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B 3 311 


Bipds> f 

Being a list of Birds observed in the Province of 

Ontario, with an Account of their Habits. 

Distribution, Nests, Eggs, &c., 

-BY- ' 











Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada, in the year one 
thousand eight hundred and eighty-seven, by the Hamilton Association, in 
the Office of the Minister of Agriculture. 


In American Merganser, No. 31, for "nest on the ground " 
read ** nests in trees." 

Since the article on the Curlew Sandpiper was printed, it 
has been ascertained that an individual of this species was shot 
near Toronto by Mr. Loane, and is now in the rooms of the 
Toronto Gun Club. 


On the 2nd of April, 1885 I had the honor of reading before the 
Hamilton Association, a paper on " Birds and Bird Matters." which 
will bejound in the following pages. At the same time I promised 
to prepare for the association, a list of all the different species of 
birds which have been observed in Ontario, with some account of their 
distribution, habits, nests, eggs, etc. At the time this promise was 
made, a Committee of the American Ornithologists Union, composed 
of Messrs. Coues, Allen, Ridgeway, Brewster and Henshaw, was 
busily engaged revising the classification and nomenclature of North 
American birds ; this work, which involved a vast amount of labor 
and research, and took nearly three years in completion, has now 
been finished, and the result is before the public in a volume, 
entitled the " Code of Nomenclature and Check List of North 
American Birds," familiarily known as the A, O. U. Check List. 

The work has been well received, and will no doubt be the text 
book used by all Students of American Ornithology for many years 
to come. 

My promised list of the Birds of Ontario was delayed for a time, 
in order to have it in accordance with the new arrangement, which 
has now been done. It may surprise some to find that the order in 
which the different species are presented is the reverse of what it 
used to be, that the Thrushes and Blue Birds which used to be first on 
the list, are now the last to be named, while the Grebes and Loons 
which used to be last, are now placed first. This change in the 
arrangement comes a little awkward, but after all it seems the most 
natural way to treat the subject chronologically, and as we get used 
to the plan, it will no doubt be found most convenient. 



Although familiar for the past th' ty years with most of the birds 
described, I have had but little experience in writir 5 their history, 
and while so engaged have had frequent occasion to apply toothers 
for information and advice ; in every case I received a prompt and 
hearty response, even beyond what I could have anticipated. 

To all who have thus contributed to the work, I now beg to 
tender my best thanks ; to Dr. Coues I am under special obligation 
for permission to use his writings, of which I have taken full advan- 
tage, most of the technical descriptions being from his pen. 

Valuable aid has also been received from J. A. Allen, President 
of the American Ornithologists Union, and from Messrs. Ridgeway, 
Merriam, Brewster and Wheaton, I have received useful suggestions. 
In Canada comparatively little attention has been given to the study 
of Ornithology, yet, Dr. Gamier, of Lucknow, W. E. Saunders, of 
London, W. L Scott and Geo. R, White, of Ottawa, and others 
have readily responded to all enquiries regarding the birds of their 
respective districts. I do not suppose that the list in its present form 
is complete, but look forward to having it increased by the addition 
of such casual visitors, or rare summer residents as may have escaped 

Should this list furnish a starting point for some future Ornitho- 
logist when preparing a more comprehensive work on the subject, 
or supply to such as may desire it, the means of identifying any 
bird that may be found in Ontario ; or be the means of leading any 
of our young people to turn occasionally from the excitement of city 
life to seek for rest and recreation among the deep and mysterious 
haunts of the Black Squirrel and the Blue Jay, the writer will feel 
amply repaid for all the labor he has bestowed on it. 





Although the subjects brought before the Association during 
the present session have been both numerous and varied, it is some- 
what remarkable that no branch of the animal kingdom has yet 
come up for consideration. With the view of introducing this 
department of Natural History, and thinking that it might be a 
pleasing change for you to pass from the consideration of sewage 
and other unsavory, though all important subjects, which have 
recently engaged your attention, T have availed myself of the oppor- 
tunity offered, of asking you to spend an hour with me among the 
birds. The subject is a very attractive one, the objects which it 
embraces being always near us, varied in form, beautiful in color, 
and possessed of the most wonderful instincts, to mark the exercise 
of which is a continual source of delight. 

A treatise on Ornithology, in the highest meaning of the term, 
is beyond the scope of this paper, as it would require us to go back 
half-way through the geological periods, where we would find the 
early forms of bird life very different from those we see around us 
at present. 

It is not my purpose to follow the subject in this direction, nor 
to attempt giving you a highly scientific dissertation, made unintelli- 
gible by the use of unpronounceable technicalities. I would much 

prefer taking a cursory glance at what has been written about 

American birds from the date of the earliest records we have on the 
subject uputo the present tim, -^calling your attention to a few of 
the more remarkable' specie's Yound near this city ; and leaving with 
the AsVqeis.iibi^^{]istt)(alt tjie bi'tds wiiich have been observed in 
Ontario, with special reference to those found in our near neighbor- 
hood. This list, I hope, may be ustful to the rising generation of 
Ornithologists, serving as time rolls on, to show by comparison what 
changes take place in the number and distribution of the different 
species. So long ago as I860, I read a similar paper, and presented 
to this Association a similar list, which subsequently appeared in 
the Canadian Journal for that year but so many changes have, 
since that time, been made in the nomenclature, and in the arrange- 
ment of the different groups, that we would not now be able to 
recognize the birds by the names then given them. These frequent 
changes have been a constant source of annoyance to the students 
who, after getting fairly familiar with the system, and having 
occasion to leave it for a short time, may find on his return that he 
will have to begin all over again, and learn to recognize his old 
friends by new names an experience which is certainly very dis- 
couraging, and yet when we consider how these changes are brought 
about, it seems hardly possible for the present to avoid the difficulty. 

To such as have given even a limited amount of attention to 
the subject, it will be apparent that among birds there exists certain 
natural groups or families, the members of which are related to each 
other. Classification undertakes to separate and set apart each of 
those groups by itself, under a special family name, and did we 
know all the birds in existence, and in what ways they resemble each 
other, and in what ways they differ, the work would be comparatively 
easy ; but unfortunately, here as elsewhere, human knowledge is 
incomplete, and the results are defective for want of proper data. 
Besides the difficulties arising from defective knowledge of the 
subject, it is evident that the arrangement of the groups can be 
carried out in different ways, as viewed from different standpoints : 
One may take as the basis of his system the formation of the bill 
and feet, while another, ignoring these points, may class together 
only such birds as resemble each other in their anatomical structure, 
and each of these systematists having his followers writing and 


publishing under the system they favor most, produce the confusion 
so much complained of. 

The subject of classification is now under consideration by a 
committee of the most able living Ornithologists, and it is to be 
hoped that their labors will result in the arrangement of a system of 
universal application which will be practically permanent. 

As regards American birds, there are at present two different 
lists of names before the public, one by Dr Elliot Coues, a most 
accomplished scholar and brilliant writer, and another by Mr. Robt. 
Ridgeway, the accurate, careful curator of the bird department of 
the Smithsonian Institution. Either of these might be quite 
sufficient were the other out of the way, but having two only leads 
to confusion. 

In most of the older syscems it was customary to place the birds 
of prey first on the list, in consideration of their great size and 
strength, the noble (?) eagle occupying a place in the foremost 
ranks ; better acquaintance with these birds shows us, however, that 
they do not possess the noble qualities attributed to them, that they 
are slovenly and irregular in their habits, often gorging themselves 
with carrion, and remaining for days in a state of dozing stupidity 
till the calls of hunger again force them out in search of things new 
and old. 

I think it was Professor Lilgeborg of Upsala, who first advo- 
cated the view that the birds entitled to the highest rank should be 
those which are possessed of the greatest amount of nervous 
irritability, and have all bird-like peculiarities most fully developed. 
When we consider that these peculiarities include swimming on the 
water, hopping on the ground, perching on trees, hopping nimbly 
from branch to branch, and making their presence known by their 
characteristic and melodious voices, we readily see the justice of 
giving the first place to the passeres, or perching birds, all of which 
have a much higher organization than the birds of prey. This 
arrangement is adopted generally by both Dr Coues and Mr. 
Ridgeway, yet they differ slightly in detail, one giving the first place 
to our familiar garden songster, the Robin, and the other to the 
Wood Thrush, a handsome bird of shy and retiring habits, seldom 
seen except in its favorite haunts in the bush. These and similar 
differences occur all through the arrangements which we hope soon 
to see reconciled. 


The birds of North America are understood to be all such as 
are found north of the Mexican border, and it is quite interesting 
to look back and observe at what rate the published record of species 
has increased, as well as the causes which have led to these results. 
No doubt many of the common species were observed by the early 
settlers in the country, and while raising their primitive homes with 
their minds still full of memories of the old land, finding a bird 
with a red breast coming familiarly near, he would naturally get the 
name of " Robin " after the familiar " Robin Red Breast " who was 
so much a favorite at home, but for some such circumstances our 
Robin might with greater propriety have been called the Red- 
breasted Thrush. 

In these earlv days the hardy pioneers would have little time to 
devote to the study of birds, and still less to record the result of such 
observation, but as the country became better known, and the faci- 
lities for reaching it were increased, travellers, adventurers, mission- 
aries and others made frequent visits from foreign countries, and, 
as usual took home glowing accounts of the natural productions of 
the new land. Dr Coues, who has made a careful search for 
records of this description, gives in his new " Key to North 
American Birds " the names of quite a number of books published 
between the years 1600 and 1700, in which special reference is 
made to the birds of the districts visited by the writers. The Natural 
History of Carolina, Florida, etc., by Mark Catesby, published in 
parts, is the first in which any definite number of birds is mentioned. 
It was brought out in 1731, and by taking into account some 
additional species named in the appendix, the total number is 
brought up to 113. 

In 1771 J. R. Forster published a tract entitled " A Catalogue 
of the Animals of North America, " in which he mentions 302 birds, 
but they are not described, nor even named correctly. 

In 1787, Pennant and Latham followed, the result of whose 
combined labors was the description of 500 species of American 

About this time Gmelin was busy compiling and transcribing 
the works of his predecessors, but he did not discover anything new 
in the connection, and, according to Dr. Coues, it is to Catesby, 



Edwards, Forster, Pennant, Latham and Bartram, that the credit 
belongs of making North American Ornithology what it was at this 

The name of Bartram will always be respected from his connec- 
tion with Wilson, yet Bartram himself was an advanced Ornithologist 
for the time, and published a list of the birds of the Eastern United 
States, naming many species as new, which, it is believed, were 
credited by subsequent authors to Wilson. 

Prior to 1794, Alexander Wilson lived in his native town of 
Paisley, in Renfrewshire, Scotland, where he followed his father's 
steps as a hand-loom weaver. For a time he turned packman, but 
the venture was not a success. He had also courted the Muses, 
and had written several pieces, which were so well received as for a 
time to be attributed to Burns. In 1789, while carrying the pack, 
he added to his wares a prospectus of a volume of his poems, in 
which he said " if the pedlar should fail to be favored with sale, 
then I hope you'll encourage the poet." But he did not succeed in 
either capacity, and, in 1794 he came to America, where he was 
once more a weaver, a pedlar, and a school-master. It was here, on 
the banks of the Schuylkill. that he enjoyed the society of Bartram, 
which was no doubt instrumental in deciding his future course in 
life, and in all his troubles he received sympathy and encourage- 
ment from this venerable friend and ardent lover of nature The 
period of Wilson's labors here was bright but brief. The first 
volume of his work appeared in 1808, and he died in 1813, before 
the work was finished. With a cheap gun, hardly safe, with which 
to secure his specimens, and only common paper on which to trace 
his illustrations, he followed the subject with enthusiasm and perse- 
verance, which earned for him a reputation far ahead of all 
competitors at the time ; even now he is regarded as the father of 
American Ornithology, and many of his descriptions of the birds 
are still quoted as the best which have appeared on the subject. 
After the untimely death of Wilson the work was carried on and 
completed by his associate Ond, who brought out the eighth and 
ninth volumes in 1814. In this work about 280 species of birds 
were fully and faithfully described, and many of them shown in 
colored illustration. 

In 1824 Prince Lucien Bonaparte contributed to the Journal 



of the Philadelphia Academy, a series of critical articles on Wilson's 
American Ornithology. These referred chiefly to the nomenclature, 
a subject to which Wilson paid but little attention. During the ten 
years succeeding the above date, several editions of Wilson's work 
appeared, each containing the changes in the nomenclature sug- 
gested by Bonaparte, and having descriptions of such new species 
as had from time to time been brought to light. Bonaparte's 
principal work was his "American Ornithology" published in 1833, 
in which the number of species described was 366. In 1838 he 
published in London his "Geographical and. Comparative List of 
the Birds of Europe and North America," in which the number of 
species was farther raised to 471. The Fauna Boreali Americana 
was now in course of publication. The volume descriptive of the 
birds, which appeared in 1831, not only described many hitherto 
unknown species, but contained a vast amount of valuable informa- 
tion regarding the nests, eggs, and habits of the birds in their 
northern homes, about which little or nothing had hitherto been 

In the mean-time John James Audubon, a man of high culture, 
ample means, and a large amount of material to start with, was busy 
preparing his great work, the first volume of which appeared in 
1827, but was not completed until 1839. The number of birds 
described was 506, nearly every species being shown in a colored 

The attention of Ornithologists was now turned to the west, 
and a most valuable contribution was made to the subject by Mr. 
John Cassin, who published in 1856 a beautiful book entitled 
" Illustration of the Birds of California," illustrated with fifty 
colored plates. 

In 1858 appeared the celebrated 9th volume of " Pacific Rail- 
road Reports," which overturned the whule previous form of the 
subject. The number of specimens sent in by the different survey- 
ing parties was very great, and nearly all different species from those 
already known in the east. These, with the reports referring to 
them, were placed in the hands of Professor Baird, who, with the 
assistance of Messrs. Cassin and Geo. N. Lawrence, revised the 
whole subject, and introducing for the sake of comparison the 
eastern species already known, made the volume a complete expos- 



ition of all that was known up to that time of the birds of America, 

north of Mexico, and bringing up the list of described species to 744. 

In 1874 Dr, Coues, then a surgeon in the U. S. Army, published 

a check list, which included such additional species as had been 
added since the former date, bringing up the number to 778. 

In 1880 Mr. Ridgeway, in making out a catalogue of the 
specimens in the Smithsonian Institute, labelled as North American, 
found that they numbered 924, but it is thought that many were 
thus included which were collected beyond the limits. 

In 1882 Dr. Coues published a second edition of his check list, 
in which the number is increased to 888, and in his new key 
published in 1884, the number is reduced to 878. So the numbers 
stand at present, and as we do not now expect to have many new 
species added, any change which takes place will probably be a 
reduction, caused by condensing the groups, which many think are 
at present too much divided. 

Nothing of late years has happened, so well calculated to advance 
the interest of this subject, as the result of a meeting which was 
held in the Museum of Natural History, in the Central Park, New 
York, in September, 1883. The meeting, which was called by 
circular, was composed of a few of the leading amateur and profes- 
sional Ornithologists of North America, There were present one 
from Ontario, one from New Brunswick, and about twenty from 
different States in the Union. The meeting was a most enjoyable 
one, as it brought together many who were known to each other by 
correspondence, pnd yet had never personally met. It remained in 
session for three days, with Dr. Coues as Chairman, and Mr. E. P. 
Bicknell as Secretary. The proceedings resulted in the formation 
of an American Ornithologist's Union, now familiarly known as the 
A. O. U., with a constitution and by-laws similar to those of the 
British Association of similar name. J. A. Allen, of Cambridge, 
Mass., was elected President, and Dr. C. H. Merriam, of Locust 
Grove, N. Y., Secretary. Committees were formed to report on the 
following subjects at the next meeting : Nomenclature and Classi- 
fication, Migration, Osteology, on the desirability or otherwise of 
encouraging the English Sparrow, and Distribution of Species. At 
the close it was decided, in consideration of the importance of the 


proceedings, and of the enjoyment they had afforded, to have all 
those present photographed in a group, which was subsequently 
carried out successfully by Bogardus, of Broadway. 

At the second meeting of the Union, held in the same place in 
September, 1884, the committee on Nomenclature reported progress 
but had not yet completed their labors. The hope was expressed 
that by next September a system of classification and nomenclature 
will be agreed on, which will be practically permanent, and save the 
annoyance arising from the frequent changes already referred to. 

The committee on the desirability or otherwise of encouraging 
the English Sparrow, reported that they had taken evidence on the 
subject from every State where he was located, and the vote was 
almost unanimously against him ; but he is here now, and the 
committee taking a merciful view of his case, did not at present 
recommend any violent measures for his extinction, but suggest that 
no more houses be put up for the accommodation of the birds, that 
those who have been in the habit of affording them food and shelter 
should discontinue doing so. and that in all States where they have 
not yet appeared, every means should be used to keep them out. 
If thus left to themselves for a few years, it would be seen whether 
the severity of the climate or other causes would be sufficient to 
keep them within proper bounds ; if not, an aggressive movement 
could then be made against them. 

On behalf of the committee on Migration, Dr. Merriam reported 
that on taking office as Chairman, he had at once issued circulars 
calling for observers to note and report on the movements of the 
birds during the season of migration, and that he had now nearly 700 
at different points in the States and Canada ; besides which, every 
lighthouse keeper in both countries had instructions from their 
departments, to furnish a record of all birds destroyed by flying 
against the glass at night, with the date and name of birds so killed 
as far as possible. 

The amount of information furnished on these subjects was so 
great that the Chairman found it impossible to present it in proper 
shape without the use of maps, which he hoped within a short time 
to be able to supply. He presented an abstract from the reports 
referring to the movements of one or two representative birds from 



the time they crossed the southern boundary till they reached their 
northern limits. But the most interesting facts relating to the subject 
were brought forward to show the great destruction which takes 
place among the birds by flying against the lighthouses. It is known 
that migrations take place mostly during the night, the day being 
spent in seeking rest and refreshment. - The smaller birds do not 
like to cross the lakes, but are found in great numbers flitting along 
the shores, or following the course of the larger livers, the Missis- 
sippi valley in this way becoming the great highway of the travellers 
during the season of migration. By looking at the map of the 
State of Michigan, it will be observed that northern bound birds 
entering that state from the south, finding themselves hemmed in 
between Lakes Michigan and Huron, and naturally gather into a 
cut de sac to cross at the Straits of Mackinac, which they no doubt 
do in vast numbers. " In lake Huron, at the eastern end of the 
straits, and midway between the shores, lies Spectacle Reef, on 
which is erected a lighthouse eighty-six feet above the water level. 
The light is of the second order, and shows alternately a red and 
white flash every 29 seconds, which is seen in clear weather at a 
distance of sixteen and a half miles. The lighthouse is surrounded 
by a wooden platform 85 feet square. The keeper of the light, Mr. 
William Marshall, has been there seven years, and states that during 
the season of migration, on misty and rainy nights large numbers of 
birds strike and are killed. On one morning he picked up one hun- 
dred and fifty on the pier surrounding the tower, and thinks that ten 
times that number fell outside the platform into the water. A 
package of these, which were forwarded for identification, showed 
them to be such birds as we are accustomed to see passing north 
during the spring. A similar report furnished by the keeper of the 
lighthouse at Sombrero Key, Florida Reefs, shows that as many as 
200 sometimes strike during one night." The circulars of instruc- 
tions and tabular work are again in the hands of observers for the 
spring work of 1885, and farther south many entries have no doubt 
already been made. Profiting by the experience of last year, the 
work has now been better systemized, and more information will 
be gained with less trouble. In the course of a year or two we will 
no doubt be able to say where all the species spend the winter, 
when they leave their winter quarters for the north, at what rate they 



travel, and how far north they go ; but whether we will find out 
what excites within birds the desire to migrate, and how they are 
able to carry out these desires with such precision and regularity, 
is very doubtful. 

Having thus reviewed the subject generally, if we turn our 
attention homeward we find that in an ornithological point of view, 
Hamilton is favorably situated, its surroundings being such as will 
attract birds of all classes. In the country we find highly cultivated 
fields alternating with clumps of mixed bush and rocky gullies, while 
the bay, with its sandy shores and marshy inlets' provides ample 
food and shelter for the waders and swimmers. Here, too, we are 
favorably situated for observing the movements of the migratory 
armies in the spring, and have done so with results similar to those 
already described. 

Pressing on toward the north through Ohio early in May, the 
birds meet the south shore of Lake Erie, and following its course 
crowd in perfect swarms along the Niagara River until they strike the 
shore of Lake Ontario at right angles. Here, most likely a separa- 
tion takes place, some following the line of the lake shore eastward, 
while the greater number most likely take the western route, and 
are seen flitting from bush to bush along the beach, where for 
a few days in May they almost rival the sand flies in number, and 
that is saying a good deal. That some attempt to cross the lake is 
evident from their frequently flying on board vessels which are pars- 
ing up and down at that season, and the fact of these individuals 
being generally much exhausted, would imply that many fall short 
of the north shore and perish in the water. The spring of i882 is 
memorable as one in which the birds on their northern journey 
received a severe and sudden check On the 9th of May the season 
was unusually favorable, and the migratory wave was rolling along 
at its height, when a severe north-easter set in during the night 
accompanied by cold drizzly, sleety rain. This forced the birds to 
descend from upper air and seek shelter wherever it could be found. 
In the morning my garden was full of warblers, all in their glowing 
nuptial dress, but dull and draggled, not knowing where to turn. I 
collected more rare specimens in my garden that morning than I 
ever did anywhere else in the same time. This would seem to be 


an unfortunate resting-place for the birds, but others fared quite as 
bad elsewhere, for when a little daughter of Mr. Smith, who keeps 
the Ocean House went down to play by the lake shore in the morn- 
ing, she returned in a few minutes with her pinafore full of little dead 
birds which were being washed up from the lake all along the shore. 
In former years it was the custom with those who wished a collection 
of birds to have them mounted and placed in glass cases, but the 
mounting in very many instances failed to satisfy those who were 
familiar with the appearance of the birds in life; besides which, 
they took up too much room, and always suffered by transportation. 
This mode is now practised mostly by public museums, where the 
specimens remain permanently, and are under the care of a curator. 
The plan now followed by amateur collectors is to skin and preserve 
the specimen, filling out the skin with cotton to about the natural 
size, so as to make the bird look as if newly killed. In this way 
they are kept in trays in a cabinet, where they are easy of access for 
measurement or examination, besides which, through the facilities 
offered for transportation by mail, an exchange of duplicates can at 
very small cost be made by collectors residing at far distant points. 
On the table there are now brought together in this way specimens 
from Alaska to Texas, and from New Brunswick to California, as 
well as many intermediate points. 

The month of May, above all others in the year, is the one 
enjoyed by collectors, the birds being now arrayed in their richest 
dress, and excursions to the woods in pursuit of them offering so 
pleasing a change after our long, hard winter has passed away. 
There is no group of our small birds so interesting as the Warblers, 
which, though they do not differ much in size, yet vary greatly in 
plumage, some of them, such as the Blackburnian and Black and 
Yellow being exceedingly beautiful, while others are so extremely 
rare everywhere that the securing of one is an event of the season. 
Among the latter class I may name the Cape May, of which I got 
two specimens at the beach one morning in May, 1884. 

The name of John Cassin has already been mentioned in this 
paper as a representative Ornithologist of his time. Hear what he 
says about the birds we are describing : 

" Bird collecting " says Mr. Cassin, " is the ultimate refinement* 
the ne plus ultra of all the sports of the field. It is attended with 



all the excitement, and requires all the skill of other shooting with a 
much higher degree of theoretical information, and consequent 
gratification in its exercise. Personal activity, (not necessarily to be 
exerted over so great a space as in game bird shooting, but in a 
much greater diversity of locality), coolness, steadiness of hand? 
quickness of eye and of ear especially the latter ; in fact all the 
accomplishments of a first rate shot will be of service, and some of 
them are indispensable to successful collecting. The main reliance, 
however, is on the ear for the detection of birds by their notes, and 
involves a knowledge the more accurate and discriminating the 
better, which can only be acquired by experience, and always 
characterizes the true woodsman, whether naturalist or hunter. 

' This ability is of incomparable value to the collector, whether 
in the tangled forest, the deep recesses of the swamp, on the sea- 
coast, or in the clear woodlands, on mountain or prairie ; it advises 
him of whatever birds may be there, and affords him a higher grati- 
fication, announcing the presence of a bird he does not know. We 
know no more exquisite pleasure than to hear in the woods the note 
of a bird which is new to us. It is in the latter case that the culti- 
vated quickness of the eye of the experienced collector is especially 
important, and his coolness and steadiness of nerve is fully tested. 
It will not do to be flustered. But in fact, all these qualities must 
be possessed for the acquirement of the smaller species of birds 
found in our woods. Some species, especially the Warblers, are 
constantly in motion in the pursuit of insects, and are most frequently 
met with in the tops of trees ; they are, morever, only to be killed 
with the finest shot, or they are spoiled for specimens. The 
obtaining of these little birds always requires the most careful and 
skilful shooting, 

With us the Warblers arrive with remarkable regularity about the 
10th of May. Should the season be a lata one, they may be observed 
at this time gleaning their scanty fare among the almost leafless 
branches, ; or again, if early, the leaves may be opening out by the 
first of the month, yet the little birds do not appear till their regular 
time. As the first flocks arrive they rest and recruit for a day or 
two, and then pass on to make room for others who arrive and take 
their places. So the stream flows on until the Queen's Birthday, 
(May 24). About this time the Black Poll arrives, and when it goes 



the migratory season may be considered over, for it is always 
the last of this class to arrive in spring. Thrushes, Orioles, 
Tanagers and Flycatchers are now here in full life, and the 
busy collector can hardly take time to sleep, but if he does he 
sees flocks of desirable species rise before his excited vision. 
Not till the middle of June, when the birds are all nesting, does 
he lay aside the gun and take time to count his treasures. 

The Sparrows, as a class, are also well represented near the 
city ; some of them, such as the Fox Colored, White Crowned 
and White Throated, being very handsome birds, which visit 
us in spring and fall, but do not remain during the summer or 
winter. The best known of this group is the English Sparrow, 
which has been looked upon as an outsider, but it is here now 
for good (or bad, as the case may be), and is entitled to a place 
among the others of its class. With all writers on American 
birds, it is at present very unpopular, the principal charges 
brought against it being those of eating the fruit buds, and of 
driving away our native birds. Some time ago I gave an 
account of my observations on this subject, which appeared 
elsewhere, but may be worth repeating here. It was in the 
summer of 1874 t na * I ^ rs ^ noticed a pair of these birds about 
the outhouses, and in a few days they became quite familiar, 
having evidently made up their minds to stay with us. I made 
them welcome for old acquaintance sake, and thinking they would 
make good settlers, was going to put up a house for them, when 
it became apparent that they were providing for themselves in 
a manner quite characteristic. On a peak of the stable was a 
box occupied by a pair of Swallows, who were at that time en- 
gaged in rearing their young, and of this box the Sparrows 
seemed determined to get possession. The Swallows resisted 
their attacks with great spirit, and their outcries bringing a host 
of friends to their assistance, the intruders were for a time 
driven off, but only to return with renewed energy and per- 
severance. The Swallows were now sorely beset, for one had 
to remain on guard while the other went in search of supplies. 
Still they managed to hold the fort, till the enemy, watching his 
opportunity, made a strategic movement from the rear, and 
darted into the box. Quicker than 1 can tell it, he reappeared 


with a Callow Swallow hanging by the nape of the neck in his 
bill, dropped it on the ground, and soon dragged out another 
amid the distressing cries of the Swallows, who, seeing their 
hopes so completely blighted, sat mute and mournful on the 
ridge of the house for a short time and then departed, leaving 
the Sparrows in undisputed possession of the box. There they 
remained and raised some young ones during the summer. 

By the spring of the following year the numbers had in- 
creased, and they began to roost under the verandah, which 
brought frequent complaints from the sanitary, department, and 
a protest was made against their being allowed to lodge there. 
Still, in view of the prospective riddance of insect pests from 
the garden, matters were arranged with the least possible dis- 
turbance to the birds, and we even stood by and saw them dis- 
lodge a pair of House Wrens, who had for years been in possession 
of a box provided for them in an apple tree in the garden. So 
the second year wore on, no further notice being taken of the 
Sparrows, though we remarked that they were getting more 

I had missed the sprightly song and lively manners of the 
Wrens, and in the spring when they came round again seeking 
admission to their old home, I killed the Sparrows which were 
in possession, in order to give the Wrens a chance, and they at 
once took advantage of it, and commenced to carry up sticks in 
their usual industrous manner. They had occupied the prem- 
ises for two days only, when they were dislodged. Again the 
intruders were killed off, and domestic felicity reigned for three 
days, when a third pair of Sparrows came along bent on the 
same object, and if possible more overbearing and determined 
than their predecessors. This time I thought of a different 
mode of accomplishing the object in view, and taking down the 
box at night nailed a shingle over the end, bored with a centre- 
bit a hole just large enough to admit the Wrens, but too small 
for the Sparrows, and put the box back into its place. Early 
in the morning the assault was renewed, but the Wrens found at 
once that they were masters of the situation, and never were 
two birds more delighted. From his perch aloft the male 
poured forth torrents of scorn and ridicule, while the female 



inside the box fairly danced with delight, and I almost fancied 
she made faces at the enemy as he struggled ineffectually to 
gain admission, or sullenly but fruitlessly tried to widen the 

Shortly after this dispute was settled, I noticed ten or 
twelve Sparrows quietly at work at the grape vines, and feeling 
pleased at the havoc they were apparently making among the 
insects passed on, speculating on the increase of fruit I should 
have. In the afternoon they had moved to another trellis, and 
I thought "Well, they are doing the work systematically, and 
no doubt effectually." But shortly afterwards, while passing the 
vines where they commenced, I observed a slight debris of 
greenery on the ground. This led to an examination which 
showed, to my intense mortification, that the heart had been 
eaten out of every fruit bud where the birds had been, and noth- 
ing was left but the outside leaves. The report of firearms was 
heard several times in the garden that afternoon, many dead 
and wounded Sparrows were left to the care of the cats, and 
every crevice where the birds were known to breed was closed 
up at once. 

Since then the Wrens have held possession of their box, and 
with a little attention I can keep the Sparrows out of the garden, 
for they find plenty of provender around the stables ; but they 
are still on the increase, and if this continues in the future as in 
the past, the time is not far distant when the streets and stable 
yards will not furnish food enough, and there is no doubt that 
they will then betake themselves to the fields and gardens, and 
appropriate whatever suits them. This is the serious view of 
the subject which has called for legislation in other countries, 
and may do so here unless some unexpected check arises to pre- 
vent the necessity for it. In the meantime it is well that all 
parties having the opportunity, should take notes of the move- 
ments and increase of the birds for future consideration. 

One of our most showy birds, and one which seems to 
enjoy the society of man, is the Baltimore Oriole, whose clear, 
flute-like notes are usually heard around our dwellings for the 
first time in spring about the 8th of May, soon after which "the 



curious purse-like nest may be observed suspended from the 
slender twigs of a neighboring tree. There are seven different 
species of Orioles peculiar to North America, all of them very 
handsome birds with a general family resemblance. Formerly 
we had only one species with us, but in the spring of 1883 I 
found that several pairs of Orchard Orioles were breeding at 
different points around the city. I hoped that this addition to 
our garden birds would be permanent, but last year not one was 
noticed. The Orchard Oriole is the smaller bird of the two, and 
where the Baltimore is orange it is rich chesnut- brown. 

Another showy, dashing, familiar bird is the Blue Jay 
better known around the farm house than in the city. He is a 
gay, rollicking fellow, always ready for plunder or mischief. 
The greater number move south at the approach of winter, but 
a few remain in the pine woods, whence they issue on mild days 
to sun themselves among the tree tops. They are somewhat 
gregarious in their habits, and even in the breeding season have 
a custom of going about in guerilla bands of four or five, visiting 
the farm house in the early morning, seeking a chance to suck 
eggs, and woe betide the unlucky Owl whom they happen to 
come across on any of these excursions ! His peace for that 
day is over, for the excitement is often kept up till darkness 
forces the Jays to retire. 

There is another Jay found in Canada which has not been 
noticed so far south as Hamilton. This is the Canada Jay, a 
constant hanger on about the lumber camps, where he picks 
up bits of msat or other refuse from the table. His taste for 
raw meat is so well known that the lumbermen have given him 
the names of " Butcher's Boy," " Meat Bird," etc. He is very 
common in the district of Muskoka, which is his southern limit 
in this part of the country. This species is strictly confined to 
the north, and has the singular habit of building its nest during 
the winter, and raising its young as early as March, while the 
ground is still covered with snow. There are eighteen different 
Jays described as North American, but the greater number of 
these are found on the Pacific coast. 

The Woodpeckers, as a class, move off at the advance of 
civilization, and when the country becomes clear of heavy tim- 



ber very few are seen. In the district of Muskoka there are tracts 
which the fire has gone through, leaving many large trees killed 
and going to decay. These places are described by my corres- 
pondent, Mr. Tisdall, as a perfect paradise for Woodpeckers. 
There the large black Logcock is quite common, and the Arctic 
Three-toed species is a constant resident. The Raven is also 
frequently seen in that district, and during the winter I saw a 
fine specimen of the great Cinereous Owl, which had been sent 
down to Hamilton from one of the villages. 

The Owls are not a numerous family, but all those peculiar 
to the eastern part of the continent have been found near 
Hamilton, though some of them are of very rare occurrence, the 
most recent addition to the list being the Barn Owl, strix 
flammea, a specimen of which was shot by young Mr. Reid, 
gardener, near the cemetery, in 1882. This harmless mouser is 
believed to be identical with the British bird of the same name, 
whose history is so strongly colored by superstition ; poets and 
historians, ancient and modern, uniformly associating his name 
with evil. In the writings of Shakespeare frequent allusion is 
made to the Owl as a bird of ill repute; thus in connection with 
the omens which preceded the death of Caesar, it is said that 
" Yesterday the bird of night did sit even at noonday upon the 
market place, hooting and shrieking." In describing the memor- 
able midnight ride, when Thomas Graham of the farm of Shan- 
ter, was privileged to get a glimpse of the proceedings of a social 
science meeting of the moving spirits of the time, the poet 
Burns implies that the bird was in the habit of keeping bad 
company : " Kirk Allowa was drawin' nigh, whaur ghaists and 
hoolets nichtly cry." 

In the rural districts of Scotland, where superstition still 
lingers, the "hoolet" is regarded with aversion, and his visits 
to the farm house are looked upon as forerunners of disaster to 
the family. Its cry, when heard at night, is described in the 
literature of the country as most appalling. Thus, in a song by 
Tannahill, the fellow townsman and brother poet of Wilson, the 
hero is entreating admission to the chamber of his lady love, 
and in describing his uncomfortable position outside, mentions 
among other causes that the " cry o' hoolets makes me eerie." 




I have listened attentively to the cry of this and other Owls, but 
have not noticed anything so terrifying about them. A short 
time ago I heard the serenade of the Great Horned Owl, down 
near Stoney Creek, under the mountain. It was loud and harsh, 
and struck me at the time as resembling the neighing of a colt. 
Such sounds, when heard unexpectedly at night in a lonely 
place, are not calculated to inspire courage in a breast already 
depressed with superstituous fear; 4 but the effect produced must 
to a great extent depend on the train of thought passing through 
the mind of the hearer at the time, for though many a stalwart 
Scot has quailed at the cry of the " hoolet," it is a matter of 
history that the sons of that romantic land, when roused to 
enthusiasm by similar sounds extorted from the national instru- 
ment, have performed deeds of personal valor which will live in 
song and story so long as poets and historians seek such themes. 

In our country we have no birds of evil omen, and the Owl 
is given his proper place in science and literature. Longfellow 
speaks of him as " a grave bird ; a monk who chants midnight 
mass in the great temple of nature." The object of his visits to 
the farm house is well understood, and if they are followed by 
disaster it is usually to the poultry or to the bird himself, if the 
farmer's boys can so direct it. 

Towards the little Screech Owl the feeling is quite differ- 
ent. When the weather gets severe he frequently takes up his 
quarters inside the barn, and remains there undisturbed till the 
weather softens in the spring, when he again betakes himself to 
the woods. During the day he sits on the cross-beams, glower- 
ing at the people as they come and go, but at night he is most 
active in the pursuit of mice, which at that season form his 
favorite fare. 

There is no doubt that before the country was settled, the 
sheltered waters of Burlington Bay were a favorite resting place 
for the vast crowds of waterfowl which annually pass to and 
from their breeding places in the north, but now that they are sur- 
rounded by railroads, and constantly dotted with steam or sail- 
ing craft moving around for trade or pleasure, these visits are 
fewer and of shorter duration than in former years. Gulls, 
Grebes, Loons and Ducks in large flocks are still observed in 


spring and fall. In the still summer evenings, the bumping 
sound of the Bittern is frequently heard coming up from the 
marsh, and the little Bittern is common enough in suitable 
places all around the bay. 

Occasionally Swans and Geese are seen, most frequently in 
spring, about the time the ice is breaking up, and in March, 
1884, five white Pelicans spent a short time in the open water 
near the canal, but such visits are made only by birds who seem 
bewildered by foggy weather or exhausted by adverse winds. 

In the month of May the bay is visited by flocks of the Velvet 
Duck,oidemiadeglandi. Their large size and jet black plumage 
make them conspicuous objects on the water in the bright sunny 
days of the early summer, but, strange to say, they are not long 
here before individuals are noticed dead on the Beach, and the 
mortality increases so much during their stay that I have counted 
as many as ten or a dozen in a walk of two miles along the shore. 
The birds are all in excellent condition, and I have heard of no 
satisfactory cause for the occurrence. The fatality seems 
to be confined to this species, and was first observed two or three 
years ago, but since that time it has been rather on the increase. 
I have not heard of its being noticed elsewhere, which would 
imply that the birds die from the effects of something which they 
find in the bay. Whether the paper, recently read by Dr. 
Chittenden on the evil effects of allowing the city sewers to 
empty themselves into its waters, throws any light on the subject 
is a matter well worthy of consideration, for if there is anything 
being mixed with the water which causes death to the birds it 
cannot be conducive to the health of the people. 

I have glanced but lightly at the history of a few of the many 
species of birds to be found in the neighborhood, but should 
farther information be wanted regarding any particular species, 
I shall have pleasure in referring to the list which will henceforth 
be in the library of the association, and I hope the time is not 
far distant when the library will contain not only the names of 
the birds, but that preserved specimens of the birds themselves 
will be found within the cabinets in the museum. 

(Read before the Hamilton Association, April 2nd, 1885.) 





Holbo til's Grebe. 

Tarsus about four-fifths the middle toe and claw; bill little shorter than 
tarsus ; crests and ruff moderately developed. Length, about 18 ; wings, 78 , 
bill, i to nearly 2; tarsus, 3 ; middle toe and claw, af . Adult: Front and 
sides of neck rich brownish-red ; throat and sides of head ashy, whitening where 
it joins the dark color of the crown, the feathers slightly ruffed ; top of head 
with its slight occipital crest, upper-paits generally, and wings dark-brown 
the feathers of the back paler edged ; primaries brown ; part of inner quills 
white ; lower parts pale silvery-ash, the sides watered or obscurely mottled, 
sometimes obviously speckled with dusky ; bill black, more or less yellow at 
base. The young will be recognized by these last characters, joined with the 
peculiar dimensions and proportions. 

HAB. North America at large, including Greenland. Also Eastern 
Siberia, and southward to Japan. Breeds in high latitudes, migrating south 
in winter. 

The eggs are said to be dull white, clouded with buff or pale green. 



This species raises its young in high latitudes, and in winter 
goes south as far as Pennsylvania. In spring and fall it is seen 
on most of the waters of Ontario, though it is not as numerous 
as other two representatives of the family ; it is a regular 
visitor at Hamilton Bay, but only remains for a few days, 
and being somewhat difficult of approach is not often obtained ; 
during the summer or winter it has not been observed. For 
many years the young of this species was described as the 
Crested Grebe, owing to the close resemblance it bears to the 
British bird of that name, Dr. Brewer was the first to point out 
the error which is now corrected in all modern works on Ameri- 
can Ornithology. 


Horned Grebe 

Tarsus about equal to the middle toe without its claw ; ,bill much shorter 
than the head, little more than half the tarsus, compressed, higher than wide 
at the nostrils, rather obtuse ; crests and ruffs highly developed. Small, length, 
about 14; extent, 24; wing, 6 or less ; bill, about J ; tarsus, ij. Adult: 
Above, dark-brown, the feathers paler edged; below, silvery-white, the sides 
mixed dusky and reddish ; most of the secondaries white ; fore neck and up- 
per breast brownish-red ; head glossy black, including the rutt ; a broad band 
over the eye, to and including occipital crests, brownish-yellow ; bill black, 
yellow-tipped. The young differ as in other species, but always recognizable 
by the above measurements and proportions. 

HAB. Northern hemisphere. Breeds from the Northern United States 

Eggs two, whitish shaded with green. 

Generally distributed, breeding in all suitable places throughout 
the country, notably at St. Clair flats ; little if any attempt is 
made to build a nest, the eggs being simply deposited 
close together on a clump of bog which is usually afloat, 
so that the young when hatched may be said to tumble out of 
the shell into the water. Arrives in spring as soon as the ice 
begins to break up and remains quite late in the fall, individuals 
being occasionally seen on Lake Ontario during the winter. 




American Eared Grebe. 

Adult male : Long ear tufts of rich, yellowish-brown ; head and neck all 
round, black ; upper parts greyish-black; sides, chestnut; lower parts, silvery 
grey; primaries, dark-chestnut ; secondaries, white, dusky at the base ; length 
13 inches. Young similar, the ear tufts wanting, and the colors generally duller. 

The eggs cannot be distinguished from those of the preceding species. 

HAB. Northern and Western North America, from the Mississippi 
valley westward. 

I mention this as an Ontario species on the authority of 
Dr. Garnier of Lucknow, Bruce Co., who informs me that a 
specimen was sent to him in the flesh from Colpoys Bay, as 
being something different from those usually seen at that point; 
it was too far gone for preservation when received, but the Dr., 
who has long been an ardent collector, assures me that he is quite 
satisfied of the correctness of his identification. 

This species is comparatively a new acquaintance to 
American Ornithologists, for although described by Audubon, it 
was not found by him. It is now known to breed in Texas, Kan- 
sas, Illinois, Dakota and Colorado, so that we need not be sur- 
prised if a straggler is now and then wafted this far out of its or- 
dinary course. 


Pied-billed Grebe. 

Length 12 to 14 ; wing, about 5 ; bill, i or less ; tarsus, i. Adult : 
bill bluish, dusky on the ridge, encircled with a black bar ; throat with a long 
black patch; upper-parts blackish-brown ; primaries ashy-brown, secondaries, 
ashy and white ; lower-parts silky-white, more or less mottled or obscured 
with dusky ; the lower neck in front, fore breast and sides, washed with rusty. 
Young lacking the throat -patch and peculiar marks of the bill, otherwise not 
particularly different ; in a very early plumage with the head curiously strip- 

HAB. British Provinces southward to Brazil, Buenos Ayres, and Chili, 
including West Indies and the Bermudas, breeding nearly throughout its 



Nest a few matted rushes on the bog. Eggs usually whitish, clouded 
with brown. 

The Dab Chick is not quite as numerous as the Horned 
Grebe, neither is it as hardy, being a little later in arriving in 
spring, and disappearing in the fall at the first touch of frost. 
It is generally distributed, and is the only one of the family 
which breeds in Hamilton Bay, where it may often be seen 
in the inlets in summer accompanied by its young with their 
curiously striped necks. From its small size and confiding 
manners it is not much disturbed, but if alarmed has a con- 
venient habit of sinking quietly under water, the point of the 
bill being the last part to disappear. 


Black ; below from the breast white, with dark touches on the sides and 
vent ; back with numerous square white spots ; head and neck iridescent with 
violet and green, having a patch of sharp white streaks on each side of the 
neck and another on the throat ; bill black. Young: Dark gray above, the 
feathers with paler edges ; below, white from the bill, the sides dusky ; bill 
yellowish-green and dusky. Length, ?~3 feet ; extent, about 4 ; wing, about 
14 inches; tarsus, 3 or more; longest toe and claw, 4 or more; bill, 3 or less, 
at base i deep and wide, the culmen, commissure and gonys all gently 

HAB. Northern part of Northern hemisphere. In North America breeds 
from the northern tier of States northward ; ranges in winter south to the 
Gulf of Mexico. 

Nest among the flags near the water's edge. Eggs dull greenish yellow 
with numerous spots of brown. 

The Loon, on account of its large size, is conspicious where- 
ever it appears, and its loud and melancholy cry is often heard 
at night during rough weather when the bird itself is invisible. 
Many pairs raise their young by the remote lakes and ponds 
throughout the country but they all retire further south to spend 
the winter ; as soon as the ice disappears they return, mostly in 



pairs, and by the end of May have made choice of their summer 
residence. The Loon, in common with some other waterfowl, 
has a curious habit when its curiosity is excited by any thing it 
does not understand, of pointing its bill straight upwards, and 
turning its head rapidly round in every direction as if trying thus 
to solve the mystery under consideration. Once, when in my 
shooting skiff, "behind the rushes, drifting down the Bay before 
a light wind, I came upon a pair of these birds feeding about 
20 yards apart ; they did not take much notice of what must 
have seemed to them to be a clump of floating rushes, and being 
close enough to one of them I thought to secure it, but the cap 
snapped, when the birds hearing the noise, and still seeing nothing 
living, rushed together and got their bills up as described for a con- 
sultation, and so close did they keep to each other that I shot 
them both dead at forty yards with the second barrel. 

Black-throated Loon. 

Back and under-parts much as in the last species ; upper part of head 
and hind neck, bluish-ash or hoary-gray ; fore neck purplish-black. The 
young resemble those of that species but will be known by their inferior size. 
Length, under 2^ .feet ; extent, about 3 ; wing, 13 or less ; tarsus, 3 ; bill, 
about T.\. 

HAB. Northern part of the Northern hemisphere. In North America mi- 
grating south in winter to the Northern United States. 

This is a much more northern bird than the preceding, it 
being very seldom met with in the United States, and then mostly 
in winter in immature plumage. In its migratory course it no 
doubt visits the waters of Ontario, and should be looked for by 
those who have opportunities of doing so. A pair of these birds 
which were found in the neighbourhood of Toronto, were in- 
cluded in a collection which was sent to the Paris Exhibition in 
1866, and I once saw another in Hamilton Bay under circum- 
stances which prevented me from shooting it though I was quite 
close enough, and satisfied of its identity. It was on a still, dull 
day in the early part of April, the ice on the Bay was broken up 
and floating about in loose flakes. Waterfowl of different 


BIRDS <>! 

kinds were coming rapidly in and pitching down in the open water. 
I was out in my shooting skiff in search of specimens when it 
suddenly blew up from the East and I was caught among the 
the drifting ice ; everything in the skiff got soaking wet ; 
I broke both paddles trying to force a passage, and for a time 
was at the mercy of the elements. While drifting along in this 
condition I came close to a Black-throated Diver in similiar 
trouble, it being caught among the ice unable to rise, and 
evidently afraid to dive not knowing where it might come up. 
We looked sympathizingly at each other, it uttered a low whin- 
ing cry, and we drifted apart ; I got safe to land, and it is 
to be hoped the rare bird reached the open water and got off in 
safety; we did not meet again. From not having seen the species 
recently or heard of its capture by others it may be considered 
a very rare visitor to these inland waters. In Dr. W r heaton's 
exhaustive report on the birds of Ohio, mention is made of an 
individual being shot in Sandusky Bay in the fall of 1880 ; but 
the line of its migratory course is probably more along the sea 


Red-throated Loon. 

Blackish , below white, dark along the sides and on the vent and crissum; 
most of head and fore-neck bluish-gray, the throat with a large chestnut patch; 
hind neck sharply streaked with white on a blackish ground, bill black. 
Young have not these marks on the head and neck, but a profusion of small, 
sharp, circular or oval white spots on the back. Size of the last, or rather 

HAB. Northern part of Northern hemisphere, migrating southward in 
winter nearly across the United States. 

Breeds in high latitude. Eggs, two in number, pale green. 

Audubon found this species breeding at Labrador, and in 
the Fauna B or eali- Americana it is spoken of as " frequenting 
the shores of Hudson Bay up to the extremity of Melville Pen- 



Large numbers of these birds visit the waters of Southern 
Ontario in March and April, about the time of the breaking up 
of the ice ; yet an adult with the red throat patch is scarcely 
ever seen ; the one in my collection was procured out on Lake 
Ontario at midsummer, having lor some reason failed to follow 
the flocks to the far north. In the fall very few are seen, their 
route to the south being in some other direction. 

All the birds of this class have a most ungainly gait on land, 
and when surprised away from the water are often taken by the 
hand before they can get up to fly ; on the water or undet its sur- 
face their motions are exceedingly graceful. 

Dr. Coues when speaking in his " Birds of the North-west " 
of the familiarity of the Pacific Black-throated Diver in the 
harbour of San Pedro, in Southern California, says : "They 
even came up to the wharves, and played about as unconcerned 
as domestic ducks ; they constantly swam around the vessels 
lying at anchor in the harbour, and all their motions both on, 
and under, the clear water could be studied to as much advan- 
tage as if the birds had been placed in artificial tanks for the 
purpose. Now two or three would ride lightly over the surface, 
with the neck gracefully curved, propelled with idle strokes of 
their broad paddles to this side or to that, one leg after the 
other stretched at ease almost horizontally backwards, while 
their flashing eyes first directed upwards with curious sidelong 
glances, then peering into the depths below, sought for some at- 
tractive morsel. In an instant, with the peculiar motion im- 
possible to describe, they would disappear beneath the surface, 
leaving a little foam and bubbles to mark where they went down, 
and I could follow their course under water ; see them shoot 
with marvelous swiftness through the limpid element, as, urged 
by powerful strokes of the webbed feet and beats of the half 
open wings, they flew rather than swam ; see them dart out the 
arrow-like bill, transfix an unlucky fish and lightly rise to the 
surface again. While under water the bubbles of air carried 
down with them cling to the feathers, and they seem be-spangled 
with glittering jewels, borrowed for the time from their 
native element, and lightly parted with when they leave it, 
when they arrange their feathers with a shiver, shaking off the 



last sparkling drop, the feathers look as clry as if the bird had 
never been under the water ; the fish is swallowed headforemost 
with a peculiar jerking motion, and the bird again swims at ease 
with the same graceful curve of the neck." 



Common Puffin. 

Adult male: Entire upper parts, and a collar passing round the fore 
neck, black ; sides of the head and throat greyish-white; lower parts white ; 
a horny protuberance on the upper eyelid. In the young the white of the 
plumage is shaded with dusky, and the curiously shaped bill is less fully de- 
veloped. Length 13 inches. 

HAB. Coasts and islands of the North Atlantic, breeding from France 
and the Bay of Fundy northward, South in winter to Long Island and occasion- 
ally farther. 

Nest in a burrow underground, or in a hole among the rocks, one egg, 
brownish white. 

The Puffin is essentially a bird of the sea coast, which it 
seldom leaves except under stress of weather. They breed in 
immense numbers in Labrador, Newfoundland, and sparingly 
in the Bay of Fundy. In winter they scatter along the sea coast 
and are found as far South as Long Island. In the report of 
The Ottawa Field Naturalists Club for 1882 and 1883, it is stated 
that "A young bird of this species was shot on the Ottawa, 
towards the end of October, 1881. It had probably been blown 
inland by a severe storm which took place some days previous." 
This is the only Ontario record we have of its occurrence so far 
from the sea. 




Black Guillemot. 

Adult male: In full plumage, black, shaded with dull green; a white 
patch on the wings. In all other stages, a marbled mixture of black and 
white. Length 13 inches. 

HAB. Coasts of Northern Europe, south to Denmark and British Islands. 
Coast of Maine, south in winter to Philadelphia ; Newfoundland (?) 

Eggs laid on the rocks near the sea, 3 in number, sea-green blotched with 

There is an old record of an individual of this and the suc- 
ceeding species being found in the Bay in a state of extreme 
exhaustion about twenty-five years ago. I did not see the birds 
but enquired into the circumstance at the time and considered 
the report correct. As none of this family have been observed 
since that time, these two can only be regarded as waifs carried 
away against their wishes by the force of the wind. 

10. URIA LOMVIA (LINN.). 31. 
Brunnich's Murre 

Adult male : Head and neck brown, upper-parts, greyish-brown, secon- 
daries tipped wi*h white, lower-parts white from the throat downwards. 
Length 17 inches. 

HAB. Coasts and islands of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans ; 
south on the Atlantic coast of North America to New Jersey, breeding from 
the Gulf of St. Lawrence northward. 

Eggs on the clifts near the sea pale green. 

Found on the Bay under circumstances similar to the pre- 



Po marine Jaeger. 

Middle tail feathers finally projecting about four inches, broad to the tip. 
Length, about 20 inches ; wing, 14 ; bill, i 1| ; tarsus about 2. Adult: 
Back, wings, tail, crissum and lower belly brownish-black ; below trom bill 
to belly, and neck all round, pure white, excepting accuminate feathers of 
sides of neck, which are pale yellow ; quills whitish basally, their shafts 
largely white ; tarsi above blue, below, with the toes and webs black. Not 
quite adult: As before, but breast with dark spots, sides of the body with 
dark bars, blackish of lower belly interrupted ; feet black. Younger: Whole 
under parts, with upper wings and tail-coverts variously marked with white 
and dark ; feet blotched with yellow. Young: Whole plumage transversely 
barred with dark-brown and rufous : feet mostly yellow. Dusky stage (com- 
ing next after the barred plumage just given ?) ; fuliginous, unicolor ; blackish- 
brown all over, quite black on the head, rather sooty-brown on the belly ; 
sides of the neck slightly shaded with yellow. 

HAB. Seas and inland waters of northern portion of the Northern hem- 
isphere ; chiefly maritime. South in North America to the Great Lakes and 
New Jersey. 

Eggs two or three, grayish-olive with black spots. 
The Pomarine Skua is occasionally seen in company with 
the large gulls which spend a short time during the severity of 
winter around the west end of Lake Ontario, following the fish- 
ing boats and picking up such loose fish as are shaken out of 
the nets. It is spoken of by the Fishermen as a bird of a most 
overbearing, tyranical disposition, one which they would gladly 
punish, but on these trying trips all hands are occupied with 
matters of too much importance, to think of shooting gulls. 



12. GAVIA ALBA (GUNN). 39. 

Ivory Gull. 

Adult male : Pure white all over; quills of the primaries yellow, feet 
and legs black, bill dull greenish ; yellow at the tip. Young, plumage clouded 



with dusky. Primaries and tail feathers, spotted with dusky. Length 20 

HAB. Arctic Seas, south in winter on the Atlantic coast of North Ameri- 
ca to Labrador and Newfoundland. Not yet found on the coast of the 

Receiving interesting accounts from the Fishermen of pure 
white gulls which follow their boats out on the Lake, I tried 
in vain for two seasons to persuade them to take my large single 
gun, and bring me a specimen. Finally I got them to attach a 
long line to the stern of one of the boats, with a hook at the end, 
bated with a ciscoe ; in this way they succeeded in getting me a 
fine adult male of the Ivory Gull the only one I ever obtained. 




Hind toe only appearing as a minute knob, its claw abortive. Mantle 
rather dark grayish-blue ; first primary with the whole outer web, and the 
entire end for about two inches, black ; next one, with the end black about as 
far, but outer web elsewhere light, and a white speck at extreme tip ; on the rest 
of the primaries that have black, this color decreases in extent proportionally 
to the shortening of the quills, so that the base of the black on all is in the 
same line when the wings are closed (a pattern peculiar to the species of 
Rissa) ; anc these all have white apex. Bill yellow, usually clouded with 
olivaceous ; feet dusky olivaceous. Rather small ; 16-18 ; wing, 12 ; bill, i- 
i ; tarsus about the same ; middle toe and claw longer ; tail usually slightly 
emarginate. In winter, nape and hind neck shaded with the color of the 
mantle. Young: Bill black ; a black bar on the tail, another across the neck 
behind ; wings and tail variously patched with black ; dark spots before and 
behind the eyes ; quills mostly black. 

HAB. Arctic Regions, south on the Atlantic coast in winterto the Great 
Lakes and the Middle States 

Eggs on cliffs overhanging the water. 

This species breeds in suitable places from the Gulf of 
St. Lawrence north to the shores of the Arctic Seas. It is quite 
common on Lake Ontario, making its appearance early in the 
fall and remaining over the winter. Even in summer should it 
blow up for a day or two from the east a few Kittiwakes may 
be seen soaring aloft as if seeking a sheltered resting place ; as 
soon as the weather moderates they again disappear. 



Glaucous Gull. 

Adult: Plumage pure white except the mantle which is grayish-blue, 
Bill gamboge yellow with a carmine patch toward the end of the lower man- 
dible ; feet flesh colour. In the young the upper-parts are yellowish-white, 
mottled with pale brown; breast and lower-parts grey; tail white mottled with 
brown, length 27 inches. 

HAB. Arctic Regions, south in winter in North America to the Great 
Lakes and Long Island. North Pacific. 

Duringthe winter months the "Burgomaster," asthis species 
is usually named, may be seen roaming around the shores of 
Lake Ontario, seeking what it may devour, and is not very 
scrupulous either as regards quantity or quality. In the Fauna 
Boreali- Americana, it is described as being "notoriously greedy 
and voracious, preying not only on fish and birds but on carrion 
of every kind; one which was killed in Capt. Ross's expedition, 
disgorged an auk when it was struck, and on dissection was 
found to have another in its stomach." 

In March when the days begin to lengthen, and the ice be- 
gins to soften, these large gulls rise fiom Lake Ontario, and 
soaring around in wide circles at a great height pass away toward 
the north. 

In the spring of 1884 a specimen of the Glaucous Gull was 
shot near Toronto, by Mr. George Guest of that city. 



Great Black-backed Gull. 

Feet flesh-colored ; bill yellow with red spot. Mantle blackish slate- 
color ; first primary with the end white for 2-3 inches ; second primary with 
a white sub-apical spot, and like the remaining ones that are crossed with 
black, having the tip white (when not quite mature, the first, with small 
white tip and sub-apical spot, the second with white tip alone). In winter, 
head and neck streaked with dusky. Young : Whitish, variously washed, 
mottled and patched with brown or dusky ; quills and tail black, with or 
without white tips ; bill black, Very large ; length 30 inches ; wing, i8 ; 
bill above 2^. 



HAB. Coast of the North Atlantic ; south in winter to Long Island and 

Nest on the ground, eggs, three, drab, blotched with brownish black. 

This large and powerful gull is often seen by the Lake 
Ontario fishermen following the boats, but always at a safe 
distance. It greedily devours such dead or dying fish as may 
be shaken clear of the nets, and furiously drives off any of the 
smaller gulls which would seek to share the spoil. It has evi^ 
dently a wholesome dread of man, but is not acquainted with all 
his ways, the specimen in my collection having been poisoned 
by swallowing a bait which was intended for a Bald Eagle. 


16. American Herring- Gull/ 51 a. 

Feet flesh-color : bill yellow with red spot ; mantle pale dull blue 
(darker than in leucopterus, but nothing like the deep slate of marinus, much 
the same as in all the rest of the species); primaries marked as in marinus 
(but the great majority of specimens will be found to have the not quite 
mature or final condition); length, 22-27 ; wings 15-18 ; tarsus, 2j-2 ; bill, 
about 2^ long, about ~f deep a base, and about the same at the protuberance. 
In winter ; head and hind neck streaked with dusky. Young: At first almost 
entirely fuscous or sooty-brown, the feathers of the back, white-tipped or 
not ; size at the minimum above given. As its grows old, it gradually lightens ; 
the head, neck and under parts are usually quite whitish, before the markings 
of the quills are apparent, and before the blue begins to show, as it does in 
patches, mixed with brown ; the black on the tail narrows to a bar, at the 
same time the primaries are assuming their characters, but this bar disappears 
before the primaries gain their perfect pattern. At one time the bill is flesh- 
color or yellowish, black-tipped 

HAB. North America generally, breeding on the Atlantic coast frcm 
Maine northward ; in winter south to Cuba and Lower California. 

Eggs, three, greenish-gray, blotched with dark brown. 

This is the most abundant bird of its class on the inland 
lakes, it may be seen at nearly all . seasons of the year either 
soaring in wide circles overhead or passing along in front of the 
wharves always on the alert to examine any offal which may be 
thrown overboard from the vessels. It breeds abundantly along 
the sea coast and also in suitable places inland, as shown by 



the following which occurs in the transactions of the Ottawa 
Field Naturalist Club for 1881. " On this excursion, which was 
held about the 2ist of May, we succeeded in discovering on one 
of the many small lakes near the Cave, a nest of the common 
Gull (Larus argentatus) but we were unfortunately too late, as 
not only were the eggs hatched, but the young had already left 
the nest ; from this fact it is probable that, with this species, the 
period of incubation is very early in the season. The nest, which 
was very shallow, was built almost altogether of dried moss, and 
was placed on the top of a small rock which stood about a foot 
and a half out of the water towards one end of the lake." 

Ring-billed Gull. 

Adult plumage precisely like that of the Herring Gull, and its changes 
substantially the same ; bill greenish-yellow, encircled with a black band near 
the end, usually complete, sometimes defective, the tip and most of the cut- 
ting edges of the bill yellow ; in high condition, the angle of the mouth and 
and a small spot bsside the black, red ; feet olivaceous, obscured with dusky 
or bluish, and partly yellow ; the webs bright chrome. Notably smaller than 
argentatus; length usually 18-20 inches; extent, about 48; wing, about 15; 
bill, under 2, and only about deep at the protuberance ; tarsus, about 2, 
obviously longer than the middle toe. 

HAB. North America at large ; south in winter to Cuba and Mexico. 
Eggs 4 ; dark cream color, blotched with purple, umber, and black. 

This is one of the common Gulls which frequent Lake 
Ontario during the winter, whose numbers helpto make up the 
vast crowd which is frequently seen assembled on the edge of 
the ice at the western extremity of the Lake, or in Hamilton 
Bay, near the canal. 

In all stages of plumage it bears a strong resemblance to the 
Herring Gull, but the ring round the bill and its smaller size 
serve as distinguishing marks. 

Franklin's Gull 

Adult male: Eyelids, neck, rump, tail and lower parts white, the latter 
with the under-part of the wings, deeply tinged with rich rosy red; hood, 



black, descending downwards on the nape and throat; mantle and wings, 
bluish-grey; a band of black crosses the five outer primaries near the end, all 
the quills feathers are tipped with white. Young, changing with age as in 
other birds of this class. Length 15 inches. 

HAB. Interior of North America, breeding chiefly north of the United 
States ; south in winter to South America. 

Eggs, four, greenish-gray with numerous brown markings, heaviest at the 
larger end. 

When questioning that indefatigable sportsman, John Dynes, 
about the rare birds he had seen on his many excursions round, 
the bay, he told me of a gull with a pink breast, which he had 
sometimes seen in the fall, and finally in October, 1865, he 
brought me one of the birds thus referred to, which proved to 
be of this species ; subsequently I shot another in the month of 
April, about the time the ice was breaking up ; the latter was in 
a more advanced stage of plumage, but neither was mature. 

These are the only individuals I have heard of occur- 
ring here, their line of migration being probably more toward 
the Missisippi, as, according to Dr. Coues, they are not found 
on the Atlantic coast. Professor Macoun found them at Gull 
Lake in various stages of plumage. 


Bonaparte's Gull. 

Tarsus about equal to middle toe and claw. Small ; 12-14 ; wing, 9^-18^; 
tarsus, i ; bill, I&--I|T, very slender, like a Tern's. Adult in summer : Bill 
black ; mantle pearly blue, much paler than inatricilla ; hood slaty-plumbeous 
with white touches on the eyelids ; many wing-coverts white ; feet chrome- 
yellow, tinged with coral red ; webs vermilion. Primaries finally : The first 
5-6 with the shafts white except at tip ; first white, white outer web and ex- 
treme tip black ; second white, more broadly crossed with black ; 3d to 6th- 
8th with the black successively decreasing. In winter no hood, but a dark 
auricular spot. Young: Mottled and patched abcve with brown or grey, 
and usually a dusky bar on the wing ; the tail with a black bar, the primaries 
with more black, the bill dusky, much of the lower mandible flesh colored or 
yellowish, as are the feet. 

HAB. Whole of North America, breeding mostly north of the United 
States ; south in winter to Mexico and Central America. 

Eggs scarcely known. 



About the middle of May this dainty little Gull arrives in 
small flocks, and for a week or two enlivens the shores of the 
Bay with its airy gambols, but soon passes on farther north to 
its breeding grounds. In the fall it returns, subdued in dress 
and manners, remains till the weather begins to get cold, and 
then retires to the South to spend the winter. 

It has a wide distribution, being found at some period of 
the year at almost every point on the continent. Speaking of 
this species in the " Birds of the Northwest," Dr. Coues says ; 
" This little Gull holds its own, from the Labrador crags, 
against which the waves of an angered ocean ceaselessly beat, 
to the low, sandy shores of the Gulf, caressed by the soothing bil- 
lows of a tropical sea." 



Caspian Tern. 

Adult male ; Crown, sides of the head, and hind head, black, glossed with 
green, back and wings, light bluish-gray, the outer primaries dark bluish-gray 
on the inner webs, upper tail coverts and tail grayish-white, neck and lower 
parts pure white, bill rich vermilion, legs and feet black, tail slightly forked. 
Young mottled and barred with dull brown. Length 20 inches. 

HAB. Nearly cosmopolitan ; in North America breeding southward to 
Virginia, Lake Michigan, Nevada, and California. 

Eggs, two, laid in a hollow in the sand ; pale olive buff, marked with 
spots of dark brown. 

The harsh cry, long pointed wings, and coral red bill of this 
species, at once attract the attention of any one who may happen 
to be close enough for observation. In spring, when at liberty 
to move about, they visit Hamilton Bay in small numbers, and 
are seen fishing, about the mouths of the inlets or more frequent- 
ly basking in the sun on a sandy point which runs out into the 



bay opposite Dynes' place. In the fall they pay a similar visit, 
but at this season they are less attractive in appearance, the bill 
having lost much of its brilliancy, and the plumage being com- 
paratively dull. 


Cabot's Tern. 

Bill rather longer than the head, slender, black, with the tip yellow, 
mouth inside, deep blue ; feet, black ; wings longer than the tail, which is 
deeply forked ; upper part of the head and hind neck, bluish-black ; sides of 
the head, neck all round, and rest of the lower parts, white ; the sides and 
breast tinged with pink ; fore part of the back, scapulars and upper surface 
of the wings pale bluish-gray, the tips and greater part of the inner web of 
the scapulars and quills, white, as are the rump and tail ; the four outer quills 
blackish, but covered with light gray down on the outer webs, and over a con- 
siderable portion of the inner, their shafts white. Length, 15-16 ; wing, 12-50. 

Eggs, two to three, dropped on the dry sand, rather pointed, yellowish 
drab, spotted with dark and reddish brown. 

The usual habitat of this species is so far to the south of us 
that I would hesitate to include it in this list, but for the conclu- 
sive evidence we have of its being taken within our limits. 

In the spring of 1882, Dr. Gamier noticed three terns of this 
species coursing around a mill-pond not far from his residence 
at Lucknow. The Dr. attended to them at once, the result was 
that one went clear off toward Lake Huron, another wriggled 
with difficulty after it, and the third fell dead on the pond. I 
afterward saw this specimen mounted, and satisfied myself of its 
identity. It is difficult to account for birds wandering away at 
times beyond their usual limit, yet we might with as much truth 
say that it is difficult to account for birds so regularly keeping 
within certain limits, but when those of this class find themselves 
farther from home than they intended, it does not cost them 
much labour to correct the mistake. 


Forster's Tern. 

Like the next ; larger, tail longer than wings. Wing of adult, g--io ; 
tail, 6J--8, thus often beyond the extreme of hirundo, and nearly as in 


paradisaea; bill, i (i if), and about 2-5 deep at base (in hirundo rarely if 
ever so deep); tarsus seldom down to ; whole foot, about 2. Little or no 
plumbeous wash below ; inner web of the outer tail feather darker^than outer 
web of the same Young and winter birds may be distinguished from hirundo 
at gunshot range ; the black cap is almost entirely wanting, and in its place 
is a broad black band an each side of the head through the eye ; several 
lateral tail feathers are largely dusky on the inner webs ; their outer webs are 

HAB. North America generally, breeding from Manitoba southward, in 
the United States to Virginia, Illinois, Texas, and California ; in winter 
southward to Brazil. 

Eggs, two to three, drab, blotched and spotted with brown of different 

Said to breed in suitable places from Texas to the Fur coun- 
tries ; on Lake Ontario it is only a casual visitor in spring and 
fall, but it breeds abundantly in the marshes along the River 
St. Clair. In general appearance it bears a close resemblance 
to the next species, but the difference is readily seen by referring 
to the peculiar markings of the tail feathers. 

Common Tern. 

Bill red, blackening on the terminal third, the very point usually light , 
feet coral red. Mantle pearly grayish-blue ; primary shafts white except at the 
end ; below white, washed with pale pearly plumbeous blanching on throat 
and lower belly. Tail mostly white, the outer web of the outer feather dark- 
er than inner web of the same. Length of male, 14^ (1316) ; extent, 31 
(29-32); wing, io (9f--nf); tail, 6 (5-7); tarsus, f (--); bill, i--i& ; whole 
foot, averaging if ; female rather less; averaging toward these minima ; young 
birds may show a little smaller, in length of tail particularly, and so of total 
length ; length, 12 or more ; wing, 9 or more ; tail, 4 or more; bill, i or more 
In winter this species does not appear to lose the black-cap, contrary to a 
nearly universal rule. Young: Bill mostly dusky, but much of the under 
mandible yellowish; feet simply yellowish ; cap more or less defective ; back 
and wings patched and barred with grey and light brown, the bluish showing 
imperfectly if at all, but this color shading much of the tail ; usually a blackish 
bar along the lesser coverts, and several tail feathers dusky on the outer web ; 
below, pure white, or with very little plumbeous shade. 

HAB. Greater part of Northern hemisphere and Africa. In North 
America chiefly confined to the Eastern Province, breeding from the Arctic 
coast, somewhat irregularly, to Florida and Texas, and wintering northward 
to Virginia. 



Eggs, two or three deposited in a hollow in the sand, light brown, tinged 
with green and blotched with dark brown. 

The Sea Swallow, as this species has often been called, is 
common to both continents, and has been found breeding as far 
north as Greenland and Spitzbergen ; its return to its summer 
haunts is hailed as a sure indication that winter is really gone, 
and for a time many a quiet bay and inlet is enlivened by its 

" Swift by the window skims the Tern, 

On light and glancing wing, 

And every sound which rises up 

Gives token of the Spring." 

At Hamilton Bay it makes its appearance about the loth of 
May, and in company with the black-headed Gulls, in merry 
groups go careering around the shores, or settle on the sand 
bars to rest and plume their feathers in the sun. By the end of 
the month they have all gone to the St. Clair marshes or some 
such place to raise their young ; again paying us a short visit 
in the Fall on their way South. 

Arctic Tern. 

Bill, carmine; Feet, vermillion ; plumage, like that of Hirundo, but much 
darker below, the plumbeous wash so heavy that these parts are scarcely 
paler than the mantle; crissum, pure white; throat and sides of the neck, 
white or tinged with gray. In winter, cap defective ; in young the same, 
upper parts patched with gray, brown or rufus ; under parts paler or white ; 
a dark bar on the wing; outer webs of several tail feathers, dusky; bill 
blackish or dusky red with yellow on the under mandible ; feet, dull orange, 
smaller than hirundo, but tail much longer, Length, 14-17 ; wing, 10-12 ; 
tail 5-8; bill, 1.20-1.40. 

HAB. Northern hemisphere ; in North America breeding from Massa- 
chussetts to the Arctic Regions, and wintering southward to Virginia and 

Eggs 2 to 3 ; laid on the bare rock ; drab, spotted and dashed with brown 
of different shades. 

For several reasons the Terns which visit Ontario are less 
known than birds belonging to other classes ; they are not 
sought after by sportsmen, and at present the number of collect- 



ors is so few, that the Sea Swallows (as they are here called,) 
are little molested ; then there are several species such as the 
Common Tern, Forster's Tern, and the one we are now con- 
sidering, which resemble each other so closely, that the differ- 
ence can only be made out on careful examination by one who 
is familiar with the subject. As compared with the Common 
Tern, the present species is a bird of more slender make, the 
tail feathers are usually much longer, and the under parts of a 
much darker shade.. 

In the spring and fall, flocks of Terns resembling each other 
in general appearance are seen frequenting Hamilton Bay, and 
the inlets along the shores of Lake Ontario, considering the 
range of this species it is likely that it is here with the others, 
but among the few which I have killed, I have not found any. 

In the collection of birds got together under direction of the 
late Prof. Hincks, and sent to the Paris Exhibition in 1867, a 
pair of Arctic Terns was included which were said to have been 
procured near Toronto. 


Least Tern. 

Bill yellow, usually tipped with black. Mantle pale pearly grayish-blue, 
unchanged on the rump and tail; a white frontal crescent, separating the 
black from the bill, bounded below by a black loral stripe reaching the bill; 
shafts of two or more outer primaries black on the upper surface, white under- 
neath ; feet orange. Young : Cap too defective to show the crescent ; bill 
dark, much of the under mandible pale ; feet obscured. Very small, only 
8-9; wing, 6-6 ; tail, 2-3^; bill, i-ij ; tarsus, $. 

HAB. Northern South America, Northward to California and New Eng- 
hnd, and casually to Labrador, breeding nearly throughout its range. 

Eggs, 2 to 3 ; variable in color ; usually drab, speckled with lilac and 
brown ; left in a slight depression in the dry beach sand beyond the reach of 

This is a refined minature of the Common Tern, and a very 
handsome, active little bird ; it is common along the sea coast 
to the south of us but probably does not often come as far north 



as Lake Ontario. Dr. Wheaton mentions it as of irregular 
occurrence on Lake Erie, and Dr. Brodie reports it as being 
found near Toronto. In the month of October, several years 
ago, I shot an immature specimen as it rose from a piece of drift 
wood in Hamilton Bay, during a southerly blow of several days 
duration, which is the only time I have ever seen the species here. 



26. Black Teru. 77. 

Adult in breeding plumage ; head, neck and under parts, uniform jet" 
black ; back, wings and tail plumbeous ; primaries unstriped ; crissum pure 
white ; bill black. In winter and young birds, the black is mostly replaced 
by white on the forehead, sides of head and under parts, the crown, occiput 
and neck behind, with the sides under the wings, being dusky-gray ; a dark 
auricular patch and another before the eye ; in a very early stage, the upper- 
parts are varied with dull brown. Small ; wing, 89, little less than the whole 
length ot the bird ; tail, 3^, simply forked; bill, ii&; tarsus, f ; middle toe 
and claw, i. 

HAB. Temperate and tropical America. From Alaska and the Fur 
countries to Chili, breeding from the middle United States northward. 

No nest. Eggs, on the bog, two or three, brownish olive, splashed and 
spotted with brown. 

Common to both Continents, extending its migrations far 
north ; it has been found in Iceland, and according to Richard- 
son is known to breed in the fur countries. It enters Southern 
Ontario early in May and often visits the various feeding 
resorts along the route, in company with the smaller Gulls, and 
retires to the marshes to raise its young. At St. Clair flats it 
breeds abundantly, its eggs being often seen apparently neglect- 
ed, yet they are said to be covered by the female at night and in 
rough weather. 

In the fall it is again seen moving about with its young, but 
seems rather tender as it is one of the first to retire to the South 






27. SULA BASSANA (LINN.). 117. 


Adult male : White, the head and hind neck, tinged with yellowish 
brown, primaries black. Young dark-brown spotted with white, lower parts 
grayish white, Length, 30 inches. 

HAB. Coasts of the North Atlantic, south in winter to the Gulf of Mexico 
and Africa : breeds from Maine and the British Islands northward. 

Breeds in communities on rocks near the sea. One egg, pale greenish 

Although a bird of powerful flight, the Solan Goose seldom 
wanders far from the sea. The only record we have of its oc- 
currence in Southern Ontario is that of. a single individual 
which was found in Hamilton Bay, in a state of extreme exhaus- 
tion, after a severe "north-easter." 

It has many favorite breeding places along the coast from 
Maine northward, one of the most extensive of which is " Gannet 
Rock " in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where the birds sit on the 
ledges in such numbers as to give the rock, when viewed from a 
distance the appearance of being covered with snow. 




General plumage, black, glossed with blue, a white patch on the throat 
and another on the sides of the body ; in summer the head is crested with 
long narrow feathers which fall off when the breeding season is over, the white 
patch on the throat and sides also disappear about the same time. Length, 
36 inches. 

HAB. Coasts of the North Atlantic, south in winter on the coast of the 
United States, casually to the Carolinas ; breeding (formerly) from Massa- 
chusetts northward. 

Nest on precipitous rocks, built of sticks and sea-weed, kept in a filthy 
condition from the refuse of the larder, etc. Eggs, three to four, pale bluish 



Although the Cormorants are generally birds of the sea-coast, 
yet when not specially engaged at home, they make periodical 
excursions to the lakes, where no doubt they find the change of 
food and scenery very agreeable ; in spring and fall they are 
occasionally seen on Hamilton Bay, following their usual avoca- 
tion of fishing. Not long since I looked at one through a 
powerful glass as he sat on the buoy out off the wharves, and 
could not but admire the graceful motions of his long, lithe neck, 
as he preened his plumage in conscious safety ; perhaps at that 
distance the inspection was more pleasant than it might have 
been closer by, as these birds, though apparently cleanly, carry 
with them a most unsavory odor. 

Double-crested Cormorant, 

Tail of twelve feathers ; gular sac convex or nearly straight-edged behind. 
Glossy greenish-black ; feathers of the back and wings coppery. gray, black- 
shafted, black-edged ; adult with curly black lateral crests, and in the breed- 
ing season other filamentous white ones over the eyes and along the sides of 
the neck ; white flank-patch, not observed in the specimens examined, but 
probably occurring ; gular sac and lores orange. Eyes green. Length, 30-33 
inches ; wing, 12 or more ; tail, 6 or more ; bill along gape, 3^ ; tarsus a little 
over 2. Young, plain dark-brown, paler or grayish (even white on the breast) 
below, without head plumes. 

HAB. Eastern coast of North America, breeding from the Bay of Fundy 
northward ; southward in the interior to the Great Lakes and Wisconsin. 

Eggs, two to three, bluish green. 

This, like the preceding species, occasionally visits the inland 
lakes, and is distinguished by its smaller size and richer plumage. 
The specimen in my collection I shot off Huckleberry Point, as 
it rose from a partially submerged stump, which it had used for a 
short time as a fishing station. All the Cormorants have the 
reputation of being voracious feeders, and they certainly have a 
very nimble way of catching and swallowing their prey, yet it is 
not likely that they consume more than other birds of similar 




American White Pelican. 

White; occiput and breast yellow ; primaries, their coverts, bastard quills 
and many secondaries black ; bill, sac, lores and feet yellow. Length, about 4 
feet ; expanse, 7-9 : wing, 2 ; bill, i or more ; tail, ; normally 24-feathered. 

HAB. Temperate North America, north in the interior to about Lat. 
61 , south to Central America : now rare or accidental in the Northeastern 
States ; abundant in the Middle Province and along the Gulf coast ; common 
on the coast of California and Western Mexico. 

Nest on the ground or in a low bush near the water. Eggs, one to three, 
dull white. 

Early in the month of May, 1864, five of these large, odd- 
looking birds were observed on Hamilton Bay, and were accord- 
ed such attention as is usually given to visitors of this description. 
John Dynes was the first to give them a salute, and captured 
two of their number, one of which came into my possession, the 
other three remained for a day or two, but were much disturbed, 
and finally got away. On the i3th March, 1884, a similar visit 
was made by a like number, about the time the ice was breaking 
up. Mr. Smith, who was in charge of the Ocean House at the 
time, saw them flying heavily up the lake. They seemed much 
exhausted, and, on alighting on the ice near the edge of the 
water, at once squatted flat, with the head resting between the 
shoulders. On two or three rifle bullets being landed uncom- 
fortably near them, they again got up reluctantly, and went off 
east down the lake, hugging the shore for shelter from the wind, 
which was blowing fresh at the time. 

I have heard of specimens being captured at other points in 
Ontario, but as we are a long way east of their line of migration, 
all of these can only be regarded as stragglers driven from their 
course by high winds or bewildered by foggy weather. 

Professor Macoun found them breeding at Old Wives, Gull 
and Long Lakes in the Northwest. 

4 8 






American Merganser. 

Nostrils nearly median ; frontal feathers reaching beyond those on sides 
of bill; male with the head scarcely crested, glossy green; back and wings 
black and white, latter crossed by one black bar: under parts salmon-colored; 
length, about 24; wing, n , female smaller, occipital crest better developed, 
but still flimsy ; head and neck reddish-brown ; back parts of the male ashy 
gray ; less white on the wing ; under parts less tinted with salmon. 

HAB. North America generally, breeding south to the Northern United 

Nest on the ground, built of weeds and moss, and lined with down. Eggs 
six to eight, buff or dark cream. 

This is the largest, and by many considered the handsomest 
of the three Saw-bills which visit us ; it is never plentiful, being 
more a bird of the sea-coast, but is usually seen singly or in 
pairs among the flocks of waterfowl which crowd up from the 
South as soon as the ice begins to move in the lakes and rivers 
in spring. 

In the fall they are again observed in company with their 
young, which at this stage all resemble the female in plumage. 
The flesh of the Saw-bills being fishy, the gunners often allow 
them to pass when a Blue-bill or a Red-head would not get so 
easily off. 

Red-breasted Merganser. 

Nostrils sub-basal ; frontal feathers not reaching beyond those on sides of 
bill ; a long, thin, pointed crest in both sexes. Smaller than the last ; wing, 
8-9 ; general coloration, sexual difference the same, but the male with the 
jugulum rich reddish-brown, black-streaked, the sides conspicuously finely 
waved with black, a white, black-bordered mark in front of the wing, and the 
wing crossed by two black bars. 



HAB. Northern portions of Northern hemisphere ; south, in winter, 
throughout the United States. 

Nest among the weeds, built of grass, and warmly lined with down. Eggs, 
nine to ten, creamy buff. 

Rather more numerous than the preceding, being often seen 
in spring and fall in flocks of six or eight, fishing about the 
mouths of the inlets in Hamilton Bay. 

This species is common to both continents, and breeds on 
the rocky islets on many of the inland lochs in the north of 
Scotland. All the young birds appear for the first season in the 
plumage of the female, but the male can readily be distinguished 
by a peculiar bony enlargement in the windpipe, which does not 
occur in the opposite sex. 

It is said that in this and the preceding species, as soon as 
the female has completed her set of eggs, the male has the un- 
gallant habit of ignoring all family responsibilities, and leaves 
the entire care of the youngsters to their mother, who leads them 
carefully to the water, and gives them their first lesson at a very 
early age. 


Hooded Merganser. 

Nostrils sub-basal ; frontal feathers reaching beyond those on sides of 
bill ; a compact erect, semicircular, laterally compressed crest in the male, 
smaller and less rounded in the female ; male, black, including two crescents 
in front of wing, and bar across speculum ; under parts, centre of crest, 
speculum and stripes on tertials white ; sides chestnut, black-barred; length, 
18-19 ; wing, 8 ; female smaller ; head and neck brown ; chin whitish ; back 
and sides dark-brown, the feathers with paler edges ; white on the wing less, 
bill reddish at base below. 

HAB. North America generally, south to Mexico and Cuba, breeding 
nearly throughout its range. 

Nest in a hole in a tree or stump. Eggs, six to eight, buff or dark cream 

This beautiful little Saw-bill is a regular visitor at Hamilton 



Bay where it spends a short time in the beginning of April, 
before retiring to its more remote breeding grounds. 

The habit of raising its young in a hole in a tree seems rather 
a singular one for a bird of this class, but in this retired position 
the female spends the anxious hours of incubation, beyond the 
reach of danger, to which she might elsewhere be exposed. As 
soon as the young are old enough to bear transportation, she 
takes them one after another by the nape of the neck and drops 
them gently into the water. Like the other Saw-bills, this 
species feeds on fish, on account of which its flesh is not con- 
sidered a delicacy. 



Male with the head and upper neck, glossy green, succeeded by a white 
ring ; breast, purplish-chesnut ; tail feathers mostly whitish ; greater wing- 
coverts tipped with black and white, the speculum violet ; feet orange red ; 
female with the wing as in ttfe male ; head, neck and under-parts pale ochrey 
speckled and streaked with dusky. Length, about 24 ; wing, 10-12. 

HAB. Northern parts of Northern Hemisphere ; in America south to 
Panama and Cuba, breeding southward to the northern border of the 
United States. 

Nest on the ground, built of dry grass, lined with feathers. Eggs, eight 
to ten, dull drab color. 

This, the parent of the domestic duck, is an abundant species 
and widely distributed, but is found in greatest numbers at cer- 
tain points where its food abounds. At Hamilton Bay it occurs 
sparingly during the migratory season, but at Rond Eau, at 
Long Point on Lake Erie, and at the flats along the river St. 
Clair it assembles in vast flocks in the fall to feed on the wild 
rice. At the latter place a few pairs remain during summer and 
rear their young, but the greater body pass farther north. 

A few years since Mr. John Bates, whose farm is on the 
shore of Hamilton Bay near the Waterworks, noticed a female of 
the species late in the fall, associating with his tame ducks; it was 
shy, and kept away from the house for a time, but as the season 



advanced, and the water got frozen over, ft came into the sheds 
and remained permanently with the others. In the spring it 
built a nest in an out of the way place, and in due time came 
forth followed by a brood of young ones, which in time grew 
up and bred with domestic species. Mr. Bates pointed out to 
me some of the stock which he always could recognize by their sit- 
ting deeper in the water, by their comparatively long slim neck, and 
by a certain wild look of suspicion and mistrust which clung to 
them through several generations. Mr. Bates thought the indi- 
vidual referred to had been wounded in the wing, and thus 
incapacitated for performing the usual journey south. 

Black Duck. 

Size of the Mallard, and resembling the female of that species, but darker 
and without decided white anywhere except under the wings. Tail 16-18, 

HAB. Eastern North America, west to Utah and Texas, north to Labra- 
dor, breeding southward to the Northern United States. 

Nest on the ground, built of grass, weeds and feathers. Eggs, eight to ten 
yellowish drab. 

Although there are several other ducks darker in color than 
this species, yet it is still the " Black Duck" of the gunners all 
over the continent, and is excelled by no other in the excellence 
of its flesh. It is not as plentiful throughout Ontario as the 
Mallard, being more a bird of the sea-coast, frequenting the salt 
marshes along the coast of Maine, where it breeds abundantly ; 
a few pairs have also been found mating in the marsh along the 
River St. Clair, but such occurrences are by no means common. 

We are told that long ago the Black Duck was a regular 
visitor to the marshy inlets around Hamilton Bay, but now there 
is so much to disturb, and so little to attract them, that their 
visits are few and far between. 





Gad wall. 

Male with most of the plumage barred or half-ringed with black and 
white or whitish; middle coverts chestnut, greater coverts black, speculum white; 
female known by these wing marks. Length, 19-22 ; wing, 10-11. 

HAB. Nearly cosmopolitan, In North America breeds chiefly within 
the United States. 

Nest usually on the ground, sometimes in trees. Eggs, buff or dull cream 

The Gadwall is rare throughout Ontario ; when a large mix- 
ed lot of ducks is sent down in the fall from any of the shooting 
stations in the west, one pair or two may sometimes be picked 
out, but that is all. 

The pair in my collection were shot in Hamilton Bay many 
years ago, since that time I have not heard of any being obtained 
there. It seems rather a tender species, and does not go as far 
north as some others. It is common to both continents, but it is 
nowhere abundant. 




Bill and feet grayish-blue, top of head white, or nearly so, plain or speck- 
led, its sides and the neck more or less speckled ; abroad green patch on sides 
of head ; fore breast light-brownish ; belly pure white ; crissum abruptly 
black, middle and greater coverts white, the latter black-tipped ; speculum 
green, black bordered ; length, 20-22 ; wing, n ; tail, 5 ; tarsus, 2; bill, ij-ij : 
female known by the wing markings. 

HAB. North America, from the Arctic Ocean south to Guatemala and 

Eggs, eight to twelve, pale buff. 

Resembles the preceding in appearance, but can always be 
distinguished by the creamy white crown which has suggested 
for the species the familiar name of " Baldpate." It is also more 
abundant, being often seen in flocks of fifty to one hundred during 



the season of migration. It has a wide breeding range through- 
out the United States and British America. At the St. Clair 
flats it has often been seen at midsummer, but so far I have no 
record of its nest or eggs having been found there. It seems 
rather tender, and is one of the first to retire to the south in the 


Green-winged Teal. 

Head and upper neck chesnut, with a broad glossy green band on each 
side, uniting and blackening on the nape ; under parts white or whitish, the 
fore-breast with circular black spots ; upper parts and flanks closely waved 
with blackish and white ; a white crescent in front of the wing ; crissum black, 
varied with white or creamy ; speculum rich green bordered in front with buffy 
tips of the greater coverts, behind with light tips of secondaries ; no blue on 
the wing ; bill black ; feet gray. Female differs in the head markings, but 
those of the wing are the same. Small ; length, 14-15 ; wing, y ; tail 3 ; bill, 
i ; tarsus, ij. 

HAB. North America, chiefly breeding north of the United States, and 
migrating south to Honduras and Cuba. 

Nest on the ground, built of dried grass, and lined with feathers. Eggs, 
usually eight, pale dull green. 

This dainty little duck visits us in considerable numbers 
in April ; and in September is again seen while on its way south. 
It was fcund by Professor Macoun breeding in Grand Valley 
near the Assinaboine, and most likely does so in intermediate 
districts, though to what extent is not at present known. It is 
one of the first to return from the north, and is eagerly sought 
for at the shooting stations on account of the delicacy of its flesh. 

Blue-winged Teal. 

Head and neck of the male blackish plumbeous, darkest on the crown, 
usually with purplish iridescence , a white crescent in front of the eye ; under 
parts thickly dark spotted ; wing coverts sky-blue, the greater white-tipped 



speculum green, white-tipped ; axillars and most under wing coverts white ; 
scapulars striped with tawny and blue, or dark green ; fore-back barred ; rump 
and tail dark, plain ; crissum black ; bill black, feet dusky yellow ; female 
with head and neck altogether different; under parts much paler and obscurely 
spotted, but known by the wing marks. 

HAB. North America in general, but chiefly the Eastern Province ; north 
to Alaska, and south to the West Indies and Northern South America ; breeds 
from the Northern United States northward. 

Nest composed of dry grass and weeds, lined with feathers. Eggs, eight, 
dull green. 

At Hamilton very few of this species are seen in spring, but 
in the fall they often appear in flocks of considerable size, and 
during their short stay afford good sport to the gunners, who 
lay in wait for them in the evening near their feeding ground. 

At St. Clair I have seen them in June, evidently mated, and 
was told that a few pairs still breed there, though the number 
of summer residents is small as compared with former years. 

In Grand Valley, along the banks of the Assinaboine, Prof. 
Macoun found them extremely abundant, and breeding in suitable 
places throughout the district. 


Bill as above with very numerous and prominent laminae. Head and 
neck of male, green ; fore-breast white, belly purplish-chesnut ; wing coverts, 
blue ; speculum green bordered with black and white ; some scapulars blue, 
others green, all white-striped ; bill blackish ; feet red. Female known by 
bill and wings. 

HAB. Northern Hemisphere. In North America breeding from Alaska 
to Texas ; not abundant on the Atlantic coast. 

Nest on the ground. Eggs, eight, greenish gray. 

An adult male Shoveller procured in the month of May makes 
a handsome specimen for the cabinet, as there are few of our 
waterfowl as gaily attired ; the large spoonbill somewhat spoils 
his beauty of proportion, but it serves as a distinguishing mark for 
individuals of the species, of any age or sex. 



It is not common in Ontario, but is occasionally found by the 
gunners steering up some sluggish creek, or sifting the mud along 
its shores ; as its flesh is held in high estimation for the table, 
it is never allowed to get away when it can be stopped. 

It breeds in the Northwest, and was observed by Prof. 
Macoun in great numbers in the creeks and pools near the 
Assinaboine in September and October. 

41. DAFILA ACUTA (LINN.). 143. 


Tail cuneate, when fully developed the central feathers projecting and 
nearly equalling the wing ; much shorter and not so narrow in the female and 
young, four to nine inches long ; wing, u, total length about 24. Bill, black 
and blue, feet grayish blue, head and upper neck dark brown, with green and 
purple gloss, sides of neck with a long white stripe, lower neck and under 
parts white, dorsal line of neck black, passing into the gray of the back, which, 
like the sides, is vermiculated with black ; speculum greenish-purple, anter- 
iorly bordered by buff tips of the greater coverts, elsewhere by black and 
white ; tertials and scapulars black and silvery ; female and young with the 
whole head and neck speckled or finely streaked with dark brown, and grayish 
or yellowish-brown ; below dusky freckled ; above blackish, all the feathers 
pale-edged ; only a trace ot the speculum between the white or whitish tips of 
the greater coverts and secondaries. 

HAB. Northern hemisphere. In North America breeds from the north- 
ern parts of the United States northward, and migrates south to Panama and 

Nest on the ground. Eggs, eight to twelve, dull grayish olive. 

An abundant migrant in spring and fall, and one of the most 
graceful in its movements, either on land or water. At Hamil- 
ton its visits are of short duration, as it seems to prefer running 
streams. According to Mr. Saunders, a few pairs breed at St. 
Clair, but the great body pass the summer much farther north. 

42. AIX SPONSA (LINN.). 144. 
Wood Duck. 

Male : Head crested, metalic green and purple ; line above and behind 
the eye, white ; throat white ; above, coppery black with a gloss of green and 
purple ; beneath white, upper part of the breast, chestnut ; sides buffy, very 



finely variegated with black ; the shoulder bordered also with black ; covert 
and quills with mere a fewer tips and shades of white and purple. Female : 
chestnut of the neck detached and dull ; sides not striped ; head and neck 
dull. Bill reddish, edges dusky. Legs and feet yellowish, iris red. Length, 
19 ; extent, 27-50 ; wing, 9. 

HAB. Temperate North America, breeding throughout its range. 

Nest in a hole in a tree. Eggs about twelve in number, pale buff slightly 
tinged with green. 

This, the most beautiful of all our waterfowl, is very gener- 
ally distributed throughout the country, arriving from the south 
about the time the ice disappears from our lakes and rivers, and 
again retiring early in the fall. Owing to the great beauty of the 
male these birds are much sought after by all classes of sports- 
men, and are now seldom seen except near the retired ponds and 
marshes where they breed. Twenty-five years ago I have seen 
them leading out their young from one of the inlets of the Dun- 
das marsh ; they were also known at that time to breed near 
Gage's inlet, but of late years they have been observed only as pass- 
ing migrants in spring and fall. The Wood Duck has frequently 
been domesticated, and adds greatly to the interest and beauty 
of an artificial pond in a pleasure ground. 


43. AYTHYA AMERICANA (Evx.). 146. 

Bill dull blue with a black belt at end, broad and depressed, shorter than 
head (2 or less) the nostrils within its basal half; color of head rich, pure chest- 
nut, with bronzy or red reflections, in the female, plain brown ; body anteriorly, 
rump and tail coverts black, in the female dark brown, back, scapulars and 
sides plumbeous-white, finely waved with unbroken black lines, less distinct 
in the female ; speculum, bluish-ash. Length, about 20 ; wing 9-10 ; tarsus, 

HAB. North America, breeding from California and Maine northward. 

Nest like that of a Coot, composed of broken bits of rushes on a clump of 
bog, often afloat. Eggs, seven to eight, dull buff. 

The Redhead is one of the most abundant species which visits 
Lake Ontario, and, judging by the numbers which are sent down 
from the shooting stations farther west, it seems to be equally so 
at other points. They are strong hardy birds, and a heavy 
charge skilfully aimed, is necessary to stop them when on the 



wing. During- the past two seasons a flock of 100 to 150 
remained in Lake Ontario all winter, about half a mile from the 
shore, opposite the village of Burlington ; the birds spent most 
of their time at one particular place, sometimes diving, or again 
sitting at rest on the water, and always close together, as 
if for greater warmth. When the weather moderated in March 
they shifted about for a few days and then went off to the north- 
west, the course taken by most waterfowl when leaving this 
point in spring. Great numbers are said to spend the summer 
in Manitoba. 


Similar to the preceding, but bill blackish, high at the base and narrow 
throughout, not shorter than head (two and a.half or more), the nostrils at its 
middle ; head much obscured with dusky ; black waved lines of the back 
sparse and broken up into dots, the whitish thus predominating. 

HAB. Nearly all of North America, breeding from the Northwestern 
States northward to Alaska. 

Breeds in the Northwest, Nest and eggs similar to those of the Redhead. 

The Canvas-back occurs with us occasionally in limited num- 
bers ; it resembles the Redhead in many ways, but can readily 
be distinguished by its low forehead and by the sooty color of 
the head and upper part of the neck. Its mode of diving is also 
peculiar, as before going under the water it throws itself upward 
and forward, thus describing a curve as if seeking to gain im- 
petus in the descent, just as boys sometimes do when taking a 
header off a point not much above the water level. 

Its reputation as a table duck is very high, but the excellence 
is attained only when the birds have for some time been feeding 
on wild celery, of which they are very fond ; when that is not 
available they are no better for the table than Redheads or Blue, 




American Scaup Duck. 

Male with the head, neck and body anteriorly black, the former with a 
green gloss ; back and sides whitish, finely waved in zig-zag with black ; below, 
and speculum of wing white ; bill dull blue with black nail ; legs plumbeous. 
Female with the head and anterior parts brown, and other black parts of the 
male, rather brown ; face pure white. Length, about 20 ; wing, 9. 

HAB. North America, breeding far north. 

Nest of weeds and dry grass, lined with down, placed on the ground. 
Eggs, dull drab. 

This and the next species, which are nearly allied, are the 
ducks most frequently met with in Southern Ontario, where 
they are known as Blue-bills. In the fall they remain in Ham- 
ilton Bay till they are frozen out, and in spring, even before the 
bay is open, they appear outside on Lake Ontario and 
make frequent excursions inward to watch for the moving of 
ice. In spring many remain in the bay till about the first of May, 
by which time they seem all to be paired, but I have no record 
of their having been found breeding, and think it likely that 
nearly all spend the summer to the north of the Province. 

46. AYTHYA AFFINIS (EvT.). 149. 
Lesser Scaup Duck. 

Extremely similar to the preceding, but smaller, about 16 ; wing 8 ; gloss 
of head chiefly purple ; flanks and scapulars less closely waved with black (?) 
It is very difficult to define this bird specifically, and it may be simply a small 
southern form ; but it appears to preserve its characters though constantly 
associated with the last. 

HAB. North America in general, breeding chiefly north of the United 
States, migrating south to Guatemala and the West Indies. 

Closely resembles the preceding except in being considerably 
less in size. . 

According to Dr. Coues, it is a more southerly bird, not breed- 
ing so far north, and going farther south in winter. 

In Southern Ontario it is about equal in abundance with the 
preceding, with which it is often associated, but it does not leave 
Hamilton Bay till about the middle of May which wonlH lead 
us to suppose that it does not go so far north to breed as some 
of the others. 



In the fall it arrives before the preceding species and does 
not remain so late. 

Ring-necked Duck. 

Similar to the foregoing, but an orange-brown ring ronnd the neck ; spec- 
ulum gray ; back nearly uniform blackish ; bill black, pale at base and near 
tip ; female with head and neck brown, and no collar, but loral space and 
chin whitish, as is a ring around eye ; bill plain dusky. In size between the 

HAB. North America, breeding far north, and migrating south to Guat- 
emala and the West Indies. 

Nest on the ground, composed of grass and moss. Eggs, eight to ten, 
pale green. 

This handsome little Duck is not as common as either of 
the preceding ; while here it resembles the Teal in its habits, 
being partial to the marsh, rather than the open water, on 
account of which the gunners have given it the name of Pond 

As compared with the Blue-bills, it seems more tender, the 
feathers are of a softer texture, and it neither comes as early in 
spring nor remains as late in the fall. 


48. American Golden-eye. 151. 

Male with the head and upper neck glossy green, and a white oval or 
rounded loral spot, not touching the base of the bill throughout ; lower neck 
all round, lower parts, including sides, most of the scapulars, wing coverts 
and secondaries, white ; the white of outer surface of wings continuous ; lining 
of wings and axillars dark ; most of upper parts black ; no waving on the back 
or sides ; bill black with pale or yellow end, with nostrils in anterior half ; 
feet orange, webs dusky ; eyes yellow ; head uniformly puffy. Female with 
head snuff-brown, and no white patch in front of the eye, and white of wings 
not always continuous. Length, 16-19 ; wing, 8-9. 

HAB. North America, breeding from Maine and the British Provinces 
northward ; in winter south to Cuba. 

Said to nest in trees. 

A regular visitor at Hamilton Bay during the spring and fall 
migrations. While here they do not keep by themselves, but 



seek the society of whatever species may be at hand ; they are 
very watchful and difficult of approach. If any of my readers 
have ever tried to scull up behind the rushes towards a bunch 
of Blue-bills, among which were one or two Golden-eyes, and suc- 
ceeded in getting a shot, they have had much better luck than 
I have had; more frequently before getting within 100 yards I 
would hear the whistling of the Golden-eye's wings, and looking 
up see them going off with the others following. Like many 
others which are known in Southern Ontario only as visitors in 
spring and fall, the Golden-eyes breed in suitable places 
throughout the North- West Territory. 

In Ontario it is not an abundant species, though a few are 
seen every season. 

Barrow's Golden-eye. 

Very similar to the preceding, differing chiefly in being larger in size ; 
gloss of the head purple and violet ; loral spot larger ; white on the wing 
divided by a dark bar ; feathers on the hind head lengthened into a crest : bill 
blotched with red. Length 19-22 ; wing, 9-10. The female can probably not 
be distinguished from the preceding. 

HAB. Northern North America, south in winter to New York, Illinois, 
and Utah ; breeding from the Gulf of St. Lawrence northward, and south in 
the Rocky Mountains to Colorado. 

Dr. Gamier, who resides at Lucknow, near the south end of 
Lake Huron, reports having found this species occasionally in 
winter in the inlets along the lake shore. The Dr. is not in har- 
mony in all things with the modern school of Ornithologists, and 
thinks this a case of unnecessary sub-division, at all events he 
claims having found both forms, which is likely correct, as the 
present species is found on Lake Michigan, which is within easy 
reach of the point which the Dr. refers to. It has also been 
taken at Toronto, and at Hamilton I am aware of three being 
obtained, one of which came into my possession ; they may, 
however, be more common than we are aware of, as the Hun- 
ters do not trouble the Whistlewings if anything more suitable 
for the table is in view. 



Buffle-headed Duck. 

Somewhat similar to the foregoing in color, but male with the head par- 
ticularly puffy, of varied rich iridescence, with a large white auricular patch 
confluent with its fellow on the nape ; small ; length, 14-16 ; wing, 6-7 ; bill, 
i, with nostrils in its basal half; female still smaller, an insignificant looking 
duck, with head scarcely puffy, dark gray with traces of the white auricular 

HAB. North America ; south in winter to Cuba and Mexico. Breeds 
from Maine northward, through the fur countries and Alaska. 

Dr. Coues (Birds N. W., 575) describes the nest of this duck as placed in 
the hollow of a dead tree, and composed of feathers. The eggs are described 
as varying from buff to a creamy-white or grayish-olive color. 

The Buffle-heads are common at all the shooting stations in 
Southern Ontario in spring and fall, though owing to their small 
size they are not much sought after. The male in 
full spring dress is a very handsome little fellow, and, like many 
other animals of diminutive proportions, seems to feel himself 
as big as any of those about him. I have in my collection a 
young male of this species of a uniform cream color, which was 
shot in the bay a few years since. In the fall they do not 
remain as late as the Blue-bills or Redheads, but move south at 
the first indication of cold weather. 

Old Squaw ; Long-tailed Duck. 

Tail of fourteen narrow pointed feathers, in the male in summer the cen- 
tral ones very slender and much elongated, nearly or quite equalling the wing , 
nail of bill occupying the whole tip ; seasonal changes remarkable. Male in 
summer with the back and the long narrowly lanceolate scapulars varied with 
reddish-brown, wanting in winter, when this color is exchanged for pearly- 
gray or white ; general color blackish or very dark brown, below from the 
breast abruptly white ; no white on the wing ; sides of head plumbeous-gray, 
in winter the head, neck, and body anteriorly white, but the gray cheek-patch, 
persistent, and a large dark patch below this ; bill at all seasons black, broadly 



orange barred. Female without lengthened scapulars or tail feathers, the 
bill dusky greenish, and otherwise different ; but recognized by presence of 
head and neck patches, and absence of white on the wing. Length, 15-20 or 
more, according to tail ; wing, 8-9. 

HAB. Northern hemisphere ; in North America south to the Potomac 
and the Ohio ; breeds far northward. 

Nest on the ground. Eggs six to seven, drab color, 

Vast numbers of "cowheens" (as these birds are called here) 
spend the winter in Lake Ontario, out on the deep water away 
from the shore. Even there they are not free from danger, as 
great numbers get entangled in the gill nets. Passing along the 
beach in winter, strings of drowned, draggled cowheens may be 
seen dangling from the clothes lines about the fisherman's out- 
houses, where I have frequently heard the fishermen, when trying 
to force a sale, declare positively, that if buried in the earth for 
twenty-four hours before being prepared for the table, that these 
birds are excellent eating, notwithstanding all of which the sup- 
ply keeps still ahead of the demand, and numbers are turned 
over to the pigs, a sorrowful end for the beautiful, lively C lan- 
guid hyemalis. 


Harlequin Duck. 

Bill very small and short, tapering to the tip, which is wholly occupied 
by the nail, and with a membraneous lobe at its base, tertiaries curly ; plum- 
age singularly patched with different colors. Male, deep bluish lead color, 
browner below, sides of the head and of the body posteriorly chestnut , coro- 
nal stripe and tail, black ; a white patch at the base of the bill, and another 
on the side of the occiput, of breast and of tail, two transverse ones on side of 
neck forming a nearly complete ring, and several on the wings ; a white jug- 
ular collar ; speculum violet and purple. Female, dark brown, paler below, a 
white patch on auriculars and before the eye; length 15-18 inches; wing 8. 

HAB. Northern North America, breeding from Newfoundland, the Rocky 
Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada north ward ; south in winter to the middle 
states and California. 

Nest composed of weeds and grass lined with down from the breast of 
the owner, it is usually placed in a hollow tree or stump not far from the 
water ; eggs, 6 to 8, pale green. 



The Harlequin is found on the northern shores of Europe, 
Asia, and North America. In the latter country it breeds spar- 
ingly in Maine, and in the north-west to Alaska. It has also 
been found in the northern Rocky Mountains and the Sierra 
Nevada ; in winter it descends to the Middle States and 

With these facts before us we might naturally expect to hear 
of the species being seen occasionally in Ontario, but of such 
occurrences the records are very few. 

William Loane, of Toronto, reports having killed a 
pair near that city in the spring of 1865 and in the fall of 1881 
he killed another, a female, which is now in the rooms of the 
Toronto Gun Club. 

One of the residents on the Beach, near Hamilton, told me 
torn ? years ago of having seen a pair there in spring, the male 
in full plumage was correctly described by my informant, and 
spoken of as the most " dapper little drake " he had ever seen. 
The name Harlequin is suggested. by the peculiar markings on 
the head of the male which are supposed to resemble those often 
assumed by the clown in a circus. 


American Eider. 

Bill with long club-shaped frontal processes extending in a line with the 
culmen upon the sides of the forehead, divided by a broad feathered inter- 
space. Male in breeding attire, white, creamy-tinted on breast and washed with 
green on che head ; under-parts from the breast, lower back, rump, tail, 
quills, and large forked patch on the crown, black. Female with the bill less 
developed, general plumage an extremely variable shade of reddish-brown or 
ochrey-brown, speckled, mottled and barred with darker ; male in certain 
stages resembling female. Length, about 2 feet; wing, 11-12 inches. 

HAB. Atlantic coast of North America, from Maine to Northern Labra- 
dor, south in winter to the Delaware. 

Nest on the ground, composed of dry grass, moss and sea weed, lined 
with down and feathers ; eggs, 6 to 10, drab, tinged with green. 



The Eider-Duck is essentially a bird of the sea coast, breeding 
abundantly along the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador. 
Its visits to these inland waters are made during the season of 
migration, when the movements of all migratory birds are con- 
siderably affected by the prevailing winds. On Lake Ontario 
it is only a casual visitor in winter, and seldom if ever seen there 
in mature plumage. 

The one in my collection is a young male in the garb of the 
female ; I shot it from the pier of the canal at the entrance to 
the bay a few years since, they were seen more or less all that 
winter, but they were known to be " fishy " and there being 
nothing attractive in their dress, very few were killed, though 
they allowed a nearer approach than other waterfowl are dis- 
posed to do. 

King Eider. 

Bill with broad squarish, nearly vertical frontal processes bulging angu- 
larly out of line with culmen. Male in breeding attire, black, including a 
forked chin-patch, a frontal band, and small space round eye ; and the neck 
and fore-parts of the body, part of inter-scapulars, of wing coverts and of 
lining of wings, and a flank patch, white, creamy on the jugulum, greenish 
on sides of head ; crown and nape, fine bluish-ash. Female resembling that 
of the Common Eider, but bill different. Size of the last or rather less. 

HAB. Northern part of Northern Hemisphere, breeding in the Arctic 
regions ; in North America, south casually in winter to New Jersey and the 
Great Lakes. 

I mention this species more as a bird to be looked for, than 
one which has actually been taken in Ontario, as I have no pos- 
itive record of its occurrence within the province : that it has 
been here and passed unnoticed may fairly be presumed, when 
we consider that it was taken by Giraud at Long Island, and 
Mr. Allen mentions in his notes that as many as eighteen were 
taken in Lake Erie near Buffalo in Nov., 1879. A pair were in 
the collection sent from Toronto to Paris in 1867, but I am not 



certain of their being taken in Ontario. It is of circumpolar 
distribution, breeding abundantly around the shores of the Arctic 
sea ; when coming south in winter the line of migration is mostly 
along the Pacific coast, where it is observed in great numbers as 
far south as the Aleutian Islands. 

The peculiarities of its bill serve readily to distinguish it from 
the other Eiders. 


55. OIDEMIA AMERICANA (Sw. & RICH.). 163. 

American Scoter. 

Plumage of male entirely black ; bill black, the gibbosity orange. 
Female sooty-brown, paler below, becoming grayish-white on the belly, there 
dusky-speckled, on the sides and flanks dusky-waved ; throat and sides of 
head mostly continuous whitish ; bill all black ; feet livid olivaceous, with 
black webs. Male, nearly 2 feet ; wing, about 10 inches ; female, 18-19 inches . 

HAB. Coasts and larger lakes of Northern North America ; breeds in 
Labrador and the northern interior ; south in winter to New Jersey, the 
Great Lakes and California. 

Nest on the ground. Eggs, 6 to 8 ; buff color. 

This is another of the Sea-Ducks which breeds in large num- 
bers at Labrador and elsewhere along the coast, visiting the 
larger lakes in the interior occasionally during the season of 
migration. On Hamilton Bay it is sometimes observed in com- 
pany with others of its class, but there being nothing in its 
appearance or history to commend it to popular favor, it is gen- 
erally allowed to pass unmolested. 





White-winged Scoter, 

Male : Black, with a large white wing-patch, and another under the eye ; 
feet, orange-red, with dusky webs. Bill, black, broadly orange-tipped ; size 
of the last or rather larger ; female, smaller, sooty-brown, pale-grayish below, 
with much whitish about head, but showing white speculum ; bill all black. 

HAB. Northern North America, breeding in Labrador and the Fur 
Countries ; south in winter to the Middle States, Southern Illinois, and 
Southern California. 

Unlike the preceding, the Velvet Ducks visit Lake Ontario 
in large flocks in the spring, and usually remain two or three weeks 
before retiring to their breeding places. They are large, heavy 
birds, and their jet black color makes them look at a distance 
larger than they really are. 

While moving about from one part of the bay to another, 
they fly heavily at no great height above the water, but they 
have not the restless habits of some other ducks, and if not dis- 
turbed will remain for days together feeding near the same spot. 

For the past five years during their visits a good many are 
found dead along the shore. Whether they bring the cause of 
their death with them when they come here, or whether the 
emptying of the city sewage and the refuse of the oil refineries 
into the bay is in anyway connected with the mortality referred 
to has not yet been determined. 

They arrive about the end of April, and by the 2oth of May 
are all gone. 


Surf Scoter. 

Bill narrowly encroached upon by the frontal feathers, on the culmen, 
nearly or quite to the nostrils, but not at all upon its sides, about as long as 
the head, with the nail narrowed auteriorly, the swelling lateral as well as 
superior ; nostrils beyond its middle ; bill of male orange-red, whitish on the 
sides ; with a large circular black base. Plumage of the Male : Black, with 



a patch of white on the forehead and another on the nape, none on the wing. 
About the size of a Scoter. Ffniale : Smaller ; bill black ; feet, dark, tinged 
with reddish, webs black; plumage, sooty-brown, below, sil very-gray, two 
whitish patches on each side of the head. 

HAB. Coasts and larger inland waters of Northern North America ; in 
winter south to the Carolinas, the Ohio River, and Lower California. 

According to Audubon this species breeds on the coast of Labrador, 
making a nest of grass lined with feathers. The eggs, 4 to 6 in number, are 
whitish, and are hatched in July. 

The Surf Scoter is found on Lake Ontario mostly in spring 
in company with the preceding which it resembles in habits, the 
clear white patches in marked contrast to the deep black of the 
plumage, serving even at a distance to mark its presence in a 
flock. It is never numerous, though more frequently seen than 
the Scoter. 



Ruddy Duck. 

The male in perfect plumage with neck all round, and the upper-parts 
brownish-red, the lower-parts silky-white watered with dusky, the chin and 
sides of the head dead-white, the crown and nape black, but not often seen in 
this condition in the United States ; as generally observed, and the female at 
all times, brown above, finely dotted and waved with dusky, paler and duller 
below with undulations and sometimes a slight tawny tinge, as also occurs 
on the side of head ; crown and nape dark-brown ; crissum always white. 
Length, 14-17 ; wing, 5-6 ; tarsus, ij. 

HAB. North America in general, south to Cuba, Guatemala and 
Northern South America, breeding throughout most of its North American 

I once saw a waggon load of Ruddy Ducks exposed for sale 
in the Hamilton market ; it was in the month of May, and a 
large flock had got entangled in the nets in Lake Ontario, where 
they had tarried for rest and refreshment while on their way to 
their summer haunts farther north. The fishermen, regardless 
of grammar and other considerations, still maintain that " all is 
fish that comes in the net," and they tried hard to make the 



most of their haul, but although the birds attracted a good deal 
of attention from their bright blue bills and rich brown plumage, 
they did not meet with a ready sale. A few pairs visit us reg- 
ularly in the spring and fall : I have seen them at St. Clair in 
June, evidently mated, and was told that they breed sparingly 
throughout the marsh there. 



Greater Snow Goose 

Bill with laminae very prominent, owing to arching of the the edges of the 
bill. Adult plumage pure white, but in most specimens the head washed 
with rusty-red ; primaries broadly black-tipped ; bill, lake-red with white 
nail ; feet the same with dark claws. " Young, dull bluish or pale lead col- 
ored on the head and upper part of the body" (Cassin). Length, about 30 ; 
wing, 17-19 ; tail, 5^-6 ; bill, 2 : tarsus, 3^, 

HAB. North America, breeding far north, and migrating south in win- 
ter, chiefly along the Atlantic coast, reaching Cuba. 

The Snow Goose is widely distributed throughout the conti- 
nent, raising its young in high latitudes, and retiring to the south 
at the approach of winter. During the latter season vast flocks 
are found along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, and sparingly 
along the Atlantic sea-board. In Ontario it can only be regard- 
ed as a casual visitor during the season of migration, and, as it 
is seldom that more than two or three are seen together, 
they are looked upon as stragglers from the main body, whose 
line of migration is chiefly along the Mississippi or the Pacific 
coast. The specimen in my collection was killed at the Beach 
in the month of December a few years since, while making its 
way toward the open water in Lake Ontario. 



American White-fronted Goose. 

Laminae of bill moderately exposed ; tail normally of sixteen feathers. 
Under-parts white or gray, extensively blotched with black ; back dark-gray; 



with paler or brownish edging of the feathers ; upper tail-coverts white ; head 
and neck grayish-brown, the forehead conspicuously pure white (in the 
adult ; dark in some states) ; bill pale-lake ; feet orange, with pale claws. 
Length, about 27 inches ; wing, 16-18 ; tail, 5-6 ; tarsus, 2f-3 ; middle toe and 
claw about the same. Only differs from the European in an average longer 
bill (if-2 instead of ij-if . 

HAB. North America, breeding far northward ; in winter south to 
Mexico and Cuba, 

The eggs of this species are dull greenish yellow with obscure darker 
tints. They measure 3.00 by 2 oo. 

Like the preceding, this species is only a casual visitor to 
Ontario, the vast flocks which annually leave their breeding 
grounds in the north at the approach of winter, apparently pre- 
ferring to make their southern journey along f the western coast 
rather than by the Atlantic or the interior ; stragglers have been 
observed at the different shooting stations, where they are looked 
upon as rare. The specimen in my collection was killed at St. 
Clair flats ; it is an immature male. 


Canada Goose. 

Tail normally eighteen feathers. Grayish-brown, below paler or whitish 
gray, bleaching on the crissum, all the feathers with lighter edges ; head and 
neck black, with a broad white patch on the throat mounting each side of the 
head ; tail black with white upper coverts. Length, about 36 ; wing, 18-20 ; 
tail, 6^-7^ ; bill, if-2 ; tarsus, usually over 3. 

HAB. Temperate North America, breeding in the Northern United 
States and British Provinces ; south in winter to Mexico. 

Nest usually on the ground, sometimes in trees. Eggs 5 to 6 ; pale dull 

This is the wild goose of Canada, the bird we see in April 
passing to the northwest in V-shaped columns, whose hoarse 
honking we listen to with pleasure as a sure indication that 
brighter skies and warmer weather are close at hand. 

A few are seen every season at the shooting stations at St. 
Clair and along the north shore of Lake Erie, but if the weather 



is favorable, the flocks usually pass over us without stopping. 
The Canada Goose is less boreal in its range than some of the 
others of its class. Individual pairs have been found nesting at 
different points in the Middle States ; Professor Macoun found 
them breeding abundantly in the Northwest, and Dr. Coues 
mentions the singular fact of their being observed in the " Upper 
Missouri and Yellowstone regions breeding in trees." 

I have known instances of their being domesticated, but they 
always retained the wild habit of skulking off to conceal their 
eggs in some out of the way place. 


62. Hutchins's Goose. 172 a. 

Tail sixteen-feathered. Colors exactly as in the Canada Goose, but size 
less. Length, about 2$ feet ; wing, 15-17 ; tail, 5-6 ; bill, i^-if ; tarsus 
rather under 3. 

HAB. North America, breeding in the Arctic regions, and migrating south 
in winter, chiefly through the Western United States and Mississippi 

Apparently a small race of the preceding, which has been 
raised to the rank of a separate sub-species, in which position it is 
as easily considered as in any other. Where the Canada Goose 
ends and the Hutchins's begins is at times difficult to determine. 
Small geese are occasionally seen with the last groups of the 
others which pass in spring ; but they are fewer in number and 
less frequently obtained. I once saw a fine pair of these birds 
in the hands of a local taxidermist where they had been left 
to be "stuffed," and with such vigor had the operation been per- 
formed that when finished it would have been a hard matter for 
any one to have told to which species the birds originally 

The Hutchins's Goose has not been found nesting within the 
limits of the United States, being apparently more northern in 
its range than the preceding. 

7 1 


Brant . 

Head, neck, body anteriorly, quills and tail black ; a small patch of 
white streaks on the middle of the neck, and usually white touches on the 
under eyelid and chin ; upper tail-coverts white ; back brownish-gray, under 
parts the same but paler, and fading into white on lower belly and crissum ; 
black of jugulum well-defined against the color of the breast ; length 2 feet ; 
wing, 13 ; tail, 5 ; bill, i 1-3 ; tarsus, 2^. 

HAB. Northern parts of Northern hemisphere ; in North America 
chiefly the Atlantic coast ; rare in the interior, or away from salt water 

Breeds in high latitudes, 

Another casual visitor to the waters of Ontario, where it is 
less frequently seen than either of the other geese. It is by no 
means a scarce species, but seems partial to the sea coast. In 
the list of the birds of Western Ontario it is mentioned as a 
" rather rare migrant." I have only seen it once, flying 
past, out of reach. 




Whistling Swan. 

Size and color of the next species except a yellow spot on bill near 
base. Bill not longer-than the head ; nostrils median. Tail (normally) of 
twenty feathers. 

HAB. The whole of North America, breeding far nor*h. 
Eggs 2 to 5 ; dull white stained with brown. 

These beautiful birds, never at any time abundant, are now 
very seldom seen in Ontario. I once saw four in full adult 
plumage come up Lake Ontario on a very stormy afternoon 
toward the end of March *, they evidently expected to find rest 



and shelter in the bay, but there being only a small patch of 
open water near the canal they wheeled round and went off east 
again. On another occasion a family of four visited the bay in 
the fall ; they were not allowed to remain long undisturbed, and 
one young bird was so disabled by a pellet of shot in the wing 
as to prevent it leaving with the others, it could still take care 
of itself, however, and remained till the bay froze over, when it 
walked ashore and was captured in an exhausted condition by 
one of the fishermen. 

Trumpeter Swan. 

Adult plumage entirely white; younger the head and neck washed with a 
rusty-brown ; still younger, gray or ashy. Bill and feet black. Length 
4-5 feet. Tail (normally) of twenty-four feathers. No yellow spots on bill 
which is rather longer than the head, the nostrils fairly in its basal half. ' 

HAB. Chiefly the interior of North America, from the Gulf coast to the 
Fur Countries, breeding from Iowa and Dakota northward ; west to the 
Pacific coast, but rare or casual on the Atlantic. 

Eggs 2 to 5 ; dull white stained with brown, shell rough. 

Swans are seen nearly every spring and fall at one or other of 
the shooting stations in Western Ontario, but the points of 
specific distinction are so inconspicuous that unless the birds 
are secured it is difficult to tell to which species they belong. 
Dr. Ganrier reports having taken one at Mitchell's -bay. There 
was one in the collection sent from Toronto to Paris in 1867 
and I have seen two which were killed at Long Point in Lake 

The highway of this species from North to South is evi- 
dently by the Mississippi Valley, where it is quite common dur- 
ing the period of migration, those we see here being stragglers 
off the route. 








Glossy Ibis. 

Plumage rich dark-chestnut, changing to glossy dark-green with purplish 
reflections on the head, wings and elsewhere ; bill dark ; young- similar, much 
duller, or grayish brown, especially on the head and neck which are white 
streaked. Claws slender, nearly straight ; head bare only about the eyes and 
between the forks of the jaw. Length, about 2 feet ; wing, 10-11 ; tail, 4 ; 
bill, 4^ ; tarsus, 3 1-3 ; middle toe and claw, 3. 

HAB. Northern Old World, West Indies, and Eastern United States. 
Only locally abundant, and of irregular distribution in America. 

The eggs of the Glossy Ibis measure from 1-90 by 1-45 to 2-10 by 1-50, 
and are of a dull greenish-blue color, without markings. The number usually 
deposited is believed to be three. 

About the end of May, 1857, Mr. John Bates, whose farm 
adjoins the creek near the Hamilton waterworks, saw two tired 
looking birds which he took to be Curlews, circling round with 
the evident intention of alighting near the creek. Mr. Bates's 
gun was always in order, and none in the neighborhood at that 
time knew better how to use it. In a few minutes he 
picked up a pair of Glossy Ibises, the only birds of the kind 
which have been observed in Ontario. This pair, which subse- 
quently came into my possession, were male and female in fine 
adult plumage ; they are not common anywhere on the Ameri- 
can continent. Wilson knew nothing of the species nor was it 
known to naturalists till after his death. 






American Bittern. 

Plumage of upper part singularly freckled with brown of various shades, 
blackish, tawny and whitish ; neck and under-parts ochrey or tawny- white. 



Each feather marked with a brown dark-edged stripe, the throat line white, 
with brown streaks ; a velvety-black patch on each side of the neck above ; 
crown dull-brown, with buft superciliary stripe ; tail brown ; quills greenish- 
black, with a glaucous shade, brown tipped ; bill black and yellowish, legs 
greenish, soles, yellow ; length, 23-28 ; wing, 10-13 ; tail, 4$ ; bill, about 3 ; 
tarsus, about 3^. 

HAB. Temperate North America, south to Guatemala and the West 

The nest of the Bittern is placed on the ground ; the eggs, three to five 
in number, are brownish-drab, measuring about 2-00 by 1-50. 

A common summer resident, found in all suitable places 
throughout the country, where during the early summer may be 
heard the peculiar clunking sound which has gained for the 
species the not inappropriate name of " Stake Driver." It sel- 
dom leaves the marsh where it makes its home and finds its 
favorite iare of fish, frogs and lizards. It drops readily to a 
light charge of shot, but when wounded makes a fierce resist- 
ance, raising the feathers of the head and neck and striking 
straight at the eye of a dog with its sharp-pointed bill. It 
arrives as soon as the flags begin to show green, about the end 
of April, and leaves again for the south toward the end of Sep- 
tember, or later, according to the weather. 

Least Bittern. 

No peculiar feathers, but those of the lower neck, long and loose, as in 
the Bittern ; size very small ; 11-14 inches long ; wing, 4-5 ; tail, 2 or less ; 
bill, 2 or less ; tarsus, about if. Male with the slightly crested crown, back 
and tail, glossy greenish-black ; neck behind, most of the wing-coverts, and 
outer edges of inner quills, rich chestnut, other wing-coverts, brownish-yel- 
low ; front and sides of neck and under-parts, brownish-yellow varied with 
white along the throat line, the sides of the breast with a blackish-brown 
patch ; bill and lores mostly pale yellow, the culmen blackish ; eyes and soles 
yellow ; legs greenish-yellow ; female with the black of the back entirely, that 
of the crown mostly or wholly replaced by rich purplish-chestnut ; the edges 
of the scapulars forming a brownish-white stripe on either side. 

HAB. Temperate North America, from the British Provinces to the 
West Indies and Brazil. 



Nest among the rushes. 

Eggs, 3 to 5 ; white with a bluish tinge. 

This diminutive Bittern, though seemingly slender, and tender, 
is not only generally distributed in Southern Ontario, but has been 
reported by Professor Macoun as " common throughout the 
country" in the North West. At Hamilton Bay it is a regular 
summer resident, raising its young in the most retired 
parts of the marsh. The nest is large for the size of the bird, 
a platform being made for its support by bending down the 
flags till they cross each other a foot or more above the water 
level. The whole affair is very loose and readily falls asunder 
at the close of the season. The Little Bittern is not supposed 
to be as plentiful as its big brother, but from its retiring habits 
may be more so than we are aware of. It is seldom seen ex- 
cept by those who invade its favorite haunts ; when disturbed 
it rises without note or noise of any kind, and with a wavering 
uncertain flight passes off for a short distance and again drops 
among the rushes. It arrives about the end of May and leaves 
early in September. 





Great Blue Heron. 

Back without peculiar plumes at any season, but scapulars lengthened 
and lanceolate ; an occipital crest, two feathers of which are long and filam- 
entous ; long loose feathers on the lower neck. Length, about four feet ; ex- 
tent, 6 ; bill, 5j inches ; tarsus, 6 ; middle toe and claw, 5 ; wing, 18-20 ; 
tail, 7. Female much smaller than male, Adult of both sexes grayish-blue 
above, the neck pale purplish-brown with a white throat-line, the head black 
with a white frontal patch ; the under-parts mostly black, streaked with 
white ; tibia, edge of wing and some of the lower neck feathers orange-brown ; 
bill and eyes yellow, culmen dusky, lores and legs greenish. The young 
differ considerably but are never white and cannot be confounded with any 
of the succeeding. 



HAB. North America, from the Arctic regions southward to the West 
Indies and Northern South America. 

Nests usually in trees, sometimes in rocks. 
Eggs 2 or 3 ; elliptical light, dull greenish-blue. 

As the Great Blue Heron breeds in communities it is not 
often seen during the summer except in the vicinity of the 
Heronry. In the fall when the young birds are able to shift for 
themselves they disperse over the country, their tall gaunt 
figures being often seen standing motionless watching for eels 
by the shore of some muddy creek. In the report of the ornith- 
ological branch of the Ottawa Field Naturalists' Club, for 1883, 
is a most interesting account of a visit paid by a number cf 
members of the club to a Heronry situated on the bank of the 
river about 25 miles from the city ; limited space will admit only 
of a short extract, as follows : " The Heronry is located in the 
centre of a thick swamp which, on the occasion of our first visit 
was so deeply submerged as to bar all ingress. On the igth of 
July, however, the water was but knee deep. After proceeding 
about half a mile into the swamp our attention was arrested by 
a peculiar sound which we at first thought proceeded from some 
distant saw-mill or steamer on the river. As we advanced, how- 
ever, the sound resolved itself into the most extraordinary noises, 
some of which resembled the yelping of dogs or foxes. On 
penetrating still deeper into the swamp, we discovered that the 
noises proceeded from immense numbers of Herons, some 
perched on branches of trees, some sitting on the nests and 
others flying overhead. The uproar was almost deafening 
and the odor arising from the filth with which the trees and 
ground was covered was extremely disagreeable. We tramped 
all through the Heronry and calculated that it must extend 
about half a mile in each direction. The nests were all of the 
same pattern, great cumbersome piles of sticks, about a foot 
thick, with but a very shallow cavity and no lining. 

" The birds were very tame, making no attempt to fly until we 
began to climb the trees on which they were ; and even then 
they moved lazily off and manifested little or no alarm at our 
near approach to their young." 



The adult Heron is an exceedingly wary bird and is seldom 
obtained except when it happens to fly above some hunter who 
is concealed among the rushes watching for ducks. 

When thus brought down from above with neck, wings and 
legs getting all mixed up it presents a most ragged appearance, 
but when seen alive at shooting distance the graceful move- 
ments of the long, lithe neck, with its pointed plumes present a 
sight we all like to look upon. 


A dult with a long occipital crest of decomposed feathers and similar dorsal 
plumes, latter recurved when perfect ; similar, but not recurved plumes on 
the lower neck, which is bare behind : lores, eyes and toes yellow ; bill and 
legs black, former yellow at base, latter yellow at lower part behind. Plum- 
age always entirely white. Length, 24 ; wing, 11-12 ; bill, 3 ; tarsus, 3^-4. 

HAB. Temperate and tropical America, from New Jersey, Minnesota, 
and Oregon south to Patagonia ; casually on the Atlantic coast to Nova 

I have only one record of the occurrence of this species 
in Ontario ; it is from Dr. Garnier, and I give it in his own 
words, as follows : 

" Garzetta Candidissima, Little White Heron, is also some- 
times seen here, but I think rarely. I never saw it myself. 
One was shot by a Frenchman named David Leguis, in 1870, 
at Mitchell's Bay, at least so he declared to me positively, and I 
have no reason to dispute him, as in these matters he was 
reliable enough." 

This is a Southern bird but I think it will yet be found as 
an occasional straggler along our Southern border. 


Snowy Heron. 

No obviously lengthened feathers on the head at any time ; in the breed- 
ing season, back with very long plumes of decomposed feathers drooping far 



beyond the tail ; neck closely feathered ; plumage entirely white at all sea- 
sons ; legs and feet black. Length, 36-42 inches (not including the dorsal 
train) ; wing, 16-17 ; bill, nearly 5 ; tarsus, nearly 6. 

HAB. Temperate and tropical America, from Long Island and Oregon 
south to Buenos Ayres ; casual on the Atlantic coast to Nova Scotia. 

Nest in trees. 

Eggs, 3 to 4 ; pale greenish-blue. 

Although this species has been frequently taken in Ontario. I 
have no record of it being found nesting within our limits. 
Several specimens sent to me from Rond Eau and other points 
on the north shore of. Lake Erie were all immature. Dr. 
Wheaton, in his report on the birds of Ohio remarks that only 
young birds had been seen there, which rather confirms Dr. 
Coues' remarks in the " Birds of the Northwest," to the effect 
that " a certain northward migration takes place in summer 
among some southerly birds of this class which on leaving the 
nest seem for a time to wander away in the wrong direction." 
There is, however, a record in the Auk, vol. n, page no, Jan- 
uary 1885, of a pair having been observed at Rockcliffe, on the 
Ottawa river, in the spring of 1883. The male was shot by Mr. 
S. H. Mclntyre, and is now in the Museum of the Geological 
Survey at Ottawa. After being deprived of her mate the 
female was seen about the place for a day or two and then she 
went away. The record states that these were the only two 
birds of the kind ever seen at that point. 



Green Heron. 

Adult in the breeding season with the crown, long soft occipital crest, 
and lengthened narrow feathers of the back, lustrous dark-green, sometimes 
with a bronzy iridescence, and on the back often with a glaucous cast ; 
wing-coverts green, with conspicuous tawny edgings ; neck purplish- 
chestnut, the throat-line variegated with dusky or whitish ; nnder-parts 
mostly dark brownish-ash, belly variegated with white ; quills and tail 
greenish-dusky with a glaucous shade, edge of the wing white ; some of the 
quills usually white-tipped ; bill greenish-black, much under mandible yel- 
low ; lores and iris yellow ; legs greenish-yellow ; lower neck with lengthened 



feathers in front, a bare space behind. Young with the head less crested, 
the back without long plumes, but glossy-greenish, neck merely reddish- 
brown, and whole under-parts white, variegated with tawny and dark-brown. 
Length, 16-18 ; wing, about 7 ; bill, i\ ; tarsus, 2 ; middle toe and claw about 
the same ; tibia bare i or less. 

HAB. Canada and Oregon southward to Northern South America and 
West Indies ; rare or absent in the Middle Province. 

Nest composed of twigs, placed in a bush or low tree in a swamp or by 
the bank of a stream. Eggs 3 to 6 ; pale greenish-blue. 

This handsome little Heron finds its northern limit along 
the Southern border of Ontario. According to Dr. Macallum 
it breeds regularly on the banks of the Grand River near Dunn- 
ville, and has also been observed occasionally at Hamilton, and 
at the St. Clair flats, Like the others of its class the Green 
Heron feeds mostly at night, and is seldom seen abroad by day 
except by those who have occasion to invade its marshy haunts ; 
on this account it may be more numerous than it is supposed to 
be. It arrives about the end of April and leaves for the south 
again in September. 



Black-crowned Night Heron 

No peculiar feathers excepting two or three very long filamentous plumes 
springing from the occiput, generally imbricated in one bundle ; bill very 
stout ; tarsi reticulate below in front ; length, about 2 feet ; wing, 12-14 
inches ; bill, tarsus and middle toe, about 3. Crown, scapulars and inter- 
scapulars very dark glossy-green ; general plumage bluish-gray, more or less 
tinged with lilac ; forehead, throat-line and most under-parts whitish ; 
occipital plumes white ; bill black ; lores greenish ; eyes red ; feet yellow. 
Young very different ; lacking the plumes ; grayish-b:own, paler below, ex- 
tensively speckled with white ; quills chocolate-brown, white-tipped. 

HAB. America, frcm the British Possessions southward to the Falkland 
Islands, including 1 part of the West Indies. 

Breeds in communities, returning to the same place year after year. 
Nest, a large loose platform of twigs, placed well up in a tall tree. 
Eggs 4 to 6 ; pale greenish-blue. 



In Ontario the Night Heron or "Quawk," as it is commonly 
called, is not generally distributed ; though stragglers are oc- 
casionally seen at different points throughout the Province, yet 
their breeding places are by no means common, the vicinity of 
the sea being evidently preferred to the interior. 

Along the banks of the lower St. Lawrence they breed in 
immense numbers, every tree in certain districts having several 
nests among its boughs ; when viewed from a distance the trees 
have the appearance of being heavily coated with dirty white- 
wash, and the entire vegetation underneath them is killed by the 
accumulated droppings of the birds. 

Though somewhat untidy in their surroundings at home the 
birds themselves when seen in spring plumage are very hand- 
some, the fiery red eye and long flowing plumes giving them 
quite an interesting appearance. 





74. GRUS MEXICANA (MULL.). 206. 
Sandhill Crane. 

Adult with the bare part of head forking behind to receive a pointed ex- 
tension of the occipital feathers, not reaching on the sides below the eyes, 
and sparsely hairy. Bill moderately stout, with nearly straight and scarcely 
ascending gonys, that part of the under mandible not so deep as the upper at 
the same place. Adult plumage plumbeous gray never whitening ; primaries, 
their coverts and alula, blackish. Young with head feathered, and plumage 
varied with rusty-brown. Rather smaller than the last. 

HAB. Southern half of North America ; now rare near the Atlantic 
coast, except in Georgia and Florida. 

Eggs 2 ; light brownish-drab, marked except at the greater end with 
blotches of dull chocolate-brown, shell rough, with numerous warty eleva- 

I am indebted to Dr. Gamier, of Lucknow, for the only 



record I have of the occurrence of the Sandhill Crane in On- 
tario. Writing under date Dec. 6, 1884, he says : " About 22 
years ago a pair of these birds spent the summer in the marshes 
near Murphy's landing, County Kent ; later in the season they 
were seen stalking about accompanied by two young, and finally 
all disappeared as the weather grew cold." 

" In 1881 a pair spent the summer near mud creek in the 
same locality, and were often seen by the people residing there. 
On the ist Nov., Mr. Jos. Martin, while out shooting in his 
canoe, suddenly came upon them at short distance. He killed 
one dead, and the other being hard hit dropped on a shaking 
bog close by. Mr. Martin brought me the dead one, and next 
day I went with him in search of its mate. We saw it lying 
quite dead on the bog, but though my partner and I tried hard 
to force our way to where it was we were compelled to give it up, 
to my very great regret." These are the only well authenticated 
instances of the occurrence of the Sandhill Crane in Ontario, 
that I know of. 

These large and interesting birds are now quite rare in the 
East, but are common enough further west, where they go a 
long way north, as Prof. Macoun found both the present species 
and the W r hite Crane breeding near Moose Mountains in the 






King Rail. 

Above brownish-black ; variegated with olive-brown, becoming rich 
chestnut on the wing-coverts ; under-parts rich rufous or cinnamon-brown, 
usually paler on the middle of the belly and whitening on the throat ; flanks 
and axillars blackish, white-barred. Length, about 16 ; wing, 5-6 ; tail, 2-2^ ; 
bill, 2j ; tarsus, 2 : middle toe and claw, 2|. Female smaller. 



HAB. Fresh water marshes of the Eastern Province of the United 
States, from the Middle States, Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, and Kansas 
southward. Casually north to Massachusetts, Maine and Ontario. 

Nest a rude mass of reeds and grass, on marshy ground close to the 

Eggs 6 to 12 ; buffer cream color, speckled and blotched with reddish- 

This large and handsome Rail which, until recently, was 
considered to be only a casual visitor to Ontario, is now known 
to breed plentifully in the marshes all along the river St Clair ; 
it has also been found at other points in Southern Ontario, but 
the St. Clair flats seem to be its favorite breeding place. The 
extent of the marsh, and the almost stagnant water seem to suit 
the taste of these birds, and here they spend the summer and 
raise their }'oung without being disturbed. 

They are seldom seen on the wing but get very noisy and 
excited before rain, keeping up an incessant cackling, which 
better than anything else gives an idea of the number which 
are moving about under cover of the rushes. 

They arrive from the south early in May and leave again in 

Virginia Rail. 

Coloration exactly as in elegans, of which it is a perfect miniature. 
Length, 8-io ; wing about 4 ; tail about i ; bill, i-i ; tarsus, ij-i ; 
middle toe, i^-if . 

HAB. North America, from British Provinces south to Guatemala and 

Nest in a tuft of reeds or rushes, some of them being bent down to 
assist in forming the structure which is usually placed close to the water. 

Eggs 6 to 9 ; buff or creamy, speckled and blotched with reddish-brown. 

Although this cannot be said to be a numerous species, it 
is very generally distributed, being found in all suitable 
places throughout the Province. When not disturbed it may 
be seen quietly wading in the shallow ponds in search of its 



food, which consists of aquatic insects, snails, worms, and the 
seeds of such grasses as grow near its haunts, but if alarmed it 
at once takes itself to the rushes and passes with such swiftness 
along the covered runways which interlace the rush beds that it 
will thus elude the pursuit of an active dog, and so avoid ex- 
posing itself to the aim of the sportsman. 

It breeds regularly along the south shore of Hamilton Bay. 
where it arrives early in May and leaves again in September. 




Above, olive-brown, varied with black, with numerous sharp white 
streaks and specks ; flanks, axillars and lining of wings, barred with white 
and blackish ; belly whitish ; crissum rufescent. Adult with the face and 
central line of the throat black, the rest of the throat, line over eye, and 
especially the breast more or less intensely slate-gray, the sides of the breast 
usually with some obsolete whitish barring and speckling ; young without the 
black, the throat whitish, the breast brown. Length, 8-9 ; wing, 4-4^ ; tail, 
about 2 ; bill, |-f ; tarsus, i J ; middle toe and claw, i$. 

HAB. Temperate North America, but most common in the Eastern 
Province, breeding chiefly northward. South to West Indies and Northern 
South America. 

Builds a rude nest ot grass and rushes on the ground near the water. 
Eggs 8 to 10 ; dull drab, marked with reddish-brown, 

Here as elsewhere the Sora is the most numerous of the 
Rail family, and is found breeding in all suitable places 
throughout the country. Many also pass up north, and when 
they return in the fall accompanied by their young they linger 
in the marshes along the southern border till they are found 
swarming everywhere ; they are very sensitive of cold and a 
sportsman may have good Rail shooting till late in the evening, 
but should a sharp frost set in during the night he 
may return in the morning and find that the birds have all left. 

They arrive early in May and remain till the first frost. 




Yellow Rail. 

Above, varied with blackish and ochrey-brown, and thickly marked with 
narrow white semicircles and transverse bass ; below, pale ochrey-brown, 
fading on the belly, deepest on the breast where many of the feathers aie 
tipped with dark brown ; flanks rufous with many white bars ; lining of the 
wing, white ; a brownish-yellow streak over the eye ; length about 6 inches. 

HAB. Eastern North America, from Nova Scotia and Hudson's Bay 
west to Utah and Nevada. No extra-limital record except Cuba and the 

Nest like that of the other Rails. 

Eggs 6 to 8 ; dark buff color, marked with reddish spots at the greater 

We know little of this bird, partly because it belongs to a 
class much given to keeping out of sight, but chiefly because it 
is a rare species everywhere ; during the present year I saw a 
fine mounted specimen in the store of Mr. Cross, taxidermist, 
Toronto. It was got in the marsh near that city, and I have 
heard of another which a few years since was got near the same 
place and is now in the public museum at Ottawa. The greater 
number of specimens of the Yellow Rail now in existence have 
been found in New England, but that may be owing to the 
greater number of collectors there. It would be well for our 
Canadian sportsmen to look out for the species when visiting 
its haunts, as from its general resemblance to the Sora it may 
readily be overlooked. 


Florida Gallmule. 

Head, neck and underparts grayish-black, darkest on the former, paler 
or whitening on the belly; back brownish-olive; wings and tail dusky; 
crissum, edge of wing, and stripes on the flanks, white ; bill, frontal plate, 
and ring around tibiae red, the former tipped with yellow ; tarsi and,? toes 



greenish ; 12-15 long ; wing, 6^-7^ ; tail, 3^ ; gape of bill, about i ; tarsus' 
abont 2. 

HAB. Temperate and tropical America from Canada to Brazil and 

Nest a mass of broken, rotten reeds and rushes, with a slight hollow in 
the centre ; it is seldom much above water level and often afloat. 

Eggs 10 to 12 ; brownish-buff, thickly spotted with reddish-brown. 

A common summer resident breeding in suitable places 
throughout Southern Ontario. Near Hamilton it is quite com- 
mon, a few pairs generally spending the summer in the Water- 
down Creek, and also in the Dundas Marsh. Its retired haunts 
are seldom invaded during the summer months, the mosquitoes 
being a bar to the intrusion of visitors, and its flesh not being 
in demand for the table it is not much disturbed. It arrives 
early in May and leaves toward the end of September. 


American Coot. 

Dark slate, paler or grayish below, blackening on the head and neck, 
tinged with olive on the back ; crissum, whole edge of wing, and top of the 
secondaries white ; bill white or flesh-colored, marked with reddish-black 
near the end ; feet dull olivaceous ; young similar, paler and duller. Length, 
about 14 ; wing, 7-8 ; tail, 2 ; bill from the gape, i|-i ; tarsus, about 2 ; 
middle toe and claw, about 3. 

HAB. North America, from Greenland and Alaska southward to West 
Indies and Central America. 

Nest of vegetable rubbish from the marsh, often afloat and fastened to 
the rushes like the Grebes, but sometimes on dry ground back from the water. 

Eggs 10 to 12 ; clear clay color dotted minutely with dark brown. 

Not so generally distributed as the last named species. It 
breeds abundantly at St. Clair, but at Hamilton is only a 
migratory visitor in spring and fall. It is a hardy bird, often 
arriving in spring before the ice is quite away, and again linger- 
ing late in the fall as if unwilling to depart. They are some- 


times by amateur gunners mistaken for Ducks, and in this way a 
few lose their lives, but except in such cases they are not 
molested Mud Hens generally not being looked upon as game. 



Red Phalarope, 

Adult with the tinder-parts purplish chestnut of variable intensity, white 
in the young ; above variegated with blackish and tawny. Length, 7-8 
inches ; wing, 5 ; tail, 2f ; bill, r, yellowish, black-tipped; tarsus, f, greenish 

HAB. Northern parts of Northern hemisphere, breeding in the Arctic 
regions and migrating south in winter ; in the United States south to the 
Middle States, Ohio, Illinois, and Cape St. Lucas ; chiefly maritime, 

Nest a hollow in the ground lined with dry grass. 

Eggs 3 to 4 ; variable in color, usually brownish-olive spotted or blotched 
with dark chocolate-brown. 

Vast numbers of Phalaropes breed in Spitzbergen and on 
the shores of the Polar Sea. At the approach of winter they 
retire to the south, but in these migratory journeys they follow 
the line of the sea coast so that the stragglers we see inland are 
most likely bewildered by fog or driven by storm away from 
their associates and their regular course. 

Dr. Gamier saw a flock of six, one of which he secured at 
Mitchell's Bay, near St. Clair, in the fall of 1880, and on the 
iyth of November, 1882, Mr. Brooks, of Milton, shot a single 
bird which he found swimming alone on Hamilton Bay, a little 
way out from Dynes' s place. These are the only records I have 
of the occurrence of the species in Southern Ontario. 



Northern Phalarope. 

Adult, dark opaque-ash or grayish-black, the back variegated with 
tawny ; upper tail-coverts and under-parts mostly white ; side of the head 



and neck with a broad stripe of rich chestnut, generally meeting on the jugu- 
lum ; breast otherwise with ashy-gray ; young lacking the chestnut. Length, 
about 7 inches ; wing, 4^ ; tail, 2 ; bill, tarsus, and middle toe each, under i, 

HAB. Northern portions of Northern hemisphere, breeding in Arctic 
latitudes ; south in winter to the tropics. 

Nest a hollow in the ground lined with dry grass. 

Eggs 3 to 4 ; similar to those of the Red Phalarope but smaller. 

Like the preceding this is a bird of the sea coast. Though 
singly or in pairs it is sometimes seen inland during the season 
of migration. The two in my collection were found in the fall 
on one of the inlets of Hamilton Bay. 

In the list of the birds of Western Ontario mention is made 
of three having been taken in Middlesex, and one found dead 
at Mitchell's Bay in 1882. 

While this was passing through the press K. C. Mcllwraith 
shot a young male of this species as it rose from one of the in- 
lets which run from the, Bay up to the Beach road near 


Wilson's Phalarope. 

Adult ashy ; upper tail-coverts and under-parts white ; a black stripe 
from the eye down the side of the neck spreading into rich purplish-chestnut 
which also variegates the back and shades the throat ; young lacking these 
last colors. Length, 9-10 ; wing, 5 ; tail, 2 ; bill, tarsus and middle toe, each 
over i, black. 

HAB. Temperate North America, chiefly the interior, breeding from 
Northern Illinois and Utah northward to the Saskatchewan region ; south in 
winter to Brazil and Patagonia. 

Nest in moist meadows. 

Eggs 3 to 4 ; variable in pattern, usually brownish-drab, marked with 
splashes, spots, and scratches, of chocolate-brown. 

This is the largest of the Phalaropes and the handsomest of all 
our Waders. Unlike the others of its class it is rare along the 
sea coast but common inland ; its line of migration being along 


the Mississippi valley ; another peculiarity of the species is 
that the female is the largest and most gaily attired, and from 
choice or necessity the eggs are incubated by the male. In 
some other respects their domestic relations are not in accord- 
ance with the recognized rules of propriety, but as it is not 
always safe for outsiders to interfere in such matters we will 
leave that part of the history without further comment. 

Being a bird of the prairie ponds it is but a straggler in 
Ontario. The only record I have of its occurrence is the 
notice in the list of the Birds of Western Ontario, of one having 
been taken at Mitchell's Bay in 1882. It was observed by 
Prof. Macoun in the Northwest breeding in the marshes east of 
Moose Mountain. 


American Avocet. 

White ; back and wings with much black ; head and neck cinnamon- 
brown in the adult, ashy in the young , bill black, 3! to gape ; legs blue ; eyes 
red. Length, 16-18 ; wing, 7-8 ; tail, 3^ ; tarsus, 3^. 

HAB. Temperate North America, from the Saskatchewan and Great 
Slave Lake south, in winter, to Guatemala and the Wesi Indies. Rare in the 
Eastern Province. 

Eggs variable in size and markings, usually brownish-drab, marked 
with spots of chocolate-brown. 

This is another delicate inland Wader, rare on the sea coast, 
but abundant in the Mississippi valley. Stragglers appear 
occasionally at far distant points, and are at once identified by 
their peculiar markings and awl-shaped bill. I am aware of 
three individuals having been taken at different times at Rond 
Eau, on the north shore of Lake Erie, but these are all I have 
heard of in Ontario. Prof. Macoun found it abundant on the 
brackish ponds and marshes of the Northwest. 





American Woodcock. 

Above variegated and harmoniously blended black, brown, gray and 
russet ; below pale warm brown of variable shade. Length, male, 10-11 ; 
female, 11-12 ; extent, 16-18 ; wing, 4^-5 ; bill, 2^-3 ; tarsus, i ; middle toe 
and claw, i ; weight, 5-9 ounces. 

HAB. Eastern Province of North America, north to the British 
Provinces, west to Dakota, Kansas, etc. ; breeding throughout its range. No 
extralimital records. 

The nest, which is composed of a few dead leaves, is usually placed at 
the root of a tree, or in a clump of weeds. 

Eggs 3 to 4 ; grayish-brown marked with spots and blotches of lilac and 

The Woodcock is a summer resident in Southern Ontario in 
uncertain numbers, appearing about the time the snow is going 
out of sight. In the fall it is much sought after by sportsmen 
with varying success. Occasionally good bags are made but in 
this respect no two seasons are alike. The fall of 1885 was one 
of the poor seasons, very few being obtained. 

The birds seem to be paired on their arrival in spring, and 
at once select a site for the nest, which is usually placed in dense 
woods or swampy thickets ; when the breeding season is over 
they change their places of resort and are often found in corn 
fields, orchards, and moist places where they feed mostly during 
the night. They remain as long as the ground is soft enough 
for them to probe, after which they retire to the south. 


Wilson's Snipe. 

Crown black with a pale middle stripe ; back varied with black, bright 
bay and tawny, the latter forming two lengthwise stripes on the scapulars ; 
neck and breast speckled with brown and dusky ; lining of wings barred with 
black and white ; tail usually of 16 feathers, barred with black, white and 



chestnut ; sides waved with dusky ; belly dull white ; quills blackish, the 
outer white edged. Length, 9-11 ; wing, 4^-5^ ; bill, about 2% ; whole naked 
portion of leg and foot, about 3. 

HAB. North and Middle America, breeding from Northern United 
States northward ; south in winter to West Indies and Northern South 

Nest usually a depression in a grassy meadow. 

Eggs 3 to 4 ; grayish-olive, heavily marked with umber-brown and 
irregular lines of black. 

This is the Snipe of America, although the name is often 
erroneously applied to other species. It is sometimes called 
English Snipe, owing to the close resemblance it bears to the 
British bird, but those who have compared the two species 
state positively that they are different in their markings, besides 
which the American Snipe has 16 tail feathers, whereas the 
English bird has only 14. 

In Southern Ontario it is found in considerable numbers in 
spring and fall, and it is also said to breed sparingly through- 
out the country. 

In the List of Birds of Western Ontario it is stated that 
"many breed in the St. Clair marshes," and mention is made of 
a pair having been shot thereon the lyth of May, 1882. 

Wherever it appears it is eagerly sought after both on ac- 
count of the excellency of its flesh and the enjoyment it affords 
to the sportsman. It arrives toward the end of April, passes 
north for the summer and in the fall remains here till October. 




Tail and its coverts, at all seasons, conspicuously barred with black and 
white (or tawny), lining of the wings and axillars the same; quills dusky, 
shaft of first primary, and tips of the secondaries, except long inner ones, 
white ; bill and feet greenish-black. In summer, brownish-black above, 
variegated with bay ; below brownish-red, variegated with dusky ; a tawny 


superciliary stripe, and a dark one from the bill to the eye. In winter, plain 
gray above, and on the breast, with few or no traces of black and bay, the 
belly, line over eye and under eyelid white. Length, 10-11 ; wing, 5-5^; tail, 
2^ ; bill, about 2^ ; tarsus, i ; middle toe and claw, i^. A variety of this 
(M . scolopaceus Lawrence) is almost a foot long, the bill upward of three 

HAB. Atlantic coast of North America, breeding far north. 

Eggs 3 to 4 ; identical in appearance with those of the common Snipe. 

Although this species is said to be abundant along the sea 
coast and also in the Mississippi valley during the season of 
migration, it can only be regarded as a straggler in Ontario. 
The specimen in my collection is the only one I have ever found 
near Hamilton. In the List of Birds of Western Ontario it is 
spoken of as rare ; and in Lr. Wheaton's exhaustive list of the 
birds of Ohio the writer says he never saw it in that State but 
has had it reported as a rare spring and fall migrant. 

In their habits the Red-breasted Snipe very much resemble 
some of the Sandpipers, associating in large flocks, and feed- 
ing in exposed places, without much fear or suspicion, 
which often leads to great slaughter in their ranks. Their flesh 
is held in high estimation ; and in the south where they spend 
the winter they are often exposed for sale in the markets. 


Stilt Sandpiper. 

Adult in summer, above blackish, each feather edged and tipped with 
white and tawny or bay, which on the scapulars becomes scalloped ; auri- 
culars chestnut ; a dusky line from bill to eye, and a light reddish super- 
ciliary line ; upper tail-coverts white with dusky bars ; primaries dusky with 
blackish tips ; tail-feathers ashy-gray, their edge and a central field white ; 
under-parts mixed reddish, black and whitish, in streaks on the jugulum, 
elsewhere in bars ; bill and feet greenish-black. Young and adult in winter, 
ashy-gray above, with or without traces of black and bay, the feathers 
with white edging ; line over the eye and under-parts white ; the jugulum 
and sides suffused with the color of the back, and streaked with dusky ; legs 
usually pale. Length, 8-9 inches ; wing, 5 ; tail, 2j ; bill and tarsus, both i- 
if ; middle toe, i. 



HAB. Eastern Province of North America, breeding north of the United 
States, and migrating in winter to the West Indies, Central and South 

I have some scruples about including this species in my list, 
as I have no record of its having been taken within the 
Province, and yet when we consider that it breeds to the north 
of us, and winters far to the south, there can be no reasonable 
doubt that it passes through Ontario, but being rather a scarce 
species may have escaped the notice of sportsmen or it may 
have been taken and no record made of the occurrence. 1 
anticipate that when this list is made public I will learn 
of birds having been found in Ontario which are not in- 
cluded here for the simple reason th^t I had not heard of it. 
There being no convenient way of placing such records before 
the public, they drop out of sight and are forgotten. 

It is to be hoped that the writer of the next list of the birds 
of Ontario will in this way have many additions to make to 
the present one. 

While this article was in the hands of the printer 
Mr. Cross, taxidermist, of Toronto sends me a bird for 
identification which proves to be this species. It is 
one of two which were shot near Toronto about the 25th of 
June last by Mr. Heinrich. Mr. Cross has made a happy hit 
in the mounting of them. They look like a pair of miniature 





Bill equalling or rather exceeding the head, comparatively stout ; adult 
In summer : above, brownish-black, each feather tipped with ashy-white, and 
tinged with reddish on scapulars ; below, uniform brownish-red, much as in 
the Robin, fading into white on the flanks and crissum ; upper tail-coverts 
white with dusky bars, tail feathers and secondaries grayish-ash with white 
edges ; quills blackish, gray on the inner webs and with white shafts ; bill 



and feet blackish. Young : above, clear ash, with numerous black and white 
semicircles ; below white, more or less tinged with reddish, dusky speckled 
on breast, wavy barred on sides. Length, 10-11 ; wing, 6-6 ; tail, 2^, nearly 
square ; bill about i (very variable). 

HAB. Nearly cosmopolitan. Breeds in high northern lattitudes, but 
visits the Southern Hemisphere during its migraticns. 

This is the largest and handsomest of the Sandpipers ; 
though said to be common along the sea coast it is only an occa- 
sional visitor inland. The specimen in my collection I killed 
many years since on the muddy shore of one of the inlets of the 
bay. I did not see it again till May, 1884, when K. C. Mcll- 
wraith killed four very fine specimens in a moist vegetable 
garden on the beach. D. Wheaton met with it only once in 
Ohio, and it is not mentioned in the List of the Birds of Western 
Ontario, from which it may be inferred that we are not on the 
line of its migrations. In distribution it has a wide range ; 
in the fall large flocks, which are supposed to come from Ice- 
land visit the east coast of Scotland. It is also reported from 
Australia, New Zealand and South America. 


Purple Sandpiper, 

Bill little longer than the head, much longer than the tarsus, straight or 
nearly so ; tibial feathers long, reaching to the joints ; though the legs are 
really bare a little way above ; adult, above ashy-black with purplish and 
violet reflections, most of the feathers with pale or white edgings ; second- 
aries mostly white ; line over eye, eye-lids and under-parts white, the breast 
and jugulum a pale cast of the color of the back, and sides marked with the 
same. In winter, and most immature birds, the colors are similar but much 
duller ; very young birds have tawny edgings above, and are mottled with 
ashy and dusky below. Length, 8-9 inches ; wing, 5 ; tail, 2, rounded; bill, 
ij ; tarsus, ; middle toe, i, or a little more. 

HAB. Northern portions of the Northern Hemisphere ; in North 
America chiefly the northeastern portions breeding in the high north, 
migrating in winter to the Eastern and Middle States, the Great Lakes, and 
the shores of the larger streams in the Mississippi Valley. 

The eggs are said to be four in number ; clay-color, shaded with olive 
and marked with rich umber-brown. 



This, like the preceding species, is common to both conti- 
nents, and is of circumpolar distribution. If it was in the 
habit of passing this way it did so without being observed till 
the 3ist of Oct., 1885, when one individual was killed at the 
Beach by K. C. Mcllwraith. This is the only record we 
have of it in the Province. 

As its name (Maritima) implies, it is a bird of the sea coast, 
but though a Sandpiper, it is not so fond of the sandy shores as 
it is of the rocky ledges covered with sea weeds, where it no 
doubt finds something to suit its taste. The name purple 
might lead a stranger to expect this to be a bird of showy 
colors, but in general appearance it is perhaps the least so of its 
class, and might be described as about the size and make of the 
Black-heart, dull slaty-blue above, belly and vent white. Seen 
when in full plumage the feathers feel soft and silky for a bird 
of this class, and in certain rays of light seem slightly glossed 
with purple. 



Pectoral Sandpiper. 

Coloration much as in Baird's Sandpiper, but crown noticeably different 
from cervix ; chestnut edgings of scapulars straight-edged ; chin whitish, 
definitely contrasted with the heavily ashy-shaded and sharply dusky- 
streaked jugulum. Large. Length, 8-g inches ; wing, 5-5^ ; bill, tarsus and 
middle toe with claw, about i ; bill and feet greenish. 

HAB. The whole of North America, the West Indies, and the greater 
part of South America. Breeds in the Arctic regions. Of frequent occurrence 
in Europe. 

While on their extended migratory journey in spring and 
fall, these birds rest and refresh themselves on the marshes and 
lake shores of Ontario, where they are frequently observed by 
sportsmen in flocks of considerable size. 

Near Hamilton they are not of regular occurrence, though 
they occasionally appear in the fall in goodly numbers, and if the 
weather keeps soft, remain till October. 



While here they frequent the grassy meadows and muddy 
inlets near the Bay, being very seldom noticed on the sand. 

Like several others of the same class this species has a wide 
geographical distribution, being found in Iceland, Europe and 


White-rumped Sandpiper. 

Size, medium. Upper tail-coverts white ; feet black ; bill black, light- 
colored at base below ; coloration otherwise much as in the preceding species, 
An ashy wash on the jugulum is hardly perceptible except in young birds, 
and then it is slight ; the streaks are very numerous, broad and distinct, 
extending as specks nearly or quite to the bill, and as shaft lines along the 

HAB. Eastern Province of North America, breeding in the high north. 
In winter, the West Indies, Central and South America, south to the Falk- 
land Islands. Occasional in Europe. 

Several of our Sandpipers resemble each other so much in 
general appearance that by the gunner they are considered as 
all of one sort and treated alike that is they are tied in bunches 
by the neck or legs and handed over to be prepared for the 
table. With the collector it is different, every individual is 
carefully examined as to species, sex, age, and condition, so 
that nothing may be lost that is worth preserving. In the 
present species the white rump is always a distinguishing mark, 
most conspicuous while the birds are on the wing. Inland it is 
not very common, but a few are usually seen associating with 
the others during the season of migration. The pair in my collec- 
tion I found on the sandy shore of Lake Ontario near the Bur- 
lington canal. 

Baird's Sandpiper. 

Adult male : bill wholly black, small and slender, slightly shorter than 
the head, just as long as the tarsus or as the middle toe and claw, slightly 
expanded or lancet shaped at the end, the point acute ; grooves long, narrow 



deep ; feathers on the side of lower mandible evidently reaching further than 
those on upper. Upper parts brownish-black (deepest on the rump and 
middle upper tail-coverts, and lightest on the neck behind), each feather 
bordered and tipped with pale brownish-yellow, the tipping of the scapulars 
broadest and nearly white, their marginings broad and brightest in tint, 
making several deep scallops toward the shafts of the feathers. Only the 
outer series black, the others plain gray, with paler margins. Jugulum 
tinged with light, dull yellowish-brown, spotted and streaked with ill-defined 
blackish markings, as are also the sides under the wings. Throat and other 
under parts white, unmarked. Feet black, like the bill. Length, 7-25 ; 
extent, 15-25 ; wing, 4-90 ; bill, 85 ; tarsus, middle toe and claw, the same. 
The female is entirely similar, but slightly larger. The young have the upper 
parts wholly light brownish-ash, darker on the rump, and all the feathers 
with a dark field, and pale or whitish edging ; waves of brownish black on 
the scapulars. Jugulum and breast suffused with dull, light reddish-brown ; 
the spotting small, sparse, and very indistinct. 

HAB. The whole of North and South America, but chiefly the interior 
of North and the western portions of South America. Rare along the Atlantic 
coast, and not yet recorded from the Pacific coast. 

Known to breed only in the Arctic regions. 

Eggs, 3 to 4 ; clay color, spotted with rich umber-brown. 

Dr. Cones, in his new Key to North American Birds, says 
that " this is the most abundant small Sandpiper in some parts 
of the West during migrations," yet it has not been found on 
the Pacific coast and is quite rare on the Atlantic. The only 
record we have of its occurrence in Ontario is that of a fine 
specimen now in my collection which was shot at the Beach on 
the 25th of August, 1885, by K. C. Mcllwraith. It was singled 
out among a flock of small Sandpipers by its peculiar erratic 
Snipe-like flight, and on being secured its dainty little body 
was picked up with feelings which only the enthusiastic 
collector can understand. 

It is named after S. F. Baird, of the Smithsonian institution, 
and, so far as known, is peculiar to the American continent. 

On the 23rd of August, 1886, while this article was in the 
printer's hands, the locality where the specimen herein referred 
to was obtained was again visited, and strange to say another 
individual of the species was got at the same place, under 
similar circumstances. On the ist of September the place was 



again visited and two more were obtained, but on two subse- 
quent visits made within a day or two no more were 3een, 
Those who are observant of the migratory movements of the 
birds must have been often astonished to see with what per- 
sistent regularity certain birds appear at certain places at a 
given time. In the present instance these are the only birds of 
the kind we have ever seen or heard of in Ontario, yet they 
were all found within a few yards of the same spot, and within 
ten days of the same date in different years. 


Least Sandpiper. 

Upper parts in summef with each feather blackish centrally, edged with 
bright bay, and tipped with ashy or white ; in winter and in the young simply 
ashy ; tail feathers gray with whitish edges, the central blackish, usually 
with reddish edges, crown not conspicuously different from hind neck ; 
chestnut edgings of scapulars usually scalloped ; below white, the jugulum 
with dusky streaks and an ashy or brownish suffusion ; bill black ; legs dusky 
greenish, Smallest of the Sandpipers ; length, 5^-6 inches ; wing, 3^-3^ ; 
tail, 2 or less ; bill, tarsus and middle toe with claw, about f . 

HAB. Whole of North and South America, breeding north of the United 
States. Accidental in Europe. 

The appearance of this, the smallest of the Sandpipers, 
always excites a feeling of pity as he is seen hurrying along the 
sand in rear of his big brothers, uttering his feeble "peep" as 
if begging them to leave a little for him. 

In Ontario it is a common species, found in all suitable 
places in spring and fall, but its breeding ground is far north, 
and little, if anything, is known of its nest or eggs. Some might 
say that is a matter of no consequence ; here is what Dr. Coues 
says about it in his Birds of the Northwest : " Fogs hang low 
and heavy over rock-girdled Labrador. Angry waves, palled 
with rage, exhaust themselves to encroach upon the stern 
shores, and sink back howling into the depths. Winds shriek 
as they course from crag to crag in mad career, till the humble 
mosses that clothe the rocks crouch lower still in fear. Over- 
head the Sea Gulls scream as they winnow, and the Murres all 



silent ply eager oars to escape the blast. What is here to 
entice the steps of the delicate birds ? Yet they have come, 
urged by resistless impulse, and have made a nest on the 
ground in some half-sheltered nook. The material was ready 
at hand in the mossy covering of the earth, and little care or 
thought was needed to fashion a little bunch into a little home. 

" Four eggs are laid (they are buffy-yellow, spotted over with 
brown and drab), with the points together that they may take 
up less room and be more warmly covered. There is need of 
this such large eggs for so small a bird. As we draw near, 
the mother sees us, and nestles closer still over her treasures, 
quite hiding them in the covering of her breast, and watches us 
with timid eyes, all anxiety for the safety of what is dearer to 
her than her own life. Her mate stands motionless but not 
unmoved, hard by, not venturing even to chirp the note of 
encouragement and sympathy she loves to hear. 

"Alas, hope fades, and dies out, leaving only fear ; there isno 
further concealment we are almost upon the nest almost 
trodden upon she springs up with a piteous cry and flies a 
little distance, re-alighting, almost beside herself with grief ; for 
she knows only too well what is to be feared at such a time. 
If there were hope for her that her nest was undiscovered, she 
might dissimulate and try to entice us away by those touching 
deceits which maternal love inspires. But we are actually 
bending over her treasures, and deception would be in vain ; 
her grief is too great to be witnessed unmoved, still less por- 
trayed ; nor can we, deaf to her beseeching, change it to 
despair. We have seen and admired her home there is no 
excuse for making it desolate ; we have not so much as touched 
one of the precious eggs, and will leave them to her renewed 
and patient care." 


Red-Backed Sandpiper. 

Adult in summer : above chestnut, each feather with a central black 
field, and most of them whitish-tipped, rump and upper tail-eoverts blackish, 



tail feathers and wing coverts ashy-^ray, quills dusky with pale shafts, 
secondaries mostly white, an.I inner primaries edged with the same ; under- 
parts white, belly with a broad jet black area, breast and jugulum thickly 
streaked with dusky ; bill and feet black. Adult in winter, and young ' 
above, plain ash-gray, with dark shaft, with or without red or black traces ; 
below white, little or no trace of black on the belly ; jugulum with a few 
dusky streaks and an ashy suffusion. Length, 8-9 inches ; wing, 4^-5 ; tail, 
2-2^ ; bill, i^-if , longer than head, compressed at base, rather depressed at 
the end ; tibia bare about ; tarsus, i, or rather less. 

HAB. North America in general, breeding far north, and straggling to 
eastern coast of Asia. 

This is the Black-heart Plover of sportsmen. It is a regular 
visitor in Ontario in the season of migration, appearing on the 
shores of Lake Ontario with wonderful regularity on the 
Queen's birthday, (May 24th), as if to afford sport to our 
gunners on that Canadian holiday. It is much in favor with 
those who are fond of killing a great number of birds at once, 
as it usually appears in large compact flocks and is not very 
difficult of approach. I once saw seventy-six killed or wounded 
with the discharge of two barrels. They had just arrived on the 
shore, and seeming tired after a long flight, settled on a partially 
submerged log near the water's edge, from which they were 
unwilling to rise, and allowed the gunner to do as stated, to his 
extreme delight. It did not occur to one, when looking at so 
large a number of dead and wounded birds, that any very 
commendable feat had been accomplished, but so it was con- 
sidered at the time, and so it will be again, I presume, with that 
class of sportsmen, but the like opportunity may not soon occur 
again, as the number of Blackhearts which now visit that 
locality is very small. 


Curlew Sandpiper. 

Adult : of tlis hsaJ and entire upper parts greenish-black, each 
feather tipped and indents i with yellowish-red ; wing-coverts ashy-brown, 
each feather with dusky shaft line an 1 red.lish edging. Upper tail-coverts 
white, with broad dusky bars, tinged at their extremities with reddish. 

ONTARIO. , _ , ,,".; 

Tail, pale gray, with greenish reflection. Sides'ofctlae neok and entire under- 
parts uniform deep brownish-red ; under tail-cpverts. tarred, -*"i'ljh j dfysky ; 
axillars and under wing-coverts white ; bill Ziticl feet jgreenicrfc-ljlajck'. ^ J 5 '"- 

HAB. Old World in general ; occasional in Eastern North America. 

So far as at present known, the Curlew Sandpiper is only a 
straggler on the American continent, about ten or a dozen 
being all the recorded captures ; it is quite a common British 
species, and like others peculiar to those eastern lands, may 
occasionally be wafted westward against its inclinations, but no 
nest of the species has yet been found on this side of the 

In 1867, the Board of Arts of Western Canada prepared a 
" catalogue of birds observed in the country," in connection 
with the collection which, during that year, was sent to the 
Paris exhibition. The Curlew Sandpiper is named in the 
catalogue, but no specimen was available for the collection. I 
have mentioned it here, chiefly with the view of placing the 
technical description in the hands of those interested, so that 
they may be able to identify the species should they at any 
time fall in with it. 


Semipa.lma.ted Sandpiper. 

Ad-ill in summer : above variegate! with black, bay an! ashy or white, 
eich feither with a black fiel!, re!dbh edge an! whitish tip ; rump an! 
upper tail-coverts, except the lateral ones, blackish ; tail feathers ashy-gray, 
the central darker ; primaries dusky, the shaft of the first white ; a dusky line 
from the bill to the- eye, an! a white superciliary line ; below, pure white, 
usually rufescent on the breast, an! with more or less dusky speckling 0:1 the 
throat, breast an: sides usually wanting ; in winter the upper parts mostly 
plain ashy-gray : but in any plumage or under any variation the species is 
kno\vn by its small size an! semi-palmate! feet. Length, 5^-6 inches ; 
win^, 4^-3} ; tars .13, ana mi!!le toe an! claw, about i ; bill variable from 
to i, averaging . 

HAB. Eastern P.ovince of North America, breeding north of the 
United States ; south in winter to the West Indies and South America. 



Nest,.a depression ii,i iSiGgroand, in or near some moist place ; lined with 
witherecj gra^s, n ; ^ 

Eggs '3 ; k>'4 ; vstriaoTe it* 1 dtflbr,, usually clay color, blotched or spotted 
with umber-brown, 

A very abundant species during the season of migration, 
thronging alike the shores of the sea, and those of our inland 
lakes and marshes. 

They visit the shores of Hamilton Bay in spring and fall in 
considerable numbers, but are so much disturbed by amateur 
gunners that they soon seek for more retired feeding grounds 

Some, but probably not all of them, breed far north, as they 
are here till the end of May and return again with their young 
by the end of August. They are usually found associating with 
the Least Sandpiper, which they much resemble in general 
appearance, but the semipalmated toes of the present species is 
always a sure distinguishing mark. 



Adult in summer : head, neck and upper parts varied with black, ashy 
and bright reddish ; below from the breast pure white ; tail except central 
feathers light-ash, nearly white ; primaries gray with blackish edges and tips, 
the shafts of all and bases of most white ; secondaries white except a space at 
the end, and greater coverts broadly white tipped ; bill and feet black. 
Adult in winter, and young, nc reddish ; speckled with black and white, 
sometimes tawny tinged on the jugulum. Length, 7^-8 ; wing, 4^-5 ; tail, 
2^ ; bill, about i ; tarsus, i or lather less ; middle toe and claw, f . 

HAB. Nearly cosmopolitan, breeding in the Arctic and Subarctic 
regions, migrating, in America, south to Chili and Patagonia. 

A species of very wide geographical distribution, being found 
in suitable places nearly all over the world. 

It visits the shores of the great lakes in Ontario during the 
season of migration, and appears in different dress according to 
age or the season of the year. In spring the breast and fore- 



neck are tinged with pale rufus, but in autumn the whole lower 
parts are as white as snow. It is a very active species, and 
when feeding along the shore, shows great celerity in following 
the receding wave, or keeping clear of the next one that rolls 
up on the Beach. When wounded in the wing, it will run with 
great swiftness, and even take to the water and swim well. In 
spring their visits to Hamilton Bay are uncertain and of short 
duration, but on the return trip they appear about the end of 
August and are found all through the fall. 


99. LIMOSA FEDOA (LINN.). 249. 

Marbled Godwit. 

Tail barred throughout with black and rufous, rump and upper tail- 
coverts like the back ; no pure white anywhere. General plumage rufous or 
cinnamon-brown ; below, nearly unmarked and ot very variable shade, 
usually deepest on the lining of the wing ; above, variegated with black and 
brown or gray ; quills rufous and black ; bill flesh-colored largely tipped with 
black; feet dark. Large; length, 16-22; wing, about g ; tail, about 3^ ; bill, 
4-5; tibia bare i-i; tarsus, 2^-3^, i, stout; 

HAB. North America ; breeding in the interior (Missouri region and 
northward), migrating in winter southward to Central America and Cuba. 

Nest on the prairie. 

Eggs 3 to 4 ; olive-drab spotted with various shades of umber-brown. 

The Marbled Godwit is occasionally seen singly or in pairs on 
the lake shores of Ontario during the season of migration, but 
these can only be regarded as stragglers, as we learn that in 
spring it passes up the Mississippi Valley in flocks of consider- 
able size, and has been found nesting in Iowa, Minnesota and 
Dakota. It was also found by Prof. Macoun " feeding in large 
flocks along the Salt marshes at Old Wives Lakes and other 
points" in the Northwest. 

It is a handsome bird, in general appearance resembling the 
Curlews, from which, however, it can readily be distinguished 
by its straight bill. 



From its large size and the delicacy of its flesh, it is held in 
esteem by sportsmen who do not let it pass within reach. 

It used to visit the Beach at Hamilton regularly in spring 
and fall, but of late years has been rarely seen. 

100. LIMOSA H^MASTICA (LINN.). 251. 
Hudsonian Godwit. 

Tail black, largely white at base, its coverts mostly white ; rump 
blackish ; lining of wings extensively blackish ; under-parts in the breeding 
season intense rufous (chiefly barred) with dusky ; head neck and upper 
parts brownish-black, variegated with gray, reddish and usually some 
whitish speckling ; quills blackish, more or less white at the base. 'Young 
and apparently winter specimens much paler, tawny-whitish below, more 
gray above. Considerably smaller than the foregoing, about 15 ; wing, 8 or 
less ; bill, 3^ or less ; tarsus, ?\ or less. 

HAB. Eastern North America and the whole of Middle and South 
America. Breeds only in the high north. 

Eggs 4 ; olive-drab with dark spots, 

Less abundant than the preceding. This species seems to 
prefer the line of the Atlantic for its migrations, but is also 
noticed inland in smaller numbers. I have seen it in spring at 
St. Clair flats, and also on the shores of Hamilton Bay, where 
the specimen in my collection was obtained. 

It is not known to breed anywhere within the limits of the 
United States, and Prof. Macotin in recording its presence in 
the Northwest speaks of it as "less abundant than the pre- 
ceding and more to the north." 

In spring, the prevailing color of the plumage is rich chest- 
nut-red, crossed with wavy lines of black. In the fall, it is less 
attractive, being mostly ashy-gray. 


Greater Yellow-legs. 

Bill straight or slightlj bent upwards, very slender, grooved half its 
length or less, black ; legs long and slender, yellow. In summer, ashy-brown, 



above varied with black and speckled with whitish, below white, jugulum 
streaked, and breast, sides and crissum speckled or barred with blackish, 
these latter marks fewer or wanting in winter and in the young ; upper tail 
coverts white with dark bars ; tail feathers marbled or barred with ashy or 
white ; quills blackish. Large ; length, over 12 ; wing, over 7 ; tail, 3 or 
more ; bill, 2 or more ; tarsus, about -z\ ; middle toe and claw, ij ; tibia 
bare, i. 

HAB, America in general, breeding in the cold temperate and subarctic 
portions of North America, and migrating south to Chili and Buenos Ayres. 

In spring even before the ice is quite gone from the lakes 
and rivers of Ontario, the shrill piercing cry of this bird may 
be heard overhead as it circles round in search of some quiet 
marshy inlet as a temporary resting place. 

At this season but a short stay is made, as it passes quickly 
on to its breeding place in the far north. As early as the end 
of August the birds again appear, toned down in dress and 
manners accompanied by their families, many falling the vic- 
tims of misplaced confidence by exposing themselves within 
reach of the ever-ready breech-loader which at this season of 
the year seems omnipresent in all the marshes. 

Like others of its class this species is an occasional visitor 
at the Beach near Hamilton, but the visits of all this class of 
birds at that point are now of less frequent occurrence and of 
shorter duration than in former years. 


A miniature of the last ; colors precisely the same ; legs comparatively 
longer ; bill grooved rather further. Length, under 12 ; wing, under 7 ; tail 
under 2 ; tarsus, about 2 ; middle toe and claw, and bare tibia, each i J. 

HAB. America in general, breeding in the cold temperate and subarctic 
districts, and migrating south in winter to Southern South America. Less 
common in the Western than in the Eastern Province of North America. 

Nest a slight depression in the gronnd, lined with dried grass or leaves. 

Eggs 3 to 4 ; variable in color, usually clay-color, blotched or spotted 
with umber-brown. 



In color, haunts, and habits, this species closely resembles 
the preceding, the difference in size serving at all times to dis- 
tinguish one from the other ; both are esteemed for the table, 
and are therefore sought tor by the gunners and often exposed 
for sale in the market. When one is wounded from a flock, the 
others raise a great outcry and remain near it so long that their 
ranks are often still farther thinned before they move off. Alone 
or in company with the preceding this species pays a passing 
visit to the shores of Hamilton Bay in spring and fall. 

103. TOTANUS SOLITARIUS (WiLs.). 256. 

Solitary Sandpiper. 

Bill perfectly straight, very slender, grooved little beyond its middle 
Dark lustrous olive-brown, streaked on the head and neck, elsewhere finely 
speckled with whitish ; jugulum and sides of neck with brownish suffusion 
and dusky streaks ; rump and upper tail coverts like the back ; tail, axillars 
and lining of wings beautifully barred with black and white ; quills entirely 
blackish ; bill and feet very dark olive-green ; young duller above, less 
speckled, jugulum merely suffused with grayish brown. Length, 8-9 ; wing, 
5 ; tail 2% ; bill, tarsus, and middle toe, each about i-ij ; tibiae bare . 

HAB. North America, breeding throughout the temperate portions 
(more commonly northward), and migrating southward as far as Brazil and 

Information regarding the nest and eggs of this species is still much 

As its name implies, this is a solitary bird, nowhere abun- 
dant, yet widely distributed. It is seen during the summer 
months in Southern Ontario. Prof. Macoun reports it as " of 
frequent occurrence on the plains" of the Northwest, and it has 
been found in Alaska. 

In the List of Birds of Western Ontario, published in the 
Canadian Sportsmen and Naturalist for November 1882, it is 
stated that " in the summer of 1879 tn i s bird bred very com- 
monly along the streams in Middlesex, but, has since then been 
quite rare. Most of those I have seen near Hamilton have got 
up unexpectedly from some pool by the roadside, frequently from 

1 06 


places where cattle have been in the habit of visiting to obtain 
water. I have not seen more than two together. In thei r 
motions they are quiet and sedate, but have the habit peculiar 
to others of this class, of nervously jerking their hinder parts in 
a manner apparently satisfactory to themselves, though what 
particular purpose is served by it, is not to us apparent. From 
having seen this species in all the summer months, I have 
placed it on the list as a rare summer resident here. 



Bill straight, comparatively stout, grooved little if any more than half its 
length. In summer, gray above, with numerous black marks, white below, 
the jugulum streaked, the breast, sides and crissum barred or with arrow 
shaped marks of dusky (in winter, and in young birds, all these dark marks 
few or wanting, except on jugulum) ; upper tail-coverts, most of the 
secondaries, and basal half of primaries, white ; ends of primaries, their 
coverts, lining of wings, and axillars, black ; bill bluish or dark. Toes with 
two conspicuous basal webs. Length, 12-16 ; wing, 7-8; tail, 2^-3; bill or 
tarsus, a-af ; tibia bare, i or more, middle toe and claw, 1^-2. 

HAB. Temperate North America, south to the West Indies and Brazil. 
Nest in a tussock of grass in the marsh, just above water level. 

Eggs 3 to 4 ; usually clay color, splashed or spotted with varying shades 
of umber brown, 

Very little is known of this species in Ontario. On two 
occasions I have seen it brought in by gunners from the marsh, 
but have not met with it alive. That it passes this way in 
spring and fall is probable, as it breeds generally throughout the 
United States as far north as Dakota, and has also been 
observed in the Northwest by Prof. Macoun. In general 
appearance it resembles the Greater Yellow Shanks, but in the 
present species the legs are bluish-lead color. The Willets are 
very wary birds, and along the sea coast, where they are more 
common and much sought after, decoys are used to attract 
them within range. In the fall they are said to get extremely 
fat and are much prized for the table. 





Above varied with black, rufous, and gray, the scapulars and tertials 
exhibiting these colors in oblique bands. Beneath, white, varied on the 
jugulum and throat ; primaries, dark-brown, with greenish reflection above ; 
the inner webs finely mottled towards the base. Outer three tail-feathers 
plain, the remainder transversely barred. Bill, brown ; sides of rump, white, 
legs yellow. Male in spring dress with the feathers of the neck greatly 
developed into a ruff ; the face covered with reddish papillae. Length about 
10 inches ; wing, 6-40 ; tail, 2-60 ; bill, 1-25. 

HAB. Northern parts of the Old World, straying occasionally to 
Eastern North America. 

A wanderer from the Old World, which has been frequently 
obtained on Long Island, on the coast of New England and in 
the Middle States. 

The fact of a specimen having been killed on the island near 
Toronto in the spring of 1882, gives me the privilege of record- 
ing it as a rare visitor to Ontario. This is farther inland than 
any of the others occurred, and the probabilities are that it will 
not often be found so far from the sea. The specimen referred 
to is apparently a young male in nearly perfect plumage, and is 
now mounted, and in the possession of Mr. Young, of Toronto. 


Bartramian Sandpiper. 

Above blackish, with a slight greenish reflection, variegated with tawny 
and whitish ; below, pale tawny of varying shade, bleaching on throat and 
belly ; jugulum with streaks, breast and sides with arrowheads and bars of 
blackish ; axillars and lining of wings pure white, black-barred ; quills blackish, 
with white-bars on the inner webs ; tail varied with tawny, black and white, 
chiefly in bars, bill and legs pale, former black-tipped. Length n-i3 inches; 
wing, 6-7 ; tail, 3-4 ; bill, i-i| ; middle toe and claw about the same; tarsus, 
about 2. 

1 08 


HAB. Eastern North America, north to Nova Scotia and Alaska, breed- 
ing throughout its North American range; migrating in winter southward, as 
far even as Southern South America. Occasional in Europe. 

Nest on the prairie. 

Eggs 4, clay color, marked all over with small spots of umber brown, 
most numerous at the larger end. 

The Field Plover, as this species is frequently called, is now 
very seldom seen in Ontario, though the older sportsmen tell us 
that in former times it was often observed in the pasture fields in 
spring and fall. The few that I have noticed near Hamilton, have 
always been in such places, but these can only be regarded as 
stragglers, bewildered by fog, or driven by adverse winds away 
from their regular habitat. In all the country between the Miss- 
issippi and the Rocky Mountains, this species is said to be exceed- 
ingly abundant during the seasons of migration, many remaining 
to raise their young in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Dakota, 
while large flocks pass on for the same purpose, going as tar 
north as the Yukon. According to Prof. Macoun, it is 
abundant on the prairies of the Northwest, where it will afford 
good sport and a table delicacy, to many a future settler in 
that promising country. 


Buff-breasi ed Sandpiper. 

Quills largely white on the inner web, and with beautiful black marbling 
or mottling, best seen from below ; tail unbarred, gray, the central feathers 
darker, all with subterminal black edging and white tips ; crown and upper- 
parts blackish, the feathers with whitish or tawny edging, especially on the 
wings ; sides of the head, neck all round and under-parts pale rufous, or 
fawn-color, speckled on the neck and breast with dusky ; bill black ; feet, 
greenish-yellow. Length, 7-8 ; wing, 5-5^ ; tail, aj ; tarsus, ij ; middle toe 
and claw, and bill, under an inch, 

HAB. North America, especially in the interior ; breeds in the Yukon 
district and the interior of British America, northward to the Arctic coast ; 
South America in winter. Of frequent occurrence in Europe. 

Nest a depression in the ground, lined with dry grass or leaves. 
Eggs 4 ; clay-color, blotched or spotted with umber-brown 



In the early fall, I have several times met with these interest- 
ing little birds, running among the short grass on the sandy 
knolls, north of the canal at the Beach, but have not seen them 

They are said to breed in high lattitudes, a dozen sets of 
eggs in the Smithsonian Institution, having all been collected 
by Mr. Macfarlane in the Anderson River region, and along 
the Arctic coast. 

With this record before me, I was not a little surprised to 
receive from Dr. G. A. Macallum, of Dunnville, Ont., a notice 
of his having found a nest of the species near his home, a few 
miles back from the north shore of Lake Erie. In answer to my 
request for further particulars, I received a prompt and full 
reply, from which the following is an extract : " About the 
Buff-breasted Sandpiper ; I find on turning up my notes that it 
was taken June 10, 1879, when two of the eggs were hatched 
and the other one chipped, which however I was able to make a 
good specimen of, and it is now in my cabinet. 

The female was shot, and with the two little fellows, stands in 
my collection. The young are fawn-colored, with black spots 
over the whole body ; the egg measures 1-25 x 95, is pyriform 
in shape ; color, ground, buff, thickly covered with dark blotches 
of two shades of brown, making the general appearance very 
dark almost as dark as the egg of Wilson's Snipe. 

The nest was placed between two tussocks of grass on the 
ground, a short distance from the ban 1 *: of the river where the 
ground is tolerably high, and where it is the custom to cut 
marsh hay. The nest was of a decided shape, and was com- 
posed of a fine moss or weed which grows between the tussocks 
of marsh grass. This is the only case of its breeding here to 
my knowledge." 

This species not being common anywhere, there is not much 
opportunity for obtaining positive information regarding its 
distribution during the breeding season. It may be that the 
case referred to by Dr. Macallum is an isolated one ; but it may 
yet be found that, like its near relative Bartram's Sandpiper, the 


Buff-breasted has a wide geographical range, and that although 
many pairs breed in the far north, a few remain and raise 
their young in the middle districts. Those I obtained were got 
on the 5th of September, 1885, and, though evidently young 
birds, were in good plumage at that time. 


Spotted Sandpiper. 

Above, olive (quaker-color, exactly as in the Cuckoo), with a coppery 
lustre, finely varied with black ; line over eye, and entire under-parts pure 
white, with numerous sharp circular black spots, larger and more crowded in 
the female than in the male, entirely wanting in very young birds ; 
secondaries broadly white-tipped, and inner primaries with a white spot ; 
most of the tail feathers like the back with sub-terminal black bar and white 
tip ; bill pale-yellow, tipped with black ; feet flesh-color. Length, 7-8 ; 
wing about 4 ; tail, about 2 ; bill, tarsus and middle toe, each about i. 

HAB. North and South America, south to Brazil. Breeds throughout 
temperate North America. Occasional in Europe. 

Nest on the ground not far from water, composed of dried grass. 
Eggs 4 ; clay-color, blotched with blackish-brown. 

No bird of its class is so well known throughout Ontario as 
the "Teeter Snipe." 

Merry bands of children, getting out to the woods to pick 
flowers in the early summer listen with delight to its soft "peet 
weet," as it flits from point to point along the margin of the 
stream, and find great amusement in watching the peculiar 
jerky teetering motions which give rise to its common name. 
It thus becomes associated in the mind of the rising generation 
with the return of summer and its many outdoor enjoyments, 
and so is always welcome. About the middle of April the Peet- 
Weets cross our Southern boundary and are soon dispersed in 
pairs all over the country, where they are heard and seen by 
every brook-side till about the end of September, when they 
move off to spend the winter in the Southern States. In the 


fall they get quite numerous, and many may be seen along the 
lake shore at one time, yet they are not gregarious, each 
individual choosing its own time to arise, and place to alight. 
The female is rather larger and more heavily spotted than the 


Lonp-billed Curlew. 

Bill of extreme length and curvature, measuring from 5 to 8 or 9 inches ; 
total length, about 2 feet ; wing a foot or less ; tail, about 4 ; tarsus, 2% to 2 . 
Plumage very similar to that of the Godwit, prevailing tone rufous, of varing 
intensity in different birds and in different parts of the same bird, usually 
more intense under the wing than elsewhere ; below, the jugulum streaked, 
and the breast and sides with arrow-heads and bars of dusky ; above, varie- 
gated with black, especially on the crown, back and wings ; tail barred 
throughout with black and rufous ; secondaries rufous ; primaries blackish 
and rufous ; no pure white anywhere ; bill black, the under mandible flesh- 
colored for some distance ; legs dark. 

HAB, Temperate North America, migrating south to Guatemala and 
the West Indies. Breeds in the South Atlantic States, and in the interior 
through most of its North American range. 

Nest on the prairies. 

Eggs 3 to 4 ; clay-color, blotched or spotted with umber-brown. 

The Long-billed Curlew is a bird of the prairie rather than 
the coast, though it is often met with along the shores of the 
sea. It is said to breed in suitable places from Carolina 
to Minnesota, but is spoken of by Prof. Macoun as rare in the 
Northwest. In Ontario, it is occasionally seen along the shores 
of the Lakes, but only as an irregular visitor and not in large 
numbers. Among the veteran sportsmen near Hamilton, it is 
spoken of as one of the kinds which have been scared away by the 
railroads. Whether the snorting of the locomotive has anything 
to do with the disappearance of the birds from their former 
haunts is hard to say, but certain it is that the number of 
Waders and Swimmers we now see is small as compared with 
former years. 


Hudsonian Curlew. 

Bill medium, 3 or 4 inches long ; length, 16-18 ; wing, 9 ; tail, 3^ ; tarsus, 
2|-2. Plumage as in the last species in pattern, but general tone much 
paler ; quills barred. 

HAB. All of North and South America, including the West Indies ; 
breeds in the high north, and winters chiefly south of the United States. 

Nest similar to the preceding. 

Eggs similar in markings but smaller. 

According to Dr. Coues, this species is less abundant than 
either of the other two Curlews, yet at Hamilton it is, of the 
three, most frequently observed. I was once on the Beach in 
May, when there appeared to be a migratory movement of Hud- 
sonian Curlews toward the North. They flew high, in regular 
order like geese and showed no inclination to alight till a boy 
with a long shot brought down one, wing broken, from a pass- 
ing flock. 

Knowing the habits of the birds, he quickly tied it to a stake 
in a moist meadow, and concealing himself close by, had good 
shooting during the afternoon, as the loud outcry made by his 
prisoner brought down every passing flock. 

Of late years very few have been seen. 


Eskimo Curlew. 

Bill small, under three inches long; length, 12-15 inches; wing, under 
9 ; tail, 3 ; tarsus, 2. Plumage in tone and oattern almost exactly as in the 
last species, but averaging more rufous, especially under the wings, and pri- 
maries not barred. 

HAB. Eastern Province of North America, breeding in the Arctic 
regions, and migrating south to the southern extremity of South America. 

Nest in open plains. 

Eggs similar to the preceeding but smaller. 

The Curlews all resemble each other in plumage, but in size 
they vary considerably, this being the smallest of thethree. It is 


very abundant in the remote regions which it frequents in summer, 
and also along its migratory course from which it does not seem 
to deviate much. On the Pacific coast it has not yet been ob- 
served, and on the Atlantic shores it appears only in limited 
numbers. The great highway of the species is through the 
States just east of the Rocky Mountains, where it is seen in 
immense flocks in spring and fall. I once found myself unex- 
pectedly in close proximity to a solitary individual on the shore 
of the Beach near Hamilton, and secured it, but that is the only 
record I have of its occurrence in Ontario. 





Black-bellied Plover. 

Adult in breeding season (rarely seen in the United States) ; face and 
entire under parts black; upper parts variegated with black and whice, or 
ashy ; tail barred with black and white ; quills dusky with large white patches. 
Adults at other times and young, below white more or less shaded with gray, 
the throat and breast more or less soeckled with dusky ; above blackish, 
speckled with white or yellowish ; the rump white with dark bars, legs dull 
bluish. Old birds changing show every grade, from a few isolated feathers 
on the under parts, to numerous large black patches. Length, 11-12 ; wing, 
7 or more ; tail, 3 ; bill, i-ij ; tarsus, 2 ; middle toe and claw, ij ; hind toe, 
hardly J. 

HAB. Nearly cosmopolitan, but chiefly in the Northern Hemisphere, 
breeding far north, and migrating south in winter ; in America to the West 
Indies, Brazil, and New Grenada. 

Eggs 4, dark clay color, blotched or spotted with brownish black. 

Although of nearly cosmopolitan distribution, this large and 
handsome Plover is nowhere abundant. It has been found 
breeding on the Arctic coast east of the Anderson River, where 
its eggs were taken by Mr. McFarlane. 

n 4 


In its migrations it prefers the sea coast on either side, to the 
interior, but a few are also observed inland. 

At Hamilton it visits the Beach in spring and fall in limited 
numbers. I once got two out of three very handsome individ- 
uals which I saw there on the third of June. In the list of 
Birds of Western Ontario, it is mentioned as a "common Mi- 
grant" at St. Clair Flats. 



American Golden Plover. 

Plumage speckled above, and in the breeding season black below, as in 
the last species, but much of the speckling bright yellow, and the 
rump and upper tail-coverts like the back; forehead, and a broad line over 
the eye to the nape white ; tail feathers gra'yish-brown, with imperfect white 
or ashy bars ; axillars, gray or ashy. At other times, the under parts nearly 
as in the last species. Length, 10-11; wing, 7 or less; tail, under 3 ; bill, i 
or less. 

HAB. Arctic America, migrating southward throughout North and South 
America to Patagonia. 

Nest composed of dry grass in a natural hollow in the ground. 

Eggs 4, similar to those of the preceding species but not quite so large. 

Aged gunners tell us that Golden Plovers used to follow 
the line of the Detroit River in immense flocks, passing quickly 
to the north in the spring, and lingering along the shores and in 
the pasture fields on their return in the fall. 

According to the list of Birds of Western Ontario, they are 
still regular visitors there, but only in small numbers. Near Ham- 
ilton they have never been common. Small flocks of immature 
birds are seen passing south in the fall occasionally, but not 

The Golden Plover in full breeding plumage is a very hand- 
some bird, but like the Snow Bird and some others which breed 
in high latitude, they do not assume the nuptial dress till 
they reach their northern home, and by the time they get back 
within the bounds of civilization they have donned the sober 
garb of winter. 


This species has, by some authors, been described as identical 
with the British bird of the same name. Dr. Coues who has 
made a careful comparison of the two, tells us they are different, 
and, as one distinguishing mark which is constant, mentions 
that the lining of the wings w r hich is pure white in the European 
bird, is, in the American species, ashy-gray. This distinction I 
have confirmed by specimens of each in my possession. 



114. ^GIALITIS VOCIFERA (LiNN.). 273. 


Above quaker-brown with a greenish tinge, sometimes most of the feath- 
ers tipped and edged with orange-brown ; rump and upper tail-coverts orange 
brown ; most of tail feathers white at base and tip, suffused with orange-brown 
in part of their length and with 1-3 black bars ; secondaries mostly white, 
and primaries with a white space ; a black bar across the crown, and two 
black bands on the neck and breast ; forehead and entire under parts except 
as stated, white; bill, black; feet, pale; eyelids, scarlet. Length, 9-10 inches; 
wing, 6 or more ; tail, 3^, much rounded ; tarsus, about i. 

HAB. Temperate North America, migrating in winter to the West 
Indies, Central and Northern South America. 

Nest in the grass or shingle in the vicinity of water. 
Kggs 4, clay color marked with blackish-brown. 

A noisy, well known bird, generally distributed throughout 
Ontario, and abundant in the North-West. In April, even 
before the snow is quite gone, the shrill cry of the Killdeer is 
heard in the upper air as it circles around, surveying its old 
haunts, and selecting a bare spot on which to settle. 

Its favorite resorts are pasture fields or waste places near 
water, where it spends much of its time on the ground, some- 
times running with great speed, and again sitting quietly as if 
aware that it is more likely to escape observation in this way 
than by moving. It can scarcely be called gregarious, yet, in 
the fall, when the young birds are getting strong on the wing, 
they may be seen in companies of ten, or a dozen, visiting the 
muddy shores of streams and inlets, till about the end of Sep- 
tember, when they all move off" south. 



Semipal mated Plover. 

Above dark ashy-brown with an olivaceous shade ; below white ; very 
broad coronal and pectoral black bars in the adult in spring, in fall and in 
the young the coronal bar hardly evident, the pectoral grayish-brown ; edges 
of eyelids bright orange ; bill moderately short and stout, orange or yellow, 
black tipped ; legs yellowish ; toes conspicuously semipalmate. Length, 
aboat 7 inches ; wing, 4 ; tail, about 2% rounded. 

HAB. Arctic and Subarctic America, migrating south throughout 
tropical America, as far as Brazil and Peru. 

Nest a depression in the ground lined with dry grass. 
Eggs 4 ; clay-color, marked with blackish-brown. 

A solid, plump, little bird of very pleasing plumage, particu- 
larly in spring when the colors are clear and decided. In com- 
pany with other Beach birds, it is found along the shores of the 
lakes in Ontario from the middle till the end of May. In the 
fall it is again seen in increased numbers in similar places, till 
about the end of September, when they disappear for the 
season. Dr. Coues found the Ring Necks breeding abundantly 
in Labrador, and mostly remaining there till the beginning of 
September. The distance between their summer and winter 
home is very great, but their flight is rapid, and as they seem 
to know the way, the journey is quickly made. 

116. ^GIALITIS MELODA (ORD). 277. 
Piping Plover. 

Above, very pale ashy-brown ; the black bands narrow, often imperfect ; 
bill colored as in ihe last, bur shorter and stumpy ; edges of eyelids colored ; 
no evident web between inner and middle toes, and only a slight one between 
middle and outer. Length, about 7 inches ; wing, 4^ ; tail 2. 

HAB. Eastern Province of North America, breeding from the coast of 
New Jersey (at least formerly) northward ; in winter, West Indies. 

Eggs 4 ; deposited among the shingle of the beach ; clay-color, marked 
with spots of brownish-black, not exceeding a pin's head in size. 



The Piping Plover is a more Southern bird than the Ring 
neck, and evidently does not penetrate far into Ontario. I have 
met with it at the Beach, but only on two occasions. It has 
also been found on the island at at Toronto, but is more com- 
mon along the north shore of Lake Erie, and Mr. Saunders 
reports it as breeding at Point Pelee, at the western end of that 
lake. When sitting quietly among the shingle of the beach, the 
colors of this little bird harmonize so well with its surroundings 
that quite a number may be close at hand without being 
observed. The birds seem aware of this, and when suspicious 
of danger, sit perfectly still till it is time to fly, when they rise 
simultaneously and move off with a soft, plaintive, piping note. 

Snowy Plover. 

Male in breeding dress ; above, pale ashy-gray, little darker than in 
mcloda. Top of head with a fulvous tinge. A broad black coronal bar from 
eye to eye. A narrow black post-ocular stripe, tending to meet its fellow on 
the nape, and thus encircle the fulvous area. A broad black patch on each 
side of the breast ; no sign of its completion above or below ; no complete 
black loral stripe, but indication of such in a small dark patch on either side 
of base of upper mandible. Forehead, continuous with line over the eye, 
sides of head, excepting the black post-ocular stripe, and whole under-parts 
excepting the black lateral breast patches, snowy white. No white ring 
complete around back of neck. Primaries blackish, especially at bases and 
ends, the intermediate extent fuscous ; shaft of first, white, of others white 
for a space ; nearly all the primaries bleaching toward -bases of inner webs, 
but only on some of the inner ones with a white area on outer webs. 
Piimary coverts like the primaries, but white-tipped. Greater coverts 
like the back, but white-tipped Secondaries, dark-brown, bleaching inter- 
nally and basally increasing extent from without inwards, their shafts white 
along their respective white portions. Tertiaries like back. Several inter- 
mediate tail feathers like back, darkening toward ends ; two or three lateral 
pairs entirely white ; all the feathers more pointed than usual. Bill slender 
and acute, black. Legs, black. Length, ,6-50 to 7-00 ; extent, 13-50 to 
14-00 ; wing, 4-00 to 4-25 ; tail, 2-00 or less. 

HAB. Western Province of North America ; in winter, both coasts of 
Central America, and Western South America to Chili. 



The Snowy Plover is & western bird very seldom seen east 
of the Rocky Mountains, and would not have been mentioned 
here, but for the following notice of it which appears in the 
Auk, for Oct. 1885. It is contributed by Mr. Seton, of Toronto. 
" A specimen of this bird was shot here by Mr. I. Forman, 
May, 1880, and is now in the rooms of the Toronto Gun Club. 
It was at the time in company with some Piping Plovers. This 
specimen answers in general to the description in Coues's Key 
and fully in regard to the bill ; it differs in being much lighter 
in plumage. I had no opportunity to make measurements, but 
in the same case were Meloda and Semipalmata and comparison 
with these makes me almost certain that it is Cantiana. The 
bill is noticeably long, black and slender. I never met the 
bird before and have no material to aid me in settling the 

If Mr. Seton has correctly identified the specimen described, 
it can only be regarded as a casual straggler from the far west 
which may not be seen here again. 





Adult in summer pied above with black, white, brown and chestnut red, 
the latter color wanting in winter and in young birds ; below from the breast 
(which is more or less completely black) throat, most of the secondaries, 
most of the primaries, and bases and tips of the tail feathers white ; bill 
black ; feet orange ; length, 8-9 inches ; wing, 5^-6 ; tail, 2% ; bill, J, almost 
recurved ; tarsus, i ; tibiae bare but a little way. 

HAB. Nearly cosmopolitan. In America from Greenland and Alaska to 
the Straits of Magellan ; more or less common in the interior of North 
America, on the shores of the Great Lakes and the larger rivers. Breeds in 
high latitudes. 

In the " Birds of Ohio,'* Dr. Wheaton says that " Mr. 
Sinnett observed this species on the coast of Texas in the 
breeding season, and believes that they breed there. The eggs 
are described as olive-green, with brown spots." 



The beautifully marked Turnstone is a bird of nearly cos- 
mopolitan distribution. It is found in America on both coasts, 
and also in the interior. At Hamilton Beach it is a regular 
visitor in spring and fall, though seldom more than two or three 
are found together. 

They are very sociable in their habits, mixing freely with 
whatever other waders they chance to meet, and as they are 
seen here till the end of the first week in June, it is probable 
that they breed within the limits of Ontario. 

They are again seen, young and old together, early in Sep- 
tember, and linger around the shores of the bay till the end of 
that month, when they move farther south to spend the winter. 








Coronal feathers erectile but not forming a true crest. Forehead, super- 
ciliary line and throat white, bordered with black ; crown, neck all round 
and upper-part of breast brownish-red, other under-parts tawny -whitish, all 
with more or fewer doubly crescentic black bars ; sides broadly streaked 
with brownish-red ; upper-parts variegated with chestnut, black, gray and 
tawny, the latter edging the inner quills. Female known by having the 
throat buff instead of white, less black about the fore-parts, and general 
colors less intense, rather smaller than the male. Length, 9-10 ; wing, 4^-5 ; 
tail 2^-3. 

HAB. Eastern United States and Southern Canada, from Southern 
Ma ne to the South Atlantic and Gulf States.west to Dakota, Eastern Kan- 
sas, and Eastern Texas. 

Nest on the ground in a natural or excavated hollow, lined with grass or 
leaves, usually sheltered by tall grass, weeds, bushes, or brush. 


Eggs, pure white, said to range in numbers from 10 to 40, the larger lots 
supposed to include contributions from several females ; 15 being considered 
the usual set. 

Bob-white may be claimed as a permanent resident in 
Southern Ontario, which is the northern limit of his range, and 
he has hard work to hold his own against the many influences 
which are continually operating against him. Birds of prey, 
crows, jays, weasels, dogs, cats, mowing machines, and sports- 
men of all classes tend to thin the ranks ; worse than all these 
the vicissitudes of winter, spells of cold weather during which 
the mercury gets down below zero, and occasional long con- 
tinued deep snow, tell so severely against this little bird that 
were it not for its wonderful capacity for increase it would soon 
be exterminated. 

The Quail follows in the wake of cultivation, and under 
ordinary circumstances thrives best near the abode of man. It 
is a good friend to the farmer, and is well entitled to his pro- 
tection in return for the service it renders, not only in the con- 
sumption of large quantities of the seeds of noxious weeds, but 
also in the destruction of many sorts of insects whose ravages 
among the crops are often very severe and difficult to prevent. 
A recent writer mentions having examined the crop of one 
which was killed as it rose from a potato patch, and found 
it to contain seventy-five potato-bugs. This is only one of the 
many instances illustrating the value of this bird to the farmer. 

Were I a farmer, I would hang over my kitchen fire-place 
the motto, inscribed in goodly characters : " Spare the Quail." 

Many interesting articles have from time to time appeared 
in sporting magazines concerning the query has the Quail the 
power to withhold its scent ? 

No one acquainted with the habits of the birds will deny 
that at times the best of dogs will fail to find them where they 
have been marked down, but how this happens is a subject 
regarding which sportsmen still hold different opinions. 

From among many instances given in illustration of the fact 
we select the following by Dr. H. E. Jones, an enthusiastic 


sportsman and naturalist : "A few years since I was out with 
a friend, and we flushed a very large bevy, and marked them 
down accurately on an elevated piece of ground in a woodland 
pasture. The grass was short and there was not even a weed 
or briar, but here and there a large tree. We moved forward 
with three dogs, expecting to bring on an engagement at once. 
We made the dogs approach cautiously, giving them warning 
that game was in the immediate vicinity, but they arrived -at 
the identical spot where we saw as many as thirty birds alight, 
without making the least demonstration whatever that there 
was anything unusual about the place. We knew better, and 
made them go over and over, crossing and recrossing, until it 
seemed every foot, every inch of ground had been most 
thoroughly examined. We did this until two sportsmen and 
three dogs gave up the pursuit. It was now past noon, and 
we sat down on the grass, uncorked our canteens and opened 
out our lunch. We were eating, talking and laughing, occa- 
sionally rewarding the dogs with a cracker, when my friend by 
way of sport said, " Look at old Tom, he is on a point." The 
dog was standing half up, half down, with his nose thrown 
under his chest between his front legs. Sure enough he was on 
a point, for there was the bird, with its bright black eyes, only 
partially concealed by a leaf, almost under the dog's body. 
My friend put his hat over it and caught it without moving 
from the dinner table. At that instant another dog made a 
point within six inches of my feet. I saw the bird at once, and 
tried to capture it with my hand, but it made 'its escape. This 
was the signal for a general move and the whole covey now 
arose from all around and about us. The concert of action in 
the manner of going down, retaining their scent, remaining still 
under the most trying circumstances, and the mode of leaving 
all indicated an understanding and education by. command 
how to act in time of danger.-" 

Some time ago the Government of Ontario passed an Act 
prohibiting the killing of Quail under any circumstances for a 
period of three years, which co-incident with mild winters had 
the effect for a time of increasing the numbers, but again they 
are greatly reduced and in need of protection which they well 





120. Richardson's Grouse. 297 b. 

Adult-male : Back and wings blackish-brown crossed with wavy lines of 
slaty-gray, mixed with yellowish-brown on the scapulars. Long feathers of 
the sides tipped with white, under-parts light slate-color, mixed with white 
on the lower parts. Cheeks black ; chin and throat speckled with black 
and white feathers on the sides of the neck slightly enlarged, covering a rudi- 
mentary air sack. Tail brownish -black veined and marbled with gray, and 
having a broad terminal band of the same color. Female smaller, more 
varied and generally lighter in color, but having the under-parts and bar at 
the end of the tail slate-gray as in the male. Length, 20 to 22 inches ; wing, 
9 to 10 ; tail, 7. 

HAB. Rocky Mountains, from Central Montana northward into British 

Eggs, creamy-buff, freckled all over with chocolate-brown. 

For a notice of the occurrence of this species in Ontario, I 
am indebted to C. J. Bampton, of Sault St. Marie, who has 
frequently seen it brought into market at that place. 

It bears a strong resemblance to the Dusky Grouse (Den- 
dragapus Obscurus (Say.), of which it is regarded as the 
Northern form. The Dusky Grouse is found chiefly on the 
west coast as far south as New Mexico and the White Moun- 
tains of Arizona. In the Rocky mountains toward the north, 
it gradually assumes the peculiarities of the present species ; 
but many intermediate individuals are found which cannot 
positively be said to belong more to the one than to the other. 

In Richardsonii, the tail feathers are longer and broader 
than in Obscurus. The slate-colored bar at the end is smaller, 
or wanting, and the general colors darker, specially so on the 





Canada Grouse. 

Adult-male : Tail of sixteen feathers, rounded, black, with an orange- 
brown bar at the end. Prevailing color, black, barred and spotted with 
white on the lower parts, and above crossed with wavy lines of tawny and 
grey. Female smaller, variegated all over with black, brown, white and 
tawny. Tail bar as in the male but less decided. Length, 16-00 ; wing 7 ; 
tail, 5-50. 

HAB. British America, east of the Rocky Mountains, from Alaska 
south to Northern Michigan, Northern New York, and Northern New Eng- 

Nest on the ground in secluded places, well concealed, built of twigs, 
leaves, moss and grass. 

Eggs 12 or more ; creamy-brown, sometimes dotted or blotched with a 
darker shade. 

When young 1 birds of different species are cast loose from 
parental oversight, and go out into the world on their own 
account they are often very erratic in their movements, are 
frequently found in places where they have no business to be, 
and sometimes thereby come to grief. 

It was from some such cause as this that I once got a speci- 
men of the Canada Grouse in the Hamilton market. It was in 
month of October, a farmer had seen this small dark-colored 
bird in company with some Ruffed Grouse, and following them 
up, singled it out as something new. They are not known to 
breed anywhere near Hamilton, but are common in the pictur- 
esque district of Muskoka, between the Georgian Bay and the 
Ottawa River, where they breed and are resident. 

They are plump, handsome little birds, but are not equal to 
the Quail or the Ruffed Grouse for the table. 

122. BONASA UMBELLUS (LiNN.). 300. 
Ruffed Grouse. 

Sexes nearly alike ; variegated reddish or grayish-brown ; the back with 
numerous oblong, pale, black-edged spots ; neck-tufts, glossy-black ; below, 



whitish barred with brown ; tail with a broad subterminal black zone, and 
tipped with gray. Length, 16-18 ; wing, 7-8. 

HAB. Eastern United States, south to North Carolina, Georgia, Miss- 
issippi, and Arkansas. 

Nest in a hollow in the ground, lined with grass or leaves ; often placed 
by the side of a log or stump. 

Eggs, 8 to 12 ; cream-color, sometimes minutely spotted with chocolate- 

Notwithstanding the continual persecution to which the 
Ruffed Grouse is exposed, it is still a common species 
throughout Ontario, breeding in all suitable places from the 
shore of Lake Erie to the northern boundary of the Province, 
and even in Alaska. 

It is a robust, hardy bird, well able to stand the rigors of 
our climate, and being exceedingly strong and active on the 
wing, gets oftener away from the sportsman than any other 
species he pursues. Occasionally when the birds are found 
feeding among bushes of stunted growth, with a good dog a 
fair bag may be made, but to follow them through the tangled 
masses of foliage and fallen trees where they are usually found 
is attended with great fatigue, and usually very slim results. 
Thebirdsget up with wonderful suddenness, and disappear as if 
by magic ; besides which they seem always to rise at the wrong 
time, from the wrong place, and to go off in the wrong direction 
to suit the sportsman. 

Much has been written regarding the mode in which this 
bird produces the peculiar drumming sound so familiar to all 
who have had occasion to visit its haunts, but it is now gener- 
ally believed to be caused by the rapid vibratory motion of the 
wings beating the air, a similar sound being produced in a 
similar way by the Hummingbird, and also by the Night- 
hawk. The Grouse in the spring-time produces this music as 
a call to his lady fair, who, no doubt, delights to hear it, and 
responds accordingly. It is also heard occasionally late in the 
season, when he is possibly working off the exuberance of his 
spirits after some happy experience in his sylvan life. 



At different points throughout its extensive habitat, this 
species is subject to considerable variation in plumage. This 
has recently led to the formation of several sub-species, one of 
which (Bonasa umbellus togata) (Linn.), will, I daresay, be 
found in Ontario, but between these new groups are always to 
be found intermediate individuals which render the boundary 
rather uncertain. All are more or less closely related to the 
old original Bonasa umbellus. 


Willow Ptarmigan. 

Bill stout, as high as the distance from the nasal groove to its tip. In 
summer rufous, or orange-chestnut on the head and neck : the feathers of the 
back black, barred rather closely with yellowish-brown and chestnut. In 
winter white, the tail black tipped with white. Length, 15 to 17 ; wing, 
about 8 ; tail, 5-50. 

HAB. Arctic America, south to Sitka and Labrador. 

Nest on the ground, 

Eggs, 14 ; fawn color spotted with reddish-brown. 

The Ptarmigans are found both in the old and new world, 
as far north as vegetation extends, and so thoroughly boreal 
are they in their habits, that they seldom come within even the 
northern boundary of Ontario. C. J. Bampton, registrar 
of the district of Algoma, who has furnished me with many 
interesting notes regarding the birds of that remote district, 
mentions the Willow Ptarmigan as a rare winter visitor at 
Sault St. Marie. 

Rock Ptarmigan. 

Bill slender, distance from the nasal groove to the tip greater than 
height at base. In summer the feathers of back black, banded distinctly 



with yellowish-brown and tipped with white. In winter white, the tail 
black, tipped with white ; the male with a black bar from the bill through 
the eye. Length, 14 to 15 ; wing 7 to 7-50 ; tail, 4-50. 

HAB. Arctic America, from Alaska to Labrador. 

Nest on the ground. 

Eggs, reddish-brown, spotted with darker brown. 

This is another northern species reported by Mr. Bampton 
as being occasionally exposed in the winter time in the market 
at Sault St. Marie. It resembles the preceding in general 
appearance, but is rather less in size, and in winter plumage 
the black band through the eye of the male serves at once to 
decide his identity. 

The Ptarmigans have a most interesting history, their small 
feet covered densely with hair-like feathers, the wonderful 
changes which their plumage undergoes to match their 
surroundings, and their life amid the rigors of an arctic 
winter, are matters which invest the history of the group with 
peculiar interest. 


Prairie Hen. 

Above variegated with black, brown, tawny or ochrey, and white, the 
latter especially on the wings ; below pretty regularly barred with dark 
brown, white and tawny ; throat tawny a little speckled, or not ; vent and 
crissum mostly white ; quills fuscous with white spots on the outer webs ; 
tail fuscous, with narrow or imperfect white or tawny bars and tips ; sexes 
alike in color, but the female smaller with shorter neck-tufts. Length, 16-18 ; 
wing, 8-9 ; tail, about 5. 

HAB. Prairies of the Mississippi Valley, south to Louisiana, east to 
Kentucky and Indiana. 

Nest on the ground, in a tuft of grass or small shrub. 

Eggs, 8 to 12 ; pale greenish-gray, sometimes minutely dotted with 

Southern Ontario has no prairie which meets the require- 
ments of the Prairie Chicken, and therefore the birds are not 
here. From various sources I have heard of their being still 



found along the south western frontier, but their numbers are 
on the decrease. In the List of Birds of Western Ontario it is 
stated that a few still breed at St. Clair. From W. E. 
Wagstaff, one of the oldest and most respected settlers in the 
County of Essex, I have a most interesting letter regarding the 
birds he. has observed during his long residence there. Of this 
species he says : "I have never seen Prairie Chickens alive, 
but have heard of their being seen in bands about Sandwich. 
When I first came to Amherstburg, about 1840, I heard the old 
sports tell of having killed them in the gardens of the town." 

From the foregoing it w T ould appear that the days of the 
Prairie Chicken in Ontario are numbered. They afford 
excellent sport to the gunner, and the facilities for reaching 
them in their remote haunts are now so much increased, that 
year by year, even in the United States, they are being driven 
to regions still more remote. 

In the first week in May, 1886, some young men were 
practising flight shooting at such waterfowl as were passing 
between the bay and the lake near the canal at the Beach. 
Presently a bird of different flight and shape came buzzing 
along, and was brought down by one of the gunners who was 
greatly astonished to find he had killed a male Prairie Chicken 
in fine spring plumage. I came along shortly after and saw 
the bird just as picked up. It had been going at a very rapid 
rate, but whence it came, or whither bound, was not apparent. 


Sharp-tailed Grouse. 

Adult male : A decurved crest of narrow feathers ; a bare space on each 
side of the neck capable of being inflated ; tail short, much graduated, of 
sixteen feathers, all of which are more or less concave, excepting the two 
middle ones along the inner edge, obliquely and abruptly terminated, the 
two middle projecting an inch beyond the rest. Upper parts variegated with 
light yellowish-red, brownish-black and white, the latter in terminal 
triangular or guttiform spots on the scapulars and wing-coverts ; quills 
grayish-brown, primaries with white spots on the outer web ; secondaries 



tipped and barred with white, tail white variegated at the base, the two 
middle feathers like the back ; loral space and a band behind the eye 
yellowish-white, a dusky streak under the eye ; throat reddish-white, with 
dusky spots ; fore-parts and sides of the neck barred with reddish-white ; 
on the breast the dusky spots become first curved, then arrow-shaped, and 
so continue narrowing on the hind part of the breast and part of the sides of 
which the upper portion is barred ; abdomen, lower tail-coverts and axillars, 
white ; tarsal feathers light brownish-gray, faintly barred with whitish. 
Female smaller, the tints of colors less bright. Length, 18-20 ; wing, 8-9 ; 
middle feathers of the tail, 4-6 ; outer feathers, i, 

HAD. British America, from the northern shore of Lake Superior and 
British Columbia to Hudson's Bay Territory and Alaska. 

Nest in a tuft of grass on the prairie. 

Eggs, 5 to 12 ; grayish-olive or drab color, minutely dotted with brown 
spots the size of a pin's head. 

Writing from the Northwest Prof. Macoun says of this 
species : " This is the Prairie Chicken of our western plains, 
the true Prairie Chicken not being observed here." 

And Dr. Coues, writing in the same strain, says : " This is 
the Prairie Chicken of the whole Northwest, usually occurring 
where the Pinnated Grouse does not, although the habitats of 
the two species overlap to some extent." From the foregoing 
it appears that while the present species occupied the North- 
west, the Prairie Chicken flourished more in the south-east, but 
that now both are being driven farther to the north-west, as the 
prairies come under cultivation. 

The Sharp-tail is abundant near Winnipeg, from which 
point it has reached the Hamilton market, It is also reported 
by Mr. Bampton as being found at Sault St. Marie. 




Wild Turkey, 

Naked skin of head and neck livid-blue ; general color copper-bronze 
with copper and green reflection, each feather with a narrow black border ; 



all the quills brown closely barred with white ; tail chestnut barred with 
black and a broad subterminal black bar. Tip of tail feathers and upper 
tail-coverts lighter chestnut. Length, 3-4 feet. 

HAB. United States, from Southern Canada to the Gulf coast, and west 
to the Plains, along the timbered river valleys ; formerly along the Atlantic 
coast to Southern Maine. 

Nest on the ground. 

Eggs, i o to 15 ; dark buff or cream color, thickly sprinkled with dark 

Within the recollection of people still living, Wild Turkeys 
were comparatively common along our south-western frontier. 
Mr. Wagstaff in his letter already referred to says : " Wild 
Turkeys are getting scarce. They were once numerous in 
Kent and Essex, going about in flocks, but the severe winter of 
1842 almost exterminated them. About 1856 they had again 
become numerous, but are gradually getting fewer in number 
as the settler's axe clears away the timber." In the List of 
Birds of Western Ontario it is stated that a nest was found in 
the County of Middlesex in 1878. 

That veteran sportsman and naturalist, Dr. Gamier, of 
Lucknow, writing under date of December nth, 1884, says: 
" I have killed several Wild Turkeys in the County of Kent, 
and saw one there this season which I did not obtain. 

On the 2ist of last October I had a female of this species in 
my hands at Chatham station, which had just been killed near 
by. About four years ago, at Leguis farm, near Mitchell's Bay, 
I saw three gobblers, two of which I killed right and left, the 
third was shot the same day by a boy from whom I bought it 
for a dollar. 

Most of the domestic Turkeys in that section are either the 
wild species tamed or half-breeds, and are far superior in flavor 
to the ordinary stock. In 1856 I killed two out of a large flock 
within half a mile of Hagersville, which at that time consisted 
of a waggon-shop, a toll-gate, postoffrce, and a small shop called 
1 store.' I also got a set of nine eggs, and found the female 
killed by a fox, lying close by, still warm but quite dead." 



The Wild Turkey has never advanced into Ontario much 
beyond the southern boundary, the climate being evidently too 
severe, and the locality from other causes perhaps not very 
attractive. The few which still remain are more hunted 
as they become more rare, and to all appearance the day is not 
far distant when this valuable game bird will be sought for in 
vain in the Province of Ontario. 

In the south a second species is found which is believed to 
be the parent of the domestic stock. It is more of a southern 
bird, being found chiefly in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and 





Passenger Pigeon. 

Adult-male': Dull blue above with olivaceous tinge on back, below dull 
purplish-red, whitening on vent and crissum ; sides of neck golden and ruby ; 
some wing-coverts black-spotted ; quills blackish, with slaty, whitish and 
rufous edging ; middle tail-feathers bluish-black, the others white or ashy, 
the inner webs basally black with chestnut patch ; bill black ; feet coral-red ; 
female and young duller and more brownish or olivaceous above, below dull 
grayish, with a tawny tinge anteriorly, or quite gray ; very young have the 
feathers skirted with whitish ; length. 15-17 ; wing, 7-8 ; tail about the same. 

HAB. Eastern North America, from Hudson's Bay southward, and west 
to the Great Plains ; straggling westward to Nevada and Washington 

Nest on bushes or small trees, loosely built of twigs. 
Eggs, i or 2 ; pure white. 

As its name implies, this is a migratory species, but it has 
not, like many others, a regular migratory course which it 
instinctively follows year after year in the same direction. On 
the contrary, the movements of the Wild Pigeon are quite 
irregular, and guided only by the instinct which directs the 
birds in their search for food. A few straggling pairs are still 


found in the backwoods in Southern Ontario where they 
probably breed, but the rising generation of sportsmen can have 
but inadequate conceptions of the vast flocks of pigeons which 
used in former years to pass over Hamilton. 

They were annually looked for in April the first who 
observed them circulated the news, " The Pigeons are flying," 
and early in the morning a regular fusilade was heard all along 
the edge of the mountain, where at daylight the gunners had 
taken up their stand at such points as the flocks were likely to 
pass. These annual migrations seemed to attain their 
maximum in 1854, " the year of the cholera." During that 
season, from the middle of April till the end of June, flocks could 
be seen in every hour of every day passing to the west. The 
summer was unusually warm, and as the heat increased the 
birds seemed weak and languid with scarcely enough energy 
left to rise above the houses. Vast numbers were killed, till, 
fortunately for the birds, a rumor got abroad that eating too 
many pigeons caused the cholera, after which they were 
allowed to pass on their way unmolested. 

After that year the flocks rapidly decreased in number, till at 
present the annual migrations have entirely ceased. 

The food of the species consists chiefly of beech nuts, wild 
berries, and seeds of different kinds. These disappear as the 
country comes more under cultivation, and the pigeons seek 
the less settled districts, in search of their favorite fare. At 
present we hear of them being exceedingly abundant in the 
valley of the Upper Missisippi, and being quite hardy, they 
probably extend up north into the " Great Lone Land." 

Those who wish to see such flocks of pigeons as used to 
pass over Ontario will have to follow them there, as, in all 
probability, they will never be seen here again. 



Mourning Dove. 

Brownish-olive, glossed with blue on the crown and nape ; below 
purplish-red, becoming tawny white on the vent and crissum ; neck metallic- 



golden ; a velvety-black spot on the auriculars and others on the wing- 
coverts and scapulars ; middle tail feathers like back, the rest ashy-blue at 
the base, then crossed by a black bar, then white or ashy-white ; bill very 
slender, black ; feet carmine ; the female and young differ as in the wild 
pigeon ; length, 11-13 > wing, 5-6 ; tail, 6-7. 

HAB. North America, from Southern Maine, Southern Canada, and 
Oregon, south to Panama and the West Indies. 

Nest usually in a tree or bush, sometimes on a log or on the ground, 
composed mostly of twigs. 

Eggs, 2 ; pure white. 

The Mourning Dove breeds sparingly throughout Southern 
Ontario, but is more common farther south. It feeds in the 
open fields on berries, buckwheat, and the seeds of certain 
weeds, but on being disturbed seeks shelter in the nearest 

It is a gen'ile, timid species, and as it does not occur with 
us in sufficient numbers to make it worth following, it is seldom 
disturbed. It is one of the most difficult birds the collector 
undertakes to handle, the skin being so tender that should the 
bird be brought down even from a moderate height the fall is 
almost sure to burst the skin and destroy the specimen. For the 
same reason the greatest care is necessary when preparing the 
skin for the cabinet. 





130. CATHARTES AURA (LINN.). 325. 

Turkey Vulture. 

Blackish-brown ; quills ashy-gray on their under surface ; head red ; feet 
flesh-colored ; bill white. Skin of the head corrugated, sparsely beset with 
bristle-like feathers ; plumage commencing in a circle on the neck ; tail 
rounded. Length, about 2% feet ; extent, 6 ; wing, 2 ; tail, i. 

HAB. Temperate North America, from New Jersey, Ohio Valley, 
Saskatchewan region, and Washington Territory southward to Patagonia. 
Casual northward on the Atlantic coast to Maine. 



Breeds generally in communities. Nest on the ground, or in a hollow 
log or stump. 

Eggs, usually 2 ; creamy white, spotted and blotched with different 
shades of brown. 

So far as I am aware, the Turkey Buzzard has been observed 
in Ontario, only in the south-western portion of the Province. 

Mr. Wagstaff, in'the letter already quoted, says : " Turkey 
Buzzards are frequently seen in Essex sailing around in search 
of carrion." I once saw it at Baptiste Creek some years since, 
but have not heard of it being seen farther east. Dr. 
Coues says : " This species has a curious habit of ' playing 
possum' by simulating death when wounded and captured, the 
feint being admirably executed and often long protracted." 




Swallow-tailed Kite. 

Head, neck and under-parts white ; back, wings and tail lustrous black ; 
feet greenish blue, claws pale. Length, female, 23-25 ; wing, i6-i6J ; tail, 14 ; 
male a little smaller. 

HAB. Southern United States, especially in the interior, from Pennsyl- 
vania and Minnesota southward, throughout Central and South America ; 
westward to the Great Plains. Casual eastward to Southern New England. 
Accidental in England. 

Nest on a tree ; constructed of sticks, hay, moss, etc. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; whitish, blotched and spotted with chestnut-brown. 

In the course of its extensive wanderings, this bold, dashing 
Kite has been known to visit Ontario. In the List of Birds of 



Western Ontario mention is made of a pair having spent a 
summer about eight miles north-west of London, and there is 
also a record of one having alighted on the top of a flagstaff at 
Ottawa, when it was closely examined through a glass and 
satisfactorily identified. 

The food of this species consists chiefly of snakes, lizards, 
grasshoppers, locusts, etc., which not being abundant in 
Ontario readily accounts for the absence of the birds. 
According to Audubon the Swallow-tailed Hawk feeds chiefly 
on the wing, and having pounced on any prey on the ground, 
rises with it and devours it while flying. " In calm weather," 
he farther observes, " they soar to an immense height, pursuing 
the large insects called Mosquito Hawks, and performing the 
most singular evolutions that can be conceived, using their tail 
with an elegance peculiar to themselves." 



Marsh Hawk. 

Adult-male : Pale bluish-ash, nearly unvaried, whitening below and on 
upper tail-coverts ; quills blackish towards the end. Length, 16-18 ; wing, 
14-15 ; tail; 8-9 ; female larger, above dark-brown streaked with reddish- 
brown, below the reverse of this ; tail banded with these colors ; immature 
male is like the female though redder, but in any plumage the bird is known 
by its white upper tail-coverts and generic characters. 

HAB. North America in general, south to Panama. 

Nest on the ground ; composed of twigs and dried grass. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; pale greenish-white, spotted or blotched with light brown. 

Iii Ontario the Marsh Hawk in the red plumage is a well 
known bird, but in the blue phase it is seldom seen. It arrives 
from the south in April as soon as the ice is gone, and from 
that time till November, it may usually be seen coursing over 
the marshes and moist meadows in search of its food, which 
consists of mice, small birds, snakes, frogs, worms, etc. It 
breeds sparingly at the St. Clair Flats, becoming quite 
numerous in the fall on the arrival of those which have bred 



farther north. It is said that during the excitement of the 
breeding season, this bird has the singular habit of turning 
summersaults in the air. I have never happened to see one in 
this state of hilarity, all those observed being quite subdued in 
their habits, seldom deviating from their daily occupation of 
sailing over the marshes looking for mice. 



133. ACCIPITER VELOX (WiLs.). 332. 

Sharp-shinned Hawk. 

Feet extremely slender ; bare portion of tarsus longer than middle toe ; 
scutellae frequently fused, tail square. Above dark-brown (deepest on the 
head, the occipital feathers showing white when disturbed), with an ashy or 
plumbeous shade v/hich increases with age, till the general cast is quite 
bluish-ash ; below white or whitish, variously streaked with dark-brown and 
rusty, finally changing to browrish-red (palest behind and slightly ashy 
across the breast), with the white then only showing in narrow cross-bars ; 
chin, throat and crissum mostly white with blackish penciling ; wings and 
tail barred with ashy and brown or blackish, the quills white-barred basally, 
the tail whitish tipped ; bill dark ; claws black ; cere and feet yellow. Male, 
10-12 ; wing, 6-7 ; tail, 5-6 ; female, 12-14 ; wing, 7-8 ; whole foot, 3^ or less. 

HAB. North America in general, south to Panama. 

Nest in trees. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; white, shaded with purple and splashed with brown. 

A rather common summer resident in Southern Ontario, 
smaller in size than Cooper's Hawk, but similar in markings. 
It lives chiefly on small birds, and nothing can exceed the 
impetuosity with which it dashes down and captures them by 
sheer power of flight. " Many have been the times," says 
Audubon, " when watching this vigilant, active and industrious 
bird, have I seen it plunge headlong into a patch of briers, in 
defiance of all thorny obstacles, and passing through, emerge 
on the other side bearing off with exultation in its sharp claws 
a finch or a sparrow which it had surprised at rest." 



This species is much given to variation in size and 
markings, making it difficult at times to distinguish between a 
large Sharp-shinned and a small Cooper's Hawk. In the 
present species the legs and feet are relatively longer and more 
slender than in the other, the term sharp-shinned being 
no misnomer. They all seem to retire from Ontario in the fall, 
as none are observed during winter. 

Cooper's Hawk. 

Feet moderately stout ; bare portion of tarsus shorter than middle toe ; 
scutellae remaining distinct ; tail a little rounded. Colors and their changes 
as in A.fnscus ; larger, male, 16-18 ; wing, 9-10 ; tail, 7-8 ; female, 18-20 ; 
\ving, 10-11 ; tail, 8-9. Whole foot 4 or more. 

HAB. North America in general, south to Southern Mexico. 
Nest in trees, mostly in evergreens. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; white tinged with green, sometimes faintly spotted with 

This is one of the Chicken Hawks, and it well deserves the 
name from the havoc it makes among the poultry. It is most 
common in spring and fall, but sometimes appears suddenly in 
the winter and shortens the days of Passer domesticus when 
nothing better is available. 

Cooper's Hawk breeds sparingly throughout Southern 
Ontario, apparently preferring the vicinity of large marshes, 
where blackbirds, rails, etc., are easily obtained. 

Extraordinary migrations of hawks are sometimes seen in 
the fall, when for two or three days in succession, along a 
certain section of country, individuals of this and the preceding 
species will be continually in sight. Flocks of this description 
have often been observed at Point Pelee, near the west end of 
Lake Erie, where the birds probably gather when working their 
way round the west end of the lake, in preference to going 
across. Although a few remain during the winter, this species 
is mostly migratory, arriving in April and leaving in October. 


American Goshawk. 

Adult dark bluish-slate blackening on the head, with a white superciliary 
stripe ; tail with four broad dark bars ; below closely-barred with white and 
pale-slate, and sharply streaked with blackish. Young dark-brown above, 
the feathers with pale edges, streaked with tawny-brown on the head 
and cervix ; below fulvous-white with oblong brown markings. Female, 2 
feet long ; wing, 14 inches ; tail, n ; male smaller. 

HAB. Northern and Eastern North America, breeding mostly north of 
the United States, south in winter to the Middle States. Accidental in 

Nest in trees. 

Eggs, 3 to 6 ; soiled white faintly blotched with brown. 

The Goshawk and the Peregrine Falcon were both much 
prized in the olden time when hawking was a princely amuse- 
ment in Europe, and the same spirit and courage which was 
the admiration of lords and ladies fair in those ancient days 
still characterize the birds in their native haunts. They 
never fail to attract the attention of the sportsman, as 
unencumbered by hood or bell, they carry terror and dismay 
among the ranks of the waterfowl. 

In Ontario the Goshawk is an irregular winter visitor, some- 
times appearing in considerable numbers, and again being 
altogether wanting for 'several years in succession. In the 
young plumage it bears some resemblance to Cooper's Hawk, 
but is always much larger in size, and is more bold and daring 
in proportion, frequently carrying off poultry from the very 
doors of houses in the suburbs of the city. 

It is one of the handsomest species of the family. A small 
sized adult male in my collection is the finest I have ever seen, 
a perfect model in symmetry, the colors clear and 
bright, and the whole plumage smooth and compact, admirably 
suited for passing rapidly through the air with the least 
possible resistance. 




136. BUTEO BOREALIS (GMEL.). 337. 

Red-tailed Hawk. 

Four outer quills emarginate on inner web. Adult, dark-brown above, 
many feathers with pale or tawny margin-- , and upper tail-coverts showing 
much whitish ; below white or reddish-white, with various spots and streaks 
of different shades of brown, generally forming an irregular zcne on the 
abdomen ; tail above bright chestnut-red, with subterminal black zone and 
narrow whitish tip, below pearly-gray ; wing-coverts dark ; young with the 
tail grayish-brown barred with darker, the upper parts with tawny streaking. 
A large stoutly-built Hawk, Female, 23 ; wing, 15^ ; tail, 8 ; male, 20; 
wing, 14 ; tail, j. 

HAB. Eastern North America, west to the Great Plains. 

Nest placed on a high tree, composed of sticks, twigs, grass, moss, etc, 

Eggs, 2 to 4 ; dull white blotched with rich brown. 

This a large and powerful bird, strong of wing, and stout of 
limb, yet incapable of performing the feats of dexterity common 
to the Hawks and Falcons. It is most frequently seen sitting 
bolt upright on a stub in a field, or by the edge of the woods, 
carefully scrutinizing the ground below in search of young 
birds or small quadrupeds on which it feeds. It is resident in 
Ontario, being seen both in summer and winter, but is most 
frequently observed during the period of migration in spring 
and fall, from which may be inferred that many individuals 
spend the winter farther south. Occasionally in spring this 
species may be seen singly, or in pairs, soaring to a vast height, 
sailing round in wide circles, apparently enjoying the 
warm sunshine and the return of life to the landscape below. 

The Red-tail breeds in Southern Ontario, is generally 
distributed throughout the province, and is included in the list 
of birds observed by Prof. Macoun in the Northwest. 

137. BUTEO LINEATUS (GMEL.). 339. 
Red-shouldered Hawk. 

Four outer primaries emarginate on inner web. General plumage of the 
adult of a rich fulvous cast ; above, reddish-brown, the feathers with dark- 



brown centres ; below a lighter shade of the same, with narrow dark streaks 
and white bars ; quills and tail blackish, conspicuously banded with pure 
white; the bend of the wing orange-brown. Young plain dark brown above, 
below white with dark streaks ; quills and tail barred with whitish. Nearly 
as long as B. borealis, but not nearly so heavy ; tarsi* more naked. Female, 
22 ; wing, 14 ; tail, 9 ; male, 19 ; wing, 13 ; tail, 8 (average). 

HAB. Eastern North America, west to Texas and the Plains, south to 
the Gulf coast and Mexico. 

Nest in trees ; composed of sticks and twigs, lined with grass and a few 

Eggs, 2 to 4 ; variable in color, usually dull white, blotched with rich 

In Southern Ontario this species is a common summer 
resident, breeding freely in the less settled parts of the country, 
where it is more frequently seen than any other of the " Chicken 

In the fall it becomes quite numerous, making occasional 
predatory visits to the poultry yard, although it is usually 
satisfied with smaller game. It is not included in the list of 
birds observed by Prof. Macoun in the Northwest, and as it 
does not occur with us in the winter, it is probably less hardy 
than the Red-tail. 

Like others of the family, this species varies greatly in 
plumage according to circumstances. The young birds do not 
show any of the rich reddish-orange of the adult, and were at one 
time described as a separate species under the name of Winter 
Falcon. From Western Texas to California, and south into 
Mexico, the colors get much brighter and more decided, which 
has led to this western form being described as a subspecies 
under the name of Buteo lineatus elegans (Cass.). Occasionally 
we meet here with an adult in full plumage which might well be 
included in this group, but generally all are much brighter in the 

Swainson's Hawk. 

It is hardly possible, within the limited space at my disposal, to give 
anything like a detailed description of the various phases of plumage which 



this interesting buzzard assumes, according to age, sex, or the season of the 
year. Suffice it to say, that individuals differ so much from each other as to 
have led to the description of about a dozen different individuals as new 
species, all of which are now attributable to Bitteo Swainsoni. 

In measurement this species is about the same as its nearest relative, the 
Red-tail, averaging about 20 inches in length by about 50 in extent, but is 
less stoutly built, has the wings longer and more pointed, and it has only 
three of the primaries emarginate, whereas the Red-tail has four. The entire 
upper parts are dark-brown, many of the feathers with tawny edgings, those 
on the head showing white when disturbed. Tail feathers, ashy-gray crossed 
with numerous dark bars, and tipped with yellowish-white. Upper tail 
coverts, chestnut and white with blackish bars. Under-parts white, more or 
less shaded with chestnut. A broad pectoral area of bright chestnut, usually 
with a glacuos shade, and displaying sharp black shaft lines ; this area 
contrasting strongly with the pure white throat. 

In younger birds the upper parts are much as already described the 
lower parts, including the lining of the wings, are nearly uniform fawn color, 
thickly spotted with blackish brown. These large dark spots for the most 
part circular or guttiform, crowd across the fore-breast, scatter on the middle 
belly, enlarge to cross bars on the flanks, become broad arrow heads on the 
lower belly and tibiae, and are wanting on the throat. In all stages of 
plumage the iris of the eye is brown. 

HAB. Western North America, from Wisconsin, Illinois, Arkansas and 
Texas to the Pacific coast ; north to the arctic regions, and south to Buenos 
Ayres. Casual east to Massachusetts. 

Nest in a bush or tree at a height varying from 10 to 40 feet from the 

Dr. Coues gives an admirable history of this species in his 
Birds of the Northwest (page 357), from which I will here 
make a few extracts : 

" This large hawk is very abundant in Northern Dakota 
where it came under my almost daily observation during the 
summer of 1873. They were to be seen anywhere in the region 
mentioned even far out on the prairie, miles away from the 
timber, circling overhead or perched on the bare ground. In 
alighting it generally takes advantage of some little knoll 
commanding a view around, though it has often no more 
prominent place than a heap of dirt from a badger's hole, from- 
which to cast about for some imprudent Gopher espied too far 
from home, or still more ignoble game. 



The quarry of Swainson's Buzzard is of a very humble 
nature. I never saw one swoop upon wild fowl or grouse, and 
though they often strike rabbits like the Red-tails, their prey is 
usually nothing larger than Gophers. Though, really strong 
and sufficiently fierce birds, they lack the 'snap' of the Falcons 
and Asturs, and I scarcely think they are smart enough 
to catch little birds very often. I saw one make the attempt on 
a Lark Bunting. The Hawk poised in the air at a height of 
about 20 yards for fully a minute, fell heavily with an awkward 
thrust of the talons and missed. The little bird slipped off, 
badly scared no doubt, but unhurt, while the enemy flapped 
away sulkily, very likely to prowl around a Gopher hole for his 
dinner, or take pot luck at grasshoppers." 

From the foregoing it will be seen that the home of Swain- 
son's Buzzard is on the prairies of the Northwest, while in 
Ontario it is only a casual visitor. I first met with it at an 
agricultural fair in Hamilton in 1865, where a young specimen 
was observed in a collection which was competing for a prize. 
Being called upon to name the species to which it belonged, I 
turned to such works of reference as were available and made 
it out to be Buteo Bairdi (Hoy.), which is now known to be the 
young of Buieo Swainsoni. Since that time I have occasionally 
seen birds in similar plumage flying overhead, but did not again 
meet with it close enough for examination till the present 
summer (1886) when I saw one in the hands of a local 
taxidermist where it had been left to be "stuffed." It too was 
a young bird, but in fine plumage with the characteristic 
markings fully displayed. 

When we have more naturalists among our sportsmen, such 
a bird as this will be more frequently brought to light. At 
present should a hawk come along, when there is nothing better 
in sight, it is killed in the interest of the game, but is seldom 
picked up. 

Broad- winged Hawk. 

Three outer primaries emarginate on inner web. Above, umber-brown, 
the feathers with paler, or even with fulvous or ashy-white edging, those of 



the hind head and nape cottony-white at base ; quills blackish, most of the 
inner webs white, barred with dusky ; tail with three broad dark zones 
alternating with narrow white ones, and white tipped ; conspicuous dark 
maxillary patches ; under parts white or tawny, variously streaked, spotted 
or barred with rusty or rufous, this color usually predominating in adult 
birds, when the white chiefly appears as oval or circular spots -on each 
feather ; throat generally whiter than elsewhere, narrowly dark-lined. In 
\.\\eyoung the upper parts are duller brown, varied with white, the under- 
parts tawny-whitish with linear and oblong dark spots, the tail grayish-brown 
with numerous dark bars. Female, 18 ; wing, n ; tail, 7 ; male less. 

HAB. Eastern North America, from New Brunswick and the 
Saskatchewan region to Texas and Mexico, and thence southward to Central 
America, Northern South America and the West Indies. 

Nest in a tree, built of sticks and twigs, lined with grass and leaves. 

This species was first described by Wilson who met with 
two individuals in the woods near the Schuykill, and does not 
appear to have seen it again. 

In Southern Ontario the Broad-winged Hawk is often very 
common in the spring. Toward the end of April or early in 
May, should the weather be clear, great numbers are seen 
soaring at a considerable height, and moving in circles toward 
the Northwest. 

About the same time, singly or in pairs, it may be met with 
in the woods, usually sitting quietly on the lower branch of a 
tree near some wet place, watching for frogs. A few pairs 
remain during summer, but the greater number pass on to the 
Northwest, and in winter none have been observed. 


140. American Rough-legged Hawk. 347 a. 

Below, white, variously dark colored, and often with a broad black 
abdominal zone ; but generally no ferruginous. Above, brown varying 
from dark-chocolate in the adult to light umber in the young ; the back, 
scapulars and shorter quills strongly cinereous. The head above more or 
less white, dark streaked ; upper tail coverts and tail at base white, the 
former tipped with blackish ; the latter barred near the tip with one, and 
sometimes several bands of black or dark-brown. In this plumage the bird 



has been known as A. lagopus, the Rough-legged Buzzard, while to a 
melanotic variety of the same, found in this country only, the name sancti- 
johannis has been given. This variety is entirely glossy-black, except the 
occiput, forehead, throat, inner webs of quills, base of tail and broad tail- 
bars, white. As it is now generally conceded that these are varieties of the 
same species, the original name, lagopits is retained and the American form 
considered a geographical variety of the European, characterized as variety 
sancti-johannis. Length, about 2 feet ; wing, 16-17 ; tail, 8-10. 

HAB. Whole of North America north to Mexico, breeding chiefly north 
of the United States. 

Nest on trees or rocks. 

Eggs, 3 to 4 ; soiled white, blotched with reddish-brown. 

Another large and powerful bird, which, from some cause, 
seems contented with very humble fare, living chiefly on mice, 
lizards, frogs, etc., w^hile its appearance would lead us to 
suppose it capable of capturing much larger game. It is some- 
times found in a melanotic state, the plumage being nearly 
black, and in this garb it was formerly described as a distinct 
species, but this idea has now been abandoned. 

It can always be recognized by the legs being feathered 
down to the toes which are very short. 

In Southern Ontario this is only a visitor during the season 
of migration, being most plentiful in the fall, when it is often 
seen frequenting the marshy shores of Hamilton Bay. It has 
not been observed during the breeding season, neither does it 
occur in winter. 

Speaking of this species Sir John Richardson says : "In 
the softness and fullness of its plumage, its feathered legs, and 
habits, this bird bears some resemblance to the Owls. It flies 
slowly, sits for a long time on the bough of a tree watching for 
frogs, mice, etc., and is often seen sailing over swampy pieces 
of ground and hunting for its prey by the subdued daylight 
which illuminates even the midnight in the high parallels of 




Golden Eagle. 

Dark -brown with a purplish gloss ; lanceolate feathers of head and neck 
golden-brown ; quills blackish ; in the young, tail white with a broad 
terminal black zone. About 3 feet long ; wing, upwards of 2 feet ; tail a foot 
or more. 

HAB. North America south to Mexico. Northern parts of the Old 

Nest, an accumulation of sticks, usually placed on an inaccessible rocky 

Eggs, 2 to 4 ; soiled white marked with brown. 

This fierce and daring Eagle has its home among the rugged 
and inaccessible cliffs of Canada east, but in the fall it is seen 
following the flocks of waterfowl, which, at this season, visit the 
lakes to rest and recruit themselves as they travel southward. 
Some years ago I asked a boy, whose home I thought a 
favorable point for getting birds of prey, to shoot any Hawks 
or Owls he saw and bring them to me. A few days afterwards 
I saw him approaching my house with a sack over his shoulder, 
which, judging from the bulk, might contain a dozen hawks, 
but great was my surprise when he shook out a fine large female 
Golden Eagle which he had shot that morning as it flew over 
the place where he happened to be standing. 

Shortly afterwards I got a young male which was caught 
near Stoney Creek. I have also seen several which were 
procured near Toronto. Dark-brown Eagles are often observed 
hovering along the shores of Lake Ontario during the fall, but 
at a distance it is impossible to distinguish between this and 
the young of the Bald Eagle, which is also uniform brown 
throughout. The quickest way of identifying the species, on close 
inspection, is by referring to the legs, which, in the Golden Eagle, 
are feathered down to the toes, differing as much in this respect 
from the Bald Eagle as the Rough-legged Buzzard does from 
any of the other Hawks. 



Bald Eagle. 

Dark-brown ; head and tail white after the third year ; before this, these 
parts like the rest of the plumage. About the size of the last species. 
Immature birds average larger than adults. 

HAB. North America at large, south to Mexico. 

Nest of huge dimensions, built of sticks, placed on a tree. 

Eggs, 2 ; soiled white. 

This is more frequently seen than the preceding species, and 
may be considered resident, as it is often observed during winter, 
and breeds in suitable places throughout the country, usually on 
or near the shore of a lake. In a letter from Dr. McCormick 
dated Breeze Place, Pelee Island, June i2th, 1884, the writer 
says : " I chanced to observe an interesting incident a few 
days since, showing what looked very much like reasoning 
powers in a Bald-headed Eagle. The wind was blowing quite 
strong from the west, and the Eagle had caught a large fish. 
Rising in the air with his dying prey in his talons, he tried to 
fly directly to windward, towards his nest, but the wind was 
too strong, and after several unsuccessful attempts he 
dropped the fish (now dead) into the water. Then flying 
off toward the north for sdme distance, apparently to try 
the wind in that direction, and finding he could progress 
more easily, he turned round, went back to the fish, took it up 
again in his claws, and flying north with a beam wind made the 
shore. Then in shelter of a friendly grove of trees, he flew away 
toward the west and his nest, with his scaly treasure, thus exercis- 
ing what appeared to be a reasoning process of cause and effect." 

A favorite haunt of this species used to be along the Niagara 
River below the Falls, where they would sit on the dead trees 
by the river bank and watch for any dead or dying animals that 
came down the stream. This habit becoming known to 
collectors, a constant watch was kept for the appearance of the 
birds, many were picked off with the rifle, and although a few 
still visit the old haunts, their numbers are greatly reduced. 



Twenty years ago, I knew a youth who shot one of these birds 
as it flew over him while he lay concealed among the rushes on 
the shore of Hamilton Bay watching for Ducks. On taking it 
up he found an unusual appendage dangling from the 
neck, which proved, on examination, to be the bleached skull of 
a weasel. The teeth had the "death grip" of the skin of the 
bird's throat, and the feathers near this place were much 
confused and broken. 

The Eagle had probably caught the weasel on the ground, 
and rising with his prize, a struggle had ensued in the air, during 
which the weasel had caught the bird by the throat and hung 
there till he was squeezed and clawed to pieces. 

Bald Eagles are, during some winters, common at the 
Beach, where they pick up any dead fish and " Cowheens " that 
are shaken out of the fishermen's nets. Knowing the habits of 
the birds, the fishermen often capture them by placing a 
poisoned carcase near the edge of the ice. The bait is sure to 
be taken by the first Eagle which comes along, and usually the 
bird dies before leaving the spot. 



Duck Hawk. 

Tarsus feathered but little way down in front, elsewhere irregularly 
reticulated in small pattern, not longer than middle toe ; ist quill alone 
decidedly emarginate on inner web, not shorter than the 3rd. Above blackish- 
ash, with more or less evident paler waves ; below and the forehead, white, 
more or less fulvous tinge, and transverse bars of blackish ; conspicuous 
black ear-patches. Young with the colors not so intense and tending to 
brown ; the tawny shade below stronger, the lower parts longitudinally 
striped. Length, about 18 ; wing, 13-14 ; tail, 7-8. 

HAB. North America at large. 

Nest, in a tree, or on a rock, or on the ground. 

Eggs, 3 to 5 ; dull white, blotched with different shades of reddish- 



This is the Bullet Hawk, the terror of the Ducks and 
admiration of the sportsmen at the shooting stations, where he 
is often seen, either capturing game on his own account or 
appropriating what has been killed by the gunner before he has 
time to pick it up. As it is known to breed in Massachusetts, 
on the coast of Labrador, and in Alaska, it will most likely be 
found also to do so in suitable places in Ontario, but at present 
we have no satisfactory record of the fact. The steep rocky 
ledges which overhang the blue waters of Lake Superior offer 
inducements which the birds will hardly overlook, and we 
expect yet to hear of their being found breeding there. 

While here the Peregrine is no loiterer, but follows the 
migratory course of the waterfowl and fares sumptuously every 
day. Ducks are his favorite game, and he need never be at a 
loss, yet (by way of relish perhaps) we see him sometimes 
scoop up a Sandpiper or a Mudhen, and pick its bones on an 
elevation which commands a clear view for some distance around. 
In Southern Ontario the Peregrine is seldom seen except in the 


Pigeon Hawk. 

Tarsus scarcely feathered above, with the plates in front enlarged, 
appearing like a double row of alternating scutellae (and often with a few true 
scutellae at base) ; ist and 2nd quill emarginated on inner web. 

Adult-male, above ashy-blue, sometimes almost blackish, sometimes 
much paler ; below pale fulvous or ochreous. whitish on the throat, the 
breast and sides with large oblong dark-brown spots with black shaft lines ; 
the tibiae reddish, streaked with brown ; inner webs of primaries with about 
eight transverse white or whitish spots ; tail tipped with white, and with the 
outer feather whitening ; with a broad subterminal black zone and 3-4 black 
bands alternating with whitish ; cere greenish-yellow. Female with the 
upper parts ashy-brown ; the tail with 4-5 indistinct whitish bands ; about 
13 ; wing, 8 ; tail, 5 ; male, smaller. 

HAB. The whole of North America, south to the West Indies and 
Northern South America. 

Nest, in a hole in a tree, or on a branch, or on rocks. 
Eggs, yellowish-brown, blotched with brown of a darker shade. 



This handsome little Falcon is a miniature of the Peregrine, 
and is quite its equal in courage and spirit, often attacking 
birds of much greater weight than itself. It is not a common 
species anywhere, and in Southern Ontario can only be regarded 
as a migratory visitor in spring and fall. It is at all 
times a difficult matter to define the precise breeding range of 
birds that are rare everywhere, and regarding the summer 
haunts of the Pigeon Hawk we have yet much to learn. As it 
has been known to breed in Maine, and in Alaska, it is quite 
likely to breed also in Ontario, where there is plenty of room 
for it to do so without being observed. In the fall 
when the Blackbirds get together in flocks, they are frequently 
followed by the Little Corporal who takes his tribute without 
much ceremony. I once saw him " stoop " on a flock as 
they hurried toward the marsh for shelter. How closely they 
huddled together, as if seeking mutual protection, but he went 
right through the flock and came out on the other side with one 
in each fist ! 



American Sparrow Hawk. 

Tarsus and quills as in columbarius. Crown ashy-blue, with a chestnut 
patch, sometimes small or altogether wanting, sometimes occupying nearly 
all the crown ; conspicuous black maxillary and auricular patches, which 
with three others around the nape make seven black places in all, but a part 
of them often obscure or wanting ; back cinnamon-brown, in the male with 
a few black spots or none, in the female with numerous black bars ; wing- 
coverts in the male ashy-blue, with or without black spots, in the female, like 
the back ; quills in both sexes blackish with numerous pale or white bars on 
inner webs ; tail chestnut, in the male with one broad black subterminal bar, 
white tip, and outer feather mostly white with several black bars ; in the 
female the whole tail with numerous imperfect black bars ; below white 
variously tinged with buff or tawny, in the male with a few small black spots 
or none, in the female with many brown streaks ; throat and vent nearly 
white and immaculate in both sexes ; bill dark-horn, cere and feet yellow to 
bright orange ; 10-11 ; wing, 7 ; tail, 5, more or less. 

HAB. Whole of North America, south to Northern South America. 

Eggs, 5 to 7 ; deposited in the hollow of a decayed limb, or deserted 
Woodpecker's hole. In color variable, usually yellowish brown, blotched all 
over with brown of a darker shade. 



The peculiar and handsome markings of this little Hawk 
serve, even at a distance, to prevent its being mistaken for 
any other species. Though sometimes seen near the farm-house 
it does not bear the stigma of having felonious intentions 
towards the occupants of the poultry yard, but is credited with 
the destruction of large numbers of mice, and is therefore 
regarded with favor by the farmer. It also feeds freely on 
snakes, lizards, grasshoppers, etc., but has the true falcon 
etiquette of taking only what is newly killed. It is generally 
distributed throughout Ontario, arriving on the southern 
frontier about the end of April, and leaving for the south in 



146. American Osprey 364. 

Plumage lacking after-shafts, compact, imbricated, oily to resist water ; 
that of the legs short and close, not forming the flowing tufts seen in most 
other genera, that of the head lengthened, acuminate ; primary coverts stiff 
and acuminate, Feet immensely large and strong, the tarsus entirely naked, 
granular-reticulate, the toes all of the same length, unwebbed at base, very 
scabrous underneath, the outer versatile ; claws very large, rounded under- 
neath Hook of the bill long, nostrils touching edge of cere. Above dark- 
brown ; most of the head and neck and the under-parts white, latter some- 
times with a tawny shade, and streaked with brown. Length, 2 feet ; wing, 
16-18 inches ; tail, 8-10. 

HAB. North America, from Hudson's Bay and Alaska, south to the 
West Indies and Northern South America. 

Nest in a tree ; composed of sticks, often very bulky, from annual 

Eggs, 2 to 4 ; variable in color, usually creamy-brown, blotched with 
various darker shades of brown. 

The FishHawkis generally distributed throughout Ontario, 
breeding by the lakes and rivers in the less thickly settled parts 
of the country. Along the sea coast it is more abundant, 
frequently breeding in communities of several hundreds. In 



such cases the nests are placed indifferently on rocks or trees, 
and sometimes the eggs have been deposited on the sand. 
Near such breeding places the Bald Eagle has every oppor- 
tunity of tyrannizing over the Fish Hawks, and compelling them 
to drop the fish they have just caught. On the inland waters 
of Ontario the Bald Eagle is of less frequent occurrence, and 
the Osprey is allowed to enjoy the results of his industry in 

The Fish Hawk arrives in Ontario as soon as the ice breaks 
up in the spring, and in the fall remains fishing along the 
shores till November. 




American Barn Owl. 

Tawny or fulvous brown, delicately clouded or marbled with ashy, or 
white, and speckled with brownish-black ; below, a varying shade from 
nearly a pure white to fulvous, with sparse sharp blackish speckling ; face 
white to purplish-brown, darker or black about the eyes, the disk bordered 
with dark-brown ; wings and tail barred with brown, and finely mottled like 
the back ; bill whitish ; toes yellowish. Length, female, 17 ; wing, 13 ; tail, 
5^ ; male rather less. 

HAB. Warmer parts of North America, from the Middle States, Ohio 
Valley and California southward through Mexico. 

Breeds in hollow trees, frequently in the tower of a church or other 
high buildings, 

Eggs, 3 to 6 ; soiled white. 

Although this species, so much like the Barn Owl of Britain, 
has long been known as an American bird, coming as far north 
as Massachusetts, it is only within the past few years that it 
has been observed in Canada. In May, 1882, a specimen was 
killed by young Mr. Reid, gardener, York street, Hamilton, 
and in the fall of the same year another was found in an empty 
outhouse near the canal leading to Dundas. On calling the 


attention of Dr. Gamier, of Lucknow, to these facts, he 
mentioned having seen one several years before near where he 
lives, and from Mr. C. J. Bampton comes a report of his having 
seen two individuals near Sault St. Marie. Compared with 
the British Barn Owl, the American species is a little larger, 
but by many they are regarded as identical. The British bird 
is noted for its partiality for ruinous church towers and other 
lonely places. Strange to say, Mr. Reid's specimen was killed 
in the cemetery, while one of those seen by Mr. Bampton was 
perched on the cross on the spire of the Catholic church. 

It has a sharp inquisitive visage, and is said to be an expert 
mouser. In Ontario it can be regarded only as an accidental 
visitor from the south. 



American Long-eared Owl. 

General plumage above a variegation of dark-brown, fulvous and whitish, 
in small pattern ; breast more fulvous, belly whiter, the former sharply 
striped, the latter striped and elaborately barred with blackish ; quills and 
tail mottled and closely barred with fulvous and dark-brown ; face pale, 
with black touches and eye patches ; bill and claws blackish. Ear-tufts of 
8-12 feathers. Length, 14-15 ; wing, 11-12 ; tail, 5-6. 

HAB. Temperate North America. 

Nest of sticks loosely put together, lined with a few feathers, variable as 
to situation, frequently in a thick evergreen. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; round, white. 

The Long-eared Owl is strictly nocturnal in its habits, 
and is seldom seen abroad by day, except when disturbed in its 
retirement among the evergreens. So far as I have observed, it 
is not a common species in Ontario, but from its retiring habits 
it may be more so than we are aware. Those observed near 
Hamilton have been found in the fall, the season when birds of 
all kinds wander away from their summer resort, before retiring 
south to spend the winter. Along the sea coast it is more 



common, and in New England resides throughout the year. 
That it breeds in Ontario is vouched for by Mr. Robert Elliot, 
who found a nest near his home at Bryanston during the 
summer of the present year (1886). 

Short-eared Owl. 

Fulvous or buffy -brown, paler or whitey-brown below ; breast and upper 
parts broadly and thickly streaked with dark-brown ; belly usually sparsely 
streaked with the same, but not barred crosswise ; quills and tail buff, with 
few dark bands and mottling ; facial area, legs and crissum pale, unmarked ; 
eye-patch blackish ; ear-tufts of from 3-6 feathers. Size of Wilsonianus. 

HAB. Throughout North America ; nearly cosmopolitan. 

Nest, on the ground ; consisting of a few sticks, blades of grass and 
feathers, loosely thrown together. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; white, nearly round. 

This is a much more common species than the preceding, 
and probably more northern in its range. I have reports of its 
occurrence at different points throughout Ontario, and it was 
observed in the Northwest by Prof. Macoun. It is less 
nocturnal in its habits than the preceding, and is somewhat 
gregarious, being occasionally seen during the day in the falb 
in flocks of 10 or 12, hunting in company. It has not been my- 
fortune to fall in with any of those migratory groups, but I 
have observed the species skimming noiselessly over the inlets 
and moist meadows along the shores of Hamilton Bay. 

It is a most expert mouser, destroying large numbers of the 
farmers' foes, and is therefore entitled to his protection, but all 
birds of prey are regarded as enemies by the sportsman, who 
allows none to pass that come within his reach. 


Barred Owl. 

Above cinerous-brown, barred with white, often tinged with fulvous ; 
below similar, paler, the markings in bars on the breast, in streaks elsewhere ; 



quills and tail feathers barred with brown and white with an ashy or fulvous 
tinge. Length, about 18 ; wing, 13-14 ; tail, 9. 

HAB. Eastern United States, west to Minnesota and Texas, north to 
Nova Scotia and Quebec. 

Nest, in a hollow tree, or in the deserted nest of a hawk or crow. 
Eggs, 2 to 4 ; round, white. 

Along the southern boundary of Ontario the Barred Owl is 
by no means rare, but farther north I have not heard of it 
being observed. It does not occur west of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, but is very abundant along the south Atlantic and Gulf 
States. It is occasionally seen abroad by day, but at such times 
its sight seems to be rather uncertain, so that the capture 
of the small animals on which it feeds is accomplished 
during the hours of darkness. 

Regarding its uncertain vision by day, Mr. Giraud, in his 
Birds of Long Island, says : " My friend, Mr. J. G. Bell, 
informs me that when on a collecting tour in South Carolina, 
and while looking for the blue- winged yellow warbler whose 
note he had a moment before heard, he was startled by feeling 
a sudden pressure on his gun. Judge of his surprise when he 
perceived perched on the barrels a Barred Owl, which, at the 
same moment, discovered its mistake, but too late to correct the 
fatal error, as it was shot down by the astonished gunner." 

Audubon mentions seeing one alight on the back of a cow, 
which it left so suddenly, when the cow moved, as to 
show that it had mistaken the object on which it perched for 
something else. 

In former years I used to find the Barred Owl regularly 
every fall in the ravines along the south shore of the Dundas 
Marsh, but now many of the pines and hemlocks which formed 
an inviting retreat are cut down, and the bird has sought for 
greater seclusion elsewhere. Its black eyes are at all times a 
ready mark to distinguish it from any other member of its 



151. ULULA CINEREA (GMEL.). 370. 
Great Gray Owl. 

Above, cinereous-brown, mottled in waves with cinereous white ; below, 
these colors rather paler, disposed in streaks on the breast, in bars elsewhere ; 
quills and tail with five or six darker and lighter bars ; the great disk 
similarly marked in regular concentric rings. An immense owl, one of the 
largest of all, much exceeding a,ny other of this country. Length, 2% feet ; 
wing, i ; tail, a foot or more 

HAB. Arctic America, straggling southward, in winter, to the northern 
border of the United States. 

Nest, in trees, composed of sticks and twigs, lined with moss and a few 

Eggs, 3 to 4 ; not quite round, white. 

This beautifully marked and solemn-looking bird is usually 
described as the largest of North American Owls, but it can 
only be regarded so by measurement, as in weight, strength 
and ferocity it is" inferior to either the Snowy or the Great 
Horned Owl. The lengthy tail, and the long loose feathers with 
which its body is densely clothed, gives it the appearance of a 
very large bird of prey, but when closely examined, the legs, 
claws and bill are smaller and weaker than those of either of 
the two species named. 

The Great Gray Owl is said to be more northern in its 
range than even the Snowy Owl. In Southern Ontario it is a 
casual visitor in the winter only. I have had two individuals 
brought to me which were got near Hamilton, and have seen 
several in the hands of other parties. During the present 
winter I saw one which was sent down from Muskoka, where 
it was shot in the woods in the month of December. 


152. Richardson's Owl. 371. 

Upper-parts, grayish-brown, tinged with olive ; feathers of the head and 
neck spotted with white ; scapulars, quills and tail also with white spots ; 



ruff and lower parts, yellowish- white, throat white. Male, 1 1 inches ; female, 
12 inches. 

HAB. Arctic America, south occasionally in winter into the Northern 
United States. 

Nest in trees. 

Eggs, 2 ; round, white. 

This comparatively small and timid-looking owl is perhaps 
more hyperborean in its range than any of the others we have 
had under consideration, inasmuch as the records of its occur- 
rence do not extend so far south as those of either the Great 
Gray or the Snowy Owl. It is warmly clad in a dense coat of 
soft, silky feathers, which, no doubt, enables it to withstand the 
severity of the winter. In the matter of food, it evidently finds 
a supply, as the species is spoken of by Sir John Richardson as 
being abundant in the region of the Saskatchewan, yet only a 
very few come as far south as Southern Ontario. The two in 
my collection were both found during winter in the neighbor- 
hood of Toronto, besides which I have very few records of its 
being observed anywhere throughout the country. 


Saw-whet Owl. 

Size, small. Bill, black, the cere tumid, the circular nostrils presenting 
anteriorly. Above chocolate-brown, spotted with white, the tail with 
transverse white bars ; facial area and forehead variegated with white, the 
face and superciliary line grayish-white ; the lower parts white with streaks 
of the color of the back. Length, 7^-8 ; wing, 5^ ; tail, 3. 

HAB. North America at large, breeding from the Middle States 

Nest, in a hole in a tree. 
Eggs, 4 to 6 ; round, white, 

This is the smallest member of the family found east of the 
Rocky Mountains. For some reason all the owls are of irregular 
occurrence in the settled parts of the country. I have seen as 
many as six or eight of this species in one winter, and again 
for several years have not seen one. Without being migratory, 



in the ordinary sense of the word, I think it is highly probable 
that during the fall these birds associate in groups, and move 
from one section of the country to another in search of food. 
In this way a good many may be observed at one point, while 
for many miles around they may be altogether absent. 

The "Saw-whet" is evidently partial to a medium 
temperature, as it is most common in the northern states, 
and does not penetrate far into British America. In the 
opposite direction, it has been found breeding as far south as 
Mexico, but mostly in the wooded mountain ranges. In 
Southern Ontario, these birds are most at home in the thick 
shelter of the evergreens in the depths of the woods, but when 
deep snow covers the ground they are often found in the barn, 
or other outhouse near the farmer's dwelling, where they are 
forced to seek for food and shelter when their supply outside 
is cut off. 


154. MEGASCOPS ASIO (LINN.). 373. 

Screech Owl. 

One plumage : general aspect gray, paler or whitish below. Above, 
speckled with blackish, below patched with the same ; wings and tail dark- 
barred ; usually a lightish scapular area. 

Another : general aspect brownish-red, with sharp black streaks ; 
below rufous-white, variegated ; quills and tail with rufous and dark bars. 
These plumages shade insensibly into each other, and it has been determined 
that they bear no definite relations to age, sex or season. Length, about 10 ; 
wing, 7 ; tail, 3^. 

HAB. Temperate Eastern North America, south to Georgia, and west 
to the Plains. Accidental in England. 

Nest, in a hole in a tree ; lined with feathers. 

This is the most abundant of the Owls in this part of the 
country, yet, like the others, it is of very irregular occurrence. 
I have met with it once or twice in the woods in summer, but 
it is most frequently seen in winter, when the ground is covered 
with snow. It is then forced to approach the dwellings of man 
in search of food, and during some winters there is scarcely a 
farm in the country which has not its Screech Owl in the barn. 


There it sits on a rafter, snoozing away the hours of daylight, 
occasionally opening its round, yellow, cat-like eyes, and 
glowering at the farm hands as they move about like shadows 
below. After dark it is all alive, not a mouse can stir without 
being observed, and so quick and noiseless is the flight of the 
bird that few escape which expose themselves. It thus renders 
good service to the farmer, in consideration of which it is 
protected by the more intelligent of that class, but is persecuted 
almost to extinction by the " boys." 

As will be seen by the description of the markings given 
above, individuals of this species assume different phases of 
plumage, and are spoken of as the "red" and "gray." P"or 
many years great difference of opinion prevailed on this subject, 
some believing the red bird to be the male, and vice versa. It 
is now fully understood that the color is entirely independent of 
age, sex or season. It is one of those seeming irregularities 
which we find in nature, and all we can do is to bear witness 
to the fact without being able to tell the reason of it. 

During the long winter of 1883-4, I kept a record of the 
birds of this species I heard of, in or near Hamilton, and the 
total number reached 40. In 1884-5 tne Y were less common, 
and during 1885-6 I am not aware of a single individual being 


Great Horned Owl. 

Distinguished by its large size, in connection with the conspicuous ear 
tufts ; the other species of similar dimensions are tuftless. The plumage 
varies interminably, and no concise description will meet all its phases ; it is 
a variegation of blackish, with dark and light-brown, and fulvous. A white 
collar is the most constant color mark. Length, about 2 feet ; wing, 14-16 
inches ; tail, 9-10. 

HAB. Eastern North America, west to the Mississippi Valley, and from 
Labrador south to Costa Rica. 

Nest, if any, in a hollow tree, or cleft of a rock. 
Eggs, 2 ; round, white, 



The Great Horned Owl is well known in Ontario, being 
generally distributed throughout the province. During the day 
it hides away in the deep impenetrable parts of the woods, but 
at night sallies forth in quest of prey, and does not hesitate to 
rob the hen roost, returning for that purpose night after night, 
unless stopped by a snap shot in the dark, or caught in a trap 
baited for the purpose. Individuals vary greatly in plumage, 
so much so that they have been described as distinct species. 
Near Hamilton I have found them varying from light silvery- 
gray to deep fulvous-brown, I once obtained a very handsome 
specimen in the latter dress which I was unable to utilize from 
its having been recently in contact with a skunk. It is strictly 
nocturnal in its habits, yet, when obliged by the attention of 
crows or other disturbing causes to move during the day, it 
makes good use of its eyes, and gets quickly away to the nearest 
thicket for shelter. 


156. NYCTEA NYCTEA (LiNN.). 376. 

Snowy Owl. 

Pure white with more or fewer blackish markings. Length, nearly 2 
feet ; wing, 17 inches ; tail, 10. 

HAB. Northern portions of the Northern Hemisphere. In North 
America breeding mostly north of the United States ; in winter migrating 
south to the Middle States, straggling to South Carolina, Texas and the 

Nest, on the ground, or on rocks. 

Eggs, 5 to 10 ; laid at intervals, so that the nest may contain young 
birds and fresh eggs at the same time. (Coues Key}. 

An irregular winter visitor to Ontario, sometimes appearing 
in considerable numbers, and again entirely absent for several 
years in succession. Near Hamilton its favorite resort is on 
the Beach, or along the shore of the bay, where it may be seen 
sitting watchful on the top of a muskrat heap, or pile of drift- 
wood, frequently turning its head right round to look out for 
approaching danger. It hunts by day as well as at night, but 
is most active in the morning and evening. I once saw a large 


female make several attempts to capture a wounded Duck, 
which was swimming in a patch of open water among the ice 
on the bay near the canal. The Owl skimmed along close to 
the ice and tried in passing to grasp the Duck, which quickly 
went under water and appeared again cautiously at a different 
place. The Owl passed several times over the pond in this 
way, resting alternately on the pier of the canal and on the 
shore, till getting into a favorable position I shot it on one of 
the return trips, and subsequently I also shot the Duck on 
which I had a first claim. 

The number of these birds which occasionally descend from 
the north in the early part of the winter must be very great, 
for their migrations extend over a wide extent of country, and 
at Hamilton, which is only one of the points they pass, I have 
known of as many as thirty being captured in a single season. 
During the winter they are seen as far south as Texas and the 
Carolinas. How interesting it would be to know how many of 
these individuals which travel so far south are permitted to 


American Hawk Owl. 

Dark-brown above more or less thickly speckled with white ; below 
closely barred with brown and whitish, the throat alone streaked ; quills and 
tail with numerous white bars ; face ashy, margined with black. Length. 
about 16 inches ; wing, 9 ; tail, 7, graduated, the lateral feathers 2 inches 
shorter than the central. 

HAB. Arctic America, migrating in winter to the northern border of the 
United States. Occasional in England. 

Nest of sticks, grass, moss and feathers ; in trees or on rocks. 
Eggs, 4 to 7 ; soiled white. 

In Southern Ontario the Hawk Owl can only be regarded as 
a rare winter visitor. Farther north it seems more common, 
as I have heard of it being frequently seen in the district of 
Muskoka. While here in winter it has no particular haunt, 
but takes the country as it comes, like a Hawk, and is evidently 

1 60 


as sharp in the sight, as it is active on the wing. The two in 
my collection were obtained in the neighborhood of this city. 

The Hawk Owl, like some other boreal birds of prey, 
occasionally comes south in the winter in large numbers, and is 
welcomed by collectors wherever it appears. These extensive 
migrations occur most frequently in the east. In Quebec, 
some years since, in the month of March, I saw them exposed 
in the market day after day, and when coming west by rail I 
noticed many perched on trees near the track. 


158. COCCYZUS AMERICANUS (Lixx.). 387. 

Yellow-billed Cuckoo. 

Above as in the last ; below pure white. Wings extensive!} cinnamon- 
rufous on inner webs of the quills. Central tail feathers like the back, the 
rest black with large white tips, the outermost usually edged with white. 
Bill extensively yellow below and on the sides. Size of the next. 

HAB. Temperate North America, from New Brunswick, Canada, 
Minnesota, Nevada and Oregon, south to Costa Rica and the West Indies. 
Less common from the eastern border of the Plains westward. 

Nest, on a bough, or in the fork of a low tree; composed of twigs, leaves, 
and soft vegetable material. 

Eggs, 4 to 8 ; pale greenish. 

It is a well-known fact that the British Cuckoo entirely 
ignores family responsibilities by depositing its eggs in the nest 
of a bird of a different species, and with a pleasant "cuckoo" 
bids good-bye to the whole connection. 

The two kinds we have in Canada are not so totally 
depraved. They usually build a nest and bring up a family, 
but even to them the duty does not seem to be a congenial one, 
and they are sometimes known to slip an egg into each 



others nests or into that of a different species. The nest they 
build is of the most temporary description, and the eggs are 
deposited in such a desultory manner, that it is no uncommon 
occurrence to find fresh eggs and young birds therein at the same 

Of the two Cuckoos we have in Ontario, the Yellow-billed 
seems the more southern, apparently finding its northern limit 
along our southern border, where it is rather scarce and not 
generally .distributed. 

Black-billed Cuckoo. 

Above uniform satiny olive-gray, or "quaker color," with bronzy reflec- 
tions. Below pure white, sometimes with a faint tawny tinge on the lore 
parts. Wings with little or no rufous. Lateral feathers not contrasting with 
the central, their tips for a short distance blackish, then obscurely white. 
Bill blackish except occasionally a trace of yellowish below. Eye-lids red ; 
bare circum-ocular space purplish. Length, 11-12 ; wing, 5-5^ ; tail, 6-6 ; 
bill, under i. 

HAB. Eastern North America, from Labrador and Manitoba south to 
the West Indies and the valley of the Amazon ; west to the Rocky Moun- 
tains. Accidental in the British Islands and Italy. 

Nest, loosely constructed of twigs, grass, strips of bark, leaves, etc., 
placed in a bush. 

Eggs, 2 to 5 ; light greenish-blue. 

The Black-billed Cuckoo is a regular summer resident in 
Ontario, where it arrives about the end of May, after which its 
peculiar note may often be heard, especially before rain, and its 
lithe slim form be seen gliding noiselessly among the evergreens. 
Though not an abundant species, it is generally distributed 
throughout the province, and w r ell known to the country people 
as the rain-crow. 

The food of the Cuckoos consists chiefly of caterpillars, with 
an occasional change to ripe fruit in the season. They also 
stand charged with sucking the eggs of other birds. They 
retire to the south early in September. 






160. CERYLE ALCYON (LiNN.). 390. 

Belted Kingfisher. 

Upper parts, broad pectoral bar, and sides under wings, dull blue with 
fine black shaft lines ; lower eyelid, spot before eye, a cervical collar and 
under-parts, except as said, pure white ; the female with a chestnut belly 
band, and the sides of the same color, quills and tail feathers black, speckled, 
blotched and barred with white on the inner webs ; outer webs of the 
secondaries and tail feathers like the back ; wing-coverts frequently sprinkled 
with white ; bill black, pale at base below ; feet dark. Length, 12 or more ; 
wing, about 6 ; tail, 3^ ; whole foot, ij ; bill, about 2|. 

HAB, North America, south to Panama and the West Indies. 
Nest, none. 

Eggs, 6 to 8 ; white, deposited in an enlargement at the end of a tunnel, 
4 to 8 feet deep, dug by the bird into a sand bank or gravel pit. 

The Kingfisher is generally distributed throughout Ontario. 
It arrives early in April, and soon makes its presence known by 
its loud rattling cry, as it dashes along and perches on a 
horizontal bough overhanging the river. On some such point 
of observation it usually waits and watches for its scaly prey, 
but when passing over open water of greater extent it is often 
observed to check its course, hover Hawk-like at some distance 
above the surface, and then dash into the water after the manner 
of a Tern. If a fish is secured it is carried in the bill to some 
convenient perch, on which it is hammered till dead, and then 
swallowed head downwards. 

The Kingfisher is a strong flier, and is sometimes seen 
careering at a considerable height as if for exercise. 

They remain in their summer haunts till the end of 
September, when the)- all move farther south. 





Hairy Woodpecker. 

Back black, with a long white stripe ; quills and wing coverts with a 
profusion of white spots ; four middle tail feathers black, next pair black and 
white, next two pairs white ; under-parts white ; crown and sides of head 
black, with a white stripe over and behind the eye, another from the nasal 
feathers running below the eye to spread on the side of the neck, and a 
scarlet nuchal band in the male, wanting in the female ; young with the crown 
mostly red or bronzy, or even yellowish. Length, 9-10; wing, nearly 5 ; 
tail, 3 J. 

HAB. Middle portion of the Eastern United States, from the Atlantic 
coast to the Great Plains. 

Nest, in a hole in a tree. 
Egg 3 ' 5 to 6 ; pure white, 

A resident, though not very abundant species, noticed more 
frequently in winter than in summer. It is generally 
distributed through Southern Ontario, and was also noted by 
Prof. Macoun in the Northwest. Individuals vary much in 
size, those found in the north being the largest. 

The Hairy Woodpecker is one of the most retiring of the 
family, spending much of its time in the solitudes of the woods, 
and when these are thinned out or cleared away, moving to 
regions still more remote. It is a strong, hardy, active bird, 
and the noise it makes while hammering on a tree, when heard 
in the stillness of the woods, might well be supposed to be 
produced by a bird of much greater size. 

Downy Woodpecker. 

Coloration exactly as in P. villosus except the outer tail feathers are 
barred with black and white. Length, 6-7 ; wing, under 4 ; tail, under 3. 



HAB. Northern and Eastern North America, from British Columbia 
and the eastern edge of the Plains northward and eastward, 

Nest, a hole in a tree. 
Eggs, 5 to 6 ; pure white. 

A miniature of the preceding species which it resembles in 
habits as well as in appearance, although it is of a more 
sociable disposition, often being found in winter in company 
with the Chicadees and Brown Creepers. It is also an 
occasional visitor to the orchard, where it goes over the apple 
trees carefully, examining all injured or decayed parts in search 
of insects. 

It is commonly known as the little Sapsucker, but the name 
is incorrectly applied, for any holes drilled by this species are 
made while it is in search of insects, those which allow the sap 
of the tree to exude being the work of the Yellow-bellied Wood- 

Like its big brother, the Downy Woodpecker is a resident 
species, but more plentiful in spring and fall than in summer, 
the numbers being increased at those seasons by passing 

Arctic Three-toed Woodpecker 

Crown with a yellow patch in the male. Back uniform black, sides of 
head striped, of body barred with black and white ; quills with white spots ; 
tail feathers unbarred, the outer white, the central black. Length, 8-9 ; 
win g. 4^-5 I tail, 3^-4. 

HAB. Northern North America, from the arctic regions south to the 
northern border of the United States ; much further south in the western 
part of the United States (Nevada, California), along the mountain ranges. 

Nesting, habits and eggs, so far as known, similar to those of other 

This is a truly northern bird, seldom, even in winter, coming 
as far south as the southern border of Ontario. In November, 
1859, I killed one on a pine tree on the south shore of Dundas 



Marsh, which is the only time I have ever seen it alive. I 
have heard of one or two others being obtained in Southern 
Ontario, but as the species is common farther north, these can 
only be regarded as wanderers. 

In the district of Muskoka it is resident and quite common, 
frequenting certain tracts of country which the fire has gone 
through and left the trees standing dead and decaying. It 
belongs to a small group, the members of which have only three 
toes. Whether this is a special adaptation of the bird to its 
life among the pines is not apparent, but it seems quite as 
able to shift for itself with three toes as its near relatives 
are with four. 


American Three-toed Woodpecker. 

Three-toed ; entire upper-parts glossy, bluish-black with a few spots of 
white on the wing quills. Below, white from the bill to the tail ; the sides, 
flanks and lining of the wings barred with black. Four middle tail feathers 
black, the rest white. Male with a square patch of yellow on the crown, 
wanting in the female, bill and feet dull blue. Length, 9-10 inches. 

HAB. Northern North Ameiica, from the Arctic, regions southward, in 
winter, to the Northern States. 

Nesting, habits and eggs as in the other Woodpeckers. 

This is a more northern species than even the preceding, 
and nowhere so abundant. The two are often seen in company, 
and were found by Dr. Merriam breeding in the same district in 
northern New York, but strange to say, the present species 
has not been found in Muskoka, where the other is common 
and resident. During the past two years my friend Mr. 
Tisdall has been much in the woods in that district, and though 
he has seen scores of the black-backed during that time, he has 
never once met with the other. The only record I have of 
its occurrence in Ontario is that of a single female which was 
obtained near Ottawa, and is now in the collection of Mr. 
White of that city. Mention is made in the List of Birds of 
Western Ontario of one being found near London, but Mr. 

1 66 


Saunders informs me that the record is now believed to be 
incorrect. In the far west it is said to be common on the 
mountains of Colorado, but differs from the eastern form in 
having an uninterrupted stripe of white down the back, on 
account of which it has been ranked as a separate species under 
the name dorsalis or pole -back. 


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. 

Crown crimson, bordered all around with black ; chin, throat and breast 
black, enclosing a large crimson patch on the former in the male, in the 
female this patch white ; sides of head with a line starting from the nasal 
feathers and dividing the black of the throat from a trans-ocular black stripe, 
this separated from the black of crown by a white post-ocular stripe ; all 
these stripes frequently yellowish ; under parts dingy yellow, brownish and 
with sagittate dusky marks on the sides ; back variegated with black and 
yellowish-brown ; wings black with large oblique white bar on the coverts, 
the quills with numerous paired white spots on the edge of both webs ; tail 
black, most of the feathers white edged, the inner webs of the middle pair 
and the upper coverts mostly white. Young birds lack the definite black 
areas of the head and breast and the crimson throat patch, these parts being 
mottled-gray. About, 8 ; wing, 4^-5. 

HAB. North America north and east of the Great Plains, south to the 
West Indies, Mexico and Guatemala. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; white ; deposited in a hole in a tree. 

In Ontario this beautiful species is strictly migratory, not 
having been observed during winter, but from the fact of its 
being seen late in the fall and again early in spring we infer 
that it does not go far south. 

It is decidedly a Sapsucker, the rows of holes we see 
pierced in the bark of sound, growing trees being mostly made 
by this species. It is not endowed with the long, extensile 
tongue peculiar to many of the Woodpeckers, but feeds largely 
on insects, which it finds on the outer bark of the trees or 
catches on the wing. It has been accused of doing serious 
injury to growing trees, by girdling them to get at the inner bark 



on which it is said to feed. Dr. King, of River Falls, in his 
"Economic Relations of our Birds" exonerates it from this 
charge, and says that in the stomachs of thirty specimens 
which he examined he found in only six a small amount of 
material resembling the inner bark of trees, and further adds : 
" no instance in w r hich the bark of trees has been stripped off 
by these birds has come under my observation, nor do I know 
of a single case in which their puncturings of the bark have 
been fatal or even appreciably injurious to the tree." In 
Southern Ontario a few remain and raise their young, but the 
majority go farther north. 



Pileated Woodpecker. 

Black ; the head, neck and wings much varied with white or pale 
yellowish ; bill dark ; male scarlet crested, scarlet moustached ; female with 
the crest half black, half scarlet, and no maxillary patches, Length, 15-19 : 
wing, 8^-10 ; tail, 6-7. 

HAB. Formerly, whole wooded region of North America ; now rare or 
extirpated in the more thickly settled parts of the Eastern States. 

Nest, a hole in the trunk or limb of a tall tree. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; oval ; white. 

This is one of the grand old aborigines who retire before 
the advance of civilization. It used (so we are told) to be 
common near Hamilton, but seclusion among heavy timber is 
necessary for its existence, and such must now be sought for in 
regions more remote. 

It is not strictly a northern species, being found resident in 
suitable localities both north and south, but varies considerably 
in size according to latitude, the northern individuals, as usual 
in such cases, being the largest. Many spend the winter in the 
burnt tracts in Muskoka, and in spring disperse over the 
country to breed in the solitude they seem to like. 

They are wild, shy birds, difficult of approach, but their loud 
hammering is at all times a guide to those who wish to follow 
them in the woods. A nest was taken in the county oi 
Middlesex, in May, 1885, by Mr. Robt. Elliot. 

1 68 



Red-headed Woodpecker. 

Glossy blue-black ; rump, secondaries and under-parts from the breast 
pure white ; primaries and tail feathers black ; whole head, neck and breast 
crimson in both sexes, grayish-brown in the young ; about 9 ; wing, 5^ ; 
tail, 3 . 

HAB. United States, west to the Rocky Mountains, straggling westward 
to Salt Lake Valley ; rare or local east of the Hudson River. 

Nest, in a hole in a tree, varying greatly in height. 
Eggs, 4 to 6 ; white. 

In Ontario the Red-headed Woodpecker is a summer 
resident only, arriving early in May and leaving again in 
September. It is quite common and perhaps the best known 
of any of the Woodpeckers, both on account of its decided 
markings, and from its habit of visiting the orchard during the 
season of ripe fruit. It is also an expert fly-catcher, frequently 
taking its position on the top of a dead pine, from which it 
darts out after the passing insect in true fly-catcher style. 
Though a very showy bird when seen in the woods, it does not 
look so well in collections, the red of the head evidently fading 
after death. 



Red-bellied Woodpecker. 

Back and wings, except larger quills, closely banded with black and 
white ; primaries with large white blotches near the base, and usually a few 
smaller spots. Whole crown and nape scarlet in the male, partly so in the 
female ; sides of head and underparts grayish -white, usually with a yellow 
shade, reddening on belly ; flanks and crissum with sagittate-black marks ; 



tail black, one or two outer feathers white barred; inner web of central 
feathers white with black spots, outer web of same black with a white space 
next the shaft for most of its length ; white predominating on the rump. 
Length, 9-10 ; wing, about 5 ; tail, about 3^. 

HAB. Eastern United States, to the Rocky Mountains ; rare or 
accidental east of the Hudson River. 

Nest, a hole in a tree. 
Eggs, 4 to 6 ; white. 

This handsome species is gradually becoming more common 
in Southern Ontario, and like some others, such as the Lark, 
Finch, Orchard Oriole and Rough-winged Swallow, it evidently 
makes its entrance to the province round the west end of Lake 
Erie, for it has become quite common near London and farther 
west, while I have found it only twice near Hamilton. 

It is rather retiring in its habits, raising its young in the 
solitude of the woods, and seldom coming near the farm house. 
It is possible a few may remain over the winter, for I had a fine 
male sent down from near London in March of the present 
year (1886), while the weather was still quite cold and no 
spring birds had arrived. 

169. COLAPTES AURATUS (LiNN.). 412. 


Back, wing-coverts and innermost quills olivaceous-brown thickly 
barred with black. Rump snowy-white. Quills and tail golden-yellow 
underneath, and shafts of this color. A scarlet nuchal crescent and large 
black pectoral crescent in both sexes ; male with black maxillary patches, 
wanting in the female, head and nape ash ; chin, throat and breast lilac- 
brown ; under-parts with numerous round black spots ; sides tinged with 
creamy-brown; belly with yellowish. About 10 inches long ; wing, about 6 ; 
tail, 4 . 

HAB. Northern and Eastern North America, west to the eastern slope 
of the Rocky Mountains and Alaska. Occasional on the Pacific slope,, from 
California northward. Accidental in Europe, 

Nest., a hole in a tree. 
Eggs, 5 to 7 ; white, 



Early in April, if the weather is mild, the loud cackling call 
of the "Higholder " may be heard from his perch at the top of a 
tall dead limb, where he watches to welcome his comrades as 
they hourly arrive from the south. For a week or two at this 
season they are very abundant, but many soon pass on farther 
north, and the others are distributed over the country, so that 
they are less frequently seen. 

In habits this species differs considerably from all the other 
members of the family. It is more terrestrial, being often 
observed on the ground, demolishing ant hills and devouring 
the inmates, for which achievement its curved bill and long 
slimy tongue are admirably adapted. It is also fond of fruit, 
and of corn, either green or ripe. 

It is by no means confined to the forest, but is often seen 
peeping from its hole in a stub by the roadside. When 
alighting on a tree it perches on a bough in the ordinary 
manner, being seldom seen clinging to the trunk like other 
members of the family, except when entering its nest. In 
Southern Ontario it is seen till late in October, but has not 
been observed during the winter. 





General color of the upper-parts, dark brownish-gray, streaked and 
minutely sprinkled with brownish-black. Quills and coverts dark brown, 
spotted in bars with light brownish-red. Four middle tail feathers like those 
of the back, the three lateral white in their terminal half. Throat and breast 
similar to the back with a transverse band of white on the foreneck ; rest of 
the lower-parts paler than above and mottled. Female similar, but with the 
lateral tail feathers reddish-white toward the tip only, and the band across 
the forehead pale yellowish-brown, 

HAB. Eastern United States to the Plains, south to Guatemala. 



Eggs, 2 ; marbled and clouded like the plumage of the birds ; deposited 
in a hollow or a rotten log, or on the ground on a dry bank among leaves. 

This well-known bird crosses the Southern frontier of 
Ontario about the loth of May, and should the weather be 
mild its loud and well-known cry is soon heard at night at 
many different points throughout the country. It is seldom 
seen abroad by day, except when disturbed from its resting place 
in some shady part of the woods, when it glides off noiselessly like 
a great moth. Disliking the glare of the light it avoids the 
city, but not unfrequently perches on the roof of the farm house, 
startling the inmates with its cry, which is there heard with 
great distinctness. 

This is the only song of the bird, and it is kept up 
during the breeding season, after which it is seldom heard. 
We see so little of these birds that it is difficult to tell exactly 
at what time they leave us, but it is most likely early in 
September that they "fold their tents like the Arabs, and as 
silently steal away." 



Above mottled with black, brown, gray and tawny, the former in excess ; 
below from the breast transversely barred with blackish and white or pale 
fulvous ; throat in the male with a large white, in the female tawny, cross- 
bar ; tail blackish, with distant pale marbled cross-bars and a large white 
spot (wanting in the female) on one or both webs of all the feathers toward 
the end ; quills dusky, unmarked except by one large white spot on five outer 
primaries about midway between their base and tip ; in the female this area 
is restricted or not pure white. Length, about 9 ; wing, 8 ; tail, 5. 

HAB. Northern and Eastern North America, east of the Great Plains, 
south through tropical America to Buenos Ayres. 

Eggs, 2 ; veined and freckled with lavender and gray ; deposited on 
rocks or on the ground, or among the gravel of a flat-roofed house in the city. 

A well-known and abundant summer resident, arriving from 
the south early in May. Though a Nighthawk, it is often seen 
abroad by day during cloudy weather, and in the evening, just 



as the sun is sinking below the horizon, numbers of these birds 
are occasionally seen careering around high overhead, uttering 
their peculiar cry, so readily recognized, yet so difficult either 
to imitate or describe. While thus in the exercise of its most 
wonderful powers of flight, and performing many graceful 
aerial evolutions, it will suddenly change its course and plunge 
headlong downwards with great rapidity, producing at the same 
time a singular booming sound which can be heard for some 
distance. Again, as quickly, with a few bold strokes of its long 
pointed wings, it will rise to its former height, and dash hither 
and thither as before. 

Poets, in all ages, have sung the praises of their favorite birds, 
and even now, from the unpoetic plains of Chatham, comes the 
following lines on the habit of the Nighthawk, just described : 

" With widespread wings and quivering boom, 
Descending through the deepening gloom, 
Like plummet falling from the sky, 
Where some poor moth may vainly try 

A goal to win 

' He holds him with his glittering eye ' 
And scoops him in." 

Towards the end of August, when the first frosts begin to 
cut off their supply of insect food, large gatherings of Night- 
hawks may be seen in the evenings moving toward the south- 
west, not in regular order like Ducks or Pigeons, but skimming, 
darting and crossing each other in every imaginable direction, 
but still with a general tendency toward the south, till darkness 
hides them from our view. 





172. CH^TURA PELAGICA (LINN.). 423. 

Chimney Swift. 

Sooty-brown with faint greenish gloss above, below paler, becoming gray 
on the throat ; wings black. Length, about 5 ; wing the same ; tail, 2 or less. 



HAB. Eastern North America, north to Labrador and the Fur 
Countries, west to the Plains, and passing south of the United States in 

Nest, a basket of twigs glued together and| to the side of the chimney or 
other support by the saliva of the bird. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; pure white. 

The Swift is a late comer, and while here seems ever 
anxious to make up for lost time, being constantly on the wing, 
darting about with great rapidity, sometimes high overhead, 
sometimes skimming the surface of the pond, often so closely 
as to be able to sip from the water as it passes over it, or snap 
up the insects which hover on the surface. 

The original nesting place of the Swifts was in a hollow tree, 
often of large diameter, and frequented year after year by a 
great many of the birds, but now they seem to prefer a city 
chimney. There they roost and fasten their curious basket 
nest to the wall a few feet down, to be out of reach of the rays 
of the sun. A fine exhibition of bird life it is to watch the 
Swifts, in the evening about sunset, circling a few times round 
the chimney, raising their wings above their backs and 
dropping like shuttle-cocks down to their nest, near which they 
spend the night clinging to the wall with their claws. The 
sharp spines at the end of the tail feathers, pressed against the 
surface, form their chief support. 

They arrive about the loth of May, and leave for the south 
early in September. 



Ruby -throated Humming-bird. 

Male wilh the tail forked, its feathers all narrow and pointed ; no scales 
on crown; metallic gorget reflecting ruby-red, etc. ; above golden green; 



below white, the sides green ; wings and tail dusky-purplish. The female 
lacking the gorget ; the throat white; the tail somewhat double-rounded, 
with black bars, and the outer feathers white-tipped. Length, 3^ ; wing, i ; 
bill, . 

HAB. Eastern North America to the Plains, north to the Fur Countries, 
and south, in winter, to Cuba and Veragua. 

Nest, a beautiful specimen of bird architecture, usually placed on the 
horizontal branch of a tree in the orchard ; composed of gray lichens, lined 
with the softest plant down. 

Eggs, 2 ; pure white, blushed with pink while fresh. 

The Hummingbirds begin to arrive towards the middle of 
May, and by the end of the month when the lilacs are in bloom 
they are quite numerous. About this time many pass on to 
breed farther north, while others engage in the same occupation 

In September they again become common, showing a 
strong liking for the impatiens fidva, or wild balsam, which 
grows abundantly in moist places, and later they crowd about 
the bignonia or trumpet-creeper. This is a late flowering 
plant, and the tiny birds, as though loth to leave it, are seen as 
late as the middle of September rifling it of its sweets. 

There are about sixteen different species of Hummingbirds 
now known as North American, but this is the only one found 
east of the Mississippi River. Though small it is very 
pugnacious, often attacking birds much larger than itself who 
may venture near its nest. On such occasions it produces an 
angry buzzing sound with its wings, but it has no voice save a 
weak chirp, like a cricket or grasshopper. 






Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. 

First primary alone emarginate ; crown patch, orange or scarlet. Hoary 
ash, paler or white below, sides at the insertion of the wings scarlet or blood- 


red, and other parts of the body tinged with the same, a shade paler ; wings 
blackish, generally with whitish edgings ; tail black, several outer feathers 
extensively white or rosy ; wing, about 4^ ; tail, over 12 inches long. 

HAB. Texas and Indian Territory, casually north to Kansas and 
Missouri ; south to Central America. Accidental in Virginia, New Jersey, 
New England, Manitoba, and at York Factory, Hudson's Bay. 

Nest, like the King-birds. 

Eg^s, 4 to 5 ; white blotched with reddish and lilac shell-spots. 

The home of this beautiful bird is in Texas, but it is 
evidently much given to wandering, appearing unexpectedly at 
points far distant from its usual habitat. 

The only record I have of its occurrence in Ontario is 
furnished by Dr. Gamier, of Lucknow, Bruce County, who 
reports having seen one near his place some years since. He 
had no means of securing the bird, but saw it by the roadside 
as he drove past, opening and closing its tail feathers with the 
usual scissor-like motion. 

It was also found in the Northwest by Prof. Bell of the 
geological survey. Such visits can only be regarded as 
accidental, for the species does not regularly come so far north. 




Two outer primaries obviously attenuate. Above blackish, darker on the 
head ; crown with a flame colored patch ; below pure white, the breast 
shaded with plumbeous ; wings dusky, with much whitish edging ; tail 
black, broadly and 'rather sharply tipped with white, the outer feathers 
sometimes edged with the same. Bill and feet black. Young without the 
patch ; very young ^birds show rufous edging of the wings and tail. Length, 
about 8 inches ; wing, 4^ ; tail, 3^ ; bill, under i. 

HAB. Eastern North America, from the British Provinces south to 
Central and South America. Rare west of the Rocky Mountains (Utah, 
Nevada, Washington Territory, etc.) 

Nest, large for the size of the bird, placed on the horizontal bough of an 
isolated tree ; composed of vegetable fibrous materials and sheep's wool 
compactly woven together. 



Eggs, 4 to 6 ; creamy or rosy-white, spotted and blotched with reddish, 
brown and lilac shell-spots. 

The Kingbird arrives in Ontario from the south about the 
loth of May, and from that time till it leaves again in 
September it is one of the most familiar birds in the rural 
districts. It is generally distributed, each pair taking 
possession of a certain "limit," which is valiantly defended 
against all intruders, no bird however large being permitted to 
come with impunity near where the Kingbird's treasures are 
deposited. It is partial to pasture fields, a favorite perch being 
the top of a dry mullein stalk. Here the male sits like a 
sentinel, issuing his sharp note of warning, and occasionally 
darting off to secure a passing insect. When the breeding 
season is over and the young are able to shift for themselves, 
he gets over his local attachments and quietly takes his insect 
fare wherever he can find it, allowing other birds to do the 

Crested Flycatcher. 

Decidedly olivaceous above, a little browner on the head, where the 
feathers have dark centres ; throat and fore-breast pure dark ash, rest of 
under-parts bright yellow, the two colors meeting abruptly ; primaries 
margined on both edges with chestnut ; secondaries and coverts edged and 
tipped with yellowish-white ; tail, with all the feathers but the central pair, 
chestnut on the whole of the inner web, excepting, perhaps, a very narrow 
stripe next the shaft ; outer web of outer feathers edged with yellowish ; the 
middle feathers, outer webs of the rest, and wings, except as stated, dusky 
brown. Very young birds have rufous skirting of many feathers, in addition 
to the chestnut above described, but this soon disappears. Length, 8^-9^ ; 
wing and tail, about 4 ; bill and tarsus, each f . 

HAB. Eastern United States and Southern Canada, west to the Plains, 
south through Eastern Mexico to Costa Rica. 

Nest, in hollow of trees, sometimes in the deserted hole of a Wood- 
pecker ; composed of straw, leaves, rootlets and other vegetable materials 



lined with feathers ; about the edge is always to be found the cast-off skins 
of snakes. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; light buffy-brown, streaked lengthwise by lines and 
markings of purplish and darker bi'own. 

This species does not penetrate far north into Ontario, but 
is a regular summer resident along the southern frontier, where 
it arrives early in May, and soon makes its presence known by 
its loud note of warning, which is heard among the tree tops long 
before the bird is visible. 

Dr. Wheaton in his "Birds of Ohio" states that this species 
is very numerous near Columbus, where the country being 
well cleared and the usual breeding places difficult to find, the 
birds have taken to the use of boxes put up for Bluebirds and 
Martins, and have been observed to dispossess the legitimate 
owners. It has also been noticed that the snake skins are left 
out where the nests are in boxes. 




Dull olivaceous-brown ; the head much darker fuscous-brown, almost 
blackish, usually in marked contrast with the back ; below soiled whitish, or 
palest possible yellow, particularly on the belly ; the sides and the breast, 
nearly or quite across, shaded with grayish-brown ; wings and tail dusky, 
the outer tail feather, inner secondaries and usually the wing coverts edged 
with whitish ; a whitish ring around the eye ; bill and feet black, varies 
greatly in shade. The foregoing is the average spring condition. As the 
summer passes, the plumage becomes much duller and darker brown from 
wearing of the feathers, and then, after the moult, fall specimens are much 
brighter than in spring, the under-parts being frequently decidedly yellow, 
at least on the belly. Very young birds have some feathers edged with 
rusty, particularly on the edges of the wing and tail feathers. Length, 6^-7 ; 
wing and tail, 3-3^. 

HAB. Eastern North America, from the British Provinces south to 
Eastern Mexico and Cuba, wintering from the South Atlantic and Gulf 
States southward. 

Nest, under bridges or projection about outhouses ; composed of 
vegetable material mixed with mud and frescoed with moss. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; usually pure white, sometimes faintly spotted, 



This is one of the earliest harbingers of spring, and its 
quick querulous notes are hailed with joy, as a prelude to the 
grand concert of bird music which is soon to follow. 

Early in April the male Pee-wee appears in his former 
haunts, and being soon joined by his mate they at once begin 
to repair their old nest or to select the site for a new one. 
They are partial to the society of man, and their habits, as 
shown in their nesting, have been somewhat changed by this 
taste. The original typical nest of the Pee-wee, we are told, 
was placed on a ledge under a projecting rock, over which 
water trickled, the nest itself often being damp with the spray. 
We still see one occasionally in such a position, but more 
frequently it is placed on the beams of a bridge, beneath the 
eaves of a deserted house, or under the verandah or the projection 
of an outhouse. They raise two broods in the season, and 
retire to the south in September. 



Olive-sided Flycatcher. 

Dusky olivaceous-brown, usually darker on the crown, where the 
feathers have black centres, and paler on the sides; chin, throat, belly, 
crissum and middle line of the breast white, more or less tinged with 
yellowish ; wings and tail blackish, unmarked, excepting inconspicuous 
grayish-brown tips of the wing coverts, and some whitish edging of the inner 
quills ; feet and upper mandible black, lower mandible mostly yellowish. 
The olive-brown below has a peculiar streaky appearance hardly seen in 
other species, and extends almost entirely across the breast. A peculiar tuft 
of white fluffy feathers on the flanks. Young birds have the feathers, 
especially of the wings and tail, skirted with rufous. Length, 7-8 ; wing, 
3^-4^, remarkably pointed ; second quill longest, supported nearly to the 
end by the first and third, the fourth abruptly shorter ; tail, about 3 ; tarsus, 
middle toe and claw together about i, 

HAB. North America, breeding from the northern and the higher 
mountainous parts of the United States northward. In winter, south to 
Central America and Colombia. 

Nest, a shallow structure composed of weeds, twigs, rootlets, strips of 
bark, etc., loosely put together ; saddled on a bough or placed in a fork high 
up in a tree. 

Eggs, 3 to 4 ; creamy-white, speckled with reddish-brown. 



So far as at present known, this species is rare in Ontario, 
and not very abundant anywhere. Towards the end of May, 
1884, when driving along the edge of a swamp north of the 
village of Millgrove, I noticed a bird on the blasted top of a 
tall pine, and stopping the horse at once recognized the 
species by the loud O-whee-o, O-whee-o, so correctly described 
as the note of this species by Dr. Merriam in his " Birds of 
Connecticut." I tried to reach it with a charge of No. 8, and 
it came down perpendicularly into the brush, but whether dead, 
wounded or unhurt I never knew, for I did not see it again. 
That was the only time I ever saw the species alive. 

It has a wide distribution, having been found breeding in 
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and north on the Saskatchewan, 
near Cumberland House. In the west it has been observed in 
Colorado and along the Columbia river. 

Wood Pewee. 

Olivaceous-brown, rather darker on the head, below with the sides 
washed with a paler shade of the same nearly or quite across the breast ; 
the throat and belly whitish, more or less tinged with dull yellowish ; under 
tail coverts the same, usually streaked with dusky ; tail and wings blackish, 
the former unmarked, the inner quills edged and the coverts tipped with 
whitish ; feet and upper mandible black, under mandible usually yellow, 
sometimes dusky. Spring specimens are purer olivaceous. Early fall birds 
are brighter yellow below. In summer, before the now worn feathers are 
renewed, quite brown and dingy -whitish. Very young birds have the wing- 
bars and pale edging of quills tinged with rusty, the feathers of the upper- 
parts skirted, and the lower plumage tinged with the same ; but in any 
plumage the species may be known from all the birds of the following genus 
by these dimensions. Length, 6-6 ; wing, 3^-3^ ; tail, about , not longer 
than the bill. 

HAB. Eastern North America to the plains, and from Southern Canada 

Nest, composed of bark fibre, rootlets and grass, finished with lichens ; 
on the outside it is compact and firm round the edge, but flat in form, and 
rather loose in the bottom. It is sometimes saddled on a bough, more 
frequently placed on the fork of a twig 10 or 12 feet or more from the ground. 

Eggs, 3 or 4 ; creamy-white, blotched and variegated at the larger end 
with reddish-brown. 

1 80 


This species resembles the Phoebe in appearance, but 
is smaller and has an erect Hawk-like attitude,when seen perched 
on a dead twig on the outer limb of a tree. It is a late comer, 
being seldom seen before the middle of May, after which its 
prolonged melancholy notes may be heard alike in the woods 
and orchards till the end of August, when the birds move south. 
To human ears the notes of the male appear to be the out- 
pourings of settled sorrow, but to his mate the impressions 
conveyed may be' very different. 

The Wood Pewee is a less hardy bird than the Phcebe. It 
is not so numerous in Ontario, neither does it penetrate so far 


Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. 

Above olive green, clear continuous and uniform as in acadicus, or even 
brighter ; below not merely yellowish, as in the foregoing, but emphatically 
yellow, bright and pure on the belly, shaded on the sides and anteriorly with 
a paler tint of the color of the back ; eye-rings and wing-markings yellow ; 
under mandible yellow ; feet black. In respect of color, this species differs 
materially from all the rest ; none of them, even in their autumnal yellowest., 
quite match it. Size of Traillii or rather less ; feet proportioned as in 
acadicus ; bill nearly as in minimus, but rather larger ; first quill usually 
equal to sixth. 

HAB. Eastern North America to the Plains, and from Southern 
Labrador south through Eastern Mexico to Panama, breeding from the 
Northern States northward. 

Nest, in a mossy bank ; composed mostly of moss, with a- few twigs and 
withered leaves, and lined with black wiry rootlets and dry grass. 

Eggs, 4 ; creamy-white, spotted and blotched with reddish-brown and a 
few black markings chiefly near the larger end. 

Several of the small Flycatchers resemble each other so 
closely that it is often difficult for the general observer to 
identify them correctly. The clear yellow of theunder-parts of 



the present species serves to distinguish it from the others, but 
it is everywhere scarce and little known except to collectors. 

Near Hamilton I have noticed one or two every spring, 
and sometimes also in the fall. During the summer it has not 
been observed. 

It is only within the past five years that correct information 
has been obtained regarding the nest and eggs of this species, 
one of the first and best descriptions being given by Mr. 
Purdie in the Nuttall Bulletin for October, 1878. The nest in 
this case was placed among the roots of an upturned tree. 

All the nests I have seen described have been found in 
Maine, but the species will no doubt yet be found breeding in 
Ontario and elsewhere in the interior. 

Traill's Flycatcher. 

Above olive-brown, lighter and duller brownish posteriorly, darker 
anteriorly, owing to obviously dusky centres of the coronal feathers ; below 
ne'arly as in acadicus, but darker, the olive-gray shading quite across the 
breast ; wing-markings grayish-white with slight yellowish or tawny shade ; 
under mandible pale ; upper mandible and feet black. Averaging a little 
less than acadicus, 5^-6 ; wing, 2-2f , more rounded, its tip only reaching 
about of an inch beyond the secondaries, formed by ad, 3d and 4th 
quills as before, but 5th not so much shorter (hardly or not of an inch), the 
first ranging between 5th and 6th ; tail, 2^ ; tarsus, | as before, but middle 
toe and claw three-fifths, the feet thus differently proportioned owing to 
length of the toes. 

HAB. Eastern North America, breeding from the Middle States 
(Southern Illinois and Missouri) northward ; in winter south to Central 

Nest, in an upright fork, firmly secured in its place with the stringy 
fibres of bark, deeply cupped, composed chiefly of vegetable fibres, lined with 
dry grass and thistle down. 

Eggs, 3 to 4 ; creamy- white, blotched, chiefly toward the larger end, 
with reddish-brown. 

Traill's Flycatcher is not much know T n in Ontario, the 
number of collectors being -few. By the ordinary observer, the 
bird may readily be mistaken for others of its class which it 



closely resembles. Mr. Saunders has found it near London, 
and I have met with it now and then in the moist secluded 
ravines by the shore of the Dundas Marsh, but it is by no 
means common. 

In former years, confusion existed in the minds of different 
authors regarding the history and distribution of the small 
Flycatchers, and in my list, published in 1866, the Acadian 
Flycatcher is included as a rare summer resident near Hamilton. 
vSince that time I have had it frequently reported as occurring 
at different points in the province, but I have been compelled 
to reject all of these records as incorrect, and to conclude that it 
is very doubtful if the Acadian Flycatcher ever enters Ontario. 

Least Flycatcher. 

Colors almost exactly as in TrailLii ; usually, however, olive-gray rather 
than olive-brown ; the wing markings, eye-ring and loral feathers plain 
grayish-white ; the whole anterior parts ofter with a slight ashy cast ; under 
mandible ordinarily dusky ; feet black. It is a smaller bird than Traillii, 
and not so stoutly built ; the wing-tip projects only about an inch beyond 
the secondaries ; the 5th quill is but a little shorter than the 4th, the ist apt 
to be nearer the 6th than 5th ; the feet are differently proportioned, being 
much as in acadicus ; the bill is obviously under inch long. Length, 5-5-25 ; 
wing, 2-60 or less ; tail, about 2-25. 

HAB. Eastern North America, south in winter to Central America. 
Breeds from the Northern States northward . 

Nest, in the fork of a sapling or tree ; composed of vegetable fibre and 
wilted weeds, with a compact lining of plant down, horse hair and fine grass. 

Eggs, 3 to 4 ; usually pure white, occasionally a set or part of a set are 
found dotted with dusky. 

The Least Flycatcher is very common throughout Ontario, 
and is mentioned among the birds found by Prof. Macoun in 
the Northwest Territory. It arrives near Hamilton about the 
end of the first week in May, soon after which its short, sharp 
call, "Chebec," is heard by the outer edge of the woods, and even 
in the city orchards it takes its location and raises its family. 
As soon as the young ones are able to fly the birds disperse 



more generally over the country, and are in no haste to retire, 
but linger till the cold weather cuts off their supply of food. 

As the correct indentification of the small Flycatchers is 
often a puzzle to the amateur I will give Dr. Coues' instruc- 
tions which may be of use in this connection : 

" E. Acadicus Nest, in the trees, in horizontal forks, thin, 
saucer-shaped, open-worked ; eggs, creamy-white, boldly 

E. Traillii Nest, in trees, in upright crotch, deeply cupped, 
more or less compact walled ; eggs, creamy-white, boldly 

E. Minimus Nest, in trees, in upright crotch, deeply 
cupped, compact walled ; eggs, immaculate white. 

E. Flaviventris Nest, on the ground or near it, deeply 
cupped, thick and bulky ; eggs, white, 1 spotted." 





Horned Lark 

. Adult : above brown, tinged with pinkish, brightest on the nape, lesser 
wing-coverts and tail-coverts; other upper-parts gray, the centre of the 
feathers dusky. Below white, tinged with dusky on the sides, anteriorly 
with sulphur-yellow. A large black area on the breast. Sides of the head, 
and whole of the throat, sulphury-yellow, with a crescentic [mark of black 
below each eye, and a black bar across the forehead, and thence along the 
side of the crown, prolonged into a tuft or " horn." 

Middle tail-feathers like the back, the others black, the outer web of the 
outer pair whitish. Bill blackish, livid blue at base below ; feet black. In 
winter, at which season it is observed in Southern Ontario, the colors are 
paler and much less decided. Length, 7 to 7-50 ; female smaller. 

HAB. Northeastern North America, Greenland and northern parts of 
the Old World ; in winter south in the Eastern United States to the 
Carolinas, Illinois, etc. 

Nest, a slight depression in the ground lined with grass. 
Eggs, 4 to 5 ; grayish-white, marked with spots of brownish-purple. 



The Shore Lark, with which I became acquainted twenty- 
five years ago, is a rare winter visitor in Ontario, only a few 
being observed. They usually are found in company with the 
Snowbirds, and are thoroughly terrestrial in their habits, seldom 
alighting anywhere but on the ground. While here they spend 
most of their time, during the short days of winter, searching 
for their daily fare on bare gravelly patches, from which the 
snow has been blown away. Occasionally toward the end of 
March, just before leaving, I have seen the male settle himself 
on a hillock and warble out a pleasing Lark-like song, which is 
probably given with more power and pathos later in the season 
near his grassy home, with his mate for an audience. 

This is the northern type of the family, and it is believed to 
be identical with the British bird of the same name. In 
Ontario it is as rare as formerly, its breeding place being far to 
the north and east, but we have now a pale race which spends 
the summer with us, a description of which will follow this. 

Prairie Horned Lark. 

Adult-male in spring, posterior portion of the crown, occiput, nape, 
sides of the neck and breast, lesser wing-coverts and shorter upper tail 
coverts, light vinaceous ; back, scapulars and rump grayish-brown ; the 
feathers with darker centres, becoming darker and much more distinct on 
the rump ; middle-wing coverts light vinaceous terminally, brownish -gray 
basally. Wings (except as described), grayish-brown, the feathers with 
paler edges, outer primaries with outer web chiefly white. Middle pair of 
tail feathers light-brown (paler on edges), the central portion (longitudinally) 
much darker, approaching dusky ; remaining tail feathers uniform black, the 
outer pair with exterior webs broadly edged with white. Longer upper tail- 
coverts light-brown edged with whitish and marked with a broad lanceolate 
streak of dusky. Forehead (for about .15 of an inch) yellowish-white, this 
continued back in a broad supercilliary stripe of nearly pure white ; fore-part 
of crown (for about .35 of an inch) deep black, continued laterally back to 
and including the ear-like tufts ; lores, suborbital region, and broad patch on 
cheeks (with convex posterior outline) deep black, jugular crescent also deep 
black, this extending to lower part of throat ; chin and throat pale straw- 
yellow, gradually fading into white on sides of fore-neck ; anterior half of 
ear-coverts white, posterior half drab-gray, each portion forming a crescent- 
shaped patch. Lower parts posterior to the jugulum crescent pure white, 
the sides of the breast light vinaceous, the sides similar but brown and 



indistinctly streaked with darker. Upper mandible plumbeous-black, lower, 
bluish-plumbeous ; iris deep-brown ; legs and feet brownish-black. Size, 
slightly less than the preceding. 

HAB. Upper Mississippi Valley and the region of the Great Lakes. 

Nest, a hollow in the ground, lined with grass 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; dull white marked with spots of brown and purple. 

As near as I can remember this species first appeared in 
Ontario about the year 1868. It was noticed at once as being 
different from our winter visitor, being less in size and its plum- 
age having the ^washed-out look peculiar to the Prairie birds. 
Since that time it has increased annually until it has become quite 
established. T think they do not all leave in the fall, but that a 
few remain and associate with the northern form, which arrives 
from the north early in the winter. Great numbers appear in 
February or early in March, and should the season be late they 
swarm in the road tracks and bare places everywhere, waiting 
for the disappearing of the snow, and even before it is quite gone 
many pairs commence building their nests. Soon the flocks 
separate, the birds scatter in pairs over the country, and are not 
again seen in such numbers until the following season. 

There are now eight different species of the Genus Otocoris, 
described as being found in North America. They have all a 
strong family likeness, but differ sufficiently to warrant specific 
distinction, though several of the groups are of very recent 
formation. They are found mostly in the west and south-west, 
only two species having, till now, been observed in Ontario. 



American Magpie. 

Bill black ; head,, neck, fore-part of the breast and back, black, glossed 
with green and blue ; middle of the back, greyish-white ; scapulars, white ; 

1 86 


smaller- wing coverts, black secondary and primary coverts, glossed with 
green and blue ; primaries, black, glossed with green, their inner webs white 
except at the end; secondaries bright blue changing to green, the inner webs 
greenish-black ; tail, glossed with green, changing to bluish-purple and dark- 
green at the end ; breast and sides, pure white ; legs, abdomen, lower tail- 
coverts, black Length, 18-20 inches. 

HAB. Northern and Western North America, casually east and south to 
Michigan (accidently in Northern Illinois in winter) and the Plains, and in 
the Rocky Mountains to New Mexico and Arizona. 

Nest, in a tree, 10 or 12 feet or more from the ground ; built of coarse 
sticks, plastered with mud and lined with hair, feathers and other soft 

Eggs, 5 or 6; greenish, thickly shaded and dashed with purplish-brown. 

The gaudy, garrulous Magpie is, on the American continent, 
peculiar to the north and west, and is mentioned as a bird of 
Ontario on the authority of Mr. C. J. Bampton, Registrar of the 
District of Algoma, who reports it as a rare winter visitor at 
Sault St. Marie. It has been seen by surveying parties along 
the northern tier of States, and is said to be possessed of all 
the accomplishments attributed to the British Magpie, whose 
history has been so often written. Mr. Trippe, who found it 
breeding in Colorado, describes the nest as having two aper- 
tures, one at each side, so that when the bird enters by the front 
it leaves by the one at the back, and while sitting on the nest the 
long tail projects outside. 

The Magpie is a gay, dashing fellow, whom we always like 
to see in his native haunts, and we would welcome him to the 
woods of Southern Ontario should his curiosity lead him this 

In the rural districts of Scotland these birds are regarded 
with suspicion, from the belief that they know more than birds 
ought to know. They are supposed to indicate future joy or 
sorrow to the wayfarer, according to the number he sees together, 
the idea being thus expressed in popular rhyme : one, mirth ; 
two, grief; three, a wedding; four, a death. 





Blue Jay. 

Purplish-blue; below pale gray, whitening on the throat, belly and cris- 
sum ; a black collar across the lower throat and up the sides of the neck and 
head behind the crest, and a black frontlet bordered with whitish ; wings 
and tail, pure rich blue, with black bars, the greater coverts, secondaries and 
tail feathers, except the central, broadly tipped with pure white; tail, much 
rounded, the graduation over an inch. Length, 11-12 ; wing, 5^ ; tail, 5! . 

HAB. Eastern North America to the Plains, and from the Fur Countries 
south to Florida and Eastern Texas. 

Nest, in trees or bushes, built of sticks, lined with weeds, grasses and 
other soft material. 

Eggs, 5 to 6 ; variable in color, usually clay color with brown spots. 

This species is common throughout Ontario, and may be 
considered resident, for though the greater number migrate in 
the fall, a few always remain and are heard squalling 
among the evergreens any mild day in the depth of winter. 

Notwithstanding his gaudy attire, the Jay is not a favorite, 
which is probably owing to his having many traits of character 
peculiar to the " bad boy," being always ready for sport or 
spoil. He frequently visits the farm house for purposes of 
plunder, and when so engaged works silently and diligently till 
his object is attained. He then gets off to the woods as quickly 
as possible, where he may afterwards be heard chuckling to him- 
self over his success. 

There is a swampy spot in a clump of bush in West Flam- 
boro' where a colony of Blue Jays has spent the winter for several 
seasons, and they seem to have lots of fun even in the sever- 
est weather. I have occasionally called in when passing, and 
have found amusement listening to their varied notes 
issued in quite a colloquial strain. Sometimes the birds 
are on the ground, busily gathering nuts with which to replen- 
ish their storehouses, but if a scout arrives with some 
interesting intelligence, off goes the whole troop, each 
individual apparently knowing the object of the excursion. 
On the return notes are compared, and I almost fancy 



1 hear them laugh at their narrow escapes and ludicrous 
exploits. On such occasions I know I am often the subject of 
remark, but if I keep quiet they do not seem to object much to 
my presence. ' 



Canada Jay. 

Upper parts dull leaden-gray ; lower, dull yellowish-white ; forehead 
yellowish-white ; hind-part of the head and neck, grayish-black ; throat and 
band passing round the neck, grayish- white ; secondary quills and tail 
feathers narrowly tipped with white ; young, dull slate color, paler on the 
abdomen, darker on the head, the white v tips of the wings and tail duller than* 
in the adult. Length, 10 to n inches. 

HAB. Northern New England, Michigan and Canada, northward to 
Ai'ctic America. 

Nest, on the branch of an evergreen ; composed of twigs and grass, lined 
with feathers. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; grayish-white, marked with yellowish-brown, 

The Indian name for this bird is Wis-Ka-Tjan, which 
pronounced by an English tongue sounds much like " Whiskey 
John." Through familiarity this has become " Whiskey Jack," 
the name by which the bird is best known in the districts he 
frequents. The Canada Jay is found in high latitudes, 
from Labrador to the Pacific Coast. It is quite common 
in the District of Muskoka, where it breeds and is resi- 
dent. I have also heard of one individual being taken at 
Oshawa, but have no record of its having been seen farther 
south in Ontario. 

In the Birds of the Northwest, Dr. Coues, quoting from Mr. 
Trippe, says : " During the warmer months the Canada Jay 
frequents the darkest forests of spruce, occasionally flying a 
little way above the trees. It is quite tame, coming about the 
mining camps to pick up whatever is thrown out in the way of 
food, and evincing much of the curiosity that is characteristic 



of the family. In winter its supply of food is very precarious, 
and it is often reduced to mere skin and bones. At such times 
it will frequently weigh no more than a plump Sparrow or 
Snowbird, and undoubtedly it sometimes starves to death. 
During the latter part of the autumn, its hoarse croaking is 
almost the only sound to be heard in the cold, sombre forests 
which lie near the timber line." 



American Raven. 

Entire lustrous black ; throat feathers acute, lengthened and discon- 
nected. Length, about 2 feet ; wing, 16-18 inches ; tail, 10. 

HAB. Continent of North America, from the Arctic regions to Guate- 
mala, but local and not common in the United States east of the Mississippi 

Nest, on high trees or inaccessible cliffs. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; greenish, dotted, blotched and clouded with purplish and 

Few birds are so widely distributed oyer the face of the 
earth, and few have obtained so great a share of notoriety as 
the Raven, that "grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous 
bird of yore." In Southern Ontario it is now seldom 
seen. The specimen in my collection was obtained at 
St. Clair Flats some years since, where it was reported as an 
occasional visitor in the fall. Wilson, when speaking of this 
species, says : " On the lakes, and particularly in the neighbor- 
hood of Niagara Falls, they are numerous, and it is a remark- 
able fact that where they so abound the common Crow seldom 
appears. I had an opportunity of observing this myself in a 
journey along the shores of Lake Erie and Ontario during the 
month of August and September. The Ravens were seen 
every day, but I did not see or hear a single crow within 
several miles of the lakes." Since the days of Wilson the case 
has been reversed, and dny one travelling now round the lakes 
named will see Crows in plenty, old and young, but not a single 



Raven. They are said to be common in the rocky region of 
Muskoka, where they probably nest on the cliffs. They are 
believed to continue mated for life, and are often 
heard expressing their feelings of conjugal attachment in what 
to human ears sounds but a dismal croak. 

American Crow. 

Color uniform lustrous black, including the bill and feet ; nasal bristles 
about half as long as the bill, throat feathers oval and blended ; no naked 
space on cheeks. Length, 18-20 ; wing, 13-14 ; tail, about 8 ; bill, 1-75. 

HAB. North America, from the Fur Countries to Mexico. 

Nest, in trees, built of sticks and twigs, lined with moss and strips of bark. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; green, spotted and blotched with blackish -brown. 

While the Raven prefers to frequent the uncleared parts of 
the country, the Crow delights in the cultivated districts, where, 
in the opinion of the fanner, his services could well be 
dispensed with. Though exposed to continued persecution, he 
knows the range of the gun accurately, and is wide awake to 
the intention of all sorts of ambuscades planned for his destruc- 
tion, so that he thrives and increases in number as the country 
gets more thickly settled. The Crows mostly leave us at the 
approach of cold weather, yet should the carcase of a dead 
animal be exposed, even in the depth of winter, it is curious to 
observe how quickly it will be visited by a few individuals of 
this species, which are probably remaining in sheltered parts of 
the woods, and have some means of finding out where a feast is 
to be had. Early in April the northern migration begins, and 
the birds may be seen daily, singly, in pairs, or in loose 
straggling flocks, passing toward the north-west. 





Male in spring, black ; cervix buff ; scapulars, rump and upper tail- 
coverts ashy-white ; interscapulars streaked with black, buff, and ashy ; 



outer quills edged with yellowish ; bill blackish-horn ; feet brown. Male in 
fall, female and young, entirely different in color; yellowish-brown above, 
brownish-yellow below ; crown and bask conspicuously, nape, rump and sides 
less broadly streaked with black ; crown with a median and lateral light 
stripe ; wings and tail blackish, pale edged ; bill brown. The male changing 
shows confused characters of both sexes. Length, 6^-7^ ; wing, 2^-4 ; tail, 
2^-3 ; tarsus, about i ; middle toe and claw, about ij. 

HAB. Eastern North America to the Great Plains ; north to southern 
Canada ; south in winter to the West Indies and South America. Breeds 
from the Middle States northward, and winters south of the United States. 

Nest, a cup-shaped hollow in the ground in a hay field ; lined with 
withered grass. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; brownish-white, heavily blotched and clouded with 
chocolate-brown, making the general appearance very dark. 

In Southern Ontario the merry, rollicking Bobolink is well 
known to all who have occasion to pass by the clover 
fields or moist meadows in summer. He attracts 
attention then by his fantastic dress of black and 
white, as well as by his gay and festive manner, while he 
seeks to cheer and charm his modest helpmate, who, in humble 
garb of yellowish-brown, spends much of her time concealed 
among the grass. Toward the close of the season, the holiday 
dress and manners of the male are laid aside, and by the 
time the birds are ready to depart, male and female, young and 
old, are all clad alike in uniform brownish-yellow. The merry, 
jingling notes are succeeded by a simple chink which serves to 
keep the flocks together, and is often heard overhead at night 
in the early part of September. In the south, where they get 
very fat, they are killed in great numbers for the table. 


191. MOLOTHRUS ATER (BoDD.). 495. 

Male, iridescent black ; head and neck purplish-brown. Female, 
smaller, an obscure-looking bird, nearly uniform dusky grayish-brown, but 
rather paler below, and appearing somewhat streaky, owing to darker shaft 
lines on nearly all the feathers ; bill and feet black in both sexes. Length, 
7^-8 ; wing, over 4 ; tail, over 3. 



HAB. United States, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, north into 
Southern Briiish America, south, in winter, into Mexico. 

Nest, none. 

Eggs, deposited in the nest ot another bird ; dull white, thickly dotted, 
and sometimes blotched, with brown ; number uncertain. 

In Southern Ontario nearly all the Cowbirds are migratory, 
but on two occasions I have seen them located here in winter. 
There were in each instance ten or a dozen birds which stayed 
by the farmhouse they had selected for their winter residence, 
and roosted on the beams above the cattle in the cow-house. 
Early in April the migratory flocks arrive from the south, and 
soon they are seen in small solitary parties, chiefly in pasture 
fields and by the banks of streams all over the country. 

At this interesting season of the year, when all other 
birds are mated and are striving to make each other happy in 
the faithful discharge of their various domestic duties, the Cow- 
birds, despising all family relations, keep roving about, enjoying 
themselves after their own free love fashion, with no preference 
for any locality save that where food is most easily obtained. 
The deportment of the male at this season is most ludicrous. 
With the view of pleasing his female associate of the hour, he 
puffs himself out to nearly double his usual size and mak'es the 
most violent contortions seeking to express his feelings in 
song, but like individuals of the human species whom we some- 
times meet he is "tongue-tied," and can only give utterance to 
a few spluttering notes. 

As the time for laying draws near the female leaves her 
associates, and manifesting much uneasiness seeks diligently 
for the nest of another bird to suit her purpose. This is usually 
that of a bird smaller than herself, which the owner has just 
finished and may have made therein a first deposit. Into such 
a nest the female Cowbird drops her egg, and leaving it, with 
evident feelings of satisfaction, joins her comrades and thinks 
no more about the matter. By the owners of the nest the 
intrusion is viewed with great dislike, and should it contain no 
eggs of their own it is frequently deserted. But another 
expedient to rid themselves of the incumbrance is sometimes 



resorted to which shows a higher degree of intelligence than 
what we are accustomed to call ordinary instinct. Finding that 
their newly finished cradle has been invaded, the birds build a 
floor over the obnoxious egg, leaving it to rot while their ow r n 
are hatched on the new floor in the usual way. 

Should the owners of the nest have one or more eggs 
deposited before that of the Cowbird appears, the intrusion 
causes them much anxiety for an hour or two, but in the 
majority of cases the situation is accepted, and the young Cow- 
bird being first hatched the others do not come to maturity. 
The foster parents are most attentive in supplying the wants of 
the youngster till he is fit to shift for himself, when he leaves 
them, apparently without thanks, and seeks the society of his own 
kindred, though how he recognizes them as such is something we 
have yet to learn. 

Much speculation is indulged in regarding the cause of this 
apparent irregularity in the habits of the Cowbird, and different 
opinions are still held regarding it, but whatever other purpose 
it may serve in the economy of nature, it must cause a very 
large reduction in the number of the different species of birds 
on which it entails the care of its young. Some idea may be 
formed of the extent of this reduction by looking at the vast 
flocks of Cowbirds swarming in their favorite haunts in the fall, 
and considering that for each bird in these flocks from three to 
four of a different species have been prevented from coming to 

The number of species imposed upon by the Cowbird is 
large, including Warblers, Vireos, Sparrows, Thrushes, Blue- 
birds, etc., but the one they most frequently select in this locality 
is the Summer Yellowbird. On the prairies where the Cow- 
birds are numerous and the number of foster parents limited, 
it is said that in the month of June nearly every available nest 
contains an egg of the Cowbird. 

In Southern Ontario they disappear during July and August, 
but usually return in vast flocks in September, when they 
frequent the stubble fields and patches of wild rice by the edge 
of the marshes. 





192. Yellow-headed Blackbird. 497. 

Male black, whole head (except lores), neck and upper breast yellow, 
and sometimes yellowish feathers on the belly and legs ; a large white patch 
on the wing, formed by the primary and a few of the outer secondary coverts. 
Female and young brownish-black, with little or no white on the wing, the 
yellow restricted or obscured. Female much smaller than the male, about 9$. 
Length, 10-11 , wing, 5^ ; tail 4^. 

HAB. Western North America, from Wisconsin, Illinois and Texas to 
the Pacific coast. Accidental in the Atlantic States (Massachusetts, South 
Carolina, Florida). 

Nest, composed of aquatic grasses fastened to the reeds. 
Eggs, 3 to 6 ; grayish-green spotted with reddish-brown, 

A wanderer from the west, this handsome Blackbird has 
appeared from time to time at different points in the Eastern 
States. The only record I have of its occurrence in Ontario is 
that given by Mr. Seton in the Auk for October, 1885, as 
follows : " This species has been taken a number of times in 
company with the Red-winged Blackbirds by Mr. Wm. Loane, 
who describes it as the Californian Blackbird. The specimen 
I examined was taken near Toronto by that gentleman, and it is 
now in the possession of Mr. Jacobs, of Centre street." 

Though the Yellow-headed Blackbird is only a casual visitor, 
I think it is quite probable that we may yet see it as a summer 
resident in the grassy meadows of Ontario. At present it 
comes east as far as Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin, 
while in a northerly direction it extends its migrations to the 
interior of the Fur Countries, reaching the Saskatchewan about 
the 2oth of May. 

We should like to see him here, his yellow head making a 
bright spot among the sombre plumaged Cowbirds and 





Red-winged Blackbird. 

Male uniform lustrous black ; lesser wing-coverts scarlet, broadly 
bordered by brownish-yellow or brownish-white, the middle row of coverts 
being entirely of this color, and sometimes the greater row likewise are 
similar, producing a patch on the wing nearly as large as the red one. 
Occasionally there are traces of red on the edge of the wing and below. The 
female smaller, under 8 ; everywhere streaked ; above blackish-brown with 
pale streaks, inclining on the head to form median and superciliary stripes ; 
below whitish, with very many sharp dusky streaks ; the sides of the head, 
throat and the bend of the wing tinged with reddish or fulvous. The young 
male at first like the female, but larger ; apt to have a general buffy or 
fulvous suffusion, and bright bay edgings of the feathers of the back, wings 
and tail, and soon showing black patches. Length, 8-9 ; wing, 4^-5 ; 
tail, 34-4. 

HAB. North America in general, from Great Slave Lake south to Costa 

Nest, large for the size of the bird ; composed of rushes and sedges 
loosely put together and lined with grass and a few horse hairs ; usually 
fastened to the bulrushes, sometimes placed in a bush or tussock of grass 
near the ground. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; pale blue, curiously marked with brown. 

This species is generally distributed and breeds in suitable 
places throughout the province. It is very common near 
Hamilton, breeding abundantly in the Dundas Marsh, and in 
the reedy inlets all around the shores of Hamilton Bay. As soon 
as the young broods are able to fly, old and young congregate 
in flocks, frequenting the stubble fields and moist meadows 
by day, and roosting at night among the reeds in the marsh. 
As the - season advances the numbers are increased by others 
arriving from the north, and during October very large flocks 
are observed in the places they frequent. Towards the end of 
that month, if the weather gets cold, they all move off to the 
south, and none have been observed here during the winter. 




194. STURNELLA MAGNA (LiNN.). 501. 


Above, the prevailing aspect brown. Each feather of the back blackish, 
with a terminal reddish-brown area, and sharp brownish-yellow borders ; 
neck similar, the pattern smaller ; crown streaked with black and brown, and 
with a pale median and superciliary stripe ; a blackish line behind eye ; 
several lateral tail feathers white, the others with the inner quills and wing- 
coverts barred or scolloped with black and brown or gray. Edge of wing, 
spot over eye, and under-parts generally, bright yellow, the sides and 
crissum flaxen-brown, with numerous .sharp blackish streaks ; the breast with 
a large black crescent (obscure in the young) ; bill horn-color ; feet light 
brown. Length, 10-11 ; wing, 5 ; tail, 3^ ; bill, i. Female similar, 
smaller, g%. 

HAB. Eastern United States and Southern Canada to the Plains. 

Nest, on the ground, at the foot of a tuft of grass or weeds ; lined with 
dry grass, and sometimes partly arched over. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; dotted and sprinkled with red dish -brown. 

The Meadowlark is found in all suitable districts throughout 
Ontario, and was observed by Prof. Macoun breeding in the 
grand valley of the Assinniboine in the Northwest. In the 
southern portion of the province it is generally distributed 
throughout the agricultural districts, where its loud, clear, 
liquid notes are always associated in our minds with fields of 
clover and new-mown hay. Here it may be considered 
migratory, the greater number leaving us in October to return 
again in April, yet it is no uncommon thing to find one or two 
remaining during the winter in sheltered situations. On the 
7th of February, 1885, when the cold was intense and snow 
covered the ground, I noticed an individual of this species 
digging vigorously into a manure heap at the Beach. When 
examined he was found to be in very poor condition, and looked 
altogether as if he had been having a hard time. In the west 
the Meadowlark resembles our eastern form so closely that it is 
doubtful if any one, judging by appearance, can separate them 
with certainty, but the song of the birds is so entirely different, 



that chiefly on this account the western bird has been recorded 
as a separate species under the name of Sturnella magna 
neglecta, or Western Meadowlark, the dry central plains forming 
the boundary between the two. 


Orchard Oriole. 

Male black ; lower back, rump, lesser wing-coverts, and all under-parts 
from the throat, deep chestnut ; a whitish bar across the tips of greater 
wing-coverts ; bill and feet blue-black. Tail graduated. Length, about 7 ; 
wing, 3^ ; tail, 3. Female smaller, plain yellowish-olive above, yellowish 
below ; wings dusky ; tips of the coverts and edges of the inner quills, 
whitish ; known from the female of the other species by its small size and 
very slender bill. Young male at first like the female, afterwards showing 
confused characters of both sexes ; in a particular stage it has a black mask 
and throat. 

HAB. United States, west to the Plains, south, in winter, to Panama. 

Nest, pensile ; composed of grass and other stringy materials ingeniously 
woven together and lined with wool or plant down, rather less in size and not 
quite so deep in proportion to its width as that of the Baltimore. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; bluish-white, spotted and veined with brown. 

On the 1 5th of May, 1865, I shot an immature male of this 
species in an orchard at the Beach, which was the first 
record for Ontario. I did not see or hear of it again till the 
summer of 1883, when they were observed breeding at different 
points around the city, but since that year they have not 
appeared near Hamilton. 

Mr. Saunders informs me that they breed regularly and in 
considerable numbers near London and west of that city, from 
which we infer that the species enters Ontario around 
the west end of Lake Erie, and does not often come as 
far east as Hamilton. Most likely it does not at present extend 
its migrations in Ontario very far from the Lake Erie 
shore. The notes of the male are loud, clear and delivered with 
great energy as he sits perched on the bough of an apple tree, 



or sails from one tree in the orchard to another. This species 
would be a desirable acquisition to our garden birds, both on 
account of his pleasing plumage of black and brown, and because 
of the havoc he makes among the insect pests which frequent our 
fruit trees. 



Baltimore Oriole. 

Male, with head and neck all round, and the back, black ; rump, upper- 
tail coverts, lesser wing-coverts, most of the tail feathers, and all the under- 
parts from the throat, fiery-orange, but of varying intensity according to age 
and season. Middle tail feathers black, the middle and greater coverts and 
inner quills, more or less edged and tipped with white; but the white on the 
coverts not forming a continuous patch ; bill and feet blue-black. Length, 
7^-8 ; tail, 3. Female smaller, and much paler, the black obscured by olive, 
sometimes entirely wanting. The young entirely without the black on throat 
and head, otherwise colored nearly like the female. 

HAB. Eastern United States, west nearly to the Rocky Mountains. 

Nest, purse shaped ; pensile ; about 6 inches deep ; composed chiefly of 
vegetable fibre, with which is often intertwisted rags, paper, thread, twine 
and other foreign substances ; usually suspended from the outer branches of 
a tree, most frequently an elm, at a height of 10 to 50 feet from the ground. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; white, faintly tinged with blue. 

The gay, dashing, flashing Baltimore Oriole seems to court 
the admiration so generally bestowed on him, and is much more 
frequently seen among the ornamental trees in our parks and 
pleasure grounds than in the more retired parts of the country. 
He arrives from the south with wonderful regularity about the 
end of the first week in May, after which his clear flute-like 
notes are heard at all hours of the day till the early part of July, 
when with his wife and family he retires, probably to some shady 
region to avoid the extreme heat of summer. At all events they 
are not seen in Southern Ontario again till the beginning of 
September, when they pay us a passing visit while on their way 
to winter quarters. The species seems to be well distributed in 
Ontario, for in the report of the "Ottawa Field Naturalists' 
Club" it is said to be common, arriving in that district about the 
loth of May. It is also included in the list of birds observed at 
Moose Mountain in the Northwest by Prof. Macoun. 



Rusty Blackbird. 

Male in summer lustrous black, the reflections greenish, and not notice- 
able different on the head ; but not ordinarily found in this condition in the 
United States ; in general glossy black, nearly all the feathers skirted with 
warm brown above and brownish-yellow below, frequently continuous on 
the foreparts ; the male of the first season, like the female, is entirely rusty- 
brown above, the inner quills edged with the same ; a pale superciliary 
stripe ; below, mixed rusty and grayish-black, the primaries and tail above 
black ; bill and feet black at all times. Length, male about 9 ; wing, 4^ ; 
tail, 3^ ; bill f ; female smaller. 

HAB. Eastern North America, west to Alaska and the Plains. Breeds 
from Northern New England northward. 

Nest, a coarse structure, resting on a layer of twigs ; composed of grass 
mixed with mud ; well formed inside and lined with fine grass and rootlets ; 
usually placed in alder or similar bushes overhanging the water. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; grayish-green marked with brown. 

During the last week in April or the first in May according 
to the weather, the Rusty Grackles are seen in small 
flocks hurrying on to their breeding places farther north. Their 
stay at this time is very short, and the collectors have but little 
chance of securing a male in adult plumage, spring being the 
only season when such can be had here, and even then only a 
few in each flock have acquired their nuptial dress. They will 
no doubt yet be found breeding in Ontario, although, owing to 
the number of observers being small, the fact (so far as I know) 
has not yet been recorded. About the end of August or early 
in September they return in flocks of much greater dimensions 
than those which passed up in the spring, and in company with 
the Cowbirds and Redwings continue to frequent the plowed 
fields, cornfields and wet places till the weather gets cold in 
October, when they all move off to the south and are not seen 
again till spring. 




Bronzed Grackle 

Metallic tints, rich, deep and uniform. Head and neck all round rich, 
silky steel-blue, this strictly confined to these portions, and abruptly defined 
behind, varying in shade from an intense Prussian-blue to brassy-greenish, 
the latter tint always, when present, most apparent on the neck, the head 
always more violaceous ; lores velvety-black. Entire body, above and below, 
uniform continuous metallic brassy-olive, varying to burnished golden 
olivaceous-bronze, becoming gradually uniform metallic purplish or reddish- 
violet on wings and tail, the last more purplish ; primaries violet-black ; bill, 
tarsus and toes pure black, iris sulphur-yellow. 

Length, 12-50 to 13-50 ; wing, 6-00 ; tail, 6-00 ; culmen, 1-26 ; tarsus, 
1-32. Third and fourth quills longest and equal ; first shorter than fifth ; 
projection of primaries beyond secondaries, 1-28 ; graduation of the tail, 
1-48. (Ridgway.) 

HAB. From the Alleghanies and New England north and west to 
Hudson's Bay and the Rocky Mountains. 

Nest, coarse and bulky ; composed of twigs and weeds, with a mixture 
of mud ; often placed in a spruce or hemlock tree, sometimes in a bush over- 
hanging the water, and occasionally in a hollow stub or deserted Wood- 
pecker's hole. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; smoky-blue with irregular dark brown blotches, lines and 

The Bronzed Grackle was christened by Mr. Ridgway in the 
Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Phila- 
delphia in June, 1869. Prior to that date Dr. Baird had 
separated one as peculiar to Florida, but all the others 
were supposed to belong to the species named by Linn 
as Quiscalus quiscula or Purple Grackle. Mr. Ridgway 
on comparing a large number of specimens from different 
points found the group to contain two well-defined species, and 
his decision has now been generally adopted. One, the original 
Purple Grackle, is the more southern bird of the two, its 
habitat being given as "Atlantic States from Florida to Long 
Island," while our present species is said to extend from the 
Alleghanies and New England, north and west to Hudson's 



Bay and the Rocky Mountains. Since giving my attention to 
this subject I have made a point of examining all available 
mounted Crow Blackbirds in public museums, country taverns, 
etc., and find that all belong to the Bronzed division. 

It is quite possible that a few of the others may yet be 
found along our southern border, but unquestionably the Crow 
Blackbird of Ontario is the Bronzed Grackle. They like to be 
near water and are very common in the town of Gait, breeding 
close to the houses along the banks of the river. There is a 
colony established at East Hamilton, where they breed in the 
Norway spruce trees near the residence of Mr. Barnes, who 
protects them from being molested, whether wisely or not is 
open to question, for there rests at their door the serious charge 
of robbing the nests of small birds and destroying the eggs and 
young, besides that of being very destructive to the sprouting 
corn in spring-time. 


Evening Grosbeak 

Dusky olivaceous, brighter behind ; forehead, line over the eye and 
under tail coverts yellow ; crown, wings, tail and tibias black ; the secondary 
quills mostly white ; bill greenish-yellow, of immense size, about f of an 
inch long and nearly as deep. Length, y-8 ; wing, 4-4^ ; tail, 2^. The 
female and. young differ somewhat, but cannot be mistaken. 

HAB. Western North America, east to Lake Superior, and casually to 
Ohio and Ontario ; from the Fur Countries south into Mexico. 

Nest and eggs unknown. 

This is a western species whose line of travel in the season 
of migration seems to be along the Mississippi Valley, casually 
coming as far east as Ontario. 

I have heard of its being observed during the winter at St. 
Cloud, St. Pauls and Minneapolis, and last winter I had a pair 
sent me by mail in the flesh from Redwing, Minnesota. The 



first report of its appearance in Ontario was made by the late 
Dr. T. J. Cottle, of Woodstock, who in the month of May, 
1866, observed a flock among the evergreens near his residence, 
and obtained one or two of them. 

Again, in 1871, they were noticed near London about the 
same season, and several were procured, three of them coming 
into my possession. I did not hear of the species again till the 
i yth of March, 1883, when enjoying a sleigh ride along a road 
which runs through a swamp in West Flamboro' we came 
unexpectedly upon two in the bush by the roadside and secured 
them both. 

I have also heard of a female having been obtained by the Rev. 
Mr. Doel in Toronto, on the 25th of December, 1854, \\hich 
completes the record for Ontario so far as I know. The 
Evening Grosbeak is much prized by collectors on account 
of its rarity, its beauty, and the desire we have to know more 
of its history. 

Dr. Cones speaks of it as " A bird of distinguished appear- 
ance, whose very name suggests the far away land of the 
dipping sun, and the tuneful romance which the w r ild bird 
throws around the fading light of the day. Clothed in striking 
color contrasts of black, white and gold, he seems to represent 
the allegory of diurnal transmutation, for his sable pinions 
close around the brightness of his vesture as night encompasses 
the golden hues of sunset, while the clear white space enfolded 
in these tints foretell the dawn of the morrow." Thus the 
glowing words flow from the pen of an accurate observer 
and graceful w r riter, while to the mass of the people 
the beauties of bird life are a sealed book. By far the larger 
number of those who have the opportunities of observing our 
wild birds in their native haunts belong to that practical class of 
which the representative is Peter Bell, of whom it is written : 

" A primrose by the river's brim 
A yellow primrose was to him 
And it was nothing more." 

I once directed the attention of an intelligent, successful farmer, 
whose speech betrayed his nationality, to a fine mounted speci- 



men of the bird we have been describing. I pointed out the beauty 
of its markings and related the interesting parts in its history, 
but failed to excite any enthusiasm regarding it ; in fact the 
only remark elicited was that it was " unca thick i' the neb." 


Pine Grosbeak. 

Male carmine-red, paler or whitish on the belly, darker and streaked 
with dusky on the back ; wings and tail dusky, much edged with white, the 
former with two white bars. Female, ashy-gray, paler below, marked with 
brownish-yellow on the head and rump. Length, 8-9 ; wing, 4^ ; tail, 4. 

HAB. Northern portions of the Northern Hemisphere, breeding far 
north ; in winter south, in North America, irregularly to the northern 
United States. South in the Rocky Mountains to Colorado, and in the 
Sierra Nevada to California. 

Nest, in a bush, four feet from the ground ; composed entirely of coarse 
green moss. 

Eggs, 2. ; slate-color, tinged with green, spotted and clouded with brown 
and purple. 

In Southern Ontario the Pine Grosbeak is an irregular 
winter visitor, sometimes appearing in large flocks and again 
being entirely absent for several years in succession. During 
the winter of 1882-3, and also 1883-4, they were quite common 
and were observed throughout the country wherever their 
favorite red cedar or mountain ash berries were to be found, 
but since that time not one has been seen. They are fine, 
robust birds of a most sociable, gentle disposition. I have often 
watched them feeding in flocks, sometimes in places where 
food was not over abundant, but never noticed a quarrel among 
them, all being willing to share alike. 

Very many of the individuals which visit us are 
females or young males clad in a uniform garb of smoky-gray, 
more or less tinged with greenish-yellow, but in every flock of 
twenty or thirty there are two or three adult males in the 
showy crimson dress, which, when seen with a background of 



the sombre foliage of the Norway spruce, forms a most attractive 
object at this season of the year when the tide of bird life 
is at its lowest ebb. 

Our knowledge of the breeding habits of this species is as 
yet very imperfect, the description given of the nest and 
eggs being that of a supposed Grosbeak's nest which was found 
in Maine by Mr. Boardman, but the birds to which the nest 
belonged were not secured. 

Mr. Trippe found them in Colorado in summer living up 
near the timber line, and observed young birds fully feathered 
and shifting for themselves in June, which gives the impression 
that they must breed very early. I think it highly probable 
that they may yet be found breeding in Ontario, for on the 
occasion already referred to they appeared early in January, and 
many were seen as late as April, so that they would not 
have time to travel far before engaging in their domestic 


Purple Finch. 

Male crimson, rosy or purplish-red, most intense on the crown, fading 
to white on the belly, mixed with dusky streaks on the back ; wings and tail 
dusky, with reddish edgings, and the wing-coverts tipped with the same ; 
lores and feathers all round the base of the bill hoary. Female and young 
with no red ; olivaceous-brown, brighter on the ramp, the feathers above all 
with paler edges, producing a streaked appearance ; below white, thickly 
spotted and streaked with olive-brown, except on the middle of the belly and 
under tail-coverts ; obscure whitish superciliary and maxillary lines. Young 
males show every gradation between these extremes in gradually assuming 
the male plumage, and are frequently brownish-yellow or bronzy below. 
Length, 5f-6J ; wing, 3-3^ ; tail, 2^-2^. 

HAB. Eastern North America, from the Atlantic coast to the Plains. 
Breeds from the Middle States northward. 

Nest, usually but not always in an evergreen ; composed of weeds, 
grass, strips of bark, vegetable fibre, etc., lined with hair. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; pale green, scrawled and spotted with dark-brown and 
lilac, chiefly toward the larger end. 



In Southern Ontario the Purple Finch is most abundant 
during the month of May. At this season the few which have 
remained with us during the winter put on their brightest 
dress, and being joined by others which are daily arriving from 
the south they make the orchards for a time quite lively with 
their sprightly song. Their presence, however, could well be 
dispensed with for they are observed at this time to be very 
destructive to the buds and blossoms of fruit trees. As the 
season advances they get generally distributed over the country 
and are not so often' seen. 

The male does not acquire the bright crimson dress till after 
the second season. The young male in the garb of the female 
being observed in full song has led to the belief that both sexes 
sing alike but such is not the case. Crimson Finch would have 
been a more appropriate name for this bird than Purple Finch, for 
the color is certainly more crimson than purple. 


American Crossbill. 

Male bricky-red, wings blackish, unmarked ; female brownish-olive, 
streaked and speckled with dusky, the rump saffron. Immature males 
mottled with greenish and greenish-yellow. Length, about 6 ; wing, 3^ ; 
tail, 2$. 

HAB. Northern North America, resident sparingly south in the 
Eastern United States to Maryland and Tennessee, and in the Alleghanies ; 
irregularly abundant in winter ; resident south in the Rocky Mountains to 

Nest, among the twigs of a. spruce ; composed of twigs, rootlets, lichens, 
etc., lined with hair and feathers. 

Eggs, 3 to 4 ; pale green, spotted toward the larger end with purple and 

Throughout Ontario the Crossbills are very erratic in their 
movements, sometimes appearing unexpectedly in considerable 
numbers in sections of the country where for several succeeding 
years they will be entirely absent. Their time of nesting is 
also unusual, the duties of incubation being performed while 



the ground is still covered with snow. Hence the young being 
soon set at liberty are often seen in flocks quite early in sum- 
mer, and sometimes in the fall we hear their rattling call and 
see them descend from upper air to visit a patch of sunflowers 
on the seeds of which they feast with evident relish. Early in 
spring, when food was less abundant, I have seen them 
alight on the ground and dig the seeds from a squash which 
had been left out during the winter. 

Their favorite resorts, however, are the spruce and hemlock 
trees, whose dark green foliage forms a fine back ground for 
the rich red color of the male as he swings about in every 
possible position, searching for food among the cones at the end 
of the slender branches. 

White-winged Crossbill. 

Wings in both sexes with two conspicuous white bars ; male rosy-red, 
female brownish-olive, streaked and speckled with dusky, the rump saffron. 
Length, about 6 ; wing, 3^ ; tail, 2j. 

HAB. Northern parts of North America, south into the United States 
in winter. Breeds from Northern New England northward. 

Nest, similar to the preceding species. 

Eggs, 3 to 4 ; pale blue, dotted toward the larger end with lilac and 

This species resembles the preceding in its habits, but does 
not appear in such large numbers. They visit the same 
localities, sometimes in company or again in separate flocks. 
Both are quite unsuspicious, and when eagerly searching for 
food among the pine cones they admit of a very near approach 
without taking alarm. They vary much in plumage with age 
and sex, but the present species can at all times be identified 
by the white wing-bars. 




204. Hoary Redpoll. 527 a. 

Colors pale, the flaxen of linarius bleaching to whitish ; rump white or 
rosy, entirely unstreaked in the adults ; breast pale rosy, and streaks on the 
sides small and sparse ; bill very small with heavy plumules, feet small, the 
middle toe and claw hardly equal to the tarsus. 

Length, 5-50 ; extent, 9 ; wing, 3 ; tail, 2-50. 
HAB. Arctic America and Northeastern Asia. 

So few Redpolls are taken from the vast flocks which in 
some winters visit us from the north that it is unsafe to say how 
rare or common any particular species may be. I have however 
seen a good many in different winters during the last 
thirty years and have only seen one of this species. It was 
killed by K. C. Mcllwraith at the Beach on the 6th of April, 
1885, and on being picked up at once elicited the exclamations 
which follow the capture of a rare bird. It was a male in fine 
plumage, the feathers being full and soft, and beautifully tinted 
with the rosy color peculiar to the race. 

This species is said to inhabit the whole of boreal America, 
but has seldom been found as far south as even the northern 
tier of states. 

205. ACANTHIS LINARIA (LiNN.). 528. 

Upper parts streaked with dusky and flaxen in about equal amounts, 
rump white or rosy, streaked with dusky ; below, streaked on the sides, 
belly dull white ; bill mostly yellow ; feet blackish. Length, 5^-5! ; wing, 
2f- 3 ; tail, 2 J-2. 

HAB. Northern portions of Northern Hemisphere, south irregularly in 
winter, in North America, to the Micdle United States (Washington, D. C., 
Kansas, Southeastern Oregon). 

Nest, in a low tree or bush ; composed of grass and moss, lined with 
plant down. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; pale bluish- white, speckled with reddish-brown. 



Like our other winter birds, the Redpolls are somewhat irregu- 
lar in their visits, but are more frequently seen than either the 
Grosbeaks or Crossbills. Sometimes they appear in October and 
remain till late in March, while in other seasons only an 
occasional roving flock is seen during the winter, and 
again they are entirely absent. They are hardy, active, little 
birds, and must consume a large quantity of seeds, which can 
well be spared from the weedy places the birds frequent. 

Before leaving in spring, the breast of the male assumes a 
soft rosy tint, which adds greatly to his beauty when seen 
among the snow. 


Holbcell's Redpoll . 

Like the last ; length, 6 ; wing, 3-25 ; tail, 2-75 ; bill longer. 
HAB. Northern portions of Northern Hemisphere, near the sea coast. 

I have occasionally found among the common Redpolls, 
individuals of large size which answer to the description given 
of this species. As they are never numerous, and have not 
been observed in flocks by themselves, those we see may be 
stragglers from the main body of their race, which is said to 
keep well up to the north and east. 

Greater Redpoll. 

Bill regularly conic, only moderately compressed and acute, as high as 
long at the base ; color, black or yellow according to the season. Frontlet 
black, overlaid with hoary, a recognized light superciliary stripe reaching to 
the bill. Crimson cap over nearly all the crown. Upper-parts streaked with 
brownish-black and white, the latter edging and tipping the feathers, this 
white nearly pure, only slightly flaxen on the sides of the head and neck. 
Wings and tail as in other species. Rump and entire under-parts, from the 
sooty throat, white, free from spots ; the rump and breast rosy. , 

HAB. Greenland and Northeastern North America, south irregularly in 
winter to New England, New York and Northern Illinois. 



About the year 1863, a friend who used to join me in some of 
my local collecting trips was in the town of Gait, and seeing a 
small flock of large light-colored Redpolls secured two of the 
lot and sent them to me in the flesh. I have neither before nor 
since met with any so large and hoary. One of them which I 
still have, mounted, seems to answer to the above description, 
but the country from which the Redpolls come is large enough 
to produce varying forms from different latitudes, and I think 
it is open to question whether or not it is wise to divide them 
into so many different species. 


:W8. SPINUS TRISTIS (LiNN.). 529. 

American Goldfinch. 

Male in summer, rich yellow, changing to whitish on the tail-coverts ; a 
black patch on the crown ; wings black, more or less edged and barred with 
white ; lesser wing-coverts yellow ; tail black, every feather with a white 
spot ; bill and feet flesh-colored. In September the black cap disappears 
and the general plumage changes to a pale flaxen-brown above and whitey- 
brown below, with traces of the yellow, especially about the head ; this 
continues till the following April or May. Female olivaceous, including the 
crown ; below soiled yellowish ; wings and tail dusky, whitish-edged ; young 
like the female. Length, about 4! ; wing, 2f ; tail, 2. 

HAB. North America generally, breeding southward to the middle 
districts of the United States (to about the Potomac and Ohio Rivers, 
Kansas and California), and wintering mostly south of the northern 
boundary of the United States, 

Nest, a neat strong structure, resembling that of the Summer Yellow- 
bird ; composed of miscellaneous soft materials firmly felted together and 
lined with plant down ; usually placed in the upright fork of a tree or bush, 
from 6 to 20 feet from the ground. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; pale bluish- white, unmarked. 

In Southern Ontario the Goldfinch may be considered a 
resident species, for they nest throughout the country generally, 
and even in the depth of winter are often met unexpectedly in 
some favored locality where they find food and shelter. In the 
severe winter of 1885-6, I came upon a colony of this kind in 
West Flamboro', where several hundreds of the birds 



frequented a grove of hemlock, and judging by the amount of 
debris on the snow underneath they must have been there all 
winter. They were very lively, keeping up a continual 
chattering as they swayed to and fro on the slender branches, 
extracting the seeds from the cones. Occasionally, when 
cheered by the mild rays of the wintry sun, some of the males 
would come to the sunny side of the tree and warble out a few 
of their varied summer notes, but they spent most of the short 
wintry day in feeding and dressing their plumage, retiring early 
to the thick shelter of the evergreens. 

At other seasons of the year they frequent the cultivated 
fields, orchards and gardens, and in the fall, when they are seen 
in greatest numbers, they do good service in consuming the 
seeds of the thistle and other noxious weeds. They are not in 
any great haste to begin the duties of housekeeping, and are 
seen in flocks till towards the end of May. About that time they 
pair off and are actively engaged in their domestic duties till some 
time in August, when the males throw off their gaudy summer 
dress and join with the females and young in making up the 
flocks we see roving about the country in their own wild way. 

209. SPINUS PINUS (WiLS.). 533. 
Pine Siskin. 

Bill extremely acute ; continuously streaked above with dusky and 
olivaceous-brown or flaxen ; below with dusky and whitish, the whole 
plumage in the breeding season more or less suffused with yellowish, 
particularly bright on the rump ; the bases of the quills and tail feathers 
extensively sulphury-yellow, and all these feathers more or less edged 
externally with yellowish. Length, 4! ; wing, af ; tail, if. 

HAB. North America generally, breeding mostly north of the United 
States and in the Rocky Mountain region ; in winter south to the Gulf States 
and Mexico. 

Nest, placed high in an evergreen. 

Eggs, pale greenish, speckled with brown. 

The Siskin, or Pine Linnet, is a more northern bird than the 
Goldfinch, and as a winter visitor in Southern Ontario is some- 
times present and sometimes absent. Occasionally they appear 


in October in large flocks, swarming on the rank weeds in 
waste places, and hanging on the alder bushes by the banks of 
creeks and gullies. They are extremely restless, and in certain 
districts the twittering sound of their voices will fill the air for 
days together, till they rise and pass away like a cloud of 
smoke, perhaps to be seen no more for the season. They are 
said to have been found nesting in New York State, and also in 
Massachusetts, but at present I have no record of their being 
found so engaged in Ontario. As the country becomes more 
explored we shall have many such items to add to our present 
stock of knowledge of the birds. 




Bill small, truly conic, ruffed at base ; hind claw decidedly curved. In 
breeding plumage pure white, the back, wings and tail variegated with 
black ; bill and feet black. As generally seen in the United States, the white 
is clouded with warm, clear brown, and the bill is brownish. Length, about 
7 ; wing, 4^ ; tail, 2 . 

HAB. Northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere, breeding in the 
arctic regions ; in North America south in winter into the Northern United 
States, irregularly to Georgia, Southern Illinois and Kansas. 

Nest, on the ground ; composed of grass and moss lined with feathers, 
concealed by a tuft ot grass or projecting ledge of rock ; cavity deep ; sides 
warm and thick. 

Eggs, 4 ; white, scrawled and spotted with brown. 

The Snowbirds are our most regular visitors from the north, 
and they come in greater numbers than any of the other species 
which descend from high latitudes to avoid the rigors of 
winter. As early as the 2oth of October, their tinkling, icy notes 
may be heard, but more frequently the birds are first observed 
later in the season, driving with wild eccentric flight before the 
earliest flurry of snow. By the shores of the lakes, on bare sandy 
spots, thinly grown over with the Andropogon scoparius, on the 
seeds of which they freely feed, they may be found with tolerable 
certainty any time between the end of October and the first of 


April. Elsewhere throughout the country they are frequently 
seen by the roadsides examining the tall weeds which appear in 
waste places above the snow, or running in the road tracks 
searching hurriedly for their scanty fare. They are exceedingly 
restless, never remaining long in one place, and even when 
feeding the flock will often arise without apparent cause of 
alarm and go off as if never to return, but not unfrequently 
they come swirling back and alight on the spot from which 
they have just arisen. There are one or two instances on 
record of their nests and eggs having been found among the 
highest mountain peaks in Massachusetts, but their breeding 
ground is within the Arctic circle, from which they descend 
over the northern portions of both continents, enlivening many 
a dreary region with their sprightly presence during the dull 
days of winter, till reminded by the lengthening days and rising 
temperature to return again to their northern home. 



Lapland Longspur. 

Bill moderate, unruffed, but with a little tuft of feathers at the base of 
the rictus ; hind claw straightish, with its digit longer than the middle toe 
and claw. Adult male, whole head and throat jet black, bordered with 
buffy or whitish, which torms a postocular line, separating the black of the 
crown from that of the sides of the head ; a broad chestnut cervical collar ; 
upper parts in general, blackish, streaked with buffy or whitish that edges all 
the feathers ; below, whitish, the breast and sides black streaked ; wings, 
dusky, the greater coverts and inner secondaries edged with dull bay ; tail, 
dusky, with an oblique white area on the outer feathers ; bill, yellowish, 
tipped with black ; legs and feet, black. Winter males show less black on the 
head, and the cervical chestnut duller ; the female and young have no con- 
tinuous black on the head, and the crown is streaked like the back, and there 
are traces of the cervical collar. Length, 6-6; wing, 3^-3^ ; tail, 2^-2f. 

HAB. Northern portions of the Northern Hemisphere, breeding far 
north ; in North America south in winter to the Northern United States, 
irregularly to the Middle States, accidentally to South Carolina and abundantly 
in the interior to Kansas and Colorado. 

Nest, like that of the Snowflake. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; greenish-grey, which color is nearly obscured by a heavy 
mottling of chocolate-brown. 



Like the Snowflake, the present species is common to both 
continents. They come and go together and keep company 
while here ; but at all times the Snowflakes far exceed the 
others in numbers. 

The male Longspur, in full breeding plumage, is a very 
handsome bird. It is seldom found in Ontario in this dress, but 
some years since two young men who were collecting at 
Mitchell's Bay met with quite a large flock in the month of May 
and got some very fine specimens, several of which came into my 
possession. All those I have met have been in winter dress, in 
which state the colors are obscured by the black feathers of the 
head and breast being tipped with yellowish-grey. 


Vesper Sparrow. 

Thickly streaked everywhere above, on sides and across breast ; no 
yellow anywhere ; lesser wing-coverts, chestnut, and one to three outer tail 
feathers part or wholly white. Above, greyish-brown, the streaking dusky 
and brown with greyish-white ; below, white, usually buffy-tinged, the 
streaks very numerous on the fore-part and sides ; wing-coverts and inner 
quills much edged and tipped with bay ; crown, like back, without median 
stripe, line over and ring round eye, whitish ; feet, pale. Length, 5|-6J ; 
wing, 2-3|; tail, 2|-2|. 

HAB. Eastern North America to the Plains, from Nova Scotia and 
Ontario southward ; breeds from Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri northward. 

Nest, a deep cup-shaped hollow in the ground, lined with grass. 
Eggs, 4 to 6 ; greyish-white, heavily clouded with chocolate-brown. 

This is one of the " Gray Birds," and the most abundant in 
Ontario of the several species to which this name is applied. 

Its song is very sweet and plaintive, and being most fre- 
quently uttered in the evening about sundown it has gained for 
the bird the appropriate name of Vesper Sparrow. 

It is a summer resident, arriving in Southern Ontario toward 
the end of April and soon becoming common all over the country. 
The favorite perch of the male is the top of a fence post, and 



his nesting place among the grass close by. In the fall they 
get to be abundant before leaving ; but from their habit of skulk- 
ing among the rank weeds they are not so conspicuous as the 
Blackbirds and other species which keep in flocks on the wing. 
They move to the south in October, none having been ob- 
served during the winter. 




213. Savanna Sparrow. 542 a. 

Above, brownish-gray, streaked with blackish, whitish-gray and pale 
bay, the streaks largest on the inter-scapulars, smallest on the cervex, the 
crown divided by an obscure whitish line ; superciliary line and edge of wing, 
yellowish ; sometimes an obscure yellowish suffusion about the head. Below, 
white, pure or with faint buffy shade, thickly streaked with dusky, the 
individual spots edged with brown, mostly arrow-shaped, running in chains 
along the sides, and often aggregated in an obscure blotch on the breast. 
Wings and tail dusky, the wing-coverts and inner secondaries black edged 
and tipped with bay. Length, 5^-5! ; wing, 2^-2 ; tall, 2-2|. 

HAB. Eastern Province of North America, breeding from the Northern 
United States to Labrador and Hudson's Bay Territory. 

Nest, composed of fine withered grass placed in a deep cup-shaped hole 
in the ground. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; ground-color grayish, heavily clouded with chocolate- 

This quiet, unobtrusive, little Sparrow may be seen and 
heard in the moist meadows in spring and summer, but it is 
not very plentiful anywhere. 

Towards the end of August they become abundant along the 
marshy shores of Hamilton Bay, where they evidently find food 
to suit their taste, and they continue to enjoy it till reminded by 
the cool nights in September that it is time to be off to the south. 
The specimens secured at this season are evidently northern bred 
birds, being more fully developed in size and markings than 
those which breed with us. Often when picking them up I 



fancy I have got the Ipswich Sparrow, but so far have not 
succeeded in doing so. I still think the latter species will be 
found near Hamilton, for we have several suitable resorts which 
will in future be carefully watched at the proper season. 


214. Grasshopper Sparrow. 546 

Edge of wing conspicuously yellow ; lesser wing-coverts and short line 
over the eye yellowish ; below, not or not evidently streaked, but fore-parts 
and sides buff, fading to dull white on the belly. Above, singularly variegated 
with black, gray, yellowish-brown, and a peculiar purplish bay in short 
streaks and specks, the crown being nearly black, with a sharp median 
brownish-yellow line, the middle of the back chiefly black, with bay and 
brownish-yellow edgings of the feathers, the cervical region and rump chiefly 
gray, mixed with bay ; wing-coverts and inner quills variegated like the 
back ; feet pale. Young similar, not so buffy below, and with pectoral and 
maxillary dusky spots. Length, 4^-5^ ; wing, i\ ; tail, 2 or less, the 
outstretched feet reaching to or beyond its end. 

HAB. Eastern United States and Southern Canada to the Plains, south 
to Florida, Cuba, Porto Rico and coast of Central America. 

Nest, a cup shaped hole in the earth, lined with dry grass. 
Eggs, 4 to 6; crystal-white speckled wilh reddish-brown. 

So far as at present known, the Grasshopper Sparrow is of 
very rare occurrence in Ontario, the southern border seeming to 
be the northern limit of its distribution. 

Many years ago I killed a male, who was squeezing out his 
wheezy notes from the top of a mullein stalk. Mr. Saunders 
mentions having taken one near London, but these two cases 
complete the record for Ontario. 

It is named among the birds found in the Northwest by 
Prof. Macoun, but is not mentioned in Mr. Seton's list of the 
Birds of Western Manitoba. It is much given to concealing 
itself among the rank herbage, and may in some localities be a 
rare summer resident in Southern Ontario, but I do not expect 
to see it here, except as a casual visitor. 





Lark Sparrow 

Head curiously variegated with chestnut, black and white ; crown 
chestnut, blackening on the forehead, divided by a median stripe and 
bounded by two lateral stripes of white ; a black line through and another 
below the eye, enclosing a white streak under the eye and the chestnut 
auriculars ; next a sharp black maxillary stripe, not quite reaching the bill, 
cutting off a white stripe from the white chin and throat. A black blotch on 
middle of breast. Under-parts white, faintly shaded with grayish-brown; 
the middle of the back with fine black streaks. Central tail-feathers like the 
back, the rest jet black, broadly tipped with pure white in diminishing 
amount from the lateral pair inward, and the outer web of outer pair entirely 
white. Length, 6^-8 ; wing, 3^ ; tail, 3. 

HAB. Mississippi Valley region, from Ohio, Illinois and Michigan to 
the Plains, south to Eastern Texas. Accidental near the Atlantic coast 
(Massachusetts, Long Island, New Jersey and Washington, D. C.) 

Nest, on the ground ; composed of dry grass. 
Eggs, 4 to 7 ; white, irregularly veined with dark. 

In May, 1862, a pair of these birds were observed near 
Hamilton, and the male was obtained and shown to me shortly 

I did not hear of the species again till the publication of the 
List of Birds of Western Ontario in 1882, in which it is given 
as " breeding, but rare." More recently, Mr. Saunders informs 
me that it breeds regularly near London. Tn the spring of 
1885 I saw several on the Beach near Hamilton, and it is also 
reported by Mr. Seton as having been observed near Toronto. 

It is evidently like some others making its way into. Ontario 
around the west end of Lake Erie, and all lovers of birds will do 
well to encourage it, for it is a sweet songster and a handsome 
little bird of confiding, pleasing manners. 


White-Crowned Sparrow. 

Adults of both sexes with the crown pure white, enclosing on either side 
a broad black stripe that meets its fellow on the forehead and descends the 



lores to the level of the eyes, and bounded by another black stripe that starts 
behind the eye and curves around the side of the hind head, nearly meeting 
its fellow on the nape ; edge of under eye-lid white. Or, we may say, crown 
black, enclosing a median white stripe and two lateral white stripes, all con- 
fluent on the hind head. General color, a fine dark ash, paler below, white- 
ning insensibly on the chin and belly, more brownish on the rump, changing 
to dull brownish on the flanks and crissum, the middle of the back streaked 
with dark purplish-bay and ashy-white. No bright bay like that of albicollis 
anywhere, except some edging on the wing-coverts and inner secondaries ; 
middle and greater coverts tipped with white, forming two bars ; no yellow 
anywhere; bill and feet reddish. Young birds have the black of the head 
replaced by a very rich warm brown, the white of the head by pale brownish 
and the general ash has a brownish suffusion and the back is more like 
albicollis. Length, 6.25-7 ; extent, 9.20-10.20 ; tail, 2.90-3.20. 

HAB. North America at large, breeding chiefly in the Rocky Mountain 
region (including Sierra Nevada) and northeast to Labrador. 

Nest, on the ground among the bushes ; composed of grass and weeds, 
intermixed with moss and lined with fine hair like grass and rootlets. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; ground color, greyish-white, heavily clouded with choco- 
late-brown. Very variable in pattern. 

The White-crowned Sparrow is a more northern bird than its 
white-throated relative, but it does not arrive so early in spring, 
seldom appearing along our southern border before the first 
week in May. During the two succeeding weeks it is very 
common among the brambles and thorn bushes by the way- 

They travel in small companies of ten or twelve, the in- 
dividuals keeping each other in view as they skulk from one 
brush pile to another to avoid being observed. By the 25th of 
May they have all gone north, apparently far north, for I have 
no record of their having been found breeding in Ontario. 

In the fall they are again seen on the return trip, but not in 
such great numbers as in the spring, and none have been ob- 
served to winter within our limits. 

White throated Sparrow. 

Adult-male, with the crown black, divided by a median white stripe, 
bounded by a white superciliary line and yellow spot from the nostril to the 
eye ; balow this a black stripe through the eye ; below this a maxillary black 



stripe bounding the indefinitely pure white throat, sharply contrasted with 
the dark ash of the breast and sides of the neck and head. Edge of wing 
yellow. Back continuously streaked with black, chestnut and fulvous- 
white ; rump ashy, unmarked. Wings much edged with bay, the white tips 
of the median and greater coverts forming two conspicuous bars ; quills and 
tail-feathers dusky, with pale edges. Below white, shaded with ashy-brown 
on sides, the ash deeper and purer on the breast ; bill dark ; feet pale. 
Female and immature birds with the black of head replaced by brown, the 
white of throat less conspicuously contrasted with the duller ash of 
surrounding parts, and frequently with obscure dusky streaks on the breast 
and sides. Length, 6^-7^ ; wings and tail, each about 3. 

HAB. Eastern North America, west to the Plains, north to Labrador 
and the Fur Countries. Breeds in Northern Michigan, Northern New York 
and Northern New England, and winters from the Middle States southward. 

Nest, among the bushes, on or near the ground ; composed of weeds, 
grass and moss, lined with fibre and thread-like rootlets. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; variable in color and pattern, usually grayish-white, 
clouded and blotched with chocolate-brown. 

These beautiful Sparrows make their appearance in 
Southern Ontario about the 2oth of April, and till the middle 
of May are seen among the shrubbery and underbush, working 
their way in small flocks towards their summer residence to the 
north of us. Great numbers are said to go right on to the Fur 
Countries, but many no doubt find suitable nesting places in 
the intermediate districts. I firsc found them breeding near a 
retired pond surrounded by tamaracks, in the township of 
Dumfries, about thirty miles north-west of Hamilton. It was 
towards the close of a warm day in the early part of July, and 
the slanting rays of the setting sun were gilding the tops 
of the tamaracks, while underneath the still waters of 
the pond, enclosed in a deep natural basin, were shrouded 
in gloom. There was little to break the stillness, till 
a bird, mounting to the topmost twig of one of the trees, his 
bill pointing upwards, his tail hanging limp and motionless, 
and his whole attitude indicating languor and weariness, 
drawled out the plaintive, familiar " Old Tom Peabody, Pea- 
body." This song harmonized so perfectly with the surround- 
ings that we felt at once he was at home. The hour, the 



attitude, and above all the feeling of weariness expressed in the 
plaintive notes of the bird, reminded me strongly at the time of 
the Yellow-hammer of Britain. 

Allan Brooks has also found this species breeding at Milton, 
a few miles north of the west end of Lake Ontario, but such 
cases are by no means common in this district. In the fall they 
are again seen in limited numbers, but at that season the 
plumage of the male has lost much of its brightness, and young 
and old, male and female resemble each other in appearance. 

Their food, which consists chiefly of seeds, is obtained on or 
near the ground. During October they are seen travelling from 
one brush pile to another, and by the end of that month they 
are gone for the season. 


Tree Sparrow. 

Bill black above, yellow below ; legs brown, toes black ; no black on 
forehead ; crown chestnut (in winter specimens the feathers usually skirted 
with gray) bordered by a grayish-white superciliary and loral line, and some 
vague chestnut marks on sides of head ; below, impurely whitish, tinged 
with ashy anteriorly, washed with pale brownish posteriorly ; the middle of 
the breast with an obscure dusky blotch ; middle of back boldly streaked 
with black, bay and flaxen ; middle and lesser wing-coverts black, edged 
with bay and tipped with white, forming two conspicuous cross bars ; inner 
secondaries similarly variegated ; other quills and tail-feathers dusky, with 
pale edges. Length, 6 ; wing and tail, nearly 3. 

HAB. Eastern North America, westward to the Plains, and from the 
Arctic Ocean south, in winter, to the Carolinas, Kentucky and Eastern 
Kansas Breeds north of the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains. 

Nest, indifferently on the ground or in a tree or bush. 

Eggs, bluish-green, speckled and blotched with reddish-brown. 

In Southern Ontario the Tree Sparrow is a regular winter 
visitor, arriving from the north during the month of October, 
and remaining over the winter in sheltered hollows or among 
the brush and weeds by the banks of streams. In appearance 



it does not look like a hardy bird, yet while here it is exceed- 
ingly lively and cheerful, its silvery tinkling notes being 
frequently heard during the coldest snaps in winter. At the 
approach of spring they all move off to the north, and none are 
observed during summer. 

219. SPIZELLA SOCIALIS (WiLs.). 560. ^/ 

Chipping Sparrow. 

Adult, bill black ; feet pale ; crown chestnut, extreme forehead black, a 
grayish-white superciliary line, below this a blackish stripe through eye and 
over auriculars. Below, a variable shade of pale ash, nearly uniform and 
entirely unmarked ; back streaked with black, dull bay and grayish-brown ; 
inner secondaries and wing coverts similarly variegated, the tips of the 
greater and lesser coverts forming whitish bars ; rump ashy, with slight 
blackish streaks ; primaries and tail dusky, the bill pale brown, and the head 
lacking definite black. Length, 5-5^ ; wing, about 2f ; tail, rather less. 

HAB. Eastern North America, west to the Rocky Mountains, north to 
Great Slave Lake, and south to Eastern Mexico. 

Nest, in a bush or among the vines ; composed of rootlets and fine grass 
lined with horse hair. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; pale bluish-green, dotted, speckled or scrawled with dark 

Prior to the advent of the House Sparrow, the Chipper was 
the most familiar and best known bird around our dwellings, 
and though now in the minority it still builds its nest in the 
garden, and comes familiarly near the door to pick up crumbs 
for the support of its family. 

It is very generally distributed over Ontario, being found near 
the dwellings of rich and poor alike ; in the shade trees in the 
city as well as in weedy corners and thorn bushes in the 
pasture field. 

It arrives from the south about the end of April, and at once 
begins building its nest. It is most diligent in the discharge 
of its varied domestic duties during the summer, and when the 
young are able to shift for themselves, old and young get 
together in flocks, and about the end of October all move off to 
the south. 


Field Sparrow. 

Bill pale reddish ; feet very pale ; crown dull chestnut ; no decided 
black or whitish about head. Below white, unmarked, but much washed 
with pale brown on breast and sides ; sides of head and neck with some 
vague brown markings ; all the ashy parts of socialis replaced by pale 
brownish. Back bright bay, with black streaks and some pale flaxen 
edgings ; inner secondaries similarly variegated ; tips of median and greater 
coverts forming decided whitish cross-bars. Size of socialis, but more nearly 
the colors of monticola. Young, for a short time, streaked below as in socialis. 

HAB. Eastern United States and Southern Canada, west to the Plains. 

Nest, on the ground, or near it, in a low bush ; composed of grass and 
rootlets, lined with fine grass and hair. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; greenish-white, variously marked with reddish-brown. 

The Field Sparrow is sparingly distributed in suitable places 
in Southern Ontario, which probably forms its northern limit. 
It arrives from the south during the first week in May, and 
soon makes its presence known by its pleasing ditty which is 
heard from the top of a low tree or bush in the pasture field. 
It resembles the Chipper in size, but is more like the Tree 
Sparrow in coloring. The cinnamon tinted bill is always a 
ready mark by which to distinguish it from any other of the 
small Sparrows. 

It raises two broods in the season and retires to the south 
in September. 


221. JUNCO HYEMALIS (LiNN.). 567. 

Slate-colored Junco. 

Blackish-ash, below abruptly pure white from the breast. Two to three 
outer tail-feathers white. Bill flesh-colored. In the female, and in fact in 
most fall and winter specimens, the upper parts have a more grayish, or even 
a decidedly brownish cast, and the inner quills are edged with pale bay. 
Length, 6-6 ; wing and tail, about 3. 

HAB. North America at large, but chiefly east of the Rocky Mountains, 
breeding from the higher parts of the Alleghanies and Northern New York 
and Northern New England northward. South in winter to the Gulf States. 


Nest, on the ground, rarely in a bush above it ; composed of strips of 
bark, grass and rootlets, lined with moss and hair. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; greenish-white, spotted and blotched with reddish-brown. 

In Southern Ontario the "White Bill," as this species is 
familiarly called, may fairly be considered resident, for 
although it is most numerous in April and October, yet it 
breeds commonly throughout the country, and a few are always 
observed remaining during the winter. 

It is a very familiar species, showing a marked partiality 
for rocky ravines, quarries and stone heaps. It is also com- 
mon by the roadsides, and in gullies and other unculti- 
vated places, but in the dense bush it is seldom seen, 
until we come to a spot where men and horses have been at 
work felling and hauling timber. In such a place at all seasons, 
its white tail feathers are almost sure to be seen flirting about 
among the brush. The ordinary note of this species is a 
simple "chip" like the sound produced by striking two pebbles 
together, but in the spring the male has a rather pleasing little 
song, with which he cheers his mate while they are fitting up 
their home. 



Song Sparrow. 

Below white, slightly shaded with brownish on the flanks and crissum, 
breast and sides with numerous dusky streaks, with brown edges, coalescing 
to form a pectoral blotch and maxillary stripes bounding the throat ; crown 
dull bay, with fine black streaks, divided and bounded on either side by 
ashy-whitish lines ; vague brown or dusky and whitish markings on the 
sides of the head ; the interscaoular streaks black, with bay and ashy- white 
edgings ; rump and cervix grayish-brown, with merely a few bay marks ; 
wings with dull bay edgings, the coverts and inner quills marked like the 
interscapulars ; tail obviously longer than the wings, pale brown, with 
darker shaft lines on the middle feathers at least, and often with obsolete 
wavy markings. Length, 6-6 ; wing, about -z\ ; tail, about 3. 

HAB. Eastern United States to the Plains, breeding from Virginia and 
the northern portion of the Lake States northward. 



Nest, on the ground, more rarely on a low tree or bush ; composed of 
rootlets and leaves, lined with fine grass and occasionally some horse hair. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; very variable in marking, usually grayish or greenish- 
white, blotched or spotted with brown, the shades of which differ greatly in 
different specimens. 

This is an abundant summer resident, and one which seeks 
the society of man, being found wherever human habitations 
have been raised within its range. Large numbers pass on to 
the north in April, returning again in October on their way 
south, but they do not all leave us. While getting on or off 
the ice on Hamilton Bay in the depth of winter, I have several 
times been surprised by seeing a Song Sparrow rise from among 
the flags, which at that season have a roof of snow, and no doubt 
afford a comfortable shelter to the little birds. In the same- 
locality, on a comparatively mild day in the middle of winter, I 
have seen a male of this species mount to the top of a bulrush 
and warble forth his pleasing familiar notes, perhaps in 
appreciation of the rising temperature. 

In the " Birds of Ohio " Dr. Wheaton mentions the 
following singular instance of the strong attachment which this 
species has for its nest. ." Some laborers, who were cutting- 
grass on a railroad track near Columbus, found a nest of this 
species on the embankment, and though rather a delicate piece 
of work for this class of men to undertake, they moved it from 
its original site among the grass and placed it gently, but loosely, 
on the fork of a horizontal limb of a maple sapling three feet 
from the trunk. Instead of deserting the nest as many birds 
would have done, or attempting to fasten it to the limb on 
which it had been placed, the Sparrows brought long stems 
of timothy grass and twisted them together and around a limb 
extending over the nest at a distance of one and a half feet. 
The lower ends of these stems were firmy fastened into the rim 
of the nest, and other stems were woven in transversely, form- 
a complete basket. The whole structure resembled an inverted 
balloon, and in this remarkable construction the eggs were 
hatched and the young safely raised. After the nest was 
deserted, I found the guy ropes sufficiently strong to bear up 
the nest, after the limb on which it was placed had been 



Lincoln's Sparrow. 

Below white, breast banded and sides often shaded with yellowish ; every- 
where, except on the belly, thickly and sharply streaked with dusky ; above 
grayish-brown, crown and back with blackish, brownish and paler streaks ; 
tail grayish-brown, the feathers usually showing blackish shaft lines; wings 
the same, the coverts and inner quills blackish, with bay and whitish edgings ; 
no yellow on wings or head. Length, 5^ ; wing and tail, about 2%. 

HAB. North America at large, breeding chiefly north of the United 
States and in the higher parts of the Rocky Mountains ; south in winter to 

Nest, on the ground ; composed of grass throughout, the finest used for 
lining inside. 

Eggs, 4 to 6; grayish-white clouded with brown. 

Nest and eggs scarcely distinguishable from those of the Song Sparrow. 

This retiring little Sparrow is almost unknown in the east, 
although it has been found at a number of different points, and 
from its retiring habits may be more common than we think it is. 

Audubon found it first in Labrador, the young being able to 
fly on 4th of July. It has occasionally been captured during 
the season of migration, chiefly in Massachusetts and Connecti- 
cut, and there is in a Bulletin of the Nuttal Club, 1878, an 
account of a nest being found by Mr. Bagg in Hamilton Co., N. Y. 

Ontario was without a record of this species till the 23rd of 
May, 1885, when K. C. Mcllwraith got into a bird wave which had 
been stopped at the Beach by a head wind during the previous 
night, and from a crowd composed of different classes in large 
numbers, picked out two Lincoln's Sparrows, and on the 25th 
he got other two at the same place. Since that time Mr. 
Geo. R. White reports having taken one at Ottawa, and Mr. 
Saunders has also secured one at London. 

In the west the history of the species is entirely different. 
Mr. Trippe, writing from Colorado, says : " Lincoln's Finch is 
abundant and migratory, it breeds from about 9.500 or 10.000 
feet up to the timber line. It arrives at Idaho Springs early in 
May and soon becomes very common, haunting the thickets and 
brush heaps by the brooks, and behaving very much like the 



Song Sparrow. During the breeding season it is most abundant 
among the bushes near and above timber line, nesting as high 
as it can find the shelter of willows and junipers. Reappearing 
in the valleys in October it lingers by the streams for a few 
weeks and then disappears." 

It is also said to be abundant in spring and fall in Iowa, and 
Mr. Ridgway reports it as wintering in great numbers in South- 
ern Illinois. 


Swamp Sparrow. 

Crown bright bay or chestnut, blackening on the forehead, often with 
an obscure median ashy line and usually streaked with black ; cervix, sides 
of head and neck and the breast strongly ashy, with vague dark auricular 
and maxillary markings, the latter bounding the whitish chin, the ashy of 
the breast obsoletely streaky ; belly whitish ; sides, flanks and crissum 
strongly shaded with brown and faintly streaked ; back and rump brown, 
rather darker than the sides, boldly streaked with black and pale brown or 
grayish. Wings so strongly edged with bright bay as to appear almost uni- 
tormly of this color when viewed close, but inner secondaries showing black 
with whitish edging ; tail likewise strongly edged with bay and usually show- 
ing black shaft lines. Further distinguished from its allies by the emphasis 
of the black, bay and ash. Length, 5^-6; wing and tail, 2|-2j. 

HAB. Eastern North America to the Plains, accidently to Utah, north 
to the British Provinces, including Newfoundland and Labrador. Breeds 
from the Northern States northward, and winters in the Middle States and 

Nest, on the ground in a moist place, sometimes in a tussock of grass or 
low bush ; composed of weeds, grass and rootlets, lined with fine fibrous 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; grayish- white, speckled with reddish-brown. 

This is, perhaps, the least known of any of our common 
Sparrows, for it seldom comes within reach of the ordinary 
observer, and even by the collector it is apt to be overlooked, 
unless he knows its haunts and goes on purpose to seek it. It 
is very common by the shores of Hamilton Bay, where it may 
be seen skulking along the line where land and water meet, and 
if disturbed at once hides itself among the rank herbage of the 



marsh. Occasionally, during the excitement of the mating sea- 
son, a male will mount a bulrush and warble out his not un- 
pleasant song, but most of their time is spent in places which 
are difficult of access either by land or water, and so they are 
seldom seen. 

They arrive from the south early in May and leave again in 
October, none being observed during winter. 


Fox Sparrow. 

General color ferrugineous or rusty-red, purest and brighest on the rump, 
tail and wings, on the other upper parts appearing as streaks laid on an ashy 
ground ; below white variously but thickly marked, except on the belly and 
crissum, with rusty red, the markings anteriorly in the form of diffuse conflu- 
ent blotches, on the breast and sides consisting chiefly of sharp sagittate 
spots and pointed streaks ; tips of middle and greater coverts forming two 
whitish wing-bars ; upper mandible dark, lower mostly yellow ; feet pale. 
Length, 6f-yJ ; wing and tail, each 3 or more. 

HAB. Eastern North America, west to the Plains and Alaska (Valley of 
the Yukon to the Pacific), and from the Arctic Coast south to the Gulf 
States. Breeds north of the United States; winters chiefly south of the 
Potomac and Ohio Rivers. 

Nest, indifferently, on the ground or in a tree ; composed of grass, moss 
and fibrous roots, lined with hair and feathers. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; greenish-white thickly spotted with rusty-brown. 

This large and handsome Sparrow breeds in the north and 
winters in the south, but by what particular route it passes 
between the two points I am at a loss to determine, for in this 
part of Ontario it is seldom seen. 

In the London list it is mentioned as "rare during migration, 
4 or 5 specimens taken." In all my rambles I have only met 
with it a few times, and but once have I heard it utter its rich, 
musical notes, which are the admiration of all who hear them. 
Speaking of this species, Dr. Coues, in his Birds of the North- 
west, says : " During the sunny days which precede their depar- 
ture the males are fond of perching on the top of a small tree or 



bush to warble a few exquisitely sweet notes, the overtures of 
the joyous music which, later in the year, enlivens the northern 
solitudes whither the birds resort to breed." The nest has not 
been found within the limits of the United States or Ontario, so 
far as I am aware, but in the list of Birds of Western Manitoba 
Mr. Seton mentions itas breeding abundantly on Duck Mountain. 




Adult male, black, belly white, sides chestnut, crissum fulvous-brown ; 
primaries and inner secondaries with white touches on the outer webs ; outer 
tail feathers with the outer web and nearly the terminal half of the inner web 
white, the next two or three with white spots, decreasing in size ; bill black- 
ish ; feet pale brown; iris red in the adult, white or creamy in \\ieyoung, 
and generally in winter specimens. Female, rich warm brown where the male 
is black ; otherwise similar. Very young birds are streaked brown and 
dusky above, below whitish, tinged with browr and streaked with dusky. 
Length, male, 8 ; wing, 3^; tail, 4 ; female rather less 

HAB. Eastern United States and Southern Canada, west to the Plains. 

Nest, on the ground, more rarely in a bush or sapling ; a rude structure, 
composed of grape-vine bark, weed stalks, leaves and grass ; lined with fine 
vegetable fibre. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; white, thickly freckled with reddish-brown. 

This species has a more northern range than we have been 
in the habit of attributing to it, for it is mentioned both by Prof. 
Macoun and Mr. Seton as being common in the Northwest 
Territory. In Southern Ontario it arrives from the south about 
the ist of May, the males coming on a few days ahead of the 
females. Much of their time is spent on the ground, scratching 
and rustling about among the withered leaves in search of seeds 
and insects. During the pairing time, the male will frequently 
rise from the scrub bush to the lower branch of a tree and sing 
his original song in his best style, accompanying the performance 
with many a jerk and flirt of his long handsome tail, which 
shows to advantage on these occasions. If we sit down to 



watch his motions for a little we may be favored with a glimpse 
of the female stealing through the underbrush, but except under 
such circumstances she is rarely seen. 

During the heat of summer the loud ringing " Towhee" which 
has given the birds their common name is discontinued, and 
they spend their time quietly in the shade. In September it is 
again heard, perhaps as a bugle note to call the flocks together 
before starting for the south. We have no record of any being 
observed during winter. 




Male, rich vermillion or rosy-red, obscured with ashy on the back ; face 
black ; bill reddish ; feet brown. Feir.ale, ashy-brown, paler below, with 
evident traces of the red on the crest, wings, tail and under parts. Length, 
8-9 ; wing, about 3! ; tail, 4. 

HAB. Eastern United States, north to New Jersey and the Ohio Valley 
(casually farther), west to the Plains. 

Nest, in a bush or low tree near the ground, usually not far from water. 
Composed of bark, leaves, grass and rootlets rather loosely put together. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; white, thickly spotted with dark reddish-brown often 
wreathed round the larger end. 

The Cardinal can only be regarded as a casual visitor along 
our south-western border. It is quite common in Ohio, and as 
might be expected a few occasionally cross the lake. Mr. 
Norval reports one or two being found at Port Rowan, and Dr. 
Macallum mentions that a few are seen every summer along 
the lake shore south of Dunnville, where they are supposed to 
breed among the evergreens. They make showy, interesting 
cage birds, on account of which great numbers are caught in 
trap cages and sold in the southern markets. 





Rose-breasted Grosbeak. 

Adult male, with head and neck all round and most of the upper parts 
black, the rump, uppar tail-coverts and under parts white, the breast and 
under wing-coverts exquisite carmine or rose-red ; wings and tail black, 
variegated with white ; bill pale ; feet dark. Female, above streaked with 
blackish and olive or flaxen-brown with median white coronal and supercili- 
ary line ; below white, more or less tinged with fulvous and streaked with 
dusky ; under wing-coverts saffron-yellow ; upper coverts and inner quills 
with a white spot at end ; bill brown. Young males at first resemble the 
female. Length, yJ-8; wing, about 4; tail, about 3^. 

HAB. Eastern United States and Southern Canada, west to the eastern 
border of the Plains, south in winter to Cuba, Central America and Northern 
South America. 

Nest, in a low tree ; composed of twigs, vegetable fibre and grass, rather 
loosely put together. 

Eggs, 3 to 4 ; greenish-white, thickly spotted with reddish-brown. 

This robust and gaily attired songster arrives from the south 
about the loth of May, and soon its rich, rolling song is heard 
in the trees and thickets where it spends the summer. It breeds 
regularly along the southern border of Ontario, and has also 
been found in Labrador and in the Red River Valley. Its 
favorite haunts are along the wooded banks of streams, where 
even at noonday, when most other birds are silent, the male in 
the shade of the luxuriant foliage cheers his mate during the 
tedious hours of incubation with the song she loves to hear, 
Its food consists of seeds, buds and berries ; but it also takes a 
variety of insects, and is one of the few birds which visit the 
potato patch and snap up the potato bugs. On this account 
alone it is entitled to our protection ; but it is also one of the 
most attractive birds which visit the shrubbery, and would be 
most welcome if it could be taught to consider itself protected 
and come nearer to our dwellings. 

Before retiring in the fall the males lose the greater portion 
of their black, but retain the carmine on the breast and under 



Indigo Bunting. 

Adult male, indigo blue, intense and constant on the head, glancing 
greenish, with different lights on other parts ; wings and tail blackish, glossed 
with greenish-blue feathers around base of bill black ; bill dark above, 
rather paler below, with a curious black stripe along the gonys. Female, above 
plain warm brown ; below whitey-brown, obsoletely streaky on the breast 
and sides; wing-coverts and inner quills pale edged, but not whitish ; upper 
mandible blackish, lower pale, with the black stripe just mentioned. The 
young male is like the female, but soon shows blue traces, and afterwards is 
blue, with white variegation below. Length, 5^; wing, 2f ; tail, 2%. 

HAB. Eastern United States, south in winter to Veragua, 
Nest, in a bush, composed of leaves and grass. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; white, tinged with blue, sometimes speckled with reddish- 
brown . 

About the i5th of May the Indigo arrives from the south 
and at once commences to deliver his musical message, such as 
it is, with considerable animation. While so engaged he is 
usually perched on the upper twig of a dead limb within hearing 
of the female, who is of retiring habits and seeks to elude 
observation among the briars and underbrush. 

It is rather a tender species, and probably does not penetrate 
far north into Ontario. It is not mentioned either by Prof. 
Macoun or Mr. Seton as having been seen by them in the North- 
west, and by the middle of September they have all disappeared 
from Southern Ontario. The rich plumage and lively manners 
of the male make him quite conspicious while here ; a favorite 
resort of the species near Hamilton being about the railroad 
track, near the waterworks reservoir. 

Individuals vary considerably in the regularity of their 
coloring and in the intensity of the blue, but a male in rich 
spring plumage is a very handsome little bird. 






Male, above grayish-brown, the middle of the back streaked with black, 
the hind neck ashy, becoming on the crown yellowish-olive, with black 
touches ; a yellow superciliary line and maxillary touch of the same ; eyelid 
white ; ear-coverts ashy ; chin white ; throat with a large jet-black patch ; 
underpai'ts in general white, shaded on the sides, extensively tinged with 
yellow on the breast and belly ; edge of wing yellow ; lesser and middle 
coverts rich chestnut, the other coverts and inner secondaries edged with 
paler ; bill dark horn-blue ; feet brown. Female smaller ; above like the 
male, but head and neck plainer ; below less tinged with yellow, the black 
throat patch wanting and replaced by sparse sharp maxillary and pectoral 
streaks. Length, 6^-7 ; wing, 2^ ; tail, 2f . 

HAB. Eastern United States to the Rocky Mountains, north to Massa- 
chusetts, New York, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and south in winter through 
Central America to Northern South America. 

Nest, on the ground or in a low bush, built of leaves and fine grass. 
Eggs, 4 to 5 ; greenish-white, sometimes speckled with reddish-brown. 

The only record we have at present of the Black-throated 
Bunting as a bird of Ontario is that furnished by Mr. Saunders 
in the " Auk " for July, 1885, page 307. The writer describes 
finding the species in June, 1884, at Point Pelee, at the west end 
of Lake Erie. The birds were tolerably common and evidently 
breeding, one or two pairs being in every field within a limited 
district, but it was only after considerable waiting and watching 
that the party succeeded in discovejing a nest with 5 fresh eggs. 

It is just possible that " Dickcissel," like some others, having 
reached the north shore of Lake Erie may come along as far as 
Lake Ontario, but it is rather a weakly, tender species, and we 
hardly expect to see it much north of the present limit, although 
there are several records of its capture in Massachusetts and 




Scarlet Tanager. 

Male, scarlet, with black wings and tail ; bill and feet dark. Female, 
clear olive-green, below clear greenish-yellow ; wings and tail dusky, edged 
with olive. Young male at first like the female ; afterwards variegated with 
red, green and black. Length, 7-7^ ; wing, 4; tail. 3. 

HAB. Eastern United States, west to the Plains and north to Southern 
Canada. In winter, the West Indies, Central America and Northern South 

Nest, on the horizontal limb of a low tree on the outskirts of the bush ; a 
shallow, saucer-shaped structure, composed of vine-bark, rootlets and leaves, 
lined with vegetable fibre. 

Eggs, 3 to 5 ; dull greenish-blue, spotted with reddish-brown and lilac. 

The Scarlet Tanager is one of our most brilliant colored 
birds, but his rich plumage is all he has to commend him to 
popular favor, for he is neither handsome in form nor eloquent in 
tongue. Still he sings his song as well as he can, and it probably 
pleases his female for whose gratification it is intended, so 
we will let him pass. In Ontario the species is peculiar to the 
south and makes but a short stay, arriving about the loth of 
May and leaving again about the middle of September. 

In the fall the bright scarlet of the male's plumage is replaced 
by green, but he retains the black on wings and tail. 

The food of the species consists chiefly of insects, in the 
capture of which they exhibit considerable dexterity . In the 
fall, when the wild berries are ripe, they take to them with 
evident relish, and though they usually keep to the retired parts 
of the woods, sometimes at this season they visit the farmer's 
raspberry patch in such numbers that they leave but few for 
household use. 

In Southern Ontario they are generally distributed but 
nowhere abundant. 



232. PIRANGA RUBRA (LINN.). 610. 
Summer Tanager. 

Male, rich rose-red or vermillion, including wings and tail ; the wings, 
however, dusky on the inner webs ; bill rather pale ; feet darker. Female, 
dull brownish-olive ; below dull brownish-yellow. Young male like the female ; 
the male changing plumage, shows red and green confused in irregular patches, 
but no black. The female, with general resemblance to female rubra, is dis- 
tinguished by the dull brownish, ochre or buffy tinge, the greenish and 
yellowish of rubra being much purer ; the bill and feet also are generally 
much paler in erythromelas. Size of rubra or rather larger. 

HAB. Eastern United States to the Plains, north to Southern New 
Jersey and Southern Illinois, casually north to Connecticut and Ontario, and 
accidently to Nova Scotia. In winter, Cuba, Central America and Northern 
South America. 

Nest, on the horizontal bough of a tree; composed of strips of bark, 
rootlets and grass, lined with fine grass and fibre. 

Eggs, 3 to 5 ; dull greenish-blue, spotted with reddish-brown. 

We sometimes meet in the humbler walks of life people 
with little education, who, from a natural love of the subject, are 
wonderfully correct in their observation of the birds. 

A man of this class, who, at the time I speak of, lived near 
a clump of bush on the mountain above the reservoir, three 
miles east of Hamilton, told me that one summer while he lived 
there a number of red birds, which had not black wings and tail 
like the common kind, bred in that bush. I felt sure he was 
describing the Summer Red Bird, and looked through that bush 
with interest every subsequent spring, but it was not till May, 1885, 
that I found the first and only individual of the species I ever 
saw in Canada. It was a female in fine adult plumage, and was 
among a group of Scarlet Tanagers, which apparently had 
just arrived from the south, and were enjoying the last rays of 
the setting sun which gilded the topmost twigs of a dead tree 
in the bush already referred to. Individuals have been found 
straggling as far north as Massachusetts and Connecticut, but 
the home of the species is farther south, and the above is the 
only record for Ontario. 



233. PROGNE SUBIS (LiNN.). 611. 

Purple Martin. 

Lustrous blue-black. The female and young are much duller above, and 
more or less white below, streaked with gray. Length, 7 or more; wing, 
nearly 6 ; tail, 3^, simply forked. 

HAB. Temperate North America, south to Mexico. 

Nest, of hay, straw, bits of twine and paper, lined with feathers. 

Eggs 4 ; pure white. 

The Purple Martin arrives in Southern Ontario about the 
zoth of May, and though generally distributed is nowhere abun- 
dant. Its original nesting place was in a knot-hole or other 
hollow in a tree, but now, seeking the society of man, it raises its 
young in boxes put up for its accommodation, or in the 
interstices of the gothic architecture of our city buildings. 

Its flight is rapid and its aerial evolutions often extremely 
graceful, while at other times it may be seen sailing Hawk-like 
with very little action of the wings. 

They are general favorites in town and country, and are 
made welcome everywhere. Before leaving in the fall they 
have a grand gathering, which is thus described by Dr. 
Wheaton in the "Birds of Ohio :" 

"After the breeding season is over, these birds congregate 
towards night in large flocks, and having selected a suitable 
cornice on some high building make preparations for spending 
the night. The retiring ceremony is very formal, to judge from 
the number of times they alight and arise again, all the while 
keeping up a noisy chatter. It is not until twilight deepens 
into evening that all are huddled together in silence and slumber, 
and their slumbers are often disturbed by some youngster falling 
out of bed amid the derisive laughter of his neighbors, which 
is changed to petulant scolding as he clambers over them to 
regain his perch, tumbling others down as he does so. All at 



once the scene of last night's disturbance is quite and deserted, 
as the birds have flown to other lands, where they find less 
crowded beds and shorter, warmer nights." 



Cliff Swallow. 

Lustrous steel-blue ; forehead whitish or brown ; rump rufous ; chin, 
throat and sides of head chestnut ; a steel-blue spot on the throat ; breast, 
sides and generally a cervical collar rusty-gray, whitening on the belly. 
Young, sufficiently similar. Length, 5; wing, 4^; tail, 2%. 

HAB. North America at large, and south to Brazil and Paraguay. 

Nest, a flask-shaped building of mud, lined with wool, feathers and bits 
of straw. 

Eggs, 4 or 5 ; white, spotted with reddish-brown. 

Early in May the Cliff Swallow crosses the southern 
border of Ontario, and gradually works its way up to the far 
north, breeding in colonies in suitable places all over the coun- 
try. In towns and villages the nests are placed under the eaves 
of outhouses ; in the country they are fastened under projecting 
ledges of rock and hard embankments. The birds are of an 
amiable, sociable disposition, as many as fifty families being 
sometimes observed in a colony without the slightest sign of 
quarrelling. Two broods are raised in the season, and by the 
end of August they begin to move off and are seen no more 
till spring. They are somewhat fastidious in their choice of a 
nesting place, and on this account are not equally abundant at 
all points, but still they are very numerous throughout the 


Barn Swallow. 

Lustrous steel-blue ; below rufous or pale chestnut of varying shade ; 
forehead, chin and throat deep chestnut ; breast with an imperfect steel-blue 



collar. Tail with white spots on the inner web of all the feathers, except the 
inner pair. Sexes alike, young less lustrous, much paler below, tail simply 
forked. Wing, 4^-4! ; tail, aj to 5. 

HAB. North America in general, from the Fur Countries southward to 
the West Indies, Central America and South America. 

Nest, in a barn or other outbuilding ; composed of pellets of mud and bits 
of straw, and lined with feathers. 

Eggs, 4 or 5 ; white, spotted with reddish-brown. 

While the Cliff Swallow chooses to fix its nest outside the 
building under the eaves, the present species prefers the inside, 
where its dwelling is seen attached to the beams and rafters. 

They too are to some extent gregarious, as many as twenty 
or thirty pairs being often found nesting together in the same 

The Swallows as a class, from their great rapidity of flight 
and graceful aerial evolutions, are the most easily recognized of 
all our birds, and this species is perhaps the most accomplished 
of the group. It is seen skimming over the fields and 
meadows at a rate which leaves the lightning express far behind, 
when suddenly checking its course it will dart, with surprising 
rapidity, to right or left in pursuit of some passing insect. It 
likes to be near a still sheltered pond, where it can drink and 
bathe while on the wing, and beautiful it is, on a still summer 
evening, to see these birds take their plunge bath, and almost 
without checking their speed rise gracefully from the surface, 
shake sparkling drops from their burnished backs, and continue 
their airy gambols till the fading light calls them to their humble 
home. They arrive in Ontario early in May, and are generally 
distributed over the country during summer ; but about the end of 
August they begin to move toward the south and soon have .all 



Tree Swallow. 

Lustrous green ; below pure white. Young similiar, not so glossy. Length, 
; wing, 5 ; tail, 2%. 



HAB. North America at large, from the Fur Countries southward, in 
winter to the West Indies and Central America. 

Nest, of leaves and grass, lined with down and feathers. 
Eggs, white, unspotted. 

A common summer resident, arriving early in May and 
leaving about the middle of September. 

The White-bellied Swallows must at times have had con- 
siderable trouble in rinding suitable places for their summer 
residence, but it may be that like people who move often they have 
come to like the occupation of house hunting. The original nesting 
place was a hole in a tree or stub near water, but as the birds 
are incapable of making such an excavation themselves they 
had to search for a natural aperture, or the deserted hole of a 
Woodpecker to suit their purpose, the finding of which must 
have been to some extent accidental. As the country became 
settled, and the Swallow trees were cleared away, the birds be- 
took themselves to breeding in boxes, which in the east were put 
up in great numbers for their accommodation, but on the advent 
of the English Sparrow many pairs of Swallows were summarily 
ejected from the boxes, and were obliged to retire to the remote 
parts of the country and resume their primitive habit of nesting 
in trees. On this account they are not so common in towns and 
villages as they were some years ago, but are more generally 
distributed throughout the country. In Southern Ontario they 
are seen in greatest numbers during the season of migration. 


Bank Swallow. 

Lustreless gray, with a pectoral band of the same ; other under parts 
white. Sexes exactly alike. Young similiar, the feathers often skirted with 
rusty or whitish. Length, 4^-4! ; wing, 3-4 ; tail, 2. 

HAB. Northern Hemisphere ; in America, south to the West Indies 
Central America and Northern South America. 

Nest, a few bits of straw and some feathers placed at the end of a tunnel, 
2 to 4 feet deep, dug by the birds in a sand bank. 

Eggs, 5 ; pure white. 



A common summer resident, breeding abundantly in suitable 
places all overthe country. They arrive about the end of April and 
leave in September, both dates being dependent, to some extent, 
on the weather. 

Near Hamilton this species is very abundant, a favorite 
nesting place being in the gravel bank which is cut through to 
form the canal to Dundas. There are also many sand banks 
around the bay shore, perforated to an extent which shows that 
flocks of young ones are raised there every summer. 

Dr. Wheaton, in the " Birds of Ohio," mentions that this 
species, from being a common summer resident in the immediate 
vicinity of Columbus, has become only a passing migrant in spring 
and fall. This he attributes partly to the frequent disturbance of the 
nesting places by freshets, and partly to the advent of the Rough- 
winged Swallow, which is comparatively a new species at 
Columbus, but is rapidly increasing in numbers. The 
Bank Swallows are sprightly little birds, greatly attached to their 
homes, and we hope that nothing will happen here to cause 
them to change their residence. 


Rough- winged Swallow. 

Lustreless brownish-gra^, paler below, whitening on the belly. Rather 
larger than the last. Hooklets on outer web of outer primary wanting, or 
much weaker in the female. 

HAB. United States at large (in the Eastern States north to Connecti- 
cut), south to Guatemala. 

Nest, in holes dug by the birds in the sandy banks of creeks and rivers, 
a few straws and feathers at the end of the excavation representing the nest. 

Eggs, 5 to 6 ; pure white. 

This species seems to be gradually advancing from west to 
east, for we hear every now and then of its being observed at 
points in the Eastern States where it has not before been 
noticed. I have no record of it from any part of Ontario except 
from London, where Mr. Saunders has found it breeding for the 



past year or two. 1 1 is not so decidedly attached to the sand or gravel 
bank for a breeding place as the Bank Swallow, the nests 
having been found in crevices of rocks, on beams under bridges, 
and even in a hole in a brick wall. 

It bears a very close resemblance to the Bank Swallow, and 
as there are not many of them killed, it is possible the Rough- 
winged species may be more common than we think. When 
closely examined, the curious little hooklets on the outer 
web of the first primary, which are most fully developed in the 
male, are always sufficient to identify the species. 




Bohemian Wax wing 

General color brownish-ash, shading insensibly from the clear ash of the 
tail and its upper coverts and .*ump into a reddish-tinged ash anteriorly, this 
peculiar tint heightening on the head, especially on the forehead and sides of 
the head, into orange-brown. A narrow frontal line, and broader bar through 
the eye, with the chin and throat sooty-black, not sharply bordered with 
white ; no yellowish on belly ; under tail-coverts orange-brown or chestnut ; 
tail ash, deepening to blackish-ash towards the end, broadly tipped with rich 
yellow ; wings ashy-blackish ; primaries tipped (chiefly on the outer webs) 
with sharp spaces of yellow or white, or both ; secondaries with white spaces 
at the ends of the outer webs, the shafts usually ending with enlarged, horny, 
red appendages ; primary coverts tipped with white ; bill blackish-plumbeous, 
often paler at base below; feet black; sexes alike. Length, 7 or 8 inches; 
wing, about 4^; tail, 2%. 

HAB. Northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere. In North America, 
south in winter, irregularly, to the Northern United States. 

Nest and eggs, so far as known, similar to the succceeding species 

This handsome, eccentric, garrulous wanderer is common to 
the high latitudes of both continents, often appearing unexpect- 
edly in very large flocks, and disappearing quite as mysteriously, 
not to be seen again for many years in succession. 



The Ontario records are mostly of small flocks which 
occasionally visit us during the winter, and feed on the berries 
of the red cedar or the mountain ash. Sometimes they move 
by themselves, and sometimes in company with the Pine Gros- 
beaks ; the Waxwings taking the pulpy part of the berries and 
the Grosbeaks preferring the hard seeds. The nest of this 
species was found by Mr. Kennicott on the Yukon, and by Mr. 
McFarlane on the Anderson River, but when we read the 
accounts of the vast flocks which have been seen by travellers 
we have to admit that it is little we know of their summer 
haunts and homes. 

Cedar Waxwing. 

General color as in garru lus. Under tail-coverts whitish ; little or no orange- 
brown about head ; no white on wings ; chin black, shading gradually into 
the color of the throat ; a black frontal, loral and transocular stripe as in 
garrulus, but this bordered on the forehead with whitish ; a white touch on 
lower eyelid ; feathers on side of lower jaw white ; abdomen soiled yellowish ; 
tail tipped with yellow. Length, 7-7^ ; wing, about 3! . 

HAB. North America at large, from the Fur Countries southward. In 
winter south to Guatemala and the West Indies. 

Nest, large, built in the orchard or in a low tree in the bush ; composed 
of twigs, bark, leaves, rootlets, etc., lined with fine grass, hair or wool. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; pale blue, spotted and blotched with brownish-black. 

The Cedar Bird is generally distributed throughout Ontario. 
It is a resident species, being here both in summer and winter, and 
yet it is so uncertain in its movements that its presence at a 
particular point at a given time cannot be counted upon with any 
degree of certainty. They do not begin housekeeping until 
quite late in the season, and may be seen visiting the orchard in 
flocks up to the end of May. At this season their food consists 
chiefly of insects, some kinds of which they cleverly capture on 
the wing. They are also accredited with the destruction of large 
numbers of canker worms and other noxious insects. As the 
season advances they show a great liking for fruit, especially 
cherries, with which they often cram themselves till they can 
hardly maintain their balance on the branches. In the fall and 



winter the berries of the poke weed, red cedar and mountain 
ash afford them a bountiful supply of food. Their voice is 
heard only in a weak call note, easily recognized yet difficult 
to describe. 

In many individuals the secondaries finish with a hard 
horny appendage, having the appearance of red sealing-wax. 
This is not indicative of age or sex, but is most frequently found 
in the adult male, and in some instances the tail-feathers are 
similarly tipped. The use of these appendages is unknown 
to us. 


Northern Shrike. 

Clear bluish-ash, blanching on the rump and scapulars ; below white, 
always vermiculated with fine wavy blackish lines ; a black bar along side of 
the head, not meeting its fellow across forehead, interrupted by a white cres- 
cent on under eyelid, and bordered above by hoary white that also occupies 
the extreme forehead ; wings and tail black, the former with a large spot near 
base of primaries ; and the tips of most of the quills white, the latter with 
nearly all the feathers broadly tipped with white, and with concealed white 
bars; bill and feet black. Length, 9-10; wing, 4^; tail rather more. The 
young are similar, but none of the colors are so fine or so intense ; the entire 
plumage has a brownish suffusion, and the bill is flesh-colored at base. 

HAB. Northern North America, south in winter to the middle portions 
of the United States (Washington, D. C., Kentucky, Kansas, Colorado, 
Arizona, Northern California). 

Nest, rested on a platform of sticks and twigs in a low tree or bush ; 
composed of weeds, rootlets, bark strips, moss and fine grass. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; the ground color is greenish-gray, but this is almost hid- 
den by the profuse markings of purple and reddish-brown. 

In Southern Ontario a few individuals of the species are 
seen every winter. They arrive from the north in October, and 
remain with us if the weather is mild, but if it becomes severe 
about the end of the year they disappear and are not observed 
again until March. They like the open country, usually taking 



their position, sentinel like, on the topmost twig of a low tree 
or bush from which they notice all that moves within a certain 

I once saw a pair of these birds unite to hunt down an un- 
fortunate Junco. It took shelter in a patch of scrubby brush, 
and the Shrikes, not being able to clutch it as a Hawk would 
have done, sought to wear it out by fright and fatigue. As 
there were two of them taking the work by turns, they would 
probably have succeeded had I not stopped the proceedings by 
collecting the two Shrikes, and so saving the life of the Junco. 
They, no doubt, breed in the northern portion of the Province, 
but in the south I have not heard of their being found so 

Logrgerhead Shrike. 

Slate colored, slightly whitish on the rump and scapulars ; below white, 
with a few obscure wavy black lines, or none ; black bar on one side of the 
head, meeting its fellow across the forehead, not interrupted by white on under 
eyelid, and scarcely or not bordered above by hoary white ; otherwise like 
borealis in color, but smaller ; 8-8^ ; wirg, about 4 ; tail, rather more. 

HAB. Eastern United States, north to Maine, west to the Prairies of the 
Upper Mississippi Valley. 

Nest, in a tree or bush not often more than 15 feet from the ground, the 
middle of a thorn being often selected. 

The eggs cannot with certainty be distinguished from those of the White- 
rumped Shrike. 

This and the next species resemble each other so closely as 
to raise a doubt in the minds of many whether or not they 
should ever have been separated. Dr. Coues in his "New Key" 
says on this subject : " Extreme examples of Excubitorides look 
very different homLudovicianus proper, but the two are observed 
to melt into each other when many specimens are compared, so 
that no specific characters can be assigned." All those I have 
found near Hamilton agree best with the description given of 
Excubitorides, but there are other observers who think we have 
both kinds, and some believe we have Ludovicianus only. As 



a guide to a proper understanding of the matter I have given 
the technical descriptions of both, but hold my own opinion 
that of the two only Excubitorides has been found in Ontario. 

243. White rumped Shrike. 622 a. 

With the size and essential characters of head stripe of var. ludovicianus , 
and the under parts, as in that species, not or not obviously waved, but with 
the clear light ashy upper parts and hoary whitish superciliary line, scapu- 
lars and rump of borealis. 

HAB Western United States, east to the Middle and New England. 
Breeding as far north as Northern New York and Northern New England 
Rare or local east of the Alleghanies. 

Nest, in a tree or bush, seldom more than 10 feet from the ground ; 
exteriorly built of prickly twigs, interwoven with strips of bark, rags, twine 
and rootlets, lined with fine grass and pieces of cotton waste picked up on 
the railroad track. 

Eggs, 4 to 6; light grayish color, spotted with yellowish-brown. 

Besides the great northern Butcher Bird (Lanius Borealis} 
there are two Shrikes, smaller in size, described as North 
American. One is the Loggerhead Shrike of the south-east, 
and the other the White-rumped Shrike, which was originally 
described as a western species, but has of late years been 
extending its territory to the eastward, north of the Logger- 
head's range. Taking examples from the south-east to compare 
with those from the north-west the difference is seen at once, 
but as they approach each other in habitat they also approach 
each other so closely in appearance that we are almost brought 
to the conclusion that they are simply different races of the 
same bird which should not have been separated. Those found 
in Ontario areof the western race. They were first observed about 
1860, and have since become quite common, extending north to 
the banks of the Sasketchewan, where they were observed by 
Prof. Macoun. The species is also included in Mr. Seton's list of 
the " Birds of Western Manitoba," and is said to be " abundant 
all over " from May till September. 



In Southern Ontario the little Shrike is not found in the city 
nor in the dense bush, its favorite haunts being along the roadsides 
in the open country, where it may often be seen on a fence post 
or on the telegraph wire by the railway track. My first acquaint- 
ance with this bird at its home was made on one of my Satur- 
day afternoon excursions, shortly after its first appearance in 
this part of the country. While driving along a back road east 
of the city, my attention was attracted by an ancient negro, who, 
with a table fork fastened to the end of a fishing pole, was poking 
vigorously into the centre of a very large, dense thorn-bush near 
his shanty. Getting over the fence to find out what he was doing, 
I was informed that a little Chicken Hawk had its nest in there 
and that it had killed two of his young chickens. Looking along the 
pole I saw in the heart of the dense bush a Shrike's nest with 
some young ones, which one of the old birds was valiantly 
defending, biting at the end of the fork when it came too near 
the youngsters. Taking the pole from his hand I worked it into 
the bush, but it broke before I got it out which put an end for 
the time to hostilities. I tried to convince my colored friend 
that he was mistaken about the bird having killed his chickens, 
for this kind lived only on grasshoppers and crickets, but he 
insisted that it was a Chicken Hawk, giving emphasis to the name 
by the use of several profane adjectives, and vowing he would have 
him out before night, even if he should have to burn him out. 
The appearance of the bush the next time I passed that way 
indicated that he had carried out his threat. 

My opinion regarding the food of this species, which I gave 
in good faith at the time, I have since had occasion to change, and 
to believe that after all Sambo was probably right on the subject. 
During the past twenty-five years no one could have gone a few 
miles into the country in any direction near Hamilton, during 
June, July or August, without seeing one or more pairs of these 
birds in suitable places, until the present year 1886, during which 
not one has been observed. It may be that the exodus is only 
local and temporary; we shall watch for the birds with 
interest next spring. 






Red-eyed Vireo. 

Above olive-green ; crown ash, edged on each side with a blackish line, 
below this a white superciliary line, below this again a dusky stripe through 
the eye ; under parts white, faintly shaded with olive along sides, and tinged 
with olive on under wing and tail-coverts ; wings and tail dusky, edged with 
olive outside, with whitish inside ; bill dusky, pale below ; feet leaden-olive ; 
eyes red; no spurious quill. Length, 5f -6 ; wing, 3^-3 J ; tail, 2^-2^; bill, 
about | ; tarsus, f . 

HAB. Eastern North America, to the Rocky Mountains, north to the 
Arctic regions. 

Nest, pensile, fastened by the rim to a horizontal fork, 10 to 25 feet from 
the ground ; a thin light structure, composed of bark strips, pine needles, 
wasp's nest, paper and fine grass, felted and apparently pasted together. 

Eggs, 3 to 5 ; pure white, sometimes having a rosy blush or a few dark 
spots toward the larger end. 

A very common summer resident, whose loud, clear notes 
are heard in the outskirts of the woods at all hours of the day. 
Even during the sultry month of July, when most other song- 
sters sing only in the morning or evening, the Red-eye 
keeps on all day with tireless energy. In Ontario it is the 
most numerous species of the family, arriving early in May and 
leaving in September. In the early part of the season its food 
consists entirety of insects, which it is at all times ready to cap- 
ture, either on the wing or otherwise. In the fall it partakes of 
raspberries, the berries of the poke weed and of other wild plants, 
with the juice of which its plumage is often found tobestained. It 
is frequently imposed upon by the Cowbird, whose young ones it 
rears as tenderly as if they were its own. Large numbers 
spend the winter in the Gulf States, and many go even farther 

Philadelphia Vireo. 

Above dull olive-green, brightening on the rump, fading insensibly into 
ashy on the crown, which is not bordered with blackish ; a dull white super- 



ciliary line ; below palest possible yellowish, whitening on throat and belly, 
slightly olive-shaded on sides; sometimes a slight creamy or buffy shade 
throughout the underparts ; no obvious wing bars ; no spurious quill. 
Length, 4^-5^; wing, about 2 ; tail, about 2^ ; bill, hardly or about ; 
tarsus, . 

HAB. Eastern North America, north to Hudson's Bay ; south, in winter, 
to Costa Rica. 

The only record of the nest and eggs of this species I have 
ever seen is published by Mr. E. R. T. Seton in the "Auk" for 
July, 1885. He says : " On the gth of June, 1884, while camped 
near Duck Mountain, I found a nest of this species. It was 
hung from a forked twig, about 8 feet from the ground, in a 
willow which was the reverse of dense, as it grew in the shade 
of a poplar grove. The nest was pensile, as is usual with the 
genus ; formed of fine grass and birch bark. The eggs were 4 
in number, and presented no obvious difference from those of 
the Red-eyed Vireo, but unfortunately they were destroyed by 
an accident before they were measured." 

The owners were not secured. 

Very many of the more recent additions to the list of our 
American birds have been made by the discovery that within 
certain well-known groups were individuals differing in some 
respects from the others. If these differences were found to be 
uncertain and irregular they received only a passing notice, but 
if they were found to be constant they were made the basis on 
which to build a new species. 

Thus, although the American Vireos had passed in review 
before many distinguished ornithologists, it was not until 1842 
that John Cassin found one closely resembling several of the 
others, and yet differing in some respects from all of them. 

In 1851 he published a description of the bird he had found, 
pointed out its peculiarities, claimed for it specific distinction, 
and named it after the city near which he first observed it. 
For many succeeding years it was again lost sight of, most 
likely because no one was looking for it, but as the number of 
collectors increased and rare birds were sought after, the species 
was again observed, and at far distant points, giving it an exten- 



sive range from north to south, and west to the middle of the 
continent. How relatively rare it is would be unsafe to say, for 
it is difficult to identify it without close inspection, to accom- 
plish which might require the slaughter of Warbling Vireos 
enough to excite the ire of the Audubon Club. 

Some time in the early part of 1883, I took up casually the 
Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club and read therein a 
charming article by Wm. Brewster on the distribution of this 
Vireo in the Eastern States. It showed the little bird to be 
more common and more widely distributed than was first sup- 
posed, and left on my mind the impression that it must pass 
through Ontario. 

In May when the Vireos began to arrive I scrutinized them close- 
ly, and the first I shot on suspicion proved to be of this species and 
was I believe the first record for Ontario. When seen in the woods 
it looked rather smaller than the Warbling Vireo, was more 
solid and compact in the plumage, and was noticeably tinged 
underneath with yellow. From these features in its general 
appearance I have since recognized it both in spring and fall. I 
have also heard of its being taken at other points in Ontario, 
but have no record of its being found breeding within the Province. 

Warbling Vireo. 

Primaries ten, the exposed portion of the first of which is one-third or 
less of the second, no obvious wing-bars, no blackish stripe along the side of 
the crown, and no abrupt contrast between color of back and crown. Upper 
parts greenish, with an ashy shade, rather brighter on the rump and edgings 
of the wings and tail, anteriorly shading insensibly into ashy on the crown. 
Ash of crown bordered immediately by a whitish superciliary and loral line ; 
region immediately before and behind the eye dusky ash. Below sordid 
white with faint yellowish (sometimes creamy or buffy) tinge, more obviously 
shaded along the sides with a dilution of the color of the back. Quills and 
tail-feathers fuscous, with narrow external edgings as above said, and broader 
whitish edging of the inner webs ; the wing-coverts without obvious whitish 
tipping. Bill dark horn color above, paler below ; feet plumbeous ; iris 
brown. Length, 5 inches, or rather more ; wing, 2.80 ; tail, 2.25 ; bill, .40 ; 
tarsus, .67. 


HAB. North America in general, from the Fur Countries to Mexico. 

Nest and eggs closely resembling those of the Red-eye, but usually placed 
at a greater distance from the ground. 

This amiable little songster is very common in Southern 
Ontario, from the end of the first week in May till the beginning 
of September. Although less abundant than the Red-eye, it is 
probably known to a greater number of people, owing to the 
preference it shows for isolated ornamental trees in parks and 
gardens, and the shade trees in cities. Its song is soft, subdued 
and flowing, like the murmuring of "a hidden brook in the leafy 
month of June." 

There is another little Vireo I wish to mention here, for I 
believe it will yet be found at some point on our southern 
frontier, but I cannot include it in the list, having no well 
authenticated record of its being found in the Province. This 
is the White-eyed Vireo (Vireo Noveboraceusis). Its haunts are 
different from those of any other member of the family, it being 
partial to dense shrubbery or low tangled thickets, where, like 
the Yellow-breasted-chat, it hops about and scolds vehemently 
at any intruder who dares to venture too near its nest. 



Yellow-throated Vireo. 

Above rich olive-green, crown the same or even brighter, rump insensibly 
shading into bluish-ash ; below bright yellow, belly and crissum abruptly 
white, sides anteriorly shaded with olive, posteriorly with plumbeous; extreme 
forehead, superciliary line and ring around eye yellow ; lores dusky ; 
wings dusky, with the inner secondaries broadly white-edged, and two broad 
white bars across tips of greater and median coverts ; tail dusky, nearly all the 
feathers completely encircled with white-edging ; bill and feet dark leaden-blue ; 
no spurious quill. Length, 5^-6 ; wing, about 3 ; tail, only about 2^. 

HAB. Eastern United States ; south, in winter, to Costa Rica. 

The position and frame work of the nest of this species is similar to that 
of the Red-eye, but its appearance and comfort are greatly increased by an 
artistic outside coating of gray moss, intertwisted with the silk of caterpillars. 

The eggs are not with certainty distinguishable from those of the Red Eye. 



This is a summer resident in Southern Ontario, but is by no 
means common. It seems partial to the beech woods, and being 
more retiring than the preceding and less noisy than the Red- 
eye it is not much observed. It is by some considered the 
handsomest of all our Vireos, and a male in full spring plumage 
is pleasing to look at, but I prefer the succeeding species. The 
Yellow-throated Vireo, though not abundant, seems to be gener- 
ally distributed throughout Ontario. It has been found at 
Ottawa by Mr. White ; at London Mr. Saunders reports it as a 
common summer resident ; and it is also included in Mr. Seton's 
list of Birds of the Northwest Territory. 

248. VIREO SOLITARIUS (WiLs.). 629. 
Blue-headed Vireo. 

Above olive-green ; crown and sides of head bluish-ash in marked con- 
trast ; a broad white line from nostrils to and around eye and a dusky loral 
line ; below white, flanks washed with olivaceous, and auxilaries and crissum 
pale yellow ; wings and tail dusky, most of the feathers edged with white or 
whitish, and two conspicuous bars of the same across tips of middle 
and great coverts; bill and feet blackish horn-color. Length, 5^-5!; wing, 
af-3 ; tail, 2^-2$ ; spurious quill, -, about as long as second. 

HAB. Eastern United States to the Plains. In winter south to Mexico 
and Guatemala. 

Nest and eggs, similar to those of the other Vireos ; resembling those of 
the Yellow-throat more than either of the others. 

This is a stout, hardy-looking bird, apparently better 
adapted to live in the north than any other member of the 
family. It arrives from the south with the earliest of the 
Warblers, and in some years it is quite common during the 
first half of May, after which it is not seen again till the fall. 
While here it is much among the evergreens, leisurely seeking 
its food, and is usually silent, but when at home it is said to 
have a very pleasant song. 




Black and White Warbler. 

Entirely white and black, in streaks except on the belly. Tail white 
spotted ; wings white barred. Length, about 5; wing, 2^ ; tail, -z\. 



HAB. Eastern United States to the Plains, north to Fort Simpson, 
south in winter to Central America and the West Indies. 

Nest, on the ground ; built of bark fibre, grass and leaves, lined with 
plant down or hair. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; creamy- white, spotted and sprinkled with reddish-brown. 

This dainty little bird, formerly known as the Black and 
White Creeper, has now been named the Black and White 
Warbler, but as it is much more given to creeping than to warbl- 
ing, it is likely that with the ordinary observer it will retain its 
former name as long as it retains its creeping habit. It 
arrives in Southern Ontario during the last days of April, and 
even before the leaves are expanded its neat, decided attire 
of black and white is. observed in striking contrast to the dull 
colored bark of the trees, around which it goes creeping with 
wonderful celerity in search of its favorite insect food. It becomes 
very common during the first half of May, after which the num- 
bers again decrease, many having passed farther north, and 
only a few remaining to spend the summer and raise their 
young in Southern Ontario. The note of the male is sharp and 
penetrating, resembling the sound made in sharpening a fine saw. 

The Black and White Warbler is a typical representative of 
the family of Wood- Warblers, which is remarkable for the num- 
ber of its members, as well as for the richness and variety of 
their dress. There is, perhaps, no group of small birds which 
so much interests the collector, or furnishes so many attractive 
specimens to his cabinet, as the one we have just been 

Some of the members of this family are so rare that the 
capture of one is the event of a life time. To get any of them 
in perfect plumage they must be collected during the spring 
migration, and that season is so short and uncertain that if a 
chance is missed in May another may not occur for a year. 

Game birds are followed by sportsmen with much enthusiasm 
and varying success, though Ruffed Grouse, Woodcock, and 
Quail are now so scarce in the more settled parts of the country 
that it is hardly worth while searching for them. 



Our inland lakes and rivers are, at certain seasons, visited 
by crowds of Waterfowl, and the hunter, hidden behind his 
screen of rushes in the marsh, delights tohear the hoarse honking 
of an old gander as he leads on his A shaped flock of Geese, or 
to see the flocks of Ducks wheeling around and pitching down 
into " the open water beside his decoys. At Long Point, and 
other shooting places where the Ducks have been protected, 
the number killed in a day is often very large. Dull, windy 
weather with light showers of rain is preferred. If the hunter 
is fortunate in choosing a good point at which to screen his 
boat among the rushes he may remain there all day, and if the 
Ducks are moving about he needs only to load as quick as he is 
able and kill as many as he can, the proof of his success being 
the number he brings home at night. 

Not so with the Field Ornithologist, whose pursuits I have 
always felt to be more refined and elevating than those of the 
ordinary sportsman. As soon as the winter of our northern 
clime relaxes its grasp, and the season of flowers and brighter 
skies returns, he enters the woods as if by appointment, and 
hears among the expanding buds the familiar voice of many a 
feathered friend just returned from winter quarters. The meeting 
is pleasant and the birds pass on. The walk is enjoyable, the 
bush is fragrant and freckled with early spring flowers, the loud 
warning note of the Great Crested Fly-catcher is heard in the 
tree tops. Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, etc., are there 
in brilliant plumage and full of life, but a note is heard or a 
glimpse is seen of something rare, and then is the time for the 
collector to exercise his skill. He must not fire when the bird 
is too close or he will destroy it. He must not let it get out of 
reach or he may lose it. He must not be flurried or he may 
miss it, and if he brings it down he must carefully mark the 
spot where it fell and get there as quick as he can, for if the bird 
is only wounded it may flutter away and hide itself, and even 
if it falls dead it may be covered with a leaf and not seen again 
unless the spot where it fell is carefully marked. 

All seasons have their attractions, but the month of May 
above all others is enjoyed by the collector, and bright and 
rare are the feathered gems he then brings from the woods to 
enrich his cabinet. 





250. Golden-winged Warbler. 642. 

Male, in spring, slaty-blue, paler or whitish below where frequently tinged 
with yellowish ; crown and two wing-bars rich yellow ; broad stripe on side of 
head through eye, and large patch on the throat black ; both these bordered 
with white ; several tail-feathers white blotched. Bill black. Back and wings 
frequently glossed with yellowish-olive in young birds in which the black 
markings are somewhat obscure. Length, 4.75; extent, 7.50 ; wing, 2.40 ; 
tail, 2.00. 

HAB. Eastern United States ; Central America in winter. 

Nest, on the ground ; built of dry leaves and grape-vine bark, lined with 
fine grass and horse hair. 

Eggs, 4 ; pure white, spotted with reddish-brown. 

A trim and beautifully marked species, very seldom seen in 
Ontario and not abundant anywhere, being spoken of as one of 
the rarer Warblers in the Eastern States, which is the habitat 
of the species. Mr. Saunders mentions it as rather common 
near London, where it breeds and is generally distributed. 
From this I infer that it is one of those birds which enter On- 
tario at the south-west corner, and having crossed the boundary 
do not care to penetrate farther into the Dominion. I have met 
with it on two occasions near Hamilton, and have also heard of 
its being noticed at Port Rowan. It is an exceedingly active, 
restless species, and is most frequently found among the low 
shrubbery on the moist ground near some creek or marshy inlet. 

It is first observed about the loth of May, and disappears 
early in September. 

Nashville Warbler. 

Above olive-green, brighter on the rump, changing to pure ash on the 
head; below bright yellow, paler on the belly, olive shaded on the sides; 
crown with a more or less concealed chestnut patch ; lores and ring round the 
eye pale ; no superciliary line; female and autumnal specimens have the 
head glossed with olive, and the crown patch may be wanting. Length, 
4^-4! ; wing, 2^-2^ ; tail, if-2. 



HAB. Eastern North America to the Plains, north to the Fur Countries, 
breeding from the Northern United States northward. Mexico in winter. 

Nest, on the ground ; composed of withered leaves and strips of bark, 
lined with fine grass, pine needles or hair. 

Eggs, 4 ; white, speckled with lilac or reddish-brown. 

The Nashville Warbler, although an abundant species, 
is not very regular in its visits to this part of Ontario ; being 
sometimes with us in considerable numbers during the season of 
migration, and again being almost or altogether absent. When 
they pass this way in the spring a few pairs usually remain 
over che summer with us, but the greater number go on farther 
north. In the fall they are again seen in limited numbers, 
working their way southward in company with their young, 
which are distinguished by the absence of the crown patch. In 
this part of Ontario we never see as great a number of Warblers 
in the fall as we do in spring. Either they are less conspicuous 
on account of the time of their migration extending over a longer 
period, or they have some other return route by which the 
majority find their way south. 

Orange -crowned Warbler. 

Above olive-green, rather brightest on the rump, never ashy on the head ; 
below greenish-yellow, washed with olive on the sides ; crown with a more or 
less concealed orange-brown patch (sometimes wanting) ; eye ring and ob- 
scure superciliary line wanting. Length, 4.80-5.20 ; extent, 7.40-7.75 ; wing, 

HAB. Eastern North America (rare, however, in the North-eastern 
United States), breeding as far northward as the Yukon and Mackenzie 
River districts, and southward through the Rocky Mountains, and wintering 
in the South Atlantic and Gulf States and Mexico. 

Nest, on the ground ; composed of leaves, bark fibre and fine grass. 
Eggs, 4 to 6 ; white, marked with spots and blotches of reddish-brown. 

The range of this species is chiefly along the west coast or 
middle district of the continent. In the east it occurs rarely. As 
a straggler I have met with it only on two occasions, the lattei 
being on the nth May, 1886, when a specimen was taken at the 



Beach by K. C. Mcllwraith. Mr. Saunders mentions having 
obtained two near London, and Mr. Allan Brooks has got one 

in Milton. 

It is a very plainly attired species, and may readily be over- 
looked, for there is nothing in its dress or manner to attract 
attention, but on close examination the color of the crown patch 
is a distinguishing mark not likely to be mistaken. The sexes 
closely resemble each other, and the young are like them, 
except that they do not always have the brown crown patch 
till after the first year. 

Tennessee Warbler. 

Olive-green, brighter behind, but never quite yellow on the tail-coverts, 
more or less ashy towards and on the head ; no crown patch ; below white, 
often glossed with yellowish, but never quite yellow ; a ring round the eye, 
and superciliary line whitish, frequently an obscure whitish spot on outer 
tail-feathers ; lores dusky ; in the female and young the olivaceous glosses 
the whole upper parts. Length, 4^-4! ; wing, about 2% ; tail, 2 or less. 

This comparative length of wing and tail, with other characters, prob- 
ably always distinguishes this species from the foregoing. 

HAB. Eastern North America, breeding from Northern New York and 
Northern New England northward to Hudson's Bay Territory ; Central 
America in winter. 

Nest, on or near the ground; built of grasses, mosses and bark strips, 
lined with fine grass and hair. 

Eggs, 4 ; white, with markings of reddish-brown about the larger end. 

The Tennessee Warbler breeds in the Hudson's Bay 
Territory, where it is by no means rare, but the line 
of its migration seems to be along the Mississippi Valley, 
so that in the east it is seldom seen. I have only met 
with it twice, once in spring and again in the fall. It is probable 
that a few visit us with the migratory birds every season, but 
like one or two others it may owe its safety to its plain attire, 
being allowed to pass, while one of more gaudy plumage would 
be stopped. 



The discovery of this species is due to Wilson, who found it 
on the banks of the Cumberland River in the State of Tennessee, 
and who speaks of it as rare, for he met with it again only on two 


Parula Warbler. 

Male, in spring, above blue, back with a golden-brown patch, throat and 
breast yellow, with a rich or blackish patch, the former sometimes 
extending along the sides ; belly, eyelids, two wing-bars and several tail 
spots white ; lores black ; upper mandible black, lower flesh-colored ; female, 
in spring, with the blus less bright, back and throat patches not so well 
denned ; young, with these patches obscure or wanting, but always recogniz- 
able by the other marks and very small size. Length, 4^-4! ; wing, aj ; 
tail, if. 

HAB. Eastern United States, west to the Plains, north to Canada, and 
south in winter to the West Indies and Central America. 

Nest, globular, w;th a hole in the side, suspended from the end of a 
bough, often 20 feet or more from the ground ; composed of hanging mosses, 
so as often to look like on excavation made in the side of a bunch of moss. 

Eggs, creamy-white, with spots of lilac and brown. 

This small and neatly dressed species is very common during 
the spring migration, when it may be seen in the tops of the 
tallest trees often hanging back downward like a Titmouse, 
searching for insects among the opening leaves. In winter it 
withdraws entirely from Canada, and even from the United 
States, great numbers being at that season observed in the West 

On the return trip in spring a few pairs stop by the way, but 
the majority pass on still farther north to breed. I have not 
heard of the nest being found in Ontario, but I have the impression 
that this and many others of the same family will yet be found 
breeding in the picturesque District of Muskoka, between the 
Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River. 






Cape May Warbler. 

Male, in spring, back yellowish-olive with dark spots ; crown blackish, 
more or less interrupted with brownish ; ear patch orange-brown; chin, throat 
and posterior portion of a yellowish superciliary line, tinged with the same ; 
a black loral line, rump and under parts rich yellow, paler on belly and crissum- 
the breast and sides streaked with black ; wing-bars fused into a large whitish 
patch ; tail blotches large, on three pairs of retrices ; bill and feet black. 
Female, in spring, somewhat similar, but lacks the distinctive head markings ; 
the under parts are paler and less streaked ; the tail spots small or obscure ; 
the white on the wing less. Young, an insignificant looking bird, resembling 
an overgrown Ruby-crowned Kinglet without its crest ; obscure greenish-olive 
above, rump olive-yellow, under parts yellowish-white ; breast and sides with 
the streaks obscure or obsolete ; little or no white on wings, which are edged 
with yellowish ; tail spots very small. Length, 5-5^ ; wing, 2f ; tail, 2^. 

HAB. Eastern North America, north to Hudson's Bay Territory, west 
to the Plains. Breeds from Northern New England northward and also in 
Jamaica ; winters in the West Indies. 

Nest, fastened to the outermost twigs of a cedar bough about 3 feet 
from the ground, composed of minute twigs of dried spruce, grasses and straw- 
berry vines woven together with spider webs The rim is neatly formed and 
the lining is entirely of horse hair. 

Eggs, creamy white; marked with lilac and reddish-brown. 

This rare and beautiful Warbler is peculiar to the east, not 
yet having been found west of the Mississippi. In the Eastern 
States it is got occasionally, but is so rare that it is always 
regarded as a prize, and the collector who recognizes in the woods 
the orange ear-coverts and striped breast of this species is not 
likely soon to forget the tingling sensation which passes up to 
his finger ends at the time. 

I have altogether found six in Ontario, but the time of their 
capture extended over a good many years. The above descrip- 
tion of the nest and eggs is condensed from an account given by 
Montague Chamberlain in "The Auk" for January, 1885, of the 
finding of a nest on the northern boundary of New Brunswick 
in the summer of 1882. 



Yellow Warbler. 

Golden-yellow ; back olive-yellow, frequently with obsolete brownish 
streaks ; breast and sides streaked with orange-brown, which sometimes 
tinges the crown ; wings and tail dusky, the latter marked with yellow 
blotches ; bill dark blue. Female and young paler ; less or not streaked 
below. Length, 5^; wing, 2$; tail, 2^. 

HAS. North America at large, south in winter to Central America and 
Northern South America. 

Nest, placed in the crotch of a small tree or bush ; composed of a variety 
of soft, elastic materials, including wool, hair, moss, bark fibre and plant 
down, closely felted together. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; grayish-white, spotted and blotched with different shades 
of reddish-brown. 

This is, perhaps, the best known of all the Warbler family, 
its nest being more frequently found in a lilac bush in the gar- 
den than in any more retired situation. About the loth of May 
it arrives from the south, and soon makes its presence known 
by its sprightly notes, the males being in full song at the time 
of their arrival. 

It spends much of its time picking small caterpillars off the 
foliage of the willows, and is a general favorite on account of its 
sociable disposition and confiding manners. Unfortunately for 
its domestic comfort, it is often reluctantly compelled to become- 
the foster parent of a young Cowbird, but it does not always 
accept the situation. After the obnoxious egg has been deposited, 
it has been known to raise the sides of the nest an inch higher, 
build a second bottom over the top of the egg, and raise its 
own brood above, leaving the Cowbird egg to rot in the 

Black-throated Blue Warbler. 

Male, in spring, above uniform slaty-blue, the perfect continuity of which is 
only interrupted, in very high plumages, by a few black dorsal streaks ; below 
pure white ; the sides of the head to above the eyes, the chin, throat and whole 



sides of the body continuously jet black ; wing-bars wanting (the coverts being 
black, edged with blue), but a large white spot at the base of the primaries ; 
quill feathers blackish, outwardly edged with bluish, the inner ones mostly 
white on their inner webs ; tail with the ordinary white blotches, the central 
feathers edged with bluish ; bill black ; feet dark. Young male, similar, but 
the blue glossed with olivaceous, and the black interrupted and restricted. 
Female entirely different ; dull olive-greenish with faint bluish shade, below 
pale soiled yellowish ; recognizable by the white spot at the base of the 
primaries, which, though it may be reduced to a mere speck, is always evident, 
at least on pushing aside the primary coverts ; tail blotches small or obscure ; 
feet rather pale. Length, about 5 ; wing, 2^ ; tail, 2|. 

HAB. Eastern North America to the Plains, breeding fron Northern New 
England and Northern New York northward, and in the Alleghanies to 
Northern Georgia, West Indies in winter. 

Nest, placed in the fork of a bush near the ground ; composed of grape- 
vine bark and rootlets, lined with vegetable fibre and horse hair. 

Egg s > 3 to 5. creamy-white with a few spots of reddish-brown toward the 
larger end. 

During the spring migration this species is always fairly 
represented, and some seasons it exceeds in numbers any other 
group of the family to which it belongs. It arrives about the 
roth of May, and continues common till the 25th, by which time 
those bound for the north have disappeared. I have heard of 
individuals being seen in the woods in summer, and think it quite 
likely that a few pairs breed in suitable places in the southern 
part of the Province, but the majority unquestionably go farther 
north. While here the favorite haunt of the species is in the 
open woods, but it also visits the orchard, and is often seen 
among the lilac bushes in search of its insect food. In the fall 
it is in the woods during the greater part of September, after 
which it disappears and is seen no more till the following spring. 

Myrtle Warbler. 

Male, in spring, slaty-blue streaked with black ; breast and sides mostly 
black; throat and belly pure white, immaculate; rump, central crown patch 
and sides of breast sharply yellow, there being thus four definite yellow places ; 
sides of head black ; eyelids and superciliary line white ; ordinary white 
wing-bars and tail-blotches ; bill and feet black ; male in winter and female 



in summer similar, but slate color less pure or quite brownish. Young, quite 
brown above, obscurely streaked below. Length, 5^-5! ; wing, 3 ; tail, i\. 

HAB. Eastern North America chiefly, straggling more or less com- 
monly westward to the Pacific ; breeds from the Northern United States 
northward, and winters from the Middle States and the Ohio Valley south- 
ward to the West Indies and Central America. 

Nest, in a low tree or bush ; composed chiefly of hemlock twigs and 
lined with feathers. 

Eggs, 3 to 5 ; white, marked with brownish-purple. 

The familiar Yellow Rump is the first of the family to arrive 
in spring, often appearing early in April, and for a time is the 
one most frequently met with in the woods, where it is observed 
passing in loose flocks among the upper branches of the trees. 

By the middle of May they have mostly disappeared, and 
are not again seen in Southern Ontario till the end of September. 
They linger late in the fall as if unwilling to leave, and many 
probably do not go much beyond our southern boundary, though 
none have been known to remain here over the winter. On 
the Pacific coast this species has been replaced by Dendroica 
Auduboni (Audubon's Warbler). These two species resemble 
each other very closely, the principle difference being that in the 
western species the throat isyellow, while in ours it is white. Our 
eastern species has frequently been found on the Pacific coast, but 
in the east the western one has only once been observed, the 
record being of a specimen taken near Cambridge, Mass., on 
the 1 5th Nov., 1876. 

Magnolia Warbler. 

Male, in spring, back black, the feathers more or less skirted with olive ; 
rump yellow ; crown clear ash, bordered by black in front to the eyes, behind 
the eyes by a white stripe ; forehead and sides of the head black, continuous 
with that of the back, enclosing the white under eyelid ; entire under parts 
(except white under tail-coverts) rich yellow, thickly streaked across the breast 
and along the sides with black, the pectoral streaks crowded and cutting off 
the definitely bounded immaculate yellow throat from the yellow of the 
other under parts ; wing-bars white, generally fused into one patch ; tail 
spots small, rectangular, at the middle of the tail and on all the feathers except 



the central pair ; bill black ; feet brown. Female, in spring, quite similar ; 
black of back reduced to spots in the grayislr-olive ; ash of head washed with 
olive ; other head markings obscure ; black streaks below smaller and fewer. 
Young quite different ; upper parts ashy-olive ; no head markings whatever, 
and streaks below wanting or confined to a few small ones along the sides, 
but always known by the yellow rump, in connection with extensively or com- 
pletely yellow under parts (except white under tail-coverts) and small tail 
spots near the middle of all the feathers except the central. Small, 5 inches 
or less ; wing, 2.\ ; tail, 2. 

HAB. Eastern North America to the base of the Rocky Mountains, 
breeding from Northern New England, Northern New York and Northern 
Michigan to Hudson's Bay Territory. In winter, Bahamas, Cuba and 
Central America. 

Nest, placed in a low spruce or hemlock, a few feet above the ground ; 
composed of twigs, rootlets and grass, and lined with horse hair. 

Eggs, 4 ; dull white, marked with lilac and brown. 

This is by many considered the most gaily dressed of the 
Warbler family. In Southern Ontario it is a migrant in spring 
and fall and usually quite numerous. From its remaining near 
Hamilton till late in May and appearing again about the end of 
August, we may infer that some of the numbers which pass in 
spring breed at no great distance. Mr. C. J. Young, of the 
Collegiate Institute, Perth, mentions having found a nest of this 
species in his neighborhood on the ist July, 1885. The de- 
scription of the nest, its position, and the four eggs it contained 
correspond exactly with that given by others who have seen 
them elsewhere. So far as I have observed this is not one of 
the high fliers, being seldom seen among the tree tops, but 
mostly in young woods, particularly evergreens, where its colors 
show to advantage against the back-ground of dark foliage. 

260. DENDROICA C^RULEA ( WILS.). 658. 
Cerulean Warbler. 

Male, in spring, azure-blue, with black streaks ; below pure white, breast and 
sides with blue or blue-black streaks ; two white wing-bars ; tail blotches small, 
but occupying every feather, except perhaps the central pair ; bill black ; feet 
dark. Female and young with the blue strongly glossed with greenish, and 
the white soiled with yellowish ; a yellowisu eye-ring and superciliary line. 
Length, 4 - 4 . 



HAB. Eastern United States and Southern Canada to the Plains. Rare 
or casual east of Central New York and the Alleghanies. Cuba (rare) and 
Central America in winter. 

Nest, in the outer fork of a branch, 20 to 50 feet from the ground ; com- 
posed of bark strips, grass and rootlets, and lined with fine grass and fibre ; 
outside are many pieces of gray moss fastened with spider's silk. 

Eggs, 4; creamy-white blotched with brown. 

The Cerulean Warbler is, I think, a regular summer resident 
in Southern Ontario, but is somewhat local in its distribution. 
One spring I searched for it carefully near Hamilton without 
seeing a single individual, while across the bay, four miles off, 
Mr. Dickson reported it as quite common, and breeding in the 
woods near the Waterdown station of the Grand Trunk Railway. 
Its home and haunts are among the upper branches of the trees, 
and except on a blustering rainy day it is seldom seen among 
the lower branches. Its song is almost identical with that of 
the Parula Warbler, but in that species it rises to a slightly 
higher key at the close, while the Cerulean's ditty is uniform 
throughout. The colors of the bird are very pleasing when it 
is seen in a good light, fluttering among the topmost twigs of a 
beech or maple, the azure-blue and silvery-white seeming like a 
shred wafted from the drapery of the sky. Dr. Wheaton men- 
tions the species as abundant in Ohio, but elsewhere it is con- 
sidered rare. 

Chestnut -sirl e d Warbler. 

Male, in spring, back streaked with black and pale yellow ( sometimes 
ashy or whitish), whole crown pure yellow, immediately bordered with white, 
then enclosed in black ; sides ot head and neck and whole under parts pure 
white, the former with an irregular black crescent before the eye, one horn 
extending backward over the eye to border the yellow crown and be dissipated 
on the sides of the nape, the other reaching downward and backward to con- 
nect with a chain of pure chestnut streaks that run the whole length of the 
body, the under eyelid and auriculars being left white ; wing-bands generally 
fused into one large patch, and like the edging of the inner secondaries, much 
tinged with yellow ; tail spots white as usual ; bill blackish ; feet brown. 
Female, in spring, quite similar ; colors less pure ; black loral crescent obscure 
or wanting ; chestnut streaks thinner. Young, above, including the crown, 



clear yellowish-green, perfectly uniform or back with slight dusky touches ; 
no distinct head-markings ; below entirely white from bill to tail, or else show- 
ing a trace of chestnut streaks on the sides ; wing-bands clear yellow, as in the 
adult ; this is a diagnostic feature, shared by no other species, taken in con- 
nection with the continuously white under parts; bill light colored below. 
Length, 5-5^ ; wing, "Z\ ; tail, 2. 

HAB. Eastern United States and Southern Canada, west to the Plains, 
breeding southward to Central Illinois and in the Appalachian Highlands, 
probably to Northern Georgia. Visits the Bahamas and Central America in 
winter. - 

Nest, in the fork of a bush or sapling, 3 to 8 feet from the ground ; com- 
posed of bark strips and grass, and lined with plant down and hair. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; creamy-white with reddish-brown marking. 

A common summer resident, breeding in suitable places near 
the city and throughout the country, and raising two broods in 
the season. It is very partial to briar patches, but sometimes 
goes gleaning for insects among the trees, when the blending of 
its varied plumage with the fresh spring foliage produces a very 
pleasing effect. It arrives from the south about the loth of 
May, and departs early in September. 

Bay-breasted Warbler. 

Male, in spring, back thickly streaked with black and grayish-olive ; fore- 
head and sides of head black, enclosing a large deep chestnut patch; a duller 
chestnut (exactly like a Blue-bird's breast) occupies the whole chin and throat, 
and extends, more or less interrupted, along the entire sides of the body ; rest 
of under parts ochrey or buffy-whitish, a similar buffy area behind the ears ; 
wing-bars and tail-spots ordinary ; bill and feet blackish. The female, in spring 
is more olivaceous than the male, with the markings less pronounced, but 
always shows evident chestnut coloration, and probably traces of it persist in 
all adult birds in the fall. The young, however, so closely resemble young 
striata that it is sometimes impossible to distinguish them with certainty. 
Castanea is, however, tinged with buffy or ochrey below, instead of the clear 
pale yellowish of striata ; moreover, castanea is usually not streaked on the 
sides at all. Size of striata. 

HAB. Eastern North America, north to Hudson's Bay. Breeds from 
Northern New England and Northern Michigan northward ; winters in 
Central America. 



Nest, in a hemlock tree, 15 or 20 feet from the ground ; composed of larch 
twigs and moss, woven together with spider silk, and lined with fibrous roots. 

Eggs, 4; bluish-green, thickly spotted with lilac and brown. 

My observations of this species agree with what has been 
published regarding it by those who have observed it in the 
Eastern States. I have found it abundant in spring some years, 
and in others rare or entirely wanting, while in the fall it is 
always scarce, if it is seen at all. This has lead to the belief 
that the species does not always follow the same line of migration 
in spring, and that in the fall the return trip is made along a 
line to the west of us, the few we see being only stragglers from 
the main body. It is a late comer, being seldom seen till after 
the middle of May ; and is less active in its movements than other 
members of the family. It is seldom seen on the ground or near 
it, usually keeping among the upper branches of the trees. 

The only time I ever saw more than three or four together 
was in the spring of 1885, when I observed a flock of fifty or 
more feeding in a clump of willows overhanging an inlet of the 

Black-poll Warbler. 

Male, in spring, upper parts thickly streaked with black and olivaceous- 
ash ; whole crown pure black ; head below the level of the eyes and whole under 
parts white, the sides thickly marked with black streaks crowding forward on 
the sides of the neck to form two stripes that converge to meet at base of the 
bill, cutting off the white of the cheeks from that of the throat ; wing-bars and 
tail-blotches white; inner secondaries white edged ; primaries usually edged 
externally with olive; feet and other mandible flesh color or pale yellowish ; 
upper mandible black. Female, in spring, upper parts, including the crown, 
greenish-olive, both thickly and rather sharply black streaked ; white of under 
parts soiled anteriorly with very pale olivaceous-yellow, the streaks smaller 
and not so crowded as in the male. Young closely resembling the adult 
female, but a brighter and more greenish-olive above with fewer streaks, often 
obsolete on the crown ; below more or less tinged with pale greenish-yellow, 
the streaks very obscure, sometimes altogether wanting ; under tail-coverts 
usually pure white ; a yellowish superciliary line ; wing-bars tinged with the 
same color. Length, 5^-5!; wing, 2|-3 ; tail, 2-2^. 



HAB. Eastern North America to the Rocky Mountains, north to Green- 
land, the Barren Grounds and Alaska, breeding from Northern New England 
northward. South in winter to Northern South America. 

Nest, in an evergreen, 8 or 10 feet from thi ground ; built of larch twigs 
woven together with moss and grass, and lined with fine grass. 

Eggs, 5 ; white, spotted with purple and reddish-brown. 

The Black-poll is a regular visitor in Southern Ontario in 
spring and fall. It is the last of the family to arrive from the 
south, being seldom seen before the 2oth of May. Its stay at this 
time is of short duration, and when it goes the collector con- 
siders the Warbler season is over. In the fall they are again seen 
in increased numbers, many being in the young plumage, and 
not in such haste to depart, although none remain over the 

The musical powers, if they have any, are not exercised in 
this latitude, the birds while here being mostly silent. They 
feed largely on winged insects, which are never plentiful till the 
end of May, and this may account for the Black-polls being late 
in arriving in spring. 

Blackburn j an Warbler. 

Male, in spring, back black, more or less interrupted with yellowish ; 
crown black, with a central orange spot ; a broad black stripe through the eye, 
enclosing the orange under eyelid; rest of head, with whole throat, most bril- 
liant orange or flame color; other under parts whitish, more or less tinged 
with yellow, and sides streaked with black ; wing-bars fused into a large white 
patch ; tail blotches white, occupying nearly all the outer feathers; bill and 
feet dark. Female and young male, upper parts olive and black, streaked ; 
superciliary line and throat clear yellow, fading insensibly on the breast ; lower 
eyelid yellow, confined in the dusky ear-patch ; wing patch resolved into two 
bars ; tail blotches nearly as extensive as in the adult male, the outer feathers 
showing white on the outer webs at base. Length, 5^; wing, 2; tail, 2j. 

HAB. Eastern North America to the Plains, breeding from the northern 
and more elevated parts of the Eastern United States northward; in winter, 
south to the Bahamas, Central America and Northern South America. 

Nest, in an evergreen, 20 feet from the ground; built of twigs, grass and 
moss, and lined with fine fibre, hair and feathers. 



This "flying gem," clad in black and orange of the richest 
shade, is by many regarded as the most gaily attired of all the 
Warblers. It is a regular visitor in spring and fall, and though 
not abundant is very generally distributed. 

From its lingering late in spring and appearing early in 
September, it probably does not go much farther north to spend 
the summer, but at that season it has not been observed in 
Southern Ontario. One of the few errors made by Wilson was 
his description of the young of the Blackburnian Warbler as a 
different species, which he named the Hemlock Warbler. He 
was for a time followed by other writers, till further observation 
brought out the truth. Like most of its class this species crosses 
the southern frontier during the early part of May, and is again 
seen passing south in September. 

Black-throated Green Warbler. 

Male, in spring, back and crown clear yellow-olive; forehead, superciliary 
line, sides of head rich yellow (in very high plumage, middle of back with 
dusky marks, and dusky or dark olive lines through eyes, auriculars, and even 
bordering the crown) ; chin, throat and breast jet black, prolonged behind in 
streaks on the sides ; other under parts white, usually yellow-tinged ; wings 
and tail dusky, the former with two white bars and much white edging, the 
latter with outer feathers nearly all white ; bill and feet blackish ; male in the 
fall and female in the spring similar, but black restricted, interrupted or veiled 
with yellow ; young similar to the female, but the black more restricted or 
wanting altogether, except a few streaks along the sides. Length, about 5 ; 
wing, a ; tail, i\. 

HAB. Eastern North America to the Plains, north to Hudson's Bay 
Territory ; breeding from the Northern United States northward. In winter, 
south to Cuba and Panama. Accidental in Greenland and Europe. 

Nest, small, neat, compact, placed in a fork of a pine tree, near the end 
of a branch, often 20 to 50 feet -from the ground ; composed of twigs, strips of 
vine bark and dried grass, and lined with vegetable fibre and horse hair. 

Eggs, 3 to 4 ; creamy-white, marked with reddish-brown, mostly toward 
the larger end. 

The Black-throated Green Warbler is a regular visitor in 
spring and fall. It appears a few days earlier in spring than 



some others of its class, and soon announces its arrival by the 
frequent utterance of its characteristic notes, which are readily 
recognized when heard in the woods, but difficult to translate 
into our language. When the Warblers are on their migratory 
journey they use trees of all kinds as resting places, but while 
seeking food this species evidently prefers the pines, and 
is most frequently seen among the higher branches. In the fall 
they are active as ever in their movements, but are mostly silent, 
except in the utterance of a simple chirp to advise each other of 
their whereabouts. 

266. DENDROICA VIGORS1I (AuD.). 671. 
Pine Warbler. 

Uniform yellowish-olive above, yellow below, paler or white on belly and 
under tail-coverts, shaded and sometimes obsoletely streaked with darker on 
the sides; superciliary line yellow; wing-bars white; tail blotches confined to 
two outer pairs of feathers, large, oblique. Female and young similar, duller ; 
sometimes merely olive-gray above and soiled-whitish below. The varia- 
tions in precise shade are interminable, but the species may always be known 
by the lack of any special sharp markings whatever, except the superciliary 
line, and by the combination of white wing-bars with large oblique tail spots 
confined to the two outer pairs of feathers. Length, 5^ to nearly 6 inches. 

HAB. Eastern United States to the Plains, north to Ontario and New 
Brunswick, wintering in the South Atlantic and Gulf States, and the Bahamas. 

Nest, in a pine tree, well up from the ground ; built of strips of bark, root- 
lets and grass, and lined with plant down, hair and feathers. 

Eggs, usually 4 ; white, tinged with pink and spotted with reddish-brown. 

The Pine-creeping Warbler is not remarkable for either the 
gaiety of dress or activity of movement which distinguish most 
of the others of its class. It is a large, quiet Warbler, yellowish- 
green above and greenish-yellow below, and is most frequently 
observed creeping on the trunks or branches of the pine trees 
searching for insects among the crevices of the bark. It does 
not seem to be generally distributed, for Dr. Wheaton speaks 
of it as being rare in Ohio, and Mr. Saunders has not met with 
it near London, while at Hamilton it is rather a common species, 
and raises its young near the city every season. 



It arrives from the south quite early in spring, and for a 
time is quiet, but as the weather gets warmer the male indulges 
in a rather pleasant little song, resembling that of the Chipping 
Sparrow. In the fall they disappear about the middle of 

267. DENDR01CA PALMARUM (GMEL.). 672. 
Palm Warbler. 

Adult male, in spring, beneath yellowish-white, tinged with yellow, the 
throat and crissum deepening into gamboge; sides of the neck, sides and en- 
tire breast streaked with umber-brown, tinged with rusty, the shafts of the 
feathers darker ; a distinct superciliary stripe of clear yellow ; pileum uni- 
form rich chestnut, darker next the bill, when divided medially by a short 
and indistinct streak of yellow ; upper parts in general olive-gray, deepening 
into yellowish olive-green on the upper tail-coverts; tail-feathers dusky, 
edged externally with pale olive-yellowish, thetwo outer pairs with their inner 
webs broadly tipped with white ; wings dusky, the rimiges edged like the 
tail-feathers with yellowish olive-green, both rows of coverts tipped with pale 
grayish-buff, forming rather distinct indications of two bands. Wing, 2.55 ; 
tail, 2.30. 

HAB. Northern interior to Great Slave Lake ; in winter and in migra- 
tions, Mississippi Valley and Gulf States, including Western and Southern 
Florida and the West Indies. Casual in the Atlantic States. 

From the way in which western birds creep up into Ontario 
around the west end of Lake Erie, I think it highly probable 
that this species will be found here. I have noticed some indi- 
viduals much brighter in the yellow than others, but at present 
the number of specimens available for comparison is so small 
that I cannot say positively that we have both species, and have 
some doubts as to whether the recognized authorities have 
acted wisely in making the separation. 


268. Yellow Palm Warbler 672 a 

Adult male, in spring, entire lower parts and a conspicuous superciliary 
stripe bright yellow, entirely continuous and uniform beneath ; entire sides 
marked with broad streaks of deep chestnut, these most distinct on the sides 



of the breast ; auricular mixed olive and chestnut (the Matter prevailing), 
somewhat darker immediately behind the eye ; lore with an indistinct dusky 
streak ; entire pileum rich chestnut, becoming darker next the bill when 
divided medially by a short and rather indistinct yellow streak ; rest of the 
upper parts olive, tinged with brown on the back and brightening into 
yellowish olive-green on the rump and upper tail-coverts, the latter having 
shaft streaks of reddish-chestnut ; tail-feathers dusky, edged externally with 
yellowish-olive, the inner webs of the two outer feathers broadly tipped with 
white ; wings dusky, all the feathers edged with pale brownish-olive, this 
edging rather widest on the ends of the middle and greater coverts, 
where, however, they do not form any indication of bands. Wing, 2.65 ; 
tail, 2.50. 

HAB. Atlantic States north to Hudson's Bay. Breeds from New Bruns- 
wick and Nova Scotia northward ; winters in the South Atlantic and Gulf 


Nest, on the ground ; built of bark fibre, grass and moss, and lined with 
hair and feathers. 

Eggs, creamy-white, blotched with reddish-brown at the larger end. 

As this interesting bird is said to be abundant in the 
Eastern States as far west as the Plains, we should expect to 
find it also plentiful in Ontario, but I have not so observed it 
near Hamilton. Occasionally, late in the fall or early in spring, 
it is seen running about on the ground, by the roadsides or in 
bare weedy fields, but it is not at any time abundant, and some- 
times altogether absent. It is very different, in many respects, 
from the other members of the group in which it has been placed; 
its building its nest on the ground and the jerky motions of its 
tail suggesting relationship with the Tit Lark. 

Some ten years ago, while examining a large series of speci- 
mens of this species in the National Museum, Mr. Ridgway 
observed a wide difference in the intensity of the coloring of 
different individuals in the group. An examination, as to the 
localities from which they had been obtained, showed that the 
highly colored individuals were from the east of the Alleghanies, 
while those in plainer attire were all from farther west. A com- 
parison of specimens in the possession of different collectors in 
these districts showed that the differences referred to were con- 
stant, and apparently a Geographical race, which has led to 
the variety we are now considering being described as a sub- 



species, under the name of Dendroica Palmarum Hypochrysea ; 
the original Dendroica Palmarus of Gmelin being supposed to be 
the plain colored form observed in the west. I have described 
both, so that collectors may satisfy themselves as to whether 
we have here the eastern form, or the western, or both. 


Oven Bird. 

Crown orange-brown, bordered with two black stripes, no superciliary 
line. Above bright olive-green ; below pure white, thickly spotted with 
dusky on breast and sides ; a narrow maxiliary line of blackish ; under wing- 
coverts tinged with yellow ; a white eye-ring ; legs flesh color. Sexes alike ; 
young similar. Length, 5^-6^; wing, 3; tail, af . 

H AB. Eastern North America, north to Hudson's Bay Territory and Alaska ; 
breeding from Kansas, the Ohio Valley and Virginia northward. In winter, 
Southern Florida, the West Indies and Central America. 

Nest, on the ground, usually on a sloping bank, frequently roofed over 
with an entrance at the side ; composed of twigs, leaves and moss, and lined 
with fine grass and hair. 

Eggs, 4 to 5; creamy-white, spotted with reddish-brown. 

The Oven Bird, so called from its habit of building its nest 
somewhat in the form of an oven, is a summer resident in 
Ontario, and is very generally distributed, being found in suit- 
able places all over the country, from the early part of May till 
the beginning of September. To see it walking gingerly on the 
ground, jerking itstail after the manner of the Tit Lark, conveys 
the impression of a very quiet, retiring, little bird, with clear, 
handsome markings, but should it mount to one of the middle 
branches of a tree it is astonishing to observe with what 
emphasis and energy it delivers its notes. With a little help 
from the imagination its song resembles the word teacher, 
frequently repeated with increasing emphasis. This loud, 
clear call may often be heard in the moist woods during the 
month of May, but the bird is said to have also another song 
more soft and musical, which may be reserved for special 
occasions, for I have not met with any one who has heard it. 



Water-Thrush . 

Entire upper parts deep olivaceous-brown ; conspicuous superciliary line 
yellowish; below white, more or less tinged with pale yellowish, thickly and 
sharply spotted with the color of the back, except on lower belly and crissum ; 
feet dark. Length, 5^-6; wing, af ; tail, 2% ; bill, about %. 

HAB. Eastern United States to Illinois, and northward to Arctic America; 
breeding from the Northern United States northward. South in winter to 
the West Indies and Northern South America. 

Nest, on the ground ; built of leaves, moss and grasses, and lined with 
fine grass and rootlets. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; of crystalline whiteness, marked with reddish-brown. 

This inhabitant of the moist woods and swampy thickets is 
found in all suitable places throughout the country, but it has 
not the loud decided notes of the Oven Bird, and is therefore 
less known though quite as abundant. It is terrestrial in its 
habits, being often seen walking with careful steps by the edge 
of the pools, or along wet logs, nervously jerking its tail, after 
the manner of the Teeter Snipe. 

In appearance it closely resembles the next species, with 
which it has often been confounded, but the distinction, once 
clearly understood, is afterwards readily recognized. In the 
present species the throat and breast are streaked from the bill 
downwards, while in the next the throat is always unstreaked. 

Louisiana Water-Thrush. 

Very similar to the last ; rather larger, averaging about 6, with the wing 3 ; 
bill especially longer and stouter, over , and tarsus nearly i. Under parts 
white, only faintly tinged, and chiefly on the flanks and crissum, with buffy- 
yellow ; the streaks sparse, pale and not very sharp ; throat, as well as belly 
and crissum, unmarked ; legs pale 

HAB. Eastern United States, north to Southern New England and Michi- 
gan, west to the Plains. In winter, West Indies, Southern Mexico and 
Central America. 



Nest, on the ground ; composed of twigs, moss and leaves, and lined with 
fine grass and the fur of some quadruped. 

Eggs, 4 ; white, tinged with rose color and lightly marked with reddish- 

Southern Ontario is perhaps the northern limit of this species, 
and even there it is not generally distributed. My first acquaint- 
ance with it was early on a bright May morning, a good many 
years ago. I had gone out under the mountain, west of Hamilton, 
and was crossing a deep ravine, which there cut through the 
mountain wall, when I heard farther up the glen the clear, rich, 
liquid notes of a bird that was then entirely new to me. Follow- 
ing, with some difficulty, the course of the stream, which was 
heard trickling beneath the moss-grown rocks in the bottom of 
the ravine, I came, at length, in sight of the musician. He was 
on the prostrate trunk of a tree, which, years before, had fallen 
and bridged over the chasm, but was now moss-grown and going 
to decay, and on this carpeted platform he moved about with 
mincing steps, often turning around with a jerk of the tail and 
uttering his characteristic notes with such energy that, for a time, 
the whole ravine seemed filled with the sound. I have seen the 
species many times since then, but the recollection of our first 
meeting has lingered long in my memory, and this particular 
bird still occupies a prominent place in my collection. 

The Large-billed, or Louisiana Water-Thrush as it is now 
called, is by no means so common a bird in Ontario as the pre- 
ceeding ; yet along the southern border of the Province, where- 
ever there is a rocky ravine, its loud, clear notes are almost sure 
to be heard in the spring, mingling with the sound of the falling 
water. It arrives from the south early in May and leaves in 



272. GEOTHLYPIS AGILIS (WiLs.). 678. 

Connecticut Warbler. 

Above olive-green, becoming ashy on the head; below, from the breast, 
yellow, olive-shaded on the sides ; chin, throat and breast grayish-ash ; a 



\vhitish ring round eye ; wings and tail unmarked, glossed with olive ; under 
mandible and feet pale ; no decided markings anywhere. Length, 5^ ; wing, 
2f ; tail, 2. 

HAB. Eastern North America, breeding north of the United States. 
Nest and eggs unknown. 

The Connecticut Warbler was discovered by Wilson, and 
named by him after the State in which he found it. It is a 
widely distributed species but is nowhere abundant, though it 
seems to be more common in the west than in the eastern por- 
tion of its habitat. It is of shy, retiring habits, frequenting low, 
swampy places and keeping near the ground. 

On one or two occasions I have met with the adults in 
spring, and have seen them again in the fall accompanied with 
their young. In their haunts and habits they closely resemble 
the Mourning Warbler, and in certain stages of plumage they 
are also like each other in appearance, but the present species 
can always be recognized by its wings, which are longer and 
more pointed. 

This species undoubtedly breeds in Ontario, and as the nest 
and eggs are still unknown to naturalists there is here a prize 
which our Canadian boys should try to secure. I found the 
young in August, and they certainly looked as if they had 
not travelled far. 

Mourning Warbler. 

Bright olive, below clear yellow ; on the head the olive passes insensibly 
into ash ; in high plumage the throat and breast are black, but are generally 
ash showing black traces, the feathers being black, skirted with ash, produc- 
ing a peculiar appearance suggestive of the birds wearing crape ; wings and 
tail unmarked, glossed with olive ; under mandible and feet flesh color ; no 
white about eyes. Young birds have little or no ashy on the head and no 
black on the throat, thus nearly resembling the Oporornis agilis. Length, 
5i'5i I wing and tail, each about 2j. 

HAB. Eastern North America to the Plains ; breeding from the moun- 
tainous portions of Pennsylvania, New England and New York, and North- 
ern Michigan northward. Central America and Northern South America in 



Nest, on or near the ground ; built of leaves and weed stalks, and lined 
with fine black rootlets. 

Eggs, 3 ; " light flesh color uniformly speckled with fine brown specks." 

Very little is yet known of the nest and eggs of the Mourn- 
ing Warbler. The above description is given by John Burroughs 
of a nest found by him in New York State, which is farther 
south than these birds usually spend the summer. 

Some years since, when waiting for the train at a way station 
on the Kincardine branch of the G. T. R., I strolled into the 
neighboring woods to pass the time. Sitting on a prostrate log 
on the sunny side of a ravine, birds of many kinds fluttering about 
me, a pair of Mourning Warblers soon attracted attention by the 
displeasure and anxiety they manifested at being disturbed. I 
changed my position, and the female moved cautiously toward 
the place I had left. A few minutes more and certainly I 
should have seen the nest, but the engine whistle sounded, 
and being some distance from the station I had to leave. 
Next day as the train slowly passed the place the male was 
again observed singing on his former perch. 

Any one who has given attention to the movements of the 
birds for a number of years, must have been surprised at the per- 
sistent regularity with which certain species appear at particu- 
lar places at a given time, especially in spring. 

For many years after I commenced collecting birds, I con- 
sidered the Mouining Warbler only a straggler in this part of 
Ontario, having met with it but on two occasions. More recently I 
have carefully studied the topographical aspect of the neighbor- 
hood with special reference to the habits of the birds, and have 
calculated where certain species should be found at certain dates. 
One result of this was, that on two visits made to a particular 
place in May, 1885, K. C. Mcllwraith obtained nine Mourning 
Warblers in a very short time. In the spring of 1886 they were 
again observed at the same place, but were not molested. The 
name Mourning does not refer to the manners of the bird, for it 
sings with much spirit and is quite lively in its movements, but 
was suggested by the ashy tips to the black feathers of the 
throat, resembling the effect produced by wearing crape. 



Maryland Yellow-throat. 

Male, in spring, olive-green, rather grayer anteriorly ; forehead and a 
broad band through the eye to the neck pure black, bordered above with 
hoary-ash; chin, throat, breast, under tail-coverts and edge of wing rich yel- 
low, fading into whitish on the belly; wings and tail unmarked, glossed with 
olive; bill black ; feet flesh colored. Female, in spring, without the definite 
black and ash of the head ; the crown generally brownish, the yellow pale and 
restricted. The young in general resemble the female, at any rate lacking the 
head markings of the male ; but are sometimes buffy-brownish below, some- 
times almost clear yellow. Length, 4f-5 ; wing and tail, i$-2^. 

HAB. Eastern United States, mainly east of the Alleghanies, north to 
Ontario and Nova Scotia, breeding from Georgia northward. In winter, 
South Atlantic and Gulf States, and the West Indies. 

Nest, on the ground ; composed of leaves and grass, and lined with fine 
withered grass. 

Eggs, 4 to 6; white, thickly sprinkled with reddish-brown. 

The Maryland Yellow-throat is widely but somewhat 
irregularly distributed. I have heard its familiar notes on the 
banks of the St. Lawrence, near Quebec ; by the marshy ponds 
between Gait and Paris I have found it breeding abundantly ; 
but near Hamilton, where there are places equally suitable for 
its summer residence, so far as we can judge, it is only observed 
as a casual migrant in spring and fall. It is a very lively little 
bird, and makes its summer haunts ring with its loud, clear 
"whit-ti-tee" often repeated, which once heard is not soon for- 
gotten by any one who has an ear for bird music. It arrives 
during the first week in May, and disappears about the end of 


275. ICTERIA VIRENS (LINN.). 683. 

Yellow-breasted Chat. 

Bright olive-green ; below golden-yellow, belly abruptly white ; lore black, 
isolating the white under eyelid from a white superciliary line above and a 
short maxillary line below; wings and tail unmarked, glossed with olive; bill and 
feet blue-black, female and young similar, colors less bright. Length, 7-7$; 
wing, about 3; tail, about 3^. 



HAB. Eastern United States to the Plains, north to Ontario and South- 
ern New England, south in winter to Eastern Mexico and Guatemala. 

Nest, in a thicket, in the upright fork of a sapling, 3 to 6 feet from the 
ground ; composed of leaves, strips of grape vine bark and grass, lined with 
fine withered grass and fibre. 

Eggs, 3 to 4; very smooth, white, spotted and blotched with several shades 
of reddish-brown. 

Bird collecting is attended with all the excitement of other 
speculations, the very uncertainty as to the amount of success 
attainable tending to increase the feeling. 

Laying aside accidents by gun, boat or buggy, much time 
and labor are sometimes expended with very slim results, while 
on the other hand the prizes are often obtained quite unexpect- 
edly. On the 1 6th of May, 1884, I went for a short excursion 
to the woods, impressed with the feeling that I had lately spent 
too much time collecting common species which I already had, 
and that by a more careful inspection of the birds I came across 
I should have a better chance of finding something new. I in- 
spected quite a number that afternoon, but came back without 
a specimen of any kind, and as it began to rain I got home 
thoroughly damped, and unhitched my horse, firm in the belief 
that the subject was unworthy the attention I was giving it. 
Just then I noticed an olive-backed bird lying dead on the 
ground close by, and on picking it up found it to be the decay- 
ing body of a Yellow-breasted Chat, which had probably been 
killed by flying against the telegraph wire which passed over 
where it was found. It had evidently been there for two or 
three days, and I must have passed close to it several times 
daily. It was too far gone for preservation, so I had to console 
myself with its being the first record of the species in Canada. 
A week or so afterwards when visiting Mr. Dickson, who is 
Station-master on the G. T. R. at Waterdown, he pointed out 
to me an old, unused mill-race, grown up with briars and bram- 
bles, where the day before he had seen a pair of Chats mated. 
Mr. Dickson was collecting at the time, and was greatly sur- 
prised at their suddenly appearing within ten feet of where he 
was standing, but on his moving backward, with a view of get- 


ting to a safer shooting distance, they disappeared in the thicket 
and did not again become visible, though they kept up their 
scolding as long as he remained near the place. 

A pair of this species was also found by Mr. Saunders breed- 
ing on the north shore of Lake Erie, near Point Pelee, which 
completes the record for Ontario so far as I have heard. 



Hooded Warbler. 

Clear yellow-olive ; below rich yellow shaded along the sides, whole head 
and neck pure black, enclosing a broad golden mask across forehead and 
through eyes ; wings unmarked, glossed with olive ; tail with large white 
blotches on the two outer pairs of feathers; bill black ; feet flesh color. 
Female, with no black on the head ; that of the crown replaced by olive, that 
of the throat by yellow. Young male, with the black much restricted and in- 
terrupted, if not wholly wanting, as in the female. Length, 5-5^ ; wing, about 
af ; tail, about 2^. 

HAB. Eastern United States, west to the Plains, north and east to 
Michigan, Southern New York and Southern New England. In winter, West 
Indies, Eastern Mexico and Central America. 

Nest, in a low bush or tree, a few feet from the ground ; built of leaves and 
coarse grasses, and lined with fine grass and horse hair. 

Eggs, 4 ; white, tinged with flesh color and marked with reddish-brown. 

The Hooded Warbler is a souchern species which rarely crosses 
our southern border. Mr. Norval reports finding it occasion- 
ally at Port Rowan, on the north shore of Lake Erie, and I once 
found a young male near Hamilton. It was toward the end of 
May, there had been a big bird-wave during the previous night, 
and this one had apparently got carried away in the crowd. 
It is a most expert fly-catcher, very active on the wing, and has 
the habit of flirting its tail after the manner of the Redstart. 
Its favorite haunts are in thick briary patches and among under- 
brush, where it finds food and shelter for itself and family. 

There has been considerable discussion regarding the plum- 
age of the female of this species, which has apparently subsided 



into the belief that in mature adult birds the sexes are nearly 
alike, but that the female is longer in acquiring the black of the 
head and throat, and is sometimes found with it imperfectly 
developed or entirely wanting. 

277. SYLVANIA PUSILLA (WiLs.). 685. 
Wilson's Warbler. 

Clear yellow-olive ; crown glossy blue-black; forehead, sides of head and 
entire under parts clear yellow; wings and tail plain, glossed with olive; 
upper mandible dark, under pale ; feet brown. Female and young similar ; 
colors not so bright, the black cap obscure. Small; 4! -5 ; wing, about 2% ; 
tail, about 2. 

HAB. Eastern North America, west to and including the Rocky Mount- 
ains, north to Hudson's Bay Territory and Alaska. Breeds chiefly north of 
the United States, migrating south to Eastern Mexico and Central America. 

Nest, a hollow in the ground ; lined with fine grass and horse hair. 
Eggs, 5 ; dull white, freckled with rusty-brown and liliac. 

Wilson's Fly-catcher passes through Southern Ontario on its 
way to the north, in company with the Mourning Warblers and 
other late migrants. Like some of the others it has certain 
resting places, where it appears regularly in limited numbers 
every spring, but strangers unacquainted with its haunts might 
ransack the country for miles without seeing a single specimen. 
The greatest number go far north to spend the summer, but it 
is probable that a few remain in intermediate districts, for Mr. 
Geo. R. White found a pair nesting in his garden in Ottawa. 
This is the only record of the kind I have for Ontario. 

In " New England Bird Life, " part I., page 172, is an account 
of a nest found by Mr. D. H. Minot on Pike's Peak, 11,000 feet 
up, near timber line. The nest and eggs were as described 

Canadian Warbler. 

Bluish-ash ; crown speckled with lanceolate black marks, crowded and 
generally continuous on the forehead ; the latter divided lengthwise by a 
slight yellow line ; short superciliary line and edges of eyelids yellow ; lores 



black, continuous with black under the eye, and this passing as a chain of 
black streaks down the side of the neck, and prettily encircling the throat 
like a necklace ; excepting these streaks and the white under tail-coverts the 
entire under parts are clear yellow ; wings and tail unmarked ; feet flesh 
color; in the female and young the black is obscure or much restricted, and 
the back may be slightly glossed with olive. Length, about 5^ ; wing, aj ; 
tail, 2j. 

HAB. Eastern North America, westward to the Plains and north to 
Newfoundland, Southern Labrador and Lake Winnipeg; south, in winter, to 
Central America and Northern South America. 

Nest, on the ground in a tussock of grass or weeds ; composed of fibre, 
rootlets, leaves and pine needles. 

Eggs, 5 ; white, "beautifully marked with dots and small blotches of 
blended-brown, purple and violet, varying in shades and tints and grouped in 
a wreath around the larger end." 

From the I5th to the 25th of May this species is very com- 
mon in all suitable places in Southern Ontario. After the latter 
date the numbers are much reduced, but a few remain to spend 
the summer, while the bulk of the species goes farther north. 
When here their manners resemble those of the Green Black 
Cap, with which they are often found in company, and they 
prefer briary tickets, through which they pass nimbly, picking 
up their insect fare as they go. In the fall they are less fre- 
quently seen, returning south, perhaps, by some other route. 
They are first seen about the middle of May, and disappear 
toward the end of August. 



American Redstart. 

Male, lustrous blue-black, belly and crissum white, sides of the breast, 
large spot at bases of the remiges, and basal half of the tail-feathers (ex- 
cept the middle pair) fiery-orange, belly often tinged with the same. Female, 
olivaceous, ashier on the head, entirely white below, wings and tail blackish, 
with the flame color of the male represented by yellow. Young male like the 
female, but browner, the yellow of an orange hue. From the circumstance 
that many spring males are shot in the general plumage of the female, but 
showing irregular isolated black patches, it is probable that the species 
requires at least two years to gain its perfect plumage. Length, 5^ ; wing and 
tail, about 2^. 



HAB. North America, north to Fort Simpson, west regularly to the 
Great Basin, casually to the Pacific coast, breeding from the middle portion 
of the United States northward. In winter, the West Indies, and from South- 
ern Mexico through Central America to Northern South America. 

Nest, in the fork of a sapling 6 to 20 feet from the ground ; composed of 
grape vine bark, grasses and weeds, and lined with fine grass, horse hair or 
plant down. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; grayish-white, dotted with brown, lavender and purple. 

The Redstart is one of the most active and restless little birds 
found in the bush, where its glowing garb of black and orange 
shines to great advantage among the fresh green leaves. It is 
generally distributed throughout Ontario, and from its manners 
and markings is well known to all who give any attention to the 
birds. In spring it arrives from the loth to the i5th of May, the 
first to appear being the adult male in full costume, after which 
come the females and young males in plumage nearly alike. 
While here they are not higher fliers, but like to disport them- 
selves among the middle and lower branches of deciduous trees, 
from which they dart off in pursuit of passing insects, making 
the clicking of the bill distinctly heard. 

The male is so decided in his markings that he is not likely 
to be mistaken for any other species. The female is plainer, 
but has the habit of opening and closing the tail feathers, which 
serves, even at a distance, to indicate the species to which she 

After the end of August they are seldom seen. 



American Pipit. 

Points of wings formed by the four outer- primaries, the fifth being 
abruptly shorter. Hind claw nearly straight, nearly or quite equal to its digit. 
Above dark brown with a slight olive shade, most of the feathers with dusky 
centres ; eyelids, superciliary line and under parts pale buffy or ochrey-brown, 



variable in shade ; breast and sides of neck and body thickly streaked with 
dusky ; wings and tail blackish, inner secondaries pale edged ; one or more 
outer tail feathers wholly or partly white. Length, about 6 ; wing, 3^ ; tail, 

2f- 3 - 

HAB. North America at large ; breeding in the higher parts of the Rocky 
Mountains and subarctic districts ; and wintering in the Gulf States, Mexico 
and Central America. Accidental in Europe, 

Nest, a cavity in the ground ; lined thickly with coarse dry grass. 
Eggs, 4 to 5 ; dark chocolate, with spots and streaks of black. 

In spring and fall loose straggling flocks of Pipits are seen 
on the commons, either searching for food on the ground or in 
short stages working their way to their breeding grounds in the 
far north, though how they ever get there is a wonder to any 
one who notices their weak and vacillating flight. 

In spring they pass along very quickly, but in the fall they 
are seen in flocks by the shores of muddy ponds or creeks, or in 
moist meadows in the open country, nervouslyjerking their tails 
after the manner of the Water-Thrushes. Their only note while 
here is a weak, timid "cheep" uttered while on the wing. 

On the 2oth of July, 1871, Mr. Allen found young birds of 
this species, scarcely able to fly, on Mount Lincoln, Park 
County, Colorado, among the snow fields above timber line. 

Dr. Coues found them breeding abundantly on the coast of 
Labrador, and noticed their habit of resorting to the sea shore 
at low tide, there to ramble about in company with the Sand- 
pipers in search of food. 




Wings considerably shorter than tail ; above ashy-gray ; below whitish ; 
wings and tail blackish, the former with two white wing-bars and large white 
spot at base of primaries, latter with i to 3 outer feathers more or less white. 
Length, 9-10 ; wing, about 4 ; tail, about 5. 



HAB. United States, south into Mexico. Rare from New Jersey, the 
Valley of the Ohio, Colorado and California northward. 

Nest, in bushes and low trees ; composed of twigs, leaves, grass, etc., put 
together in a slovenly manner. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; bluish-green, heavily marked with several shades of brown. 

Among birds, as among men, individuals differ greatly 
in natural ability, some being much more highly endowed 
than others and their gifts are also as varied. Some, representing 
the architects of the community, excel in building their homes, 
which have not only all the necessary requirements for the 
comfort and safety of the inmates, but exhibit a skill and taste 
in their construction, and in the selection and arrangement of 
the materials, which never fail to excite our admiration. One 
of the most complete nests which come under our observation 
is that built by the Summer Yellow-bird. It is often placed in 
the fork of a lilac bush near our houses, and is not only luxuriously 
comfortable, but it is so well put together that it stands the 
blasts of winter and is in good shape in the following spring, 
though the birds do not use it a second season, but are seen 
tugging pieces out of the old to help to build the new. Another 
interesting specimen of bird architecture is the curious, pensile, 
purse-like nest of the Baltimore Oriole, which is quite a familiar 
object as it is seen swaying at the end of a slender twig of a 
drooping elm, while in the solitudes of a cedar swamp the 
Winter Wren provides a wonderfully cosy home for her numerous 
family in the centre of a ball of green moss. 

Others may be regarded as the poets, the musicians of the 
feathered tribes, and it would be a curious study for us to try to find 
out whether those who cannot sing enjoy the singing of those 
who can. To human ears the melody of many of the birds is as 
pleasing perhaps as it is to their own species, and in this re- 
spect there is none more fascinating than the Mockingbird, 
whose rapturous music excites admiration wherever it is heard. 

One of America's most gifted poets, who evidently knew and 
appreciated the musical powers of the bird, thus describes it in 
words well worthy of the subject. The scene is on the lower 
Mississippi, a band of exiles is descending the river on a still 
evening in the early summer. 



" Softly the evening came. The sun from the western horizon 
Like a magician extended his golden wand o'er the landscape ; 

* * * . * * 

Then from a neighboring thicket, the Mockingbird, wildest of singers. 
Swinging aloft on a willow spray that hung o'er the water, 
Shook from his little throat such floods ot delicious music, 
That the whole air and the woods and the waves seemed silent to listen. 
Plaintive at first were the tones and sad ; then soaring to madness 
Seemed they to follow or guide the revel of frenzied Bacchantes. 
Single notes were then heard in sorrowful, low lamentation; 
Till, having gathered them all, he flung them abroad in derision, 
As when after a storm, a gust of wind through the tree tops 
Shakes down the rattling rain in a crystal shower on the branches." 

In the Southern States the Mockingbird is a constant resi- 
dent. Occasionally a pair come farther north and spend the sum- 
mer, but as soon as the young are able for the journey they 
again retire to the south. In the " Birds of Long Island," Mr. 
Giraud mentions it as an occasional summer resident there, and 
speaks of a pair having spent a summer near the beach at Egg 
Harbor. " The male," he says, " became the pet of the residents, 
to whom it also seemed much attached, and, as if in return 
for the attention they paid to his wants, he poured forth his 
charming melody, which on calm, bright nights, blending with 
the subdued voice of the ocean, rendered the scene enchanting 
beyond the powers of description." 

In Ontario the Mockingbird is best known as a cage bird, 
numbers being occasionally brought from the south in captivity, 
and w r hen exposed for sale are readily bought up by those who 
are fond of feathered pets. Even in confinement it seems to 
retain all its natural power and energy as a songster, and being 
of a sociable, familiar disposition, soon gets attached to those 
who are in the habit of attending to its wants. Among Ameri- 
can birds it has been justly styled the " Prince of Musicians." 
Indeed, with the exception of the British Sky-lark, whose grand 
soaring flight adds greatly to the effect of its music, I know of 
no bird in any country possessed of such a wonderful compass 
of voice. Often while exercising its powers of mimicry, it will 
give so correct an imitation of the notes of other birds that the 
most retiring species will come from their haunts expecting to 



meet their mates, when suddenly they will be driven in fear 
to the thicket by as correct an imitation of the harsh scream of 
the Hawk. 

The following incident gives me the privilege of claiming 
the species for Ontario, a pair having spent the summer of 
1883 near Hamilton. 

Had any one, acquainted with this neighborhood and with the 
habits of the bird, been asked to suggest where it would most 
likely be found, he would certainly have said East Hamilton, 
and it was there that Mr. Eastwood first observed the male, 
early in the season, in one of the leafy lanes between 
his residence and the mountain. Mr. Eastwood was in 
the habit of taking exercise on horseback in the early 
morning, and seldom passed the place where the bird 
was first recognized without again seeing him on the dead 
branch of a low tree which he had chosen as his perch. As the 
season advanced these frequent visits grew into something like 
personal friendship, for the bird evidently recognized his visitor, 
and if absent at first would readily respond to a call, and mount- 
ing his usual perch would answer in his own eloquent style. 
He also caught up many of the local sounds of the neighborhood, 
the crowing of the rooster, the cackling of the fowls, and the 
notes of other birds were imitated with wonderful correctness, 
but sweetest of all were his own rich, full tones, which gave a 
new charm to that favored locality. Only once during the 
season was a glimpse obtained of the female, who was evidently 
engaged in domestic duties, though, with the view of making the 
pair feel as much at home as possible, the nest was not sought for. 

It was hoped that this pair or some of their family would 
return the following season to visit their old friends in Ontario, 
but if they did they have not been observed, and this so far as 
I am aware is the only instance of the species being observed in 






Wings but little shorter than tail ; dark slate color, somewhat lighter 
below ; crown of head and tail black ; under tail-coverts dark chestnut 
Length, 8 to 9; wing, 3! ; tail, 4. 

HAB. Eastern United States and British Provinces, west to and includ 
ing the Rocky Mountains ; occasional on the Pacific coast. Winters in the 
Southern States, Cuba and Middle America to Panama. Accidental in 

Nest, in a shrubbery or thicket, a few feet above the ground ; composed 
of twigs, leaves, bark, rootlets, bits of twine or rags. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; dark bluish-green. 

' A very common summer resident in Southern Ontario ; and 
in the Northwest it is said by Prof. Macoun to be common 
wherever there are bushes. This is a bird well entitled to our 
protection, but, unfortunately, it is the subject of an ignorant 
prejudice, which leads to its being persecuted especially by boys, 
who would throw a stone at a Catbird with much the same feel- 
ing that they would at a cat. Perhaps one of his most familiar 
notes may have originated the prejudice, but outside of this, it 
should be remembered that he ranks high as a songster, coming 
next in that respect to the Mockingbird and the Thrasher. 
He is one of the first to begin in the morning, and delivers his 
message with so much sprightliness and vivacity that we are 
always pleased to hear him. 

In the garden he is our best friend, destroying an innumerable 
quantity of injurious insects, but we seldom think when enjoying 
our luxurious crop of cherries or raspberries that we are largely 
indebted for such results to the much despised Catbird. 




Brown Thrasher . 

Above reddish-brown ; below white, with more or less tawny tinge ; breast 
and sides spotted with dark brown ; throat and belly unspotted ; bill black 
above, yellow below; feet pale ; iris yellow. Length, n ; wing, 4 ; tail, 5 to 6. 



HAB. Eastern United States, west to the Rocky Mountains, north to 
Southern Maine, Ontario and Manitoba, south to the Gulf States, including 
Eastern Texas. Accidental in Europe. 

Nest, most frequently placed in the fork of a small tree in a thicket, 3 to 
6 feet from the ground, sometimes higher, occasionally on the ground; com- 
posed of twigs, grass, leaves and rootlets, lined with bark fibre and similar 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; greenish-white, thickly spotted with light reddish-brown. 

The Brown Thrasher is not so abundant as the Catbird, 
neither is it so confiding or familiar in its habits, seldom coming 
near our dwellings. It delights in the tangled, briary thicket, 
in the depths of which it disappears as soon as it is aware of 
being observed. Near Hamilton it is a common summer resident, 
appearing regularly about the loth of May. At first they are 
seen stealing quietly through the underbrush, or scratching 
among the withered leaves like the Towhees, but once arrived at 
their breeding place, the male is heard from the topmost twig 
of an isolated tree, pouring forth, morning and evening, his 
unrivalled strains of music, which are heard long ere the per- 
former can be seen. 

So far as I have observed, the Thrasher is somewhat local in 
its distribution, there being certain sections of county of con- 
siderable extent, where, without apparent cause, it is entirely 
wanting. About the end of September they all retire to the 



House Wren. 

Above brown, brighter behind ; below rusty-brown or grayish-brown or 
even grayish- white, everywhere waved with a darker shade, very plainly on 
wings, tail, flanks and under tail-coverts; breast apt to be darker than either 
throat or belly. Length, 4$ ; wings and tail, about 2. 

HAB. Eastern United States and Southern Canada, west to Indiana 
and Louisiana. 



Nest, in a hole or crevice, the neighborhood of a dwelling preferred ; 
composed of twigs, leaves, hair, feathers, etc. 

Eggs, 7 to 9 ; white, very thickly spotted with reddish-brown. 

In the thinly settled parts of the country where this Wren 
has been observed, it breeds in any convenient hole or crevice 
in a tree or fence post by the roadside, and on account of this 
habit, and an imaginary superiority in point of size, those found 
in such places were described as a separate species, and named 
by Audubon the Wood Wren. The individuals procured in town 
and country being subsequently found to be identical, this name 
has for some years been allowed to drop, and the birds having 
taken kindly to the society of man are nearly all furnished with 
houses, or finding other suitable nesting places near our dwellings 
are living almost domesticated. They are sprightly, active, little 
birds, and do good service by the destruction of insects, which 
they find on the trees in the orchard or about the outhouses. 
Being possessed of all the scolding propensities peculiar to the 
family, they resent with great spirit any intrusion in the neigh- 
borhood of their dwelling. Their greatest enemy in this respect 
at present is the House Sparrow, who does not hesitate to eject 
the Wrens when their premises appear to suit his purpose. 
This habit may in time drive the Wrens back to their original 
mode of life in the woods. 


Winter Wren. 

Deep brown above, darkest on the head, brightest on the rump and tail, 
obscurely waved with dusky and sometimes with whitish also ; tail like rump ; 
wings dusky, edged with color of back, and dark barred ; several outer prim- 
aries also whitish barred ; a superciliary line and obscure streaks on sides of 
head and neck whitish. Below pale brown ; belly, flanks and under tail-coverts 
strongly barred with dusky. Length, about 4 ; wing, 2 or less ; tail, i or less. 

HAB. Eastern North America generally, breeding from the northern 
parts of the United States northward, and wintering from about its southern 
breeding limit southward. 



Nest, a ball of green moss, warmly lined with feathers ; entrance by a hole 
at one side. 

Eggs, 5 to 6 ; white, speckled with reddish-brown. 

In Southern Ontario the Winter Wren is most frequently 
seen during the periods of migration, but a few pairs remain and 
raise their young iu suitable places throughout the country. 
There is a wet cedar swamp in West Flamboro' made impene- 
trable by fallen timber, moss-grown and going to decay. In the 
stillness and gloom of that uninviting region I have listened to 
the song of the Winter Wren in the month of June, and have 
thought it one of the most pleasing specimens of bird music we 
are privileged to hear. Tinged it may be with melancholy, but 
there is a hopeful sprightliness about it which seems to rise above 
the gloom of the surroundings and point to the brighter world 
outside. I have not heard of the species being observed during 
winter, but they arrive from the south early in April and linger 
quite late in the fall. During the latter season they are frequently 
seen in the city gardens, appearing and disappearing like mice 
around the roots of the bushes. In my boyish days I was 
familiar with the haunts and homes of the common Wren, the 
troglodytes vulgaris of Britain, on the " banks and braes o' bonnie 
Doon, " and believe it is identical in every respect with the 
present species. 



Short-billed Marsh Wren. 

Dark brown above, crown and middle of the back blackish, nearly 
everywhere conspicuously streaked with white ; below buffy-white, shading 
into pale brown on the sides and behind ; wings and tail barred with blackish 
and light brown ; flanks barred with dusky ; throat and middle of belly 
whitish. Length, 4^ ; wing and tail, about if; bill, not long and very 
slender ; tarsus, middle toe and claw, together ij. 

HAB. Eastern United States and Southern British Provinces, west to 
the Plains. Winters in the Gulf States and southward. 



Nest, similar to that of the Long-billed species, but sometimes placed 
near the ground ; no mud used in the structure. 

Eggs, 6 to 8 ; pure white, unspotted, 

Never having happened to meet with the Short-billed Marsh 
Wren in any of my excursions, I consider it to be either locally 
distributed or less abundant than the Long- billed species, which 
is common in all the marshes in Southern Ontario. 

Throughout Northern New England the Short-billed species 
is a common summer resident, and Mr, Seton speaks of it as 
being " abundant all over " in Western Manitoba. It is prob- 
able therefore that it is a summer resident in Ontario, but so 
few people follow these little birds into their marshy haunts 
that, at present, their history here is somewhat obscure. Mr. 
Saunders says it is found in the marshes along the River St. 
Clair, and he has a set of eggs which were taken in a marsh 
near Toronto, As the number of collectors increase we shall, 
no doubt, learn more about these retiring little birds. 


Long-billed Marsh Wren. 

Dark brown above, crown and middle of the back blackish, nearly everywhere 
conspicuoiisly streaked with white; below buffy- white, shading into pale brown 
on the sides and behind ; wings and tail barred with blackish and light brown ; 
flanks barred with dusky ; throat and middle of belly whitish. Length, 4^ ; 
wing and tail, about if ; bill, not long and very slender ; tarsus, middle toe 
and claw, together i. 

HAB. Southern British America and the United States, south in winter 
to Guatemala. 

Nest, a large globular mass of coarse grass and rushes loosely laced 
together, sometimes plastered with mud and fastened to the reeds ; warmly 
lined with fine soft grass ; entrance by a hole in one side. 

Eggs, 6 to 10 ; variable in shade, but usually so thickly spotted with 
chocolate-brown as to appear uniformly of that color. 

A common summer resident found in suitable places through- 
out Ontario. Near Hamilton it breeds in all the inlets around 



the bay, and it is seen from the beginning of May till the end of 
August, climbing, hopping and swaying itself to and fro among 
the reeds in all conceivable postures. In the spring it appears 
to be continually under great nervous excitement, which it works 
off in nest building, often constructing two or three when only 
one is required. So large a number of nests, when observed, 
gives the impression that the birds breed in colonies, but I have 
not noticed this to be the case. All the nests I have seen have 
been so placed that they could only be reached by wading or in a 
boat, and sometimes they were among the reeds on a quaking 
bog where approach was impossible. 

Their mode of migration is a mystery. We are accustomed 
to say that they retire to the south early in September, but how 
do they travel ? Do they rise in flocks like Swallows and go off 
during the night, or do they make the long journey from the 
Saskatchewan, where they were seen by Richardson, south to 
Guatemala, flitting singly or in pairs from bush to bush ? In 
either case it is strange that they are seldom, if ever, seen except 
in the marshy tracts where they spend the summer. 



288. Brown Creeper. 726. 

Plumage above singularly barred with dusky, whitish, tawny or fulvous- 
brown and bright brown latter chiefly on the rump ; below white, either 
pure or soiled, and generally brownish washed behind ; wings dusky, oddly 
varied with tawny or whitish bars and spots ; tail plain, about 5^ ; wir?g and 
tail, about 2 . 

HAS. North America in general ; breeding from the northern and more 
elevated parts of the United States north ward, migrating southward in winter. 

Nest, nearly always in a crevice where the bark is partially separated 
from the trunk of a tree. 

Eggs, 5 to 8 ; dull white, spotted with reddish-brown. 

This singular little bird is seen in Southern Ontario at nearly 
all seasons, but it is most abundant during the period of migra- 



tion. About the end of April and beginning of May it be- 
comes quite common in the woods, and is seen flitting like a 
great moth from tree to tree, or winding its spiral way upward 
on a trunk, uttering its simple note so descriptive of the motion, 
creep, creep, creep. In summer a pair may be seen occasion- 
ally in more favored spots, evidently nesting, but at that season 
they are quite rare. Early in September they again become 
numerous, in company with other migrants who are travelling 
southward, and in the depth of winter I have occasionally seen 
them mixed up with a small band composed of Chickadees, 
Downy Woodpeckers, Nuthatches and Golden Crown Kinglets. 
These birds seem to find pleasure in each other's society, when 
they spend the short, sharp days of winter in some sheltered 
patch of evergreens. 



White-breasted Nuthatch. 

Back, rump and middle tail-feathers ashy-blue; crown and nape glossy 
black, restricted or wanting in the young and many females; tail, except as 
above, black, spotted with white; beneath and sides of head white; flanks and 
under tail-coverts rusty-brown ; wings varied, black, blue and white. Length, 
6; wing, 3^; tail, 2. 

HAB. Southern British Provinces and Eastern United States to the 
Rocky Mountains. 

Nest, a hole in a tree, sometimes a natural cavity, or again dug by the 
birds with great labor; lined with hair and feathers. 

Eggs, 4 to 6; white, spotted thickly with reddish-brown. 

This is one of the few birds which remain with us summer 
and winter. It is quite a common species, well known to all 
who have occasion to be in the woods in spring, when it is 
seen climbing nimbly about, or hanging head downwards on the 
bark of a tree. In the winter time the country lads who are 
chopping in the bush, listen with pleasure to its familiar quank, 



quank, which is often the only evidence of animal life observed, 
As a climber it has few equals, its long hind claw enabling it to 
travel head downwards, a feat which the Woodpeckers do not 
attempt. Its food consists chiefly of insects, which it finds 
lurking in the crevices of the bark. It is also said to hide away 
nuts and acorns in the holes of trees, a habit which may at first 
have suggested its name. 

Red-breasted Nuthatch. 

Above dark ashy-blue, tail as in carolinensis ; below rusty-brown ; wings 
plain ; crown and nape glossy black, bordered by white superciliary line ; a 
black line from bill through and widening beyond the eye. 

HAB. North America at large, breeding mostly north of the United 
States, migrating south in winter. 

Nest, in a hole in a stub, about 8 inches deep, warmly lined with 
down and feathers. 

Eggs, said to be similar to those of the White-bellied Nuthatch, but rather 
less in size. 

As compared with the White-bellied Nuthatch, this is more 
migratory in its habits, being seen in Southern Ontario only in 
spring and fall, and is not at any time numerous. I have been 
accustomed to think that those we get in the fall with the red- 
breast were in full plumage, but recent observers state that 
when in mature dress the lower parts are dirty white, 
slightly shaded with brown on the sides, and that only 
young birds have the lower parts uniform rusty-brown. 
While here they are very active, showing a decided partiality 
for the upper parts of pine trees, where they, no doubt, find 
something to suit their taste. The note resembles that of the 
White-bellied species, but is softer, weaker and more frequently 
repeated. It arrives during the first week of May, and is lost 
sight of again in September. 








Above brownish-ash ; crown and nape, chin and throat black ; beneath 
white, brownish on sides; wing and tail-feathers more or less whitish edged. 
Length, 5 ; wing and tail, 2%. 

HAS. Eastern North America, north of the Potomac and Ohio Valleys. 

Nest, a hole appropriated or dug by the birds in a dead tree or stump, 
not usually very high up ; lined with hair, grass, moss, wool, feathers, etc. 

Eggs, 6 to 8 ; white, speckled and spotted with reddish-brown, chiefly 
toward the larger end. 

In Southern Ontario the Chickadee is one of our most 
familiar resident birds. During the breeding season it retires 
to the woods, but at other times it is seen in little troops visiting 
the shade trees and orchards in the city, searching the crevices 
for insects, and uttering its familiar chickadee, dee, dee, so well 
known to all the boys. It has also another note, or rather two 
notes, one quite high which drops suddenly to one much lower, 
soft and prolonged, and probably both convey a meaning to 
the ears for which they are intended. During the severity of 
winter they are most frequently seen in tamarack swamps, 
where they, no doubt, find both food and shelter. 

Hudsonian Chickadee. 

Crown, nape and upper parts generally clear hair brown or ashy-brown, 
with a slight shade of olive, the coloration quite the same on back and crown, 
and continuous, not being separated by any whitish nuchal interval; throat 
quite black, in restricted area, not extending backward on sides of neck, sep- 
arated from the brown crown by silky white on side of the head, this white 
not reaching back of the auriculars to the sides of the nape ; sides, flanks and 
under tail-coverts washed with dull chestnut or rusty-brown ; other under 
parts whitish ; quills and tail-feathers lead color, as in other Titmice, scarcely 
or slightly edged with whitish ; little or no concealed white on the rump ; 
bill black ; feet dark. Size of P. atricapilhis or rather less. 



HAB. Northern North America, from the more elevated parts of the 
Northern United States (Northern New England, Northern New York, 
Northern Michigan, etc.,) northward. 

The home of the Hudsonian Tit, as its name implies, is in 
the Hudson's Bay country. It is also comn on in Labrador, and 
I have seen it on the banks of the Lower St. Lawrence, travel- 
ling in little troops from tree to tree, much after the manner of 
our familiar Chickadee. It is truly a northern species, but as 
it has been found in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hamp- 
shire, I think it will yet be found in the districts of Parry Sound 
and Muskoka. At present, the only record I have of its pre- 
sence in Ontario is that given by Mr. W. L. Scott, in "The 
Auk" for April, 1884, page 157, where he mentions having seen 
one quite near the city of Ottawa, on the 3ist October. In the 
same article it is said to be a rare winter visitor to that 





Golden-crowned Kinglet. 

General color as in calendula. Crown bordered in front and on 
sides by black, inclosing a yellow and flame-colored patch (in the male ; 
in the female the scarlet is wanting) ; extreme forehead and line over the eye 
whitish. Young, if ever without traces of black on the head, may be told 
from the next species by smaller size and the presence of a tiny bristly feather 
overlying the nostril ; this wanting in calendula. Size of calendula. 

HAB North America generally, breeding in the northern and elevated 
parts of the United States and northward, migrating south in winter to 

Nest, in appearance resembling a ball of moss ; it is open at the top, the 
cavity warmly lined with feathers ; fastened to the outer twig of a branch, 
6 to 8 feet from the ground. 

Eggs, 10 ; ground color white, with numerous shell marks of purplish- 
slate and a few superficial markings of deep buff, making the whole appear 
of a cream color. 



An abundant winter resident, appearing in November and 
remaining till April. During the severe weather in Feb- 
ruary and March, when the mercury is near zero, it is really 
surprising to see these tiny, feathered creatures, full of anima- 
tion, flitting about among the evergreens, uttering their cheerful 
notes of encouragement to their companions, and digging out 
their insect food from the crevices of the bark. On these 
occasions they are usually accompanied by Chickadees, 
Downy Woodpeckers and White-bellied Nuthatches, making 
a merry company nowise discouraged by the severity of the 

The Gold-crest is known to breed in Northern New England, 
a nest containing young having been found by Mr. H. D. Minot 
in a forest of evergreens and birches on the White Mountains of 
New Hampshire, on the i6th of July, 1876. I once met with a 
pair, evidently mated, who were located in a swamp in West 
Flamboro' about the end of June. I did not persevere in seek- 
ing the nest, though I felt sure it was close at hand. That is 
the only time I have seen the species here in summer. 

Ruby-crowned Kinglet. 

Above greenish-olive, below whitish, wings and tail dusky, edged with 
greenish or yellowish ; wing-coverts whitish tipped ; crown with a rich scarlet 
patch in both sexes (but wanting in both the first year), no black about head ; 
bill and feet black. Length, 4-4^; wing, 2^-2^ ; tail ij-if. 

HAB. North America, south to Guatemala, north to the Arctic coast, 
breeding mostly north of the United States. 

Nest, large for the size of the bird, a mass of matted hair, grass, moss 
and feathers, placed on the bough of a tree. 

Eggs, unknown. 

In Southern Ontario the Ruby-crown is a regular migrant in 
spring and fall, but in summer or winter it has not been observed. 

During the latter part of August and beginning of Septem- 
ber, these little birds are exceedingly abundant, although from 
their small size and the weak, lisping note they utter at this 



season, their numbers can be estimated only by close observa- 
tion. I was once caught in the rain in the woods in the month 
of April, and took shelter in a clump of evergreens, which I 
found was in possession of a flock of Ruby-crowns. When the 
clouds passed away and a light breeze shook the sparkling drops 
from the foliage, I was delighted to hear some of the Kinglets 
indulge in a song of considerable compass and duration. It was 
more full, soft and musical than anything I have ever heard from 
so small a bird. At that season their stay is short ; sometimes 
they are seen only during two or three days, but in the fall they 
travel more leisurely. Their breeding ground is far north. 
The only description I have seen of a nest is that of one found 
in Colorado. It was placed on the bough of a spruce about 15 
feet from the ground, and contained five young birds and one egg. 


Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. 

Above ashy-blue, bluer on the head, lighter on the rump ; forehead and 
line over eye black, wanting in the female ; ring around the eye and under parts 
whitish ; outer tail-feather, except at base, two-thirds the second and tip of 
third white, rest of tail black. Length, 4^ ; wing, 2 ; tail, 2^. 

HAB. Middle and southern portions of the United States, from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific, south in winter to Guatemala, Cuba and the Bahamas ; 
rare north toward the Great Lakes, Southern New York and Southern New 
England, straggling north to Massachusetts and Maine. 

Nest, a model of bird architecture, compact-walled and contracted at the 
brim, elegantly stuccoed with lichens fixed to slender twigs at a height vary- 
ing from 10 to 50 or 60 feet from the ground. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; white, speckled with reddish, umber-brown and lilac. 

The Gnatcatcher is, I believe, a regular summer resident in 
Southern Ontario, though apparently locally distributed and 
not very abundant. There is one particular patch of bush 
where I usually see this species every spring, but elsewhere I have 
not observed it. Mr. Dickson finds it regularly at Waterdown, 



and Mr. Saunders reports it as not very rare near London. It 
keeps mostly to the tops of tall trees, and might readily be over- 
looked by any one not acquainted with its habits. 

In the breeding season it is said to have a pleasing song, 
and it shows considerable spirit in driving off intruders from the 
neighborhood of its nest. 






Wood Thrush. 

Above bright tawny, shading into olive on rump and tail ; beneath white, 
everywhere except throat and belly, with large distinct spots of dusky ; bill 
dusky above, yellowish below ; legs flesh-colored. Length, 7^ inches ; wing, 
4 I tail, 3. 

HAB. Eastern United States to the Plains, north to Southern Michigan, 
Ontario and Massachusetts, south in winter to Guatemala and Cuba. 

Nest, in a sapling or low tree, seldom more than 20 feet from the ground ; 
composed of twigs, leaves, grass, rootlets and moss, cemented together with 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; deep greenish-blue. 

The Wood Thrush is a shy, retiring songster, little known 
except to those who are fond of rambling in the woods in spring 
time. The favorite resort of the species is in moist beech 
woods, where the clear, flute-like notes of the male may be 
heard in the early morning, and also toward sunset, during the 
months of May and June. Were the song of the Wood Thrush 
continuous, the bird would take the highest rank amcng the 
songsters of the grove. Its tones are loud and fi 1 !! of 
liquid tenderness, but they suddenly break off short, which to 
us is a matter of regret. 



Early in May they arrive from the south, and are soon 
generally distributed over Southern Ontario ; but they are some- 
what fastidious in their choice of a summer residence, and are 
absent from many clumps of bush where we should expect to 
find them. They avoid the dwellings of man, and seem most at 
home in the retirement of the woods, where they raise their 
young. During September they all move off to the south. 

Wilson's Thrush. 

Above uniform tawny ; below white, olive shaded on sides and strong ful- 
vous tint on breast ; breast and sides of neck with small dusky spots. Length, 
about 7 ; wing, 4; tail, 3. 

HAB. Eastern United States to the Plains, north to Manitoba, Ontario, 
Anticosti and Newfoundland. 

Nest, on or near the ground ; composed of grass, leaves and rootlets, 
rather loosely put together. 

Eggs, 4 to 5; greenish-blue, unspotted. 

With the exception of the Robin, the Veery is the most 
numerous of the Thrushes which visit Southern Ontario. It 
arrives here during the first week in May, and for a few days is 
quite common in the woods everywhere. Many soon pass on 
farther north to breed, but some remain and locate themselves 
among the undergrowth in moist uncleared places, where they 
spend the summer. On their first arrival they remain for a few 
days quietly in the woods, but as soon as nesting begins the 
clear, loud veery is heard at all hours of the day. The song has 
a sharp metallic ring, and at first is pleasant to listen to, but 
when heard in some favored locality, where several males are 
answering each other, it becomes monotonous through fre- 
quent repetition. It is rather a tender bird, and is one of the 
first to move off in the fall. The young are able to shift for 
themselves in August, and by the end of September all are gone. 

298. TURDUS ALICIA (BAIRD.). 757. 
Gray-cheeked Thrush. 

Similar to the preceding, but without any buffy tint about head, nor 
yellowish ring around eye ; averaging a trifle larger, with longer, slenderer 



HAB. Eastern North America, west to the Plains and Alaska, north to 
the Arctic coast, south in winter to Costa Rica. Breeds chiefly north of the 
United States. 

Nest and eggs, similar to those of the Olive-backed Thrush. 

It is still a question with many Ornithologists whether this 
should be separated from the Olive-back, or regarded as only a 
variety of that species. The Committee of the A. O. U. has 
decided to separate it as above, and I quite agree with the 
decision, for the few I have found could be identified at once by 
the description. When seen in the woods it resembles the 
Olive-back so closely that, till well acquainted with its appear- 
ance, it is difficult to tell the one from the other. On this 
account we cannot with certainty say which is the more numer- 
ous ; but so far as I can judge, the proportion of the Gray- 
cheeked species which pass this way is not more than one to 
two of the other. Dr. Coues regards it as the northern form of 
the Olive-back, and suggests that this difference in the breeding 
range produces the change in size and color, which are regarded 
as specific distinctions. Like all the other Thrushes it most 
likely is musical at home, but here it comes and goes in silence. 

Olive-backed Thrush. 

Above uniform greenish-olive ; below white, olive shaded on sides ; sides 
of head, throat, neck and breast strongly tinged with buff; breast and throat 
thickly marked with large dusky olive spots. Length, about 7 ; wing, 3^ ; tail, 3 

HAB. Eastern North America and westward to the Upper Columbia 
River and East Humboldt Mountains, straggling to the Pacific coast. Breeds 
mostly north of the United States. 

Nest, in a tree or bush, 6 or 8 feet from the ground ; composed of rootlets, 
leaves and moss. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; greenish-blue, freckled with brown. 

In Southern Ontario the Olive-backed Thrush is a regular 
visitor during the season of migration, appearing in small 
companies about the loth of May, and remaining till about the 
25th of the same month, after which none are seen till they return 
in the fall. While here they frequent low, moist woods, and 



spend much of their time on the ground, where their food at 
this season is evidently obtained. When at home, near their 
nest, the male is said to have a very pleasing song, which he 
takes delight in repeating, but while here they have only a low, 
soft call-note, easily recognized in the woods, but difficult to 

The return trip begins toward the end of September, and 
continues for about three weeks. At this time the birds move 
leisurely, and as they fare sumptiously on different sorts of 
wild berries they get to be in excellent condition, both as regards 
flesh and plumage. We occasionally fall in with individuals of 
this species much below the average size, and with the lower parts 
more deeply suffused with buff. Dr. Wheaton has also observed 
these little fellows, and suggests that they may be a local, 
southern-bred race. The distribution of this species during the 
breeding season is not yet clearly defined, but in Southern Ontario 
none have been observed except in spring and fall. 

Hermit Thrush. 

Above olive, shading into rufous on rump and tail ; below white, olive 
shaded on sides ; sides of head, eyelids, neck and breast strongly tinged with 
buff; throat and breast marked with large dusky-olive spots. Length, about 
7j ; wing, 3 J ; tail, 3- 

HAB. Eastern North America; breeding from the Northern United 
States northward, and wintering from the Northern States southward. 

Nest, on the ground, sometimes slightly above it ; composed of weeds, 
leaves, rootlets and grass. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; greenish-blue, without spots. 

The Hermit Thrush is a regular visitor in spring and fall, 
arriving a few days before the Olive-back, and making but a 
short stay, although it probably does not go so far north to 
breed as the latter species. Referring to the Hermit, the follow- 
ing occurs in the " List of Birds of Western Ontario :" 
" Found common in full song in a large swamp, June 22nd, 
1882. No nest found, although it was undoubtedly breeding. 
None observed in summer in any other locality." 



At home, the habits of the Hermit are in keeping with its 
name. Among the dense shrubbery in some retired spot it 
builds its nest and raises its young ; there too it pours forth its 
sweet song on the " desert air," where very few have been priv- 
ileged to hear it. During the seasons of migration the birds 
come more into the open country, but they are at all times shy 
and fond of concealment. On these occasions they have only a 
simple call note, apparently used to tell their companions where 
they are. 


American Robin. 

Above dark olive-gray, blackish on head and tail ; below reddish-brown, 
throat, vent and under tail-coverts white, throat with black streaks ; outer 
pair of tail-feathers white tippsd ; bill dusky above, yellow below ; feet dark ; 
very young birds spotted above and below. Length, g inches; wing, 5^; 
tail, 4j. 

HAS. Eastern North America to the Rocky Mountains, including East- 
ern Mexico and Alaska. Breeds from near the southern border of the United 
States northward to the Arctic coast ; winters from Southern Canada and 
the Northern States (irregularly) southward. 

Nest, in a tree, frequently an apple tree in an orchard ; large and rough 
looking ; composed of twigs, grass and weeds cemented together with mud ; 
lined with fine grass. 

Eggs, 4 to 5 ; plain greenish-blue, without spots. 

The Robin is well known and widely distributed throughout 
Ontario. In the south it is most abundant during the period of 
migration, but great numbers breed all over the Province, and 
along the southern border it is no uncommon thing to meet with 
individuals spending the winter in sheltered hollows, from which 
they are ready to start out and hail the first indications of return- 
ing spring. As the season advances, northern bound individuals 
of this species arrive from the south and pass on with little 
delay, but those which are satisfied to remain at once become 
engaged in the great business of the season, viz., raising their 
young. The males are the first to arrive, and are occasionally 



heard rehearsing their summer song, being evidently somewhat 
out of practice. In a few days the females make their appear- 
ance and receive every attention. 

The site for the nest is soon selected, and both birds work 
diligently till the structure is completed. The first set of eggs 
is layed in April, and during the tedious days of incubation the 
male often mounts his perch to cheer his faithful mate with 
what to her may seem delightful strains of music. On human 
ears the song does not fall as a first-class performance, but it 
is given with great earnestness and liberality, and is greeted 
with welcome as the prelude to the grand concert of bird music 
which is soon to be heard in the woods and fields all over the 
country. At this season the food of the Robin consists chiefly 
of worms and various insects. It is a fine exhibition of bird life 
to seehim, early in the dewy morning, hop daintly over the newly 
cut grass to where an earth worm is exposing himself near the 
surface. With his head on one side the bird watches every 
wriggle of the worm with intense interest ; if it is well clear of 
the ground it is seized, and with a jerk thrown clear of its hole, 
but if only a part of the worm is exposed the course is different ; 
it is seized quickly and held firmly while it struggles hard to get 
into its hole. Robin knows that now a sudden jerk will part the 
animal and give him only a portion, but he knows how much 
strain the material will bear, and so he holds on till the exhausted 
worm relaxes its hold, is tossed out and pounded till fit for use. 

As the season advances a second and even a third brood of young 
may be raised. The birds acquire a fondness for fruit, and now 
come the charges against them of robbing the cherry tree. No 
doubt they do take a few for themselves and families, but after 
all they are entitled to some consideration on account of the 
numbers of noxious insects which they destroy in the garden, and 
for my own part I would sacrifice a good many cherries rather 
than not have the Robins around the house. 

Those which travel to the far north have a different experi- 
ence. Dr. Richardson tells us that " The male is one of the 
loudest and most assidious songsters which frequent the Fur 
Countries, beginning his chant immediately on his arrival. 



Within the Arctic circle the woods are silent during the bright 
light of noonday, but towards midnight when the sun travels 
near the horizon, and the shades of the forest are lengthened, 
the concert commences, and continues till 6 or 7 in the morning. 
Nests have been found as high as the 54th parallel of latitude 
about the beginning of June. The snow even then partially 
covers the ground, but there are in these high latitudes abund- 
ance of berries of vaccinium ugliginosum and vites idea, arbutus 
alpina, empetsum nigrum, and of some other plants, which, after 
having been frozen up all winter, are exposed by the first melt- 
ing of the snow, full of juice and in high flavor, thus forming a 
natural cache for the supply of the birds on their arrival, soon 
after which their insect food becomes abundant." 

In Southern Ontario large numbers are seen congregating 
together feeding on the berries of the mountain ash, poke weed, 
red cedar, etc. If the weather is mild they remain till Novem- 
ber, but usually we have a cold blast from the north in October, 
which hustles them all off to their winter quarters in the south. 

302. SIALIA SIALIS (LINN.). 766. 

Male, uniform sky-blue above, reddish-brown below, belly white. Female, 
duller. Young, spotted. 

HAB. Eastern United States to the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains, 
north to Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia, south in winter from the 
Middle States to the Gulf States and Cuba. Bermudas resident. 

Nest, in natural or artificial holes in trees, stubs or posts, or in bird 
boxes ; composed of miscellaneous material, loosely put together. 

Eggs, 4 to 6 ; pale blue, unmarked. 

In former years the Bluebirds were among our most abundant 
and familiar birds, raising their young near our dwellings, and 
returning year after year to occupy the boxes put up for their 
accommodation. Since the advent of the English Sparrow, they 
have been gradually decreasing in numbers, and are now seldom 
seen near their old haunts, from which they have been driven by 


that pugnacious tramp, passer domesticus. They are still com- 
mon throughout the country, where they are everywhere welcomed 
as early harbingers of spring, and in the fall they linger till late 
in October, as if loth to depart. This species was a special 
favorite with Wilson, on account of which it is often spoken of 
as Wilson's Bluebird, to distinguish it from the Indigo bird, and 
one or two other species to which the name is sometimes applied. 

That enthusiastic lover of birds has made it the subject of 
one of his pleasing poetical effusions, in which he faithfully 
describes many of its habits, amongst others its early arrival in 
spring and reluctant departure in the fall. With a short extract 
from this production I will say good-bye, for the present, to the 
"Birds of Ontario." 

" When all the gay scenes of the summer are o'er, 
And autumn slow enters so silent and sallow, 
And millions of warblers which charmed us before 
Have fled in the train of the sun-seeking Swallow. 
The Bluebird forsaken, yet true to its home, 
Still lingers and looks for a milder to-morrow, 
Till forced by the [rigors] of winter to roam, 
It sings its adieu in a lone note of sorrow." 




LENGTH. Distance between the tip of the bill and the end of the longest 

tail feather. 

EXTENT. Distance between the tips of the outspread wings. 
LENGTH OF WING. Distance from the carpal angle formed at the bend 

of the wing to the end of the longest primary. 
LENGTH OF TAIL. Distance from the roots of the tail-feathers to the 

end of the longest one. 
LENGTH OF BILL. From the tip of the upper mandible to the point 

where it meets the feathers of the forehead. 
LENGTH OF TARSUS. Distance from the point where the tarsus joins 

the leg above to the point where it joins the middle toe below. 
LENGTH OF TOES. Distance from the point last indicated along the top 

to the root of the claw. 
LENGTH OF CLAWS. Distance in a straight line from the point last 

indicated to the tip of the claw. 

ABERRANT. Deviating from ordinary character. 

ACUMINATE. Tapering gradually to a point. 

ALBINISM. State of whiteness complete or partial arising from defici- 
ency or entire lack of pigment in the skin and its appendages. 

ALULA. Little wing. The bastard wing, composed of the feathers which 
are set on the so-called thumb. 

ATTENUATE. Slender and tapering toward a sharp point. 

A.XILLARS. Elongated feathers on the sides of the body under the wings. 


BAND OR BAR. Any color mark transverse to the long axis of the body 
BEND OF WING. Angle formed at carpus in the folded wing. 



CANTHUS. Corner of the eye where the lids meet. 

CAROTID. The principal blood vessel of the neck. 

CARPAL ANGLE. Prominence at the wrist joint when wing is closed. 

From this point to the end of the longest quill constitutes the " length 

of wing." 

CERE. Fleshy covering of the base of the bill. 
CERVICAL. Pertaining to the hind neck. 
CHIN. Space between the forks of the lower jaws. 
CLAVICLE. Collar bone. 

COMMISSURE. Line where the two mandibles meet. 
CRISSUM. Under tail-coverts. 
CULMEN. Ridge of upper mandible. 
CUNEATE. Wedge-shaped. A cuneatetail has the middle feathers longest. 

DECIDUOUS. Temporary; falling early. 
DECOMPOSED. Separate; standing apart. 
DENTIROSTRAL. Having the bill toothed or notched. 
DIAGNOSTIC. Distinctively characteristic. 
DORSAL. Pertaining to the back. 


EMARGINATE. Notched at the end ; slightly forked. 
ERYTHRISM. A peculiar reddish state of plumage. 

FALCATE. Sickle-shaped. 

FEMORAL. Pertaining to the thigh. 

FERRUGINOUS. Rusty-red. 

FISSIROSTRAL. Having the bill cleft far beyond the base of its horny 


FORFICATE. Deeply forked. 
FULIGINOUS. Sooty-brown. 
FULVOUS. Of a brownish-yellow color. 
FURCATE. Forked. 
FUSCOUS. Of a dark grayish-brown color. 

GIBBOUS. Swollen ; protuberant. 

GONYS. Keel or lower outline of the bill so far as united. 
GRADUATED. Changing length at regular intervals. 
GULAR. Pertaining to the upper fore neck. 
GUTTATE. Having drop-shaped spots. 



HALLUX The hind toe. 

IMBRICATED. Fixed shingle-wise ; overlapping. 
INTERSCAPULAR. Between the shoulders. 

JUGULUM. Lower throat. 

LAMELLA. A thin plate or scale such as are seen inside a duck's bill. 

LANCEOLATE. Shaped like the head of a lance. 

LARYNX. Adam's apple ; a hollow cartilaginous organ; a modification of 

the windpipe. 

LOBE. Membraneous flap chiefly on the toes. 
LORE. Space between the eye and the bill. 


MAXILLAR. Pertaining to the upper jaw. 

MELANISM. State of coloration arising from excess of dark pigment; a 

frequent condition of Hawks. 
MEMBRANE. Soft skinny covering of the bill of some birds. 


NUCHA. The upper part of the hind neck next the hind head. 


OSCINES. A group of singing birds. 
OCCIPUT. The hind head. 


PALMATE. Web-footed. 

PARASITIC. Habitually making use of other birds nests. 
PECTINATE. Having tooth-like projections like those of a comb. 
PECTORAL. Pertaining to the breast. 
PLUMBEOUS. Lead color. 

PRIMARIES. The large, stiff quills growing on the first bone of the wing ; 
usually nine or ten, sometimes eleven in number. 

REMIGES. Quills of the wing. 
RETRICES. Quills of the tail. 
RICTUS. Gape of the mouth. 



SAGG1TATE. Shaped like an arrow-head. 
SCAPULARS. Long feathers rising from the shoulders and covering the 

sides of the back. 

SECONDARIES. Quills which grow on the second bone of the wing. 
SECONDARY COVERTS. The wing-feathers which cover the bases of 

ths secondary quills. 

SEMIPALMATE. Having the feet half-webbed. 
SERRATE. Toothed like a saw. 

SPEC ULUM. A brightly colored spot of the secondaries, especially of du cks . 
SPURIOUS QUILL. The first primary when very short. 
SUPERCILIARY. Pertaining to the eyebrows. 


TAIL-COVERTS. The small feathers underlying or overlaying the base of 

the tail. 

TARSI. The shanks of the legs. 
TERT1ALS. Feathers which grow from the second bone of the wing at the 

elbow joint. 
TIBIA. The thigh. 


Anas boschas, 34 

obscura, 35 

strepera, 36 

americana. 37 

carolinensis, 38 

discors, 39 
Aix sponsa, 42 
Aythya americana, 43 

valiisneria, 44 

marila nearctica, 45 

affinis, 46 

collaris, 47 

Anser albifrons gambeli, 60 
Ardea herodias, 69 

egretta, 70 

candidissima, 71 

virescens, 72 
Actitis macularia, 108. 
jEgialitis vocifera, 114. 

semipalmata, 115 

meloda, 116 

nivosa, 117 

Arenaria interpres, 118 
Accipiter velox, 133 

cooperi, 134 

atricapillus, 135 
Archibuteo lagopus sancti-Johannis, 


Aquila chrysaetos, 141 
Asio wilsonianus, 148 
accipitrinus, 149 
Antrostomus vociferus, 170 
Agelaius phoeniceus, 193 
Acanthis hornemannii exilipes, 204 
linaria, 205 

linaria holbcellii, 206 
linaria rostrata, 207 
Ammodramus sandwichensis sava- 
nna, 213 
Ammodramus savannarum passeri- 

nus, 214 
Ampelis garrulus, 239 

cedrorum, 240 
! Anthus pensilvanicus, 280 

Branta canadensis, 61 

canadensis hutchinsii, 62 

bernicla, 63 
Botaurus lentiginosus, 67 

exilis, 68 

Bartramia longicauda, 106 
Bonasa umbellus, 122 
Buteo borealis, 136 

lineatus, 137 

swainsoni, 138 

latissimus, 139 
Bubo virginianus, 155 


Colymbus holbrellii, i 

auritus, 2 

Nigricollis californicus, 3 
Cepphus grylle, 9 
Charitonetta albeola, 50 
Clangula hyemalis, 51 
Chen hyperborea nivalis, 59 
Crymophilus fulicarius, 81 
Calidris arenaria, 98 
Charadrius squatarola, 112 

dominicus, 113 
Colinus virginianus, 119 
Cathartes aura, 130 


Circus hudsonius, 132 
Coccyzus americanus, 158 

erythrophthalmus, 159 
Ceryle alcyon, 160 
Ceophlceus pileatus, 166 
Colaptes auratus, 169 
Chordeiles virginianus, 171 
Chaetura pelagica, 172 
Contopus borealis, 178 

virens, 179 

Cyanocitta cristata, 186 
Corvus corax sinuatus, 188 

americanus, 189 
Coccothraustes vespertina, 199 
Carpodacus purpureus, 201 
Calcarius lapponicus, 211 
Chondestes grammacus, 215 
Cardinalis cardinalis, 227 
Chelidon erythrogaster, 235 
Clivicola ripara, 237 
Compsothlypis americana, 254 
Cistothorus stellaris, 286 

palustris, 287 
Certhia familiaris americana, 288 

Dafila acuta, 41 

Dendragapus obscurus richardsonii, 

canadensis, 121 
Dryobates villosus, 161 

pubescens, 162 
Dolichonyx oryzivorus, 190 
Dendroica tigrina, 255 

aestiva, 256 

casrulescens, 257 

coronata, 258 

maculosa, 259 

caerulea, 260 

pensylvanica, 261 

castanea, 262 

striata, 263 

blackburniae, 264 

virens, 265 

vigorsii, 266 

palmarum, 267 

palmarum hypochrysea, 268 

Erismatura rubida, 58 
Ereunetes pusillus, 97 
Ectopistes migratorius, 128 
Elanoides forficatus, 131 
Empidonax flaviventris, 180 

pusillus, 181 

minimus, 182 

Fratercula arctica, 8 
Fulica americana, 80 
Falco peregrinus anatum, 143 

columbarius, 144 

sparverius, 145 


Gavia alba, 12 

Glaucionetta clangula americana, 48 

islandica, 49 
Grus mexicana, 74 
Gallinula galeata, 79 
Gallinago delicata, 86 
Geothlypis agilis, 272 

Philadelphia, 273 

trichas, 274 
Galeoscoptes carolinensis, 282 


Hydrochelidon nigra surinamensis, 

Histrionicus histrionicus, 52 
Haliasetus leucocephalus, 142 
Habia ludoviciana, 228 
Helminthophila chrysoptera, 250 

ruficapilla, 251 

celata, 252 

peregrina, 253 
Harporhynchus rufus, 283 


Icterus spurius, 195 

galbula, 196 
Icteria virens, 275 

Junco hyemalis, 221 


L O 

Larus glaucus, 14 

marinus, 15 

argentatus smithsonianus, 16 

delawarensis, 17 

franklinii, 18 

Philadelphia, 19 
Lophodytes cucullatus, 33 
Limosa fedoa, 99 

hsemastica, TOO 
Lagopus lagopus, 123 

rupestris, 124 
Loxia Curvirostra minor, 202 

leucoptera, 203 
Lanius borealis, 241 

ludovicianus, 242 

e: cubitorides, 243 


Merganser americanus, 31 

serrator, 32 

Macrorhamphus griseus, 87 
Micropalama himantopus, 88 
Meleagris gallopavo, 127 
Megascops asio, 154 
Melanerpes erythrocephalus, 167 

carolinus, 168 
Milvulus forficatus, 174 
Myiarchus crinitus, 176 
Molothrus ater, 191 
Melospiza fasciata, 222 

lincolni, 223 

georgiana, 224 
Mniotilta varia, 249 
Mimus polyglottos, 281 
Merula migratoria, 301 


Mycticorax nycticorax naevius, 73 
Numenius longirostris, 109 

hudsonicus, no 

borealis, in 
Nyctala tengmalmi richardsoni, 152 

acadica 153 
Nyctea nyctea 156 

Oidemia americana, 55 

deglandi, 56 

perspicillata, 57 
Olor columbianus, 64 

buccinator, 65 
Otocoris alpestris, 183 

alpestris, praticola, 184 

Podilymbus podiceps, 4 
Phalacrocorax carbo, 28 

dilophus, 29 

Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, 30 
Plegadis autumalis, 66 
Porzana noveboracensis, 78 

Carolina, 77 
Phalaropus lobatus, 82 

tricolor, 83 
Philohela minor, 85 
Pavoncella pugnax, 105 
Pediocaetes phasianellus, 126 
Pandion haliaetus carolinensis, 146 
Picoides arcticus, 163 

americanus, 164 
Pica pica hudsonica, 185 
Perisoreus canadensis, 187 
Pinicola enucleator, 200 
Plectrophenax nivalis 210 
Poocaetes gramineus, 212 
Passerella iliaca, 225 
Pipilo erythrophthalmus, 226 
Passerina cyanea, 229 
Piranga erythromelas, 231 
Piranga rubra, 232 
Progne subis, 233 
Petrochelidon lunifrons, 234 
Parus atricapillus, 291 

hudsonicus, 292 
Polioptila caemlea, 295 

Quiscalus quiscula aeneus, 198 



Rissa tridactyla, 13 
Rallus elegans, 75 

virginianus, 76 
Recurvirostra americana, 84 
Regulus satrapa, 293 

calendula, 294 

Stercorarius pomarinus, n 
Sterna tschegrava, 20 

sandvicensis acuflavida, 21 
forsteri, 22 
hirundo, 23 

paradisaea, 24 

antillarum, 25 
Sula bassana, 27 
Spatula clypeata, 40 
Somateria dresseri, 53 

spectabilis, 54 

Symphemia semipalmata, 104 
Strix pratincola, 147 
Syrnium nebulosum, 150 
Surnia alula, 157 
Sphyrapicus varius, 165 
Sayornis phcebe, 177 
Sturnella magna, 194 
Scolecophagus carolinus, 197 
Spinus tristis, 208 

pinus, 209 
Spizella monticola, 218 

socialis, 219 

pusilla, 220 
Spiza americana, 230 
Stelgidopterix serripennis, 238 
Seiurus aurocapillus, 269 

noveboracensis, 270 

motocilla, 271 
Sylvania mitrata, 276 

pusilla, 277 

canadensis, 278 
Setophaga ruticilla, 279 
Sitta carolinensis, 289 

canadensis, 290 
Sialia sialis, 302 

Tringa canutus, 89 

maritima, 90 

maculata, 91 

fuscicollis, 92 

bairdii, 93 

minutilla, 94 

alpina pacifica, 95 

ferruginea, 96 
Totanus melanoleucus, 101 

flavipes, 102 

solitarius, 103 
Tryngites subruficollis, 107 
Tympanuchus americanus, 125 
Trochilus colubris, 173 
Tyrannus tyrannus, 175 
Tachycineta bicolor, 236 
Troglodytes aedon, 284 

hiemalis, 285 
Turdus mustelinus, 296 

fuscescens, 297 

aliciae, 298 

ustulatus swainsoni, 299 

aonalaschkae pallasii, 300 


Urinator imber, 5 

arcticus, 6 

Lumme, 7 
Uria lomvia, 10 
Ulula cinerea, 151 


Vireo olivaceus, 244 

philadelphicus, 245 
gilvus, 246 
flavifrons, 247 
solitarius, 248 


Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus, 192 

Zenaidura macroura, 129 
Zonotrichia leucophrys, 216 
albicollis, 217 


The number opposite each species in the index corresponds with that to 
the left of the same species in the book. 

The number to the right of the name in the book is the number of species 
in the A. O. U. Check List. 

Arctic Tern, 24 
Avjcet, 84 



Black Guillemot, 9 

Brunnich's Murre, 10 

Black-backed Gull, 15 

Bonaparte's Gull, ig 

Black Tern, 26 

Black Duck, 35 

Baldpate, 37 

Barrow's Golden Eye, 

Buffle-head Duck, 50 

Brant, 63 

Bittern, 67 
Least, 68 

Baird's Sandpiper, 93 

Bartram's Sandpiper, 106 

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, 107 

Black-bellied Plover, 112 

Bob White, 119 

Broad -winged Hawk, 139 

Bald Eagle, 142 

Barn Owl, 147 

Barred Owl, 150 

Black-billed Cuckoo, 159 

Belted Kingfisher, 160 

Black-backed Three-toed Wood- 
pecker, 163 

Banded-backed Three-toed Wood- 
pecker, 164 

Blue Jay, 186 
Bobolink, 190 
Black-bird, Yellow-headed, 192 

Rusty, 197 

Red-winged, 193 
Baltimore Oriole, 196 
Bronzed Crackle, 198 
Bunting Indigo, 229 

Black-throated, 230 
Barn Swallow, 235 
Bank Swallow, 237 
Bohemian Waxwing, 239 
Blue-headed Vireo, 248 
Black and White Warbler, 249 
Black-throated Blue Warbler, 257 
Bay-breasted Warbler, 262 
Black-poll Warbler, 263 
Blackburnian Warbler, 264 
Black-throated Green Warbler, 265 
Brown Thrasher, 283 
Brown Creeper, 288 
Black-capped Tit, 291 
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, 295 
Blue-bird, 302 

Caspian Tern, 20 
Cabot's Tern, 21 
Common Tern, 23 
Cormorant, 28 

Double-crested, 29 
Canvas-back, 44 


Canada Goose, 61 
Crane, Sandhill, 74 
Coot, 80 
Curlew Sandpiper, 96 

Long-billed, 109 

Hudsonian, no 

Eskimo, in 
Canada Grouse, 121 
Cooper's Hawk, 134 
Cuckoo, Yellow-billed, 158 

Black-billed, 159 
Chimney Swift, 172 
Crested Flycatcher, 176 
Canada Jay, 187 
Crow, 189 
Cowbird, 191 
Crossbill, Red, 202 

White-winged, 203 
Chipping Sparrow, 219 
Cardinal, 227 
Cliff Swallow, 234 
Cedar Waxwing, 240 
Cape May Warbler, 255 
Cerulean Warbler, 260 
Chestnut-sided Warbler, 261 
Connecticut Warbler, 272 
Canadian Warbler, 278 
Catbird, 282 
Creeper, Brown, 288 
Chickadee, 291 

Hudsonian, 292 


Dabchick, 4 

Double-crested Cormorant, 29 
Duck, Mallard, 34 

Black, 35 

Gadwail, 36 

Baldpate, 37 

Shoveller, 40 

Pintail, 41 

Wood, 42 

Redhead, 43 

Canvas-back, 44 

Scaup-back, 45 

Scaup, Lesser, 46 

Ring-necked, 47 

Golden Eye, 48 

Burrow's Eye, 49 

Buffle-head, 50 

Long-tailed, 51 

Harlequin, 52 

Eider, 53 

King Eider, 54 

Scoter, 55 

White-winged Scoter, 56 

Surf Scoter, 57 

Ruddy, 58 
Duck Hawk, 143 
Downy Woodpecker, 162 
Dowitcher, 87 


Eared Grebe, 3 
Eider Duck, 53 

King, 54 
Egret, White, 70 
Eskimo Curlew, in 
Eagle, Golden, 141 

Bald, 142 
Evening Grosbeak, 199 


Franklin's Gull, 18 
Forster's Tern, 22 
Florida Gallinule, 79 
Fish Hawk, 146 
Fly-catcher, Scissor-tailed, 174 

Tyrant, 175 

Great-crested, 176 

Phoebe, 177 

Olive-sided, 178 

Wood Peewee, 179 

Yellow-bellied, 180 

Traill's, 181 

Least, 182 
Finch, Purple, 201 
Field Sparrow, 220 
Fox Colored, 225 

Grebe, Holbcell's, i 

Horned, 2 

Eared, 3 

Pied-billed, 4 
Guillemot, Black, 9 


Gull, Ivory, 12 

Kit ti wake, 13 

Glaucous, 14 

Black-backed, 15 

Herring, 16 

Ring-billed, 17 

Franklin's, 18 

Bonaparte's, 19 
Glaucous Gull, 14 
Gannet, 27 
Goosander, 31 
Gadwall, 36 
Golden-eye, 48 

Barrow's, 49 
Goose, Greater Snow, 59 

White-fronted, 60 

Canada, 61 

Hutchin's, 62 
Glossy Ibis, 66 
Great Blue Heron, 69 
Green Heron, 72 
Gallinule, Florida, 79 
Godwit, Marbled, 99 

Hudsonian, 100 
Greater Yellow-legs, 101 
Golden Plover, 113 
Grouse, Richardson's, 120 

Canada, 121 

Ruffed, 122 

Sharp-tailed, 126 
Goshawk, 135 
Golden Eagle, 141 
Great Gray Owl, 151 
Great Horned Owl, 155 
Golden-winged Woodpecker, 169 
Grackle, Bronzed, 198 
Grosbeak, Evening, 199 

Pine, 200 

Rose-breasted, 228 
Greater Redpoll, 207 
Goldfinch, 208 
Grasshopper Sparrow, 214 
Golden-winged Warbler, 250 
Golden -crowned Kinglet, 293 
Gnatcatcher. Gray, 295 
Gray-cheeked Thrush, 298 


Holboell's Grebe, i 
Horned Grebe, 2 
Herring Gull, 16 
Hooded Merganser, 33 
Harlequin Duck, 52 
Hutchin's Goose, 62 
Heron, Great Blue, 69 

Snowy, 71 

Green, 72 

Night, 73 
Hudsonian Godwit, 100 

Curlew, no 
Hawk, Marsh, 132 

Sharp-shinned, 133 

Cooper's, 134 

Gos, 135 

Red- tailed, 136 

Red-shouldered, 137 

Swainson's, 138 

Broad- winged, 139 

Rough-legged, 140 

Duck, 143 

Pigeon, 144 

Sparrow, 145 

Fish, 146 
Hawk Owl, 157 
Hairy Woodpecker, 161 
Hummingbird, 173 
Horned Lark, 183 
Hoary Redpoll, 204 
Holbcell's Redpoll, 206 
Hooded Warbler, 276 
House Wren, 284 
Hudsonian Chickadee, 292 
Hermit Thrush, 300 


Ivory Gull, 12 
Ibis, Glossy, 66 
Indigo Bunting, 229 

Jaegar, Pomarine, n 
Jay, Blue, 186 

Canada, 187 
Junco, Slate-colored, 221 



Kittiwake, Gull, 13 

King Eider, 54 

King Rail, 75 

Killdeer Plover, 114 

Kite, Swallow-tailed, 131 

Kingfisher, 160 

King-bird, 175 

Kinglet, Golden-crowned, 293 

Ruby-crowned, 294 
Knot, 89 


Loon, 5 

Black-throated, 6 

Red-throated, 7 
Least Tern, 25 
Long-tailed Duck. 51 
Least Bittern, 68 
Least Sandpiper, 94 
Long-billed Curlew, 109 
Long-eared Owl, 148 
Least Flycatcher, 182 
Lark, Horned, 183 

Prairie, 184 
Linnet, Pine, 209 
Lapland Longspur, 211 
Lark Sparrow, 215 
Lincoln's Sparrow, 223 
Loggerhead Shrike, 242 
Louisiana Water Thrush, 271 
Long-billed Marsh Wren, 287 


Murre, Brunnich's, 10 
Merganser, American, 31 

Red-breasted, 32 

Hooded, 33 
Mallard, 34 
Marbled Godwit, 99 
Mourning Dove, 129 
Marsh Hawk, 132 
Magpie, 185 
Meadowlark, 194 
Martin, Purple, 233 
Myrtle Warbler, 258 
Magnolia Warbler, 259 

Mourning Warbler, 273 
Maryland Yellow-throat, 274 
Mockingbird, 281 


Night Heron, 73 
Northern Phalarope, 82 
Night Hawk, 171 
Northern Shrike, 241 
Nashville Warbler, 251 
Nuthatch, White-breasted, 289 
Red-breasted, 290 

Osprey, 146 
Owl, Barn, 147 

Long-eared, 148 

Short-eared, 149 

Barred, 150 

Great Gray, 151 

Richardson's, 152 

Saw-whet, 153 

Screech, 154 

Great Horned, 155 

Snowy, 156 

Hawk, 157 

Olive-sided Flycatcher, 178 
Orchard Oriole, 195 
Oriole, Baltimore, 196 
Orange-crowned Warbler, 252 
Oven-bird, 269 
Olive-backed Thrush, 299 

Pied-billed Grebe, 4 
Puffin, 8 

Pomarine Jaeger, n 
Pelican, 30 
Pintail, 41 
Phalarope, Red, 8t 

Northern, 82 

Wilson's, 83 
Purple Sandpiper, 90 
Pectoral Sandpiper, 91 
Plover, Black-bellied, 112 

Golden, 113 

Killdeer, 114 



Semipalmated, 115 

Piping, 116 

Snowy, 117 
Ptarmigan Willow, 123 

Rock, 124 

Pigeon, Passenger, 128 
Peregrine Falcon, 143 
Pigeon Hawk, 144 
Pileated Woodpecker, 166 
Phoebe. 177 

Prairie Horned Lark, 184 
Pine Grosbeak, 200 
Purple Finch, 201 
Pine Siskin, 209 
Purple Martin, 233 
Philadelphia Vireo, 245 
Parula Warbler, 254 
Pine Warbler, 266 
Palm Warbler, 267 
Pipit, 280 
Prairie Hen, 125 

Quail, 119 

Ring-billed Gull, 17 
Red-breasted Merganser, 32 
Redhead, 43 
Ring-necked Duck, 47 
Ruddy Duck, 58 
Rail, King, 75 

Virginia, 76 

Sora, 77 

Yellow, 78 
Red Phalarope, 81 
Red-breasted Snipe, 87 
Ruff, 105 

Red-breasted Sandpiper, 89 
Red-backed Sandpiper. 95 
Richardson's Grouse, 120 
Ruffed Grouse, 122 
Rock Ptarmigan, 124 
Red-tailed Hawk, 136 
Red-shouldered Hawk, 137 
Rough-legged Hawk, 140 
Richardson's Owl, 152 

Red-headed Woodpecker, 167 
Red-bellied Woodpecker, 168 
Raven. 188 

Red- winged Blackbird, 193 
Rusty Blackbird, 197 
Redpoll, Hoary, 204 

Common, 205 

Holbcell's, 206 

Greater, 207 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, 228 
Red-bird, Summer, 232 
Rough-winged Swallow, 238 
Red-eyed Vireo, 244 
Redstart, 279 

Red-breasted Nuthatch, 290 
Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 294 
Robin, 301 


Shoveller, 40 
Scaup Duck, 45 

Lesser, 46 
Scoter, 55 

White-winged, 56 

Surf, 57 

Snow Goose, Greater, 59 
Swan, Whistling, 64 

Trumpeter, 65 
Snowy Heron, 71 
Sandhill Crane, 74 
Sora Rail, 77 
Snipe, Wilson's, 86 

Red-breasted, 87 
Sandpiper, Stilt, 88 

Red-breasted, 89 

Purple, 90 

Pectoral, 91 

White-rumped, 92 

Baird's 93 

Least, 94 

Red-backed, 95 

Curlew, 96 

Semipalmated, 97 

Bartram's, 106 

Buff-breasted, 107 

Spotted, 108 

Solitary, 103 



Sanderling, 98 
Stilt Sandpiper, 88 
Semipalmated Sandpiper, 97 
Spotted Sandpiper, 108 
Semipalmated Plover, 115 
Snowy Plover, 117 
Spruce Partridge, 121 
Sharp-tailed Grouse, 126 
Swallow-tailed Kite, 131 
Sharp-shinned Hawk, 133 
Swainson's Hawk, 138 
Sparrow Hawk, 145 
Short-eared Owl, 149 
Saw-whet Owl, 153 
Screech Owl, 154 
Snowy Owl, 156 
Swift, Chimney, 172 
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, 174 
Snowflake, 210 
Sparrow, Vesper, 212 

Savanna, 213 

Grasshopper, 214 

Lark, 215 

White-crowned, 216 

White-throated, 217 

Tree, 218 

Chipping, 219 

Field, 220 

Song, 222 

Lincoln's, 223, 

Swamp, 224 

Fox Colored, 225 
Scarlet Tanager, 231 
Summer Red-bird, 232 
Swallow, Cliff, 231 

Barn, 235 

Tree, 236 

Bank, 237 

Rough-winged, 238 
Shrike, Northern, 241 

Loggerhead, 242 

White-rumped, 243 
Short-billed Marsh Wren, 286 

Tern, Caspian, 20 

Cabot's, 21 

Forster's, 22 

Common, 23 

Arctic, 24 

Least, 25 

Black, 26 
Teal, Green-winged, 38 

Blue-winged, 39 
Trumpeter Swan, 65 
Turnstone, 118 
Turkey, Wild, 127 

Buzzard, 130 
Tyrant Flycatcher, 175 
Traill's Flycatcher, 181 
Tree Sparrow, 218 
Towhee, 226 
Tanager, Scarlet, 231 
Tree Swallow, 236 
Tennessee Warbler, 253 
Thrush, Wood, 296 

Wilson's, 297 

Gray -cheeked, 298 

Olive-backed, 299 

Hermit, 300 


Virginia Rail, 76 
Vulture, Turkey, 130 
Vesper Sparrow, 212 
Vireo, Red-eyed, 244 

Philadelphia, 245 

Warbling, 246 

Yellow-throated, 247 

Blue-headed, 248 


Wood Duck, 42 
White-winged Scoter, 56 
White-fronted Goose, 60 
Whistling Swan, 64 
White Egret, 70 
Wilson's Phalarope, 83 
Woodcock, 85 
Wilson's Snipe, 86 
Willet, 104 

White-rumped Sandpiper, 92 
Willow Ptarmigan, 123 



Wild Turkey, 127 
Woodpecker, Hairy, 161 

Downy, 162 

Black-backed Three-toed, 163 

Banded-backed Three-toed, 164 

Yellow-bellied, 165 

Pileated, 166 

Red-headed, 167 

Red-bellied, 168 

Golden-winged, 169 
Whip-poor-will, 170 
Wood Pee wee, 179 
White-crowned Sparrow, 216 
White-throated Sparrow, 217 
Waxwmg, Bohemian, 239 

Cedar, 240 

White-rumped Shrike, 243 
Warbling Vireo, 246 
Warbler, Black and White, 249 

Golden Winged, 250 

Nashville, 251 

Orange-crowned, 252 

Tennessee, 253 

Parula, 254 

Cape May, 255 

Yellow, 256 

Black-throated, Blue, 257 

Myrtle, 258 

Magnolia, 259 

Cerulean, 260 

Chesnut-sided, 261 

Bay-breasted, 262 

Black-poll, 263 

Blackburnian, 264 

Black-throated, Green, 265 

Pine, 266 

Palm, 267 

Yellow Palm, 268 

Connecticut, 272 

Mourning, 273 

Hooded, 276 

Wilson's, 277 

Canadian, 278 
Water Thrush, 270 
Water Thrush, Louisiana, 271 
Wren, House, 284 

Winter, 285 

Short-billed, Marsh, 286 

Long-billed, Marsh, 287 
White-breasted Nuthatch, 289 
Wood Thrush, 296 
Wilson's Thrush, 297 


Yellow Rail, 78 
Yellow-legs, Greater, 101 

Lesser, 102 

Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 158 
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker, 165 
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, 180 
Yellow-headed Blackbird, 192 
Yellow-throated Vireo, 247 
Yellow Warbler. 256 
Yellow Palm Warbler, 268 
Yellow-breasted Chat, 275 






v LaibiraJTF 



i-X\ &*, ifajPl 

LD 21-95m-7,'37 



The birds 

of Ontario 


JUN 21 193 



L^i - 




/ - j 



R33236 (2 


0t(. U.