit of occasionally 
carrying its tail erect and spread out fan wise is also a good guide, though some Scoters 
also are said to do this at times. 

Nesting. In reeds over water. 

Distribution. Nests in the prairie provinces northward; more common in migrations 
on the Great Lakes than on the coast. 

Sitb-family — At.serinoe. Geese. 

General Description. Geese resemble ducks, but are larger with a lees flattened body 
and comparatively longer legs; bill (Figure 10, p. 19) is higher and somewhat more com- 
pressed at base, stouter and less flattened at tip, hardly to be termed spatulate but with 
the broad nail at tip characteristic of the order. 

Field Marks. The strong flight of the geese is famihar to most. Size, coloration, 
and flight habits are the best field guides. Their hoarse honking voices so often heard 
during migration are also characteristic. 

Nesting. On ground. 

Distribution. Geese are of world wide distribution. The American species all breed 
well to the north, migrating through the interior as well as along the coasts. 

The geese are more terrestrial and herbivorous than the ducks but 
they are equally at home on the water. They do not normally dive, but 
secure food from the bottom by tipping and reaching by means of their long 
neck. The sexes are alike and there is little seasonal change of plumage. The 
goose is an excellent table bird and for this reason and on account of its 
superior size it is much sought after by sportsmen. Geese are exceedingly 
wary and, though greatly reduced in number, have been able to take better 
care of themselves than many other large game birds. 

Economic Status. Feeding largely upon grasses and frequenting 
cultivated areas in migration more than other members of their order they 
may do more harm than the ducks, but this has never been seriously held 
against them. Their value in other directions is so obvious that less 
complaint has been made against geese than against other species equally 
worthy of protection but whose usefulness though real is less obvious. 

169. Snow Goose, laughing goose, wavey. fr. — l'oie blanche. Chen hy-per- 
boreus. L, 23. A rather small goose, pure white with black primaries. Juveniles with 
more or less grey or greyish-brown washing locally or over all. 

Distinctions. Cutting edges of mandibles are more or less bowed away from each 
other, exposing tooth-Uke serrations and giving the face that appearance from which the 
name, laughing, is derived. 

Field Marks. Colour and evident goose-hke flight and outline. 

Nesting. On groimd. 

Distribution. The Lesser Snow Goose breeds on the Arctic coast and islands from 
Coronation gulf westward. It migrates down the interior of the continent, the Greater 
along the Atlantic coast. 

SUBSPECIES. There are two subspecies of Snow Goose in Canada, the Lesser 
and the Greater, differing only in size; but as the two intergrade this is not an entirely 
reliable distinction. There is a difference based upon the comparative shapes and sizes of 



the bills, but it requires specimens for comparison for its appreciation. Though often 
incorrectly recorded the Greater Snow goose is a very scarce bird. It is the extreme eastern 
form of the species and can only be expected along the Atlantic coast. 

The name "Wavey" is a corruption of the Indian word "Wa-wa," 
meaning Wild Goose. 

169.1. Blue Goose, fr. — l'oie bleue. Chen ccerulescens. L, 26. Slaty-grey 
body, wave-marked with lighter feather edges on back and more or less so below; slate 
colour strongest on wings and rump; head white. Juvenile similar but head and neck 
greyish-brown. The bill shows in slightly reduced degree the teeth serrations of the Snow 

Distinctions. The combination of white head contrasted with blue-grey wings does 
not occur in any other eastern American Goose. 

Field Marks. White head and darker body probably best field marks. 

Nesting. On groxmd. 

Distribution. Seems to be confined in breeding season to the east of Hudson bay; a. 
rare migi-ant on the Great Lakes on its way to or from the Mississippi vaUey. 

For a long time the Blue Goose was thought to be only a juvenile 
plumage of the Snow Goose, but is now recognized as a separate species. 

171a. White-fronted Goose, fr. — l'oie a front blanc. Anser albifrons. L, 27. 
Greyish-brown, darker on head and neck, lighter below, white patch about base of biU; 
light colour of vmderparts irregularly blotched with black aggregating in maturity into 
indefinite bands giving an immature effect to even adult birds. 

Distinctions. Brown head and white face. 

Field Marks. General b^o^^^mess and white face mark. 

Nesting. On groimd. 

Distribution. The White-fronted Goose is a nearly circumpolar species. The Ameri- 
can subspecies breeds on the western Arctic mainland and islands. Migrates through the 
interior of the continent and is found rarely as far east as the Great Lakes. 

SUBSPECIES. Our representative, the American White-fronted Goose A. a. gambeli, 
is a subspecies of the European White-fronted Goose from which it is said to be distinguished 
by its shghtly larger size. 

172. Canada Goose, wild goose, grey goose, fr. — la bernache du c.vnada, 
OUTARDE. Branta canadensis. L, 35. Plate V B. 

Distinctions. Large size, black head and neck, white throat and cheek patch. 

Field Marks. Black head and neck and white throat patch. A white V over the tail, 
displayed when flying, will separate the members of this genus from any of the larger ducks. 

Nesting. On ground, occasionally in large deserted nests in trees. 

Distribution. Breeds across the continent from the northern tree hmit to the borders 
of settlement. 

SUBSPECIES. The Canada Goose is divided into several geographical races- 
In the west, there is a small subspecies called Hutchins's Goose B. c. hutchinsi. It is said 
to have a different note and to be quite recognizable in life by experienced hunters. Its 
smaller size is an uncertain criterion but is the only distinction that can be given here. 
Its length averages imder 25 inches. It is to be expected only as far east as Manitoba 
and its identification elsewhere should be made with great caution. 

The goose is a wary and watchful bird, usually spending the day well 
out in the open water, coming in to the marshes and cultivated fields to 
feed at night or in the evening and unless disturbed remaining until well 
into the next day. While so engaged there is always at least one with 
long neck upstretched surveying the surrounding country for danger and 
an unobserved approach by even the most experienced stalker is next to 
impossible. On this account the Canada Goose has perhaps suffered less 
from hunters than other members of its order and until its remaining 
breeding grounds are invaded there is little danger of its being exterminated. 


It originally bred within the borders of our present inhabited areas but 
settlement has driven it from its more southerly breeding range. How- 
ever, it still occupies large areas throughout northern Canada as far as 
the northern tree limits and as much of this territory will remain unsettled 
for many years the goose is assured of safe breeding grounds and is in no 
immediate danger of extermination. However, unless intelligent conserva- 
tion principles are adopted in the future the Canada Goose will probably 
decrease as its breeding grounds are opened up. 

173a. Brant, fr. — la bernache commune. Branla bernicla. L, 26. Much like 
the Canada Goose but smaller; head, neck, and upper breast black; a narrow broken 
collar of white on neck. 

Distinctions. A small dark Canada Groose without face mark. 

Field Marks. Small size, dark breast, and lack of face mark. The wliite V over tail, 
displayed when flying low, will also distinguish the Brant from any of the larger, black 
ducks but not from the Canada Goose. 

Nesting. On ground, nest of grasses lined with down. 

Distribution. As a species, circumpolar. The American Brant breeds in the eastern 
Arctic region, migrating do\vn the Atlantic coasts, rarely in the interior. 

SUBSPECIES. The Brant is a circumpolar species. The New World form, the 
American Brant B. b. glaucogastra , is subspecifically distinct from the Old World bird 
which has never been recorded in America. The Black Brant B. nigricans of the west is 
characterized by having the black of the breast suffused over the imderparts; but it occurs 
in eastern Canada only as an accidental straggler. 

The Brant is a small goose. It occurs on the lower St. Lawrence and 
the seacoast in flocks of hundreds but is scarce or only a straggler in the 
interior on the Great Lakes. 

Subfamily — Cygninoe. Swans. 

General Description. Very large white Anatidce; excepting perhaps the Whooping 
Crane or the Wild Turkey, the largest of American birds. 

Distinctions. Size combined with colour is sufficient to diagnose the two Swans. 
Lores (space between eye and bill) imfeathered. Bill begins high on the forehead, at base 
is almost rectangular in cross-section and tip is provided with a flat nail. 

Field Marks. Size and colour: they are our only large, all white, bu'ds.^ 

Nesting. On ground, nest of grasses lined with down plucked from parent bird. 

Distribution. Most of the Swans are found in the northern hemisphere but are not 
entirely confined to it. In America, they now nest in the far north; though originally 
the Trumpeter, now verging on extinction, bred as far south as some of the northern 
United States. 

From time immemorial Swans have figured largely in Old World 
folk-lore and the fairy tales of childhood are filled with references to them, 
but it comes with a little shock of surprise to many people to learn that 
even to-day wild Swans are actually common in Canada. Geese are wild 
and wary, but the Swan is even wilder and more wary. Its long neck 
allows it to feed in deeper water than other non-diving species and it keeps 
well out in deep water through the day, where unobserved approach is 
impossible. It rarely comes into the shallow marshes that may hide the 
huntsman and, therefore, it is rarely taken. 

The common names of the Swans of the northern hemisphere are indi- 
cative of extraordinary vocal powers; thus in America we have the Whistler 
and the Trumpeter, and in Europe the Whooper and the Mute Swans. 
Peculiar and complicated modifications of the windpipe, in the form of 

'Other large white birds occurring in Canada all have more or less black on flight feathers. 



various convolutions in special bony recesses of the breast bone or sternum, 
are, evidently, directly connected with the voice and their complexity 
increases directly with the quality of the voice as indicated by the above 
descriptive names; thus the Mute Swan is without any tracheal convolu- 
tion and the highest complexity is reached in the Trumpeter and Whooper. 

180. Whistling Swan. fr. — le cygne d'amerique. Olor columbianus. L, 55. 
A very large, all white, bird. 

Distinctions. The Whistler can only be mistaken for the Trumpeter Swan. Super- 
ficially it can be easily separated only by its inferior size. As Swans do not obtain their 
fuU development for a niunber of years, size may not always be an accm-ate test. There 
is a difference in the shape of the bill, but it is too difficult of characterization to be clearly 
described here. The convolutions of the windpipe in the breast bone makes the most 
satisfactory differentiation. In the Whistler the windpipe makes one horizontal loop 
over the floor of the sternum, whereas that of the Trumpeter has a perpendicular loop 
as well. The absence of a yellow spot on the lores of the Trumpeter has been given as 
diagnostic, but this is so often absent from even adult Whistlers as to be of no use for 
this purpose. 

Field Marks. Size and complete whiteness. The two species cannot be readily 
distinguished in life except by those familiar with the voices of each. 

Nesting. On grovmd, in nest of grasses, moss, etc., lined with down. 

Distribution. Breeds in the far north across the continent west of Hudson bay; 
migrates through the interior; rare or absent on the Canadian Atlantic coast, but locally 
ommon on the large waterways of the Great Lakes region. 

Owing to its extreme wariness and its breeding far in the north the 
Whistling Swan has not been seriously reduced in numbers during the 
past generation. Its larger relatives, the Trumpeters, whose breeding 
grounds well within the borders of settlement were early disturbed, is 
now on the verge of extinction. 

The Swans rarely come»into shallow marshes where cover may hide 
the huntsman. They are exceedingly wary and are rarely seen except in 
dense white flocks like ice floes far out in the open water or in flocks flying 
high overhead and beyond the reach of guns. Their regular migration is 
usually by night and usually silent, though sometimes extremely noisy. 
To such habits as these is probably due the fact that few even of our most 
experienced huntsmen know the Swan in life and fewer still can boast of 
having taken it. Though flocks of hundreds appear annually on lake St. 
Clair not more than two or three individuals are taken there each year. 

The species also occurs in large numbers on Niagara river where on 
misty or foggy nights in the spring, they often drift down with the current 
into the swift rough waters of the rapids and are carried helplessly over 
the falls. This catastrophe has occurred several times within the last 
decade and hundreds of Swans have lost their lives in this manner, some 
have every bone in the body broken whereas others are only slightly hurt. 
The dead that are not drawn under the ice and carried off by the current 
are picked up, the dying clubbed, and those whose injuries are only slight 
are shot. As the birds do not seem able in the close quarters to rise above 
the sides of the gorge and show marked reluctance to pass beneath the 
bridges that span the lower pass, all are confined in the narrow waters 
below the falls where there is no escape. The flesh of the Swan is not 
very suitable for eating and the birds are of little value to those who take 
them except as curiosities. 

181. Trumpeter Swan. Olor buccinator. L, 65. Very large, all white, bird. 


Distinctions. Only to be mistaken for the previous, which see. 

Field Marks. Size and complete whiteness; the two Swans cannot be separated 
with certainty in life. 

Nesting. On ground, in nest of grasses and down. 

Distribution. A bird of the interior, breeding from the central of the northern tier 
of states northward. 

Any Swan over 56 inches in length or over 20 pounds in weight is 
probably of this species. It was at one time a fairly common bird on the 
Great Lakes, but now is so rare as to be regarded as nearly or quite extinct 
there. Its breeding range, being considerably south of that of the Whistling 
Swan and well into what is now fully occupied farming territory, is prob- 
ably the cause of its rapid extermination. 

Order — Herodiones. Deep Water Waders. 

General Description. Usually large birds with long leg-s, neck, and bill, fitted for 
wading and obtaining food below the surface in rather deeper water than the majority of 
waders. Bills may be either straight and sharp (Figure 18, p. 21) or gently curved 
and blunt as in the Ibises. Legs are bare for a considerable distance above the heel joint 
and all four toes are perfect, well-shaped, and adapted for perching as well as walking 
on soft ground and with only small rudimentary webs or none (Figure 17, p. 21). 

Distinctions. Birds of this order may be mistaken for either Cranes or one of the 
Shore-birds (Curlews). From the Cranes they can be distinguished by their feathered 
forehead . The Wood Ibis combines bare forehead and curved bUl, but is of only possible 
occurrence in Canada. From any shore birds they can be distinguished by the bare 
space between the eye and the base of the bill. 

The Canadian forms of the order are divided into two suborders: 
Ibides including Spoonbills and Ibises; and Herodii including Herons, 
Egrets, and Bitterns. 


This suborder includes two famihes: Spoonbills which do not occur 
in Canada, and Ibididce, only one of which occurs in the Dominion and that 


General Description. Birds with long, decurved bill quite blimt at the point and 
the upper mandible grooved throughout its length. 

Distinctions. Curved, blmit, and deeply grooved biU is characteristic. Claw of the 
middle toe may be broadened and roughened at the edge, but is not perfectly pectinate 
or furnished with weU-formed comb-like teeth as in the heron-like Waders of the suborder 
Herodii (Compare with Figure 19, p. 21). 

There is only one of these birds, the Glossy Ibis, that may be found 
in Canada and that only as a casual straggler. 

186. Glossy Ibis, black curlew. Plegadis autumnalis. L, 24. Practically an all 
black bird with chestnut, green, and purple reflections. Juvenile is brown with head 
feathers slightly margined with hght and with greenish reflections elsewhere. 

Distinctions. The Glossy Ibis looks much hke a large Curlew, but its almost black 
or very dark coloration will distinguish it from the Curlew with ease. Its grooved bill 
(see previous family description) otherwise differentiates it. 

Nesting. In reedy swamps or low bushes. 

Distribution. Tropical and subtropical regions. 

The Ibis is well known by name as one of the sacred birds of ancient 
Egypt, and as such is familiar to every general reader. The Glossy Ibis 


is allied to the Sacred Ibis of the Nile and shows some of its general char- 
acters. It appears only occasionally in Canada, along the southern border. 

Economic Status. Of too rare occurrence in Cauda to be of economic 


As this suborder is represented in Canada by only one family. Ardeidce, 
the description under that heading is sufficient. 


General Descriptio7i. Heron-like birds with straight and very sharply pointed bills. 
Space in front of eyes bare. A pecuUar feature with this suborder is the occurrence of 
"Powder-down tracts" — ^aggregations of peculiarly modified feathers giving off a dry 
powder of unknown use. These feathers are found on various parts of body hidden under 
the visible plumage. Claw of the middle toe is pectinate, that is, furnished with a series 
of well-defined comb-like teeth (Figure 19, p. 21), not merely roughnesses as in the Ibises. 

Distinctions. This suborder might be mistaken for Cranes, but the feathered fore- 
head is distinctive. Back of neck bare, the feathers of sides reaching around behind and 
hiding the bareness from casual observation. Hind toe very long and set level with the 
other toes and not slightly raised as in other waders. 

Field Marks. Obvious heron-hke outline, with long graceful neck, long sharp bill 
(Figure 18, p. 21), and lengthened legs (Figiu-e 17, p. 21). Neck folded in flight, bringing 
head close to shoulders, the legs trailing behind. The Cranes with which they may be 
confused in hfe carry theh necks outstretched. 

Perhaps no birds are so well known to the general public by common 
repute and observation as these, yet we seldom hear them correctly named. 
The terms Herons, Storks, and Cranes, are applied and misapplied indis- 
criminately. There are no Storks in Canada. The Cranes are of western 
distribution and are rarely seen in eastern Canada. The birds we generally 
hear called by the latter name are true Herons. The family is divided 
into two subfamilies: Botaurince, the Bitterns; and Ardeince, the true 
Herons and Egrets. 

Subfamily — Botaurince. Bitterns. 

General Description. Marsh inhabiting, heron-Uke birds of heavier and less graceful 
build and habit than the true Herons. 

Distinctions. Though forming a well-defined subfamily they are difficult to define 
in a short non-technical diagnosis. In Canadian species, colour is the best and most easily 
recognized guide. Excluding Cory's Bittern, which is very rare (see under Least Bittern, 
p. 81), the Canadian species have large amounts of ochraceous yellow on them, a colour 
that is, in any extensive mass, absent from all our true Herons. 

Bitterns are bog and marsh haunters. They do not frequent wide open 
reaches of water, but drop down in the middle or on the edges of grass- 
or reed-grown marshes, stalking their prey by silent approach through 
the close cover. 

190. American Bittern, marsh hen. thunder-pump, stake-driver, pr. — le 
BUTOR d'amerique. Botourus lentiginosus. L, 28. Plate VIA. 

Distinctions. With its general yellow coloration, alike in both sexes and all ages, the 
Bittern can be mistaken for no other Canadian species. The Least Bittern is the only 
other bird of hke build showing mostly yellow, but its size is so small that there is no 
chance of confusion. Black line from sides of face may be present or absent regardless 
of sex, age, or season. 

Field Marks. As the bird rises from the reeds or grass its long neck, dangling legs, 
and general yellowish coloration are easily recognized. At a distance, in flight, its outline. 


head drawn in to the body and legs reaching out behind, is so similar to that of the Herons 
that unless the hght so falls as to show the colour, apparent size only differentiates thecQ . 

Nesting. On ground, in grass, hayfields, or reed-grown marshes, nest of grass or 

Distribution. Common throughout the settled portions of Canada, breeding wherever 
found . 

References to the lonely booming of the Bittern are frequently seen 
in English literature. We can hardly say that our American Bittern 
"booms," but its note is most peculiar and is unique amongst American 
bird notes. The common names, "Thunder-pump" and "Stake-driver," 
are applied in reference to the strange noises it makes. Near a marsh one 
may hear a sound as of some one driving a stake with a wooden maul into 
soft mud. There is the dull thud of the blow with a sucking liquid echo 
followed closely by a squdgy drive. At other times sounds are heard like 
some one frantically working a dry sucking pump that draws the water 
part way and refuses to lift it farther. These are variants of the Bittern's 
love song and contain no recognizable vocal qualities. 

Economic Status. The Bittern is a bog haunter and eats frogs, craw- 
fish, snakes, small fish, crustaceans, insects, and probably even young 
birds and mice. It eats little or no vegetable matter. Bitterns are 
quite harmless as a class and may be useful. 

191. Least Bittern, fr. — le petit butor. Ixobrychus exilis. L. 13. Smallest 
heron-Uke wader foimd in Canada. Coloured in broad masses of creams, ochres, and 
Indian reds, with black or browTi back and cap, depending on sex. 

Distinctions. Owing to its small size and striking coloration, can be mistaken for 
nothing else in Canada except perhaps its very close and rare relative, Cory's Least Bittern 
/. neoxena. This latter bird has the creams and ochres replaced by seal or reddish brown 
and it is still undecided whether or not it is only a colour phase of the common form. 

Field Marks. Small size and striking colours make the species unmistakable. Seldom 
seen except at close range when colour and size are evident. 

Nesting. Generally over water, in nest on platform of dead rushes in a marsh or 

Distribution. A common but rather local bird in the more southern parts of Ontario 
and Quebec. Breeds wherever found in Canada. 

The Least Bittern frequents wet, cat-tail marshes, usuallj^ of rather 
extensive area, and is rarely observed except by those who invade its 
quiet precincts. The American Bittern is often seen winging its way from 
marsh to marsh, but the Least Bittern remains within its home swamp and 
rarely ventures beyond it. It is a silent bird and has little or no vocal 

Sub-family — Ardeince. True Herons and Egrets. 

General Desa-iption. More slender and graceful birds than the Bitterns and, on an 
average, of larger size. Smallest are very little smaller than the American Bittern and none 
are as small as the Least Bittern. Coloiu- makes the easiest differentiation. 

Distinctions. Herons are usually coloured slate-blue or dull greens, but are sometimes 
white. Bitterns on the other hand have a pronounced yellow colour. Many Herons have 
long fine plumes on the crown, lower throat, or back, and all Canadian species when in full 
breeding plumages show the plumes to greater or less extent at one or more of these points; 
but they are usually absent in the autumn. 

Field Marks. The characteristic outline m flight, with sharp pointed bill, head drawn 
in to the shoulders, and legs trailing behind, is common to both the Bitterns and Herons 


which are better recognized by species than as a subfamily. However, any such bird that 
is obviously not a Bittern is probably a Heron. 

Nesting. Herons commonly build their nests in communities, usually in tree tops 
in wet forests, but sometimes in bushes or on ground. 

The Herons are fishers of open shallows, haunting grassy bogs less 
than the Bittern. Instead of stalking their prey they remain motionless 
until it comes within reach. 

194. Great Blue Heron, blue crane, blue heron, fr. — le grand heron 
BLEUE. Ardea herodias. L, 42. Plate VI B. 

Distinctions. The largest Heron found in Canada; the Sandhill Crane of the west 
is the only bird for which it may be mistaken. The fully feathered forehead is diagnostic. 
Compare Figures 18 and 20, p. 21. 

Field Marks. Heron-Uke outline, size, and general coloration make the best field 
marks. Unlike the Crane that flies with neck outstretched the Great Blue Heron, hke 
other Herons, travels with neck folded and head drawn into shoulders. 

Nesting. Usually in large commmiities in wet woods, such as tamarack, ash, or elm 
swamps, in nest of large bulky structure of sticks in tree tops. 

Distribution. Over nearly the whole of Canada, breeding wherever found. 

SUBSPECIES. The Great Blue Heron is divided into several subspecies, of which 
the typical form. Eastern Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias herodias is the only one that 
occurs in eastern Canada. 

The Great Blue Heron is a haunter of open, shallow water. It rarely 
frequents dense reed beds, though it is often found on their outskirts or 
on the edges of pools within them. It prefers wide shallow reaches of 
rivers, or open flats of marsh or tidal shores. It is a still-hunter, cautiously 
wading with almost imperceptible movements, or standing statuesquely 
regarding the water until its prey comes within reach when, with a lightning 
stroke of the sharp bill, the prey is secured. Herons, nesting in large 
rookeries in wet woods, have been peculiarly open to the senseless per- 
secution that seems to follow all our larger birds. Wary and -uspicious 
ordinarily, in the vicinity of their nests they lose much of their usual 
caution and, in the rookeries, the birds can be shot in numbers. Heronries 
are usually known to all the surrounding country and are in the breeding 
season often visited by the rural sportsman who kills the parent birds and 
leaves the young to die of hunger, although a landowner has occasionally 
sufficient public spirit to protect heronries on his property. The result 
is that this picturesque bird is becoming scarce. Heronries once destroyed 
in this manner are seldom if ever repopulated and new ones are rarely 
established. Birds breeding in communities are seldom driven away to 
new locations. They remain until the individuals composing them are 
exterminated. The Blue Heron is a harmless bird and should receive 
every protection possible. 

Economic Status. The food of the Great Blue Heron is almost entirely 
animal in its nature consisting mainly of frogs, snakes, and small fish 
usually of no economic importance. Cranes frequent the fields for food 
but the Herons never do so. Occasionally Herons may visit trout streams 
where they meander through open meadows, but such cases are rare and 
insufficient for the condemnation of the species. Herons often frequent 
the pound nets of the fishermen, but the limited size of their gullets pre- 
cludes their taking anything of economic importance and the suspicion 
of the net owners against them is unfounded. 

White Herons. 

Though not forming a recognized systematic division of the Herons 
there are several species showing pure white plumages, that are distinct 
enough to warrant discussion. 

In some of these species, the Egrets, white is the adult plumage, in 
others it is a dichromatic form; that is the species occurs in two colour 
phases, either of which is normal, and cannot be referred to either albinism 
or melanism or to sex, age, or season. In still other species the white is 
a plumage of juvenility or old age and is regularly assumed at the proper 
time. These white plumages were a source of considerable confusion in 
identifying species until they were fully worked out. All of the White 
Herons are of southern distribution and are rare in Canada. 

196. American Egret, fr. — l'egrette blanche d'amerique. Herodias egretta. 
L, 41. Almost as large as the Great Blue Heron, but always pure white. In breeding 
season cascade of some fifty fine straight plumes originates in middle back region and 
festoons over lower back and tail. 

Distinctions. Size, colour, and obviously heron-hke outline. 

Field Marks. As above. 

Nesting. In communities, in nests of sticks in trees or bushes over water. 

Distribution. The southern and Gulf states, appearing in Canada only as an accidental 

The American Egret, with the Snowy Heron and some other species of 
like character, constitute the source of the well known "aigrette" or 
''osprey "plumes of the milUnery trade. As these plumes are grown only in 
the breeding season and as the immediate neighbourhood of the breeding 
rookeries is the only place where these wary birds can be easily approached 
it is evident that the harvesting of the beautiful crop is accompanied by 
great cruelty. The defence is often made that the plumes are picked up 
after being shed by the parent bird. This is a doubtful plea, for if any one 
will search domestic poultry yards for good shed feathers he will quickly 
realize that recovered "aigrette" plumes will probably be few in number 
and of poor quality. The plea is more doubtful as the rookeries are situated 
in dense subtropical swamps where all below is mud and water and the 
undergrowth prevents close, systematic search. The plume hunter usually 
hides in the rookery and with a small cahbre rifle shoots the birds one by one 
until the flock is exterminated. The plumes are torn from the bodies 
which are left to rot on the ground. The remaining young starve in the 
nests above. Local laws have been passed against killing the birds but 
without avail. A few years ago the waters of Florida and the Gulf states 
were made beautiful with the forms of these immaculate birds; to-day 
they have almost lost one of their greatest attractions as the birds are 
approaching extinction. As a last resort, a federal law has been passed in 
the United States prohibiting the importation of feathers for millinery 
purposes. A similar law has been passed in Great Britain and the colonies. 
Egrets are not the only species that have seriously suffered : tern and other 
sea birds, Birds of Paradise, and many insectivorous forms have been 

200. Little Blue Heron, fr. — le petit heron bleu. Florida ccerulea. L, 22. 
A beautiful and gracefully built small Heron. Adult has head and neck maroon-chestnut, 
remainder of body dark bluish-slate colour. Fine-pointed plumes over shoulders and on 
front of lower neck. Juvenile is almost pure white more or less washed with slate colour. 


Distinctions. Adult is distinguished by colour as described above. The white, young 
bird closely resembles the juvenile Louisiana Heron but can be differentiated by its greenish 
yellow legs and blue-slaty tips to the primaries. 

Nesting. In communities, in nests of sticks in bushes or trees over water. 

Distribution. Tropical America. Breeds in the southern and Gulf states. Of only 
accidental occurrence in Canada. 

Birds of adult plumage seldom occur in Canada. The juveniles are the 
only ones that are to be expected to wander into our confines. 

Economic Status. Too rare in Canada to have any economic import- 

201. Green Heron, fly-up-the-creek. fr. — le heron vert. Butorides vires- 
cens. L, 17. Smallest of the common Herons. Back lustrous grey-green with short 
plume-like feathers draping over the wings. Face, sides of neck, and throat, as well as 
the underparts, rich chestnut. Head has a black cap lengthened into a small crest. 

Distinctions. The above description may seem to resemble the last species, but the 
evident green sheen of back, absence of neck plumes, smaller size, and heavier build, 
prevent serious confusion. This is, moreover, a common species within its range and the 
one most hkely to be met with in the Great Lakes region. Any comparable species is very 

Field Marks. Size and general coloration. 

Nesting. SoUtary and not in communities, in flimsy and open nest of sticks in bushes 
or trees usually over water. 

Distribution. Moderately common in southern Ontario, but rare eastward. Breeds 
wherever found in Canada. 

SUBSPECIES. The Green Heron is subspecifically divided, but the type form, 
Northern Green Heron, is the only species that occurs in Canada. 

The Green Heron is not as prone to frequent open water as is the Great 
Blue Heron, nor grassy marshes like the Bittern. Alder thickets in drowned 
land, the bushy edges of quiet bayous, back waters of slack streams, and 
beaver meadows are their preferred habitat. They are more solitary than 
the other Herons at nesting time and though several pairs may occupy 
a peculiarly favoured locality it is community of interest that draws them 
together and not sociability. 

Economic Status. The food of the Green Heron consists of crawfish, 
insects, frogs, and small fish. An accusation has been brought against 
it that it is harmful to certain fish, but as the bird is small and compara- 
tively scarce and as its usual still water habitat does not bring it in contact 
with many valuable species, it cannot be regarded as a serious menace. 

202. Black-crowned Night Heron, qua-bird. squawk, fr.— le heron de 
NuiT. Nycticorax nycticorax. L, 24. Smaller than Gi'eat Blue and larger than Green 
Herons, more like Bittern in size. Adult plumage is recognizable at a glance. Body is 
white, softly shaded with tints of light grey. Back and crown black, one or two long, 
fine pencil-shaped plumes falling from the latter. Juvenile is an altogether different look- 
ing bird, greyish-brown stripes against whitish ground. 

Distinctions. Adult is distinctive. Juvenile may, at a hasty glance, resemble the 
Bittern, but lacks any decided yellow tinge, and the plain simple colour-pattern is very 
different from the highly involved and finely vermiculated colour scheme of that bird. 

Field Marks. Size, general coloration lacking strong yellow of the Bittern; often 
aUghts in trees, the Bittern never does so. 

Nesting. Often in communities with Great Bhie Heron, nest usually of sticks in irees, 
sometimes on ground. 

Distribution. The Black-crowned Night Heron is a bird of irregular and local distri- 
bution. It is found in eastern Ontario, western Quebec, and Manitoba, in occasional 
colonies. In Ontario, from Kingston west, it is exceediagly rare. Even in the western 
peninsula of Ontario it is scarce. 


SUBSPECIES. The Black-crowned Night Heron occurs in both eastern and western 
hemispheres. The New World bird under the name of American Black-crowned Night 
Heron N. n. noevius is subspecifically distinct from that of the Old World. 

This is a rather heavily built Heron which though not without some 
beauty and grace lacks the fine, slender lines of most of the Herons and 
resembles the Bitterns in build. Its habits are a composite of those of the 
Great Blue and the Green Heron. 

The Yellow-crowned Night Heron Nyctanassa violacea, also, occasion- 
ally occurs in Canada, but is too rare to require more than passing mention. 
The adult is generally a slate-grey bird, sharply streaked on the back with 
black and has a conspicuously black and white head. The juvenile is so 
similar to the Black-crowned that it is distinguished with difficulty, but 
its head is darker than the back and there is no trace of rufous on the 
primaries, which close inspection reveals on the young Black-crown. 
Juvenile Yellow-crowns should only be recorded in Canada with caution. 

Economic Status. Its food is similar to that of the Green Heron and 
its status is much the same. 

Order — Paludicolae. Marsh Birds. 

General Description. This is a poorly defined order, including a number of families 
of waders that can be referred to neither the Herons nor the Shore Birds, but superficially 
resemble both. They are birds having four long, well-developed toes, without webs, and 
legs adapted for wading. They are best defined by subfamily description. The Canadian 
species are divided into two sub-orders: Grues, including Cranes, Courlans, etc.; and 
Ralli, including Rails, Gallinules, and Coots. Of the Grues only the family, Gruidce, 
Cranes, is represented in Canada. 


As the Courlan, family Aramidoe, does not occur in Canada, we are 
interested only in the one family, Gruidce Cranes. As far as Canada is 
concerned, this suborder may be called the "Large Marsh Birds," a term, 
however, which has no other warrant than that of convenience. 


General Description. Large heron-like birds; dull, slaty-blue with rusty overwash; 
or pui-e white, with black primaries. All colours are in even, over-all, tints and the birds 
have no plumes nor crests. 

Distinctions. Distinguished from the Herons by having the forehead and the space 
about the eye bare, or with a sparse sprinkUng of peculiarly modified hair-like feathers 
and by the lack of pectinations on middle claw (see Figure 19, p. 21) ; bill is smaller pro- 
portionally than that of Heron but more heavily built, in both material and shape 
(compare Figiu-es 18 and 20, p. 21). 

Field Marks. Cranes fly with outstretched neck instead of with head drawn into 
the shoulders as do the Herons, and contrary to the habits of Herons they commonly 
feed in flocks on upland fields. 

206. Sandhill Crane. Grus mexicana. L, 40. Very similar to the Great Blue 
Heron, but without plumes at any season. An even blue-grey colour all over with a 
washing of rusty red or brown, strongest in the juvenile stages. 

Distinctions. Distinguished from the Great Blue Heron by its bare forehead, etc., 
as described under preceding heading (compare Figures 18 and 20, p. 21). Otherwise it 
can only be confused with the Little Brown Crane Grus canadensis, from which it can be 
distinguished only by size — the length of the latter species being about 36 inches and the 


ength of the Sandhill 40 inches. As specimens intermediate in size are not uncommon, 
differentiation of the species is not always easy; and both forms may occur in eastern 
Canada. Another Crane, the Whooping Crane Grus americana, found in the west, has 
occasionally occurred in eastern Canada, but its piu-e white colour, or white washed with 
rust colour, black primaries, and extremely large size — 50 inches — make it easy of recogni- 

Field Marks. Bare forehead coloured dull reddish, flight with neck outstretched in- 
stead of folded, and more upland habits> 

Nesting. In wet marshy places, nest of waste vegetable matter. 

Distribution. Western Canada, breeding within the bounds of cultivation and north- 

The Sandhill Crane appears to have been a more common visitor to 
eastern Canada, the Great Lakes region at any rate, in the early days than 
at present. It is now only a rare straggler east of the prairie provinces, 
though a few individuals still nest in southern Michigan and it is not impos- 
sible that a few may still be found occasionally in adjoining parts of Ontario. 

Economic Status. Too rare in eastern Canada to have any economic 
importance. Though a more graminivorous feeder than the Herons and 
occasionally visiting r'ultivated ground in numbers in the migration season, 
it does httle damage; for in the spring it comes early and in autumn it 
takes only waste grtc '. The insect part of its food is large. 


As regards Canada, this suborder, comprising the Rails, Gallinules, 
and Coots, may be called Smaller Marsh Birds, as compared with the 
larger Grues. They are not heron-like in form and cannot possibly be con- 
fused with the Cranes either in shape, habit, or size. Of this suborder 
only one family Rallidce occurs in eastern Canada. 


General Description. Toes long and slender for the purpose of covering a large area of 
soft uncertain footing. The pedal characters are somewhat like those of the shore Birds 
but the hind toe is as long and well developed as the others and inserted on a level with 
them instead of being sUghtly elevated. In this respect they resemble the Herons, but can 
be distinguished from them by their unheron-hke build and their feathered lores. 

They are typical marsh birds, skulking in the long grass and reeds, 
running swiftly over yielding masses of half-floating vegetation, and 
preferring to hide rather than fly on the approach of danger. They all 
swim, some habitually and others on occasion. The family is divided 
into three subfamilies: Rallus, the true Rails; GallinuUnce, Gallinules or 
Mud Hens; and FulicincB, Coots. 

Subfamily — Rallus. True Rails. 

General Description. Very flat-bodied birds, compressed laterally, adapted for slipping 
between close growing reeds and grasses; wings small, rounded, and comparatively weak; 
the whole structure of the bird is loose, giving the flexibility needed by habit and habitat, 
but not adapted for prolonged or strenuous effort. 

Distinctions. Most easily recognized by negative characteristics: rail-like birds as 
described above that are neither Gallinules nor Coots; without the frontal shield on fore- 
head of those birds (Figures 25 and 26, p. 22). 

Field Marks. Ilails rise from the grass at one's feet with a loose, feeble flight, legs 
dangUng and neck outstretched. They rise with evident and hurried difficulty, fly weakly 
a short way over the marsh, and then suddenly collapse into it again. 


The Rails are skulkers and expert hiders in the grass. They thread 
the narrow runways between the clumps with mouse-like dexterity and 
speed. They rely on this ability to hide more than on flight to escape 
danger and will often allow themselves to be caught in the hand rather 
than take wing. A Rail will flush once in a seeming panic, but safely down 
again it can rarely be forced to wing a second time and in a small isolated 
clump of cover will seldom be detected except by a dog's keen nose. Rails 
can and do swim, but only occasionally and only for a short distance, as 
when passing from one grass clump to another they fi xl the w^ater too deep 
for wading. 

Rails are very noisy, especially at night. Ev. m in the day-time a 
sudden and unexpected noise will bring forth a choru- ii their loud harsh 
cracklings from the marsh, though not a bird may ■ seen. 

Our Canadian Rails can be divided into two divisions, a long-billed 
type and a short-billed type (Figures 23 and 25, p. 22) . The first includes 
the King and Virginia, the two species having a similar coloration; the 
second includes the Sora and the Yellow Rails,having only a general resem- 
blance in colour but similar stubby bills. 

208. King Rail. Rallus elegans. L, 15. Long-billed; cheeks, neck, and breast cinna- 
mon -rufoua; back brownish-black, each feather broadly margined with an ochraceous 
shade of the breast colour, flanks barred with black and white. Juvenile similar, but coloiu-s 
veiled with black. 

Distinctions. In Canada can only be mistaken for the similarly coloured Virginia 
Rail, but King Rail is much larger. 

Fidd Marks. Loose rail-hke flight as it gets up from the grass, size, general coloration, 
and long red-brown bill. 

Nesting. In wet marshes, in nest of grass, etc. 

Distribution. Rather southern distribution; comes regularly within our borders 
along the lower Great Lakes; breeds wherever found in Canada. 

The King Rail can be taken as the type of the Long-billed Rails 
(Figure 23, p. 22). This type has a longer neck and a more graceful habit 
and build than the Short-billed type. This series is one of several among 
American birds where distinct species differ from each other in little else 
than size. Included with our King and Virginia Rails in this series is the 
extrahmital Clapper Rail of the more southern sea-board salt marshes, 
never occurring in Canada. 

212. Virginia RaiL fe — le rale de vikginie. Rallus virginianus. L, 9-50. 
Smaller than the King Rail but otherwise similar to it. 

Distinctions. Easily distinguished from the King Rail by its smaller size and from 
the Sora by its long reddish bill and general coloration. Young birds are overwashed 
with a considerable amount of black and have often been misidentified as Black Rails. 
The Black Rail is even smaller than the Yellow Rail (5-0) and has a short bill; no Canadian 
record of the Black Rail rests upon perfectly satisfactory evidence. It may, however, 
be looked for in the Great Lake region, especially in the neighbourhood of the St. Clair 
flats, where there is strong evidence of its occurrence, though a specimen has not yet been 

Field Marks. Size, coloration, long, reddish bill (Figure 23, p. 22), and typical loose 
rail flight as it rises from the marsh. 

Nesting. In wet marsh, in nest of grass. 

Distribution. Southern Canada across the continent and north to the present limits 
of cultivation. Breeds wherever found in Canada. 

This is a far more common Rail than the King and to be expected in 
almost any marsh or very wet meadow within its range. Its habits do not 
differ essentially from those of the other Rails. 


Economic Status. Its waste land habitat precludes its taking anything 
of economic importance. Its food consists largely of insect life, marsh 
seeds, and vegetable matter. 

214. Sora Rail, sora, railbird, Carolina rail. fr. — le rale de la Caroline. 
Porzana Carolina. L, 8-50. Plate VII A. 

Distinctions. Distinguished from the Virginia Rail by its short conical bill (Figure 2.5, 
p. 22) and general coloration; and from the Yellow Rail by larger size and coloration. 

Field Marks. Loose, dangling flight, as it rises from the grass, proclaims it a rail; 
short bill, general coloration, and lack of white on wings are characteristic of the species. 

Nesting. On ground in wet marshes in nest of grass, etc. 

Distribution. Of considerably more northern distribution than the Virginia Rail, 
but also ranging across the continent; breeding wherever found in Canada. 

In the early days of settlement the Sora Rail was a common game 
bird ; but the draining of the swamps and the ease with which large bags 
could at times be made by hunters, have greatly reduced its numbers. 
On the tidal marshes of some of the Atlantic states it is still regularly 
hunted in late autumn. This is, therefore, the best known of our rails and, 
though its numbers are greatly diminished from those given in old travellers 
accounts, it is still a moderately common bird. It does not need grounds 
quite as extensive for its habitat as the King or the Virginia Rails and at 
times the merest little slough will suffice a pair and their young for the 

Economic Status. Not notably different from that of the Virginia 

215. Yellow Rail. fr. — le rale jaune. Coturnicops noveboracensis . L, 7. A 
smaller, short-billed rail, somewhat like the Sora. The coloration is also similar in effect, 
but the underparts are overwashed with ochraceous and the back feathers are transversed 
with a few fine white lines instead of being margined by them. It, also, has prominent 
white wing-patches that are characteristic of the species. 

Distinctions. Distinguished from the Sora Rail by size and coloration. 
Field Marks. Size and white wing-patches. 
Nesting. On ground in damp edges of marshes, in nest of grass. 
Distribution. More northern than the other rails, extending considerably beyond the 
limits of present cultivation; breeding wherever found. 

This is the most expert of the Rails in skulking and hiding. As it is 
almost impossible to flush it, it may be far more common than we have 
reason to otherwise suspect. According to actual records, it is one of the 
rarest birds in Canada. Its habits do not seem to differ much from those 
of the other rails, except that it does not require as much water in its habitat 
and is more often found on the shoreward, grassy sides of the marsh rather 
than in the wet reedy locations. 

Subfamily — Gallinulinoe. Gallinules or Mud-hens. 

General Description. Rather large duck-Hke birds, but with long toes without webs 
either partial or entire; conical bill extended on the forehead in a plate or frontal shield 
(Figure 26, p. 22). 

Distinctions. Distinguished from the ducks by lack of webs, and by shape of bill; 
and from the Coot by absence of toe lobes; otherwise quite closely resembles these. 

Field Marks. Round, duck-like shape of body; habit when swimming; general blue 
or blue-grey coloration; red bill, and frontal shield; and long legs and toes of yellow or 


Quietly watching the open leads through the marsh, one sometimes 
sees a swimming bird of duck-like outline sitting high in the water with 
upturned tail and progressing with a series of graceful backward and for- 
ward jerkings of the head. This alone is nearly enough for recognition 
of the Gallinules; but the brilliantly-coloured bill and frontal plate, visible 
at considerable distances in the bright sunshine, will make recognition 
certain. Sometimes individuals are jumped by the observer, quietly poling 
along a narrow winding channel, when off they go spattering along the 
surface and making a great amount of disturbance until wing borne. The 
Gallinules swim habitually and with ease, but rarely venture out in open 
water Uke the Coots, confining themselves to the small pools in the marsh 
or to the clear leads or passages that thread them. 

218. Purple Gallinule. lonornis martinicus. L, 13. Resembles the Florida 
Gallinule, but neck and underparts iridescent with pronounced purplish-blue; frontal 
plate (Figure 26, p. 22) plumbous blue instead of red; and legs yellow instead of green. 
Juveniles are similar but reduced in tones and with only traces of iridescence. 

Distinctiojis. Can only be mistaken for the Florida Gallinule, but above characters 
and absence of conspicuous white streaks on flanks are differences. 

Field Marks. Gallinule or Mud-hen-like outline, decided blue iridescence, yellow 
legs, and all wliite under tail coverts. 

Distribution. Tropical and subtropical America regularly north to the Carolinas. 

Of only accidental occurrence in Canada. To be looked for only in 
the most southern sections. 

219. Florida Gallinule. rice-bird, mud-hen. red-billed mud-hen. fr. — 
GALLINULE DE LA FLORiDE. Gollinula galeata. L, 13-50. An almost evenly colouied, 
slate-blue bird; darker on head and a little lighter below, tinged with slightly iridescent 
reddish-brown; conspicuous white flank streaks and a small edging of same under tail; bill 
and frontal plate (Figure 26, p. 22) bright red; legs green with red garters just below the 

Distinctions. Distinguished from Purple Gallinule by the characters mentioned above ; 
from the Coot, which it closely resembles, by red instead of white bill and frontal plate, 
white flank lines, brownish back, and clean unwebbed toes. 

Field Marks. Red bill and frontal plate, white flank streaks, brownish back, and all 
dark secondary tips when flying. 

Nesting. Usually on a slight eminence such as an old muskrat house in watery marshes, 
in nest of waste vegetable fragments. 

Distribution. More northern than the Purple Gallinule, and regularly common in 
Canada only along the lower Great Lakes. 

This is the best known Mud-hen of southern Canada. Its fairly large 
size and palatable flesh, due to its fondness for wild rice and other marsh 
seeds, renders it an object of pursuit by the sportsman. It requires more 
open water than the Rails, but in general resembles them in habits. It 
is a rather noisy bird, especially at night; and during the day joins the 
Rails in their chorus of surprise at unusual and unexpected disturbances. 
At times one bird will suddenly utter a volley of cackles, answered immed- 
iately by another, and another, and for a few moments the apparently 
deserted marsh is a small pandemonium of unexpected bird sounds. 

Economic Status. Except as a game bird the Gallinule is of little 
account economically. 


Subfamily — Fulicince. Coots. 

General Description. Rather large, duck-like birds, but with long toes fiu-nished with 
membranous lobes; bill extends up on forehead in a white frontal plate or shield (Figiu-e 
14, p. 20). 

Distinctions. Much like the Gallinules; distinctions given under description of species 
in following section. 

221. American Coot, white-billed mud-hen. fr. — -la foulque d'amerique' 
Fulica aniericana. L, 15. An evenly coloured, slate-grey bird, darker on head, lighter 
below; bill and frontal plate (Figure 14, p. 20) white with solitary reddish-brov\Ti spots at 
top of plate and on tips of mandibles. Legs dull green and toes with bordering scallop of 
web-flaps (one to three lobes on each toe). 

Distinctions. Distinguished from the Gallinule by white bill and the toe-webs. 

Field Marks. Size, slate-grey coloration, white bill, and frontal shield and when 
flying the border of white secondary tips on the wings. 

Nesting. Nest very similar to that of the Florida Gallinule. 

Distribution. More northern than the Gallinules; found throughout Canada well 
into the cultivated area; breeds wherever found in Canada. 

Unlike the Gallinules, which quietly leave our marshes in early autumn, 
the Coots remain until late in the season and, their numbers augmented 
by migrants from the north, gather in large flocks in small lakes and ponds 
where they are sometimes shot by the hunter who later finds them indiff- 
erent eating. 

Economic Status. The Coot is more of a vegetable feeder than even 
the Gallinule, but, owing to its habitat, cannot be of economic importance 
except as a second-rate object of sport. 

Order— Limicolae. Shore Birds, Snipes, Sandpipers, Plover, etc. 

General Description. Shore Birds constitute an order comparatively easy to recog- 
nize but difficult to briefly describe. All snipe or plover-like birds are included in this order. 
They have moderately to extremely long, dehcately-formed legs for wading in shallow water 
and pond edges and neck and bill (Figures 15,21,22,23, pp. 20-22) to correspond. The toes 
may be either three or four in number, and are poorly adapted for perching. They may be 
without webs entirely, or with partial webs situated either at the bases of the toes, or 
forming scalloped or entire edgings to them (see Phalaropes). The hind toe when present 
is small, weak, and shghtly elevated above the rest. The wings are long and pointed and 
the secondaries next to the body are lengthened. 

Distinctions. Some Shore birds show superficial resemblance to the Rails, whereas 
others in certain characteristics (Curlews) may be mistaken for either Ibises or Herons, 
but can be distinguished from them by the small and elevated, or absent hind toe and the 
lack of bare skin between eye and bill. 

Field Marks. General outUne, habit, habitat, and flight, characteristics which are quite 

Nesting. On ground, except one species. 

Distribution. The order. Shore Birds, is cosmopolitan and there are few areas in the 
world that some of its members do not occupy. The Old and New World forms of the 
northern hemisphere are closely related: some are identical, many are subspecifically 
related, and a few, such as the Turnstone, are found all over the world. Most of our 
northern species breed in the far north, some of them as far as exploration has gone, though 
a few nest on, and across, our southern borders. 

The Shore Birds, in the days of their original abundance, were favour- 
ite game birds; now since their numbers have been so greatly reduced they 
are seldom systematically hunted, and only shot incidentally. Of the 
Shore Birds of eastern Canada, Woodcock and Wilson's Snipe are of the 
most interest as game. The representatives of the order found in eastern 
Canada are divided into six families: Phalaropodidce, Phalaropes; Recur- 


virotridce, Stilts and Avocets, of only casual occurrence in eastern Canada; 
ScolopacidcB, Snipes and Sandpipers, constituting the bulk of our species; 
Charadriidce, Plover; Aphrizidoe, Turnstones; and Haematopodid(B,Oyster- 
catchers, once casual now probably extinct within our eastern borders. 

Economic Status. Most of the order inhabit waste land and are of 
little economic injfluence ; others, frequenting cultivated fields, are of 
greater importance and will be discussed under their specific headings. On 
the whole, however, the order is either harmless or actively helpful to man. 


General Description. Small birds between 7-75 and 8-75 inches long, wader-like in 
form but with plumage dense and duck-hke. This, combined with their toes bordered with 
web-lobes or edgings and flattened tarsi, makes them comparatively easy to recognize. 

Distinctions. Small waders characterized as above. Cannot be mistaken for any- 
thing else. 

Field Marks. Size, bill characteristics, and the habit of swimming and feeding in deep 
water. These are the only Shore Birds that habitually swim. 

Nesting. On ground, nest lined with a few mosses or grasses. 

Distribution. Northern and western. One species breeds in the lower prairie provinces, 
the other two along the Arctic coasts and adjoining islands. Regular migrants along the 
Atlantic coast of eastern Canada and down the Mississippi valley, but merely stragglers in 
the Great Lakes region. 

The Phalaropes constitute a small anomalous family of Shore Birds 
whose true affinities are hardly well understood or settled. They swim 
with ease and are often found in the open water, even out at sea, where 
they are as much at home as any pelagic species. 

Anomalous in structure and systematic relationships, they are equally 
so in habits. The female instead of the male is the bright-coloured repre- 
sentative of the family circle and she takes the initative in courting rites; 
makes the first advance towards her shy and modestly-coloured prospective 
mate and upon fulfilling her duties of egg deposition leaves the further cares 
of incubation and family raising to him. 

Economic Status. Inhabit water or waste shores and are of Httle or no 
economic importance. 

222. Red Phalarope. gery phalarope, whale bird. fr. — le phalarope roux. 
Phalaropus fulicarius. L, 8 • 12. Adult female is easily recognized by the even, dull reddish 
brown of the foreneck and underparts. The back is light ochre and black in stripes. The 
male is similar, but the colours veiled, broken, and less distinct. In winter this species is 
slate-grey above and white below. 

Distinctions. The Red Phalarope can be easily distinguished from either of the other 
two members of the family by its bill and feet, the former comparatively broad and flat. 
Toes webbed at base and with projecting scalloped lobes on either side. See following 

Field Marks. General habits and habitat. In breeding season colour is best niark 
of recognition. At sea this species is said to show more black on top of head and in wings 
than the other phalaropes. In other than full plumage the comparatively short and 
flattened biU is perhaps the best point for identification. 

Distribution. Breeds along the whole Arctic coast of America, migrating down the sea 
coasts on either side; rare inland in Great Lakes region. 

223. Northern Phalarope. red-necked phalarope. fr. — le phalarope hyper- 
BOREEN. Lobipes lobatus. L, 7-75. Adult female: upperparts, back of neck, and head 
dark slaty; throat and below, white; sides of neck meeting on front of lower neck, rich 
rufous, with hnes of same along back over closed wing. Male similar but veiled and re- 



duced in colour. Winter birds light grey above, white below, with only faint suggestions 
of above coloration. 

Distinctions. Bill very slender and awl-shaped, rather hke Wilson's Phalarope but 
shorter; feet have small webs and scalloped flaps, hke Red Phalarope. 

Field Marks. General colour and fine needle-hke bill. Smallest of the Phalaropes 
of eastern Canada. 

Distribution. Similar to the preceding. 

224. Wilson's Phalarope. fr. — le phalarope de wilson. Steganopus tricolor. 
L, 8 • 75. Beautifully coloured bird. Adult female has stripes of sharply contrasting colour 
arranged on head and neck. Crown of pearl-grey shading to white on hind neck and to 
grey again on shoulders. Black hne through eye and down side of neck, changing to rich, 
chestnut-red which continues along side of back. Throat, white blending into delicate 
vinaceous on neck and breast to white again on lower parts. Male greyish-brown above 
and white below, with suggestion of the females' brighter coloration. 

Distinctions. Bill very long, 1-25 inches, slender and needle-like, an exaggeration of 
the last species. Toes not webbed but furnished with narrow, even edges of membrane. 

Field Marks. Colour, size, and extremely long and slender bill. 

Distribution. A mid-western and more southern species than the preceding, breeding 
in the prairie provinces and only of casual occurrence east on lower Great Lakes. 


General Description. Among the largest of the Shore Birds and recognizable by their 
strikingly contrasted colours and great length of legs and bill. This is carried to an extreme 
in the Stilts which, however, are entirely extrahmital. The Avocet has occurred accidenta- 
ally within our borders east of the prairies. 

225. American Avocet. fr. — l'avocette d'ameriqtje. Recurvirostra ainericans. 
L, 16-50. Large and most striking Shore Bird, with warm vinaceous head and neck 
blending into white underparts; and fuscous and white in sharply contrasting masses on 
the back. 

Distinctions. Very long, slender, tapering bill with decided upward curve in its outer 
half. This is always distinctive. 

Nesting. A slight depression in the groimd near water. 

Distribution. A mid-western bird of the interior, breeding in the prairie provinces 
and only of accidental occurrence east of Manitoba. 

This species is included only because of the occurrence of a few in- 
dividual specimens east of the prairie provinces. 


General Description. Small to medium Shore Birds, the Curlew being the largest 
species. Feet never entirely webbed nor toes furnished with web-flaps or web-margins. 
Some species have small webs between the base of the toes, giving rise to the term "semi- 
palmated" or half-webbed. All but one species, the Sanderhng, page 97, have four toes. 
The bills are long, slender, and tapering; usually straight (Figures 21, 22, p. 21) ; but 
sometimes down-cm-ved; occasionally, as in the Godwits, page 98, very slightly up- 
curved; rather flexible and usually slightly enlarged and sensitive at the tip. 

Distinctions. Obvious Shore Birds, usually recognized by the above popular names. 
Bill does not taper to fine sharp point, hke that of the previous famihes, and has not the 
soft base and horny tip of the Plover, but is soft and rather flexible throughout its length in 
contrast to the horny bills of the Turnstones and the Oyster-catchers. 

Nesting. All except one species, the Sohtary Sandpiper, page 99, nest on the ground, 
in shght hollows lined sparsely with the waste vegetable matter adjoining. 

Distribution. Greater number nest in the far north, though a few species are found 
south of the United States border. They migrate down our coasts or through the interior 
according to species and distribution. Some of them have most interesting migration 

Among these birds are the Woodcock and Snipes of the wet woods and 
marshes; the Tip-ups, Teeters, and Sandpipers we see along the shores and 
streams, and the Curlew^s of the uplands. These species formed the great 


bulk of the wonderful flocks of Shore Birds that once thronged our shores. 
Breeding mostly far beyond the confines of cultivation the occupation of 
their nesting grounds by settlers has had only the slighest influence upon 
their numbers. The great reduction must be blamed upon indiscriminate 
shooting. As they fly in dense flocks they offer an easy target and eighty 
or more have been known to fall at one discharge of the gun, so that there is 
little wonder that they are now comparatively scarce. 

Economic Status. Either perfectly harmless or actively useful accord- 
ing to habitat. 

228. American Woodcock, fr. — la becasse d'amerique. becassine. Philo- 
hela minor. L, 11. Plate VII B. 

Distinctions. Long bill (Figure 21, p. 21) and eyes situated high in the head, dead- 
leaf colours of underparts, and rich browns of back are distinctive. 

Field Marks. The bird's habitat, combined with long bill, size, and coloration in 
rich brown and dead-leaf tints render it easily recognizable in life. 

Nesting. On ground amidst last year's dead leaves, with which its plumage harmoni- 
zes so weU. 

Distribution. Regularly in southern Ontario in the lower Great Lakes region, though 
occasional individuals straggle over a much wider range. 

Woodcocks haunt moist or wet shrubbery, alder or hazel thickets, or 
the tangled edges of damp woods. They spring suddenly from the ground 
on being disturbed, rise erratically on peculiarly whistling wings, and 
passing just over the tops of the underbrush drop suddenly into concealment 
again a few rods beyond. It is well within the memory of the present 
generation that the thickets of southern Ontario swarmed with Woodcock; 
but now, owing to unrestrained shooting, the drainage and clearing of 
waste lands, and perhaps the depredations of the domestic cat, the 
Woodcock is a scarce, almost a rare bird. Unlike the Ruffed Grouse or 
Partridge, which requires considerable and virgin ranges, there is no 
fundamental reason why the Woodcock should not remain plentiful 
and give abundance of sport for years to come. Almost any small 
retired covert of damp shrubbery will suffice for its needs. The 
Woodcock leaves for the south very shortly after the open season begins 
and is not long subject to legitimate shooting. Next to man the cat 
seems to be its principal enemy and as the Woodcock lives and nests on the 
ground trusting to protective coloration and hiding to avoid danger, it is 
peculiarly open to feline attack. 

230. Wilson's Snipe, jack snipe, snipe, fr. — la becassine de wilson. Gallin- 
ago delicata. L, 11-25. Plate VIII A. 

Distinctions. Unlikely to be mistaken for any other species in Canada, but the reddish- 
brown tail, whitening on the outer feathers, and barred with black, will distinguish it if 

Field Marks. Habitat (open grassy meadows), long bill, peculiar cork-screw flight 
as it rises, combined with size, general coloration, and reddish-brown and whitish tail. 
The Woodcock and the Dowitcher, are the only other siniilar birds. 

Distribution. Breeds across the continent, coming just within the bounds of culti- 
vation and irregularly to our southern borders. Common throughout the Dominion. 

231. Dowitcher. red-breasted snipe, robin snipe, fr.- — la becassine rousse. 
M acrorhamphus griseus. L, 10-50. Spring adult — throat, foreneck, breast, and all under- 
parts strongly reddish. Back and upperparts variegated with shades of same and dark 
brown. Autumn plumage dull greyish-brown on head, neck, upper breast, flanks, and back, 
variegated with browner on the latter ; white below. Lower back always white. Interme- 
diates of all above plumages occur. 

57172— 7i 


Distinctions. Same general appearance as Wilson's Snipe, but with red front and 
underparts in spring, and without the rich browns of that species in autumn. Bill is longer 
in comparison with size than any other bird except Wilson's Snipe. A very similar red 
breast occurs in the Knot, but the longer bill of the Dowitcher (L, 2 10-2 -50 against 
L, 1-30) is conclusive identification. 

Field Marks. About the size and general outline of Wilson's Snipe, but with conspicu- 
ous white on lower back and more white on tail. Habitat also different. 

Distribution. Breeds in the far north, west and probably east of Hudson bay. Scarce 
on Great Lakes, more common on coast. Our eastern migrants are supposedly Ungava 
breeders, but acciu-ate data on this point are lacking. 

SUBSPECIES. A slightly differentiated subspecies, the Long-billed Dowitcher 
M. g. scolopaceous occurs in the west. It is distinguished by its §lightly larger size, longer 
bill, heavier spotting of breast, and more extensive red below. It is difficult to differentiate 
bright plumages, and birds and juveniles can rarely be told apart. The Long-billed Do- 
witcher is to be expected in eastern Canada only in the Great Lakes region and its occurrence 
should not be recorded imless the specimen has been well compared with authentic material. 

A bird frequenting mud flats rather than grassy meadows. 

233. Stilt Sandpiper, fr. — - la maubIiche a longs pieds. Micropalama himan- 
topus. L, 8-25. Brown markings on gi-ound of dull white; underparts lighter and the 
dark arranged in uniform bars changing to obscure striping on the foreneck and to fine 
spotting on the throat. Autumn plmnage shows no sign of this characteristic barring; 
back with various shades of brown in strong pattern, underparts nearly pure white, shghtly 
veiled with ochraceous on breast and foreneck where it is faintly and obscurely spotted 
with dark. 

Distinctions. The evenly barred imderparts of the spring plumage are unmistakable. 
The autumn bird resembles several species. The length of the bill, 1-50, and of the tarsus, 
1 • 60, are greater than those of any other Shore Bird of otherwise equal size. The Red- 
backed Sandpiper has a bill of almost equal length, but it is heavier and has less of an 
abrupt spatulate enlargement at the extreme tip. 

Field Marks. Contrast of its small size and great length of bill. Upper tail coverts, 
instead of lower back as in the Dowitcher, are light in spring and white in autumn. 

Distribution. Breeds on Arctic coast northwest of Hudson bay. In migration, pro- 
bably more common in the interior than on the coast. Regular but rare in autumn on 
lake Ontario. 

One of the rarest of eastern Shore Birds, sometimes associated with the 
Dowitcher and Yellow-legs on mud flats. 

234. Knot, red-breasted plover, robin snipe, fr. — la maubeche a poitrine 
ROUSSE. Tringa canutjis. L, 10-50. In spring — upper parts mottled with various shades 
of brown and ochre, throat, foreneck, and below strong duU rufous, lighter towards the 
tail. In autumn — hght smoky grey, pure white below, breast and foreneck slightly darker 
with fine, obscured spotting. 

Distinctions. Spring birds as regards size may be confused only with Dowitcher. 
The short bill, L, 1-30, as against L, 2 -10-2 -50 of the Dowitcher, is conclusive differentia- 
tion. Autumn birds very similar to several species of like coloration. Even light grey 
coloration of back quite similar to that of the autumn Red-back, but in the Knot each feather 
is margined with faint line of lighter colom- giving effect of a succession of semicircles, present 
in no other Shore Bird. 

Field Marks. In spring — bill, shorter than that of the Dowitcher which it otherwise 
resembles, and greyish but not conspicuous white over tail. In autumn — light grey back, 
lighter towards tail, is best recognition mark. 

Distribution. A circurnpolar species of extraordinary migration range. Breeding 
on the Arctic circurnpolar islands and ranging in winter to South Africa, Patagonia, and 
New Zealand, etc. Apparently less common in the Great Lakes region than on the Atlantic 

A bird to be found on sandy beaches as well as on mud flats. It is 
steadily decreasing in numbers like so many of its allies. 

235. Purple Sandpiper, winter snipe, rock snipe, fr.— la maubeche pour- 
PREE. Arquatella maritima. L, 9. Greyish-black on back, including head and extending 


across front of neck and throat, and along flanks. Lighter on throat and darkest on back, 
white below. Over darker parts a faint suffusion of slightly iridescent purple more or less 
mottled with lighter feather edgings. Autunan plumage similar, but light feather margins 
more extensive. Legs and feet orange in spring. 

Distinctions. The only Shore Bird with back so uniformly black. 

Field Marks. In spring, general dark colour and short orange legs. In autumn, 
season of appearance is almost diagnostic as it comes very late, well into the winter, when 
other Shore Birds have left. 

Distribution. The Eastern Purple Sandpiper probably breeds on the islands of the 
Arctic. In migration, more common on the sea coast than on the Great Lakes where it is 
very rare. 

SUBSPECIES. The Pm-ple Sandpiper occurs in both the New and the Old Worlds. 
The subspecies occurring on the eastern coast of Canada is the Eastern Purple Sandpiper, 
the type race. 

A very late autumn migrant coming long after all other Shore Birds 
have deserted us. November and December are the months of its appear- 
ance. Its apparent rarity may be largely due to its coming after the shores 
are deserted by the gunner. It prefers rocky shores to either sand or 

239. Pectoral Sandpiper, grass snipe, fr. — la maubeche a poitrine cendree. 
Pisobia maculata. L, 9. Upper parts dark brown, each feather edged with shade of 
light ochre; underparts and throat white; lower neck and breast suffused with Mght 
brownish buff and closely streaked with dark brown. 

Distinctions. Size and rather sharply streaked brownish buff front are distinctive. 
The White-rumped Sandpiper and Baird's Sandpiper may be somewhat similar in this 
respect, but rmnp of the former, and smaller size of both are evident. 

Field Marks. Its usual grassy marsh habitat makes Wilson's Snipe the bird most 
likely to be confused with it, but the shortness of bill of the Pectoral Sandpiper is obvious. 
It appears as an even brown bird without hght on riunp or elsewhere above, much like a 
large Least Sandpiper. 

Distribution. Breeds on the Arctic coast northwest of Hudson bay. Common 
migrant throughout eastern Canada. 

The Pectoral Sandpiper, hke Wilson's Snipe, is to be found in wet 
grassy meadows, or on mud flats, rarely if ever on sandy beaches. In the 
grass it lies well to a dog and sometimes furnishes good sport. On the 
breeding grounds it develops a neck-sac that can be blown up to an extra- 
ordinary extent and indulges in a flight-song that is unusual among the 
generally songless Shore Birds. 

240. White-rumped Sandpiper. Bonaparte's sandpiper, fr. — la maubeche A. 
CRUPiON BLANC. Pisobia fuscicolHs. L, 7-50. Back and upperparts dark brown broadly 
margined with greyish and ochraceous-brown, the former predominating. Rump and all 
lower parts white, foreneck and upper breast sharply and finely striped with dark brown. 
In autumn, similar, but more ruddy-ochraceous on back, and front stripings more blended. 

Distinctions. Size and white rump distinguish it from comparable species. The 
Hudsonian Godwit and Stilt Sandpiper have white upper tail coverts, but the former is 
much too large a bird to be a source of error and the latter's longer slender bill or 
barred breast are distinctive. 

Field Marks. General size and colour, and conspicuous large white rump. 

Distribution. Breeds on Arctic coast west to near Alaskan border. In migration 
common on Atlantic coast, rather scarce in Great Lakes region. 

This species frequents mud flats and rocky shores rather than sandy 
beaches. It often accompanies the flocks of Least and Semipalmated 

241. Baird's Sandpiper, fr. — la maubeche de baird. Pisobia bairdi. L, 7-40. 
Back to top of head dark brown edged with hght ochraceous; below and throat, white; 
band of hght buff across chest; lower foreneck dimly striped with fine brown lines. 


Distinctions. Resembles White-rump, but with rump dark and a more buffy suffusion 
across front. Also considerably like Least Sandpiper, but larger. 

Field Marks. Resembles large Least Sandpiper, with buffy breast suffusion. 

Distribution. Breeds on Arctic coast across the continent. More common in migra- 
tions in the prairie provinces than on the coasts. Not uncommon in the Great Lakes region, 
scarcer farther east. 

Sandy margins and mud flats seem equally attractive to this species. 
It is often found in company with Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, 
though more independent of water than many of its family. 

242. Least Sandpiper, mud peep, green-legged peep. fr. — la maub^che de 
WILSON. Pisobia minutilla. L, 6. Upperparts and crown, dark brown edged more or less 
broadly with various shades of ochraceous-buff and ruddy tints; white below. Across 
breast and foreneck a dark suffusion sometimes tinged with buff with more or less pro- 
nounced dark striping and spotting. 

Distinctions. Distinguished by its extremely small size from all other species except 
the Semipalmated Sandpiper, and from that by the absence of webs between the toes. 

Field Marks. Differentiated from the Semipalmated Sandpiper by the dark greenish 
instead of black colour of the legs. 

Distribution. Breeds in high latitudes across the continent as far south, in the east, 
as the Magdalen islands in the gulf of St. Lawrence. Common throughout eastern Canada 
in migration. 

One of the most numerous of Shore Birds. Probably its diminutive 
size has protected it from the sportsman, though from its dense flocks 
numbers can be obtained at a single shot. It frequents sandy beaches and 
open mud flats and is a tame and confiding bird. It associates largely with 
flocks of other species, though when disturbed separates from them to 
rejoin the company later. It arrives and leaves earlier in the autumn than 
the Semipalmated. 

243. Dunlin, red-backed sandpiper, black-heart plover, red-back. Ameri- 
can dunlin. PR. — LA maubeche A DOS Roux. Pelidna alpina. L, 8. Spring bird is 
too strongly marked to be mistaken for anything else. Back is dark brown so broadly 
edged with red-ochre as to be mostly red. A large more or less diffused, almost black 
spot occupies the abdominal surface. Bill slightly decurved (Figure 22, p. 21). Autumn 
bird is without these striking characteristics. Upper surface is almost uniform, light 
brownish-grey suffusing across breast and lower neck. Below, and throat, white. 

Distinctions. Colour in autumn similar to Autumn Knot, but smaller size and lack of 
light semicircles of feather edges will always differentiate it even if occasional traces of 
spring plumage are not present. It may also suggest the Curlew Sandpiper, but the 
upper tail coverts are dark instead of greyish. 

Field Marks. In spring — red back, and black spot below are evident. In autumn — 
even grey back and, when flyiug, a line of white on the wing. Shght but distinct down- 
ward bend of bill also helps identification. 

Distribution. Including the European form the species is circumpolar. The American 
Dunlin, the Red-backed Sandpiper, nests on the Arctic coast locally across the continent. 
It is a common migrant throughout eastern Canada. 

SUBSPECIES. The New World representative of the Dunlin is a subspecific race, 
the Red-backed Sandpiper or American Dunlin P. a. sakhalina, which is distinguished from 
the Old World form only by its slightly larger size. 

This bird frequents sand-bars, mud flats, or salt meadows. It is 
among the latest of the Shore Birds to arrive both spring and autumn. 

244. Curlew Sandpiper. Eroliaferruginea. L, 8. Small red-breasted Sandpiper. 
Autumn birds greyish-brown above and white below. 

Distinctions. Resembles the Knot or Dowitcher in having red breast, but much 
smaller and of more slender build. 


Distribution. Breeds in Arctic Siberia. Of only casual occurrence in eastern Canada. 
More records from the Atlantic coast than inland, though there is one from lake Ontario. 

An Old World form occasionally seen in the New World. Said to 
resemble the Red-back in habit, but too scarce in eastern Canada to be 
looked for as a regular visitor. Any record of this species should be founded 
on definite specimens and subjected to a rigid scrutiny. 

246. Setnipaltnated Sandpiper, black-legged peep. fr. — la maubeche semi- 
PALMEE. Ereimetes pusillus. L, 6-30. Upper parts, including crown, dark brown 
edged with light ochraceous or buf fy ; all white below, with vague band of slightly darker 
across the chest with obscure streakings and spots. 

Distinctions. Very similar in size and coloration to the Least Sandpiper, from which 
it cannot always be distinguished except by close examination. The toes, however, have 
small webs between their bases, giving the bird the name Semipalmated. 

Field Marks. Differentiated from the Least Sandpiper by its shghtly larger size, 
purer grey back, and whiter, more clearly lined breast. Legs and feet are black instead 
of dark olive green. 

Distribution. Breeds along the eastern Arctic coast south to southern Labrador. 
Common in migration throughout eastern Canada. 

Verj'' similar in habit as well as appearance to the Least Sandpiper, 
page 96. The Western Sandpiper Ereimetes mauri is a closely allied form 
that may be only a subspecies of the Semipalmated Sandpiper. It is 
distinguished by a slightly longer bill and a larger amount of red on the 
back, especially on the hindhead. Its occurrence in the Great Lakes region 
is very doubtful. 

248. Sanderling. fr. — la sanderling. Calidris leucophcea. L, 8. In spring — 
upperparts, including crown, dark brown variegated with much light rusty ochre or white, 
or both. Below, white. Throat, neck, and upper breast overwashed with more or less 
reddish-ochre and spotted with brown. The details of these colourings are exceedingly 
variable. The back may show enough of the various colours to make it either generally 
greyish, ochraceous, or rusty, and the coloured and spotted throat may be nearly immacu- 
lately white. The autumn bird is similar without much buffy or any reddish or ochra- 
ceous tint, it is pure white below and in front, and often predominantly grey to light 
ashy above. 

Distinctions. From traces to strong washes of rusty on neck and around head in the 
spring and the general whiteness in autumn. The Sanderling can be told from aU other 
Sandpipers by having three toes instead of four. 

Field Marks. Rufous suffusion about the head in some spring birds, general con- 
trasting black and white appearance on the wing, and line of white along the bases of 
flight feathers in all plumages. The pure white breast in autumn is also characteristic. 

Distribution. Breeds on the islands of the Arctic west to Alaska. A common migrant 
on sandy shores throughout eastern Canada. 

A bird of sandy shores, seldom frequenting mud flats. One of the most 
beautiful and interesting of the small Shore Birds. It haunts the edge of 
the water, following each retreating wave, and rapidly running back again 
before the wave's return, threatened every moment to be engulfed in the 
surf but always just escaping. As the birds fly out over the blue water, the 
sun shining on their glistening plumage, they are a beautiful sight; at one 
moment turning their daintily coloured black and white backs and the next, 
as though moved by a single impulse, banking on a wide wheel and showing 
the pure glistening white of their underparts. 

249. Marbled Godwit. fr. — la barge marbree. Limosa fedoa. L, 18. A very 
large Shore Bird; a general hght buff, faintly pinkish shade all over, except throat which 
may be white. Back, hind-neck to crown, variegated with dark brown and hght tints and 
the breast and flanks more or less barred with fme lines of the same dark colour. 


Distinctions. Similar to the Curlews in general appearance but bill slightly turned 
up instead of decisively turned down. Distinguished from the Hudsonian Godwit by fine, 
dark marbhng on the pinkish buff of the primaries. 

Field Marks. The Godwits are among the largest of our Shore Birds, practically 
equal to the Curlews in size. The bill not turned down will distinguish them from the 

Distribution. Breeds in the prairie provinces including some cultivated regions, 
migrates to both oceans, occurring casually in the eastern parts of the Maritime 

Never abundant in eastern Canada, this species is being sadly reduced 
in numbers like other large birds. Doubtless its habit of nesting within 
cultivated areas has had considerable to do with its disappearance. 

251. Hudsonian Godwit. fr. — la baege de la baie d'hudson. Limosa hoemas- 
tica. L, 15. In spring — upperparts, dark-brown to crown, marked with more or less 
greyish or buffy and touches of rusty; underparts, reddish-brown, more or less barred 
with dark and suffusing up foreneck. Autumn — upperparts unmarked brownish-grey; 
underparts, buffy-white or dingy white, breast greyer. 

Distinctions. Distinguished from the Curlews by the shghtly turned up instead of 
distinctly turned down bill; from the Marbled Godwit by the red underparts in spring, 
and at all seasons by the all dark, white shafted primaries without marbling. This species 
shows almost endless variations between the above plumages, but suggestions of the spring 
coloration are usually recognizable in aU except young birds. 

Field Marks. Large size, straight or shghtly turned up bill, and white rvunp at base 
of black tail, will separate this from either the Curlews or the Marbled Godwit which are 
the only species that are hkely to be confused with it. 

Distribution. Breeds in the northwest beyond civihzation. Most common eastward 
from the prairies to the Maritime Provinces in autumn, and in the interior in spring. 

The Hudsonian Godwit is a fine bird on the verge of extinction. 
As frequently happens, it seemed to disappear suddenly and before its 
growing scarcity was realized. It is doubtful whether shooting is altogether 
responsible for this condition. When a species is greatly reduced in numbers 
by any cause, an otherwise comparatively unimportant adverse influence 
may suffice to snuff it out unexpectedly. Protection is ineffective when 
delayed so long that the breeding stock is too greatly reduced for recovery. 

254. Greater Yellow-legs, greater tell-tale. fr. — la grand chevaller a 
pieds jattnes. chevalier ou pattes jatjnes. Totanus melanoleuciis. L, 14. A 
rather large Shore Bird. Upperparts to crown dark brown to black with small white or 
grey markings and intrusive greyish feathers, giving a grey effect; without trace of buff 
or rufous. Underparts white, streaked on foreneck, breast, and flanks with distinct 
streaks or bars of the same dark colour as on the back; legs very long and yellow. 

Distinctions. Size, yellow legs, and lack of any indication of buffy or rusty anywhere 
are marks of the two Yellow-legs. In young autumn birds the breast and neck marks 
may be veiled and indistinct. This and the next species distinguished only by size. 

Field Marks. Long, slender yellow legs, entire lack of ochraceous colour, size, and 
the lal"ge amount of white or whitish on tail and rump. When once acquainted with it, 
its flight is quite recognizable. 

Distribution. Breeds in high latitudes across the continent. In the east, south 
to Anticosti island and the north shore of the gulf of St. Lawrence; conunon in migrations 
throughout eastern Canada. 

The Greater Yellow-legs is one of the best known Shore Birds. Owing 
to its size and comparative numbers it is much sought after by sportsmen 
and it seems to have withstood their attacks better than many other 
apparently equally well-adapted species. It prefers marshy shores and 
mud to open sand and may be seen far out on the flats wading about, 
thigh deep, in water too deep for smaller waders. Its clear flute-Hke 
tremolo whistle in a descending scale is a sound to accelerate the pulse 


of any true sportsman or bird student. This species does not seem as 
numerous and is certainly more wary than the Lesser Yellow-legs; other- 
wise this description will do for both. 

255. Lesser Yellow-legs, little tell-tale. fr. — le petit chevalier a pieds 
jAUNEs. Totanus flavipes. L, 10-75. Smaller edition of the last species. 

Distribution. Breeds across the continent, in high latitudes. A common migrant 
throughout eastern Canada but not breeding there within cultivated areas. 

256. Solitary Sandpiper, fr. — le chevalier solitaire. Helodromas solifarius. 
L, 8-40. Upperparts dark, almost black, with a shght greenish lustre accented by com- 
paratively few small white spots; underparts and throat, white; lower neck, breast-band, 
and sides of flanks barred and striped with hghter shades of back colour; no tinge of 
buff or other shades. 

Distinctions. Size and general coloration; the white, dark-barred, axillars are con- 

Field Marks. Resembles both the Spotted Sandpiper and the Lesser Yellow-legs. 
Distinguished from the former by the lack of a white hne on the spread wing and the 
conspicuously white barring on the tail; and from the latter by size, and black instead 
of white rump. 

Nesting. For a long time the breedmg habits of this species were unknown and the 
problem of its nesting was not solved imtil it was discovered that it used the deserted 
nests of perching birds in trees and bushes. The closely aUied Green Sandpiper of Europe 
has the same habit. 

Distribution. Breeds northward from well within the hmits of cultivation; fairly 
common throughout eastern Canada as migrant or breeder. 

SUBSPECIES. The Sohtary Sandpiper is represented by two subspecies in Canada, 
only one of which, the Eastern Sohtary, the type form, occurs in the east. 

As implied by the name, this species is a rather solitary bird, being 
found as single individuals and pairs rather than in flocks even in migration 
time. It is a mud haunter and with the Spotted Sandpiper is the only 
wader that is commonly seen about such small waters as drainage ditches 
or along the edges of flooded woods. 

258. Willet. Catoptrophorus semipalmatus. L, 15. A large Shore Bird; upperparts 
buffy-grey marked with darker; imderparts, white suffused with hght greyish buff; 
barred and striped with darker on flanks, breast, and foreneck; rump white. 

Distinctions. Size, general hghtness and greyness of coloration, conspicuous white 
wing-spot on primaries, white rump, and black axillars. The characteristic Sandpiper 
bill will distinguish the Willet from the Black-billed Plover which has also these rump 
and axillar details. 

Field Marks. In size it resembles the Godwits more than anything else, but ashy 
greyness and the conspicuous white wing-spots are distinctive. 

" Distribution. Breeds to the south of us, originally from Virginia to Nova Scotia 
in the east, and locally westward to the central parts of the prairie provinces. Now very 
rare on the coast, irregular but shghtly more common in the Great Lakes region, and 
fairly common to the west in parts of the prairie provinces. 

SUBSPECIES. The species is divided into an eastern and a western subspecies, 
the latter based upon slightly larger size and greyer colour. The exact subspecific status 
of the Great Lakes bird is not quite satisfactorily established. In all probability the 
few that remaiQ in the Maritime Provinces are Eastern Willets, whereas those of the 
Great Lakes may be the Western Willet, C. s. inornatus, or intermediates. Material 
on hand is too scanty to make definite pronouncements and unless the species recovers 
at least some of its original numbers we may never be able to satisfactorily locate the 
range boundaries of the two forms. 

The Willet is another large and important species rapidly diminishing 
in numbers, a reduction due perhaps largely to its southern breeding range 
and inadequate protection. 


261. Upland Plover, bartramian sandpiper, bartram's plover, field plover. 
FR. — LA MAUBECHE A LONGUE QUEUE. Bartramia longicauda. L, 11-50. Upperparts, 
dark; feathers deeply edged with buff which colour suffusea rather strongly over head, 
breast, and neck. Dark V-shaped markings on breast turning to bars on flanks and 
stripes on neck; underparts, dull, creamy-white. 

Distinctions. Bearing in mind that this species is a Sandpiper and not a real Plover, 
the size and general suffusion of buff is characteristic. The inner web of the first primary, 
sharply marked with acute, dark, saw-teeth against a white ground for most of its length, 
is a character that occurs in no other comparable Canadian Shore Bird. The Hudsonian 
Curlew has a similar design but on a buff ground. 

Field Marks. The Upland Plover on the ground is scarcely recognizable as a wader 
by those unfamihar with it, resembling a long-legged grouse chick rather than a 
Sandpiper. In flight, however, it exhibits its true relationship. Size, general buflfiness, 
and upland habitat are distinctions. Its beautiful long drawn whistle once heard can 
never be mistaken. 

Distribution. Properly a bird of the prairie regions but probably spreading to the 
east when the forests were cleared away. It breeds in the more southern parts of eastern 
Canada and in the prairie provinces, appearing occasionally on the Atlantic coast as a 

Though called a Plover in its accepted name, this species is a true 
Sandpiper. The term Bartramian Sandpiper is a more satisfactory name 
and the one that should be in general use instead of Upland Plover. Once 
considerably more common that at present in the Great Lakes region, it is 
now scarce or rare. The species nested in the cultivated sections and was 
exposed to the accompanying dangers of such localities: agricultural dis- 
turbances to nesting, the ever present small boy with his cheap shot gun, 
the pot-hunter, and the sportsman. Size and ease of approach have 
evidently been the cause of its disappearance, where the smaller and warier 
Killdeer has been able to survive under the same conditions. As indicated 
by its name this species has deserted the ancestral wet habitat of its family 
and taken to upland meadows and dry pastures. It is, however, rarely 
found at any great distance from some small body of water. It alights 
readily on fences, fence-posts, buildings, or trees on occasion. 

Economic Status. Frequenting cultivated land, this species feeds 
largely on insects, grasshoppers, cut-worms, and other enemies to grass 
crops. It has been known to be of marked importance in reducing locust 
plagues, hence it must be classed among our most beneficial species and its 
presence should be encouraged. 

262. Buff-breasted Sandpiper, fr. — la maub^che a poitrine jaunatre. Tryn- 
gites subruficollis. L, 8-50. Back and crown dark, feathers of lower back finely edged 
with cream; underparts white; throat, neck, breast, and flanks strongly suffused with 
buff, which colour tinges much of the upperparts. 

Distinctions. Small size, and general buffy colour, underside of the inner webs 
of the primaries finely speckled with dark on white. The under-wing surface is beau- 
tifully marbled in a manner that is assumed by no other eastern species. 

Field Marks. Small size and general buffy colour. It may appear on uplands like 
the Upland Plover, but the latter is much larger. 

Distribution. Breeds on the Arctic shores of the extrer^e northwest, migrating 
down the Mississippi valley; hence it is very rare in the Maritime Provinces, scarce in 
the Great Lakes region, and more common westward. 

Economic Status. What has been said of the Upland Plover is probably 
true of this species. 

263. Spotted Sandpiper, pewit, teeter, tip-up. fr. — la maubeche tache- 
TEE. l'alouette A braule queue. Actitis nmctdavia. L, 7-50. Plate VIIIB. 


Distinctions. Adults have decidedly round breast spots and a slight greenish lustre 
on the back. Young autumn birds resemble the Solitary but are distinguished by white 
instead of barred axillars. 

Field Marks. Size and distinct round spots on breast. When flying it may be 
distinguished from the Sohtary Sandpiper, which it most resembles, by the white line 
along the edges of the secondaries and the much smaller amount of black and white 
barring on the tail. The flight, when the observer becomes famihar with it, is also quite 

Nesting. Slight hollow in ground at no great distance fro i water, in the shelter 
of a bit of shrub or grass. 

Distribution. Breeds over the whole of eastern Canada to the northernmost parts 
of Ungava. Common throughout its range. 

This is the commonest summer Sandpiper in Canada; occasional pairs 
are to be found along the smallest streams. It frequents all kinds of ground ; 
sandy beaches, gravelly reaches, mud flats, or rocky shores. Almost any 
Sandpiper seen in summer near our waters may be put down as this species 
unless there are good grounds for other identification. Its habit of bobbing 
its body up and down occasionally, even when apparently at rest, or more 
rapidly when excited, has given it the common name "Tip-up". Its 
white-barred wings, pecuhar flight, with a few quick beats followed by a 
short sail on decurved wings, and its loud triumphant " pewit-pewit-pewW 
as it alights on the stream margin well ahead of the intruder are famiUar 
to all observers. One can chase it from point to point for some distance 
from its home ground, when, joined by its mate, it will circle well around 
the disturber and return again to the place from which it started. 

Ecoyiomic Status. Though normally frequenting water edges it is often 
seen in the adjacent fields, running between the furrows of newly turned 
earth or rows of growing plants. Its food is mainly, if not entirely, insec- 
tivorous, hence it is beneficial to the farmer. The species has not suffered 
severely from shooting and seems to hold its own in the most cultivated 

Genus — Numenius. Curlews. Fr. — Le Courlis, Le Corbigeau. 

General Description. Large Shore Birds between 13 • 50 and 24 inches long. Coloured 
in various shades from cream to weak brown, mottled above, lighter and clear below, neck 
and breast finety striped and with more or less suffusion or suggestion of buff over all. 
The bills are long and curved decidedly downward. 

Distinctions. Large size, decurved bill, and general buffy colour. Distinguished 
from the Godwits by down-curved instead of slightly up-turned bill. 

Field Marks. Large size, and decurved bill, general buff colour. 

Large size among birds is a distinct menace to their existence. The 
Curlews are a good example of this and unless intelligent measures to pro- 
tect them are taken in the near future there will soon be none left. In the 
east the Curlews have almost disappeared, but in the west there is still 
a fair number left. The vegetable part of their food is largely wild fruit and 
in the ]Maritime Provinces they frequent barrens and upland bogs for 
bake-apple berries and cranberries. In cultivated fields, insects are their 
chief food and as many noxious species, including grasshoppers, are con- 
sumed their presence is decidedly beneficial to the farmer. 

264. Long-billed Curlew, sickle-bill curlew, fr. — le courlis a long bec. 
Numenius americanus. L, 24. The largest of the genus. The coloration of all the 
Curlews is quite similar, but the Long-bill is distinctly buff below instead of creamy- 
white (see previous heading). 


Distinctions. In well grown specimens the extreme length of bill (6 inches) of this 
species is diagnostic, but, as in numerous other species showing great specialization or 
size, growth continues for some time after apparent maturity and this feature is unreliable 
as sole guide. The crown, axillars, and primary characters, however, make good criteria 
for the Curlews. In this species the crown is dark, evenly spotted with light without 
aggregation into a median line, and the inner vanes of the primaries are marked with 
saw-tooth figures of dark on a light buff ground. The axillars are solidly coloured without 

Field Marks. For recognition as a Curlew see previous page- The Curlews cannot 
be separated in hfe with absolute certainty. 

Distribution. Breeds in the prairie provinces and well to the south. It is recorded 
originally as a more or less common migrant on the Atlantic coast north to the Maritime 
Provinces, but does not occur there now; also recorded from the Great Lakes region 
but without supporting evidence. The general confusion of this with the Hudsonian 
Curlew is responsible for many known misidentifications and the species should in future 
only be recorded in eastern Canada upon the conclusive evidence of specimens. 

265. Hudsonian Curlew, fr. — le courlis de la baie d'hudson. Numenius hud- 
sonicus. L, 17. A smaller Ciu"lew than the last, but larger than the next. Of same 
general coloration, but the Hudsonian less buffy than the Long-billed, the underparts 
being dull creamy; see Curlew heading, previous page. 

Distinctions. Often diagnosed as the Long-billed, but can be easily distinguished 
from the other Curlews by the pronounced median stripe on the crown, instead of uni- 
formly distributed spots, combined with the saw-tooth marks on the inner webs of the 
primaries, and the barred axillars. 

Field Marks. For recognition as Curlews see Curlew, previous page. Curlews 
cannot be easily separated in life with certainty, but size and length of bill may help. 
This is the only species hkely to be met with in eastern Canada. 

Distribution. Breeds in the northwestern Arctic. Migrates down the Pacific coast, 
and across the continent to the Atlantic where it is more common than in the interior. 
A regular though not abundant migrant in the Great Lakes region. 

This is the only Curlew of which we have any satisfactory evidence on 
the lower Great Lakes. It has learned from experience to be a wild and 
wary bird, and as it now occurs in numbers only in the extreme east not 
very many are taken. 

266. Eskimo Curlew, fr. — le courlis du nord. corbigeau des Esquimaux, 
Numenius borealis. L, 13-50. The smallest of the Curlews. Of same general coloration 
as the Hudsonian. 

Distinctions. Easily separated from either of the other Curlews by its smaller size 
and plain immarked primaries, though the axillars are barred as in the Hudsonian, and 
the crown evenly spotted, without median stripe, as in the Long-billed. 

Field Marks. See preceding species. This bird is, however, too rare nowadays for 
eyesight record. 

Distribution. Breeds on the barren grounds of the Mackenzie district. Migrates in 
autumn across to Labrador and then down the coast. In spring it ascends the Mississippi 

Very close to extinction. Whether or not ill-regulated shooting was 
the chief cause of its great reduction in numbers, for old accounts speak of 
immense flocks, it was certainly contributory. This is another case of 
disappearance coming before realization of the necessity of protection and 
the apparent or threatened loss of a species that can never be replaced. 


General Description. Plover are rather more stoutly and compactly built than the 
Snipe-like birds. Their bills are shorter, soft at the base, but ending in a hard, horny tip, 
(Figure 24, p. 22). Hind toe lacking in all species except Black-beUied (p. 103) in which it 
is very small and almost rudimentary. 


Distinctions. With the above description the Plover are not likely to be confused 
with anything else. 

Nesiiyig. On ground in a slight depression usually lined with scanty grass, moss, 
other waste vegetation, or pebbles. 

Distribution. In closely related or nearly identical forms the family is circumpolar 
in distribution, breeding mostly north of present settlement. 

The Plover are well known to the sportsman. They average larger 
in size than the Snipes and some of them which feed in upland fields offer 
considerable sport. 

Economic Status. As a family they frequent cultivated land more than 
other Shore Birds and hence are of somewhat greater economic interest. 
They are actively helpful to man. 

270. Black-bellied Plover, bull-head. fr. — le plutier a ventre noir, van- 
NEAtj ORIS. Squatarola squatarola. L, 11. Spring plumage — back, almost black with 
many broad white feather-tips aggregated on wings; crown and hindneck, almost white; 
cheeks, throat, foreparts and breast to abdomen, pure black, often showing white feathers 
remaining from immaturity. Autumn plumage — -back, weak brown with cream or yellow- 
ish feather ends to top of head; throat, foreneck, and underparts dull whitish with indis- 
tinct breast-band of veiled stripes. All intermediate plumages are taken within our bound- 

Distinctions. Plover-like characters; will be mistaken only for the Golden Plover 
which it closely resembles. The presence of a small though well-formed hind toe is peculiar 
to this bird as it is our only Plover with a fourth toe. 

Field Marks. Requiring separation only from the Golden Plover. Rather incon- 
spicuous white band on the spread wing, axillars black, in strong contrast to background 
of underwing surface when flying, and wliite rump to be seen under favourable conditions. 

Distribution. A circumpolar species breeding in America along the Arctic coast 
northwest of Hudson bay. More or less common in migration in suitable habitats through- 
out eastern Canada. 

272. American Golden Plover, fr. — pluvier dore d'amerique. Charadrius 
dorninicus. L, 10-50. Spring plumage — back almost black to top of head, with numerous 
yellow feather-tips, more scanty on crown; forehead and line over eye, descending to 
sides of breast, white; throat, foreneck, and all underparts solid black. Autumn plumage 
— above, dull brown with many cream to yellow feather-edge spots, aggregating on 
rump and crown; throat and face, white or whitish slightly spotted; breast and all below, 
faintly barred with duH white and light tints of the brown of the back. All intermediate 
plumages may be seen. 

Distinctions. A slightly smaller bird than the foregoing but easily confused with it. 
The large amount of yellow on the back of spring plmnage and the faint barrings of the 
breast and underparts in the autumn are characteristic. The absence of any trace of 
hind toe is diagnostic in any plumage. 

Field Marks. Only needing separation from the previous species. Extended wing 
without any indication of white band; axillars smoke-grey instead of conspicuous black; 
rump not white. 

Distribution. Breeds in the barren grounds from Hudson bay westward. It is said 
to have extraordinary migration routes. In the autumn it moves eastward to Labrador, 
then southward across the gulf of St. Lawrence to Nova Scotia, where it takes an over-sea 
route to Brazil without touching intermediate land unless storm-tlriven. From thence 
it works down to the Argentine pampas. In the spring it strikes western South America 
about Equador, crosses the isthmus of Panama and the gulf of Mexico, and follows up the 
Mississippi valley to its breeding grounds. That it takes this immense flight over the 
broad Atlantic without resting seems too remarkable to be true, but as it is not a pro- 
ficient swimmer able to rest on the water at will, the evidence points towards this conclu- 

SUBSPECIES. The American Golden Plover is divided into two subspecies; only 
the Eastern Golden Plover, the type form, occurs in eastern Canada. 

Once far more common than now. Within the memory of living 
sportsmen large flocks were regularly seen; now only occasional birds are 
met with. It is very closely related to the Golden Plover of Europe. 


273. Killdeer Plover, fr. — le plxjvier kildir. Oxyechus vociferiis. L, 10-50. 
Plate IX A. 

Distinctions. As the Killdeer is the largest of the Ringuecked Plovers it can hardly 
be confused vsrith its smaller relatives. The double instead of single breast band also dis- 
tinguishes it from them. 

Field Marks. Size, two breast bands instead of one, striking ochraceous tail and 
rump, and distinctive call of "killdee-killdee-killdee." 

Nesting. A mere hollow in the ground scantily lined with vegetable fragments. 

Distribution. A species of remarkably wide range, breeding from the northern limits 
of cultivation in Canada to the gulf of Mexico. Rare or absent from vicinity of either 

A common summer bird over all Canada except in the sea coast districts. 
Its loud voice is familiar to all country residents and visitors. A true Shore 
Bird, it frequents the high dry uplands and cultivated fields, often nesting 
in the ploughed furrows amidst the crops. When its young are hatched, 
however, it usually leads them to water, some quiet nearby pool as 
a rule, and as soon as they are able to take care of themselves they unite in 
small scattered flocks. That this species has been able to survive and 
thrive in the midst of cultivation and civilization while other species 
apparently as well able to take care of themselves have succumbed, is 
probably due to its comparatively solitary habits and to its not general'p 
gathering in dense flocks, the pursuit of which is profitable. 

Economic Status. Its food is largely insectivorous and through spring 
and early summer it frequents ground where it can do much good. 

274. Semipalmated Plover, ring-neck plover, fr. — le pluvier semipalme- 
Mgialitis semipalmata. L, 6-75. A small Plover of general resemblance to the Killdeer, 
but with one instead of two dark breast-bands and without the ochraceous rump 
and tail of that species. Autumn birds are similar, but the colours are washed out and 

with no clear black anywhere. 

Distinctions. With size and the above description, can be mistaken only for the 
Piping Plover, but the back coloration is decidedly brownish in all plumages instead of 
smoke-grey or dry sand colour, the breast band is always broad, continuous, and well- 
marked even in autumn, and the ear coverts behind and below the eye are always decidedly 
dark instead of pure white. Feet with small webs explain the accepted common name; 
the only Plover in Canada which is so provided. 

Field Marks. Size and a single instead of double breast-band distinguish this from 
the Killdeer Plover, and the back, dark-coloured Uke wet sand, from the Piping Plover 
which is lighter and grey like dry sand. 

Nesting. Slight hollow in the ground or shore refuse. 

Distribution. Breeds in the high north across the continent; south, in the east, to 
the gulf of St. Lawrence. Common in migration in suitable locahties in eastern Canada. 

A pretty little Plover frequenting mud flats or sandy beaches indiffer- 
ently. Closely related to the European Ring Plover and distinguished 
only by slightly smaller size and a few minor details. 

277. Piping Plover, ring-neck. fr. — le plxjvier criard. ^gialitis meloda. L, 
7-10. Spring plumage — same markings as the Semipalmated previously described, but 
back in hghter colours. Back and crown light smoke-grey, a black bar across fore-crown, 
remainder, collar around neck, and forehead white; a black ring about neck, just below 
the white one, sometimes broken on the breast. Autumn birds — similar but without black 
neck ring and generally weaker in coloration. 

Distinctions. Can be mistaken only for the Semipalmated but easily distinguished 
by the characters given under that heading. 

Field Marks. Distinguished from the Semipalmated Plover by its lighter coloration, 
like dry instead of wet sand. Its melodious whistle is easily remembered when once heard. 

Nesting. Depression in the sand made by the bird and containing only a few small 
pebbles, coarse grains of sand, or fragments of shell upon which the eggs rest. 

Distribution. Breeds on sandy shores locally from the prairie provinces to the gulf 
of St. Lawrence and Sable island. 


A small Plover well called meloda. It is a sand-beach bird and never 
seen in grassy or marshy stituations. Some individuals have broken and 
others complete black breast-bands. The latter were for some time re- 
garded as a subspecies but now all are included under the one form. The 
Snowy Flover, ^gialitis nivosa, has been taken on lake Ontario, but is probably 
not to be expected again. It is slightly smaller than the Piping, of same 
general coloration but with a dark aural or cheek patch, and only a spot 
of dark at the sides of the breast instead of a complete bar across it. A more 
southern and western bird and can only occur as a straggler. 


General Description. Medium-sized Shore Birds with bill (Figure 27, p. 22) moder- 
ately short, homy for the terminal half, tip slightly flattened (in a horizontal plane) but 
not distinctly enlarged as in the Plover. 

A small famil}' of world-wide distribution. Only one species of this 
family in eastern Canada. 

283a. Turnstone, ruddy Turnstone. American Turnstone, carriquet plo"uer 


aria interpres. L, 9-50. 

Distinctions. A strikingly coloured bird. Back in rather broad masses of dull red, 
black, and white more or less intermixed. Rump and head white, the crown striped with 
brown or black. Underparts pure white, with black breast-band, extending up side of neck 
to face where it makes a circle through the eye and around a white loral spot. Autumn 
birds have the colours subdued and the back coloration lost or only faintly represented, 
but enough of the face and breast markings always remain to suggest the above diagnosis. 

Field Marks. The pecuhar pied coloration In red, black, and white of the spring 
plumage. In the autumn the white lower back and upper tail coverts separated by a dark 

Nesting. Depression in the ground lined with a few dead leaves or vegetable fibres. 

Distribution. The Turnstone as a species has one of the widest distributions of any 
bird, there being few countries where it has not occurred. The American subspecies 
representative of the species, the Ruddy Turnstone, breeds from the Arctic coast west of 
Hudson Bay northward, and is more common on the Atlantic than the Pacific coast; 
locally common, in migration, in the Great Lakes region. 

SUBSPECIES. The Turnstone is represented in America by a subspecies, the 
Ruddy Turnstone A. i. morinella, though the typical form is said to occur in western 

A bird of sandy, muddy, or rocky shores, but preferring the first. 
It is named from its habit of turning over small stones and pebbles on the 
beach searching for food beneath them, and it is astonishing what com- 
paratively large stones it can move. It inserts its bill under the edge, 
gives a little fillip, and away goes the stone rolling or skidding over the 
beach to a considerable distance. It is a comparatively good swimmer. 
It differs from the Old World Turnstone only in slightly smaller size, less 
black on the upperparts, and the stronger coloration of the legs. 


General Description. Large Shore Bird more heavily built than is usual in the order; 
bill stout and horny, flattened laterally (sideways) at tip. There is only one species that 
may perhaps occur in eastern Canada. 

286. American Oyster-catcher, h^matopus palliatus. L, 19. Head, neck, 
and upper breast, black; back, olive-brown with contrasting white wing-patch and rump. 
All underparts, pure white; bill, large, bright red. 

Distribution. Atlantic coast north to Virginia. Formerly to New Jersey and acci- 
dental to New Brimswick. Probably bred throughout its range. 


The northern range of this striking bird was once on our southern 
sea coasts. It has long been exterminated (?) in Canada and there is httle 
chance of its occurring again. 

Order — Gallinae. Scratching Birds. 

As the name impUes, these birds are adapted for securing their food 
by scratching in the ground. The best popular representatives are the 
common barnyard poultry, but the order glides almost imperceptibly 
into the Pigeons on one hand and the Shore Birds on the other. They are 
well distributed over the world, being found in almost every country on 
the globe. In Canada we have only one suborder of the group, Phasiani, 
the true fowls. 


General Description. This suborder is composed of birds with strong, compact feet, 
four toes, and blunt claws adapted for scratching in the ground (Figure 28, p. 22) . Though 
best adapted for terrestrial Ufe they perch readily in trees and often feed and roost there. 
Bills short, horny, and with strongly arched culmen (Figure 29, p. 23); nostrils set in a 
soft intrusion into the base of the bill; wings short and round. These birds rarely take 
wing except for short fhghts or to avoid immediate danger. 

Nesting. On ground, eggs laid on the dead grass or leaves with little or no preparation. 

Distribution. Species of this suborder are foimd in all parts of Canada. The Ruffed 
and Spruce Grouse and the Turkey are birds of the woodlands; the Bob-white, Prairie 
Chicken, and Sharp-tail inhabit open or prairie country; and the Ptarmigan, the barren 
lands of the extreme north. 

Three families of this order are represented in Canada. Odontopho- 
ridoe the American Quail, Tetraonidoe the Grouse, and Meleagjidce the Turkeys. 

Economic Status. Their food is both insectivorous and vegetable — 
grains, buds, leaves, fruit, and insects being equally acceptable to them. 
As several species frequent cultivated fields their economic status is of 
interest to the husbandman and has been the subject of considerable in- 
vestigation, the results of which show that some of them are among the 
most useful birds on the farm. The insect portion of the food of some 
species is decidedly important and very little complaint can be made 
against the other items as they are mostly waste or wild material of little 
or no consequence to the agriculturist. 

Like most of our larger birds they have been greatly reduced in number, 
and should be strictly protected and their kiUing limited to the natural 
annual surplus, leaving an ample permanent breeding stock untouched. 
The Canadian representatives of this suborder are divided into three 
families: Odontophoridoe, the American Quails; Tetraonidoe, the Grouse; 
and Meleagridce, the Turkeys. 


General Description. The smallest representatives of the suborder in Canada. The 
nostril is partly covered with a fleshy scale and not as well hidden in the feathering as it is 
in the feathering of the Grouse. There is only one species of the family in eastern Canada. 

The term "Quail" for our American birds is a misnomer. They are 
not Quails in the European sense but true Partridges. In their turn our 
"Partridges" are Grouse. These are examples of a common misapplication 


of Old World names to New World forms. There are many such cases, 
confusing to the beginner but too well established in vernacular usage to 
be corrected at this late date. 

This family is of rather southern distribution reaching its maximum 
in number of both species and individuals in the southwestern states 
and Mexico. 

289. Bob-white. American quail. Colinus virginianus. L, 10. Plate IX B. 

Distinctions. Can be mistaken for no other bird in Canada. Size and coloration 
combined with evident fowl-like character are distinctive. 

Field Marks. Small, partridge-hke bird which rises suddenly from the groimd and 
flies with rapid beats and loud reverberating wing-strokes. 

Distribution. The Bob-white and its allied subspecies are distributed over eastern 
North America, north to and including southern Ontario. 

SUBSPECIES. The subspecies of Bob-white native to eastern Canada is the type 
form — the Virginia Bob-white. 

The Bob-white occurs in Canada only in southern Ontario where 
it is known to every country dweller. In the autumn the sportsman hunts 
it with dogs, in spring the ploughman and small boy find its nest in the 
course of their farm work, and all are familiar with its clear whistle-hke 
call of "Bob-white," or as otherwise interpreted "More-wet." It is not 
a retiring species which withdraws into the deepest woodland recesses on 
the advent of cultivation; but it keeps to the clearings, hanging about 
woodland edges, shrubby fence-lines, or overgrown wastes in close prox- 
imity to the fields. When food is scarce it will often come into the barn- 
yard and feed with the poultry. Open land is its feeding ground, the brush 
its refuge from danger. Before the country was cleared, the Bob-white 
was probably rare in Canada, but advancing settlement opened up new 
ground for the species. Even in the most southern parts of the country 
to-day the Bob-white remains precariously, fluctuating greatly in numbers, 
and it is evidently hardly suited for this northern limit of its range. It is 
prolific, however, and favourable winters and a few years of abstention 
from shooting increase its numbers many times; but coverts are almost 
invariably overshot and hard winters periodically reduce its numbers. 
The hardest natural conditions it has to combat are deep snow covering 
the food supply, and wet sleety weather which not only chills it but seals 
it under an icy crust when it seeks refuge in the snow at night. The Ring- 
necked Pheasant, rather extensively introduced as a sporting bird, is said 
with some supporting evidence to be inimical to it. In addition to the 
sporting value of the species it is deserving of every encouragement by 
agriculturists from a purely economic standpoint and for this reason 
might perhaps with advantage be withdrawn from our list of game birds. 

It has been a common practice to repopulate depleted covers with 
birds imported from the southern states. Whether this introduction of 
stock, unacclimatized to northern conditions, has weakened the constitu- 
tion of native birds is still undetermined. Several subspecies of the Bob- 
white occur in the south and importation has left doubtful the real char- 
acters of our own original form, which to-day can only be judged from 
specimens antedating such introductions. 

Economic Status. The bulk of the Bob-white's food is weed seed. 
The grain it eats is waste, gleaned from the ground. The insect content, 


though not especially large, includes some species not ordinarilj^ eaten 
by other birds and for that reason is specially important. It is one of the 
few birds that will eat the potato beetle. 


The Grouse have their nostrils hidden in feathers that occupy an 
intrusive space in the base of the bill at the sides (Figure 29, p. 23). The 
tarsus is either completely or partly feathered, in the Ptarmigan the 
feathering includes the toes. The toes when unfeatheied, are bordered 
on each side by a small fringe composed of individual horny scales or 
pectinations (Figure 28, p. 22), which are shed in midsummer. The 
Grouse comprise the bulk of our upland game birds and are great 
favourites of sportsmen. The sexes are alike or nearly so, and except in 
the Ptarmigans show slight seasonal variation in plumage and do not 
usually migrate. The Ptarmigan, which directly reverse each of these 
statements, are so well characterized otherwise that no confusion is prob- 
able. All species nest on the ground, making little preparation for the 
eggs. They lay unusually large sets of eggs, six to eighteen, and the 
young, chicken-like, follow the parent as soon as out of the shell. 

298. Spruce Grouse, canada gkouse, spruce partridge, fool hen. fr. — le tetras 
DTj CANADA. CanachUes canadensis. L, 15. Plate X A. 

Distinctions. Easily distinguished by colour, etc., from the Ruffed Grouse which 
is about the only species in eastern Canada that can possibly be mistaken for it. In tlie 
extreme west there are forms that closely resemble it. 

Field Marks. General bluish colour of the male. Absence of ruff or specialized neck 
feathers and the presence of the striking red comb over the eye, present in both sexes but 
more conspicuous in the male. 

Distribution. Through the northern coniferous wooded regions of Canada, resident 
wherever found. 

SUBSPECIES. The Spruce Partridge is divided into several geographical races, two 
of which, the Hudsonian Spruce Partridge Canachites canadensis canadensis, the type form, 
and the Canada Spruce Grouse C. c. canace, occur in eastern Canada. The former occupies 
the Labrador peninsula and the more northern ranges and the latter New Brimswick, 
southern Ontario, etc. They are too similar, however, to be differentiated in a popular 

A northern bird of the spruce woods. Its super-confiding nature has 
given it the popular name of ''Fool-hen" as, where not much disturbed, 
it can often be killed with a stick or with stones. Owing to its feeding 
largely upon spruce or evergreen buds its flesh is too strong for the ordinary 
civilized palate. 

Economic Status. Being of northern distribution and living in the 
evergreen forests, it has no economic influence. 

300. Ruffed Grouse, partridge, birch partridge, fr. — la gelinotte a fraise. 
Bonasa umbellus. L, 17. Plate X B (Feet and bill. Figures 27, 28, p. 22). 

Distinctions. The Ruffed Grouse, with its prominent soft, black ruff at the sides of 
the neck, large fan-shaped tail, and eye-hke spots on the rump and lower back cannot 
well be mistaken for any other species. 

Field Marks. Large size and fan-shaped tail. 

Distributio7i. The Ruffed Grouse is distributed throughout the wooded areas of Canada 
north to the tree limits. 

SUBSPECIES. Several geographic races of the Ruffed Grouse are recognized. 
The tjrpe form is of southern distribution and is replaced in eastern Canada by the Canada 
Ruffed Grouse Bonasa umbellus togata, characterized by a greyer or less red coloration. 


This is the "Partridge" of most Canadian sportsmen Dwelling in 
the deep woods amidst the underbrush, lying close, rising at the feet like 
a miniature explosion, and flying with great speed through the dim forest 
it tests the alertness and marksmanship of any sportsman. The Ruffed 
Grouse to-day is found only in the forest patches where cover and a con- 
siderable area give it protection and along the fringes of settlement where 
it still exists precariously. 

Sudden weather changes are a serious menace to the Ruffed Grouse. 
Wet, cold springs are deadly to the young and sleet destroys much potential 
breeding stock in winter. In severe weather the Ruffed Grouse seeks 
shelter beneath the snow or allows the latter to drift over it. Should soft 
weather come followed by cold, as often happens, it is frozen under a crust 
which it cannot break and so succumbs. 

The dmmming of the Partridge is a familiar sound to all frequenters 
of the woods. It is a series of dull reverberating throbs made by the rapidly 
beating wings and has a peculiar all-pervading intensity which makes the 
direction of its origin difficult of location. The beats begin slowly, gradu- 
ally increasing in speed until at the end of perhaps five seconds they run 
into each other and die away in a confused whir. The bird is usually 
strutting along a prostrate log when he pauses to drum. During the drum- 
ming the bird displays all its ornaments — tail, crest, and ruffs — and though 
standing upright and still, the wings are lost in a haze of speed. Two 
sources for this drumming noise are suggested, one that the wings are 
struck together over the back and the other that they are brought against 
the sides to produce the beat. Either or neither may contribute to the 
effect. The sound from the wings beating on the air as the bird rises to 
wing is quite similar in quality if not in intensity or meter, and the mere 
beating of the air seems suflficient to produce the effect. The action, of 
course, is the call of the male to the female, as is the display of the Peacock 
or the Turkey Gobler. Spring is the proper season for drumming, but it 
IS indulged in more or less throughout the summer and with increased 
frequency again in the autumn. In the Canada Ruffed Grouse Bonasa 
umbellus togata, two well-defined colour phases appear which are not 
governed by sex, season, or locality. In one form there is considerable 
red; in an extreme example the ruffs are copper-coloured rather than black, 
the tail is strikingly red, and there is more or less of the same colour else- 
where. In the grey form, which is perhaps the most typical, the tail is 
decidedly grey, there is less red elsewhere, and the ruffs are black with a 
slight greenish sheen. All intermediate forms are met with. 

Economic Status. As the species lives in woods nothing can be said 
against it even if, apart from its sentimental and sporting importance, 
little economic value can be claimed for it. 

Genus — Lagopus. Ptarmigan. 

General Description. The Ptarmigan are more northern Grouse, and notable for their 
remarkable seasonal change in plumage. In winter, they are pure white; in summer, barred 
with various shades of red, brown, and ochre, with the reddish usually prevailing. Their feet 
are feathered to the ends of the toes and they perform definite and long migrations, walking 
most of the way but occasionally taking flights from point to point or across such wide 
waters as Hudson strait. As, even in midsummer, irregular patches of white remain in 
their plumage, and, as their feet are always feathered to the toes, there is no chance of 



mistaking them. They are circumpolar in distribution and are found in both the Old 
and New Worlds. Like many other Arctic forms they extend well southward along moimt- 
ain ranges where elevation carries northern conditions to lower latitudes. The Red Grouse 
of Scotland is an interesting Ptarmigan that has lost its abihty to change to white in winter 
and retains its summer coloration throughout the year. There are two species in eastern 
Canada. Owing to the remarkable variabihty of the species, American Ptarmigan have 
been split up into a great niunber of subspecies only to be distinguished by a speciahst 
with abundant material for comparison. Economically the Ptarmigan are of little import- 
ance except as a source of food supply to trappers, hunters, and prospectors in the far 

301. Willow Grouse, willow ptarmigan, fr. — lagopede des saules. Lagopus 
lagopus. L, 15. In winter, all white except the tail which is pure black. In summer, 
nearly evenly barred all over in black and various shades of browTi, ochre, and rusty. Either 
rust or ochre may predominate. 

Distinctions. In winter the all white head and absence of black line through eye 
distinguishes this from the Rock Ptarmigan. In summer, its superior size, especially well 
shown by a comparison of the bills, is the most easily recognized point of identification. 

Distribution. The Arctic, across the continent, migrates south in winter to the frontier 
of civihzation. 

SUBSPECIES. The subspecies occurring over most of Canada is the type form, 
the Willow Ptarmigan. Another, AUen's Ptarmigan L. i. alleni, occurs in Newfoundland. 

302. Rock Ptarmigan, fr. — la lagopede des rochers. Lagopus rupestris. 
L, 13. In winter, all white except a black tail and line through eye to base of bill. In 
summer, very similar to preceding species. 

Distinctions. In winter, black eye line. In summer, size, especially of bill, when 
compared with Willow Grouse is diagnostic. 

Distribution. The Arctic, across the continent, in winter shghtly more northern than 
the previous species. 

SUBSPECIES. Tliree subspecies of Rock Ptarmigan are recognized in eastern 
Canada: Reinhardts Ptarmigan L. r. reinhardti in the northern extremity of Ungava, 
Welsh's Ptarmigan L. r. welchz in Newfoimdland, and the type form, the Arctic Ptarmigan, 
in the remaining areas. 

305. Prairie Chicken, prairie hen. pinnated grouse. Tympanuchus ameri- 
canu^. L, 18. A Grouae of the same size as the Ruffed, coloured in shades of 
brown, hght ochre, and white, but without the long fan-shaped tail and with 
the soft ruff replaced by a few long, straight, stiff feathers pointed downward over the 
shoulders. The barring on the underparts and breast is clear and sharp and is continued 
across the back and upper parts as well as below. 

Distinctions. The above points easily distinguish this species from the Ruffed 
Grouse. From the next species, the Sharp-tailed Grouse, it can be as certainly distin- 
guished by its breast barred instead of covered with V-shaped markings. Other distinc- 
tions are the presence of long stiff feathers on the sides of the neck and the stiff tail not 
ending in a point when closed. 

SUBSPECIES. Two subspecies of Prairie Chicken are recognized. The form 
which occurs in Canada is the type race, the Northern Prairie Chicken. 

This is the true Prairie Chicken of the western prairies, though in 
western Canada the name is popularly and incorrectly given to the next 
species described. It is included here only because an occasional bird 
has been taken in the southern parts of Ontario, to which it seems to have 
spread from the Michigan side of Detroit river where, once common, 
it is now rare and restricted to a few localities. Within the memory of the 
present generation in parts of the west it has gradually encroached upon 
and displaced the next species. 

Economic Status. Too rare in eastern Canada to require much dis- 
cussion here. In the west where it occurs in numbers it is of considerable 
economic importance, but no damage can be charged against it. 


308. Sharp-tailed Grouse, pin-tailed grouse, fr. — la gelinotte a queue 
AiGUE. Pedioecetes phasianellus. L, 17-50. Coloured in fine indefinite patterns 
of browns and white, or cream, on the upper parts, tending towards bars only across the 
shoulders; underparts pure white. Across breast each feather is bordered with a dark 
V-shaped figure which changes to a short bar as it ascends the neck and to fine spots on 
the creamy throat. 

Distinctions. The V marks of the breast and the soft, sharp point of the closed tail 
are conclusive and easily recognized identification marks. 

Distribution. A more northern species and less distinctly an open praixie form than 
the Prairie Chicken. Distributed across the continent north of present cultivated areas 
in the east, but is very local as there are large stretches of country where it is absent or 
rare. It comes south irregularly in autumn to the edges of settlement. In the prairie 
provinces it extends south to and across the United States border. 

SUBSPECIES. The species is divided into several geographic races. Along the 
Manitoba boundary the Prairie Sharp-tail Pedioecetes phasianellus campestris is likely 
to be found; elsewhere in eastern Canada the typical or Northern Sharp-tail. 

In the west this is a prairie bird but it is locally being replaced by the 
previous species. 


The largest of our scratching birds and so familiar from its domesti- 
cated form that it requires no detailed description. We have had only one 
species in Canada. 

310. Wild Turkey. Meleagris gallopavo. L, 48-50. So nearly Uke our domestic 
Bronze Turkey as to require no special description. 

Distinctians. The only bird from which it is necessary to separate the Wild Turkey 
is the tame or domestic variety. The latter originated from Mexican stock and in con- 
sequence always shows a little white on the end of the tail. The tail of the Wild Turkey 
ends in wood-brown. 

Distribution. Originally distributed over the whole of eastern North America to 
Maine and southern Ontario. 

SUBSPECIES. Several subspecies of Wild Turkey are recognized. The type 
form is found in Mexico. The Canadian bird is the Northern Wild Turkey Meleagris 
gallopavo silvestns. 

The Turkey as a wild form occurred in Canada only in southern Ontario 
and has been extinct for a number of years. At present the Wild Turkey 
remains only in the most out-of-the-way wooded localities of the wilder 
southern states and even there it promises to vanish soon. There is 
probably considerable native wild blood in the domesticated turkey flocks 
along lake Erie and a number of specimens of so-called Wild Turkeys are 
obviously at least half-bred with domestic blood. 

Order — Columbae. Pigeons and Doves. 

This order, of world-wide distribution, is variously divided by different 
authors. According to the system of classification of the American Or- 
nithologists' Union all our American species are included in the one family, 
Columhidce. They are the most typically pigeon-like in form and, therefore, 
may be called the True Pigeons. 


Pigeons and Doves can in a general way be said to resemble the outline 
and actions of our familiar domestic stock. Characters more easily 
recognized than described. Systematically they can be recognized by their 
bills. These are hard and horny at the tip, which is very slightly enlarged 


and with the basal half furnished with a soft, slightly swollen membrane in 
which nostrils open (Figure 35, p. 24). The legs and feet are weak, fitted 
only for walking on small level areas or for simple perching. Our common 
domestic Pigeons, descended from the Rock Dove of Europe, show all the 
niost distinctive characters of the family. There are no recognizable or 
taxonomic differences between the so-called Pigeons and Doves. 

315. Passenger Pigeon, wild pigeon, fr. — le pigeon voyageur. Edopistes mi- 
gi-atorius. L, 16-29. Plate XIA. 

Distinctions. The Mourning Dove is so often taken for this species that the two 
should be diagnosed with care. The Pigeon is a considerably larger bird; the breast is 
distinctly ruddy and the head and upper parts are slate-blue in the male. The female 
is without the strong blue on the back, but the head retains a bluish shade that is never 
present in the Mourning Dove, which is more evenly fawn coloiu"ed and has a small black 
spot on the side of the neck just below the ear. 

Field Marks. As this species is now e.xtinct, field marks are unnecessary. ' 

Nesting. The Passenger Pigeon built a rough nest of sticks in trees, in large com* 

Distribution. Bred in the wooded sections of most of Canada east of the moim tains 
and south to the middle states, wintered in the southern states and beyond. 

The immense flocks of Passenger Pigeons that once darkened the air 
were one of the wonders of America. The descriptions of their numl^er, if 
they were not circumstantial and well vouched for by men of undoubted 
veracity, would sound like wild stretches of the imagination: flocks, so 
dense that haphazard shots into them would bring down numbers, travelled 
rapidly with a front miles in width and so long that it took hours to pass a 
given point. Audubon estimates one such flock as containing over a 
billion birds, basing his figures upon the density and area of the congre- 
gation and not by mere guess. They bred in dense rookeries where their 
weight often broke the branches from forest trees. Trees containing 
their nests were cut down and though each nest contained only one squab 
there were so many that the pigs were turned in to feed upon them. Later, 
the netting of pigeons was the occupation of professional fowlers who 
shipped their proceeds by the car load to the centres of population. Of 
course, not even the immense numbers of the Passenger Pigeons could 
stand such attacks without diminution and gradually they decreased. To 
suggest a halt in the proceedings at that time, however, aroused nothing 
but amusement. Their numbers were held to be inexhaustible, but to-day 
the species is extinct and the last one, a captive bird, died in Cincinnati a 
short time ago. The last great rookery was near Petoskey, Mich. In the 
autumn of 1878 the birds left, but failed to return in any commercial 
number the following spring. For a few years afterwards occasional small 
flocks were seen and isolated rookeries were reported, but as the fowlers 
investigated each case it became apparent that the netting of pigeons as an 
occupation was a thing of the past. Thereafter, the birds became fewer 
and fewer each year until records of them disappeared altogether. There 
are occasional rumors even yet of flocks occurring in out of the way 
places, in the western mountains in Mexico or South America and else- 
where, but in each case, investigation has proved that the reports are based 
on other species or on misinformation. For several years a large reward 
was offered for news of a single nesting pair. Of course, the person who 
offered the reward was flooded with reports but not a single case stood 
examination, the reward was never earned, and was finally withdrawn. In 
the east, the Mourning Dove was the usual basis of report, in the west the 


Band-tailed Pigeon. Even yet circumstantial accounts appear from time 
to time, vouched for by those who remember the bird in their childhood, 
but there is little doubt that the species is extinct. 

316. Mourning Dove. Carolina dove. fr. — la tourterelle de la c.^ROLiPfE. 
Zenaidura macroura. L, 11-85. Plate XI A. 

Distinctions. Smaller size and of a browner fawn colour than the Passenger Pigeon, 
without marked red on breast or blue on back and with small black spot on side of neck 
below ear. Can only be mistaken for the previous species. 

Nesting. The Mourning Dove builds a loose open platform of sticks in the lower 
branches of trees or the upper parts of bushes. Nests alone and not in communities. 

Distribution. Breeds along our southern borders in eastern Canada, wintering 
locally in the most southerly parts and in the states just south of us to the tropics. 

SUBSPECIES. The Mourning Dove inhabiting the most of North America is 
the Carolina, Mourning Dove Z.7n. carolinen sis, which is the only subspecies generally 
recognized as occurring in Canada. The type form is entirely extralimital. 

Though the Passenger Pigeon has disappeared entirely, the smaller 
Mourning Dove still exists and probably has greatly increased with the 
clearing of the country. The general food habits of the two birds were 
much alike except in the proportion of the various food elements. The 
Mourning Dove eats mast readily, but it formed the principal food of the 
Pigeon which was, therefore, more of a woodland bird. The Mourning 
Dove is of more solitary habits and rarely goes in flocks of any size. It 
nests entirely alone. This may be a large factor in its continued existence 
where its larger and originally more numerous relative has failed. Disease 
could not spread through the ranks as thoroughly and any other calamity 
that might affect individuals or small bodies, would not involve the species 
as a whole. In many sections the Dove is regarded as a game bird, but such 
status is not usually recognized by law. Great numbers are killed, however, 
incidental to other sport, in spite of legal protection, and the life of the 
species is not an undisturbed one. It, is, however, a strong and thriving 
race and is in little immediate danger. 

Its long mournful note of " Oh-woe-woe-woe " is well known and has 
given the name to the species. It has a peculiar quality like that produced 
by blowing softly into the neck of an empty bottle. 

Economic Status. Though feeding largely upon mast (acorns, beech- 
nuts, and such soft-shelled tree-fruit) it eats grain readily and a con- 
siderable amount of insect food. Most of the grain it takes is waste, and 
seed properly planted and covered is absolutely safe from it for it never 
scratches. No serious unpreventable harm can be substantiated against 
it and the good it does is positive. 

Order — Raptores. Birds of Prey. 

General Description. Flesh-eating birds with four well-developed toes (Figures 31 
and 32, p. 23). each armed with strong sharp claws or talons for seizing and holding prey. 
Bill is hooked (Figures 30, 33 a and b, and 34, pp. 23 and 24), and the base covered with 
a soft skin or cere in which the nostrils are situated. The Birds of Prey differ from the 
generahty of birds in that the females are considerably larger than the males. This is 
probably due to the greater strain placed upon the female in feeding her young, which, 
demanding strength, weight, and endurance rather than fineness and technic, necessitates 
a greater degree of these quahties in the female than in the male who, while he may assist 
his mate, has not the final responsibility for the growing family. 

Distribution. Raptorial birds are distributed over all the world except the Antarctic 
continent, where their place is taken by Skua, Gulls, and other rapacious sea-birds. 


Though th6 classification of this order is far from satisfactory and 
probably will eventually have to be revised, American practice divides our 
species into three suborders: Sarcorhmnphi, the American Vultures, distinct 
from those of the Old World; Falcones, the Diurnal Birds of Prey; and 
Striges, the Nocturnal Birds of Prey or Owls. 

Economic Status. Perhaps no birds are better known and at the same 
time so gene/ally misunderstood in their economic relations as these. 
All know of the Hawks, Owls, and Eagles and their flesh-eating propensities, 
but few realize that amongst them are some of man's best friends and that 
the popular policy of killing them on sight is a mistaken one. Some do 
considerable damage, but to include all in the condemnation merited by 
the few is a grave economic error. The first family, the Vultures, are 
repulsive birds, but as scavengers entirely useful, and no valid complaint 
can be lodged against them. Of the other two divisions, the diurnal and 
nocturnal rapaces, their varying status is the cause of much misconception. 
Fortunately in regard to these birds we can speak with authority based 
upon actual data and not mere speculation. The United States Biological 
Survey made a thorough study of the food habits of American Hawks and 
Owls, basing its conclusions upon the examination of some 2,700 stomachs 
taken in all seasons of the year in various parts of the United States and 
Canada. The whole is embodied, with the data for its substantiation, 
in a report, ''The Hawks and Owls of the United States" by Dr. A. K. 
Fisher/ though compiled in and for an adjoining country all Canadian 
species are treated and the results are as applicable to Canada as to the 
United States. As some of the less harmful species do not occur in Canada 
the percentages below will have to be slightly corrected for our use, but not 
seriously enough to perceptibly modify the general conclusions. Only 
six of the seventy-three species studied are injurious. Of these, three are 
extremely rare in Canada and one is altogether a fish-eater. Of the re- 
mainder, 56 per cent of the stomachs examined contained mice and other 
small mammals, 27 per cent insects, and only 3| per cent poultry or game 
birds. Dividing the raptorial birds of eastern Canada into groups ac- 
cording to their economic status we find that three species are wholly 
beneficial and absolutely harmless; sixteen are mainly beneficial, doing 
decidedly more good than harm; four are about balanced in their effect; 
and six are positively harmful. Only three of these latter are common 
enough to warrant consideration and only two, the Sharp-shinned and 
Cooper's Hawks, numerous enough in the thickly settled communities to 
be noticed. The Goshawk is a more northern species whose distribution 
overlaps the edges of settlement on the north. What can be regarded 
as a just balance between good and evil is difficult to decide; the loss 
of a chicken is definite, easily estimated in value; the absence of the 
mice and insects taken by a predaceous bird is a vague benefit that is 
difficult of realization or appreciation. 


This suborder is composed of the American Vultures which are sys- 
tematically quite distinct from those of the Old World. One family only 
is represented in Canada, Cathartidce the Turkey Vultures. Vultures 

iSee also "The Hawks of the Canadian prairie provinces in their relation to agriculture," 
Geol. 8urv., Can., Mus. Bull. 28, 1918. 


are carrion feeders, relying upon dead meat and not capturing living prey 
unless it is in the last stages of exhaustion. Ordinarily, they touch nothing 
but decaying flesh. This is usually regarded as a matter of choice, but 
may be a necessity, as their feet are not formed for grasping and the bill 
is comparatively weak. They may, therefore, be unable to break into 
large sound carcasses and are forced to await the decay which renders 
the subject less refractory. 


General Description. Large birds, uniformly nearly black in coloration. Bill is 
comparatively long and less strongly hooked than in remainder of the Raptores (Figure 
30, p. 23) . Head and upper neck are bare of feathers and have a superficial general 
resemblance to those of the turkey, but are without wattles or warty excrescences. Feet 
resemble those of a chicken rather than a hawk. Claws are blunt and the whole foot is 
poorly adapted for seizing or holding prey. 

Distribution. Vultiu-es are essentially birds of the warmer regions. They enter 
eastern Canada only along the most southern boundaries. 

Vultures cannot be observed to advantage in Canada. In the southern 
states they are more common and can be seen every hour of the day floating 
on motionless wings high in the air, searching the country below with 
telescopic eye for carrion. When an animal dies (or even before) it is 
sighted and a black form drops from the sky beside it; shortly it is joined 
by another, and another, and soon where not a bird was previously to 
be seen many are struggling about the unclean feast. Though dissection 
shows very highly developed nostrils, scent does not seem to guide them 
to any appreciable extent. Experiment indicates that the eyesight alone 
is relied upon for locating food. The flight of the Vultures is one of the 
wonders of the physicist. The Vultures hang suspended in the air or 
even rise until beyond the bounds of human vision, without visible effort. 
On motionless outspread pinions they glide in great ascending spirals, 
mounting higher and higher, and then, always circling, maintain their 
positions for hours at a time, apparently without a single wing stroke. 
Many explanations of the phenomenon have been offered but all so far 
advanced fall just short of conviction. In Canada we have only one 
species of regular though limited distribution. Another is of casual 
occurrence only. 

Economic Status. The Vultures are not birds of prey in the usual 
acceptation of the term, for they do not kill what they eat but feed entirely 
on carrion. They have been accused, and perhaps justly, of accelerating 
death at times, but they never attack an animal that is not in the last 
stages of dissolution. In Canada the species is of little economic im- 
portance, but in the south their scavenging is an important safeguard 
to the health of the more careless communities and in many typical places 
they are rigorously protected by law for sanitary reasons. 

325. Turkey Vulture, turkey buzzard. Cathartes aura. L, 30. An all dark 
bird, nearly black, with head and neck naked or ia juveniles covered with greyish brown, 
fur-like down. 

Distinctions. This species can only be confused with the next, but as the ranges 
of the two in Canada do not overlap there is little likehhood of misidentification. The 
base of the bill is bright red in the adult and the head and neck dull red. The under surface 
of the wings is without silvery sheen. 


Field Marks. The naked head and neck make the best field mark of the Vultures. 
The red colour of these parts identifies this species. 

Nesting. On ground, usually in a hollow log. 

Distribution. Over most of North America north to the Canadian line which, in the 
east, it only crosses in southern Ontario. A few may come in from Manitoba more or 
less regularly. 

SUBSPECIES. The species occupying most of North and South America is sub- 
epecifically divided. The form occurring north of Mexico is the Northern Turkey Vulture 
Calhartes aura septentrionalis. 

Economic Status. Being a carrion feeder no harm can be charged 
against the species. 

326. Black Vulture, fr. — le vautour noir. Catharista uriibii. L, 24. Very 
like the Turkey Vultiu-e, but slightly smaller. 

Distinctions. Distinguished from the preceding by the neck, head, and base of the 
bill being black instead of red or pink. 

Field Marks. The general blackness of the bare head parts and a silvery sheen to 
the under-wing surface are diagnostic in life. The tail is shorter and the bird looks blacker 
than in the Turkey Buzzard. 

Distribution. A bird of more eastern distribution than the Tiu-key Vulture. Regular 
from Virginia south, stragghng across our borders occasionally in the Maritime Provinces. 

Of too infrequent occurrence in Canada for more than passing men- 
tion. It is to be expected occasionally only in the Maritime Provinces. 


General Description. BiU strongly hooked from the base (Figure 33, p. 23), where 
it is covered with a swollen cere or mass of yellow waxy-looking tissue in which the nostrils 
appear. This tissue is distinctly softer than the bill proper and usually yellow in colour. 
The feet are powerful and fiu-nished with strong claws or talons for capturing and holding 
living prey (Figm-e 31, p. 23). 

Distinctions. The members of this suborder differ from the Vultures in having the 
bill shorter and more strongly hooked and the head feathered instead of bare (compare 
Figures 30, 33, p. 23); and from the next suborder, the Owls, in lacking distinct facial 
disks (Figure 34, p. 24) about the eyes which are so set in the Owls as to look directly 
forwards instead of from the sides of the head as in most birds. 

These are the birds generally recognized as the Hawks and the Eagles. 
They are represented in Canada by three families: Buteonidoe, the common 
Buzzard Hawks and the Eagles; Falconidce, the true Falcons and Cara- 
caras; and Pandionidce, the Ospreys or Fish Hawks. 



General Description. Hawks of various sizes, most easily described as being neither 
Falcons nor Ospreys. 

Distinctions. Wings are short, round, and concave except in the Kites and Harriers, 
and their flight is comparatively heavy. Bill (Figure 33b, p. 23) is without notches which 
make, as in the Falcons, distinct tooth-like (Figure 33a, p. 23) projections to the cutting 
edge. The feet (especially under-surface) have no distinct, sharp, hard corrugations for 
holding slippery prey, as in the Ospreys or Fish Hawks. 

This family is composed of a number of well-marked genera, each 
comparatively easy of recognition. These comprise the bulk of our 
common birds of prey. Though truly raptorial in character they have 
not the bold spirit, the address in attack, or the iron endurance of the 
true Falcons and hence were called 'Tgnoble Hawks" by the old falconers. 

Genera — Elanoides and Circus. Kites and Harriers. 

The Kites are birds of southern distribution and onlj'- one species 
has ever been taken in Canada. 

327. Swallow- tailed Kite. fr. — le milan a queue d'aronde. Elanoides for- 
ficatus. L, 24. (Projection of outer tail feathers beyond middle ones 8 inches). A rather 
small Hawk which measures large because of the great elongation of its outer tail feathers 
which extend 8 inches beyond the middle ones. Wings and tail piu-e black; all remainder, 
including head, shoulders, and upper back, white. A bird strikingly coloured in intense 
black and white, with the deeply forked tail and long pointed wings of a Barn Swallow. 
It is hardly possible to mistake this for any other species. 

Distribution. Tropical and semi tropical America, appearing very rarely along our 
southern border. 

A most beautiful species, but too rare in Canada to receive more 
than passing' reference here. 

Economic Status. Its principal food is insects, snails, and reptiles; 
it never touches mammals or birds. 

331. Marsh Hawk, marsh harrier, fr. — le busard des marais. Circus hud- 
sonius. L, 19. Plate XI B. 

Distinctions. A partial and incompletely feathered eye-ring merely suggestive of 
those of the Owls, is distinctive of the species. The general gull-hke colours of the adult 
male and the warm reds of the juveniles are characteristic. 

Field Marks. General coloration and the white rump which shows conspicuously 
in flight are the best field marks. Its long pointed wings and long narrow tail give it a 
falcon-hke outhne in flight, but its action is entirely different. 

Nesting. On ground in a dry spot of the marshes, or in a haj' field. 

Distribution. The whole of the United States and Canada north to near the Arctics. 
Breeds throughout Canada. 

One of our commonest Hawks, found almost anywhere in eastern 
Canada. It haunts the open marshes, meadows, and fields and is to be 
seen beating up and down, quartering and covering the ground like a 
well-trained bird-dog. For an instant it hovers over its intended prey and 
then drops upon it, rising a moment later to alight on a fence-post or 
other similar slight elevation to devour its captive. The young birds are 
unsuspicious, but the blue adults are amongst the wariest of birds and 
fall to the gun comparatively seldom. 

Economic Status. Of 116 stomachs examined, 7 contained poultry 
or game birds, 34, other birds; 57, mice; 22, other mammals; 7, reptiles; 
2, frogs; 14, insects; and 1, indeterminate matter. Thus of 144 food 
contents 41 were harmful, 93 useful, and 10 neutral. Of the 41 harnaful 
items, only 3 were domestic fowl and the remainder wild stock, consisting 
of 46 individuals of considerably less value than the domestic varieties. 
The 99 mice and other mammals included about 117 individuals. The 
insects were mostly locusts, grasshoppers, and beetles. The balance is 
evidently in favour of this species which is incapable of taking any fowl 
but small ones and then only when they wander away into its habitat. 
Keeping spring chickens close about the premises is an almost perfect 
protection against this bird. Haunting marshes, grassy meadows, and 
tangled fence-rows as it does it is the nautral enemy of field mice and 
probably does more to keep their numbers within bounds than any other 
single natural influence. 


Genera — Accipiter and Astur. Accipiters. Short-Wingbd Hawks. 

General Description. Hawks with short rounded wings and long tail. 

The Accipitrine Hawks are woodland birds which beat about the tree 
tops or along the edges of the woods; they do not habitually soar high in the 
open. They take their prey by surprise and quick attack rather than by 
open pursuit. Their short wings and long tail, giving rapid bursts of speed 
and quite flexible evolution, are well adapted for such manoeuvres but not 
suited to sustained effort. 

Economic Status. These are the only common species of Canadian 
Hawks for which little good can be claimed. They are active and spirited 
and though without the f. reat strength and endurance of the true Falcons 
do far more real dama.^ than their larger and heavier relatives. The 
term "Chicken Hawk" popularly applied to any small liawk receives its 
meaning from these bird^. They never eat carrion but always make fresh 
kills, rarely if ever returning to partly devoured prey. Fortunately the 
two commonest species are the smaller and their capacity for damage is 
reduced in consequence. The one large and powerful member of the group, 
the Goshawk, is of more limited distribution and except in occasional 
winters is rarely seen in the more settled parts of southern Canada. 

332. Sharp-shinned Hawk, chicken hawk. fr. — l'epervier brun. Accipiter 
velox. L, 11-25. Plate XII A. 

Distribution. As a rule, size will distinguish the Sharp-shinned Hawk from all except 
the Sparrow Hawk, but its evident non-falcon characters will prevent confusion. A large 
female will measure closely to a small male Cooper's Hawk of which it is a perfect minia- 
ture in coloration. It differs from that species in having a square instead of a rounded 
tail, when closed the outer feathers being quite as long as the inner ones instead of obviously 
shorter. The tarsus is also comparatively thinner and more slender, a difference that is 
quite perceptible on comparison of specimens. 

Field Marks. The short, roimd wings, long tail, and flight by a series of alternating 
quick even strokes and short sails will mark this species as an Accipiter. Its tail being 
square instead of round is a guide to identification from the Cooper's Hawk, but size is 
the most rehable difference. 

Nesting. In trees, usually conifers from 10 to 40 feet up. 

Distribution. Over nearly the whole of North America, north, probably, to the tree 
imits. It breeds in eastern Canada everywhere except in the most southern parts of the 
lower Great Lakes region. 

This is the second smallest Hawk we have. It has not the sustained 
strength or persistency of the "Noble Falcons", but it is active and agile. 
It makes bold dashes at its prey, but on missing the stroke seldom follows it 
up by pursuit and almost never strikes on the wing, as the "Noble Falcons' ' 

Economic Status. This is the species that should have been called 
"American Sparrow Hawk" instead of the little Falcon which has been 
so-named. It is a close relative, and the American representative of the 
European Sparrow Hawk which is also an Accipiter. The name would 
suit this bird excellently as the smaller sparrows and other birds are its 
favourite food. 

Of 107 stomachs examined, 6 contained poultry or game birds; 99, 
other birds; 6, mice; and 5, insects. This gives 105 harmful food contents 
against 11 good ones. The mice consisted of no more than 9 individuals, 
but the small birds numbered 11.5, from Kinglets to a Mourning Dove in 
size. This makes a strong case against this otherwise rather interesting 


species. One good word can be said for this little hawk, it is fond of the 
English Sparrows and takes toll of their flocks about the smaller towns and 
cities. Pelee point on lake Erie is a famous Sharp-shinned resort in the 
autumn, and great numbers of Thrushes, Vireos, Sparrows, and other 
small birds annually fall victims to these active little freebooters. 

333. Cooper's Hawk, chicken hawk. fr. — l'^perviek de cooper. Accipiter 
cooperi. L, 15-50. Similar to the Sharp-shinned Hawk, but larger. 

Distinctions. A small, male Cooper's Hawk may come very close in measurement to 
a large female Sharp-shinned, and a large female to a small male Goshawk. Cooper's 
Hawk can be distinguished from the sharp-shinned by its rounded instead of square tail and 
its comparatively shorter and heavier tarsus. At no age is it hke the adult Goshawk in 
coloration, but juvenile plumages are very similar. The best guide to separation other than 
size is the feathering of the tarsus; about one-third is covered in Cooper's Hawk and about 
one-half in the Goshawk. It may also resemble young plumages of the Red-shouldered 
Hawk, which see. It may also be easily confused with the juvenile Broad-winged Hawk, 
but has the first four instead of the three outer primaries abruptly narrowed or emarginated. 

Field Marks. Accipiter outline and size are the best field guides. The roimd instead 
of square tail will help distinguish this from the Sharp-shinned. Coloration of the adulta 
is the only field mark besides size to differentiate from the Goshawk. 

Nesting. In trees, much like the Sharp-shinned Hawk, but seldom in conifers. 

Distribution. From the. northern borders of settlement south throughout the United 

An even worse species than the Sharp-shinned as its larger size gives 
it greater power and capacity for damage. Showing an almost equal spirit 
it seeks larger prey and even a fairly well-grown chicken is not safe from it. 
Adult fowls are rarely attacked unless feeble. 

Economic Status. Of 94 stomachs examined, 34 contained poultry or 
game birds; 52, other birds; 11, mammals; 1 frog; 3, lizards; and 2, 
insects. The mammals consisted of rodents, mostly harmful, but one a 
Grey Squirrel; making a total of 87 food contents against the species, 12 
in its favour, and 4 neutral. As it is a comparatively common Hawk 
throughout much of the settled parts of the country it is certainly a menace 
and is responsible for much of the popular ill-repute of the order as a whole. 

334. American Goshawk, blue partridge hawk, hen hawk. fr. — l'autotjr 
A t^te noire. Astur atricapillus. L, 22. Plate XII B. 

Distinctions. Adults, with their characteristic slate-blue coloration and fine vermi- 
culation, are not to be mistaken for any other American bird. The juveniles, however, 
are very similar to other young Accipiters and a small male will sometimes approach in 
size to a large female Cooper's Hawk. In such case, the tarsus feathered for one-half in- 
stead of one-third its length and the slight tinge of buff to the white of the imderparts of 
this species will distinguish the forms. 

Field Marks. Adults are distinguishable by coloration. Juveniles can be recognized 
by their size and Accipiter outline of long tail and short, roimd wings. 

Nesting. In trees. 

Distribution. Breeds across the continent within the borders of settlement. Its 
winter migratory movements are usually of small extent, though it occasionally visits oiu" 
southern borders in considerable numbers. Paralleling the case of the Snowy Owl such 
flights are likely to contain mostly adults, though, normally, juveniles are much the com- 
moner south of the breeding distribution. It is probable that these occasional flights are 
caused by the periodic failure of rabbit food in their usual habitats. 

SUBSPECIES. The American Goshawk is divided into two subspeci^, but only 
the typical form, the Eastern Groshawk, occurs in eastern Canada. 

The American representative of the Old World Goshawk or "Goose 
Hawk", which seems to be the original name. It was the only short- 
winged Hawk regularly used in ancient falconry. It was flown at hares, 


partridges, and such ground game, which its long tail and short wings 
allowed it to follow through rapid turnings and twistings, whereas its size 
allowed it to kill quite large game. It was not, however, regarded as a 
thoroughly sportmanlike bird as it lacked the spirit and energy of the long- 
winged Falcons and its use lacked the excitement and interest of the "Noble 

Economic Status. Fortunately this bird is only an irregular winter 
visitor into our least settled sections. Otherwise it would be a serious 
menace to the poultryman. Of 20 stomachs examined, 9 contained poultry 
or game; 2, other birds; 10, mammals; 3, insects; and 1, a centipede. Of 
the 10 mammals, 3 were rabbits and 1 a grey squirrel, both of which can be 
regarded as useful. This gives a total of 15 harmful food items against 9 
useful and 1 neutral. There can be no question as to the harmful status of 
this species. Its size gives it ample power to take pullets and even well- 
grown hens, and such large game as Ruffed Grouse is its favourite food. 
Though the real home of the Goshawks is in the more northern forests along 
the edge of the cultivated sections, when they once establish themselves 
near a farmyard they are likely to visit it daily. They dash suddenly over 
or around a building into the middle of the poultry flock, seize their victim, 
and are off with it before the owner can protect his property. 

Genera — Buteo axd Archibuteo. True Buzzards. 

General Description. Heavily built Hawks of metliimi vr large size, the bill without 
notches or teeth (Figure 33 b, p. 23). The wings are rather short and round and the tail 
long and ample, spreading out in a broad semicircle. Genus Buteo has clean tarsi, but 
those of Archibuteo are feathered to the base of the toes. 

Field Marks. Roimd wings, and broad, ample tail make the best field marks of the 

These are the true Buzzards. The Turkey Vulture is called Buzzard 
in the south, but incorrectly so. The Buzzards lack the dash, speed, and 
spirit of either the Falcons or the Accipiters and confine themselves to 
humbler game and slower, heavier methods of hunting. They are the 
common high-flying Hawks of summer, can be seen circling for hours high 
in the air, and are little given to dashing about the thickets like the agile 
Accipiters. With the exception of the Broad-winged, their characteristic 
habitat is the wide open, though they usually nest in the forest. 

Economic Status. On the whole their mousing and insectivorous 
habits more than compensate for some undeniable damage done by indi- 
viduals of a few species. Though the Buzzards include some of our largest 
Hawks, the harm they do does not begin to compare with that done by the 
smaller Accipiters. Indeed the very largest species of the group, the 
Rough-legs, are the most harmless. Their principal food is mice, other 
small mammals, reptiles, and insects and the size of many of these guarantee 
that the good they do is on a large and important scale. 

337. Red-tailed Hawk, hen hawk. fr. — l.\ buse a queue rousse. Butee 
borealis. L, 20. Plate XIII A. 

Distinctions. Our largest common Hawk; usually to be distinguished from all others 
by size. The Rough-legged, which is its equal or superior in this respect, can be easily 
distinguished by its feathered tarsus. Broad red tail is distinctive of the adult. Juveniles 
vary only slightly from the Red-shouldered Hawk of equal age but are larger. Except for 


this the best distinction between them is the lack of any indication in this species of reddisli 
on the shoulders or upper wing coverts and the presence of a roughly circular, unspotted, 
area on the breast. 

Field Marks. Adults can be recognized specifically in hfe by the red tail, and all 
ages generically by their characteristic Buzzard outline of short wings and broad, ample, 
round tail. Juveniles are only likely to be mistaken for the Red-shouldered; from these 
the white breast and the voice are probably the most rehable guides. The call of th(> 
Red-shouldered is identical with some of the Blue Jay calls. The notes of the Red- 
tailed are similar, but different enough in quality and execution to be recognizable after 
liaving once been heard. . 

Distribution. Eastern North America north to near the tree limit. Breeds in Canada 
wherever found. 

SUBSPECIES. The Red-tailed Hawk is represented in Canada by several subspecies, 
but only the typical form, the Eastern Red-tail, is to be looked for in the east. 

Nesting. High up in trees in the larger woodland patches. 

The Red-tailed is a shy and a cautious Hawk. It is more often seen 
saiUns in great circles high overhead than close by. It requires larger and 
wilder woodland patches than the Red-shouldered for its headquarters in 
summer, though like that species it hunts in the surrounding open. 

Ecommic Status. This large, fine bird occupies a debatable position of 
usefulness and so much depends upon local conditions and the personal 
characteristics of individuals that no hard and fast conclusion respecting 
it can be laid down. Of 473 stomach examinations, 54 contained poultry 
or game birds; 51, other birds; 278, mice; 131, other mammals; 37, 
batrachians or reptiles; 47, insects; 8, crayfish; 1, centipede; and 13 offal. 
Of the "other mammals" 16 were rabbits or grey squirrels. This gives us 
about 121 food items against and 464 /or the species, and there are 48 that 
can be regarded as neutral besides the 13 of offal that can only be livSted 
as favourable. It should also be borne in mind in studying these food 
contents that those birds coming closest to the farmyard are the most likely 
to be shot and have their stomachs examined. Hence there is a certain 
amount of unfavourable selection against the species as a whole in the 
choice of evidence, that should be allowed for. 

The species is, on the whole, exceedingly useful and does considerably 
more good than harm. Individuals, however, frequently get into the habit 
of regularly visiting the poultry yard. These are nearly always young 
birds of the year in search of easy prey. The old birds are usually too 
cautious for this. There can be no question that such individuals should be 
eliminated as quickly as possible, but it certainly cannot be maintained that 
a generally useful species should be systematically persecuted for the bad 
habits of a few. In economic ornithology it is a good rule, when the 
evidence is delicately balanced, to give the bird the benefit of the doubt. 

339. Red-shouldered Hawk, chicken hawk. fr. — la buse .1 manteatj roux. 
Buteo lineatus. L, 18-30. Plate XIII B. 

Distinctions. The reddish underparts of the adults. Juvenile plumage may be 
similar to the young Red-tailed, but its inferior size and the presence of at least an indica- 
tion of rufous on the shoulders or wing-coverts and the spotting of centre of breast will 
distinguish it. 

Field Marks. With its characteristic Buteo outhne and habits it is not likely to be 
confused with any other species than the Red-tailed. The lack of red tail and the ruddy 
underparts will distinguish adults. For juveniles the voice and size are probably the most 
rehable guides. The notes of this species are so hke certain calls of the Blue Jay that they 
can be differentiated with difficulty. The Red-tail's screams are of similar nature, but quite 


Nesting. In trees, 35 to 75 feet from the ground. 

Distribution. Over eastern North America north to the limits of settlement. Breeds 
in Canada wherever found. 

SUBSPECIES. Several subspecies of the Red-shouldered Hawk are recognized, 
but only one, the Eastern Red-shouldered, the typical form, occurs in eastern Canada. 

This is probably the most common Hawk in eastern Canada. It is 
similar in habit to the Red-tailed except that it does not insist upon deep 
woods for its nesting habitat but will build in almost any little patch of 
woodland, sometimes in surprising proximity to settlement. 

Economic Status. This species is, fundamentally, very similar in 
its food habits to the Red-tailed, but being a much smaller and lighter 
bird the damage it can do is proportionately less, whereas its good offices 
are scarcely if at all impaired. Of 206 stomachs examined, 3 contained 
poultry; 12 other birds; 102, mice; 40, other mammals; 20, reptiles; 30, 
batrachians (frogs, etc.); 92, insects; 16, spiders; 7, crawfish; 1, earth- 
worm; 2, offal; and 3, fish. It will thus be seen that its diet is varied. 
Whether the shrews, frogs, reptiles, and spiders are to be counted for or 
against the species is open to some doubt, but the large number of mice 
and insects against 3 of poultry and 12 birds obviously acquits the species 
of the charge of doing much damage. 

342. Swainson's Hawk, fr.— la buse de swainson. Buteo swainsoni. L, 20. 
Of about the same size as the Red-shouldered. It may occur either in a nearly black 
phase, a light one, or any intermediate stage between. The characteristic light plumage 
shows an evenly brown back, head, and upperparts, white underparts with a band of 
vinaceous across the chest, and slight indications of bars of same colour on flanks. 

Distinctions. Many birds have the ends of their primaries suddenly reduced in width 
as if a shaving had been taken from the edge with a pocket-knife. In this species the three 
outer primaries are thus attenuated or emarginated. In the Red-shouldered Hawk, for 
which certain plumages might be mistaken, foiu" of the primaries are emarginated. 

Distribution. The prairie provinces and westward. North to the Ai'ctics, wandering 
casually to the lower Great Lakes. 

This species occurs in eastern Canada only as a rare straggler from 
the west and should be identified with the greatest care. Though a 
prairie bird, its habits are too similar to the last species and it is too rare 
to require detailed mention. 

343. Broad-winged Hawk. fr. — la buse de penstlvanie. Buteo platypterus. 
L, 15-89. The smallest of our Buteos. Adult — brown above, underparts all barred with 
reddish brown and white in rather coarse pattern. Juveniles — brown above with more 
or less white irregularly scattered through; below, white with brown stripes on breast 
to throat and bars on flanks and legs. 

Distinctions. Size will distinguish this species from the young Red-shouldered Hawk 
which juveniles may resemble. Thi-ee attenuated or emarginated primaries instead of 
four will differentiate it from both that species and the Cooper's Hawk with which it also 
might be confused. 

Field Marks. Size, general coloration of adults, and its long, fine, sharp call Kke the 
drawn-out squeak of a rusty barn-door hinge are good field characters. 

Nesting. In trees 25 to 70 feet from ground. 

Distribution. Eastern North America northward to the bounds of settlement. Breeds 
locally in eastern Canada in all except the most southern parts of Ontario and far south 
in the Mississippi valley. 

Local in distribution and prefers the wilder sections. 
Economic Status. Of 57 stomachs examined, 2 contained small birds; 
15, mice; 13, other mammals; 11, reptiles; 13, batrachians (frogs, etc.); 


30, insects; 2, earthworms; 4, crawfish. Without further analysis this 
evidence is sufficient to free this species from any stigma of being harmful. 

347a. Rough-legged Hawk. pr. — la buse pattue d'amerique. Archibuteo lago- 
jms sancti-johannis. L, 22. The largest of our true Hawks. It occurs in two phases: 
one all dark, aknost black; and the other light, of almost infinite variety of colour tone 
and pattern. AH intermediate stages occur. The most common form is brown above 
more or less mixed with ochre, especially about head, and ochre below with dark abdominal 
band and stripes on breast and throat. The tarsus, being feathered to the toes, is the 
basis of the common name and is characteristic of the genus. 

Distinctions. Large size and the feathering of the tarsus to the base of the toes is 

Field Marks. Large size, broad masses of black below, tail white at base (not a white 
rimip), and prominent black wrist marks on the under siirface of the wing are all good 
field marks. 

Nesting. In the far north on ground, on rocky ledges, or in trees. 

Distribution. As a species, inhabiting the northern portions of the northern hemi- 
sphere. The American form is found from Mexico to the Arctic. Breeds on or near the 
barren grounds. 

SUBSPECIES. The Rough-legged Hawk is represented in the New and Old Worlds 
by two subspecies. The one peculiar to America is the American Rough-legged A. I. 
sancti-johannis, and is only distinguished from the Exiropean and Asiatic bird by its 
slightly lighter colour and the greater rarity of the black pihase. 

This large Hawk is only a migrant in settled Canada to or from the 
barren grounds of the north. It is a bird of large marsh expanses and can 
be seen beating over the grass until late in the evening something after the 
style of the Marsh Hawk. Usually, however, it is observed high in the 
air working its way gradually, with many pauses and circlings, to or from 
its breeding grounds. Owing to the dichromatism of the species an almost 
infinite variety of plumages may be found. 

Economic Status. Though our largest Hawk, it is the least harmful 
one. Of 45 stomachs examined, 40 contained mice; 5, other mammals; 
1, lizard; 1, empty. A record like this is enough to condemn the indis- 
criminate killing of Hawks. The feet of the Rough-leg are weak and 
incapable of holding large prey; it is, therefore, a mouse-hawk par excel- 
lence. It also feeds on grasshoppers and has been known at times to do 
most excellent work controlling plagues of these destructive insects. 

Genera — Aquila and Hali^etus. Eagles. 

The Eagles are our largest Birds of Prey. Size alone will differentiate 
them from the Hawks. Any Bird of Prey over 30 inches long or 6 feet in 
extent is an Eagle. Contrary to usual conception, the Eagle is not the 
noble bird of prey usually pictured. It is typically an overgrown Buzzard. 
Much of its quarry is of large size, but it is rarely dangerous to human 
interests. In some sections young lambs are occasionally threatened, 
but in eastern Canada Eagles can be looked upon more as scavengers 
than anything else, taking little of economic value and subsisting mostly 
on oftal. 

349. Golden Eagle, fr. — l'aigle dore. Aquila chrysaetos. L, 30. A large, dark- 
brown Eagle, the head suffused with faint ochraceous suggesting the name golden and the 
basal half of tail with broken greyish bars against dull white. Tarsus feathered to the 



Distinctions. The Golden Eagle is altogether different from the adult Bald Eagle, 
but very similar to the juvenile. It can, however, in all plumages be identified by its 
feathered tarsus, the latter species having at all times bare, bright yellow legs. 

Nesting. On chflfs, rock ledges, or in trees. 

Distribution. Over the temperate region of both hemispheres. In America, it ranges 
over all the north coimtry excepting the northern extreme, extending south into Mexico 
in the western plains and mountains and down along the high lands of the east. Practically 
only a straggler in the Great Lakes region. 

The Golden Eagle is too rare in eastern Canada to receive more than 
passing mention here. It is a magnificent bird and having less of the 
scavenger and robber in its nature it fits the popular conception of the 
king of birds better than does its close relative the Bald Eagle. 

Economic Status. The economic view of this bird must be largely 
affected by local conditions. It feeds principally on mammals and its 
large size allows it to take those of considerable weight. Most of its food 
is naturally wild stock — ground-hogs, rabbits, and rodent pests — but 
newly-born animals are taken on opportunity. In the western sheep 
country the depredations of numbers of Golden Eagles may be serious, 
but are never so in the east. Fortunately the species is too rare in eastern 
Canada to cause strong objection to it; in fact to see an average of a single 
bird a year would be rather remarkable. Therefore, the occasional presence 
of one of these magnificent birds in the east can be looked for with pleasure 
rather than alarm. On occasion the species devours carrion, but does not 
seem to depend upon it as its relative the next species does. 

352. Bald Eagle. American eagle, white-headed eagle, fr. — l'aigle a t^te 
BLANCHE. Haliceetus leucocephahcs . L, 32-85. The adult is dark brown with white head, 
neck, and tail. The juvenile is all brown with more or less suggestion of the coming white, 
depending upon age. 

Distinctions. Though very similar in juvenile plumage to the Golden Eagle, the 
unfeathered yeUow legs will always identify it. 

Field Marks. The Eagle outline and great size are quite characteristic when one is 
familiar with them. The great hooked bill, the cuknen which projects in a straight Une 
with the crown and fills the whole of the forehead are plainly visible and quite recogniz- 
able. The white of the head and tail are unmistakable recognition marks for the adult 
and on account of the large scale of the details the juvenile can be told from the Golden 
with greater ease than would natvu-aUy be expected. The golden-tawny of the upper neck 
of the Golden is often quite conspicuous though absent on the Bald. The somewhat 
whitish or mottled tail of the Golden shows from below a dark terminal tip, in perceptible 
contrast with the base, from 2 to 4 inches deep depending on age; whereas the tail of the 
juvenile Bald is all dirty white with Httle or no distinct terminal band but presenting an 
aspect of even mottling at all stages. Any Eagle observed in eastern Canada should be 
tentatively identified as of this species unless there are definite and positive reasons for 
declaring it as Golden. 

Distribution. Over the whole of the United States and Canada except the extreme 
Arctic coasts. 

SUBSPECIES. The Bald Eagle is divided into two subspecies, only one of which, 
the Northern Bald Eagle H. I. alascanus, is known to occur in Canada. The tj^jical race 
is of more southern distribution. 

Though the Golden Eagle is typically an inhabitant of the mountains 
and high lands, the Bald Eagle is a bird of the water side and is seldom 
found far from that element. Though once a typical species of the eastern 
landscape it is yearly growing rarer, until now in most localities the sight 
of one is an event of some importance. The Bald Eagle is a harmless 
species. The damage it does is very small and as a characteristic wild 
feature of our lake landscape this picturesque bird should be preserved. 


Econoynic Status. Of 15 stomachs examined, 1 contained game; 5, 
mammals; 9, fish; and 2, carrion. In examining these data it is observ- 
able that the 6 stomachs containing mammals and game are winter 
specimens and, except one, were taken at a distance from water. Had the 
natural breeding and summer grounds of the Bald Eagle been the source 
of the specimens here studied, the mammals and game would probably 
have been replaced by fish, for this forms the great bulk of its food. The 
food is taken in various ways. The bird dives for fish in true Osprey 
manner when necessary, but it usually picks them up dead from the shore 
or, where Ospreys are common, takes the fish from them by force. To do 
this it pursues and badgers the successful fisher until the prize is dropped, 
which by a lightning-like swoop is caught in the air and carried away in 
triumph. It is, as a rule, hardly equal to the capture of the ciuicker birds, 
but wounded or hurt ducks or game are eagerly picked up from the marshes. 
When opportunity offers the Bald Eagle eats offal without compunction. 

It will be seen that Bald Eagles in reasonable numbers cannot be any 
great menace to mankind. Poultry is rarely touched. The fish they take 
is only a bagatelle, being mostly waste or surplus from a great abundance. 
Their scavenging is actively beneficial and they should be encouraged rather 
than repressed. 


The Family Falconidce consists of tw^o subfamilies, the True Falcons 
Falconince and the Caracaras Polyhorincje. The last named subfamily is 
of southern distribution and only one Caracara has been taken in Canada. 

Subfamily — Falconince. True Falcons. 

The Falcons were known to the old falconers as the Noble or Long- 
winged Birds of Prey and, on account of their great spirit, strength, and 
address, were the chosen birds for use in hunting. Their long wings give 
them great speed and their endurance permits them to maintain it. They 
are bold and strong and capture their prey by sudden swoops when possible, 
but unlike the Accipiters are not discouraged when their stroke misses. 
Their first object is to rise above the prey, which they do by means of a 
long spiral climb. Once above their prey they drop like a bullet upon it 
striking with their pow^erful talons as they do so. 

The flight of the Falcons is quite recognizable, quick strokes with 
pointed wings and with very little sailing. Seen in the hand, the upper 
mandible furnished with a tooth (Figure 33a, p. 23) will always separate 
the Falcons from other Hawks. Fortunately, none but the smallest and 
most harmless of the subfamily is common within cultivated areas and 
those that size makes important are either very rare or are confined to the 
far north where their depredations can do the husbandman no harm. 
Even those that do occur occasionally about cultivation are generally wild 
and wary enough to keep away from the immediate vicinity of habitation. 


General Description. Large falcons 20 to 22 inches in length, usually of very white 
coloration. Their large size distinguishes these birds from all others of the subfamily. 


The Gyrfalcons were most highly regarded for hunting by the falconers 
of old and by the exacting laws of the times their use was restricted to 
persons of the highest rank. They combine all the spirit and hardihood 
of the smaller species with greater size and strength and hence were 
adapted for the largest game to be taken with birds. The Gyrfalcons are 
of far northern distribution in Canada and are very rare within the limits 
of settlement, rarely troubling poultry yards or game coverts; otherwise 
a war of extermination would probably have to be waged against them as 
they are undoubtedly very destructive. 

In Canada there are two species. They are circumpolar in distribu- 
tion, occurring in the northern parts of both the Old and New Worlds. 

353. White Gyrfalcon. fr. — le paucon blanc. Falco islandus. L, 22. A very 
large falcon, mostly pure white with small but sharp markings of light brown. 

Distinctions. The general whiteness and the lack of markmgs on the under tail 
coverts wiU differentiate this from the next species. Its large size and obviously falcon-like 
characters will identify it as a Gyrfalcon. 

Nesting. On rocky cliffs. 

Distribution. The Arctic regions. Breeds in Greenland and the adjacent parts of 
America. Only a casual visitor in the settled parts of Canada. 

None of the Gyrfalcons are common in the settled parts of Canada 
and, therefore, will not be discussed in detail. 

354a. Gyrfalcon. fr. — (in part) le faucon noir. Falco rusticolus. L, 20. Similar 
in size to the White Gyrfalcon and of much darker coloration. Slaty-brown above, more 
or less margined or barred with cream or white. Head and underparts white or creamy- 
white, striped with coloiu* of back. 

Distinctions. In the White Gyrfalcon white greatly predominates, whereas in the 
hghtest of this species white and slaty-brown are about equal in mass and in the darkest the 
brown greatly preponderates. The under tail coverts are always somewhat streaked. 

Nesting. On cliffs or in trees. 

Distribution. The Arctic regions of the northern hemisphere; only an accidental 
straggler within settled districts. 

SUBSPECIES. The American representative of this species has been divided into 
three subspecies or geographical races, based upon the degree of dark coloration; the 
Grey Gyrfalcon F. r. rusticolus, the type form, the Gyrfalcon F. r. gyrfalco, and the Black 
Gyrfalcon F. r. obsoletus. Some of these subdivisions are perhaps based upon age plumages 
or individual variation and may be found to be unnecessary. The names suggest the 
difference in colour of the forms. The first has the head broadly streaked with dark 
against an ahnost white ground, the second has an almost solidly dark head and the dark 
of the back heavily margined with lighter, and the third hap an almost black back and the 
underparts so heavily streaked as to be almost black. 

356. Peregrine Falcon, duck hawk, bullet hawk. fr. — le faucon perlerin. 
Falco per egrinus. L, 16-50. Plate XIV A. 

Distinctions. The colouring shown in Plate XIV A, the comparative size, and the 
true falcon-like character of the bill and wing should serve for the recognition of this bird. 

Field Marks. The long, sharp falcon wings, coloration, and size are distinctive. 
The flight also is easily recognized — a quick flapping of the wings with Uttle sailing. 

Nesting. Usually on the ledges of rocky chffs, occasionally in hollow branches of 
tall trees. 

Distribution. It ranges over most of the Arctic, temperate, and subtemperate regions 
of the northern hemisphere, nowhere common but living in scattered pairs and returning 
to the same locality year after year. 

SUBSPECIES. The New World form under the name of Duck Hawk F.p. anatum, 
is the only representative of the species occurring in America. 

The American representative of this species is a subspecies of the 
famous Peregrine Falcon of the Old World, which next to the Gyrfalcon 
was the most desirable hunting hawk of the falconers, and our Duck 


Hawk is almost if not quire indistinguishable from the European bird. 
Although distributed over most of the northern hemisphere it is every- 
where a rare and more or less casual visitor or breeder. 

Economic Status. The size of the prey which this bird can take is 
remarkable. Even the Mallard Duck, weighing perhaps three times as 
much as the falcon, is often struck down. Around a nest found by the 
writer in the Muskoka district, were the remains of several full grown 
Ruffed Grouse that must have been carried bodily to it. An examination 
of the stomach contents of 16 specimens, gave the following result: 7, 
contained poultry or game birds; 9, other birds; 1, mice; and 2, insects. 
Fortunately it is as wary as it is spirited. Adults usually confine them- 
selves to the fields and marshes where they can do little direct damage. 

357. Pigeon Hawk. fr. — la faucon des pigeons. Falco columbarius. L, 10. 
A small falcon. Adult male: dark slate-blue above, bluest on lower back and rump. 
Below, streaked with brown on an ochraceous ground, the stripes aggregating slightly 
on lower breast. Juveniles: similar but back brown instead of slate. Adult females: 

Distinctions. True falcon characters; the generally dark coloration and the small 
size of this hawk are characteristic. 

Field Marks. The falcon flight and outline, in conjimction with small size and dark 
coloration, are distinctive. 

Nesting. In hollow Umbs of trees or on cliff ledges. 

Distribution. All of North America and to northern South America. Breeds south- 
ward to the borders of cultivated land in eastern Canada. 

SUBSPECIES. There are several subspecies of the Pigeon Hawk in Canada, but 
in the east there is only the type form, the Eastern Pigeon Hawk. 

In spirit and action this is a miniature of the Duck Hawk, but is a far 
commoner bird than nay of the Falcons previously mentioned. This 
species also was used in court falconry. 

Economic Status. As indicated by its name the Pigeon Hawk pro 
bably preyed largely upon Wild Pigeons. Nowadays, however, it follows 
smaller game as a rule. Of 51 stomachs examined, 2 contained young 
chickens; 41, small birds; 2, mice; and 16, insects. It will be seen from 
this record that the Pigeon Hawk is destructive to small wild bird life 
but is not large enough to seriously aff.ct the poultryman. It often 
follows Shore Birds and seems particularly fond of the Black-bellied 
Plover. Though more numerous than the Duck Hawk it is still nowhere 
a common bird. 

360. American Sparrow Hawk. fr. — le faucon epervier. Falco sparverius. 
L, 10. Plate XIV B. 

Distinctions. The coloration of this bird renders it immistakable for any other species. 

Field Marks. With its falcon-like outUne and small size it can not be mistaken for 
any bird except perhaps the Pigeon Hawk. Its more slender shape and longer tail will 
separate it readily when the striking colours are not distinguishable. 

Nesting. In deserted Woodpecker's holes or natural cavities in dead stub. 

Distribution. Most of North America, from beyond the settled areas to the gulf of 
Mexico. Breeds wherever found in Canada. 

SUBSPECIES. Two subspecies of the American Sparrow Hawk are recognized in 
Canada, but only the type form, the Eastern Sparrow Hawk, occurs in the east. 

This is the only falcon that is common in Canada. It is a beautiful 
bird — the brightest coloured of any of our Birds of Prey. The open 
fields are its hunting ground and the topmost dead branches of solitary 


trees in fields or along fence rows are its chosen observation points. It 
beats about over the meadows and on sighting its prey hovers for a moment 
on quickly beating wings, like a Kingfisher, and then drops upon its quarry. 
The name Sparrow Hawk should properly belong to the Sharp- 
shinned ; this is recognized in the Old World where the name Sparrow 
Hawk is applied to a small Accipiter closely resembling that species. Grass- 
hopper Hawk would be a far better descriptive name for this little 
falcon as grasshoppers form a large part of its food. When taken young 
from the nest this little falcon is easily tamed. 

Economic Status. Although a hawk, this bird is one of the most 
efficient and valuable protectors of the farm. Of 291 stomachs examined, 
1 contained a game bird (Quail); 53, other birds; 89, mice; 13, other 
mammals; 12, reptiles or batrachians (frogs, etc); 215, insects; and 
29, spiders. Of the birds examined, 43 were taken in the winter months, 
from December to April. Of specimens taken in seasons when insects 
are available only 10 stomachs contained birds. This record shows that 
birds are killed by the falcon from necessity rather than choice. The 
"other mammals" are mostly harmful rodents, with a very few shrews. 
The insects are usually grasshoppers which do great damage and are 
difficult to control. From the above evidence it is obvious that the 
Sparrow Hawk is beneficial and should be protected. 


The Fish-hawks or Ospreys are a family of raptorial birds subsisting 
entirely upon fish, which they capture in shallow water by diving. Other 
members of the order eat fish, but usually only as scavengers or by stealing 
from fish-catching birds. As there is only one species of Fish-hawk in 
America, no general discussion of the family is necessary here. 

364. Osprey. American ospret. fish-hawk. fr. — le balbusard d'amerique. 
Pandion halioetus carolinensis. L, 23 ■ 10. Plate XV A. 

Distinctions. The coloration of the Osprey is quite distinctive. Its pale blue legs, 
and feet much roughened with sharp horny processes, especially on the soles and grasping 
surfaces, are decidedly characteristic. 

Field Marks. The large wing-expanse of this bird is responsible for the common 
mistake of calUng it an eagle. It is, however, much smaller than either of the eagles and 
its white underparts will distinguish it from them. 

Nesting. A great mass of sticks in trees or on the ground, which, as it is added to year 
after year, finally becomes almost as large as a small haycock. 

Distribution. The Osprey occurs in most of Europe, Asia, Africa, and in America south 
to northern South America. The American Osprey breeds in Canada locally in all except 
the southern sections. 

SUBSPECIES. The Osprey, inhabiting both the New and Old Worlds, is divided 
into subspecific races, of which the American Osprey P. h. carolinensis is the American 
representative. Its separation from the European form is based upon characters too 
slight for discussion here. 

The Osprey is a most picturesque bird. Sailing at a height over the 
water it pauses a moment and then drops suddenly, not straight down 
like a plummet, as the Gannet does, but in a long spiral, striking the 
water feet first with wings raised high over its back. There is a splash 
of white spray and it rises in the air, a fish clasped in its rough talons, 
and is away to its aerie. The Ospreys frequent broad shallows, tidal 
flats, and shallow bays where water is not too deep for shallow diving, 


rather than deeper water where they would have to depend upon chance 
aurface-frequenting fish. In the Great Lakes region the species is growing 
rarer. Its great bulky nest is added to year after year until it assumes 
such proportions that it becomes a landmark for the country around and 
invites constant attack from human nest-robbers, so that it is now only 
in the more retired localities that it can breed undisturbed. It is still 
numerous along the Atlantic coast and gulf of St. Lawrence, but inland 
it is rare. 

Economic Status. Though the food of the Osprey is entirely fish 
the antipathy that fishermen have for it is rather exaggerated. Feeding 
as it does in shallow waters it takes few fish of economic importance. 
On the coast, flounders, torn cod, and other small species form the bulk 
of its food. On the freshwater lakes, sun-fish, perch, and suckers seem 
to be its staples. The number of game or marketable fish it catches is 
undoubtedly small. In eleven stomach examinations there were none. 
Trout streams are not attractive to the species and most of the valuable 
fish like bass and pickerel usually lie too deep for it to catch. 


The Owls are easily recognized. The cere hidden in the feathers of 
the face, and the striking facial disks or feather rings about the eyes (Figure 
34, p. 24) are distinctive to the most casual observer. They are mostly 
nocturnal, the Hawk Owl and the Snowy Owl being the only eastern 
Canadian species that habitually hunt in daytime. Even the nocturnal 
owls, however, see quite well by day. They may be momentarily dazed 
when brought suddenly from dark to bright light and some species repose 
such confidence in immobility to escape detection as to allow themselves 
almost to be caught in the hand. The feathers are a most interesting 
character in owls. They are peculiarly soft and cling together in a way 
that keeps the air from passing through the small interstices and ensures 
the silent flight characteristic of the suborder. An Owl can pass so closely 
as to fan the face with its wing and yet be inaudible. 

Two families are represented in Canada: AluconidcB the Barn Owls, 
represented by one species which is an accidental visitor from the south; 
and StrigidcB known as the Eared or Horned Owls, though many of them 
are without these ornaments, including all the other Canadian species. 


The Barn Owls, sometimes called the Monkey-faced Owls from the 
heart-shaped character of the united facial disks, are represented in Canada 
by only one species and that species is rare. The middle claw is pectinated, 
having comb-like teeth on its inner edge like the Herons (Figure 19, p. 21) 
and the inner toe is as long as the middle instead of being slightly shorter 
as in the Horned Owls. 

365. American Barn Owl, monkfy-faced owl. Altico pratincola. L, 18. 
General ground colour a reddish ochre, lighter below, facial disk dull white with an 
outer edging of darker ochre to brown. Back to top of head frosted over with ash-grey 
with numerous small eye spots outlined m black. Underparts, throat, and around face 
sprinkled with scattered round dark spots. 


Distincti(ms. The strongly and well outlined heart-shaped facial disk, soft yellow 
coloration with a suggestion of pink, and the tarsi almost bare of feathers are distinctive. 

Nesting. In towers, steeples, or holes in barns, banks, or trees. 

Distribution. From the gulf of Mexico to the middle Atlantic states across the con- 
tinent. It occrn-s in Canada only as a straggler along the southern border. 

This is the American representative of the ruin-haunting European 
owl so familiar in song and story. It is a wonderfully efficient mouser 
and a most valuable bird, but is rare in Canada. 


The family is known as "Horned" from the tufts of feathers pro- 
jecting from the forehead in some of the species, though not in all. The 
feet are feathered to the ends of the toes (Figure 32, p. 23). The family 
includes all the Canadian owls except the Barn Owl previously described. 

366. American Long-eared Owl. fr. — le hibou a oreilles longues. Asio 
wilso7iianus. L, 14-80. A medium sized owl rather similar in coloration to the Great 
Horned Owl (p. 133), but much smaller and of more slender build. 

Distinctions. Although the colouring is suggestive of the Great Horned Owl, the differ- 
ence in size serves to distinguish the two. From the Short-eared Owl, which is of abont 
equal size, it may be distinguished by the prominent horns or ear tufts which spring close 
together from the forehead, by the general lack of stripes in its coloration, and by the 
conspicuous amount of black and white suffused over the body colour. 

Field Marks. The prominent horns standing nearly straight up from the middle of the 
forehead and the rusty brown facial disk differentiate this species from the next, the only 
species for which it might be mistaken. 

Nesting. In trees, usually in deserted crows' nests or hawks' nests 20 to 40 feet from 
the ground. 

Distribution. Throughout temperate North America, north to about the limit of 

Evergreen or alder thickets on the edges of marshes or ash swamps are 
the preferred habitat of the species. During migration it is sometimes 
found in companies, resting by day in the dark recesses of wet woods. 

Economic. Status. Of 92 stomachs examined, 1 contained a game 
bird (Quail); 15, other birds; 84, mice; 5, other mammals; and 1, insects. 
From this record it is evident that the species is not seriously destructive. 
Its mousing proclivities are sufficient to give it a claim to protection and 
its small size and nocturnal habits prevent its interference with young 

367. American Short-eared Owl. marsh owl. fr. — le hibou a oreilles 
couRTES. Asio fiammeus. L, 15-50. A medium sized owl with short, hardly visible ear- 
tufts. General colour ochraceous with considerable white hning on face, with sharply 
defined stripes of brown over all, narrower below and broader and more diffused above. 

Distinctions. The general light buff colour and the stripes of this bird are distinctive. 
The horns may be inconspicuous; when visible they rise, as do those of the last species, 
from between the eyes and stand upright. The lack of any black and white pattern in 
the coloration serves to distinguish this species from the Long-eared. 

Field Marks. The buff colom- is the best field mark. 

Distribution. Nearly cosmopolitan. Occurs everywhere in Canada, breeding locally 
wherever foimd. 

This bird is a true marsh owl and is slightly more diurnal in its habits 
than many of its relatives. It is often seen in the dusk of the evening 
beating over the marshes in strong and hawk-like flight. As it lives in the 


marshes or along their brushy edges, a great number annually fall under 
the guns of sportsmen. 

Economic Status. Of 97 stomachs examined, 11 contained small 
birds; 77, mice; 7, other mammals; and 7, insects. From this record 
and from the fact that the marsh edges, waste patches, and fence rows 
which this species haunts, are the reservoirs from which small rodent pests 
spread over cleanly cultivated land, it is evident that this is a most 
useful species and that killing it is reducing one of the most efficient checks 
upon innumerable pests. 

368. Barred Owl. fr. — la chouette du Canada. Strix varia. L, 20. Plate 
XV B. 

Distinctions. It is almost impossible to mistake this owl. The only other hornless 
owl at all resembling it is the Great Grey Owl. The Barred Owl can be differentiated by 
its smaller size, black instead of yellow eyes, and by the well-defined striping and barring 
below. This and the Barn Owl are the only owls with black eyes. 

Field Marks. Size, absence of ear tufts, and general grey-brown colom- with bars 
on the breast. 

Nesting. In hollow trees or in deserted crows' nests or hawks' nests. 

Distribution. Eastern North America from the edge of settlement south to Kansas 
and Georgia. 

SUBSPECIES. There are several subspecies of the Barred Owl, two of which occur 
in Canada. The form found throughout eastern Canada is the tvpe, the Eastern Barred 

Though apparently a fairly large bird the Barred Owl when stripped of 
its feathers is comparatively small. Added to this it is a bird of gentle 
nature and lacks the keen aggressiveness of some of its relatives. Its notes 
are loud, the wierd hooting carrying far in the still night air. 

Economic Status. Though fowls have been known to roost repeatedly 
without harm in trees from which Barred Owls hooted every night, it is 
usually regarded as an enemy and killed indiscriminately. Of 189 sto- 
machs examined, 5 contained poultry or game; 13, other birds; 46, mice; 
18, other mammals; 4, frogs; 1, a lizard; 2, fish; 14, insects; 2, spiders; 
and 9, crawfish. The fowls, only two cases, can be regarded as accidental 
as they were both taken in January, when they would ordinarily be full 
grown and beyond the powers of this weak owl to kill. The status of this 
bird is most satisfactory. 

370. Cinereous Owl. great grey owl. fr. — la chouette cendree. Scotiaptex 
nebulosa. L, 27. Of much the same general grey tone as the Barred Owl, but considerably 
larger than that bird. 

Distinctions. By measurement and m appearance the largest of our owLs, but when 
stripped of its great abundance of soft feathers a surprisingly small bird. Like the Barred 
Owl in general coloration and lack of horns; but with yeUow instead of black eyes and 
having the coloration of the breast and imderparts diffused and without a defined pattern 
of stripes and bars. 

Field Marks. Size, grey coloration, and lack of breast bars. 

Nesting. In trees. 

Distribution. The forest of the north across the continent; an occasional winter 
migrant within the bounds of cultivation. 

SUBSPECIES. The Cinereous Owl occurs in the northern parts of both the New 
and Old Worlds, but is represented in each by distinct subspecies. The European form is 
the Lapp Owl S. n. lapponica, and the American is the Great Grey Owl, the type race. 

This owl is only an occasional visitor in the settled parts of Canada. 


Economic Status. The economic effect of this bird as far as it goes is a 
beneficial one. Data on its foods are rather scanty. Of 9 stomachs 
examined, 1 contained a small bird; 7, mice; and 4^ other mammals. It is 
evidently an efficient mouser. 

371. Arctic Saw-whet Owl. Richardson's owl. fr. — la nyctale de Richard- 
son. Cryptoglaux funerea. L, 10. A small, hornless, grey owl. Ashy-brown above with 
round white spots, whitish below vaguely striped. The colour pattern is soft and the 
design vague and diffused. 

Distinctions. This species resembles the Screech Owl in size and general grey colour- 
ing, but in nothing else; it has not the horns of that species and the colour pattern shows 
no sharpness anywhere. The coloiu* scheme shows too httle distinction from that of the 
Saw-whet to be clearly differentiated here. Its decidedly larger size, however, wiU char- 
acterize it. 

Field Marks. It is too rare to identify by such slight field marks as could be suggested. 

Nesting. Usually in holes in trees. 

Distribution. The northern woods to the limit of trees from the Mackenzie River 
valley eastwards. 

SUBSPECIES. This is a European as weU as an American species, but the form 
inhabiting the New World is subspecifically separated from that of the Old World under 
the name of Richardson's Owl C. f. richardsoni. 

This species is perhaps the rarest of the Canadian Owls, and within the 
boundaries covered by this work is only an occasional and irregular winter 

Economic Status. Though too rare to have any noticeable economic 
influence it must be regarded as a beneficial species. Of 9 stomachs 
examined, 1 contained a small bird; 7, mice; and 4, other mammals. 

372. Saw-whet Owl. acadian owl. fr. — la nyctale d'acadie. Cryptoglaux 
acadic. L, 8. A very small owl. Above, colour is warm ashy-brown vaguely marked with 
inconspicuous white spots especially about the back of the neck, changing on the head to 
fine sharp stripes which join in a hne over the facial disk. Below, white, with light brown 
streaks and a vague tendency to form a solid breast-bar. A rare plumage of this owl was 
long thought to indicate a distinct species which was given the name Kirtland's Owl, 
It is now, however, understood to be but an evanescent juvenile plumage of the above, 
though the cause of its rarity is not known. Above, it is solid brown, rather redder than 
the adult, and extending across breast in a rufescent band; below, even ochre. The 
facial disk on outside of the eyes is almost black, in striking contrast to the white over 
and between eyes. 

Distinctions. In ordinary plumage so nearly like Richardson's Owl in colour as to be 
separated from it only by size. Being without horns or any sharply marked colour pattern 
it can be easily distinguished from the Screech Owl. 

Field Marks. Very small size and lack of horns are the best field marks. 

Nesting. In holes in trees, sometimes natural, at other times those made by wood- 
peckers or squirrels. 

Distribution. Most of temperate North America. Its breeding is irregular and 
usually in the northern parts of its range or at high elevations farther south. 

SUBSPECIES. There are two subspecies of the Saw- whet Owl occurring in Canada; 
but only one, the Acadian Owl, the type form, is ever found in the east. 

This diminutive owl is the smallest of the Birds of Prey in eastern 
Canada. It haunts the dark tangle of cedar and tamarack swamps, 
passing the day close against the trunk of a tree where its plumage blends 
indistinguishably into the bark. It has such great reliance in its protective 
coloration that it will allow close approach and can at times be almost taken 
in the hand. It takes its vernacular name from its call notes which are said 
to resemble the sound made by filing or whetting a saw. 


Economic Status. Of 19 stomachs examined, 1 contained a sparrow; 
17, mice; and 1, a moth. With this record the species should be given pro- 

373. Screech Owl. fr. — le hibou macule. Otus asio. L, 9-40. Plate XVI A. 

Distinctions. The species is dichromatic, that is, it occurs in two well marked colour 
forms irrespective of sex, age, or season. One form is rich brown with shades of grey and 
white, and the other has the grey replaced by bright rufous. The plumage pattern of 
each is the same. Many intermediate stages occur. In apparent size it comes between 
Richardson's and the Saw-whet Owls, but the presence of well-defined horns from the 
sides of the crown and the sharply defined figures of its colour pattern are characteristic. 

Field Marks. Size, and the distinct horns are the best field guides. 

Nesting. In hollow trees. 

Distribution. All temperate North America. Breeds in Canada wherever foimd. 

SUBSPECIES. The Screech Owl is divided into a great number of subspecies, some 
nine geographical races being recognized in North America by the American Ornitholo- 
gists' Union check-list. The only one found in eastern Canada, however, is the type form 
— the Eastern Screech Owl. 

Although called the "Screech Owl", the notes of this bird are melo- 
dious and soothing with a tinge of melancholy, and contain nothing harsh 
or grating. The most common call is a long, soft, tremolo whistle on a 
descending or even scale. Occasionally it consists of low croons, gurgles, 
and other quiet and conversational notes. Although inoffensive, these 
small birds show surprising courage in defence of their young. At night 
they will sweep down on the head of an intruder with a startling, hollow- 
sounding "whoo-whoo" and snapping of the bill. Just before striking, 
however, they wheel away to gather momentum for a return. Such 
attacks while disconcerting are far from dangerous. The habit of nesting 
in old hollow apple trees on the farm where its mousing is of the most 
immediate importance makes this bird most valuable to the husbandman. 

Economic Status. The official finding on the food of the Screech Owl 
is warrant for its protection. Of 212 stomachs examined, 1 contained 
poultry; 38, other birds; 91, mice; 1 1 , other mammals ; 2, lizards; 4, frogs 
and toads; 1, fish; 100, insects; 5, spiders; 9, crawfish; 7, miscellaneous; 
2, scorpions; and 2, earth worms. The poultry item must be regarded as an 
accidental occurrence, as the bird represented, a pigeon, would be ex- 
ceedingly large prey for this bird. 

375. Great Horned Owl. pr. — le duo de virginie. Bubo virginianus. L, 22. 
Plate XVI B. 

Distinctions. Our only owl over 15 inches in length wearing horns. Its ochraceous, 
and black and white coloration is distinctive. 

Field Marks. Large size, ochraceous colour, and prominent ear tufts. 

Nesting. Usually in abandoned hawks' nests or in hollow trees. 

Distribution. In various subspecies the Great Horned Owl ranges over all of 
North America. The ranges of the subspecies in Canada are sufficiently indicated by 
their names. 

SUBSPECIES. The Great Horned Owls of North America are split up into a 
great number of geographical races or subspecies, some of which occur as migrants in 
eastern Canada. The Arctic form B. v. subarcticus is nearly white in colour with the 
ochre and rufous of the common variety almost absent and the black pattern much reduced. 
The Western Horned Owl B. v. pallescens is about intermediate between the Arctic and 
the Eastern Horned Owl, the type form shown in the illustration. The Labrador Horned 
Owl B. V. heterocnemis is a very dark form. As these intergrade with each other indis- 
tinguishably and overlap in range in migration, exact subspecies designations should only 
be made with great care and, except in extreme plumages, only after comparison with 
duly authenticated specimens. 


The Great Horned Owl is the evil genius of the woods. Winding 
silently in and out through the shadowy foliage, it is master of all except 
the larger animals. The animosity the crows show the Great Horned Owl 
must be based upon bitter experience. 

Economic Status. The economic status of this bird depends upon 
where it lives. In the deep woods away from settlement it is, of course, 
harmless and only the wild creatures it preys upon are affected by it. In 
settled districts this bird is to be guarded against in every possible way. 
Of 110 stomachs examined, 31 contained poultry or game birds; 8, other 
birds; 13, mice; 65, other mammals; 1, a scorpion; 1, fish; and 10, insects. 
The evidence is, therefore, decidedly against this owl. There is no danger 
that restriction will result in its extermination since it is perfectly able to 
take care of itself and there are large sections where the species can hold 
sway over the wilderness without molestation. 

376. Snowy Owl. pr. — le harfang. Nyctea nyctea. L, 25. A large, white owl 
with short, sharp, dark-brown barring practically all over and without perceptible ear 
tufts. Adult birds which have reached maturity may be almost immaculate. 

Distinctions. The only owl that is markedly white, except the Arctic Horned Owl 
which sometimes approaches it. The lack of horns or ears, however, is diagnostic. 

Field Marks. Nearly white bird without ear tufts. 

Nesting. On ground. 

Distribution. Arctic regions of North America, migrating south in winter to the 
latitude of the Great Lakes across the continent. 

This is a winter visitor in the settled parts of Canada. It frequents 
frozen marshes and lake shores and is typically a bird of the open. Usually 
the birds that come from the north are heavily marked juveniles, but 
occasionally flights occur in which the very white and almost unspotted 
adults are in the majority. Probably the juveniles are naturally greater 
wanderers than the adults which migrate far from their home grounds 
only when driven out by a scarcity of food or attracted south by a great 
abundance of rabbits. 

377. Hawk Owl. fr. — la chouettb eperviere d'amerique. Surnia vlula' 
L, 15. A medium-sized owl of somewhat hawk-like build and habits. Above, rich, 
warm brown variously spotted with white. All underparts and breast, sharply and regu- 
larly barred with brown and white. A rich seal brown line bordering the outer sides of 
the facial disks and meeting in the throat. Facial disk not as perfect as in most owls. 

Distinctions. The less flattened and less typically owl-like face, long tail, and sharp 
and regular barring of the underparts are distinctive. 

Field, Marks. Diurnal habits, general coloration, and long tail are good field marks. 
Any owl seen himting in the daytime or perched in commanding position in full daylight 
is probably this species, though the Long and Short-eared both do so occasionally. 

Nesting. In evergreen trees or in holes in dry trunks. 

Distribution. The northern wooded parts of the continent, occurring within the 
settled regions only rarely in winter. 

SUBSPECIES. The Hawk Owl occurs in both the New and Old Worlds as aUied 
subspecies, the type being European. The American Hawk Owl S. u. caparoch is the 
only form found in Canada. 

This is the most strictly diurnal of Canadian owls. It is very hawk- 
like in action and form, being of more slender and lighter build than other 
members of its family. It may often be seen perched on the tip of a dry 
tree trunk, reminding one very much of the Sparrow Hawk both in outline 
and in the distinctive way in which it jerks its tail. 


Economic Status. This is a northern bird which occurs within the 
bounds of cultivation only in winter and rarely. Few data are available 
upon its food, but without doubt it is a mouser as it is too small to prey upon 
larger animals. 

Order — Coccyges. Cuckoos and Kingfishers. 

Systematic zoologists are not agreed on the classification of these 
birds. The present American Ornithologists' Union check-list (1910 
edition) recognizes these as composing a full order and divides the Canadian 
representatives into two suborders: Cuculi, including the American Cuckoos 
and extralimital families, and Alcyones, the Kingfishers. Distinctive 
characters are most easily described under the subfamily and specific 


This suborder is represented in North America by only one family, 
Cuculidce, comprising the Anis and two groups of Cuckoos. 


A family represented in North America by three subfamilies, only 
one of which occurs in Canada — Coccyzincs, the American Tree Cuckoos. 

Subfamily — Coccyzince. American Tree Cuckoos. 

General Description. Birds with weak feet and yoke toes, two toes directed forward 
and two backwards (Figure 37, p. 24). The bills are rather long, gently curved, and sharp 
pointed. The plumage is soft and thin, lacking in cohesion, and has the soft silky feeling 
associated with many tropical species. The tail is long, soft, and graduated. 

Distinctions. May be distinguished from the Woodpeckers, which also have yoke 
toes, directed two and two, by the difference in the bills and tails. In the Woodpecker 
the bills are straight, stout, the tip chisel-pointed, and the tail is rather short, very stiff, 
and bristle-hke at the tip. 

The Cuckoos are largely tropical in distribution. The two Canadian 
cuckoos are outliers from the main body of species in warmer latitudes. 
They are possessed of a sensuous tropical grace and air that are out of keeping 
with northern climes. This is exhibited in their lithe, sinuous carriage, 
full round deep throat, long graceful tail, and thin but soft and silky plumage. 
They haunt hot and humid jungles of shrubbery, and flit across the open 
spaces with a silent undulating flight that seems in harmony with their 
exotic nature. English literature is rich in reference to the Cuckoo, but 
little that is said is applicable to the Canadian Cuckoo. The latter is not 
an early arriving species and comes in spring with a quietness and a silence 
that hides its presence for some time after arrival. Its notes, too, are 
entirely different from those with which European writers have made us 
familiar. The calls of our birds are less musical but have a charm of their 
own and a wildness and unusual quality in keeping with their natures. 
The two Canadian species are very much alike in their calls; a loud 
startling " Kaow-kaow-kaow " is one of the most characteristic and one 
that, on the still summer air, can be heard for a quarter of a mile or more. 
Again they have a " Kuck-kuck-kuck " note like a big clock beating seconds, 
that has not the range of the above but has considerable carrying power. 


In regard to their parental duties, our birds show considerable more reali- 
zation of responsibility than the European. They are slightly parasitic 
in their habits, that is, they occasionally drop their eggs in the nests of 
other birds and shelve upon them the cares of raising their young, but the 
practice is not common. The old English word "Cuckold" refers to and 
is based upon this habit of the European bird. This is not a common 
practice with the American, as it is with the Old World species, and is 
perhaps only accidental. 

Economic Status. Cuckoos are almost entirely insectivorous, but 
occasionally take small amounts of wild fruit. Their great value lies in 
the fact that they show special fondness for certain insects that other 
species rarely touch. Hairy caterpillars which, on account of their bristly 
coatings, are safe from most fastidious birds are regularly eaten by Cuckoos. 
The interior of a Cuckoo's stomach will be found to be lined with a coating 
of spiny caterpillar bristles set in the walls and projecting from them 
like fur. 

387. Yellow- billed Cuckoo, fr. — le coucou a bec jaune. Coccyzus americanus. 
L, 12-20. Plate XVII A. 

Distinctions. The Yellow-billed Cuckoo may be mistaken only for its relative the 
Black-billed. The yellow on the biU, from which it gets its name, is the easiest means of 
identification. Additional distinguishing marks are a broad area of suffused cinnamon on 
the wings, that is conspicuous in flight, and considerably more white on the ends of the tail 

Field Marks. The long flexible outline in flight and the general coloration make this 
bird recognizable as a Cuckoo. The yellow lower mandible, cinnamon wing marks, and 
the large amount of white on the tail fix the species. 

Nesting. Loose structm-e of sticks not far from ground. 

Distribution. This species is of rather more southern distribution than the next, 
but the data seem to point to its increase in nmnbers and range within the past thirty 
years. Its range just overlaps the southern borders of Ontario, Quebec, and New Bruns- 

SUBSPECIES. There are two races of this species recognized in Canada. The 
Eastern Cuckoo, the typical form, extends west to the plains. 

388. Black-billed Cuckoo, fr. — le coucou a bec noire. Coccyzus erythrophthal- 
mus. L, 11-85. Plate XVII A. 

Distinctions. Can be distinguished from the Yellow-biUed by its all-black biU, lack 
of cinnamon on the wings, and the smaller amoimt of white tips on the tail. 

Field Marks. The above make the best field marks available for the species. The 
characteristic Cuckoo flight and outline are easily recognized. 

Nesting. Loose structiu*e of sticks not far from ground. 

Distribution. A bird of wider and more northerly distribution than the yellow-'^illed 
Cuckoo; irregularly in the more settled parts of the covmtry south of the gulf of St. Lawrence 
and west to the Manitoba line. 



The Kingfishers form a well-marked group represented in nearly all 
parts of the world. Though evidently adapted to catching fish some have 
given up their ancestral habits and watery habitats to live in the woods 
on insects and earthworms. However, all these departures from type are 
extralimital and mostly tropical; the well known Laughing Jackass of 
Australia is a large aberrant Kingfisher. The North American Kingfishers 
are all included under one family, Alcedinidce. 



As there is only one species of the familj' in Canada the description 
given under the species will serve for the family. 

390. Belted Kingfisher, fr. — le martin p^cheur. Ceryle alcyon. L, 13-02. 
Plate XVII B. 

Distinctions. The great ragged crest and slaty-blue back of the Kingfisher cannot be 
very well confused with any other American bird. The weak feet, three toes in front, 
the two outer (Figure 36, p. 24) joined for haK their length, and the peculiar clumsy 
grasping surfaces are diagnostic of the Kingfishers. 

Field Marks. The ragged crest and large head, general coloration, and habit of sitting 
motionless on a perch overhangmg the water or diving into it with a splash make the 
Kingfisher easily recognizable in hfe. 

Nesting. Usually on ground at end of a tunnel driven in the face of an exposed earth 

Distribution. All of North America, breeding wherever found in Canada. 

All frequenters of Canadian waters know the Kingfisher. It sits 
motionless on a commanding perch over the water watching for the fish 
below. Suddenly it dashes off, hangs suspended a moment in the air, and 
then drops with a resounding splash into the water, rising a moment later 
with a luckless fish in its capacious bill, and is off around the bend of the 
stream. Within its daily range the Kingfisher knows every perch and 
branch from which it can get a comprehensive view of its fishing grounds 
and returns to them again and again. Streams are not its only habitat; 
it frequents lakes and ponds and even the seashore. The Kingfishers 
fish sometimes at considerable distances from their nests as they are often 
seen in country where earth banks such as they require for nesting are 
few. However, they are adaptable and sometimes use the most unexpected 
substitutes, such as the earth clinging to the roots of an overturned tree, 
or the sides of a drainage ditch. 

Economic Status. The Belted Kingfisher lives upon small fish, and 
whether or not this constitutes a grave economic offence is a question 
that cannot be answered offhand. The minnows caught by this bird along 
our larger streams, ponds, or lakes are certainly not of importance, but 
when Kingfishers frequent small preserved trout streams they may possibly 
commit rather serious depredations. Their effect on the larger salmon 
waters is less clear. Ordinarily the fish they take are small perch, shiners, 
chub, and other minnows that frequent the surface or shallow warm water. 
The number of young game fish that are taken cannot be great. On waters 
given to the culture of trout the question is different. The fish taken 
there are comparatively well grown and even if they are not very numerous 
the Kingfisher cannot be looked upon with friendly eyes by the angler. 

On the salmon streams the Kingfishers are regarded with strong 
disfavour and the guardians are usually busy reducing their number with 
gun and trap on every possible occasion, and even offer bounties upon their 
heads and nests. How far this is justified is questionable. In many of 
these streams the fish have little other food than the smaller of their own 
species. The large fish, except the spring run of breeders, are all busy 
eating the small ones. The fry evidently live on micro-organisms and 
plankton, the fingerlings upon the fry, the parr upon the fingerlings, and 
so on. The fingerlings are those taken by the Kingfishers. Now if the 
final number of adult salmon depends on the fingerling, if the fingerUng 


is the critical stage in the salmon's Ufe beyond which its chances for 
survival are greatly increased, the Kingfisher can possibly commit appre- 
ciable depredation; but if on the other hand this critical point occurs later, 
during the sea life of the fish for instance, the effect of the taking of even 
a considerable number of fingerlings will be negligible. At any rate it 
will take several Kingfishers to equal the damage done by one comparatively 
small fish in the waters frequented by the salmon. It would seem, therefore, 
that the good and e\dl in the case of the Kingfisher nearly balances. 

Order — Pici. Woodpeckers. 

The world wide order Pici is a rather heterogeneous division including 
numerous subdivisions and there is little uniformity of opinion as to their 
exact relations. In Canada there is only one family of the order — Picidoe, 
the Woodpeckers. 


General Description. The Woodpeckers are aji easily recognized family. They have 
either three or four toes, as in the Cuckoos, two permanently directed forward, ending in 
well hooked claws for clinging to the rough bark of trees. In one group, the Three-toed 
Woodpeckers, one of the hind toes is absent. The bill is straight, stout, and chisel-shaped 
at the tip (Figure 41, p. 25). The tail is well developed; not remarkably long but stout 
and ending in stiif bristles that are worn and frayed by pressure against rough bark. 

Distinctions. Feet, bill, and tail characters make reliable distinctions. 

Field Marks. Tree cUmbing habits; and flight by series of quick wing strokes with 
slight pauses between, causing a waved coiirse like a succession of festoons. 

Nesting. In holes excavated in trees or stubs. 

The Woodpeckers are well known for their ability to cling to per- 
pendicular or overhanging surfaces. The stout chisel-shaped bill is 
admirably adapted to drilling into wood whence the larvse of borers or other 
insects are extracted. The tongue is modified into a long, extensible 
spear furnished with a sharp point and armed with minute barbs to assist 
in holding the impaled prey and withdraw it from the wood. The hyoid 
or tongue bones are so long that in the normal position of rest they wind up 
over the base of the skull along the crown and in some species penetrate the 
nostrils beneath the bill-sheath and finally rest their ends near the tip of 
the bill. As a further aid, large salivary glands secrete a sticky fluid for 
the tongue to which small insects stick and are caught as with bird lime. 
A few species, for example the Sapsuckers, have the tip of the tongue frayed 
out into a sort of brush that is evidently used in gathering up the sap. 

Economic Status. Of the general usefulness of the Woodpeckers, 
with the exception of the Sapsuckers, there can be little doubt. They 
are almost entirely insectivorous. They pursue wood-boring grubs by 
drilling holes even in apparently healthy trees and hence they are bene- 
ficial not harmful. 

393. Hairy Woodpecker, fr. — le pic chevelu. Dryobates villosus. L, 9-40. 
Almost exactly hke the next species, but larger. Plate XVIII A. 

Distinctions. The Downy Woodpecker is the only species with which this is likely to 
be confused. Size is the best point for differentiation, but the white of the outer tail feathers 
being solid instead of barred with black, is diagnostic. 

Field Marks. The spotted black and white coloration to mark the genus and the size 
to separate it from the Downy. 


Nesting. In holes drilled in dead stubs or living trees. 

Distribution. The Hairy Woodpecker in its various subspecies is found over all the 
wooded parts of Canada, breeding everj^where except perhaps in the most southern portions 
of Ontario. 

SUBSPECIES. The species in eastern Canada is divided into two geographical 
races, the Eastern Hairy, the t>T3e form, and the Northern Hairy, D. v. leucomelas. The 
latter is the one usually but incorrectly given as the bird of southern Canada. It is of 
shghtly larger size and of more northern distribution, only occasionally coming down into 
settled districts in winter and perhaps never appearing in the Lower Great Lakes region. 

The Hairy Woodpecker gets its name from the white feathers of the 
back, which fall over the black borders in a loose disconnected way faintly 
suggestive of hairs. It is one of the common woodpeckers and quite 
typical of the family in its habits. It is not as familiar about houses or 
orchards as the Downy Woodpecker, preferring the woods to orchard or 
shade trees. 

Economic Status. Insects constitute 77 per cent of the food of this 
species; they are mostly beetles, but include ants, scales, and sawflies; 
22 per cent is vegetable, almost entirely wild fruit. 

394. Downy Woodpecker, fr. — le pic minule. Dryobates pubescens. L, 6-83. 
Plate XVIII A. 

Distinctions. The Downy can be separated from the Hairy Woodpecker by its smaller 
size and the black barring on the white outer tail feathers. 

Field Marks. Size is the best field mark. 

Nesting. In holes drilled in dead trees and stubs. 

Distribution. The Downy Woodpecker with its various subspecies occupies all of 
temperate America, breeding in Canada wherever found. 

SUBSPECIES. The species is divided into several geographical races. The form 
of eastern Canada, the Northern Downy D. p. medianus, is separated from the type form 
only by a slight difference in size. 

The Downy Woodpecker is our commonest woodpecker. It comes 
close about the house and is quite at home in the orchard and among the 
shade trees of towns and parks. As it is resident in Canada throughout 
the year it is of particular value to the husbandman. 

Economic Status. Being the most fearless of the woodpeckers and 
coming close about the fields and houses where it is most needed, it is an 
invaluable bird. Peering into every crack and crevice of shade and fruit 
trees and drilling for deeper lying insects it well complements the work of 
the little Chickadee and Nuthatch. In fact, these three species often travel 
in company in the winter and there is little in the food line that is overlooked 
when the three species work together. The food of the Downy Woodpecker 
is similar to that of the Hairy Woodpecker, but, as would be expected 
from its smaller size and its more common presence in summer, includes 
more of the smaller insects. The various scale insects make a larger item 
in its food and it takes more moth caterpillars, including the Tent Cater- 
pillar and those of the Codling Moth. 

400. Arctic Three-toed Woodpecker, black-backed woodpecker, fr. — le pic 
ARCTiQUE. Picoides ardicus. L, 9-50. Plate XVIII B. 

Distinctions. A woodpecker with three instead of four toes and a solidly black back. 

Field Marks. Except the Red-headed, the only solidly black-backed woodpecker in 
eastern Canada. The all black back for specific, and the yeUow crown patch of the male 
for generic recognition. Plate XVIII B . 

Distribution. The northern coniferous forests, west to the prairie provinces. 



A bird of the northern coniferous forest, seldom coming under the 
notice of the ordinary observer, except towards the verge of present settle- 
ment where it is of regular occurrence. 

Economic Status. This woodpecker is of growing importance for the 
protection of the coniferous forest from introduced and other insect pests 
which have greatly increased in recent years. 

401. American Three-toed Woodpecker, ladder-backed woodpecker, fr. — le 
PIC d'am^irique. Picaides americanus. L, 8-75. Almost exactly similar to the Arctic 
Three-toed, but with the middle of the back barred with white. 

Distinctions, The yellow crown of the male is distinctive of the Three-toed Wood- 
peckers. This species can be distinguished from the Arctic by the white-barred instead 
of solid black back. Except the Red-belUed, the only woodpecker in eastern Canada with 
a barred back. 

Field Marks. Yellow crown of male and the black and white barring in the middle 
of the back. 

SUBSPECIES. The form occurring in eastern Canada is the Eastern Three-toed 
Woodpecker, the type race of the species. In the west, other forms occur. 

A much rarer bird than the preceding, but of similar habits, status, 
and distribution, and extending into the western mountains in subspecific 

402. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. fr. — le pic macui-:^. Sphyrapicus varixis. L, 
8-56. Plate XIX A. 

Distinctions. The well-defined red cap just covering the top of the head will usually 
distinguish this species. Some females have a black crown, but the general coloration 
is always recognizable even in young birds, although in them it is veiled and indicated 
rather than expressed. 

Field Marks. The red cap of both sexes and red throat of the male are the most cons- 
picuous field marks. In other plumages the broad white bar that shows along the wing 
and the black gorget below the throat are distinctive. 

Nesting. In holes in dead trees. 

Distribution. Eastern North America from well north of cultivation, southward. 
Breeds everywhere in eastern Canada excepting in the most southerly portions. 

SUBSPECIES. The eastern form of the Yellow-beUied Sapsucker is the type 
race — the Eastern Sapsucker. In the extreme west another subspecies occurs. 

The Sapsuckers have departed somewhat from their ancestral wood- 
pecking habits. Although numerous during migration through southern 
Canada, they are scarce breeders in the lower Great Lakes region though 
common elsewhere. 

Economic Status. This is the only bird of the family that seems 
to be harmful. The harm is done in quest of sap, by girdling the trunks 
and branches of orchards and other smooth barked trees with rows of small 
squarish pits regularly spaced in horizontal lines penetrating both outer 
and inner barks to the sap-wood beneath. Several trees may be so tapped 
and visited in turn as the sap exudes. Though it is primarily the sap 
which is sought, the insects attracted are also eaten, for though sap is 
a large item in the Sapsucker's diet, animal food is also necessary. 

Although the damage to trees so girdled is not nearly as great as 
might be expected, they are sometimes permanently injured and even 
killed. All are weakened and a lodgment prepared for fungoid growth 
and insects. Unless severely and repeatedly attacked, however, most 
survive and completely recover. Even forest growth suffers considerable 
damage; valuable timber trees are attacked and the consequent burr 


growths and wood stains in the manufactured lumber, marking the old, 
healed attacks of the Sapsucker, reduce the marketable value of the lumber 
products. The whole question of the damage done by Sapsuckers has been 
exhaustively discussed in a United States Biological Survey Bulletin, No. 
39, "Woodpeckers in relation to trees and wood products," by W. L. 
McAtee. Under the heading of defensive measures against Sapsuckers 
the author advises a limited use of the gun where the species is doing 
appreciable harm, or the use of poison. If the gun is used care should be 
taken that only Sapsuckers are killed and it must be remembered that 
with poison, Hummingbirds and other small birds, especially warblers, 
are likely to suffer also. 

405. Pileated Woodpecker, cock-of-the-wood. fk. — le pic a huppe ^cahlate. 
Phloeotomus pileatus. L, 17. Plate XIX B. 

Distinctions. The size of this woodpecker makes identification easy. It can be 
confused with no other Canadian Woodpecker. 

Field Marks. Large size, striking, red crest, and the white on the outspread wings. 

Distribution. Once ranging over aU of eastern Canada it is now practically con- 
fined to the wilder parts and the wilderness of the north. 

SUBSPECIES. The Pileated Woodpecker is divided into two subspecies, of which 
only the Northern Pileated P. p. abieticola occurs in Canada. 

On account of the wanton destruction of this beautiful bird which 
was once of wide distribution, it is now to be found only in the quiet of the 
north woods. The colloquial name "Cock-of-the-woods" has been locally 
corrupted into "Woodcock", and its use for this species is a source of 
confusion and misunderstanding. The Pileated Woodpecker is not a 
legitimate object of sport; it will not "lie to a dog", cannot be hunted 
by sportsman-like methods, and is too small for use as food, but has great 
value as a forest preserver. It should, therefore, be rigidly protected 
for economic as well as sentimental reasons. 

Economic Status. The Pileated Woodpecker is now restricted to the 
wildest sections. It is mainly beneficial in the protection of forest trees 
and, therefore, its greatest value is to the lumberman. Its food is much 
the same as that of the other woodpeckers, but its superior strength enables 
it to dig deeply and exhume larvae and insects that are safe from a less 
powerful bird. 

406. Red-headed Woodpecker, fr. — le pic a t^te rouge. Melanerpes erythro- 
cephalus. L, 9-75. Plate XX A. 

Distinctions. The bright red head and contrasting broad masses of black and white 
body-plumage are easily recognized. 

Field Marks. The striking coloration of this species makes it easily recognizable. 

Nesting. Generally in holes in dead stubs and occasionally in telegraph and other 
such poles. 

Distribution. A bird of rather southern distribution, only regularly and commonly 
entering Canada on the southern border along the lower Great Lakes. 

The Red-headed Woodpecker is one of the familiar species about 
orchards and wood lots. It is, therefore, well known wherever it 
occurs. The Red-headed has rather less of woodpecker habits than 
the forms hitherto considered, or it has evolved other flycatcher-like 
traits in addition to its ancestral ones. 

Economic Status. The Red-headed eats fewer larvse and grubs than 
other species, and more useful, predaceous ground-beetles. However, 


the balance between good and evil is in its favour, for although it eats 
some fruit, May beetles or June bugs and weevils form a large part of its 
food. It has been accused of eating fruit and without doubt the charges 
have some foundation, but careful study has shown that these cases are 
local and confined to limited areas and perhaps to certain individuals. 

409. Red-bellied Woodpecker, fr. — le pic Dfc la Caroline. Centurus carolinus. 
L, 9-50. Entire back and upperparts sharply and regularly barred with black and white. 
Whole back of neck to shoulder and, in the male, the top of head, bright red. All re- 
mainder and below ashy white with slight olive tinge. Abdomen shghtly tinged with red. 

Distinctions. The even barring of the whole back and the red colour of the crown 
and rear neck are eisily distinguished. 

Distribution. From the gulf coast to northern United States, occurring as a straggler 
to the north of the boundary in southern Ontario. 

This Woodpecker is of rare and local occurrence in Canada. Its 
economic status is good although it is fond of wild fruit and occasionally 
turns its attention to cultivated varieties. 

412. Flicker, golden-winged woodpecker, highhole, highholder, yellow- 
hammer. FR. — le pic dore. Colaptes auratus. L, 12. Plate XX B. 

Distinction. A large Woodpecker with the under surface of the wings and tail bright 

Field Marks. General Woodpecker-Uke actions; size; yellow underwing surfaces 
and white rump conspicuous in flight. 

Nesting. Nests in holes excavated in dead stubs, usually in the open, rarely if ever 
in dense woods. The pecuUar inter-relation of distinct species is well illustrated by this 
bird. Its deserted nesting-holes are made use of by many other species which are incap- 
able of excavating their own. Sparrow Hawks, Tree Swallows, Crested Flycatchers, 
and some other useful species are thus directly dependent upon Woodpeckers, especially 
Flickers, for nesting sites. There are many other such cases in nature of interdepen- 
dence; some are obvious and well known, some we surmise, and others may be that we 
do not and cannot at present even suspect. This is a cogent reason for caution in disturb- 
ing the established order of nature. 

Distribution. The FUcker in its various subspecies is distributed all over eastern 
North America, north to the tree limits. It breeds wherever found in Canada. 

SUBSPECIES. The Flicker is divided into several subspecies, the eastern Canadian 
variety being known as the Northern Fhcker C. a. luteus. 

The most familiar of the Woodpeckers to the general public, as is 
indicated by the great number of vernacular names that have been appplied 
to it; only the principal ones are given above. The loud ^^ Flicker, flicker, 
flicker" , of the male and the piercing ^'Peiu-u" of both sexes are well 
known and easily recognized sounds. Though a true Woodpecker the 
Flicker is a pronounced ground feeder and is especially fond of ants, of 
which its food is often largely composed. It delights to cling to a hollow 
reverberating tree trunk and beat out rattling tattoos that can be heard 
for great distances. This noise seems to be made as a call to its mate 
or may sometimes be from pure exuberance of spirits. The reproductive 
powers of the Flicker are phenomenal. By taking away the eggs as they 
are laid it has been known to lay thirty or more in a season. It seems 
to be able to keep up the deposition until the set is completed. 

Economic Stahis. Ants constitute nearly half the food of the Flicker. 
The remainder of its insect food consists of both beneficial and harmful 
species, but the latter noticeably predominate. It takes some fruit, 
grain, and mast; but on the whole must be considered to be beneficial 
rather than harmful. Perhaps the worst charge that can be made against 


the species is its scattering of the seeds of the poison oak and ivy and so 
aiding in the spread of these harmful plants. 

Order — Macrochires. Goatsuckers, Swifts, and Hummingbirds. 

In this order are grouped a number of birds that after further inves- 
tigation may be rearranged. The present classification of the American 
Ornithologists' Union is avowedly tentative and adhered to only until 
a permanent sj^stem can be agreed upon. The various suborders of 
the division are more easily recognized by their differences than by their 
agreements, and those points in which they differ will be emphasized in 
the following descriptions. 


This is a widely distributed suborder divided into a number of families. 
A description of the one family represented in North America will serve 
for the recognition of the native species. 


General Desaiption. The Goatsuckers have flattened heads, very small biEs, and 
enormous mouths, with gape extending to behind the eye (Figure 38, p. 24). The 
feet are smaU and very weak and the middle claw pectinated or furnished with comb- 
like serrations as in the Herons (Figure 19, p. 21). The plumage is very soft in texture 
and coloured in wood browns, neutral buffs, and grey. 

Distinctions. The above characters should be sufficient to characterize this family 
as they are dissimilar to those of any other Canadian birds. 

The Goatsuckers were given their name from an old but mistaken 
belief that they sucked the milk from the goats in the pastures over which 
they were seen to wheel and circle, and their immense mouths and pink 
throats gave support to the popular impression. In truth the birds that 
frequented the pastures were hawking for flying insects that had been 
attracted by the animals. The birds of this family are nocturnal or cre- 
puscular. They feed entirely upon insects caught on the wing and seldom 
come to ground except to nest or for repose. Their feet are too small 
and weak to clasp a branch securely and in perching they normally sit 
on large branches, lengthwise of them instead of crosswise, as do most 

416. Chuck-will's Widow, fr. — engotjlevent de la Caroline. Antrosiomus 
carolinensis. L, 12. A large WTiip-poor-will. See next species. 

Distinctions. Size; it is a considerably larger bird than the \Vhip-poor-wiU; the 
long bristles about the mouth with hair-Uke branches at their base instead of being clean 
and bare throughout their length. 

Distribution. The southern states. Of accidental occurrence within our borders. 

The basis for the inclusion of this bird here is the taking of a specimen 
at Pelee point on lake Erie and another at Pictou, Nova Scotia. It is 
rare and is similar to the Whip-poor-will in appearance, habits, and notes. 

417. Whip-poor-will. fr. — l'engoulevent criard. Antrostomus vociferus. L, 
9-75. Coloured in soft indefinite patterns of wood-browns and greys with suggestions 
of rufous and ochre. There is little broad pattern in the colouring, but much fine detail. 
On the underparts there is only a faint suggestion of barring, and the coloration of the 
whole bird is hke that of a great brown moth. 


Distinctions. Only to be mistaken for the Nighthawk or the very rare Chuck-will'e 
Widow. It is easily distinguished from the Nighthawk by the following points: th; 
throat is dark instead of white; there is a narrow white collar across the base of the throats 
the final half of the tail feathers, except the middle pair, is white in the male and tipped 
with buffy white in the female. The spread wing shows no white spot. 

Nesting. Eggs are laid directly upon the ground or on dead leaves. 

Distribution. Common throughout most of the settled parts of eastern Canada, 
scarcer in the extreme east, and more common in undisturbed than in highly cultivated 

SUBSPECIES. Two subspecies of Whip-poor-wiU are recognized in North America, 
of which the Eastern Whip-poor-will, the type form, is the only one occurring in Canada. 

There is no other sound in the Canadian woods as poetically mournful 
as the reiterated call of the Whip-poor-will. The translation of bird 
notes into words usually requires a stretch of the imagination, but this 
bird says "Whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will" with unusual distinctness. 
For a calling station it selects a perch on a fallen tree-trunk, a bare branch, 
the roof of a building, or even a tent pole. It returns to its various stations 
regularly on successive nights and seems to visit each in turn. Between 
periods of calling the bird hawks and wheels through the tree tops in 
large interlacing circles, sometimes swooping towards the ground in a long 
pendulum-like swing. In the daytime it seeks the ground in some quiet 
patch of underbrush where it passes the time at rest. When disturbed 
by an intruder it rises with a loose, poorly controlled flight that gives no 
indication of its wonderful command of the air at other times, flutters 
a short distance over the tangle, and drops again to earth. 

The Whip-poor-will is often regarded as identical with the Nighthawk. 
This is a not unnatural mistake when they are not seen side by side as 
they are quite similar enough to be confused. 

Economic Status. The Whip-poor-will feeds largely upon night- 
flying beetles, especially May beetles or June bugs. 

420. Nighthawk. mosquito hawk, bull-bat. night-jar. fr. — l'engoulevent 
d'amer.ique. Chordeiles virginianns. L, 10. Plate XXI A. 

D htindions. The Nighthawk and the Whip-poor-will are often mistaken for one 
another. This species, however, can be distinguished from the Whip-poor-will by the 
following characters: the throat is white instead of dark, there is no white collar below 
the throat, and the long mouth-bristles are lacking. The tail is slightly forked instead 
of round and has little or no white except a narrow subterminal bar. The underparts 
are distinctly barred and the wings have a white spot at the base of the primaries instead 
of being all black. 

Field Marks. The Nighthawk flies about in daylight and in the early evening, 
whereas the Whip-poor-will never hawks about in the open mitil evening. A white spot 
in the wing shows in flight very plainly, resembling from a little distance a clear cut shot 
hole. The sudden and perpendicular dive in the air with hollow booming accompaniment 
is also distmctive of the species. 

Nesting. A clear spot on the ground — usually the bald tops of flat rocks in the open. 
Eggs laid directly on ground with httle or no preparation. Often utihzes the flat gravel 
roofs of buildings. 

Distribution. North and South America, north to the tree hmits, breeding in Canada 
wherever found. 

SUBSPECIES. Several subspecies of Nighthawks are recognized in Canada, but 
the only form occurring in the east is the Eastern Nighthawk, the type form. 

Though called Nighthawk this bird has no relation to the Raptores 
in habit, structure, or outward appearance. Its large eyes directed slightly 
forward sometimes causes it to be mistaken for an owl by casual observers. 
This species nests to some extent on the flat gravel roofs of buildings. 


These graceful aeronauts may be seen over almost any city or town as 
evening draws on, beating about on long, strong wings with slow, powerful, 
but slightly erratically timed beats. At intervals one will mount in steep 
spirals higher and higher, and then face earthwards and come nearly 
perpendicularly down like a falling stone. As it falls a hollow dull tremolo 
buzz is heard. Just before the observer thinks the bird must dash to 
the ground it catches itself and glides off safely to repeat the operation. 
Its notes are not musical, though from the high upper air its hoarse 
squawking voice comes down softened and harmonized by distance. 

Economic Status. Of few birds can more good or less harm be told 
than of the Nighthawk. Its food is wholly of insects and it takes most 
of it on the wing, high in the air where many of the insects are mating 
and at a time when their destruction does the most good. It is a surpris- 
ingly small bird when stripped of its thick coat of soft feathers, but requires 
a great amount of food. A list of the species taken by it includes great 
numbers of ants, June bugs, squash beetles, chinch bugs, leaf-hoppers, 
and other obnoxious species. The habit, common in some places, of using 
this bird as a live target by gunners when practicing is inexcusable and 
those guilty of it should be rigorously prosecuted. It should be realized 
that every offence against the laws protecting insectivorous birds is 
something more than a technical offence against an impersonal state; 
it is a direct blow at the welfare of the whole community. 


A widely spread suborder consisting of one family of which in eastern 
Canada we have only a single species. 


The North American Swifts are divided into two Subfamilies, only 
one of which, the Spine-tailed Swift Chceturince, is represented in eastern 

Subfamily — Chceturince. Spine-tailed Swifts. 

The Swifts are a group of birds superficially resembling swallows, but 
structurally very different from them, the similarity being brought about 
by common requirements and not by relationship. A description that is 
applicable to the whole subfamily is given under the specific heading 

423. Chimney Swift, fr. — le maktinet des chemines. Choetura pelatica. L, 
5-43. Plate XXI B. 

Distinctions. The even, sooty-brown colour lightening on the throat and becoming 
darker towards the vent, is almost sufficient for recognition. The projection of the shafts 
of the tail feathers (Figure 39, p. 25) beyond the webs as sharp stiff spines is a posi tive 
identification mark. 

Field Marks. The peculiar, long, narrow, and rather club-shaped wings, well shown 
in the illustration; the nearly continuous quick beating; the dense dark coloration; and 
the habit of entering chimneys, are distinctive and characteristic. 

Nesting. Originally in hollow trees or clefts in rocks, now over most of the range of 
the Chimney Swift, in unused chimneys. The nest is a firm structure of twigs cemented 
together with a natural glue furnished by the salivary glands. The edible nests so much 
in demand by Chinese epicures, are composed of the cement from a closely allied Swift. 

Distribution. Eastern North America, north to the limit of cultivation. Breeds in 
Canada wherever found. 


This is an interesting species, swallow-like in outward appearance and 
food-hunting habits yet structurally distinct from the Swallows. It is an 
odd example of parallel development of widely separated characters induced 
by similarity of requirement. Its habits have entirely changed since the 
advent of the white man and, forsaking hollow trees, it is now practically 
dependent upon chimneys for sites in which to build its nest. The winter 
home of the Chimney Swift is unknown. The mystery, however, should 
not be exaggerated, as there are numbers of Swifts in the western hemisphere 
looking very like this one and the bird has probably been overlooked in its 
winter quarters or confused with closely allied forms. The Swift spends 
much time on the wing and seldom comes to rest except in a chimney or 
hollow tree. In the autumn, before migration, great numbers gather to- 
together and at evening seek the shelter of some ample chimney where 
they pass the night. They may be seen just before dusk flying about in 
complicated patterns near the chosen chimney, and as the sun sets, circling, 
until as they throw the wings straight up over the back and drop fluttering 
into the stack, one rapidly following another, they appear to pour in like a 
miniature maelstrom. The birds cling to the perpendicular walls of the 
chimney by hundreds, in masses like lumps of soot. Occasionally one with 
insecure hold drops a few feet, loosening as it does so, others below; there 
is a momentary flutter of wings and a small chorus of fine sharp chippings 
until they find new holdings and settle for the night. 


These tiny, insect-like birds with brilliant flower-like coloration, 
unbird-like flight, and wonderfully varied form, are a typically American 
order. In a way, they occupy much the same position in the New World 
as the Sun Birds do in the Old World, but the similarity between the two is 
superficial and not one of relationship. Many species are highly specialized 
and exhibit some of the strangest forms in the bird world, including crests, 
ruffs, fans, and muffs, exaggerated tails, long plumes, and enormous sword- 
like and fine awl-shaped bills, but their most striking feature is the brilliant 
metallic colorations on various parts of the body, that gleam in the sun. They 
feed largely upon the nectar of fiowers. The tongue is very long and 
protrusive as in the Woodpeckers, with its sides curled over towards the 
middle to form a double tube frayed into a brush-like tip which makes a 
most efficient organ for sucking liquids. Numbers of small insects, however, 
are taken with the nectar and, from feeding experiments on captives, they 
seem to be necessary to the bird's welfare. They are usually minute forms 
taken from the flowers from which the nectar is obtained. 

Hummingbirds as a group are tropical and subtropical species and 
increase greatly in number to the south, though one species in the east 
ranges well to the north. 


As there is only one family of Hummingbirds, represented in eastern 
Canada by a single species, see preceding and succeeding headings for des- 

428. Ruby-throated Hummingbird, pr. — le colibri a georges rubis. Archilo- 
chus colubris. L, 3-74. Plate XXII A. 


Distinctions. Size; slender bill (Figure 40, p. 25); and metallic coloration are 

Nesting. In a beautiful structure covered with bits of lichens and cobwebs, saddled 
on the top of a branch. 

Distribution. Eastern North America north to the Umits of present cultivation. 

Hummingbirds fly forwards, backwards, sideways, or remain per- 
fectly stationary in the air with equal ease — another instance of parallel 
development — a bird flying like an insect yet in structure strictly bird-like. 
The wings vibrate with a rapidity that can only be measured by the tuning 
fork method used with insects. This system of flight is fundamentally 
different in method from that of other birds and consequently the wings 
differ from the usual type. They are long, narrow, non-flexible, and the 
keel of the sternum is immensely deepened to give support to the great 
muscles that move them. In proportion to its wing spread a Humming- 
bird has a breast keel nearly three times larger than that of a pigeon, a bird 
of average flight, or forty times larger than that of an albatross. 

Economic Status. When it is remembered that some of the smallest 
insect pests are the most destructive, we can realize that possibly the 
economic importance of the Hummingbird may be greater than suspected. 
Besides nectar, its food seems to be composed of small flies, gnats, minute 
bees, wasps, and other flower-haunting and pollen-eating forms. Appa- 
rently no harm can be charged against the species and it may do good out 
of all proportion to its size. 

Order — Passeres. Perching Birds. 

The order Passeres, Passerine or Perching Birds, is the largest and 
most important division of modern birds. The lower and more generalized 
types of birds have in the past been in the ascendant; but to-day the 
highly specialized Passeres are dominant; they constitute nearly if not 
quite half of our present living forms and are put at the head of the classi- 
fication by systematists. They have a greater number than any other 
order,of characters that are common to themselves but special in relation 
to other orders, for instance, the highly developed larynx or singing organ, 
with complicated muscular control and many other special characters. 
Generally, a bird may be referred to this order by a process of ehmination, 
as not belonging to any of the previous orders. The feet (Figure 42, p. 25) 
are not webbed, the hind toe is as long as the middle one, and the whole foot 
is well adapted for perching. The bill is hard and horny, withoutcere or 
soft base, and the nostrils do not communicate with each other as in some 
of the other orders. Two suborders are represented in Canada : Calmatores, 
the Songless Perchers; and Oscines, the Song Birds. 


This suborder is constituted upon a basis of anatomical structure. 
The name Songless Percher is not intended to indicate that the birds are 
silent, but that they are less tuneful than the Oscines, with a larynx less 
highly specialized. Only one family of this suborder occurs in Canada, the 
Tyrannidoe or Tyrant Flycatchers. 



General Description. The Tyrant Flycatchers are most easily recognized among 
Canadian birds by their bills (Figure 43, p. 25) which are comparatively long, somewhat 
flattened and broadened at the base, wider than high, and slightly hooked at the extreme 

Field Marks. Easily recognized in life by their characteristic habits and attitudes 
which soon become familiar to the discerning observer. When perching they usually sit 
in an upright attitude, quite stiU except for an occasional spasmodic jerking of the tail. 
On observing a passing insect they dash out and capture it in the air with a nimble evolu- 
tion and quick snap of the bill. 

The Flycatchers are one of the most difficult families to identify 
specifically. Some of them are strongly characterized, but of the com- 
monest ones, several species are so nearly alike as to puzzle the experienced 
ornithologist when they are silent or not in normal habitats. In identifying 
them in life, attention should be paid to their notes. These and the type 
of habitat in which they are observed are good guides to differentiation in 
the case of the more puzzHng species. 

Economic Status. Their food consists almost entirely of insects, 
caught on the wing, for which the broad bill is well adapted. As they take 
most of their food in the air near the ground they catch varieties of insects 
not taken by other birds. The species found in their stomachs include 
beetles, flies, wasps, crane flies, ants, grasshoppers, tent caterpillars, and 
moths. Indeed, nearly all the harmful species of insects are found in their 
crops and they must be classed as highly beneficial. 

443. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Muscivora forficala. L, 13 (about). (Tail, 9.) 
This Flycatcher is an occasional wanderer within the borders of Canada, from sub- 
tropical America. It is unmistakable — a hght, ash-coloured bird about the size of a 
Kingbird, with darker wings, scarlet or orange cap and the same colour under the wings, 
and with a great tail 8 to 9 inches long, split to a depth of 6 inches or more, which, 
when the bird is at rest, opens and closes like a pair of scissors. Strangely enough one 
of our best authenticated records comes from York Factory on Hudson bay. With 
this record before us, it is difficult to state positively what species may or may not be 
found anywhere in Canada. 

444. Kingbird, bee martin, fr. — le moucherolle de la Caroline. Tyrannus 
tyrannus. L, 8-51. Plate XXII B. 

Distinctions. The black and white coloration, orange crown patch showing in 
moments of excitement, and the black tail conspicuously tipped with white as if dipped 
in white paint. 

Field Marks. Easily recognized in life by the above marks. The orange crown, 
however, is rarely seen. In life, the head and tail appear to be dead black in colour in 
strong contrast to the pure white below. 

Nesting. In trees, 5 to 40 feet above the ground; the nest a well built structure of 
weed stalks, grasses, and waste vegetation lined with plant-down, rootlets, and fine grasses. 
The fact that the bird not uncommonly nests in orchards and near cultivated fields is 
much in its favour. 

Distribution. North America north to near tree limits. Breeds in Canada wherever 

The Kingbird is a familiar species, coming close around houses and 
orchards, and the presence of a pair nesting close by is one of the best 
preventives of the depredations of hawks or crows. None come anywhere 
near the Kingbird's home, without being vigorously challenged. The 
Kingbird flies at the intruders with an energy that is surprising in so 
small and weak a bird. It cannot do them any real harm, but drives them 
away and its outcries give wide notice of the impending danger. Owing to 


its small size and agility in the air, it can attack a large enemy from any 
quarter and is practically safe from counter attacks from anything heavier 
and less agile. 

Economic Status. The name Kingbird is of obvious application, but 
the other term applied to it, "Bee Martin," naturally raises suspicion as 
to its feeding habits. It is accused of catching honey bees, and most 
circumstantial accounts of its doing so are given credence. The record 
given below shows that the charge of taking bees is to some extent true, 
but it shows also that the bees caught are mainly drones that can well be 
spared. The old story of the Kingbird opening its brilliant crest to decoy 
the bee within reach under the impression that it is a flower may be dis- 
missed as groundless folk-lore, though it has received wide circulation and 
acceptation. Of 624 Kingbirds' stomachs examined by the United States 
Department of Agriculture in 1911,22 contained a total of 61 bees: 51 of 
which were drones; 8, workers; and 2 were indeterminate. The remainder 
of the food consists of other insects, including many noxious forms and a 
little wild fruit and berries. 

452. Crested Flycatcher, great crested flycatcher, fr. — le moucherolle 
A HUPPE. Myiarchus crinitus. L, 9-01. Olive-brovm above, turning to rufous on the 
inner webs of the tail. Throat and upper breast, ash-grey. Underparts, sulphur-yellow. 

Distinctions. The above coloration is distinctive. No other Flycatcher in eastern 
Canada is similarly coloiu"ed. 

Field Marks. " The bright yellow colour below and the long rufous tail are the most 
striking recognition marks. The loud, hoarse cry, a long dravsTi "wheeeeep" and a lower 
" ivhip-whip-whip," are very characteristic though sometimes mistakable for the notes of 
the Olive-sided Flycatcher. 

Nesting. In holes abandoned by woodpeckers. The bird shows a remarkable pre- 
ference for cast snake skins as nesting material. Scarcely a nest of the species but con- 
tains one or more. 

Distribution. Eastern North America. In Canada all along the southern border, 
breeding wherever found. 

A Flycatcher of the woodland tree tops. Its voice is constantly heard 
in the summer, but rarely at any distance from dense forest. 

Economic Status. Beetles, locusts, ants, crickets, flies, and moths 
constitute the bulk of its food. It takes more parasitic wasps and beetles 
than most birds but not enough to counterbalance the pests it destroys. 

456. Phoebe, bridge pewee. fr. — le moucherolle brun. Sayomis phoebe. 
L, 6-99. Plate XXIII A. 

Distribution. The small, greenish Flycatchers are perhaps the most difficult of 
American birds to separate. Fortunately each has a typical habitat and characteristic 
note which form good guides to differentiation. The Phoebe is the largest of these puzzling 
little birds and the most easily recognized. It is most likely to be confused with the Wood 
Pewee, but examined in the hand, the larger and stouter legs and feet of this species 
are easily recognizable. 

Field Marks. The head of the Phoebe seems a little darker and in stronger contrast 
to the body than in the other Flycatchers. The sideways sweep of the tail is character- 
istic and in adults the lack of wing bars. The note, however, a quickly uttered Phoe-be 
with a strong accent on the first syllable, is the most easily recognized field mark. The 
Wood Pewee's note is long-drawn and that of the Least is short and explosive. 

Nesting. A large structure of mud, moss, and grasses under bridges, the overhang 
of bmldings, or ledges of rock. 

Distribution. Eastern America, north to near tree limit. Breeds in Canada wherever 

No place suits the Phoebe so well for nesting as the flat timber or 
projecting ledges of an old bridge over some little stream where the air 


over the water abounds in insect food. In many parts of the country 
scarcely a bridge but has its pair of Phoebes in the summer. However, 
the mud nests are not restricted to bridges but are plastered on the slightest 
projection under the eaves of an outbuilding or even under the family 
porch. It is a friendly, familiar bird and comes close to man wherever it 
finds a welcome. Unfortunately its great nests are occasionally the dwelling 
place of innumerable parasites, in other words bird-lice. The usual course 
when they appear is to knock the nest down with a stick and apply boiling 
water. The application of common insect powder to the nest is better. 
This will kill the parasites and help to retain about the house this easily 
domesticated and attractive bird. 

459. Olive-sided Flycatcher, fr. — le moucheroll-e aux cotes olive. Nut- 
tallornis borealis. L, 7-39. Much like a large Phoebe, but with less ohve and vi^ith exten- 
sive masses of dark colour on either side of the chest. 

Distinctions. In the hand the conspicuous dark patches at the sides of the chest, 
and the dark under-tail coverts with light tips will separate this species from the Phoebe 
which it resembles. At the sides of the back, usually concealed under the closed wings, 
though occasionally displayed over them, are patches of fine silk-like plumage of pure 
white or cream colour. These will distinguish the Olive-sided from any other species. 

Field Marks. In life the 01ivt-:=;ided looks more hke a dark breasted Kingbird than 
a Phoebe or other Flycatcher. The dark chest areas separated by a line of white, however, 
distinguish them with compai-ative pass. When the white silky feathers show over the 
wings at the sides of the lower back, as sometimes occurs, the species cannot be mis- 
identified. The call notes are somewhat similar in tone and execution to those of the 
Crested Flycatcher, but a little attention and experience wiU enable the hearer to dis- 
tinguish between the two. 

Distribution. North America. Breeds in Canada from the tree limits to the bound- 
aries of regular cultivation. 

This is typically a bird of the burnt ridges of the north. Its favourite 
perch is the top of a tall lone stub in the open, from which its loud, pene- 
trating voice is heard far and wide. In migration it is rather scarce and 
local in distribution and though great numbers pass through the populous 
southern counties it is usually regarded as a scarce migrant. 

Economic Status. It is too rare in settled districts to have great 
economic value, but it is distinctly beneficial. 

461. Wood Pevj^ee. fr. — -le moucherolle verdatre. Myiochanes virens. L, 6-53. 
Very similar in coloration to the Phoebe but smaller. 

Distinctions. The Wood Pewee can be separated from the Phoebe and other Fly- 
catchers of comparable size by its short tarsus and long wings, these being decidedly 
longer than the tail. 

Field Marks. The Pewee never flirts its tail as does the Phoebe. The sides of the 
breast are also shghtly darker, giving a better defined and narrower light median fine. 
Its best identification mark, however, is its call-note which is much like that of the Phoebe 
but drawn out into a long pee-e-weee without appreciable accent but with a rising inflection 
at the end. The female varies the call by dropping the last note, making it pee-e-e-e. 

Nesting. A well made but slight structure of fine fibres and rootlets covered with 
lichens and saddled on a branch, 20 to 40 feet from the ground. 

Distribution. It is distributed over nearly all of eastern North America west to 
the prairies, breeding in Canada wherever found. 

The long-drawn plaintive pee-e-we of this bird is a characteristic sound 
of the open woodlands in the spring, and after other birds have relapsed 
into mid-summer silence one still occasionally hears the mournful note. 


Economic Status. The food of the Wood Pewee is quite similar to 
that of the other Flycatchers, but modified, of course, by its woodland 
habitat. As it is not retiring and frequents open groves and orchards 
freely, it is of direct benefit to the agriculturist. 

463. Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, fr. — le moucherolle a ventre jaune. Em- 
pidonax flaviventris. L, 5-63. Similar to the Wood Pewee and the Phoebe in colour, 
but smaller than either and with the browns and olives of those species replaced by dis- 
tinct ohve-green and the whites by dull sulphur-yellow. 

Distinctions. The distinctly yellow colour of .'^ whole bird makes this the most 
easily recognized of the small Flycatchers. 

Field Marks. The yellow colour, especially on the throat, is the best sight mark. 
The notes te-pee-a are distinctive — three syllables, ^"ith accent on the middle one. Its 
pe-wick is something like the name call of the Phoebe, but the first syllable is not accented. 

Nesting. On groimd; nest built of moss and lined with grasses. 

Distrihidion. From the Great Plains east and north to the edges of cultivation. 
Breeds in Canada along the northern boimdary of its range, not in the lower Great Lakes 

Another woodland Flycatcher; but one that is less confined to large 
timber. Thickets bordering heavier woods seem to be its favourite locality. 

Economic Status. Food habits very similar to those of the other 
small Flycatchers. Its normal station on the edges of woods bordering 
cultivated land makes it of value to the agriculturist. 

465. Acadian Flycatcher, little green-crested flycatcher. Empidonax vires- 
cens. L, 5-63. A small Flycatcher of about the same size as the Yellow-bellied, Traill's, 
and Least Fly catchers ; smaller than the Wood Pewee; and much smaller than the Phoebe. 
In colour, like the Phoebe but distinctly olive-green above and more yellowish below. 
Wing-bars rather prominent. 

Distinctions. This species agrees so closely in size and coloration with Traill's and 
the Least Flycatchers as to make identification most difficult. It is not so yellow in 
colour as the Yellow-beUied, there bemg no piu-e yellow on it anywhere, but it is the yellow- 
est and greenest of the other small Flycatchers. It is very rare in Canada and new records 
should be accepted only on the authority of experts. 

Distribution. Eastern North America north to the borders of Canada along the 
western end of lake Erie. 

466. Traill's Flycatcher, fr. — le moucherolle des aulnes. Empidonax trailli. 
L, 6-09. A small Flycatcher, slightly larger than the Yellow-bellied or the Least and 
of almost identical coloration to the latter and the Acadian. 

Distinctions. The back is browner than in the Acadian and without its decided 
suggestion of green. From the Least, size is sometimes the only means of differentiation. 

Field Marks. Colour or size details are of little use in the field determination of 
this or the next species. Habitat and call notes are, however, reliable. TraiU's Fly- 
catcher is a bird of the alder, willow, or raspberry tliickets, and overgrown marsh edges; 
the Least Flycatcher is a woodland bird; and though either may be occasionally foimd 
in other habitats the surroimdings are usually a good guide to identification. The caU 
notes, however, make recognition easy. Traill's are ee-zee-e-up with stress on the second 
syllable and the Least utters quicklj- an explosive che-bec that is sometimes repeated 
several times. 

Nesting. In a crotch of small growth near the groimd; in nest of coarse grasses, plant- 
down, and fibres lined with grasses. 

Distribution. Traill's Flycatcher as a species inhabits nearly aU of North America. 
The eastern subspecies, the Alder Flycatcher, is found from the east coast of Canada 
west across the mountains. 

SUBSPECIES. Two subspecies of Traill's Flycatcher occur in Canada. The 
eastern form, the Alder Flycatcher E. t. alnorum, is the only one that occurs within the 
area under consideration. The Western Alder Flycatcher E. t. trailli is a more southern 
and western form. 


Economic Status. Similar to that of the other Flycatchers. Its 
food is almost entirely insects, the species destroyed being mostly those 
frequenting waste land. 

467. Least Flycatcher, chebec. fr. — le petit moucherolle. Empidonax 
minimus. L, 5-41. The smallest of our Flycatchers. In general coloration of the 
Phoebe-like flycatcher type and almost indistinguishable from the Acadian and Traill's. 

Distinctions. Browner on back and without the distinct green suggestion of the 
Acadian, but almost identical with Traill's in colour, from which it can sometimes only 
be separated by size. Its habitat in woodland localities instead of shrubby wastes offers 
a suggestion as to its identity and its call note is different from that of any other species. 
This call is a quick explosive che-bec, sometimes repeated several times, with a not distant 
resemblance to a series of hacking coughs. 

Nesting. Usually in a crotch 15 to 30 feet from the ground; in nest of plant-down, 
fine wood fibres, rootlets, and long hairs. 

Distribution. Throughout Canada west to the mountains and north beyond cul- 
tivation. Breeds in Canada wherever found. 

This is a bird of the orchard and the trees about the house, overgrown 
fence-lines, and other familiar localities where close proximity to cultiva- 
tion makes its services of noteworthy benefit. 

Economic Status. The food of the Least Flycatcher does not differ 
materially from that of the other members of the family, but its familiarity 
and confidence bring it close to man where its useful qualities have the 
maximum influence. 


The suborder Oscines is a large division of birds, placed at the head of 
the list as exhibiting the highest development of the class Aves. It includes 
a great number of families and species, the exact relationships of many 
of which have never been satisfactorily defined. According to present 
American usage the suborder begins with the Larks and ends with the 
Thrushes which are regarded as constituting the most highly developed 
family. The characters differentiating the Oscines from the Clamatores 
are technical and anatomical and beyond the scope of a popular consider- 
ation of the subject. As might be gathered by the name the high develop- 
ment of the vocal organs and muscles attached are important points in 
the classification. The members are more easily recognized from family 
descriptions than under this more general heading. 


The Larks comprise a large family of wide distribution. The sys- 
tematic distinctions that characterize the family are rather technical, 
and as there is only one species in Canada to consider, they will be 
described under the species on the next pages. 

474. Horned Lark, shore lark. fr. — l'alouette ordinaire. Otocoris alpestris. 
L, 7-75. Plate XXIII B. 

Distinctions. The long hind toe nail (Figm-e 44b, p. 25), is one of the distinctive 
marks of the Larks. However, this is shared with the Titlark (Figure 60, p. 27), and 
the Longspur ; the latter, however, is a sparrow having the typical conical sparrow bill, 
very different from that of the Larks. The yellow throat, with black gorget below, and 
the erect-hke horns or crest tufts, are distinctive of the Horned Lark (Figure 44a, p. 25). 

Field Marks. The colour marks above and the horns make easily recognizable field 


Nesting. On ground, in nest of grass often amidst snow drifts in early spring. 
Distribution. The Horned Lark in its various forms ranges over all of North America. 

SUBSPECIES. The Horned Lark is divided into many geographical races or 
subspecies. It has a very wide range in North America and living under many and varied 
conditions has developed in different parts of the country along different lines. Thus 
the desert form is small and pallid or bleached, whereas the northeastern, which is the 
type form, is large and strongly coloured. The commonest form in eastern Canada is 
the Prairie Horned Lark 0. a. praticola. Originally when the country was well wooded 
this was probably the prairie form, and did not occur in eastern Canada. The making 
of clearings, artificial prairies, has permitted it to come east, where it is to-day the breeding 
form. In the north, east of Hudson bay, occurs the typical or originally described form 
O. a. alpestris at present without a recognized common name and here called the Eastern 
Horned Lark. This is a large bird with a strong suffusion of yellow over the face and 
eyebrow line. As the average difference is only about half an inch in total length and 
as all intermediate sizes occur it can be seen that the differentiation between the forms 
may be somewhat difficult. An attempt to show the difference in coloration is made in the 
illustration. The Eastern Horned Lark occurs within the settled districts of eastern 
Canada only as a winter migrant and is rare except in the Maritime Provinces where it is 
probably the common winter form. Another race, Hoyt's Horned Lark 0. a. hoyti, is 
a northern form, breeding west and northwest of Hudson bay. It is about as large as 
the Eastern and has the general coloration of the prairie form. The brownish instead 
of greyish ear coverts should identify it, but the difference is not great. This form occurs 
occasionally in the lower Great Lakes region as a winter migrant. 

The distribution of the various races and their migrations in Canada have not been 
completely worked out and the difficulty of exact determination is so great that no sub- 
specific determination should be made without expert assistance and a good series of 
authenticated specimens for comparison. 

The Horned Lark is a bird of the open, frequenting bare fields, beaches, 
or roadways. In the winter the seeds of weeds left projecting from the 
snow are its main food supply, and numbers frequent travelled roads for 
the weeds that grow at their sides and for the partly digested grain dropped 
by the horses. Occasionally large winter flocks appear. It is in such 
cases that the rarer migrant forms should be looked for. 


The Crow family is very large and diverse, including many beautiful 
and highly coloured birds; indeed the famous Bird of Paradise is closely 
related to this family. The bill (Figure 45, p. 26) is the most easily 
distinguished character. It is moderately long and stout with a well 
arched culmen. At the base are tufts of dense, stiff, bristle-like feathers 
pressed close to it and covering the nostrils. The Woodpeckers and the 
Titmice have a suggestion of this, but the latter are all small and the 
former well characterized otherwise. They are not songsters in any 
sense of the term; their voice is hoarse and raucous, but the complexity 
of their vocal organs is very great and some of them can be taught to 
articulate words. They are amongst our most intelligent species and 
by some authors have been put at the head of the whole avian list. 

Subfamily — GarrulincB. Magpies and Jays. 

Medium-sized birds, many of them brilHantly coloured and with 
ornamental crests and flowing tails. They can be most easily recognized 
under their specific headings. 

475. Magpie. American magpie, fr. — pie d'amerique, Pica Pica. L, 15-20. 
(Tail 10 . ) Only slightly larger in body than a Blue Jay but much longer owing to the 


great tail some 10 inches long. Strikingly coloured in sharply contrasted masses of black 
and white. Head, neck to upper breast, back, tail, and much of wings, black, glossed 
with green on wings and tail. A conspicuous wliite bar on shoulders over wings. Inner 
webs of primaries, lower breast, and below, all white. 

Distinctions. Easily recognized by the very long tail and the strong black and white 
contrasts in colouring. 

Distribution. As a species the Magpie occiu-s in the north temperate regions of 
both the New and Old Worlds. The American form is properly a bird of the west, 
regularly coming to the central prairie provinces and occurring occasionally farther east. 

SUBSPECIES. The American Mapgie is a subspecies, under the trinomial P. p. 
hudsonia, of a species common to both New and Old Worlds, and differs from the European 
form in slight details only. This is a matter for experts. 

The Magpie is with some doubt included among the native birds of 
eastern Canada. The species is common in the far west and we have a 
number of records in the Maritime Provinces and lower Great Lakes 
region as well substantiated as is possible without specimens. In 1879 
a number of Magpies imported from England were liberated at Levis 
opposite Quebec. Some of the records may refer to descendants of these 
introduced birds and not to natives. Specimens for the determination 
of these eastern birds are greatly desired. The species is too rare to 
require economic discussion. 

477. Blue Jay. fr. — le geai huppe. Cyanociita cristata. L, 11-74. Plate 

Distinctions. Well characterized by crest and colour. 

Field Marks. The predominance of blue in the general coloration, the white tail 
borders, and the crest. The flight of the Blue Jay is easily recognizable. Its niunerous 
calls are distinctive, ranging from the loud raucous jay-jay, through its barn door squeak, 
to many quiet conversational chuckles. 

Nesting. Nest of twigs and rootlets 10 to 20 feet from the ground. 

Distribution. Eastern America from the borders of settlement to the gulf of Mexico. 
Breeds wherever found in Canada. 

The Blue Jay is alert, incjuisitive, and mischievous. A strange noise 
in the woods or a moving figure attracts him and he steals quietly up 
to it; on discovering an enemy he flees shrieking away in exaggerated 
fright. In this way Jays have spoiled many careful stalks and caused 
great annoyance to hunters. In the autumn he is provident, and gathers 
acorns which he carefully stows away in bark crannies and like places. 
Whether he ever returns to his stores may be open to some doubt. 

Economic Status. Economically the Blue Jay occupies a doubtful 
place; in food habits it is omnivorous, eating in turn, insects, fruit, acorns, 
grain, eggs, or young birds. Undoubtedly acorns in their season form 
its staple food. It is a bird that should be discouraged about the orchard 
when other more useful birds are nesting. 

484. Canada Jay. whiskey jack, moose bird, meat bird, camp robber. 
FR. — LE GEAI DTj CANADA. Perisoreus canadensis. L, 13. Plate XXIV B. 

Distinctions. Size; soft, neutral-grey coloration with black cap and white forehead 
are distinctive. The juvenile, rather rarely seen in early plumage, has an evenly dark 
head and neck. All have loose, fluffy, ragged plumage. 

Field Marks. Size, even grey coloration, and white forehead and face. 

Nesting. Nests of twigs and fibres, closely felted with fur and feathers into a com- 
pact deeply-cupped structure which serves as a protection to the eggs which are some- 
times incubated at a temperature of 30 below zero Fahrenheit. 

Distribution. The northern coniferous woods across the continent. 

SUBSPECIES. The Canada Jay is divided into a number of very slightly differ- 
entiated subspecies. In eastern Canada, the Eastern Canada Jay, the type form, is the 
generally distributed one, with Labrador Jay P. c. riigricapillus inhabiting Newfoimdland 
and the Ungava peninsula. 


The Canada Jay has most of the characteristics of the Blue Jay in an 
exaggerated form. Every camper in the northern woods knows Whiskey 
Jack. No sooner is a new camp fire Hghted than it appears, looking 
expectantly for waste scraps. The offal from dressed game is eagerly 
sought and hardly has the sound of the rifle shot died away before the 
Whiskey Jack is on hand and expectant. Vocally the bird has all sorts 
of surprises for the uninitiated. In fact, in its proper habitat any bird 
sound that cannot be referred to any other possible species may be ten- 
tatively attributed to the Canada Jay. 

Economic Status. A bird of the unbroken forests, and only rarely 
seen in populated areas. Its status is probably very similar to that of 
the Blue Jay, but its retired habitat removes it from any conflict with 
the agriculturist. 

Subfamily — Corvinoe. Crows. 

The Crows form a well marked subfamily of remarkably similar 
appearance. They are common almost everywhere and a reference to 
Plate XXVA is sufficient description. The European Rook belongs 
to this division. 

486. Raven, fr. — le corbeau. Cormis corax. L. 22. Like the Crow (Plate 
XXV A) but larger. 

Distinctions. The Raven is in general appearance a very large Crow. The most 
obvious distinction is the long pointed shape of the feathers on the throat, each lying 
distinct on the other and not softly blended together as in the Crow. 

Field Marks. In addition to size, which is always an uncertain criterion in wide open 
spaces, the voice is the most certain guide. The croak of the Raven is hoarse and rattling, 
not clear and distinct like the caw of the Crow. However, young Crows have notes almost 
indistinguishable from those of the Raven and where both species occm-, vocal characters 
are not always reliable guides. When one sees a Raven one can easily imagine marked 
characteristics of form and flight, but it must be confessed that they seldom become 
obvious to the ordinary' observer until after the identity has been determined. 

Nesting. Usually on cliff ledges, sometimes in trees; in nest of sticks. 

Distribution. The species is found in both the Old and the New World far into the 
polar regions, where its black coat against the general whiteness sounds a warning against 
too ready tendency to stretch the protective coloration theory to cover the whole of animated 
creation. It once occupied all of Canada, but now is restricted to the most unsettled parts 
in the north and southward along the mountain ranges of both coasts to well into the 
United States. 

SUBSPECIES. The Raven is divided into several geographical races. The Euro- 
pean is the type form. In Canada, we have the Northern Raven C. c. principalis. 
The differences between them are slight. 

The Raven is traditionally a bird of ill-omen. Sombre of colour, 
dismal in voice, solitary and wild of habit, it fills in the north the place 
of the Vulture in the south. The Raven holds aloof from the haunts of 
men. As civilization has advanced into the primeval vastnesses, the 
Raven, unlike its close relative the Crow, has retired and is to-day what 
it was in the beginning, a bird of the wilderness. Knowing only the 
physical requirements and food habits of the two species, one would 
naturally think that the Raven could thrive as well under civilization 
as the Crow. It is omnivorous and can adjust itself to almost any food 
supply. It is hardy and can five in chmates and under conditions where 
its weaker congener can not exist, yet for some unexplained cause, the 
Crow increases and the Raven disappears when settlement advances. 


Economic Status. The Raven eats both animal and vegetable food, 
but has a strong partiality for the former. It seeks the offal from the 
hunter's dressed game, or the game itself if it is available. It lurks about 
the outskirts of bird rookeries and makes dashes for eggs and young. 
By the sea it searches the shores at low water for crabs and other sea 
life and for anything edible that may be washed up. Avoiding cultivation 
as it does it has little direct influence on the crops. 

488. American Crow. fr. — la corneille d'amerique. Corvus brachyrhynchos 
L. 19-30. Plate XXV A. 

Distinctions. May be mistaken for Raven but distinguished from it by size and the 
absence of the long, pointed, lanceolate feathers on the throat. 

Field Marks. General appearance, with which one soon becomes very familiar. 

Nesting. In trees; in nest of sticks. 

Distribution. All of temperate North America. 

SUBSPECIES. Two subspecies of American Crows occur in Canada, but in the 
east we have only the type form, the Eastern Crow. 

Whereas the Raven retreats before the advance of civilization, the 
Crow increases. It is omnivorous, feeding readily on anything from 
carrion to freshly sprouting corn. Without doubt the Crow has increased 
enormously in the country since the removal of the forests, and probably its 
advent in eastern Canacla was coincident with the arrival of the white 
man. The Crow is a partial migrant. Most of the birds go south in 
winter, but slaughter-houses and garbage dumps in the neighbourhood of 
cities and towns have induced numbers to become permanent residents. 

Economic Status. The economic status of the Crow cannot be summed 
up in a few words. It undoubtedly does much good but it also does much 
harm. Moreover the harm is concentrated and easily measured whilst 
the good is scattered and not easily estimated. The detailed results of 
nearly a thousand stomach examinations and testimonies from all over 
North America are published in Bulletin No. 6 of the United States 
Department of Agriculture, by W. A. Barrows and E. A. Schwarz. The 
greatest complaint against the Crow arises from its fondness for sprouting 
grain, especially corn. Corn was found to constitute 29 per cent of its 
annual food and strangely enough, from May to August, constituted only 
from 8-4 to 17-7 per cent and was greatest in December, 48-2 per cent, 
when the grain must have represented gleanings from the bare fields. 
Insects form a large part of the Crow's food and balancing the useful with 
the harmful species, the result is obviously in the bird's favour. Mice and 
other rodents and reptiles are also eaten very extensively and are preferred 
to all other food. In the autumn, mast (acorns, beech-nuts, etc.) is eagerly 
sought. Judged by food habits alone, therefore, the Crow is a valuable 
bird. However, this is not all the tale, for the Crow does harm that cannot 
be overlooked. It matters little to a farmer that the Crows destroy all 
the cut worms in a field if they also pull all the grain. On the whole, there 
seems to be no very good reason for extending any greater measure of 
protection to the Crow; it is in no danger of extinction and probably needs 
to be controlled. 


This family includes the Blackbirds, Orioles, and Meadowlarks, which 
are the American representatives of the European Starlings. They are 
closely related to the Sparrows and clear differentiation cannot be made 


between them in a popular description. Most of them have rather long, 
pointed, tapering bills (Figures 46, 47, 48, 49, p. 26) and some have 
the middle of the culmen running up in a short keel on the forehead. The 
Bobolink and the Cowbird have quite sparrow-like bills, but they are 
shortened Icterine rather than Passerine bills. These species can also 
be easil}' separated by their marked colour patterns. 

494. Bobolink, skunk blackbird, ricebird. fr. — le goglu. Dolichonyx 
oryzivorus. L. 7-25. Plate XXV B. 

Distinctions. The spring male in its striking piebald plumage is unmistakable. The 
female and the autumn birds of either sex show no colour relation to the spring male and 
are easily confused with some of the sparrows (bill, Figure 46, p. 26). The newly 
plumaged autumn birds are yellowish-buff in colour, unstriped below and heavily striped 
above. The spring female, more worn and faded and shghtly ohvaceous, looks much 
like a female House or Enghsh Sparrow, but the decidedly streaked back and crown 
and the buffy line over the eye are distinctive. 

Field Marks. The male in spring needs no special mention of field marks for recog- 
nition; the streaks and yellowness of other plumages and the buffy eye and crown stripes 
are good recognition marks. These with habitat and general actions should prevent 

Nesting. On ground; nest built of grasses. 

Distribution. North America, wintering in South America; in eastern Canada, along 
the southern border breeding wherever found. 

The Bobolink in spring and summer is a bird frequenting the hay and 
clover fields. It can be seen any summer's day perched on the surrounding 
fences or launching into the air on quivering wings, pouring forth its song 
of ecstasy. Later in the season the rollicking male doffs his parti-coloured 
gayness for the duller ochre and brown stripes of the female. His song is 
replaced b}^ metallic clinks, and with hundreds of others of this species 
joined together in flocks he seeks the marshes until autumn. On leaving 
Canada for his winter home in South America he stops for a time in the rice 
fields of the Carolinas and here he is hailed not as Bobolink, the merry 
songster, beloved for both practical and sentimental reasons, but as the 
plaguy "Rice Bird" that settles upon the crops in thousands and causes 
decided damage. In the south he is shot and sold for food in great numbers . 

Economic Status. The Bobolink in Canada is an irreproachable bird who 
charms us with his song and whose bad habits have yet to be discovered. 
In May and June, 90 per cent of its food consists of injurious insects, and 
10 per cent of weed seeds with a few useful insects. In July and August 
a very little grain is added. Yet this bird is regarded as a pest in the 
southern States. 

495. Cowbird. cow blackbird, fr. — l'etourneau ordinaire. Molothrus ater. 
L, 7-92. Plate XXVI A. 

Distinctions. A small Blackbird with a seal black head and neck. The female is 
ashy-brown, lighter on throat, and can be distinguished from any of the sparrows, which 
she resembles in having a conical bill, by the even, unmarked coloration. 

Field Marks. Small Blackbird with short conical bill, a harsh rattling note, and 
grating squeak. 

Nesting. Eggs laid in the nest of other, usually smaller species, on the ground or in 
low situations. 

Distribution. Over most of North America. In Canada north to the limits of culti- 
vation. Common except in the extreme coastal provinces of the east. 

The Cowbird is our only habitually parasitic bird. It never builds a 
nest or incubates or cares for its young. In the absence of nesting birds it 
takes the opportunity of depositing one of its ow-n eggs in the unguarded 


nest. Uusally the birds so imposed upon accept the foreign egg without 
protest, at other times there is strong objection and final resignation. 
In a few cases, the nest is deserted or a new nest is built over the 
offending egg, as is sometimes done by the Yellow Warbler. On incubation 
an interesting case of adaptation is shown. The Cowbird's egg usually 
hatches a few hours before those of the original occupant of the nest and 
consequently the changeling is strong and well grown when the proper 
occupants of the nest break their shell. It can monopolize the food, thus 
increasing the difference in strength, and is able finally to hoist its compe- 
titors from the nest to perish on the ground while it receives the attention 
that should have been given to the whole brood. Thus practically every 
Cowbird means the destruction of at least one brood of another species and 
probably the Cowbird must be considered one of the greatest enemies of 
the species imposed upon. Once the foster parents accept the intruding 
egg they do not make any distinction between it and their own. The 
Cowbird receives its name from its habit of following cattle, evidently 
attracted by the flies and insects which gather about those animals. 

Economic Status. From a study of their food, Cowbirds would seem 
to be purely useful birds. They consume large amounts of weed seeds and 
harmful insects and only small quantities of grain or fruit, the former 
largely waste and the latter wild. Their effect upon other equally useful 
birds, however, puts a different complexion on their activities. Practically 
every Cowbird raised to the fledgling stage means the elimination of a nest 
full of other species. Perhaps the economic effects of the changelings equal 
those of the individuals they displace, but the substitution cannot be looked 
upon with equanimity. 

497. Yellow-headed Blackbird, pr. — l'etourneau a tIite jatjne. Xantho 
cephalus tanthocephalus . L, 10. A Blackbird with white wing patches on the primaries, 
and yellow head, neck, and breast. Female similar, but brownish rather than black; 
brightness of yellow reduced, and white lacking on the wings. 

Distinctions. Above characterization mimistakable. 

Distribution. Western North America to northern parts of prairie provinces. 
Only of accidental occurrence in eastern Canada. 

A marsh or swamp bird rare in eastern Canada. 

498. Red-winged Blackbird, soldier blackbird, fr. — l'etourneau a ailes 
ROUGES. Agelaius phocniceus. L, 9-51. Plate XXVI B. 

Distinctions. All male pkunages have at least suggestions of the red shoulders, though 
sometimes they are reduced to scattered spots of orange. The female is always dis- 
tinguishable from any other Blackbird by her sharply streaked coloration. 

Field Marks. The male is plainly characterized by its red shoulders, and the bird can 
be recognized in all plumages by its characteristic notes, the most common one, only 
uttered by the male, being well rendered into " 0-ke~lee " or " 0-ke-ree " with a rising 
inflection at the end. 

Nesting. In well made structure of rushes and grass tied 2 or 3 feet above the water 
to reeds, cat-tails, or low bushes m swampy places. 

Distribution. As a species, the Red-wing is distributed over all of North America 
north to the limit of trees. 

SUBSPECIES. The Red-wings are divided into a number of subspecies. The 
common one in eastern Canada is the type form, the Eastern Red-wmg. In the western 
end of Ontario we probably get the Northern Red-wing A. p. arciolegus from the central 
northern regions. It is characterized by somewhat larger size, but correct differentiation 
can only be made by the expert. 

No marsh in eastern Canada is typical without one or more pairs of 
Red-wings chasing each other or clinging to the cat-tails, themal es 


spreading their wings and tail and screwing themselves into constrained 
attitudes as they squeeze out their clear '^ 0-ke-ree" with a roll on the last 
syllable, in sight and hearing of the females. In the spring the Blackbirds 
usually arrive in large flocks of mixed species which keep together a few 
days and then separate. The Red-wings repair to the marshes and before 
the reeds begin to grow they settle down to their domestic arrangements. 
When the family cares are over for the season all Blackbird species unite 
again in flocks that darken the sky, roosting together in the marshes when 
possible and scattering through the day in groups of various sizes which 
frequent the harvest fields. 

Economic Status. The character of its food makes the Red-wing 
decidedly beneficial. Weed seeds and injurious insects form 80 per cent 
of its food and grain about 15 per cent. In July and August more grain 
is eaten, and in the early days of settlement when the acreage under cul- 
tivation was small and Blackbirds many they were a serious menace to the 

501. Meadowlark. fr. — l'etourneau des pres. Sturnella. magna. L, 10-75. 
Plate XXVII A. 

Distinctions. Unmistakable for any other species in eastern Canada. (Bill, Figure 
47, p. 26). 

Field Marks. The striking, yellow breast with sharp black necklace is unmistakable. 
Flying, the white outer tail feathers and pecuhar manner of flight are good recognition 
marks. The famihar clear, long whistle of the Meadowlark is characteristic. 

Nesting. On ground, nest of grasses, usually arched over hke an oven. 

Distribution. Eastern North America north to the limits of cultivation. 

The clear call of the Meadowlark is often the first indication of the 
coming of spring. Coming with or sometimes even before the Robin and 
the Bluebird, it haunts upland pastures and from the top of an isolated 
tree or fence-post, pours out its rich, clear, far-carrying calls. 

Economic Status. The Meadowlark is one of the farmer's most 
valuable assistants. Living close to the ground it attacks most of the 
worst crop foes. Its food is made up of 75 per cent insects, 12 per cent 
weed seeds, and 13 per cent grain nearly all taken in the late autumn and 
early spring months and obviously owing to the scarcity of insects. This 
bird should receive absolute protection. 

506. Orchard Oriole. Icterus spurius. L. 7-32. A small Oriole, hke the Balti- 
more (Plate XXVII B) with the orange of that bird replaced by seal brown and 
with a black tail. The female is an even duU green. The young male is hke the female, 
but has a black throat. 

Distinctions. The seal brown and black coloration of the male is unmistakable. The 
female has a certain resemblance to the female Tanager, but is smaller and of more delicate 
shape and has a fine pointed, unnotched bill. (Compare Figures 48 and 53, p. 26.) 

Field Marks. Colour, size, and voice somewhat hke that of the Baltimore Oriole, but 
richer and with characteristics of its own. 

Nesting. Nest woven of gi-een grass h anging from a crotch. A beautiful structure, 
not as elaborate nor as deeply bagged as that of the Baltimore. 

Distribidion. A more southern species than the Baltimore Oriole, occurring in Canada 
regularly along the lake Erie shore and occasionally north to the southern end of lake 

The Orchard Oriole is commonly met with only along the southern 
borders of Ontario and in habits is quite similar to the Baltimore 


507. Baltimore Oriole, hang-nest, golden robin, fr. — l'oriole de Baltimore 
Icterus galbula. L, 7-53. Plate XXVII B. 

Distinctions. Coloration. 

Field Marks. The striking flashes of golden orange and the rich contralto voice are 
absolute identification marks. The species can only be confused with extralimital forms. 

Nesting. The nest of the Baltimore Oriole is one of the avian curiosities. It is in the 
form of a bag woven of fibres, plant down, hairs, and string and hangs from the end of long 
drooping branches. With her sharp, awl-like bill the female Oriole thrusts a fibre into the 
side of the nest, then reaching over to the inside pulls it through, tugging to make all tight 
and solid, another fibre is thrust in and the process repeated until when complete the nest 
is so knitted, woven, and felted together that though tossed at the end of long flexible 
whip-like branch tips through summer and winter storms, it remains intact for several 

Distribution. Eastern North America north to the bounds of dense settlement. 

Open country with scattered groves and occasional large isolated elms 
is the ideal habitat of the Baltimore Oriole. It obtains its name from its 
brilliant orange and black livery, the colours of Lord Baltimore, under 
whose patronage the state of Maryland was first settled and in Avhose 
honour the bird was named by the early settlers. 

Economic Status. The food of the Oriole consists mostly of insects, 
including, in order of numbers, caterpillars, click beetles, of which the 
pestilent wire worms are the larvae, May beetles, and grasshoppers. Very 
few predaceous beetles are taken. The amount of vegetable matter is 
small. This species, therefore, ranks very high as an insect destroyer. 
Complaints are sometimes made that the Oriole spoils fruit and it has been 
accused of puncturing grapes for the juice. It is not the amount which 
it takes that is objected to but the quantity of fruit that is spoiled, for it 
goes from bunch to bunch puncturing many and consuming little. This, 
however, seems to be a very local and perhaps an individual habit and 
except in vine country is of comparatively small importance. In Canada, 
the Baltimore Oriole leaves shortly after mid-August and before the autumn 
fruit season is well advanced, so that grapes are usually too green to be 
attractive to it. Hence, though it cannot be wholly exonerated from the 
charges which have been made against it, the damage done by the Oriole 
in Canada has certainly been greatly exaggerated. The good the bird 
does is constant and important, the harm is occasional and slight. 

509. Rusty Blackbird, rusty grackle. fr. — le mainate couletjr de rouille. 
Euphagus carolinus. L, 9-55. About the size of a Red-wing, but all black with green 
reflections and with straw-coloured eyes. In the autumn the feathers are broadly edged 
with rusty, lighter on the crown and head. The female is a nearly evenly dark grey bird 
with traces of rusty marks in spring, much more extensive in both sexes in autumn when 
they form a well-defined, reddish cap and a light eyebrow line. 

Distinctions. Small size compared with the Crow Blackbird, the only other comparable 
species with light coloured eyes; even blackness or rusty overwash tending towards a light 
line over the eye, and straw-coloured eye. 

Field Marks. Size, coloration, and straw-coloured eyes. 

Nesting. In coniferous trees or on ground, in nest of grasses or moss. 

Distribution. Eastern and northern North America; usually breeding just north of 
the cultivated areas in Canada. 

The Rusty Blackbird visits us in great numbers spring and autumn, 
joining and forming a considerable part of the large flocks of mixed Black- 
birds that are seen about the fields and marshes. The name Grackle which 
is commonly applied to the two yellow (nearly white) eyed Blackbirds 
is doubtless derived from the sound of their harsh, crackling notes. 


511. Crow Blackbird, bronzed grackle. fr. — le mainate bronz6. Quisculus 
quiscula. L, 12. Plate XXVIII A. 

Distinctions. Large size, complete iridescent blackness, and straw-coloured eyes. 

Field Marks. The all black body, straw-yellow eyes, and size are good field marks. 
When flying the long tail is "boated", that is spread and turned up at the sides so that a 
cross section through it would be U-shaped. This is a most characteristic feature and 
easily seen in outline against the sky. 

Nesting. Usually in communities in coniferous trees; nest a large bulky mass of grass 
and mud. 

Distribution. All of temperate North America east of the Rockies. The Bronzed 
Grackle occupies the Canadian section of the range overlapping that of the Purple south of 
our borders. 

SUBSPECIES. The species is divided into three subspecies. The Canadian bird is 
the Bronzed Grackle Q. q. aeneus. The type form, the Purple Grackle, is a more southern 
bird that so far has not been taken in Canada, though it should be watched for along our 
southern borders. It can be recognized by the feathers of the back showing semicircular 
purple iridescence instead of being an evenly metallic brass. The third form is foimd in 

The Crow Blackbird is a gregarious bird and likes to nest in company 
with its own kind. Evergreens are its favourite nesting trees and it often 
takes possession of ornamental rows edging gardens. With its metallic 
colours and yellow eyes it is a brilliant and striking bird. It walks with 
comical pomposity over the lawn, or uncouthly gesticulates while it emits 
unusually discordant noises. 

Economic Status. Through the months the bird is in Canada, insects 
constitute 29-7 per cent of its food and vegetable matter 70-3 per cent. 
The insects include useful predaceous species, but not in large numbers. 
The vegetable matter contains about 48 per cent of grain and domestic 
fruit, the remainder being wild fruit, mast, and weed seeds. Much of the 
grain is waste, and the total cultivated fruit is only 2-9 per cent. On the 
whole the work of the Bronzed Grackle is beneficial but its numbers should 
not be allowed to greatly increase. As it is an inveterate nest robber it is 
a poor bird to have about the house if other more attractive species are 


General Description. As represented in Canada this is generally an easily recognized 
family. It is composed of small birds, no Canadian species being over 85 inches in length — 
with unnotched conical biU adapted for cracking seeds, and the gape of the mouth usually 
decidedly turned down (Figures 50, 51, 52, p. 26). This latter feature is not equally well 
developed in all species and some of the American Starhngs, as previously described (p. 156), 
exhibit it strongly; but having other marked characters they can be easily distinguished 
from the Sparrows. 

Distinctions. The bill is the best point of recognition; that of the ordinary domesti- 
cated Canary is of the characteristic sparrow type. The birds most likely to be mis_taken 
for members of this family are the Bobolink (Figure 46, p. 26) and Cowbird (p. 157) of 
the previous family and the Tanagers, of the next one. These are all easily separated by 
their striking colours (see under specific headings.) The Tanagers show notches in the 
cutting edges and tip of the mandibles which make them easy to recognize (Figure 53, 
p. 26). In one group of Sparrows, the Crossbills, the tips of the bill cross each other 
(Figure 52, p. 26); in another, the Grosbeaks, the bill is very large and heavy (Figure 
50, p. 26). 

The sparrows form the largest and most important family of the 
Perchers, and are probably the most important family of birds in the world. 
They are found everywhere except in Australia and are represented in all 


habitats from wet swamps, grassy uplands, and brushy thickets to dry 
plains and sand dunes. The terms Sparrow, Linnet, Finch, and Bunting 
are almost synonymous and are applied to various species irrespective of 
their relationship. The name Sparrow is, therefore, a very broad one and 
can be applied to many species of very different rank and value. It is 
to be regretted that one objectionable introduced form should have 
cast discredit upon a large family which includes many beautiful as well as 
useful birds and some of great sweetness of song. The most typical feature 
of the Sparrows in popular estimation is a plain earthern coloration, but 
some of the brightest of plumages are found amongst them and in place of 
the commonly expected Sparrow chirp are some remarkable vocal achieve- 
ments. The Sparrow can be divided roughly into ground species, tree 
species, winter wanderers, and Grosbeaks. Superficially observed, the 
first are dull in appearance, but, on close examination, often show beautiful 
colour harmonies. The tree species are often very brightly coloured. The 
winter wanderers usually exhibit a large amount of dull reds. The Gros- 
beaks, recognized by their great, heavy bills (Figure 50, p. 26) are highly 
coloured. This is not a scientific subdivision but as the recognition of 
Sparrows is difficult to the amateur any classification that will help is of 

514. Evening Grosbeak, fr. — le gros-bec a couronne noire. Hesperiphona 
vespertina. L, 8. One of the largest Sparrows with the very large powerful bill which is 
typical of the Grosbeaks (Figure 50, p. 26). It is coloured in broad masses of strong 
yellow with black wings, tail, and crown and a white band over the wing. The female is 
similar, but duller in colour with an ashy wash over all. 

Distinctions. Size, biU, and large amoimt of yellow. The female retains enough 
yellowish showing through the ashy to be easily recognized. The yellow or yellow-green 
colour of the bill is diagnostic of all plumages. For a comparison of the female with the 
Pine Grosbeak, see that species. 

Field Marks. Size and yellow coloration. As it is a winter visitant only, it cannot 
be confused with other birds. 

Nesting. In trees; nest of small twigs lined with bark, hair, and rootlets. The nest 
has been seldom seen. 

Distribution. Central and western North America, south along the mountains. 
Migrating east irregularly in winter. 

SUBSPECIES. The Evening Grosbeak is divided into an Eastern and Western 
subspecies; only the former, the type form, occurring in eastern Canada. The breeding 
grounds of the eastern bird are still to be accurately determined. 

This is only an irregular winter wanderer in eastern Canada. Some- 
times years will pass without the bird being seen and then suddenly it 
appears everywhere. The causes of these irregular appearances have 
not been definitely determined. Whether the birds are driven from 
their usual winter ranges by lack of food or are attracted to others by an 
unusual abundance cannot be stated. Food is probably the determining 

Economic Status. The Evening Grosbeak, coming only in winter, 
can do very little harm. Its favourite food is the seed of the Manitoba 
Maple left hanging on the trees, or the fruit of the Mountain Ash or 
Rowan trees. The fact that the Manitoba Maple has in recent years 
been planted extensively in all parts of Canada may affect the migration 
habits of this bird. Almost any dried winter fruit is taken and it delights 
to remove the seeds from old rotten apples left hanging through the winter 


The charge that it damages trees by picking off the buds may contain 
an element of truth, but cannot be seriously considered as a source of 
appreciable damage. 

515. Pine Grosbeak, fr. — le gros-bec des pins. Pinicola enucleator. L, 9-08. 
Plate XXVIII B. 

Distinctions. From descriptions, the females of the Pine and Evening Grosbeaks 
might possibly be confused as they are both grey overwashed with yellow; but the yellow 
in the Pine Grosbeak is stronger, especially on head and rump, rather rusty instead of 
clear lemon, and is superimposed on the body colour instead of seeming to show vaguely 
through. The dark bill of the species is also diagnostic. 

Field Marks. Size, dark grosbeak bill, and general red of adult males. The majority 
of the birds which visit Canada are in the dull female plumage, hence the general effect 
is that of a flock of large, dull slate-coloured birds warming to yellow on head and rump 
in favourite lights, accompanied by an occasional red individual. The ordinary notes 
are ridiculously small and fine for so large a bird, though it also has a clear, loud whistle. 

Nesting. In coniferous trees; in nest of twigs and rootlets. 

Distribution. As a species, confined to the northern parts of the northern hemi- 
sphere. The Canadian Pine Grosbeak breeds in the coniferous forest of the north, west 
to the Mackenzie river, migrating to settled sections only in winter. 

SUBSPECIES. There are several subspecies in Canada, the eastern form, the 
Canadian Pine Grosbeak P. e. leucura, being the only one which comes within the scope 
of this work. 

These are irregular winter visitors from the north. Their presence 
with us can rarely be anticipated, though they may occur any winter 
almost anywhere in eastern Canada. They are frequenters of coniferous 
trees, but are fond of Mountain Ash or Rowan berries and the fruit of 
the sumach. 

Economic Status. As the Pine Grosbeak spends the summer in the 
northern woods and only visits settled sections in winter, the damage 
it can do is reduced to a minimum. It eats wild and waste fruit left 
hanging on the trees so that its economic effect is too slight to be appre- 
ciable. It has been accused of destroying fruit buds, but the damage it 
thus does, if any, is very slight. There is every humanitarian reason for 
protecting the species and no serious charge can be brought against it. 

517. Purple Finch, hefling. fr. — le pinson poupre. Carpodacus purpureus 
L, 6-22. Plate XXIX A. 

Distinctions. Size and general coloration of male are distinctive. Female is streaked 
in olive-browns, but the general evenness of the olive cast to the coloration, and abundance 
of streaks below are quite characteristic. The bill is rather larger for the size of the bird 
than in other species except the Grosbeaks. 

Field Marks. Size, general coloration, sometimes resembhng a small Pine Grosbeak, 
and striking song are the best field marks. 

Nesting. In coniferous trees; in nest of twigs, grass, and rootlets. 

Distribution. As a species it occupies all America between Mexico and Canada. 
In eastern Canada it extends north to the extreme hmit of regular settlement. Along 
the southern borders it is a regular winter visitor breeding less commonly than farther 

SUBSPECIES. The Purple Finch is represented by two subspecies; the eastern 
Canadian form. Eastern Purple Finch, is the type of the species. 

The Purple Finch, though so-called, is not purple; "magenta" would 
better describe its coloration. It is one of our finest songsters and is 
occasionally caged for that purpose. Like its allies, the Pine Grosbeak 
and the Crossbills, when kept in captivity it loses the bright redness of 
its plumage and assumes a ruddy yellow, so peculiar and characteristic 
that escaped caged birds can be recognized on sight. The song is a con- 


tinued and clear warble like that of a glorified Warbling Vireo, but more 
rapidly delivered. The young male in the autumn sings almost as well 
as the adult. 

Economic Status. The Purple Finch eats largely of buds and fruit. 
The fruit eaten in eastern Canada is trifling, as the species is not numerous 
in summer-time in fruit-growing sections. The bird retires from the 
southern borders to less cultivated sections in the breeding season. The 
fruits it takes are mostly waste winter left-overs and wild forms as it is 
specially fond of Mountain Ash or Rowan berries. The charge that it 
eats buds is more serious, but so far has been based upon general asser- 
tions not substantiated in the east by results of stomach examinations. 
It is possible that at times the Purple Finch can do considerable local 
harm picking off the fruit buds of the coming year. That it does so to 
an extent to cause uneasiness to the fruit grower has yet to be proved. 

House Sparrow. English spahrow. fr. — le moineau domestique. Passer 
domesticus. L, 6-50. Plate XXIX B. 

Distinctions. Black bib of the male is distinctive. Females have a slight oUve sugges- 
tion and might be confused with the female Purple Finch were it not that they are unstreaked 
below. The female or autumn plumages of the BoboUnk are somewhat suggestive of this 
plumage, but the pronounced streakiness above and the general yellowness are quite 
distinctive of the Bobolink. With a little observation of the species in our streets or 
barnyards, no one need ever confuse this species with anything else. 

Field Marks. The characteristic notes and chirrups of the House Sparrow make the 
best recognition mark in the field. 

Distribution. Originally distributed over all of Europe and most of Asia. Now found 
through North America to the limits of settlement. 

This bird is not native to America, but is one of our most undesirable 
importations from Europe. In spite of its obvious seed-eating habits 
and structure, it was originally introduced as a caterpillar destroyer. 
It does, of course, like nearly all birds, sometimes eat caterpillars, but 
does not approximate in this direction the capacity of the birds it has 
displaced. Being a bird of cities and barnyards most of its activities 
are in localities where there is plenty of food of non-insectivorous 
character, garbage, waste grain, etc. In the autumn, it makes excur- 
sions into the country and visits fields in large flocks, mostly after harvest 
when waste grain is abundant, but occasionally before, and then causes 
considerable loss. Its food habits thus are harmful or not according to 
circumstances and perhaps the balance on the whole lies well in its 
favour. The principal other objections to the House Sparrow are three 
in number. It drives more useful species away, it is very dirty about 
buildings, and it is suspected of spreading poultry diseases. 

The House Sparrows drive other birds away by three methods : monopo- 
lizing the food supply; occupying their nesting places; and by pugna- 
cious and bulldozing habits. During the nesting season while the young 
are being fed they come into direct competition with other species depending 
for the support of their young on the same insect forms (the young of 
all Passerine birds require insects, though those of this species are not 
long dependent upon them). Thus far perhaps they may be nearly as 
useful as the forms they displace, but most of the displaced birds are 
continuous insect hunters and the House Sparrow only a seasonal one. 
After nesting duties are over they again turn their attention to waste mate- 
rial and become of smaller importance, whereas the superseded birds 


continue to be useful through the season. The House Sparrows are with 
us through the winter, showing no tendency to migrate, hence they are 
on the ground in the early spring, and when our native summer residents, 
which are with only one or two exceptions more or less migratory either 
as species or individuals, arrive, they find the most attractive nesting sites 
already occupied. The difficulty of keeping Sparrows out of nesting boxes 
is proof enough of this situation. They are quarrelsome, also, and though, 
when once established, most native species are quite able to hold their 
own against aggression, they do not like the constant turmoil in which 
they must engage when in the vicinity of the House Sparrow. It is far 
easier to avoid than combat them. Hence few other birds care to live in 
their immediate neighbourhood. 

The nests are great, bulky, untidy masses of straw and grasses and 
the tendency of these birds to fill down-spouts and load every projecting 
architectural feature of buildings with litter makes them objectionable. 
Added to the nesting habits of the House Sparrows, their congregation 
in numbers throughout the whole year in sheltered corners under cornices 
and porches causes accumulations of filth that is exasperating to the 
householder. To-day one of the important problems in architectural 
offices is to design satisfactory detail that will not harbour sparrows, 
whose dirt disfigures the most careful design and disintegrates the mate- 
rial of which the building is composed. The last charge, that of carrying 
disease, is not the least of the charges against the species. Feeding 
familiarly with the hens and freely flying about from one poultry j^ard 
to another they have every opportunity to be effective disease carriers. 
That they carry disease has not been definitely proved, but its possi- 
bility and likelihood are obvious. The fact that turkeys are to-day so 
subject to the ravages of the blackhead which has spread rapidly over the 
country, whereas on some of the coastal islands of Massachusetts from which 
the House Sparrow is absent they can be raised with old time ease, is 
more than suggestive. 

Without doubt the introduction of the House Sparrow into America 
was a mistake. It was known in its original home as a rather undesirable 
species and unfitted for the work it was brought over to perform. In this 
country, removed from the natural checks that kept it under control, it 
has multiplied beyond all reason and though its objectionable features 
have increased, its commendable ones have not. However, the House 
Sparrow is here to stay. It has been legislated against, and large sums 
have been spent in the endeavour to control it, but without avail. Local 
endeavour has reduced the numbers from time to time, but only to have 
new hordes pour in from the surrounding country when the effort has 
spent itself. Constant effort will keep the numbers reduced but only 
continent-wide persistent effort will destroy them altogether. Traps, 
poison, and systematic destruction of the nests are the most satisfactory 
means of control. Poison is effective, but care must be taken that it is 
used only in the seasons and places where no other species have access to it. 
Wire fabric traps that are always set and will catch numbers at a time 
are the most satisfactory. A good type of such trap has been described 
by the United States Biological Survey in Farmers Bulletin 493. 

521. Crossbill, fr. — le bec-crois^ d'amerique. Loxia curvirostra. L, 6 19. A 
medium-sized Sparrow with the bill tips prolonged and crossing each other when closed 


(Figure 52, p. 26). The male is dull red, brighter on rump; females and juveniles similar 
with the red replaced by greenish or yellow. No wing bars. 

Distinctions. The crossed bill is distinctive of the Crossbills; the lack of white wing 
bar designates this species. 

Field Marks. Small winter bird often in large flocks. Notes somewhat similar to 
those of Goldfinches, but individuals show red coloration. Climbing, almost parrot-like, 

Nesting. Usually in coniferous trees; in nest of twigs and grasses lined with moss 
and rootlets. 

Distribution. The coniferous forests of both hemispheres. The American Crossbill 
breeds north of dense settlement and southward along the movmtain ranges east and 
west. Irregularly common in winter in southern Canada. 

SUBSPECIES. The American CrossbiU is a subspecies of the Crossbill, an Old a"^ 
well as New World species, and bears the trinomial name L. c. minor. 

The Crossbills are also birds that irregularly come out of the north to 
southern Canada in the winter, reoccur commonly for successive seasons, 
and then vanish perhaps for years. 

Economic Status. This species feeds almost entirely upon coniferous 
seeds — pine, hemlock, and cedar; berries of the climbing bittersweet and 
seeds of rotten apples on the trees are also taken. The speed and skill with 
which the seed is removed from pine cones makes one think that the crossed 
bill is necessary for this work until one finds normally billed species doing 
the same thing with equal ease. 

522. White-winged Crossbill, fe. — le bec-croise a ailes blanches. Loxia 
leucoptera. L, 6 05. Similar to preceding species, but with white bars on wings. 

Distinctions. Perhaps a little brighter in coloration than the American, but showing 
considerable variation in tint and shade. The white wing bars and crossed bill are always 

So similar to the preceding in habits and occurrence that no special 
discussion is necessary. 

Genus — Acanthis. Redpolls. L, 5-5-50. 

General Description. Small sparrows with short, sharp biUs; crown with a dull crimson 
cap; a suffused black chin spot; back and flanks streaked with browns, ashy, and white. 
Adult males have rosy breasts and the rump more or less tinged with pink; suggestions 
of this tint show in other plumages. 

Distinctions. The small crimson cap is always distinctive. 

Nesting. In low shrubs; nest of grasses lined with hair, often white rabbit or fox 
fur, feathers, or plant-dowm. 

Distribution. Circumpolar and Arctic in breeding range, migrating south irregularly 
in winter. 

There are two species of Redpolls in eastern Canada, divided into five 
subspecies, all so nearly alike that it requires special experience to differ- 
entiate them accurately. The dividing line between species is very fine, the 
subspecies intergrade and, as considerable individual and age variation 
exists, it is only by attention to small details that they can be separated. 

The distinctive characters are given more as suggestions than as final 

Economic Status. See Redpoll Linnet. 

527. Hornemann's Redpoll. Acanthis hornemanni. L, 5. Light-coloured Redpolls 
with white or rosy unspotted rump. Adults with feather edgings light so that a typical 
bird looks hke a Common Redpoll seen through a white veil. 


Distinctions. The unspotted rump is the most constant and easily recognized specific 

Distribution. Arctic and subarctic parts of the northern hemisphere. The Greenland 
Redpoll breeds in Arctic Europe, Greenland, and perhaps adjoining America. The Hoary 
breeds in Arctic America east to Ungava and in adjacent Asia. 

SUBSPECIES. Hornemann's Redpoll is divided in America into two subspecies; 
a large form, the Greenland Redpoll, the type form; and the Hoary RedpoU A. h. exilipes. 
They are most easily separated by size, the former having a wing measurement of 3-37 
and the latter of 3. 

In general habits so nearly like the next species, which is much more 
common, that separate discussion is unnecessary. This species is generally 
so rare in settled districts that its identification must be made with great 
caution. During occasional winters this species occurs in greater or less 
numbers with large flocks of the Common Redpolls, but there is no regular- 
ity in their visits. 

528. Redpoll Linnet, fr. — sizerin a t^te rouge. Acanthis linaria. L, 5-5-5. 
A rather dark Redpoll with rump more or less heavily streaked and not noticeably frosted 
with white. 

Distinctions. The streaked rump is the most easily recognizable character. 

Distribution. Northern part of northern hemisphere. The Common Redpoll breeds 
across the northern parts of the American continent, south in the east to the gulf of St. 
Lawrence. Holboll's breeds in America on the west Arctic islands and the Greater in 

SUBSPECIES. The species is divided into three subspecies : the Common Redpoll 
A. I. linaria, which is commonest in fact as well as name; Holboll's Redpoll A. I. holbcdli, 
a slightly larger form; and the Greater Redpoll A. I. rostrata, the largest of the species. 
There are small differences visible to the eye of the e.xpert in the bills and details of 
coloration, but size is, on the whole, the best criterion, though it should not be entirely 
relied upon as intergrades occur. The wing of the Common Redpoll should be 2 • 9 inches, 
Holboll's 3 • with slightly longer bill, and the Greater 3 • 5 with biU shorter and stouter, 
However, in identifying RedpoUs it should be remembered that the Common is the only 
one likely to be met with and no other determination should be made unless confirmed 
by e.xpert opinion. 

With more or less regularity our winter fields and waste lands are taken 
possession of by immense flocks of tiny sparrows, feeding on the weed tops 
which project from the snow or perching in the low trees and bushes nearby. 
From the throng comes a subdued but constant twitter from many little 
throats, no one of the birds producing a song in the usual sense of the word, 
but collectively making an undercurrent of low music that is distinctly 
agreeable. The round, fluffy, heavily plumaged bodies, the little, rich 
crimson cap, and the occasional flash of rosy breast and pink rump declare 
them Redpolls. They are tame and unsuspecting little fellows and if the 
observer conducts himself discreetly they may at times alight all about him 
or even upon his person with as much indifference as if he were a stump or 
some other inanimate feature of the landscape. They remain until just as 
the spring breakup is due when they vanish until another winter. Their 
winter wanderings are irregular and erratic. 

Economic Status. Coming in flocks of large numbers and searching 
weed tops diligently the Redpolls should be hailed by the farmer with 
pleasure, not only for their pretty ways but also for the evident good they 
do in destroying weed seed. One cannot go over the ground where they 


have fed and examine it closely without being impressed with the amount 
of good work they have done. Their tracks are seen everywhere in the 
snow and every little weed-top seems to have been scrutinized with micro- 
scopic eye. Considering their numbers and that they come in the coldest 
weather, it is evident that their presence must have a marked deterrent 
effect upon the following season's weed crop. 

529. American Goldfinch, thistlebird, wild canary, fr. — le chardonneret 
JATJNE. Astragalinus tristis. L, 5-10. Plate XXX A. 

Distinctions. In summer, male with its strongly contrasting yellow body aiid black 
wings, tail, and cap is most characteristic. In winter, the colours are less distinctive 
but there is always a suggestion of yellow about the throat, head, and back, if not else- 
where, and the wings and tail remain a decided black though with more or less buffy or 
white edgings on wing bars. 

Field Marks. In habit, disposition, and the general quaUty of their notes, winter Gold- 
finches resemble Pine Siskins or the Crossbills. They can be distinguished from the 
former by their lack of streakiness and from the Crossbills by the absence of red, hghter 
coloration, and white rump. 

Nesting. Nest of grasses and plant down Uned with the latter. 

Distribution. As a species, tliroughout the United States and southern Canada 
north to the Umits of settlement. The Eastern Goldfinch extends west to, and inclu- 
ding, Manitoba. 

SUBSPECIES. The American Goldfinch is divided into three recognized subspecies, 
only one of which, the Eastern Goldfinch, the type form, occurs in eastern Canada. 

One of the merriest of summer birds, sometimes remaining through 
the winter in the more southern parts of Canada. It is a great lover of 
fluffy white thistle and dandelion seed-heads and can often be seen plucking 
the down, cutting off the fruiting end, and letting the airy tops float away on 
the wind. Its song is as pleasant as its bright appearance as it sits on some 
lone elevation and sings " sioeet-sweet-cheivit-chewit-chewit " or goes speeding 
off through the air with a merry flock with their cheerfully repeated per-chic- 
o-pee. The American Goldfinch, though a relative of the Old World bird 
of the same name, is an entirely different species, named, as the original 
settlers named many birds, from various fancied or real resemblances to the 
familiar forms known at home. 

Economic Status. A bird of no bad habits and many good ones. 
Weed seeds are its staple food, but grain is rarely touched. If the House 
or English Sparrows do not exhaust the supply prematurely, sunflower 
seed heads are a neverfailing attraction to Goldfinches and a supply of 
these along the back fence will ensure their constant attendance through the 
autumn and winter. Insects are taken more or less and some fruit, usually 
wild species, as no complaint is made of any damage done to cultivated 

633. Pine Siskin, fr . — le chardonneert des pins. Spinus pinus. L, 5 
Small, goldfinch-hke birds striped with ohve-brown on a duU white ground sometimes. 
sUghtly tinged with yellowish; hghter below and with a lemon-yellow spot and 
suflfusion on the wings. 

Distinctions. General streakiness and suffused yellow wing spot. 

Field Marks. Goldfinch-hke habits and voice and general streakiness. 

Nesting. In coniferous trees; nest of twigs and rootlets lined with plant down. 

Distribution. The north coniferous woods across the continent, migrating to settled 
districts in winter and locally breeding there. 

A winter visitor to the more southern sections of Canada. Very fond 
of coniferous evergreen trees. 


Economic Status. As it is only a winter visitor to settled Canada and 
shows strong partiality for the fruit of coniferous trees, it is a neutral species, 
doing perhaps no great good but certainly no harm. 

534. Snow Bunting, snowflake. fr. — le plectrophane de neige. Plectrophe- 
nax nivalis. L, 6-88. Plate XXX B. 

Distinctions. Sharply contrasting black and white colouring with most of the feathers 
heavily bordered with rusty, especially on the head, back, and breast-band. Through 
the winter the rusty borders gradually wear off and the breeding plumage of black and 
white results without moult. The general scheme of colouring of the Snow Bunting is 
found in no other Canadian bird. 

Field Marks. Gregarious ground sparrows showing large amounts of white on black 
wings when flying. 

Nesting. On ground in moss, nest of grass, rootlets, and moss lined with feathers 
and fur. 

Distribution. Circumpolar Arctics. In Canada, breeding from the edge of barren 
groimds northward across the continent. 

SUBSPECIES. Though the Snow Bunting is divided into several subspecies, in 
eastern Canada only the type form, the Common Snow Bunting, occurs. 

Winter visitors in .southern Canada, feeding on the weed-tops that 
project from the snow in open fields and rarely perching in trees. A flock 
alights in the weed-spotted snow and gradually works across it, the rear 
of the flock rising up from time to time like a flurry of snow and pitching 
ahead, the process being repeated until the whole field is covered. 

536. Lapland Longspur. fr. — le plectrophane de laponie. Calcarius lap- 
ponicus. L, 6-25. A gregarious, winter sparrow frequenting open fields. Males — dark 
brown above sharply streaked with buff to crown of head, with a rufous collar across 
back of neck, cheeks, throat, and bib black. Flanks streaked with black, brown, and 
buff. White, below. Females and juveniles are similar, but with the black on the face 
and throat replaced by suffusions of brown and buff or showing only vaguely in scattered 
irregular feathers. The nail of the hind toe is greatly elongated as in the Horned Lark 
(Figure 44, p. 25). 

Distinctions. In habits the Longspur may be mistaken for Snow Bunting, but the 
sharply streaked back, lack of white on the wing, and the elongated hind claw are dis- 
tinctive. The lack of ear tufts, the absence of yellow on the throat, and the sparrow- 
Like bill will separate it from the Horned Lark. Large size, ground habit, and occurrence 
in winter in flocks will distinguish the Longspur from any other sparrow of similar 

Field Marks. The lack of white masses on the wings will distinguish the Laplnd 
Longspur from the snow Bunting, and the lack of ear tufts and yeUow throat from ahe 
Horned Lark, the birds with which it is most likely to be confused in life. 

Distribution. A circumpolar species coming down into settled districts only in winter' 
In America it breeds in high latitudes across the continent. 

SUBSPECIES. In the east, only one subspecies of Lapland Longspur, the Eastern 
Longspur, the type form, ever occurs. 

Similar in habits to the Snowflake and often accompanying flocks of 
Snowflakes and Horned Larks. 

540. Vesper Sparrow, grass finch, bay-winged sparrow, fr. — le pinson a 
ailes baies. Pooecetes gramineus. L, 5-75. Plate XXXI A. A dull coloured ground 
sparrow softly streaked with shades of brown, above; below, white, with suffused streaks 
on the flanks, across the breast, and on the sides of throat. Shoulders, brownish rufous. 

Distinctions. The Vesper can be separated from other earth-coloured sparrows by 
its red-brown upper wing' coverts or shoulders, and the white on the outer tail feathers. 

Field Marks. The Vesper Sparrow is easily mistaken for the Song Sparrow in hfe, 
but the lack of the central breast spot caused by the aggregation of the streaks and the 
presence of the white outer tail feathers visible in flight are distinctive. The Junco, 
an evenly dark grey bird, is the only other comparable species having such a tail mark. 


Nesting. In grass on ground in nest of grasses, rootlets, and hairs, finer grasses 

Distribution. Distributed, as a species, over all of temperate North America. Breed- 
ing wherever found in Canada. 

SUBSPECIES. Though eastern and western subspecies of the Vesper Sparrow 
are recognized, onlj- the Eastern Vesper Sparrow, the type form, occurs in eastern Canada. 

The Vesper Sparrow is comparable with the Song Sparrow in its 
habits, song, and general appearance. It is less a bird of the brush, however, 
and usually frequents the edges of fields, or where there is slight cover as 
in the vicinity of ditches or roads. Its song is similar to that of the Song 
Sparrow, but can be readily distinguished from it by the educated ear. 

Economic Status This is one of the most beneficial of the Sparrows. 
It feeds farther afield than most of the common summer Sparrows and 
takes a greater percentage of insects than they, and large quantities of 
weed seeds. Some grain is found in its stomach, but under circumstances 
that point to its being waste from the stubble or roadways. The Vesper 
Sparrow, therefore, should receive every possible protection. 

541. Ipswich Sparrow. Passercultis princeps. L, 6-25. Like a large and very 
pale Savannah Sparrow (see next species). 

Distinctions. Distinguished from the Savannah Sparrow by larger size, and light 
coloration; in autumn also, by an almost complete lack of yellow on the bend of the wing 
and in front of the eye. Distinguished from the Vesper Sparrow by hght coloration, 
lack of red on shoulders, and, in sprmg, by yellow on the bend of the wing and in front 
of the eye. Distinguished from the Song Sparrow by its lighter colour and, in spring, 
by the yellow as above. 

Field Marks. A very pale sparrow about the size of a Vesper Sparrow. 

This bird has a limited and isolated distribution. Its only known 
breeding place is Sable island, about 60 miles south of Cape Breton. In 
winter it migrates down the Atlantic coast never wandering far inland. 
It is of small economic importance. 

542. Savannah Sparrow, fr. — le pinson des pres. Passercuhis sandivichensis. 
L. 5-68. A rather small sparrow striped above with brown, ashy, and intermediate shades. 
Below, white with sharp brown streaks on the breast, flanks, and in some cases on the 
throat. Yellow on the bend of the wing and a spot in front of the eye. Autumn birds 
are generally overwashed with buffy and the markings are softer and more diffused. 

Distinctions. The Savannah Sparrow can be distinguished from the Song Sparrow by 
the yeUow spots in front of the eye and on the bend of the wing and by the lack of the 
aggregated streaks which form a spot in the middle of the breast of the Song Sparrow. From 
other allied sparrows of the Grasshopper and Passerherbulus groups it can be told by the 
sharply defined streaks on white ground beneath. 

Field Marks. The Savannah Sparrow can be recognized in the field by the yellow line 
over the eye and by its notes. Its song is a fine, insect-Uke tsip-tsip-you-re-e-e-e-e-e-you, the 
first notes often too faint to be heard and the whole with a peculiar far-carrying intensity 
and high pitch that leaves one in doubt whether it is close at hand or very far away. It 
resembles a similar song of the Grasshopper Sparrow, but the latter omits the final note. 

Nesting. On ground, in nest of grasses lined with finer material. 

Distribution. America, north to the Arctic coast. The Eastern Savannah Sparrow 
P. s. savanna occupies eastern North America west to the prairies, when it is displaced by a 
western form. 

SUBSPECIES. Our form, the Eastern Savannah Sparrow, P. s. savanna, is a 
subspecies of which the type form occurs in the Aleutian islands. There are several other 
geographical races but the differences between them are too slight for popular recognition. 

A bird of damp meadows and waste land, where the grass grows in 
rank and coarse bunches and water lies close to the surface; or of sandy 


barrens where the grass and weeds grow in scattered clumps. It runs in 
the grass Hke a mouse and rises with a low quick flight, often before a good 
view of it can be obtained. It is an interesting little bird, but is so incon- 
spicuous as to readily pass unnoticed by the casual observer. 

Economic Status. Besides great quantities of weed seeds the Savannah 
Sparrow consumes more insects than most sparrows and more beetles than 
any other sparrow. The insects taken include a great number of weevils 
and other harmful forms. Although usuall}^ inhabiting waste places it 
also frequents cultivated land often enough to make it a most efficient 
helper to the agriculturist. 

546. Grasshopper Sparrow, yellow-winged sparrow. Ammodrarnus savanna- 
rum. L, .5-38. A small, grass-haunting sparrow. Back marked with fine, short streaks 
of brown, ashy, and light buff in indefinite pattern ; dull white below, with a light buffy 
wash across the breast fading away on the sides of the throat. A yellow spot in front of 
the eye; upper wing coverts and the bend of the wing yellow or yellowish. 

Distinctions. The yellowish upper wing coverts are distinctive of the species. The 
unstriped and unspotted breast will separate it from most of the other small grass sparrows . 

Field Marks. This species can be distinguished from most of the other small sparrows 
by its unstreaked, faintly buff-coloured breast. Its song is like the last part of the song of 
the Savannah Sparrow, without the final syllable, and dies gradually away hke bz-bz-bz- 

Nesting. On ground, in nest of grasses, arched over. 

Distribution. United States to South America; regularly crosses the Canadian 
border only in the vicinity of lake Erie. 

SUBSPECIES. The Eastern Grasshopper Sparrow is a subspecies A.s. australis. 
The type form is extralimital. Another subspecies occurs in the west. 

This sparrow is to be looked for in grassy fields along with the Bobo- 
link and Meadowlark, but is very local in its distribution. 

Economic Status. A rare sparrow of little economic importance, but, 
at least, harmless. 

547. Henslow's Sparrow. Passer herbulus henslowi. L, 5. A very small grass 
sparrow. Back of head and lower neck yellowish-ohve, and back vinaceous; both 
colours streaked with short strokes of brown. Below, white, finely streaked across 
breast and on flanks with dark brown. Bill large for the size of the bird and tail feathers 

Distinctions. OUve and vinaceous ground coloiu: of upper parts and fine streaking of 

Field Marks. A small bird that runs in the grass and is very difficult to flush. Rises with 
a quick, low zig-zag flight and drops back into the grass with unexpected suddenness. The 
best identification character in life is its note, a fine penetrating se-slick of such light volimie 
as to be almost inaudible close at hand, yet decided enough to have considerable carrying 

Nesting. On ground, in nest of grass exceptionally well hidden. 

Distribution. The Eastern Henslow's Sparrow occm-s in eastern Canada only in 
southern Ontario. Another subspecies is found in the west. 

SUBSPECIES. The eastern form of Henslow's Sparrow is the Eastern Henslow's 
Sparrow, the type subspecies of the race. 

One may be in the midst of quite a colony of Henslow's Sparrows 
without knowing it, as they are rarely seen unless attention is directed to 
them by their notes. Waste grass-grown meadows are their favourite 

548. Leconte's Sparrow. Passerherbulus lecontei. L, 5. A very smaU and elusive 
grass sparrow. Above, crown dark brown with light buff median stripe, nape vinaceous 
with buff-grey stripes, back dark brown with sharp light buff stripes. Below, white suffused 
with ochre on breast, throat, and cheeks. 



Distinctions. The contrasting light buff median stripe, vinaceous nape, and dark 
brown back. 

Nesting. On ground, in nest of fine grass. 

Distribution. Central North America. A prairie form of only accidental occurrence 
within the limits covered by this work. 

The species has been recorded only once in eastern Canada, at Toronto. 
Owing to its mouse-Hke habits it is most difficult to find or to recognize 
when seen, and, therefore, may be more common that it is thought to be. 

549. 1. Nelson's Sharp-tail. fr. — le pinson a queue aigue. Passerherbulus 
nelsoni. L, 5 • 9. A small grass sparrow. Above, median line of crown slaty-blue bordered 
with dark brown, with an ochre line over eye. A faint slaty and olive band across nape 
and shoulders. Back sharply striped with rich brown and hght buff with a light slaty 
overwash. Below, white with ochre breast extending more or less to the cheeks and 
flanks and lightening on the throat. Breast sometimes, and flanks always marked with 
indistinct darker stripes. 

Distinctions. Slaty median crown stripe and long, strong stripes on back. 

Field Marks. The general strong buff or yellow coloration below, the yellow line above 
the eye, and the faint streaking of breast. 

Nesting. On ground; in nest of fine grass. 

Distribution. Eastern America, mostly in northern United States and southern 
Canada. The type form is confined to the prairies and the other to the Atlantic coast. 

SUBSPECIES. Nelson's Sparrow is divided into two subspecies, the type form, 
Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, a prairie race; and the Acadian Sharp-tailed Sparrow P.n. 
subvirgatus, an extreme eastern race. The Acadian Sharp-tail is confined to the salt marshes 
of the east coast of Prince Edward Island and below the gulf of St. Lawrence. Its breast 
and throat are lighter, buff rather than ochre coloured, and distinctly though faintly 
streaked on breast. The colouring of the back is fainter and more diffused and the slaty 
median hne wider and in less contrast to the brown. There is little chance of confusion 
between them for the races can be divided geographically with considerable certainty. 
Nelson's Sharp-tail is only of casual and accidental occiurence in the Great Lakes region, 
whereas the Acadian is practically confined to the vicmity of salt water. 

The Sharp-tailed Sparrows are marsh-haunting birds, running and 
hiding in the grass and refusing to take wing until absolutely forced. 

552. Lark Sparrow. Chondestes grammacus. L, 6-25. A very striking and 
conspicuously marked sparrow. Above, striped with brown and buffy brown; below, 
white with buffy flanks. Crown, chestnut-brown with conspicuous light median line; 
ear coverts chestnut-brown in strong contrast to the white face ; and three sharp black 
lines, one through eye, one from lower mandible to ear coverts, and one down sides 
of throat. Outer tail feathers and ends of all except the middle ones, white. 

Distinctions. The bright reddish brown ear coverts contrasting with black and white 
face are certain distinguishing characters of the species. 

Field Marks. The strongly marked head and face and the large amount of white in 
the tail make easily recognized field marks. 

Nesting. In low trees or bushes, in nest of grasses hned with fine grass, rootlets, and 

Distribution. The Mississippi valley westward. The Eastern Lark Sparrow, the 
type form, extends from the Great Plains east and north into southern Ontario. Another 
subspecies occurs in the west. 

SUBSPECIES. The eastern subspecies of this bird is the Eastern Lark Sparrow, 
the type form of the species. 

The Lark Sparrow is rare in eastern Canada. It is to be looked for in 
open brushy wastes and along the wooded edges of fields. 

553. Harris' Sparrow. Zonotrichia querula. L, 7-50. A large sparrow, streaked 
with brown and ashy brown, above; white, below. Crown, face, throat, and front neck 
solid black fading into stripes on flanks. 

Distinctions. In adults, the black face as if dipped in ink which had spread over 
crown and throat. 


Nesting. On ground under dwarf birch, in nest of grass. Nest rarely discovered. 
Distribution. The prairie regions of America, north to the edges of the Barren lands. 

This bird may be more common in western Ontario near the Manitoba 
line than is supposed, but that is the only section in which the species 
may be looked for. One has been recorded from London, Ont., but this 
was, of course, accidental. 

554. White-crowned Sparrow, fr. — le pinson a couronne blanche. Zono- 
trickia leucophrys. L, 6-88. Plate XXXI B. 

Distinctions. Only hkely to be mistaken for the White-throated Sparrow, the next 
species, and can be distinguished from it in any plumage by the absence of the yellow spot 
in front of the eye and, in the adult form, by its nearly even grey throat instead of the 
strongly white throat of that species. 

Field Marks. The white crown and lack of white throat or yellow spot in front of the 
eye. In hfe, the back has a grey rather than a reddish cast. 

Nesting. On ground or in low bushes, in nest of grass and fine vegetable fibres, 
rootlets, etc. 

Distribution. North America from tree limit south. Our Eastern White-crowned, 
the type of the species, extends to the western prairie province, where its place is taken by a 
subspecies, Gambel's Sparrow Z.i. gambeli. 

SUBSPECIES. Though three subspecies of this species are recognized in Canada, 
only one, the Eastern White-crown, the type form, occurs in the east. 

One of the most beautiful of the sparrows. Though it lacks gaudy 
colours, its sharply contrasting black and white crown and grey throat 
and neck give it distinction. Its song too is sweet, having much of the 
clear quality of that of its near relative, the White-throat, but unhappily 
it is usually heard at its best only in its northern breeding grounds. 

Economic Status. Though only within the bounds of cultivation for 
about two weeks in the spring and autumn it does good work while there. 
Weed seeds form a large part of its food, ragweed and grass seed being in 
large proportion. Insects form only a small part of its food. 

558. White- throated Sparrow, canada white-throat, peabody-bird. fr. — 
LE PINSON a gorge BLANCHE. ZoHotrichiu olbicollis. L, 6-74. Plate XXXII A. 

Distinctions. In adult plumage it is most hkely to be taken for the White-crown 
previously mentioned, but its distinctly white throat and the yellow spot in front ofthe 
eye are distinctive. Young birds are apt to be mistaken for the Swamp Sparrow, but the 
yellow spot and redder coloration of the back will always separate them. 

Field Marks. The White throat, yellow lores, and reddish instead of greyish back will 
readily distinguish adults from White-crowns. Juveniles are rather more difficult to identify 
from several other species, but if neither the yellow loral spot nor the vague white throat 
sometimes suggested by the Swamp Sparrow are recognizable, the greater redness of the 
back wiU usually suffice for identification. 

Nesting. On ground or in low bushes; in nest of coarse grasses, rootlets, and moss 
lined with finer grass. 

Distribution. Eastern North America to near the tree hmits on the north. Breeds 
everywhere it is found in Canada except in the most southern portions. 

This is the most famous songster of the northern woods. At its best 
the song is a clear, flute-like, slowly measured whistle which has been very 
well put into words. Hard-times-can-a-da-can-a-da-can-ada or Poor-Bill- 
Pea-ho-dy-Pea-bo-dy-Pea-bo-dy. The White-throat is a brush-wood bird; 
tangled thickets or brush piles in the vicinity of open ground are its 
favourite haunts. Throughout most of the cultivated sections of Canada 
the bird is a migrant only and its best song is rarely heard. In the 
autumn when the young birds fly south the notes are heard in a softened, 
shortened version. 


Economic Status. The White-throat is a valuable bird. It is important 
as a destroyer of weed seeds, especially of ragweed, and consumes a con- 
siderable number of insects and a little wild fruit. As the species comes 
down in great numbers to the thickly cultivated sections in early autumn, 
its effect on the succeeding season's weed crop must be pronounced. 

559. Tree Sparrow, fk. — le pinson de montagne. Spizella monticola. L, 6-36. 
Plate XXXII B. 

Distinctions. Much like the Chipping and Field Sparrows, but larger and the bill 
yellow with dark tip instead of black as in the former, or cinnamon as in the latter and with 
a semi-concealed dark spot in the middle of the breast. 

Field Marks. Red-brown cap, prominent white wing-bars, ashy-grey throat, and 
dark spot in middle of the evenly coloured unspotted breast. 

Nesting. On or near ground, in nest of grasses, rootlets, and hair. 

Distribution. Eastern North America. Breeds in the far north beyond the limits of 
civiUzation; winters in northern United States. 

SUBSPECIES. Eastern and western subspecies of the Tree Sparrow occur in Canada. 
The former is the type form and the only one that occurs within the region covered by this 

Among the hosts of sparrows that congregate in the shrubbery in the 
autumn or return early in the spring, is the Tree Sparrow. In the 
southern parts of the Dominion it sometimes remains all winter, but is a 
migrant elsewhere. It is a natty little bird and its modest song in the 
early spring is most welcome after the long silent winter. 

Economic Status. The Tree Sparrow is valuable for its destruction of 
weed seeds and seems to have no bad habits. 

560. Chipping Sparrow, chippie, hair bird. fr. — le petit pinson a couronne 
ROUSSE. Spizella passerina. L, 5-37. Plate XXXIII A. 

Distinctions. A familiar bird, separable from the Swamp and Tree Sparrows which, 
like it, have red caps, by size; and from them and the Field Sparrow by its black bill and 
the black stripe through the eye. Juveniles have streaked heads and closely resemble 
the Clay-coloured Sparrow, a western bird that occasionally may be confused with them 
in far western Ontario. The Chipping Sparrow, however, has a slaty instead of an 
olive-buff rump. 

Field Marks. A small, slim sparrow with red cap, imstreaked breast, and a black 
line through the eye. Its long drawn out song, a series of unaccented chirps running into 
each other in a single sustained triU. is very characteristic. 

Nesting. In trees or bushes, m nest of grasses, rootlets, and fibres plentifully inter- 
mixed with long hairs. The amount of horse hair used in the nest is the origin of one of this 
bird's popular names. 

Distribution. Eastern North America to well north of civilization. Breeds in Canada 
wherever found. 

SUBSPECIES. The form of the Chipping Sparrow occurring in eastern Canada 
is the Eastern Chipping Sparrow, the type form. Aiiother subspecies occurs in the west. 

The Chipping Sparrow is rarely absent from the vicinity of suburban 
or village homes, coming close to houses and frequenting the orchard and 
shade trees, the front yard, and even the door step. It does not fear man, 
but though not avoiding him it escapes notice through its quiet and un- 
obtrusive habits. 

Economic Status. The Chipping Sparrow is a greater insect eater 
than most of the family. In fact, through June, 93 per cent of its food is 
composed of insects, only 1 per cent of which are beneficial species such as 
predacious beetles and parasitic wasps. The average for the year is 38 
per cent of insects, and for the months spent by the bird in Canada, the 


average must be considerably higher. The vegetable matter consumed 
consists of small weed seeds in which those of crab grass, lambs quarters, 
and ragweed predominate. It will be seen that a bird having these desirable 
qualities and coming into the immediate vicinity of the garden is most 
useful and one to be encouraged in every manner possible. 

561. Clay-coloured Sparrow. Spizella pallida. L, 5-20. A small sparrow with 
upper parts streaked in light buff and dark brown to crown, where a whitish median stripe 
is indicated. A faint collar of slaty suffusion about the back of the neck. White below, 
slightly tinged with buff on flanks. 

Distinctions. On account of size and habits only hkely to be mistaken for the Chipping 
Sparrow; but the back is hghter than in that bird and more clay-coloured, and the rump 
instead of being faintly slaty is shghtly ohve-buff. 

Nesting. On ground or in bushes, in nest of grasses hned with hairs. 

Distribution. The interior of America. It is a prairie form extending north to the 
hmits of the prairie provinces, and only of accidental occurrence in eastern Canada, except 
perhaps in the coimtry adjoining the Manitoba boundary. 

A bird of the west; of rare occurrence in the western limits of the 
region treated of in this work. 

563. Field Sparrow, fr. — le pinson des champs. Spizella pusilla. L, 6-68. 
A small sparrow of the same general colour as the Chipping, but with the colours subdued, 
suffused, and blended. The red crown is darker and inconspicuous and there is no line of 
black through the eye. The bill is cinnamon coloured insteaxi of black. 

Distinctions. The above distinctions are sufficient to distinguish this bird. 

Field Marks. Dull reddish crown, lack of facial marks other than a touch of red on 
ends of ear coverts, and cinnamon-coloured bill. The song is its most easily recognized 
characteristic and when learned is the best means of identification. 

Nesting. On ground or in low bushes, in nest of rather coarse grasses, weed stalks, 
and rootlets, lined with fine grasses and hair. 

Distribution. Eastern America; in Canada including most of the settled sections, 
but rather local in distribution and unaccountably absent from some locahties weU within 
its range. 

SUBSPECIES. The Field Sparrow is divided into an eastern and western subspecies; 
the former, the type form, is the only one occurring in eastern Canada. 

The Field Sparrow is an inconspicuous bird and though often very 
common is so like a Chipping Sparrow with worn plumage that it may be 
mistaken for it. It is a bird of the open fields and fence rows and though 
not shy or unusually retiring, must be looked for and listened for to be 

Economic Status. Very much like the Chipping Sparrow in food 
habits, taking a few more useful insects though not enough to perceptibly 
affect its usefulness. 

567. Junco. graybird. black snowbird, fr. — pinson niverolle. Junco 
hyemalis. L, 6-27. Plate XXXIII B. 

Distinctions. Sohd dark slate-grey above and on breast, cutting sharply against the 
white underparts. 

Field Marks. Sharp line of the dark breast against the white below, and white outer 
tail feathers which show in flight. 

Nesting. On or near the ground in nest of grasses, moss, and rootlets lined with finer 
grasses and long hairs. 

Distribution. As a species, all of America to the tree hmits. The Slate-coloured 
Junco extends west to Alberta. 

SUBSPECIES. The Juncos are divided into a number of subspecies, only one of 
which, the Slate-coloured Junco, the type form, occurs in eastern Canada. 


The Junco with its black breast, Hght coloured bill, and white bordered 
tail is conspicuous amongst the large flocks of sparrows passing through or 
tarrying in the spring and autumn. 

Economic Status. The effect of the Junco on agriculture is almost 
wholly beneficial. During its stay in the more settled sections it consumes 
large quantities of weed seeds. The insects it takes are mostly harmful 
Little or no exception can be taken to it as it does no perceptible damage, 
to crops or fruit. 

581. Song Sparrow, fe. — le pinson chanteur. Melospiza melodia. L, 6-30. 
Plate XXXIV A. 

Distinctions. Rather like the Vesper Sparrow in size and general coloration, but 
darker and more decided in tone; lacks the white outer tail feathers. The breast streaks 
are also sharper and darker brown and aggregated in the middle into a well-defined spot. 
The lack of the yellow stripe over the eye separates the Song from the Savannah Sparrow 
and the sharply streaked breast from any of the other sparrows of comparable size and habit. 

Field Marks. Sharply striped breast and central spot. The absence of the white 
outer tail feathers will guard against confusion with the Vesper Sparrow, and longer tail, 
lack of -yeUow lores, voice, and general attitude distinguish the Song Sparrow from the 

Nesting. On ground, more rarely in bushes, in nest of coarse grasses, rootlets, dead 
leaves, strips of bark, etc., lined with finer grasses and sometimes long hairs. 

Distribution. As a species, the Song Sparrow inhabits all of America to the tree limits. 
Our eastern form extends west to the central prairie provinces. 

*S UBSPECIES. The Song Sparrow is a wide ranging species and has been divided into 
many subspecies, twenty being recognized in North America and a number more proposed. 
Most of these are western forms originating in the broken land of the Pacific coast where 
isolated colonies and varied conditions have favoured numerous departures from type. 
In eastern Canada the form recognized is the Eastern Song Sparrow M. m. melodia, the 
type race. 

It is difficult to form a just and unprejudiced estimate of the standing 
of the Song Sparrow in the avian chorus. Its little medley of chirps and 
trills makes a sustained song of some duration and to those who listen 
to it sympathetically it has a gladness, brightness, and sweetness of tone 
that is difficult to surpass. The bird is almost omnipresent. It lives in 
the shrubbery close about the house and is one of the familiar bi rds of the 
garden. It haunts the thickets on the edge of the wood-lot or bordering 
little streams or rivulets. The deep woods and the clean open fields are 
the only places where it is generally absent and even there it sometimes 
surprises us with a burst of Uquid song. 

Economic Status. The great numbers of the Song Sparrow render it 
most important to the agriculturist. An analysis of its food shows that 
only 2 per cent is composed of useful insects and 18 per cent of harmful 
insects. Waste grain constitutes 4 per cent and weed seeds 50 per cent. 
The remainder is composed of wild fruit and other unimportant material. 
It is seen from this that the Song Sparrow is of considerable economic 
importance. Investigation has shown that one-quarter of an ounce of 
weed seed a day is a fair estimate of the amount consumed by a seed- 
eating sparrow. For the nine months the Song Sparrow is with us in the 
average eastern Canadian locahty the consumption amounts to four 
and a quarter pounds per individual per year. Allowing seventy-five 
Song Sparrows per square mile as a very conservative estimate of population 
we get a total for the southern cultivated parts of Ontario of over eleven 
thousand tons of weed seed destroyed annually by this one species. 


583. Lincoln's Sparrow, fr. — le pinson db Lincoln. MelospizaUncolni. L, 5'75. 
Like the Song Sparrow but with a belt of buffy across the breast which is marked also 
with small, fine spots. 

Distinctions. The above distinctions will separate Lincoln's from all other sparrows 
it may be confused with. 

Field Marks. A good view will show the faint buff breast and fine spotting. Other- 
wise it is with difficulty separated in life from the Song Sparrow. The back is rather 
greyer than the Song Sparrow and this often arouses a suspicion of the presence of 
Lincoln's Sparrow that may be confirmed by other characters. 

Nesting. Similar to that of the Song Sparrow, on ground. 

Distribution. The species is distributed all over America, breeding in the northern 
coniferous woods. 

SUBSPECIES. Eastern and extreme western Lincohi's Sparrows can be differen- 
tiated into two subspecies. The form occupying the territory here treated is the Eastern 
Lincoln's Sparrow M. I. lincolni, the tjqjical race. 

Though a rare sparrow it is an interesting one. It has reduced hiding 
in brush to as fine an art as any bird. When first disturbed it hops to a 
branch, where it obtains a good view, regards the intruder for an instant, 
and then dives into the tangle and is gone. The most diligent search 
thereafter gives no more than a fleeting ghmpse of a brown shadow dis- 
appearing into the nearest brush pile. The species is a passing migrant 
through the settled sections of Canada and is rare. 

584. Swamp Sparrow, fr. — le pinson des marais. Melospizageorgiana. L,5"89. 
Much like the Song Sparrow, but of stronger and less blended coloration and without 
any distinct breast streaks or markings. 

Dis*',tctions. The Swamp Sparrow is difficult to separate from several other forma 
comparable in both colour and size. It may be distinguished from the Song Sparrow, 
most likely to be confused with it, by the unstreaked breast, and, in adult birds, by the 
red crown. Young autumn birds strongly resemble juvenile White-throats but lack the 
faint yellow loral spot, are not as evenly ruddy on the back, and usually have a suggestion 
of an ashy bar across the shoulders at the base of the neck, an ashy cast to the crown, and 
eyebrow lines that are absent in that species. It can be told from the Tree Sparrow by 
the Uck of the dark middle breast spot or of the white wing-bars. 

Field Marks. Its resemblance to a Song Sparrow without breast streaks, the lack 
of the yellow loral spot of the White-throat or the wing-bars of the Tree Sparrow. In 
summer when the Tree Sparrow is not present the red cap is distinctive. 

Nesting. Nest similar to that of the Song Sparrow, on ground, sometimes in the 

Distribution. North America east of the prairies, breeding in most of the inhabited 
parts of Canada. 

As its name implies this is a bird of the swamps and marshes. The 
long grass and shrubby edges of marshes are its typical haunts. Late in the 
autumn it joins the large mixed flocks of sparrows in the brush heaps and 
tangled fence rows and then comes into closer contact with man. 

Economic Status. The food habits of the Swamp Sparrow are not very 
different from those of other comparable sparrows. Owing to its living 
in waste places it is not important. 

585. Fox Sparrow, fr. — le pinson fauve. Passerella iliaca. L, 7 26. A rather 
large sparrow. Above, bright reddish-brown, solid on tail and rump but with dull slaty 
showing through the red on hind neck and crown. Below, white heavily spotted and 
streaked with red like back, on sides of throat, across breast, and on flanks. The throat 
is almost free from markings and the spots tend to aggregate on the breast in a centre 

Distinctions. Rather large size and gene ral bright foxj^ red coloration are distinctive. 

Field Marks. Rich red coloration, especially on rump and tail. The Hermit Thrush 
has a similar appearance as it flies, but the upper back is more olivaceous. 

Nesting. On ground or in low trees and bushes, in nest of coarse grasses lined with 
finer grass, hair, moss, and feathers. 


Distribution. As a species the Fox Sparrow ranges over all of North America north 
to the tree limits. The Canadian form, the Eastern Fox Sparrow, the type, extends west 
to the foot of the Rockies, where its place is taken by a number of other subspecies. 

SUBSPECIES. The Fox Sparrow is a highly variable and plastic species and 
numerous well marked subspecific forms can be distinguished. The one occupying eastern 
Canada is the Eastern Fox Sparrow P. i. iliaca, the typical race. 

This sparrow remains within the limits of civilization only for a few 
days spring and autumn. Occasionally in spring it greets us with a song 
of full clear tone that is equalled by few other birds and hardly surpassed 
by any. 

Economic Status. It is with us hardly long enough or in sufficient 
numbers to be of great importance to the agriculturist. It eats a little more 
fruit than the majority of the sparrows, but at the seasons of its visits 
little cultivated fruit is available and the insect and weed seed portions 
of its food are such that it need cause no anxiety. 

587. Towhee. fr. — le pinson aux yeux rouges. Pipilo erythrophthalmus. L, 8'35. 
Male, all above pure black including tail, head, throat, and breast where it cuts in a 
sharp line against the clear white of the underparts . Broad reddish or bay flanks. A 
few white feather edges on the flight feathers and considerable white in tail margins. 
Female, similar but with the black replaced by reddish brown . 

Distinctions. Owing to its large size, long tail, and striking coloration the Towhee 
can hardly be mistaken for any other bird. Young birds do not have much indication of 
these distinctive coloui"s, being a vague, generally rusty colour, faintly and brokenly 
striped; but the long tail, size, and general outline are usually sufficient for recognition. 

Field Marks. With a good view of the black or brown head and back, and the red 
flanks, the species can hardly be mistaken. As it dashes away into the underbrush the 
strongly accentuated black and white of the wings and tail of the male, or the reddish 
brown and white on the tail of the female are easily recognizable. 

Nesting. On or near ground, in nest of dead leaves and strips of bark, lined 
with fine grasses. 

Distribution. Eastern North America, from southern Canada to the gulf. Occurs in 
Canada only along the southern border and is common only in the lower Great Lakes 

SUBSPECIES. The Towhee of eastern Canada, P. e. erythrophthalmus, is the 
Eastern Towhee, the type race of the species. 

The Towhee is a bird of brushy wastes or wood edges, where its dis- 
tinctive note "Chewee" or " Te-wee" is a familiar sound. It delights to 
perch on the top of a sapling standing alone in the underbrush and sing its 
clear "dick-yoo, chiddU-chiddle-chiddle" . On being disturbed it drops 
straight down into the underbrush, its black and white uniform flashing an 
instant, then vanishes in the tangle, whence it peers about uttering its 
usual ^'chi-tvee^' in inquisitive accents. In feeding it scratches over the 
surface like a hen, making the dead leaves fly in all directions. 

593. Cardinal, red-bird, cardinal grosbeak. Cardinalis cardinalis. L, 8 25. 
A large sparrow and a typical Grosbeak. The male is bright cardinal red with a black 
splash about the base of the bill and throat. Both sexes have a decided crest as promi- 
nent as that of the Blue Jay. The female is warm buff in colour, almost white below 
and olive-buff on the back, the wings, tail, and crest approaching the rosy colour of the 
male. The black face and throat of the male are faintly indicated. 

Distinctions. Absolutely unmistakable for anything else. The Pine Grosbeak may 
suggest the Cardinal, but the red is never as solid and brilliant and it is without the crest 
or the striking black face mark. The Scarlet Tanager is as brilliantly red, but is without 
crest or face mark and the wings and tail are black. 

Field Marks. The brilliant all red coloration of the male, the flash of warm reddish 
on the wings and tail of the female, and the prominent crest and large red bill in both 

Nesting. In bushes, in nest of twigs, rootlets, and strips of bark, lined with grasses 
and rootlets. 


Distribution. The Cardinal in its various subspecies has a wide distribution in the 
United States and the type form crosses the Canadian border commonly along the western 
end of lake Erie, occurring as scattered individuals and in isolated communities there and 
in adjoinging localities. The Eastern Cardinal, the one here considered, is the type form 
of the species. 

The Cardinal Grosbeak is not generally distributed in Canada, but is a 
permanent resident wherever it is found and its gorgeous colouring and 
brilliant whistling give an added interest to nature. It may surprise many 
that this southern bird ever occurs in Canada, but in some sections along 
the lake Erie shore it is not only regular but common. It should be 
rigorously protected for its beauty as well as for more material reasons. 

Economic Status. The Cardinal feeds largely upon locusts, cicadas, 
potato bugs, rose chafers, plum and cherry scales, cutworms, weevils, and 
other destructive pests. In addition, it takes weed seeds in considerable 
amount and some wild fruit. There is no evidence that it damages cul- 
tivated varieties. 

.595. Rose-breasted Grosbeak, fr. — gros bec a poitrine rose. Zamelodia 
ludoviciana. L, 812. Plate XXXIV B. 

Distinctions. The male with his black back and rose-coloured bib is unmistakable. 
The female is the only sharply streaked Grosbeak in eastern Canada. Young autumn 
males are much like the female, but have a slight rosy suffusion showing through the buff 
colom- of the breast. They vary considerably, but indications of the more pronounced 
spring plumages can usually be seen. 

Field Marks. A full view of either sex with their characteristic colorations and 
large bills is distinctive enough. The black-backed male with contrasting white rump and 
wing-bars can be recognized at a glance even as it vanishes in the brush. The female, 
if not clearly seen, may be mistaken for the much smaller female Purple Finch; but the 
unstriped underparts, more heavily marked head with conspicuous line over the eye, 
and more prominent white wing-bars usually serve for its identification. 

Nesting. In bushes or trees 5 to 20 feet above ground, in nest of fine twigs, weed 
stalks, and rootlets. 

Distribution. Eastern America, north to well beyond settlement. Breeds in Canada 
wherever found. 

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is one of our most beautiful birds and 
best songsters. It prefers tangled thickets interspersed with open spaces 
and large tree clumps. It frequents thickets along rivers, edges of wood- 
land abutting on clearings, overgrown fence lines, and sometimes orchards. 

Economic Status. If the number of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks could 
be greatly increased on the farms the potato bug scourge would soon 
disappear. This bird is one of the few that eats the potato beetle and it 
takes them in both adult and larval stages. One-tenth of the contents 
of the stomachs examined consisted of potato bugs and this species is 
equally efficient against other insect pests. To increase the numbers of 
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks may be difficult, but the next best thing is to 
conserve what we have, protect them from preventable destruction, and 
see that suitable nesting corners are left in waste corners of the farm and 
woodlot. In carrying out plans for clean cultivation and the elimination 
of waste places, care should be taken that bits of shrubbery are left to 
afford shelter for birds which without these sanctuaries must disappear. 
The preservation of the birds will more than compensate for the small 
losses entailed. 

597. Blue Grosbeak, fr. — le gros-bec bleu. Guiraca ccerulea. L, 7. A small 
Grosbeak, coloured like a large Indigo Bunting, but not quite as bright and with 
chestnut-rufous bars on wing and shoulder. 


Distinctions. The plumages in seasonal and sex variation closely follow those of the 
Indigo Bunting, from which it can be told by size and its Grosbeak bill. In mixed plumage 
it may resemble the Bluebird even to the reddish breast, but the bill is entirely unlike the 
bill of that bird. (See Figure 50, p. 26). 

Field Marks. The above will suggest field marks, but the Blue Grosbeak is too rare 
in Canada to safely rely on sight identification. 

Distribution. Eastern North America, in the north stopping normally considerably 
short of the Canadian border. 

SUBSPECIES. The subspecies of the Blue Grosbeak to be expected in Canada ia 
the eastern form, the Eastern Blue Grosbeak, the type race of the species. 

The records of this bird's occurrence in Canada are too fragmentary 
for the species to be expected otherwise than as a rare and accidental 
straggler. It can only be hoped for in the southern parts and perhaps 
the southern coast. 

598. Indigo Bunting, pr. — le pinson indigo. Passerina cyanea. L, 5 '59. A 
rather small sparrow; the male, brilliant blue all over, the female nearly uniformly 
buffy rust colour with occasional faint suggestions of the blue of the male, slightly whitish 
below with faint and indistinct stripes. Autumn birds show intermediate stages between 
the above coloration or with stronger reddish rust. 

Distinctions. The Indigo Bunting is our only all blue bird; the Bluebird, the only 
comparable bird, has a reddish breast. The even, almost unvaried dull rusty colour of the 
female and juvenile distinguishes them from other species. 

Field Marks. The all blue colour of the male and the even reddish of the females 
and juveniles. 

Nesting. Generally in the crotch of a bush 2 to 3 feet above ground, in nest of grasses, 
dead leaves, and strips of bark, lined with fine grasses, rootlets, and long hairs. 

Distribution. North America east of the plains and north well into Canada. 

The Indigo Bunting commonly frequents brushy overgrown wastes, 
burnt land, or slashes. It has a pleasing song. 

Economic Status. Our knowledge of the food of the Indigo Bunting 
is not complete. There is little doubt that it has the usual food habits 
of its family; and it is credited with doing good work against the Brown- 
tailed Moth. It is undoubtedly as worthy of protection as the others 
of its kind. 

604. Dickcissel. Spiza americana. L, 6. Back striped with dark brown and 
ruddy buff changing to solid dull red on wing coverts; hind neck slate-grey to crown 
where it is strongly tinged with yellow; cheeks grey with pure yellow eyebrow line. 
White below; breast pure yellow and throat with a sharply defined black throat-patch 
or bib. 

Distinctions. The yellow breast and black throat, slightly suggesting a small Meadow- 
lark, are distinctive. 

Distribution. Eastern America, mostly in the interior and central portions. In 
eastern Canada, irregularly across our borders in southwestern Ontario. 

This beautiful open field species is rare in Canada. A few have 
appeared for a short series of years in the region at the west end of lake 
Erie and then vanished to reappear some years later. 

FAMILY — TANGARIDiE. TANAGERS. L, 7 • 25-7 • 50. 

General Description. Brilliantly coloured birds with bills resembling those of spar- 
rows but slightly elongated, with an evenly curved culmen, a slight notch in the upper 
mandible opposite the tip of the lower one and a tooth and notch in the middle of the 
upper cutting edge (Figure 53, p. 26). In some species the notch is too slight to be 
seen without careful examination. 

Distinctions. Besides the bill features above, the eastern Canadian species can be 
easily recognized by colour. The spring males are birds of brilliant red coloration, the 
females and autumn birds are dull warm yellows or greens with no sharp, detailed mark- 


ings and little variety in colour except in the even masses of the wings find tail. Spring 
males can only be compared with the Cardinal in colour, the autumn birds and females 
only with the female Orioles, but the lack of crest of the Tanagers will easily separate 
them from the Cardinals and the bill characters from either the Cardinals or Orioles. 

The Tanagers are a typically American family that reaches its highest 
development in the Tropics and is only regularly represented in eastern 
Canada by one species. As a family the Tanagers are so closely related 
to the Sparrows that the status of some extralimital species is still un- 

608. Scarlet Tanager. red bird, fire bird, war bird. fr. — le tangara 
ECARLATE. Pirauga erythromelas. L, 7-25. Plate XXXV A. 

Distinctions. Excepting the next species, the Summer Tanager, the Scarlet Tanager 
is only comparable with the Cardinal, but it is easily recognized by its lack of crest, slighter 
and longer bill, and black wings and tail. The even green of the female is distinctive, 
being approached only by a few much smaller Warblers and the Orioles. The autumn 
male is like the female, but with black wings and tail. 

Field Marks. Brilliant scarlet colour, with black wings and tail in the male and 
the even green coloration and size in other plumages. 

Nesting. Usually near the extremity of a branch, about 20 feet above the ground, 
in nest of leaves, strips of bark, etc. 

Distribution. Eastern America north to near the limit of settlements. 

The Scarlet Tanager shows remarkable seasonal and sexual plumage 
changes. In the spring the sexes are so entirely different that one wonders 
at their specific relationship, and in the summer the brilliant scarlet male 
gradually assumes the dull green of his mate. 

The Scarlet Tanager is a bird of light woodlands, where large timber 
grows with a sprinkling of small underbrush below, but in spring it 
occasionally visits the orchard. On arrival in spring the Scarlet Tanager 
is a most conspicuous object, but as the trees put on their leaves it becomes 
cautious in exposing itself and if it were not for its distinctive note "c/itp- 
c/iwr" that directs attention to it, it would be most difficult to find. The 
song is cheerful, rythmical, and fairly sustained, something like a robin's 
but more connected and not quite so clear. 

Economic Status. The food of the Scarlet Tanager consists mostly 
of insects and fruit. The insects are usually woodland species and their 
destruction is of importance to the forester and fruit grower. The fruit 
eaten is mostly wild, in fact most birds prefer wild to domestic fruit and 
given an abundance of the former seldom eat the latter. The Scarlet 
Tanager does no serious damage. 

610. Summer Tanager. summer red-bird. fr. — tangara vermillon. Piranga 
rubra. L, 7-50. Much like the Scarlet Tanager, but with red instead of black tail and 
dull brownish wings edged and tinged with red; the females bear the same relation to the 
male as do those of the Scarlet Tanager. 

Distinctions. The wings and tail are different from those of the Scarlet Tanager and 
the red is more rose-coloured, less brilliant and lighter below than on the back. The 
female is a warm orange-green of quite a different shade to the cold greenish of the allied 
female. She bears a fairly close resemblance to the female Baltimore Oriole, but the 
evenly coloured, unmarked back and wings and the Tanager bill make separation easy. 

Distribution. Southeastern United States and north to the latitude of southern 
Ohio. Has been recorded in Canada near the southern boundary along the lower Great 
Lakes and in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. 

The Summer Tanager is an accidental straggler in Canada, from 
the south, along the lower Great Lakes and in Nova Scotia and New 



General Description. Mostly small birds, wings very long and pointed; feet small 
and weak, unsuited to walking; head flattened and bill very short with deep gape (Figure 
54, p. 27). 

Distinctions. Superficially resembling the Goatsuckers, but much smaller and of 
different type of coloration. More apt to be confused with the Chimney Swift than with 
any other species, but without the spines at the end of the tail feathers. 

A world-wide family, of aerial habits, seldom coming to the ground 
except for nesting material. Their feet are weak and suitable for alighting 
only on small twigs, telegraph wires, and similar perches. They take 
their food on the wing and can often be seen sweeping over ponds, slightly 
furrowing the still surface as they drink. They are skilful nestraakers 
and build a remarkable variety of forms from bottle-necked structures 
of kneaded mud to holes tunnelled in earth banks. 

Economic Status. Flying insects constitute almost the entire food 
of the Swallows. Sailing high or low in the air as food results justify, 
the Swallows attack many winged insects which are otherwise almost 
unmolested. Over grain fields and about barnyards where insect eating 
birds are few the Swallows congregate and give efficient assistance to the 
agriculturist. They are sometimes dirty when they nest in numbers 
under eaves and in similar situations, but instead of merely knocking 
down the nests, suitable nesting sites should be provided about the farm 
buildings where they can congregate without offence. A large flock of 
Swallows about the barnyard is of very great advantage to the farmer. 

611. Purple Martin, fr. — l'hirondellb pourpr^e. Progne suhis. L, 8. 
Plate XXXV B. 

Distinctions. The largest of our swallows. Size and iridescent blue black coloration 
of the male Martin should be sufficient for the separation of the species. 

Field Marks. Size, colour, almost falcon-like manner of flight, and the voice make 
good field marks. 

Nesting. Under primeval conditions in hollow trees. In civilization in artificial 
bird houses, cavities in cornices of buildings, etc . They are sociable nesters and prefer 
to build in communities of their own kind. 

Distribution. North America. A western subspecies occupies the Pacific coast. 
The eastern form, which is the type race, frequents the most of the settled sections of 
eastern Canada. 

SUBSPECIES. The subspecies of the Purple Martin that occurs in eastern Canada 
is the Eastern Martin P. s. subis, the type form. 

Through the day the birds scatter over the country, returning at 
frequent intervals with food for their young. At evening all return to 
the house they occupy and retire within its shelter for the night. The 
young remain for a considerable time in the nest and even after their 
first flight old and young return to the nest at night. Martins are domestic 
and sociable birds and greet each other with welcoming gurgles and chat- 
terings. Each is interested in the other's family affairs and there is a 
constant interchange of visits between neighbours. They rarely quarrel 
among themselves but show a united front to common enemies, especially 
the English Sparrow. A colony can hold its own against that pest 
very well indeed, after it has established itself. A Martin house should 
contain several rooms about 8 by 8 inches, weather and draft proof at 
all points except the door which should be about 2 inches in diameter 
and 1| inches from the floor. The house should stand 15 to 20 feet above 
the ground, up well in the open, and in such a manner that it can be lowered 
for cleaning. 


There are indications that the Purple Martin is growing fewer in 
numbers. Old colonies from time to time are broken up and few new 
ones take their places. The Martins return to their summer quarters 
very early in the spring and at times suffer severely from late frosts and 
cold rains which stop the flight of insects and deprive them of the necessary 
large and constant amount of food. 

Economic Status. The Martin like the other Swallows is a bird with 
no bad habits, and with so many good ones that every effort should be 
made to aid its increase. 

612. Clifif Swallow, eave swallow. mud swallow. pr. — l'hirondelle a 
FRONT BLANC. Petrochelidon lunifrons. L, 6 01. Similar in general coloration to the 
Barn Swallow (Plate XXXVI A), but different in detail and without the long, 
deeply forked tail. 

Distinctions. Throat, richer in colour and more reddish brown than that of the 
Barn Swallow; the brown colour extending in a narrow band across the back of the neck 
and with a black spot in the middle of lower throat instead of a broken black bar 
across breast. Forehead sharply contrasting creamy white instead of reddish. Rump 
light reddish. Below, dull white. Tail, almost square. 

Field Marks. The white forehead and reddish rump make the best field marks. 
The square tail will separate it from all Barn Swallows except juveniles which have not 
yet grown the fork. 

Nesting. A typical nest is built entirely of mud carried in little pellets in the bill and 
on the feet. The mud is mixed with saliva and plastered pellet by pellet on the wall 
under the eaves of some building. The nest is first a shelf built out from the wall, then 
saucer-shaped and then cup-shaped, in any of which states it may be left as finished. 
In the best examples the sides are continued until the nest assumes the shape of a round 
flask with the neck drawn over and pointing outwards. 

Distribution. America. In eastern Canada to well north of civilization. 

SUBSPECIES. The subspecies of the Cliff Swallow occupying most of North America 
and all of Canada is the Eastern Cliff Swallow P. I. lunifrons, the type form of the species. 

Originally a cliff dweller as the name implies, within the confines of 
civilization this Swallow now nests almost entirely on barns and other 
buildings. It is often of rather local distribution, different colonies 
nesting in many cases in widely separated groups of farm buildings. 

613. Barn Swallow, fr. — l'hirondelle des granges. Hirundo ervthroaastra. 
L, 6-95. Plate XXXVI A. 

Distinctions. Broken black bar across the chest beneath the reddish throat, black 
rump, and, in adult, long forked tail are distinctive of the species. 

Field Marks. Rufous tints beneath and black rump ai-e good field marks; also, 
in the adult the long forked tail and in juveniles the white in the tail. 

Nesting. The nest is far from being the beautiful structure the Cliff Swallow builds. 
It is largely made of mud mixed with grasses, lined with grass and feathers, and set on a 
support such as a rafter or beam; but often the slightest projection will be utilized as a 
foundation upon which to build. Some farmers ensure the presence of the birds about 
the place and induce them to nest where they will be unobjectionable by furnishing small 
supports for their nests close under the eaves of their barns or inside where they will be 
sheltered but can do no damage. 

Distribution. America. Probably not quite as northern as the preceding species. 

This is the Swallow commonly nesting in barns and outbuildings. 
It not only builds under the eaves but enters the building and occupies 
the interior. Its long "swallow tail" assists in making it perhaps the 
most graceful of all the Canadian swallows. 

614. Tree Swallow, white-bellied swallow, fr. — le hirondelle bicolore. 
Iridoprocne bicoloi: L, 5-90. Plate XXXVI B. 


Distinctions. The even blackness with pronounced steely reflections of the opper 
parts and pure whiteness below are distinctive. 

Field Marks. The pure unmarked whiteness of the underparts make an easily re- 
cognized field mark. Young birds have the black above replaced with dull brown and 
a suggestion of suffused brown on the sides of the breast, but this never forms a con- 
tinuous band across the breast as in the Bank Swallow. 

Nesting. In old woodpecker's holes in dead stubs, hollow trees, or bird boxes. Lined 
with grasses and feathers. 

Distribution. America north to near the limit of trees. 

Though normally using woodpecker's holes in dead stubs over the 
water the Tree Swallow is easily induced to nest in boxes in the garden. 
The beauty of its bright iridescence and the grace of its flight make ample 
payment for the work of preparation, even if its presence were not an 
important safeguard against insects in the garden. The continued existence 
of the species is threatened through the growing scarcity of natural nesting 
sites unless an effort is made to supply the nests artificially. 

616. Bank Swallow, sand martin, pr. — l'hirondelle de rivage. Riparia 
npana. L, 5-20. Plate XXXVII A. 

Distinctions. Dull brown instead of iridescent coloration of back, and white under- 
parts with distinct dark breast-band are distinctive. The band is always full and com- 
plete and the white pure. The complete breast-band will separate the Bank from the 
young Tree Swallow; and from the Rough- winged in which the white is not pure and 
the breast and throat are evenly suffused with ashy brown. 

Field Marks. The white underparts crossed by a conspicuous dark bar makes the 
best field mark. 

Nesting. Nearly every one has seen how quickly the exposed sides of a sand or 
gravel pit excavation become pitted with the small nesting holes of these swallows. 
Too often the heedless small boy digs them out. Not only is this dangerous to the boy 
from the possibility of the bank caving, but it is striking a direct blow at the existence of 
one of the farmer's best friends. 

617. Rough-winged Swallow. Stelgidopteryx serripennis. L, 5-75. Much like the 
Bank Swallow in general coloration, but with the breast and throat suffused with 
light ashy-brown instead of being crossed with a sharp brown band. 

Distinctions. The above difference, together with the absence of much pure white 
below and any white on throat are diagnostic. Grown birds have the small outer web of 
the outer primaries converted into a series of fine recurved hooks almost too small to 
see with the naked eye, but obvious to the touch as the finger is drawn along the edge 
towards the tip. Young birds do not show this well, sometimes not at all, and various 
stages of its development appear. It is present in some degree in all spring specimens. 

Field Marks. The best field mark by which to separate the Rough-winged from 
the Bank Swallow is the evenly suffused breast instead of the white one with broad dark 
bar. In watching a mixed flock the Rough-wings can usually be picked out by the slightly 
redder or rusty-coloured back which seems more conspicuous in life than in the hand. 

Nesting. Similar to the Bank Swallow, but more solitary and perhaps more given to 
nesting in crevices in rock piles, cliffs, or masonry. 

Distribution. America. North to across the Canadian border in the lower Great 
Lakes region. 

The Rough-wings belong to a genus widely scattered over the world, 
all exhibiting the peculiar modification of the wing which cannot be 
accounted for in the present state of our knowledge. 


The Waxwings are striking birds, distributed over the northern parts of 
both the New and Old Worlds. They are represented in America by two 
species so well characterized in form and colour and so nearly alike that 


description here is unnecessary. There is remarkably Httle seasonal or sex 
variation and Plate XXXVII B and Figure 55, page 27, designate them 
plainly. The shafts of the secondaries and sometimes those of the tail are 
enlarged at the tips into brilliantly-coloured appendages having a close 
resemblance to bits of sealing wax. 

618. Bohemian Waxwing. wandering chatterer, fr. — le jaseur de boheme. 
Bombycilla garrula. L, 8. Almost exactly similar in form and colour to the Cedar Wax- 
wing, but larger; the secondaries are tipped with white and most of the primaries with 
white or yellow or both ; there is likewise a small white wing bar. The under tail coverts are 
chestnut and the abdomen greyish without the yellow suffusion. 

Distinctions. No further distinctions are necessary; the Cedar Waxwing is the only 
species with which it can be confused. 

Field Marks. Their trim figures and conspicuous crests easily identify the Wax wings. 
The white or yellow on the wings and the chestnut under tail coverts are the best specific 
field marks. 

Nesting. In trees, in nest of twigs, roots, moss, etc. 

Distribution. Northern sections of the northern hemisphere. In America, breeding 
in the far north, northwest of Hudson bay, visiting settled districts irregularly in winter. 

Their irregular wandering habits in winter have given these birds the 
name " Bohemian " which in this sense is synonymous with " wandering." 
They are northwestern birds, but come into cultivated sections of eastern 
Canada occasionally in winter, as does the Evening Grosbeak. They are 
too rare to have any great economic influence. Their favourite food is the 
dried waste fruit that hangs through the winter. 

619. Cedar Waxwing. cedar bird, Carolina waxwing, cherry bird, fr.— 
LB JASEUR DU CEDRE Bombycilla cedroruni. L, 7-19. Plate XXXVII B. 

Distinctions. With the illustration the Cedar Waxwing can hardly be mistaken for 
any other species except the Bohemian. For distinctions see that species. This is the only 
Waxwing to be seen in eastei-n Canada in summer and the most probable one, in the 
southern sections, in winter. 

Field Marks. The natty shape and bearing and the conspicuous upstanding crest are 
easily recognizable field marks. The note, a fine sharp wheeze, is distinctive and soon 
learned. See previous species. 

Nesting. Often in fruit or shade trees, in a bulky structure of strips of bark, leaves, 
grasses, twigs, rootlets, moss, etc., lined with finer materials of the same nature. 

Distribution. America, north in Canada to and somewhat beyond the limits of 
regular cultivation. 

The Cedar Waxing is one of the famihar birds of the orchard. It 
builds in the fruit trees in the summer and is rather too well known in the 
vicinity of early ripening cherries. In the winter it seeks the various kinds 
of old dried fruit left hanging on the branches. The coloration is soft and 
harmonious with just enough accent of contrasting colour to give character. 
The peculiar smooth, silky texture of the plumage seems to cause the 
feathers to cling together so that they always lie smoothly and never seem 
awry. The red-sealing-wax-hke processes in which the shafts of the 
secondaries and sometimes the tail feather end, common to this and the 
Bohemian Waxwing, are unique amongst American birds and give an added 
touch of individuality. 

Economic Status. About 13 per cent of the Waxwing's food is noxious 
insects, the remainder largely fruit. The greater part of the fruit is wild 
and of no economic importance, in fact, as with most birds, wild fruits are 
evidently much preferred to cultivated ones. However, when early 


cherries ripen before wild forms the damage Waxwings can do is con- 
siderable. The same amount of fruit distributed over many later trees 
might pass unnoticed, but when the damage is concentrated upon the earliest 
and most valuable part of the crop the loss is keenly felt. The protection 
of early fruit from the depredations of this and a few other species of like 
habit is a subject that has received considerable attention. To shoot all 
birds visiting the orchard is one solution, but a very poor one. It gives only 
partial protection and has to be repeated each season; for as long as any 
rema n in the vicinity the annual increase will undo the results of previous 
efforts. Besides, the entire community is deprived of the valuable 
assistance of a number of species in order that a certain amount of early 
fruit may be protected. A cover of netting is generally cheaper than 
shooting. As the birds prefer wild to cultivated fruit early ripening wild 
fruit trees in waste corners and along fences provide inexpensive protection. 
The Russian Mulberry and Service-berry and later, the Black-currant, 
Mountain ash. Raspberries, and Blackberries, Sumach, Alder, Wild grape. 
Bittersweet, Nightshade, Snowberry, and Elders will serve the purpose. 


General Description. The Shrikes are medium-sized passerine birds of raptorial 
nature. They are easily recognized by their bills which are plainly hooked at the tip and 
furnished with a notch and tooth near the end of the upper mandible (Figure 56, page 27). 
The two species which occur in Canada are very similar in coloration and differ in minor 
characters only (Plate XXXVIII A). 

The Shrikes are interesting examples of passerine or seed and insect- 
eating birds adapted for a predatory life. The true raptores, the Hawks, 
etc., which also prey upon the higher living forms, have powerful feet with 
which to secure their food and hold it while they tear it with their bills. 
The Shrikes are without these efficient grasping and holding limbs, having 
in fact feet no stronger than those of a sparrow or blackbird of equal size. 
They, therefore, seize prey with their bill and, to hold it while feeding, 
have evolved the habit of impaling it upon strong thorns, etc.; this habit 
gives them the popular title of Butcher-bird. Shrikes are bold, spirited 
birds and quite as daring and capable in proportion to their size as any of 
the true birds of prey. The family is large and widely distributed. Only 
one genus is represented in America and two species in North America. 

621. Northern Shrike, butcher-bird. fr. — la pie-greiche boreale. Lanius 
borealis. L, 10-32. Similar to the Loggerhead Shrike, (Plate XXXVIII A) but 
larger and with a series of fine wavy lines or vermiculations faintly showing across most of 
the underparts. 

Distinctions. General coloration and notched bill will distinguish this as a Shrike. 
Size and the distinct vermiculations below will characterize it as the Northern Shrike. 

Field Marks. The sharply contrasted amount of black and white on the wings and 
tail, the grey upperparts, and the black band through eye. Any Shrike seen in eastern 
Canada in winter between October and March will be of this species. 

Nesting. In low trees or bushes in nest of twigs, grasses, etc. 

Distribution. Northern America, breeding beyond regular settlement across the 
continent, south in winter. 

The Northern Shrike is the bolder and more energetic of our two species. 
It is a northern breeder and is only seen in cultivated sections in the winter 
where it follows the flocks of Snow Buntings, Redpolls, etc. It has shown 


some tendency to come into cities and villages in pursuit of the House or 
English Sparrow, in which work it is to be encouraged in every way. Dry, 
mummied mice and birds occasionally found pinned to thorns and 
barbs of wire fences or hanging from the close forks of twigs are usually 
the work of this species. 

Economic Status. Though thoroughly raptorial in habit the Northern 
Shrike cannot be said to do a great amount of damage. It is not common 
enough within settlement to be a serious factor in the small bird life of the 
fields. It catches numbers of mice and probably its attacks on them and 
on the House or English Sparrow compensate for the seed-eating birds it 

622. Loggerhead Shrike, migrant shrike, butcher-bird. fr. — Lanius Ivdo- 
vicianus. L, 9. Plate XXXVIII A. 

Distinctions. This species can hardly be mistaken for any thing but the Northern 
and it is considerably smaller than that species. The adult is without the fine vermi- 
culations of the breast and in the juvenile they are only faintly suggested. A summer and 
not a winter bird in Canada. 

Field Marks. The clear white and light grey of the body plumage, black wings, and tail 
strongly accentuated with white , and the black band through the face are distinctive of the 
Shrikes. Any summer Shrike within the cultivated sections will be of this species. 

Nesting. Nest of strips of bark, small twigs, and vegetable fibres lined with fitted 
wool and feathers. 

Distribution. As a species, North America north to the limit of cultivation. The 
migrant Shrike occupies eastern North America north of the gulf states and west to the 
prairie provinces. 

SUBSPECIES. The Loggerhead Shrike, like many other wide ranging species, 
develops various local characteristics in different parts of its diversified range, each forming 
a recognized subspecies. The form occupying eastern Canada is the Migrant Shrike, L.l. 
migrans separable from the type subspecies in the southern states or the White-rumped of 
the west by only slight differences of colour and proportions. 

The Loggerhead is a bird of open, brushy pastures and hillsides. 
Thorn-apple trees, cropped and trimmed by cattle until dense and repellent 
are its favourite nesting sites and in such neighbourhoods it can usually 
be seen on some commanding perch, such as the tip of a dead sapling or 
a telegraph wire, keenly regarding the surrounding country. The impaling 
of prey is not quite as strongly developed a habit in this species as in the 
previous one, probably because it is more insectivorous and can handle 
much of its smaller prey without so doing. At any rate evidence in the 
shape of remains stuck on thorns is decidedly rare in haunts where the 
species is common and where it would be expected to be numerous. 
The song of the Loggerhead Shrike is quite musical and pleasing, but the 
call notes are harsh and discordant. 

Economic Status. The food habits of the Loggerhead are similar 
to those of the Northern Shrike, differing only as would be expected in a 
smaller and weaker bird and a summer rather than a winter resident. 
Thus we find fewer birds and mammals and more insects are taken, indeed 
during the height of the insect season the latter seem to constitute the 
greater part of its food. Early in the season great numbers of beetles are 
eaten, useful and harmful forms being about equally divided in numbers. 
Later, grasshoppers and crickets form a large proportion of the food, but 
numbers of caterpillars, many of them hairy, cutworms, some wasps, 



spiders, and other insect forms are also taken. The food of the species 
throughout the year is regarded by the United States Biological Survey 
as being beneficial in the ratio of 4 to 1. 


General Description. Small, warbler-like birds generally coloured in greens and white 
with more or less yellow in softly suffused masses and without much definite marking. 
The bill is perceptibly notched and hooked at the tip much like that of the Shrike (Figure 
56, page 56\ but is on a much smaller and much lighter scale. 

Distinctions. The Vireos are most apt to be mistaken for warblers which in habit, 
size, and general coloration they resemble. The bills, however, are stouter, more strongly 
arched on the culmen, higher for the width, and more evidently hooked and notched 
at the tip. The Yellow-breasted Chat has a bill that might answer this description 
in outline, but it is not hooked nor has it any indication of notch at tip. 

Field Marks. In addition to specific markings, which form the best guide to 
species, the Vireos can be recognized by their warbler-like habits but slower and more 
sluggish movements, peering under leaves and gleaning from the branches and twigs with 
less activity. 

The Vireos constitute a small family peculiar to America. Three 
genera occur in Canada, represented by six species. 

Economic Status. Economically the Vireos can be treated together 
as they are similar in their food habits. Their food consists of 91 per cent 
of insects and the remainder of fruits. The latter are almost without 
exception wild varieties. The insects taken are among the most harmful, 
including scales and other close lying species that no birds but the careful, 
close-peering Vireos ordinarily seek. They are among our more useful 

624. Red-eyed Vireo. preacher-bird, teacher, fr. — le vireo aux tetjx 
ROUGES. Vireosylva olivacea. L, 6-23. Plate XXXVIII B. 

Distinctions. The Red-eyed can be distinguished from other Vireos by its superior 
size, the lack of yellow, the grey confined to the crown, and the white eyebrow line bordered 
with dark both above and below. The iris is red, but this can only be seen on very close 

Field Marks. The markings of the face of the Red-eyed makes the best field mark. 
The white eyebrow bordered with darker colour and the lower line through the eye can 
usually be seen as the bird peers through the leaves at the intruder. 

Nesting. Suspended from between the forks of a small branch 5 to 15 feet above the 
ground in pensile nest or hanging-cup, woven of strips of bark, dead wood fibres, paper, 
plant down, or birch bark lined with fine materials. 

Distribution. North America to near the limit of trees. 

The Red-eyed Vireo is one of the commonest frequenters of our 
groves and woods. Its song, a leisurely repetition of slight variants of the 
same phrase with pauses between, and continued ad libitum, can be heard 
in the tree tops almost anywhere in Canada and has given the species the 
name of Preacher-bird. 

626. Philadelphia Vireo. fr. — le vireo de philadelphie. Vireosylva phil- 
adelphica. L, 4-75. Ahnost exactly similar in coloration to the Warbling Vireo (Plate 
XXXIX A) but more generally suffused with yellow on breast, flanks, and below. 

Distinctions. The Philadelphia can always be separated from the Warbling Vireo by 
the length of the first primary feather. In this species it is nearly as long as the second, 
whereas in the Warbling it "is reduced to a rudimentary condition and is barely three- 
quarters of an inch in length. 

Field Marks. In life it looks like a Warbling Vireo with unusually yellow breast and 


Nesting. Suspended from a branch about 8 feet from the ground in pensile nest of 
fibres and birch bark. 

Distribution. Eastern America. More northern in breeding range than the Warbling 
and only a migrant in most of the settled sections of Canada. 

Usually a rather rare little Vireo and too inconspicuous to be often 
seen or recognized by the ordinary observer. 

627. Warbling Vireo. fr. — lb vireo gris-olive. Vireosylva gilva. L, 5-80. 
Plate XXXIX A. 

Distinctions. The even unmarked coloration and small size will distinguish the 
Warbling from any other Vireo except the Philadelphia. The lack of yellow overwash in 
front and below will usually be diagnostic. The final test of the species, however, is the 
email rudimentary condition of the first primary which is hardly three-quarters of an inch 
long instead of one and three-quarters. 

Field Marks. The almost piu"e white underparts instead of the yellow suffusion of 
the Philadelphia makes the best recognition mark from that species and the small size and 
dull even coloration from other Vireos. 

Nesting. Suspended between the forks of a small branch 15 to 50 feet above the ground 
in pensile nest of fine bark strips and plant fibres, smoothly and firmly interwoven and 
lined with pine needles and hairs. 

Distribution. As a species, occupies all of temperate America; the Eastern Warbling 
Vireo extends west to the prairie provinces. 

SUBSPECIES. The Warbling Vireo is divided into an eastern and a western sub- 
epecies. The Eastern Warbling Vireo V. g. gilva, the type of the species, is the only one 
met with in eastern Canada. 

The Warbling Vireo, hidden in leafy tree tops, is more often heard 
than seen. Its song is very different from that of the Red-eyed, being 
continuous and not composed of disconnected phrases. 

628. Yellow- throated Vireo. fr. — le vireo X front jatjne. Lanivireo flavifrons. 
L, 5 95. Head, cheeks, and back greenish; rump and tail slaty; breast and thi'oat bright 
yellow; below white; wings with two distinct white bars. 

Distindions. The bright yellow breast and throat of this species is distinctive. The 
Solitary and the White-eyed are the only other Vireos with wing bars. In the former the 
bars are white as in the breast, in the latter the bars are yellowish. In coloration the Yellow- 
throated Vireo is very similar to the Pine Warbler, but there is much less white on the under- 
parts of the latter species, the yellow suffusing and covering most of it instead of stopping 
almost sharply at the breast line. 

Field Marks. The bright yellow throat and breast are distinctly recognizable and 
prevent confusion with any other native Vireo. The voice, similar to that of the Red- 
eyed but with the phrases following each other less rapidly 2 to 3 seconds apart instead of 
about one per second, will distinguish it from others of its family or from the Warblers. 

Nesting. Suspended from a forked branch 10 to 80 feet above the ground, in pensile 
nest of strips of bark, plant fibres, etc., lined with fine grasses and covered externally with 
lichens, spider webs, etc. 

Distribution. Eastern North America. Common in eastern Canada only in the 
southern parts of the lower Great Lakes region. 

A woodland and orchard bird. Besides its characteristic song it is a 
maker of many queer noises and has an extensive vocabulary. 

629. Solitary Vireo. blue-headed vireo. fr. — le vireo a tIitb bleue. 
Lanivireo solitariiis. L, 5 61. Back greenish shading into bluish ash on head and adjacent 
parts of cheeks; white loral spot and white ring about eye; all underparts white with suffu- 
sion of yellow on flanks; wings with two whitish bars. 

Distinctions. The ashy blue head with conspicuous white lores and eye-ring are 

Field Marks. The bluish head with conspicuous white eye-ring and lores and pure 
white throat make conspicuous field marks. 

Nesting. Suspended from between the forks of a small branch 5 to 10 feet above the 
giound, in pensile nest of wood fibres, bark strips, and pine needles, plant down, etc. 



Distribution. As a species the Solitary Vireo extends over all of the United States and 
Canada north to the extreme limits of settlements. The Blue-headed, the eastern repre- 
sentative of the species, ranges west to central Alberta. 

SUBSPECIES. The Solitary Vireo is divided into several subspecies, only one of 
which, the Blue-headed Vireo L. s. solilarius, the type form, occurs in eastern Canada. 

A pretty little Vireo and a common inhabitant of woodland and 
orchard during migrations. The song is similar to that of the Red-eyed, 
but an attentive ear can easily distinguish between them. 

631. White-eyed Vireo. Vireo griseus. L, 5 27. A small Vireo like the Warbling 
but of much richer gieen colour on back and with yellow loral mark and eye-ring; iris 
white. Throat and underparts almost pure white; strongly yellow on flanks; wings have 
two yellowish bars. 

Distinctions. Wliite iris, yellow eye-ring and loral mark, strong yellow on flanks, and 
white breast and abdomen. 

Field Marks. This species is too rare in Canada and too similar to other species to 
be recorded on eyesight observation alone. 

Nesting. Nest usually similar to that of the Red-eyed. 

Distribution. All forms of the species are southern. The eastern White-eyed occurs 
in the eastern United States north to New York and Massachusetts and is only accidental 
in Canada. 

SUBSPECIES. The White-eyed Vireo is represented by several subspecies, the 
t3T)e form, the Northern White-eye V. g. griseus being the only one which occurs in Canada. 

A bird of the south noted for its remarkable voice. This species is 
included here on the basis of a few records scattered along the southern 
borders of Canada. 


General Description. Small birds, only one Canadian species being over 6-28 inches 
long and very few over 5.75. They are usually bright coloured woodland and treetop 
birds though a few inhabit the ground and the grass. They are, as a family, difficult 
of diagnosis and the genera can be most easily recognized by the bills (Figures 57, 58, 59, 
p. 27) though considerable famiharity with the species is necessary to recognize the 
generic characteristics. 

Field Marks. No reliable field marks which cover the whole family can be given. 
However, after a little experience with them their small size, bright colours, and sprightly 
actions are easily recognized. They are most likely to be confused with the Vireos. 

Nesting. The nesting habits of the family are various, some build in trees, from down 
near the ground to well up towards the tops of the taller trees, others on the ground or in 
grass, and some in holes in dead stubs, etc. 

Distribution. Most of the warblers breed in the northern spruce woods beyond the 
limits of general settlement. A few nest in the more cultivated sections and some just 
cross the International Boundary. All are migratory and spend the winter, according to 
species, from northern United States south to the Amazon country of South America. 

The American Wood Warblers constitute a large family peculiar to 
the Americas. In fact they divide the honours in point of numbers with 
the sparrows. The Warblers are the delight of the amateur bird observer. 
So small that few but the enthusiast ever see them, but so numerous and 
brilliantly-coloured that their discovery opens up a new world of interest 
to the beginner. The sexes are usually dissimilar and there is considerable 
seasonal change in plumage. This, multiplied by the large number of 
species makes the task of identifying all of them seem almost hopeless to 
the beginner. It is not, however, as difficult as it seems at first. The 
spring males are usually distinctly marked and as many of them are fur- 
nished with descriptive names their differentiation is comparatively simple. 


As the females and autumn birds almost invariably retain suggestions of 
the characteristic spring markings of the males the difficulty is really less 
than is generally anticipated. Of course, puzzling specimens occur which 
give even the experts some difficulty, but it is usually an alternative between 
two species, which can be settled by giving attention to one or more 
small details. In studying the warblers the observer is advised to first 
become familiar with the spring males. When the males of the common 
species are known, a comparatively easy matter with such strongly char- 
acterized forms, most of the females are recognized without much difficulty 
as they usually carry a subdued reflection of their mate's brighter colour 
pattern. In the autumn, most juveniles resemble the females closely 
enough to make recognition not so very difficult. There are thus compara- 
tively few plumages besides the spring males that have to be learned 
individually. The Canadian Warblers represent twelve genera, seven of 
which are represented by single species only. Dendroica has sixteen species, 
Vermivora five, and three others are represented by three species each. 
The generic details of the most important will be discussed under their 
proper headings. 

Though called "Warblers" their song should as a rule hardly be 
dignified by such a term. With few exceptions the songs are only insig- 
nificant little notes without much prolonged continuity, but as they are 
often specifically distinctive the student is advised to pay close attention 
to them, for when the great warbler migrations are on, the presence of a 
new or rare species is often first made known by a single unfamiliar sound 
directing attention from the many to the one that would otherwise escape 

Economic Status. The Warblers are highly insectivorous. A few- 
take more or less seed and a little fruit, the latter almost invariably wild, 
and no complaints have been made against any of the family. Their 
effect, therefore, is wholly beneficial. Being active they reach all kinds of 
insect habitats from the axils of highest flung leaves to between blades of 
grass on the ground, and as they are small they are satisfied to take insects 
and insect eggs that are too insignificant or too well hidden to receive the 
attention of larger birds. 

636. Black and White Warbler, black and white creeper, fr. — la fauvette 
NOIRE ET BLANCHE. MniotUto varia. L, 5-30. Plate XXXIX B. There is little 
plumage variation. 

Distinctions. A small black and white warbler which creeps about holes and branches 
hke a woodpecker. In the autumn the colours of the young bird are similar to those of 
the adult but slightly veiled and have small washes of buff and less black on the throat. 
It is only to be mistaken in spring for the Black-poll but the white median stripe on the 
crown instead of all black can distinguish it from that species. 

Field Marks. Its creeping habits, strong black and white coloration with median 
crown stripe. In the autumn it is the only all black and white warbler to be seen in eastern 

Nesting. On ground at the base of a stump, log, or rock, in nest of strips of bark, 
grasses, etc., hned with rootlets and long hair. 

Distribution. Eastern North America; breeds in most of Canada north to well beyond 
the settlements. 

This is one of the earliest warblers to arrive in the spring and one of 
the easiest to identify at any time as it is always well marked and there is 
little difference in seasonal or sexual coloration. 


637. Prothonotary Warbler. Protonotaria citrea. L, 5-50. A golden yellow war- 
bler, bright rich chrome or golden on head and most of underparts and with greyish 
wings, tail, and rump. There is little plumage variation. 

Distinctions. The only warbler with an intense even golden head, neck and breast 
without wing-bars. The Pine and Wilson's Warbler have green or black crowns; the 
Yellow Warbler is without the grey wings and tail and is lemon yellow rather than 
orange or golden. 

Field Marks. The Prothonotary is too rare a species in Canada to record from 
living specimens. 

Nesting. In a hole in a stub or stump in nest of rootlets, fine twigs and moss, plant 
down, or feathers. 

Distribution. Mississippi valley north barely to Canadian boundary which it only 
crosses accidentally in the lower Great Lakes region. 

This is only included in the Canadian list on the basis of a few accidental 
occurrences in the lower Great Lakes region. It is a bird of drowned lands, 
and of bushes standing in dead water. 

Genus — Vermivora, Worm-eating Warblers. 

The genus Vermivora is a group of small slightly built warblers in 
which the following characters are most easily recognized. The bill is 
small, sharply pointed, almost spine-like, and the culmen line is straight or 
almost concave rather than convex or slightly arched (Figure 57, p. 27). 
The tails are solidly coloured and without white spots. 

639. Worm-eating Warbler. Helmitheros vermivorus. L, 5-51. Dull olive above; 
head buffy with conspicuously contrasting dark brown lines through the eye and bor- 
dering crown. There is little plumage variation. 

Distinctions. The only warbler with this distinctive dark and buffy head marking. 
The bill is rather heavy for a warbler of tliis genus. 

Field Marks. Too rare in Canada to trust to sight record for identification. 

Nesting. On ground; nest of rootlets, leaves, and bark. 

Distribution. Eastern United States; only one record in Canada, in southern Ontario. 

A bird of wooded banks or swampy thickets, feeding near the ground. 

641. Blue- winged Warbler. Vermivora pinus. L, 4-80. A green warbler with 
yellow forehead, throat, breast, and underparts; a fine black line through eye and blue- 
grey wings and tail. Two white wing-bars. Female similar but duller. Little plumage 

Distinctions. The bright yellow face and underparts with black eye stripe and blue- 
grey wings with white bars are distinctive. 

Field Marks. Too rare in Canada to rely on field marks for identification. 

Nesting. On ground generally in or at the border of second growth in nest of bark 
and leaves lined with fine strips of bark and tendrils, firmly wrapped with leaves. 

Distribution. Eastern North America; regularly stopping south of the Canadian 
border and only accidentally crossing it in southern Ontario. 

Though taken only once in Canada this is a most interesting species as 
it hybridizes with the next species, the Golden-Winged, forming puzzling 
hybrids that were long regarded as separate species under the names of 
Lawrence's and Brewster's Warblers. 

642. Golden-winged Warbler. Vermivora chrysoptera. L, 5-10. A blue-grey 
warbler; male, white or very light grey below darkening on the flanks, with yellow cap 
and wing-patch and black cheeks and throat. Female Similar to male but somewhat 
reduced in brightness and the blacks represented by dark grey. There is little age or 
seasonal plumage variation. 

Distinctions. The blue-grey body, yellow wing patch, and black throat and eye- 
patches are distinctive. 


Field Marks. The above marks are easily recognizable in life. The black throat 
somewhat suggests the Chickadee but the other marLs make it easy to separate them. 

Nesting. On ground or in bushy fields or second growth in nest much hke that of 
Blue-winged Warbler. 

Distribution. Eastern United States; regularly crossing our borders only in southern 
Ontario along lake Erie and the lower corner of lake Huron. 

Usually found in shrubby wastes or the bushy edges of woodland. 
To be expected only in southern Ontario. 

645. Nashville Warbler. fr. — la fauvette de nashville. Vermivora rub- 
ricapilla. L, 4-77. A yellow and green warbler with a greyish head and a more or less 
concealed chestnut crown patch. Sex, season, and age plumages varying only in intensity 
of yellow and the amount of chestnut in cap. In females the cap may be entirely concealed 
by the grey edgings of the feathers and occasionally it may be altogether absent. 

Distinctions. The unmarked green above and yellow all below to tail, but brightest 
on throat and breast; and the grey or greyish head and cheeks are distinctive. This greyish 
head and hind neck may not be marked but is always present as a slight differentiation 
from the green back. When present the chestnut crown (not orange-rufous as in the 
Orange-crowned Warbler) is an unmistakable specific character. 

Field Marks. Bright yellow, unstreaked underparts and grey head and cheeks. 

Nesting. On ground in partial clearings or tree grown pastures in nest of grasses and 
moss lined with finer grasses and fine rootlets. 

Distribution. Eastern North America. In Canada north to beyond the settlements. 
The Eastern Nashville Warbler extends west to near the mountains. 

SUBSPECIES. The Nashville Warbler is divided into the Eastern Nashville, the 
type form, V. r. rubicapilla, and an extreme western one the Calaveras Warbler. 

This warbler is most likely to be found in open shrubbery and the 
small growth that lines country roads. 

646. Orange-crowned Warbler, fr. — la fauvette a couronne orangee. Ver- 
mivora celata. L, 5. A dull yellowish, grey-green warbler with a concealed orange-rufous 
crown-patch. Very little sexual difference. Immatures are without the crown spot and 
the brightness of the yellow below is reduced to almost the colour of the back. 

Distinctions. Similar to the Nashville but without the grey or greyish on the head. 
The crown spot when present is still more concealed than that of the Nashville and often 
entirely hidden until the feathers are separated to show their coloured bases. The yellow 
throat is duller than in the Nashville. The juvenile bird is an almost evenly greyish green 
bird with faint suggestions of ashy to it and rather similar to the immature Tennessee but 
without the faint light eyebrow line ; it is more evenly coloured, and without any suggestion 
of white below. 

Field Marks. Like a very dull coloured Nashville Warbler or a juvenile Tennessee 
without the faint eyebrow line. 

Nesting. On or near the ground in nest of leaves and fine grasses. 

Distribution. Central and western America. The Interior Orange-crown breeds from 
Alaska to Manitoba and is only a migrant through eastern Canada. 

SUBSPECIES. The species is divided into three subspecies. The Interior Orange- 
crown V. c. celata, the type form, ranges west to the mountains. 

One of the rarest of the regular Eastern Canadian Warblers. Eyesight 
alone is hardly reliable for records in eastern Canada. 

647. Tennessee Warbler, fr. — la fauvette du Tennessee. Vermivora peregrina, 
L, 5. Back of male green, underparts nearly pure white. Head and hind neck ash-grey, 
suffusing on cheeks. White eyebrow line and suggestion of dark line through eye. Females 
and juveniles have the grey head and hind neck replaced by the green of the back which 
suffuses more or less as dull yellow or greenish yellow over breast and underparts. The 
eyebrow line is always visible as a lighter coloration of the green. 

Distinctions. The general green and white coloration and light eyebrow line are the 
best distinctions in any plumage. 

Field Marks. General coloration as above, with light eyebrow line and without wing- 
bars, tail patches, or the whitish spot at base of primaries of the Black-throated Blue 


Nesting. In moss on ground in small, dense, coniferous growth in nest of fine grass 
rootlets, and long hairs. 

Distribution. Eastern America, probably to the northern tree limits. Usually a 
rare migrant through our settled sections but locally common. 

A rather rare warbler in most sections of eastern Canada. In migra- 
tion usually found well up in the trees. 

648. Parula Warbler, blue yellow-backed warbler, fr. — la fauvette d'a- 
MERiQUE. Compsothlypis americana. L, 473. Above and sides of face and neck blue, 
almost bright blue, \vith yellow suffusion over middle of back. Below white, throat and 
breast clear yellow with a vaguely defined black (or bluish-black), and rufous band across 
breast. Females and juveniles are duller, without the breast band, and with the yellow 
more or less suffused over all upperparts but strongest in middle of back. White wing- 
bars in all plumages. 

Distinctions. The blue back, either pure or overwashed with yellow, wing-bars, and 
yellow breast and throat are always distinctive. 

Field Marks. See just above. 

Nesting. In hanging bunches of Usnea (the old man's beard) or other hanging lichens. 

Distribution. Mostly eastern America. The Northern Parula occupies the northern 
part of the specific range to the limits of present settlement; not breeding in the lower 
Great Lakes region. 

SUBSPECIES. The Parula Warbler is divided into a northern and a southern 
subspecies. The Canadian form, the Northern Parula C. a. usnece, is named from the lichen 
in which it builds its nest. 

Genus — Dendroica. Woodland Warblers. 

The genus Dendroica is composed of Avarblers of shghtly sturdier 
build than Vermivora. The bill is longer and the culmen more decidedly 
arched (Figure 58, p. 27). The tail, except that of the Yellow Warbler, 
has a considerable amount of white. 

650. Gape May Warbler, fr. — la fauvette du cap may. Dendroica Tigrina. 
L, 5. Male: throat, breast and most of underparts bright yellow finely and sharply 
striped with black on lower throat, breast, and flanks. A chestnut patch in the middle of 
the cheek cuts sharply against the yeUow. Top of head black continuing as elongated 
spots on the yellow-green of back. The rump is yeUow and the wing has a large white 
patch. Female: Olive-grey above, dirty white below warmed with yeUow suffusion 
across breast which is faintly striped with dark. Rump yellowish and white wing-patch 
replaced with vague bars. Juvenile: similar to spring birds but less bright ; male without 
chestnut cheeks. Females: even dull olive-grey, slightly yellow on rump; dull white slightly 
olive below, faintly streaked with soft dark hues, and with faint washes of yellowish olive 
on breast and flanks. 

Distinctions. Males are distinctive with their tiger-like colours of yellow with black 
striptngs. Adult females show enough of the male's pattern to be recognizable. Juvenile 
females are more difficult to recognize. However, all show at least an appreciable yellow- 
ness on the inner parts of the feathers on the sides of the neck just behind the ears. This 
sHght tinge sometimes shows in Ufe when the bird turns its head but with the bird in the 
hand the feathers must be separated to show it. 

Field Marks. Adults and juvenile males are distinctive. Juvenile females can 
be recognized by the pecuhar fine, dim striping of breast against a sUghtly buffy, fight 
ohve-grey ground or by the concealed yeUow spot on sides of the neck as described above. 

Nestijig. On low branches in smaU trees in pastures or woodlands in partly pensile 
nest of twigs and grasses fastened together with spider web and fined with horse hair. 

Distribution. Eastern America west to the prairies and north to beyond settlements. 

One of the most beautiful of the warblers; usually regarded as rare 
but locally growing commoner. It is a woodland treetop species but often 
seen in orchard and shade trees. 

652. Yellow Warbler, summer yellow bird. fr. — la fauvette juane. Den- 
droica cestiva. L, 5-10. Plate XL A. 


Distinctions. The Yellow Warbler is apt to be confused with few other species. 
Its tail, with yellow on the inner vanes of the feathers, will distinguish it from all other 
evenly yeUow or green species. 

Field Marks. The even and uniform bright yellow of spring birds is unmistakable. 
Some dull females are more green than yellow but the green-edged ivings and yellow 
tail, lack of coloiu- contrasts, size, and actions of the bird are easily recognized. 

Nesting. In an upright crotch in bushes and small trees in nest of fine fibres and a 
large amoimt of plant down, lined with plant down and sometimes long hairs. 

The Yellow Warbler is one of the few species that sometimes refuses to incubate 
Cowbird's eggs. Instead of tlu-owing out the intruding egg, however, it builds a new 
nest over the old one, burying it and its entire contents, including often some of its own 
eggs, in the foundation of the new structure, in which another set of eggs is deposited. 

Distribution. Nearly all of North America. The Eastern Yellow Warbler inhabits 
all of Canada except the Pacific slope. 

SUBSPECIES. The Yellow Warbler is divided into four subspecies; the Eastern 
Yellow Warbler D. aestiva which occupies most of Canada, is the type of the species. 

This is the commonest breeding warbler in southern Canada. It shares 
with the Goldfinch the popular name of Wild Canary, but the lack of black 
will determine it at a glance. It is found in shrubby localities in open 
country or along stream or marsh edges. It is a common visitor to the 
garden and its cheery little song is very pleasing. In the autumn the 
Yellow Warbler is one of the first species to leave. Shortly after July 
it disappears and by mid-August only a few stragglers are left. It goes 
before many observers begin to think of autumn migrations and thus 
details of its autumn movements are difficult to get. 

654. Black-throated Blue Warbler, fr. — fauvette bleue a gorge noir. Dcn- 
droica ccerulescens. L, 5-28. Plate XL B. 

Distinctions. The male, so descriptively named and strongly marked, is very dis- 
tinctive. The female, however, especially in autumn, is more difficult to distinguish, 
it may resemble either the juvenile of the Tennessee, the autumn Black-poll, or the 
Bay-breast. The streaked back and wing-bars, however, of the latter two are absent. 
They are darker and more greyish-green than the Tennessee above and more buffy below. 
An indistinct and partly concealed white or light spot at the base of the primaries is 
always diagnostic of females of this species. 

Field Marks. The male is distinctive. The female in any plumage can usually 
be recognized from all other evenly coloured dull green warblers by the sometimes very 
faint fight spot at the base of the primaries, which shows far more conspicuously in fife 
than would be expected. 

Distribution. Eastern North America, breeding in the north, south to the borders 
of civiUzation. 

SUBSPECIES. The black-throated Blue Warbler is divided into two subspecies 
of which we have only one in Canada, the type form D. c. ccerulescens, the Northern 
Black-throated, though occasionally specimens closely approach the southern variety, 
Cairn's Warbler D. c. cairnsi, in having a suggestion of black spots on the back. 

655. Myrtle Warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, fr. — la fauvette a croupion 
JAUNE. Deiidroica coronata. L, 5-65. Plate XLIA. 

Distinctions. A very easily recognized species. All plumages have at least sugges- 
tions of the yellow crown, rump, and side marks. The juveniles are largely rusty brown 
above and have more or less of a wash of same colour across breast with the streaks only 
sUghtly indicated. 

Field Marks. The yellow rump is always distinct and bright and makes the most 
conspicuous field mark. Its presence and the side and crown marks of the same colour, 
sometimes indistinct in autumn but always present, make reliable identification guides 
in life. 

Nesting. In coniferous trees 5 to 10 feet above the ground in nest of vegetable fibre 
lined with grasses. 

Distribution. Nearly all of North America north to tree limits. Breeding just beyond 
the dense settlements. 


An early warbler to arrive in spring and the last one to depart in 
autumn. At times in the latter season the brushy wastes, roadsides, and 
the overgrown fence lines are filled with Myrtle Warblers each showing, as 
it darts away, its distinct yellow rump as proof of its identity. 

657. Magnolia Warbler, black and yellow warbler, fr. — la fauvette a 
T^iTE CENDREE. Dendroica magnolia. L, 5-12. Plate XLI B. 

Distinctions. The bright yellow breast and underparts sharply striped with black, 
black cheeks, and greyish upperparts are perfectly distinctive in the spring. Autumn 
birds have recognizable reflections of the adult plumage but the breast markings are absent 
and those of flanks reduced. The head and cheeks are evenly greyish and the back greyish 
shaded with green to the rump which is suffused with yellow. 

Field Marks. The yellow below and on rump will separate the Magnolia from all 
warblers but the Cape May. The latter's yellow breast is sharply and more evenly 
striped with black and it has the chestnut ear patch. Close examination of the Magnolia 
in autumn plumage always shows a vague, light ashy bar across the upper breast. 
The tail is also a good identification mark. The characteristic white marking of the 
tails is well back from the tip and rather extensive, giving, when seen from below, the 
appearance of a white tail broadly banded with black. 

Nesting. In coniferous trees 3 to 6 feet from the ground in nest of fine twigs and 
leaf stems lined with hair like rootlets. 

Distribution. Eastern North America north to tree limits; breeds mostly north of 
general cultivation. 

One of the most beautiful of the warblers, on migration coming into 
shade trees and orchards where its rich coloration makes a pleasing com- 
bination with the blossoms. 

658. Cerulean Warbler. Dendroica cerulea. L, 4-50. Male: sky-blue and white. 
Above, all blue with fine black markings on back and sides of crown. Below, pure white 
with blue breast-band and flank stripes; wing-bars white. Female: even dull greenish- 
blue above, white below, more or less stained with greenish and yellow suggestions. 
Juvenile similar but yellower all over. 

Distinctions. The male is unmistakable. Other plumages have a pecuUar bluish, 
instead of olive or yellowish, green above that is quite characteristic. The Juvenile with 
its yellowish-greenish underparts is somewhat similar to the young Tennessee, having 
a similar eyebrow stripe, but its white wing-bars and tail patches will separate it. 

Field Marks. The blue of the adult and the bluish sheen of other plumages. Other- 
wise like a juvenile Tennessee but with wing-bars and white in tail. 

Nesting. In a tree 20 to 60 feet above the groimd in nest of fine fibres boimd with 
spider's web, lined with strips of bark fibres and with a few lichens on the outer surface. 

Distribution. Eastern United States except the coast; north along lake Erie to 
just within Canadian territory. 

Too rare in Canada to be expected regularly except in a limited area 
in southern Ontario. 

659. Chestnut-sided Warbler. fr. — la fauvette de pensylvanie. Dendroica 
pe7isylvanica. L, 5-14. Male: Crown yellow; back black and grey in stripes, over- 
washed with yellowish green; below white with chestnut bands along flanks; two white 
or yellowish wing-bars. Juvenile: an abnost even yellowish-green above, white below, 
cheeks grey; usually with suggestions of the chestnut sides of the male. 

Distinctions. Superficial attention to the above description might confuse this 
species with the Bay-breasted but the white throat is distinctive. Spring birds with 
their yellow cap, chestnut sides, and white underparts; and autumn birds white below, 
yellowish green above, and yellowish wing-bars are easily recognized. 

Field Marks. The white underparts and pecuUar lemon yellowness of the green above 
are good recognition marks even in plumages where the characteristic markings do not 

Nesting. In bushes some 3 feet from the ground in neat of strips of bark, leaf sterna, 
etc., lined with tendrils and rootlets. 


Distribution. Eastern North America west to well into the prairie country and 
north to beyond settlement. Nests locally almost wherever found in eastern Canada 
except in the •extreme southern portion. 

The Chestnut-sided is usually found in dry brushy clearings, second 
growth, and raspberry tangles. 

660. Bay-breasted Warbler, fr. — la fauvette a poitrine baie. Dendroica 
castanea. L, 5-63. Male: finely striped with duU olive-ochre and black above; under- 
parts white; top of head, throat, foreneck, and flanks bay colour (reddish chestnut) ; fore- 
head and cheeks black; a light ochre spot on side of neck. Female has all these charac- 
teristic marks obvious enough for recognition but veiled and dimly indicated. The 
autumn birds, however, are entirely different; above, yellowish-green faintly striped with 
dark, below, white, more or less tinged with yellowish or buffy greenish; the bay of the 
sides is often indicated by a shght ruddy warmth or by individual, fully coloured feathers. 

Distiyictions. Spring birds are distinctive enough. Autumn specimens resemble 
the juvenile Black-poll so closely that often they can be separated only with difficulty even 
when in the hand. The Bay-breast almost invariably has a certain amount of warm 
ochre on the flanks which is lacking in the Black-poll and the under tail coverts are cream 
instead of pure white. The presence of wing-bars will distinguish these two species from 
any other plain greenish warbler. 

Field Marks. The adult male is distinctive in colour. The sprmg female always 
shows enough of the bay breast for recognition. Adult autumn birds also usually have 
a trace of the bay on the flanks and the warm ochreish of these parts can usually be seen 
in juveniles. When these characters fail to distinguish the species, however, close at- 
tention will show that the breast colour is perfectly even and sharp eyes or good glasses 
will usually reveal very faint dark stripings showing on the sides of the breast of the Black- 
poll. None of these marks, however, can be seen except under the most favoiu-able cir- 
cumstances, but in mixed flocks one can usually tell the proportion of each species with 
fair accuracy. 

Nesting. In coniferous trees 5 to 20 feet above the ground in nest of grasses and 
plant fiijres lined with plant down and long hairs. 

Distribution. Eastern North America west to across the prairies and north to the 
tree limits. Breeds beyond regular cultivation. 

The Bay-breast in spring migration prefers brushy growth in sandy 
wastes, roadsides, etc., but often comes close about the house in shade 
trees and the orchard. The similarity of the autumn Bay-breast and the 
autumn Black-poll, a bird in full plumage totally different, is one of the 
interesting phenomena of bird coloration. The autumn plumages of these 
two birds were at one time confused with each other under the name 
of Autumnal Warbler. 

661. Black-poll Warbler, fr. — la fauvette rayee. Dendroica striata. L, 5' 56. 
Male: black and white stripes with a solidly black crown; finely Imed with black and grey 
on back; below all white with black from base of bill down sides of neck breaking into 
stripes on flanks; cheeks white. Female : greenish above; white below washed with green- 
ish on throat and breast but with enough of the black striping showing more or less 
vaguely to make the bird recognizable as the female of the above. Autumn birds are 
almost indistinguishable from the preceding Bay-breast (see above). 

Distinctions. The spring males with their clear black and white markings can be 
mistaken for nothing except the Black-and-White Creeper, but their non-creeping habits 
and the crowns sohdly black, instead of with a broad white median stripe, easily separate 
them. The striping of the female is distinctive. The autumn birds can be told from the 
Bay-breast by their lack of ochre, bay, or buffy on flanks and their pure white undertail 

Field Marks. The Black-poll is seen in three plumages: the male black and white; 
the female greenish, white below and more or less streaked with black; and autumn birds 
like Bay-breasts with faint stripes, visible only to sharp eyes or with good glasses, showing 
through the yellowish flanks. 

Nesting. Generally in spruce trees about 6 feet above the ground in nest of twigs, 
mosses, rootlets, etc., lined v/ith fine grasses and tendrils. 

Distribution. Nearly similar to that of the preceding species. 


The Black-poll Warbler is one of the latest warblers to arrive in the 
spring, usually after most of the other migrant hordes have gone north. 

662. Blackburnian Warbler, fr. — la fauvette de blackburn. Dendroicafusca. 
L, 5-25. Plate XLII A. The black upperparts and flaming orange throat are distinctive 
in the case of the adult male. In the female the orange colour of the throat though faint is 
easily recognizable. The young in the autumn are like the adult female although the young 
females are duller in colour, the throat and breast only retaining a faint yellow colouring. 

Distinctions. Adult and autumn males are unmistakable. Autumn females may be 
confused with autumn Black-polls and Bay-breasts but the clearer yellow on the throat, 
the absence of a greenish tinge below, and the dark ear coverts with conspicuous buff eye- 
brow line are diagnostic characters. 

Field Marks. The bright orange or warm yellow confined to throat and breast and 
orange-yellow or buff eyebrow stripe, in contrast to the dark cheeks and crown, make the 
best field marks. 

Nesting. In coniferous trees 10 to 14 feet or more above the ground in nest of fine 
twigs and grasses lined with grasses and tendrils. 

Distribution. Eastern North America west to the prairie provinces; breeding mostly 
north of dense settlement. 

The male Blackburnian has the bright plumage commonly associated 
with the tropics rather than with our colder climates. The species asso- 
ciates with many other warblers in the treetops of the open woods or orchard. 

667. Black-throated Green Warbler, fr. — la fauvette a poitrine noibE' 
Dendroica virens. L, 5-10. Plate XLII B. 

Distinctions. A green warbler with bright yellow cheeks and sharply contrasting black 
throat and breast. In females and juvenile males the black is almost wanting or indicated 
only by vague interrupted black suffusions which are stronger on the breast. In young 
females the black is reduced to dull cloudings at the sides of the breast and flanks. In all 
plumages the underparts are white and the back and crown clear, even green. Bright 
yellow predominates on the cheeks. 

Field Marks. For juveniles, the green back, yellow cheeks, and white below. For 
adults, the black throat and breast contrasting with yellow face and white below. 

Nesting. In coniferous trees 5 to 30 feet above the ground in nest of small twigs and 
moss lined with rootlets, fine grasses, and tendrils. 

Distribution. North America, west to the mountains. Breeding in eastern Canada 
wherever cedar or evergreen thickets are found except in extreme southern portions. 

A striking bird, fond of scrubby evergreen when available but is also 
found in the orchard and in hardwood tree-tops. 

670. Kirtland's Warbler. Dendroica kirtlandi. L, 5-75. Blue-grey above heavily 
striped with black on back, and finely striped on crown. All below, except under tail, 
pale yellow with black stripes on sides of breast and flanks. Females and juveniles 
similar but duller, and breast stripes broken and forming spots. 

Distinctions. Kirtland's Warbler resembles the Canadian Warbler, but is larger; 
the yellow is paler and the black stripes are on the flanks and do not tend to make 
necklace suspended from the ears as in that species; and the back is marked with black 
instead of being clear grey. The only other warbler that might be mistaken for it is the 
Magnolia but the black does not cross the breast as it does in adult Magnolias, and there is 
no yeUow or greenish on the back or rump. 

Field Marks. The species is too rare to be accepted on eye identification alone. 

Nesting. On ground at foot of pme or oak trees in nest of soft bark, strips of vegetable 
fibre, and grass lined with fine grass, pine needles, and hair. 

Distribution. Winters in the Bahama islands. The only known breeding station is a 
limited section of the jack-pine plains in the northern part of the lower peninsula of 
Michigan. The species has only been taken twice in Canada, both specimens being taken 
in the lower Great Lakes region. Its nest should be looked for in the Bruce peninsula of 
Ontario and around the Great Lakes west to the lake Superior country. 


In the winter this species is confined within a Hmited oceanic island 
habitat and is an instance of the difficulties in the way of abnormally 
increasing the numbers of native species. It is evident that we can never 
have in the north a greater number of Kirtland's Warblers than can live 
through the winter on the Bahama islands, 

671. Pine Warbler, fr.— la fauvette des pins. Dendroica vigorsi. L, 5-52. 
A dull green warbler, the green changing to dull yellow on throat and breast with greyish 
or brownish wings and tail and faint wing-bars; in high plumage rarely becoming fairly 
bright yellow on throat and breast. There is httle sexual or seasonal change. 

Distinctions. Very similar to the Yellow-throated Vireo but greener in colour and 
with the yeUow below stronger and more extensive. The white abdomen is inconspicuous. 
The bill is lighter and warbler-Uke instead of being stout, hooked, and of Vireo type. From 
the Yellow Warbler it can be separated by its duUer colour and the contrast between its 
wings and tail and body. Its preference for pine trees is at least suggestive of its identity. 

Field Marks. A dull green warbler, yeUow on breast with greyish brown wings, white 
wing-bars. Canadian specimens are usually somewhat soiled and bedraggled in appear- 
ance. Almost invariably found in pine trees. 

Nesting. In pine trees 10 to 80 feet above the ground, in nest of strips of bark, leaves, 
plant fibres, etc. 

Distribution. Eastern North America, west to the prairies and north to the limits of 
the pine woods; breeding in Canada mostly beyond settlement. 

The preference for pines, which this bird shows, is striking. It is 
rarely, if ever, found away from them. In consequence, it is likely to have 
its plumage more or less soiled with pitch which gives it a dull and worn 
appearance. Bright, clean birds of this species are rare with us. 

672. Palm Warbler, fr. — la fauvette a couronnerottsse. Dendroica palmarum. 
L, 5-25. A dull or greenish warbler. Male: all underparts bright or suffused yellow; cap 
reddish-chestnut. The breast and flanks are streaked more or less with rufous and a yellow 
eyebrow hne contrasts with dark cheeks and red cap. Females similar but colour 
subdued. Juveniles and autumn birds are greyish brown above; buff below with faint 
streaks, almost white on throat and suffused with distinct yellow increasing to pure 
yellow on undertail coverts. There is a blended yellowish rump patch in all plumages. 

Distinctions. The yellow underparts and red cap are unmistakable in all spring birds. 
In autumn the vaguely striped underparts, brown back, and yellow undertail coverts are 

Field Marks. The habitual, sandpiper-like upward jerk of the tail wiU distinguish this 
from aU other warblers with yellow underparts except the Prairie Warbler. The bright 
yeUow confined to the undertail coverts, light throat, and vaguely striped buff breast of the 
juveniles will assist in separation of the species from comparable forms. 

Nesting. On or near the ground in boggy ground or sphagnum barrens in nest of 
coarse grass, lined with fitted feathers. 

Distribution. Eastern North America west to the prairies and north to near tree 
limits; breeding mostly beyond the bounds of civilization. The Yellow Pahn Warbler is of 
eastern distribution west to the eastern Ontario bovmdary. The Interior Palm Warbler 
occupies the remainder of eastern Canada. 

SUBSPECIES. The Palm Warbler is divided into two subspecies, the type form, the 
Interior Pakn Warbler D.p. -palmarum, distinguished in adult spring plumage from the 
Yellow Pahn Warbler D.p. hypochrysea by the smaller amount of yeUow and the reduced 
brilhancy of the underparts which are shghtly tinged with greyish. The two forms, how^- 
ever, are too similar to separate without specimens of both for comparison. 

A ground-haunting bird. On migration to be looked for in low, 
scrubby, and sandy wastes. In breeding season in mossy bogs. 

673. Prairie Warbler. Dendroica discolor. L, 4-75. A green and yellow warbler. 
Throat, cheeks, and all underparts of male bright yellow; a black line through the eye, a 
black wedge below the ear coverts, and a succession of black lines along the sides of the 
breast and flanks. Middle of back has a saddle of reddish spots. Female similar but 
occasionally almost or quite without the reddish on back. Juveniles similar but colours 


reduced and veiled, the underparts yellow, brightest on breast, and the black lines on the 
face, side of breast, and flanks only indicated. 

Distinctions. The fine black, facial marks against bright yellow, their sharp con- 
tinuation along flanks, and the reddish back spots are the best distinguishing features of 
adults. In juveniles the underparts brightest on breast rather than throat or elsewhere and 
the indications of stripes on the sides instead of in the middle of breast make the easiest 
recognition characters. 

Field Marks. Too rare in Canada to be recorded by sight unless the observer has had 
considerable experience. 

Nesting. In briery bushes, in nest of plant fibres and plant down lined with rootlets 
and long hairs. 

Distribution. Eastern United States, north rarely, though perhaps locally regular 
across the Canadian border in the lower Great Lakes region. 

The Prairie Warbler prefers dry, sandy, or open second growth wastes. 
From the data on its occurrence in Canada it should be looked for nesting 
in the neighbourhood of the lower end of lake Huron, 

Genus — Seiurus. Wagtail Warblers. L, 6-04 — 6-17. 

Birds of the genus Seiurus look more like Thrushes than Warblers as is 
indicated by the popular names of Golden-crowned and Water Thrushes 
that are sometimes given them. They are, however, true warblers of 
woodland habits; ground birds, walking instead of hopping; of large size 
for warblers; brown or dark olive coloration above, white below with the 
breast heavily streaked. They can be mistaken for thrushes either in life 
or in the hand but by attention to specific characters they can be easily 

674. Ovenbird. golden-crowned thrush, fr. — la griate couronn^e. Seiurus 
aurocaipillus. L, 6-17. Plate XLIII A. 

Distinctions. The partly concealed dull golden crown patch bordered with brown wiU 
always determine this species. 

Field Marks. Though very thrush-Uke, there is generally httle probability of actual 
confusion between this species and the thrushes. Its pure white throat, foreneck, and 
imderparts with little or no suffusion of other colour and the sharply contrasting stripes 
rather than spots of the breast are easily distinctive. 

Nesting. On ground, in a bulky structure of coarse grasses, weed stalks, leaves, and 
rootlets; covered over with leaves and with the entrance at the side, like an oven, from 
whence the specific name is derived. 

Distribution. Wooded sections of North America east of the Rockies, north to beyond 
settlements; breeds in Canada wherever found. 

It is a woodland bird, usually common wherever open timber is 

interspersed in the heavier woods. Its common song Teacher — teacher 

teacher— teacher, beginning low and ending very loud is a familiar woodland 
sound and once heard will be remembered. 

675. Northern Water-thrush, water-thrush, fr. — la grive des ruisseaux. 
Seiurus noveboracensis . L, 6-04. Dark oUve brown above, yellowish white finely and 
sharply streaked with dark below, disconnected lines on throat, breast, and flanks. A 
buffy blended line over the eye and a fine, sharp, dark one through it. 

Distinctions. Easily distinguished from the Oven-bird by the finer, more evenly 
distributed striping, darker coloration, yellowish underparts, and the lack of crown 
patch. From the Louisiana Water-thrush it may be told by the buffy instead of white 
Une over the eye, the yellowish instead of buffy or creamy underparts, and the presence 
of spots on the throat. 

Field Marks. The Water-thrushes can be told in hfe by their habitual upward jerking 
of the tail as they walk or stand, much similar to the actions of the common Spotted 
Sandpiper. The two Water-thrushes can be told apart by the difference in the colour 
details given above. 


Nesting. In a mossy bank or in the roots of a turned-up tree, usually near or over 
water, in nest of moss lined with tendrils and fine rootlets. 

Distribution. North America north to the Mmits of settlement. Breeds in Canada 
wherever found except in the extreme southern parts. 

SUBSPECIES. The Water-thrush is divided into an eastern and a western sub- 
species, the Eastern Water-thrush C. n. noveboracensis, the type form, ranges westward to 
southern Ontario where it intergrades with Grinnell's Water-thrush S. n. notabilis which 
occupies the coimtry to the west. 

The favourite home of the Water-thrush is in wet cedar swamps. 

676. Louisiana Water-thrush. Seiurus motacilla. L, 6-28. Dark olive brown 
above, buffy-white below finely streaked with sharp dark disconnected lines from upper 
neck to breast and flanks. A sharp, white line over the eye and a fine blended dark line 
through it. 

Distinctions. Easily separatedfrom the Ovenbird by lack of coloured crown streak; 
very similar to the Northern Water-thrush but separable by shghtly larger size, buffy 
rather than yellowish underparts, and by the whiteness of the face markings. 

Field Marks. The Louisiana Water-thrush has the jerking tail habit of the Northern 
Waterthrush and can only be distinguished from it in life by attention to the differences 
given above. 

Nesting. Similar to that of the Water-thrush. 

Distribution. Eastern United States, only appearing in Canada in southwestern 

Very similar to the Northern Water-thrush in habits as well as in 
colour and form. It is, however, a bird of more southern distribution than 
it and is of only rare occurrence in Canada. 

Genera — Oporornis and Geothlypis. Ground Warblers. 

L, 5 -40-5 -56. 

The Ground Warblers are rather larger than the Woodland Warblers 
but considerably smaller than the Wagtail Warblers and have compara- 
tively stout legs and short wings. Their colours are largely green and 
bright yellow. They inhabit low shrubbery and are seldom seen far above 
the ground. 

677. Kentucky Warbler, fr. — la fauvette du Kentucky. Oporornis formosus 
L, 5-40. Greenish above; all underparts clear yellow; forehead black, shading off on mid 
crown; bright yellow eyebrow line hooking around eye. A sharp black patch extends 
from base of bill, including lores and most of ear coverts, to side of neck. Female and 
autumn birds similar but duller, the black face mark being more or less veiled though still 

Distinctions. Colom-ed much like the Prairie Warbler but with the black leaving 
only a narrow eyebrow line in front of the eye instead of a largely yellow cheek and without 
flank stripes. Somewhat similar to the Canadian Warbler but with back greenish instead 
of grey and without breast markings of any kind. 

Field Marks. Too rare in Canada to be identified in life by sight. 

Nesting. On or near groimd in bulky nest of twigs and rootlets firmly wrapped with 
several thicknesses of leaves and lined with fine rootlets. 

Distribution. Eastern United States, not reaching the Canadian border except as 
an accidental straggler. 

This species has been taken in Canada on only a few occasions. It 
can be reasonably looked for only in the most southern sections in the 
region of the lower Great Lakes. 

678. Connecticut Warbler. Opororms a^ihs. L, 5-40. A greenish warbler. Male: 
clear lemon yellow below; face and throat to upper breast even bluish-grey with a fine 
white eye-ring. The female is similar but grey paler. Juveniles have the grey replaced 
by a hghter buffy shade of the back coloration. 


Distinctions. Thia species is so like the Mourning Warbler that at times they can 
be separated only with difficulty. Adult males, having a conspicuous eye-ring and per- 
fectly even grey throat and br.east, are distinctive enough. Females can be told by the 
eye-ring and by having the top of the head strongly suffused with the olive of the back 
and not showing clear grey. Juveniles when they show the eye-ring are usually quite 
distinctive, though Mourning Warblers of similar age have an indication of it. When the 
eye-ring is not conclusive evidence the difference in the colour of the throat and breast, 
a buffy olive instead of an even lightening and greying of the pure yellow below, is a good 

Field Marks. The evenly grey throat and white eye-ring of adults and the buffy 
ohve throat and buff eye-ring of the juveniles. Both this bird and the Mourning Warbler 
walk instead of hop. 

Nesting. On ground in nest of dry grass. 

Distribution. Eastern North America west of the Alleghanies. It appears to breed 
along the edge of settlement in Canada but data is lacking. It is regular in migrations 
only locally along the shores of lake Erie and lake Ontario. 

The Connecticut is one of the rarest of our regular warblers. It is 
a late arrival in the spring and is so retiring that it is seldom seen in the 
autumn. There is not sufficient data to determine whether it is very local 
in its migratory range or has been overlooked. It is to be looked for near 
the ground in waste brush. 

679. Mourning Warbler. fr. — la fauvette de philadelphie. Oporornis Phil- 
adelphia. L, 5-63. A greenish warbler. Male: clear lemon-yeUow below; whole head, 
neck, and breast bluish-grey with semi-concealed black spots on breast and throat giving 
a fancied resemblance to crape which suggests the common name. The female is similar 
but the grey lighter and without the crape markings on breast, thus resembling the male of 
the Connecticut. Juveniles have the grey of the crown, etc., replaced with the body 
green and the yellow of the underparts extends up neck to throat shghtly modified by 
lighter and greyish tinges. 

Distinctions. The Mourning Warbler can usually be distinguished by the crape on 
the breast or by suggestions of it, the greyness of the crown, and the lack of eye-ring, 
though juveniles sometimes have faint eye-rings. See previous species. 

Field Marks. The black crape of the breast and lack of eye-ring for adults and the 
lack of sharp distinction between the breast, throat, and imderbody yellows for juveniles. 

Nesting. On or near ground in nest of strips of bark and other fibrous materials lined 
with hair. 

Distribution. Eastern North America mostly west of the Alleghanies. Breeds along 
the northern bounds of settlement west through the wooded sections of the prairie provinces. 

One of the late spring warblers and one of the earliest to return in the 
autumn, going through before many observers are on the watch for migrant 
warblers and thus usually slipping by unobserved. The latter half of August 
is the time to watch for the Mourning Warblers. By the first of September 
most of them have gone. 

681. Maryland Yellow-throat, fr. — la fauvette trichas. Geothlypis trichas. 
L, 5-33. Plate XLIIIB. 

Distinctions. The adult male with its black mask is easily recognized and needs no 
special characterization. Juvenile males have sufficient indications of the mask to be 
ea.sily recognizable. Adult females and juveniles are very much alike. They can 
be recognized by their even coloration above, warm yellow throat, buffy white 
underparts washed with darker on flanks, and undertail coverts yellowish. They are 
most likely to be mistaken for the Mourning or Connecticut juveniles but the sharp division 
between throat and cheek colours, the brightness of the throat, and the general warmer 
yellow tint wiU separate them. They have been confused with the NashviUe and the 
Tennessee but the grey rather than buffy or ruddy-olive head and crown of the former 
and the nearly white breast instead of distinct yellow of the latter should make separation 


Field Marks. In addition to coloration, the marshy habitat, hiding habits, and 
characteristic actions of the Maryland Yellow-throat soon become familiar to the observer. 
Its scolding wTen-Uke note is easily recognized. 

Nesting. On or near groimd in bulky nest of strips of bark, coarse grasses, and dead 
leaves lined with fine grasses, tendrils, and rootlets. 

Distribution. North America north to the limit of settlement. The Northern Yellow- 
throat, our eastern Canadian subspecies and the type form, breeds west to the prairies 
and south to Virginia, being replaced in both directions by other subspecies. 

SUBSPECIES. The Yollow-throat is divided into a number of subspecies only one 
of which, the Northern Yellow-throat G. t. trichas, the type form, is found in eastern 

The particular haunts of the Maryland Yellow-throat are damp 
marshes where the wire grass grows long and clumpy. It regards its 
immediate neighbourhood as its own particular property and resents 
human intrusion vigorously. The usual song of the Yellow-throat is one 
of the characteristic sounds of the damp meadows. It has been poetically 
translated as witchery — witchery — witchery, which gives a close approxima- 
tion to it. 

683. Yellow-breasted Ghat. Icteria virens. L, 7-44. The largest and least 
warbler-like of its family. AU upperparts and cheeks green; lores black bordered above 
and below with white; throat to breast bright clear yellow; underparts white; bill 
comparatively shorter and stouter than that of any other warbler. 

Distinctions. Size is sufficient to distinguish the Chat at all time? but its colours 
are equally characteristic. 

Field Marks. Large size, bright yeUow foreparts, and black lores bordered above 
and below with white make striking field marks. 

Nesting. In a crotch near the ground in rather bulky nest of coarse grasses, leaves, 
and strips of bark lined with finer grasses. 

Distribution. Eastern United States and just across the Canadian boundary in 
southern Ontario along lake Erie. 

The Chat frequents tangled thickets and brushy wastes, coming and 
going unseen but not unheard. It is a rare bird in Canada and is found 
regularly only in Essex county, Ontario, along the border of lake Erie. 


L, 5-0— 5-67. 

Small warblers largely coloured yellow. Bill slightly flattened or 
widened at base suggesting that of the flycatchers and with well developed 
bristles about the mouth. In these respects like the Redstart but not as 
extreme. The Redstart, however, being without much or any clear yellow, 
can be easily distinguished. 

684. Hooded Warbler. Wilsonia citrina. L, 5-67. Male: green above and bright 
yellow below; entire head and neck black with a bright yeUow mask similar in shape to 
the black one of the Maryland Yellow-throat. The female is without the black except for 
an indistinct patch on rear head and the yellow mask blends softly into the yellow of 
throat and underparts. 

Distinctions. The adult male of this species is too distinctive for confusion. The 
yellow face with dark hind crown of the female is also easily recognized. 

The Hooded Warbler is included here on the basis of a few Canadian 
records in the lake Erie region of southern Ontario. 



685. Black-capped Warbler, wilson's warbler. Wilson's black-capped war- 
bler. FR. — la faxjvette de WILSON. WUsonia pusilla. L, 5. A small green warbler. 
Male is aU bright yellow below with a sharply defined black cap on crown. The sexes 
are similar but some juvenile females are entirely without the cap, and in others it is 
present but less perfect than in adults. 

Distinctions. The black cap and all green and yellow coloration are distinctive of 
the adults and young males. When without the cap the vague yellow eyebrow stripe is 

Field Marks. The small size, all bright yellow and green with black cap or 
traces of it, or having yellow eyebrow line when the cap is absent. 

Nesting. On groimd in nest made almost wholly of fine grass lined with a few hairs; 
nest deeply cupped and quite substantial for a warbler. 

Distribution. North America. The subspecies Wilson's Warbler occurs in Canada, 
extends west to the central prairie region, and breeds from the northern settlements to 
the tree limits. 

SUBSPECIES. The black-capped Warbler is divided into three subspecies all of 
which occur in Canada though only one, Wilson's Warbler W. p. pusilla, the type form 
occurs in the east. 

A very pretty little warbler usually found in willows or in similar 
trees and bushes near the water. 

686. Canada Warbler. Canadian flycatcher, fr. — la fauvettb du Canada. 
WUsonia canadensis. L, 5-61. Male: even grey above slightly marked with black 
on crown; all below bright yellow except xmdertail coverts which are white, yellow pre- 
loral line and eye-ring; black lores extending down sides of neck and forming a necklace 
of short stripes across upper breast leaving throat clear yellow. Female is similar but 
necklace and black reduced, though usually remaining strong enough to retain the easily 
recognized specific character. Juveniles are like the female but the necklace almost 
obliterated only showing in vague, suffused, and interrupted cloudings. 

Distinctions. The even grey above without markings and yellow below with the 
black necklace marks either sharp, dim, or suggested. 

Field Marks. See distinctions. 

Nesting. In mossy banks or under roots in nest of strips of bark and bits of dead 
wood wrapped m leaves and lined with fine rootlets. 

Distribution. Eastern North America west to near the foothills and north to the 
limit of large trees; breeding occasionally and locally in southern Canada except in the 
most southern parts and regularly north from the edge of settlement. 

A bright active warbler with some flycatching habits. Its typical 
habitat is similar to that of Wilson's Warbler, but it is more often found 
higher in the trees. 

687. American Redstart, fr. — la fauvette a queue rousse. Setophaga ru- 
ticilla. L, 5-41. Plate XLIV A. 

Distinctions. A perfectly characteristic bird in all plumages. No other warbler has 
anything like this combination of orange-red and black, the former replaced in female 
by similar yellow or white patches on tail and wings. Juveniles have a slight yellow 
suffusion over breast and are without the wing blotch but that of the tail is always present. 
Some young males in the spring look like females but with irregular patches of the 
perfect male plumage showing on throat. 

Field Marks. Colour is the most easily noted distinction but even in black silhouette 
the manner in which the long tail is thrashed about soon becomes familiar and distinc- 

Nesting. In the crotch of a sapling in nest of fine strips of bark, fibres, and plant 
down lined with tendrils and fine rootlets and nearly always covered outside with silvery 
bark strips. 

Distribution. North America north to the limit of large trees. Breeding in Canada 
wherever found. 

The brilliancy of a high plumaged Redstart against the dark green of 
the trees is a constant source of pleasure to even the most blas6 observer 


and is a sight that never loses its charm. Its sprightly movements, constant 
fluttering, and spreading of wings and tail give it a vivacity that few other 
species exhibit. Like many other American birds the term Redstart was 
given it by early settlers who bestowed upon it the name of a familiar 
Old World form though the resemblance is far from close. 


There is only one species of this family in eastern Canada and for the 
family characters the reader is referred to the specific description following, 

697. American Pipit, titlark, fr. — lafarlouse d'amerique. Anthus ruhescens. 
L, 6-38. A ground-coloured and ground-haunting bird; bill very warbler-like; hind claw 
elongated like that of the Longspur and the Homed Lark (Figure 60, p. 27, compare with 
Figure 44, p. 25). Adult spring male: greyish above, purest on head and growing sUghtly 
ohve on rump; back faintly mottled with dark feather centres; pinkish buff below, with 
sparse fine breast stripes of brownish grey, tending to form a necklace across breast and 
extending along sides; wings brown with faded feather edges. Autumn birds and females 
in spring: even dull oUve slightly mottled above; buffy white below with diffuse and 
more or less aggregated spots descending sides of throat and extending across breast and 
along flanks. 

Distinctions. The fine warbler-Uke bill together with the long hind claw are dis- 
tinctive. The only other birds with such a claw are the Homed Larks and the Lapland 
Longspur, but the horns of the one and the sparrow-hke bill (Figure 51, p. 26) of the 
other make differentiation simple. 

Field Marks. A ground-coloured bird seen in the open in settled parts of Canada 
in the spring and autumn, often in large scattered flocks like the Snow Bunting and Horned 
Lark. Its even coloration, constant habit of tail dipping, and the conspicuous white 
outer tail feathers are good field marks. 

Nesting. On ground in nest of grasses. 

Distribution. North America; breeding in high latitudes beyond the tree Umits. 

A spring and late autumn migrant, occurring sometimes in large 
flocks and feeding in open meadows, ploughed fields, or on dry sandy 
uplands and shores. On its breeding grounds it has the Skylark-like habit 
of mounting and singing high in the air and descending in a perpendicular 
dive like a falling stone. 

Economic Status. Coming as it does while the fields are bare and 
returning after the harvest, its food is necessarily confined to weed seeds 
and early or belated insects. Its effect must be beneficial. 


L. 8-94— 11-42. 

The imitative faculty of the Mockingbird that has given the family 
its name is well developed in Canadian representatives. The family is 
peculiarly American and like many of the subdivisions of the order Passeres 
is difficult to diagnose in non-technical language. The birds are rather 
large, as shown by the above measurements. The Catbird and Mocking- 
bird are of even shades of stone-grey and the Thrasher bright rufous 
brown above with heavily spotted whitish or creamy underparts and an 
unusually long full tail. They are all good mockers and diversify their 
song with imitations of all the common sounds around them, including the 
songs of other birds, and are capable of effects that are rarely equalled by 
the most famous songsters of either the New or Old World. Any one of 


these species is a sufficient and crushing answer to the charge that there 
are no song birds in America. 

703. Mockingbird, fr. — la grive polygotte. Mimus polyglottos. L, 10-50. 
A large Catbird in appearance without black cap or red under the tail; almost white below 
and with large amounts of white in wing and tail. 

Distinctions. The above characters will separate the Mockingbird from the Catbird. 
It closely resembles the Shrikes in coloration but is without the conspicuous black patch 
across the eyes. 

Field Marks. General greyness and white patches on wing and tail with absence of 
black face mask. 

Nesting. In thickets of coarse twigs and weed stalks in nests lined with rootlets and 
shreds of cotton. 

Distribution. Southern United States north into Canada at the western end of 
lake Erie. This is the only locality where the species has obtained what approaches an 
estabUshed foothold in Canada. A few pairs have been known to summer there for the 
last decade. 

SUBSPECIES. The Mockingbird is divided into southeastern and southwestern 
forms — the former, the common Mockingbird, the type race of the species, being the 
only subspecies to be expected in Canada. 

The species is rare in Canada. It is very similar to the Catbird and 
most of what is said of that species applies with even greater force to the 
Mockingbird, for it is in many ways only a glorified Catbird and is prob- 
ably the finest native singer in America. 

704 Catbird, fr. — la grive de la Caroline. Dmnetella carolinensis. L, 8-94. 
Plate XLIV B. ■ 

Distinctions. This evenly grey bird can be confused only with the Mockingbird 
and the black cap, red undertail coverts, and lack of white on wing, tail, or below are 

Field Marks. Even grey colour; black cap and call-notes, especially the cat-like 
"meouw" from which the bird derives its name. 

Nestiyig. In thickets or densely fohaged shrubs in nest of twigs, grasses, and leaves 
ined with rootlets. 

Distribution. Eastern North America; in Canada including most of the more densely 
settled sections. 

Though inferior to the Mockingbird the Catbird at its best takes a 
high position as a songster, though there is much individual variation in the 
excellence of its efforts. Its usual call-note like a cat's meouw, which it 
utters in the brush while it curiously investigates the human intruder, is 
well known to most country frequenters and by some queer twist of 
psychology has aroused a prejudice against it. 

It is a frequenter of thickets and, like many other species frequenting 
such habitats where close observation can be made of dangerous objects 
with a minimum of danger to the concealed observer, its curiosity is well 
developed. On some tall spray rising out of the tangle it sits in the bright 
sun with its tail depressed and body held low to the perch, and pours out a 
medley of song. Phrase follows phrase in rapid succession and snatches of 
all the bird songs of the neighbourhood are intermixed with occasional 
harsher, mechanical sounds which are given with as much gusto as the 
more melodious ones. The Catbird is a most desirable neighbour. 

Economic Status. The Catbird lives largely upon fruit in season, of 
which perhaps a third can be regarded as cultivated, but many insects are 
also taken. The fruits are small, soft varieties and it is very seldom if ever 
that perceptible damage is done. 


705. Brown Thrasher, fr. — la grive rousse. Toxostoma rufum. L, 11-42 
Plate XLV A. 

Distinctions. The Brown Thrasher with its red-brown back and sharply streaked 
breast has the general outward appearance of a thrush, but its large size, ruddiness of the 
brown, and long tail are distinctive. 

Field Marks. The bright red-brown back, sharply striped breast, long tail, and 
general carriage and habits. 

Nesting. In thickets or on ground in nests of twigs, coarse rootlets, and leaves lined 
with finer rootlets. 

Distribution. Eastern United States and southern Canada, except Atlantic coast, 
•north including the sections of thickest settlements. 

The Brown Thrasher is probably the best common Canadian songster. 

Its song is very similar to that of the Song Thrush of Europe. It is a 
succession of phrases like that of the Catbird but without its occasional 
discordance and more liquid and mellow in tone. The notes are uttered 
close together and continue for several minutes, sometimes in great 
variety. Thoreau has translated some of them as " Drop it — drop it — 
cover it up cover it up — pull it up pull it up.'' The repetition of each 
variation is one of the peculiarities of the song of the Brown Thrasher, 
by which it can be distinguished from the Catbird. 

This is also a bird of the thickets, inhabitating open tangles, clumps of 
bushes in meadows, and the edges of woods and fence-rows. The Thrasher 
is rather more retiring than the Catbird and is less easily induced to come 
into the home grounds. 

Economic Status. A decidedly useful bird, over one-half of its food 
being injurious insects, beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, etc. The 
remainder is largely fruit, a small part of which is probably cultivated and 
is mostly raspberries. On the whole it does little damage and much good. 


The Wrens are small brown birds living close to the ground. Though 
diminutive in size they are very energetic and except when brooding or 
asleep are rarely still. They can be recognized by their small size, brown 
coloration, small stubby tail often thrown up over the back, and their 
restless habits, winding in and out amongst the densest brush piles more 
like mice than birds. The Wrens are a large family well distributed over 
the world but better represented in species in the New than in the Old World. 
Their habitat varies from watery swamps to dry uplands and from open 
thickets to deep dense woods. The family name Troglodytidce, cave- 
dwellers, is derived from their habit of nesting in holes. 

718. Carolina Wren. Thryothorus ludovicianus . L, 5-50. The largest of our 
Wrens and the reddest, the back approximating the red of the Brown Thrasher, of a 
lighter yet distinctly warm tint below. 

Distinctions. Size, comparative redness of back, and the distmct Hght eyebrow 
line are distinctive of this species. 

Field Marks. The above distinctions make the best field marks. The Long-billed 
Marsh Wren has a similar eyebrow line but size, general colour, and habitat will prevent 
confusion with it. 

Nesting. In holes in trees or stumps or in nooks and crevices about buildings, in 
bulky nest of grasses, feathers, leaves, etc., lined with finer grasses, long hairs, etc. 

Distribution. Eastern United States, north mtermittently into Canada in the western 
lake Erie section. For a number of years the species was quite common on Pelee point 
and on Pelee island, but since 1913 it seems to be becoming rarer. 

SUBSPECIES. Of the three subspecies of CaroUna Wren only one, the Northern 
Cj^rohna Wren, the typical race, is to be expected in Canada. 


The Carolina Wren is the finest singer of the family. The song is not 
continuous or long but it has a peculiar flute-like, liquid quality and is of 
striking beauty. The species is rare in Canada and its song is heard either 
regularly or occasionally only in a few localities. 

Economic Status. Too rare in Canada to have any perceptible 
economic influence. 

719. Bewick's Wren. Thryomanes hewicki. L, 5. Similar to the House Wren but 
whiter below and tail longer, larger, and distinctly greyish. It has a light eyebrow line. 

Distinctions. Characters given above will serve for the identification of the species. 

Field Marks. A House Wren with long tail and loud, sparrowlike song. 

Nesting. Nest similar to that of the House Wren. 

Distribution. Eastern United States not reaching the Canadian border except as a 
straggler in southern Ontario. 

SUBSPECIES. The eastern Canada form is the Eastern Bewick's Wren, the type 
race of the species. 

This Wren is only a rare visitor from the south and has seldom been 
recorded from eastern Canada. It should only be recorded on the most 
trustworthy evidence. 

Economic Status. Too rare a species in eastern Canada to be of 
economic interest. 

721. House Wren. fr. — le troglodyte .s:don. Troglodyte aedon. L, 5. 
Plate XLV B. 

Distinctions. This is the commonest Wren of eastern Canada. The even wood- 
brown back, throat and breast tinged with hghter brown; the almost white underparts; 
and the barring confined to the flanks will separate it from other native wrens. 

Field Marks. The light underparts and longer tail will separate the House from the 
Winter Wren, and the even brown colour of the back and its habitat, from either of the 
Marsh Wrens. 

Nesting. In a hole in a tree, bird-box, or similar places, in a nest of twigs, lined with 
grasses, feathers, etc. The House Wren wiU occupy any kind of a bird-house that is suitably 
placed. The English Sparrow can be kept away by making the entrance hole small, a one- 
inch auger hole is sufficient for a wren and wiU bar the sparrows entirely. 

Distribution. As a species, all United States and Canada north to the edges of settle- 
ment. The eastern or type form, the Eastern House Wren, inhabits from the Great Lakes 

SUBSPECIES. The House Wren is divided into eastern and western subspecies of 
which the former, the Eastern House Wren, is the type. 

The House Wren is a most attractive bird about a garden; it steals 
around, under, and over everything; not a crack nor a crevice in the fence 
escapes its fine investigative bill and hardly a leaf stalk but at one time 
or another is carefully examined for insects. It has been charged with 
piercing and destroying the eggs of other species nesting in its immediate 
vicinity and undoubtedly sometimes does so, but the damage done in this 
way is probably an individual habit and perhaps not sufficient to warrant 
the taking of any very drastic preventive measures against the species as 
a whole. 

Economic Status. As the food of the House Wren consists almost if not 
entirely of insects nothing can be said against it in that direction. Its small 
size causes it to deal with minute insects that are beneath the notice of 
larger birds and so it often controls pests before they are large enough to do 
damage or be attractive to other birds. 


722. Winter Wren. fr. — le troglodyte d'hiver. Nannus hiemalis. L, 4-06. 
Of typical wren-like build and coloration. Much like the House Wren but smaller and 
darker below and more or less finely barred across the abdomen. 

Distinctions. The complete barring below is distinctive of this species. 

Field Marks. A small, very dark Wren with a short tail; foimd in dense woods. 

Nesting. In roots of a tree or a brush heap or in side of mossy log in nest of small twigs 
and moss lined with feathers. 

Distribution. As a species, all of North America to tree limits; breeding throughout 
Canada in the coniferous woods except in the more southern sections. 

SUBSPECIES. The Winter Wren, distributed over most of the continent, is 
divided into a number of geographical races or subspecies of which the type form, the 
Eastern Winter Wren, is the only one that comes within our geographical limits. 

Only a migrant within most of the more southern sections of Canada 
this bird breeds commonly in the cool deep forest. Its song is nearly enough 
in spirit and character like that of the House Wren for the recognition of its 
relationship but has a fuller and richer quality and purer tone. Heard 
in the quietness of the still forest it has a wild woodland beauty possessed 
by no other native species. 

Economic Status. Being a frequenter of the woodlands this bird 
does not come into close contact with man but its effects so far as they go 
are entirely beneficial. 

724. Short-billed Marsh Wren. Cistothorus stellaris. L, 4. Much like the long- 
billed Marsh Wren but smaller and more finely streaked. 

Distinctions. The two Marsh Wrens are the only wrens native to eastern Canada which 
have sharply striped upperparts. The Short-billed is the only one with a streaked crown. 

Field Marks. A small Marsh Wren with little or no redidsh tinge in the brown colour- 
mg and with a streaked head. Its notes are quite different from those of the Long-bill with 
which it is most likely to be confused . 

Nesting. On wet ground, in nest, a ball of green grass woven near the top of grass 
dumps with a small circular entrance hole in the side. 

Distribution. Eastern United States crossing into Canada in the east along lake Erie 
and adjacent country but more common in the prairie provinces. 

The Short-billed Marsh Wren is local and irregular in its distribution; 
it may be present one year in a locality and absent the next, and little is 
really known of its distribution in Canada. It frequents damp, grassy 
marshes rather than wet swamps and is usually found in little colonies. 

725. Long-billed Marsh Wren. fr. — le troglodyte des marais. Telmato- 
dytes palustris. L, 5-2. A richly coloured wren with an almost black mantle falling from 
hind neck over shoulders where it is streaked with white; all remainder, reddish brown 
above, creamy white below with flanks washed with the same colour as the back. 

Distinctions. The variation and colours of back will distinguish the two Marsh Wrens 
from all others; the crown evenly coloured or with only a diffuse brown median stripe 
instead of numerous short, fine stripes will separate it from the Short-billed. 

Field Marks. The locality which it frequents — wet, reedy, or cat-tail marshes — is 
usually sufficient for identification but the dark crown contrasting with the light eyebrow 
line is always specifically diagnostic. 

Nesting. Near the top of the reeds or rushes in wide wet marshes, nest a ball of 
dead cat-tail leaves, grass, or reeds. Unlike many other marsh-haunters this species is not 
attracted by marshes of small size. A swampy pool a few yards across attracts the Red- 
wing and perhaps a Rail or two but the Long-billed Marsh Wren demands a considerable 
area. An interesting trait of the Marsh Wren is the habit of building numerous mock nests 
near the one really occupied. The use made of these nests is not known but as many as 
eight or nine nests that can be reasonably attributed to the efforts of one pair may at times 
be found. 

Distribution. As a species the United States and southern Canada. Our Eastern 
Mars'h Wren, the type subspecies, occurs west to the Great Lakes region. 


SUBSPECIES. The Long-billed Marsh Wren is divided into several subspecies; the 
Eastern Marsh Wren, the only form in which we are directly interested in eastern Canada, 
is the type form of the species. 

Wide wet swamps and quaking bogs grown with cat-tails or reeds are 
the places frequented by this wren. 


The name of the only eastern Canadian Creeper, the Brown Creeper, 
describes the bird very well. It is a small brown bird that creeps or 
climbs woodpecker-fashion on the trunks and larger branches of forest 
trees. It is smaller than any Canadian Woodpecker and the bill is com- 
paratively long, light, delicately tapered, and sickle-shaped (Figure 64, 
p. 28), adapted for extracting small insects and insects' eggs from narrow 
cavities but not for chiselling in even the softest wood or bark to reach 
them. The tail is rather long and stiff and the claws are quite long and 
much curved. 

726. Brown Creeper. American brown creeper, fr. — le grimpereau d'am^ ri- 
QUE. Certhia familiaris. L, 5-66. Plate XLVI A. 

Distinctions. The brown and white stripings, lacking in decided design; the fine, 
delicate, sickle-shaped bill and long stiff tail feathers, worn on the tips, are easily recognized 
distinctions of the species. 

Field Marks. Our only small brown bird with pronounced tree-creeping habits. 

Nesting. Behind the loose bark of trees in nest of twigs, strips of bark, bits of dead 
wood, moss, etc. 

Distribution. As a species, occupying most of the northern hemisphere. In eastern 
North America the Eastern Creeper is the native subspecies, in Canada extending west as 
far as the prairie provinces and north to beyond settlement. 

SUBSPECIES. The Brown Creeper occurs in the Old as well as the New World. 
The species is divided into several subspecies in America, only one of which, the Eastern 
Brown Creeper C.f. americania, occurs in eastern Canada. 

Pressed tightly to the trunk of forest trees the Brown Creeper may 
be seen spiralling up the perpendicular trunk and industriously gleaning 
from every crack and crevice in the bark. Reaching the section where 
the branches begin to grow smaller and the bark smooth it drops down 
to the base of an adjoining tree and works upward again, never hurrying, 
never pausing, filling its stomach with small beetles, larvae, and insect 
eggs. The skill with which this bird can cling to smooth surfaces is remark- 
able. The writer once knew a Brown Creeper to climb the polished 
corner of a black walnut bookcase wi4}h as much unconcern as if it had 
been the roughest barked oak in the woods. 

Economic Status. The Brown Creeper is purely insectivorous in its 
habits and its constant microscopic attention to every little crevice in 
the rough bark must account for innumerable insect pests. Most of 
its work is done in the woods but as the bird frequently appears in the 
orchard and on shade and ornamental trees about the town and house 
the species has a powerful beneficial influence. 


The JNuthatches are small, woodpecker-like birds in general habit 
but their toes are of the usual passerine type with three toes in front and 


one behind instead of the characteristic two and two of the Woodpeckers. 
The bills are somewhat like those of the Woodpecker in outline but without 
their chisel-shaped point and are set on a slightly up-tilted angle with the 
head giving a turned-up or retrousse appearance (Figure 65, p. 28, 
compare with Figure 41, p. 25). The colours of our species are char- 
acteristic. The name Nuthatch is derived from their habit of wedging 
nuts and other hard food into crevices and "hatching" or hacking 
them until an entrance is made. Though capable of considerable ex- 
cavating in wood or bark they do not use their powers to delve deeply 
into trees but as a rule content themselves with flaking off the loose bark 
scales and searching the open cavities and seams. 

727. Carolina Nuthatch, white-breasted nuthatch, big quank. fr. — la 
siTELLE DE LA CAROLINE. Sitta carolmensis. L, 6-07. Plate XLVI B. 

Distinctions. With the illustration and famih' description this species can be mistaken 
only for the Red-breasted Nuthatch. It is, however, a larger bird and while there are 
traces of chestnut on the lower belly and undertail coverts and sometimes a slight wash on 
the flank, the breast and most of the underparts are pure white instead of being evenly 
washed with rufous or rusty. The sides of the face are solid white instead of having black 
ear coverts and distinct white eyebrow stripes. 

Field Marks. The even blue-grey back and black crown are characteristic of the Nut- 
hatches; the purity of the white below and lack of white eyebrow line separate the White 
from the Red-breasted. 

Nesting. In a hole in a tree or usually a natural cavity, in nest of feathers, leaves, etc. 

Distribution. As a species the Carolina Nuthatch inhabits all of temperate North 
America. Our eastern subspecies, the White-breasted Nuthatch, the type of the species, 
extends west to the prairie provinces in Canada and north to the limits of heavy forests. 

SUBSPECIES. The Carolina Nuthatch is divided into several geographic races, only 
one of which, the White-breasted Nuthatch, the type form, occurs in eastern Canada. 

The climbing and trunk creeping of the Nuthatches is a wonderful 
accomplishment. They travel upwards or downwards, forwards or 
backwards, perpendicularly or horizontally, or even clinging to the under- 
side of branches like flies on the ceiling, apparently with equal ease. Their 
usual call note is a hoarse Quank Quank and they often travel in pairs 
and little groups along with Chickadees and Creepers. 

Economic Status. One of the most useful birds. Although it pays 
much attention to forest trees it often comes to orchard and shade trees 
and as a member of the above-mentioned company which examines every 
part of the winter tree trunks for insects with microscopic eyes, it con- 
sumes great quantities of pests in adult, egg, or larval stages. 

728. Red-breasted Nuthatch, little quank. fr. — la sitelle du Canada. 
Sitta canadensis. L, 4-62. Like the White-breasted Nuthatch (Plate XLVI B) but 
smaller and with the underparts washed with rufous; black ear coverts, and with a white 
eyebrow stripe. 

Distinctions. Size and above colour differences will separate this species from any other 

Field Marks. An evident Nuthatch, smaller than the previous species, and with a 
conspicuous white eyebrow line, all underparts obviously reddish. 

Nesting. In hole in tree or stump, in nest of grasses. 

Distribution. Rather more northern in breeding range than the preceding and a 
migrant in most of the cultivated sections of Canada. It ranges over most of North 
America north to near the tree limits. 

A slightly more active bird than the preceding and more prone to 
forage about the tips of branches. Otherwise its habits are very similar. 



The Titmice are birds of wide distribution in the northern hemisphere 
and are as familiar to European residents as to us. They are small birds 
with rather short but comparatively strongly arched bills (Figure 66, 
p. 28). Their plumage characters are usually easily recognized. 

731. Tufted Titmouse. Bceolophua bicolor. L, 6. The largest of our Titmice and 
without the characteristic Chickadee colouring. All above, an almost even stone-grey; 
white below shghtly washed on flanks with rufous. A distinct almost Blue Jay-like 

Distinctions. The plain grey and immarked coloration with striking crest are 
unmistakable distinctions and field marks. Its common note a loud clear Peetle-peetle — 
peetle is most characteristic but is very like one of the phrases of the Orchard Oriole. 

Nesting. In old woodpecker's holes, stumps, etc., in nest of leaves, moss, strips of 
bark, feathers, etc. 

Distribution. Southern and eastern United States north to and just touching 
Canadian boundaries in the lower Great Lakes region. 

The only Canadian records for the Tufted Titmouse are two noted 
on Pelee point in southern Ontario in the western Lake Erie country. 
It is rather common on the Michigan side of Detroit river and even 
on Grosse isle in midstream and should eventually be found on the Cana- 
dian side of the river though as yet we have no record of its occurrence there. 

735. Black-capped Chickadee, chickadee, fr. — la mesange a tIite noir. 
Penthestes atricapillus. L, 5-27. PlateXLVIIA. 

Distinctions. This species can be mistaken in eastern Canada only for the Brown- 
headed Chicadee but is a far commoner and more generally distributed species. 

Field Marks. The Chickadee is all field mark. Its shape, a roimd bundle of feathers 
with tail and hardly any neck, its sprightly habit, its penchant for hanging upside down 
while investigating the very tips of twigs, its colours, a black cap and throat, white cheeks, 
and soft grey back, and its note Chick-a dee-dee in which its name is so plainly pronounced, 
all proclaim its species on the instant. 

Nesting. In old stumps, holes in trees, etc., in nest of moss, grasses, feathers, and 

Distribution. As a species, from about the centre of the United States north to the 
tree limits; the Black-capped Chickadee occurs from a little south of the Canadian line 
north, extending west to the prairie provinces where its place is taken by aUied subspecies. 

SUBSPECIES. Like other dominant and wide ranging species the Black-capped 
Chickadee under the various conditions of the continent divides in North America into 
several recognizable geographic races or subspecies. In eastern Canada there is only one 
form, the type of the species, the Eastern Chickadee. To the south occurs the Carolina 
Chickadee P. carolinensis, a closely allied but distinct species that may be looked for as 
accidental in the lower Great Lakes region, as it has been taken in Michigan immediately 
over the bomidary. The specific distinctions, however, are too slight to be accurately 
defined here and records can only be based on specimens. 

Of all the birds of field or woods the Chickadee is the cheeriest and 
merriest. The Chickadee is often the centre of a little host of mixed 
species of Warblers, Vireos, Kinglets, Nuthatches, and an occasional 
Downy Woodpecker and Brown Creeper. After the migrants have left 
for the winter the hardier ones remain casually together off and on 
until the spring breeding scatters the good-natured little com- 
pany. The Chickadee has another song composed of only two notes of 
rather high register clear and whistle-like. The first is prolonged and 
the second shorter about two tones lower and has been translated as 
"Spring's here". 


Economic Status. Few birds are more useful to mankind than the 
Chickadee. Though small, it is constantly at work, and being with us 
all winter its good work is continued throughout the year. All insects 
are very small in their early stages and the little bird that devours a whole 
cluster of eggs at a gulp may benefit agriculture as greatly as a larger 
one that makes a meal from one or two large caterpillars or adult insects 
but scorns the minute ones. The prying habits of the Chickadee and 
its companions the Nuthatch, Creeper, etc., and their close examination 
of the small crevices where many insects hide or hibernate render their 
services of great value to the husbandman, especially in winter when 
insect enemies are scarce, and the total taken through the year by these 
allied species must be very great. These active little birds demand com- 
paratively large quantities of food to resist the intense cold and the small- 
ness of their game necessitates the consumption of innumerable indi- 

The Chickadee's food is 68 per cent insect and 32 per cent vegetable. 
The former comprises eggs, larvae, chrysalids, and small insects, largely 
weevils, and includes some of the worst orchard and crop pests. The 
vegetable matter is largely small seed and wild fruit. No charges of 
damage to cultivated varieties have been advanced. Chickadees can 
easily be induced to come about the home grounds in winter and with a 
little coaxing become tame enough even to alight on the person and feed 
from the hand. A lump of suet fastened to a tree trunk is a never failing 
attraction to them and ensures their constant visits. 

740. Brown-headed Chickadee, htjdsonian chickadee, fr. — la miesange du 
CANADA. Penthestes hudsonicus. L, 5-12. Similar to the Black-capped Chickadee but 
duller and darker in general tone; cap greyish brown of nearly the same colour as the back; 
throat patch present but veiled; flanks rufous tinted. 

Distinctions. The brownish cap and back and general duller and less contrasted 

Field Marks. A very dark Chickadee with coloration diffused and pattern lacking 
distinctness. Its characteristic Chickadee note is hoarse but otherwise similar to that of the 
common Chickadee. 

Nesting. In holes in trees and stubs in nest of moss and felted fur. 

Distribution. Northern America from beyond settlement to the tree limits. 

SUBSPECIES. The Brown-headed Chickadee is represented by two subspecies in 
eastern Canada. The type form, the Husdonian Chickadee, extends to central Ontario, 
east of which it is replaced by the Acadian Chickadee P.h. littoralis which differs from it 
slightly in size and colour. 

The Brown-headed Chickadee is so similar in habits to the Black- 
capped that further description would be little more than repetition. 


An old world family represented in America by only a few species. 
Of these, the Old World Warblers, not to be confused with our Wood 
Warblers, do not occur in eastern Canada, the Kinglets are represented 
by two species, and the Gnatcatcher by one species. 


Subfamily — ReguUnce. Kinglets. L, 4 '07-4- 4^- 

General Description. The Kinglets are the smallest of Canadian birds except the 
Hummingbird. They are wren-like in their short round body but more like Chickadees in 
habits and actions. Their colours are dull olive-green, lighter below, and they have s lall, 
briUiantly coloiu-ed crown spots of red, orange, or yellow. The bill is small and 
straight, similar to but not as stout as that of the Chickadee (see Figure 67, page 29). 

Distinctions. The Kinglets might be mistaken for some of the dull, evenly coloured 
warblers, but as all plumages except the female and juvenile Ruby-crowned have brilliant 
crown patches, this will usually preveat confusion and size should do so in any event. 

Field Marks. Dall greenish coloration, chickaiee-like restlessness, and custom of 
hanging head downward from pendant sprays are characteristic. Their fine, sharp con- 
versational tsee-tsee-tsec' s soon become familiar and are easily recognized. 

748. Golden-crowned Kinglet, golden-crowned wren. fr. — le roitelet 
Huppfi. Regulus satrapa. L, 4-07. Plate XLVIl B. 

Distinctions. Kinglets, so nearly ahke in general coloration, can be easily separated 
by their crowns. The Golden-crowned has a black line over the eye that is absent in the 
Ruby-crowned and the crown spot is orange and yellow in the male or plain yellow in the 
female instead of ruby-red or even olive as in the Ruby-crowned. 

Field Marks. The crown coloration and light eyebrow make the best field marks 
but, owing to the small size of the bird, considerable patience is sometimes necessary to 
distinguish these marks when the birds are constantly moving about high overhead in con- 
iferous trees. 

Nesting. Generally in coniferous trees. Pensile nest of green mosses lined with fine 
strips of soft inner bark, fine black rootlets, and feathers. 

Distribution. As a species, northern North America. The Eastern Golden-crown 
ranges west to near the mountains, breeding in the coniferous belt north beyond settlement. 

SUBSPECIES. The Golden-crowned Kinglet is divided into an eastern and western 
subspecies. The Eastern Golden-crown^ the type form, is the only one that occurs in 
eastern Canada. 

One often finds himself surrounded by a large flock of these little 
birds flitting in and out of dense foliage, darting hither and thither, utterly 
indifferent to the intruder's presence, and coming and going so quickly 
that it is difficult to note the specific characters. Some hang head down- 
ward from a swaying bunch of twigs and others work in and out on 
the branches and twigs, keeping up a continual interchange of fine sharp 
tsee tsee tsee. 

The Golden-crown remains in southern Canada most if not all the 
winter. It is partial to evergreen trees and often frequents the ornamental 
conifers about the house and in towns. It is fearless and trusting but 
unlike the Chickadee seldom becomes familiar. 

Economic Status. The Kinglets are so largely insectivorous that 
they, can be looked upon as most beneficial. They are small but their 
numbers, when they occur, more than make up for their small size and 
what is said of the Chickadee in this respect applies equally well to 

749. Ruby-crowned Kinglet, ruby-crowned wren. fr. — le roitelet X 
couronne rubis. Regulus calendula. L, 4-41. Plate XLVII B. 

Distinctions. The Ruby-crowned is likely to be mistaken only for the previous species 
but the lack of black stripes on the head is always diagnostic. 

Field Marks. In the quick movement of the lively flocks and the deep shadows of 
dense conifers it is sometimes difficult to catch the distinctive head marks of the Kinglets. 
It will be noted, however, that the Ruby-crowned has a habit of fluttering its wings occa- 
sionally, in a few short quick vibrations, during momentary pauses while hopping about 
without flying. This will often suggest the species though it cannot be regarded as a 
certain proof of identity. 


Nesting. In coniferous trees, nest of moss and fine strips of bark neatly interwoven 
and lined with feathers, usually semi-pensile. 

Distrihulion. Northern North America. In eastern Canada breeding north above 
settlement and slightly farther north than the Golden-crown. 

SUBSPECIES. The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is divided into three subspecific races 
only one of which, the Eastern Ruby-crown, the typical form, occurs in eastern Canada. 

This species is so nearly like the Golden-crowned Kinglet that little 
further discussion is necessary either of habits or economic status. The 
song of the Ruby-crowned, however, is one of nature's surprises. It 
is loud, clear, and full throated and is audible for a surprising distance, 
equalling in carrying power the song of the Purple Finch. When first 
heard it is almost invariably ascribed to some of the better singing 
sparrows rather than to this diminutive little bird. 

Subfamily — Polioptilince. Gnatcatchers. L, 4 '05. 

A small family composed of only one genus and peculiar to America. 
The colour is in soft bluish-ash and white. The bill is superficially warbler- 
like but the first primary feather of the wing is small and almost 
aborted, being considerably less than half as long as the next, as is the 
case with the Warbling Vireo. Only one species occurs in Canada. 

751. Blue-grey Gnatcatcher. Polioptila ccerulea. L, 4-05. All even bluish-grey 
above, wings dark, and tail black, the outer tail feathers white; below and face all white. 
Male has black line across forehead and over eye. 

Distinctions. The small size, even blue and white coloration, and the short first wing 
quill are diagnostic. 

Field Marks. Inhabiting treetops so high up that the colours are usually difficult to 
make out, the outline, with long narrow tail switched about much in the manner of the 
Red-start, and the characteristic rather hoarse call notes make the best recognition marks. 

Nesting. Nest of tendrils, fine strips of bark, and fine grasses fu-mly interwoven and 
covered outside with spiderweb and lichens. It is chimney-like in shape, high with straight 
sides, and is one of the most beautiful American bird nests. 

Distribution. Southeastern United States north to the Canadian border along lake 
Erie and the Detroit river. 

SUBSPECIES. The eastern subspecies, the Eastern Gnatcatcher, is the typical 
form. A western subspecies occurs in the southwestern states. 

This is a bird of the large tree forests where it usually lives and builds 
high up among the tree tops. As it is only regularly found in southern 
Ontario along western lake Erie and has been taken elsewhere in Canada 
only occasionally, it must be regarded as a rare bird in Canada. 

Economic Status. Too rare in Canada to be economically considered. 


This is a nearly cosmopolitan group systematically separated with 
difficulty from the last family, though the individuals described in the 
following pages are strongly enough marked to be easily recognizable. 
In eastern Canada only one subfamily is represented. 

Subfamily — Turdinm. The True Thrushes. L, 6-25-10. 

Most of the Canadian Thrushes are easily recognized as such. Sys- 
tematically they are plainly marked by the number of primaries and 


the scalation of the feet. As these are rather difficult features for the 
amateur to discern, it is perhaps easier to differentiate them by other 
more striking characters that apply to the representative of the group in 
eastern Canada. For this purpose they may be divided into the Thrushes 
proper and the American Robin, Bluebird, and Wheatear, the last very 
rare and the other two so well marked as to be recognized with ease. 
The Thrushes proper are medium-sized birds, brown above and white 
below, with the breast more or less spotted, except one species, the Veery, 
conspicuously so. Any Canadian bird of this description between 6-25 
and 8 • 30 inches long, with the first primary very small and degenerate, 
belongs to this group. The Thrushes are all ground-haunting birds and 
usually more or less sohtary. Their principal food is insects and soft 
fruit. The woodland species are of little direct economic importance, 
although their influence is beneficial. All the Thrushes of this group 
are very sweet singers. 

755. Wood Thrush, song thrush, fb. — la grive des bois. Hylocichla 
mustelina. L, 8-29. Plate XLVIII A. 

Distinctions. Easily recognized as a Thrush, though having somewhat the general 
colour of the Brown Thrasher. The short tail, straight bill, and dark instead of light eye 
make good separation marks. From the other members of the genus it can be told by its 
larger size, the absolute whiteness of the breast, the sharper definition of the round spots, and 
the yellowish rather than reddish or olive tinge of the back, brightest on head. 

Field Marks. The sharp spots on the pure white breast and the tawniness of the back 
make the best field marks. 

Nesting. In saplings about 8 feet above the ground, in nest of leaves, rootlets, fine 
twigs, and weed stalks firmly interwoven and lined with mud and fine rootlets. 

Distribution. Eastern North America; north regularly to southern Ontario; occa- 
sional or local in adjoining regions. 

The Wood Thrush is a woodland bird of rather southern distribution; 
common in Canada only in the more southern portions. 

756. Wilson's Thrush, veery. cathedral-bird. fr. — la grive de wilson. 
Hylocichla ftiscescens. L, 7-52. Plate XLVIII B. 

Distinctions. In this Thrush the brown is almost as tawny as in the Wood Thrush but 
the back is evenly coloured and no brighter on head or tail than elsewhere. The breast 
spots are reduced to a vague series of darker spots down the sides of the neck and on a 
tinted area across the upper breast. 

Field Marks. The even, light coloration of the back and the hght suffused colour of 
the breast spots. 

Nesting. On or near ground, in nest of strips of bark, rootlets, and leaves wrapped with 
leaves and lined with rootlets. 

Distribution. The northern part of north America north to the limits of settlement. 

SUBSPECIES. In Canada Wilson's Thrush is represented by two subspecies, the 
Veery, the type form, and the Willow Thrush of western distribution, coming east to 
Manitoba and only occasionally occurring in eastern Canada. 

The Veery has a wide distribution within settled sections. Beyond 
the range of the Wood Thrush and before the other thrushes become 
numerous this species is common and its cascade of bell-Hke notes poured 
forth at sunset in the darkening bush are very pleasant to hear. 

757. Alice's Thrush, grey-cheeked thrush, fr. — la grive d'alice. Hylo- 
cichla alicioe. L, 7-58. PlateXLIXA. 

Distinctions. Although a distinct species, this thrush is so nearly like the next, the 
Olive-backed, as to be separated from it with some difficulty. The two can be distinguished 
from other thrushes by their even dark olive backs and heavily spotted breasts with spots 
suffused in places and running together. In the Grey-cheeked Thrush the sides of the face 
and spotting of breast are suffused with dull cold grey instead of a warm buff. 


Field Marks. Heavily spotted breast and evenly coloured back and tail will separate 
this from all but the Olive-backed. The lack of buff tones on the side of the face will 
differentiate it from that species though in actual field work it is only under the most favour- 
able circumstances that this character can be made out with certainty and many specimens 
Been in the dark woods or the fleeting moments given for observation go unidentified. 

SUBSPECIES. Alice's Thrush is divided into two geographical races: the Grey- 
cheeked, the type, and BickneU's Thrush H.a. hicknelli. The latter in Canada is confined 
as far as we know now to the Maritime Provinces below the gulf of St. Lawrence, but the 
distribution of the two forms in eastern Canada is not weU worked out. 

Distribution. Northern North America; breeding mainly in Canada from the edges 
of settlement northward. 

758a. Olive-backed Thrush, fr. — la grive de swainson. Hylocichla ustulala. 
L, 7 17. Plate XLIX A. 

Distinctions. Evenly coloured back without colour variation on either head or tail and 
heavily spotted breast will separate this from all the thrushes but Ahce's. The distinctly 
buffy cast of the cheeks instead of cold grey will differentiate it from that species. 

Field Marks. Back and breast characters as above. The facial coloration which 
separates it from Alice's can only be seen under the most favourable conditions and many 
individuals usually go unidentified. 

Nesting. In bushes or small trees about 4 feet above the ground, in nest of coarse 
grasses, moss, rootlets, leaves, and bark lined with rootlets and grass. 

Distribution. As a species, all of North America; breeding mostly in Canada from 
the edges of cultivation northward. Swainson 's Thrush extends west to the Rocky 

SUBSPECIES. The Olive-backed Thrush is divided into two subspecies. The type 
race, imder the name of Russet-backed Thrush, is a Pacific Coast form. The Eastern 
OUve-back or Swainson's Thrush H.u. swainsoni is the only one in eastern Canada. 

In spring and autumn the open woods are invaded by great numbers 
of these evenly coloured, spotted-breasted thrushes on their way to and 
from their breeding grounds. They are rather wary and the numerical 
proportion of each species present can usually only be estimated. 

759. Hermit Thrush, fr. — la grive solitaire. Hylocichla guttata. L, 7' 17. 
Plate XLIX B. 

Distinctions. Very similar to the last two but the tail reddish brown in contrast with 
the ohve-brown of the back. 

Field Marks. Brown back and white, spotted breast identifies it as a Thrush. The 
reddish coloration of the tail contrasting with the ohve back serves for the identification 
of the species. 

Nesting. On ground in nest of moss, coarse grasses, and leaves lined with rootlets and 
pine needles. 

Distribution. As a species, all of northern North America. The Eastern Hermit 
Thrush extends westward to near the mountains and north to the tree lunits,breeding usually 
just beyond the cultivated districts but irregularly to or near om- southern boimdary. 

SUBSPECIES. The Hermit Thrush is a flexible and adaptable species represented 
in America by some six recognized subspecies. The typical form is an Alaskan race. 
Eastern Canada has only one subspecies, the Eastern Hermit Thrush H.g. pallasi-. 

The Hermit Thrush is one of our most famous singers. Unfortunately, 
it is usually silent as it passes through southern Canada and is heard 
at its best only in the northern coniferous woods. 

761. American Robin, fr. — le merle d'am^rique. Planesticus migratorius. 
L, 10. Plate LA. 

Distinctions. The robin is too distinctly marked and well known to require special 

Field Marks. The robin is recognizable by those acquainted with the species, at 
great distances, when no colour is visible, by its outline, carriage, and manner of flight. 

Nesting. Frequently in fruit or shade trees or about buildings, in nest of coarse 
grasses, leaves, rootlets, etc., with an inner wall of mud fined with fine grasses. 


Distribution. As a species all of North America, north to tree limits. The Eastern 
Robin covers aU of Canada overlapping with the western form on the Pacific coast. 

SUBSPECIES. The Robin is divided into three subspecies of which the Eastern 
Robin, the type form, is the only eastern Canadian representative. 

The Robin has more intimate associations with man than perhaps any- 
other bird. Its cheery voice is the harbinger of spring. Its song is the first 
heard in the morning and the last at night, and in the autumn when 
it has stripped the rowan tree of its last berry, and has disappeared we 
know that winter is upon us. Though named after a famous Old World 
bird, it only very superficially resembles the Robin Red-breast of England. 
The only points of resemblance are its red breast and confiding habits. 

Probably the worst enemy of the Robin is the household cat. Nesting 
in readily accessible places young Robins are subject to many disturb- 
ances, often leave the nest before they are able to fend for themselves 
and so fall prey to the cat. 

The spotted breast of the young Robin indicates its descent from 
a spotted ancestor and its relationship to the thrushes of the previous 
genus. In fact the young of most of the members of the family have spotted 

Economic Status. Though the Robin is an efficient aid to the agri- 
culturist, its fondness for fruit occasionally gets it into trouble with the 
small fruit raiser. Forty-two per cent of its food is animal, mostly insects, 
the remainder is composed largely of berries and other soft small fruits 
of which little more than 4 per cent is cultivated fruit. 

765. Wheatear. pr. — le traquet motteux. Saxicola oenanthe. L, 7 01. A 
Titlark-like bird, light grey above, white below, warmed with buff colour on throat; a 
black band through the eye and a white rump. The female and juvenile are similar but 
duller and more evenly buff coloured. 

Distinctions. The conspicuous and extensive white rump with the general colorations 
given above are distinctive. 

Field Marks. With its showy white rump the bird looks like a partly albino Titlark. 

SUBSPECIES. The subspecies of Wheatear that occurs in eastern Canada is the 
Greenland Wheatear S.q. leucorhoa. 

This is a European bird of regular occurrence in Greenland and 
perhaps in the adjacent parts of Ungava but of only casual or accidental 
occurrence elsewhere in Canada. 

766. Bluebird, fr. — le rotjge-gorge bleu. Sialia sialis. L, 701. Plate LB. 
Distinctions. The only solidly blue bird with a reddish breast among Canadian 

species — the Indigo bird is blue but lacks the red breast. Females and juveniles are duller 
in colour and the breasts of young birds are spotted with brown but all have the character- 
istic blue backs. 

Field Marks. The bright blue coloration of the back and the earthy red of the 

Nesting. In hollow trees, posts, or stubs or in bird houses, in nest of grasses. 

Distribution. Eastern North America, west to the prairie provinces and north nearly 
to the bounds of settlement. 

SUBSPECIES. The subspecies of Bluebird occurring in Canada is the typical race, 
the Eastern Bluebird. 

The Bluebird arrives in the early spring with the Robin and 
the Meadowlark. It is a confiding bird building in the hollows of old 
apple trees, holes in fence-posts, bird boxes, or nests abandoned by Wood- 


peckers. It is characteristically a bird of the orchard and with a little 
encouragement will build in birdhouses in the garden where its gentle 
ways, pretty murmuring notes, and brilUant coloration make it quite 
an acquisition. 

Economic Status. The Bluebird feeds mainly upon insects and is, 
therefore, highly beneficial. Weed seeds form an important part of 
its food and it eats some soft fruit, but practically no cultivated kinds 
are taken. Hence the Bluebird can be regarded as a consistently useful 


Albinism. The occasional and erratic occurrence of white specimens, either pure or 
partial, complete or in irregular spots, in species that normally are not white. It is nothing 
more, than a freak caused by a deficiency of colouring matter in the plumage (p. 7). 

Axillars or Axillaries. A fan-shaped group of feathers under the wing closing the 
space between the innermost flight feathers and the body when in flight. 

Bars. In descriptions of bird coloration, bars designate lines drawn across the body 
and not parallel with the shafts of the feathers (see stripes). 

Cere. A wax-like appearing swelling about the base of the upper mandible, present 
in some species, especially the Hawks. See Figure 33a and b, page 23. 

Coverts. The feathers covering the bases of the larger flight and tail feathers. There 
are upper and under wing coverts and upper and under tail coverts. The upper wing 
coverts are divided into greater and lesser coverts, the former being the largest line imme- 
diately next to the flight shafts and resembUng them to some degree in texture (Figure 1 
p. 18). 

Crepuscular. Pertaining to twilight. 

Crown. The top of the head from the forehead to near the base of the skull. 

Culmen. This may be called the ridge line of the bill. Viewed sideways, the line 
forming the top outUne of the bill from the spring of the first forehead feathers to the tip is 
the culmen Une. It is measured in a straight line, as with dividers, not following the curves 
as with a tape line (Figure 1, p. 18). 

Dichromatism. The normal occurrence of two different colorations in the same 
species due to neither sex, season, nor age and only partly hereditary. Both colorations 
may occur in the same brood though the tendency is for Uke to produce like and one form 
may predominate in any given locaUty (see p. 7). 

Emarginate. When applied to the shape of feathers indicates that more or less of one 
web is cut away as if a shaving had been removed with a jack-knife. 

Extralimital. In describing distribution refers to the subject occurring without 
the geographical bounds of the area under discussion. 

Family. In zoological classification is one of the larger groups of animals having 
enough mutual resemblance to be classed together and apart from all other forms. It is 
the next larger group to a genus and next smaller to an order or suborder. For example, 
all the Ducks, Geese, and Swans belong to the same family, Anatidse (see p. 5). 

Flanks. The sides of the body, below or under the closed wing. They are often 
covered by a loose group of feathers that may be laid at will either over or under the shafts 
of the closed wing (Figure 1, p. 18). 

Genus (plural, genera). In zoological classification is one of the smaller groups of 
animals having enough resemblance to be classed together and apart from all other groups 
of like rank. It is a subdivision of a family or subfamily and next above a species. A 
genus is, therefore, a group of species, and a group of genera is a family (see p. 5). 



Gular Pouch. A pouch of bare skin depending from the vmder side of the lower bill 
between its Y-shaped arms and joining it to the neck below. Some species have only the 
merest trace of it, and others have it remarkably developed, though in most species it is 
entirely absent. 

Hybrid. The offspring between parents of two different species — a " cross." 

Iris. The coloured portion of the eye. The pupil, except in albinism, is always 
black and the surrounding circle of colour is the iris. 

Lanceolate. Lance shaped, i.e., long and narrow with parallel edges or tapering 
gradually to a point. 

Length. Abbreviated in descriptions by its initial L and given in inches and tenths 
of an inch. Length is taken in a straight line, as with dividers, from the tip of the bill to the 
end of the longest tail feather, the bird being laid out flat on its back and stretched just 
sufficiently to straighten the curves of the neck. 

Lores. A small spot between the eye and the base of the bill (Figure 1, p. 18). 

Mandibles. The two members forming the bill; thus there is an upper and a lower 

Mantle. A term covering the back, shoulders, upper wing coverts, and secondaries. 
Applied more especially to the gulls where the even colouring of these parts suggests a 
mantle covering the whole upper part of the body and closed wings. 

Melanism. The opposite of albinism. It is the more or less erratic occurrence of 
very dark or black individuals in a normally lighter-coloured species. It usually occurs 
less frequently than albinism though some species are more liable to it and it glides im- 
perceptibly into dichromatism in some cases. Albinism usually denotes a lack of virility. 
Melanism does not seem to be an evidence of weakness and hence melanistic strains have 
better chances of surviving. A melanistic animal is said to be a Melano (see page 7). 

Nape. A small space at the back of the neck just below the base of the skull (Figure 
1, p. 18). 

Neck. The space between the throat and breast in front, and the hind head and 
shoulders behind. It is divided into fore neck and hind neck whose meanings are obvious 
(Figure 1, p. 18). 

Order. In zoological classification a group of families having mutual resemblance 
enough to separate them from all other groups. It is next larger than the family and is the 
largest subdivision of birds that we have to deal with in Canada (see page 7). 

Pectinate. Furnished with comb-hke teeth. In ornithology usually applied to the 
claws of some species that are so furnished (Figure 19, p. 21). 

Pelagic. Living largely or almost entirely at sea. 

Pensile. Applied to nests when thfey hang suspended like a bag between the forks of a 
branch or other such support, with nothing supporting from below. 

Primaries. The large flight feathers secured to the first joint of the wing from the 
wi-ist to the tip (see secondaries). (See Figure 1, p. 18.) 

Race. As used here, practically synonymous with subspecies. In general, any 
group within a species exhibiting recognizable common characters differentiating it from 
others of the same species. 

Rufous. Of a red or reddish colour. 

Rump. The lower end of the back just before the root of the tail (Figure 1, p. 18). 

Secondaries. The large flight feathers secured to the second joint of the wing 
between the wrist and the elbow (see primaries). (Figure 1, p. 18.) 

Species. In zoological classification the smallest constant group. It is the scientific 


term to denote what is understood in common language as a " kind of animal." Thus a 
house cat is a species, whether Maltese, tortoise shell, or tabby, the dog, whether grey- 
hound or spaniel is another, and a horse, whether Shetland pony or draught, is a third 
(see page 5). 

Speculum. A somewhat rectangular patch of contrasting colour on the centre of the 
upper siu^ace of the wing. It often shows metallic iridescence and is a common feature of 
coloration in some families, as in the Ducks. 

Stripes. In ornithological descriptions, stripes always run lengthways of the bird ; 
lines if across the body are spoken of as bars (see bars) . 

Sternum. The breast bone. In a bird a deeply keeled structure to which the wing 
muscles are attached. 

Subspecies. In ornithological classification, synonymous with geographical race or 
variety, denoting a division of the species usually correlated with geographic limitations. 
It differs essentially from a full species by showing intergradations with allied races of equal 
rank. Taking the horse as a representative species, the various breeds or strains, such as 
Arab, Clydesdale, or Shetland pony are subspecies (see page 6, for discussion). 

Tarsus. The metatarsal bones of the foot fused together into a single bone. This is 
what we popularly regard as the bird's leg but is properly the foot, extending between the 
juncture of the toes and the end of the " drum stick." A comparison with the joints of the 
human leg will make it obvious that the knee is between the " drum stick " and the 
" second joint " of the fowl and that the first external joint on the bird corresponds with our 
heel, the " feet " being true toes. 

Type. In zoological nomenclature the " type form " is that form first properly 
described and named and the specimen from which the description was written is the type 
specimen. It does not of necessity mean that the form is typical in the ordinary sense of 
the word, though for convenience it is assumed to be so (see page 8). 

Vermiculation. In descriptions of plumage, vermiculation refers to fine, irregularly 
wavy lines suggesting the pathways of innumerable small worms, from which the word is 

Vinaceous. Wine coloured. A pecuhar purplish pink shown or suggested in the 
coloration of some birds. 


Plate I. 

A. Pied-billed Grebe (p. 43). 
Juvenile Adult 


B. Common Loon ip. 44) 
Adult Juvenile 


Plate II. 

A. Herring (nill (p. 52). 
Adult Juvenile 




B. Common Tern (p. 55). 

Plate III. 

A. Red-breasted Merganser (p. 64). 
Male Female 

B. Mallard Duck (p. 65). 
Male Female 


A. Black Duck (p. 66). 

Plate IV 



B. Blue-winged Teal (p. 67). 
Male Female 

Plate V. 


A. Wood Duck (p. 68). 
Male Female 



B. Canada Goose (p. 76). 


Plate VI. 

A. American Bittern (p. 80). 

B. Great Blue Heron (p. 82). 
Juvenile Adult 

Plate VII. 


A. Sora Rail (p. 88). 



B. American \\'oodcock (p. 93). 


Plate VIII. 

A. Wilson's Snipe (p. 93). 


-- - '-/ 


i ^ ' I f P"' 


B. Spotted Sandpiper (p. 100). 
Adult Juvenile 

A. Killdeer fp. 104). 

Plate IX. 


B. Bohwhite (p. 107). 
Male Female 


A. Spruce Grouse (p. 108). 
Female Male 

Plate X. 

B. Ruffed Grouse (p. 108). 
Red phase Grey phase 

Plate XI. 

;..-.. : y "" rc.>l,..?.c<l,^,5*>_.lj 

A. Mourning Dove and Passenger Pigeon (pp. 112 and 113). 

B. Marsh Hawk (p. 117). 
Adult Juvenile 


Plate XII. 


A. Sharp-shinned Hawk (p. 118). 
Juvenile female Adult male 

B. American Goshawk (p. 119). 
Juvenile Adult 

J/. ■^., 



A. Red-tailed Hawk (p. 120). 

Plate XIII. 


B. Red-shouldered Hawk (p. 121) 
Adult Juvenile 


Plate XIV 

A. Duck Hawk (p. 126). 
Adult Juvenile 


B. American S|)arro\v Hawk (p. 127). 
Female Male 

--ftlff^" t-nr-ptJ- 

A. Osprey (p. 128). 

f,M Ml 

B. Barred Owl (p. 131). 



Plate XVI. 

A. >t leech I U\ 1 I 1 1. ISS I. 

Red phase Grey phase 

15. Great Horned Owl (p. 133). 

A. Black-billed Cuckoo (p. 136). 
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (p. 136). 

Plate XVII. 

B. Belted Kingfisher (p. 137). 
Female Male 


Plate XVIII. 


A. Downy Woodpecker (p. 139). 
Male Female 

B. Arctic Three-toed Woodpecker (p. 139). 
Female Male 

Plate XIX. 

A. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker i,p. 14Uj. 
Female Male 

B. Pileated Woodpecker (p. 141). 


Plate XX. 

-'-"^ rci«->f.'fs 

A. Red-headed Woodpecker (p. 141 J. 
Juvenile Adult 


B. Flicker (p. 142). 
Male Female 

-*-> -i- 

Plate XXI. 

fC t(f<M'«'\5fi4.l 

A. Nighthawk (p. 144). 

f ' f ^s Vi 


B. Chimney Swift (p. 145). 


Plate XXII. 

F/ " .; ''h. *.*, — Uiic&h, 

A. Ruby-throated Hummingbird (p. 146) 
Female Males 

B. Kingbird (p. 148j. 

Plate XXIII. 

A. Phoebe (p. 149). 

B. Horned Lark (p. 152). 
Eastern Horned Lark Prairie Horned Lark 


Plate XXIV. 

A. Blue Jay (p. 154) 

B. Canada Jay (]). 154). 

Plate XXV. 

A. American Crow (p. 156). 

^\ ^\ 

B. Bobolink (p. 157). 
Male Female 


Plate XXVI. 

A. Cowbird (p. 157). 
Female Male 

B. Red-winged Blackbird (p. 158). 
Jmeiiik' Male Female 

Plate XXVII. 

A. Meadowlark (p. 159). 


B. Baltimore Oriole (p. 160). 
Male Female 


Plate XXVI II. 


A. Bronzed Grackle (p. 161). 

B. Pine Grosbeak (p. 163). 
Female Male 

A. Purple Finch (p. 163). 
Male Female 

Plate XXIX. 


B. House Sparrow (p. 164). 
Male Female 



Plate XXX. 

f^.'--- fcn*"'"*"^*^,* 

A. American Goldfinch (p. 168). 
Juvenile Female Male 


MS. • 

B. Snow Bunting (winter plumage) (p. 169). 

A. Vesper Sparrow (p. 169). 

Plate XXXI. 

re rin'il f Eitf 

B. White-crowned Sparrow (p. 173). 
Adult Juvenile 


Plate XXXII. 

A. White-throated Sparrow (p. 173). 
Adult Juvenile 

*.wn0BHBRv alclr 

B. Tree Sparrow (p. 174). 

Plate XXX II I. 


A. Chipping Sparrow (p. 174). 


B. Jiinrn (p. 175). 
Female Male 


Plate XXXIV, 


A. Song Sparrow (p. 176). 

B. Rose-breasted Grosbeak (p. 179). 
Male Females 

Plate XXXV. 

A. Scarlet Tanager (p. 181). 

Male changing to autumn plumage 
Male Female 


B. Purple Martin (p. 182). 
Male Juvenile 


Plate XXXVI. 

A. Barn Swallow (p 183). 


B. Tree Swallow (p. 183). 

Plate XXX\"II. 

A. Bank Swallow (p. 184). 

B. Cedar Waxwing (p. lS5j. 
Adult Juvenile 



A. Migrant Loggerhead Shrike (p. 187). 

B. Red-eyed Vireo (p. 188). 

Plate XXXIX. 

A. Warbling Vireo (p. 189). 

B. Black and White Warbler (p. 191). 
Spring plumage Autumn plumage 


Plate XL. 


A. Yellow Warbler (p. 194). 
Male Female 

B. Black-throated Blue Warbler (p. 195). 
Male Female 

Plate XLI. 

A. Myrtle Warbler (p. 195). 
Female Male 


B. Magnolia Warbler (p. 196) 
Female Male 


Plate XLII. 

A. Blackburnian Warbler (p. 198). 
Male Female 

B. Black-throated Green Warhler (p. 198). 
Male Female 


A. Ovenbird (p. 200j. 

Plate XLIII. 


B. Xorthern Vellow-throat (p. 202). 
Male Female 


Plate XLIV. 


A. Redstart (p. 204). 
Male Female 

V^^ X 






^-- o- 


B. Catbird (p. 206). 

Plate XL\'. 


.1*: \ 



A. Brown Thrasher (p. 207). 

B. House Wren (p. 208). 


Plate XLVI. 

A. Brown Creeper (p. 210). 

B. Wliite-brcasted Nuthatch i.j). ill. 

Plate XLVII. 


A. Chickadee (p. 212). 




B. Golden-crowned Kinglets. Ruby-crowned Kinglets (p. 214). 

Male Female • Male Female 


Plate XLVIII. 


A. Wood Thrush (p. 216). 

(,■: Jyciinx.-"- 

B. Wilson's Thrush (p. 216). 

Plate XLIX. 

rr.tjf '••■■«" i'»^ 

A. Gre>-cheeked Thrush (p. 216). 
Olive-backed Thrush (p. 217). 


B. Hermit Thrush (p. 217). 


Plate L. 

A. American Robin (p. 217). 
Adult Juvenile 

B. Bluebird (p. 218). 
Male Female 



Acanthis 166 

homemanni 166 

linaria 167 

Accipiter 118 

cooperi H^ 

velox 118 

Accipiters 118 

Actitis macularia 100 

jEgialitis meloda 104 

semipalmata 104 

Agelaius phoeniceus 158 

Aigle k tete blanche 124 

dore 123 

Aix sponsa 68 

Alaudidse 152 

Albinism 7 

Alca torda 47 

Alcedinidae 137 

Alcida 45 

Alcyones 136 

AUe aUe 47 

Allies 145, 215 

Alouette a braule-queue 100 

ordinaire 152 

Aluco pratincola 129 

Aluconidae 129 

Ammodramus savannarum 171 

Anas platyrhynchos 65 

rubripes 66 

Anatidae 63 

AnatinsB r 65 

Anser albif rons 76 

Anseres 62 

Anserinae 75 

Anthus rubescens 205 

Antrostomus carolinehsis 143 

vocif erus 143 

Aphrizidae 105 

Aquila 123 

chrysaetos 123 

Archibuteo 120 

lagopus sancti-johannis 123 

Archilochus colubris 146 

Ardea herodias 82 

Ardeidae 80 

Ardeinae 81 

Arenaria interpres 105 

Arquatella maritima 94 

Asio flammeus 130 

wilsonianus 130 

Astragalinus tristis 168 

Astur 118 

atricapillus 119 

Auk, Great 47 

Razor-billed 47 


Auks 45M 

Austral region 8^^ 

Autour h tete noire lift* 

Avocet, American 92 

Avocette d'Amerique 92 


Baeolophus bicolor 212 

Balbusard d'Amerique 128 

Barge de la bale d'Hudson 98 

Marbree 97 

Bartramia longicauda 100 

Bec-croise a ailes blanches 166 

d'Amerique 165 

Bee scie 64 

B^casse d'Amerique 93 

Becassine 93 

de Wilson 93 

Rousse 93 

Bernache commune 77 

du Canada Outarde 76 

Birds of Prey. 113 

diiu"nal 116 

nocturnal 129 

Birds, scr itching 106 

Bittern, American 80 

Least 81 

Bitterns .' 80 

Blackbird, Cow. See Cowbird. 

Crow " 161 

Red-winged 158 

Rusty 160 

Skimk. See Bobolink. 

Soldier 158 

Yellow-headed 158 

Bluebill, Greater or Lake. See Duck, Greater Scaup. 
Little or Marsh. See Duck, Lesser Scaup. 

Bluebird 218 

Bob-white 107 

Bobohnk 157 

BombyciUa cedrorum 185 

garrula 185 

BombyciUidse 184 

Bonasa lunbellus 108 

Boobies 60 

Boreal region 9 

Bo'sn 48 

Botaurinae 80 

Botaurus lentiginosus 80 

Brant 77 

Branta bemicla 77 

canadensis 76 

Bride, The. See Duck, Wood. 
Broad-bUl. See Duck, Greater Scaup. 

River. See Duck, Lesser Scaup. 

Bubo virginianus 133 

Bucephale d'Amerique 70 

d'Islande 71 

petit 71 

Buffle-head 71 

Bull-bat. See Nighthawk. 
Bull-head. See Plover, Black-bellied. 




Bunting, Indigo 180 

Snow 169 

» Snow-flake 169 

Buntings 161 

Burgomaster. See Gull, Glaucous. 

Busard des marais 117 

Buse a manteau roux 121 

Buse a queue rousse 120 

de Pensylvanie 122 

de Swainson 122 

pattue d'Am^rique 123 

Butcher-bird. See Shrike, Loggerhead, and Shrike, Northern. 

Butcher-birds 186 

Buteo boreaUs 120 

Buteo 120 

hneatus 121 

platypterus 122 

swainsoni 122 

Buteonidse 116 

Butor d* Amerique 80 

Butorides virescens 84 

ButterbaU. See Bufile-head. 

Buzzard, Tiu*key. See Vulture, Turkey. 

Buzzards 116 

True 120 


Calcarius lapponicus 169 

Calidris leucophsea 97 

Camp Robber. See Jay, Canada. 

Canachites canadensis 108 

Canada White-throat. See Sparrow, White-throated. 

Canard a longue queue 72 

chipeau 66 

histrion 72 

huppe 68 

noir 66 

ordinaire 65 

pilet 67 

roux 75 

souchet 67 

Canary, Wild. See Goldfinch, American. 

Canvas-back 69 

Caprimulgi 143 

Caprimulgidse 143 

Caracaras 125 

Cardinal 178 

CardinaUs cardinalis 178 

Carpodacus purpureus 163 

Catbird 206 

Catharista urubu 116 

Cathartes aura 115 

Cathartidae 115 

Cathedral-bird. See Thrush, Wilson's. 

Catoptrophorus semipalmatus 99 

Cedar Bird. See Waxwing, Cedar. 

Cen turns carolinus 142 

Cepphus grylle 46 

Certhia familiaris 210 

Certhiidse 210 

Ceryle alcyon 137 

Chsetura pelatica 145 

Chseturinae 145 



Chapman, Frank 4^^ 

Charadriidae 102^ 

Charadrius dominicus 103* 

Chardonneret des pins 168 

jaune 168 

Charitonnetta albeola 71 

Chat, Yellow-breasted 203 

Chatterer, Wandering. See Waxwing, Bohemian. 

Chaulelasmus streperus 66 

Chen caerulescens 76 

Chen hjTJerboreus 75 

Cherry Bird. See Waxwing, Cedar. 

Chevaher ou pattes jaunes 98 

Chevalier a pieds jaunes, gi-and 98 

petit 99 

solitaire 99 

Chickadee 212 

Black-capped 212 

Brown-headed 213 

Hudsonian 213 

Chicken, Mother Carey's. See Petrel, Wilson's. 

Prairie 110 

Chippie. See Sparrow, Chipping. 

Chondestes grammacus 172 

Chordeiles virginianus 144 

Chouette cendree 131 

du Canada 131 

eperviere d'Amerique 134 

Chuck-will's Widow 143 

Circus , 117 

hudsonius 117 

Cistothorus stellaris 209 

Clamatores 147 

Clangula Clangula 70 

islandica 71 

Classification 5 

Coccyges 135 

Coccyzinse 135 

Coccyzus americanus 136 

erythrophthalmus 136 

Cock-of -the- Wood. See Woodpecker, Pileated. 

Cockawee. See Old Squaw. 

Coffin-carrier. See Gull, Great Black-backed. 

Colaptes auratus 142 

Colibri a georges rubis 146 

Colinus virginianus 107 

Columbae Ill 

Columbidse Ill 

Colymbidse 42 

Colymbus auritus ■ 43 

holbcelli. 42 

Compsothiypis americana 194 

Coot, American 90 

Black Sea. See Scoter, American. 
ButterbiU. See Scoter, Surf. 
White-winged. See Scoter, White-winged. 

Coots 90 

Corbeau 155 

Corbigeau 101 

des Esquimaux 102 

Cormoran k aigrettes 61 

ordinaire 61 

Cormorant, Common 61 

Double-crested 61 



CJormorants 60 

Corneille d'Amerique 156 

Corvidae 153 

Corvinae 155 

Corvus brachyrhynchos 156 

corax 155 

Coturnicops noveboracensis 88 

Coucou a bee jaune 136 

noire 136 

Courlans 85 

Courlis 101 

de la baie d'Hudson 102 

du Nord 102 

a long bee 101 

Cowbird 157 

Coween. See Old Squaw. 

Crane, Blue. See Heron, Great Blue. 

SandhiU 85 

Cranes 85 

Creeper, American Brown 210 

Brown 210 

Creepers 210 

Crossbill 165 

White-winged 166 

Crow, American 156 

Crows 153, 155 

Cryptoglaux acadica 132 

funerea 132 

Cuckoo, Black-billed 136 

Yellow-biUed 136 

Cuckoos 135 

American 135 

Tree 135 

Cuculi 135 

Cuculidae 135 

Curlew, Black. See Ibis, Glossy. 

Eskimo. 102 

Hudsonian 102 

Long-biUed 101 

Sickle-bill 101 

Curlews 101 

Cyanocitta cristata 154 

Cygne d'Amerique 78 

Cygninae 77 

Cypseli 145 


Dab-chick. See Grebe, Pied-billed. 

Dafila acuta 67 

Dendroica 194 

aestiva 194 

caerulescens 195 

castanea 197 

cerulea 196 

coronata 195 

discolor^ 199 

f usca 198 

kirtlandi 198 

magnolia 196 

palmarum 199 

pensylvanica 196 

tigrina 194 

striata 197 



Dendroica, vigors! 199 

virens 198 

Dichromatism 7 

Dickcissel 180 

Discussion 4 

Distinctions 3 

Distribution 4 

Diver, Bottle-nosed. See Scoter, Surf. 

Brass-Winged. See Scoter, WTiite-winged. ' 

Great Northern. See Loon, Common. 

Diving birds 41 

Dolichonyx oryzivorus 157 

Dove, Carolina 113 

Mourning 113 

Sea. See Dovekie. 

Dovekie 47 

Doves Ill 

Dowitcher 93 

Dryobates pubescens 139 

villosus 138 

Due de Virgtnie 133 

Duck, Black 66 

Dusky 66 

Eider. See Eider Duck. 

Greater Scaup 70 

Grey. See Gad wall and Mallard. 

Harlequin 72 

King. See Eider, King. 

Lesser Scaup 70 

Long-tailed. See Old -Squaw. 

Ring-billed 70 

Ring-necked 70 

Rock 72 

Ruddy 75 

Spirit. See BuflBe-head. 

Summer 68 

Wood 68 

Ducks 63 

Bay, Sea, or Diving 68 

Fishing 63 

River and Pond 65 

Dumetella carolinensis 206 

Dunhn 96 

American 96 


Eagle, American 124 

Bald 124 

Golden 123 

White-headed 124 

Eagles 116, 123 

Economic status 4 

Ectopistes migratorius 1 12 

Egret, American 83 

Egrets 81 

Egrette blanche d'Amerique 83 

Eider, American 73 

d'Am6rique 73 

du Nord 73 

Duck 73 

King 74 

remarquable 74 

Eiders 72 



Elanoides 117 

forficatus 117 

Empidonax flaviventris 151 

minimus 152 

trailli 151 

virescens 151 

Engoulevent criard 143 

d'Amerique 144 

de la Cai'oline 143 

Epervier brun 118 

de Cooper 119 

Ereunetes pusillus 97 

Erismatura jamaicensis 75 

Erolia ferruginea 9G 

Esterlette, grand 54 

Etourneau a ailes rouges 158 

tete jaune 158 

des pres 159 

ordinaii'e 157 

Euphagus carolinus 160 

Falco columbarius 127 

islandus 126 

peregrinus 126 

rusticolus 126 

sparverius 127 

Falcon, Peregrine 126 

Falcones 116 

Falconidse 125 

Falconinae 125 

Falcons 125 

True 125 

Farlouae d'Amerique 205 

Faucon blanc 126 

des pigeons 127 

epervier 127 

noir 126 

pelerin 126 

Fauvette k couronne orangee 193 

rousse 199 


;;;;;;;;; 204 

poitrine baie 197 

noire 198 

tete cendree 196 

bleue a gorge noire 195 

d'Amerique 194 

de Blackburn 198 

NashviUe 193 

Pensylvanie 196 

Philadelphie 202 

Wilson 204 

des pins 199 

du Canada 204 

Cap May 194 

Kentucky 201 

Tennessee 193 


croupion jaune. 
queue rousse . 



trichas 202 

Field marks 3 


Finch Grass. See Sparrow, Vesper. Page. 

" Purple 163 

Finches Igl 

Fire Bird. See Tanager, Scarlet. 
Fishduck. See Merganser, Red-breasted. 

Fleming, J. H 4 

Flicker 142 

Florida caeulea 83 

Flycatcher, Acadian 151 

Canadian. See Warbler, Canada. 

Chebec 152 

Crested 149 

Great Crested 149 

Least 152 

Little Green-crested 151 

Olive-sided 150 

Scissor-tailed 148 

Traill's 151 

Tyrant 148 

Yellow-bellied 151 

Fly-up-the-creek. See Heron, Green. 

Fou de Bassan 60 

Foulque d'Amerique 90 

Fowls, True 106 

Fratercula arctica 45 

Fringillidaj ' 161 

Fulica americana 90 

Fulicinae 90 

Fuligulinse 68 

Fulmar 57 

Fulmars 57 

Fulmarus glaciahs 57 


Gadwall 66 

Gallinse 106 

Gallinago delioata 93 

GaUinula galeata 89 

Gallinule de la Floride 89 

Florida 89 

Purple 89 

Gallinules 88 

Gallinulina? 88 

Gannet 60 

Gannets 60 

Gare-fowl. See Auk, Great. 

Garruhnae 153 

Gavia immer 44 

stellata 44 

Gaviidse 44 

Geai du Canada 154 

Huppe 154 

Geese 63, 75 

Gelinotte a Fraise 108 

a queue aigue Ill 

Geothlypis 201 

trichas 202 

Glossary 219 

Gnatcatcher, Blue-grey 215 

Gnatcatchers 215 

Goatsuckers 143 

Godd or Gudd 47 

Godwit, Hudsonian 98 

Marbled 97 



Gotland a ailes blanches 51 

manteau glauque 51 

noir 51 

argente 52 

de Bonaparte 53 

Delaware 53 

Goglu 157 

Golden-eye 70 

Barrow's 71 

Goldfinch, American 168 

Groosander. See Merganser, American. 

Goose, Blue 76 

Canada 76 

Grey 76 

Laughing 75 

Solan. See Gannet. 

Snow 75 

Wavey 75 

White-fronted • 76 

Wild 76 

Goshawk, American 119 

Grackle, Bronzed. See Crow, Blackbird. 

Rusty. See Blackbird, Rusty. 
Graybird. »See Junco. 
Great Head. See Golden-eye. 

Grebe a bee bigarrd 43 

cou rouge 42 

Grebe, HolboeU's 42 

Horned 43 

Pied-biUed 43 

Red-necked 42 

Grebe cornu 43 

Grebes 42 

Green-head. See Mallard. 

Greenlets 188 

Grimpereau d'Amerique 210 

Grive couronnee 200 

d'Ahce 216 

de la Caroline 206 

Swainson 217 

Wilson 216 

des bois 216 

ruisseaux 200 

polygotte 206 

rousse 207 

solitaire 217 

Grosbeak, Blue. 179 

Cardinal. See Cardinal. 

Evening 162 

Pine 163 

Rose-breasted 179 

Gros-bec a couronne noire 162 

poitrine rose 179 

bleu 179 

des pins 163 

Gros goeland 51 

Grouse 106, 108 

Canada 108 

Pinnated. See Chicken, Prairie. 

Pin-tailed Ill 

Ruffed 108 

Sharp-tailed Ill 

Spruce 108 

Willow 110 

^ 282 

^ Page. 

Grues 85 

Gruidse 85 

Grus mexicana 85 

Guillemot, Black 46 

de Brunnich 46 

noir 46 

ordinaire . 46 

Thick-biUed 46 

Guiraca carulea 179 

Gull, Bonaparte's 53 

Glaucous 51 

Great Black-backed 51 

Herring 52 

Iceland 51 

Ring-billed 53 

Gulls 49, 50 

Gyrfalcon 126 

White ' 126 

Gyrfalcons 125 


Hsematopodidse 105 

Hair-bird. See Sparrow, Chipping. 

Haliaeetus 123 

leucocephalus 124 

Hang-nest. See Oriole, Baltimore. 

Harelda hyemalis 72 

Harfang. 134 

Harle a poitrine rousse 64 

d'Amerique 64 

Harle, petit 64 

Harriers 116, 117 

Hawk, American Sparrow 127 

Blue Partridge. See Goshawk. 

Broad-winged 122 

Bullet. See Falcon, Peregrine. 

Chicken 119, 121 

Cooper's 119 

Duck. See Falcon, Peregrine. 
Fish. See Osprey. 
Hen. See Goshawk, American. 
Hen. See Hawk, Red-tailed. 

Marsh 117 

Mosquito. See Nighthawk. 

Pigeon 127 

Red-shouldered 121 

Red-tailed 120 

Rough-legged 123 

Sharp-shinned 118 

Swainson's 122 

Hawks, Buzzard 116 

Fish 128 

Short-winged 118 

Hefling. See Finch, Purple. 
HeU-diver. See Grebe, Pied-billed. 

Helodromas soMtarius 99 

Ha3matopus PaUiatus 105 

Hen, Fowl. See Grouse, Spruce. 

Marsh. See Bittern, American. 
Prairie. See Chicken, Prairie. 

Hermessey, Frank 4 

Herodias egretta 83 

Herodii 80 



Heaodiones 79 

Heron, Black-cro'mied Night 84 

H^ron bleu, grand 82 

bleu, petit 83 

Heron, Blue 82 

H6ron de nuit 84 

Heron, Great Blue 82 

Green 84 

Little Blue 83 

Heron vert 84 

Herons 80 

True 81 

White 83 

Hesperiphona vespertina 162 

Hibou a oreilles courtes 130 

longues 130 

macule 133 

Highhole. See Flicker. 
Highholder. See Flicker. 

Hirondelle bicolore 183 

a front blanc 183 

de rivage 184 

des granges 183 

pourpr^e 182 

Hirundinidse 182 

Hirundo elythrogastra 183 

Histrionicus histrionicus 72 

Huard 44 

Hummingbird, Ruby-throated 146 

Hummingbirds 143, 146 

Hybrids 7 

Hydrocheledon nigra 56 

Hylocichla aliciae 216 

fuscescens 216 

guttata 217 

mustelina 216 

ustulata 217 


Ibides 79 

IbididsB 79 

Ibis, Glossy 79 

Ibises 79 

Icteria virens 203 

Icteridae 156 

Icterus galbula 160 

Icterus spurius 159 

Index, systematic 29 

lonornis martinicus 89 

Iridoprocne bicolor 183 


Jaeger, Long-tailed 49 

Parasitic 49 

Pomarine 48 

Jaegers 48 

Jaseur de Boheme 185 

du Cedre 185 

Jay, Blue 154 

Canada 154 

Jays 153 

J. Cartier-Morgaud 60 



Johnson, Claude 4 

Junco 175 

Junco hyemalis 175 


Kingbird 148 

Kingfisher, Belted 137 

Kingfishers 135, 136, 137 

Kinglet, Golden-crowned 214 

Kinglet, Ruby-crowned 214 

Kinglets 213, 214 

Kite, SwaUow-tailed 117 

Kites 116, 117 

Knot 94 


Labbe a longue queue 49 

parasite 49 

pomarin 48 

Lagopede des rochers 1 10 

des g .ules 110 

Lagopus 109 

lagopus 110 

rupestris 110 

Laniidae 186 

Lanius borealis 186 

ludovicianus 187 

Lanivireo flavifrons 189 

sohtarius 189 

LaridjB 49 

Larinse 50 

Lark, Horned 152 

Shore 152 

Larks 152 

Larus argentatus 52 

delawarensis 53 

hyperboreus 51 

leucopterus 51 

marinus 51 

Philadelphia 53 

Limicolae 90 

Limosa fedoa 97 

hsemastica 98 

Linnet, Redpoll 167 

Linnets 161 

Literature, ornithological 13 

Lobipes lobatus 91 

Longipennes •_ 48 

Longspur, Lapland 169 

Loon, Common 44 

Red-throated 44 

Loons 44 

Lophodytes cucullatus 64 

Lord and Lady Algy. See Duck, Harlequin. 

Loxia curvirostra 165 

Leucoptera ■ 166 


Macareux arctique 45 

Macoun, James M 4 

John 4 

285 ^ 


Macreuse a large bee 74 

d'Ainerique 74 

veloutde 74 

Macrochires 143 

Macrorhamphus griseus 93 

Magpie 153 

American 153 

Magpies 153 

Mainate bronz6 161 

couleur de rouille 160 

Mallard 65 

Black, See Duck, Black. 

Margot 60 

Marila affinis 70 

americana 69 

collaris 70 

marila 70 

valisineria 69 

Marmette 46 

Marsh Birds 85 

SmaUer 86 

Marsh Harrier. See Hawk, Marsh. 
Martin, Bee. See Kingbird. 

pecheur 137 

Purple 182 

Sand. See Swallow, Bank. 

Martinet des chemines 145 

Maubeche a croupion blanc , 95 

dos roux 96 

longs pieds 94 

longue queue 100 

poitrine cendr^e 95 

poitrine jaunatre 100 

poitrine rousse 94 

de Baird 95 

Wilson 96 

pourpr^e 94 

semipalmee 97 

tachetde 100 

Mauve 53 

Meadowlark 159 

Meat Bird. See Jay, Canada. 

Melanerpes erythrocephalus 141 

Melanism 7 

Meleagridse Ill 

Meleagris gallopavo Ill 

Melospiza georgiana 177 

lincolni 177 

melodia 176 

Mergule nain 47 

Merganser, American 64 

Hooded 64 

Red-breasted 64 

Mergansers 63 

Merginae 63 

Mergus americanus 64 

serrator 64 

Merle d'Am^rique 217 

M^sange ^ tete noire 212 

du Canada 213 

Micropalama himantopus 94 

Micropodidse 145 

Migration 10 




Milan a queue d'aronde 117 

Milouin a tete rousse 69 

aux yeux rouges 69 

Mimidae 205 

Mimus polyglottos 206 

Mniotiltidae 190 

Mockers 205 

Mockingbird 206 

Moineau domestique 164 

Molothrus ater 157 

Moose Bird. See Jay, Canada. 

Morillon a collier 70 

k t^te noir 70 

petit 70 

Motacillidae 205 

MoucheroUe a huppe 149 

a ventre jaune 151 

aux cot^s olive 150 

brun. . . r 149 

de la Caroline 148 

des aulnes 151 

petit 152 

verdtoe 150 

Mouette a trois doigts 50 

Moyak 73 

Mud-hen. See Gallinule, Florida. 

Red-billed. See Gallinule, Florida. 
White-billed. See Coot, American. 

Mud-hens 88 

Miu-re, Brunnich's. See Guillernqt, Thick-billed. 

Common 46 

Murres 45 

Muscivora forficata 148 

Myiarchus crinitus 149 

Myiochanes virens 150 


Nannus hiemalis 209 

Nesting 4 

Nettion carolinense 67 

Nighthawk 144 

Nightjar.. «See Nighthawk. ^ 

Numenius 101 

americanus 101 

borealis 102 

hudsonicus 102 

Nuthatch, Carolina 211 

Red-breasted 211 

White-breasted 211 

Nuthatches 210 

Nuttallornis borealis 150 

Nyctale d'Acadie 132 

de Richardson 132 

Nyctea nyctea 134 

Nycticorax nycticorax 84 


Oceanites 58 

oceanicus 59 

Oceanodroma 58 

leucorhoa 59 

Odontophoridse 106 



Oidemia 72 

americana 74 

deglandi 74 

perspicillata 74 

Oie a front blanc 76 

blanche 75 

bleue 76 

Old-Squaw 72 

Old-wife. See Old-Squaw. 

Olor buccinator 78 

columbianus 78 

Oporornis 201 

agilis 201 

formosus 201 

Philadelphia 202 

Oriole, Baltimore 160 

de Baltimore 160 

Orchard 159 

Oscines 152 

Osprey 128 

American 128 

Oepreys 128 

Otocoris alpestris 152 

Otua asio 133 

Ovenbird 200 

Owl, Acadian 132 

American Barn 129 

American Long-eared 130 

Short-eared 130 

Arctic Saw-whet 132 

Barred 131 

Cinereous 131 

Great Grey 131 

Great Horned 133 

Hawk 134 

Marsh 130 

Monkey-faced 129 

Richardson's 132 

Saw-whet 132 

Screech 133 

Snowy 134 

Owls 129 

Barn 129 

Eared 130 

Horned 130 

Oxyechus vociferous 104 

Oyster-catcher, American 105 

Oyster-catchers 105 


Pandion haUaetus carohnensis 128 

Pandionidse 128 

Paludicolae 85 

Paridae 212 

Paroquet. See Puffin. 
Parrot, Sea. See Puffin. 
Partridge. See Grouse, Ruffed. 

Birch. See Grouse, Ruffed. 

Spruce. See Grouse, Spruce. 

Passer domesticus 164 

Passerculus princeps 170 

sandwichensis 170 

57172— 16§ 



Passerella iliaca 177 

Passeres 147 

Passerherbulus henslowi 171 

lecontei 171 

nelsoni 172 

Passerina cyanea 180 

Peabody-bird. See Sparrow, White-throated. 

Pediaecetes phasianellus Ill 

Peep, Black-legged. See Sandpiper, Semipalmated. 
Green-legged. See Sandpiper, Least. * 
Mud. See Sandpiper, Least. 

Pelecanidae 62 

Pehcans 62 

Pehdna alpina 96 

Penthestes atricapiUus 212 

hudsonicus 213 

Perchers, Songless 147 

Perching Birds 147 

Perisoreus canadensis 154 

Perroquet 45 

Petrel de Leach 59 

Wilson 59 

Leach's 59 

Wilson's 59 

Petrels 57, 58 

Petrochelidon lunifrons .^ 183 

Pewee, Bridge. See Phoebe. 

Wood 150 

Pewit. See Sandpiper, Sohtary. 

Phalacrocoracidse 60 

Phalacrocorax auritus 61 

carbo 61 

Phalarope de Wilson 92 

Phalarope, Grey 91 

hyperboreen 91 

Northern 91 

Red 91 

Red-necked 91 

Phalarope roux 91 

Wilson's 92 

Phalaropes 91 

Phalaropodidse 91 

Phalaropus fuhcarius 91 

Phasiani 106 

Philohela minor 93 

Phloeotomus pileatus 141 

Phoebe 149 

Pic k huppe 6carlate 141 

h tete rouge ' 141 

arctique 139 

chevelu 138 

d'Amerique 140 

de la Carohne 142 

dor6 142 

macule 140 

minule 139 

Pica Pica 153 

Pici , 138 

Picida; 138 

Picoides americattus 140 

arcticus 139 

Pie d'Amerique 153 

Pie-greiche boreale 186 

Pigeon. See Guillemot, Black. 



Pigeon, Passenger 112 

Sea. See Guillemot, Black. 

WUd 112 

Pigeon voyageur 112 

Pigeons Ill 

True Ill 

Pingouin commun 47 

grand 47 

Pinicola enucleator 163 

Pinson a couronne blanche 173 

rousse, petit 174 

ailes baies 169 

gorge blanche 173 

queue aigue 172 

aux yeux rouges 178 

chanteiu' 176 

de Lincoln 177 

de montagne 174 

des champs 175 

marais 177 

pres 170 

fauve 177 

indigo 180 

pourpre 163 

Pintail 67 

Springtail 67 

Pipilo erythrophthalmus 178 

Pipits 205 

Piranga erythromelas 181 

rubra 181 

Pisobia bairdi 95 

f uscicolhs 95 

maculata 95 

minutilla 96 

Planesticus migratorius 217 

Plautus impennis 47 

Plectrophane de Laponie 169 

neige 169 

Plectrophenax nivalis 169 

Plegadis autumnalis 79 

Plongeon a coUier 44 

gorge rousse 44 

Plongeur 70 

Plover 90, 102 

American Golden 103 

Bartram's 100 

Black-belhed 103 

Black-heart. See Dunlin. 
Calico. See Turnstone. 
Carriquet. See Turnstone. 

Field 100 

Killdeer 104 

Piping 104 

Red-breasted. See Knot. 

Ring-neck 104 

Semipahnated 104 

Upland 100 

Pkivier a ventre noir 103 

criard 104 

dor^ d'Am^rique 103 

kildir 104 

semipalmg 104 

Posecet^s gramineus 169 

Podilymbus podiceps 43 



Polioptila caerulea 215 

Polioptilinae 215 

Porzana Carolina 88 

Preacher-bird. See Vireo, Red-eyed. 

Procellariidse 57 

Progne subis 182 

Protection 12 

Protonotaria citrea 192 

Ptarmigan 106, 109 

Rock 110 

Willow. See Grouse, Willow. 

Puffin 45 

grand 58 

Puffins 45 

Puffinus 58 

gravis 58 

griseus " 58 

Pygopodes 41 


Qua-bird. See Heron, Black-crowned Night. 

Quail 106 

American. See Bob-white. 

Quails, American 106 

Quank, Big. See Nuthatch, Caroline. 

Little. See Nuthatch, Red-breasted. 

Querquedula discors 67 

Quisculus quiscula 161 


Rail, Carolina 88 

King 87 

Sora 88 

Virginia 87 

Rail Yellow 88 

Railbird. See Rail, Sora. 

Rail-hke Birds 86 

Rails, True 86 

RMe de la CaroUne 88 

Virginie 87 

jaune 88 

Ralli 86 

Rallidae 86 

Rallus 86 

elegans 87 

virginianus 87 

Rap tores 1 13 

Raven 155 

Recurvirostra americana 92 

Recurvirostridse 92 

Red-back. See Dunlin. 

Red-bird. See Cardinal and Tanager, Scarlet. 
Summer. See Tanager, Scarlet. 

Redhead 69 

Redpoll, Hornemann'a 166 

Redpolls 166 

Redstart, American 204 

Regulinae 214 

Regulus calendula 214 

satrapa 214 

Ricebird. See Bobolink. 

See Gallinule, Florida. 


Ring-neck. See Plover, Killdeer. 

Riparia riparia 184 

Rissa tridactyla 50 

Robin, American 217 

Golden. See Oriole, Baltimore. 

Roitelet k couronne rubis 214 

huppe 214 

Rouge-gorge bleu 218 

Saddle-back. .See Gull, Great Black-backed. 

Sanderling 97 

Sandpiper, Baird's 95 

Bartramian. See Plover, Upland. 

Bonaparte's 95 

Buff-breasted 100 

Curlew 96 

Least 96 

Pectoral 95 

Purple 94 

Red-back. See Dunlin. 

Semipalmated 97 

Solitary 99 

Spotted 100 

Stilt 94 

^\Tiite-rumped 95 

Sandpipers 90, 92 

Sapsucker, Yellow-bellied 140 

Sarcelle a ailes bleues 67 

vertes 67 

Sarcorhamphi 114 

Saunders, W. E 4 

Saw-bill. See Merganser, American, and Merganser, Red-breasted. 

Saw-bills 63 

Saxicola oenanthe 218 

Sayornis phoebe 149 

Scaup, American. See Duck, Greater Scaup. 

Scolopacidse 92 

Scoter, American 74 

Surf 74 

White-winged 74 

Scoters 72 

Scotiaptex nebulosa 131 

Seim-us 200 

am-ocapillus 200 

motaciUa 201 

noveboracensis 200 

Setophaga ruticilla 204 

Sharp-tail, Nelson's 172 

Shearwater, Greater 58 

Sooty 58 

Shearwaters ^ 57, 58 

SheUdrake. See Merganser, American, and Merganser, Red-breasted. 
SheUduck. See Merganser, American, and Merganser, Red-breasted. 

Shore Birds 90 

Shoveller 67 

Shrike, Loggerhead 187 

Migrant 187 

Northern 186 

Shi-ikes 186 

Sialia siaUs 218 

Siskin, Pine 168 



Sitelle de la Caroline 211 

du Canada 211 

Sitta canadensis 211 

Carolinensis 211 

Sittidae 210 

Skuas 48 

Snipe 93 

Grass. See Sandpiper, Pectoral. 

Jack 93 

Red-breasted. See Dovdtcher. 
Robin. See Dowitcher and Knot. 
Rock. See Sandpiper, Purple. 

Wilson's 93 

Winter. See Sandpiper, Purple. 

Snipe-like Birds 92 

Snipes 90 

Sea ^ 91 

Snowbird, Black. See Junco. 

Somateria 72 

dresseri 73 

mollissima 73 

spectabilis 74 

Song Birds 152 

Sora. See Rail, Sora. 
South-southerly. See Old-Squaw. 

Sparrow, Bay-winged 169 

Chipping 174 

Clay-coloured 175 

Enghsh 164 

Field 175 

Fox 177 

Grasshopper 171 

Harris 172 

Henslow's 171 

House 164 

Ipswich 170 

Lark 172 

Leconte's 171 

Lincoln's 177 

Savannah 170 

Song 176 

Swamp 177 

Tree 174 

Vesper 169 

White-crowned 173 

White-throated 173 

Yellow-winged 171 

Sparrows 161 

Spatula clypeata 67 

Speckle-belly. See Gadwall. 

Sphyrapicus varius 140 

Spinus pinus 168 

Spiza americana 180 

SpizeUa monticola 174 

paUida 175 

passerina 174 

pusilla 175 

Spoonbill. See Shoveller. 

Squatarola squatarola 103 

Squawk. See Heron, Black-crowned Night. 
Stake-driver. See Bittern, American. 

Starhngs, American 156 

Steganopodes 59 

Steganopus tricolor 92 



StelgidopterjTC serripennis 184 

Stercoraxiidae 48 

Stercorarius longicaudus 49 

parasiticus 49 

pomarinus 48 

Sterna capsia 54 

forsteri 55 

hirundo 55 

paradisaea 55 

Sterne axctique 55 

caspienne 54 

commune 55 

noire 56 

Sterninse 54 

Striges 129 

Strigidse 130 

Strix varia 131 

Sturnella magna 159 

Sula bassana 60 

Sulidse 60 

Sumia ulula 134 

Swallow, Bank 184 

Barn 183 

Cliff 183 

Eave 183 

Mud 183 

Rough-winged 184 

Tree 183 

White-beUied 183 

SwaUows 182 

Swan, Trumpeter 78 

Whistling 78 

Swans 63, 77 

Swift, Chimney 145 

Spine-tailed 145 

Swifts 143, 145 

Swimmers, FuU-webbed 59 

Lamellirostral 62 

Lesser Tube-nosed 57 

Long-winged 48 

Sieve-billed 62 

Totipalmate 59 

Tube-nosed 56 

Sylviidae 213 


Tanager, Scarlet 181 

Summer ; 181 

Tanagers 180 

Tangara ecarlate 181 

Vermilion 181 

Tangaridse 180 

Teacher. See Vireo, Red-eyed. 

Teal, Blue-Winged 67 

Green-Winged 67 

Teeter. See Sandpiper, Solitary. 

Tell-tale, Greater. See YeUow-legs, Greater. 
Little. See Yellow-legs, Lesser. 

Telmatodytes palustris 209 

Tern, Arctic 55 

Black 56 

Caspian 54 

Common 55 



Tern, Forster's 55 

Wilson's 55 

Terns 49, 54 

Tetraonidae 108 

Tetras du Canada 108 

Thistlebird. See Goldfinch, American. 

Thra.sher, Brown 207 

Thrashers 205 

Thrush, Alice's 216 

Golden-crowned. See Ovenbird. 

Grey-cheeked 216 

Hermit 217 

Olive-backed 217 

Song 216 

Wilson's 216 

Wood 216 

Thrushes 215 

True 215 

Thryomanes bewicki 208 

Thryothorus ludovicianus 207 

Thunder-pump. See Bittern, American. 

Tickler, Kittiwake 50 

Tinker. See Auk, Razor-billed. 

Tip-ups. See Sandpiper, Solitary 92 

Titlark, American Pipit 205 

Titmice 212 

Titmouse, Tufted 212 

Totanus flavipes 99 

melanoleucus 98 

Tourne pierre 105 

k poitrine noire 105 

TourtereUe de la Caroline 113 

Towhee 178 

Toxostoma rufum 207 

Traquet motteux 218 

Tringa canutus 94 

Trochih 146 

Troglodyte aedon 208 

d'hiver 209 

des marais 209 

Troglodytid* 207 

Tropic region 8 

Tryngites subruf icollis 100 

Tubinares 56 

Turdidae 215 

Turdinae 215 

Tiu-key, Wild Ill 

Tiu-keys Ill 

Turnstone 105 

American 105 

Ruddy 105 

Turnstones 105 

Tympanuchus americanus 110 

Tyrannidae 148 

Tyrannus tyrannus 148 


Uria lomvia 46 

troille • 46 




Vaaneau gris 103 

Vautour noir 116 

Veery. See Thrush, Wilson's. 

Vermivora 192 

celata 193 

chrysoptera 192 

peregrina 193 

pinus 192 

rubricapilla 193 

Vireo a front jaune 189 

h tete bleue 189 

aux yeux rouges . 


Blue-headed. 189 

de Philadelphie 188 

gris-olive 189 



Philadelphia 188 

Red-eyed 188 

Solitary 189 

WarbUng 189 

White-eyed 190 

Yellow-throated 189 

ireonidse 188 

ireos 188 

ireosylva gilva 189 

olivacea 188 

philadelphica 188 

ulture, Black 116 

Turkey 115 

ultures, American 114 

Turkey 115 


Waders, Deep water 79 

Heron-hke 80 

Wagtails 205 

War Bird. See Tanager, Scarlet. 

Warbler, Bay-breasted 197 

Black and YeUow 196 

Blackburnian 198 

Black-capped 204 

Black-poU 197 

Black-throated, Blue 195 

Green 198 

Blue-winged 192 

Blue, Yellow-backed 194 

Canada 204 

Cape May 194 

Cerulean 196 

Chestnut-sided 196 

Connecticut 201 

Golden-winged 192 

Ground 201 

Hooded 203 

Kentucky 201 

Kirtland's 198 

MagnoUa 196 

Mourning 202 

Myrtle 195 

Nashville 193 



Warbler, Orange-crowned 193 

Palm 199 

Paruk 194 

Pine. 199 

Praixie 199 

Protiionotary 192 

Tennessee 193 

WUson's 204 

Wilson's Black-capped 204 

Yellow 194 

Yellow-rumped 195 

Warblers, Flycatching 203 

Old-world 213 

Wagtail 200 

Wood 190 

Woodland 194 

Worm-eating 192 

Water-thrush 200 

Louisiana 201 

Northern 200 

Water-witch See Grebe, Pied-billed. 

Waxwing, Bohemian 185 

Cedar 185 

Carolina 185 

Waxwings 184 

Whale Bird. See Phalarope, Red. 

Wheatear 218 

Whip-poor-will 143 

Whiskey Jack. See Jay, Canada. 
Whistle-wing. See Golden-eye. 
Whistler. See Grolden-eye. 

WiUet 99 

Wilsonia 203 

canadensis 204 

citrina 203 

pusiUa 204 

Woodcock, American 93 

Woodpecker, American Three-toed 140 

Arctic Three-toed 139 

Black-backed 139 

Downy 139 

Gold en- winged. See Flicker. 

Hairy 138 

Ladder-backed 140 

Pileated 141 

Red-bellied 142 

Red-headed 141 

Woodpeckers 138 

Wren, Bewick's 208 

Carolina 207 

Golden-crowned. See Kinglet. 

House 208 

Long-biUed Marsh 209 

Ruby-crowned. See Kinglet, Ruby-crowned. 

Short-billed Marsh .■ 209 

Winter 209 

Wrens 207 

Xanthocephalus tanthocephalus 158 


Yellow Bird, Summer. See Warbler, Yellow. 
Yellow-hammer. See Flicker. 

Yellow-legs, Greater 98 

Lesser 99 

Yellow-throat, Maryland 202 

Zamelodia ludoviciana 179 

Zenaidura macroura 113 

Zonotrichia albicollis 173 

leucophyrs 173 

querula 172 



Hon. Martin Burrell, Minister; R. G. McConnell, Deputy Minister. 


William McInnes, Directing Geologist. 



No. 3, Biological Series 

Birds of Eastern Canada 


P. A. Tavemer 





Pnce, 5-G cents. 

No. 1563