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Full text of "The birds of Washington : a complete, scientific and popular account of the 372 species of birds found in the state"








FOR THE PEOPLE 

FOK EDVCATION 

FOR SCIENCE 






LIBRARY 

OF 

THE AMERICAN MUSEUM 

OF 

NATURAL HISTORY 





'^^^-r*. 

-/^' 



>— 



•( /: 



,v- 



The Birds of Washington 



Of this work in all its editions 1 250 copies have been 
printed and the plates destroyed. 

Of the Original Edition 350 copies have been printed 
and bound, of which this copy is No.j^izQ. 



■■,,;# 




J^LUO?tx.«\«- 



>ii\ 



JOHN Hoo; 



HEPBURN'S LEUCOSTICTE 

MALE. 5/6 LIFE SIZE 
From a %Vatkk-coi.oh Painting as Allan Brooks 

BROOKS 



THE BIRDS OF WASHINGTON 



A COMPLETE. SCIENTIFIC AND 

POPLXAR ACCorXT OF THE ^72 SPECIES OF lURDS 

FOUND IN THE STATE 



WILLIAM LEON DAWSON, A. M., B. D., of Seattle 

AUTHOR OF "THE BIRDS OF OHIO" _ , ,, _ 



ASSISTED BY 



JOHN HOOPER BOWLES, of Tacoma 



ILLUSTRATED BY MORE THAN 3OO ORIGINAL HALF-TONES OF BIRDS IN LIFE, NESTS, 

EGGS. AND FAVORITE HAUNTS, FROM PHOTOGRAPHS BY THE 

AUTHOR AM) OTHERS. 



TOGETHER WITH 40 DRAWINGS IN THE TEXT AND A SERIES OF 
FULL-PAGE COLOR-PLATES. 



ALLAN BROOKS 



ORIGINATE EDITIOK 



PRINTED ONLY FOR .\D\AXCE SUBSCRIBERS. 



VOLUME I 



SEATTLE 
THE OCCIDENTAL PUBLISHING CO. 

1909 



^LL RIGHTS RESERVED 



V *4-v/*^^ 



Copyright, 1909, 

BY 

Wii,i,iAM Leon Dawson 



Half-tone work chiefly by The Bucher Engraving Company. 
Composition and Presswork by The New Franklin Printing Company. 
Binding by The Ruggles-Gale Company. 



To the 
of the 

Caurtnus Club, 

in grateful recognition of their friendly 

services, and in expectation that 

under their leadership the interests 

of ornithology will prosper in 

the Pacific Northwest, 

this work is respectfully 

DeDicateD 



EXPLANATORY. 



TABLE OF COMPARISONS. 

INCHES. 

Pygmy size Length up to 5.00 

Warbler size S-OO" 6.00 

Sparrow size 6.00- 7.50 

Chewink size 7-50- 9-00 

Robin size 9.00-12.00 

Little Hawk size. Teal size, Tern size 12.00-16.00 

Crow size 16.00-22.00 

Gull size, Brant size 22.00-30.00 

Eagle size. Goose size 30.00-42.00 

Giant size 4^.00 and upward 

Measurements are given in inches and hundredths and in millimeters, the 
latter enclosed in parentheses. 



KEY OF ABBREVLATKJNS. 

References under Authorities are to faunal lists, as follows: 

T Townsend. Catalog of Birds. Narrative. 1839, pp. 331-336. , „_ „ 

C&S Cooper and Sucklev. Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv., Vol. XII., pt. II., i860, pp. 140-287. 

L' Lawrence Birds of Grav's Harlwr, Auk. Jan. 1892, pp. 39-47- 

L^ Lawrence Further Notes on Birds of Gray's Harbor, Auk, Oct. 1892, pp. 352-357. 

Rh Rhoads, Birds Observed in B. C. and Wash., Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila 1893, 

pp. 21-65. (Onlv records referring explicitly to Washuigton are noted.) 
Di Dawson, Birds of Okanogan County, Auk, Apr. 1897, pp. 168-182. 

Sr Snvder, Notes on a Few Species, Auk, July 1900, pp. 242-245. 

Kb Kohbe Birds of Cape Disappointment. Auk, Oct. 1900, pp. 349-358- 

Ra Rathbun, Land Birds of Seattle, Auk. Apr. 1902, pp. 131-141- 

D^ Dawson Birds of Yakima Countv, Wilson Bulletni, June 1902, pp. 59-67- 

Ssi Snodgrass Land Birds from Central Wash., Auk. Apr. 1903. pp. 202-209. 

Ss^! Snodgrass', Land Birds Central and Southeastern Wash., Auk, Apr. 1904, pp. 223- 

233. 
Kk Keck, Birds of Olvmpia, Wilson Bulletni, June 1904, pp. 23-37- 

J Johnson. Birds of Cheney. Condor, Jan. 1906, pp. 25-28. 

B Bowles Birds of Tacoma, Auk, Apr. 1906. pp. 138-148- 

E' Edson, Birds of Belluigham Bay Region, Auk, Oct. 1908. pp. 425-439- 

For fuller account of these lists see Bibliography in Vol. II. 



References under Specimens are to collections, as follows ; 

U ofW University of Washington Collection; (U. of W.) indicates lack of locality data. 

P.' Pullman '(State College) Collection. P'. indicates local specimen. 

Prov Collection Provincial Museum, Victoria, B. C. , 

B. ' Collection C. W. & J. H. Bowles. Only Washington specimens are listed. 

C. Cantwell Collection. 

BN. Collection Bellingham Normal School. 

E. Collection J. iNL Edson. 

iii. 



PREFACE. 



Love (if the birds is a natural |)assion and one which rcc|iiires neither 
analysis nor defense. The birds live, we hve : and Hfe is sufficient answer unto 
Hfe. But humanity, unfortunately, has had until recently other less justifiable 
interests — that of fighting pre-eminent among them — so that out of a gory past 
only a few shadowy names of bird-lovers emerge, Aristotle, Pliny the Elder, 
.Iilian. Ornithology as a science is modern, at best not over two centuries and 
a half old, while as a popular pursuit its age is better reckoned by decades. It is, 
therefore, higlil}- gratifying to those wdio feel this primal instinct stronglv to be 
able to note the rising tide of interest in their favorite study. Ornithology has 
received unwonted attention of late, not only in scientific works but also in 
popular literature, and it has taken at last a deserved place upon the curriculum 
of many of our colleges and secondary schools. 

We of the ^^'est are just waking, not too tardily we hope, to a realization of 
our priceless heritage of friendship in the birds. Our homesteads have been 
chosen and our rights to them established : now we are looking about us to take 
account of our situation, to see whether indeed the lines have fallen unto us in 
pleasant places, and to reckon up the forces which make for happiness, welfare, 
and peace. And not the least of our resources we find to be the birds of \\'ashing- 
ton. They are here as economic allies, to bear their part in the distribution of 
plant life, and to wage with us unceasing warfare against insect and rodent foes, 
which would threaten the beneficence of that life. They are here, some of them, 
to supply our larder and to furnish occupation for us in the predatory mood. 
But above all, they are here to add zest to the enjoyment of life itself: to please 
(the eye by a dis])lay of graceful form and piquant color : to stir the depths of 
human emotion with their marvelous gift of song; to tease the imagination by 
their exhibitions of flight ; or to goad aspiration as they seek in their migrations 
the mysterious, alluring and ever insatiable Beyond. Indeed, it is scarcely too 
much to say that we may learn from the birds manners which will correct our 
own ; that is, stimulate us to the full realization in our own lives of that ethical 
program which their tender domestic relations so clearlv foreshadow. 



In the matter herein recorded account has of course been taken of nearly 
all thai has been done by other workers, but the literature of the birds of Wash- 
ington is very meager, being chiefly confined to annotated lists, and the conclusions 
reached have necessarilj- been based upon our own experience, comprising some 
thirteen vears residence in the State in the case of Mr. Bowles, and a little more 
in my own. Field work has been about e(|ually divided between the East-side 
and the West-side and we have both been able to give practically all our time to 
this cause during the nesting seasons of the past four years. Parts of several 
seasons have been sjient in the Cascade Mountains, but there remains much to 
learn of bird-life in the high Cascades, while the conditions existing in the Blue 
Mountains and in the Olympics are still largely to be inferred. Two practically 
complete surveys were made of island life along the West Coast, in the summers 
of 1906 and 1907 ; and we feel that our nesting sea-birds at least are fairly well 
understood. 

Altho necessarily bidky, these volumes are by no means exhaustive. No 
attempt has been made to tell all that is known or may be known of a given 
species. It has been our constant endeavor, however, to present something like a 
true proportion of interest as between the birds, to exhibit a species as it appears 
to a Washingtonian. On this account certain prosy fellows have received extended 
treatment merely because they are ours and have to be reckoned with ; while 
others, more interesting, perhaps, have not been considered at length simply 
because we are not responsible for them as characteristic birds of Washington. 
In writing, however, two classes of readers have had to be considered, — first, the 
Washingtonian who needs to have his interest aroused in tlie birds of his home 
State, and second, the serious ornithological student in the East. For the sake 
of the former we have introduced some familiar matter from other sources, 
including a previous wi^rk^ of the author's, and for this we must ask the indulgence 
of ornithologists. For the sake of the latter we have dilated upon certain points 
not elsewhere covered in the case of certain Western birds, — matters of abun- 
dance, distribution, sub-specific variety, etc., of dubious interest to our local 
patrons ; and for this we must in turn ask their indulgence. 

The order of treatment observed in the following pages is substantially the 
reverse of that long followed by the American Ornithologists' Union, and is 
justifiable principally on the ground that it follows a certain order of interest and 
convenience. Beginning, as it does, with the supposedly highest forms of bird- 
life, it brings to the fore the most familiar birds, and avoids that rude juxtaposi- 
tion of the lowest form of one group with the highest of the one above it, which 
has been the confessed weakness of the A. O. U. arrangement. 

The outlines of classification may be found in the Table of Contents to each 
volume, and a brief synopsis of generic, family, and ordinal characters, in the 



a. The Birds of Ohio, by William Leon Dawson, .\. M., B. D., witli Introduction and Analytical Keys 
by Lynds Jones, M. Sc. One and Two Volumes, pp. xlviii. + 671. Columbus, The Wheaton Publishing 
Company, 1903. 



Analytical Kev prepared bv Professor Jones. It has not been thought best to give 
large iilace to these matters nor to intrude them upon the text, because of the 
nian\- excellent manuals which already exist giving especial attention to this field. 

The nomenclature is chiefly that of the A. O. U. Check-List, Second Edition, 
revised to include the Fom-tecnth Supplement, to which reference is made by 
number. Departures have in a few instances been made, changes sanctioned by 
Ridgway or Coues. or justified bv a consideration of local material. It is, of 
course, unfortunate that the publication of the Third Edition of the A. ( ). U. 
Check-List has been so long delayed, insomuch that it is not even yet available. 
On this account it has not been deemed worth while to provide in these volumes 
a separate check-list, based on the A. O. U. order, as had been intended. 

Care has been exercised in the selection of the English or vernacular names 
of the birds, to oflrer those which on the whole seem best fitted to survive locally. 
Unnecessary departures from eastern usage have been avoided, anrl the 
changes made have been carefully considered. As matter of fact, the English 
nomenclature has of late been much more stable than the Latin. For instance, 
no one has any difficulty in tracing the Western Winter Wren thru the literature 
of the past half century: but the bird referred to has, within the last decade, 
posed successively under the following scientific names: Trof/Iodytcs hiciiialis 
l^acificus, AnortJiiira Ii. p.. OlbiorchUus h. p.. and Xaiiiius h. p.. and these with 
the sanction of the A. O. U. Committee — certainly a striking example of how not 
to secure stability in nomenclature. With such an example before ns we may 
perhaps be pardoned for having in instances failed to note the latest discovery of 
the name-hunter, but we have luiml)ly tried to follow our agile leaders. 

In the preparation of plumage descriptions, the attempt to derive them from 
local collections was partiallv abandoned because of the meagerness of the ma- 
terials oft'ered. If the work hail been purely British Columbian, the excellent 
collection of the Provincial Museum at A'ictoria would have been nearly sufficient: 
but there is crving need of a large, well-kept, central collection of skins and 
mounted birds here in Washington. .-\ creditable showing is being made at 
Pullman under the energetic leadership of Professor W. T. Shaw, and the State 
College will always require a representative working collection. The University 
of Washington, however, is the natural reposittiry for West-side specimens, and 
perhaps for the official collection of the State, and it is to be devoutly hoped that 
its present ill-assorted and ill-housed accumulations may early give place to a 
worthy and complete display of Washington birds. Among private collections 
that of Mr. J. M. Edson, of Bellingham, is the most notable, representing, as it 
does, the patient occupation of extra hours for the past eighteen years. I am 
under obligation to Mr. Edson for a check-list of his collection (comprising 
entirely local species), as also for a list of the birds of the ]\Iuseum of the Belling- 
ham Normal School. The small but well-selected assortment of bird-skins belong- 
ing to Messrs. C. W. and J. H. Bowles rests in the Ferry Museum in Tacoma. 



vin. 

Here also Air. Ged. C. CaiUwell lias left hi> bird-skins. ])artly local ami ]iartly 
Alaskan, on view. 

Fortunately the task nf redescrihini; tlic |)lumage of ^^'aslling■ton birds has 
been rendered less necessary for a work of such scope as ours, thru the appearance 
of tile Fifth Edition of Coues Key.^* cniljodying. as it does the ripened conclusions 
of a uniquely gifted ornithological writer, and above all. 1iv the great definitive 
work from the hand of Professor Ridgway.'' now more than half completed. 
These final works by the masters of our craft render the careful repetition of 
such effort supernuous. and 1 have no hesitation in admitting that we are almost 
as much indebted to them as to local collections, altho a not inconsiderable part of 
the author's original work upon plumage descriiition in "The ISirds of Ohio" has 
been utilized, or re-worked, wherever ap])licable. 

In compiling the General Ranges, we wish to acknowledge indebtedness both 
to the A. (). U. Check-List (2nd Edition) and to the summaries of Ridgway and 
Cones in the works already mentioned. In the Range in Washington, we have 
tried to take account of all published records, but have been obliged in most 
instances to rely upon personal experience, and to express judgments which must 
vary in accuracy with each individual case. 

The final work upon migrations in Washington is still to be done. Our own 
task has called us hither and yonder each season to such an extent that consecutive 
work in any one locality has been impossible, and there appears not to be any one 
in the State who has seriously set himself to record the movements of the birds 
in chronological order. Success in this line depends upon cooperative work on 
the part of many widely distributed observers, carried out thru a considerable 
term of years. It is one of the aims of these volumes to stimulate such endeavor, 
and the author invites correspondence to the end that such an undertaking may 
be carried out systematically. 

In citing authorities, we have aimed to recall the lirst publication of each 
species as a bird of \\'asliington, giving in italics the name originally assigned the 
bird, if different from the one now used, together with the name of the author 
in bold-face tvpe. In many instances early references are uncertain, chiefly by 
reason of failure to distinguish between the two States now separated by the 
Columbia River, but once comprehended under the name Oregon Territory. Such 
citations are questioned or bracketed, as are all those which omit or disregard 
scientific names. The abbreviated references are to standard faunal lists appear- 
ing in the columns of "The Auk" and elsewhere, and these are noted more 
carefully under the head of Bibliograph}'. among the Appendices. 

At the outset I wish to explain the peculiar relation which exists between 



a. Key to North American Birds, by Elliott Coues. A. M., M. D., Ph. D,, Fifth Eilitioti (entirely 
revised), in Two Volumes; pp. xli. -t-1152. Boston, Dana Estes and Company, 1903. 

b. The Birds of North and Middle America, by Robert Kidgway, Curator, Division of Birds, U. S. 
National Museum. Bulletin of the tJ. S. N. M., No. 50; Pt, 1.. Fringillidac, pp. xxxi. + 715 and PI. XX. 
(kjoi); Pt. XL, Tiuiagridac, etc., pp. xx. -|- 834 and PI. XXII. (1902): Pt. III., Motacillidac, etc., pp. 
xx.+Soi and PI. XIX. fiqo4); Pt. IV., Tiirdidac, etc.. pp. xxll. -H 973 and PI. XX.XIW (1907). 



mvself and the junior author, Mr. j. 11. Bowles. Each of us liad loug had in 
mind the thouglit of ])repariu<; a wurk u])()n the Inrds of Washington: lint '\\r. 
Bowles, during' my residence in L)liio, was the hrst to undertake the task, and 
had a book actually half written when I returned to the scene with friendly 
overtures. Since mv plans were rather more extended than his. and since it was 
necessar}' that one of us should devote his entire time to the work. Air. Bowles, 
with unbounded generosity, placed the result of his labors at my disposal and 
declared his willingness to further the enterprise under my lcadershi]i in every 
]50ssible way. Except, therefore, in the case of signed articles from his pen, and 
in most of the unsigned articles on Grouse and Ducks, where our work has been 
a strict collaboration, the actual writing of the book has fallen to mv lot. In 
practice, therefore, I have found myself under every degree of indebtedness to 
Mr. Bowles, according as my own materials were abundant or meager, or as his 
information or mine was umre ])ertinent in a given case. 

Mr. Bowles has been as good as his word in the matter of cooperation, and 
has lavished his time in the (|uest of new species, or in the discovery of new nests, 
or in the location of choice subjects for the camera, solely that the l)(jok might 
profit thereby. In several cxiieditions he has accompanied me. On this account, 
therefore, the text in its pronouns. "I." "we." or "he." bears witness to a sort 
of sliding scale of intimacy, which, unless ex]i!ained, might be puzzling to the 
casual reader. I am especially indebted to Mr. Bowles for extended material upon 
the nesting of the birds; and mv onlv regret is that the varying refiuirements of 
the task so often compelled me to condense his excellent sketches into the meager 
sentences which appear under the head "Nesting." Not infrequently, however, I 
have thrown a few adjectives into Mr. Bowles's jiaragraphs and incorporated 
them without distinguishing comment, in expectation that cmr ji)int indebtedness 
will hardly excite the curiosity of any disengaged "higher critic" of ornithology. 
Let me, then, express mv very deep gratitude to Mr. Bowles for his generosity 
and mv sincere appreciation of his abilities so imperfectly exhibite<l, I fear, in 
the following pages, where I have necessarily usiu'ped the opjiortunity. 

It is matter of regret to the author that the size of these volumes, now 
considerably in excess of that originally contemplated, has precluded the possi- 
liilitv of an extended physical and climatic surve}- of \\'ashingt<in. The striking 
dissimilaritv of conditions which obtain as between the eastern side of the State 
and the western are familiar'tn its citizens and may be easily inferred by others 
from a perusal o{ the f(_illowing pages. Our State is excelled by none in its 
divcrsit\' of climatic and physiographic features. The ornithologist, therefore, 
may indulge his proclivities in half a dozen different biril-worlds without once 
leaving our borders. Especiallv might the taxonomist, the subspecies-hunter, revel 
in the minute shades of tliffercnce in plumage which characterize the representa- 
tives of the same species as they appear in different sections of our State. We 
have not gone into these matters verv carefully, because our interests are rather 



those of avian psycholog}-, and of tlie domestic and social relations of the birds, — 
in short, the life interests. 

\\hile tlie autlmr's point of view has been that of a bird-lcjver, some things 
herein recorded may seem inconsistent with the claim of that title. The fact is that 
none of us are (|uite consistent in our attitude toward the bird-world. The 
interests of spurt and the interests of science must sometimes come into conflict 
with those of sentiment; and if one confesses allegiance to all three at once he 
will inevitably appear to the partisans of either in a bad light. However, a real 
principle of unitv is found when we come to regard the laird's value to society. 
The question then becomes, not. Is this bird worth more to iiic in my collection or 
upon my plate than as a living actor in the drama of life? but. In what capacity 
can this Ijird best serve the interests of mankind? There can l)e no doubt that the 
answer to the latter (|uestion is usually and increasingly, As a living bird. Stuffed 
specimens we need, but only a representative number of them ; only a limited few 
of us are fitted to enjoy the pleasures of the chase, and the objects of our passion 
are rapidly passing from view anyway; but never while the hearts of men are set 
on peace, and the minds of men are alert to receive the impressions of the Infinite, 
will there be too many birds to speak to eye and ear, and to minister to the 
hidden things of the spirit. The birds belong to the people, not to a clique or a 
coterie, but to all the people as heirs and stewards of the good things of God. 

It is of the esthetic value of the bird that we have tried to speak, not alone 
in our descriptions but in our pictures. The author has a jileasant conviction, 
born of desire perhaps, that the bird in art is destined to figure much more largely 
in future years than heretofore. We have learned something from the Japanese 
in this regard, but more perhaps from the camera, wdiose revelations have marvel- 
ously justified the conventional conclusions of Japanese decorative art. Nature 
is ever the nursing mother of Art. While cmr function in the text has necessarily 
been interpretative, we have preferred in the pictures to let Nature speak for 
herself, and we have held ourselves and our artists to the strictest accounting for 
anv retouching or modification of photogra])hs. Excejit, therefore, as explicitly 
noted, the half-tones from photographs are faithful presentations of life. If they 
inspire any with a sense of the beauty of things as they are, or suggest to any 
the theme for some composition, whether of canvas, fresco, vase, or tile, in things 
as they might be, then our labor shall not have been in vain. 

In this connection we have to congratulate ourselves upon the discovery, 
virtually in our midst, of such a promising bird-artist as Mr. Allan Brooks. I 
can testify to the fidelity of his work, as all can to the delicacy and artistic feeling 
displayed even under the inevitable handicap of half-tone reproduction. My 
sincerest thanks are due ^Nlr. Brooks for his hearty and generous cooperation in 
this enterprise; and if our work shall meet with approval. I shall feel that a large 
measure of credit is due to him. 

The joy of work is in the doing of it. while as for credit, or "fame," that is a 
mere by-product. He who does not do his work under a sense of privilege is a 



hireling, a clock-watcher, and his sufficient as coveted meed is the pay envelope. 
But those of us who enjoy the work are sufficiently rewarded already. What 
tho the envelope be empty ! We've had our fun and — well, yes, we'd do it again, 
especially if you tlidught it worth while. 

But the chief reward of this labor of love has been the sense of fellowship 
engendered. The progress of the work under what seemed at times insuperable 
difficulties has been, nevertheless, a continuous revelation of good will. "Every- 
body helps" is the motto of the Seattle spirit, and it is just as characteristic of the 
entire Pacific Northwest. Everybody has helped and the result is a composite 
achievement, a nK.mument of patience, fidelity, and generosity far other than 
my own. 

I gratefully acknowledge indebtedness to Professor Robert Ridgway for 
counsel and assistance in determining State records: to Dr. A. K. Fisher for 
records and for comparison of specimens ; to Dr. Chas. \\'. Richmond for ci m- 
firmation of records; to ^Messrs. William L. Finley, Herman T. Bohlman, A. W. 
Anthony. W. II. \^■right, Fred. S. Merrill, Warburton Pike, Walter I. Burton, 
A. Gordon Bowles, and Walter K. Fisher, for the use of photographs; to ^lessrs. 
J. M. Edson, D. E. Brown, A. B. Reagan, E. S. ^Voodcock, and to a score of 
others beside for hospitality and for assistance afield ; to Samuel Rathbun, 
Prof. E. S. Aleany, Prof. O. B. Johnson. Prof. ^^^ T. Shaw, ?*Iiss Adelaide Pol- 
lock, and Miss Jennie V. Getty, for generous cooperation and courtesies of many 
sorts; to Francis Kermode, Esq., for use of the Provincial Museum collections, 
and to Prof. Trevor Kincaid for similar permission in case of the Uni\-ersity of 
Washington collections. My special thanks are due my friend. Prof. Lynds Jones, 
the proven comrade of many an ornithological cruise, who upon brief notice and 
at no little sacrifice has prepared the Analytical Key which accompanies this work. 

My wife has rendered invaluable service in preparing manuscript for press, 
and has shared with me the ariluous duties of proof-reading. My father. Rev. 
W. E. Dawson, of Blaine, has gone over most of the manuscrijit and has offered 
manv highly esteemed suggestions. 

To our patrons and subscribers, whose timeh' and indulgent support has made 
this enterprise possible, I offer my sincerest thanks. To the trustees of the 
Occidental Publishing Company I am under a lasting debt of gratitude, in that 
they have planned and counselled freely, and in that they have so heartily seconded 
my efforts to make this work as beautiful as possible with the funds at command. 

One's roll of oljligations cannot be reckoned complete without some recogni- 
tion also of the dumb things, the products of stranger hearts and brains, which 
have faithfully served their uses in this undertaking: my A\'arner-and-Swasey 
binoculars ( 8-power ) — I would not undertake to write a bird-book without them; 
the Graflex camera, wdiich has taken most of the life portraits; the King canvas 
boat which has made study of the interior lake life possible: — all deserve hon- 
orable mention. 

Then there is the physical side of the book itself. (Jne cannot reckon up the 



myriad liands that have wrought upon it. engravers, printers, binders, paper- 
makers, messengers, even the liumble goatherds in far-off Armenia, each for a 
season giving of his best — out of love. I trust. Brothers, I thank you all ! 

Of the many shortcomings of this work no one could be more sensible than 
its author. We should all prefer to spend a life-time writing a book, and having 
written it. to return and do it over again, somewhat otherwise. But book-making 
is like matrimony, for better or for worse. There is a finality about it which 
takes the comfort from one's muttered declaration. "I could do it better another 
time." What I have written I have written. I go now to spend a (luiet day — 
with the birds. 

WiLLi.\ii Leon D.awsox. 



CONTENTS OF VOLUME 1. 



PAGE. 

Dedicatiox i. 

Explanatory iii. 

PrKFacI' V. 

List of Fuli.-pagk Illustrations xv. 

Description of Species Xos. 1-181. 
Order Passeres — Perching Birds. 

Suborder OSC/NES — Song Piirds. nos. 

Family Corridcc — The Crows and Jays 1-14 i 

IctcvidiV — Tlie Troupials 15-22 43 

Pringillidcv — The Finches 23-68 68 

Tanagridcr — The Tanagers 69 170 

Mniotiltidcr — The ^^'ood Warblers 70-86 172 

.Ihutdidw — The Larks 87-89 212 

Motacillidir — The Wagtails and Pipits 90 221 

Turdid(C — The Thrushes 91-102 225 

Sylz'iidcr — The Old World Warblers, Kinglets. 

and ( iiiatcatchers 103- 105 262 

Parid(C — The Titmice 106-1 10 27^ 

Sittidcc — The Nuthatches 11 i-i 13 287 

Ccrthiidcc — The Creepers 114, 115 295 

Trofflodytidcr — The Wrens 1 16-122 301 

MiiiiidiC — The Mockingbirds 123, 124 320 

CiucUdiv — The Dippers 125 325 

Hiniiidiuidcr — The Swallows 126-132 329 

AnipcUdcc — The ^^'axwings 133. 134 348 

Laniidcc — The Shrikes 135-137 352 

J'irconidcc — The A'ireos 138-141 358 



XIV. 

NOS. PAGE. 

Suborder CLAMATORES—Songle^s Perching Birds. 

Family Tyraiiiiidcc — Tlie 'l\rant Flycatchers 142-151 369 

Order Macrochires — Goatsuckers, Swifts, etc. 
Suborder TROCHILl — Hummers. 

Family Trochilidcc — The Hummingbirds ....:.... 152-155 393 

Suborder C.i/Ve/il/f'LC;/— Goatsuckers. 

Family Caprimiilijidw — The Nighthawks (Goatsuckers. 

etc.) 156-158 404 

Suborder OT.S'£L/— Swifts. 

Family Micropodidcc — The Swifts 159-161 410 

Order Pici — I'icarian Birds. 

Family Picidiv — The Woodpeckers 164-179 418 

Order Coccyges — Cuculiform Birds. 
Suborder CUCVLI — Cuckoos. 

Family Cuculidcc — The Cuckoos 180 452 

Suborder ALCVONES — Kingfishers. 

Family AlccdiiiidiC — 'J'lic Kingfishers 181 454 



LIST OF FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS. 



PAGE OR FACING PAGE. 

Hepburn's Leltosticte (Color-plate ) Frontispiece 

NoRTHERX Raven ( Half-tone ) 3 

American Magpie ( Half-tone ) 25 

Bullock Orioles ( Color-plate ) 52 

Western Evening Grosbeaks ( Color-plate ) 68 

Audubon Warbler (Color-plate ) 182 

Townsend Warblers, Male and Female ( Half-tone) 191 

ToLMiE Warblers ( Half-tone ) 199 

Golden Warbler ( Color-plate ) 208 

Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Half-tone ) 283 

Nesting Site of the Tawny Creeper ( Half-tone) 299 

ViOLET-GREEx SwALLOW ( Color-plate ) 346 

Calliope Hummers (Color-plate ) 400 

Gairdner Woodpecker ( Half-tone) 425 

Red-breasted Sapsucker ( Color-plate ) 434 



The Birds of Washington 

VOL. I. 

Description of Species Nos. 1-181 



THE BIRDS OF WASHINGTON 



No. I. 

NORTHERN RAVEN. 

A. O. U. Xo. 486a. Corvus corax principalis Ridgw. 

Synonym. — Formerly called the A.mickr-ax Raven. 

Description. — ^Color uniform lustrous black; plumage, especially on breast, 
scapulars and back, showing steel-blue or purplish iridescence ; feathers of the 
throat long, narrow, pointed, light gray basally ; primaries whitening at base. 
Length two feet or over, female a little smaller; wing 17.00-18.00 (438); tail 
10.00 (247) ; bill 3.20 (76.S) ; depth of bill at nostril i.oo (28.5) ; tarsus 2.68 
(68). 

Recognition Marks. — Large size, — about twice as big as a Crow ; long 
rounded tail ; harsh croaking notes ; uniform black coloration. Indistinguishable 
afield from siniiatits. 

Nesting. — A'cst: a large but compact mass of sticks, lined with grass, wool, 
cow-hair, etc., placed high in fir trees or upon inaccessible cliffs. Eyijs: 4-7 (8 
of record), usually 5, pale bluish green or olive, spotted, blotched, and dashed 
with greenish brown and obscure lilac or purple. Av. size, 1.90 x 1.33 (48.26 x 
33.78). Season: April 15; one brood. 

General Range. — "Arctic and Boreal Provinces of North America ; south 
to Eastern British Provinces, portions of New England, and Atlantic Coast of 
United States, higher Alleghenies, region of the CTreat Lakes, western and 
northern Washington, etc." (Ridgway). 

Range in Washington. — Found sparingly in the Cascade and Olympic 
Afountains, more commonly along the Pacific Coast. 

Migrations. — Resident but wide ranging. 

Authorities. — [Lewis and Clark, Hist. Ex. (1814), Ed Biddle : Coues, Vol. 
IL p. 18=;.] Corvus carnivorus Bartram, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, 
pp. 561, 3fe, 563. (T). C&S. L'. D'( ?). B. E. 

Specimens.— (U. of. W.) Prov. C. 



THE NORTHERN RAVEN. 



ALTHO nowhere abundant, in the sense which obtains among smaller 
species, nor as widely distributed as some, there is probably no other bird 
which has attracted such universal attention, or has left so deep an impress 
upon history and literature as the Raven. Primitive man has always felt the 
spell of his sombre presence, and the Raven was as deeply imbedded in the folk- 
lore of the maritime Grecian trilies as he is today in that of the Makahs and 
Ouillayutes upon our own coast. Komx. the Greek called him, in imitation of 
his hoarse cry, Kraack. kraack: while the Sanskrit name, Karava, re\-eals the 
ancient root from which have s])rung Ijoth Crow and Ravai. 

Quick-sighted, cimniiig, and audacious, this Ijird of sinister aspect has 
been invested by peoples of all ages with a, mysterious and semi-sacred char- 
acter. His ominous croakings w-ere thought io have prophetic import, while 
his preternatural shre\\dness has made him, with many, a symbol of divine 
knowledge. We may not go such lengths, but we are justified in placing this 
bird at the head o-f our list ; and we must agree with Professor Alfred 
Newton that the Raven is "the largest of the Birds of the Order Passeres, 
and probably the most highly developed of all Birds." 

The Raven is a bird O'f the wilderness: and, in spite of all his cunning, 
he fares but ill in the presence of breech-loaders and iconoclasts. While 
it has not been the oljject of anv special persecution in Washington, it seems 
to share the fate reserved for all who' lift their heads above the common 
level; and it is now nearly confined in its local distribution tO' the Olympic 
peninsula; and is nowhere common, save in the x-icinity of the Indian villages 
which still cling to oiu' western shore. 

In appearance the Raven presents man}' points of difference from the 
Common Crow, especially when contrasted with the dwarf examjiles of the 
northwestern race. It is not only larger, Imt its tail is relative!}' much longer, 
and fullv rounded. The head, too, is fuller, and the l)ill proportionately 
stouter with more rounded culmen. The feathers of the neck are loosely 
arranged, resulting in an impressive shagginess : and there is a sort of un- 
couthness alxuit these ancient liirds, as compared with the more dapper Crow. 

Ravens are unscrupulous in diet, and therefrom has arisen much of the 
dislike which has attached to them. They not only subsist upon insects, 
worms, frogs, shellfish, and cast-up offal, init devour the eggs and young of 
sea-birds ; and, when pressed by hunger, do not scruple to attack rabbits, young 
lambs, or seal pups. In fact, nothing fleshly and edible comes amiss to them. 
In collecting along the sea-coast I once lost some sandpipers, — which I had 
not had time tO' prepare the evening before — because the dark watcher was 
"up first". Like the Fish Crow, they hang about the Indian villages to some 




NORTHERN RAVEN. 



THE NORTHERN RA\'EN. 



extent, and dispnte witli the nbiqnitmis Indian dog the chance at decayed fish 
and offaL 

Altho by force of circumstances driven tO' accept shelter and nesting sites 
in the dense forests of the western Olympic slope, the Raven is a great lover 
of the sea-cliffs and of all \\'ild scenerv. Stormy tlays are his especial delight 
and he soars about in the teeth of the gale, exulting, like Lear, in the tumult : 
"Blow winds, and crack your cheeks!" The sable bird is rather majestic on 
the wing, and he soars aloft at times with something (if the motion and dignity 
of the Eagle. But the Corvine character is complex ; and its gravest represen- 
tatives do some astonishingly boyish things. For instance, according to 
Nelson, tliev will take sea-urchins high in air and drup them on the cliffs, 
for no better reason, apparentlv, than to hear them smash. Or, again, they 
will catch the luckless urchins in mid-air with all the delight of school-bovs 
at tom-ball. 

Nests are tO' be found midway of sea-cliffs in studiouslv inaccessible 
places, or else high in evergreen trees. Eggs, to the number of five or six, 
are deposited in April ; and the young are fed upon the choicest which the 
(egg) market affords. We shall need to apologize occasionally for the short- 
cimiings of our favorites, and we ci>nfess at the outset t(T shameless incon- 
sistency: for even bird I'lllaiiis are dear tO' us, if they be not too bad, and 
especially if their liadness be not directed against us. Who would wish to 
see this bold, lilack brigand, savage, cunning, and miscru])u1ous as he is. dis- 
appear entirely from our shores? He is the deep shadow of the world's 
chiaro'scuro; and what were white, pray, without black by which to^ meas- 
ure it ? 




'taken in LUiUam County. 



Photo by the Author. 



I'OINT-OF-THE-AUCHES GROUP, A CUARACTERISTIC HAUNT OF TrlE KA\'EN. 



THE MEXICAN RAVEN. 



No. 2. 

MEXICAN RAVEN. 

A. O. V. \o. 486. Corvus corax sinuatus (W'agler). 

Synonyms. — American Ra\-e:n. Southern Raven. 

Description. — Like preceding but averaging smaller ; bill relatively smaller 
and narrcjwer ; tarsus not so stout. Length up to 26 inches, but averaging less. 
Culmen 2.85 (72). 

Recognition Marks. — As in preceding — distinguishable only by range. 

Nesting. — Xcst: placed uii ledge or in crannies of basalt cliffs, more rarely 
in pine trees. 

General Range. — Western L'niled States chiefly west of the Rocky Moun- 
tains; in its northerly extension nearly coincident with the L'pper Sonoran life 
zone, south to Honduras. 

Range in Washington. — May be arbitrarily defined as restricted to the 
East-side, but common only on the treeless plains and in the I'lue Mountain 
region. Resident. 

Authorities. — Coyiiis carnivorus Bart., Cooper and Suckley, Rep. Pac. 
R. R. Surv. Xll. pt. II. i860, p. 210. Bendire, Life Hist. N. A. Birds, Vol. II. 
p. 396 f. 

IT is mi mere associatimi nt ideas which has made the Ka\en the Ijinl of 
ill omen. I-llack is his wing, and black is his heart, as well. While it may 
Ije allowed that he works no- direct damage upon the human race, we cannot 
but share in sympathy the laurden of the bird-world whicli regards him as the 
bctc iioir. dialiiilical in cunning, patient as fate, and relentless in the hour of 
opportunitw 

As I sit on an earl}- INIa}' morning liy the water's edge on a lonel}' island 
in the Columbia Ri\'er, all nature seems harmoni(_ius and glad. The Meadow- 
larks are ])ricking the atmosphere with goads of good cheer in the sage 
behind ; the Dove is pledging his heart's afifection in the cottonwood hard by ; 
the river is singing on the rapids : and my heart is won to follow on that 
buoyant tide — when suddenly a mother Goose cries out in terror and I leap 
to my feet to learn the cause. I have not long to wait. Like a death knell 
comes the guttural croak iif the Ra\'en. He has spied upon her. learned her 
secret, swept in when her precious eggs were unco\ered ; and he bears one off 
in triumph, — a feast for his carrion brood, ^^'hep one has seen this sort of 
thing a dozen times, and heard the wail inf the w ild things, the croak of the 
Ra\'en comes to be fraught with menace, the veritable voice of doom. 

To be sure, the Raven is not really worse than his kin, but he is dis- 
tinguished hv a bass voice: and does not the \illain in the play alwa^'s sing 
bass? Somehow, one ne\'er Ijelieves the ill he hears of the soulful tenor, even 
tho he sees him dO' it ; but beware of the Iiird or man who croaks at low C. 



THE MEXICAN RAVEN. 



Of all students of bird-life in the West. Captain Bendire has enjiiyed the 
best opportunities for the study i.if the Ivaven ; and his situation at Camp Har- 
ney in eastern Oregon was very similar to such as may be found in the south- 
eastern part of onr own State. Of this species, as observed at that point, he says : 

"Thev are stately and rather sedate-looking birds, remain mated thru 
life, and are seemingly very nmcli attached to each other, but apparently more 
unsocial to others of their kind. On the ground their movements are delib- 





Takcn near IValltila. 



THE RANEN'S FIEF. 



Photo by the Author. 



erate and dignified ; their walk is graceful and seldom varied by hurried hops 
or jumps. They appear to still better advantage on the wing, especially in 
winter and early spring, when pairs may be frequently seen playing with each 
other, performing extraordinary feats in the air, such as somersaults, trying 
to fly on their backs, etc. At this season they seem to enjoy life most and to 
give vent to their usually not very exuljerant spirits by a series of low chuck- 
ling and gurgling notes, evidently indifferent efforts at singing. 

"Their ordinary call is a loud Craaclc-craock. \aried sometimes by a deep 



THE MEXICAN RAVEN. 



grunting' kocrr-kocrr. and again 1)\' a clucking, a sort of self-satisfied sound, 
difficult til reproduce on paper: in fact the)- utter a variety of notes when at 
ease and undisturbed, among others a metallic sounding kliuik, which seems 
to cost them consideral)le effHrt. In places where they are not molested they 
become reasonably tame, and I have seen Ravens occasionally alight in my 
yard and feed among the chickens, a thing I have never seen Crows do. * * * 
"Out of some twenty nests examined only one was placed in a tree. It 
was in a good sized dead willow, twenty feet frnm the ground, on an island 




XKSTIXG HAUNT OF THE MEXIC.^N R.-WEN. 



in Sylvies Ri\er, Oregon, and easily reached ; it contained five fresh eggs on 
April 13, 1875. The other nests were placed on clififs, and, with few excep- 
tions, in positions where they were comparatively secure. Usually the nest 
could not be seen from abo\'e, and it generally took several assistants and 
strong ropes to get near them, and even then it was frequentlv impossible to 
reach the eggs without the aid of a long pole with a dipper attached to the end. 
A favorite site was a clilY with a southern exposure, where the nest was com- 
pletely covered from above by a projecting rock." 

Having once chosen a nesting site, the Ravens e\'ince a great attachment 
for that particular locality; and, rather than desert it, will avoid notice by 
deferring the nesting season, or by visiting the eggs or young only at night. 

We have no' records of the taking of Ravai's eggs in Washington, liut it 



THE WESTERN CROW. 



does unquesliiinabh" breed here. A nest was reported tO' us o« a cliff in the 
Crab Creek Coulee. While we were unable to visit it in season, we did come 
upon a family group some w^eeks later, comprising the two adults and five 
grown young. This is possibl_\- the northernmost breeding station of the 
Mexican Raven yet rq>orted. 



No. 3. 

WESTERN CROW. 

A. O. U. No. 488b. Corvus brachyrhynchos hesperis (Ridgw.). 

Synonyms. — California Crow. Common Ckow. American Crov^'. 

Description. — Entire plumage glossy black, for the most part with greenish 
blue, steel-blue, and purplish reflections; feathers of the neck normal, rounded. 
Bill and feet black; iris brown. Length 16.00-20.00; wing 12.00 (302); tail 
6.70 (170) ; bill 1.83 (46.5) ; depth at nostril .65 ( 16.5). Female averages smaller 
than male. 

Recognition Marks. — Distinguishable from Northwest Crow by larger size 
and clearer voice. 

Nesting. — Nest: a neat hemisphere of sticks and twigs carefully lined with 
bark, roots and trash, and placed 10-60 feet high in trees, — willow, aspen, pine, 
or fir. Eggs: 4-6, usually 5, same coloring as Raven's. Occasionally fine :iiark- 
ings produce a uniform olive-green, or even olive-brown effect. Av. size 1.66 
X i.if (42.2 X 29.5). Season: April is-May 15; one brood. 

General Range. — Western United States from Rocky Mts. to Pacific Coast, 
save shores of northwestern \\"ashington, north in the interior of British 
Columbia, south to Arizona. 

Range in Washington. — Of general distribution along streams and in settled 
portions of State, save along shores of Puget Sound, the Straits, and the Pacific 
north of Gray's Harbor. Not found in the mountains nor the deeper forests, 
and only locally on the sage-brush plains. 

Migrations. — Resident but gregarious and localized in winter. The winter 
"roosts" break up late in February. 

Authorities. — Corvus americantts And., Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 
1858, 566 (part). Brewster, B. N. O. C. VH. 227. T. Cfv:S. D'. Kb. Ra. D-'. 
Ss'. Ss-'. la-. J. B. E. 

Specimens. — BN( ?). 

WHILE the Raven holds a secure place in mythology and literature, it 
is the Crow, rather, which is the object of common notice. No landscape is too 
poor to boast this jetty adornment ; and no' morning chorus is complete without 
the distant sub-dominant of his powerful voice, harsh and protesting tho it be. 

The dusky bird is a notorions mischief-maker, but he is not quite so black 
as he has been painted. More than any other bird he has successfully matched 
his wits against those of man, and his frequent easy victories and consequent 



THE WESTERN CROW. 



boastings are responsible in large measnre for tlie unsavory reputation in wliich 
he is held. It is a familiar adage in ebony circles that the prriper study of 
Crow-kind is man. 
and so well has he 
pursued this study 
that he may fairly 
be said to hold his 
own in spite of fierce 
and ingenious perse- 
cution. He rejoices 
in the name of 




Taken i 



PIiolo by Bohhnan and Fhiicy 
WESTERN CROW AT XEST. 



outlaw, and ages of ill-treatment have only served to sharpen his wits and 
intensify his cunning. 

That the warfare waged against liim is largely unnecessary, and partly 
unjust, has been pretty clearly ])n)ven of late by scientists who have investi- 
gated the Crow's food haliits. It is true that he destroys large numbers of 
eggs and nestlings, and, if allowed to, that he will occasionally invade the 
poultry yard — and for such conduct there can be no apology. It is true, also, 
that some damage is inflicted upon corn in the roasting-ear stage, and that 
corn left out thru the winter constitutes a staple article of Cro'w diet. But 
it is estin:ated that birds and eggs form only about one-half of one per cent 
of their ti tal diet : and in the case of grain, certainly they perform conspicuous 
services in raising the crop. Besides the articles of food mentioned, great 



lO 



THE WESTERN CROW. 



quantities (jf crickets, beetles, grasshoppers, catcr]iillars, cut-wnrnis, and spid- 
ers, are consumed. Frogs, lizards, mice, and snakes also^ appear occasii.>nally 
upon the hill of fare. On the whole, therefore, the Crow is not an economic 
Gorgon, and his destruction neetl not large!)- concern the farmer, altho it is 
always well to teach the bird a proper reverence. 

The psychology- of the Crow- is worthy of a separate treatise. All birds 
have a certain faculty of direct perception, which we are pleased tO' call in- 
stinct; but the Crow, at least, coiiies delightfully near to reasoning. It is on 
account of his phenomei-ial lirightness that a young Crow is among the most 
interesting- of pets. If taken fron-i the nest and well treated, a young Crow can 
be given such a large measure of freedom as fully to justify the experiment 
from a humanitarian standpoint. Of course the sure end of such a pet is death 
by an ignorant neighbor's gun. but the dear departed is embalmed in memory 
to such a degree that all Crows are thereafter regarded as upon a higher plane. 

Everyone knows that Crows talk. Their cry is usually represented by 
a single syllable, caiv. but it is capable of many and important moditicatioi-is. 
For instance, kcrara', kcraiv, comes from some irritated and apprehensive 
female, who is trying to smuggle a stick into the grove: kaick-kazJc-lcan'k 
proclaims suddeii danger, and puts the flock into instant commotion : while 



caiu-aii.', caK-ira'. caw-a-u\ re 
again. Once, in winter 
bird-man, for sport, was 
tifying- the local bin 
population by re- 
producing the 
notes of the 
Screech Owl, a 
c O' m p a n y O'f 
Crows settled 
in the tops 
of neighboring 
trees, and earn- 
estly discussed 
the probable 
nature of the 
od> j e c t half- 
concealed under 
a camera cl<ith. 
Finally, they 
g;ave it up and 
withdrew — as 
I supposed. It 






assures them 
W'hen the 
mvs- 




NEST AND EGGS OF VVESrERN CROW. 



THE WESTERN CROW. n 

seems that one old fellow was not satisfied, for as I ventured to shift 
ever so little from my strained position, he set up a derisive Ca-a-a-azv 
from a branch over my head. — as who should say. "Aw. ye can't fool me. 
Y're just a ma-a-an." and flapped away in disgust. 

Crows attempt certain nuisical notes as well ; and. unless I mistake, the 
western bird has attained much greater proficiency in these. These notes are 
deeplv guttural, and evidently entail considerable effort on the bird's part. 
Huiiger-o-opc. hungcr-u-upc, one sa_\-s ; and it occurs to me that this is allied 
to the delarv, delary, or springboard cry. nf the Blue Jay (Cyaiiocitta cris- 
tata), — plunging notes they ha\e also been called. 

Space fails in which to describe the elaborate structure of Crow society ; 
to tell of the military and pedagogical systems which they enforce: of the 
courts of justice and penal institutidus which they maintain: nf the vigilantes 
who visit vengeance upon evil-minded owls and other otTenders ; or even of the 
games which thev play. — tag, hide and seek, blind-man's-buff and pull-away. 
These things are sufficiently attested by competent observers: we may only 
spare a word for that most serious business of life, nesting. 

A typical Crow's nest is a very substantial aft'air. as our illustration shows. 
Upon a basis of coarse sticks, a mat of dried leaves, grasses, bark-strips, and 
dirt, or mud. is impressed. The deep rounded bowl thus formed is carefully 
lined with the inner bark of the willow or with twine, horse-hair, cow-hair, 
rabbit-fur. wool, or any other soft substance available. When cnmpleted the 
nesting hollow is seven or eight inches across and three or four deep. The 
expression "Crow's nest." as used to indicate disarray, really arises from the 
consideration of old nests. Since the Ijirds resort to the same locality year 
after year, but never use an old nest, the neighboring structures of successive 
years come to represent e\'ery stage of dilapidation. 

West of the mountains nests are almost invariably placed well up in fir 
trees, hard against the trunk, and so escape the common observation. Upon 
the East-side, however, nests are usually placed in aspen trees or willows : in 
the former case occurring at heights up to fifty feet, in the latter from ten to 
twenty feet up. Escape by mere elevation being practically impossible, the 
Crows resoTt more or less to out-of-the-way places, — spring draws, river 
islands, and swampy thickets. 

Notwithstanding the fact that the spring season opens much earlier than 
in the East, the Crows, true to the traditions of a northern latitude, comnnjuly 
defer nesting till late in April. Fresh eggs may be found by the 20th of April, 
but more surely on the ist of May. Incubation lasts -from fourteen to eighteen 
days ; and the voung, commonly five but sometimes six in number, are born 
naked and blind. 

It is when the Crow children are hatched that Nature begins to groan. It 
is then that birds' eggs are quoted by the crate ; and beetles by the hecatomb 



12 THE NORTHWEST CROW. 



are sacrificed daily in a vain effiH't to satisfy the Gargantuan appetites of these 
\-(jung- ehons. I once had the misfortune tn pitch camp in a grove of willows 
wliich contained a nestfnl nf Cruws. The okl birds never forgave me, but 
upbraided me in bitter language frnm early morn till dewy eve. The youngsters 
also suffered scjmewliat. 1 fear, fen' as often as a parent bird approached, 
cawing in a curicjiisly muffled voice, choked with food, and detected me outside 
the tent, it swallowed its burden withorit compunction, in order that it miglit 
the more forcibly lierate me. 

If the male ha|)pened to discover my out-of-doorness in the absence of his 
mate, he would rush at her when she hove in sight, in an officious, blustering 
way, and shout, "Look out there! Keep away! The Rhino is on the rampage 
again !" 

I learned, also, tO' recognize the appearance of hawks in the offing. At the 
first sign the Crow, ]>resumably the male, begins to roll out objurgatory guttur- 
als as he hurries forward to meet the intruder. His utterances, freely trans- 
lated, run somewhat as follows: "That blank, blank Swainsoii Hawk! I 
thought I told him tO' keep away from here. Arrah, there, you slab-sided son 
of an owl ! What are ye doing here? Git out o' this! (Biff! Biff!) Git, 
I tell ve ! (Biff!) If ever I set eyes on ve again, I'll feed \e to the covotes. 
Git, now!" And all this without the slightest probability that the poor hawk 
would molest the hideous young pickaninnies if he did discover them. For 
when was a self-respecting hawk so lost to decency as to be willing tO' "eat 
crow" ? 



No. 4. 

NORTHWEST CROW. 

A, O. U. No. 489. Corvus brachyrhynchos caurinus (Baird). 

Synonyms. — Fisii Crow. W'kstekk Fish Crovv. Northwest Fish Crow. 
PuGET Sound Crow. Tidewater Crow. 

Description. — Similar to C. /'. hcspcris, but decidedly smaller, with shorter 
tarsus and relatively smaller feet. Length 15.00-17.00; wing 11.00 (280); tail 
6.00 ( 158) ; bill 1.80 (46) ; tarsus 1.95 (50). 

Recognition Marks. — An undersized Crow. Voice hoarse and flat as com- 
pareil with that of the Western Crow. Haunts beaches and sea-girt rocks. 

Nesting. — A' est: a compact mass of twigs and bark-strips with occasionally a 
foundation of mud; lined carefully with fine bark-strips and hair; 4.00 deep and 
7.00 across inside; placed 10-20 feet high in orchard or evergreen trees, sometimes 
in loose colony fashion. Eggs: 4 or 5, indistinguishable in color from those of the 



THE NORTHWEST CROW. 13 



Common Crow, but averaging smaller. A typical set averages 1.56 x 1.08 
(39.6 X 27.4). Season: April 15-June i ; one brood. 

General Range. — .\merican coasts of the North Pacific Ocean and its 
estuaries from C)lympia and the mouth of the Columbia River north at least to 
the Alaskan peninsula. 

Range in Washington. — Shores and islands of Puget Sound, the Straits 
of Juan de Fuca, and the West Coast (at least as far south as Moclips, presum- 
ably to Cape Disappointment). Strictly resident. 

Authorities. — [Lewis and Clark, Hist. Ex. ( 1814), ed. Biddle : Coues, Vol. 
n. p. 185.] Corvus cauriniis Baird. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. June 29, 
1858, 569, 570. T. C&S. L'. Rh. Kb. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens. — U. of W. Prov. E. B. 

AFTER lengthy discussion it is pretty well settled that the Crow of the 
northwestern sea-coasts is merely a dwarfed race of the Coi-vus brachyrhynclios 
group ; and that it shades perfect!}' into the prevailing western type, C. b. hcs- 
peris, wherever that species occupies adjacent regions. This area of inter- 
gradation lies chiefly south and west of Puget Sound, in Washington ; for the 
Crow is ever fond of the half-open country, and does not take kindly tO' the 
unmitigated forest depths, save where, as in the case of the Fish Crow, he may 
find relief upon the broad expanses of shore and tide-flats. The case is quite 
analogous to. that of native man. The larger, more robust types were found in 
the eastern interior, while those tribes \\-hich were confined exclusively to 
residence upon the sea-shore tended to beccnne dwarfed and stunted : and the 
region of intergradation lay not chiefly along the western slopes of the 
Cascades with their crushing weight of tall timber, but in the prairie regions 
bordering Puget Sound upon the south. 

It is impossible, therefore, to pronounce with certainty upon the sub- 
specific identity of Crows seen near shore in Mason. Thurston, Pierce, or even 
King County; but in Clallam, Jefferson, San Juan, and the other counties of 
the Northwest, one has no' difficulty in recognizing the dwarf race. Not only 
are these Cro^ws much smaller in point of size, but the voice is weaker, flatter, 
and more hoarse, as thoi affected by an ever-present fog. So' marked is this 
vocal change, that one may note the dift'erence lietween birds seen along shore 
in Pierce County and those which fref|uent the uplands. However, — and this 
caution must be noted — the upland l>irds di> visit the shore on occasion; and 
the regular shore dwellers are l>v no' means confined thereto., as are the more 
typical birds foimd further north. 

The early observers were feeling for these differences, and if Nature did 
not afford sufficient ground for easy discrimination, imagination could supply 
the details. The following paragraph from the much quoted work^ of John 
Keast Lord is interesting Ijecause deliciously untrue. 

a. "Tlie Naturalist in Vancouver Island and British Columbia," by John Keast Lord. Two Vols. 
London. Published by Richard Bentley, 1866. Vol. II.. p. 70. 



14 



THE NORTHWEST CROW. 



"The sea-coast is abandoned when the l>reeding time arrives early in 
Mav, when tliev resort in pairs to the interior : selecting a patch of open prairie, 
wliere there are streams and lakes and where the wild crab apple and white- 
thorn grows, in wliicli thev Imild nests precisely like that of the Magpie, arched 
cn-er the top with sticks. The l)ir(l enters by a hole on one side but leaves by 
an exit hole in the opposite. The inside is plastered with mud ; a few- grass 
stalks strewn looselv ou the bottom keep the eggs from rolling. This is so 
marked a difference to the Barking Crow"s nesting ["Barking Crow" is J. K. 
L.'s solecism for the Western Crow, C. b. Iicspcris]. as in itself to be a specific 
distinctii:>n. The eggs are lighter in l)li itching and much smaller. I examined 
great numbers [ ! !] of nests at this prairie and on the Columbia, but invariably 
found that the same habit of doming prevailed. After nesting, they return 

with the young to 
the sea-coasts, and 
remain in 1 a r g- e 
flocks often associ- 
ated with Barking 
Crciws until nesting 
time comes again." 
— No single point of 
which has l)een con- 
firmed by succeed- 
ing observers. 

Dr. Cooper wrote'' 
with exact truthful- 
ness : "This fish- 
criiw frequents the 
coast and inlets of 
this Territory in 
large numbers, and 
is nuich more gregarious and familiar than the common Crow. Otherwise it 
much resembles that bird in habits, being very sagacious, feeding" on almost 
everything animal and vegetable, and having nearly the same cries, differing 
rather in tone than character. Its chief dependence for food being on the sea, 
it is generally found along the lieacli, devouring dead fish and other things 
brought up by the waves. It is also \-ery fond o^f oysters, which it breaks by 
carrying them upward and dropping again rm a rock or other hard material. 
Wlien the tide is full they resort to the fields or dwellings near the shore and 
devour potatoes and other vegetables, offal, etc. They, like the gulls, perceive 
the instant of change of the tide, and flocks will then start ofif together for a 
favorite feeding ground. They are very troublesome to the Indians, stealing 




Tal:cn nl \ call Bar. 



l-'luitn bx llic Aulhr 



THE PH.\XTOM CROWS. 



a. Rep. Pac. R. R. Survey, Vol. XII., Bk. II. [Senate, i860]. 



THE NORTHWEST CROW. 



15 



their dried fish and other tilings, while from superstitious feelings the 
Indians never kill them but set a child to watch and drive them away. They 
build in trees near the shore in the same way as the common crow and the 
young are fledged in May." 

Mr. J. F. Edwards, a pioneer of "67, tells me that in the early days a 
small drove of pigs was an essential feature of every well-equipped saw-mill 
on Puget Sound. The pigs were given the freedom of the premises, slept 
in the saw dust, and dined behind the mess-house. Between meals they 
wandered down to the beach and rooted for clams at low tide. The Crows 
were not slow to learn the advantages of this arrangement and posted them- 
selves promptly in the most commanding and only safe positions ; viz., on 
the backs of the pigs. The pig grunted and squirmed, but Mr. Crow, mindful 
of the blessings ahead, merely extended a balancing wing and held on. The 
instant the industrious rooter turned up a clam, the Crow darted down, 
seized it in bis l>eak and matle off; resigning his station to some sable 
brother, and leaving the porker to reflect discontentedly upon the rapacity 
of the upper classes. Mr. Edwards declares that he has seen this little 
comedy enacted, not once, but a hundred times, at Port Madison and at 
Alberni, V. I. 

The Fish Crows have learned from the gulls the delights of sailing 
the main i>n driftwood. I have seen numbers of them going out with the 
tide a mile or more from shore, and once a Crow kept company with three 
gulls (in a float so- small that the gulls had continuall}- tO' strive for position; 
but the Crow stimd undisturlied. 




BIRDS AND BO.JiTS AT NEAH BAY. 



Photo by the Author. 



if) 



THE NORTHWEST CROW. 



Speakinsj of their aquatic tendencies, ^[r. A. B. Reagan, of La Push, 
assures me tliat he has repeatedly seen tliem catch smelt in the ocean near 
shore. These fish become inv(!h'ed in tlie breakers and may be snatched from 
;il)n\-e bv the dextrous bird witlmut any severe wetting. 

Crnws are still the most familiar feature of Indian village life. The 
Indian, perhaps, nO' longer cherishes any superstition regarding liim, l>ut 
he is reluctant to l>anish such a familiar e\'il. The Ouillayutes call the bird 
J\ali-iili-\d : and it is safe to sav that fifty pairs nf these Fish Crows nest 
within half a mile of the village of La Push. They nest, indifferently, in 
the saplings of the coastal thickets, or against the trunks of the larger spruces, 
and take little i)ains to escape ol:)servation. The birds are, howe\'er, becom- 
ing cjuite shy of a gun. Seeing a half dozen of them seated in the tip of a tall 
spruce in tlie open woods, I raised my fowling jiiece tii \iew, whereu|)on 




Token on H'aldroit Id. 



THE CKOVV'S FARE. 



Photo by the AutJior. 



all fiew with frantic cries. Indeed it required considerable mananu'ering 
and an ambuscade tO' secure the single specimen needed. 

.Vt Xeah \\:\\ the Fish Crows patrol the beach incessantly and allow 
\-ery little of the halibut fishers' largess to float off on the tide. And the 
Okc-t( c )npc, as the Makahs call the birds, have little fear of the Indians, 
altho they are yery suspicious of a strange white man. I once saw a pretty 
sight on this beach : a three year old Indian girl chasing the Crows about 
in childish glee. The birds enjoyed the frolic as much as she, and fell in 



THE NORTHWEST CROW, 



behind lier as fast as she shooed tliem away in front — came within two or 
three feet of her, too. and made playful dashes at her chubby legs. But 
might I be permitted to photograph the scene at, say, fifty yards? Mit 
nichtcn! Arragh ! To }our tents, O Israel! 

In so far as this Crow consents to^ perform the office of scavenger, he 
is a useful member of society. Nor is his consumption of shell-fish a serious 
matter. But when we come tO' consider the quality and extent of his 
depredations upon colonies of nesting sea-birds, we find that he merits 
unqualified condemnation. For instance, twO' of us bird-men once visited 
the west nesting o-f Baird Cormorants on Flattop, to obtain photographs. 
As we retired down the clifi^, I picked up a broken shell of a Cormorant's 
tgg, from which the white, or plasma, was still dripping. As we pulled 
away from the foot of the cliff a Crow flashed into view, lighted on the 
edge of a Shag's nest, seized an egg, and bore it off rapidly into the woods 
above, where the clamor of expectant young soon told of the disposition 
that was being made of it. Immediately the marauder was back again, 
seized the other tgg, and was off as before. All this, mind you, in a trice, 
before we were sufficiently out of range for the Cormorants to- reacli tlieir 
nests again, altho they were hastening toward them. Back came the C-w^\^,' 
but the first nest was exhausted ; the second had nothing in it ; the Shags 
were on the remainder ; moments were precious — he made a dive at a 
Gull's nest, but the Gulls made a dive at him: and they too hastened to 
their eggs. 

Subsequent investigation discovered rifled egg-shells all over the island, 
and it was an easy matter to pick up a hatful for evidence. As he is at Flattop, 
so he is evervwhere. an indefatigable robber of birds' nests, a sneaking, 
thieving, hated, black marauder. It is my deliberate conviction that the 
successful rearing of a nestful of young Crows costs the lives of a hundred 
sea-birds. The Baird Cormorant is, doubtless, the heaviest loser; and she 
appears to have no means of redress after the mischief is done, save to lay 
n^ore eggs, — more eggs to feed more Crows, to steal more eggs, etc. 



i8 THE CLARK NUTCRACKER. 



No. 5. 

CLARK'S NUTCRACKER. 

A. O. U. No. 491. Nucifraga columbiana (Wils.). 

Synonyms. — Clark's Crow. I'lxi; Ckhw. Gray Crow. "Camp Robbkr." 
(Thru confusion with the Gray Jay, Pcrisurciis sp.). 

Description. — Adults: General plumage smoky gray, lightening on head, 
becoming sordid white on forehead, lores, eyelids, malar region and chin ; wings 
glossy black, the secondaries broadly tipped with white ; under tail-coverts and 
four outermost pairs of rectrices white, the fifth pair with outer web chiefly 
white and the inner web chiefly black, the remaining (central) pair of rectricps 
and the upper tail-coverts black ; bill and feet black ; iris brown. Shade of gray 
in plumage of adults variable — bluish ash in freshly moulted specimens, darker 
and browner, or irregularly whitening in worn plumage. Young like adults, but 
browner. Length 11.00-13.00; wing 7.00-8.00 (192); tail 4.50 (115): bill 1.60 
(40.7) : tarsus 1.45 (36.8). Female smaller than male. 

Recognition MarJvs. — Kingfisher size ; gray plumage with abruptly con- 
trasting black-and-white of wings and tail ; harsh "cliar-r" note. 

Nesting. — Nest: basally a platform of twigs on which ^s massed fine strips 
of bark with a lining of bark and grasses, placed well out on horizontal limb of 
e'^Kgreen tree, 10-50 feet up. Eggs: 2-5, usually 3, pale green sparingly flecked 
and spotted with lavender and brown chiefly al)Out larger end. Av. size, 1.30 x 
.91 -(33x23.1. Season: JMarch 20-April 10; one brood. 

General Range. — Western North America in coniferous timber, from 
.'\rizona and New Mexico to Alaska ; casual east of the Rockies. 

Range in Washington. — Of regular occurrence in the mountains thruout 
the State. Resident in the main but visits the foothills and lower pine-clad levels 
of eastern Washington at the close of the nesting season. 

Authorities. — Corvus colunibianus. Wilson, Am. C)rn. iii. 181 1, 29. T. 
C&S. D'. D^ J. E. 

Specimens. — ( U. of W'.). Prov. E. C. 

NO l)ir(!-I(i\-er can forget his first encnunter with this singular Oid-Bird- 
of-the-Mountains. Ten to one the bird brought the man up standing by a 
stentorian cliar'r'r. char'r'r, char'r'r. which led him to search wildly in his 
nieni(ir\- whether Rocs are credited with voices. It the bird was particularly , 
concerned at the man's intrusion, he presently revealed himself sitting rather 
stolidly on a high pine branch, repeating" that harsh and deafening cry. The 
grating voice is decidedly unpleasant at close quarters, and it is quite out of 
keeping with the unquestioned sobriety of its grizzled owner. A company 
of Nutcrackers in the distance finds frequent occasion for outcry, and the 
din is only bearable as it is softened and modified by the re-echoing walls 
ct some pine-clad gulch, or else dissipated bv the winds wliich sweep over 
the listening glaciers. 



THE CLARK NUTCRACKER. 



19 



Clark's Nutcracker is tlie presiding genius of the East-side slopes and 
light-forested foothills, as well as of the rugged fastnesses of the central 
Cordilleras. His presence, during fall and winter, at the lower altitudes 
tiepends in large measure upon the pine-cone crop, since pine seeds are his 
staple, tho by no means his exclusive diet. This black and white and gray 




CI..\RK'S NUTCRACKER. 



"Crow" curiiiuslv CDUibines the characteristics of Woodpecker and Ja}" as 
well. Like the Lewis Woodpecker, he sometimes hawks at passing insects, 
eats berries from bushes, or alights on the ground to glean grubs, grass- 
lioppers, and black crickets. In the mountains it shares with the Jays of the 
Pcrisorcus group the names "meat-bird"' and "camp-robber," for nothing 
that is edible comes amiss to this bird, and instances are on record of its 
having invaded not only the open-air kitchen, but the tent, as well, in search 
cf ''supplies." 

Of its favorite food, John Keast Lord says: "Clark's 'Crows' have, 
like the Cross-bills, to get out the seeds from underneath the scaly coverings 
constituting the O'Utward side of the fir-cone : nature has not given them 



20 THE CLARK NUTCRACKER. 

crossed mandibles to lever open the scales, hut instead, feet and claws, 
that serve the purpose of hands, and a powerful l)ill like a small crowbar. 
To use the crowl>ar to advantage the cone needs steadying, or it would 
snap at the stem and fall; to accomplish this one foot clasps it, and the 
powerful claws hold it iirmly, whilst the other foot encircling the branch, 
supports the bird, either l)ack downward, head downward, on its side, or 
upright like a woodpecker, the long clasping claws being equal to any 
emergency; the cone thus fixed and a firm Imld maintained on the Ijranch, 
the seeds are gouged out from under the scales." 

These Nutcrackers are among the earliest and most hardy nesters. 
Thev are practically indeiiendent of climate, l)ut are found during the 
nesting months — March, or even late in February, and early April — only 
where there is a local abundance of pine (or fir) seeds. They are artfully 
silent at this season, and the impression prevails that they have "gone to 
the mountains" ; or, if in the mountains already, the presence of a dozen 
feet of snow serves to allay the oologisfs suspicions. 

The nest is a very substantial affair of twigs and bark-strips, hea\-ily 
lined, as befits a cold season, and placed at an}- height in a pine or fir tree, 
without noticeable attempt at concealment. The Inrds take turns incubating 
and — again because of the cold season — are very close sitters. Three eggs 
are usual) v laid, of about the size and .shape of Magpies' eggs, but much 
more lightly colored. Incubation, Bendire thinks, lasts si.xteen or seventeen 
days, and the young are fed solely on hulled pine seeds, at the first, pre- 
sumably, regurgitated. 

If the Corvine affinities of this bird were nowhere else betrayefl, they 
might lie known from the hunger cries of the young. The importunate ailli. 
anil, ai'ili of the expectant bantling, and the subsecjuent gnlli'i. giillii. 
gulh'i (if median deglutition (and boundless satisfaction) will always serve 
to l)ind the Crcnv, Magpie, and Nutcracker toigether in one compact group. 
When the voungsters are "ready for college," the reserve of early spring 
is set asi<le and tlie hillsides are made to resouml with much practice of 
that uncanny yell before mentioned. Family groups are gradually obliterated 
and. along in June, the l>irds of the foothills begin to' retire irregularly 
to the higher ranges, either to rest up after the exhausting labors of 
the season, or to revel in midsummer gaiety with scores and hundreds of 
their fellows. 



THE PINON JAY. 21 



No. 6. 

PINON JAY. 

A. O. U. Xo. 492. Cyanocephalus cyanocephalus ( Maxim. j. 

Synonyms. — Blue Cruw. Maximilian's Jav. Pine Jay. 

Description. — Adults: Plumage dull grayish blue, deepening on crown and 
nape, brightening on cheeks, paling below posteriorly, streaked and grayish white 
on chin, throat and chest centrally; bill and feet black; iris brown. Young birds 
duller, gray rather than blue, except on wings and tail. Length of adult males 
11.00-12.00; wing 6.00 (154) ; tail 4.50 {114) ; bill 1.42 (36) ; tarsus 1.50 (38). 
Female somewhat smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Robin size; blue color; crow-like aspect. 

Nesting. — Not supposed to nest in State. 

General Range. — Pifion and juniper woods of western United States; north 
to southern British Columbia (interior;, Idaho, etc.; south to Northern Lower 
California, Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas; casually along the eastern 
slopes of the Rocky Mts. 

Range in Washington. — One record by Capt. Bendire, Fort Simcoe, 
Yakima Co., June, 1881, "quite numerous.'' Presumably casual at close of 
nesting season. 

Authorities. — ["Maximilian's Nutcracker," Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 
(1885), 22. \ Cyanocephalus cyanocephalus (Wied), Bendire, Life Hist. N. A. 
Birds, Vol. IL p. 425 (1895). 

Specimens. — C. 

CAPTAIN BENDIRE who is sole authority for the occurrence of 
this bird in Washington may best be allowed to speak here from his wide 
experience : 

"The Pihon Jay. locally known as "Nutcracker.' "^^laximilian's Jay,' 
'Blue Crow,' and as 'Pinonario' by the Mexicans, is rather a common resident 
in suitable localities throughout the southern portions of its range, while 
in the northern parts it is only a summer \-isitor. migrating regularly. It 
is most al.iundantlv found throughout the pihon and cedar-covered foothills 
abounding between the western slopes of the Reeky IMountains and the 
eastern bases of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges in California, Nevada, 
and Oregon. 

"It is an eminently sociable species at all times, even during the breeding 
season, and is usually seen in large compact flocks, moving about from 
place to place in search of feeding grounds, being 011 the whole rather restless 
and erratic in its movements ; you may meet with thousands in a place 
to-day and perhaps to-morrow you will fail to see a single one. It is rarely 
met with at altitudes of 'over 9,000 feet in summer, and scarcely ever in 



22 THE PINON JAY. 



tlie higher coniferuus forests; its favorite haunts are the innon-cov'ered 
foothills of the min<ir mountain regions, the sweet and very palatable seeds 
of these trees furnishing its favorite food during a considerable portion of 
the }ear. In summer they feed largely on insects of all kinds, especially 
grasshoppers, and are c^uite expert in catching these on the wing; cedar 
and juniper berries, small seeds of various kinds, and different species of 
wild berries also enter largely intO' their bill of fare. A great de^d of time 
is spent on the ground where they move along in compact bi>dies while 
feeding, much in the manner of Blackbirds, the rearmost birds rising from 
time to time, thing i.iver the flock and alighting again in front of the main 
body; they are rather shy and alert wdiile engaged in feeding. I followed 
a flock numbering several tlKiusands which was feeding in the open pine 
forest bordering the Klamath Valley, Oregon, for more than half a luile. 
trying tO' get a shot at some of them, but in this I was unsuccessful. They 
would not allow me to- get wdthin range, and finally they became alarmed, 
took wing, and flew out of sight down the valley. On the next day, 
September i8, 1882, I saw a still larger flock, which revealed its presence 
by the noise made; these I headed ofT, an<l iiwaited their approach in a 
dense clump of small pines in which 1 had liidden : I had not Imig tO' wait 
and easily secured several specimens. On April 4. 1883, I saw another 
large flock feeding in the open woods, evidently on their return to their 
breeding grounds farther north, and by again getting in front of them I 
secured several fine males. These birds are said to breed in large numbers 
in the jimiper groves near the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains, on 
the head waters of the Des Chutes River, Oregon. I have also seen them 
in the "^'akima Valley, near old Fort Simcoe, in central Washington, in 
June, 1881, in an oak opening, where they were quite numerous. Their 
center of abundance, however, is in the piudii or nut-pine belt, which does 
not extend north of latitude 40°, if so far, and wherever these trees are 
found in large numbers the Pinon Jay can likewise be looked for with 
confidence. 

"Their call notes are quite variable ; some of them are almost as harsh 
as the 'cliaar' of the Clarke's Nutcracker, others partake much of the gabble 
of the Magpie, and still others resemble mure those of the Jays. A shrill, 
querulous 'peek, pcch.' or 'zi'hcc. ivhcc.' is their common call note. While 
feeding on the ground they kept up a constant chattering, which can be 
heard for quite a distance, and in this wav often betrav their whereabouts." 



THE AMERICAN MAGPIE. 23 



No. 7- 

AMERICAN MAGPIE. 

A. O. U. Xo. 475. Pica pica hudsonia (Sabine). 

Synonym. — Black-billeu Magpie. 

Description. — Adults: Lustrous black with violet, purplish, green, and 
bronzy iridescence, brightest on wings and tail ; an elongated scapular patch pure 
white; lower breast, upper abdomen, flanks and sides broadly pure white; 
primaries extensively white on inner web; a broad band on rump with large 
admixture of white ; tail narrowly graduated thru terminal three-fifths ; bill and 
feet black; iris black. Young birds lack iridescence on head and are elsewhere 
duller; relative length of tail sure index of age in juvenile specimens. Length of 
adults 15.00-20.00, of which tail 8.00-12.00 (Av. 265); wing 7.85 (200J; bill 
1-35 (35-) : tarsus 1.85 (47). 

Recognition Marl<s. — Black-and-white plumage with long tail unmistakable. 

Nesting. — Xcsf: normally a large sphere of interlaced sticks, "as big as a 
bushel Ijasket," placed 5-40 feet high in willow, aspen, grease-wood or pine. The 
nest proper is a contained hemisphere of mud 8-10 inches across inside, and with 
walls 1-2 inches in thickness, carefully lined for half its depth with twigs sur- 
moiuited by a mat of fine rootlets. Eggs: 7 or 8, rarely 10, pale grayish green, 
quite uniformly freckled and spotted with olive green or olive brown. Occasion- 
ally spots nearly confluent in heavy ring about larger end, in which case remainder 
of egg likely to be less heavily marked than usual. Shape variable, rounded 
ovate to elongate ovate. Av. size. 1.20X.88 (30.5x22.3). Season: March 20- 
May I ; one brood. 

General Range. — Western North America chiefly in treeless or sparsely 
timbered areas from southern Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas north to 
northwestern Alaska. Straggles eastward to west shore of Hudson Bay, and 
occurs casually in North Central States, Nebraska, etc. Replaced in California 
west of the Sierras by Pica nnttalli. 

Range in Washington. — Confined to East-side during breeding season, 
where of nearly universal distribution. Disappears along east slope of Cascades 
and does not deeply penetrate the mountain valleys. Migrates regularly but 
sparinglv thru mountain passes to West-side at close of breeding season. 

Authorities. — [Lewis and Clark. Hist. Ex. (1814) Ed. Biddle : Coues, Vol. 
II. p. 185.1 r'ica hudsonka Bonap.. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. pt. II. 
(1858), 578. T. C&S. Rh. D'. Ra. D-'. Ss-. Ss-'. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— ( U. of W.) P. Prov. B. E. BX. 

HERE is another of those rascals in feathers who keep one alternately 
grumbling and admiring. As an abstract proposition one wotild not stake 
a sou marquee on the virtue of a Magpie: but taken in the concrete, with a 
sly wink and a saucy tilt of the tail, one will rise to his feet, excitedly 
shouting, "Go it, Jackity," and place all his earnings on this pie-liald steed 
in the race for avian honors. It is impossible to exaggerate this curious 
contradiction in Magpie nature, and in our resulting attitude towards it. 
It is much the same with the mischievous small boy. He has surpassed the 



24 



THE AMERICAN MAGPIE. 



bounds of legitimate naughtiness, and we take him on the parental knee 
for well-deserved correction. But the saucy culprit manages to steal a roguish 
glance at us. — a glance which challenges the remembrance of our own 
boyish pranks, and bids us ask what difference it will make twenty years 
after; and it is all off with discipline for that (iccasinn. 

The Magpie is indisputably a wTetch, a miscreant, a cunning thief, a 
heartless marauder, a brigand bold — Oh, call him what you will ! But, 
withal, he is such a picturesque villain, that as often as you are stirretl with 
righteous indignation and impelled to punitixe slaughter, you fall to wonder- 
ing if your commission as a\'enger is pri)perlv countersigned, and — shirk the 
task outright. 

The cattle men have it in fur him. because the persecutions of the Magpie 
sometimes prevent scars made by the branding iron from healing; and cases 
are known in which young stock has died because of malignant sores resulting. 
This is, of course, a grave misdemeanor ; but when the use of fences shall have 
fully displaced the present custom of Itranding, we shall probably hear no 
more of it. 

Beyond this it is indisputably true that Magpies are professional nest 
robbers. At times thev organize svstematic searching parties, and advance 




r.i/.L-ji III )\il.iiiia Li'iiiity. XEST OF MAGPIK IX GKJvASJ'.W l>i >l) 



Fliul'i bv tiic Amu 




AMERICAN MAGPIE. 



26 



THE AMERICAN MAGPIE. 



tliru the s; 



lirush, poking, prying, spying, and dc\uuring, with the ruth- 



lessness and precisidii of a pestilence. Not only eggs but young birds are 
appropriated. 1 once saw a Magpie seize a half-grown Meadowlark from 
its nest, carry it to its own domicile, and parcel it out among its clamoring 

l)rood. Then, in spite of the best 






defense the agonized parents could 
^ institute, it calm- 

}• returned and 
selected another. 
Sticks and 
stones 
shied by 
the bird- 




Takcn in 1 <i;>/;mi t i.hh/.t. MAOPltS iXhSl l-'KOM ABOVi.. I'liutu bv llic Aullior. 

WITH CANOPY REMOVED. SA.ME NEST AS IN ILLUSTRATION ON PACE 24. 

man luereh- deferred the doom of the remaining larks. The Magpie was 
not likely to forget the whereabouts of such easy meat. 

Nor is such a connoisseur of eggs likely to overlook the opportunities 
afiforded by a poultry yard. He becomes an adept at purloining eggs, and 
can make ofif with his Iwoty with astonishing ease. One early morning, 
seeing a Magjiie fly O'ver the corral with something large and white in his 
bill, and believing that he had alighted not far beyond, I followed quickly 
and frightened him from a large hen's egg, which bore externally the marks 



■ THE AMERICAN MAGPIE. 27 

of the Ijird's bill, but whicli was unpiercecl. Of course the oul\- reniedv for 
sucii a habit is the shot-gun. 

To say that Mag-pies are garrulous would be as trite as to sav hens cackle, 
and the adjective could not be better defined than "talking like a Magpie." 
The Magpie is the symbol of lo(|uacity. The very type in which this is 
printed is small pica: that is small Magpie. Much of this bird's conversation 
is undoubtedly untit for print, but it has always the merit of vivacity. A 
party of Magpies will keep up a running commentary on current events, now 
faceti(jus, now vehement, as they move about ; while a comparative cessation 
of the racket means, as likely as not, that some favorite raconteur is holding 
forth, and that there will be an explosion of riotous laughter when his tale 
is done. The pie, like Nero, aspires to song; but no s\-coi)hant will be 
found to praise him, for he intersperses his more tuneful nnisings with 
chacks and barks and harsh interjections which betray a disordered taste. In 
modulation and quality, however, the notes sometimes verge upon the human ; 
and it is well known that Magpies can be instructed until they acquire a 
handsome repertoire of speech. 

In order that their double quartet of youngsters may be lined up for 
the egg har\'est, the Magpies take an early start at home building. April is 
the nesting month, Init I have two records for March 30th, — one of five 
eggs at Chelan, and one cA eight in Yakima County. In the latter instance 
the first tgg must have been deposited not later than March iSth. And 
because the season affords him no protection, the Magpie resorts to two 
expedients in nest building in lieu of concealment: he first seeks retirement, 
the depths of some lonesome swamp, an unfrequented draw. (>r wooded 
spring, in the foothills, and then he erects a castle which would do' credit 
to a feudal baron. The nest is a ball of interlacing sticks set about a hollow 
half-sphere of dried mud. The amount of labor expended upon one of 
these structures is prodigious. The greasewood nest shown in the accompany- 
ing cut is three feet deep and two feet thru, and the component sticks are 
so firml}' interwoven that no ordinarx' agencv, short of the human hand, can 
efYect an entrance. The bird enters thru an obscure passage in one side, 
and, if surprised upon the nest, has always a way of escape planned thru 
the opposite wall. The mud cup is carefully shaped with walls an inch or 
two in thickness, a total breadth of eight or ten inches, and a like depth. In 
the best construction this cavity is filled to a depth of three or four inches 
with a loose mat of fine twigs of a uniform size. Upon this in turn is placed 
a coiled mattress of fine, clean rootlets, the whole affording a verv sanitary 
arrangement. 

Another fortress, of single construction, was four feet deep and three 
and a half feet thru : and that, too, after making liberal allowance for chance 
projections. The component sticks measure up to three feet in length and 



28 



TTTF. AMKRTCAX MAGPIE. 



tliree-quarters of an inch in tliickness. Xests are repaired and re-occupied 
year after year: nr if tlie_\- fall into hopeless decay, new structures are erected 
upon the ruins (if the old. The tenement photographed im Homely Island 
is a double nest (it looks ^^.^^r-i-^M-jr^T.,^^ triple, but the 

upper third is merely _^^^ mkmvhk- '''^^ d(jnie for 

the central portio.i. -^^^Sj^OJKyB^JcIrjEiL^fetea^ n r nest 

proper ). and meas- ,j^»l^lK^MiO?iw^#*^^fe^ ures seven 



feet froin tup t 
It contained 
eggs on Api'il 
1905, 

the oologist 
is very fond 
of little Mag- 
pies' eggs, he 
left these as 
a tribute to 
Mr. and ALrs. 
Cheops. 



iHittdm. 
se\en 
-'4th, 
altho 




Photo hv tha Author. 



M.AGPIE'S NEST OX HOMtCI.Y ISLAND. 



THE AMERICAN MAGPIE. 



29 



Tliis histiiric pile is in marked contrast tO' one sighted in a willow on 
the hanks of Crab Creek near Odessa. My attention was attracted to the 
spot by a scuffle, which took place between a Magpie and a pair of Kingbirds: 
and when I started to examine the nest, I was in honest doubt whether it 
might not l>elong tn the Kingbirds. The foundation was of mud, but this 
came near constituting the outside of the nest instead oi the inside. The 
action of the wind upon the willows had compressed the mud bowl to a boat- 
shaped receptacle wherein lay five brown beauties, unmistakable Magpies' 
eggs. There was a copicnis lining of rootlets, and a light half-cover of 
thorn twigs: but the whole structure was not over a foot in diameter and 
scarcely that in depth. 

Magpies, like Blue Jays, are discreetly quiet in 
, nesting time, and 

especially so if 
they have attempt- 
ed t(i nest in the 
^\^' * * ' ' ' '\ \ i i / iBw \'icinit\' of a farm- 

S>i»^'V, \ \\l ill liMl / house.' W h e n 

dri\'en to the hills 
by p e r s e c u t i on 
they accept any 
shelter, and will 
nest in grease- 
wood, sage-brush, 
or even on the ground. 
Arbors of clematis (cle- 
matis Hgitsficifolia) of- 
fer occasional conceal- 
ment, but thornapples 
(Cratcrgiis cohiuibian- 
II III. etc.) afford the 
safest retreat. A ]\Iag- 
pie snugly ensconced 
in a thornapple fortress 
may well bid defiance 
to any retributive agen- 
cy short of man. .\mi mg se\eral scores of nests 1 never saw one in a pine tree 
in the Yakima ciiuntr\-, yet these are freely utilized in Chelan, Okanogan, and 
Spokane Counties. Indeed, in these latter localities there is a suspicion of 
dawning ])reference fur the tree-tops and difticult climbs. On the Columbia 
River I once found a family of Mag])ies occupying the basement of a huge 




Taken near Sf^okanc 
Photo by Fred S. Merrill. 

YOUNG M.'^GPIE. 



30 THE AMERICAN MAGPIE. 

Ospre\'s nest, ami had reasun to beliexe that the thrift\- pies made efficient, 
if unwelcome, janitors. 

Ytntng Magpies are unsightly when hatched, — "worse than naked,'" and 
repulsive to a degree equaled (Hily by young" Cormorants. Hideous as they 
unquestionahh- are, the devoted parents declare them angels, and are ready 
to back their (jpinions with UKjst raucous vociferations. With the possible 
exception of Herons, who are plebes an\how, Mag"])ies are the most abusive 
and profane of birds. When a nest of young birds is threatened, they not 
onlv e.xpress such reasonable anxiet)- as any parent might feel, Init they 
denounce, upbraid, anathematize, and xilif)- the intruder, and decr\' his lineage 
from Adam down. They show the ingenuit_\- of Orientals in inventing oppro- 
brious epithets, and when these run dry, they fall to tearing at the leaves, the 
twigs, the branches, or even light on the ground and rip up the soil with 
their beaks, in the mad extremity of their rage. 

.\ ])air with whom I experimented near Wallula rather fell intij the humor 
of the thing. The Magpie is ever a wag, and these must have known that 
repeateil visits could mean no' harm. Nevertheless, as often as I rattled the 
nest from my fa\-orite perch on the willow tree, the old pies opened fresh vials 
of wrath and emptied their contents upon my devoted head, \\nien mere 
utterance became inadequate, the male bird fell tO' hewing at the end of a 
broken branch in most elocpient indignation. He wiire this down four inches 
in the course of my three visits. Once, when my attention was diverted, he 
took a sly crack at my outstretched fingers, which were hastily withdrawn : 
and, believe me, we both laughed. 

The Black-billed Magpie winters practically thruoiu its breeding range, 
but it also indulges in irregular migratorv movements, which in \Vashington 
take the form of e.xcursions to the coast. While never common on Puget 
Sound, they are not unlikely to occur anywhere here in the fall of the year, 
and are almost certain to be found somewhere about the southern prairies. 
They return early in, spring by way of the major passes, and are not again 
seen within the heavily timbered areas during the breeding season. Mr. D. 
E. Brown, then of Glacier, on the north fork of the Nooksack River, records 
under date of March 4, 1905, the a]ipearance of several bands of Magpies 
passing eastward at a considerable height, i)erhaps something between three 
and five thousand feet. He says they were unrecognizable until glasses were 
trained on them, and be thinks he must have seen at least tift)- birds, with 
chances for man\- nvn'e to have passed unobserved. 

East or west the Magpie becomes a pensioner of the sfaugbter house in 
winter, and bis fondness for meat has often proved his undoing in the cattle 
country. As a scavenger his services are not inconsideralile. The onh- 
trouble is, as has been said, that he sometimes kills his own meat. 

Volumes could be written of the Magpie as a pet. He is a brainy chap 



THE CALIFORNIA JAY. 31 



as well as a wag, and infinitely more interesting than a stupfd parrot. Mis- 
cliief is his special forte: the untying of shoe-strings, the investigation of 
cavities, the secreting of spoons, and the aimless abstractiim of gold teeth 
are his unending delight. Once when the writer was shelling seed peas in 
the garden, a spoiled "Jackity" assayed to fill his (the man's) ears with these 
innocent pellets ; and when he discovered a rent in the knee of the man's 
trousers, he fairlv chortled. ••\\'e]l ; I see mvself busv for a week filling that 
hole!" 

Cage life is irksome for Ijird or Ijeast ; Ijut. if we must be amused, and. 
above all, if we feel called upon to pass adverse judgment upon this gifted 
bundle (jf contradictious, as he exists in a state of nature, let onr harshest 
sentence be sociable confinement with occasional freedom on parole. A bird 
in the cage is worth two in the obitnarv columns. 



No. 8. 

CALIFORNIA JAY. 

A. O. U. No. 4S1. Aphelocoma calif ornica (Vigors). 

Description. — Adults: In general blue, changing to brownish gray on back 
(scapulars and interscapulars), whitening variously on underparts ; crown, hind 
neck and sides of neck dull cobalt blue, nearly uniform; wings, tail, and upper 
tail-coverts dull azure blue : cheeks and auriculars cobalt blue and dusky ; chin, 
throat, and chest, centrally, white, the last-named with admixture of blue in 
streaks, and passing into the clear blue of its sides ; breast sordid gray, passing 
into dull white of remaining underparts : shorter under tail-coverts pi'ire white, 
the longer ones tinged with pale blue ; bill and feet black ; iris brown. In young 
birds the blue of adults is supplanted by mouse-gray on head and lower neck, 
rump, etc., save that crown is tinged with blue; the gray of back is of a deeper 
shade ; the underparts are white, save for light brownish wash across breast and 
sides. Length of adult males 11. 50-12.25; wing 5.00 (127); tail 5.60 (143); 
bill i.oo (25.4) ; tarsus 1.60 (41 ). Females slightly smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Robin size; blue coloration without crest; whitish 
underparts. 

Nesting. — Nest: a bed of small twigs without mud and heavily lined with 
fine dead grass ; 8 inches across outside by 33-^ in depth — thus much smaller and 
lighter than that of the Steller Jay — placed at moderate elevation in tree or bush 
in thicket near water. Eggs: 3-6, usually 4 or 5, deep green of varying shades, 
spotted with reddish browns. Av. size, i.ii x .82 (28.2 x 20.8). Season: first 
week in May ; one brood. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district of United States, including eastern 
slopes of the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Range in Oregon, north to south- 
western Washington. 



32 



THE CALIFORNIA JAY. 



Range in Washington. — ( )f limited but regular uccurrcnce along the banks 
of the C'ohinibia west of the Cascades. Resident. 

Authorities. — ["California Jay,"' Johnson Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 ( 1885), 22]. 
[lielding, Land Birds Pac. Dist. (1890) p. iii|. .1 f'liclocoiv.a calif oniica. Law= 
rence, Auk, July, iSii2. p. 301. 

Specimens. — C. 

THRU the western part (jf Oregdn the breeding limits of the California 
Jav do not extend as far mirth as the Culuniliia River. I have ne\-er 
known of this sjjecies nesting aliout Portland, yet thirt\' miles snutli and 
southwest it is not 
at all uncommon. 
Thru the Willam- 
ette Valley, one 
meets this bird 
about as often as 
the Steller Jay. 
The habits of the 
two jays are much 
the same, yet the 
birds are easil\ 
distinguished li\ 
their dress, tln' 
California J a y 
having more re- 
semblance to the 
Blue Jay of the 
East in color but 
lacking the crest, 
while the Steller 
Jay has a dark 
blue and blackish 
coat with the lung 
crest. 

According to 
popular oijinion. 
the California Jay 
is a bird of bad 
reputation. Many 
people think he 
does nothing but 
go al")out wreck- 
ing the homes of young califokni.x jay. 




Taken in 
Oregon. 



Photo by 

Finley and Bohhuan. 



THE STELLER JAY. 33 



utlier l)ir(ls ami feasting on their eggs. This is not true, ahho occasionally 
a Jay will destro}' the home of anotlner hird. In Oregon I have often seen 
this bird feeding on wheat about the eilge nf the fields after the grain has 
been cut. Fruit, grain, grasshoppers and dtlier insects make up a large part 
of his food. 

Several _\ears ago I saw a small dock of California Ja\'s along the 
Columbia River in the dead of winter. During the nesting season the jay is 
too quiet to show his real character. During the autumn and winter he throws 
of¥ all restraint, picks up a few mates and goes wandering about from place to 
place in search of food. The bold and boisterous squawk of the Blue Jay 
always comes to my ear as a welcome and fitting note to relieve the cold quiet 
of the winter woods. 

One day I was watching se\'eral English Sparrows that were feeding on 
the ground under an oak when a pair of California Jays came flying thru the 
trees. With a loud squa\\k one swooped cluwu. with his wings and tail spread 
and his feathers puffed out as much as possiljle, evidently expecting tO' scare 
the sparrows. He dropped right in their midst with a screech which plainly 
said, "Get out of here or I'll eat you up alive!" The blufif might have worked 
with any bird except an Englisher. The Sparrows sputtered in contempt and 
were ready to fight but the Jay's attitude changed in a second. He took on an 
air of meekness and unconcern and hopped off looking industrinush- in the 
grass for something he had no idea of finding. I thought it a good touch of 



Tav character. 



^^^ILLI.\M L. Fixi.Ev. 



No. Q. 

STELLER'S JAY. 

A. O. U. No. 478. Cyanocitta stelleri (Gnielin). 

Synonyms. — "Bli'K Jay." "J.wi'.jku." 

Description. — Adults: Head and neck all around, anrl back, sooty black, 
touched with streaks of cerulean blue on forehead, and pale gray on chin and 
throat, this color passing insensibly into dull blue on breast and rump and richer 
blue on wings and tail ; terminal portion of tail and wings crossed with fine black 
bars, sharply on secondaries and tertials, faintly or not at all on greater coverts. 
Bill and feet black; iris brown. Young birds are more extensively sooty, and 
wing-bars are faint or wanting. Length of adults about 12.00; wing 5.90 ( [50) ; 
tail 5.43 (138) ; bill 1.18 (30) ; tarsus 1.80 (46). 

Recognition Marks. — Robin size : harsh notes : blue and black coloration 
unmistakable. 



34 THE STELLER JAY. 



Nesting. — Nest: a bulky mass of fine twigs thickly plastered centrally with 
mud and lined with fine rootlets, placed 6-30 feet high in evergreen tree of thicket, 
or near edge of clearing. Eggs: 3-5, usually 4, pale bluish green, uniformly but 
moderately spotted with olive brown and pale rufous and with numerous "shell- 
markings'" of lavender. Av. size, 1.23 x .90 (3 1. 2 x 22.8). Season: April 20- 
May 10; one brood. 

General Range. — North Pacific Coast district from Gray's Harbor and 
Puget Sound north to Cook's Inlet, except Prince of Wales Island and the Queen 
Charlotte grou]:i ( where displaced by C. s. carlotlcc). 

Range in Washington. — Entire western portion from summit of Cascades, 
shading inin L. s. carbonacca along north bank of the Columbia. Resident. 

Authorities. — ? Cyaniira stcUcri Swains., Orn. Com., Juurn. .Vc. Nat. Sci. 
Phila. VII. 1837, 193. Cyanocitta stcUcri, Newberry, Rep. Pac. R. R. .Surv. VI. 
pt. IV. 1857, p. 85. T. C&S. L- : Rh. Ra. Kk. U. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. Prov. E. B. BN. 

MISCHIEF and tlie "Blue Jay" are synonymous. Alert, restless, saucy, 
inquisitive, and provoking-, yet always interesting, this handsome brigand 
keeps his human critics in a perpetual see-saw between wrath and admiration. 
As a sprightly piece of Nature, the Steller Jay is an imqualified success. As 
the hero-subject of a guessing contest he is without a peer, for one never knows 
what he is doing until he has done it, and none may predict what he will do 
next. 

The pioneers are especiallv bitter against him, and they are unanimous in 
accusing the bird of malicious destructiveness in the gardens, which are dearer 
than the apple of the eye during the first years of wilderness life. The liircfs 
will eat an^•thing, and so>, tiring of bugs and slugs, are not averse to trying 
corn, cabbage leaves, or, best of all, potatoes. They have observed the tedious 
operation of the gardener in planting, and know precisely where the coveted 
tubers lie. Bright and early the following morning they slip to the edge of the 
clearing, post one of their number as lookout, then silently deploy upon their 
ghoulish task. If they weary of potatoes, sprouting peas or corn will do. Or 
perhaps there may Ije something interesting at the base of this young t(jmato 
plant. And when the irate farmer appears upon the scene, the marauders retire 
to the forest shrieking with laughter at the discomfitted swain. Ay ! there's 
the rub! We may endure injury but not insult. Bang! Bang! 

As a connoisseur of birds' eggs, too. the Steller Jay enjoys a bad 
eminence. The sufYerers in this case are chiefly the lesser song birds: l)ut no 
eggs wdiatever are exempt from his covetous glance, if left unguarded. The 
Jay has become especially proficient in the discovery and sacking of Bush-tits' 
nests. Mr. D. E. Brown assures me that he has found as high as fifteen nests 
of this bird in a single swamp, all gutted by Jays. When it is remembered 
that these btisv little workers make one of the handsomest nests in the world, 
the shame of this piracv gets u])on the nerves. The in\'estigation of Tits' 
nests has something of the fascination of the gaming talile for the Jav, since 



fe 



THE STELLER JAY. 35 



he ne\er knows what the wonder pouches may contain, until he has ripped a 
hole in the side and inserted his piratical beak. 

The dense forests of Puget Sound are not so well patrolled by these 
feathered grafters as are the forests of the East by the true Blue Jay 
(Cyanocitta cristata). But then our bird has the advantage of denser cover, 
and we do not know how often we have been scrutinized or shadowed. Upon 
discovery the Steller Jay sets up a great outcry and makes off thru the thickets 
shrieking lustily. A favorite method of retreat is tO' flit up into the lower 
branches of a fir tree and, keeping close to the trunk, to ascend the succeeding 
limbs as by a spiral staircase. The bird, indeed, takes a childish delight in this 
mad exercise, and no sooner does he cjuit one tree-top than he dashes down 
to a neighboring tree to- run another frenzied gamut. 

Owls ha\'e abundant cover in western Washington, but should one of 
them be startled by day, the Steller blue-coat is the first to note the villain's 
flight. The alarm is sounded and an animated pursuit begins. When the 
Owl is brought to bay, the deafening objurgation of the Jays is not the least 
indignity which he is made to suffer. The Jay, in fact, seeks to make the 
world forget his own oft'enses by heaping obloquy upon this blinking sinner. 

The notes of the Steller Jay are harsh and expletive tO' a degree. Shaack, 
sliaack. shaack is a common (and most exasperating) form; or, by a little 
stretch of the imagination one may hear jay, jay, jay. A mellow klook, klook, 
klook sometimes varies the rasping imprecations and serves tO' remind one 
that the Jay is cousin to the Crow. Other and minor notes there are for the 
lesser and rarer emotions, and some of these not unmusical. Very rarely the 
bird attempts song, and succeeds in pniducing a medley which quite satisfies 
licr that he could if he would. 

C. stcllcri, like C. cristafa again, is something of a mimic. The notes of 
the Western Red-tail (Butco horealis calurus) and other hawks are reproduced 
with especial fidelity. For such an effort the Jay conceals himself in the depths 
of a large-leafed maple or in a fir thicket, and his sole object appears to be that 
of terrorizing the neighboring song-birds. One such I heard holding- forth 
from a shade tree on the Asylum grounds at Steilacoom. Uncanny sounds 
are, of co'urse, not unknown here, but an exploratory pebble served to< unmask 
the cheat, and drove forth a very much chastened Blue Jav before a company 
of applauding Juncoes. 

It is well known that the gentleman burglar takes a conscientious pride 
in the safet\- and welfare of his own home. Nothing shall molest his dear 
ones. Tlie Jay liecomes secretive and silent as the time for nest-building 
approaches. The nest is well concealed in a dense thicket of fir saplings, or 
else set at various heights in the larger fir trees. If one but looks at it before 
the complement of eggs is laid the locality is deserted forthwith. If, however, 
the enterprise is irretrievably launched, the birds take care not to be seen in 



36 THE GRINNELL JAY. 



the \-icinity uf their nest until they are certain of its fliscover\", in w hicli case 
they call heaven and earth to witness tliat the man is a monster of iniquity, and 
that he is plotting against the innocent. 

In our experience, Steller's Jay is not, as has Ijeen sometimes reported, a 
bird of the mountains. To be sure, it may be found in tlie mountain T'olleys. 
but if so it is practically confined to them. The bird, is, however, ubiquitous 
thruout the lii\\l\'ing countries of Puget Sound, Gray's Harbor, and adjacent 
regions, giving way on!}- upon the south to the dubious Grinnell Jay (S. s. 
cavbonacca). 



No. 10. 
GRINNELL'S JAY. 

A. f). U. No. 478e. Cyanocitta stelleri carbonacea J. Grinnull. 

Synonyms. — "Blue Jay." Coast Jay (A. O. U.). 

Description. — "Similar to C. s. stelleri, but paler thruout, and averaging 
slightly smaller ; color of head very nearly as in C. s. stelleri, but averaging 
browner or more sooty, the forehead always conspicuously streaked with blue, 
and throat more extensively or uniformly pale grayish; back and foreneck much 
paler, slaty brown or brownish slate, instead of deep sooty ; blue of rump, upper 
tail-coverts, and under parts of body ligiit dull cerulean or verditer blue, advanc- 
ing more over chest, where more abruptly defined against the sooty or brownish 
slate color of foreneck" ( liidgway). .'Xdult males: wing 6.IO (150.5) : tail 3.51 
(140) ; bill 1. 15 (29.1) : tarsus 1.75 (44.5). 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from Monterey county, California, 
north to Columl)ia I^iver. 

Range in Washington. — Idas only theoretical status in State, but specunens 
taken along north banks of Columbia would appear to belong here. 

Authorities. — ? Corz'iis stelleri, Nuttall, Man. Orn. U. S. and Can. I. 1832, 
229 ("Columbia River"). ? Orn. Com. Journ. Ac, Nat, Sci. Phila. VII. 1837, 193. 
C. s. frontalis, R. H. Lawrence, Auk XVII. Oct. 1892, p. 355 (Gray's Harbor). 
C. s. earbonacea Grinnell, Ridgvvay, Birds of No. and Mid. Am. Vol. III. p. 354 
(footnote). L. Kb. 

ORNITHOLOGY is the furthest refined of the systematic sciences. So 
zealous have been her devotees and so- sagacious her high priests, that no shade 
of difiference in size, form or hue of a bird is allowed to pass unnoticed, or its 
owner unnamed. It is unquestionably annoying to the novice to be confronted 
with such subtleties, and the recognition of subspecies in the vernacular names 
of our birds is of doubtful wisdom ; but the fashion is set and we will all lie 
foolish together — so that none may laugh. 

The normal range of Grinnell's Jay, as defined, extends northward to the 



THE BLACK-HEADED JAY. 37 

Columbia River ; and since the district lying between the Cokimbia and Puget 
Sound presents intergrades between C. slcllcri and C. s. carbonacea, obviously, 
those Jays which inhaljit the southern portion of this debatable ground are 
better entitled to be called carbonacea than stcllcri. 



No. II. 

BLACK-HEADED JAY. 

A. O. U. No. 478c. Cyanocitta stelleri annectens (Baird). 

Synonyms. — "Bluk Jay." Pine Jay. Mointaix Jay. 

Description. — ^-Idnlls: Similar to C". stcllcri, but marked with a small 
lengthened white spot over eye; streaks on forehead (when present) paler blue or 
whitish ; streaks on chin and upper throat whiter and more distinct ; blue areas 
slightly paler and rather more greenish in tone. Size indistinguishable. 

Recognition Marks. — As in C. stcllcri. White spot over eye distinctive. 

Nesting. — As in C. stcllcri. 

General Range. — Eastern British Columbia and the northern Rocky Moun- 
tains, south to Wahsatch Range in Utah, west to eastern slopes of Cascade Range 
in Washington and Oregon. 

Range in Washington. — Forests of eastern ^^'ashington, shading into 
typical stcllcri in Cascade Range. Nearly confined to pine timber. 

Authorities. — Cvanocitta stcllcri annectens. Brewster, Bull. Nutt. Orn. 
Club, \'II.. 1882. 229: (C&S.) D". D-\ J. 

THERE is no such difference of plumage between C. stelleri and C. s. 
aiineeteus as is suggested by the name "Black-headed" : Ijut in en(lea\-oring to 
mark eight shades of dift'erence between tweedledum and tweedledee within 
the limits of a single species, we are naturally pretty hard put to* it for 
appropriate names. Ainieetens marks the annexion, or welding together, of 
two branching lines in the C. stcllcri group. It is the head of the wish-bone, 
whose divergent arms run down the Sierras to Lower California and along 
the Rockies to Guatamala respectively. 

With a hypothetical center of distribution somewdiere in southeastern 
British Columbia, this subspecies inosculates with stelleri in the mountains 
of that province, and is roughly separated fn.m the western stuck Ijv the 
central ridge oi the Cascades, in Washington. 

Black-headed Jays in Washington are normally cuufinerl to the limits 
of coniferous timlier, being therefore most abundant in the northern portion, 
in the Blue Mountains, and along the eastern slopes of the Cascades. We 
have, however, like Bendire, discovered them on occasion skulking in the 



38 THE WHITE-HEADED JAY. 

willows along creek jjottoms some twenty miles fmm pine timber. On the 
other hand, the}' do not assert, with the Gray Jays and Clark Crows, the right 
to range the mountain heights: but are quite content to maintain their 
unholy inquisition amidst the groves and thickets of the valley floors. 

Thev are, perhaps, not so noisy as the Steller Jays, being less confident 
of their cover; and their notes are rather more musical (lireath of pines is 
better than fog for the voice) : but for tlie rest thev are the same vi\'acious. 
intrepid, resourceful mischief-makers as their kin-folk everywhere. 



No. 12. 

WHITE-HEADED JAY. - 

A. O. U. No. 484a. Perisoreus canadensis capitalis Ridgw. 

Synonyms. — Rocky Mountain Jay. "Canada" Jay. Whiskey jack. 
WissKACiKjN. Camp Robber. Moose-bird. Meat Havi^k. Meat-bird. 

Description. — Adults: General color plumbeous ash lightening below ; whole 
head white save space about and behind eye connected with broad nuchal patch 
of slaty gray ; wings and tail l)lackish overlaid with silver gray ; tail tipped with 
white and wings more or less edged with the same. Bill and feet black ; iris 
brown. Young birds much darker and more uniform in coloration than adidt.s — 
slaty gray to sooty slate with lighter crown and some whitish edging on under- 
parts. Length 12.00-13.00: wing 6.00 ("152); tail 5.75 (145); bill .82 (21): 
tarsus 1.38 (35). 

Recognition Marks. — Robin size : slaty gray coloration. White of iiead 
with its altruptly defined patch of slate on hind neck distinctive as compared with 
related species of the genus Perisoreus. 

Nesting. — Has not been reported for Washington but bird undoubtedly 
breeds in the Kalispell range. Nest: in coniferous tree, a large compacted mass 
of the softest and warmest substances, — twigs for a foundation, then grasses, 
abundant moss, plant-down and feathers. Eggs: 3-5, usually 4, grayish white, 
spotted and blotched with brown having a tinge of purplish. Av. size 1.15 -x .85 
(29.2x21.6). Season: Feb.-April ; one brood. 

General Range. — Higher ranges of the Rocky Mountain district from 
British Columbia to Arizona. 

Range in Washington. — Mountains of northeastern corner of State and 
(probably) the Blue Mountains. 

Authorities.— ["White-headed Jay," Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T., 1884 
(1885) 22.] Ridgway, Birds of North and Middle America, Vol. HI. p. 371, 
("Sinzoknoteen Depot, etc."). 

THE casual observer, camping first on Calispell Peak in Stevens County, 
and later on Mt. Stuart, in southern Chelan County, might fail to note any 



THE WHITE-HEADED JAY. 



39 



difference in the soberly-dressed Jays, who are the self-appointed o\-erseers 
of camp economics. For while the birds of the two localities really represent 
two species, the resemblance in general appearance and behavior is so close 
as to be virtually negligible afield. 

Of this bird in Colc»radn, Mr. Frank AI. Drew has obser\-ed* : "In 
autumn when on his first tour of inspection aroimd the house he hops along 
in a curious sidelong manner, just like a school-girl in a slow hurry. White- 
headed. gra\-e. and sedate, he seems a very paragon of propriety, and if you 




Taken near Spokane. 



wimi: ni;Aiii.i) ia\ 



Pk^ta by ir. H. Wright. 



appear to be a suitable personage, he w ill be apt to give you a bit of advice. 
Becoming confidential he sputters out a lot of nonsense in a manner which 
causes you to think him a veritable 'Whisky Jack' : yet. whenever he is 
disposed, a more bland, mind-his-own-business-appearing bird will Ije hard 
to find, as will also be many small articles around camp after one of his 
visits, for his whimsical brain has a great fancy for anything which may 
be valuable to you. but perfectly useless to him." 



a. Bull. Nutt. Orn. Club, Vol. VI., 



40 THE OREGON JAY. 



No. 13- 

OREGON JAY. 

A. O. U. No. 485. Perisoreus obscurus (Ridgway). 

Synonyms. — C.ami' Robbek. Meat Bird. Deer Hunter. 

Description. — Adults: In general upperparts deep brownish gray; uuder- 
parts white tinged with brownish ; forehead and nasal plnmules most nearly clear 
white ; chin, throat, cheeks, auriculars, and obscure band around neck white 
more or less tinged with brownish ; crown and nape sooty brown, nearly black ; 
feathers of back with white shafts more or less exposed ; wings and tail drab gray, 
the former with whitish edging on middle and greater coverts and tertials. Bill 
and feet black; iris brown. Vouiuj birds are nearly uniform .^ooty brown lighten- 
ing below. Length lo.oo-ii.oo; wing 5.30 ( 135) ; tail 5.00 ( 127) : bill .71 (18) ; 
tarsus 1.30 i},^)- 

Recognition Marias. — Rol)in size; brownish gray coloration, familiar, fear- 
less ways. Not certainly distinguishable afield from the ne.xt form. 

Nesting. — Nest: a bulky compacted structure of twigs, plant-fibers and tree- 
moss with warm lining of fine mosses and feathers, placed well up in fir tree. 
Eggs: 4 or 5, light gray or pale greenish gray spotted with grayish brown and 
dull lavender. Av. size 1.04 x. 79 {26.4 x. 20). Season: Feb. -April ; one brood. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from Humboldt county, California, 
north to Vancouver Island. Imperfectly made out as regards following form. 

Range in Washington. — Probably the Olympic Mountains and irregularly 
thru the heavier forests of southwestern Washington. 

Authorities. — P. canadensis Bonap. Baird, Rep. Pac. R R. Surv. IX. pt. II. 
1858, 591 part. Ridgway. Bull. Essex Inst. \". Nov. 1873, 194. (T) C&S. E'. 
Rh. Ra. B. E( ?). 

Specimens. — V . of W. Prov. E. C. 

THE relati\-e distribution of the Oregon Jay and the more recently dis- 
tinguished Grav Jav is still \-ery imperfectly understood. It w-ould apjjear 
probaljle that this form is the l)ird of the rainy district, including all lowlands 
of western \\'ashington, tlie Olympic Mountains, and the western slopes of 
the Cascades, and that it gi\es place to P. 0. grisciis not only upon the heights 
and eastern slopes of the Cascades, but in the deep valleys whicii penetrate 
these mountains from the west. 

Certainly it is the Oregon Jay which abounds in the Olympic ^Mountains, 
and among the dense spruce forests of the adjoining coasts. While the jjird is 
more abundant im the lowlands in winter, the prevalent opinidU that the Oregon 
Jay is exclusively a bird oi the mountains is probably incorrect. Altho bold 
enough where undisturbed, the birds soon learn caution ; and their nests have 



THE GRAY JAY. 41 



Ijeen found near Renton wliere tlieir presence during the l^reeding season would 
otherwise liave gone unsuspected. Tiie depths of the forest have no terrors for 
this quiet .ghost, and tliere are other reasons besides color w hy lie remains the 
obscure one. 



No. 14. 

GRAY JAY. 



A. O. U. No. 485a. Ferisoreiis obsciinis griseiis Ridgw. 

Synonyms. — Camp Robbhk., etc. 

Description. — "Similar to P. 0. ohscunis, but decidedly larger (except feet), 
and coloration much grayer ; back, etc., deep mouse gray, instead of brown, 
remiges and tail between gray (No. 6) and smoke gray, instead of drab gray, 
and under parts grayish white instead of brownish white." iRidgwavl. Length 
( Av. of tliree Glacier specimens) 11. 16 (283.5); '^ving 5.82 (147.6); tail 5.48 
( 139.1 ) ; bill .75 (19) ; tarsus 1.25 131.7). 

General Range. — Central mountain ranges of central California, Oregon, 
Washington, and Britisli Columbia. 

Range in Washington. — Thruout the Cascade ^Mountains and irregularly 
along their lower slopes west (?) to tidewater. 

Authorities. — ? P. canadensis Bonap., Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv., \'ol. 
IX, pt. II, 1858, p. 591 (Cascade .Mts. W. T. ). Ridgway, .-\iik, Vol. XVI., July, 
1899, 225. Kk. ? 

THE "Camp-Robljer" appears promptly as interested neighbnr and 
smell-feast before all who invade the precincts of the mountains. The hunter, 
the trapper, the prospector, the timber cruiser, the mere camper-out. all know 
him, and the}- speak well or ill r)f him according to their kind. The Gray Jay 
appears to have forsworn the craftiness of his race, and he wins by an 
exhibition of artless simplicity, rather than b_\- wiles. The bird is mildly 
curious and hungry — oh, \"ery hungr}' — Init this is Arcadia, and the shepherds 
draw nigh with never a doubt of their welcome. There js a childlike 
insouciance about the wa\- in whicli the bird anne.KCS a piece of frizzled bacon, 
humbly intended for the man. "'Shoo,' did you say? \\'hy, what do' you 
mean? Can't I ha\-e it?" .And the bird retires before a flying chip, baffled 
and injured by such a manifest tt.iken of ill-l)reeding. He complains mildly 
to his fellows. They discuss the question in gentle 7^'hcii's: generously con- 
clude you didn't mean it, and return unabashed to the quest. 

Hunger is the chief characteristic of these docile birds, and no ]5otentia] 
food is refused, nuts, acorns, insects, l)erries, or even, as a last resort, the 
buds of trees. Aleat of any sort has an especial attraction to them ; and they 
are the despair of the trapper because of their propensity for stealing bait. 



42 



THE GRAY JAY. 



Tlie hunter knuws them for arch sycophants, and he is occasionally able to 
trace a wuunded deer, or tu' locate a carcass by the movements oi these 
expectant heirs. Says Mr. A. W. Anthony^: "While dressing deer in the 
thick timljer I have been almost covered with Jays flying down from the 
neighboring trees. They would settle on my back, head, or shoulders, tugging 
and pulling at each loose shred of my coat until one would think that their 
only object was tn help me in all ways possible." 

In the higher latitudes "Whisky Jack," in spite of carefully secreted 
stores, often becomes very emaciated in winter, a mere bunch of bones 
and feathers, no . 
heavier than a Rerl- ' 
poll. While the Jays 
of our kindlier clime 
do not feel so- keenh 
the belly pinch df 
winter, thev have 
the same thrifty halj- 
its as their northern 
kinfolk. Food is 
ne\-er refused, and a 
well - stuffed speci- 
men will still carr\ 
grub from camp ami 
secrete it in bark- 
crevice iir hollow, 
against the unknown 
hour of need. 

I have never heard 

the Gray Jay titter more than a soft cooing 2vlicc ezv repeated at random ; 
but Bendire credits it with a near approach to song'': and Mrs. Bailey says 
of the Jays on Mr. Hood'^ : "Their notes were pleasantly varied. One 
call was remarkablv like the chirp of a robin. Another of the common- 
est was a weak and rather complaining cry repeated several times. A 
sharply contrasting one was a pure clear whistle of one note followed 
by a three-syllabled call something like Ka-wc-aJi. The regular rallying 
cry was still dilTerent, a loud and striking two-syllaliled ka-ii'hcc." 

The eggs of the Gra\- Ja\' have not \ei been reported from this State, 
but it is known that the bird builds a very substantial nest of twigs, grasses, 
plant fibre, and mosses without mud. and that it provides a heavy lining of 




7-,7;,-,-i 



National Pari!. 

A B.XCHELOR'S PET. 



Photo by J. H. Boudcs. 



a. The Auk, Vol. III., 1886, p. 167. 

b. Life Histories of N. A. Birds, Vol. II., p. 394. 

c. Handbook Birds of the Western U. S., pp. 278-9. 



THE COWBIRD. 43 



soft gray mosses for the eggs. The nest is usually well concealed in a fir 
tree, and may be placed at any height from ten or fifteen feet upward, altho 
usually at sixty or eighty feet. Only one brood is reared in a season, and 
family groups hunt trigether until late in the summer. 



No. 15. 

COWBIRD. 



A. O. U. Xo. 495. Molothrus ater (Bodd.). 

Synonyms. — Cow Blackbird. Cuckold. 

Description. — Adult male: Head and neck wood-, seal-, or coffee-brown 
(variable) : remaining plumage black with metallic greenish or bluish iridescence. 
Female: Dark grayish brown, showing slight greenish reflections, darkest on 
wings and tail, lightening on breast and throat. Young in first plumage: Like 
female but lighter below and more or less streaky ; above somewhat mottled by 
buft'y edgings of feathers. The young males present a striking appearance when 
they are assuming the adult black, on the installment plan, by chunks and blotches. 
Length 7.50-8.00 (190.5-203.2); wing 4.40 (111.8); tail 3.00-3.40 (76.2-86.4); 
bill .65 (16.5); tarsus .95-1.10 (24.1-27.9). Female, length, wing, and tail 
one-half inch less. 

Recognition Marks. — Cliewink size : brown head and black body of male ; 
brown of female. 

Nesting. — The Cowljird invariably deposits her eggs in the nests of other 
birds. Eggs: 1 or 2, rarely 3 or 4, with a single hostess, white, often faintly 
tinged with bluish or greenish, evenly speckled with cinnamon, brown or umber. 
Av. size. .85 X .65 (21.6x16.5), but quite variable. Season: April-June. 

General Range. — United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific, north into 
southern British America, south in winter, into JSIexico. 

Range in Washington. — Of limited but regular occurrence east of the 
Cascades, increasing ; rare or casual in western Washington. Summer resident. 

Authorities. — Bendire, Life Histories of N. A. Birds, \''ol. IL, p. 434. 
D'. D-'. Ss-\ J. B. E. 
Specimens. — C. P. 

WHILE I was chatting with my host at milking time (at the head of 
Lake Chelan in the ante-tourist days), a dun-colored bird with light under- 
parts flew down into the corral, and began foraging as tho tO' the manor born. 
One by one the cows sniffed at the stranger and nosed it about, following 
it up curiously. But the bird only side-stepped or walked unconcernedly ahead. 
\\'hen I returned with the gun, a moment later, I found a calf investigating 
the newcomer, and it was difficult to separate the creature from bossikin's 
nose. The date was August 3rd ; the bird proved to be a young male 



44 THE COWBIRD. 



Ciiwliird in the lightest juvenile phase uf plumage, a waif cuckold far 
from anv of his kin, l_)ut shifting for himself with the nonciialance wliich 
characterizes Iiis worthless kind. 

If (lur hem had lived (and I make nu aijulogy for his demise in the first 
act ), lie would have exchanged his inconspicuous livery for the rich, iridescen'. 
Ijlack nf the adult: and he would have done this on the installment plan, by 
chunks and bli itches, looking the while like a ragpicker, tricked out in cast-ofY 
finery. 

In the niduth of March Cowbirds mingle more or less with other 
blackljirds in the migrations, but if the main Hock halts for refreshments 
and discussion cii route, a, group of these rowdies will hunt up some dis- 
reputable female of their own kind, and make tipsy and insulting advances 
til her along some horizontal liml) or fence rail. Taking a position about 
a foot away from the coy drab, the male will make two or three accelerating 
hops tnward her, then stop suddenlv, allowing the impulse nf motion to tilt 
him \iiilentl\- forward and throw his tail up iierpendicularlv . while at the 
same moment he spews out the disgusting notes which \-oice his passion. 

Of the mating. Chapman savs : "Thev build no nest, and the females, 
lacking ever\- nmral instinct, lea\'e their companions only long eni lUgh to 
deposit their eggs in the nests of other and smaller birds. I can imagine 
no' sigiit more strongly suggestive of a tboroly despicaljle nature than a 
female Cowbird sneaking thru the trees and bushes in search (^f a victim 
upiin whom to shift the duties of motberho-od." 

The egg. thus surreptitiously placed in another bird's nest, usually 
hatches two or three days before those of the foster mother, and the infant 
Cnwbird thus gains an advantage which he is not slow to improve. His 
Inud clamoring for food often drives the nld birds tO' abandon the task of 
incubation; or if the other eggs are allnwed to remain until hatched, the 
uncouth stranger manages tO' usurp attention and food supplies, and not 
infrequentl}' tO' override or stifle the other occupants of the nest, so that their 
dead bodies are l)y-and-l_)y removed to make room for his hogship. It is 
asserted Iw some that in the absence nf the foster parents the young thug 
forcibly ejects the rightful heirs from the nest, after the fashion of the 
Old World Cuckoos. I once found a nest which contained only a lust}- 
Cowbird. while three proper fledgelings clung to the shrubbery lielow. and 
one lay dead upon the ground. 

\\'hen the misplaced tenderness of foster parents has done its utmost 
for the voung upstart, he jnins himself to some precious crew of his own 
blood, and the cycle of a changeling is complete. 

While not common an_\where west of the Rockies, the Cowbird is no 
longer rare east of the Cascades, and it is making its appearance at various 
points on Puget Sound. The earlier writers make no mention of its occur- 



THE BREWER BLACKBIRD. 45 

rence in Wasliingtoii, and it seems probable that its presence has followed 
tardily upon the introduction of cattle. Bendire was the tirst to report it 
from this State, having taken an egg near Palouse Falls on June 18, 1878, 
fr(jm a nest of the Slate-colored Sparrow (Passerclla iliaca schistacea). 

Its presence among us is, doubtless, often overlooked because of the 
superficial resemblance which it bears in note and appearance to Brewer's 
Blackbird (Buplmgiis cyaiiitccf^haliis). The note of the former w dis- 
tinctive, — a shrill, hissing squeak in two tones with an interval of a descending- 
third, uttered with great effort and apparent nausea — honestly, a disgusting 
sound. 



No. 16. 

BREWER'S BLACKBIRD. 

A. O. U. Xo. 510. Euphagus cyanocephalus (^^'agler). 

Description. — Adult male: Glossy black with steel bhie and violet reflec- 
tions on head, with fainter greenish or bronzy reflections elsewhere ; bill and feet 
black : iris pale lemon yellow or light cream. Adult female: Head and neck all 
around deep brownish gray with violet reflections ; underparts brownish slate to 
blackish with faint greenish iridescence ; u]iperparts blackish, or outright black 
on wings and tail, which are glossed with bluish-green : bill and feet as in male, 
but iris brown. Immature males iu first zvintcr plumage resemble adults but have 
some edging of pale grayish brown. Length of adult males: 10.00 (254) ; wing 
5.00 (128); tail 3.90 (99): bill .89 (22.6); tarsus 1.27 (32.3). Adult female: 
length 9.25 (235); wing 4.ffK) (117): tail 3.50 (89) bill .79 (20): tarsus 1.20 
(30-5)- 

Recognition Marks. — Robin size ; pure black coloration and whitish eye of 
male. Larger than Cowbird (Molothrus aterj with which alone it is likely to 
be confused. 

Nesting. — A^est: placed at moderate height in bush clump or thicket, less 
frequently on ground at base of bush, more rarely in cranny of cliff or cavity 
of decayed tree-trunk, a sturdy, tidy structure of interlaced grasses, strengthened 
by a matrix of mud or dried cow-dung and carefuUv lined with coiled rootlets or 
horsehair. Nests in straggling colonies. Eggs: 4-7, usually 5; or 6, presenting two 
divergent types of coloration with endless variations and intermediate phases. 
Light type: ground color light gray or greenish gray, spotted and blotched with 
brown of varying shades, walnut, russet, and sepia. (In some examples there is 
purplish brown scrawling, which suggests the Redwing type. One egg in the 
writer's collection is indistinguishable from that of a Cowbird, save for size.) 
Dark type: ground color completely obscured by overlay of fine brown dots 
resulting in nearly uniform shade of mummy brown or Vandyke brown. Av. size 
1.03 X .72 {26.2 X 18.3). Season: April 20-May 10; one or two broods. 

General Range. — Western North America from the plains to the Pacific, 
and from the Saskatchewan region south to the highlands of Mexico to Oaxaca. 



46 



THE BREWER BLACKBIRD. 



Range in Washington. — Of general distributidii tlirudut the State but found 
chiefly in more open situations in vicinity of streams and ponds and in cuUivated 
sections. Normally migratory but increasingly resident especially on West-side. 

Authorities. — [Lewis and Clark, Hist. Ex. ( 1814) Ed. Riddle: Coues, Vol. 
H p. 185. J Scolccophagus niexicanus, Newberry, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. VL 
pt. IV. 1857, p. 86. (T) C&S. L'. Rh. D'. Ra. D^ Ss'. Ss-'. Kk. J. B. H. 

Speicmens.^U. of W. Prov. B. E. P. 

"BLACKBIRD'S" are nut usually highly esteemed in the East, where 
the meniurv O'f devastated cornfields keeps the wrath of the farmer warm ; 
l:)ut if all species were as inoffensi\'e as this confiding pensioner of the 
\Vest, prejudice would soon vanish. He is a handsome fellow, our Wash- 
ington grackle, sleek, vivacious, inter- 
esting, and serviceable withal. We 
know him, best, perhaps, as an indus- 
trious gleaner of pastures, corrals, 
streets, and "made" lands. He is not 
only the farmer's "hired man," waging 
increasing warfare against insect life, 
especially in its noxious larval forms, 
but he has an accepted place in the 
economy of city and village as well. 

As one approaches a feeding flock', 
he notes the eagerness with which the 
birds run forward, or rise and flit past 
their fellows, now diving at a nimlile 
weevil, now leaping to catch a passing 
bug, but always pushing on until one 
perceives a curious rolling etTect in the 
total movement. 

As we draw near, some timid in- 
dividual takes alarm, and instantly all 
are up, Uy alight again uptjn the fence 
or shrubbery where they clack and 
wliistle, not so much by way of appre- 
hension as thru sheer exuberance of 
nervous force. As we pass ( we must not stop short, for they resent express 
attention) we note the droll wdiite eyes of the males, as they twist and perk 
and chirp in friendly impudence: and the snnfT}- brown heads of the females 
with their soft hazel irides, as they give a motherh' flufif of the feathers, 
or yawn with impatience over the interrupted meal. When we are fairly 
by, the most venturesome dives from his perch, and the rest follow by 
twos and tens, till the ground is again co\-ered l)v a shifting, chattering band. 




Taken in Douglas County. Photo by the Author 
BREWER'S BL.^CKBIRDS. 



THE BREWER BLACKBIRD. 47 

Like all Blackbirds, the Brewers are gregarious : but tbey are somewhat 
more independent than most, flocks of one or two score being more frequent 
than those of a hundred. During migrations and in autumnal flocking they 
associate more or less with Redwings; but, altho they are devoted to the 
vicinity of water, they care nothing for the fastnesses of reed and rush, 
which are the delight of Redwing and Yellowhead. Their preference is for 
more open situations, so that they are most abundant upon the East-side. 
Here a typical breeding haunt is a strip of willows fringing a swamp ; or, better 
still, a line of dark green thorn-bushes clinging to the bank of the rolling 
Columbia. 

Altho isolated nests may now and then be found, colonies are the rule; 
and I have found as high as forty nests in a single patch of greenerv. There 
is room. O'f course, for individual choice of nesting sites, but the com- 
munity choice is the more striking. Thus, cvne recalls the greasewood 
nesting, the rose-briar nesting, the thorn-bush nesting, where all the members 
of the colony conformed to the locally established rule in nest position. 
Mr. Bowles records the most remarkable instance of this : One season the 
nests of the South Tacoma colony were all placed in small bushes, the 
highest not over four feet from the ground ; but in the season following the 
birds were all found nesting in cavities near the top of some giant fir stubs, 
none of them less than 150 feet from the gmund. On the other hand, in 
the L^sk nesting of 1906. on the placid lianks of the Pencl d'Oreille, one 
pair had recessed its nest in a stump at a height of eighteen feet, while three 
other pairs had sunk theirs into the ground at the base of bushes. 

In construction the nest of the Brewer Blackbird varies considerablv, 
but at its best it is quite a handsome affair. Composed e.xternally of twigs, 
weed-stalks, and grasses, its characteristic feature is an interior mould, or 
matrix, of dried cow-dung or mud. which gives form and stability to the 
whole. The lining almost invariabl}- includes fine brown rootlets, but horse- 
hair is also welcomed wherever available. 

The eggs of Brewer's Blackbird are the admiration of oologists. Rang- 
ing in color from clear greenish gray with scattered markings thru denser 
patterns to nearly uniform umber and chocolate, they are the natural favorites 
of "series" hunters. The range of variation is, indeed, curious, but it proves 
to he entirely individual and casual without trace of local or constant differ- 
ences. Eggs from the same nest are usually uniform in coloration, but even 
here there is notable diversity. In some instances, after three or four eggs 
are laid, the pigment gives out, and the remainder of the set is lighter colored. 
Again, single eggs are heavily pigmented half way, and finished with a clear 
green grotmd-color. 



48 



THE BREWER BLACKBIRD. 



Im'csIi eggs may Ije taken in the \ akima cmintrx- during ilie hist week 
in Aprik ami in une case noted, deposition began on April 14th: Init May 
1st- 1 5th is the nsual rnle there and elsewhere. Five eggs is the common 
set, but si.x to a clutch is not rare. (}f twenty-eight nests e.xaminecl in 
Yakima County, May 4, 1906. 
eleven contained six eggs each ; 
while, of something over tw(.> 
hundred seen altogether, two 
nests containetl se\'en each. 

It is in his notes that the 
Brewer Blackbird betrays his 
affinities best of all. The melo- 
diously scjueaking chatter of 
mating time is, of course, most 
like that of the Rusty Black- 
bird (S. cardliiiiis) . but it lacks 
the bubbling character. He has 
then the swelling note of the 
Crackles |)roper, fff-wecl. the 
latter part rendered with some- 
thing of a trill, the former 




Tahcn in Stevens County. Photo by the Author. 

GROUND NEST OF BREWER BLACKBIRU. 



citement of any kind. Knorcr 

has a fine metallic (|ualit\' 

which promptl}' links it to the 

Ke\ring note of the Redwing. Cliiip is the ordinary note of distrust and 

alarm, or of stern inquiry, as when the bird-man is caught fingering the for- 

Ijidden ovals. .\ harsh low rattle, or rolling note, is also used when the 

birds are squabbling among tbemseh-es, or fighting for position. 

Unquestionably this species has graduall}' extended its range within the 
borders of the State, for the earlier in\-estigators did not regard it as resident 
on Puget Scjund. It has profited greath' and deser\edly bv the spread of 
settlement evervwhere, and this is especiall}' true of the more open situations. 
Not a little it owes, also, to the introduction of cattle: for it is as great a 
rustler about corrals and stamping grounds as its renegade cousin. the Cowbird. 



THE BULLOCK ORIOLE. 49 



No. 17. 
BULLOCK'S ORIOLE. 

A. O. U. No. 508. Icterus bullockii (Swainson). 

Description. — Adult mule: Black, white, and orange; bill, lore, a line thru 
eye, and throat (narrowly) jet black; pileuni, back, scapulars, lesser wing-coverts, 
primary coverts, and tertials chiefly black, or with a little yellowish skirnng; 
rcmiges black edged with white ; middle and greater coverts continuous with 
edging of tertials and secondaries, white, forming a large patch ; tail chiefly yellow 
but central pair of rectrices black terminally, and remaining pairs tipped with 
blackish; remaining plumage, including supraloral areas continuous with sr.per- 
ciliaries, orange yellow, most intense on sides of throat and chest, shading thru 
cadmium on breast to chrome on rump, tail-coverts, etc. In young adults the 
orange is less intense and, encroaches upon the black of forehead, hind-neck, etc., 
altho the tail is more e.xtensively black. Adult female: Above drab-gray, clearest 
on rump and upper tail-coverts; wings fuscous with whitish edging; pattern of 
white in coverts of male retained but much reduced in area; tail nearly uniform 
dusky chrome ; underparts in general sordid white ; chin and lores white ; forehead, 
superciliary, (indistinct), cheeks, hind-neck and chest more' or less tinged with 
chrome yellow. Young males resemble the female but soon gain in intensity of 
yellow on the foreparts, gradually acquiring adult black along median line of 
throat and in streaks on pileum. Length of adult male about 8.25 (209.5) '' 
wing 3.89 (99); tail 3.07 (78); bill .Jt, (18.5); tarsus .98 (25). Female a 
little smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink size ; black, white, and orange of male dis- 
tinctive ; slender blackish bill of female strongly contrasting with the heavy light- 
colored bill of female Western Tanager with which alone it is likely to be confused 
by the novice. General coloration of female ashy or drab rather than olivaceous, 
yellow of tail contrasting with whitish or light drab of tail-coverts. 

Nesting. — Nest: a pouch of cunningly interwoven grasses, vegetable fibers, 
string, etc., 5 to 9 inches deep and lashed by brim to branches of deciduous tree. 
Eggs: usually 5, smoky white as to ground color, sometimes tinged with pale 
Ijlne, more rarely with faint claret, spotted, streaked and elaborately scrawled with 
])urplish black or dark sepia, chiefly about larger end. Elongate ovate; av. size 
.94 X .63 (23.9 X 16). Season: May 20-June 15; one brood. 

General Range. — Western LTnited States, southern British Provinces and 
plateau of Mexico; breeding north to southern British Columbia, Alberta and 
southern Assiniboia east to eastern border of Great Plains in South Dakota, 
Nebraska, etc., south to northern IMexico ; in winter south to central Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Regular summer resident in eastern Washington 
thruout settled sections and along water courses ; rare or casual west of Cascades. 

Migrations. — Spring: Yakima County, May 2, 1900; ]Moses Lake, May 15, 
1906; Chelan, May 21, 1896. 



50 



THE BULLOCK ORIOLE. 



Authorities. — Icterus bullockii Bon. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. pt. 
II. 185S, p. 550. T. C&S. D'. D=. Ss'. Ss-'. J. B. 
Specimens.— (U. of W.) Prov. C. P'. 

BIRD of sun.shiiie and good cheer, springtime's ripest offering and 
emblem of summer acliieved, is this iiappy-hearted creature who flits about 
the orchards and timber cultures of eastern Washington. The willows of 
the brook, the cottonwoods and the quaking' asps, were his necessary home 
until the hand oi the pioneer made ready the locust, the maple and the Lom- 
bardy poplars, which are now his favorite abiding places. And so. for many 




BULLOCK'S ORIOLE. 

years, the droning of bees, the heavy-scented breath of the acacia, and the 
high, clear whistling of the Oriole have been associated memories. 

A little less dandified than his eastern cousin, the lordly Bird of Balti- 
more, the Bullock Oriole fulfills much the same economy in habit, song, and 
nesting as that well-known bird. He is, if anything, a little less muscial, 
also, and not so conspicuous. 

The males arrive a week or two in advance of their mates, and appear quite 
ill at ease until joined by their shy companions. Marriage compacts have to 



THE BULLOCK ORIOLE. 



51 




be settled at the beginning of the season, but 
rivalry is chiefly between the under-colored 
}-oung blades who must make their peace 
with the sweet girl graduates of the pre- 
\ inus year. Orioles are very closely at- 
tached to a suitable locality, once chosen, 
and a group of nests in a single tree pre- 
senting successive annual stages O'f 
preservation, is fairly eloquent of 
conjugal fidelity. 

The purse-shaped nest of the 
Bullock Oriole is a marvel of indus- 
trv and skill, fully equal in these 
respects to that of the Baltimore 
Bird. A specimen before me, from 
a small willow on Crab Creek, in 
Lincdln County, taken just after its 
C'lmpletion, is composed entirely of 
\egetalilc fibers, the frayed inner 
bark of dead wilbiws being chiefl_\' 
in evidaice, wdiile plant-downs of 
willow, poplar, and clematis are 
felted intiT the interstices of the 
lower portion. This pouch is lashed at the brim by a lumdred tiny cables to 
the sustaining twigs, and hangs to a depth of six inches, with a mean diameter 
of nearly three, yet so delicate are the materials and sO' fine the workmanship, 
that the whole structure weighs less than half an ounce. 

A more bulky, loose-meslied afl:air, taken at Brook Lake No. 4, in 
Douglas Coimty, has a maximum depth of nine inches outside, a mean depth 
of six and a half inches inside, and a greater diameter of five inches. 

Near farm houses or in town the birds soon learn the value of string, 
thread, frayed rope, and other waste materials, and nests are made entirely 
of these less romantic substances. Occasionally a bird becomes entangled in 
tlie coils of a refractory piece of string or horse-hair, and tragedies of Orioles 
hanged at their own doorstep are of record. 

The eggs of this species, four to six in number, are usually of a pale 
smoky gray color, and upon this ground appear curious and intricate scrawl- 
ings of purplish black, as tho- made by a fine pen, held unsteadily while the 
egg was twirled. The purpose of this bizarre ornamentation, if indeed it 
has any, may be thought tO' appear where scanty coils of black horse-hair in 
the lining of the nest show up in high relief against the normal white back- 



Taken near Spokane. Photo by F. S. Merrill. 

FE.MALE BULLOCK ORIOLE. 



52 



THE BULLOCK ORIOLE. 



ground nf vegetable felt. I can testify that under these circumstances the 
eggs are sometimes indistinguishable at trrst glance from their siuTOundings. 
The value nf the pouch-shaped nest is less clear than in the case of the 
Baltimore ()riiile, whose home is the pendant branch of the elm tree; for the 
nest of the Rullnck Oriole is often attached to stock\' ])ranclies, pines e\'en, 




Tnl.-ci: ill noiighs Cninity. XF.STING SITIC OI' THE F.L'LLOCK ORIOLE. 



Photo by tin- Author. 



which \ ield little in the wind. Nor is there an\ such olnious attempt in the 
case of this bird to escape enemies by ]3lacing the eggs out of reach. The 
Magpie would search Sheol for a maggot, and an\ effort toi Ijest him would 
bankrupt the longest purse. 

Tired of the continemeiU ijf the nest, the ambitious fledgelings clanibei' 
up the sides and perch u])on the brim. From this less secure position thev 
are not infrequently dislodged before they are (piite ready to face the world. 
Some years ago a friend of mine, Mr. Chas. W. Robinson, of Chelan, secured 
a fledgeling Oriole which he rescued from the water of the lake where it had 
evidently just fallen from an overhanging nest. When taken home it proved 
a read\' pet. and was given the freedom of the ])lace. Some two weeks 
later my friend rescued a nestling from another brood under precisely 
similar circumstances, and put it in a cage with the older bird. The new- 



:-i:-ile' 






M' 




BULLOCK ORIOLES 

MAXiE AND FEMALE, 1/2 LIFE SIZE 
From a ,Watkr-oolor Painting by Ax.riAN Brooks 



(Iv t<T I 



THE CALIFORNIA BICOLORED BLACKBIRD. 53 



ci.'iner had iiut yet learned to feed himself. l)ut on!}- opened his niouth 
and called with childish insistence. Judge of the owner's delight, and mine 
as a witness, when the older bird, liimself little more than a tiedgeling, liegan 
to feed the orphan with all the tender solicitude of a parent. It was 
irresistilil}- cunning and heartsome too. for the liird to select with thoughtful, 
brotherly kindness, a morsel of food, and hop over toward the clamoring 
stranger and drop it into his mouth ; after this to stand back as if to sav. 
"There, baby! how did you like that?" This trait was not shown bv a 
chance exhibition alone, l>ut became a regular habit, which was still fol- 
lowed when the older bird had attained to fly-catching. It upset all one's 
notious about instinct, and made one think of a golden rule for birds. 



No. 18. 

CALIFORNIAN BICOLORED BLACKBIRD. 

A. O. v. No. 499. Agelaiiis giibernator californicus Xelson. 

Description. — .Idiilt male: "Lhiiform deep black, with a faint bluish green 
gloss in certain lights : lesser wing-coverts rich poppy red or vermilion ; muldle 
coverts black, or (if not entirely black) at least broadly tipped with black, the 
basal portion tawny buff or ochraceous ; bill, legs, and feet black: iris brown" 
(Ridgway). Aditlt female in breeding plumage: Dark sooty brown more or less 
streaked on crown and back ; chin and throat whitish or pinkish buff streaked with 
brown ; faint superciliary stripe composed of narrow whitish streaks on sooty 
ground. Adult female in ivinter: Feathers more or less edged with rusty. 
Immature male: Lesser wing-coverts partly black, the remaining red not clear, 
ochraceous-rufous or orange-tawny. Length of adult male: (skins) 8.62 (219) ; 
wing 5.78 (136.9); tail 3.67 (93.2); bill .84 (21.3); tarsus 1.28 (32.5). Adult 
female 6.93 (176) ; wing 4.27 (108.5) : tail 2.82 (71.61 : bill .■/2 ( 18.3) : tarsus 
I. ID (27,9). 

Recognition Marks. — Like Redwing Blackljird but epaulets pure red with- 
out exposed buff. 

Nesting. — Nest and Eggs like those of the Northwestern Red-wing. Said 
to be less proliTic. 

General Range. — Centra! and northern coast districts of California north 
to Washington; straggles irregularly eastward and southward in California in 
winter. 

Range in Washington. — Recorded breeding at Cape Disappointment and 
may possibly extend north to Gray's Harbor. 

Authorities. — Agelaius giibernator Bonaparte, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. 
IX. 1858, p. 530 (Columbia River by J. K. Townsend). Allen, B, N. C). C. VI. 
p. 128. R. H. Lawrence, Auk IX. 1892, 45. Kobbe. 



54 THE COLUMBIAN RED-WING. 

W'K accept this bird as a resident (jf this State cliiefly on the testimony 
of W'ilHam H. Kobbe, who listed it^ as a breeding bird of Cape Disappoint- 
ment. He fiiund it closely associated with the Northwestern Red-wing (A. 
/^luviiicciis caiiriiiiis) altho' the latter frequently pursued it in the attempt 
to expel it from the small swamp which buth were compelled to occupy. 
This probably represents the northernmost extension of this species, the Grav's 
Harbor record of Mr. Lawrence'' being at least open to cjuestion in the matter 
of identification. 

The habits of the Bicolored Blackbird do not differ in any knoAvii 
particular from those of the familiar Red-wing, of which it is a discontinuous 
offshoot. 



No. 19. 

COLUMBIAN RED-WING. 

A. O. U. No. 498. Agelaius phceniceus neutralis Ridgway. 

Synonyms. — San Diego Red-wing. Interior Red-wing. Red-winged 
Black luKii. Red-shouldered Blackbird. Swamp Blackbird. 

Description. — .-idiilt male in suimncr: Glossy black; lesser wing-coverts 
bright red (poppy-red, vermilion or scarlet) ; middle coverts huffy or ochraceous- 
buff' — the two forming thus a conspicuous epaulet, or shoulder patch. Bill, legs, 
and feet horn black ; irides brown. Adult male in winter: Middle wing-coverts 
more deeply buffy ; scapulars and feathers of black more or less edged with 
rusty. In immature males the black of the plumage is more or less extensively 
margined with rusty-buffy or whitish ; the wing-coverts have an admixture of 
black and the "red" of the lesser coverts is of a sickly hue (orange-tawny, etc.). 
Adult female in summer: Brownish gray, everywhere mottled and streaked, or 
striped, with dusky, tinely on chin, cheeks, and superciliaries, where also more or 
less rubescent, heavil_v below, less distinctly above; lesser coverts brownish-gray 
or dull red ; middle coverts black edged with bulTy. Bill dusky lightening below ; 
feet and legs dusky. Adult female in tvintcr: Plumage of upperparts more or 
less margined with rusty or ochraceous ; sides of head and underparts tinged with 
bufly. Length of adult males (skins) : 8.39 (213. i) ; wing 4.84 ( 122.9) ; tail 3.57 
(Q0.7) ; bill .90 (23.1 ) ; tarsus 1.19 (30.2). Adult females (skins) : 7. 11 (181.9) ; 
wing 3.98 (101.3) ; tail 2.85 (72.4) ; bill .j"/ { 19.6) ; tarsus 1.06 (26.9). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink to Robin size; bright red epaulets of male; 
general streakiness of female. Female lighter-colored and not so heavily streaked 
as in A. p. cauriuus. 

Nesting. — Nest: a neatly woven but rather bulky basket of grasses, cat-tail 
leaves or hemp, usually lashed to upright stalks of cat-tail, occasionally on bushes, 



a. The Auk, Vol. XVII., Oct. 1900, p. 354. 

b. The Auk, Vol. IX., Jan. 1892. p- 45- 



THE COLU]\IBIAN RED-WING. 55 

as willow and the like; lining of fine grasses of uniform size. Eggs: 4-7, usually 
4. light blue to dull grayish blue, scrawled, blotched or clouded with dark purple, 
purplish brown or black, chiefly about the large end. Av. size 1.04X.70 (26.4X 
17.8). Season: last week in April, June; two broods. 

General Range. — Western United States in the interior north to eastern 
British Columbia, restricted by Rocky Mountains and Cascades in northern por- 
tion of range but reaching coast in San Diego and Los Angeles Counties in 
California and breeding as far east as western Texas, southward to northern 
Chihuahua and northern Lower California ; displaced in Lower Colorado \'alley 
and southern Arizona by .i. p. sonoriensis ; south in winter to southern Texas, etc. 

Range in Washington. — Found in all suitable localities east of the Cascades. 

Migrations. — Irregular!)- resident but numbers always greatly augmented 
about ]\Iarch ist. 

Authorities. — Agclaius pha^niceus \'ieil.. Cooper and Suckley, Rep. Pac. 
R. R. Surv. XIL pt. IL i860, 207. Allen, Bull. Xutt. Orn. Club, \l. 1881, 128. 
D = . D-'. Ss'. Ss^ J. 

Specimens.— U. of W. C. P. 

A MEADOWLARK may pipe from a sunny pasture slope in early 
February, and a Merrill Song Sparrow may rehearse his cheerful message 
in midwinter, but it takes the chorus of returning Blackbirds to bring boister- 
ous tidings of awakening spring. What a world of jubilation there is in 
their voluble whistlings and chirpings and gurglings, a wild medle}- of 
^Larch which strikes terror to the faltering heart of winter. A sudden 
hush falls uiiun the company as the bird-man draws near the tree in which 
they are swarming; but a dusky maiden pouts, "Who cares?" and thev all 
fall to again, hammer and tongs, timbrel, pipes, and hautboy. Brewer's 
Blackbirds and CoAvbirds occasionally make common cause with Red-wings 
in the northern migrations, but it is always the last-named who preponderate, 
and it is they who are most vivacious, most resplendent, and most nearly 
musical. The Red-wing's mellow koiigqucrcc or occasional tips\- ■wlioop-er- 
ivay-up is the life of the party. 

Almost before we know it our friends, to the number of a dozen pairs 
or more, have taken up their residence in a cat-tail swamp' — n(5where else, 
if you please, unless driven to it — and here, about the third week in April, 
a dozen baskets of matchless weave are swung, or lodged midwav i:>f the 
growing plants. Your distant approach is commented upon from the tops 
of bordering willows by keyrings and other notes. At close range the lordly 
male, he of the brilliant epaulets and the proper militar\- swagger, shakes 
out his fine clothes and says. Koiigqucrcc. in a voice wdierein anxietv is quite 
outweighed by \'anity and proffered good-fellowship withal. But if you 
push roughly thru the nutlying sedges, anxiety obtains the mastery. There 
is a hubbub in the marsh. Bustling, frowsy females appear and scold you 
roundlv. The lazv gallants are all fathers now, and thev join direful threats 



56 



THE COLUMBIAN RED-WING. 



to courteous expostulations, as tlie\- flutter wildly arounil the intruder's 
head. To the mischievous boy the chance of calling out these frantic atten- 
tii>ns is very alluring, even when no harm is intended. 

I have said that the Red-wing prefers cat-tails for nesting: there is 
probably no undisturbed area of cat-tails in eastern Washington which does 
not harbor Columbian Red-wings ; yet, even so, the cover does not suffice and 
they are impelled to occupy the extensive tule beds which border the larger 
lakes. For the second nesting, which occurs in Tune, the Blacklnnls are likelv 




near Spokane. '■ -^^ Jl^''"i"- 

XEST .VXD El.i..-^ Ul III). LOI.L AllU.W KEDWIXG. 

to try the willows, now covered with foliage; or, in default of these, may 
venture into anv coarse vegetation which lines the swamp. 

Four or live eggs are commonly laid and sets of six are very rare. 
On the 1 8th of l\Iay, 1896, I took a set of eight eggs, all believed to be the 
product of one female, from a nest in Okanogan County, and this set is now 
in the Oberlin College Museum. 

Of the economic value of the Red-wing there can be no question. The 
bird is chiefl\- insectivorous and destrovs an immense amount of insect life. 



THE NORTHWESTERN RED-WING. 57 

particularly in the larval state, injurious to vegetation. Its single fault is 
a weakness for young corn, but as corn is not a staple crop in Washington, 
this fault may be readily condoned in view of the bird's valuable services 
to stockman and orchardist. 



No. 20. 

NORTHWESTERN RED-WING. 

A. O. U. No. 4981. Agelaius phoeniceus caurinus Ridgway. 

Synonyms. — Red-winged Blackbird. Red-shoulderED Blackbird. Marsh 
Black i;iRi). Swamp Blackbird. 

Description. — Similar to A. p. nctitralis but female much darker, heavily 
streaked with black below ; in winter feather skirtings of female more extensively 
rusty. Measurements not essentially different. 

Recognition Marks. — As in preceding. Female darker and more heavily 
streaked than in A. p. ncutralis. 

Nesting. — Nest: as in preceding; dimensions 5 in. wide by 6 in. deep outside, 
^x ^ inside. Eggs: 3 or 4, rarely 5, colored as before ; dimensions varying from 
1.05 X .76 (26.6x19.3) to 1.0OX.66 (25.4x16.7). Season: second to last week 
in April, June (Tacoma, April 6, 1906, 3 eggs) ; two broods. 

General Range. — Northwest coast district from northern California north to 
British Columljia on \'ancouver Island and mainland. 

Range in Washington. — Common in suitable localities west of the Cascades. 
Irregularly resident. 

Authorities. — .Igclaius pluviiiceus \leil. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 
1858, 528. T. C&S. Rh. Kb. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— (U. of W.) Prov. B. E. 

THE bird-man was sitting Turk-fashion on a great mossy log which 
ran far out into the rustling depths of the South Tacoma swamp. The 
April sun flooded the scene with warm light and made one blink like a 
blissful drowsy frog, while the marsh sent up a grateful incense of curling 
vapor. A pocket lunch of bread and cheese was the ostensible occasion 
of this noontide bliss, but victuals had small charms beside those of the 
sputtering Tule Wrens who played hide and seek among the stems, or 
the dun Coots, who sowed their pulque pulque pulque notes along the 
reedy depths. 

Upon this scene of marshy content burst a vision of Phcenician splendor, 
Caurinus I., the military satrap of South Tacoma. the authentic tyee of 
Blackbirds. He was a well-aged bird, and as is the proper way with 
feathered folk, resplendent in proportion to his years. His epaulets seemed 
a half larger again than others, and their scarlet was of the brightest 



58 THE NORTHWESTERN RED-WING. 



hue, contrasting witli a l)lack mantle vvliich fairly shone. He appeared 
an amiable old fellow, and as he lighted ponderously on an uplifted branch 
of my tree, he remarked, "W'lwo-kiisiuee-ung," so hospitably that I felt 
impelled to murmur, "Thanks," and assured him of my unhostile intent. 
"Conqucree/" he questioned, richlv. "Er — well, ves, if vnu are the con- 
(jueriir." 

I;!ul the general had nther interests to watch. An upstart male of 
the second year with sh(julder-straps of a sickly orange hue, was descried 
a rod away climljing hand-over-hand up a cat-tail stem. Keyring, keyring, 
the despot warned him : and because the presumptuous youth did not heed 
him quickly enough, he launched his splendor over the spot, wdiereat the 
youth sank in dire confusion. .And ne.xt, nur hem caught sight of a 
female fair to look upon peeping at him furti\ely frcjui behind her lattice 
.of reeds. Tc* see was to act, he flung his heart at the maiden upnn the 
instant, and followed headlong after, thru I knnw nut what reech- mazes. 
Oh, heart ever young, and pursuit ne\er wearying! 

Northwestern Red-wings fintl rather restricted range thrunut western 
Washington, Init they appear wherever there are fresh-water marshes or 
reed-bordered lakes. In default of cat-tails they will accept the shelter of 
dwarf willows, or coarse dense grass of any sort. 

Nesting is undertaken at Tacoma at least by the thinl week in April, 
and we have found eggs as early as the sixth of that month. The nest of 
the accompanying illustration ( photogra\ure ) is composed solely (jf the 
coiled stems of the dried bulrushes, amongst which it is ijlaced, with a 
lining of clean dried grass-stems. 

Few eggs exceed in beauty those of the Red-winged Blackbird. The 
liackground is a pale bluish green of great delicacy, and upon this occur 
sharph-defined spots, blotches, marblings, traceries, and "pen-w'ork" of dark 
sepia, purplish black, drab, and heliotrope ptirple. Or a spot of color appears 
to be deeply imbedded in the fine, strong te.xture of the shell, and carries 
about it an aura of diminishing color. Occasionally, the whole egg is 
sufifused with pale brownish, or, more rarely, it is entirely unmarked. 

Incubation lasts fourteen days and the \oung are ready to leave the 
nest in a little over two weeks mr>re. They are frizzly, helpless, complain- 
ing little creatures, but if they cannot Hy well they can clamber, and they 
cling with the grip of terrified monkeys. 

Our Northwestern Red-wings are normally migratory, but they also 
winter with us irregularly ; and this habit appears ti) be gaining ground as 
the guarantee of food becomes more certain. Numbers of them subsist in 
both Seattle and Tacoma in the vicinity of grain elevators, where they will 
have comfortable sustenance until such time as the augmented English Spar- 
rows decree death to all native birds. 



THE YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD. . 59 

No. 21. 

YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD. 

A. O. LT. No. 497. Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus (Bonap.j. 

Description. — Adult male: Head, neck all around, and breast orange yel- 
low ; lores and feathers skirting ej-es and bill, black ; a double white patch on 
folded wing formed by greater and lesser coverts, but interrupted by black of 
bastard wing; usally a little yellow about vent and on tibias; the remaining 
plumage black, dull or subdued, and turning brown on wing-tips and tail. Female: 
Dark brown;" line over eye, throat, and upper breast dull yellow. Length 10.00- 
11.00 (254-279.4); wing 5.30-5.60 (134.6-142.2) ; tail 4.00-4.50 ( 101.6-114.3) ; 
bill .90 (22) ; tarsus 1.25 (31.8). Female smaller. length 8.00-9.50 (203.2-241.3). 

Recognition Marks. — Robin size; yellow head and breast; white wing- 
patches. 

Nesting. — Nest: a bulky but usually neat fabric of dried grasses, reeds or 
cat-tails lashed to growing ones ; 5-7 inches in diameter outside by 5-8 deep ; inside 
deeply cupped. Eggs: 3-6, grayish green spotted or clouded with reddish brown, 
rarely scrawled as in Agelams: elongate ovate in shape. Av. size, i.iox.75 
(27.9 X 19). Season: May or June; one brood. 

General Range. — Western North America from Wisconsin, Illinois and 
Te.xas to the Pacific Coast, and from British Columbia and the Saskatchewan 
River southward to the Valley of Mexico. Accidental in Middle and Atlantic 
States. 

Range in Washington. — Of local distribution in eastern Washington chiefly 
east of the Columbia River. Rare or casual west of the Cascades. Summer 
resident. 

Authorities.— ["Yellow-headed Blackbird," Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 
(1885). 22.\ Bendire, Life Hist. N. A. Birds, Vol. II. 1895, p. 447. Ss'. J. 

Specimens. — Prov. C. P. 

OH, well for the untried nerves that the Yellow-headed Blackbird sings 
by day, when the sun is shining brightlv, and there are no supporting 
signs of a cijux-ulsion of Nature! Verily, if love affected us all in similar 
fasliion, the world would be a merry mad-house. The Yellow-head is an 
extraordinary person — you are prepared for that once you catch sight of his 
resplendent gold-upon-l)lack livery — but his avowal of the tender passion 
is a revelation of incongruity. Grasping a reed firmly in both fists, he leans 
forward, and, after premonitory gulps and gasps, succeeds in pressing out a 
wail of despairing agony which would do credit to a dying catamovmt. When 
you have recovered from the first shock, you strain the eyes in astonishment 
that a mere bird, and a bird in love at that, should give rise to such a cata- 
clysmic sound. But he can do it again, and his neighbor across the wav can 
do as well — or worse. When vour nerves have somewhat recovered, modesty 



6o 



THE YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD. 



n\-ercomes you. and ynu retire, not without a chastened sense of privilege that 
yiiu ha\e lived In hear the Yelluw-head pop the question, — "and also you 
li\ed after." 

The expiring Romeo cry is quite the finest of the Xanthocephaline reper- 
tory, but there are others not devoid of interest. OL'-ch-ah-oli-oo is a musical 
series of startling brilliancy, comparable in a degree to the yodelling of a street 

m-chin, — a succession of sounds of varying 
latches, ])roduced as tho by altering the oral 
capacity. It ma\- Ije noted thus : f i 

The last note is especially mellow y'w n^ 
and ]ileasing, recalling tO' some 
ears the li(|uifl gurgle of the Bobolink, to 
which, of ciiurse, our Ijird is distincth' related. 
Alternating with the last named, and more 
frequenth' heard from the (le]ilhs of the 
nesting swamp is gitr. giini; or, as oftenest, 
yc'-ici(iik). ycK'i(iik). giir-giivyl. In this 
phrase the giirrl is drawn out with comical 
effect, as tho the gallant were down on his 
knees tjefore some un\-ielding maiden. 

The Yell(w-head's ordinary note of dis- 
trust, equivalent to the clink note of the Red- 
A\ing, is kliiclc or koliick'. In flight this 
becomes almost invariably oo'khik, oo'khtk. 
At rest, again, this is sometimes prolonged 
into a thrilling passage of resonant "1" notes, probably remonstratory in 
character. The alarm cry is built upon the same basis, and is uttered with 
exceeding vehemence, klookoloy. klookoloy, klook ooooo. 

Finally, if one may presume to speak finally of so \-ersatile a genius, 
the_\- have a harsh, rasping note very simil;n- in qualit\- to the scolding note 
O'f the Steller Jay, only lighter in weight and a little higher in pitch. This 
is the note of fierce altercation, or the distress cry in imminent danger. 
The last time 1 heard it was in the rank herliage bordering upon a shallow 
lake in Douglas County. I rushed in to find a big blow-snake coiling just 
below a nestful of young liirds, while the agonized parents and sympathetic 
neighbors hovered over the spot crying piteouslv. To stamii upon the reptile 
was but the work of a moment ; and when I dropped the limp opiiidian upon 
the bare groiuid, all the blackbird population gathered about the carcass, 
shuddering but exultant, and — perhaps it was only fancy — grateful too. 

For all the Yellow-head is so decided in utterance, in disposition he 
is somewhat phlegmatic, the male bird especially lacking the vivacity which 
characterizes the agile Brewer Blackbird. Except when hungry, or im- 




Pltoto bv the Author 
MALE VErx'ow HE.VD. 



THE YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD. 



6i 



pelled by passion, lie is quite content to mope for hours at a time in 
the depths of the reeils: and even in nesting time, when his precincts are 
invaded, he oftener falls to admiring his own plumage in the llnnding sun- 
shine than tries to drive nff the intruder. Let the hduielv and distrait female 
attend to that. 




Taken in Doiigljs Coiinly. Photr, by IT. Leon Dna'son. 

NEST OF YELLOW-HE.ADED BL.-\CKBIRD I.N TULES. 



62 



THE YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD. 



This liird is es- 
sentially a plains- 
loving" species, and 
its favorite haunts 
with us are the 
reedv borders of 
the treeless lakes, 
and the upland 
sloughs I if eastern 
Washington. It is 
highly gregarious, 
especially in the 
fall and earl\- 
spring, but con- 
fesses to about the 
same degree of 
domesticity as the 
Red-wing, in late 
spring and earlv 
summer. 

The nests are 
stoutlv-woven bas- 
kets Oif reeds and 
grasses, light and 
dry and hand- 
some. No' mud or 
other matrix ma- 
terial is used in 
^ i^____.^. ,( ci instruction, and 

(j' ^^T^M^ ' ■" '■'^^ interior is al- 

w a y s carefully 
lined with fine 
dry grass. The 

illimitable bulrushes are the favorite cuver, but rank herbage of any sort 
is used if only it be near or o\'er water. The most humble situations 
suffice; and the nest is often placed within a foot of the water, or its ecjuiv- 
alent of black ooze. 




Plioto bv the Adilior. 



THE WESTERN MEADOWLARK. 63 



No. 22. 

WESTERN MEADOWLARK. 

A. O. U. No. 501. 1. Sturnella neglecta Audubon. 

Synonyms. — Field Lark. Old-fiklu L.ark. Medl.^rk. Medlar (poeti- 
cal). AIiDLARK (corruption). 

Description. — .Idiilt iiiair: General color of upperparts brownish black 
niodilied by much tawny and butiy-gray edgings of the feathers which throw the 
black into stripes and bars with suggestion of herring-bone pattern ; the tawny 
heaviest on secondaries and upper tail-feathers where taking the form of partial 
bands, a median crown stripe and posterior portion of superciliary sordid white 
or bufty; anterior portion of superciliary, cheeks, chin, upper throat, breast 
(broadly) and middle belly rich lemon yellow (inclining to orange in older 
specimens); a large black crescent on upper lireast ; sides and flanks black- 
streaked and spotted with pale brown on a bufly or whitish ground. Bill 
variegated, tawny, black and white. Fciinilc: Like male l)Ut smaller and paler 
with some substitutions of brown for black in streakmg; black of jugulum veiled 
by grayish tips of feathers ; yellow of breast duller, etc. The plumage of both 
sexes is duller in fall and winter, the normal colors being restrained by butify 
overlay. Length (if adult male: 10. 00-11.00 (254-279.4); wing 4.85 ( 123.2); 
tail 3.00 (76.2) : bill 1.30 {TiT,) : tarsus 1.46 (37.1). Female smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Robin size; yellow breast with black collar distinctive; 
general streak\- appearance above; yellow cheeks as distinguished from the 
Eastern .Meadowlark (StiiiiicHa iimi/iia). 

Nesting. — Xcst: on the ground in thick grass or weeds; a slight depression 
lined (carefnll}- or not) and usually overarched with dried grasses. Eggs: 4-6, 
white, speckled and spotted, sometimes very sparingly, with cinnamon brown or 
purplish; very variable in shape, elliptical ovate to almost round. Av. size, I.i2x 
.80 (28.5x20.3). Season: April and June; two broods. Tacoma, April 5, 1906, 
4 fresh eggs. 

General Range. — Western United States, southwestern British Provinces, and 
northwestern Mexico, east to prairie districts of Mississippi A'alley, Minnesota, 
Iowa, Missouri, etc., occasionally to Illinois and ]\Iichigan ; breeding thruout its 
range. 

Range in Washington. — Abundant east and west of the Cascades; largely 
resident on the West-side, partially on the East-side ; numbers augmented from 
the south during last week in February. 

Authorities. — [Lewis and Clark, Hist. Ex. (1814), Ed. Biddle : Coues. 
Vol II. p. 186.] Sturnella neglecta Aud., Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, 
539. T. C&S. L-'. Rh. D'. Sr. Ra. D-'. Ss'. Ss-'. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— d'. of W.) Prov. B. E. BN. P'. 

SUMAIER silences the birds so gradually and we ourselves have become 
so much absorbed in business during tlie prosy clays of September that we 



64 THE WESTERN MEADOWLARK. 

Iia\e almost forgotten the choruses of springtime and \m\e come to accept 
our uncheered lot as part of the established order of things. But on a nippy 
October mnrning, as we are bending over some dull task, there comes a 
sound which brings us tn our feet. We hasten to the windnw. throw up 
the sash and lean out into the cool, fresh air while a Meadowlark rehearses, 
all at a sitting, the melodies of the year's youth. It all comes back to us 
with a rush; the smell of lush grasses, the splendor of apple blossoms, the 
courage of lengthening days, the ecstacies of courtship^ — all these are recalled 
by the lark-song. It is as tho this forethoughted soul had caught the music 
of a Mav day, just at its prime, in a crystal vase, and w-as now pouring out 
the ituprisoned sound in a gurgling, golden flood. What cheer! ^A'hat 
heartening! Yea; what rejuvenaticju it brings! Wine of youth! Splashes 
of color and gay delight! 

It is impossible not to rhapsodize over the Meadowlark. He is a rhap- 
sodist himself. Born of the soil and lost in its embraces for such time as it 
pleases him, he vet quits his lowly station e\-er and again, mounts some fence- 
post or tree-top, and ])ul)lishes to the world an unquenchable gladness in 
things-as-they-are. If at suiuMse, then the gleams cjf the earl_\' ray flash 
resplendent from his golden breastplate, — this high-priest of morning: and 
all Nature echoes his jovous blast: "Thank God for sunshine!" Or if the 
rain begins to fall, who si:i quickly grateful for its refreshment as this optimist 
of the ground, this prophet of gocjd cheer! There is even an added note 
of exultation in his voice as he shouts: "Thank God for rain!" And who 
like him can sing farewell to parting day! Piercing sweet from the meadows 
come the last offerings of day's daysmen, peal and counterpeal from ri\'al 
friendly throats, unfailing, unfaltering, unsubdued: "It is good to live. It 
is good to rest. Thank God for the day now done!" 

The Meadowlark of the East has a poet's soul l>ut he lacks an adequate 
instrument of expression. His voice does not respond to his recjuirement. 
Perhaps his earl\- education, as a species, was neglected. Certain it is that 
in passing westward across the prairies of Iowa or Minnesota one notices 
an instant change in the voices of the Meadowlarks. The song of the 
western bird is sweeter, clearer, louder, longer and more varied. The differ- 
ence is SO' striking that we can explain it only upon the supposition of an 
independent development. The western bird got his early training where 
prairie wild flowers of a thousand hues ministered to his senses, wdiere breath 
of pine mingled faintly with the aroma of neighboring cactus bloom, and 
where the sight of distant mountains fired the iiuagination of a poet race. 
At any rate we of the West are proud of the Western Meadowlark and wnuld 
have you believe that such a blithe spirit could evolve only under such 
circumstances. 



THE WESTERN MEADOWLARK. 65 

Bird song never exactly conforms to our musical notation, and there is 
no instrument save the human "whistle" which will even passably reproduce 
the quality of the Aleadowlark's song. Nevertheless, many interesting ex- 
periments have been made in recording these songs and a little attention will 
coiiA-ince the least accomplished musician that there is a fascinating field for 
study here. 

A formal song of the Western IMeadowlark comprises from four to a 
dozen notes, usually si.K or seven. The song phrases vary endlessly in detail, 
yet certain types are clearly distinguishable, types which reappear in different 
parts of the country, apparently without regard to local traditions or suppo- 
sitional schools of song. Thus a Chelan singer says, "Olcii xvhcel'er, kii 
wheel' cr, and he may not have a rival in a hundred miles ; yet another bird 
on the University campus in Seattle sings, Bli hen, zi'heel'iky, ivheel'iky, or 
even Eh hen idieel'lky, wheel'ikv, whcd'ihy. and you recognize it instantly 
as belonging to the same type. In like manner Oivy'hee, recitative was heard 
with perfect distinctness both at Wallula and in Okanogan County. 

Each bird has a characteristic song-phrase by which he may be recognized 
and traced thru a season, or thru succeeding years. One boisterous spirit 
in Chelan I shall never forget for he insisted on shouting, hour after hour, 
and day after day, "Hip! Hip! Hurrah! boys; three ch-eers!" Yet, while 
this is true, no' bird is confined tO' one style of song. An autumnal soloist 
in Ravenna Park rendered no less than six distinct songs or song-phrases 
in a rehearsal lasting five minutes. He gave them without regard to sequence, 
now repeating the same phrase several times in succession, now hurrying on 
to new forms, pausing only after each utterance for breath. 

Nor is the effort of the W^estern Meadowlark confined to the formal 
song for he often pours out a flood of warbling, chattering and gurgling notes 
which at close range are very attractive. Not infrequently he will interrupt 
one of these meditative rhapsodies with the clarion call, and return immedi- 
ately tO' his minor theme. 

In the presence of a stranger the lark serves frequent notice of intended 
departure in a vigorous toop, or toob, accompanying the sound with an 
emphatic flirt of the wings and jerk of the tail. Now and then the actual 
departure is accompanied by a beautiful yodelling song. After several pre- 
liminary toobs the bird launches himself with fantastic exaggeration of effort 
and rolls out, O'ly o'ly o'!y o'ly o'ly, with ra\-ishing sweetness. 

At nesting time the parent birds have many causes for apprehension, 
and as thev move about in search of food they give vent to the toob note of 
distrust in a fashion which soon becomes chronic. In Douglas County this 
note is doubled, two' bit. or tz^'o' whit, and one cannot recall the varied life of 
the sage in June without hearing as an undertone the half melancholy fzvo' bit 
of a mother [Meadowlark as she works her way homeward by fearful stages. 



66 



THE WESTERN MEADOWLARK. 



At nesting time tlie Western Meadowlark enjuys a wide tlistril3uti(_]n in 
Washington. It is fuund nut only on all grassy lowlands and in culti\ated 
sections but in the open sage as well and upon the half-open pine-clad foot- 
hills up toi an altitude of four thousand feet. 

The Meadowlark is an assiduous nester. This not because of any un- 
usual amativeness but because young Meadowlarks are the morceaux delicicnx 
of all the powers that prey, skunks, weasels, mink, raccoons, coyotes, snakes, 
magpies, crows. Hawks and owls otherwise blameless in the bird-world err 
here — the game is too easy. Even the noljle Peregrine does not disdain 
this humble, albeit tooth- 
some, quarry, and the 
Least Falcon (F al c o 
sparvcrius phalcnia) will 
stoop for a young Mead- 
owlark when all other 
avian offerings are virtu- 
ously passed by. 

Fecundity then is the 
only recourse, — this, and 
concealment. Not rely- 
ing altogether upon its 
marvelous protective 
coloration the lark 
exhibits great cau- 
tion in approaching, 
and, if possible, in 
quitting its nest. In 
either case it sneaks 
along the ground for 
a considerable dis- 
tance, threading the 
mazes of the grass 
SO' artfully that the 
human eye can fol- 
low with difficulty or 
not at all. At the ap- 
proach of danger a sitting 
bird may either steal from 
nest unobserved and rise at 
safe distance or else seek to 

... Taken m Stevens County. 

further her deception by feign- pi,oto by the Amhor. 

ing lameness after the fashion nest and eggs of the western meadowl.\rk. 




THE WESTERN MEADOWLARK. 67 

of the Shore-birds. Or, again, she may cling to her charge in desperation 
Iioping" against liope till the last possible moment and taking chances of final 
niishaj). In this way a friend of mine once discovered a brooding ]Meado\v- 
lark imprisoned underneath his boot — fortunately without damage for she 
occupied the deep depression of a cow-track. 

To further concealment the grass-lined depression in which the ^leadow- 
lark places her four or five speckled eggs is almost invariably over-arched 
with dried grasses. This renders the eggs practically invisible from above, 
and especially if the nest is placed in thick grass or rank herbage, as is 
customary. Touching instances of blind devotion to this arch tradition were, 
however, afiforded by a sheep-swept pasture near Adrian. Here the salt-grass 
was cropped close and the very sage was gnawed tO' stubs. But the Meadow- 
larks, true to custom, had imported long, dried grasses with which to o\-er- 
arch their nests. As a result one had only tO' look for knobs on the landscape. 
By e}e alone we located six of these pathetic landmarks in the course of a 
half-hour's stroll. 

One brood is usually brought off by May ist and another by the middle 
of June. Altho Meadowlarks are classed as altricial. i. e. having young help- 
less when hatched and which recpiire to be nurtured in the nest, the young 
Meadowlarks are actually very precocious and scatter from the nest four or 
five days after hatching, even before they are able tO' fairly stand erect. This 
arrangement lessens the chances of wholesale destruction but it would appear 
to complicate the problem from the parental standpoint. How would yon, 
for instance, like to tend five babies, each in a separate thicket in a trackless 
forest, and that haunted by cougars, and lynxes, and boa-constrictors and 
things ? 

We cannot afford tOi be indifferent spectators to this early struggle for 
existence, for it is difficult tO' overestimate the economic value of the Meadow- 
lark. The liird is by choice almost exclusively insectivorous. If, however, 
when hard pressed, he does take toll of the fallen wheat or alfalfa seed, he 
is as easily justifiable as is the hired man who consumes the farmer's biscuits 
that he may have the strength to wield the hoe against the farmer's weeds. 
Being provided with a long- and sensitive bill, the Meadowlark not only 
gleans its insect prey from the surface of the ground, but works among the 
grass roots, and actually probes the earth in its search for wire- and cut- 
worms, those most dreaded pests. Besides devouring injurious grubs and 
insects of many kinds, the Lark has a great fondness for grasshoppers, sub- 
sisting almost entirely upon these in the season of their greatest abundance. 
In the matter of grasshopper consumption alone ^Meadowlarks of average 
distribution, are estimated by no less an authority than Professor Beal, to 
be worth about twentv-fotir dollars per month, per township, in saving the 
hay crop. To the individual farmer this may seem a small matter, but in 



68 THE WESTERN EVENING GROSBEAK. 

the aggrej^ate the saving U> the natinn aim units to some liiindreds of tlious- 
ands of dcillars eacli year. Even in winter, when a few individuals or occa- 
sional cinnpanies of Larks are still tO' he found, a large proportion of their 
food consists of hardy heetles and other insects, while weed-seed and scatter- 
ing grain is laid under triliute, as it were, reluctantly. 

It g'oes without saying that we cannot regard this liird as lawful game. 
We exempt the horse from slaughter not because its flesh is unfit for food — ■ 
it is really very sapid — hut because the animal has endeared itself to our race 
by generations of faithful service. We place the horse in another category, 
that of animal friend. And the human race, the best of it, has some time 
since discovered compunctions about eating its friends. Make friends with 
this bonny bird, the Meadowlark, and you will be ashamed thenceforth to 
even discuss assassination. Fricassee of prima donna! Voice of morning 
en hrochcttc! Bird-of-merry-cheer on toast! Faugh! And yet that sort 
of thing passed muster a generation agO' — does yet in the darker parts of 
Europe ! 



No. 23. 

WESTERN EVENING GROSBEAK. 

A. O. U. No. 514a. Hesperiphona vespertina montana Ridgway. 

Description. — Adult male: Forehead and superciliarics gaiuljoge yellow; 
feathers about base of bill, lores, and crown black ; wings black with large white 
patch formed by tips of inner secondaries and tertials ; tail black ; remaining 
plumage sooty olive brown about head and neck, shading thru olive and olive- 
green to yellow on wing and under tail-coverts. Bill bluish horn-color and citron 
yellow; feet brownish. Adult female: General color deep smoky brownish gray 
or huffy brown, darker on the head, lighter on wings, lighter, more buffy, on sides, 
shading to dull whitish on throat and alidonien, tinged with yellowish green on 
hind-neck, clearing to light yellow on axillars and under wing-coverts ; a small 
clear white patch at base of inner ]3rimaries ; white blotches on tips of upper 
tail-coverts and inner webs of tail-feathers in varying proportions. Length about 
8.00 (203.2) : wing 4.39 (111.5) ; tail 2.42 (61.4) ; bill .82 (20.8) ; depth at base 
.62 ( 15.0 ) ; tarsus. 81 ( 20.3 ). Female very slightly smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink size; olive-brown coloration with black and 
white in masses on wings; large, conical beak distinctive; high-pitched call note. 

Nesting. — Has not yet been found breeding in Washington but undoubtedly 
does so. Nest (as reported from New Mexico): principally composed of fine 
rootlets with some Usnea moss and a few sticks, settled upon horizontal branches 
of pine or fir, near tip, and at considerable heights ; in loose colonies. Eggs: 4, 
"in color, size, form, and texture indistinguishable from those of the Red-winged 
Blackbird" ( Birtwell). 



KHooaa 



llUS IJi 



>ther ca 



WESTERN EVENING GROSBEAKS 

MA-LiE AND FEMALE, 3/4 LIFE SIZE 
Kkom a Watek-coloh Painting by Allan Bkooks 




.0? 



THE WESTERN EVENING GROSBEAK. 69 

General Range. — \\'estern United States and Northern Mexico; east to and 
inclndinj; Ivocky Mountains; nortli to British Columbia. 

Range in Washington. — Co-extensive with evergreen timber and appearing 
irregularly elsewhere. Resident within State but roving locally. Winters regu- 
larly in parks of the larger cities. 

Authorities. — ? Fringilla vcsl^crtina Townsend, Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. 
VIII. 1839, 154 (Columbia R.). Hcspcriphona i'cs[^crtiiia Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. 
Surv. IX. 1858, 409. T. C&S. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P'. Prov. P.. E. 

SPARROWS are also called Cune-bills ; it is, therefore, fair that the bird 
with the Ijiggest cone shotild take precedence in a family history. But for this 
primacy there are damaging limitations. The Grosbeak is neither the most 
beautiful nor the most tuneful of the Fringillid;e, if he is by common consent 
rated the oddest. His garb is a patchwork; his srmg a series of shrieks; his 
motions eccentric; his humor phlegmatic; and his concepts beyond the ken 
of man. Altho at times one of the most approachable of birds, he is, on the 
whole, an avian freak, a rebus in feathers. 

Perhaps we make too much of a mystery of him, just as we rate the owl 
highest in wisdom f(.)r the single discretion of silence, which any dunderhead 
may attain. But now take this group in the park; just what are they at? 
They sit there stulidly in the rowan tree where all the passersby mav take note 
of them, giving vent ever and anon to e.xplosive yelps, but doing nothing by 
the hour, until an insane impulse seizes one of their number to be off tO' some 
other scene no' better, be it near or far, and the rest yield shrieking consent by 
default of alternative idea. It is all so unreasonalile, so uncannv, that it 
irritates us. 

Exening Grosbeaks are semi-gregarious the xear around, but are seen to 
best advantage in winter or earlv spring, when thev flock c](jsely and visit 
city parks or wooded lawns. One is oftenest attracted to their temporary 
quarters by the startling and disconnected noises which are flung out broad- 
cast. It may be that the flock is absorbed in the depths of a small fir, so that 
one may come up near enough to analyze the sound. Three sorts of notes are 
plainly distinguishable: a low murmuring of pure tones, quite pleasant to the 
ear; a harsh but subdued rattle, or alarm note, ivzzzt or icaccp. familiarly 
similar to that of the Crossbill; and the high-|)itched shriek, which dis- 
tinguishes the bird from all others, (///»/'. .\ little attention brings to light 
the fact that all the birds in the flock bring out this astonishing iinte at 
precisely flic same pitch. Once distinguished, this note will serve again and 
again to draw attention to this uncanny fowl, as it passes overhead or loses 
itself in the bosom of some giant conifer. 



70 THE ALASKAN PINE GROSBEAK. 



It is not a little surprising at tirst thought, that the habits of these birds 
are best known in our larger cities, Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, and Portland. 
Why they should be especially attracted to them, it is hard to' say, unless it be 
that they love the din of urban life, which they help so valiantly to promote. 
But it is easy to^ see why they are more noticeable there ; for their showy 
and patchy coloration marks them as distinguished visitors in town, whereas 
in the forest their colors sO' melt intcf and harmonize with their surroundings 
that it is difficult to follow their movements. 

These Grosbeaks, or New World Hawfinches, are not to be commended 
as horticulturists. In winter they feed largely upon the ground, gleaning 
fallen seeds and fruits ; and are especially fond of the winged key of the large- 
leafed maple (Acer macrophylliim). They drop down to such a feast one by 
one from the branches above, and it is amusing tO' note how the loud cracking 
of seeds is interspersed with music. A little later the birds devote themselves 
to swelling buds, and here toO' the maple is a favorite ; tho ash, alder, flowering 
currant, and a dozen more are not disdained. The damage done is not 
considerable; for the birds, viewed in the large, are not numerous enough, all 
told, to be taken seriously; but \'iewed in the concrete, the snip, snip, of those 
mandililes in the lilac bushes is no idle joy. 

It may lie that the key of high C sharp, or whatever it be, staccato con 
moto, is the accepted love note, and that the green-liveried swain hurls 
declarations at his enamorata, like Samson in Handel's oratorio, the live-long 
3'ear. Anyway, his exertions are redoubled in early June, and he charges about 
in a reckless frenzy which shduld make the city gape. June, 1906, was 
memorable to us for the aljundance of these Grosbeaks in the vicinity of 
Spokane. 'J'he \'ery air of Cannon Plill and Hangman's Creek seemed charged 
with expectation of Grosbeaks' nests. But thev were not for us. Nor has 
the nest vet been taken in Washington. 



No. 24. 

ALASKAN PINE GROSBEAK. 

A. O. U. No. 515c. Pinicola enucleator alascensis Ridgway. 

Synonym.-^PiNiC rU'i.i.Fixcii. 

Description. — .Idiilt male: In highest plumage rosy red (poppy red) ; back 
with dusky centers of feathers ; lower belly and under tail-coverts ashy gray — this 
high plumage is the exception ; in general the rosy gives place to ashy gray in 
varying proportions ; wings and tail ashy dusky ; tips of middle and greater 
coverts and outer edges of exposed tertials white (or rosy). Bill dusky: feet 
blackish. Adult female: Similar to male but rosy replaced by dingy yellow (vary- 



THE ALASKAN PINE GROSBEAK. 71 

ing from olive-yellow, olive-tawny and ochraceous to hricky red) and chiefly 
confined to head, hind-neck and upper tail-coverts (where brightest) ; feathers of 
back frequently tijjped with ochraceous and breast with an ochrey wash. Length 
about S.60 (218.4); wing 4.60 (117): tail 3.66 (93); bill .^j (14.5); tarsus 
.89 (22.7). 

Recognition Marks. — Chew'ink size; large, rounded conical beak; red and 
gray coloration for size distinctive. 

.Nesting. — "Nest, composed of a basement of twigs and rootlets within which 
is a more compact fabric of finer materials. Eggs, usually 4, pale greenish blue, 
spotted and blotched with dark brown surface markings and lilac shell-spots." 
Av. size 1.03 -X .74 (26.7 X 18.8). Season: About June 1st ; one brood. 

General Range. — "Northwestern North America, except Pacific Coast, 
breeding in interior of Alaska; south, in winter, to eastern British Columbia, 
Montana ( Bitterroot Valley), etc." ( Ridgway ) . 

Range in Washington. — Reported by Allan Brooks as breeding in the Mt. 
Baker district (as below) ; should occur upon the timbered lowlands in winter. 

Authorities. — Allan Brooks /;/ c[<ist. Dawson, Auk \'ol. XXV. Oct. 1908, 
p. 482. 

Specimens. — Prov. 

THIS large and handsome Finch is of very irregular occurrence in 
southern British Columbia excepting the higher mountain ranges, where it 
breeds. During some winters it is present in large numbers, while in others, 
equallv severe, none are seen. The species was very common throughout the 
winter of 1906-1907, a very severe one; but in that of 1901-1902, which 
was notably mild, Pine Grosbeaks were noticed in considerable numbers as 
far south as Penticton. 40 miles liorth of the international boundary, and they 
undoubtedly occurred much farther south. 

Their food in the winter months is principally berries, but, strange to 
say, they altogether refuse those of the mountain ash, tjoth the introduced and 
indigenous species. The former is the favorite food of the Eastern Pine 
Grosbeak thruout the \\inter in Ontario, but trees loaded with fruit were 
passed by at Okanagan Landing in the winter of 1906-1907, even after the 
birds had eaten all the rose hips and snow berries and were reduced to eating 
weed seeds with the Lcucostictes. 

Either this sub-species or uumtana breeds on all the higher mountain 
ranges in British Columbia, occupying a zone from timlier line downwards 
about 2,000 feet. 

My first acquaintance with the Pine Grosbeak at its breeding grounds, 
was in the Cascade JNIountains due north of JMt. Baker, on both sides of the 
Fortv-ninth Parallel. Here the species was a somewhat sparing breeder 
close to timber line among the hemlock and balsam timber. They were 
feeding young on the 17th of July; at the same time Crossbills had fully 



THE AMERICAN CROSSBILL. 



grown young- in flocks. No red males were seen, tliougii many gray males 
were singing in the early mornings from the topmost spray of some balsam. 
In the writer's opinion the red plumage in the male is acquired at the 
first moult or immediately after the juvenal dress, and is usually only retained 
for one season; in some males a duller red dress is carried through the second 
summer, or more rarely a salmon-pink one ; but in niost cases the dress of the 
second summer is a gray one like the females, w-ith yellow head and rump. 
Females may sometimes be seen with decidedly red heads and rumps, — from 
the size and shape of the bill these seem to be very old birds. The above 
remarks as to the red dress in the male apply also, in the writer's experience, 
to the genera Lo.via. Carpoilaciis and Acaiitliis. 

Allan Brooks. 



No. 25. 

AMERICAN CROSSBILL. 

A. O. U. No. 521. Loxia curvirostra minor (Brehm.^. 

Synonym. — Red Crossbill. 

Description. — Adult male: Tips of mandibles crossed either way ; plumage 
red, brightest on rump ; feathers of back with brownish centers ; wings and tail 
fuscous. Shade of red very variable, — orange, cinnabar, even vermilion, some- 
times toned down by a saiTron suffusioiL Iiii mat lire males sometimes present a 
curiously mottled appearance with chrome-green and red intermingled. Female 
and young: Dull olive-green, brighter and more yellow on head and rump; 
below gray overcast by dingy yellow. Adult male, length 5.50-6.25 ( 139.7- 
158.8) ; wings 3.40 (86.4) ; tail 2.05 (52.1) ; bill .70 ( 17.8) or under. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; crossed mandibles; male red and female 
olive-green ; l)Oth without white wing-bars. 

"Nest: in forks or among twigs of tree, founded on a mass of twigs and 
bark-strips, the inside felted of finer materials, including small twigs, rootlets, 
grasses, hair, feathers, etc. Eggs: 3-4, 0.75 x 0.57, pale greenish, spotted and 
dotted about larger end with dark purplish brown, with lavender shell-markings" 
(Coues). Av. size, .85 X .53 (2l6 X 13.5) (Brewer). i'ffl'J'o/i.' erratic, Feb. -Oct. ; 
one brood. 

General Range. — Northern North America, resident sparingly south in the 
eastern United States to Maryland and Tennessee, and in the Alleghanies, irregu- 
larly abundant in winter. Of irregidar distribution thruout the coniferous forests 
of the West, save in southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico, where 
replaced by L. c. stricldaiidi. 

Range in Washington. — Found thruout the coniferous forests of the State; 
of irregular occurrence locally. Non-migratory but nomadic. 

Authorities. — Curvirostra amcricana Wils. Baird, Reo. Pac. R. R. Surv. 
IX. pt. II. 1858, 426 part, 427. T. C&S. L'. D'. Ra. D-\ J. 15. E. 

Specimens. — U. of W. Prov. E. B. 



THE AMERICAN CROSSBILL. jz 

WHEN a bird's pastures are the tree-tops it is possible for it to live 
a quite secluded life here in Washington. And, indeed, we know the Cross- 
bill chiefly as a wandering voice or, rather, a vocal babel, passing from summit 
to summit in the grim fir forest. But on a rare day, it may be in Spokane, 
or it may be in Tacoma, the birds descend tO' human levels and are discovered 
feeding busily on their favorite pine cones. The birds are perfectly in- 
different to equilibrium, and feed any side up without care. While thus 
engaged they may e.xhibit little fear of the beholder and sometimes venture 
within reach ; but as often, for some whimsical reason they are up and away 
again as tho seized by evil spirits. 

The Crossbill owes its peculiar mandibles to an age-long hankering for 
pine-seeds (using that word in the generic sense), a desire fully satisfied 
according to the fashion of that Providence which works so variously thru 
Nature, and whose method we are pleased to call evolution. The bill of the 
bird was not meant for an organ of prehension, and Buffon, the Deist, once 
won a cheap applause by railing at the Almighty for a supposed oversight in 
this direction : but as matter of fact, its wonderful crossed mandibles enable 
the Crossbill to do what no other bird can; viz., pry and cut C)pen the scales 
of a fir cone, in order to extract the tiny seed with its tongue. 

These birds are not entirely confined to a vegetable diet, for I once 
detected a group of them, feeding industriously in a small elm tree which 
was infested with little gray insects, plant-lice or something of the sort. The 
presence of these insects, in colonies, caused the edges of the leaves to shrivel 
and curl tightly backward into a protective roll. Close attention showed that 
the Crossbills were feeding exclusively upon these aphides. They first slit 
open a leaf-roll with their scissor-bills, then extracted the insects with their 
tongues, taking care apparently tO' secure most of the members of each colony 
before passing to the next. 

Crossbills also feed to some extent upon the ground, where they pick 
up fallen seeds and other tidbits. Mr. J. F. Galbraith, a ranger of the Wash- 
ington Forest Reserve, first called my attention to another purpose which 
the birds have in visiting the ground. He had noticed how at certain places, 
and notably where dish-water was liabitually thrown, the Crossbills were 
wont to congregate, and, turning the head sidewise, tO' thrust out the tongue 
along the bare ground in a most puzzling manner. Suspecting at last the 
real state of alTairs, he sprinkled the ground with salt, and upon their return 
the birds licked it up with great avidity. Mr. Galbraith claims to have tried 
this experiment successfully upon numerous occasions. The birds do' not 
appear to recognize tlie salt at first sight, but soon learn to resort to estab- 
lished salt-licks in open places. Rev. Fred M. McCreary also reports similar 
habits in connection with certain mineral springs in the Suiattle country. 



74 THE WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL. 

AVhen we recall that the nurmal food of the Crossbill is pine-s.ceds, this 
craving for Nature's solvent is readily understandable. 

Crossbills give out an intermittent rattling cry, or excited titter, tezv, 
tezv, tezi', while feeding. Thev have also a flight note which consists of a 
short, clear whistle ; and a flock composed of separately undulating indi- 
viduals affords a pleasing sensation to- both eye and ear, as it rapidly passes. 
The male is said to have sprightly whistling notes of a most agreeable char- 
acter, generically related to that of the Pine Grosbeak, or Purple Finch, but 
their exhibition must be rather rare. 

After all, there is something a bit uncanny about these cross-billed 
creatures, and their eccentricities show nowhere in greater relief than in their 
nesting habits. The quasi migrations of the bird are determined by the local 
abundance of fir (or pine) cones. Like their food supply, the birds them- 
selves may abound in a given section one year and be conspicuously absent 
the next. Moreover, because there is no choice of season in gathering the 
seed crop, the birds may nest whenever the whim seizes them : and this they 
do from January to July, or even October. The communal life is maintained 
in spite of the occasional defection of love-lorn couples ; and there is nothing 
in the appearance of a flock of Crossbills in April to suggest that other such 
are dutifully nesting. 

Mr. Bowles has never taken the eggs near Tacoma, altlin he has encoun- 
tered half a dozen of their nests in twelve years, the only occupied one of 
which we have record being found by a friend on the 25th of April, 1899. 
It contained three half-incubated eggs, and was placed in one of a group of 
small tirs in the prairie country, at an elevation of some twenty feet. The 
nest rather closely resembles that of the California Purple Finch, but is more 
compacth' built and much more heavilv lined. It is composed of twigs and 
rootlets closely interwoven, and Iioasts an inner c|uilt of felted cow-hair nearly 
half an inch in thickness. The female Crossbill exhibits a singular devotion 
to dutv, once confessed, and in this case the collector had actually to lift her 
from the eggs in order that he might examine them. 



No. 26. 

WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL. 

A. O. U. No. 522. Loxia leucoptera Gmel. 

Description. — Mah': Rosy-red or carmine all over, save for grayish of 
nape and black of scapulars, wings, and tail. The black of scapulars sometimes 
meets on lower back. Two conspicuous white wing-bars are formed by the tips 
of the middle and greater coverts. Bill slender and weaker than in preceding 



THE WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL. 75 

species, female and \oiiiu/: Light olive-yellow, ochraceous, or even jiale orange 
over gray, clearer on rump, duller on throat and belly ; most of the feathers 
with dusky centers, finer on crown and throat, broader on back and breast ; wings 
and tail as in male, but fuscous rather than black ; feather-edgings olivaceous. 
Very variable. Length 6.00-6.50 ( 152.4-165.1 ) ; wing 3.50 (88.9); tail 2.25 
(57.2); bill .67 (17). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; crossed bill; cons;>icuous white wing- 
bars of 1.10th sexes. 

Nesting. — Xcst has not yet been taken in Washington but bird undoubtedly 
breeds here. "Xcst: of twigs and strips of birch-bark, covered exteriorly with 
moss (Usnca) and lined with soft moss and hair, on the fork of an evergreen, in 
deep forests. Eggs: 3( ?), pale blue, spotted and streaked near larger end with 
reddish brown and lilac. .80 x .55 (20.3x14)" (Chamberlain). Season: Feb.- 
March. 

General Range. — Xorthern parts of North America and southern Green- 
land, south into the LTnited States in winter. Resident in coniferous timber thru 
the entire northern tier of states and irregularly south in the mountains at least 
to Colorado. Casual in western Europe. 

Range in Washington. — Several records of occurrences in northern Cas- 
cade Mountains. Doubtless regular and resident. 

Authorities. — Dawson, Auk, \'ol. X\'II. Oct., 1901. p. 403. D-. 

Specimens.— (L. of \\ .) Prov. C. B. 

TO TELL the truth, nu one hereabouts appears to know much about 
the White-wiiig'ed Crossbill. It is presumed to be common in the Cascade 
Mountains, but I have only thrice encountered it: once, May 15, 1891, in 
the mountains of Yakima County: again, July 23, 1900, on the slopes of 
W^right's Peak near the head of Lake Chelan : and lastly, on the summit of 
Cascade Pass, June 25, 1906. There are no other records.* This species 
is quite as erratic as its more common cousin : and while it is, perhaps, more 
nearly confined to the mountains, it should be looked for wherever C. minor 
occurs, and especially in flincks of the latter species. 

Of the bird's occurrence in Alaska, where it is much more abundant. 
Nelson says'': "It is more familiar than the Grosbeak [i. e., Pinicola cnu- 
cleator alascensis], frequently coming low down among the smaller growth, 
and it is a common sight to see parties of them swinging about in every con- 
ceivable position from the twigs on the tops of the cottonwoods or birch 
trees, where the birds are busily engaged in feeding upon the buds. They 
pay no lieed to a passing party of sleds, except, perhaps, that an individual 
will fly down to some convenient bush, where he curiously examines the 
strange procession, and, his curiosity satisfied or confidence restored, back 
he goes to his companions and continues feeding. When fired at they utter 



a. Since writing the above specimens have been taken at Kirkland by :\liss Jennie V. Getty (Dec. 1908). 

b. Rep. Nat'l Hist. Coll. in Alaska, pp. 174, 175. 



76 THE GRAY-CROWNED LEUCOSTICTE. 

chirps of alarm and call to each other with a long, sweet note, something 
similar to that of the Goldfinch (Spiniis tristis). They keep up' a constant 
cheeping repetition of this note when feeding in parties, and if one of their 
number is shot the others approach closer and closer to the hunter, and gaze 
with mingled curiosity and sympathy upon their fluttering companion." 



No. 27. 

GRAY-CROWNED LEUCOSTICTE. 

A. O. U. No. 524. Leucosticte tephrocotis Swains. 
Synonyms. — Rosy Finch. Swaixson's Rosy Finch. 

Description. — .Idiilts: Similar to L. t. littoralis but ashy gray of head re- 
stricted to sides of crown and occiput — in worn plumages black of crown pro- 
duced backward to meet brown of hind neck. Seasonal changes as in succeeding. 
Size of next. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size ; warm brown plumage ; ashy gray not 
encroaching upon sides of head as distinguished from L. t. littoralis. 

Nesting. — Not known to breed in Washington. "Nest made of strips of 
bark and grass, built in a fissure of a rock at the side of a bunch of grass" ( Reed). 
Eggs: 4 or 5. white. Season: June; one brood. 

General Range. — Imperfectly made out — probably discontinuous. Reported 
breeding from such widely separated localities as the Rocky Mountains of 
British America and the Sierra Nevada and White Mountains of southern Cali- 
fornia ; wiiUers on the eastern slopes of the Rockies and irregularly eastward to 
western Nebraska, Manitoba, etc.. westward to Cascade and Sierra Nevada 
ranges (Camp Harvey, Ore. Pullman. Wash. Chilliwhack. B. C). 

Range in Washington. — I'robaljly of regular occurrence during migrations 
anil in winter east of the Cascade Mountains only. 

Authorities. — Not previously reported; W. T. Shaw in epistola, Dec. 31, 
1908. 

Specimens. — Pullman. 

MOUNTAIN climbing as an art is still in its infancy in the Northwest 
and altho the Mountaineers and the Mazanias are attacking the situatiiin 
vigorously we ha\'e yet much to learn of the wild life upon our Washington 
sierras. But what problem cnuld be more fascinating to a lover of liirds and 
mountains than that of working out accurately the distribution of the Rosy 
Finches in America? They are the mountaineers par excellence, they are the 
Jebusites of the untaken citadels, and our ignorance of their wa}-s will ere 
long become a reproach tO' our wumted western enterprise. As it stands, 



THE HEPBURN LEUCOSTICTE. 77 



however, only scanty crumbs of information have come tO' us concerning tiiis 
most interesting and widely distributed race of Highlanders. 

Tiie Gray-crowned Leucosticte is considered the central figure of the 
genus, shading^', as it does, into L. atrata of the Bitterroots and L. aiistnilis 
of Colorado, into L. t. littoralis of southern British Columbia, Washington 
and Oregon, and (perhaps thru littoralis) into grisconucha of the Aleutians. 
This assumes for the species a center of distribution in the Rocky Mountains 
of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan where the bird is known to 
occur. And so because of the greater severity of the winters in its normal 
haunts this form is found to be the greatest wanderer of its group, being 
frequently driven in the fall far out upon the central eastern plains or down 
the "insifle passage" between the Rockies and Sierras. 

It was in this fashion, probably, that a colony of this species became 
established in the southern Sierras of California, where it now maintains a 
vigorous existence separated, as we suppose, by at least a thousand miles 
from the parent stock in British Columbia. 



No. 28. 

HEPBURN'S LEUCOSTICTE. 

A. O. U. No. 524a. Leucosticte tephrocotis littoralis (Baird). 

Synonyms. — Rosy Finch. Hepburn's Rosy Finch. B.-mrd's Rosy Finch. 

Description. — Adult male iu sunnucr: Forehead and fore-crown black; 
occiput, broadly, and sides of head, clear ashy gray, color sometimes encroaching 
on chin and throat ; nasal plumules grayish white ; remaining plumage in general 
chestnut, chpcolate. or rich vandyke brown, sharply contrasting with ashy gray on 
hind-neck and sides of head, inclining to blackish on throat, streaked with dusky 
on back and with more or less admixture of dusky on feather tips, especially on 
wings and flanks ; feathers of upper and under tail-coverts, rump and flanks 
broadly and distinctly tipped with pink (of variable shade): wings and tail 
blackish ; lesser and middle coverts broadly tipped with pink, the greater coverts, 
primary coverts and part of the flight feathers edged with pink or light carmine ; 
rectrices with more or less edging of pinkish gray or light brown ; bill black ; feet 
and legs black. Adult female: of somewhat paler and duller coloration. Adults 
iu "ci'iuter: Feathers of back and scapulars edged with light brown; pink edgings 
of wings, etc., paler, and body plumage, especially on breast, with more or less 
pale skirting; Ijill yellow with dusky tip (this character is assumed as early as 
September). Length of adult male: 6.15 (156.2); wing 4.00 (101.6); tail 2.60 
(66) ; bill .45 ( 11.4) ; tarsus .75 (19). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; plumage warm brown with rosy skirt- 
ings; ashy gray on sides of head as distinguished from L. tef^lirocotis. 



a. Ry "sliading" here is not meant subspecific relationship, altho tiiis does obtain as regarding both 
grisconucha and littoralis, but ratlier suggestive relationsiiip, assumed divergence from a common stock. 



78 



THE HEPBURN LEUCOSTICTE. 



Nesting. — Xcst: a thick mat of dried grasses placed in sheltered crevice of 
rock at great altitude. Eggs: Not yet taken but doubtless like those of Leucosticte 
griseonucha, viz., 4 or 5, pure white; av. size .97 x .67 (24.6x17). Season: 
June : one brood. 

General Range. — Summer haunts include the higher mountain ranges of 
southeastern Alaska, British Columbia (west of the Rockies?) and Washington 
(possibly Oregon as well) ; "in winter south to Nevada, Utah, and Colorado, and 
east to eastern base of Rocky Mountains (casually to Minnesota), and along the 
Pacific coast to Kodiak, Sitka, Vancouver Island, etc." (Ridgway). 

Range in Washington. — Breeds thruout the higher Cascades (Wright's 
Peak, Sahale, Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier, etc.) and, probably, the Olympics. Re- 
treats in winter to the lowlands, chiefly east of the Cascade Mountains. 

Authorities.— ?;. K. Lord, Nat. in V. Id. & B. C. 1866, p. 154. ["Hop- 
burn's (sic) rosv finch," Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 (1885), 22. j Dawson, 
Auk. XI\'. 1897', 92, 177. J. E. 

Specimens. — P. Prov. E. C. 



LIVES there a man so brutish that his heart does not kindle when he 
sees Rainier lit up with the ruddy glow of the evening sacrifice? If such 
there be, he is no bird-lover. ^^^^^^^ Lives there a 

woman who can gaze ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ upon the virgin 

snows of Kulshan. ^^r ^^^ vShuksan. or Sa- 

hale, and not 
adore the 
emblem of 
eternal 




Taken in Chelan County. 



SHRECKLICII PINNACLES. 

DETAILS OF THE APPROACH TO MT. SAHALE. 



Photo by the Author. 



THE HEPBURN LEUCOSTICTE. 



79 



purity tliereun displayed? If so, she will not appreciate the Leucosticte. 
This bird is the vestal virgin of the snows, the attendant minister of Nature's 
loftiest altars, tlie guardian of the glacial sanctuaries. 

One who loves the mountains cannot measure his praise nor Isound his 
enthusiasm. Their sublimity bids him forget his limitations; and if one 
happens also to care for birds, it is matter of small justice to laud a bird 
whose devotion to the peaks appears as boundless as his own. besides knowing 
neither admixture of caution nor limitation of opportunity. Here is the 
patron saint of mountaineers ! Pie alone of all creatures is at home on the 
heights, and he is not even dependent upon the scanty vegetation \\hich 
follows the retreating snows, since he is able to wrest a living from the very 
glaciers. Abysses do ni)t appall him. nor do the flower-strewn meadows of 
the lesser heights alienate his snow-centered affections. 




Taken in Chelan County. Photo by the Author 

-THE CHILLY WILDERNESS OF SXOW-CLAD PEAKS." 



Looking out on the chilly \vilderness of snow-clad peaks which confronts 
Leucosticte on an early day in June, one wonders what the bird sees to justify 
the assumption of family cares. Save for a few dripping south exposures 
of inhospitable rock, there is nothing visible which affords promise of food 
unless it be the snow itself. And when one sees a little company of the 



8o THE HEPBURN LEUCOSTICTE. 

finclies moving alx>nt demurely upon the face of a clioppy snowdrift, pecking 
at the surface here and there, lie begins to harbor an uncanny suspicion that 
the birds do' eat snow. Closer examination, however, shows that the surface 
of all snow-banks, not freshly covered, is sprinkled with insects, — midges, 
beetles, wasps, and the like — insects which the spring gales have swept up 
to uncongenial heights and dropped, benumbetl or dead with cold. These 
battered waifs the Leucostictes gather with untiring patience, and they are 
thus able to subsist as nO' other species can, up to the very summits. 

The eggs of the Hepburn Leucosticte have not to^ our knowledge yet 
been taken. Mr. D. E. Brown, then of Glacier, found these birds scooping 
hollows under grass tussocks on the middle slopes of Baker, above timber 
line, on the 7th of June, 1905. On the 20th of July, 1900, Professor Lynds 
Jones and myself found a thick-walled grass nest settled upon bare rock 
without protection, on the south slope of the aiguille of Wright's Peak, at 
an elevation of some 9,000 feet, and within a hundred yards of the summit ; 
this could hardly have belonged to any other species. 

In July, 1907, knowing that it was too* late for eggs, I yet spent several 
days searching the precipitous wall which separates the upper Horseshoe 
Basin from the glacier which heads Thunder Creek. Adult birds tO' the 
number of a dozen gleaned scraps from the dump of the Cascade Mine house ; 
but, altho' each made off in business-like fashion when "loaded," the stretch 
of the wall was too- vast and its recesses too' mazy to permit of e.xact work 
in tracing. I therefore e.xamined carefully but with difficulty several of the 
weathered fissures, or couloirs, which ran perpendicularly up the face of the 
clifif. Here, under cover of rocks which had lodged in the throat of the 
fissure, or which had weathered out unevenly, old nests were found, simple 
affairs of coiled grasses, and too dilapidated for exact measurement. From 
one <_^f these sites a pebble snapped from the finger must have fallen three 
hundred feet before striking the glacier below. 

Now and then a passing bird, suspicious of my intent, stopped on some 
projecting point o-f rock, to utter the sole note which does duty for every 
mood, churkk or scJithub. a sound comparable only to the concussion of a 
small taut rope on a flag-pole. Finally, near the top of the Sahale Glacier, 
I got a line at two hundred yards on an occupied fissure, and traced both 
parent Leucostictes into its distant recesses. Climbing cautiously up a sharp 
slope of ice, my footsteps were guided by the almost incessant clamor of young 
birds. Arrived at the upper lip of the glacier, however, I found that it stood 
away from the rock-wall some fifteen feet, and that a chasm some forty feet 
in depth yawned beneath. Into this forbidding bcrgschriind . one of the 
fledgling Leucostictes had tumbled. He was not more than two-thirds grown 
(Julv 1 8th) and down feathers still fluttered fmm his cheeks, but he was a 
|)lucky little fellow, and had managed to scramble up off the ice onto a piece 



THE HEPBURN LEUCOSTICTE. 



of flat rock which caught a bit of the afternoon sun. Here, to judge from 
his lusty yelping, there could be no doubt that his parents would notice him, 
altho they would be powerless to secure his further release until his wings 
were grown. A Carnegie medal hox-ered suggestively over the spot, I know; 
but pray, consider, — the rock wall was perpendicular and smooth as glass, 
the ice-wall I stood on was undercut. No; e\"en philornitln- has its limits! 




Taken m the Rainier National Park. From a Photograph Copyright, 190S, by IV. L. Dawson. 

A GLIMPSE OF MT. RAINIER FROM THE NISQUALLY GLACIER. 



A FAVORITE HAUNT OF THE HEPBURN LEUCOSTICTE. 



The nest containing the remaining \(iungsters was set well hack in a 
rock fissure, concealed l)v projections eightv feet above the fallen first-bijrn. 
and inaccessible tO' man from above or below. With the possible exception 
of the Black Cloud Swifts (Cypseloides iiigcr horealis). who are reported to 
share at times these same cliffs, it is safe to say that the Leucostictes are the 
highest nesters on the continent. 



82 THE REDPOLL. 



No. 29. 
REDPOLL. 

A. O. U. No. 528. Acanthis linaria (Linn.). 

Synonyms. — Common Redpoll. Lesser Redpoll. Linnet. Lintie. 

Description. — Adult male: Crown crimson; breast and shonklers crimson 
in varying proportions according to season ; frontlet, lores, and throat-patch sooty 
black ; remaining lower parts white, flanks and crissnm streaked with dusky ; 
above, variegated dusky, flaxen-brown and whitish, the feathers having dusky 
centers and flaxen edgings ; rump dusky and white in streaks, tinged with rosy ; 
wings and tail dusky with flaxen or whitish edgings ; two inconspicuous wing-bars 
formed by white tips of middle and greater coverts. Female': Similar but 
without red on rump and breast, the latter suffused with huffy instead : sides 
heavily streaked with dusky. Immature: Like female but without crimson 
crown. Length 5.50 (139.7) or less; wing 2.80 (71. i) : tail 2.30 (58.4) ; bill .34 
(8.6) ; depth at base .23" (5.8). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler to Sparrow size; crimson crown-patch in 
adults; no dusky spot on breast. 

Nesting. — Does not breed in Washington. Nest: a bulky aft'air of twigs and 
grasses, lined with feathers and placed in trees and bushes. Eggs: 4-6, i>ale blue, 
dotted and speckled with reddish brown or umber. Av. size, .65 x .50 ( 16.5 x 
12.7). 

General Range. — Northern portions of northern hemisphere, south irregu- 
larly in winter, in North America to the Middle States, and southern Oregon. 

Range in Washington. — Winter resident, abundant on East-side, infrequent 
or casual west of the Cascades. 

Migrations. — Nov. i-Dec. 15. Feb. i5-]March 15. Yakima Co. Oct. 31, 
1899. Chelan ?\Iarch 19, 1896. 

Authorities. — ^giothtis linaria Cab. Cooper and Suckley, Rep. Pac. R. R. 
Surv. \'<il. XIT. pt. ii, i860, 198. C&S. D'. Ra. i>. Kk. J. B. 

Specimens.— (U. of W.) Prov. B. C. P. 

THOSE who' count themselves familiar witli the Goldfinch are apt to 
let the first few flocks of Redixills pass unquestioned. When, however, in late 
No'vemlier, a nortlier brings down some thousands of these Alaskan waifs, the 
bird student is roused to attention. The resemblance between the two species 
is most striking" in form and appearance as well as in habit and note. But 
once the eves have been assured bv a near revelation of convincing red, that 
Acanfliis linaria is before them, the ears .remark also' a slight foreign accent 
in the s-avcfie call and in the rattling flight notes. 

Redpolls summer abundantly along the coasts of Alaska, and along the 
higher levels down thru British Columbia. The winter mci\ements of this 
species are irregular and somewhat confusing. According to Nelson, the 



THE REDPOLL. 



83 



western residents retire into the interior of Alaska to winter, where they 
are able to withstand the fiercest cold. The interior birds retire largely 
to the south, and under the urgency of bad weather sweep into or thru 
eastern Washington in immense numbers. There is also a small movement 
setting in a southwesterly direc- 
tion, so that some birds winter 
regularly on Vancouver Is- 
land, and a few straggle thru 
the Puget Sound country. 
While with us, the Red- 
poll is nowise dependent 
upon the forests, l>ut 
appears to seek the 
more open country 
by preference. It 
subsists chiefly upon 
seeds, gleaning them 
from the ground 
with much pleasant 
chatter, or seeking 
them in their winter 
receptacles. Redpoll 
again proves kinship 
with Goldfinch by 
eating thistle seeds, 
and with Siskin 
by his extravagant 
fondness for the 
alder catkin. Red- 
poll's manner is \'ery 
confiding ; and we 
are sure that he 
would not begrudge 
us a share of his 
winter viands, if we 
cared for them. The 

,, . REDPOLLS IN WINTER. 

author is no vege- 
tarian, but he is bound to admit that a "simple diet of grains, fruits and 
nuts" makes for contentment among the birds, even at forty below zero. 

As spring comes on, and the gentle h_\'perl)oreans prepare to return to 
their nati\'e heather, we see the deep-dyed crimson of full regalia on crown 
and breast. But during the actual breeding season, we are told by a com- 




84 THE PINE SISKIN. 



petent obser\ei" in Greenland, Hull:)i;)ell, the male nut only lieciimes exceed- 
ingly shv l)ut loses his rosy coloring. It is hardly tO' be supposed that this 
loss of color is a protective measure, but rather that it is the result of the 
exhaustive labors incident to the season. Nature, in that forbidding clime, 
cannot afford to dress a busy workman in fine clothes. It is noteworthy 
in this connection, also, that caged Redpolls lose their rosv tints ne\'er to 
regain them. 



No. 30. 

PINE SISKIN 



A. O. U. No. 533. Spinus pinus (Wils.). 

Synonyms. — American Siskin. Pine Finch. Pine Linnet. 

Description. — Adult male and female: Above brownish huffy ; below 
creamy-buff and whitish ; everywhere streaked with dusky or dark olive-brown ; 
the streakings are finer on the head and foreparts, coarser on back and breast ; 
wings fuscous, the flight feathers sulphur-yellow at the base, and the primaries 
edged with the same color; tail fuscous, all but the middle feathers sulphur- 
yellow at base. Bill comparatively slender, acute. Length 4.75-5.00 (120. 6-127) ; 
wing 2.75 (69.9) ; tail 1.80 (45-7) : bill .43 (10.9). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; conspicuous general streakiness, sul- 
phur-yellow markings of wings and tail, most noticeable in flight. 

Nesting-. — Nest: saddled upon horizontal limb of evergreen tree, well con- 
cealed from below, usually at moderate heights; very variable in structure, flimsy 
to massive and ornate; composed of small twigs (usually fir), and tree-moss, with 
a lining of fine rootlets and horse- or cow-hair, rarely feathers. An average nest 
measures externally 4^ inches wide by 2% in. deep ; internally 2 in. wide by i in. 
deep. Eggs: 1-4, usually 3 or 4, pale bluish green lightly dotted with rufous and 
blackish, chiefly about larger end. Av. size .67x48 (17x12.2). Season: 
March-September, but most abundant in April; one brood. 

General Range. — North .America at large, breeding in higher latitudes, and 
in coniferous forests of the West to southern boundary of United States; also 
sparingly in northeastern United States; irregularly south in winter to Gulf of 
Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — In summer coextensive with evergreen timber, but 
especially common in nuiuntains just below limit of trees: m winter more local- 
ized, or irregularly absent. 

Authorities. — Chrysomitris pinus Bonap. Baird. Rep. Pac. R. R. Sur\'. IX. 
pt. II. 1858, p. 425. T: C&S. L^ Rh. D'. D^ Kk. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— LT. of W. Prov. B. E. P. 

IN designing the Siskin, Nature achieved audther triumph in obscurities. 
The heavy streaky pattern, worked out in dusky olive on a huffy brown 



THE PINE SISKIN. 



85 




Taken at Longtitlre's Sf^rings. 



From u Photograf^h Co(>yright, igo8, by IV. L. Dazi'son. 



SIX LITTLE SISKINS. 

"THE mountain'' AS A BACKGROUND. 



base, prepares tlie Ijird for self-effacement in any environment: while the 
sulphur-colored water-mark of the outspread wings barely redeems its owner 
from sheer oblivion. This remark applies, however, only to plumage. In 
beha^•ior the Siskin is anything but a forgettable bird-person. 

Whatever be the time of year. Siskins roam about in happy, rollicking 
bands, comprising from a score to several hundred individuals. They move 
with energy in the communal flight, while their incessant change of relative 
positions in flock suggests those intramolecular vibrations of matter, which 



86 



THE PINE SISKIN. 



the "new physicists" are telhng- us alxjut. When a hirtl is sighteil alone, 
one sees that it is tlie graceful, undulatory, or "looping," flight of cousin 
Goldfinch which the social Siskin indulges so recklessly. 

Many of the notes, too, remind us of the Goldfinch. There are first 
those little chattering notes indulged a-wing and a-perch, when the l>irds are 
not too busy feeding. The koodayl of incjuiry or greeting is the same. But 
there is another note quite distinctive. It is a labored, but singularly penetrat- 
ing production with a peculiar vowel sound (like a German umlauted u), 
siim or cccciii. So much efi^nrt does the utterance of this note cost the bird. 




THE DRAPERIES OF PARADISE. 

RAINIER AS SEEN BY THE SISKIN. 



Photo by W. Leon Dawson. 



that it always occasions a display of the hidden sulphur markings of wings 
and tail. 

When fired by passion the Siskin is capable, also*, oi extended song. 
This daytime serenade is vivacious, but not loud except in occasional pas- 
sages, — a sort of chattering, ecstatic warble of diverse elements. The bird 
has, besides its own peculiar notes, many finch-like phrases and interi)olations, 
reminding one now of the Goldfinch, and now of the California Purple Finch. 
The most striking phrase pruduced in this connection is a triple shriek of the 
Eveiung Grosbeak, subdued of cnurse, but very effective. 

Tho perhaps not numerically ef|ual to the Western Golden-crowned 
Kinglet, nor to the Western Winter Wren, there is not another liird in \\'ash- 
ington which enjoys a more nearly uniform distrilnitinn than the Pine 



THE PINE SISKIN. 87 



Siskin. Its Ijreeditig range coincides witli the distriljutioii of evergreen 
timber: its feeding forays include all alder trees; and roving bands are 
likely to turn up anywhere in eastern Washington, if there is shrubbery 
larger or greener than sage-brush at hand. 

Much of Siskin's food is obtained upon the ground. City lawns are 
favorite places of resort ; these birds, together with California Purple Finches, 
appearing tO' derive more benefit from grass plots, whether as granaries or 
insectaria, than does any other species. They share also with Cro.ssI)ills a 
strong interest in the products oi fir trees, whether in cone or leaf. Their 
peculiar province, however, is the alder catkin, and the tiny white seeds 
obtained from this source are the staple supply of winter. Mr. Brown, of 
Glacier, has e.xamined specimens in which the crops were distended by 
these seeds exclusively. While the observer is ogling, it may be an over- 
modest Townsend Sparrow, a flock of Pine Siskins will charge incontinently 
intO' the alders above his very head. With many .ccws and seems they fall 
to work upon the stubborn catkins, poking, twisting, prving, standing on 
their heads if need be, to dig out the dainty dole. Now and then, without 
any apparent reason, one detachment will suddenly desert its claim and 
settle upon another, precisely similar, a few feet away ; while its place will 
be taken, as likely as not, by a new band, charging the tree like a volley of 
spent shot. 

Nesting time with the Siskin extends from ]March to September, and 
the parental instinct appears in the light of an individual seizure, or decimating 
epidemic, rather than as an orderly taking up of life's duties. Smitten couples 
drop out from time tO' time from the communal groups, and set up temporary 
establishments of their own; but there is never any let-up in the social whirl 
on the part of those who are left ; and a roistering company of care-free 
maids and bachelors en fete mav storm the ver\- tree in which the first lullabies 
are being crooned by a hapless sister. Once in a while congenial groups 
agree to retire together, and a single tree or a clump of neighbors may boast 
a half-a-dozen nests: tho which is which and what is whose one cannot 
always tell, for the same intimacv which suggested simultaneous marriage, 
allows an almost unseemly interest in the private affairs of a neighbor. 

Once embarked upon the sea of matrimony, the female is a very deter- 
mined sitter, and the male is not inattentive. In examining the nest of 
a sitting bird one may expect the mother to cover her eggs at a foot's remove, 
without so much as by-your-leave. 

The nest, in our experience, is invariably built in an evergreen tree, 
usually a Douglas spruce (Psei(dofsuga inucronata) , and is commonly saddled 
upon a horizontal or slightly ascending limb at some distance from the tree 
trunk. Viewed from below, it appears merely as an accumulation of material 
at the base of divergent twigs, where moss and waste is wont to gather. 



88 



THE PINE SISKIN. 



As to distance from tlie £ir<uin<l, it may xary from four to^ a luindred feet. 
The latter is the limit of in\estigation, hut there is no particular reason to 
suppose they do not !l;o higlier. Most of the nests are placed at from eight 
to twent}' feet u]j. 

The materials used in construction are dead fir-twigs, weed-stalks, strips 
of cedar-hark, mosses of se\eral sorts, grass, fir, hair, ])lant downs, etc. The 
interior may he carefully lined with fine rootlets, fur, horse-hair, feathers, 
altho there is great \ariation hoih in material and workmanshij). Some 
nests ajipear little lietter than those of Chi]iping Sparrr)ws ; while the best 
cannot certainly lie distinguished ( without the eggs) from the elegant crea- 
tions of the ."-Xuduljon 
Warhler. One nest found 
near Tacoma in April, 
1906, was allowed to pass 
for two weeks as that 
of a Western Golden- 
crowned Kinglet; it was 
huilt in characteristic 
Kinglet fashii n, chiefly of 
moss, and was lashed 
m i d w a y of dro(_iping 
twigs fcMur inches to one 
side and lielow the main 
stem of the sustaining 
branch, near its end. 

The eggs are three or 
four in number, tho sets 
of one and two are not 
rare in some seasons, 
TIkw are a very iiale 
bluish green in color, with dots, blotches, streaks, and occasional marbling, 
of rrfous and brown, chiefly about the larger end. They vary considerably 
in size and shape, running from subspherical to a slender ovate. Measure- 
nients of a\-erage eggs are .68 x .48 inches. 

Incubation lasts about twelve da}s, and the young are ready to fly in 
.as man\' more. The lirciod di.'CS not remain long in a famil_\' group liut joins 
the roving clan as soon as possible. We suspect, therefore, that the Siskin 
raises luit one brood in a season ; and she undi lubtedly bea\'es a sigh of 
relief when she mav again don her e\'ening gown, and rejoin "societv." 




Taken ill Tacoma. Photo by the Author 

XEST .XND liCGS OF PINE SISKIN. 



THE WESTERN GOLDFINCH. 89 



No. 31. 

WESTERN GOLDFINCH. 

A. O. U. No. 529a. Astragalinus tristis pallidas (Mearns). 

Synonyms. — Pale Goldfinch. "Wild Canary." "Summer Yellow- 
bird." TinSTLE-BIRD. 

Description. — Adult male in siiiiiiiicr: General plumage clear lemon or 
canary yellow; crown patch, including forehead and lores, black; wings black, 
varied by white of middle and lesser coverts, tips of greater coverts and edges 
of secondaries; tail black, each feather with white spot on inner web; tail coverts 
broadly tipped with white ; bill-orange, tipped with black ; feet and legs light brown ; 
irides brown. Adult female in summer: Above grayish brown or olivaceous ; wings 
and tail dusky rather than black, with white markings rather broader than in 
male; below whitish with huffy or yellow suffusion brightest on throat and 
sides. Adult male in ivintcr: Like adult female but brighter by virtue of con- 
trasting black of wing and tail ; white markings more extended than in summer. 
Female in zvinter: not so yellow as in stnnmer, grayer and browner with more 
extensive white. Young: Like winter adults but browner, no clear white any- 
where, cinnamomeus instead. Length of adult male: (skins) 4.71 (120); wing 
2-95 (75) ; tail 1.97 (50) ; bill .41 ( 10.4) ; tarsus .55 (14.1). 

Recoj>nition Marks. — Warbler size ; black and yellow contrasting, with 
conical bill, distinctive ; undulating flight ; canary-like notes. Feeds on thistle 
seed as does also Spinus pinus, a closely related but much less handsome species. 

Nesting. — Nest: A beautiful compact structure of vegetable hbers, "hemp," 
grasses, etc., lined with vegetable cotton or thistle-down, and placed at varying 
heights in trees or bushes, usually in upright crotches. Eggs: 3-6, pale bluish 
white, unspotted. Av. size, .65 x .52 (16.5x13.2). Season: July and August; 
one brood. 

General Range. — Western United States, except the Pacific coast district, 
north to British Columbia and Manitoba, south to northern and eastern Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — East-side, not common resident in half-open situa- 
tions and along streams ; resident but roving in winter. 

Authorities. — Clirvsomitris tristis, Brewster, B. N. O. C. \ II. Oct. 1882, 
p. 227. (T). D'. D-'. Ss'. Ss-'. I. 
Specimens. — P. Prov. C. 

"HANDSOME is that handsome does," we are told, but the Goldfinch 
fulfils both conditioiis in the proper sense, and does not require the doubtful 
apology of the proverb, which was evidently devised for plain folk. One 
is at a loss to decide whether Nature awarded the Goldfinch his suit of fine 
clothes in recognition of his dauntless cheer or whether he is only happy 
because of his panoply oif jet and gold. At any rate he is the bird of sun- 
shine the year around, happy, careless, free. Rollicking companies of them 
rove the country-side, now searching the heads of the last vear's mullein 



90 THE WESTERN GOLDFINCH. 

stalks and enli\-ening their quest with iiukIi pleasant chatter, mnv scattering 
in obedience tO' some whimsical command and sowing the air with their 
laughter. Pcrchic'-opcc or pcrdiic'-ichic'-opcc, says every Ijird as it glides 
down each successive billow of its undulating flight. So' enamored are the 
Goldfinches of their gypsy life that it is only when the summer begins to 
wane that they arc willing tO' make particular choice of mates and nesting 
spots. As late as the middle of July one may see roving bands of forty or 
fifty individuals, but by the first of August they are usually settled to the 
task of rearing young. The nesting also appears to be dependent in some 
measure upon the thistle crop. When the weeds are common and the season 
forward, nesting may commence in June; but so long as thistle down is 
scarce or wanting, the birds seem loath to begin. 

Nests are placed in the upright forks of various kinds of saplings, or 
even of growing plants, in which latter case the thistle, again, proves first 
choice. The materials used are the choicest obtainable. Normally the inner 
bark of hemp is employed for warp, and thistle-down for woof and lining, 
so that the whole structure bleaches tO' a characteristic silver-gray. In the 
absence or scarcity of these, grasses, weeds, bits of leaves, etc., are Imund 
together with cobwebs, and the whole felted with other soft plant-dnwns, 
OT even horse-hair. The whole is made fast thruout its depth to the su] sport- 
ing branches, and forms one oi the most durable of summer's trophies. 

From four to si.x, but commonly five, eggs are laid, and these of a delicate 
greenish blue. Fourteen days are required for hatching; and from the time 
of leaving the nest the youngsters drone hahcc! habcc! with weary iteration, 
all thru the stifling summer day. 

During the nesting season the birds subsist largely uix)n insects of 
various kinds, especially plant-lice, flies, and the smaller grasshoppers ; Init at 
other times they feed almost exclusively upon seeds. They are very fond of 
sunflower seeds, returning to a favorite head day after day until the crop 
is harvested. Seeds of the lettuce, turnips, and other garden plants are 
levied upon freely where occasion offers; but thistle seed is a staple article, 
and that is varied bv a hundred seeds besides, which mme could grudge 
them. 

Thruout the winter the Western Goldfinches are much less in evidence, 
the majority of them having retired to the southland at that season. Those 
which remain are somewhat altered to appearance: the wings and tail show- 
much pure white, and the )'ellow proper is now confined to the throat and 
the sides of the head and neck. He is thus a lighter and a brighter bird 
than his eastern brother. But the western bird has the same merry notes and 
sprightly ways which ha\'e made the name of Goldfinch synonymous with 
sunshine. 



THE WILLOW GOLDFINCH. 91 



No. 32. 
WILLOW GOLDFINCH. 

A. O. U. No. 529b. Astragaliniis tristis salicamans (Grinncll). 

Synonyms. — California G(ji,di'incii. "Yelujw-bikd," etc. 

Description. — Similar to .-i. t. pallidas, but wings and tail shorter and colora- 
tion very much darker ; adult male in summer plumage has tinge of pale olive- 
green on back, while winter adults and young are decidedly darker and browner 
than corresponding plumage of .i. t. pallidiis. Wing (of adult male) 2.75 (70) ; 
tail 1.73 (44)- 

Recognition Marks. — As in preceding but decidedly darker and browner, 
especially in winter. 

Nesting. — As in .1. t. pallidiis. 

General Range. — I'acilic coast district from Lower California (Cerros Id.) 
north to Uritish Columbia. Has been taken at Okanagan Landing, B. C. 
(Brooks). 

Range in Washington. — Not common resident on West-side only, chicflv in 
cultivated valleys. 

Authorities. — Clirvsomitris tristis Bon. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 
1858, 421, 422, part. C&S. L^ Kb. Ra. Kk. B. E. 
Specimens. — (U. of W.) Prov. B. E. 

GOLDFINCHES are a bit of a rarity on Puget Sound. (3f course we 
see them every season, and one may see a great deal of a particular tnjop. 
once its general range is ascertained ; but, taken all in all, the bird is not 
common. Neither Cooper nor Suckley saw this Goldfinch, altho particularlv 
wondering at its absence. The clearing of the forests and tlie culti\'ation of 
the soil is conducive to its increase, however; and there is every reason to 
believe that we are seeing more of it year by year. 

There has been a warm discussion as to the subspecific validity of the 
^^''lllow Goldfinch, but those who see birds of this form in late winter or early 
spring cannot but be impressed w^ith the striking brownness of its plumage, 
as well as by the more extensi\-e white upon the wings, as coimpared with 
the eastern bird. Beyond its partiality for willow trees, it has no further 
distinguishing traits, unless, perhaps, it may be reckoned less tuneful, or noisy. 



92 THE CASSIN PURPLE FINCH. 



No. 33- 

CASSIN'S PURPLE FINCH. 

A. O. v. No. 51S. Carpodacus cassinii J laird. 

Synonym. — Cassin's Finch. 

Description. — .hliilt male: Crown chill crimson; back and scapulars vinace- 
ous mixed with brownish and sharply streaked with dusky ; wings and tail dusky 
with more or less edging of vinaceous ; remaining plumage chiefly dull rosy, 
passing into white on belly and crissum ; under tail-coverts white streaked with 
dusky. Adult female: Everywhere (save on wings, tail and lower abdomen) 
sharply streaked with dusky, clearly, on a white ground, below ; above on an olive- 
gray or olive-huffy ground. Immature male: Like female in plumage and indis- 
tinguishable. Length of adult 6.50-7.00 ( 165.1-177.8) ; wing 3.62 (92) ; tail 2.56 
(65); bill .50 (12.6); tarsus .jt, (18.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size: red of crown contrasting with back dis- 
tinctive as compared with C. p. calif nrnicns : general streakiness of female (and 
male in more common plumage). 

Nesting. — Nest: of twigs and rootlets lined with horse-hair, string, etc., 
placed in pine or fir tree well out from trunk. Eggs: 4 or 5, colored as in succeed- 
ing species; a little larger. Av. size .85 x .60 (21.6 x 15.2). Season: June; one 
or two broods according to altitude. 

General Range. — Western United States from the eastern base of the Rocky 
Mountains west to (but not including?) the Pacific coast district; north to British 
Columbia; south over plateau region of Mexico; found chiefly in the mountains. 

Range in Washington. — At least coextensive with pine timber in eastern 
Washington; found Ut smnmit of Cascades but westerly range imperfectly made 
out. 

Authorities. — ["Cassin's Purple ImucIi," Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 
(1885), 22. J Carpodacus cassini, Dawson, Auk, Vol. XIV. 1897, p. 177. D". J. 

Specimens. — Prov. C. 

CASSIN'S FINCH is the bird of the eastern Cascades and the timbered 
foothills of northern Washington. W'hile ranging higher than other finches, 
it shares witli them an inclination to urban life, and a full realization of the 
ad\-antages of gardens and cultivated patches. At Stehekin I saw a flock of 
them gleaning crumbs as complacently as sparrows, in the yard at the rear 
of the hotel. At Chelan they haunt the lonesome pine trees which still dot 
the shores of the lake, seemingly regarding their gnarled recesses as citadels 
where alone they may be safe from the terrors of the open country. 

As the bird-man lav sprawling in the grateful shadow of one of these 
grim sentinels, nnmching a noonday lunch, and remonstrating with Providence 
at the unguarded virtues of the all-crawling ant, he spied a last year's Oriole's 
nest hanging- just over his head, while an accommodating Cassin Finch 



THE CASSIN PURPLE FINCH. 



93 



called his attention to this year's nest in process of constructi<3n, by going 
over and helping herself to a beakfnl of material, which she pulled out of the 
structure by main force. She evened things up, however, (for the bird-man) 
by immediately visiting her own nest, pitched on the upper side of a horizontal 
branch near the end. 

This female Cassin was a wearisome bird, for she sat and twittered 
inanely, or coaxed, every minute her husband was in the tree. He, poor soul, 
was visibly annoyed at her indolence, not to say her wantonness, and had 
as little to do with her as possible. However, he was a young fellow, without 

a bit of red on him, and he should not have 
been o\'er-critical of his first mate in honey- 
moon. 

On the pine-clad slopes of Cannon 
Hill in Spokane, there is no more 
fann'liar sound in June than 
the wantun note of the female 
Cassin Finch, orcc-ch. oycc-ch. 
delivered as often as not 
with quivering wings, and 
unmistakably inviting the 
attentions of the male. 
Perhaps it is fair to call 
this a love note, but it is 
delivered with the simper- 
ing insistence of a spoiled 
child. 

The sight of a singing 
male in high plumage is 
memorable. He selects 
a position at the tip of a 
pine branch, or perhaps 
on a bunch of cones at 
the very top of the tree, and throws himself into the work. His 
color, crimson, not purple, is pure and clear upon the crown onlv ; 
elsewhere, upon nape, shoulders, and breast, it presents merelv a suffu- 
sion of red. A song heard near Chelan was much like that of a 
California Purple Finch in character, but less musical and more chatter- 
ing, with the exception of one strong note thrown in near the close. 
This note was very like the characteristic squeal of the Evening Grosljeak, 
giiup, or thkiiiip, out of all keeping with the remainder — unquestionablv 
borro\\'ed. 

The Cassin Finch is quite as successful as a mimic as his cousin from 




Taken in Spokane 



Photo by the Aiilhor. 



C-ASSIN'S FINXH. 



94 THE CALIFORNIA PURPLE FINCH. 



California. Besides his (iwn wild, exultant notes, he rapidly strings together 
those of other birds, and renders tlie whole with the spontaneity and some- 
thing of the accent of the Lark Sparrow. Indeed, when I first heard one 
sing on a crisp May morning on the hanks of the Coluniljia, 1 tlnjught I was 
hearing a rare burst of the latter Ijird, so nuich of its song had been appropri- 
ated bv the Finch. Besides this, strains of Western Vesper Sparrow, Moun- 
tain Bluebird, and Louisiana Tanager were recognized. 



CALIFORNIA PURPLE FINCH. 

No. 34. 

A. O. U. No. 517a. Carpodacus purpureus californicus Baird. 

Description. — Adult male: General body plumage rich crimson or rosy red, 
clearest on crown and upper tail-coverts, more or less mingled with dusky on 
back and scapulars, passing into white on crissum and under tail-coverts ; wings 
and tail brownish dusky with reddish edgings. Bill and feet brownish. Adult 
female: Above olive dusky in streaks, with edging or gloss of brighter olivaceous ; 
underparts whitish, everywhere, save on middle abdomen, crissum and under tail- 
coverts, streaked with olive dusky, finely on throat, broadly on breast and sides, 
shading into pattern of upperparts on sides of head, neck and chest. Immature 
male, and male in ordinary (?) plumage: exactly like female in coloration. Length 
about 5.75 (146); wing 3.07 (78); tail 2.28 (58): bill .45 (11.3); tarsus 
.70 ( 17-0). 

Recognition Marks. — ■■\\'arbler size" but sturdier, an unmistakable sparrow; 
rosy coloration of male distinctive (without crossed mandibles) but streaky 
pattern oftenest seen. Distinguishable from the Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) by 
larger size, more sedate ways and absence of sulphury wing- and tail-markings. 

Nesting. — Nest: well built, of fir twigs, heavily lined with green moss, 
horse-hair, string, etc.; placed in tree (deciduous or evergreen) at elevation of 
5-40 feet and usually at some distance from trunk ; measures outside 5 in. wide 
by 3 in. deep, inside 23^ in. wide by lY^ in. deep. Eggs: 4 or 5, light greenish 
blue, spotted and streaked with violaceous and black, chiefly about the larger end. 
Round ovate to elongate ovate ; varying in dimensions from .75 x .56 ( 19 x 14.2) 
to .91 X .59 (22.8 X 15). Season: first week in May and first week in June; two 
broods. 

General Range. — Pacific coast district from southern California north to 
British Columbia (including Vancouver Island). More or less resident thruout 
range but drifts (casually?) to southeastward in Arizona during migrations. 

Range in Washington. — West-side, chiefly at lower levels; especially partial 
to orchards and cultivated sections. Irregularly resident but numbers augmented 
in spring. 

Authorities. — Carpodacus californicus Baird, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. 
IX. 1858, 414. T. C&S. L-'. Rh. Kb. Ra. Kk. B. E. 
Specimens.— U. of W. Prov. P. B. BN. E. 



THE CALIFORNIA PURPLE FINCH. 95 

OF tlie streaked, streaky is this demure and inoffensive bird in tiie 
olivaceous plumage, in which we usually see him, and always see her. But 
the sharpness and magnitude of the dusky streaks above and below confer 
a measure of distinction, even when there is no trace of the adult crimsons, 
miscalled purple. This finch is a familiar object about the gardens, orchards, 
and parks in Western Washington. It moves about for the nnjst part silently, 
inspecting" birds and flowers, sampling fruit, or gleaning seeds from the 
ground in company with its own kind, or with the humbler and equally 
streaked Siskins. While not altogether dependent uixju human bounty, it 
probably owes more to man than does any other native species. 

Wright's Park, in Tacoma, appears to lead the state by two weeks in the 
early budding of its flowering plants, and here Purple Finches appear to the 
best advantage. In the luxuriant bushes of the red flowering currant (Ribes 
saiiguiiiciiin) one may see them feeding during the last week of March. The 
Finches pluck the flowers assiduously, and either eat the fleshy part at the 
base, the tender ovary, or else press out the nectar just above, or both. A 
flower is first plucked off whole and held in the bill, while the bird appears to 
smack its lips several times ; then the crimson corolla is allowed to drop upon 
the ground, which thus becomes carpeted with rejected beauty. Like many 
related species, the California Finch is rather unwary, so that one may study 
his behavior at close range. 

Because the Purple Finch is usually so unolrtrusive, we are startled at the 
first outburst of spring song. Nothing more spontaneous could be desired, 
and the mellow, musical yodelling of this bird is one of the choicest things 
allowed us on the West-side. The song is midway between a trill and a 
carol, and has a wild cjuality which makes it very attractive. The notes are 
so limpid and penetrating that one is sometimes deceived as to the distance 
of the singer, supposing him to be in a neighboring copse when, in truth, he 
occupies a distant fir-top. Cheedoorecdooree doorec doorcc dooree dooree 
douree drccetorcct may afford an idea of the rolling, rollicking character of 
the song, but is, of course, absurdly inadequate. 

A master singer among the Purple Finches once entertained us from 
the top of a fir tree a hundred feet high. He was in the dull plumage, that 
is, without red ; and altho he sang briskly at intervals we were not prepared 
for any unusual e.xhibition of vocal powers on his part. It was a long time, 
therefore, before we put the cry of a distant Steller Jay up' toi him. Our 
suspicions once aroused, however, we caught not only the Steller Jay cry, 
unmistakably, but also half a dozen others in swift and dainty succession, 
after the usual Purple Finch prelude. I clearly recognized notes of the 
Flicker, Steller Jay, Canary. American Crossbill, and Seattle Wren. These 
imitati\e eft'orts varied in correctness of execution, and came to us with the 



96 THE ENGLISH SPARROW. 

distance of the original singer plus that of the Finch, so' that the result was 
not a little confusing, tho very delightful when explained. 

During courtship^ this Finch will execute an aerial song-dance, consisting 
of sundry jerks and crazy antics, interspersed with a medley of ecstatic notes ; 
at the conclusion of wdiich he will make a suggestive di\e at his fiancee, who 
meanwhile has been poking fun at him. 

For some reason nests have been exceedingly hard to find. JNIanv birds 
are always pottering about with no apparent concern for nesting time, and 
Mr. Bowdes hazards that they do not mate until the third year. Apropos of 
this, one remarks the scarcity of highly plumaged males at all seasons. I 
have gone six months at a time, where Finches were not uncommon, without 
seeing a single red bird. In fact, I never found the latter common e.xcept in 
the vicinity of Tacoma. 

Nests are placed, preferably, near water, in evergreen or deciduous trees, 
and at heights varying from six to forty feet. They usually occur on a bough 
at some distance from the trunk of a supporting tree, seldom or never being- 
found in a crotch. Composed externally of fir twigs, they are lined copiously 
with green moss, horse-hair, and string, and contain four or fi\'e handsome 
blue-green eggs, spotted and dashed with violet and black. 

Two broods are probabl}- brought off in a season, the first about the 
20th of May and the second a month later. .'\ sitting female outdoes a 
Siskin in her devotion to duty, and not infrequently requires to be lifted 
from her eggs. The male trusts everything to his wife upon these occasions, 
but is on hand tO' do' his share of the work when it comes to feeding the babies. 



No. 35. 

ENGLISH SPARROW. 

IxTRonixEn. Passer domesticus (Linn.). 

Synonyms. — HorsE Si'akrow. Domestic Spakkow. Hoodlum. 

Description. — Adult male: Above ashy gray; middle of back and scapulars 
heavily streaked with black and bay ; tail dusky ; a chestnut patch behind eye 
spreading on shoulders ; lesser wing-coverts chestnut ; middle coverts bordered 
with white, forming a conspicuous white bar during flight ; remainder of wing 
dusky with bay edging ; below ashy gray or dirty white ; a black throat-patch 
continuous with lores and fore-breast ; bill and feet horn color. Adult female: 
Brownish rather than gray above ; bay edging lighter ; no chestnut, unmarked 
below. Length 5.50-6.25 (139.7-158.8): wing 3.00 (76.2); tail 2.20 (55.9); 
bill .50 (12.7). vSexes of about equal size. 

Recognition Marks. — "Sparrow size," black throat and breast of male; 
female obscure brownish and gray. 

Nesting. — Nest: a globular mass of grass, weeds and trash, heavily lined 
with feathers, placed in tree and wath entrance in side; or else heavily lined 



THE ENGLISH SPARROW. 97 

cavity anywhere. Holes in trees and electric lamps are alike favored. Eggs: 
4-7, whitish, heavily dotted and speckled with olive-brown or dull black. The 
markings often gather about the larger end ; sometimes they entirely obscure the 
ground color. Av. size, .86 x .62 (21.8 x 15.8). Season: Alarch-September; 
several broods. 

General Range. — "Nearly the whole of Europe, but re]jlaced in Italv by P. 
italicc, extending eastward to Persia and Central Asia, India, and Ceylon" 
(Sharpe). "Introduced and naturalized in America, Australia, New Zealand, 
etc." (Chapman). 

Range in Washington. — As yet chiefly confined to larger cities and railroad 
towns, but spreading locally in farming sections. 

Authorities. — Rathbun, Auk. A'ol. XIN. Apr. 1902, p. 140. Ra. Kk. B. E. 
Specimens. — B. C. 

WHAT a piece of mischief is the Sparrow ! how depraved in instinct ! 
in presence how unwelcome! in habit how unclean! in voice how repulsive! 
in combat how ninblike and despicable! in courtship how wanton and con- 
temptible! in increase how limitless and menacing! the pest of the farmer! 
the plague of the city ! the bane of the bird-world ! the despair of the 
philanthropist! the thrifty and insolent beneficiary of misguided sentiment! 
the lawdess and defiant object of impotent hostility too late aroused! Out 
upon thee, thou shapeless, senseless, heartless, misbegotten tyrant ! thou 
tedious and infinite alien ! thou myriad cuckoo, who dost by thy consuming 
presence bereave us daily of a million dearer children ! Out upon thee, and 
woe the day ! 

Without question the most deplorable event in the history of American 
ornithology was the introduction of the English Sparrow. The extinction of 
the Great Auk, the passing of the W^ild Pigeon and the Turkey. — sad as these 
are, they are trifles compared to the wholesale reduction of our smaller birds, 
which is due to the invasion of this wretched foreigner. To be sure he was 
invited to- come, liut the ofTense is all the more rank because it was partly 
human. His introduction was effected in part by people who' ought to have 
known better, and would, doubtless, if the science of ornithologv had reached 
its present status as long agO' as the early Fifties. The maintenance and 
prodigious increase oi the pest is still due in a measure to the imbecile 
sentimentality of people who build bird-houses and throw out crumbs for "the 
dear little birdies," and then care nothing wdiether honest birds or scalawags 
get them. Such people belong to the same class as those who drop kittens on 
their neighbors" door-steps because they wouldn't have the heart to kill them 
themselves, you know. 

The increase of this bird in the United States is, to a lover of birds, 



98 THE ENGLISH SPARROW. 



simply friglittul. Tlu-ir fecundity is amazing and their adaptability apparently 
limitless. Mr. Barrows, in a s]>ecial rcijort prepared under the direction of 
the Government, estimates that the increase of a single pair, if unhindered, 
would amount in ten years to 275,7 16.983,698 birds. 

As tO' its range, we note that the subjugation of the East has long been 
accomplished, and that the conrpiest i:if the West is succeeding rapidly. It 
is not possible tO' tell precisely when the tirst Sparrows arrived in Washington, 
but it is probable that they appeared in Spokane about 1895. Of its occur- 
rence in Seattle, Mr. Rathlnm says: "Prior to the spring of 1897 I had 
never seen this species in Seattle, but in June of that year I noted a pair. 
The following season I saw fourteen: in 1899 this number had increased to 
about seventy, associating in small flocks." 

The favorite means of dissemination has Iieen the box car, and especially 
the grain car. The Sparro-ws, being essentially grain and seed eaters, frequent 
the grain cars as they stand in the railroad vards, and are occasionally im- 
prisoned in them, hiipeful stnwaways and "gentlemen of fortune." On this 
account, also, the larger cities and railroad towns are first colonized, and at 
this time of writing (Jan., 1908) the birds are practically confined tO' them, 
Tacoma ha\ing an especial imtiirietv in this respect because of its immense 
grain-shipping interests. 

Difficult as it may seem, it is true that the English Sparrow adopts the 
policy of Uriah Keep upon first entering a town. With all the unctuous 
humility of a band of Mormon apostles, the newcomers talk softly, walk 
circumspectly, and either seek to escajie notice altogether, or else assiduously 
cultivate the good opinion of their destined dupes. Thus, I resided in the town 
of Blaine for two months (in 1904) without running across a single member 
of the pioneer band of nine English Sparrows, altho' I was assured on good 
authoritv that the birds had been there for at least two years previous. 

It requires no testinmnv to shmv that the presence of this liird is abso- 
lutelv undesirable. It is a scourge to the agriculturist, a plague to the 
architect, and the avowed and determined enemy of all other birds. Its nests 
are not onlv unsightly but unsanitar}-, and the maudlin racket of their owners 
unendurable. The bird is, in short, in the words of the late Dr. Coues, "a 
nuisance without a redeeming quality." Altho we assent to this most 
heartilv, we are obliged to confess on the part of our race to a certain amount 
of sneaking admiration for the Sparrow. .\nd why, forsooth? Because he 
fights! We are forced to admire, at times, his bull-dog courage and tenacity 
of puri>ose, as we do the cunning of the weasel and the nimbleness of the 
flea. He is \'ermin and must lie treated as such : l)ut, gi\'e the Devil his due, 
of course. \Miat are we going to do about it ? Wage unceasing warfare, 
as we do against rats. There will ]iossil)ly he rats as long as there are men, 



THE SNOWFLAKE. 99 



but a bubonic plague scare operates very effectually to reduce tlieir numbers. 
No doubt there will be English Sparrows in cities as long as there are brick- 
bats, but a clear recognition of their detestable qualities should lead every 
sensible person to deny them victuals and shelter. The House Sparrow is no 
longer e.xterminable, Ijut he may be. )iiiisf be kept within bounds. 



No. 36. 

SNOWFLAKE. 



A. O. U. No. 534. Plectrophenax nivalis 1 Linn.) 

Synonym. — Sxow BuxTixG. 

Description. — Adult male in summer: Pure white save for bill, feet, middle 
of back, scapulars, bastard wing, the end half of primaries and inner secondaries, 
and the middle tail-feathers, which are black. Female in summer: Similar, but 
upperparts streaked all over with black, and the black wings largely replaced 
by fuscous. Adults in winter: Entire upperparts overcast with browns — rusty 
or seal brown — clear on crown, gra)'ish and mottled with dusky centers of 
feathers on back, scapulars, etc. ; also rusty ear-patches, and a rusty collar, with 
faint rusty wash on sides. The black of wing and tail-feathers is less pure 
(fuscous in the female) and edged with white or tawny. Length 6.50-7.00 
(165.1-177.8) ; wing 4.12 (104.6) ; tail 2.54 (64.5) : bill .40 (10.2). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size ; conspicuously and uniquelv white, with 
blacks and Ijruwns above. 

Nesting. — Does not breed in Washington. "Nest: on the ground in the 
sphagnum and tussocks of Arctic regions, of a great quantit}^ of grass and moss, 
lined profusely with feathers. Eggs: 4-6, verj' variable in size and color, about 
.90 X .65 (22.9 X 16.5), white or whitish, speckled, veined, lilotched, and marbled 
with deep browns and neutral tints" (Coues.). 

General Range. — "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, Kansas and Oregon." 

Range in Washington. — East-side, of regular occurrence in open countrv ; 
casual west of the Cascades. 

Migrations. — Nov. 4. 1899 (Yakima County). March 17. 1896 (Okanogan 
County ) . 

Authorities. — |"Snow Bunting," Johnson, Rep. Gov. \V. T. 1884 (1885), 
22.] Dawson, Auk, NR". 1897. 178. "T. D'. D-\ B. E. 

Specimens.— (U. of W.) Prov. B. E. P. 

I WELL remenibier mv first meeting with this prince of storm waifs, 
the Snowflake. It was in Chelan County on a chillv dav in December. A 
distant-faring, feathered stranger had tempted me across a bleak pasture, 
when all at once a fluttering snowdrift, contrary to Nature's wont, rose from 



loo THE SNOWFLAKE. 



earth tmvard heaven. I hehl ni_\- Ijreath and hstened to the mild Ijaljel of 
tiit-iit-iit-tczcs. with which the Snow Buntings greeted nie. Tlie l)irds were 
loatli to leave the place, and hovered indecisively while the l)ird-man devoured 
them \\-ith his eyes. As they moved off slowly, each hird seemed alternately 
to fall and struggle upward thru an arc of five or six feet, indepenilently of 
his fellows, so that the flock as a whole produced quite the effect of a trouhled 
snowstorm. 

Snowflakes flock indifferently in winter and may occur in nunihers up 
to several hundred. At other times a single, thrilling, vibrant call-note, tczv 
or ie-cw, may be heard during the falling of the real flakes, while the 
wandering mystery passes overhead, unseen. Stray birds not infrecpiently 
mingle with flocking Horned Larks; while Snowflakes and Lapland Long- 
spurs are fast friends in the regions where the latter are commtjn. 

Probal;)ly these birds are of regular tho sparing occurrence in the Big 
Bend and Palouse countries, but they do not often reach the southern border 
of the State; and their appearance on Puget Sound, as upon the prairies of 
Pierce County, is quite unusual. While with us they move aimlessly from 
field tO' field in open situations, or glean the weed-seed, which forms their 
almost exclusive diet. Li time of storm, or when emboldened by the con- 
tinuance of winter, they may make their appearance in the barnyard, or about 
the outl)uildings, where their sprightly notes and innocent airs are sure to 
make them welcome. 

It is difficult tO' conceive how these birds may withstand the frightful 
temperatures tO' which they are subjected in a winter upon the Saskatchewan 
plains, and yet they endure this by preference to the eft'eminizing influences 
which are believed to prevail south O'f "Forty-nine," and especially west of 
the Rockies. Close-knit feathers, the warmest covering known, fortified by 
layers of fat, render them quite impervious tO' cold; and as for the raging 
blizzard, the birds have only to sit quietly under the snow and wait till the 
blast has blown itself out. 

The sun alone prevails, as in the case of the man with the cloak, and 
at the first hint of the sun's return tO' power, these ice-children hasten back 
to find their cliill)' cradles. A few nest upon the Aleutian Islands, and along 
the shores of northern Alaska ; but more of them resort tO' those ice-wrapped 
islands of the far North, which are mere names tO' the geographer and dismal 
memories to a few hardv whalers. Peary's men found them, breeding in 
Melville Land ; and if there is a North Pole, be assured that some Snowflake 
is nestling contentedly at the base of it. 



THE ALASKAN LONGSPUR. loi 



No. 37. 

ALASKAN LONGSPUR. 

A. O. U. 536a. Calcarius lapponicus alascensis Ridgw. 

Description. — Adult uialc in siiiiiincr: Head, throat, and fore-breast black; 
a bufiy line behind eye and sometimes over eye; a broad nuchal patch, or collar, 
of chestnut-rufous; remaining upperparts light grayish brown, streaked with 
black and with some whitish edging; below white; heavily streaked with black 
on sides and flanks ; tail fuscous with oblique white patches on the outer rectrices ; 
feet and legs black ; bill yellow with black tip. Adult male in winter: Lighter 
above ; the black of head and chestnut of cervical collar partially overlaid with 
buffy or whitish edging; the black of throat and breast more or less obscured by 
whitish edging. Adult female in snnuner: Similar to male in summer, but no 
continuous black or chestnut anywhere ; the black of head mostly confined to 
centers of feathers, — these edged with bufify ; the chestnut of cervical collar only 
faintly indicated as edging of feathers with sharply outlined dusky centers ; black 
of throat and chest pretty thoroly obscured by grayish edgmg, but the general 
pattern retained ; sides and flanks with a few sharp dusky streaks. Adult female 
in zvinter: [Description of October specimen taken in Seattle] Above buffy 
grayish brown streaked (centrally upon feathers) with black, wing coverts and 
tertials with rusty areas between the black and the buffy, and tipped with white ; 
underparts warm butty brownish, lightening on lower breast, abdomen, and under 
tail-coverts ( where immaculate ) , lightly streaked with black on throat, chest, and 
sides, sharply on sides and flanks. Length of adult males about 6.50: wing 
3.77 (95.8) ; tail 2.50 (63.3) ; bill .46 (11.7) ; tarsus .86 (21.8). Female smnller. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size ; terrestrial habits ; black head and 
breast of male. The bird may be distinguished from the Horned Lark, with 
which it sometimes associates, by the greater extent of its black areas, and by 
the chirruping or rattling cry which it makes when rising from the ground. 

Nesting. — Does not breed in Washington. N^est: in grass tussock on ground, 
flimsy or bulky, of grasses and moss, frequently water-soaked, and lined carefully 
with fine coiled grass, and occasionally feathers. Eggs: 4-6, light clay-color with 
a pale greenish tinge, variously marked, — speckled, spotted, scrawled, blotched, or 
entirely overlaid with light brown or chocolate brown. Av. size .80 x .62 {20.3X 
15.7). Season: first week in June; one brood. 

General Range. — "The whole of Alaska, including (and breeding on) the 
Pribilof and Aleutian Islands, Unalaska, and the Shumagins ; east to Fort Simp- 
son, south in winter thru more western parts of North America to Nevada 
(Carson City), eastern Oregon, Colorado, western Kansas, etc." (Ridgway). 

Range in Washington. — Presumably of more or less regular occurrence in 
winter on the East-side. Casual west of the Cascades. 

Authorities. — | "Lapland Longspur," Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 
(1885) 22.] Dawson, Auk, Vol. XX\\ Oct. 1908, p. 483. 

BY all the rules this bird should be abundant in winter in the stubble 
fields of the Palouse country, if not upon the prairies of Pierce. Thurston, and 



I02 THE WESTERN LARK SPARROW. 

Chehalis Cnunties. Bendire reported them frdiii Camp Iiarne\' in eastern 
Oregon, and Brooks says they are common on Snmas Prairie, B. C. : but we 
iiave only one authentic record for this State, that of a straggler taken near 
Seattle in October, 1907. These Longspurs abound in Alaska during the nest- 
ing season, l)ut it would appear that the mountain barriers habitually deflect 
their autumnal flight to the eastward, and that the few which reach us straggle 
down the coast. 

Tlmse who have seen Iowa prairies give up these birds by scores and 
hundreds e\'erv few rods, have been able to form some conception of their vast 
numbers, but it remained for the storm of March 13-14, 1904, to reveal the 
real order of magnitude of their abundance. An observer detailed by the 
Minnesota State Natural History Survey estimates that a million and a half 
of these "Lapland" Longspurs perished in and about the village of Worthing- 
ton alone; and he found that this destruction, tlm imt elsewhere so intense, 
extended over an area of fifteen hundred square miles. 

In spite of such buffetings of fortune, those birds which do reach ,\laska 
bring a mighty cheer with them to the solitudes. As Nelson says: "When 
they arrive early in iVIay the ground it still largely covered with snow with the 
exception of grassy spots along southern exposures and the more favoral^ly 
situated portions of the tundra, and here may be found these birds in all the 
beauty of their elegant summer dress. The males, as if conscious of their 
handsome plumage, choose the tops of the only breaks in the monotonous level, 
which are small rounded knolls and tussocks. The male utters its song as it 
flies upward from one of these knolls and when it reaches the heiglit of ten or 
fifteen yards, it extends the points of its wings upwards, forming a large 
V-shaped figure, and floats gently to the ground, uttering, as it slowly sinks, 
its liquid tones, which fall in tinkling succession upon the ear, and are perhaps 
the sweetest notes that one hears <luring the entire spring-time in these regions. 
It is an exquisite jingling melody, having much less power than that of the 
Bobolink, but with the same general character, and. tho shorter, it has even 
more melody than the song of that well known bird." 



No. 38. 

WESTERN LARK SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 552a. Chondestes grammaciis strigatiis (Swains.). 

Synonyms. — Ouail-hkad. Wustkkn Lark Finch. 

Description. — Adult: Head variegated, black, white, and chestnut; lateral 
head-stripes black in front, chestnut behind; auriculars chestnut, hounded by rictal 
and post-orl)ital black stripes; narrow loral, and broader submalar black stripes; 
malar, superciliary, and median stripes white, the two latter becoininc;' Inifify 



THE WESTERN LARK SPARROW. 



103 



hohiiul : upper parts huffish gray hrt)\vn, clearest on sides of neck, streaked by 
blackish brown centers of feathers on middle back and scapulars, persisting as 
edging on the fuscous wings and tail : tail-feathers, except middle pair, broadly 
tipped with white ; below white, purest on throat and belly, ^vashed with grayish 
buff on sides and crissum, also obscurely across fore-breast, in which is situated 
a central black spot. Length 6.25 (158.8); wing 3.35 (85); tail 2.68 (68); 
bill .47 ( 12) ; tarsus .80 (20.3). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; head variegated black, white, and chest- 
fan-sha]>ed tail brnadl}- tipiK'd with white and conspicuous in flight 



nut ; 



( thus 





WESTERN L.\RK SP.\RRO\V. 



easily distinguished from the Western Vesper Sparrow with square tail and lateral 
white feathers). 

Nesting. — Nest: of grasses, lined with finer grass, rootlets and occasionally 
horse-hair, on the ground or, rarely, in low bushes or trees. Eggs: 5, white, 
pinkish or bluish white, spotted and scrawled in zigzags and scrolls with dark 



I04 



THE WESTERN LARK SPARROW. 



browns or purplish blacks, chiefly at the larger end ; notably rounded in shape. 
Av. size .82 X .05 ( 20.8 .X 16.5). Season: May 15-June 5 ; one brood, rarely two. 
General Range. — Western United States and plateau of Mexico ; north to 
middle British Columbia, Manitoba, etc.; east to eastern border of Great Plains; 
west to Pacific Coast, including peninsula of lower California; south in winter to 
Guatemala. 




Taken in 
Douglas County 



A SA^,l:.|;I•^ll .\ 1 



Range in Washington. — Summer resident east of Cascades only, in Upper 
Sonoran and Arid Transition zones. 

Migrations. — Wallula, May 6, 1907; Yakima Co., May i, 1906; ibid, May 
3, 1900 ; Chelan, May 19, 1896. 

Authorities. — ["Western lark finch," Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T., 1884 
(1885), 22.] Belding, Land Birds Pacific District (1890), p. 148 (Walla Walla, 
J. W. Williams, 1885). (T.) (CcSfS.) D'. D^ Ss'. Ss^ J. 

Specimens.— (U. of W.) C. P. 



AS in the case of the Sandwicli and Savanna Sparrows, the curiously 
striped coloration of this bird's head is e\'idently intended to facilitate conceal- 
ment. The ]>ird peering out of a weed clumj) is almost invisilile. .Vnd }-et, as 
I was once passing along a sage-clad hillside in Chelrui cunnty with an njjserv- 



THE WESTERN LARK SPARROW. 



105 



ing young' rancher, ni}' companion lialted with a ci'_\-. He liad caught the 
gleam of a Lark Sparrow's eye as she sat brooding under a perfect mop of 
dead broom-sage. The camera was brought intc.i requisition, and tlie lens 
pointed downward. The camera-cloth bellied and tlapi)ed in the breeze, vellow 
tripod legs waved belligerently, and altogether there was much noise of 
photographic cijm- 



merce, but the 
mother 
eg-ffs. The 



little 



clung to her 




stupid 
glass eye of the ma- 
chine, spite of all 
coaxing, saw noth- 
ing but twigs, and 
we were obliged to 
forego a picture of 
the sitting bird. To 
get the accompany- 
ing picture of eggs, 
I was obliged to 
hack awav the pro- 
tecting brush. ha\- 
ing first slipped in a 
handkerchief to pro- 
tect the nest and 
contents f r o m 
showering debris. 

The desert harbors 
many choice spirits, 
but none (save the 
incomparable Sage 
Thrasher) more joy- 
ous or more talented 
than the Lark Spar- 
row. Whether it 
is running nimlily 
along the ground or leaping into the air to catch a risen grasshopper, one 
feels instinctively that here is a dainty breed. The bird loves to trip ahead 
coquettishly along a dusty road, only to yield place at last to your insistent 
steed with an air of gentle reproach. As it flits away you catch a glimpse 
of the rounded tail, held half open, with its terminal rim of white, and you 
know you have met the aristocrat of the sage. 

Lark Sparrows are somewhat irregular in distribution, but their range 



Taken near Chelan. 



Photo by the Anther. 



GROUND NEST OF WESTERN L.\RK SPARROW. 



io6 THE WESTERN VESPER SPARROW. 



currespijnds ruiighly with the nurtliern extension of tlie Upper Sunoran zone, 
witli overflow into the adjacent Arid Transitinn. .Vltho ].)rairie liirds, thev 
are fond of scattered trees, fences, telegraph poles, or anything which will 
afford sufficient elevation for the sweet sacrament of song. 

This bird, more frequently than others, is found singing in the middle of 
the very hottest days in summer, and at such times his tremulous notes come 
to the ear like the gurgling of sweet waters. But Ridgway's description has 
not been surpassed -.^ "This song is composed of a series of chan.ts, each 
syllable rich, loud, and clear, interspersed with emotional trills. At the 
beginning the song reminds one somewhat of that of the Indigo- Bird ( Pas- 
seriiia cvaiica), but the notes are louder and more metallic, and their deli\'ery 
more vigorous. Tho seemingly hurried, it is one continued gush of sprightly 
music; now gay, now melodious, and then tender beyond description, — the 
very expression of emotion. At intervals the singer falters, as if exhausted by 
exertion, and his voice becomes scarcely audible; but suddenlv reviving in his 
jov, it is resumed in all its vigor, until he appears to be reallv overcome by 
the effort." 

These gentle birds are evidently profiting somewhat l>y the human occu- 
pation of the soil, and adapt themselves readily to changed conditions. They 
are reported as breeding in the valley of the Willamette in Oregon, but we 
have no records of their occurrence in Washington west of the Cascades. 



No. 39. 

WESTERN VESPER SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 540a. Pooecetes gramineus confinis Baird. 

Synonyms. — Western Grass Finch. Bay-winged Bunting. 

Description. — ^Idnlts: General tone of upperparts slaty or grayish brown 
on the edges of the feathers, modified by the dusky centers, and warmed by deli- 
cate traces of rufous, bend of wing bay, concealing dusky centers ; wings and 
tail fuscous with pale tawny or whitish edgings, — outer tail-feathers principally 
or entirely white, the next two pairs white, or not, in varying amount ; below 
sordid white, sharply streaked on breast, flanks, and sides with dusky brown ; 
the chin and throat with small arrow marks of the same color and bounded by 
chains of streaks; auriculars clear hair-brown, with buft'y or lighter center; 
usually a buffy sulTusion on streaked area of breast and sides. Length of adult 
male: 5.75-6.25 ( 146.1-158.8) ; wing 3.29 (83.6) ; tail 2.59 (65.8) ; bill .44 (11.2) ; 
tarsus .85 (21.6). Female a little smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size ; general streaked appearance ; white 
lateral tail-feathers conspicuous in flight ; frequents fields and the open sage. 

Nesting. — Nest: on ground, usually in depression, neatly lined with grasses, 



"Birds of Illinois," Vol. I., p. 263. 



THE WESTERN VESPER SPARROW. 107 

rootlets, and horse-hair. Eggs: 4 or 5, pinkish-, grayish-, or bkiish-white, speckled, 
spotted and occasionally scrawled with reddish-brown. Av. size, .82 x .60 
(20.8 X 15.2). Season: first week in May, second week in June; two broods. 

General Range. — Western United States (except Pacific coast district) and 
Canada north to Saskatchewan east to Manitoba, the Dakotas (midway), western 
Nebraska, etc.; breeding from the highlands of Arizona and New Mexico north- 
ward; in winter from southern California east to Texas and south to southern 
]\Iexico. 

Range in Washington. — East-side, sparingly distributed in all open situa- 
tions. 

Migrations. — Slaving: Yakima Co. March 15, 1900; Chelan Co. March 31, 
1S96. 

Authorities. — Dawson, Auk, XIV. April 1897, p. 178. Sr. D-. Ss'. Ss^ J. 

Specimens. — I'. Prov. C. 

A SOBER garb cannot conceal the quality of the wearer, even the 
Quaker gray be made to cover alike saint and sinner. Plainness of dress, 
therefore, is a fault to be readily forgiven, even in a bird, if it be accompanied 
by a voice of sweet sincerity and a manner of self-forgetfulness. In a family 
where a modest appearance is no reproach, but a warrant tO' health and long 
life, the Vesper Sparrow is pre-eminent for modesty. Yon are not aware of 
his presence until he disengages himself from the engulfing grays and browns 
of the stalk-strewn ground or dusty roadside, and mounts a fence-post to 
rhyme the coming or the parting day. 

The arri\-al of Vesper Sparrow, late in March, may mark the supreme 
effort of that [larticular warm wave, but vou are quite content to await the 
further travail of the season while you get acquainted with this amiable new- 
comer. Under the compulsion of the sun the bleary fields ha\'e lieen trying to 
muster a decent green to hide tlie ugliness of winter's devastation. But where- 
fore? The air is lnnely and the sage untenanted. The Meadowlarks, tO' be 
sure. ha\'e been n imping about for several weeks and getting bolder every 
da\' ; but the\' are roisterous fellows, drunk with air and mad with sunshine. 
The winter-sharpened ears wait hungrily for the poet of cinnmon day. The 
morning he comes a low sweet murmur of praise is heard on every side. You 
know it will ascend unceasingly thenceforth, and spring is different. 

Vesper Sparrow is the typical ground bird. He eats, runs, sleeps, and 
rears his family upon the ground; but tO' sing — ah, that is different! — nothing 
less than the tip of the highest sage-bush will do for that ; a telegraph pole or 
wire is better ; and a lone tree in a pasture is not to be despised for this one 
purpose. The males gather in spring to engage in decorcais concerts of 
ri\alry. The song consists of a \'arietv of sitnple, pleasing notes, each utterei) 
two or three times, and all strung together to the number of four or five. 
The characteristic introduction is a mellow whistled hc-ho, a little softer in tone 



io8 



THE WESTERN VESPER SPARROW. 



tlian the succeeding notes. The song of the western Jjird has noticeal)ly greater 
variety tlian that of the eastern. Not only is it less stereot\-ped in the matter of 
pitch and duration, but in quality and cadence it soinetimes shows surprising 
differences. One heard in Chelan County would have passed for Brewer's 
on a frolic, except for the preliminary "Iwc-lio's" : Hccoo hccoo Iiccoo 

zvii::.':iwu::;::m'ii::ci n'ccchcc wcccncc. And mdeed it would 
not be surprising if he had learned from Spi::clla brcivcri. who is a constant 
neighbor and a safe guide in matters of sage lore. The scolding note, a 
thrasher-lil<e kissing sound, tsook, will sometimes interrupt a song if the 
strange listener gets too close. Early morning and late evening are the 
regular song periods; but the conscientious and indefatigable singer is more 
apt than most to interrupt the noontide stillness also. 

Since this species is a bird of open country and uplands, it cares little for 
the \'icinitv of w^ater ; but it loves the dust of country roads as dearly as an old 
hen, and the daily dust-bath is a familiar sight to every traveler. While 
seeking its food of weed-seeds and insects, it runs busily about upon the 
ground, skulking and running oftener than llitting for safety. Altho not 

especially timid it 
seems tO' take a sort 
O'f professional pride 
in being able to slip 
about among the 
weed stems unseen. 
It is, of course, at 
nesting time that the 
sneak-ability of the 
Ijird is most severely 
tested. The nest, a 
s i m p 1 e affair of 
coiled grasses, is 
usually s u n k, or 
cliambered in the 
ground, so' that its 
brim comes flush 
with the surface. 
For the rest, the 
brooding bird seldom seeks any other protection than that of "luck," and her 
own ability to elude observation when obliged to quit the nest. Her behavior 
at this time depends largely upon the amount of disturbance to which she is 
subjected. At first approach of danger she is inclined to stick to her post till 
the last possible moment, and then she falls lame as she flutters ofY. But if 
often frightened, she shrewdly learns to rise at a considerable distance. 




Taken in Doui^lus L\'inily. ri-.c^t.' by I lu- .1 

THE ENEMY. 

THE RATTLESNAKE IS THE SCOURGE OF ALL GROUND-NESTING BIRDS. 



THE OREGON VESPER SPARROW. 109 

Two and snmetinies three broods are raised in a season, the first in late 
April, the second in late June or early July. Pastures and fallow grounds are 
favorite spots for home building', but I have frequently come upon the nests 
in the open sage, and here oftenest upon hillsides or tops of low ridges. 

Altho not averse to the wilderness, there is reason to believe that this 
bird profits by the aih'cnt of civilization, and that its numfiers are slowly 
increasing. 



No. 40. 

OREGON VESPER SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 540 b. Pooecetes gramineus affinis Miller. 

Synonyms. — Pacific Vesper Sparrow. Mili^Er's Grass Finch. 

Description. — Similar to P. g. confinis but smaller and coloration darker, 
browner above, more distinctly buffy below. Length of adult male about 5.75 
(146); wing 3.04 (77.2): tail 2.28 (57.9); bill .43 (10.9): tarsus .81 (20.6). 
Female a little smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — .\s in preceding, less liable to confusion because of 
absence of llrcwer Sparrow, Western Lark Sparrow, etc., from range. 

Nesting. — Nest: on ploughed ground or under shelter of fern-stalk, fallen 
branch, or the like; of grasses lined with hair; measures externally 3 inches across 
by 2 in depth, inside 2'4 across by i^i in depth. Eggs: 3 or 4, size and color 
as in preceding. Season: May; one brood, rarely two. 

General Range. — Pacific coast district from northern California north to 
British Columbia (including Vancouver Island) ; south in winter thru southern 
California to Cape St. Lucas. 

Range in Washington. — Of local occurrence on prairies and in cultivated 
valleys west of the Cascades — not common. 

Migrations. — Spring: Tacoma April 9, 1906; April 13, 1907. 

Authorities. — Pooecetes gratniiiens Ba[i]rd, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. 
IX. 1838, p. 447 (part). (T). C&S. Ra. B. 

Specimens.— (U. of W.) P. Prov. B. E. 

THE api)earance of a Vesper Sparrow where trees are the rule is some- 
thing of an anomaly. Nevertheless, this plains-loving bird seems to do very 
well in the ]irairie region south of Tacoma : and it has been here at least long 
enough to begin to assume the darker garb which characterizes old residents 
of the Sound region. 

The bird is becoming fairly common wherever conditions in the large 
are suitable for it. I found it in numbers at Dungeness in the spring of 1906; 
and the agricultural lands of the Skagit are being accepted by this gentle 
songster as the* dulv made and provided. 

Mr. Bowles finds that eggs mav not be looked for in the vicinity of 



no THE SANDWICH SPARROW. 

Taconia before the first week in May, and they are not certainly found before 
the middle of that nmntli. Open prairie is nmst fre(|uenth- selected for a 
site, and its clijse-cropped mossy surface often requires considerable ingenuity 
of concealment on the bird's part. Ploughed ground, where undisturbed, is 
eagerly utilized. At other times a shallow cupi is scraped at the base of a 
small fern, or the protection of a fallen limb is sought. 

The eggs, from three to five in number, are perhaps the most handsomely, 
certainly the most quaintly marked of any in the sparrow family. The ground 
color is grayish white ; and this, in addition to sundry frecklings and cloudings 
of lavender, is spotted, blotched, and scrawled, with old chestnut. 

The female sits closely and sometimes will not leave the nest until 
removed. She seldom flies at that, Init steps of^' and trips along the ground 
for some distance. Then she walks about uneasily or pretends to feed, 
venturing little expression of concern. Curioush', her liege lord never appears, 
either, in defense ni his home, but after the young are hatched he does his 
fair share in feeding them. 



No. 41. 

SANDWICH SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 54J. Passerculiis sandwichensis (rimclin). 

Synonym. — Larger S.w.\xx.\ Sparrow. 

Description. — .-Adults: General tone of ui)per plumage grayish brown — the 
feathers blackish centrally with much edging of grayish-brown (sometimes 
bay), flaxen and whitish; a mesial crown-.stripe dull bufl'y, or tinged ante- 
riorly with yellowish ; lateral stripes with grayish brown edging reduced ; 
a broad superciliary stripe yellow, clearest over lore, paling posteriorly ; cheeks 
buffy with some mingling and outcropping of dusky; underparts whitish, 
clearest on throat, washed with buffy on sides, heavily and sharply streaked 
on sides of throat, breast, sides, flanks and thighs with dusky ; streaks 
nearly confluent on sides of throat, thus defining submalar area of whitish ; 
streaks darkest and wedge-shaped on breast, more dift'used and edged with 
bufl^y posteriorly: under tail-coverts usually but not alzcays with concealed 
wedge-shaped streaks of dusky; bill dusky or dull horn-color above, lighter 
below; feet palest; iris dark brown. Fall specimens are brighter; the yellow, 
no longer prominent in superciliary stripe, is dift'used over plumage of entire 
head and, occasionally, down sides; the bend of the wing is pale yellow (or not) ; 
the sides are more strongly suffused with buffer which usually extends across 
breast. Length about 5.75 (146) ; wing 2.99 (76) : tail 2.00 (51 ) : bill .47 ( 12) ; 
tarsus .88 (22.5). 

Recognition Marks. — ^^"arbler size 1 !:)ut much more robust in ajipearance 
than a Warbler) ; general streaky appearance; the striation of the head, viewed 
from before, radiates in twelve alternating areas of black and white (or yellow) : 
larger and lighter than the (rare) Savanna Sparrow (P. s. savanna): larger. 



THE SAVANNA SPARROW. iii 

darker and browner than the common \\'estern- Savanna Sparrow (P. s. alaii- 
diinis I. 

Nesting. — Xot yet reported breeding in ^\'ashington. Nest and eggs as in 
P. s. alaudiiins. 

General Range. — "Unalaska Island ( also Shnmagin islands and lower por- 
tion of Alaska jieninsula?) in summer; in winter, eastward and southward along 
the coast to British Columbia, more rarely to Northern California" (Ridgway). 
Also breeds extensively in western British Columbia and on Vancouver Island 
(Auct. Fannin, Kermode, Dawson). 

Range in Washington. — Spring and fall migrant on both sides of the 
Cascades (sparingly on East-side) ; (presumably ) resident in winter west of the 
range; possibly summer resident in northwestern portion of State. 

Migrations. — Spring: .A.pril (^^'est-side) ; South Park April 24. 25, 29, 
1894; May (East-side); Yakima Co. May 8, 10, 1894; Pall: September. 

Authorities. — Passerculiis sandzcichensis Baird, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. 
Surv. IX. 1858, p. 445. C&S. Rh. Kb. 

Specimens. — U. of W. Prov. C. 

THE interrelations and distributions of the Passerciilus saiidwiehciisis 
group are not at all clear as yet, Init the migrant birds of spring and midrlle 
fall are usually of this form, and hail from or are bound for the coast of 
British Columbia and Alaska. ~At Blaine I have found them skulking alsout 
the fish-trap timbers of Semiahmoo spit, during the last week in Septemlier ; 
or hiding in the rank grass wliich lines the little waterways draining into 
Campbell Creek. At such times thev keep cover until one is almost upon 
them, and then break out with a frightened and protesting tss. onlv to seek 
shelter again a dozen feet away. 



No. 42. 

SAVANNA SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 542 a. Passerculiis sandwichensis savanna (Wilson). 

Synonyms. — S.w.\xn.-\ii Sp.\Rrow. ^Me.adow Sp.\rro\v. Ground Sp.arrow. 

Description. — Adult: Similar to P. sandii'icliciisis but decidedly smaller and 
darker (usually browner as well), wdth bill both relatively and absolutelv smaller, 
and with less or less conspicuous yellow in superciliarj^ stripe. Length about 5.60 
(142.2) ; wing 2.68 (68) ; tail 1.90 (48.2) ; bill .41 (10.4) ; tarsus .82 (20.8). 

Recognition Marks. — ^^'arbler size: 12-radiant pattern of head; general 
streakiness of upperparts ; sharply streaked on breast and sides ; darker. 

Nesting.^FIas not been discovered breeding in \\'ashington Init probably 
docs so. Xest and Eggs as next. 



112 THE WESTERN S.W WXA SPARROW. 



General Range. — Eastern North America breeding from the northern 
United States to Labrador and the Hudson Bay country; casual( ?) in the 
Western United States. 

Range in Washington. — Im])crfectly made out : many birds resident on 
West-side behoved to he of this form. 

Authorities. — Bowles and Dawson, .\uk, \'oL XXV. Oct. igo8, p. 483. 

Specimens. — Bowles, Tacoma, April 28, 1907 (4). 

SOME specimens we get on Puget Sound are no larger than t\-pical 
ll'cstciii Savanna, but are more strongly and brightiv colored — handsome 
enough to be saiidc^'iclicusis proper. Are these rrsaturated forms the bleached 
alaiidiinis, so long resident in the wet country as to be now reassuming 
the discarded tints of old? Are they, rather, intergrades between P. s. sand- 
■zuicliensis and P. s. alaudiuns. theoretically resident on the lower Sound and 
in B. C. ? Or are they casual overflows of true savanna, ignorant of our 
western metes and bounds? I do not know. Tweedledum or tweedledee? 
Here is a fine problem for the man with a gun, to whom a new subspecies 
is more than the lives of a thousand innocents. But I disclaim all responsi- 
bility in the matter. 



No. 43. 

WESTERN SAVANNA SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 542b. Passerciilus sandwichensis alaiidinus (Bonap.). 

Sjnonym. — Gr.\y S-wannah Sparrow. 

Description. — Similar to P. s. savanna but decidedly paler and grayer; less 
bay or none in edging of feathers of upperparts ; yellow of superciliary stripe 
usually paler, sometimes nearly white ; bill longer and relatively weaker. Other 
dimensions about as in P. s. savanna. 

Recognition Marks. — As in preceding — paler. 

Nesting. — Nest: in grassy meadow, of dried grasses settled deeply into dead 
grass or, rarely, into ground. Eggs: 4 or 5, grayish white to light bluish green, 
profusely dotted or spotted and blotched with varying shades of brown and 
slate, sometimes so heavily as to conceal the ground color. Av. size, .75 x .55 
(19X 13.97). Season: third week in ^lay ; one brood. 

General Range. — Western North America from the eastern border of the 
Great Plains breeding from the plateau of Mexico to northwestern Alaska; in 
winter south to Lower California and Guatemala. 

Range in Washington. — Both sides of the Cascades in low-lying meadows. 
Perhaps sparingly resident in winter on West-side. 



THE WESTERN SAVANNA SPARROW. 



113 



Migrations. — S[>yiiiij: Abuut April ist; Bremerton March 23, 1906. 
Authorities. — Passcrculus alaiidinus Boiiap. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. 
IX. 1858, 447. (T). C&S. L'. Rh. Ra. Kk. J. B. E. 
Specimens. — U. of W. P'. Prov. B. 



NOT every bird can be a Ijeauty any more than every soldier can be a 
colonel ; and when we consider that ten times as manv shot-gnns are in 
commission in time of peace as rifles m time of war, we cannot blame a bird 
for rejoicing in the virtne of hnmility, envying neither the epaulets of 
General Blackbird nor even the pale chevrons of Sergeant Siskin. A Savanna 

Sparrow, especially the 
washed-otit western va- 
riety, is a mere de- 
tached bit of brown 
earth done up in dried 
grasses ; a feathered 
commonplace w h i c h 
the landscape will swal- 
lo'W up the instant you 
take eyes off it. To be 
sure, if you can get it 
quite alone and z'cr\< 
near, you see enough to 
admire in the twelve- 
rafliating pattern of the 
head, and you may 
even perceive a wan 
tint of yellow in the 
superciliary region ; but 
let the birdling drop 
upon the ground and 
sit motionless amidst 

WESTERN SAVANNA SPARROW. ,, 

the grass, or ni a criss- 
cross litter of weed-stalks, and sooner far will you catch the gleam of the 
needle in the haystack. 

Sa\-annas are birds of the meadows, whether fresh or salt, and wherever 
well-watered grasses and weeds abound, there they may be looked for. Dur- 
ing migration, indeed, thev mav appear in most unexpected places. I saw 
one last year, at Bremerton, which haunted the vicinity of a tiny cemented 
pond in the center of a well-kept lawn. This bird hopped about coyly, peer- 
ing behind blades of grass, and affecting a dainty fright at the sight of water, 
very much as a Chipping Sparrow might have done. In their nesting 




114 THE DESERT SPARROW. 



habits these little fellows a|>[)r(jach more closely to colimizint;- than anv other 
members of the Sparrow family. Large tracts of land, apparently suitable, 
are left untenanted; while, in a near-by field <:)f a few acres, half a dozen 
pairs may be found nesting'. More recently the birds haye accepted the 
shelter of irrigated tracts upon the East-side, and their numliers would seem 
almost certainly to ])e upon the increase. 

To' ascertain the presence of these birds, the ear-test is best, wlien once 
the song is mastered. The latter consists of a series of lisping and buzzing 
notes, fine only in the sense of being small, and quite unmusical, tsiit, tsut, 
tsii zi'czccztsulmt. The sound instantly recalls the eastern Grasshopper Spar- 
row ( Cofiiniiciihis Siiz'amuiiimi f^asscrimis) . who is an own cousin: Ijut the 
preliminary and closing flourishes are a good deal longer than those of the 
related species, and the buzzing strain shorter. 

Li>\e-making goes liy e-xample as well as by season, so that when the 
choral feyer is on tliey are all at it. The males will sing from the ground 
rather than keep silence, altho thev prefer a weed-top, a fence post, or eyen a 
conxenient tree. The female listens patiently near by, or if she tries to slip 
away for a bit of food, the jealous loyer recalls her to duty by an ardent chase. 

The nest is settled snugly in the dead grasses of last year's ungathered 
crop, and is thus both concealed from abox'e and upborne from below, and 
is itself carefully done in line dead grasses. 

The sitting bird does not often permit a close approach, but rises from 
the nest at not less than thirty feet. The precise spot is, therefore, very 
difiicult to locate. If discovered the laird will potter about with fine afTection 
of listlessness, and seems to consider that she has done her full duty in not 
showing the eggs. 



No. 44. 

DESERT SPARROW. 

A. n. IT. No. 573 a. Amphispiza bilineata deserticola Ridgw. 

Description. — Adults: Above lirownish gray, Ijmwncr on middle of back 
and on wings; a conspicuous white su])erciliary stri]3e bounded narrowly by black 
above and separated from white malar stripe (not reaching base of bill) by gray 
on sides of head ; lores, anterior portion of malar region, chin, throat and chest 
centrally black, the last named with conve.x posterior outline ; remaining under- 
parts white tinged with grayish on sides and flanks ; tail blackish, the outer 
web of outermost rectrix cliiefly white, the inner web with white spot on tip, 
second rectrix (sometimes third or even fourth ) tipped with white on inner web. 
Bill dusky; feet and legs brownish black. Young birds like adults but without 
black ]5attern of head markings ; chin and throat white or flecked with grayish ; 
breast streaked with same and back faintlv streaked with dusky; some bufTy 



THE DESERT SPARROW. 115 



edging on wing. Length of adults about 5.35 ( I35-9J ; wing 2.55 (65); tail 
2.48 (63) : bill .40 ( 10) ; tarsus .75 (19). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size ; grayish coloration ; strong white super- 
ciliary ; black thr(.iat distinctive. 

Nesting. — Xot yet reported from Washington. "Nest in bushes, slight and 
frail, close to the ground: eggs 2-5, 0.72 .x 0.58 (18.3 x 14.7), white with a pale 
greenish or blui-^h tinge, unmarked; laid in May, June and later" (Coues). 

General Range. — Arid districts of southwestern United States and north- 
western Mexico west from western Texas to California north probably to southern 
Idaho and ^\^ashington ; south, in winter to Chihuahua, Sonora and Lower 
California. 

Range in Washington. — Probably summer resident in LIpper Sonoran and 
Arid Transition life-zones; believed to be recently invading State from south. 

Authority. — Dawson, Auk, A'ol. XX\'. Oct. 1908, p. 483. 

IF one happens to be fairly well acquainted with the licensed musicians 
of the sage, the presence oi a strange voice in the morning chorus is as 
noticeable as a scarlet golf jacket at church. Tlie morning light was gilding 
the cool gray of a sage-covered hillside in Douglas County, on the 31st day of 
May, 1908, and the bird-man was mechanically checking of¥ tlie members 
of the desert choir. Brewer Sparrow, Lark Sparrow. Vesper Sparrow and 
the rest, as they reported for duty, ofie by one, when suddenly a fresh voice 
of inquiry. Blew dice tec tee, burst from the sage at a stone's cast. The 
binoculars were instantl\- levelled and their use alternated rapidly with that 
of note-book and pencil as the leading features of the stranger's dress were 
seized upon in order of saliency : Black chin and throat w^ith rounded 
extension on chest outlined against whitish of underparts and separated 
from grayish dusky of cheeks by white malar stripe; lores, apparently includ- 
ing eye, black; brilliant white superciliary stripe; crown and back warm 
light brown. 

The newcomer was a male Desert Sparrow and the interest aroused by 
his appearance was considerabl\- heightened when it was recalled that he was 
venturing some ti\e hundred miles north of his fiu'thest previously recorded 
range. This bird, probably the saiue individual, was seen and heard on 
several occasions subsecpient thruout a stretch of half a mile bordering on 
Brook Lake. Once a female was glimpsed in companv with her liege lord, 
flitting- ciiquettishly from bush to bush; but the inost diligent search failed 
to discover a nest, if such there was. Nesting w-as most certainly on the 
gallant's mind for he sang at faithful intervals. The notes of his brief but 
musical (iffering had something of the gushing and tinkling quality of a 
Lark Sparrow's. A variant form, zi'hczv, K'/n'tc, zvliitcrer, began nicely but 
degenerated in the last member into the luetallic clicking of Towdiee. 

\\'e ha\'e here, in all probabilit}-, another and a \'ery conspicuous example 



ii6 THE SAGE SPARROW. 

of that northward trend of species which we shall have frequent occasion 
to remark. The passion of the North Pole cjuest is not merely a human 
weakness: it is a deep-rooted instinct which we only share with the birds. 
There was once a near-Eden yonder, a Pliocene paradise, from which the 
cruel ice evicted us — birds and men — long, long ago. We go now to reclaim 
our own. 



No. 45. 

SAGE SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 574.1. Amphispiza nevadensis (Ridgw.). 

Synonyms. — Artemisi.v Sparrow. Nev,'\da S.'VGE Sparrow. 

Description. — Adults: Upperparts (including auriculars and sides of neck) 
ashy gray to ashy brown, clearer and grayer anteriorly, browner posteriorly ; pilcuni, 
back and scapulars sharply and narrowly streaked with black ; wings and tail 
dull black with light brownish or pale grayish edging; the rectrices marked with 
white much as in preceding species ; a supraloral spot, an orbital ring and 
(usually) a short median line on forehead white; sides of head slaty gray; lores 
dusky ; underparts white, clearest on throat where bounded and set off from white 
of malar area by interrupted chain of dusky streaks, occasionally with dusky 
spot on center of breast, marked on sides and flanks with buffy and streaked 
with dusky ; edge of wing pale yellow or yellowish white. Bill blackish above, 
lighter below; legs dark brown, toes darker; iris brown. Young: "Pileum. hind- 
neck, chest and sides, as well as back, streaked with dusky ; otherwise essentially 
as in adults" (Ridgway). Underparts save on throat sometimes tinged with 
yellowish or buft'y. Length of adult male about 6.00 (152.4) ; wing 3. 11 (79) ; 
tail 2.95 (75) ; bill .39 (10) : tarsus .84 (21.5). Female a little smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size (barely); ashy gray plumage; zvhite 
throat defined by dusky streaks. 

Nesting. — Nest: of twigs, sage bark, and "hemp" warmly lined with wool, 
rabbit-fur, cow-hair or feathers, placed low in crotch of sage bush. Eggs: 3-5, 
usually 4, Ijrownish- or greenish-gray as to ground, dotted, spotted or clouded, 
rarelv scrawled, with chestnut or sepia and with some purplish shell markings. 
Av. size .80 X .60 (20.3 X 15.2). Season: April, June; two broods. 

General Range. — Great Basin region of the Western United States, west 
to eastern base of Sierra Nevada, east to eastern base of Rockies, north (at least) 
to northern Washington ; south, in winter, into southern Arizona, etc. 

Range in Washington. — Upper Sonoran and Arid Transition life zones in 
eastern Washington north at least to the Grand Coulee; summer resident. 

Authorities. — ["Sagebrush Sparrow" Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 (1885), 
22.] Amphispiza belli iiC7'adeiisis. Dawson, W'ilson Bulletin, No. ^9, June. 1902, 
p. 65. Ss'. Ss-'. 

Specimens. — U. of W. P. 



THE SAGE SPARROW. 



117 



THANK God for the sage-brush ! It is not merely tliat it clothes the 
desert and makes its wastes less arid. No' one needs to apologize for the 
unclad open, nr to shun it as tho it were an unclean thing. Only little souls 
do this, — those who, being used tO' small spaces, miss the support of crowding 
elbo'ws, and are frightened into peevish complaint when asked to stand alone. 
To the manly spirit there is exultation in mere space. The ground were 
enough, the mere Expanse, with the e\er-matching lilue of the hopeful sky. 
but when to this is added the homely verdure of the untilled ground, the cup 
of joy is filled. One snatches at the sage as tlio it were the symbol of all the 
wild openness, and Ijuries his nostrils in its pungent branches to compass at 
a whiff this realm of unpent gladness. Prosy? Monotonous? Faugh! 
Back to the city with you! You are not fit for the wilderness unless you 
love its \'erv \\orm- 
wood. 

Tlie sage has interest 
or not, to be sure, ac- 
cording to the level 
f r o m which it is 
V i e w e d . Regarded 
from the supercilio'us 
level of the man-on- 
horseback, it is a mere 
hindrance to the piir- 
suit of the erring steer. 
The man a-foot has 
some dim perception of 
its beauties, but if his 
errand is a long one he, 
too, wearies of his de- 
vious course. Those 
who are best of all 
fitted to appreciate its infinite variety of gnarled branch and velvet leaf, and 
to revel in its small mysteries, are simple folk, — rabbits, lizards, and a few 
birds who have chosen it for their life portion. Of these, some look up tO' it 
as to the trees of an ancient forest and are lost in its mazes ; but of those who 
know it from the ground up, none is more loyal than the Sage Sparrow. 
Whether he gathers a breakfast, strewn upon the ground, among the red, 
white, and blue, of storkbill, chickweed, and fairy-mint, or whether he explores 
the crevices of the twisted sage itself for its store of shrinking beetles, his 
soul is filled with a vast content. 

Here in the springtime he soon gets full enough for utterance, and mounts 
the topmost sprig of a sage bush t» voice his thanks. In general character 




Taken in Douglas Coujity. Photo by W. Leon Dawson. 

S.-\GE SP.\RROW OX .\EST. 

THIS BIRD WAS .^JOT THE VICTIM OF THE MISFORTUNE MENTIONED 
IN THE TEXT. 



ii8 THE SLATE-COLORED JUNCO. 



the song is a sort nf sul)(luc(l musical croaking', nielli i\\ ami rich at close 
quarters, but with little carrying power. The bird throws his head well back 
in singing, and the tail is carried more nearl_\- horizontal than is the case with 
most Sparrows. A song from the \'akima country ran: tU\>. clii/^'/^cicay, 
clii[^'l^c:^'ii\, chij^' pci^'ay, but a common type heard on the l)anks of the Colum- 
Ijia in Walla Walla County, and repeated upnn the nurthern limit (.-f the 
bird's range in Douglas County, is Tul^. Iiip. to zccrly. chiip. liip. A more 
pretentious ditt)-, occupying twO' seconds in delivery, runs I looiicdoppcty, 
iccctcr K'cc, iloodlcty pootat'cr, — an ecstacy song, wherein the little singer 
seems to be intoxicated with the aroma of his favorite sage. 

One may search a linig time in the neighlxirhood of the singer — who, by 
the way, closes the concert abruptly when he realizes that he is likelv to give 
his secret away — before finding the humble domicile a f(}nt nr twn u\) in a sage 
bush. A nest which contained five eggs was composed externally of sage 
twigs set int(j a concealed crotch nf the hush, Init the Ixilk of it consisted of 
weed-bark and "hemp" of a quite uniform quality; while the lining contained 
tufts of wool, rabbit-fur, cow-hair, feathers, and a few coiled horse-hairs. 
The feathers were procured at some distant ranch, and their soft tips were 
gracefully upturned tO' further the concealment of the eggs, alreadv well pro- 
tected by their grayish green tints. 

.Vnother nest, sighted some forty paces away, contained one egg, and we 
had high hopes of being able to secure photographs upon our return with the 
camera. But a few rods further we came upon a crew of sneaking Magpies, 
scouring the sage with a dozen beady eyes, and passing sneering or vulgarly 
jocose remarks upon what they found. When we returned, therefore, a day 
or twO' later, we were not surprised to learn that the feathered marauders 
had preferred egg-in-the-hill tn souvenir ])hotiigraphs. 



No. 46. 

SLATE-COLORED JUNCO. 

A. C). U. No. 567. Junco hyemalis (Linn.). 

Synonyms. — Snow-bird. Eastern Snow-isird. 

Description. — .Idiilt male in siiinnicr: U]:)])crparts, throat and breast slate- 
color deepening to slaty-black on pileuni, the bluish tinge lacking on wings and 
tail ; below, abruptly white from the breast, the flanks ashy slate ; the two outer 
pairs of tail-feathers entirely, and the third pair principally white : bill flesh-color, 
usually tipped with black. Adult female: Similar to male ; throat and breast 
paler; a brownish wash over the upperparts, deepest on nape and upper back; 
wings brownish fuscous rather than black, and sides tawny-washed. Adult male 
ill zviiiter, becoming like female, but still distinguishable. I.,ength 6.00-6.50 



THE OREGON JUNCO. 119 

(152.4-165.1 ) ; wing 3.07 (78); tail 2.80 (71.1): bill .41) ii-^-S)- Female 
averages slightl}- smaller than male. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; white lateral tail-feathers; hood slatv 
as compared with J. orcganus and /. 0. shiifcldti. 

Nesting. — Not known to breed in Washington. Nest and cyys as next. 

General Range. — North America, chiefly east of the Rocky Moimtains, 
breeding in the hilly portions of the Northern States (east of the Rockies) north 
to the Arctic Coast and west to the valleys of the Yukon and Kowak Rivers, 
Alaska; south in winter as far as the Gulf States and sparingly over the Western 
States to California, Arizona, etc. 

Range in Washington. — Casual during migrations: ma^• winter rarelv in 
comjiany with J. orcyanus. 

Authorities. — Not previously piihlislied : W. T. Shaw /;( epist. Dec. i, 1908. 
J. H. Bowles ill epist. Jan. 19, 1909. 
Specimens. — P'. 

THIS the familiar Snow-bird of the East is occasionallv seen west of 
the Rocky Mountains in winter and during migrations, specimens having 
been taken at Sumas, B. C, by Mr. Allan Brooks, and at Cor\-allis, Oregon, 
by Mr. A. R. Woodcock, in addition to the one reported front Piillman. It 
is not impossible that the bird is more common than we have l;)een supposing, 
because, when found, it appears to be mingling freely with flocks of allied 
species, (|uite luiaware of the fact that such actions are of interest to inquisi- 
tive bird-men. 



No. 47. 

OREGON JUNCO. 

A. O. U. No. 567a. Junco oreganus (Towns.). 

Synonyms. — "Oreg.\n Snow-finch." Western Snow-bird. Oregon 
Snow-bird. Townsend's Junco. 

Description. — Adult male: Head and neck all around and chest (abruptly 
defined along convex posterior edge) sooty black; back and scapulars and edging 
of tertials warm reddish brown (nearly walnut brown) ; rump, upper tail-coverts 
and middle and greater wing-coverts slaty gray or ashy gray, sometimes glossed 
with olivaceous ; wings and tail dusky, edged with ashy ; the outermost rectrix 
wholly and the second chiefly touched with white, the third pair touched with 
white near tip ; sides of breast, sides and flanks stronglv washed with pinkish 
brown ( vinaceous cinnamon); remaining underparts (below chest) white. Bill 
pinkish white with dusky tip; iris claret red. Adidt female: Head and neck 
all around and chest scarcely contrasting in color with upperparts but changing 
from warm brown (bister) above to dull slaty overlaid with brownish on throat 
and chest; brown of back (bister or dull sepia) without reddish tinge; white on 
second rectrix not so extensive as in male; wash of sides duller, not so vinaceous. 



I20 THE OREGON JUNCO. 

Young: Top of head and hind-neck grayish brown streaked with dusky, back 
and scapulars warmer brown streaked with black ; throat, chest, sides and flanks 
pale buffy brown streaked with blackish ; otherwise as in adult. Length of adult 
males about 6.35 (161. 3) : wing 2.95 ij^): tail 2. 50 (65) ; bill .43 ( in : tarsus 
83 (21 ). Females smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size ; black of head and throat contrasting 
with white of breast ; white lateral tail-feathers ; head black as compared with 
./. Iiyciiialis: back reddish brown as compared with /. 0. shnfcldti. 

Nesting. — Nest: on ground at base of small bush or under fallen branch, 
sometimes in open wood or set into brushy hillside, of dead grasses and weed 
stems, scantily lined, or not, with hair; dimensions 2]/} inches wide by 13^ inches 
deep inside. Eggs: 2-5, usually 4, varying in ground color from pure white to 
pinkish white or pale blue, spotted or freckled and blotched with light reddish 
brown or brownish black, with occasional light cloudings of lavender : long oval 
to short ovate; variable in size, .80 x .60 (20.3x15.2) to .73 x .56 (18.5x14.2). 
Season: fourth week in April to first week in Julv or August according to alti- 
tude ; two or three broods. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district ; in summer from southern British 
Columbia north to Yakutat Bay, Alaska ; in winter south irregularly 4o California 
(Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties), straggling across the Cascade-Sierras 
into interior. 

Range in Washington. — Formerly summer resident, now chiefly migrant 
and winter resident west of the Cascades ; winter resident and migrant east of 
Cascades. 

Authorities. — ? Townsend, Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. VII., 1837, 188 (part). 
Jiinco orcqanus Sclater, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX., 1858, 467. T. C&S. L'. 
Rh. D'. Kb. Ra. D=. Kk. B. 

Specimens. — U. of W. P'. Prov. B. 

IN speaking of Juncoes it is necessary to distinguish between the rufous- 
Ijacked bird of winter, the Oregon Juiico proper, and the brownish-gray- 
backed bird of summer, the Shufeldt Junco. A dozen years ago orcganus 
was supposed tO' be the common breeding bird of Puget Sound and the 
neighlioring foothills, altho- Shufeldt's was well known in the more open 
situations. Latterly, however, there has not been any authentic account of 
the nesting of the red-backed liird within the State. 1903 witnessed its last 
appearance as a summer bird, and that only in the highlands. Recent speci- 
mens taken during' the breeding season at places so remote from each other 
as the prairies of Pierce County, the banks of the Pend d'Oreille in Stevens 
Conntv. and the High Cascades in Whatcom Count^•, lia\'e all jiroven to be 
/. 0. shnfeldti. 

The fact appears to be that A\e ha\'e detected a Washingtonian instance 
of that northward trend of species clearly recognizable in the East, but 
obscured to our vision heretofore in the West by reason of varied conditions 
and insufficient data. The theory is that the birds are still following the 
retreat of the glacial ice. We know that the glacial ice-sheet, now confined 



THE SHUFELDT JUNCO. 121 

to Greenland and the high North, once covered half the continent. In our 
own mountains we see the vestigial traces of glaciers which were once of noble 
proportions. We know that the southward advance of the continental ice- 
sheet must have dri\-en all animal life before it : and, likewise, that the territory 
since relinc[uished l:)_v the ice has been regained bv the animals. \\'hat more 
natural than that we should witness thru close observation the northward 
advance of those varieties of birds which are best suited tO' withstand cold, 
and the ci irresponding occupation of abandoned territ(lr^■ on the jjart of those 
next south? 

Juncoes, moreover, are erratic in their migrations, and in the West, at 
least, tend to become non-migratory. While Oregon Juncoes are the common 
winter birds of Puget Sound, Shufeldt's are not entireh- aljsent at this season, 
and we may even look to see them hold their own thruout the year. The 
problem is further complicated by what we call vertical migration, by which 
is meant that nmuntain liirds descend to the valle^-s in winter instead of flving 
southward. Our winter Shufeklts, therefore, may or may not be strictly 
resident on. sa\-, J^teilacoom Prairie. The summer birds may retire to Cali- 
fornia : the winter l)irds may ha\-e descended imm the Olvmpics or Mount 
Rainier. 



No. 48. 

SHUFELDT'S JUNCO. 

A. O. U. No. 567b. Junco oreganus shufeldti (Coale). 

Synonyms. — Washington Junco. Hybrid Snow-bird (Coues). Rocky 
]\IouNT-\iN Juxco (Coues). 

Description. — Adults: Similar to J. oreganus but back (in males) grayish, 
or grayish-brown to sepia; in females sepia to drab; black of head and throat 
more slaty; also averaging larger. Length: 6.00-6.50 (152.4-165); wing 3.15 
(80) ; tail 2.72 (69) ; bill .43 (11) ; tarsus .83 (21). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size ; black of head and throat contrasting 
with brownish-gray of back and with white of breast ; grayer on back than 
preceding. 

Nesting. — Nest: much as in preceding, occasionally placed at moderate 
heights in trees. Eggs: 4 or 5, pale bluish white, spotted and blotched with light 
reddish brown and lavender, usually in light ring, occasionally in confluent mass 
about larger end ; size larger than preceding. Av. 80 x .60 (20.3 x 15.2). Season: 
fourth week in April to August according to altitude ; two broods. 

General Range. — Breeding from northern Oregon north into British Co- 
lumbia east to mountains of Alberta and Idaho ; south in winter over Rocky 
Mountain plateau region to Mexico, — northern California. 



122 



THE SHUFELDT J UNCO. 



Range in Washington. — Common summer resident thruout the State, in or 
near coniferous timber, from sea level to limit of trees; sparingl}- resident in 
winter chiefly west of Cascades. 

Authorities. — As in preceding. (Tj. C&S. Sr. Ra. D-. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— I', of W. F". B. Bn. 

HO\VE\'ER it may fare with the Oregon Junco (q. v.), the southern 
invaders, the birds with the rusty gray backs, now appear to possess the land. 
The\- have stolen back sometime in March, so unobtrusively we scarcely 
noticed when the substitution of gray-backs for red-backs was effected; but 
scon we do notice that the yards and clearings are frequented by happy 

rollicking troops of 
Shufeldt Juncoes, and 
\ve notice too that some 
pronounced flirtations 
;u'e being carried on. 

There is a jovial 
restlessness about these 
birds' in flock which is 
ciintagious. Their ev- 
ery movement is ac- 
companied by a happy 
titter, and the pursuit 
of necessities is never 
SO' stern that a saucv 
dare from one of their 
number will not send 
the whole company off 
pell-mell like a route of 
school-l)ins. Whenever 
a JuncO' starts tO' wing, 
it flashes a white signal in the lateral tail-feathers; and this convenient 
"recognition mark" enables the birds to keep track of each other tliruout the 
maddest gambols in brush-lot or tree-toj). 

On a sunny day in March the Juncoes gather for a grand concert. The 
males nmunt tlie bush-tops and hold forth in ri\'al strains, while the females 
lurk under cover and take counsel of their hearts. Junco's song is a sweet 
little tinkling trill, not very pretentious, but tender and winsome. Inter- 
spersed w ith this is a variety of sipping and suckling notes, whose uses are 
hard to discern. Now and then, also, a forcible kissing sound may be beard, 
evidently a note of re]>ulsi(jn instead of attraction, for it is employed in the 
breeding season to frighten enemies. During the progress of the concert 
some dashing young fellow, unable fullv to express his emotion in song, 




13*1- •■•■ 



Taken near Portland. 



\-.J!:-"y-\i-\. 



SIR! YOU INTI5UDE! 

FEMALE SHUPELDT JUNCO ON NEST. 



Pholo by If. L. Finley. 



THE SHUFELDT JUNCO. 



123 



rims amuck, and goes cliarging abmit thru tlie woodsy mazes in a fine 
frenz}- — without, however, quite spilling his lirains. Others catch the ex- 
citement and the company breaks up in a mad whirl of amorous pursuit. 

At the end (jf 
the brief song 
period, Juncoes 
d e p 1 o y thruout 
the half- o p e n 
woods or prairie 
borders of the en- 
tire State, from 
sea-level to tim- 
ber-line. The va- 
riety and interest 
of their nesting 
habits are scarce- 
ly e.xceeded by 
those of any other 
bird. In general 
they appear to be 
guided by some 
thought of seclu- 
sion or protection 
in their choice of 
nesting sites. 
Stee]) hillsides or 
little banks are, 
therefore, favorite 
places, for here 
the bird may ex- 
cavate a coo! 
g r o t t O' in the 
earth, and allow 
the drapery of the 
hillside, mosses 
and r u n n i n g 
vines, to festoon 
and guard the ap- 
p r o a c h e s. At 

Xew'iiort we found them nesting in the road-cuts. At Snoqualmie the side 
of a haystack sheltered a confiding pair. At Tacoma the birds nest at the 
base of tiny clumps of oak, or under the shelter of brush-piles. Several 




Taken ill Tacoma. 



Photo by the Author. 



UXDER A TIX ROOF. 

THE NEST IN THE CAN CONTAINS FIVE EGGS. 



124 



THE SHUFELDT JUNCO. 



iiesls ha\'e Ijeen fdimd in old tin cans Hung- duwii uimn the prairie and only 
half obscnrcd Ijy gmwing- grasses. Again the l>irds trust to the density of 
vegetation, and shelter in the grass of unniowed orchards, weed-lots, and 
meadows. One site was found in which the hird occupied a carefully chosen 
fern arbor in the midst of a collection of whitened bones, evidenth- the mortal 
remains of a defunct draft horse. The situation was delightfully gruesome. 




Taken in li'hatcom County. 
Photo by the Author. 
NEST AND EGGS OF 

SHUFELDT JUNCO. 

and, tnuchcd no doubt with \anity, the owner sat for her portrait at four 
feet, a la Bernhardt. 

Juncoes keep very quiet during the nesting season until disturbed, and 
the}' are very close sitters. When nearly stepped on the bird bursts off, and, 
if there are young, crawls and tumbles along the ground within a few feet 
of the intruder, displaying wings and tail in a most appealing manner. The 
tssiks of both birds are incessantly repeated, and the whole woodside is set 
agog with apprehension. 

If one posts himself in a suspected locality not too near the nest, it is 
only a question of time till the solicitude of the nursing mother will triumph 
over fear. One such I traced ti.i a charming mossy bank, overlooking a 



THE WESTERN TREE SPARROW. 125 

woodland pool; but on the first occasion it took the parent bird exacth* half 
an hour to go thru all the feints and preliminaries before she ventured on 
the final plunge. There were half-grijwn babies in this nest, and since we 
were in summer camp (at Glacier, near the foot of j\lt. Baker), I resolved 
to make friends of this promising family with a view to portraiture. 

As I sat next day watching my Juncoes, and waiting for the sun to get 
around and light up the vicinity of the nest, the call to dinner sounded. The 
mother bird, not without much misgiving and remonstrance, had just visited 
her babies, so I rose to go^; but as I did so, caught sight of a stout garter 
snake, who lay watching the scene from a distance of fully twenty feet, a 
wicked gleam of intelligence in his eye. With quick suspicion of his pur- 
pose, I seized stones and hurled at his retreating form; but the ground was 
rough and he managed to escape into a large brush-pile. At table I ate 
hurriedly, listening the while for the faintest note of trouble. When it came, 
a quick outcry from both parents, instead of premonitory notes of discovery, 
I sprang to my feet, clutched a stick, and rushed down to the spring. Alas 
for us ! Satan had found our Eden ! The nest was emptied and the snake 
lay coiled over it in the act of swallowing one of the little birds. Not daring 
to strike, I seized him by the throat and released the baby Junco, whose 
rump only had disappeared intO' the devouring jaws. Then with the stick 
I made snake's-head jelly on a rock and flung the loathsome reptile away. 
But it was all too late. One young bird lay drowned upon the bottom of 
the pool, and the other (I think there were only two) soon died of fright 
and the laceration of the hinder parts attendant upon ophidian deglutition. 
It was all so horrible! the malignant plan, the stealthy approach, the sudden 
alarm, the wanton destruction of the fledglings, the grief of the agonized 
parents, the remorse of the helper who came too late! Is it any wonder 
that our forbears have pictured the arch-enemy as a serpent? 



No. 49. 

WESTERN TREE SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 559 a. Spizella monticola ochracea Brewster. 

Description. — Adults: Pileum. a streak behind eye and a small patch on 
side of chest cinnamon-rufous or light chestnut: a superciliary stripe and remain- 
ing portions of head and neck clear ashy gray I throat and chest of same shade 
superficially but duller by virtue of concealed dusky; an ill defined spot of dusky 
in center of lower chest : remaining underparts dull white washed on sides with 
brownish ; general color of upperparts light huffy grayish brown, much out- 
cropping black on back, scapulars and tertials ; some rusty edging on back 
feathers, scapulars and greater wing-coverts : middle and greater wing-coverts 



126 THE WESTERN TREE SPARROW. 

tipped with wiiitc, {(irmiiii;- two conspicuous bands; flight feathers and rectrices 
grayish (hisky margined with whitish and huffy. Hill blackish above, yellow, 
tipped with dusky, below; legs brown, feet darker; iris brown. /;; winter the 
cinnamon-rufous of crown is slightly veiled, especially along median area, by 
ashy skirtings of feathers, and the huffy of upperparts inclines to strengthen. 
Length about fi.oo (132.4); wing 3.00 (76); tail 2.68 (68); bill .39 (10); 
tarsus .82 ( 20. S t. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; resembles Western Chipping Sparrow 
but much larger ; white wing-bars with chestnut of crown distinctive. 

Nesting. — Does not breed in Washington. "Nest, in low bushes or on the 
ground, hiosely constructed of bark strips, weeds and grasses, warmly lined with 
feathers. Eijijs. 4-(), or even 7, pale green, minutely and regularly sprinkled with 
reddish lirown s[)0ts" (Coues). Av. size, .75 x .60 (19.1x15.2). 

General Range. — Breeding from the valley of Anderson River, near the 
Arctic coast westward thru Alaska to coast of Bering Sea, and for an unde- 
termined distance southward ; in winter south thru western North America to 
Arizona, Texas, etc., eastward across Rocky Mts. to Great Plains (Ridgway). 

Range in Washington. — Not common winter resident and migrant. Has 
not recently been reported west of the Cascades. 

Authorities. — Brewster, T'.nll. Nutt. Orn. Club, VH. 1882, pp. 227, 228. 
(T). (C&S). Sr. D--. 

Specimens. — ( L'. of W.). P". I'rov. 

"THE sight of the first Tree Sparrow in the fall serves perfectly to 
call up a vision of impending winter. Here are the lun'r\ing blasts, the 
leaden skies, the piling snow-drifts, all read}* to make the beholder shiver. 
But here, too, in some unburied weed patch, or thicket of rose-briars, is a 
companv of Tree Sparrows, stout-hearted and cold-def\ ing, setting up a 
merry tinkling chorus, as eloquent of good cheer as a crackling- Yule-log. 
How manv times has the bird-man hastened out after some cruel cold snap, 
thinking, 'Siu'ely this will settle for my Itirds,' only to have his fears rebuked 
by a troop of these hardy Norsemen revelling in some back pasture as if they 
had found their Valhalla on this side the icy gates. Ho! brothers! here is 
food in these capsules of mustard and cockle; here is wine distilled from 
the rose-hips ; here is shelter in the weedy mazes, or under the soft blanket 
of the snow. What ho! Lift the light song! Pass round the cup again! 
Let mighty cheer ])revail !" ( P>irds of Ohio). 

Truth to tell, the Western Tree i^parrows are somewhat rare winter 
visitors, in eastern ^Vaslling■ton only. In habits they do not appear to differ 
materiallv fn.ni the tvpical form, which is very alxindant in winter thruout 
the northern tier of eastern states. In the nature of the case, while with us, 
their food, consisting as it does of grass- and weed-seeds and dried berries, 
is found near the ground; and so, for the season, the name Tree S])arrow 
seems inconsistent. AAHien persistent! v annoyed, however, the flock will rise 



THE WESTERN CHIPPING SPARROW. 127 



to the tree-tiiiis in straggling fashion, ami there either await the withdrawal 
of the intruder, or else make off at a good height. 

The song of the Tree Sparrow is sweet and tuneful, affording a 
pleasing contrast to the nmnotonous ditty of the Western Chipping Sparrow. 
Snatches of song may be heard, indeed, on almost any mild day in winter ; 
but the spring awakening assures a more pretentious efTort. A common 
form runs. SzCi.\'-Iio. S2vcct, szvcct, szvcct, with ni:>tes of a most flattering 
tenderness. But we ma}' only guess at the bird's full powers, for the home- 
making is in Alaska. 



No. 50. 

WESTERN CHIPPING SPARROW. 

.A. O. U. Xo. 560 a. Spizella passerina arizon£e (Coues). 

Synonyms. — Chippy. H.\iR-BrKD. 

Description. — Adult: Crown bright chestnut: extreme forehead black with 
ashy median line; a light ashy superciliary stripe: lore and postocular streak 
black: underparts and sides of head and neck ashy gray, dullest on breast and 
sides, clearest on throat wdiere nearly white : hind-neck and wings bluish ash, 
the former more or less streaked with blackish ; back and scapulars light brown 
( isabella color) heavily streaked with black: wings and tail fuscous. Bill dark: 
feet light: iris brown. Youiuj birds are streaked with dusky above and below 
and lack the chestnut of crown. Length of adult males: 5.00-5.50 (127-139. 7) ; 
wing 2.83 (y2) : tail 2.36 (60) : bill .39 (10) ; tarsus .67 (17). Females smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — \\'arl)ler size: chestnut crown and whitish superciliary 
distinctive. 

Nesting. — Nest: A compact or careless structure of tine twigs, grasses, and 
(most commonly and often exclusively) rootlets, heavily lined with horse-hair: 
placed in sage-bush, wild rose thicket or shrubbery, or else on horizontal branch 
of apple tree or evergreen. Eggs: 3-5, usually 4, greenish blue speckled freely 
or in narrow ring about larger end with reddish brown and black. Av. size, 
.71 X .51 ( i(Sx 13). Season: .A]iril-July, usually May and June: two broods. 

General Range. — Western North .\merica from the Rockies to the Coast 
breeding from the southern border of the United States north to the Yukon 
\ alley in .Alaska, cast over the western provinces of Canada : south in winter to 
.Afe.xico and Lower California. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident thruout the State chiefly 
in settled ]iortions and more open situations. 

Migrations. — Spring: Yakima, Aiiril 12, icoo: Chelan. .April 24, 1896; 
Tacoma, A])ril 12, T905, April 11. 1906. 

Authorities. — Spicella socialis Bonap. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 
1858. 473 part. (T). C&S. D'. Ra. D-\ Ss-\ Kk. J. B. E. 
Specimens.— r. of \\^ P'. Prov. B. E. 



128 



THE WESTERN CHIPPING SPARROW. 



NOT all birds are fitly nanicil. exun in the "ininuitalile Latin." bnt this 
one has a very accurate title in Spi::clla sdcinlis aricoiicc^, which we may freely 
translate as the fricmU\ Utile sf^arrmi' of flic desert. An obscure little fellow 
he is to eye, a skit dmie in faded brcjwns, with a chestnut crown which still 
does not differentiate the owner from a withered corymb in his native sage. 
Of the desert he is, for there is no sage-brush wilderness too' dreary tO' boast 
the presence of at least a few Chipping Sparrows. And friendly he is, be- 
yond question, for there are few dooryards in the eastern part of the State 
where this bird is not a trustful visitur; and his presence in western Wash- 
ington is nearly coextensive with that of man. For altho the Chipping 
Sparrow now abounds in the prairie region of Pierce and adjacent counties, 
it is instructive to note that its plumage gives no evidence of resaturation, 

or of departure from the 
bleached type, as would be 
the case if it belonged to one 
of the really "old families" 
of Puget Sound 

Whatever the weather. 
Chippy returns to us about 
the 1 2th day of April, posts 
himself <in the tip' of a lir 
branch, like a brave little 
Christmas candle, and pro- 
ceeds to sputter, in the same 
part. Of all homel\' s<iunds 
the monotonous trill df the 
W'estern Chipping Sparrow 
is the most homely. — and 
the most easily forgivable. 
As music it scarcely ranks 
above the rattle of cas- 
tanets ; but the little singer 
po'urs out his soul full earn- 
estly, and his ardor often 
leads him to> sustained eff i irt thrunut the sultrv In lurs when nmre brilliant 
vocalists are sulking in the shade: and for this we come to prize his homely 
ditty like the sound of plashing waters. 

Two Chipping Sparrow songs heard near Tacuma deserve s]")ecial 
mention. One likened itself in our ears to a tool being ground on a small 
emery wheel. The wheel has a rough place on its periphery which strikes 




Taken in Pierce Comily. Photo bi' the Aiitlor. 

JUST .\RRI\'ED. 

WESTERN CHIPPINC, SPARROW. ADULT MALE. 



a. So called for decades, but now lost to us thru the latest caprice of nomenclature. Vm-iuni ct 
mutnbile scmfer .-I. O. U. Clieclc-List. 



THE WESTERN CHIPPING SPARROW. 



129 






against the tuol with additional force and serves to mark a single revolution, 
but the continuous burr which underlies the accented points, or trill-crests, 
is satisfied by this comparison alone. The other effort, a peculiar buzz of 
varying intensit}'. carries forward the same idea <.)f continuous sound, but 
the comparison changes. In this the song appears to pour from the tiny 
throat without eft'urt. and its muvement is as tho an unseen hand controlled 
an electric buzz, whose activity varies with the amount of "juice" turned on: 
zzzzzzzzzzt, zzzr^r.=zzzt, r.:;r.:zzzzzzt, ZZZZZZZZZZT, ZZZZZZZZZZT. 

Chippy "s nest is a frail affair at best, altho often elaborately constructed 
of fine twigs, rootlets and grasses with a plentiful lining of horse-hair. In 
some instances the last-named material is exclusively employed. A sage- 
bush is the favorite situation on the plains of the Columbia, a horizontal fir 
branch in the wet country. Rose thickets are always popular, and where 
the Iiird trankl_\- forsakes the wilds, ornamental shruhberv and vines are 

chosen. The nests are often 
so loosely related to their im- 
mediate surroundings as to 
give the impression of having 
been constructed elsewhere, 
and then mo\-ed bodilv to 
their present site. Some are 
set as lightly as feathers upon 
the tips of evergreen branches, 
and a heavy storm in season 
is sure to bring down a shower 
of Chippies' nests. 

Eggs are laid during the 
first or second week of May 
in the vicinity of American 
Lake and from one to three 
weeks earlier in the sage 
country. They are among the 
most familiar objects in Na- 
ture, and particular descrip- 
tion of them ought to be unnec- 
essary. But every person who 
knows that we are interested 
in birds has to stop us on the 
street to tell about the "cunningest little nest, you know, with four of the 

cutest " "Hold on," we say: "were the eggs blue?" "Yes." "^^'ith 

dots on them?" "Why, yes: how did vou know?" 

Inculiation lasts onlv ten da^•s and two broods are raised in each season. 




Taken near Chelan. Photo by the 
"FOUR OF THE CUTEST ." 



Author . 



I -JO THE BREWER SPARROW. 



Chipping Sparrows are very devoted parents and the sitting female wih some- 
times allow herself to he taken in the hand. The male bird is not less sedulous 
in the care of the young, and he sometimes exercises a fatherly oversight of 
the hrst batch of babies, while his mate is preparing for the June crop. 



No. 51. 

BREWER'S SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 562. Spizella brevveri Cassin. 

Description. — .Idiilts: Upperparts grayish brown, brightest brown on back, 
everywhere ( save on remiges and rectrices ) streaked with black or dusky, narrow- 
ly on crown, more broadly on back and sca]Hilars, less distinctly on rump ; wing- 
coverts and tertials varied by edgings of brownish butf ; flight-featliers and rectrices 
dark grayish brown or dusky with some edging of light grayish brown ; a broad 
pale bufifv superciliary stripe scarcely contrasting with surroundings ; underparts 
dull whitish tinged on sides and across breast by pale hufiy gray. Bill pale 
brown darkening on tip and along culnien ; feet pale brown, iris brown. Young 
birds are less conspicuously streaked above ; middle and greater coverts broadly 
tipped with huffy forming two distinct bands ; breast streaked with dusky. 
Length 5.^0 (1.35); wing 2.44 (62): tail 2.^8 (60.5): bill .38 ("8.8): tarsus 
.68 (174K 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size ; general streaked appearance ; absence 
of distinguishing marks practically distinctive ; sage-haunting habits. 

Nesting. — Nest: of small twigs and dried grasses, lined with horse-hair, set 
loosely in sage-bush. Eggs: 4 or 5, greenish blue, dotted and spotted, sometimes 
in ring about larger end, with reddish brown. Av. size .67 x .49 (17x12.4). 
Season: April. June; two broods. 

General Range. — Sage-brush plains of the West, breeding from Arizona to 
British Columbia and east to western Nebraska and western Texas ; south in 
winter to Mexico and Lower California. 

Range in Washington. — 0])en country of the East-side, al)undant summer 
resident: occasionally invades Cascade Mountains (only in late summer?). 

Migrations. — Spring: Yakima March 29, 1900. 

Authorities. — ["Brewer's sparrow," Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 (1885), 
22]. Dawson, Auk, XIV, 1897, 178- D-'. Ss'. Ss-'. 

Specimens. — LT. of W. P. C. 

IT IS never quite fair to say that Nature produces a creature which 
harmonizes i>erfectly with its surroundings, for the moment we yield tribute 
of admiration to^ one creature, we discover amid the same circumstances 
another as nearlv perfect hut entirely different. When we consider the Sage 
Sparrow we think that Nature cannot improve much upon his soft grays 
by way of fitness for his desert environment; but when we come upon the 
Brewer Sparrow, we are ready tO' wager that here the dame has done her 



THE BREWER SPARROW. 



131 



utmost tO' produce a bird of non-committal appearance. Mere brown might 
have been conspicuous by defauh, but brownisli.' broken up by hazy streakings 
of other brownish or dusky — call it what you will — has given us a bird which, 
so far as plumage is concerned, may be said tn have no mark of distinction 
whatever — just bird. 

The Sage Sparrow fits into the gray-green massy scheme of color har- 




NEST AND EGGS OF BREWER SPARROW. 



132 THE GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW. 

moiiy ill the arteniisia, while Brewer's fits into the somber, bn)wn-and-streal<y 
scheme of its twigs and brandies. To carry out the comparison, do not look 
for b)-ezi.'eri early in the season, when the breath of the rain rises from the 
ground and the air is astir: he is there, of course, ]>ut disregard him. Wait, 
rather, until the season is advanced, when the incoin]jarable sun of Yakima 
has filled the sage-brush full to overflowing, and it begins to ooze out lieat 
in drowsy, indolent wa\'es. Then listen: JJ'ceccccc. tuhiluhituhitiihituh, the 
first part an inspired trill, and the remainder an ex(|uisitely modulated ex- 
pirated trill in descending cadence. Instantly one ccjiiceives a great respect 
for this plain dot in feathers, whose very existence may have passed unnoticed 
fiefore. The descending strain of the common song has, in some indi\-iduals, 
all the fine shading heard in certain imported canaries. Pitch is conceded 
b\' infinitesimal gradations, whereby the singer, from some heaven of fancy, 
l^rings us down gently tO' a topmost twig of earthly attainment. Nor does 
the song in other forms lack variety. In fact, a midday chorus of Brewer 
Sparrows is a treat wliich makes a tramp in the sage memorable. 

Brewer's Sparrow is of the sage sagey, and its range in Washington is 
almost exactly co-extensive with the distribution of that doughty shrub; but it 
is of record that Spi-zcUa hmvcri indulges in some romantic vacations, a speci- 
men being once taken by me ( Jul}' 25, 1900) at 8000 feet, upon the glacier 
levels of Wright's Peak. 



No. 52. 

GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 557. Zonotrichia coronata (Pall. I. 

Description. — .Idults: A broad crown stripe gamboge-yellow, changing 
abruptly to ashy gray on occiput : this bounded on each side by broad stripe of 
silky black meeting fellow on forehead ; remaining upperparts grayish brown, 
broadly streaked with black on back, more or less edged with dull chestnut on 
back, wing-coverts and tertials, glossed with olive on rump and tail : middle and 
greater coverts tipped with white forming conspicuous bars ; chin, throat and 
sides of head ashy gray with obscure vermiculations of dusky ; remaining under- 
parts washed with buffy brown, darkest on sides and flanks, lightest, to dull 
white, on belly, obsoletely and finely barred on breast. Bill blackish above, paler 
below; feet pale; iris brown. luiinature: W'ithout definite head-stripe; crown 
broadly dull olive-yellow, clearest on forehead, elsewhere sharply flecked with 
blackish in wedge-shaped marks, giving way to grayish brown or dull chestnut 
behind and to blackish on sides (variably according to age?). Length 7.20 
(182.8) ; wing 3.28 (83.3) ; tail 3.06 (77.7) \ bill .48 (12.2) ; tarsus .96 (24.3). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size ; yellow of crown distinctive in any 
plumage. 

Nesting. — Does not breed in Washington. Nest and eggs said to be very 
similar to those of Z. I. uuttalli. 



THE GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW. 133 

General Range. — Pacific Coast and Ueriiig Sea districts of Alaska; south 
in winter thru the Pacific States to Lower California: occasionally straggles 
eastward. 

Range in Washington. — S])ring and fall migrant both sides of the Cascades, 
more comnKin westerly. 

Migrations. — Spring: c. April 21 (West-side) ; c. May 20 (Chelan). 
Authorities. — ? Einbcrica atricapiUa And. Orn. Biog. V. 1839, 47; pi. 394. 
Baird, Rep. I'ac. R. R. Surv. \'oI. LX. 1858, 462. C&S. L". D'. Kb. Ra. Kk. B. E. 
Specimens. — V . of W. Prov. E. 

REGAL thci he Ije, this sparrow is discreet in the matter of appearances, 
and does imt cultivate the pul)lic eye. Washington is only a way-station 
in his travels, and the splendors and liberties of court life are reserved for 
Alaska. Appearing- at Tacoma during the last week in April, demure 
companies of Golden-crowns may not infrequently be seen associated with 
migrating Xuttalls. They are in no hurry, or perhaps the haste of midnight 
flight is over when we see them vawning sleepilv in the bushes of a morning. 
The}" are languid ton as they deploy upon the park lawns, always within 
reach of cover, in search (jf fallen seeds or lurking beetles. Their leisurely 
mo\-ements contrast strongly with the bustling activities of the local Nuttalls : 
for tlie latter are burdened witli the care of children, before the Alaskan 
migrants ha\'e forsworn bachelorhood. East of the Cascade jMountains the 
niirthward movement of this species is even more tardy, and ]\Iay 18-22 are 
the dates at which I ha\'e recorded it at Chelan. 

[Migrating Zonotrichias are all coquettishly retiring, and the first hint 
of danger sends them scuttling into the bushes. If one presses up to the 
edge of the brush, he may hear an uncanny rustling among the leaves and 
branches as the l)irds retreat, but not a single note is uttered. Left to them- 
seh-es, the birds become sociable with many ziuks common to the genus ; and, 
if unusually merry, the Golden-crowns indulge a sweet, preparatory hoo he^e 
which reminds one of Ijoth the W'hite-crowned (Z. leiicophrys) and W'hite- 
throated (Z. albicollis) Sparrows of the East; but the song has never been 
completed here to our knowledge. 

Suckley said that Golden-crowned Sparrows were abundant in summer 
both at Fort Dalles and Fort Steilacoom, but this was undoubtedly a mistake, 
as the records of alleged nesting in California proved to be. On the other 
hand they may winter with us tO' some extent, since ]\Ir. Bowles took a 
specimen on December t6, 1907, in the Puyallup \^alley. 



134 THE GAMBEL SPARROW. 



No. 53. 

GAMBEL'S SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 554a. Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii (Nuttall). 

Synonyms. — Intickmi'Diatic-ckownivd SpakK(.iw. I ntick mediate Sparrow. 

Description. — Adults: Crown pure white, becoming gray behind; lateral 
crown-stripes meeting in front, and post-ocular stripes, jet black, separated by 
white stripe continuous with lore; remainder of head, neck all around, and entire 
underparts slaty gray, darkest on nape, whitening on chin and belly, with a 
tawny wash on flanks and crissum ; back and scapulars brown (burnt umber) 
edged with gray ; rump and upper tail-coverts tawny olivaceous ; wings and tail 
fuscous, the tertials dark-centered with edgings of bay and white ; middle and 
greater coverts tipped with white, forming two inconspicuous wing-bars; rectrices 
with brown shafts and tawny edgings, bill reddish brown above, saffron yellow 
below, with tip of ma.xilla black. Young of the year have the black of head 
replaced by light chestnut, and the white by ochraceo-fnscous or gray ; in general 
darker and browner above than adult. Length 6. 50-7. GO (165-180); wing 3.07 
(78) ; tail 2.76 (70) ; bill .42 (10.7) ; tarsus .89 (22.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Sjiarrow size; broad white crown and jet black lateral 
stri])es strongly contrasting ; slightly larger and general coloration lighter than in 
Z. I. nuttalli: wliite crown-stripe broader. 

Nesting. — ^As next; not known to breed in Washington but probably does so. 

General Range. — Western North America, breeding from Montana, eastern 
Oregon, etc., northward between coast mountains of British Columbia and Alaska 
and the interior plains to the lower Mackenzie and Anderson River Valleys, thence 
westward thruout .\laska to the coast of Bering Sea ; in winter southward across 
western United States into Mexico and Lower California, straggling eastward 
across the Great Plains. 

Range in Washington. — .Vbundant spring and fall migrant on the East-side, 
possibly summer resident ; doubtless migrant west of Cascades, but no specimens 
taken. 

Migrations. — Spring: .A^pril 20-May 20. Wallula, April 24, 1905 ; Chelan, 
April 24, 1896; Brook Lake, June 7, iqo8. 

Authorities. — Fringilla gambelii Nuttall, Man. Orn. U. S. & Canada, 2d 
Ed., I, 1840, S56. Z. ganibcli intermedia Brewster, B. N. O. C. VIL 1882, p. 
227. D'. Sr.^D^ Kk. J. 

Specimens. — LI. of W. C. P. 

IT IS probably safe to say that during the height of their spring migra- 
tions, viz., April 15th to May 15th, these birds exceed in numbers all the 
other sparrows of eastern Washington combined. Indeed, on certain occa- 
sions, it would seem that they are more numerous than all other birds com- 
bined. And this altho they dO' not move in great flocks in the open, like 
Redpolls, but flit and skulk wherever there is show of cover. Wayside 
thickets, spring draws, and the timl>ered l)anks of streams are favorite places. 
The more isolated the cover the more certain it is to be held as a Zonotrichian 



THE NUTTALL SPARROW. 135 

stronghold, and tliey are sometimes so hanl put to it for shelter that they 
resort in numbers to the sage-brush, where they affect great secretiveness. 

These handsome and courtly gentlemen with their no less interesting, 
if somewhat plainer, wives are far more reserved than their talents would 
warrant. Our approach has sent a score of them scurrying intO' cover, a 
neglected rose-briar patch which screens a fence, and now we cannot see 
one of them. An occasional sharp dj:ink of warning or protest comes out 
of the screen, or a suppressed titter of excitement, as two ]>irds jostle in their 
effort to keep out of sight. \\'e are being scrutinized, however, bv twenty 
pairs of sharp eyes, anil when our probation is ended, now one bird and now 
another hdjis u]) to an exposed branch to see and be seen. 

What distinguished foreigners they are, indeed, with their white crowns, 
slightly raised and sharply offset by the black stripes which flank them, — 
Russians, perhaps, with shakos of sable and ermine. The bird has an aristo- 
cratic air which is unmistakable; and. once he has deigned to show himself, 
appears tO' expect deference as his due. What a pity they will not make 
their homes with us, but must needs go further north ! 

As diligently as I have searched for this species, I liave never found a 
specimen in the sunmier months^, nor is there any record of the bird's nest- 
ing in Washington. This is the more remarkable in that the type form 
(Z. Iciicof^hrYs ) breeds extensively "thruout the high mountain districts of 
the western United States" (Ridgway), exclusive of Washington and Oregon, 
southward to the San Francisco Mountains of Arizona, "northward to north- 
ern California (Mount Shasta, etc.)." In view of this, one may feel free 
to suggest that the Camp Harney record'', referred to gainbclii, is really 
referable tO' the typical form, and that as such it represents a northern exten- 
sion r)f U'licophrys, rather than a southern extension of gainbclii. 



No. 54. 

NUTTALL'S SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 554 b. Zonotrichia leucophrys niittalli Ridgw. 

Synonyms. — Formerly called G.ambel's Sparrow. WhiTE-crowned Spar- 
row (name properly confined to Z. leucophrys). Crown Sparrow. 

Description. — .Idnlts: Like preceding but general tone of coloration much 
darker ; streaks of back and scapulars deepest brown or blackish ; general ground- 
color of upperparts light olive-gray; median crown-stripe narrower, dull white; 



a. Until the season of 1908. See ante under "Migrations."' 

b. "(?) Bendire, Proc. Bost. Soc. N. H. XIX., 1877, 118 (Camp Harney, e. Oregon, breeding)" 
(Ridgway;. 



136 



THE NUTTALL SPARROW. 




'^\\mv^V»>3\s. 



"A MILITARY GENTLEMAN' I.\' A GRAY CLOAK.- 

iinderparts more strongly washed with brownisli gray ; axillaries and bend of 
wing more strongly yellow; bill yellowish with dark tip. Immature: Similar to 
that of preceding form, but underparts yellowish; upperparts light olive buff; 
crown-stripe cinnamomeous, or pale chestnut. Very young birds are more 
extensively black-streaked above, and finely streaked below on chin, throat, chest, 
and sides ; bill brighter yellow ; feet paler. Length of adult males, 5.90-6.70 
(150-170); wing 2.95 (75); tail 2.83 (72); bill .43 (11); tarsus .93 (23.5). 
Females smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; black-and-white striping of crown 
distinctive in range : much darker than preceding. 

Nesting. — Nest: on ground or low in bushes; rarely in trees up to 25 feet; 
a rather pretentious structure of bark-strips, dead grass, and rootlets, with a 



THE NUTTALL SPARROW. 137 

lining of fine dead grass and horse-hair; measures externally 6 in. wide by 4 
deep ; internally 2^^ wide by I deep. Eyys: 4 or 5, pale bluish white, profusely 
dotted and spotted, or blotched, with varying shades of reddish brown. .A.v. size 
.86 X .64 (2i.8x 16.3). Scasiin: Last week in April, and May 25-June 10; two 
broods. 

General Range. — I'acific Coast district, breeding from Monterey, California, 
to Fort Simpson, British Columbia ; south in winter to San Pedro Alartir 
Mountains, Lower California. 

Range in Washington. — Of general distribution west of the Cascade 
Mountains at lower altitudes: casually winter resident. 

Migrations. — Spring: March 25-April I. 

Authorities. — Z. qanibelii Gambel, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, 
461. (T. ) C&S. L'.( ?) U. Rh. Kb. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P. B. BN. E. 

\\'HEX \-iiu enter a bit of shrul:>])er\' at the edge of town in May or 
June, vour intrusion is almost sure to be c|nestioned Ijv a military gentleman 
in a gray cloak witli black-and-white trimmings, ^'ciur Ijusiness ma_\' be 
personal, not puljlic, but somehow voti feel as if the authority of the law had 
been invoked, and that vou would better be careful bow you condtict yourself 
in the ]3resence of this militarv person. L^suallv retiring, the Xuttall Siiarrow 
courts exposure where the welfare of his family is in question, and a metallic 
scolding note, ziuk. or d.cink. is made to do incessant service on such occasions. 
A thorol}- aroused pair, worms in beak, and crests uplifted, may voice their 
suspicions for half an hour from fir-tip and brusli-pile, without once dis- 
closing the whereabouts of their young. 

Nuttall's Sparrow is the familiar spirit of l>rush-lots, fence tangles, berry 
patches, and half-open situations in general. He is among the last to quit 
tlie confines of the city before the advancing ranks of apartment bouses and 
sky-scrapers, and be maintains stoutly any vantage ground of vacant lot, 
disordered hedge-row, or neglected swamplet left to him. After the Rusty 
Song Sparrow, be is perhaps the commonest Sparrow in western Washing- 
ton — imquestionably so within tlie borders of settlement. 

As a songster this Sparrow is not a conspicuous success, altlKj be works 
at his trade with commendable diligence. He chooses a prominent station, 
such as the topmost sprig of a fir sapling, and holds forth at regular intervals 
in a prosy, iterative ditty, from which the slight musical quality vanishes 
with distance. Hee ho. dice wcc. dice zvce dice wccc and Hcc. xciidgc, 
i-tcitdgc i-zi'itdgc i-wcccc are vocalized examples. The preliminary lice ho 
is sometimes clear and sweet enough to prepare one's ear for the Vesper 
Sparrow's strain, liut the succeeding syllables are tasteless, and the trill with 
which the effort concludes has a wooden quality which we may overlook in 



138 



THE NUTTALL SPARROW. 



a friend but sliould certainly ridicule in 
a stranger. We are Inniililed in view of 
the \ocal limitations of this bird when 
we recall that the V(jice oi the White- 
crowned Sparrow (Z. Icucuf^hrysJ , of 
which ours is a local race, is noted for 
its sweet, pure quality. Surely our bird 
has caught a bad cold. 

In selecting a nesting site, the Nuttall 
displays a marked difference of taste 
from the Rusty Song Sparrow,- in that 
it selects a drv situation. The first nest, 
prepared during the third week in April, 
is almost invariably built upon the 
ground. A slight hollow^ is scratched at 
the base of a bush or sapling, and a 
rather pretentious structure of bark strips, 
dried grasses and rootlets is reared, with 
a lining of fine grass and horse-hair. A 
nest found on Flat-top was set in high 
grass at the foot of a tiny oak sapling, 
and was composed externally of dried 
yarrow leaves with a few coarse grasses ; 
internally of fine coiled grass of a very 
light color, supplemented by four or five 
white gull feathers. The eggs, four or 
five in number, are of a handsome light 
green shade, and are hea\-ily dotted, spotted, or blotched 
with reddish brown. 

A second set is prepared a month or so later than the first, and occa- 
siiinally a third. Second nests are Imilt, as likely as not, in bushes or trees ; 
and Mr. Bowles has taken them as high as twenty-five feet from the ground, 
"^'iiung birds lack the parti-colored head-stripes of the adult, altho the 
pattern is sketched in browns ; and they are best identified by the unfailing- 
solicitude of the parents, which attends their every movement. They are 
rather bumptious little creatures for all ; a company of them romping about 
a pasture fence brings a wholesome recollection of school-boy days, and there 
are girls among them, too, for my! how they giggle! 




Tahen in Seattle. Flioto by the Autt-iOy 

FEMALE i\UTT.\LL SPARROW. 



green or ijluish 



THE MOUNTAIN SONG SPARROW. 139 

No. 55. 
MOUNTAIN SONG SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 581 1). Melospiza melodia montana ( Henshaw). 

Description". — .Idiills: Crown dull bay streaked with black and divided by 
ashy-gray median stripe; rufous brown post-ocular and rictal stripes, enclosing 
grayish-brown auriculars; remaining upperparts ashy-gray varied by reddisli 
brown, the gray due to broad edgings of feathers and occupying from one-half 
to two-thirds the total area according to season, feathers of back and scapulars 
sharp!}' streaked with blackish centrally ; wings and tail brown varied by minor 
markings and edgings of dusky, brownish gray and ashy-gray ; below white, or 
sordid, heavily streaked on sides of throat, breast and sides by blackish and 
rufous, markings wedge-shaped, tear-shaped or elongated, confluent on sides of 
throat as maxillar)' stripes and often on center of breast as indistinct blotch. Bill 
horn-color above, lighter below : feet pale brown, toes darker; iris brown. Young: 
Like adults but duller, all markings less sharply defined, streaks of underparts 
narrower. Length of adult male (skins): 6.00 (150); wings 2.73 (69.3); tail 
2.74 (69.6); bill .48 (12.2); tarsus .88 (22.4). 

Recognition Marks. — S]3arrow size; heavy streaking of breast and back, 
with varied head iiuirkiugs, distinctive; lighter, grayer and more sharply streaked 
as compared with jl/. ;;/. iiicnilli. 

Nesting. — As next. 

General Range. — "Rocky Mountain district of the L^nited States west to 
and including the Sierra Nevada, in California; north to eastern C)regon, southern 
Idaho and southern Montana ; south in winter to western Texas and northern 
Mexico" (Ridgway). Probably also north into British Columbia and south- 
western Alberta. 

Range in Washington. — [Migrant and winter resident along eastern borders. 

Authorities. — ? Snodgrass, Auk, XX. 1903, 207. W. T. Shaw in cpist. Dec. 
31, 1908. Sr? 

Specimens. — P'(32 spec). 

WHETHER or not the Song Sparrows of northern IMontana and eastern 
British Columbia are typical iiioiitaiia. the doctors must settle; but certain 
it is that sparrows of a type decidedly lighter, that is, ashier, in coloration, 
than our incrriUi. pass thru our eastern borders during migrations. Of such 
a bird, examined narr(:iwl\- at vSpokane on November 4, 1905. my note-book 
says (com]jaring at e\'ery point with uicrrilli) ; "Ashy gray and brown of 
head strongly contrasting; ashy of Ijack and scapulars very extensive, brown 
areas of feathers not exceeding one-third their total width; underparts clearer 
white; streaking lighter rusty and more sharply defined, more narrow on 
sides." 



a. Based upon that of Mclospica melodia from which it differs slightly in proportions but chiefly in 
grayer coloration. The measurements are those of Ridgway, Birds of N. & M, A., Vol. I., p. 358. 



I40 THE MERRILL SONG SPARROW. 

No. 56. 
MERRILL'S SONG SPARROW. 

A. O. L'. No. 581 k. Melospiza melodia merrilli ( JJrewsterJ. 

Synonyms. — Dusky Song Spakkcjw. Sil\Hr-TOngue. 

Description. — Characters intermediate between those of ill. in. iiioiitana and 
M. III. iiiorphiui. In general, darker than precechng with plumage more blended, 
proportion of gray in back aljout one-third ; lighter than next, not so brown, 
strcakings more distinct. 

Nesting. — Nest: a substantial structure of twigs, grasses, coiled bark-strips, 
dead leaves, etc. : lined carefully with fine dead grass, rootlets or horse-hair, placed 
indifferently in bushes or on the ground. Eggs: 4-6, usually 5, greenish-, grayish-, 
or bluish-white, heavily spotted and blotched with reddish browns which some- 
times conceal the background. Av. size .83 x .61 (21x15.5). Season: April- 
July ; two or three broods. 

General Range. — The eastern slopes of the Cascades from northern Cali- 
fornia to southern llritisli Ci)lumbia, east (at least) to northern Idaho. 

Range in Washington. — East-side — theoretically inclusive. Specimens from 
the central valleys of the Cascades may be called iiiovphna and those from the 
Palouse country uiontana, at pleasure. 

Authorities.— Af. fasciata guttata, Brewster, Bull. Nutt. Orn. Club, \'1I. 
1882, 22J, 229. D'. Ss". J. 

Specimens. — P'. 

THIS, the connecting link between uiontana and inorf^lina. is the char- 
acteristic Song Sparrow of eastern Washington, and abounds along timbered 
water courses and in all cultivated districts. While closely resembling the 
Rust\- Song Sparrow of the West-side, it may be distinguished from it by 
the sharper color pattern of its plumage; and the points of divergence from 
inontana are maintained with substantial uniformity, at least along the 
eastern slopes of the Cascades, and in tlie northern tier of counties. 

Altho suljjected to considerable rigors in winter, this si)ecies is partially 
resident, being largely confined during the cold season to the shelter of tule 
beds, wild rose thickets, clematis bowers, and the like. Nesting begins about 
the second week in April and continues with undiminished ardor till July 
or August. Incubation recjuires twelve days, and the young are ready to 
fly in as many more, so that a devoted pair is able to raise three and some- 
times four broods in a season. 

At this rate we should lie overrun with Song Sparrows if there were 
not so many agencies to hold the species in check. A young Song Sparrow 



THE MERRILL SONG SPARROW. 



141 



is the choice morsel of ex'erything that prevs, — cats, skunks, weasels, chip- 
munks. Sharp-shinned Hawks, Crows, Magpies, Black-headed Jays, and garter 
snakes. How would this motley company fare were it not for the annual 
crop of Song Sparrows? And the wonder of it is that the brave heart 
holds out and sings its song of trust and love with the ruins of three nests 
behind it and the har\'est not vet past. 




Taken iu Oregon. 



I'lioto by A. W. Anthony. 



A profe:ssion.-\l oologist. 



A little glimpse of Nature's prodigality in this regard was afiforded by 
a pair which nested on my grounds in the Ahtanum A^allev. On the 4th 
of June I came upon a nest in a rose l_)ush, containing four \-oung just 
hatched, and these almost immediately disaiipeared — a second, or possiblv 
a third, attempt for tlie season. On July 4lh in an adjoining clump the 
same pair was discovered with three well-fledged young, which, for aught 
I know, reached days of self-dependence. On July 24th a nest was found 
some twenty feet away containing four eggs, which I knew, l:)oth bv the 
familiar notes and by elimination, to belong to this pair ; but the nest was 
empty on the day following. 

At tlie beginning of the season nests are frequently made upon the 
ground under cover of old vegetation, or at the base of protecting bush 
clumps in swamps. Occasional ground nests may also be found thruout 
the season. One seen at Stehekin on August T^d was nestled looselv in a 
recumbent potato vine. At other times any situation in bush or tree, up 
to twenty feet, is acceptable, if only within con\'enient reach of water. A 



142 THE RUSTY SONG SPARROW. 

favorite building site is amid the debris of last _vear"s tlood water, caught 
in the willow clumps of creek or lagoon. With high Ijoots one may wade 
the bed of a brushy creek near Yakima and count certainly on Hnding a 
Merrill S<->ng Sparrow's nest every five or ten rods. 



No. 57. 

RUSTY SONG SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 581 e. Melospiza melodia morphna Oberholser. 

Description. — .-idiilts: Somewhat like M. in. inontana but coloration much 
more rufcscent, general color of upperparts rich rusty brown, ashy gray of M. in. 
inontana represented by rusty olive and this reduced or (in some plumages) 
almost wanting; black mesial streaks of scapulars, etc., much reduced, indistinct 
or sometimes wanting: underparts heavily and broadly streaked with chestnut 
usually without black shaft lines ; sides and flanks washed with olivaceous. 
"Young, slightly rufescent bister brown above, the back streaked with blackish, 
beneath dull whitish or very pale bufify grayish, the chest, sides and flanks more 
or less tinged with bufify or pale fulvous and streaked with sooty brownish" 
(Ridgway). Length about 6.40 (162.5); wing 2.60 (66); tail 2.56 (65); bill 
.50 ( 12.7 ) ; tarsus .67 (17). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; rusty brown coloration; heavily spot- 
ting of underparts distinctive save for the PassercUa iliaca group from which it 
is further distinguished by smaller size and varied head markings. 

Nesting. — Nest: As in preceding. Eggs: usually 4, averaging darker in 
coloration and larger than in M. in. mcrriUi. Av. size, .87 x .63 (22.1x16). 
Season: second week in April to July; two or three broods. 

General Range. — "Breeding from extreme southern portion of Alaska 
through British Columbia (including Vancouver Island) to western Oregon 
(north of Rogue River Mountains) ; in winter, south to southern California (Fort 
Tejon, etc.)"' (Ridgway). 

Range in Washington. — Common resident west of the Cascades; f(iund 
chieflv in vicinity of water. 

Authorities. — ? Audubon, Orn. Biog. \. 1839, 22. M. rufina. Baird, Rep. 
Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, p. 481. (T). CSjS. L'. Rh. Kb. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P. Prov. B. BN. E. 

IF ONE were to write a book about the blessings of common things, 
an early chapter must needs be devoted to the Song Sparrow. How blessed 
a thing it is that we do not all of tis have to go to greenhouses for our 
flowers, nor to foreign shores for birds. Why, there is more lavish love- 
liness in a dandelion than there is in an imported orchid; and I fancy we 
should tire of the Nightingale, if we had to exchange for him our sweet 
poet of common day, the Song Sparrow. 



THE RUSTY SONG SPARROW. 



143 




SOXG SPARROW ASLEEP. 



Familiar he certainly is; for while he has none of the vulgar obtrnsive- 
ness of Passer douicsticus, nor confesses any love for mere bricks and 
mortar, there is not a weedy back lot outside of the iire limits which he has 
not gladdened with his presence, nor a disordered wood-pile or Ijrush-heap 
which he has not explored. Much 
lurking under cover in time of rain 
has darkened his plumage beyond 
that of the eastern bird, and close 
association with the fallen monarchs 
of the forest has reddened it, until 
he himself looks like a rusty frag- 
ment of a mouldering fir log. 

It is as a songster, however, that 
we know this sparrow best. Silver- 
tongue's melody is like sunshine, 
bountiful and free and ever grate- 
ful. Mounting some bush or up- 
turned root, he greets his childish 
listeners with "Peace, peace, peace 
be unto you, my children.'' And 
that is his message to all the world, 
"Peace, and good-will." Once we 
sat stormbound at the mouth of our tent, and, mindful of the unused 
cameras, grumbled at the eternal drizzle. Whereupon the local poet flitted 
to a favorite perch on a stump hard by, and, throwing back his head, sang, 
with sympathetic earnestness, "Cheer up! Cheer up! Count your many 
mercies nozi.':" Of course he did say e.xactly that, and the childish emphasis 
he put upon the last word set us to laughing, my i^artner and me, until there 
was no more thought of complaint. 

Even in winter the brave-hearted bird avails himself of the slightest 
pretext — an hour of sunlight or a rise of temperature — to mount a busli 
and rehearse his cheerful lay. The song is not continuous, but it is fre- 
quently repeated thru periods of several minutes, and is followed by little 
intervals of placid contemplation. 

But no matter how gentle a bird's disposition may be. there is ample 
use, alack! for the note of warning and distrust. When, therefore, the 
Song Sparrow's nesting haunts are invaded, the bird emits a chip or cliirp. 
still musical, indeed, but very anxious. In winter the resident birds denv 
themselves even this characteristic cry: and, except for the occasional out- 
bursts of full song, they are limited to a high nasal tss. which seems to 
serve the purpose of a flocking, or recognition, call. Song Sparrows are 
not really gregarious birds ; nor are they even seen in close pro.ximity save 



144 THE RUSTY SONG SPARROW. 

in mating time: but they like to assure tliemselves, ne\'ei"theless, that a dozen 
of their fellows are within call against a time of need. 

Silver-tongue is a bird of the ground and contiguous le\-els. When 
hiding, he does not seek the depths of the foliage in trees, but skulks among 
the dead leaves on the ground, or even threads his way thru log heaps. If 
driven from one covert, the bird dashes to another with an odd jerking 
flight, working its tail like a pump-handle, as tho to assist progress. Ordi- 
narilv the bird is not fearful, altho retiring i.n disposition. Apart from the 
haunts of men the Song Sparrow of western Washington is closely attached 
to the water; and is not to be looked for sa\e in damp woods, in swamps, 
in the \icinity of open water, whether of lake or ocean, or along the brushy 
margins of streams. Indeed, its habits are beginning to assume a slightly 
acjuatic character. Not only does it plash about carelessly in shallow water, 
but it sometimes seizes and de\'ours small minnows. 

Save in favored localities, such as the margins of a tule swamp, nests 
of the Rusty Song Sparrow are not obtrusively common. "Back East," 
in a season of all around nesting, about one-fifth of the nests found would 
be those of the Song Sparrow. Not so r)n Puget Sound; for, altho the 
birds are common, heavy cover is ten times nir)re common, and I would 
sooner undertake to find a dozen Warblers' nests than as many Song- 
Sparrows'. Nesting begins about A]iril ist, at which time nests are com- 
monlv built upon the ground or in a tussock of grass or tules. The end 
of a log, o\ershadowed Iw growing ferns, is a favorite place later in the 
season ; while brush-heaps, bushes, fir saplings, trees, or clambering \'ines, 
such as ivy and clematis, are not despised. 

Tlic eggs, Mr. Bowles finds, are almost invariably four in number, as 
in a \'erv large number of sets examined only one contained five eggs. 
Thev are of a light greenish blue in ground color, and are spotted and 
blotched hea\-ilv and irregularly with reddish browns, especially aliout the 
larsfer end. Several broods are raised each season. 

The Rustv Song Sparrow, because of its alnmdance in winter, affords 
the impression of being strictly a resident ])ird in western \\^ashington. Such 
mav be the case with a majority of the individuals, but there is still evidence 
of a southward movement of the race, the place of local birds being supplied 
in winter partlv bv British C<ilumbia birds, which show a heavier and more 
uniformlv blended type of plumage, a]iproaching that of il/. r. nifiiin. 



THE SOOTY SONG SPARROW. 145 



No. 58. 

SOOTY SONG SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 581 f. Melospiza melodia rufina (Bonap.). 

Description. — Similar to il/. iii. iiwrphiia but larger and with coloration 
darker, more blended; general color of upperparts deep sooty brown or bister, 
brightening on greater wing-coverts and tertials ; back obscurely streaked with 
darker; median crown-stripe obsolete or at least indistinct; streaking of under- 
parts dark brown. Length 6.50 (165) or over; wing 2.75 (70) ; tail 2.64 (67) ; 
bill .48 (12.3); tarsus ,92 (23.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size: dark brown coloration; plumage of 
upperparts blended, almost uniform. Requires careful distinction from PasscvcUa 
but is smaller and variegation of head still traceable. 

Nesting. — As in preceding. Does not breed in Washington. 

General Range. — "Southern Alaska (islands and coast) ; north to Cross 
Sound. Cilacier Bay, Lynn Canal, etc. ; south to north side of Dixon Entrance, 
in winter to coast of British Columbia, Vancouver Island, and northwestern 
Washington (Olympic Mountains)" (Ridgway ). 

Range in Washington. — Winter resident in northwestern portion of State — 
not common. 

Authorities. — M. cincrca rufina (Brandt), Ridgway, Birds of North and 
Middle America, A^ol L p. 374. E. 
Specimens. — Prov. E. 

THESE larger and darker birds reach our northern borders in winter 
only, having retired thus far from their home in southern Alaska. Their 
demeanor while with us is even more modest than that of the local Silver- 
tongue ; and when one is stalking the dank woods of Whatcom County on 
the qui z'iz'c for varieties, it requires a second glance to distinguish this Song 
Sparrow, witli its softl}' blended plumage, from a winter Fox Sparrow. 



No. 59. 
LINCOLN'S SPARROW. 

A. O. LT. No. 583. Melospiza lincolnii (Aud.). 

Synonyms. — Lincoln's Song Sparrow. Lincoln Finch. 

Description. — Adults: Above, much like M. mdodia uioutana, but crown 
brighter rufous, and with more decided black markings ; back browner and more 
broadly and smartly streaked with black ; the gray of back sometimes with a 
bluish and sometimes with an olivaceous tinge ; below, throat and belly white, the 
former never i|uite immaculate, but with small arrow-shaped black marks ; sides 



146 THE LINCOLN SPARROW. 



of head and neck and remaining nndcrparts creamy buff, ever3'\vhere marked by 
elongated and sharply defined black streaks ; usually an abrupt dusky spot on 
center of breast ; bill blackish above, lighter below, feet brownish. Length about 
5.75 (146.1): av. of six specimens: wing 2.48 (63); tail 2. 11 (53.6); bill 
.40 ( 10.2). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size ; bears general resemblance to Song 
Sparrow, from which it is clearly distinguished by buft'y chest-band, and liy nar- 
row, sharp streaks of breast and sides. 

Nesting. — Xcst: much like that of Rusty Song Sparrow, of dried grasses, 
etc., usually on ground, rarely in bushes. Eijgs: 3 or 4, greenish white spotted 
and blotched with chestnut and grayish. Av. size, .80 x .58 ( 20.3 x 14.7). Season: 
June, July : two ( ? ) broods. 

General Range. — North .\merica at large breeding chiefly north of the 
United States (at least as far as the Yukon Valley) and in the higher parts of 
the Rockv Mountains and the Cascade-Sierras; south in winter to Panama. 

Range in Washington. — Imperfectly made out — probaljly not rare sjiring 
and fall migrant, at least west of the Cascades ; found breeding in the Rainier 
National Park. 

Authorities.— ["Lincoln's Finch." Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 (1885), 
22.] Bowles and Dawson, Auk, XX\'. Oct. 1908, p. 483. 

Specimens. — (U. of W.) Prov. B. 

MODESTY is a beautiftil trait, and, I suppose, if we had always to 
choose between the brazen arrogance of the English Sparrow and the shy 
timorousness of this bird-afraid-of-his-shadow, we should feel obliged to 
accept the latter. But why should a bird of such inconspicuous color steal 
silently thru our forests and slink along our streams w'ith bated breath as 
if in mortal dread of the human eye? Are we then such holigloblins? 

Thrice only ha\-e I seen this bird, and then in mirthcrn Ohio. On tlie 
first occasion two of us followed a twinkling suspicion along a shadowy 
woodland stream for upwards of a hundred yards. Finally we neared the 
edge of the woods. There was light ! exposure ! recognition ! ^\'ith an 
inward groan the flitting shape quitted the last brush-pile and rose twenty 
feet to a tree-limb. Just an instant — but enough for our purpose — and he 
had whisked over our heads, hot-wing upon the dusky back trail. That 
same May day we came upon a little company of these Sparrows halted by 
the forbidding aspect of Lake Erie, and dallying for the nonce in the dense 
thickets which skirted a sluggish tributary. Here they skulked like moles, 
and it was only by patient endeavor that we were able to cut out a single 
bird and constrain it to intermittent exposure at the edge of the stream. 
Here, at intervals, from the opposite bank, we eagerly took note of its head- 
stripes, pale streaked breast, and very demure airs, and listened to snatches 
of a sweet but very weak song, with which tlie bird favored us in spite of 



THE LINCOLN SPARROW. 



147 



our "persecution." Is it any wonder that the Lincohi Sparrow is so Httle 
known to fame? 

While rated a regular summer resident of British America and Alaska, 
Lincoln's Sparrow has also been found breeding in the mountains of eastern 
Oregon, California, Utah, and Colorado. It ought, therefore to occur in 
Washington : but we have only to shrug our shoulders and say with the 
lawyer, noii est iui'ditiis. Indeed, the only positive record we have of the 
bird's occurrence at any season is that of a specimen taken by A. Gordon 
Bowles, Jr., in W^right's Park, Tacoma, May 22, iqo6. 

So much penned in good 
faith in April, 1908. In 
June of the same year the 
good fairy of the bird-man 
piloted him to a spot where 
the Lincoln Sparrows were. 
so numerously and so thor- 
oly at home, that he began 
to wonder whether he 
might not have been dream- 
ing after all for the past 
quarter of a century. Ten 
or a dozen pairs were 
foutid occupying the well- 
known swamp at Longmire's 
Springs. On the 30th of 
June they were much more 
in evidence than the Rusty 
Song Sparrows, which occu- 
pied the same grassy fast- 
nesses; and altho the 
females were not done wait- 
ing on overgrown babies, 
the males were loudly urg- 
ing their second suits. 

The song of the Lincoln 
Sparrow is of a distinctly musical order, being gushing, vivacious, and 
wren-like in quality, rather than lisping and wooden, like so many of our 
sparrow songs. Indeed, the bird shows a much stronger relationship in 
song to the Purple Finch than to its immediate congeners, the Song 
Sparrows. The principal strain is gurgling, rolling, and spontaneous, and 
the bird has ever the trick of adding two or three inconsequential notes at 
the end of his ditty, quite in approved Purple Finch fashion. "Liiikit/^, 




Taken at 

Longmire^s 

Springs. 






LINCOLN'S SONG SPARROW. 

ALLAN BROOKS AFTER PHOTO BY THE AUTHOR. 



148 THE KADIAK FOX SPARROW. 

linkup pcrly z^'crly n'illic ivillic ivccce (dim.)" said one; "Rigylc, jiggle, cct 
eet eet ccr oor," another. "Clic zvilly zvilly zvilly die quill"; "Lcc Ice Ice 
quilly nilly ivilly," and other such, came with full force and freshness at a 
hundred yards to the listeners on the back porch at Longmire's. 

When studied in the swamp, the Lincoln Finches were found to be 
more reluctant than Song Sparrows to expose themselves, but one pair, 
anxious for their young, sat out against a clear sky again and again. The 
bird was seen occasionally to erect its crown feathers in inquiry or excite- 
ment, as do Chipping Sparrow, Nuttall Sparrow, ct al. A Yellow Warbler, 
stumbling into the manorial bush, was set upon furiously ; but she made off 
philosophically, knowing that her punishment was after the accepted code. 
A Rustv Song Sparrow, however, was allowed to sit quietly at a foot's 
remove, not, apparently, because he was so much bigger, nor even because 
nearer of kin, but rather because of common parental anxiety. The contrast 
here was instructive; the Lincoln Sparrow being not only smaller but more 
lightly colored and with a sharp-cut streakiness of plumage. A comparison 
of many examples showed the similarity of head pattern between the two 
Sparrows to be very noticeable, while the buffy tinge of the Lincoln's breast 
would appear to be one of its least constant marks. 

An alleged sub-species, Forbush's Sparrow, M. I. striata. "Similar to 
M. lincolni l.iut superciliary stripes and upperparts more strongly olivaceous, 
and dark streaks especially on back and upper tail-coverts, coarser, blacker, 
and more numerous," has been ascribed to British Columbia and western 
Washington, but the material at liand is meager and inconclusive, and the 
proposed form has been passed upon ad\'ersely by Ridgway. 



No. 60. 
KADIAK FOX SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 585 a (part). Passerella iliaca insularis Ridgway. 

[Description of Passerella iliaca unalaschensis ( Shumagin Fox Sparrow). — 
Adults: "Pileum and hindneck brownish gray or grayish brown fnearly hair 
brown) passing into clear gray (mouse gray or smoke gray) on superciliary 
region and sides of neck; auricular region brownish gray, with narrow and indis- 
tinct shaft streaks of whitish ; back, scapulars, and rump plain hair brown ; greater 
wing-coverts, tertials and upper tail-coverts dull cinnamon brown, the rest of 
wings intermediate between the last named color and color of back, except edges 
of outermost primaries, which are pale hair brown ; underparts white, the fore- 
neck, sides of throat (submalar region), chest, and sides of breast marked with 
triangular spots of deep grayish brown or drab ; the flanks broadly streaked or 
striped with the same (both sides and flanks mostly grayish brown laterally) : 



THE KADIAK FOX SPARROW. 149 

malar region white flecked with grayish brown ; under tail-coverts grayish brown 
centrally, broadly margined with white or buffy white; middle of throat and 
breast usually with a few small spots of brown ; maxilla dusky on culmen, paler 
on tomia ; mandible pale colored (yellowish in winter, pinkish or liliaceous in 
summer) ; iris brown; legs and feet brown" (Ridgway).] 

Description. — "Similar to P. i. uiialaschciisis but much browner and more 
uniform in color above (back, etc., warm sepia brown instead of grayish brown or 
brownish gray) ; spots on chest, etc., larger and deeper brown; under tail coverts 
more strongly tipped with buff" (Ridgway ). Length of adult male (skins) : 6.78 
(172.5) ; wing 3.30 (83.8) ; tail 2.92 (74.1) ; bill .50 ( 12.7 i ; tarsus 1.02 (25.9). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; uniform brownish coloration of back; 
underparts heavily spotted with brown; broicncr than iinalaschcnsis but duller 
than fo-L^iiscndi: larger than aniicctcns: color of crown unbroken as compared 
with Rusty Song Sparrow (Mclospica incJodia luorphna), also bird larger. 

General Range. — "Kadiak Island, Alaska, in summer ; in winter south along 
the coast slope to southern California." 

Range in Washington. — \\'inter resident and migrant west of Cascades. 

Authorities. — Passerella tozvnsendii Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858. 
p. 489 part I, Whitbeys Id., winter). — Fide Ridgway. 

A singular fatality (or, more strictlv, i^'ant of fatality) has attended our 
efforts to secure a representative series of migrating Fox Sparrows on Puget 
Sound. The birds have only revealed themselves in city parks or otherwise in 
the absence of a gun. It is practically certain that all the Alaskan forms described 
by ]\Ir. Ridgway occur here regularly in winter and during migrations but so 
unobtrusive are the birds and so dense the cover afforded that we have been 
completely baffled in our attempts, and find ourselves obliged, at the last moment, 
to fall back upon Mr. Ridgway's original descriptions in Birds of North and 
Middle America, \'ol. I. (p. 389 ff ), and for the use of these we desire again to 
express our grateful obligations. 

For additional remarks on the Shumagin Fo.x Sparrow {P. i. iinalaschcnsis) 
and the Yakutat Fox Sparrow (P. /s auncctcnsj see Hypothetical List in Volume 
II. of this work. 

FIELD identification of the Fox Sparrows by means of binocular.s 
may not command tlie respect of precise scientists. But there he sat, placid, 
at twenty feet, in a well-lighted grove on the Xisqually Flats, on the loth 
day of February, 1906. See; twenty divided by eight (the magnifying 
power of the glasses ) equals two and a half. At arm's length I held him, 
wliile I noted that tlie upperparts were dull hair-brown thriiout, not notice- 
ably brightening on wings and tail but perhaps a shade darker on the crown ; 
underparts heavily but clearly spotted with a warmer brown — so, obviously 
and indisputably, neither a Sooty nor a Townsend. Shumagin (P. i. una- 
laschcnsis) perhaps ; but Ridgway^ enters all Puget Sound winter records 
as Kadiaks, and we must follow the gleam until we are able to perfect the 
light of our own little lanterns by the flash of a shot-gun. 



a. Birds of North and Mid. Am., Vol. I., p. 391. 



ISO THE TOWNSEND SPARROW. 

No. 6i. 

TOWNSEND'S SPARROW. 



A. O. U. No. 585a (part). Passerella iliaca townsendi (Aiululjon). 

[Description of P. i. anucctcns (Yakutat Fox Sparrow). — "Similar to P. i. 
insnlaris but smaller ( the bill especially ) and coloration slightly browner" 
(Ridgw.).] 

Description. — Adults: Similar to P. i. anucctcns but coloration darker and 
richer (inclining to chestnut brown); spots on chest, etc., larger. "Above deep 
Vandyke brown, duller (more sooty) on pileum, more reddish (inclining to burnt 
umber or dark chestnut brown) on upper tail-coverts and tail; sides of head deep 
sooty brown, the lores dotted, the auricular region finely streaked, with dull 
whitish : general color of underparts white, but everywhere spotted or streaked 
with deep chestnut brown or vandyke brown, the spots mostly of triangular 
( deltoid and cuneate ) form, very heavy and more or less confluent on chest, 
smaller on throat and breast; sides and flanks almost uniform deep brown, the 
latter tinged with buiify or pale tawny, under tail-coverts deep olive or olive-brown 
broadly margined with buffy or pale fulvous." Length of adult male (skins) : 
6.67 (169.4); wing 3.17 (80.5); tail 2.78 (70.6); bill .47 (11.9); tarsus 
i.oo (25.4). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; warm brown ( nearl}- uniform) colora- 
tion of upper]xirts ; heavy spotting of chest, etc. Absence of distinctive head 
markings will distinguish bird from local Song Sparrows, and robust form with 
conical beak from migrating Hermit Thrushes. 

Nesting. — As next. Does not breed in Washington. 

General Range. — "Coast district of southern Alaska (islands and coast of 
mainland from southern side of Cross Sound, Lynn Canal, etc., to north side of 
Dixon Entrance) ; in winter, south to northern California" (Ridgway). 

Range in Washington. — Common migrant and (possibly) winter resident 
west of Cascades. 

Authorities. — ? Friugilla tozcnscndi Audubon, C)rn, Biog. Y. 1839, 236, pi. 
424, fig. 7 (Columbia River). Townsend, Narrative (1839), p. 345. Passerella 
tozvnsendii. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, p. 489. C&S. Ra. Kk. B. 
E(H). 

Specimens. — ( U. of W.) Prov. B. C. 

TIME was when all the \-arious Fox Sparrows of the Pacific North- 
west were lumped together under the name Townsend's Sparrow. A more 
critical age, however, under the leadership of Professor Ridgway, has 
resolved the bewildering array of shifting browns into five forms, or sub- 
si)ecies, assigning to each summer quarters according to the dullness or 
brightness of its coat. The end is not yet, of course, but the distinctions 
already made are sufficiently attenuated to cause the public to yawn. Suffice 
it to say, that this is one of the plastic species long resident on the Pacific 



THE TOWNSEND SPARROW. 151 

Coast; ami that the varying conditions of rainfall and temperature, to which 
the birds have been subjected thruout the greater portion of the year, have 
given rise to five recognizable forms of the Townsend Sparrow. 

Probably all forms are migrator}', but the northernmost member of the 
group, the Shumagin Fox Sparrow (P. i. inialascliciisis) has not been taken 
except in its summer home, the Alaska Peninsula, Unalaska, and the Shu- 
magins. The remaining four are known to retire in winter as far south as 
California: but whether they preserve the 2. 3, 4. 5, arrangement in winter, 
or whether the order is roughly reversed (as is true in the case of certain 
other species), so that number 2 goes farthest south, while number 5, less 
anxious as to the se^-erities of winter, migrates, as it were, half-heartedly, 
and becomes for a time the northernmost form, we cannot tell. However 
this may be, Townsend's Sparrow proper (P. i. toxvnscndi) appears to out- 
number any of the remoter forms during at least the spring migrations; and 
because it is our next neighbor on the nortli, should be entitled to more 
consideration than plain heathen birds. 

At no time does the absorpti\-e power of our matchless Puget Sound 
cover appear to greater advantage than during the migration of the Fox 
Sparrows. However tliey may choose to move at night, by day they frequent 
the dense tangles of salal and salmon lirusli. or skulk about in cedar swamps. 
To search for them is useless, but if you are much out-of-doors the time 
will come, while you are footing it softly along some woodland path, that 
a demure Itrown ])ird will hop out in front of vou and look unconcernedly 
for tid-bits before your very eyes. The bird is a little larger than a Song 
Sparrow, but you will require a second glance to note that the colors of the 
upperparts are smoothly blended, that the head lacks the \-ague stripiness 
of Mclospiza, and that the underparts are spotted instead of streaked. Or, 
it may be. that you chance upon him as he is busily scratching among the 
fallen alder leaves. Scratching is hardlv the word tho. for the bird leaps 
forward and e.Kecutes an extravagant double kick backward, landing in- 
variably at the edge of the cleared space. Here, without a moment's delay, 
he proceeds to glean liusily, whereas you rather expected him to pause at 
the end of his stunt, like the acrobat, awaiting the con\-entional burst of 
applause. If }-ou must needs pursue the path, he hops back into the thicket 
and you have seen, perhaps, your last Fo.x Sparrow for this year, altho his 
nu'grating kinsmen must number millions. 



152 THE SOOTY FOX SPARROW. 



No. 62. 

SOOTY FOX SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 585a (part). Passerella iliaca fiiliginosa Ridgway. 

Description. — .Idiilts: Upperparts, sides of head, neck, and lateral under- 
parts nearly nniform dark brown (sepia brown — "sooty" not inappropriate), 
warming slightly upon exposed surfaces of wings and upon rump and outer 
edges of rectrices ; below white save for under tail-coverts, which have clear 
huffy wash, everywhere save on middle belh' heavily marked with large, chiefly 
triangular, spots of the color of back or darker — spotting heaviest on breast 
where nearly confluent. Bill black above shading on sides into yellow of lower 
mandible; feet pale ruddy brown or wine-color. Length (of a single fresh 
specimen) 7.45 (191.7) ; wing ( av. ) 3.21 (81.5) ; tail 2.91 (y/) ; bill .48 (12.2) ; 
tarsus 1.02 (25.9). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow to Chewink size; uniform sooty brown col- 
oration of head and u])perparts ; heavily spotted below with sepia or blackish ; 
darker above and more heavily spotted below than any migrant form of the 
P. i. iiualascliciisis group. 

Nesting. — Nest: a bulky structure with a broad, flat brim, of mosses, grasses, 
twigs, woody fibers, weed-stalks, often heavily lined with fine dry grass of 
contrasting color and witli an inner mat of fur, hair or feathers ; placed at 
moderate heights in thickets or saplings ; measures externally 6 inches across 
by 3 deep, internally 23/^ across by 1% deep. Eggs: 4. greenish blue, spotted, 
or spotted and clouded, with reddish brown. Av. size, .94 x .68 (23.8x17.3). 
Season: May-July; two broods. 

General Range. — Summer resident in coast region of British Columbia and 
northwestern \\'asliington ; in winter south along the coast to San Francisco. 

Range in Washington. — Breeding on the San Juan Islands and upon the 
northern and western shores of the Olympic Peninsula ; not uncommon migrant 
on Puget Sound. 

Authorities. — ( ?) Baird, Rep. Pac, etc., 489 part; ( ?) Cooper and Suckley 
Rep. Pac, etc., 204 part; ( ?) Sclater Cat. Am. Birds, 1862, 119 part (Simiahmoo 
[sic]) ; Ridgway, Auk, XVI. Jan. 1899, 36 (Neah Bay). Kb. E. 

Specimens. — Prov. BN. E. 

THE mystery of the Fox Sparrow clears a little as we move northward 
on Puget Sound, and may even resolve itself one day as we spend a lazy 
July in camp on one of the San Juan islands. We are puzzled, as the tent 
pegs are being driven, by certain sprightly songs bursting out now here, now 
there, from the copse. We labor under a sence of avian surveillance as we 
gather fuel from the beach, but the songs are too joyous and limpid to make 
precise connections with anything in previous experience. It is not till the 
cool of the evening, when we seek the spring, back in the depths of the 
thicket, that we come upon a fair birdmaiden slyly regaling lierself upon a 



THE SOOTY FOX SPARROW. 



153 



luscious salmon-berry, flushed to the wine-red of perfection, while three of 
her suitors peal invitations to separate bowers in the neighboring tangles. 
She flees guiltily on detection, but the secret is out; we know now where 
these shy wood nymphs keep themselves in summer. 

The male bird is sometimes emboldened by the moment of song to 
venture into the tops of willows or alders, but even here he hugs the screen 
of leaves and is ready in a trice to dive into the more familiar element of 
bushes. Once under cover of the protecting salal, or among the crowding 
ferns, the Fox Sparrows are excelled by none in their ability to get about 
with a modicum of disturbance; and the longest journeys, such as are made 
necessary in the time of clamoring young, appear to be made by slipping 
and sliding thru the maze of intersecting stems. The song is varied and 
vivacious; but, save for the opening notes, is neither very strong nor ver}' 
brilliant. The opening 
phrase, however, Pczvit, 
hen, comes as a tin)- 
bugle call into which is 
distilled the essence of all 
dank hollows, of all rus- 
tling leaves, of all mur- 
muring tides, and of all 
free-blowing breezes. It 
is the authentic voice of 
the little wild. 

On a July day a trio 
of Indian boys, Ouillay- 
utes, were showing the 
bird-man a round of be- 
lated nesters, while he 
was looking for opportu- 
nities to photograph eggs, 
and also recording Ouil- 
layutan bird names in 
passing. A Rusty Song 
Sparrow's nest held only 
weanlings, mildly hideous, 
and the leader, a lad of ten, expressed regret that he could not show me the 
nest of another kind of Song Sparrow. With excess of Caucasian pride 
I assured him that there was only one species of Song Sparrow to be found 
locally, but my learned statements drew forth only puzzled and unconvicted 
glances. Some days later when I had taken a set of Sooty Fox Sparrow's 
eggs from a neighboring islet, the boys clamored in triumph, "That's it; 




From a Photograph Copyright, 1907, by W. L. Dawson. 
CARROLL ISLET— SOUTH EXPOSURE. 

WHERE THE FIRST NEST OF THE SOOTY F0-\ SPARROW WAS FOUND. 



154 



THE SOOTY FOX SPARROW. 



thiise are the eggs of Talibalililclitcli. llie oilier Sung Sparrow we told you 
about." The boy.s were near enough right : the Fox Sparrow is for all the 
ordinary world lil<e a Song Sparrow; and I venture that not a dozen white 
boys in Washington ever saw the bird itself, let alone distinguishing it by 
name. 

The eggs referred to were ftiund amid most romantic surroundings, on 




Taken on Carroll Islcl. Photo bji the Author. 

NEST OF SOOTY FO.\ SPARROW IN FERN CEUMP. 

THE NEST ITSELF IS ALMOST INVISIBLE BECAUSE BURIED IN MOSS AND FEBN LEAVES, 



a sea-girt islet a mile or two out frotn the Pacific shore. The island is 
given over to sea-birds, and these nest upon its precipitous sides to the 
number of thousands: but the center of the rock is crowned with a grove 
of spruce trees, which overshadow a dense growth of sahnon-berry bushes. 
In a clump of the latter at a height of six feet was placed a very bulky but 
unusually han<ls()me nest, which held, in the really tiny cu]) which occupies 
the upper center of the structure, three eggs of a greenisli blue color heavily 
spotted and marbled with warm browns. The nest measures externally eight 
and ten inches in width, internally two; in depth four inches outside and 
only one and a half inside. It is composed chiefly of green mosses set in 



THE SLATE-COLORED SPARROW. 155 

dead spruce twigs with a few twisted weed stalks; while the lining is of a 
light-colored, fine, dead grass, very loosely arranged, and a few breast- 
feathers of the Glaucous-winged Gull. A nestful of young Peregrine 
Falcons were conversing in screams with their doting parents in the spruce 
trees overhead, and terrorizing the island thereby ; but the Sooty Fox 
Sparrows stepped forward modestly to claim ownership in the nest which 
"Science" unfortunately required. The date was July 21, igo6, and the 
eggs were nearly upon the point of hatching. 

Thus, the north and west slopes of the Olynipic Mountains, together 
with the islands of lower Puget Sound, appear to mark the southern breeding 
range of the coastal Fox Sparrows. This form has not been reported 
breeding upon the mainland east of Puget Sound, but it is difficult to see 
why it should not do so. It is rather the commonest form during the spring 
and fall migrations, and there is no e\-idence as yet that it tarries with us 
in winter. 



No. 63. 

SLATE-COLORED SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 585 c. Passerella iliaca schistacea (llaird). 

Synonym. — Sl.ate-colorEd Fox Sparrow. 

Description. — .idiilfs: Upperparts slaty gray tinged with olivaceous, chang- 
ing abruptly to russet brown on upper tail-coverts, and tail ; wings brown bright- 
ening, more rusty, on edges of greater coverts and secondaries ; some white 
fleckings below eye, and supraloral spot dull whitish ; underparts white shaded 
with color of back on sides ; the sides of throat, chest, and sides of breast heavily 
and distinctly marked with triangular spots of sepia; lower breast (and some- 
times middle of throat) flecked, and sides and flanks striped, with the same 
shade ; under tail-coverts grayish brown centrally edged broadlv with bufTy. 
Young birds are tinged with brown above and are duller white below with less 
distinct markings. Length of adult male 7.00-7.50 ( 177. 8-190.5 ) ; wing 3.15 
(80) ; tail 3.15 (80) ; bill .47 (12) ; tarsus .92 (23.3). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow to Chewink size ; slaty gray and brown 
coloration above with heavy spotting on breast distinctive; gray instead of brown 
on back as compared with the five members of the iinalaschensis group. 

Nesting. — Nest: a bulky affair of twigs, weed-stalks, grasses, etc., placed 
on ground or low in bushes of thicket. Eggs: 3-5, usually 4, greenish brown 
sharply spotted or (rarely) blotched with chestnut. Av. size .85 x .65 (21.6 x 
16.5). Season: ]\Iay-July ; two broods. 

General Range. — Rocky Mountain district of United States and British 
Columbia west to and including the Cascade Mountains, the White Mountains 



156 THE SLATE-COLORED SPARROW. 

of southeastern California, and the mountains of northeastern Cahfcjrnia; south 
in winter to New Mexico, Arizona, etc. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident in tiie timl)ered (hstricts of the 
East-side and in the Cascade Mountains (west to j\lt. Rainier). 

Authorities. — ["Slate-colored sparrow," Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 
(1885), j_'J. Bendire, Life Hist. N. A. Birds, Vol. H., p. 435. 

THE residents of Cannon Hill, in S[)i>kane, are to be congratulated, 
not alone for their wealth, for Nature is not curious as to liank accounts, 
but for the rare good taste which has been displayed in utilizing the largess 
of Nature. Instead of going in with axe and shovel and fire-brand, first 
to obliterate the distinctive features of Nature and then rear mocking plati- 
tudes in mortar and stone upon her pale ashes, they have accepted the glory 
of her grim la\'a bastions and the grace of her unhewn pines; nor have they 
even despised the tangles nf wild shrubbery, those decent draperies without 
which both tree and cliff would be overstark. To be sure the landscape artist 
with consummate skill has said to the piny sentinel, "Stand here!" and to 
the co])se, "Sit there!" but he has not forgotten withal the primeval rights 
of the feathered aborigines. As a result the birds apf^roi'c. What higher 
meed could mortal ask? Or where is there a better criterion of taste? 
Taken all in all I doubt if there is a more delightful spot in Washington in 
which to study bird life, certainh- not within municipal bounds, than 
Cannon Hill affords. 

Here, for instance, is this wood sjjrite, the very genius of the tmravished 
wild ; no one would think of looking for him in a cit}', yet of an early morn- 
ing as the bird-man was passing along Seventh Avenue, he was arrested by 
the crisp and hearty notes of a Slate-colored Sparrow, coming from a Inish 
in an artistically unkempt corner of the adjoining yard. In the half liglit, 
nothing in the pose and appearance of this bird would have induced an 
ornithologist to bestow a second glance npi ni the evident Song Sparrow, 
had it not been for the sweet and powerful challenge which poured from 
his earnest beak. Oorce, rickit, loopitccr, it said, with varied cadence and 
minor change, which gave evidence of no mean abiIit^^ There is something 
so forthright and winsome about the song of this modest bird, that the 
listener promptly stu'reiiders "at discretion," and begins to ask eager questions 
of his dainty captor. 

A few yards furtber on three of these Sparrows were seen feeding on 
a well-kept lawn, but ready to skurry at a breath to the shelter of bush- 
clumps, thoughtfullv provided. And all this in the first week in Jime, the 
very height of nesting time! With this as an example, what need to speak 
of Hammond Flycatchers, Mountain Chickadees, Catbirds, Pine Siskins, 
Audubon Warblers, Shufeldt Jimcoes, Cassin Finches, Pygmy Nuthatches, 
American Crossbills, Cassin Vireos, Louisiana Tanagers, Ruby-crowned 



THE SLATE-COLORED SPARROW. 



157 



Kinglets, Olive-sided Flycatchers, Evening Grosbeaks. X'iolet -green Swal- 
lows, Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Bobwhites, and a host of commoner 
sorts, all residents of the same demesne? "Unto him that hath shall be 
given." Unto these who have shown appreciation and consideration, has 
been gi\-en the friendship of the birds, and the_\" deserve their good fortune. 

On the 5th of June we visited a nest which had been located a few days 
before in a little aspen grove beyond Garden Springs. The nest was placed 
upon the ground at the base of a small tree, and it sat so high, without pre- 
tense of concealment, that it was plainly visible with all its contents two 
rods away. 

The female was brooding, but upon our approach she slipped cjuietly 
off and left her three callow young to the tender mercies of tlie bird-man 
and his big glass eye, set at four feet, while she began searching for food 
upon the ground a }'ard or two away. 




Taken ill Rainier National Park. 



From a Photograph Copyrighf.igoS, by IV. /,. Da'vson. 
WITH UNCLOUDED BROW. 

A HAUNT Of THE SLATE-CCLORED SPARROW. 



158 THE GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE. 

The male bird appeared, once, upuii a bush some twenty feel away, 
making no hostile demonstration but beaming rather a hearty contidence, as 
wiio siiould say, "Well, I see you are getting along nicely at home; that's 
right, enjoy yourselves, and I'll finish up this bit of hoeing before supper." 

The miither l)ird. meanwhile, was uttering mi complaint of the strange 
presence, preferring instead to glean food industriously from under the carpet 
of green leaves. Soon she returned, hopping up daintily. Standing upon 
the elevated Ijrim of her nest she carefully surveyed her brood without 
proffer of food, as tho merely to assure herself of their welfare. I 
"snapped" and she retreated, not hastily, as tho frightened, but quietly as 
matter of reasonable prudence. Again and again during the hour I had 
her under fire, she returned to her brood. Each tiiue she retired before the 
mild roar of the curtain shutter, ne\-er hastily or nervousl)', but deliberately 
antl demurelv. Thrice she fed her briM.d. tluusting her beak, which bore 
no external signs of food, deep down into the upturned gullets of the three 
children. Thrice she attempted to brood her babes, and very handsome and 
very mulherlv she looked, with fluffed feathers and mildly incpiisitive eye; 
but the necessary movement fdllowing an exposure sent her away for a 
season. 

When absent she neither moped nor scolded, but discreetly set about 
scratching for food, always within a range of ten or fifteen feet of the nest. 
At such times she would look up trustfully and unabashed. Upon the return 
she never flew, and there was nothing to .advise the waiting camerist of her 
approach, save the rustle of leaves as she came liop, hopping, until she stood 
upon tlie familiar brim. 

The o])porlunities for picture-making were simply unlimited, save for 
the weakness of the leaf-diluted light. Seldom have I been stirred to such 
admiration as in the case of this gentle mother Schisfacca. So demure, so 
e\'en-tempered, and so kindly a bird-person, with such a preserving air of 
gentle breeding, I have not often seen. It was an hour to be long 
remembered. 



No. 64. 

GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE. 

A. O. U. No. 592.1. Oreospiza chlorura (Aud.). 

Synonyms. — Green-t.mlEd Finch. I'iL.vndi.ng's Finch. 

Description. — .-Idiilts: Crown and occiput rich chestnut: forehead blackish 
gray with whitish loral spot on each side ; remaining upperparts olive-gray tinged 
more or less with bright olive-green ; wings and tail with brighter greenish 
edgings : bend of wing, axillaries and under coverts yellow ; chin and throat 



THE GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE. 159 

white bordered by dusky submaxillary stripe; sides of head aud neck and re- 
maining underparts ashy gray, clearing to white on abdomen, tinged with huffy 
or brownish on sides, flanks and crissum. Bill blackish above, paler below ; 
legs brown, toes darker; irides cinnamon. Young birds are brown above tinged 
with greenish and streaked with dusky but with wings and tail much as in adult. 
Length of adult about 7.00 (177.8); wing 3.15 ( 80 ) ; tail 3.30 (84); bill .50 
( IJ.7) ; tarsus .94 (24). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; rufous crown, white throat; greenish 
coloration of upperparts. 

Nesting. — "Nest: in bush or on the ground. Eggs: .go x .68 (22.8.x 17.2) ; 
pale greenish or grayish white, freckled all over with bright reddish brown, 
usually aggregating or wreathing at the larger end" (Coues). 

General Range. — "Mountain districts of western LInited States, from more 
eastern Rocky Mountain ranges to coast range of California; north to central 
Montana and Idaho and eastern Washington" (Ridgway). South in winter to 
]\fe.xico and Lower California. 

Range in Washington. — Presumably summer resident in the Blue 
Mountains. 

Authorities. — ["Green-tailed towhee." Johnson, Rep. Gov. \V. T. 1884 
(1885, 22\. Ridgway, Birds of North and Aliddle .\merica. Part I, 401. T( ?). 

NOT having ourselves encountered this species we are not able to com- 
ment on Prof. Ridgway's inclusion" of eastern Washington in the bird's 
breeding range. The Green-tailed Towhee appears to he essentially a 
mountain-loving species, and if it occurs within nur hurders, will be nearU' 
confined to the Blue JMoimtains of the southeastern corner. 

Mr. Trippe, writing from Idaho Springs, Colorado, says of this liird'' : 
"It arrives at Idaho early in May, and soon becomes abun<!ant. remaining 
till the close of September or early part of October. It is a sprightly, active 
little bird with something wren-like in its mox-ements and appearance. It is 
equally at home among the loose stones and rocks of a hill-side (where it 
hops about with all the agility of the Rock Wren), and the densest thickets 
of brambles and willows in the valleys, amidst which it loves to hide. It 
is rather sh}-. and prefers to keep at a good distance from any suspicious 
object; and if a cat or dog approaches its nest, makes a great scolding, like 
the Cat-bird, and calls all tlie neighbors to its assistance; but if a person 
walks by, it steals away very cjuielly and remains silent till the danger is 
passed. It has a variety of notes which it is fond of uttering; one sounds 
like the mew of a kitten, but thinner and more wiry; its song is very fine, 
quite difTerent from the Towhee's and vastly superior to it. It builds its 
nests in dense clumps of brambles, and raises two broods each season, the 
first being hatched about the middle of June." 



a. Birds of North and Middle -America, Vol. I., p. 401. 

b. Coucs, "Birds of the Northwest" (Ed. 1874), p. 177. 



i(5o THE SPURRED TOWHEE. 



No. 65. 
SPURRED TOWHEE. 

A. O. U. No. 588 a. Pipilo maculatus montanus Swartli. 

Synonyms. — Chewink. "Catbird." 

Description. — Adult male: Head and neck all around, chest and upperparts 
black, glossy anteriorly, duller on back ; elongated white spots on scapulars, on 
tips of middle and greater coverts and on outer web of exposed tertials ; edge of 
wing white and succeeding primaries white on outer web ; outermost pair of 
rectrices edged with white on outer web; the three outermost pairs terminally 
blotched with white on inner web and the fourth pair touched with same near 
tip ; breast and belly white ; sides, flanks and crissum light cinnamon rufous, 
bleaching on under tail-coverts to light tawny. Rill black ; feet brownish ; iris red. 
Adult female: Similar to male but duller : l)lack of male replaced by slaty with an 
olivaceous cast. Length of adult males: 7.50-8.50 ( 190.5-215.9) ; wing 3.17 ('86') ; 
tail T).()T, f 100) ; bill .53 ( 13-5) : tarsus 1.07 (27.7) ; hind claw .48 ( 12.2). Female 
a little less. 

Recognition Marks. — Standard of "Chewink" size; black, white and cin- 
namon-rufous unmistakable; hcoTily spotted with white on scapulars and wing as 
compared with P. in. Oregon us. 

Nesting. — Nest: on the ground in thicket or at base of small sapling, a 
bulky collection of bark-strips, pine needles, coarse dead grass, etc., carefully lined 
with fine dry grass; measures 5 inches in width and 3 in depth externally by 2^3 
wide and 1^2 deep inside. Eggs: 3-5, usually 4, grayish white or pinkish white 
as to ground, heavily and uniformly dotted with light reddish brown. Av. size, 
.93 X .70 (23.6x17.8). Season: last week in April, last week in May and first 
week in June ; two broods. 

General Range. — Breeding in Upper Sonoran and Transition zones from the 
Rocky Mountains to the Cascade-Sierras and in the Pacific coast district of 
central California, and from Lower California and Northern Mexico north into 
British Columl)ia : retiring from northern portion of range in winter. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident east of the Cascades, 
found in foothills and mountain valleys up to 3,000 feet; casually resident in 
winter. 

Authorities. — P. m. inegalony.v, Brewster, B. N. O. C. VH. Oct. 1892, 
p. 227. D-. Ss'. Ss-. J. 

Specimens.— (U. of W.) P'. Prov. C. 

ALTHO of Mexican stock, our western Towhee does not differ greatly 
in appearance from the familiar bird (P. erytliropJithaliinis) of the East; 
and its habits so closely resemble that of the eastern bird as hardly to require 
special description. The Spurred Towhee is a lover of green, thickety hill- 
sides and brushy flraws, such cover, in short, as is lumped together under 



THE SPURRED TOWHEE. 



i6i 



llie term "chaparral" further soutli. It is, therefore, narrowly confined to the 
vicinity of streams in the more open country, but it abounds along the foot- 
hills and follows up the deeper valleys of the Cascades nearly to the divide. 

Tow'hee, as a name, is a manifest corruption of tozi.' lice, or to-hzvi', 
an imitati\'e word, after the bird's most fann'liar note. Chewink' is an 
attempt along the same line, but Marie is what the bird seems to me to say. 
It is on this account aldiic that the bird is said to "mew" and is called 




^"^raKs 



SPURRED TOWHEE. MALE. 

"Catbird." The true Catbird, however, always says Ma-d ry. and there is no 
cause for confusion. During excitement or alarm the Towhee's note is 
always shortened and sharpened to Mrie. with a flirt and jet, and a flash of 
the eye. The song variously rendered as "Chce-tcrr, pilly, ivilly, zvilly," 
"Chip, ah. tozi'-hec-ec" and "Yang, kit-cr-cr," is delivered from the top of 
a bush or the low limb of a tree ; and while monotonous and very simple, it 
retains the pleasing quality of that of the eastern bird. The singer will not 
stand for close inspection, for, as Jones says of its cousin": "He is a ner- 
vous fellow, emphasizing his disturbance at your intrusion with a nervous 



a. Lynds Jones in Dawson's "The Birds of Ohio," p. 94. 



1 62 



THE -^S PURRED TOWHEE. 



JJiijf, fluff of the short wiiii^s, and a jerk and quick spreading of the long, 
rounded tail, as if he limped that the flash nf white at its end would startle 
the intruder away." 

For a nest the 
Spurred Towhee 
scratches a hollow 
at the hase of a 
bush or clump in 
some dry situa- 
tion, ;ind lines 
tliis carefully, 
first with leaves, 
bark - strips and 
plant stems, then 
with fine grasses 
or rootlets. The 
eggs, commonly 
four in number, 
are deposited the 
last week in .\pril 
r>r first in INla}'. 
and the female 
clings to her treas- 
ures until the 
crushing footstep 
is ver_\^ imminent. 
Once flushed, how- 
e\'er, she keeps to 
the background, 
scolding intermit- 
tently, and she 
will not return 
until long after 
the excitement has 
died down. 
Two broods are raised each season, and the first one, at least, must early 
learn to shift for itself. The young birds are obscure, dun-colored creatures, 
quite unlike their parents in appearance, and b\- July they infest the buck- 
brush of the more open mountain sides in such numbers and apparent \'ariety 
as to start a dozen false hopes in the ornithologist's breast each day. 




Talccu in Oregon. Photo by A. IV. .-inthony. 

NEST AND EGGS OF THE SPURRED TOWHEE. 



THE OREGON TOWHEE. 163 



No. 66. 

OREGON TOWHEE. 

A. O. U. No. 588b. Pipilo maculatus oregonus (Rell). 

Synonyms. — "Catbird." Chi;Wink, 

Description. — Adult male: Similar to P. in. iiioiitainis but darker, the white 
spotting of wing and blotches on tail much reduced; two outer pairs of rectrices 
blotched and the third touched with white near tip ; cinnamon-rufous of sides, 
etc.. richer and deeper. . Idiilt female: Like male but black veiled bv deep reddish 
brown (clove brown) skirtings of feathers. Length about 8.50 (216); wing 
3.33 (84.6); tail 3.69 {93.7); bill .S7 (14.5): tarsus i.io (27.9): hind claw 
.43 (10.91. Female a little smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — "Chewink" size : black ( with white spotting on wings) 
above; white of breast; deep reddish brown of sides; mewing cry. 

Nesting. — Like that of preceding species. Eggs a little larger : Av. size, 
1.04 .\ .74 ( 26.4 X 18.8). 

General Range. — Pacitic coast district from British Columbia (including 
\'ancouvcr Id. ) south to central California; chiefly resident thruout its range. 

Range in Washington. — ()f general occurrence, save at higher levels, west 
of the Cascades ; resident. 

Authorities. — ? Frmgilla arctica, And. C)rn. Biog. V. 1839, 49; pi. 394. 
P. oregonus. Bell. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. i8=;8, pp. si 3. S14. (T). 
C&S. L-'. Rh. Kb. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P. Prov. B. BN. E. 

PERHAPS no bird is better known liy \-oice and less by ])lumage than 
this sliv recluse of the under forest. Swampv thickets, brush-piles, log- 
heaps, and the edges of clearings are his special delight. Hence it is that 
the newcomer, taking up quarters at the edge of town, hears this mysterious, 
questioning voice, lue-ay .' ineay uli ? rising from the depths of the brusii-lot 
opposite. He reports the sound under the name of "Catbird," and asks 
the bird -man's opinion. Or, if the newcomer has been persistent enough, 
he has a glowing account to give of a handsome black bird with red on its 
sides, "like a Robin," and some white below. The bird would only show 
himself for a moment at a time, and then he flitted and flirted restlessly 
before he dived into cover again, so that the fine points of white spotting 
on the wing and white tips on the outer tail feathers were lost out of account. 

Of course it is the Oregon Towhee, and the half pleasant, half com- 
plaining notes will instu'e him notice forever after. The bird is strictly 
resident wherever found, and the unmistakable blackness of his plumage is 
due rather to the age-long endurance of rain than to any chance association 
with blackened logs and stumps, as might be supposed. Towhee is prince 



i64 THE LAZULI BUNTING. 

of the underworld, not, of course, in the Mephistopliehan sense, but as the 
undoubted aristocrat among those humble folk who skulk under dark ferns, 
thread marvelous mazes of interlacing sticks and stalks, explore cavernous 
recesses of moss-covered roots, and understand the foundations of things 
generally. 

The handsome bird is a little impatient of the company of his own kintl, 
his faithful spouse always excepted: but he quite appreciates the mild defer- 
ence of Rusty Song Sparrows, the bustling sociability of \Vestern Winter 
Wrens, or even the intermittent homage of Seattle Wrens. In winter the 
Fox Sparrows attach themselves to this humble itinerant coiui, hut they are 
a dozen times more bashful than their chief even. 

Onlv at mating time does Towhee throw caution to the winds. Tlien 
he mounts a sapling and drones away by the hour. The damps of ten thou- 
sand winters have reduced his song to a pitiful wdieeze, but he holds forth 
as bravely as an\- of his kin, ivlieeeee zvhceeee, and again, ivheeeee. In winter 
the birds emplov a peculiar iiissing sound, pssst or hzzzt, not I believe, as a 
warning — rather as a keep-in-touch call. It was rather heartening tho to 
hear the full song of Towhee on the 29th of December at Blaine. Compari- 
sons were unnecessary, and the homel\- trill stood out like a benediction 
against the dripping silence. 

In feeding, Towhees resort chiefly to the ground. They are not careful 
to observe quiet, and one may follow their movements by the attendant rus- 
tling of leaves. Scratching for food is a favorite employment, and this they 
pursue not bv the methodical clutch and scrape of the old hen, but by a suc- 
cession of spirited backward kicks executed by both feet at once, and assisted 
by the wings. Bv this method, not only fallen seeds are laid bare but lurking 
insects of manv sorts, whicli tlie bird swiftlv devours. 



No. 67. 

LAZULI BUNTING. 

A. O. U. No. 599. Passerina amoena (Say). 

Synonyms. — L.^zuLi Finch. 

Description. — Adult male: Head and neck all around cerulean blue; this 
color carried over upperparts hut pure only on rump, elsewhere appearing as 
skirting of feathers ; middle coverts broadly and greater coverts narrowly tipped 
with white ; wings and tail otherwise black ; some skirting of ochraceous on back, 
scapulars and tertials ; lores black ; chest ochraceous sharply defined from blue 
above but shading gradually into white of remaining underparts ; sides and flanks 
with outcropping bluish dusky. Bill black above, pale bluish below : feet brownish 
dusky; iris brown. Adult female: Above grayish brown, the color of male 



THE LAZULI BUNTING. 165 

recalled by dull greenish blue of rump and upper tail-coverts and by skirtings of 
wing- and tail-feathers; middle and greater coverts tipped with light bufify ; 
underparts washed with bulTy, most strongly on chest and sides, fading to whitish 
on belly and under tail-coverts. Young birds resemble the female but lack the 
bluish-gray of rump and skirtings, and are usually more or less streaked below 
on chest and sides. Length of adult male: 5.25-5.50 (133.3-139.7); wing 2.87 
(y;^) : tail 2.08 (53) : bill .39 (9.9) ; tarsus .67 ( 17). Female smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — \\'arbler size; color pattern of male distinctive. — 
female not so easy; in general distinguishable by a softness and uniformity of the 
grayish brown. 

Nesting. — Xcst: a loosely constructed, bulky structure made chiefly of dead 
grasses and strips of soft bark, with a heavy inner lining of hair ; placed about 
three feet up in fork of weed, bush or sapling; measures, outside, 4'^ inches 
across by 3 in depth, inside, 21/ wide by Ij-S deep. Eggs: 4, very pale blue 
unmarked or, rarely, dotted with reddish brown. Av. size .76 x .56 ( 19.3 x 14.2). 
Season : first week in June ; one brood. 

General Range. — Western United States from eastern border of Great 
Plains to the Pacific (less common on Pacific slope) north to southern British 
Columbia (chiefly east of the Cascades) ; south, in winter, to Cape St. Lucas and 
the \'alley of Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident east of Cascade i\Ioun- 
tains ; less common and of irregular distribution in the Puget Sound region ; 
breeds in Cascades up to 3,000 feet. 

Migrations. — Spring: Yakima County ^lay 5, 1906; Chelan Alay 21, 1896. 

Authorities. — FFringilla aintrna, Auduhon, Orn. Biog. V. 1839, 64, 230; plates 
398, 424. Cvaiwspiza atiuriia Baird. Baird, Rep Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, p. 
505. T. C&S. D'. Ra. D^ Ss'. Ss-'. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P'. Prov. B. E. 

ONE can scarcely believe his eyes as this jewel flashes from a thicket, 
crosses a space of common air, and disappears again all in a trice. Either 
there has been some optical illtision, or Nature has grown careless to fling 
her turc|uoises about in such fashion. \\'e must investigate. L'^pon arrival, 
somewhere about the loth of May, and before the return of his dun-colored 
mate, the male Lazuli is (fuite conscious of his prominence in the landscape. 
He avoids notice and goes bounding away if closely pressed; but love soon 
makes him bold, and he will pursue the object of his affections into the very 
thicket wdiere you stand. Then, wdiile the female lurks timidly within, he 
motmts a spray and }'ields an otitlnirst of music, piercing and earnest, if not 
too sw'eet. We see that his blue is deep azure, or turquoise, rather than that of 
the lapis la:::iili fri>ni which he is named. The red of bis breast is nearly that 
of the Robin's, while the pure wdiite of the remaining imderparts completes 
a patriotic study in red, white, and blue. The female shows something of 
the color pattern of her mate, with the important exception that dull brown 
supplants the royal blue of head and back. After all. then, they are fitted 



1 66 



THE LAZULI BUNTING. 



for separate splieres : slie to skull< and liide and escape the hostile e_\e in tlie 
discharge of iier maternal tluties; he to lose himself against the Ijlue of 
heaven, as he sings reassuringly from a tree-top, or sends down notes of 
warning upon the approach of danger. 

is a rambling warble, not unlike that of 



The song of the Lazuli Piuiiling 



the IndigD Bunting (C. cyaiica), 



but somewhat less energetic. Its brief 
course rises and falls in short 
cadences and ends with a hasty 
jumble of unfinished notes, as tho 
the singer were out of lireath. 
Aloreover, the bird does not take 
his task very seriously, and he does 
not burden the mid-day air with 
incessant song, as does his tireless 
cousin. 

Somewhere in the shrubbery and 
tangle, whether of saplings, berry- 
Imshes, roses, ferns, or weeds, a 
rather l)ulky nest is built about an 
upright fork, at a height of two 
or three feet from the ground. A 
nest observed in Yakima County 
was begun on the iQtli of June and 
jiractically completed by the after- 
noon of the following day, — this 
;iltlio the first egg was not laid 
until the 26th. "Hemp," milkweed 
fibers, and dried grasses were used 
in construction, and there was an 
elaborate lining of horse-hair (poor 
dears : what will they do when the 
automobile has fully supplanted the 
horse ? ) . 

AvHviia means pleasant, but the 
female amenitv is anything else, 
wdien her fancied rights of maternity are assailed. Her vocabulary is 
limited, to be sure, to a single note, but her repeated chip is expressive of 
all words in dis from distrust to distress and violent disajiprobation. 




Taken near Spokane, Photo by Fred S. Merrill. 

A I..\ZULI BUNTING'S NEST. 



THE BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK. 



167 



No. 68. 

BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK. 

A. O. U. Xo. 596. Zamelodia melanocephala (Swains). 

Description. — Adult male: ('iC'iH-ral culoratiun black and tawny varied with 
white and \ellow ; head glossy hlack, narrowly on chin, and with irregular 
invasion of tawny behind ; back, scapulars, wings, and tail chiefly black ; middle 
of back with much admixture of tawny; scapulars narrowly tipped with yellowish 
huffy or wdiite, two conspicuous white wing patches formed by tips of middle 
coverts and basal portion of primaries ; touches of white on tips of greater coverts 
and secondaries, and on outer edge of primaries ; touches of yellow ( in highest 
plumage) bordering white of wing-coverts, etc. ; terminal third of two outer pairs 
of rectrices white on inner webs ; lining of wings and breast centrally rich lemon 
yellow : remaining plumage tawny, brightest on throat and chest, with admixture 
of black on sides of neck; nearly as bright on rump, but veiled by lighter tips of 




TaK'cn in Oregon. 



Photo by I'lnU'y Ltnd Bolilman. 



ANTICIPATION. 



feathers ; lightening posteriorly on remaining underparts ; nearly white on under 
tail-coverts; bill bluish gray, darker above; feet plumbeous. Adult female: Like 
male, but tawny of underparts paler; u|iperparts dark olivaceous brown with 
admixture of white and pale tawnv ; head blackish with white or brownish 
median and superciliary stripes; wings and tail fuscous, white markings restricted, 
those on tail reduced or wanting; sides and flanks streaked with dusky. Length 
7.75-8.50 ( 196.85-215.90) ; wing 3.9 (99) ; tail 3.15 (80) ; bill .71 (18) ; depth of 
bill at base .59 ( 15) ; tarsus .95 (24). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink size; black head and variegated plumage of 
male ; large beak, with haunts, distinctive. 

Nesting. — A^est: a careless but often bulky collection of twigs or weed- 



1 68 



THE BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK. 



stalks, lined, or not, with fine dead grasses; set loosely in branches of bush or 
sapling, 6 to 20 feet up. Eggs: 4, greenish blue, boldly spotted or blotched with 
reddish brown, dusky brown and lavender, most heavily about larger end. Av. 
size 1.00X.68 ( 25.4 .\ 17.27). Season: East-side, May 20; West-side, May 25; 
one Ijrood. 

Authorities. — ? "Friiigilla iiu'laiioccl^hala. Audulion, Orn. Biog. IV. 1838, 
519; pi. 373 (Col. Riv.)"; Baird, 499. Cooper and Suckley, Rep. Pac. R. R. 
Surv. Xn. pt. H. i860, 206. T( ?). C&S. Rh. D'. Ra. D-\ Ss^. J. B. E. 

Specimens. — P. B. E. 

THOSE who complain of nur lack of song-birds shoulil make the 
acquaintance of this really skilled musician. He will not often be found 
in the city parks, nor yet in the fir forests; but wherever there are deciduous 
trees, not too dense, or tall thickets of willow and alder beside some lake 

or sluggish stream, there will this minstrel hold 
fortli. The Grosbeak's song is not unlike the 
longer lay of the Robin, but it is richer and 
rounder as well as more suljdued. There is 

about it all a 
lingering lan- 
guor of the 
Southland ; and 
if the gentle- 
man addressed 
you, you would 
expect him to 
say "Sail." with 
a soft cadence. 
The Ijird's 
carol has the 
rolling quality 
which serves to 
connect it with 
that of the 
eastern Rose- 
breasted Grosbeak, but it is sweeter, more varied, and shows, if anything, 
a still more strongly marked undertone of liquid harmonics. 

The male Grosbeak is, moreover, an indefatigable singer, choosing for 
bis purpose the topmost sprays of alder or cottonwood. and taking pains 
to give all intruders a wide berth during the concert hours. His attachment 
to a given locality becomes apparent only after he has been pursued from 
tree to tree in a wide circuit which brings up at the original station. And 




Taken in Clallam County. 



Photo by the Author. 



THE GROSBEAK'S CONCERT HALL. 



THE BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK. 



169 



southern origin 
these gentle 



yet liis shyness is not inspired by caution, for lie will sing upon the nest 
when he spells his wife at the hopeful task of incubation. 

The more matter-of-fact female has no word of greeting for the 
stranger beyond a sharp kimp. a beak -clearing note, not unlike that of a 
chicken with a crumb in its throat. This the male repeats also, with all 
shades of emphasis when the home is beset, or, as a last resort, he breaks 
into song at close quarters, — an ample price, surely, for the fullest immunity. 

It is the nest 
which confirms the 
of 
birds. 
It is a hims)- affair 
of twigs, grass- 
stems, or weed- 
stalks carelessly in- 
terlaced, and caught 
in the crotch of a 
sapling at a height 
of from fi\-e to 
fifteen feet. The 
construction is so 
open, that the blue 
eggs with their dark- 
brown and lavender 
spottings may be 
counted from below. 
The birds, a'ou see, 
have been accus- 
tomed to a warmer 
climate, to a tropical 
range, in fact, where 
warmth of bedding- 
is no object. 

If found upon the re.alization. 

nest, the brooding 

bird cannot think ill of you: or, if there is ground for misgiving, seeks to 
disarm hostility by a display of gentle confidence. Instances are of record 
where the sitting bird has been stroked with the hand, and a little discretion 
will usually insure a lasting friendship. 

This species enjoys a wide range in Washington, being found from 
tide-water to the upper reaches of the deeper mountain valleys ; but it is 
nowhere common enough, let alone abundant. 




Taken in Oregon. 



Photo by Finley and Bohiman. 



I70 THE CRIMSON-HEADED TANAGER. 

No. 69. 

CRIMSON-HEADED TANAGER. 

A. O. U. No. 607. Piranga ludoviciana ( Wils. ). 

S> nonyms. — Louisiana Tan.ager. Westkrn Tanagek. 

Description. — Adult male: Back, wings, and tail black; middle coverts 
and tips of greater coverts yellow ; remaining plumage rich gamboge yellow ; 
clearest (lemon-yellow) on rum]) and upper tail-coverts, darkest (live-yellow 
to wax-yellow) on breast, changing on head and throat to bright carmine or 
poppy-red. The red increases both in extent and intensity witli age and is 
always brightest anteriorly. Bill horn color ; feet and legs bluish dusky ; iris 
brown. Aditlt female: General plumage dingy olive-yellow; darker, nearly 
olive, above; lighter and clearer on under tail-coverts; wings and tail dusky 
with olivaceous wing markings as in male but yellow paler. Young males 
resemble the advdt female and only gradually acquire the clearer brighter plumage 
of maturity. Length about 7.00 ( 177.8); wing 3.75 (95J; tail 2.80 I 71); bill 
.59 (15); tarsus .80 (20.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size ; sedate ways ; ['Ittie note. Black and 
yellow with crimson head of male distinctive ; dull olive of female not likely to 
be confused when size is discriminated. 

Nesting. — Nest: of rather rough, "'tropical" construction, composed of 
twigs, rootlets and moss, lined with horse- or cow-hair; measures externally 
7 inches across by 3 in depth, internally 2^ wide by 1 3/^ deep. Eggs: 3-5, 
usually 4, pale greenish blue to deep blue, dotted and spotted sparingly with 
lavender and dark greenish slate, sometimes in wreath about larger end ; surface 
heavily glossed; long ovate in shape. \\. size .92 x .64 ( 23.3 x 16.2). Season: 
June ; one brood. 

General Range. — \\'estcrn I'nited States from eastern base of Rocky Moun- 
tains to Pacific Coast, northward to British Columbia and .\thabasca ; south in 
winter to Mexico and Guatemala : straggling eastward during migrations — has 
been several times taken in New England. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident in timbered sections, 
migrant in open country of East-side. 

Migrations. — Spying: East-side: Yakima, May 4, 1906, May 9, 1900; 
Chelan, May 19, 1896, May 20, 1905; West-side: Tacoma, April 27, 1906. 

Authorities. — Piranga ludoviciana L!onap. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 
1858, p. 304. T. C&S. Rh. D'. Ra. D^ Ss'. Ss-\ Kk. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. ?■. Prov. B. E. 

THIS handsome Tanager is one of the most characteristic birds of the 
more open forest areas of Washington, whether east or west. It is one of 
the three species discovered by tlie intrepid explorers, Lewis and Clark; and 
since the Lewis Woodpecker bears the name of one, and the Clark Nutcracker 
of the other, there was nothing for it but to call the Tanager after the region 



THE CRIMSON-HEADED TANAGER. 171 

■'Louisiana," whose further reaches they were then expl(5ring. But we are 
no longer a part of Louisiana, and we prefer a color-nanie for one of our 
few brilhant birds of phiniage. 

In the hand, tlie bright yellow of the male Tanager, shading into the 
bright crimson upon the head, would seem to assure a very conspicuous bird, 
but atield it is not so. Seen against the changing green of maples, pines, 
or fir trees, these brilliant colors are lost to any but the most attentive eye. 
A resplendent male does not hesitate to stanfl quietly upon the end of a 
branch and sur\'ey you until his curiosity is fnliy satisfied. This quiet atti- 
tude of genteel curiosity seems to be characteristic of all Tanagers. Apart 
from its ps\'chological bearings, sedateness would seem to pla}' an eff^ective 
part in modifying the attractions of bright plumage. 

The male birds precede the dull-colored females by several days, and 
at such times only may be found in companies. One windy afternoon in 
Mii\. the 20th it was, wdiile the Columbia River steamer doddered with its 
freight, I took a turn ashore and explored a tiny oasis of willows which 
lined a neighboring brook. I soon caught the pitic or pitific of newly-arrived 
Tanagers. Judge of my delight upon behnkling, not one, but eight of these 
beauties, all old males, as they filed out of a willow cluni]), where they had 
evidentlv taken refuge for the day. A week or so later I saw Tanagers at 
home in the meager willow fringes of Crab Creek, in Lincoln County ; and 
while we were in camp at Brook Lake in Douglas County, one came out thru 
the sage, hopping and flitting from bush to bush, to bring me friendly 
greetings. It was like meeting a king in a millet field. 

The song of the Louisiana Tanager — pardon the lapse ; habit is stronger 
than reascni — the song of the Crimson-headed Tanager is an etude in R. 
"It is remotely comparable to that of the Robin, but it is more stereotyped in 
form, briefer, and uttered at intervals rather than continuously sustained. 
The notes are sharp-edged and rich in r's, while the movement of the whole, 
tho deliberate, is varied, and the tone cheerful"^. I can detect no constant 
difference between the song of the Crimson-headed Tanager and that of the 
Scarlet Tanager (P. crythroinclas), save that that of the former is oftener 
prefaced with the call note, thus : Pitcric ivliczv, ivc soor a-ary e-crie zvitoocr. 
This song, however, is less frequentl}- heard than that of the Scarlet Tanager, 
East. Its perfect rendition, moreover, argues the near presence of a demure 
little lady in oli\e, a persrm who looks like nobody in particular to our un- 
discriminating gaze, but who exerts a strange fascination over our brilliant 
squire. Young males of the second summer sing hopefully, but they are 
less often successful in love than their ruddier rivals. 

It behooves the Tanager maiden to be exacting in her choice, for all 



a. .Applied to P. erythromelas in "The Birds of Ohio," p. 109, and exactly applicable here. 



172 THE ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER. 



the hflp she will get out of him at Ijesl will he sympathy and Sdug, When 
it comes to real work, like nest btiilding. she nuist do it. He will graciously 
ad\'ise as to the situation, some horizontal branch of fir or pine, from six to 
fifty feet high, and from three to twenty feet out. He will even accompany 
her on her laborious trips after nesting material, cooing amiable nothings, 
and oozing approval at every joint. — but help her — im'airc! 

The nest is quite a substantial aft'air tho rather roughly put together, 
of fir twigs, rootlets, and moss, with a more or less heavy lining of horse- 
or cow-hair, and other soft substances. The four eggs of greenish blue, 
dotted and spotted with lavender and dark greenish slate, appear especially 
handsome from above, when viewed against the dark brown nest. Bttt, as 
everybody knows, the red fir ( PscmlotsiK/a miicromita] is a tree of moods 
and tenses. You may dangle with impunity from the very tips of the 
branches of some fir trees, while a step from the trunk is fatal in others of 
the same general appearance. The Tanagers are quite as apt to patronize 
the brittle kind. 



No. 70. 

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER. 

A. O. U. No. 646. Helminthophila celata (Say). 

Description. — Adult male: AI1. ive ashy olive-green, clearing and brighter 
on rump ; crown largely ochraceous but color partly veiled by olive tips of 
feathers; wings and tailfiiscous with some olive edging; below greenish-yellow, 
dingy, or vaguely streaked with blue on breast and sides. Adult female: Similar 
to male but duller, with ochraceous crown-patch restricted or wanting. /;;;- 
mature: Without ochraceous crown; more ashy abrive; duller below save that 
abdomen is white; eyelids often whitish. Length about 5.00 (127) ; wing 2.40 
(61) ; tail 1.95 (49.5) ; bill .42 (10.7) ; tarsus .70 (17.8). 

Recognition Marks. — Small warbler size; ochraceous ("orange") crown- 
patch distinctive from all except H. c. lutescens, which is the common bird; 
duller. See next (sub) species. 

Nesting. — Not known to nest in Washington but may do so. As next. 

General Range. — Summer resident in western British America and Alaska 
(save in Pacific coast district), .south thru Rocky Mountain district to New 
Mexico; migrating across Central States and casually ( ?) New England, Middle 
Atlantic States, Pacific States, etc., to Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Probably common migrant but passing undistin- 
guished among more abundant lutescens. 

Authorities.— Bowles and Dawson, Auk, Vol. XXV., Oct. 1908, p. 483. 

Specimens. — Bowles. Prov. P. 



THE LUTESCENT WARBLER. 173 

MOST Alaskan species, even of those which retire in winter to South 
CaroHna, Florida, and the Antilles, may ' be expected to drift thru our 
borders sooner or later. Typical H. cclata was first caught in the act by 
Mr. Bowles in May, 1907, but we have no means of knowing that th'e 
northern form is not a frequent trespasser. Kermode gives it as a common 
summer resident east and west of the Cascades in British Columbia, and it 
is not impossible that our northern Cascade records should be referred to 
this type. 



No. 71. 

LUTESCENT WARBLER. 

A. O. U. No. 646a. Helminthophila celata liitescens Ridgway. 

Description. — .Idiilts: — Similar to H. cclata but brighter. Above bright 
olive-green; below definitely yellow — olive-yellow, gamboge, or even canarv (on 
under tail-coverts). Immature: Above plain olive-green (not ashy, as in H. 
celata) ; below bulTy yellow tinged with olive on breast and sides. Measurements 
as in preceding. 

Recognition Marks. — Small warbler size : perhaps the most abundant of the 
eight or nine "yellow" warblers of the State: ochraceous crown-patch, of course, 
distinctive; not so bright as the Pileolated Warblers (W. p. pileolata and JV. p. 
chryscola). 

Nesting. — Xcst: on the ground sunk in bed of moss, under ]:)rotection of 
bush or weed, or in shelving bank, of coiled dry grasses, lined with finer ; i|4 inches 
wide by i inch deep inside. Eggs: 4, rarely 5, dull white marked with dots and 
a few small blotches of yellowish brown and lavender ; in shape long to short 
ovate, rarely oval. Av. size .67 x .51 ( 17 x 12.9). Season: May i and June i; 
two broods. 

General Range. — Simimer resident in Pacific Coast district from Cook Inlet 
to southern California, east to western ranges of Rocky Mountain System, where 
intergrading with H. celata: south in winter to western Mexico and Guatemala. 

Range in Washington. — C)i general occurrence thruout the lower levels; 
abundant in Puget Sound region. 

Migrations. — Spring: April 3, 6, 7 (Seattle). April 24 (Chelan). March 
28, 1908 ( Seattle). 

Authorities. — (?)Townsend, Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila., VIII., 1839, 153 
part (Columbia River). Cooper and Siickley, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv., XII., pt. 
II., i8r«. 178. (T.) C&S. L'. Rh. D'. Kb. Ra. D^ Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. Prov. B. BN. E. 

YELLOW appears to be tlie pre\'ailing colrir among our Washington 
Wood W^arblers ; and even of those wdiich are not franklv all o\-er vellow. 



174 



THE LUTESCENT WARBLER. 



as ihis one is, tiiere are only two wliich do not Ijoast a conspicnons area of 
this fashionable shade. And of all yellows, yellow-green, as represented by 
the back of this bird, is the commonest, — so common, indeed, as to merit 
the facetious epithet "nniseum color." It is all very well in the case of the 
male, for he comes back (to Seattle) during the first week in April, before 
tlie leaves are fully out; and he is so full of confidence at this season that 
he poses quite demurely among the swelling buds of alder, maple, and 
willow. He is proud oi his full crown-patch of pale orange, contrasting 
as it does with the dull yellowish green of the upperparts and the bright 

greenish yellow of 
tlie underparts, — 
and he lets you get 
a good view of it at 
twenty yards with 
I he glasses. Besides 
that, he must stop 
now and then to 
\'ent his feelings in 
song. But the case 
nf the female is al- 
most hopeless — for 
the novice. 

The song of the 
Lutescent Warbler 
ap]:)ears Xo ha\e been 
very largely over- 
looked, but it was 
not the bird's fault. 
While waiting for 
his tardy mate, he 
has rehearsed diligently from the taller bushes of the thicket, or else from 
some higher vantage point of maple, dogwood, or fir tree. The burden is 
intended for fairy ears, but he that hath ears to hear let him hear a curious 
vowel scale, an inspirated rattle or trill, which descends and ends in a simple 
warble of several notes. The trill, brief as it is, has three qualities of change 
which make it quite unique. At the opening the notes are full and slow, 
but in the instant necessary to the entire recital the pace accelerates, the 
])itch rises slightly, and the component notes decrease in volume, or size. 
At the climax the tension breaks une.xpectedlv in the gentle, musical cadence 
of the concluding phrases, whose notes much resemble certain of the Yellow 
Warbler's. The opening trill carries to a considerable distance, but the 
sweetness of the closing warble is lost to any but near listeners. The whole 




'J,tl.-i-ii m Vi,-L 



Photo by Bohliiuin 
A HUNGRY CHICK. 

LUTESCENT WARBLER, EEMALE AND YOUNG. 



THE LUTESCENT WARBLER. 



175 



may be rendered grapliically soniewliat as follows : 0-o-a-a-i-i-c-e-e-e-e-c 
zinchy, zv-ichy, wichy. 

In the brush and under alarm these birds utter a Ijrusquc, metallic 
scolding note, which is perfectly distinctive locally, altho it much resembles 
that of the Oporoniis group East. By this mark alone may the mere greenish 
female be certainly discerned. 

Lutescent Warblers abound thruont western Washington, and easterly, 
when the Cascades ai-e \\e\] |)assed, a'^ upon the Pend d' Oreille. Jungle 
of an_\- kind suits 
them, whether it 
be a thicket of 
young firs at Ta- 
coma, an i)\'er- 
grown burn at 
Snoqualmie, a 
willow swamp in 
Yakima County, 
or a salmon-berry 
tangle on De- 
struction Island. 
Nests are of dead 
grasses well knit- 
ted and sunk flush, 
with the ground, 
or below it, in 
some moss bed. 
at the base of a 
bush, or on some 
sloping hillside. 
Rarely the struc- 
ture may be taken 
up into a bush. 

The female is a close sitter, l)Ut once flushed shows implacable resentment. 
She summons her mate to assist in the gentle art of exorcism, or else turns 
the tables and deserts outright. The latter, von understand, is quite the 
subtlest and most baffling fcirm of revenge which a bird may compass in the 
case of an oologist anxious to identif\- his find. 




Taken jtcar Tacoma. Photo by J. H. Doivles. 

NEST AND EGGS OF LUTESCENT W.VRBLER. 



176 THE CALAVERAS WARBLER. 



No. 72. 
CALAVERAS WARBLER. 

A. (). U. No. 645a. Helminthophila rubricapilla gutturalis (Ridgw.j. 

Description. — Adult male: Head above and on sides bluish ash with a 
partially concealed crown-patch of bright chestnut ; a whitish eye-ring ; remaming 
upperparts bright olive-green becoming yellowish green on rump and upper tail- 
coverts ; underparts including crissum, bright yellow, but whitening on belly ; bill 
small, short, acute, blackish above, brownish below; feet brown. Adult fcuiale: 
Like male but somewhat duller below ; ashy of head less pure, glossed with 
olivaceous and not so abruptly contrasting with yellow of throat ; chestnut crown- 
patch less conspicuous or wanting. Immature: Olive-green of upperparts duller; 
head and neck grayish brown instead of ashy ; below dull olive-yellow, clearing 
on belly and crissum. Length of male (skins) 4.05-4.75 (103-121); wing 2.35 
(60) ; tail 1.75 (45) ; bill .38 (9.6) ; tarsus .63 (16). Female smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Smaller; bright yellow of throat (and underparts), 
contrasting with ashy of head, distinctive. 

Nesting. — Nest: usually sunk well into ground or moss at base of bush- 
clump or rank herbage, well made of fine bark-strips and grasses, lined with finer 
grasses, horse-hair and, occasionally, feathers ; outside, 3 in. wide by 2 in. deep ; 
inside 1^4 wide by ij4 deep. Eggs: 3-5, usually 4, dull white as to ground-color, 
but showing two distinct types of markings : one heavily sprinkled with fine dots 
of reddish brown, nearly uniform in distribution, or gathered more thickly about 
larger end : the other sparingly dotted, and with large blotches or "flowers" of 
the same pigment. Av. size .64 x .49 (16.3x12.5). Season: May 20-July 20, 
according to altitude : two broods. Chelan Co. Ji-ily 22, 1900, 3 fresh eggs. 

General Range. — The Pacific States and British Columbia south to Calaveras 
County, California, and east (at least) to northern Idaho; found chiefly in the 
higher mountains ; in migrations to Lower California and western Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident on brushy slopes and in timbered 
valleys of the higher ranges thruout the State, and irregularly at lower levels, at 
least on Puget Sound (Tacoma). 

Migrations. — Spring: Wallula, April 23, 1905; Benton County, May 4, 
1907; Chelan, May 21, 1896; Tacoma, April 24, 1897. Fall: Last week in 
August (Blaine). 

Authorities.— Dawson, Auk, XVIIL Oct. 1901, 463. (D'). J. B. 

Specimens. — B. 

THERE is something distinct and well-bred abixit this demure exquisite, 
and the day wliicii discovers one searching the willow tops with genteel 
aloofness is sure to be underscored in the note-book. The marks of the 
spring male are as unmistakable as they are regal : a bright yellow breast 
and throat contrasting with the ashy of cheeks and head, the latter shade 
relieved bv a white eye-ring, and surmounted by a chestnut crown-patch. 
li vou stumble upon a company of them at play among the thorn bushes. 



THE CALAVERAS WARBLER. 177 

you are seized, as like as not, witli a sense of low birth, and feel like retiring 
in confusion lest \-ou offend royalty. 

These gentle despots are bound for the mountains : and since their 
realms are not prepared for them till June, they have ample leisure to discuss 
the fare of wayside stations. They enter the State from the South during 
the last week in April — Wallula, April 23d, is my earliest record; but May 
2 1st records an unanxious company at the foot of Lake Chelan. As the 
season advances they take up cjuarters on brushy mountain sides, or in the 
deciduous skirts of fierce mountain torrents. Here while the female skurries 
about thru the l)uck-l;)rusli or vine-maple thickets in search of a suitable 
nesting site, the male mounts a fir tree and occupies himself with song. 

I f you are spying on this sacred function, the bird first peers down at 
you uneasily, then throws his head back and sings with great animation : 
CJioopy, clioopy, clioopy cliiirr (tr). The trill is composed of a dozen or 
so of large notes which the ear can easily distinguish, but which because of 
the vivacious utterance one cannot quite count. The pitch of the finale is 
sustained, but there is a slight decrease in volume. If forced to descend, 
the singer will join his mate in shar]) chips of protest, somewhat similar to 
those of the Audubon ^^'arbler, althn not quite so clear-cut or inflexible. 

While the Calaveras Warliler is a bird of the mountains and lives at 
an_\- height where suitable cover is afforded, it is a curious fact that it some- 
times prefers the tim]:)ercd lowlands of Puget Sound, and may be found in 
some seasons in considerable numbers about the southern prairies. Mr. 
Bowles has found them commonly in scrub-oak patches which border the 
fir gro\-es and timbered lakes: and yet during some }'ears they have been 
unaccountably absent fmm the entire region. 

Near Tacoma this Warbler places its nest at the base of a young oak 
or fir tree, where the spreading branches have protected the grass and gath- 
ered weeds. The nest is sunk well into the ground or moss, and is so well 
concealed as to defy discovery unless the bird is flushed. When frightened 
from the nest the female instantly disappears, and return.s only after some 
considerable interval. Then she approaches with the greatest caution, ready 
to dart away again upon the first sign of movement on the ]iart of the in- 
truder. The male, if he happens to be about at all, neither joins the defense 
nor consoles his mate in misfortune, but sets upon her furiously and drives 
her from bush to bush, as tho she had wilfully deserted their treasures. 

At sea-level two sets of eggs are laid in a season, one fresh about May 
18th, the other about June 25th. In the mountains, however, the second 
nesting, if indulged in at all, is thrown very late. I took a set of three fresh 
eggs from a carelessly constructed nest placed in the top of an elk-weed 
(BcJiiiiopanax horridum) at a height of three feet, on the 22d dav of 
July, 1900. 



178 THE YELLOW WARBLER. 



No. 73. 

YELLOW WARBLER. 

A. O. LI. No. 652. Dendroica jestiva (Gmel.). 

Synonyms. — Summer Yicllow-bird. Summer Warbler. Wild Can.^ry." 

Description. — Adult male: Forehead and fore-crown bright yellow with 
an orange tinge ; back bright olive-green : rump greenish yellow : wings and tail 
blackish with greenish yellow edgings, the wing quills edged on both webs, the 
tail-feathers — except middle pair — almost entirely yellow on inner webs; sides 
of head and entire underparts golden yellow, the breast and sides heavily streaked 
with chestnut; bill black; feet pale. Adult female: Like male but duller; olive- 
green on back, not brighter on forehead ; paler yellow below, obscurely or not at 
all streaked with chestnut. Yoiiiig males resemble the adult female. ]'niiii(/ 
female still duller; dusky yellow below. Length 4.75-5.25 ( 120.6-133.3) ; wing 
2.51 (63.8) ; tail 1.68 (42.7) ; bill .40 ( 10.2) ; tarsus .73 ( 18.61 ). 

Recognition Marks. — Medium size; golden yellow coloration: chestnut 
streaks on breast of male; after the Lutescent the commonest of the resident 
Warblers ; chiefly confined to the banks of streams and ponds. 

Nesting. — Nest: a compact cup of woven "hemp" and fine grasses, lined 
heavily with plant-down, grasses, and, occasionally, horse-hair, fastened to upright 
branch in rose-thickets and the like. Eggs: 4 or 5, white, bluish-, creamv-, or 
grayish-white, speckled and marked with largish spots of reddish brown, burnt 
umber, etc., often wreathed about the larger end. Av. size, .70 x .50 ( 17.8 x 12.7). 
Season: May 20-Tune 20; one brood. 

General Range. — North America at large, except southwestern part, giving 
place to D. w. rnbiginosa in extreme northwest. South in winter to Central 
.\merica and northern South America. Breeds nearly thruout its North Ameri- 
can range. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident in deciduous timber, and shrub- 
bery lining streams, thrudut the State from sea-level to 4,000 feet. 

Migrations. — Sfriiig: Tacoma, .\pril 24-30; Yakima, April 30. 1900; 
Chelan, May 21. i8(jh. fall: First week in September. 

Authorities. — Cooper and Suckley, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv., XIL, pt. IL, 
i860, p. 181. T. C&S. L'. Rh. D'. Ra. D-'. Ss'. Ss^ Kk. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— B. BN. E. P". 

THE Summer Warbler's gold is about as common as that of the dan- 
delion, but its trim little form has not achieved any such distinctness in the 
public mind. Most people, if they take notice at all of anything so tiny, 
dub the birds "Wild Canaries," and are done. The name as applied to the 
Cioldfinch niav be barely tolerated, but in the case of the Warbler it is quite 
inappropriate, since the bird has nothing in cc minion with the Canary except 
littleness and yellowness. Its bill is longer and slimmer, for it feeds ex- 
clusively on insects instead of seeds; and its pure yellow and olive-green 



THE YELLOW WARBLER. 



179 



plumage knows no admixture, sa\e for the tasty but inconspicuous chestnut 
stripes on the breast of the adult male. These stripes are lacking in males 
of the second year, whence Audubon was once led to elaborate a supposed 
new species, which he called the "Children's Warbler." The name is not 
ill-fitting, even tho we know that it applies only to the Warbler's children. 

The Yellow Warbler is peculiarly a bird of sunshine, and is to be found 
chiedy in open situations. 
It swarms thru tlie orch- 
ards and gardens, fre- 
Cjuents tlie wayside thick- 
ets, and in town takes 
possession of the shrub- 
bery in lawn or park. It 
is abundant in swampy 
places, and is invariably 
present in season along 
the banks of streams 
which are lined with wil- 
lows, alders, and wild rose 
bushes. 

The song is sunnv, too, 
and while not elaborate, 
makes substantial contri- 
bution to the good cheer 
of spring. Heard in the 
boskage it sounds absurdly 
as if some wag were shak- 
ing an attic salt-cellar on 
a great green salad. The 
notes are almost piercing, 
and sound better perhaps 
from across the river than 
they do in the same tree. 
Individual variation in 
song is considerable, but 
the high pitch and vigor of delixery are distinctive. Certain common types 
may be syllabized as follows: Szvccf. sin'cct, sweet, szvecfic; tscc, tscc, tsit- 
a-wee, tscc; zvcc-chcc, dice, dice lucc-i-n; tsii. tsii. tsii. tsii. tscccw. From 
its arrival sometime during the last week in April, until near the close of 
its second nesting, late in July, the bird may be found singing thruout the 
sunlit hours. 

The date of this bird's annual advent in Washington is far less nearly 




Photo by Fin/cy and Bohlman. 
A CONTENTED B.^BY. 



i8o 



THE YELLOW WARBLER. 



fixed than in the East. April 19th is my earliest date, recortled in Yakima 
County, but Dr. Cooper once saw large numbers ( possibly D. a. riihiginosa) 
"at the Straits of De Fuca," on April 8. On the west side of the mountains 
this Warbler may not often nest more than once in a season, but on the 
East-side it usually raises 
two broods. 

The nest of the Yellow 
Warbler is quite common, 
especially easterly, where 
its cover is nicire re- 
stricted : and no specia 
pains is taken at conceal- 
ment. Nests may be 
placed at any height in 
orchard trees, alders, wil- 
lows, or even fir saplings ; 
but, without doubt, the 
most acceptable site is 
that afforded by dense 
thickets of the wild rose 
(Rosa pisocar/^a ) where- 
ever found. 

The cradle of this bird 
is of excjuisite fabrica- 
tion. The tough inner 
bark of certain weeds — 
called indiscriminately 
"hemp" — together with 
grasses and other filirous 
materials in various pro- 
portions, is woven into a 
compact cup around, or 
settled into, some stout 
horizontal or ascending 
fork of bush or tree. As 
a result the bushes are 
full of Warblers' nests, 

two or more seasons old. A fleecy lining, or mat, of plant-down is a more 
or less conspicuous feature of every nest. LIpon this as a background a 
scantv horse-hair lining may exhibit every one of its strands; or again, as 
in the case of a nest taken on the Chelan River, the eggs themselves may 
be thrown into high relief bv a coiled black mattress. 




.'ELLOW 



Taken near Tacomti. 
Photo by the Author. 

BLER'S NEST. 



THE MYRTLE WARBLER. i8i 

Tlie male Yellow is very domestic in his tastes, insomuch that, quite 
unlike other Warblers, he will often venture to sing from the very bush in 
which his mate is sitting. Unless well accustomed to the presence of humans, 
the female will not sit patiently under the threat of close approach. She 
slips oil cjuickly and her vigorous complaints serve to summon iier husband, 
when both flit about close to the intruder, and scold roundl}* in fierce, accusing 
notes, which yet have a baljy lisp about them. 



No. 74. 

MYRTLE WARBLER. 

A. O. U. No. 655. Dendroica coronata ( Linn.). 

Synonym. — Yellow-rumped WarblEk. 

Description. — Adult male in spring: Above slaty blue with black streaks, 
smaller on sides of crown and nape, broader on back; below white, with black on 
upper breast, sides of middle breast, and sides in endless variety of patterns ; a 
large patch on each side of breast, a partially concealed patch in center of crown, 
and rump, bright yellow ( lemon or canary ) ; superciliary line white ; a deep black 
patch on side of head ; wings fuscous ; tail darker ; middle and greater coverts 
narrowly tipped with white, forming two rather conspicuous bars ; three outer 
pairs of tail-feathers with white blotches on inner webs, decreasing centrally; bill 
black ; feet dark. Female in spring, and both sexes in fall: Duller ; the blue of 
upperparts overlaid with brownish ; a brownish wash on sides of breast and 
flanks ; black of breast obscure, — restricted to centers of feathers ; yellow of 
breast-spots pale or wanting. Immature: Brownish above ; whitish below with 
a few obscure dusky streaks. Length 5.25-5.75 ( 133. 3-146. i) ; av. of five males: 
wing 2.98 (75.7) : tail 2.22 (56.4) ; bill .38 (9.7) ; tarsus .78 (20). 

Recognition Marks. — Larger; za'hite throat as distinguished from D. andii- 
boni, which it otherwise closely resembles. 

Nesting. — Not known to breed in Washington. AU^st as in next species. 
Eggs indistinguishable. 

General Range. — "Eastern North America chiefly, straggling more or less 
commonly to the Pacific ; breeds from the northern Lhiited States northward, and 
winters from southern New England and the Ohio Valley southward to the West 
Indies, and through Mexico to Panama" (A. O. U. '95). "An abundant summer 
resident on Vancouver Island and mainland (B. C), chiefly west of Cascades" 
(Kermode). 

Range in Washington. — Spring and fall migrant, probably of regular 
occurrence east and west of the Cascades. 

Migrations. — Spring: Tacoma, Apr. 27, 1906, 1907; Seattle, May 3, 1908; 
Chelan, May 22, 1905; Yakima, Apr. 30, 1891. 

Authorities.— Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. pt. II.. 1858, 272, 273. C&S. 
Rh. Ra. D-'. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens. — U. of W. Prov. C. 



1 82 THE AUDUBON WARBLER. 

WHILE only a little less lovely than its local kinsman, the Audubon 
Warbler, by as much as it has four patclies of gold instead of five, this 
beautiful migrant appears to have been very largely lost to sight in the 
throng of its more brilliant relatives. Rathbun, writing from Seattle, says 
of it: "A regular and not uncummon spring migrant, associating with 
D. aiiduboni. Have no fall record." Bowles from Taconia says: "An 
irregular fall migrant, very numerous some years, the fall of 1905 for 
example. Have never seen it in spring." Yakima, April 30, i8gi ; Chelan, 
May 22, 1905; Tacoma, April 27, 1907, are some of my own records. 
Fannin gives the species as "An abundant summer resident, chiefly west of 
the Cascades," in British Columbia, aii<l it should occur regularly within our 
borders during migration. 

The tchip note of the Myrtle Warbler is indistinguishable from that of 
D. auduhoni, but a single glimpse of the white throat is suflicient to establish 
identitv. Those seen have necessarily been at close quarters and ranging 
low, in willow thickets, along the margins of ponds, etc., but it is altogether 
possible for a migrant troop to hold to the tree-tops in passing and so elude 
observation from "Fortv-nine" to the Columbia. 



No. 75. 

AUDUBON'S WARBLER, 

A. O. \J. No. 656. Dendroica aiiduboni (Towns.) 

Synonym. — Western Yellow-rum ped Warp.ler. 

Description. — Adidt male: Similar to D. coronata but thruat rich gamboge 
yellow; auriculars bluish gray instead of black; a large white wing patch formed 
by tips of middle and outer edges of greater coverts; tail with white blotches on 
inner webs of four or five outer feathers ; usually more extensively black on 
breast. Adult fciiialc: Similar to adult male but duller (differences closely cor- 
responding with those in D. coronata): the white of wing patch nearly obsolete; 
the yellow of throat paler and often, especially on chin, more or less displaced 
by white (young females even of the second summer are sometimes absolutely 
without yellow on throat but the more abundant white on rectrices is distinctive 
as compared with D. coronata). Seasonal changes follow very closely those of 
D. coronata but yellow of throat is usually retained in winter save in young 
females and (occasionally) young males. Length of adult about 5.50 (139.7); 
wing 3.00 (76) ; tail 2.45 (57) : bill .41 ( 10.4) : tarsus .80 (20.3). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size ; five spots of yellow ; extensive white 
blotching of tail ; yellow rump distinctive in any plumage save as compared with 
D. coronata. from' which it is further distinguished (usually) by yellow or yel- 
lowish of throat (If this character fails, the more extensive white on tail will 
always hold). 

Nesting. — Nest: a well built, bulky structure of fir twigs, weed stems. 



..'i*u. 







local ki 






iL!l 


1 M ILDC^ 


of gold 


in:--' 




■ 1:>een very 


largely 


lost 








riting fi 






.(.Miig mign 
wles from 








;ne 


years, the fail 




. i; J iir\ ci .-i.^.-i! .1 !i i Kim 


^ Yal 




.-:i ., ^. 




, : Tacoma, April 27, 


1907. ar^ 


" 






n ab'iin 










aii i.-ii i^ijiuiiibia, aj] 


lU Jt MIUUIll IJLL LU 






1 :;;ration. 










ihip note of the Myrtle War^^ilei 








■ \ . 1 . .,■.._-; -J :.,.-.-. „ - r . 1 









i If.) eMUi-lllin: 

and ranginrr 


thickets, along 


5 

z 








ition h- S '^" 








D ^. 




z 

5 

z 

< 

K 



s 

a 

< 


sambno;:^ 



laily retained in winter 



nrnp < 




•k 



THE AUDUBON WARBLER. 183 

rootlets, etc., heavily lined with horse-hair and feathers; placed usually on branch 
of conifer from four to fifty feet up, sometimes in small tree close against 
trunk, measures 4 inches in width outside by 2^4 in depth; inside 2 by 154. Eggs: 
3-5, usually 4, dull greenish white sparingly dotted with blackish or handsomely 
ringed, spotted and blotched with reddish brown, black and lavender. Av. size, 
.71 .X.54 (18x13.7). Season: April-June; two broods. Tacoma, April 9, 1905, 
4 eggs half incubated. 

General Range. — Western North America, north to British Columbia, east 
to western border of the Great Plains, breeding thruout its range ( in higher 
coniferous forests of California, northern Arizona, etc.), wintering in lower 
valleys and southward thruout Mexico. Accidental in Massachusetts and in 
Penns}'lvania. 

Range in Washington. — Common resident and migrant on West-side from 
tidewater to limit of trees ; less common migrant and rare winter resident ( ?) east 
of the Cascades. 

Migrations. — Spring: East-side: Yakima, March 11, 1900 (probably winter 
resident); Yakima, April 13, 1900; Chelan, April 20-24, 1896. West-side: 
Tacoma, April 24, 1906. 

Authorities. — Sxlz'ia auduboni Townsend, Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. VII. 
1837, 191 ( "forests of the Columbia River" ). C&S. L'. Rh. D'. Kb. Ra. D-. Kk. 
B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P- Prov. B. BN. E. 

AS one considers the Thrushes, Wrens, and Sparrows of our northern 
clime, he is apt to grumble a little at the niggardliness of Mother Nature in the 
matter of providing party clothes. The dark mood is instantly dispelled, how- 
ever, at the sight of this vision of loveliness. Black, white, and gray-blue 
make a very tasty mixture in themselves, as the Black-throated Gray Warbler 
can testify, but when to these is added the splendur of five golden garnishes, 
crown, gorget, epaulets, and culet, }ou have a costume which Pan must notice. 
And for all he is so bedecked, aiidiiboiii is neither proud nor vain, — ])roperly 
modest and companionable withal. 

Westerly, at least, he is among the first voices of springtime, and by the 
loth of March, wdiile all other Warblers are still skulking silentlv in the South- 
land, this brave spirit is making the fir groves echo to his melody. The song is 
brief and its theme nearl}- im'ariable, as is the case with most Warblers; but 
there is about it a joyous, racy quality, which flicks the admiration and calls 
time on Spring. The singer posts in a high fir tree, that all may hear, and the 
notes pom^ out rapidlv. crowding close upi.m each other, till the whole companv 
is lost in a cloud of spray at the end of the ditty. At close quarters, the "fill- 
ing" is exquisite, but if one is a little way removed, where he catches only the 
crests of the sound waves, it is natural to call the efi:'ort a trill. At a good 
distance it is even comparable to the pure, nKinotonous tinkling of Junco. 

I once heard these two dissimilar liirds in a song contest. The W^arbler 
stood upon a favorite perch of his, a spindling, solitary fir some hundred feet 



i84 THE AUDUBON WARBLER. 

in heiglit, while the Junco held a station even higher on the tip of another fir a 
block away. Here they had it back and forth, with honors surprisingly even, 
until both were tired, whereupon (and not till then) an Oregon Towhee ven- 
tured to bring forth his prosy rattle. It was like Saniljo and his "bones" after 
an opera. 

The range of .Audubon's Warbler is abuut coextensive with that of ever- 
green timber in Washington. It does not, however, frec^nent all the more open 
pine woods of the lower foot-hills in the eastern part of the State, nor does it 
occur habitually in the deeper solitudes of the western forests. Considered 
altitudinally, its range extends from sea-level to timber-line. And altho it is at 
home in the highest mountains, it is ecjually so in the city park and in the shade 
trees about the house. Under such varied conditions, therefore, its habits 
must \'ary widely. 

We do not know to what extent it is resident, that is, present the year 
around, but belie\-e that it is quite extensively so. One may be in the woods 
for a dull week in January, and see never a Warbler ; but on a bright day in 
the same region he may encounter numbers of them. I ha\-e seen them pla}-ing 
about the dense firs on Semiahmoo Point ( Lat. 49° ) on Christmas Day. and I 
feel sure tliat large numbers of them spend the winter in the tree-tops, possibly 
moping, after the well known fashion of the Sooty Grouse. 

It is these winter residents which become active in early spring. In the 
\Mcinity of Tacoma, where they ha\'e been studied most carefully, it is found 
that April is the typical nesting month, and one at least of the four eggs of a 
nest foimd April 9th, 1905, must have been deposited in March. Along about 
the 25111 of April great numbers of Audubons arrive from the South, and one 
may see indolent companies of them lounging thru the trees, while resident 
birds are busy feeding young. These migrants may be destined for our own 
mountains as well as British CoUmibia. East-side birds are likewise tardy in 
arrival, for pine trees are inadequate shelter for wintry experiments. 

The absorbing dutv of springtime is nesting, and to this art the Audubons 
give themselves with becoming ardor. The female does the work, while the 
male cheers her with song, and not infrequently trails about after her, useless 
but sympathetic. Into a certain tidy grove near Tacoma the bird-man entered 
one crisp morning in April. The trees stood about like decorous candlesticks, 
but the place hummed with Kinglets and clattered with Juncoes and Audubons. 
One Audubon, a female, advertised her business to all comers. I saw her, up- 
on the ground, wrestling with a large white chicken-feather, and sputtering ex- 
citedly between tussles. The feather was evidently too big or too stifif or too 
wet for her ])roper taste ; but finally she flew away across the grove with it, 
chirping merrily. And since she repeated her precise course three times, it was 
an easv matter to trace her some fifteen rods straight to her nest, forty feet up 
on an ascending fir branch. 



THE AUDUBON WARBLER. 



i8s 



\Mien tlie nest was presumed to be ripe. I ascended. It was found settled 
into the foliage and steadied by di\-erging twigs at a i)(jint some six or seven 
feet out along the limb. None of the branches in the vicinity were individuallv 
safe, but Ijy dint of standing on one, sitting on another, and clinging to a third, 
I made an ecjuitable distribution of avoirdupois and grasped the treasure. 
Perhaps in justice the supporting branches should have Ijroken just here, but 
hiiw could you enjoy the rare beauty of this handsome structure unless we 
brought it to you ? 



The nest is deeply 
cup-shaped, with a 
brim slightly turned 
in, composed exter- 
nally of fir twigs, 
weed - tops, flower- 
pedicels, rootlets, cat- 
kins, etc., while the 
interior is heavily 
lined with feathers 
which in turn are 
bound and held in 
place by an inner- 
most lining of horse- 
hairs. One feather 
was left to curl dain- 
tily over the edge, 
and so jiartially con- 
ceal the eggs, — four 
spotted beauties. 

These Warblers 
are connoisseurs in 
feathers, and if one 
had all their nests submitted to him, he could make a rough assignment of 
locality for each according to whether feathers of Oregon Ruffed Grouse, 
Franklin Grouse, Ptarmigan, or domestic fowls were used. 

In the wet region the birds appear to nest in fir trees only, and they are 
as likely to use the lowermost limb as any. There is little attempt at conceal- 
ment, and Bowles reports a nest only ten feet high over a path used daily by 
hundreds of people in Tacoma. On the dry side of the mountains the \\'arblers 
avail themselves freely of deciduous trees and bushes for nesting sites. A nest 
on Cannon Hill in Spokane was placed at the lowermost a\-ailable crotch of a 
young elm tree near the sidewalk and not ten feet up — as bold as a Robin! 




Taken in Tacoma. Photo by the Author. 

NEST AND EGGS OF AUDUBON WARBLER. 



i86 THE BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER. 



According to Mr. Bowles, Audubon Warblers evince a great fondness for 
their chosen nesting haunts, and will return to them year after year, often to 
the same tree, and sometimes to the same branch. "They are the most solicit- 
ous of all the Washington Warblers concerning their eggs, sometimes coming 
to meet the intruder as he climbs toward the nest. At such times the alarm note 
of the female soon brings the male, when, should the nest contain incubated 
eggs or young, both birds crawl among the branches, freciuently within reach, 
with wings and tail spread, in absolute forgetfulness of their own safety." 

Incubation is accomplished in twelve days; and one or two broods are 
raised, according to locality and length of season. 

We lose sight of most of the birds, especially the smaller ones, after the 
heyday of springtime, but here is one who, because he has forsworn wander- 
ing, is making delicate overtures of confidence toward mankind. This year, 
especiallv, now that the dense tract of woods north of the University has been 
cut out, thev linger about our neighborhood with the matter-of-factness of 
Bluebirds. The young ones play about the eaves or make sallies at passing 
flies from the window-sills, and yawn with childish insouciance if mamma 
suggests, by a sharp tchip, that enemies may lurk behind the curtains. They 
know it's only habit with her, and she doesn't believe it herself. The adult 
attire is duller now, and only the yellow rump-patch remains for recognition 
by a friend. The year is waning, no doubt of that, but October sunshine is 
p-ood enoug-h for us — or November rains. Let them flit who will ! Wash- 
ington is good enough for us, you in your fir house and I in mine. 



No. 76. 

BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER. 

A. O. U. No. 665. Dendroica nigrescens (Towns.). 

Description. — .-Idiilt male in sirring and summer: A supraloral spot of yel- 
low ; remaining i)hiniage black, white and blue-gray ; head, throat and chest black 
interrupted bv superciliary stripes and broad malar stripes of white ; remaining 
upperparts blue-gray, marked with black in inverted wedge-shaped spots on 
back, scapulars and upper tail-coverts; wings and tail black edged with l)lnish 
ash, the middle and greater coverts tipped with white, forming two conspicuous 
wing-bars, the four outer rectrices blotched with white on inner webs in sharply 
decreasing area, the outermost chiefly white, the fourth merely touched ; sides 
white streaked with black or striped black-and-white ; remaining underparts white. 
Adult female: Like male but duller, the black of crown partly veiled by blue- 
gray skirting, that of throat reduced by white tips of feathers. Young birds 
resemble the female but the black of crown and throat is almost entirelv hidden 
by blue-gray and white respectively, and the area of the tail blotches is nnich 
reduced. Length about 5.00 (127): wing 2.44 (62); tail 1.97 (50): bill .36 
(9.2) : tarsus .69 (17.5). 



THE BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER. 



187 



Recognition Marks. — \\'arbler size ; black and white and blue-gray colora- 
tion distinctive. 

Nesting. — Xcst: a rather loosely built structure of dead grasses, silky plant 
iibers, moss, etc., placed midway on horizontal limb of conifer 25-50 feet from 
ground; measures, externally, 3 inches wide by 2 deep, internally 1}^ wide by i 
deep. Eggs: 4, creamy white, marked, chiefly about the larger end with spots 
and small blotches of varying shades of brown, lavender and black. Av. size. 
.83 X .63 ( 21 X 16). Season: last week in May and first week in Tune ; one brood. 




I>|ll(mtavool\s. 



BL.\CK-THROATED GRAY WARBLERS, MALE AND FEMALE. 

General Range. — Western United States (north to Colorado, Utah and 
Washington), and British Columbia west of the Cascades; breeding southward 
to Southern California, southern Arizona and Lower California; south in winter 
thru Mexico and States of Oaxaca and Vera Cruz. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident and migrant west of the Cascade 
Mountains. 

Migrations. — Spring: Seattle-Tacoma c. April 12. Fall: c. Sept. i (Blaine). 

Authorities. — Sylvia niqresccns Townsend, Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. VH. 
1837, 191 ("forests of the Columbia River"). C&S. L-. D'( ?). Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens. — LT. of W. Prov. B. E. 



1 88 



THE BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER. 



BLACK and white and gray are sober colors in themselves, but a skillful 
arrangement of all three has produced a handsome bird, and one whose dainty 
dignity requires no meretricious display of gaudy reds and yellows. Warblers 
are such tiny creatures at best that Nature has given little thought to their pro- 
tective coloration. This plain-colored bird does not, therefore, shun the green- 
ery of fir and fern, and yet we feel a peculiar fitness when he chooses for a 
song station some bare dead limb, gray and sober like himself. 

Last year the first arrival in Seattle seated himself upon a projecting limb 
of a dead cedar which commanded the quiet sylvan depths of Cowan Park, and 
left him fairly abreast of the Fifteenth Avenue viaduct. Here he divided his 
time between song and enjoyment of the scene, sparing a friendly glance now 
and then f<ir the admiring bird-man. His manner was complaisant and self- 
contained, and I felt that his little vocal offerings were a tribute to the perfect 
morning rather than a bid for applause. 

The song of the Black-throated Gray is (juitc un])retentious, as Mrs. 
Bailey says,^ "a simple warbler lay, ccc-cc-^^cc-cc. sc, cc. .zc. with tlie quiet 

woodsy quality of I'irciis and cw- 
rulescens, so soothing to the ear." 
It is this droning, woodsy quality 
alone which must guide the ear of 
a listener in a forest, which may be 
resiiunding at the same time to the 
notes of the Hermit, Townsend, 
Audubon, Lutescent, and Tolmie 
Warl)lers. Occasionallv even this 




fails 



An earlv song which came 



Taken nctir Blaine. Photo (.retouched) by the .-luthor 

"UPO.X THE ON'ERH.ANGING LUIB OF .•W 

.\PPLE TREE." 



from a young male feeding pa- 
tiently among the catkins of some 
tall, fresh-budding alders, had some 
of the airy c|ualities of the King- 
let's notes, "Deo dcopli, dit dii dii. dco dco pli. dco dco pli. dco dco pit' — a 
mere fairy sibilation too fine for mortal ears to analyze. Another said boldly, 
"Heo flidgity; hco flidgity," and "Hco Hidgity. cliu weo." 

This Warbler is of rather irregular distribution in the western part of the 
State, where alone it is found. A preference is shown for rather open wood- 
land or dense undergrowth with wooded intervals. The fir-dotted prairies of 
the Steilacoom area are approved, and the oak groves have their patronage. 
During the August migration I ha\'e found the bird almost abundant at Blaine. 
They are curious, too, and by judicious screeping I succeeded in calling the 
bird of the accompanying illustration down within five feet upon the over- 
hanging limb of an apple tree. 



a. Handbook of Birds of W. U. S., p. 419. 



THE BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER. 



189 



Of their nesting 'Slv. Bowles says: "In Washington these W'arlilers are 
strictly confined to the large coniferons timher of the prairie conntry. during 
the breeding season placing their nests midway out on a fir limb, at from 25 to 
50 feet above the ground. Strangely enDugli, hdwever, in Oregon they almost 
always nest low down in the deciduous trees, sometimes onlv three or four 
feet up in a bush. In Washington the nests are always placed directly on a 
linil), while in Oregon m_\- Ijrother, Mr. C. W. Bowles, found tlieni mostly in 
upright crotches. 

"The nest is rather a 
loosely-l;)uilt little struc- 
ture, measuring external- 
ly three inches wide by 
two inches deep, internal- 
ly one and three-quarters 
inches wide by one deep. 
It is composed of dead 
grass, silky plant fibers, 
moss, etc., with an ample 
lining of different kinds 
of hair and feathers: — a 
pretty little nest, tlio 
scarcely as artistic as that 
of the Audubon Warbler. 

"The eggs are laid dur- 
ing the last week in Mar- 
aud the first week in June, 
and are invariably four in 
number. They are creamy 
white in color, marked 
chiefly around the larger 
end, with spots and small 
blotches of varying shades of brown, lavender, and black. Eggs in my collec- 
tion from W'ashington average .83 .x .63 inches in dimensions, while eggs from 
Oregon average .67 x .50 inches, the largest egg from Oregon being smaller 
than the smallest Washington egg. In shape the eggs \'ary fr(im long to short 
ovate, and only one set is laid in a season. 

"The parent birds are very shy in the vicinity of the nest, tlie female 
leaving at the first sign of danger and keeping out of sight. 

"In Oregon, my brother noted that the male often accompanied the 
female while she was collecting building material, continuously scolding, but 
never assisting her in any way. In that section the nests were greatly pre\-ed 
upon by that prince of egg-robbers, the California Jay." 




Taken in Tacoiiui. Photo by J. H. Boiclcs. 

NEST AND EGGS OF THE CL.ACK-THROATED GRAY 

WARBLER. 



190 THE TOWNSEND WARBLER. 



No. 77. 
TOWNSEND'S WARBLER. 

A. O. U. No. 668. Dendroica townsendi (Towns.). 

Description. — .Idnlt male: Pileum, hindneck, lores and auricnlars, chin, 
throat and upper chest black ; supraloral region continuous with broad super- 
ciliary, a spot under eye and a malar stripe broadening behind (and nearly 
meeting end of superciliary on side of neck) yellow, breast yellow heavily 
streaked on sides with black, the black streaks thickening and merging with 
black of chest in front, scattering on flanks and reappearing on under tail-coverts ; 
upper sides and flanks and remaining underparts posteriorly white as to ground ; 
back, scajnilars and rump yellowish olive-green streaked with black shading into 
black of head on hindneck: upper tail-coverts abruptly bluish gray; wings and 
tail blackish with some edgings of light gray : two white wing-bars formed by tips 
of middle and greater coverts; three outer pairs of tail feathers blotched with 
white on inner webs in descending ratio. Bill black with paler tomia ; feet and 
let^s brown ; iris brown. Adult male in fall and leinter: Areas and intensity of 
black much reduced, pileum and hindneck with much skirting of olive green 
thru which black appears mesially on feathers; auricnlars entirely concealed by 
olive green feather-tips ; black of chin and throat nearly concealed by yellow 
and streaks of sides reduced ; black streaks of upperparts more or less concealed ; 
upper tail-coverts color of back. Adult female: A'ery similar in coloration to 
adult male in fall ; throat often more or less black, pileum sometimes more e.xten- 
sively black but black streaking of upperparts still further reduced. Young birds 
in first autumnal' phtniage have no clear black, and the yellow of throat and 
underparts is paler. Length about 5.00 (127) ; wing 2.64 (67) ; tail 1.97 (50) ; 
bill .34 (8.6); tarsus .74 (18.8). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; black on crown, cheeks and throat in 
hiwh plumage ; in low ])lumage extensively yellow on sides of head enclosing 
area of darker (olive-green) — yellow of throat combined with this character 
may afford clew to identification of winter specimens. 

Nesting. — Xest: a well built, bulky but rather shallow structure, chiefly of 
cedar bark with a few slender fir twigs interwoven ; lined with stems of moss 
flowers : placed at moderate heights in young fir trees well out on limb or settled 
ao-ainst trunk. Eggs: 4, white, wreathed and speckled with brownish and lilac. 
Av. size, .61 X .51 ( 15.5 X 12.9). Season: first week in June; one brood. 

General Range. — \\'estern North America breeding from the mountains of 
southern California north to Alaska and east to Idaho; during migrations east- 
ward to Rocky Mountains and southward to Guatemala, Lower California, etc. 

Range in Washington. — Not uncommon spring and fall migrant on both 
sides of the Cascade Mountains, summer resident in coniferous timber, probably 
thruout the State ; partially resident in winter on Puget Sound. 

Migrations. — Spring: Seattle April 20, 1907; Ahtanum (Yakima Co.) 
May 4, 1906, Tune 5, 1899; Chelan May 25, 1905. Fall: August. JVinter records: 
Seattle Dec. 31. 1905; Tacoma Dec. 4, 13, 15. 21 and 29, 1906. 




TOWNSEND WARBLERS, MALE AND FEMALE. 



192 THE TOVVNSEND WARBLER. 

Authorities. — Syli'ia towiisciidi "(Nuttall)," Townsend, Journ. Ac. Nat. 
Sci. Phila. VII. pi. II. 18^7, iqi ("forests of the Columbia River"). C&S. Rh. 
Ra.'D-'. B. E. 

Specimens. — U. of W. Prov. C. E. 

WHAT a niuniing that was at the old parsonage in the Alitanuni \-alley. 
when the shade trees of the five acre enclosin"e were lit up by the presence of a 
dozen of these fairies! Waste acres of sage lay around, or fields of alfalfa 
and growing wheat, hardly more inviting, but the eye of the leader, winging 
languidly from the S(juth, at early dawn had spied a patch of woods}- green, 
and had ordered a halt for the day in our comfortable-looking box-elders and 
insect-harboring apple trees. To be sure it was absurdly late for migrants, 
June 5th, but thev appeared more like an eniljassage of foreign grandees, who 
deignetl to make requisition upon our hospitality, than mere birds with threats 
of family cares ahead. So while they sought breakfasts of aphis and early 
worm, or disported among the branches in the growing sunshine, I attended 
their movements in rustic wonder. Now and then a member of the party 
paused to adjust his golden trapi)ings. i.ir to settle the black head-piece with a 
daintv shake. It was, indeed, a notable occasion for the bird-man, inasmuch 
as these dandies were in "higher" plumage than any yet recognized b_\' the l^est 
bird-books of the day,^ in that the shining black, supposedly confined to the 
lower throat, now occupied the very chin as well. 

There was a little conversational lisping in a foreign tongue, in which the 
ladies of the party were include<l ; and after breakfast the males ventured song. 

Seventy-eight days later, viz., on the 23d of August, a southward bound 
party visited our orchard. The males were still in song, and it was difficult 
to believe that all the joys and sorrows of wedlock and child-rearing had inter- 
vened ; yet such was probably the case. 

A bird sighted at Chelan on the 25th day of May, 1905, haunted a pine 
and a balm tree at the foot of the Lake, singing constantly. The song ran, 
dszvee, dzxvcc, dzzvce, dzzvcc, dcivcctscc, the first four notes drowsy and drawl- 
ing, the fourth prolonged, and the remainder somewhat furry and squeaky. 
The bird hunted patiently thru the long needles of the ])ine, under what would 
seem to an observer great difficulties. Once he espied an especially desirable 
tidbit on the under side of a needle-beset branch. The bird leaned over and 
peered beneath, until he quite lost his balance and turned a somersault in the 
air. But he returned to the charge again and again, now creeping cautiously 
around to the under side, now clinging to the pine needles themselves and 
again fluttering bravely in the midst, until he succeeded in exhausting the little 
pocket of provender, whatever it was. 

In June, 1906, we found these birds in the valley of the Stehekin, and 



a. Coues' Key to N. A. Birds, Fourth Edition, is especially referred to. The matter has been cor- 
rected in the Fifth Edition. 



THE HERMIT WARBLER. 193 

again in tlie valley of the Cascade River, near Marblemount, breeding, un- 
doubtedly, in both places. Here we allowed the notes, ooci, ivoozi Icooli to 
pass for some time, unchallenged, as those of the Hermit Warbler, but finally 
caught a fo-wnsciuli in the act at fifteen feet. There is, to be sure, a lisping, 
drawling, obstructed quality in the opening notes not found in the typical 
Hermit song, and possibly not at all, but the lilt at the end, leooli, is insepar- 
able from the Hermit Warbler, and I do not take it kindly of tozvusciidi to 
mix up the game so. 

Upon returning to the valley of the Stehekin in June, 1908, Mr. Bowles 
found the Townsend Warbler a not uncommon breeder. On the 20th of that 
month he discovered two nests, each containing four newly hatched young. 
Both were i:)Iaced about twelve feet up in young fir trees, one about five feet 
out on a limb, the other close against the main trunk. In each instance the 
brooding female allowed a close approach; then dropped straight to the ground 
and disappeared. The birds were extremely shy at first but after an hour or 
so became sufiiciently acctistomed to the human presence to return to their 
duties within a few minutes after being flushed. But repeated visits failed to 
discover the males in the vicinity of their nests, and, indeed, they seemed to be 
wholly occupied with minstrelsy in the tree-tops. 

On the 31st of December, 1905, I saw a Townsend Warbler in the pale 
winter plumage in Madrona Park, on the border of Lake Washington. He 
was with a group of Audubon Warblers feeding in the alders, but attention 
was instantly attracted to the tsip note, which was sharper and more clear-cut 
than that of the Audubon ; and it had, moreover, a sort of double quality, or 
central turn, fsiip or chiip. This record of winter residence was further con- 
firmed by specimens taken at Tacoma by Mr. Bowles the following December 



No. 78. 

HERMIT WARBLER. 

A. O. U. No. 669. Dendroica occidentalis (Townsend). 

Synonym. — WESTERN WarblER. 

Description. — Adult male in breeding plumage: Forehead, crown and sides 
of head and neck, broadly, rich lemon yellow, sharply defined below by black of 
chin, throat and upper chest, less sharply above by black of occiput or hind- 
neck ; this in turn shading thru mingled olive and black into gray of remaining 
upperparts : upper plumage more or less tinged with olive-green and streaked 
more or less broadly with black : wings and tail black with grayish edgings ; 
middle and greater coverts tipped with white forming two conspicuous wing- 
bars, — outermost part of tail-feathers chiefly white on both webs, ne.xt pair white 
on terminal half of inner web and third pair marked with longitudinal spot near 
tip: black of chest with convex posterior outline sharply defined from white of 
remaining underparts. Bill black ; legs and feet dark brown ; iris brown. Adult 



194 THE HERMIT WARBLER. 

male ill fall and zvinter: Yellow of crown veiled by olive green; black of throat 
veiled by whitish tips; black streaking of upperparts less conspicuous. Adult 
female in spring: Like male in spring but duller, yellow of head less extensive, 
gray of upperparts dominating; black streaks reduced or obsolete; black of throat, 
etc., absent, white or dull yellowish instead; sometimes dusky spot of various 
proportions on chest. Young birds like adult female but yellow of crown veiled 
by olive and sides washed with brownish. Length of adult about 4.90 ( 124.4) ! 
wing 2.65 (67.3) ; tail 2.20 (55.9) ; bill .40 (10.2) ; tarsus .44 ( 1 1.3). 

Recognition Marks. — Smaller Warbler size ; yellow mask of male outlined 
against black of throat and hind neck distinctive — female and young more difficult 
but distinctive pattern of mask with white wing-bars usually suggestive. 

Nesting. — Nest: saddled on horizontal branch of fir tree at a good height; 
a compact structure of fir twigs, mosses and vegetable down, lined with fine 
grass and horse-hair ; measures, outside, 4 wide by 2;)4 deep, inside, 2 wide 
by 1^4 deep. Eggs: 4 or 5, dull white heavily blotched and spotted with various 
shades of red-brown and lavender. Av. size, .69 x .53 (17.5x13.5). Season: 
c. June I ; one brood. 

General Range. — Pacific coast district and Cascade-Sierra system with its 
outliers north to British Columbia; "in winter south into Lower California and 
through Arizona over Mexican plateau to highlands of Guatemala." 

Range in Washington. — Not common summer resident, in heavier conifer- 
ous timber only. 

Authorities. — Syli'ia occidentalis Townsend, Jnurn. .\c. Nat. Sci. Phila. 
Vn. 1837, 190 ("forests of the Columbia River"). "C&S. L'. D". B. 

Specimens. — C. 

THERE is a piece of woodland sotith of Tacinia which we call the 
Hermit Woods, because here on any May day may be heard the voice of this 
exalted Warbler. The proper hour in which to approach this forest is early 
morning, before the winds have begun to stir in its dim aisles, and while the 
hush of its nightly peace is upon everything — save the birds. The soft moss 
muffles the footsteps, so that the devotee may move abnut unheralded from 
shrine to shrine, as he pays silent homage to each, in turn, of those monting 
stars of song, the W^ood Warblers. There is Audubon with his hastening 
melody of gladness. There is Black-throated Gray with his still drowsy son- 
net of sweet content. Then there is Hermit hidden aloft in the shapeless 
greenery of the under-dawn, — his note is sweetest, gladdest, most seraphic of 
them all. Lilly, lilly. lilly. lee o leet. It is almost sacrilege to give it form — 
besides it is so hopeless. The preparatory notes are like the tinkle of crystal 
bells and when our attention is focused, lo! the wonder happens, — the ex- 
quisite lilt of the closing phrase, lee-olcct. 

In broad daylight it is the same. The singers remain in the tree-tops and 
tease tlie imagination with thoughts of a dumestic life lived upon a higher 
plane than that of eartli, an exalted state where all is beatific and serene. And 
try you never so hard, with glasses of a high power, it is a good hour's work 
to obtain a satisfactory sight of one of the uplifted creatures. 



THE HERMIT WARBLER. 



195 



In despair, one day, I determined to penetrate this supraniundane region 
where tlie Hermit is at home, and selected for the purpose a well branched tree 
in the center of the forest and some hundred and fifty feet in height. The tree 
was, fortunately, of the tougher sort, and permitted ascent to a point where 
the stem might be ; 

grasped with the tin- % 

ger and thumb of I 

one hand. It was a ' 

treat to see the for- 
est as a bird does. 
The surface viewed 
fro m aljove was 
surprisingly uneven. 
Here and there 
strong young trees, 
green and full of 
sap, rose to the level 
of mine, but the ma- 
jority were lower, 
and some appeared 
like green rosettes 
set in a well of 
green. Others still, 
rugged and uneven 
as to limb, towered 
above my station by 
fifty or seventy-five 
feet. My first dis- 
covery upon reach- 
ing the top was that 
the bulk of the bird 
chorus now sounded 
from below. But a 
few singing Hermits 
did occupy stations 
more lofty t li a n 
mine. One I marked 
down — rather, up — 
fifty feet above and a hundred yards away. He sang away like a contented 
eremite from a single twig, and I was reverently constructing his high 
biography and trying to pick out his domicile from the neighboring branches, 
when flash ! he pitched headlong two hundred feet and was seen no more. 




HERMIT WARBLERS. 



196 THE HERMIT WARBLER. 

Mr. Bowles has hit upon a clever scheme for decoying the haughty Hermits. 
He resorts to tlie vicinity of some Cassin Vireo's nest containing young, and 
studies the throng of small birds, which the masterly scolding of the Vireos 
invariably attracts. Upon one such occasion, having lured down an incjuisitive 
pair, he noticed a peculiar trait : "After examining me closel)' and apparently 
deciding that I was a new kind of stump, the female commenced feeding; but 
her attention was soon attracted to a last year's nest of a Russet-backed 
Thrush. She at once flew to it and, hopping in, crouched down and com- 
menced trampling the bottimi, turning around, putting the material on the 
sides into shape with her bill, and altogether acting as tho she had nest -building 
well under way. This was alxiut the middle of May, and, as I subsecjuently 
discovered, almost a month too early for licr tn lay her cggs."^ 

The nest of this species is still rare. The only one taken in \\'.'ishington 
was found bv Mr. Bowles, June ii, 1905, in a fir tree near Taconia, and con- 
tained five eggs, the only set of five yet recorded. The nest was placed at a 
height of twentv feet on a horizontal limb six feet from the trunk of the tree. 
Mr. Bowles had seen the tail nf the Ijird from Ijclow as it i)rojected over the 
brim of the nest, and prepared himself to inspect "another of those Audu- 
bons." W'hen, instead of the }'ellow crown-patch of an Audubon, he saw the 
lemon-yellow head of a Hermit, the oologist nearly fainted from surprise and 
joy. The bird sat so close that the collector was obliged to lift her from the 
nest, and she then flew only a few feet, where she remained, chipi)ing and 
spreading her wings and tail. The male at no time ])ut in an appearance. 

The nesting range of this species is still imperfectly made out. We found 
it common at Newport in Stevens County, and among the pines and larches of 
the Calispell range. We counted them common in the valley of the Stehekin 
also, but soon encountered that peculiar plagiarism of song, on the part of the 
Townsend Warbler, which queered all our local conclusions. In order, there- 
fore, to guide the student in further investigations, I record a few wariant 
song forms which I have clearly traced to the Hermit \\'arbler : Zccglc. 
cccglc. zccglc, ncct, fuzzy and low like that of D. iiigrcscciis — this was heard 
at Tacoma and is recognized by C. W. Bowles as being the type form of 
southern Oreg(^n songs: dcce dzcc, tzibid-zccdzce, d::cc dccc in a sort of sing- 
song rollick: dcudcud::ndzudccco ccco acct — first syllables very rapid, musical: 
nasal turn to accented notes very like the "ping" note of the Creeper song, and 
occu]")ying much the same position save that it is repeated : days, days, days. 
da\'s .ccct — the first notes lisping, with slight accelerando, and the nasal ring- 
ing quality reserved for tlie last. 



a. The Condor, Vol. VIII., March 1906, p. 41. 



THE TOLMIE WARBLER. 197 



No. 79. 
TOLMIE'S WARBLER. 

A. O. U. No. 680. Oporornis tolmiei (Townsend). 

Synonym. — M.'VCGillivray's WarblKr. 

Description. — Adult male in spring and siunincr: Fore-parts in general, 
including head and neck all around and chest, blackish slate or slate gray ; extreme 
forehead and lores jet black; feathers of lower chest slate-black narrowly fringed 
with ashy gray; extreme chin usually white; a sharp touch of white on upper 
eyelid behind and a longer one on lower lid ; remaining ]jhimage bright greenish 
yellow to olive-green, clearest yellow, canary to olive-yellow, on breast and 
remaining underparts, centrally, and on bend of wing, shading thru yellowish 
olive green on sides to olive-green of upperparts ; outer primary edged with white 
on outer web. Bill dusky brown above, paler below ; feet and legs light brown : 
iris brown. Adult male in fall and zvintcv: Similar but feathers of auriculars and 
hindneck and sometimes crown tipped with dull brown : ashy skirtings of throat 
and chest more extensive, sometimes nearly concealing the black. Adult female 
in spring: Like male but slate of hood replaced by dull brownish gray (mouse 
gray) above and by pale brownish gray on chin, throat and chest. In fall plumage 
still more extensively gray below. Young females lack the hood altogether being 
simply olive green on crown, yellow on throat, etc. Length about 5.50 (139.7) '> 
wing 2.44 (62) ; tail 2.16 (55) ; bill .45 ( 11.4) ; tarsus .85 (21.6). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size ; slaty hood of male distinctive ; contrast 
of color between chest and breast usually apparent. A frecinenter of thickets, 
with a sharp tsiek or chuek note of alarm. 

Nesting. — Nest: in thickets in upright crotch of bush from six inches to 
three feet from ground ; a bulky affair of coarse dead grass, rootlets and trash, 
lined with fine black rootlets and horse-hair ; measures, outside, 43^ wide by 
2>^ deep, inside, 2;^< wide by 134 deep. Eggs: 3-5, usually 4, dull white, heavily 
marked around larger end with reddish browns and lavender. Av. size, .70 x .54 
(17.8X 13.7). Season: first week in June; one brood. 

General Range. — Western United States and British Columbia breeding 
south to Arizona and western Texas ; east during migrations to western Nebraska, 
etc. ; south in winter to Cape St. Lucas and over whole of Mexico and Central 
America to Colombia (Bogota). 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident in dense thickets thruout the 
State from sea level to about 2,000 feet elevation. 

Authorities. — Sxlria tolmiei Townsend, Narrative, April 1839, 343 (Colum- 
bia River). C&S. L'. Rh. D'. Sr. f^La. D-\ Ss-\ Kk. J. B. E. 
Specimens. — V. of \V. P. Prov. B. E. 

WE shall ha\'e to import the word "chaparral" if we are to characterize 
with any brevity the sort of cover this W'arbler loves. A great confusion of 
willow, alder, rlogwood, syringa, ocean-spray, and huckleberry is his delight. 



198 THE TOLMIE WARBLER. 

ll matters nut wliether it be a hillside in King Count}-, a lonesome spring draw 
in the hills of Klickitat, or the borders of a swamp in Okanogan, if only there 
be cover and plenty of it. No inore persistent skulker haunts the shrujjbery 
than this war}-, suspicious, active, and very competent Wood W^arbler. Yet 
even he, when he thinks no one is looking, emerges fr(jm his shrubljery depths, 
selects a topmost twig and Ijreaks out in song, — a song which is neither 
diffident nor uncertain. Sheep sheep shee[^ shear shear sheep, he announces 
in a brisk, business-like tone, totalh' de\'oid of musical (|ualit\'. And when _\ou 
have heard him once, or, say, a hundred times, you have learned all that may be 
known of the Tolmie \Varbler — out of cover. Those who know the Dickcissel 
of the middle West will at once be struck with the close similarity of its song, 
altho it must be admitted that the Warbler's is lighter in quality and less 
wooden. Practically, the only variety is in the number of syllables and in the 
number and distribution of the r's ; thus. Sheep, sheep, shear, shear, slieep; 
Sheep, sheep, shear, shear, sheep, sheep; and, a shade more emphatic, Jiek, 
jick. jiek, pick, shear, sheep. 

For all we see so little of the Tolmie Warbler, the converse is by no 
means true. That is to say, the bird does see a great deal of us if we frequent 
the thickets. Whenever there is anything doing in his vicinity, the W'arbler 
promptly and silently threads the intervening mazes, takes observations of the 
disturber from every angle, and retires with, at most, a disapproving ehiiek. 
In the fall of the year discipline is somewhat relaxed, and a little judicious 
screeping in the shrubbery will call up platoons of these inquisiti\-e W^arblers. 

Owing partly to the caution of the sitting female, and more to the density 
of its cover, the nest of the Tolmie Warbler is not often found. When ap- 
proached the bird glides away silently from her nest, and begins feeding osten- 
tatiously in the neighboring bushes. This of itself is enough to arouse suspi- 
cion in an instructed mind, for the exhibition is plainly gratuitous. But the 
brush keeps the secret well, or, if it is forced, we find a bulky, loose-built affair 
of coarse dead grasses and rootlets, lined with black rootlets or horse-hair, 
and placed either in an upright fork of a bush, or built around the ascending 
stems of rank herbage at a few inches or at most two or three feet from the 
ground. Eggs, usuallv four in number, are deposited about the first week in 
June, and Tolmie babies swarm in July and August, quite beyond the expecta- 
tion of our oological fore season. 

A word of explanation regarding the change of name from Macgillivray 
to Tohnie is in order. Townsend discovered the bird and really published it 
first, saying,* "I dedicate the species to my friend, W. T. Tolmie, Esq. of Fort 
Vancouver." Audubon, being entrusted with Townsend's specimens, but dis- 
regarding the owner's prior rights, published the bird independently, and tardi- 



"Narrative," April 1839, p. 343. 




TOLMIE WARBLERS. 



200 THE GRINNELL WATER-THRUSH. 

ly, as it Iiappened, as Sylvia vuicgillivrayi, by which specific name it was long 
known to ornitiiologists. Macgihivray was a Scotch naturalist who ne\-er saw 
America, but Tolmie was at that time a surgeon and later a factor of "the 
Honorable the Hudson Bay Company," and he clearly deserves remembrance 
at our hands for the friendly hospitality and cooperatirm which he invariably 
extended to men of science. 



^ No. 80. 

GRINNELL'S WATER-THRUSH. 

A. O. U. No. 675 a. Seiunis noveboracensis notabilis Ridgw. 

Description. — Adults: Above sooty olive-brown, singularly uniform; below 
white or tinged with pale yellow, everywhere (save on abdomen, centrally, under 
tail-coverts and extreme chin) streaked with sooty olive, the streaks small and 
wedge-shaped on throat, increasing in size posteriorly on breast, sides and flanks 
(where nearly confluent on bufify ground) ; a superciliary stripe continuous to 
nostril pale bulTy : a crescent-shaped mark of same shade on lower eyelid ; cheeks 
and auricular region finely streaked with pale bufify and color of back. Bill dark 
brown above, lighter below; feet pale; iris brown. Young birds are finely barred 
with bufTy above and have two buffy wing-bars ; underparts heavily and indis- 
tinctly streaked with dusky on pale yellow ground. Length 6.00 (152) or over; 
wing 3.00 (76) : tail 2.T0 (53.3) ; bill .53 ( 13.5) : tarsus .85 (21.7). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; plain brown above; white (or pale 
yellow) heavily streaked with dusky below; a prominent buffy stripe over eye. 

Nesting. — Does not breed in Washington. Nest: on the ground or in roots 
of upturned tree; of moss and leaves, lined with fine rootlets and tendrils. Eggs: 
4 or 5, white or creamy white, speckled, spotted or wreathed with reddish browns. 
Av. size, .80 X .60 (20.3 X 15.2). Season: May 20-June 10; one brood. 

General Range. — Western North America ; breeding from ^Minnesota, west- 
ern Nebraska and the northern Rocky Mountains north to Alaska and Siberia 
(East Cape) ; southward during migrations over Western States and Mississippi 
Valley, less commonly thru Atlantic coast States, to West Indies, Mexico, Central 
America and Colombia. 

Range in Washington. — Conjectural — should be not uncommon migrant. 

Authority.— .S". noveboracensis, Baird, Review Am. Birds, 1865, 215 ("Camp 
Moogie, Washington"). 

Specimens. — P( Alaskan). Prov. 

WHILE we have only one record, and that an old one, there is every 
reason to suppose that this species traverses our borders annually, since it 
breeds in the middle mountain districts of British Columbia (Rhoads), is 
abundant in Alaska (Nelson), and migrates southward thru the western 
United States (Ridgway). The Water-thrush should be looked for in May 



THE WESTERN YELLOW-THROAT. 201 

along the shaded banks of streams, but may possibly be found along more 
open margins, consorting with Pipits, with which it shares a restless habit of 
jilling, or curtseying, whimsically. 



No. 81. 

WESTERN YELLOW-THROAT. 

A. O. U. Xo. 681 a. Qeothlypis trichas occidentalis Brewster. 

Description. — Adult male in spyiny and summer: Above grayish olive-green, 
brighter (less gray) on upper tail-coverts and tail, inclining to brownish on 
crown and hindneck : an obliquely descending facial mask of black involving 
forehead, lores, space about eyes, cheeks and (nmre narrowlv ) sides of neck; 
along the posterior margin of this mask a narrow sharply contrasting area of 
clear ash or white; chin, throat and breast rich yellow (inclining to gamboge) ; 
sides of breast and sides heavily shaded with olive-gray and breast more or less 
washed with same ; lower breast and below between yellow and palest olive-gray ; 
under tail-coverts and bend of wing clear yellow. Adult male in autumn: 
Occiput more decidedly brown ; upperparts clearer olive-green. Young male in 
first autumn: Mask of adult merely indicated by black underlying sooty-brown on 
sides of head ; coloration of underparts duller. Adult female in spring: Like adult 
male but without black mask and ashy edging; crown and sides of head olive 
gray: forehead tinged with brown; region above and about eye notably paler; 
coloration of underparts duller and paler, sometimes clearly yellow on under 
tail-coverts alone. Young female in first autiimn: Similar to adult but under- 
parts still duller and dingier, breast and sides heavily washed with brownish 
olive. Length of adult about 5.00 (127): wing 2.26 (57.5); tail 2.19 (55.8); 
bill .44 (11.3); tarsus .83 (21). 

Recognition Marks. — ^^'arbler size : black mask and white fillet of male 
distinctive. The female is a much more difficult bird to recognize — perhaps best 
known by peculiar sordid olive-brownish-}ellow shade of underparts. The pale 
orbital area also assists, but one must live with these birds to know them 
infallibly. 

Nesting. — Nest: of coarse grasses lined with fine grass and horse-hair; 
placed 1-2 feet high in tussock of grass or rank herbage, usually near water; 
outside 43^ wide by 33/ deep, inside 2'4 by 15^2. Eggs: 4 or 5, dotted and 
spotted or, rarely, streaked with blackish and lavender, .^v. Size, .70 x .56 
(17.8 X 14.2). Season: May 20-June 10; one brood. 

General Range. — Western United States and British Columbia, except 
Pacific coast district, east to western portions of the Great Plains ; breeding 
southward into Mexico and northern Lower California; in winter south to Cape 
St. Lucas and western Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident east of the Cascade Mountains; 
found chiefly in rye-grass districts and in vicinity of water. 



202 



THE WESTERN YELLOW-THROAT. 



Migrations. — Spriiuj: Ahtaiuini ( \'akinia Co. ) March 2cj, njoo. 
Authorities. — Dawson, Auk, Xl\'. April, 1897, 179. D-. Ss'. Ss-'. J. 
Specimens. — I', of W. 1'. I'rov. 

COARSE grass, stunted bushes, water, and sunshine seem to be the chief 
requirements of this very individual bird. To obtain the first-named, especial- 
ly if represented by his favorite rye-grass, he will forsake water within reason- 
able limits; but his preference is for a grassy swamp dotted with bushes, and 
he does not o\'erlook an)- considerable area of cat-tails and tules. Yellow- 
throat is a restless, active little body, and he is among the first to come for- 
ward when _\'0u enter the swamp. His method is hide-and-seek and the game 
would all be his, if he did not reveal his presence from time to time by a harsh 
accusing note, a sort of Polish, consonantal e.\[)losion, ivcschtliiib. — a sound 
not unlike that made by a guitar string when struck above the stop. H you at- 
tempt to follow the bird, the game ends in disap]3ointment. But if the ob- 
server pauses, curiositv gets the better i:)f the l)ird, and he is soon seen peering 
out from a neighboring Inish, niguery only half hidden liy his highwayman's 
mask. 

The female, having no mask, keeps to the background, but she is not less 
interested than her mate in the 
progress of e\'ents. When the 
scout returns to report, there is 
often a curious outbreak of dis- 
cussion, in wdiich the husband, as 
like as n()t, finds it necessary to 
defend his opinion with a jierfcct 
torrent of ivcsclitluibs. 

Yelliiw-throat's song is one of 
the few e.xplicit things in the 
swam]). Mounting a weed-stalk, 
he rubs out. ll'itchitw u'itcliity, 
7vitchit\'. or "/ beseech you. I be- 
seech yaii. I beseech." Rhythm 
is the chief characteristic of tliis 
song, and altho a gi\en bird ap- 
pears to be C(>nfined to a single 
type, the variety of "feet" offered 
by a swamp is most entertaining. 
Rceskvifte. recsmiitfe. rif'. was 
the cadence of a Douglas County 

bird ; while chitooreef. chifonreef , J^ii.^-n .« i:o,i,^i,is i ,nnuy. nwu. by nu- ANHujrs. 

chitnoreef , chii. heard at Chelan. a western yellow-throat's nest. 

reminded me of the Kentucky "•"" """"= Two'oI^'the cIw'^bird"""'""''"" ■"■'" 




THE PACIFIC YELLOW-THROAT. 203 

U'arbler (Oporoniis fonnosa). The biril has also an ecstacy song, "a con- 
fused stuttering jumble of notes" poured out in hot haste in mid-air. 

Like an echo from "the different world" came the song of a bird at 
Brook Lake. We had just been listening to the unwonted notes of a Desert 
Sparrow (Ainphispiza biliiicata dcscrticola) some hundreds of miles out of 
its usual range, and were not unprepared for shocks, when Hoo lice, chink 
i zvoo cliu tip fell upon the ear. What! a Slate-colored Sparrow here in the 
sage brush! Or is it. ma_\'be, a Vesper, grown precise? Again antl again 
came the measured accents, clear, strong, and sweet. Not till I had seen 
the mandibles of a Western Vellow-throat, and that repeatedly, moving in 
perfect rhythm to the music, could I believe so small a bird the author of this 
song. For fifteen minutes the Warbler brought forth this alien strain, Hcc-o 
chiti zv'o. chii tip or Hcc 00 chitiwcw dm tipcw without once lapsing into 
ordinary dialect. Wherever did he get it ? 

My nests have nearly all been found in June and, I guess, they may have 
contained second sets, for the bird sometimes reaches Yakima County as early 
as March 29th. One was sunk in a tussock of grass within eight inches of 
the swamp water, and I nearl}- stepped on the female before she flew. Another 
was lashed at a height of two feet to a gr(iup of rank weeds, some forty feet 
removed from a lazy brook. A third, shown in the illustration, we found 
while dragging over a dense patch of rye-grass, some three hundred yards 
from water. The nest was composed entirely of the flattened and macerated 
leaves of old rye-grass gleaned from the ground, with a scantv lining of 
horse-hair. It was simply set, or wedged, in between the stiff, upgrowing 
stalks of grass at the heiglit of a foot, and was not attached in anv manner to 
its supports. The male bird, strange to say, was covering the eggs, of which 
two belonged to that contemjitible shirk, the Cowbird. 



No. 82. 

THE PACIFIC YELLOW-THROAT. 

A. O. \J. No. 681 c. Qeothlypis trichas arizela C)berholser. 

Synonym. — PuGET Sound Yeluiw-turo.'M'. 

Description. — Adults: Very similar to.G. t. occidcntalis and witji corres- 
ponding changes but throat, etc., rich lemon yellow ( inclining to greenish, whereas 
occidcntalis inclines to orange); more yellow in grayish olive green of upper- 
parts: ashy border of mask said to average more narrow (very doubtful). 
.-\lleged differences in measurements are inconsequential. 

Recognition Marks. — .\s in preceding. 

Nesting. — Much as in preceding form but birds more nearly confined to 



204 THE PACIFIC YELLOW-THROAT. 

vicinity of water. Egys: 4. Av. size, .76 x .53 ( iy,3 .k 13.5). ^'cfwo;;.- lirst week 
in May, first week in June; two broods. 

General Range. — "Pacific coast district, from Britisli Columbia southward; 
breeding southward to Los Angeles County, California, and eastward to Fort 
Klamath. Uregon ; during migration to Cape St. Lucas" (Ridgw.). 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident in fresh and salt water marshes 
west of the Cascades. 

Migrations. — Spring: Tacoma, April 12, 1905, April 6, 1906. 

Authorities. — ? Audubon. Orn. Biog. V. 1839, 463, part (Columbia River). 
Gcothlypis trichas. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX, 1858, 241. part. (T). C&S. 
L--. Ra. B. E. 

Specimens. — Prov. B. E. 

IN OUR younger days some <.>t us were taught to be seen and not heard. 
Among the Yellow-throats the children are taught the opposite. A bird that 
can call "Witch-et-y ! W'itch-et-y! Witch-et-y !" in a dozen different places 
thru the swale and in the meantime can keep out of sight while _\'ou are look- 
ing for him, is a well brought-up Yellow-throat. We were taught to tell the 
truth, but deceit is drilled intri the Yellow-throat children from the time they 
leave the egg. A human mother insists upon your looking at her children, 
but at the approach of a visitor the Yellow-throat mother sneaks off the 
nest and away thru the bushes for the sole purpose of persuading you the 
home is in the reeds on the other side of the creek. This may be wrong 
according to our teaching, but it is ])erfectly right according ti> the Yellow- 
throat's code of morals. 

If you want to see Yellow-throat, you must go down along the swale 
or visit some clamp thicket or swamp. He likes the rushes and the reeds 
where the Red-winged Blackbird antl the Tule Wren live. I once found 
a Red-wing's nest and a Yellow-throat's home within a few feet of each 
other. If you want to see this ground warbler, go to his haunt. He will 
see vou first btit lie clown quietlv among the Iiushes. He will likely get 
curiijus and hop up out of the reeds. You may get just one good look 
before he darts away into the bushes again. 

The male Yellow-throat always wears plain marks of recognition on 
his face. He has a black mask extending across his forehead and back on 
the sides of his head. The female goes without a mask and is clothed in 
subdued tints of yellow and Ijrown. 

WHien the Yellow-throat seeks a home, he finds a tliick tussock of 
grass and hides his nest well in the middle. It is my experience that 
when you want to find his home, it is better not to look for it. If you 
keep on tramping thru the swamps and swales, some day you will stumble 
on one when vou least e.xpect it. Once I Inmted for several days about 
a swampy place where I heard the Yellow-throats singing. Not a sign 
of a nest did I find. Whenever I appearefl the birds were on hand as if 



THE WESTERN CHAT. 



205 




Taken in Oregon. Photo by H. T. Bohlman and W . L. Finley. 

AN ENTHUSIASTIC RECEPTION. 

MALE PACIFIC YELLOW-THROAT FEEDING YOUNG. 



After tiring me witli their 



very anxious to aid me in finding their home 
deceit, they sneaked away fifty yards to tlie nest. A Httle later in the 
season I liappened to see the father carrying worms and discovered the 
young Yellow-tliroats just about to leave home. 

William L. Finley. 



No. 83. 
WESTERN CHAT. 



A. O. U. No. 683 a. Icteria virens longicaiida (Lawrence). 

Synonym. — Long-tailed Chat. 

Description. — Adult male: Above grayish olive-green; fuscous on exposed 
inner webs of wings and tail; a prominent line above lores and eye, a short malar 
stripe, and eye-ring, white; enclosed space black on lores, less pure behind; throat, 
breast, lining of wings, and upper sides rich gamboge yellow ; lower belly and 
crissum abruptly white; sides washed with brownish; bill black; feet plumbeous. 
Adult female: Very similar; bill lighter; lores and cheek-patch dusky rather 
than black; black appreciably lighter. Young: Dull olive above: head markings 
of adult faintly indicated ; below grayish white, darker on breast, huffier behind. 



2o6 THE WESTERN CHAT. 



Length 6.75-7.50 (171.5-190.5') ; wing 3.07 {78) ; tail 3.01-3.39 (76.5-86) ; bill .57 
(14.5); tarsus 1.04 (26.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Strictly "Sparrow" size, but because of bright color 
having nearer the size value of Chewiiik ; — the largest of the Warblers. Bright 
yellow breast with contrasting white below, with size, distinctive. 

Nesting. — Xcst: a bulky and often careless structure. 7 inches wide and 4 
inches deep (lutside, 3 inches wide and 13.4 deep inside; of coarse grasses and 
weed-stems, lined with tiner grasses or rootlets, placed in upright fork of bush or 
small tree in thicket. Jigys: 4, white, somewhat glossed and marked irregularly 
with spots and dots of lavender antl rufous, most heavily, or not, about larger 
end. Av. size. .80 x .68 (22.6 .x 17.3). Season; first week in June; one brood. 

General Range. — Western United States from near eastern border of Great 
Plains west to the Pacific Coast, breeding north into south-central British Co- 
luniliia southward to valley of Mexico ; in migration south in winter to Alexico. 

Range in Washington. — ^Snmhier resident in thickets about springs and 
streams of eastern Washington ; does not deeply invade mountains ; rare or casual 
west of Cascades (Tacoma, June 4, 1905, by J. H. Bowles; Sunias, B. C, May 26, 
1897, by -Allan Brooks). 

Migrations. — Sj^riiig: May 18, 1900 (Yakima county). 

Authorities. — ?■ Ictcria -dridis (Bonap.), Townsend, Journ. .Xc. Nat. Sci., 
Phila., Vn., 1839, 153 (N. W. United States) Atict. Cooper and Suckley, Rep. 
Pac. R. R. Surv. p. 288 ("Towns, and Nuttall. Seen at Walla-Walla. Washing- 
ton Territory"). Dawson, Auk. XIV., 1897, p. 179. (T). D'. D-. Ss'. Ss-\ B. 

Specimens. — ( U. of W. ) P'. Prov. B. 

STRUCTURALLY allied to the Wood Warblers, the Chat has yet 
such a temperamental affinity with the Catbird, that it is difficult, for me, 
at least, to dissociate the two birds in thought. Both love the thickets; 
both excel in song; both plague their neighbors bv mimicry; and both alike 
are clearly provoking bundles of contradictions. The Chat is, perhaps, tlie 
greater buffoon, as he is certainly tlie more handsomely dressed of the two. 
Beyond this we must consider him on his own merits. 

Ten to one vou know him. if at all. onlv as a voice, a tricksy hush- 
whacker of song, an elusive mystery of the thicket ; or you have unconsciously 
ascribed his productions to half a dozen mythical birds at once. But look 
more closely. It is well worth the quest to be able to resoh'e this genius of 
roguery. Be assured he knows }-ou well enough by sight, for he does not 
poke and pry and spy for nothing, in the intervals of song. He has still the 
proverbial curiosit}^ of woman. Seat 3-ourself in the thicket, and when you 
hear the mellow, saucy Kook, with its whistled vowel, bounded by consonants 
barely thought of, imitate it. You will have the bird up in arms at once. 
Kzvoflk, returns the bird, starting toward you. Repeat it, and you ha\'e won. 
The bird scents a rival and he will leave no stem unclasped but he finds him. 
A.s the bird alternately squints and stares from the brush, note the rich 
warbler oli\-e of his upperparts, the gorgeous yellow^ of the throat and breast, 



THE WESTERN CHAT. 207 

the white brow-stripe and the malar dash, offset by black and darker olive. 
It is a warbler in color-pattern, a Yellow-throat done larger, but waggish, 
furtive, impudent, and resourceful beyond any other of his kind. 

The full song of the Chat is usually delivered from some ele\-ation, a 
solitary tree rearing itself above dense cover. The music almost defies 
analysis, for it is full of surprises, vocal somersaults, and whimsy turns. 
Its cadence is ragtime, and its richest phrases are punctuated by flippant 
jests and droll parentheses. Even in the tree-top the singer clings closely 
to the protecting greenery, whence he pitches headlong into the thicket at 
the slightest intimation of approach. 

The love song of the Chat, the so-called "dropping song," is one of the 
choicest of avian comedies, for it is acted as well as sung. The performer 
flings himself into mid-air. flutters upward for an instant with head upraised 
and legs abjectly dangling, tlien slowly sinks on hovering wing, with tail 
swinging up and down like a mad pump-handle. Punch, as Cupid, smitten 
with the mortal sickness. Ami all this while the zany pours out a flood of 
tumultuous and heart-rending song. He manages to recover as he nears 
the brush, and his fiancee evidently approves of this sort of buffoonery. 

The Chat is a skilled mimic. I have traced the notes of such diverse 
species as Bullock Oriole, Slender-billed Nuthatch, and Magpie to his door. 
Once, down on the Rio Grande, we rapped on a vine-covered Cottonwood 
stump to dislodge a Flicker that had been shrieking Klyak at us for some 
minutes past, and we flushed a snickering Chat. 

The Western Chat, like the eastern bird, has small taste for architecture. 
A careless mass of dead leaves and coarse grasses is assembled in a bush at 
a height of three or four feet, and a lining of finer grasses, when present at 
all, is so distinct as to permit of removal without injury to the bulk of the 
structure. From three to five eggs are laid and so jealously guarded that 
the birds are said to destroy the eggs once visited by man. So cautious are 
the Chats that e\en after the young have hatched out, they take care not to 
be seen in the vicinity of their nest, but a low, anxious chuck sometimes 
escapes from the harassed mother in a neighboring thicket. 

Chats will follow suitable cover into most desolate places. On the 
other hand the}- do not discriminate against civilization per sc. and the 
Chats of Cannon Hill, in Spokane, are as grateful to the good sense of 
its citizens as are the Catbirds and two score other resident species of song- 
sters. They are, however, birds of the sunshine belt, and West-side records 
are very few. 



2o8 THE PILEOLATED WARBLER. 

No. 84. 
PILEOLATED WARBLER. 

A. O. U. No. 685 a. Wilsonia pusilla pileolata (Pallas). 

Description. — .Idnlt male: Above bright olive green ; forehead, sides of 
head, and underparts bright greenish yellow, tinged on sides with olive-green ; 
crown, or "cap," lustrous black; wings and tail fuscous and olive-edged without 
peculiar marks; bill dark above, light below; feet light brown. Adult female: 
Similar, but the black cap wanting, or, if present, less distinct. Immature; l^ike 
female without cap. Length about 4.75; wing 2.20 (56) ; tail 1.97 (50) ; bill .38 
(8.5) ; tarsus .75 (18.8). 

Recognition Marks. — Least, — pygmy size; black cap of male distinctive; 
recognizable in any plumage by small size and greenish yellow coloration. 
Brighter than ]]'. pusilla ; not so bright as If. /). chryseola. 

Nesting. — As next. 

General Range. — Western North America, breeding thruout the Rocky 
iNIountain district, north to Alaska, west to Cascade Range in Oregon and Wash- 
ington and to Vancouver Island ; during migrations over the entire western 
Llnited States, and east irregularly to the Mississippi ; south in winter over Mexico 
and Central America. 

Range in Washington. — Not common resident and abundant migrant on 
East-side ; migrant only west of Cascades. 

Migrations. — Sprhtg: May 1-15. 

Authorities.— Dawson, Auk XIV., 1897, 180. (T). (C&S). D'. Kb. D-'. J. E. 

Specimens.— B. BN. E. P. 

THE pervading yellowness of this little bush-ranger will hardly serve to 
distinguish it from the equally common Lutescent Warbler, unless you are 
able to catch sight of its tiny silken crown-patch of black, the "little cap" 
which gives the bird its Latin-sounding name. With chryseola it is the smallest 
of our warblers, and it is one of the commonest, during migrations, on the 
East-side. The thickets have taken on full leaf before the bird arrives from 
the South, along about the loth of May, and the northward march is often 
prolonged till the first of June. So expert is the little Black-cap at threading 
briary tangles, that a meeting here depends upon the bird's caprice rather than 
the astuteness of the observer. Willow trees are favorite stations during the 
spring movement, and these because of their scantier foliage afford the best 
opportunities for study. 

My impression is that the Pileolated Warbler must breed sparingly in 
eastern Washington. There is, however, only one summer record to substanti- 
ate this belief, — a bird seen in the valley of the Stehekin, June 22nd, 1906. 
The only song I have heard dififered from the abruptly terminated crescendo 
of W. p. chryseola, being rather a well modulated swell, chip chip! chipjf 
chip!!! chip!!! chip!! chip! chip. 



H3lJ 



No. 84. 

PILEDLATHD WARBLER. 

■ nia piisilla pileolata (P 



auU V.( MM .11 . Ml.C 1^_,. 

Rang-e in Wash'- 
lu t GOLDEN WARBLER 



'" ' ' MALE, 4/5 rJFE SIZE 

Authorities. — Davson, /\:ik _\ 1 

Fhom a Watkk-oolok Painting by Allan Brooks 



'he observer. ire favc 

-cantier 



. u . . . 1 



! seen in tli 



THE GOLDEN WARBLER. 209 



No. 85. 
GOLDEN WARBLER. 

A. O. U. No. 685 b. Wilsonia piisilla chryseola Ridgw. 

Synonym. — G01.DBN PilEOLated Warbi,e;r (properly so-called, but the bird, 
because of its local abundance deserves the shorter name. Moreover, altho 
"golden" is the commonest color among the Warblers, the name has not been 
pre-empted ) . 

Description. — "Similar to 11'. p. pilcolata, but slightly smaller and much 
more brightly colored ; olive-green of upperparts much more yellowish, almost 
olive-yellow in extreme examples ; yellow of forehead and superciliary region 
(especially the former) inclining more or less to orange; yellow of underparts 
purer, more intense" (Ridgway). Length of adult males (skins) 4.35 (no); 
wing 2.18 (55.4) tail 1.93 (49.1); bill .33 (8.3); tarsus .72 (18.2). 

Recognition Marks. — As in preceding; brighter. 

Nesting. — Nest: a shapely and thick-walled mass of dead leaves, grasses 
and vegetable fibers, lined with coiled grasses or hair, on the ground or con- 
cealed at moderate heights in weeds, bushes, evergreen saplings, etc. Eggs: 3-5, 
white or creamy white, speckled and spotted with reddish brown markings, well 
distributed or gathered about larger end. Av. size .59 x .48 (15 x 12.2). 
Season: Mav 15-30; one brood. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from southern California to southern 
British Cohimljia. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident in western Washington; common 
in well-watered forests at lower levels and in thickets from sea-level to higher 
mountain valleys. 

Migrations. — Spring: Arrives Puget Sound April 25-i\lay 5. Fall: Blaine, 
Sept. 15. 

Authorities. — Hlviodioctes piisillns Bonap., Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 
pt. II., 1858, p. 294 (part). C&S. L'. Ra. B. E. 

Specimens. — \J. of W. E. 

THIS dainty little Warbler is one of the most characteristic and well 
distributed birds of western Washington. Its summer range embraces all 
shady and moist woods having varied undergrowth ; and it is at home alike on 
the sides of the western Cascades, in the swampy bottoms tributary to Puget 
Sound, or under the dense spruce forests of the Pacific slope. It is certainly one 
of the most abundant birds in the last-named section, and its golden flittings 
not only dominate the fern levels but extend upward into the mossy arms of 
the evergreens. A brilliant dress does not appear to endanger the life of this 
little despot, for he is quite too insignificant for notice among the Knights of 
Claw and Jaw, and so he flashes in and out, scolds, sings, and meditates, by 
turns, without molestation. 



2IO THE AMERICAN REDSTART. 

Nor is tliere any lack of interest in the life of this golden midget. Have 
you never wished that you were tiny — oh, teeny — with beady black eyes, that 
you might explore the mysteries of a moss forest? that elderberries might look 
to you like great blue pippins? and madrone berries like luscious fiery pump- 
kins? that you might pluck a thousand sapid meats at first hand where now 
you know only a few "staples," disguised by the meretricious arts of cookery? 
That you might — Ah, here I have you ! — that you might pantingly pursue a 
golden maiden down dim forest aisles, over plunging billows of spiraea blos- 
soms, past corridors of giant sword-fern, into — Oh, where is that maddening 
creature! She's given me the slip again! Never mind: I'll i^ause and sing: 
00 ooc'c'c'e'e'e'e'e' 00000. 

Truth to tell, the song just recorded is one of the rarest, a perfectly 
modulated swell of sharp staccato notes of little resonance but greater power 
and intensity. The ordinary song is a series of monosyllables uttered with 
increasing emphasis, i/n'/' chip chip chip CHIP CHIP. The singer is very 
much in earnest, and compels attention in spite of his utter lack of musical 
ability. Late in August, the 26th it was, I provoked a Black-cap at Blaine by 
screeping. until he sang merely to relieve his feelings, chip chip CHIP chip 
chip chip chip, the precise type nf the Pileolated Warbler. ]]'. p. pilcolafa 
proper. The only other variant in my collection is tscw tsc7V fscw f.^cc fscc 
tsee. whhhackity, — the last note, somewhat whimsically represented here, be- 
ing an intense guttural trill very difficult to characterize. 

Messrs. Rathbun and Renick. i)f Seattle, have made a special study of 
the nesting habits of this dainty wood nymph, and they rejiort a marked par- 
tiality in its nesting for the vicinity of woodland paths, log-roads, and the 
smaller openings in the logged-off sections. The favorite host is a cedar sap- 
ling, a mere baliy tree with stem only half an inch or so in diameter. Of nine 
nests examined only one, in a Iiracken. was more than two feet above the 
ground, and none were less than ten inches. The nest is quite a bulky affair, 
yet comjiact centrally, composed externally of copious dried leaves and twigs ; 
internally of fine grasses and interwoven rootlets. The birds quit the nest 
unobserved and the finding i>f one of their domiciles is a matter of hard work. 



No. 86. 

AMERICAN REDSTART. 

A. O. U. No. 687. Setophaga riiticilla (Linn.l. 

Description. — Adult male: Head and neck all around and breast shining 
black ; remaining upperparts dull black with glossy patches, changing to brownish 
black or fuscous on wings : a large salmon-colored patch at base of secondaries ; a 
smaller, nearly concealed patch of same color at base of primaries ; the outer 



•THE AMERICAN REDSTART. 211 

web of the outer primary salmon nearly thruout its length; the tail feathers, 
except the two middle pairs, salmon-colored on both webs for the basal two- 
thirds; two large patches of reddish salmon on the sides of the breast; the lining 
of the wings and the sides extensively tinged with the same color, occasionally 
a few touches across the chest below the black; lower breast, belly, and crissum, 
white; bill black; feet dark brown; black in variable amounts on sides of breast 
between the orange red spots ; lower tail-coverts sometimes broadly tipped with 
blackish. Adult female: Above, brownish ash with an ochraceous or olive 
tinge on back; salmon parts of male replaced by yellow (Naples yellow), and the 
reddish salmon of sides by chrome yellow ; remaining underparts dull whitish, 
sometimes bufty across chest. Iiiiniatitre male: Similar to adult female, but 
duller the first year ; the second year mottled with black ; does not attain full 
plumage until third season. Length 5.00-5.75 (127-146.1); av. of five males: 
wing 2.59 (65.8) ; tail 2.17 (55.1) ; bill .36 (9.1) ; tarsus .70 (18). 

Recognition Marks. — Medium Warbler size ; black with salmon-red and 
salmon |iatches of male; similar pattern and duller colors of female and young; 
tail usuallv half open and prominentlv displayed, whether in sport or in ordinary 
flight. 

Nesting. — Nest, in the fork of a sapling from five to fifteen feet up, of 
hemp and other vegetable fibers, fine bark, and grasses, lined with fine grasses, 
plant-down and horse-hair. Eggs, 4 or 5, greenish, bluish, or grayish-white, 
dotted and spotted, chiefly about larger end, with cinnamon-rufous or olive-brown. 
Av. size .68X.51 (17.3X 13). Season: June; one brood. 

General Range. — Temperate North Amepca in general, regularly north to 
Nova Scotia, the Mackenzie River (Fort Simpson), etc., west to southern Alaska. 
British Columbia, eastern \\'ashington, Utah, etc., casual in eastern Oregon, 
northern California, and in the southeastern states ; breeding from the middle 
portion of the United States northward; south in winter thruout West Indies, 
Mexico and Central America to northern South America. 

Range in Washington. — Rare but regular summer resident in northern 
portion of State east of Cascades ( Methow Valley, Grand Coulee, etc. ), casual( ?j 
in the Blue Mountains. 

Authorities. — [J. K. Lord in "Nat. in Vancouver Id. and B. C", 186C, p. 
162 (Colville Vallev).] Brewer, Bull. Nutt. Orn. Club. V., 1880, 50 (Ft. Walla 
Walla). D'. Ss'. J. 

Specimens. — C. P'. 

THE "start" of Redstart is from the old Anglo-Saxon sfeort, a tail; 
hence. Redstart means Redtail ; but the name would hardly have been applied 
to the American bird had it not been for a chance resemblance which it bears 
to the structurally different Redstart of Europe, Riiticilla phocnkitrus. In 
our bird the red of the tail is not so noticeable as is the tail itself, which is 
handled very much as a coquette handles a fan, being opened or shut, or 
shaken haughtily, to express the owner's varied emotions. 

Tlie Redstart is the presiding genius of woodland and grove. He is a 
bit of a t\Tant among the birds, and among his own kind is exceedinglv 



212 THE ALASKA HORNED LARK. 

sensitive upon the subject of metes and bounds. As for the insect world he 
rules it with a rod of iron. See him as he moves about thru a file of slender 
poplars. He flits restlessly from branch to branch, now peering up at the 
under surface of a leaf, now darting into the air to secure a heedless midge, 
and closing upon it with an emphatic snap, now spreading the tail in pardon- 
able vanity or from sheer exuberance of spirits ; but ever and anon pausing 
just long enough to squeeze out a half-scolding song. The paler-colored 
female, contrary to the visual wont, is not less active nor less noticeable than 
the male, except as she is restrained for a season by the duties of incubation. 
She is even believed to sing a little on her own account, not because her mate 
does not sing enough for two, but because she — well, for the same reason that 
a wiiman whistles, — and good luck to her ! 

During the mating season great rivalries spring up, and males will chase 
each other about in most bewildering mazes, like a pair of great fire-flies, 
and with no better weapons — fighting fire with fire. When the nesting site 
is chosen the male is very jealous of intruders, and bustles up in a threatening 
fashion, which cjuite overawes most birds of guileless intent. 

Redstart's song is sometimes little lietter than an emi^hatescent squeak. 
At other times his emotion fades after the utterance of two or three notes, and 
the last one dies out. A more pretentious effort is represented by Mr. Chap- 
man as "Cliiiir/. chilli/, dice; scr-7(.'Ct\ sivcc, swce-c-c-e." Many variations 
from tliese U'pes may be noted, and I once mistook the attem]it of a colorless 
young stripling of one summer for that of a Pileolated W^arliler. 

Our Redstart shares with the Yellow Warbler alone the distinction of 
representing among us /;; if>sa specie the Warbler hosts of the East. Even so, 
our scanty summer population of Redstarts, confined as it is to the northeast- 
ern counties, appears to rejjresent an ii\'erll()W of the eastern hordes, or, per- 
haps, the van of occupation, rather than regularly established citizens. I have 
seen them as far south as Brook Lake, and as far west as Stehekin only: but 
Mr. Allan Brooks records a specimen from Chilliwhack, in western British 
Columbia. 



No. 87. 

ALASKA HORNED LARK. 

A. O. U. No. 474 a. Otocoris alpestris arcticola Oberliolser. 
Synonyms. — Arctic Hornkd L.\rk. Pallid Horned L.\rk. Winter 

L.XRK. 

[Description of type form, Otocoris alpestris. — Adult male in breediiir/ 
plumage: A narrow patch across fore-crown with ends curving laterally back- 



THE ALASKA HORNED LARK. 213 

ward and produced into a feather-tuft or "horn," black; a broad bar from nostril 
to eye thence curving downward and expanding to involve hinder portion of 
cheeks and auriculars anteriorly, black ; a crescentic patch across upper chest 
black; forehead and superciliaries pale yellow (primrose yellow) paling poste- 
riorly ; auriculars yellow continuous with and deepening into straw yellow of 
chin, throat and malar region; remaining underparts white, the sides and flanks 
dull vinacecjus streaked with dusky ; upperparts in general warm grayish brown, 
the middle of crown, occiput, nape, lesser wing-coverts and upper tail-coverts 
vinaceous-cinnamon ; back, scapulars and rump grayish brown, each feather edged 
with paler and having dusky center ; wings liair-brown with paler edgings, the 
outermost ])riniary edged with white; tail chiefly black, the middle pair of 
feathers dusky, edged with whitish, the two lateral pairs edged with wdiite. 
Bill black lightening below ( basally ) ; legs and feet black ; iris dark brown. 
Adult female in sumincr: Like male but duller and paler, the black areas 
reduced in extent and obscured by brownish or buffy tips ; yellow of superciliary 
stripe, etc., duller and paler ; upperparts more noticeably streaked and with less 
of vinaceous tint on hind neck and upper tail-coverts. Both sexes in fall and 
zvinter are somewhat more heavily and more uniformly colored save on black 
areas which are overcast by buffy or brownish tips ; also forebreast dusky or 
obscurely spotted. Young birds are heavil)- speckled above with yellowish white 
on brownish and dusky ground. Length of adult male: 7.00-7.50 (177-190); 
wing 4.37 ( III) ; tail 2.83 (yz) ; bill .48 (12.2) ; tarsus .94 (24). Adult female: 
6.75-7.25 (171-184); wing 4.09 (104); tail 2.48 (63); bill .43 (ii.i); tarsus 
.91 (23.2).] 

Description. — Adults: Similar to O. alpcstris but upperparts paler and 
graver, less warmed by vinaceous; no yellow (or merest tinge on head and 
throat) — white instead; size about the same. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size ; black crescent on upper chest ; black 
cheek and crown patches; feather-tufts or "horns" directed backward. To be 
distinguished from 0. a. nievrilli and 0. a. strigata by larger size and absence 
of yellow-. 

Nesting. — Not certainly known to breed in Washington but possibly does so 
above timber-line. Nest: a cup-shaped depression in the surface of the ground, 
plentifully lined with fine grasses, moss, grouse feathers, etc. Eggs: 3 or 4, 
greenish- or grayish-white, profusely and minutely dotted with olive-buff, 
greenish-brown and lavender. Av. size .95 x .66 (27x16.7). 

General Range. — "Breeding in Alaska (except Pacific coast district) and 
valley of the L'pper Yukon River, Northwest Territory ; migrating southward 
to Oregon, Utah, Montana, etc." (Ridgway). 

Range in Washington. — Common winter resident and migrant east of the 
Cascades. Birds breeding on the higher mountains are doubtfully referable 
to this form. 

Authorities. — O. a. Icncolccina (Coues), Dawson, Auk, XIV. 1897, ^7^- 
D-'. J. 

Specimens. — Prov. 

THE Horned Lark bears the reputation of being the most plastic of 
American species — the Song Sparrow {Melospiza inclodia) being a close sec- 



214 THE ALASKA HORNED LARK. 

ond in this respect. A monograph by Mr. H. C. Oberholser^ enumerates 
twenty-three forms, of which seventeen are described as North American, and 
four Mexican, beside one from Colombia (O. a. pcrcgrina) and another (O. a. 
flava) from Eurasia. Of this number tlie majority occur west of the Missis- 
sippi River, wliere chmatic conditions are more sliarply differentiated, and 
where, especially in the Southwest, the situation allows of that permanent 
residence which is conducive to the development of subspecific forms. 

The situation in Washington appears to be somewhat as follows: O. a. 
strigata, strongly marked, but showing relationship U> iiicrrilli, and likeness to 
iiisularis, of the Santa Barbara Islands, summers in western W'asliinglon in 
open prairies, and at low altitudes only. In winter it retires southward, or 
straggles irregularly eastward''. O. a. iiicrrilli is related to strigata on the one 
hand, and to Iciicolccuia (the Desert Horned Lark) on the other, but it curi- 
ously reproduces the appearance of praticola (being indistinguishable in 
certain plumages ) ; and also bears close resemblance to giraiidi. a non-migrant 
form of tlie Gulf sliore of Te.xas. It summers thruout eastern Washington, 
and even (doubtfull}' ) occupies the western coast of British Columbia. An 
isolated colony occurring on Mount Baker, above limljer-line. is referred b\' 
Oberholser to this form, but I should prefer to call it an intergrade with 
arcticola. In winter iiicrrilli retires completely from its Washington range, 
and its place is taken by arcticola, sweeping down fmni the highlands of 
British Columljia and Alaska in considerable numbers. 

It is not at all difficult for one who is accustomed to the appearance of 
Iiicrrilli to recognize these newcomers when they appear, late in October, for 
they are decidedly larger, more lightly colored, and show no slightest trace of 
yellow. They are much given to wandering about in straggling flocks, and 
the mild cries which the}- scatter freely ha\"e a subdued and plainti\-e tone, 
borrowed, no doubt, from the chastened character of the season. x\ sitting 
flock will sometimes allow a very close approach, but when they do so they 
"freeze," so perfectly that the eye can scarcel}- find them. The only thing to 
do under such circumstances is to freeze also, until the birds begin to limber 
up and steal cautiously away, taking advantage, for concealment, of every 
tuft of grass or depression of the ground, and giving occasional a<lmnnitory 
yips to their fellows. 



a. A Review of the Larks of the Genus Otocoris. Proc. U. S. Nat'l Mus., Vol. XXIV., pp. 801-884, 
1902- 

b. Much clearer testimony is required on this point. C>berliolser. op. cit., p. 839, cites a record for 
Colton in Whitman County, but I have never seen this form in Yakima County: and it would seem 
remarkaljle that a bird should forsake the mild climate of Tacoma to endure the more severe winters 
and less certain food supply of the East-side. 



THE COLUMBIAN HORNED LARK. 215 

No. 88. , 
COLUMBIAN HORNED LARK. 

A. O. U. No. 474 i. Otocoris alpestris merrilli Dwight. 

Synonyms. — Dusky Horned Lark. jNIerrill's Horned Lark. 

Description. — Similar to O. a. strigata but somewhat larger and decidedly 
grayer above, streaks narrower and dusky rather than black ; underparts not 
suffused with yellowish and yellow of head, especially superciliary, not so strong 
as in 0. a. strigata. Length (skins) 6.25, ( 159 ); wing 4.05 ( 103) ; tail 2.32 (59); 
bill .43 fii); tarsus .85 (21.6). 

Recognition Marks. — As in |)receding; smaller, darker and more yellow 
than O. a. ai\-ticola; larger, grayer and less yellow than O. a. strigata. 

Nesting. — Nest and eggs as in preceding. Av. size of eggs .93 x .61 (23.6 x 
15.5). Season: April-July; two or three broods. 

General Range. — Breeding in northwestern interior district of the United 
States from northwestern Nevada and northeastern California north thru Oregon 
and Washington well up into British Columbia, east to Idaho ; south in winter 
(at least) to central California. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident and migrant east of 
the Cascades. Breeding birds of the high Cascades may possibly be of this form. 

Authorities. — Eremophila alpestris. Brewster, B. N. O. C. VII. Oct. 1892, 
p. 227. ])■. Sr. D^ Ss'. Ss^ J. E. 

Specimens. — P'. Prov. E(?). 

A MODEST bird is the Columbian Horned Lark, for his home is on the 
groimd, and he hugs its tiny shelters when disturbed, as the quite assured that 
its brownness matches the tint of his back. If attentively pursued, he patters 
away half trustfully, or if he takes to wing, he does so with a deprecating 
cry of apology, as if the fault were his instead of yours. If his business keeps 
him in the same field, he will reappear presently, picking from the ground with 
affected nonchalance at a rod's remove, or else pausing to face you frankly 
with those interesting feather-tufts of inqttiry, supported by black moustacliios 
and jetty gorget on a grotmd of palest primrose. 

The unseeing class the Horned Larks among "brown birds" and miss the 
vaulting spirit beneath the modest mien. Yet our gentle Lark is of noble blood 
and ancient lineage. The Skylark, of peerless fame, is his own cousin: and, 
while he cannot hope to vie with the foreign bird in song, the same poet soul 
is in him. \Vhether in the pasture, upon the hillside, or in the desert, the com- 
ing of spring proclaims him laureate; and the chief vocal interest of nesting- 
time centers in the song-flight of the male Horned Lark. 

The song itself is, perhaps, nothing remarkable, a little ditty or 
succession of sprightly syllables wdiich have no considerable resonance or 



2l6 



THE COLUMBIAN HORNED LARK. 



modulation, altho they quite defy vocalization; yet such are the circumstances 
attending its deHvery that it is set down by everyone as "pleasing," while 
for the initiated it possesses a charm which is quite unique. Tividyc-'H'idgc, 
widgity, ■zvidgy-widge, conveys no idea of the tone-quality, indeed, but may 
serve to indicate the proportion and tempo of the common song; while Tzvidge, 
zeidgity, ccluoy, eclooy, idgity, cclouy, cciv, may serve the same purpose for 





J<i5f>,o\^. 



COLUMBIAN aoRiXED LARKS. 

the rare ecstasy song. The bird sometimes sings from a fence post, a sage 
bush, or e\-en from a hummock on tlie ground, but usually the impulse of song 
takes him up inti) the free air. Here at almost any hour of the day he may 
be seen poising at various heights, like a miniature hawk, and sending down 
tender words of greeting and cheer to the little wife who broods below. 

It is, however, at the sacred hour of sunset that the soul nf the heavenly 
singer takes wing for its ethereal abode. The sun is just sinking; the faithful 
spouse has settled herself to her gentle task for the night; and tlie bird-man 
has lain down in the shadow of the fence to gaze at the sky. The bird gives 
himself to the buoyant influences of the trembling air and mounts aloft by 
easy gradations. As he rises he swings round in a wide, loose circle, singing 



THE PACIFIC HORNED LARK. 217 

softl_v the while. At the end of every little height he pauses and hovers and 
sends down the full voiced song. Up and up he goes, the song becoming 
tenderer, sweeter, more refined and subtly suggestive of all a bird may seek in 
the lofty blue. As he fades from the unaided sight I train my glasses on 
him and still witness the heavenward spirals. I lower the glasses. Ah! I 
have lost him now! Still there float down to us, the enraptured wife and 
me, those most ethereal strains, sublimated past all taint of earth, beatific, 
elysian. Ah ! surely, we have lost him ! He has gone to join the angels. 
"Chirriquita, on the nest, we have lost him." "Never fear," she answers; 
"Hark!" Stronger grows the dainty music once again. Stronger! Stronger! 
Dropping r)ut of the boundless darkening blue, still by easy flights, a song for 
every step of Jacob's ladder, our messenger is coming down. But the ladder 
does not rest on earth. When about two hundred feet high the singer sud- 
denly folds his wings and drops like a plummet to the ground. \Vithin the 
last dozen feet he checks himself and lights gracefully near his nest. The 
bird-man steals softly away to dream of love and God, and to waken on the 
morrow of earth, refreshed. 

The Columbian Horned Lark enjoys a wide distribution thruout eastern 
Washington during the nesting season, the only requirement of the bird being 
open country. The convenience of water is no object, and the bird favors the 
undifferentiated wastes of sage, rather than the cultivated fields. Elevated 
situations are es]jecially attractive, and thousands of these Horned Larks nest 
along barren, wind-swept ridges and on the smaller mountains where no other 
species can be found. 



No. 89. 
PACIFIC HORNED LARK. 

A. O. v. No. 474 g. Otocoris alpestris strigata Henshaw. 

Synonym. — Streaked Horned Lark. 

Description. — Similar to 0. alpestris but darker and much smaller, above 
streaked broadly with black and tinged with buffy ; nape, rump and bend of wing 
more rufescent; underparts usually more or less suffused with yellowish. Adult 
female more strongly and handsomely marked than that of any other form. 
Length of adult male (skins) 5.98 (52) ; wing 3.85 (98) ; tail 2.59 (65.8) ; bill 
.44 (11. 3); tarsus .82 (20.8). 

Recognition Marks. — As in preceding; smaller, darker and more yellow 
than other local forms. 

Nesting. — Nest and eggs as in preceding. Season: second week in May, 
second week in June ; two broods. 

General Range. — Breeding in Pacific Coast district of Oregon, Washington 



2i8 THE PACIFIC HORNED LARK. 

and British Columbia ; "migrating to eastern Oregon and Washington, and 
northern Cahfornia (Red LUuff ; San Francisco)" (Ridgway). 

Range in Washington. — Found breeding only on prairies west of Cascades, 
therefore chiefly conhncd to Pierce, Thurston and Chehalis Counties; said to 
winter on East-side. 

Migrations. — Spring: last week in February; Tacuma, February 25, 1905, 
February 10, 1 90S. 

Authorities. — ErcmophUa conuita Boie, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv., IX. 
1858, 404, 405. ( T). C&S. L". Ra. B. 

Specimens. — ( U. of W.) Prov. B. 

THE prairies of Pierce, Thurston, and Chehalis Cotinties, so often re- 
ferred to in these pages, are of comparatively recent formation — mere gravel 
beds leveled off by the action of a retreating sea — and so thoroly washed thru 
portions of their area as to be capable of supporting little else than a carpet 
of moss. The wanton recklessness of the Pacific Horned Larks, which in- 
habit these open stretches, is reallv but one degree removed from the modesty 
of their more fortunate kinfolk across the Cascades. It is modesty without 
opportunity ; and that easily becomes shamelessness. For here the ground 
is of an uncompromising green, and the "cover," afforded bv slight depres- 
sions in the moss, is usually tmworthy of the name. 

The perfection of green barrenness was attained in the golf-links of 
South Tacoma, before they were surrendered to the demands of the growing 
city. Yet this was the very place where the Horned Larks appeared to the 
best advantage. Returning, as the}' did, about the 25th of Febrtiary, in good 
seasons, they disported themselves like mad Pixies for a month or so, engag- 
ing in amorous pursuit and f recjuent song-tlight ; until in some way, late in 
April, domestic order began to emerge from the chaos of rival claims, and 
little homes dotted the prairie, where belted scjuires and red-jacketed ladies 
pursued the twinkling gutta-percha. The conflict of interests, avian and human, 
was sometimes disastrous to the birds. Mr. Bowles records three instances in 
which Larks were killed by flying golf balls; and another gentleman, himself 
a devotee of the game, tells me he once saw a bird struck dead in mid-air. 

By the spring of 1906 matters had gone from bad to worse. The golf- 
links became a sort of common, despairingly resorted to by a few enthusiasts 
and a motley laity. The northwest portion of the section was staked out into 
lots, and the whole area was criss-crossed by roads and paths, whereby work- 
men, school-boys and delivery wagons hastened to and fro. Then it became 
the special pasture of a band of fifty cows, the lean kine of Pharaoh's dream 
multiplied by seven; and to the terrors of two hundred heedless hoofs was 
later added a flock of sheep, being fattened for sacrifice at a neighboring 
slaughter-house. This common was also a favorite romping ground for 
children, while dogs simply went crazy upon it. I saw one rabid beast in a 



THE PACIFIC HORNED LARK. 



2ig 



Returning on tlie 27tli, we found that tlie hole in 



come a 
stead. 



grown callou 



dehrium of unfettered bHss do off about six miles in twice as many minutes, 
with a Horned Lark, flying low, as the invariable object of his chase. When 
to such conditions as these was added the scantiness of cover, one marveled 
indeed that the daffy Horned Lark still persisted upon his ancient heritage. 

Yet on the nth of April (the earliest record b}- far), in the barest of it, 
we marked a deep rounded cavity which Mr. Bowles declared belonged t(.) the 
Streaked Horned Lark. Returning on the .27 
the ground had be- 
bump in- 
The bird, 
amid 
the impending evils, 
or else frankl}- in- 
tending to warn off 
trespassers, had filled 
the cavity full to 
overflowing, and had 
erected upon its site 
a monumental pile 
visible at a hundred 
yards. So zealous 
had the bird's efforts 
been that the crest 
of the nest stuck up 
two and a half inches 
above the close- 
cropped landscape. 
and the bottom of 
the nest was abo\'e 
the ground. This 
creation was quite 
ten inches across, 
while it included 
upon its skirts bits 

of sod, cow-chips and pebbles, — a motley array, possibly designed to distract 
attention from the dim-colored eggs which the nest contained. The most 
lavish display of this sort of bruinagem marked a runway of approach, off'set 
bv a corresponding depression upon the other side. The nest was composed 
chiefly of dried grasses and weed-stalks with soft dead lea\-es, and was lined, 
not \'ery carefullv. with grass, driefl leaves, and a single white chicken-feather.^ 




Talccn Lit South Tticonia. Photo by Dawson and Bonlcs. 

THE NEST ON THE GOLF LINKS. 



A near view of this remarkable nest was forbidden by the breaking of a negative. 



220 



THE PACIFIC HORNED LARK. 



Once the allentinn of the (jologist was directetl to this structure, it rose 
from tiie plain Hke a pyramid of Cheops before his strained anxieties. It was 
torture to have to leave it for half an hour. How could that school-ljoy pass 
at tweutv yards and not see it ! Then, when I returned to reconnoiter, the 
dear cattle were just being turned loose for the morning, and they, forsooth, 
must straggle past it. At the end of another hour, unable longer to endure 
the suspense, I returned to perform the last offices. The band of sheep was 
out then, and they were drifting so perilously close, that I ran the last hundred 
yards to head them off, and none too soon. Yet that precious monument of 
simplicity held three eggs, unharmed until the advent of the man, who 
wrought the ruin surely, in the name of — Science(?). Consistency, thou 
art a jewel found in no egg-collector's cabinet ! 

The nest of the Pacific Horned Lark is not often concealed, but usually 
it does not more than fill the hollow of some cavity, natural or artificial, — a 
wheel-rut, a footprint of horse or cow, a cavity left by an upturned stone, or, 

as in one instance, the bottom of an unused 
K'olf-hole. The only attempt at conceal- 
ment noted was where the nest had been 
])laced under the fold of a large 
strip of tar paper, most of which 
had become tightly plastered 
t(j the ground. 

In spite of the compara- 
tively mild weather prevail- 
ing in April, eggs are not 
often laid before the second 
week in May, and a second 
set is deposited about the 
second week in June. The 
number of eggs in a set 
varies from two to four, 
three being most commonly 
found. In color the ground 
is grayish white, while dots 
of greenish gray or reddish 
gray are now gathered in a heavy wreath about the larger end, and now regu- 
larly distributed over the entire surface — sometimes so heavily as to obscure 
the ground. The eggs are often very perceptibly glossed and there is fre- 
quently a haunting greenish or yellowish tinge which diffuses itself over the 
whole — an atmosphere, as the artist would say. Variation in size runs from 
ovate to elongate oval, and measurements range from .93 x .60 to .81 x .58. 
Horned Larks owe their preservation chiefly to the wariness of the female, 




Taken near Tucoma. Photo by J. H. Bowles. 

NEST .^ND EGGS OF P.VCIFIC HORNED L.\RK. 



THE AMERICAN PIPIT. 221 

for she flushes at long distances. Either siie will slip off quietly and sneak at 
thirty yards, or else flush straight at a hundred. When the nest is discovered 
she is quite as likely to ignore the intruder, and seldom ventures near enough 
to betray ownership. On the other hand, given patience and a pair of strong 
binoculars, "tracking" is not a difficult accomplishment. 



No. 90. 

AMERICAN PIPIT. 

A. O. U. No. 697. Anthus rubescens (Tunstall). 

Synonyms. — Amkric^n Titl.ark. Brown Lark. Louisi.'>iNA Pipit. 

Description. — Adult in spring: Above soft and dark grayish brown with 
an olive shade ; feathers of crown and back with darker centers ; wings and tail 
dusky with paler edging, the pale tips of coverts forming two indistinct bars ; 
outer pair of tail-'cathers extensively white; next pair white-tipped; superciliary 
line, eye-ring and underparts light grayish brown or buffy, the latter streaked 
with dusky except on middle of throat and lower belly,-- heavily on sides of 
throat and across breast, narrowly on lower breast and sides. Winter plumage: 
Above, browner ; below, duller buffy ; more broadly streaked on breast. Length 
6.00-7.00 (152.4-177.8) ; wing 3.37 (85.6): tail 2.53 (64.3): bill .46 (11.7); 
tarsus .90 (22.9). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size ; brown above ; buffy or brownish with 
dusky spots below ; best known by flip-yip notes repeated when rising from 
ground or flying overhead. 

Nesting. — Nest: at high altitudes, a thick-walled structure of grasses and 
moss set into deep excavation in sloping hillside or in cranny of cliff. Eggs: 
4-6, usually 5, so heavily speckled and spotted with reddish or dark brown as 
almost entirely to obscure the whitish ground color. Often, except upon close 
examination, the effect is of a uniform chocolate-colored egg. Av. size .jj x .57 
(19.6 X 14.5). Season: June 15-July 25; one brood. 

General Range. — North America at large, breeding in the higher parts of 
the Rocky and Cascade Mountains and in sub-Arctic regions ; wintering in the 
Gulf States, Mexico, and Central America. Accidental in Europe. 

Range in Washington. — Abundant during migrations; common summer 
resident in Cascade Mountains above timber-line; winters sparinglv west of 
mountains. 

Migrations. — Nomadic; retires from mountains early in September; moves 
southward across State Oct. 15-Dec. 15; northward April i-May 15. 

Authorities. — ? Townsend, Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci., Phila., VHI., 1839, 154 
(Columbia River). Anthus iiidovicianus. Licht. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. 
IX. pt. II., 1858, p. 233. T. C&S. L'. Rh. D'. Sr. Ra. D^ J. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P'. Prov. B. E. 

THE American Pipit does not sustain the habitual dignity of the boreal 
breed. He is no clown, indeed, like our Chat, nor does he quite belong to the 



222 THE AMERICAN PIPIT. 

awkward squad with young Blackbirds; a trim form and a natty suit often 
save him from well merited derision, but all close observers will agree that 
there is a screw loose in his make-up somewhere. The whole Pipit race 
seems to be struggling under a strange inhibitory spell, cast upon some an- 
cestor, perliaps, by one knows not what art of nodding heather bells or po- 
tency of subtly distilled Arctic moonshine. .\s the flock comes straggling 
down from the northland they utter unceasing yips uf mild astonishment and 
self-reproach at their apparent inability to decide what to do next. Their in- 
decision is especially exasperating as one rides along a trail which is closely 
flanked by a primitive rail fence, as I have often done in Okanogan County. 
One starts up ahead of you and thinks he will settle on the top rail and watch 
you go by. As his feet near the rail he decides he won't, after all, but that 
he will go a few feet farther before alighting. If he actually does alight 
he instantly tumbles oft with a startled yip. as th(j the rail were hot and he 
had burnt his toes. Then he tries a post with no better success, until you get 
disgusted with such silly vacillation and inane yipping, and clap spurs to your 
horse, resolved to escape the anno}-ance (if having to follow such dubious 
fortunes. 

In social flight the Pipits straggle out far apart, so as to allow plenty of 
room for their chronic St. A'itus's tlance to jerk them hither or thither or up 
or down, witliout clashing with their fellows. Only a small percentage of 
those which annually traverse the State fly low enough to be readily seen ; 
but when they do they are jolting along over the landscape and complaining 
at every other step. The note is best rendered flip-yip. less accurately pip-it 
(whence of course the name) ; and a shower of these iietulant sounds comes 
spattering down out of the sky when the birds themselves are nearly or c|uite 
invisible. 

The fall migrations of this species appear to have a compound character. 
Birds which make their appearance early in September are likely to quarter 
themselves in a gi\'en localitx" for several weeks at a time, tho wlielher these 
represent the first refugees from the high North, or mark the practical retreat 
of our own mountaineers, we cannot tell. Late comers pass thru more rapidl\-, 
and the main host clears l)y late October, but stragglers may be found in any 
open lowland situation until late November. They are es]iecially partial to 
prairies, close-cropped pastures, the graxelly shores and bars of rivers, lakes 
and ponds, and the shingle of sea-beaches. At Semialimoo the great ricks of 
barnacle-covered piles, which are annually corded on shore at the close of the 
fishing season, are regarded in the light of a Pipit hotel. The birds not only 
shelter among the timbers, but, after the fashion of Sandpipers, glean busily 
from their surfaces where the marine crealures. thru ex]iosure to the air, are 
dving a fragrant death. 

The return nio\'ement of spring sets in earlv, and the main flight is more 



THE AMERICAN PIPIT. 



223 



direct. But here there is suspicion of desuhory wintering on the one hand 
(I have a record of forty birds seen on the Nisqnally Flats, Feb. 10, 1906; 
and Fannin says they sometimes winter on Yancou\'er Island ) and there is 
always a small percentage of loiterers who linger into May. Spring flocks 
nia\' be l(.>oked for in freshly-i)lowed iields, where they feed attenti\'elv, often 
in absolute silence, mo\-ing about with ■'graceful, gliding walk, tilting the body 
and wagging the tail at each 
step, much in the manner of 
a Sciiiriis.' 

Pipits are boreal breeders ; 
lint inasmuch as our own 
superb Alps claim kinship 
with the Arctic, there is no 
more fa\'orable spot to study 
the nesting of the Pipits 
than upon the Cascades of 
northern Washington. At 
home the Pipit is a ver\' 
different creature from the 




straggler of the long trail 
On his native heather, sui- 
rounded by d\varfed lir 
trees, melting snow-fields. 
and splendid vistas of peak 
and cloud, he knows exactly 
what he wants and is quiu 
capable of flying in :i 
straight line. 

All is bustle and stir 
along Ptarmigan Ridge,— 
the transverse rock-rib ni 
Cascade Pass which divides 
the waters of Stehekin. 
Chelan, and the Columbia 
from those of the Cascade, 
Skagit, and Puget Sound. 

The season is late, June 23, IQ06, and the snows have only just released the 
ridge at 6000 feet elevatii:)n. Slate-colored Sparrows are carnlling tenderly 
from the thickets of stunted fir. Sierra Hermit Thrushes, those minstrels 
of heaven, flit elusively from clump to clump or pause to rehearse from their 
depths some spiritual strain. Leucostictes look in u])iin the scene in passing, 
but they hasten at a prudent thought to their loftier ramparts. The real 



Taken tit Shagil Lumtly. I'hotu by IV. L. Dazvson. 

OUR L.MJV OF THE SNOWS. 

A CHAR.ACTKRISTIC SUMMER HAUNT OF THE PIPIT. 



224 THE AMERICAN PIPIT. 



busybodies of tbe place are the Pipits. Females, lisping suspiciously, hurry 
to and fro, discussing locations, matching straws, playfully rebuking over- 
bold swains, and hastily gulping insects on the side. The male birds ho\'er 
about their mates solicitously — never helping, of course — or else sing lustily 
from prominent knolls and rocks. 

The Pipit song in many of its phases is strikingly like that of the Rock 
Wren (Salpinctcs ohsoletns). It has the same vivacity and ringing quality, 
tho perhaps less power, and the similarity extends to the very phrasing. An 
alarm note runs pichoo pichoo pichoo, given six or seven times, rapidly and 
emphatically ; while another, woe iich, 7vcc iicli, zvcc iicli, is rendered, unless 
nn- eyes deceive me, with the same springing motion which characterizes the 
Wren. An ecstacy song of courting time (heard on Mount Rainier ) runs tiviss 
izviss tzviss twiss (ad lib.), uttered as rapidly as the syllables may be said. It 
is delivered as the bird describes great slow circles in mid-air; and when the 
singer is exhausted by his efforts, he falls like a spent rocket to the ground. 

For all this activity, however, the nests are hard to find. Finally, as w^e 
keep ascending the ridge, bare save for occasional ]iatches of snow in the 
hollows. Jack spies an old nest, last year's of course, in tlie recess of a soil 
tussock, completely overarched by earth. The secret is out, and we can 
searcl: with more intelligence now. Soon I ilush a female at her task of in- 
cubation. She has been digging out a pocket, or cave, in a moist bank which 
the snow had set free not above three days before. The earth removed from 
the interior is piled up for the lnwer rim, or wall, and a few rootlets, doubt- 
less those secured in the process of excavation, have been culled out and laid 
horizontally along the edge of the dirt. The hole is about as large as my 
double fists, and the nest, when completed, evidently cannot be injured by 
falling snow. 

In July of the following year, work was carried on in the Upper Horse- 
shoe Basin, a few miles further north. The song period was evidently past, 
l)ut a nest of five eggs slightly incubated, was taken from a heather slope on 
the 20th of the month. The sitting bird flushed from under the beating 
stick, but only after I had passed. 

On the i7tli, a venturesome climb over the rock-wall which fronts the 
glacier of the Upper Basin, had yielded only a last year's Leucosticte's nest. 
As I was nearly down the cliff and breathing easier, a Pipit flew unannounced 
from a spur of the clifif upon which I was standing to the one beyond. Evi- 
dentlv she had heard the call of her mate, for the instant she lighted upon the 
cliff he was near her. But budge not a foot would he : whether he was sus- 
picious or only exacting, one could not quite tell. At any rate he kept giving 
vent to a ringing metallic note of apprehension. The female coaxed with 
fluttering wings, and moved slowly forward as she did so, finally securing 
the worm from her reluctant lord, when — whisk! she was back again and out 



THE TOWNSEND SOLITAIRE. 225 

of sight around the cHff on whicli I stood. I hastened forward to the furthest 
outstanding point which gave a partial view of the wall's face. No bird was 
ill sight. Then I tossed pebbles against the cliff-side, and from beneath the 
second summons fluttered the frightened Pipit. Five beautiful eggs, of a 
warm weathered oak, rather than "mahogany" shade, lay in a niche of rock. 
A tussock of grass clung just below, and a dwarf shrub afforded a touch of 
drapery above; while from the outstretched hand a flint-flake might have 
fallen clean of the wall to the ice, a hundred feet below. The male bird con- 
tinued his outcries from the distant cliff', but the female at no time reappeared. 
With the advance of summer, the Pipits lead their broods about the 
disrobed peaks, even to the very summits, as do the noble Leucostictes. 
Knowing this, we may readily excuse any little eccentricities which appear 
in our friends during the duller seasons. The Pipit has redeemed himself. 



No. 91. 

TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE. 

A. O. U. No. 754. Myadestes townsendi (Aud.). 

Synonyms. — TowNsExn's Flycatciiing Thrush. Townsend's Thrush. 
Townsen'd's Flycatcher. 

Description. — Adults: General color smoky gray, lighter below, bleaching 
on throat, lower belly and under tail-coverts ; a prominent white orbital ring ; 
wings and tail dusky ; wing quills crossed by extensive tawny area originating at 
base of innermost secondary and passing obliquely backward — this appears in 
the closed wing as a spot at the base of the exposed primaries but does not reach 
nearer the edge of the wing than the fifth or sixth primary; another obscure 
tawny or whitish patch formed by subterminal edging on outer webs of seventh 
and eighth (sometimes ninth) primaries; greater coverts and tertials tipped with 
white of varying prominence ; a blotch of white on each side of tail involving 
distal third of half of outermost rectrix, tip of second and sometimes tip of third. 
Bill and feet black ; irides brown. Young birds are heavily spotted with buff 
above and below (showing thereby Turdine affinities), — above, each feather has a 
single large spot (rhomboidal in some, heart-shaped in others) of buff, centrally, 
and is edged with blackish, thus producing a scaled appearance ; below, the ground 
color is a pale buff" or buft'y gray with blackish edgings to feathers. Length about 
8.00 (203.2 ) ; wing 4.60 (117) ; tail 4.05 (103) ; bill .49 (12.4) ; tarsus .79 (20). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink size ; brownish gray coloration with spots of 
white (or pale tawny) on tail and wings. No black, as compared with a Shrike. 

Nesting. — Nest: in hollow under bank, cranny or rock wall or in upturned 
roots of tree, of sticks, coarse weeds and trash, lined with rootlets. Eggs: 4, 
grayish white spotted with pale brown, chiefly about larger end. Av. size, 
.96 X .70 (24.4 X 17.8). Season: ]\Iay or June : one brood. 

General Range. — Western North America, breeding chiefly in mountainous 
districts, from northwestern Mexico to Alaska and Yukon Territory, wintering 



226 THE TOWNSEND SOLITAIRE. 

irregularly from British Columbia ( Sumas ) southward, straggling into Mississippi 
\"alley during migratiims. 

Range in Washington. — Not unconimon spring and fall migrant thruout the 
State, summer resident in the mountains to the limit of trees and elsewhere 
irregularly to sea level; partially resident in winter west of the Cascade Alountains. 

Authorities. — ? Ptiliogon\s tozvnsciidi. Townsend, Narrative, 1839. p. 338. 
Mviadestcs tuzvusciidii Baird/Rep. Tac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, 321. T. C&S. D'. 
Ra. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P". Prov. B. BN. E. 

"OF this singular bird I know nothing hut that it was shot by my frieutl. 
Captain \V. Brotchie, of the Honorable Hudson's Bay Company, in a pine for- 
est near Fort George, (Astoria). It was the only specimen seen." In these 
words J. K. Townsend, the pioneer ornithologist of tlie Pacific Northwest, 
records^ the taking of the first example of this species known to science. 

The bird thus presented as a conjectural native of Washington, has long 
been a puzzle to naturalists. It has been called Flycatcher, Thrush, and a com- 
bination of the two; but the name Solitaire seems to express both our noncom- 
mittal attitude toward the subject, and the demure independence with which 
the bird itself proceeds to mind its own affairs. Barring the matter of struc- 
ture, which the scientists have now pretty well thrashed out, the bird is every- 
thing bv turns. He is Flycatcher in that he delights to sit quietlv on exposed 
limbs and watch for passing insects. These he meets in mid-air and bags with 
an emphatic snap of the mandibles. He is a Shrike in appearance and manner, 
when he takes up a station on a fence-post and studies the ground intently. 
When its prev is sighted at distances varying from ten to thirty feet, it dives 
directly to the spot, lights, snatches, and swallows, in an instant ; or, if the catch 
is unmanageable, it returns to its post to thrash and kill and swallow at leisure. 
During this poimcing foray, the display of white in the Solitaire's tail reminds 
one of the Lark Sparrow. Like the silly Cedar-bird, the Solitaire gorges itself 
on fruit and berries in season. Like a Thrush, when the mood is on, the Soli- 
taire skulks in the thickets or woodsy depths, and flies at the suggestion of ap- 
]iroach. l^pon alighting it stands quietly, in expectation that the e_\-e of the be- 
holder will thus lose sight of its ghostly tints among the interlacing shadows. 

And so one might go on comparing indefinitely, but the bird is entitled to 
shine in its own light. The Solitaire is sui generis — no doubt of that. As soon 
as we establish for it a certain line of conduct, the bird does something else. 
We banish it to tlie mountains for the nesting season — a iiair nests in a rail- 



a. Narrative of a Tourney Across the Rocky Mountains to the Columbia River [etc.1. by Jolin K. 
Townsend fr83Q), p. 339. Townsend's "Catalog' of birds found in the territory of the Oregon," which 
appeared in this work, "pp. 331-336, enjoys the distinction of being the first faunal list of this north- 
western region. It contains 208 titles but the naturalist included in it mention of many species encount- 
ered by him in his passage of the Rocky Mountains, and he does not, of course, distinguish between 
the regions lying north and south of the Columbia River. Of the total number recorded, therefore, 
Washington cannot possibly be entitled to above 168 species, and the list has little value in establishing 
the status of a bird as a resident of Washington. 



THE TOWNSEND SOLITAIRE. 



227 



road cut near Renton, altitiule 200 feet. We descrilie tn our friends the Ijeauty 
of its song — they go to its sanctuaries and the Ijird is silent. A liird of such 
dainty mould should winter in the South. It does, — at times. It also winters 
at Sumas (in our mirthern horder. This poet of the solitudes, he should avoid 
the haunts of men. He does, 
usually. But another time he 
may be seen hopping from bush 
to log in a suburban swamp, or 
moping under the edge of a 
new sidewalk. Indeed, I once 
saw a Solitaire flutter up from 
under a passenger coach, as it 
lay in station. He had hap- 
pened to spy some bread 
crumbs and there was nothing 
to liinder save the conductor's 
brisk "all aboard." Surely such 
a bundle of contradictions you 
never did see — and all belied by 
an expression of lamb-like art- 
lessness and ilolcc far iiicnfc, 
which would do credit to a 
rag-doll. 

All observers testify t<T the 
vocal powers of the Solitaire, 
and some are most extravagant 
in the bird's praises. My own 
notes are very meager. A song 
heard on Church Mountain, in 
Whatcom County, May 12, 
1905, is characterized as "a 
dulcet strain of varied notes. 
It reminds one strongly of the 
Sage Thrasher, but it is some- 
what less impetuous." In view 
of this meagerness, I venture 
to quote at length two older ac- 
counts, now hidden away in 

volumes not easily accessible. Dr. J. S. Newberry first encountered the Soli- 
taire in the canon of the Mptolyas River, at the base of Mount Jefferson (Or. ), 
and declared its song to be full, rich, and melodious, like that of a Miniiis^ 




J^TOoKj 



TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE. 



a. Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv., Vol. VI., 1857, p. 82. 



228 THE TOWNSEND SOLITAIRE. 

"We followed <li)\vn the ri\er in the buttcim of the canon; all day the 
gorge was filled with a chorus of sweet soimds from himdreds and thousands 
of these birds, which from their monotonous color, and their haliit of sitting 
on the branch of a tree projecting into the void above the stream, or hanging 
from some beetling crag, and flying out in narrow circles after insects precisely 
in the manner of the Flycatchers I was disposed to associate with them. 

"Two days afterward in the canon of Psuc-see-cjue Creek, of wdiich the 
terraced banks were sparsely set with low trees of the western cedar (J. occi- 
dentalis), I found these birds numerous. * * * With the first dawn of day 
they began their songs, and at sunrise the valley was perfectly vocal with their 
notes. Never, anywhere, have I heard a more delightful chorus of bird music. 
Their song is not greatly varied, but all the notes are particularly clear and 
sweet, atid the strain of pure gushing melody is as spontaneous and inspiring 
as that of the Song Sparrow. At this time, September 30, these birds were 
feeding on the berries of the cedar: they were very shy, and could only be ob- 
tained by lying concealed in the vicinity of the trees which they frecjuented." 

Mr. T. M. Tri])pe, speaking for the Clear Creek Canon in Colorado, says^ : 
"In summer and fall its voice is rarely heard; but as winter conies on, and the 
woods are well-nigli deserted by all save a few Titmice and Nuthatches, it be- 
gins to utter occasir)nallv a single bell-like note that can be heard at a great dis- 
tance. The bird is now very shy; and the author of the clear, loud call, that I 
heard nearly every morning from the valley of Clear Creek, was long a mys- 
terv to me. Toward the middle and latter part of winter, as the snow begins 
to fall, the Flvcatching Thrush delights to sing, clujosing for its rostrum a pine 
tree in some ele\'ated position, high up above the valleys; and not all the fields 
and groves, and hills and valleys of the Eastern States, can boast a more ex- 
quisite song; a song in which the notes of the Purple Finch, the Wood Thrush, 
and the Winter Wren are blended into a silvery cascade of melody, that rip]iles 
and dances down the mountain sides as clear and sjiarkling as the m(~iuntain 
brook, filling the woods and valleys witli ringing music. At first it sings only 
on bright clear mornings ; but once fairly in the mood, it sings at all hours and 
during the most inclement weather. Often while travelling over the narrow, 
winding mountain roads, toward the close of winter, I have been overtaken and 
half-blinded fiv sudden, furious storms of wind and snow, and compelled to 
seek the nearest tree or [jrojecting r(ick for shelter. In such situations I have 
frequently listened to the song of this bird, and forgot tlie cold and wet in its 
enjoyment. Toward spring, as soon as the other birds begin to sing, it be- 
comes silent as tho disdainful nf ii lining the common chorus, and commences 
building its nest in Mav, earlier than almost any other bird. During this season 
it deserts the valleys, and confines itself to partially wooded hill-tops." 



a. Coues, Birds of the Northwest (1874), pp. 95, 96. 



THE WILLOW THRUSH. 229 

No. 92. 

WILLOW THRUSH. 

A. O. L'. No. 556a. Hylocichia fuscescens salicicola Ridgvvay. 

Synonym. — Western Wii.sox Thrush. 

Description. — Adult: Above, dull tawny-brown, uniforni; wing-quills sliad- 
ing to brownish fuscous on inner webs ; below white, the throat, except in the 
upper middle, and the breast, tinged with cream-buff, and spotted narrowly and 
sparingly with wedge-shaped marks of the color of the back ; sides and flanks 
more or less tinged with brownish gray ; sides of head buffy-tinged, with mixed 
brown, save on whitish lores ; bill dark above, light below ; feet light brown. 
Adult male, length 7-25-7.75 (184.2-196.1)) ; wing 3.93 ( 100) ; tail 2.95 (75) : bill 
.55 (14): tarsus 1. 18 (30). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow to Chewink size : didl cinnamon brown 
above: breast buffy, lightly spotted. 

Nesting. — Nest: of leaves, bark-strips, weed-stems and trash, lined with 
rootlets; placed at height of two or three feet in thickets or, rarely, on ground. 
Eggs: 3-5, plain greenish blue, not unlike those of the Robin. Av. size, .90 x .65 
(22.8x16.5). Season: first or second week in June; one brood. 

General Range. — ^^''estern interior districts of LTnited States and Canada ; 
breeding from North Dakota and Manitoba west to interior of British Columbia 
and southward to Nevada, LJtah and Colorado ; southward during migrations thru 
Arizona, etc., to Brazil, also thru the Mississippi \'alley and, casually, eastward. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident in the hilly districts of north- 
western Washington, — Blue j\Iountains( ?). 

Authorities. — Howe, Auk, XML Jan. 1900, p. 19 (Spokane). T(?). J. 

Specimens. — Prov. 

THE Willow Thrush shares with its even more retiring cousin, the 
Olive-back, the forests of the northwestern portion of the State. Here it may 
be fotmd in the seclusion of spring draws and alder bottoms, or in the miscel- 
laneous co\-er which lines the banks of the larger streams. It is confined 
almost entireh' to the N'icinitv of water, and spends much of its time on the 
damp ground poking aniong the fallen leaves and searching the nooks and 
corners of tree-roots. Since the bird is but a flitting shade, one cannot easily 
determine its color-pattern, and must learn rather the range and quality of its 
notes. The bird is. rather than lias, a voice, an elusive voice, a weird and won- 
derful ^•oice. And only after one has heard the song, with its reverberant, 
sweet thunder, and its exquisitely diminishing cadences, as it wells up at even- 
tide from some low thicket, may one be said to know the Willow Thrush. 

For the most part the bird betrays interest in your movements by a sub- 
dued yeivi. a note of complaint and admonition, varii.nisly likened to a grunt, 
a bleat, or a nasal interjection. Not infrequently this becomes a clearly 



230 



THE WILLOW THRUSH. 



whistled -a'licc-cic: ami this, in turn, is varied and strengthened to :'c-cr-ii. or 
J 'eery, whence the conim(.)n name nf the typical form, H. fiisccscciis. in the 
East. The song proper consists of six or seven of these ix'-cr-ys, rolled out 
with a rich and inimitable Ijrogue. The notes vibrate and resound, and fill the 
air so full of music that one is led to suspect the multiple character of each. 
The bird is really striking chords, and the sounding strings still vibrate when the 

next is struck. There 
is, moreover, in the 
whole performance, 
a musical crescendo 
coupled with a suc- 
cessive lowering of 
pitch, which is fairly 
ravishing in its im- 
|jression of mvstery 
and power. 

The distribution 
of this species is as 
vet imperfectly made 
out. Haxing made 
its acquaintance at 
Spokane and along 
the valley of the 
Pend d'Oreille, we 
were able to recog- 
nize it later at Che- 
lan and Stebekin, the 
latter unquestionably 
the westernmost rec- 
(ird (if its occurrence 
in the United States. 
Whether it may also 
extend further south 
along the east front 
of the Cascades, re- 
mains to be seen. 
A nest liefiire me was taken 1j_\- Mr. Ered S. Merrill, in Spokane. It was 
placed in the crotch of an alder at a height of two feet, and contained, on the 
ninth day of Jime, four slightly incubated eggs. The nest is a rather loosely 
constructed affair of bark-strips, dead leaves, coarse grasses, shavings, leaf- 
stems, etc., and has a careless lining of dessicated leaves and broken grasses. 
The matrix of mud, or leaf-mold, which gives strength and consistency to the 








Tahcn 

near Sfokanc. 



Photo by 
F. S. Merrill. 



NEST AND EGGS OF THE WILLOW THRUSH. 



THE RUSSET-BACKED THRUSH. 231 

nests of certain oilier tln-ushes. is conspicuously lacking in this one. The 
brooding hollow is only three inches from brim to brim, b\' one and three- 
quarters in depth. The eggs are in every way miniature Robins', being without 
spots, and representing only three-fifths or two-thirds the bulk of those of 
tlie larger bird. 



No. 93. 

RUSSET-BACKED THRUSH. 

A. O. U. No. 758. Hylocichia ustulata (Nutt.). 

Synonym. — "Wood Thrush" (name properly restricted to H. mustclina of 
the East). 

Description. — Adults: Above olive-brown, substantial!}- uniform; a conspicu- 
ous orbital ring of pale buff ; sides of head buft'y mingled or streaked with olive- 
brown ; chin, throat and chest buff (or lightening to buffy white toward chin) ; 
sides of throat and entire chest with triangular marks of deep olive-brown, 
smaller and narrower on throat, larger and broader (sector-shaped) posteriorly; 
breast, especially on sides, transversely spotted with light brown ; sides and flanks 
heavily marked with brownish ; remaining underparts white. Bill blackish, paling 
basally on mandible; feet and legs brown; iris brown. Winter specimens are 
brighter, more deeply tinged with buff' before and with under tail-coverts buffy. 
Young birds are more or less marked and streaked with buft'y and tawny above 
and the markings of underparts are mostly transverse. Length 6.50-7.50 (165.1- 
190.5) ; wing 3.83 (97) ; tail 2.87 (73) ; bill ,54 ( 13.7) ; tarsus i.io (28). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size: unifurm olive-brown above; heavy 
spotting and buft'y wash on chest; sides of head and eye-ring Inift'y ; brown above 
as compared with H. u. szi.'iiinsoiiii. 

Nesting. — Nest: of bark-strips, moss and grasses, with a heavv inner mat or 
mould of dead leaves, lined with rootlets and fine grasses; placed usually at 
moderate heights in bushes or saplings of thickets, sometimes 30-60 feet high in 
trees. Eggs: 3-5, usually 4, greenish blue or dull grayish blue dotted and spotted, 
rather sparingly, with various shades of brown. .A, v. size, .93 x .67 (23.6x17). 
Season: June. July ; one or two broods. 

General Range. — Pacific coast district from southern California to Alaska 
(Juneau), breeding thruout its range; south in winter thru Mexico to Central and 
northern South America. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident and migrant west of 
the Cascade Afountains; probably overflows thru mountain passes to at least the 
eastern slopes of the Cascades. 

Authorities. — Turdus ustulatus Nuttall, Alan. Orn. U. S. and Canada, Land 
Birds, ed. 2. 1840. pp. VL 830 (Columbia River). C&S. L'. Rh. D'. Kb. Ra. 
D^ Ss^ Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. ?■( ?). Prov. B. BN. E. 



232 



THE RUSSET-BACKED THRUSH. 





/ 




ARTIv^TS I if ihe later scIidoIs agree that shadows are not often black, as 
they have been conventionally represented for centvn"ies. Their deepest color 
note is always that of the ground, or screen, which bears them. The Thrush, 
therefore, is the truest embodiment of woodland shade, for the shifting russets 

of its ui)perparts 
melt and blend with 
the tints of fallen 
leaves, dun roots, 
and the shadows of 
tree-boles cast on the 
brown ashes of fall- 
en comrades. Not 
content, either, with 
such protective guar- 
antee, this gentle 
spirit clings to cover, 
and reveals itself on- 
Iv as a flitting shade 
and a h a u n t i n g 
voice. Now and then 
a brown gleam does 
cross some open 
space in the forest, 
but the action is has- 
ty and the necessity 
much regretted. 

The Russet-backed 
Thrush is not much 
*<it^ gi\'en to song, altho 

on occasion the 
woodside mav ring 
with the siiuple mel- 
ody of its wee loo 
w c el weeloece^. 
Other notes are more 
notable and charac- 
teristic : and by these 
one may trace the 
bird's everv move- 




RUSSET-BACKED THRUSH. 



a. Prof. O. B. Johnson in his "List of the Birds of the Willamette Valley. Oregon" [Am. Naturalist, 
July, 1880, p. 48;] has made an excellent characterization of this song in "Holsey, govcndy, govindy, 
goz'eendy." 



THE RUSSET-BACKED THRUSH. 233 

ment without recourse to sight. Quit, or Im'it. is a soft wiiistled note of inquiry 
and greeting, b}' wliich the birils i^eep in constant touch with each other, and 
which they are nowise disincHned to use in conversations witii strangers. 
Hzvootaylyochtyl is the name which the Ouiliayute lad gi\'es the bird, the 
first S}'llable being whistletl rather than spoken, in imitation of the bird's note. 
At the friendl}' call the Thrush comes sidling over toward vou thru the brush, 
until }'0u feel that you could put your hand on it if you would; but the bird 
remains in\'isible, and says, quit. (juit. with some asperitv, if vou disregard 
the roiifcnanccs. 

A longer call-note, of sharper quality, queer, may be as readily imitated, 
altho its meaning in the bush is uncertain. The bird has also a spoken note, 
a sort of happy purring, which I call the euordaddy cry. In this the daddy 
notes are given in from one to six syllables, and are spoken "trippingh' on the 
tongue." 

Recalling again the qiieee note, we are surprised to hntl that it is the 
commonest sound heard during luigrations. At midnight when a solemn hush 
is o\-er all besides, this weird note comes down from the sky at any height, 
from every angle, a greeting en passant from the voyageurs, the tenderest, 
the most pathetic, the most mysterious voice of Nature. There are a dozen 
\-ariali(ins of pitch and tone, queee, quee, kooo, etc., but the theme is one, and 
the quality is that of the Russet-backed Thrush. Now it is incredible that any 
one species should so aboiuid to the exclusion of all others, or that one alone 
should speak, while others tlit b}- silently. Moreover, the intermittent utter- 
ance of a single bird proclaims the rate at which that bird is moving, and 
oftener argues for the passing of the smaller species, A\'arblers and the like. 
Repeated obser\-ation would make it appear certain that this quee note is the 
common possession of man}-, ])erhaps of all species of migrant song birds, a 
sort of Esperanto for "Ho, Comrade!" b}- which the flying legions of the 
night are bound together in a great fellowship. 

Much of the apparent difference in the call-notes of these night-birds is 
explained when we rememlier that they are reaching us from different angles. 
Thus, the quee of a rapidly approaching bird is raised sharply and shortened. 
quci: : while the same voice, in passing, falls to a ghostly kwoo, at least a musi- 
cal third below. It is, perhaps, needless to add that practiced lips may join 
this mystic chorus and hold delightful converse with these brothers of the 
air — may, indeed, provoke them to trebled utterance in passing. 

But only the Russet-backed Thrush :nay repeat this cabalistic note, by 
day. He is the bugler in that greatest of all armies and he must needs keep 
in practice while on furlough. 

Russet-backs are tardy migrants, seldom arriving before the first week 
in May : and they are off again for the Southland by the first week in Septem- 
ber. Two instances are on record, however, of the bird's wintering here- 



234 



THE RUSSET-BACKED THRUSH. 



abouts. On the jth of Alarch, 1891, several birds were "engaged in ctmversa- 
tion" by the writer near Taconia ; and on the 22nd of January, 1907, two 
birds were encountered on tlie University grounds in Seattle. In the latter 
instance the birds would n(_it disclose themselves, altho thev passed half way 
around nie in the thicket, uttering their charac- 
teristic and tmniistakable notes. 

In home building this Thrush makes no effort at 
nest concealment, trusting rather to the seclusion of 
its haunts. The materials which enter into the con- 
struction of the nest are themselves in a measure 
protective, especially in those 
numerous instances in which 
the exterior is composed en- 
tirely of green moss. At 
otlier times, twigs, bark- 
strips, and grasses are used; 
but the two things which 
gi\-e character to the nest of 
this Thrush are the mud- 
cup, or matrix, of mud and 
leaf-mold, and the lining of 
dried leaf-skeletons. I have 
surprised a mother Russet at 
her task of cup-moulding, 
and \-erily her bib was as 
dirty as that nf any child 
making mud pies. For altlio 
the beak serves for hod and 
trowel, the finishing touches, 
the actual moulding, must 
be accomplished liy pressure 
of the bird's breast. 

During a season's nesting 
at Glacier, in the Mount ^'''■•'■" ■" On-gon. 
Baker 'district. Mr. D. E. '^'""'' ''^ «"'■''"""' "'"' ^'"''•^■ 
Brown located about a hun- motuer russet am. hi.k kkuud. 

dred sets of the Russet- 
backed Thrush, taking no account of nests in other stages of occupation. In 
distance from the ground, nests varied from six inches to forty feet, altho a 
four or five foot elevation was about the average. Nests were found in 
thickets, where they were supported by the interlacing of branches, or else 
saddled upon the inclined stems of vine maples, or in fir trees. In the last- 




THE OLIVE-BACKED THRUSH. 235 

nnined places, nests might be set against tlie trunk on a horizontal limb, but 
were more often at some distance from it. The birds were very sensitive 
about molestation before eggs were laid, and would desert a nest in process 
of construction on the merest suspicion that a stranger had looked inti) it. 
After deposition, however, the mother Thrush was fountl to be very devoted 
to her charges, and great confidence was often engendered by carefully con- 
sidered advances. 

At Glacier, nest-building averaged to commence about the 25th of May, 
and the first eggs were found on the ist of June. The last set was found July 
15th. All nests examined in the earlier part of the season contained four 
eggs: those found later, presumably second efforts, never had more than three. 

As a curious example of the use of the imagination on the part of early 
writers, take this from our \'enerated Cooper^: "The eggs, unlike those of 
most thrushes, are white, spotted thickly with brown, and four or fi\'e in 
number." The brown spotting is all right and an unpigmented shell is not an 
impossibilit}-, Ijut deviations from the characteristic greenish blue of the 
ground-color ha\'e not since been reported. 



No. 94. 

OLIVE-BACKED THRUSH. 

A. O. U. No. 758a. Hylocichia ustulata swainsonii (Cab.). 

Synonyms. — Sw.mnson's Thrush. Eastern (Jlixk-eack. Alma's 
Thrush {H. 11. alma Oberh., disallowed by A. O. U. Com. ). 

Description. — Adults: Similar to //. ustulata but grayer and more olivace- 
ous ; "color of upperparts varying from olive to grayish hair brown in summer, 
from deep olive to slightly browni.sh olive in winter" : ground color of underparts 
lighter buffy (yellowish buff or creamy buff) ; sides and flanks grayish — instead 
of brownish-olive. Size of last. 

Recognition Marks. — As in preceding ; grayer above, lighter buft'y below. 

Nesting. — Nest and Eggs indistinguishable from those of typical form, H. 
ustulata. 

General Range. — North America in general except Pacific coast district 
south of Cross Sound and Lynn Canal: breeding from the mountainous districts 
of the United States (especially northerly) north to limit of trees: south in winter 
thruont Mexico and Central America to Peru, Bolivia, etc. 

Range in Washington. — Imperfectly made out as regards that of H. 
ustulata. Found breeding in the valley of the Stehekin hence presumably summer 
resident in timbered districts of eastern Washington. 

Authorities. — Bowles and Dawson, Auk. \'ol. XXV. Oct. 1908, p. 483. 

Specimens. — Prov. B. 



Rep. Pac. R. R. Siirv., \'oI. XII., Book II., iS6o, p. 171. 



236 THE ALASKA HERMIT THRUSH. 

THE more open wocicls and inure aljuiulant suns (.)f eastern Washington 
effect tliat reduction of color in the "burnt" Thrusli, wliich henceforth charac- 
terizes the species clear thru to the Atlantic. It would be idle to trace in detail 
all accompanying- changes of manner and habit, but we can hardly fail to note 
the improved qualit\' of the Olive-back's song. This is most nearly compar- 
able to that of tlie Willow Tiirush and has something' of the same rolling 
vibrant quality. It is. ho\ve\er, less prolonged and less vehement. It may or 
may not retain the li(|uid I's, Ijut it discards outright the rich r"s, which the 
Veery rolls under his tongue like sweet morsels; and the jiitch of the whole 
rises slightly, perhaps a musical third, as the volume of S(jund diminishes 
toward the end : irr-c-o, zvc-c-o, ivc-o zve-o zvcee. A song heard some years 
ago at the head of Lake Chelan, ivccloo u'ccloa zvcclooec looiw seemed to have 
all the music of perfected szcaiiisoiiii in it, yet it was not till the season of 
1908 that Mr. Bowles established the fact of the Olive-back's presence and the 
Russet-back's absence from the Stehekin Valley. On the other hand, Ridg- 
way finds that both forms sometimes occur together, even during the breeding 
season; so we are not yet prepared to make generalizations as to the relali\-e 
distribution of these birds in Washington. 



No. 95. 

ALASKA HERMIT THRUSH. 

A. O. V. No. 759. Hylocichia guttata (Pallas). 

Synonym. — K.'\r)i.\K 13\v.\ri* TiiRusii (Ridgw.). 

Description. — .Uhilt: Upperparts plain grayish brown (hair brown to near 
broccoli brown) changing on rumps to dull cinnamon-brown of upper tail-coverts 
and tail ; a prominent whitish orbital ring ; sides of head mingled grayish brown 
and dull whitish ; underparts dull white, clear only on belly, — throat and breast 
tinged with pale creamy buff; sides and flanks washed with pale grayish brown; 
throat in confluent chain on side and lower throat, chest and upper breast — 
spotted with duskv or sooty, the spots narrow and wedge-shaped on lower throat, 
broadening and deepening on chest, fading and becoming rounded on breast. 
Liill drab brown paling on mandible basally ; feet and legs brown ; iris dark brown. 
Winter specimens are brighter and more strongly colored thruout. Yotmg birds 
are streaked with buffy above and the spotting of underparts inclines to bars on 
breast and sides. Length 6.30-7.40 f 160-1S8) ; wing 3.46 (88) : tail 2.52 (64) ; 
bill .50 (12.7); tarsus 1.14 (20). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; cinnamon of tail (and upper-coverts) 
contrasting more or less with duller brown of remaining upperparts. 

Nesting. — Does not breed in Wasliington. Nest and Eggs as in H. g. 
scquoicnsis. 

General Range. — Coast district of Alaska breeding northward and westward 



THE SIERRA HERMIT THR USH. 237 

from Cross Sound ; soutluvard in winter as far as Texas and western Mexico, 
migrating chiefly coastwise. 

Range in Washington. — Spring and fall migrant west of the Cascades. 
Migrations.— .S>;-»;i7.- Tacoma, April 15, 1905 (J. H. Bowles). Fa//.- Seattle 
Sept. 21. 1907 (Jennie V. Getty). 

Authorities. — Bowles and Dawson, Auk, XXV. Oct. 1908, p. 483. 
Specimens. — Pf Alaskan). Prov. B. 

ABOUT all we can certify to, so far, is that there are two varieties of the 
Hermit Thrush which may be seen on Puget Sound during the migrations : a 
lighter and grayer form, presumably from northwestern Alaska ; and a darker, 
more warmly-tinted bird, H. g. nana, which may or may not summer to some 
extent in western Washington. Specimens so far encountered in eastern 
Washington are probably H. g. scqnoiensis. en route to or from their breeding 
haunts in the high Cascades ; wdiile if any are ever captured in the mountains 
of Stevens County, they will probably prove to be of the H. g. audiiboni type, 
which prevails in the eastern portion of British Cohnnbia. 



No. 96. 

SIERRA HERMIT THRUSH. 

A. O. U. No. 759 part. Hylocichia guttata sequoiensis (Belding). 

Synonyms. — Westf.rn Hermit Thrush. Cascade Hermit Thrush. 
Mountain Hermit. 

Description. — Similar in coloration to H. guttata but larger, paler and grayer. 
Adult male : wing 3.65 (92.8) ; tail 2.83 ( 71.8) ; bill .53 ( 13.5 ) : tarsus 1. 12 (28.4). 

Recognition Marks. — As in H. guttata. 

Nesting. — Xcst: of bark-strips, grasses, leaves and moss, lined with fine 
rootlets, placed on ground in thickets or at moderate heights in fir trees. Eggs: 
3 or 4, greenish blue unmarked — not certainly distinguishable from those of the 
Willow Thrush. Av. size, .85 x .65 (21.6x16.5). Season: June, July; one 
brood. 

General Range. — Mountains of the Cascade-Sierra system and from Mt. 
Whitney north thru central British Columbia, etc., to the Yukon River ; south in 
winter to Lower California, Sonora, etc. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident in the Cascade Moun- 
tains — further distinction undetermined. 

Authorities. — Dawson, Auk, \'ol. XXV. Oct. 1908. p. 483. 

Specimens. — D. 



238 



THE SIERRA HERMIT THRUSH. 



WHEN asked h> name the best songster of Washington, I answer, un- 
hesitatingly, tlie Hermit Tlirush. It is not that the bird chooses for his home 
the icy slo]:)es and stunted forests of tlie high Cascades, tho that were evidence 
enough of a poetic nature. It is not for any marl<ed vivacity, or personal 
charm of the singer, that we praise his song; the bird is gentle, shy, and un- 
assuming, and it is only rarely that one may even see him. It is not that he 
excels in technic|ue such conscious artists as the Catbird, the Thrasher, and the 

Mockingbird ; the 
mere comparison is 
odious. The song of 
the Hermit Thrush 
is a thing apart. It 
is sacred music, not 
secular. H a \' i n g 
nothing of the dash 
and a b a n d o n of 
Wren or Ouzel, least 
of all the sportive 
mocker y of the 
Long-tailed Chat, it 
is the pure offering 
of a shriven soul, 
holding acceptable 
converse with high 
heaven. No voice of 
solemn-pealing or- 
gan or cathedral 
choir at vespers ever 
hymns the parting 
day more fittingly 
than tliis appointed 
chorister of the eter- 
nal hills. Mounted 
on the chancel of 
some low - crowned 
fir tree, the bird looks calmly at the setting sun, and slowly phrases his worship 
in such dulcet tones, exalted, pure, serene, as must haunt the corridors of 
memory forever after. 

You do not have to approve of the Hermit Thrush, — nor of Browning, 
nor of Shelley, nor of Keats. The writer once lost a subscription to "The Birds 
of Washington, Patrons' Edition, De Lu.xe, Limited to One Hundred Copies" 
and all that, you know, because he ventured to defend Browning. "No : I do 




SIF.RUA HHRIIIT TURUSU. 



THE SIERRA HERMIT THRUSH. 



239 




7\iLcii in Raititci Xaltoiiui I'iuk. From a Fltotogruf'h Coj^yrigltt, 1908, by II'. L- Diiicsoti. 

FOOT OF XISQUALLY GLACIER FROM GOVERNMENT ROAD. 

A CHAR.\CTER1STIC HAUNT OF THE SIERRA HERMIT THRUSH. 

not want }-iiur bird-liook." Quite right, Madame, it would have been a waste 
of money — for you. But I have lieard the Hermit Thrush. 

"Ah, did you once see Slielley, plain. 
And did he stop and speak to you, 
And did you speak to him again ? 
How strange it seems, and new ! 

"But you were living before that, 
And also }'0u are living after; 
And the memory I started at — 
My starting moves your laughter! 

"I crossed a moor with a name of its own. 
And a certain use in the world, no doubt, 
Yet a hand's breadth of it shines alone 
'Mid the blank miles around about : 



240 THE DWARF HERMIT THRUSH. 

"For there I picked up on. the heather, 
And there I put inside my breast, 
A moulted feather, an eagle feather! 
Well, I forget the rest." 



No. 97. 

DWARF HERMIT THRUSH. 

A. O. U. No. 759 c. Hylocichia guttata nana ( Aud.). 

Synonyms. — P.-vciFic Hermit Thrush. Sitkan Dwarf Thrush (Ridg- 
way ) . 

Description. — "Similar to H. g. guttata but coloration darker and browner, 
the color of back, etc., more sepia brown, u])per tail-coverts more russet, tail 
more chestnut, and spots on chest larger and darker" (Ridgway). Adult male: 
wing 3.42 (Sri.S) : tail 2.58 (65.5) ; bill .48 (12.2) ; tarsus 1.13 (28.8). 

Recognition Marks. — As in H. guttata. 

Nesting. — As in II. g. scqiioicusis. 

General Range. — Pacific coast district, breeding from western Oregon (pre- 
sumably ) north to Cross Sound, Alaska : south in winter to Southwestern States. 

Range in Washington. — Probably common but little known, during migra- 
tions. Presumably resident in summer west of the Cascades. 

Authorities. — ? Tiirdus nanus Audubon, C)rn. Biog. V. 1839, 201 (Columbia 
R. ) PTownsend, Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. VHI. 1839, 153 (Col. R.) Belding, 
L. P.. P. D. 1890, p. 254 (Walla Walla, J. W. Williams, 1885). 

Specimens. — U. of W. Prov. E. 

AS one passes thru the woods in middle April while the vine maples are 
still leafless, and the forest floor is not yet fully recovered from the brownness 
of the rainy season, a moving shape, a little browner still, but scarcely outlined 
in the uncertain light, starts up from the ground with a low chuck, and pauses 
for a moment on a mossy log. Before you have made out definite characters, 
the bird flits to a branch a little higher up and more renir)ved, to stand motion- 
less for a minute or so, or else to chuckle softly with each twinkle of the ready 
wings. By following quietly one may put the bird to a dozen short flights 
without once driving it out of range; and in so doing he may learn that the 
tail is abruptly rufous in contrast with the olive-brown of the back, and that 
the breast is more boldly and distinctly spotted than is the case with the 
Russet-backed Thrush. 

This bird will not tarry with us, unless it may choose to haunt the soli- 
tudes of the Olympics. In the vicinity of Sitka, however, Mr. J- Grinnell re- 



THE AMERICAN ROBIN. 241 

ports the species as "very common everywhere, especially on the small wooded 
'islands.' "^ 

When disturbed in its nesting haunts the Hermit Thrush has a nasal 
scolding cry, not unlike that of the Oregon Towhee. This note lacks the 
emphasis of Towhee's, tho its dual character is still apparent — Miirrr\ or 
Murre. But one forgets all tri\'ial things as he listens to the angelic requiem 
of the Hermit at eventide. Not Orpheus in all his glory could match that, — 
for he was a pagan. 



No. 98. 
AMERICAN ROBIN. 

A. O. V. No. 761. Planesticus migratorius (Linn.). 
Synonym. — E.^stern Robin. 

Description. — Adult male: Head black, interrupted by white of chin and 
white with black stripes of throat ; eyelids and a supraloral spot white ; tail 
blackish with white terminal spots on inner webs of outer pair of rectrices ; wings 
dusky except on external edges : remaining upperparts grayish slate ; below, — 
breast, sides, upper bell}- and lining of wings cinnanion-rufous ; lower bellv and 
crissum white, touched irregularly with slate ; bill yellow with blackish tip : feet 
blackish with yellowish soles. Adult female: Similar to male, but duller; black 
of head veiled by brownish. Adults in zvinter: Upperparts tinged with brown, 
the rufous feathers, especially on belly, with white skirtings. Immature: Simi- 
lar to adult, but head about the color of back ; rufous of underparts paler or 
more ochraceous. J'er\ young birds are black spotted, above and below. Length 
about 10.00 ( 254) : wing 5.08 ( 129) ; tail 3.75 (05-3 "> • bi" -7^ (19.8). 

Recognition Marks. — "Robin" size; cinnamon-rufous breast: the "corriers" 
of the tail conspicuouslv white-tipped, as distinguished from P. m. propinquus. 

Nesting. — Does not breed in ^^'ashington. Nest and eggs as in next (sub) 
species, save that eggs 4 or 5, sometimes 6. 

General Range. — Eastern and northern North America westward nearlv to 
the Rocky Mountains and northwestward to valley of Kowak River in Alaska; 
breeds from the southern Alleghenies, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, etc., northward; 
winters in Gulf States; south irregularly across the ^^^estern States during 
migration. 

Range in Washington. — An early spring (and late fall?) migrant, both 
sides of the Cascades, ^^'inters sparingly on Puget Sound. 

Authorities. — Turdus migratorius Brewster, B. N. O. C. VII., Oct. 1882, 
p. 227. B. E. 

Specimens. — B. E. 



a. Auk, Vol. XV., April, 1898, p. 130. 



242 THE WESTERN ROBIN. 



A SM.MvL prupurtinn. nut o\-er one per cent, oi the Robins whicli annu- 
ally cross otn- borders lia\-e enough wliite in the "corners" of their tails to pro- 
claim them true "Americans." The difference is striking and unmistakable, 
and we feel sure that we ha\'e here, not a chance variation, but an alien ele- 
ment, a slender stream of migration diverted from the accustomed channels 
of t^'pical P. inigraturius, and straggling down, or up. on the wrong side of 
the Rockies. When it is remembered that the American Robin winters in 
Florida and the Gulf States, and th;il its spring migrations lake it as far west 
as the Kowak River, in Alaska, that is. due northwest from Atlanta, it is less 
surprising that the birds should occasionally bear west northwest instead, and 
so make \Vashington en route. It is aluK^st certain that this is the case, for 
the wintering birds west of the Rockies and in Mexico are in\ariabl\- of the 
western type, propiuquiis. 



No. 99. 

WESTERN ROBIN. 

.\. O. V. No. 761a. Planesticus migratorius propinquiis fRidgw."). 

Description. — Similar to i'. iiiitjialdiiiis. hut white on inner webs of outer 
rectrices much reduced or wanting ; gray of upperparts paler and more oliva- 
ceous, more sharply contrasting with black of head : cinnamon-rufous of under- 
parts averaging paler; wing, tail, and tar.sus slightly longer. Length of males 
about 10.25 (260.3): wing 5.52 (140): tail 4.13 (105); bill .80 (20.3); tarsus 
1.34 (34.1 ). Females slightly smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — "Robin" size; cinnamon-rufous below — everyone 
knows the Robin — without white on "corners" of tail a.; distinguished from 
preceding. 

Nesting. — Nest: a thick-walled but shapely bowl of mud ("rarely felted 
vegetable filjcrs instead) set about with twigs, leaves, string and trash, and lined 
with fine grass-stems ; placed anywhere in trees or variously, but usually at 
moderate heights. Eggs: 3 or 4, rareh- 5; greenish blue, unmarked. Av. size 
1. 13 X .79 (29.2 X 20.1). Season: April 15-July to; two broods. 

General Range. — Western North America from the Rocky ^Mountains to 
the Pacific, north to limit of trees in coast forest district in Alaska; south thru 
highlands of Mexico and. occasionally Guatemala; breeding nearly thruout its 
range. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident and migrant thruout 
the State, more common in settled portions ; rare in mountains save in vicinity 
of settlements; irregularly resident in winter, sometimes abundantly on j'uget 
Sound. 

Migrations. — Spy'tiui: West-side, last week in February; East-side, first or 
second week in March, fall: October. 



THE WESTERN ROBIN. 



243 



Authorities. — [Lewis and Clark. Hist. Ex. 1814 Ed. Biddle: Coues. Vol. H. 
p. 185.] Tiirdus (plaiicsticnsj iiiigratorius, Linn, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. 
IX. pt. II. 1858, p. 219. (T.) C&S. L'. Rh. D'. Sr. Kb. Ra. D-'. Ss'. Ss-'. Kk. 
J. B. E. 

Specimens. — L'. of W. P'. Prov. BN. B. E. 

THERE are, it may be, a thousand fruits, sweet, acid or spic}-, which 
delig'.it the palate of man, yet if we were forced to choose among them, not 
many of us would fail to reser\e the apple. In like manner, we Cduld [jerhaps 
least afford to spare our tried and trusted, old, familiar friend, the Robin. 
He is a staple. 

Everybod}- knows Robin. He is part and jjarcel of springtime, chief 
herald, chief poet, and lord high re\eller of that joyful season. It is a merry 
day when the first flock of Robins 
turns itself loose on the home land- 
scape. There is great bustle and stir 
of activity. Some scurry about to 
note the changes wrought by winter, 
some wrestle with the early and un- 
sophisticated worm, wdiile others 
voice their gladness from the fence- 
post, the gable, the tree-top, any- 
where. Everywhere are heard in- 
terjections of delight, squeechings 
and pipings of ardent souls, and no 
end of congratulations over the 
home-coming. 

Robin has cast in his lot with 
ours, for better or for worse. Our 
lawns are his lawns, our shade-trees 
were set on purpose to hold his 
homely mud-cup, and he has under- 
taken with hearty good will the 
musical instruction of our children. 
He serves without pay — Oh, a 
cherry now and then, but what of that i 
useful hired man ; and it is written : 




Taken in Oregon. Pjtoto by IV. L. Finhy. 
BACK FROM M.\RKET. 



The fruit-grower ne\er had a more 
"Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that 



treadeth out the corn." I wonder if we realize luiw much of life's good cheer 
and fond enspiriting we owe to this familiar bird. 

Near the close of a l^urning day in the desert, we drew near to a little 
ranch where a bravery of green, supported by a windmill and a tiny trickle of 
water, defied the engulfing waste of sand and sage. It seemed to me that I 



244 



THE WESTERN ROBIN. 



liatl never seen anything more pathetic than the stubijorn faitli of the man wlio 
had (h'eamed (.)f rearing a liome amidst such desolation. How could a man be 
happy here? and how dare he bring a wife and tender children to share 
such a forlorn hope? Why, the wilderness around had raised nothing but 
sage-brush and jack-rabbits for countless millenniums; but here in this tiny 
oasis W'Cre locust trees and poplars. And here, as the sun sank low in the West, 
a Robin burst into song. The nearest human neighbor was miles away, and 
the nearest timber further. Yet here was this home-loving Robin, this re- 
incarnation of chiklhood's friend, pouring out in the familiar cadence of old 
his thanksgiving for slielter and food, his praise for joy of life and gladness 
to the Almighty, wdio is Fatlier of all. And then I understood. 

The Rolnn's song in its common form is too well known to require par- 
ticular description, and too truly music to lend itself well to syllabic imitation. 
It is a common thing, indeed, like the upturned mold and the air which fans 
it, i)ut out of these come tlie varied greens whicli l>eautit\- the world: the 

homely piping 
of the Robin 
has given Ijirth 
to ma n y a 
heaven-directed 
aspiration, and 
purged many a 
soul of guilty 
intent. Robin 
conceives many 
passages which 
are too high for 
him. and these 
he hums in- 
audibly. or fol- 
lows in silent 
thought, like a 
tenor with a 
cold. When the 

theme reaches his compass again, he resumes, not where he left off but at the 
end of the unheard passage. It must be confessed, however reluctantl)-. that 
the song of the Western Robin is a little more subdued in character than that 
of the Eastern. The Ijird is a little less devoted to his art, and the total 
volume of sound \'ielded by any one chorus has never ecjualled, in my e.xperi- 
ence, that of a similar effort in the East. 

When the Robin is much given to half-whispered notes and strains un- 
usually tender, one may suspect the near presence of his fiancee. If you are 




SUNSET AT THE ROBIN ROOST. 



THE WESTERN ROBIN. 245 

willing to waive the proprieties for a few moments you will hear low murmurs 
of affection and soft blandishments, which it would tax the art of a Crockett 
to reproduce. And again, nothing can exceed the sadness of a Robin's lament 
over a lost mate. All the virtues of the deceased are set forth in a coronach 
of surpassing woe, and the widower declares himself forever comfortless. 
It is not well, of course, to incpiire too particularly as to the duration of this 
bereaved state — we are all human. 

In spite of his fondness for human society, there are two periods of 
retirement in Robin's year. The first occurs in March and early April, and 
may be denominated the season of courtship. After the first ardent greeting 
of the home folks. Robins gather in loose companies and keep to the seclusion 
of the woods, following the sun from east to south and west, ransacking the 
roots of trees and the edges of standing water for food, and, above all, 
sketching in the matrimonial plans of the season. When Robins have beci:>me 
common al)out the streets and }-ards of village and town, partners ha\'e usuall_\- 
been selected, but there still remain for many of the cocks hard-contested 
battles before peaceful possession is assured. These are not sham fights 
either: a Robin will fight a hated rival, beak and claw, till he is either thoroly 
winded or killed outright. 

In late July and August Robins again forsake their familiar haunts, and 
spend the moulting season in the woods, moving about like ghosts in great 
straggling, silent companies. When tlie moult is completed, as autumn ad- 
vances, they return in merry bevies to claim their share of the ripening 
fruits — no longer begrudged now, for they prefer such harmless viands as 
mountain-ash berries, and the insipid clusters of the madrone tree. 

Roljins occasionally winter on the east side of the mountains: and they 
are hard put to it unless they find a sufficient supply of ungathered fruit, 
preferablv apples, left out to freeze or rot as the season dictates. West of 
the mountains thev winter irregularly but quite extensively. There is noth- 
ing in the climate to forbid their staying all the time but I am inclined to 
think that their abundance in winter depends upon the berry crop, and espec- 
ially that of the Madrona (Arbutus iiicii::icsii ). The fall of 1907 was 
notable in this regard. The trees were in splendid bearing, and a certain 
patch on the bluff south of Fauntleroy Park was a gorgeous blaze of red, to 
which Robins resorted in hundreds. 

Under such circumstances the birds establish winter roosts in convenient 
thickets, and repair to them at nightfall in great numbers. One such roost 
has been maintained on the outskirts of Seattle, just east of Ravenna Park, 
and in the winter of 1907-08 I estimated its population at some four thousand. 
The winter, it will be remembered, was a mild one, and every one in Seattle 
remarked the abundance of Robins. 

In nesting, the Robin displays little caution, its homely mud-walled cup 



246 



THE WESTERN ROBIN. 



not being withdrawn from nmsl familiar cil)ser\ation. Indeed, as in the case 

of the accompanying illustration, the l)ird appears rather to ciuirt notoriety. 

The major crotches of orchard or shade trees are not shunned. From tive 

to fifteen feet is the 
usual elevation, but 
nests are sometimes 
found at fifty feet; 
and again, tho rare- 
1\', on the ground. 
^^'in(ll)w sills and 
beams iif pi_)rches, 
barns, and outbuild- 
ings are favorite 
places, and, in de- 
fault of these, brush- 
piles or log-heaps 
will do. 

The mud used in 
construction is, of 
course, carried in the 
beak. Arrived at 
the nest with a beak- 
ful of mud, the 
mother bird drops 
her load, or plasters 
it loosel}' on the in- 
side of the cup. 
Then she hops into 
the nest, settles as 
low as possil)le, and 
begins to kick or 
trample vigorously 
\v\th her feet. From 
time to time she 
tests the smoothness 
or roundness of the 
job by settling to it 
with her breast, but 

the shaping is altogether accomplished by the peculiar tedder action of 

her feet. 

On the other hand, one Rol)in"s nest which I found in the open sage had 

no mud in its construction and was altogether composed of felted \'egetable 




Tdhcii in Miclngan. 



From a Ftiotograf^li Lopyrigitt , 1908, by L. G. Liiiklctter. 
THE ROBIN'S \EST. 



THE WESTERN ROBIN. 



247 



materials. Anotlier freak iiest, in Spokane, showed a iiatchet handle firmly 
imbedded in its foundation and i)n_)jecting from it a distance of six inches. 
Tlie [tresence of the handle was not ach'entitious. for the nest was saddled on a 
[line branch, but it is difficult to conceive Imw the liirds cnuld ha\-e j^laced it in 
position at a height of fifteen feet. 

Three eggs is the rule for the Western Robin; four is not unusual: but 
five is rare, and I have never seen six. In this respect, therefore, the Western 
Robin falls a little behind her eastern cousin. 

Young Robins are 
darling creatures: 
that is conceded by 
e\'eryone, — e\'en b\' 
the cat. And hun- 
gr_\-! Oh, so hun- 
gry ! It is estimated 
that if the appetite 
of a man were pro- 
portioned to that of 
a young Robin, he 
would consume dailv 
the equivalent of a 
sausage four inches 
in diameter and 
twelve feet long! 

In spite of the law-makers, who knew exactly what they were doing in 
declaring the Robin worthy of protection, thousands of these birds are an- 
nuall}' slaughtered h\ unthinking" peoi)le because i)f a rumc:ired fi;nidness for 
cherries and other small fruits. And yet we are assured by competent 
authorities that cultivated fruit forms only four per cent of the Robin's food 
thruout the }'ear. while injuri(jus insects constitute mure than one-third. 
Robins in the cherry trees arc provoking, especially when the}- bring the 
whole family and camp out : but there is one wav to limit their depredations 
without destroying these most distinguished helpers; ])lant a row of mulberry 
trees, preferably the Russian Mulberry, along the orchard fence, and the 
birds will seek no further. I have seen a mulberry tree swarmina' with Roljins, 
while neighboring fruit trees were almost untouched, 
humane, and efficacious. 




A ROBIN BABY. 



The plan is simple. 



248 THE VARIED THRUSH. 

No. 100. 
VARIED THRUSH. 

A. O. U. No. 763. Ixoreus nsevius (Gmelin). 

Synonyms. — Mountain Robin. Winter Robin. Oregon Robi.x. Co- 
LUMBi.\x RdDiN. \'aried Robin. Painted Robin. 

Description. — .Iditlt male: Above dark slate-color ( plumbeous slate to 
blackisb slate), sometimes, especially in winter, tinged with olivaceous; wings 
dusky edged more or less with slaty, the flight-feathers varied by ochraceous- 
bufl", the middle and greater coverts tipped broadly with tawny or ochraceous 
forming two conspicuous bars ; tail blackish, the outermost or several lateral 
rectrices tipped with white on inner web ; a conspicuous lateral head-stripe 
originating above eye and passing backward to nape ochraceous or ochraceous- 
bufT; area on side of head, including lores, suborbital space and auriculars, black 
or slaty-black connected narrowly on side of neck with a conspicuous pectoral 
collar of the same shade; chin, throat and remaining underparts tawny (or ochra- 
ceous-tawny to ochraceous-buff ), paling on sides and flanks where feathers 
broadly margined with slaty-gray, changing to white on abdomen; under tail- 
coverts mingled white, slaty and ochraceous ; axillars and under wing-coverts 
white basally broadly tipped with slaty-gray and under surface of flight-feathers 
crossed basally by band of white or huffish. Bill brownish black paling basally 
on mandible ; feet and legs ochre-brown ; irides brown. Adult female: Similar 
to adult male but paler and duller; upperparts olive-slaty to olive brownish; 
tawny of underparts much paler and pectoral collar narrower, of the shade of 
back or a little darker; more extensively white on abdomen: Youny birds: Like 
adult female but more yellowish ochraceous below ; pectoral band indistinct 
composed of ochraceous feathers having darker edges ; other feathers of throat 
and breast more or less tipped with olive dusky. Length of adult 9.50-10.00 
(241-234") ; wing 4.92 (125) ; tail 3.43 (87) ; bill .83 (21 ) ; tarsus .87 (22). 

Recognition Marks. — Robin size ; blackish collar distinctive ; wings con- 
spicuously varied by tawny markings; head pattern distinctive — otherwise very 
Robin-like in bearing and deportment. 

Nesting. — Nest: of sticks, twigs, grasses and rotten wood smothered in 
moss, a bulky, handsome structure placed in saplings or trees at moderate heights 
without attempt at concealment. Eggs: usually 3, rarely 4, greenish blue spar- 
ingly speckled or spotted, rarely blotched with dark brown. .\v. size i.i2x.8o 
(28.4x20.3). Season: April 20-May 10, June lo-julyi ; two broods. 

General Range. — j\Iountains and forests of western North America, breed- 
ing from northern California (Humboldt County) to northern Alaska, wintering 
from Kadiak Island to southern Califurnia and straggling irregularly eastward 
during migrations. 

Range in Washington. — Resident in coniferous forests thruout the State 
from sea-level to limit of trees ; retires to valleys and lowlands in winter ; less 
common east of the main divides (Cascade). 

Authorities. — [Lewis and Clark, Hist. Ex. (1814), Ed. Biddle ; Coues, Vol. 
II., p. 184J. Tiirdus lurz'ius. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX., 1858, pp. 211 
("Simiahmoo, W. T."), 220. T. C&S. L'. D'. Kb. Ra. Kk. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P'. Prov. B. E. 



THE VARIED THRUSH. 



249 



NO : it does not always rain in western Washington. So far is this from 
being tiie case, tliat we will match our Februaries against all comers, and 
especially invite the attention of "native sons" of California. Our summers, 
too, are just a little (lr\' latterlv, and we begin to wontler with a vague uneasi- 
ness whether we are to be condemned to mediocrity after all. This paves the 
way for a declaration that the true web-fonter, nevertheless, l()ves the rain, 
and will exchange a garish sky 
for a gentle drizzle any day in the 
year. The \^aried Thrush is a 
true \Veb-foi)ter. He loves rain 
as a iish loxes water. It is his 
native element and vital air. He 
endures dry weather, indeed, as 
all of us should, with calm stoi- 
cism. Lchnic zii Icidcii ohnc en 
klagcn, as poor Emperor Freder- 
ick II, the beloved "Uitscr Fritz," 
used to say. But the \'aried 
Thrush is not the poet of sun- 
shine. Dust motes have no charm 
for his eyes, and he will not mis- 
use his vocal powers in praise of 
the crackling leaf. Ergo, he sits 
silent in the thickets while avian 
poet-asters shrill the notes of 
common day. But let the sun 
once veil his splendors, let the 
clouds shed their gentle tears of 
self-pity, let the benison of the 
rain-drops filter thru the forest, 
and let the leafage begin to utter 
that myriad soft sigh which is 
dearer than silence, and our 
poet Thrush wakes up. He 
mounts the chancel of some fir 
tree and utters at intervals a sin- 
gle long-drawn note of brooding 
melancholy and e.xalted beauty, — 
a voice stranger than the sound of any instrument, a waif echo slrancling 
on the shores of time. 




Taken III K,iuii,-i .\,iti,'ii,ii r,ii L 

From t: Photograph Copyright, 1908, by IV. L. Dawson. 

A MORNING IN P,-\R.-\DISE. 



250 



THE VARIED THRUSH. 



There is no s(.inn(l of the western woods more sulitle.iiiore mysterious, more 
thrihing withal, than this jjassion song of the Varied Thrush. Somber depths, 
dripijing foliage, and the distant gurgling of dark brown waters are its fitting 
accompaniments; Ijut it serves somehow to call up before the mind's eye the un- 
sealed heights and the-untried deeps of experience. It is suggesti\'e, elusive, and 
whimsically Ijahling. Never colorless, it is also never personal, and its weird 

extra-mundane <|ualit\' reminds 
one of anti(|ue china reds, or re- 
calls the suljdued luridness of 
certain ancient frescoes. More- 
over, this birtl can fling his 
voice at 3'ou as well from the 
tree-top as from the ground, 
now right, now left, the while 
he sits motionless upon a branch 
not fifteen feet above you. 

Fantastic and \aried as is 
this single note which is the 
Thrush's song, it may be fairly 
reproduced by a high-pitched 
whistle combined with a vocal 
undertone. At least, this imi- 
tation satisfies the bird, and it 
is possible to engage one after 
another of them in a sort of 
\-ocaI contest in which curiositv 
and jealousy play unquestioned 
parts. Sometimes tlie Thrush's 
note is quite out of reach, but 
as often it descends to low 
pitches, while now and then it 
is flatted and the resonance 
crowded out of it, with an in- 
describable effect upon the lis- 
tener, somewhere between ad- 
miration and disgust. At other 
times a trill is introduced, 
which can be taken care of by a 
trained palate, in addition to the 
vocal sound and the whistle. 
In a luiique degree the A'aried Thrushes are found thruout the forest 
flepths. Ciix-en tall timljer and plenty of it, the precise altitude or location are 




.\,:lion„l r.irk. I'l:.'!,, by 

"GIVEN TALL TIMBER.- 



11". L. Lhn.'i 



THE VARIED THRUSH. 251 

matters of no consequence. The prettiest compliment that Nature can pay to 
the genuine wildness of Ravenna Park, in Seattle, or Defiance Park, in Tacoma, 
is the continued presence of tlie \'aried Thrush in nesting time. Run a survey 
line across any timbered valley of western Washington, or up any timbered 
slope of the Cascades or Olympics, and the bird most certainly encountered, 
without reference to local topography or presumed preference, will be the 
Varied Thrush. The bird may likewise be found among tlie larches and' 
cedars of the Calispell Range. 

The \aried Thrush is known by a variety of names, none more persistent 
or fitting than Winter Robin. It is a Robin in size, prevailing color, and 
general make-up; and it appears in the lowlands in large numbers only in the 
winter time, when the deep snows have driven it out of the hills. The Thrush 
is much more shy than the Robin, and altho it moves about in straggling com- 
panies, and does not shun city parks, it keeps more to cover. It also feeds 
largely upon the ground, and when startled by a passer-by it flutters up sharply 
into the trees with a wing-sound whose cjuality may soon be recognized as dis- 
tincti\'e. At such times the bird makes off thru the branches with a low chuck, 
or tsook, or else tries the air by low notes which are like the song, only \er_\' 
much more subdued. This is manifestly an attempt to keep in touch with 
com]3anions, while at the same time attracting as little hostile attention as 
possible. This note is. therefore, barel\" audible, and has very little musical 
quality, aanic, or ili'ir. 

The nesting of the \'aried Thrush was most fully brought to light by 
]\Ir. D. E. Brown, at Glacier, in the season of 1905. Like some tireless re- 
trie\-er, this ai"dent naturalist quartered the mazes of the dense spruce forest 
wdiich covers the floor of the North Fork of the Nooksack. and in a range of 
some fifteen miles up and down that stream succeeded in locating forty-five 
nests of this, till tlien. little-understood species. Of these, twenty-five con- 
tained full sets of eggs, while the remainder fell before such accidents as 
desertion, robbing by Jays, Owls, etc. The first set taken was on May 5th, 
and the eggs were slightly incubated. The last, with fresh eggs, was taken 
June 19th, — probably the second nesting of some bird robbed earlier in the 
season. Among the nests examined, three contained sets of four each, and 
the remainder three. Of the entire number, all were placed in evergreen trees, 
save two. Of these last, one was set in the splinters in the broken top of a 
willow, about fifteen feet up: and the other was placed in an upright crotch 
of an elderberry bush at four feet from the ground. 

Here are the woods that abound in moss-bunches, — great balls of thrifty 
green wdiich grow, without apparent excuse, alike from the flimsiest and from 
the most substantial supports. It is in \iew of the abundance of these, that 
the Varied Thrush builds as it does, right out in the open of the underwood, 
near the top, or at least well up, in a small fir tree. The searcher has only the 



2^2 



THE VARIED THRUSH. 



advantage of knowing llial in nrck-r tn secure aile(iuate supp(jrt the bird must 
buiKl close up to the stem of the tree. The only exception to this rule is when 
branches intersect, and so offer additidnal strength. Owing to the fact that 




Tal.rii ucir Mt. B,ilu-i. Fholo by llic Antlwr. 

••THE VARIIilJ THKUSU BUII.US W liLL LP l.\ A SJIALI, I-IR TIUiE." 



the large timber affords consideraljle ]M-otection to the younger growth below, 
and because of the superior construction of the nests, they pnn'e very durable. 



THE VARIED THRUSH. 



253 



Old nests are common; and gronps of lialf a. dozen in the space of a single 
acre are evidently the consecntive product of a single pair of birds. 

There is a notable division of territory among these Thrushes. As a rule, 
they maintain a distance of half a mile or so from any other nesting pair. 
In two instances, however, Mr. Brown found nests within three hun- 
dred yards of neigh- 
bors. 

W h e n one ap- 
proaches the center 
of a reserve, the 
brooding female 
slips qnietl}- from 
the nest and joins 
herniate in denounc- 
ing the intruder. 
The birds ilit rest- 
lessly from branch 
to branch, or from 
log to log, uttering 
repeatedly a stern 
tsook, which is al- 
most their sole re- 
course. If the nest 
is discovered and ex- 
amined, the birds 
will disappear sil- 
ently; and the 
chances are that they 
will never again be 
seen in that lo- 
cality. 

A nest found on 

May loth, with two eggs, was re\-isited on the 12th. It was saddled at 
a point ten feet out on a leaning hemlock, which jutted from the river 
bank over the roaring Nooksack. The prominence of the situation, in 
this instance, proved the owner's undoing. An Owl had evidently snatched 
her up on the previous night, the first of her maternal duty: for the nest 
and the neighboring foliage were strewn with feathers. Yet so suitly had 
the marauder executed his first coup that not an egg was broken. The 
eggs were three in number, subovate, of a slightly greenish blue, beauti- 
fully and heavily spotted — one might almost say blotched — with rufous, 
the handsomest, Mr. Brown savs, ever seen. 




Taken at Glacier 



Photo by 

the Author. 



NEST AND EGGS OF \ARIE1> TURUSH. 



254 THE WESTERN BLUEBIRD. 

A more typical nest, frfshly examined, is placed at a height uf six feet in 
the tij]) of a tiny fir sapling, which required the support of a chance armful of 
leaning vine-maple poles. The nest proper is an immense affair, eight and a 
half inches deep and twehe inches by eight in diameter outside, and two and 
a half in depth and four in width inside. Jt would weigh about three pounds, 
and is, therefore, quite compact, altho the moss, which is the largest element 
in its com]3osition, holds a large quantity of moisture. Twigs from six inches 
to a foot in length enter int(_i the e.xterior construction, and these are them- 
selves moss-bearing. Stripping off the outer moss-coat, one comes to the 
matrix or crucible-shaped vessel of rotten wood, an inch or more in thickness 
thruout, and sodden with moisture. Within this receptacle, in turn, appears 
another cup with walls three-quarters of an inch in thickness, and composed 
solely of dried grasses and moss, neatly wo\'en and turned. The innermost 
lining comprises the same materials, not very carefully smoothed, but amaz- 
ingly dry, considering the character of their surroundings. The brim of the 
nest is strengthened by bark-strips, the inner fiber of cedar Ijark being ex- 
clusively employed for this purpose; while the finishing coat consists of moss, 
compacted and flawless. There are, in fact, few nests to compare with that 
of the Varied Thrush in strength, elaborateness, and elegance. 



No. loi. 

WESTERN BLUEBIRD. 

A. O. U. No. 767. Sialia mexicana occidentalis (Towns.). 

Synonyms. — C.\lii-orni.\ Blukbird. AIexican Bluebird. Townsend's 
BLrEBH^n. 

Description. — .Idiilt male: Head and neck all around and upperparts rich 
smalt l.)Iue, brighter on hindneck, rump and wings, paler on sides of neck and on 
throat; the shafts of wing-quills and tail-feathers and the exposed tips of the 
former black ; more or less chestnut on scapulars usvxally irregularly continuous 
across back; sicles of breast and sides, continuous across breast, chestnut; belly, 
flanks, crissum and under tail-coverts dull grayish blue (campanula blue to pearl 
blue). Bill l)lack; feet blackish; iris dark brown. /;; winter touches of chestnut 
appear on crown, hindneck and sicles of head and neck, and the blue of throat is 
slightly veiled by grayish brown skirting. Adult female: Somewhat like male 
but everywhere paler and duller ; blue of upperparts clear only on rump, tail, 
lesser and middle wing-coverts and outer edges of primaries, there lighter than in 
male (campanula blue to flax-flower blue) ; first primary and outermost rectrices 
edged with white ; chestnut of scapulars obsolete, merged with dingy mottled 
bluish or brownish-gray of remaining upperparts; exposed tips of remiges dusky; 
outer web of first primary whitish; blue of undcrparts replaced by sordid bluish 
gray, and chestnut of subdued tone (pale cinnamcm-rufous) veiled by grayish- 
brown tills of feathers. Yoimg birds somewhat resemble the adult female hut the 



THE WESTERN BLUEBIRD. 255 

blue is restricted to flight- feather^ and rectrices, tliat i)f the male being lirighter 
and bluer, that of the female duller and greener. In both sexes the back and 
scapular areas are brownish heavily and sharjily streaked with white and the 
breast (juguluni, sides of breast, and sides) is dark sepia brown so heavily 
streaked with white as to appear "skeletonized." Length of adults 6.50-7.00 
(165-177.S) ; wing 4.13 ( 105) : tail 2.80 ( 71) : bill .4<) ( 12.5) ; tarsus .85 (21.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size : rich blue and chestnut coloring of 
male ; darker blue ciiloration of wings in female distinctive as compared with that 
of .S". ciirnicoidcs. 

Nesting. — Nest: in cavities, natural or artificial, old woodpecker holes, hollow 
trees, stumps, posts, bird-boxes, etc., lined with grasses and, occasionally, string, 
feathers and the like. Eggs: 4-6. uniform pale blue. Av. size, .82 x .62 ( 20.8 x 
15.7). Season: May-July; two broods. 

General Range. — I'acific coast district from Los Angeles County, California, 
to British Columbia, extending irregularly eastward in Oregon, Washington and 
British Columbia, and to Idaho and western Montana ; south irregularly in winter 
as far as San Pedro Martir Mountains, L. C. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident, of general distribution west of 
the Cascades, rare and local distribution (chiefly in lieavilv timbered sections) east 
of the mountains ; casually resident in winter. 

Migrations. — Spring: c. i\Iarch i: East-side: Chelan, Alarch 9, 1896: Con- 
connully, March 15, 1896; West-side: Seattle, March 6, 1889: March 5, 1891 ; 
Tacoma, Feb. 25, 1905. Fall: October. 

Authorities. — Sialia occideiitalis, Townsend, journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. 
\V,1. All. pt. TI. 1837, 188. C&S. L-. Rh. !)>. Kb. Ra. D-\ Kk. J. B. E. 

Specimens. — U. of \\'. Prov. B. BN. 

MIV-MIU-MIU — mute }-ou are, nr next thing to it, you naughtx- little 
beauties! \Vhy don't you sing, as do _\-our cousins across the Rockies? You 
bring spring witli you, but you do not come shifting your "light load of song 
from post to post along the cheerless fence." Is vour beaut\', then, so burden- 
some that you find it task enough to shift that? 

Alack-a-day! our Bluebird does not sing! You see, he comes from 
Mexican stock, Sialia mcricana. and since we will not let him talk Spanish, or 
Aztecan, or Zampeyan, he flits about silent in seven languages- Er — but — 
what's this? Can we be mistaken? Here is what Dr. J. K. Townsend^ says 
of the AVestern Bluebird : "Common on the Columbia River in the spring. 
It arri\-es from the south earlv in .April, and about the first week in May com- 
mences building. * * * \ flock of eight or ten of these birds visited the 
British fort on the Columbia, on a fine day in the \A'inter of 1835. They con- 
fined themselves chiefly to the fences, occasionally flying to the ground and 
scratching among the snow for minute insects, the fragments of which were 
found in the stomachs of several which I killed. After procuring an insect 



Narrative (1839), p. 344. 



256 THE WESTERN BLUEBIRD. 

the male usually returned to the fence again, and warbled for a minute most 
delightfully. This note altho somewhat like that of our common Wilsonii 
[i. e., S. sialis], is still so different as to be easily recognized. It is equally 
sweet and clear but of so little compass (at this season) as to be heard only a 
short distance. In the spring it is louder, but it is at all times much less strong 
than that of the common species." 

Dr. Brewer, condensing Nuttall, says'": "He [Nuttall] speaks of its 
habits as exactly similar to those of the common Bluebird. The male is equal- 
ly tuneful thruout the breeding-season, and his song is also very similar. 
Like the common species he is very devoted to his mate, alternately feeding 
and caressing her and entertaining her with his song. This is a little more 
varied, fender, and szvcet [editor's italics] than that of the Eastern species, and 
differs in its expressions." 

Our own Dr. Cooper testifies:'' "It also differs [i. e. from 5'. sialis] in its 
song, which is not so loud as sweet, and is curiously performed to sound as if 
two birds were singing at once and in dift'erent keys."' Here the tradition 
begins to waver. More recent writers say: "The song of the Western Blue- 
bird is not full but is, like his manners, gentle and sweet" (Lord) ; and, "It 
has the soft warble of its kind" (Mrs. Bailey). But again Dr. Brewer 
writes :° "In regard to their song Mr. Ridgway states that he did not hear 
even during the pairing season, any note approaching in sweetness, or indeed 
similar to, tlie joyous spring warble whicli justly renders our Eastern Blue- 
l)ird (S. sialis) so universal a favorite." The doctors disagree. Some one 
has l)een dreaming! 

All I can say is, that in an experience of some sixteen seasons in Wash- 
ington. I ha\e never lieard tlie Bluebird sing, or utter any note more preten- 
tious than the plaintive iniii already referred to. It has beside, howe\'er, a 
note of protest, which sounds remotely like the kek of a distrustful Guinea 
fowl: and it indulges certain ^'er^• unmusical cluttering and clucking notes 
when endea\oring to attract the attention of its young. 

No : the Western Bluebird is no musician, but he is a beauty ; and he does 
have the same gentle courtesy of bearing which has endeared the Bluebird 
wherever he is known. It is impossible to treat of Bluebirds' domestic life 
without recourse to humanizing terms. Bluebird is a gentleman, chivalrous 
and brave, as he is tender and loving. Mrs. Bluebird is a lady, gentle, confid- 
ing, and most appreciative. And as for the little Bluebirdses they are as well 
behaved a lot of children as ever crowned an earthly affection. 

Both parents are unsparing in their devotion to the rising generation, and 
so thoroly is this unselfish spirit reflected in the conduct of the children that it 



a. Baird, Brewer & Ridgway, Vol. I., p. 65 [Reprint]. 

b. Rep. Pac. R R.. Surv., Vol XII., i8f9, p. 173. 

c. Baird, Brewer & Ridgway, Land Birds, Vol. I., p. 66 [Reprint]. 



THE WESTERN BLUEBIRD. 



257 




Taken in Oregon. Flioto by Finley and Bohlman. 

WESTERN BLUEBIRD AT NEST. 

is tlie subject of frequent remark. ]Mr. Finley tells^ of an instance in wliich 
a first brood, just out of pinafores, turned to and helped their parents provide 
food for another liatch of babies, and this not once, nor twice, nor casually, 



a. "American Birds," by William Lovell Finley (1907), p. 170. 



2S8 



THE WESTERN BLUEBIRD. 



but regularly, until the second brood were well matured. Instinct! In.stinct ! 
say you? But, wherefor? Is it not rather a foregleam of ethical life, an out- 
cropping of that altruistic tendency which hints a deeper kinship with the birds 
than we have yet confessed? 

.And real gallantrv ]:)ctween the sexes may not be less ethical. On a day in 
Ohio, I located a liluebird's nest in the knot-hole of an apple tree, and planted 
the camera in a commanding and somewhat threatening position. The cavity 
held callow young, but after the parents had visited their charges once and 
were somewhat reliexed in anxiety, I saw a \'er\' pretty passage which took 
place between them. In a neighboring ajjple tree the male secured an elegant 

fat grub and was most de\outl}- tlu-ashing it, when the 
female appeared ui)on the scene. With a coaxing 
twitter she approached her mate; but he backed off, as 
much as to say, "\\'ait, wait, dear, he isn't dead yet!" 
But she was hungry and pressed her suit, until he 
in good-natured impatience flitted across to another 
liml). Here he whacked the worm vigorously, striking 
him first against one side of the limb and then against 
the (ither by a swinging motion of the head. The 
female followed her lord and cooed : "Oh, I know that 
will taste good. Um! I hav'n't tasted one of those 
white grubs for a week. So good of you, dearest! 
Reall}-, don't you think he is done now?" The valiant 
husband ga\e the luckless gruli just one more whack; 
and then, with e\ery appearance of satisfaction, he 
hopped o\er toward his better half and placed the 
morsel in her waiting beak, while she received the 
fa\-i^r with (|ui\ering wings and a soft flood of tender 
thanks. Altogether I think I never saw a prettier exhi- 
bition of conjugal aftection, gallantry, and genuine 
altruism than the sight afi^orded. It was not only like 
the behavior of humans ; it was like the best in human 
life, a pattern rather than a copy, an ins]:)iration to 
nobilit\- and gentleness of the very highest type. 

Bluebirds ha\'e a decided preference for human 
society, or at least are very quick to appreciate the 
hospitalitv of proffered bird-boxes. Being chiefly insectivorous, their presence 
is a benediction to any neighborhood, and is an especial advantage in the 
orchard. A friend of mine in the East, who owns two young orchards and a 
small vine_\-ard, maintains upon his premises upwards of fifty Bluebird boxes, 
each composed of a section of a hollow limb closed with a board at top and 
bottom, and pro\-ided with a neat augur-hole in the side. The boxes are made 




LITTLE BOY BLUE. 



THE MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD. 259 

fast to the apple-trees or lodged at considerable intervals along the intersecting 
fences. The experimenter finds that more than half of the boxes are occupied 
each season, and he counts the birds of inestimable value in helping to save the 
gra]3es and apples from the ravages of worms. 

In providing for Bluebird's comfort, care must be taken to expel cats 
from the premises ; or at least to place the box in an inaccessible position. 
English Sparrows, also, must be shot at sight, for the Bluebird, however 
valorous, is no match for a mob. Tree Swallows or A'iolet-greens may covet 
the nesting-box — your affections are sure to be divided when these last appear 
upon the scene — but the Bluebirds can take care of themseh'es here. For the 
rest, do not make the box too nice ; and above all, do not make it of new lum- 
ber. Nesting birds do not care to be the observed of all observers, and the 
more natural their surroundings, the more at ease your tenants will be. An 
occasional inspection will not be resented, if the Bluebirds know their landlord 
well. There may be some untoward condition to correct, — an overcrowded 
nestling, m- the like. At the end df the season the Ijox should lie emptied, 
cleaned, and if possible sterilized. 

Two broods are raised in a season, and the species appears to be on the 
increase in tlie more thicklv settled portion of the State. Occiileiifalis a\oids 
the drv sections, and is nowhere common on the east sicle of the mountains, 
save during migrations. It is. luiwever. regularly found on the timbered 
slopes of the Cascades, the Kalispel! Range, and the Blue Mountains, where its 
range inosculates with that of the ^Mountain Bluebird. There is reason to sup- 
pose that its range will extend with the increase of irrigated territory. West of 
the mountains, per contra, the Blueliinl affects the more ojien countr}-, and es- 
pecialh' that which lias been preiiared b\- fire and the doulile-bitted axe. 



No. 102. 

MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD. 

.A. O. U. No. 768. Sialia ciirrucoides (Bechstcin). 

Synonym. — Arctic Bh i:niRn. 

Description. — Adult male in suiiniicr: .\bove rich cerulean blue. ]ialest 
(turquoise blue) on forehead, brightest 011 upper tail-coverts, darkest (sevres 
blue) on lesser wing-coverts ; below pale blue (deepest turquoise) on chest, shading 
on sides of head and neck to color of back, paling on lower belly, crissum and 
under tail-coverts to whitish ; exposed tips of flight feathers dusky. Bill and feet 
black; iris dark brown. Adult male in leiutcr: Blue somewhat duller and feather? 
skirted more or less with brownish above and below, notably on hind-neck, upper 
back, breast and sides. Adult female: Like male but paler blue, clear on rump, 
tail and wings onlv, elsewhere quenched in gray: pileum, hindneck, back and 



26o THE MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD. 

scapulars mouse-gray tinged with greenish-ljlue ; outer edge of hrst primary antl 
outer \ve1j of outermost rectrix, basally, white; a whitish orbital ring; underparts 
tinged with pale brownish gray fading to white posteriorly. Yonny birds some- 
what resemble the adult female but are even duller ; the blue of rump and u]iper 
tail-coverts is replaced by ashy gray ; the back is streaked with white ; the throat 
and jugulum are pale gray indistinctly streaked with whitish; chest, sides and 
flanks broadly streaked with drab, each feather having a white center. Length 
7.00 (177.8) or over; wing 4.60 (117); tail 2.83 (72); 1)111 .53 (13.4); tarsus 
.89 (22.G). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size ; azure blue coloration of male and 
bluish-gray and azure of female unmistakable. 

Nesting. — Nest: much as in preceding species. Eggs: usually 5, unif<irm 
pale blue sometimes very light bluish white, rarel)' pure white. Av. size, .80 x .60 
(20.3 X 15.2). Season: May, June; two broods. 

General Range. — Mountain districts of western North America north to the 
Mackenzie and Yukon Territory, breeding eastward to the Black Hills and 
western Texas, westward to the Cascade-Sierras, southward to the higher ranges 
of Arizona, New Mexico and Chihuahua, in winter irregularly eastward upon the 
Great plains and southward to southern California, Lower California, etc. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident in the Cascade Mountains chiefly 
on the eastern slopes (but west to Mt. Rainier) ; common during migrations and 
irregularly resident in summer upon lower levels east of the Cascades (Wallula, 
May 15, 1907, breeding). 

Migrations. — Spring: Chelan, Feb. 24, 1896: Conconnully, March 15, 1896; 
Ahtanum, March 13, 1900. 

Authorities. — Sialia arctica Brewster, B. N. O. C. VII. Oct. 1882, p. 227. 
T. L'. D'. D-'. Ss«. J. 

Specimens. — P'. Prov. C. 

A BIT of hea\-en's blue incarnate ! We shall not stop to chide this e.x- 
qnisite creatin^e that he does not sing. Why should he? It is enough to 
inspire song. 

The sky has not fallen this beautiful morn. 
But here is its messenger come to adorn 
For a moment our wa\si(le, and bring to our sight 
In s\-mboI of azure, a \'ision of right. 

So hopeful, confiding, thou brave mountaineer, 
Thou bringest to April a mighty good cheer. 
Chill winter is vanquished, his rig(^rs forgot. 
The Lord is on earth, — what else, matters not. 

The Mountain Bluebird is of regular occurrence but of \'ery irregular 
distribution in eastern Washington, and is scarcely known west of the Cas- 
cades. John Fannin found it in British Columbia "west occasionally, to 
Chilliwack, and other points on the lower Fraser ; also A^ancouver Island," but 



THE MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD. 261 

we have only two records of its occurrence on tlie Pacific slope in Washing- 
ton^. The hird ranges up to the highest peaks of the central divide, but it is 
not at all common in the mountains. It seems to prefer more open situations 
and. so far from being exclusi\el_\- boreal in its tastes, has been found nesting 
at as low an altitude as W'allula, on the banks of the Columbia River. 

At Chelan in a typical season ( 1896) the migrations opened with tlie ap- 
pearance, on the J4th day of February, of seven males of most perfect beauty. 
They deployed upon the townsite in search of insects, and uttered plaintive 
notes of Sialian cjuality, varied by dainty, thrush-like tsooks of alarm when too 
closely pressed. They did not at any time attempt song, and the entire song 
tradition, including the "delightful warble" of Townsend, appears to be cjuite 
without fountlation, as in the case of S. in. occiilcnfalis. On the 15th of March 
a flock of fifty Bluebirds, all males, were sighted flving in close order over the 
mountain-side, a vision of loveliness which was enhanced by the presence of a 
dozen or more ^Vesterns. Several flocks were observed at this season in which 
the two species mingled freely. On the 27th of the same month the last 
great wave of migration was noted, and some two hundred birds, all "Arctics" 
now, and at least a third of them females, quartered themselves upon us for a 
day, — with what delighted appreciatiijn upon our part may best be imagined. 
The males are practically all azure; but the females have a much more modest 
garb of reddish gray, or stone-olive, which flashes into blue on wings and tail, 
only as the l>ird flits from post to post. 

In nesting. Mountain Bluebirds sometimes display the same confidence 
shown [)\- the darker species : and their adoption into urban, or at least \-illage 
life, would seem to be onl_\- a matter of time. They are a gentle breed, and it 
is an honor of which we may well stri\-e to prove wurtln-, to be chosen as 
hosts by these distinguished gentlefolk. 

"Gentle," as applied to Bluebirds, has always the older sense of noble, — 
noble because brave. My attention was first called to a nest in the timbered 
foothills of Yakima County, because its valiant owner furiously beset a Flicker 
of twice his size, a clumsy villain wdio had lighted by mistake on the Bluebird's 
nesting stub. The gallant defender did not use these tactics on the bird-man, 
but his accents were sternly accusing as the man proceeded to investigate a 
clean-cut hole eight feet up in a pine stub four feet thru. Five dainty eggs 
of the palest possible blue rested at the buttom of the cavity on a soft cushion 
of fine grasses. 

This must have been a typical structure, Ijut near Chelan I found the birds 
nesting at the end of a tunnel dri\en into a perpendicular bank much fre- 



a. First record by R. H. Lawrence: Two seen on Stevens Prairie [Gray's Harbor County] .^pril 22 
[1891] {Vide .^uk. Vol. IX-, Jan. 1892, p. 47). Second record by the author: Male and female with 
five full-grown young encountered near Sluiskin Falls on Mt, Rainier, July 7, 1908, at an altitude of 
6500 feet. 



262 THE WESTERN GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET. 

(juenteu hv Bank Swallows. The original miner might ha\e heen a Swallmv. 
but the Bluebirds had certainly enlarged the hole and rounded it. There were 
no available trees for a mile or so around, but — well, realh' now, it did give one 
a turn to see this bit of heaven quench itself in the ground — for love's sake. 



No. 103. 

WESTERN GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET. 

A. O. I'. No. 748. Regulus satrapa olivaceiis Baird. 

Description. — Adult male: Crown-patch (partially concealed) bright orange 
or flame-color (cadmium orange); a border of plain yellow feathers overlying 
the orange on the sides ; these in turn bordered by black in front and on sides ; 
extreme forehead white, connecting with white superciliary stripe ; a dark line 
thru eye; above bright olive-green, becoming olive-gray on nape and siile of 
head and neck ; wing-quills and tail-feathers much edged with light greenish 
yellow, the former in such fashion as to throw into relief a dusky spot on middle 
of secondaries ; greater coverts tipped with whitish ; underparts sordid white, 
sometimes dusky-washed, or touched on sides with olivaceous. Adult female: 
Similar, but with crown-patch jilain yellow instead of orange. IiiiiiiaUire: 
Without crown-patch or bordering black, gradually acquiring these thru gradation 
of color. Length about 4.00 (101.6); wing 2.16 (55); tail 1.57 (40); bill .29 
( 7.3 ) : tarsus fij (17). 

Recognition Marks. — Pygmy size ; orange, or yellow, and black of crown 
distinctive. 

Nesting. — Nest: lashed to and largely concealed by drooping twigs on under 
side of fir bough near tip, an exquisite ball of mosses, lichens, liverwort, fine grasses, 
etc, ; bound together with cobwebs and lined with the softest materials, vegetable- 
down, cow-hair, and feathers, 3^-^-7 inches in diameter, and placed from five feet 
(//i. Bcigs: 7-g, rarely 10 (one of 11 on record), sometimes /;; ti^'o layers, dull 
white, cream white, or sordid cream-color, finely sprinkled or not with pale wood- 
brown or dull rufous, and sometimes, obscurely, with lavender. Av. size. .54 x .40 
(13.7 X 10.2). Season: April i-July i; two broods. 

General Range. — Western North America from Rocky Mountains to the 
Pacific Coast, southward in winter over highlands of Mexico to elevated districts 
of Guatemala: breeding from Colorado (near timber-line), eastern Oregon 
(mountains near Fort Klamath), Sierra Nevada (south to Mount Whitney), 
Mount Shasta, etc., northward to Kenai Peninsula and Kadiak Island. Alaska. 

Range in Washington. — Common resident in coniferous timber (except 
])ine) thruout the State, sea-level to limit of trees, less common east of Cascades, 
where numbers greatly augmented during migrations. 

Authorities.— fTozunseiid. Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. VIII. 1839, 154 
(Columbia River). Regulus satrapa. Licht. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 
pt. II. 1858, p. 228 (part). (T.) C&S. L. Rh. D'. Kb. Ra. D-'. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of \\'. P. Prov. B. E. 



THE WESTERN GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET. 



263 



"GOOD things conie (lime up in small packages," my college chum used 
to sav (speaking, c^f course, of la fcinuic petite), and that was before he knew 
the Golden-crowned Kinglet. Indeed, it is surprising how few people do 
know this amiable little nionarch ; ami yet, I suppose, he is b_\' all odds the most 
abundant bird in Washington. To one who seeks the honor of his acquaint- 
ance, he pro\-es a most delightful friend: but he has his little luodesties and 
reserves, becoming to a potentate, so that a thousand of him would never be 
"common," nor ]iall upon the senses. 

Kinglets go in trcjupes, famil)' parties, which keep a little to themselves 
o r d i n a r i ly ; 
altho Chick- 
adees a II d 
Nuthatches, 
or even 
Creepers 
and \\''rens, 
are welcome 
messmates, 
in the friend 
ly winter 
time. Ever- 
green trees, 
exclusively, 
are frequent- 
ed, e.xcept 
during mi- 
grations up- 
on the EaSt- 
side where 
the favorite 

cover is lacking, antl the real abundance of the Ijirds at all seasons is coex- 
tensive with that of the Douglas Spruce ( Pseiidotsiiga doiitjiasi). With 
tireless energy they search both bark and branches for insects' eggs and lar\'a? 
scarce visible to the human e3'e. The\' peer about incessantl}-, bending and 
darting and twisting and squirming, now hanging head downward, if need be, 
now fluttering prettily against the under side of the branch above : but always 
on the go, imtil frequentlv one despairs of catching fair sight of the crown 
for the necessary fraction of a second. Of course it's a Golden-crown; but, 
then, we want to see it. 

And all the time Cutikins is carrving on an amiable conversation with his 




Taken in Rjiiiicr Xational Park. 



From a Fhntogrnplt Co/^yriglit, 190S, by IV. L. Dtiwson. 
THE UNVEILING. 

A FAVORITE HAUNT OF THE KINGLET. 



264 THE WESTERN GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET. 

neighbor, interruincd aiul fr;igiiienlar\-, to be sure, but he has all clay to it — 
/j",y, tss-tsif'-chil^, tscck. If you draw loo near, fsif^ can be made {o express 
\igonjus disapproval. 

Concerning the "song" one is a little puzzled how to report. ( )ne hears, 
no doubt, nian\' little snatches and phrases whicli lia\e in them something of 
the quality of the better known carol of the Ruby-crown, but they lack dis- 
tinctness and completion. Moreover, they are never given earnestly, even in 
the height of the mating season, but. as it were, reminiscentlv, mere by- 
products of a contented mood. It may seem a little fanciful, but I am half 
tempted to believe that the Gold-crests are losing the ancient art of minstrelsy. 
The lines ha\e fallen unto them in such i:)leasant places; food and shelter are no 
problems, and there is nothing of that shock and hazard of life which reacts 
most certainlv upon the passion of song. And then it is //('/• fault, anyway. 
Phyllis would rather wdiisper sweet nothings in the mossy bower than be 
serenaded, never so ably. Oh, perilous house of content! 

It remained for Mr. Bowles, after vears of untiring effort, to discover the 
first nest of this western \ariety. .\nd then it came by way of revelation — a 
fir branch caught against the evening sky and scrutinized mechanically afford- 
ed grounds for suspicion in a certain thickening of the twigs under the midrib. 
Investigation revealed a ball of moss matched to a nicety of green with the 
surrounding foliage, and made fast by dainty lashings to the en\'eloping twigs; 
and, better yet, a basketful of eggs. 

These birds proliabh* nest at anv height in the hea\iest fir timber; but, 
because they are relatively so infinitesimal, it is idle to look for the nests except 
at the lower levels, and in places where the forest area has been reduced to 
groves and thickets. The boundaries of the prairie country about Centralia 
and northward afford the best opportunity for nesting, for here the Douglas 
Spruces attain a height of only a hundred feet or such a matter, and occiu' in 
loose open groves which iiu'ite inspection. Here, too, the Kinglets may be 
noted as they flit across from tree to tree, and their movements traced. 

The kinglet and queenlet are a devoted pair in nesting time. Whether 
gathering materials for the nest or hunting for food after the babies are 
hatched, they work in company as much as possible. They are discovered, it 
may be a hundred yards from the home tree, gleaning assiduously. After a 
time one of the birds by a muffled squeak announces a beakful, and suggests 
a return ; the other acquiesces and they set off homeward, the male usually in 
the lead. It looks as tho tracing would be an easy matter, but the birds stop 
circumspectly at every tree clump en route, and they are all too easily lost to 
sight long before the home tree is reached. 

Nests may be found at any height from the le\-el of the eyes to fifty feet 
(higher, no doubt, if one's eye-sight ax'ails ) but always on the under side of a 
fir limb, and usuall\- where the foliage is naturalh' dense. The nest ball is a 



THE WESTERN GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET. 



265 



\von(IerfuII\- compacted affair of moss, botli green and grav, interspersed with 
li\'er\vi>rts, dried grasses, soft weed fH)ers, and cow-liair. The deep depression 
of the nest cup scarcely mars the siihericity of tlie whole, for the edges are 
brought well in; so much so. in fact, that a ciintaining branch overloaded with 
foliage upon one side, once tipped half wa}- over without spilling the eggs. 
The deep cavity is hea\'il\- lined willi C(.iw-hair and abundant feathers of 




Taken near Tacomn I'lioto by Boiilcs and Dazison. 

NEST OF WKSTERN GOLDEX-CROWNEU KI.\GLET IN FIR BRANCH. 

THIS IS THE .MOST THAT M.\Y BE SEEN" OF NEST OR CONTENTS FROM ANY ANGLE. 



grouse or domestic fowl. These feathers are placed with their soft ends pro- 
truding, and they curl over the entrance in such fashion as almost or quite to 
conceal the eggs. One would like to particularize at great length, for no 
fervors of description can o\-erstate the beauties of this Kinglet palace. 

Eggs vary in number from five to nine, seven and eight being the rule. I 
once took a nest with eleven — one too many at the least, for it had to rest on 
top of the others. They are not much larger than Hummingbirds' and are 
quite as fragile. Mr. Bowles consumed twenty minutes in removing the con- 
tents of the big nest to the collecting box zvithout a break. The eggs vary in 



266 



THE WESTERN GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET. 



color froni i)urc wliile t(j sin'dul white ami ikisk\- hrcjwn. In ihe last two cases 
the tint niav Ije due tci a profusion of line liruwii ilots, nr to advancement in 
incubation, the shell being so thin that the |)rogressi\'e stages of the cliick's 
development are dimly shadowed thru it. 

The female Kinglet is a close sitter and will not often lea\'e the nest until 
the containing branch is sharply tapped. Then, invariably, she drops down a 
couple of feet and flits sharply sidewise, with manifest intent to deceive the 
laggard eye. Yet almost immediateh- she is minded to return, and will do so 
if there is no further demonstration oi hostilities. Re-covering the eggs is not 
always an easy matter, for the well is deep and the mouth narrow. One dame 
lightetl on the l.)rim of her nest ami bowed and scraped and stamped, precisely 
as a carefullv disciplined husband will when he brings muddy boots to the 
kitchen door. The operation was evidently cjuite unconnected with hesitation 
in view of m\' presence. Init in some way was preparatory to her sinking 
carefully into the feather-lined pit bef(5re her. When she first covered the 
eogs, also, there was a great fuss made in settlinsi', as tho to free her feathers 
from the engaging edges of the nest. When the 1)ird is well down ii])on her 
eggs there is nothing visible l)nt the top (}f her head and the tip of her tail. 
The male bird, meanwhile, is not indifferent. First he bustles up onto 
the nesting branch ami flashes his fiery crest in plain token of anger, l)ut 

later he is content 
to squeak disapprov- 
al fi"(_~)ni a ]>ositicin 
more removed. 

W'hile the mother 
liird is sitting, the 
male tends her faith- 
fullv, but he spends 
his spare moments, 
according to Mr. 
Bowdes, in construct- 
ing "cock nests," or 
decoys, in the neigh- 
boring trees. Tliese 
seem to serve no pur- 
pose beyond that of 
a ner\-ous relief to 
are seldom as carefullv constructed as the \"eritable 




Taken near Tacoma. 
Photo by the Authors. 



NID - .\ID - iXODDING. 



the impatient father, ;md 
domus. 

When the young of the first lirood are hatched and ready to fl}', the 
chief care of them falls to the father, while the female prepares for a second 
nesting. As to the further domestic relations one cannot speak with certainty, 



THE RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. 267 

but it would seem at least possible thai fall l:)ir(l troops cousist (jf the comljiued 
families of Mr. and Mrs. Quiverful. 

As to the time of home-making, the Kinglets are not \-ery particular. 
Nor is it necessary that they should be. It is always spring here after the first 
of February. Besides that, a fir tree is both forest and store-house at any 
season. In the \'icinity of Tacoma, the usual nesting time is the last week 
in April for the first set. and the second week in June for the second. The 
earliest record is April oth. that of a nest containing half-grown voung. The 
first egg of this set must, therefore, ha\-e been deposited about March 15th. 

So far as we can make out. this bird is strictly resident in western Wash- 
ington, but it is much less common on the east side of the Cascades, and is 
there largely migratory. Not only does the species retire in winter from the 
mountains to the lower foot-hills, but considerable numl.iers pass o\-er the 
State to and from British Columbia. At such times they appear wherever 
timber or watered shrubbery is to be f(iund. With manners so engaging and 
lives so sheltered, to say nothing of families so blessed in the vearlv increase, 
is it any wonder that the gentle tribe of Rcgidus pre\-ails thruout the giant 
forests of this western slope, and spills over in blessing wherever trees abound? 



No. 104. 

RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. 

.\. T). U. No. 749. Regulus calendula (Linn.). 

Description. — Adult male: Above olive-green, duller anteriorly, brightening 
to greenish yellow on edgings of quills and tail-feathers; a partly concealed crest 
of scarlet (flame-scarlet to scarlet-vermilion) ; two narrow, whitish wing-bars 
formed by tips of middle and greater coverts: some whitish edging on tertials ; 
a dusky interval separating greenish j-ellow edges on outer webs of secondaries; 
a whitish eye-ring and whitish skirtings around base of bill ; under ])arts soiled 
white, heavily tinged with buffy and olivaceous buff. Adult female and iininaiiire: 
Similar but without crown-patch. Length 4.00-4.50 ( loi. 6-1 14.3) ; wing 2.33 
(59.2); tail 1.72 (43.7); bill from nostril .25 (6.4). 

Recognition Marks. — Pygmy size ; scarlet crest distinctive. Note wing-bars 
and whitisii eye-ring of female and young. Lighter than R. c. grinnelli. 

Nesting. — Nest: a ball of moss, lichens, etc., bound together with cobwebs, 
and lashed to drooping twigs beneath branch of conifer, lined with vegetable- 
down, catkins, hair, and feathers, and placed at moderate heights. Egi/s: 5-9, dull 
white, or pale buffy, faintly or sharply but sparingly speckled with reddish brown, 
chiefly about larger end. Av. size, .55 x .43 (14x10.9). Season: June; one 
brood ( ?). 

General Range. — North America at large in wooded districts, north to limit 



268 THE RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. 

of trees, west to northwestern Alaska ( Kowak River), breeding chiefly n(jrth of 
the I'nited States, ami irregularly in the higher ranges of the West. 

Range in Washington. — Common spring and fall migrant; summer resident 
in northeastern portion of State only(?). 

Migrations. — Spring: April, May. I'all: (Jctober. 

Authorities.— Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. pt. II. 1858, p. 22y. (T.) 
C&S. L'. Rh.t ?) D'. Sr. Ra. D-'. Kk. j. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P". Prov. B. BN. E. 

"WHERE'S your kingdom, little king? 
Where's the land }-ou call your own? 
Where's A'our palace and your throne? 
Fluttering lightly on the wing- 
Thru the lilossoni world of May 
Whither lies }'our ro}'al way? 
Where's the realm tliat owns your sway^, 
Little King?" 

Dr. Henrv Van Dyke is the questioner, and the little bird has a ready 
answer for him. Being an Easterner, it is "Labrador" in May, and 



Where the express' \i\'id green 
And the dark magnolia's sheen 
Weax'e a shelter round mv home" 



in October. But imder the incitement of the poet's playful banter, the Kinglet 
enlarges his claim : 

"Never king by right di\'ine 
Rtiled a richer realm than mine! 
WHiat are lands and golden crowns, 
Armies, fortresses and towns, 
Jewels, scepters, robes and rings. 
What are these to song and wings? 
Ever^-where that I can fly 
There I own the earth and sky : 
Everywhere that I can sing 
There I'm happ}- as a king." 

.Vnd surely there is no one who can meet this dainty monarch in one of 
his happy moods without paying instant homage. His iiiipcrumi is that of the 
spirit, and those who boast a soul above the clod must swear fealty to this 
most delicate expression of the creative Infinite, this thought of God made 
lumiiicTus and vocal, and own liim king li\- right divine. 

It seems only ^■esterdav I saw him, Easter Day in old Ohii). The sig- 



THE RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. 269 

nificant dawn was struggling with great masses of heaped-up clouds, — the 
incredulities and fears of the world's night; but now and again the invincible 
sun found some tiny rift and poured a flood of tender gold upon a favored 
spot where stood some solitary tree or expectant sylvan company. Along the 
river ban'c all was still. There were no signs of spring, save for the modest 
springing violet and the pious buckexe, shaking its late-prisoned fronds to 
the morning air, and tardily setting in order its manifold array of Easter 
candles. The oak trees were gray and hushed, and the swamp elms held their 
peace until the fortunes of the morning should be decided. Suddenly from 
down the river path there came a tiny burst of angel music, the peerless song 
of the Ruby-crown. Pure, ethereal, without hint of earthly dross or sadness, 
came those limpid welling notes, the sweetest and the gladdest e\-er sung — at 
least by those wlm ha\-e not sufTered. It was not indeed the greeting of the 
earth to the risen Lord, but rather the annunciation of the glorious fact by 
heaven's own ap])(iinted herald. 

The Rub}'-crowned Kinglet has something of the nervousness and \-ivaci- 
ty of the typical wren. It moves restlessly from twig to twig, flirting its 
wings with a motion too quick for the eyes to follow, and frecjuently uttering 
a titter of alarm, chit-tit or chit-it-it. During migrations the liirds swarm 
thru the tree-to])s like Warblers, but are often found singlv or in small com- 
panies in thickets or open clusters of saplings. In such situations they exhibit 
more or less curiosity, and if one keeps reasonably still he is almost sure to 
be inspected from a distance not exceeding four or five feet. It is here too 
that the males are found singing in spring. The bird often begins sotfo z'occ 
with two or three high scpieaks as tho trving to get the i>itch dinvn to the 
range of mortal ears before he gives his full voice. The core of the song is 
something like tciv, tczi', fcii', teii'. titonrcct' , titoorcct' . the last phrases being- 
given with a rising inflection, and with an accent of ra\-ishing sweetness. The 
tones are so pure that they may readily be whistled by the human listener, 
and a musical contest provoked in which one is glad to come out second 
best. 

Ha\-ing heard only the preparatory spring song for years, it was a matter 
of considerable rejoicing to come upon the birds at home in Stevens Countv. 
They were esi^ecially cimimon in the neighborhood of Newport, and thev sang 
incessantly anrl loudly from the depths of the giant larches, which abound 
there. It appears that the full-fledged breeding song is quite different from 
the delicate migratorv carol. The preliminary notes are of mucli the same 
qualit}', but instead of accenting the final s}dlable of the titoorcct phrase, and 
repeating this, the phrase is given only once, with a sort of tittering, tremolo 
effect, and the emphasis is thrown upon a series of strong, sharp terminal 
notes, four or five in number, and of a uniform character — the whole some- 
what as follows : tezv tciv teiv tew tittcrcttcrcttcr reef, cheep' cheep' cheep' 



270 THE RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. 

cliccp . These emphatic nules are also reiulerecl in a detached form at oc- 
casional intervals, usually after the entire song has been rehearsed ; and they 
are so loud at all times as to be heard at a distance of half a mile. One indi- 
vidual began his song with an elaborate ])reliminar_\- run oi high-pitched, 
svhining notes of a fineness almost beyond human cognizance : then effected a 
descent by a kifitan' note to the tciv tczv tew series. In his case, also, the em- 
phatic closing notes had a distinctly double character, as c/iccpy, cliccpv, cliccpv. 

We ransacked the Newport woods day after day with feverish eagerness, 
allured and goaded by the music, but filled also with that strange fire of 
oological madness which will lead its possessor to bridge chasms, dangle over 
precipices, brave the billows of the sea, battle with eagles on the heights, or 
crawl on hands and knees all over a forty-acre field. Tlie quest was well-nigh 
hopeless, for the wooils were dense and the tamaracks were heavily draped 
in brown moss, "vSpanish beards," with a thousand possibilities of hidden nests 
to a single tree. June the First was to be the last day f)f our stav, and it 
opened up with a dense fog emanating from the Pentl d'Oreille Ri\'er hard-l)v. 
Nevertheless, six o'clock found us ogling thru the mists on the crest of a 
wooded hill. A Ruby-crown was humming fragmentary snatches of song, 
and I put the glasses on him. I was watching the flitting sprite with languid 
interest when Jack exclaimed petulantly, "Now, why won't that bird visit his 
nest?" "He diil," I replied, lowering the binoculars. The bird in flitting 
about had paused but an instant near the end of a small fir branch about 
thirtv-five feet up in a sixty-foot tree, siiringing from the hillside below. 
There was nothing in the movement nor in the lenglh of time spent to excite 
suspicion, but it had served to reveal thru the glasses a thickening of the 
drooping foliage, clearly noticeable as it lay outlined against the fog. 

We returned at ten o'clock and the first strokes of the hand-ax, as the 
lowermost spike bit into the live wood, sent the female flying fmni the nest 
into a neighboring tree. As the ascent was made spike by spike, site uttered 
a ra]jid complaint, composed of notes similar to the ]")refatory notes of the 
male's song: but dtu"ing m\- entire stay aloft she did not \cnture back into the 
nesting tree, nor did the male once put in an appearance. The nest was only 
five and a half feet out from the tree trunk, and the containing branch an 
inch in thickness at the base. Hence, it was not a difficult, albeit an anxious, 
task to support the limb midwa\' with one hand and to sever it with a ])ocket- 
knife held in the other, then to haul it in slowly. 

The nest was composed largeh- of the droojiing brown moss, so common 
in this region as to be almost a necessity, yet contrasting strongly with the 
clean bright green of the young fir tree. But, even so, it was so thoroly con- 
cealed b\- the draping foliage that its ])resence would have escaped notice 
from any attainable standpoint, sa\-e for the mere density, — a shade thicker 
than elsewhere. At first sight one is tem])ted to call it a moss-ljall. but close 



THE RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. 



271 



examination shows it to be rather an assemblage of all sorts of soft substances, 
vegetable downs, cottons from the pussy willows and cottonwood trees, 
weathered anients. hair, fine grass (in abundance), with occasional strange 
inclusions, such as spider-egg cases, dried flower-stalks, and the like. The 
lining is e.xclusi\ely of feathers, those from the breast of the Robin being 




Taken near Newport. 



RUBY'S BASKETFUL. 



Photo by Dazi'son and Bowles. 



most in e\-idence. A few of these curled up from under tlie neatly turned 
brim, so as to partly conceal the contents; but only a little effort was required 
to obtain a ]5erfect view of the eggs from abo\"e. 

I counted the glowing pile, slowly, calmly, as a miser counts his gold 
when the bolts are shot — twice to make sure — one, two. three, * * * nine, 
the last one being thrnwn in on top of the heap for good measure. 

The eggs were marvelousl\- fresh, insomuch that in blowing them Mr. 
Bowles coaxed seven of the nine yolks out unbroken thru the mere needle- 



2/2 THE SITKAN KINGLET. 

holes in the shell \\ Inch he ci units a sulhcieiU exit, lii cnlor they were pure 
white, flushed with the peculiar riukly of fresli eggs having semi-transparent 
shells, with a pale broad band of brownish dust about fhe larger ends (the 
smaller one in one case). 

When I had descended, — singing and whistling right merrily snatches of 
songs once popular, "Sweet Marie," and the like, for my spirits were uncom- 
mon high, — the mtJther-bird returned to the nesting tree and haunted the site 
of the ruined home persistentl)-. h'irst she peered down from the branch 
above; then she dropped dov^ii to the branch below, and craned her head, 
sorely perplexed. She lighted upon the white stump of the severed limb and 
examined it confusedly, then she fluttered in midair precisely where the nest 
ought to have been, and dropped to the limb below again in despair. This 
mystified quest she repeated over and over again until it wrung the hearts of 
the beholders. Well, well ; we are inconsistent creatures, we humans. And 
somehow the comfortable philosophy of the bird-iiester fails at these critical 
points. 



No. 105. 

SITKAN KINGLET. 

A. O. U. No. 749 a. Regains calendula grinnelli Palmer. 

Synonyms. — Al.'\sk.\n Kinglet. Sitk.\ Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Grin- 
nf.ll's KiNr,i.i':T. 

Description. — L,ike preceding but of much darker coloration, — a "saturated" 
form ; also wing somewhat shorter, bill larger, etc. Av. measurements of male* : 
wing 2.23 (56.6) : tail 1.69 (42.9) ; bill .34 (8.7) ; tarsus .72 ( 18.1 ). 

Recognition Marks. — Of strikingly darker coloration than R. calendula — 
sup])Osed to be the exclusive form in winter. 

Nesting. — As ])receding. Does not breed in \\'asliingtoii. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district breeding from British Columbia to 
head of l.ynn Canal and Yakutat Bay, Alaska; south in winter (at least) to 
midille California. 

Range in Washington. — Early spring and late fall migrant, common winter 
resident on Puget Sound. 

Authorities. — ? Rcguhis calendula, I^icht. Cooper and Suckley. Rep. Pac. 
R. R. Siirv. Xri. pt. II. i860, p. 174 (Winter resident on Puget Sound ). Bowles, 
Auk, Vol. XXIII. Apr. 1906, p. 148. 

Specimens.— B. E. P(A). 

SO far as our somewhat scanty observation goes, this would appear to 
be the prevailing form in the earlier spring migrations, and the only one found 
in winter u]ion Puget Sound. Thus, while the lighter-colored birds, which 

a. Ridgway: Six specimens. 



THE CHICKADEE. 273 



summer in (Uir mountains and in British Columbia, are enjoving sunshine in 
IMexico, this Alaskan coast dweller is re-dyeing his plumage under the dull 
skies of the Pacific watershed. 

The Sitkan Kinglet is not abundant in winter, altho it enjoys a general 
distribution. It does not associate in flocks of its own kind to any large extent, 
but oftener two or three individuals join themselves to winter bird troops 
consisting of Chickadees, Seattle Wrens. W^estern Golden-crowned Kinglets, 
Puget Sound Bush-Tits, etc. At such times it is noticeable that they keep 
largely to the lower levels, for they hunt and titter among the spirrea thickets, 
salal bushes, logs and evergreen saplings, while their cousins only occasionally 
venture within five or ten feet of the ground, and range from there to the 
tops of the tallest firs. 

The notes, too. of the Sitkan Kinglet are low-pitched and explosive, as 
compared with the fairy sibilations of the Golden-crowns. The neighborhood 
of "Seattle" Wrens and Western Winter Wrens will ser\-e also to throw a 
certain wren-like qualit}- of the Alaskan's note into fine relief. 



No. 106. 

CHICKADEE. 



A. O. U. No. 735. Penthestes atricapillus (Linn."). 

Synonyms. — Bi.ack-capped Chick.xdf.E. BL.\CK-c.\prKD Titmouse. 

Description. — .Idiilt: Top of head and nape shining black; throat dead 
Ijlack with \\hitish skirting posteriorly; a white band on side of head and neck, 
increasing in width Ijehind : back and scapulars gray with an olivaceous cast and 
more or less admixture of buffy at the edges and as skirting; wings and tail dusky, 
more or less edged, especially on greater coverts and tertials, with ashy or whitish; 
breast and belly white; sides, flanks and crissum washed with buffy or light rusty 
(nearly whitish in summer) ; bill and feet dark. Rather variable in size; one adult 
specimen measures: wing 2.27 (57.7) : tail 2.10 (53.3) ; bill .34 (8.6). Another: 
wing 2.70 (68.6) ; tail 2.57 (65.3) ; bill .38 (9.7). Length, 4.75-5.73 (120.6-146.1 ) ; 
average of eight specimens of medium size: wing 2.60 (66) : tail 2.44 ( 62 ) ; bill 

.36 (g.-!)- 

Recognition Marks. — \\'arbler size; of ligliter coloration but not certainly 
distinguishable afield from P. a. occidciitalis (q. v.). 

Nesting. — Nest: a heavy mat of moss, grasses, and plant-down, lined with 
rabbits' fur, wool, hair, or feathers, in made hole or natural cavity of stump or 
tree, usually not over ten feet from the ground, and near water. Eggs: 5-8, 
white, marked sparingly with reddish brown, in small spots, tending to gather 
about larger end. Av. size, .58 x .47 (14.7x11.9). Season: April i5-l\Iay 15; 
one brood. 



274 THE CHICKADEE. 



General Range. — Eastern Nortli America north of the Potomac and Ohio 
\'alleys. "A separate 'colony' inhabits the area between the Rocky Mountains 
and the Cascade Range, in eastern Washington (Walla Walla. EUensburg, etc.), 
western Idaho ( Lemi, Fort Sherman, etc.), and central British Ci>lumbia ( Sica- 
mores [Sicamoos]. Clinton, Ashcroft. etc.).*" — Ridgway. 

Range in Washington. — As above. 

Authorities.—/', a. occidcntalis Brewster, B. N. O. C. VII. 1882, 228 
(Walla Walla). J. If this colony ]M-oves to Ije completely isolated, as claimed, 
the bird should. ])erha])s, be separately named, and I would suggest Pciithcstcs 
atricapilliis fortiiitiis. 

Specimens. — B. I''. 

THE Chickadees of eastern Washington, east of the Cascade foothills, 
along with those of northeastern Oregon, western Idaho, and southwestern 
British Columbia, are n(.)taljly larger and brighter than P. a. occidcntalis. 
In these and other regards they exactly rei)roduce the characters of P. 
atricii/^illiis. which is a Ijird cif the eastern United States, and from which 
they are widely separated b_\- P. a. scfifcntrionalis. Now Chickadees are 
resident wherever found. The most severe winters do not suffice to drive 
them south, and they are subjected to such imiform conditions as tend to 
insure stability of type, once adjustment to local environment is accomplished. 
W'c ha\'e here, therefore, either an example of a colony widely separated 
from the parent stock, and remaining inflexible under alien con<lititins, or 
else an indistinguishable reduplication of another form not closelv related in 
time thru the interaction of similar conditions. If the latter supposition be 
the true one, and it probably is, we have in this Ijird a theoretical sub- 
species, but one which we cannot describe or distinguish in other than geo- 
graphical terms. 

The case is somewhat similar with mn- Nighthawks (C. virgiiiianns 
suhsp.) and Sparrow Hawks I Falco sf^arvcriiis siibsf^.), but the problem in 
these instances is further complicated by the o])portunities of migration. 



a. "The present example of an isolated colony of a particnlar form, or what must be regarded as the 
same form in the absence of obvious distinctive characters, is one of several instances which are very 
troublesome to both the systematist and the student of geographic distribution. The birds of this species 
occurring, exclusively, in the area defined above are clearly intermediates between P. a. scpteutx\onaIis, 
a form larger and paler than P. a. atrical'iUus, which occupies the region immediately eastward, and 
P. a. occidcvtalis, a form smaller and darker than P. a. atricaf^ilhis, which inhabits the region immediately 
westward. It thus happens that, while these puzzling birds are jiractically, if not absolutely, indistin- 
guishable from P. (I. atricapilhis they can hardly be considered exactly the same, since they are everywhere 
widely cut off from the latter by the very extensive area occupied by P. a. septentrionalis." — Ridgway. 



THE OREGON CHICKADEE. 275 

No. 107. 

OREGON CHICKADEE. 

A. O. U. No. 735 b. Penthestes atricapilliis occidentaiis (BairdJ. 

Synonym. — W'kstkrx P>lack-c.\pped Ciiick.xdee. 

Description. — Adults: Similar to P. atricapiUns but smaller and coloration 
much darker : whitish edging on wings and tail much reduced in area ; "back 
varying from deep mouse-gray or very slight buffy slate-gray in spring and 
summer to deep hair-brown or light olive in fall and winter plumage" ; sides and 
flanks pale buft'y in spring, strong brownish buff or pale wood-brown in fall 
plumage. Length 4.50-5.25 (114.3-133.3~) : wing 2.44 (62): tail 2.20 (56); bill 
■Z7 '9-5 > : tarsus .66 (16.8). 

Recognition Marks. — \\'arbler size; no white stripe over eye as dis- 
tinguished from P. i/aiiibcli: back gray as distinguished from P. ntfesccns. 

Nesting. — Xcst: as in P. atricapilliis, usually placed low in stump of decidu- 
ous tree. Eggs: as in foregoing. Season: April i5-]^Iay 15: one brood. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from northern California to British 
Columbia (Port Moody). 

Range in Washington. — Resident west of Cascades; characteristic of wet 
lowlands and borders of streams ; intergrades with typiciis on east slopes of 
Cascade Range. 

Authorities. — Panis occidentaiis Baird, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 
pt. II. 1S58. p. 3<ji. I T. ) C&S. Rh. D'. Kb. Ra. D-\ ? Ss'. ? Ss-'. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens. — U. of W. P'. Prov. B. E. 

CHICKADEES abound in ^\'ashington; and, because for the life of you 
\^ou cannot surely tell whose notes yoti hear, there is a perennial necessity for 
levelling the glasses to make sure which is passing, Oregon or the Chestnut- 
backed. There are differences — Oh, bless you, yes — but then you always 
want to make certain, if only to pat yourself on the back and say, when you 
happen to have guessed correctly, "There, I knew it was an Oregon ; I can 
always tell by its scjueak." 

Chickadees are friendly little fi)lk (and this remark apiilies, irrespective 
of species), so that where\-er they go, except in the busy nesting season, they 
form the nucleus of a merry band, ^^'estern Golden-crowned Kinglets. Sitkan 
Kinglets, Creepers, Juncoes, Towliees ma}be, and a Seattle \\'ren or two to 
guard the terrestrial passage, and to furnish sport for the federated fairies. 
The Chickadees are undis])uled leaders, tho their name be legion. While thev 
remain aloft we may mistake their dainty squeakings and minikin wavs for 
those of Kinglets, but if we can only determine what direction the flock is 
pursuing, we may count on the vanguard's being ciimposed of these sprightly, 
saucy little Black-caps. 



276 



THE OREGON CHICKADEE. 



Chickadee refuses to look down t\>i" li>ng upnn the world; or, indeed, to 
look at any one tiling from any one direction fur more tlian two consecutive 
twelfths of a second. "Any old side up without care," is the label he bears; 
and so with anything" he meets, be it a pine-cone, an alder catkin, or a Inig- 
bearing branchlet. top- 
side, bottomside, inside, 
outside, all is right side 
to the niml)le Chicka- 
dee. Faith ! their little 
brains must ha\'e spe- 
cial gu}' - ropes a n d 
stavs, else they would 
have been spilled long 
ago. the wa}- their own- 
ers frisk about. Blind- 
man's buff, hide-and- 
seek, and tag are merry 
games enough when 
played out on one 
plane, but when staged 
in three dimensions, 
witli a laliyrinth of in- 
terlacing branches for 
hazard, onl\- the blithe 
bird whose praises we 
sing could jjossibly 
master their intricacies. 
But Chickadee is as 
confiding and as con- 
fidence-inviting as he is 
capable. It is precisely 
because you babble all 
your secrets to him at 
the first breath that the 
whole wood-side conies 
to him for news. With 
the fatuity of utter 
trust he will interrogate 
the fiercest-looking stranger; and the sound of the "szi'cctcc" call is the signal 
for all birds to be alert. At the repetition of it the leaves begin to rustle, the 
moss to sigh, and the log-heaps to give up their hidden store of sleepy W^reiis. 
bashful Sparrows, and frowning Towhees. Juncoes simper and Kinglets 




Taken 

iicor Tacoma 



Photo by 
the Author. 






\ 



.NEST -WU EGGS OF OREGON CHICKADEE. 

THE FRONT WALL OF THE CONTAINING STUMP HAS BEEN REMOVED. 



THE OREGON CHICKADEE. 



277 



squeak ()\er tlie strange iliscmery : the Steller Jay takes notice and sidles o\er 
to spy upon the performance; wliile the distant-faring Crow swerves from his 
course and bends an incjuiring eye toward tlie m^-stery. Dcc-dcc-dcc says the 
Bkick-cap. A liundred lieady e_\'es are bent upon you. trying to resolve your 
domino of corduro}' or khaki. Can' says the Crow in comprehension, and you 
know that the game is up, — up for all but the Chickadee. He will stav and 
talk with you as long as you nia_\- endure to pucker yciur lips to his fairy 
lispings. 

It is no exaggeration to say that the "S^vcc-tcc" note of the Chickadee, 
passably imitated, is the quickest summons in the bird-world. It is the 
open sesame to all woodland secrets. One drawback, however, attends 
its use: you cannot compass it when the air is chilly and the lips thick. 
Now, the eastern bird, (P. atricapillus) has a clear, high-pitched call-note, 
Sii'ce-tcc, or Swcc-tcc tec ::p _^ -^ _^^_^ which must be taken as 

^ ' — ' -—I and the calls of the west- 
derstood bv reference to 



Ie^ 



or 



the type of this genus 
ern bird are best un- 
this niirm. In the song of occidciitalis the first note of the tvpe, "high C," 
is oftenest repeated three or four times, and has a double character impossible 
to represent on 
paper: while the 
w h o 1 e ends, or 
not, with the lower 
note of atricapU- 
liis. These notes 
may be called the 
dco dco dco day 
series. In rare in- 
stances they be- 
come a ravishing 
trill on high C, be- 
yond imitation or 
analysis. 

For the rest. 
Chickadee's notes 
divide themselves 
into squeaks, vocal 
notes, and wliis- 
1 1 e s. O f t li e 
scjueaks one is a 
very high-pitched, 

W h i n i n g note. Taken in Oregon. Photo by W. L. Finh-y. 

, . , 1 , L.ADEN WITH DAINTIES. 

which closely re- orecon chickadee near nest. 




278 



THE OREGON CHICKADEE. 



semliles the keep-in-tduch, or 



cry of the Western Golden-crowned 



Kinglet. The Chickadees employ this when in company with Kinglets, or 
while ranging thru the tree-tops when no other sound is audible in the 
woods. Then there is a regular squeaking trill which is oftenest prelimi- 
nar\- to the familiar dci' dcr ih'c dec Jrc (spoken) notes, but which some- 
times appears alone, as by suspension or change of intent. 

Of the whistled series the commonest are, first, a clearly rendered 
Iciisiccc, not unlike the "Sweetee" theme, btit of lower pilch and more trivial 

character ; and, second, the dco 
(li\i ilcii ilav series, already 
recorded. There is a striking 
resemblance between the whis- 
tled and the spoken series. 
The day day words correspond 
to the dec dco whistles, altho 
they are oftenest ])receded by 
a fairy sneeze, which we have 
con\'entionalized in "Chick"; 
and there is a spoken, or rather 
lisped, kiisi^'cw. which is very 
charming and delicate. A 
spoken trill occurs infre- 
(|uentl\-, and offers its analogy 
to l)oth whistle and squeak. 

These may seem like fine- 
spun distinctions. They are 
offered only to be forgotten; 
but the enjoyment of the next 
Chickadee troop you encounter 
will be enhanced by an effort 
to realize the striking variety 
of the notes heard. 

Contrary to the wont of 
most hole-nesting birds, the 
Chickadee belie\'es in warm 
lilankets. Into the chosen 
ca\-ity, whether natural or 
artificial, the birds lug im- 
mense quantities of moss, wool, hair, or rabbits" fur, until the place is half 
filled ; and the sitting bird, during the chilly days of late April and early May, 
is snug and warm. 

Ordinarilv, a hole is dug by the birds in a rotten stub at a height of two 




Taken in Oregon. 



Photo by Bohlmoit and I'l 

A TIGHT FIT. 

YOUNG OREGON CHICKADEE EMERGING FROM NEST. 



THE MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE. 279 

or three feet. The near presence of water is a prime requisite, and a low 
swampy woods is the favorite location. Sometimes a deserted nest of a 
Gairdner Woodpecker may be used; but, on the other hand, excavations 
may be made in green wood at no little cost of e.xertion on the part of 
the midgets. Several nests I have seen in willow and poplar trees, and at 
a height of fifteen or twentv feet. 

Young Chickadees are such cunning little creatures that the temptation 
to fondle them is sometimes irresistible. The parents may have very 
decided views as to the propriety of such action, or they may regard you 
as some benevolent giant whose ways are above suspicion. Not infrequentlv, 
if tlie }-oung are kindly treated, the parent bird will venture upon the hand 
or shoulder to pursue its necessary offices. 



No. 108. 

MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE. 

A. O. U. No. 738. Penthestes gambeli (Ridgway). 

Description. — .Idiilts in spriiiy and sninincr: Somewhat as in P. atricapillus, 
head and throat similar hut black interrupted by strong white superciliary stripe 
nearly or quite meeting fellow on forehead ; upperparts plain deep ashy gray, 
or mouse-gra)- ; wings and tail deeper gray with some pale grayish edging ; sides 
of head and neck white; underparts (except throat) dull white more or less 
washed on sides, flanks, and under tail-coverts with gray, .-idiilts in fall and 
zvintcr: Upperparts washed with buffy ; brownish on sides; some white edging 
on forehead and superciliary stripe broader. Young birds are duller as to black 
of head and neck, and have a less distinct superciliary. Length about 5.00 (127) ; 
wing 2.-^ (70) ; tail 2.35 (60) ; bill .40 ( 10.2) ; tarsus .70 (18). 

Recognition Marks. — \\'arbler size ; much like Oregon Chickadee, but white 
superciliary distinctive; range higher (on the average) than other species. 

Nesting. — Nest: quite as in atrical^illiis and similarly situated. Eggs: 5-8, 
pure zchitr. or only faintly marked with reddish brown. Av. size, .60 x .45 ( 15.2 x 
11.4). Season: I\ I ay ; one brood. 

General Range. — Mountains of western United States Irom the Rockies to 
the Pacific Coast; north to British Columbia (chiefly east of the Cascades) ; south 
to northern Lower California. 

Range in Washington. — Resident in the mountains and timbered foothills, 
chiefly east of the (Cascade) divide: casual at Seattle. 

Authorities. — ["Mountain Chickadee" Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 
(885), p. 22.] [Parns niontaniis. Gambel, Cooper and Suckley, Rep. Pac. R. R. 
Surv. XII. i860, p. 194. "Fort Dalles" ( Baird, "Fort Dalles, Oregon"). Not a 
valid Washington record.] Parns qaiuhdi Lawrence, Auk, Vol. IX. Tan. 1892, 
p. 47- C&S. L-. D'. D^ J. 

Specimens. — L^. of W. Prov. C. 



28o THE MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE. 

IT IS either accident nv tlie iiiethutlical hal)it of scrutinizing every 
passing bird which first reveals to you the Mountain Chickadee. He is quite 
simihu" in general appearance and conduct to the foregoing species, altho the 
white superciliarv line does confer a little air of distinction when you look 
closely. His n(jtes, so far as observed, are not different ; and he exhibits 
the cheerful confiding nature which makes the name oi Chickadee beloved. 

GainbcU is a bird of the fo(.ithills as well as of the mountains, and is 
confined almost exclusively to the East-side. I ha\-e not seen it on Puget 
Sound : but a dead bird was once brought by one of the school children to 
Miss A. L. Pollock, of Seattle. 

Both of the nests which have come under my observation have been 
placed in decayed stumps not abo\'e three feet from the ground. One, in 
a wild cherry stub in northern Ok'anogan County, contained fresh eggs on 
the i8th day of May. Their color had been ]iure white, but they were luuch 
soiled thru contact M'ith the miscellaneous stufi which made up the lining 
of the cavitv : moss, cow-hair, ra1>ljits" wool, wild ducks" down, hawks' casts, 
etc. The birds were not especially solicitous, altho once the female flew 
almost in my face as I was preparing the eggs for the cabinet. AikI then 
she sat quietly for several minutes on a twig not abo\e a foot from my eyes. 

On Senator Turner's grounds in Spokane — by permission — we came 
upon a nestful of well-grown young, on the 5th of June, 1906. The nest was 
two feet up in a stump, concealed by a cluiu]) of second-growth maples, pic- 
turesquely nestled at the base of a volcanic knob. Upon first discovery the 
parent birds both appeared with bills full of larvae, and scolded daintily. 
Finalh-, after several feints, one entered the nesting hole and fed, with our 
eyes not two feet remo\-ed. Photography was impossible because of the 
subdued light, but it was an unfailing source of interest to see the busy 
])arents hurrying to and fro and bringing incredible quantities of provisions 
in the shape of moths' eggs, spiders, wood-boring grubs, and winged creatures 
of a hundred sorts. Evidently the gardener knew what he was about in 
sheltering these unpaid assistants. Why, when it comes to horticulture, 
three pairs of Chickadees are equal to one Scotchman any day. 

The young were fully fledged, and tlie irrepressible of the flock (there 
is always an irrepressible) spent a good deal of time at the entrance shifting 
upon his toes, and wishing he dared venture out. The old l^rds fed incess- 
antlv, usually alighting upon the bark at one side of the hole and debating 
for a moment before plunging into the wooden cavern, whence issued a 
chorus of childish entreaties. 

The next morning our Chickadees had all flown, and upon l)reaking into 
tlie abandoned home we found a nest chamber some six inches in diameter, 
with its original warm lining mingled with fallen punk and trodden into an 
indistinguishable mass by the restless feet of the chick Chickadees. A special 



THE CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE. 281 

feature ui the interior constructidii was a km it, which had persisted as a hard 
core when the surnjunding punk had been removed. This had evidently been 
no end of amusement to tiie }-oung birds and of service to tlie parents as well, 
for its surface was polished by the friction of many Pentliestine toes. 



No. 109. 

CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE. 

A. O. U. No. 741. Penthestes rufescens Towns. 

Description. — Adults: Crown and nape dull sepia brown becoming sooty 
toward lateral Ixirder — black before and behind eye. separated from sooty black 
throat patch by large white area broadening posteriorly on sides of neck; back, 
scapulars, rump, and sides of body rich chestnut ; lesser wing-coverts grayish 
brown; upper tail-coverts hair-brown or more or less tinged with chestnut; wmgs 
and tail deeper grayish brown edged with paler gray ; remaining underparts 
(centrally) white; under tail-coverts washed with brownish; bill black; feet 
brownish dusky; iris brown. The brown of crown and hmd-neck deepens in 
winter. Young birds are duller in coloration, especially as to the chestnut of back 
and sides. Length about 4.75 ( i20.h) ; wing 2.35 (60) ; tail 1.90 (48.3) ; bill .37 
(9.5) ; tarsus .65 ( 16.5 ). 

Recognition Marivs. — I'ygmy size; chestnut of back and sides distinctive — 
otherwise not easily distinguished in the tree-tojis from P. a. occidcntalis. Fre- 
quents thicker timber and, usually, drier situations. 

Nesting. — Nest: in hole of dead stub, usually some natural cavity enlarged 
and customarily at moderate heights, 10-20 feet, a couch of fine bark-shreds, green 
moss, etc., heavily felted with squirrel-, rabbit-, or cow-hair, and other soft 
substances. Eggs: 7-9, pure white as to ground and sparingly sprinkled with 
reddish brown dots, chiefly about larger end. Av. size, .61 x .47 ( 15.5 x 11.9). 
Season: April 25-June 15 (according to altitude) ; one brood. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district, from northern California to Alaska 
( Prince William Sound and head of L}'nn Canal), east to Montana. 

Range in Washington. — Resident; abundant and thoroly distributed thru 
forests of Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound region, decreasing in numbers 
from Cascade divide eastward (in heavier coniferous timber only). (We have 
no records of its occurrence east of Stehekin.) 

Authorities. — Parus rufescens Townsend, lourn. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. YH. 
1837, 190. T. C&S. L'. Rh. Kb. Ra. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W . P. Prov. B. E. 

WHAT bus\- little midgets these are as thev go trooping thru the tree- 
tops intent on plunder! And what a merry war they wage on beetle and nit 
as thev scrutinize every crevice of bark and bract ! The bird eats insects at 



282 THE CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE. 

all times of Near, but his staple diet is fi.iriiied bv the eggs and larvae of insects. 
These afe found tucked away in woody crannies, or else grouped on the under 
surface of smaller limbs and persistent leaves, as of oak or madrone. 

On this account the Chickadee must frequently hang head downward; 
and this he d(.ies \ery gracefully, using his tail to balance with, much as a 
boy uses his legs in hanging from a "turning pole," swuiging to and fro a; 
tho he thoroly enjoyed it. 

If possible, the ChestniU-backcd Chickadee is a little more delicately 
moulded and mi:)re fay-like in demeanor than its gray-backed cousin, the 
Oregon Chickadee. Lhilike the latter, it is found commonly in the densest fir 
woods. It is found, also, in the oak groves (if the prairie country; and, in 
general, it may be said to prefer dry situations. No hard and fast lines can 
be drawn, however, in the distribution of the two species. In many sections 
the_v mingle freeh-, and are equally alnuidant. In others, either may be 
quite unaccountably absent. 

.\s nearly as we have made out to date, the commoner notes of the 
Chest nut -backed Chickadee closely simulate those of the Oregon. The szvccfcc 
call is either indistinguishable or a mere shade smaller. The sneezing note 
becomes UK.ire distinct as kcchc::^^'!^^ : and "CliiclauL-r" becomes kissailcc, 
the latter given so caressingly that you waul to ])inch the little darling. The 
Chestnutdjacked Chickadee has a rcallx' trul\' s<ing. liut it is anytlting rather 
than musical. When the emotion of A])ri] is no longer controllable, the 
minikin swain mounts a tir limb and raps out a series of notes as monotonous 
as those of a Chipping Sparrow. The trial is shorter and tlie movements less 
rapid, so that the half dozen notes of a uniform character ha\'e more individual 
distinctness than, say, in the case of the Sparrow: Chick cliick chick chick 
chick chick. Another performer may give each note a double character so 
that the whole ma\' sound like the snipjiing of a barber's sliears : Chulip 
chulip cliiilip chulip chulip. 

Mr. Bowles finds that in beginning a nesting ca\ity this bird almost 
always avails itself of some natural advantage, as a place from which a bit 
of wood has been torn awa)-, or a hole made by a grub of one of the larger 
Cerambycid beetles. On this account the bird enjoys a wider range of 
choice in nesting sites than africapilliis. Fir or oak stubs are oftenest chosen, 
and moderate heights are the rule: but I have seen birds go in and out of a 
nesting hole at an elevation of eighty feet. 

Every furred creattire of the woods may be asked to contriltute to the 
furnishing of Chickadee's home. Upon a mattress of fur and hair the bird 
lays from seven to nine eggs, white as to ground color, and sparingl}- dotted 
with pale rufous. Chickadees are close sitters and must sometimes be taken 
fi-oni the eggs. The\' have, mi>reover. a unique method of defense, for when 




CHESTiVUT-BACKED CHICKADF.E. 



284 THE BUSH-TIT. 



an eye appears at the entrance, the Ijird briblles up and hisses in a \ery snake- 
like fashion. This is too niucii for the nerves of a Chipmunk, and we guess 
that the single bro(jd of a Chickadee is not often disturbed 



No. 110. 

BUSH-TIT. 



A. O. U. No. 743. Psaltriparus minimus (Towns.). 

Synonyms. — Lii.xsx Ri>ii-tit. I'igict Sound Bush-tit. Pacific Bush-tit. 

Description. — Adults: Crown and hinchieck warm brown abruptly contrast- 
ing with dull leaden or mouse gray hue of remaining upperparts ; wings and tail 
slaty edged with pale gray; sides of head like crown but duller and paler; under- 
parts sordid brownish white deepening into dull drab on sides and flanks. Length 
about 4.00 ( loi ) ; wing 1.87 (47.5); tail 2.0s (52); bill .26 (6.9); tarsus .62 
(15-8). 

Recognition Marks. — PyS'^y size ; leaden coloration with brownish cap 
unmistakable. 

Nesting. — Nest: a pendulous pouch from six inches to a foot in length and 
three or four inches in diameter, with small entrance hole in side near top; an 
exquisite fabrication of mosses, plant-down and other soft vegetable substances 
bound together b}' cobwebs and ornamented externally with lichens, etc., lined 
with plant-down and feathers ; placed at moderate heights in bushes, rarely from 
ten to twenty feet up in hr trees. Eggs: 5-8, usually 7, dull white frequently 
discoloring to pale drab during incubation. Av. size .55 x .40 (13.9x10.2). 
Season: April-July; two or more broods. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from I^ijwer California to the Fraser 
River. 

Range in Washington. — Resident west of the Cascades at lower levels, rare 
northerly — perhaps nearly confined to the I^uget Sound basin. 

Authorities. — Pains iiiiniiiius, Townsend, Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila., VH. 
1837, 190 (Columbia River). C&S. Ra. Kk. B."E. 

Specimens. — L^. of W. Prov. B. 

IT IS an age of specialists. The man who could do anything — after 
a fashion — has gi\en place to the man who can do one thing well. And in 
this we liave but followed Natiu'e's example. The birds are specialists. 
The Loon is a diver ; the Cormorant a fisher ; the Petrel a mariner, and so 
on inilil we come to Swallows, who are either masons or mining engineers; 
and to Catbird and Thrush, who are trained musicians. 

The Bush-Tits belong to the builders' caste. They are specialists in 
domestic architecture. The little Ijirds not onl\- enjov their task; they have 
nestd)uilding" on the jjrain. A beautifid home is more than meat to them. 



THE BUSH-TIT. 



28^^ 



For its succt'sstul rearing they are ready t(_) forswear the delights df foreign 
tra\'el, and to its eniijellishnient tliey de\'Ote e\'erv surplus energy, even after 
the children have come. 

If there were time it would be interesting to trace the genesis of this 
architectural passion. Sufhce it tij sav that the Bush-Tit comes of a race of 
l.)uilders. They call him Tit, a name shared in common with all the Chicka- 
dees; and Chickadee he is in structure and ljeha\ior, in his absolute indiiTer- 
encc to ]josition or balance, in lu's daintiness and sjirightliness. .\'iiw Chicka- 
dees, altho they sj^^sss-v,,- 
have lost the art 
of building, are 
specialists in nest- 
lining. (A nest 
lined with rabbit- 
fur means as 
much to a Chicka- 
dee as does a seal- 
skin jacket to 
you, my lady ! ) 
Hence the Chick- 
adee strain is not 
lost upon our sub- 
ject. The Tit, 
fm"ther, shows liis 
afflnity with the 
Kinglets in a 
liabit of restlessly 
flirting the wings ; 
and the Kinglets, 
as we know, are 
master builders. 
But it is to the 
Wrens that the 
Bush - Tit owes 
most of all, and 
especially to the 
Tule Wren, for 
he has taken the 
general concep- 
tion of a com- 
pletely enclosed 
nest and worked 




Taken lu Tocoina. 



Photo by DiKi'soit and Bozclcs. 



NEST OF THE BUSH-TIT IN SITU. 



286 



THE BUSH-TIT. 



it uiit more daintily. This, by the way, is no fanciful comjiarison, for there 
is a strong strain of Wren blood in Bush-Tit's veins. 

Nest-building begins on Puget Sound about the middle of March, at a 
time when the shrubber}- is only beginning to leaf. Early nests, like the one 
in our illustration, may be perfectly exposed. Indeed, the birds appear to be 
at no pains to effect concealment, but trust to the general protection afforded 
by the presence of other such masses, the withered panicles of "ocean spray" 
or spiraea, drooping mosses, and collections of unfallen leaves, in the draperies 
of the underforest. The pendant pouch is composed chiefl)- of moss niade 
fast by vegetable fibres and cob-webs, and snugly felted with vegetable downs. 
The lining is composed sometimes exclusively of white felt, Ijut oftener of 
plant-down mingled with wool, fur, or feathers. 

Egg-laj'ing may begin as soon as the nest is decently framed, or again, it 
may be deferred for a week or ten da}s after the structure is practically com- 

p 1 e t e. But, 
however that 
may be, the 
birds ne\'er rest 
from their la- 
in )rs. A Bush- 
Tit's nest is 
like the James- 
t o w n F a i r, 
ne\-er finished. 
The nest must 
be ornamented 
w i t h lichens, 
Photo by petals, spider- 

Bohlman and Fitilcy. . . 

egg cases, bits 
of tissue pa- 
per, — in short, whatever takes the fancy of the birds in the course of their 
restless foravs. The interior furnishings, likewise, must be continually aug- 
mented. If the bottom of the nest \vas only an inch thick at the outset, it is 
built up from within until it attains a thickness of two or three inches. Even 
tho the eggs be near to hatching, the tlu-ifty hcaisewife, as she returns from 
an airing, must needs lug in a l)eakful of feathers, which it would have been 
a shame to waste, )-ou know. Besides this, the male bird has two or three 
shanties under construction in the neighborhood, upon which lie can profit- 
ably put in those tedious hours between three a. m. and sunset. 

The mother Tit lays six or eight pearly white eggs, and these the Steller 
Jay counts quite the daintiest item on his bill of fare. Hence, of all the 
Bush-Tits' nests one sees in a season, fnll\- half have been slit open and 




BUSH-TIT. 



THE SLENDER-BILLED NUTHATCH. 287 

robbed by the blue-coateil thug. One such tragedy, with its luiman interest, 
is reported for us by Miss Adelaide L. Pollock, the well-known bird-lover 
of Seattle, as follows : 

"We found tlie lung piu"se-shaped nest swinging from the lower branches 
of a giant red lir July 8th. and every day thereafter for two weeks some 
member of our class in ornithology visited the castle in the air. It was woven 
with a silken foundation gleaned in the cobwebs nf the forest, lined with the 
pappus of the willnw anil the thistle, andthinked with moss, lichen, and faded 
hazel blossoms. With an eye to man- fashion, the architects had papered the 
home, but <jnly in spots on the outside. What a delight it was to watch the 
parent birds light on the doorstep with a worm and plunge inside. By the 
wriggling and swaying of the nest we knew there was something doing" there, 
but we had to guess at the gaping mouths. Jul\' ijtli was a dreadful dav for 
the nestlings. We heard the pitiful notes of birds in distress as we approached 
and found the nest w-as gone. Searching the ground it appeared with a great 
gaping hole in one side, which told of the work of ja\', crow, or chipmunk. 
On investigation a tiny dead bunch of feathers was draw^n out; and then 
something mo\"ed. The nest was tied to a hazel Ijranch and quick as a thought 
the parents went in at the front and out at the new liack door. Gaining 
courage they tried again, this time wdth food, and within the hour had apjiar- 
ently forgotten their tragedy and settled down with the iine wee chick. While 
the parents were foraging w?e opened the slit and the way that I)al)v I:)ird 
turned tail-u|) and buried its head in tlie lining of the nest reminded us of 
the ostrich. 

"July JOth we saw the youngster scramble u]) the sides of his home to 
the doorway, where he (.lerched blinking his round brown eves at us. He 
seemed to enjoy having his throat and back scratched and did not resent our 
presence, but his parents did, for the nest was deserted at sundown of Jul\- 
22d after a long visit from the class in the afternoon. Yet the tinv fledgling 
could scarcely leap from twig to twig of the tangled undergrowth into which 
he disappeared. Two da_\'s later we fancied we recognized the same faniih' 
by a peculiar white iris of one parent bird, as thev flitted from branch to 
branch of an alder forty feet above the ground." 



No. III. 

SLENDER-BILLED NUTHATCH. 

A. O. U. No. 727a. Sitta carolinensis aculeata (Cassin). 
Description. — Adult male: Top of head, nape and upper boundary of back 
shining black, with a slight greenish reflection; remaining upperparts ashv blue; 



288 THE SLENDER-BILLED NUTHATCH. 

outer wing-quills fuscous, the second and three or four succeeding primaries 
narrowly touched with white on outer weh in retreating order ; inner quills and 
coverts with much black centering; tail feathers, except upper pair, black, the 
outer pairs squarely bUitcbed with white in subterminal to terminal order ; sides of 
head, and neck well up, and nnderparts white with a faint bluish tinge; distinctly 
marked, or washed more or less, on flanks and crissum with rusty brown ; bill 
stout, subulate, the under mandible slightly recurved, — blackish plumbeous above, 
lighter at base of lower mandible ; feet dark brown ; iris brown. Adult female: 
similar to male, but black of head and back more or less veiled by color of back. 
Length 5.50-6.10 ( 139.7-154.9) ; wing' 3.43 (87) ; tail 1.81 (46) ; bill .77 (19.5) ; 
tarsus .72 ( 18.2 ). 

Recognition Marks. — W'arliler to Sparrow size; tree-creeping habits; black 
and ashy blue above ; wdiite below. 

Nesting. — Nest: a deserted Woodpecker hole, or newly-made cavity in 
stump or tree, usually at a considerable distance frotn the ground, and lined with 
leaves, feathers, or hair. Eggs: 5-8, sometimes 9 or even 10, white, thickly 
speckled and spotted with reddish brown and lavender. Av. size, .76 .x .56 
( 19.3 X 14.2 ). Season: .April, May ; one brood. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast states and British Columbia (to Ashcroft), 
in the northern portion of its range east of the Cascades. Non-migratory. 

Range in Washington. — Resident, of regular occurrence in pine timber east 
of Cascades; rare antl local in Puget Sound region. 

Authorities. — ? Townsend, Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. VHP 1839, 155 
(Columbia River). Sitta aculeata. Cassin, Cooper and Sucklev, Rep. Pac. R. R. 
Surv. XH. pt. n. i860, p. 193. (T.) C&S. Rh. D'. Ra. J. P. " 

Specimens. — (LI. of W. ) Prov. C. 

JJ'lio-eiv' Q-o-o-u-0-0-0-0-0-0 goes the Macfarlane Screech (3wl in l)road 
daylight. There is an instant hush on the pine-clad hillside — a hush followed 
by an excited murnnu- of inquiry among the scattered nieinbers of a winter 
bird-troop. If you happen to be the Screech Owl, seated motionless at the 
base of some large tree and half obscured in its shadows, perhaps the first in- 
timation you will have that the search party is on your trail will be the click, 
click, click, of tin}' claws on the tree-bole above your head, followed by a 
quank of interrogation, almost comical for its mi.xture of baffled anxiety and 
dawtiing susjDicion of the truth. He is an inquisitive fellow, this Nuthatch, 
for, you see, prying is his business ; but he is bra\-e as well. The chances are 
that he will venture down within a foot or two of your face before he flutters 
off with a loud outcry of alarm. When excited, as when regarding a suspi- 
cious object, lie has an odd fashion of rapidly right-and-left facing on a hori- 
zontal bough, as tho to try both eyes on you and lose no time between. 

Nuthatch is the acknowledged acrobat of the woods — not that he acts for 
display; it is all business with him. A tree is a complete gymnasium in itself, 
and the bird is master of it all. In all positions, any side up, this bird is there, 
fearless, confident ; in fact, he rather jirefers tra\-eling head downw-ard, espec- 



THE SLENDER-BILLED NUTHATCH. 289 

ially on the main trunk route. He pries under bark-scales and lichens, peers 
into crevices and explores cavities in his search for tiny insects, larvje, and 
insects' eggs, especially the latter. The value of the service which this bird 
and his associates perform for the horticulturist is simply incalculable. There 
should be as hea\-y a penalty imposed upon one who wantonly kills a Nuthatch 
or a Chickadee, as upon one who enters an enclosure and cuts down an 
orchard or a shade tree. 

The Nuthatch has a \ariety of notes, all distinguished by a peculiar nasal 
quality. \Vhen hunting with the troop he gives an occasional softly resonant 
tilt or tut-tut, as if to remind his fellows that all's well. The halloo note is 
more decided, tin, pronounced a la fmiicaisc. By means of this note and by 
using it in ccimbination, they seem to be able to carry on quite an animated 
conversation, calling across from tree to tree. During the mating season, 
and often at other times, they have an even more decided and distinctive note, 
qiionk, (juonk, quoiik, or lio-onk, lio-oiik, in moderate pitch, and with deliber- 
ation. They have also a sort of trumpeting song, but this is rarely heard in 
Washington; and, indeed, all the notes of the Slender-billed Nuthatch have 
a softened and subdued character as compared with tliose of the eastern bird, 
typical S. carolincnsis. 

The nest of this Nuthatch is placed in a cavity carefully chiselled out, 
usually at a considerable height, in a pine stub, dead fir, or cottonwood. Both 
sexes share the labor of excavation, and when the cavity is somewhat deep- 
ened one bird removes the chips while the other delves. Like all the hole- 
nesting species of this famil}-, but unlike the Woodpeckers, the Nuthatches 
provide for tlieir home an abundant lining of moss, fur, feathers, and the like. 
This precaution is justified from the fact that thev are early nesters — com- 
plete sets of eggs being found no later than the second week in April. 

The male is a devotetl hu.sband and father, feeding the female incessantly 
during incubation, and sharing with her in the care of the large family long 
after many birds have forgotten their young. The young birds early learn 
to creep up to the mouth of the nesting hole to receive food when their turn 
comes: and they are said to crawl about tlie parental tree for some davs 
before they attempt flight. 

The Slender-billed Nuthatch is of rare occurrence west of the Cascades, 
being chiei^y confined to the wooded edges of the prairies. In the eastern 
half of the State it mav be rare locally but increases in abundance in the north- 
eastern section, ^^^^ere\•er found, this bird associates freely with the related 
species and is especiallv fond of the societv of the Pygmies. A winter bird 
troop encountered near Spokane included, beside a half dozen Slender-bills, 
as manv Red-breasted Nuthatches, a score of Pygmies, a dozen Mountain 
Chickadees, four or five Batchelder W'oodpeckers, a few Clark Nutcrackers, 
and twentv Red-shafted Flickers. 



290 THE RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH. 

Being non-migratory (with the irregular exception of S. canadensis) 
Nuthatclies are called upon to endure the rigors of a northern climate witli its 
occasional drop to thirty helow : hut this does not give them or their fellows 
great concern, because of the unfailing character of their food su])pl\'. Beside 
that, please remember that feathers and fat afford the warmest protection 
known. 



No. 112. 

RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH. 

A, O. U. No. y28. Sitta canadensis Linn. 

Synonyms. — Red-belliEd Nuth.\Tch. Canadi.\n NuTh.vTch. 

Description. — Adult male: Crown and nape shining black; white sup- 
erciliary lines meeting on extreme forehead; a black band thru eye; remaining 
upperparts grayish blue ; wings fuscous, unmarked ; tail feathers, except upper 
pair, black ; the outer pairs subterminally blotched with white in retreating order ; 
chin, and sides of head, and neck below the black, pure white; remaining under- 
parts rusty or ochraceous brown : bill short, subulate, plumbeous-black ; feet dark 
brown. Adult female: Similar, but crown like the back, with only traces of black 
beneath; lateral head-stripe blackish: usually paler rusty below. Immature: 
Like adult female. Length, 4.25-4.75 (108-120.6); average of seven specimens.' 
wings 2/>i (C>(^>.T,) ; tail 1.43 (36.3) ; bill .50 (12.7). 

Recognition Marks. — Pygmy size; black and grayish blue above; rustv 
below ; tree-creeping habits. 

Nesting. — Nest: of grasses, feathers, etc., in a hole of tree or stub, excavated 
by the bird, usually at lower levels. Egcjs: 4-6, white or creamy white, speckled 
with reddi.sh brown and lavender, .\verage size, .63 x .4S (16x12.2). Season: 
first week in May ; one brood. 

General Range. — North America at large, breeding from northern New 
England, northern New York, and northern Michigan northward, and southward 
in the .Mleghanies, Rocky IMountains, and Sierra Nevada ; in winter south to 
about the southern border of the United States. 

Range in Washington. — Common resident and migrant in timbered sections 
thruout the State, more numerous in the mountains; winter residents are, possibly, 
Alaskan birds. 

Authorities. — ? ( )rnithological Committee, Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. \'II. 
1837, 193 (Columl)ia River). Cooper and Suckley, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. XTI. 
pt. n. i860, 192. T. C&S. Rh. D'. Sr. Ra. D-\ Kk. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P". Prov. B. 

THERE is nothing big about the Red-breasted Nuthatch save his voice. 
If undisturbed, birdikins pursues the even tenor of his ways, like any other 
winged bug-lnmter : but once provoke his curiosity or arouse suspicion. 



THE RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH. 



291 



and he jniljlislies f(.)rth\vitli a broadside of seiisalional e(lit(_)rial matter 
which 110 thoughtful reader of the woods can overlook. The full 
war-dance song of the Red-breasted Nuthatch, executed, for instance, 
wdien he hears tlie false notes of the Screech Owl. is something like this: 



iiyaa iiyaa nyaa nyaa nyaa 

nyd iiyii iiya iiyu iiyCi iiya nya nydnya and soon, in an incoherent 



Nyaa 
nya nyd 

strain of wild excitement, 
until he runs clean out of 
breath and quits, exhausted. 
The early notes of this orgic 
rhapsody are interrogative and 
penetrating; the succeeding 
notes are a sort of trumpeting 
challenge for the intruder to 
show himself: failing which, 
the irate Creeper drops into a 
lower, non-resonant series, of 
doubtful meaning and more 
doubtful morals. But the bird 
is not always angry, and the 
nasal call sounding on migra- 
tion has a friendlv qualitv 
about it which brings one has- 
tening out-of-doors to greet 
the traveler again. Contrary 
to an early report, the Red- 
breast is quite at home in our 
deeper forests. Indeed, his is 
one of the most characteristic 
voices of the solemn fir woods. 
He still claims an interest 
however, in fleciduous timber, 
in bottom lands, and in the 
oak trees which border the 
prairies. In western Washing- 
ton, it is quite impossible to 
trace or to estimate the bird's 
migrations, since it is present everywhere at all seasons ; but it is probably 
much less abundant with us in winter. In eastern Washington, it is 
confined for the most part to the region of pine timber in summer, 
and altho it also winters here irregularl\-, the numbers in this part 
of the State are largely augmented by migrants during May and September. 




RED-BRE.\STED XUTH.VTCH. 



292 



THE RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH. 



'I'hiu the iineniiittfrn (|uaiil<iiiy nf a pair nf iIk-sc Ijinls, my attentiun was 
directed to a cnuple of tall ilead tir trees near the center of a woods, then 
known as the Puget Mill strip, but now as Moore's University Park Addition 
to Seattle. .A little lazv scrutin\- descried the birds, mere twinkling bits of 
blue-grav, about one hundred and tweiity-tive feet up; and two or three mys- 
teri(_ius disappearances established a suspicion that they were interested in a 
certain section of one of the trees. The sus]»icion received strong confirma- 
tion when, after a longer disappearance than usual on the part of the Red- 
breasts, a Harris 
Woodpecker alight- 
ed further up in the 
same s t u I). The 
Nuthatches immeili- 
ately swarmed out 
and set u])on the 
Harris with \igor 
and language. The 
Woodpecker was dis- 
posed to stand his 
groiuid, whereat the 
Nuthatches became 
liigiiK' enraged and 
charged upon the in- 
truder so vigorously 
that the ])oor fellmv 
was obliged to dodge 
about his chosen limb 
in li\elv fashion. 
The Hatches cried 
iiyci iiya nyd as fast 
as they could get 
breath, and flirted 
their wings between 
whiles to \'ent their 
outraged feelings. 
Harris naturall\' de- 
cided before long 
that the game wasn't 
wortli the bother. 
Time and again 

Taken in Pierce Lounty. Photo by the Author. .. . - 

A TYPIC.M, NESTING SITE OF THE RED-BRE.'^STED NUTH.\TCH. 16 1 6 6 OWS CW 

1 r* fo ^s fci 1 li\'P Til* 

AN OAK TREE (QUERCUS GARRYANA) AT TTIE BORDER OF THE PRAIRIE. ci«^ivj.->0 tKJ cl ii\^ ill 




THE PYGMY NUTHATCH. 293 

tree, Imt i)nl_\" to cnnie back as often to the same fascinating bell. Finall\'. 
from a new vantage point 1 made out the hole, a ver_\- fresh one in an open 
stretch of bark al^otit one hundred and twenty feet u]). As I looked, one 
bird entered the exca\'alion and remained, while the other nn united guard at 
the entrance. After about fi\-e minutes of this the tiny miner emerged and 
the other, the male, I think, trxjk her place. His duty ap])eared to be to 
remove the chips, for lie stuck his head out at the entrance nionienlarih-, and 
one imagined, rather than saw at that height, the tiny flashes of falling white. 
All \'ery romantic, Ijut not a good "risk" from the insurance man's standpoint. 

These Nuthatches must delight in work. Tlie\- will spend a week in 
laborious excavation, and then abandon the claim for no apparent reason. 
Perha]is it is an outcropping of that same instinct of restlessness which makes 
Wrens build "<lecoy" nests. One such finished nest we fi.uuid to be sliajied 
not unlike a nursing bottle, a bottle with a bent neck. The entrance was one and 
three-eighths inches across, the ca\'ity three inches wide, one and a half dee]), and 
eight long ( kee|:)ing in mind the analogy of the bottle resting on its flat side). 

The birds do not alwa_\'s nest at ungetatable heights. A nest taken near 
Tacoma on the 8th of June, 1906, was found at a height of only se\-en feet in 
a small fir stump. The wood was verv rotten, and the eggs rested onl\- four 
inches below the entrance. The nest-lining in this instance was a heavy mat 
an inch in thickness, and \\as cC)mposed of vegetable matter — wood fiber, soft 
grasses, etc. — without hair of any sort, as would sin-ely have been the case 
with that of a Chestnut-backed Chickadee, for which it was at first taken. 

The Nuthatches appear to leave their eggs during the warmer hours of 
the (la\', and one must await the return of the truant owners if he would be 
sure of identification. One mark, but not infallible, is the presence of pitch, 
smeared all around and especially below the nesting hole. The use of this is 
not quite certain, but Mr. Bowles's hazard is a good one; viz., that it serves 
to ward otT the ants, which are often a pest to hole-nesting birds. These ants 
not only annoy the sitting bird, who is presumabl}- able to defend herself, but 
they sometimes destroy unguarded eggs, or }-oung birds. 



No. 113. 

PYGMY NUTHATCH. 

A. O. U. No. 730. Sitta pygm^a \'igors. 

Synonym. — California Nuthatch (early name). 

Description. — .Idtilts: Crown, nape, and sides of head to below eye grayish 
olive or olive-brown, a buffy white spot on hind-neck (nearly concealed in fresh 
plumage) : lores and region behind eye (bounding the olive) blackish: remaining 
upperparts plumbeous, browning (brownish slate) on flight feathers, etc., beconi- 



294 THE PYGMY NUTHATCH. 

ing black on rcctrices (except central pair) ; longer ])rimaries usually with some 
edging of white: central pair of tail-feathers with elongated white spot; two outer 
pairs crossed obliijuely with white, and the three outer tipped with slate; under- 
parts sordid white, smoky brown, or even ferruginous, clearest (nearly white) 
on chin and cheeks ; sides, flanks, and crissum washed with color of back ; bill 
[jlumbeous, lightening below; feet plumbeous; iris black. ]'oiiiiy: Like adults but 
crown and hind-neck nearly color of back ; sides and flanks washed with brownish. 
Length 4.00 ( 101.6 ) or less ; wing 2.56 (65 ) ; tail 1.34 ( 34) ; bill .56 ( 14. 2j ; tarsus 
•59 (IS). 

Recognition Marks. — Pygmy size; top of head olive brown contrasting with 
plumbeous of back; gregarious habits. 

Nesting. — Nest: a hole in dead top of pine tiee, excavated by birds, smeared 
about entrance with pitch, and lined with soft substances, grass, hair, and 
feathers. Eggs: 5-8, pure white, flecked more or less heavily with reddish brown. 
Av. size. .61 X .34 ( 15.5 X 13.7 ). Season: May 1-20; one brood. 

General Range. — Western L'nited States from New Alexico, Colorado, and 
Montana to southern California, ^^'ashington, and eastern British Columbia; 
southward in ^[exico to Mount Orizaba. 

Range in Washington. — Resident in niirthern and eastern portions of the 
State east of the Cascade Mountains. Nearly confined to pine timber. 

Authorities.— Baird, liep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. pt. H. 1858, p. 378. C&S. 
D-. J. 

Specimens. — Prov. C. 

AS for the Pygmy, the pine tree is his lnjiiie. It is not quite proper, 
liowever, to speak of this Nuthatch in the singular. Lilliputians must 
hunt in troops and make up in numbers what they lack in strength. Pygmy 
Nuthatches are not merely sociable; the_\- are almost gregarious. Where 
a company of Kinglets would be content to straggle thru a dozen trees, 
a pack of Pygmies prefers to assemble in one. Yet there is no flock im- 
pulse here, as with Siskins. Each little elf is his own master, and a 
company of them is more like a crowd of merry schoolboys than anything 
else. It's "come on fellers," when one of the boys tires of a given tree, 
and sets out for another. The rest follow at leisure but are soon re- 
assembled, and there is much jolly chatter with some good-natured scuffling, as 
the confederated mischiefs swarm over the new field of opportunity. 

Ntilhatches are not methodical, like Creepers, in their search for in- 
sects, — they are haphazard and happy. The branches are more attractive 
to them than the tree bole, and the dead top of the tree is most alluring 
of all. The Pygmies are never too busy to talk. The more they find the more 
excited their chatter grows, pretty lispings and chirpings quite too dainty for 
our dull ears. It makes us sigh to watch their iiappiness, and we go of¥ 
muttering, "We, too, were young." 

Again, it shocks us when we find these youngsters in knickerbockers 



THE SIERRA CREEPER. 295 

and braids paired off for nesting time. Tut, tut! chiklren, so eager to taste 
life's heavier joys? A nest is chiselled out with inlinite labor on the part 
of these tiny beaks, in the dead portion of some pine tree. The cavity is 
from four io tweh'e inches in depth, with an entrance a trifle over an inch 
in diameter. The owners share the taste of the Chickadees, and prepare 
an tlalji.irate layette of soft vegetable fibers, fur, hair, and feathers, in 
which the eggs are sometimes quite smothered. 

The parents are as proud as peacocks, and well they may be, of their 
six or eight oval treasures, crystal white, with rufous frecklings, lavish 
or scant. \\'hen the baisies are hatched, the mother goes in and out fear- 
lessly under your very nose ; and you feel such an interest in the little family 
that you pluck instinctively — but alas ! with what futility — at the fastenings 
of your purse. 



No. 114. 
SIERRA CREEPER. 

A. O. U. No. 726 d. Certhia familiaris zelotes Osgood. 

Synonym. — California CrEKpi;r (Ridgway). 

Description. — Adults: Above rusty brown, broadly and loosely streaked 
with ashy white ; more finely and narrowly streaked on crown ; rump bright 
russet : wing-quills crossed by two whitish bars, one on both webs near base, 
the other on outer webs alone ; greater coverts, secondaries and tertials tipped 
with whitish or gra}-ish buff; a narrow superciliary stripe dull whitish or brown- 
ish gray ; underparts sordid white or pale buffy, tinged on sides and flanks with 
stronger buffy. Bill slender, decurved, brownish black above paler below ; feet 
and legs brown; iris dark brown. Length of adult male about 5.50 (139.7); 
wing 2.50 (63.5); tail 2.39 (60.8); bill .63 (16); tarsus .59 (15). Female a 
little smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; singularly variegated in modest colors 
above ; the only brown creeper in its range. Lighter colored than the ne.xt. 

Nesting. — Nest: of twigs, bark-strips, moss, plant-down, etc., crowded be- 
hind a warping scale of bark whether of cedar, pine or fir. Eggs: usually 5 or 6, 
sometimes 7 or 8, white or creamy white speckled and spotted with cinnamon 
brown or hazel, chiefly in wreath about larger end. Av. Size .61 x .47 (15.5X 
II.9). 

General Range. — The Cascade-Sierra mountain system from Mt. Whitney 
north to central British Columbia, east to Idaho ; displaced by succeeding form 
on Pacific Coast slope save from ^larin County, California, southward. 

Range in Washington. — Resident in the Cascade Mountains, east in coni- 
ferous timber to Idaho where intergrading with C. f. montana. 

Authorities. — ? Certhia familiaris iiiontana Johnson (Roswell H.), Condor, 
Yol. \TII.. Jan. 1906, p. 27. 

Specimens. — U. of W. B. 



296 THE TAWNY CREEPER. 

PEOPLE are al\va3-s remonstrating with the bird-man fur the asser- 
tion that birds are to be found everywhere if you but know them. Especi- 
ally do they talk of the great silent forests on the western slopes of the 
Cascade Mountains, wdiere they have traveled for forty miles at a stretch 
withotit seeing or hearing a living thing. Well ; you cannot show me a 
square mile of woodland in all that area where at least the following 
species of birds may not be found : Western Winter Wren, Western Golden- 
crowned Kinglet, W'estern Flycatcher, Varied Thrush and California 
Creeper'' ; and these, except the Flycatcher, at any season of the year. 
Silent birds they are for the most part, l)ut each gives vent to a character- 
istic cry by which it may be known. 

The Creeper is, par excellence, the bird of the forest. To him alone 
the very bigness of the trees is of the greatest service ; for his specialty 
is Ijark, and the more bark there is the harder is this little atom to dis- 
tinguish. Not only does he inhabit the deeper forests of the Cascade ranges 
and foothills, but his domain stretches eastward across the northern tier 
of ].)ine-clad counties, and he is common aniung the tamaracks on the banks 
of the Pend d'Oreille. 

In June, in the Stehekin N'alley of Chelan Count}', we found these 
Creepers leading about troops (if fully grown )-oung. A recently occu- 
pied nest was disclosed to us by a few twigs sticking out from behind 
a curled-up bark scale of a fire-killed tree, near the Cascade trail. The 
twigs proved to be eighteen inches beli.>w the top of the nest proper, 
which was thus about twelve feet from the ground. The intervening space 
was filled in loosel}' with twigs, bark-strips, moss, cotton, and every other 
sort of woodsy loot. The mass was topped by a crescent-shaped cushion 
over an inch in thickness, deeply hollowed in the center, six inches from 
horn to horn, and four and a half from bole to bark; and this cushion 
was composed entirely of soft inner bark-strips and a \-egetable fiber re- 
sembling flax in qualit^- — altogether a s])len(lid creation. 



No. 115. 
TAWNY CREEPER. 

A. O. U. No. 726 c. Certhia familiaris occidentalis Ridgway. 
Synonym. — C-\liforxi.\x CrHepKR (A. O. U.). 

Description. — "Similar to C. f. zelotes but browner and more suiTused with 
bufTy above: wing markings more pronouncedly butT: underparts more buiTy" 



a. Shading into tlie following variety, C. f. occidentalis. upon the lower levels. 



THE TAWNY CREEPER. 297 

(Ridgway ). Length of male-; wing 2.44 ( 61.9 ) ; tail 2.41 (61.2) ; bill .60 ( 15.2) ; 
tarsus .61 ( 13.5 ). 

Recognition Marks. — As in preceding; darker. 

Nesting. — Xcst: as in preceding; placed behind sprung bark scale usually 
at moderate heights, 3-20 feet up (one record of 60). Inner diameter of one 
nest 1% inches, depth 23/. Eggs: 5 or 6, as in C. f. zelotcs. Av. size .58 x .47 
(14.7X II. 9). Season: May, June; two broods. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from Northern California to Sitka. 

Range in Washington. — Resident thruout the West-side from tidewater up. 

Authorities. — ': Ccrtliia familiaris Orn. Com. Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila., 
\'II. 18^7, 193 (Columbia River). CcrtJiia anicricana Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. 
Surv.. IX. 1858, p. 372, part. (T). C&S. L'. Rh. Ra. B. E. 

Specimens. — U. of \\'. Prov. P>N. 

TO one who lo\-es birds with an all inclusi\'e passion — such as the 
undecided bachelor is wont to confess for the fair sex — the temptation 
to use superlatives upon each successive species as it is brought under review 
is very strong. But here perhaps we may be pardoned for relaxing our 
attention, or, it may be. for being caught in the act of stifling a little yawn. 
Cerfliia is a prosy drab, and all the beauty she possesses is in the eyes of her 
little hubby — dear, devoted creature. 

This clerkling ( huljby, of course, I mean) was brought into the world 
behind a bit of bark. His first steps, or creeps, were taken along the 
bark of the home tree. When the little wings got stronger and wdien 
the little claws had carried him up to the top of tree number One, he 
fluttered and spilled thru tlie air until he pulled up sonielniw. with heart 
beating fiercely, at the base and 011 the bark of tree number Two. Since 
then he has climbed an almost infinit}' of trees (but I dare say he has 
kept count ). Summers and winters have gone o\-er his head, but never 
a waking hour in wdiich he has not climbed and tumbled in this worse 
than Svsiphasan task of gleaning nits and eggs and grubs from the never- 
ending bark. Why, it gets upon the nerves ! I pray }'ou think, has not 
this animate brow'U spot traveled more relati\-e miles of ridgy brown bark 
in his wee lifetime than ever mariner on billowy sea! W'ork, work, work! 
With the industry of an Oriental he seeks to shame the rollicking caprice 
of Chickadee, and to be a "living example" to such spendthrifts as Goldikins, 
the Kinglet. 

But wait ! I am not sure. Could anyone live in these majestic forests, 
could anyone breathe this incense of perpetual balsam, could anyone mount 
triumphantly these aspiring tree-boles, way, way up into the blue, without 
growing the soul of a poet? Hark! "Teiv, tczvy, tczvy, Ping, tczvy," — an 



298 



THE TAWNY CREEPER. 



angel dilty lisi)e(l in llie Iree-tojjs where tlie tender green fir fronds melt into 
the sky — some Warhler, I guess; the Hermit, ])erha|.)S, rnuncHngout liis unsaid 

devotions. And again, ' /'"-^ j^,,/ .^ ^ szvcc" like a garland of song caught 



It Ice 



up at either end and maile fast to the ether. No ! Would you believe it ! 



It 



IS our prosy clerkhng! 



He has turned fay, and goes carolling about his 



task as blithely as a bejewelled artish' with nothing to do. Love? Yes; 

love of the woods, for it is the mid- 
dle of September. 

All n{ which leads me to apologize 
for the rude epithets pre\-iously used ; 
for one who can sing belongs to the 
immiirials: and never again will we 
judge a brother harshly, for who 
knows the vaulting heart of the 
seeming plodder! 

The ordinary, working note of 
the Tawny Creeper is a faint 
tsip. and this is varied from time 
to time bv a longer double n(jte, 
fsnr tsce (of a resonant quality 
which cannot be made to appear 
in the transcript). This latter it 
is which one can never C|uite cer- 
tainly distinguish from that of the 
Western Gijlden-crowned Kinglet. 
The full song is, indeed, very 
sweet and dainty, with a bit of 
a plaintive cjuality, which serves to 
distinguish it from the utterances 
of the W^ood Warblers, once you are 
accustomed. 
A knowledge of the Creeper's nesting habits would be quite unattainable 
were the bird to choose the tree-tops; but with characteristic humilit}' it seeks 
the lower le\'els at the nesting season, so that one need not look much abo\e 
his head in searching for its nest. 

The first one found was at the edge of the forest overlooking a woodland 
road near Tacoma. We came u])on a pair of the l)irds gleaning from the 
neighboring trees and calling encouragement to each other as they proceeded. 
W^e were not long in divining their local attachments: and finally, after several 
feints, the mother bird flew to an isolated tree at the very edge of the woods, 
where investigatiijn disclosed a piece of bark warped and sprung by fire. 











Wl'^-'^M 




- •-> 


! 






• * ■ 






'1 


J 




J j^i; . i 


f^ 


,'i^^x 


'*^^Pi'" 




W;«V*. J^-^^^^'i'' 


E <m;"- 


'^'J ' 


^i^w^ 


4 If 


^- 


Mk iW^^k,^-^- 


•■ ^. i 


^m 


WNi^&f-rm^tm 


waa^Bi^Km 



Taken near Tacoma. Photo by Boiclcs and Dai<'SO}t, 
TAWNY CREEPER APPROACHING NEST. 

THE mother's beak IS LADEN WITH GOOD THINGS. 




Taken near Tacoma. Photo by IV. Leon Dawson. 

NESTING SITE OF THE TAWNY CREEPER. 



30O 



THE TAWNY CREEPER. 




Tahcn near Tucotna. Photo by IV. Leon Dawson. 

NEST OF TAWNY CREEPER IN DEAD OAK TREE. 

DETAIL OF PRECEDING ILLUSTRATION. THE NEST APPEARS UNDER THE BARK 

SCALE ON THE RIGHT, AND THE WONDER IS HOW 

IT MAINT\INS ITS POSITION. 



Ijeliiiul which si.x 
callow habies rest- 
ed on a soft cush- 
ion of moss, iiair 
and hark - filler, 
s u p p o r t e d by 
twi.^'s criss-crossed 
and intcr\V()\'en. 
to take up all 
a\ailable space be- 
low. 

This looked 
easy ; but the most 
diligent search the 
following season 
served only to dis- 
cover the records 
of past years and 
lni])eful prospects. 
Bark scales of just 
the right di- 
mensions do not 
abound, and those 
which do 1 o (1 k 
good prove to l)e 
either too infinn 
or else to have re- 
cei\-ed the scant 
compliment of a 
few criss-crossed 
sticks which mean, 
■'\\'c would have 
bm'lt here, if we 
had not 1 i 1\ e d 
some other place 
better." 

Not until May 
5th, 1907. did Mr, 
Bowles discover 
the first eggs, five 
speckled beauties. 



THE WESTERN MARSH WREN. 301 

No. 116. 

WESTERN MARSH WREN. 

A. (J. U. No. 725 c. Telmatodytes palustris plesius ( .berhoiser). 

Synonym. — Interior Marsh Wren. 

Description. — Adult: Crown blackish; forehead hght brown centrally, — 
color sometimes spreading superficially over entire crown ; hind neck and scapn- 
lars light brown (raw umber, nearly) ; rump warm russet; a triangular patch on 
back blackish, with prominent white stripes and some admixture of russet; wings 
and tail fuscous or blackish on inner webs, brown with black bars on exposed 
surfaces ; upper and under tail-coverts usually and more or less distinctly barred 
with dusky ; sides of head whitish before, plain brown or punctate behind ; a wdiite 
superciliary line; underparts white, tinged with ochraceous buff across breast, 
and with pale brown or Isabella color on sides, flanks, and crissum ; bill and feet 
as usual. Length 4.50-5.75 ( 1 14.3-146) ; av. of ten males: wing 2.12 (54) ; tail 
1.82 (46.4) : bill .56 ( 14.2) ; tarsus .79 (20.1 ). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; brown and black pattern of back with 
white stripes distinctive; white superciliary stripe and long bill distinctive in 
haunts. Strictly confined to bulrushes and long grass of marshes. Lighter and 
larger than T. />. l^alndicola. 

Nesting. — Nest: a ball of reeds and grasses, chinked and lined with cat-tail 
down, with entrance in side, and suspended in growing cat-tails, bulrushes or 
bushes. Eggs: 5-7, so heavily speckled with olive brown or sepia as to appear 
almost uniform brown. Av. size, .65 x .52 (16.5x13.2). Season: May, July; 
two broods. 

General Range. — Western LTnited States and southern British Columbia 
between the Ivocky Mountains aud the Cascade-Sierra Range, breeding from New 
Mexico northward; south during migrations to Cape district of Lower California 
and Western Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident in all suitable localities east of 
the Cascades. 

Authorities. — Telmatodytes palustris paludicola Brewster, B. N. O. C. 
\I1 1882, 227 (Ft. ^^'alla Walla). D^ Ss'. J. 

Specimens. — C. P. 

"TO the Coots and Rails belong the ooze-infesting morsels of the swamp, 
but all the little crawling things which ventttre into the upper story of the wav- 
ing cat-tail forest, belong to the Long-billed Marsh Wren. Somewhat less 
cautious than the waterfowl, he is the presiding genius of flowing acres, which 
often have no other interest for the ornithologist. There are only two occa- 
sions when the Marsh W^ren voluntarily lea\"es the shelter of the cat-tails or of 
the closely related marshables. One of these is when he is (lri\en South by the 
migrating instinct. Then he may be seen skulking about the borders of the 
streams, sheltering in the weeds or clambering about the drift. The other 



302 



THE WESTERN MARSH WREN. 



time is in the spring, when tiie male shoots up into the air a few feet above tlie 
reeds, like a ball from a Roman candle, and sputters all the way, only to drop 
back, extinguished, into the reeds again. This is a part of the tactics of his 
courting season, when, if e\-er, a body may be allowed a little libert_\-. For the 
rest, he clings sidewise to the cat-tail stems or sprawls in midair, reaching, 
rather than flying from one stem to another. His tail is cocked up and his 
head thrown back, so that, on those few occasions when he is seen, he does not 
get credit for Ijeing as large as he really is" (The Birds of Ohio ). 

Since his sphere of activity is so limited, we may proceed at once to the 

main interest, that of nest-build- 
ing. And this is precisely as the 
Marsh Wren would have it, else 
wh}- does he spend the livelong 
day making extra nests, which are 
of no possible use to anyone, save 
as examples of Telmatodytine 
architecture? It is possible that 
I lie female is coquettish, and re- 
i|uires tliese many mansions as 
rxidence that the ardent swain 
will be able to support her becom- 
ingly after marriage. Or, it may 
l>e, that the suitor delights to af- 
ford his lady love a wide range 
I if ch(iice in the matter of homes, 
and seeks thus to drive her to the 
ine\'itable conclusion that there is 
only one home-maker for her. 
Howe\'er this may be. it is certain 
that one sometimes finds a con- 
siderable group of nest-balls, each 
of apparent suitability, I:)ef(^re any 
are occupied. 

On the other hand, the male continues his harmless acti\-ities long after 
his mate has selected one of his early efforts and dejiosited her eggs: so that 
the oologist may have to sample a dozen "cock's nests," or decoys, before the 
right one is found. Some em])tv nests mav be perfectly finished, but others 
are apt to lack the soft lining: while still others, not having recei\-ed the 
close-pressed interstitial filling, will l)e sodden from the last rains. 

The Marsh Wren's nest is a compact ball of \-egetable materials, lashed 
mi(lwa\- of cat-tails or bulrushes, li\-ing or dead, anil h;i\ing a neat entrance 
hole in one side. A consideralile \ariet\- of materials is used in construction, but 




NEST OF WESTERN M.\KSII WREN, IN SITU. 



THE TULE WREN. 303 



ill an}- gi\en iiest only one textile snbstance will preponderate. Dead cat-tail 
leaves may be employed, in which case the numerous loopholes will be filled 
with matted down from the same plant. Fine dry grasses mav be utilized, 
and these so closel_\- wo\-en as practically to exclude the rain. On Moses Lake, 
where rankl}- growing l)ulrushes predominate in the nesting areas, spirogvra 
is the material most largely used. This, the familiar, scum-like plant which 
masses under water in (|uiet places, is plucked ijut b)- the \enturesome birds in 
great wet hanks and plastered about the nest until the required thickness is 
attained. While wet, the substance matches its surroundings admiral)ly, but 
as it dries out it shrinks considerably and fades to a sickly light green, or 
greenish gray, which advertises itself among the obstinately green bulrushes. 
Where this fashion prevails, one finds it jjossible to pick out immediately the 
oldest member of the group, and it is more than likely to prove the occu])ied nest. 

The nest-linings are of the .softest cat-tail down, feathers of wild fowl, or 
dried s]Mrogyra teased to a point of enduring fluffiness. It a]ipears, also, that 
the Wrens often cover their eggs upon lea\'ing the nest. Thus, in one we 
found on the 17th of May, which contained seven eggs, the eggs were com- 
pletely buried under a loose blanket of soft vegetable fillers. The nest was 
by no means deserted, for the eggs were warm and the mother bird very 
solicitous, insomuch that she repeatedly \-entnred within a foot of m\- hand 
while I was engaged with the nest. 

The Marsh Wrens regard themselves as the rightful owners of the reedy 
fastnesses which they occupy, and are evidently jealous of a\'ian, as well as 
human, intruders. In one instance a Wren had constructed a sham nest hard 
against a completed structure of the Yellow-headed Blackbird, and to the 
evident retirement of its owner. Another had built squarely on top of a 
handsome Blackbird nest of the current season's construction, and with a 



spiteful purpose all too evident. 



No. 117. 

TULE WREN. 

A. O. U. No. 723 a. Telmatodytes palustris paludicola (Baird). 

Synonyms. — M-\RSii \\'rf;x (locally). Wicstkrx M.vesh Wri^n (now re- 
stricted to T. p. picsiiis). C-^LiFORXi-v M.vRSH Wrex (inappropriate). P,\ciFic 
Marsh Wrkx. 

Description. — .Idult: Similar to T. p. plcsiiis, but smaller and with colora- 
tion decidedly darker. Length about 4.75 (120.6); wing 1.97 (50); tail 1.73 
(44) ; bill .52 (13.2') : tarsus .78 (20). 



304 THE TULE WREN. 



Recognition Marks. — Pygmy size; brownish coloration ; reed-haunting habits 
and sputtering notes distinctive. 

Nesting. — Nest: shaped hke a cucoannt, of reeds and grasses, hned with 
plant-down, and with entrance in side ; placed two or three feet high in reeds, 
rarely, high in bushes of swamp, ligys: 5 or 6, ground-color grayish brown but 
so heavily dotted and clouded with varymg shades of chocolate and mahogany 
as to be frequently obscured. Av. size .67 x .52 (17 x i3.-2j. Season: last week 
in March to July; two broods. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from British Columbia south iluring 
migration tn month c.if Colorado River and extremity of Lower California. 

Range in Washington. — Resident in suitable localities west of Cascades. 

Authorities. — Cistotlionts ( Tehnatod\tcs) palnstris Cab. Baird, Rep. Pac. 
R. R. Surv. Xll. pt. II.. 1858, p. 364. part". C&S. L-'. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens. — U. of W. E. Prov. 

WHEN the February sun wa\-es his golden baton over the marshes 
of western Washington, tiiey yield up a chorus of wren song which is 
exceeded only l^y that of the frogs. The frogs, to be sure, have the ad- 
vantage, in that their choral offering has greater carrying pnwer; but the 
Wrens at close quarters leave )'ou in no doubt that the jjalni belongs to 
them. One hesitates to call the medley of clicking, buzzing, and sputter- 
ing, which welters in the reeds, music; but if one succeeds in catching sight 
of a Tule Wren, holding on for dear life to a cat-tail stem, and vibrating like 
a drill-chuck with the effort of his impassioned utterance, he feels sure that 
music is at least intended. 

Wrens are ever busy bodies, and if they could not sing or chatter, or at 
least scold, thev stnxly wotild explode. It is a mar\-el, too, that they find so 
much to interest them in mere reeds, nuw green, now brown, set above a foot 
or so of stagnant water. But, bless you ! Do not waste your sympathies upon 
them. They have neighbors, — Red-wings, Yellow-throats, and the like — 
and is it not the gossips of the little \'illage who are most exercised over their 
neighbors' affairs? 

It seems probable that our Tule Wrens are largely resident. Certainly 
thev are abundant in the more sheltered marshes in winter; and, since the 
species does not extend very far northward, it is ])ossibly not too much to 
assume that our birds live and die in a single swamp. They are, as a conse- 
quence, verv nuicli mixed up on their seasons, and I ha\'e heard a swamp in 
full song in November. 

Nesting in the Sotith Tacoma swamp, where several scores at least may be 
fotmd, Ix'gins the last week in March, and full sets of eggs may certainly be 
found by the first week in April. But "decoys" are, of course, the rule. In a 
day Mr. Bowles found fifty-three nests, only three of which held eggs or 
young. At least two Ijroods are raised in ;i season. 

The eggs, usuallv five or si.x in ntuuber, are so overlaid with tiny dots as 



THE SEATTLE WREN. 305 

to appear of an almost uniform hair 1:)r()\vn in cnbir. \erv dark, except (jc- 
casionally in the case of tlie last laid egg. The sitting bird must subject her 
eggs to frequent turning in the nest, for they become highly polished during 
incubation. 



No. 118. 

SEATTLE WREN. 

.A.. O. U. No. 719 c. Thryomanes bewickii calophonus r)ljcrhoIser. 

Description. — .Idiilts: .\bove. dark olivc-lirown, or warm sepia brown with 
an olive tinge ; the rump with downy, ct)iicealed, white spots ; wings showing at 
least traces of dusky barring, — sometimes complete on tertials ; tail blackish on 
concealed portions, distinctly and finely barred with black on exposed portions ; the 
outer pairs of feathers white-tipiied and showing white barring, incipient or com- 
plete on terminal third ; a narrow white superciliary stripe, and an indistinct dark 
stripe thru eye ; underparts grayish white, tinged on sides and flanks with brown : 
under tail-coverts heavily barred with blackish ; bill dark brown above, lighter 
below: culmen slightly decurved. Length: 5.00-5.50 (127-139.7); wing 2.08 
(52.8) : tail 2.01 (52.3) : bill .59 ( 15) : tarsus .79 (20). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size: known from Western House Wren by 
superciliary stripe and whiter underparts, mostly unbarred: a little larger and 
more deliberate in movements. 

Nesting. — Nest: in holes or crannies about stumps, upturned roots, brush- 
heaps, etc., or in buildings : a rather slight affair of dried grasses, skeleton leaves, 
mosses, anfl waste, rarely twigs, lined with wool, hair, or feathers. Eggs: 4-6, 
usually 5, white, speckled or spotted, rather sparingly, with reddish brown or 
purplish, uniformly or chiefly in wreath about larger end. Av. size, .68 x .54 
(17.3x13.7). Season: ,\pril 15-June 15 : two broods. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from r)regon to southern P>ritish 
Cohnnbia and A'ancouver Island : resident. 

Range in Wa.shington. — Resident west of the Cascades. chiefl\- at lower 
levels anil in valleys. 

Authorities. — ? Townsend, Journ. .\c. Nat. Sci. Phila. \"TI. 1837, 154 
(Columbia River). Thriothonis hewickii Baird, Pac. Rep. R. R. Sin-v. IX. i8s8, 
p. 363 part. (T). (C&S). L-'. Rh. Kb. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P. Prov. P. PN. E. 

TO thi.ise whi> are acquainted i>nl\- with the t\-])ical Bewick Wren of the 
East, the added vocal accnmplishments of our western representative come 
in the nature of a surprise. For to the characteristic ditty of bewickii proper. 
cahif^lioiiiis has introduced so many trills and flourishes that the original 
motif is almost lost to sight. Calof'hoinis means ha\dng a beautiful voice, or 
sweetly sounding, and right well does the Ijird (leser\-e the name, in a region 
which is all too conspicuous for its lack of notable songsters. 



3o6 THE SEATTLE WREN. 



Xor w;is it at all amiss for Professor Ridgway, the eminent ornithologist 
of Washingttin, D. C, to name this bird in honor of the Queen City, for it is 
in the immediate en\-irons of the city, as well as in the untidy wastes of half- 
con(juered nature, tliat the local Bewick \\'ren fnids a congenial Imme. 
Logged-oft tracts, slashings and burned-over areas are, howe\'er, its especial 
delight, and if the bird-man catclies sight of one that has been making the 
rounds of all the fire-l)lackened stumps in the neighbi>rhoiid. he is ready to de- 
clare a new sub-species on the strength of the bird's soiled garments. Xo 
junk-dealer knows the alleys of the metropolis lietter than this craft}' bird 
knows the b\'wavs of his log-heaps and the intricate mazes of fire-weed and 
fern. If there is an\' vuiusual appearance or noise which gives promise of mis- 
chief afoot, the Seattle W'ren is the first to respond. Flitting, gliding, titter- 
ing, the bir<l comes up and moves about the center of commotion, taking dIj- 
ser\'ations from all possible angles anil making a running commentar_\' tliereon. 
His attitude is alert and his movements \'ivacious, but the chief interest at- 
taches to the bird's mobile tail, ^\'ith this expressi\e member the bird is aljle 
to converse in a vigorous sign language. It is cocked up in impudence, wagged 
in defiance, set aslant in coquetry, or depressed in whimsical token of humility. 
Indeed, it is hardly too nuich to say that tlie bird makes faces with its tail. 

While spying along the lower levels the Wren giggles and chuckles and 
titters, or else gives \'ent to a grating cry, luoozccrp. which sets the woods on 
edge. But in song the bird oftenest chooses an elewited station, an alder 
sajjling or the top of a stump. Here, at short intervals and in most energetic 
fashion, he delivers extended phrases of varied notes, now clear and sparkling, 
now sliu"red or jiedalled. Abo\-e all, he is master of a set of smart trills. One 
of them, after three preliminary notes, runs isu' tsii' fsii' tsii' fsii' fsu' , like an 
exaggerated and beautified song of the T(^whee. Another scing, which from 
its rollicking character deser\'es to be called a drinking song, terminates with 
a brilliant trill in descending scale, rallcntando ct iliiiiiinicinlo. as tho the little 
minstrel were actually draining a beaker of dew. 

The Seattle Wren is altogether a hilarious iiersonage : and in a countr_\- 
where most song birds are overawed by the solemnity of the forest, it is well 
enough to have one cheerv wight to set all canons at defiance. E\'en the gray- 
bearded old fir-stubs must laugh at a time over some of the sallies of this rest- 
less little zany. The ^^'ren does not indulge in conscious mimicry, but since 
his art is self-taught, he is occasionally indelited to the companions of the 
woods for a theme. The Towbee motif is not uncommon in liis songs, and the 
supposed notes of a Willi iw Gdldfinch, a little off color, were traced to Iiis 
door, at Blaine. 

Of the nesting ]\Ir. Bowles savs : "The building sites chosen by this 
wren for its nests are so variable that hardly anything can be considered typi- 
cal. It mav be in the wildest swampv wood far removed from civilization, but 



THE WESTERN HOUSE WREN. 307 

it is quite as likely to be found in a liouse in the heart c:)f a citv. A few of tlie 
nesting sites I have recorded are in upturned roots of fallen trees, deserted 
woodpecker holes, in bird boxes in the city, in a fishing creel hanging on a 
P'jrch, under a slab of bark that has scaled away a few inches from the body 
of a tree, or an open nest built on a beam under a bridge. 

"A very complete study of this wren has con\'inced nie that it never builds 
any nests except those used in raising the young. In other words, it is the only 
wren in the Northwest that is positi\'elv guiltless of using 'decoys'. 

"In constructing the. nest these birds do not often take over ten days, in 
which proceeding the female does all the work. One pair, however, that I 
visited occasionally, were ovev a month in completing a small nest in the 
natural cavity of a stump. No explanation of this seems possible, except that 
the female was not ready to lay her eggs any sooner. 

"The nest is a rather slight affair, as a rule, the a\-erage nest containing 
much less material than that of any other wren that I have seen. It is com- 
posed of fine dried grass, skeleton leaves, green moss, wool, and verv rarely 
has a basis of twigs, with a lining of hair, the cast skins of snakes, and many 
feathers. 

"A set contains from four to six eggs, most commonly five. These are 
pure white in ground color, marked with fine dots of reddish brown. The 
markings are variable in distribution, some specimens being marked very spar- 
ingly over all. while in others the markings are largely concentrated around the 
larger end in the form of a more or less confluent ring. The eggs are rather 
short ovate oval in shape, and average in measurements .68 ,x .54 inches. 

''Two broods are reared in a season : or perhaps it would be more correct 
to say that fresh eggs may be found at any time between the middle of April 
and the middle of June. 

"Altho rather timid in the vicinity of her nest, the female generally 
remains on her eggs until disturbed by a jar or some loud noise. She then 
disappears and neither bird appears nor makes any complaint in cjbjection 
to the intruder." 



No. 119. 
WESTERN HOUSE WREN. 

A. O. V. No. 721a. Troglodytes aedon parkmanii (Aud.). 
Synonyms. — P.^rkm.^n's Wrex. P.vcific Hoi'sf, Wrex. 
Description. — Adult: Above, grayish rufous-brown, duller and" lighter on 
forepart^: brighter and more rufous on rump, which has concealed downy white 



3o8 



THE WESTERN HOUSE WREN. 



spots ; back and scapulars barred ( rarely indistinctly ) witli dusky ; wings on 
exposed webs and tail all over distinctly and finely dusky-barred ; sides of head 
speckled grayish brown, without definite pattern ; below, light grayish brown, 
indistinctly speckled or banded with darker brownish on fore-parts ; heavily 
speckled and banded with dusky and whitish on flanks and crissum ; bill black 
above, lighter below ; culmen slightly curved ; feet brownish. Length 4.50-5.25 
(114.3-133.,^ ); wing 2.0S (52.8): tail 1.75 ( 44.6) ; bill .51 ( 13 ); tarsus .68 (17.2). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; brown above, lighter below; everywhere 
more or less s])ecklcd and banded with dusky, brownish, or white. Larger and 
with longer tail than Western Winter Wren. 

Nesting. — Nest: of sticks and trash, lined with fine grasses or chicken- 




Takcn 

in 

Oregon 



HOW'S THE \\'K.\THEU OUTSIDE? 

WESTERN HOUSE WREN AT ENTRANCE OF NESTING HOLE. 



feathers, placed in bird-boxes, holes in orchard trees, crannies of out-buildings, 
etc. Eggs: 4-8, white, heavily speckled, and usually more or less tinged with 
pinkish brown or vinaceous, with a wreath of a heavier shade about the larger 
end. Average size, .64X.51 (16.3x13). Season: About May 15; one brood. 
General Range. — Western LTnited States and Canada, north to British 
Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba, east to Illinois, south to Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Not common summer resident, confined to lower 
altitudes and, usually, vicinity of settlements. 

Migrations. — Spring: Tacoma, April 25, 1906, April 28, 1907. 

Authorities. — ? Trncjloditcs fnk'iis Ornithological Committee, Jonrn. Ac. 
Nat. Sci. I'hila. V^U. 1837, p. 193 (Columbia River). ? Troglodytes parkuianii 



THE WESTERN HOUSE WREN. 



309 



Auilulion. ( )rn. Biog. V. 1839, 310 (Columbia River). Troglodytes parkmanni. 
Aud., Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. XH. pt. II. 1858, p. 368. (T.j C&S. D'. Ra. 
D^ Ss^ Kk. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. Prov. P. B. 

SlXCIi our country is pretty well supplied with W'rens, and those too 
which are c<_)ntenl with our climate the year around, this bustling down-Easter, 
arri\ing at what he considers the proper season, does not figure so largely in 
local bird society as across 



Altho original- 




the Rockies. 

ly tlescribed by Audubon 
from material secured by 
Townsend, at Vancouyer. in 
the Thirties, parlciiiaiiii gi\-es 
eyidence of being a new- 
comer, comparatiyely speak- 
ing. In the first place, the 
late arrival, April 25th at 
Puget Sound points, marks 
the species in which tlie tra- 
dition of a hard climate is 
still strong. .\nd, in the 
second place, the slightly 
paler plumage acquired while 
crossing the desert has not 
\-et been lost, altho it is very 
certain that it could not long 
withstand consecutive cen- 
turies of residence in our 
humid climate. It is not 
surprising, therefore, that 
the House Wren is not 
abundant nor well distribut- 
ed in western Washington. 
On the East-side it is neither 
common nor rare, Iieing 
found about long-established 
ranches and wherever the 
presence of a little timber 
afifords the variety of cover which is essential to its happiness. 

Once upon the scene. howe\-er, a little Recuse Wren goes a great ways. 
He is bursting with energy, and music escapes from his busy mandibles like 
steam from a safety valve. The first task is to renovate last year's quarters, 



Taken in Oregon. 



Photo by II'. 
A VERY BUSY WREN. 



L. Fiiiley. 



NOT QUITE SO BUSY AS APPEARS, HOWEVER. THE PICTURE IS 
COMPOSITE AND PRESENTS THE SAME BIRD TWICE. 



3IO THE WESTERN WINTER WREN. 

but tliere is alwax'S time un tiie side tu explijre a new lunsh-lieap, lo scold a 
cat, (_ir to indulge innumerable song-bursts. In singing his joyous trill the 
birtl reminds one of a piece of fireworks called a "cascade," for he fills the air 
with a brilliant bou(|uet of music, anil is himself, one would think, nearly con- 
sumed by the violetice of the effort. But the next moment the singer is 
carrying out last year's feather bed Ijv great beakfuls, or lugging into some 
cranny sticks ridiculously large for him. 

During the nesting season both birds are perfect little spitfires, assaulting 
mischievous prowlers with a fearlessness which knows no caution, and scolding 
in a voice which expresses the deepest scorn. The rasping note produced on 
such an occasion reminds one of the energetic use of a nutmeg grater by a 
determined housewife. 

In nesting, the W^rens make free of the liaunts of men, but are in nowise 
dependent on them. Old cabins afford convenient crannies, forgotten augur- 
holes, tin cans, bird boxes, a sleeve or pocket in an old coat hanging in the 
woodshed, — anything with a cavity will do ; but, by the same token, an unused 
Woodpecker's hole, or a knot-hole in a stump miles from the haunts of men 
will do as well. In any case the cavity, be it big or little, must first be filled 
up with sticks, with just room at the top for entrance. Into this mass a deep 
hollow is sunk, and this is heavily lined with horse-hair, wool, feathers, bits of 
snake-skin, anything soft and "comfy". 

Since the W^estern House ^Vren makes a brief season with u^ it appears 
to raise but one brood annuallv. 



No. 120. 

WESTERN WINTER WREN. 

A. O. V. No. 722 a. Naiinus hiemalis pacificus (Baird). 

Description. — Adult: Above warm dark brown, duller before, brighter on 
rump, sometimes obscurely waved or barred with dusky on back, wings, and tail ; 
barring more distinct on edges of four or five outer primaries, where alternating 
with buffy; concealed white spots on rump scarce, or almost wanting; a pale 
brownish superciliary line; sides of head speckled brownish and huffy, underparts 
everywhere finely mottled, speckled or barred, — on the throat and breast mingled 
brownish (Isabella-color) and buffy, 1)elow dusky and tawny, dusky predominat- 
ing over brown on flanks and crissum ; bill comparatively short, straight, blackish 
above, lighter below; feet light brown. Length about 4.00 (101.6) ; wing 1.81 
(46) ; tail 1. 18 (30) ; bill .46 (11.6) ; tarsus .71 (18). 

Recognition Marks. — Pygmy size ; dark brown above, lighter below : more 
or less speckled and barred all over; tail shorter than in preceding species. 

Nesting. — Nest: of moss and a few small twigs, lined heavily with wool, 
rabbits' fur, hair and feathers, placed among roots of upturned tree, or in crannies 



THE WESTERN WINTER WREN. 311 

of decayed stumps, brush-heaps, etc. Eggs: 4-7, usually 5, white or creamy-white, 
dotted finely but sparing!)' with reddish brown ; occasionally blotched with the 
same; sometimes, almost unmarked. Av. size .69 x .50 (17.5x12.7). Season: 
first week in .April to first week in July according to altitude : two broods. 

General Range. — Western North .America, breeding from southern Cali- 
fornia to southern Alaska, east to western Montana. Chiefly resident, but south 
irregularly in Creat Basin States and California in winter. 

Range in Washington. — Resident in coniferous timber from sea level to limit 
of trees; less common east of the Cascade Mountains; of irregular occurrence in 
open country during migrations. 

Authorities. — [Lewis and Clark. Hist. (1814) Ed. Biddle: Coues. Vol. H. 
p. 186. J ? Urn. Com. Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. VH. 1837, 193 (Columbia 
River). Troqlodxtes (Anorthura) hveinalis Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 
1858, I). 36Q. ' (T). C&S. L'. Rh. D-. Kb. Ra. Kk. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— L'. of \\'. P. Prov. B. BN. E. 

CliicL- — chick cliick — chick chick; it is the Winter Wren's way of say- 
ing H(iw-(li:)-you-(lii? when you invade his doniain in the damp forest. The 
\'oice is a size too large tor stich a mite of a bird, and one does not understand 
its circumtlexecl quality until he sees its possessor making an emphatic curtsey 
with each utterence. It is not every day that the recluse beholds a man. and 
it may be that he has stolen a march imder cover of the ferns and salal 
brush befiire iDtiching off his little mine of interrogatives at your knees. If 
so, his brusque little being is softened by a friendly twinkle, as he notes your 
surprise and then darts back chuckling to the cover of a fallen log. 

Again, if your entrance into the woods has been unnoticed, so that the 
little huntsman comes upon yi)u in the regular way of business, it is amusing 
to watch with what ruses of circum\-ention he seeks to inspect }'ou. Now 
he appears abo\e a root on your right gawking on tiptoe ; then drops at a 
flash behind its shelter to reprove himself in upbraiding chick chick's for his 
rashness. Then, after a minute of apprehensive silence on }-our part, a 
chuckle at your other elbow announces that the inspection is satisfactorily 
completed on that side. The Lilliputian has you at his mercy, Mr. Gulliver. 

Dr. Cooper, writing fifty years ago, considered this the commonest 
species in the forests of "tlie Territor}-." With the possible exception of 
the Golden-crowned Kinglet, this is proljabh" still trtie, since it is found not 
merely along streams and in romantic dells, but thruout the somber depths of 
the fir and spruce forests from sea level to the limit of trees. It is fond of the 
wilderness and has as vet learnefl n(T necessity of dependence upon man. Init it 
by no means shuns the edges of town, if only sufficient density of cover be 
provided. Because of the more open character of pine timber, tlie W^inter 
W^ren is less common and is altogether local in its distribution east of the 
mountains, being confined fur the most ])art to those forest areas which boast 
an infusion of fir and tamarack. 



312 



THE WESTERN WINTER WREN. 



Jn winter, because of heavy snows, the birds appeal" to retire to a large 
extent upon the \aneys and lowlaiuls, nor do they appear to reoccupv the 
mountain forests until they have rearetl a hrst brood upon* the lower le\'els. 
Just how familiar a species this bird is at sea-le\el does not appear to be gen- 
erally realized. In the spring of 1905 I estimated that forty pairs were nest- 
ing in Ravenna Park 
alone. Nor do they 
by any means desert 
the lowlands in toto 
in summer, for they 
are seen regularly at 
that season thruout 
Puget Sound, upon 
the islands of Wash- 
ington Sound, and 
upon the West Coast. 

It is the Winter 
Wren, chiefly, which 
gladdens the depths 
of the ancient forest 
with music. Partly 
because of its unique 
isolation, but more 
because of the joy- 
ous abandon of the 
little singer, the song 
of the Winter \Vren 
strikes the bird-lover 
as being one of the 
most refreshing in 
the Northwest. It 
consists of a rapid 
series of gurgling 
notes and wanton 
trills, not \-ery loud 
nor of great \'ariety, 
but ha\-ing all the 
spontaneity of bub- 
bling water, a tiny cascade of song in a waste of silence. The song 
comes always as an outburst, as tho some mechanical obstruction had 
given wav before the pent-uj) music. Indeed, one bird I heard at Moclips 
preceded his song with a series of tittering notes, which struck me 




Taken in Scotlh 



Photo by titc Author. 
A THICKET IN RAVEJ^NA PARK, 

WHICH ONLY THE WINTER WREN WILL EXPLORE. 



THE WESTERN WINTER WREN. 



313 






absurdh' as being the clicking of tlie ratchet in a nmsic-box being WDuncl up 
fill" action. 

Heard at close quarters the bird will occasionally eniplo)' a ventrilo(|uial 
trick, dropping suddenly to sutto voce, so that the sung appears to come from 
a distance. Again, it will 
move crescendo and di- 
minuendo, as tho the 
supply pipe of this mu- 
sical cascade were sub- 
mitted to varying pres- 
sure at the fountain 
head. 

A singing bird is the 
best evidence available 
of the proximity of the 
nest. Usuallv the male 
bird posts himself near 
the sitting female and 
publishes his domestic 
happiness in musical 
numl;)ers. But again, he 
may only be i)ausing 
to congratulate himself 
upon the successful com- 
pletion of another decoy, 
and the case is hopeless 
for the nonce. 

For nesting sites the 
Wrens avail themselves 
of cubby-holes and cran- 
nies in upturned roots or 
fallen logs, and fire-holes 
in half -burned stumps. 
A favorite situation is 
one of the crevices 
which occur in a large 
fir tree when it falls and splits open. 




Taken in Seattle. Photo by the Axtthor. 

NEST OF WESTERN V\1NTER WREN IN CH.\RRED STUMP. 

NOTE TH.AT A SPIDES WEB .ABOVE CLOSELY SIMULATES THE NEST- 
ENTRANCE, WHICH IS REALLY ABOUT MIDWAY. 



Or the nest is sometimes found under 



the bark of a decaying log, or in a crevice of earth in an unused mine-shaft. 
If the site selected has a wide entrance, this is walled up by the nesting ma- 
terial and onl}- a smooth round aperture an inch and a quarter in diameter is 
left to admit to the nest proper. In default of any such shelter, birds have 
been known to construct their nests at the center of some babv fir, or in the 



314 



THE WESTERN WINTER WREN. 



drooping Ijraiiches of a fir tree at a lieight of a foot or more from the ground. 

In stich case, the nest is finished to the shape of a cocoanut. with an entrance 

liole in the side a httle above the center. 

In all cases the materials used are subslantiall)- the same, chiefiy green 

moss, with an abundance of 
fir or cedar twigs shot thru 
its walls and foundations. 
This shell is heavily lined 
with very fine mosses, inter- 
mingled with deer hair or 
other soft substances : while 
the inner lining is of feath- 
ers, which the Sooty and the 
Ruffed Grouse ha\-e largely 
contributed to the uphol- 
stered luxur}' of this model 
home. 

"Cocks' nests," or decoys, 
are the fax'orite diversion of 
this indefatigable bird, so 
that, as with the restless ac- 
tivities of four-year-old chil- 
dren, one sighs to tliink of 
the prodigious waste of en- 
ergies entailed. The aborig- 
inal cause of this quaint in- 
stinct, so prevalent among 
the Wrens, would seem to 
be the desire to deceive and 
discourage enemies, but in 
the case of the Winter \Vren 
one is led to suspect that the 
hard-working husband is 
trying to meet a perpetual 
challenge to occupy all 
available sites — a miser 
hoarfling opportunities. 

A troop of young Wrens 

just out of the nest is a cun- 

le anxious parents cnunsel flight and the more circumspect of 

the brood obey, but now and then one less sophisticated allows a little 

pleasant talk, "lilarney," to quiet his beating heart. Then a little titillation 




Tahcn near Tacoma. 



PI'iOto by Dazcson and Bot^'U'S. 
WINTER WRE.X IN 



NEST ,\ND EGGS OF WESTERN 
STUMP. 

TOP OF STUMP REMOVED. AN UNUSUAL NESTING-SITE WHERE ONE 
WOULD SOONER HAVE EXPECTED TO FIND OREGON CHICKADEE. 



THE ROCK WREN. 315 



of the criiwn feathers will quite win him o\-er. so that he will accept a 
gently insistent finger in jjlace (_)f the twig which has been his support. 
The unfaltering trust of childhood has subtlued many a savage heart, but 
when it is exemplified in a baby Wren one feels the ultimate appeal to 
tenderness. 

Mr. Brown, of Glacier, coming upon an old Russet-backed Thrush 
nest at dusk, thrust an exploratory finger o\'er its brim. Judge of his 
surprise when out swarmed seven young Winter Wrens. Mr. Brown feels 
reasonably sure, however, that the birds were hatched elsewhere, and that 
they were only roosting temporarily in the larger nest, in view of its ampler 
accommodations. 



No. 121. 

ROCK WREN. 



A. O. U. Xo. 715. Salpinctes obsoletus (Say). 

Description. — .-hiiilts: .\bove brownish gray changing on rump to cinnamon- 
brown, most of the surface speckled by arrow-shaped marks containing, or con- 
tiguous to, rounded spots of whitish ; wing-quills color of back, barred with dusky 
on outer webs; middle pair of tail-feathers color of back barred with dusky; 
remaining rectrices barred with dusky on outer webs only, each with broad sub- 
terminal bar of blackish and tipped broadly with cinnamon-bufi" area varied by 
dusky marbling; outermost pair broadly blackish- and cinnamon-barred on both 
webs ; a superciliary stripe of whitish ; a broad post-ocular stripe of grayish 
brown ; sides of head and unclerparts dull white shading into pale cinnamon or 
vinaceous buff on flanks and under tail-coverts ; sides of head, throat and upper 
breast spotted, mottled or streaked obscurely with grayish brown or dusky ; under 
tail-coverts barred or transversely spotted with dusky. Bill dark horn-color above, 
paling below; feet and legs brownish dusky; iris brown. Yoitng birds are more or 
less barred or vermiculated above, without white speckling, and are unmarked 
below. Length: 5.50-6.00 (139. 7-152.4) ; wing 2.76 (70) ; tail 2.09 (53) ; bill .70 
(17.7) ; tarsus .83 (21). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; variegated tail with broad buft'v tips 
distinctive; rdck-haunting habits. 

Nesting. — Nest: in crannies of cliffs, of twigs, grasses, wool, hair and other 
soft substances, approached by runway of rock-chips or pebbles. Eggs: 5-7, white 
or pinkish white, sprinkled somewhat sparingly with pale cinnamon, chiefly about 
larger end. Av. size .y^ x .56 (18.5 x 14.2). Season: May ist to June 20th; two 
broods. 

General Range. — Western United States, northern and central [Mexico, and 
southern British Columbia, chiefly in hilly districts ; eastward across Great Plains 
to Kansas, Nebraska, etc. ; retires from northern portion of range in winter. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident and migrant in open country east 



3i6 THE ROCK WREN. 



of the Cascades, cliiefl}' confineil to cliffs of Columbian lava; casual west of the 
Cascades. 

Authorities. — |"I\ock wren," Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 (1885), p. 22.] 
Lawrence, Auk, IX. 1892, 47, 357. T. L". D'. D-. Ss'. Ss-'. Kk. 

Specimens. — P. C. 

"BUT Barrenness, Loneliness, such-like things. 

That gall and grate on the White Alan's nerves. 
Was the rangers that camped bv the bitter springs 

And guarded the lines of God's reserves. 
So the folks all shv from the desert land, 
'Cept niebbe a few that kin understand." — Clark. 

A discerning soul is Salf'ijictcs. He lox'es beyond all else the uplifted 
ram]jarts of basalt, the bare lean battlements of the wilderness. They are 
the walls of a sanctuary, where he is both verger and choir master, while 
upon the scarred altars which they shelter, his faithful spouse has a place 
"where she may la}- her young." 

The Rock \Vren is nestled among the most impressive surroundings, but 
there is nothing subflued or melancholy about his bearing. Indeed, he has 
taken a commission to wake the old hills and to keep the shades of eld from 
brooding too hea\ily upon them. His song is. tlicrefore, one of the spright- 
liest, most musical, and resonant to be heard in the entire West. The rock- 
wall makes an admirable sounding-board, and the bird stops midway of what- 
ever task to sing a hvmn of wildest exultation. Whit tier, whit tier, whitticr. 
is one of his finest strains ; while ka-zn'Iicc, ka-zvhcc, ka-wlwc is a sort of chal- 
lenge which the bird renders in various tempo, and pimctuates with nerxous 
bobs to enforce attention. For tlie rest his notes are too varied, spontaneous, 
and untrammeled to admit of precise description. 

Save in the vicinity of his nest, the Rock Wren is rather an elusive 
sprite. If you clamljer to his haunts he will rem(i\-e, as matter of course, a 
hundred yards along the clitT; or he will flit across the coulee with a noncha- 
lance wdiich discourages further effort. Left to himself, however, he may 
whimsicallv return — near enough pcrhai)s for you to catch the click, click 
of his tin\' claws as he goes over the lava blocks, poking into crevices after 
spiders here, nibbling larvae in vapor holes there, or scaling sheer heights 
yonder, witliout a thought of vertigo. 

At nesting time the clifTs present a thousand chinks and hidey-holes, any 
one of which would do to put a nest in. The collector is likely to he dismayed 
at the wealth of possibilities before him, and the birds themselves appear to 
regret that they must make clioice of a single cranny, for they "fix up" half a 



THE ROCK WREN. 



317 



dozen of tlit- likeliest. And wlien it comes to lining the apijroaches of the 

chosen cavitv, what do you suppose they use.' Why. rocks, of course; not 

large ones this time, but flakes and pebbles of basalt, which rattle pleasantly 

every time the bird gi>es in ami i>ut. These rock chiles are sometimes an inch 

or more in diameter, 

and it is difficult to 

concei\'e how a bird 

with such a delicate 

beak can compass 

their removal. Here 

they are, however, to 

the cjuantity of half 

a pint or more, and 

they are just as much 

a necessity to e\-ery 

well-regulated Sal- 

pinctean household, 

as marlile steps are 

to Philadelphians. 

The nest itself is 
rather a bulky affair, 
composed of weed- 
stalks, dried grasses, 
and fine rootlets, 
with a scantv linnis^ 
of hair or wool ( all 
East-side birds are 
enthusiastic advo- 
cates of sheep-rais- 
ing). "Two broods 
are raised in a sea- 
son, the first set of 
eggs appearing early 
in May, the second 
about the middle of 
June. It is possiljle 
that even a third set 

may sometimes be laid still later in the season, but tliese late sets are more 
apt to be due to the breaking up of the first or second. The eggs vary from 
five to seven, and are pure white in color, sprinkled rather sparingh" over 
the surface with dots of a faint brownish red. most heavilv about the larger 
end" (Bowles). 




Taken in Douglas County. Photo by the AtitJior. 

NESTING-SITE OF ROCK WREN IX BASAI,T CLIFF. 

THE NEST OCCUPIES THE UPPER CRANNY BUT THE "FRONT WALK" IS 
COMPLETED BELOW. 



3i8 THE CANYON WREN 



Failing a suitable cliFf-house — iidI all walls are built to Wrens' orders — 
the birds resort to a rock-slide and the possibilities here are infinite. After 
I had seen a devoted pair disapjiear behind a certain small rock no less than 
a dozen times, and had heard responsive notes in different keys, a cluttering 
which reminded one of bal)\' I\at\'dids, I thought I had a cinch on the nest. 
'The cre\'ices of the rocks here and there were crammed with dried grass 
and stuff which might fairly be considered superfluous nesting material, and 



the }-oung birds ^^■ere too young to have trax'eled far; but as for the actual 
cradle I could not find it, and I cannot certify that the wrenlets were hatched 
within se\'en rods. The little fellows were as shy as conies, but their parents, 
curiouslv enough, took my researches good naturedly. One of them came 
within two feet of my face and peered intently at me as I sat motionless; 
and even after some scjuare yards of the rock slide had been violently dis- 
arranged, thev did not hesitate to visit their clamoring brood as tho nothing 
had happened. Did they trust the man or the rocks rather? 



No. 122. 

CANYON WREN. 

A. O. V. No. 717 a. Catherpes mexicaniis conspersus Ridgw. 

Synonyms. — Canon Wren. Spkcklkd Caxox Wren. 

Description. — Adult: "Upperparts brown, paler and grayer anteriorly, be- 
hind shading insensibly into rich rufous, everywhere dotted with small dusky and 
whitish spots. Tail clear cinnamon-brown, crossed with numerous very narrow 
and mostly zigzag black bars. Wing-ciuills dark brown, outer webs of primaries 
and both webs of inner secondaries barred with color of back. Chin, throat, and 
fore breast, with lower half of side of head and neck, pure white, shading behind 
through ochraceoirs-brown into rich deep ferruginous, and posteriorly obsoletely 
waved with dusky and whitish. Bill slate-colored, paler and more livid below; 
feet black; iris brown" (Coues). Length about 5.50 (139.7) > wing 2.35 (59.7) ; 
tail 2.06 (52.4) ; bill .81 (20.5) ; tarsus .71 (18.1). Female a little smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size, rock-haunting habits: rich rusty red of 
hinder underparts ; tail finely barred with black, its feathers without huffy tips as 
distinguished from Salpinctcs obsolcttis. 

Nesting. — Not known to nest in Washington but probably does so. N est and 
eggs indistinguishable from those of the Rock Wren. 

General Range. — Central arid districts of the western United States and 
southern Uritish Columbia from \\'yoming and Colorado west to northeastern 
California and south to Arizona. 

Range in Washington. — Reported from Palouse country only, — is probably 



THE CANYON WREN. 319 

extending range into L'pper Soiitiran and Arid Transition zones of eastern 
Washington. 

Authorities. — C. mcsicaiiiis l^iiiictiilatiis, Snodgrass, Auk, \'(jl. XXI. Apr. 
1904, p. 232. J. 

Specimens.^P. 

TO Mr. Roljert E. Snodgrass belongs the honor of tirst reporting this 
species as a bird of Washington. He encountered it in the Snake River 
Caiion at Ahnota in the summer of 1903. and mentions that it occurred also 
at Wawawai Ferry, a few miles up the river. Roswell H. Johnson also 
refers to it casually in the preface to his list of the birds of Cheney* as 
occurring "where conditions were favorable to the .south and east." 

It has long been supposed that the Cai'ion Wrens were confined to a much 
more southern range. Ridgway'' assigns the northern limits of this species 
to Wyoming and Nevada. Its appearance in Washington, therefore, is 
matter of congratulation and may, perhaps, be taken as an instance of that 
north-a'ani trend of species which undoubtedly affects many of the Passerine 
forms, and none more notably than the Wrens. 

The Cafion Wren frequents much the same situations as the Rock Wren 
and has the same sprightly ways. In the southern part of its range it is said 
to be a familiar resident of towns, and nests as frec|uently in crannies and 
bird-boxes as does our House Wren (Troglodytes acdon parkiiianii). Its 
alarm note is a "peculiarly ringing dink." and its song is said to excel, if 
possible, that of the House W'ren. "What joyous notes! * * * His song 
comes tripping down the scale growing so fast it seems as if the songster 
could only stop by giving his odd little flourish back up the scale again at the 
end. The ordinary song has seven descending notes, but often, as if out of pure 
exuberance of happiness, the \Wen begins with a run of grace notes, ending 
with the same little flourish. The rare character nf the song is its rhapsody 
and tlie ricli \ibrant quality which has suggested the name of bugler for him — 
and a glorious little bugler he surely is" (Mrs. Bailey). 



a. "The Birds of Cheney, Washington," The Condor. \'ol \'III.. Jan.. 1906, p. 25 [No scientific 
name given]. 

b. "The Birds of N. and M. America," \'ol. III., p. 659. 



320 THE SAGE THRASHER. 



No. 12J. 

SAGE THRASHER. 

A. O. U. No. 702. Oroscoptes montaniis Townsend. 

Synonyms. — Sack ]\rocKi:R. AIouxtain Mockikg-rird (early name — 

inapropos ). 

Description. — .Idiills: (k-iKTal ])lumage ashj' brown, lighter below: above 
gravish- or ashy-bn.iwn, the feathers. e,specially on crown, streaked mesially with 
darker brown; wings and tail dark grayish brown with paler edgings; middle 
and greater coverts narn.)wly tip]>eil with whitish, producing two dull bars; outer 
rectrices broadly tipped with white, decreasing in area, till vanishing on central 
pair; lores grayish; a pale superciliary line; cheeks brownish varied by white; 
underparts whitish tinged with buffy brown, most strongly on flanks and crissum, 
everywhere ( save, usually, on throat, lower belly, and under tail-coverts ) streaked 
with dusky, the streaks tending to confluence along side of throat, sharply dis- 
tinguished and wedge-shaped on lireast, where also heaviest ; bill blackish paling 
on mandible; legs and feet dusky brownish, the latter with yellow soles; iris 
lemon-yellow, i'ouiiy birds are browner and more decidedly streaked above; 
less distinctly streaked below. Length about 8.00 (203); wing 3.82 (97); tail 
3.54 (90) ; bill .65 ( 16.4) ; tarsus 1.20 (30.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink size; ashy-brt)wn plumage appearing nearly 
uniform at distance; sage-haunting habits; impetuous song. 

Nesting. — Nest, a substantial structure of thorny twigs (Sarcobatus pre- 
ferred), usually slightly domed, with a heavy inner cup of fine bark (sage) 
stri|)S, ])laced without attempt at concealment in sage-bush or greasewood. Eggs. 
4 or 5, rich, dark, bluish green, heavily spotted or blotched with rich rufous and 
"egg-gray" — among the handsomest. Av. size, .98 x .71 (24.9x18). Season: 
May I-June 15; two ( ?) broods. 

General Range. — Western I'nited States from western part of the Cireat 
Plains (western South Dakota, western Nebraska, and eastern Colorado) north 
to Montana, west to the Cascades and Sierra Nevada, south into New Mexico, 
Lower California, and, casually, to Guadalupe Island. 

Range in Washington. — Treeless portions of East-side; summer resident. 

Authorities.— ("Sage IMirasher," Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 (1885), 
p. 22. 1 Dawson, ^Vilson Bulletin, No. y). June, 1902, p. 67. (T). D=. Ss'. Ss-. 

Specimens. — LI. of W. P. C. 

IT takes a poet to appreciate the desert. Those people who affect to 
despise the sage are the same to whom stones are stones instead of compacted 
histories of the world's youth, and clouds are clouds instead of legions of 
angels. It is no mark of genius then to despise common things. The desert 
has cradled more of the world's good men and great than ever were coddled 
in king's palaces. Whistler used to paint "symphonies in gray" and men held 
back questioning, "Hr — is this art ?" A few, bolder than their fellows, pro- 



THE CATBIRD. 321 



noiinced favorably upon it, and it is allowable now to admit that \\'histler was 
a great artist — that is, a great discoverer and revealer of Nature. 

Xature has painted upon our eastern hills a symphony in gray greens, a 
can\-as of artemisia, simple, ample, insistent. And still the people stand be- 
fore it hesitating — it is so common — is it considered beautiful, pray? Well, 
at least a bird thinks so, a bird whose whole life has been spent in the sage. 
Listen! The hour is sunrise. As we face the east, heavy shadows still huddle 
about us and blend with the ill-defined realities. The stretching sage-tops 
tremble with oblation before the expectant sun. The pale dews are taking 
counsel for flight, but the opalescent haze, pregnant with sunfire, yet tender 
with cool greens and subtle azures, hovers over the altar waiting the con- 
comitance of the morning hymn before ascent. Suddenly, from a distant 
sage-bush bursts a geyser of song, a torrent of tuneful waters, gushing, as it 
would seem, from the bowels of the wilderness in an ecstacy of greeting and 
gratitude and praise. It is from the throat of the Sage Thrasher, poet of the 
bitter weed, that the tumult comes. Himself but a gray shadow, scarce visible 
in the early light, he pours out his soul and the soul of the sage in a rhapsody 
of holy joy. Impetuous, impassioned, compelling, rises this matchless music 
of the desert. To the silence of the gray-green canvas, beautiful but incom- 
plete, has come the throb and thrill of life, — life brimful, delirious, exultant. 
The freshness and the gladness of it touch the soul as with a magic. The 
heart of the listener glows, his veins tingle, his face beams. He cannot wait 
to analyze. He must dance and shout for joy. The wine of the wilderness 
is henceforth in his \-eins, and drunk with ecstacy he reels across the en- 
chanted scene forever more. 

And all this inspiration the bird draws from common sage and the rising 
of the common sun. How does he do it? I do not know. Ask Homer, 
Milton, Keats. 



No. 124. 

CATBIRD. 



.•\. O. U. No. 704. Diimetella carolinensis (Linn.). 

Description. — Adult: Slate-color, lightening almost imperceptibly below: 
black on top of head and on tail ; under tail-coverts chestnut, sometimes spotted 
with slaty; bill and feet black. Length 8.00-9.35 (203.2-237.5): wing 3.59 
(91.2): tail 3.65 (02.7): bill .62 (15.8). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink size: almost uniform slaty coloration with 
thicket-haunting habits distinctive; lithe and slender as compared with Water 
Ouzel. 



322 THE CATBIRD. 



Nesting. — Nest, of twigs, weed-stalks, vegetable fibers, and trash, carefully 
lined with tine rootlets, placed at indifferent heights in bushes or thickets. Eggs, 
4-5, deep emerald-green, glossy. Av. size, .95 x .69 (24.1x17.5). Season, first 
two weeks in June : one brood. 

General Range. — Eastern United States and British Provinces, west regu- 
larly to and including the Rocky Mountains, irregularly to the Pacific Coast from 
British Columbia to central California. Breeds from the Gulf States northward 
to the Saskatchewan. Winters in the southern states, Cuba, and middle .\merica 
to Panama. Bermuda, resident. Accidental in Europe. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident: not uncommon but locally dis- 
tributed in eastern and especially northeastern Washington ; penetrates deepest 
mountain valleys on eastern slope of Cascades, and is regularly established in 
certain West-side valleys connected by low passes. Casual at Seattle, and else- 
where at sea-level. 

Authorities. — Galeoscol^tes cari)liiieiisis. Belding, Land Birds of the Pacific 
District ( 1890), p. 226 (Walla Walla by J. W. W'illiams, 1885). D'. Ss-. Ss-=. J. 

Specimens. — U. of W. Prov. P. C. 

THOSE who hold either a good or a bad opinion of the Catbird are one- 
sided in their judgment. Two, and not less than two, opinions are possible 
of one and the same bird. He is both imp and angel, a "feathered Mephis- 
topheles" and "a heavenly singer." But this is far from saying that the bird 
lives a double life in the sense ordinarily understood, for in the same minute 
he is grave, gay, ]jensive and clownish. Nature made liini brtth a wag and a 
poet, and it is no wonder if the roguishness and high ])hilosophy become 
inextricably entangled. One moment he stei>s forth before you as sleek as 
Beau Brummel, graceful, pnlished, equal-eyed; then he cocks liis liead to one 
side and squints at you like a thief ; next he hangs his head, droops wings 
and tail, and looks like a dog being lectured for killing sheep: — Presto, 
change! the bird ])ulls himself up to an extravagant height and with e.xag- 
gerated gruffness, croaks out, "Who are you?" Then without waiting for an 
answer to his impudent question, the rascal sneaks off thru the bushes, 
hugging e\'er\- feather close to his fiody, delixering a running fire of cat-calls, 
squawks, and ex])ressions of cuntemjit. There is no accounting for him: he 
is an irrepressible — and a genius. 

The Catbird is not common in Washington, save in the northeastern 
portion of the State, where it is well established. Miss Jennie A\ Getty finds 
them regularly at North Bend, and there is a Seattle record : so that there is 
reason to believe that the Catbird is one of those few species which are ex- 
tending their range by encroachment from neighboring territory. There can 
be no question that civilization is conducive to the bird's welfare, primarily 
bv increasing the quantity of its cover on the East-side, and, possibly, by re- 
ducing it on tlie \\'est. Catbirds, when at home, are found in thickets and in 
loose shrubbery. River-banks are lined with them, and cha]:)arral-covered hill- 



THE CATBIRD. 323 



sides Iiave their share ; but they also display a decided preference for the 
\'icinage of man, and, if allowed to, will frequent the orchards and the rasp- 
berry bushes. They help themselves pretty freely to the fruit of the latter, 
but their services in insect-eating cc:>mpensate for their keep, a hundred-fold. 
Nests are placed almost anywhere at moderate heights, but thickety places are 
preferred, and the wild rosebush is acknowledged to be the ideal spot. The 
birds exhibit the greatest distress when their nest is disturbed, and the entire 
neighborhood is aroused to expressions of sympathy by their pitiful cries. 

My friend. Dr. James Ball Naylor, of Malta, Ohio, tells the following 
story in answer to the oft-repeated question. Do animals reason? The poet's 
house nestles against the base of a wooded hill and looks out upon a spacious 
well-kept lawn which is studded with elm trees. The place is famous for 
birds and the neighborhood is equally famous for cats. Robins occasionallv 
■\-enture to glean angle worms upon the inviting expanses of this lawn, but for 
a bird to attempt to cross it unaided by wing would be to invite destruction 
as in the case of a lone soldier climbing San Juan hill. One day, however, a 
fledgling Catbird, overweening and disobedient, we fear, fell from its nest 
overhead and sat helpless on the dreaded slopes. The parents were beside 
themselves with anxiety. The birdie could not fly and would not flutter to 
any purpose. There was no enemy in sight but it was only by the sufferance of 
fate, and moments were precious. In the midst of it all the mother disap- 
peared and returned presently with a fat green worm, which she held up to 
baby at a foot's remove. Baby hopped and floundered forward to the juicy 
morsel, but when he had covered the first foot, the dainty was still six inches 
away. Mama promised it to him with a flood of encouragement for every 
effort, but as often as the infant advanced the mother retreated, renewine 
her blandishments. In tliis way she coaxed her bab}' across the lawn and up, 
twig by twig, to the top of an osage-orange hedge which bounded it. Here, 
according to Dr. Naylor, she fed her child the worm. 

Comparing the scolding and call notes of the Catbird with the mewing of 
a cat has perhaps been a little overdone, but the likeness is strong enough to 
lodge in the mind and to fasten the bird's "trivial name" upon it forever. Be- 
sides a mellow />/;///. />/;/// in the bush, the bird has an aggra\'ating incc-a-a, 
and a petulant call note which is nothing less than Ma-a-r\, Cautious to a 
degree and timid, the bird is oftener heard in the depth of the thicket than 
elsewhere, Init lie sometimes mounts the tree-top, and the opening "Phut, phut, 
coquillicot" — as Neltje Blanchan hears it — is the promise of a treat. 

Generalizations are apt to be inadequate when applied to singers of such 
brilliant and varied gifts as the Catbird's It would be impertinent to say: 
Homo sapiens has a cultivated voice and produces music of the highest order. 
Some of us do and some of us do not. Similarly some Catbirds are "self- 
conscious and affected," "pause after each phrase to mark its efTect upon the 



& 



324 



THE CATBIRD. 



audience," etc. Some lack originality, feeling, are incapable of sustained 
effort, cannot imitate other birds, etc. But some Catbirds are amojig the 
most talented singers known. One such I remember, which, overcome by the 
charms of a May day sunset, mounted the tip of a pasture elm, and poured 
forth a hymn of praise in which every voice of woodland and field was laid 
under contribution. Yet all were suffused by the singer's own emotion. Oh, 
how that voice rang out upon the still evening air! The bird sang with true 
feeling, an artist in every sense, and the delicacy and accuracy of his phrasing 
must have silenced a much more captious critic than I. Never at a loss for a 
note, never pausing to ask himself what he should sing next, he went steadily 
on, now with a phrase from Robin's song, nnw with the shrill cry of the Red- 
headed Woodpecker, each softened and refined as his own infallible musical 
taste dictated ; now and again he interspersed these with bits of his own no 
less beautiful. The carol of \'ireo, the tender ditties of the Song and Vesper 
Sparrows, and the more pretentious efforts of Grosbeaks, had all impressed 
themselves upon this musician's ear, and he repeated them, not slavishly, but 
with discernment and deep appreciation. As the sun sank lower in the west 
I left him there, a dull gray bird, with form scarcely outlined against the 
evening sky, but my soul had taken flight with his — up into that blest abode 
where all Nature's voices are blended into one, and all music is praise. 




Taken near Stehekin, 



Photo by the Author. 



A H.AUNT OF THE CATBIRD. 



THE AMERICAN WATER OUZEL. 325 

No. 125. 

AMERICAN WATER OUZEL. 

A. O. U. No. 701. Cinclus mexicaniis unicolor (Bonap.). 

Synonym. — American Dipi'ER. 

Description. — Adults in spring and summer: General plumage slaty gray 
paling below ; tinged with brown on head and neck ; wings and tail darker, black- 
ish slate; eyelids touched with white; bill black; feet yellowish. Adults in fall 
and zvintcr, and immature: Feathers of underparts margined with whitish and 
some whitish edging on wings ; bill lighter, brownish. Voung birds are much 
lighter below ; the throat is nearly white and the feathers of remaining under 
plumage are broadly tipped with white and have wash of rufous posteriorly — tips 
of wing- feathers and, occasionally, tail-feathers extensively white; bill yellow. 
Length of adult 6.00-7.00 ( 152-178) ; wing 3.54 (90) ; tail 1.97 (50) ; bill .68 
(17.3) ; tarsus 1.12 (28.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size but chunky, giving impression of a 
"better" bird. Slaty coloration and water-haunting habits distinctive. 

Nesting. — Nest: a large ball of green moss lined with fine grasses, and with 
entrance on side ; lodged among rocks, fallen timber, roots, etc., near water. 
Eggs: 4 or 5, pure white. Av. size, 1.02 x .70 (25.9X 17.8). Season: April- 
June : one or two broods. 

General Range. — The mountains of western North America from the north- 
ern Ijoundary of Alexico and northern Lower California to northern Alaska. 
Resident. 

Range in Washington. — Of regular occurrence along all mountain streams. 
Retires to lower levels, even, rarely, to sea-coast in winter. 

Authorities. — Cinclus mortoni, Townsend, Narrative, April, 1839. p. ^39. 
Also C. to-cvusendi "Audubon," Ibid., p. 340. T. C&S. L'. Rh. D-. Ra. D-\ B"; E. 

Specimens. — Prov. B. E. 

"ADVANCING and prancing and glancing and dancing. 
And clashing and flashing and splashing and clashing; 
And so ne\er ending, btit always descending. 
Sounds and motions fore\-er and ever are blending. 
All at once and all o'er, with a mighty uproar ; 
And this way the Water comes dow-n at Lodore." 

But the scene of aqueous confusion was incomplete unless a leaden shape 
emerged from the spray, took station on a jutting rock, and proceeded to rtib 
out certain gruff notes of greeting, jigic, jigic, jigic. These notes manage 
somehow to dominate or to pierce tlie roar of the cataract, and they symbolize 
henceforth tlie turbulence of all the mountain torrents of the West. 

The Water Ouzel bobs most absurdly as he repeats his inquiry after your 



326 THE AMERICAN WATER OUZEL. 

health. Llul you wuuld far rather know of his, for he has just come out of the 
icv hath, and as he sidles down the r(.)ck, tittering expectanth, \iiu iudge he is 
contemplating another one. Yes; without more ado the bird wades into the 
stream where the current is so swift you are sure it would sweep a man ofT 
his feet. He flisappears beneath its surface and you shudder at the possibili- 
ties, but after a half minute of suspense he bursts out of the seething waters a 
dozen feet bel(_)W and Hits back to his rock chuckling cheerily. This time, it may 
be. he will rest, and you have opportunity to note the slightly retrousse aspect 
of the beak in its attachment to the head. The bird has stopped sjjringing now 
and stands as stolid as an Indian, save as ever and again he delivers a slow 
wink, u])side down, with the white nictitating membrane. 

It has been asserted that the Ouzel flies under water, but I think that 
this is a mistake, except as it mav use its wings to reach the surface of the 
water after it has released its hold ui^on the bottom. The Isird creeps and 
clings, rather, and is thus able to withstand a strong current as well as to attain 
a depth of several feet in quieter waters. 

The Water Ouzel feeds largel}- upon the lar\;e nf the caddice fly, known 
locally as periwinkles. These are found clinging to the under surface of stones 
lining the stream, and their discovery requires quite a little prying and ptiking 
on the bird's part. The Ouzels are also said to be destructi\'e to fish fry, inso- 
much that the director of a hatcliery in British Columbia felt impelled to order 
the destruction of all the Ouzels, to the nuniljer of several lumdred, which 
wintered along a certain protected stream. This was a very regrettalile neces- 
sity, if necessity it was, and one which might easily lead to misunderstanding 
between bird-men and fish-men. We are fond of trout ourselves, but we con- 
fess to being a great deal fonder of this adventuresome water-s])rite. 

The Ouzel is non-migratory, but the summer haunts of the birds in the 
mountains are largely closed to them in winter, so that they find it necessary at 
that season to retreat to the lower levels. This is done, as it were, reluctantly, 
and nothing short of the actual blanketing of snow or ice will drive them to 
forsake the higher waters. The bird is essentially solitary at this season, as 
in summer, and when it repairs to a lower station, along late in November, 
there is no little strife engendered by the discussion of metes and bounds. In 
the winter of 1895-6, being stationed at Chelan, I had occasion to note that the 
same Ouzels appeared daily along the upper reaches of the Chelan River. Think- 
ing that such a local attachment might be due to similar occupation down stream, 
I set out one afternoon to follow the river down for a mile or so, and to ascer- 
tain, if possible, how many bird-squatters had laid out claims along its tur- 
linlent course. In places wdiere there was an unusually long succession of 
rapids, it was not alwavs possible to decide l^etween the conflicting interests 
of rival claimants, for they flitted tip and down overlapping by short flights 
each other's domains: but the very fact that these (^verla])pings often occa- 



THE AMERICAN WATER OUZEL. 



327 









sioned sharp passages at arms ser\'ed to conhrni the conchision that the terri- 
tory had been diAided, and that each bird was expected to dive and bob and 
gurgle on his own beat. Tims, twenty-seven lairds were found to occupy a 
stretch of two miles. 

Here in winter quarters, the first courting songs were heard. As early as 
Christmas the birds 



began to tune up. and 
that cjuite irrespective 
of weather. But their 
utterances were as 
rare in time as they 
are in quality. In fact, 
it does not appear to 
be generally known 
that the ^^'ater Ouzel 
is a beautiful singer, 
and none of those who 
have been so fortun- 




ate as to hear its song, 
have heard enough to 
pass final judgment 
on it. We know, at 
least, that it is clear 
and strong and viva- 
cious, and that in its 
utterance the bird re- 
calls its affinity to 
both Thrushes and 
Tlirasliers. 

The Ouzel places 
its nest beside some 
brawling stream, or 
near or behind some 
small cascade. In do- 
ing so, the chief solici- 
tude seems to be that 
the living mosses, of 
which the bulky globe 
is composed, shall be kept moist by the Hying spray, and so retain tlieir 
greenness. Indeed, one observer reports that in default of ready-made 
conveniences, the bird itself turns sprinkler, not only alighting upon 
the dome of its house after returning from a trip, but visiting the water 



Taken in Calif ornia. 



p;,<./..i by Fr.;ir 



THE L.^ST STATION. 



IN ANOTHER MOMENT THE OUZEL WILL VISIT HER BROOD UNDER THE 
WATERFALL. 



328 



THE AMERICAN WATER OUZEL. 



repeatedly for the sole purpose of shaking its wet plumage over the 
mossy nest. 

Unless we mistake, the bird in the first picture is about to visit a nest 
behind the waterfall, and of such a nest Mr. John Keast Lord says: "I once 
found the nest of the American Dipper built rmiongst the roots of a large 
cedar-tree that had floated down the stream and got jammed against the mill- 
dam of the Hudson Bay Company's old grist mill, at Fort Coh'ille, on a trilni- 
tary to the upper Columbia River. The water rushing over a jutting ledge 
of rocks, formed a small cascade, that fell like a yeW of water before the dip- 
per's nest: and it was curious to see the l)inls dash thru the waterfall rather 
than go in at tlie sides, and in that 
way get behind it. For hours I have 
sat and watched the busy pair, pass- 
ing in and out thru the fall, witli as 
much apparent ease as an ecjuestrian 
performer jumps thru a hoop covered 
with tissue paper. The nest was in- 
geniously constructed to prevent the 
spray from wetting the interior, the 
moss being so worked over the en- 
trance as to form an admirable ver- 
andah." 

Of the nest shown in the accom- 
panying illustration, Mr. A. W. An- 
thony says that it was completed un- 
der unusual difticulties. A party of 
survevors, requiring to bridge a 
stream in eastern Oregon, first laid 
a squared stringer. This an Ouzel Taken in Oregon 
promptly seized upon, and in token of piwto by a. if. Anthony. 
proprietorship began to heap up moss. an u.nsheltered nest. 

This arrangement did not comport 

with business and the nest foundations were brushed aside on two successive 
mornings. A spell of bad weather intervening, the men returned to their work 
some days later to find the completed nest, as shown, completed but still 
unoccupied. It was necessarv to remove this also, but judge of the feelings 
of the surveyors when, upon the following morning, they found a single 
white egg resting upim the bare timber! 




THE PURPLE MARTIN. 329 

No. 126. 

PURPLE MARTIN. 

A. O. U. No. 611. Progne subis (Liiin.l. 

Description. — Adult male: Rich, purplish black, glossy and metallic; wings 
and tail dead black. .Idiilf female: Similar to male, but blue-black of upper- 
parts restricted and duller: forehead, hind-neck, and lower parts sooty gray, 
paler on belly and crissum. Bill black, stout, and broad at the base, decurved 
near tip; nostrils exposed, circular, opening upward; feet moderately stout. 
Young males: resemble adult female but are somewhat darker, the steely blue 
appearing at first in patches. Length 7.25-8.50 (184.2-215.9); av. of eight 
specimens: wing 5.75 (146.1} ; tail 2.72 (69.1) ; bill, breadth at base .73 (18.5) ; 
length from nostril .33 (8.4). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink size; the largest of the Swallows: blue-black, 
or blue-black and M.iot_\-gra}' coloration. 

Nesting. — Nest, of leaves, grass, and trash, in some cavity, usually arti- 
ficial, — bird-bo.xes, gourds, etc. Eggs, 4-5, rarely 6, pure, glossy white. Av. 
size, .98X.73 (24.9 X 18.5). Season, first week in June; one brood. 

General Range. — Temperate North .\merica, except southern portion of 
Pacific Coast district, north to Ontario and the Saskatchewan, south to the 
higher parts of Mexico, wintering in South America. 

Range in Washington. — Not common summer resident — nearlv confined to 
business sections of the larger cities. 

Migrations. — Spring: c. April 15: Tacoma, April I, 1905. Pall: c. Sept. 1st. 

Authorities. — Cooper and Suckley, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. XII. pt. II. i860, 
p. 136. (T). C&S. [L|. Rh. Ra. Kk."B. E. 

Specimens. — Prov. B. E. 

THIS virtually rare bird appears to be strict!}' confined during its 
summer residence with us to the business districts of our larger West-side 
cities. Records are in from Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Bellingham, Van- 
couver, and \'ictoria only. Really, if this favoritism continues, we shall begin 
to think of imposing a new test for cities of the first class; viz.. Do the 
Martins nest with you? 

Suckley remembers a time when, in the earlv Fifties, a few Martins were 
to be seen about the scrub oaks of the Niscjually Plains, in whose hollows and 
recesses they undoubtedly nested ; but all Washington birds have long since 
adopted the ways of civilization. April ist is the earliest return I have noted, 
and we are not surprised if they fail to put in an appearance before the ist 
of May. Their movements depend largely upon the weather, and even if 
they ha\"e come back earlier the\' are likelv to mope indoors when the weather 
is cold and disagreeable. The birds feed exclusively upon insects, and are 
thus quite at the mercy of a backward spring. Not only flies and nits are 



330 THE CLIFF SWALLOW. 



consumed, but Ijees, wasps, dragon llics, and sunie of the larger predatory 
beetles as well. 

The birds mate soon after arrival, and for a home they select some 
crevice or hidey-hole about a building. A ca\ity left by a missing brick is 
sufficient, or a station on the eave-plate of a warehouse. Old nests are 
renovated and new materials are brought in, straw, string, and trasli for the 
bulk of the nest, and abundant feathers for lining. Sometimes the birds 
exhibit whimsical tastes. Mr. S. F. Rathbun of Seattle found a nest which 
was composed entirely of wood shavings mixed with string and fragments of 
the woven sheath which covers electric light wires. 

The nest is not often occupied till June, when the l>irds may be most 
certain of finding food for their offspring; and the rearing of a single brood 
is a season's work. Five eggs are almost invariably the number laid, and they 
are of a pure white color, the shell being very little glossed and of a coarser 
grain than is the case with eggs of the other Swallows. 

I'urple Martins are very sociable birds, and a voluble flow of small talk 
is ke])t up bv them during the nesting season. The song, if such it may be 
called, is a successitjn of pleasant warblings antl gurglings, interspersed with 
harsh rubbing and creaking notes. A particular!}- mellow coo, coo. coo, 
recurs from time to time, and anv of the notes seem to require considerable 
effort (in the part of the performer. 

It will prove to be a sad day for the Martins when the English Sparrows 
take full possession of our cities. The Martins are not deficient in courage, 
but they cannot endure the presence of the detested foreigners. The Sparrows 
are filthy creatures, and it may be that the burden of the vermin, which 
thev invariablv intnuluce to their haunts, bears more hea\'ily upon the skins 
of oiH" more delicatelv constituted citizens than u])on their own swinish hides. 



No. 127. 

CLIFF SWALLOW. 

A. O. U. No. 612. Petrochelidon lunifrons (Say). 

Synonyms. — E.-WE Sw.mj.ow. RKPrELiCAN Swali^ow. 

Description. — Adult: A prominent whitish crescent on forehead; crown, 
back, and an obscure patch on breast steel-blue ; throat, sides of head, and nape 
deep chestnut ; breast, sides, and a cervical collar brown-gray ; belly white or 
whitish; wings and tail blackish; rump pale rufous, — the color reaching around 
on flanks ; under tail-coverts dusky. /;; \oitng birds the frontlet is obscure or 
wanting; the plumage dull brown above, and the throat blackish with white specks. 
P)ill and feet weak, the former suddenly compressed at tip. Length 5.00-6.00 
I 127-152. 4) ; wing 4.35 ( 1 10.5) ; tail 2.00 (50.8) ; bill from nostril .22 (5.6). 



THE CLIFF SWALLOW. 



331 



Recognition Marks. — "\\'arbler size," but comparison inappropriate, — better 
say "'Swallow size"; white forehead and rufous rump. Found in colonies. 

Nesting. — Nest, an inverted stack-shaped, or declined retort-shaped structure 
of mud, scantily or well lined with grass, and depending from the walls of cliffs, 
sides of barns under the eaves, and the like. Eggs, 4-5, white, spotted, sometimes 
scantily, with cinnamon- and rufous-brown. Av. size. .82 x .55 (20.8x14). 
Season. May 25-June 25. 

General Range. — North America, north to the limit of trees, breeding south- 
ward to the \'alley of the Potomac and the Ohio, southern Texas, southern Ari- 
zona, and California; Central and South America in winter. Not found in 
Florida. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident, abundant but locally distributed 
east of Cascades; much less common in Puget Sound region. 

Migrations. — Spring: .April 15-30. Fall: first week in Sept. Tacoma, April 
4, ii)o8. 

Authorities. — Ilinindo Innifrons, Sav, Cooper and Suckley, Rep. Pac. R. R. 
Surv. NIJ. iSoo. 184. T. C&S. D'. Kb. Ra. D^. Ss". Ss-'. j. B. E. 

Specimens. — Prov. P. C. 



FF.W birds ser\"e to recall more accurately a picture of sequestered 
prinie\al peace than do these amiable tenants of Washington's 



grandeur am 




Taken in Douglas County. 



THE CLIFF DWELLERS. 



Photo by the Author. 



332 THE CLIFF SWALLOW. 



\'ery limited scab lands. It is true that certain Clitl Swallows, fcjllcnving 
the example of their weaker eastern brethren, have taken to nesting under 
the eaves of churches and barns and outbuildings, but they are a negligible 
quantity in comparison with the swarms which still resort to the ancestral 
"breaks" of the Columbia gorge and the weird basaltic coulees of Douglas 
County. 

The particular nesting site may be a matter oi a season's use, piiinilnus 
this year and abandoned the next : but somewhere along this frowning face of 
basaltic columns Swallows were nesting before old Chief Moses and his 
copper-colored clans were displaced by the white man. Soon after the re- 
treating ice laid bare the fluted bastions of the Grand Coulee, I think, these 
fly-catching cohorts swept in and established a northern outpost, an outpost 
which was not abandoned even in those degenerate days when deer gave 
way to cayuses, cayuses to cattle, and cattle to sheep and fences — fences, mark 
you, on the Swallow's domain! 

Evidence of this age-long occupation of the lava-clift' is furnished not 
only by the muddy cicatrices left by fallen nests, but, wherever the wall juts 
(lut or o\erhangs, so as to shield a place below from the action of the elements, 
b}- beds of guano and coprolitic stalagmites, which cling to the uneven surface 
of the rock. Judged by the same testimony, certain of the larger blow-holes, 
or lava-bubbles, must be used at night as lodging places, at least (_)ut of the 
nesting season. 

The well-known bottle- or retort-shaped nests of the Clift' Swallow are 
composed of pellets of mud deposited in successive beakfuls by the industrious 
birds. It is alwavs interesting to see a twittering company of these little 
masons gathering by the water's edge and moulding their mortar to the 
required consistency. Not less interesting is it to watch them lay the founda- 
tions upon some smooth rock facet. Their tiny beaks must serve for hods 
and trowels, and because the first course of mud masonry is the most par- 
ticular, they alternately cling and flutter, as with many prods and fairy 
thumps they force the putty-like material to lay hold of the indifferent wall. 

There is usual))- mucli passing to and fro in the case of these clitt- 
dwellers, and we can ne\-er hope to steal upon them unawares. When one 
a])proaches from below, an alarm is sounded and anxious heads, wearing a 
white frown, are first thrust out at the mouths of the bottles, and then the 
air becomes filled with flying Swallows, charging about the head of the 
intruder in bewiklering mazes and raising" a babble of strange frangible 
cries, as the a thousand sets of tov dishes were being broken. If the 
newcomer appears harmless, the birds return to their eggs by ones and twos 
and dozens until most of the companv are disposed again. At such a moment 
it is great sport to set up a sudden shout. There is an instant hush, electric, 
ominous, while e\'er\- little Iniiui of them is making for the door of his 



THE CLIFF SWALLOW. 



333 



wigwam. Then they are dislodged from the cliff like an avalanche of missiles, 
a silent, down-sweeping clond ; but immediately they gain assurance in the 
open and bedlam begins all over again. 

The Cliff Swallows are. of course, beyond the reach of all four-footed 
enemies, but now and again a June rain-storm comes at the cliff from an 
unexpected quarter and plays sad havi:)c with their frail tenements. Besides 




Taken m L'iniglas C oiinly. 



Photo bv the Autiior. 



A NESTING CLIFF, FROM BELOW. 



this (in strictest confidence: one dislikes to pass an ill word of a suffering 
brotlier ) the nests are likely to be infested with bed-bugs. Not all. of course, 
are so afflicted, but in some cases the scourge becomes so severe that the nest 
is abandoned outright, and eggs or young are left to their fate. In spite of 
this compromising weakness, the presence of these Swallows confers an 
incalculable benefit upon the farmer of eastern Washington, in that they alone 
are able tij cope with a liost of winged insect pests. They race tirelessly 
to and fro across the landscape. wea\'ing a magic tapestry of searcli, nnlil 
it would seem that not a cubic inch of atmosphere remains withc^ut its in\-isil)le 
thread of flight. 



334 THE ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW. 

No. 128. 

ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW. 

A. O. L^. No. 617. Stelgidopteryx serripennis (And.). 

Description. — .Idiilt: Warm brownish gray or snuff-brown, including throat 
and breast : thence passing insensibly below to white of under tail-coverts; wnngs 
fuscous. Young birds exhibit some rusty edging of the feathers above, especially 
on the wings, and lack the peculiar, recurved hooks on the edge of the outer 
primary. Size a little larger than the next. Length 5-00-5.75 ( 127-146.1 ) ; wing 
4.30 (109.2) : tail 1.85 (47) ; bill from nostril .21 (5.3). 

Recognition Marks. — Medium Swallow size; thn.iat not white; warmish 
brown coloration, and brownish suffusion below fading to white on belly. It is 
easy to distinguish between this and the succeeding species if a little care is taken 
to note the general pattern of underparts. 

Nesting. — Nest, in crevices of cliff's, at end of tunnels in sand banks, or in 
crannies of bridges, etc. ; made of leaves, grasses, feathers, and the like. — bulky 
or compact according to situation. E;jgs. 4-8, white. Av. size, .74.x .51 (i8.8x 
13). Season: May 20-June 5, June 20-July 10; two broods. 

General Range. — I'nited States at large, north to Connecticut, southern On- 
tario, southern Minnesota, British Columbia, etc., south thru Mexico to Costa 
Rica. Breeds tliruout LInited States range and south in Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Sinumer resident, of general distribution, save in 
moinitains. thrunut the State. ]\Iore common east of the mountains, where it 
has taken a great fancy to banks of irrigating ditches, especially where abrupt. 

Migrations. — S/^ring: First week in April; Tacoma, April 3, 1905, April 6, 
1906 and 1908. I'al!:c. Sept. i. 

Authorities. — Cotyle serripennis. Bonap. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 
pt. II. 1858, 314. C&S'. L-( ?). L-\ Rh. Ra. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— (U. of W.) Prov. P. B. E. 

IT not infrequenth' liapi)ens that some oversight, or want of discrimina- 
tion, on the part of early observers condemns a species to long obscurity or 
unending misapjirehension. The Bank Swallow was at once recognized by the 
pioneer naturalists of America as being identical with the well-known 
Etiropean bird, but it was not till 1838 that Audulion distinguished its super- 
ficially similar but structurally different relative, the Rough-wing. The cloak 
of obsctiritv still clings to the latter, altho we begin to suspect that it may 
from the first have enjoyed its present wide distribution East as well as W^est. 
Hence, in describing it, we take the more familiar Bank Swallow as a point 
of departure, and say that it differs thus and so and so. 

In the first place it lias those curious little booklets on the edge of the 
wing (es]iecially on the outer edge of the first primary ) — nobody knows what 
thev are for. Thev stirelv cannot be of serx'ice in enabling the bird to cling to 



THE ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW. 



335 



perpendicular surfaces, for they are bent forward, and the bird is not known 
to cling head-downward. It is eas}' to see how the bird might brace its wings 
against the sides of its nesting tunnel to prevent forcible abduction, but no one 
knows of a possible eneniv which might be circumvented in this wav. 

Again, the Rough-winged Swallow has a steadier, rather more labored 
flight than that of its foil. Its aerial course is more dignified, leisurely, less 
impulsive and erratic. In nesting, altho it may include the range of the Sand 
Martin, or even nest side bv side with it, it has a wider latitude for choice and 




'fuktjn iit Oregon. 



Fiioiu by H. T. Bolilman ,ind 11'. L. ftnUy. 



BABY ROUGH-WINCS. 



is not hampered by local tradition. If it burrows in a bank it is quite as likely 
to dig near the bottom as the top. Crevices in masonry or stone quarries, 
crannies and abutments of bridges or even holes in trees, are utilized. In 
Lincoln County where cover is scarce and the food supply attractive, I found 
them nesting along irrigating ditches with banks not over two feet high. One 
guileless pair I knew excavated a nest in the gravelly bank of an ungraded lot 
only three feet above the sidewalk of a prominent street, Denny Way, in 
Seattle. These birds were unsuccessful, but another pair, which enjoyed the 



336 THE BANK SWALLOW. 

protection of some sturd)- hv roots below ground, brought off a brood on 
Fifty-fifth Street, near my home. 

UnHke the Bank SwaUows, the Rougli-wings do not colonize to any great 
extent, but are rather solitary. Favorable conditions may attract several pairs 
to a given spot, as a gravel pit. but when together they are little given to 
community functions. 

These Swallows are pretty evenly distributed thruout the length and 
breailth of the State, save that they do not venture into high altitudes. Since 
they are so catholic in taste, it would seem tliat they are destined to flourish. 
They are possiblv now to be considered, after the Clift" Swallow, the most nu- 
merous species. I found tliem regularly along the west Olympic Coast in the 
summer of 1906; and, with Mr. Edson, of Bellingham, in June, IQ05, found 
a single pair nesting in characteristic isolation on Bare Island, off W'aldron. 

Further than this, the bird under consideration resembles the other bird 
Cjuite closely in notes, in habits, and in general appearance, and rec|uires sharp 
distinction in accordance with the suggestions gi\en above under "Recognition 
Marks." 



No. 129. 

BANK SWALLOW. 

A. O. U. No. 616. Riparia riparia (I^inn). 

Synonym. — Saxd Martin. 

Description. — .Idnlt: LTpperparts ])lain, brownish gray: wings fuscous ; 
throat and bellv white: a brownish gray band across the breast: a tiny tuft of 
feathers above the hind toe. There is some variation in the extent of the pectoral 
band : it is sometimes produced indistinctly backward, and sometimes even inter- 
rupted. Length 5.00-5.25 f 127-133. 3I : wing 3.95 f 100.3); tail 1.97 (50): bill 
from nostril .20 (5.1). 

Recognition Marks. — Smallest of the Swallows ; throat white : brownish 
gray pectoral band on white ground. 

Nesting. — Nest, at end of tunnels in banks, two or three feet in : a frail 
mat of straws and grasses and occasionally feathers. Breeds usually in colonies. 
Eggs, 4-6, sometimes 7, pure white. Av. size, .70 x .49 (17.8x12.5). Season: 
June : one brood. 

General Range. — Northern Hemisphere : in America south to West Indies. 
Central America, and northern South America ; breeding from the middle dis- 
tricts of the United States northward to about the limit of trees. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident; not common. A few large 
colonies are known east of the Cascades; westerly they are rare or wanting. 

Migrations. — Spring: May 11, 1896, Chelan. 



THE BANK SWALLOW. 



337 



Authorities. — Clificolu riparia, Dawson, Auk, \V>1. Xl\'. April, 1807, p. 179. 
T. [L'.] D-. Kb. D-'. Kk. B. E.( H). 
Specimens. — Prov. C. 



^..^ 




BANK SWALLOW. 

THOSE who know, conceive a regard for this plain-colored bird which 
is quite out of keeping with its humble garb and its confessedly prosy ways. 
The fact is, we have no other bird so nearly cosmopolitan, and we of the 
West, who are being eternally reminded of our newness, and who are, indeed, 
upon the alert for some new shade of color upon the feather of a bird for each 
added degree of longitude, take comfort in the fact that here at least is an un- 



338 



THE BANK SWALLOW. 



changeable t\pe, a visible link between Stuniptown-on-vSwinimiish and Flor- 
ence on the Arno. Birds of ijrecisely this feather are suniniering on the Lena, 
or else hawking at flies on the sunny Gaudalquivir, or tunneling the sacred 
banks of the Ji.irdan ; and the flatter\- is not lost uixm us of such as still prefer 
the Nespileni and the Pilchuck. 

The life of a Swallow is so largely spent a-wing, that our interest in it 

centers even more than 

in the case of other 

birds tipon the time 

when it is bound to 




Taken near tliclau. 



Photo by the Author. 



NESTING SITE OF THE BANK S\\ ALLOW. 



earth bv familv ties. We are scarcely conscious of the presence of the Bank 
Swallow until one day we see a great company of them fluttering about a sand- 
bank which overlooks the ri\-er, all busily engaged in digging the tunnels which 
are to shelter their young for that season. These birds are regularl}- gre- 
garious, and a nesting colony frequently numbers hundreds. 

The birds usually select a spot well up within a foot or two nf the top of 
a nearly perpendicular bank of sr)il or sand, and dig a straight, round tunnel 
three or four feet long. If, h<iwe\er, the soil contains stones, a greater length 
and many turns may be required to reach a safe spot for the slight enlargement 
where the nest pmper is placed. The bird appears to loosen the earth with 



THE AMERICAN BARN SWALLOW. 339 

its closed beak, swaying from side to side the wliile; and, of course, fallen 
dirt or sand is carried out in the mouth. Sometimes the little miner finds a 
lens-shaped tunnel more convenient, and I have seen them as much as seven 
inches in width and onlv two in height. While the members of a colony, 
especially if it be a small one, usually occupy a straggling, horizontal line of 
holes, their burrows are not infrequently to be seen in loose tiers, so that the 
bank presents a honey-combed appearance. 

Communal life seems a pleasant thing to these Swallows, and there is 
usually a considerable stir of activity about the quarters. A good deal of social 
twittering also attends the unending gyrations. The wonder is that the rapidly 
moving parts of this aerial kaleidoscope never collide, and that the cases of 
turning up at the wrong number are either so few or so amicably adjusted. 
The nesting season is, however, beset with dangers. Weasels and their ilk 
sometimes find entrance to the nesting burrows, and they are an easv prev to 
underbred small boys as well. The undermining of the nesting clifif bv the 
swirling river sometimes precipitates an entire colony — at least its real and 
personal property — to destruction. 

A certain populous bank near Chelan faced west, and whene\er the west 
wind blew, tlie fine volcanic ash, which composed the cliff, was wliirled into 
the mouths of the burrows, so rapidly, indeed, that the inmates required to be 
frequently at work in order to maintain an exit. A few dessicated carcasses, 
which I came across in old, filled-up burrows, I attributed to misfortune in 
this regard. 

Bank Swallows are the least musical of the Swallow kind. — unless, per- 
haps, we except the Rough-winged species, whicli is naturall}- associated in 
mind witli this. The}- have, nevertheless, a characteristic twitter, an unmelodi- 
ous sound like the rubbing together of two pebbles. An odd effect is produced 
when the excited birds are describing remonstrant parabolas at an intruder's 
head. The heightened pitch in the tones of the rapidly approaching bird, fol- 
lowed instantly by the lower tone of full retreat, is enough to startle a slumber- 
ing conscience in one who meditates mischief on a Swallow's home. 



No. 130. 

AMERICAN BARN SWALLOW. 

A. O. U. No. 613. Hirundo erythrogastra P.odd. 

Synonyms. — American Barn Swallow. Fork-tailed Swallow. 

Description. — Adult: Above lustrous steel-blue; in front an imperfect 
collar of the same hue; forehead chestnut; lores black; throat and breast rufous; 
the remaining underparts, including lining of wings, more or less tinged with 



340 THE AMERICAN BARN SWALLOW. 



the same, according to age and season : wings and tail blackish, with purplish 
or greenish reflections: tail deep!}- forked, the outer ])air of feathers being from 
one to two inches longer, and the rest graduated ; white blotches on inner webs 
(except on middle pair) follow the bifurcation. luunaturc: Forehead and 
throat paler ; duller or brownish above ; lateral tail-feathers not so long. Length 
about 7.00 (177.8); wing 4.75 (120.6): tail 3.00-4.50 (76.2-114.3); Ijill from 
nostril .24 (6.1 ). 

Recognition Marks. — Aerial habit: rufous of throat and nnderi)arts; forked 
tail: nest usually inside the barn. 

Nesting. — Nest: a neat bracket or half-bowl of nnul, luxuriously lined with 
grass and feathers, and cemented to a beam of barn or Ijridge. In Washington 
still nests occasionally in original haunts, viz., cliffs, caves, and crannied sea-walls. 
Bggs: 3-6, of variable shape, — oval or elongated ; white or pinkish white and 
spotted with cinnamon or umber. Av. size .76 x .53 (19.3x14). Season: last 
week in May and first week in July ; two broods. Stehekin, Aug. 10, 1896, 4 eggs. 

General Range. — North .America at large. Perhaps the most widelv and 
generally distributed of any American bird. Winters in Central and South 
America. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident of regular occurrence at lower 
levels thruiiut the State, less common west of the Cascades, more common else- 
where in the older settled valleys. 

Migrations. — Sprint/: c. Mav ist; Yakima County, .\pril 27, 1907: May 3. 
1908. Pall: c. September loth; Seattle, September 20, 1907. 

Authorities. — Hirundo horeonini Benton. Cooper and Siickley, Rep. Pac. 
R. R. Surv. XIL, pt. II.. i860, p. 184. T. C&S. L. Rh. D'. Kb. Ra. D-'. Ss'. Ss-\ 
J. B. E. 

Specimens. — Prov. P'. C. E. 

ONE hardly knows what quality to admire most in this boyhood's and 
life-long friend, the Barn Swallow. All the dear associations of life at the old 
farm come thronging up at sight of him. You think of him somehow as a 
part of the sacred past ; yet here he is today as young and as fresh as ever, 
bubbling over with springtime laughter, ready for a frolic over the bee-haunted 
meadows, or willing to settle down on the nearest fence-wire and recount to 
you with sparkling eyes and eloquent gesture the ad\-entures of that glorious 
trip up from Mexico, 

Perliaps it is liis childlike enthusiasm which stirs us. He has come many 
a league this morning, yet he dashes in thru the open doors and shouts like a 
boisterous schoolboy, "Here we are. you dear old barn ; ar'n't we glad to get 
back again!" Then it's out to see the horse-pond; and down the lane where 
the cattle go, with a dip under the bridge and a few turns over the orchard — 
a new iiur]wse. or none, every second — life one full measure of abounding joy! 

Or is it the apotheosis of motion which takes the eye? See them as they 
cast a magic spell over the glowing green of the young alfalfa, winding about 
iti tlie dizzv patterns of a heavenlv ballet, i>r \\'uilting at a thought to snatch an 



THE AMERICAN BARN SWALLOW. 



341 



insect from the sky. Back again, in again, out again, away, an_\\vhere, exery- 
uhere, witii two-mile a minute speed and effortless grace. 

But it is the sweet contidingness of this dainty Swallow which wins us. 
With all the face of Nature before him he yet prefers the vicinage of men, and 
comes out of his hilly fastnesses as soon as we provide him shelter. We all like 
to be trusted whether we deserve it or not. And if we don't deserve it : well, 
we will, that's all. 

The Barn Swallow is not a common bird with us as it is east of the 
Rockies, nor is it evenly distributed thruout our State. Wherever the country 
is well settled it is likelv, but n(jt certain, to be found; while for the rest it is 



confined to such Imver 
cliffs. 



altitudes as afford it suitable shelter caves and nesting 



At the head of Lake Chelan in 1S95 I found such a primiti\'e nesting 
haunt. The shores of the lake near its head are \er\" precipitous, since Castle 
Mountain rises to a height of over 8,000 feet within a distance of two miles. 
Along the shore-line in the side of the cliff's, which continue several hundred 



feet below the water, the wa\'es have hollowed out crannies and caves, 
of these latter, 
w h i c h penetrates 
the granite wall to 
a depth of some 
twenty feet, I found 
four or fi\-e Barn 
Swallows' nests, 
some containing 
young, and two, al- 
tho it was so late in 
the season (July 9, 
1895), containing 
eggs. Other nests 
were found in 
neighboring cran- 
nies outside the 
cave. A \-isit paid 
to this same spot on 
August loth, 1896, 
discovered one nest 
still occupied, and 
this contained four 
eggs. 

Mr. F. S. Merrill. 
of Spokane, reports 



In one 




Taken near Spokane. 



Fhoto by F. S. Me'rill. 
NEST OF BARN SWALLOW. 



342 THE A]\IERICAN BARN SWALLOW. 



the Barn Swallow as nesting along the rock_\- walls of Hangman's Creek, in 
just such situations as Cliff Swallows would choose; and back in '89, I found 
a few associated with \^iolet-greens along the Natchez Cliff's, in Yakima 
County. 

A colony of some twenty pairs nia}^ be found yearly nesting on Destruc- 
tion Island, in the Pacific Ocean. A few of them still occupy wave-worn 
crannies in the sand-rock, o\'erlooking the upper reaches of the tide, but most 
of the colon}- have taken refuge under the l)road gables of the keepers' houses 

The nest of tlie Barn Swallow is quadrispherical, or bracket- shaped, with 
an open top: and it usually dejiends for its position upon the adhesiveness of 
the mud used in construction. Dr. Brewer says of them: "The nests are 
constructed of distinct layers of mud, from ten to twelve in number, and each 
separated by strata of fine dry grasses. These layers are each made up of 



^ R 1 — h— f 



■I ^ 



^ 



1— f 



Taken ui Blaine. Prom a Photograph Copyright. 1908, by W. L. Dawson. 



THE NOONING. 

BARN SWALLOWS ON TF.LEGRAPH WIRES. 



small [jellets of mud, that ha\'e been worked o\'er bv the liirds and placed one 
by one in juxtaposition until each laver is complete." The mud walls thus 
composed are usually an inch in thickness, and the cavity left is first lined 
with fine soft grasses, then provided with abundant feathers, among which 
the speckled eggs lie buriefl and almost in\isible. 



THE TREE SWALLOW. 343 



Bringing utif tlie brood is an event which nia}- well arrest the attention of 
the human household. There is much stir of excitement about the barn. The 
anxious parents rush to and fro shouting tisic, tisic, now in encouragement, 
now in caution, while baljy number one launches for the nearest beam. The 
pace is set, and babies number two to four f(_)llow both" after, now lighting" 
safely, now landing in the hay-mow, or compromising on a plow-handle. Up- 
on the last-named the agonized parents urge another effort, for Tabb\- may 
appear at any moment. He tries, therefore, for old Nellie's back, to the mild 
astonishment of that placid tnare, who presently shakes him off. Numljer 
five tumbles outright and requires to be replaced by hand, if you will be so 
kind. And so the tragi-comed}' wears on, duplicating human years in half as 
many days, luitil at last we see our Swallows among their twittering fellows 
strung like notes of music on the far-flung staff of Western Union. 

H birds really mean anything more to us than so many Japanese kites 
tlM\\n without strings, we may stu'ely join with Dr. Brewer in his whole-souled 
a]»preciation of these friendl}- Swallows: "Innocent and blameless in their 
lives, there is no evil blended with the manv benefits they confer on man. 
They are his ever constant benefactor and friend, and are never known even 
indirectl}' to do an injury. Fur their daily food and for that of their off- 
spring, they destroy the insects that annoy his cattle, injure his fruit trees, 
sting his fruit, or molest his person. Social, affectionate and kind in their 
intercourse with each other: faithful and dev<:)ted in the discbarge of their 
conjugal and parental duties: exemplary, watchful, and tender alike to their 
own family and to all their race : sympathizing and benevolent when their 
fellows are in any trouble, — these lovel\' and beautiful birds are bright ex- 
amples to all, in their blameless and useful lives." 



No. 131. 

TREE SWALLOW. 

A. O. U. No, 614. Iridoprocne bicolor (VieilL). 

Synonym. — White-belliEd Sw.allow. 

Description. — Adult male: Above, lustrous steel-blue or steel-green; below, 
pure white ; lores black ; wings and tail black, showing some bluish or greenish 
luster; tail slightly forked. Female: Similar to male, but duller. Ininiatiire: 
Upper parts mouse-gray instead of metallic ; below whitish. Length about 6.00 
(152.4) ; wing 4.57 (116.1) ; tail 2.19 (55.6) ; bill from nostril .25 (6.4). 

Recognition Marks. — Aerial habits; steel-blue or greenish above; pure white 
below ; a little larger than the next species. 

Nesting. — Nest: in holes in trees or, latterly, in bird houses, plentifully lined 



344 



THE TREE SWALLOW. 



with soft materials, especially feathers. Egys: 4-6, pure white, — pinkish white 
before removal of contents. Av. size .75 x .54 ( 19. i x 13.7). Season: last week 
in May. first week in July ; two broods. 

General Range. — North America at large, breeding from the Fur Countries 
south to New Jersey, the Ohio \'alley, Kansas, Colorado, California, etc.; win- 
tering from South Carolina and the Gulf States southward to the West Indies 
and Guatemala. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident; aliundant on West-side; not 
C(jmnion east of the Cascade Mountains. 

Migrations. — Spring: First week in March or earlier; Seattle, ]\hirch 4, 
1889; March 7, 1890; Tacoma, March 2, 1907; March 3, 1908; Bellingham 
(Edson), Tacoma (Bowles), Steilacoom (Dawson), February 25, 1905; Skagit 
Marshes near Fir ( L. R. Reynolds), February i, 1906; Seattle (Dr. Clinton T. 
Cooke), January 21, 1906. 

Authorities. — Hiriindu biculor N'ieillot, fiaird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX., 
pt. II., 1858, p. 311. T. C&S. Rh. D'. Kb. Ra. D^ J. P.. E. 

Specimens. — U. of W. P. Prov. C. 



ONE vSwalluw does nut make a summer, but a little twittering company 
(jf them faring northward makes the heart glad, and fills it with a sense of 
exaltation as it responds to the call of these care-free children of the air. 
The remark applies to Swallows in general, but particularly to Tree Swallows, 
for in their immaculate garb of dark bine and white, they seem like crystalli- 
zations of skv and templed cloud, grown animate with the all-compelling 
breath of spring. They have about them the marks of high-born quality, 
which we cannot but admire as they spurn with a wing-stroke the lower 

strata, and rise to 
accept we know 
not wdiat dainties 
of the upijcr air. 
While not so 
hardy as Robin 
and Bluebird, since 
it must maintain 
an e.xclusive diet 
of insects. Tree 
Swallow is, occa- 
sionally, very ven- 
turesome as to 
the season of its 
northward flight. 
Indeed a succes- 
TREE SWALLOW. siou of mild wiu- 




Taken in Seattle. 



Photo by the Author. 



THE TREE SWALLOW. 345 



ters n:ight induce it lo become a permanent resident of the Puget Sound 
country, and it is not certain that it has not ah^eady done so in some in- 
stances. It often reaches Seattle during the first week in March; while it 
was simultaneously observed at Tacoma (Bowles), and Bellingham (Edson) 
on the 24th day of Februar\', 1905. In 1906 Mr. L. R. Reynolds reported 
seeing it in numbers on the Skagit marshes near Fir, on the 1st of February; 
and Dr. Clinton T. Cooke, looking from his office window in the Alaska 
Building, saw a large specimen, apparently an adult male, soaring about over 
the Grand Opera House, in Seattle, on the 21st day of Januarv. 

The Tree Swallow is a lover of the water and is seldom to be found 
at a great distance from it. It is close to the surface of ponds and lakes 
that the earliest insects are to be found in spring, and it is here that the 
bird may maintain the spotlessness of its plumage by frequent dips. Hence 
a favorite nesting site for these birds is one of the partiallv submerged forests 
which are so characteristic of western Washington lakes. The birds are not 
themselves able to make excavations in the wood, but they have no difficulty 
in possessing themselves of the results of other birds' labors. Old holes will 
do if not too old, but I once knew a pair of these Swallows to drive away a 
pair of Northwest Flickers from a brand new nesting-hole, on the banks of 
Lake LTnion, and to occupy it themselves. 

The nesting cavity is copiously lined with dead grass antl feathers : and 
sometime during the last week of May from four to six white eggs are 
deposited. The female sits very closelv and it is sometimes necessary to 
remove her by hand in order to examine the nest. Both parents are very 
solicitous on such occasions, and should a feather from the nest be tossed 
into the air, one of them will at once catch it and fly about awaiting a chance 
to replace it. Or if there are other Swallows about, some neighbor will 
snatch it first and make off with it to add to her own collection. 

Tree Sw^allows are slowly availing tliemselves of artificial nesting sites. 
In fact, several species of our birds ha\-e become quite civilized, so that 
nowadays no carefullv constructed and quietly situated bird-bo.x need be 
without its spring tenant. A pair once built their nest in a sort of tower 
attic, just inside a hole which a Flicker had pierced in the ceiling of an 
open belfry of a country church in Yakima. When in service the mouth 
of the swinging bell came within two feet of the brooding bird. One would 
suppose that the Swallows would have been crazed with fright to find 
themselves in the midst of such a tumult of sound ; but their enterprise 
fared successfully, as I can testify, for at the proper time I saw the 
youngsters ranged in a happ\-, twittering row along the upper rim of the 
bell-wheel. 



346 THE VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW. 



No. 132. 
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW. 

A. O. LI. No. 615. Tachycineta thalassina lepida (Mearns). 

Synonym. — North krn \'iolet-green Swallow. 

Description. — .Iditlt male: LIpperparts, including pileuni, hind-neck, back, 
upper portion of nnnp, scapulars, and lesser wing-coverts, rich velvety bronze- 
green, occasionally tinged with purple, crown usually more or less contrasting 
with color of back, greenish-brown rather than bronze-green, and more strongly 
tinged with purple ; a narrow cervical collar, lower rump, and upper tail-coverts, 
velvety violet-purple; wings (except lesser coverts) and tail blackish glossed with 
violet or purple ; lores grayish ; underparts, continuous witli cheeks and area over 
and behind eye, and with conspicuous flank patch, nearly meeting fellow across 
rump, pure white : under wing-coverts pale gray, whitening on edge of wing. 
Bill black; feet brownish black; iris brown. Adult female: Like male but 
usually much duller, bronze-green of upperparts reduced to greenish brown, or 
brown with faint greenish reflections. Young birds are plain mouse-gray above 
and their iinier secondaries are touched with white. Length 4.50-5.50 ( 1 14.3- 
139.7) : \^'''m 4-4' ' I'-) : tail 1.77 (45) ; bill .20 (5.2). 

Recognition Marks. — Smaller ; green and violet above, white below ; white- 
cheeked and whitc-runiped ( apparently ) as distinguished from the Tree Swallow. 

Nesting. — Nest: of dried grasses with or without feathers, placed in crevice 
of cliff or at end of vap(.)r hole in basalt walls; latterly in bird boxes and about 
buildings. /:(/(/or.- 4-6, pure white. Av. size .72 x .48 (18.3 x 12.2). Season: June. 

General Range. — \\'estern United States, from the eastern base of the 
Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, north to the Yukon Valley, south in winter to 
Costa Rica. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident, of regular occurrence in moun- 
tain valleys and among the foothills ; rare or local elsewliere ; bec(.iming common 
in the larger cities. 

Migrations. — Spring: "About the loth of May" (Suckley)^; now at least 
March; Chelan, March 27, 1896: Seattle, March 24, 1906; Tacoma, March 16, 
1907; March 14, 1908; Olympia, February 27( ?), 1897. 

Authorities. — ? Ornith. Com. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila., VII., 1837, 193 (Columbia 
River). Ilirnndo thalassina Swainson, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX., pt. II., 
1858, p. 312. T. C&S. L'. Rh. D'. D-'. Ss'. Kk. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— (U. of W.) Prov. P'. C. E. 

TO appear to the best advantage this dainty sky-child should be seen on 
a bright day, when the livid green of back and crown may reflect the glancing 
rays of the sun with a delicate golden sheen. At such a time, if one is clam- 
bering about the walls of some rugged granite clifY of the lower Cascades, he 
feels as if the dwellers of Olympus had come down in appropriate guise to 



a. Cooper and Siickley. E^ep. Pac. R. R. Surv. XIL, pt. IL, i860, p. 



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jchycineta thalassina iepida 



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THE VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW. 



347 




iiKjuire his l)usiness. Not, however, that these lovely creatures are either 
meddlesome or shrewish. Even when the nest is threatened by the strange 
presence, the birds seem unable to form any conception of harm, and pursue 
their wa\' in sunny disregard. Especially pleasing to the eye is the pure wliite 

of the bird's underparts, rising high 
on flanks and cheeks and sharply 
contrasting with the pattern of \'io- 
let and green, in such fashion that, if 
Nature had invited us to "remold it 
nearer ti) the heart's desire,'' we 
must have declined the task. 

Before the advent of the white 
man upon Puget Sound, these birds 
commonly nested in deserted wood- 
pecker holes and in natural cavities 
of trees, while upon the East-side 
they nested (and still do to a large 
extent) upon the granite or lava 
clififs. In the last-named situations 
they utilize the rocky clefts and in- 
accessible crannies, and are espec- 
ially fond of the smaller \apor holes 
which cliaracterize the basaltic for- 
mations. Favorable circumstances 
may attract a considerable colony, to the number of a hundred pairs or more. 
but even so it is not easy to find a getatable nest. If one is able to reach the 
actual nesting site, the mouth of the ancient gas-\ent which the birds have 
chosen for a home may ])rove too small to admit the hand. 

Thruout the State, however, and especially upon the West-side, these 
exquisite birds are forsaking their ancient haunts and claiming protection of 
men. Already they have become common in larger cities, where they occupy 
bird-boxes and crannies of buildings. South Tacoma, being nearest to their 
old oak nurseries, is quite given over to them, and it is a pretty sight on a 
sunny day in April to see them fluttering about the cottages inspecting knot- 
holes and rec'essed gables or, in default of such conv-eniences, daintily voicing 
their disapproval of such neglect on the part of careless humans. 

In these birds and in the Barn Swallows, the well known twittering and 
creaking notes of Swallows most nearly approach the dignity of song. 
Indeed, Mr. Rathbun contends tliat the song heard at close quarters is a 
really credital:)le aftair, varied, vivacious, and musical. 

The Violet-greens are somewhat less hardy or venturesome than the Tree 
Swallows, arriving usually during the last week in March. Last year's 



Taken in Oregon. Photo by Finlcy and Bohhnan. 

YOUNG VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW. 



348 THE BOHEMIAN WAXWING. 

nesting site becomes at once the spring rendezsi.ius, but tlie duties of maternity 
are not seriously undertaken until aljout the ist of June. At the head of 
Lake Chelan some twenty pairs of these Swallows, having left the old nest- 
ing cliff a mile away, had engaged quarters at Field's Hotel, being assigned 
to the boxed eaves of a second-story piazza in this pleasant caravanserai; 
l.)ut they had not }'et deposited eggs on the 20th of June, 1906. 

Altho not formerly so fastidious — I ha\e found clift' nests composed 
entirely of dried grass — these birds have become connoisseurs in upholstery 
of feathers, and their unglossed white eggs, fi\-e or six in number, are 
invariably smothered in purloined down, until we begin to suspect that our 
fowls rather tlian our features have favored our adoption. 



No. 133. 

BOHEMIAN WAXWING. 

A. O. IT. No. 618. Bombycilla garrula (Linn.). 

Synonyms. — XdrthI'Kx Waxwixg. Gre.xter W.\xwing. 

Description. — .-Idnlts: A conspicuous crest; body plumage soft, grayish- 
brown or fawn-color, shading by insensible degrees between the several parts ; 
back darker, passing into bright cinnamon-rufous on forehead and crown, and 
thru dark ash of rump and upper tail-coverts into black of tail; tips of tail 
feathers abruptly yellow (gamboge); breast with a vinaceous cast, passing into 
cinnamon-rufous of cheeks; a narrow frontal line passing thru eye, and a short 
throat-patch velvety black ; under tail-coverts deep cinnamon ; wing blackish- 
ash, the tips of the primary coverts and the tips of the secondaries on outer webs. 
white, tips of primaries on outer webs bright 3'ellow, whitening outwardly; the 
shafts of the rectrices produced into peculiar flattened red "sealing-wax" tips ; 
bill and feet black. Length about 8.00 (203.2): wing 4.61 (117.1); tail 2.56 
(65); bill .47 (1 1.9). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink size; grayish-brdwn CDJoration. As dis- 
tinguished from the much more common Cedar-bird: belly not yellow; white 
wing-bars ; under tail-coverts cinnamon. 

Nesting. — Not known to breed in Washington. Like that of next species. 
Effgs, larger. Av. size, .98 x .69 (24.9x17.5). 

General Range. — Northern portions of northern hemisphere. In North 
America, south in winter irregularly to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, 
southern Colorado, and northern California. Breeds north of United States; 
also, possibly, in the mountains of the West. 

Range in Washington. — Winter resident, regular and sometimes abundant 
east (if the Cascades, especially in the northern tier of counties; rare or casual 
on the West-side. 

Authorities.— .■?;;//'<'/« (/arndiis, Brewster, P.. N. O. C. VII. Oct. 1882, p. 
227. D'. J. E. 

Specimens.— (U. of W.) Prov. P'. C. 



THE BOHEMIAN WAXWING. 349 

XOTHIXG can exceed the retiiied elegance of these "gentlemen in feath- 
ers" who \-isit us _\-early in winter, rarely on Puget Sound, but abundantly in 
the nijrtheastern portion of the .State. Demure, gentle, courteous to a faidt, 
and guileless to the danger point, and be^'ond, these lo\-ely creatures exceed in 
beauty, if [jossible, their more familiar cousin, the Cedarl)ird. They move 
about in flocks, sometimes to the number of hundreds, and as the rigors of 
winter come on they search the orchanl and berry-patch for ungarnered fruit, 
or divide with hungry Robins the largess of rowan trees. Much time is 
spent in amiable converse, but it is not at all fair to call them "chatterers," 
or garniliis, as tho they were monkeys. Dignity is of the very essence of 
their being, and, as fond as the}^ are of good li\'ing, thev would star\e rather 
than do anything rude or unseemly. 

An observer in Utah^ relates how an ill-mannered Robin, jealous of the 
good be]ia\'ior of a company of these visitors, in an apple tree, set about to 
abuse them. "He would bluster and scream out his denunciations till he 
seemed unable longer to restrain himself, when, to all appearances, absolutely 
beside himself with rage because the objects of his wrath paid no attention to 
his railings, he did the catapult act — hurling himself straight at the intruders. 
Several of the ^Vaxwings, in order to avoid an actual collision, left the places 
where the}' were feeding, and alighting on twigs near bv paused for a moment, 
as if to observe the antics of the ftu'ious Roliin, when thev would resume their 
feeding. Their indifference to the loud bullying protests of the Robin, and 
their persistence in remaining on the premises after he had ordered them off 
so exasperated Mr. Redbreast that with screams of defiance he dashed from 
group to group without stopping to alight, until, exhausted quite as much 1)\- 
the heat of anger as by the unusual exertions he was making, he was glad to 
drop to a branch and pant for breath" — while the Waxwings continued to 
ignore the churl, as gentlemen should. 

Concerning the nesting range of this bird there has been much surmise. 
For many years the single eggs taken by Kennicott at Fort Yukon on Tulv 4, 
1861, remained unique: but latterly we are learning that it also nests much 
further south. Mr. Brooks took foiu- sets, one from a INFurrav pine and three 
from Douglas firs, at 158-Mile House, B. C, in June. 1901''. Dr. C. S. 
Moody"^ reports the taking of a set of five eggs at Sandpoint, Idaho, July 5, 
1904. On June 26, 1904, Robert G. Bee, of Provn City, found a nest near 
Sunn\-side, Utah''. W'hh such examples before us it is practicall}- certain 
that the species will be found nesting in this State. Indeed, Mr. F. S. Mer- 
rill, of Spokane, believes that he once found a nest of the Bohemian W'axwing 
on the headwaters of the Little Spokane River near ^lilan. The nest he de- 



Rev. S. H. Goodwin in "The Condor," \'ol. \'II., No. 4, p. 100. 
The Auk, \'o]. XX., July, 1903, p. 283. 
"Pacific Sportsman," \'ol. 2, June, 1905, p. 270. 
The Condor, \'ol. \"II.. July, .\ugust, 1905, p. 100. 



350 THE CEDAR WAXWING. 



scribes as lia\'ing been placed in an alder at a height of eight feet, and it con- 
tained four eggs on the point of hatching. The brooding bird allowed a close 
approach while upon the nest, but was not seen again after being once flushed. 



No. 134. 

CEDAR WAXWING. 

A. O. U. No. 619. Bombycilla cedrorum Vieill. 

Synonyms. — Ced.\r-bird. Cherry-bird. Carolina ^\'AxwING. Lesser 
Waxwixg. 

Description. — Adults: A conspicuous crest; extreme forehead, lores, and 
line thru eye velvety-black ; chin blackish, fading rapidly into the rich grayish- 
brown of remaining fore-parts and head ; a narrow whitish line bordering the 
black on the forehead ancl the blackish of the chin ; back darker, shading thru 
ash of rump to blackish-ash of tail ; tail-feathers abruptly tipped with gamboge 
yellow ; belly sordid yellow ; under tail-coverts white ; wings slaty-gray, primaries 
narrowly edged with whitish : secondaries and inner quills without white mark- 
ings, but bearing tips of red "sealing-wax"; the tail-feathers are occasionally 
found with the same curious, horny appendages ; bill black ; feet plumbeous. 
Sexes alike, but considerable individual variation in number and size of waxen 
tips. Young, streaked everywhere with whitish, and usually without red tips. 
I^ength 6.50-7.50 (165.1-190.5) ; wing 3.70 (94) ; tail 2.31 (58.7) ; bill .40 (10.2). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; soft grayish-brown plumage; crest; 
red sealing-wax tips on secondaries ; belly yellow ; wings without white bars or 
spots, as clistinguished from ])receding species. 

Nesting. — Nest, a bulky affair of leaves, grasses, bark-strips and trash, well 
lined with rootlets and soft materials ; placed in crotch or horizontally saddled 
on limb of orchard or evergreen tree. Eggs, 3-6, dull grayish blue or putty-color, 
marked sparingly with deep-set, rounded spots of umber or black. Av. size, 
.86 X .61 (21.8x15.5). Season: June, July ; two broods. 

General Range. — North .America at large, from the Fur Countries south- 
ward. In winter from the northern border of the United States south to the West 
Indies and Costa Rica. Breeds from Virginia, Kansas, Oregon, etc., northward. 

Range in Washington. — Of regular occurrence in the State, but irregular 
or variable locally. Resident, but less common in winter. 

Authorities. — Ampelis cedroniiii Baird, Cooper and Suckley, Rep. Pac. 
R. R. Surv. XII. pt. II. i860, p. 187. T. C&S. Rb. D'. Kb. Ra. D-\ Ss-'. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— (U. of W.) Prov. P. B. E. 

ONE does not care to commit himself in precise language up(in the range 
of the Cedarbird, or to predict that it will be found at any given spot in a 
given season. The fact is, Cedarbirds are gypsies of the feathered kind. 
There are alwavs some of them about somewhere, but their comings and goings 
are not according to any fixed law. A company of Cedarbirds may throng the 



THE CEDAR WAXWING. 351 



rowan trees in your front yard some bleak day in December ; the_\' may nest in 
your orciiard the following July ; and you may not see them on vour premises 
again for years — unless }-ou keep cherry trees. It must be confessed (since 
the shade of the clierry tree is ever sacred to Truth ) that the Cedarbird, or 
"Cherrybird," has a single passion, a consuming desire for cherries. But don't 
kill him for that. Ynu like cherries yourself. All the more reason, then, 
wh_\- you should be charitable toward a brother's weakness. Besides, he is so 
handsome, — handsomer himself than a luscious cherry e\-en. Feast vour eyes 
upon him, those marvelous melting browns, those shifting saffrons and Quaker 
drabs, those red sealing-wax tips on the wing-quills ( he is canning cherries, 
you see, and comes provided). Feast your eyes, I say. and carry the vision to 
the table with you — and a few less cherries. Or, if there are not enough for 
\ou both, draw a decent breadth of mosquito-netting o\'er the tree, and ab- 
solve }-our soul of murderous intent. Remember, too, if you require self- 
justification, that earlier in the season he diligently devoured noxious worms 
and insect pests, so that he has a clear right to a share in the fruit of his labors. 

Clierries are by no means the only kind of fruit eaten by these birds. 
Like most orchard-haunting species, tliey are very fond of mulberries, while 
the red berries nf the mountain ash are a staple ration in fall and winter. 
Truth to tell, these beauties are sad gluttons, and they will gorge themselves 
at times till the vevy effort of swallowing becomes a delicious pain. 

The Cedarbird, being so singularly endowed with the gift of beaut\', is 
denied the gift of song. He is, in fact, the most nearly \'oiceless of anv of 
the American Oscines, his sole note being a high-pitched sibilant squeak. In- 
deed, so high-pitched is this extraordinary note that many people, and the\' 
trained bird-men, cannot hear them at all, even when the Waxwings are 
squeaking all about them. It is an almost uncanny spectacle, that of a companv 
of Waxwings sitting aloft in some leafless tree early in spring, erect, immov- 
able, like soldiers on parade, but complaining to each other in that faint, pene- 
trating monotone. It is as th(j }-ou had come upon a company of the Immor- 
tals, high-removed, conversing of matters too recondite for human ken, and 
surveying you the while with Olympian disdain. You steal away from the 
foot of the tree with a chastened sense of having encountered something not 
quite understandable. 

The dilatory habits of these birds are well shown in their nesting, which 
they put off until late June or July, for no apparent reason. In constructing 
the nest the birds use anything soft and pliable which happens to catch the 
eye. Some specimens are composed entirelv of the green hanging mosses, 
while others are a complicated mixture of twigs, leaves, rootlets, fibers, 
grasses, rags, string, paper, and what not. Tlie nest may be placed at any 
moderate height up to fifty feet, and a great variety of trees are used altho 
orchard trees are favorites. The birds are half gregarious, even in the nest- 



fa 



352 THE NORTHERN SHRIKE. 

ing season, so tliat a small orchard nia_\" cimtain a dozen nests, while another 
as good, a little way removed, has none. In the Nooksack Valley, near Glacier, 
Air. Brown showed me a tin_\- pasture carved out of the woods, where he had 
found, during the prex'inus season, six nests of the Cedarhird, placed at heights 
ranging from three to six feet above the ground in small clumps of vine maple 
or alder saidings. In Chelan we found them nesting in the tops of the 
solilarv pine trees which line the stream. 

The female sits closely upon her eggs, not infrequently remaining until 
forcibly remo\'ed. Once ofif, however, she makes away without complaint, 
and pa}'S no further attention to the incident until the intruder has departed. 

Always of a most gentle disposition, when the nesting season arrives, 
according to Mr. Bowles, these birds richly deser\-e the name of Love Birds. 
A leaf from his note-book supports the statement : "July 7, 1896. To-day 
I watched two Cedarbirds selecting a nesting site, first one location being- 
tested, then another. Finally they decided upon a suitable ])lace and com- 
menced picking both dry and green leaves from the surrounding trees, placing 
them upon a liorizontal limb where two or three twigs projected,. Almost all 
of these lea\es blew off as soon as placed, greatly to the surprise of the birds, 
who solemnly watched them drop to the ground. These fallen leaves were 
ne\er replaced, fresh ones being gathered instead, and these were always 
secured from growing trees. Then one got a long strip of plant silk and, 
placing it on the leaf foundation flew a foot or two away and lit. The other 
bird promjitly ti)ok away the silk and brought it to its mate, who very gently 
took it and put it back. This operation was repeated again and again. At 
times both held the silk, sitting only an inch or two apart, whereupon the bird 
who was the original finder would, iwy gently, pull it from the bill of its 
mate and replace it. At the end of fifteen minutes of this loving passage I 
was obliged to retire, and I sliall ne\er know whether the plant fiber was 
successfull}' placed or merel_\- worn out." 



No. 135- 

NORTHERN SHRIKE. 

A. O. U. No. 621. Lanius borealis A'ieill. 

Synonyms. — Gre.\T Xorthkrx SuRiKr;. Butcher-bird. 

Description. — Adult: Upperparts clear, bluish gray, lightest — almost white^ 
on upper tail-coverts; extreme forehead whitish: wings and tail black, the former 
with a conspicuous white spot at base of primaries, the latter with large, white 
terminal blotches on outer feathers, decreasing in size inwardly ; a black band 
through eye. including auriciilars: below grayish white, the feathers of the breast 



THE NORTHERN SHRIKE. 353 

and sides narrow!}- tipped with dusky, protlucing a uniform, fine verniicnlation 
which is always present ; bill blackish, lightening at base of lower mandible : feet 
black. Young birds are barred or washed with grayish brown. The plumage of 
adult is sometimes overcast above with a faint olivaceous tinge. Length 9.25- 
10.75 (235-273-I) : wing 4.50 (114. 3) : tail 4.19 (106.4) ; bill .72 (18.3) ; tarsus 
1.07 (27.3). 

Recognition Marks. — Robin size; gray and black coloring; sharply hooked 
bill ; breast verniiculated with dusky, as distinguished from next species. 

Nesting. — Does not breed in Washington. Xcst: a well constructed bowl of 
sticks, thorn-twigs, grasses, and trash, heavily lined with plant-down and feathers ; 
in bushes or low trees. Eggs: 3-7, dull white or greenish gray, thickly dotted and 
spotted with olive-green, brown, or lavender. Av. size, 1.07 x .78 (27.2 x 19.8). 

General Range. — Northern North America ; south in winter to the middle 
and southern portions of the United States. Breeds north of the United States 
except sparingly in northern New England. 

Range in Washington. — Spring and fall migrant and ncit common winter 
resident ihrnont the State, chiefly at lower levels. 

Authorities. — ? Townsend. Tourn. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. VHI. 1839, 1^2 
(Columbia River). Baird, Rep. "Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. i8vS, 325. C&S. D'. Ra. 
D-\ B. E. 

Specimens. — ( U. of W. ) P". Prov. B. E. 

FLITTING like a gray ghost in the wake of the cheerful hi;)Sts of Juncoes 
and Red]3olls, comes this butcher of the North in search of his accustomed prey. 
If it is his first visit south he posts himself upon the tip of a tree and rasps out 
an inquiry of the man with the gun. Those that survive these indiscretions are 
thereafter faintly descried in the distance, either in the act of diving from some 
anxious summit, or else winging swiftly over the inecjualities r)f the ground. 

All times are killing time for this bloodthirsty fellow, and even in winter 
he "jerks" the meat not necessary for present consumption — be it chillv- 
footed mouse or pali)itating Sparrow — upon some convenient thorn or splin- 
ter. In spring the north-bound bird is somewhat more amiable, being better 
fed, and he pauses from time to time during the advance to sing a strange 
medley, which at a little remove sounds like a big electric buzz. This is 
meant for a love song, and is doubtless so accepted by the proper critics, but 
its rendition sometimes produces about the same effect upon a troop of 
Finches, which a cougar's serenade does upon a cowering deer. 

Experts try to make out that this creatiu-e is beneficial, on the whole, 
because of the insects he de\'Ours, but I ha\'e seen too much good red blood 
on. this butcher's beak myself. My gun is loaded! 

Sucklev writing in the Fifties remarks the scarcitv of all Shrikes in 
Oregon or Washington "Territories," and this is fortunately still true, espec- 
iallv west of the Cascades. The probable explanation is that the mild climate 
of the Pacific slope of Alaska retards or pre\-ents the southward movement 
of the more hardy species. 



354 THE WHITE-RUMPED SHRIKE. 



No. 136. 

WHITE-RUMPED SHRIKE. 

A. O. U. No. 622a. Lanius ludovicianiis excubitorides (Swains.). 

Description. — . Idult : Dark bluish gray above, changing abruptly to white on 
upper tail-coverts ; scapulars chiefly white ; wings black, a small white spot at base 
of primaries; the inner ciuills narrowly tipped with white; tail black, the outer 
pair of feathers chiefly white, and the succeeding liroadly tipped with white in 
descending ratio until color disappears in two central pairs ; below white slightly 
soiled on breast, but everywhere strongly contrasting with upperparts; narrow 
frontal line including nasal tufts, lores, and ear-coverts, black, — continuous, and 
passing mostly below eye; bill and feet black, liiiinatiirc: Colors of adult less 
stronglv contrasted: lower parts washed with brownish; loral bar obscure; more 
or less vermiculated with dusky all over (in younger birds), or upon the under- 
parts alone; ends of wing-quills, coverts, and tail-feathers often with ochraceous 
or rusty markings. Length of adult male; 8.50-10.00 (215.9-254); wing 3.96 
(100.6) ; tail 3.9 (99) ; bill .60 ( 15.3) ; tarsus i.i (28). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink to Robin size ; dark gray above ; whitish be- 
low ; longitudinal black ])atch of head; wings black and white; breast of adult un- 
marked, as distinguished from both L. borcalis and L. I. gambcli. 

Nesting. — Nest: a bulky but well-l)uilt structure of sticks, thorn-twigs, sage- 
bark, dried leaves, etc., heavily lined with wool, hair, and feathers ; placed at 
moderate heights in sage-brush or sapling. Eggs: 5-7, dull grayish or greenish 
white, thickly speckled and spotted with pale olive or reddish brown. Av. size, 
.97 X .73 (24.6x18.5). Season: April, June ; two broods. 

General Range. — Western North America from the Great Plains westward, 
except Pacific Coast district and from Manitoba and the plains of Saskatchewan 
south over the tal)lelands of ]\fexico; south in winter over the whole of Ale.xico 
intergrading with L. 1. migrans in region of the Great Lakes. 

Range in Washington. — Crimnion summer resident east of the Cascades, 
chieflv in sage-brush countr}-. 

Authorities.— Dawson, Auk. NIV. 1897, 179. (T). D". D-'. Ss'. Ss^ 
Specimens.— (U. of W.) P. C. 

THE brushy draws of the low lava ranges and the open sage stretches of 
the East-side constitute the favorite preserve of this lesser bird of prey. He 
arrives from the South early in March when his patchy plumage harmonizes 
more or less with the snow-checkered landscape, but he is nowise concerned 
with problems of protective coloration. Seeking out some prominent perch, 
usually at this time of year a dead greasewood or a fence-post, he divides his 
time between spying upon the early-creeping field mouse and entertaining his 
lady love with outlandish music. Those who have not heard the White-rumped 
Shrike sing, have missed a treat. He begins with a series of rasping sounds, 
wliicli are probabh- intended to produce the same receptix'e conditi(in in his 



THE WHITE-RUMPED SHRIKE. 



355 



audience which Die Bull secured Ijy awkwariHx' breaking one siring after an- 
other on his \"iolin. till only ( me was left. There, howe\-er, the resemblance 
ceases, for where the virtuoso could extract a melody of marvelous varietv and 
sweetness from his single string, the bird produces the sole note of a struck 
an\-il. Tliis poiu's forth in successi\-e three-syllabled phrases like the metallic 
and reiterati\-e clink of a freely falling hammer. The chief difference which 




Taken in Doughs Ccvnty- 



fhotn by n. 



THE SHRIKE'S PRESERVE. 



appears between this love song and tlie ordinary call of warning or excitement 
is that in the latter case the less tender passions have weighted the clanging 
an\-il with scrap iron and destroyed its resonance. 

The Shrike is a bird of prey but he is no restless prowler or ho\'erer, wear- 
ing out his wings with incessant flight — not he. Choosing rather a commanding 
position on a telegraph wire, or exposed bush top, he searches the ground with 
his eye until he detects some suspicious mo\'ement of insect, mouse, or Ijird. 
Then he di\'es down amongst the sage, and if successful returns to his post to 
devour at leisure. The bird does not remain long enough at one station to in- 
spire a permanent dread in the local population of comestibles : but rathermoves 
on from jiost to post at short intervals and in methodical fashion. In flight the 



356 



THE WHITE-RUMPED SHRIKE. 



Taken in Doughs Lojmty. Flioto by the Autltor. 

NEST AND EGGS OF WHITE-KUMPED SHRIKE, 



bird moves either by successi\'e plunges and noisy reascensicins, ijr else pitclies 
downward from his perch and wings rapidly over the surface uf the vegetation. 
The Sage Shrikes are prolific and attentive breeders. The first brood is 
brought off about the ist of May, but fresh eggs may sometimes be found 
as early as the last week in March in the southern part of the State. A 
second brood may be expected from June ist to 15th. 

The nest is a bulky 
but usually well-built 
affair, placed habitually 
in a sage bush, or a 
greasewood clump, with 
wild clematis for third 
choice. The structure is 
designed for warmth 
and comfort, so that, 
whenever possible, to 
the thickened walls of 
plant fibers, cowhair, or 
sheep's wool, is added an 
inner lining of feathers, 
and these not infre- 
quently ctud over the 
edge so as completely to 
conceal the nest contents. 
One nest examined in 
Walla \\'alla County 
contained the following 
materials : Willow twigs, 
broom-sage twigs, sage 
bark, weed stems, dried 
yarrow leaves, dried 
sage leaves, hemp, wool, 
rabbit fur, horse-hair, 
cow-hair, chicken feath- 
ers, string, rags, and 
sand, besides a thick mat 
of finely comminuted scales, soft and shiny, the accumulated horny waste 
from the growing wing-quills of the crowded young — altogether a sad mess. 
The ])arent birds are singularly indifferent as a rule to the welfare of a 
nest containing eggs alone. The female sits close, but once flushed, stands 
clinking in the distance, or else absents herself entirely. When the young are 
hatched, howc\'er, the old birds are ca])able of a spirited and deafening defense. 




THE CALIFORNIA SHRIKE. 357 

It is curious that in Washington we ha\e seen no signs of the out-door 
larder, consisting of grasshoppers, mice, garter-snakes, etc., impaled on thorns, 
which the eastern birds of this species are usually careful to maintain some- 
where in the vicinity of the nest. It may be simph' that the lack of con- 
venient thorns accounts for this absence, or for the failure of the habit. 

Altho this bird belongs to a bad breed, one containing, among others, the 
notorious "Xcuntotcr," or Ninekiller, of northern Europe, concerning which 
tradition maintains that it is never satisfied until it has made a kill of nine 
birds hand-running, the evidence seems to be overwhelmingly in its favor. 
Birds are found to constitute only eight per cent of this bird's food thrtiout 
the year, while, on account of its services in ridding the land of undoubted 
vermin, its presence is to be considered highly beneficial. 



No. 137- 

CALIFORNIA SHRIKE. 

A. O. U. Xo. 622 b. Laniiis ludovicianus gambeli Ridgway. 

Description. — Similar to L. I. e.vcubitoridcs but decidedly darker, duller gray 
above ; underparts more sordid, tinged with brownish or with more or less distinct 
transverse vermiculation of pale brownish gray on chest and sides of breast; 
averaging slightly smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — As in preceding — duller. 

Nesting. — As in /.. /. e.vcubitoridcs — has not yet been reported from Wash- 
ington. 

General Range. — Paciiic Coast district from southwestern British Columbia 
to northern Lower California; south in winter to Cape St. Lucas and western 
Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Rare summer resident west of the Cascades. 

Authorities. — ? ( )rn. Com., Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. VII. 1837, 193 
(Columbia River). Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides Lawrence, Auk, IX. 
1892, 46. 

RESIDENT Shrikes, presumably referable to this recently elaborated 
subspecies, are exceedingly rare in western Washington. Mr. Bowles has not 
seen any near Tacoma, and neither Mr. Rathbun nor myself have encountered 
them in Seattle. Mr. R. H. Lawrence, however, notes having seen three 
"White-rimiped Shrikes" on Jtme 10, 1890, in a small clearing on the Hump- 
tulips River*. 

The smaller Shrikes are birds of the open country, and the}- should be 
found in at least Lewis, Thurston, and Pierce Counties. 



a. Birds of Gray's Harbor, \\'ash., Auk, Vol. IX., Jan., 1892, p. 46. 



358 THE RED-EYED VIREO. 



No. 138. 
RED-EYED VIREO. 

A. ( ). U. No. 624. Vireosylva olivacea (Linn.). 

Description. — Adult: Crown grayish slate, bordered on either side by 
blackisli : a white hne above the eye, and a dusky hne thru the eye; remaining 
upperparts hght grayish oHve-green : wings and tail dusky with narrow olive-green 
edgings; below dull white, with a slight greenish-yellow tinge on lining of wings, 
sides, flanks, and crissuni ; first and fourth, and scci:>nd and third primaries about 
equal, the latter pair forming the tip of wing; bill blackish at base above, thence 
dusky or horn-color; pale below; feet leaden blue; iris red. Little difference 
with age, sex, or season, save that young and fall birds are brighter colored. 
Length 5.50-6.50 ( 139.7-165.1) ; wing 3.15 (80) ; tail 2.10 (53.5) ; bill .49 (12.5) ; 
tarsus .70 (18). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size ; largest ; white superciliary line con- 
trasting with blackish and slate of crown; red eye. Note smoother, and utterance 
a little more rai)id than in L. s. cassinii. 

Nesting. — iVi\s7, a semi-pensile basket or pouch, of bark-strips, "hemp," and 
vegetable fibers, lined with jilant-down, and fastened bv the edges to forking 
twigs near end of horizontal branch, five to twenty feet up. Eggs, 3 or 4, white, 
with black or umber specks and spots, few in number, and chiefly near larger 
end. Av. size, .85 x .56 ( 21.6 x 14.2). Season: c. June i ; one brood. 

General Range. — Eastern North America, west to Colorado, LJtah, Washing- 
ton and r.ritish Columbia; north to the Arctic regions; south in winter from 
Florida to the ei|uator. I '.reeds ncarl\- thruout its North -\mcrican range. 

Range in Washington. — Imperfectly made nut. Summer resident on both 
sides of the Cascades. Either increasingly abumlant or more observed latterly 
(Brook Lake. Chelan, Stehekin, Seattle, Tacoma, Kirkland breeding 1908). 

.'Higrations. — Sf^ring: Seattle, May 3. igo8. 

Authorities. — Belding, Land Birds of the Pacific District, 1890, p. 199. 
(Walla Walla by j. W. Williams. 1885). Ss-\ B. 

Specimens. — C. 

WE are rubbing our eyes a little bit and wondering whether the Red-eyed 
Vireo has really been here all the time, or whether he only slipped in while we 
were napping a decade m- two since. Certain it is that the bird's presence in 
the Pacific Northwest was unknown to the pioneers, Townsend, Cooper, 
Suckley, and the rest ; and the first intimation we had of the occurrence of 
this Vireo west of the Rockies was Chapman's record, published in 1890^ of 
specimens taken at Ducks and Ashcroft, B. C. The year following, viz., 
August 4, 1 89 1, a singing Red-eye was recognized by Mr. C. F. Batchelder, 



Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., N. Y., Vol. III., p. 149. 



THE RED-EYED VIREO. 359 

of Cambridge, Mass., at the Little Dalles, in tliis State^. Mr. Lyman Belding, 
the veteran ornithologist, of Stockton, Cal., advises me, however, that this 
A'ireo was first seen by his friend. Dr. J. W. Williams, of Walla Walla, on 
June 4 and 24. 1885, and that six specimens were taken. Dr. Merrill, writing 
in 1897'', records them as abundant summer visitors at Fort Sherman, Idaho; 
and Fannin notes their occurrence ui)on \"ancouver Island. Messrs. C. \V. and 
J. H. Bowles met with tliis species in the Puyallup A'alley on June 2^, 1899, 
when they saw and heard at least half a dozen. Mr. Bowles and I were con- 
stantl}' on the Idokout fr)r tliis bird during our East-side trip in May and June, 
1906, but we failed to observe it in either Spokane or Stevens Counties. \Ve 
found it first in a wooded spur of the Grand Coulee on June 13th; then com- 
monly at Chelan, where it nested ; and also at the head of Lake Chelan with 
Cassin V'ireos right alongside. And now comes the announcement of its 
breeding at Kirkland where Miss Jennie \'. Getty took two sets in the season 
of 1908. 

The truth is, the Cassin Vireo has so long occupied the center of the 
stage here in the Northwest, that we may never know whether his cousin. Red- 
eye, stole a march on us from o\-er the Rockies, or was here for a century 
grieving at our dullness of perception. In habit the two species are not unlike, 
and their ordinary notes do not advertise diiiferences, even to the mildly olj- 
servant. Those of the Red-eye are, however, higher in pitch, less mellow and 
soft in quality, and are rendered with more sprightliness of manner. Its solil- 
ocjuizing notes are often uttered — always in single phrases of from two to four 
syllables each — while the bird is busily hunting, and serve to mark an overflow 
of good spirits rather than a studied attempt at song. His best eft'orts are 
given to the entertaining of his gentle spouse when she is brooding upon the 
nest. A bird u< which I once listened at midday, in Ohio, had chosen for his 
station the topmost bare twig of a beech tree a hundred feet from the ground, 
and from this elevated position he poured out his soul at the rate of some fifty 
phrases per minute, and without internfission during the half lnjur he was 
under observation. 

So thorol}' possessed does our little hero become with the spirit of poesy, 
that wlien he takes a turn upon the nest he indulges, all unmindful of the dan- 
ger, in frequent outbursts of song. Both birds are closely attached to the home, 
about which center their fears and their hopes ; and well thev mav be, for it is 
a beautiful structure in itself. The nest is a semipensile cui). Ixiund firmlv by 
its edges to a small fork near the end of some horizontal branch of tree or bush, 
and usually at a height not exceeding five or ten feet. It is composed largely of 
fibers from weed-stalks, and fine strips of cedar or clematis bark, which also 
forms what little lining there is. A curious characteristic of the entire \'ireo 



a. The .\uk. Vol. IX.. Oct., 1892. p. 396. 

b. The .Auk, Vol. XV., Jan., 1898, p. 18. 



36o THE WESTERN WARBLING VIREO. 

fainih" is tht- attentiDii paid to the outside instead of the inside of the nest. The 
outside is carefully adorned with lichens, old rags, pieces of wasp nests, or bits 
of newspaper, with no idea of furthering concealment, for the result is often 
very conspicuous. The walls are not over a third of an inch thick, but are so 
strong that they not infrequently weather the storms of three or four seasons. 
When we came upon a female sitting cnntentedly in her nest in the center 
of a charming birch tangle in Chelan Count}', we had as good as photographed 
the eggs. We were particularly elated at our good fortune because the eggs 
had not yet been taken within the limits of the State. When we had watched 
the mild-eyed mother for ten minutes, and had lessened the distance to five 
feet, we began to suspect young ; ]mt when she tiitted, we found nothing at all. 
She was only fooling. 



No. 139. 

WESTERN WARBLING VIREO. 

A. O. U. No. 627a. Vireosylva gilva swainsonii (Baird). 

Description. — Adult: Above, dull ashy, almost fuscous, tinged with oliva- 
ceous, same on i)ileum, — the last-named color brightest on interscapulars, rump, 
and edgings of secondaries and rectrices ; wings and tail fuscous, the primaries 
with faint whitish edgings : no wing-bars ; first primary spurious, — only about a 
third as long as the others; point of wing formed by tbird, fourth, and fifth 
])rimaries; second shorter than sixth: below white with slight tinges on sides, — 
buffy on sides of head and neck, olive-fuscous on sides of breast, sulphur-yellow 
on sides of bellv and flanks, and sometimes vaguely on breast ; lores and space 
about eye whitish, enclosing obscure dusky line thru eye ; bill dusky above, 
lighter below; feet blackish. Length 5.00-6.00 (127-152.4); wing 2.64 (67); 
tail 1.94 (49.3): Ijill -.W fio); tarsus .69 (17.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size ; general absence of positive characteris- 
tics, — altogether the plainest-colored bird of the American avifauna. 

Nesting. — Nest: a pensile pouch of bark-strips, grasses, vegetable fibers, and 
trash, carefully lined with plant-down; hung usually from fork of small limb, at 
any height. Eggs: 3 or 4, white, sparingly and distinctly dotted or spotted, or, 
rarely, blotched with black, umber, or rerldish brown, chiefly at the larger end. 
Av. size .75 X .55 (19x13.9). Season: June 1-20; one brood. 

General Range. — Western United States and Canada (British Columbia, 
Alberta and Athabasca), breeding south to southern border of United States 
and southern extremity of Lower California: south in winter thru Mexico to 
Vera Cruz and Oaxaca. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident thruout the State in deciduous 
timber, chieflv at lower levels. 

Migrations. — Spring: Yakima, May 6, 1900; Seattle, May 5, 1905; 
Yakima. May 4, 1906: Tacoma, ]\lay 5, 1907: Seattle, May 3, 1908. 



THE WESTERN WARBLING VIREO. 



361 



Authorities. — ? I'irco gilriis, Townsend, Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Pliila., VIII. 
1839, p- 153 (Ciiluniljia River). J'irco gilvus (szcaiiisoiiii proposed), Baird, 
Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv., IX. pt. II. 1858, 336. T. C&S. L. Rh. D-. Ra. D-'. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of \\\ Prov. B. BN. E. 



THE ol<l-fasliioiiecl name "Greeiilet," as applied to the Vireos, was a mis- 
nomer, if a description of plumage was intended; but if it was intended to 
memijrialize the bird's fondness for greenery, nothing cnuld lia\'e been more 
a]it. The \\'arl)ling \'ireo's surroundings must be not only green, ])ut freshly 
green, for it frequents only deciduous trees in gro\-es and riverside copses. It 
is not an abundant bird, therefore, in Washington, altho equally distributed, 
whether in the willows and birches which gather about some lonesonre spring 
in the bunch-grass country, or among the crowded alders and maples of the 
turbid N(_ioksachk. Moreover, the bird is not so frequently found about parks 
and shade trees as in the East, altho it looks with strung fa\-iir uijon the ad\'ent 
of orchards. And the orchardist may welcome him with oiien arms, for there 
is not among all his tenants a more indefatigalile gleaner of bugs and worms. 
Because lie is clad in (Juaker gray there is little need for the \'ireo to show 
himself as he sings, and he remains for the most part concealed in the dense 
foliage, a \-ocal embodiment of the living green. Unlike the disconnected 
fragments wliich the Red-eye furnishes, the song of this bird is gushing and 
continuous, a rapid excursion o\-er pleasant hills and valleys. Continuous, that 
is, unless the bright-eyed singer happens to spy a worm in nwiliiis res. in which 
e\'ent the song is instantly suspended, to be resumed a moment later when the 

hec 
The notes are flute-like, tende 
melodious, ha\'ing. as Chaj 
"a singular alto under- 
tone." All hours of the 
day are recognized as ap- 
propriate to melody, and 
the song period lasts from 
the time of the bird's 
arrival, early in ]\Iay, 
until its departure in Sep- 
tember, with only a brief 
hiatus in Jul}'. 

In sharp contrast with 
the beautiful canzonettes 
which the bird showers 
d(_)wn from the treetops, 
come the harsh, wren-like western warbling vireo at nest. 




362 THE CASSIN VIREO. 



scolding ntJtes, which it often delivers when searching thru the bushes, and 
especially if it conies across a lurking cat. 

The Warbling Yireo's cradle is swung midway from the fork of some 
nearly horizontal branch in the depths of a shady tree. In height it may 
vary from fifteen to twenty-five feet above the ground; but I once found one 
in a peach tree without a shadow of protection, and within reach from the 
ground. The structure is a dainty basket of interwoven grasses, mosses, 
flower-stems, and the like. It is not, however, so durable as that of some 
other Vireos, since much of its thickness is due to an ornamental thatching 
of grass, bark-strips, green iisncu moss, and cottonwood down, which dis- 
solves before winter is over. The female is a close sitter, sticking to her 
post even tho nearly paralyzed with fear. The male is usually in close 
attendance, and knows no way of discouraging the inquisitive bird-man save 
by singing with redoubled energy. He takes his turn at the eggs when his 
wife needs a bit of an airing, and even, it is said, carries his song with him 
to the nest. 



No. 140. 

CASSIN'S VIREO. 

A. O. U. No. 629a. Lanivireo solitarius cassinii (Xantus). 

Synonym. — W'kstern Solitary VirEo. 

Description. — Adult male: Crown and sides of head and neck deep olive- 
gray ; a supraloral stripe and eye-ring whitish, the latter interrupted by dusky 
of lore; remaining upperparts olive-green overcast with gray, clearing, pure olive- 
green on rump and upper tail-coverts ; wings and tail blackish with edging of 
light olive-green or yellowish (white on outer web of outer rectrices) ; tips of 
middle and greater coverts yellowish olive, forming two rather conspicuous bars ; 
underparts white tinged with bufify, changing on sides and flanks to sulphur 
yellow or pale olive ; under tail-coverts yellowish ; bill grayish black above, paler 
below; feet dusky, iris brown. Adult female: Like male but duller, browner 
on head and neck, less purely white below. Immature: Head and neck more 
nearly like back ; supraloral streak, orbital ring, and underparts washed with 
brownish bufT. Length about 5.50 ( L^Q-/) • wing 2.84 (72.2) ; tail 2.05 (52.2) ; 
bill .39 (10); tarsus .75 (19). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; slaty gray head contrasting with oliva- 
ceous back; whitish eye-ring distinctive; voice has more of an edge than that 
of V. olivacea. 

Nesting. — Nest: a semi-pensile basket of woven bark-strips, grasses, and 
vegetable fibers, variously ornamented externally with cherry petals, spider cases, 
bits of paper, etc., lashed to bark of horizontal or descending bough of sapling 



THE CASSIN VIREO. 



363 



(oak, vine-maple, fir, etc.) at a height of from live to thirty feet; bulkier and 
of looser construction than that of other \ireos ; measures 2I4 inches across 
by 13/ inches deep inside; walls often -J^ of an inch in thickness. Eggs: 3-5, 
usually 4, white or creamy white, sparingly marked with spots, which vary from 
rich red brown to almost black — but unmarked specimens are of record. Av. 
size .y^ x .53 ( 19 x 13.9). Season: May 15-June 5; one brood. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district north to British Columbia, east to 
Idaho (Ft. Sherman; Ft. Lapwai), breeding from Los Angeles County, Cali- 
fornia, northward thruout its range: south in winter to western ^Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident on both sides of the 
Cascades, found chiefly in timbered areas. 

Migrations. — S faring: Seattle-Tacoma, c. April 15. 

Authorities. — ? Virco solitarins, Ornithological Committee, Journ. Ac. Nat. 
Sci. Phila., VH. 1837. 193 (Columbia River). ]'. solitarins \'ieilIot, Baird, Rep. 
Pac. R. R. Surv., IX. pt. II 1858, p. 340, part. (T). C&S. Rh. D'. Ra. D^ Ss^. 
T. B. E. 

Specimens.^( U. of W.) B. Prov. P". 



NOTHING so endears a bird to a human admirer as a frank ex- 
hibition of confidence. Overtures of friendship on the bird's i)art may 
traverse all rules uf caution and previous procedure, but henceforth there 
is a new relation established between them, bird and man, and the man, 
at least, is bound to live up 
to it. At the oncoming of 
a smart shower on Capitol 
Hill (before the "For Sale" 
days) the bird -man init into 
a fir-covered nook for shel- 
ter, and had not been there 
two mintites before a pair of 
Cassin Vireos entered for the 
same reason. They were not 
in the least disturbed by the 
man's presence, but cheer- 
fully accepted him as part of 
Things as They Are. There- 
fore, they proceeded to preen 
their dampened feathers at 
distances of four or five feet, 
while the bird-man sat with bated breath and glowing eyes. The birds 
roamed freely about the nook and once, I think, lie made a grimace 
behind the bird-man's back ; for when they came around in front again, 
I judged slie was saying, "Ar'n't you the wag!" while he tittered in droll 
recollection. 




Taken in Oregon. 



Photo by Finley and Bohlman. 



C.^SSIN VIREO \r NEST. 



364 



THE CASSIN VIREO. 



These \'ireos roam tlie lialf-fipen woods at all levels, like hapj)}- 
school children; and their childish curiosity is as little to be resented. If 
one hears a bird singing in the distance, he need only sit down and wait. 
Curiosity will get the better of the bird, and under [)retense of chasing 



carelessh' 



ni>w 



and 



then, by way of 
is stifled, and 
as you do when \ou have overtaken 
nesome street, all liands and feet with 



At close range the smig 



bugs it will edge over, singing 
covering the inquisiti\e intent 
you feel for the ensuing moments 
and passed a bevy of ladies on a 1' 
a most atrocious 
swagger. Inspec- 
tion done, the 
bird suddenly re- 
sumes the dis- 
carded melody, 
and you no 
longer have to 
"look i)leasant." 

Like most \'i- 
reos, Cassin sings 
as he works ; and. 
as he works a 
good deal of the 
time, albeit in 
leisurely fashion, 
he sings in tin\- 
phrases, separated 
b\' unembarrassed 
inter\-als of si- 
lence, a sort of 
soliloquizing com- 
mentary on life, 
very pleasant to 
the ear. — Jl'cc cc- 
tsizveeoo - fson 

psooi - pctciver - brimful. 

ptir - sczvtrs - piti- 

li'cc - surer - pisoiior. But our schnolbov does not fully express himself in 
music so staid and delicate. He has at command a rasping, nerve-grating 
war-cry, possibly intendetl by Nature as a defense against cats, but used, 
as matter of fact, when the bird is in particularlv fine spirits. The note 
in question may perha])s be fill}" likened to the violent shaking of a ]iepper- 




Ta!:cn near I'acona. 



Photo by Dawson and Booties. 



THE CASSIN VIREO. 



365 



bux, a raltling, ruliljing, shaking note, of three or more vibrations, ending 
in a little vocal flourish. 

These Vireos swing a bulky basket from the lower or middle heights 
of oak trees, fir trees, alders, or saplings of various sorts. Usually no 
dependence is placed in cover, save that the ornamented nest corresponds 
roughly with its general surroundings of leaf, moss and lichen. In shel- 
tered places, the texture of the nest is so well preserved that it may 
require close inspection the second season to distinguish it from a new 
nest. One such I examined, green with growing moss, and stark at the 

^^ lowermost branch-tip of an 
unleafed cornel sapling, and 
I could not have determined 
its age save for a tin_\- weed- 
shoot germinating from the 
bottom of the cup. 

Further Mr. Bowles 
says of their nesting- 
habits : "Both birds 
assist in the duties of 
incubation, the male 
singing most assidu- 
ously while on the 
nest, and usually sing- 
ing close to his mate 
while she is sitting. 
His turn at sitting 
seems to come be- 

Takcn near Tocoiua. Photo by Bozi-lcs and Daicson. tWCeU niuc o'clock iu 

A DECOR.vTED xEST. the moming and noon, 

and the . nest is not 
hard to find if his song can be traced. The l)ird student must work 
quietly, however, as the song at once ceases should any unusual noise 
occur. The}' are most courageous while on the nest, seldom leaving until 
removed by hand, when ].)oth birds remain within a few feet of the 
intruder, scolding \-igor(_)usly. So much noise do thev make that all 
the birds in the vicinity are attracted — indeed this is about the onlv sure 
method of ascertaining the presence of some of our rarer Warblers. 
On one such occasion a female Cooper Hawk left her nest, which was 
seventv-five vards distant, and sat on a branch overhead, screamino- 

- - ■ o 

at me. 

"They are the quickest as well as the slowest birds in com- 
pleting their nests that have come under my notice. One pair built a 




366 



THE ANTHONY VIREO. 




Taken near Tacoma. 



PItoto by Bozulcs and Dazi'soti. 
O'ER YOUXG TO FLIT. 



handsome nest 
and laid four 
eggs in precisely 
ten days ; while 
another pair were 
more than three 
weeks from the 
time the nest was 
started until the 
eggs were laid. 

"They are the 
only Vireos that 
I ha\'e ever 
km iwn to nest 
in communities. 
Single pairs are 
the rule, l)ut 
I have found 
as manv as six 
occupied nests 

inside of a very 
small area, the 
nests being only a 
few yards apart." 



No. 141. 

ANTHONY'S VIREO. 



A. O. U. No. 632 c. Vireo liuttoni obscuriis Anthony. 

Synonym. — Dusky VirKo. 

Description. — Adults: Above dull olive, brightening (more greenish) poster- 
iori}- : wings and tail dusky, edged chiefly with pale olive-green : two prominent 
wing-bars of pale olive-vellow or whitish, formed by tips of middle and greater 
coverts; tertials broadlv edged with palest olive on outer, and with whitish on 
inner webs ; outer web of outermost rectrix whitish ; underparts sordid whitish 
and more or less washed, chiefly on breast and sides, with dingy olive-yellow ; 
lores pale : an orbital ring of whitish, or palest olive-yellow, interrupted midway 
of upper lid by spot of dusky ; bill horn-color above, pale below. Length about 
4.75 f120.fi) : average of three specimens in Provincial Museum at A'ictoria: wing 
2.46 (59.9) : tail 2.20 (55.S) : bill .33 (8.9) : tarsus .j^ ( 19). 



THE ANTHONY VIREO. 367 

Recognition Marks. — P_\gmy to \varl3ler size ; ding)- coloration : wliitish 
wing-bars serve to distingnish bird from I'lrcosykv g. szcaiiisoiiii. but throw it 
into confusion in summer with the Western Fl^-catcher (Empidonax difticilis), 
which it otherwise closely resembles, and in winter with the Sitkan Kinglet 
(Regiilits c. griiinclli). From the Flycatcher it may be distinguished by its shorter, 
narrower and yet thicker bill, and by its more restrained yellowness ; from the 
Kinglet by its greater size and much stouter bill, more prominent wing-bars, and 
rather less prominent eye-ring ; and from both by its demure ways. 

Nesting. — Nest: a semipensile basket of interwoven mosses lined with grasses 
(nine feet high in tir tree — one example known). Eggs: 2-51 ? ) ; .72 x .52 (18 x 
12.9). Season: June ( probably also earlier ). 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from western Oregon to south- 
western ISritish Columbia at lower levels (not at all confined to oak woods as 
variously reported). 

Range in Washington. — West-side, as above; strictly resident. 

Authorities. — ? Towusend, Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. VIII. 1839, iq^ 
(Columbia River). Bowles (C. W. and J. H.), Auk, X\'. 1898, 138. Ra. P.. E. 

Specimens. — U. of W. Prov. D. E. 

IN approaching the study of Anthony's \^ireo one must forget all he 
knows or thinks he knows about Vireos in general. This bird is siii generis. 
and deviations from all known rules are its delight. It has been, in fact, until 
quite recently, a sort of wc^tidland spliinx. an ornithological invsterv, the sub- 
ject of much inquiry and hazard. Its presence in Washinglon was quite over- 
looked by Cooper and Suckley, and Mr. Rathbun's appears to be the record"* of 
first occurrence, that of a bird taken May [4, 1895. I t<:)ok a specimen on 
Capitol Hill on the third day of June of the same year: and since that time 
appearances have become a matter of course to the initiated. Samuel N. 
Rhoads'', writing in 1893, considered Anthony's Vireo a rare visitor to Van- 
couver Island, where he secured a specitiien in 1892 near Victoria. Fannin"^ 
records it as "a summer resident on Vancouver Island." As matter of fact, 
the bird is resident the year round wherever it occurs. I saw it near A^ictoria 
during the coldest weather of 1905-6, and find it regularly at Seattle and Ta- 
coma during the winter season. J. H. Bowles secured a specimen, a male in 
fuU song, at American Lake on January the 26th, 1907. Moreover, this bird 
had a bare belly as tho it might ha\'e been assisting with incubation. 

The very fact that these birds winter with us argues that they have been 
here for always and always, and the darkening of plumage (as compared 
with the type form, J", huttoni) testifies further to their long residence. 

Anthony's A^ireo is leisurely, almost sluggish at times, in its movements. 



a. Auk. Vol. XIX., Apr., 1902, p. 13S. 

b. Proc. -Vad. Nat. Sc!. Phila., 1893, p. 54. 

c. Cat. B. C. lairds Prov. Mils., \'ictaria, 1904, p. 52. 



368 THE ANTHONY VIREO. 



During the winter it mingles freel_\- with llie local troops of Kinglets and 
Chickadees, and keeps largely to the depths of hr trees. When nio\-ing about 
silently, it bears a striking resemblance to the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. It is, 
of course, slightly larger and much more deliberate, lacking especially the 
wing-flirt of the Kaiserkin. The regiim about the eye is more broadly 
whitish, and the wing-bars concede a tlif^'erence upon inspectiim, Init the 
resemblance is so close as altogether to deceive the unwary. 

In spring the bird separates itself frdm its late companions, and begins to 
explore the budding alders and maples. As the season advances the bird plants 
itself in some thicket and complains by the hour in strange, monotonous, unvi- 
reonine notes. The songs varv endlessly in different individuals, but have this 
in common, that they are a deliberate, unvarying succession of double notes, 

usuallv, but not always, of a slighllx' nasal character. Chu-ivccm chn- 

zucciii chii-ivcciii - - ad lib., is the common type : Pn-cliccan 

pii-cheean pitchccan, is a French variation ; Poo-ci-p' poo-ccp' and 

jiirec' - ji'ircc' - ji'ircc* are types lacking the nasal quality. Only (^nce I heard 
the notes pr' mounced cjuite rapidly, pc-cg' , pc-cg' , pc-cg' , pc-cg' pc-cg' , ad 
iiiPiiitnin, <ir rather ad adz'cntum shofgiiiii. Occasionally the lirst syllable is 
accented: as, ( pcjcbcc-oo or chec-ou,chcc-oo. 

Before he has found a mate Anthonv roams about with some degree of 
restlessness, shifting his burden of song from place to place witli a view to 
effect, and uttering now and then coaxing little requests which are certainly 
meant to win the heart of the lady in hiding. This squeaking note is sometimes 
raised to the dignit\' of song, at which times it is not unlike the whining of a 
dog, a most extraordinary sound to come from so tiny a throat. And if one 
mentions a chirp, or chuck', like that of a Refl-wing Blackbird on a small 
scale, we liave most of the re]M"esentati\-e efforts of this eccentric genius. 

Onh' one nest of this subspecies has been reported to date, that discovered 
bv Mr. C. W. Bowles, on ]\mt 21, 1897, near South Tacoma. It was placed 
nine feet up in a young fir, where it hung sus])ended by two small twigs. 
Externally it was composed entirely of a long hanging moss, some variety of 
Vsiica, very thicklv and closely interwoven, being thus conspicuously devoid 
r)f such exterior decorations as other A'ireos provide. Inside was a carefully 
prepared bed of fine dry grasses, uprm which lay two eggs half incubated. 

"The female bird was on the nest when first seen and, unlike the majority 
of our Vireos, flushed the instant the ascent of the tree was attempted. From 
the nest she flew about twenty feet into a neighboring fir, where she looked 
down upon our operations with apparently no concern whate\-er. Beyond 
rearranging her feathers from time to time, there was nothing to indicate 
that she liad a nest an\'where in the vicinity, as she made no sound or com- 
])laint of an\- kind. Neither was there any of the ner\T)us ho])i)ing from 



THE KINGBIRD. 369 



twig to twig in the manner by which so many of the smaller birds as clearly 
display their anxiety as tliey do by tlieir notes of distress."* 



No. 142. 

KINGBIRD. 



A. O. U. No. 444. Tyrannus tyrannus (Linn.). 

Synonyms. — E.^STRR^■ Kingbird. Bee M.arTin. Tyrant Flycatcher. 

Description. — Adult: Above ashy black changing to pure black on head, 
and fuscuns on wings; crown with a concealed orange-red (cadmium orange) 
patch or "crest," the orange feathers black-tipped and overlying others broadly 
white at base ; wings with whitish and brownish ash edgings ; tail black, all the 
feathers broadly white-tipped, and the outermost pair often white-edged ; below 
white, washed with grayish on breast ; bill and feet black. Inunature birds lack 
the crown-patch, and are more or less tinged with fulvous or buffy on the parts 
wdiich are light-colored in the adult. Length 8.00-9.00 (203-228.6) : wing 4.60 
(116.8) : tail 3.31 (84.1) ; bill from nostril .32 (13.2). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink size; blackish ash above; zdiitc below; black 
tail conspicuously tipped with white ; noisy and quarrelsome. 

Nesting. — Nest: at moderate heights in trees, usually over water, of weed- 
stalks, plant-fibres and trash, with a felted mat of plant-down or wool, and an 
inner lining of fine grasses, feathers, rootlets, etc. Eggs: 3 or 4, sometimes 5, 
white or cream-white, distinctly but sparingly spotted with dark umber and 
occasional chestnut. Av. size .98 x .73 (24.9x18.3). Season: first week in 
Jmie; one brood. 

General Range. — North America from the British Provinces south ; in win- 
ter thru eastern Mexico, Central and South America. Less common west of 
the Rocky Mountains. Not recorded from northern Mexico and Arizona. 

Range in Washington. — Not uncommon summer resident on East-side; 
not common, but of regular occurrence in certain localities west of the Cascades ; 
nearly confined to vicinity of water in lake or pond. 

Authorities. — Tyrauiius caroliiieusis Baird, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv., 
IX. pt. II. 1838, p. 171. T. C&S. D'. Ra. D^ Ss-. Ss-'. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— (U. of W.) Prov. P'. C. E. 

NO one has come forward with a theory to account for the testiness of 
this bird's temper, nor for the domineering qualities which distinguish him 
above all others; but I hazard that it is because his glowing crown is partially 
concealed by bourgeois black. Those whose regal marks are more patent are 
\vont to receive homage as matter of course, but the scion of an unacknowl- 



a. C. W. and J. H. Bowles in The Auk, Vol. XV., Apr., 



370 



THE KINGBIRD. 



edged house, a feathered Don Carlns, must needs spend a fretful hfe in de- 
fense of liis claims Toward those who knuckle down tamely tlie little tyrant 
is often very gracious, and it may be conceded that he does perform a real 
service in holding the common enemies at ba\'. Who has not seen him as he 
Cjuits his i)ercli on some commanding tree and hurries forward, choking with 
vengeful utterance, to meet and chastise some murderous hawk, who before 
an}- other foe is brave? Dnwn ccmies the a\'enger! The Hawk shies with a 
guttural cry of rage and terror, while a little puff of feathers scatters on the 
air to tell of the tyrant's success. Again and again the quick punishment 
falls, until the tiny scourge desists, and returns, shaking with shrill laughter, 

to give his mate 
an account of 
his ad\'enture. 

It is easily 
possible, how- 
ever, to exag- 
gerate the pug- 
nacity of the 
Kingbird, or to 
infer from ex- 
treme examples 
that all are 
quarrelsome. It 
is not unusual 
for Kingbirds 
to be on the 
best of terms 
with their im- 
mediate neigh- 
bors, thieves al- 
ways excepted. 
I once found in 

one small aspen tree at Chelan the nests of three birds each containing eggs, 
viz., a Robin, an Oriole, and a Kingbird. The two latter were within five 
feet of each other. Dr. Brewer also records an exactly similar case. King- 
bird's courage, which is unquestionable, is often tempered by prudence: 
altho at other times it quite overbalances his better judgment. The Bur- 
rowing Owl will tolerate none of his nonsense, and I have seen the 
birds make sad mistakes in molesting these virtuous mousers. The 
sight of a Shrike will make a Kingbird shrink into the smallest possible 
compass, while Catbirds, too, are said to be, for valid reasons, quite 
exempt from molestation. 




Photo by P. S. Merrill. Taken near Sf^okanc. 

A DEJMURE YOUNG TYRANT. 



THE KINGBIRD. 



371 



The food of the Kingbird consists entirely of insects, caught on the wing 
for tlie most part, by sallies from some favorite perch. His eyesight must be 
very good, as he not infrecjuently spies his prey at distances of from twenty 
to fifty yards. Honey bees form an occasional but inconsiderable article of 
diet. Grasshoppers are not overlooked, and they sometimes capture, not with- 
out a scuffle, those big brown locusts (Mclauophis sp.) which make flippant 
exposure of their persons on a summer day. Both in the taking of food and 
in the discharge of police duties the Kingbird exhibits great strength and 
swiftness, as well as grace in flight. Once, when passing in a canoe thru a 
quiet, weed-bound channel, I was quite deceived for a time by the sight of 
distant white-breasted birds dashing down to take insects near the surface of 
the water, and even, occasionally dipping under it. They had all the ease and 
grace of Tree Swallows, but proved to be Kingbirds practising in a new role. 

This fondness for water is often exhibited in the birds" choice of a nesting 
site. Where accustomed to civilization, orchard or shade trees are preferred, but 
on many occasions nests are found on low-swinging horizontal branches over- 
hanging the water : and. as often, in tiny willow clumps or isolated trees entire- 
ly surrounded by it. The nest of the Kingbird sometimes presents that studied 
disarray which is considered the height of art. Now and then a nest has such a 
disheveled ap- 
pearance as to 
quite discour- 
age investiga- 
tion, unless 
the owners' 
presence be- 
trays the se- 
cret of occu- 
pancy. On the 
shore of Cold 
Spring Lake, 
in Douglas 
County, we 
noted a last 
year's Bullock 
Oriole's nest, 
which would 
not ha\'e at- 
tracted a sec- 
ond glance, 
witli the new- 
er nest hard 




Taken in Douglas County, 



Photo by IV. L. Uaics 



COLD SPRING L.^KE. 

THE ORIOLE-KINGBIRD NEST APPEARS NEAR THE TOP OF THE PROJECTING TREE. 



372 THE WESTERN KINGBIRD. 

by, had it not been for the constant soHcitude of a pair of Kingbirds. Investiga- 
tion showed that the ancient pocl<et liad been crammed fnll of grass and twigs, 
and that it contained two fresh eggs of the Flycatcher. Ordinarily the nest is 
placed in an upright or horizontal fork of a tree at a height of from three to 
forty feet. Twigs, weed-stalks, and trash of any kind enter into the basal con- 
struction. The characteristic feature of the nest, however, is the mould, or 
matrix, composed of vegetable plaster, ground wood, and the like, or else of 
compacted wool and cow-hair, which is forced into the interstices of the outer 
structure and rounded inside, gi\'ing shape to the whole. This cup, in turn, is 
lined with fine grasses, cow-hair, or variously. Occasionally, nests are found 
composed almost entirely of wool. In others string is the principal ingredient. 

Altho the Kingbird never sings, it has a characteristic and not unmusical 
cry, //,:.('(', fi::ic (spell it phfliisic. if you favor the old school) or fscc fscc fsce 
tsce. in numerous combinations of syllables, which are capable of expressing 
various degrees of excitement and emotion. 

In eastern Washington this Kingbird is common and well distril)uted, tho 
far less abundant than the larger, grayer "\\'estern." West of the Cascades it 
is rare but regular, being found chiefly along the wooded margins of lakes. 



No. 143. 

WESTERN KINGBIRD. 

A. O. U. No. 447. Tyrannus verticalis Say. 

Synonyms. — .'Krk.ansas Kixgbikd. Ark.\xs.\s Fi,YC.\Tcni;R. 

Description. — Adult Male: Foreparts, well down on breast, and upper back 
ashv grav, lightening, nearly white, on chin and upper throat, darker on lores and 
behind eye; a partially concealed crown-patch of orange-red (Chinese orange); 
lateral boundaries of this patch olivaceous ; back, scapulars, and rump ashy 
glossed with olive-green ; this color shading to black on upper tail-coverts ; wings 
fuscous ; tail black, the outer web of outermost rectrix white, or faintly tinged 
with yellow ; underparts below breast rich canary yellow, paler on wing-linings 
and lower tail-coverts; bill and feet black; iris brown. Adult Female: like male 
but crown-patch usually somewhat restricted, and primaries much less attenuated. 
Young birds are duller and browner without crown-patch, and with little or no 
olivaceous on back; the yellow of underparts is paler (sulphury or even whitish), 
and the primaries are scarcely or not at all attenuated. Length of adult males 
about 9.00 (228.6); wing 5.12 (130); tail 3.68 (93.5) I bill .jt, (18.7); tarsus 
.74 (18.8). Females average less. 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink to Robin size; noisy, petulant ways; ashy 
foreparts and vcllow belly distinctive. 

Nesting. — Nest: of twigs, grasses, string, wool, and other soft substances, 
placed at moderate heights in bushes or trees, or more commonly on beams and 



THE WESTERN KINGBIRD. 



373 



ledges of barn or outbuildings. Eggs: 3-5. like those of 7'. tyniiniiis. but averag- 
ing smaller. .93 x .68 ( 23. x 17.3 ). Season: first week in June ; one brood. 

General Range. — Western United States, north regularly to southern British 
Columbia, occasionally to Alberta, Assiniboia, and Manitoba, north to western 
[Minnesota, eastern Nebraska, and western Texas, breeding thruout range, and 
south to Chihuahua, Mexico; south in winter thru Mexico to highlands of 
Guatemala. 

Range in Washington. — Ci miuKin summer resident east of the Cascades, 
rare or casual on the West-side. 

Migrations. — Spring: c Alay ist; W'allula April 26, 1905; Yakima April 30, 
1900: Chelan May 11, 1896. 

Authorities.— Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 185S, p. 174. T. C&S. D'. 
D-\ Ss'. Ss-'. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. I". Prov. B. E. 

HERE is the presiding' genius uf all properly conducted ranches upon the 
sunny side of the Cascade Mountains. Guest he is not, host rather ; and be- 
fore you have had time to dismount from your panting cayuse this bird 
bustles forth from the locust trees and hovers over vou with noisv effusive- 




Takcn in Douglas Counly. 



WESTERN KINGBIRD .AT NEST. 



Photo by the Author. 



374 



THE WESTERN KINGBIRD. 



ness. The boisterous greeting is one-third concern for his babies in the locust 
tree hard-bv, one-third good fellowship, and tlie remainder sheer restlessness. 
The Western Kingbird is preeminently a social creature. And by social in this 
case we mean, of course, inclined to human society. For, altho the bird may start 

up with vociferating 
cries every time a 
member of the be 
sieged household sets 
foot out of doors, 
one is reminded by 
these attentions rath- 
er of a frolicsome 
puppy than of a zeal- 
ous guardian of the 
peace. Those who 
have been most hon- 
ored by their pres- 
ence year after year 
claim that the birds 
become fond of cer- 
tain members of the 
family, and allow a 
familiarity in nest 
inspection w h i c li 
would be shriekingly 
resented in the case 
of strangers. 

One can readil}' 
guess a utilitarian 
consideration in fa- 
vor of ranch life, 
viz., the greater va- 
riety and abundance 
of insects afiforded. 
Of these the King- 
birds enjoy a practi- 
cal monopoly by rea- 
son of their confi- 
dence in man. They are fond of flies, moths, butterflies, crickets, winged 
ants, and all that sort of thing. Moreover, they eat bees. But, — [Hold on, 
Mr. Rancher! Don't grab that shot-gun and begin murdering Kingbirds] 
they cat onl\ drones. A bee-keeper in California was curious on this point 







Taken in Douglas County. 



photo by the Author 



''BEAUTIES THEY ARE.' 



THE WESTERN KINGBIRD. 



375 



and dissected o\-er a hundred specimens of Western Kingbirds and Phoebes, 
using a microscope in the examination of stomacii contents. The birds had 
been sliot about the apiaries, where tiiey had been seen darting upon and 
catciiing bees. Ahho many of the birds were gorged, no working bees were 
found, only drones. This is an important distinction to bear in mind, for tlie 
reduction of drones is unqualifiedly beneficial. And when one stops to think 
of it, it is absurd to suppose that a bird could swallow bees, stings and all, 
with impunity. 

But the real secret of Kingbird's attachment for mankind is not dis- 
co\-ered until we see his nest. It is our strings which have won his lieart. 
Whatever else the nest may or may n(_)t contain, it is sure to have string, — 
string in strands, string in coils, string in bunches, hanks, and tangles, drug 
store string of a dissipated crimson hue, white string that came around the 
sugar, greasy string that }i_iu had tied "around vour finger to remind you to 
feed the chickens, string of e\'er}' length and size and use and hue. 

Those Western Kingbirds which have not yet adopted men manage to 
subsist somewhat after the fashion of their eastern cousins, and build a nest of 
twigs, grass, weed-stalks, bark strips, and cottonwood down, placing it against 
the trunk, or saddling it upon a horizontal fork of willow, poplar, cottonwood, 
or pine, usually near water. One we found in Douglas County built in a small 
willow which emerged from a shallow lake, a hundred feet from shi:)re. 

But, more commonlv, nests are placed about crannies and projections of 
farm buildings, fences, unused wagon-ricks, or upon the house itself. If no 
such conveni- _,- 
ences offer, a 
shade tree is 
second choice, 
and the nest 
includes a 1 1 
the soft waste 
which t h ' 
farm afifords. 
bits of cloth. 

wool, COAV- 

hair, feathers, 
and string. 

Eggs to the 
number of 4 
or 5 are depos- 
ited from the 
1st to the 

15th of June. A DIVIDED HOUSE. 




r,j/.ii at Sn 



Photo by the Author. 



376 THE ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER. 

Beauties they are too, creamy white with bold and handsome spots of chestnut 
in two shades, and HIac-gray. Incubation is accomphshed in twelve or thirteen 
days, and the youngsters fl_\' in a matter of two weeks. 

These Kingbirds are model parents, de\'Oted in brooding and courageous 
in defense. Noisy they are to a fault, gurrulous in an luuiumbered host of 
cajolatives and ecstatics, as well as expletives. Unlike the members of 
Tyranniis tyra]iiiiis. they are good neighbors e\-en among their own kind. At 
the call of need neighbors rally to the common defense, but this is usually in 
\'illages where demesnes adjoin. On several occasions I have found other 
birds nesting peaceably in the same tree with these Kingbirds; and, as in the 
case of T. tyraiiiiits. Bullock Orioles appear to be rather particular friends. 

The nests shown in the cut on preceding page are the work of one pair 
of birds. Embarrassed by a wealth of string and unable to decide which of 
two good locations to utilize, the birds built in both: the female laid eggs in 
both, three in one and two in the iither. ^^loreover, she sat in both, day anfl 
day about, a bird of a divided mind. 



No. 144. 

ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER. 

A. O. U. No. 454. Myiarchiis cinerascens (Lawrence). 

Description. — Adults: Above dull grayish brown changing to clear browii 
on crown ; wings dusky brown, the middle and greater coverts tipped broadly, and 
the secondaries edged with pale buffy brown or dull whitish, the primaries edged, 
except toward tips, with cinnamon-rufous; tail darker than back, with paler 
grayish brown edgings, that of outermost rectrix sometimes nearly white ; tail 
feathers, except central pair, chiefly cinnamon-rufous on inner webs; sides of head 
and neck gray (slightly tinged with brown) fading into much paler gray on chin, 
throat, and chest, changing to pale yellowish on breast and remaining underparts; 
yellow of underparts strengthening posteriorly, and axillars and under wing- 
coverts clear (primrose) yellow. Bill blackish; feet and legs black; iris brown. 
Length of adult male about 8.35 (212) ; wing 3.94 ( 100) ; tail 3.63 (92) ; bill .75 
(19) ; tarsus .91 (23). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink size; brownish gray above; ashy throat 
shading into pale jellow of remaining underparts. 

Nesting. — Nest: a natural cavity or deserted Flicker hole, copiously lined 
with wool, hair, or other soft materials. Eggs: 3-6, usually 4, bufliy or creamy as 
to ground, but heavily marked, chiefl)' in curious lengthwise pattern, with streaks 
of purplish chestnut of several degrees of intensity. Av. size, .88 x .65 ( 22.4 x 
16.5). Season: first week in June; one brood. 



THE ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER. 377 



General Range. — Western United States and northern Mexico, north ir- 
regularly to Washington ; south in winter thru Mexico to Guatemala. 

Range in Washington. — Breeding near North Yakima in summer of 1903; 
one other record, Tacnma May 24, 1905. 

' Authorities. — Snodgrass (R. E.), Auk. \'ol. XXI, Apr. 1904, p. 229. B. 

Specimens. — 1'. C. 

FLYCATCHERS are somewhat given to wandering, or at least exploring, 
on their own account, regardless of traditions. A Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus 
doiniiiici'usis) . normally confined to the Gulf of Mexico, is of record for Cape 
Beale on \'ancouver Island ; and that dashing gallant, the Scissor-tailed Fly- 
catcher, of Texas, has \'entured as far north as Hudsoii Bay. The Ash- 
throated Flycatcher is typically a bird of the south-western United States; 
but it is not altogether surprising that it should have extended its northern 
range into the Upper Sonoran belt of eastern ^^'ashington, as it did in the 
season of 1903, when it was observed at North Yakima b}- ]\Ir. Bowles, and, 
independenth'. b\' 'Slv. Robert E. Snodgrass, the latter collecting for Pullman- 
College. Without precedent or excuse, liowever, was the appearance of a 
handsome jiair near Tacoma, as recorded by Mr. Bowles, on the 24th day of 
May, 1905. 

"The Ash-throated Flycatcher is quite expert upon the wing but never 
indulges. in protracted flight if it can help it. It seems to be rather cpiarrel- 
some and intolerant in its disposition toward other birds, and will not allow 
an}- to nest in close proximity : in fact, I am inclined to believe that it not in- 
fref|uentl\- dispossesses some of tlie smaller Woodpeckers of their nesting sites. 

"Its food consists mainly of beetles, butterflies, grasshoppers, flies, moths, 
and occasionally of berries, especially those of a species of mistletoe. 

"By the beginning of May most of the birds ai"e mated, and nidification 
begins shortly afterward. The nests are usually placed in knot-holes of 
mesquite, ash, oak, sycamore, juniper, and cottonwood trees, as well as in 
cavities of old stumps, in Woodpeckers' holes, and occasionally behind loose 
pieces of bark, in the manner of the Creepers. 

"The Ash-throated FI\xatcher nests at various heights from the ground, 
rarely, however, at greater distances than twenty feet. The nest varies con- 
siderably in bulk according to the size of the cavity used. \\'here this is large 
the liottom is filled up with small weed-stems, rootlets, grass, and bits of dry 
cow- or horse-manure, and on this foundation the nest proper is built. This 
consists principally of a felted mass of hair and fur from different animals, 
and occasionally of exu\i;c of snakes and small lizards : but these materials are 
not nearly as generally used as in the nests of our eastern Crested Flycatcher — 
it fact, it is the exception and not the rule to find such remains in their 
nests" ( Bendire). 



378 THE SAY PEWEE. 



No. 145. 

SAY'S PEWEE. 

A. O. U. No. 457. Sayornis saya (Boiiap.). 

Synonyms. — Say's Phoebe. ^^^ESTER^' Phoebe. 

Description. — Adults: General color drab (grayish brown to dark hair- 
brown), darker on pileum and auriciilars, lighter on throat, .shading thru upper 
tail-coverts to black; tail brownish black: wings fuscous, the coverts and exposed 
webs of tertials edged with lighter grayish brown; underparts below breast 
citniamon-buff ; axillars and lining of wings light buff or cream-buff. Bill and feet 
black; iris brown. Voiiiig birds are more extensively fulvous, and are marked 
by two ciiuiamomeous bands on wings ( formed by tips of middle and greater 
coverts). Length of adult male 7.50 (190.5) ; wing 4.14 ( 105) ; tail 3.23 (82) ; 
bill .62 ( 15.71 ; tarsus .70 (20). Female averages smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; drab coloring; cinnamon-colored belly; 
mclancliijh- notes; freijucuts barns and outbuildings or cliffs. 

Nesting. — Nest: composed of dried grasses, moss, plant-fibers, woolly ma- 
terials of all sorts, and hair; placed on ledges, under eaves of outbuildings, under 
bridges, or on cliffs. Eggs: 3-6, usually 5, dull white, occasionally sparsely dotted. 
Av. size, .77 X .59 (19. 6x 15). Season: April 20-May 10, June 1-15; two broods. 
Yakima County April 24, 1900, 5 young about five days old (eggs fresh about 
April 7th ). 

General Range. — Western North America north to the Arctic Circle in 
Alaska, Yukon Territory, etc., east to Manitoba, western Wyoming, western 
Kansas, etc., breeding thruout range, south to Arizona and northern Lower 
California; southward in winter over northern and central Me.xico. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident east of the Cascades 
(chiefly in Upper Sonoran and Arid Transition life-zones), rare or casual west of 
the mountains. 

Migrations. — Spring: c March 15; Okanogan Comity March 17, 1896; 
Ahtanum (Yakima Co.) Feb. 20, 1900. 

Authorities.— Bendire, Life Hist. N. A. Birds, Vol. H. 1895, p. 277. (T). 
D'. Kb. D^ Ss'. Ss-'. J. B. 

Specimens. — P'. Prov. C. 

A GENTLE melancholy possesses the Pewee. The memory of that 
older Eden once blotted by the ruthless ice-sheet, still haunts the chambers of 
the atavistic soul and she goes mourning all her days. Or she is like a Peri 
barred from Paradise, and no profYer of mortal joys can make amends for 
the immortal loss ever before her eyes. Kutcew. kiitchv! 

In keeping with her ascetic nature the Pewee haunts solitary places, 
bleak hillsides swept by March gales, lava clifYs with their solemn, silent 
bastions. Or, since misery loves company, she ventures upon some waterless 



THE SAY PEWEE. 



379 



townsitc and voices in unexpectant cailences the universal 3'earning for green 
things and cessation of wind. 

A part of the drear impression made by this bird is occasioned by the 
time of year wlien it puts in an ajipearance, March at the latest, and, once at 
least, as early as February 20th (in Yakima County). Flies are an uncertain 
crop at this season, and it is doubtless rather from a desire for shelter than 
from inclination to society, that the species has so largely of late years re- 
sorted to stables and outbuildings. Twenty years ago Sav's Pewee was im- 
known as a tenant of buildings in Yakima 
County. Now, there are few well-estab- 
lished farms in that part of the State 
which do not boast a pair somewhere 
about the premises ; while hop-houses are 
recognized as [iroxiding just that degree 
of isolation which the l)ird really jsrefers. 
Say's Pewee, for all its depressed 
spirits, is an acti\'e bird, and makes fre- 
quent sallies at passing insects. These 
constitute its exclusive diet save in early 
spring when, imder the spell of adverse 
weather, dried berries are sought. But- 
terflies .and moths are favorite food, but 
grasshoppers and beetles are captured as 
well; and the bird, in common with cer- 
tain other flycatchers, has the power of 
ejecting indigestible ehtra and leg-sheath- 
ings in the form of pellets. 

The males arrive in spring some days in advance nf the females. Cnurtship 
is animated in spite of the mejancholv procli\'ities of the Ijird : and the male 
achieves a sort of song by repeating kii-tciv's rapidl}', on fluttering wing. 
Besides this, in moments of excitement, both birds cry Look at 'ere. with 
great distinctness. 

Eggs are laid by the loth of April and usually at least two broods are 
raised, in this latitude. In the natural state these Pewees nest about cliffs, 
at moderate heights, and in shallow caves. In selecting a site, they show a 
decided preference for a clifl: which enjoys the protection of nesting Prairie 
Falcons. A stout bracket of twigs, weed-fibers, lichens, and other soft sulj- 
stances, is constructed, and a lu.xurii)us lining of wool and hair is supplied : 
but the whole must be partiallv shielded bv some projecting tooth or facet of 
stone, or artificial construction. 

The author in taking his first (and only) set of Say Pewee eggs selected a 
nest on the south wall of Brook Lake, reached only bv canoe. The floor of an 



Photo by 
the Author. 




SAY'S PEWEE. 



38cj THE OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER. 



old Clilf vS wallow's nest, placed in a shad}- niche at a Jieighl i>\ sinue twelve 
feet, formed the supijort of the Pewee's accumulations. The clitt was perfectly 
straight, but by dint of half an hour's work ])iling la\a blocks and securing 
footholds, with the aid of a double-blailed paddle he succeeded in reaching the 
nest. Requiring the use of both hands in descent, he placeil the four fresh eggs 
in bis hat, and the hat in his teeth, reaching the ground safely and dejiositing 
the hat carefullw Tired out b\- the exertion he flung himself down upon the 
narrow strip of shore and rested. Then noting the rising wind, he sprang up, 
seized the coat and hat and — Oh! Did something drop? ! ! Yes, gentle 
reader, the eggs were in it, — but only one was smashed. Only one ! As 
perfect Ibe arch without its keystone as a "set" of eggs with the guilt v con- 
sciousness of one missing! 



No. 146. 

OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER. 

A. O. IT, No. 459. Nuttallornis borealis (Swains.) 

Description. — .Idiilt: L'pperparts brownish slate with a just perceptible 
tinge of olivaceous on back ; top of head a deeper shade, and without olivaceous ; 
wings and tail dusky-blackisli, the former with some brownish gray edging only 
on tertials ; flank-tufts of fluffy, yellowish or white feathers, sometimes spreading 
across rump and in marked contrast to it, but usually concealed by wings ; throat, 
belly and crissum, and sometimes middle line of lireast, white or yellowish white ; 
heavily shaded on sides and sometimes across breast with brownish gray or olive- 
brown, — the feathers with darker shaft-streaks; bill black above, pale yellow be- 
low; feet black. Immature: Similar to adult, but coloration a little lirighter ; 
wing-coverts fulvous or buffy. Length 7.00-8.00 ( 177.8-203.J ) : wing 4.1G 
( 105.7 ) ; tail 2. '14 ( f\y.] ) ; bill from nostril .53 ( 13. 5 ) ; tarsus .59 ( 15 ). 

Recojjnition Marks. — Sparrow to Chewink size; heavy shade<l sides; bill 
yellow below ; ti'7i'-tm' note ; keeps largely to summits of lir trees. 

Nesting. — Nest: a shallow cup of twigs, bark-strips, etc., lined with coarse 
moss and rootlets; saddled upon horizontal limb of coniferous trees, often at great 
heights. Eggs: 3 or 4, creamy-white or pale buff, spotted distinctly with chestnut 
and rufous, and obscurely with pur])lish and lavender, chiefly in ring about larger 
end. .'\v. size, .85 .n .63 (21.6 x 16). Season: June 1-15; one brood. 

General Range. — North America, breeding from the northern and the higher 
mountainous parts of the ITnited States northward to Hudson Bay and Alaska. 
Accidental in Greenland. In winter south to Central America, Colombia and 
northern Peru. 

Range in Washington. — jsummer resident in coniferous timber from sea 
level tn limit of trees. 

Migrations. — S'lriiig: c. Mav 15. 

Authorities. — Contopus borealis, Haird, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 
i8s8, p. 189. Ibid C&S. 169. C&S. D'. Kb. Ra. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P'. Prov. B. E. 



THE OUVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER. 



381 



FLYCATCHERS belong to the sub-order Claiiiatorcs. that is to say, 
Shouters. Some few of our American Flycatchers lisp and sigh rather than 
cry aloud, but of those which shout the Olive-sided Flycatcher is easily 
dean. And it is as an elocutionist only that most of us know this bird, 
even tho our njiportunities may have stretched along for decades. On a 
morning in mid May, as surely as the season comes around, one hears a 
strong insistent voice shouting, "See here!" There is not much to see, save 




Taken in CItctan County. 



Photo by \V. Leon Dawson. 



CASCADE PASS AND THE \'.\LLHV OF THE STIUiEKIX. 

A CHARACTERISTIC HAUNT OF THE OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER. 



a dun-colored bird seated at an impossible height on the summit of a tall 
fir tree. Its posture is that easy half-slouch which with the Flycatchers 
betokens instant readiness for action. \\'hile we are ogling, the bird launches 
from his post, seizes an insect some thirty feet distant, and is back again 
before we have recovered from surprise. "Sec here!" the bird repeats, but 
its accent is unchanged and there is really nothing more to see. 

An intimate acquaintance with tlie Olive-sided Flxcatcher is not easily 
attained; but its characteristic cr\- carries to a distance of half a mile or 



382 THE OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER. 

more, and is, fortunately, quite unforgettable. Both in accent and energy 
it seems to set the pace for several of the lesser Tyrants. Of course, like 
many another of the voices of Nature, its interpretation depends a good 
deal upon the mood of the listener. Heard on a dull day at sea-level it 
may sound dismal enough, but heard in the sharp air of the mountains it 
becomes an exultant note. There are miners in the heart of the Cascades 
who regard the brisk evening greeting of this Flycatcher as one of the 
compensations of solitude. "Three cheers!" the bird seems to say to one 
who returns from the silent bowels of the earth and grasps again the facts 
of outer life. 

Borealis is a bird of the tree-tops and nearer you cannot come, save 
in nesting season, when caution is thrown to the winds and a study in 
morbid psychology is all too easy. The birds place a rustic saucer of inter- 
woven black rootlets and mosses on tlie upper side of a horizontal branch, 
whether of hemlock, fir, or cedar, and, as often as otherwise, at moderate 
heights. They are very uneasy at the presence of strangers and flit about 
witii a restless, tittering, cry, fezv-tczv. tezv-tezc. or fczv-fczr-fezv, a sound 
which strangelv excites the blood of the oologist. Once the nesting tree is 
made out and the ascent begun, the birds are beside themselves with rage, 
and dash at the intruder with angry cries, which really stimulate endeavor 
where they are intended to discourage it. 

How fatal is the beauty of an egg-shell! There be those of us who 
have drunk so oft of this subtle potion that the hand goes out instinctively 
to grasp the proffered cup. Besides, the product of an Olive-side's skill 
is of a very special kind — a rich cream-colored oval, warmed by a hint of 
living flesh and splotched with saucy chestnut. It is irresistible! But, 
boys, don't do it ! We are old topers oursel\-es : public sentiment is against 
us, and our davs are numbered. It is right that it should be so. Besides 
that, and speaking in all seriousness now, while it is desirable and necessary 
that a few representative collections of natural history should lie built 
up for the public use. it does not follow that the public good is secured 
by the accunuilation of endless private hordes of bird's-eggs — whose logical 
end, in ninetv-nine cases out of a hundred, is the scrap-heap. You are 
probably one of tlie ninety-nine. Think twice before you start a collection 
and then — don't ! 



THE WESTERN WOOD PEWEE. 383 

No. 147. 
WESTERN WOOD PEWEE. 

A. O. U. No. 462. Myiochanes richardsonii (Swains.). 

Synonyms. — Short-lkcckd Pku'io-:. Ricii.ardson's Pewee. 

Description. — .liliilts: Above deep grayish brown or grayish oHvc-brown ; 
a lighter shade of same continued around sides and across breast, hghtening on 
chin and throat, on remaining underparts becoming white or yellowish white; 
middle and greater coverts tipped with grayish ; outer webs of tertials edged with 
grayish white. Bill black above, dusky (never light) below. Young birds have 
the middle and greater coverts tipped with huffy ( forming two not inconspicuous 
bars), and some buffy edging on rump and upper tail-coverts. This species bears a 
curiously close resemblance to M. vircns of the East, insomuch that it is not 
always possible to separate specimens in the cabinent ; yet the two are perfectly 
distinct in note and habit and are not suspected of intergradation. Length of 
adult males 6.00-6.50 (152.4-165.1); wing 3.43 (Sy); tail 2.60 ('66); bill .51 
(13); tarsus .53 (13.4). Females a little smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; dark coloration (appearing blackish), 
— but much darker and a little larger than any of the JSiiipidoiiaccs. Mccaccr note 
of animated melancholy distinctive. 

Nesting. — Nest: a shallow cup of compacted moss, grasses, rootlets, etc., 
lined with fine grasses and wool or hair, and dccoratefl externally, or not, 
with lichens ; saddled midway or in fork of horizontal limb, chiefly at moderate 
heights. Eggs: usually 3, sometimes 4, creamy white, marked by largish spots of 
distinct and obscure rufous brown or umber, chiefly in open wreath about larger 
end. Av. size, .71 x .55 ( 18 x 14). Season: June lo-July 10; one brood. 

General Range. — Western North America ; breeding north to Alaska and 
Northwest Territnr)-, east to Manitoba and western portion of Great Plains to 
Texas, south to northern Mexico; south in winter over ]\Icxico and Central 
America to Equador. Peru, and Bolivia. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident and migrant east of the 
Cascades, chiefly in coniferous forests, occasionally in open sage; less common 
west of the mountains. 

Migrations. — S faring: c. May 15: Tacoma May 5. 1907; Yakima May 14, 
1895, May 15. 1900; Newport IMay 20, 1906; Conconnully May 2/. 1896. 7^(7// .• 
c. Sept. I. 

Authorities. — ["Western Wood Pewee," Johnson, Rej). (jOv. W. T. 1884 
(1885), 22. 1 ? Mnscicapa richardsonii. Aud. Orn. Biog. V. 1839, pi. 434. 
[Contopus richardsonii, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, 189, 190. "Colum- 
bia River O. T. T. K. Townsend."] Canto t^us richardsonii}?) Belding, P. B. P. 
D. 1890, p. 99 (Walla Walla, Dr. ]. W. Williams). L'. Rh. D'. Kb. Ra. D-\ 
J. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P'. Prov. B. E. 



384 



THE WESTERN WOOD PEWEE. 



THE prey of gentle melancholy and the heir to gloom is this Pewee of 
the West. The day, indeed, is garish. The leaves of the fragrant cotton- 
woods glance and shimmer nn<ler the ardent sun: while the wavelets of the 
lake, tired of their morning romp, are sighing sleepily in the root-laced cham- 
bers of the overhanging shore. The vision of the distant hills is blurred by 

heat pulsations; the song of birds 
has ceased and the very caddis- 
flies are taking refuge from the 
glare. The sun is dominant and 
all Nature yields drowsy allegi- 
ance to his sway. All but Pewee. 
He avoids the sun, indeed, but 
from a sheltered perch he lifts a 
voice of protest, "Dear Mc!" 

It seems uncalled-for. The 
bird does not appear to be un- 
happ}'. Flycatching is good, and 
the Pewee cocks his head quite 
cheerfully as he returns to his 
perch after a successful foray. 
But, true to some hidden impulse, 
as you gaze upon him, he swells 
with approaching effnrt, his man- 
dibles part, and he utters that 
doleful, appointetl sound, dear 
inc. His utterance has all the 
precision and finality of an as- 
signed part in an orchestra. It is 
as if we were watching a single 
player in a symphony of Nature 
whose other strains were too sub- 
tle for our ears. The player 
seems inattentive to the music, he 
eyes the ceiling languidly, he notes 
a flashing diamond in the second box, he picks a flawed string absently, but at 
a moment he seizes the bow, gives the cello a \'icious double scrape, dear iiic, 
and his task is done for that time. 

The Western \\'oo(l Pewee is a late migrant, reaching the miilille of the 
State aliont the 15th of Alay, and the northern border from five to ten days 
later. It is found wherever there is timber, but is partial to half-open situa- 
tions, and is much more in evidence East than West. It is especially fond 
of pine groves and rougli brusliv hillsides near water. Cannon Hill, in 




WESTERN WOOD PEWEE. 



THE WESTERN FLYCATCHER. 385 

Spokane, is a t_\pical resort and a mere tynj can see three or four nesls there 
on a June day. 

The Pewee takes the puhhc ipiite into her confidence in nest biulchng. 
Not only does she Ijuih.l in the open, without a x'estige of leafv cover, but 
wlien she is fully freighted with nesting material, she flies straight to the 
nest and proceeds to arrange it with perfect nonchalance. If a nest with eggs 
is discovered in tlie bird's absence, she is quite likely to return and settle to 
her eggs without a troubled thought. 

The nest is a moderately deep, well-made cup of hemp, fine bark-strips, 
grasses, and similar soft substances; and it is usuall\- saddled upon a hori- 
zontal limb of pine, larch, maple, alder, oak, asjjen, cottonwood, etc. But, 
occasionally, the nest is set in an upright cnitch of a willow or some dead 
sapling. Xests ha\-ing such support are naturall\- deeijer than saddled nests, 
but the characteristic feature of both sorts is the choice of a site, Cjuite 
remo\"ed from the protection of leaves. The gravish tone of the bark in 
the host tree is always accurately matched in the choice of nesting materials 
and, if the result can be secured in no other way, the exterior of the nest 
is elaborately draped with cobwebs. 

All eggs appear beautiful to the seasoned oolngist, but few surpass in 
dainty elegance the three cream}- o\-als of the Pewee, with their spotting of 
quaint old browns and subdued lavenders. Thev are genuine antiques, and 
the connoisseur must pause to enjoy them e\en tho he honors the prior rights 
of -\Ir. and Mrs. AI. Ricliarilsiiiiii. 



No. 148. 

WESTERN FLYCATCHER, 

A. O. U. No. 464. Empidonax diftlcilis P.aird. 

Synonym. — \\'esterx YKLLOW-BELLiiiD Flyc.\tciiER. 

Description. — ^-Idnlts: Above and on sides of breast olive or olive-green ; 
a lighter shade of same color continued across breast ; remaining underparts 3'el- 
low (between sulphur and primrose), sordid on throat and sides, clearest on 
abdomen; bend of^wing sulphur-yellow; a faint yellowish eye-ring; axillaries and 
lining of wings paler yellow; middle coverts and tips of greater coverts, continu- 
ous with edging of exposed secondaries, yellowish gray, forming two more or 
less conspicuous wing-bars. Bill brownish black above, yellow below: feet and 
legs brownish dusky; iris brown. Young birds are browner above and paler 
below; wing-bars cinnamon-buff}-, (and not certainly distinguishable in color from 
young of E. trciillii). Length 5.50-6.00 (139. 7-152. 4) ; wing 2.64 (67) ; tail 2.24 
(■57); bill .47 (12) ; tarsus .67 (17). 

Recognition Marks. — \A'arbler size; characterized by pervading vellowness; 



386 THE WESTERN FLYCATCHER. 

— really the easiest, because the most common of this difficult group ; note a soft 
piszi'it : a woodland recluse. Adults always more yellow than £. traillii, from 
which it is not otherwise certainly distinguishable afield (save by note). 

Nesting. — Nest: placed anywhere in forest or about shaded cliffs, chiefly at 
lower levels ; usually well constructed of soft green moss, fine grasses, fir needles 
and hemp. Eggs: 3 or 4, dull creamy white, sparingly spotted and dotted or 
blotched with cinnamon and pinkish brown, chiefly about larger end. Av. size 
.66 X .52 ( i6.8.\ 13.2). Season: ]\Iay i-July i; one or two broods. 

General Range. — Western North America from the eastern base of the 
Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, breeding north to Sitka and south chiefly in the 
mountains to northern Lower California and northern Mexico; south in winter 
into Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident in timbered sections 
thruout the State. 

Migrations. — Spring: Seattle-Tacoma, April 15. Fall: c. Sept. i. 

Authorities. — Empidonax difficilis. Baird, Re]:). Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. i8s8, 
p. 193 "Catal. No. 5920." L. D'. Ra. Ss'. Ss^ R. E. 

Specimens.— (U. of W. ) P. Prov. B. BN. E. 

PLEASE observe the scientific name, ififficilis. that is. difficult. There 
is a delicate irony about the use of this term as a distincti\-e appellation for 
one of the "gnat kings." for, surely, the plural, Empidoiiaccs difpcilcs. would 
comprehend them all. There is something, indeed, to be learned fmm the 
notes of these little Fl\-catchers, and the first year the author studied them 
seriously he supposed he had a sure clew to their specific unra\eling". But 
that was in the freshmen year of Empidonaxology. In coming u]) for "final 
exams." he confesses to knowing somewhat less about them. 

The bird, also, is well called Western; for however difficult the genus, we 
know at least that difficilis (speaking seriously now) is the commonest species; 
tliat it appears under more varied conditions and enjoys a more general dis- 
tribution than any other species of Empidonax in the West. The bird is, also, 
the first to arri\-e in the spring, returning to the latitude of Seattle about the 
middle of April, or when the yellow-green racemes of the Large-leafed Maple 
(Acer niacrophylluin) are first shaken out to the breeze. The little fay keeps 
well up in the trees, occttpying central positions rather than exposed outposts; 
and so perfectly do his colors blend in with the tender hues of the new foliage 
that we hear him twenty times to once we see him. 

The notes are little explosive sibilants fenced in by initial and final "p" or 
"t" sounds. If one prints them they are not at all to be vocalized, but only 
whispered or hissed, pssscct. pssseeit. pssivit. or piszvit. Other variations are 
sc a-wit, slowly and listlessly ; clcotip. briskly ; kitshchtlip. a fairy sneeze in 
Russian. One becomes familiar with these tiny cachinations, and announces 
the Western Flycatcher unseen with some degree of confidence. But the way 
is beset with dangers and surprises. Once, in June, at a point on Lake Chelan, 



THE WESTERN FLYCATCHER. 



387 



after an liour's discriminating study, I shot from practically the same stand, 
tliree birds which said swit, pisziit, and pisoo respectively, and picked up a 
Wright's Flycatcher (E. zi'riglitii), a Western Flycatcher (E. difficHisj and a 
Trail Flycatcher('ii.;;-o////('j. The same woods contained Hammond's Flycatcher 
(E. hauunondi). while the Western W^ood Pewee (Myiocliaiics richardsoiiii), 
which has the same general economy, was abundant also. Difficilis.^ Etiain! 
The W'estern Flycatcher inhabits the deepest woods and occurs thruout 
the State wherever sufficient shade is offered. It is rather partial to well- 
watered valleys, and will follow these well up into the mountains, but does not 
occur on the mountain-sides proper at any consid- 
erable altitude. Nor does it appear to visit, save 
during migrati(_ins, those green oases in the dry 
country which are the delight of E. traillii. It 
mingles with traillii in summer along the bank'; 
of streams and at the edges of swamps; with 
hammondi in the more open woods and along the 
lower hillsides ; with zvrighfii along the margin 
of mountain lakes and streams; but in the forests 
proper it is easily dominant. 

The W^estern Flycatcher is a catholic nester. 
It builds almost always a substantial cup of 
twigs, grasses, and hem]), lined with grass, hair 
or feathers. The outside is usually plentifully 
bedecked with moss, or else the whole structure 
is chiefl}- composed of this substance — not, how- 
ever, unless the color-tone of the immediate 
surroundings will permit of it. In position it 
varies without limit. We find nests sunk like 
a Solitaire's in a mossy bank, or set in a 
niche of a rocky cliff', on logs, stumps, or 
beams, in a clum]) of ferns, or securely lodged 
in a fir tree at a height of forty feet. One I 
found in a swamp was saddled on the stem 
of a slanting \-ine maple without a vestige of 
cover other than that afforded by the general 
gloom. 

Eggs to the number of three or four, 
rarelv five, are deposited late in ^lay or early 
in June, and onl_\- one brood is raised in a season 
creamy white color, spotted and blotched rather lightly with cinnamon brown 
and pinkish buff, easily distinguishable from all others sa\'e those of the 
Traill Flycatcher. 




Taken near Taconta. 

Pliolo by J. H. Bowles. 



NEST OF WESTERN 
FLVC.XTCHER. 



T 



le eggs are 



if a dull 



388 THE TRAll.L FLYCATCHER. 



Tliese Flycatchers in nesting time are verv confiding and very devoted 
parents. One may sometimes touch tiie sitting hird, and, when off, she 
flutters about \ery close to the intruder, sneezing violently and sni])])ing her 
mandiljles like fairv scissors. 



No. 149. 

TRAILL'S FLYCATCHER. 

-A. ( ). L. Xii. 466. Empidonax traillii 1 And. ). 

Synonyms. — Littlic Fl\ catch liK. EiTTi.i-; \\'1':sticrn Fi^vc.vtcher. 

Description. — Plumage of upperparts very >iniihu- to that of E. difhcUis. but 
olive inclining to brownish ; wing-bars usually ])aler. more whitish : outer web 
of outer rectrix pale grayish white: sides of head and neck decidedly browner; 
underparts everywhere paler, nearly white on throat ; breast sordid, scarcely 
olivaceous ; lower abdomen and crissuni pale primrose yellow ; bend of wing yellow 
flecked with dusky; a faint eye-ring pale olive-gray. Kill black above, light 
brownish below (not so light in life as E. difficiUs} . Yoiiutj: much as in preced- 
ing species, but averaging browner ; more \ellow below than adult. Length 5.50- 
6.00 ( 139. 7-1 52.4) ; wing 2.^0 170): tail 2.2s * ^7 ) : bill .41; (12.^); tarsus 
.65 (16.5). 

Recognition Marks. — \\'arbk'r ^ize; olivaceous coloration: not so vellow 
below as preceding s|)ecie^: brush-haunting hal)its : note a smart s-a'if'choo. 

Nesting. — Nest: a rather Ijulky but neatly-turned cu]) of plant-fibres, bark- 
strips, grass, etc., carefully lined with fine grasses: ])laced three to ten feet up, in 
crotch of bush or sapling of lowland thicket or swamp. Eijf/s: 3 or 4, not certainlv 
distinguishable from those of preceding species. Av. size, .70 x .54 ( 17. S x 13.7 ). 
Season: June; one brood. 

General Range. — Western North America, breeding north to southern 
.Alaska (Dyea). "east, northerly, to western portion of (ireat Plains, much 
farther southerly, breeding in Iowa(?). Missouri, southern Illinois, and 
probablv elsewhere in central Mississip]ii \'allc)" : south in winter over Mexico 
td Colombia, etc. 

Range in Washington. — Tm])crfect1y made out — summer resident in thickets 
at lower le\-els thruouti ?i the State. 

Authorities. — Eiiif^iilniiax f^usilhis Cabanis, Baird, Rc]). Pac. R. R. Surv. 
IX. 1858, p. 195. Ibid. C&S. 170. (T). C&S. L^ D'. Ra. P.. E. 

Specimens. — iV. of A\'. 1 Trov. P. E. 

DIvSCRHlINATIOX is the constant effort of those who woubl study the 
Empidonaces, the Little Fl\'catchers. Comparing colors, Traill's gi\es an im- 
pression of brownness, where the Western is yellowish green, Hammond's 
blackish, and \\'right"s grayish dusk\-. These distinctions are not glaring, but 



THE TRAILL FLYCATCHER. 389 



the}' ohlain iduglily alic-lil, in a gruuii vvlnre e\cr\ lloaiing mote <<i difference 
is gladl}' welcomed. Tiie Traill Flycatcher, morcnver, is a l()\er of the half- 
open silnations. bush_\- rather than timbered, of clearings, low thickets, and 
river banks. L'niike its congeners, it will follow a stream out npon a desert; 
and a spring, which gladdens a few hundred \ards nf will(_>ws and cnitccgi in 
some n(jok of the bunch-grass hills, is sure to numljer aniung its summer 
boarders at least one [y,\\v of Traill Flycatchers. This ])artialit_\- for water- 
courses does not. howe\er, ])re\'ent its fre(|nenting drv hillsides in western 
Washington and the Ijordcrs of mountain meadows in the Cascades. 

TrailTs Fh-catclier is a tard\- migrant, for it arrives not earlier than the 
20th of May, and frequently not before June 1st. In 1890, the bird did not 
appear at Ahtanuni, in \'akima County, until the 14th of June; and it became 
C(immon immediately thereafter. This bird is restless, energetic, and imgna- 
cious to a fault. It posts on C(_)nspicuous places, the to])most twig of a 
j_\'ringa Inish, a will<iw, i>r an as|)en, making frequent outcries, if the mood 
is on, and darting nimbly after passing insects. During the nesting season 
it [joimces on [massing birds rif whatever size and drixes them out of bomids. 
It is not always so hardy in the presence of man, and if jjresseil too closely 
will whisk out of sight for good and all. 

The m'ltes of the Little Flx'catcher, as it used to be called, are \-arious and 
not always distinctive. Particularly, there is one style which cannot be dis- 
tinguished from the commonest note of the Hammond Flycatcher, szvitchoo. 
szi'cccliciv, or iniblushingly, .zwccbcw, .ZK'ccbczi'. .':::zvrct. C)ther ni;>tes, deliv- 
ered soinetimes singly and sometimes in groups, are pisoo: si^'it'oo. s:vci-t. 
s'Zi'it'oo; St^'cr. kntip, kutip; Hi<.'it or Iiooif. softly. 

Nesting begins late in June and fresh eggs may be expected about the 
4th of Jidw Xests are ])laced characteristically in upright forks of willows, 
alder-l)err\- bushes, roses, etc. They are usually compact and artistic struc- 
tures lit dried grasses, hemp (the inner bark of dead willnws) and plant- 
down, lined with fine grasses, horse-hair, feathers and other soft substances. 
Xot infrequently the nests are placed o\'er water; and low ele\'ations of, say, 
two or three feet from the ground appear to i>re\'ail wester! w ,\ \';Lkima 
Co.unty nest, taken Jul\- loth, containing two eggs, was half saddled npon, 
half siuik into the twigs of a horizontal willow l)ranch one aufl a half feet 
aliiA-e running water, and had to be readied b\- wading. 

Tncu!:)ation lasts twelve days, and the babies require as much more time 
to get a-wing. But In' September ist, tickets are bought, grips are packed — 
or, no! think of being able tn traxel without luggage — goodbyes are said; 
and it's "Heighln'! foi- Mexico!" 



390 THE HAMiMOND FLYCATCHER. 

No. 150. 
HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER. 

A. O. U. No. 468. Empidonax hammondi (Xantus). 

Synonxm. — Dirty Little Flycatcher. 

Description. — Adult: Above olive-gray inclining to ashy on foreparts, — 
color continued on sides, throat and breast well down, only slightly paler than back ; 
remaining underparts yellowish in various degrees, or sometimes scarcely tinged 
with yellow^; pattern and color of wing much as in preceding species; outermost 
rectrix edged with whitish on outer web ; bill comparatively small and narrow, 
black above, dusky or blackish below. Young birds present a minimum of yellow 
below and their wing-markings are buffy instead of whitish. Length about 5.50 
(139.7) ; wing 2.80 ( 71 ) : tail 2.29 ( 58) ; bill .41 ( 10.5) ; breadth of bill at nostril 
.19 (4.83 ) ; tarsus .63 ( 16). Females average a little smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size, the smallest of the four Washington 
Einpidonaces, and possibly the most difficult (where all are vexing) ; olive-gray 
of plumage gives impression of blackish at distance ; the most sordid below of the 
Protean quartette; nests high in coniferous trees; eggs white. 

Nesting. — Mcst: of fir-twigs, grasses and moss, lined with fine grasses, 
vegetable down and hair; placed on horizontal limb of fir tree at considerable 
heights. Eggs: 4, pale creamy white, unmarked. Av. size, .65 x .51 (16.5 x 12.7). 
Season : June ; one brood. 

General Range. — Western North America north to southeastern Alaska, 
the valley of the Upper Yukon and Athabasca, breeding south, chiefly in the 
mountains, to Colorado and California; south in winter thru Mexico to the high- 
lands of Guatemala. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident in coniferous timber on both 
sides of the Cascades, irregularly abundant anrl local in distribution. 

Authorities. — ["Hammond's fly-catcher," [ohnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 
(1885), 22. 1 Bendire, Life Hist. N. A. Birds," Vol. H. 1895, p. 3isff. D". Ra. 
D-\ B. E(H). 

Specimens. — C. 

HAMMONDI is the western analogue of iiiiniiiius. the well-known Least 
Flycatcher of the East. It has not, however, attained any such distinctness in 
the ptiblic mind, nor is it likely to except in favored localities. These chosen 
stations are quite as likely to be in the city as elsewhere ; but no sooner do we 
begin to arrive at conclusions as to its habits, notes, etc., than the bird forsakes 
the region and oiu- work is all to do over again at some distant time. 

Li the summer of 1S05 I found Hammond Flycatchers fairly abundant 
on Capitol Hill (which was then in its pin-feather stage). Twenty or thirty 
might have been seen in the course of a morning's walk in June. Ever^'where 



a. Ridgway (P.. of N. & M. .-Xm.) recognizes two color rl'ases of this bird, a white- and a yellow- 
bellied. In the latter the plumage of npperparts inclines more strongly to olivaceous. 



THE WRIGHT FLYCATCHER. 391 



were to be hearil brisk Scwiciys in the precise fashion of eastern miniums; 
and at rarer intervals a more intense but still harsh and unresonant Szvec-chezv. 
These observations were confirmed by the taking of several specimens; but 
elsewhere and in other seasons I have found the bird most unaccountably 
silent, and have been able to add little to its repertory of speech. 

In the summer of 1906 we found these Flycatchers preparing nests on 
Cannon Hill in Spokane. In both instances the birds were building out in the 
open after the fashion of the \Vestern Wood Pewee (Myiochancs richard- 
sonii) ; one on the bare limb of a horse-chestnut tree some ten feet from the 
ground: the other upon an exposed elbow of a picturesque horizontal limb of 
a pine tree at a height of some sixty feet. Near Newport, in Stevens County, 
we located a nearly completed nest of this species on the 20th of May, and 
returned on the ist of June to complete accounts. The nest was placed seven 
feet from the ti'unk of a tall fir tree, and at a height oi fortv feet. The bird 
was sitting, and when frightened di\"ed headlong into the nearest thicket, 
where she skulked silently during our entire stay. The nest proved to be a 
delicate creation of the finest vegetable materials, weathered leaves, fibers, 
grasses, etc., carefully inv^'rought, and a considerable quantity of the orange- 
colored bracts of young fir trees. The lining was of hair, fine grass, bracts, 
and a single feather. In position the nest might well have been that of a 
W'ood Pewee; but, altlm it was deeply cupped, it was much broader, and so 
relatively flatter. The four fresh eggs which it contained were of a delicate 
cream-color, changing to [jure white upon blowing. 

The Hammond Flycatcher was also found to be a common breeder in the 
valley of the Stehekin, where Mr. Bowles has taken several sets in very similar 
situations, viz., upon horizontal l^ranches of fir trees at considerable heiglits. 



No. 151. 

WRIGHT'S FLYCATCHER. 

A. O. U. No. 469. Empidonax wrightii Baird. 

Synonym. — Little Gr-w Flycatcher. 

Description. — Adult (gray phase): Above dull bluish gray or faintly olivace- 
ous on back and sides ; throat and breast pale gray to whitish with admixture of 
ill-concealed dusky; remaining parts, posteriorly, faintly tinged with pale prim- 
rose ; a whitish eye-ring ; wing-markings, of the same pattern as in other species, 
or more extensive on secondaries and outer webs of tertials, definitely white ; 
outer web of outermost rectrix pale whitish. Adult (yelloii'-bcllicd phase): As 
in gray phase, but underparts strongly tinged with yellow and upperparts faintly 
tinged with olive-green ; wing-markings less purelv white. Bill blackish above, 



392 THE WRIGHT FLYCATCHER. 

more or less pale below and dusky tiiiped. Yoiiny birds are whitish below and the 
wing-bands are buffy as in other species. Length about 5.75 ( 146) : wing 2.69 
(68 I ; tail 2.40 ( 61 ) : bill .47 ( 12 ) ; tarsus .71 ( 18 I. 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler ^ize: jirevailing gray coloration : whitish eye- 
ring; exce>bi\eh- retiring habits. 

Nesting. — Nest: of hemp, bark-strips, etc., softly lined ; built in upright 
crotch of bush. Eggs: 4 or 3, white, unmarked. .\v. size, .68 x .52 ( 17.3 x 13.2 ). 
Season: June; one brood. 

General Range. — Western United States and southern LSritisli Columbia, 
breeding in Transition and Canadian life-zones, south to southern Arizona and 
east to Rocky !\Iountains ; south in winter thru southern California and Mexico. 

Authorities. — Dawson, Auk, Xdl. X]\'. Apr. 1897, p. 176. 

Specimens. — I'rov. C. 

BIRD-.\FRAID-OF-HIS-SHADOW is the name this shy recluse de- 
serves. The few seen in Washington have always been skulking in the 
depths of brush patches, or in clumps of thorn Imshes, and they seem to 
dread nothing so mnch as the human eye. For all they keep so close to 
co\'er thev move about restlessly and are never still long enough to afford 
an\' satisfaction to the beholder. 

The only note I have ever heard it utter (and this repeatedly by different 
individtials ) was a soft liquid szvit. But Major Bendire says of its occur- 
rence at Fort Klamatli in Oregon: "I do not consider this species as noisy 
as the Little Flycatcher [£. traillil] which was nearly as common, but its 
notes are very similar; in fact they are not easily distinguishable, but are 
given with less vigor than those of the former, while in its actions it is 
fullv as energetic and s|)rightly as any of the species of the genus Enipi- 
doiiax." 

Wright's Flvcatcher aft'ects higher altitudes than du the cither species 
during the nesting season. The nest is i)laced at heights ranging from two 
to twenty feet, and is built in upright forks of bushes, or against the trunks 
of small saplings. Willows, alders, aspens, buck-larush, and serxice berry are 
common hosts. Perhaps the only nesting record for Washington consists 
of a set of four fresh eggs taken by myself from a draw on the side of 
Boulder Mountain overlooking the vStehekin A'alley, on May 30, 1896. The 
nest had been deserted because of a brush fire wdiich had swept the draw, 
but it w^as uninjured; and the situation, an alder fork eight feet up, together 
with the Tt7;;7r eggs, made identification certain. 



THE BLACK-CHINNED HmOHNGBIRD. 393 



No. 152. 

BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD. 

A. O. U. Xo. 429. Trochilus alexandri I'.durc. iS; Mul*. 
. Synonjms. — .Vlexaxder Hummingbird. Spo.\i;e Hu.mmer. 

Description. — .Adult male: Upperparts including middle pair of tail-feathers 
shining bronzy green ; wing-quills and remaining rectrices fuscous with purplish 
retlections; tail double-rounded, its feathers broadly acuminate, and central pair 
of feathers about .12 shorter than the third pair, the outermost pair shorter than 
middle pair; the gorget chiefly opaque velvety black, on each side of the median 
line a small irregular patch of metallic orange, or else with various jewelled 
iridescence posteriorh- : remaining underparts white, heavily tinged with greenish 
on sides, elsewhere lightly tinged with dusky and dull rufous ; bill slender, straight. 
.-idiilt female: Similar to male in coloration but without gorget, a few dusky 
specks instead ; tail different, single-rounded, central feathers like back in colora- 
tion, and scarcely shorter than succeeding pairs, remaining feathers with broad 
subterminal space of purplish black, and tipped with white, lateral feathers 
scarcely acuminate, the outermost barely emarginato on inner web. Length f)f 
adult male: about 3.50 (88.9) ; wing 1.75 (44.5) ; tail 1.25 (31.8) : bill .75 ( 19.1 ). 
Female, length about 4.00 ( 101.6) : wing 1.95 (49.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Pygmy size: black gorget of male distinctive; female 
larger than in Sttlliila calliope, with which alone it is likely to come into com- 
parison. 

Nesting. — Xest: Of plant down secured by cobwebs, saddled upon small 
descending branch at moderate height, or lashed to twigs of small fork. Eggs: 
2 or, rarely. 3. pure white, elliptical oval in shape. Av. size, .50 x .33 ( 12.7 x 8.3 1. 
Season: May or June according to altitude; one brood. 

General Range. — Western United States, except the northern Pacific coast 
district, north in the interior into British Columbia, breeding south to northern 
Lower California and east to the Rocky Mountains; south in winter into Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Not common summer resident east of the Cascades 
only. 

Authorities. — ?Bendire, Life Hist. N. A. Birds, \o\. H. 1895, P- i99 
(inferential ). Dawson, Auk, \'ol. XR". Apr. 1897. P- 175- ^r. Ss-. T- 

Specimens. — ( U. of W. ) P". C. 

THOSE of us, who as children were taught tn call lady-bugs 'ia<l}'-birds," 
might have been pardoned some uncertainty as to the whereabouts of the divid- 
ing line between insects and birds, especially if, to the vision of the '"Hum- 
bird's" wings shimmering by day above the flower bed, was added the twilight 
visits of the hawk-moths not a whit smaller. The Hiniinier is painted like a 
butterfly: its flight is direct and buzzing like a bee's; it seeks its food at the 
flower's brim by poising on rapidlv \ibrating wing like the hawk-moth ; but 
there the resemblances cease. For the rest it is a bird, migrating, mating, and 
nesting quite like grow'ii folks. 



394 THE BLACK-CHIN X ED HUMMINGBIRD. 

While more than fi\f luimlretl species of Huniniingbirds — and these all 
confined to the New World — are known to science, those which have looked 
northward at all have shown a decided preference for the Pacific Coast. Thus, 
we have four species in Washington, and we send our boldest member, Sclas- 
phorus nifiis, as far north as the St. Elias range in Alaska, while our frienils 
east of the Mississippi River know only one species, the Ruby-throat, Tro- 
cliilus cohihris. which is own cousin, and only own cousin to our T. alc.vaiiilri. 

Contrary to the popular belief Hummers do not feed largely upon nectar, 
but insert their needle-bills into the depths of flowers mainly for the purpose of 
capturing insects. This explains the otherwise puzzling habit the birds have of 
revisiting the same flower beds at frecjuent intervals. It is not to gather new- 
flowing sweets, but to see what flies the sweets themselves have gathered. If 
a Hummingbird extracted honey to any great extent — it d(5es some — it would 
be rifling the bait from its own traps. Again, the bird is not footless, as 
some suppose, for it spends a good deal of time perching on exposed limbs, 
from which it may dart. Flycatcher fasliion, after passing insects. 

Nor is the bird cjuite songless. At La Claire's, on the banks of the 
Pend d' Oreille River, we once witnessed a very pretty episode in the life of 
the Black-chinned Hummer. We were passing beside a brush-and-log fence 
in a clearing, when we noticed the rocking song-flight of a male Black-chin. 
The bird first towered to a height of forty feet, or such a matter, with loudly 
buzzing wing, then descended noisily in a great loop, passing under a certain 
projecting branch in the fence, and emitting along the lower segment of his 
great semicircle a low, musical, murmuring sound of considerable beauty. 
This note, inasmuch as we stood near one end of the fairy Io\'er's course, was 
raised in pitch a musical third upon each return journey. Back and forth the 
ardent hero passed, until he tired at length and darted ofi^ to tap a Canada 
lily for nourishment, or the pretense of it. Then he perched on a twig at 
ten feet and submitted to a most admiring inspection. 

The Hummer's back, well up on the neck, was of a dull green shade, the 
wings were dusky, and the head dusky, shading into the deep velvety brownish 
black of the throat. There was no lustrous sheen of the gorget in the dull 
light, but on each side of the median line of the throat lay an irregular patch 
of metallic orange. The underparts were tinged with dusky and dull rufous; 
and these modest vestments completed the attire of a plain-colored but very 
dainty bird. 

LTpr)n the passionate resumption of his courting dance we ordered an 
investigation, and succeeded in finding "the woman in the case." She rose 
timidly from the thicket at the very lowest point of the male's song circuit, 
but at sight of us cjuickly took to the brush again. 

The fairj^'s nest is commonly saddled to an obliquely descending branch of 
willow, alder, cottonwood, or young orchard tree. It is a tiny tuft of vege- 



THE RUFOUS HUMMER. 395 

table duwn. bouiul logetlK-r and laslicd lo its suppurl b\' a wealth of spider- 
webbing. Unlike tlie nest of colubris. the nest of alcraiidri is not decorated 
witli lichens: and it not infrequentl}- resembles some small fine sponge, not 
only in its yellow-brown tint, but in the elastic texttn-e of its walls, which re- 
gain their sha]ie after being lightly squeezed. The eggs, two in number (but 
sometimes three in this species alone ), look like homeopathic pills — so dainty, 
indeed, that the owner herself must needs dart off the nest everv now and 
then and ho\er at some distance to admire them. The male deserts his mate 
as soon as she is well established, and the entire care of the little family falls 
upon her shoulders. The young are fed by regurgitation, " a frightful 
looking act." as Bradford Torre\- savs. 



No. 153. 

RUFOUS HUMMER. 

A. O. U. No. 433. Selasphorus rufus (('imel.). 

Synonyms. — Red-b.^iCked Hummingbird. Nootka Hummer. 

Description. — Adult male: In general above and below bright rufous or 
cinnamon-red, changing to bronzy green un crown, fading to white on belly and on 
chest, where sharply contrasting with gorget: wing-quills purplish-dusky" on tips; 
the central pair of tail-feathers broadened and broadly acuminate : the succeeding 
pair with a deep notch on the inner web and a slighter emargination on the outer 
web ; gorget somewhat produced laterally, of close-set rounded metallic scales, shin- 
ing coppery-red, fiery red, or (varying with individuals ) rich ruby-red. Bill slender 
and straight. Adult female: Above rufous overlaid with bronzy green, clear 
rufous on rump and tail-coverts; pattern of tail as in male but less decided; 
central tail-feathers green tipped with black: lateral feathers chiefly rufous, 
changing to biack subterniinally, and tipped with white ; underparts whitish, 
shaded with rufous on sides; gorget wanting or represented by a small central 
patch. Young males: Like adult female but more extensively rufous above and 
throat flecked with reddish metallic scales. Young females: Like adult female 
but rump green and throat flecked with greenish scales. Length of adult male 
about 3.50 (88.9): wing 1.65 (41.91); tail 1.30 (33); bill .65 (16.5). Female: 
3.70 (94): wing 1.75 (44.5); tail 1.28 ( 32.5 ); bill .68 (17.3). 

Recognition Marks. — Pygmy size; abundant rufous of male distinctive; 
female requires careful discrimination from that of .S". alleni and may be known 
certainly from it by notching of next central tail-feather, and bv outer tail-feather 
more than .10 wide. 

Nesting. — Nest: Of plant down and fine mosses bound together with cob- 
webs, and ornaiuented with lichens, placed on horizontal or declining stem of 
bush or tree. Eggs: 2, pure white, elliptical oval. Av. size, .50 x .33 (^12.7 x 8.3). 
Season: April 15-July 10; two broods. 



396 THE RUFOUS HUMMER. 



General Range. — \\'estern North America from the Rocky Mountains to the 
i'acitic, breeding south in mountainous regions to Arizona and north to Mount 
St. Elias and southwest Yukon Territor) ; soutli in winter over the tablelands of 
Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — ConinKiu summer resident on the West-side from 
sea-level to timber-line; less common <mi the eastern slopes of the Cascades; rare 
in the minnitains of eastern Washington. 

Migrations. — Sprimj: March ij-April 15. 

Authorities.—.^ Trochiliis nifiis. And. ( )rn. Biog. IV. 1838, 555, pi. 372. 
Sclasplwriis nifiis Swains, Baird, Rep. I'ac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, p. 135. T. 
C&S. L'. Rh. D-. Sr. Kb. Ra. Kk. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P. Prov. B. BN. E. 

THESE gaudily dressed little fellows, seemingly part and parcel of the 
sunshine itself, are by no means the delicate creations they appear to be. 
West of tlie Cascades they are. strange to say, among the very first of the 
spring arri\als from the South. The vanguard always arrives by the last 
week of March, and sometimes as early as the middle of that month. East 
of the Cascades they are considerably later, and are not found in nearly so 
large numbers. The}' are seldom to be seen in greatest abundance, however, 
much before the middle of April. At this season certain bushes flower in 
l)rofusion, and in these flowers the hummers find unlimited food and drink, — 
honey, and the innunieralMe liii)' insects wdiich it attracts. 

Wright Park, situated in the center of the city of Tacoiua, has been very 
extensively jjlanted with the decorati\-e wild currant; and it is here that hum- 
mers mav oftenest be seen in great numliers. It is not uncommon to see 
them by hundreds in this park, and often as many as twent}' disport them- 
selves in and around a single bush. They are the most pugnacious little 
creatures and are continually squabbling, the females being quite as quarrel- 
some as the males. Their war song is a penetrating squeak, or chirrup. 
The pausing of one of the birds to select some luscious insect from a cluster 
of flowers seems to be the signal for an onset from one or more of its fellows, 
when all squeak with greatest animation. One cannot help believing that 
this is more or less in the nature of play, for it is joined in by both the males 
and llie females, and the one attacked never resents it in the least. Usually 
it describes a great circle in the air and descends into the center of some 
other bush, where it sits watching the others and occasionally preening its 
feathers. Thev are exceedingly tame at this season, and the bird-lover may 
seat himself under some flower-laden bush while these most lieautiful little 
birds ho\-er and i>erch within three or four feet of him. 

What appears to be the only cither vocal accomplishment of this hummer 
is a somewdiat long-drawn, rasping note, very loud and harsh for so small a 
bird. This is made bv the male, and, curiously enough, it is the love song 



THE RUFOUS HU:kI]\IER. 



397 



uttered wliile wuoing his mate. She perches quietly in the center (^f some 
small tree, aijparently quite insensible to his frenzied actions. These consist 
in flying up to a very considerable height, and then dropping in a circular 
course to within a few feet of where she sits. It is on the downward course 
that he makes 
his declaration 
of love, and if 
it is (I cine to 
arouse her he 
ought to be suc- 
cessful. Cer- 
tainly it is a 



sound 



most 



startling to a 
human being, 
when it ex- 
plodes unex- 
pectedly with- 
in a few feet of 
his head. 

It is aluKTSt 
unnecessary to 
say that the 
nesting liabits 
of these little 
birds are of un- 
usual interest. 
The male is a 
disgracefulh' idle fellow 



building the nest, and leavin 




Photo by 
Finlcy and 
Bohlman. 



KUFOUS IIL.M.MKI': .\ 1 .\I-.M. 



never doing a stroke of work while the female is 
ler as soon as the eggs are laid. It seems that 
at least he might feed her while she sits so patienth' up(:)n her eggs ; but no. 
he retires to some warm, sunny gulch and spends his time in selfish enjoyment. 
Strange to say, tlie first nest-building occurs during the first week in 
April, at which season sleet and cold rains are of not infrequent occurrence. 
This is long before the majority of the species ha\'e arri\ed from the vSouth, 
and it would lead one to think that the first comers are alread\- paired wdien 
the_\' arri\e. A nest containing two fresh eggs was found on the 14th of 
April, the eggs hatching on the 26th. On this last date it was raining in 
torrents wnh a bitter cold wind, yet the tiny young did mit seem to suffer in 
tlie least, altho frequently left for as long as fifteen or twent}- luinutes bv 



398 



THE RUFOl S IILMMER. 



tlieir mother. Indeed it was a mystery wliere she could possibly have found 
anything to eat. This nest was saddled upon a twig a few feet above the 
ground amidst the sheltering jjranches of a huge cedar, thus protecting the 
young from any direct contact with the rain. 

There is scarcelv a concei\'able situation, except (Hrecll\- on the gmund, 
that these birds will not select for a nesting site. Such ni\d places have been 
ciiosen as a knot in a large rope that hung fmm the rafters of a woodshed; 
and again, amongst the wires of an electric light globe that was suspended in 
the front porch of a 
city residence. It may 
be found fifty feet up 
in some huge fir in the 
depths of the forest, or 
on the stem of some 
blackberry bush grow- 
ing in a city lot. 

Very often they 
form colonies during 
the nesting season, as 
many as twenty nests 
being built in a small 
area. Some large fir 



generallv 




Taken near Taconia. Photo by the Authors. 

NEST OF RUFOUS HU.MMER ON FIR HR.WCII. 



grove IS 

chosen for the colony, 

but a UK^st interesting 

one was located on a 

tiny island in Puget 

Sound. This island has 

had most of its large 

timber cut away, and 

is heavily overgrown with huckleberrw l)lackberr\-, rnid small alders. In the 

center is the colon}-, the nests ])laced only a few yanls apart on any \'ine or 

bush that will serve the purpose. Huckleberry bushes seem the favorites, 

but many nests are built in the alders and on the blackberry vines. 

The nesting season is greatly iirotracted. for fresh eggs ma\- be found 
from April till July. This makes it seem probable that each pair raises at 
least two broods during the spring and summer. After incubation is some- 
what advanced, the female is most courageous, often permitting herself to be 
lifted off the nest before its contents can be examined. At such times the 
bird student must be on his guard, as the little mother will often resent the 
intrusion, and her attack is always made at the eyes. 



THE ALLEN HUMMINGBIRD. 



399 



The eggs, so far as has ever been recorded, are invariabl\' two in 
miniber. They are immaculate milky white in color: and when freshly 
laid the yolk makes them look like little pink moonstones, such as one 
finds on the beach. In 
shape they are elliptical, and 
seem large for so 
a bird, measuring . 
inches. 

The young are 
fed by regurgita- e.r 
tion. For several 
days after hatch- 
ing their bills are |^| 
little longer than g 
those of any other ^ 
young bird: but 
by the time they 
leave the nest, 
their sword-like 
beaks are nearly 
as long as those 
of theh" parents '""'"" """ ''^°"""'- p'""° ^J' "'■ ■^''"" D.m'snn. 

-J- TT p . , TREASURE TROVE F0r< THE HUMMER. 

\. in. riOW I.ES. COBWEBS ABE LARGELY UTILIZED IN THE BUILDING OE A HUMMINGBIRD'S NEST. 




No. 154. 

ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD. 



A. O. U. No. 434. Selasphorus alleni Hensh. 

Synonym. — GreEn-b.vcked RuFois HuMMiNCBiRn. 

Description. — Adult male: Similar to adult male of 5'. rtifus. but upperparts 
shining bronzy green (duller on crown) ; underparts, including belly, cinnamon- 
rufous, changing to white on chest only : tail-feathers without notching or 
emargination, the two outer pairs smaller and very narrow, the outermost acicular. 
Adult female: A'ery similar to adult male of S. rufiis. but with tail as in male 
5". alleni. Length of adult male: 3.25 (82.6) : wing 1.32 (38.6) : tail 1.17 (29.7) ; 
bill .63 (16). Female a little larger. 

Recognition Marks. — Pygmy size : fiery gorget with f/reeii back of male 
unmistakable: female indistinguishable out of hand from that of ,9. rufus: outer- 
most tail-feathers less than .10 wide. 

Nesting. — As in preceding. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district north to southwestern British Colum- 



400 THE ALLEN HUMMINGBIRD. 



l)ia, east, suiithf riy. tn Arizmia: south in winter to Lower California and Sonora. 

Range in- Washington. — Im|)crfectly made out: at least summer resident 
and migrant west of the Cascades: m.it yet reported from the East-side. 

Authorities. — Lawrence, Ank, \'ol. IX. Jan. 1892. ]>. 44. L. Ra. Kh. B. E. 

Specimens. — C. E. 

IT is the misforttme of certain well-cleser\'ing mortals to be known to 
fame as the htisbands or brothers or cousins of some celelirity. Allen's 
Hummer is the daintier, as he is the rarer, of the summer Si'Iosf'hori. Init 
we know him thus far only as a momentary vision. At each appearance we 
pause to assure ourseh'es that we really did see a Hummer with a green back 
(iii'J a red gorget, for otherwise, we ha\e been fluped again bv one of those 
liresrime female Rufouses. 

Mr. R. U. Lawrence records the Allen Hummer as a summer resident of 
the Grav's Harbor countr}-. and says of it^ : "Perhaps as common as T. nifiis, 
and freijuenting similar ])laces. First noted in i8qi (tu the East Huniptuli]is. 
\])ril 30. I had a g 1 \iew of one on Otiiniault Lake June 13." 

Mr. Chas. .-\. Allen, of Xicasio. Cal.. wdio discovered this species and in 
wh<Tse honor it was named. sa_\s of these birds'"": "Their courage is bevond 
(|uestion: I once saw two of these little w-arriors start after a Western Red- 
tailed Hawk, and tliey attacked it so vigorously that the Hawk was glad 
to get out of their way. But these little scamps were e\en tlien not satis- 
fied, but hel])ed liim alrmg after lie had decided to go. Each male seems 
to claim a particular range wdiich he occti])ies for feeding and breeding 
])urposes, and e\-erv other bird seen liy him encroaching on his preserve 
is at once so determinedly set u])on and harassed that he is onh- too glad 
to beat a hasty retreat. During their quarrels these birds keep up an incessant 
sharp chirping, and a harsh rasping buzzing with the wings, which sounds 
verv different from the low soft humming thtv make with these while 
feeding. * * * During the mating and breeding season the male 
frequently shoots straight up into the air and nearly out of sight, nn\y to 
turn suddenly and rush headlong down until within a few feet of the 
ground. The wings during the dr)wnward rushes cut the air .-uid catise 
a sharp, whistling screech, as the}' descend with frightful velocit\-, and 
should they strike an}'thing in their downward course, I believe the\- would 
be instanth- killed." 



a. .'\uk, \'ot IX., Jan. 1S02, p. 44. 

h. Bendire, Life Historie.s X. .A. Rirds, \'n]. IT., pp. 217, 218. 



.M*' jltn [ .. 'tj ■;, !^;i v\ rein i;. 



utii m \viiUi_i" lo i.owcr i 

'licvfcrth- I'-iriilc (Hit: at ' 



ie rarer 






r: T ... 



^■n^imiM- VI 



'luenting similar 



r ; ! 



iie East irluinptui 

'.]ir.,i i;n ] ,,ii-.(; j une T^." 

W'hn ilivcnvcrcd thi> >iirrir'-- nir 



1 1 oiuc CALLIOPE HUMMERS 

r.,,,-1- -..;';'.,., 

MALE ANO FEMALE], , 5/6 LIFE SIZE 
From a \Va.xkr-coi.ok Painting by Allan Brooks 



down until wi' 
>wnwar 



iiig sel- 
ler run- 



;nL nil 
believi 




f 



THE CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD. 401 



No. 155. 

CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD. 

A. O. U. No. 436. Stellula calliope Gould. 

Synonyms. — CALi.iorK Hummer. Star Hummer. 

Description. — Jdult male: Upperparts golden-green ; tail chiefly dusky, 
rufous at base, paler on tips, slightly double-rounded, its feathers broadening dis- 
tally and nearly round at tips : sides of throat and underparts white, washed 
with greenish and lirownish on sides; gorget somewhat produced laterally, of 
lengthenefl acuminate feathers having white bases, rose-purple, or violet, with 
lilac reflections. Bill straight, black above, yellowish below. Jdiilt female: 
Coloration of upperparts, save tail, as in male ; central tail-feathers green tipped 
with dusky ; remaining rectrices greenish gray mingled with rufous basally. 
crossed with black, and tipped with white. Young birds resemble adult female 
but are heavily washed with rufous below and have throat more or less specked 
with dusky. Length of adult male: 2.75-3.00 (69.9-76.2); wing 1.55 (39.4); 
tail 1. 00 ( 25.41 ; bill .^y ( 14.5 1. Female nnicli larger — u|i to 3.50 (88.9). 

Recognition Marks. — Pygmy size ; the smallest of the northern ranging 
species; gorget of male with radiating feathers of rose-purple hue distinctive, but 
female hard to discriminate afield. 

Nesting. — Much as in other species. Av. size of Eggs: .47 x .30 (ii.gx 
7.6). Season: June or July according to altitude; one brood. 

General Range. — Breeding in the mountains of the West, north to central 
British Cnlunibia; south in winter to the mountains of Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident, chieflv in Transition and Canadi- 
an zones, east of the Cascailes. and in these mountains to the limit of trees. Mr. 
Lawrence's record remains unique for the ^^'est-side, but the bird probably breeds 
in the ( )lympics also. 

Authorities. — ? Lawrence, .\uk. \'ol. IX. Tan. 1892, p. 44. Bendire. Life 
Hist. N. A. Birds, Vol. II. 1895, P- 219. L'. D^ J. B. 

Specimens. — P'. C. 

ORNITHOLOGISTS ha\-e been hard put to it to provide names for 
these most exquisite of birds, the Hummers. The realms of callilithology, 
chromatics, esthetics, astronomy, history, classical m^'tholog}', and a score 
beside, have been laid mider tribute to secure such fanciful and high-soimding 
titles as the Fiery To]iaz, Ruhy-and-Topaz. Allied Emerald, Red-throated 
Sapphire. Sparkling-tail, White-booted Racket-tail. Fork-tailed Rainbow, the 
Sappho Comet, the Circe, Rivoli and Lucifer Hummers, the Adorable 
Coquette, and, last Init not least, the tinil}- Marvelous Hummingbird I Loddi- 
gesia niirabilis ) . What wonder, then, that with so man\' children to provide 
for, Gould, the great monographer of the Trochilida:. sluiukl have named 



402 



THE CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD. 



this iiearl}- silent but ;il\va}-s beautiful species after the muse of eloquence, 
Calliope? 

While it is true that the S])ccies may be fnund in alnuidance thruout 
the higher Cascades, and esjiecially along their eastern slopes, it is hardly 
just to say with Rendire, that "the (^alliope Hummingbird is a mountain- 
loving species and during the breeding 
season is rarely met with below alti- 
tudes of 4,000 feet, and much more 
frequently lietween 6,500 to 8,000 
feet."^ We have found it commonly 
in the northern and eastern ]iortions 
iif Washington at much lower alti- 
tudes, and ha\'e taken its nest in the 
Ijurning gorge of the Columbia at 
an altitude of only six hundred feet. 
Tn the mountains the bird knows no 
restriction of range, save that it 
avoids the hea\ily timbered slopes of 
the \Vest-side; and it is at least as 
common along the divide as is the 
Ruf(ius Hummer. 

Witiiout doubt the mind remembers 
longest those birds which \-isit the 
mountain heather beds, gorgeous with 
flowers, and varied beyond descrip- 
tion. A bit of heather on Wright's 
Peak at an elevation of 8,000 feet, 
yielded thirty-two s])ecies of plants in conspicuous bloom within a stone's 
throw of camp. The Hummers appear to be attracted to the flower beds by 
color and position rather than by scent, and as sure as we neglected to rise 
with the sun, a troop of jnizzled lione_\'-hunters hovered by turns over inn- 
parti-colored blankets. Once a Hummer minutely inspected a red bandana 
handkerchief which graced the bird-nian"s neck: and once, I regret to say it, 
fluttered for some moments before his nose ( sunlnirncd !). 

The tower and di\e of the Calliope Hummer prmluces at its climax a 
squeak of the tiniest and shrillest quality. It is a sight well worth seeing 
when one of these elfin gallants, flashing like a jewel and bursting with self- 
consciousness, mounts slowh' upward on vibrating wings to a height of a 
hundred feet, then darts back with the speed nf lightning to make an afi^ec- 
tionate pass at the placid lady on the twig below. The same tactics are 




Taken in Spokane. Photo by F. S. Merrill. 

C.M.LIOrF. HUMMER, FEM.^LE. 



Bendirc, Life Hist. N. A. Birds, Vol. II., p. 219. 



THE CALLIOPE HUAIMINGBIRD. 



403 



pursued when the cat or a smjoping 
chipmunk is the object of attention, 
but tlie change in temper is unmis- 
takalale. I do not feel sure that tlie 
spitfire will strike an enemy. Ijut the 
sudden explosions nf winged fury 
hard about the ears are quite suffici- 
ent to ]jut a prowler in a panic. 

The secret of nest-finding in the 
case of Hummingbirds lies in the 
tell-tale wing-ljuzz of the female as 
she quits her nest. In this way, on 
the 17th of June. 1906. we found 
the first ^^'asllington nest of the 
Calliope, in the dense greenery of 
La Chapelle's Springs, on the 
Columbia Ri\-er, near Chelan Falls. 
The nest was saddled on a slender 
descending branch of a red birch 
tree, at a point seven feet out from 
the trunk and twelve feet from the 
ground. It was overshadowed by a 
little canopy of leaves, and was held 
in ]jlace not only by its lashings of 
cobwebs, but by a drooping filament 
from a loftier branch. 

In eastern Oregon Bendire found 
these birds nesting extensively in 
the pine trees. The nests were usu- 
ally settled upon a cluster of pine 

cones, and so closely simulated their surroundings that detection would have 
been impossible save for the \'isits of their owners. Ridgwav figures* a four- 
story nest taken at Baird. California, and belie\ed to represent tlie occupation 
of successive seasons. 




Taken in Sp'ohanc. 



Photo by F. S. Merrill. 



A NEARER VIEW. 



a. The Hummingbirds (Rep. Nat. Mus., 



pp. 253.383, plate I). 



404 THE POORWILL. 



No. 156. 
POORWILL. 

A. O. U. No. 418. Phalaenoptilus nuttallii (And). 

Description. — Adult: A narrow l)an(l of pure white across throat; below this 
in abrupt contrast a band of black: under tail-coverts clear creamy buff; the three 
outer pairs of recfrices tipped broadly with white or buffy white ; remaining 
plumage an exquisite complex of skeletonized black centers of feathers with buffy 
and intermingled dusky marginings, the whole producing a frosted or tarnished 
silvery effect ; black most conspicuously outcrop])ing on back and on center of 
crown : buff'}- "silvering" most complete on sides of crown, wing-coverts, and 
upper surfaces of tail-feathers ; black of underparts appearing chiefly as bars 
where also mingled with pale olivaceous ; flight feathers finely and full)- banded, 
ochraceous and blackish. Bill black; feet (drying) dark brown; iris brown. 
Length: 7.00-8.00 (177.8-203.2); wing 5.50 (130.7); tail 3.50 (88.9); tarsus 
.65 (16.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Strictly Chewink size but appearing larger ; smaller 
than a Nighthawk, which it superficially rcsenililcs in coloration. Poorii'ill cry 
heard a hundred times to once the bird is seen. 

Nesting. — Ef/gs: 2 laid upon the bare ground, creamy wdiitc with a faint 
pinkish tinge, oval to blunt elliptical oval in shape. Aw size, .99 x .75 (25.2 x 19). 
St'cisoii: c. June ist; one brood. 

General Range. — Breeds from the western ])ortinns of the Great Plains west 
to the Cascade-Sierra Ranges, north into British Columbia, Alberta, etc.; south in 
winter thru Mexico to Guatemala. 

Range in Washington. — Not common summer resident in treeless portions 
of eastern Washington. 

Authorities. — . hitiostoiinis intttaUti Cassin, "Illustrations." (1856) p. 237. 
C&S. D'. D-\ Ss'. J. 

Specimens. — Prov. C. 

THE sun has set and the last chore is done, all save carrying in the 
brimful paii of milk, wdiich slowly yields tribute of escaping bubbles to the 
evening air. Sukey. with a vast sigh of relief, has sunk upon the ground, 
where, after summoning a consoling cud, she regards her master wonderingly. 
But the farmer boy is loath to quit the scene and to exchange the wntching 
twilight for the homely glare of the waiting kerosene; so he lingers on his 
milk-stool watching the fading light in the western sky and dreaming, as only 
a boy can dream, of days which are yet to be. Every sense is lulled to rest, 
and the spirit comes forth to explore the lands beyond the hills, to conquer 
cities, discover poles, or scale the heights of hea\'en, when suddenly out of the 
stillness comes the plaintive cry of the Poor-wn'Il. Poor-will poor-will. It is 
not a disturbing note, but rather the authentic \-oice of silence, the }-earning 



THE POORWILL. 405 



of the bortlering wilderness made \-ocal in appeal to the romantic spirit of 
youtli. Poor Will! Poor Will! you think upon cities, actions, achievements; 
think rather upon solitude, upon quietness, upon lonely devotions. Come, oh, 
come to the wilderness, to the mystic, silent, fateful wastes! And e\'er after, 
even tho duty call him to the city, to the stupid, stifling, roaring, (and glori- 
ous ) city, the voice of the Poor-will has wrought its work within the heart of 
the exiled farmer l)oy, anil he owns a reverence for the silent places, a lo\'alty 
of affection for the wilderness, which not all the forced subservience of things 
which creak or blare or shriek may fully efiface. 

The Poor-will spends the day sleeping on the ground under the shelter (jf 
a sage-bush, or close beside some lichen-cm-ered rock, to which its intricate 
pattern of plumage marvelously assimilates. When startled, by day, the bird 
tlits a few yards over the sage-tops and ])lumps down at haphazard. If it 
chances to settle in the full sunlight, it ai)i)ears to be blinded and mav allow a 
close approach ; but if in the shade, one is not likely to surprise it again. Even 
after nightfall these fairy moth-catchers are much more terrestrial in their 
habits than are the Nighthawks. They alight upon the grouml upon the slight- 
est pretext and. indeed. a])pear most frequently to attain their object by leap- 
mg u]5 at passing insects. They are more strictly nocturnal in habit, also, than 
the Night Jars. ;md we know of their later movements only thru the inter- 
mittent exercise of song. Heard in some starlit canon, the passing of a Poor- 
will in full crv is an indescribal)le experience, producing feelings somewhere 
between pleasure and fear, — jjleasure in the delightful melanchol}- of the notes 
heard in the dim distance, but something akin to terror at the near approach 
and thrilling climax of the portentous sounds. 

Taken in the hand, one sees what a quiet. in<)ffensi\'e fa\' the Poor-will is. 
all feathers and itself a mere featherweight. The silken sheen and delicate 
tracerv of the frost-work upon the i)lumage it were hopeless to describe. It is 
as tho some fairy snowball had struck the bird full on the forehead, and from 
thence gone shi\'ering with e\-er lessening traces all over the upperparts. Or, 
perhaps, to allow another fancv, the dust of the innumerable moth-millers, 
with which the bird is alwa\'s wrestling, gets ]iowdered over its garments. 
The large bristles which line the upper mandi])le. and which increase the catch- 
ing ca]3acity of the extensive gape by half, are seen to be really modified feath- 
ers, and not hairs, as might be supposed, for in younger specimens the\' are 
protectefl Iw little horny basal sheaths. With this equipment, and wings, our 
melancholy hero easily becomes the envy of mere human entomologists. 



4o6 THE PACIFIC NIGHTHAWK. 



No. 157. 

PACIFIC NIGHTHAWK 

A. O. U. No. 420 part. Chordeiles virginianus hesperis J. Ciriniiell. 

Synonym. — I'.ri.L-i'.AT. 

Description. — .liliilt male: Muttleil, black, gray and ochraceons, and with 
white in ])atches ; above black predominates, especially on forehead and back, 
mottling falling into indistinct bars on upper tail-coverts and tail ; anterior edge 
of wing white : the wing-quills dusky ; a large, white, transverse patch about 
midway on the first five primaries, save on the outer web of the first ; a large 
\'-shaped throat-patch white ; remaining underparts distinctly and finely barred, 
dusky and whitish with some faint ochraceous. — the latter found especially on 
the parts adjacent to the white throat-patch : the crissuni sometimes pure white, 
usually barred, at greater intervals than on breast : a white band crossing tail 
near tip, except on central feathers. Bill without evident bristles, the horny part 
very small, but length of gape about an inch. Tarsus very short ; the middle 
claw enlarged, and with a curious, horny, comb-like j)rocess on the inner edge. 
Adult female: Similar, but without white band on tail, and with white spots 
on primaries often much reduced ; throat-patch tinged with ochraceous, and suffu- 
sion of underparts by this color more pronounced. Iiiiuiatnre: More finely and 
heavily mottled than adults, and with upperparts more heavily marked, or even 
suffused with ochraceous-buft". Length 9.00-10.00 (228.6-254): wing 4.85 
(123.2) ; tail 4.32 (109.7) '■ ''ill from nostril .21 15.3). 

Recognition Marks. — To appearance "'Little Hawk" size — really smaller; 
central white s])ot in long wing distinctive. 

Nesting. — Eggs: 2, deposited on the bare ground, often among rocks, some- 
times upon a flat rock, or on the gravel roof of a tall building: grayish white, or 
dull olive-ljuff marbled, mottled, or clouded and speckled with various shades of 
olive, and brownish- or [lurplish-gray. .\v. size, I.i8x .86 (30x21.8). Season: 
June : one broofl. 

General Range. — Pacific coast slope mirth to P>ritish Columbia. 

Range in Washington. — ^^'est-side, summer resident in open situations. 

Authorities. — Chordeiles popetiie. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, 
p. 153. T. C&S. B. E. 

Specimens. — Prov. 

THE Nighthawk arri\es so tardilv — ne\er before the middle of May 
and from that date to the middle of June — tliat he reminds us of the naughty 
child who has disregarded the ijarental summons and comes upon the scene 
sleepy and cross at 9.30 a. ni.. when all good little children are at school. We 
are sure, too. that it must be something like the necessity of eating cold victuals 
that makes the bird grumble bayard - bayard as it flits about discontentedly on 
the first morning. Moreover, there is always something incongruous about 
the appearance of this prairie species in the land of tall timber. He is like the 



THE WESTERN NIGHTHAWK. 407 

man from Kansas. He has a perfect right here and he is a \-ery good feUow. 
Oh, to be sure ! 

The Pacific Xightliawk differs by scarcely assignable characters from the 
typical form of the eastern United States, but it is separated from it in distri- 
bution Ij_\- two bleached [ihases, C. I', hciiryi and C. :■. sciiiictli. of the desert 
and plain respectively: so we feel confident that it represents a resaturation of 
the intermediate stock rather than a di\'ision or ccjlonv of C. I'irgiiiianiis 
proper. Bird of the plains tln) it be. it is pushing its way determinedly on the 
West-side where\'er openings offer, and is as likely to occur upon the San 
Juan Islands or in some little clearing of the mountain valleys as upon the 
ampler reaches of the Chehalis prairies. Latterly, also, it has accommodated 
itself to the life of the city, and from the fearless way in which it appears 
over Pacific Avenue in Tacoma. or Second Avenue in Seattle, we judge that it 
must be following the well established eastern custom of laying its eggs on tlie 
fiat roofs of down-town buildings. 



No. 158. 

WESTERN NIGHTHAWK. 

A. O. U. Xo. 420a. Chordeiles virginianiis henryi (Cass.). 

Description. — Similar tu C". r. Iicspcris. but jialer thruout ; areas of black 
reduced, white patches of throat, wing, and tail averaging larger ; below more 
extensively tawny whitish. 

Recognition Marks. — As in preceding. 

Nesting. — Xcst and E[/gs not distinguishable from those of C. r. hrsl'cris. 

General Range. — Arid Transition and Canadian life-zones of the Western 
United States from the eastern slopes of the Rocky ^Mountains to the Cascade- 
Sierra ranges, north into British Coluniljia : south in winter to northern South 
America. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident in cipen situations east 
of the Cascade Alountains. 

Migrations. — Spri)iy: Moses Lake. May 13. iqo6: Chelan. May 29. 1905; 
Oro. May 29. i8g6. 

Authorities. — ["\\'estern Xightliawk." Johnson. Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 
( 1885 1 22J ; Bendire, Life Hist. X. A. Birds" \o\. II, 1895. P- 168. D-. Sr. Ra. 
D-'. Ss'. Ss-'. Kk( ?). J. 

Specimens.— (U. of W. ) P'. Prov. E. 

THESE X^ighthawks are perfectly harmless except to moths, midges, and 
their ilk: and their uplifted wings half careened by the evening breeze furnish 



4o8 



THE WESTERN NIGHTHAWK. 



one oi tlie most pleasing adijrniiients of lowland meadow or sage-covered 
upland. The birds "quarter the air'" incessantly in a bat-like flight of irregular 
zigzags, often limiting as they go, bayard - bayard. They are not so strictly 
nocturnal as the Poor-wills, Init put a liberal construction on "twilight," being 
careful to 
avail them- 
selves of all 
cloudy days, 
and, in fact, 
moving about 
at will when- 
ever the siui 
slants fairly. 
The m i d d 1 e 
hours of the 
day are spent 
11 p o n the 
ground, where 
their neutral 
tints serve a 
protective piu"- 
pose and are 
almost imjilic- 
it]\' relied on. 
During tiie 
mating season 
the males take 
great ])ara- 
bolic headers 
in the air, 
returning 
sharply and 
producing a 
1 o u d boom- 
ing daw-zv — 
whether by the 
rushing of air 
thru the wings 
termined. 




Token near Sfokaiic. Photo by F. S. Merrill. 

EGGS OF WESTERN XIGITTII.SWK, IN SITU. 



across the opened mouth. 



wil 



perhaps, never be de- 



During migrations scores of these birds are sometimes seen moving aloft 
in loose array and, customarily at this season, silent. While not at any time 
strictly gregarious, favorable conditions are likely to attract considerable 



THE WESTERN NIGHTHAWK. 



409 



nunilters to a gi\-eii syjut. I have seen scores at a time winging nniselessh' to 
and fro over the tran(|nil waters of Brciok Lake, and once 1 saw a ciinii>anv 
of not less than two hundred executing a grand march with bewildering 
evolutions, in a Vakima pasture. The date in the last-mentioned instance 
was August JOth. and it is more likely that the birds had discovered some 
notable e\'ent in the insect world, tlian that they themseh'es were preparing 



The eggs of the Nightluuvk are hea\ily nit.ittled with slat}- and other 
tints, wdiich render them practicallv in\isible to the searching e\e. e\'en tho 
they rest upon the bare ground or. as (jftener. upon an exposed lava ledge. 
Except during the \-ery warmest hours ( when the sun's rays might addle 
them) and the coolest (when thev might becoiue chilled), the sitting bird 
is likely to rest beside her eggs instead of on theiu. The young birds when 
hatched place great reliance upnn their ])r(itective coloration, and even permit 
the fondling of the liand rather than c<infess the defect of their fancied 



^i:\ 




Token '.war Spokane. 



Telcl>hoto by IV . H. U'right. 



WESTEKN NIC.HTHAWK AT MIBDAY. 



security. The old bird, meanwhile lias fluttered away over tlie ground with 
uncertain wing and drooping tail to drop at last on the \ery point of death. 
Or failing in this ruse, she is charging about in mid air with plaintive cries. 
Look upon the babies fur tlie last time, for they will be sjjirited away before 
your return. — borne uff. it is said, between the thighs of the parent liird. 



4IO THE BLACK SWIFT. 



No. 159. 
BLACK SWIFT. 

A. O. U. No. 422. Cjpseloides niger borealis (Kennerly). 

Synonyms. — Cloud Swift. Xuktiiekn Black Clijud Swift. 

Description. — Adults: Soot\- black; feathers of extreme chin, anterior por- 
tion of lores, forecrown, linini;" of wings, abdomen, sides, crissum, and under tail- 
coverts, narrowly skirted with white. ISill. feet, and eyes black. Length about 
7.00 ( i//-^ } : wing 6.30 ( 165.1 ) : tail 2.01) ( 53 ). 

Recognition Marks. — S])arrow size but appearing larger; long wings and 
rapid flight, cloud-haunting habits with color and size distinctive. 

Nesting. — Xrst: in crannies of cliiTs ; reported by Bendire from the breaks 
of the Columbia in Douglas County. Ef/gs: unknown. Season: presumably 
June. 

General Range. — \\'cstern Xorth America from the Rocky ^Mountains to 
the Pacific, north thru British Columbia to southwestern Alaska; partially 
nomadic, erratic, and far-ranging; winters south to Central America. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident in the higher Cascades and (pre- 
sumably ) the (Jl_\nipics ; apjiears sporadically at lower levels, chiefly west of 
the Cascade Mountains. 

Migrations. — Spvimj: Seattle, May 16, IQ05. Fall: Seattle, September 
20, 1907; Octiiber 7, 1905; Tatoosh Lsland, June 4, 1907. 

Authorities. — Cvpscloidcs burcalis. Kennerly, Proc. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. IX., 
Nov. 1857. 202: fide Baird. Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX.. 1858. p. 143. Rh. D'. Ra. 
B. E. 

Specimens. — Prov. C. E. 

NO other bird of equal prominence in the North American ornis has 
so successfully eluded the in\estigation of the curious. Of equal prom- 
inence, I sa}-. for on occasion the birds do exhibit themselves at close 
quarters with every appearance of frankness. And it is precisely because 
they do occasionally stoop to our le\'el, that we long to follow them as 
they sweep the clouds or hasten back at a thought to their mountain 
fastnesses. 

Cloud Swifts hunt in great straggling companies, and wdien one of 
them has attracted attention by swooping near the ground, and the eyes 
are lifted, a dozen others may be noted in the neigiiliorhood, and a hun- 
dred more in the sk_\-, up. up to the limit of vision. Certain atmospheric 
conditions, especially a drizzling rain, may impel the whole company to 
seek the lower levels, and hundreds may be seen at once hawking over 
the townsite, or, better vet, nver the surface of a lake, as W'hatcouL or 



THE BLACK SWIFT. 



411 



W'asliington. But 011 brighter days, ami ortlinarih'. the passing tlirong 
occupies tlie whole heavens, and a bird seen darting across a distant cloud 
mav in anotiier instant descend to the tree-tops. Altho not quite so speedy 
as the \Vhite-throated Swift, there is no bird whose aerial evolutions convey 
such a sense of power and unfettered freedom as do those of tliis veritable 
sky-scraper. 

The extraordinary \ 1 ilitalnrial powers possessed 1>\- the Cloud Swifts 
])erniit a breadth of dail}' range unmatched in the case of anv other species. 
We sujjpose that the flocks which appear here and there at sea-lexel thruout 




ni.Ac 1; s\\ ii'i s 



the summer nest onl}- in the Cascade ^ilountains: and it is easy to see that a 
hundred mile dash before breakfast would hardly figure in the day's work. 
On this account, we may fairly presume that the Cloud Swifts are really less 
numerous than might be supposed from the analogy of other birds. Per- 
haps half a dozen roving bands woidd comprise the entire population of 
the State. A company nesting on Glacier Peak might elect to spend one 
day hawking over Gray's Harbor, and the next in the Palouse country. 
Some such diurnal shifting does exist, for at Chelan I have seen the Swifts 
in June passing down the vallev at earlv morning, and retiu'uing in the 



412 



TiiE i;lack swift. 




evening f(jr several successive days, 
after which they would absent them- 
selves for a month, .\gain, at early 
morning, we have seen them filing thru 
Cascade Pass from west to east, hot- 
wing, as tho they had business in 
Idaho. 

These Black Swifts nest chiefly in 
the mountains upon the face of inac- 
cessible cliffs. This nnicli we know, 
but the nest and eggs are still un- 
known". The closest call which these 
elusive fuwls ha\e iiad at nesting time 
is thus reported by Alajor Bendire'' : 
"The only locality where I have ob- 
served this species was on the upper 
Columbia River, opposite Lake Chelan, 
Washington, in Julv, iS/O- Here quite 
a co](>n\- nested in a In'gli pcr]ien(h'cular 
cliff' on the south side of and aliDut a 
mile back from the river, and numljers 
iif tlicm flew tn and fmrn the \allev 
below, where the}' were feeding. The 
day was a cloud}- one, and the slow 
drizzling rain was falling nearlv the 
entire time I was there: this caused 
the birds to fly Ii^w and they were easily 
i<lenlihe<l. The\' e\identl\' liad \'oung, 
;mil the twitterings of the latter could 
i-eadih- l)e lieard as soon as a l)ird 
entered one of the numerous cre\-ices 
in the cliff' abo\'e. This was utterlv 



.1. Tliese words are used advisedly. The case re- 
jiorted from tlie sea-wall of Santa Cruz County, Cali- 
fornia, claims no nest and only one egg. If this be not 
a case of misidentification, then it is an example of 
freak nesting utterly at variance with all Swift tradi- 
tions, and with much that is actually known concerning 
the habits of this species. 

The classic instance reported from Seattle in tlie col- 
umns of the -\uk (V'ol. y., '88, p. 424) of a nest 
"made of straws, chips, paper, etc.," proved to concern 
the handiwork of the Purple Martin (Prague subis), 
hut the mistake was a not unnatural one in view of 
the then rarity of the Martin, 

b. Life Hist. N. A. Birds, \ol, II,. 1895. p, 176. 



Taken in i lieliin ( 



■iuthor. 



c.^sc.^DE PASS. 

WHEse BLACK SWIFTS HAVE BEEN SEEN. 



THE VAUX SWIFT. 413 



inaccessible, being full}' 300 feet higli and almost perpendicular: and without 
suitable ropes to lower one from above it was both useless and impracticable 
to make an attempt to reach the nests. These were evidently placetl well 
back in the fissures, as nothing bearing a resemblance to one was \'isible 
from either above or below. In this locality I belie\e fresh eggs mav Ije 
looked for about June 23." 

I had word of the nesting of these birds in the summer of 1906 upon 
a majestic rock wall overliH iking the Sahale Glacier in the Upper Horseshoe 
Basin of Chelan County, but a visit paid to this scene the following season 
failed to discover either nests or birds, altho local miners were readv to 
confirm the report of their presence the previous season. Dr. IvJward Hasell. 
of Victoria, informs me that tliev have nested about a certain cliff overlookine 
Cowichan Lake on \'ancouver Island. The cliff referred to is about 1,600 
feet high, and access was, therefore, out of the question. Mr. ^V. H. \\'right, 
the well-known nature student and guide, of Spokane, tells me that he once 
saw these birds nesting among some cliff's called "The Chimneys," which 
are five or si.x miles distant from Priest. Idaho. He saw the Swifts carrying 
twigs to the cliff's, but did not take further notice of their actions. He 
visited The Chimneys at the same time of vear on each of two succeeding- 

- - o 

seasons, but saw nothing of the Swifts. From these reports, and from the 
fact that the country referred to by Bendire has been ransacked in vain. I 
conclude that the Black Swifts are continually shifting the scene of their 
annual nestings, being, in fact, as erratic in this regard as thev are in the 
matter of their local appearances at the lower levels. 



No. 160. 

VAUX'S SWIFT. 

A. O. U. Xo. 424. Chaetura vauxi (Townsend). 

Description. — .Adults: Above, sooty brown, lightening, nearly hair-brown, 
on rump and upper tail-coverts : below, light sooty gray, lightening, nearly white, 
on chin and throat ; lores velvety black ; shafts of tail-feathers denuded' at tips 
a third of an inch. Length about 4.50 (114. 3) ; wing 4.50 (114.3) ; tail 1.59 (40). 

Recognition Marks. — Strictly "pygmy size," Init comparison misleading — 
to appearance, swallow size ; rapid erratic flight and bow-and-arrow-shaped 
position in flight distinctive. Altho this species is only half the size of the 
preceding, careful discrimination is necessar}^ while the birds are a-wing. 

Nesting. — Xcst: a shallow half-saucer of short twigs, glued together with 



414 THE VAUX SWIFT. 



the bird's saliva and similarly cemented to the wood inside of a hollow tree. 
Eggs: 4-6, pure white. Av. size, .77 x .50 (19.6x12.7). Season: June; one 
brood. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast States and British Columbia, breeding thru- 
out its range ; south in winter to Central .America. 

Range in Washington. — Not common summer resident in timbered sections 
and in mountain valleys ; locally distributed. 

Migrations. — Spring: Blaine, i\Iay 8. 1905. Fall: Seattle, Se])tember 20, 

I907- 

Authorities. — Lxpschis vaitxi Townsend, "Narrative," 1839, 348. T. C&S. 
Rh. D'. Ra. D-'. B. E. 

Specimens. — Prov. C. E. 

« 

"TPIE wa\' iif an\- bird in the air cuniniands interest, btit the way of the 
Swift pro\-okes both admiration and astonishment. With \'olitatorial powers 
which are uneqiialed by any other land bird, this a\'ian missile goes hurtling 
across the sky without injury, or else minces along slowdy with pretended 
difficulty. Now it waddles to and fro in strange zigzags, picking up a gnat at 
every angle, and again it "lights out" with sudden access of energy and alter- 
nate wing strokes, intent on hawking in heaven's upper story. At favorite 
seasons the birds cross and recross each other's paths in lawless mazes and fill 
the air with their strident creakings, while here and there couples and even 
trios sail about in great stiff curves with wings held aloft. It is the only 
opportunity afforded for ])ersonal attentions, and it is probable that the sexes 
have no further acquaintance excejit as they pass and repass in ministering 
to the young. 

"In nesting the Chimney 'Sweeps' seek out the smaller chimneys of 
dwelling houses, and usually onlv one pair occupies a single shaft. Short 
twigs are seized and snapped off by the bird's beak in midflight, and these, 
after being rolled about in the copious saliva, are made fast to the bricks, a 
neat and homogeneous bracket being thus formed. This will be sufficient to 
support the half dozen crystal white eggs and the hissing squabs which follow, 
unless a premature fire or a long-continued rain dissolves the glue and tumbles 
the fabric into the grate. 

"Sitting birds, when discovered, oftenest drnp below the nest and 
hide, clinging easily with the tiny feet supported by the spiny tail. The 
male bird seldom pays any attention unless there are young, in which 
case he even brushes past the intruder and enters the nest in his eager- 
ness to share the hour of danger. The young are rather slow in develop- 
ment and it requires, according to Mr. Otto Widmann, two months to rear 
a family of them. Usually only one brood is raised, but a .second nesting 



THE WHITE-THROATED SWIFT. 415 

is undertaken even as late as August if the first has ])rnven unsuccessful" 
(Birds of Ohio). 

Save in the matter of nesting, the \"aux vSwift does not differ 
essential!}- in habit or appearance from the well-known Chimney Swift, 
referred to in the preceding paragraphs. It is, however, very much less 
common and is only of local distribution, chiefly in the lower mountain 
valleys. Local attachments are doubtless largely determined by the presence 
of large cottonwood timber, but the birds descend to the lowlands, especially 
after the close of the nesting season, in small ro\-ing parties, somewhat after 
the fashion of the Cloud Swifts, with which indeed they frequently asso- 
ciate. The}- have thus been regularly reported by West-side observers at 
Tacoma, Seattle, and Bellinghani, and I have seen them at Blaine, and in 
l!-ie valleys of the Xooksack (at Glacier), Skagit, Nisquallv (in Rainier 
National Park), and Ouillayute Rivers. The only East-side records appear 
ti) be those from the north fork of the Ahtanun-i, in Yakima County, and 
the valley of the Stehekin. in Chelan County. 

Vaux's Swift with us nests onl}- in the hollow recesses of tall dead 
cottonwood trees, where they glue a shallow bracket of broken twigs, 
cemented with hardened sa!i\-a. to the curving inner wall. In California, 
however, they are said to be adopting the wa}S of civilization, and are be- 
ginning to nest in chimneys, after the fashion of C. pclagica. 



No. 161. 

WHITE-THROATED SWIFT. 

A. O. U. No. 425. Aeronautes melanoleucus (Baird). 

Synonyms. — Rock Swift. Mouxtaix Swift. Rocky Mouxt.mx .S"wift. 
White-thro.\ted Rock Swift. 

Description. — Adults: Plumage black (variable, sooty brown to glossy 
black ) : forehead and line over eye paler ; lore velvetv black ; chin, throat, breast, 
and belly, centrally, white — also outer edge of outer primary, tips of secondaries, 
lateral tail-feathers, and a conspicuous patch on flank, sometimes nearly meeting 
fellow across rump; bill black. Length 7.00 (177.R) or under; wing 6.50-7.00 
(165.1-177.8); tail 2.65 {f^■J.^,^. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size but larger to appearance ; exceedingly 
rapid flight with flashing white underparts and flank patches distinctive. 

Nesting. — "The nest is securely placed far in holes or crevices of rocks or 
indurated earths, usually at a great height ; it is a saucer-like structure, about 
5x2 inches, with a shallow cavity, made of various vegetable materials well 
glued together with saliva, and lined with feathers. Eggs several, in one instance 



4i6 



THE WHITE-THROATED SWIFT. 



3, narrowh- subelliptical. 0.87x0.32, white" (Cones). Season: May and June. 

General Range. — Western United States from the Rocky Mountains to the 
Pacific, north to Montana, Idaho, and southern British CoUnnliia ( r)i<anagan 
\'alley) ; south in winter to Guatemala. 

Range in Washington. — Known only from the valley of the Columbia near 
Chelan, the (".rand Coulee (near Cold Spring Lake), and the Cascade Pass. 

Authorities. — Dawson, Auk, XI\'., 1897, p. 175. 

Specimens. — C. 



SWIFT, swifter, swiftest, will best express the relations (if mir Wash- 
ington Cyl^scli. where the positi\e degree is represented by the Vaiix Swift, 
the comparative by the Black Clmid Swift, and the superlative by the White- 
throat. No one who is troubled with acrophobia, the fear of high places, 
should attempt to spy upon the nesting haunts of these Swifts from above; 
for when to the ordinary terrors of a sheer cliff, say a thousand feet in 
height, is added the hurtling passage of resentful Swifts flashing about like 
hurled scimetars, the situation will try the strongest nerve. Mewed from 
below, in the open air, the evolutions of these birds may be regarded with 
some degree of equanimity; but when a Swift dips toward the ground, or 
measures its speed across the face of .some frowning precipice, one sees 
what a really frightful velocity 
is attained. There is no exact 
wav of measiu'ing tliis, but an 
estimate of five miles per minute 
would he well within the mark, 
and six not unreasonable. The 
bird, that is. would require only 




Photo by the Author. 
Taken in Douglas County. 



COLD Sl'KlM