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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"

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The Birds of Washington 



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

Of the British Columbia Edition 55 sets have been 

printed and bound, of which this copy is No. '^ . 



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l\o.ry)^r^~,\i 



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JOHN HOG; VLES, 



HEPBURX'S LEUCOSTICTE 

MALE, 5/0 LIFK .SIZK 
Krom a W ater^olok Painting by Allan Brooks 



TMh OCi 



fiTHE BIRDS OF WASHINGTON 

A COMPLETE, SCIENTIFIC AND 

POPULAR ACCOUNT OF THE 3,72 SPECIES OF BIRDS 

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 TIIAX 3OO ORIGINAL HALF-TOXES OK BIRDS IN LIFE. NESTii 

EGGS, AND FAVORITE HAUNTS, FROM PHOTOGRAPHS BY THE 

AUTHOR AND OTHERS. 

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



ALLAN BROOKS 



BRITISH COLUMBIA EDITION 



WITH SUPPLEMENTARY MATTER EY ALLAN BROOKS 
PRINTED ONLY FOR ADVANCE SUBSCRIBERS. 



VOLUME I 




SEATTLE 
THE OCCIDENTAL PUBLISHING CO, 

1909 



W/.i RIGHTS RF.SF.RfEn 



COI-VRIC.HT. l!Ml!t, 
BY 

Wii.i.iAM Lkon Dawson 



Half tone work chirfljr by Thr BiKlier Kngraving Company. 
Compoiition and Protwnrk by The New Franklin PDniing Company. 
Binding by The RunlcaCalc Company. 



To the 

90cmbccs 

of the 

Caunnu0 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 

DcDicatcD 



EXPLANATORY. 



TAr.LE OF COMPARISONS. 

INCHES. 

Pygmy .size Length up to 5.00 

Warbler .size 5-00- 6.00 

Sparrow size 6.00- 7.50 

Chewink size 7-50- 9.00 

Robin size y.oo- 1 2.00 

Little Ilawk size. Teal size. Tern size 12.00-16.00 

Crow size 16.00-22.00 

Gull size, P>rant size 22.00-30.00 

Eagle size. Goose size 30.00-42.00 

Giant size 42.00 and ii])\varil 

Measurements are given in inches and hini(h'c<lths and in millimeters, the 
latter enclosed in jjarentheses. 



KEY OF AIUIREMATIOXS. 

References under Authorities are to fannal lists, as follows: 

T. Townsend, Catalog of Bird.s, Narrative, 1830, pp. •531-336. 

Cits. Cooper and Siickley. Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv.. \'ol. XII., pt. II.. i860, pp. 140-287. 

L'. Lawrence, Birds of Gray's Harbor, Auk. Jan. 1892, pp. 39-4". 

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

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

pp. 21-65. (Only records referring explicitly to Washington arc noted.) 
D". Dawson, Birds of Okanogan County, Auk. Apr. 1897, pp. 168-182. 

Sr. Snyder, Notes on a Few- Species, .^uk, July 1900. pp. 242-245. 

Kb. Kobbc, Birds of Cape Disappointment, .Auk. Oct. igoo. pp. .349-358. 

Ra. Rathbnn. Lind Birds of Seattle. .'\uk. Apr 1902. pp. 131-141. 

D^. Dawson, Birds of Yakima County, Wilson Bulletin, June 1902. pp. 59-67. 

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

Ss2. Snodgrass. Land Birds Central and Southeastern Wash.. .'\uk. Apr. 1904, pp. 223- 

233- 
Kk. Keck. Birds of Olympia. Wilson Bulletin. June 1904. pp. 33-37. 

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 BcUingham 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. of W. 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. BowOes. Onlv Washington specimens arc listed. 

C. Cantwell Collection. 

BN. Collection Bellingham Normal School. 

E. Collection J. M. Edson. 



PREFACE. 



Love of the birds is a natural passion and cme whicli rL'(|nin.-s nL-itlu-r 
analysis nor defense. The hirds live, we live; and life is suftieienl answer nnlo 
life. I'liit lunnaniix', unforlnnateK'. has had nntil recently other less jnstifiablc 
interest.s — that of lighting ])rc-eniinent among them — so that ont of a gory past 
onl)- a few shadowy name.s of bird-lovers emerge, Aristotle, Pliny the Elder. 
/Elian, Ornithologv' as a science is modern, at best not over two centuries and 
a half old, while as a popnlar pnrsuit its age is Ijctter reckoned by decades, it is, 
therefore, highly gratifying to those who feel this primal instinct strongly 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 
po])ular literature, and it has taken at last a deserved place upon the cnrricnluni 
of many of our colleges and secondary schools. 

We of the West 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 theiu 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 Washing- 
ton, They are here as economic allies, to bear their part in the disii-ibution 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 display of graceful form and picjuant color; t(> stir the dc]iths of 
human emotion with their marvelous gift of song; to tease the imagination by 
their cvhibitions 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 w'e may learn from the birds manners which will correct our 
own; that is, stimulate us to the full realization in om* own lives of that ethical 
program which their tenrler domestic relations so clearly foreshadow. 



Ill till' matter licrtiii rirordcd account lias of course lacn taken of nearly 
all thai lias been done by other workers, but the literature of the birds of Wash- 
injn<"i i> very meaner, bcinj; chiefly conlincd to annotated lists, and the conclusions 
reached have necessarily been ba>-ed ujjon our own experience, comprising some 
thirteen years residence in the State in the case of Mr. I'.owles, and a little more 
in my own. I'icid work has been about ec|ual]y divided between tlic Kast-side 
and the West-side and we have Ijotii been able to fjive practically all our time to 
this cause during the nesting seasons of the past four years. Parts of several 
seasons have been spent in tlie Cascade Mountains, but there remains much to 
learn of bird-life in the high Cascades, while tlie conditions existing in tlie I'luc 
Mfiuiitains and in the ( >lympics are still largely to Ijc inferred. Two |)ractically 
complete surveys were made of island life along the West Coast, in the summers 
of 1906 and njoj; and we feel that our nesting sea-l)irds at least are fairlv well 
understood. 

.\ltlio necessarily bulky, these volumes are by no means exhaustive. \o 
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 W'ashingtonian. On this account certain prosy fellows have received cxtenderl 
treatment merely because they are ours and have to be reckoned with: while 
others, more iiileresting, perhaps, have not been considered at length simply 
because we are nf)t responsible for them as characteristic birds of W"ashingtoii. 
In writing, however, two classes of readers have had to be considered. — lirst. the 
W'asliingtonian who nee<ls to have his interest aroused in the birds of his home 
State, and second, the serious ornithological student in the East. For the sake 
fit the former we have introduced some familiar matter from other sources, 
including a previous work-'' of the author's. and for this we must ask the indulgence 
of oniitlioliigists. I-'or the sake of the latter we have dilated upon certain jioints 
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 ])ages is substantially the 
reverse of that long followed by the American ( Jrnitlmlogists' I'liion, and is 
justiliable jirincipally on the ground that it follows a certain onler of interest and 
convenience, r.eginiiing. as it does, with the sup|U)se<lly highest fonns of bird- 
life, it brings to the fore the most familiar birds, and avoids that ru<le juxta|x>si- 
tioii of the lowest form of one grou]) with the highest of the one above it. which 
has iK'cn the confessed weakness of the A. ( ). I', arrangement. 

The outlines of classitication may be found in the Table of Contents to each 
volume, and a l)rief synopsis of generic, family, and ordinal characters, in the 



a. The Bird* of Ohio, by William l.ron Dawion, .\. M.. B. D., with IntnxlucliKn ami .Xnalytical Krjrt 

hy I.yndl Jonrs. .M Sr Onr .in, I r>%n \ ,.liin«-., p,. xKmi -.- f,-, Clnnil,,!., Tl.r WliraL.n fuhlilhing 

Company, 1903. 



Analytical Key prepared by Professor Jones. It has not been thought best to give 
large jilace to these matters nor to intrude them upon the text, because of tlie 
manv excellent manuals which already exist giving especial attention to this tield. 

The nomenclature is chiefly that uf the .\. O. U. Check-List. Second Edition, 
revised to include the I'durtcenth ."^uiiplenient, to which reference is made by 
number. Departures have in a few instances been made, changes sanctioned by 
Ridgway or Coues. or ju^iilied by a consideration of local material, it i<. of 
course, unfortunate that the puhlicatinn of the Third Edition of the A. I). L'. 
Check-Tist has been sn long delayed, inscimucb 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 offer those which on the whole seem best fitted to survive locally. 
Unnecessary departures from eastern usage have been avoided, and the 
changes made have been carefully considered. As matter of fact, the English 
nomenclature has of late been much more stable than the Latin. I'or instance. 
no one has anv 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 .successiveb- under the following scientific names: Trnylodytcs Iiienialis 
pacificus. Anortbura h. p.. Olhiorchihis h. p., and Nanntts h. p.. and these with 
the sanction of the A. C). U. Committee — certainly a .striking example of how not 
to secure stability in nomenclature. With such an example before us we may 
perhaps be pardoned for having in instances failed to note the latest discovery of 
the name-hunter, but we have humbly tried to follow our agile leaders. 

In the preparation of iilumage descriptions, the atteni])! to derive them from 
local collections was jjartially abandoned because of the meagerness of the ma- 
terials offered. If the work had been purely British Columbian, the excellent 
collection of the Provincial Museum at Mctoria would have been nearly sufficient : 
but there is crying need of a large, well-kept, central collection of skins and 
mounted birds here in Washington. .\ creditable showing is being maile at 
Pullman under the energetic leadership of Professor W. T. Shaw, and the Stale 
College will always reciuire a representative working collection. The L ni\ersity 
of \\'ashington, however, is the natural repository for West-side si)ecimens, 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 jilace to a 
worthy and com])lete display of Washington birds. .Among* private collections 
that of Mr. J. INF. Edson. of P)ellingham, is the most notable, representing, as it 
does, the |)atient 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 Museum of the Belling- 
ham Normal School. The small but well-selected assortment of bird-skins belong- 
ing to -Messrs. C. W. and |. II. I'.owles rests in the Ferry Museum in 'I'acoma. 



% 

lliTc alsii Mr. (iio. C. Cantwcll lia> kit his liinl-skins. partly local ami partly 
Alaskan, on view. 

I'ortiinaldy the task of rok'scrihinj; the plnmafjc of Wasliinjjtnn hinls has 
hi'cii rindiTi'd less necessary fi>r a work of such scope as ours, thru the appearance 
of the Fifth Kdition of Coues Key," enihixlyinfj, as it does the ri])ened conclusions 
of a uni(|uely {;ifted ornithological writer, and above all. by the j^reat delinitivc 
work from the hand of Professor Ridf,'w.iy,'' now more than half conipleteil. 
These linal works hy the masters of our craft render the careful repetition of 
such cflort superfluous, ami I have no hesitation in admitting that we are almost 
as much in<lel)ted to them as to local collections, altho a not inconsiderable part of 
the author's original work upon |)lunia}je description in "'riie I'.irds ..f ( )hin" has 
been utilized, or re-worked, wherever applicable. 

In compiling the C.eneral Ranges, we wish to acknowledge indebteilness Inith 
to the .\. ( ). r. Check-List {2nd I*"dition ) and to the summaries f>f Kidgway an«l 
Cones in the works alreaily 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 U])on personal experience, and to exi>ress juilgments which must 
vary in accuracy with each individual case. 

'I'he tinal work u|)on 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 imp(:ssible. and there apj)ears not to be any one 
in the State who has seriously set himself to record the movements of the birds 
in chrfinological order. Success in this line depends tipon co/iperative 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 first publication ..f each 
species as a bird of Wasbiugton. giving in italics the name originallv assigned the 
binl. if dilTerent from the one now used, together with the name of the author 
in Ijold-face type. In many instances early references are uncertain, chiefly by 
reason of failure to distinguish between the two States now separated l>y the 
Columbia River, but once comprehended under the name ( )regon Territory. Such 
citations are (|uestioned or lirackeled. as are all those which omit or disregard 
scientilk" names. The al)breviated references are to standard faunal lists appear- 
ing in the Cfilunuis of "The .\iik" and elsewhere, and these are noted more 
carefully under the head of Bibliography, among the .Xppendiccs. 

At tiic outset I wish to explain tile peculiar relation which exists between 



a. Key to North .\nicncan Itinl.. by lilliott Couc. A M. M I'. I'li |) . Fifth Edition (cnliirly 

reviKd). in Two Volume*: pp. xli. -t-iiSi. Hottnn, l>«n.i K-i. v. 190J. 

h. The It.ril. of .North and .Middle America, hy Rol>crt I r. Miviiion of riinl.. V. S. 

.National .Mu<eum, llullelin of the I'. S. N, M.. .No. 50: I'l. I |.p. xxxi. 4-ri.i and PI. ,\.\. 

(1901): I'l. II.. Tanatndae, etc., pp. xx. + 834 and I'l. X.XIl ii.c.p. It. III., Mftocilitdac. etc.. pp. 

xx.-i-Hoi and I'l. .\IX. (1904): Pt. IV., THtdidae. clc, pp. xxll. -t- 973 and PI. .\X.\IV. (190?). 



nivself and the junior author. Mr. j. II. Howies. F.aoli of us had Ion" had in 
mind the thought of ]>rei)ariniL; a work upon the birds of Washington; hut Mr. 
Bowles, during ni\- resideui-e in ( )hio, was the first to undertake the task, and 
had a book actualK' half wriiu-n when 1 returned to the seene with friendly 
overtures. Since \uv ]ilans were rather more extended than his. and sinee it was 
necessary that one of us shoulil devote his entire time to the work, Mr. Howies, 
with unbounded generosity, iilaeed the result of his labors at my disijosal and 
declared his willingness to further the enterprise under my leadershi]) in every 
])ossible 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 ;ietnal writing of the book has fallen to my lot. In 
practice, therefore. 1 lia\e found myself under every degree of indebtedness to 
Mr. Rowles, according as my own materials were abundant or meager, or as his 
information or mine was more pertinent in a given case. 

Mr. Howies has been as good as his word in the matter of cooperation, and 
has lavishe<l his lime in the ipiest of new species, or in the discovery of new nests, 
or in the location of choice subjects for the camera, solely that the book might 
profit thereb\-. In several exjieditions he has accompanied me. ( )n this account, 
therefore, the text in its |ir(jnonn>. "t." "we." or "he." bears witness to a sort 
of sliding scale iif intimac\'. which, unless e.xplained. might be puzzling to the 
casual reader. 1 am es])eciall\- indebted to Mr. Howies for extended material upon 
the nesting of the birds: and my only regret is that the varying rec|uii-enients of 
the task so often com])ellcd me to condense his excellent sketches into the meager 
sentences which api)ear under the hea<l "Xesting." Xot infre(|uently. bowexer, T 
have thrown a few adjectives into Mr. Howles'> paragraphs and incorporated 
them witlioul distinguishing comment, in expectation that our joint indebtedness 
will liardly excite the curiosity of any disengaged "higher critic" of ornithology. 
Let me. tiien. exjiress my very deep gratitude to Mr. Bowles for his generosity 
and inv sincere api)rcciation of his abilities so imperfectly exhibited. I fear, in 
the following i)ages. where 1 have necessarily usurped the opportunity. 

It is matter of regret to the author that the size of these volumes, now 
considerably in excess of that originall\- contemplated, has precluded the jiossi- 
bility of an extended physical and climatic snrvev of Washington. The striking 
dissimilarity of conditions which obtain as between the eastern side of the State 
and the western are familiar to its citizens and may be easily inferred by others 
from a jierusal of the following pages. Our State is excCTled liy none in its 
diversity of climatic and physiograjjliic features. The ornithologist, therefore, 
may indulge his ])roclivities in half a dozen dififerent bird-worlds without once 
leaving our borders. Especially might the taxonomist, the subspecies-hunter, revel 
in the minute shades of difference in ])lumage which characterize the re])resenia- 
livcs of the same sjiecics as they a|)])ear in difterenl sections of our Slate. We 
have not gone into these matters verv carefullv. because our interests are rather 



those of avian |)syclioIojj\ , and of tin- tlomotic ami Micial rclatinn- oi iIr- l>iri|s, — 
in short, the life inti-rcsts. 

While the anthnr's point of view has been that of a hinl-lover, some things 
herein reo.nletl may seem inconsistent with the claim of that title. The fact is that 
none of us are (|uite consistent in our attitnde toward the hird-world. The 
interests of sport and the interests of science must sometimes come into conlhct 
with those fif sentiment: and if one confesses allegiance to all three at once he 
will inevitably a[)pear to the partisans of either in a ba<l light. However, a real 
principle of unity is found when we come to regard the bird's value to society. 
The (juestion then becomes, not. Is this bird worth more to ;;;»• in my collection or 
u|}on my ]>late than as a living actor in the drama of life? but. In what cajiacity 
can this bird best serve the interests of mankind? There can be no doubt that the 
answer to the latter (|uestion is usually and increasingly, .Is a Ihiiuj bird. StutTed 
specimens we need, but only a representative number of them; onlv a limited few 
of us are fitted to enjoy the ])leasures of the chase, and the objects of our passifin 
are rapidly passing from view anyway : but never while the hearts of men arc set 
on peace, and the minds of men are alert to receive the im])ressions of the Inlinite, 
will there be too many birds to sjjcak to eye and ear, and to minister to the 
hidden things of the s|)irit. The birds belo?ig to the jieople. nf>t to a cli(|uc or a 
coterie, but to all the peo])le as heirs and stewards of the good things of (iod. 

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 i)leasant conviction, 
born of desire ])erha])s, that the bird in art is ilestined to tignre much more largely 
in future years than heretofore. We have learned something from the Japanese 
in this regard, but more perha]>s from the camera, whose revelations have marvel- 
ously jiistilied the conventional conclusions of Japanese decorative art. Nature 
is ever the nursing mother of Art. While our function in the text has necessarily 
been inter])retative, 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 
any retouching or modification of photographs. Except, therefore, as explicitly 
noted, the half-tones from ])hotographs are faithful jiresentations 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 u|)on the <liscovery. 
virtually in fuir midst, of such a promising bird-artist as Mr. .Mian Finxiks. I 
can testify to the ti<lelity of his work, as all can to the delicacy and artistic feeling 
displayed even luider the inevitable handica]) of half-tone re]>roduction. My 
sincerest thanks are due Mr. lirooks for his hearty an<l generous coiiperation in 
this enter])rise: 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 i- 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 wdio 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 thought it worth while. 

But tlie chief reward of this labor of love has been the sense of fellowship 
engendered. The progress of the wurk under what seemed at times insuperable 
difliculties has been, nevertheless, a continuous revelation of good will. "Every- 
body helps" is the motto of the Seattle .spirit, and it is just as characteri.stic of the 
entire Pacific Northwest. Everybody has helped and the result is a composite 
achievement, a monument 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 con- 
firmation of records; to Messrs. William L. Finley, Herman T. Bohlman, A. W'. 
Anthony, W. H. Wright, Fred. S. -Merrill, Warburton Pike, Walter 1. Burton. 
A. Gordon Bowles, and Walter K. Fisher, for the use of photographs; to Messrs. 
J. M. Edson, D. E. Brown, A. B. Reagan, E. S. Woodcock, and to a score of 
others beside for hospitality and for assistance afield : to Samuel Rathbun, 
Prof. E. S. Meany. Prof. O. B. Johnson, Prof. W. T. Shaw, Aliss .Vdelaide 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 University of 
Washington collections. My sjiecial 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 .\nalytical Key which accompanies this work. 

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

To our patrons and subscribers, whose timely and indulgent support has made 
this enterprise possible, I offer my sincercst thanks. To the trustees of the 
Occidental Publishing Company I am under a lasting debt of gratitude, in that 
they have jilanned 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 obligations cannot be reckoned comjjlete without some recogni- 
tion also of the rlumb things, the products of stranger hearts and brains, which 
have faithfully served their uses in this undertaking: my Warner-and-Swasey 
binoculars (8-power) — I would not undertake to write a bird-book without them; 
the Graflex camera, which 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 i)hysical side of the book itself. One cannot reckon up the 



myriad liaiuls that have wroui^lit ii])i)n it. engraver^. |)rimir>. iiimk-rs, paper- 
makers, mcssi'iigiTs, even tlie hiimhie goatherds in far-ofT Armenia, each for a 
season giving of liis hest — out of love. I trust. I'.rothers. I tliank yf>u all! 

Of the many shortcomings of this work no one could he more sensible than 
its author. We should all ])refer to speiul a life-time writing a Ijook. and having 
written it. to return and do it over again, somewhat otherwise. I'.ut Injok-making 
is like matrimony, for better or for worse. There is a tinality about it which 
takes the comfort from one's muttered tleclaration, "I could do it better aunther 
time." What 1 have written 1 have written. I go now to s]jenil a (|uiet day — 
with the birds. 

Wii.i.iAM I.KoN Dawson. 



CONTENTS OF VOLUME I. 



Dedication- i. 

EXPLAN'ATOUV iii. 

Prefack V. 

List oe Full-pace Ii.lvstratiuns xv. 

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

Suborder OSCJXES — Song Birds. xos. 

Family Consider — The Crows and Jays 1-14 I 

Irtrriihc — The Troupials ^S'-~ 43 

friiu/illidcr — The Finches 2.^68 68 

Tanagridcc — The Tanagers 69 170 

Mniotiltida — The Wood Warblers 70-86 172 

.//flf^/irffT— The Larks 87-89 212 

MotacUUd(r — 'J'he Wagtails and l'i])its 90 221 

Tiirdida- — The Thrnshes 91-102 225 

.S>/ri;f/a-— The Old World Warblers. Kinglets. 

and Gnatcatchers 103-105 262 

Parid(L — The Titmice 106- 1 10 273 

Sittidu- — The Xnthatches 1 1 i-i 13 287 

Ccrtliiidcr — The Creepers 114. 115 295 

Troglodytidcc — The W'rens 11 fi-i 22 301 

Miinidcc — The Mockingbirds 123, 124 320 

C'uicUdiv — Tile Dippers 1 25 325 

llinnidiiiida- — The Swallows 126-132 329 

. hiipclidcc — The Waxwings 133. 134 348 

Laiiiidcc — The Shrikes LI5-1 37 352 

J'ircoiiida- — The \'ireos LV^-141 3.s8 



Siiljordcr C/.. /.»/./ 70/?^\V—S<.iigless I'crcliing l'.inl>. 

Family TyrauiiidiC — Tlic Tyrant Flycatchers 142-151 3'X) 

Order Macrochires — (ioatsiickcrs. Swifts, etc. 
Siiljorder 7"AfOc7///J— Hummers. 

Family TrocUilUiic — The Hummingbirds '52-155 393 

Suborder C.//V<'/iUf 'LG/— C'.oatsuckers. 
Family C(tl<riiiiul</iJcc — The Nighthawks (Goatsuckers. 

^•tt. I i5'>-'5'^ 404 

Suborder (.')7'.S7:7,/— Swifts. 

Family MicropodiJcc — The Swifts I59-I«)i 410 

Order Pici — I'icarian Birds. 

Family I'icidtc — The Woodjieckers 164-171; 418 

Order Coccyges — Cuculiform Hirds. 
Sulwrdcr Cf/Cf/Z./— Cuckoos. 

Family Cuculidtc — The Cuckoos iSo 432 

Suborder .//.O'O.VZT.V— Kingfishers. 

Family AhcdinidiC — The Kingfishers iSi 454 



LIST OF FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS. 



PAGE OR FACING PAGE. 

flEPBURx'rf Leucosticte ( Color-platc) Frontispiece 

Northern 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-platc) 208 

Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Half-tone) 283 

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

Violet-green 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. No. 486a. Corviis corax principalis Ridgw. 

Sjnonym. — Formerly called the American 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 (70.^); depth (if 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. — N^est: a large but compact mass of sticks, lined with grass, wool, 
cow-hair, etc., placed high in fir trees or upon inaccessible cliffs. Eggs: 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, ixyo x 1.33 (48.26 x 
33.78). Season: .\])ril 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 Great I^akes, western and 
nurthcrn Washington, etc." (Ridgway). * 

Range in Washington. — Found sparingly in the Cascade and Olympic 
Mountain>, nirire commonly along the Pacific Coast. 

Migrations. — Resident but wide ranging. 

Authorities. — [Lewis and Clark, Hist. Hx. (1814), Ed Biddle: Coues, \^ol. 
II. |i. i8^. I Corvus caniivorus P)artram. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, 
pp. 361 . 562. 563. (T). C&S. L'. D- ( ?). B. E. 

Specimens. — (U. of. W.) Prov. C. 



i THE NokTIIKkN K.W KNI. 

ALTIKJ nowhere al)iin<lant, in the sense wliicli obtains anvmg smaller 
species, nor as widely distributed as sonie, there is prolxibly no otlier l)ird 
wliich has attracted such universal attention, (jr 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 iniliedded in the folk- 
lore of the maritime Grecian trilies as he is trxlay in that of the Makahs and 
Quillayutes uixm our own coast. Kora.v. the Greek called him, in imitation of 
his hoarse cry, Knuulc. knuuh: while the Sanskrit name, Knnn'ii. reveals the 
ancient root from which have sprung Ixith Crow .'lUd Raven. 

Quick-sighted, cunning, and audacious, this bird of sinister asi)ect has 
been invested by |>et)ples of all ages with a mysterious and semi-sacred char- 
acter. His ominous croakings were thought to have projjhetic import, while 
his preternatural shrewdness has made him, with many, a symlxjl of divine 
knowledge. We may not go such lengths, but we are justified in placing this 
bird at the head of our list; and we must agree with Professor .\lfre<1 
Newton that the Raven is "the largest of the Birds of the Order Passcres. 
and prob.'d)ly the most highly developed of all Birds." 

The Raven is a bird of the wilderness; and. in spite of all his cuiuiing. 
he fares but ill in the presence of breech-loaders and iconiKlasts. While 
it has not Iwen the object of any sjjecial persecution in Washington, it seems 
to share the fate reserved for all who lift their heads alx>ve the common 
level; and it is now nearly confined in its local distribution to the 01ymi)ic 
peninsula; and is nowhere common, save in the vicinity of the Indian villages 
which still cling to our western slu)re. 

In appearance the Raven presents many points of difference from the 
Common Crow, especially when contraste<l with the dwarf examples of the 
northwestern race. It is not only larger, but its tail is relatively nuich longer, 
an<l fullv rounded. The head. too. is fuller, and the bill i)ro]>^rtionately 
stouter with more rounded culmen. The feathers of the neck are li^)sely 
arranged, resulting in an impressive shagginess; and there is a sort of un- 
couthncss about these ancient birds, as compared with the more dapix^r Crow. 

Ravens are unscrupuloiis in diet, and therefrom has arisen nnich of the 
dislike which has attached to them. They not only subsist upon insects, 
worms, frogs, .shellfish, and cast-up offal, but devour the eggs and young of 
sea-birds; and. when pressed by hunger, do not scruple to attack rabbits, yovuig 
Iambs, or .seal jnips. In fact, nothing fleshly and edible comes amiss to them. 
In collecting along the sea-coast I once lost .som; sandpipers, — which I had 
not had time to preivire the evening l)efore — liecau.se the dark watcher was 
"up first". Like the Fish Crow, they hang about the Indian villages to some 




NORTHERN RAVEN. 



, rill': NORTHERN RA\F.?I. 

extent. .111(1 ilisputc witii the iil>ii|iiit"iiis Indian <1m); tlic cliaiice at decayed fish 
and t)fi"al. 

Altliu by force i»f circumstances driven to acce]>t shelter and nesting sites 
in the dense forests of the western (31yni])ic slojx?, the Raven is a great lover 
of the sea-cliffs and of all wild scenery. Stormy days are his esjKxial delight 
and he soars about in the teeth of the gale, exulting, like Lear, in the tumult : 
"Hlow winds, and crack your checks!" The sable bird is rather majestic on 
the wing, and he soars aloft at times with something of the motion and ilignity 
of the Kagle. But the Corvine character is complex : and its gravest re|)resen- 
tatives do some astonishingly l)oyish things. For instance, according to 
Nelson, they will take sea-urchins high in air and drop them on the cliffs, 
for no l)etter reason, apparently, than to hear them smash. Or. again, they 
will catch the luckless urchins in mid-air with all the delight of schooI-lx>ys 
at toni-ball. 

Xests arc to Ik; found midway of sea-cliffi in studiously inaccessible 
places, or else high in evergreen trees. Eggs, to the number of five or six. 
are de])osited in April: and the young are fed upon the choicest which the 
(egg) market affords. W'c shall need to apologize occasionally for the short- 
comings of our favorites, and we confess at the outset to shameless incon- 
sistency: for even bird rillaiiis are dear to us. if they l)e not too Ixid. and 
especialiv if their b.ulncss lie not directed against us. Who would wish to 
see this Ixild, black brigand, savage, cunning, and unscrupulous as he is. dis- 
ap|)ear entirely from our shores? He is the deep shadow of the world's 
chiaroscuro: and what were white, pray, without black by which to meas- 
ure it ? 




Llallam (.oynty. 

I'OI.NTOK THE AKCIIKS (.KOUP, A CU AUACTF.KIS 1 IC MALM OV 



H.'ioto by Ihe .Imlhor. 
ill: KAVEN. 



THE MEXICAN RAVEN. 



No. 2. 

MEXICAN RAVEN. 

A. ( >. L'. Xo. 486. Cor>iis corax sinuatiis (W'agler). 

Synonyms. — Amkkicax Ran'Kn. Solthkkn Raven. 

Description. — Like preceding but averaging smaller; bill relatively smaller 
and narrower; tarsus not so stout. Length up to 26 inches, but averaging le.ss. 
Culnien J. 83 ( 72 ). 

Recognition Marks. — .\s in preceding — distinguishable only by range. 

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

General Range. — Western United States chiefly west of the Rocky Moun- 
tains : in its northerlv 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 jilains and in the ISlue Mountain 
region. Resident. 

Authorities. — Corz'iis canitTonis Dart., Cooper and Suckley, Re]). Pac. 
R. R. Surv. XII. i)t. IT. iSOo, p. 210. Bendire, Life Hist. .\. .\. I'.irds, \'ol. 11. 
p. 396 f. 

IT is no mere association of i<leas which has made the Raxeii the bird of 
ill omen. Black is his wing, and black is his heart, as well. While it may 
be allowed that he works no direct damage upon the human race, we cannot 
but share in sympathy the burden of the bird-world which regards him as the 
hc'tc iioir. diabolical in cunning, patient as fate, and relentless in the hour of 
opportunity 

.As I sit on an early May morning by the water's t(\g(^ on a lonely island 
in the Columbia River, all nature seems harmonious and glad. The Meadow- 
larks are i)ricking the atmosphere with goads of gtxxl cheer in the sage 
behind ; the Dove is pledging his heart's affection in the cottonwood hard by : 
the ri\-er is singing on the rapids; and my bean is won to follow on that 
buoyant tide — when suddenly .a mother CTOose cries out in terror and 1 Icaji 
to my feet to learn the cau.se. I have nut long f. 1 wait. Like a death knell 
comes the guttural croak of the Raven, lie has spied upnn her, learned her 
secret, swept in when her jjrecious eggs were iuico\ered; and he bears one off 
in triinnph, — a feast for his carrion broird. Whcp one has seen this sort of 
thing ;i dozen times, and heard the wail of the wild things, the croak of the 
Raven comes to be fraught w ith menace, the veritable voice of doom. 

To be sure, the Raven is not really worse than his kin. but he is dis- 
tinguislied by a bass voice; and does not the villain in the play always sing 
bass? Somehow, one never believes the ill he hears of the soultui tenor, even 
tho lie sees him do it ; but beware of the bird or m;m who croaks at low C. 



C, Till". MI-.\K'.\.\ K.W liNT 

Of all sliulciits i»l l)ir(l-lite in tlie West. Cajniin Hfiidirc lias enjoyed tlic 
best <>|)i>c)rtiniities for the study of the Raven; and his sitnation at Camp Har- 
ney in eastern Oregon was very similar to snch as may lie found in the south- 
eastern part (jf our own State. Of this species, as observed at that ix>int.he says : 

"They are stately and rather sedate-looking birds, remain mateil thru 
life, and are seemingly very much attaclied to each other, but apparently more 
unsucial to others of their kind. On the ground ilieir movements are delib- 




Takrn near H'allula. 



iiii; K.wKNs iii;r. 



riiol.i b\ III.- .lulho 



erate and dignified : their walk is graceful and seldom varicil by hurried hops 
or jumps. They apinear to still better advantage on the wing, especially in 
winter and early spring, when jwirs may \>e frer|ucntly seen playing with each 
other. |)erforming 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 exul)erant s])irits by a series of low chuck- 
ling and gurgling notes, evidently indififerent efforts at singing. 

"Their ordinary call is a l<nid Craack-crmick. \arie<l sometimes by a deep 



THE MEXICAN RAVEN. 



grunting koerr-kocrr. and again liy a clucking, a sort of self-satisfied sound, 
difficult to reproduce on paper: in fact tliey utter a variety of notes when at 
ease and undisturl>ed. among others a nietaUic sounding klitiik, which seems 
to cost them considerable efft)rt. In phices wiiere tliey 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, twentv feet from the gmund, on an island 




M:>iING H.-VU-N'T OF THK MEXICAN RAVEN. 



in Sylvies Ri\er. Oregon, and easily reached; it contained li\c fresh eggs on 
April 13, 1875. The other nests were placed on cliffs, and, with few excep- 
tions, in positions where they were comparatively secure. I'sualK- the nest 
could not be seen from above, and it generally took .several assistants and 
strong ropes to get near them, and c\en then it was frequently impossible to 
reach the eggs without the aid of a long iK>le with a dipper^attached to the end. 
A favorite site was a cliff with a southern exposure, where the nest was com- 
pletely covered from al)ove by a projecting rock." 

Having once chosen a nesting site, the Ravejis evince 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 yoimg onlv at night. 

We have no records of the taking of Raven's eggs in Washington, but it 



8 TIIK WKSTKRN CKO\V%^ 

docs uiif|iic.sti(>iial)Iy breed here. A nest was rqx)rte(l to us on a cliff in tlie 
Crab Creek Coulee. While we were unable to visit it in season, we did conie 
upon a family gjoup si>nie weeks later, comprising tlie two adults and five 
grown young. This is i)ossibly the northernmost breeding station <>f the 
Mexican Raven yet rqxirted. 



No. .?. 
WESTERN CROW. 

.\. L). U. .\'o. 4S8I). Corsiis br;uh> rh\ mhos hcspcris ( Ridgw.). 

Synonyms. — (.'.m.ii-ou.m.x Ckhw. L'ummo.n Ckow. .\.mi;i<ica.\ Ckow. 

Description. — Ijitirc plumage glossy black, for the most part with greenish 
blue, sted-bluc. and purplish reflections; feathers of the neck n<jrmal, rounded. 
Bill and feci black; iris brown. Length 10.00-20.00; wing 12.00 (302); tail 
6.70 ( 170 ) ; bill 1.83 ( 4(1.5 ) : depth at nostril .65 ( 1O.5 ). Female averages smaller 
than male. 

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

Nesting. — Xcst: a neat liemis])here of sticks and twij^s carefully lined with 
bark, roots and trash, and placed 10-60 feet high in trees, — willow, aspen, pine, 
or br. /;</(/.?. 4-6, usually 5. same coloring as Raven's. Occasionally line -.lark- 
ings prf>duce a uniform olive-green, or even olive-brown effect. .\v. size 1.66 
.\ i.U ( 42.J \ 2<>.5). ^'i-aso)i: .April 15-May 15: one brood. 

General Range. — Western United States from Rocky Mts. to Pacific Coast, 
save shores of northwestern Washington, north in the interior of British 
Columbir.. south to .\rizona. 

Range in Washington. — Of general distribution alf>ng streams and in settled 
portions of State, save along shores of I'uget Sound, the Stiaits, and the Pacific 
north of (rr.iy's Harl)or. Xot fomid in the mountains nor the deeper forests, 
and oidy locally on the sage-brush plains. 

Migrations. — Resiclcnt but gregarious and localized in winter. The winter 
"roosts" break up late in Febrtiary. 

Authorities. — Corx'iis aiiicricoiius .\ud.. Baird, Re|>. Pric. R. R. Siir\-. TX. 
i8s8. «,6f, (part). Brewster, B. N. O. C. \"1I. 227. T. C&S. D'. Kb. Ri. D-'. 
Ss'. Ss--. Kk. T. B. K. 

Specimens. — P.X( ?). 

\\ IIILIC the Raven holds a secure ])lace in mythology and literature, it 
is the Crow, rather, which is the object of common notice. No landscajx? is to<i 
poor to boa.st this jetty adornment : and no morning chorus is com])lete without 
the distant sul>-dominant of his [powerful voice, harsh and protesting tho it l»e. 

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



TIIF. WESTERN CROW. 



Ixiastings are resptmsiljle iti lars^c measure tnr the unsa\-(jr_\' reputatimi in wliicli 

he is held. It is a faniiHar adage in ebony circles that the pmper stud\- of 

Crow-kind is man. ,^ ^ 

and so well has he 

pnrsncd this stuilv 

that he may fairly 

he said to Imld his 

own in spite of tierce ^ 

and ingenious perse- / 

cut ion. He rejoices I 

in the name of 



-. >*lij^^- ..<v••».^^-: 



Tnlfti I'li Oregon. Pholo by Bohlman and Fin'icy 

WKSTERX CROW AT NEST. 




laitlaw. and ages of ill-treatment have only served to shaqien his wits and. 
intensify his cunning. 

That the warfare waged against him is largely unnecessary, and partly 
unjust, has l)een pretty clearly ])ro\en of late by scientists who ha\-e investi- 
gated the Crow's food hahits. It is true that he destroys large numbers of 
eggs and nestlings, and. if allowed to, that he will occa^onally 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 fnit thru the winter constitutes a staple article of Crow diet. I'ut 
it is estimated that birds and eggs form only about one-half of one ])er cent 
of their ti tal fliet : and in the case of grain, certainly they perform conspicuous 
services in r.aising the cr<)]). P>esides the articles of food mentioned, great 



rill-: WESTERN CRO\\'% 



(liiaiuitifs i>l crickets, iK-etles, grasshop|>ers, caterpillars, cut-worms, ami spid- 
ers, are coiisiiiiied. Frogs, lizards, mice, and snakes also apiKsir occasionally 
upon the hill of tare. On the whole, therefore, the Crow is nut an economic 
Gorgon, and his destruction nee<l not largely concern the farmer, altlio it is 
always well to teach the bird a i)roi)er reverence. 

The psychology uf the Crow is worthy of a jq)arate treatise. All birds 
have a certain faculty of direct i)ercq>tion. whicli we are pleased to call in- 
stinct; but the Crow, at least, comes tielightfully near to reasoning. It is on 
account of his phenomenal brightness that a young Crow is among the most 
interesting of i)ets. If taken from the nest and well treated, a young Crow can 
In.- given such a large measure of freedom as fully to justify the cx])erinjent 
from a humanitarian standix>int. Of course the sure end of such a ]K't is death 
by an ignorant neighlnir's giui. but the dear departed is emiKilmcd in memory 
to such a degree that all Crows are thereafter regarded as upon a higher ])lane. 

Everyone knows that Crows talk. Their cry is usually rei)re.scnted by 
a single svllable, am', but it is capable of many a-id imiiortant mixlilications. 
lAir instance, kmnt.'. kt-niw. comes from some irritate<l and apprehensive 
female, who is trying to .smuggle a stick into the grove: kuwh-hduk-kawk 
proclaims sudden danger, ami puts the llock int^j instant c(Hnmotion; while 
ii/ti -(i7i', cau-itw. t(;ti.'-(j'i'. re- 



again. Once, in winter 
bird-man, for sport, was 
tifyiiig the local l)ird 
p<r])ulation by re- 
producing the 
notes of the 
Screech Owl, a 
c o m p a n y of 
Crows settled 
in the tops 
f>f neighboring 
trees, and earn- 
estly discussed 
the probable 
nature of the 
object half- 
concealed under 
a camera cloth. 
Finally. the>- 
gave it up and 
withdrew — as 
I supposed. It 



•"^-^^W^i^iar:. 



issurcs them 

when the 

mvs- 



Takrn 
Btnio 







\.<i • 



NEST AND EOGS OF WF.STEBN CROW, 



THE WESTERN C"R()\V. ii 

seems that one old fcllnw was not satisfied, tor as 1 \enture(l to sliift 
ever so little from my strained position, he set up a derisi\e Ca-a-a-aiu 
from a branch over my head, — as who- should sa\-, "Aw, ye can't fool me. 
Y're just a ma-a-an," and flapped away in disgust. 

Crows attempt certain musical notes as well : and. unless 1 niislake, the 
western bird has attained much greater proficiency in these. These notes are 
deeply guttural, and evidently entail considerable effort on the bird's part. 
Hunger-o-opc. Iniiigcr-o-opc. one says: and it occurs to me that this is allied 
to the delary. dclary. or springboard cry, of the Blue Jay (Cyauocitta cris- 
tata), — plunging notes tliey have 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 institutions which they maintain: of the vigilantes 
who visit vengeance upon evil-minded owls and other offenders : or even of the 
games which they play, — tag, hide and seek, blind-man's-buff and i)ul!-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 affair, as our illustration shows. 
Upon a basis of coarse sticks, a mat of dried leaves, grasses, bark-strips, and 
dirt, or nuul, 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 suljstance available. When cumpleted the 
nesting hollow is seven or eight inches across and three or Unw deep. The 
expression "Crow's nest," as used to indicate disarray, really arises from the 
consideration of old nests. Since the birds resort to the same locality year 
after year, but ne\'er use an old nest, the neighboring structures of successi\-e 
years come to represent e\erv stage of dilapidation. 

West of tlie mountains nests are almost invariably placed well up in hr 
trees, hard against the trunk, and so escape the cdmnmn observation. L'pon 
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 fmni ten to 
twenty feet up. Escape by mere elevation being practically impossible, the 
Crows resort more or less to out-of-the-way places, — s])ring draws, river 
islands, and swampy thickets. 

Notwithstanding the fact that the spring season open^ mucii earlier tiian 
in the East, the Crows, true to the traditions of a northern latitude, commonly 
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 voting, commonlv five but sometimes six in number, are born 
naked and blind. 

It is when the Crow children are hatched tliat Xature Ijcgins to groan. It 
is then that birds' eggs are quoted by the crate: and beetles by the hecatomb 



12 TlIK NORTHWEST CRONl. 

arc sacrilkcd daily in a \aiii effort Id satisfy the ("iarf,Miitiiaii apiK'tites of tlicsc 
yoiiiifj elxiiis. 1 once liad tlie misft>rtunc to pitch caiDp in a prove (if willows 
which contaiiK'iI a nestful <>f Crows. The old birds never forpave me. hut 
upbraided me in bitter lanj^iiajjc from early morn till dewy eve. The youngsters 
also sutTered somewhat, I fear, for as often as a parent bird a])i)roache<l, 
cawiufj in a curiously nuitlled voice, choked with fiMxI, and detected me outside 
the tent, it swallowed its burden withoiU compunction, in order that it might 
the more forcibly berate me. 

It the male ha]>])ened to di.scover my oiU-of-doorncss in the absence of his 
mate, he wouKl rush at her when she hi>ve in sight, in an officious, blustering 
way, and shout, "I,i«>k out there! Kce]) away! The Rhino is on the rampage 
again!" 

1 learned, also, ti) recognize the a])i>earaucc of hawks in the <rt'ting. .\t the 
first sign the Crow, i)resumably the male. l>cgins to roll out objurgatory giutur- 
als as he hurries forward to meet the intruder. His lUterances. freely trans- 
lated, run somewhat as follows: "That blank, blank Swain.son Hawk! 1 
thought I told him to keq) away from here, .\rrah. there, you slal)-sidcd si>n 
iif an owl! What are ye doing here? Git out o' this! ( iiiff! IJiff!) Git. 
I tell ye! ( Biff!) If ever I set eyes on ye again. I'll feed ye to the coyotes. 
Git. now ! " .\nd ail this without the slightest probability that the ]y»>r hawk 
would molest the hideous young pickaninnies if he did discover them. For 
when was a self-rcs|)ecting hawk so lost to decency as to l>e willing to "eat 
crow" ? 



No. 4. 

NORTHWEST CROW. 

A. ( '. V. \o. 48(). Corvus brachyrhynchos caurinus (Baird). 

Synonyms. — I'isn Ckow. W'kstkk.n 1"isii Ckow. Xcuu'uwkst Fish Crow. 
F'LGKT Sot .Ml Ckow. Tipkwatku Ckow. 

Description. — Similar to C. h. Iii-sf<i-ris, but decidedly snialkr, with shorter 
tarsus and relatively smaller feet. Length 15.oo-17.oa: wing ii.rxj ^28ki); tail 
6.00 ( 158) ; bill 1.80 (4('i) ; tarsus 1.95 (50). 

Recognition Marks. — .\n undersized Crow. \'oice hoarse and flat as com- 
|)arcd with that of the Western Crow. Haunts beaches and sea-girt rocks. 

Nesting. — Xist: a comiiact mass nf twigs and bark-stri|)s with occasionally a 
foundation of mud: lined carefully with fine bark-strips and hair: 4.(X) deep and 
7.00 across inside; [tlaced 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 ty])ical set averages 1.56 .x 1.08 
(39.6 -x 27.4 1. Season: .\pril 15-June 1 ; one brood. 

General Range. — .American coasts of the North Pacitic Ocean and its 
estuaries from (Jlympia and the mouth of the Columbia River north at least to 
the .Alaskan ])eninsula. 

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

Authorities. — [Lewis and Clark, Hist. E.x. (1814), ed. Diddle: Coues, Vol. 
n. ]). iSv] Con'iis caurinus Baird. Baird, Rep. Pae. R. R. Snrv. IX. Tunc 20, 
1858, 569, 5;o. 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 nf the 
northwestern sea-coasts is merely a dwarfed race of the Con'iis bracli\yIi\nchos 
group; and that it shades perfectly into the prevailing western type, C. b. hcs- 
peris, wherever that species occvipies 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 t<i the 
unmitigated forest depths, save where, as in the case of the Fish Crow, lie may 
find relief upon the broad expanses of shore and tide-flats. The case is cjuite 
analogous to that of native man. The larger, more robust types were found in 
the eastern interior, while those tribes which were confined exclusivelv to 
residence upon the sea-shore tended toi become dwarfed and stunted ; and the 
region of intergradation lay not chiefly along the western slc>i)es of the 
Cascades with their crushing weight nf tall timber, Init in the ])rairie regions 
bordering Puget Sound upon the south. 

It is impossible, therefore, to pronounce with certaintv upon the sub- 
specific identity of Crows seen near shore in Alason, 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 onlv 
are tiiese Crows much smaller in point of size, but the voice is weaker, flatter, 
and more hoarse, as tho afifected by an ever-present fog. So marked is this 
vocal change, that one may note the difference Ijetween birds seen along shore 
in Pierce County and those which frequent the uplands. However, — and this 
caution must be noted — the upland birds do visit the shore on occasion ; and 
the regular shore dwellers are by no means cunfincd thereto, as are the more 
typical birds found further north. 

The early observers were feeling for these differences, and if Nature did 
not afford sufficient ground for easy discrimination, imagination could supplv 
the details. The following paragraph from the nnich quoted work-"" of John 
Keast Lord is interesting l^ecause deliciously inUrue. 

a. "The NatumliM in Vancouver Island and British Colnnihia," by Inhn Kcast Lord. Two Vols 
London. Published by Richard Bcntlcy, 1866. Vol. IT., p. -o. 



14 



TIIK NoRTIIWliS'l" rk< )W. 



"Tin.' sea-coast is alKindonfd when the l)ree(linjj time arrives early in 
May, when they resi»rt in pairs to tlie interior ; selcctinj^ a i)atcli of o|)en prairie, 
wliere tlicre are streams and lakes and where the wild crab ap|)le and wliite- 
thorn },'rows. in whicli they Iniild nests precisely like that of the Mappie, arched 
over the toj) w ith sticks. The bird enters by a h<»le on one side but leaves by 
an exit hole in the opjiosite. The inside is plastered with nuid : a few grass 
stalks strewn l(K.scly on the lx>ttom keej) the eggs from rolling. This is so 
Miarke<l a difference to the Harking Crow's nesting ["Harking Crow" is J. K. 
I..S solecism for the Western Crow. C. b. /it'.s'/>«'m ] , as in itself to Ije a sjwcitic 
distinction. The eggs are lighter in blotching and much smaller. I e.xaminetl 
great niiml)ers [ ! !] of nests at this ])rairie and on the Columbia, but invariably 
found tliat the same habit of doming prevailed, .\ftcr nesting, they return 

with the _\<>ung to 
the sea-coasts, and 
remain in large 
flocks often associ- 
ated with Harking 
Crows until nesting 
time comes again." 
— Xo single point of 
which has l)een con- 
firmed by succeed- 
ing observers. 

Dr. Coo]>er wrote* 
with exact truthful- 
ness: "This fish- 
crow frcfpients the 
coast and inlets of 
this Territory in 
large numl)ers. and 
Otherwise it 




Tatcn at Vr.i'i P.j 



rUK I'M.WloM CUw,, 

is nuich mure gregarious and familiar than the common Crow 
much resembles that bird in habits, being very sagaci<^us, feeding on almost 
everything animal and vegetable, and having nearly the same cries, differing 
rather in tone than character. Its chief dei)endence for foo<l l)eing on the sea, 
it is generally found along the l)each, devouring dead fish and other thing-; 
brought up by the waves. It is also very fond of oysters, which it breaks bv 
carrying them ui)war(l and dropping again i>n a mck or other hard material. 
When the tide is full they resort to the fields or dwellings near the shore and 
devour |)otatoes and other vegetables, offal, etc. They, like the gulls, |>erceive 
the instant of change r>f the tide, and flocks will then start off together for a 
favorite feeding ground. They are very troublesome to the Indians, stealing 



*. Rep. I'ac. R K. Survey. Vol. XII. Ilk II. ISrnatr 



THE NORTHWEST CROW. 



15 



tlieir dried lisii and other things, while from superstitious feeling's the 
Indians never kill tiiem 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." 

Air. J. F. Edwards, a pioneer of "67. tells nie that in the earlv days a 
small drove of pigs was an essential feature of every well-equipped saw-mill 
on Puget Sound. Tlie pigs were given the freedom of the premises, slept 
in the saw dust, and dined behind the mess-hotise. Between meals they 
wandered d(v\\n 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 extaided a balancing wing and held on. The 
instant the industrious rooter turned up a clam, the Crow darted down, 
seized it in his beak and made oiT; resigning his station to some sable 
brother, and leaving the ]>orker to reflect discontentedly upon the rapacitv 
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. \'. I. 

The Fish Crows have learned from the gulls the delights of sailing 
tJie main on driftwood. I have seen numbers of them going nut with the 
tide a mile or more from shore, and once a Crow kept compan\- with three 
gulls on a float so small that the gulls had continually to strive for position: 
but the Crow stood undisturbed. 




BIRDS .\Nn I)0.\TS .AT nh.ah n.\v. 



Plwlo by tlic Author. 



i(. Till-: NORTllWKSr Ck(l%. 

Spcakiiif,' of tlieir .Kiuatic tendencies, Mr. A. 15. keaj^'an. i>f I.,;i I'ush, 
assures nic that lie lias rejR'atedly seen tlieiu catch smelt in tlie ocean near 
shore. Tiiese fish heconie involved in the breakers and may l>e snatched from 
alK>ve l>y the dextrous hird without any severe wcftinp. 

Crows are still the most familiar feature of Indian villafje life. The 
Indian, |Krrliaps. no lonj:;er cherishes any sujierstition regfardinjj him, hut 
he is reluctant to k-inish such a familiar evil. The (Juillayutes call the hird 
Kiih-iili-yo : and it is safe to say that fifty pairs of the.se Fish Crows nest 
within half a mile of the villajje of La Push. They nest, indifferently, in 
the saplinjjs of the coastal thickets, or ajjainst the trunks of the larper spruces, 
and take little pains to escajK' ohservation. The birds are, however, l)ecom- 
ing quite shy of a gun. Seeinfj a half dozen of them seated in the tip of a tall 
spruce in the o])en woods, I raised m '' '-•- ■-.'■,-■. ■ ' n 




all tlew with frantic cries. Indeed it reipiired considerable manniueriufj 
and ail ambuscade to secure the sinjjle s|)ecimen needed. 

At Xcah Hay the hish Crows patrol the beach incessantly and allow 
very little of the halibut fishers" largess to lloat off on the tide. And the 
Okc-tlc)of>c. as the Makalis call the birds, have little fear of the Indians, 
altlio they are very suspicious of a strange white man. 1 once saw a pretty 
si.glit on this beach: a three year old Indian girl chasinjj the Crows alxnit 
in childish glee. The birds enjoyed the fn lit.- as much ;is she, an<l fell in 



THE NORTHWEST CROW. 17 



bchintl lier as fast as she shooed tliem away in front — came witliin two or 
three feet of her, too, and made ))la\ fiil dashes at lier chuhl)y legs. But 
might 1 l)e permitted to photograph the scene at. say, fifty yards? Mit 
nichten! .\rragli! To your tents, O Israel! 

In so far as tiiis Crow consents to perform the office of scavenger, lie 
is a useful meml)er of society. Nor is his consumption of shell-fish a serious 
matter. Rut when we come to consider the quality and extent of his 
depredations upon colonies of nesting sea-hirds, we find that he merits 
unciualilieil condenuiation. For instance, two of us bird-men once visited 
the west nesting of I'aird Cormorants on Flatto]), to ojjtain |)hotographs. 
.•\s we retired down the cliff. I picked up a Ijroken sliell of a Coriuoraiit's 
egg, from which the wliite. or plasma, was still dripping. .\s we i)ulled 
away from the tVxjt of the cliff' a Crow flashed into view, lighted on the 
edge of a Shag's nest, seized an egg, and bore it oft' raijidly into the woods 
aI)ove. where the clamor of e.Kpectant young soon told of the disjiosition 
that was being made of it. Immediately the marauder was back again. 
seized the other egg, and was ofif as before. .MI this, mind you, in a trice. 
before we were sufticiently out of range for tiie Cormorants to reach their 
nests again, altho tliey were hastening toward them. Back came the Crow, 
but the first nest was exhausted ; the second had nothing in it ; the Shags 
were on the remainder; moments were ])recious — he made a dive at a 
Gull's nest, but the Gulls made a di\e at liim: and they tofi hastened to 
their eggs. 

Subseipient in\estigation discoxered rifled egg-shells all o\-er the island, 
and it was an easy matter to ]>ick up a hatful for e\'idence. As he is at Flattop, 
so lie is exerywhcre, an indefatigable roblaer 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 liaird Cormorant is. doubtless, the heaviest loser: and she 
appears to have no means of redress after the mischief is done, save to lay 
more eggs, — more eggs to feed more Crows, to steal more eggs, etc. 



THE CLARK NUTCU ACKtK. 



No. 5. 

CLARK'S NUTCRACKER. 

.\. O. U. \o. 491. NucifraKa columbiana (\\'il>. ). 

Synonyms. — C'i.akks Cwiw. I'i.nk Ckow. (ir.w Ck(j\v. 'CxMr RomtKR. ' 
(Thru confusion witli llie Gray Jay, Pcrisorcus sp.). 

Description. — Adults: (k'ncral ])liiniage smoky gray, lightening on Ijcatl, 
hccomin),' sordid wliite on forehead, lores, eyelids, malar region and chin: wings 
glossy black, the secondaries broadly tipi)e<l with white: under tail-coverts and 
four <putermo>t i)airs of rectrices while, the lifth jiair with outer web cinetly 
white anil the inner web chiefly black, the remaining (central) pair nf rectrices 
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 
an(l browner, or irregularly whitening in worn |>lumage. Youuy like adults, but 
browner. Length ii.txvi^.oo: wing 7.00-8.00 (IO-): tail 4.50 (I15); bill 1.60 
(40.7) ; tardus 1.45 (36.8). Kemale smaller than male. 

Recognition Marks. — Kingfisher size: gray plumage with abrui>tly con- 
trasting black-and-white of wings and tail; harsh "cliar-r" note. 

Nesting;. — Xcst: basally a |)latform of twigs on which 's massed fine strips 
of bark with a lining nf bark and grasses. ])laced well out on horizontal limb of 
evergreen tree, 10-50 feet up. I'.(jffs: 2-5. usually 3. jiale green sparingly flecked 
and si)otted with lavender and brown chiefly about larger end. .\v. size. L.^ox 
.91 (_^_^x_\v'- Season: March jo-.\pril 10: one brood. 

General Range. — Western North .\nierica in coniferous tiiuber. fmm 
Arizona 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-cla<l levels 
of eastern Washington at the close of the nesting season. 

Authorities. — Conns coliiinhioniis, Wilson, .\m. C)rn. iii. 181 1. 2<^ T. 

c&s. D'. n--. J. K. 

Specimens. — i l'. of W). I'rov. !•*. C 

\( ) liird-lover can forget his first cncomiter with this singular <)!d-Bird- 
nf-the-Mountains. Ten to one tlic bird brought the man up standing by a 
stentorian cluv'r'r. chur'r'y. clhir'r'r. wliicli lerl him to search wildly in his 
memorv whether Rocs are credited with voices. If the bird was particularly 
concerned at the man's intrusion, he presently revealed him.self sitting rather 
stolidlv on a high pine branch, repeating tliat harsh and deafening cry. The 
grating voice is decidedly imi)leasant at close (|uartcrs. and it is quite out <if 
keei)in.g with the unquestioned sobriety of its grizzled owner. .\ company 
of Xiilcrackcrs in the distance finds frequent occa.sion for outcry, and the 
din is onlv liearable as it is softened and nuKlifieil by the re-echoing walls 
of some pine-cl.ul gulch, or else dissipated by the winds which sweep over 
the listening glaciers. 



THE CLARK NUTCRACKER. 



19 



Clark's Xutcrackcr is llie presiding genius uf the East-side slopes and 
light-forested foothills, as well as nf the rugged fastnesses nf the central 
Cordilleras. His presence, during fall and winter, at the lower altitudes 
depends in large measure upnn the pine-cone crop, since pine seeds are his 
stagle. tho hv no means his exclusive diet. This black and white and gray 




CT..\RK'S NUTCRACKER. 



"Crow" curiously comhines the characteristics of Woodpecker and Jay as 
well. Like the Lewis \\'oodpecker, he sometimes hawks at passing insects, 
ea's berries from Inishes, or alights on the ground to glean grubs, grass- 
hoppers, and black crickets. Tn the mountains it shares with the Jays of the 
Perisorcus group the names "meat-bird" and "cami>robl;)er." for nothing 
that is edible comes amiss to this bird, anrl instances are on record of its 
having invadcfl \vA nnlv the open-air kitchen, but the tent, as well, in search 
cf "supplies." 

Of its favorite ffX)d, John Keast Lord says : "Clark's 'Crows' have, 
like the Crf)ss-bills, to get out the seeds from underneath the scaly coverings 
constituting the outw;ird side of the fir-cone: nature has not given them 



20 THE CLARK NUTC kACWiU. 

crossed iiiaiulihles t<> lever ■•ik.mi the scales, hut instead, feet and claws, 
tiiat serve the [nirixise of hands, aiul a ]x»\verfnl i)ill like a small crowbar. 
To use the crowlKir ti> advantage the cone needs steatlying, or it would 
snaj) at the stem and fall; to accomplish this one foot clasjw it. and the 
|x>werful claws hold it lirnily, whilst the other ftM>t encircling the branch, 
suppirts the bird, either back downward, head downward, on its side, or 
upright like a wiKxli)ecker, the long clasping claws l)eing efpial to any 
emergency; the cone thus fixed and a firm hold maintained nn the branch, 
the seeds are gouged out from under the scales." 

These Nutcrackers are among the earliest and most hardy ncsters. 
Thev are i>ractically inde|)endent of climate, but are foun<l during the 
nesting months — March, or even late in February, and early April — only 
where there is a hx'al 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 ocilogist's suspicions. 

The nest is a very substantial affair of twigs and bark-strips, heavily 
lined, as befits a cold season, and placed at any height in a pine or tir tree, 
without noticeable attempt at concealment. The birds take turns incubating 
and — again l)ecause of the cold scascm — are very close sitters. Three eggs 
are usuallv laid, of alxuit the size and sha|>e of Magi)ies' eggs, but nuich 
more lightlv colored. Incubation. Rendire thinks. lasts sixteen or seventeen 
days, and the voung arc fcil solely nn hulled pine seeds. ;it the first, pre- 
sumably, regurgitated. 

If the Corvine aftinilies i>f this bird were nowhere else betrayed, they 
might be known from the hunger cries of the young. The imjjortunate ailh. 
ai'ili. inlli of the exi)ectant l>autling. and the subserpient j^iilh'i. guUu. 
gullu of median deglutition (and Ixmndless satisfaction) will always serve 
to bind the Crow, Magpie, and Nutcracker together in rme coni|)act group. 
When the youngsters are "ready for college," the reserve of early spring 
is set aside and the hillsides are made to resound with much practice of 
that uncannv yell before mentioned. Family groups arc gradually obliterated 
and. along in June, the birds of the f«x)thills Itegin to retire irregularly 
to the higher ranges, either to rest up after the exhausting lalx»rs of 
the season, or to revel in midsummer gaiety with scores and hundreds of 
their fellows. 



THE PINON JAY. 



No. 6. 

PINON JAY. 

A. ( ». U. Xo. 492. Cyanocephalus cyanocephalus (^iNIaxini. ). 

Synonyms. — HiA i- Criav. Maximilian's Jay. Pine Jav. 

Description. — .-Uliilts: J'lumage dull grayish blue, cleepeniug on cmwn and 
nape, brightening on cheeks, paling below posteriorly, streaked and grayish white 
on chin, throat and chest centrally ; bill and feet black ; iris brown. Voting 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. — Nut supposed to nest in State. 

General Range. — Pinon 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, "(luitc numerous."' Presumably casual at close of 
nesting season. 

Authorities. — ["Maximilian's Nutcracker." Johnson, Rep. C.ov. \V. T. 1884 
(T885), 22.] Cyanocephalus cyanocephalus (Wied), Bendire, Life Hist. .\'. A. 
Birds.A'ol. IL p. 425 ( 1S95).' 

Specimens. — C. 

C.\PTAIX BE.XDIKK who is sole authority tor the occurrence of 
this bird in \\'ashington may best he allowed to speak here from his wide 
experience : 

"The Pinon Jav. locally known as ".Nutcracker." 'Maximilian'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 visitor, migrating regularly. It 
is most abundantly found throughout the pinon and cedar-covered foothills 
abounding between the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains and the 
eastern bases of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges in California, Nevada, 
and Oregon. 

"It is an eminenth- sociable species at all times, e\en during the i)reeding 
season, ;ind is usually seen in large compact llocks, moving about from 
place to place in search of feeding groimds, Iieing on the whole rather restless 
and erratic in its movements; you may meet with thous.uids 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 



rilK I'INOX JAY. ' 

tlie lnj,Mier cniiiiVious furcsts; its favorite liaiiiits are the pifiiMi-cuvcrcd 
fuutliills of the mini>r nioiintain reg^ioiis, tlic sweet and very palatable seeils 
of these trees fiirnishinp its favorite fixxl during a considerable |>ortion of 
tile year. In summer they feed larjjely on insects of all kinds. es|)ecially 
grasshop|)ers, and are quite e.\|)ert in catching these on the wing: ce<lar 
and juniper berries, small seeds of various kinds, and different s|)ecies of 
wild l»errics also enter largely into their bill of fare. .\ great deal of time 
is si)ent on the ground where they move along in compact Ixnlies while 
feeiling, much in the manner of Blackbirds, the rearmost birds rising from 
time to time. Hying over the flock and alighting again in front of the main 
bodv; thev are rather shy and alert while engaged in feeding. I followed 
a flock numl)ering several thousands which was feeding in the o|)en pine 
forest bordering the Klamath \alley, Oregon, for more than half a mile, 
trving to get a shot at some of them, but in this I was unsuccessful. They 
would not allow me to get within range. an<l liually they l)ecamc alarmed, 
took wing, and flew out of sight down the valley. On the ne.xt <lay. 
Scptcmlicr i8. i88j. I saw a still larger flock, which revealed its presence 
bv the noise made: these I headed off. and awaited their apjiroach in a 
dense clump of small ]>ines in which I liad hiiiden: 1 had not l<ing to wait 
and easily secured several sjjecimens. On .April 4. 1883. I saw another 
large flock feeding in the open woods, evidently on their return tc» their 
breeding grounds farther north, and by again getting in front of them I 
secured .several fine males. The.se birds are said to breed in large numl)ers 
in the juniix^r groves near the eastern slojjcs of the Cascade Mountains, on 
the head waters of the Des Chutes River. Oregf)n. I have also seen them 
in the Yakima Valley, near old Fort Simcoe. in central Wa.shington. in 
June. 1881. in an oak opening, where they were (piite numerous. Their 
center of abundance, however, is in the pinon or nut-pine belt, which does 
not extend north of latitude 40°. if so far. and wherever these trees are 
found in large numl)crs the Pifion Jay can likewi-;e be looked for with 
confidence. 

"Their call notes are quite variable: some of them are almost as harsh 
as the 'chaar' of the Clarke's Nutcracker, others partake nnich of the gabble 
of the Magpie, and still others resemble more tho.se of the Jays. .A shrill, 
querulous 'f>i'rli. /t.'/j," or 'whcc. wlicc' is their common call note. While 
feeding on the ground they kept up a constant chattering, which can l>e 
heard for quite a distance, and in this way often betray their whereabouts." 



THE AMERICAN MAGPIE. 23 



No. 7- 

AMERICAN MAGPIE. 

A. O. U. No. 475. Pica pica hudsonia (Sal)ine). 

Synonym. — Black-billed Magi'ii;. 

Description. — Adults: Lustrous black with violet, purplish, green, and 
bronzy iridescence, brightest on wings and tail ; an elongated scapular patch pure 
wiiitc; 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-lifths ; bill and 
feet black; iris black. )'oung 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 ( .\v. 265): wing 7.85 (200); bill 
1-35 (35-); tarsus 1.85 (47). 

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

Nesting. — Xest: normally a large sphere of interlaced sticks, "as big as a 
bushel basket," 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- 
mounted 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. — \\'estern 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 mtttalli. 

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 
sparingly thru mountain passes to West-side at close of breeding season. 

. Authorities. — [Lewis and Clark, Hist. Ex. (1814) Ed. Riddle: Cones. Vol. 
II. p. 185.] Pica budsonica Bonap.. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IN. pt. IT. 
(1858), 578. T. C&S. Rh. D'. Ra. D-\ Ss'. Ss-\ J. B. K. 

Specimens.— ( r. of W.) P. Prov. B. E. BN. 

III-"-RK is another of those rascals in featliers who keep one alternately 
grumbling and admiring. As an abstract pro]x>sition one would 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-bald steed 
ill the race for avian honors. Tt is inii)ossible to exaggerate this curious 
contradiction in Magpie nature, and in our resulting attitude towards it. 
Tt is much the same with the mischievnus small Ixiy. He has sur])assed the 



THE AMERICAN .MA(.l'!fe 



Ix'Unils uf Icfjitimatc iianglitiiicss, ami wc take liim on tlie i>arfntal knee 
fur well-ilescrvcd correction. lUit tlie sancy cnl])rit manages to steal a rognish 
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 occasion. 

The Magi)ie is indis])Utably a wretch, a miscreant, :•. cunning thief, a 
heartless marauder, a brigand lM)ld — Oh, call him what ymi will! But, 
withal, he is such a pictures(|ue villain, that as often as you are stirred with 
righteous indignation and imi)elled tt» punitive slaughter, you fall to womler- 
ing if your commission as avenger is properly countersigned, and — shirk the 
task outright. 

The cattle men have it in for him. l>ecause 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 l)ecause of malignant sores resulting. 
This is. of course, a grave misdemeanor; but when the use of fences shall ha\e 
fully displaced the present cust<im of bran<ling. we shall ])robab!y hear no 
more <»f it. 

Beyond this it is indisputably true that Magpies are professional nest 
robbers. At time< they organize systematic searching iKirties. and advance 




NKST OF M.VGPIK IN C.RK.XSKW OOD 




^^IW'An.oV^ 



AM UK I CAN MAC. PIE. 



26 



THE AMKRICAN MAGI%v 



tliru tlic 
lessncss 
;il»|)n>|>ri 
its iicst. 



s;inc-l)riisli. |)«)king, prying. si>yin},'. and dcvourin},'. witli tlie riilli- 
:ind precision of a iHfstilencc. Xnt only eggs Init young birds are 
:ited. I once saw a Magpie seize a half-grown Meadowlark from 
i^<'irry ii ' .md parcel it out among its clamoring 

brood. Then, in sjiite of the best 

defense the agonized ])arents could 

institute, il calm- 

\- returned and 

elected another. 

Sticks and 

stones 

shierl by 

the bird- 




man merely deferre<l the d(H)m f)f the remaining larks. The Magjiie was 
not likely to forget the wherealjouts of such easy meat. 

Ni>r is such a conn(»isseur of eggs likely to overlook the opportunities 
afforded l)y a poultry yard. lie l>ecomcs an adc])t at purloining epRS. and 
can make ofT with his Ixioty with astonishing case. One early morning, 
seeing a Mag])ie fly over the corral with something large and white in his 
bill, and l)elieving that he had alighted not far Ixryond. I followed quickly 
and frightened him from a large hen's egg. which bore externally the marks 



Till'. A.MEKICAX MAGPIE. 27 

of the liird's l)ill. luit whicli was unpierced. Of course the onl_\- remedy for 
siicli a liabit is the sliot-gun. 

To say tliat Magpies are garrulous would be as trite as to say 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 f<ica: that is small Mngl^ic. Much of this bird's conversation 
is undoubtedh' luilit for print, but it has always the merit of vivacity. A 
party of Magpies will keep u]i a running commentary on current events, now 
facetious, now vehement, as ihcy move about; while a comparative cessation 
of the racket means. ;is likely as not. that some favorite raconteiu- is hnlding 
fortli. and that there will ho an explosion of riotous laughter when his tale 
is done. The jiie. like Xero, aspires to song; but no sycophant will be 
found to praise him, for he intersperses his more tuneful musings with 
cliacks 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 JMagpies can I)c instructed until they acrpiire a 
handsome repertoire of speech. 

In order that their douljle quartet of yoimgsters may be lined u\) for 
the egg harvest, the Magpies take an early start at home building. .\])ril is 
the nesting month, but I have twO' records for March 30th, — one of ti\e 
eggs at Chelan, and one of eight in Yakima County. In the latter instance 
the first egg must have been deposited not later than March i8th. .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, or 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 
tliese structures is prodigious. The greasewond nest shown in the accoiupany- 
ing cut is three feet deep and two feet thru, and the component sticks are 
so firmly interwo\-en that no ordinarv agencv. short of the human hand, can 
effect an entrance. The bird enters thru an obsciu-e passage in one side. 
and. if sur]>rised u])on 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, arid a like depth. \n 
the best construction this cavity is filled to a depth of three or fom- inches 
with a loose inat of fine twigs of a uniform size. Upon this in tiu"n is placed 
a coiled mattress of fine, clean rootlets, the whole affording a \cr\- sanitarv 
arrangement. 

Another fortress, of single construction, was foiu' 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 



■rill-: .\mi-:nk\\ mac 



•\. 



tlircc-(|ii;irters i<\ an incli in tl.ickiicss. Xots are rc|)airc(l and rt;-<)cciii)ic-(l 
year alter year; <>r if tliey fall into Impelcss decay, new structures are erectetl 
upon the ruins of the old. The tcnmuMit plvtofjraphed on H«Jinely Island 
is a double ne-it (it liHiks triple, but the 

upper thiril is niertl ^^^ mimiiw "8|^. ''^^ <Iome for 

the central |Mirtio;i. s<^^'t^uMFjKSSmtll^i. " '^ nest 

proix^r), and nieas- .J^^^^^B^M^Km^SwISttrvS^j^ I'rts seven 

feet from top to ^t 4w^^^fSS^\i^^W^i^W'^'^^^^-^^^ Ixittoni. 

It contained .i^^j ^ J'^'^TuHBa^MMMBBEh^^^xT^ V. ^^cven 
eggs on April t ^^^^^K^Kj^KKBS^^r^^^^^ ~'^*''' 

the oologist 
is very fond 
of little Mag- 
pies' eggs, he 
left these as 
a tribute 10 
Mr. an.l Mrs. 
Cheops. 




M.\(.i-ii:s m;st on homki.v isi.anh. 



THE AMERICAN MAGPIE. 



29 



'I'his histiiric pile is in inarketl ct)nlrast to one sighted in a willow on 
the banks of Crab Creek near Odessa. My attention was attracted to the 
spot by a scuffle, wliich took place between aMagpie and a pair of Kingbirds; 
and when I started to examine the nest. I was in honest donl)t whether it 
might not l)elong to the Kingbirds. The foundation was of mud, but this 
came near constituting the nutside nf the nest instead of the inside. The 
action of the wind ui)iin the willnus liad compressed the mud bowl to a boat- 
shaped receptacle wherein lay li\e brown beauties, unmistakable Magi)ies' 
eggs. There was a copious lining of rootlets, and a light half-cover of 



thorn twigs: luit the wh 
scarceK' that in 




n 



Taken near Spoku 
Pholo by Fred S. Merrill. 

YOUNG MAGPIK. 



foot in diameter and 

e discreetly quiet in 
nesting time, and 
especially so if 
they have attemjit- 
cd to nest in the 
\icinity of a farm- 
house. W h e n 
(h"i\-en to the hills 
b\' p e rsecu t ion 
thc_\- accept an\' 
shelter, and will 
nest in grease- 
wood, sage-brush, 
even on the ground, 
bors of clematis (cle- 
matis lignsficifoliaj of- 
fer occasional conceal- 
ment, but thornapples 
(Cratcvgiis Cdliinihian- 
iiiii. etc.) afford the 
safest retreat. .\ Mag- 
pie snugly ensconced 
in a thornapple fortress 
may well bid defiance 
to an\- retributive asen- 



c) -ih ■ :. ,!M. 11- -^ex'eral scores of nests I ne\er saw one in a pine tree 

in the ^ akima country, yet these are freely utilized in Chelan, Okanogan, and 
SiK)kane Counties. Indeed, in these latter localities there is a sus])icion of 
dawning preference for the tree-tops and difficult climbs. On the Columbia 
River I once found a family of Magpies occupying the basement of a huge 



30 TIIH A.MI-:RICA.\ MACPll. 

Osprev's nest, and hail reasmi to ln-lieve tliat tin- tliritt\ pies made elVicieiit. 
if unwelconic. janitors. 

Vounjj Mag|)ies are nnsijjluly wiien liatclied, — "worse than naked. " and 
repulsive to a degree equaled only by yoinig Cormorants. Hideous as they 
unciuestionahly are, the devoted jxirents deelare them angels, and are ready 
to hack their opinions with most raucous vociferations. With tiie jxjssihie 
exception of Herons, who are plehes anyhow, Magiiics are the most abusive 
and profane of binls. When a nest of young birds is threatened, they not 
only e.\i)ress such reasonable an.xiety as any parent niight feel, but they 
denounce, upbraid, anathematize, and vilify the intruder, and decry his lineage 
from .\dam down. They show the ingenuity of ( )rientals in inventing o|)|)ro- 
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 u]) the soil with 
their l)caks, in the mad extremity of their rage. 

.\ pair with whom I experimented near Wallula rather fell into the humor 
of the thing. The Magjiie is ever a wag, and these must have known that 
repeated visits could mean no harm. Nevertheless, as often a.s I rattled the 
nest from my favorite ])erch on the willow tree, the old pies ojjened fresh vials 
of wrath and emptied their contents upon my devoted head. When mere 
utterance became inadetpiate, the male bird fell to hewing at the end of a 
broken branch in most elocpient indignation. He wore 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 h.xstily witlulrawii; 
and, l)elieve me. we Intth laughed. 

The I>lack-billed Mag])ie winters practically thruout its breeding r.inge, 
but it also indulges in irregular migratory movements, which in Washington 
take the form of excursions to the coast. While never common on Puget 
Sound, they are not unlikely to (xrcur 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 .sea.son. Mr. IX 
E. Brown, then of C.lacier. on the north fork of the Xooksack River, records 
inider date of March 4. 1905. the ap|)earance of several bands of Magi)ics 
passing eastward at a considerable height. |K'rhaps something l»etween three 
and five thousand feet. He says they were imrccognizable until glasses were 
trained on them, and he thinks he must have seen at least fifty birds, with 
chances for many more to have passed imobscr\efl. 

East or west the Magjiie l»ecomes a jiensioner f)f the slaughter house in 
winter, and his fondness for meat has often proved his undoing in the cattle 
country. .\s a scavenger his services are not inconsiderable. The only 
trouble is, as has l^een said, that he sometimes kills liis own meat. 

X'nlumes could be written of the Magi)ie ;is ;i ])et. He is a brainv cha]) 



THE CALIFORNIA JAY. 31 



as well as a wag, and intinitcly inure interesting than a stupid parmt. Mis- 
chief is his special forte: the untying of shoe-strings, the investigation of 
cavities, the secreting of spoons, and the aimless abstraction 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 disco\-ered a rent in the knee of the man's 
trousers, he fairly chortled, "Well; I see mvself bnsv for a week filling that 
hole!" 

Cage life is irksome for bird or beast; but, if we nuist be amused, and, 
above all, if we feel called uptm to pass adverse judgment upmi this gifted 
bundle "i cnntradictions, as he exists in a state of nature, let nur harshest 
sentence be sociable confinement with occasional freednm mi pardle. A bii'd 
in the cage is worth two in tiie obituarv columns. 



No. 8. 

CALIFORNIA JAY. 

.•\. O. U. Xo. 481. Aphelocoma californica (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 underi)arts ; shorter under tail-coverts pure white, 
the longer ones tinged with pale blue; bill and feet black; iris brown. In voting 
birds the blue of adults is sui)planted 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 arc white, save for light brownish wash across breast and 
sides. Length of adult males 1 1.50-12.25; wing 5.00 (127); tail 5.60 (143); 
bill 1. 00 (25.4) ; tarsus 1.60 (41). Females slightly smaller. 

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

Nesting. — Xcst: a bed of small twigs without mud andjieavily lined with 
fine dead grass ; 8 inches across outside by 3j,< 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 Ca,scade Range in Oregon, north to south- 
western Washington. 



32 



llll-: C.\I.II"( )K.\IA |A%. 



Ranxe in NN'ashinjjton. — Of limited liiil rc-jjiilar i>cciirrfiice alonu tlie liaiiks 
(.»f till' (.■iilimil)ia west of the Cascades. Resident. 

Authorities. — ['California Jay," Johnson Rep. CjOV. \V. T. 1884 ( 1885), 22]. 
(Heldiuf,'. Land I'.irds I'ac. Dist. (i8<»()) p. iii|. .iphelocuvni ciilijuruicii. Law- 
rence, Atik. July. |8<>J. ]). 30! . 

Specimens. — C. 

TIIRL' tile western i>art of ( )re}.;on the hreedin}; limits of the California 
Jay <li> not c.vlend as far north as the Colnmhia River. I have never 
known of this species nestinjj ahont Portland, yet thirty miles south and 
southwest it is not 
at all uncommon. 
Thru the Willam- 
ette X'alley. one 
meets this l)ird 
alM)Ut as often as 
the Steller Jay. 
The hahits of tiie 
two jays are much 
the same, yet the 
liirds are easily 
(listinfjiiished l>y 
their dress, the 
California J a y 
havinjx more re- 
semblance to the 
Hlue Jay of the 
L'ast in color Imt 
lackintj the crest, 
while the Steller 
Jay has a dark 
l>luc and hlackisli 
coat with the louy 
crest . 

.Accordiufi to 
popular opinion, 
the California Jay 
is a bird of had 
rejnitation. Many 
people think he 
does nothing hut 
fjo alniut wreck- 
injj the homes of vol-.\c. c.m.ifokm.v i.w 




THE STELLER JAY. 33 



other birds and feasting- t)n llieir eggs. This is not true, altlio occasionally 
a Jay will destro_\- the hdiiie nf another bird. In Oregon I have often seen 
this bird feeding on wheat about the edge of the fields after the grain has 
been cut. Fruit, grain, grasshoppers and other insects make np a large part 
of his food. 

Several years ago I saw a small (lock of California Jays 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 
off 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 Jav 
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 several English Sparrows that were feeding on 
the ground under an oak when a pair of California Jays came fixing thru the 
trees. \\'ith a loud squawk one swooped down, with his wings and tail spread 
and his feathers pufifed out as mucii as possible, 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 bluff might ha\e worked 
with any bird except an Englisher. The Sparrows sputtered in contem])t 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 ofif looking industriouslv in the 
grass for .something he liad no idea of tinding. I thought it a good touch of 
Jay character. 

WILLI.\^[ L. Fix LEV. 



No. 9. 

STELLER'S JAY. 

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

Synonjms. — "Bluk J.w." "J.winuD." 

Description. — Adults: Head and neck all around, and back, sooty black, 
lunched with streaks of cerulean blue on forehead, and pales, gray on chin and 
throat, tiiis 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 e,.()o ( (50) : 
tail 5.43 ('138) ; bill 1.18 (30) : tarsus 1.80 (46). 

Recognition Marks. — Robin size: harsh notes: blue and black coloration 
nnniistakal)lc. 



34 Tlll^ STELLER JAY. * 

.Nfstinjj. — Xcst: a bulky mass of tine twigs thickly plastered centrally with 
iiiiiil ami lined with tine riMJtlets, placed '>-3<> feet hi^h in evergreen tree t)f thicket, 
i>r near edge of clearing. l'.(J</s: 3-5, nsually 4, pale bluish green, uniformly but 
moderately si)otte<l with olive brown and pale rufous and w.lh numerous ".shell- 
markings" of lavcniler. .\v. size, 1.23 .x ajo (31.2 .\ 22.8). Season: .\pnl 20- 
.\lay 10: one brood. 

General Range. — .North Pacific Coast district from t'.ray's Harbor and 
I'uget Suuiid north tn Cook's Inlet, except Prince of Wales Island and the Queen 
Charlotte grouji ( where dis|)laced by ('. s. carlotlcc). 

Range in Washington. — luitire western j)ortion from summit of Cascades, 
shading into ( . .v. niihciniii-ii along north bank of the Columbia. Resident. 

Authorities. — ?C'v('"i/nj stcUcn Swains.. (*rn. Com., Jo.irn. Ac. .\'at. Sci. 
Phila. \ II. iS^7. 193. Cyanocitta stcllcri, Newberry, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. VI. 
pi. 1\'. 1S57. p. 85. T. C&S. L' : Rh. Ra. Kk. 1',. K. 

Specimens. — V. of W. Prov. E. R. P>.\'. 

.M ISCI HI'"!*" and the "Blue Jay " are synonymous. .\Iert, restless, saucy, 
in(|itisitive, and provoking, yet always interesting, this handsome brigand 
keeps his human critics in a ])eri)etual see-saw l)etween wrath and admiration. 
.\s a sprightly piece of Xature, the Steller Jay is an unqualified success. .\s 
the hero-subject of a guessing contest he is without a iK'er. for rme never knows 
what he is doing until he has done it. and none may i)rcdict what he will do 
ne.xt. 

Tiie pioneers are especially bitter against liim. an<! they are unanimous in 
accusing the bird of malicious destructivencss in the gardens, which are dearer 
than the apple of the eye during the first years of wilderness life. The bircfs 
will eat anything, and so, tiring of bugs an<l slugs, are not averse to trying 
corn, cabbage leaves, or, l>est of all, |>otatoes. They have observed the tedious 
operation of the gardener in planting, and know precisely where the c<>vete<l 
tubers lie. Bright and early the follow ing morning they slij) to the eilge of the 
clearing, jxtst one of their number as lookout, then silently de])loy U|)on their 
ghovdish task. If they weary of potatoes. s])routing ])eas or corn will do. (^r 
jjcrhaps there may Ik? something interesting at the base of this young ti>mato 
plant. .\nd when the irate farmer appears u])on the scene, the maraiulers retire 
to the forest shrieking with laughter at the discomfitted swain. .\y ! there's 
the rub! We may endure injury but not insult. I'ang! Bang! 

.\s a connoisseur of birds' eggs, t(K», the Steller Jay enjoys a bad 
eminence. The sufferers in this case are chiefly the lesser song birds; but no 
eggs whatever are exempt from his covetous glance, if left imguarded. The 
lav has become csjK'ciallv 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 gutte<l by J.iys. When it is rememl)ered 
that these busy little workers make one of the handsomest nests in the world, 
the shame of this piracy gets upon the nerves. The investigation of Tits' 
nests has something of the fa.scination of the gaming table f<)r the Jay, since 



THE STELLER JAY. 35 



he never knows what the wonder pouches may contain, vintil he has ripped a 
hole in tlie side and inserted his piratical beak. 

The dense forests of Pnget Sound are not so well patrolled by these 
feathered grafters as are the forests of the E^st by the true Blue Jay 
(Cyanocitta cristata). But then our bird has the advantage of denser cover, 
and we do not know how often w^e 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 tir 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 quit one tree-top than he dashes down 
to a neighboring tree to run another frenzied gamut. 

Owls have abundant cover in western Washington, but should one of 
them 1)6 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 l>ay, the deafening objurgation of the Jays is not the least 
indignity which he is made to suft'er. The Jay, in fact, seeks to make the 
world forget his own offenses by heaping obloquy upon this blinking sinner. 

The notes of the Steller Jay are harsh and expletive to a degree. Sliaack. 
sliaack, sliaack is a common (and most exasperating) form: or, 1i\- 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 producing a medley which quite satisfies 
her that he could if he wduld. 

C. stelleri. like C. cristata again, is something of a mimic. The notes of 
the Western Red-tail (Buteo borealis caliinis) and other hawks are reproduced 
with especial fidelity. For such an effort the Jay conceals himself in the depths 
of a large-leafed ma])le 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. Uncannv sounds 
are, of course, not unknown here, hut an exploratory pebl)le served to unmask 
the cheat, and drove forth a very much chastened Blue Jav before a companv 
of applauding Juncoes. 

It is well known that the gentleman burglar takes a conscientious pride 
in the safety and welfare of his own home. Nothing shall molest his dear 
ones. The Jay becomes 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 varif)us heights in the larger fir trees. If one but looks at it before 
the complement of eggs is laid the liK-ality is deserted forthwith. If, however, 
the enter])rise is irretrievably launched, the birds take care nut tn he seen in 



36 llll-: C.RINNEU. J.W^ 

the vicinity of their nest unlil thcv arc certain of its discovery, in wliicli case 
thev call heaven and eartii t<> witness that the man is a nmnster of ini(|nity, and 
that he is plotting against the innocent. 

In our cx|)erience. Steller's Jay is not, as has l)ecn .soiiictinies reivirted, a 
bird of the inoinitains. To l)c sure, it may Ijc found in the mountain zallcys. 
but if so it is practically confined to them. The bird, is, however, ubiquitous 
thruout the low lying countries of Pugct Sound, dray's Uarl)or, and adjacent 
regions, giving way only upon the south to the dubious Grinnell Jay ^.S". s. 
carbonacca). 



No. 10. 

GRINNELL'S JAY. 

.^. (X l^ Xo. 478c. Cyanocitta stelleri carbonacea J. (".riiinfli. 

Synonyms. — "Bi.iE Jay." Coast Jav ( .\. O. U.). 

Description. — "Similar to C". s. sicllcri, but paler thruout. and averaging 
sliglnly smaller; color of head very nearly as in C. s. strilcri, 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 light dull cerulean or verditer blue, advanc- 
ing more over chest, where more abru])tly delined against the sooty or brownish 
slate cf)lor of foreneck" ( Ridgway ». Adult males: wing 6.10 ( 150.3) ; tail 3.31 
(140'); bill 1. 15 (29.0 : tarsus 1.73 (44.3V 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from MoiUerey couiUy, California, 
north to Cohmibia River. 

Range in WashinRton. — lias only theoretical status in State, but spccnuens 
taken along north hanks of Columbia would apjiear to belong here. 

Authorities. — ':' Conns stelleri, Nuttall, Man. Orn. V. S. and Can. I. 1832. 
229 ("CohiTubia River"). ?r)rn. Com. Journ. .\c. N'at. Sci. I'hila. \'II. 1837, 193. 
C. s. frontalis, R. H. Lawrence. Auk W'll. Oct. 1892. p. 333 (Gray's Harlxir). 
C. s. carbonacea Cirinnell. Ridgvay, P.irds of Xo. and Mid. .\m. \'ol. III. p. 334 
(footnote). I.. Kb. 

ORXlTnOI.OGV is the furthest rehne<l of the systematic sciences. So 
zealous liave been her flevotees and so sagacious her high priests, that no sliade 
r>f difference in si/e. form or hue of a bird is allowed to pass uuni>ticed. or its 
owner muiamed. It is unquestionably aiuioying to the novice to Im? confronte<l 
with such subtleties, and the recognition of subsiiecies in the vernacular names 
of our birds is of doubtful wisdom: but the fashion is set and we will all be 
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 



Culunihia l\i\-er: and since tlie district l\ing between the Culuinhia and i'u,c;et 
Sound presents iiiterg;ra(les between C. stcllcri and C. s. carbonacca, obviously, 
those Javs wliicli inhabit the southern portion of this debatalile ground are 
better entitled to ])c called airhdiuicai than stcllcri. 



No. II. 

BLACK-HEADED JAY. 

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

Synonyms. — "BLuii Jay." Pimc Jay. Moixtaix Jay. 

Description. — Adults: Similar to C. stcllcri, but marked with a small 
lengllicned 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. — .-\s in C. stcllcri. White spot over eye distinctive. 

Nesting. — As in C'. stcllcri. 

General Range. — Eastern British Columbia and the northern Rocky Moun- 
tains, snuih to W'ahsatch Range in Utah, west to eastern slopes of Cascade Range 
in Washington and ()regon. 

Range in Washington. — Forests of eastern Washington, shatling into 
typical stcllcri in Cascade Range. Nearly confined to pine timber. 

Authorities. — Cyanocitta stelleri annectens. Brewster, Bull. Nutt. Orn. 
Club. \ II., 1SS2, 229: (C&S.) D'. D^ J. 

TIlEl\i{ is no such difference of plumage between C. stcllcri and C. s. 
annectens as is suggested by the name "Black-headed" : but in endeavoring to 
mark eight shades of difference between tweedledum and tweedledee within 
the limits f>f a single species, we are naturally pretty hard put to it for 
appropriate names. Annectens marks the annexion, or welding together, of 
two branching lines in the C. stelleri group. It is the head of the wish-bone, 
whose divergent arms run down the vSierras to Lower California and along 
the Rockies to Guatamala res]>ectively. 

With a hypothetical center of distril)Ution somewhere in southeastern 
British Columbia, this sul)si)ecies inosculates with stelleri*\n the momitains 
of that ])rovince, and is roughly separated from the western stock by the 
central ridge of the Cascades, in Washington. 

Black-headed Jays in W'ashington are normally confined ti> the limits 
of coniferous timl)er, Ijeing therefore most abundant in the northern portion, 
in the Blue Mountains, and along the eastern slopes of the Cascades. We 
have, liowever, like B.endire. discovered them on occasion skulking in the 



38 THE WHITE-HEADED }m\ 

willi'ws aloiii; creek hottoins s<>nie twenty miles fmin pine tinil)cr. On tlie 
other hand, they do not assert, witli tlic Gray Jays and Clark Crows, tlie riglit 
to ranpe the mountain heights: Init are quite content to maintain tlieir 
unholy inquisition amidst the gjoves and thickets of the valley fliK)rs. 

Thev are, |)erhai>s. not so noisy as the Steller Jays, heing less confident 
of their cover; and their notes are rather more musicil (breath of pines is 
l>ettcr than fog for the voice) : but for the rest they are the same vivacious. 
intrci)iil. rcNuurcefii! mischief-makers as their kin-folk everywhere. 



No. 12. 

WFIITE-HEADED JAY. 

A. I >. V. No. 484a. Perisoreus canadensis capitalis Ridgw. 

Synonyms. — Rocky Moi ntain Jay. 'Can.ada" Jay. Wiiiskky Jack. 
WissKAi iio.\. Camp Robber. Moosk-bikd. Mi:at Hawk. Meat-bikh. 

Description. — AduUs: General color plumbeous ash lightening below ; whole 
head white save space about and behind eye connected with broad inichal patch 
of slat\ j^ray : \vinj,'s and tail blackish overlaid with silver gray; tail ti]t]ieil with 
white and wings more or less edged with the same. Rill and feet black; iris 
brown. )'oun(j birds much darker and more uniform in coloration than adults — 
slaty gray to sooty slate with lighter crown and some whitish edging on under- 
parts. Length iJ.00-13.00; wing 6.00 ('15J); tail 5.75 (143); bill .82 (21); 
tarsus 1.38 (35). 

Recognition Marks. — Robin size; slaty gray coloration. White of iiead 
with its abruptly dctined |)atcli 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. Xcsl: 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. .\v. size 1.15 .x .85 
(29.2x21.6). Season: Fcb.-.\pril ; one brood. 

General Range. — Higher ranges of the Rocky Moimtain ilistrict 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 
(i885» 22.] Ridgway, Birds of North and Middle .\merica, Vol. HI. p. 371, 
("Sinzoknotecn Deixit. etc."). 

THF. casual observer, cajiijiing tirst on Calis])ell Peak in Stevens County, 
and later on Mt. Stuart, in southern Chelan County, might fail to note any 



THE WHITE-HEADED JAY. 



39 



(lift'crence in tlie soljerly-dressed jays, wlm are the selt-api)iiiiiie(l nverscers 
of camp economics. For while tlie birds of the two locahtie.s reaUy represent 
two species, the resemblance in general appearance and behavior is so close 
as to be virtually negligible afield. 

Of this bird in Colorado, Mr. I'rank M. Drew has ( ►bserved''' : "In 
autumn when on his first tour of inspection around the hou.se he hops along 
in a curious sidelong manner, just like a school-girl in a slow hurry. White- 
headed, grave, and sedate, he seems a very paragon of propriety, and if you 




Willi i; ni-.ADiji .lAV. 



ru^t.i (>,v u\ II. li'rigiii. 



appear to be a suitable ])ersonage, he will Ije apt to give you a bit ot advice. 
Becoming ccjnfidential he sputters out a lot of nonsense in a manner which 
causes you to think him a \eritable "Whisky Jack": yet. whenever he is 
disposed, a more bland, mind-his-own-business-appearing bird will be hard 
to find, as will also lie many small articles around camj) after one ol his 
visits, for his whimsical brain has a great fancy for anything which may 
be valuable to you, but perfectly useless to him." 



Hull. .Nult. Orn. Club, Vol. \I. 



40 THE OREGON JAY. * 

No. 13. 
OREGON JAY. 

A. ( >. r. No. 485. Perisoreus obscurus ( Kidgway). 

Synonyms. — Camp Robbkk. Mkat I'.ikd. Dekk Hi ntkr. 

Description. — .Idiilts: In general iippcrparts doii) l)ri)\vni>li gray; muler- 
parts wliite tiiij,'e(l witli brown i sli ; forclicad and nasal ])luniulcs most nearly clear 
white; eliiii. tliroat. cheeks, anricnlars. and ol)>cnre 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 ; wing^^ and tail drab gray, 
the former with whitish edging on middle and greater coverts and tertials. Bill 
and feet black; iris brown. )'oiiiiij hirjs are nearly uniform sooiy brown lighten- 
ing below. Length 10.001 i.<K): wing 5.30 ( 1.^5) ; tail 5.00 ( 127) ; bill .71 ( 18) ; 
tarsus i..^o (33). 

Recognition Marks. — Robin size; brownish gray coloration, familiar, fear- 
less ways. \oi certainly distinguishable afield from the next form. 

Nesting. — Xcst: a bulky compacted structure of twigs, plant-fibers and tree- 
moss with warm lining of fine mosses and feathers, placed well uyi in fir tree. 
Efigs: 4 or 5, light gray or pale greenish gray spotted with grayish brown and 
dull lavender. .\v. size i.04x.7y (2f).4X.20). Season: Keb.-.\pril ; one brood. 

General Range. — I'acilic Coast district from Humboldt county. California, 
north to \aiuouver Island. Imperfectly made out as regards following fovm. 

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

Authorities. — /'. canadensis Ronap. Baird, Rep. I'ac. R R. Surv. IX. jit. II. 
1858. ;iM i)art. Ridgwav, Bull. F.ssex Inst. \'. Nov. 1873. 194. (T) C&S. I.'. 
Uh. Ra. 1!. !•■.( :-). 

Specimens. — V. of W. I'rov. I".. C. 

THI\ relative distrihution of the Oregon Jay aii<l the more recently dis- 
tiiignislied Gray Jay is still very imi>crfectly understood. It would appear 
probable that this form is the bird of the rainy district, including all lowlands 
of western Washington, the Olympic Mountains, and the western slopes of 
the Ca.scadcs, and that it gives place to /'. o. griseiis not only u|>on the heights 
and eastern .slof)es of the Casc.ides, but in the deep valleys which penetrate 
these nioimtains from the west. 

Certainly it is the Oregon Jay which alumnds in the 01yin|)ic Mountains, 
anil iuiiong the dense spruce forests of the adjoining coasts. While the bird is 
more abundant on the lowlands in winter, the prevalent opinion that the Oregon 
Jay is exclusively a bird of the mountains is probably incorrect, .\ltho Imld 
enough where nndisturU-d. the birds sivmi learn caution: :md their nests have 



THE GRAY JAY. 41 

Ijecii I'liinul near Ixtninn w licre llicir jireseiicc during' tlic hreetling season wuuld 
otiierwise liave gone unsuspected. Tlie deptlis of the forest liave no terrors for 
this quiet giiost, and there are otlier reasons besides color why he remains tlie 
obscure one. 



No. 14. 

GRAY JAY. 



.\. C). U. Xo. 483a. Perisoreiis ohsciiriis jfriseus Ridgw. 

Synonyms. — CA.%rr RfinnKK, clc. 

Description. — "Similar to /'. o. obsiiirus, but decidedly larger (except feet), 
and coloration much grayer; bacb, 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." iRidgway). Length 
(Av. of three Glacier specimens) 11. 16 (283.5): wing 5.82 ( 147.6); tail 5.48 
(139.1) ; bill .75 (19); tarsus 1.25 (31. 7I. 

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

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

Authorities. — ? P. canadensis Fionap.. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv., Vol. 
IX, pt. II, i8mS, p. 591 (Cascade Mts. W. T.). Ridgwav, Auk, \'ol. XVI., ]u\y, 
1899, 225. Kk. ? 

THE "Camp-Robber'" apjiears promijtly as interested neighbor and 
smell-feast Ijefore all who invade the precincts of the mountains. The hunter, 
the trajjper, the prospector, the timber cruiser, the mere camper-out, all know 
him. and they speak well or ill of him according to their kind. The Gray Jay 
appears to have forsworn tiie craftiness of his race, and he wins by an 
exhibition of artless simplicity, rather than by wiles. The bird is mildly 
curious and hungry — oh, \ery hungry — but this is Arcadia, and the shepherds 
draw nigh with never a doubt of their welcome. There is a childlike 
insouciance about the way in which the liird annexes a piece of frizzled bacon, 
humbly intended for the man. " "Shoo,' did you say? Why, what do you 
mean? Can't I have it?" And the bird retires before a flving chip, baffled 
and injured l)y such a manifest token of ill-breeding. He complains mildly 
to his fellows. They discuss the question in gentle zi'Iie^i'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 potential 
food is refused, nuts, acorns, insects, berries, or evai, as a last resort, the 
buds of trees. Meat of any sort has an especial attraction to them : and they 
are the despair of the tra]>per liecause of their propensity for stealing bait. 



42 



THE GRAY JAY. • 



Tlif ImiitiT kiK'us llicni for arcli syci>pliaiUs, and lie is occasionally able to 
trace a w inindcd <lecr, or to hxrate a carcass by tlie movements of these 
e.\|)ectant heirs. Says Mr. A. W. Anthony": "While dressing deer in the 
thick timljer I have l)ecn almost covered with Jays flying down from the 
ncighljoring trees. They would settle on my back, head, or shoulders, tugging 
anfl pulling at each loose shred of my coat until one woul<l think that their 
only cdijcct was to help me in all ways ]>3ssible." 

In the higher latitudes "Whisky Jack," in spite of carefully secreted 
stores, often l)ecomes very emaciated in winter, a mere bunch of Ijones 
a n d feathers, u> 
heavier than a Re 1- 
poll. While the Jays 
of inir kindlier dime 
do not feel so keenly 
the l)elly pinch of 
winter, they have 
the same thrifty liab 
its as their northen 
kin folk. Food i 
never refused. an<l 
well - stuffed speci 
men will still carr\ 
grub from camp an<! 
secrete it in bark 
crevice or hollow 
against the unkiiovwi 
hour of need. 

T have never he.ird 

the Gray Jay titter more than a soft cooing uhcc cw repeated at random; 
but Rcndire 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 remarkably like the chirp of a robin. Another of the common- 
est was a weak and rather complaining cry rc|)eated several times. A 
sharply contrasting one was a pure clear whistle of one note followed 
by a three-syllabled call .something like Kn<i.r-iili. The regular rallying 
cry was still different, a loud and striking two-syllabled ka-7i'lit'r." 

The eggs of the Gray Jay have not yet l)een rc|)orted from this State, 
but it is known that the bird builds a very substantial nest of twigs, grasses, 
plant fibre, and mosses without nnid. and that it provide-; ;i bc.Tvv lining of 




/■/,../,. fcj / ;;. BcKtUi. 



A B.ACIIELORS PET. 



X Thr .^uk. Vol. III., 1886. p. 167. 

b. r.ife Hi»toric9 of .\. A. Birds, Vol. II., p. 394. 

c. Handbook Bird» of the Wrjtcrn V. S., pp. 178-9. 



THE COWBIRD. 43 



soft gray mosses for the eggs. The nest is usually well cnncealed in a tir 
tree, and may be placed at any heigiit 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 together until late in the summer. 



No. 15. 

COWBIRD. 



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

Synonjms. — Cow IU.ackbird. Cuckold. 

Description. — .Idv.lt male: Head and neck wood-, seal-, or coffee-brown 
(variable) : remaining jilumage black with metallic greenish or bluish iridescence. 
I'emale: Dark grayish brown, showing slight greenish reflections, darkest on 
wings and tail, lightening on breast and throat. Young in first phimagc: Like 
female but lighter below and more or less streaky ; above somewhat mottled by 
huffy 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 ( iyo.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. — C'liewink size; brown head and black body of male; 
brown of female. 

Nesting. — The Cowbird invariably deposits her eggs in the nests of other 
birds. Eggs: i 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. — I'nited States from the Atlantic to the Pacific, north into 
southern liritish America, south in winter, into Mexico. 

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

Authorities. — Bendire, Life Histories of N. A. Birds, Vol. H., p. 434. 
D'. D--. Ss--. J. B. E. 

Specimens. — C. P. 

Will Lb", 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 nnder- 
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 I'UE COVVI'.lkl). * 

C'liwliird ill ilic lijilitcsi juvenile pli.'ise >>i plumaj^e, a wail' cuckold tar 
I'mm any <»l' his kin, but sliit'ting fur himself with the uunchalance which 
characterizes his wnrthlcss kind. 

If oiir lieri> iiad lived (and I make »i> a|x>lu{fy for his demise in the lirst 
act ), he would have exchaufjed liis inconspicumis livery for tlie ricli, iri<lescen'. 
black of the adult; and he would have done this on the installment plan, by 
chunks and blotches, looking; the while like a raj^iicker, tricked out in cast-olT 
finery. 

Ill the moiiili of March Cowbinls minjjle more or less with other 
blackbirds in the migrations, but if the main flock halts for refreshments 
and discussion cii nnilc. a grouj) of these rowdies will hunt uj) some dis- 
rqnitable female of their own kind, and make tijisy and insulting advances 
to her along some horizontal limb or fence rail. Taking a position alxmt 
a foot away from the coy drab, the male will make two or three accelerating 
hops toward her, then sto)) suddenly, allowing the impulse of motion to tilt 
him violently forward and throw his tail up per|>endicularly, while at the 
same moment he spews out the disgusting notes which voice his passion. 

Of the mating, Cha|)man says: "They lniil<l no nest, and the females, 
lacking every moral instinct, leave their companions only li>ng enough to 
dq>i)sit their eggs in the nests of other and smaller birds. I can imagine 
no sight more strongly suggestive of a thoroly despicable nature than a 
female Cow bird sneaking thru the trees and bushes in search of a victim 
u|»on whom to shift the iluties of motherlKHKl." 

The egg, thus surreptitiously i>laced in another bird's nest, usually 
hatches two or three days l)efore those of the foster mother, and the infant 
Cowbird thus gains an advantage which he is not slow to improve. His 
loud clamoring for f<Mxl often drives the old birds to abandon the task of 
incubation: or if the other eggs are allowed to remain until hatched, the 
uncouth stranger manages to usurp attention and I'imkI supi»lies, and not 
infrequently ti> override or stifle the other occupants of the nest, so that their 
dead bcnlies are by-and-by removed to make room for his hogshi]). It is 
asserted by some that in the absence of the foster parents the young thug 
forcibly ejects the rightful heirs from the nest, after the fashion of the 
Old World CuckiKis. I once found a nest which containe<l only a lusty 
Cowbird. while three pro|)er fledgelings dung to the shrubl>ery liclow, and 
one lay dead U|M>n the ground. 

When the misplaced tenderness of foster parents has done its utmost 
for the young upstart, he joins himself to some precious crew of his own 
blo<K!, and the cycle of a changeling is complete. 

While not common anywhere west of the Rockies, the Cowbird is no 
longer rare east of the Cascailes. and it is making its appearance at various 
jioints on I'ugct Sound. The earlier writers make no mention of its occur- 



THE BREWER BLACKBIRD. 45 



rence in W'ashingldii, and it seems probable ibat its presence bas follow etl 
tardily upon the introduction of cattle. Bendire was the first to report it 
from this State, having taken an egg near Palouse Falls on June 18, 1878, 
from a nest of the Slate-colored Sparrow (Passerella iliaca schistacea). 

Its presence among us is, doubtless, often overlooked Ijecause of the 
superficial resemblance which it tears in note and appearance to Brewer's 
Blackbird (EiipliagKs cynitocrplialiis). The note of the former is 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. 

.\. ( ). r. \o. 510. Euphagus cyanocephalus (W'aglcr). 

Description. — .Idnlt male: Glossy black with steel blue and violet reflec- 
tions on bead, 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 ; undcrparts brownish slate to 
blackish with faint greenish iridescence; uppcrparts 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 iti first zvinter plumage resemble adults but have 
some edging of pale grayish brown. Length of adult males: 10.00 (254) ; wing 
5.00 1128); tail 3.90 (99); bill .89 (22.6); tarsus r.27 (32.3). Adult female: 
length 9.25 (235); wing 4.60 (H/): 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. — Xest: placed at moderate height in bush clnni]) or thicket, less 
frequently on ground at base of bush, more rarely in cranny of clilf or cavity 
of decayed tree-trunk, a sturdy, tidy structure of interlaced grasses, strengthened 
by a matrix of mud or dried cow-dung and carefully 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 jjliases. 
Light type: ground cokjr 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 tyi:)e. One egg in the 
writer's collection is indistinguishable from that of a CowI)nvl, save fo.r size.) 
Dark type: ground color completely obscured by overlay of fine brown dots 
resulting in nearly uniform shade of mummy brown or Vandyke brown. .\v. 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 



11 IE BREWER BLACKIiTkl) 



ilKl 



liaiidsnine felli)\\, 



W.i-^li- 



kan>jo in Washington. — Of general tlistril)Ution tliriioii'. ilii- State but iDiiml 
cliielly in niurc i>|Ji.ii >iiiiations in vicinity of streams ami |Kjnds and in cultivated 
sections. Nurnialiy migratory but increasingly resident especially on West-side. 

Authorities. — [Lewis and Clark, Hist. K.x. ( 1814 i l\d. I'.iddle: Coucs, \ol. 
II II iS:; I Sit'li-CDi'litujilS incxicoiius. Newberry, Ke|i. I'ac. K. R. Surv. \'I. 
pt. 1\ . 1S57. p. .S<). (T) C&S. L'. Kb. 1)-. Ra. I)-'. Ss'. Ss-'. Kk. J. 15. K. 

Speicmens. — U. of W. Prov. ^. E. V. 

"HL.VCKBIRDS" are not usually highly esteemed in the E;ist. where 
the memory of devastated corntiekls keq)s the wrath of the farmer warm; 
hut if all .siKJcies were as inoffensive as this conti<ling pensioner of the 
West, prejudice would soon vanish. He is 
ington grackle, sleek, vivacious, inter- 
esting, and serviceable withal. We 
know hinii best, i)erhaps, as an indus- 
trious gleaner of pastures, corrals, 
streets, and "made" lands. He is not 
onlv the farmer's "hired man, ' waging 
increasing warfare against insect life. 
cs]>ecially 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 nimble 
weevil, now leaping to catch a ]>assing 
bug, but always pushing on until one 
perceives a curious rolling effect in the 
total movement. 

.As we draw near, some timid in- 
dividual takes alarm, and instantly all 
are up, to alight again upon the fence 
or shrubliery where they clack and 
whistle, not so much by way of ap|>re- 
hension as thru sheer exulierance oi 
nervous force. .As we pass (we must not stop short, for they resent express 
attention) we note the <lroll white eyes of the males, as they twist and perk 
and chirp in friendly imi)udence: and the snuffy brown heiids of the females 
with their soft hazel irides, as they give a motherly lluff of the feathers, 
or yawn with impatience over the interru]>led meal. When we are fairly 
by, the most venturesome dives fmni his inrrch, ami the rest follow by 
twos and tens, till the ground is again covered by a shifting, chattering band. 




Itvugias t tmnty. i-itoto by in 
BREWERS ni..\CKniRl)S. 



THE BREWER BLACKBIRD. 47 



Like all Blackbirds, the Brewers are gregarious ; but they are soiiicw hat 
more independent than most, flocks of one or two score l)eing more freijuent 
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 greenery. There 
is room, of course, for individual choice of nesting sites, but the com- 
munity choice is the more striking. Thus, one 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, tlie 
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 stulis, 
none of them less than 150 feet from the ground. (3n the other hand, in 
the Usk nesting of 1906, on the placid banks of the Pend 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 considerably, 
but at its best it is quite a handsome affair. Composed externally of twigs, 
weed-stalks, and grasses, its characteristic feature is an interior nmuld. or 
matrix, of dried cow-dung or mud. which gives form and stability to the 
whole. The lining almost invarialily includes fine brown runtlets. but Imrse- 
hair is also welcomed wherever available. 

The eggs of Brewer's Blackbird are the admiration of otologists. 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 l)e entirely individual anil casual without trace of local or constant differ- 
ences. Eggs from the same nest are usually uniform in coloration, but e\cn 
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 groinid-color. 



4.^ 



TIIK r.kKW l-.R lU.Af 



KI^KI). 



ImcsIi e),'j,'> may Ik- taken in llic \'akinia O'lnitry dnrinf^ ilic Iri^t week 
in April, and in one case noted, deposition l)epan on .\j)ril I4tli: hut May 
I St- 1 5th is tlic usual rule there and elsewhere. Five cuK'^ i;^ the common 
set, hut six to a dutch is not rare. Of tueiity-eiRht nests examined in 
Yakima County, May 4, iyij6. 
eleven contained six eggs eacli : 
while, of snmcthing over two 
hundred seen altogether, tw 
nests contained seven each. 

It is in his notes that tlu 
Brewer Ulackhinl hetrays hi- 
aflinities ix'st of all. The melo 
diously squeaking chatter oi 
mating time is. of course, most 
like that of the Rusty RIack 
hird (S. ctirtiliiius). hut it lack 
tiie huhhling character. He h.i> 
then the swelling note of the 
Crackles proper, jff-wcct. the 
latter part rendered with some- 
thing of a trill, the former 
merely as an aspirate : and the 
whole accompanied hv expan- 
sion of hody, sligiit lifting of 
wings, and partial spreading of 
tail. This note is uttered not 
only during the courting sea- 
son, hut on the occasion of ex- 
citement of any kind. Koorcc 
has a hue metallic quality 
which promptly links it to the 
Kcxrin^ note of the Redwing, 
alarm, 
hidden 




wmm 








7-.1*-.-., in .-./.•; r.i,. i ......<.v i ,■■..,.■ ,.., ,.,, ,u,.,.t. 

r.KOUXl) NICST OF ItKKWKR ItI..\CKBIRl). 

Chup is the ordinary note of distrust and 
• of stern inquiry, as when the hird-man is caught lingering the for- 
vals. .\ harsh low rattle, or rolling note, is also used when the 



hinls are squahhling among themselves, or lighting f«'r ]K)sition. 

L'nquestionahly this s|)ecies has gradually extended its range within the 
l^orders of tlie State, for the earlier investigators did not regard it as resident 
on Tuget Sound. It has ])rolited greatly ami deservedly hy the spread of 
settlement everywhere, and this is especially true of the more oj)en situations. 
\ot a little it owes, also, to the introduction of cattle: for it is as great a 
rustler alxnit corrals and stamping groumls as its renegade cousin, the Cowhird. 



THE BULLOCK ORIOLE. 49 



No. 17. 

BULLOCK'S ORIOLE. 

A. O. L'. Xo. 50S. Icterus bullockii (Swainsoiij. 

Description. — Adult male: Black, white, and orange; bill, lore, a line thru 
eye. and throat (narrowly) jet black; pilenni, back, scapulars, lesser wing-coverts, 
primary coverts, and tertials chiefly black, or with a little yellowish skirnng; 
remiges 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 super- 
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 extensively 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. Youny 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 .73 (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. Ck-neral 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 libers. 
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 
blue, more rarely with faint claret, spotted, streaked and elaborately scrawled with 
pur])lish 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 United States, southern British I'rovinces 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., sf)Uth to northern Mexico; 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 



THK HULLUCK ORlC)\E. 



Authorities. — Icterus bullockii Ron. Baird, Kcji. I'ac. K. K. Siirv. IX. ]>t. 
11. KS5.S, p. 330. T. C&S. D'. D--. Ss'. Ss'. J. 11. 
Specimens. — (I", of W. ) I'rov. C. P'. 

BIRD of sunshine and gcxxi cliccr, s|)rinjjtinic's ri|)cst offering and 
cmhlcni of summer acliieved, is this happy-hearted creature wlio flits about 
the orchards and timljcr cultures of eastern Washington. The willows of 
the brook, the cottonwoods and the rpiaking asps, were his necessary home 
until the hand of the pioneer made ready tiie locust, the maple and the Lom- 
bardy implars, wiiich arc now his favnritc abiding ])!accs. And so. for many 




BUI.I. OCR'S OKIOLE. 

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

A little less dandified than his eastern cousin, the Ii>rdly Bird of Balti- 
more, the Bullixk 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 1 >f their mates, and api)car quite 
ill at case until joined by their shy companions. Marriage compacts have to 



THE BULLOCK ORIOLE. 



51 




settled at the beginning of tlie season, hut 
ry is chiefl\- between the under-colored 
\g blades who must make their peace 
the sweet girl graduates of the pre- 
■^ year. Orioles are very closely at- 
.■d to a suitable locality, once chosen, 
a group of nests in a single tree pre- 
senting successive annual stages of 
preservation, is fairly eloquent of 
conjugal fidelit}-. 

The purse-shaped nest of the 
Bullock Oriole is a niar\el nf indus- 
trv and skill, fulh' e(|ual in these 
respects tO' that nf the Baltimore 
Bird. A specimen before me, from 
a small willow on Crab Creek, in 
Lincoln County, taken just after its 
completion, is comi>osed entirely of 
\egetable fibers, the frayed inner 
bark of dead willows being chiefly 
in evidence, while plant-downs of 
willow, poplar, and clematis are 
felted into the interstices of the 
lower portion. This pouch is lashed at the brim by a hundred 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 *o fine the workmanship. 
that the whole structure weighs less than half an ounce. 

A more bulky, loose-meshed afifair, taken at Brook Lake No. 4. in 
Douglas County, 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. 

Xear 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 
the 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. usualb of a pale 
smoky gray color, and upon this ground ajipear curious and intricate scrawl- 
ings of purplish black, as tho made by a fine pen, held unsteadilv while the 
egg was twirled. The purpose of this bizarre ornamentation, if indeed it 
has any, may l)c thought to ajipear where scantv coils of black horse-hair in 
the lining of the nest show \\\) in high relief against the noriual white back- 



ir Sfokane. Pholo by F. S. Mc 

FK.M.M.K. m-l.I.OCK OUIOLE. 



52 TiiK r.ri.i,( )CK ( )kii )!i|i:. 

jj;ri>iiii<l lit vegel;il)lc felt. I can icstitv that uii<ler these circiiiiistances tlic 
ejjps arc sninelimcs iiidistingiiishahle at first glance fmm their snrrniiiKlings. 
Tlie value <>t the ix'iich-sha])e(l nest is less clear than in the case nf the 
Raltinmre (Iriole. whose home is the [jcndant hranch of the elm tree; for the 
nest of the Bullock Oriole is often attached to stocky branches, pines even. 




r.ilvn i« Douglas County. NKSTINT. SITI' Ol- TIIK Illl.I.OCK OKIOI.K 



/'(ii>/i> by the AuHioi 



which yield little in the wind. Xnr is there any such obvious attempt in the 
case of this bird to escape enemies by placing: the eggs out of reach. The 
Magpie would search Sheol for a luaggot. and any effort to l)cst him wnuld 
bankru])! the longest jnir.se. 

Tirtd of the cotiruunienl of the nest, the ambitious lledgeliugs clambe; 
u|> the sides and perch upon the brim. I'Vom this less secure [Kisition they 
are not infreipiently dislodgetl l>eforc they are cpiite ready to face the world. 
Some.vears ago a friend of mine. Mr. Chas. W. Robinson, of Chelan, secured 
a lledgeliug Oriole which he rescued from the water of the lake where it had 
cvidentlv just fallen from an overhangin.g nest. When taken home it proved 
a rcadv \v:\. and was given the freedom of the |>lace. Some two weeks 
later mv frieufl rescued a nestling from another brood under precisely 
similar circumstances, and i)ut it in a cage with the older bird. The new- 




nDT.T.OCK ORIOI.ES 

MALK A.XU rBMALK. 1/2 LII-K SI2K 

FROM . W*x.H^..„„ Pa«T.NO ,,T AX...AN B«OuK- 




_£ 1 \ 



THE CALIFURXIA JUCUUJRED BLACKBIRD. 53 



comer had not yet learned to feed himself, but only opened his month 
and called with childish insistence. Jnd.oe of the owner's delight, and mine 
as a witness, when the (ildei" hird. himself little more than a fledgelin<;', began 
t(i \\-i:i\ the nr].)han with ;dl the tender suhcitnde of a parent. It was 
irresistibly cunning and heartsume tuo, f(ir the bird to select with thdughtful, 
brotherly kindness, a morsel of focid, and hup mer toward the clamnring 
stranger and drop it intn his mciutli: after this to stand back as if In sav, 
"Tiiere, baby! how did ym like that r" This trait was not shown bv a 
chance exhibition alone, but l)ecame a regular habit, which was still fnl- 
lowed when the older bird had attained to fly-catching, it upset all one's 
notions about instinct, ;nid made one think of a g(jlden rule for birds. 



No. 18. 

CALIFORNIAN BICOLORED BLACKBIRD, 

A. ( ). U. Xo. 4(j(;. Agelaius giibernator californicus Xelson. 

Description. — .Idult male: "Lhiifnrm deep black, with a faint bluish green 
gloss in certain lights ; lesser w^ing-coverts rich pop])y red or vermilion ; ni'ddle 
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). Adult female in breediuy plumaye: 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 zcinter: h'eathers 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 (71.6); bill .72 (18.3): tarsus 
I . I o ( 27.9 ) . 

Recognition Marks. — Like Redwing lUackbird but epaulet> pure red with- 
out exposed buff. 

Nesting. — Nest and liygs like those of the .Xorthwc^tcrn Kcd-wing. Said 
to be less prolilic. , 

(ieneral Range. — Central 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 Disajjpointment and 
may ])o>sil)ly extend north to Gray's Harbor. 

Authorities. — Ayelaius gubcrnator Bonaparte, Baird, Rep. I'ac. R. R. Surv. 
IX. 1858, p. 530 (Columbia River by J. K. Townsend). Allen, 1!. X. ( ). C. \'I. 
p. 128. R. H. Lawrence, Auk IX. 1892, 45. Kobbe. 



54 THE COLUMBIAN RED-\VINC.. 



WE accept this bird as a resident of this State chiefly on the testimony 
uf William 11. KoIiIk.*, wlio listed it" as a brceilinj^ bird of Cape Disap|x>iiit- 
nient. lie found it closely assixiatet! witli the Xorthwestern Red-wing (.1. 
f'hwniicus caiirinus ) altho the latter frequently pursued it in the attempt 
to ex])el it from the small swamj) which lx>th were comi)elled to occupy. 
This i>robal)!y represents the northernmost e.xtension of this s|)ecies, the Gray's 
Harbor record of Mr. Lawrence'' lyeing at least o]>en to (piestion in the matter 
of identification. 

The habits of the Hicolored Hlacki>ird do not differ in any known 
particular from those of the familiar Red-wing, of which it is a discontinuous 
offshoot. 



No. i<>. 

COLUMBIAN RED-WING. 

,\. ( >. L'. .\i>. 498. Agelaius phueniceus neutralis Ridgway. 

Synonyms. — S.\n Diego Red-wing. Lnterior Red-wing. Rki>-winc,ed 
I'l.xckiiiki). Ri;d-siioii,derei) Hlackiiikd. Swami> Hi-vckiiiri). 

Description. — Adult male in summer: Glossy black ; lesser wing-coverts 
briglit red ( puppy- red, vermilion or .scarlet) ; midillc coverts buffy or ochraceous- 
buff — the two forming thus a conspicuous epaulet, or shoulder patch. Hill, legs, 
and feet horn black; irides brown. Adult male in 'iciuter: Middle wing-coverts 
more dcejily buffy; scajjulars and feathers of black more or less edged with 
rusty. In iniiiniliire males the Mack of the plumage is more or less extensively 
margine<l with nisty-buffy or whitish; the wing-coverts have an admixture of 
black and the "red" of the les.scr coverts is of a sickly hue (orange-tawny, etc.). 
./(/»// female in summer: I'irownish gray, everywhere mottled and streaked, or 
striped, with dusky, linely on chin, cheeks, and superciliarics, where also more or 
less rubescent. heavily below, less distinctly above: lesser coverts brownish-gray 
or ilull red: middle coverts black edged with buffy. I'>ill dusky lightening below; 
feet and legs dusky. Adult female in -.einter: I'lumage of in)per])arts more or 
less inargincfl with rusty or ochraceous; sides of head ancl luiderparts tinged with 
buffy. Length of adult males ( .skins ): 8.39 ( J13.1 ): wing 4.84 ( I22.y) ; tail 3.57 
(ip.7) ; bill .<)0 (2,vi ) : tarsus 1.19 (30.2). Adult females (skins) : 7.11 ( 181.9) ; 
wing 3.1)8 I 101.31 ; tail 2.85 (72.4) ; bill .yj (19.6) ; tarsus 1.06 (26.«)). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink to Robin size; bright red epaulets of male; 
general strcakiness of female. Female lighter-colored and not so heavily streaked 
as in . /. />. eaurinus. 

Nesting. — .Ve".j/. 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. 1891. p. 45. 



THE COLUMBIAN RED-WING. 55 

as willow and the like: lining of fine grasses of uniform size. Eggs: 4-y, 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 1.04 x .70 (26.4.x 
17.8). Season: last week in April, June; two broods. 

General Range. — Western United States in the interior north to eastern 
L'ritish 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 Te.xas, southward to nor'Jiern 
Chihuahua and northern Lower California; displaced in Lower Colorado X'alley 
and southern Arizona by A. p. sonoriensis : south in winter to southern Texas, etc. 

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

Migrations. — Irregularly resident Init niuubers always greatly augmented 
about M;irch ist. 

Authorities. — Agchiitis plurniccns \ ieil., Cooper and Suckley, Rep. Pac. 
R. R. Surv. XII. pt. 11. i860, 207. Allen. Hull. Xutt. ( )rn. Club. \\. 1881, 128. 
D'. D^ Ss'. Ss-'. J. 

Specimens. — U. of W. C. P. 

.X MEADOWLARK may pipe from a sunny pasture slope in early 
February, and a Merrill Song Sparrow ma\- 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 medley of 
March which strikes terror to the faltering heart of winter. A sudden 
hush falls upon the company as the bird-man draws near the tree in which 
they are swarming: but a dusky maiden pouts, "Who cares?" and they all 
fall to again, hammer and tongs, timbrel, pipes, and hautboy. Brewer's 
Blackbirds and Cowbirds 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 kongqucrcc or occasional tipsv ichoop-cr- 
ivay-iip is the life of the party. 

."Mmost before we know it our friends, to the number of a dozen pairs 
or more, have taken u]) their residence in a cat-tail swamp — nowhere else, 
if you please, unless drix'en to it — and here, alxjut the third week in .\pril. 
a dozen baskets of matchless weave are swung, or lodged midwav "f the 
growing plants. Your distant approach is commented wpon 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 military swagger, shakes 
out his fine clothes and says, Kongqucrcc. in a voice wherein anxietv is quite 
outweighed by \anity and profifered good-fellowship withal. But if vou 
])usli roughly thru the outlying sedges, anxiety obtains the mastery. There 
is a hubbub in the marsh. Bustling, frowsy females appear and scold vou 
roundly. The lazy gallants are all fathers now, and the}- join direful threats 



56 



1' 1 1 K C(,)LUM B I A \ K I-:i )- \Vl N ( ; 



to courteous ex|x>stiilations, as they llutter wildly arKiind the iiitnulcrs 
head. To the mischievous l)oy the chance «>t cailiiifj out these frantic atten- 
tions is very allurin<j. even wlicn no harin is intended. 

I have said that the Red-winp prefers cat-tails for nesting: there is 
probably no undisturlH.'d area <if cat-tails in eastern Washington which d<ies 
not harljor Columbian Red-wings; yet, even so, the cover does not sutVice and 
thev arc impcllc<l to occupy the extensive tule l)cds which border the larger 
lakes. For the second nesting, which occurs in June, the Blackbirds arc likely 




NEST AND EGGS Ol THI: Col.lMItlAN KKDSV INC. 

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

Four or live eggs are commonly laid and sets of six are very rare. 
On the iSth of May. 1S96. 1 to<ik a set of eight eggs, all l>elieved t.> be the 
ppKluct of one female, from a nest in Okanogan County, and this set is ni>w 
in the Oberlin College Museum. 

Of the economic value of the Red-wing there can i)C no question. The 
bird is chietlv insectivorous and destroys 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 nia_\- l)e readily condoned in view of the l)ird's valuahle services 
to stockman and orchardist. 



No. 20. 

NORTHWESTERN RED-WING. 

A. O. U. Xo. 498f. Agelaius phueniceus caurinus Ridgway. 

Synonyms. — Red-wixged Blackhird. Rbd-shouldered Blackbird. Marsh 
Ulackhikd. Swamp Blackbird. 

Description. — Similar to .1. p. iicutralis but female much darker, heavily 
streaketl with black below ; in winter feather skirtings of female more e.xtensively 
rusty. Measurements not essentially different. 

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

Nesting. — Mest: as in preceding; dimensions 5 in. wide by 6 in. deep outside,. 
3x3 inside. Eggs: 3 or 4, rarely 5, colored as before; dimensions varying from 
1.05 .X .76 (26.6x19.3) to 1.00X.66 (25.4x16.7). Season: second to last week 
in April. June (Tacoma, /\pril 6, 1906, 3 eggs) ; two broods. 

General Range. — Northwest coast district from northern California north to 
Ilritish Columbia on \ ancouver Island and mainland. 

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

Authorities. — Agelaius phaniceus Vied. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 
1858. 528. T. C&S. Rh. Kb. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens. — ( l^ 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 bad small charms beside those of the 
sputtering Tule Wrens who played hide and seek ani(lng the stems, or 
the dun Coots, who sowed their pulque pulque pulque notes along the 
reedy depths. 

Upon this scene of ni.arshy content burst a vision of I^ha-nician s])lendor, 
Caurinus I., the military satrap of Scnith Tacoma, the authentic tvee of 
Blackbirds. He was a well-aged bird, and as is the proper wav with 
feathered folk, resplendent in proportion to his vears. His epaulets seemed 
a half larger again than others, and their .scarlet was of the brightest 



58 THE NORTHWESTERN RKn-WlNC. 

Hue, contrasting witli a black mantle uliicli fairly shone. He ai)j)eare<l 
an amiable old fellow, and as he liji^htetl |K>nderonsly on an uplifted branch 
of my tree, he remarked, "irium-kus'ii-cc-iiufi." so hosi)itably that 1 felt 
impelled to murmur, "Thanks." and a.ssnred him of my unhostile intent. 
"CuiHiiiiTcc/" he (piestioncd, richly. "Er — well, yes, if you are the con- 
(|ueror. ' 

Hut the j,aMieral had other interests ti> watch. An upstart male of 
the second ye:ir with shoulder-straps of a sickly oranjje hue, was descriecl 
a rod away climbing hand-over-hand up a cat-tail stem. Keyring, keyring. 
the despot warncil him; aiul because the presum|)tuous youth tlid not heed 
him f|uickly enough, he launched his s])lendor over the sjxit, whereat the 
youth sank in tlire confusion. .Xnd next, our hero cauglit sight of a 
female fair to look uimhi peeping at him furtively from behind her lattice 
of reeds. To see was to act, he tluiig his heart at the maiden upon the 
instant, and followed headlong after, thru I know not what reedy mazes. 
Oh, heart ever young, and i)ursuit never wearying! 

Northwestern Red-wings tind rather restricted range thruout western 
Washington, but they ap])ear 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 third week in .\pril, 
and we have found eggs as «uly as the sixth of that month. The nest of 
the accompanying illustration (photogravure) is composed solely of the 
coiled stems of the dried bulrushes, amongst which it is placed, with a 
lining of clean dried grass-stems. 

Eew eggs exceed in l)eauty those of the Red-winged Blackbird. The 
background is a pale bluish green of great delicacy, and upon this occur 
sharply-dctined sjiots, blotches, marblings, traceries, and "|)en-wnrk" of dark 
sepia, purplish black, drab, and heliotrope pmple. Or a spot of color api)ears 
to l)e dee]>ly imbedded in the tine, strong texture of the shell, and carries 
alxmt it an aura of diminishing color. Occasionally, the wIkjIc egg is 
suffuseil with pale bn)wnish, or, more rarely, it is entirely unmarke<l. 

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

(^ur Northwestern Red-wings are normally migratory, but they also 
winter with us irregularly: and this habit appears to l)e gaining ground as 
the guarantee of food l)ecomcs more certain. Numbers of them subsist in 
Ixith Seattle and Tacoma in the vicinity of grain elevators, where they will 
have comfortable sustenance until such time as the augmentetl Kjigli^h S|)ar- 
rows decree *leath to all native birds. 



THE YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD. 59 

No. 21. 
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD. 

A. O. U. Xo. 497. Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus (^Bonap.). 

Description. — Adult male: Head, neck all around, and breast orange yel- 
low; lores and feathers skirting eyes and bill, black; a double white jjatch on 
folded wing formed by greater and lesser coverts, but interrupted by black of 
bastard wing; usally a little yellow about vent and on tibije ; the remaining 
plumage black, dull or subdued, and turning brown on wing-tips and tail. I'cinalc: 
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 (101.6-1 14.3) ; 
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, ghayish green spotted or cloudetl with reddish brown, 
rarely scrawled as in Agelaius: 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 
Texas to the Pacific Coast, and from British Columbia and the Saskatchewan 
River southward to the \'alley 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. \Y. T. 1884 
(1885). 22.] Bendire, Life Hist. .\. A. Birds, \'ol. IT. 1895. p. 447. Ss'. J. 

Specimens. — Prov. C. P. 

on, well tor the untried ncrxx's that the \'ello\\-liea(le(l Blackliinl sing's 
by (lay, when the sini is shinins^- brightly, and there are no sui)porting 
signs of a convulsion of Nature! \'eril_v, if lo\e affected us all in similar 
fashion, the world would be a merry mad-house. The Yellow-head is an 
extraordinary person — yoti are prepared for that once you catch sight of his 
resplendent gold-upon-l)lack livery — but liis avowal of the tender passion 
is a revelation of incongruity. Grasping a reed firmly in b(3th fists, he leans 
forward, and, after premonitory gtilps and gasps, succeeds in pressing out a 
wail of despairing agony which would do credit to a dying catamount. W'hen 
you Iiave recovered from the first shock, you strain the eyes in astonishment 
tliat 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 way can 
do as well — or worse. When your nerves have somewhat recovered, modesty 



rx) 



rilK VKI.I.c i\\-IIK\l)i:i) I'.I..\CKi:lUI). 



overcfmies yon, and yim retire. ii<it uitlmvit a cliasteiiecl sense '>l' privilege that 
you liavc livcil In liear tlie VellMW-liead iKip the question. — "and also you 
lived after." 

Tlie expirintj konieo cry is (|uite the linest nf the .\antlu>ceplialine re|)er- 
torv, InU there are others not devoid of interest. Ok-cli-ah-oh-oo is a musical 
series of startling brilliancy, comparable in a degree to the yodelling of a street 

urchin, ^a succession of .stumds of varying 
pitches, produced as tlio by altering the oral 
capacity. It may be noted thusij — ^-^r^ 
The la.st note is esi^cially mellow \''i-,irl 
and |)leasing. recalling to soiue 
cars the licpiid gurgle of the I5ol)olink. to 
which, of ci^urse. our bird is distinctly related. 
.Alternating with the last named, and more 
fre(|uently heard from the dcjuhs of the 
nesting swamp is ^ur. gurrl; or. as oftenest. 
ycwitnk). ycxci(iiL\). gur-gurrl. In this 
l)hrasc the gurrl is drawn out with c<imical 
effect, as tho the gallant were down on his 
knees before some unyielding maiden. 

The Vellow-head's ordinary note of dis- 
tru--t. e(|uivalent to the dhik note of the Red- 
wing, is k'lticl; or koluck'. In flight this 
' ' ' • becomes almost invariably oo'kluk, oo'kluk. 

.\t rest, again, this is soiuetimes prolonged 
into .1 thrilling passage of resonant "I" notes, probably remonstratory in 
character. The alarm cry is built upon the same basis, and is uttered with 
exceeding vehemence, klookoloy, klookcloy, klook ocooo. 

I'inally. if one may presume to speak finally of so versatile a genius, 
they have a harsh. ras])ing note very similar in (piality to the scolding note 
of the Steller Jay, only lighter in weight and a little higher in i)itch. This 
is the note of fierce altercation, or the distress cry in imminent danger. 
The last time I heard it was in the rank herlwge l)<>rdering upon a shallow 
lake in Douglas County. I ru.shed in to find a big blow-snake coiling just 
IkIow a nestful of young birds, while the agonized parents and sympathetic 
neighlxirs hovered over the spot crying piteously. To stamp upon the reptile 
was but the work of a moment: and when 1 dr<.i)|>ed the limp ophidian u[x^n 
the bare gnnind. all the blackbird iKipulatii>n gathered alxnit the carcass, 
shuddering but exultant, and — perhaps it was only fancy — grateful too. 

For all the Vellow-head is so deciilcd in utterance, in disposition he 
is somewhat phlegmatic, the male bird cs|)ecially lacking the vivacity which 
characterizes the agile Brewer Hlackl)ir(i. Except when hungry, or im- 




THE YELLOW-HEADED r.LACKlURD. 



6i 



pelled l)y passimi. he is (|uitc content t(i ninpe tor Imnrs at a time in 
the deptiis of the reeds: and even in nesting- time, when his precincts are 
invaded, he oftener falls to admirin^;: his own plumage in the llooding- sun- 
shine than tries to drive nff the intruder. Let the hc^mclv and distrait t'emale 
attend to that. 




Douglas County. Photo by IV. Leon Dtmson. 

NEST OF YEI.I.OW HE.ADKD HI..\CKI'.IKD IX TUI.ES. 



62 



TIIK VKIJ.OW-IIKADKI) lU.AcKI'.IUl >. 



Tliis hinl is es- 
sentially a plains- 
litvinjj si)ccies, and 
its favorite liannts 
with ns are tlic 
reedy liorders n\ 
the treeless lakes, 
and the u|)land 
sloiiphs (»f eastern 
Washington. It is 
hijjhly fjregarions. 
esi)ecially in the 
fall an<l early 
s])rin{j. Init con- 
fesses to alxnit the 
same degree of 
domesticity as the 
I'ved-wintj. in late 
sprintj and early 
summer. 

Tiic nests are 
stoutly-woven l>as- 
kets of reeds and 
jjrasses. lipht and 
firy and hand- 
some. N'o mud or 
other matrix ma- 
terial is usetl in 
construction, and 
the interi<ir is al- 
w a y s carefully 
lined with fine 
dry grass. Tiie 

illimitalilc Inilrushes are the favorite cover, hut rank herbage of any sort 
is nse<l if only it he near or over water. The most humble situations 
suffice: and tiie nest is often i>lace<l within a f<K't of the water, or its e(|uiv- 
alent of black tK)ze. 




Takfn in Dnugliis 
.\ STOUTLY WOV 



THE WESTERN MEADOWL ARK. 63 

No. 22. 
WESTERN MEADOWLARK. 

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

Synonyms. — Field Lauk. Old-fii;u) L.\rk. MiiOL.AUK. JNIkdlak (i;octi- 
cal ). MiuuAKK (corruption). 

Description. — .-idiilt male: General color of upperparts browni.sh black 
iiiodilicd by much tawny and bufty-gray edgings of the feathers whicli tiirow tlie 
blaclc 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 huffy; anterior ])ortion of su]jerciliary, cheeks, chin, upper throat, breast 
(broadly) and middle belly rich lemon yellow (inclining to orange in .'Ider 
specimens); a large black crescent on upper breast; sides and Hanks black- 
streaked and s])otted with pale brown on a buffy or whitish ground, liill 
variegated, tawny, bkick and white, female: Like male but .smaller and paler 
with some substitutions of brown for black in streaknig; black of jugulum veiled 
by grayish tips of feathers; yellow of breast duller, etc. The plumage of both 
se.xes is duller in fall and winter, the normal colors being restrained by buffy 
overlay. Length of adult male: lo.oo-ii.oo (254-279.4); wing 4.85 ( 123.2); 
tail 3.00 (76.2) ; bill 1.30 (23) ; tarsus 1.46 (37.1). Female smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Robin size ; yellow breast with black collar distinctive ; 
general streaky appearance above; yellow cheeks as distinguished from the 
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella mayiiaj. 

Nesting. — Xest: on the ground in thick grass or weeds; a slight depression 
lined (carefully or not) and u.sually overarched with dried grasses. Egys: 4-6, 
white, speckled and spotted, sometimes very sparingly, with cinnamon brown or 
purplish; very variable in shape, ellii)tical ovate to almost round. Av. size, 1.12 x 
.80 (28.5x20.3). Season: .April and June; two broods. Tacoma, .April 3, 1906, 
4 fresh eggs. 

General Range. — Western United States, southwestern British Provinces, and 
northwe>tcrn Mexico, east to prairie districts of Mississippi Valley, Minnesota, 
Iowa. .Missduri, etc.. occasionally to Illinois and AFichigan; breeding thruout its 
range. 

Range in Washington. — Abundant east and west of the Cascades; largely 
resident on the \\ est-side, ])artia!ly on the Kast-side ; niuiibers augmented from 
the south during last week in February. ^ 

Authorities. — [Lewis and Clark, Hist. Ex. (1814), Ed. Biddle: Cones. 
\'ol II. p. 186. 1 Sturnella neglecta Aud., Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, 
539. T. C(!tS. L^ Rh. D'. Sr. Ra. D^ Ss'. Ss-'. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— (I", of W.) Prov. B. E. BN. P'. 

SI .M .\1 1'".l\ silences the birds so gradiialK' and we ourselves have become 
so niucli .absiirhcd in business during the ])rc)S\- days of September that we 



.,, THE WESTERN MEAlx tUt ARK. 

Ii.ivc almost I'Difjotlcn llic clioiiises of springtime and have come to acccjit 
nur uncheered lot as part of the established order of things. Bnt on a nippy 
Octol>er morning, as we are l)cn(ling over some dull ta.sk, there cnmcs a 
sound which brings us to our feet. We ha.stcn to the window, throw up 
the sash and lean out into the c<x)l, fresh air while a Mea<lowlarl< rehearses, 
all at a sitting, the melodies of the year's youth. It all comes back to us 
with a rush; the smell uf lush grasses, the splendor of ap|)lc blossoms, the 
courage of lengthening days, the ecstacies of courtshi]) — all these are recalled 
by the lark-song. It is as tho this forethoughted soul had caught the nuisic 
of a Mav (lav, ju.st at its prime, in a crystal vase, and was now pouring out 
the imprisoned sound in a gurgling, golden ll(«id. What cheer! What 
heartening! Vea ; what rejuvenation it brings! Wine of youth! Splashes 
of color and gay delight! 

It is impt)ssil)le not to rhapsodize over the Meadowlark. lie is a rhaj)- 
sodist himself. Born of the soil and lost in its embraces for such time as it 
pleases him, he yet quits his lowly station ever and again, mounts some fence- 
|>ost or tree-top, and publislies to the world an unquenchable gladness in 
things-as-thev-are. If at sunrise, then the gleams of the early ray flash 
resplendent froni his golden breastplate, — this high-jjriest of morning; and 
all Nature echoes his joyous blast: "Thank Go<^l for sunshine!" Or if the 
rain l)egins to fall, who so quickly grateful for its refreshment as this o])timist 
of the ground, this prophet of g(M)<l cheer! There is even an added note 
of exultation in his voice as he shouts: "Thank (lod 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. |)eal and counteri)eal from rival 
friendlv thmats. unfailing, unfaltering, luisubdued : "It is giKid to live. It 
is good to rest. Thank GikI for the day now done!"' 

The Meadowlark of the liast has a i)oet's soul but he lacks an adefpiate 
instrument t>f expression. His voice does not res|)ond to his requirement. 
I'erhaps his early education, as a sjiecies. was neglected. Certain it is that 
in passing westward across the prairies of Ii>wa or Miiuiesota 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 u|>on the su])|>osition of an 
independent development. The western bird got his early training where 
prairie wild flowers of a thousand hues ministcre<l to his senses, where breath 
of pine mingled faintly with the aroma of neighboring cactus bloom, and 
where the sight of distant moimtains tired the im.igination of a poet race. 
At any rate we of the West are proud of the Western Meadowlark and would 
have yon l)elievc that such a blithe si)irit coukl 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 liuman "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 
convince tiie least accomplished musician that there is a fascinating field for 
study here. 

A formal song of the Western Meadowlark comprises from four to a 
dozen notes, usually six or seven. The song phrases vary endlessly in detail, 
yet certain types are clearly distirtguishable, types w'hich reappear in different 
parts of the country, apparently without regard to local traditions or suppo- 
sitional schools of song. Thus a Chelan singer says, "Oku wheeler, ku 
ti'heel'er, and he may not have a rival in a hundred miles; yet another bird 
on the University campus in Seattle sings, Eh hen, zvheel'iky, zvheel'iky, or 
even Eh hen wheel'iky, zvheel'iky, zolu-cl'iky. and you recognize it instantly 
as belonging to the same type. In like manner Oziyhee, 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 cheers!" 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 Western 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 
em])hatic flirt of the wings and jerk of the tail. Now and then the actual 
departure is accompanied by a Ijeautiful yodelling song. After several pre- 
liminary toobs the bird launches himself with fantastic exaggeration of effort 
and rolls out, O'ly o'ly o'ly o'ly o'ly. witli ravisliing sweetness. 

At nesting time the parent Ijirds have many causes for appreiiension, 
and as they move alx)Ut in search of fr>od they give vent to the toob note of 
distrust in a fashion which soon becomes chronic. In Douglas Countv this 
note is doul)led. tn-o' bit, or two' zdiit, and one cannot recall the varied life of 
the sage in June without hearing as an undertone the half melancholy two' hit 
of a motlier Meadowlark as she works her \\a\- liMmewnrd bv fearful stages. 



66 



THE WESTERN MEADOWmRK. 



^mi 



At nesting time the Western Meadowlark enjoys a wide distribution in 
\\'aslnngti>n. It is found not only on all grassy lowlands and in cultivated 
sections but in the ojien sage as well and ujion the half-ojjen i)ine-clad foot- 
hills up to an altitude of four thousand feet. 

The Meadowlark is an assiduous nester. This not because of any un- 
usual amativencss but because young Meadowlarks are the iiiorccnux tlclicicti.v 
of all the powers that prey, skunks, weasels, mink, raccoons, coyotes, snakes, 
magpies, crows. Hawks and owls otherwise l^lameless in the bird-world err 
liere — the game is ttio easy. Even the noble lV'iei,'rim' iloes not disdain 
this humble, albeit tooth- 
some, quarry, and the 
Least Falcon (F a I c a 
spancritis phaloctia) 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 it-^ 
marvelous protective 
coloration the lark 
exhibits great cau- 
tion in ap])roaching, 
and, if possilile. in 
quitting its nest. In 
eitiicr 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. .\t the ap- 
proach of danger a sitting 
bird may either steal from Ium 
nest unobserved anrl rise at a 
safe distance or else seek to 
further her decc])tion by feign- 
ing lameness after the fashion nkst a.nd f.c.c.s of the wkstkkx mkahowi.akk 




THE WESTERN MEADOWLARK. 67 

of the Shore-birds. Or, again, she may cling to her charge in desperation 
hoping against iiope till the last possible moment and taking chances of final 
mishap. In this way a friend of mine once discovered a brooding Meadow- 
lark imprisoned underneath his boot — fortunately witlmut danxage for she 
occupied the deep depression of a cow-track. 

To further concealment the grass-lined depression in which the .Meadow- 
lark places her four or five si)eckled eggs is almost inxariably 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, afforded by a sheep-swept pasture near Adrian. Here the salt-grass 
was crcjpped close and the very sage was gnawed to stubs. But the Meadow- 
larks, true to custom, had imported long, dried grasses with which tO' over- 
arch their nests. .'\s a result one had only to- look for knobs rm the landscape. 
By eye 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 require 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 ajjpear 
to complicate the problem from the parental standpoint. How would you, 
for instance, like to tend five babies, each in a separate thicket in a trackless 
forest, and that haunted by cougars, and lynxes, and bf)a-constrictors and 
things ? 

We cannot afford to be indifferent S])ectators to this early struggle for 
existence, for it is difficult to- overestimate the economic value of the Meadow- 
lark. The bird 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 al)out twenty-four 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 GSDSBEAK. 



tlic ajj^rcgate the saviiij^ t>> tlie nation amounts to some luimlrcds of thous- 
ands of dollars each year. Even in winter, wlien a few individuals or iKca- 
sional companies of Larks are still to \>c found, a large projxirtion of their 
food consists of hardy i)cetles and other insects, while weed-seed and scatter- 
ing grain is laid under triimte, as it were, reluctantly. 

It goes without saying that we cannot regard this bird as lawful game. 
We exempt the horse from slaughter not Ixrcause its tiesh is unfit for finxl — 
it is reallv verv sapid — Init liecause the animal has endeared itself to our race 
by generatitnis of faithful service. We |>lace the horse in another category, 
that (»f animal friend. And the human race, the best of it. has some time 
since disc<)vered cominmctions al)out eating its friends. Make friends with 
this IxMinv bird, the Meadowlark, and you will lie ashamed thenceforth to 
even discuss assassination. Fricassee of prima donna! Voice of morning 
cit broihcttc! Hird-of-merry-checr on toast! Faugh! .And yet that sort 
of thing passed muster a generation ago — does yet in the darker |)arts of 
Europe! 



No. 23. 

WESTERN EVENING GROSBEAK. 

.\. (1. V. Xo. 514a. Hesperiphona vespertina montana Kidgway. 

Description. — Adult male: I-\>rchcad ami Mipcrciliarics ganiboge yclKiw; 
feathers about base of bill, lores, and cmwn black: winj,'s black with large white 
patch formed by tips of inner secondaries and tertials ; tail black ; remaining 
plumage sooty olive brown about head and neck, sliadinj,' thru olive and olive- 
green to yellow on winj,' an<l under tail-coverts. Hill bluish born-color and citron 
yellow: feet brownish. Adult fctnalc: Cicneral color deei) smoky brownish gray 
or biiffv brown, darker on the head, lighter on wings, lighter, more bulTy. on .sides, 
shading to dull whitish on throat and abdomen, tinjjed with yellowish green on 
hind-neck, clearing to light yellow (»n axillars and inider wing-coverts: a small 
clear white patch at base of inner |)rimaries: white blotches on tips of u|)per 
tail-coverts and inner webs of tail-feathers in varying |>roi)ortions. Length alxiut 
8.00 (203.2) : wing 4..v> I 111.3) : ^^il 2.42 (01.41 : ''dl .82 (20.8) ; depth at base 
.62 ( 15.01 : tarsus. 81 ( 20.3). Female very slightly sm.-illcr. 

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

Nesting. — Has not yet been found breeding in Washington but undoubtedly 
does so. W'st (as reported from New Mexico): princi])ally cnmjxised of tine 
riMitlets with some L'snea moss and a few sticks, settled upon horizontal branches 
of pine or tir, near tip, and at considerable heights : in lo<ise colonies. Eygs: 4, 
"in color, size, form, and texture indistinguishable from those of the Red-winged 
Hlackbird" (Hirtwell). 





:-> :'|>^:!-.v 



WESTKRN EVEI^Ne^ GROSBEAKS 

- wjnAtT lAWD, FBS| AiJa |3x*( ^-ifH^wti) ;., .-v K_ 




Olluv<v^^ 



THE WESTERN EVENING GROSBEAK. 69 



General Range. — Western United States and Xorthern Mexico; east to and 
including Rockv Mmintains; north to llritish Columbia. 

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

Authorities. — :^ Friiu/illa irsf^crtiiia 'i'ownscnd, Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. I'hila. 
\TII. iSv». 1^4 (Columbia R.). Hcspcril^hoini -,'cspcrtiiia Baird, Rep. I'ac. R. R. 
Surv. IX. 1S5S. 4oy. T. C.^-S. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— r. of W. 1". I'rov. 1'.. E. 

SPARROWS are also called Cone-bills; it is, therefore, fair that the bird 
with the biggest cone should take precedence in a family history. But fur this 
primacy there are damaging limitations. The Grosbeak is neither the most 
beautifnl nor the most tuneful of the Fringillidac, if he is by common consent 
rated the oddest. His garb is a ])atclnvork ; his song 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 Ijirds, 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 for 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 stolidly in the rowan tree where all the passersby may take note 
of them, giving vent ever and anon to explosive yelps, but doing nothing by 
the iiour, until an insane impulse seizes one of their number to be ofif 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 unreasonable, so uncanny, that it 
irritates us. 

Evening Grosbeaks are semi-gregarious the }ear around, but are seen to 
best advantage in winter or early spring, when they flock closely and visit 
city ])arks or wooded lawns. One is oftenest attracted to their temporary 
quarters by the startling and disconnected noises which are flimg out broad- 
cast. It may be that the fl(x-k 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 i)ure tones, quite pleasant to the 
ear; a harsh but sulxlued rattle, or alarm note, li'^cct or tcxt.::-/'. familiarly 
similar t(j that of the Crossbill ; and the high-pitched shriek, which dis- 
tinguishes the bird from all others, dinip. A little attention brings to light 
the fact that all the birds in the flock bring out this astonishing note at 
precisely the 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 Iw.som of .some giant conifer. 



7u THE ALASKAN PINE GROsIeaK. 

It is nut ;i little surprising at first thouglit, tliat tlic habits of these birds 
are best kiunvn in our larger cities, Seattle, Taconia, Spokane, ami Portland. 
Why they should Ix; esjiecially attracted to them, it is hard to say, unless it \x 
that they love the din of urlxin life, which they help so valiantly to promote. 
But it is easy to see why they are more noticeable there; iur their showy 
and patchy coloration marks tiiem as distinguished visitors in t<jwn. whereas 
in the forest their colors so melt into and haruK^nize with their surrouniiings 
that it is dilVicult io follow their movements. 

These tirosljeaks, or New World Hawfinches, are not to Ix; commended 
as horticulturists. In winter they feed largely upon the ground, gleaning 
fallen seeils and fruits; and are csiiecially fond of the winged key of the large- 
leafed maple (Acer imuropliylhtm). They <lrop down to such a feast one by 
one from the branches al)ove, and it is amusing to note how the loud cracking 
of seeds is intersi>crscd with music. A little later the birds devote themselves 
to swelling buds, ami 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 viewed in the concrete, the snip, snip, of those 
mandibles in the lilac bushes is no idle joy. 

It may be that the key of high C sharp, or whatever it l)e. staccato con 
uioto. 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 
year. Anyway, his exertions are redoubled in early June, and he charges about 
in a reckless frenzy which should make the city gape. June. 1906. was 
memorable to us for the abundance of these Grosl>eaks in the vicinity of 
Spokane. The very air of Cannon Hill and Hangman's Creek seemed charged 
with expectation of Grosl)eaks' nests. I'ut they were not for us. Xor has 
the nest yet l>een taken in Washington. 



No. 24. 

ALASKAN PINE GROSBEAK. 

A. O. V. No. 515c. Pinicola eniicleator alasconsis Riil^way. 

Synonym. — Pi.nk IUi.i.iim 11. 

Description. — Adult male: In liiRhcst ])luniagc rosy red (poppy rod) ; back 
with dusky ceiUcrs of feathers; lower belly and under tail-coverts ashy gray — this 
high i>luniagc is the exception; in general the rosy gives place to ashy gray in 
varying ]>roportions ; wings and tail ashy dusky; tips of middle and greater 
coverts and outer edges of ex]K>sed tertials white (or rosy). Rill dtisky ; feet 
blackish. .Idult female: Similar to male but rosy replaced by dingy yellow ( vary- 



THE ALASKAN PINE GROSBEAK. 71 



ing from ()li\e-yclIo\v, o!ivc-t:i\vn_\- and ochraccous to bricky red) and chiefly 
confined to head. Iiind-neck and upper tail-coverts (where brightest) ; feathers of 
back frequently tipped witli ochraccous and breast with an ochrey wash. Length 
about 8.60 (218.4): wins,' 4.60 (117); tail 3.66 (93): bill .=;7 (14.5); tarsus 
.89 (22.7). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink size ; large, rounded conical beak ; red and 
gray col(jration for size di.stinctive. 

Nesting. — "Xcst, 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 1.05 X .74 (26.7 -x 18.8). Season: About June ist; one brood. 

General Range. — "Northwestern North America, except Pacific Coast, 
breeding in interior of .Maska ; 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 in cpist. Dawson, .\uk ^'o!. XX\'. Oct. 1908, 
p. 4.^-'. 

Specimens. — Prov. 

THIS large and iiandsome Finch is of very irregular occurrence in 
southern British Columbia excei)ting- the higher mountain ranges, where it 
breeds. During some winters it is ])resent iniarge numbers, while in others, 
equally severe, none are seen. 'iMie species was very common throughout the 
winter of 1906-1907, a very severe one; but in that of 1901-T902, which 
was notably mild. Pine Grosbeaks were noticed in considerable numl^ers as 
far soutli as Penticton, 40 miles north of the international boundary, and they 
undoubtedly occurred much farther south. 

Tlieir food in the winter months is principally berries, but, strange to 
sav, thev altogether refuse those of the mountain ash. both the introduced and 
indigenous species. The former is the favorite food of the Eastern Pine 
Grosbeak thruout the winter in Ontario, but trees loaded with fruit were 
passed Iw at Okanagan Landing in the winter of 1906- 1907. even after the 
birds had eaten all the rose hi])s and snow berries and were reduced to eating 
weed seeds with the Lcucosfictcs. 

Either this suli-species or niontaiia breeds on all the higher mountain 
ranges in British Ci>lumbia. occupying a zone from timber line downwards 
about 2,000 feet. 

Mv first acquaintance with the Pine Gro.sbeak at its breeding grounds, 
was in tlie Cascade Mountains due north of Mt. Baker, on both sides of the 
Forty-ninth Parallel. Here the sj^ecies was a somewhat sparing breeder 
close to timber line among the hemlock and balsam timber. They were 
feeding voung on the i/tli of July: at the same time Crossbills had fully 



^2 THE AMERICAN CROSSbAl. 



grown yinin^^ in tlocks. Xo red males were seen, thougli many gray males 
were singing in the early mornings from the topmost s]>ray of some Ixilsani. 
In the writer's opinion the red i>lumagc 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 thrrmgh the second 
summer, or more rarely a salmon-pink one; but in most cases the dress of the 
second summer is a gray one like the females, with yellow head and rump. 
Females mav sometimes l)e seen with decidedly red heads and rumps, — from 
the size and shai)c of the bill these seem to l)e very old birds. The alx>ve 
remarks as to the red dress in the male apply also, in the writer's ex|)erieiice, 
to the genera Lo.via. Carpodacus ami Acanthis. 

Ai.i.AN Brooks. 



No. 25. 

AMERICAN CROSSBILL. 

A. O. U. No. 521. Loxia cur\irostra minor 1 Urchin. K 

Synonym. — Rkd Ckossiui.i.. 

Description. — .Idult male: Tips of mandibles crossed cither way; plumage 
red, briglitcst on rump; feathers of back with brownish cciUers ; wings and tail 
fuscous. Shade of red very variable, — orange, cinnabar, even vermilion, some- 
times toned down by a saffron suffusion. Immature males sometimes ])resent a 
curiously mottled appearance with chrome-green and red intermingled. Female 
and \ouuy: Dull olive-green, brighter and more yellow on head and rump; 
below grav overcast by dingy yellow, .\dult male, length 5.50-6.25 (139.7- 
158.8) ; wings 3.40 l8().'4) ; tail 2'.05 (52.1) ; bill .70 ( 17.8) or under. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; crossed mandibles; male red and female 
olive-grccn ; both 7>.-ittiout white wing-bars. 

"Nest: in forks or among twigs of tree, founded on a mass of twigs and 
bark-stri])S, the inside felted of finer materials, including small twigs, rootlets, 
grasses, hair, feathers, etc. Egc/s: 3-4. 0.75 x 0.57, pale greenish, spotted and 
dotted about larger end with dark purplish brown, with lavender sbell-marknigs" 
(Cones ). .\v. size, .85 x .53 (21.6 x 13.3 ) ( Hrewer). Season: erratic. Feb.-Oct. ; 
one brood. 

General Range. — \i>rthern North .\merica, resident s])aringly south in the 
eastern Initcd State-^ to Maryland and' Tennessee, and in the .Mleghanies. irregu- 
larly abundant in winter. Of irregiilar distribution thruout the coniferous forests 
of the West, save in southern California, .Arizona, and New Mexico, where 
replaced by /.. c. stricklaildi. 

Range in Washington. — Found tbruont the coniferous forests of the State: 
of irregular c ccnrrence locally. Non-migratory but nomadic. 

Authorities. — Curzirostra americana Wils. Baird, Kep. I'ac. R. R. Surv. 
IX. pt. II. 1X5S, 42G |)art. 427. T. C&S. L'. D'. Ka. 1)-'. J. 1'.. E. 

Specimens. — U. of W. Prov. E. B. 



THE AMERICAN CROSSBILL. 73 



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 sununit 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 exhibit 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 open 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 (ince 
detected a grou]> 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. I". 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 i)laces, 
and notably where dish-water was habitually 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 affairs, he sprinkled the ground with salt, and ui)on 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 the 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 cunncctinn with certain mineral springs in the Suiattle country. 



74 rill'- WliriH-WlNGED CROslbll.L. 

Wlieii we recall tiiat tlic iiunuai f<M)d nf tlie CrosshiJl is piiic-seeils, this 
cravinjj fur Natures solvent is readily understandable. 

Crossbills j^ive out an intermittent rattlinjj cry, (^r excited titter, Iczc. 
/iTi', lezi\ while fcediufj. They have also a flight note which consists of a 
short, clear whistle; and a flock composed of separately unflulating indi- 
viduals alTords a ])leasing sensation to lH>th eye and e:ir. as it cipidly passes. 
The male is said to have sprightly whistling notes of a most agreeable char- 
acter, generically related to that of the I'ine Grosl)eak, or Purple P'inch, but 
their exhibition must be rather rare. 

.\fter all, there is something a bit uncanny alxnit these cross-billed 
creatures, and their eccentricities show nowhere in greater relief than in their 
nesting habits. The (|uasi migrations oi the bird are determined by the local 
abundance of fir (or pine) cones. Like their food supply, the birds them- 
selves may al>>und in a given section one year and l)e conspicuously absent 
the next. Moreover, l)ecause there is no choice of season in gathering the 
seed cro|), the birds may nest whenever the whim seizes them; and this they 
do from January to July, or even Octoljer. The communal life is maintained 
in spite of the occasional defection of love-lorn couples; and there is nothing 
in the appearance of a tlock of Crossbills in .\pril to suggest that other such 
are dutifully nesting. 

Mr. I'owles has never taken the eggs near Tacoma, altho he has encoun- 
tered half a dozen of their nests in twelve years, the only occu|)ied 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 placet! in one of a group of 
small firs in the |>rairie country, at an elevation of some twenty feet. The 
nest rather closely resembles that of the California Purple Finch, but is more 
comi)actly built and much more heavily lined. It is com|)osed of twigs and 
rootlets closely interwoven, and boasts an inner quilt of felted cow-hair nearly 
half an inch in thickness. The female Crossbill exhibits a singular devotion 
to duty, once confessed, and in this case the collector had actually to lift her 
from the eggs in order that he might examine them. 



No. 2(1. 

WHITH-WINGED CROSSBILL. 

.\. O. I'. Xn. 5j_>. Lo.xia Icucoptcra linn.!. 

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



THE WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL. 75 



species. Female and young: Light olive-yellow, ochraceous, or even pale 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. 
\'ery variable. Length 6.00-6.30 (152.4-165.1): wing 3.50 (88.9); tail 2.25 
(57.2): bill .67 (17). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; crossed bill; cous;iicuous white wing- 
bars of both se.xcs. 

Nesting. — A^est has not yet been taken in \\'ashinglon but bird undoubtedly 
breeds here. "Nest: of twigs and strips of birch-ljark, covered exteriorly with 
moss (Usnea) 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 l)rown and lilac, .80X.55 (20.3x14)" (Chamberlain). Season: Feb.- 
Marcb. 

General Range. — Xorthern parts of North America and southern Green- 
land, sdulb into the United 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, Vol. XVII. Oct., 1901, p. 403. D-. 

Specimens. — ( V . of \\ .) Prov. C. B. 

TO TELL the truth, no one hereahnuts appears In know much about 
the White-winged Crossbill. It is presumed to be conumm 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 
Wright'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 cjuite as erratic as its more common cousin ; and while it is, perhaps, more 
nearly confined to the mountains, it sh<nild be looked for wherever C. minor 
occurs, and especially in flocks of the latter species. 

Of the bird's occurrence in Alaska, where it is much more abundant, 
Nelson says'': "It is more familiar than tlie Grosbeak [i. e., Pinicola enn- 
cleator alasccnsis], frequently coming low down among the smaller growth, 
and it is a common sight to see parties of them swinging about in e\'ery con- 
ceivable ])osition from the twigs on the tops of the cottonwoods or birch 
trees, wliere the birds are busily engaged in feeding upon the buds. They 
pay no heed 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 



Since writing the above specimens have been taken at Kirkland by Miss Jennie V. Getty (Dec. 1908). 
Rep. Nat'l Hist. Coll. in Alaska, pp. 174, 175. 



7<. THE GRAY-CROWNED LEUC<^ICTE. 

chirps of alarm and call to each otlicr with a long, sweet note, scHnething 
similar ti> that of the (iolclfiiich (Sf'iiius tristisl. They kccj) uj) a constant 
clicrpiiig re])ctititin of this note when feetling in |>arties. and if one nf their 
iunnlK.'r is shot the others a|)i)roach closer and closer to the luniter, and gaze 
with mingled curiosity and symj^thy ii]x>n their fluttering com|)anion." 



No. 27. 

GRAY-CROWNED LEUCOSTICTE. 

A. O. I'. Xci. 324. Leucosticte tephrocotis Swains. 

Synonyms. — Rosy Finch. Swainsons Rosy Finch. 

Description. — .UUilts: Similar to /,. /. littoralis but ashy gray of head re- 
stricted to sides of crown and occi])Ut — in worn ]>lumaj;cs black of crown pro- 
duced backward to meet brown of hinil neck. Seasonal changes as in succeeding. 
Size of next. 

Recognition Marks. — Si)arrow size : warm brown plumage ; ashy gray not 
encroaching upon sides of head as distinguisheil from /.. t. littoralis. 

Nesting. — Not known to breed in Washington. "Xest made of strips of 
bark and grass, built in a fissure of a rock at the side of a bunch of grass" ( Reed (. 
Eyi/s: 4 or 3, white. Season: June; one brood. 

General Range. — ImiH-rfectly made out — probably discontinuous. Reported 
breeding from such widely separated localities as the Rocky Mountains of 
British .\merica and the Sierra Nevada and White .Moimtains of southern Cali- 
fornia; winters ou the eastern slopes of the Rockies aii<l irregularly eastward to 
western .Nebraska. Manitoba, etc.. westward to Cascade and Sierra Nevada 
ranges (Camp I larvey, ( )re. I'ldlman, Wash. Chilliwhack. H. C. ). 

Range in Washington. — I'robably of regidar occurrence during nugrations 
and in winter east of the Cascade Mountains only. 

Authorities. — Xot IrCiiously reported: W. T. Shaw in cpistola. Dec. 31, 
1908. 

Specimens. — Tullman. 

MOL'.N'r.M.N climbing as nil art is still in its infancy in the Northwest 
and altho the Mountaineers and the Mazamas are attacking the situation 
vigorously we have yet much to learn of the wild life u])on our Washington 
sierras. But what ])rol)lem could he more fascinating to a lover of birds 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 
Jebusitcs of the untaken citadels, and our ignorance of their ways will ere 
long l)ecome a reproach to our vaunted western enterprise. As it stands. 



THE HEPBURN LEUCOSTICTE. 77 



liowever, only scanty crnmbs of information liave come to us concerning this 
most interesting and widely distributed race of Highlanders. 

The Gray-crowned Leucosticte is considered the central figure of the 
genus, shading^, as it does, into L. citrata of the Bitterroots and L. atistraiis 
of Colorado, into L. t. littoralis of southern British Columbia, Washington 
and Oregon, and (perhaps thru littoralis) into griscomicha of the Aleutians. 
This assumes for the si>ecies a center of distribution in the Rocky Mountains 
of British Columbia, Alljerta and Saskatcliewan 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 "inside passage" between the Rockies and vSierras. 

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. Xo. 524a. Leucosticte tephrocotis littoralis (Baird). 

Synonyms. — Rosv Fixcii. Hepburn's Rosy Finch. Bairii's Rosy Finch. 

Description. — Adult male in summer: 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, chocolate, 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, rumj) and flanks 
broadly and distinctly tii>i)ed with jjink (of variable shade); wings and tail 
blackish ; lesser and middle ccjvcrts 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 
in 'iciiiter: Feathers of back and scapulars edged with light brown ; pink edgings 
of wings, etc., paler, and body i)lumage, especially on breast? with more or less 
pale skirting; bill yellow with dusky ti]j (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 .43 ( 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 /,. tephrocotis. 



a. By "shading" here is not mt^ant subsptcific relationship, altho this docs obtain as regarding both 
griseonucUa and littoralis, but rather suggestive relationship, assumed divergence from a common stock. 



78 



THE HEPBURN LEUCOST^TE. 



Nesting. — Xcst: a tliick mat of dried grasses placed in sheltered crevice of 
rock at great altitude. liy<js: Not yet taken but doubtless like those of Lcucoslicte 
grisconucha, viz., 4 or 5, i)urc white; av. size .97 x .O7 (24.6x17). Season: 
June; one bmod. 

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

Range in Washington. — Breeds thruout the higher Cascades (Wrights 
Peak, Sahale, Mt. Haker. Mt. Rainier, etc.) and, probably, the Olympics. Re- 
treats in winter to the lowlands, chiefly cast of the Cascade Mountains. 

Authorities.— ?]. K. Lord, Nat. in \'. Id. & li. C. 1866, p. 154. ["l lop- 
burn's (sic) rosv linch," Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 ( 1885), 22.\ Dawson, 
.-\uk, XIW 1897, 92, 177. J. E. 

Specimens. — P. Prov. E. C. 



LIX'RS tlicre a man so brutish that his heart does not kindle when he 
sees Rainier lit up with tlie nuldy glow of the eveniiifj sacrifice? H sucli 
there Ik:, he is no hird-lovcr. ^^^^^^^ Lives there a 

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

snows of Kulshan. ^^r ^^^ Sluiksan, or Sa- 

hale. and not 
adore the 
emblem of 
eternal 




SUKl.LKl.Kll n.\.\.\CLl.S. 

DETAILS OP TUB ArraOACII To MT. ftAIIALS. 



THE HEPBURN LEUCOSTICTE. 



79 



purily lliereon displayed? It so. she will not appreciate the Leucosticte. 
This bird is the vestal virgin of the snows, the attendant minister of Natnre's 
loftiest altars, the guardian of the glacial sanctuaries. 

One who loves the nunnitains cannot measure his praise nor bound 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 opportunitv. Here is the 
patron saint of mountaineers! lie alone of all creatures is at home on the 
heights, and he is not even dependent upon the scanty vegetation wbicli 
follows the retreating snows, since he is able to wrest a living from the \erv 
glaciers. Abysses do not appall him, nor do the flower-strewn meadows of 
the lesser heights alienate his snow-centered affections. 




Taken 1.1 CUclan County. pholu by tl. 

"THE Cnn.I.V WH.DKRNKSS OF SXOWCL.\D PKAKS." 



Looking out on the chilly wilderness of snow-clad ])eaks 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 dripjjing south exposures 
of inhospital)!e rock, there is nothing visible which afYords promise of food 
unless it be the snow itself. .And when one sees a little companv of the 



to THE HEPBURN LEUCOS'ftCTE. 



finches niovini^j alx)Ut (Icimircly uix»ii tlic face uf a clu»])])y siKiwdrift, |)ccking 
at the surface licre and there, he l)e{iins to liarlxjr an uncanny sus|>ici<»n that 
the l)irds do eat snow. Closer examination, liowever, shows that tlie surface 
i>f all snow-lxinks, not freshly covered, is sprinkled with insects, — midges, 
beetles, wasps, and the like — insects which the sjjring gales have swept up 
to uncongenial heights and dropi)ed, ljenunil)ed or dead with cold. These 
battered waifs the I^eucostictes gather with untiring patience, and they are 
thus .'ihle to subsist as no other s]>ecies can, up to the very summits. 

The eggs of the Hq)l)urn I^eucosticte have not to our knowledge yet 
been taken. Mr. D. E. Brown, then of Glacier, found these birds scooping 
holl(»ws under grass tussocks on the middle slopes of Baker, aljove timber 
line, on the 7th of June, 1905. On the 20th of July. 1900. Professor Lynds 
Jones and my.self 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 Ijelonged to any other species. 

In July. 1907. knowing that it was t«Kj late for eggs, I yet s])ent several 
days searching the precipitous wall which separates the up[)er Horseshcje 
Basin from the glacier which heads Thunder Creek. Adult birds to the 
numl)er of a dozen gleaned scraps from the dump of the Cascade Mine house; 
but, alfho 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 exact work 
in tracing. I therefore examined carefully but with difficulty several of the 
weathered fissures, or couloirs, which ran per])cndicularly up the face of the 
cliff. Here, under cover of rocks which had hnlged in the throat of the 
fissure, or which had weathered out unevenly, old nests were found, simple 
affairs of coile<l grasses, and too dilapidated for exact measurement. From 
one of these sites a jiebble snap])ed from the finger must have fallen three 
hundred feet Ijefore striking the glacier below. 

Xow and then a passing bird, suspicious of my intent, stopped on some 
projecting i)oint of rock, to utter the .sole note wJiich does duty for every 
miK>d, chiirkk or schthub. a .sound comparable only to the concussion of a 
small taut rojje on a flag-pole. Finally, neir the top f>f the Sahale fllacier. 
I got a line at two hundred yards on an (Kcupied fissure, and traced Ixuh 
parent Leucostictes into its distant recesses. Climbing cautiously up a sharp 
slo|)e of ice. my ffxitsteps were guided by the almost incessant clamor of young 
birds. .Arrived at the upper lip of the glacier, however, I found that it stoo<l 
away from the rock-wail some fifteen feet, and that a cha.sm some forty feet 
in depth yawned beneath. Into this forbidding bcnischrund. one of the 
fledgling Ixmcostictes had tumbled. He was not more than two-thirds grown 
(July r8th) and down feathers still fluttered from his cheeks, but he was a 
plucky little fellow, and had managed to scramble up off the ice onto a piece 



THE HEPBURN LEUCOSTICTE. 



of flat rock which cauglit a hit of the afternoon sun. Here, to jtulse fruni 
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 niedal hovered suggestively over the spot, I know ; 
but pray, consider, — the rock wall was j^erpendicular and smooth as glass, 
the ice-wall I st^n k] , m w ;is niiilriTiil. X' • ; i-\ en ])liili iniitln h;is its limits ! 




.■\ Gl.l.Ml'Sli OF MX. R.MNIEU FROM THE .NISQUALLV C.L.\Cn;R. 

A FAVORITE HAUNT OK THE FIEPBURN LEUCOSTICTE. 



The nest containing the remaining youngsters was set well hack in a 
rock fissure, concealed by projectinns eighty feet above th« fallen first-liurn, 
and inaccessible to man from above or below. With the possible exception 
of the Black Cloud Swifts (Cypscloidcs nigcr borcalis). who are re]inrted U- 
share at times these same cliffs, it is safe to sa\- that the Leucostictes are the 
highest nesters on the continent. 



hj the redpoll. • 

No. 21). 

RKDPOLL. 

\. < ). {'. .\'(). 528. Acanthis linaria (l.iiiii.j. 

Synonyms. — Common Rmn'oi.i,. Lksskk Rkdpoi.i.. Linnet. Lintik. 

Description. — .liiiilt male: Crown crimson; breast and shoulders crimson 
in varviiif,' projiortions according to season; frontlet, lores, and tliroat-i)atch s<K>ty 
black ; riniainiiif,' lower i)arts white, flanks and crissum streaked with dusky ; 
above, variegated dusky, flaxen-brown and whitish, the feathers having dusky 
centers and flaxen eilgings ; rump dusky and white in streaks, tinged with rosy; 
wings and tail dusky with flaxen or whitish edgings; two inconsi)icuous wing-bars 
foruud bv white tips of middle and greater coverts. I'cmalc: Similar but 
without red on rumj) and breast, the latter sulTused with huffy instead; sides 
heavily streaked with dusky. Immature: Like female but without crims<»n 
crown. Length 3.30 ( 139.7) or less; wing 2.80 (/i.i) ; tail 2.30 (58.4) ; bill .34 
(8.6) : <le|)th at base .23 ( 3.8). 

RecoKnition Marks. — Warbler to Si)arrow size; crimson crowii-])atcl! in 
adults; no dusky spot on breast. 

Nestinjf. — l^oes not breed in Washington. Nest: a bulky affair of twig., and 
grasses, lined with feathers and placed in trees and bushes, liygs: 4-6, i)alc blue, 
dotted and speckled with reddish brown or umber. .\v. size, .65 .\ .50 (16.5.x 
12.7). 

General Range. — Northern ()ortions of northern liemisphere, south irregu- 
larly in winter, in North .\merica to the .Middle States, and southern Oregon. 

Range in Washington. — Winter resident, abiuidant on F.ast-side, infrc(|uent 
or casual west of the Cascades. 

Migrations. — Nov. i-Dec. 13. I-'eb. i3-.March 13. Yakima Co. Oct. 31, 
1899. Chelan March 19, 1896. 

Authorities. — .lu/iotliiis linaria Cab. Cooper and Suckley, Re]). Pac. R. R. 
Surv. \'ol. Nil. pt. ii,"i8^«. i.,8. C&S. D'. Ra. I)-'. Kk. J. 11 

Specimens.— ( C. of W. ) I'rov. R. C. P. 

'rilOSIC who count themselves familiar with the Goldfinch are ajH to 
let tlic first few flocks of Redpolls pass uncpicstioned. When, however, in late 
November, a norther brings down some thousands of the.sc .Maskan waifs, the 
bird student is roused to attention. The resemblance between the two si)ecies 
is most striking in form and ai)pearance as well as in habit and note. But 
once the eves have been assured by a near revelation of convincing red. that 
Acitiithis Uutvia is l)efore them, the ears remark also a slight foreign accent 
in the s<^cctic call and in the rattling flight notes. 

Redpolls simimcr abundantly along the coasts of .Alaska, and along the 
higher levels down thru British Columbia. The winter movements of this 
species are irregid.ir and somewhat confusing. .According to Nelson, the 



THE REDPOLL. 



83 



western residents retire into tiie interior of iVlaska to winter, wiiere they 
are able to withstand tlie 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, but 
appears to seek the 
more open countr\- 
by preference. It 
subsists chiefly upoii 
seeds, gleaning them 
from the ground 
with much pleasant 
chatter, i:ir seeking 
them in their winter 
receptacles. Redpoll 
again proves kinship 
with (joldfinch by 
eating thistle seeds, 
and with Siskin 
by his extravagant 
fondness fnr the 
alder catkin. Red- 
poll's manner is very 
confiding ; and we 
are sure that he 
would not begrudge 
us a share of his 
winter viands, if we 
cared for them. The 
author is no vege- 
tarian, but he is lx)und 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 hyperboreans prepare to return to 
their native heather, we see the dee|)-dyed crimson of full regalia on crown 
and breast. Rut during the actual lireeding season, we are told by a com- 




^rool^. 



RICnrOI.LS IN WINTER. 



84 THE PINE SISKIN. ' 

petcnt ohscrvcr in (irccnlaiul. I ImUhicH. tlic ni;ile imt only l)oci>ines excecrl- 
ingly shy Init l(jses liis rosy c<)lt>rin^. It is liardly to 1)€ supposed tliat this 
loss of color is a protective measure, but rather that it is the result of the 
exhaustive lalx)rs incident to the season. Nature, in that forhiddiufj clime, 
cannot afford to dress a busy workman in tine clothes. It is noteworthy 
in this coiuiection, also, that ca^jcd Rcd]>olls lose their rosy tints ne\cr to 
regain them. 



No. .?o. 

pinp: siskin 

.\. O. r. Xn. 53^. Spinus pinus (Wils.). 

Synonyms. — .\mi:kic.\n Siski.n. 1'ink Finch. Pim: I.i.nnkt. 

Description. — .Idiill male and female: .Mwive brownish bnffy; l)cIow 
(.•rfamv-l)iilT and whitish; everywhere streaked with dusky or <lark olive-brown; 
the stroakings arc liner on the head and foreparts, coarser on back and brtast; 
wings fuscous, the flijjlU feathers sulpiuir-yellow at the base, and the primaries 
edged with the same color; tail fuscous, all but the middle feathers sulphur- 
yellow at base. I'.ill comparatively slender, acute. Length 4.75-5.00 (120.6-127) : 
wing 2.75 (')<).o) : tail i.So (45-7' : '>'•• -4.? ( io.«>). 

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

Nesting. — Xcst: saddled upon horizontal limb of evergreen tree, .well con- 
cealed from below, usually at motierate heights; very variable in structure, tlimsy 
to massive and ornate; comfjosed of small twigs ( usually lir). and tree-moss, with 
a lining of line rootlets and horse- or cow-hair, rarely feathers. .\n average nest 
measures externally 4'.' inches wide by 2' 1 in. dee]); internally 2 in. wide by t in. 
deep. l^(/(/s: 1-4, usually 7, or 4, pale bluish green lightly dotted with rufous and 
blackish, chiellv about larger end. .\v. size .67x48 (17x12.21. Season: 
March-Si|itiinliiT, but most abiuidant in .April; one brtKid. 

General Range. — North .America at large, breeding in iiigber 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 Ciu'f of 
Mexico. 

Ran>;e in \\ ashin;;t<»n. In summer coextensive with evergreen timber, but 
especiallv common ni mountains just below limit of trees; iii winter more li>cal- 
ized, or irregularly absent. 

Authorities. — Chrxsowilris pinus I'onap. Baird. Rep. I'ac. R. R. Surv. IX. 

pt. II. 1X3,^, p. 425. t: c&s. I.-'. Rb. ]v. IV. Kk. J. r.. 1:. 

Specimens. — I', of W. IVov , 11. K. V. 

IN designing the .^iskin. Nature achieved another triumph in obscurities. 
The heavv streaky pattern, worked out in dusky olive on a huffy brown 



THE PINE SISKIN. 



85 




fiigraph Copyright, 1908, 6)' W. L. Dazison. 

SIX LITTLE SISKINS. 
ruE mountain'* as a background. 



l)ase. prepares tlie bird for self-effacement in any environment: wliile tlie 
sulpliur-colored water-mark of tlie outspread wings barely redeems its owner 
from sheer oblivion. This remark applies, however, only to plumage. In 
behavior the Siskin is anything but a forgettable bird-])ersc>n. 

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 tiie communal flight, while their incessant change of relative 
positions in flock suggests those intramolecular vibrations of matter, which 



86 



Till-. IMNE SISKIN. 



tlie "new physicists" are teliinp us alxnit. When a bird is siglite<l alone, 
one sees that it is the _^acefiil. lUKhilatory, or "loopinj^." tlijjht of cousin 
Goldfinch which tiic social Siskin indulges so recklessly. 

Many of the notes, tix>, rcniin<l us of the (^>Idrinch. There are first 
those little chattering notes indulged a-wing and a-j)erch, when the birds are 
not too busy feeding. The Icoodayi of inquiry or greeting is the same. But 
there is another note quite distinctive. It is a Ialx>rcd. but singularly jKnctrat- 
ing production with a peculiar vowel sound (like a German umlauted u), 
ciiin or -nv;;;. So much effort does the uttcrrince of this note co-;t the bird. 




THE riK.VTICKIKS OF PAH.MUSi:, 

RAINICR AS SEEN BY THE SISKIN. 



Photo by IC. Leon Dim-i 



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

When fired by passion tiie Siskin is capable, al.so, of extended song. 
This daytime serenade is vivacious, but not loud except in occasional |)as- 
sages, — a sort of chattering, ecstatic warble of diverse elements. The bird 
has. Ijesides its own peculiar notes, many finch-like phrases and inter|K>lations, 
reminding one now of the Goldfinch, and now of the California Puri)le Finch. 
The most striking i)hrase produced in this connection is a triple shriek of the 
Evening Grosl)eak. sulxlued of course, but very efTective. 

Tho |)erhaps not numerically e<|ual to the Western Golden-crowned 
Kinglet, nor to the Western Winter Wren, there is not another bird in Wash- 
ington which enjoys a more nearly uniform distribution than the Pine 



THE PINE SISKIN. 



V 



Siskin. Its breeding range cuincidcs wiUi the (listributiim of evergreen 
timber; its feeding forays include all alder trees; and ruving bands are 
likely tn 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 Crossbills a 
strong interest in the products of 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 examined specimens in which the crops were distended by 
these seeds exclusively. While the observer is ogling, it may te an over- 
modest Townsend Sparrow, a flock of Pine Siskins will charge incontinently 
into the alders above his very head. W'ith many ce-ics and ceeiiis they fall 
to W'Ork upon the stubborn catkins, poking, twisting, prying, 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 likelv as not. b\' a new band, charging the tree like a volley of 
spent shot. 

Nesting time with tlie Siskin extends from March toi September, and 
the parental instinct appears in the light of an individual seizure, or decimating 
q)idemic, 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 temiiorary 
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 may storm the very 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 intimacy which suggested simultaneous marriage, 
allows an almost unseemly interest in the private afifairs of a neighbor. 

Once eml)arked upon the sea of matrimony, the female is a very deter- 
mined sitter, and the male is not inattentive. In e.xanjining 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 (PseudotsHga niucronata), and is commonly saddletl 
upon a horizontal or .slightly ascending limb at some distance from the tree 
trunk. Viewed from Ijelow, it a])pears merely as an accumulation of material 
at the base of divergent twigs, where nmss and waste is wont to gather. 



88 



Till-: riXH SISKIN. 



As to distance fnun llic .t,Miiiiii<l. it may vary from fuiir to a luindrcd feet. 
The latter is the hmit of investifjation. hut tliere is no particidar reason to 
suppose they tlo not f^u liif^her. Most of tlie nests are jilaced at from eight 
to twenty feet uj) 

The materials used in construction are dead fir-twigs, weed-stalks, strips 
of cedar-hark, mosses of several sorts, grass, fir, hair, itiant downs, etc. The 
interior may he carefully lined with fine rootlets, fur, horse-hair, feathers, 
altho there is great variation hoth in material and workmanship Some 
nests appear little better than those of Chipping Sparrows; while the l)est 
cannot certainly he distinguished ( without the eggs) from the elegant crea- 
tions of the .\uduhon 
Warhler. One nest found 
near Tacoma in .\pril, 
190^1. was allowed to pass 
for two weeks as that 
of a Western ('.olden- 
crowned Kinglet: it was 
huilt in characteristic 
Kinglet fashi> n. chiclly of 
moss, and was lashed 
m i d w a y of drooping 
twigs fi>ur inches to one 
side and Ixrlow the main 
stem of the sustaining 
hranch. near its end. 

The eggs are three or 
four in numlier, tho sets 
of one and two are not 
some seasons. 
They are a very pale 
hluish green in color, with di ts, blotches, streaks, and occasional marbling, 
of ri'fous and hnnvn, cliielly aliout the larger end. They vary considerably 
in size and shai)e. running from subspherical Xo a slender ovate. Measure- 
ments of average eggs are .68 x .48 inches. 

Incubation lasts about twelve days, and the young are ready to tly in 
as many more. The brood does not remain li>ng in a family group but joins 
the roving clan as soon as possible. We susjiect, therefi>re, that the Siskin 
raises but one brixKl in a season; and she undoubtedly heaves a sigh of 
relief when she may again dou her evening gown, and rejoin "society." 



^> 



'W' 



Takrn in Tacoma. Photo by tht Author. rare 

NEST .Wn ECr.S OK PINi; SISKIN. 



THE WESTERN GOLDFINCH. 89 



No. 31. 
WESTERN GOLDFINCH. 

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

Synonyms. — Pale Goldfinch. "Wild Canary." "Su.mmer Yellow- 
bird." Thistle-bird. 

Description. — Adult male in siiiiiiiut: 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 bufly or yellow sufifusion brightest on throat and 
sides. Adult male in winter: Like adult female but brighter by virtue of con- 
trasting black of wing and tail ; white markings more extended than in summer. 
Female in li'intcr: not so yellow as in summer, grayer and browner with more 
extensive white. Young: Like winter adults but browner, no clear white any- 
where, cinnamomeus in.stead. Length of adult male: (skins) 4.71 (120); wing 
2-95 (75); tail 1.97 (50); bill .41 (10.4) ; tarsus .55 (14.1). 

Recognition 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 llriti>h Columbia and Manitoba, south to northern and eastern Mexico. 

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

Authorities. — Clirysomitris tristis, Brewster, B. N. O. C. \'II. Oct. 1882, 
p. 227. (T|. D'. D-\ Ss'. Ss^ J. 

Specimens. — P. Prov. C. 

"HANDSOME is that handsome does," we are \.o\^^, but the Goldtinch 
fulfils botli conditions in the proper sense, and does not require the doul)tful 
apology of the proverb, which was eviflently 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 wliether he is only happy 
because of his panoply of 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 year's mullein 



90 



THE WESTERN GOLDFl.'^l 



stalks ami cnlivciiiiij^ tlicir quest vvitli iiuicli pleasant chatter, mm scattering 
in olKrclicnce to some whimsical command and sowing the air with their 
lauglitcr. I'crchk'-opcc or pcrchic' -ichic' -opcc , says every bird as it glides 
down each successive billow of its undulating flight. So enamored are the 
Goldfinches of their gyi)sy life that it is only when the summer l>egins to 
wane that they are willing to make particular choice of mates and nesting 
spots. As late as the middle of July one may see roving bands <»f forty or 
fifty individuals, but by the hrst of August they are usually settled to the 
task of rearing young. The nesting also ap|)ears to be dt'iiendent in st»me 
measure upon tiie tliistic 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 l)egin. 

Nests are placed in the upright forks of various kinds of saplings, or 
even of growing i)lants, in which latter case the thistle, again, jjrovcs first 
choice. The materials used are the choicest obtainable. Xormaily the inner 
bark of hemp is employed fi>r warp, and thistle-duwn for wtjof 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 Ixnmd 
together with cobwebs, and the whole felted with other soft plant-d'iwns. 
or even horse-hair. The whole is made fast thruout its depth to the supfHirt- 
ing branches, and forms one of the most durable of summer's trophies. 

From four to six, but commonly five, eggs are laid, and these of a delicate 
greenish blue. Fourteen days are rerpiired for hatching: and from the time 
of leaving the nest the youngsters drone babcc! bahcc! with weary iteration, 
all thru the stifling summer day. 

During the nesting sea.son the birds subsist largely u]x>n insects of 
various kinds, especially plant-lice, flies, and the smaller grassliopjiers ; but at 
other times thev feed almost exclusively upon seeds. They are very fond of 
sunflower seeds, returning to a favorite head day after day until the croj) 
is harvested. Seeds of the lettuce, turnips, and other garden plants are 
levied \\\ton freelv where occasion offers; but thistle seed is a staple article, 
and that is varied In a hundred see<ls besides, which none could grudge 
them. 

Thruout the winter the AXestern Goldfinches are nnich less in evidence, 
the majoritv of them having retired to the southland at that sea.son. Those 
which remain are somewhat altered to ai)i)earance: the wings and tail show 
much pure white, and the yellow proper is now confined to the thri>af and 
the sides of the head and neck. Me is thus a lighter an<l a brighter bird 
than his eastern brother. Rut the western bird has the same merry notes and 
sprightlv wavs which have made the name of Goldfinch synonymous with 
sunshine. 



THE WILLOW GOLDFINCH. 91 



No. 32. 
WILLOW GOLDFINCH. 

A. (K U. Xo. 52913. Astragaliniis tristis salicamans (Grinncll). 

Synonjms. — California Goldfinch. "Yellow-bird/' etc. 

Description. — Similar to A. t. pallidus, but wings and tail shorter and coU)ra- 
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 j)lumage of ./. /. pallidus. Wing (of adult male) 2.75 (70) ; 
tail 1.73 (441. 

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

Nesting. — As in A. t. pallidus. 

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

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

Authorities. — Cbrysomitris 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. Of course we 
see them every season, and one may see a great deal of a particular troop, 
once its general range is ascertained; but, taken all in all, the bird is not 
common. Neither Cooper nor Suckley saw this Goldfinch, altho particularly 
wondering at its absence. The clearing of the forests and the cultivation of 
the soil is conducive to its increase, however; and there is every reason to 
believe that w'e are seeing more of it year by year. 

There has been a warm discussion as to the subspecific validity of the 
\^''l]low Goldfinch, but those who see birds of this form in late winter or early 
spring cannot but be impressed with the striking brownness of its plumage, 
as well as by the more extensive white upon the wings, as compared with 
the eastern bird. Beyond its partiality for willow trees, it has no further 
distinguishing traits, unless, perhaps, it nia}- be reckoned less tuneful, or noisw 



92 THE CASSIN PURPLE F%CH. 



No. 33. 
CASSIN'S PLRlM.r: IINCIi. 

A. < ). I'. X(>. 51S. Carpodac'iis cnssinii I'-aiid. 

Synonym. — Cassis's I-'ini 11. 

Description. — .\dult male: Crown iliill crimson; hack and scapulars vinace- 
ous nii.\t.'(l witli hrownisli and sliarply streaked willi ilnsky : winjjs and tail dusky 
with more or less eilfjiiifj of vinaceous; remainiii),' plnniage chiefly dull rosy, 
jiassinj,' into white on hellv and crissnin : under tail-coverts white streake<l with 
dusky. Adull fniuilc: Everywhere (save on win},'s, tail and lower abdomen) 
sharply streaked with dusky, clearly, on a white groiuid, below; alxjve on an olive- 
gray or olive-buffy ground. Immature male: Like female in plumage and in<lis- 
tinguishable. Length of adult 6.50-7.00 ( 165.1 -177.8) ; wing 3.62 (y2) ; tail 2.56 
(65 ) ; bill .50 ( 12.6) ; tarsus .73 ( 18.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size: red of crown contrastiiuj with back dis- 
tinctive as compared with (". />. califoniiciis : general streakiness of female (and 
male in nmre common plumage). 

Nesting. — Xest: of twigs and rootlets lined with horse-hair, string, etc., 
placed in ])ine or fir tree well out from trunk. Ilg<is: 4 or 5, colored as in succee<l- 
ing species; a little larger. Av. size .85 x .60 (2i.6x 15.2). Season: June; one 
or two broods according to altitude. 

General Ranj^e. — Western L'nited States from the eastern base of the Rocky 
Mountains west to (but not including?! the Pacific coast district; north to I'ritish 
Columbia: south over plateau region of Mexico; found chiefly in the mountains. 

Range in Washington. — .\t least coextensive with |)ine timber in eastern 
Washington; found to summit of Cascades but westerly range imperfectly made 
out. 

Authorities. — ("Cassin"s I'urjile I'iiH-li." Johnson, Rej). ("lov. W. T. 1884 
( 1885 I, 22. \ Carpodacus cassiiii. Dawson, Auk. \'ol. XI\. i8<>7. p. 177. D'. J. 

Specimens. — I'rov. C. 

CASSl.X'S IM.XCII is tlie bird of the eastern Cascades and the timl)ered 
fiKjtbills of northern Washington. While ranging higher than other finches, 
it shares with them an inclination to urban life, and a full realization of the 
advantages of gardens and cultivated patches. .\\ Stchekiii I saw a flock of 
them gleaning crumbs as ciniiplaccntly 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 oiien country. 

.\s the bird-man lay sprawling in the grateful shadow of one of these 
grim sentinels, munching 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, wliile an accomuKnlating Cassin Finch 



THE CASSIN PURPLE FINCH. 



93 



called his attentinn to this year's nest in process of constructiim, 1)\- 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 horizimtal 
branch near the end. 

This female Cassin was a wearisome bird, for she sat and twittered 
inanely, or coa.xed, 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 hit (if red (.>n him, and he should not have 
been ( >\cr-critica] of his first mate in honey- 
moon. 

On the pine-clad slojies (_>f Cannon 

Hill in Spokane, there is no more 

familiar sound in June than 

the wanton note of the female 

Cassin Finch, orcc-ch. orcc-eh. 

delivered as often as not 



with quivering wings, and 
unmistakalily inviting the 
attentions of the male. 
Perhaps it is fair to call 
this a love note, but it is 
delivered with the sim])er- 
ing insistence of a s]X)iled 
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 
ws himself into the work. His 
and clear upon the cruwn onh-; 
breast, it presents merely a sufl'u- 
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 Fvening Grosbeak, 
(limp, or thkiiiip. out nf all keejiing with the remainder — un(|uesti(inal)lv 
borrowed. 

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




Taken in Spokane 



Photo by llic Aulh 



C.XSSI.VS I-INCII. 



the very top of the tree, and thn 
color, crimson, not ])urple. is ])iue 
elsewhere, upon nape, shoulders, and 



94 THE CALIFORNIA PURFLETINCII. 

California. Besides his own wild, exultant notes, he rapidly strings together 
those of other birds, and renders the whole with the s])ontaneity and some- 
thing of the accent of the Lark Sparrow. Indeed, when I tirst heard one 
sing on a crisp May morning on the hanks ni the Cohinil)ia, I thought I was 
liearing a rare inirst of the latter bird, so much of its song had Inrcn appropri- 
ated hv tlie Finch. Hesides this, strains of Western V'esjx'r Si)arrow. Moun- 
tain niuebird, and Louisiana Tanagcr were recognized. 



CALIFORNIA PLRTLK FINCH. 

No. 34. 

.\. ( ). I'. No. 517a. Carpodacus purpureas californicus i'aird. 

Description.— ./(/w// iimlc: (kiu-ral hotly plumage rich crimson or rosy red, 
clearest on crown and upjier 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{f) plumage: exactly like female in coloration. Length 
about 5.75 (14^"!): wing 3.07 (78): tail 2.28 (58); bill .45 (11.5); tarsus 
.70 ( 17.O). 

RecoKnition A\arks. — "Warbler size" but sturdier, an uiunistakable sparrow: 
rosy coloration of male distinctive (without crossed mandibles) but streaky 
jiattern oftenest seen. Distinguishable from the Pine Siskin iSpinus piiius ) In- 
larger size, more sedate ways and absence of sulphury wing- and tail-markings. 

Nesting. — Xest: 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 2'i in. wide by I'j in. deep. Eggs: 4 or 5. light greenish 
blue, spotted and streaked with violaceous and black, chiefly al>out the larger end. 
Round ovate to elongate ovate; varying in dimensions from .75 x .56 ( i<>x 14.2) 
to .91 X .59 (22.8 X \-,). 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 \'ancouver Islam!). 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 .tihI ciiltivatcil sections. Irregularly resident but numbers augmented 
in sprint,'. 

Authorities. — Carpodacus californicus Baird, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Snrv. 
IX. 1S5S. 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 



OI-^ tlie streaked, streaky is tiiis tleniure and iiiuffensi\e bird in the 
oli\'aceous 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 most part silently, 
inspecting l)irds and tiowers, 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 ujxjn human IxDunty, 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 
sangnincuin) 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 ov^ry, 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 
stnack 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, sn that one may study 
his behavior at close range. 

Because the Purple Finch is usually so unobtrusive, we arc startled at the 
first outburst of spring song. Nothing more sjxintaneous could be desired, 
and the mellow, musical yodelling of this bird is one oi the choicest things 
allowed us on the West-side. The song is midway between a trill and a 
carol, and has ;i w ild quality which makes it very attractive. The notes are 
so limpid an<_l 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 dooree doorce doorec dooree 
dooree dreeetoreet may afford an idea of the rolling, rollicking character of 
the song, but is, of course, absurdly inadequate. 

.\ 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 exhibition of vocal powers on his part. It was a long time, 
therefore, Ijefore we put the cry of a distant Steller Jay up to 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, Camiry. American Crossbill, and Seattle W^ren. These 
imitati\e efforts varied in correctness of execution, and came to us with the 



96 THE ENGLISH SI'ARRC^'. 

distance of the original singer pins tliat of tlic I-'inch, so tliat tlie result was 
not a little confnsing, tho very delightfnl when ex|)lained. 

Dnring conrtship this Finch will execnte an aerial song-dance, consisting 
of snndry jerks and crazy antics, inters|)erscd with a mctlley of ecstatic notes; 
at the conclnsion of which he will make a suggestive disc at his fiancee, who 
meanwhile has l)een iK)king fun at him. 

For some reason nests have been exceedingly hard to tind. Many birds 
arc always pottering alK)Ut with no ajiparent concern for nesting time, and 
Mr. Bowles 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 si.x months at a time, where Finches were not uncommon, without 
seeing a single red bird, in fact, 1 never found the latter common except in 
the vicinity of Tacoma. 

N'ests are placed, preferably, near water, in evergreen or ileciduous trees, 
and at heights varying from six to forty feet. They usually occur on a l)ough 
at some distance from the trunk of a supporting tree, seldom or never lieing 
found in a crotch. Com|M>sed externally of tir twigs, they are lined copiously 
with green moss, horse-hair, and string, and contain four or five handsome 
blue-green eggs. s|iotted and dashed with violet and black. 

Two l)rotKls arc probably brought off in a season, the first alxnit the 
20th of May and the second a month later. .\ sitting female outdoes a 
Siskin in her devotion to duty, and not infref|uently ref|uires to l)e lifted 
from her eggs. The male trusts everything to his wife upnn these occasions, 
but is rm h;md l<> do his share of the work when it cnmes {<> feeding the babies. 



No- 3.S. 
ENGLISH SPARROW. 

I NTi-fMiii (1:11. J'asser domesticus (I, inn.). 

Synonyms. — I loi si: Spakkow. Do.mkstu' Si'.nkuhw. H(«i|ii.im. 

Description. — .Idult male: .M)ovc ashy gray: middle <>l bai-k and scapiilars 
heavily siroaki-d with black and bay: tail dusky; a clu-siniit patch beliin<l eye 
sprcadinj; on slmuldcrs: lesser wing-cnvcrts chestnut; middle coverts borderccl 
with white, forming a conspicuous white bar during flight, remainder of winR 
dusky with bay edging; bclnw ashy gray or dirty white; a black thro.it-| atch 
contiinions witli lores and fore-breast; bill and feet horn color. Adult female: 
Brownish rather than gray above: bay edging lighter: no chestnut, nnmarkeil 
below. Length 5.50-^1.25 ( 1 30.7-1 58.S) ; wing 3.00 {.^^.2) : tail 2.20 (55.9); 
bill .50 ( 12.71. Sexes of about equal size. 

Recognition Marks. — "Si)arrf)w size," black throat an<l breast of male; 
female obscure brownish and gray. 

Nesting. — .V<'.«/; a globular mass of grass, weeds ami trash, heavily lined 
with feathers, placed in tree and with entrance in side; or else heavily lined 



THE ENGLISH SPARROW. 97 



cavity anywhere. Holes in trees and electric lamps are alike favored. Hggs: 
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: March-September; 
several broods. 

General Range. — "Nearly the whole of Europe, but rejjlaced in Italy by P. 
itaVuc. extending eastward to Persia and Central Asia, India, and Ceylon" 
(Sharpc). "Introduced and naturalized in America, Australia, New Zealand, 
etc." (Chapman). 

Range in Washington. — As yet chiefly confined to larger cities and railroad 
towns, but sjircading locall_\- in farming sections. 

Authorities. — Rath bun, Auk, \'ol. XIX. Apr. 1902, p. 140. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens. — E. C. 

W'H.VT a piece of mischief is the S])arrow ! how depraved in instinct ! 
in presence !inw unwelcome! in habit how unclean! in voice how repulsive! 
in combat how mohlike and desjiicable! in courtship how wanton and con- 
temptible! in increase how limitless and menacing! the pest of the farmer! 
the ijlague of the city! the bane of the bird-world! the despair of the 
philanthropist! the tlirifty and insolent beneficiary of misguided sentiment! 
the lawless and defiant object of impotent hostility too late aroused! Out 
upon thee, thou shapeleso, senseless, heartless, misbegotten tyrant ! thou 
tedious and infinite alien ! thou myriad cuckoo, who dost by thy consuming 
presence liereave 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 tlie introduction of the English Sparrow. The extinction of 
the Great Auk, the passing of the Wild 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 lie sure he was 
invited to come, but the offense is all the more rank because it w-as parth' 
human. His introductiun was effected in ])art b_\- people who' ought to have 
known better, and would, doubtless, if the science of ornithology had reached 
its present status as long ago as the early Fifties. The maintenance and 
prodigious increase of the pest is still due in a measitte to the imbecile 
sentimentality of people who build bird-houses and throw out crumbs for "the 
dear little birdies," and then care nothing whether honest birds or scalawags 
get them. Such jjeople belong to the same class as those who drop kittens on 
their neighlwrs' door-stejis because the\- wouldn't have the heart to kill them 
themselves, you know. 

The increase of this bird in the I'nited States is, to a lover of birds. 



98 'I'lIE ENGLISH SI'.\kU(V. 

simply friglittiil. 'I'lu-ir fccuii<lity is .iinaziiif,' ami tiicir adaiUahility apparently 
limitless. Mr. Harrows, in a s]K.Tial rc|H>rt |)repare(l under tlie direction of 
the Government, estimates that the increase ni a sinjjle pair, if unhindered, 
would amount in ten years to 2/',,7i6.cji<i.()CjS birds. 

As to its ranpe, we note that the subjugation of the liast has long l»cen 
accomplished, and that the con<|uest <tf the West is succeedinjf rapidly. It 
is not possible to tell precisely when the first Sparrows arrived in Washinglon, 
but it is probal)lc that they appeared in Si><»kane about 1895. Of its occur- 
rence in Seattle, Mr. Rathbuii says: "I'rior to the spring of 1S97 I harl 
never seen this s])ecics in Seattle, but in June of that year I notetl a pair. 
The following .season 1 saw fourteen: in 1899 this numl)er hail increased to 
about seventy, associating in small flocks." 

The favorite means of dissemination has l)een the box car. and es])ecially 
the grain car. The Sparrows. l)eing essentially grain and seed eaters, frequent 
the grain cars as they stand in the railroad yards, and arc occasionally im- 
prisoned in them. ho])eful stowaways and "gentlemen of fortune. ' Ou 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 having an esjiecial nott)riety in this respect l)ecause of its immense 
grain-shipping interests. 

Difficult as it may seem, it is true that the English Sparrow adopts the 
jxjlicv of Uriah Heep uixin first entering a tf>wn. With all the unctuous 
humilitv of a band of Mormon apostles, the newcomers talk softly, walk 
circumspectlv. and either seek to escape notice altogether, or else assiduously 
cultivate the good o])inion of their dcstineil dupes. Thus. I resided in the town 
of Blaine for two months (in 1904) without running acr<»ss a single meml)er 
of the pioneer band of nine English Sparrows, altho I was assure*! on good 
authority that the birds had l)een there for at least two years previous. 

It requires no testimony to show that the presence of this bird is .ibso- 
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 unsanitary, and the maudlin racket of their owners 
unendurable. The bird is. in short, in the words of the late Hr. Coues. "a 
nuisance without a redeeming cpiality." .\ltho 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 Si>arrow. .And why. forsooth? Because he 
fights! We are forced ti> admire, at times, his bull-ilog courage and tenacitv 
of purpose, as we <lo the cunning of the weasel and the nimbleness of the 
flea. He is vermin and must l)e treated as such: but. give the Devil his due. 
of course. What are we going to do alxnit it? Wage tmceasing warfare, 
as we do against rats. There will possibly be rats as long as there are men. 



THE SNOWFLAKE. 99 



but a bulxmic plague scare operates \ery effectually U) reduce their uuuihers. 
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 exterminable, but he may be, must be kept within Ixjunds. 



No. 36. 

SNOWFLAKE. 



-A. O. U. No. 534. Plectrophenax nivalis (l.inii.) 

Synonym. — Snow Bunting. 

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 
uppeqjarts streaked all over with black, and the black wings largely replaced 
by fuscous. Adults in zcinter: Entire upperparts overcast with browns — rusty 
or seal brown — clear on crown, grayish 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 unicpiely white, with 
blacks and browns above. 

Nesting. — Does not breed in Washington. "Xest: on the ground in the 
sphagnum and tussocks of Arctic regions, of a great c|uantit} of grass and moss, 
lined profusely with feathers. Eggs: 4-6, very variable in size and color, about 
.go .X .65 (22.() X 16.5), white or whitish, speckled, veined, l)lolched, and marbled 
with dcej) browns and neutral tints" (Cones. ). 

General Range. — "Northern parts of the northern liemisphere. brcedini:; in 
the .-\rctic 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 country; 
casual w'cst of the Cascades. 

Migrations. — Nov. 4, 1899 (Yakima Cnuntyi. March 17. 1896 (Dkanogan 
County). 

Authorities. — ["Snow Bunting," bihnson. Rep. Cov. W, T. 1884 (1885), 
22. 1 Dawson, Auk. XIV. 1897, 178. "T. D'. D-\ B. E. 

Specimens.— a', of W.) Prov. B. E. P. 

I W'Fvi,!, remeiul)er my first meeting with this jirince of storm waifs. 
the Snowflake. It was in Chelan County on a chilly day in December. .\ 
distant-faring, feathered stranger had tempted me across a bleak ])asture, 
when ;ill at i:nce ;i fluttering snowdrift, contrary to N^atiu^e's wont, rose fmrn 



i.K. THE SNOWFLAKE^ 

cartli tiiuartl lieaxen. 1 liclil my hn-atli and listfiicd to the Tiiilrl l)al)fl of 
tiit-tit-iit-ti">.s, witli wliicli llie Snow Huntings jjrected inc. Tlie l)irils were 
loatli to leave the place, and liovered indecisively while the hinl-nian devoured 
thtni with his eyes. As they moved off slowly, each bird seemed alternately 
to fall and striijjjjle npward thru an arc i>f five or six feet, inde|K-ndently of 
his fellows, so th.at the (lock as ;i whole ]>roduced {|iiite the effect of ;i trouhled 
snowstorm. 

Snowllakes Hock indifferently in winter and may occur in numl>ers up 
to several hundred. At other times a sinf,de, thrilling, vibrant call-note, leti' 
or /t'-jTi', may \^e heard durinfi^ the fallinj;; of the real flakes, while the 
wandering mystery jwsses overhead, unseen. Stray birds not infre(|uently 
mingle with (locking Horned Larks: while Snovvflakes and Lapland Long- 
spins are fast friciuls in the regions where the latter are common. 

Probably these ])irds are of regiilar tlio sparing occurrence in the Hig 
Bend and Palnuse countries, but they do not i>ften reach the southern Intrder 
of the State; and their apix;arance on Puget Sound, as ui»n the ])rairies 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. In lime of storm, or when cmlx>ldened by the con- 
tinuance of winter, they may make their apjiearancc in the barnyartl. or alxiut 
the outbuildings, where their sprightly notes and inmx-ent airs arc 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 u[)on the Saskatchewan 
plains, and yet they endure this by preference to the effeminizing influences 
which are l)clievcd to prevail south of "Forty-nine," an<I esjiecially west of 
the Rockies. Close-knit feathers, the warmest covering known, fortified by 
layers of fat. render them quite im|>ervious to col<l ; and as for the r.iging 
blizzard, the birds ha\e only to sit qtiietly imdcr 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 chilly cradles. .\ few nest upon the .Meutian Islands, and along 
the shores of northern Alaska: but more of them resort to those icc-wrai)|KHl 
islands of the far North, which are mere names to the geographer and dismal 
memories to a few hardy whalers. Peary's men found them breeding in 
Melville Land: and if there is a North Pole. In.' assured that some Snowflake 
is nestling contenledlv at the base of it. 



THE ALASKAN LONGSPUR. 



No. 37. 

ALASKAN LONGSPUR. 

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

Description. — Adult male in siiiiiiiicr: Head, throat, and fore-breast black; 
a buffy line behind eye and sometimes over eye; a broad nuchal patch, or collar, 
of chcsinut-rufons ; remaining upperparts light grayish brown, streaked with 
black and with some whitish edging; below white; heavily streaked with black 
on sides and tlanks ; tail fnscous with oblique white patches on the outer rectrices; 
feet and legs black; bill yellow with black tip. Adult iiiale in laintcr: 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 summer: 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 buffy ; the chestnut of cervical collar only 
faintlj' indicated as edging of feathers with sharply outlined dusky centers ; black 
of throat and chest pretty tboroly obscured by grayish edgmg, but the general 
pattern retained ; sides and flanks with a few sharp dusky streaks. Adult female 
in zcinter: [Description of October specimen taken in Seattle] Above buffy 
grayish brown streaked (centrally U])on feathers) w'ith black, wing coverts and 
tertials with rusty areas between the black and the buffy, and tipped with wiiite ; 
underparts warm buffy 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 
377 (95-8) : tail 2.50 (63.3) ; bill .46 (11.7) ; tarsus .86 (21.8). Female smriller. 

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 wdien rising from the ground. 

Nesting. — Does not breed in Washington. Nest: in grass tussock on ground, 
flimsy or bulky, of grasses and moss, frequently water-soaked, and lined carefully 
with tine 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 w'ith light brown or chocolate brown. Av. size .80 x .62 ( 20.3 x 
15.7). Season: first week in June; one brood. 

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

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

Authorities. — ("La])land Longs])ur,'" Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 
(1885) 22.) Dawson, Auk. \ol. XX\'. Oct. 1908, p. 483. 

B^' all the rules this bird should be abundant in winter in tlic stubble 
fields of the Palouse country, if not upun the prairies of Pierce. Thurstnn. and 



I02 THE WESTERN LARK SP^^ROW. 

C'lidi.ilis Counties. Heiulire rc|x'rtL'(l tlicm irmn Caini) Ilariicv in ciistern 
Orcj^on. and Hn><>ks says lliey arc coninion nn Sunias I'rairie. 1'. C: but we 
have only one authentic record lor tliis State, tliat of a stra>j>jler taken near 
Seattle in (\-tol>er, 1907. These I^>nf,'S])urs alxiund in Alaska durin^f tlie nest- 
ing season, hut it would ai>])ear that the mountain barriers hahituailv deflect 
their autumnal llight to the eastward, and that llie few which reach us straggle 
down the coast. 

Those who have seen b>wa prairies give up these birds by .scores and 
hundreds every few rods, have Inren able to form some conception of their vast 
numl)ers. 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 Xatural History Survey estimates that a million and a half 
of these "La])land" I^ongspurs |)erished in and aljout the village of W'orthing- 
lon alone: and he foinid that this destruction, tho not elsewhere so intense, 
e.xtenflcd over an area of fifteen hundred square miles. 

In s|)ite of such bulTetings 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 May the ground it still largely covered with snow with the 
exception of grassy siK>ts along .southern exposures and the more favorably 
situated ])ortions of the tundra, and here may l)e found these birds in all the 
Ijeauty 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 tus.siKks. The male utters its song as it 
flies upward from one of these knolls and when it reaches the height of ten or 
fifteen yards, it e.xtcnds the points of its wings upwards, forming a large 
V-sha])ed figure, and floats gently to the ground, uttering, as it slowly sinks, 
its lif|uid tones, which fall in tinkling succession upf>n the ear. and are ]>erhaps 
the sweetest ni>tes that one hears during the entire spring-time in these regions. 
It is an cxrpiisite jingling meliKly. having much less ]>ower than that of the 
Bolnilink. but with the same general character, and. tho shorter, it has even 
more meloily than the song ni that well known bird." 



No. 3H. 

WESTERN LARK SPARROW. 

.\. < >. I'. Xo. 552a. Chondestes Kcammacus stri^atus 1 .^ wains.). 

Synonyms. — Oi Aii.-ni:.\n. \\i;sii:kn I..m<k I**iNt h. 

Description. — .Idiilt: Head varii(,':Ui<l. l)lack. white, and chestinit ; lateral 
head-stripc'i black in fmiu. chestnut behind : .inrictilars chestnut. iKinndcd by rictal 
and post-orbital black stripes: narrow loral. and broader subnialar black stripes: 
malar, superciliary, and median stripes white, the two latter becoming InifTy 



THE WESTERN LARK SPARROW. 



103 



behind ; upper parts buffish gray brown, 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, ])urest on throat and belly, vvashed with grayish 
buff on sides and crissum, als(j 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 blatk, white, and chest- 
nut: fan-shaped tail liroadh tipjied with white and conspicuous in flight (thus 




WKSTKRN' r.ARK Sl'AUKOW. 



easily distinguished from the Western \'esper Si)arrow with scpiare tail and lateral 
white feathers). 

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



I04 



TIIK WESTKKX I.AKK SI'AI^OW. 



browns or purplish blacks, cliicfly at tlie larjjcr end; notably rounded in sha])e. 
Av. size .8j x .()5 I 20.8 x 16.5). Scastni: May I5-Juni' 5; one brorKl. rarely two. 
General Range. — Western I'nited States and plateau of Mexico; north to 
middle Kriiisli COlunibia. Manitoba, etc.; east to eastern Ijorder of Great Plains; 
west to Tacilic Coast, including ]>eninsula of lower California: south in winter to 
Guatemala. 




Pholo by 
the Author. 



Range in VS'ashington. — Summer resident east of Cascades only, in L'pper 
Sonoran and Arid Transition zones. 

Migrations. — W'allula, May 6, u^O/ : \'akima Co., May i, K/y); ibid. May 
3, lyoo; Cliclan, May 19, 1896. 

Authorities. — ('Western lark linch," Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T., 1884 
( 188; ). 22. \ Bclding, Land Birds Pacilic District ( i8<jo), p. 148 (Walla Walla, 
j. W". Williams. 1885). (T.) (C&S.) D-. IK Ss'. Ss^ J. 

Specimens. — ( U. of W. ) C. P. 

.\S in the case <>f the Sandwich and .Sawnina Si)arn>\\s. the curiously 
striped coloration of this bird s head is cvidaitly intended to facilitate conceal- 
ment. The bird ixjerinp; out of a weed clump is almost invisible. .\nd yet. as 
I was once passing along a sage-clarl hillside in Chelan county with an observ- 



THE WESTERN LARK SPARROW. 



105 



.^^■|'#. 



ing young ranclier. ni\' ciinii)ani(in hallc(l with a cr\'. He had cans^lit tlic 
gleam of a Lark Sparrow's eye as slie sat l>ruotling under a perfect mu]) of 
dead broom-sage. The camera was l)rought into recjuisition, and the lens 
pointed downward. The caniera-clotii l)cllied and flapped in the l)rceze, yellow 
tripod legs waxed belligerently, and altogether there was much noise of 
photographic com- 
merce, but the little 
mother clung to her 
eggs. The stupid 
glass eye of the ma- 
chine, spite of all 
coa.xing, saw noth- 
ing but twigs, and 
we were oliliged to 
forego a picture of 
the sitting bird. To 
get the accompany- 
ing picture of eggs, 
I was obliged to 
hack away the pro 
tecting brush, hav- 
ing first slipped in a 
handkerchief to pro- 
tect tlie nest and 
contents from 
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 nimbly 
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 glimi)se 
of the rounded tail, held Iialf open, with its terminal rim of white, and you 
know you have met the aristocrat of the sage. 

Lark Sparrows are smncwhat irregular in distriinitiiMi. but their range 




Takfii near Chelan. Photo by the Aiitho 

r.uouxn Ni-;sT of western lark spauuow. 



1 ' Till-: w i;s'i'i:k.\ \Ksi'i-:k sitiKuow. 

ci>rrcs|)<)nds roiij,Hily with tlic iiDrtliern extension of the Upper Sonoran zone, 
with overflow into the adjacent Arid Transition. Altho prairie birds, they 
are fond of scattered trees, fences, teIej,T''il>h jxiles, or anything which will 
afford sntVicicnt elevation for the sweet sacrament of sonjj. 

This l)ird, more fre(|nently than others, is found sinjjinfj in the micMle of 
the \ery hottest days in smnnier, and at such times his tremnlons notes c<jme 
to the car like the jj^nrjjlinf; of sweet waters. But Ridgway's descrif>tion has 
n<it l)een surpassed:" "This sonjj is com|)ose<l of a series of chants, each 
syllable rich, loud, and clear, intersjK-r.sed with emotional trills. .\t the 
IjCfjinninjj the song: reminds one somewhat of that of the Indipo Hird I I'as- 
scriiui lytiiii'o )• but the notes arc louder and more metallic, and their delivery 
more vigorous. Tho seemingly hurried, it is one continued gush of sjirightly 
music; now gay, now melodious, and then tender Iwyond description. — the 
very expression of emotion. At intervals the singer falters, as if exhausted by 
exertion, and his voice l)econies scarcely audible: but suddenly reviving in his 
joy, it is resumed in all its vigor, until he ap]>ears to be really overcome by 
the effort." 

These gentle birds are evidently profiting somewhat by the human rnrcu- 
l)ati<)n 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 oi their occurrence in Washington west of the Cascades. • 



No. 3<>. 

westp:rn vespkr sparrow. 

A. ( ». r. No. 540a. Potecetes sramineus continis ISainl. 

Synonyms. — Wkstkrn Crass FrNcu. r..\v-wi.Nc.ui) r.rNTiNC. 

Description. — Adults: Ciciu-ral tone of uppcrparts slaty or grayish brown 
on the edges of the feathers, modified by the dusky centers, and wanned 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 
sor(li<l white, sbarplv streaked on breast. Hanks, and sides with dusky brown; 
the chin and throat with small arrow marks of the same color and l)ounded l)y 
clijiiiis of streaks; auriculars clear hair-brown, with huffy or lighter center: 
usually a huffy suffusion on slrcake<l area of breast and sides. Length of adult 
male: 5.75-6.i5 ( 146.1-158.8) ; wing 3.29 (83.6) ; tail 2.5Q (65.8) ; bill .44 ( 11.2) ; 
tarsus .85 (ji/i). b'eiuale a little smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — S]>arrow size: general streaked appearance: white 
lateral tail-feathers conspicuous in tbght : fre<|uents fields and the open sage. 

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



•llird* of Illinois" Vol. I., p. i(,y 



THE WESTERN VESPER SPARROW. 107 



rootlets, and horse-hair. Eggs: 4 or 5, pinkish-, grayish-, or bhiish-white, speckled, 
spotted and occasionally scrawled with reddish-brown. Av. size, .82 x .60 
( 20.8.x iv2). 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 sdnthern California cast to Texas and south to southern 
Mexico. 

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

Migrations. — Spy'uui: Yakima Co. March 15, 1900; Chelan Co. March 31, 
1896. 

Authorities. — Dawson, Auk, Nl\ . April 1897, p. 178. Sr. D-. Ss". Ss^ J. 

Specimens. — P. Prov. C. 

.\ SOBER garl) cannot cunceal the quality of the wearer, even tho 
Quaker gray be made to cover alike saint and sinner. Plainness of dress, 
liierefore, 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. You 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 arrival of Vesper Sparrow, late in March, may mark the supreme 
efifort of that particular warm wave, but you are quite content to await the 
further travail of the season while you get acquainted with this amiable new- 
comer. Under the comimlsion of the sun the bleary fields have been trying to 
muster a decent green to Iiide the ugliness of winter's devastation. But where- 
fore? The air is lonely and the sage untenanted. The Meadowlarks, to be 
sure, have been romping alx^ut for several weeks and getting bolder every 
dav; but they are roisterous fellows, drunk with air and mad with sunshine. 
The winter-sharpened ears wait hungrily for the poet of common 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. lie eats, runs, sleejis. and 
rears his family upon the ground: but to sing — ah. that indifferent! — 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 decorous concerts of 
rivalry. The song consists of a variety of simple, pleasing notes, each uttered 
two or three times, and all strung together to the number of four or five. 
The characteristic intmduction is a mellow whistled hc-ho. a little softer in tone 



loS 



THE WESTERN' \ ESl'EK Sl'.WROW, 



than the siiccfcdinj^ notes. The song of tlie western l)ir(l has noticeably jjrcater 

variety tlian that of the eastern. Not only is it less stereotyiied in tlie matter of 

pitdi and duration, Init in (|uality and cadence it sometimes shows surprising 

(hiTerences. (Jne lieard in t'litlan County would liave ])assed for Hrewer's 

on a frolic, e.\cei)t for ilic preliminary "lii-c-lm's" : llccoo hccoo hccoo 

bucci'U'uccm'iicci . , , % . • , , • i • 

7iiizcnciic:ra'ii::t wccclicc 7i.'iwcltci'. .And mdeeil it would 

not he smprising if he had learned from S/>icrlla hrcwcri, wlio is a constant 

neigiihor and a safe guide in matters of sage lore. The scolding note, a 

thraslur-iike kissing sound, Isoolc. will sometimes interrupt a song if the 

str.inge listener gets too close. ICarly morning and late evening are the 

regni.ir song ])erioils; hut the conscientious and indefatigable singer is more 

apt than most to interrupt the noontide stillness also. 

Since this siiecies is a bird of oikmi ci>untry and U])lands. it cares little for 

the vicinity of water; but it loves the dust of country roads as dearlv as an old 

hen. an<l the daily <lust-bath is a familiar sight to every traveler. While 

seeking its fiMnl of weed-seeds and insects, it runs busily alxmt u|)on the 

ground, skulking and rumiing oftcner than flitting for safetv. .\lthn ncjt 

csi)ecially timid it 

seems to take a sort 

of ])rofessional i)rido 

in l)eing able to slip 

aljout ami >ng the 

weed stems unseen. 

It is, of course, at 

nesting time that the 

sneak-ability of the 

bird is most severely 

ic^tcii. The nest, a 

s i m !> 1 e affair <if 

coiled grasses, is 

usually s u n k, or 

chaml>ered in the 

ground, so that its 

brim comes (lush 

with the surface. 

For the rest, the 

brooding bird seldom seeks any other protection than that of "luck." and her 

own abilitv to elude observation when obligeil to ipiit the nest. Her l>ehavior 

at this time depcmls largely up<in the amount of disturbance to which she is 

subjected. .\t tlrst approach of danger she is inclined to stick to her post till 

the last ]>ossiblc moment, and then she falls lame as she flutters off. Hut if 

often frightened, she slircwdly learns to rise at a considerable distance. 




Tcit-.-n 111 Douglas d'unly. 

TIIC KATTLCSNAKC IS 



TUK ENKMV. 

TlIK SCOIRCB of ALU CH 



Phulo by the Aulhn 
9'NesTiNr. aiiiDS. 



THE OREGON VESPER SPARROW. 109 



Two and sometimes 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 aihent of cixilizatinti, and that its numbers arc slowly 
increasing. 



No. 40. 

OREGON VESPER SPARROW. 

.•\. O. U. No. 540 1). PocEcetes gramineus affinis Aliller. 

Synonyms. — P.\ciFic Vesper Sparrow. Miller's Gr.'\ss 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. — .As in ])rfccding, less liable to confusion because of 
absence of L'.rewer Si:)arrow, 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 iJ4 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 
Hritish 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. — Pooccctes gramineus Ba|i|rd. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. 
L\. 1858. p. 447 (part). (T). C&S. Ra. B. 

Specimens.— rU. of W.) P. Prov. P.. E. 

'I'llF appearance of a Vesper Sparrow where trees arc the rule is some- 
thing of an anomaly. Nevertheless, this plains-loving bird seems to do very 
well in the prairie region south of 'I'acoma : 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 conmion wherever conditions in the large 
are suitable for it. 1 found it in numbers at Dungeness in the sijring of 1906; 
and the agricultural lands of the .Skagit are being accepted l)y this gentle 
songster as tho duly made and ])r(ivided. 

Mr. Bowles finds that eggs ma\- not be looked for in the \icinitv of 



no TlIK SANDWICH SI'.\RR(\. 

Taconia ln-forc tlic first week in May, ami tliev are not certainly found Ijcfore 
the middle of that month. Oikmi prairie is mi>st fre<|iicntly selected for a 
site, and its close-cro|)|)ed mossy surface often rct|uircs considerable ingenuity 
of concealment on the bird's i)art. Ploiifjhed ground, where undisturlwd, is 
eagerly utilized. .\t other times a shallow cup is scrai)cd at the base of a 
small fern, or the protection of a fallen limb is sought. 

The eggs, from three to live in number, are |)erhai>s the most hands<Mucly, 
certainly the most <|uaintly marked of any in the sparrow family. The ground 
color is grayish white; and this, in addition to sundry frecklings ami cloudings 
of lavender, is spotted, blotched, and scrawled, with <jld chestnut. 

The female sits closely and sometimes will not leave the nest until 
removed. She seldom tlics at that, but stcjis off and trips along the ground 
for some distance. Then she walks alxmt uneasily or pretends to feed, 
venturing little expression of concern. Curiously, her liege lord never apjiears, 
either, in defense of his home, but after the young are h.ilchcd he floes his 
fair share in feeding them. 

No. 41. 

SANDWICH SPARROW. 

A. O. I'. \o. 34J. Passcrciiliis sandw ichcnsis (Cniclin). 

Synonym. — I.aK(.kr S.w.a.nna Si'akkow. 

Description. — .Idiilts: General tone of ujniir |)lnmagc grayish brown — the 
feathers blackish centrally with nuicli edging of grayish-brown (sometimes 
bay), flaxen and whitish; a mesial crown-stripe dull bufly. or tinged ante- 
riorlv with yellowish; lateral stripes with grayish brown edging reduced; 
a broad superciliary strijjc yellow, clearest over lore, paling posteriorly; cheeks 
butTy with some mingling and outcropping of dusky; nnder))arts whitish, 
clearest on throat, washed with buffy fin sides, heavily and sharply streaked 
on sides of throat, breast, sides, flanks and thighs with dusky ; streaks 
nearlv confluent on sides of throat, thus defining submalar area <>f whitish; 
streaks darkest and wedge-shaped on breast, more dilTused ami edged with 
buflfy posteriorly: under tail-coverts usually hut uol uhuiiys with concealed 
wedge-shaped streaks of <lusky ; bill dusky or dull horn-color above, lighter 
below; feet palest; iris dark brown. I'oll sf<t-iiiiii-iis are brighter; the yellow, 
no longer prominent in superciliary stripe, is difTuseil over plumage of entire 
head and, occasionally, down sides; the bend of the wing is ]>ale yellow 1 or not) ; 
the side'i are more strongly suffused with buflfy which usually extends across 
breast. Length almut 5.75 ( 14^1) ; wing 2.(/) (76) ; tail 2.00 (51 ) ; bill .47 ( t2t ; 
tarsus .SS ( 22.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size (but much more robust in a]>i>e.irance 
than a Warbler); general streaky appearance; the striation of the heail. viewed 
from before, radiates in twelve ailernatinf,' areas of black and white (or yellow) : 
larger and lighter than the (rare) Savanna Sparrow I f\ s. saratiua): larger. 



THE SAVANNA SPARROW. 



darker and browner than the common Western Savanna Sparrow (P. s. ahni- 
diinis ). 

Nestinjj. — Not \el repcirtcd breedint;- in \\asbington. Xcst and rgys as in 
P. s. alaiiiUmis. 

General Range. — "L'nalaska Island (also Slumiajjin islands and lower por- 
tion of Alaska peninsular) in summer; in winter, eastward and southward along 
the coast to British Columbia, more rarely to Northern California" (Ridgway). 
Also breeds extensively in western Hritish Columbia and on \'ancouvcr Island 
(Atict. 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: April (West-side) ; South Park April 24. 25, 29, 
1894: Mav I East-side I ; Yakima Co. May 8, 10, 1894: Fall: September. 

Authorities. — Passcrculus sainhi'ichcnsis Baird, Baird, Rep. I'ac. R. R. 
Surv. IX. 185S, p. 445. C&S. Rh. Kb. 

Specimens. — U. of W. Prov. C. 

THE interrelations and distributions of the Passcrculus sancki'iclicusis 
group are not at all clear as yet, but the migrant birds of spring and middle 
fall are usually of this fnrni, and hail from or are bound for the coast of 
Britisli Columbia and .Alaska. .\t Blaine I have found them skulking about 
the fish-trap timbers of Seniiahnion s])it, during the last week in September: 
or hiding in the rank grass which lines the little waterways draining into 
Campbell Creek. At such times they keq) cover until one is almost ui)on 
them, and then break out with a frightened and protesting tss, only to seek 
shelter again a dozen feet away. 



No. 42. 

SAVANNA SPARROW. 

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

Synonyms. — Sav.ann.mi vSi'akkow. Mk.adow Si-arkow. Grou.vd Sparrow. 

Description. — Adult: Similar to P. sandzcichensis but decidedly smaller and 
darker f usually browner as well), with bill both relatively and absolutely smaller, 
and with less or less conspicuous yellow in superciliary 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. — Warbler size; 12-radiant pattern of head; general 
streakiness of ui)pcr|)arts ; shar|)ly streaked on breast and sides; darker. 

Nesting. — Has not been discovered lireeding in W'ashinglon but probably 
does so. Nest and Egc/s as next. 



112 INK \\i:STERN SAVANNA SFARROW. 

(iciu-ral Wanxc. Kastcni Nnrtli America breeding from the northern 
liiited Stales lu Labrador and tlie Hudson I'.ay country; casuaK?) in the 
Western I'nited States. 

Range in WashinRton. — Imperfectly made out; many birds resident on 
W'est-siile believed to be of tiiis form. 

.Authorities. -Bowles and Dawson, .\uk. \'ol. XX\'. Oct. n>)8, p. 483. 

Specimens. -Howies, Taconia, .Xjiril 2S, 1907 (4). 

SOME si)cciincns ue get on Tuj^ct Sound are no larger than tyi)ical 
U'cslcni Savanna. Init arc more strongly and lirigiitly colored — handsome 
enough to l)e .unulwichciisis proper. .\re these rcsaturated forms the bleached 
aliiiKliiius. so long resident in the wet country as to he now reassuming 
the discarded tints of old? .\re they, rather, intergrades l)etween P. s. sami- 
'u'icliciisis and P. s. aliJiiditius, theoretically resident on the lower Sound and 
in 1>. C? Or are thev casual overflows of true sa'amuj, ignorant of our 
western metes and Ixninds? I do not know. Tweedledum or tweedlerlee? 
Here is a fine ])robiem for the man with a gim, to whom a new subs])ecies 
is more than the lives of a thousand innocents. lUit I disclaim all res|)onsi- 
bilil\ in tlie m.itter. 



No. 43. 

WESTERN SAVANNA SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 54-Jb. Passerculiis sandwichensis alatidinus i i'.onap. ). 

S) nonym. — ("iRav S.vvann.mi Si'akkow. 

Description.— Similar to P. s. S(r<attna hut decidedly paler and grayer; less 
liav or iic.ne in edging of feathers of upi)erparts; yellow of superciliary stripe 
usiiallv j>aler. sometimes nearly white: bill longer and relatively weaker. Other 
diiiunsidiis about as in P. s. S(i:aiiiia. 

Recognition Marks. — As in preceding — />(i/cr. 

Nesting. — Xcst: in grassy meadow, of dried grasses settled (lee])ly into dead 
grass or, rarely, into ground. Ef/ys: 4 or 3, grayish white to light bluish green, 
profusely dotted or siiottcd and blotched with varying shades of brown and 
slate, sometimes so heavily as to conceal the ground color. Av. size. .75 x .55 
( 19 X 1 3.071- Season: third week in May; 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 smith to I,. iwer California and Ciuatemala. 

Range in Washington. — I'.oth sides of the Cascades in low-lying meadows. 
Perhaps sparingly resident in winter on West-side. 



THE WESTERN SAVANNA SPARROW. 



"3 



Migrations. — Spriiuj: Alxnit April ist: Bremerton March 23, 1906. 
Authorities. — Passcrciilus alauilinus Boiiap. Baird, Rep. I'ae. 1\. R. Snrv. 
IX. 1858. 447. iT). C&S. L'. Rh. Ra. Kk. J. L\. E. 
Specimens. — I', of W. P'. IVov. B. 

XOT e\erv l)ird can he a hcauly any more than every soldier can he a 
colonel ; and when we consider that ten times as many shot-guns are in 
commission in time of jieace as rifles in time of war, wc cannot blame a hird 
for rejoicing in the \irlue <if humility, envying neither the epaulets of 
General Blackbird nor even the pale che\rons of Sergeant Siskin. A Savanna 

Sparrow, especially the 
washed-out western va- 
riety, is a mere de- 
tachetl bit of brown 
earth done u]) in dried 
grasses : a feathered 
commonplace \v h i c h 
the landscape will swal- 
low up the instant you 
take eyes ofY it. To be 
sure, if you can get it 
quite alone and trry 
near, you sec enough to 
admire in the twelve- 
radiating pattern of the 
head, and you may 
e\'en percei\c a wan 
tint of yellow in the 
superciliary reginu : biU 
let the birclliug dmp 
u])()n the ground and 
sit motionless amidst 
the grass, or in a criss- 
cross litter of weed-stalks, and sooner far will you catch the gleam of the 
needle in the havstack. 

Savannas are birds of the meadows, whether fresh or ?alt, and wherever 
well-watered grasses and weeds alxnmd, there they may be looked for. Din- 
ing migration, indeed, they may appear in most unexpected places. I saw- 
one last year, at P>remerton. which haunted the vicinity of a tiny cemented 
poufl in the center of a well-kept lawn. This Ijird hopped about coyly, peer- 
ing liehind blades of grass, and affecting a dainty fright at the sight of water, 
verv nuich as a C'hip])ing Sparrow might have done. In their nesting 





WESTKR.V S.WANNA SP.XRROW. 



I I ; THE DESERT Sl'AKkflW . 

lialMts iIr'sc little felli)us .ippro.uii mi>re closely to coloniziiif,' than any otlicr 
nicniliiTs i>| tlif S|>arro\v family. Larfje tracts of land. ap|)arcntly suitable, 
arc left untenanted: while, in a near-l>y field of a few acres, half a dozen 
l)airs inav be fonnil nestinjj. More recently the birds have accepted the 
shelter of irrifjated tracts up<in the l%;ist-side, and their nnmlwrs would seem 
alniost certainly to Iw u])on the increase. 

To ascertain the ])resencc of these binls. the ear-test is Ijest, when once 
the .SI ng is niastercd. The latter consists of a series of lis])inK and buzzing 
notes, fine onlv in the sense of l)eing small, and rpiite unmusical, t.iiil. Istil. 
Isii '■i^':ccc:;lsiibut. The sound instantly recalls the eastern Grasshop])er Spar- 
row (Cotiiniiciilits sin-auiiaruiii f^asscriiiiis), wlut is an <»wii cousin: but the 
l)reliminarv and closing flourishes are a grRxl deal longer than those of the 
related species, and the buzzing strain shorter. 

L<i\e-making goes by e.\ami)lc as well as by season, so that when the 
choral fever is on they are all at it. The males will sing from the ground 
rather than keep silence, altho they ])refer a wecd-toj). a fence ]>ost, or even a 
convenient tree. The female listens patiently near by. or if she tries to slij* 
away for a bit of food, the jealous lover recalls her to duty l>y an arfient chase. 

The nest is settled snugly in the dead grasses of last year's ungathered 
crop, and is thus both concealed from above and upborne from below, and 
is itself carefully done in fine dead grasses. 

The sitting bird docs not often |)erinit a close approach, but rises from 
the nest at not less than thirty feet. The ])recisc spot is. therefore, very 
ditVicult to locate. If discovered the bird will ])otter alxmt with fine affection 
of lisllessness, and seems to consider that she has done her full duty in not 
shi'wing the eggs. 



No. 44. 

DESERT SPARROW . 

A. O. IT. No. 57.V»- Amphispi/.a hilineata desertkola iCil^w 
Description. — Adults: .\l)ovc brownish gray, hmwucr on middle of back 
and on witij,". : n conspicuous white superciliary stripe lK>undcd narrowly by black 
above and si]>arated from white malar stripe (not reaching b.Tse of bill) by gray 
on sides of luail : lores. antcrii>r portion of malar region, chin, thm.-it ami chest 
centrallv black, the last named with convex posterior outline: remaining under- 
I)arts white tinge<l with grayish on si<les and flanks; tail blackish, the outer 
web of outermost rectrix chiefly white, the inner web with white s]>ot on tip. 
second rectrix (sometimes third or even fourth i tippeil with white on inner web. 
Bill dusky: feet ami legs brownish black. Ynumi l)ir<N like adults Init without 
bl.-ick patiern of head markings: chin and throat white or flecked with grayish: 
breast streakol with same and back faintly 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 
2.4cS (63) : bill .40 ( lO) ; tarsus .75 (19). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size ; gra3ish coloration ; strong white super- 
ciliary ; black throat ilistinctive. 

Nesting. — Not yet reported from Washington. 'West in bushes, slight and 
frail, close to the ground; eggs 2-5, 0.72x0.58 (18.3x14.7), white with a pale 
greenish or bluish 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 Washington ; south, in winter to Chihuahua, Sonera and Lower 
California. 

Range in Washington. — Probably summer resident in Lpper Sonoran and 
Arid Transition life-zones; bclieNed to be recently invading State from south. 

Authority. — Dawson, Auk. \ ol. XXW Oct. 1908, p. 483. 

IF one ha])pens to be fairh- well ac(|uaiiited with the licensed musicians 
of the sage, the presence of a strange voice in the morning chorus is as 
noticeable as a scarlet golf jacket at church. The 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 off the members 
of the desert choir. Brewer Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow and 
the rest, as they reported for duty, one by one, when suddenly a fresh voice 
of inquiry. Blew dice tee tee, burst from the sage at a stone's cast. The 
binoculars were instantly 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 with rounded 
extension on chest outlined against whitish of underparts and separated 
from grayish dusk\- of checks by white malar stripe; lores, apparently includ- 
ing eye, black; l>rilliant white superciliary stripe; crown and back warm 
light brown. 

The newcomer was a male Desert Sparrow and the interest aroused by 
his appearance was considerably heightened when it was recalled that he was 
venturing some five hundred miles north of his furthest previously recorded 
range. This bird, probably the same individual, was seen and heard on 
several occasions subsequent thruout a stretch of half a mile l)ordering on 
Brook Lake. Once a female was glimpsed in company with her liege lord, 
flitting coquettishly from bush to bush ; but the most niligent search failed 
to discoxer a nest, if such there was. Nesting was most certainlv on the 
gallant's mind for he sang at faithful intervals. The notes of his brief but 
nuisical offering had something of the gushing and tinkling quality of a 
Lark S|)arrow's. .A variant form, zvlietv, wheiv, zvhiferer, began nicely but 
degenerated in the last member into the metallic clicking of Towhee. 

We iia\e here, in all ])r(ibability. ;miithcr and a verv cons])icuous exami)le 



uf> THE SAGE SPARROW* 

of tliat iiortliwaiil trend of species wliicli \vc shall have fre(|ueiit occasion 
to remark. The passion of the .\t)rth I'ole quest is not merely a human 
weakness; it is a deep-rooted instinct which we only sliare with the birtls. 
There was once a near-I^den yonder, a Pliocene paradise, from which tlic 
cruel ice evicted us — birds and men — \onii- '"'"fJ 'iK"- ^^ ^ K'> "'>w to reclaim 
our own. 



No. 45. 

SAGE SPARROW. 

.•\. ( ). I'. \u. 574.1. Amphispiza nevadensis iRidgw. I. 

Synonyms. — Akti:misi.\ Sparkow. Nkvai).\ Sack Stakkow. 

Description. — .Idttlts: L'ppiTi)arts ( including anriculars and sides of neck ) 
ashy grav to asliv hmwn, clearer and grayer anteriorly. hmwiier |)osteriorly ; pileuin, 
back and scapulars shar|)ly and narrowly streaked with black; wings and tail 
dull black with light brownish or pale grayish edging; the rectrices marked with 
white nnicb as in |)rcceding species ; a supraloral sjKit. an orbital ring and 
(usually) a short median line on f(»reliead white; sides of head slaty gray: lores 
dusky ; underparts white, clearest f>n throat where liounded and set off from white 
of malar area by interru|)tc<l chain of dusky streaks, occasionally with chisky 
spot on center of breast. marke<l ou sides and tlanks with bufTy and streaked 
with dusky; edge of wing pale yellow or yellowish white. Itill lilackish above, 
lighter below; legs dark brown, toes darker; iris brown. )'ouii(j: "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 buffy. Length of adult male about 6.00 ( 152.4) ; wing 3.1 1 (79) ; 
tail 2.05 ( 75 ) ; bill ■?,<) ( to) : tarsus .84 (21.5). Female a little smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size (barely); ashy gray plumage; zcliite 
throat dclined by du.sky .streaks. 

Nesting.^.Vc.v/.- of twigs, .sage bark, and "hemp" warmly lined with wool, 
rabbit-fur. cow-hair or feathers, placed low in crotch of sage bush, lu/f/s: 3-5. 
usuallv 4. brownish- or greenish-gray as to ground, dotted, spotted or clouded, 
rarelv scrawled, with chestnut or sepia and with some purjilish shell markings. 
Av. size .Ho x /<n ( 20. _^ x 15.2). Season: ,\]iril. June; two ])roo(ls. 

General Ran^e. — Great Basin region of the Western United States, west 
to eastern base of Sierra Nevada, cast to eastern base of Rm-kies. north ( at least ) 
to northern Washington; south, in winter, into southern .\rizona. etc. 

Range in Washington. — I'pper Sonoran and .Arid Transition life zones in 
eastern Washington north at least to the Grand Coulee; summer resident. 

Authorities. — ["Sagebrush Sparrow" Johnson, Rep. Cnv. W. T. 1884 ( 1885), 
22. 1 . //ii/i/ii.f/'ird hclli iicadciisis, Dawson, Wilson nullctin. Xo. .V'- Jnne. j<)02. 
p. 65. S-'. S>'. 

Specimens. — l'. of W. V. 



THE SAGE SPARROW. 



"7 



TIIAXK God fur the saj4e-brush ! It is not merely tlial it clothes the 
desert and makes its wastes less arid. Xo one needs to apologize for the 
unclad open, or to shun it as the it were an unclean thing. Only little souls 
do this, — those who, being used to small spaces, miss the support of crowding 
elbows, 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 ever-matching blue of the hopeful sky. 
but when to this is added the homely \-erdure of the untilled ground, the cup 
of joy is filled. One snatches at the sage as tho it were the symbol of all the 
wild openness, and buries his nostrils in its pungent branches to compass at 
a whifl" this realm of unpent gladness. Prosy? ^Monotonous? Faugh! 
Back to the city with _\'ou ! You are not fit for the wilderness unless you 
love its \ erv wi >rm- 
wood. 

The sage has interest 
or not, to be sure, ac- 
cording to the level 
fro m which it is 
\- i e w e d . Regarded 
fr(.im the supercilious 
level of the man-on- 
horseback, it is a mere 
hindrance to the pur- 
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 .n the t«t. 

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 maz^ : 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 tDjimost sprig of a sage bush to voice his thanks. In general character 




Douglas County. Photo by II'. Leon Dau 

S.\GE SP.ARROW ON .N'EST. 

BIRD \\.\S .NOT THE VICTIM OF THE MISFORTUNE MENTIONED 



ii8 THE SLATE-COLORED JU>J%(). 

the song is a sort <>f suIkIuciI imisical croaking, mellow and rich at close 
quarters, Init with little carrying i>ower. The hird throws his head well l)ack 
in singing, and the tail is carried more nearly horizontal than is the case with 
most Sparrows. .A song from the \'akima country ran: //iv<, cliif^ f^iiciiy, 
r/n'/>7>t'Ti'<n'. clii/' f'cti.'iiy, hut a common type heanl on the hanks of the Colum- 
bia in Walla Walla County, and repeated uiM)n the northern limit of the 
bird's range in Douglas County, is Tiif^. tup. tn iiVt'/v. citiip, tup. A more 
pretentious ditty, occupying two sec<)nds in delivery, runs Hooricdoppcty, 
Zifcter 7i'ce, dootllrty pooliit'rr. — an ecstacy song, wherein the little singer 
seems to be intoxicatetl with the aroma of his favorite sage. 

One may search a long time in the ncighlK>rho(Ml of the singer — who, by 
the way, closes the concert abrujjtly when he realizes that he is likely to give 
his secret away — before finding the humble domicile a foot or two up in a sage 
bush. A nest which containe<l live eggs was comix )sed externally of sage 
twigs set into a concealed crotch <if the bush, Init the bulk of it consisted of 
weed-bark and "hemp" of a (piite uniform <piality: while the lining containe<l 
tufts of w<H>l, rabbit-fur, cow-hair, feathers, and a few coiled horse-hairs 
The feathers were procured at some distant ranch, and their soft tii)s were 
gracefully upturned to further the concealment <if the eggs, already well |)rr> 
tected by their grayish green tints. 

.•\nother nest, sighted some forty paces away, contained one egg. and wc 
had high hopes r)f l^eing able to secure photographs upon our return with the 
camera. Hut a few mds further we came uinm a crew <)f sneaking Magpies, 
scouring the sage with a dozen beady eyes, and passing sneering or vulgarly 
jocose remarks uikmi what they found. When we returned, therefore, a day 
or two later, we were not surjjrised to learn that the fealliereil marauders 
haf! iircfcncrl c"/!;.;!!.!!!!'-!)!!] to Sdiixcnir |)liotograi)hs. 



No. 4<>. 

si.\ri;-C()i.()Ri;i) Ji xco. 

.\. ( ». I'. Xo. ^f>~. Junco hyemalis (I, inn. I. 

Synonyms. — Snow-iiirp. 1v\sti:k\ Snow-iurd. 

Description. — . Iiiiill luolc in summer: l'p|)cr])arts, thmat and breast slate- 
color dccpiniiiK to slaty-black on |)ik'nni. the bluish tinpe lacking on wings and 
tail; below, abruptly white from tlic breast, the flanks ashy slate; the two outer 
pairs of tail-foatlurs entirely, and the third pair principally white: bill llesh-color, 
usually tipped with black. Adult fctimlc: Similar to male; throat and breast 
paler; a brownish wash over the ti])|iirparts. deejiest on nape and up|>cr back; 
wings brownish fuscous rather than black, and sides tawny-washed, .\dult male 
in Xi-iiiter. becoming like female, but still distinguishable. Length 6.00-6.50 



THE OREGON JUNCO. 119 



(152.4-165.1 ) : wing 3.07 (7S1: tail 2.80 (71.1); bill .49 (12.5). Female 
averages slightly smaller than male. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size: white lateral tail-feathers; hood .\7(7/v 
as comjiared with J . orcgantis anil 7. o. shufcldti. 

Nesting. — Not known to breed in Washington. Nest and ri/t/.s" as next. 

General Range. — North America, chiefly east of the Rocky .Mountains, 
breeding in the hilly portions of the Xorthern 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 \\\-stern 
States to California, Arizona, etc. 

Range in Washington. — Casual during migrations ; ma\- winter rarelv in 
company witli J. orcyanus. 

Authorities. — Xot j^rci'iously puhlislicd : W . T. Shaw in cpist. Dec. I. 1908. 
J. 11. r>ciwles in cpist. Jan. ly, Kjoy. 

Specimens. — P". 

THIS the familiar Simw-bird of the East is occasionally seen west of 
the R(Kky Mountains in winter and during migrations, specimens having 
been taken at Sumas, B. C, by Mr. Allan Brooks, and at Corvallis, Oregon, 
by Mr. A. R. Wootlcock, in addition to the one reported from Pullman. It 
is not impossible that the bird is tnore common than we have been sujiposing, 
because, when found, it appears to be mingling freely with flocks of alliei! 
species, quite unaware of the fact that such actions are of interest to inquisi- 
tive bird-men. 



No. 47. 

OREGON JUNCO. 

.\. O. U. \o. 567a. Junco oreganus (Towns.). 

Synonyms. — ^"Orf.G.w S-N'ow-fixcii." Wkster.n' Snow-bird. Orkgox 
SNf)Vv-niRD. 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 w-arm reddish brown (nearly walnut brown) ; rump, upper tail-coverts 
and middle and greater wing-coverts slaty gray or ashv gray, sometimes glossed 
with olivaceous; wings and tail dusky, edged with ashy; th© outermost rectrix 
wholly and the second chiefly touched with white, the third pair touched with 
white near tij); sides of breast, sides and flanks strongly washed with jMnkish 
brown (viiiaccous cinnamon); remaining underparts (below chest) white. I'.ill 
pinkish white with dusky tij) ; iris claret red. Adult female: Head and neck 
all aroimd and chest scarcely contrasting in color with upperparts hut changing 
from warm brown (bister) above to dull slaty overlaid with lirowuisli 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 JUNCfli 

y'oiiiKj: '1\)]) iif head and liind-ncck ^rayisli brown stri-akcd with diisky, back 
and sca]>ulars warmer l)r<iwn strcakcil witli black; throat, chest, sides and flanks 
])ale biilTv brown streaked witli lilackish : otherwise as in adult. Lenj,'th of adult 
males about 0.35 ( iM..^ ) ; wiufj 2m^ I "5 • : tail j.^i> ( 65 i ; bill .43 ( 1 1 ) ; tarsus 
83 (21). I'V-maU-N ^mailer. 

Recognition Marks. — Sjiarrow size; black of head antl throat contrasting 
with white of breast; white lateral tail-feathers; head hiack as compared with 
J. liyi'iiHilis : back reddish brown as compared with J. o. shufcldti. 

Nesting. — Nest: on ground at base of small bush or under fallen branch, 
sometimes in o])cn wood or set into brushy hillside, of dead grasses and weed 
stems, scantily lined, or not, with hair; dimensions 2'/.. inches wi<le by i ' .. inches 
dee|) inside. lUjijs: 2-5, usually 4, varying in ground color from ]>ure white to 
pinkish white or pale blue, s])otted 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 .\ .60 ( 20.3 .\ 15.2) to .73 x .36 ( 18.5 x 14.2). 
Season: fourth week in April to lirst week in July or August according to alti- 
tude ; two or three broods. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district; in summer from southern I'ritish 
Columbia north to ^'akutat liay. Alaska: in winter south irregularly to California 
( S.inta Cru/ :iii<l San Mateo counties), straggling across the Cascade-Sierras 
into interior. 

Range in Washington. — l'"ormerly summer resident, now chiefly migrant 
and winter resident west of the Cascades; winter resident and migrant east of 
Cascades. 

Authorities.— ?Townsend. Journ. Ac. Xat. Sci. Phila. \TI., 1837, 188 (part). 
Jmico orri/uiiiis Sdater. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX.. i8,8. 467. T. C&S. L'. 
Rh. D'. Kb. Ra. D--. Kk. P.. 

Specimens. — U. of W. P'. Prov. B. 

IX speaking of Juiicoes it is necessary to distinguish between the rufous- 
backed bird of winter, the Oregon Juncn proper, and the brownish-gray- 
backed bird of summer, the Slnifeldt Jimco. A dozen years ago ori\mJiin<; 
was sup|K)sed to l)e the common breeding bird of Pugct Sound and the 
neighl)oring foothills, altho Sluifeldt's was well known in the tnore o])en 
situations. Latterly, however, there has not l)een any authentic account of 
the nesting of the red-backed bird within the State. 1903 witnessed its last 
a])iK'arance 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 crOreillc in Stevens 
County, and the Migh Cascades in Whatcom County, have all proven to lie 
J. o. shufcldti. 

The fact apjiears to be that we have detected a Washingtonian instance 
of that northward trend of siK-cies clearly recognizable in the East, but 
obscured to our vision heretofore in the West by rca.son of varied con<Iitions 
and insufficient data. The theory is that the birds are still following the 
retreat of the glacial ice. \Vc know that the glacial ice-sheet, now confined 



THE SHUFELDT JUNCO. 



tO' (jreenland and the liit^ii Xnrtli. once covered lialt the cnntinent. In our 
own mountains \vc see tlie vestigial traces of glaciers which were once of noble 
proportions. We know that the southward advance of the continental ice- 
sheet must ha\-e driven all animal life before it ; and, likewise, that the territory 
since relinquished by the ice has been regained by the animals. What more 
natural than that we should witness thru close observation the north ward 
"advance of those varieties of birds which are best suited to withstand cold, 
and the corresponding occupation of abandoned territorv on the part of those 
next south? 

Juncoes, moreover, are erratic in their migrations, and in tlie West, at 
least, tend to become non-migratory. While Oregon Juncoes are the common 
winter birds of Puget Sound, Shufeldt's are not entirely absent at this season, 
and we may even look to see them hold their own thruout the year. The 
problem is further complicated 1>\- what we call vertical migration, by which 
is meant that mountain birds descend to the valleys in winter instead of flying 
southward. Our winter Shufeldts, therefore, may or may not be strictly 
resident on, say, Steilacoom Prairie. The summer birds may retire to Cali- 
fornia: the winter birds may have descended from the Olympics or Mount 
Rainier. 



No. 48. 

SHUFELDT'S JUNCO. 

A. O. U. Xo. 567h. Junco oreganiis shiifeldti (Coale). 

Synonyms. — -W.\shingto.n Juxco. IIvi'.kid Sxow-bird (Coues). Rocky 
MoiwT.Mx Juxco (Coiies). 

Description. — .Idiilts: 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 (i 52.4-1 65 ) ; 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 l)riiwnish-gray of l)ack and with white of breast; grayer on back than 
preceding. 

Nesting. — Kcst: nnich as in preceding, occasionally placed at moderate 
heights in trees. Eggs: 4 or 5, ])alc bluish white, spotted and blotched with light 
reddisii 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 .\pril to .\ugust according to altitude; two broods. 

General Range. — I'.reeding from nortliern Oregon north into British Co- 
luniljia east to mountains of Alberta and Idaho; south in winter over Rocky 
Moimtain plateau region to Mexico, — northern California. 



122 



Till-: SMLFELDT JUNC()» 



Range in NVashinKton. — Common summer rcsitlcnt tliriunit the State, in or 
near c<>nifcri>n> liinhir, from sea level to limit of trees; sparingly resident in 
winter ehielly west of Cascades. 

Authorities. — As in iirecedinj;. ('i'l. C\S. Sr. Ka. IV. I. I',. K. 

Specimens. — l'. nf W. 1". H. lln. 

H(J\\lC\'lCk it may fare with the ( )rejion jiiiico (q. v.). the southern 
invaders, the ImhIs uilli tlie rusty jjray hacks, now ai)|)ear to |K)SSCSs the land. 
Thev have stolen hack sometime in March, so nnobtrusively we scarcely 
noticed when tlie suhstitution of jjray-hacks for red-hacks was effecte<l ; but 
soon we <lo ucttice that tlie yards and clearings arc fretiuentcd by hapi)y 

rollicking troo])« of 
Shufeldt Juncoes, and 
we notice too that some 
prc>n<nmced flirtations 
are being carried on. 

There is a jovial 
restlessness alK>ut tlicse 
birds' in flock which is 
contagious. Their ev- 
ery movement is ac- 
companied by a happy 
titter, and tlie jnirsuit 
of necessities is never 
so stern that a saucy 
dare from one of their 
nninl)er will not send 
the whole comi)any off 
pell-mell like a route of 
sch<M)l-boys. Whenever 
a Junco starts to wing, 
it flashes a white signal in the lateral t.iil-feathers : and this convenient 
"recognition mark" cnai)les the birds to keep tr.uk of each other thruout the 
maddest gambols in brush-lot or tree-top. 

On a sunny day in March the Junci>es gather for a grand concert. The 
males mount the bush-to])s and liold forth in rival 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 with this is a variety of sipping and suckling notes, whose uses are 
hard to discern. Now and then. also, a forcible kissing soimd may W heard, 
eviflently a note of repulsion instead of attraction, for it is eniploye<l in the 
breeding season to frighten enemies. During the ()rogress of the concert 
some dashing young fellow, unable fully to express his emotion in song. 




riiolo by IC. L. FtnUy. 



sir: vol: INTRLDi:! 

Al.E SlirFF.I.nT II'NCO ON NKST. 



.THE SHUFELDT JUNCO. 



123 



runs anuick. and goes charging al)<)ut tliru the woodsy mazes in a line 
frenzy — without, liowever, quite spilling" his brains. Others catch the ex- 
citement and tlie company breaks up in a mad whirl of amorous pursuit. 

At the end of 
the brief song- 
period, Juncoes 
deploy thruout 
the h a 1 f - o p e n 
woods or prairie 
borders of the en- 
tire State, from 
sea-le\'el to tim- 
ber-line. The va- 
riety and interest 
of their nesting 
habits are scarce- 
ly exceeded by 
those of any other 
bird. In general 
they appear to be 
gi.iided b}- some 
thought of seclu- 
sion or protection 
in their clioice of 
nesting sites. 
Steep hillsides or 
little banks are, 
therefore, favorite 
places, for here 
the l)ird may ex- 
cavate a c o o ! 
grotto 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 ai> 
p r o a c h e s. At 

Newix)rt 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 imder the shelter of brusli-piles. Several 




Photo by the 
U.NDER A TIX ROOF. 

EST IN THE CAN CONTAINS FIVE ECCS. 



I -'4 



THE SHUFELDT JUN( 



iR'sts have litcii found in nld tin cans tlung diiwn npon tlic prairie and only 
half ohscnrcd hy }^ro\\in<j tjrasses. Ajjain the l>irds trnst to the density of 
ve>,'etati<>n, and shelter in the J,'rass of nninowed orcliards. weed-lots, and 
meadows. One site was fonnd in which the hird occui)icd a carefully chosen 
fern arlx>r in the midst of a collection of whin-ned IxMies. evidently the mortal 
remains of a defniul <lraft hors. was delightfully >jrucs«jme. 




Photo by llie .lulhor. 
NEST AM) EGGS OF 

SUII"i:i.l>T .IIXCO 

and, touched no douhl with vanity, the owner sat for her portrait at four 
feet, a la Bernhardt. 

Juncoes keep very quiet durini; the nesting season until disturlied, and 
lliev are very close sitters. When nearly stepped on the hird hursts off. and. 
if there are young, crawls and tumbles along the ground within a few feet 
of the intruder, disjilaying wings and tail in a most appealing manner. The 
tssiks of l)oth hirds are incessantly repeated, and the whole wo<xlside is set 
agog with a|>prehension. 

If one posts himself in a susi>ectcd locality not t«K> near the nest, it is 
only a (|Ucstion of time till the solicitude of the nursing mother will triumph 
over fear. One such I traced to a charming mossy hank, overlie )king a 



THE WESTERN TREE SPARROW. 125 



woodland pool; but on the tirst occasion it took the parent bird exactlv lialf 
an hour to go tliru all the feints and preliminaries before she ventured on 
the final plunge. There were half-grown babies in this nest, and since we 
were in summer camp (at Glacier, near the foot of Mt. Baker), I resolved 
to make friends of this promising family with a \iew to portraitiu'e. 

As I sat next day watching my Juncoes, and waiting for the sini to get 
around and light up the \ icinity ni 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 1 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. .\las 
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 disapi:)€ared 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. 

.'\. C), [', Xo. 559a. 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 ; 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 undcrparts dull white washed on sides with 
Itrownish; general color of nppcr])arts light buft'y grayish brown, much out- 
cropping black on back, scajnilars and tcrtials ; some rusty edging on back 
feathers, scapulars and greater wing-coverts ; middle and greater wing-coverts 



i2(t THE WKSTKUX TkEH SI'.^ROW. 

ti|)()c<l with white, foriniiij^ twt) cuiispiciious bands; llij^jht feathers and rectrices 
fjrayisli <hisky marfjined with whitish and Iniffy. Hill blackish alxjve. yellow, 
tijipeil with dnsky, below; legs brown, feet darker; iris brown. In nitttcr the 
ciniianion-rnfous nf crown is slightly veiled, especially along median area, by 
ashy skirtings of feathers, and the buflfy of ii|)])erparts inclines to strengthen. 
Length about '>.oo (15.2.4); wing .^.00 (7^1); tail 2.68 (f)8); bill .39 ( 10) ; 
tarsus .Sj ( jo.S 1. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; resembles Western Chi])])ing S])arrow 
but nuicli larger; white wing-bars with chestnut of crown distinctive. 

Nesting. — Does not bree<l in Washington. "W'st, in low bushes or on the 
grounil, loosely constructed of bark strijjs, weetls and grasses, warmly lined with 
fe.itbers. Ii()t/s. 4-(), or even 7, pale green, minutely and regularly sprinkled with 
reddish brown s|)ots" (Cones). .-\v. size, .75 x .60 ( \<j.l x 15. 2). 

General Range. — Ilreeding from the valley of Anderson River, near the 
.Arctic coast westward thru .Alaska to coast of Mering Sea, and for an unde- 
termined distance southward ; in winter south thru western North America to 
.\rizona, Texas, etc.. eastward across Rocky Mts. to Oeat I'lains (Ridgway). 

Range in Washington. — Xot common winter resident and migrant. Has 
not recently been reported west of the Casca<les. 

Authorities. — Brewster, Hull. Niut. Orn. Club, \II. 1K82. \)\). 22~. 228. 
(T). (C\S). Sr. 1)--. 

Specimens. — (I', ol W. 1. I''. I'mv. 

"'!'lll\ sight of the first Tree Siiarnnv in the fall serves i)crfeclly to 
c.il! lip a vision of iiii])en(!ing winter. Here are the hurrying blasts, the 
leaden skies, the piling snow-drifts, all ready to make the l)ehol(ler shiver. 
Rut here, too. in some unlniricd weed patch, or thicket of n)se-l)riars, is a 
compaiiv of Tree Sparrows, stout-hearted and cold-defving, setting up a 
iiierrv tinkling chorus, as eloquent of good cheer as a crackling Vule-log. 
How manv times has the bird-man hasteneil out after some cruel cold snap, 
thinking. 'Siuelv this will settle for my birds." only to have his fears rebuked 
l)v a troop of these hardy Xorsemen revelling in soine hack pasture as if they 
had foinid their X'alhalla on this side the icy gates. Ho! brothers! Iiere is 
food in these capsides of mustard and cockle: here is wine distilleil from 
the rose-hips; here is shelter in the weedy mazes, or un<ier the soft blanket 
of the snow. What ho! Lift the light song! Pass round the cuj) again! 
Let mighty cheer i)revail !" ( Hirds of Ohio). 

Truth to tell, the Western Tree S])arrows are somewhat rare winter 
visitors, in eastern Washington only. In habits they do not appear to differ 
materiallv from the typical form, which is very abundant in winter thniout 
the ni rthern 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 l)erries. 
is found near the ground: and so, for the season, the name Tree Sparrow 
seems inconsistent. When persistently annoyed, however, the Hock will rise 



THE WESTERN CHIPPING SPARROW. 127 



tcj tlie tree-tiips in straggling fasliii/m. and tliere eitlier await the witiulrawal 
of the intruder, or else make off at a good lieight. 

The song- of the Tree Si>arro\v is sweet and tuneful, affording a 
pleasing contrast to the monotonous ditty of the Western Chipping Sparrow. 
Snatches of song may be heard, indeed, on almost any mild day in winter; 
hut the spring awakening assures a more pretentious effort. A comtrion 
furni runs. .S"tiVi'-/;(i. sweet, sweet, szveet, with notes of a most flattering 
tenderness. But we may only guess at the bird's full powers, for the home- 
making is in Alaska. 



No. 50. 

WESTERN CHIPPING SPARROW. 

.\. O. U. No. 560 a. Spizella passerina arizonjE (Coues). 

Synonyms. — Chippy. II.\ir-iukd. 

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 where 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, liill dark; 
feet light; iris brown. ]'oiiiuj 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 (/2) ; tail 2.36 (60) ; bill .39 (10) ; tarsus .67 (17). Females smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size: chcstniU cnnvn and whitish superciliary 
distinctive. 

Nesting. — .Xest: A compact or careless structure of hue tw'igs, grasses, and 
(most commonly and often exclusively) rootlets, heavily lined with horse-hair; 
jjlaced in sage-bush, wild rose thicket or shrubbery, or else on horizontal branch 
of apple tree or evergreen. E(j()s: 3-5, usually 4, greenish blue speckled freely 
or in narrow ring about larger end with reddisli brown and black. Av. size, 
.71 X .51 ( iS X 13 ). Season: April-July, usually May and June; two broods. 

General Range. — Western North America from the Rockies to the Coast 
breeding from the southern border of the United States north to the ^'ukon 
X'alley in Alaska, east over the western provinces of Canada; south in winter to 
.Mexico and T.owcr California. 

Range in Washington. — Coninmu summer resident Ihrudut the State chiefly 
in settled portions and more f)i)en situations. 

Migrations. — Sf'rhig: 'S'akima, .April 12, i(,00 ; Chelan. .\|)rii 24. 1896; 
'i'acoma. .\pril 12, 1905. .April 11. 1906. 

Authorities. — Spizella socialis P)Onap. Baird, Rep. I'ac. R. R. Surv. l.X. 
iS.v*^. 47.^ part. (T). C&S. D'. Ra. D^ Ss-'. Kk. J. P.. E. 

Specimens. — l'. nf W. 1''. I'rov. 1'. 1'.. 



IJK 



THE WESTERN' CHIPPING S 



PAR 



RUW. 



XOT all birds are titly named, even in the "immutalilc Latin," Init this 
one has a very accnrate title in S/^isi'lla sminlis uricoiKc', whicli we may freely 
translate as lite friendly little spiinow of the desert. An obscure little fellow 
he is to eye. a skit done in faded browns, with a chestnut crown which still 
does not ditTerentiate 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 Ixiast 
the presence of at least a few Chipping .sparrows. And friendly he is. I)e- 
vond question, for there are few dooryanls in the eastern part of the State 
where this bird is not a trustful visitor: and his presence in western Wash- 
ington is nearly coextensive with that of man. For altho the Chipping 
Sparrow ni)W abounds in the prairie region of Pierce and adjacent counties, 
it is instructivf to iiotf that its plumage gives no evidence of rcsaturation, 

or of departure from the 
bleached type, as would be 
the case if it belonged to one 
of the really "old families" 
of Puget Sonntl 

Whatever the weather. 
(.'hip])y returns to us aljout 
the i-'th day of April. i)osts 
himself on the tip of a fir 
branch, like a brave little 
Christmas candle, and pro- 
ceeds to sinitter. in the same 
part. Of all homely soun<ls 
the monotonous trill of the 
Western 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 
|)ours out his soul full earn- 
estly, and his ardor often 
leads him to sustained effort thruout the sultry hours when more brilliant 
vocalists are sulking in the shade: ami for this we come to prize his homely 
ditty like the sound of plashing waters. 

Two Chip|)ing Sparrow songs heanl near Tacoma deserve s|ieciai 
mention. One likened itself in our ears to a tool l)eing ground on a small 
emery wheel. The wheel has a rough place on its |icriphery which strike^ 




Taken in I'u-rce Counl\. 



Pholo bx the .tull ( 



jrST .M<K1\ Kit. 
ciiiPriNi; srARRow, adi-lt ma 



a. So callcl f..r 
nutabile Sfmf'cr A. < 



Ihru the lalc«l caprice o( nomrncLittir 



THE WESTERN CHIPPING SPARROW. 



129 



against the timl with aiKhtimial 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 l>uzz of 
varying intensity, carries forward the same idea of continuous sound, but 
the comparison changes. In this the song appears to pour from the tiny 
throat without efYort, and its movement is as tho an unseen hand controlled 
an electric buzz, whose activity varies with the amount of "juice" turned on: 
zzzzzzzzzzt, zzz:;.c:£:^zzzt, zzzzzz7.7-T.tX. Z7.7.ZZZZ7JLZ'X, 7:aZ7.22.ZZZT . 

Chippy's nest is a frail affair at Ijest, 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 bird frankly forsakes the wilds, ornamental shrubbery and vines are 

chosen. The nests are often 
* J^ \ 1 so loosely related to their im- 

^^ - mediate surroundings as to 

gi\'e the impression of having 
been constructed elsewhere, 
and then moved bodily to 
their present site. Some are 
set as lightly as feathers u])on 
the tips of evergreen branches, 
and a heav\' storm in season 
is sure to liring down a shower 
of Chippies' nests. 

Eggs are laid during the 
first or second week of May 
in the \icinity of .American 
Lake and from one In three 
weeks earlier in the sage 
country. Thc\- are among the 
nmst faiuiliar objects in Na- 
ture, and ])articular descrip- 
tion of them ought to be unnec- 
essary. But e\'ery person who 
knows that we are interested 
in birds has to stop us on the 
street to tell alxtut the "cunningest little nest, you know, with four of the 

cutest " "Hold on," we say; "were the eggs blue?" "Ves." "With 

dots on them ?" "Why, yes ; how did you know ?" 

Incubation l.'ists onl\- ten davs and two broods are raised in each season. 




Taken 



Photo bji the Aiill-c 



■FOUR OF THE CUTF.ST 



I30 Tllli; I'.RKWER Si'.\kl« )W. 

CliippiiiK Sparrows are very devoted parents and tlie sitting female will some- 
times allow herself to l>e taken in the hand. The male hird is not less se<liilous 
in the care of the yonnjj. ami he sometimes exercises a fatherly oversight of 
the first hatch of hahies, while his mate is preparing for the Jnnc crop. 



No. 51. 

bri:\\i:rs sparrow. 

A. ( ). r. No. 562. Spi/ella breweri Cassin. 

Description. — .Idiilts: IpiJcrparts grayish lirown, lirightcst lirown on hack. 
evcrywiuTc ( save on rcniij^cs and ri-ctrici"> 1 strcakod with black or dusky, narrnw- 
Iv on crown, more broadly on back and scapulars, less distinctly on rump; wing- 
covcrts and tcrtials varied by etljjings of brownish buff; llight- feathers and rectrices 
dark grayish brown or dusky with some edging of light grayish brown; a broad 
pale buffy sni)erciliary stripe scarcely contrasting witli surroundings; unrlerparts 
dull whitish tinged on sides and across breast by pale buffy gray. Bill pale 
brown darkening on tip and along culmen ; feet i>alc brown, iris brown. )'oiiiiii 
birds are less consjiicuously streaked above; middle and greater coverts broadly 
tip|)ed with buffy forming two distinct bands; breast streaked with dusky. 
Length 5.30 ( 1.351: wing j.44 {(>2): tail 2.3S ( C0.5 ) ; bill ..^S ( 8.8 1 ; tarsus 
M ( 1 7.4 » . 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; general streaked ajjpearance; ahsi'iicc 
of distinguishing marks practically distinctive; sage-haunting habits. 

Nesting. — Xcst: of small twigs ami dried grasses, lined with horse-hair, set 
loosely in sage-bush. lic/ijs: 4 or 5, greenish blue, dotted an<l spotted, sometimes 
in ring alKwt larger end, with reddish brown. Av. size .67 x .49 (17x12.4). 
Srasoit: April. June; two broods. 

General Range.— Sage-brush plains of the West, breeding from .Vrizona to 
r.ritish (.'c.lumliia and cast to western Nebraska and western Texas; south in 
winter to Mexico and Lower California. 

Range in Washington. — C)]>cn country of the East-side, abundant summer 
resi<leiit ; occasionally invades Cascade Mountains (only in late stunmer?). 

Migrations. — Spriin/: Yakima March 20. 1900. 

Authorities. — ["Brewer's sparrow," Johnson, Rej). dov. W. T. 1884 ( 1S85), 
22\. Dawson, Auk. XIW 1897. 178. D'. Ss'. Ss^ 

Specimens. — I', of W. P. C. 

IT IS never quite fair to say that Xatnrc produces a creature which 
harmonizes i)crfectly with its .surroundings, for the moment we yiehl tribute 
of admiration to one creature, we discover amid the same circumstances 
another as nearly jicrfect hut entirely difTerent. When we consider the Sage 
Sparrow we think that Nature cannot improve much ujion his soft grays 
bv wav of fitness for his desert environment; hut when we come uixmi the 
Brewer Sparn-w. we are ready to wager that here the dame has done her 



THE BREWER SPARROW. 



131 



utmost to pniduce a l)ir(l of non-ci immittal appearance. Mere hrown might 
have been conspicuous by defauh, hut brownish, broken up l)v liazy streakings 
of other brownish or dusky — call it what ynu w iU — has given us a l)ird w^hich, 
so far as plumage is concerned, may be said to have no mark of distinction 
whatever — just bird. 

The Sage Sparrow tits into the gray-green massy scheme of color liar- 




NEST AND EGGS OI' KklvWKR SI'.\KROW. 



132 THE GOLDEN-CROWNED SI^ROW. 

I110I1V in llic aritniisia. while I'rcwer's tils into tlic sninluT, Ijniwii-and-strfaky 
sclienic (>l its twigs anil i)ranciies. To carry (Hit tlie c<>ni|)arisi)n. do not look 
for biYZi't^ri early in the season, when the breath of the rain rises from the 
ground and the air is astir: he is there, of course, hut clisregard him. Wait, 
ratiier, until the season is ad\anced. when the inotmijarahle sun of \'akima 
lias tilled tiie sage-hrush full to overflowing, and it begins to ooze out heat 
in drowsv. indolent waves. Then listen: U'i.wc::c, tuhiliibituhiliihiluh. tiie 
tirst part an inspired trill, and the remainder an c.\(|uisitely modulated ex- 
pirated trill in descending cadence, instantly one conceives a great res]x*ct 
for this plain dot in feathers, whose very existence may have passed unnoticed 
l»eforc. The descending strain of the common song has. in some individuals, 
all the line shading heard in certain imixirted canaries. Pitch is conceded 
bv intinitesimal gradations, whereby the singer, from some heaven of fancy, 
brings us down gently to a topmost twig of earthly attainment. \or does 
the song in other forms lack variety. In fact, a midday dn'rus of I'.rewer 
Si)arrows is a treat which makes a trani]) in the sage memorable. 

Brewer's Sjjarrow is of the sage sagey. and its range in Washington is 
almost exactiv co-cxtcnsive with the distribution of that <loughty shrub; but it 
is of record tliat Sl^ici-lhi bii~:\.ni indulges in some romantic vacations, a S|icci- 
mcn l)eing once taken by me (July j;. 1900) at 8000 feet. ui>on the glacier 
levels of Wright's Peak. 



No. 52. 
GOLDKN-CROWNKI) SI'ARRoW. 

A. O. IJ. \o. 357. Zonotrichia coronata (Pall. 1. 

Description. — Adults: .\ bruad crown stripe ganibogc-ycllr>w. changing 
abruptly to a^liv gray on occi])Ut ; this iKiumled on each side by broad stripe of 
silkv black meeting fellow on forehea<l : remaining uppcrp.irts grayish brown, 
broadly streaked with black on back, more or less edged with ilull chestnut on 
back, wing-coverts and tcrtials. glossed with olive on nnnp and tail : niid<lle and 
greater coverts tipped with white forming consjucuous bars: chin, throat and 
sides of head ashy gray with obscure vermicnialions of dusky: remaining undcr- 
parts washed with bnlTy brown, darkest on sides and flanks, lightest, to dull 
white, on belly, obsolctcfy and tincly barred on breast. I'.ill blackish above, ]>aler 
below: feet pale; iris brown, fiiiiiuiliirr: Without detinitc head-stripe; crown 
broadly dull olive- vcllow. 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 
( i82.K^ ; wing 3.28 (8.V3) ; tail 3.06 i//./) : bill .4'*^ (12.2); tarsus .96 (24.31. 

RecoKnition Marks. — Sparrow size; yellow of crown distinctive in any 
plumage. 

Nestinj;. — Does not breed in Washington. Xesl and eggs said to be very 
similar to those of Z. I. iiuttalli. 



THE GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW. 133 

General Range. — Pacific Coast and I'lCiing Sea districts of Alaska; south 
in winter thrii the Pacific States to Lower California: occasionally straggles 
eastward. 

Range in Washington. — Spring and fall migrant both sides of the Cascades, 
more common westerly. 

Migrations. — S faring: c. April 21 ( West-side) ; c. May 20 (Chelan ). 

Authorities. — ? Hiiihcrica atricapilla And. Orn. Biog. \'. 1839, 47; pi. 394. 
Baird, Rep. I'ac. R. R. Snrv. \'ol. IX. 1858, 462. C&S. L'. D'. Kb. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens. — L. of W. I'rov. E. 

REGAL the he be, this sparrow is discreet in the matter of appearances, 
and does not cultivate tlie public eye. Washington is only a way-station 
in his travels, and the splendors and lilierties of court life are reserved for 
Alaska. Appearing at Taconia 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 inidnight 
flight is over when we see them yawning sleepily in the buslies of a morning. 
Tiiey are languid too as they deploy upon the park lawns, always within 
reach of cover, in search of fallen seeds or lurking beetles. Their leisurely 
movements contrast strongly with the bustling activities of the local Nuttalls ; 
for the latter are burdened with the care of children, before the Alaskan 
migrants have forsworn bachelorhood. East of the Cascade Mountains the 
northward movement of this species is even more tardv, and Mav 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- 
selves, the birds become sociable with many ciiihs common to the genus: and, 
if unusually merry, the Golden-crowns indulge a sweet, preparatory hoo '"''^ 
which reminds one of both the White-crowned fZ. leucophrys) and Wliite- 
throated (Z. alhicoUis) Sparrows of the East: but the song has never l^een 
comjileted here to our knowledge. 

Suckley said that Golden-crowned Sparrows were alnnidant in summer 
both at Fort Dalles and Fort Steilacoom, but this was undoubtedlv a nu'stake, 
as the records of alleged nesting in California proved tq be. On the other 
hand they may winter with us to some extent, since Mr. Bowles tof)k a 
specimen on December 16, 1907, in the Puyallup Valley. 



134 THE GAMBEL SPARROW. 

No. 33. 
(,.\MHI-;i;S SI'ARROW. 

A. O. U. Xo. 554a. Zonotrichia leucophrys j^ambelii (Nuttall). 

Synonyms. — I.\tkkmkoiati;-ckuw.m:ii Siakkhss. l.MKKMKmATK Si-akkow. 

Description. — .Idtills: Crown |)urc white. Ijc'cnniing gray hcliind ; lateral 
crown-stripes meeting in front, anil 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 crissuin ; 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 tijiped with white, forming twn inconspicuous wing-bars; rcclrices 
with brown shafts and tawny edgings, bill reddish brown al)ovc, safTron yellow 
below, with tij) of maxilla black. JOimk/ of the year have the black of head 
rci)laccd by light chestnut, and the white by ochracco-fuscous or gray; in general 
darker and browner al)ove than adult. Length 6.50-7.00 ( 165-180) : wing 3.07 
(78) : tail 2.76 ( 70 I : bill .42 ( 10.7 ) ; tarsus .89 ( 22.5 ). 

Recognition Marks. — Si)arrow size; broad white crown and jet black lateral 
stri|>cs strongly contra'-ting : slightly larger and general coloration lighter than in 
Z. /. iiuttiilli: white crown-stripe broa<ler. 

Nestin};. — -As next ; not known to breed in Washington but |)robably docs so. 

ucneral Range. — Western North .Vmerica, breeding from Montana, eastern 
Oregon, etc., northward between coast mountains of l'>ritish Columbia and Alaska 
an<l the interior plains to the lower Mackenzie and .Anderson River N'allcys, thence 
westward thruout .Maska to the coast of Bering Sea ; in winter southward across 
western United States into Mexico and Lower California, straggling eastward 
across the Cireat Plains. 

Range in \\ ashington. — .Abundant spring and fall migrant on the Kast-sido, 
possiblv summer resident ; doubtless migrant west of Cascades, but no specimens 
taken. 

Migrations. — Spring: .\pril 20-May 20. Wallula. .April 24, 1905: Chelan, 
.April 24, 1896; Brook Lake, June 7, n><v'<. 

Authorities. — I'riiifjilla tuiiiihclii Nuttall, Man. Orn. V. S. & Canada, 2d 
Ed., I, 1840, 556. Z. gambcli intcrmcduj I'.rewster, 1'. X. O. C. \'IL 1882, p. 
227. D'. Sr."D^ Kk. j. 

Specimens. — V . of W. C. P. 

IT IS ])nil)al)ly .safe to say that during the height of their spring migra- 
tions, viz., April 13th ti> I^Liy 15th. these hinls exceefl in numl>ers all the 
other sparrows of eastern Washington combined. Indeed, on certain occa- 
sions, it would seem that tlie>- are more mmierous than all other birds com- 
bined. And this altho they do not move in pfreat fliKks in the open, like 
Redpolls, hut tlit and skulk wherever there is show of cover. Wayside 
thickets, spring draws, and the timl>cre<I banks of streams are favorite places. 
The more isolatcfl the cover the more certain it is to l>e held as a Zonotrichian 



THE NUTTALL SPARROW. 135 



strunghiiUl, and they are sometimes su hard put tu it t\)r sheUcr that they 
resort in numljers to the sage-brush, where they affect great secretiveiiess. 

These handsome and courtly gentlemen with their no less interesting, 
it somewhat plainer, wives are tar more reserved than their talents would 
warrant. Our approach has sent a score of them scurrying intO' cover, a 
neglected rose-l)riar patch which screens a fence, and now we cannot see 
one of them. .\n nccasional sharp d::iiik of warning or protest comes out 
of the screen, nr a sujjprcssed titter of excitement, as two birds jostle in their 
effort to keep out of sight. W'e are being scrutinized, however, bv twenty 
pairs of sharp eyes, and when our probation is ended, now one bird and n()w 
another hops up 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. Tlie 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 thev will not make 
their homes with us, Init must needs go further north ! 

.\s diligently as I have searched for this species, I have never found a 
si)ecimen in the summer months'*, nor is tlrere any record of the bird's nest- 
ing in Washington. This is the more remarkable in that the type form 
(Z. leucophrys) 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 reallv 
referable to the typical form, and that as such it represents a northern exten- 
sion of leiicoplirys. rather than a southern extension oi gainbcHi. 



No. 54. 

NUTTALL'S SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 554 1). Zonotrichia leucophrys nuttalli K'idgw. 

Synonyms. — Formerly called G.ambicl's Sparrow. WHiTE-CROWxr.n Sp.\r- 
Kow (name properly confined to Z. leucophrys). Crown Sparrow. 

Description. — .Idults: Like ])rcceding but general tone of coloration much 
darker : streaks of back and scapulars deepest brown or blackish ; general ground- 
color of upperparts light olivc-gray; median crown-stri])c narrower, dull white; 



a. Until tltc season of 1908. See onte under "Migrations." 

b. "(?) nendirc, Proc. Bost. Soc. .\. II. XIX., 1877, 118 (Camp Harney, e. Oregon, breeding)" 
(Ridgwayi. 



»36 



THE NUTTALL SPARRt^ 




j\VVa.»v^TPa\i- 



••A MII.ITAKV CENTI.KMAN l.\ A (iKAV (.I.OAK.- 

iiiulcrparts more strongly waslicd witli Ijrownisli gray: axillarics and bend of 
wing more strongly yellow; bill yellowish with dark tip. I in mature: Similar to 
that of preceding form, but imderparts yellowish: upperparts light olive buff; 
crown-stripe cinnamomeous, or |)alc chestnut. /Vrv youtitj binls are more 
extensively black-streaked alxn-e, and linely streaked below on chin, throat, chest, 
and sides: bill brighter yellow; feet paler. Kengtli of adidt males, ^.ijo-6.yo 
( 150-170 ); wing 2.<»5 (75); tail 2.83 (72): bill .43 (u): tarsus .93 (23.5). 
I'emales smaller. 

Reco};nition Marks. — Sparrow size; black-and-white striping of crown 
distinctive in range ; much darker than preceding. 

Nesting. — .\V.y/.- on ground or low in bushes; rarely in trees up to 25 feet; 
a rather i)retentious structure of bark-strips, dead grass, and rootlets, with a 



THE NUTTALL SPARROW. 137 

lining of tine dcacl grass and horse-hair; measiu-es cNtcrnall)- (1 in. wide by 4 
deep: internally 2j.> wide by i tlee]). JSygs: 4 or 5, pale bkiish while, profusely 
dotted and spotted, or blotched, with varying shades of reddish brown. Av. size 
.86 X .64 (2i.8x 16.3). Season: Last week in April, and May 25-June 10; two 
broods. 

General Range. — racillc Coast district, breeding from Monterey, California, 
to Fort Simpson, llritish Cohnnbia ; south in winter to San I'edro Martir 
Mountains, Lower California. 

Range in Washington. — Of general distribution west of the Cascade 
Mountains at lower altitudes; casually winter resident. 

Migrations. — Spriiuj: March 23-ApriI i. 

Authorities. — Z. gainbrlii (lanibel, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, 
461. (T.) C&S. L-.( ?) L-'. Rh. Kb. Ra. Kk. H. E. 

Specimens.— l^ of W. P. P.. PX. E. 

W'llEX yiiu enter a bit of shrubbery at the edge of town in ALiy or 
June, your intrusion is almost sure to be questioned by a military gentleman 
in a gray cli>ak with black-and-white trimmings. Your business may he 
personal, not public, hut somehow you feel as if the authority of the law had 
been invoked, and that you would better be careful how you conduct yourself 
in the presence of this military person. Usually retiring, the Nuttall S])arn>w 
coiuls exijosure where the welfare of his family is in question, and a metallic 
scolding note, ciiik. or (Lcliik. is made to do incessant service on such occasions. 
A thoroly aroused pair, wurnis in beak, and crests uplifted, may voice their 
suspicions for half an hour from fir-tip and brush-pile, without once dis- 
closing the whereabouts "f their yoimg. 

Xuttall's Sparrow is the f;imiliar spirit of lirusli-lots, fence tangles, berry 
patches, and half-open situations in general. He is among the last to quit 
the confines of the city before the advancing ranks of apartment houses and 
sky-scrapers, and he maintains stoutly any vantage ground of vacant lot, 
disordered hedge-row, or neglected swamplet left to him. After the Rusty 
Song S])arrow, he is |)erhaps the commonest Sparrow in western Washing- 
ton — unquestionably so within the borders of settlement. 

As a songster this Sparrow is not a conspicuous success, altho he works 
at his trade with commendable diligence. He chooses a prominent station, 
such as the topmost sprig of a lir sapling, and holds fortfi at regular intervals 
in a pro.sy, iterative ditty, from which the slight musical quality vanishes 
with distance. Hee ho. dice zccc. chec n'ce dice zcecc and IJcc. 7<.'iidge, 
i-wiidj^c i-ii'udge i-u'eccc are vocalized examples. The preliminary lice ho 
is sometimes clear and sweet enough to prepare one's ear for the Vesper 
Sparrow's strain, but the succeeding syllables are tasteless, and the trill with 
which the effort concludes has a wooden (lualitv which we m;iv ii\erlook in 



'.?« 



THE XUTTALL SP.\R1« »1A 



a friend but slioiild certainly ridicule in 
a stranijer. We are Ininihled in view of 
the vi>cal limitations of this hird when 
we recall that the voice of the White- 
crowned Sparrow (Z. Icucophrys ) , oi 
which ours is a local race, is noted for 
its sweet, pure (|uality. Surely our bird 
has caught a bad cold. 

In sclectinj( a nestinjj site, the N'uttall 
displays a marked rlififercnce of taste 
from the Rusty Sonjj Sparrow, in that 
it selects a dry situation. The first nest, 
prepared durin}.^ the third week in April, 
is almost invariably built ujion the 
ground. A slight hollow is scratched at 
the base of a bush or sapling, and a 
rather pretentious structure of bark stri|)s, 
dried grasses and rt«itlcts is reared, with 
a lining of fine grass and lif)rse-hair. A 
nest found on Flat-to]) was set in high 
grass at the foot of a tiny oak sa|)ling, 
and was comjiosed externally of dried 
yarrow leaves with a few coarse grasses: 
internally of fine coiled grass of a ver\ 
light color, su|)plemented by four or five 
white gull feathers. The eggs, four or 
five in iniml)er. are of a handsome light 
green or bluish green shade, and are heavily dotted, spotted, or blotched 
with reddish brown. 

A second set is prepared a nuMith or so later than the first, and occa- 
sionally a third. Second nests are built, as likely as not. in bushes or trees; 
.111(1 Mr. rji>wles has taken them as high as twenty-five feet from the ground. 
Young birds lack the parti-colored head-strijies of the adult, altho the 
pattern is sketched in browns; and they are liest identified by the UTifailing 
solicitude of the parents, which atten<ls their every movement. They are 
rather bumptious little creatures for all; a company of them romping alxiut 
a pasture fence brings a wholesome recollection of school-boy days, and there 
;irc girls among them. too. for my! how they giggle! 




Taken in ScallU. riiolo by llu- .lull 

FlCXr.\I.E .NLTT.MJ. Sf.VKKOW 



THE MOUNTAIN SONG SPARROW. 139 



No. 55- 
MOUNTAIN SONG SPARROW. 

A. O. L'. No. 381 1). Melospi/a melodia montana ( llenshavv). 

Description^. — .lilults: t'iMwn dull bay streaked with black and divided by 
ashy-gray median stripe: rnfcms brown post-ocular and rictal stripes, enclosing 
grayish-brown auriculars; remaining upperparts ashy-gray varied by reddish 
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 sca])ulars 
sharply 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 maxillary stripes and often on center of breast as indistinct blotch. Bill 
liorn-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. — Sparrow size ; heavy streaking of breast and back, 
with varied head markings, distinctive; lighter, grayer and more sharply streaked 
as compared with M. in. inerrilli. 

Nesting. — As next. 

General Range. — "Rocky Mountain district of the United States west to 
and including the Sierra Nevada, in California; north to eastern Oregon, southern 
lilaho and southern Montana: soutli in winter to western Texas and northern 
Mexico" (Ridgway). I'robablv 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 epist, Dec. 
31, 1908. Sr? 

Specimens. — P'('32 spec). 

WHETHER or not the Song Sparrows of northern Montana and eastern 
British Columbia are typical montana, the doctors must settle ; but certain 
it is that sparrows of a type decidedly lighter, that is, ashier. in coloration, 
than our inerrilli, pass thru our eastern borders during migrations. Of such 
a bird, examined narrowly at Si)okane on November 4, 1905, my note-book 
says (comparing at every point with nicrrilli] : "Ashy gray and brown of 
head strongly contrasting: ashy of back 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 Mclospha melodia from whicti it differs sliglitly in proportions but cliicfly in 
grayer coloration. Ttic measurements are those of Ridgway, Birds of N. & M. A., Vol. I., p. 358. 



14*) THE MERRILL SONG Sl'AKRi i\\ 

No. 50. 

MKRRlLi;S S()N(, SI'ARROW. 

A. ( ). r. Xi). ^Hi k. Melospi/a mcloJia nicrrilli ( llrcwstcr ). 

Synonyms. — Disky Song Si'akrcjw. Silvkr-tongik. 

Description. — Characters iiUi-rnu-<liatf Ijctwccii those i<i .\[. in. inoiitaiia and 
M. III. iiii'if'lnui. In (general, darker tlian |)reeediii>; with |>hnnaj;e inure blended, 
pmportiiin of gray in hack alxuit one-third; ligliter tlian next, not so brown, 
streakings more (hstinct. 

Nesting. — .Xcst: a substantial structure of twigs, grasses, coiled bark-strij)s, 
dead leaves, etc. : lined carefully witii line dead grass, rtxitlcts or horse-hair, placed 
indifTerently in bushes or on the ground, lu/ys: 4-6. usually 5, greenish-, grayish-, 
or bluish-white, heavily spotted and blotched with reddish browns wliich some- 
times conceal the background. .\v. 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 r)riti>h Columbia, east (at least ) to northern Idaho. 

Range in Washington. — East-side — theoretically inclusive. Specimens from 
the central valleys of the Cascades may be called niorphmi and those from the 
Palouse country montana, at pleasure. 

Authorities. — M. fasciata ijullnld. Brewster, Hull. XiUt. ( )rn. Club, \'II. 
iWj, 227, 22iJ. D'. Ss'. J. 

Specimens. — V'. 

THIS, the connecting link between montana and uiorphna, is the char- 
acteristic Song Sparrow of eastern Washington, and aljounds along timbered 
water courses and in all cultivated districts. While closely resembling the 
Rusty Song Si)ariow of the West-siile, it may be distinguished from it by 
the sliari)er color ])attern of its ])liiniage; and the ixiints of divergence from 
nioiilaua are maintained witli substantial uniformity, at least along the 
eastern sIojks of the Cascades, and in the northern tier of counties. 

.\ltho subjected to considerable rigors in winter, this S|)ecies is ])artially 
resident, being largely confined during the cold season to the shelter oi tule 
beds, wild rose thickets, clematis iMiwers, and the like. Nesting begins alxiut 
the second week in .\pril and continues with undiminished ardor till July 
or .'\ugust. Incubation requires twelve days, and the young are rcatly to 
fly in as many m<jre, so that a devoted pair is able to raise three and some- 
times four broods in a season. 

At this rate we shoidd be overrun with Song S]>arrows if there were 
not .so many agencies to hold the species in check. .\ young Song Si)arrow 



THE MERRILL SONG SPARROW. 



141 



is llie choice morsel of e\'erything tiiat jireys. — 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 hrave heart 
holds out and sings its song n\ trust and lo\-e with the ruins of three nests 
behind it and the harv'cst not _\ct past. 




Taken in Orcgo 



Photo by A. IV. Anthony. 



A I'KOFKSSION.AL OOLOGIST. 



A little glimpse of Nature's prodigality in this regard was afforded by 
a ])air which nested on my grounds in the Ahtanum \'alley. On the 4th 
of June I came upon a nest in a rose bush, containing frnn- \(iung just 
hatched, and these almost immediatelx' disappeared — a second, or ])ossibly 
a third, atlcmjit fur the seasnn. On July 4th in an adjoining clump the 
same pair was disco\ered with three wcll-tleilged xoung. 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 T knew. i)ot]i b\- the 
familiar notes and by elimination, to l)elong to this ])air: l)ut the nesl was 
empty on the day fnllowing. 

.\t the beginning of the season nests are frequently made ui)iin llie 
ground under cover of old \egetation, 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 3d was nestled loosely in a 
recumbent ])otato vine. At other times any situation in bush or tree, up 
to twenty feet, is accejitable, if only within conxenient reach of water. .\ 



142 lilK KUSTY SONG SI'ARRt)\\. 

favorite building site is amid the debris of last year's flood water, caught 
in tlie willow clumps of creek or lagoon. With high boots one may wade 
the bet! nf a brushy creek near Yakima and count certainly on tinding a 
Merrill Song Sparrow's nest every five or ten rods. 



No. 57. 
RlSrV S()N(. SI'ARRoW. 

A. O. L'. .\'o. 581 c. .N\clospi/a nicloJia morphna < ilicrimlsiT. 

Description. — .Idiilts: SonKwlial like M. m. iiiontaiui but coloratifMi much 
innru rufi'sci'iU, general color of uppcr])arts rich rusty bmwn, ashy gray of M. m. 
niinitami n-pn-scnted by rusty olive and this reduci-<l or I in some plumages) 
almf>st wanting: black mesial streaks of scajiulars. etc., nnich reduced, indistinct 
or sometiuK-s wanting; underparts heavily and broadly streaked with chestnut 
usually without black shaft hues; sides and flanks washed with olivaceous. 
")'oiiiig, slightly rufesceiU bister brown above, the back streaked with blackish, 
beneath dull whitish or very pale bufTy grayish, the chest, sides and flanks more 
or less tinged with huffy or i)ale fulvous and streaked with sooty brownish" 
(Ridgway). Length al«)ut 6.40 ( 162.5); wing 2.C)0 ( f 16 ) ; tail 2.56 (65); bill 
.50 ( 12.7) : tarsus .67 ( 17). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; rusty brown coloration; heavily spot- 
ting of inider[)arts distinctive save for the russcrcllu iliaca group from which it 
is further distinguished by smaller size and varied hea<l markings. 

Nesting. — Kcst: .\s in preceding. E</</s: usually 4, averaging darker in 
coloration and larger than in M. m. mcrrilU. Av. size, .87 x .63 (22.1 .\ 16). 
Season: second week in .•\])ril to July; two or three broo<ls. 

General Range. — "Hrecding from extreme southern jwrtion of Alaska 
thrf)ugh IJritish Columbia (including \'ancouver Island) to western Oregon 
(north of Rogue River Mountains) ; in winter, south to southern California (Fort 
Tejoii, i-tc.)" (Ridgway). 

Range in Washington. — Common resident west of the Cascades; found 
chiefly in vicinity of water. 

Authorities. — ? .\udubon, Orn. Biog. \'. 18^9, 22. M. rufina. Baird, Rej). 
I'ac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858. p. 481. (T). C&S. L'.'RIi. Kb. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— I ■. of W. V. Prnv. P.. BX. E. 

IF (^N'b* were to write a book alnnu the blessings of common things, 
an early chapter must needs be devoted to the Song Si)arrow. How blessed 
.1 thing it is that we do not all f)f us ha\e to go to greeidiouses for our 
flowers, nor to foreign shores for birds. Why. there is more lavish love- 
liness in a dandelion than there is in an im|)orted orchid; and I fancy wc 
should tire of the Nightingale, if we had to exchange for him our sweet 
l>oel of connnon day. the Song Sparrow. 



THE RUSTY SONG SPARROW. 



143 




SONG SPARROW ASI.KEP. 



Familiar he certainly is: for while he has none of the \nlgar ohlrnsive- 
ness of Passer doDicsticns, nor confesses any love for mere liricks and 
mortar, there is not a weedy back lot outside of the fire limits which he has 
not gladdened with his presence, nor a disordered woo(|-|)ile (ir hrnsh-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:" .\nd 
that is his message to all the world, 
"Peace, and good-will." Once we 
sat stormbound at the mmith 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! Coiuit your many 
mercies nozi'." Of course he did say exactly that, and the childish emphasis 
he put upon the last word set us to laughing. m\' partner 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 bush 
and rehearse his cheerful lay. The song is not continuous. l)ut 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 dis])osition may be. there is ample 
use, alack! for the note of warning and distrust. WHien. therefore, the 
Song Sparrow's nesting haunts are invaded, the birfl emits a chip or chirp, 
■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 ])roxiniity save 



144 l'"'- KlJ'STY SONG SPAKRc »\\ . 

in mating time; luil tlicv like to assure ihenisclves, neverllieless. tliat a dozen 
of tlieir felk)\vs are witliin call against a time of need. 

Silver-tongue is a birtl of the ground and contiguous levels. When 
hiding, he does not seek the depths of the foliage in trees, but skulks among 
tlie lUad leaves on the ground, or even tineads his way tiiru log heaps. If 
driven from one covert, the bird dashes to another with an odd jerking 
lliglit. working its tail like a pump-handle, as iho to assist progress. Ordi- 
narilv the bird is \v>i fearful, altho retiring in dis|)osition. .\i)art from the 
haunts of men the Song Sparrow of western Washington is closely attached 
to the water; and is not to i)e looked for save in damj) wofxls, in swamps, 
in tiie vicinity of open water, whether of lake or ocean, or along the brushy 
margins of streams. Indeed, its habits are beginning to assume a slightly 
;i(|ualic character. Not only does it jilash about carelessly in shallow water, 
hut it sonietimes seizes and devours small minnows. 

Save in favored localities, such as the margins of a tule swanii), nests 
of the Rustv Song Sparrow are not obtrusively common. "Back F.ast." 
ill a season of all around nesting, about one-fifth of the nests found would 
be those i>f the Song Sparrow. Xot so on Puget Sound; for, altho tin- 
birds arc common, heavy cover is ten times more common, and I would 
sooner undertake to find a dozen Warblers* nests than as many Song 
Sparrows'. Nesting begins about April 1st. at which time nests are com- 
monlv built u])on the ground or in a tus.sock of grass or tules. The cn<l 
•if a log, overshadowed i)y growing ferns, is a favorite place later in the 
sea.son ; while brush-hca])s, bushes, fir sa|)lings. trees, or clambering vines, 
such as ivy and clematis, are not despised. 

The eggs, Mr. Bowles finds, arc almost invariably four in number, as 
in a verv large number of sets examined only one contained five eggs. 
Thev are of a light greenish blue in groun<l color, and are sjxitted and 
blotched heavilv and irregularly witli reddish browns, especially alvnil the 
larger en<l. Several brootls are raised each season. 

Tiie Rustv Song Sparrow, because of its abundance in winter, affords 
the impression of lieing strictly a resident bird in western Washington. Such 
may be the case with a majority of the individuals, but there is still evi<lence 
of a southward movement of tlie race, the place of local birds being supplied 
in winter partly by British C<ilumbia birds, which show a heavier and more 
uniformlv blen<led type <if plumage. ap|)roacliing llial of .1/. c. riithui. 



THE SOOTY SONG SPARROW. 145 



No. 58. 
SOOTY SONG SPARROW. 

A. O. U. Xo. 581 f. Melospiza melodia rufina (Bonap.). 

Description. — Similar to M. in. inurphna 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 ; lucdian crown-stripe obsolete or at least indistinct ; streaking of under- 
parts dark brown. Length 6.50 (165) or over; wing 2.75 ("o) ; 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 Passcrclla 
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, Glacier 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. cinerca rufina (Brandt), Ridgway, Birds of North and 
Middle America, Vol 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 vivc for varieties, it re(|uires a second glance to distinguish this Song 
Sparrow, with its softly blended plumage, from a winter Fox Sparrow. 



No. 59. 
LINCOLN'S SPARROW. 

A. O. U. No. 583. Melospiza lincolnii (.\ud. ). 

Synonyms. — Lincoln's Song Sp.xrrow. Lincoln Finch. 

Description. — .Idults: Above, much like M. melodia montana. but crown 
brighter rufous, and with more decided black markings; back browner and more 
broadly anfl smartly streaked with black; the gray of back sometimes with a 
bluish and Sdmetimes with an olivaceous tinge; below, throat and bcllv white, the 
former never quile immaculate, l)ut with small arrow-shai)ed black marks; sides 



146 THE LINCOLN SPARR<T^. 

of luad and iicck and remaining iindcrparts creamy buff, everywhere marked by 
elongated and sharply dclincd black streaks; usually an abrupt dusky sjx)t on 
center of breast; bill l)lackisii above. lij,diter below, feet brownish. l.en),'tii aljout 
5.75 ( I4(). 1 ) : av. (if six siiecinuiis; wiiifj 2.4H ('>3l; tail 2. it (53.^)); bill 
.40 ( 10.2 ). 

Recognition ,N\arks. — Warbler si/e ; l)ears general resemblance to Song 
Sparrow, from which it is clearly distinguished by huffy chest-band, and by nar- 
row, sharp streaks of breast and sides. 

Nesting. — Xcsl: much like that of Rusty Song Sparrow, of dried grasses, 
etc., usually on ground, rarely in bushes. ll(j;/s: 3 or 4. greenish white sjxjtted 
and blotched with chestnut and grayish. A v. size. .80 x .58 ( 20.3 x 14.7 I. Snisoii: 
June, July; two ( ?) broods. 

General Range. — North America at large breetling chiefly north of the 
L'nited Stales (at least as far as the Yukon \ailey 1 and in the higher parts of 
the Rocky Mountains and the Cascatlc-Sierras ; south in winter to Panama. 

Range in Washington. — Im])erfectly made out — probably not rare s]>ring 
and fall migrant, at least west of the Cascades; found breeding in the Rainier 
National I 'ark. 

Authorities. — ("Liiicohrs h'inch," Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 (1885"), 
22.] Bowles and Dawson, .\uk, XW. Oct. iQoS, p. 483. 

Specimens. -( I', of W. 1 I'rov. P.. 

MODh'STV is a i)c;iutiful trait, and, I suppose, if we had always to 
choose Ijetwccii the brazen arrogance of the English Si)arrow and the shy 
timorousness of this bird-afraid-of-his-shado\v, wc should feel obliged to 
.iccept the latter. But why should a bird of such inconspicuous color steal 
silently thru our forests and slink along our .streams with bated breath as 
if in mortal dread of the human eye? .\re we then such hobgloblins? 

Thrice only have I seen this bird, and tlien in northern Ohio. On the 
first occasion two of us followed a twinkling suspicion along a shadowy 
woodland stream for upwards of a hundred yards. Finally wc neared the 
edge of the woods. There was light! exposure! recognition! With an 
inward groan the flitting shape quitted the last brush-])ile 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 niiou the dusky back trail. That 
same May day wc came upon a little company of these Sparrows haltcfi by 
the forbidding as])ect 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 wc 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, wc eagerly look note of its hc.id- 
stripes, pale streaked breast, and very demure airs, and listened to snatches 
of a sweet but very weak song, with whicli the bird favored us in spile of 



THE LINCOLN SPARROW. 



147 



our "persecution." Is it any wonder that the Lincohi Sparrow is so little 
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, uoii est inventus. Indeed, the only positive record we Iiave of the 
bird's occurrence at any season is that of a specimen taken I)y A. Gordon 
Bowles, Jr., in Wright's Park, Tacoma, May 22, 1906. 

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 
found 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 bailies, 
the males were loudly urg- 
ing their second suits. 

The song of the Lincoln 
Sparrow is of a distinctly nnisical 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 
Sjiarrows. The principal strain is gurgling, rolling, and spontaneous, and 
tiie bird has ever the trick of adding two or three inconsequential notes at 
the end of his ditty, quite in approved Purple Finch fashion. "IJnknp, 




Taken at 

Longmire's 

Sfrings. 



sa. 



LINCOLN'S SONG SPARROW. 

ALLAN BROOKS AFTER PHOTO BY THE AUTHOR. 



148 THE KADIAK FOX SPAkR%)\\ . 

tiitkiif' pi'rly ti'tWy ti'/7/iV willic 'urcic (dim. »" saiil one: "Niggle, jiggle, eet 
eet eet eer oor," aiiotlicr. "CVit- zvilly 'willy 7vill\ cite quill" ; "Lee lee lee 
quilly willy willy," and other sudi, came with full force an<l freshness at a 
luinrlred yards to tiie listeners i»n tlie back i>orch at Longmires. 

When studied in the swam]), tiie Lincoln Finches were found to l>e 
more reluctant than Song Sparrows to exjxjse themselves, but f)ne 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 in(|uiry or excite- 
ment, as do Chipping Sparrow, Xuttall Sparrow, et al. A Yellow Warbler, 
stumbling into tiie manorial bush, was set upon furiously; but she made off 
pliilosopliically, knowing that her punishment was after the accejUed code. 
A Rusty Song Sparrow, hctwever, was allowed to sit fpiietly at a foot's 
remove, not, apparently, liecause he was so much bigger, nor even because 
nearer of kin. but rather because of common jjarental anxiety. The contrast 
here was instructive; the Lincoln Sparrow being not only smaller but more 
lightlv colored and with a shar])-cul streakiness of plumage. A comparison 
of many examples showed the similarity of head pattern between the two 
Sparrows to be very noticeable, while the huffy tinge of the Lincoln's breast 
would a])pear to be one of its least constant marks. 

.\u alleged sub-species, Forbush's Sparrow. M. I. striata. "Similar to 
.1/. liiicoliii but superciliary slri])es antl upperparts more strongly olivaceous, 
and dark streaks es])ecially on back and upper tail-coverts, coarser, blacker, 
and more numerous," has been ascribed to British Columbia and western 
Washington, but the material at hand is meager and inconclusive, and the 
proposed form has been passed upon adversely by Ridg\vay. 



No. ()o. 
KA1)I.\K lOX SI>\RR()W. 

.■\. O. V. \i>. 5S5 a ( part ). I'asseiclla iliaca insiilaris Ridgway. 

\Dcscripiioii of Passcrella iliaca uiialaschciisis ( Shumagin Fox Si)arrow). — 
Adults: 'Tileuni and hindneck brownish gray or grayish brown (nearly hair 
brown) passing into clear gray (mouse gray or smoke gray I nn superciliary 
region aiul sides of neck ; auricular region brownish gray, with narrow and indis- 
tinct shaft streaks of whitish ; back, scapulars, ami rump i)lain hair brown ; greater 
wing-coverts, lertials and njipcr tail-cnvcrts rhill cituiainon brown, tiic rest of 
wings intermediate between the last named color and color of back, except edges 
of outermost primaries, which are ]>ale hair brown ; underparts white, tlic fore- 
neck, sides of throat (snbnialar 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 huffy 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. iiiuilaschensis but much browner and more 
uniform in color above (back, etc., warm sepia brown instead of grayish brown or 
brownish gray) ; s])ots on chest, etc., larger and deeper brown ; under tail coverts 
more strongly tii)ped with buff" ( Ridgway ). Length of adult male (skins) : 6.78 
(172.5) ; wing 3.30 (S3.8) ; tail 2.92 (74.1) ; bill .50 (12.7) ; tarsus 1.02 (25.9). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; uniform brownish coloration of back; 
undcrparts heavily spotted with brown; browner than uiialascliensis but duller 
tnan toicnsoidi: larger than anncctciis; color of crown unbroken as compared 
with Rusty Song Sparrow (Melospha melodia luorphna), also bird larger. 

General Range. — "Kadiak Island, Alaska, in suninier ; in winter south along 
the coast sl(i])e to southern California." 

Range in Washington. — \\'intcr resident and migrant west of Cascades. 

Authorities. — I'asscrcUa tozviiscndii Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858. 
p. 489 part ( W'hitbeys Id., winter). — Fide Ridgway. 

A singular fatality (or, more strictly, icaiit 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 Mr. Ridgway occur here regularly in winter and during migrations but so 
unobtrusive are the birds and so dense the cover aft'orded that we have been 
completely baffled in our attempts, and tind ourselves obliged, at the last moiuent, 
to fall back upon Air. Ridgway 's original descriptions in Mirds of Xorth and 
Middle America, Vol. I. (p. 389 ff'), and for the use of these we desire again to 
express our grateful obligations. 

For additional remarks on the Shumagin Fox Sparrow (P. i. uiialascliensis) 
and the Yakulat Fox S])arrovv (P. is annectcns) see Hypothetical List in Volume 
II. of this work. 

I'^IELD identification of the Fox Sparrows by means of binocular.- 
may not command the respect of precise scientists. Pnit tliere he sat, placid, 
at twenty feet, in a well-lighted grove on the Xisqiially Flats, on the loth 
day of February, 1906. See; twenty divided by eight (the magnifying 
power of the gla.sses ) equals two and a half. At arm's length I held liim, 
while I noted that the upperparts were dull hair-brown thruout, not notice- 
ably brightening on wings and tail but perhaps a shade darker on the crown ; 
underparts heavily but clearly s|)otted with a warmer brown — so, obviously 
and indisputably, neither a Sooty nor a Townsend. Shumagin (P. i. uiia- 
lascliensis) perhaps; but Ridgway* enters all Puget Sound winter records 
as Kadiaks, and we niusl follow the gleam until we are able to perfect the 
light of our own little lanterns by the flash of a shot-gun. 



Birds of Xorth and Mid, Am.. Vol, I., p. 391 



150 THE TOWNSEXD SI'ARR^V. 

No. 01. 
roWXSEND'S SPARROW. 

.\. O. L'. .No. 585.1 (parti. I'asserclla iliaca tow n.scndi 1 .\iuliilx>ii 1. 

[Dcscri/'tioii of /'. i. anin'ctciis ( Vakutat Fo.\ Sparrow). — "Similar to /'. 1. 
iiisiiUirix but snialler (the hill esjiccially ) and coloration slightly browner" 
(Ki.l(,'w. ).| 

Description. — .Idiilts: Similar lu /'. 1. aiiiu-ctciis hut coloration darker and 
richer (inclining to chotimt hmwn); s])ots on chest, etc., larger. ".Mjove ileep 
Vandyke brown, duller (more sooty ) -on pileum. more rcililish (inclining to burnt 
umber or dark chestinit brown ) on upi)er tail-coverts and tail ; sides of head <lcep 
sooty brown, the lores dotted, the auricular region fmely streaked, with dull 
whitish; general color of underparts white, but everywhere spotted or streaked 
with deej) chestnut brown or Vandyke brown, the sjxjts mostly of triangular 
(deltoid and cutieate ) form, very heavy and more or less confluent on chest, 
smaller on throat and breast: si<les and flanks almost uniform deej) brown, the 
latter tinged with bulTy or ])ale tawny, under tail-coverts dee]) olive or olive-brown 
broadly margined with bulTy or ])ale 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 
1.00 (25.4). 

Recognition Marks. — Si)arrow size; warm brown (tiearly uniform) colora- 
tion of u|)i>erparts : heavy spotting of chest, etc. .\bsencc of distinctive head 
markings will distinguish bird from local Song Sparrows, and robust form with 
conical beak from migrating Hermit 'riirushes. 

Nesting. — As next. Does not breed in Washington. 

General Range. — "Coast district of southern .\laska (islands and coast of 
mainland from sduthcrn 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 ( jiossibly t winter resident 
west of Cascades. 

Authorities. — / I'riiiijilla liKciisriidi .\udubon. ( )rn. Hiog. \'. 1839, 236. pi. 
424, tig. 7 (Columbia River). Townsend, Narrative (1839), p. 345. PasscrcUa 
tn-u-ti.u'iulii. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. LN. 1858, p. 489. C&S. Ra. Kk. B. 
E(II I. 

Specimens. — i I', of \\ . ) Prov. 11. C. 

TIME was when all the various Eox Sparrows of the Pacific North- 
west were lumped together under the name Townscnd's Sparrow. .V more 
critical age, however, under the leadership of Professor Ridgway, has 
resolved the bewildering array of shifting browns into five forms, or sub- 
sjiecies, assigning to each summer quarters according to the dullness or 
brightness of its coat. The end is not yet, of course, but the distinctions 
alreaflv made arc sufficiently attenuated to cause the jnihlic to yawn. Suffice 
it to sav, that this is one of the ])lastic species long resident on the Pacific 



THE TOWNSEND SPARROW. 151 

Coast: and that tlie varying conditions of rainfall and temperature, to which 
tlie birds have been subjected thruout the greater portion of the year, Iiave 
given rise to five recognizable forms of the Townsend Sparrow. 

Probably all forms are migratory, but the northernmost member of the 
group, the Shumagin Fox Sparrow (P. i. iiiialaschcnsis) has not been taken 
except in its summer home, the Alaska Peninsula, Unalaska, and the Shu- 
magins. The remaining four are kmiwn 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 north, should be entitled to more 
consideration than plain heathen birds. 

At no time does the al)sorpti\-c power of our matchless Pugel vSound 
cover ap])ear to greater advantage than during the migration of the Fox 
Sparrows. However they may choose to move at night, by day they frequent 
the dense tangles of salal and salmon brush, 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 patli, that 
a demure bn_)wn liird will hojj out in front of you and look vmconcernedly 
for tid-bits before your very eyes. The bird is a little larger tlian 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 vague 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 hardly the word t!io, for the bird leaps 
forward and executes an extravagant doulile kick backward, landing in- 
variably at the tdgQ of the cleared space. Here, without a moment's delay, 
lie proceeds to glean Ijusily, whereas you rather expected him to pause at 
the end of his stunt, like the acrobat, awaiting the conventional burst of 
applause. H you must needs pursue the path, he hops back into tlie tlu'ckct 
and you have seen, perhaps, your last Fox Sparrow for tliis year, alllio liis 
migr;iting kinsmen must number millions. • 



152 THE SOOTY FOX SPARROW. 

No. 62. 

SOOTY lOX SPARROW. 

A. 0. U. No. 583a (parti. Passcrolla iliaca fuliKinosa Ridgway. 

Description. — .hlults: L'ppcriiarts, sides of head, neck, and lateral undcr- 
parts nearly uniform dark brown (sepia brown — "sooty" not inai)proi)riatc ), 
warminjj slifjhtly uikmi exposed surfaces of wings and upon ruinj) and outer 
edges of rectrices; below white save for under tail-coverts, which have clear 
InilTy wash, everywhere save on middle belly iieavily marked with large, chiefly 
triangular, s])ots 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 (77) ; bill .48 ( 12.2) ; 
tarsus 1.02 (25.0). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow to Chewink size; uniform sooty brown col- 
oration of head and uppeqiarts; heavily spotted below with sepia or blackish; 
darker al)ove and more heavily spotted below than any migrant form of the 
P. I. uiialaschciisis group. 

Nesting. — Ncsl: 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 with an inner mat of fur, hair or feathers; placed at 
moderate heights in thickets or saplings ; measures externally 6 inches across 
by 3 dee]), internally 2'^i across by i^s 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 
ncrthwotern Washington; in winter south along the coast to San I'rancisco. 

Range in Washington. — Breeding on the San Juan Islands and nixjn the 
iiorllurn and western shores of the Olympic Teninsida ; not uncommon migrant 
on I'uget Sound. 

Authorities. — ( ?) I'>aird. Kej). Tac. etc.. 48*^ jiart ; ( ?) Ccxjper and Siickley 
Rep. I'ac, etc., 204 part; ( ?) Sclater Cat. .\ni. Bircls, 1862, 119 part ( Simiahmoo 
(sic) ) ; Ridgway. .\uk, X\I. Jan. 1899, 36 ( .Neah Bay). Kb. E. 

Specimens. — Prov. BN. E. 

THI{ niyslery of the Fox Sparrow dears a little as we move northward 
on Pugct 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 inizzlcd, as the tent 
pegs are being driven, by certain sprightly songs bursting out now here, now 
there, from the co])se. We labor under a sence of avian surveillance as we 
gather fuel from the beach, but the songs are too joyous and limjjid to make 
precise connections with anything in previous experience. It is not till the 
cool of the evening, when we seek the spring, hack in the depths of the 
thicket, that we come up'^n a fair birdmaiden slyly regaling herself u\^m a 



THE SOOTY FOX SPARROW. 



153 



luscious salnion-l)eiry, lluslied to the wine-red of perfection, while tlnec of 
her suitors peal in\itations to separate bowers in the neijj^hboring tangles. 
Siie flees guiltily on detection, but the secret is out : we know now where 
these shv wood nyni])hs keep themsel\-es in summer. 

The male bird is sometimes embnldened by the moment of song to 
venture into the tops of willows or alders, Init even here he hugs the screen 
of leaves and is ready in a trice to di\e 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 
witii a motlicum 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 very 
brilliant. The opening 
phrase, howeser, Fczvit, 
hen, comes as a tiny 
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, Ouilla\ 
utes, were showing the 
bird-man a round of In 
lated nesters, while 1 it- 
was looking for opportu 
nities to photograph eg.i;-, 
and also recording Quil- 
layutan bird names in 
passing. A Rusty Song 
Sparrow's nest held onlv 
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 |)ride 
T 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, "Tliat's it; 




From a Photograph Copyright, 1907, by i^ . L. Utru^un. 
C.VKKOI.I, ISLET— SOUTH EXPOSURE. 

HF.RK THE riRST NIvST OF THE SOOTY ^OX SPARROW WAS FOUND. 



'54 



THE SOOTY FOX SI 'ARK' 



UW 



those arc tlic t-ggs of Talibalililclitth, llif otlier Song Sparrow wc told you 
about. " The lx>vs were near enough riglil : the F<ix S]>arrow is for all the 
ordinary world like a Song Sparrow; and I venture that not a dozen white 
lx>ys in Washington ever saw the bird itself, let alone <listinguishing it by 
name. 

The eg<;s referred to were found ;iniid n)o--t romantic surrotindinf,'*. on 




/'/loio by the .Hulhar. 
.NEST OF SOOTY I-0.\ SI'.VKKOW I.\ FKRX CLL.MP. 

IKSr ITSELF IS ALUOST IKVISKLE BECAVSl BUIIIED IN MOSS AKD TtMH LEAVES. 



a sea-girt islet a mile or two out from the Pacific shore. The island is 
given over to sea-birds, and tiiese nest uixrn 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 salmon-berry bushes 
In a duni]) of the latter at a height of six feet was ])laced a very bulky but 
unusually handsome nest, which held, in the really tiny cup which occupies 
the upper center of the structure, three eggs of a greenish blue color heavily 
sjxitted and marbled witii warm browns. The nest measures externally eight 
and ten inches in widtli, internally two; in dei)tb four inches outside and 
only one and a half inside. It is coiu])osed diietly of green mosses set in 



THE SLATE-COLORED SPARROW. 135 

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 Fo.x 
Sparrows stepped forward modestly to claim ownership in the nest which 
"Science" unfortunately required. The date was July 21, 1906, and the 
eggs were nearly upon the point of hatching. 

Thus, the north and west slopes of the Olympic 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 rejiorted 
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 evidence as yet that it tarries with us 
in winter. 



No. 63. 

SLATE-COLORED SPARROW. 

.A. O. U. No. 585 c. Passerella iliaca schistacea ( liaird). 

Synonym. — Sl.xTE-colored Fox Sp.\krow. 

Description. — Adults: Upperparts slaty gray tinged with olivaceous, chang- 
ing abruptly to russet brown on upper tail-covcrts, 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 broadly with buffy. 
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- i()o.5 1 ; wing 3.15 
(80 I : 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 uiialascliciisis group. 

Nesting. — Xcst: a bulky affair of twigs, weed-stalks, grasses, etc., jilaced 
on ground or low in bushes of thicket. Eggs: 3-5. usually 4, greenish brown 
sharply spotted or (rarely) blotched with chestnut. .\v. size .85 x .65 (21.6 x 
16.5). Season: May-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-CULUR ED Sl'A^OVV. 

of soutlu-astcm California, aiul ihc mountains of nortlu-astcrn California; ^oulli 
in winter to New Mexico, Arizona, etc. 

Ran};e in Washington. — Summer resident in tlie timbered districts of tlic 
Hast-sidc and in tin- Cascade Mountains (west to Mt. Rainier). 

Authorities. — CSlate-coioretl sparrow," Johnson, Rcj). (Jov. W. 'J". 1884 
( 1885). j.-l. Bendire, Life Hist. .\. A. Birds, Vol. II., j). 435. 

'IMIl'", residents nf Cainioii ilill. in SiniUane. are to lie congratulated, 
not alone fur their wealth, for Xatiu'e is not curious as to hank accounts, 
hut for the rare good taste which has heeu (lis])layed in utilizing the largess 
of Xature. Instead of going in with axe and shovel and fire-hrand, first 
to obliterate the distinctive features of Nature and then rear mocking ])lati- 
tudes in niortar and stone upon her pale ashes, they have accepted the glory 
of her grim lava bastions and the grace of her unhewn jjines; nor have they 
even despise<l the tangles of wild shrubbery, those decent draperies without 
which both tree and clifT would be ovcrstark. To l)e sure the landscape artist 
with consummate skill has said to the |)iny sentinel. "Stand here!" and to 
the copse, "Sit there!" but he has not forgotten withal the primeval rights 
of the feathered aborigines. .\s a result tlw birds approve. 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 si)ot in Washington in 
which to stu<ly bird life, certainly not within municipal Ixumds, than 
Cannon Mill afTords. 

Here, for instance, is this wood s|)rile. the very genius of the imravished 
wild: no one would think of looking for him in a city, yet of an early morn- 
ing as the bird-man was passing along Seventh .\\enue, he was arrested by 
the crisp and hearty notes of a Slate-colored Sparrow, coming from a bush 
in an artistically unketnpt corner of the adjoining yard. In the half liglit. 
nothing in the pose and appearance of this bird would have induced an 
ornitiiologisi to bestow a second glance u])on the evident Song Sparrow, 
had it not been for the sweet and jKiwcrful challenge which p<iured from 
his earnest beak. Oorcc. rickit. loopitccr, it said, with varied cadence and 
minor change, which gave evidence of no mean .ibility. There is something 
so forthright and winsome about the song of this modest bird, that the 
listener ]irom])lly surrenders "at discretion." and begins to ask eager (piestions 
of his dainty captor. 

A few yards finther on three of these Sparrows were seen feeding on 
a well-kei)t lawn, but ready to skurry at a breath to the shelter of bush- 
clumps, thoughtfully provided. .\nd all this in the first week in June, the 
very height of nesting time! With this as an cxamjile. what need to speak 
of Ilatnmonil Flycatchers. Mountain Chickadees, Catbirds, Pine Siskins, 
.XudulxMi Warblers. Shufeldt Jimcoes. Cassin Finches, Pygmy Xuthatchcs. 
American Crossbills. Cassin \'^ireos, Louisiana Tanagers. Ruby-crowned 



THE SLATE-COLORED SPARROW. 



157 



Kinglets, Olixe-sided Klycatcliers, E\ening' Grosbeaks, X'iulei-green Swal- 
lows, Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Bobwhites. and a host of coninioner 
sorts, all residents of the same demesne? "Unto him that hath shall be 
given." Unto these who liave shown appreciation and consideration, has 
been given the friendship of the birds, and they 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, witliout 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 quietly 
off and left her three callow young to the tender mercies of the bird-man 
and his big glass eye, set at four feet, while she began searching for food 
upon the ground a yard or two away. 




Xalioiial Fark. From a Plwtografit Cotyrighl .igoS, by IK. /,. /-'. 

WITH U.XCI.OUDED BROW. 

A HAUNT OF THE SLATE-COUOllED SPARROW. 



158 THE GKEEX-TAILED ToWUEE. 

Tlic male bird appeared, once, ii|)on a hiisli some twenty feel away, 
making no liostilc demonstration but beann'ng rather a hearty confidence, as 
wlio shonld say, "Well. I see you are getting along nicely at home; that's 
right, enjoy yourselves, and I'll finisli up tliis bit of hoeing before sujjper." 

The mother bird, meanwhile, was uttering no comj)laint of ilie strange 
presence, preferring instead to glean foixi industriously from under the car]>et 
of green leaves. Soon siie returned, hopping up daintily. Standing u]x>n 
tlie elevated brim of her nest she carefully surveyed her briMjd witiiout 
proffer of food, as tho merely to assure herself of their welfare. I 
"snapped" and she retreated, not hastily, as tho frightened, but cpiietly as 
matter of reasonable i)rudence. Again and again during the hour I had 
her under fire, she returned to her brood. Each time slie retired before the 
mild roar of tlie curtain shutter, never hastily or nervously, but deliberately 
and demurely. Thrice .sjie fed her brood, thrusting lier I)eak, whicii Ijore 
no external signs of food, deep down into the upturned gullets of tlie three 
children. Thrice she attemiUcd to brood her babes, and very handsome and 
very motherly slie looked, witli fluffed feathers and mildly inquisitive eye: 
but the necessary movement fnljowing an exposure sent her away for a 
season. 

When absent she ncitlier moi)ed nor scolded, but discreetly set ab<5ut 
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 hop. liopjnng, until she stood 
upon the familiar brim. 

The op])<irtunitics for ])icture-niaking 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 Schislacca. So demure, so 
even-temi)ercd. and so kindly a bird-jjerson, with such a' preserving air of 
gentle breeding. I iiave not nften seen. It was an hour to be long 
remembered. 



No. 64. 

GREEN-TAII in ToWin-E. 

.\. n. V. No. 302.1. Oreospiza chlorura 1 .\iiii. 1. 

Synonyms. — r,KKi:N-T.\iLF.n Finch. Ui.wdi.ng's Finch. 

Description. — .Idiitts: Crown and occiput rich chestnut : forclicad blackish 
gray with whitish Inral spot on each side; remaining nppcr|)artN olive-gray tinged 
more or less with hriglit olive-green : wings and tail with brighter greenish 
edgings: bend of wing, axillaries and under coverts vcllow : chin and throat 



THE GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE. 159 



white hurdered by (kisk\ suluiiaxillary stripe; sides of head and neck and re- 
maining underpants 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 arc 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 
(12.7) ; tarsus .94 (24). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; rufous crown, white throat; greenish 
coloration of upperparts. 

Nesting. — "Xcst: in bush or on the ground. Eggs: .90 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 United 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 
Mexico and Lower California. 

Range in Washington. — Presumably summer resident in the Blue 
Mountains. 

Authorities. — |'"(irecn-lailed towhee." Johnson, Rep. Gov. W. T. 1884 
(1885, 22]. Ridgway, liirds of North and Aliddle America, Part T, 401. T( ?). 

NOT having ourselves encountered this species we are not able to com- 
ment on Prof. Ridgw'ay's inclusion^ of eastern Washington in the bird's 
breeding range. The Green-tailed Towhee appears to be essentially a 
mountain-loving species, and if it ^ccurs within our borders, will he nearly 
confined to the Blue Mountains of the southeastern corner. 

Mr. Trippe, writing from Idaho Springs. Colorado, says of this bird'': 
"It arrives at Idaho early in May, and soon becomes abundant, remaining 
till the close of September or early part of October. It is a sprightly, active 
little bird with something wren-like in its movements and appearance. It is 
eciually at home among the loose stones and rocks of a hill-side (where it 
hops about w'ith all the agility of the Rock Wren), and the densest thickets 
of brambles and willows in the valleys, amidst wdiich it loves to hide. It 
is rather shy. 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 the neighbors to its assistance; but if a person 
walks by, it steals away very quietly and remains sileitt till the danger is 
passed. It has a variety of notes which it is fond of littering: one sounds 
like the mew of a kitten, but thinner and more wiry; its song is very fine, 
quite different from the Towhec'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 almut the middle of Jnne." 



a. Birds of Kortti and .Middle .America, Vol. I., p. 401. 

b. Coues, "Birds of the Northwest" (Ed. 1874), p. 177. 



no THE SPURRED TOWHfli. 

No. (15. 

SPl'RRKD lOWIlKE. 

A. O. U. No. 588a. I'ipilo maculatiis niontanus Swartli. 

Synonyms. — Ciikwink. "\ atiukh. 

Description. — Adult male: I lead and neck all amund, chest and ui)|)er|)arts 
black, glossy anteriorly, duller on back; elongated white sjxits on scapulars, on 
tips of middle and greater coverts and on outer \veb of cx|)Osed tertials ; edge of 
wing white and succeeding primaries white on outer web; outermost pair of 
rectrices edged with white on outer web; the three outenuost i)airs terminally 
blotched with white on inner web and the fourth pair touched with same near 
ti]>; breast and belly white; sides, flanks and crissum light ciimamon rufous, 
bleaching on under tail-coverts to light tawny. I'ill black ; feet brownish ; iris red. 
Adult female: Similar to male but duller ; black of male replaced by slaty with an 
olivaceous cast. Length of adult males: 7.50-8.50 ( if;o.5-2i5.9 I ; wing 3.17 (86) ; 
tail },.()}, ( 100 » ; bill .53 ( 13.5 ) ; tarsus 1.07 ( 2~.~ > ; hind claw .48 ( 12.2 I. Female 
a little less. 

Recognition Marks. — Standard of "Chewink" size; black, white and cin- 
namon-rufous unmistakable; heavily spotted with while on scapulars and wing as 
comparecl with /'. wi. oregonus. 

Nesting. — Kest: on the ground in thicket or at base of small sapling, a 
bidkv collection of bark-strips, pine needles, coarse dead grass, etc.. carefully lined 
with tine dry grass; measures 5 inches in width and 3 in depth externally by 2' 2 
wide and I'j deep inside. F.gf/s: 3-5, usually 4. grayish white or pinkish white 
as to ground, heavily and uniformly dotted with light redflish brown. .\v. size, 
.03 X .70 ( 23/) X 17.8). Season: last week in .\|>ril, last week in May and first 
week in June: two broods. 

General Range. — I'reeding in rpi)er Sonoran and Transition zones from the 
[■{ockv Mountains to the Cascade-Sierras and in the Pacific coast district of 
central California, and frf>ni Lower California and Northern Mexico north into 
llritish Columbia; retiring from northern portion of range in winter. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident east of the Cascatles, 
found in foothills ami mountain valleys up to 3,000 feet; casually resident in 
winter. 

Authorities. — /'. 111. mec/aloiixx. Brewster, I'.. N. < >. C. \ll. ( >ct. i8<)2, 
p. 22-. IK Ss'. Ss--. J. 

.Specimens. — (I', of W. ) V'. I'rov. C. 

.\LTIK) of Mexican stock, our western Towiice docs not difTer greatly 
in aiii)earance from the familiar bird (P. crylhropUtlmlmus) of the Kast : 
and its habits so closely resemble that of the eastern bird as hardly to rccpiire 
special descrijUion. The Sjiurred Towhee is a lover of green, tliickety hill- 
sifles and brushy ilraws, such cover, in short, as is lumped together imder 



THE SPURRED TOWHEE. 



i6i 



the term "chaparral" furtlier south. 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'liee. as a name, is a manifest corrujition of /ore her, or fo-hwi', 
an imitati\'e wurd, after the Ijird's must famiHar note. Chewink' is an 
attempt along the same line, l)ul Marie is what the l)ir(l seems to me to say. 
It is on this account alone that the liird is said to "mew" and is called 




SI'URRED TOWUEE, MALE. 



"Catbird." The true Catbird, however, always says Ma-a 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 varimisly rendered as "Chcc-tcrr, pilly, zvillv, tc/V/v." 
"Chip. ah. to-a'-hrr-i'i'" and "Vang, kit-cr-cr,'' is deliveVed from the top of 
a bush or the low liml) 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 ins])ection, for, as Jones says of its cousin^ : "He is a ner- 
vous fellow, empiiasizing his disturbance at your intrusion witii a nervous 



a. Lynds Jones in Dawson's "TJic Birds of Ohio," p. 94. 



i6j 



Till-: siTKKKi) TOW iii-:e. 



Jhiff. fluff of the short wiiifjs. and .t jerk and (|uick s|)rcading of the long, 
rounded tail, as if he Imjied thai ilu- Hash of white at its end wonld startle 
tiie intrn<ier a\va\ 

For a nest the 
Spurred Towhee 
scratches a hollow 
at the base of a 
hush or dunii) in 
SI mu- dry situa- 
tion, and lines 
this care-fully, 
lirst witli leaves, 
liark - strips and 
jtlant stems, tlicn 
with fine grasses 
or rootlets. Tlie 
eggs. c< >ninionly 
four in number, 
are deposited the 
last week in April 
or fust in May, 
and the female 
clings to iier treas- 
ures until the 
crushing footstep 
is very imminent 
Once llushed. how- 
ever, slie kee])s to 
the background, 
scolding intermit- 
tently. ,and slie 
will not return 
until long after 
the excitement has 
died down. 
Two broods are raised each season, and the tnst one. at least, must early 
learn to shift for itself. Tlic y<nuig birds are obscure, dun-colored creatures, 
quite unlike their parents in appearance, and by July they infest the buck- 
brush of the more open mountain sides in such numbers and apparent variety 
as to start a dozen false ho])es in the miiithMlDSTisi's breast c:\ch dav. 




I Oregon. 
NEST AND KCI'.S OF TMI 



riiolo by .1. IV. 

sri'KKKit Towni:i- 



Antliony. 



THE OREGON TOWHEE. 163 



No. 66. 

OREGON TOWHEE. 

A. O. U. No. 3XS 1). Pipilo maculatiis oresonus (Bell). 

Synonyms. — "Cati'.ikh." Cuewink. 

Description. — Adult male: Similar to P. iii. tiiontaiins 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 by deep reddish 
brown (clove brown) skirtings of feathers. Length about 8.50 (216) ; wing 
3.33 (84.6); tail 3.69 (93.7); bill .57 (14.5); tarsus i.io (27.9); hind claw 
.43 (10.9). Female a little smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — "Chewink" size; black (with white sjiotting 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 X. 74 (26.4 X 18.8). 

General Range. — Pacific coast district from P^ritish Cnhimbia (including 
\'ancouver Id.) south to central California; chiefly resident thrunut its range. 

Range in Washington. — Of general occurrence, save at higher levels, west 
of the Cascades ; resident. 

Authorities. — ? Fringilla arctica. Aud. Orn. Biog. \. 1839, 49; pi. 394. 
P. oreqonus. Bell, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 18^8, pp. SM. SU- (T)- 
C&S. I>. Rh. Kb. Ra. Kk. 1!. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P. I'rov. B. BN. E. 

PFJvITAFvS no bird is better known by voice and less by ])luniagc than 
this siiy recluse of the under forest. Swampy 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, inc-ay ? ineay itli ? rising from the depths of the brush-lot 
opposite. He re])orts the sound under the name of "Catbird." and asks 
the bird-man's opinion. Or, if the newcomer lias 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 wdiite below. The bird would only show 
himself fi>r a moment at a time, and then he flitted and flirted restlessly 
before he dived into co\-cr again, so that the fine points of while spotting 
on the wing and while tips on the outer tail feathers were lost out of account. 

Of course it is tiic Oregon Towhee, and the half ]jleasant, half coni- 
])laining notes will insure him notice forever after. The bird is strictly 
resident wherever found, and the unmistakable blackness of his ])lumage is 
due rather to the age-long endurance of rain than to any chance association 
\vith blackened logs and stumps, as nu'ght be supposed. Towhee is prince 



i64 THE LAZULI BUNTIN 



'V 



of tlic underworld, not, of course, in the Mej)liisto])liclian sense. Init as the 
uiuloul)ted aristocrat among those humble folk who skulk under dark ferns, 
thread marvelous mazes of interlacing sticks and stalks, ex()lore cavernous 
recesses of moss-covered roots, and understand the foundations of tilings 
generally. 

'Pile h.indsonie bird is a link- iinicitient of tlie company of his own kind, 
his faithful sixiuse always excepted; hut he (|uite appreciates the mild defer- 
ence of Rusty Song Sparrows, the hustling sociability of Western Winter 
Wrens, or even the intermittent homage of Seattle Wrens. In winter the 
Fox Sparrows attach themselves to tliis humble itinerant court, but ther arc 
a dozen tiines more bashful than their chief even. 

Only at mating time docs Towliee throw caution to the winds. Then 
he mounts a sapling and drones away by tlic hour. The damjis of ten thou- 
sand winters have reduced his song to a jiitiful wheeze, but he lioUls forth 
as bravely as any of his kin. whccccc 'ivhccccc. and again, whccccc. In winter 
the birds employ a peculiar hissing sound, psxst or hcczt. not I believe, as a 
warning — rather as a kcei)-in-toucli call. It was rather heartening tlio to 
hear the full song of Towhce on the JQth of December at I'laine. Comjiari- 
sons were unnecessary, and the homely trill stood out like a beiie<liction 
against the dripjiing silence. 

In feeding. Towhees resort chieHy 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 emiiloynient. and this they 
pursue not by the methodical clutch and scrajie of the old hen, but by a suc- 
cession of s|)irited backward kicks executed by both feet at once, and assisted 
by the wings. By this method, not only fallen seeds are laid bare but lurking 
insects of manv sorts, which the bird swifllv devours. 



No. 67. 
L.AZn.I BIXTIXG. 

.•\. ( •. r. No. 599. Passerina amcfna 1 S,-i\ ). 

Synonyms. — L.xzri.i Fi.scii. 

Description. — Adult male: Head and neck all around ccriiloaii liluc: tlii< 
color carried over upporjiart'^ hut jnirc only on runi]). elsewhere a]>penrinp a< 
skirting <>f feathers; middle coverts hmailly and greater coverts narrowly tipped 
with wiiite: wings and tail otherwise black; soim- skirting of ochraceoti-i on liack. 
scapulars and tertials ; lores l)lack ; chest ochraceoiis sharjily defined from hhio 
.ibove but slia<liiij; Kradualiy into white of reinainiiiK underparts; sides and flanks 
with ontcroppiiiK iilui-^h dusky. I'ill black alnive. pale liluish bilow : feet brownish 
dusky; iris brown. Adult fciiiah-: .\lxivc grayish hmwii. the color of male 



THE LAZULI BUNTING. 165 



recalled by dull greenish blue of niiii]) and upper tail-coverts and by skirtings of 
wing- and tail-feathers; middle and greater coverts tipped with light bufFy; 
underparts washed with huffy, 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 
( 73 ) ; tail 2.0S ( 53 I : bill .39 (9.9) ; tarsus .67 ( 17 I. Female smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; color pattern of male distinctive. — 
female not so easy: in general distinguishable by a softness and unifcirmitv 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, 4'4 inches 
across by 3 in depth, inside, 2%. wide by i]/, deep. Eggs: 4, very jiale blue 
unmarked or, rarely, dotted with reddish brown. Av. size .76.x .56 (19.3 x 14. 2). 
Season: first week in June; one l)rood. 

General Range. — Western I'nited States from eastern border of (ireat 
Plains to the F'acific (less common on Pacific slope) north to .southern British 
Columbia (chiefly east of the Cascades) ; south, in winter, to Cape St. Lucas and 
the N'alley of Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Ccjnimon summer resident east of Cascade Moiui- 
tains ; less common and of irregular distribution in the Pugct Sound region; 
breeds in Cascades uj) to 3,000 feet. 

Migrations. — Spring: Yakima County May 5, 1906; Chelan .May 21, 1896. 

Authorities. — FFringilla anicrna, Audubon, Orn. Biog. V. 1839, 64, 230 ; plates 
398. 424. Cvanospi:;a amana 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. P.. 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 n])tical illusion, or Nature has grown careless to fling 
her tiuquoises aboiu in such fashion. We must investigate. L'pon arrival, 
.somewhere about the lolh of May, and before the return of his dun-colored 
mate, the male Lazuli is quite 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 where you stand. Then, wdiile the female lurUs timidly within, he 
mounts a .spray and yields an outburst of nuisic. ])iercing and earnest, if not 
too sweet. We see that his blue is deep azure, or turquoise, rather than that of 
the lapis lazuli from which he is named. The red of his breast is nearly that 
of the Robin's, while the pure white of the remaining underparts completes 
a i)atriotic 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, thev are fitted 



i6fi 



THE LA/i I.I r.rxTixf,. 



fur separate spliercs : she ti> skulk and hide and esca|)e tlie hostile eye in the 
(lischarfje of her niaternal duties; he to lose himself against the blue of 
heaven, as he sings reassuringly from a tree-top, or sends down notes of 
warning upon the approach of danger. 

'Pile song of the Lazuli Hunting is a r.imhling warl)le. not unlike that of 
ilie Imligo liunting (C. lyancaj. hut somewhat less energetic. Its brief 

course rises and falls in short 
cadences and ends with a hasty 
jumhle of unfinished notes, as tho 
the singer were out of breath. 
.Moreover, the bird does not take 
his task very seriously, ami he docs 
not burden the mid-day air with 
incessant song, as does his tireless 
cousin. 

Somewhere in the shrubbery and 
tangle, whether of sa])lings. berry- 
bushes, roses, ferns, or weeds, a 
rather bulky 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 19th of June and 
practically completed by the after- 
noon of the following day. — this 
altho the first egg was not laid 
until the 26th. "Hem])." milkweed 
fibers, and dried grasses were used 
in construction, and there was an 
elalxirate lining of horse-hair ( [xxir 
dears: what will they do when the 
automobile has fully supplanted the 
horse?). 

A)iitviu] means pleasant, but the 
female an)enity is anything else, 
when her fancied rights of maternity are as.sailed. Her vocabulary is 
limited, to be sure, to a single note, but her repeated chil^ is expressive of 
all wonls in ilis from distrust to distress and violent disapjjrobation. 




nr Srokanr. Pliola by l-rcd S. 

A I.AZII.I nUNTINC'S NEST. 



THE BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK. 



167 



No. 68. 

BLACK-HEADKD GROSBEAK. 

A. O. U. Xo. 596. Zamelodia melanocephala (Swains). 

Description. — . hhilt iiialc: (icneral coloration black and tawny varied with 
white and yellow; head i;loss\- black, 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 tipi)ed with yellowish 
huffy or white, two cons])icuous 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 
]5lumage) bordering white of wing-coverts, etc.; terminal third of two outer ])airs 
of rectrices white on inner webs; lining of wings and breast centrally rich lemon 
yellow: remaining plumage tawny, brightest on throat and chest, with admixttu-e 
of black on sides of neck; nearly as bright on rump, but \eilcd l)y lighter tips nf 




A.\ I ll. ll'ATI 



feathers; lightening jjosteriorly 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; upperparts dark olivaceous brown with 
admixture of white and jiale tawny; head blackish wifh white or brownish 
median aiid superciliary stri])es ; wings and tail fuscous, white markings restricted, 
those on tail reduced or wanting; sides and flanks streaked with dusky. Length 
7.-3-8.50 ( i(/).85-2i5.(/)) ; wing 3.9 ( <j() ) ; tail 3.15 (80) ; bill .71 ( 18) ; depth of 
liill at base .59 ( 13I ; tarsus .95 (24). 

Recognition Marks. — Cliewink size; black iiead and variegated plumage of 
male ; large beak, with haunts, distinctive. 

Nesting. — Xcst: a careless but (iflin bulky collection of twigs or weed- 



i6S 



THE BLACK-HEADED GROSlftAK. 



stalks, lined, or not. with fine dead grasses ; set loosely in branches of bush or 
sapling, (> to x> feet iii). iiggs: 4, greenish blue, Iwldly spotted or blotched with 
reddish brown, dusky brown an<l lavender, most heavily alxiut larger encl. Av. 
size i.<X)x/i8 ( J5.4 X 17.27). Scosmi: luist-siile. May 20; West-side, May 25; 
one 1)11 'Oil. 

Authorities. — ? "I'riiu/ilUi tnclaiioccplnthi. .XudulMin, Orn. l>iog. I\'. 1838, 
Sly; 1)1. \~\ (Col. Kiv. )": IJaird, 499. Cooper and Suckley, Rep. I'ac. R. R. 
Surv. \\\. pt. II. i860, 206. T( ?). C&S. Rh. D'. Ra. 1>'. Ss^ J. H. E. 

Specimens. — I'. 1'.. E. 

TllOSM who complain of our lack of song-birds should make the 
aci|uaiiilance 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. iiMt too dense, or tall thickets of willow and alder beside some lake 
or sluggish stream, there will this minstrel hold 
forth. The (irosbeak's song is not unlike the 
longer lay of the Robin, but it is richer and 
rounder as well as more subdued. There is 

.-d)out it all a 
lingering lan- 
guor of the 
Southland ; and 
if the gentle- 
man a<Idrcssed 
you. you would 
expect him to 
s.\v "Sail." with 
a .soft cadence. 
The bird'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 unrlertoiu' i>f li<|nid harmonics. 

The male Grosbeak is, moreover, an indefatigable singer. cluMsing for 
his [)ur|Mise the to])most sprays of alder or Cottonwood, and taking |)ains 
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 wifle circuit which brings u]) at the original station. .\iul 




Tahtn in Ctattam County. 



Photo by the .Author. 



THE GROSBF..\K"S COXCKRT II.M.I.. 



THE BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK. 



169 



\-et liis sliyness is not inspired by cantion. fur lie will sin^- upon llic nest 
when he spells liis wife at the hopefnl task (if incubation. 

The more matter-of-fact female has no word of greelini^ for the 
stranger beyond a sharp kinip. a beak-clearing note, not unlike that of a 
chicken with a crumb in its thmat. 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 
southern origin of 
these gentle birds. 
It is a flimsy affair 
of twigs, grass- 
stems, or weed- 
stalks carelessl}- in- 
terlaced, and caught 
in the crotch of a 
sapling at a height 
of from five to 
fifteen feet. The 
construction is so 
open, that the blue 
eggs with their dark 
brown and lavender 
si)ottings may be 
counted from below. 
The birds, you see. 
have been accus- 
tomed to a warmer 
climate, to a tropical 
range, in fact, where 
warmth of bedding 

IS no object. Taken in Oregon. Photo bv FinUy and Boluman. 

If found upon the re.\liz.\tiox. 

nest, the brooding 

bird cannot think ill of you; or, if there is ground fol" 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 :i 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. 




170 TH1-: CRIMSoN-llI-.ADHI) TA.VHC.EK. 

No. o<;. 

CRIMSON lll-.\l)l-.l) l.\.\A(.hR. 

A. ( ). I'. No. toy. I'iranxa IuJon iciana i W'ils. ). 

S\non\ms. — Loiisia.na Ia.nagKR. W'estkkn 'J'a.naokk. 

Description. — Adult male: Back, wings, and tail black; middle coverts 
and tips of j,'reater coverts yellow; remaining ])lumage rich gamboge yellow; 
clearest (lemon-yellow) on rumj) and upper tail-coverts, darkest (live-yellow 
to wax-yellow ( «»n breast, changing on head and throat to bright carmine or 
poppy-red. The red increases lx>th in extent and intensity with age and is 
always brightest anteriorly. I'.ill horn ct)lor ; feel and legs bluish dusky; iris 
brown. Adult female: (Icncral 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. )'(>i<»i</ males 
resemble the adult female and oidy gradually accpiire the clearer brighter plumage 
of maturity. Length about 7.0c) ( 177.81; wing .V75 "^5'; '^'1 --^ <7i»; bill 
.39 ( 15); tarsus .So (20.5). 

RecoKnition Marks. — Si)arrow size : sedate ways ; />i//iV note. Dlack 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, comiK)sed of 
twigs, rootlets and moss, lined with lior.se- or cow-hair; measures externally 
7 inches across by 3 in depth, internally 2;^:t wiilc by i'.. deep. Eyys: 3-5, 
usually 4. pale greenish blue to dec]) blue, dotted and sixutcd sparingly with 
lavender and dark greenish slate, sometimes in wreath about larger end; surface 
heavily glossed; long ovate in shape. .\v. size .<j2 x .64 ( J3.3 x 16.2 t. Season: 
June ; one brood. 

General Range. — Western I'nited States from eastern base of Rocky Moun- 
tains to I'acitic Coast, northward to Itritish Columbia and .\tbabasca : south in 
winter to Mexico and (aiatemala : straggling ea>tward during migrations — has 
been several times taken in New England. 

Ranj^e in Washington. — Common summer resident in timbered sections, 
migrant in oi)en country of East-side. 

Migrations. — Spriiuj: East-side: Yakima. May 4, itjo<). May 9, 1900; 
Chelan. .May 19. 189}'), ^iay 20, 1903; West-side: Tacoma. .April 2~. 1906. 

Authorities. — I'iraiti/a ludmiciaua I'.ona]). Baird, Re]). I'ac. K. R. Surv. IX. 
1X38. ).. 304. T. C&S. Rh. n-. Ra. IK Ss'. Ss^ Kk. J. I',. E. 

Specimens. — V. of W. P'. Frov. I!. E. 

THIS handsome Tanagcr is one of the most characteristic binls of the 
more o])en forest areas of Washington, whether east or west. It is one of 
the three species discovered by the intrepid explorers, Lewis and Clark; and 
since the Lewis Wood])ecker bears the name of one. and the Clark Nutcracker 
of the other, there was nothing for it hut to call the Tanager after the region 



THE CRIMSON-HEADED TANAGER. 171 



"Louisiana,"' wliose fuiilicr reaches ihey were then exploring, i'ul we are 
no longer a part of Louisiana, and we prefer a color-name for one of our 
few brilliant birds of plumage. 

In the hand, the bright yellow of the male Tanager, shading into the 
I)rigln crimson upon the liead, would seem to assure a very conspicuous bird, 
but aheld it is not s( 1. Seen against the changing green of maples, pines, 
or tir trees, these ])rillianl colors are lost to any but the most attentive eye. 
A resplendent male does not hesitate to stand quietly upon the end of a 
branch and survey you until his curiosity is fully satisfied. This quiet atti- 
tude of genteel curiosity seems to be characteristic of all Tanagers. Apart 
from its psychological bearings, sedateness would seem to play an effective 
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 
^Lay, the 20th it was, while the Columbia River steamer doddered with its 
freight. I todk a turn ashore and explored a tiny oasis of willows which 
lined a neighljoring brook. I soon caught the pitic or pititic of newly-arrived 
Tanagers. Judge of my delight upon beholding, not one, but eight of these 
beauties, all old males, as they filed out of a willow clump, where they had 
evidentlv taken refuge for the day. A week or so later 1 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 friendl\- 
greetings. It was like meeting a king in a millet field. 

The song of the Louisiana Tanager — pardon the lapse: habit is stronger 
than reason — 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. crythrowclas), save that that of the former is oftener 
prefaced with the call note, thus : Pitcric zi'Iiew, zve soor a-ary e-cric iritoocr. 
This song, however, is less frequently heard than that of the Scarlet Tanager, 
East. Its perfect rendition, moreover, argues the near presence of a demure 
little ladv in olive, a person 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 behor)ves the Tanager maiden {<> be exacting in her choice, for all 



.Applied to P. crythromcltts in "The Birds of Ohio," p. 109. and exactly applicable here. 



172 THE ORANGE-CROWNED WAI 

tlie 1r1|) sIr- will gel (Hit of liini at Itc^t will In- sympathy and sdiij;. When 
It comes tu real work, like nest Imildinj;, siie nuist do it. He will graciously 
advise as to the situation, some horizontal branch of fir or pine, from six to 
fifty feet hiffh, and from three to twenty feel out. He will even accom|jan\' 
her on her lalK)rious trips after nesting material, cooing amiahle nothings, 
and oozing ap|)roval at every joint, — Init helj) her — ucvairc! 

The iicsl is (|uite a substantial atTair tho rather roughly put together, 
of fir twigs, rc)r)tlets, 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 anil spotted with lavcniler and dark greenish slate, appear especially 
handsome from above, when viewed against the dark brown nest. But, as 
everybody knows, the red fir ( Pseud otsiKja iiimroticito) is a tree of moods 
and ten.ses. \'ou may dangle with impunity from the very ti])s of the 
branches of some fir trees, wliile a stej) from the trunk is fatal in others of 
the sauR' gciR-ral appearance. The Tanagers are (piite as a]>t to patronize 
the brittle kind. 



No. 70. 

()K.\N(;i-:-rR()\vNKi) warhlkr. 

.\. O. r. .\'o. (14^1. Helminthophila celata (Say). 

Description. — ./(/»// imilc: Aliovc a>iiy olivc-grecn. clearing an<l i)r'j;liter 
on rump; crown largely ochraceniis but color i)artly veiled by olive tips of 
feathers; wings and tail fuscous with some olive edging; l)elow greenish-yellow, 
dingy, or vaguely streaked with blue on breast and sides. Adult fciiialc: Similar 
to male but duller, with ochraceous crown-patch restricted or wanting. Im- 
mature: Without ochraceous crown; more ashy above; duller below .save that 
alKlfMUen is white; eyelids often whitish. Length about 5.00 (127); wing 2.40 
(61) : tail 1.1^5 (40.3) : bill .42 ( 10.7) ; tarsus .70 ( 17.8). 

Recognition Marks. — Small warbler size ; ochraceous ( "orange" ) crown- 
patch distinctive fmin all except //. f. lutcsccus. which is the common bird; 
duller. See iR-xt ( sub (species. 

Nesting. — Not known to nest in Washington but may do so. .Xs next. 

General Ran^e. — SuninR-r resident in western British .\merica and .Maska 
(save in Pacific coast district), south thru Rocky Mountain district to New 
Mexico; migrating across Central States and casually! ?) New England. Middle 
.Atlantic Stales. Pacific States, etc.. to Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Prnhnbly ommion migrant but passing undistin- 
gui-lud .imi.n^' niiitc .ilniiul.-mt lute. <t ens. 

Authorities. Bowles and Da\»'son, .\uk. \'ol. XX\ ., (^ct. 1908. |). 483. 

Specimens. — I'.owles. Prov. P. 



THE LUTESCENT WARBLER. 173 

MOST Alaskan species, even of those which retire in winter in South 
Carohna, Florida, and the Antilles, may be expected to drift thru our 
borders sooner or later. T\pical H. cclata was first caught in the act by 
Mr. Bowles in May. 1907, but we have no means of knowing that the 
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 impossil)le that oiu' northern Cascade records should be referred to 
this type. 



No. 71. 

LUTESCENT WARBLER. 

A. O. U. Xo. 646a. Helminthopliila celata lutescens Kidgway. 

Description. — .-idults: — Similar to H. cclata but brighter. Above bright 
olive-green; below definitely yellow — olive-yellow, gamboge, or even canary (on 
under tail-coverts). Imuiatnre: Above plain olive-green (not a.shy, as in H. 
cclata) ; below buft'y yellow tinged with olive on breast and sides. Measurements 
as in preceding. 

Recognition Marks. — Small warbler size; perhaps the most ahundaiU of the 
eight or nine "yellow" warblers of the State: ochraceous crown-patch, of course, 
distinctive; not so bright as the I'ileolated Warblers (IV. p. pilcolata and IV. p. 
chryseola). 

Nesting. — Xcst: on the ground sunk in bed of moss, under protection of 
bush or weed, or in shelving bank, of coiled dry grasses, lined with finer ; i^ inches 
wide by i inch deep inside. Ecjgs: 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 (17x12.9). Season: May i and June i; 
two broods. 

General Range. — Summer resident in Pacific Coast district from Cook Inlet 
to southern California, cast to western ranges of Rocky Mountain System, where 
intergrading with //. cclata; south in winter to western Mexico and (aiatemala. 

Range in Washington. — Of general occurrence thruout the lower le\-els ; 
abiuidant in Puget Sound region. 

Migrations. — Spring: April 3, 6. 7 (Seattle). April 24 (Chelan). March 
28, irpg (Seattle). 

Authorities. — ( ?)Townscnd, Journ. .\c. Xat. Sci. Pfiila., \'III., 1839, 153 
part (Cf)lumbia River). Cooper and Suckley, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv., XII., pt. 
II., \%6o. 178. (T. ) C&S. I.'. Rh. 1)'. Kb. Ra. D-\ Kk. P.. K. 

Specimens. — I', of W. Prov. I'. P.X. E. 

")'I''T-I,0\\' a])pears to be the ])revailing color among our Washington 
Wood Warblers; and even of those which are not franklv all over \e11ow. 



■74 



THE LUTESCENT WARHUK. 



as this one is, tlicre are only two whicli do not lx»ast a conspicuous area of 
this fasliionable sliade. 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 "museum 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 
the leaves are fully out: and he is so full of confidence at this season that 
he poses (juitc demurely among the swelling buds of alder, maple, and 
willow, lie is proud of his full crown-patch of i)ale orange, contrasting 
,is it dois with the dull yellowish green of the u])perparts and the bright 

greenish yellow of 
ihe underparts, — 
and he lets you gel 
a good view of it at 
twenty yards with 
the glasses. Besides 
that, he must stop 
now and then to 
vent his feelings in 
<(jng. But the case 
of the female is al- 
most hopeless — for 
I he novice. 

The song of the 
I.utescent Warbler 
.ippears to have been 
very largely over- 
looked, but it was 
tiot 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 jjoint of nia])le. dogwood, or fir tree. The burden is 
intended for fairy ears, but he that hath ears to hear let him hear a curious 
\owel 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 (|uite unique. .At the ojiening the notes arc 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. 
.\t the climax the tension breaks unexpectedly 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 consi<leral)le distance, but the 
sweetness of the closing warble is lost to any but near listeners. The whole 




and Finl.-y. 



A HUNGRY CHICK. 



'Ill-: I.l'TESCENT WARBLER. 



175 



nia\' be rendered gra])liically soinew hat as fi)llo\vs: 0-o-d-d-i-i-e-e-e-e-e-e 
zi'icliy. zvicliy, u-ic-liy. 

In tlie brusli and under alarm these birds utter a brus(|ue, metallic 
scolding note, which is perfectly distincli\e locally, altho it much resembles 
that of the Oporoniis group East. ISy this mark alone may the mere greenish 
female be certainly discerned. 

Lutescent Warblers alxuind tlirudut western Washington, and easterly, 
when the Cascades nn- well ])assi.'d, a^ upnu the Peiid d' Oreille. Jungle 
of any kind suits ^i 

them, whether it 
be a thicket (if 
young lirs at Ta- 
coma, an over- 
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, but nnce Hushed shnws implacable resentment. 
She summons her mate to assist in the gentle art <if exorcistii, or else turns 
the tables and deserts outright. The latter, you understatid. is quite the 
subtlest and tnost baffling form of rexcnge wliich a bird may compass in the 
case of an oologist anxious to identify his fnid. 




-HI- Tacuma. I'hoio by J. H. Bo-.dcs. 

NEST AND EGGS OF LUTESCENT WAUBI.EU. 



176 THE CALANERAS WAKHlviR. 

No. 72. 

cala\i;r.\s warhi.kk. 

A. O. U. Xo. (>4^n. Ilclniinthophila ruhricapilla Kutturalis 1 Kidgw.J. 

Description. — .Idtill nuilc: llc;i<l uImivc and uii ^i(Jc> Ijliiisli ash willi a 
partially cmKcalid cmwii-patch of l)ri}ilu clifstnut ; a whitish cyc-ring : rcniaining 
iil)pcr|)arts bright olivc-grccn lii-coiniiig yellowish grci-n on rump ami upper tail- 
coverts: iinilcr])arts iiR-huliiig crissnin, bright yellow, but wiuteiiing on belly, l)ill 
small, short, acute, blackish above, brownish below; feet brown. .Idiilt female: 
Like male but somewhat duller below; ashy of head less jiure, glossed with 
olivaceous and not so abruptly contrasting with yellow of throat ; chestnut crown- 
patch less conspicuous or wanting. Immature: < )live-green of u|)i)erparts duller; 
liead and neck grayish brown instead of ashy; below dull olive-yellow, clearing 
on belly an<l crissum. Length of male (skins) 4.05-4.75 ( 103-121 ) ; wing 2.35 
(fo) ; tail 1.75 ( 45 » : bill .38 (9.6) ; tarsus .63 ( i()). Female .smaller. 

Recognition Marias. — Smaller; bright yellow of throat (and underparts), 
contrasting with ashy of head, distinctive. 

Nesting. — Kest: usually sunk well into ground or moss at base (jf bush- 
clump or rank herbage, well made of tine bark-strips and grasses, lined with finer 
grasses, horse-hair and, occasionally, feathers; outside, 3 in. wide by 2 in. deej); 
inside I'.i wide by i ' 4 deep. l:(/i/s: y-,. usually 4, dull while as to groun<l-color. 
but showing two distinct ty])es of markings: one heavily s|)rinkled with fine dots 
of reddish brown, nearly uniform in distribution, or gathered more thickly alMut 
larger end ; the other sparingly dotted, an<l with large blotches or "flowers"' of 
the same pigment. .\v. size .64 x .49 (16.3x12.5). Season: May 20-}\i]\ 20, 
according to .iltitude; two broods. Chelan Co. July 22, 1900, 3 fresli eggs. 

(jenerai 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 ami western Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident on brushy slopes and in timl)ered 
valleys of the higher ranges thruout the State, and irregularly at lower levels, at 
least on I'uget Sound (Tacoma). 

Migrations. — Sf'ri)!;/: W'allula, .\pril 2^, 1905; Renton County, May 4, 
if>o7; Chelan, ^^^y 21, 1896; Tacoina, ,\pril 24, 1897. Fall: Last week in 
.\ugust ( Rlaine ). 

Authorities. — Dawson, Auk. Will. Oct. i>toi. 4<>3. ( H' I. .L I'. 

Specimens. — B. 

TlIIvRK is .something distinct and well-bred alxnit tliis demure exquisite, 
and the day wliich discovers one searching the willow tops witli genteel 
aloofness is sure to he midcrscored in the iiotc-lx«)k. The marks of tlie 
spring male are as uiiiiiistakal)le as tliey are regal: a hrigiu yellow breast 
and throat contrasting with the ashy of checks and liead. the latter sharlc 
relieved by a white eye-ring, and surinoiuited by a chestnut crown-patch. 
If you stumble upon a coni])any of them at play among the thorn bushes. 



THE CALAVERAS WARBLER. 177 



you are seized, as like as not, with a sense of low birth, and feel hke retiring 
in confusion lest you offend royalty. 

These gentle despots are bound fur the mountains; and since their 
realms are not prepared for them till June, the}' 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 quarters on brushy mountain sides, or in the 
deciduous skirts of fierce mountain torrents. Here while the female skurries 
about thru the buck-brush or vine-maple thickets in search of a suitable 
nesting site, the male mounts a fir tree and occupies himself with song. 

If you are s])ying on this sacred function, the bird first peers down at 
you uneasily, then throws his head back and sings with great animation: 
Choopy, clwopy, choopy cliiirr ftr). 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 \olume. If forced to descend, 
the singer will join his mate in sharp cliips of protest, somewhat similar to 
those of the Audubon W'arbler, altho not <|uite so clear-cut or inflexible. 

While the Calaveras Warbler is a bird of the mountains and li\-es at 
an\' height where suital)le cover is afforded, it is a curious fact that it some- 
times prefers the timbered lowlands of Puget Sound, and may be found in 
some seasons in consideralile numbers about the southern prairies. Air. 
Bowles has found tliem cnmmnnly in scrub-oak patches which border the 
fir groves and timbered lakes; and \et during some years they ha\-e been 
unaccountably absent from the entire region. 

Near Tacoma this Warbler i)laces its nest at the base of a \-oung 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 retinn.s only after .some 
considerable interval. Then she api)roaches with the greatest cautinn, 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 Mieir treasures. 

.\t sea-level two sets of eggs are laid in a season, one fresh about May 
i8th, the other about June 25th. In the nmuntains, however, the second 
nesting, if indulged in at all, is thrown \eiy late. I took a set of three fresh 
eggs from a carelessly constructed nest placed in the top of an elk-weed 
CEchiiiopanax liorridum) at a height of three feet, on the 22d day of 
July. 1900. 



178 PFIE YELLOW WARBLERiT 



No. 73. 

YKLLOW WARBLLR. 

A. ( ). r. .\<). (15J. Dendroica a;stiva (Gnicl.). 

Synonyms. — Si mmkk Yki.i.ow-iiiki). Sl.mmf.k Wakbi.kr. Wild Ca.sakv." 

Description. — Adult male: Forcliead and fore-crown bright yellow with 
ail iirange tinge; hack bright olive-green; rump greenish yellow; wings ami tail 
itlackisii with greenish yellow edgings, the wing (|uills etlged on Iwjth webs, the 
tail-feathers — excejjt niiildle pair — almost entirely yellow f)n inner webs; sides 
iif head anil entire underparts golden yellow, the breast and sides heavily streaked 
with chestnut; bill black: feet pale. Adult fcimilc: Like mde but duller; olive- 
green on back. lint brighter on forehead; |)aler yellow below, obscurely or not at 
all streake<l with chestnut. Youmj males resemble the adult female. Youiuj 
female still duller; dusky yellow below. Length 4.73-5.25 (120.6-133.3); wing 
2.51 (63.8) ; tail i.r* (42.7) : bill .40 ( 10.2) ; tarsus .jj, ( 18.61 ). 

Recognition Marks. — Medium size ; golden yellow coloration ; chestnut 
streaks on breast of male; after the Lutcscent the commonest of the resident 
Warblers; chielly coiitined to the banks of streams and jionds. 

Nesting. — Xest: a compact cu]) of woven "hem])" and line grasses. linefl 
heavilv with ])lant-down. grasses, and. occasionally, horse-hair, fastened to upright 
branch in rose-thickets and the like. lifUjs: 4 or 5. white, bluish-, creamv-. or 
gravish-white. speckled and marked witli largish spot'; of reddish brown, burnt 
umiier. etc.. often wrcithed alxiut the larger end. Av. si/.e. .70 x .5(} ( 17.8 x 12.7). 
Season: May 20-June 20; one lirootl. 

General Range. — North America at large, except southwestern part, giving 
place to /'. (f. lubiiiinosa in extreme northwest. South in winter to Central 
.\merica and northern South America. I'.reeds nearly thruout its North Ameri- 
can range. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident in deciduous timber, and -ibnib- 
berv lining ^tnaiiK. tliniout the State from sea-level to 4,000 feet. 

Migrations. — Spriutj: Tacoma. .\pril 24-30: Yakima, .\pril 30. I'XX): 
Clulaii. May 21. l8<)6. I'all: First week in September. 

Authorities. — Cooper and Suckley, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv.. NIL. i)t. 11., 
i8<K.. p. iSi. T. C&-S. I.'. Rh. H'. Ra. D^ Ss'. Ss^ Kk. J. P.. Iv. 

Specimens. — P>. P.N. E. P'. 

'\'\\V. Summer Warbler's gold is alwiit as cninnion 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 imtice at all of anything so tiny, 
fliih the birds "Wild Canaries," and arc done. The name as applied to the 
C.ul(lfinch may be barely tolerated, but in the case of the Warbler it is quite 
ina|>propriate, since the bird has nothing in common with the Canary except 
littleness ami vellowness. Its bill is longer and slimmer, for it feeds ex- 
cKisivclv on insects instead of seeds: and its pure yellow and olive-green 



THE YELLOW WARBLER. 



179 



plumage kiunvs nu admixture, save for tlie tasty but inconspicuous cliestnut 
stripes on tlie 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 l)ird of sunshine, and is tn be tnunil 
cliietly in open situations. 
It swarms thru the orch- 
ards and gardens, fre- 
quents the wayside thick- 
ets, and in town takes 
possession of the shrulj- 
bery in lawn or park. It 
is abundant in swamp\ 
places, and is invariabl\ 
present in season along 
the banks of streams 
which are lined with wil- 
lows, alders, and wild rose 
bushes. 

The song is sunny, 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 ])itch and vigor of deliverv' are distinctive. Certain common types 
may be syllabized as follows: Street, S7i'ect. sweet, sii'cctic; fscc. tscc. tsit- 
a-zvee, fsce; zvee-chee, dice, dice zvce-i-ii ; tsii. Isii. Isn. Isii. tscec:v. h'rom 
its arrival sometime during the last week in .\pril. luitil ncir tlie close of 
its second nesting, late in jul>'. the iiird may l)e fnund sin.s^in^ thrunut the 
sunlit hours. 

Tlic date of this bird's annu;d ad\ent in \\ ashington is far less nearly 




Ori-go 



Fholo by Finlcy 
A CON'TENTKD B.\BV. 



i8o 



THE VHI.I.i )\V WARnLER?* 



fixed tlian in the East. April i^tli is my earliest date, recorded in Vakiina 
County, but Dr. Co<)]>er once saw large nuniljcrs (i)ossil)ly D. a. nibif/iiiosa) 
"at tlie Straits of l)e Fuca," on .\])ril 8. On tlic west side <»f the mountains 
tliis \\'arl»ler may not often nest mere tlian unce in a seasi>u. I)ut on the 
East-side it usually raises 
two broods. 

The nest of the VcIIkw 
\\'arl)ler is quite common, 
esjjecially easterly, where 
its co\er is more re- 
stricted; and no special 
pains is taken at conceal- 
ment. Nests m.iv he 
placed at any height in 
orchard trees, alders, wil- 
lows, i>r even fir sai)lings: 
but, without doubt, tlie 
most acceptable site is 
that alTorded liy dense 
thickets of the wild rose 
(Rosa pisocarpa) where- 
ever fouml. 

The cradle of this bird 
is of exquisite fabrica- 
tion. The tough inner 
bark nf certain weeds — 
called indiscriminately 
"hemp" — tr)gether with 
grasses and other fibrous 
materials in various pro- 
port ious. is woven into a 
compact cu]) around. <>r 
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. .\ fleecy lining, or mat. of plant-down is a more 
or less consj)icuous feature of every nest. l'])on this as a backgroun<l a 
scanty 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 by a coiled black mattress. 




Taken near Tacom<i. 
Pholo b> the Author. 

YICI.I.OW W.XUni.ER'S NEST. 



THE MYRTLE WARBLER. 



The male Vell(_)W is very domestic in his lasles. insdimich thai, (luite 
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 off quickly and her vigorous complaints serve to summon her husband, 
when both flit about close to the intruder, and scold roundly in fierce, accusing 
notes, which yet have a baby lisp abnut them. 



No. 74. 

MYRTLE WARBLER. 

A. O. U. Xo. 655. Dendroica coronata (Linn.). 

Synonym. — Yia.i.ow-uuMi'Kn WAKiiLi'U. 

Description. — Adult male in sfiyiiig: 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 while; 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 i)i 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. Intmature: 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; zvhitc throat as distinguished from /'. audu- 
boni, which it otherwise closely resembles. 

Nesting. — Not known to breed in Washington. Xest as in next s]iecies. 
E(jgs indistinguishable. 

General Range. — "Eastern North America chiefly, straggling more or less 
commonly to the Pacific; breeds from the northern United States northward, and 
wiiUers from southern New luigland and the Ohio \"al!ey southward to the W'est 
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" 
(Kcrmode). 

Range in Washington. — Spring and fall migrant. ])rnbably of regular 
occurrence cast and west of the Cascades. 

Migrations. — Spring: Tacoma, Apr. 27, 1906, 1907; Seattle. May 3. 1908; 
Chelan, May 22, 11/35; Yakima, \\iv. 30, 1891. 

Authorities.— Baird, Rej). Pac. r! R. Surv. IX. pt. II.. 1858. 272. 27 ^ C&S. 
Rh. Ra. ]>. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens. — U. of W. Prov. C. 



i82 THE AUDUBON WAKIU.ICR 

Willi, I', only ;i little k-ss Icivciy than its local kinsman, the Audubon 
W'arbkr. hy as niiicli as it has four ])atchcs of gold instead of five, this 
beautiful nii^'rant appears lo 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 uncommon spring migrant, associating with 
/,). luiduboiii. Have no fall record." Howies from Tacoma says: "An 
irregular fall migrant, very numerous .some years, the fall of 1905 for 
example. Have never seen it in spring." Vakinia, Ajml 30, 1891 ; Chelan, 
May 22, 1905; Tacoma, April 2~, 1907, ate some of my own records. 
Fannin gives the species as "An abundant summer resident, chiefly west of 
the Cascades," in British Columbia, and it should occur regularly within our 
lj<irders during migration. 

The tchip note of the Myrtle W avbler is indistinguishable from that of 
/>. auiluboni, but a single glinijjse of the white throat is sufficient to establish 
identity. Those seen have necessarily been at close quarters and ranging 
low, in willow thickets, along the margins of ]K>nds, etc., but it is altogether 
possible for a migrant troop to hold to the tree-tops in passing and so elude 
observation from ■'I'ortv-nine" to the Columbia. 



No. 75. 

AIDUBON'S WARBLER. 

A. O. I'. No. 636. Dendroica atiJuhoni 1 Towns.") 

Synonym. — Wkstkkn Yki.Uiw-iu.mim;!) Warhlkr. 

Description. — .Idiilt male: Similar to /). coronato but throat rich gamboge 
yellow; anriciilars bluish gray instead of black: a large white wing i)atch formed 
by tips of middle and outer edges of greater coverts; tail willi white Idotclies on 
inner webs nf four or live outer feathers: usually more extensively black on 
breast. Adult female: Similar to adult male but duller (differences closely cor- 
responding with those in D. eorouata) : the white of wing patch nearly obsolete; 
the vellow of throat paler and often, e<;])ecially on chin, more or less displaced 
bv white ( young females even of the second summer arc .sometimes absolutely 
without vellow on throat but the more abundant white on rcctrices is distinctive 
as compared with Ih coronatal. Seasonal eliaiiges follow very closely those of 
n. eorouata but yellow of throat is usually retained in winter save in young 
females and (occasionally) young males. Length of adult about .S-.SO f 139.7); 
wing 3.00 ( 76 I ; tail 2.43 ( 57 ) : bill .41 ( 10.4 ) : tarsus .80 (20.3). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; /iir spots of yellow; extensive white 
blolibing of t.iij : yellow rnm]) distinctive in any plumage save as compared with 
P. eorouata. from which it is further distinguished (usually^ l)y yellow or yel- 
lowish of throat (If this character fails, the more extensive white on tail will 
always hold). 

Nestinjt.— .VcW; a well built, bulky structure of Iir twigs, weed stems. 



V ^ = 







•^ 



^^ 



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 ijX. Eggs: 
3-5, usually 4, (lull greenish white sparingly dotted with blackish or handsomely 
ringed, spotted and blotched with reddish brown, black and lavender. Av. size, 
.71 X.54 118x13.7). Season: April-June; two broods. Tacoma, .\pril 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 
Pennsylvania. 

Range in Washington. — Common resident and migrant on West-side from 
tidewater to limit of trees; less conmion migrant and rare winter resident ( ?j east 
of the Cascades. 

Migrations. — Spring: East-side: "S'akima, Marcli 11, 1900 (probably winter 
resident I ; Yakima, April 13, 1900; Chelan, April 20-24, 1896. West-side: 
Tacoma, .\pril 24, 1906. 

-Authorities. — Sylvia auduboni Townsend, Journ. Ac. Xat. Sci. Phila. VII. 
1837, 191 ("forests of the Columbia River"j. 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 vSparrows 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 W^arbler 
can testify, but when to these is added the splendor of five golden garnishes, 
crown, gorget, epaulets, and culet, you have a costume which Pan must notice. 
And for all he is so bedecked, aiiduhom is neither ])roud nor vain. — properly 
modest and companionable withal. 

Westerly, at least, he is among the first voices of springtime, and by the 
loth of March, while all other W^arblers are still skulking silently in the South- 
land, this brave spirit is making the fir groves echo to his melody. The song is 
brief and its theme nearly invariable, 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 pour out rapidly, crowding close upon each other. tilUthe whole company 
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 lie catches only the 
crests of the sound waves, it is natural to call the effort a trill. .\t a good 
distance it is even comparable to the pure, monotonous tinkling of junco. 

I once heard these two dissimilar birrls in a song contest. The Warbler 
stood ujion a favorite ]H'rch of his. a sijindling. solitarv fir some hundred feet 



iS4 THE AUDUBON WARBLEEi 

in height, wliilc tin- |uiki> licld a stali"n even liifjlicr <<ii the tip of aiiotlier fir a 
block away. Here tliey liail it l)ack and furtli, with liuiiurs siiri»risingly even, 
until lK>th were tireil. wlieren|j<>n (and imt till then) an Oregon Towhce ven- 
tured to bring t"i>rlh his )ir<)sy rattle. It was like Sanilxi and his "txines" after 
an opera. 

The range of Audubon's Warbler is aljout coe.\tensi\e with that of ever- 
green limber in Washington. It does not, however, fre(|uent all the more oj)en 
pine woods of the lower foot-hills in the eastern part of the State, nor docs it 
occur habitually in the deeper solitudes <tf the western forests. Consiilcrc*! 
altitiKlinally. its range exteiuls from sea-level ^^) timber-line. And alt ho it is at 
home in the highest moinitains, it is eciually so in the city |»ark and in the slia<le 
trees al)oul the house. L'n<ler such varied conditions, therefore, its habits 
must vary widely. 

We do not know to what extent it is resident, that is, present the year 
around, but believe that it is cpiite extensively so. (^ne may l)e 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 have seen them |)laying 
about the dense firs on Semiahmoo Point ( I. at. 4^/ ) on Christmas Day, and 1 
feel sure that large numbers of them spend the winter in the tree-tops, jxissibly 
mo|)ing. after the well known fashion of the Sooty Grouse. 

It is these winter residents which Ijccome active in early si)ring. In the 
vicinity of 'I'acoma, where they have 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 found .April gth, 1903, must have been de|)<isited in March. .Along alKiut 
the 25lh of April great numlx-rs of .Audubons arrive from the South, and one 
may sec 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 Columbia. ICast-side birds arc likewise tardy in 
arrival, for pine trees are inade(|uatc shelter for wintry experiments. 

The absorbing duty of s|)ringtimc is nesting, and to this art the .Audulxins 
give themselves with becoming ardor. The female floes 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 stofxl about like decorous candlesticks, 
but the place hummed with Kinglets and clattered with Juncoes and Au<lul»ons. 
One Audulym, a female, .idvcrtised 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 cvi<lently too big or too stiff or too 
wet for her ])ropcr taste: but finally she flew away across the gmvc with it. 
chirping merrily. .And since she repeated her precise course three times, it was 
an easy matter to trace her some fifteen rods straight to her nest, forty feet up 
on an ascending fir branch. 



THE AUDUBON WARBLER. 



i8s 



When the nest was presumed in he ripe. 1 ascended. It was fnund settled 
into the foHage and steadied by diveiging twigs at a point some six or seven 
feet out along the limb. None of tlie branches in the \icinity were individual!}- 
safe, but bv dint of standing on one, sitting on another, and clinging to a third. 
I made an equitable distribution of avoirdupois and gras])ed the treasure. 
Perhaps in justice the supporting branches sin mid ba\e l)niken just here, but 
how 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. comi)osed 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 partially con- 
ceal the eggs, — four 
spotted beauties. 

These Warblers Take, in Tacoma. Photo by tlH- Author. 

are connoisseurs in nkst .\.\i) icccs of .audlbon w.xkui.hk. 

feathers, and if one 

had all their nests snl)initted to him. he could make a rough assignment of 
locality for each according to whether feathers of Oregon Ruffed ('.rouse. 
Franklin Grouse, Ptarmigan, or domestic fciwls were used. 

[n the wet region the birds ajjpear to ne.st in fir tre^s 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 Warblers 
avail themselves freely of deciduous trees and bushes for nesting sites. .\ nest 
on Cannon Hill in Spokane was placed at the lowermost available crotch of a 
young elm tree near the sidewalk and nut ten feet up — as bold as a Robin! 




i86 THE BLACK- 11 1K( ).\TED GRAY W^^RBLER. 

•\ccoi(ling ti> Mr. l>i>wk>, AikIuIxjii Warblers fvincf a great fondness tor 
llicir chosen nesting iiannts, and will return to tliein year after year, often to 
the same tree, and sonielinies to the same branch. "They are the most solicit- 
ous of all the Washington Warblers concerning their eggs, sometimes coining 
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, frequently within reach, 
with wings and tail spread, in absolute forget fulness of their own safety." 

Incubation is accomplished in twelve days; and one or two brornls are 
raised, according to locality and length of season. 

We lose sight of most of the birds, esixTially the smaller ones, after the 
heyday of s|iringlime. but here is one who, because he has forsworn wander- 
ing, is making delicate overtures of contidcnce toward mankind. This year, 
especially, now that the dense tract of woods north of the University has been 
cut out, thev linger alxnit our neighl)orhood with the matter-<jf-factness of 
Bluebirds. The young ones |)lay about the eaves or make sallies at i)assing 
tlies from the window-sills, and yawn with childish insouciance if mamma 
suggests, by a sharp liltil^. that enemies may lurk behind the curtains. They 
know it's only habit with her, and she doesn't Ixdieve it herself. The adult 
attire is duller now, and only the yellow rump-jjatch remains for recognition 
by a friend. The year is waning, no doubt of that, but October sunshine is 
g(jod enough 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. 

BL.ACK riiR().\'ri:i) (.r\v warhihr. 

.\. O. L'. No. f/j^. Dendroica nigrescens (Tuwu^. i. 

Description. — Adult male in sf'riiK/ oiid summer: .\ supraloral spot of yel- 
low ; remaining plumage black, wliitc and bkic-gray ; head, throat and dicst l)lack 
interniptol by superciliary stripes and broad malar stripes of white: remaining 
upperparts bine-gray, marked with black in inverted wedge-shaped spots on 
back. sca])nlar'i and ujjper tail-covert •i : wings and tail black edged with bluish 
ash, tlic midillc and greater coverts tijiiied with white, forming two cons])icuons 
wing-bars, the four outer rectrices blotdud witii 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 nnilerparts white. 
Adult female: Like male but ilnlkr. the l>!ack of crown i>artly veiled by bhie- 
grav skirting, that of throat reduced by white tips of featiiers. Youmi birds 
resemble the female but the black of crown and throat is almost entirely hidden 
by blue-gray anri white respectively, and the area of the tail blotches is much 
reduced. Length aliont 5.00 (iJ-'l : wing j.44 (^>J): tail i.<»- (50); bill .36 
(9.2) ; tarsus .60 (17.31. 



THE BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER. 



187 



Recognition Marks. — Warbler size: Jilai.'l'; and white and l)lue-ijray colora- 
tion distinctive. 

Nesting. — Xcst: a rather loosel)- huilt strnetnre of dead grasses, silky plant 
fibers, moss, etc., ])laccd midway on horizontal limb of conifer 25-50 feet from 
ground; measures, externally, 3 inches wide by 2 deep, internally i-)4 wide by i 
deep. Eyys: 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 w'eek in May and first week in June; one brood. 



^' 









rfiii(u\)5vooi^s 



BLACK-THKOATED GRAY WAUULEkS, 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 J^ower 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. .\pril 12. 

Authorities. — Sylvia nigresccns Townsend, Journ. 
1837, 191 ("forests of the Columbia River"). CXS. T,' 

Specimens. — U. of W. Prov. B. E. 



PaU:c. Sept. i (Blaine). 
Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. VIL 
. n'(?). Ra. Kk. B. E. 



IMIK lU.AC'K TIIRoATKI) CliW \f AUr.I.KU. 



IM^ACK and uliiic ami yray arc sober colors in tla-msclves, but a skillful 
arrangiinenl of all three has producfd a haiidsonic bird, and one whose dainty 
dignity re(|uires no meretricious display of gaudy reds and yellows. Warblers 
are such tiny creatures at best that Nature has given little thought to their \iU)- 
tective coloration. 'I'liis plain-colored l)ird does not, therefore, shun the green- 
cry of fir and fern, and yet we feel a peculiar fitness when he chooses for a 
song station sonic bare dead liiub, gray and solx'r like himself. 

Last year the first arrival in Seattle seated himself u|K)n a |)rojccting limb 
of a dead cedar which commandetl the cpiiet sylvan depths of Cowan Park, and 
left him fairly abreast of the Fifteenth .\ venue viaduct. Here he divided his 
time between song and enjoyment of the scene, sparing a friendly glance now 
and then for the admiring bird-man. His manner was com])laisant and self- 
contained, and I felt that his little vocal ofTerings were a tribute to the jjcrfcct 
morning rather than a bid for applause. 

The song of the P.lack-iliro.ited Gray is quite unpretentious, as Mrs, 
l'..iili\ -.i\-.' ".1 ^itnpli- w .11 liltr l.i\. -rc-i'c-ccc-cc, zc, zc, zc, with the <|uiet 

woodsy (juality of x'ircns and cw- 
nilcsccus, so soothing to the car." 
It is this droning, woodsy (piality 
alone which must gui<le the ear of 
a listener in a forest, which may be 
resounding at the same time to the 
notes of the Hermit, Townsend, 
\u(lul)on. Lutcscent, and Tolmie 
\\arbkr>. Occasionally even this 
fails. An early .song which came 
from a young male feeding pa- 
tiently among the catkins of some 
tall, fresh-budding alders, had some 
of the airy qualities of the King- 
let's notes, "Deo dcopli. tin tin dii, tiro dco pli. dco dco pli, den dco pli" — a 
mere fairy sibilation too fine for mortal cars U^ analyze, .\noihcr said Ijoldly, 
"//(•() flidtjity: lico flidf/ity." and "Hro fiidtjity, chii zvi'o." 

Tliis Warbler is of rather irregular distrilnition in the western part of the 
State, where alone it is found. .\ jircfcrence is shown for rather ojien wood- 
land or dense undergrowth with wooded intervals. The fir-<lotted prairies <if 
the Stcilacoom area arc approved, and the oak groves have their patronage. 
During the Augu.st luigration I have found the bini almost abundant at Blaine. 
They are curious, too, and by judicious screeping I succeeded in calling the 
bird f>f the accompanying illustration down within five feet u|>on the over- 
hanging limb of an apple tree. 




T.lt.M 

•Ll'i 



I.- /7i,./,. (r.-l.uJu-.h l-y II 

o\ i;Kn.\N(.i.\<, i.i.Mii 
.M'PM-: trim:." 



a. Handlioolt of Birdt of W. U. S., p. 419. 



THE BLACK-TllRtXATED GRAY WARHLER. 



189 



Of their nesting Mr. Bowles says: "Tn Washington these \Varl)lers are 
strictly confined to the large coniferous tinil)cr nf the jirairie country, during 
the breeding season placing their nests niidvva\' nut on a fir limb, at from 25 to 
50 feet above the ground. Strangely enough, linwexcr, in Oregon they almost 
always nest low down in the deciduous trees, sometimes only three or four 
feet up in a bush. In \\'ashington the nests arc always placed directly on a 
liml). while in Oregon my hrolher, Mr. C. W. Dowlcs, found ihcm mostI\- in 
upright crotches. 

"The nest is rather ;i 
loosely-huilt little struc- 
ture, measuring external- 
ly tliree inches wide by 
two inches deep, internal- 
ly one and three-quarters 
inches wide by one deep. 
It is composed of dead 
grass, silUy plant fibers, 
moss, etc., with an ami)le 
lining of different kinds 
of hair and feathers: — a 
pretty little nest, iho 
scarcely as artistic as that 
of the .Audubon \\'arl)ler. 
"The eggs are laid dur- 
ing the last week in May 
and the first week in Jmie. 
and are in\'ariably four in 
nuniljer. Tliey are creamy 
white in color, marked 
chiefly around llie larger 
end, with spots and small 
blotches of varying shades of brown, laxender. and l)hick. Eggs in in\- collec- 
tion from \\'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 sluipe the eggs vary from long to short 
ovate, and only one set is laid in a season. 

"The parent birds are very shy in the \icinity of the nest, the 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 ])re\ed 
upon by that prince of egg-robbers, the California Jay." 




Taken in rui-MMd. riiulv b^ J. II. Boz.h: 

NEST .'\.ND KC.CS OI' I 111-: l:i, ACK TIIROATi;!) CRAY 

\\AKr,i,i:k. 



IQO Till-: T(»\\.\Si:XI) WARBLEK. 

No. 77. 
TOWNSENDS WARHI.KR. 

A. < >. r. No. frfiS. Dendroica townsendi (Towns.*. 

Description. — Adult mole: I'ilciim. hiiidiifck, lores and auricnlars, chin, 
throat and u|)|)cr chest black; sn])raloral regii>n contiinious with broad super- 
ciliary, a spot under eye and a malar stri|)e liroadening behind (and nearly 
nieetin}; 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 tianks and rea])pearing on under tail-coverts; 
U]>per sides and tianks and remaining nn<ler])arts i>iisteriorly white as to ground; 
back, scapulars and rump yiUowish olive-green streaked with black -hading intn 
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 blotche<l with 
white on inner webs in descending ratio. P.ill black with paler tomia ; feet and 
legs brown; iris brown. Adult male in fall and tvinti'r: .\reas and intensity of 
black nnich reduced, pileuni and hindneck with much skirting of olive green 
thru which black ai)])cars mesially on feathers; auriculars entirely concealed by 
olive green feather-tips; black of chin and throat nearly concealed by yellow 
an<l streaks of sides reduced ; black streaks of upper]>arts more or less concealed; 
u])per tail-coverts color of back. .Idnlt female: \"ery similar in coloration to 
adult male in fall; throat often more or less black, jiilenm sometimes more exten- 
sively black but black streaking of uppcrparts still further reduced. Vonnfj birds 
in first autumnal plumaije have no dear black, and the yellow of throat and 
un<ler|>arts is paler. Length alwut 5.00 ( 127) ; wing 2.64 (67) ; tail 1.97 (50) ; 
bill ..^4 (S.fi) ; tarsus .74 ( 18.8). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; black on crown, cheeks and thniat in 
high ]>hunage; in low j>luniage extensively yellow on sides of head enclosing 
area of darker (olive-green) — yellow of throat combined with this character 
may aflTord clew to identilication of winter specimens. 

Nesting- — Sest: a well built, bidky but rather shallow structure, chiefly of 
cedar bark with a few slender lir twigs interwoven; lined with -tein-; of moss 
flowers; i)laced at moderate heights in young fir trees well out on limb or settled 
against trunk. Ei/gs: 4, white, wreathed and speckled with brownish and lilac. 
Av. size, .C)i X .51 (i5-5x 12.9). Season: first week in June; one bnxwl. 

General Range. — Western North .\merica breeding from the mountains of 
southern California north to .Maska and east to Idaho; during migrations east- 
wanl to Kockv Mountains and southward to C.uatemala. Lower California, etc. 

Range in Washington. — Not uncommon s|)ring and fall migrant on both 
sides of the Cascade .Mountains, summer resident in coniferous timber, probably 
thruout the State ; partially resident in winter on Tuget Sound. 

Migrations. — Sf'rin;/: Seattle .Xjiril 20. IQ07; .\htanum (Yakima Co.) 
^L^y 4. i<;<y>. June 3. iSr;r); Chelan May 23. i<>03. Fall: .\ugnst. Winter records: 
Seattle Dec. 31. i'to^: Tacoma Dec. 4. 13, 13. 21 and 2y, 1906. 




%o,\^ , 



TOVVNSEND WARBLERS, MALE AND I'EMALK. 



1.,.' THE TOVVNSEND WARBlSk. 

Authorities. -Sylvia toii'tisendi "(N'uttall)," To\\nscnil, Jouni. Ac. Nat. 
Sci. I'hila. \ 11. pt. II. 1837, lyi ("forests of tlic Columbia River"). C&S. Rh. 
Ra. IV. I!. K. 

Specimens. — l'. dt W . I'rov. C. K. 

\\ ll.\T a iiiorning llial was at the old parsonage in the .\iitanuin valley, 
when the shaile trees of the five acre enclosure were lit up by the presence i>f a 
(U>zen of these fairies! Waste acres of sage lay around, or fields of alfalfa 
and growing wheal, hanlly more inviting, but the eye of the leader, winging 
languidly from the South, at early dawn had spied a patch of w<j(j<lsy green 
and had ordered a halt for the day in our conifortabledooking bo.\-elders and 
insect-harlx)ring apple trees. To be sure it was absurdly late for migrants, 
June 3th. but they ajjpeared more like an embassage of foreign grandees, who 
deigned to make re(|uisition upon our hospitality, than mere birds with threats 
of family cares ahead. So while they sought breakfasts of ai)his ami early 
worm, or disported among the branches in the growing sunshine, 1 attended 
their movements in rustic wonder. \<>w and then a member of the ])arty 
paused to atljust his golden trappings, or to settle the black heail-j)iece with a 
dainty shake. It was, indeed, a notable occasion for the bird-man, inasmuch 
as these dandies were in "higher" plumage than any yet recognized by the best 
bird-books of the day," in that the shining black. sn])posedly confined to the 
lower throat, now occupied the very chin ;is well. 

There was a little conversational lisping in a foreign tongue, in which the 
ladies of the party were included ; and after breakfast the males ventured song. 

Seventy-eight days later, viz., on the J^d of .August, a soutinvanl bound 
partv visited our orchard. The males were still in song, and it was dilVicuh 
to believe that all the joys and sorrows of wedlock and child-rearing had inter- 
vened ; yet such was probably the ca.se. 

.\ bird sighte<l at Chelan on the 25th <lay of .May, IM05, haunteil a pine 
and a balm tree at the foot of the Lake, singing constantly. The .song ran, 
iicxi'cc, dcwcc, dcii'i'c. dzxvcc, dc7\.'cclsci\ 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 nee<lles of the pine, under what would 
seem to an observer great difficulties. Once he es])ied an especially desirable 
tidbit on the under side of a needle-beset branch. The bird leaned over and 
peered beneath, until he (piilc lo.st his balance and turne<l a somersault in the 
air. Hut he returned to the charge again and again, now creeping cautiously 
around to tiie under side, now clinging to the i)ine needles themselves and 
again lluttering 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 

especially rcfrrrr<l to. The matter hat been cor- 



THE HERMIT WARBLER. 193 



again in tlie \alley of tlie Cascade River, near Marblemount, breeding, un- 
doubtedly, in both places. Here we allowed the notes, oo:si, ivoosi leooli to 
pass for some time, unchallenged, as those of the Hermit Warbler, but finally 
caught a tozi'nscndi 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 lake it kindly of toivnscndi to 
mix u]) the game so. 

L'pon returning to the \-alley 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 placed 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 sufficiently accustomed 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 
wholl)- occupied with rninstrelsy 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 inore 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- 
firmcfl by specimens taken at Tacoma by Mr. Bowles the following December^ 



No. 78. 

HERMIT WARBLER. 

A. O. U. No. 669. Dendroica occidentalis (Townsend). 

Synonym. — WksTKrx W'arp.i.kr. 

Description. — /Iciiilt male in breeding plumage: Forehead, crown and sides 
of head and neck, broadly, rich lemon yellow, shaqjly defined below by black of 
chin, throat and upper chest, less sharply above by blaclc of occiput or liind- 
neck ; this in turn shadinjj thru mingled olive and black into gray of remainin.? 
upperparts; upjjcr [jhimage 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, next pair white 
on terminal half of inner web and third pair marked with longitudinal spot near 
tip; black of chest with convex posterior outline sliarpiv defnicd from white of 
remaining underparts. Bill black; legs and feet dark brown: iris brown. Adult 



194 I'llli IIKKMIT VVARBLEI* 

wale iti fall and ti'inter: Yellow of crown veiled by olive green ; black of throat 
veiled by whitish tips; black streaking of upperparts less conspicuous. Adult 
female in sprimj: Like male in spring but duller, yellow of head less extensive, 
gray of uppcr|)arts duniinating: black streaks reiluced or obsulite; black f>f throat, 
etc., absent, white or (hill yellowish instead; sometimes du>kv s|M>t of various 
proportions on chest. Youiui birds like adult female but yellow ui crown veiled 
by olive and sides washed with brownish. Length of ailnit alxnit 4.<>3 ( 124.4) '< 
wing 2.65 ( 67.3 ) ; tail 2.20 ( 35.0 ) ; bill .40 ( 10.2 > ; tarsus .44 ( 1 1.3 I. 

Recognition Marks. — Siualler Warbler size; yellow mask of male outlined 
against black of tbro.it and hind neck distinctive — female and young more difficult 
but distinctive ])attern of mask with white wing-bars usually suggestive. 

Nesting. — Kcsl: saddled on horizontal branch of fir tree at a gcnid height; 
a compact structure oi lir twigs, mosses and vegetable down, lined with fine 
grass and horse-hair; measures, outside. 4 wide by 2'4 dce(). insidi-, 2 wide 
by I '4 deep. Etjiis: 4 or 3, dull white heavil\' blotched and spotted with various 
shades of red-brown and lavender. Av. size, .(h^ x .33 ( 17.3 x 13.51. Season: 
c. June I ; one brood. 

General Range. — Pacific coast district and Cascade-Sierra system with its 
outliers north to liritish Columbia; "in winter south into Lower California and 
through .\rizoiia over Mexican ]>lateau to highlands of C.uatemala." 

Range in Washington. — Not common summer resident, in heavier conifer- 
ou-- timber oidy. 

Authorities. — Sylria occidenlolis Townsend, lourn. .\c. Xat. Sci. I'hila. 
\II. 1S37, uyo ("forests of the Columbia River" I. C&S. L'. D'. P.. 

Specimens. — C. 

THI'-Rlv is a piece of woodland .south of Taconia which \vc call the 
Hermit Woods, because here on any May day may be heard the v<iice of this 
e.xalted Warbler. The jjroper hour in which to approach this forest is early 
morning, before the winds have begiui to stir in its dim aisles, and while the 
hush of its nightly i)eace is upon everything — save the birds. The soft moss 
muOles the footsteps, so that the devotee may move about iinherabled from 
shrine to shrine, as he pay.s .silent homage to each, in turn, of those morning 
stars of song, the Wood Warblers. There is Audulmii with his ha.stening 
mekxly of gladness. There is Rlack-throated Gray with his still drowsy s<in- 
net of sweet content. Then there is Hermit hidden aloft in the shapeless 
greenery of the imder-dawn, — his note is sweetest, gladdest, most seraphic of 
them all. Lilly, lilly. Hlly. lee " /<■<•/. It is almost sacrilege to give it form — 
besides it is so hopeless. The prejiaratory 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-oleet. 

In broad daylight it is the same. The singers remain in the tree-tops and 
tease the imagination with thoughts of a domestic life lived \\\v^n a higher 
plane than that of earth, an exalted state where all is beatific and serene. .\nd 
tr\ you never so hard, with glasses of a high iK)wer, 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 da}'. I determined to penetrate this supramundane region 
where the 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 Iieight. The tree 
was, fortunately, of the tougher sort, and permitted ascent to a point where 
the stem might be t 

grasj)ed with the fin- 
ger and tiiunil) of 
one hand. It was a 
treat to see the for- 
est as a bird does. 
The surface viewed 
fro m above was 
surprisingly unex'en. 
Here and there 
strong young trees, 
green and full of 
sap, rose to the le\el 
of mine, but tiie ma- 
jorit}' were lower. 
and some ap])eared 
like green rosettes 
set in a well of 
green. Others still, 
rugged and une\en 
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. u\i — 
fifty feet above and a hundred yards away. lie sang awa\- like a contented 
eremite from a single twig, and 1 was reverently constructing his high 
biograjjliy and trying to pick out his domicile from the neighboring branches, 
when (lash! he pitched headlong two hundred feel and was seen no more. 




HKimiT WARBLKKS. 



196 Tin: IIKKMIT WARBLEIk 

Mr. Bowles has liit u|mjii a clever scheme for decoying tlie haughty Hermits. 
He resorts to ilie vicinity of some Cassin \'ireo's nest containing young, and 
stuilies tlie throng of small birds, which the masterly scolding of the \Mreos 
invariably attracts. L'lxjn one such occasion, having lured down an in(|uisitive 
pair, he noticed a peculiar trait : ".\fter examining me closely 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 (lew to it and. hop|)iMg in. crouched down and com- 
menced tr.im|)ling the bottom, turning amund. |)utling the material i>n the 
sides into shape with her bill, and altogether acting as tho she had nest-building 
well under way. This was al)out the middle of May, and, as I subse(|uently 
discovc'td. almost a month loo early for her to l.ny her eggs."* 

The nest of this species is still rare. The only one taken in Washington 
was found by Mr. Bowles, June 1 1, 1905, in a fir tree near Tacoma, and con- 
tained fi\e eggs, the only set of five yet recorded. The nest was placed at a 
height of twenty feet on a horizontal limb six feet from the trunk of the tree. 
Mr. Bowles had seen the tail of the bird from below as it projected over the 
brim of the nest, and i)repared himself to insi)ect "another of those Audu- 
bons." When, instead of the yellow crown-patch of an Audulxm, he saw the 
lemon-yellow head of a Hermit, the oologist nearly fainted from surprise and 
joy. The bird sat so dnsc that the collector was obliged to lift her from the 
nest, and she then (lew only a few feet, where she remained, chii)i»ing and 
spreading her wings and tail. The male at no time piU in an ai)i)earancc. 

The nesting range of this species is still imperfectly matle out. We found 
it common at Xcw()ort in Stevens County, and among the ]>ines anfl larches of 
the Calispell range. We counted them common in the valley of the Stehekin 
also, but s<M>n encountered that peculiar plagiarism of song, on the ])art of the 
Townsend Warbler, which (pieered all our local conclusi<ins. In order, there- 
fore, to gui<le the student in further investigations, I record a few variant 
song forms which I have clearly traced to the Hermit Warbler: Zcci/lc. 
Ci'ccjic. zccglc, zcct, fuzzy and low like that of /). uifircscciis — this was heard 
at Tacoma and is recognized by C. W. Bowles as being the type ft>nu of 
southern Oregon songs; dzcc ihcc. Icibid-zccdzcc. dzcc dzcc in a sort of sing- 
song rollick: dzudzudzudzudzcco zcco zed — first syllables very rapid, musical; 
nasal turn to accented notes very like the "jiing" note of the Cree|K'r song, and 
occupying much the same ])osition save that it is repeated; days. days. days, 
days zcct — the first notes lisping, with slight accelerando, and the nasal ring- 
ing quality reserved for the last. 



a. The Condor, Vol. VIII.. March 1906, p. 41 



THE TOLMIE WARBLER. 197 



No. 79. 

TOLMIE'S WARBLER. 

A. O. L'. Xo. 680. Oporornis tolmiei ( 'J^ownseiid ). 

Synonym. — Macgii,ij\r.\v's W'akhlkr. 

Description. — Adidt male in spring and sunnncr: Fore-parts in general, 
incliuliiig 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 plumage 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 lirown. Adult male in fall and z^'inter: 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.") ; 
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 ajiparcnt. .\ frc(|uenter of thickets, 
with a sharp tsick or chuck 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 fnie black rootlets and horse-hair ; measures, outside, 4)4 wide by 
2^{> deep, inside, 2j/> wide by i,'4 deep. Eggs: 3-5. usually 4, dull wdiite, heavily 
marked around larger end with reddish browns and lavender. Av. size, .70 x .54 
(17.8 X 13.71. Season: first week in June; one brood. 

General Range. — Western United States and llritish Columbia breeding 
south to Arizona and w-estern 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. — Svh'ia tolmiei Townsend, Narrative, Aytvil 18^9, ^43 (Colum- 
bia River). C&S. L'. Rh. D'. Sr. Ra. D-'. Ss-'. Kk. J. B. E. " ' " 

Specimens. — U. of W. 1'. Prov. P.. E. 

\VE shall Jiave to import the word ■■clia])arral" it we arc to characterize 
with any brevity the sort of cover this Warbler loves. A great confusion of 
willow, alder, dogAvood, syringa, ocean-spray, and huckleberry is his delight. 



iy8 THE TOLMIE WARBLEB 



ll matters n<it ulit-tlicr it be a liillsidc in King County, a luncsomc spring draw 
in the hills n{ Klickitat, or the Ixmlers of a s\vain|) in Okanogan, if only tiierc 
he cover and plenty of it. Xo more ])ersistenl skulker haunts the shrubbery 
than this wary, suspicious, active, anil very competent W'liod Warbler. Yet 
even he, when he thinks no one is looking, emerges fnjm his shrubbery depths, 
selects a toi)niost twig and breaks out in song, — a song which is neither 
diftident nor uncertain. Slwi'l^ slwrp slicrl> slwar slwur j/irr/', he ainiounces 
in a brisk, business-like tone, totally devoid of musical (|uality. .And when you 
have heard him once, or, say, a hun<lrc<l times, you have learned all that may Ix* 
known of the Tolmie Warbler — out of cover. Tho.se 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, Sliccf>, shcrf', sluuir. slwiir, slii\'f>; 
Slircp. slircp, slicur, slwar. slnu-p, slwrf^: and, ;i shade more cnipliatic, Jiclc, 
jiclc. jick, jick, 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 frecpient 
the thickets. Whenever there is anything doing in his vicinity, the Warbler 
|)romptly and silently threads the intervening mazes, takes observations of the 
distmber from every angle, and retires with, at most, a disapproving chuck. 
In the fall of the year discipline is somewhat rela.xed. and a little judicious 
screeping in the shrubbery will call up platoons of these in(|uisitive Warblers. 

Owing partly to the caution of the sitting female, and more t<j the density 
of its cover, the nest of tlie Tolmie Warbler is not often found. When ap- 
proached the bird glides aw;iy silently froni her nest, and begins feeding osten- 
tatiously in the neighboring bushes. This of itself is enough to arouse susjji- 
cion in an instructed mind, for the exhibition is ])lainly gratuitous. But the 
brush keei)s the secret well, or, if it is forced, we find a bulky, loose-built afTair 
of coarse dead grasses and rootlets, lined with black rootlets or hi>rse-liair. 
and placed either in an u|)right 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 
groimd. Eggs, usually four in luimber. are deposited alxmt the first week in 
June, and Tolmie babies swarm in July anil August, quite beyond the ex|)ecta- 
tion of our oological fore season. 

.\ word of explanation reganling the change (W' name from Macgillivray 
to Tolmie is in order. Townsend discovered the bird and really published it 
first, saying.* "I dedicate the species to my friend. W. T. Tolmie. Ksq. of Kort 
\'ancouver." .Audulxin. being entrusted with Townsend's specimens, but dis- 
regarding the owner's prior ritjlil-;. piiblisjicd tlie binl indeju-ndi-iitlv. and tardi- 



a. "Xtrrative." April 1839. p 343 




TOLMIE WARni.ERS. 



THE GRINNEUL WATER-THI^JSH. 



ly, as it happened, as Sylzna tiuicgillivrayi, by wliicli specific name ii was long 
known to ornithnlogisls. Macgillivray was a Scotch natnralist who never saw 
America, but Tohiiic was at that time a snrgeon and later a factor of "the 
Honorable the Hudson Bay Com|)any," and lie clearly deserves rememhrance 
at our hands for the friendly hospitality and cooperation which he invariably 
extended to men of science. 



No. 80. 
GRINNKLL'S VVA TKR Tl IRl SI I. 

A. C). V. Xi>. '>75a. Seiurus noveboracensis notabilis Ridgw. 

Description. — .hliilts: .•\bf)vo sootv olivc-hrnwn. singularly uniform; below 
while or tinged with |)ak' yellow, everywhere (save on ali(loiui.-n. centrally, under 
tail-covcrts 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 buflfy ground); a superciliary stripe continuous to 
nostril jialc huffy; a crescent-shaped mark of same shade on lower eyelid; cheeks 
and auricular region linciy streaked with pale huffy and color of hack. Rill ilark 
brown above, lighter below; feet [)ale ; iris brown. )'oiiiitj hints are finely barred 
with bulTy alwve and have two huffy wing-bars; imderparts heavily and indis- 
tinctly streaked with dusky on pale yellow ground. Length 6.00 ( 152) or over; 
wing 3.00 (-6) : tail 2.10 (53.3) : bill .33 ( 13.5) : tarsus .85 (21.7). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; plain brown above; white (or pale 
yellow) heavily streaked with dusky below: a prominent huffy stripe over eye. 

Nesting. — Docs not breed in Washington. Kcst: on the ground or in roots 
of ui)turncd tree; of moss and leaves, lined with hue rootlets and tendrils. Eggs: 
4 or 5, white or creamy white, spcckle<l, spotted or wreathed with reddish browns. 
.'\v. size. .80 X .60 ( 20.3 X 15.2). Scaxoii: May 20-Junc 10; one brood. 

General Range. — Western North .America; breeding from Minnesota, west- 
ern Nebraska and theiiorth'rn Rocky Mountains north to .Alaska and Siberia 
( l\ast Cajie) ; southward during migrations over Western States and Mississippi 
V'alley, less conunonlythru .\tlantic coast States, to West Indies, Mexico, Central 
.America and Colombia. 

Ran^e in Washington. — Conjectural — should be not uncommon migrant. 

Authority.- .V. iw: i-honut-iisis. Baird, Review .Am. Birds, 1865, 215 ("Camp 
Moogie. Washington" 1. 

Specimens. — IN .Alaskan ). I'rov. 

W'lIILh' 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 (Ridg\vay). The Water-thrush should be lo<iked for in May 



! — I 



THE WESTERN YELLOW-THROAT. 



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 
jdting, or curtseying, whimsically. 



No. 8i. 

WESTERN YELLOW-THROAT. 

-A. O. U. Ko. 68i a. Geothlvpis trichas occidentalis Brewster. 

Description. — Adult male in siring and siunnicr: Above grayish olive-green, 
briglitcr I less gray) on ui:)per tail-coverts and tail, inclining to brownish on 
crown and hindncck; an obliquely descending facial mask of black involving 
forehead, lores, space about eyes, cheeks and (more narrowly) 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 l)end of wing clear yellow. Adult male in autumn: 
Occiput more decidedly brown; npperparts clearer olive-green. Young male in 
first autumn: Mask of aduh merely indicated Iiy black underlying sooty-brown on 
sides of head ; coloration of underparts duller. .Idult 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 autumn: 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 fsS-S) ; 
bill .44 (11.3) ; tarsus .83 (21). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; black mask and white Idlct of male 
distinctive. The female is a much more difficult bird to recognize — perhaps best 
known by peculiar sordid olive-brownish-yellow shade of underparts. The pale 
orbital area also assists, but one nuist live with these birds to know* them 
infallibly. 

Nesting. — Xest: of coarse grasses lined with fine grass and horse-hair: 
placed 1-2 feet liigh in tussock of grass or rank herbage, usually near water; 
outside 4j/^ wide by 35^ deep, inside 2!4 Ijy i5<2. Bggs:^^ or 3, dotted and 
spotted or, rarely, streaked with blackish and lavender. Av. Size, .70 x .56 
(17.8X 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. 



I'llE WESTERN VELLU\V-T1I»UAT. 



l\u/ 



Alixrations. Sfriiiij: Alitanuin (Yakima Co.) March 2ij. i<^x). 
Authorities. Dawson, Auk, .\1\ . April, it<97, 179. |)^ Ss'. Ss'. J. 
Specimens. — l'. of W. I'. I'ruv. 

L'< >Ai\SI'' grass, stunted biislifs, water, ami sunsliine seem tu i>e tlie cliief 
rei|iiirements u( tiiis very in(li\ iilual bird. To obtain the first-named, especial- 
ly if represented I)y his favorite rye-grass, lie will forsake water within reas<jn- 
able limits; but his preference is for a grassy swam]) dotted with bushes, and 
he does not overlook any considerable area of cat-tails and tules. Yellow- 
throat is a restless, active little ixtdy, and he is among the lirst to come for- 
wanl wiieii you enter the swamp. His method is hide-and-seek and the game 
wouKl all be his, if he did not reveal his presence from time to time by a harsh 
accusing note, a sort of Polish, consonantal explosion, wzschthiib, — a sound 
not unlike tiiat made by a guitar string when struck above the stop. If ycju at- 
tempt to follow the l)ird. the game ends in di.sapp(»iiitnient. Hut if the ob- 
server pauses, curiosity gets the better of the bird, ami he is soon seen peering 
out from a neighboring iiush, roguery only half hidden by his higlnv.iyman's 
mask. 

The female. ha\ing no mask, keeps to the background, but she is not less 
interested than her mate in the 
progress of events. When tlie 
scout returns to re|K)rt, there is 
often a curious outbreak of dis- 
cussion, in which the husband, as 
like as not, finds it necessary to 
defend his ojjinion with ,1 perfei ■ 
torrent of Tccsclilhiibs. 

N'ellow-thioat's song is one of 
the few explicit things in the 
swamp. Mounting a weed-stalk, 
he rubs out, U'ilchity. 7vitcliity 
Tvilchity. or "/ beseech you. I br- 
scecli ymi. I beseech." Rhythm 
is the chief characteristic of tlii^ 
song, and altlio a given binl ap 
pears to Ix* confined to a single 
ty|)e, the variety of "feet" ofTcred 
by a swamp is most entcrtainin!: 
Reesi'vilte. reeshcitte. ril'. w;i- 
the cadence of a Douglas County 
bird : while chitooreet'. chilonreet'. 
chiliinreel'. chii. heard at Chelan, 
reminded me of the Kentucky 




Poutlai C ouKly. 



Photo by llir .iulliorj. 



.\ WESTICRN VEI.LOW TIIRO.M'S NEST. 



THE PACIFIC YELLOW-THROAT. 203 



Warbler (Opororuis fonnosa). The bird lias 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. W^e had just been listening to the unwonted notes of a Desert 
Sparrow (Atiiphispiza bilincata dcscrticula) some hundreds of miles out of 
its usual range, and were not unprepared for shocks, when Hoo hcc, chink 
i woo cliit tip fftU upon tiie ear. W' hat ! a Slate-colored Sparrow here in the 
sage brush! Or is it, maybe, a Vesper, grown precise? Again and again 
came the measured accents, clear, strong, and sweet. Not till I had seen 
the mandibles of a W'estern Yellow-throat, aiul 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, Hee-o 
cliiti zvo, chii tip or Hcc 00 chitirwcw cliii tipr^i' without once lapsing into 
ordinary dialect. Wherever did he get it ? 

My nests have nearly all been found in June and, 1 guess, they may iiave 
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 nearh' stepped on the female before she flew. Another 
was lashed at a height of two feet to a group 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 hundretl yards 
from water. The nest was composed entirely of the flattened and macerated 
leaves of old rye-grass gleaned from the ground, with a scanty lining of 
horse-hair. It was simply set, or wedged, in between the stiff, upgrowing 
stalks of grass at the height of a foot, and was not attached in any manner to 
its supports. The male bird, strange to say, was covering the eggs, of which 
two belonged to that contemptilile shirk, the Cowbird. 



No. 82. 
THE PACIFIC YELLOW-THROAT. 

.\. n. L'. No. 681 c. Geothlypis trichas ari/ela ( Jlx-rholscr. 

Synonym. — PuGKT Sound Yicli.ow-thko.at. 

Description. — Adults: \'ery similar to G. t. occidciitalis and witli corres- 
ponding changes but throat, etc.. rich lemon yellow ( inclining to greenish, whereas 
occidciitalis inclines to orange); more yellow in grayish olive green of upper- 
parts: ashy border of mask said to average more narrow (very <lonhtfu!). 
.Mleged differences in measurements are inconscf|uential. 

Recognition Marks. — As in preceding. 

Nesting. — Much as in preceding form lint l)irds more nearly confined to 



204 THE rACU-lC VELLUW-TIIROAT. 

viiiiiit\ i>i walor. F.ygs: 4. Av. size, .76 x .55 ( 19.3 x 13.5 ). .SVtiJcxi; tirst week 
in May, first week in June; two broods. 

General Ranj^e. — "Pacific coast district, from Hritisli Cokimhia southward; 
ItrcoliiiR sdiitluvard to l.os Aiijiilcs Comity. California, an<l eastward to Fort 
Klaniatli, (>ri-j,'()ii; dnrini,' iiii^'ration to Cajic St. Lucas" (Ridgw.). 

Range in Washinjijton. Snmnicr rcsidcnl in frcsli and salt water marshes 
west of tlic Cascadi-N. 

.>\i>:ratinns. — S(<riiitj: Tacoma, .April 12, n/55, .April 6, 1906. 

Authorities. — ? Andiihon, ( )rn. i'iog. \'. 1839, 463, jiart (Columbia River). 
Ci-iilltl\['is tiicluis. Baird. K.p. P;ic. K. K. Surv. i.\. iK^S, 24 1. jiart. (T). C&S. 
I.'. Ra'. !!. E. 

Specimens. — I'rov. It. E. 

l.\' OL'R younger days some of us were lauglit to be seen and not heard. 
.\inoiig the Vellow-throats the children are tauglit the (tppositc. .\ bird that 
can call "Wilch-et-y ! W'itch-et y! Witch-et-y !" in a dr)zen dilTerent places 
thru the swale and in the nieaiitinie can kee|) out of sight while you are look- 
ing for him, is a well brought-up Vellow-throat. We were taught to tell the 
truth, but deceit is drilled into the Vellow-throat chilrlren from the time they 
leave the egg. .\ human mother insists uikiu your looking at her children, 
but at the approach of a visitor the Yellow-throat mother sneaks oft' 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 Ije wrong 
according to our teaching, but it is perfectly right according to the A'ellow- 
throat's code of morals. 

If you want to see Yellow-throat, \ou must go flown along the swale 
or visit some damp thicket or swamp. He likes the rushes and the reeds 
where the Red-winged Blackbird and 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 groimd warbler, go to his haunt. He will 
see you first but lie down quietly among the liushes. Me will likely get 
curious and ho|) up out of the reefls. You may get just one good look 
before he darts away into the bushes again. 

The male Vellow-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 brown. 

When the Yellow-throat seeks a home, he finds a thick tussock of 
grass aii<l 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 you least ex|)ect it Once I hunted for several days alK>ut 
a swampy place where I heard the Yellow'-lhroats singing. N'ot a sign 
of a nest did I find. Whenever I appeared the binU wnr ..n hand as if 



THE WESTERN CHAT. 



205 




Taken in Oregon. Photo by H. T. Bohln 

AN ENTHUSIASTIC RECEPTION. 

MALE PACIFIC YELLOW-THBOAT FEEDING YOUNG. 



nd W. L. Finley. 



\'ery anxious to aid nie in finding their home. After tiring me witli their 
deceit, they sneal<ed away fifty yards to the nest. A little later in the 
season I happened to see the father carrying worms and discovered the 
young \'ellinv-t]n-oats just about to leave home. 

William L. Finley. 



No. 83. 

WESTERN CHAT. 



.A. O. V. No. 683a. Icteria virens lon$>;icaiida (Lawrence). 

Synonym. — Lono-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. 
.Idull friiialc: Wry similar: bill lighter: lores and cheek-patch dusky rather 
than black: black appreciably lighter. Young: Dull olive above: head markings 
of adult faintly indicated : l)elf>w grayish white, darker on breast, huffier behind. 



2o<. THE WESTERN CHAT., 

Length 6.75-7.50 ( 171.5-190.5) ; wing 3.07 (78) ; tail 3.01-3.39 (76.5-8^)) ; bill .57 
(14.5); tar.sus 1.04 (26.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Strictly "Sparrow" size, but because of briglit color 
having nearer the size value of Chewink; — the largest of the Warblers, liriglit 
yelhiw breast with contrasting white below, with size, distinctive. 

Nesting. — Xcst: a bulky anil often careless structure, 7 inches wide and 4 
inches deep outside. 3 inches wide and i^j deep inside; of coarse grasses and 
wccd-stcnis, lined with finer grasses or rootlets, placed in upright fork of bush or 
small tree in thicket. H'Uls: 4. white, somewhat glossed and marked irregularly 
with spots and dots of lavender and rufous, most heavily, or not, al)out larger 
eiul. .\v. size. .Si> X .f>8 [22.(1 .\ 17.3). Season; first week in June; one hnnxl. 

General Range. — Western I'nited States from near eastern Inirder nf (Ireat 
Plains wi>t u< the Pacific Coast, breeding north into south-central liritish Co- 
lumbia >outluvard to valley of .Mexico; in migration south in winter to .Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Snnniier resident in thickets alxjut springs and 
streams of eastern Washington: does not deeply invade mountains; rare or casual 
west of Cascades ( Tacoma, June 4, 1905, by J. II. Bowles; Sumas, R. C, May 26, 
1897, by -Mian lirooks). 

Migrations.— .S'/Ti;)^/.- May 18, Kpo ( Yakima county t. 

Authorities. — ? Ictcria x'iridis (H(>nap.), Townsend. Journ. .\c. Nat. Sci.. 
Phila.. \II., 1839, 153 ( X. W. Unite<l States) Aucl. Cooper and Suckley, Rep. 
Pac. R. R. Surv. p. 288 ("Towns, and Xultall. Seen at Walla-Walla, Washing- 
ton Territory"). Dawson, .\uk, XIW, 1897, p. 179. (T). D'. D-. Ss'. Ss'. B. 

Specimens. — 1 V . of W. ) P'. Prov. B. 

STRrCTrk.M.I.V allied to the Wood Warblers, the Chat has yet 
such a tcm])eraiiiental affinity with the Catbird, that it is difficult, for inc. 
at least, to dissociate the two birds in thought. Roth love the thickets; 
both excel in song; both plague their neighbors by ininiiciy ; and Wi\\\ alike 
are dearly provoking bundles of contradictions. The Chat i.s, perlia])s. the 
greater buffoon, as he is certainly the more handsomely dressed fif the two. 
Reyond this we must consider him on his own merits. 

Ten to one you know him. if at all. only as a voice, a tricksy bush- 
whacker of song, an elusive mystery of the thicket : or you have unconsciously 
ascrilied his productions to half a dozen mythical liirds at once. Rut look 
more closely. It is well worth the quest to be able to resolve this genius of 
roguery. Re assured he knows you well enough by sight, for he does not 
l)oke and pry and spy for nothing, in the intervals of s<ing. He has still the 
proverbial curiosity of woman. Seat yourself in the thicket, and when you 
hear the mellow, saucy Kook. with its whistled vowel, liounded by consonants 
barely thought of, imitate it. You will have the bird uj) in arms at once. 
Kifonh. returns the bird, starting toward you. Repeat it, and you have won. 
The bird scents a rival and he will leave no stem unclasped but he finds him. 
.\s the bird alternately sf|uiuls and stares from the brush, note the rich 
warbler oli\e of his upperparls. the gorgeous yellow of the throat and breast. 



THE WESTERN CHAT. 207 

the wliite brow-stripe and tlie malar clash, offset by black and darker olive. 
It is a warbler in color-pattern, a Yellow-throat done larger, Init waggish, 
furtive, impudent, and resourceful beyond any other of his kind. 

The full song of the Chat is usually delivered from some elevation, 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 pilches headlong into tlie 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 jjerformer 
flings liimself into mid-air, flutters upward for an instant with head upraised 
and legs abjectly dangling, then slowly sinks on hovering wing, with tail 
swinging up and down like a mad pump-handle. Punch, as Cupid, smitten 
with the mortal sickness. And all this while the zany pours out a flood of 
tumultuous and heart-rending song. He manages to recover as lie 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 even after the young have hatched out, the}- 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 IJie 
other hand they do not discriminate against civilization per sc. and the 
Chats of Cannon 11 ill. 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. l)irds of the sunshine belt, and West-side records 
are verv few. 



2o8 THE PILEQLATED WARd|^ER. 

No. 84. 

PILEOLATKl) VVARHII.R. 

A. ( >. L'. No. (185 a. Wilsonia pusilla pileolata (I'allas). 

Description. — .Idult male: Abovir bright ulivu green; forehead, sides of 
head, and underparts bright greenish yellow, tinged on sides witii olive-green ; 
crown, or "cap," Iitstroiis black; wings and tail fuscons and olive-edged withont 
|)ecu!iar marks; bill dark alxive, light below; feel light brown. .Idult female: 
Similar, but the black ca]) wanting, or, if present, less distinct. Immature; l.ikc 
female witlmnt cap. Length about 4.75; wing 2.20 i 56 j ; tail 1. 97 (50) ; bill .38 
18.5^ ; tardus .75 ( 18.8 ). 

Recognition Marks. — Least, — pygniy size; black caj) of male distinctive; 
recognizal>lc in any i)linnagc by small size and greenish yellow coloration. 
I'righter than /('. pusilla: not so bright as /('. />. cliryseola. 

Nesting. — .\s ne.xt. 

General Range. — Western N'orth America, breeding thruout the Kocky 
Mountain ili^trict, north to Alaska, west to Cascade Range in Oregon and Wash- 
ington and to X'ancouver Island; during migrations over the entire western 
Liiite<l States, and east irregularly to the Mississipi)i ; snuth in winter over .Mexico 
and Central .America. 

Range in Washington. — \ot common resident and abundant migrant on 
Kast-side ; migrant only west of Cascades. 

Migrations. — Spriiii/: May 1-13. 

Authorities.— Dawson, Auk XI\ .. i8<(7. 180. ( T). (C&S;. D'. Kb. D-. J. E. 

Specimens. — 1'.. I'.X. I'.. V. 

Till'", pervading yellowness of this little Ijiisli-ranger will h.'irdly serve to 
distinguish it from the c{|iially coninion Lutesccnt Warbler, unless you are 
able to c.itch sight of its tiny silken crowii-])atcli of black, the "little cap" 
which gives the bird its Latin-sounding name. With cliryseola it is the smallest 
of our warblers, and it is one of the commonest, during migrations, on the 
Kast-side. The thickets have taken on full leaf before the bird arrives from 
the South, along alwut the loth of NL\v, and the northward march is often 
prolongeil till the first of June. So exi)ert is the little Illack-caj) at threading 
briary tangles, that a meeting here depends uiH)n 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 im])rcssion is that the Pileolateil Warbler must breed s|)aringly in 
eastern Washington. There is, however, r)nly one summer record to substanti- 
ate this belief, — a bird seen in the valley of the Stehekin, June 22m\. 1906. 
The only song I have beard differed from the abrujitly terminated crescendo 
of W. p. cliryseola. being rather a well modulated swell, chip chip! chip'! 
chip!!! chip"! chip'! chip! chip. 



*« 



LtOLATKD W. 



GOLDEN -VVARHLKR 

. .,,,,. ,» . MAUE. 4/5 LIFE SJZK , ^ v, 

\iillioritn.s. Dnws.i, i i <, \> 

-^nr, liiflltpM A Watkr-oolok Painxino »y Ai^lulm BXOOBm 




[fJll-A^jro.M- 



THE GOLDEN WARBLER. 209 



No. 85. 
GOLDEN WARBLER. 

A. O. L'. No. 685 b. Wilsonia pusilla chryseola Ridgw. 

Synonym. — Golden I'ii.kolatku WarhlER (properly so-calk'(l, but the bird, 
because of its local abundance deserves the shorter name. Moreover, altho 
"golden" is the commonest color aniDng the Warblers, the name has not been 
j)re-empted ) . 

Description. — "Similar to IV. />. pileolata. 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 (iio); 
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. — Xcst: a shapely and thick-walled mass of dead lea\es, 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: May 15-30; one brood. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from southern California to southern 
ISritish Columbia. 

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-]\Iay 5. fall: lUaine, 
Sept. 15. 

Authorities. — j\Ixiodioctes fiiisilhis Bonap., Baird, Rep. Pac. K. R. Surv. IX. 
pt. II.. 1858. p. 294 (part). C&S. L'. Ra. B. E. 

Specimens. — U. of W'. E. 

THIS dainty little \Varbler 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 flitlings 
not only dominate the fern levels but extend upward into the mossy arms of 
the evergreens. .^ 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. 



THE AMERICAN REDSTART. 



Nor is there any lack of interest in the life of tliis golden midget. Have 
you never wished that you were tiny — oh, lectty — witli jjcady black eyes, tiiat 
you inight explore the mysteries of a moss forest? that cldcrherrics might look 
to you like great blue pipjjins? and niadrone berries like luscious ticry pump- 
kins? tliat you might pluck a tiiousand sa|)id meats at first hand where now 
you know only a few "staples," disguised by the meretricious arts of cookery? 
That you might — .\h, here I have you! — that you might pantingly inirsue a 
golden maiden down dim forest aisles, over plunging billows of spira-a blos- 
soms, past corridors of giant sword-fern, into — Oh, wJiere is that maddening 
creature! She's given me the slip again! Never mind: 111 jiause and sing: 

OOOOOc'cc'c'c'c'c'c' 00000. 

Truth to tell, the song just recorded is one of the rarest, a [jcrfectly 
moflulated swell of sharp staccato notes of little resonance but greater ]M>wer 
and intensity. The ordinary song is a series of monosyllables uttered with 
increasint; cm])hasis, (7m'/> </m7> chip chip CHIP CHIP. The singer is very 
nnidi in earnest, and compels attention in s])ite of his utter lack of musical 
ability. Late in .\ugust, the j6th it was, 1 ])rovoked a Rlack-caj) at Mlaine by 
scrceping. luitil he sang merely to relieve his feelings, chip chip CHIP chip 
chip chip chip, the precise type of the Pileolated Warbler, //'. p. pilcolala 
proper. The only other variant in my collection is tsc'v tsm.- tsca' t.<;cc t.^cc 
tscc. 7i'hhhachit\'. — the last note, somcwhal whimsically represented here, be- 
ing an intense guttural trill very dilVicult to cliaracterize. 

Messrs. Rathbun and Renick. of Seattle, have made a special study of 
the nesting habits of this dainty wood nym])h. and they reimrt a marked par- 
tialilv in its nesting for the vicinity of woodland ])atlis. log-roads, and the 
smaller openings in the logged-otT sections. The favorite host is a cedar sap- 
ling, a mere baby tree with stem only half an inch or so in diameter. Of nine 
nests examined only one, in a bracken, was more than two feet alnive the 
ground. an<l none were less than ten inches. The nest is quite a bidky affair, 
vet compact centrally. comjKised externally of co])ii(ns rlried leaves and twigs: 
inlernallv of fine grasses and interwoven rootlets. The l)irds (piit the nest 
unobserveil ami the Ihiding of une of tlicir ilomiciles is a tn;itter <>f h:\n\ work. 



AMKRK.W RI.DSI .\R'r. 

.\. O. V. \o. 687. Setopha^a niticilla 1 I, inn. 1. 

Description.- ./(/i(// male: Head and neck all around and breast shining 
black : remaining nppiri)arts 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 concealerl patch of same color at base of primaries : the outer 



THE AMERICAN REDSTART. 



web of the outer priinary salmon nearly thruout its length ; the tail featiiers, 
except the two middle pairs, salnion-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. .Idnlt 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 huffy across chest. Immature 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 patches of male; similar pattern and duller colors of female and young; 
tail usualh' half open and prominently displavcd, 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 America in general, regularly north to 
Nova Scotia, the Mackenzie River (Fort Simpson), etc., west to southern Alaska, 
British Columbia, eastern Washington, 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 V^alley, Crand Coulee, etc.), casual( ?) 
in the Blue Mountains. 

Authorities. — [ [. K. Lord in "Nat. in Vancouver Id. and B. C", 186C, p. 
162 (Colville Vallcvi.J Brewer, Bull. Nutt. Orn. Club. V., 1880, 5o'(Ft. Walla 
Walla). D'. Ss'. J. 

Specimens. — C. P'. 

THE '"slari" of Redstart is from the old .\nglo-Saxon steort, a tail; 
hence. Redstart means Redtail ; but tiie name would hardh' 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 plweiiiciinis. In 
our bird tlie 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. 

The Redstart is the presiding genius of woodland and grove. He is a 
bit of a tyrant among the birds, and among his own kind is exceedingly 



THE ALASKA HORNED 1 



iKi 



sensitive upon the subject of metes and bounds. As for the insect world lie 
rules it with a rod of iron. Sec him as he moves alxnit thru a tile of slender 
poplars. He tlits restlessly from branch to branch, now |)eerinj,' 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 ])ardi»n- 
able vanity or from sheer exuberance of spirits: but ever and anon ]>ausing 
just long enough to squeeze out a half-sculding song. The paler-colored 
female, contrary to the usual 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 
d<ies not sing enough for two, but because she — well, for the same reason tliat 
a woman whistles, — and good luck to her! 

During the mating season great rivalries .■spring up, and males will ciiase 
each other about in most bewildering mazes, like a i)air of great firc-tlies, 
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 tlireatening 
fashion, which quite overawes most birds of guileless intent. 

Redstart's song is sometimes little better than an emiihatesccnt squeak. 
At other times his emotion fades after the utterance of two or three notes, and 
the last one dies out. .V more jiretentious effort is represented by Mr. Chap- 
man as "Chilli/, chin;/, ilwc; scr-wcc, s^vcc. S7ccc-c-f-c." Many variations 
from tiiese tyjies may be noted, and I once mistook the attem|)t of a colorless 
voung stripling of one summer for that of a Pileolateil Warbler. 

Our Kedstart shares with the Yellow Warliler alone the di.stinction of 
representing among us in if'.'Hi sf>fcic the Warlilcr hosts of the East. Even so. 
our scanty summer population of Redstarts, confined as it is to the northeast- 
ern counties, appears to represent an overflow of the eastern hordes, or, per- 
haps, the van of occupation, rather tliaii regularly established citizens. I have 
seen them as far south as Brook Lake, ami as far west as Stehekin only: init 
Mr. .Mian Brooks records a s])ecinicn from Cliilliwhack, in western British 
Columbia. 



No. Sy. 

ALASKA HORNKI) LARK. 

A. O. \\ No. 474:1. Otocoris alpcsfris .nrcticola I )l)crlioJser. 
Synonyms. Arctic IIokni:ii I. ark. r.\i.i.ii> Hoknkp Lark. Wixtkr 

L.VRK. 

\r>csciif'tinii of l\/<c form. Otocoris alf<rslris. — .Idiill male in brccdimj 
pluiiiafic: \ narrow patch across fore-crown with ends curving laterally hack- 



THE ALASKA HORNED LARK. 213 

ward and pniduccd intn a fcatlier-tiift or "horn." black; a broad l)ar from nostril 
to eye thence curvins,' downward and expanding to involve hinder portion of 
checks and auriculars anteriorly, black : a crescentic patch across upper chest 
black : forehead and superciliaries pale yellow ( primrose yellow I 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 vinaceous streaked with dusky; upperparts in general warm grayish brown, 
the middle of crown, occiput, nape, lesser wing-coverts and up])er tail-coverts 
vinaceous-cinnamon ; back, scapulars and rump grayish brown, each feather edged 
with paler and having dusky center; wings hair-brown with paler edgings, the 
outermost primary edged with white ; tail chiefly black, the luiddle pair of 
feathers dusky, edged with whitish, the two lateral pairs edged with white. 
Rill black lightening below ( basally ) ; legs and feet black; iris dark brown, 
Adult female in suininer: Like male but duller and paler, the black areas 
reduced in extent and obscured by brownish or huffy tips; yellow of superciliary 
stripe, etc., duller and paler; upi)er])arts more noticeably streaked and with less 
of vinaceous tint on hind neck and uj)per tail-coverts. Both sexes in fall and 
zvintcr are somewhat more heavily and more uniformly colored save on black 
areas which are overcast by buf¥y or brownish tips ; also forebreast dusky or 
obscurely spotted. Yonng birds are heavily speckled above with yellowish white 
on brownish and dusky ground. Length of adult male: 7.00-7.50 (177-190); 
wing 4.37 ( in) ; tail 2.83 (72) ; bill .48 (12.2) ; tarsus .94 (24). .-Xdult female: 
6.75-7.25 ( 171-184) ; wing 4.09 (104); tail 2.48 (63); bill .43 (ii.i): tarsus 
.91' (23.2). I 

Description. — .Idiilts: Similar to 0. alpeslris but u]5perparts iialer and 
grayer, less warmed by vinaceous; no yellow (or merest tinge on head and 
throat) — white instead; size about the same. 

Recognition Marks. — Si)arrow size ; black crescent on upper chest ; black 
cheek and crown patches; feather-tufts or "horns" directed backward. I'o be 
distinguished from (). a. nierrilli and O. a. strit/ata by larger size and absence 
of yellow. 

Nesting. — Not certainly known to breed in Washington but possibly docs 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 .Maska (excei)t Pacific coast district) and 
valley of the I'lJiJcr \'ukon River, Northwest Territory; migrating southward 
to Oregon, I'tah, Montana, etc." (Ridgway). 

Range in Washington. — Common winter resident and luigrant east of the 
Cascades, lairds breeding on the higher mountains are doubtfully referable 
to this form. 

Authorities. — 0. a. leucolccma (Coues), Dawson, .\uk, XI^^ 1897, 176. 
D^J. 

Specimens. — Prov. 

THE Horned Lark bears the reputation of being tiie most plastic of 
American species — the Song Sparrow (Mclospica mclodia) being a close sec- 



214 THE ALASKA HORNED LhRK. 

oiul in tliis resiKfcl. A monograph by Mr. 11. C. Oberliolscr" enumerales 
iwcnty-three f<jmis, of which seventeen are described as North American, and 
four Mexican, beside one from Colombia (U. a. pcrciirma) and anotiier {O. a. 
floxa) from Kurasia. Of this number the majority occur west of the Missis- 
sippi River, where climatic conditions are nn^re sharply differentiated, and 
where, especially in the Southwest, the situation allows of that i)ermanent 
residence whicii is conducive to the development of subspecific forms. 

Tiie situation in Washington appears to be somewhat as follows: (>. u. 
striyata, strongly marked, but showing relationship to uwrrilli. and likeness to 
insularis, of the Santa Barbara Islands, summers in western Washington in 
open prairies, and at low altitudes only. In winter it retires southward, or 
straggles irregularly eastward''. O. a. iiirrrilli is related to striyata on the one 
hand, and to li'iicoUciiia (the Desert Hnrned Lark) on the other, but it curi- 
ously reproduces the appearance of praticDla (being indistinguishable in 
certain plumages ) ; and also bears close resemblance to yiraiidi, a non-migrant 
form of the Gulf shore of Texas. It summers thruout eastern Washington, 
and even (doubtfully) occuj^es the western coast of British Columbia. An 
isolated colony occurring on Mount Baker, alxive timber-line, is referred by 
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 from the highlands of 
British Columbia and Alaska in consitlerable numbers. 

It is not at all difticult for one wlio is accustomed to the appearance of 
Iiicrrilli to recognize tiiese newcomers wiien they a|)|)ear, 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 they scatter freely have a subdued ami plaintive tone, 
borrowed, no doubt, from the chastened character of the season. A sitting 
flock will sometimes allow a very close approach, but when they <lo so they 
"freeze," so perfectly that the eye can scarcely hnd them. The only thing to 
do under sucli 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 admonitory 
yif>s to their fellows. 



a. A Review of the L.ark9 of the Genus Otocorit. Troc. V. S. N'at'l Mus., Vol. XXIV., pp. 801884, 
190J. 

b. Much clearer testimony is rcnuired on this point. OI)crholMr,_ o/>. cil.,p. 839, cite» a record for 
Colton in Whitman County, but I nave never seen this form in Vaicima County; and it would aeem 
remarkable that a bird should forsake the mild climate of Tacoma to endure the more severe wintcra 
and less certain food supply of the East-side. 



THE COLUMBIAN HORNED LARK. 215 

No. 88. 
COLUMBIAN HORNED LARK. 

A. (). U. No. 474 i. Otocoris alpestris merrilli Dwight. 

Synonyms. — Dusky Hornkd Lakk. ]\Jkkrii.l's JIokxkii Lark. 

Description. — Similar to O. a. strigala but somewhat larger and decidedly 
gra^-er above, streaks narrower and dusky rather than black ; underparts not 
suffused with yellov.'ish and yellow of head, especially superciliary, not so strong 
as in O. a. strigata. Length (skins) 6.25 (159) ; wing 4.05 (103) ; tail 2.32 (59J ; 
bill .43 (11): tarsus .85 (21.6). 

Recognition Marks. — As in preceding; smaller, darker and more yellow 
than O. a. arcticola ; larger, grayer and less yellow than O. a. strigata. 

Nesting. — Kcst and eggs as in preceding. Av. size of eggs .93 x .61 (23.6 x 
15.31. 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, cast to Idaho; south in winter 
(at least) to central California. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident and migrant east of 
the Cascades. ]'>reeding birds of the high Cascades may possibly be of this form. 

Authorities. — Ercmopbila alpestris, Brewster, B. N. O. C. VII. Oct. 1892, 
p. 227. D'. Sr. D-. Ss". Ss-. J. E. 

Specimens. — P'. Prov. E(?). 

A MODEST bird is the Columbian Horned Lark, for his home is on the 
ground, and he hugs its tiny shelters when disturbed, as tho 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, i)icking from the ground w'ith 
affected nonchalance at a rod's remove, or else pausing to face you frankly 
with those interesting feather-tufts of inquiry, supjxjrted by black moustachios 
and jetty gorget on a ground 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 liim. ^\M^ethe^ in the pasture, ujion 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 which have no considerable resonance or 



2l6 



THE COLUMBIAN HORNED %ARK. 



modulation. altli<» tlu-y (|uitc tli-t'v vocalization; yet sucli arc tlic circumstances 
attendinf,' its delivery that it is set down hy everyone as "pleasing," wliile 
for the initiated it possesses a cliarm which is quite unique. 7\i'iti(jc-'>.'iil(/r. 
7i'idgity, widyy-xvidyc. conveys no idea of tlie tone-(|uality, indeed, but may 
serve to indicate the proportion and temi)oof the common son};; while T'lVidyc, 
widyity, I'clnny, ci'lony, idyity. crlooy, tU'ti'. may serve the same ))urpose for 




COI.LMm.V.N noK.VKl) LAKKS. 

the rare ecstasy son^. The liird sometimes sings from a fence |M.)St, a sage 
I)ush. or even from a iunnniock on tlic ground, hut usually the impulse of sotig 
takes him up into 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 of the heavenly 
singer takes wing for its ethereal alxxle. The sun is just sinking; the faithful 
s|)ouse has settled herself to her gentle task for the night; and the bird-man 
has lain down in the shadow of the fence to gaze at the sla*. The bird gives 
himself to the buoyant influences of the trembling air and mounts aloft by 
easy gradations. As he rises he swings nnind iti a wide, loo.se circle, singing 



THE PACIFIC HORNED LARK. 217 

softh' the wliile. At the end of every little height he pauses ami 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. nn the nest, we have lost him." "Xexer fear," she answers; 
"Hark!" Stronger grows the dainty music once again. Stronger! Stronger! 
Dropping out 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 pluiumet to the ground. Within 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 tlie 
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])ecially attractive, and thousands of these Horned Larks nest 
along barren, wind-swe])t ridges and on tlie smaller mountains where no other 
species can i)e found. 



No. 89. 

PACIFIC HORNED LARK. 

A. O. l^. Xo. 474 g. Otocoris alpestris strigata i [tiishaw. 

Synonym. — Stre.nkicd Hornicd Lark. 

Description. — Similar to O. alpestris but darker and nuicli smaller, above 
streaked broadly with black and tinged with huffy ; nape, rump and bend of wing 
more rufesccnt; underparts usually more or less suffused with yellowish, .\dult 
female more strongly and handsomely marked than that bf any other form. 
Length of adult tuale (.skins) 5.98 (52) ; wing 3.85 (98) : tail 2.59 (65.8) ; bill 
.44 ( 11.3) : tarsus .82 f2o.8). 

Recognition Marks. — .As in i)rcct'<ling: smaller, darker and more yellow 
than other local forms. 

Nesting. — Nest and eggs as in ])rccc(Iing. Season: second week in Mav, 
second week in June; two broods. 

General Range. — -Breeding in Pacitic Coast district of Oregon. Washington 



2i8 THE PACIFIC HORNED 



IJ^RK. 



and llritisli Columbia; "migrating ti> eastern Oregon and Washington, and 
nurilierii California ( Ked iJliiff; San Krancisco)" ( Ridgway). 

Kanxe in Washington. — l-"oun<l breeding mdy on ])rairies west of Cascades, 
tlierefore cliielly (.-cinlineil to I'ierce, 'I'luirsttjn and Clieliaiis Counties; said to 
winter on liast-side. 

Migrations. — S['riiuj: last week in I'ebruar)- ; Tacnma, l'"ebruary 25, i<to^, 
I'ebruary 10, 11J08. 

Authorities. — lircmofhila cuninla llnie, Baird, Re]). I'ac. R. R. Surv., IX. 
185S, 404. 405. (T). C&S. L'. Ra. 1'.. 

Specimens. — ( L'. of \\.) I'rov. !'■. 

TJll-". prairies of Tierce, 'rinirston. ;iii«l (."iiehalis Ci'uiUics, so often re- 
ferred to ill these pages, are of coini)arati\eiy recent formation — mere gravel 
beds leveled off by the action of <'i retreating sea — and so thoroly washed thru 
portions of their area as to be capable of supporting little else than a carpel 
of moss. The wanton recklessness of the Pacific Horiie<l Larks, which in- 
habit these open stretches, is really but (jne degree removed from the modesty 
of tlieir more fortunate kinfolk across the Cascades. It is modesty without 
opportunity; and that easily becomes shamelessiiess. I-'or here the ground 
is of an uncompromising green, and the "cover," alTorded by slight depres- 
sions in the moss, is usually unworthy of the name. 

The ])erfection of green barrenness was attained in tlie golf-links of 
South Tacoma, before they were surrendered to the demands of the growing 
city. Yet tiiis was the \ery place where the Horned Larks ajipearcd to the 
best advantage. Returning, as the\- diil, about the 23th (jf February, in good 
seasons, they disj)orte(l themselves like mad Pixies for a month or so. engag- 
ing in amorous i)ursuit and frequent song-flight; until in some way, late in 
April, domestic ortler began to emerge from the chaos of rival claims, and 
little homes dotted the ]irairie, where belted sejuircs and rctl-jackeled ladies 
pursued the twinkling gutta-percha. The contlict of interests, avian an<l human, 
was sometimes disastrous to the birds. Mr. Rowles records three instances in 
which Larks were killetl 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 wor.se. The golf- 
links became a sort of common, despairingly resorted to by a few enthusiasts 
and a motley laity. The northwest |xirtion of the section was staked out into 
lots, and the whole area was criss-crossed by roads and paths, whereby work- 
men, school-l)oys and delivery wagons hastened to and fro. Then it became 
the special pasture of a band of fifty cows, the lean kiiie 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 ncighlKiring 
slaughter-house. This common was also a favorite romping ground for 
children, while <logs simplv went crazv u]>on it. I saw one rabid beast in a 



THE PACIFIC HORNED LARK. 



219 



delirium of unfettered l)liss do ntV almut six miles in twice as many minutes, 
with a Horned Lark, flying low, as the invariable object of his chase. When 
to sucli conditions as these was added the .scantiness of cover, one marveled 
indeed that the datty Horned Lark still persisted upon his ancient heritage. 

Vet on the i itli of April ( the earliest record by far ), in the barest of it, 
we marked a deep rounded cavity which Mr. Bowles declared belonged to the 
Streaked Horned Lark. Returning on the 27th, we found that the hole in 
the ground had be- 
come a bumi) in- 
stead. The bird, 
grown callous amid 
the impending evils, 
or else frankly in- 
tending to warn off 
trespassers, had filletl 
the cavity full to 
overflowing, and ha<l 
erected upon its site 
a monumental pile 
visible at a hundred 
3'ards. So zealous 
had the bird's efforts 
been that the crest 
of the nest stuck uj) 
two and a half inches 
above the close- 
cropped landscajjc, 
and the bottom of 
the nest was abo\e 
the ground. This 
creation was fjuite 
ten inches across, 
wdiile it inckided 
upon its skirts bits 

of sod, cow-chips and pebbles, — a motley array. ])ossiblv designed to distract 
attention from the dun-colored eggs which the nest contained. The most 
lavish display f)f this sort of brumagem marked a runway of ap])roacli, ofTset 
by a corresponding depression upon the other side. The nest was composed 
chiefly of dried grasses and weed-stalks with soft dead leaves, and was lined, 
not very carefully, witli grass, dried leaves. ;uid a single white chicken-feather.* 



t^B^^^K^^^^^^^U 



Takcu at South Tacon 



Photo by Dawson and Bo-.itcs. 



THE NEST ON THE GOLF LINKS. 



arkahic nest was forbidden Ijy tin 



aking of a ncgatii 



THE PACIFIC HORNED 



lARK. 



< )iKt' tlic ailciition of the oijlogisl was directed to tliis structure, it rose 
t'roin tlic plain like a pyrainiil of Clieops before his straiiic<l anxieties. It was 
torture to liave to leave it tor liaif an hour. How could tiiat scIiooI-Ihiv pass 
at twenty yards and not see it! Then, when 1 returned to reconnoiter. the 
dear cattle were just being turned loose for the morning, and they. for.s<K>th, 
nuist straggle past it. At the end of another hour, unable longer to endure 
the suspense. I returned to perform the last offices. The banil of sheep was 
oiU then, and they were drifting so i)erili>usly close, that I ran the last hundred 
yards to head them olT. and none loo simju. Vet that precious monument of 
sim])Iicity 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 nut often concealeil. I)ut usu.dly 
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 ui»turned stone, or. 

as in one instance, the liottom <if an unused 
golf -hole. The only attempt at conceal- 
ment noted was where the nest had been 
placed under the foUl of a large 
>irip of tar pa|)er, most of which 
had become tightly plastered 
to the groimd. 

In spite of the compara- 
tively mild weather i)revail- 
iiig in .\pril, eggs are not 
often laid before the second 
week in May. and a second 
-et is tlei)osited al)Out the 
-ocond week in June. The 
number of eggs in a set 
\aries froiu two to four, 
three being most commonly 
found. In color the gniuud 
is gra\ish white, while dots 
of greenish gray or reddish 
grav are now gathered in a heavy wreath aljout the larger end, and now regu- 
larly distribute<l over the entire surface — sometimes so heavily as to obscure 
the ground. The eggs arc often very jierceplibly glossed and there is fre- 
(|uently a haunting greenish or yellowish tinge which diffuses itself over the 
whole — an atmosphere, as the artist would say. \'ariation in size runs from 
ovate to elongate oval, and measurements range from .c)^ x .60 to .8t x .58. 
I lorued Larks owe their preservati<in chiefly to the wariness of the female. 




NF.ST .\NI) F.Gt.S Ol- I'ACIIIC IIOKNKI) I..\KK. 



THE AMERICAN PIPIT. 



for she flushes at long distances. Either she will slip otT 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 ;i pair of strong 
binoculars, "tracking" is not a difiicult accomplishment. 



No. 90. 
AMERICAN PIPIT. 

A. O. U. No. 697. Anthiis rubescens (Tunstall). 

Sjnonyms. — Ampiricax Titlark. Brown Lark. Louisiana Piimt. 

Description. — Adult in spring: Above soft and dark grayish brown with 
an nlive shade: feathers of crown and back with darker centers; wings and tail 
ilusky with paler edging, the pale tips of coverts forming two indistinct bars ; 
outer pair of tail-'eathers extensively white; next pair white-tipped; superciliary 
line, eye-ring and underparts light grayish brown or buiTy, the latter streaked 
with dusky except on middle of throat and lower belly,-- heavily on sides of 
tliroat and across breast, narrowly on lower breast and sides. Winter plumage: 
.\bovc, browner ; below, duller butty ; more broadly streaked on lireast. Length 
6.00-7.00 (152.4-177.8) : wing 3.37 (85.6): tail 2.53 (64.3); bill .46 (11.7); 
tarsus .yo (22.9). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; brown above; huffy or brownish with 
dusky s])ots below : best known by tlip-yip notes repeated when rising from 
ground or flying overlicad. 

Nesting. — Nest: at high altitudes, a ihick-walled structure of grasses and 
moss set into deep excavation in sloping hillside or in cranny of clift'. Eggs: 
4-6, usually 5, .so heavily sj)eckled and spotted with reddish or dark brown as 
almost entirely to obscure the whitish ground color. Often, except ui)on close 
examination, the effect is of a uniform chocolate-colored egg. .\v. size .jj x .^7 
(19.6 X 14.5). Season: ]\.me 15-July 25; one brood. 

General Range. — North .America at large, breeding in the liigher parts of 
the Rocky and Cascade MouiUains and in sub-Arctic regions : wintering in the 
Ciulf States, Mexico, and Central .America. Accidental in Europe. 

Range in Washington. — Abundant during migrations; common suuiincr 
resident in Cascade .MouiUains above timber-line; winters sjiaringlv west of 
mountains. 

Migrations. — Nomadic; retires from mountains early iti Sei)teinber ; moves 
southward across State Oct. 15-Dec. 15; northward April i-May 15. 

Authorities. — ? Townsend, Journ. .Ac. Nat. Sci., Phila., MIL, 1839, 154 
(Columbia River). .Inthiis ludoi'icianus. Licht. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. 
IX. \iX. IT., 1858, p. 233. T. C&S. L'. Rh. D'. Sr. Ra. D-\ J. B'. E. 

Specimens. — V . of W. 1". I'rov. B. E. 

THiv .\merican Pipit does not su.stain the habitual dignity of tJie boreal 
breed. He is no clown, indeed, like our Chat, nor does lie quite belong to the 



THE AMERICAN PIPIT. 



awkwarti squad witli young Biackl)irils; a trim fonii and a natty suit often 
save liini from well niiritcd derision, but all close observers will agree tliat 
there is a screw loose in iiis inake-U[) somewhere. The whole Pipit race 
seems to be struggling under a strange inhibitcjry spell, cast uim^u some an- 
cestor, perhaps, by one knows not what art of nodding heather bells or |kj- 
tency of subtly distilled .\rctic moonshine. As the llock comes straggling 
tlown from the northland they utter unceasing \tf>s of mild astonishment and 
self-re|)roach at their apparent inability to tlecide what to do next. Their in- 
decision is especially exasperating as one rides along a trail which is closely 
llanked by a primitive rail fence, as I have often ilone in (Jkanogan County. 
One starts up ahead of you and thinks he will settle on the top rail an<l watch 
you go by. .-\s his feet near the rail he decitles he won't, after all, but that 
he will go a few feet farther before alighting. If he actually does alight 
he instantly tumbles off with a startled yif', as tho the rail were hot and he 
had burnt his toes. Then he tries a jmisi with no better success, until you get 
ilisgusted with such silly vacillation and inane yipjjing, and clap sjnn"s to your 
horse, resolved to escape tiie annoyance of having to follow such <lubious 
fortunes. 

In social llight the Pipits straggle out far ajjart, so as to allow plenty of 
room for their chronic St. \'itus"s dance to jerk them hither or thither or up 
or down, without dasiiing with their fellows. Only a small percentage of 
those which annually traverse the State tly low enough to lie readily seen; 
but when they do they are jolting along over the landsca])e and complaining 
at every other step. The note is best ren<lered tlif'-yif', less accurately /•i/'-i/ 
(whence of course the name) ; and a shower of these |>etulant sounds comes 
s]>attering down out of the sky when the birds themselves are nearly or quite 
invisible. 

The fall migratii'iis of this species appear to lia\e ;i compound character. 
Birds which make their appearance early in September are likely to (piarter 
themselves in a given locality for several weeks at a time, tho whether these 
rejirescnt the first refugees from the high North, or mark the |>ractical retreat 
of our own nioimtainecrs. we cannot tell. Late comers pass thru more rapidly, 
and the main host clears by late Oclol)er. but stragglers may be found in any 
open lowland situation until late November. They are especially ])artial to 
prairies.' close-cropped pastures, the gravelly shores and bars of rivers, lakes 
and ponds, and the shingle of sca-l)eaches. .\t Semiahmoo the great ricks of 
barnacle-covered piles, which are aninially 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 timl)ers. but, after the fashion of Sandpijiers. glean busily 
from their surfaces where the marine creatures, thru ex|)osure tf) the air, are 
dying a fragrant death. 

The return movement of s])ring sets in early, and the main flight is more 



THE AMERICAN PIPIT. 



223 



direct. But here there is suspicion of desultory wintering on the one Iiand 
(I have a record of forty birds seen im the Nisqually Flats, Fcli. 10, 1906; 
and Fannin says they sometimes winter im X'ancouver Island) and there is 
always a small percentage of loiterers who linger into May. Spring flocks 
may be looked for in freshly-plowed fields, where they feed attentively, often 
in absolute silence, moving about with "graceful, gliding walk, tilting the body 
and wagging the tail at each 
step, much in the manner of 
a Sciiinis.' 

Pipits are boreal breeders ; 
but inasmuch as our owm 
superb Aljis claim kinship 
W'ith the Arctic, there is no 
more favorable spot to study 
the nesting of the Pipits 
than upon the Cascades of 
northern Washington. At 
home the Pipit is a \ery 
different creature fnnn the 
straggler of the long trail. 
On his native heather, sur- 
rounded by dwarfed fir 
trees, melting snow-fields, 
and splendid vi.stas of peak 
and cloud, he knows exactly 
w'hat he wants and is quite [: 
capable of flying in a 
straight line. 

All is bustle and stir 
along Ptarmigan Ridge, — 
the transverse rock-rib of 
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, 1906, and the snows have onl\- just released the 
ridge at 6000 feet elevation. Slate-colored Sparrows are carolling tenderly 
from the thickets of stunted fir. Sierra Hermit Thrushes, those minstrels 
of heaven, flit elusively fmni cluni]) to clump or ])ause to rehearse from (heir 
depths some spiritual strain. I.eucostictes look in upon the scene in passitig, 
but they hasten at a pruflent thought to their Infticr ram])arts. The real 




Shagit Couuty. 



Photo by IV. L. na:c 



OUR L.ADV OK THE SNOWS, 

,\kacti;kistic summi-;r haunt of Tin 



224 THE AMERICAN PIIMT. 

busybodies of tlie place are tlie Pipits. Females, lisping suspiciously, hurry 
to and fro, discussing locations, matching straws, playfully rebuking over- 
bold swains, and liastily gulping insects on the side. Tlie male birds hover 
about their mates solicitously — never liel])ing. of course — or else sing lustily 
from prominent knolls and rocks. 

Tlie Pipit song in many of its phases is strikingly like that of the Rock 
Wren ( Salf>iiiclcs ohsolrtiis). It has the same vivacity and ringing <piality, 
tho ])eriiaps less jMiwer, and the similarity extends to the very phrasing. An 
alarm note runs picltoo pichoo picUoo, given six or seven times, rapidly and 
enii)hatically : while another, «'tv I'lV/i, vcc iicli, «'tv iicli, is rendered, unless 
my eyes deceive me, with the same springing motion which ciiaracterizes the 
Wren. .\n ecstacy song of courting time ( heard on Mount Rainier ) runs ttviss 
twiss hciss /7C/.V.V (oii lib.), uttered as rapidly as the syllables may 1m; said. It 
is delivered as the bird descri!)es great slow circles in mid-air; and when the 
singer is exhau.>ited by his efforts, he falls like a spent rocket to the groun<l. 

For all this activity, however, the nests are hard to find. Finally, as we 
kee|> ascending the ridge, bare save for occasional ])atches of snow in the 
lioUows. Jack spies an old nest, last year's i^f course, in the recess of a soil 
tussock, completely overarched by earth. The secret is out, and we can 
search with more intelligence now. Soon I Hush a female at her task of in- 
cuI>ation. She has been digging out a ])ocket, or cave, in a moist bank which 
the snow had set free not above tiiree days before. The earth reiuoved from 
the interior is piled up for the lower rim. or wall, and a few rootlets, doubt- 
less those secured in the process of excavation, have lieeu culled i>ut and laid 
liorizontally along tlie edge of the dirt. The hole is about as large as my 
ilouble fists, ami the nest, wlien completed, evidently cannot lie injured by 
failing snow. 

In July of the following year, work was carried on in the L'pper Horse- 
shoe Rasin, a few miles further north. The song period was evidently past, 
but a nest of five eggs slightly incubated, was taken from a heather slope on 
the 20th of the month. The sitting binl flushed from under the be.iting 
stick, but only after I had pas.scd. 

On the 17th. a ventures^ome climb over the rock-wall which fronts the 
glacier of the L'pper Rasin. 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 difl' upon which I was standing to the one beyond. Fvi- 
flentlv she had heard tlie call of her mate, for the instant she lighted upon the 
cliff he was near her. Rut budge not a foot would he: whether he was sus- 
picious or only exacting, one could not quite tell. .\t any rate he kept giving 
vent to a ringing metallic note of appreliensi<in. The female coaxc<l 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 cliff on which 1 stood. I iiaslcned forward tcj the fin'tlicst 
outstanding point which gave a partial view of the wall's face. No bird was 
in 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. Xo. 754. Myadestes townsendi ( Aud.). 

Synonyms. — TowNSExn's Flvcxtciiinc, Thrush. Townsend's Thrush. 
Towxsexd's Flycatcher. 

Description. — Aditlts: (leneral color smok\- gray, lighter holow. 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 docs not reach 
nearer the edge of the wing than the fifth or sixth primary: another obscure 
tawny or whitish jiatcli formed by subterminal edging on outer webs of seventh 
and eighth f sometimes ninth ) primaries; greater coverts and tcrtials 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 frhomboidal 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. T,cngth about 
8.00 (203.2) ; wing 4.60 (117) ; tail 4.05 (103) ; bill .49 ti2.^) ; tarsus .79 (20). 

Recognition Marks. — Chcwink size; brownish gray coloration with spots of 
white (or [laie tawny I 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. Bggs: 4, 
grayish white spotted with pale brown, chiefly about larger end. Av. size, 
.96 X .70 ( 24.4 X 17.8). Season: May or June ; one brood. 

General Range. — Western North America, breeding chiefly in mountainous 
districts, from northwestern Mexico to .Alaska and Yukon Territory, wintering 



2.". THE TOWXSEND SOLITAtKE. 

irregularly I'nmi l!rili^ll Culiiiiil)ia ( Shiikin ) soiitluvanl. siraggliuy into Mississippi 
\ alley diiriii;,' inij,'ratiim>. 

Ran];e in \\ ashiiiKton. — Nut uiicoinmon spring and fall migrant thnioiit tlic 
Stale, j-nmnier resident in the niiiuntains to the limit of trees and elsewhere 
irregularly to sea level; ])artially resident in winter west <>f the Cascade Mountains. 

Authorities. — .' Ptiluujtinys tdwusciidi. Townsend, Narrative. i<\Vj. p. 338. 
Mviadcslcs lot<.-iisciidii Baird, Rep. I'ae. K. R. Snrv. IN. 1S5S. ^ji. T. C&S. I)'. 
Ra. .1. It. E. 

Specimens. I ■. (.f \\ . I". I'rov. I!. I'.N. E. 

■■()1'" this singular l>ir<l I kiKiw in>lliii)g hut that it was shot by my friend. 
Captain W. Rrotcliic, of the Ilonorahle Hudson's Bay Company, in a pine for- 
est near I'ort George, (Aslt)ria). It was the only s])ccimcn seen." In these 
words J. K. Townsend, the pioneer ornithologist of the Pacific Xorthwest. 
records" the taking (»f the first e.xaniple of this si)ecies known to science. 

The hiril 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 t<i express Ixith our noiiconi- 
miltal attitude toward the subject, and the demure independence with which 
the bird itself proceeds to mind its own affairs. Rarring the matter of struc- 
tine. which the scientists have now pretty well thrashed out. the bird is every- 
thing by turns. lie is Flycatcher in that he delights to sit (piietly on exposed 
limbs and watch for passing insects. These he meets in mid-air and bags with 
an ein|)hatic snap of the mandibles. lie is a Shrike in ap|)earancc an<l maimer, 
when he lakes up a station on a fence-post and studies the ground intently. 
When its prey is sighted at di.stances varying from ten to thirty feet, it dives 
directly to the s]iot. lights, snatches, .-ind swallows, in an instant : or, if the catch 
is unmanageable, it retmns to its post to thrash ami kill and swallow at leisure. 
During this pouncing foray, the flisplay 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 aj)- 
proach. I'pon alighting it stands f|uietly, in expectation that the eye of ibe be- 
holder will thus lose sight of its ghostly lints 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 siii pctirris — no doubt of that. .\s s<^n 
as we establish for it a certain line of conduct, the bird fl<ies something else. 
W'c banish it to the mountains for the nesting season — a pair nests in a rail- 



•,,l,v, ,1 .1 In„rn,v \.-r...- th. R.^l-v \l..n„l,i,n< to ttlr Cnlimil.l.i Xinrr |,!, 1, I 

inrt in tlw t. • 
i liring Itic ■ 
Ic.l in it m. ■ 
l.r ili>r« nol. 
Iv.ii; Ti.Ttl, ml -Mifl, ,.| (I,,- r..|uinl.ii H:i.r. Of llic tol.lI ruml.. r rr.-.-r.lr I 
cinnot po«tthly hr rntitlcd tn ahovr |6S tipccicl, and the li»t has little value in 
i>f a hiril a« a rrnident of Wanhington. 



THE TOWNSEND SOLITAIRE. 



227 



ur trifiids tin- ht-auU' 
\ hird cif such 
It alsi 1 winters 
<-■ sliotilil a\'i)i(l 



i"(Kid cut near Rcnloii, altitude 200 feet. We (lescril)e t 

of its song — tliey go to its sanctuaries and the l)ird is silent 

dainty mould should winter in the South. It does, — at time 

at Sumas on mir northern Ixirdef. This poet of the sulitnde 

the haunts of men. lie dues. 

usually. But anntlier time he 

may be seen hopping frum hush 

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 ha])- 

pencd to spy some bread 

crumbs and there was nothing 

to hinder save the conductor's 

bri.sk "all aboard." Surely such 

a bundle of contradictions you 

never did see — and all l)elied by 

an expression of lamb-like art- 

le.ssness and dolcc far iiiriilc. 

which \\onl(l do credit to a 

rag-doll. 

All observers testify to the 
vocal powers of the Solitaire. 
and some are most extravagant 
in the bird's praises. My own 
notes are very meager. .A song 
lieanl on Church Mountain, in 
Whatcom County, AIa\- 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 meagerncss, I \-cnture 
to f|uiite 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 M])tolyas River, at the l)ase of Mount JelTerson (Or.), 
and declared its song to be full, rich, and melodious, like that of a Miiniis^ 




TOWNSEXn'S SOI.rr.MRE. 



Rep. Pac, R. R. Su 



Vol. VI., 1857, p. 82. 



228 THE TOWNSEND SOLlTAJ%E. 

"W'c followed down tlic ii\i.-r in tlit- Ijottom of the canon; all day the 
gorge was filled with a chorus of sweet sounds from hundreds and thousands 
of these hirds. which from their monotonous color, and their habit of sitting 
on the branch of a tree projecting into the void aljove the stream, or hanging 
from some iH'elling crag, and Hying out in narrow circles after insects precisely 
in the maimer of the I'lycatchers I was disiKJsed to associate with them. 

"Two days afterward in the canon of Psuc-see-que Creek, of which the 
terraced banks were sparsely set with low trees of the western ce<lar ( J . occi- 
ticnlalis I. I found these birds numerous. * ♦ * With the first dawn of day 
they began their songs, and at sunrise the valley was ])erfectly vocal with their 
notes. Never, anywhere, have I heard a more delight fid chorus of binl music. 
Their song is not greatly varied, but all the n<»tes are ])articularly clear and 
sweet, and the strain r)f pure gushing melody is as spontaneous and inspiring 
as that of tlie Song Si)arrow. .\t this time. September 30, these birds were 
feeding on the berries of the cedar: they were very shy, and could only l)c ob- 
tained by lying concealed in the vicinity of the trees which they frequented." 

Mr. T. M. Trii)pe. speaking for the Clear Creek Caiion in Colorado, says* : 
"In summer and fall its voice is rarely heard : but as winter comes on. and the 
woods are well-nigh deserted by all save a few Titmice and Nuthatches, it be- 
gins to utter occasionally a single bell-like note that can be heard at a great dis- 
tance. The bird is now very shy: ami the author of the clear, loud call, that I 
heard nearly every morning from the valley of Clear Creek, was long a mys- 
tery to me. Toward the middle and latter part of winter, as the snow Ix"gins 
to fall, the Klycatching Thrush delights to sing, choosing for its rostrum a j)ine 
tree in some elevated ])osition. high up above the valleys: and not all the fields 
and gri>ves, and hills and valleys of the P'astcrn States, can iKiast a more ex- 
quisite song: a song in which the notes of the Purjjle Finch, the \V<t<">(1 Thrush, 
ami the Winter Wren are blended into a silvery cascade of luelody, that ripples 
and dances down the mountain sides as clear and sparkling as the mountain 
bpiok. filling the woods and valleys with ringing nutsic. .\t 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, towanl the close of winter. I have been overtaken and 
half-blinded by sudden, furious stomis of wind and snow, and compelled to 
seek the nearest tree or projecting rock for shelter. In such situations I have 
frequently listened to the song of this bird. an<l forgot the c<ilfl and wet in its 
enjoyment. Towanl spring, as soon as the other birds begin to sing, it be- 
comes silent as tho disilainful of joining the common chorus, and commences 
building its nest in May. earlier than almost any other bird. During this season 
it deserts the valleys, and confines itself to partially wooded hill-tops " 



*. Coun. Bird* of ihc Northwcuf (1874I. pp. 95. 9*. 



THE WILLOW THRUSH. 229 

No. 92. 
WILLOW THRUSH. 

A. O. \J. No. 556 a. Hylocichia fiiscescens salicicola Jvidgway. 

Synonym. — Westicux W'ii.sox Tuursii. 

Description. — .hiult: AIjovc, dull tawny-brown, uniform; wing-cjuills shad- 
ing to lirownish 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 brownisli gray; sides of head huffy-tinged, with mixed 
brown, save on whitish lores ; bill dark above, light below ; feet light brown. 
Adult male, length 7.25-7.75 ( 184.2-196.9 I ; wing 3.93 (100) ; tail 2.95 ( 75 ) : bill 
.55 (14) ; tarsus 1.18 (30). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow to Chewink size; dull ciimamon hmwu 
above; breast butty, li</litly 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 
(22.8x 16.5). Season: first or second week in June; one brood. 

General Range. — \\'estcrn interior districts of United States and Canada ; 
breeding from Xorth Dakota and Manitoba west to interior of British Coluiubia 
and southward to Nevada. Utah and Colorado ; southward during migrations thru 
.Arizona, etc., to Brazil, also thru the Mississippi Valley and, casually, eastward. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident in the hilly districts of north- 
western Washington. — Blue IMountains( ?). 

Authorities. — Howe, .Auk, XX'H. Jan. 1900, p. 19 (Spokane). T( ?). J. 

Specimens. — Prov. 

THE Willow Thrush shares with its even more retiring cousin, the 
Oii\e-back. the forests of the northwestern portion of the State. Here it may 
be found in the seclusion of .spring draws and alder bottoms, or in the miscel- 
laneous cover which lines the banks of the larger streams. It is confined 
almost entirely to the vicinity of water, and spends much of its time on the 
flamp ground poking among the fallen leaves and searching the nooks and 
corners of tree-roots. Since the bird is but a Hitting shade, one cannot easily 
determine its color-pattern, and must learn rather the raqge and quality of its 
notes. The bird is, rather than has, a voice, an elusive voice, a weird and won- 
derful voice. .And (jiily after one has heard the song, with its reverberant, 
sweet thunder, and its e.xquisitely diminishing cadences, as it wells v\\) at even- 
tide from some low thicket, may one be said to know the Willow Thrush. 

For the most jiart the bird betrays interest in your movements by a sub- 
dued yeii'i, a note of com])laint and admonition, variously likened to a grunt, 
a bleat, or a nasal interjection. Not infref|uently this becomes a clearly 



2^0 



THE WILLOW THRUSH" 



wliistlctl Ti/ifi'-i'i"; and tlii>. in turn, is varied and strengthened lu ;v-iT-h. or 
I'l'i'ry, wlience tlie ouninun name of the t\|)ical f<»nn, //. fiisccsccns, in tlie 
East. The song pruper cimsisls of six or seven of these 'r-fr-vs, rolled out 
with a ridi and inimitable hrogne. The notes vihrate and resound, and till the 
air so full of music tiiat one is led to sus])ect the multiple cliaracter of each. 
T\]v itinl is re.illy striking chords. ;md tlie sounding strings still vihrate when the 

next is struck. There 
is, moreover, in the 
whole performance, 
a musical crescendo 
coui)led with a suc- 
cessive lowering of 
pitcli, wliich is fairly 
ravishing in its im- 
pression of luysterA" 
■ ind power. 

The distriiiution 
of this si>ecies is as 
vet imperfectly made 
ul. Having made 
lis ac<|uaintance at 
S|M>kane and along 
the valley of the 
Tend d "Oreille, we 
were al)le to recog- 
nize it later at Che- 
Ian and Stehekin, the 
l.itter unciuestionably 
the westernmost rec- 
ord of its occurrence 
in the I'nited States. 
Whetlier it may also 
extend further south 
F. s''iluJii'. along the east from 
of the Cascades, re- 
mains to Ir- seen. 

.\ nest before me was taken by Mr. I'Ved S. Merrill, in S]>okane. It was 
placed in tlie crotch of an alder at a height of two feel, and contained, on the 
ninth day of June, four slightly incubated eggs. The nest is a rather loosely 
constructed affair of bark-strips, dead leaves, coarse grasses, shavings, leaf- 
stems, etc., an<l has a careless lining of <lessicated leaves and broken grasses. 
The matrix of mud. or leaf-mold, which gives strength and consistency to the 




Taken 

nfiir SfokaH' 



III. WII.I.OW TURrSH 



THE RUSSET-BACKED THRUSH. 231 



nests of certain other thrushes, is conspicunusly lacking in this ime. 'I'lie 
brooding iiollow is only three inches from brim to brim, by one and three- 
quarters in depth. The eggs are in ex'ery way miniature Robins', being without 
spots, and representing only thrce-lifths or two-thirds tlie bulk of those of 
the larger bird. 



No. 93. 

RUSSET-BACKED THRUSH. 

.\. O. v. Xo. 758. Hylocichia ustulata (Xutt. ). 

Synonym. — "Woou TnRrsii" (name properly restricted to //. iinistcliiia of 
the East). 

Description. — .Iditlts: .Above olive-l.irown. snl)Stantially iniifurm: a conspicu- 
ous orbital ring of pale buff; sides of head buft'y mingled or streaked with olive- 
brown; chin, throat and chest bufl' (or lightening to huffy 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 underjjarts 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 huffy. 
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 (y^) ; bill .54 ( 13.7) ; tar.sus i.io (28). 

Recognition Marl<s. — Sparrow size; uniform olive-brown above; heavy 
spotting and buft'y wash on chest; sides of head and cyc-ring IniHy : brown above 
as comi)ared with H. 11. swaiiisonii. 

Nesting. — Xest: of bark-strips, moss and grasses, with a heavy inner mat or 
mould of dead leaves, lined with rootlets and fine grasses; jjlaced usually at 
moderate heights in bushes or saplings of thickets, sometimes 30-60 feet high in 
trees. Egys: 3-5, usually 4, greenish blue or dull grayish blue dotted and spotted, 
rather sparingly, with various shades of brown. .\v. size, .93 x .67 ( 23.6 .\ 17). 
Season: June, July ; one or two broods. 

Genera! Range. — Pacific coast district from southern California to .\laska 
(Juneau ). breeding thruout its range; south in winter thru Mexico to Central and 
northern South .\mcrica. • 

Range in Washington. -Common summer resident and migrant west of 
the Cascade Mountain> ; probably overflows thru momitain passes to at least the 
eastern slo])es of the Cascades. 

Authorities. — Turdus ustnlatus Niittall, Man. Orn. L'. S. and Canada, Land 
Birds, ed. 2, 1840. pp. \I. 830 (Columbia River). C&S. L'. Rh 1)'. Kb. Ra. 
D-'. Ss-\ Kk. B. K. 

Specimens.— U. of \V. P' ( ?). Prov. B. BX. E. 



23-' 



THE RUSSET-BACKED THRLSll. 



AR'I'IS'l'S "f till." later schools agrt-c lliat sliadows are not often black, as 
they have l>eeii conventionally rejjresented for centuries. Tiieir (lce|)est color 
note is always that of tlie ground, or screen, wliich bears tliem. The Thrush, 
therefore, is the truest enilnxliinent of woodland shaile, for the shifting russets 

of its up|K"rj)arts 
melt and blend with 
the tints of fallen 
leaves, dun roots, 
and the shadows of 
tree-lK)les cast on the 
brown ashes of fall- 
en comrades. Not 
content, either, with 
such protective guar- 
antee, this gentle 
sjiirit clings to cover, 
and reveals itself on- 
ly as a Hitting shade 
and a haunting 
voice. N'ow 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 
given to s<ing, all ho 
on occasion the 
woodside may ring 
with the simple mel- 
ody of its 7i'cc loo 
w c c I o ivccloccc*. 
Other notes are more 
notable and charac- 
teristic; an<I by these 
one may trace the 
bird's everv movc- 




RDSSKT n.VCKKl) TUIUSU. 



». I'rof. O, 11 l..iin.,.i. Ill lii» "Lut of the Birjj of the Willamette Valley, Orenon" \.\m. Naturaliit, 
July, 1880. p. 487I hat made an excellent characteriiation of this ung in ■'HoUty, gottndy, (otintfy. 

loxeendy." 



THE RUSSET-BACKED THRUSH. 233 



nifiit witlidut recourse to sight. Quit, or Ir^'it, is a soft wiiistled note of inquir)' 
and greeting, bv wliicii the birds keep in constant toucli with each other, and 
wliicli tliey are nowise disinclined to use in conversations with strangers. 
Hzvootnylyoclityl is tiie nanie which tlie Ouillayute lad gives the bird, the 
first syllable being whistled rather than spoken, in imitation of the bird's note. 
At the friendly call the Thrush comes sidling o\er toward vou tin-u tiie brush, 
until you feel that you could put your hand on it if you woukl ; but the bird 
remains invisible, and says, (/////. qtiU. with some asperity, if vou disregard 
the convenances. 

A longer call-note, of sharper quality, qttcee, may be as readily imitated, 
altho its meaning in the bush is uncertain. The bird has also a spoken note, 
a sort of hap])y inirring, which I call the coordaddy cry. In this the dadd\ 
notes are given in from one to six syllaliles, and are spoken "trippingly on the 
tongue." 

Recalling again tJie qncec note, we arc surprised to find that it is the 
commonest sound heard during migrations. At midnight when a solemn hush 
is over 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 \oice of Nature. There are a dozen 
variations of pitch and tone, qiiece, qiiee, 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 abound to the exclusion of all others, or that one alone 
should speak, while others flit by silently. Moreover, the intermittent utter- 
ance of a single bird ]M-oclaims the rate at which that bird is moving, and 
oftener argues for the passing of the smaller species. Warblers and the like. 
Repeated observation would make it appear certain that this qitcc note is the 
common possession of many, perhaps of all species of migrant song birds, a 
sort of Esperanto for "Ho, Comrade!" by which the thing legions of the 
night are bound together in a great fellowship. 

Much of the apparent difference in the call-notes of these niglit-birds is 
explained when we remember that they are reaching us from different angles. 
Thus, the qiiee of a rapidly apjiroaching bird is raised sharply and sliortened. 
qncc; while the same voice, in passing, falls to a ghostly kzvoo, at least a musi- 
cal third below. It is, pcrha])s. 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 may repeat this cabalistic note, by 
day. He is the bugler in that greatest of all armies and he must needs keeji 
in practice while on furlough. 

Russet-backs are tardy migrants, seldom arriving before the first week 
in May; and they are ofif again for the Southland by the first week in Sejjt em- 
ber. Two instances are on record, however, of the bird's wintering here- 



■234 



TIIK RUSSET-HACKED TIIKli^Il. 



alKnits. ( )ii tin- jtli c.f Maicli. 1S91. M\ttal hinls were "fiij{aKt.-tl in omviTsa- 
tion'" In- the writiT near Tacnina; ami mi llie jjikI of Jaiuiary. n/Jj. two 
birds were eiio>iinlcrcil dii the L'niversity grounds in Seattle. In the latter 
instance tlie Ijirds would not disclose themselves, altho ihey passed half way 
around nie in the thicket, uttering their charac- 
teristic and unniistak.'dile notes. 

In home liuilding this Thrush makes no elTort 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 measuri" 
protective, es|)ecially in those 
numerous instances in which 
the exterior is composed en- 
tirely of green moss At 
oilier times, twigs, hark- 
slri])s, and grasses are used: 
but the two things which 
gi\e character to the nest of 
this Thrush are the nuul- 
cup, or matrix, of mud anil 
leaf-mold, and the lining of 
dried leaf-skeletons. I have 
surprised a mother Russet at 
her task of cup-moulding, 
an<l verily her bib was as 
dirty as that of any child 
making mud pies. For altho 
the beak serves for hod and 
trowel, the (inishing touches, 
the actual moulding, nuist 
be accomplished by pressure 
of the bird's breast. 

During a season's nesting 
at Cdacier. in the Mount ''••'"" "' Oregon. 
Baker district. Mr. D. [r. '•'■""' tj- B""""- "•""^"•'-•.v 
Brown located about a hun- 
dred sets of tlie 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 font elexation was about the average. Nests were found in 
thickets, where they were supported by the interlacing of branches, or else 
.sa<l<lled upon the inclined stems of vine maples, or in fir trees. In the last- 




.MOTIIKK Kl'SSliT .\.Mi IIKK IlKUUK. 



THE OLIVE-BACKED THRUSH. 235 



named ])laces. nests might Ix' set against the trunk un a huri/jintal hnil), hnl 
were more often at some distance from it. The birds were very sensitive 
aiiont molestation l)efore eggs were laid, and would desert a nest in process 
of construction on the merest suspicion that a stranger had looked into it. 
Alter deposition, howe\er, the mother Thrush was found to be verv devoted 
to her charges, and great confidence was often engendered by carefulK' con- 
sidered advances. 

At Glacier, nest-building axerageil to commence about the j^th of .May. 
and the (h'sl eggs were found on the 1st of June. The last set was fomid July 
i^tli. .\I1 nests e.xamined in the earlier part of the season contained four 
eggs: those found later, ])resuniabiy second efforts. ne\er had more than tiiree. 

As a curious example of the use of the imagination on the ])art of early 
writers, take this from our \enerated Cooper": "The eggs, unlike those of 
most thrushes, are white, s]x)tted thickly witli brown, and four or li\e in 
number." The brown si)otting is all right and an unpigmented shell is not an 
impossibility, but de\'iations from the characteristic greenish blue of the 
ground-color have not since been re[)orted. 



No. 94. 

OLIVE-BACKED THRUSH. 

.\. ( ). L'. Xo. 758a. Hylocichia ustiilala swainsonii (Cab.). 

Synonyms. — Sw.mxson's Thrush. Eastkrx Oli\'i:-back. Ai.ma's 
Thrisii (H. It. aliiuc Obcrh., disallowed by .\. O. U. Com.). 

Description. — .Idiilts: Similar to //. ustiilata but grayer and more olivace- 
ous; "color of upperparts varying from olive to grayish hair brow-n in summer, 
from deep olive to slightly brownish olive in winter" : ground color of underparts 
lighter huffy (yellowish buff' or creamy buff) : sides and flanks grayish — instead 
of brownish-olive. Size of last. 

Recognition Marks. — .\s in jireceding: grayer above, lighter bulTy lielow. 

Nesting. — Xcst and /:'(/;/.'; indistinguishaljle from those of typical form, //. 
itstiilata. 

General Range. — North .\nierica in general cxce])t Pacific coast district 
south of Cross Sound and Lynn Canal ; breeding from the mountainous districts 
of the United States ("especially nortlierly) north to limit of trees: soiuh in wiiUer 
tlinioiU Mexico and Central .\iuerica to I'eru, Bolivia, etc. * 

Range in Wasliington. — Imperfectly made out as regards that of If. 
n.<itithita. Found breeding in the valley of the Stehekin hence presumably summer 
resident in timbered districts of eastern Washington. 

Authorities. — Bowles and Dawson, Auk. \'ol. XX\'. ( )ct. ii)o8. p. 48^;. 

Specimens. — I'rov. 1'.. 

a. Ri-p. Pac. R. K. Snrv., Vol, Nil., Book II.. i860, p. 171. 



2.V THE ALASKA HERMIT THUjSH. 



11 1 1", iimic open wiHxIs and iimrc abundanl suns of eastern Wasliington 
elTcct tlial reiluclion of color in the "burnt" Thrush, which henceforth charac 
leri/es the species clear thru to the Atlantic. It wouM he idle to trace in detail 
all acconi|)anyin}( changes of manner and hahit. hut we can hardly fail to note 
the improved cpiality of the Olive-hack's soiifj. This is most nearly compar- 
ahle to that of the Willow Thrush and has something of the same rolling 
vibrant (piality. It is, however, less prolonged and less vehement. It may or 
may not retain the liifuid I's. but it di.scards outright the rich r's. which the 
V'cery rolls under his tongue like sweet morsels; and the i)ilch of the whole 
rises slightly, jjcrhaps a musical third, as the volume of sound diminishes 
toward the end : U'c-r-o. tir-c-o. "Ci'-o Ttr-o 'Ci'cc. \ song heard some years 
ago at the head of Lake Chelan, irccloo wccloo wccloocc loocc, seemed to have 
all the nuisic of perfected x^iuiinsouii in it. yet it was not till the season of 
ir;oS that Mr. Howies established the fact of the Olive-back's presence and the 
Kusset-back's absence from the Slehekin N'alley. On the other hand. Ridg- 
w.ty finds that l)oth forms sometimes occur together, even during the breeding 
season; so we are not yet i)repared to make generalizations as to the relative 
distriluition of these birds in Washington. 



No. Q.S. 

ALASK.X Ili:RMir TIIRISH. 

A. ( 1. r. Xo. 739. Hylocichla guttata 1 ralla>). 

Synonym. — K.\i>i.\k Dw \ki- Tiikism (Ridgw. ). 

Description. — .Idtilt: I'pperparts plaiTi grayish brown (hair brown to near 
broccoli brown ) changing on riniijis to dull cinnamon-brown of upjicr tail-coverts 
and tail: a |>rominent wliiti^h orbital ring: sides of head luingled grayish brown 
and (lull whitish; under])arts dull white, clear only on belly. — throat and breast 
tinged with |)alc creamy bulT: sides and tianks washed with pale grayish brown; 
throat in continent chain on side and lower throat, chest and upper breast — 
s|)otted with dusky or sooty, the spots narrow and wedge-shaped on lower throat, 
broadening and deepening on chest, fading and becoming rounded on breast. 
Hill drab brown paling on mandible ba'^ally : feet and leg'; brown ; iris dark brown. 
ll'iiili'r specimens are brighter and more strongly colored thruont. Yoiiin/ birds 
are streaked with bntTy above and the siiotting of un<ler])arts inclines to bars on 
breast ami sides. Length f>. .^0-7.40 (1^0-188); wing 3.46 (88); tail 2.52 (64); 
bill .50 ( IJ.7 I : tar-n< 1.14 (29). 

Recognition Marks. — Sjiarrow size; cinnamon of tail (and iip])er-covcrts 1 
coiurasting more or less with duller brown of remaining uppcrparts. 

Nestinj;. — F^oes not breed in Washington. Xrst and lif/fis as in //. g 
si'iiiioii-iisis. 

General Ran^e. — Coast di'^trict of .\Iaska breeding northward and wcNtward 



THE SIERRA HERMIT THRUSH. 237 

from Cross Sound ; southward in winter as far as Texas and western Mexico, 
migrating chiefly coastwise. 

Range in Washington. — Spring and fall migrant west of the Cascades. 

Migrations. — Spriiuj: Tacoma, April 15, 1905 (J. H. ISuwles). /•'fl//; Seattle 
Sept. 21, 1907 (Jennie V. Getty). 

Authorities. — Bowles and Dawson, Auk, XX\'. Oct. 1908, p. 48,^. 

Specimens. — P( Alaskan). Prov. 11. 

.MjOL'T all we can certify to, so far, is that there are twi) 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 
W'ashington are pnjbably //. g. seqiioieusis, en route to or from their breeding- 
haunts in the high Cascades; while if any are ever captured in the mountains 
of Stevens County, they will probably prove to be of the H. g. aiiduhoni tvpe, 
which prevails in the eastern portion of British Columbia. 



No. q6. 

SIERRA HP:RMIT THRUSH. 

A. O. U. Xo. 759 part. Hylocichia guttata sequoiensis (Lidding). 

Synonyms. — Western Hi-rmii' Thiu'sh. Cascade IlER.NtiT TiiKfsir. 
MoiNTAiN Hermit. 

Description. — Similar in coloration to H. guttata but larger, paler and grayer. 
.Adult male: wing 3.65 (92.8) ; tail 2.83 I71.8) ; bill .53 (13.5) ; tarsus 1.12 (28.4). 

Recognition Marks. — .\s in H. guttata. 

Nesting. — Scst: of bark-strips, grasses, leaves and moss, lined with tine 
rootlets, placed on ground in thickets or at moderate heights in lir trees. Eggs: 
3 or 4, greenish blue unmarked — not certainly distinguishable from those of the 
Willow Thrush. .\v. size, .85 x .65 ( 21.6 .\ 16.5). Season: June, Jul}': <inc 
brood. 

General Range. — Mountains of the Cascade-Sierra system and from Mt. 
W'hitncv north thru central ISritish Columbia, etc., to the Yukon River; south in 
winter to l^owcr California, Sonora, etc. 

Range in Washington. — Common .summer resident in the Cascade Moun- 
tains — further distinction undetermined. 

Authorities. — Dawson, .\uk, \'ol. XX\'. Oct. 1908, p. 483. 

Specimens. — D. 



rWE SIERRA HERMIT THi%.Sll. 



\\ lll'.X asked ii> iiaim- tlic l)cst songster <>f Wasliiiigttui, I answer, nn- 
Iicsitatinj,'l\ , tlie Hermit Tlirusli. Ft is not tlial the bird cliooscs for liis lionie 
tlie icv slopes and stunted forests of tlie Iiigli Cascades, tlio that were evidence 
enoujjli of a |ioetic nature. It is not for any marked vivacity, or |K"rsonal 
cl)arin of the singer, that we praise Itis song; tlie bird is gentle, shy. and un- 
assuming, and it is only rarely that one may even see him. It is not that he 
e.xccls in teclniii|iie such conscious artists as the Catbird, the Thrasher, and the 

Mockingbird ; the 
mere com]jarison is 
odious. The song of 
the I lermit Thrush 
is a thing a])art. It 

^ ^^^ ^ is sacred music, not 

^«*^Wi ^^^H6 secular. H a \ i n g 

■J^^*^ -"^^^^^K. nothing of the dash 

and a b a n d o n of 
Wren or Ouzel, least 
of all the siKjrtive 
m o c k e r y of the 
Long-tailed Chat, it 
is the pure offering 
of a shriven soul, 
holding acce|)table 
converse with high 
heaven. N'<» voice of 
solcnin-pealing or- 
gan or cathedral 
choir at vespers ever 
hymns the parting 
«lay more fittingly 
than lliis appointetl 
chorister of the eter- 
nal hills. Mounte<l 
on the chancel of 
some low - crowned 
fir tree, the bird looks calmly at the setting sun. and slowly jihrases his worshiji 
in such dulcet tones, exalted, pure, serene, as must haunt tlie cnrri<lors of 
memory forever after. 

Voii <lo not have to approve of the Hermit Thrush. — nor of I'.n.wning. 
nor of Shelley, nor of Keats. The writer once lost a subscrii»tioii to "The Birds 
of Washington. Patrons" Edition. He Luxe. Limited to One Hundred Copies" 
and all that, you know, because he ventured to defend Rri>wning. "No; I do 




SIKHKA UF.KMIT TUKT 



THE SIERRA HERMIT THRUSH. 



239 




J'akeii in Raniur Kational Park. From a Phatograpli Copyright, 190S, by IV. L. Dawson. 

FOOT OF NISQUALLY GLACIER FROM GOVERNMENT ROAU. 

A CHARACTERISTIC HAUNT OF THE SIERRA HERMIT THRUSH. 

not want your hird-ljook." Quite right, Madrunc. it wmild lia\'c been a waste 
of money — for xou. But T lia\e iieard tlie lierniii Thrush. 

"All, 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 li\ing before that. 
And also you are ii\ing after; » 
And tlie 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, nn d(^ubt. 
Yet a hand's breadth of it shines alone 
'Mid the blank miles .'irnund ,'il)iiul: 



240 THE DWARF HERMIT THE%SH. 



"I'lir tlitrc I ])icki-(l up on tlie heallier, 
Aiul tlierc I ])ut inside my breast. 
A moulted featlier, ail eagle featlierl 
Well, I forget the rest." . 



No. <>7. 
DWARI IlKRMir rilRLSIl. 

A. O. l^. X<). 7591'. M> iDciihla >;iittata nana (.\u<l.). 

Synonyms. — I'acii-ic IIkrmit Tiirism. Sitkan DwARr TiiRisii (Ridg- 
way ) . 

Description. — "Similar to H. y. t/ullata 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 (8r>.8) ; tail 2.58 (65.5) ; bill .48 (12.2) ; tarsus 1.13 (28.8). 

Recognition Marks. — As in H. (/utlata. 

Nesting. — As in //. </. scqiioiciisis. 

General Range.— Pacific coast district, breeding from western Oregon ("pre- 
sumably ) iKirtb to Cross Sound, Alaska; south in winter to Southwestern States. 

Range in Washington. — Probably common but little known, during migra- 
tions. Presumably resident in sunuiier west of the Cascades. 

Authorities. — ? Turdus nanus .\udulK)n. Orn. I'.iog. \'. \^y). 201 (Columbia 
R.) :- Town send. Journ. .\c. Xat. Sci. Phila. \'I1I. 18^9. 11;^ (Col. R. ) Belding, 
L. P.. I'. I). i8<;o. p. 254 (Walla Walla. ]. W. Williams. 1885). 

Specimens. — U. of W. Prov. !•*. 

A? one i)asses thru the woods in middle .\pril while the vine niajiles 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 character.s. 
the bird flits to a branch a little higher up and more removed, to stand motion- 
less for a minute or so. or else to chuckle softly with each twinkle of the ready 
wings. By following ([uietly 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 <listinctly s|>otted than is the case with the 
Russet-backed Thrush. 

This bird will not tarry with us. imless it may choose to li.umt the .soli- 
tudes of the Olympics. In the vicinity of Sitka, however. Mr. J. Oinnell re- 



THE AMERICAN ROBIN. 241 

ports the species as "very common e\'er\\vhere, especially on the small wooded 
'islands.' "^ 

When disturbed in its nesting haunts the Hermit Thrtish has a nasal 
scolding cry, not tmlike that of the Oregon Towhee. This note lacks the 
emphasis of Towhee's, tho its dual character is still apparent — Murrry or 
Mtirre. 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 ])agan. 



No. 98. 

AMERICAN ROBIN. 

A. O. IT. No. ,761. Planesticiis migratoriiis (Linn.). 

Synonym. — Eastern Robix. 

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 belly and lining of wings cinnamon-rufous; lower belly and 
crissum white, touched irregularly with slate; bill yellow with blackish tip; feet 
blackish with yellowish soles. Adult female: Similar to male, but dtiller; black 
of head veiled by brownish. Adults in tiinfcr: Upperparts tinged with brown, 
the rufous featliers, especially on belly, with white skirtings. Imutaturc: Simi- 
lar to adult, but head about the color of back; rufous of underparts paler or 
more ochraceous. l^ery young birds are black spotted, above and below. Length 
about 10.00 C254) ; wing 5.08 (129) ; tail 3.75 (95.3) ; bill .78 (19.8). 

Recognition Marks. — "Robin" size; cinnamon-rufous breast; the "corners" 
of the tail conspicuously white-tipped, as distinguished from P. in. propinquus. 

Nesting. — Does not breed in Washington. Nest and eggs as in next Lsub) 
species, save that eggs 4 or 5, sometimes 6. 

General Range. — Eastern and northern North America westward nearly to 
the Rock\- Motnitains 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 Western States during 
migration. 

Range in Washington. — An early spring (and late fall?) migrant, both 
sides of the Cascades. Winters sparinglv on Puget Sound. 

Authorities. — I'urdus ini</inti>yiiis Brewster, ?>. N. O. C. \'II., Oct. 1882, 
p. 227. B. E. 

Specimens. — R. E. 



a. .\ulc. Vol. XV., April, 1898, p. 130. 



242 TlIK WESTERN ROBIN" 

A SMAI.I. ])r"iM(rtii>n. imt over <>nc per ccMit. of tlie Rollins which annii- 
ally cross our l>onlcrs liave enough white in the "corners" of their tails to pro- 
claim them true "Americans." The tlifference is striking and luimistakable, 
and we feel sure tlial we have iiere, not a diancc variation, but an alien ele- 
ment, a slender stream of migration diverted from the acciistome<l channels 
of typical /'. iiiitiniliiriiis, and straggling down, or up. on the wrong side of 
tile Rockies. W'iicn it is remembered tlial the American Roljin winters in 
I'lorida and the Culf States, and that its spring nugrations take it as far west 
as the Kowak River, in Alaska, that is. due northwest from .\tlanta. it is less 
surprising tiiat the l)irds sliould occasionally Ix'ar west nortliwcst instead, and 
so make Wasliingtou en route. It is almost certain that this is tlie case, for 
the wintering birds west of the Rockies and in Mexico are invariablv of the 
western type, propiiiquus. 



No. <><>. 

WESTERN ROHIX. 

.\. ( ). V. Xn. yCm\. IManesticiis miKratoriiis propiiuitiiis ( Ridgw."). 

Description. — Similar to /'. titiijrulnrius. but while on inner webs of outer 
rectrices much reduced or wanting: gray of U])perparts 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.^5 t2f<o.i,): wing 5.52 (1401: tail 4.1,^ ( 105 » : bill .80 (20.3); tarsus 
l._^4 (34.1 ). I'eniales slightly smaller. 

Recognition Marks. -"Robin" size: ciiniamoii-rufous below — everyone 
knows the Robin — without white on "corners" of tail a.^ distinguished from 
preceding. 

Nesting;. — Nest: a thick-walled but shapely liowl of mu<l (rarely felted 
vegetable libers instead) set aboiu with twigs, leaves, string and trash, and lined 
with tine grass-stems: placed anywhere in trees or variously, but usually at 
niixleratc heights. E(l(js: 3 or 4. rarely 3: greenish blue, ninnarkcd. Av. size 
1. 15 X .70 I 2<).2 X 20.1 I. Sciisoii: .\pril 15-July 10: two bn»)ds. 

General Rang;e.- — Western North .America from the Rocky Mountains to 
the Pacilic. north to limit of trees in coast forest district in .Alaska: south thru 
highlands of Mexico and occasionally Cuateniala : breeding nearly tbruout its 
range. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident and migrant tbruout 
the Stale, more common in settled portions: rare in moimtains save in vicinity 
of settlemein>- : irregularlv resident in winter, sometimes abundantly on I'uget 
Sound. 

Migrations. — Spriiu/: West-side, last week in l"ebruary ; East-side, first or 
second week in March, roll: fVtober. 



THE WESTERN ROBIN. 



243 



Authorities. — [Lewis and Clark, Hist. Ex. 1814 Ed. liiddlc: Coucs, \'ol. II. 
p. 185.] Turdus (pkuiesticus) iniyratoriits, Linn, Baird, Re]). Pac. R. R. Surv. 
IX. pt. II. 1858, p. 219. (T.) C&S. L'. Rh. D'. Sr. Kb. Ra. D-\ Ss'. Ss-^. Kk. 
J. R. E. 

Specimens. — U. of \V. P'. Prov. liN. B. E. 

THERE are, it may be, a ibousand fruits, sweet, acid or spicy, wbicii 
delight the palate of man, yet if we were forced to choose among them, not 
many of us would fail to reserxe the a])i)le. In like manner, we could jierhaps 
least afford to spare our tried and trusted, old, familiar friend, the Robin. 
He is a staple. 

Everybody knows Robin. He is part and ]jarcel of springtime, chief 
herald, chief poet, and lord high reveller 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, while 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 ? The fruit-growtr never had a more 
useful hired man; and it is written: "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that 
trcadeth out the corn." I wonder if we realize how much of life's good cheer 
and fond enspiriting we owe to this familiar bird. 

Near the close of a burning 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 




n Oregov. PJwto by IV. L 
B.ACK l-ROM M.XRKKT. 



l-'intcy. 



244 



THE WESTERN ROBIN? 



Ii.id iR'vcr srcii aiiytliiiig more patliclic tliaii tlie stiiljlK)rn faitli of tlic man who 
had (Iri'amcil <>f rearing a home amidst such desolation. How could a man be 
ha|)|>y here? and how ilare he bring a wife and tender children to share 
such a forlorn iiope? W'iiy. tiie wilderness around had raised nothing but 
sage-brush and jack-rabbits for countless millenniums; but here in this tiny 
oasis were locust trees and poplars. .\nd here, as the .sun sank low in the West, 
a Roi)in burst into song. The nearest human neigiibor was miles away, and 
the nearest timi)er further. Vet here was this iKJine-loving Robin, this re- 
incarnation of childhood's friend, pouring out in tiie familiar cadence of oUl 
his tiianksgiv ing for shelter an<l food, his praise for joy of life and gladness 
to the Almighty, who is Father of all. And then I understood. 

The Robin's song in its common form is too well known to reipiire 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, but out of these come tiie varied greens which lieautify the world; the 

homely I^iping 
of the Robin 
has given birth 
to ma n y a 
heaven-directed 
aspiration, and 
purged manv a 
soul of guilty 
intent. Robin 
conceives many 
passages whicli 
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 readies his compass again, he resumes, not wliere he left otT but at the 
end of the unheard passage. It must l)e confesse<l, however reluctantly, that 
the song of tlie Western Robin is a little more subdued in character than that 
of the Eastern. The bird is a little less devoted to his art, and the total 
volume of sound yielded by any one chorus has never equalled, in my experi- 
ence, that of a similar effort in the East. 

When tlie 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 




Sl'NSKT .\T TUi; KOmS ROOST. 



THE WESTERN ROBIN. 245 



willing to \vai\e the prnprieties for a few nionients _\-ou will hear Inw nuirniurs 
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 \ irtues of the deceased are set forth in a coronach 
of surpassing woe, and the widnwer tleclares himself forever comfortless. 
It is not well, of course, tn incpiire lixi particularly as to the duration of this 
bereaved state — we arc all human. 

In spite of his fondness f(ir human society, there arc twu periods of 
retirement in Robin's year. The first occurs in March and early April, and 
ma)' 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 tlie 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 become 
common about the streets and yards of village and town, partners have usually 
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 ri\al, beak and claw, till lie is citlicr Ihoroly 
winded or killed otit right. 

In late July and August Robins again forsake their familiar haunts, and 
spend the moulting season i:i the woods, moving about like ghosts in great 
straggling, silent companies. When the 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. 

Robins occasionally winter on the east side of the mountains; and they 
are hard put to it unless they find a sufficient supply of ungathcred fruit, 
preferably apples, left out to freeze or rot as the season dictates. West of 
the mountains they winter irregularly but quite e.xtensively. There is noth- 
ing in the climate to forbid their staying all the time but 1 am inclined to 
think that their abundance in winter depends upon the berrv crop, and espec- 
ially that of the ^ladrona (Arhutits lucnzicsii). The fall of 1907 was 
notable in this regard. The trees were in splendid bearing, and a certain 
patch c)n the bluff south of Fauntlerf)y Park was a gorgeous l)laze 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 Rollins. 

In nesting, the Robin dis])lays little cautiun, its homely mud-walled cup 



246 



THE WESTERN ROBIN 



nut lx*injj w illulrawii t'nmi must familiar observation. IndetM, as in the case 
of tlic accompanv in}^ illustration, tlie bird ai)iK'ars ratbcr to court notoriety. 
The major crotdu-s of orcliani or shade trees are not sliunned. From five 

to fifteen feet is the 
usual elevation, but 
nests are sometimes 
ff)und at fifty feet: 
and again, tho rare- 
ly, on the ground. 
Window sills and 
l)eams of porches, 
hams, and outbuild- 
ings are favorite 
places, and, in de- 
fault of these, brusli- 
piles or log-heaps 
will <lo. 

The mud used in 
construction is, of 
course, carried in the 
beak. Arrived at 
tlie nest witii a beak- 
ful of mud, tlie 
mother bird drops 
iier load, or plasters 
it loosely on the in- 
side of the cup. 
Then she hops into 
the nest, settles as 
low as |)OssibIe, and 
l)egins to kick or 
trample vigorously 
with her feet. From 
time to time she 
tests tlie smoothness 
or roundness of the 
job by settling to it 
with her breast, but 
altogctlier accoinplislied in tlie peculiar tedder action of 




From 11 riiotografih L opyrigUt, 1908. by /, 
Tlir. RoniXS NF.ST. 



the siiaiiiiig 
her feet. 

On the other hand, oik- Robins nest wliicli I found in the open sage had 
no mud in its construction ;mh1 was altogether com]»osed of felted \egetal)le 



THE WESTERN ROBIN. 



247 



materials. AiimiIrt freak nc>\. in Spokane, showed a iialchet handle firmly 
imbedded in its loundatiim and projecting from it a distance of six inches. 
The presence of the handle was not adventitious, for the nest was saddled on a 
pine branch, but it is dit^cult to conceive how the birfls could have placed it in 
position at a height of fifteen feet. 

Three eggs is the rule for the Western R(;bin; four is not unusual; but 
In e 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 b\- 
everyone, — even by 
the cat. And hun- 
gry ! 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 dail}- 
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- 
nually slaughtered by unthinking people because of a rumored fondness 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 year, while injurious insects constitute more than one-third. 
Robins in the cherry trees arc provoking, especially when they bring the 
whole family and camp out; but there is one way to limit their depredations 
without destroying. these most distinguished helpers; plant 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 swarming with Robins, 
while neighboring fruit trees were almost untouched. ^ The plan is simple, 
humane, and efficacious. 




A ROBIN B.\BV. 



248 THE VARIED THRUSH * 

No. loo. 

VARIED TllRlSII. 

A. f). L'. N'o. 763. Ixoreus nsevius (Gmclinj. 

Synonyms. — Molnt.mn Rduin. Wintkk Rnitix. ()ki:g<jn Robin. Co- 
lumbian RnlllN. \'.\RIKD RoItlN. P.MNTEU RoUI.V. 

Description. — Adult male: .\bovc dark slatc-culor (plumbeous slate to 
blackish slate), sonietiines, especially in winter, tinjjetl with olivaceous; wings 
(luskv edged more or less with slaty, the tlight- feathers varied by tx'hraceous- 
bufF, the midtlle and greater coverts tipped broadly with tawny or ocliraceous 
forming two conspicuiius bars; tail blackish, the outermost or several lateral 
rectrices tipped with white on inner web; a conspicuous lateral liead-stri|)e 
originating above eye and i)assing backward to nape ocliraceous or ochraccous- 
buft; area on side of head, including lores, sul)orbital space and auriculars, black 
or slaty-black connected narrowly on side of neck with a cons|)icuous ])ectoral 
collar of the same shade; chin, throat and remaining underi)arts tawny (or ochra- 
ceous-tawny to ochraceous-buff ), |)aling on sides and llanks where feathers 
broadly margined with slaty-gray, changing to white on abdomen ; under tail- 
coverts mingieil white, slaty and ochracef)Us; axillars and under wing-coverts 
white basally broadly ti])ped with slaty-gray and under surface of flight- feathers 
crossed basally by band of white or buftish. I'ill brownish black paling basally 
on mandible: feet and legs ochre-brown; irides brown. Adult female: Similar 
to ailult male hut paler and duller; upi)eri)arts olive-slaty to olive brownish; 
tawny of uiideri)arts much jKiler and ])ectoral collar narrower, of the shade of 
back or a little darker ; more extensively white on abdomen : Youiuj birds: Like 
adult female but more yellowish ocliraceous below ; pectoral band indistinct 
composed of ocliraceous feathers having darker edges; other feathers of throat 
and breast more or less tippeil with olive dusky. Length of adult </ 50-10.00 
( 241-254 » ; wing 4.02 (125 ) : tail 3.43 (87) ; bill .83 ( 21 ) ; tarsus .87 ( 22 ). 

RecoRnition Marks. — Robin size: blackish collar distinctive; wings con- 
sj)icuonsly varied by tawny markings; head pattern distinctive — otherwise very 
Robin-like in bearing and deportment. 

Nesting. — Xest: of sticks, twigs, grasses and rotten wowl smothered in 
moss, a bulky, handsome structure placcil in saplings or trees at moderate heights 
without atteiiii)t at concealment. lujc/s: usually 3, rarely 4, greenish blue spar- 
ingly speckled or s])otted, rarely blotched with dark brown. .\v. size i.i2x.8o 
(28.4x20.3). Season: .\pril 20-May to, June 10-julyi : two broods. 

General Ranjje. — Mountains and forests of western North .America, breed- 
ing from uortlu-rn California (Humboldt County) to northern .\laska. wintering 
from Kailiak l>land to -iiuilurii California 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 cast of the main tlivides (Cascade). 

Authorities. — [Lewis and Clark, Hist. Ex. (1814), Kd. Riddle; Coucs, \ol. 
II., J). 1S4I. Tiirdiis iiir.iiis. Baird, Rep. I'ac. R. R. Surv. IX., i8i;8, pp. 211 
( "Simiahmoo. \V. T." ). 220. T. C&S. L-. D'. Kb. Ra. Kk. J. B. E. 

Specimens.— r. of \V. 1". Prov. B. E. 



THE VARIED THRUSH. 



249 



XO ; il docs nul always rain in western Washinglon. Sd far is this from 
being the case, that 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 dry latterly, and we begin to wonder 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 \\cli-f( ">|(t. iicvcnhrlcss. l(i\cs tlio rain, 
and will exchange a garish sky 
for a gentle drizzle any day in the 
year. The \'aried Thrush is a 
true Wcb-footcr. He loves rain 
as a fish loves water. It is his 
native element and \ital air. He 
cndtu-es dry weatlicr, indeed, as 
all i->f us shuiild, with calm stoi- 
cism. Lchriic cii Icidcn ohiic cii 
khigcn, as poor Emperor Freder- 
ick II, the beloved "Unser Frit::," 
used to say. But the Varied 
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 
jjoet-asters shrill the notes of 
common day. Uut 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 wdiich is 
dearer than silence, and our 
poet Thrush wakes uj). 1 Ic 
mounts the chancel of some fir 
tree and utters at intervals a sin- ''^"'■' 
gle long-drawn note of brooding 
melancholy and exalted beauty, — 
a voice stranger than the .sound of any instrument, a waif echo siranding 
on the shores of time. 




Raitikr .\\ilio„al Park, 
a PUotograph Copyright, 1908, by IV. 

.\ MORNING IN I'.\R.\I)ISK, 



THE VARIED THRUSI* 



llicrc is nil smiiul of tlic wcslcni woods more siibtlc,more mysterious, more 
llirilliii),' witlial. tliaii this passion sung of tlic N'aricd Tlirnsli. Somljcr depths, 
(lrippinj4 fuliajie, and the distant gnrjjhng of dark brown waters are its fitting 
acconii)aniineiits; l»nt it serves sumeliow to call up before the mind's eye the un- 
sealed heights and the initried deeps of experience. It is suggestive, elusive, and 
wliiitwicaily liallliitg. .\e\er ciilc.rli'>,s. it i-; also never ])ersonal, and its weird 

extra-mundane (juality reminds 
one of anti(|ue china reds, or re- 
calls the sulj<lueil luridness of 
certain ancient frescoes. More- 
over, this bird can fling his 
voice at you as well from the 
tree-top as from the ground, 
now right, now left, the while 
he sits motionless uiH)ti a branch 
not fifteen feet alx)ve you. 

I'antastic and varied as is 
this single note which is the 
Thrush's song, it may be fairly 
re])roduced by a high-pitched 
wiiistle combined witli a vf>cal 
undertone. At least, this imi- 
tation satisfies the bird, and it 
is jKissible to engage one after 
another of them in a sort of 
vocal contest in which curiosity 
and jealousy play uiu|uestionetl 
parts. Sometimes the Thrush's 
note is (|uite out of reach, but 
as often it descends to low 
pitciies. while now and tiien it 
is tialled and the resonance 
crowded out of it, with an in- 
flescribable effect up<in tlie lis- 
tener, somewhere between ad- 
miration and disgust. At otiier 
times a trill is introduced, 
which can Ik- taken care of by a 
trained palate, in adilition to the 
vocal soimd and tlie whistle. 
In a uniipie ilegrce tlie X'aried Thruslies are found thruout the forest 
depliis. ('liven tall limber and plenty i<\ it. the precise altitude or location are 




\.lllnn,tl r.jrb. riiolo by 

r.i\ i:n tai.i. TiNinKK ■ 



THE VARIED THRUSH. 251 



matters of no consequence. The prettiest compliment that Nature can pa_\' to 
the genuine wildness of Ravenna Park, in Seattle, or Defiance Park, in Tacoma. 
is the continued presence of the Varied Thrush in nesting time. Run a survey 
line across any timbered valley of western Washington, or up an\- limbered 
slope of the Cascades or Olympics, and the bird most certainly encountered, 
without reference to local to])ograi)hy or presumed preference, will be the 
X'aried Thrush. The bird may likewise be found aniou^- the larches and 
cedars of the Calispell Range. 

The \'aried Thrush is known b_\' a \ariety of names, none more persistent 
or fitting than \\'inter Roljin. 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 nuich more shy than the Robin, and altho it moves about in straggling com- 
panies, and does not shun cit\' ])arks, 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 quality may soon be recognized as dis- 
tinctive. 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 very 
much more subdued. This is manifestly an attempt to keep in touch with 
companions, while at the same time attracting as little hostile attention as 
possible. This note is, therefore, barel_\- audible, and has \-ery Htlle nnisical 
f|ualitv. aanic, or iiiir. 

The nesting of the \'aried Tlu'ush was most fully brought to light by 
Mr. D. E. Brown, at Glacier, in the season of 1905. Like some tireless re- 
triever, this ardent naturalist (juartered the mazes of the dense spruce forest 
which covers the floor of the Xorth 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 then, little-understood s])ecies. Of these, twentv-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 numlier. all were ])laccd in evergreen trees, 
save two. Of these last, one was set in ilie spHniers in the broken top of a 
willow, about fifteen feel u]): and the oiher was ]3laced in an u])righl crotch 
of an elderberr\- busli ;il four feel from the ground. 

Mere are the woods that abound in moss-bunches, — great balls of thrifty 
green which grow, without apparent excuse, alike from the flimsiest and from 
the most substantial su])ports. It is in view of the abundance of these, that 
the N'aried Thrush builds as it does, right out in the open of the underwood, 
near the top, or at least well uj), in a small fir tree. The searcher has only the 



25-' 



TIIK \ AKIKI) TIlKlSll* 



advantage i>f kiMwiii)^' iliat in mflcr t<> si-curc ailc<|iiatt* siipixirl tlic bird must 
build close uj) to the stem of tlie tree. Tlie only excc|)tion to this rule is when 
branches intersect, and so olTer additional strength. Owing to the fact that 




M Al.l. I-IK rHKK" 



the large timber aHords ciuisiderable protection to the younger growth below, 
and because of the superior construction of the nests, they prove very durable. 



THE VARIED THRUSH. 



253 



Old nests are common; and groups of lialf a dozen in tlie space of a single 
acre are evidently the consecutixe 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 nthcr nesting pair. 
In two instances, howexer, Mr. Brown found nests within three hun- 
dred yards of neigli- 
bors. 

W h e n one a])- 
proaches the center 
of a rcser\e, the 
brooding f e m a 1 e 
slips (|uietl\- from 
the nest and joins 
herniate in denounc- 
ing t h e intruder. 
The birds flit 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 (lisapjiear sil- 
ently; and the 
chances are that they 
will never again be 
seen in tliat lo- 
cality. 

A nest found on 
May loth, with two 
a ]x:iint ten feet out 




Taken at Glacier. 



Pholo by 

the Author. 



.MCST .\Nn EGCS OF \ARIKn THRUSH. 



on 



was revisited on the utli. It was saddled at 
leaning hemlock, wJiicii jutted from the river 
bank over the roaring Nooksack. The pr.)nniience oj the situation, in 
this instance, proved the owner's undoing. .\n 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, subovatc, of a slightly greenish blue, beauti- 
fully and heavily spotted— one might almost say' blotched— with rufous, 
the hanfi.somest. Mr. Brown savs. ever seen. 



254 THE WESTERN BLLElilKb. 

A iiii'if typical nest, frcslily cxamiiii-d, is placed at a liciglit of six feel in 
tlie tuj) of a tiny lir sapling, wiiicli rc(|uired the supjnjrt of a chance armful of 
leaning vine-niajjle poles. The nest jiroper is an iniinense affair, eight and a 
half inches deep and twelve inches hy eight in diameter outside, anil two and 
a half in depth and four in wiilth inside. It would weigh alxjut three |K)unds, 
and is, therefore, quite compact, altho the moss, which is the largest element 
in its com|)osition, holds a large quantity of moisture. Twigs from six inches 
to a foot in length enter into the exterior construction, and these are them- 
selves moss-bearing. Stripping off the outer moss-coat, one c(jmes 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-f|uarters of an inch in thickness, and comixjsed 
s<)lely of drietl grasses and moss, neatly woven 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 bark being ex- 
clusively employed for this purpo.se : while the finishing coat consists of moss, 
compacted and llawless. There are, in fact, few nests to com])are with that 
of tilt' \aried Thrush in strength, elaliorateness, and elegance. 



No. loi. 
WESTKRN HLl EHIRD. 

.\. ( ). r. \o. 767. Sialia mexicana occidentalis (Towns.). 

Synonyms. — C.m.ii'orma I!i.ri:niKi). .Mi:xic.\.v I'.LiKniK!). Townsk.nds 
I'mkhikd. 

Description. — .Idiilt molt': Head and neck all around and uppcrparts rich 
smalt blue, brighter on hindneck. rump and wings, paler on si<lcs of neck and on 
throat; the shafts of wiiig-t|uills and tail-feathers and the exposed tips of the 
former black : more or less chestnut on scapulars usually irregularly continuous 
across back; sides of breast an<l sides, coiUiinious across breast, chestnut; belly, 
flanks, crissuni and under tail-coverts dull grayish blue (cani|)anula blue to pearl 
blue). I'ill black; feet blackish; iris dark brown, hi whitrr touches of chestnut 
appear on crown, hindneck anrl sides of head and neck, and the blue of throat is 
slightly veiled by grayish brown skirting. Adult frnialc: Somewhat like male 
but everywhere ])aler and duller; blue of upperparts clear only on rump. tail, 
lesser and middle wing-covcrts and outer edges of primaries, there lighter than in 
male (cani])anula bhie to flax-flower bine 1 ; first primary and outerninst rectriccs 
edged with white; chestiuit of scajiulars obsolete, merged with dingy niottleil 
bluish or brownish-gray of remaining upperparts; exposed ti])s of remiges dusky; 
outer web of first primary whitish; blue of imderiiarts replaced by sordid bluish 
gray, and chestnut of suixlued tone (pale ciiuianion-rufous) veiled by grayish- 
brown tips of feathers. )'t>iiii(i hirds somewhat resemble the adult female but the 



THE WESTERN BLUEBIRD. 255 



blue is restricted to flight-tcatliers ami rcctrices, that of the male being brighter 
and bluer, that of the female duller and greener. In both sexes the back and 
scapular areas are brownish heavily and sharply streaked with white and the 
breast (jugulum, sides of breast, and sides) is dark sepia brown so heavily 
streaked with white as to appear "skeletonized." L.ength of adults 6.50-7.CX) 
( 165-177.8) : wing 4.13 ( 105) ; tail 2.80 (71 ) : bill .49 (12.5) ; tarsus .85 (21.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size; rich blue and chestnut coloring of 
male; darker blue coloration of wings in female distinctive as com])ared with that 
of S. curriicoidcs. 

Nesting. — Nest: in cavities, natural or artificial, old woodjiecker 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: Alay-July; two broods. 

General Range. — Pacific coast district from Los Angeles County. California, 
to British Columbia, extending irregularly eastward in Oregon, Washington and 
British Columbia, and to Idaho and western j\lontana ; 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 heavily timbered sections) east 
of the ninnntains ; casually resident in winter. 

Migrations. — Spring: c. March i; East-sitle : Chelan, Alarch g. 1896: Con- 
connully, March 15, 1896; West-side: Seattle. March 6. 1889; March 5, 1891 : 
Tacoma, Feb. 25, 1905. Fall: October. 

Authorities. — Sialia occidentalis, Townsend, Tourn. .Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. 
\'o]. \1I. pt. II. 1837, 188. Cc^S. L'. Rh. D'. Kb. Ra. D-\ Kk. J. B. E. 

Specimens. — l^. of W. Prov. I!. BN. 

MIL'-MW-MIU — mute yott are, or next thing to it. you naught\- little 
beauties! Why don't you sing, as do your cousins across the Rockies? You 
bring spring witli you, but you do not come shifting your "light load of song 
from ixjst to post along the cheerless fence." Is your beauty, then, so l)ur<len- 
some that you find it task enough to shift that? 

Alack-a-day! our Bluebird does not sing! You sec, he conies from 
Mexican stock, Sialia mexicana. 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. ]. K. Townsend^ says 
of the Western Bluebird: "Common on the Culunibia River in the spring. 
It arrives from the south early in April, and about the first V'eek 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 tlie winter of 1835. They con- 
fined themselves chiefly to the fences, occasionally llying 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 ])rocuring an insect 

.1. N.irr.ntive 0839), p. 344. 



256 THE WESTERN BLUEBimn 

tlie male usually returned to the fence again, and warbled for a minute most 
delightfully. This note altho somewhat like that of our C(jmmon U'tlsonii 
[i. c., .S". sialis], is still so different as to Ix' easily recognize<l. It is e(|ually 
sweet and clear hut t>f so little compass (at this season) as to be beard only a 
siiort distance. In tiie spring it is louder, hut it is at all times much less strong 
than that of the common s|)ecies." 

Dr. Brewer, condensing Xuttall, says": "He [Xuttall] speaks of its 
iiahits as exactly similar to those i)f the common Bluebird. The male is ecpial- 
ly tuneful tliruout the breeding-sea.son, and his song is also very similar. 
Like tiie c<»mmon s|)ecies he is very devoted to his mate, alternately feeding 
and caressing iier and entertaining her with bis song. This is a little more 
i'(inV(/. tender, and S7veel [editor's italics] than that <«f the Kasiern s|)ecies. and 
dilTers in its expressions." 

Our own Dr. Cooper testifies :'' "It also differs [i. e. from S. sialis] in its 
song, which is not so loud as sweet, and is curiously perfomied to sound as if 
two liirds were singing at once and in dilTercnt keys." Here the tradition 
begins to w-aver. More recent writers say : "The song of the Western Blue- 
bird is not full but is, like his tnanners, gentle and sweet" (Lord ) ; and, "It 
lias the soft warl)le of its kind" (Mrs. Bailey). But again Dr. Brewer 
writes:'^ "In regard to their song Mr. Ridgway states that be did not bear 
even during the ])airing season, any note approaching in sweetness, or indce<i 
similar to, the joyous spring warble which justly renders our ICastcrn Blue- 
bird iS. sialis) so universal a favorite." The doctors <lisagree. S<>me one 
iias been dreaming! 

All I can say is. that in an exi)erience I'f some sixteen seasons in Wash- 
ingtfui. I have never heard the Bluel)ird sing, or utter any note more preten- 
tious than the plaintive iiiiii already referred to. It has beside, however, a 
note of |)rotest. which sounds remotely like the hek of a distrtistful Guinea 
fowl : and it indulges certain very unmusical cluttering and clucking notes 
when endeavoring to attract the attention of its young. 

No; the Western Bluebird is no nnisician. but he is a l)eauty : and lie does 
have the same gentle courtesy of bearing wliich has endeared tiie 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 api)reciative. And as for the little Bluebirdses they are as well 
behaved a lot of children as ever crowned an earthly affection. 

Both parents are un.sparing in their devotion to the rising generation, and 
so thorolv is this unselfish spirit reflected in the conduct of the children that it 



». Baird. Brewer & Riitgwajr. Vol. I., o 6s (Rcprinll. 

b. Rtp. Pac. R R.. Siirv., Vol XII.. 1*59. p. i?i. 

c. Baird, Brewer & Ridjway. Land Birds. Vol. 1., p. 66 [Repnnll. 



THE WESTERN" r.I.l'El'.IRD. 



257 




Taken in Ort-t'on. 



Pi:''[o by Finlcy and Bohiinan 

m 

WF.STICRX l!I.in:HIKl) AT NEST. 



is the subject of frequent remark. .Mr. iMiiley tells^" of an instance in vvhicii 
a fir.st brood, just out of ])inafnris, liinied to and helped tlicir i)arents provide 
food for anotlu'r l)atc-li ni babies, and lliis not once, nnr twice, nor casuallv. 



a. "American Birrls," by William I.ovcll l-inky (1907). p. i/O. 



258 



THE WESTERN BLUEnr%I3. 



Imt rc{;iilarly. until \hv second l)i<»i(l win- well in.itmid. Instinct I Instinct! 
say yi>n'' I'lit. whcrcfur? Is it not ratiiiT a toreglcani of t-tliical lite, an out- 
cropping of that altruistic tendency which hints a deeper kinshi]) with the birds 
than we have yet confessed? 

And real gallantry between the sexes may not be less ethical. ( )n a day in 

Ohio, I locatetl a liluebird's nest in the knot-hole of an apple tree, and planted 

tiie camera in a commanding and somewhat threatening ])osition. The cavity 

held callow young, but after the parents bad visited their charges once and 

were somewhat relie\ed in anxiety. I saw a very ])retty |)assage which took 

place btlween iliiin. In a neighboring apple tree the male secured an elegrmt 

^ fat grub and was most devoutly thrashing it. when the 

^H female appeared upon the scene. With a coa.ving 

^H twitter she approached her mate: but he backed off. as 

^1 iiiucli as to say. "Wait. wait. dear, he isn't dead yet!" 

H But she was hungry and i)ressed her suit, until he 

H in good-nature<l impatience llitted across to another 

^^ limb. Here he whacked the worm vigorously, striking 

^M him first against one side of tiie limb and then against 

^p the other by a swinging motion of the bead. The 

f female followed her lord and cooed: "Oh. I know thai 

^B will ta.ste good. I'm! I hav'n't tasted one of those 

^ ^^T^^ while grubs for a week. So good of you. dearest! 

Rerdly. dont you think he is done now?" The \aliant 

husbanil gave the luckless grub just one more whack: 

and then, with every appearatice of satisfaction, he 

hoj)ped over toward his better half and ])laced the 

morsel in her waiting beak, while she received the 

1 favor with rpiivering wings and a soft fl<Nid of tender 

inkrn tliaiiks. Altogether I think I never saw a prettier exhi- 

I" bition of conjugal affection, gallantry, and genuine 

Sfokant. altruism than the sight afforded. It was not only like 
'''""' tiie behavior <if humans: it was like the best in human 

/• s life, a pattern rather than a copy, ai? inspirati(^n to 

Mrrrtii. noliiliiy aud gentleness of the very highest type. 
Iiluebirds have a decided preference for huiuan 
society, or at least are very cpiick to a])preciate the 
hospitality of proffered bird-lKixes. P.eing chiefly insectivorous, their presence 
is a iR-nediction to any neighlH>rhood. and is an es]>ecial advantage in the 
orchanl. A friend of mine in the East, who owns two young orchards and a 
small vineyard, maintains ui)on his premises u|)wards of fifty niiiebird Ix^xes. 
each coiuposed of a section of a hollow limb closed with a Inianl at top ami 
lM>ttom. and provitled with a neat augur hole in the side. The boxes are luade 




i.iTTi.K BOY ni.ui;. 



THE MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD. 259 



fast to tlie ai)ple-ti"ees or lodged at considerable inlervals along the intersecting 
fences. The experimenter finds that more than half nt the boxes are occnpied 
each season, and he counts the birds of inestimable \alne in helping to save the 
grapes and apples from the ravages of worms. 

In pro\ iding fur liluebird's comfort, care must be taken to expel cats 
from the i)remises : or at least to place the box in an inaccessible position. 
English Sparrows, also, must be shot at sight, for the Bltiebird, however 
valorous, is no match for a mob. Tree Swallows or Violet-greens may covet 
the nesting-bo.x — your affections are sure to be divided when these last appear 
upon the scene — but the Bluebirds can take care of themselves here. For the 
rest, do not make the bo.x 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, or the like. At the end of the season the box should be emptied, 
cleaned, and if possible sterilized. 

Two broods are raised in a season, and the species ap])ears to be on the 
increase in the more thickly settled portion of the State. Occidcntalis avoids 
the dry sections, and is nowhere common im the east side of the nmimtains, 
save during migrations. It is, however, regularly found on the timbered 
slopes of the Cascades, the Kalispell 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. ])er contra, the Bluebird affects the more open coimtry, and es- 
pecialh' that which has been prepared by fire and the donble-bilted axe. 



No. T02. 
MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD. 

.\. O. U. No. 76S. Sialia curnicoides ( r>cch stein). 

Synonym. — .\rctic Ri.tKniun. 

Description. — Adult male in siiiinncr: .\l)Ovc rich oerulean blue, palest 
(turquoise blue) on forehead, brightest on upjicr tail-coverts, darkest fscvres 
blue) on lesser wing-covcrts : below pale blue (deepest turquoise) on cliest. shading 
on sides of head and neck to color of back, paling on lower belly, crissum and 
under tail-coverts to whitish : cxj)osed tips of flight feathers dusky. I'ill and feet 
])Iack: iris dark brown. .Uiiilf male in winter: Blue somewhat duller and featliers 
skirted more or less with brownish aliovc and below, notalilv on hind-neck, upper 
back, lircast and sides. .Idiilt female: T-ike male but paler blue, clear on rump. 
fail and wings only, elsewhere quenched in gray: pileuin, hindneck. back and 



-•'K, THE MOUNTAIN BLUEBIFlD. 

scapulars inuiise-Kray tinged with grccnisli-l)liic ; oiiti-r i-dgc of first primary and 
ontcr wel) of oiitcrniost rcctrix, liasally, while; a whitish nrhital ring; ui)di-r])arts 
tiiifjcd with pall' lirownish jjray failing to whili- pfott-riorly. J'iikik/ /'in/.v snmi-- 
what ri'si-nililc the adult female hut are even duller; the hlue of rump and upper 
tail-coverts is replaced liy ashy gray; the hack is streaked with white; the throat 
and jugulum are pale gray indistinctly streaked with wliitish ; chest, sides and 
flanks hroadly streaked with drah. each feather having a white center. Length 
7.00 ( 177.8) or over; wing 4.^0 (117); tail 2.83 (72); hill .53 (13.4); tarsus 
.8<^ (22.6». 

Recognition Marks. — Sjiarrow size; azure hlue coloration of male ami 
hluish-gray and azure of female unmistakahle. 

Nesting. — .V('.v/; much as in i)receding species. Eggs: usually 3. uniform 
pale hlue sometimes very light hluish white, rarely ])ure white. .\v. size, .80 x .60 
( 20.3 X 15.2). Si-ason: May, June; two hnwds. 

General Range. — Mountain districts of western North .\merica north to the 
Mackenzie and Yukon Territory, hreeding eastward to the I'llack Hills and 
western Texas, westward to the Cascade-Sierras, southward to the higher ranges 
of .\rizona. New Mexico and Chihuahua, in winter irregularly eastward upon the 
dreat ]>lains and southward to snuthern California. I,r>wer California, etc. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident in the Cascade Mountains chiefly 
>>n the eastern slo])cs ( l)ut west to Mt. Rainier); common during migrations and 
irregularly resident in summer u|)on lower levels east of the Cascades ( W'alhila. 
.May 15, 11)07. hreeding). 

Migrations. — Spriuij: Chelan. I'eh. 24, 181/1; Concomuilly, March 15. i8<>6; 
Alit.inum, M.irch 13, irpo. 

Authorities.— .S"i(i/irt dn/iV,; Brewster, 1'.. N. < ). C. \ II. Oct. 1882. y. 227. 
T. I.'. D'. I)--. Ss'. J. 

Specimens. — P'. I'rov. C. 

.\ BIT of heaven's hlue incarnate! We shall not stoj) to chide this ex- 
quisite creature that he does not sing. Wliy should he' It is enough to 
inspire song. 

The sky has not fallen this heauliful morn. 
But here is its messenger conie to adorn 
For a nionieiit mir wayside, and bring to our sight 
Tn svnihol of azure, a vision of right. 

So hiipefid. cont'iding. thou hrnve niouiit;iineer. 
Thou hringest t'> .\pril a niighly good cheer. 
Chill winter is vanrpiished, his rigors forgot. 
The Lord is on earth. — what else, matters not. 

The Miiunlain Bluehird is of regular occurrence hut of very irregular 
distrihntion in eastern Washington, aiul is scarcely known west of the Cas- 
cades. John Fannin found it in British C'olunihia "west occasionallv, to 
Chilliwack, and other |K>inls on the lower Fraser : also X'anci'uver Island." hut 



THE MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD. 261 



wi.' li;i\c only iwo records of its occurrence cjii llie Pacific slope in W'asliing- 
lon". The bird ranges up to liie higliest peaks of the central divide, but it is 
not at all conmion in the mountains. It seems to prefer more open situations 
and, so far from being exclusively boreal in its tastes, has been found nesting 
at as low an altitude as Wallula, on the banks of the Columbia River. 

.\t Chelan in a typical season (1896) the migrations opened with the ap- 
pearance, on the J4th day of February, of seven males of most perfect beauty. 
They deployed upon the t(jwnsite in search of insects, and uttered plaintive 
notes of Sialian quality, varied by dainty, thrush-like tsooks of alarm when too 
closely pressed. They did not at an}' time attempt song, and the entire song 
tradition, including the "delightful warble" of Townsend, appears to be cpiite 
without foundation, as in the ca.se of S. 111. occidoitalis. On the 15th of March 
a flock of fift\- Bluebirds, all males, were sighted flying in close order o\-er the 
mountain-side, a vision of loveliness which was enhanced by the presence of a 
dozen or more Westerns. Sexeral 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 ".\rctics" 
now. and at least a third of them females, quartered theinselves upon us for a 
da\-. — with what delighted appreciation 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 bird flits from post to ])ost. 

In nesting. Mountain Bluebirds sometimes di.splay the same confidence 
shown by the darker species; and their adoption into urban, or at least village 
life, would seem to be only a matter of time. They are a gentle breed, and it 
is an honor of which we may well stri\e to prove wortlu'. to be chosen as 
hosts by these distinguished gentlefolk. 

"Cicntle." as a])])lied to lUucbirds. has alwaxs 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 who 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 feel thru. Five dainty eggs 
of the palest possible blue rested at tlie bottom of the cavity on a soft cushion 
of fine grasses. 

This must have been a typical structure, but near Chelan I found the birds 
nesting at the end of a tunnel drixen into a perpendicular bank much fre- 



a. First record by R. H. I..iwrcncc: Two seen on Stevens Prairie [Gray's Harbor County] April 22 
[1891] (yidc .^uk, Vol. IX., Jan. 1892. p. 47). Second record by ttic autlior: Male and female with 
five full. grown young encountered near Sluiskin Falls on Mt. Rainier, July ;. 1908. at an altitude of 
£500 feet. 



262 11 II-: WESTERN GOLDEN-CROWNeM.KINGLET. 

i|iifntc'u 1)\' Itank Swalli'Ws. TIr- original miner niij,'lil liavc Ix-en a Swallow, 
but the llhu-hinls had certainly enlarged the hole and ronmled it. There were 
no available trees for a mile or so aronnd, but — well, really now. it did give one 
a tmii to see this bit of heaven (|nench itself in the grouixl — for love's sake. 



No. 103. 

WKS'IFRX GOLDEN-C'ROWXEn KIXrj.KT. 

A. ( >. r. \". 74X. ReKidus satrapa olivaceus I'.ainl. 

Description. — .lihilt innlr: C"ni\vii-iiaii.li i (lartially concealed) bright orange 
nr flanu'-color (cadmium orange 1 : a i>ordiT of plain yellow feathers overlying 
the orange on the sides; these in turn bordered by black in front anil on sides; 
extreme forehead white, connecting with white superciliary strii>e: a dark line 
thru eve; al)ovc bright olive-green, becoming olive-gray on nape and sido 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 dnskv-washed. or tf>uchcd on sides with ohvaceous. .\dult female: 
Similar, but with crown-patch plain yellow instead of orange. Iniina'urc: 
Without crown-i)atch or lM>rdering black, gradually ac(|uiring these thru gradation 
of color. Length alnnu 4.00 (ioi.^)i: wing 2.\fy ' .t5 ' ^ '•">'' '-57 U"': '•'" •-') 
( 7.3) ; tarsus .67 ( i"). 

Recognition Marks. — Pygmy size: orange, or yellow, and black of crown 
ilistinctive. 

Nesting. -.Vt-.v/. l:i>hed to and largely concealed by drtx ping twigs on Muder 
side of fir bough near tip, an ex<|uisite ball of mosses, lichens. liverwort. tine grasses, 
etc.; bound together with cobwebs and lined with the softest materials, vegetable- 
down, cow-hair, and feathers. .V---" inches in diameter, and placed from live feet 
up. Eijys: --<). rarely 10 (one of 11 on record I. sometimes in two layers, dull 
white, cream white, or sordid cream-color, finely sprinkled or not with i)ale wood- 
brown or dull rufous, and sometimes, obscurely, with lavender. .\v. size. .34 x .40 
( 13.7 X 10.21. Season: .\pril i-July 1: two br<Mids. 

General Range. — Western \orth .America from Rocky Mountains to the 
Pacific Coast, southward in winter over highlands of Mexico to elevated districts 
of C.uatemala: breeding from Colorado (near timber-line), eastern Oregon 
(mountains near l-ort Klamath). Sierra Xevada (south to Mount Whitney), 
Mount Shasta, etc.. northward to Kenai Peninsula and Kadiak Island, .\laska. 

Range in Washington. — Common resident in coniferous timln-r (except 
pine) tbniout the State, sea-level to limit of trees, less common east of Casca<les. 
where numbers greatly augmented during migrations. 

Authorities.- !* To':^-nseiid. Jonrn. .\c. Xat. Sci. I'liila. \I1I. i8.V). I.s4 
(Columbia River). Ra/iiliis satrapa. l.icht. Baird, l\e]>. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 
I.t. II. 1X3S. |.. 22S (part). (T. I C&S. I,. Rh. IV. Kb. Ra. D-. Kk. R. E. 

Specimens.— r. of W. P. Prov. R. E. 



THE WESTERN GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET. 



263 



"CiOOD tilings coUK' dont.' up in sniali packages,"' my coik'gc cliuni used 
to say (speaking, of course, of /(/ fciuiiw pclilc ), and tiial was bef(jre lie knew 
the Golden-crowned Kinglet. Indeed, it is surprising how few peo]5le do 
know this aniialile little monarch: and _\et, I suppose, he is l)v all ixlds the most 
abundant bird in Washington. To .me who seeks the honor of his ac(|iiaint- 
ance, he pro\es a most delightful friend: hut he has his littk' mo(lesties and 
reserves, heci>iiiiiig to a potentate, so that a thousand (jf him would never be 
"common.'" nor ])all upon the senses. 

Kinglets g" in ir'in]H-^. faniih' ]):irlic<. wliirli !<ce]) a litth' to tlu'iii'^cK'es 
ord i narilv ; 
altlio Chick- 
adees and 
Xu thatches. 

r eve n 
Creepers 
and Wrens, 
are welcome 
messmates, 
in the friend 

1 y w inter 
time. F,\cr- 
green trees, 
exclusively, 
are frequent- 
ed, except 
(luring mi- 
grations up- 
on the East- 
side where 
the favorite 

cover is lacking, and the real ainindance of the birds at all seasons is coex- 
tensive with that of the Douglas Spruce I Psciidotsiiga douglasi). With 
tireless energy they search both bark and branches for insects' eggs and larv;e 
scarce visible to the human eye. They peer about incessantly, bending and 
darting and twisting and squirming, now hanging head downward, if need be, 
now fluttering prettily against the under side of tiie branch abo\e; but always 
on the go, until frequently one (les])airs 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 comersalion witii his 




Xational Park. 



From a Photograph Copyright, 
THE UiWEILIXG. 

FAVORITE HAUNT OF THE KI.NGI.ET. 



by IV. I.. Damson. 



264 THE \vksti:k\ (".( )I,i)i:n-ci<()\\ nkb kinclet. 

neij^lilxir, iiilcrnipii-d ;in(l fr.'ifiiiK-iilary, to hi- .sure, but la- lias all day to it — 
Iss, tss-tsif'-iliif'. /.V('<A-. li yai iltaw ti". mar. /.v//' can Ik- luailc t<> express 
viyinous (lisa|)i)ruvai. 

Concerning tlie "song" one is a little puz/le<l liow to reixirt. One hears. 
\\i) iloulit, many little snatches anti phrases which have in them something of 
the (|uality 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 m.iting season, but, as it were, reminiscently, mere by- 
products of a contented mood. It may seem a little fanciful, but I am half 
tem])ted to believe that the (lold-crests are losing the ancient art of minstrelsy. 
The lines have fallen unto them in .such pleasant places: food and shelter are no 
problems, and there is nothing of that shock and hazard <if life which reacts 
most certainly upon the passion of song. .\nd then it is lur fault, anyway. 
Phyllis would rather whisper sweet nothings in the mossy bower than be 
serenaded, never so ably. Oh. jjerilous house of content! 

It remained for Mr. Bowles, after years of untiring effort, to disct)ver the 
tirst nest of this western variety. And then it came by way of revelation — a 
lir branch caught against the evening sky and scrutinized mechanically afTord- 
ed grounds for suspicion in a certain thickening of the twigs under the midrib. 
Investigation revealed a ball of moss matched ti> a nicety of green with the 
surrounding foliage, and made fast by dainty lashings to the enveloping twigs: 
and, better yet, a basketful of eggs. 

The.se birtls probably nest at any height in the heaviest lir timl)er; but, 
because they are relati\ely so infinitesimal, it is idle to look for the nests except 
at the lower levels, and in ])laces where the forest area has been reduced to 
groves and thickets. The boundaries of the |)rairic country alniut Centralia 
and northward aliford the best opportunity for nesting, for here the Douglas 
S])ruccs attain a height of only a hundred feet or such a matter, and occur in 
loose <)pen groves which invite inspection. Here, too, the Kinglets may Ik; 
noteil 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 arc 
hatched, they work in company as much as possible. They are discovereil, it 
may be a hundred yaifls from the home tree, gleaning assiduously. After a 
time one of the birds by a muffled squeak announces a Ix'akful. and suggests 
a return: the other acquiesces and they set ofT 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 chntip en route, and they are all too easily lost to 
sight long before the home tree is reached. 

Xests may be found at any height from the le\el of the eyes to fifty feet 
( higher, no doubt, if ones eye-sight avails i but always on the under side of a 
fir limb, and usually where the foliage is nattirally tieiise. The nest ball is a 



THE WESTERN GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET. 



265 



wiinilcTl'iilK ci iiiipacU-d atfair of moss, both green and gi'ay. iniersperscd with 
lixiTWiirls, dried grasses, soft weed fibers, and cow-hair. 'I'he deep depression 
of llie nest ciip scarcely mars tlie sjjhericity of the wliole. for tlie edges are 
broiighl well in: so mnch so. in fact, that a containing l)ranch overloaded with 
foliage npon one side, once tipped half wa\- oxer withoui spilling the egg?. 
The deep ca\il\- is hea\'il\- lined wilh cow-hair and ahnnilanl feathers of 




Taken near Taconia- 

NEST OF w i-.si i;k.\ 

THIS IS Till; MOST Til.* 



)i.ni;.\ CKowwED ki.nglet in i-ir liR.wcn. 

lAV niv SI-EN OF NEST OR CONTENTS FROM ANY ANCLE. 



grouse or domestic fowl. These feathers are jilaced with their soft ends pro- 
truding, and they curl user the entrance in such fashion 4s almost ov quite iu 
conceal the eggs. One would like to particularize at great length, for no 
fervors of description can overstate 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 ivithotit a break. The eggs vary in 



2^,6 



THE W ESTKRN ('.( )LDRN-CR( )\VXED^KIN(iUET. 



color l"n«iii piiiT wliitf tu simliil wliid- aixl iliisky l)ri>\vii. In the la>l Iwu cases 
the tint iiiav he due tn a |inifiisiun uf fine hrowii dots, <>r to advancement in 
incnbatinii, the shell heiny so thin that the pmjjressive stages uf the chick's 
development are dimly shadowed thru it. 

The female Kinglet is a close sitter anil will not often leave the nest until 
the containing hranch is sharply tapped. Then, invariahly, .she drops down a 
couple of feet and llits shar|)ly sidewisc, with manifest intent l<j deceive the 
lagganl eve. \'et almost immeiliately she is minded to return, and will <lo S4) 
if there is no furtlier demonstration of hostilities. Re-covering the eggs is n<)t 
alwavs an easy matter, for the well is deep and the mouth narrow. One dame 
lighted on the brim of her nest and howed and scrai)ed and slami)ed, precisely 
as a carefullv ilisciplincd husband will when he brings mmldy l)oots to the 
kitchen door. The operation was evidently (juite unconnected with hesitation 
in view of my presence, but in some way was preparatory to her sinking 
carefullv into the feather-line<l pit before her. When she lirst covered the 
eggs. also, there was a great fuss made in settling, as iho to free her feathers 
from the engaging edges of the nest. When the bird is well down upon her 
eggs there is nothing visible but the toj) of her head an<l the tip of her tail. 
The male bird, meanwhile, is not inditi'erent. I'^irst he bustles up onto 
the nesting brinuli and flashes his fiery crest in ])lain token of anger, but 

later he is content 
to s(|ueak disapprov- 
al from a position 
more rcmovecl. 

While the mother 
bird is sitting, the 
male tends her faith- 
fully, but he spends 
his spare moments, 
according to Mr. 
I'lowles. in construct- 
ing "cock nests," or 
decoys, in the neigh- 
boring trees. These 
seem to serve no pur- 
pose beyond that of 
a nervous relief to 
the impatient father, .uid arc seldom as carefully constructed as the veritable 
domus. 

When the young of the lirst brood are hatched and ready to fly, the 
chief care of them falls to the father, while the female prcjiarcs for a second 
nesting. As to the further domestic relations one cannot s|>eak with certainty. 




NIO ■ MD ■ NODDING. 



Taken near Tacoma. 
I'holo t> Ihe AHlhori. 



THE RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. 267 



hut it would seeui at least possible that fall hinl troops consist of the coniliined 
families of Mr. and Mrs. Ouiverful. 

As to the time of iiome-niaking, the Kinglets are not very ])articular. 
Nor is it necessary that they should be. It is always spring here after the first 
of February. Besides that, a hr tree is both forest and store-house at any 
season. In the vicinity of Tacoma, the usual nisiing 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 glh, that of a nest containing half-grown young. The 
first egg of this set must, therefore, have been deposited about March 15th. 

So far as we can make out, this l)ird is strictly resident in western Wash- 
ington, Init it is much less common on the east side of the Cascades, and is 
there largely migratory. Not <inly does the species retire in winter from the 
mountains to the lower foot-hills, but considerable numbers pass over the 
State to and from British Columbia. .\l such times they appear wherever 
timber or watered shrubbery is to i)e found. With manners so engaging and 
lives so sheltered, to say nothing of families so blessed in the yearly increase, 
is it any wonder that the gentle tribe of Rcgiiliis prevails thruout the giant 
forests of this western slope, and spills over in Ijlessing where\'er trees abound? 



No. 104. 

RT BY-CROWNED KINGLET. 

.\. O. U. Xo. 749. Regulus calendula ( Linn. ). 

Description. — .-idiilt male: Above olive-green, duller antcrinrlv. 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 I)y tips of middle and greater coverts; some whitish edging on tertials; 
a dusky interval separating greenish yellow edges on outer webs of secondaries; 
a whitish e}e-ring and whitish skirtings around base of bill ; under ])arts soiled 
white, heavily tinged with buffy and olivaceous buff. Adult female and iiuiitatiirc: 
Similar but without crown-patch. Length 4.00-4.50 I 101.6-1 14.3) ; wing 2.33 
(59.2); tail 1.72 (43.7); bill from nostril .25 (6.4). 

Recognition Marks. — I'ygmy size; scarlet crest distinctive. Xote wing-bars 
and whitish eye-ring of female and young. Lighter than R. c. grinnelli. 

Nesting. — .V<\?/; a ball of moss, lichens, etc., bound together with cobwebs, 
and lashed to droo])ing twigs beneath branch of conifer, lined with vegetable- 
down, catkins, hair, and feathers, and placed at moderate heights. Iuj(/s: 5-9, dull 
white, or pale buffy. faintly or sharply but sparingly speckled with reddish brown, 
chiefly about larger end. .\v. size. .55 x .43 (i4.\io.9L Season: June; one 
broo<li' ?). 

(ieneral Range. — North .\nuTica at large in wooded districts, north to limit 



2(.8 II IE RUBY-CROWXED KIN(7tE'l. 

of trees, wi-st to iiortliwcstcni Alaska ( Kowak River;, breeding cliielly north of 
the I'niti'il St;lll•^. anil irregnlarly in the liigher ranges of the West. 

Range in Washington. — Common si)ring and fall migrant; summer res;dent 
ill nortliea>tern portion of State only( ?). 

Migrations.' — Sfriinj: Ajjril, .May. I'lill: < )ctoher. 

Authorities.— Baird, Re)). I'ac. R. R. Snrv. IX. jit. II. i.SvS. p. -'j;. ( T. ) 
C\S. 1-'. Rh.i ?) I)'. Sr. Ra. D-'. Kk. j. K. 

Specimens. T. of \\ , I". I'rov. I'.. 1!X. E. 

■•WllERES your kingdom, little king? 
Where's the land you call your own? 
Where's your palace and your throne? 
Fluttering lightly on the wing 
Thru the hlussom world of .\l;iy 
Whither lies your myal way? 
Where's the realm that owns your sway, 
Little King? " 

Dr. Henry \'an Dyke is the t|ueslioner. and the little bird has a ready 
answer for him. lieiiig an Easterner, it is "Labrador " in May. and 

"\\ here the cypress" \i\id green 
And the dark magnolia's sheen 
Weave a shelter round my home " 

in October. I'ut imder the incilemeni of the ])oet's playful banter, the Kinglet 
enlarges his claim : 

'■.\'e\er king by right dixiiie 
Ruled a richer realm than mine! 
What are lands and golden crowns. 
Armies, fortresses and towns. 
Jewels, sce|)ters, robes and rings. 
What are these to song and wings? 
Everywhere that I can lly 
There I own the earth and sky: 
Everywhere that I can sing 
There I'm hai)py as a king." 

.\nd surely there is no one who can meet this dainty monarch in one of 
his happy moods without |)aying instant homage. His imfcrium is that of the 
spirit, and those who Ixiast a s<nil al>o\e the clod must swear fealty to this 
most delicate expression of the creative Inlinile, this thought of God made 
hnninous and vocal, and own him king by right <livine. 

It seems only yesterday I s.iw liim, h'aster Day in old Ohio. The sig- 



THE RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. 269 



nificaiil (lawn was struggling with great masses of heai)C(l-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": all was still. There were no signs of spring, save for the modest 
springing \iolet and the pious buckeye, shaking its late-prisoned fronds to 
tlie 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-cn>wn. Pure, ethereal, wilhdut hint of earthly dross or sadness, 
came those limpid welling notes, the sweetest and the gladdest ever sung — at 
least by those who have not sufYcred. It was not indeed the greeting of the 
earth to the risen Lord, but rather the annunciation of the glorious fact by 
hea\en's own appointed herald. 

The Ruby-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 cjuick for the eyes to follow, and frequently uttering 
a titter of alarm, chit-fit or chit-it-it. During migrations the birds swarm 
thru the tree-tops like Warblers, but are often found singly 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 sotio "-^'occ 
with two or three high squeaks as tho trying to get the pitch down to the 
range of mortal ears before he gives his full voice. The core of the song is 
something like tczt.\ tci<', teiv, tctv, titoorcct' , titoorect' , the last phrases being 
given with a rising inflection, and with an accent of ravishing sweetness. The 
tones are so pure that they may readily be whistled by the human listener, 
and a musical contest ])rovoked in which one is glad to come out second 
best. 

Having heard only the ])re])aratory spring scing for years, it was a matter 
of considerable rejoicing to come uj^on the birds at home in Stevens Countv. 
They were especially common in the neighliorhood of Newport, and thev sang 
incessantly and loudly from the depths of the giant larches, which abound 
there. It a])pears that the full-fledged breeding song is quite different from 
the delicate migratory carol. The preliminary notes are of much the same 
quality, but instead of accenting the final syllable of the titoorcct phrase, and 
repeating this, the phrase is given only once, with a sort of tittering, tremolo 
effect, and the em|)hasis is thrown upon a series of strong, sliarj) terminal 
notes, four or five in number, and of a uniform character — the whole some- 
what as follows: tczv lew tai.' tc7<' tittcrcltcrcltcr rcct. chcc/^' cliccp' cheep' 



2-0 Till". Rri!V-CI<()\VNlil) K1\«W.ET. 

1 /;(•.•/> . Tlicse t'lupliatic notes arc also icndtTivl in a dciaclii'd form at oc- 
casional intervals, usually after the entire song has la-en rehearsed; and thev 
arc so loud at all times as to Ik* heard at a distance of half a mile. One indi- 
vidual began his song with an elaljorate preliminary run of higli-piichcd, 
winning notes of a liueness almost beyond human cognizance; then •ffected a 
descent by a k\t\lci\' note to the /rti' /i"i' /rti' series. In his case, also, the em- 
phatic dosing notes had a distinctly double character, as chccpy, chci'py, chci-py. 

We rans.'icked the Xewpttrt woods day after day with feverish eagerness, 
allincd and goaded by the music, but filled also with that strange fire of 
oological madness which will lead its possessor to bridge chasms, <langle over 
l)recipices. brave the billows of the sea, battle with eagles on the heights, or 
crawl on hands and knees all over a forty-acre field. The (piest was well-nigh 
hopeless, for the woods were dense and the tamaracks were heavily drapeil 
in brown moss, "Spanish beards," with a thousand |M>ssibilities of hiilden nests 
to a single tree. June the Firsi was to be the last day of our stav, and it 
opened up with a dense fog emanating from the Pend d'Oreille River hard-by. 
Xevertheless, si.\ o'clock found us ogling thru the mi.sts on the crest of a 
wooded hill. .\ Ruby-crown was humming fragmentary snatches of song, 
and I ])iit the glasses on him. I was watching the flitting sjjrite with languiil 
interest when Jack exd.iimed ])etulantly. "Now, why won't that bird visit his 
nest?" "He did." I rci)lied. lowering the binoculars. The bird in flitting 
about had i)ause(l but an instant near the end of a small fir branch al)out 
thirlv-fi\e feet u|) in a sixty-foot tree, sjjringing from the hillside below 
'I'here was nothing in the movement nor in the length of time s])ent to excite 
susi)icion. hut it had served to reveal thru the glasses a thickening of the 
droo|)ing 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 hit into the live wood, sent the female flying from the nest 
into a neighboring tree. .\s the ascent was made spike by spike, she uttered 
a rapid coini)laint. comixised of notes similar to the prefatory notes of the 
males song; hut dining my entire stay aloft she did not venture back into the 
nesting tree, nor did the male once put in an appearance. The nest was only 
five aiul a half feet out from the tree trunk, and the cont.iining branch an 
inch in thickness at the base. Hence, it was imt a dilTicult, albeit an anxious, 
task to support the limb midway with one han<l and to sever it with a iKickct- 
knife held in the other, then to haul it in slowly. 

The nest was conijxised largely of the drooping brown moss, so common 
in this region as to be almost a necessity, yet ct^ntrasting strongly with the 
clean bright green of the yoimg fir tree. Rut, even so, it was so thorolv C">n- 
cealed bv the draping foliage that its presence would have escaped notice 
from anv attainable stand|Miint. save for the mere density. — a shade thicker 
than elsewhere. .\t first sight one is tcm|)led to call it a moss-ball, but close 



niE RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. 



271 



exaniinatii)!! sl'.nws it lo l)e rather an asscmlilage nf all sorts n\ soft substances, 
vegetable downs, cottmis from the pnss}' willows and eottonwood trees, 
weathered anients. hair, tine grass (in abundance), with occasional strange 
inclusions, such as s])ider-egg cases, dried llower-stalks, .and the like. The 
lining is exclusively of feathers, those from the breast of the Robin being 




Takcti near S'eu'port. 

KUBVS r..\SKi;Ti-ui,. 



Pholo by PiUisnii and Bozclcs. 



most in evidence. A few of these curled up from under the neatly turned 
brim, .so as to jKirlly conceal the contents: but only a little cft'ort w.ts required 
to obtain a perfect view of the eggs from above. 

I counted the glowing pile, slowly, calmly, as a luiser counts his gold 
when the bolts are shot — twice to make sure — one, two. three, * * * ;,/;,(- 
the last one being thrown in on to]) of the heaj) for good measure. 

The eggs were marvelously fresh, insomuch that in blowing them Air. 
Bowles coa.xed seven of the nine volks out unbroken thru the mere needle- 



27-' THE SITKAN KINGLIil'!» 

liulcs ill tlif sIr'11 wliidi lie counts a Mitlicicni exit. In ccilor tliev were pure 
white, lluslieil witli tlie jieciiliar rinlily nf fresh eggs lia\ iiig seini-traiisparcin 
shells, with a pale broad band nf brownish dust alxmt the larger ends ( ihc 
smaller one in one case). 

When I liad descended. — singing and wiiistling rigiit merrily snatches of 
songs once ixipular, "Sweet Marie," and the like, for m\ spirits were uncom- 
mon high, — the mother-l)ird returned to the nesting tree and haiuited the site 
uf the ruined home persistently. First she |)eered down from the brancii 
alK)ve: then she drojjped down to the branch below, and craned lier head, 
sorely perplexed. She lighted upon the white stump of tlie severed limb and 
examined it confusedly, then siie duttered in midair jirecisely where the nest 
ought to have been, and dropped to the limb below again in despair. This 
mystified (|uest she repeated over and over again until it wrung the hearts of 
the beholders. Well, well: we arc inconsistent creatures, we humans. .\nd 
somehow the comfortable philosophy of the bird-nester fails at these critical 
l)oints. 

No. 105. 
SI'IKAN KIN(.I.K'I". 

A. ( ). I'. Xo. 74<ja. Regdlus calendul.t Krinnelli Palmer. 

Synonyms. — .\l.\skan" KiN(,i.r.'r. Sitka Rrit'i-iKow.Mai Kim'.lkt. ('iRix- 

X 1:1.1. "s KlNf.l.KT. 

Description. — Like prcceiling l>nt of much darker coloration. — a "saturate<l" 
form: also wing somewhat shorter, bill larger, etc. Av. measurements of male": 
wing J. 23 ( 5'>.6 I : tail l/x> (42.<)) : bill ..V| i 8.7 » ; tarsus .7J ( iS.i ). 

Recoj^nition Marks. — ( )f strikingly darker coloration than A', cali'tidula — 
sup])"'sc(l to be the exclusive form in winter. 

Nesting.- A-i i>receding. Docs not breed in Washington. 

General Range.— Pacific Coast district breeding from Uritish Columbia to 
Iliad of Lynn Can.il and "S'.ikutat P.ay, .Maska : south in winter (at least) to 
midclle Califomi.i. 

Range in Washinv;l<>n. Ivarly s])riiig and late fall migrant, common winter 
rcsidi-iit on i'ligct Souiul. 

.Authorities. — :' Ki-(/iiliis cah-ndiihi. I.iclit. Coo[-cr and Sink-Icy. Rep. Pac. 
R. R Siirv. Nil. pt. II. iSro. p. 174 ( \\ intir resident on Pitg» I Sound i. Bowles. 
Auk, Vol. XXIII. Apr. ii,of>. ji. 14S. 

Specimens. — W. E. I^(.*\). 

S( ) 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 upon Puget Sound. Thus, while the lighter-colored binls. which 



a. Rtdgwajr: Six »prcimtni. 



THE CHICKADEE. 273 



suninier in mir niDUiUains and in British C'uluniljia, are enjoying sunsliine in 
Mexico, this Alaskan coast dweller is re-d_\-eing his iiluniage nnder the dull 
skies of the Pacific watershed. 

The Sitkan Kinglet is not ahundant in winter, alt ho it enjoys a general 
distribution. It does not associate in flocks of its own kind to any large extent, 
but oftener two or three indi\'iduals join theniselvcs to winter bird troops 
consisting of Chickadees, Seattle Wrens, Western 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 spiraea 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 
to])s of the tallest firs. 

The notes, too, of the Sitkan Kinglet are low-])itched and ex])losi\-e. as 
comi)ared with the fairy sibilations of the Goklen-crowns. The neighborhood 
of "Seattle" Wrens and Western \Vinter Wrens will serve also to throw a 
certain wren-like (Hirditv of the .Maskan's note into fine relief. 



No. 106. 

CHICKADEE. 

.•\. O. U. No. 735. Penthestes atricapillus (Linn.). 

Synonyms. — P>i,.\CK-r.U'i>i:n CiiiCKAni:i-:. Black-c.mtkd TrrMousE. 

Description. — .Idiilt: Top of head and nape shining black; throat dead 
black with whitish skirting posteriorly ; a white band on side of head and neck, 
increasing in width behind : 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 lielly white; sides, flanks and crissum washed with buft'y or light rusty 
(nearly whitish in summer) ; bill and feet dark. Rather variable in size; one adult 
specimen mea.sures: wing 2.27 (57.7) ; tail 2.10 (53.3) ; bill .34 (8.6). Anotlier: 
wing 2.70 (68.6) ; tail 2.57 ("65.3) ; bill .38 (9.7). Length, 4.75-5.75 ( 120.6-146.1) ; 
average of eight specimens of medium size: wing 2.60 (66) ; tail 2.44 (62) ; bill 
.36 (9.1). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; of lighter coloratfhn but not certainly 
distinguishable alield from P. a. occidentalis (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 Jirown. in small s])ots, tending to gather 
about larger end. Av. size. .58 x .47 (14.7 x i i.fi 1. Sr>isou- \\w\\ 15-May 15; 
one brood. 



J74 'HE CHICKADEE. ' 

(icucral RaiiKC — Eastern NOrtli Aimrica nortli of the l'i>t<>mac ami ( )liio 
\'allcy!>. "A Mparalc 'ciilnny' inlialiil- llic ana IkIwci-ii tlic KiK-ky Mountains 
and the Cascade Range, in eastern Wasliington (Walla Walla. I%llen>biirg, etc.), 
western Idaho I I.eini. I'ort Sherman, etc.), and central I'lritish Columbia ( Sica- 
ninres |Sicamoos|, L'linton, Ashcroft, etc.).*" — Rijlgway. 

RanKc in Washington. — .\s above. 

Authorities. — /'. a. occuh-iitnlis Brevster, I!. \. O. C. \II. 1882, 228 
I Walla Walla). J. If this colony i>roves to be completely isolated, as claimed, 
the bird should. i>erha|>s, be se))aralely named, and I would siifjjjcst I'cittliiSlfS 
atricafiilliis fortuitus. 

Specimens. — I!. 1''. 

Till'". Chickadees of eastern W'ashin^'toii, cast of the Cascade foothills, 
alonj,' with tliuse of northeastern OrejjiMi. western Idaho, and southwestern 
Ijritish Columbia, are notably larger and brighter than P. o. otciiiriilalis. 
In these and other regards they exactly reproduce the characters of P. 
iiiricapUhis. which is a bird of the eastern L'niled States, and fioni whidi 
tliey are widely separated by P. a. scptculriomilis. N'ow Chicka<lees are 
resident wherever found. The most severe winters do not sutVice ti> drive 
tbein south, anil they are subjected to such uniform conditions as tend to 
insure stability of ty|)e. once adjustment to local environment is accomplished. 
W'c have here, therefore, either an exami)le of a colony widely separated 
from the |)arent stock, ami remainiii}:; inflexible imder alien conditions, or 
else an indistinguishable reduplication of another form not closely related in 
time thru the interaction of similar conditions. If the latter sujiposition be 
the true one, and it probably is. we h.ive in this bird a theoretical sub- 
species, but one which we cannot describe or <listinj;uisli in other than geo- 
graphical terms. 

The case is somewhat similar with our Xighthawks iC. 7ir<ii)iiiiiiiis 
siihsf>.) and Sparrow Hawks I Palco spancriiis snhsp.). but the problem in 
these instances is further comi)licaled by the op])nrtunities of migration. 



THE OREGON CHICKADEE. 275 



No. 107. 

OREGON CHICKADEE. 

A. O. L'. No. 735 b. Penthestes atricapillus occidentaiis ( I'.aircl). 

Synonym. — Wi:sTi:u.\ Hlack-capped Chick adke. 

Description. — .-iditlfs: Similar to P. atricapillus but .siuallcr and coloration 
much darker ; whitish edging on wings and tail much reduced in area : "back 
varying from deep mouse-gray or very slight bufty slate-gray in Sjjring and 
summer to deep hair-brown or light olive in fall and winter plumage" ; sides and 
flanks pale bufty 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. — \\'arblcr size : no white striijc over eye as dis- 
tinguished from P. ganibcli: back gray as distinguished from P. rufescens. 

Nesting. — Nest: as in P. atricapillus, usually placed low in stump of decidu- 
ous tree. Eggs: as in foregoing. Season: .April 15-May 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 tvpicus on cast slojjes of 
Cascade Range. 

Authorities. — Purus uccidciitalis liaird, Baird, Rep. i'ac. R. R. Surv. IX. 
pt. ir. 185.^, p. 301. (T.) C&S. Rh. D'. Kb. Ra. D^ ? Ss'. ? Ss-'. Kk. 15. E. 

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

CHICKADEES abound in Washington; and. because for the life of _\ou 
you cannot surely tell whose notes you hear, there is a perennial necessity for 
levelling the glasses to make sure which is passing. Oregon or the Chestnut - 
Iiacked. 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, wlien you 
happen to have guessed correctly. "There, T knew it was an Oregon; T can 
always tell by its squeak." 

Chickadees are friendly little folk (and this remark apjih'es. irrespective 
of species), so that wherever they go. except in the busy nesting season, thev 
form the nucleus of a merry band. Western Golden-crowned Kinglets, Sitkan 
Kinglets. Creepers. Juncoes, Towhees maybe, and a Settle Wren or two to 
guard the terrestrial passage, and to furnish sport for the federated fairies. 
The Chickadees are undisputed 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 \vc can only determine what direction the flock is 
pursuing, we may count on the vanguard's being composed of these s])rightly, 
saucy little Rlack-caps. 



2-6 



THE OREGON' CHICKADrtl;. 



Im^'- 



Cliickadcc ri-l'iisi-s l<> look ilowii fur loiij,' iiim.ii the world; or, iinliTcl, to 
look at any oik- thing fnuii any oik- diri-ciion for more than two consccutivc 
twt-lftiis of a second. "Any old side nj) wiliiont care." is tiie laln-l he hears: 
and so with anything lie meets, lie it a pine com-, an ahier catkin, or a It 
bearing hranchlet. top- 
side, hottomside, inside, 
outside, all is riglit side 
to the nimhle t'hicka- 
dee. Faith! tiieir little 
brains must have spe- 
cial guy - ropes a n d 
stays, else they would 
have been spilled long 
ago, the way their own- 
ers frisk about. Blind- 
man's bnlT. hide-and- 
seek, and tag are merry 
games enough when 
playetl out on one 
plane, but when staged 
in three dimensions, 
with a labyrinth of in- 
terlacing branches for 
hazard, only the l)lithe 
bird whose praises we 
sing could possibly 
master their intricacies. 
But Chickadee is as 
confiding and as con- 
fidence-inviting as he is 
capable. Tt is preciselv 
because you babble all 
your secrets to him at 
the first breath that the 
whole wood-side comes 
to him for news. W'itii 
the fatuity of utter 
trust he will interrogate 
the fiercest -looking stranger: and the sound of the "jTirr/cv"" call is the signal 
for all binls to \k alert. .\t tiie repetition of it the leaves begin to rustle, the 
moss to sigh, and the log-heaps to give up their hidden store of sleepy Wrens, 
lia-hful Sparrows, ami frowning Towhees. juncoes simiter aiul Kinglets 




Taltcn 
near Ttico*^ 

Photo I'.i 
tht Author. 



.N'KST .\ND ECns OP ORKi.ON CHICKADEE. 
■ONI WALL or Tiii: co^T«lKl^c sTuur ii*$ iikx hem 



'IHE OREGON CHICKADEE. 



277 



sqiK-ak over the straiii^e (lisoi\ery : the Steller Jay takes notice and sidles over 
to spy upon tlie performance: wliile the distant-faring Crow swerves from his 
course and bends an intpiiring eye toward the mystery. Dcc-dcc-dcc says the 
Black-cap. A luuidrul beaily eyes are bent upon you. trying to resolve vour 
domino of corduroy or kliaki. Can.' says the Crow in compreliension, and you 
know that tlie game is up. — up for all but tlie Chickadee. He will .stay and 
talk with you as long as you may eiidiu'c to pucker \()ur lips to his fairy 
lispings. 

It is no exaggeration to sa\- that the "Sivec-tcc" note of the Chickadee, 
passably imitated, is the quickest summons in the bird-world. It is the 
o])en sesame to all woodland secrets. One drawback, however, attends 
its use: you cannot comjKiss it when the air is chilly and the li])s thick. 
Xow, the eastern bird. (P. atricapUlus) has a clear, high-pitched call-note, 
Stccc-tcc. or Sti'cc-tcc tec i:]^ _^ ~|^ _^-^ which must be taken as 

the type of this genus | ' [ ^ or | l- i — 

ern bird are best un- 



and the calls of the west- 
derstood by reference to 
this norm. In the song of occidcittalis the first note of the type, "high C," 
is oftenest repeated three or four times, and has a double character impossible 
to represent on 
])a])er: while the 
w hole ends, or 
not, with the lower 
note of atricapil- 
liis. These notes 
may be called the 
deo 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 
fli\ide themselves 
into squeaks, vocal 
notes, and whis- 
1 1 e s. O f the 
squeaks one is a 
very liigh-pilclied. 

W II i n i n g note, Ai/.ih m Oregon. puolo by II'. L. Finh-y. 

, 1 • ,1 I 1 U.ADICN' WITH D.AlNTlIiS. 

which closely re- o-econ c.ckadee «c.n n.m. 




278 



THE OREGON CHICKADEE. 



si-mliles till- kii])-in-ii>iicli. or ll<'i,kinj(, cry of llie W'otirii (ioldcn-crowncd 
Kinglet. Tlii" CliicUadccs cin|)loy this wlien in coni])a!iy witli Kinglets, or 
while ranging thru the tree-tops when no other sound is audible in the 
woods. Then there is a regular s(jueaking trill which is oftenest prelimi- 
nary to the familiar </<•»■ dec licc dec dec ( s|)oken ) notes, hut which some- 
times ap|)ears alone, as by suspension or change of intent. 

Of the whistled series the commonest are, lirst, a clearlv rendered 
hiis:, " ' ■ i,f lower pitch and more trivial 

■ haracter; and. second the dco 
ilco dco day series, already 
recorded. There is a striking 
lesemhlance between the whis- 
iled and the sinikcn series. 
The (/(»v day words correspond 
lo the dco dco whistles, allho 
they are oftenest preceded by 
a fairy snee/e, which we have 
conventionalized in "Chick"; 
,-iiid there is a spoken, or rather 
lisped, kii.\~:cccc, which is very 
I liarniing and delicate. A 
-] token trill occurs infre- 
i|uently. and otTers its analogy 
to both whistle and s(|ucak. 

These may seem like fine- 
spiui distinctions. They are 
MfTered only to be forgotten: 
hut the enjoyment of the next 
(."hickailee troup you encounter 
will be enhanced by an effort 
to realize the striking variety 
I'f the notes heard. 

Contrary to the wont of 
most hole-nesting birds, the 
Chickadee believes in warm 
blankets. Into the chosen 
cavity, whether natural or 
artificial, the hinls lug im- 
mense (|uantities of moss, wool, hair, or rabbits' fur, until the place is half 
filled : and the silting bird, during the chilly days of late .Vjiril and early May, 
is snug and warm. 

Ordinarily, a hole is dug by the birds in a rotten stub at a height of two 




.\ TK.IIT FIT. 

YOUNr. nlK«>K CIIICKADCK KM CUC 



THE MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE. 279 



or tliree feet. The mar prcse-iui.- dt water is a [)riinc rc(|uisili'. and a Idw 
swampy wouds is the faxMriu- ligation. Smncliiiics a dcsi-rted ncsl of a 
Gairdner Woodpecker may he used: l)ul. on the other hand, excavations 
may be made in green wood al no little cost of exertion on the part of 
the midgets. Several nests I have seen in willow and poplar trees, and at 
a height of fifteen or twenty feet. 

Young Chickadees are such cunning little creatiu'es that the temptation 
to fondle them is sometimes irresistible. The parents may ha\e \ery 
decided views as to the ])ro])riety of such action, or they ni.'iy reg.ard you 
as some bene\-olent giant whose ways are abo\e sns])icion. Xot infre(|uently, 
if the _\oung are kindly treated, the parent l)ird will \eiUure upon the hand 
or shoulder to pursue its necessary offices. 



No. 108. 

MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE. 

A. O. U. Xo. /^H. Penthestes jcambeli ( Ridgway). 

Description. — .Idiilts in spriiuj and snnuncr: Somewhat as in P. atricapiUus, 
head and throat similar but black interrupted by strong white superciliary stripe 
nearly or quite meeting fellow on forehead ; u])perparts plain deep ashy gray, 
or mouse-gra)- ; wings and tail dee|)er gra\- with some pale grayish edging : sides 
of head and neck white; underparts (except throat) dull wliite more or less 
washed on sides, flanks, and under tail-coverts with gray. Adults in fall and 
7i'intcr: Upperparts washed with buiify ; brownish on sides: some white edging 
on forehead and su])erciliary strij)e 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.--, (JO) : tail 2.35 (60) ; bill .40 (10.2) ; tarsus .70 (18). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size: much like Oregon Chickadee, but white 
su])erciliary distinctive: range higher (on the average) than other species. ' 

Nesting. — Xcst: (|uite as in atricapiUus and similarly situated. Bggs: 5-8. 
pure icliitc. or only faintly marked with reddish brown. Av. size, .60 x .45 ( 15.2 x 
1 1.4). Season: >.Iay ; one brood. 

General Range. — Mountains of western I'nited vStales troin the Rockies to 
the Pacific Coast: north to I'.ritish Colmnbia (chietly east of the Cascades) : south 
to northern Lower California. 

Range in Washington. — Resident in the mf)untains ami timliered foo'hills, 
chietly ea>l of the 1 (."ascadc) divide; casual at Seattle. 

Authorities. — ("Mountain Chickadee" Johnson, Rep, Ciov. W. T. 1884 
(885), p. 22.] \Pariis niontanus. C.ambel, Coo])er and Suckley, Rep. Pac. R. R. 
Surv. XII. i860, ]). 194. "I-'ort Dalles" ( I'.aird, "Foi-t Dalles, Oregon"). Xot a 
valid Washington record.] I'arus t/aniht'li Lawrence, An!:, \'oI. IX. Ian. 1S92, 
p. 47. C&S. L'. D'. D-'. J. 

Specimens. — V. of W. Prov. C. 



2«o THE MOUNTAIN Cll K-K.\l«i;. 

I'l' IS ciiliiT accitkiit or tla- iiictlnKlical lial)it uf scrutinizing every 
passing hinl which first reveals tu yon the Mountain Chickaiiec. He is (juite 
similar in general appearance and ct»iuluct tu the foregoing species, altlio the 
white superciliary line iloes confer a little air of distinction when you liK>k 
closely. His notes, so far as observed, are not ditTerent ; and he exhibits 
the cheerful confiding nature which makes the name of Chickadee beloved. 

Uaiiilhli is a bird of the foothills as well as of the mountains, and is 
confined almost exclusively to the FCasl-side. I have not seen it tm Pugel 
Sounil : but a ilead bird was once brought by one of the school children to 
Miss A. L. Pollock, of Seattle. 

Both of the nests which have come umler my observation have lx>cn 
placed in decayed slumps not above three feel from the ground. One, in 
a wild cherry stub in northern Okanogan County, contained fresh eggs on 
the itith day of May. Their color had been pure white, but they were much 
soiled thru contact with the miscellaneous slutT which made uj) the lining 
of the cavity: moss, cow-hair, rabbits' wool, wild ducks" down, hawks" casts, 
etc. The birds were not es])ecially solicitous, altho once the female llew 
almost in my face as I was ]>reparing the eggs for the cabinet. Ami then 
she sat quietly for several minutes on a twig not above a foot front my eyes. 

On Senator Turner"s grounds in Spokane — by jjermission — we came 
upon ;i nest fill of well-grown young, on the 5lh of June, 1906. The nest was 
two feet up in a slump, concealed liy a clumj) of second-growth maples, pic- 
tures(|uely nestled at the base of a volcanic knob. l']>"" '""sl discovery the 
parent birds both ai)i)eared with bills full of lar\;e. and scolded <lainlily. 
I'inally, after several feints, one entered the nesting hole and fed, with our 
eyes not two feet removed. Pholograpby was im|K»ssil)le because of the 
sulxlued ligiit, but it was an unfailing source of interest to see the busy 
parents hurrying to and fro and bringing incredible (luanlities of provisions 
in the shape of moths' eggs, spiders, wood-lwiring grubs. an<l winged creatures 
of a hundred sorts. ICvidently the gardener knew what he was alniut in 
sheltering these un])aid assistants. Why. when it comes to horticulture, 
three ])airs of Chickadees are e(|ual to one Scotchman any day. 

The young were fully lledged. and the irrejiressible of the flock (there 
is alwavs an irre])ressil)le ) spent a good deal of time at the entrance shifting 
u|>on his toes, ami wishing he tiared venture out. The old birds fed incess- 
antly, usually alighting upon the bark at one side i>f the hole and debating 
for a moment before plunging into the wooden cavern, whence issueil a 
chorus of childish entreaties. 

The next morning our Chickadees h.id all llown. and upon breaking into 
the abandoned home we found a nest chamber some six inches in diameter, 
with its original warm lining mingled with fallen piuik and trodden into an 
indistinguishable mass by the restless feet of the chick Chickadees. .\ s|)ecial 



THE CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE. 281 



ft'alurc of llif interior conslruclion was a knot, which had persisted as a liard 
core when tlie surrounchng i)uni< liad l)een removed. This had evidently been 
no end of aniusenient to the yonng I)ird.s and of service to the ])arents as well, 
for its sm'face was polished l\v the friction of many Peniliestine toes. 



No. 109. 

CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE. 

.-\. O. L'. Xo. 741. Penthestes rufescens Towns. 

Description. — .Idiilts: Cmwn and nape dull sepia brown beconiing sooty 
toward lateral border — black before and behind c}e. separated from sooty black 
throat patch by large white area broadening jjosteriorly on sides of neck ; back, 
sca])ulars, rnnip, and sides of body rich chestnut ; lesser wing-coverts grayish 
brown: npper tail-coverts hair-brown or more or less tinged with chestnut; wmgs 
and tail deeper grayish brown edged with jjaler gray ; remaining under])arts 
(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.(!) ; wing 2.35 {60) ; tail i.(;o (4S.3) ; biil .37 
(9.5) ; tarsus .65 (16.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Pygmy size ; chestnut of back and sides distinctive — 
otherwise not easily distinguished in the tree-tops from P. a. occidcntalis. Fre- 
c|uents 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 hue bark-shreds, green 
moss, etc., heavily felted with sfjuirrel-, rabbit-, or cow-hair, and other soft 
substances. Ec/gs: y-cj, pure white as to ground and sparingly s])rinkled with 
reddish brown dots, chiefly about larger end. Av. size, .61 x .47 (i5.5.\' 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 Lynn Canal), east to Montana. 

Range in Washington. — Resident ; abundant and thoroly distributed thru 
forests of Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound region, decreasing in numl)ers 
from Cascade divide eastward (in heavier coniferous timber only). (We have 
no records of its occurrence east of Stehekin.) 

Authorities.. — Pants rufescens Townsend, Journ. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. XII. 
1837, 190. T. C&S. L'. Rh. Kb. Ra. P.. E. 

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

W'lLVT busy little nn'dgets these are as they go trooping thru the tree- 
tops intent on jjlunder! .And what a merry war they wage on beetle and nit 
as thev scrutinize everv cre\ice of bark and bract! The bird cats insects at 



■nil-: CHESTNUT-BACKED CHKl^ADEE. 



.'ili times of year. l)iit his staple diet is tViriiied by the ejjgs and larv;e of insects. 
Tliese are fnund tucked away in wiMidy crannies, i>r else groii])ed on the imder 
surface of smaller limhs and |)ersistent leaves, as of oak or mailrone. 

On this account the Chickadee must fre(|iiently hanjj liead downward; 
and this he does very gracefully, using iiis tail to balance with, much as a 
iKjy uses his legs in hanging from a "inrning pole." swinging to and fro as 
Iho lie ihoroly enjoyed it. 

If possible, the Chestnut-hacked Chickadee is a little more delicately 
moulded and more fay-like in demeanor than its gray-backetl cousin, the 
Oregon Ciiickadee. Unlike the latter, it is found commonlv in the densest fir 
woods. It is found, also, in tiie oak groves of the prairie country: and, in 
general, it may he said to |)refer dry situations. \o hard and fast lines can 
he ilrawn, however, in the distribution of the two species. In many sections 
they mingle freely, and ;ire eipirdly alumdant. In others, either may be 
quite unaccountably absent. 

.\s nearly as we have made out to date, the ciniinioner notes of the 
Chest nut -hacked Chickadee closely simulate those of the Oregon. The s^crrlrc 
call is either intlistinguishable or a mere shade smaller. The sneezing note 
becomes more distinct as Avc/ii'ruriwVA" .• and "Chickadee" becomes kissadcc. 
the latter given so caressingly that you want to |)inch the little <larling. The 
Chest uul -backed Chickadee has a really truly song, but it is anything rather 
than musical. When tiie emotion of .April is no longer controllable, the 
minikin swain mounts a fir limb and raps out a scries of uittes as monotomius 
as those of a Chipping Sparrow. Tiie trial is shorter and the movements less 
rapid, so that the half ilozen notes of a uniform character have more individual 
distinctness than. say. in the case of the Sparrow: Chick chick chick chick 
chick chick, .\nother performer may give each note a double character so 
that the whole may sound like the snipping of a barber's shears: Chulip 
cliiilif' chitiip chulip chulip. 

Mr. Howies finds tliat in iieginning a nesting c.ivily this bird almost 
always avails itself of some natural advantage, as a ]>lace from which a bit 
of wood has been t<irii away, or a hole made by a grub of one of the larger 
Ceranibycid beetles. On this accoimt the bird enjoys ;i wider range of 
ciioice in nesting sites than alrictipilhis. Fir or oak stubs are oftenest chosen, 
and moderate heights are the rule: but 1 h;ive seen birds go in and out of a 
nesting hole at an elevation of eighty feet. 

Kvery furred creature of the woods niay Ix' asked t<i contribute to the 
furnishing of Chickadee's home. Upon a mattress of fur ami hair the binl 
lays from seven to nine eggs, while as to ground color, and sparingly dotted 
with pale rufous. Ciiickadees are cli>se sitters and must sometimes be taken 
from tiie eggs. They iiave. moreover, a uni<|ue metiiod of defense, for when 




CUICSTNLT liACKKl) Cll ICKADKF.. 



J.S4 Till-: i;i SI I- rn. • 

an «.'Vf ai»i:iais at llii* miiaiKc, ilic Itinl l)ii.sili> up and liissfs in a very snakc- 
liki- fashion. This is loo nuioh for the ncrscs ni a Cliipniinik, and wc guess 
llial the single hrood of a Cliickailee is not often (hsturbed 



.\o. I n). 
HI Sll 11 I-. 

A. (1. r. Xo. 74.V Psaltriparus minimus (Towns.). 

S>non>ms.- I,i; AST i;L>n-TiT. I'l i".i;t Socnh Bish-tit. I'acii-ic I'.i sn-iir. 

Description.--. '(/i///,v; Crown and hindneck warm brown abrnptly contrast- 
ing willi dnll leaden or mouse gray hue of remaining npperparts ; wings an<l tail 
slaty edged with pale gray; sides of head like crown but duller and paler; undcr- 
parts sordid l)rowni>h white deepening into dull drab on sides and flanks. Length 
about 4.1X) ( loi I ; wing 1.S7 147.51: tail J.n^ (^J): bill .26 (6.9); tarsus .62 
(15.8). 

Recognition Alarks. — I'ygmy size: leaden coloration with brownish cap 
unniiNtak.ilile. 

Nesting. — W'sl: a pendulous ])onch from six inches to a foot in length and 
three or four inches in diameter, with Muall entrance hole in side near top; an 
exipiisite fabrication of mosses. |)lain-down and other soft vegetable substances 
bound together by 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 u|> in lir trees. Eyijs: 5-8, usually 7, dull white fre<|uently 
discoloring to i)ale drab rluring incubation. .\v. size .55 x .40 ( 13.9 x 10.2 (. 
Season: April-July; two or more broods. 

(jeneral Range. — Pacific Coast district from Lower California to the Fraser 
Kiver. 

Range in Washington. — Resident west of the Cascades at lower levels, rare 
northerly— perhaps nearly conlined to the I'uget Sound basin. 

Authorities. — I'linis iiiiniiiiiis, Townsend, lourn. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila., \TI. 
iS.^7. KK) (Columbia Kiver). C&S. Ka. Kk. r..E. 

Specimens. I', of W. I'rov. I'.. 

IT LS an age of specialists. The man who could do anything — after 
a fashion — has given place to the man who can tlo one thing well. .\nd in 
this we have but followed Xature's example. The birds are specialists. 
The Loon is ;i diver; the Connoiant a fisher; the Petrel a mariner, and so 
on until we come to Swallows, who are either masons or mining engineers; 
and to Catbird an<l Thrush, who are trained musicians. 

The P>u.sh-Tits belong to the builders' caste. They are sjiecialists in 
domestic architecture. The little birds not only enjoy their task; they have 
nest-building on the brain, A beautifid home is more than meat to them. 



THE iu"vSii-'i'ri 



28: 



For its successful rearing tiicy are read)' in fdrswear the delights nf foreign 
travel, and to its embellishment they dc\ote every surplus energy, even after 
the children have come. 

If there were time it would be interesting to trace the genesis of this 
architectural ])assion. Suflice it to say that the Bush-Tit comes of a race of 
builders. They call him Tit, a name shared in common with all the C'liicka- 
dees; and Chickadee he is in structure and behavior, in his .absolute indiffer- 
ence to jjosition or balance, iu his dainiiiKs^ .niil spii^litliiicss. \'i iw riiick.-i- 
dees, altho they 
have lost the art 
of building, arc 
specialists in nest- 
lining. (A nest 
lined with rabliit- 
fur means as 
much to a Chicka- 
dee as does a seal- 
skin jacket tn 
you, my lady ! ) 
Hence the Chick- 
adee strain is not 
lost upon our sub- 
ject. The Tit, 
further, shows his 
affim'ty with the 
Kinglets in a 
habit of restlessly 
flirting the wings : 
and the Kinglets, 
as we know, are 
master builders. 
Rut it is to the 
Wrens that the 
Bush - Tit owes 
most of all. and 
especially to the 
Tulc \\'rcn, for 
he has taken the 
general concep- 
tion of a com- 
pletely enclosed Take, w raccna. Pho,o by D„tc. 

nest and worked nest or the bushtit in situ. 




2S<. 



THE BUSH-')- 



il «»iit nuiri' daintily. 'l"lii>, l)v the way, is im famil'iil cuin])arisi)n, f'>r llicrc 
is a strong strain <if Wicn 1)1<m>(1 in I'usli-'I'it's veins. 

Ncst-builflinj; bcRins on Piigct Sonntl aliont llit middle of March, at a 
time when tlie sliriibljery is only l)eginning to leaf, l-'arly nests, like the one 
in our illustration, may I)c perfectly expused. Indeed, the birds ap])ear to Ix* 
at no |)ains to eiTect concealment, bnt trust to the general protection afforded 
by the presence of other such masses, the withered jjanicles of "ocean spray" 
or spir.ea. drooping mosses, and cnllectinns of nnfalleii leaves, in the draiwries 
of the nnderforest. The pendant |)onch is C"imp<ised chiefly of moss made 
fast by vegetable fibres and cob-webs, and snngly felted with vegetable dnwns. 
The lining is comiMtsed sometimes exdnsively of white felt, but oftener of 
plant-down mingled with wool, fnr. or feathers. 

Egg-laying may begin as srxm as the nest is decently framed, or again, il 
may be deferred fur a week <ir len days after the strnctme is practically com- 

p 1 e t e. B n t, 
however that 
may be. the 
birds never rest 
fnini their la- 
bors. A Rush- 
Tit's nest is 
like the J.imes- 
t o w n F a i r. 
never linished. 
The nest must 
be ornamented 
w i t h lichens, 
spider- 
egg cases, bits 
of tissue jja- 
per.— in short, whatever takes the fancy of the birds in the course of their 
restless forays. The interior furnishings, likewise, must be continually aug- 
mented. If the Ixittom of the nest was 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 Ix? near to hatching, the thrifty housewife, as she returns from 
an airing, must needs lug in a beakfnl of feathers, which it would have In-en 
a shame to waste, you know. I'esides this, the male bird has two or three 
.shanties under construction in the neighlKirhood. upon which he can ])rolit- 
ablv 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 
Tay counts (piite the daintiest item on his bill of fare. Hence, of all the 
nush-Tils* nests one sees in a season. f\illy half have lieen slit open and 




/'/,„/,. bj. petals. 

R^lilman .md l-inl.-y. 



THE SLENDER-BILLED NUTHATCH. 287 

labbed by ihe bluc-cualcil ihug. (Jne such tragedy, with its huniaii interest, 
is reported for us in- .Miss Adelaide L. Pollocl<. tlie welJdNnowu birddoxer 
of Seattle, as follows: 

"We found the long purse-shaped nest swinging from the lower branches 
of a giant red tir July 8th, and every da\- thereafter for two weeks some 
member of our class in ornithology visited the castle in the air. It was woven 
with a silken foiuidation gleaned in the cobwebs of the forest, lined with the 
pappus of the w illnw and the thistle, and chinked with moss, lichen, and faded 
hazel blossoms. Willi an eye to man-fashion, the architects had papered the 
home, but onl_\' in spots on the outside. What a delight it was to watch the 
parent birds light on the doorste]5 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 nioutlis, Jul}' 17th was a dreadful day for 
the nestlings. W'e heard the pitifid notes of birds in distress as we approached 
and found the nest was gone. Searching the ground it appeared wdth a great 
gai)ing hole in one side, which told of the work of jay. crow, or chipmunk. 
On investigation a tiny dead biuich of feathers was drawn out: and then 
something moxed. The nest was tied to a hazel branch and quick as a thought 
the parents went in at the front and out at the new back dour. (laining 
courage they tried again, this time with food, and within the hour had ai)])ar- 
ently forgotten their tragedy and settled down with the one wee chick. W'hile 
the parents were foraging we opened the slit and the wa\- thai bain- ])ird 
turned tail-up and buried its head in the lining of the nest rcniinded us of 
the ostrich. 

"July 20th we saw- the youngster scr;imble u|5 the sides of his home to 
the doorway, where he ])erciied blinking his round lirown eves at us. He 
seen-ied to enjoy having his throat and back scratched and did not resent our 
])resence, l)ut his parents did, for the nest was deserted at sundown of Jnlv 
22(\ after a long visit fn^ii the class in the afternoon. Vet the tin\- nedgling 
could scarcely leap from twig to twig of the tangled undergrowth into which 
he disappeared. Two days later we fancied we recognized the same famih- 
by a i^eculiar w-liile iris of one ]jarent liird. as the\- flitted from branch to 
branch of an alder fort\- feet abr)\e the ground." 



No. III. 

SLENDER-BILLED NUTHATCH. 

.\. O. V. Xn. 727 a. Sitta carolinensis aciileata (Cassin). 
Description. — Adult male: Top of head, nape and upper bnniidarv of bad's 
liining black, with a slight greeiiisii reflection : remaining iip|)er|)arts ashy blue 



jSS the slender-billed .\L'I% atcii. 

outer \ving-(|uills fuscous, tlie second ami tlirce or four succeeding primaries 
narrowly touclied witli white on outer weh in retreating order; inner tjuills anil 
coverts with nuicli hlack centering: tail featiier>, except u|)i)er i)air. black, the 
outer pairs s(|uarely hlotched with white in suhterniinal to terminal order; sides of 
head, and neck well u]), and undcrparts while with a faint bluish tinge: distinctly 
marked, or washed more or less, on flanks and crissmu with rusty brown: bill 
stout, subulate, the under mandible slightly recurved, — blackish plumbeous alwive. 
lighter at base of lower mandible: feet dark brown: iris brown. .IJiill fciiiiilc: 
similar to male, but black of head and back more or less veiled by color of b;ick. 
Length 5.50-6.10 ( i.vj.7-154.91 ; wing 3.43 (87) : tail 1.81 (46) : bill .77 ( 19.5 i : 
tarsus .7J ( 18.2). 

RecoKnition Marks. — Warbler to Sparrow size; tree-cree])ing habits; liiack 
and ashy blue above: white below. 

Nesting. — Scst: a ileserted Woodpecker hole, or newly-made cavity in 
stump or tree, usually at a considerable distance from the grouinl, and lineil with 
leaves, feathers, or hair. Iuj</s: 5-8, sometimes y or even 10, white, thickly 
speckled and spotted with reddish brown and lavender. .\v. si/e, .76 x .56 
( 19.3 X 14.J I. St'iisioi: .\i>ril. May ; one brood. 

General Range. — I'acitic Coast states and liritish Columbia (to .\shcroft), 
in the iioriiurn portion of its range cast of the Cascades. Non-nugratory. 

Range in Washington. — Resident, of regular occurrence in ))ine timber east 
of Cascades; rare and local in I'uget Sound region. 

Authorities. — ? 'rownsend, Journ. .\c. Nat. Sci. riiiki. \lll. 1839. 155 
( Cohunbia River). Sitta aciilcata. Cassin, Cooper and Suckley, Rep. I'ac. R. R. 
Surv. Xll. pt. II. i8(«, p. 193. (T. ) C^S. Rh. D'. Ra, j. l:. 

Specimens. — ( L'. of W.) I'rov. C. 

irii(>-i~n' 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0 goes the Macfarlaiie Screech Owl in bru.id 
daylight. There is an instant hush on the pine-clad hillside — a hush fulloweil 
by an excited murmur of iiKpiiry among the scattered luenibers of a winter 
bird-troop. If yon happen to be the Screech Owl, seated motionless at the 
base of some large tree and half ob.scured in its shadows, |)erliaps the first in- 
timation you will have that the search party is on your trail will be the click, 
click, click, of tiny claws on the tree-bole above your head, followed by a 
(juank of interrogation, ahiiost comical for its mixture of ballled anxiety and 
dawning su.spicion of the truth. He is an impiisitive fellow, this Nuthatch, 
for, vou sec, prying is his business; but he is brave as well. The chances are 
that he will venture down within a foot or two of your face before he Ihuters 
off with a loud outcr>- of alarm. When excited, as when regarding a sus])i- 
cious object, he has an odd fashion of rapidly right-and-left facing on a hori 
zontal Ivnigh, as tho to try both eyes on you and lose no lime between. 

Xulhatch is the acknowledged acrobat of the woods — not that he acts for 
displav; it is all Inisincss with him. A tree is a complete gymnasium in itself 
and the bird is master of it all. In all |M>sitions, any side up, this bird is there, 
fearless, confident : in fact, he rather prefers traveling head downward, cspec- 



THE SLENDER-BILLED NUTHATCH. 289 

ially oil the main irunk 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 heavy 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 variety of notes, all distinguished by a peculiar nasal 
(|uality. When hunting with the troop he gives an occasional softly resonant 
tut or tut-tut, as if to remind his fellows that all's well. The halloo note is 
more decided, tin, pronounced a la francaise. By means of this note and by 
using it in combination, they seem to be able to carry on quite an animated 
conversation, calling across from tree to tree. During the inating season, 
and often at other times, they have an even more decided and distinctive note, 
quonk, qiionk, quonk, or ho-onk, ho-onk, 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 those of the eastern bird, 
typical S. caroliiuiisis. 

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 family, but unlike the Woodpeckers, the Nuthatches 
provide for their home an abundant lining of moss, fur, feathers, and the like. 
This precaution is justified fmni the fact that they are early nesters — com- 
plete sets of eggs being found \v> later than the second week in April. 

The male is a devoted husband 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 creej) up to the mouth of the nesting hole to receive food when their turn 
comes; and they are said to crawl al)out the jiarcnlal tree for some days 
before they attempt flight. 

The Slender-billed Nuthatch is of rare occurrence west of the Cascades, 
being chiefly confined to the wooded edges of the prairies. Li the eastern 
half of the State it may be rare locally but increases in abt^ndance in tlio north- 
eastern section, \\1ierever found, this bird associates freely with llie related 
species and is esjiecially fond of the society of the Pygmies. A winter bird 
troop encountered near Spokane included, beside a half dozen Slender-bills, 
as many Red-breasted Nuthatches, a score of Pygmies, a dozen Mountain 
Chickadees, four or five Batchelder W^oodpeckers, a few Clark Nutcrackers, 
and twentv Red-sh;ifled Klickcrs. 



290 THE RED-BREASTED NUTimTCH. 



15ciiig non-migratory (with tlic irregular exception of 5". caitadcnsis) 
Nutliatclies arc called ii|)on to eiuiiue tlie rigors of a northern climate with its 
occasional droj) to tliirty below; !)ut this does not give them or their fellows 
great concern, because of the unfailing character r>f their food suitply. Picsirle 
tliat, ])lease remember that feathers and fat afford the warmest ])rotection 
known. 



No. 112. 

RED-BREASTED M IMAICH. 

A. O. I'. \(). 728. Sitta canadensis I. inn. 

Synonyms. — RKn-i!i:i.Lii:i) Ni Tu.xTCH. Can.U)I.\x XfTii.xTcn. 

Description. — . hhilt male: Crown and nape shinincj black ; white sup- 
erciliary lines nueting on e.xtrcine forehead: a black band thru eye; remaining 
upperi)arts grayish blue; wings fuscous, unmarked: tail feathers, except u|)1ht 
l)air, black; the outer pairs subterniinally 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. |)lumbeous-black : feet dark 
lirown. ./(//(// female: Similar, but crown like the back, with only trace< of black 
beneath; lateral heacl-stri])e blackish; usually ])alcr rusty below. Immature: 
Like adult female. Length. 4.25-4.75 ( io8-i20.()) ; average of seven specimen^, 
wings 2.rii (66.3) ; tail 1.43 ( .^^..V) : b'H -50 (12.7). 

Recognition Marks. — I'ygmy size : black and grayish blue alxve : ru>;ty 
below; tree-cri'e])ing habits. 

Nesting. — XesI: of grasses, feathers, etc., in a hole of tree or stub. cxcavate<l 
by the bird, usually at lower levels. Efjgs: 4-6, white or creamy white, speckled 
with reddish bmwn and lavender, .\verage size, .63 x .48 ( ifi x 12. 2I. Season: 
first week in May: one brood. 

General Range. — North .America at large, breeding from northern New 
Englau<l. iiortherii New York, and northern Michigan northward, and soutlnvar<l 
in the Alleghanies, Rocky Mountains, and Sierra Nevada: in winter south to 
about the <iiiubiTii border of the I'nited States. 

Ran^e in VSashinRton. — ComnK«n resident and migrant in timbered sections 
thruout tile State, more innnerous in the mouiUains; winter residents are, possibly. 
.Maskan birds. 

Authorities. — ? Ornithological Conunittec. Jouru. .\c. Nat. Sci. Pliila. Nil. 
18^7, 19^ (Columbia River). Cooper and Sucklev, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. XII. 
pt." IL i8ro. 10.'. T. C&S. Rh. P'. Sr. Ra. D'. Kk. J. P.. E. 

Specimens.- I', of W. P'. Prov. R. 

TIII'.RIC is nothing big alxnit the Red-hreasted N'nthalch save his voice. 
If undisturbed, birdikins pursues the even tenor of his ways, like any other 
winged bug hunter; but once pri>voke his curiosity or aron.^e suspicion. 



THE RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH. 



291 



and he [niblislu's forthwilli a Ijroadside of sensalioiial editurial matter 

which no thoughtful reader of the woods can overlotjk. The full 

war-dance song of the Red-breasted Nuthatch, executed, foi: instance, 

when he hears the false notes of the Screech Owl, is something like this: 

Nyad nydd nyad nydd nydd nyda 

ii\d nvd nvd iiyd nyd nyd iiyd iiyd nyd nydnyd and soon, in an incoherent 

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 truni])eting 

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. 



(1 th 




nasal call sounding on migra- 
tion has a friendly f|uality 
about it which brings one has- 
tening out-of-doors to greet 
the traveler again. Contrary 
to an early report, the Red- 
breast is c|uite 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 decirluous timber, 
in bottom lands, and in the 
oak trees which border the 
prairies. In western Washing- 
ton, it is cjuite impossible to 
trace or to estimate the bird's 
migrations, since it is jiresent everywhere at all seasons: but it is probably 
much less abundant with us in winter. Tn eastern Washington, it is 
confined for the most part to the region of pine timber in summer. 
and altho it also w'inters here irregularly, the numbers in this part 
of the ."^tate are largely augmented by migrants during M;iy ;nid vSeptember. 



REDBRE.X'^TED XUXnATCII. 



292 



THE KED-r.REASTEI) MTl l;^tl I. 



Thru llic iiilfriiiiltciit (|iianking <»f a pair of these birds, my attention was 
directed to a omple of tall dea<l fir trees near the center of a woods, then 
known as the I'ugel Mill strip. Init now as M<M)re's University Park Addition 
to Seattle. A little la/y scrutiny descried the birds, mere twinkling bits of 
blue-gray, alnuit one hundred and twenty-live feet i\\>; and two or three mys- 
terious disap]>earances establislR-d a susi)icion that they were interested in a 
certain section of one of tjie trees. The sus])icion received strong coiitirma- 
tioii wluii. after a longer disai)pearnnce than usual on the part of the Red- 
breasts, a I larris 
Woodpecker alight- 
ed further up in the 
s a lu e s t u b. The 
Xuthatchcs immedi- 
ately swarmed out 
and set ujmmi the 
Harris with vigor 
and language. The 
Woodpecker was dis- 
posed to stand his 
ground, whereat the 
Xuihalciies became 
Iiigld)' enraged and 
cliarged u])on the in- 
truder so vigorously 
iliat the poor fellow 
was obliged to dodge 
about his chosen limb 
in lively fashion. 
The Hatches cried 
iiyCi tiyd iiya as fast 
as they could get 
!)realb. and tlirted 
their wings between 
whiles to vent their 
outraged feelings. 
Harris naturally <le- 
cided before long 
tiiat the game wasn't 
worth the liother. 
Time and again 

Takrn in Pirrct Lounly. Photo by Ihr Aulhcr. r i r U 1 

.\ TVPICAI. NESTISr, SITF. OF THK KKI) BKKASTKU NITH.\TCH. ' " ^'""^^^ "^"^ 

AM OAK TiK« (oi'oci's r.AniiYAKA) AT Tin »o«i>«ii OF Tiis riiAiaic acFoss to a hve nr 




THE PYGMY NUTHATCH. 293 



tree, Inil onh' to come back as cit'ten to the same fascinating belt. l"'inall_v. 
tioni a new \antage point I made out the hole, a very fresh 1 me in an oi)en 
stretch of bark about one Inindred and twenty feet up. As I looked, one 
bird entered the excavation and remained, while the other mounted guard at 
the entrance. After about fi\'e minutes of this the tiny miner emerged and 
the other, the male, I tiiink, took her ])lace. His dtity appeared to be to 
remove the chii)s. for he stuck his head nut at the entrance momenlaril}-, and 
one imagined, ratlier than saw at that height, the tiny flashes of falling white. 
All very romantic, but not a good "risk" from the insurance man's stand])oint. 

These Nuthatches must delight in work. They will si)end a week in 
laborious excavation, and then abandon the claim for no ajjparent reason. 
Perhaps it is an outcrop])ing of that same instijict of restlessness which makes 
Wrens build "decoy" ne.sts. One such finished nest we found to be slia]:)ed 
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 deep, and 
eight long (keeping in mind the analogy of the bottle resting on its flat side). 

The birds do not always nest at ungetatable heights. A nest taken near 
Tacoma on the 8th of June, 1906, was found at a height of only seven feet in 
a small fir stump. The wood was very rotten, and the eggs rested only four 
inches below the entrance. The nest-lining in this instance was a heavy mat 
an inch in thickness, and was composed of vegetable matter — wood fiber, soft 
grasses, etc. — without hair of any sort, as would surely 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 hoin-s of 
the day, 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 ])itch. 
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 ofif the ants, which are often a pest to hole-nesting birds. These ants 
not only annoy the sitting bird, who is presumably able to defend herself, but 
they sometimes destroy unguarded eggs, or young birds. 



No. 11,3. 

PVCiMY Nl THATCH. 

.\. O. U. No. 730. Sitta pygmaea \ igors. 

Synonym. — C.\liforxi.\ Xitii.xtcii ( early name). 

Description. — Adults: Crown, nape, and sides of head to below eye grayish 
olive rir (p]ivc-i)r(iwn. a huffy white s]K)t on hiiid-ncck ("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 rcctriccs ( c.\cej)t central j)air) ; longer primaries usually with some 
etlging of wliitc; central pair of tail-feathers with elongated white s|M(t ; two outer 
pairs crossed ol)lii|uely with white, and the three outer tipped with slate; under- 
parts sordid white, smoky brown, or even fernigiiious, clearest (nearly white) 
on chin and cheeks; sides, flanks, and crissum washed with color of back; bill 
plumbeous, lightening below; feet pliunbeous; iris black. Yoiiiuj: Like aihilts but 
crown and hind-neck nearly color of back ; sitles and flanks washed with brownish. 
Length 4.00 ( 101.6) or less; wing 2.56 (65 ) ; tail 1.34 ( 34) ; bill .56 ( 14.2) ; tarsus 

■59 "5' 

Recu>;nition A\arks. — I'ygmy size; to]) of head olive brt.wn coiUrasting with 
plumbeous of liack ; gregarious habits. 

Nesting.- — \cst: a hole in dead top of pine tiee, excavated by birds, smeared 
about entrance with jiitch. and lined with soft substances, grass, hair, and 
feathers. li(j(js: 3-S, i)ure white, flecked more or less heavily with reddish brown. 
.\v. size, .'ii X .54 ( 15.5 X 13.7 ). Season: May 1-20; one brood. 

General Range. — Western I'nitcd States from New Mexico, Colorado, and 
.Montana to somliern California, Washington, and eastern I'.ritish Columbia; 
southwanl in .Mexico to .Mount Orizaba. 

Range in Washington. — Resident in northern and eastern portions of the 
State east of the Cascade Mountains. Nearly conlined to pine timber. 

Authorities.— Baird. Rep. I'ac. R. R. Sur\-. L\. pt. IL 1858, p. ^8. C&S. 
D'. J. 

Specimens. — I'rov. C. 

.\S for the rygiiiy, the pine tree is his home. It is not cpiite ])roper, 
however, to speak of this Xuthalch in the singular. Lilliputians nuist 
hunt in troops and make up in numbers what they lack in strength. Pygmy 
Nuthatches are not merely sociable; they are almost gregarious. Where 
.1 comi)any of Kinglets would be content to straggle thru a dozen trees, 
a ])ack of Pygmies prefers to assemble in one. Vet there is no flock im- 
pulse here, as with Siskins. Kach little elf is his own master, and a 
company <jf them is more like a crowd of merry schooUxiys than anything 
else. It's "come on fellers," when one of the Ixiys tires of a given tree, 
and sets out for another. The rest follow at leisure but are si>on re- 
assembled, and there is much jolly chatter with some good-natured scuflling, as 
the confederated mischiefs swarm over the new field of op|)ortunity. 

Xuthatches are not methodical, like Creejjers, in their search for in- 
sects, — they are hajihazard and haiJi)y. The branches are more attractive 
to them than the tree lx>le, and the dead top of the tree is most alluring 
of all. The Pygtnies are never too busy to talk. The more they find the more 
e.xcited their chatter grows, pretty lispings and chiriungs quite too dainty for 
our dull ears. It makes us sigh to watch their happiness, and we go off 
muttering, "W'e, too. were young." 

Again, it shocks us when we find these youngsters in knickerlxickers 



THE SIERRA CREEPER. 295 

;ui(-l braids paired ott tur nesting time. Tut, tut I cliiiilren, so eager to taste 
life's Iiea\ier joys? A nest is chiselled out with infinite labor on the part 
of these tiny beaks, in the dead pmiion of some pine tree. The cavity is 
from four to twelve inches in depth, with an entrance a trifle over an inch 
in diameter. The owners share the taste of the Chickadees, and prepare 
an elaborate layette of soft \egetable fibers, fur, hair, and feathers, in 
which the eggs are sometimes quite smothered. 

The parents are as proud as peacocks, and well the\- may be, of their 
six or eight oval treasures, crystal white, with rufous frecklings, lavish 
or scant. When the babies are hatched, the mother goes in and out fear- 
lessly luider yoin- \er_\- 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 Cref.per (Ridgway). 

Description. — Adults: Above rusty brown, broadly and loosely streaked 
with ash}' white ; more finely and narrowly streaked on crown ; rumj) 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 grayish buft": a narrow superciliary stripe dull whitish or brown- 
ish gray : underparts sordid white or pale butiy, tinged on sides and flanks with 
stronger bufi'y. 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 next. 

Nesting. — Xcst: of twigs, bark-strijjs, moss, plant-down, etc., crowded be- 
hind a wari)ing scale of bark whether of cedar, pine or fir. Eggs: usually 5 or 6, 
sometimes 7 or 8, white or creamy white sjicckled 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 til central liritish Columbia, east to Idaho; displaced by succeeding form 
on Pacific Coast slope save from Marin 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. — 'I Certhia familiaris iiioiitaiia Johnson ( Roswcll H.), Condor, 
Vol. VIII.. Jan. 1906, p, 27. 

Specimens. — L'. of W. B. 



296 THE TAWNY CREErKH. ^ 

I'l".( )l*l.l-l ;irc always remonstrating witli tlic binl-nian for the asser- 
tion tliat Ijjnls are to Ixf fonnil cverywliere if you but know tlieni. Ks|X'ci- 
ally do they talk of the great silent forests on the western slojies of the 
Cascade Mountains, where they have traveled for forty miles at a stretch 
without seeing or hearing a living thing. Well; you cannot show me a 
stjuare mile of woodlaml in all that area where at least the following 
species of birds may not be found : Western WiiUer Wren, Western (lolden- 
crowned Kinglet. Western Flycatcher, N'aried Thrush and California 
Creeper'; and these, except the Flycatcher, at any season of the year. 
Silent birds they are for the most part, but 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 verv bigness of the trees is of the greatest service; for his specialty 
is bark, and the more bark there is the liarder is this little atom to dis- 
tinguish. Not only <ioes he inhabit the deeper forests of the Cascade ranges 
and foothills, but his <lomain stretches eastward across the northern tier 
of )>ine-clad counties, and he is common among the tamaracks on the banks 
of the I'end d'Oreille. 

In June, in the Stehekin \alley of Ciielan County, we fouml these 
Creei)ers leading about troops of fully grown young. 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. Tlie 
twigs proved to be eighteen inches below the toj) of the nest proi)er, 
wiiich was thus about twelve feet fmm the ground. The intervening sjjacc 
was filled in loosely with twigs, bark-strips, moss, cotton, and every other 
sort of woodsv 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 comixised entirely of st)ft inner bark-strips and a vegetable RIkt re- 
sembling flax in f|uality — altogether a si>lendi(l creation. 



No. 115. 

r.AWW CREEPKR. 

A. ( ). r. Xo. -26c. Certhia familiaris occidentalis Ridgway. 
Synonym, — C.m.iform.w Ckii-imk i .\. ( ). V.). 

Description. — "Similar to C. f. zclotcs but browner and more sufTused with 
biitTv above; wing markings more pronoinicedly l)uflf: undcrparts more bufTy" 



a. Shading into tht following varittjf, C. f. occiilftilnlit. upon llic lower levels 



THE TAWNY CREEPER. 297 

(Ridgway). Length of male; wing 2.44 (61.91 : tail 2.41 (61.2) ; bill .60 (15.2) ; 
tarsus .61 (15.5). 

Recognition Marks. — .\s in prccciling: darker. 

Nesting. — Xcst: as in ])reccding; 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 2j/>. Eggs: 5 or 6, as in C. f. zclotcs. .\\. size .58 x .47 
(14.7x11.9). Season: Alay, June; two broods. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from Xorthern California to Sitka. 

Range in Washington. — Resident thruout the West-side from tidewater up. 

Authorities. — ? Ccrthia faiiiiliaris Orn. Com. Journ. Ac. Xat. Sci. Phila., 
\'II. 1837. 193 (Columbia River). Ccrthia amcricana Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. 
Surv.. IX. 1858, p. 372, part. (T). C&S. L'. Rh. Ra. B. E. 

Specimens. — U. t:)f \\ . Prov. PX. 

TO one who loves birds with an all inclusive 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 re\iew 
is very strong. But here ])erhaps w^e may be pardoned for relaxing our 
attention, or, it may be, for being caught in the act of stifling a little yawn. 
Ccrthia is a prosy drab, and all the beauty she possesses is in the eyes of her 
little hubby — dear, devoted creature. 

This clerkling (hubby, 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 when 
the little claws had carried him u]) to the top of tree number One, he 
fluttered and spilled thru the air tmtil he pulled up somehow, with heart 
beating fiercely, at the l)ase and i>ii Ihc bark of tree number Two. Since 
then he has climbed an almost infinity of trees (but I dare say he has 
kept count). Smnmers and winters ha\e gone over his head, but never 
a waking hotn- in which he has not climbed and tmnliled in this worse 
than Sysiphrcan task of gleaning nits and eggs and grubs from the never- 
ending bark. Why, it gets upon the nerves! I pray you tliink, has not 
this animate brown spot traveled more relative miles of ridgy brown bark 
in his wee lifetime"than ever mariner on billowy sea! Work, work, work! 
With the industry of an Oriental he seeks to shame rtie rollicking caprice 
of Chickadee, and to be a "living example" to such spendthrifts as Goldikins, 
the Kinglet. 

lUil wail ! 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 i)oet ? Hark ! "Tczv, tczvy, teii'y, Ping, tc'ivy." — an 



298 



Till-: TAWNY CREEFEU 



aiigcl tlilty lis|M.(l in liic trci--t<>i)s where the ti-iilcr j^rccn fir fnnuls melt into 
tlie sky — some WarMcr, I giiess; the lleniiit. periiaps. rouiuliiig out his unsaid 

devotions. And again, " '"'^ :c,i ..■"'''"'' like a garland of song caught 
uj) at eillier end and made fast to the ether. No! Would you believe it! 
It is our prosv clerkling! Me has turned fay, and goes carolling about his 
task as blitliely as a bejewelled urlisti- with nothing to do. Love? ^cs; 

love of the woods, for it is the mid- 
die of Septemljer. 

All of whidi leads me to apologize 
for the rude ejjilhets i)reviously used ; 
for one wIkj can sing belongs to tlie 
immortals : and never again will we 
judge a brother harshly, for who 
knows the vaulting heart of the 
seeming plodder! 

Tile oidinary, working note of 
the Tawny Creeper is a faint 
Isif', and tiiis is varied from time 
to time l)y a longer doul)le note, 
tsiii- Isrc (of a resonant quality 
whicii cannot be made to apjKjar 
in the transcript ). Tiiis latter it 
is wiiicii one can never quite cer- 
tainly distinguisii from that of the 
Western Golden-crowned Kinglet. 
The full song is. indeed, very 
sweet and dainty, with a bit of 
a i)laintive «|ualily, which serves to 
distinguish it from the utterances 
of the Wood \\arl)Iers. once you are 
accustomed. 

.\ knowledge of the Creeper's nesting iiabits wmild l)e quite unattainable 
were the Ijird to choose the tree-tops; but witli characteristic humility it seeks 
tile lower levels at the nesting season, so that one need not lof)k mucii alMjve 
his iiead in searciiing for its nest. 

Tlie first one found w-as at tlie edge of the forest overlooking a wi^xlland 
road near Tacoiiia. We came upon a i)air of the birds gleaning from tiic 
neiglil)oring trees and calling encouragement to each other as they proceeded. 
We were not long in divining their local attachments: and linally. after several 
feints, the niotiier bird flew to an isolated tree at the very edge of liie woods, 
wliere investigation <lisclosed a jiiece of bark warped an<l sjirung i)y fire. 



t'?Sk'*«H 


R^ ■ . ' 


1 




^^^^^^^WL ^l^r^i 


vll ; 



Jaktn .I.Mr 7jc.-'mj. /•/:.l. t> /J,:;./Vj ,n:d /'.j-..j-n. 
TAWNY CKKKI'KR AIM'RO.\Cni.\C. NEST. 

TIIK UuTIICr's BKAK IS LADCN WITH GOOD THINUS. 




Taken near Tacoma. 



Plato by IV. Leon Dawson. 
NESTING SITE OF THE TAWNY CREEPER. 



300 



THE TAWNY CREEPEH. 




Taken near Tacoma. Photo by W. Leon Davton 

NKST OF TAWXY CREEPER IX DEAD OAK TREE. 

DITAIL 



or mlCXDINC ILLl'STIATIOK 

SCALE OX TIIC ■ir.llT. 

IT MAINTAI 



TIK NKST ArrKAIS tXDCH Til 

lKd Till woxDU IS now 

S ITS POSITION. 



Itcliind wliich si.\ 
callow l)al)ics rest- 
ed nn a soft ciisli- 
imi of moss, hair 
aii<l bark - filKT. 
s 11 |i ]>o r t e (I l)\ 
twigs criss-crus.seil 
and interwoven, 
to lake ui> all 
a\ailal)k' sjiacc be- 
low. 

This looked 
easy : hnt the most 
dili>,'ent search the 
folliiwinjT season 
serve<l only to dis- 
cover the reconis 
of past years and 
hopeful prospects. 
Rark scales of just 
the right di- 
mensions do not 
abound, and those 
which do look 
good prove to Ik- 
cither too infirm 
or else to have re- 
ceived the scant 
comi)limcnl of a 
few criss-crossed 
sticks which mean. 
"We would have 
built here, if we 
had not liked 
some other ])lace 
Ix-tter." 

Not until May 
5th. 1007. did Mr 
Rowles discover 
the first eggs, five 
speckled beauties. 



THE WESTERN MARSH WREX. 301 



No. 116. 
WESTERN MARSH WREN. 

A. O. U. Xo. 725 c. Telmatodytes palustris plesiiis ( ■ ■berholser). 

Synonym. — Interior Marsh Wren. 

Description. — Adult: Crown blackish; forehead light brown centrally. — 
color sometimes spreading superficially over entire crown ; hmd neck and scapu- 
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 e.xposed 
surfaces ; upper and under tail-covcrts usually and more or less distinctly barred 
with dusky; sides of head whitish before, plain brown or punctate behind; a white 
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 (114. 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 confmed to bulrushes and long grass of marshes. Lighter and 
larger than T. />. palndicola. 

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. .\v. size, .65 x .52 (16.5x13.2). Season: May, July; 
two broods. 

General Range. — Western L'nited States and southern British Columbia 
between the Rocky ^lountains and the Cascade-Sierra Range, breeding from Xew 
Mexico northward: south during migrations to Cape district of Lower California 
and W'estern^Iexico. 

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

Authorities.^ — I eliuatod\tes (>aliistiis palndicola Brewster, B. X. O. C. 
\ II i.^Sj. 227 (Ft. Walla 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 venture into the upper story of the wav- 
ing cat-tail forest, belong to the Long-billed Marsh \\'rA. Somewhat less 
cautious than the waterfowl, he is the presiding genius of llowing acres, which 
often have no other interest for the ornithologist. There are only two occa- 
sions when the Marsh Wren voluntarily leaves the shelter of the cat-tails or of 
the closely related marshables. One of these is when he is driven 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 cither 



302 



Till-: WESTERN MARSH 



v|y< 



EN. 



lime is ill the spring, when the male shoots up into the air a few feet alxjve the 
reeds, like a l)all from a Roman candle, and sputters all the way. only to drop 
hack, extinguished, into tlie reeds again. This is a part of the tactics of his 
courting season, when, if ever, a lj<idy may he allowed a little liherty. For the 
rest, he clings sidewise to the cat -tail stems or sprawls in midair, reaching, 
rather than living from one stem to another. His tail is cocked up and his 
head thrown l);ick, so that, on those few occasions when lie is seen, he does not 
get credit lor heing as large as he really is" (The Birds of Ohio). 

Since his sjihere of activity is so limited, we may proceed at once to the 

main interest, that of nest-build- 
ing. And this is |)reciseiy as the 
Marsh Wren would have it. else 
why docs lie S|)eiid the livelong 
day making extra nests, wliich arc 
of no ]M)ssil)lc use to anyone, save 
as examples of Telmatotlytine 
.iichitecture? It is |Missihle that 
the female is cof|uettish. and re- 
i|uires the.se many mansi<ins as 
evidence that tiic ardent swain 
will lie al)le to support her liecom- 
iiigly after marriage. Or. it may 
liv, that the suitor deiiglits to af- 
ford liis lady lo\e a wide range 
of choice in the matter of homes, 
and seeks thus to drive her to the 
inevitable conclusion that there is 
only one home-maker for her. 
However this may be. it is certain 
that one sometimes finds a con- 
siderable grouji of nest-balls, each 
of ap|)arent suitability. !)ef>>re any 
are occupied. 

On the other hand, the male continues his harmless activities long after 
his mate has selected one of his early efTorts ami deposited her eggs: so that 
the oologist may have to sample a dozen "cock's nests." or decoys, before the 
right one is found. Some empty nests may be perfectly finished. Init oiliers 
are apt to lack the soft lining: while still others, not having received the 
dose-pressed interstitial filling, will be sodden from the last rains. 

Tlie Marsh Wren's nest is a compact ball of vegetable materials, lashed 
midway of cat-tails «>r bulrushes, living or dead, and having a neat entrance 
lioli- ill Idle >ide. .\ considerable varietv of materials is used in const met ion. but 




NEST Of' \M.STtK.\ .\l.\KMl W KI..S. l.\ SITf 



THE TULE WREN. 303 



in anv given nest onh- (Hio t(,'xtile substance will i)reponderate. Dead cat-tail 
leaves may be employcil, in wliich case tiie numerous loopboles will be filled 
witb matted down from tlie same plant. Fine dry grasses may be utilized, 
and tbese so closely woven as practically to exclude tbe rain. On Moses Lake, 
where rankly growing bulrushes predominate in the nesting areas, spirogyra 
is the material most largely used. This, the familiar, scum-like plant which 
masses under water in quiet places, is ])lucked out by the venturesome I)irds in 
great wet hanks and jjlastered about Uie nest until the required thickness is 
attained. While wet, the substance matches its surroundings admirably, 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 possible to pick out immediately the 
oldest member of the group, and it is more than likely to prove the occupied nest. 

The nest-linings arc of the softest cat-tail down, feathers of wild fowl, or 
dried s])irogvra teased to a puint nf en(ku"ing fluffiness. It a])pears, also, that 
the Wrens often cover their eggs upon leaving the nest. Thus, in one we 
found on the 17th of May, which contained seven eggs, the eggs were com- 
plete! \- buried under a loose blanket of soft vegetable fibers. The nest was 
])v no meatis deserted, for the eggs were warm and the mother bird very 
solicitous, insomuch that slie re])eatedl\- x-entured witliin 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 occu])y, and are evidently jealous of avian, as well as 
htiman, 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. ,\nother had liuill squarelv on top of a 
handsome Blackliird nest of the current season's, construction, and with a 



spiteful purpose all too evident. 



No. 117. 

TULE WREN. 

A. O. V. No. 725 a. Telmatodytes palustris paludicola (Baird). 

Synonyms. — M.xrsii Wricx (locally). Wi:sti:rx M.\rsh Wrkn (now re- 
stricted to '/'. />. plcsiiis). C.M.I FoKNi.v ]\r.\RSii Wrkx (inappropriate). P.xcrFrc 
Marsh Wricn. 

Description. — .Idult: Similar to T. p. pJesius, but smaller and with colora- 
tion decidedly darker. Length about 4.75 (120.6); wing 1.97 (50); tail 1.73 
(44 I ; bill .-,2 (13.2) : tarsus .78 (20). 



304 THE TULE WREN. • 

Recognition Marks. — I'ygniy size ; brownish culoratiun ; rccd-liaunting liabits 
and siiutlL-ring nolo distinctive. 

Nesting. — Xcst: shaped hkc a ct)Coantit, uf reeds and grasses, Hnetl with 
plant-down, and with entrance in side; placed two or tiiree feet high in reeds, 
rarely, high in hnshes of swamp. Eijys: 5 or 6, ground-color grayish brown bnt 
si) heavily dotted and clouded with varying shades of chocolate and nialxjgany 
as to be tret|uently obscured. .A v. size .67 x .52 (17 .\ 1^.2). Season: last week 
in March to July; two broods. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from IJritish Columbia south during 
migration to niotitli i<i C'olorado River and extremity of Lower California. 

Range in VN'ashington.^Resident in suitable localities west of Cascades. 

Authorities. — L'istothorus (Telmatodxlesj t<alustris Cab. Baird, Rep. I'ac. 
R. R. Surv. .Xll. pt. II.. 1858. J). 364. i)art". C&S. L-'. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— I . of W. 1".. I'rov. 

W'lllCX llie February sun waves iiis golden baton over the marshes 
of western \\'ashingtt)n, they yield up a chorus of wren song which is 
exceeded only by that of the frogs. The frogs, to be sure, have the ad- 
vantage, in tiiat their choral ofTering has greater carrying power; but the 
Wrens at close (piarters leave you in no doubt that the palm belongs to 
tlieni. 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 etTort of his impassioneil lUter.ince. lie feels sure that 
music is at least intended. 

Wrens are ever busy Ixdies. and if they c<iuld not sing or chatter, or at 
least scold, they surely would exjilode. It is a marvel, too. that they fmd so 
much to interest them in mere reeds, now green, now brown, set alxive a f<x)t 
or so of stagnant water. Rut. bless you! Do not waste your symiiatliies u]>on 
them. They have neighbors. — Red-wings. Yellow -throats, and the like — 
and is it not the gossips of the little village who are most exercised over their 
neighlKDrs' affairs? 

It .seems probal)le that our Tide Wrens are largely resident. Certainly 
they are abundant in the more sheltered marshes in winter; ami. since the 
species does not extend very far northward, it is jxxssihly not too much to 
assume that our Ijirds live and die in a single swamp. They are, as a consc- 
(|uence. very much mixed up on their seasons, and I have heard a swamp in 
full song in Xovembcr. 

Xesling in the South Tacoma swamp, where several scores at least may l>e 
found. In-gins the last week in March, and full sets of eggs may certainly be 
found by the first week in .April. Rut "decoys" are, of course, the rule. In a 
dav Mr. Bowles found fifty-three nests, only three of which held eggs or 
voung. -At least two broods are raised in a season. 

The eggs, usuallv five or six in number, are so overlaid with tiny dots as 



THE SEATTLE WREN. 305 



to a])|)c-ar ot" an aliiinsi luiifiM'm liair l)r<i\\n in cnlnr. vl-vv dark, (.-xccpt oc- 
casionallv in thf case of llic last laid ci;l;. The sitting bird must snhjert her 
eggs to frequent turning in the nest, t'or they become highlv polished during 
incubation. 



No. 118. 

SEATTLE WREN. 

.•\. O. U. No. 719c. Thryomanes bewickii calophonus Obcrluilser. 

Description. — Adults: Above, dark olive-brown, or warm sepia lirnwn with 
an olive tinge ; the rump with downy, concealed, white spots : wings show ing at 
least traces of dusky barring, — sometimes complete on tertials ; tail blackish on 
concealed ])ortions, distinctly and finely barred with black on exposed portions : the 
outer ])airs of feathers white-tip])ed 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 brow'n ; 
under tail-coverts heavily barred with blackish : bill dark brown above, lighter 
below; culmen slightly decurved. Length: 5.00-5.30 (127-139.7): wing 2.0S 
(52.8) ; tail 2.ot (52.3) ; bill .59 (15) ; tarsus .79 (20). 

Recognition Marks. — W'arljler size: known from Western ITouse Wren by 
su]5erciliarv stripe and whiter underparts. mostly unljarred : a little larger and 
more deliberate in movements. 

Nesting. — A^cst: in holes or crannies about stumps, upturned roots, brush- 
iieaps, etc., or in buildings; a rather slight affair of dried grasses, skeleton leaves, 
mosses, and waste, rarely tw-igs, lined with wool, hair, or feathers. Eggs: 4-6. 
usually 5. white, speckled or spotted, rather sparingly, wMth reddish brown or 
purplish, uniformly or chiefly in wreath about larger end. Av. size. .68 x .54 
(17.3x13.7). Scaso)i: A\n\\ 15-June 15 : tw'o broods. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from Oregon to southern Rritish 
Columbia and N'ancouver Island; resident. 

Range in Washington. — Resident west of the Cascades, chiefly at lower 
levels and in valleys. 

Authorities. — ?Townsend. Journ. Ac. Xat. Sci. Phila. \'I1. 1837, 154 
(Columbia River). Thriothorus bewickii Baird, Pac. Rep. R. R. Surv. L\. 1858, 
p. 363 part. fT). fC&S). L-\ Rh. Kb. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens.— r. of \\\ P. Prov. P.. P.X. E. 

TO those who are acquainted only with the typical Bew-ick Wren of the 
East, the added vocal accomplishments of our western re])rcscntative come 
in the nature of a siiri)rise. For to the characteristic ditty of hcii'ickii ]iroper. 
calophomis has introduced so many trills and flourishes that the original 
motif is almost lost to sight. Caloplionus means haxing a beautiful voice, or 
sweetly sounding, and right well does the bird deserve the name, in a region 
which is all tf>o conspicuous for its lack of notable songsters. 



3o6 THE SKA I'll. E \VREN\t 

.\t»r was it at all amiss for IVufcssor Uidgway. tlie I'liiiiK-m oniillmlogist 
i)f W'asliiiigton. I >. C, Id name this bird in honor of the (Jucen City, for it is 
in the immediate environs of the city, as well as in the niitidy wastes of half- 
eon(|nered natnre, that the local I'.ewick Wren finds a congenial home. 
hogged-olT tracts, slashings and hurned-over areas are, however, its es|)ecial 
delight, and if the hird-man catches sight of one that has heen making the 
ronnds of all the fire-hlackened stnmps in the neighlxirhood, he is ready to de- 
clare a new snh-species on the strength of the bird's soiled gannents. N'o 
junk-dealer knows the alleys of the metroiM.lis better than this crafty bird 
knows the byways (»f his log-heaps and the intricate mazes of (ire-weed and 
fern. If there is any unusual ai)i)earance or noise which gives promise of mis- 
chief afoot, the Seattle Wren is the first to resixmd. Flitting, gliding, titter- 
ing, the bird comes up and moves about the center of commotion, taking ob- 
servations from all possible angles and making a running commentary thereon. 
His attitude is alert and his movements vivacious, but the chief interest at- 
taches to the bird's mobile tail. With this expressive luember the bird is alile 
to converse in a vigorous sign language. It is cocked uj) in impudence, waggeil 
in defiance, set aslant in c<K|uetry, or dejjressed in whimsical token of humility. 
Indeed, it is hardly too much to say that the bird luakes faces with its tail. 

While spying along the lower levels the Wren giggles and chuckles an<l 
titters, or else gives vent to a grating cry, iitoozccrp. which sets the wooils on 
edge. But in song the bird oftcnest chooses an elevated station, an alder 
sapling or the top of a sluiu)). Here, at short intervals and in most energetic 
fashion, he delivers extended phrases of varied notes, now clear and sparkling, 
now slurred or jiedalled. .\I>ove all. he is master of a set of smart trills. (Ine 
of them, after three |)ieliminary notes, runs tsu' Isii' Isii' Isii' Isn' Isii'. like an 
exaggerated and beautified song of the Towhee. .\nother song, which from 
its ri>llicking diameter deserves to be called a drinking song, temiinates with 
a brilliant trill in descending scale, raUcnIoiuUt rt dimimictulo, as tlio the little 
minstrel were actually draining a beaker of dew. 

The Seattle Wren is altogether a hilarious i)ersonage; and in a country 
where most song birds are overawed by the solemnity of the forest, it is well 
enough to have one cheery wight to set all canons at defiance. Even the gray- 
bearded old fir-stubs must laugh at a time over simic of the sallies of this rest- 
less little zanv. The Wren does not indulge in conscious luimicry, but since 
his art is self-taught, he is occasionally inilebted to the companions of the 
woods for a theme. The Towhee motif is not uncommon in his songs, and the 
sup]>osed notes of a Willow r.oldfimh. ;i liille off color, were tr.iceil to \\\< 
door, at Blaine. 

Of the nesting Mr. I'.owles says: 'The building sites chosen by this 
wren for its nests are so variable that hardly anything can lie considered typi- 
cal. Ft max lie in the wildest swamjiy wood far removed froiu civilization, but 



THE WESTERN HOUSE WREN. 307 

it is quite as likely to be found in a house in tlie lieart of a city. A few of the 
nesting sites I liave recorded arc in upliuncd rnois of fallen trees, deserted 
woodpecker holes, in bird boxes in the city, in a fishing creel hanging on a 
P'jrcii, under a slab of Ijark tliat lias scaled away a few inches from the body 
of a tree, or an open nesl Iniilt un a beam under a liridge. 

"A very complete study of this wren has conx'inced me that it ne\'er builds 
any nests except those used in raising the young. In other words, it is the only 
wren in the Xorthvvest that is positi\'ely 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 over a month in completing a small nest in the 
natural cavity of a stump. No explanation of this seems possible, exce])t that 
the female was not ready to lay her eggs any sooner. 

"The nest is a rather slight affair, as a rule, the average 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 very rarely 
has a basis of twigs, with a lining of hair, the cast skins of snakes, and many 
feathers. 

"A set contains from foiu' to six eggs, most commonly fi\-e. These are 
pure white in ground color, marked with fine dots of reddish brown. The 
markings are variable in distribution, some specimens being marked \ery 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, ruid a\eragc in measurements .68 x .54 inches. 

"Two broods are reared in a season; or perhaps it would l)e more correct 
to say that fresh eggs ma\- be found at any time between tlie middle of A])ril 
and the middle of June. 

"Altho rather tiun'd in the \'icinity of her nest, the female generally 
remains on her eggs luitil disturbed by a jar or some loud noise. She then 
disappears and neither bird appears nor makes any complaint in olijcction 
to the intruder." 



No. 119. 

WESTERN HOUSE WREN. 

A. O. U. No. 721a. Trojtiodytes aedon parkmanii (Aud.). 
Synonyms. — P.ark.m.xn's Wrkn. P.vcific IIoiSK Wrkn. 
Description. — Adult: MiO\'C, grayish rufous-brown, duller and lighter on 
foreparts; brighter and more rufous on rump, which has concealed downy white 



3o8 



THE WESTERN HOUSE \\%K.\. 



spots; back and scapulars barred (rarely indistinctly) witb dusky; wings on 
exposed webs and tail all over distinctly and tinely dusky-barred; sides of bead 
speckled ),'rayi>li brown, witliout deiinite pattern; below, ligbt K^ayisb brown, 
indistinctly speckled or banded witb darker brownisli on fore-parts; beavily 
speckled and banded witb tlii>ky and wbitisb on flanks and crissuni ; bill black 
above, ligbler below; cnlinen sligblly curved; feet brownisli. I.engtb 4.50-5.25 
( II4..VI33..^ ) : winj,' j.oS 1 5J.S 1 ; tail 1.75 (44.6) ; bill .51 ( 13 ) ; tarsus .68 ( 17.2). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; brown alxive, ligbter l)elow ; everywhere 
more or less speckled and banded with dusky, brownish, or white. Larger and 
with longer tail than Western Winter Wren. 

Nesting. \'rst: of sticks aiv! " ■ i- i'"<d with tine grasses or chicken- 




HOWS THK W KATIIKK OITSIDK? 

WtSTEXK IIOL'SC W>CN AT CNTHANCK OF NCSTIXb IICLC. 



feathers, placed in bird-lKixes. holes in firchard trees, crannies of out-buildings, 
etc. Efifis: 4-8. white, heavily si)eckle<l. and usually more or less tinged witb 
pinkish brown or vinaceous. witb a wreath of a heavier shade alxiut the larger 
end. .\verage size. .64X.51 (16.3x131. Srasott: .\bout M.iy 13; one brood. 

General Range. — Western I'nitcd States and Canada, north to I'lritish 
Coluiubia. Alberta ami Manitoba, east to Illinois, south to Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Not common summer resident, coutined to lower 
altiturle^i ami. ii--nall\, vicinity of settlements. 

Migrations. — SfriiKj: Tacoma. .\pril 25. H)o6. April 2f<. \(io7- 

Authorities. — ' Tnujloditcs fulvus Ornithological Committee. Journ. .\c. 
Xat. Sci. riiila. \'\\. 1837. p. 103 (Columbia River). * Trofilodytrs f<arkiiiaiiii 



THE WESTERN HOUSE WREN. 



309 



Aiuliibon. Orn. Biog. \'. i<S39. 310 (Columbia River). Troylodxtcs parknuiiini. 
AwX.. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. XII. \A. 11. 18^8, p. 368. (T.) C&S. D'. Ra. 
D-\ Ss^ Kk. J. B. E. 

Specimens. — U. of W. IVov. 1'. li. 

SI.XCK our country is i)reUy well .supplied with Wrens, and those too 
which are content with (jur climate the year around, this bustling down-Easter, 
arriving at what he considers tlie proper season, does not figure so largely in 
local bird society as across 
the Rockies. Altho original- 
ly described by Audubon 
from material secured by 
Townsend, at Vancouver, in 
the Thirties, parkinanii gives 
evidence of being a new- 
comer, comparatively speak- 
ing. In the first place, the 
late arrival. April 25th at 
Puget Sound points, marks 
the .s])ecies in which the tra- 
dition of a hard climate is 
still strong. And, in the 
second place, the slightly 
paler plumage accpiired while 
crossing the desert has not 
yet 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 
sur])rising. 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, being 
found about long-established 
ranches and wherever the 
presence of a little timber 
affords the variety of cover which is essential to its happiness. 

Once u])on the scene, however, a little House W'ren 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 (piarters, 




Oregon. 



Photo hy IV. L. Finley. 
A VERY BUSY WRKN. 

APPEARS, HOWEVER. THE PICTURE IS A 
RESENTS THE SAME BIRD TWICE. 



3U) THE WESTERN WINTER m<EN. 

but llicrc is always time on the side to exjjlore a new l)nisli-l)eai», to scold a 
cat, or to indulge innumerable snng-bursts. In singing bis joyous trill tbe 
bird reminds one of a piece of fnewurks called a "cascade," fur be fills tbe air 
with a brilliant l>)U(|uet nf music, and is himself, one would tiiink, nearly con- 
sumed by tbe violence of tiie elTcjrt. Hut tbe next moment tbe singer is 
carrying out last year's feather bed by great ijcakfuls, .»r lugging inti» skuk- 
cranny sticks ridiculously large for him. 

During tiie nesting season IxUb birds are perfect little spitfires, assaulting 
mischievous prowlers with a fearlessness wbicli knows no caution, and scolding 
in a voice wbicli expresses the deepest scorn. The rasping note jiroduced on 
such an occasion reminds one of the energetic use of a nutmeg grater by a 
determined liousewife. 

In nesting, tlie Wrens make free of the haunts of men. but are in imwisc 
dejiendenl on liiem. Old cabins alTord convenient crannies, forgotten augur- 
iioles, till cans, bird boxes, a sleeve or jjocket in an old coat banging in the 
woodshed, — anything with a cavity will tlo; but, by tlie same token, an unused 
Woodpecker's hole, or a knot-liole 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 tlie to]) for entrance. Into this mass a deep 
hollow is sunk, ami this is heavily lined witli horse-iiair. wool, feathers, bits of 
snake-skin, anything soft and "comfy". 

Since the Western House Wren makes a brief season with ii^ i' appears 
to raise but oiu' brood annually. 



No. 120. 

WESTERN WINTER WREN. 

A. O. V. No. 72J a. Nanmis hicmalis pacificus (Raird). 

Description. — .Idiill: .\1h>vi- warm dark l)ni\vii. duller before, brijjlitcr on 
riimi). somctiim-^ nliscureiy waved or liarred with dusky on hack. wing*, and tail; 
barring more distinct on edges of four or five outer primaries. wIktc alternating 
with InifTy: concealed white si)ots on rump scarce, or almost wanting: a pale 
brownish su|)erciliary line: sides of bead speckled brownish and huffy: un<lerparts 
evervwhere finely mottled, speckled or barred. — on the throat and breast mingled 
brownish (Isabella-color) and huffy, below dusky and tawny, ilusky |)re<lnniinat- 
ing over Virowii on flanks and crissum; bill conii)aratively short, straight, blackish 
above, lighter below: feet light brown. Length alxiut 4.00 (101.6); wing 1.81 
(461; tail i.iS (.^o): bill .4G (ii.ri): tarsus .71 (18). 

Recognition Marks. — rygmy size: dark brown alKive. lighter below: more 
or less speckled and barred all over: tail shorter than in preceding species. 

Nesting. — \csl: 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 stuni])s. brush-heaps, etc. ligys: 4-7. usually 5. while or creauiy-white, 
dotted tinely but s])aringly with reddish brown ; occasionally blotched with the 
same: sometimes almost unmarked. .\v. size .69 x .50 (17.5x12.7). Season: 
first week in .\])ril to lirst week in July according to altitude: two broods. 

General Range. — Western North .America, breeding from southern Cali- 
fornia to southern .\laska, east to western Montana. Chiefly resident, but south 
irregularly in Great i'.asin 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: Cones. \'ol. Jl. 
p. 186.) ? r)rn. Com. Journ. .\c. Xat. Sci. Phila. MI. 1837, 193 (Columbia 
Riven. Troglodytes (.hiorthuraj liYCiiialis Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 
1858, p. 369. (T). C&S. L'. Rh. D'. "Kb. Ra. Kk. J. B. E. 

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

Chick — chick chick — chick chick: it is the Winter Wren's way of say- 
ing Ho\v-dc)-vou-do ? wlien you invade his domain in the damp forest. The 
\()ice is a size too large for such a mite of a bird, and one does not understand 
its circumtlexed 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 niav he that lie has stolen a march under cover of the ferns and salal 
brush before touching off his little mine of interrogatives at your knees. If 
so, his bru.s(|ue 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 inlu the woods has been unnoticed, so that the 
little huntsman comes upon you in the regular way of business, it is amusing 
to watch witli what ruses of circumvention he seeks to inspect you. Now 
lie a])pears above a root on your right gawking on tiptoe: then drops at a 
flash behind its shelter to reprove himself in upbraiding (7;(VA' c/nV/o's for his 
rashness. Then, after a minute of apprehensive silence on your part, a 
diuckle at vour other elbow announces that the insi)Cction is satisfactorily 
com])letc(l on that side. The Lilli])utian has you at his mercy, Mr. Gulliver. 

Dr. Coo])er, writing fiftv years ago. considered this the commonest 
species in the fore.sts of "the Territory." With the possible cxce])tion of 
the Golden-crowned Kinglet, this is probably still true, since it is found not 
merelv along streams and in romantic dells, but thruout ^le 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 yet learned no necessity of dependence upon man, but it 
bv no means shuns the edges of town, if only sufficient density of cover be 
])rovided. Because of the more open character of ]iine timber, the Winter 
Wren is less common and is altogether local in its distribution east of the 
mountains. l)eing confined for the most part to those forest afeas which boast 
an infusion of fir and tamarack. 



THE WESTERN WINTER Y 



%E 



N. 



Ill wiiiiir, because ut lieavy snows, tlie binls appear to retire li> a large 
extent upon the valleys and lowlands, n<»r <lo they a|)])ear t<j rcoccui»y the 
mountain forests until they have reared a first bnxxl upon the lower levels, 
just how familiar a species this bird is at sea level docs not aj)i)ear U> be gen- 
erally realized. In the s])ring of 1905 1 estimated tliat forty |)airs were nest- 
ing in Ua\enna Park 
alone. Nor do they 
by any means desert 
the lowlands in toto 
in summer, for they 
arc seen regularly at 
that season ihniout 
Puget Sound, uim^ii 
tile 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 
is(3lation. but more 
because of the joy- 
ous abandon of the 
little singer, the song 
of the Winter Wren 
strikes the bird -lover 
as being one of the 
most refreshing in 
the Northwest. It 
consists of a rapid 
scries of gurgling 
notes and wanton 
trills, not very loud 
nor of great variety, 
but having all the 
spontaneity of bub- 
bling water, a liny cascade of song in a waste of silence. The song 
comes always as an outburst, as tho some mechanical obstructi<in had 
given way before the ])ent-up music. Indeal. one bird I heard at .Moclips 
preceded his song with a series of tittering notes, which struck me 




A TIIICKKT I.V K.W KN.NA I'AKK, 

ICII HM.V Tlie UlNTCt URKN WILL ExrLXIIF.. 



THE WESTERN WINTER WREN. 



313 



absunllv as being llic clicking nt the ratchet in a niusic-bux l)eing wuuml up 
for action. 

Heard at close (|uarters the bird will occasionally eni])lc>y a ventriloiitnal 
trick, dropping suddenly to soil.' rv,,-, m> that the song ai)]iears t.. cnnie fn. in 
a distance. Again, it will 
move crescendo and di- 
minuendo, as tho the 
supply pipe of this mu- 
sical cascade were sulj- 
mitted to varying pres- 
sure at the fountain 
head. 

j\ singing bird is the 
best exidence available 
of the proximity of the 
nest. Usually the male 
bird posts himself near 
the sitting female and 
publishes his domestic 
ha]i]:)iness in musical 
numbers. But again, he 
may only be pausing 
to congratulate himsel f 
upon the successful com- 
pletion of another decoy, 
and the case is hopeles- 
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 ciccur in a large 
lir tree when it falls and splits open. Or the nest is sometimes found under 
the bark of a decaying log. or in a crevice of earth in an unused mine-shaft. 
H the site selected has a wide entrance, this is walled up by the nesting ma- 
terial and only a smooth round aperture an inch and a quarter in diameter is 
left to admit to the nest i)ro|)er. In default of any such shelter, birds have 
been known to construct their nests at the center of some babv fir, nr in the 




Token ill Si\:llU-. ritalo by tlic Author. 

NKST OF WESTEUX WIXTEK W KEX IX CH.\RHEI) STUMP. 

NOTE THAT A SPIDER 



ENTRANCE, 



VEB ABOVE CUOSEUY SIMULATES THE NEST- 
MICH IS REALLY 4B0l'T MIDWAY. 



Tllli WESTERN WINTER \%i:.\. 



(liiM'piiiK hninclii's of a fir tri-c :it a liciglit nf a foot or more from the ground. 

Ill such case, the nest is riiiishc<l to the shajic of a cocoainii. witli an i-iilraucc 

hole in ilif side a little alxive the center. 

in all cases the materials used are suhslantially llie same, chielly green 

moss, witii an ahundancc of 
/ ^. fir or cedar twigs shot thru 

its walls anil foundations. 
This shell is heavily lined 
with very fine mosses, inter- 
mingled with deer hair or 
other soft suhstances; while 
the inner lining is of feath- 
ers, which the Sooty and the 
Rutfed C.rousc have largely 
contributed to the uphol- 
stered luxury of this morlel 
home. 

"Cocks' nests," or decoys, 
are the faxorite diversion of 

I^^^^^^^y^^^^^^^^HH^^^^^H indefatig.'dile bird, s<^ 

^^^^^^i^^^^^^^f^^^^^^^l ac- 

tivities of four-year-olcl chil- 
dren, one sighs to think of 
the prodigious waste of en- 
ergies entailed. The alxirig- 
inal cause of this quaint in- 
stinct, so ])revalent among 
the Wrens, would seem to 
be the desire to deceive and 
discourage enemies, but in 
the rase of the Winter Wren 
K" is led to sus|H-ct that the 
ird-working husband is 
\ing to meet a ])er|K'tual 
lallengc t<i occupy all 
.■i\ ail.ible sites — a miser 
hoarding op|>ortimities. 

A troop of young Wrens 
just out <if the nest is a cun- 
ning sight. The anxious parents counsel flight and the inorc circums|)cct of 
the brood obev. but now and then one less sophisticated allows a little 
pleasant talk, "blarney," to quiet his beating heart. Then a little litillation 




.\Nn liC.r.S OF WtbTKKN Wl.MI-.K WKI.N I 
STUMP. 

(TlMf HOIOVED. AN IM'51'AL K MTIKOSITe Wlienl! C 
1.11 KIONCII HAVE Kxr«CT«0 TO HUD OMCON CIIICKADKC. 



THE ROCK WREN. 315 



of the cniwn feathers will quite win liiin (i\er. so that he will accept a 
gently insistent finger in place of the twig which has been his support. 
The unfaltering trust of childhood has subdued many a savage heart, but 
when it is exemplified in a baby ^^'ren one feels the ultimate ap])eal to 
tenderness. 

Mr. Brown, of Glacier, coming upon an old Russet-backed Thrush 
nest at dusk, thrust an e.\]jlorator_\' finger o\'er its brim. Judge of his 
surprise when out swarmed seven young Winter \\'rens. Mr. Brown feels 
reasonably sure, however, that the birds were hatched elsewhere, and that 
the}' were only roosting temporarih- in the larger nest, in \\e\v of its am])ler 
accommodations. 



No. 121. 

ROCK WREN. 



A. O. U. Xo. 715. Salpinctes obsoletus (Say). 

Description. — Adults: Above brownish s^ray changing on rump to ciunamon- 
brovvn, most of the surface speckled by arrow-shaped marks containing, or con- 
tiguous to, rounded spots of whitish ; wing-cjuills 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-buff area varied by 
dusk}- 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 underparts dull white shading into pale cinnamon or 
vinaceous buff on flanks and under tail-coverts ; sides of head, throat and upi)cr 
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. Young 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 I ; bill .70 
( 17.7) ; tarsus .83 (21 ,). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; variegated tail with broad buliy ti])s 
distinctive ; rock-haunting habits. 

Nesting. — Xcst: in crannies of cliffs, of twigs, grasses, wool, hair and other 
soft substances, ap])roached by runway of rock-chips or pebmes. Eyys: 5-7, white 
or pinkish white, sprinkled somewhat sparingly with pale cinnamon, chiefly about 
larger end. .\v. size .jt, x .56 (18.5 x 14.2). Season: May ist to June 20th; two 
broods. 

General Range. — \\ estern I'nited States, northern and central Mexico, and 
southern British CVilumljia, chiefly in hillv districts; eastward across (ireat Plains 
to Kansas. Nebraska, etc. ; retires frrjm northern ])ortion of range in winter. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident antl migrant in o])en country cast 



316 THE ROCK WREN. ' 

of the Cascailfs, cliiclly coiiliiK-d to cliffs of Coliiiiihiaii lava; casual west of tlic 
Cascades. 

Authorities.— I" R.ick wrcii,'" Johnson. Rcj). Ciov. \V. T. 1884 ( 1885), p. 22.] 
Lawrence. Aiik, IX. 1892, 47. 337. T. !.'. IV. D''. Ss". Ss^ Kk. 

Specimens. — I*. C. 

"iU"!' li.iriciiness. Loneliness, sudi-like things. 

That gall and grate on the White .Man's nerves, 
\\ as the rangers that camped by the bitter sjHings 

And guarded the lines of (iod's reserves. 
So the folks all shy from the desert land, 
'(."ept mehhe a few that kin imderstanil." — Chirk. 

.\ di>cerning sonl is Salf'iiuti-s. lie loves heyonil ;dl else the nplifted 
ramparts of basalt, the bare lean battlements of the wihlerness. They arc 
the walls of a sanctuary, where he is bi>th verger and choir master, while 
n])on the scarred altars wliicli they shelter, his faithfid spouse has a place 
"where she may lay her young." 

The kock Wren is nestled among the most imjiressixe smroundings, but 
there is notliing subduc<l or melancholy about his l)earing. Imleeil, he has 
taken a commission to wake the old hills and to keep the shades of eld froni 
brooding too heavily upon them. His song is. therefore, one of the spright- 
liest, most nmsical, and resonant to Ik' heard in the entire West. The rock- 
wall makes an admirable sounding-board, and tlie bird stops midway of what- 
ever task to sing a hymn of wildest exultation. Whltlirr. whit tier, u^hitticr. 
is one of his finest strains: while ha-xvhcc. kn-xdicc. ka-'n'hcc is a sort of chal- 
lenge which the bird renders in various tempo, and |)unctuates with nervous 
r>obs to enforce attention. P'or the rest his notes are to<i varied, s|)<)ntaneous, 
and untrammeled ti> admit of precise description. 

Save in the vicinity of his nest, the Rock Wren is rather an elusive 
sprite. If you clamber to his haunts he will remove, as matter of course, a 
hundred y.irds along the cliff: r>r he will Hit across the coulee with a unncha- 
lance which discourages further effort. Left to himself, however, he may 
whimsically return — near enough |KMhaps for you to catch the click, click 
of his tiny claws as he goes over the lava blocks. |)oking into crevices after 
spiders here, nibbling larv.-c in vapor holes there, or scaling sheer heights 
yonder, without a thought of vertigo. 

.\t nesting lime the cliffs present a thousand chinks and hidcy-lioles, any 
one of which would d<i to put a nest in. The collector is likely to Ik' dismayed 
at the wealth of jMissibilities before him. and the birds themselves ap|R"ar to 
regret that they must make choice of a single cranny, for they "fix up" half a 



THE ROCK WRK.X. 



317 



dozen of ihe likt'licst. And wlicn il ciimcs Id liniii<; the a]>|)r()ai-lu's of ihe 

chosen ca\ily, wliat do you Mipjiitsc they use.'' Why, rocks, of course; not 

large ones this time, hut flakes and pebbles of basalt, which fattle pleasantly 

every time the bird goes in and out. These rock chii)s are sometimes an inch 

or more in diameter, 

and il is difficult to 

conceive how a bird 

with such a delicate 

beak can compass 

their removal. Here 

they are, however, to 

the quantity of half 

a pint or more, an 1 

they are just as much 

a necessity^ to ever 

well-regulated Sal 

pinctean househoM. 

as marble steps ar, 

to Philadelphians. 

The nest itself is 
rather a bulky affair, 
composed of weed- 
stalks, dried grasses, 
and fine rootlets, 
with a scanty lining 
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 possible 
that even a third set 

may sometimes be laid still later in the season, but these late sets are more 
apt to be due to the breaking u]) of the first or second. The eggs vary from 
five to seven, and are pure white in color, sjjrinklecl rather sparingly over 
the surface with dots of a faint iirownish red, most heavily about the larger 
end" (Bowles"). 




Douglas County. Photo by the Author. 

NESTING-SITE OF KOCK WKEN I.\ B.\S.\LT CLIFF. 

XEST OCCiriES THE UPPEK CKANNY BUT THE "FRO.ST WALK" IS 



.^iS THE CANYON \VREN\ 

I'.iiliiifj a suitable clilT-lunise — iiol all walls arc Iniilt to Wrens' orders — 
the hinls resort to a rock-slide and the ])ossibilities here are infinite. After 
I hail seen a devoted ])air disappear behind a certain small rock no less than 
a do/en times, and hail heard responsive notes in dilTerent keys, a cluttering 
which reminded one of baby Katydids. I thought I had a cinch on the nest. 
The crevices of the rocks here and there were cranimeil with drie<l grass 
and stulT which might fairly be considered snpertUious nesting material, and 
the young birds were too young to have traveled far; but as for the actual 
cradle I could not find it. and I cannot certify that the wrenlcts were hatched 
within seven rods. The little fellows were as shy as conies, but their parents, 
curiously 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 stpiarc yards of the rock slide had been violently dis- 
arranged, they ilid not hesitate to visit their clamoring brood as tho nothing 
had hai)pened. Did they trust the man or the rocks rather? 



No. 122. 

CAN VON WREN. 

\. (I. ['. So. 717a. Cathcrpes mexicaniis conspersus Riilgw. 

Synonyms. — Canon \\ki:n. Si'i;i. ki.i;i) Cwon \\ ki:n. 

Description. — .Idnit: "I'pperparts l)n>wn. paler and grayer anteriorly, bc- 
jiind '^lla(linJ,' insciisiliiy into rich rufous, everywhere dotted with small dusky and 
wiiitisli spots. Tail dear cinnainon-bniwii. crossed with minierous very narrow 
and mostly zigzag Mark bars. \\ing-i|nills dark brown, outer webs i\i [)riniaries 
and lH)tli webs of inner secondaries liarrcd with color nf back. Chin, throat, and 
fore breast, with lower half of side of head and neck, pure white, shading behind 
through ochraceous-brown into rich deep ferruginous, and posteriorly obsoletelv 
waved with dusky and whitish. I'.ill slate-colored, ])alcr and more livid Ik-Iow ; 
feet black: iris brown" (Coues). Length about 3.50 ( i.V)-"' : wing 2. .^5 (5i).7) : 
tail 2.of> ( 52.4 ) : bill .Si i 20.5 ) : tarsus .71 ( 18.1 1. Female a little smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size, rock-ha\uuing habits: rich rusty red of 
hinder underparts; tail linely barred with black, its feathers without butTy tips as 
distinguished from Salf'iitrirs ohsolctiis. 

Nesting. — Xot known to nest in Washington but probably does so. Xcst and 
qn/s indistiiiKuisliable from those of the Rock Wren. 

General Range. — Central arid districts of the western I'nitcd States and 
southern I'.ritish Columbia from Wyoming and Colorado west to northeastern 
California and south to Arizona. 

Rnnjje in W .'isliin«:tnn. Reported from I'alonse ciun)try ouly. — is probably 



THE CANYON WREN. 319 

extending range into I'ppcr Soniiran and Arid Transition zones of eastern 
Washington. 

Authorities. — C. iiic.vici.uiiis piiiictiilaliis, Snodgrass, .\uk, \"nl. \.\|. .\pr. 
1904. p. 232. J. 

Specimens. — P. 

TO Mr. Roljert E. Snodgrass belongs the honor of first reporting this 
species as a bird of Washington. He encountered it in the Snake River 
Cai'ion at Ahnota in the summer nf 1903, and uientinns that it occurred also 
at Wawawai Ferry, a few nules up the rixer. Ruswell 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 Canon Wrens w-ere confined to a nuich 
more southern range. Ridgway^ assigns the northern limits of this species 
to Wyoming and Ne\-ada. Its ajjpearance in W^ashington, therefore, is 
matter of congratulation and may, perhaps, be taken as an instance of that 
northzvard trend of species which undoubtedly affects many of the Passerine 
forms, and none more notably than the \\'rens. 

The Canon 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 frequently in crannies and 
bird-boxes as does our House W^ren (Troglodytes aedon parktiuuiii ). Its 
alarm note is a "peculiarly ringing dink," and its song is said to excel, if 
possible, that of the House ^\'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 W'ren begins with a run of grace notes, ending 
with the same little flourish. The rare character of the song is its rhapsody 
and the rich vibrant quality which has suggested the name of bugler for liim — 
and a g1nrif>us little bugler he surely is" (Mrs. Railey"). 



a. "The Birds of Cheney, Washington." The Condor, Vol \III.. Jan., 
me givenl. 

b. "The Birds of X. and M. America," Vol. III., p. 659. 



320 Tllli SACK 'IIIUASliaK. 

No. 12.1. 

SACK THK\>HHR. 

A. ( >. I'. N'o. 702. Oroscoptos montanus 'I'ownsciul. 

Synonyms, — Sack Mihki:i<, .Mchntain MncKiNC-iiiRD (early name — 
iiiaiimpiis I. 

Description. — .Idiills: C.cneral pliimaKf asliy Ijmwn, lighter liehiw: above 
>;ravish- nr axlu -l)n>\vii. the featliers, especially on crown, streaked mesially with 
darker brown; wings and tail dark grayish i)rown with paler edgings; middle 
and greater coverts narrowly tipped with whitish, producing two dull liars; outer 
rectrices hroadly tip|)ed with white, decreasing in area, till vanishing on central 
pair: lores grayish; a pale superciliary line; cheeks brownish varied by white; 
nnder|)arts whitish tinged with InitTy brown, most strongly on flanks and crissum. 
everywhere ( save, usually, on throat, lower belly, and under tail-coverts) streaked 
with flusky, the streaks tending to confluence along side of throat, sharply <lis- 
tinguishe<l and wedge-shaped on breast, where also heaviest; bill blackish paling 
on mandible; legs and feet dusky brownish, the latter with yellow soles; iris 
lemon-yellow. )'i>iiiii/ birds are browner and more decidedly streakcfl alxivc ; 
less distinctly streaked below. Length about H.oo (jot,); wing 3.82 (97); tail 
3.54 (<K>t : bill /<^ { \f\4) : tarsus i.jo (30.51. 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink size; ashy-brown plumage api)earing nearly 
uniform at distance; sage-haunting habits; impetuous song. 

Nesting. — Nest, a substantial structure of thorny twigs (Sarfuhatus |)re- 
ferred). usually slightly domed, with a heavy inner cup of line bark ( sage 1 
strijis. ])laced without attenijit at concealment in sage-bush or grcascwix)d. Ei/ys. 
4 or 5. rich, dark, bluish green, heavily spotteil or Iilotched with rich rufous and 
"egg-gray" — among the handsomest. .\v. size. .98 x .71 (24.()xi8). Season: 
May i-lune 13; two (?) broods. 

General Range. — Western I'nited States from western part of the Oeat 
riains I western So\ith Dakota, western Nebraska, and eastern Colorado) north 
to Moiuan.i. west to the Cascades and Sierra Nevada, st)Uth into New .Mexico. 
Lower (.".iliforni.i. and. casually, to Cuadalupe Island. 

Range in Washington. — Treeless portions of East-side; summer resi<lent. 

Authorities. -["Sage Thrasher," Johnson. Rep. Cov. \V. T. 1884 ( 1885). 
p. JJ. I Dawson. Wilson I'.ulletiu. Xo. 3<). June. if)02, p. 67. (T). D'. Ss". Ss-. 

Specimens. C of W. P. C. 

IT takes a jxiet to appreciate the desert. Those jieople who atTect to 
(lesi)ise the sage are the same to whom stones are stones instead of conipacte<l 
histories of the world's youtli. and clouds are cIoikIs instead of legions of 
angels. It is no mark of genius then to despise common tilings. Tlie desert 
has cra<lle<l more of the world's good men and great than ever were ciMJdled 
in king's |)alaces. Whistler used to |)aint "symphonies in gray" and men held 
hack f|iieslioning. *'Er — is this art?" A few. IxiMer than their fellows, pro- 



THE CATBIRD. 321 



nounced favorably upon it. and il is allowaldc now to admit that Whistler was 
a great artist — that is. a great discoxerer and revcaler nl' Xatttre. 

Nature has painted upon our eastern hills a s}mphon\' in gray greens, a 
can\as of arteniisia, 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 l)ird whose whole life has been spent in the sage. 
Listen! The hour is sunrise. .\s we face the east, heavy shadows still huddle 
about us and blend with the ill-defined realities. The sti"etching sage-tops 
tremble with oblation l)ef<ire the expectant sun. The pale dews are taking 
counsel for flight, but the opalescent haze, ]M"egnatit with sunfire, yet tender 
with cool greens and subtle azures, hovers over the alt;ir waiting the con- 
comitance of the morning hymn before ascent. Suddenly, from a distant 
sage-bush bursts a geyser of song, a torrent of tunefitl waters, gushing, as it 
would seem, from the bowels of the wilderness in an ccstacy of greeting and 
gratitutle and praise. It is from the throat of the Sage Thrasher, poet of the 
bitter weed, that the tumult comes. Hitiiself but a gray shadow, scarce visible 
in the early light, he pours out his soul and the soul of the sage in a rha])sody 
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 beatiis. He cannot wait 
to analyze. He must dance and shout for joy. The wine of the wilderness 
is henceforth in his veins, and flrunk with ecstacy he reels across the en- 
chanted scene forever more. 

And all this ins])iration the bird draws from common sage anrl the rising 
of the common sun. How floes he do it? I do not know. Ask Homer, 
Milton. Keats. 



No. 124. 
CATBIRD. 



.-\. O. U. Xo. 704. Dumetella carolinensis (Linn.). ^ 

Description. — .Idult: Slate-color, lightening almost imperceptibly below; 
black on top of head and on tail : under tail-covcrts chestnut, sometimes spotted 
with slaty; bill and feet black. Length 8.00-9.35 (203.2-237.5): wing 3.^9 
(91.2); tail 3.65 (92.7): bill .r,2 (15.81. 

Recognition Marks. — Cbcwink size; almost uniform slaty coloration with 
iliickct-hauntiiig habits distinctive; lithe and slender as comi^ared with Water 
Ouzel. 



2,22 THE CATr.IRI). « 

Nesting. — Scst, of twigs, wi-cd-slalks. vi'Kctalile IiIjits, ami trash, carefully 
liiK'd with fine r<Kjtlcts, placed at iiuliflferent heights in bushes or thickets. Eggs. 
4-5, deep emerald-green, glossy. .\v. size, .95 x .6(j (24. 1 x 17.5 ». Season, first 
two weeks in June: one briKxl. 

General Range. — Eastern I'nited Slates and i'ritish Provinces, west regu- 
larly to ami iiu-Imling the Rocky Mountains, irregularly to the Pacific Coast from 
iJritisli C<)liinii)ia ti> central California. P.recds froiu the (lulf States northward 
to the Saskatciiewan. Winters in the southern states, Cuba, and middle .\merica 
to Panama. iUTUuula. resident, .\ccidental in Europe. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident ; not uncommon but locally dis- 
tributed in eastern and especially northeastern Washington; penetrates deepest 
nuiuntain valleys on eastern slope of Cascades, and is regularly established in 
certain West-side valleys connected by low passes. Casual at Seattle, and else- 
wiiere at sea-level. 

Authorities. — CmU-oscoptcs coroliiicusis. Belding, Land Minis of the Pacific 
District ( 1890), p. 226 (Walla Walla by j. W. W illiani-. 1885 1. I)'. Ss'. Ss'. J. 

Specimens. — U. of W. Prov. P. C. 

'rn()Si\ will" Imld either a good or a had opinion of the Catbird are one- 
sided ill liieir judgiiieiit. Two. and not less than two. ojiiiiioiis arc jmssible 
of one and tiie same bird, lie is botii iiii]i and angel, a "feathered Mephis- 
topiielcs" and "a heavenly singer." But this is far from saying that the bird 
lives a doulile life in the sense ordinarily understood, for in the same minute 
lie is grave, gay, pensive ami clownish. Nature made him both a wag and a 
poet, and it is no wonder if the rognishness and high philosophy lM.>come 
inextricably entangled. One moment he steps forth before you as sleek as 
Heau Rrummel. graceful, jiolished. cqnal-eyed : then he cocks his head to one 
side and sr|iiints at you like a thief: next he hangs his head, <lrrMips wings 
and tail, and looks like a d<ig lieing lectured for killing sheep: — Presto, 
change! the bird pulls himself up to an extravagant height and with exag- 
gerated grulTness, cmaks out. "Who arc you?" Then without waiting for an 
answer to bis impudent iniestion. the rascal sneaks off thru the bushes, 
bugging every feather dose to bis body, delivering a running fire of cat-calls. 
s(|uawks, and expressions of contemi)t. There is no accounting for him: he 
is an irrejiressible — ami a genius. 

The Catbird is not common in Washington, save in the northeastern 
portion of the State, where it is well established. Miss Jennie \'. Getty finds 
them regularly at North Rend, and there is a Seattle record: so th.it there is 
reason to believe that the Catbird is one of those few sj^cies which are ex- 
tending their range by encroacbmcnl from ncigbhoring territory. There can 
be 110 rpiestion that civilization is conducive to the bird's welfare, primarily 
b\- increasing the quantity of its cover on the Kast-side. and, jxissihly. by re- 
ducing it on the West. Catbirds, when at home, are found in thickets and in 
loose shnibberv. River-banks are lineil with them, and chajiarral-covered hill- 



THE CATBIRD. 323 



sides lia\-e iheir share; but tliey also dis|)lay a decided preference lor tiie 
vicinage 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 compensate for their keep, a hundred-fold. 
Xests 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 
neigliborhood is aroused to expressions of sympathy by their ])itiful cries. 

AIv friend. Dr. James Ball Naylor, of Malta, Ohio, tells the following 
story in answer to the oft-repeated c^uestion. 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 occasionally 
\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 fl\- and would n<it tlntter to 
anv 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 u]) 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 si.x inches 
awa\'. ]\Iama promised it to him with a flood of encouragement for every 
effort, but as often as the infant advanced the mother retreated, renewing 
her blandishments. In this way she coaxed her baby across the lawn and up, 
twig by twig, to the fop of an osage-orange hedge which bounded it. Here, 
according to Dr. Naylor, she fed her chi!d the worm. 

Ci>m])aring 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 pluit. phut in the bush, the bird has an aggravating mee-a-a, 
and a petulant call note whicli is nothing less than Ma-a-ry. Cautious to a 
degree and timi<l. the bird is nfiener heard in the depth of the thicket than 
elsewhere, but he sometimes mounts the tree-top, and the cTpening "Phut. phut, 
cnqiiillicflt" — 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: 
Romo sapiens has a cultivated \'oice 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 effect u|)on the 



324 



THE CATHIRI). 



.iiulieiice," etc. Stmic lack nriginalitv . ft-rliiig. arc incapable of .sustained 
elTort, cannot imitate otlier Itirds. etc. liiit sunie Catbirds are annin}; the 
most talente<l singers known. One siidi I remember, which, tnerconie by tlie 
diarms of a May day sunset, inomited the tij) of a pasture elm. and jMiured 
forth a hynni of praise in which every voice of woodland and field was lai'I 
imder contrilmtion. Vet all were sutTuseil by the singer's own emotion. Oh. 
how that \oice rang out ni)on the still evening air! The liird sang with true 
feeling, an artist in every sense, and the delicacy and accuracy of his phrasing 
nnist 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, now with the shrill cry of the Red- 
lieaded Woodpecker, each softened and refined as his own inf.dlible musical 
t.iste dictated; now and again he interspersed these with bits of his own no 
less beanlifni. The carol of \'ireo, the temler ditties of tJie Song and X'esper 
Sparrows, and the more pretentious efforts of C.rosbcaks, had all imjiresseil 
themselves upon this musician's ear, and he repeated them, not slavishly, but 
with discernment and deej) appreciation. As the sun sank lower in the west 
1 left him there, a dull gray bird, with form scarcely outlined against the 
evening sky, but my soul had taken (light with his — u]) into that blest alxxle 
where all Xalme's \-oices arc blended into one. and all music is praise. 




Photo by llie .lull.. 



A n.M'.NT Ol- rilK C.MIllKl). 



THE AMERICAN WATER OUZEL. 325 

No. 125. 

AMERICAN WATER OUZEL. 

A. O. U. No. 701. Cinclus mexicaniis unicolor (lionap.). 

Synonym.- — American Dipi'KR. 

Description. — .Idiilts in spring and siinnncr: 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 )-ellowish. .Idults in fall 
and zvintcr, and innuatiirc: Feathers of under[)arts margined with whitish and 
some whitish edging on wings ; bill lighter, brownish. Yonng birds are much 
lighter below; the throat is nearly white and the feathers of remaining under 
]jlumage 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. — Xcst: a large ball of green moss lined with fine grasses, and with 
entrance on side ; lodged among rocks, fallen timber, roots, etc.. near water. 
Egys: 4 or 5, ])ure white. .\v. size. 1.02 x .70 ( 25.9 x 17.81. Season: April- 
June; one or two broods. 

General Range. — The mountains of western North America from the north- 
ern boundar\- of Mexico 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 mortnni, Townsend, Narrative, April, 1839, p. 339. 
ALso C. to'a'nsaidi "Audubon." Ibid., p. 340. T. C.\:S. L'. Rh. D'. Ra. D-'. P.. E. 

Specimens. — Prov. B. E. 

"AI)\'.\NCING and prancing and gl;incing and dancing, 
And dashing and Hashing and splashing and clashing; 
And so never ending, but always descending. 
Sounds and motions forever and ever are blending, 
Ail at once and all o'er, with a mighty uproar ; 
And this way the Water comes down at Lodore." 

Bui the scene of aqueous confusion was inconiplete imless a leaden shape 
emerged from the spray, took station on a jutting rock, and proceeded to nib 
out certain gruff notes of greeting, jigic, jigic, jigic. These notes manage 
somehow to dominate or to pierce the roar of the cataract, and they symbolize 
henceforth the turbulence of all the mmmlain torrents of the West. 

The Writer Ouzel bobs nv ist absurdly as he repeats his inquiry after your 



.^.'(. THE AMERICAN W A'lEK ()t/EL. 

Iicaltli. I'liit yuu wuiild far rather kimw of liis, for lie has just come out of the 
icy l)atli. and as he sidles down tiie ruck, tittering expectantly, you juilge he is 
contemplating anotjier one. \'es: without more atlo the hinl wades into the 
stream where the current is so swift you are sure it woulil sweej) a man olT 
his feet, lie disappears heneatli its surface and you shudder at the )xissihili- 
ties, but after a half minute of suspense he bursts out of the seething waters a 
dozen feel below and tlits back to his rock chuckling cheerily. This time, it may 
be, he will rest, and you have opportunity to note the slightly rctnnissi' aspect 
of the beak in its attachment to the head. The bird has stopped springing now 
and stanils as stolid as an Indian, save as ever and again he delivers a slow 
wink, upside flown, with the white nictitating membrane. 

It has been asserted that the Ouzel llies under water, but I think that 
this is a mistake, exce|)t as it may use its wings to reach the surface of the 
water after it has released its hold upon tiie Ixtttoni. The bird creejjs and 
clings, rather, and is thus able to withstand a strong current as well as to attain 
a de])tli of several feet in (|uieter waters. 

The Water Ouzel feeds largely upon the larv.e of the c.idtlice fly, known 
locally as i)eriwiiikles. These are found clinging to the under surface of stones 
lining the stream, and their discovery re(|uires (|uite a little prying anil poking 
on the bird's pari. The Ouzels are alst> said to be destructive to fish fry, inso- 
much that tiie director of a hatchery in British Columbia felt impelled to order 
tlie destruction of all the Ouzels, to the number of several hundred, which 
wintered along a certain protected stream. This was a very regrettable neces- 
sity, if necessity it was, and one which might easily lead to misunderstanding 
between bird-men and lish-men. We are fond of trout ourselves, but we con- 
fess to being a great deal fonder of this adventuresome water-sprite. 

The Ouzel is non-migratory, but the summer haunts of the birds in the 
iiKJuntains are largely closed to them in winter, so that they find it necessary at 
that season to retreat to the lower levels. This is di>ne, 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 rejiairs to a lower station, along late in Xovcmber. 
there is no little strife engendered by the discussion of metes and bounds. In 
tiie winter of 1895-6. being stationed at Ciielan. I iiad occasion to note that tiie 
same Ouzels ajipeared daily along the upper reaches of the Ciielan River. Tliink- 
ing that such a local attachment niigiit be due to similar occu|)ation d<nvn stream. 
I set out one afternoon to follow the river down for a mile or so. and to ascer 
tain, if |)ossible. iiow many bird-squatters had laid out claims along its tur- 
bulent course. In places where tiiere was an unusually long succession of 
rapids, it was not always |Kissible to <Ieci<le between liie conflicting interests 
of rival claimants, for they flitted up and down overlapping i)y sliort fligiits 
each otiier's domains: Init tiie very fact tiiat tiiese merlappings often ix-ca- 



THE AMERICAN WATER OUZEL. 



327 



sioned sharp passages at arms served to cimlinii the conehisinn that the terri- 
tor_\- had been divided, and tliat each l)ir<l was e.\i)ected tn di\e and Ijnh and 
gnrgle on his own beat. Thus, twenty-se\en birds were fontid to occupy a 
stretch of two miles. 

Here in winter (piarters, the first courting songs were heard. As early as 
Ciiristnias the birds 
began to tune up, and 
that cpiite 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 Water 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 juflginent 
r)n it. We know, at 
least, tliat il is clear 
and strong and viva- 
cious, and that in its 
utterance the bird re- 
calls its affinity to 
both Thrushes and 
Thrashers. 

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 he kept moist by the tl>ing sprav, and so retain their 
greenness. Indeed, one observer reports that in dcfaidt of ready-made 
conveniences, the bird itself turns s])rinkler. not only alighting upon 
the dome of its house after returning from a Iri]), hut visiting tlie water 




Caltfornta. 



Photo by Frederick Bade. 



THE I,.\ST STATION. 



NOTiriCR MOMENl 



3^^ 



Till-: AMERICAN WATER (%ZEI. 



repeat CI 11 V ti>r tin- sole purimsc of shaking it> wit i)hiniaKc over the 
mossy nest. 

L'nless we mistake, the bird in the first picture is alntiit t>> visit a nest 
liehind the waterfall, an<l of such a nest Mr. John Keast Lord says: "I once 
fountl the nest of the American Dipper imilt amongst the roots of a large 
cedar-tree that had lloated down the stream and got jammed against the mill- 
dam of the Hudson Hay Company's old grist mill, at l-'ort Col\ ille. on a irihu- 
tarv to the upper Columbia River. The water rushing over a jutting ledge 
of rocks, fonned a small casca<le. that fell like a veil of water before the dip- 
per's ne.st ; an<l it was curious to see the birds dash thru the waterl'all rather 
than go in at the 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, with as 
much apparent ease as an equestrian 
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. .\. W. .\n- 
thoiiy says that it was completed un- 
der unusual difficulties. A party of 
surveyors, requiring tc bridge a 
stream in eastern Oregon, first laid 
a sipiarcd stringer. This an (^uzel Taken in on-to 
promptly .seized upon, and in token of Huaio >)• .^. ii . AHiiwKy. 
proprietorship began to heap up moss. a.\ u.\siiei.tekku nkst. 

This arrangement did not comjiort 

with business and the nest foundations were brushed aside on two successive 
mornings. .\ spell of bad weather intervening, the men returned to their work 
some ilays later to find the completed nest, as shown, completed but still 
unoccupied. It was necessary to remove this also, but judge of the feelings 
of the surveyors when. up<in the following morning, they foinid a single 
white egg resting upon the bare timber! 




THE PURPLE MARTIN. 329 



No. 126. 

PURPLE MARTIN. 

A. O. U. Xo. 611. Progne subis (Linn.). 

Description. — .Idiill male: Ricli, ])urplisli black, glossy and nictallic : wings 
and tail dead black. .Idiilt female: Similar to male, but blue-black of u])per- 
parts restricted and duller: forehead, hind-neck, and lower parts sooty gray, 
paler on belly and crissuni. P.ill 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 (.6y.i ) : bill, breadth at base .73 (18.5) ; 
length from nostril .t,t, (8.4). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink size: the largest of the Swallows; blue-black, 
or blue-black and sooty-gray coloration. 

Nesting. — Xest, of leaves, grass, and trash, in some cavit\', usually arti- 
ficial, — bird-bo.xes, gourds, etc. Eggs, 4-5, rarely 6, pure, glossy white. Av. 
size, .98 X .73 ( 24.9 X 18.5). Season, first week in June; one brood. 

General Range. — Temperate Xorth America, except southern portion of 
Pacific Coast district, north to Ontario and the Saskatchewan, south to the 
higher ])arts of Mexico, wintering in South America. 

Range in Washington. — Not common summer resident — nearly confined to 
business sections oi the larger cities. 

Migrations. — S[>ring: c. April 15; Tacoma, .\pril i, 1905. I'all: c. Sept. ist. 

Authorities. — Cooper and Sucl<iey, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. XII. ]it. II. i860, 
p. 136. (T). C&S. |L|. Rh. Ra. Kk. B. E. 

Specimens. — Prov. B. E. 

THIS virtually rare bird ai)pcars to be strict!}' confined diu'ing its 
summer residence with us to the business districts of our larger W'est-side 
cities. Records are in from Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Bellingham, Van- 
couver, and Victoria 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 rememljers a time when, in the early Fifties, a few Martins were 
to be seen about the scrub oaks of the Nisciually Plains, in whose hollows and 
recesses they undou1)tedly nested ; but all \Vashington birds have long since 
adopted the ways of civilization. A])ril ist is the earliest ret inn I have noted, 
and we are not surprised if they fail to \)\.\\ in an appearance before the ist 
of May. Their movements depend largely upon the weather, and even if 
they have come back earlier they are likely to mope indoors when the weatiier 
is cold and disagreeable. The birds feed exclusively ui)on insects, and are 
thus quite at the mercy of a backward spring. Not only flies and nits are 



iio THE CLIFF S\\ Al.lJ Af. 

consumed, hut Ik-cs, wasps, dragon llics, and some ui tlic larger predatory 
beetles as well. 

The birds mate suun after arrival, and fur a Imme they select some 
crevice or hidey-hole aljout a building. A cavity left Ijy a missing brick is 
sufiicicnt, or a station on the eave-|)late of a warehouse. Old nests are 
renovated and new materials are brought in, straw, string, and trash for the 
bulk of the nest, and abundant fealliers for lining. Sometimes tlie binls 
e.xhibit whimsical tastes. Mr. vS. F. Kathbun of Seattle found a nest which 
was composed entirely of wood shavings mi.xed with string ami fragments of 
tlie woven siieatii which covers electric light wires. 

The nest is not often occui)ied till June, wlien llie birds may Ik* most 
certain of (hiding food for their ot1si)ring: and the rearing of a single Ijrood 
is a season's work. Five eggs are almost invariably the nmnber lai<l, 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. 

l'ur|)le Martins arc very sociable birds, and a voluble How of small talk 
is kept up by them dining the nesting season. The song, if such it may be 
called, is a succession of pleasant warblings an<l gurglings, interspersed with 
harsh rubbing an<l cre.tking notes. A particularly mellow coo, coo, coo, 
recurs from time to time, and any of the notes seem t<t require consi<lerable 
elTort on tiie part of the performer. 

it will prove to be a sad day for the Marlins when tlie luiglisii Sparrows 
take full possession of our cities. The Martins are not deficient in courage, 
but they cannot enilure the presence of the detested foreigners. The Sparrows 
are filthy creatures, and it may Ije that the bunlen of the vermin, which 
they invariably introduce to their haunts, bears more heavily upon the skins 
of our more delicately constituted citizens than upon their own swinish hides. 



No. 127. 

CIlFl S\\ Allow. 

A. O. v. No. ()i2. Petrochelidon lunifrons (Say). 

Synonyms. — Eavk Sw.m.i.ow. Ri;ri isi.ii nn Sw.vllow. 

Description. — Adult: .\ prominent whitish crescent on forehead: crown 
hack, ami an oitscnre jiatch on breast stcel-bhic : throat, sides f>f head, and nape 
ileep chestnut; breast, sides, and a cervical collar hrown-gray ; belly white or 
whitish; wings and tail blackish; rump jiale rufous. — the color reaching anuiml 
on flanks; iindrr lail-coverts tlusky. /« youiMj birds the frontlet is obscure or 
wanting; the plumage dull brown alnive. and the throat blackish with white s|>c'cks. 
I'.ill ami feet weak, the former suddenly compressed at tip. Length 3.00-6.00 
t 127-152.4) ; wing 4. .^5 ( 1 10.5) ; tail 2.00 ( 50.8* ; bill from nostril .22 i 3.6). 



THE CLIFF SWALLOW. 



331 



Recognition Marks. — "Warbler size," but coinparison inajiprupriate, — better 
sav "Swallow size"; white fureheail ami rufous rump, l-'ouml in colonies. 

Nesting. — Xcst. an inverted stack-sliapcd, 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-lune 25. 

General Range. — .\orlh .America, north to the limit of trees, breeding south- 
ward to the \'alley of the I'otnmac and the ()hici, southern 'i'exas, southern .Ari- 
zona, and California: Central and Snuth .\merica in winter. Xot fouml in 
Florida. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident, abundant but locally distributed 
east of Cascades ; much less common in I'uget Sound region. 

Migrations. — Spring: .Ajiril 15-30. I'all: first week in Sept. Tacoma, .\pnl 
4. I'joH. 

Autliorities. — Jliniiido liiiiifrons. Sav, Cooper and Suckley, Rep. Pac. R. R. 
Surv. XII. i860. 184. T. CX:S. 1)'. Kb. Ra. D-'. Ss'. Ss-\ J. B. E. 

Specimens. — Prov. P. C. 

FEW birds serve to recall nmre accuratel\' a picture of sequestered 
grandeur and priiiie\al peace than do these amiable tenants of Washington's 




Tahcn in Dougliis County. 



TIIF. CI. IFF DWF.I.LERS. 



Photo by the Author. 



i^j THE CLIFF SWALLOW. 

very limited scab lamls. It is true liial certain ClilT Swallows, fuliowiiig 
the example of their weaker eastern brethren, have taken to nesting inider 
the eaves of churches and barns and outbuildings, but tliey are a negligible 
<|naiility in comparison with the swarms wiiich still resort to tlic ancestral 
"breaks"' of the Columbia gorge and the weird basaltic coulees oi Douglas 
C'onnty. 

riie particular nesting site may be a matter of a season's use, jxipulous 
this year and abandoned the next ; but somewhere along this frowning face i>i 
basaltic columns Swallows were nesting Ix-fore old Chief Moses and his 
copper-colored clans were displ.iced Ijy the white num. Soon after the re- 
treating ice laid bare the lluted bastions of the Grand Coulee, I think, these 
lly-catching cohorts swept in and established a northern outiK>st, an out])ost 
which was n<jt abaiuloned 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! 

F'vidcnce of this age-long occu]>ation of the lava-cliff is furnished not 
only by the muddy cicatrices left by fallen nests, but. wherever the wall juts 
out or overhangs, so as to shield a place below from the actitju of the elements, 
by beds of guano and coprolitic stalagmites, which cling to the uneven surface 
of tlie 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 out of the 
nesting season. 

'I'he well-known boitle- or retort-shaped nests of tlie Cliff Swallow are 
composed of pellets of mud deposited in successive beakfuls by the industrious 
birds. It is always interesting to see a twittering company of these little 
masons gathering by the water's e<lge and moulding their mortar to the 
rerpiired consistency. Not less interesting is it to watch them lay the fovmda 
tions upon some sm<ioth rock facet. Their tiny beaks must serve for hods 
and trowels, and because the first course of nnul masonry is the most par- 
ticul.ir, they alternately cling and tlutter, as with many pnxls and fairy 
thumps they force the putty-like material to lay hold of the indifferent wall 

There is usually much passing to and fro in the case of these cliff- 
dwellers, and we cm never hope to steal u|win them unawares. When one 
appro.iches from below, an alarm is sounded and anxious heads, wearing a 
white frown, are first thrust out at the luouths of the liottles. and then the 
air becomes filled with Hying Swallows, charging alxnit the head of the 
intruder in bewiltlering mazes and raising a babble of strange frangiiile 
cries, as tho a thousand sets of toy dishes were being broken. If the 
newcomer appears harmless, the birds retmii to their eggs by ones and twos 
an<l dozens until most of the company are disposed again. .\t such a moment 
it is great sjiort to set up a siuhlen shout. There is an instant hush, electric, 
ominous, while every little Inimi "f them is making for the door of his 



THE CLIFF SWALLOW. 



333 



wigwam. Then they are dislndged trinn llie cHll Hke an a\alanclie of missiles, 
a silent, down-sweeping cloud : l)ut immediately they gain assurance in the 
open and bedlam begins all over again. 

The Cliff .'^wallows are. of course, beyond the reach of all four-footed 
enemies, but now and again a June rain-storm conies at the cliff from an 
unexpected (|uarter and pla\s sad liavoc with their frail tenements. Besides 




Taken in Douglas County. 



Photo by the Author. 



.\ .N'ESTI.NC, CI. IFF, FKOM liF.I.OW. 



this (in strictest confidence: one dislikes to pass an ill word of a suffering 
brotiier) tiie nests are likely to be infested with bed-bugs. Not all, of course, 
are so afflicted, but in some cases the scourge becfimes so severe that the nest 
is abandoned outright, and eggs or young are left to thefV fate. In spite of 
this compromising weakness, the presence of these Swallows confers an 
incalculable benefit upon the farmer oi eastern Washington, in that they alone 
are able to co])e with a host of winged insect pests. They race tirelessly 
to and fro across the landscajjc, weaving a magic tapestry of search, until 
it would seem that not a cubic inch of atmosphere remains without its invisible 
thread of flight. 



334 11 IE ROUGH-WINGED SW^I.OW. 

No. liK. 

K()l (.11 W IN(,HD S\\ Allow . 

A. O. I'. Xo. 617. Stcl){id<>pti.T> \ scrripcnnis (And. I. 

Description. — .Idiill: Warm l>ri>\viii.sh j;ray ur MUiflF-ljrKwn, including throat 
and liri-a>-t ; tluncc passing insensibly hdow to wliitf of under tail-coverts; wings 
fuscous. )'ouiiij birds exhibit some rusty edging of tlie 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 ne.\t. Length 5.00-5.75 ( 127-14^.1 I : wing 
4.30 (io<;.2»: tail 1.S5 (471; bill from nostril .21 (5.3). 

Recojjnition Marks. — Medium Swallow size; throat 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 j)attern of underparts. 

Nesting. — Xcst. in crevices of cliffs, 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. /:,(/</.«. 4-8, white. .\v. size, .74 x .51 ( 18.8 x 
131. ScusKii : May 20-Jime 5. June 20-Jidy to; two broods. 

General Range. — I'nited States at large, north to Connecticut, southern On- 
tario, southorn .Minnesota. I'.ritish Columbia, etc., south thru Mexico to Costa 
Rica. Tirccds tliruout I'niteil States range and south in Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident, of general distribution, save in 
mountains, tliruout the State. More common east of the mountains, where it 
has taken a great fancy to banks of irrigating ditches, esi)ecially where abrui)t. 

Migrations.— .S>r/m/; First week in Ajiril : Tacoma, .April 3. \<)r>S. Ai)ril <'\ 
MKy) and ii)o8. /'(i//.- c. Sept. 1. 

Authorities. — Colvie scrrif>cunis. Uonap. Baird, Rej). I'ac. R. R. Surv. I\. 
pt. 11. iX;.s. 314. C&S. LM ?). L'. Rh. Ra. J. H. I".. 

Specimens. — ( l'. i>f W. ) I'rov. 1'. I'.. E. 

IT not iiifre<|iiently happens that some oversight, or want of discriniiiia- 
tinn, on the part of early observers condemns a sjjecies to long obscurity or 
iniending misapprehension. The Bank Swallow was at once recognized by the 
pioneer naturalists of America as being identical with the well-known 
luiropcan bird, hut it was not till 1838 that .\iidiilion distinguished its super- 
ficially similar but structurally dilTerent relative, the Rough-wing. The cl<iak 
of obscurity still clings to the latter, altlio we begin to suspect that it may 
from the first have enjoyed its i)resent wide distribution East as well as West. 
Hence, in describing it, we take the more familiar Bank Swallow as a ix>int 
of departure, and say that it differs thus and so and so. 

In the first i)lace it has those curious little luM.klets on the edge of the 
wing (especiallv on the miter edge of the first j.rimary I — nolxxly knows what 
thev are for. Tliev surelv cannot be of service in enabling the bird to cling to 



THE ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW. 



335 



perpendicular surfaces, fur the_\- are bent forward, and tlie Ijird is not known 
to cling liead-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 enemy which might be circumvented in tliis way. 

Again, the Rough-winged Swallow has a steadier, rather more labored 
flight tlian that of its foil. Its aerial course is more dignilied, leisurely, less 
impulsive and erratic. In nesting, altho it may include the range of the Sand 
Martin, or e\'en nest side b\- side with it, it has a wider latitude for choice and 




Taken 111 Oregon, 



fhoio by H. r. Bohh 



and iV. I., t-tnicy. 



B.\BV ROUC.HWINGS. 



is not ham])ered In local t radii inn. If it burrows in a bank it is (|uite as likely 
to dig near the bottom as the top. Crevices in masonry* or stone cpiarries, 
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 ])air I knew e.xcavated a nest in the gravelly bank of an ungra<led lot 
only three feet above the sidewalk of a prominent street, Denny Way, in 
Seattle. These liirds were unsuccessful, but another ]iair. which enjoyed the 



33t) THE BANK SVVAI. LOW. 

prntcclion of sonic sturdy (ir roots Ix-low grouml, lirouglit off a bn^otl on 
Kifiy fifth Street, near my home. 

L'lilike the Hank Swallows, the Koiigli-wings <lo not coloni/.e to any great 
extent, but are rather soHtary. Favorable conditions may attract several pairs 
to a given s]K»t, as a gravel pit, but when together they are little gi\en to 
community functions. 

These Swallows are pretty evenly ilistributed thrnout liie length ami 
breadth of the State, save thai they do not venture into high altitudes. Since 
they are .so catholic in taste, it w<n\ld seem that they are destined to llourish. 
They are ]M)ssibly now to be considered, after the ClilT Swallow, the most nu- 
merous s|)ecies. I found them regularly along the west Olympic Coast in the 
summer of 1906: and, with Mr. Ivlson. of Bellingham. in Jiuie, i<>03. found 
a single |)air nesting in characteristic isolation on Rare Island, o(T Waldnm. 

I'urther than this, the bird under consideration resembles the other binl 
(|uite closely in notes, in habits, and in general appearance, and refpiires sharp 
distinction in accordance witii the suggestions given alK)ve umler "Recognition 
.Marks." 



No. 129. 

BANK S\\ Allow . 

A. n. V. No. 6ifi. Riparia riparia (I.iini). 

Synonym. — Sand Makiin. 

Description. — -.Idiilt: l^|)pcr]iarts plain, brownish gray; wings iuscous; 
throat ami helK white; a brownisli gray band across the breast; a tiny tuft of 
feathers above the hind toe. There is some variation in the extent of the pectoral 
baixl : it is sometimes produced indistinctly backward, and sometimes even inter- 
rupted. Length 5.00-3.25 ( 127-133.3): wing 3.(15 (100.3); tail i.<»7 (501; bill 
from nostril .20 (5.1). 

Recognition Marks.— Smallest of the Swallow;; throat white: brownish 
gray pectriral band on while grf>nnd. 

Nesting.^.Vr.?/. 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. 
Egf/s. 4-fi. sometimes 7, pure white. Av. size. .70 x .40 (17.SX 12.5). St'iisou: 
June : f>ne brood. 

General Range. — Xorthern HemispluTe: in America south to West Indies. 
Central .America, and northern South America: breeding from the middle dis- 
tricts f>f the I'nitcd States northward to about the limit of trees. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident : not common. .\ few large 
colonic- arc known east of the Cascades; westerly they are rare or wanting. 

Migrations. Sf<riii(/: May 11. I ."^/"i, Chelan. 



THE BANK SWALLOW. 



337 



Authorities. — CUvicola rif'aria. Dawson, Auk. \'oI. XI\'. .\pril. 1897, p. 179. 
T. [L-.] D'. Kb. D-'. Kk. B. E.(H). 
Specimens. — I'rov. C. 




^ 



r 



B.ANK SWALLOW. 

• 

THOSE who know, ci>ncfi\e a regard for this plain-colored l)ird whicli 
is quite out of keeping willi its humble garb and its confessedly prosy ways. 
The fact is, we have no other bird so nearly cosmopolitan, and we of tlie 
West, wiio are being eternally reminded of our newness, and who are, indeed, 
upf)n tlie alert for some new sliade of color upon the feather of a bird for each 
added degree of longitude, take cumfort in the fact that here at least is an un- 



5i» 



THE IJANK S\V.\I.I.()\^ 



cliangcabic 1>ik.*, a visible link belwctn SluiniUuwii-oii-Swiiioniisli and I'lor- 
iMice on tlic Ami). Hirds of jircciscly this fcatlier art suinnu'ring on tlic I^cna, 
or else liawking at (lies on tlic sunny C.auilal(|uivir. or tunneling the sacred 
banks of the Jordan; and the flattery is not lost upon us of such as still prefer 
the Nespilen) and the I'ilchuck. 

The life of a Swallow i^ so largely spent a-wing, that our interest in it 

centers even more than 

in the case of other 

birds ui)on the time 

when it is Ix>und to 





/';i..(,. i>> lilt liif/i.. 



nestim; sitk or thk hank suai.i.ou. 



earth by family ties. We are scarcely conscious of the jiresence of tiie Hank 
Swallow until one day we see a great company of them tlutiering alx>ut a sand- 
bank which overlooks the rixer. all busily engaged in digging the tunnels which 
are to shelter their young for that season. These birds are regularly gre- 
garious, and a nesting colony frequently numbers Inmdreds. 

The birds usuallx select a sjiot well up within a foot or two of the top of 
a nearly per])endicular bank of soil or sand, and dig a straight, nnuid tuiuiel 
three or four feet long. If. however, the .<oil contains stones, a greater length 
and manv turns may be rec|uire<l to reach a safe s|vit for the slight enlargement 
where the nest i)ro|K'r is ])laced. The bird appears to loosen the earth with 



THE AMERICAN BARN SWALLOW. 339 



its closed Ijeak, swaying from side to side the while; 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 only two in height. While the members of a colony, 
especially if it be a small one, usually occupy a straggling, horizontal line of 
lioles. their burrows are not infrequently to be seen in loose tiers, so that the 
l)ank 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, howe\er, beset with dangers. Weasels and their ilk 
sometimes find entrance to the nesting burrows, and they are an easy prey to 
underbred small boys as well. The undermining of the nesting cliff by 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 whenever the west 
wind blew, the fine volcanic ash, which composed the cliff, was whirled 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, which is naturally associated in 
mind with this. They have, nevertheless, a characteristic twitter, an unmelodi- 
ous sound like the rubbing together of two pebbles. An odd effect is produced 
wlicn 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 SWALLdW. 

.A. O. U. No. 613. Hirundo erythrogastra Bodd. 

Synonyms. — .\mivRIC.\x Bakx Swai.i.ow. Fork-T.mi.kd Swai.t.ow. 

Description. — Adult: .'\bove lustrous steel-blue: in front an imperfect 
collar of the same hue: forehead chestnut: lores black: throat and breast rufous: 
the remaining underparts, inchuliiis; lining of wings, more or less tinged with 



340 II II-: AMERICAN BARN S\VA%^0\V. 

the same, according to age ami season ; wings and tail blackish, with i»iir])lish 
or greenish reflections: tail deeply forked, the outer i>air of feathers being from 
one to two inches longer, and the rest graduated; white blntches on iiuier webs 
(except on middle ])air) follow the bifurcation, liiiiiuitiiri-: l-'orehead and 
throat ])aler: duller or brownish above; lateral tail-feathers not so long. Length 
about 7.00 (177.8); wing 4.75 (IJO.6); tail 3.00-4.50 (76.2-114.3); bill from 
nostril .24 (6.1 ). 

RecOKnition Marks. — .\erial habit; riilous nf throat and nnderparts; forked 
tail: nest n>iially inside the barn. 

Nesting. — Xcsl: a neat bracket or half-bowl of mud, lu.xuriously lined with 
grass and feathers, and cemented to a beam of barn or bridge. In Washington 
still nests occasionally in original haunts, viz.. cliffs, caves, and crannied sea-walls. 
E(/(js: 3-6, of variable shajje. — oval or elongated; white or pinkish white and 
spotted with cinnamon or umber. .\v. size .76 .\ .55 (19.3x14). Season: last 
week in May and lirst week in July ; two broods. Stehekin, .\ug. 10. 1896, 4 eggs. 

General Range. — North .\merica at large. I'erhaps the most widely and 
generally distributed of any .American bird. Winters in Central and South 
America. 

Range in Washington.- — Summer resident of regular occurrence at lower 
le\el> thruout the State, less common west of the Cascades, more common else- 
where in the older settle<l valleys. 

Migrations. — .S'l^riii;/: c. May 1st; ^'akima County. .\|>ril 27. i<;c>7: May 3. 
l<)o8. I'all: c. Septeml)er 10th; Seattle. September JO. i<»()7. 

Authorities. — Iliruudo horcoruiii I'.enton. Cooper and Suckiev, Kep. I'ac. 
R. K. Surv. XII.. i)t. II.. iSr.o. p. 1S4. T. C&S. I,. Rh. I)'. Kb. Ra.'lK Ss'. Ss-'. 
J. v.. E. 

Specimens. — I'rnv. V'. C. E. 

ONE hardly knows what (|iialiiy lo admire most in tiiis lioyhoods and 
life-long friend, the Barn Swallow. .\1I 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 yoimg aiul as fresh as ever, 
bubbling over with springtime laughter, ready for a frolic over the bee-haunted 
meafiows, or willing to settle down on the nearest fence-wire and recount to 
you with sparkling eyes and elorpient gesture the adventmcs of that glorious 
trip up from Mexico. 

Perhaps it is his childlike entlnisiasm which stirs us. He has come many 
a league this morning, yet he dashes in thru the open doors and shouts like a 
Imisterous 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-|ion(l : and down the lane where 
the cattle go, with a dip under the hri<Ige and a few turns over the orchard — 
a new i)ur]xise. or none, every second — life one full measure of alKHinding joy! 

Or is it the ai^otheosis of motion which takes the eye? See them as they 
cast a magic spell over the glowing green of the young alfalfa, winding alxnil 
in the dizzy patterns of a heavenly ballet, or vaulting at a thought to snatch an 



THE AMERICAN BARN SWALLOW. 



341 



insect frmn the skv. IJack again, in again, (Uit again, awa\', an\\vliere, e\ery- 
where. with two-mile a minute speed and elTorlless grace. 

lUit it is the sweet conlidingness of this daint}- Swallow which wins us. 
With all the face of Nature before iiim 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 wc dcscr\-c it or not. .Xnd if we don't deserve it : well, 
we will, that's all. 

The Barn Swallow is not a common bird with ns as it is east of the 
Rockies, nor is it e\enly distributed thruont our State. \\'here\-er the country 
is well settled it is likely, but not certain, to be found; while for the rest it is 
confined to such lower altitudes as afford it suitable shelter caves and nesting 
cliffs. 

At the head of Lake Chelan in iNo3 I found such a ])riniiti\-e nesting 
haunt. The shores of the lake near its head are very ]M-ecipitous, since Castle 
.Mountain rises to a height of o\er 8,000 feet within a distance of two miles. 
-Along the shore-line in the side of the cliffs, which continue se\-eral hundred 
feet below the water, the waves lim'c hollowed out crannies anrl ca-.-es. In one 
of these latter, 
w- h i c h penetrates 
the granite wall to 
a dejrtli of some 
twenty feet. I founi 
four or five Bani 
Swallows' nest s, 
some containing 
young, and two, al- 
tho it was so late in 
the season (July 9, 
1895), containing 
eggs. Other nests 
w ere found in 
neighboring cran- 
nies outside the 
ca\e. A visit paid 
to this same spot on 
.August lotb, 1896, 
discovered one nest 
still occupied, and 
this contained four 
eggs. 

Mr. F. S. Merrill, 
of Spokane, reports 




near Sf^obane. 



nolo by F. S. Mcrill. 



N'EST OF B.\r<N SWALLOW. 



34-' THE AMERICAN BARN SWA^^OW 

till- Hani Swallow as iifsting along tiic n.cky walls ..f Ilaiiginan's Creek, in 
just such situations as ClilT Swallows would ciioose; and back in '8f>, I found 
a few associated with \ioJet -greens along the XatcJicz Cliffs, in Vakinia 
County. 

A colony of some twenty \m\r^ may he found yearly nesting on Destruc- 
tion Island, in the Pacific Ocean. A few of them still occupy wave-worn 
crannies in the sand-rock, overlooking the upper reaches of the tide, but most 
of the colony have taken refuge inider the broad gables of the keepers' houses 

The nest of the Barn Swallow is (piadrispherical, or bracket- sha])ed, with 
an open top: and it usually depends for its position uixtn the a<Ihesiveness of 
the mud used in construction. Dr. Brewer says of them: "The nests arc 
constructed of distinct layers of mud, from ten to twelve in number, and each 
sei)arated by strata of fnie dry grasses. These layers are each made up of 



■"'-::^: 



1 — ^--f 




From a Photografli Cofyrtghi, i»o8. by W. L. Dawson. 
THE NOONING. 

■AIIN 5WALLOW5 ON TCLKCIIAril WUES. 



small pellets of mud. that have been worked over by the birds and placed one 
by one in jiixtajMisition until each layer is comi)lete." 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 buried and almost invisible. 



THE TREE SWALLOW. 343 



bringing off the brood is an e\fin wliicli nia\- well arresl the attention of 
the human household. There is much stir of excitement about the barn. The 
anxious parents rush to and fro sliouting tisic, tisic, now in encouragement, 
now in caution, while baby number one launches for the nearest beam. The 
pace is set, and babies number two to four follow hotly after, now lighting 
safely, now landing in the hay-mow, or compromising on a i)l(nv-handle. Up- 
on the last-natned the agonized parents urge another effort, for Tabbv niav 
appear at any moment. He tries, therefore, for old Nellie's back, to the mild 
astonishment of that placid mare, who presently shakes him off. Number 
fi\e tumbles outright and requires to be replaced by hand, if you will be so 
kind. .And so the tragi-comedy wears on, duplicating human years in half as 
many days, until at last we see oiu- Swallows among their twittering" fellows 
strung like notes of music on the far-tlung staff of Western L'nion. 

If jjirds really mean an_\-thing more to us than so many Japanese kites 
flown without strings, we may surely join with I )r. Brewer in his whole-souled 
appreciation of these friendly Swallows: "Innocent and blameless in their 
lives, there is no evil blended with the many benefits they confer on man. 
They are his ever constant benefactor and friend, and are nc\er known even 
indirectly to do an injury. For their daily food and f<ir 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 devoted in the discharge of their 
conjugal and parental duties; exemplary, watchful, and tender alike to their 
own family and to all their race; .sympathizing and bene\-()lent when their 
fellows are in any trouble, — these lovely and beautiful birds are bright ex- 
amples to all. in their blameless and useful lives." 



No. 131. 

TREE SWALLOW. 

A. O. L'. Xo. 614. Iridoprocne bicolor (\ieill. ). 

Synonym. — Wiiitic-belliEd Sw.allovv. 

Description. — Adult male: .Above, lustrous stcel-bluc or stcel-gieen : below, 
pure white: lores black; wings and tail black, showing some bluish or greenish 
luster; tail slightly forked. Female: Similar to male, but duller. Immature: 
L'pper 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 nr, latterly, in bird houses, plentifully lined 



344 



THE TREE SWALLOW* 



with soft inatcrials, es|)ccially feathers, liyi/s: 4-6, pure wliitc, — pinkish white 
l)efore remnval of contents. Av. size .75 x .54 ( 19.1 x 1,571. Season: last wcek 
iii .May. first week in July; two brootls. 

General Kange. — .North .America at large, hreeiling from the Fur Countries 
south to .New |er>ey, the ( )hio \ alley, Kansas, Colorado, California, etc.; win- 
tering from Sontli Carolina ami the Ciulf State> southward to the West Indies 
and ('iMatenia!;!. 

RariKe in W ashin;jton. -Summer resident; ahinidant on West-side; not 
common east of the Cascade Mountains. 

Migrations. — S[<riiiy: First week in March or earlier; Seattle, .March 4, 
1889; March 7, i8</5; Tacoina, March 2, KJ07; March 3, i<xj8; I'.ellingham 
(Edson), Tacoma (IJowlcs), Steilacooin (Dawson), February 25, i>jo-,: Skagit 
Marshes near I'ir ( L. K. Reynolds), February 1, 1906; Seattle (Dr. Clinton T. 
Cooke), January 21, 1906. 

Authorities. — Uiniinio bicolor \ ieillot, Baird, Kep. I'ac. K. K. Surv. LN., 
pt. II.. 1S5S. p. 311. T. C&S. Rh. D'. Kb. Ra. D--. J. U. E. 

Specimens. — I', of W. 1'. IVov. C. 



().NF" Swallow does nut make a sunnner, but a little twittering cotiipaiiy 
of them faring northward makes the heart glad, and fills it with a sense of 
exaltation as it resiKinds to the call of these care-fice children of the air. 
The remark applies to .Swallows in general, but particularly to Tree Swallows, 
for in their iiiiniaculale garb of dark blue and white, they seem like cry.stalli- 
zations of sky and templed cloud, grown animate with the all-compelling 
breath of spring. They have about them the marks of high-born quality, 
winch we caimot but admire as they spurn witli a wi)ig-stroke the lower 

strata, and rise to 
acce|>i we know 
not what dainties 
of the upper air 
While not so 
hardy as Robin 
and Hluebinl. since 
it must maintain 
an exclusive diet 
of insects. Tree 
.Swallow is, occa- 
sionally, very ven- 
turesome as to 
the season of its 
northward lliglit. 
; , Indeed a succes- 

TRF.E sw.M.i.ow. Sinn of mild win- 



THE TREE SWALLOW. 345 



ters might iiulucf it to i)cc(iinc ;i pcniiaiient resident of the Pugct Sound 
countrv, and it is not certain that it has not already done so in some in- 
stances. It often reaches Seattle during the first week in March; while it 
was simultaneously observed at Tacuma (Bowles), and Bellingham (Edson) 
on the 24th day of February, 1905. In 1906 Mr. L. R. Reynolds reported 
seeing it in numbers on the Skagit marshes near Fir, on tlic ist of February; 
and I )r. Clinton T. Cooke, looking from his office window in the Alaska 
Building, saw a large specimen, apparently an adult male, soaring about over 
the Cirand Opera House, in Seattle, on the Jist day cif January. 

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 
tlial 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 partially 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. Okl holes will 
d(j if not too old, but I once knew a ])air of these Swallows to drive away a 
pair of Northwest Flickers from a brand new nesting-hole, on the banks of 
Lake Union, and to occupy it themsehes. 

The nesting cavity is copiously lined with dead grass and feathers; and 
sometime during the last week of Max- from four to six white eggs are 
deposited. The female sits very closely and it is sometimes necessary to 
remove her by hand in order to examine the nest. Both ])arents 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 neighljor will 
snatch it first and make off with it to add to her own collection. 

Tree Swallows are slowly availing themselves of artificial nesting sites. 
In fact, several species of our birds have become quite ci\ilized, so that 
nowadays no carefully constructed and quietly situated bird-box need be 
without its spring tenant. .\ ])air once built their nest in a sort of tower 
attic, just inside a hole wliich 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 enterpri.se 
fared successfullv, as I can testify, for at the proper time I saw the 
youngsters ranged in a happy, twittering row along the upper rim of the 
bell-wheel. 



34'> 'II IE VIOLET-GREEN SWA^-UW . 

No. IJ2. 

VIOLET-GREEN SWAI.I.oW . 

A. ( ). I'. No. 615. TachNcineta thalassina IcpiJa (.\Ic;irns). 

S\ non> m. — .\oktiikrn \ ioi.kt-c.kkkn Swallow. 

Dcsiription. — .'.diilt male: L'ppcrparts, incliuling pikiiin, liiixl-iKck, l)ack, 
upper portion of riiiiip. scaiuilars, and lesser winp-covcrts, rich vclvely lironzi- 
f,'ri'fn, occasionally lingiii witii imrplc. crown usually more or less coiitrastin),' 
with color of hack. j;rcenisli-hrown rather than hronze-Kreen. and more strongly 
tinjjed with ])urple; a narrow cervical collar, lower rum]), and upper tail-covert^, 
velvety violet-purple: wings (except lesser coverts) and tail hlackish glossed with 
violet or purple; lores grayish; underparts, continuous with checks and area over 
and behind eye. anti with cons])icuous tlank ])atch, nearly meeting fellow acr<»>- 
rump. pure white; under wing-coverts pale gray, whitening on edge of wing. 
r.ill hl.ick ; feet hmwnish hlack ; iris hrown. .Idiilt fciiialc: Kike male lint 
usually much duller, hronze-green of upperparts reduced to greenish hrown. or 
hrown with faint greenish reflections. Vouiui birds are plain mouse-gray above 
and their iimer secondaries are touched with white. Length 4.50-3.50 (114.3- 
i.V)." ); wing 4.41 (lu); tail 1.77 (45); bill .20 (5.2). 

Recognition Marks. — Smaller: green and violet above, white below; white- 
cheeked and white-rum])ed ( ap])arently I as distinguished from the Tree Swallow. 

Nesting. — .W-sl: of dried grasses with or without feathers. ])laced in crevice 
of clitT or at end of vapor hole in basalt walls; latterly in bird Imxes and alxnit 
buildings. /;</.'/■*■ 4-6. pure white. .\v. size .72 x .48 (18.3x12.2). Season: June. 

General Range. — Western I'nited States, from the eastern base of the 
Rockv Mountains to the Pacific, north to the Yukon \alley, south in winter to 
fosta Rica. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident, of regular occurrence in moun- 
tain valleys anil among the foothills; rare or local elsewhere; becoming common 
in the larger cities. 

Migrations. — Sf<riiit/: ••.\lM.ut the 10th of May" (Suckley)"; now at least 
March; Chelan. .March '27. 1896: Seattle. March 24. i(jo6; Tacoma, March if>. 
ifjo/ : March 14. ii>o8: Olympia, February 27! ?). 1897. 

Authorities.— ?()rnitli. Com. .\c. N'at. Sci. I'hila.. \II.. 1837. 193 (Columbia 
Kiver). Iliniudo thahissiiia Swainson. Baird, Kep. I'ac. R. R. Surv. IX., pt. II.. 
1858. p. 312. T. C\S. L'. Rh. D'. IV. Ss'. Kk. J. IS. E. 

Specimens. — ( l'. of \V.) Prov. I". C. E. 

TO ajjpear to tlie best advantage this dainty sky-child should be seen on 
a bright day. when the livid green of back and crown may retkct the glancing 
rays of the sun with a delicate golden sheen. .At such a time, if <ine is clam- 
bering about the walls of some rugged granite cliff of the lower Cascades, he 
feels as if the dwellers of Olympus had come down in a])proi)riate gtiise to 



a. Cooper and Suckfcy. Rep fac R. R. Surv. XII. pt II. i860, p 185. 






5 **?.•'- 



J 7 



THE VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW. 



347 




iiuiuire his business. Not, however, tliat tliese lo\-ely creatures are eitlier 
meddlesome or shrewish. Even wlien tlie nest is threatened by tlie strange 
presence, the birds seem unable to form any conception of harm, and pursue 
their wav in sunnv disregard. I'.specially pleasing to the eye is the pure white 

of the bird's underparts, rising high 
on flanks and cheeks and sharpl\- 
contrasting with the pattern of vio- 
let and green, in such fashion that, if 
Xature had invited us to "remold it 
nearer to the heart's desire," we 
must have declined the task. 

Before the advent of the while 
man upon Puget Sound, these birds 
<-rimmonly nested in deserted wood- 
pecker holes and in natural cavities 
wf trees, while upon the East-side 
I hey nested (and still do to a large 
extent) upon the granite or la\-a 
cliffs. In the last-named situations 
they utilize the rocky clefts and in- 
accessible crannies, and are espec- 
ially fond of the smaller vapor holes 
which characterize the basaltic for- 
mations. Favorable circumstances 
ma_\- 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-vent which the birds have 
chosen for a home may ])rove too small to admit the hand. 

Thruout the State, however, and especially ui>on the West-side, these 
excjuisite birds are forsaking their ancient haunts and claiming protection of 
men. Already they have become common in larger cities, where they occujiy 
bird-boxes and crannies of buildings. South Tacoma, being nearest to their 
old oak nurseries, js 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 recessed gables or, in default of such conveniences, 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 that the song heard at close quarters is a 
really creditalile affair, varied, vivacious, and musical. 

The \'iolet-greens are somewhat less hardy or venturesome than the Tree 
Swallows, arriving usuallv during the last week in March. Last \ear's 



Taken in Oregon. Photo by Finlcy and Bolilm 

YOUNG VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW. 



348 THE n< HIKMIAX W AXW^Nf.. 

nesting site liecunies at once the spring rendezvous. Ijiit ilie ilmies of maternity 
are not seriously undertaken until alxmt tlie 1st of June. At the iiead of 
Lake Ciielan some twenty ])airs of these Swallows, having left the old nest- 
ing dilT a mile away, had engaged quarters at Field's Motel, being assigned 
to the boxed eaves of a second-story piazza in this jileasant caravanserai; 
but they had not yet dejKisited eggs on the joth of June. 1906. 

Altho not formerly so fastidious — I have found clitT nests composed 
entirelv of dried grass — these birds have become connoisseurs in ui)holstcry 
of feathers, and their unglossed wliite eggs, live or six in number, are 
invariably smothered in purloined down, until we begin to suspect that (jur 
fowls rather than our features have favored our adoption. 



No. i.u. 
BOllKMIAN WWW INC.. 

A. < >. I'. Xo. ()iS. Bombycilla K^irrula 1 l.inii. i. 

Synonyms. — XcmTUKR.N \\ a.xwi.nc. OrkaTEk WA.xwisr.. 

Oescription. — Adults: \ conspicuous crest: lx>dy plumage soft, grayish- 
brown or fawn-color, shading by insensible tlegrccs between the several ])arts: 
b.ick darker. ])assing into l)right cinnanion-rufons on forehead and crown, and 
thru dark ash of rump and up])cr tail-coverts into black of tail; tijjs of tail 
feathers abrn|)tly yellow (gamboge); breast with a vinaceous cast, passing into 
ciniianioii-rufons of cheeks; a narrow frontal line jiassing thru eye. and a short 
tliro;it-]>atcIi velvety black; nn<ler tail-covert-; dee]) cinnamon; wing blackish- 
a.sli. the tii)S of the |)riniary coverts and the tijjs of the secondaries on outer web<i. 
white, tijjs of primaries on outer webs bright yellow, whitening outwardly; the 
shafts of the rectrices produced into peculiar flatteneil red "sealing-wax" tip<; 
bill an<l feet black. Length al)out 8.00 (203.2); wing 4/.1 (I17.I); tail 2.-,U 
(63) ; bill .47 ( ii.o). 

Recognition Marks. — Cbewink size; grayish-brown coloration. .\s dis- 
tingiiisjied lioui the nnuh more common Ce<lar-bird; belly »ol yellow; white 
wiivg-bar> ; under tail-coverts cinnamon. 

Nesting. — Xot known to breed in Washington. Like that of next species. 
/;_(/(/.«. larger. .\v. size. .(>8 x .69 ( 24.0 x 17.3). 

General Range. — Xorthern portions of northern hemisphere. In Xorth 
.•\merica. south in winter irregularly to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, 
southern Colorado, and northern California. I'.reeds north of I'nited States; 
also. ])f>ssiblv. in the mountains of the West. 

Range in Washington. — Winter resident, regular and sometimes abundant 
east of the Cascades. es]>eoially in the northern tier of counties; rare or casual 
on the West-side. 

Authorities.— ./)"^<-/i.? (larrulus. Brewster. I'.. N. O. C. VII. Oct. 1882. ]>. 

227. n-. J. E. 

.Specimens.— ( r. of W. ) Prov. P'. C. 



THE noilE.MlAX WAXWIXG. 349 



NOTHIXG crm exceed ilie refined elegance of these ''gentlenKii in feath- 
ers" wlio visit us yearly in winter, rarely on Puget Sound, but abundantly in 
the northeastern portion (if the State. Demure, gentle, courteous to a fault, 
and guileless to the danger point, and bevond, these lovely creatures exceed in 
beauty, if possible, their more familiar cousin, the Cedarbird. They move 
about in flocks, sometimes to the number of hundreds, and as the rigors of 
winter come on they search the orchard 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 garntlus, as tho they were monkeys. Dignity is of the very essence of 
their being, and, as fond as they are of good li\ing. they would starve rather 
than do anything rude or unseemly. 

An observer in Utah^ relates how an ill-mannered Robin, jealous of the 
good beha\Mor 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, absolutel}' 
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 Waxwings. in order to avoid an actual collision, left the places 
where they were feeding, and alighting on twigs near by paused for a moment, 
as if to observe the antics of the furious Robin, when they 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 ofT 
so exasperated Mr. Redbreast that with screams of defiance he dashed from 
group to group without stojjping to alight, until, exhausted quite as much by 
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 \\'axwings 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 July 4. 
1861. remained unique; but latterly we are learning that it also nests much 
further south. Mr. Brooks took four sets, one from a Murray ])ine and three 
from Douglas firs, at 158-Mile House, B. C, in J""c, 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 Provo City, found a nest near 
Sunnyside, Utah''. With such examples before us it is, practically certain 
that the species will be found nesting in this State. Indeed, Mr. F. S. Mer- 
rill, of Spokane, belie\es that he once found a nest of the Bohemian W'axwing 
on the headwaters of the Little Spokane River near Milan. Tlie nest he de- 



Rev. S. H. r.oodwin in "The Condor," Vol. \ir,, No, 4. p. 
The Auk. Vol. XX., July, 1903. p. 283. 
"Pacific Sportsman." \'ol. 2. June. 1905. p. 270. 
The Condor, Vol. VII.. .Inly, .\ugust. 1905, p. 100. 



350 Tin-: CEDAK WWW l^f.. 

scribes as lia\ iiig been placed in an alder at a height of eight feet, and it con- 
lainetl four eggs on the [joint of hatching. The brooiling bird allowed a close 
approach while iiixjn the nest, but was not seen again after being once flushed. 



.No. 134. 

CEDAR W.WWIXG. 

A. O. U. No. 619. Bombycilla cedrurum \ icill. 

Synonyms. — Ckdar-hird. CnKRKV-niKi). C.vroi.i.na \\.\.\wi.\c. Lesser 
\V.\.\wiNr.. 

Description. — Adults: .\ conspicuous crest; extreme forehead, lores, and 
line tliru eye velvety-black; chin blackish, fading rapidly into the rich grayish- 
brown of remaining fore-parts and head ; a narrow whitish line Ixirdering the 
black on the forelua<l and the blackish of the chin ; back darker, shading thru 
ash of ruinj) to blackish-ash of tail; tail-feathers abruptly tipped with gamboge 
yellow; belly sordiil yellow; under tail-coverts white; wings slaty-gray, primaries 
narrowly edged with whitish; secondaries and inner (juills without while 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. YotuKj, streaked everywhere with whitish, anrl usually without red tips. 
Length T.. 50-7. 50 ( i()5.i-jrjo.3 1 ; wing 3.70 (94) ; tail 2.31 (5f<.7) : bill .40 ( 10.21. 

Recognition Marks. — S|)arro\v size; soft grayish-brown plumage; crest; 
red sealing-wax lip> on secondaries; belly yellow; wings without white bars or 
spots, as distinguished from jireceding species. 

Nesting. — Scst. a bulky alTair of leaves, grasses, bark-strips and trash, well 
lined with rootlets and soft materials; ])laced in crotch or horizontally saddled 
on limb of orchard or evergreen tree. liijijs, 3-6, dull grayish blue or putty-color, 
marked sparingly with deep-set, rounded spots of umber f)r black. .\v. size, 
.86 X .61 (21.8x15.5). Season: June, July ; two broods. 

General Ran^e. — North .\merica at large, from the Fur Countries south- 
ward. In wintiT from the northern Ixtnler of the I'nited States south to the West 
Indies and C"i>^ta Kica. I'.reeds from \irginia. Kansas, (Iregon, etc., northward. 

Ran^e in V\ ashinjtton. — Of regular occurrence in the State, but irregular 
or variable Imally. Resident, but less common in winter. 

Authorities. — .hiif<clis ccdrornm Haird, Cooper and Suckley, Rep. Pac. 
R. R. Surv. Xll. j.t. II. i860, p. 187. T. CcS:S. Rh. D'. Kb. Ra. I)-'. Ss--. Kk. U. E. 

Specimens. iV. of \\.\ I'rov. I'. I'. E. 

ONK does not care to commit himself in precise language upon the range 
of the Cedarbird. or to predict that it will Ix- found at any given s|iot in a 
given season. The fact is, Cedarbirds are gypsies of the feathered kind. 
There are ahvavs some of them about somewhere, but their comings and g'^ings 
are not according to any fixed law. .\ company of Ce<larbirds may throng the 



THE CEDAR WAXWING. 351 

rinvan trees in _\uur truut yaril some bleak day in December: they may nest in 
your orchard the following Jul)'; and you may not see them on _\our premises 
again for years — unless you keep cherry trees. It nuist be confessed (since 
the shade of the cherry tree is ever sacred to Truth ) that the Cedarbird. or 
"Cherrvbird," has a single passion, a consuming desire for cherries. I'ut don't 
kill him for that. Vou like cherries yourself. All the more reason, then. 
why you should be charitable toward a brother's weakness. Besides, lie is so 
handsome, — handsomer himself than a luscious cherry even. Feast your 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 
vou both, (haw a decent breadth of mosquito-netting over the tree, and ab- 
solve your 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. 

Cherries are bv no means the nnh* kind of fruit eaten by these Ijirds. 
Like most orchard-haunting species, they are very fond of mulberries, while 
the red berries of the mountain ash are a staple ration in fall and winter. 
Truth to tell, these beauties are sad gluttons, and they will gor<;e thenisehes 
at limes till the very efl'ort of swallowing becomes a delicious ])ain. 

The Cedarbird, being so singularly endowed with the gift of l)eaiit\-, is 
denied the gift of song. He is, in fact, the most nearly voiceless of any of 
the American Oscines, his sole note being a high-pitched sibilant squeak. In- 
deed, so higli-pitched is this extraordinary note that many people, and ihe\- 
trained bird-men, cannot hear them at all, even when the Waxwings are 
s(|ucaking all about them. It is an almost uncanny spectacle, that of a company 
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, ])ene- 
trating monotone. It is as tho you had come upon a company of the Immor- 
tals, higli-removed, conversing of matters too recondite for human ki'u. 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 h;ibits (if these birds are \\ell shdwn in their nesting, which 
they ])ut off until late June or July, for no apparent reason. In con.structing 
the nest the birfls use anything soft and pliable whicli happens to catch the 
eve. Some specimens arc composed entirely of the green hanging mosses. 
while others are a complicated mixture of twigs, leaves, rootlets, fibers, 
grasses, rags, string, paper, and what not. The nest may be placed at any 
moderate height up to fifty feet, and a great variety of trees are u.sed altho 
orchard trees are fax'orites. The birds are lialf gregarious, e\en in the nest- 



35-' THE XOKTIIERX SIlR|j>:i:. 

iiig season, so tiiat a small orcliani may contain a dozen nests, wliile another 
as goofl. a little way removed, lias none. In the XiKjksack X'alley, near (ilacier. 
Mr. Brown showed me a tiny pasture carved ont of the woods, where lie iiad 
found, tiiiring the previous season, six nests of the Cedarhird. ])laced at heigiit> 
ranging fnim three to six feet above the ground in small chimps of \ ine inajile 
or alder saplings. In Chelan we found them nesting in the tops of the 
solitary pine trees which line the stream. 

The female sits closely upon her eggs, not infrer|uently remaining until 
forcibly removed. Once off. however, she makes away without comjilaint. 
ami i)ays no further attention to the incident until the intruder has departed. 

.\lways of a most gentle disposition, when the nesting season arrives, 
according to Mr. Bowles, these birds richly deserve the name of Love Birds. 
.•\ leaf from his note-book supports the statement: "July 7. 1896. To-<lay 
I watched two Cedarbirds selecting a nesting site, lirst one location being 
tested, then another. Finally they deci<led u|)on a suitable place and com- 
menced picking both dry and green leaves from the surrounding trees, placing 
tiiem upon a horizontal limb where two <ir three twigs projected. .Mmost all 
of these leaves blew off as soon as placed, greatly to the sur])rise of the birds, 
who sokinnly watched ihcm drop to the ground. These fallen leaves were 
never 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 tlie leaf foundation Hew a foot or two away an<l lit. The other 
bird ])romptly took away the silk and brought it to its mate, who very gently 
took it and put it back. This operation was rejjeated again and again. .\i 
times Ixitii held the silk, sitting only an inch or two apart. whereui)on the bird 
who was the original finder would. ',rry f/cnlly, jnill it from the bill of its 
mate and replace it. .\\. the end of fifteen minutes of tliis loving i)assage I 
was obliged to retire, anrl I shall never know whetlier the i)lant fiber was 
successfully i)laced or merely worn out." 



No. I. vs. 
NOR 11 11: RN SHRIKE. 

A. O. U. No. 621. I.aniiis borcalis N'ieill. 

Synonym.s. -CiRKAT .Xoktmi-hn Surikk. Mt ti iiiK-TiiKn. 

Description. -./rfiJr Upperparts clear, bluish gray, lightest — almost white — 
Mil ti|.|Kr tail-ci>\iTts : extreme forehead whitish: wings and tail black, the former 
witli a consi)icii<uis white s|>i't at ba-i- i.f priinarie-<. the latter with larRC. white 
terminal blotches on outer feather-. <lecrea»in>; in -ize inwardly: a black band 
through eye. including aiiriculars; below grayi-h white, the feathers of the brea-t 



THE NORTHERN SHRIKE. 353 

and sides narrowly tipped with dusky, producing a uniform, iinc vcrmiculation 
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 (235-273-1 ' : wing 4.50 (1 14.3); tail 4.19 (106.4); '''H -72 (18.3); tarsus 
1.07 (27.3). 

Recognition Marks. — Rdbin size; gray and black coloring; sharply hooked 
bill : breast vermicnlatcd with dusky, as distinguished from next species. 

Nesting. — Docs not breed in Washington. Nest: 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 s|)aringly in northern New England. 

Range in Washington. — Spring and fall migrant and not common winter 
resident thrunut the State, chiefly at low'er levels. 

Authorities. — ?Townsend, Tourn. Ac. Nat. Sci. I'liila. \'III. 1839, 152 
(Columbia River). Baird, Rep. "Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 18^8, t,2^. ClS^S. D'. Ra. 
D-\ B. E. 

Specimens.— ( U. of \V. ) P'. Prov. B. E. 

FLITTING like a gray ghost in the wake of the cheerful hosts of Juncoes 
and Redpolls, comes this butcher of the Nortii 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 thejnan 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 inequalities of 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 chilly- 
footed mouse or palpitating Sparrow — upon some convenient thorn or splin- 
ter. In spring the north-bound bird is somewhat more amial)le, 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 accei)ted by the proper critics, but 
its rendition sometimes produces about the same efifect upon a troop of 
Fitiches, which a cougar's serenade does upon a cowering deer. 

Experts try to make out that this creature is beneficial, on the whole. 
because of the insects he devours, but I have seen too nrtich good red blood 
on this butcher's beak myself. My gun is loaded! 

Suckley writing in the Fifties remarks the scarcity of all Shrikes in 
Oregon or Washington "Territories," and this is fortunately still true, espec- 
ially west of the Cascades. The probable explanation is that the mild climate 
of the Pacific slope of Alaska retards or ])rcvents the southward movement 
of the more hardy species. 



354 THE WHITE-RUM PED SH%JKi:. 



No. i.?(i. 

WHll K RlMI'l'l) SHRIKK. 

A. ( ). I'. X'l. 622 a. Lanius luJu\ icianus cxL'ubitorides (Swains.). 

Description. — .Unit: l>ark hliiisli ^ray almvi.', cliaiigiii(,' abruptly to wliitc on 
u|)pcr tail-covcrts ; scapulars cliictly wliilc: winjjs black, a small white sp<it at liase 
of primaries ; tlie inner (|uills narrowly tii)pc(l with white ; tail black, the outer 
pair of feathers chiefly white, and the succeediii}; broadly tipped with white in 
descending; ratio until color disappears in two central pairs: below white sliphlly 
soiled on breast, but everywhere strongly contrastinjj with upperjiarts: narrow 
frontal line includin>; nasal tufts, lores, and ear-coverts, black, — continuous, and 
passiufj mostly below eye ; bill and feet l)Iack. Imiiuilurc: Colors of adult less 
strongly contrasted: lower parts washed with brownish: loral bar obscure; more 
or less vermicnlated with dusky all over (in younger birds), or ui)on the iinder- 
parts alone; ends of wing-(|uills, coverts, and tail-feathers often with ochraccous 
or rusty markings. Length of adult male: 8.50-10.00 (215.9-234); wing 3.</) 
( loo.fi) : tail 3.<) (<)<i) : bill .rio ( 15.3) : tarsus i.i (28). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink to Robin size: dark gray alwvc; whitish be- 
low; longitudin.il black |)atcli of head; wings black and white: breast of adult un- 
marked, as disting\iislie<l from both /,. horralis and /,. /. t/aiithi'li. 

Nesting. — Xcst: a bulky but well-built 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. Ri/i/s: 5-7, dull grayish or greenish 
white, thicklv sjieckled and spotte<l with ])ale olive or reddish brown. .\v. size, 
.97 .\ .73 ( 24/) N 18.5). Season: .\]>ril. June; two broo<ls. 

General Range.— Western Xortli America from the dreat Plains westward, 
except Pacilic (.'oast district and from Manitoba and the plains of Saskatchewan 
south over the tablelands of .Mexico; south in winter over the whole of ^fcxico 
intergratling with /.. /. iniiiraiis in region of the Cireat Lakes. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident east of the Cascades, 
chiefl\ in •-age-brush country. 

Authorities.— Dawson. .\uk. Xl\ . 18.17. i7<). (Ti. D'. D'. Ss'. Ss'. 

Specimens. — (V. of W.) P. C. 

THF. brushy draws of the low lava ranges and the open sage .stretches of 
the Kast-sitle constitute the favorite preserve of this lesser bird of prey. He 
arrives from the South early in March when his patchy pliiinage harmonizes 
more or less witli the snow-checkered landscape, but lie is nowise concerned 
with problems of ])rotective coloration. Seeking out some prominent perch, 
iisuallv at this time of year a dea<l greasewood or a fence-|nist, he divides his 
time between spying upon the early-creeping field mouse and entertaining his 
ladv love with outlandish music. Those who have not heard the White-rumped 
Shrike siiiti. have missed a treat. lie begins with a series of rasping sounds, 
which are probablv intended to jiroduce the same receptive condition in his 



THE WHITE-RUMPED SHRIKE. 



355 



audience which Ole Hull secured by awkwardly Ijreaking- one string- after an- 
other on his violin, till only one was left. There, howe\er. the resemblance 
ceases, for where the virtuoso could extract a melody of mar\eliius \ariety and 
sweetness from his single string, the bird produces the sole note of a struck 
anvil. This pours forth in successive three-syllabled phrases like the metallic 
an'l reiterative clink of a freely falling hammer. The chief difference which 




Taken in Dough 



THE SIIRIKK'S PKKSKKVIi. 



appears between this love song and the ordinary call of warning or excitement 
is that in the latter case the less tender passions have weighted the clanging 
anvil with scrap iron and destroyed its resonance. 

The Shrike is a bird of prey but he is no restless prowler or iKnerer, wear- 
ing out his wings with incessant flight — not he. Choosing rather a commanding 
position on a telegra])h wire, or ex])osed l)ush top. he searches the ground with 
his eye until he detects some sus])icious movement of insect, mouse, or bird. 
Then he dives down amongst the sage, and if successful returns to his ])OSt to 
devour at leisure. The bird does not remain long enough at one station to in- 
spire a permanent dread in the local i)opulation of comestibles: but rathermoves 
on from ]iost to post at short inter\-als and in nietliodical fashion. In flight the 



35'' 



THE WIlII'E-RrMI'KI) SlllLKI-. 



l)inl niovis ciilRi In siiiccssivf plimj^cs and iiuisy rcasctriisioiis. or else pilches 
(lownwaril fiuiu liis perch ami wings lapitliy over the surface of tlic vegetation. 
Tlie Sage Shrikes are jjrohhc and attentive l)reerlers. Tlie first brood is 
hrouglit olT about the isl of May. but fresli eggs may sometimes be found 
as earlv as tlie last week in March in the southern part of the State. A 
second brood may be ixpeclcfi from June 1st to 15th. 

The nest is a bulky 
but usually well-built 
affair, ])lace<l 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 ]M)ssibIe. to 
the thickened walls of 
plant fibers, cowhair, or 
sheep's wool, is added an 
inner lining of feathers. 
and these not infre- 
quently curl over the 
edge so as comi)letely to 
conceal the nest contents. 
One nest examined in 
Walla Walla County 
contained the following 
materials: Willow twigs, 
broom-sage twigs, sage 
bark, weed stems, dried 
yarrow leaves. dried 
sage leaves, hemp, woc)l, 
rabbit fur. horse-hair, 
cow-hair, chicken feath- 
ers, string, rags, and 
sand, besides a thick mat 
of finely cmminuted scales, soft and shiny, the accumulated horny waste 
from the growing wing-(|uills of the crowded young — altogether a sad mess. 
The jiarent birds are singularly indifferent as a rule to the welfare of a 
nest containing eggs alone. The female sits dose, but once flushed, stands 
clinking in the distance, or else absents herself entirely. When the young are 
hatched, however, the old birds are capable of a spirited and deafening defense. 




TttkfH 1 
NEST 



I Douglas CoMHiy. Photo by the Auttwr. 

AND KC.r.S OF WniTK KUMI'KI) SHRIKE. 



THE CALIFORxNIA SHRIKE. 357 



It is curious tliat in W'ashingtnn \\x- li;i\e seen no signs of ilic oul-docjr 
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 simply 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 "Xciiiitdtcr," 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 thruout 
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. No. 622 b. Laniiis ludov iciaiuis gambeli Ridgway. 

Description. — Similar to L. I. cvcnbitaridcs but decidedly darker, duller gray 
abo\e ; underparts more sordid, tinged with brownish or with more or less distinct 
transverse verniiculation of pale Ijrownish gray on chest and sides of breast; 
averaging slightly smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — As in ])receding — duller. 

Nesting. — As in L. I. c.vcuhitoridcs — has not yet been reported from W'ash- 
ington. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from southwestern British Columbia 
to northern Lower California; south in winter to Cape St. Lucas and western 
IMexico. 

Range in Washington. — Rare summer resident west of the Cascades. 

Authorities. — ? Orn. Com.. Journ. .Ac. Nat. Sci. I'hila. \II. 1837, 193 
(Columl)ia River). I.aiiiiis liidoiiciaiiiis excubitoridcs Lawrence, Auk, L\. 
i8<;2. 46. 

RP'SIDEXT Shrikes, presumably referable to this recently elaJMirated 
subspecies, are exceedingly rare in western Washington. Mr. Bowles has not 
seen any near Tacoma, and neither Air. Rathbun nor myse]f have encountered 
them in Seattle. Mr. R. H. Lawrence, however, notes having seen three 
"W'hite-rumped Shrikes" on June to. 1890. in a small clearing on the TTump- 
tuli])s River*. 

The smaller Shrikes are birds of the o])en country, and the\- should be 
found in at least Lewis. Thurston, and Pierce Counties. 



a. Birds of Gray's Harbor, Wash., Auk, \'ol, IX., Jan., 



358 I'liE Ri-:i>-i-:vi:i) \ iki:^ 

No. i.js. 

RED-EVi;i) \'IRI',(). 

A. ( ). L'. Nil. (>24. Vireosylva oli\ac'ca (Ijiiii. ). 

Description. — .Idiilt: Crown grayisli slate. Iiordered on cither side by 
blackisli; a wliitc line alxivc tlio eye. and a dnsky line thru the eye: remaining 
upperparts li{;ht grayish olive-green: wings and tail dnsky with narrow olive-green 
etlgings: below <lnll white, with a slight greenish-yellow tinge on lining of wings, 
sides, flanks, and erissnni : first and fourth, and second and third jjriniaries alx>ut 
e(|ual, the latter pair fonning tiie ti]) of wing: bill l>lackish 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 ( 139.7-1^)5.1 ) ; wing 3.15 (So) : tail j.io (53.51 : bill .49 ( 12.5) ; 
tarsus .70 (18). 

RecoRnition Marks. — Warbler size ; largest : w hite superciliary line con- 
tracting with blacki-h and slate of crown: red eye. .Vote smoother, and utterance 
a little more ra])itl than in L. s. cassinii. 

NestiriR. — Xcst. a semi-pensile basket or pouch, of bark-strips, "hem|)," and 
vegetable fibers, lined with jilant-down. and fastened l)y the edges to forking 
twigs near enil of horizontal branch, live to twenty feet up. Hfigs, 3 or 4, white, 
with black or lunber s])ecks and spots, few in number, and chiefly near larger 
end. .\v. size. .85 x .56 (2i.6x 14.2). Season: c. June i : one bnxKl. 

General Range. — l-lastcrn North .\nierica. west to Colorado, Utah, W'ashing- 
ton and Uritisb Columbia; north to the .\rctic regions: south in winter from 
Florida to the e<|uator. lirceds nearly thruoiu its North .\merican range. 

Range in Washington. — Imperfectly made out. Summer resident on lK)th 
sides of the (. accades. Either increasingly abundant or more observe<l latterly 
(Hrook Lake. Chelan, Stehekin, Seattle, Tacoma, Kirkland breeding 1908). 

Migrations. — .V/ti/;;/; Seattle. .May 3. i<jo8. 

Authorities.— Belding, Land I'.irds of the Pacific District. i8(K5, p. if/}. 
(Walla Walla by j. W. Williams. 1885). Ss^ 1!. 

Specimens. — C. 

\\ !•', are nil)l)ing niir eyes a little bit ami wondering whether the Red-eyed 
\'ireo has really been here all the time, or whether he only slipped in while we 
were nap])iiig a decade or two since. Certain it is that the bird's i)reseiice in 
the Pacific Northwest was unknown to the pioneers. Townseiid, C<wper, 
Siicklev, and the rest; and the first intimation we had of the occurrence of 
this \ireo west of the Rockies was Chapman's record, published in 1890* of 
si>eciniens taken at Ducks and .Ashcroft. B. C. The year following, viz.. 
.August 4. 1891. a singing Red-eye was recognized by Mr. C. F. Batchelder. 



I. Bull. Am. Mui. Nat Hi»t . N. Y.. Vol. III. p. uo 



THE RED-EYED VIREO. 359 



of Cambridge, Mass., at the Little Dalles, in this State". Air. Lyman Belding, 
the veteran ornithologist, of Stockton, Cal., advises me, ho\ve\er, that this 
Vireo 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 upon Vancouver Island. Messrs. C. W. and 
J. H. Bowles met with this species in the Puyallup Valley on June 23, 1899, 
when they saw and heard at least half a dozen. Mr. Bowles and 1 were con- 
stantlv on the lookout for this bird during our East-side trip in May and June, 
1906, but we failed to obser\e it in either Spokane or Stevens Counties. W'e 
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 Vireos right alongside. And now cumcs the announcement of its 
breeding at Kirkland where Miss Jennie \'. tU-lly lnnk two sets in the season 
of 1908. 

The truth is, the Cassin \'ireo 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 over 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 differences, even to the mildly ob- 
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- 
oquizing notes are often uttered — always in single phrases of from two to four 
svllal)les 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 efforts are 
given to the entertaining of his gentle spouse when she is brooding ujjdu the 
nest. A bird to which I once listened at midday, in Ohio, had chosen for Ins 
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 intermission during the half hour he was 
imder observation. 

So thoroly possessed does our little hero become with the spirit of poesy, 
that when 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 they may be, for it is 
a beautiful structure in itself. The nest is a semipensile cj.ip, bound firmly 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 ciumous characteristic of the entire \'ireo 



.\uk. Vol. IX., Oct., 1892, p. 396. 
.\uk. \ol. XV., Jan.. 1898, p. 18. 



36o THE WESTERN WARBLING ^IREO. 

family is tlic attcntioii \tiud to the mitside instcail of tlic inside (jf the nesl. Tlie 
outside is carefully adorned with lichens, old rags, pieces of wasp nests, or bits 
of newsi>aper, with no idea of furthering ct»ncealnient, f<jr the result is often 
verv conspicuous. 'I'he 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 uix)n a female sitting contentedly in her nest in the center 
of a chanuing birch tangle in Chelan County, we had as good as jjliotograjjlied 
the eggs. W'c were jiarticularly 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: but when she llitted, we found nothing at all. 
She was only fooling. 



No. 13<>. 

WKSTKRN \V\RBLIi\(, \IREO. 

.\. n. I'. .\i). ()_'7 a. Vireos.\lva ^jilva swainsonii lilaird). 

Description. — .Itiiilt: .\l)ove, dull asliy, almost fuscous, tinged with oliva- 
ceous, same on iiik-mn. — the last-named color briglitcst on interscapulars, rump, 
and edgings of secondaries and rcctrices; wings and tail fuscous, the primaries 
with faint whitish cdgiTigs ; no wing-bars; lirst jiriniary spurious, — only al)out a 
third as long as the others; j)oint of wing formed by third, fourth, and fifth 
primaries ; second .shorter than si.Nth ; below white with slight tinges on sides. — 
l)uffy on sides of head and neck, olive-fuscous on sides of breast, sulpbur-yclinw 
on sides of belly and flanks, and sometimes vaguely on breast : litres and s])acc 
aljout eve whitish, enclosing obscure dusky line thru eye: bill dusky above, 
lighter below; feet blackish. Length 3.oo-'6.oo (i 27-1 52.4): wing 2.64 {67): 
tail 1.94 (4<)..^): bill ..v> (10); tarsus .69 (17.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size: general absence of positive characteris- 
tics, — altogetlKT tlu- ))lainest-colored bird of the .\nierican avifauna. 

Nesting. — Xcsl: a pensile pouch of bark-strips, grasses, vegetable fibers, and 
trash, carefully lined with plant-down; bung usually from fork of small limb, at 
any height. /;'(/</.«.■ .^ or 4, white, sparingly and distinctly dotted or spotted, or, 
rai-clv, blotched with black, umber. c)r redilisb brown, chiefly at the larger end. 
.■\v. size .75 >i -55 ( 19 x i^.<)). Scasmi: June 1-20; one browl. 

General Range. — Western I'nitcd States and Canada (British Columbia, 
.Mberta ami .Xthabasca), breeding south to southern Ixirder of United States 
and southern extremity of Lower California; south in winter thru Mexico to 
\'era Cruz and Oaxaca. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident thruout the State in deciduous 
timber, chiefly at lower levels. 

Migrations.— .S'/TiMi;.- Yakima. May 6. kxxd; Seattle, May 5. i'X>5: 
Yakima. May 4, ir^); Tacoma. May 3. VT<7 : Seattle. May 3, HjoR. 



THE WESTERN WARBLING \'lREO. 



361 



Authorities. — ':! I'irco (/ilziis, Townscnd, Jourii. Ac. Xat. Sci. I'hila., \'I1I. 
1839. p. 153 I Columbia River j. I'irco gilvus (sicaiiisonii ])roposeil|, Baird, 
Rep. I'ac. R. R. Surv.. IX. pt. II. 1858, 336. T. C&S. L. Rh. D-. Ra. 1)^. J. B. E. 

Specimens. — U. of W. Prov. R. ]1X. E. 



THE old-fashioned name "Greenlet," as applied to the Vireos, was a mis- 
nomer, if a description of plumage was intended; but if it was intended to 
memorialize the bird's fondness for greenery, nothing could have been more 
apt. The Warbling Vireo's surroundings must be not only green, but freshly 
green, for it frequents only deciduous trees in groves and riverside copses. It 
is not an abundant bird, therefore, in AV'ashington. altho equally distributed, 
whether in the willows and birches which gather about some lonesome spring 
in the bunch-grass country, or among the crowded alders and majjles of the 
turbid Nooksachk. Moreover, the bird is not so frequently found about parks 
and shade trees as in the East, altho it looks with strong favor upon the advent 
of orchards. And the orchardist may welcome him with o])en arms, for there 
is not among all his tenants a more indefatigable gleaner of bugs and worms. 
Because he is clad in Quaker 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 vocal embodiment of the living green. Unlike the disconnected 
fragments which the Red-eye furnishes, the song of this bird is gushing and 
continuous, a ra])id excursion over pleasant hills and valleys. Continuous, that 
is, luiless the bright-eyed singer happens to spy a worm in nicdias res. in which 
event the song is instantly suspended, to be resumed a moment later when the 
wriggling tid-bit has been dispatched. 
The notes are flute-like, tender, and 
melodious, having, as Chapman says, 
"a singular alto under- 
tone." All hours of the 
day are recognized as ap- 
propriate to melody, and 
the song jjeriod lasts from 
the time of the bird's 
arrival, early in 'Slay, 
until its departure in Sep- 
tember, with only a brief 
hiatus in July. 

In sharp contrast with 
the beautiful canzonettes 
which the bird showers 
down from the treetops, 
come the Jiarsli. wren-Iike western w.xrbi.ing \ikeo at nicst. 




Pl-OtO bjr 

Bohlman 

and Finlcy. 



362 TIIK CASS IN \ IRIio* 

scolding iioti-s, wliicli il often delivers when searching thru the bushes, and 
cs|)ecially if it conies across a lurking cat. 

The W'arhling X'ireo's cradle is swung midway from the fork of sonic 
nearly horizontal branch in the depths of a shady tree. In height it may 
vary from fifteen to twenty-tive feet alxive the ground; but I once foinid one 
in a peach tree without a shadow of protection, and within reach from the 
groiuid. The structure is a dainty basket of interwoven grasses, mosses, 
llower-stems, antl the like. It is not. however, so durable as that of some 
other X'ireos, since much of its thickness is due to an ornamental thatching 
of grass, bark-strips, green iisnca moss, and Cottonwood down, which dis- 
solves before winter is over. The female is a close sitter, sticking to her 
post even tho nearly i)aralyzed willi fear. The male is usually in close 
attendance, and knows no way of discouraging the infjuisitivc bird-man save 
by singing witii 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 tlie nest. 



No. 140. 

CASSIN'S \'iRi:o. 

.\. ( ). I'. \n. 629a. Lanivireo solitarius cassinii i Xantus). 

Synonym. — Wkstkrn Soi.itakv \iKr.<i. 

Description.— ./di(// iiuilf: Crown and sides of luad and neck deep olive- 
gray; a snpraloral stripe and eye-ring whitish, the latter interrupted by <lusky 
of lore; remaining ii])perparts olive-green overcast with gray, clearing, ])nrc olive- 
green on rump and upper tail-coverts; wings and tail blackish with etlging of 
light olive-green or yellowish (white on outer wel) of oiner rectrices>; tips of 
niid<lle anil greater coverts yellowish olive, forming two rather conspicuous bars; 
underparts white tinged with InitTy. changing on sides and flanks to sulphur 
yellow or |)ale olive; under tail-coverts yellowish; bill grayish black above, paler 
below; feet dusky, iris brown. .Idiilt female: Like male but duller, browner 
on head and neck, less purely white below. Immature: Heail and neck more 
nearly like back ; supraloral .streak, orbital ring, and underparts washed with 
brownish buflf. Length alKuit 3.50 (i^O-"): wing 2.S4 (72.21; tail 2.05 (52.2); 
bill .39 ( 10) ; tarsus .75 ( 19). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size; slaty gray head contrasting with oliv.i- 
ceous back: whiti-h eye-ring distinctive; voice has more of an edge than that 
of /'. olnacea. 

Nesting. — Nest: a semi-pensile basket of woven bark-strips, grasses, and 
vegetable libers, variously ornamented externally with cherry- petals, spider cases, 
bits of paper, etc., lashed to bark of horizontal or descending Ijough of sapling 



THE CASSIN VIREO. 



363 



(oak, viiic-inaple. lir, etc. 1 at a licight cif from tivc tn thirty fci-t ; linlkicr ami 
of looser construction than that of other Xiretjs; measures 2^4 inches across 
by iJ/2 inches deep inside; walls often ^ of an inch in thickness. Bygs: 3-5, 
usuallv 4. white or creamy white, sparingly marked with spots, which vary from 
rich red brown to almost black — but luniiarked specimens are of record. Av. 
size .75 X .55 (19x13.9). Season: May 15-June 5 ; one brood. 

General Range. — Pacific Ct)ast district north to Rritisli Columbia, east to 
Idaho (Ft. Sherman; Ft. Lapwai), breeding from Los Angeles Comity, 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 chietiy in timbered areas. 

Migrations. — Spring: Seattle-Tacoma, c. April 15. 

Authorities. — ? Vireo solitarius, Ornithological Committee, Journ. .Ac. Nat. 
Sci. F'hila.. \ II. 1837, 193 (Columbia River). / '. sulitariits \'ieillot. Baird, Rep. 
Pac. R. R. Surv., IX. pt. II 1858, p. 340, part. (Tj. C&S. Rh. D'. Ra. D-\ Ss^. 
J. B. E. 

Specimens.— (^U. of W.) P.. Prov. P". 



XOTHIXG so endears a bird to a luunan admirer as a frank ex- 
liibition of confidence. Overtures of friendship on the bird's part may 
traverse all rules of 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 put into 
a fir-covered nook for shel- 
ter, and had not been there 
two minutes 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, 
W'liile the bird-man sat with bated breath and glowing eyes. The birds 
roamed freely about the nook and once, I think, he made a grimace 
behind the bird-man's back : for when they came around in front again, 
I judged she was saying, "Ar'n't you the wag!" while he tittered in droll 
recollection. 




Taken in Oregon. Photo by Finlcy and Bohlii 

CASSIN VIREO .\% NKST. 



3' '4 



Tlili: CASSIX \ IKEt fJ% 



These \'ire<>s luaiii the liall'upeii wnuds at all levels, like iiappy 
school children; and their childish curiosity is as little to \x resented. If 
one hears a bird singing in the distance, he need only sit down and wait. 
Curiosity will get tlic Ix-tter of the bird, and under pretense of chasing 
bugs it will edge over, singing carelessly now and then, by way of 
covering the in(|uisilive intent. At dose range the song is stifled, and 
yon feel for the ensuing inijnients as you do when you have overtaken 
and passed a bevy of ladies on a lonesome street. (/// han<ls and feet with 
a most atrocious 
swagger. Insi)ec- 
tion tlone. the 
bird suddenly re 
sunies the dis 
carded melody, 
and yon im 
longer have ti > 
"lodk |)leasanl." 

Like most \ i 
reos, Cassin sings 
as he works; and. 
as he works a 
g<K)d deal of tin 
time, albeit in 
leisurely fashion 
he sings in tiny 
phrases, separated 
by unembarrassed 
intervals of si 
lence, a sort of 
s<ililo(|uizing com- 
mentary on life. 
\ ery pleasant ti • 
the ear, — U'cc ci- 

tsiTVCCOO - ISOO T,ik,-n lu-or Taccm.1 PI'Ol" by Da-uson and Dmitt. 

t^soni - f>cli~ivcr - iiRiMrui,. 

/»/;> - sc7i'lrs - f>iti- 

'ivcc - siiccc - f>is(>oor. But our schoollMty does not fully exi)ress himself :;i 

music so staid and delicate. He has at command a rasping, nerve-grating 

war-cry. ])ossibly intended by Nature as a defense against cats, but used. 

as matter of fact, when the bird is in particularly fine spirits. The note 

in question may perhaps be filly likened to the viMb-nt shaking of a pepi)er- 




THE CASSIN VIREO. 



365 



box, a railling. rubbing, sliaking note, of tliree or iiKire vibrations, ending 
in a little vocal flourisii. 

These Vireos swing a bulky basket from the lower or mitUUe 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 tiny weed- 
shoot germinating from the 
bottom of the cup. 

Further Mr. Bowles 
sa\-s 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- 
tween nine o'clock in 
the morning and noon, 
and the nest is not 
liard to find if his song can be traced. Tlie bin! student must work 
cpu'etly, however, as the song at once ceases should any unusual noise 
occur. They are most courageous while on the nest, seldom leaving until 
removed by hand, when both birds remain within a few feet of the 
intruder, scolding vigorously. So much noise do they make that all 
the birds in the vicinity are attracted — indeed this is at)out tJie only 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 
.seventy -five yards distant, and sat on a branch overhead, screaming 
at me. 

"They are the quickest as well ns the slowest Ijirds in com- 
pleting their nests that ha\'e come under m\- notice. One pair l)uilt a 




Taken near Tocoma. Photo by Bowles 1 
A DECOR.\TED .NEST. 



^rv, 



Till-: .wni( i\N \ \\^\'h 




Takt'ti near Taco 



Photo ty Bowles and Demion. 
OEK YOL'M. TO FI.IT. 



!i;mils<niif nest 

nul laid four 

U'gs in precisely 

I II (lays; wliile 

nother i)air were 

Hire than tliree 

weeks fr«»in the 

lime the nest was 

-lartcd mitil the 

■ L;gs were lai<l. 

"They are the 
' luly \'ireos that 
I have ever 
l.nown to nest 
111 comnnniities. 
Single jjairs arc 
ilie rule, but 
I iiave found 
-> many as six 
a ciii)ied nests 

inside of a very 
small area, the 
nests l)eing only a 
few yards apart." 



No. 1 .4 1. 

ANIIION^S \IRHO. 



A. O. W \n. 63J r. \ irco luittoni obsciiriis Anthony. 

S\non\m. — DisKV \'iKi:u. 

ncscription. — Adults: .Mxive dnll olive. l)ri),'htcninR (more greenish) ]K>stcr- 
inrly : wings anil tail dusky, edged chiefly with i)ale olive-green: two prominent 
wing-bars of |)ale olive-yellow <ir whitish, formed by tips of mi<l<llc and greater 
coverts: tertials broadly edged with ]>alest olive on outer, and with whitish on 
inner webs: outer web of outermost rectrix whitish: nnderj)arts sordiil whitish 
and more or less washed, chiefly on breast and sides, with dingy olive-yeIi<iw : 
lores pale: an orbital ring of whitish, or palest olive-yellow, intermjileil midway 
of upper lid by spot of dusky: bill horn-color almve, pale below. Length about 
4.75 ( 120.6) : average of three specimens in Provincial Museum at N'ictoria: wing 
2.46 (59.9) : tail 2.20 (55.S) : bill ..^5 (8.0) : tarsus .75 ( 19). 



THE ANTHONY VIREO. 367 



Recognition Marks. — Pygmy to warbler size ; dingy coloration ; whitish 
wing-bars serve to distingnisli bird from Vireosylva g. szcainsonii. but throw it 
into confusion in summer with the Western Flycatcher (Euipidonax difficUis) , 
which it otherwise closely resembles, and in winter with the Sitkan Kinglet 
(Regulus c. grinnclU). 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. — Xcst: a semipensile basket of interwoven mosses lined with grasses 
(nine feet high in fir tree — one example known). Eggs: 2-$( ?) ; .72 x .52 (18 x 
12.9). Season: June (probably also earlier). 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district from western Oregon to south- 
western British Columl)ia at lower levels (not at all confnied to oak woods as 
variously reported). 

Range in Washington. — West-side, as above; strictly resident. 

Authorities. — ?To\\nsend, Tourn. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phila. VIH. 1839, 153 
(Columbia River). Bowles (C. W. and J. H.), Auk. XV. 1898. 138. Ra. P.. E. 

Specimens. — I', of W. Prov. Pj. E. 

IN ap])roaching tlie study of Anthony's \^ireo one must forget all he 
knows or thinks he knows about Vireos in general. This bird is siii (/(-iicris. 
and deviations from all known rules are its delight. It has been, in fact, until 
quite recently, a sort of woodland sphinx, an ornithological mystery, the sub- 
ject of much inquiry and hazard. Its presence in Washington was quite over- 
looked by Cooper and Suckiey, and Mr. Rathbun's appears to be the record^ of 
first occurrence, that of a bird taken May 14. 1895. I took a specimen on 
Capitol Hill on the third day of June of the same year: and since tliat time 
appearances have become a matter of course to the initiated. Samuel X. 
Rhoads'', writing in 1893, considered Anthony's Yireo a rare visitor to Van- 
couver Island, where he secured a specimen 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 \'ictoria 
during the coldest weather of 1905-6. and find it regularly at Seattle and Ta- 
coma during the winter season. J. H. Powles secured a specimen, a male in 
full song, at American Lake on January the 26th, 1907. Moreover, this bird 
had a bare bellv as tho it might have 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 conii)ared 
with the tvpc form. /'. Inittoiii) testifies further to their long residence. 

.\nthony's \'ireo is leisurely, almost sluggish at times, in its movements. 

a. .\uk, Vol. XIX., -Apr.. 1902, p. 138. 

b. Proc. .\cad. Nat. Sci. Phila., 1893, p. 54- 

c. Cat. B. C. Birds Prov. Mus., Victoria, 1904, p. 52. 



368 THE ANTHU.NV \ 1K|(U. 

DiiriiiL; tin uiiiiii ii mingles freely with the local ii'h.|» m Ixuif^ki^ ami 
Ciiickack'cs. ami keeps largely to the depths of tir trees. When moving al>oiit 
silently, it hears a striking resemhiance to the Knhy -crowned Kinglet. It is, 
of course, slightly larger and nuich nmre deliherate, lacking es|)ecially the 
wing-tlirt of the Kaiserkin. The region aljont the eye is more hroadly 
whitish, and the wing-hars concede a <li(Terencc u|>on ins(H-ction. hut the 
resemhiance is so close as altogether to deceive the imwary. 

In spring the bird separates itself from its late conii)anions. and liegins to 
ex()l<ire the hmlding alders and maples. .\s the season advances the bird plants 
itself in some thicket and complains by the hour in strange, monotonous, unvi- 
reonine notes. The songs vary endlessly in different individuals, but have this 
in conimon, that they are a deliberate, uinarying succession of double notes, 

usually, but not always, of a slightly nasal character. Cliu-uYcin chii- 

'ccnii chii-ivccni - - ad lib., is the common ty])e: Pii-chccun 

pii-chccan piichccai'i, is a French variation: Poo-ccf^ - - - poo-ccp' and 

jilrc? - jiircc' - jiircc' are tyjjcs lacking the nasal cpiality. Only once I heard 
the notes pronounced quite ra])idly, pr-ri/, pc-cg'. pc-cfl . pc-cg' pc-cg' , ad 
inthiiliiiii. or rather ad adrciiluui sliott/inii. Occasionally the first syllable is 
accented: as, I pc)ilu'c-oi' or chcc-ou,chcc-oo. 

Before he has found a male .Antiiony roams about with some degree of 
restlessness, shifting his burden of song from place to place with a view to 
effect, and uttering now and then coaxing little retpiests which are certainly 
meant to win the heart of the lady in hiding. This .squeaking note is sometimes 
raised to the dignity of song, at which times it is not unlike the whining of a 
dog, a most exiraonlinary sound to come from so tiny a throat. .'\nd if one 
mentions a chirp, or chuck, like that of a Red wing Blackbird on a small 
scale, we have most of the representative etTorts of this eccentric genius. 

Only one nest of this subspecies has been reported to date, that discovered 
by Mr. C. \V. Bowles, on June 2\. iS<)7. near South T.icoma. It was placed 
nine feet up in a young fir. where it hung sns|)cnded by two small twigs. 
ICxternally it was composed entirely of a long hanging moss, some variety of 
I'snca. very thickly and closely interwoven, being thus cons])icuously devoid 
of such exterior decorations as other X'ireos provide. Inside was a carefully 
prepared bed of fine dry grasses, upon which lay two eggs half incubated. 

"The female bird was on the nest when first seen and, unlike the majority 
of our \'ireos, flushed the instant tiie ascent of the tree was attempted. From 
the nest she tiew al)out twenty feet into a neighlioring fir, where she looked 
down upon our ojjerations with apparently no concern whatever. Beyond 
rearranging her feathers from time to time, there was nothing to indicate 
that she had a nest anywhere in (he vicinity, as she made no sound or com- 
plaint of any kind. Neither was there any oi the nervous hf>pping from 



THE KINGBIRD. 369 



twig to twig in the ni;niiu'i- l)y which so many of the smaller birds as clearly 
display their anxiety as they do by their notes of distress."^ 



No. 142. 
KINGBIRD. 



.\. O. U. Xo. 444. Tyrannus tyrannus fLinn."). 

Synonyms. — Eastkr.v Kixcbird. Bke AIarTix. Tvraxt Fi.vcatciikk. 

Description. — .Idiilt: Above ashy black changing to pure black on licad, 
and fuscous on wings; crown with a concealed orange-red f 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. Immature birds lack 
the crown-patch, and are more or less tinged with fulvous or buffy on the parts 
which 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 .52 (13.2). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink size; blackish ash above; xvhitc lielow ; black 
tail conspicuously ti])ped with white; noisy and cjuarrelsome. 

Nesting. — Nest: at moderate heights in trees, usually over water, of weed- 
stalks. i)lant-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 ('24.9x18.5). Season: first week in 
June; one brood. 

General Range. — North .Vmcrica from the Uritish 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 tnicommon 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 ])ond. 

Authorities. — Tvrannns carolinensis Baird, Baird, Rejx Pac. R. R. Surv., 
IX. pt. 11. 1858. 1). i-i. T. CXS. D'. Ra. D-\ Ss'. Ss-'. J. ]',. E. 

Specimens. — (I', of W. ) Prov. T". C. E. 

XO one has come forward with a theory to account for the testiness of 
tjiis bird's temper, nor for the domineering qualities which distinguish Jiim 
above all others; hut I hazard that it is because his glowing crown is partially 
concealed by bourgeois black. Those whose regal marks are more patent are 
wont to receive homage as matter of course, but the .scion of an unacknowl- 



C. W. and J. H. Bowles in The .\uk, Vol. X\.. .\pr., i8q8, p. 139. 



370 



THE KINGI'.Ikl). • 



"V^. 



edged lictiise. a featliercil Dmi Carlos, nnist needs s|)enil a fretliil life in de- 
fense of his claims Toward those who knuckle down tamely the little tyrant 
is often very gracious, and it may he conceded that he does ]K'rforni a real 
service in holding the common enemies at hay. Who has not seen him as he 
c|uits his perch on some commanding tree and hurries forward, cluiking with 
vengeful utterance, to meet and chastise some murderous hawk, who hefore 
any other foe is brave? Down comes the avenger! The Hawk shies with a 
guttural cry of rage and terror, while a little jniff of feathers scatters on the 
air to tell of the tyrant's success. Again and again the quick punishment 
f.djs. luiiil the tiny scourge desists, and returns, shaking with shrill laughter, 

to give his mate 
' accoimt of 
adventure. 
It is easily 
1 "ssible, how- 
' ( r, to exag- 
■ rate the pug- 
ity of the 
iighird, or to 
■fr from ex- 
rine examples 
i!iat all are 
uarrelsome. It 
i^ not unusual 
(■■V Kingbirds 
1' he on the 
!" 'I of terms 
h their im- 
: .'.diate neigh- 
bors, thieves al- 
ways excepted. 
I once found in 

one small aspen tree at Chelan the nests of three hinls each containing eggs, 
viz., a Robin, an Oriole. an<l a Kingbird. The two latter were within five 
feet of each other. Dr. I'>rewer also records an exactly similar case. King- 
bird's courage, which is unf|uestionable. is often tempered by prudence; 
altho at other times it (juite overbalances his better judgment. The Hur- 
rowiiig Owl will tolerate none of his m^nsense. 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 \.ilid reasons, quite 
exempt from molestation. 




rholo fr> F. S. Mrrrill. Taken near Sfoiant. 

\ nF.MUKr: vouxr. tyrant. 



THE KINGBIRD. 



371 



The food of the Kingbird consists entirely of insects, caught on the wing 
for the most part, by sallies from some favorite perch. His eyesight must be 
very good, as he not infrequently spies his prey at distances of from twenty 
to fifty yards. Honey bees form an occasional but inconsiderable article of 
diet. Grasslioppers are not overlooked, and they sometimes capture, not with- 
out a scuffle, those big brown locusts (Melanoplus 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 strengtli and 
swiftness, as well as grace in flight. Once, when passing in a canoe thru a 
quiet, weed-bound cliannel, I was (juite 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- 
iianging the water; and. as often, in tiny willow clumps or isolated trees entire- 
Iv surrounded liy it. The nest of the Kingbird sometimes presents that studied 
disarray which is (■(>nsi<lered llie heiglit of art. Now and then a nest lias sucli a 
disheveled ap- 
pearance as til . ,.-.. . a 
quite discour 
age investiga 
tion, unless 
the owners 
presence 1)e 
trays the se 
cret of occu 
pancy. On the f 
shore of Cold . 
Spring Lake. H 
in i)(niglas [.• 
County, we I 
noted a last 1 
year's Bullocls- •- 
Oriole's ncsi, 
whicii wouM 
not have at 
tracted a sec . 
ond glance, ^ 
with the new- 
er nest hard 



'"^m 




Douglas Couuty. 



Photo by W. K. Datvson. 



COLD SPRING LAKE. 

TIIE ORlOLE-KISr.BlBD NEST APPEARS NEAR THE TOP OF THE PROJECTIN 



372 rill". WESTERN KINGP-rtll). 

by, had it imt l)fi"n fur the coiistaiU sulicitiidc i>t a pair of Kingbirds, liivcstiga- 
tinii sliowcd ihal tlio aiiciciU pucket liad bc-i-n craniiiie<l full of grass and twigs, 
anil that it containi-d two fresh eggs of tiic I'Mycatcher. 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 Ijasal con- 
struction. The characteristic featine of the nesl, however, is the mould, or 
matrix. conii)osed of vegetable plaster, ground woo<l. and the like. f)r else of 
compacted wool and cow-hair, which is forced into the interstices of the outer 
structure and muuded inside, giving shape to the whole. This cup, in turn, is 
lined with fnie grasses, cow-hair, or variously. Occasionally, nests are found 
composed almost entirely of wool. In others string is the principal ingredient. 

.\llho the Kingbird never sings, it has a characteristic and not unmusical 
cry, licic. tide (spell it phthisic, if you favor the old sclutol ) or /.*<•<• tscc tscc 
tscc. in numerous combinations of syllaltles, which ;ire cai)able of ex|)ressing 
various degrees of excitement and emotion. 

In cistern Washington this Kingbird is common and well distributed, tlio 
far less .iljundanl than the larger, grayer "Western." West of the Cascailcs it 
is rare but regular, beins.; found cbietly ;dong the wooded m:u"gins of lakes. 



No. 1^3. 

WESTKRN KINCBIRD. 

A. O. V. N'o. 447. Tyrannus verticalis Say. 

Synonyms. — .\rk.\\s.\s Kincuikp. .\rk.\ns.\s Fi.vcatciii-r. 

Description. — .Iditit ^f^lll': Forei)arts, well down on breast, and upper back 
ashv gray, lightening, nearly white, on chin and ujiper throat, darker on lores and 
behind eye; a i)arlially concealed crown-patch of orange-red (Chinese orange); 
lateral boundaries of this jiatcli olivaceous; back. sca])ulars. and rninp ashy 
glossed with olive-green; this color shading to black on upjier tail-coverts; wings 
fu^coiis ; tail black, the outer web of outermost rectrix white, or faintly tinged 
with yellow; ini<leri)arts below breast rich canary yellow. ])aler on wing-linings 
and lower tail-coverts; bill and feet black; iris brown. Adult I'cinalc: like male 
but crown-patch usually somewhat restricted, and primaries much less attenuated. 
)'i)Uii() birds arc duller anil browner without crown-patch, and with little or no 
olivaceous on back; the yellow of uiiderp.irts is paler (sulphury or even whitish), 
and the priniaries are scarcely or not at all attenuated. Length of adult males 
about 0.00 (228.6); wing 3.12 ( 1,^0) ; tail 3.68 (O.V5>: •>'" •".? ('8.-»: tarsus 
.74 (18.8). Females average less. 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink to Robin size; noisy, petulant ways; ashy 
foreparts .ind \cllow belly distinctive. 

Nesting. — Xrst: of twigs, grasses, string, wix>l. and other soft substances, 
placed at moderate heights in bushes or trees, or more commonly on beams and 



THE WKSTEUX KIXCDIRD. 



373 



ledges of barn or outbuildings. Byc/s: 3-5. like tlidse of T. tyraiinus, but averag- 
ing smaller. .93 x .68 (23.6.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 Alexicd to highlands of 
(juateniala. 

Range in Washington. — Cdninicin sunnner roiilent cast of the Cascades, 
rare or casual on the West-side. 

Migrations. — Spring: c May 1st: W'alluja April 26, 1905; Yakima April 30, 
1900; Chelan May 11, 1896. 

Authorities.— Baird, Rep. I'ac. R. R. Surv. ]X. 185S, p. 174. T. C&S. D'. 
D-\ Ss'. Ss^ J. P.. E. 

Specimens. — U. of W. 1''. I'rov. B. E. 

HERE is the presiding genius of all properly coiulucted ranches upon the 
sunny side of the Cascade Alountaiiis. Guest he is not, host rather; and be- 
fore you have had time to dismount from your panting cayuse this bird 

bu'-tlcs f..rili friini iln' |iicti--t trcr^ and li.i\ci-v M\cr \i >u willi miisv effusive- 




■ I I.KN KIM .1; 



374 



THE WESTERN KINGIMRD. 



ness. The Ixiistcrous greeting is one-third concern for his babies in the locust 
tree lianl-by. one-lliird good fellowsliip, and tlie remainder slieer restlessness. 
The Western Kingbird is preeminently a social creature. And by social in this 
case we mean, of ccnirse, inclined to human society. For, altlio the bird may start 

up with vociferating 
cries every time a 
member of tlie be 
sieged household sets 
foot out of tloors. 
one is reminded by 
these attentions rath- 
er of a frolicsome 
puppy tlian of a zeal- 
ous guardian of tlie 
peace. Tiiose wiio 
have Ijcen 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 h 
would be sliriekingly 
resented in the case 
of strangers. 

One can readily 
guess a utilitarian 
consiiieration in fa- 
vor of ranch life, 
viz., the greater va- 
riety and abundance 
of insects afforded 
Of these the King- 
birds enjoy a practi- 
cal monopoly by rea- 
son of their confi- 
dence in man. Tliey are fond of flies, moths, liuttertlies, crickets, winged 
ants, and all tiiat sort of thing. Moreover, they eat bees. But, — [Hold on, 
Mr. Rancher I Hon't grab tliat shot-gun and begin murdering Kingbirds] 
they cat only drones. A bee-keeper in California was curious on this point 




4 



fM 



\^ 



Taken m Douglas Counly. Pholo by the .-tulhor 

•BKALTIKS THEY ARE." 



THE WESTERN KINGBIRD. 



375 



and dissected over a hundred specimens of Western Kingbirds and Phcebes, 
using a microscope in tlie examination of stomach contents. The birds liad 
been shot about the apiaries, vvliere they had been seen darting upon and 
catching bees. Ahho many of the birds were gorged, no working bees were 
found, only drones. This is an imi)ortant distinction to bear in mind, for the 
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 di.s- 
covered until we see his nest. It is our strings which have won his heart. 
Whatever else the nest ma_\- or ma\- not contain, it is sure to have string, — 
string in strands, string in coils, siring in bunches, hanks, and tangles, drug 
store string of a dissipated crimsnn hue, white string that came around the 
sugar, greasy string that you had lied around your finger to remind you to 
feed the chickens, string of every 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 cotlonwood down, placing it against 
the trunk, or saddling it upon a horizontal fork of willow, poplar, coltonwood, 
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 shore. 

But, more commonly, nests are placed about crannies and projections of 
farm buildings, fences, unused wagon-ricks, or upon the \\xw-v ii~rlf If no 
such conveni- 
ences offer, a 
shade tree is 
second choice, 
and the nest 
includes a 1 1 
the soft waste 
w b i c h the 
farm affords, 
bits of cloth. 

wool, CONV - 

hair, feathers. 
and string. 

Eggs to the 
number of 4 
or 5 are depos- 
ited from the 
1st to the 

15th of June. A DIVIDEU HOUSE. 




Tnki-n at Stratford. 



Photo by the Autic 



.S76 I'm-: ASII-IIIROATEI) l-I.VC.m"llEK. 

IJcauliis iliey arc ti>«», creamy white witli l)ii|(l and liaiulsome s|)<>t.s of dicstmit 
in two shacles, and lilac-gray. Incubation is acconiplisJK'd in twelve or tliirteen 
days, and the youngsters tly in a matter of two weeks. 

These Kingbirds are mi>del parents, devoted in brooding and courageous 
in defense. Noisy tliey are to a fault, gxirrulous in an unnumbered iiost of 
cajolatives and ccstalics, as well as expletives. I'niike tlie members of 
7'yrainttis tyrainiiis. tliey are good ncighlxirs even anmng tlieir own kind. .\t 
the call of neeil neighbors rally to the common defense, but this is usually in 
villages where demesnes ailjoin. On several occasions I liave fouml other 
birds nesting ])eaceably in the same tree with tiie.se Kingbirds; and. as in the 
case of '/'. lyruniiiis, Bullock Orioles ajjpear to be rather |)articular friends. 

The nests shown in the cut on prece<ling Jiage are the work of one ])air 
of birds. Knibarrassed by a wealth nf string and unable to decide which oi 
two good locations to utilize, the birds built in both; the female laid eggs in 
IxJth, three in one and two in the other. Moreover, she sat in Iwth. tlay and 
(lav about, a bird of a divided mind. 



No. 144. 
ASH-I'11R()\ IHI) I LVC'ATCllKR. 

.\. < >. I'. Nil. 454. .M>iarclius cincrasccns 1 Lawrence 1. 

Description. — Adults: .\l)ovc dull grayish brown changing to clear brown 
on crown : wings dusky brown, the middle and greater coverts tipjied broadly, and 
the secoufiaries edged with pale butTy brown or dull whitish, the primaries edged, 
e.xccpt toward tips, with cinnanioii-rufous ; tail darker than back, with |)aler 
grayish brf)wn edgings, that of outermost rectrix sometimes nearly while: tail 
feathers, except central pair, chiefly cinnamon-rufous on inner webs; sides of head 
and neck gray (slightly tinged with brown) fading into much ]>aler gray on chin, 
throat, and chest, changing to pale yellowish on breast and remaining iniderparts; 
vellf>w of under])arts strengthening posteriorly, and axillars and under wing- 
coverts clear (|irimrose) yellow. Hill blackish: feet and legs black: iris brown. 
Length of adult male alKUU 8.35 (212) : wing ,V'>4 ( 100 » : tail 3.63 (y2) : bill .75 
I i<)t : tarsus .i>i ( 23 ). 

Recognition Marks. — Chewink size: brownish gray al)ove ; ashy throat 
shacling into (lalc yellow of remaining un<lerparts. 

Nesting. — Scst: a natural cavity or deserted Flicker hole, copiously lined 
with wof>l. hair, or other soft materials. B(j;7s: 3-6, usually 4, huffy or creamy as 
to ground, but heavily marked, chiefly in curious lengthwise jiattern. with >;treaks 
of puq)lish chestmit of several degrees of intensity. .Xv. size, .88 x .^5 ( 22.4 x 
16.5). Season: first week in June; one brood. 



THE ASH-THRUATED FLYCATCHER. 377 

(ieneral Range. — Western United States and northern IMexico, nortli ir- 
regnlarlv to \\'asliin.[,'t<in : ^outli in winter thru Mexico to Guatemala. 

Range in Washington. - llreeiHng near North Yakima in summer of 1903; 
one other record, Tacoma Ma_\- 24. 1905. 

.Authorities. — Snodgrass (R. E.), .\uk. \'ol. XXI, .Apr. 1904, p. 229. B. 

Specimens. — ]'. C. 

l'*L\'C\TCI I1'",I\S are .somewhat given to wandering, or at least exploring, 
on iheir own account, regardless of traditions. .A Gray Kitigbird (Tyraiunis 
(ioniiiiicc'iisisj. nonnally confined to the Gulf of Mexico, is of record for Cape 
Beale on X'ancouver Island: and that dashing gallant, the Scissor-tailed Fly- 
catcher, of Te.xas, has ventured as far north as Hudson Bay. Tiie Ash- 
throated Flycatcher is tyj^ically a bird of the soutii-western United States; 
but it is not altogether surprising that it should have extended its northern 
range into the Upper Sonoran bell of eastern Washington, as it did in the 
season of 1903. when it was observed at North Yakima by Mr. Bowles, and, 
independently, by Mr. Robert E. Snodgrass, the latter collecting for Pullman 
College. Without precedent or excuse, however, was the appearance of a 
handsome i)air near Tacoma, as recorded l)y Mr. Bowles, on the 24th day of 
May, 1905. 

"The .\sh-lhroaled I'^lycatcher is i|nite expert upon tlie wing but ne\er 
mdulges in protracted flight if it can help it. It seems to be rather quarrel- 
some and intolerant in its disposition toward other birds, and will not allow 
any to nest in close proximity: in fact. I am inclitied to believe tiiat it not in- 
frequently dispossesses some of the stnaller 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. 

"Bv the lieginning of May most oi the Ijirds are mated, and niditication 
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 Flycatcher ne.sts at various heights from the ground, 
rarel}-, however, at greater distances than twenty feet. The nest varies con- 
siderably in btilk according to the size of the cavity used. •Where this is large 
the bottom is filled up with small weed-stems, rootlets, grass, and bits of dry 
cow- or horse-manure, and on this fotmdation the nest proper is built. This 
consists princi|)ally of a felted mass of hair and fur from different animals, 
and occasionally of exuvi;c of snakes anrl small lizards : but these materials are 
not nearl\- as generally used as in the nests of our eastern Crested Flycatciier — 
it fact, it is the exception anfl not the rule to find such remains in their 
nests" ( Bendire). 



^7X THE SAY PEWEE. 

No. ijs. 

SAY'S PKWEE. 

A. ( •. I'. Xo. 457. Sayornis saya (I'onap.). 

Synonyms. — Say's I 'ik 11:111:. \\i;sti:kn riiouin:. 

Description. — Adults: (icncral color drab (grayish brown to dark hair- 
brown*, ilaikir on |)ilcuni and aiiriculars, liglitcr on tliroat, shading ihrn np|)er 
lail-covcrts to black; tail brownish black; wings fuscous, the coverts and e.\j)Osed 
webs of tertials edged with lighter grayish brown; under|)arts below breast 
cinnanion-burt'; axillars and lining of wings light buff or creani-bulT. I'ill and feet 
black; iri< brown. Yiiuiiij hints are more extensively fulvous, and are marked 
by two cinnamonu'iius bands on wings ( formed by tips of middle and greater 
coverts). Length of adult male 7.50 ( i<A5 I ; wing 4.14 ( 105) ; tail 3.23 (82) ; 
bill .f)2 i 15.71 : tarsus .~f) (20). l""emale averages smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size: drab coloring; ciiuiamon-colorcd belly; 
melancholy notes; fre(|uents barns and outbuildings or cliffs. 

Nesting. — Ncsf: composed of dried grasses, moss, plant-libers, woolly ma- 
terials of all sorts, and hair; placed on ledges, under caves of outbuildings, under 
bridges, or on cliffs. Hi/gs: 3-6, usually 5. ilull white, occasionally sparsely dotted. 
Av. size, ./"^ X .5() ( 19.6 x 15). Scasmi: .\])ril 20-May 10, June 1-15 ; two broo<ls. 
Yakima CoinUy .\i>ril 24, i<K». 5 young about live days old (eggs fresh alxiut 
.\pril 7th ). 

General Range. — Western North .\merica north to the .Xrctic Circle in 
.Maska, ^'llknn 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 Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident east of the Cascades 
(chiefly in Upper Sonoran and .\rid Transition life-zones), rare or casual west of 
the luonnlains. 

Migrations. — -Spring: c March 15; Okanogan County March 17, i8<^/3; 
.\htamnn ( ^ akinia Co.) Feb. 20, 1900. 

Authorities.— Bendire, Life Hist. X. .\. I'.irds. \ol. H. 1S95, p. 2-;-;. (T). 
1)'. Kb. IV. Ss'. Ss-. J. B. 

Specimens. I''. I'rov. C. 

A CiIC.XTLIC inelaiicliojy |)ossesscs the Pewec. The memory of that 
older Kdcii once blotted by the ruthless ice-sheet, still haunts the clianil)ers of 
the atavistic soul and she goes iiiouniing all her days. Or she is Uke a Peri 
barre<l from Paradise, and no ])rotTer of mortal joys can make amends for 
the immortal loss ever before her eyes. Kulcciv, kutc(~:c! 

In keeping with her ascetic nature the Pewec haunts solitary places, 
bleak hillsides swept by March gales, lava cliffs with their solenm, silent 
bastions. Or, since misery loves company, she ventures uikju some waterless 



THE SAY PEWEE. 



379 



tovvnsite and ^■oices in unexpcctant cadences the universal yearning 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 appearance, March at the latest, and, once at 
least, as early as February 20th (in Yakima County). Flies are an uncertain 
cro]) at tills season, and it is doubtless rather from a desire for shelter tlian 
fnmi inclination to society, that the species has so largely of late years re- 
sorted to stables and outbuildings. Twenty years ago Say's Pewee was un- 
known as a tenant of buildings in Yakima 
County. Now, there are few well-estab- 
lished farms in that jiart of the State 
which do not boast a pair somewhere 
about the premises: while hop-houses are 
recognized as providing just that degree 
of isolation which the bird really prefers. 
Say's Pewee, for all its depressed 
spirits, is an active bird, and makes fre- 
quent sallies at passing insects. These 
constitute its exclusive diet save in early 
spring when, under 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 elytra and leg-sheath- 
ings in the form of ])ellets. 

The males arrive in s])ring some days in ad\'ance of the females. Cnurtship 
is animated in spite of the melancholy proclivities of the bird: and the male 
achie\es a sort of song by repeating kii-tav's. rapidly, on fluttering wing. 
Besides this, in moments of excitement, both birds cry Lock ol 'err. with 
great distinctness. 

Eggs are laid liy ilu- loth of April and u.sually 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* site, they show a 
decided preference for a cliff which enjoys the protection of nesting Prairie 
Falcons. A stout bracket of twigs, weed-fibers, lichens, and other soft sub- 
stances, is constructed, and a luxurious lining of wool and hair is supplied : 
but the wliole must be partially sliielded b\- sonic prrijecting 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 by canoe. The floor of an 



Photo by 
the Author. 




S.AVS PEWEE. 



,\»» I'lii-: ()i.i\ i:-sii)Ui) ri.vtATcnER. 

old Clin S\\alli>\v'> iK-st, placid in a shady iiiclic at a lifiglit of s<iinc twclvi- 
feel, formed the sii])|)ort of tlie IVwee's accuimilatiuiis. The cliff was perfectly 
straight, hut hy dint of half an honr's work piling lava Mocks and secnring 
footholds, with the aid of a donble-hladed pa<lille he succeeded in reaching the 
nest. Rer|niring the use of Ijoth hands in descent, he placed the four fresh eggs 
in his hat, and the hat in his teeth, reaching the ground safely an<l dei)ositiiig 
the hat carefully. Tired out by the exertion he lUnig himself down ui)on tlie 
narrow strip of shore and resletl. Then noting the rising wind, he s])rang up, 
seized the coat and hat and — Oh! Did something drop? I ! Ves, gentle 
reader, the eggs were in it, — hut only one was smashed. Only one! As 
perfect the arch without its keystone as a "set" of eggs with the guilty con- 
sciousness of one missing! 



No. i.|((. 
Ol.INi: SIDED I I.VCAIt HIR. 

.\. (). V. Xo. 450. Nutt.illnriiis liorcalis (Swains.) 

Description. — Adull: I pinTpart- hrnwnisli slate with a jiHt pcrcejttihle 
tinge rif iilivaci'otis on l)ack ; t(i]i nf jiead a deeper shade, and witlmnt olivaceous; 
wings and tail dnsky-hlackish. the former with some hrownish gray edging only 
on tertials; llank-tnft-" of tlulTy, yellowish or white feathers, sometimes spreading 
across rump and in marked contrast to it. but usually concealed by wings: throat, 
belly and crissnm, and sometimes middle line of brea>t. white or yellowish white; 
heavilv shaded on sides and sometimes across breast with brownish gray or olive- 
brown. — the feathers with darker shaft-streaks; bill black alxive, i)ale yellow be- 
low: flit black, hniiioturc: Similar to adult, but coloration a little brighter: 
wing-cnvirts fulvous or butTy. Length 7.00-8.00 i \".>^-20},.2) ; wing 4.10 
( 105.7 ) : tail 2.64 ( ^17.1 ) : bill from nostril .5,^ ( 13.3 1 ; tarsus .5<) ( 13 I. 

Recognition Marks. — S]>arrnw to Chewink size: heavy shatled side< : bill 
yellow below : /t'li'-Zttc note : keeps largely to summits of fir trees. 

Nesting. — Kcst: a shallow cup nf twigs, bark-stri])s, etc., lined with coarse 
moss and rootlets; saddled upon horizontal limb of coniferous trees, often at great 
heights. li;/;/.'!: .■? or 4. creamy-white or jiale bufT. spotted distinctly with chestnut 
and rufoiH. ami obscurely with iiur])lish and lavender, chiefly in ring alxiut larger 
end. Av. >.izi-. .S5 x .63 (2l.^>x l'')). Scnsmi: June I-15: one brood. 

General Range. — Xortb .\merica, breeding from the northern and the higher 
mountainous parts of the I'nited States northward to Hudson I'.ay and .Alaska. 
.\cci(lental in Greenland. In winter south tn Central .\merica, Colombia and 
northern Peru. 

Range in Washington.- Summer resident in coniferous timber from sea 
level to limit of trees. 

Mi>;rati«ns. — .S'/>riH(/.- c. May 15. 

Authorities. — Contofiiis horcalis. I'.aird. Baird, Rep. I'ac. R. R. Surv. I.\. 
1858, p. iS.,. Ibi.l C&S. i6<>. C&S. D'. Kb. Ra. B. E. 

Specimens.— I', of W. T'. Prov. 1?. E. 



THE OLI\E-SIDED FLYCATCHER. 381 

FLYCATCHERS belong to the sub-order ClaiimloriS. tlial is to say, 
Shouters. Some few of our American Flycatcbers lisp and sigh ratlier than 
cry aloud, but of those which shout the Oliv'e-sided Fh'catcher is easily 
dean. And it is as an elocutionist only that most of us know this bird, 
e\en the oin- opportunities may have stretched along for decades. On a 
morning in mid May, as surely as the season comes arountl, one hears a 
strong insistent voice shouting. "Sec here!" There is not much to see, save 




Takt-n m c /iW.mi ComUy. I'hulo by If. Leon Dazison. 

C.\SC.\Di; PASS .\XD THE \Ai.i.i:v OI- thk stuiiekin, 

A CHARACTERISTIC IIALNT OF THE OMVE-SlDtD FLVCATCHER. 

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. W'Jiile we are ogling, the bird launches 
from his post, seizes an insect some tiiirly feet distant, and is back again 
before we have recovered from surprise. "See here!" the bird rejjcats. but 
its accent is unchanged and there is really nothing more to see. 

An intimate acquaintance with the Olive-sided Flycatcher is not easily 
attaine<l : but its characteristic cr\- carries t<i a distance of half a mile or 



382 THE OLIVE-SIDED FLYC/'^CHER. 

more, and is, forluiiatcly, (|iiilc iiiifc>r(^ctl;il)lf. Uuih in acci-nt and energy 
it sccnis to set the pace for several of the lesser Tyrants. Of course, like 
many another of the voices of Nature, its' interpretation de|)eiKls a good 
deal u|Kjn the mood of the listener. Heard on a dull day at sea-level it 
may souml dismal enough, but lieard in the sharp air of the mountains it 
becomes an e.xultant note. There are miners in the heart of the Cascades 
who regard tlie bri.sk evening greeting of this Flycatcher as one of the 
comi)ensations of solitude. "Three ihccrs!" the bird seems to say to one 
who returns from the silent bowels of the earth and grasps again the facts 
of outer life. 

Borcalis 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 ]isychology is all too easy. The birds place a rustic saucer of inter- 
woven black rootlets and mosses on the upper side of a horizontal branch, 
whether of jiemlock, fir. or cedar, and, as often as otherwise, at moderate 
heights. They are very uneasy at the presence of strangers and flit alxjut 
with a restless, tittering, cry, Iczv-lczi.; Icw-tcu; or tc-tv-texv-lc-iv, a sound 
which .strangely excites the blood of the oologist. Once the nesting tree is 
made out and the ascent begim, the birds are beside themselves with rage, 
and dash at the intruder with angry cries, wliidi 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. Resides, 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 si)lotched with saucy chestnut. It is irresistible! Rut. 
Ix^ys. don't do it! W'e are old topers ourselves: public sentiment is against 
us. and our days are numbered. It is right that it should be so. Resitlcs 
that, and speaking in all seriousness now. while it is desirable and necessary 
that a few re])rescntative collections of natural history should 1k' built 
up for the l^ublic use. it docs not follow that the public ginMl is secured 
by the accumulation of endless private hordes of bird's-eggs — whose logical 
end. in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, is the scrai)-hea|). You are 
probably one of the ninety-nine. Tliink twice before you start a collection 
and then — don't I 



THE WESTERN WOOD PEWEE. 383 



No. 147. 

WESTERN WOOD PEWEE. 

A. O. U. No. 462. Myiochanes richardsonii ( Swains.). 

Synonyms. — Short-lkccki) PiiWEK. Richardson's Pewee. 

Description. — Adults: Above deep grayish brown or grayish ohvc-lirown ; 
a lighter shade of same continued around sides and across breast, lightening 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 bufify ( forming two not inconsj)icuous 
bars), and some bufify edging on ruiup and upper tail-coverts. This species bears a 
curiouslv close resemblance to M. virciis of the East, insomuch that it is not 
always i)ossible to se])arate 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 (87); tail 2.60 (66); hill .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 Bmpidonaces. Meezeer note 
of animated melancholy distinctive. 

Nesting. — Nest: a shallow cup df ci)ni])actc<l moss, grasses, rootlets, etc., 
lined with fine grasses and wool or hair, and decorated externally, or not, 
with lichens ; saddled midway or in fork of horizontal limb, chiefly at moderate 
iieights. 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 (i8x 14). Season: June lo-July 10 ; one brood. 

General Range. — Western North America; breeding north to .Alaska and 
Northwest Territorv, east to Manitoba and western portion of drcat Plains to 
Texas, south to northern Mexico; south in winter over Mexico and Central 
America to Equador, Pern, and Bolivia. 

Range in Washington. — Common summer resident and migrant east of the 
Cascades, chicflv in coniferous forests, occasionally in open sage; less common 
west of the mountains. 

Migrations. — Spring: c. May 15; Tacoma Ala\- 5, 1907: A'akima Ma\- 14, 
1895, May 15, 1900; Newport May 20, 1906; Conconnully May 27, 1896. fall: 
c. Sept. I. 

Authorities. — ["Western Woiul Pewee." Johnson. Rep. C.ov. W. T. 1884 
(1885 I, 22. 1 fhluscicapa richardsonii. And. Orn. Biog. V. 1839, pi. 434. 
\Contopns richardsonii, Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, 189, 190. '•Colum- 
bia River O. T. J. K. Townsend."] Contopiis richardsoniif ? j Belding, T,. B. P. 
D. 1890. p. 99 (Walla Walla, Dr. ]. W. \\'illiams). L'. Rh. D'. Kb. Ra. D-'. 
J. B. E. 

Specimens.— U. of W. P'. Prov. B. E. 



384 



III-: WESTERN WOOD I%VVEE. 



Till-'. |)ri-\ of j,'eiilli- iiK-l:iiKli">ly ami tlie licir to gluuiii is liiis I'cwct.- of 
llic West. The (lav. iiidcfd, is fCTrisli. Tlii: leaves of the frajjraiit cotton- 
woods glance and shininier under the ardent snn: while the wavelets of the 
lake, tired of their morning mnii). are sighing sleepily in the root-laced cham- 
bers of the overhanging sliore. The vision of the distant hills is blurred by 

heat inilsati(jns; the song of birds 
has ceased and the very catUlis- 
Hies are taking refuge from the 
glare. The sun is dominant and 
all Nature yields <lrowsy allegi- 
ance to his sway. .Ml l)Ut Pewee. 
He avoids the sun. indeed, but 
from a sheltered |)erch he lifts a 
voice of protest. "Ihuir Mr'" 

it seems uncalled-for. The 
bird does not ap])ear to be lui- 
hai)py. I'lycatching is good, and 
the Pewee cocks liis head quite 
cheerfully as he returns to his 
perch after a successful foray. 
Rut, true to some hidden impulse, 
as you gaze u|>on him. he swells 
with approaching effort, his man- 
rlibles part, and he utters that 
doleful. a])|Kiinted soun<l. lii'or 
inc. His utterance has all the 
|)rccision and finality of an as- 
siguerl part in an orchestra. It is 
as if we were watdiing a single 
jilayer in a symphony of Nature 
whose otiier strams were t<io sub- 
tle for our ears. The player 
seems inattentive to the music, he 
eyes tiie ceiling langiiidly. he notes 
a llasliing di.imond in tlie second box. he picks a flawed string al)sently. but at 
a moment lie seizes the lx)W. gives the cello a \icious double scra|)e. ihuir inc. 
and his task is done for that time. 

The Western W'oo<l Pewee is a late migrant, re.iching the middle of the 
State about the 15th of May. and the northern liorder from five to ten days 
later. It is found wherever there is timber, but is partial to half-o|)en situa- 
tions, aufl is much more in eviilence East than West. It is especially fc^nd 
of pine groves and rough brushy hillsides near water. Cannon Hill, in 




wi:sti;kx wood i-kw kk. 



THE WESTERN FLYCATCHER. 385 

SpokaiK'. is a t\-j)ical resurt ami a iiK-re tyro can see tliree or four nests there 
on a June day. 

The Pewee takes the ]HibHc cjuile into lier contidence in nest bniUUng. 
Xot only does she build in the open, without a vestige of leafy cover, but 
when 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 disco\-ered in the bird's absence, she is quite likely to return and settle to 
her eggs without a imubled thought. 

The nest is a moderately deep, well-made cup of hemi), line bark-strips, 
grasses, and similar soft substances; and it is usually saddled upon a hori- 
zontal limb of pine, larch, maple, alder, oak, aspen, cottonwood, etc. But, 
occasionally, the nest is set in an upright crotch of a willow or some dead 
sapling. Xests having such support are naturally deeper than saddled nests, 
but the characteristic feature of both sorts is the choice of a site, quite 
removed from the protection of leaves. The grayish tone of the bark in 
the host tree is always accurately matched in the choice of nesting materials 
and, if the result can lie secured in no other way, the exterior of the nest 
is elaborately draped with cobwebs. 

-All eggs appear beautiful to the seasoned oologist, but few surpass in 
daintv elegance the three creamy ovals of the Pewee, with their spotting of 
quaint old browns and subdued lavenders. They are genuine anti(|ues, and 
the connoisseur must pause to enjuy them e\en thii he lionors the prior rights 
of Mr. and Mrs. ^1/. Richardsmui. 



No. 148. 

WESTERN FLYCATCHER. 

A. O. V. Xo. 464. Empidonax dif¥icilis Baird. 

Synonym. — Wicstkkn ^'|■.I.I.ow-RF.IJ,IKD Flyc.\tcher. 

Description. — .Idiilts: Above and on sides of breast olive or olive-green; 
a lighter shade of same color continued across breast ; remaining underparts yel- 
low (between sulphur and ])rimrose"), sordid on throat and sides, clearest on 
abdoineii : bend of wing sulplnir-yellow ; a faint yellowish cy^-ring; a.xillaries and 
lining of wings paler yellow : middle coverts and tips of greater coverts, continu- 
ous with edging of cxjiosed secondaries, yellowish gray, forming two more or 
less conspicuous wing-bars. I'ill brownish black above, yellow below ; feet and 
legs hrf)wnish dusky: iris brown. Young birds are browner above and paler 
below; wing-bars cinnanion-huflfy, (and not certainly distinguishable in color from 
young of E. traillii). Length 5.50-6.00 (139. 7-152. 4) ; wing 2.64 (67) : tail 2.24 
(^7): bill .47 (12): tarsus .67 (17). 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size ; characterized by pervading yellowness ; 



386 THE WESTERN FLYCATAjfCR 

— rc;illy the easiest, liecaiise the m<)>t ci'miuini nf tlii^ ditTiciilt (^rnup ; note a soft 
f>isz>.'it : a wtKiillaiul rechise. A(hihs always inure vellow tlian /;. Iraillii, from 
which it is not otherwise certainly distinguishable alielfi (save hy note). 

Nesting.— .\ est : placed anywhere in forest or ab<jut shaded clitTs. ciiiefly at 
lower levels; usually well constructed of soft green moss, line grasses, fir neeilles 
and hemp. /;</.'/-<. 3 i>r 4, <lull creamy white, s])aringly spotted and dotted or 
blotched with cinnamon and jjinkish brown, chiefly alxiiit larger end. .\v. size 
.()6 .\ .52 ( 16.8 X 13.21. Season: May i-.|uly i ; one or two broods. 

General Range. — ^W'estern North .America from the eastern base of the 
Rocky MMuntains to the racilic. breeding north to Sitka and south chiefly in the 
moinitaiiis to ncirtluTii I.tnver California and northern Mexico; south in winter 
into Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — t'ouunon sumnicr resident in timbered sections 
thruoiit ilu- State. 

Migrations. — Sf'iiiui: Seattle-Tacoma, .\])ril 13. f'all: c. Sept. i. 

Authorities. — l'.iii{>idonax tiitJicilis. Baird, Ke]). I'ac. K. R. Surv. IX. i8;8, 
p. i.).^ •C'atal. X... 5020." L. D'. Ra. Ss'. Ss--. 1!. K. 

Specimens, d'. of W.I P. Prov. P.. P.X. ]'.. 

PIJvASF, observe the scientific name, ilifficilis. that is, difticult. There 
is a delicate irony about the use of this term as a distinctive apjiellation for 
one of the "jjnat kintjs," for, surely, the plural. luiif<i(iniiiui\<! difficilcs. would 
coiiiprcheiKl tliein all. There is .something, indeed, to he learned from the 
notes of these little Flycatchers, and the fir.st year the author studied them 
seriously he supjjosed he had a sure clew to their specific unraveling. Hut 
that was in the freshmen year of Empidonaxology. In coming up for '"final 
exams." lie confesses to knowing somewhat less alniut them. 

The biirl, also, is well called Western; f<ir however dillicult the genus, wc 
know at least that diffiiilis (speaking seriously now) is the commonest S|)ecies; 
that it apjiears under more varied conditions and enjoys a more general dis- 
tribution than anv other sjjecies of Empid<inax in the West. The bird is, also, 
the first to arrive in the spring, returning to the I;ititude of Seattle alx'itt the 
mi<lille of .\])ril, or when the yellow-green racemes of the Large-leafed Maple 
(Acer vnicrophylUivi) are first shaken out to the breeze. The little fay keeps 
well up in the trees, occupying central positions rather than exjxised out|)osts; 
and so perfectlv do his colors blend in with the tender hues of the new foliage 
that we hear him twenty times to once we see Iiim. 

The notes are little explosive sibilants fenced in by initial ami final "p" or 
"t" sounds. If one prints them they are not at all to be vocalized, but only 
whispered or hissed, pssscci. psssccit. f>ssxvil. or pisxvil. Other variations are 
sc a-7rit, slowlv and listlessly; cln'tif'. briskly; husliclitlif>. a fairy sneeze in 
Russian. One becomes familiar with these tiny cachinalions, and announces 
the Western Flvcatcber unseen with some degree of cotifidence. Rut the way 
is beset with dangers and surprises. Once, in June, at a jioint <in Lake Chelan. 



THE WESTERN FLYCATCHER. 



387 



after an hour's discriniiiiating stiuly, I shot from practically the sanic stand, 
three birds whicli said su'it, pisivit, and pisoo respectively, and picked up a 
Wright's Flycatcher (E. wricjlitii), a Western Flycatcher (E. difficilis) and a 
Trail Flycatcherfi:. traillii). The same woods contained Hammond's Flycatcher 
(E. Iiaiiiinoiidi), while the Western W'ood Pewee (Myioclniiics richardsoiiii), 
which has the same general economy, was abundant also. Difficilis F Etiaiii! 
The Western 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 migrations, 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 
haiiimondi in the more open woods and along the 
lower hillsides: with wrightii 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 cuj^ of 
twigs, grasses, and hemp, lined with grass, hair 
or feathers. The outside is usually plentifully 
bedecked with moss, or else the whole structure 
is chiefly composed of this substance — not, how- 
ever, unless the color-tone of the immediate 
surroundings will jiermit of it. Tn position it 
varies without limit. \\q find nests sunk like 
a Solitaire's in a mossy bank, or set in a 
niche of a rocky clifif, on logs, sttimps. or 
beams, in a clump of ferns, or securelv 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 vine maple without a vestige of 
cover other than that afforded by the general 
gloom. 

Eggs to the number of three or four, 
rarely five, are deposited late in May or early 
in June, and only 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 save those of the 
Traill Flvcatcher. 




" Photo by J. II. Boulcs. 
NF.ST OF WKSTKK.V 

l■•I,^■c.\•rcnl■:u. 
The eggs are of a dull 



388 Till". 'IK AIM. I•■|.^C• AlXmCK. 

These l*"lycatclKMS in iK>liii(4 time are \erv onlidiiifj; and very devuteil 
parents. ( )ne may sometimes ti>ncli tlie silting liird. and, wlien off, slie 
llullers alM)nt very close to the intru<ler, sneezing violently ami snipping her 
mandilik's like fairv scissors. 



No. MQ. 

TR.Mii.'s ii.^c.\tchi:r. 

A I I. I . No. 4(1(1. Empidonax traillii (And.). 

Synonyms. — I.itti.k Fi.vi aTi. ink. I.itti.i; \\ksti:rn Fi.vcatciikr. 

Description. — I'iinnaf^e of iipi)er]>arts very similar to that of p.. d'Mcilis. hut 
olive iiKJinin},' to brownish: winfj-hars usually paler, more whitish: outer weh 
of outer rectrix ]>ale fjrayish white: -ides of liead and neck decidedly lirowner; 
nnderj)arts evervwiicre paler, nearly white on throat: hrea^i sonlid, scarcely 
olivaceous; lower abdomen and crissuni pale primrose yellow : bend of wing yellow 
decked with dusky: a faint eye-ring pale olive-gray, liill black al)ove, light 
lirownish below (not so light in life as /;". (iitlirilis I. )'oiinti: nnich as in jireced- 
ing species, hut averaging browner: more yellow below than adult. Length 3.30- 
(1.00 (1.^0.7-132.41: wing 2.-G (-0): tail 2.23 (37): bill .4<> (12.3): tarsu- 
/.3 ( iC).3 I. 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size: olivaceous coloration: not so yellow 
below as preceding species: brush-haiuiting hal>it>i: note a smart suit'fliDiK 

Nestin)(. — Xfsl: a rather bulky but neatly-turned cup of plant-libre<. bark- 
strips, grass, etc., carefully lined with line grasses; placed three to ten feet up. in 
crotch of bush or sapling of lowland thicket or swamj). E;/fis: ■^ or 4. not certainly 
ilistingui'ihable from those of precoling si)ccies. Av. size. .70 x .34 ( 17.8 x 1.^71. 
St'oson: Jtnie: one brood. 

General Range. — \\"e>terii North America, breeding north to -, intheni 
Alaska (Dvea). "east, northerly, to western jxirtion of dreat Plains, nnich 
farther southerlv, breeding in Iowa(?i, Missouri, southern Illinois, and 
probably elsewhere in ceinral Mississippi \"alley" : si.nth in winter over Mexico 
to Colombia, etc. 

Range in Washington. — lni)K-rfectly maile out--snninier resi.lent in thickets 
at lower leveK tliruout( ?l the State. 

Authorities. — f',iiif<iiioiui.v f<iisillus Cabani-. Baird, Rep. Pac. R. R. Snrv. 
IX. 1S5S. ).. i.»3. Ibid. C\S. 170. (Ti. CvS,?. I,'. D'. Ra. P.. H. 

Specimens. ( l'. of \V. 1 Prov. 1'. E. 

l)lS(,RIMI.\.\'ri< )X is the constant elfort of those who would study the 
I-*mpidonaces. the Little Flycatchers. Comparing colors, Traill's gives an im- 
pression of hrowimess, where the Western is yellowish green, ILimmond's 
blackish, and Wright's grayish dusky. These ilistincti>ins are not glaring, hut 



THE 'I'KAIl.l. FI.VCATCHER. 389 



lliey obtain rouglily afield, in a gnnip where every Hoating mote of ditlerence 
is gladlv welojmed. Tlie Traill Flycatcher, moreover, is a lover of the half- 
open situations, hnshy rather than limhered. of clearings, low thickets, and 
river banks. Unlike its congeners, ii will follow a stream oiu npon a desert; 
and a spring, which gladdens a few lumdred yards of willows and cratfcgi in 
some nook of the bnnch-grass hills, is snre to nnmhcr among its snninier 
boarders at least one i)air of Traill Flycatchers. Tiiis partiality for water- 
courses does not. however, jjrevcnt its frequenting dry hillsides in western 
Washington rmd the borders of mountain meadows in the Cascades. 

Traill's I'Kcaiclier i> a lardy migrant, for it arrives not earlier than the 
20th of Ma\-. and frequently not before June ist. In 1809. ^''f '•''"'' '''"' ""' 
appear at Ahtanum. in Vakima County, until the 14th of June: and it hecanu- 
common immediately thereafter. This bird is restless, energetic, and pugna- 
cious to a fault. It p(}sts on conspicuous places, the topmost twig of a 
?\ringa bush, a willow, or an aspen, making frequent outcries, if the mood 
is on. and darting nimbi \- after passing insects. During the nesting season 
it pounces on passing birds of whatever size and dri\es them out of bounds. 
It is not always so hardy in the presence of man. ;in<l if pressed too closely 
will whisk out of sight for good and all. 

The notes of the Little Flycatcher, as it used to be called, arc various and 
not always distinctive. Particularly, there is one style which cannot be dis- 
tinguished from the commonest note of the Hammond Flycatcher, stvitchoo. 
sii'ccchcii', or unblushingly, C7vccbcii', czi'ccbczv, ::zzi'cet. Other notes, deliv- 
ered sometimes singly and sometimes in groups, are pisoo; szvit'oo. sweet, 
szi'it'oo; Swee. hiitip. kittip: llzvit or hooit. softly. 

Nesting begins late in June and fresh eggs may be expected about the 
4th of July. Xests are placed characteristically in upright forks of willows, 
alder-berrv bushes, roses, etc. They are usually compact and artistic struc- 
tures of dried grasses, hemp (the inner bark of dead willows) and ])lant- 
down. lined with fine grasses, horse-hair, feathers and other soft substances. 
Xot infrequently the nests are placed over water: and low elevations of. say. 
two or three feet from the ground ajjpear to prevail westerly. .\ \'akima 
Counlv nest, taken July loih. containing two eggs, was half saddled upon, 
half sunk into the twigs of a horizontal willow branch one and a half feet 
above running water, and had to be reached by wading. » 

Incubation lasts twelve days, and the babies require as much more time 
to get a-wing. Rut by September isl. tickets are bought, grijis are packed — 
or, no! think of being able to (ravel without luggage — goodbyes are said: 
and it's "Ilcis^hho I fur Mexico!" 



300 TIIK HAMMOND I-I.VC.\TClIEU. 



No. 130. 

HAMMONDS I LYCATCHKR. 

A. ( •. I'. Nil. 4t»8. HmpiJonax hammondi i Xantiis). 

Synonym. — Diktv Ijtti.i: I-'lvcatcukk. 

Description. — Adult: Above tilivc-gray inclining to asliy on foreparts, — 
color coiitiniRil c.n sules, throat and breast well ilowii, only slightly ])aler than back; 
remaining,' umliTparts yellowish in varions degrees, or sonietinies scarcely tinged 
with yellow-'; pattern and color of wing much as in prece<ling s]>ecics; outermost 
rectrix edged with whitish on outer web; bill comjiaratively small and narrow, 
black alH've, dusky or blackish below. Youiuj birds present a mininium of yellow 
below and their wing-markings are huffy instead of whitish. Length alxiut 5.50 
( 139.7) ; wing 2.80 (71 ) ; tail 2.29 (58) ; bill .41 ( 10.5 ) ; breadth of bill at nostril 
.ly (4.83) ; tarsus .63 ( lO). Females average a little smaller. 

Recognition Marks. — Warbler size, the smallest of the four Washington 
Liiif'idi'iiihis. and jpossibly the most difficult (where all are vexing); olive-gray 
of plumage gives impression of blackish at ilistance ; the most sordid below of the 
Protean (juartette; nests high in coniferous trees; eggs wliilr. 

Nesting. — Xcst: of fir-twigs, grasses and moss, lined with fine grasses, 
vegetable down and hair ; placed on horizontal liml) of fir tree at considerable 
heights. lijif/s: 4, pale creamy white, unmarked. .\v. size, .65 x .51 ( 16.3 x 12.7 ). 
Season: June ; une brood. 

General Range. — Western North .\merica north to southeastern .Maska, 
the valley of the ri)per Yukon and .Athabasca, breeding south, chiefly in the 
mountains, to Colorado and California; south in winter thru Mexico to the high- 
lands of Ciuatcmala. 

Range in Washington. — Sunniier resident in coniferous timber on lM>th 
sides of the Cascmlc^. irngularly abundant and local in distribution. 

Authorities. I" Haiun)on<rs flv-catcher," lohuson. Rep. (lov. W. T. 1884 
( 188=;). J2.\ Bendire, Life Hist. N. A. Bird.s.' \ol. II. 1895. p. ^is,f(. D'. Ra. 
D--. P.. K( II I. 

Specimens. — C. 

n. IMM( ).\ I'l is the western .inalogue of iiiiiiiiinis. the well-known Least 
{•"lycatcher of the I'.ast. It has uo\. however, attained any such tlistiiictness in 
the jniblic mind, nor is it likely to except in favored l'>calities. 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 i^iir work is all to do over again at some distant time. 

In the summer of 1895 I fotmd Hammond F'lycatchcrs fairly ahmidant 
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. Everywhere 

a. Ridgwajr ( B. of X. ft M. Am.) rrcogniirs two color phaar* of this bird, ■ while- ami a jrrllow- 
bellied. In thr latter the pluma(r of upperpant iiKlinra more ttrongljr to olivaccoua. 



THE WRIGHT FLYCATCHER. 391 



were to be Iieard brisk Sezvick's in tlie precise fashion of eastern iiiiniiiiiis; 
and at rarer intervals a more intense bnt still harsli and unresonant Stvee-chexv. 
These observations were contirnied by the taking of several specimens; but 
elsewhere and in other seasons 1 have found the bird most unaccountaljly 
silent, and ha\e been able to add little to its repertory of speech. 

In llie sunnncT of 11^06 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 Western Wood Pewee (Myiochanes 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 trunk of a tall fir tree, and at a height of forty feet. The bird 
was sitting, and when frightened dived 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 inwrought, and a considerable cpiantity of the orange- 
colored bracts of yoimg fir trees. Tlie lining was of hair, fine grass, bracts, 
and a single feather. In pusition the nest might well have been that of a 
Wood Pewee; but. allho it was deeply cupped, il was much broader, and so 
relatively flatter. The four fresh eggs whicli il cimtained were of a delicate 
cream-color, changing to pure white upon blmving. 

The Hammond Flycatcher was also foiuul to lie a conniion breeder in the 
valley of the Stehekin, where Mr. Bowles has taken se\eral sets in \ery similar 
situations, viz., upon horizontal branches of fir trees at considerable iieights. 



No. 151. 

WRIGHT'S FLYCATCHER. 

A. (). U. \'o. 469. Empidonax wrightii llaird. 

Synonym. — Little C.r.w Fi,vc.\tcher. 

Description. — .Idiilt ((jra\ phase): .'\bove dull l)luish gray or faintly olivace- 
ous on back and sides ; throat and l)reast pale gray to whitish with admixture of 
ill-concealed dusky; remaining parts, posteriorly, faintly tinged with ]wlc 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 (yelloiv-bellicd phase): As 
in gray phase, but underparts strongly tinged with yellow and upperjiarts faintly 
tinged with olive-green ; wing-markings less purely white. Bill blackish above, 



39-' 



Till-; WKK 



-.11 r ri.VLAicriEu 



more or less pale Ik'Iow and ilii^ky tipped. Voiiiiy birds arc whitish IkIow and the 
wing-hands are Iniffy as in otlK-r s])cciis. Lcngtit abont 5.75 < i-\(>^: wing 2/*) 
(f>«i ; tail J.40 (T)! ) ; hill .47 ( 12) ; tarsus .71 ( 181. 

Recojtnition Marks. — W'arhkr size; |)rcvailing gray colDration : whiti-h cyc- 
ring: excessively retiring hahit>. 

Nesting. — Sest: of heinj), bark-strips, etc., softly lined; built in u])right 
crotch of bush. Egys: 4 or 5. white, unmarked. .\v. size. .'>S x .52 1 17.3 x 13.2 1. 
Season: June; one brood. 

General Range. — Western L"nite«l Slate> and southern liritish Columbia, 
breeding in Transition and Canadian life-zones, south to southern .Arizona and 
east to Rocky Mountains; .south in winter thni southern California an<l Mexico. 

.Authorities. Dawson, .\uk. \ ol. Xl\ . .\i)r. iS<)7. p. 17O. 

Specimens. — I'ruw C. 

H!kl)-.\l"k.\li)-OF-HIS-SII.\l)()\\ is the name this shy recluse de- 
serves. The few seen in Washington have always been skulking in the 
dejjlhs of brush patches, or in dumps of thorn bushes, and they seem t<j 
dread nothing so much as the human eye. For all they keep s<> close to 
cover they move about restlessly and are never still long enough to alTord 
anv satisfaction to the beholder. 

The only note 1 have ever heard it utter (and this repe.itedly by different 
individuals) was a soft li(|uid s'wil. Hut .Major I'.endire say> of its occur- 
rence at Fort Klamath in Oregon: "I do not consider this species as noisy 
as the Little Flycatcher [E. traillii] which was nearly as common, hut its 
notes are verv 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 sprightly as any of the species of the geiuis Einpi- 

doHO.Y." 

Wright's l'"lycatcher affects higher altitudes than d<> the other 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-brush, and service berry are 
common hosts. Perhaps the only nesting record for Washington consists 
of a set of four fresh eggs taken by myself fmm a draw on the side of 
Boulder Mountain overlooking the Stehekin \'alley, on May 30, 1896. The 
nest hail been deserted because of a brush fire which had swept the draw, 
but it was uninjiued: and the situation, an aMer fi>rk eight feet up, ti^gether 
with the Ti/n'/(- eggs. ma<le identification certain. 



THE BLACK-ClllXXHU IIU.M.M 1 XCIil Kl ). 393 



No. 152. 

BLACK-CHINNP:D HlMMINCiBIRO. 

A. O. I'. .\d. 429. Trochilus alexandri llnurc. \- Muls. 

Synonyms. — Ai.i:xa\I)i:u IUm mingbikii. Srci.xr.i-; IlrMMHU. 

Description. — .Idiilt male: Upperparts includintf middle pair of tail-feathers 
>liiiiiny; hronzy green: \ving--c|iiills and remaining rectrices fuscous with purplish 
reriections; tail double-rounded, its feathers broadh' acuminate, and central i)air 
of feathers about .12 shorter than the third pair, the outermost jjair 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 posteriorly ; remaining underparts white, heavily tinged with greenish 
on sides, elsewhere lightly tinged with dusky and dull rufous ; bill slender, straight. 
Adult female: Similar to male in coloration but without gorget, a few dusky 
specks instead ; tail ditterent. single-rounded, central feathers like back in cokjra- 
tion, and scarcely shorter than succeeding pairs, remaining feathers with broad 
subterminal space of purplish black, and ti])ped with white, lateral feathers 
scarcely acuminate, the outermost barely emarginate on inner web. Length of 
adult male: about 3.50 (88.9) : wing 1.75 (44.5 ) : tail 1.25 (31.8) : bill .75 ( 19. i ). 
Female, length about 4.(X) ( loi/i) : wing 1.95 (49.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Tygmy size; black gorget of male di>tiiu-ti\e : female 
larger than in Stellnla caUiape. with which alone it is likeh- to come into com- 
parison. 

Nesting. — Xest: C)f 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 sha])e. Av. size. .50.x .33 (12.7 x 8.3"). 
Season: ^lay or June according to altitude; one brood. 

General Range. — Western United States, except the northern Pacific coast 
district, north in the interior into Ijritish 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. — ? Bcndire. Life Hist. X. .\. llirds. \'ol. 11. 1895, p. 199 
(inferential). Dawson, .Auk. \'ol. XT\'. Apr. 181^7,]). 175. Sr. Ss-. L 
Specimens. — ( 1'. of W. ) T". C. 

THOSE of us, who as children were taught tc call ladv-bugs "ladv-hirds," 
might have been pardoned some uncertainty as to the wlieraahouts 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 llower bed, was added the twilight 
visits of the hawk-moths not a whit smaller. The Hummer 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 rapidly vibrating wing like the hawk-moth; but 
there the resemblances cease. For the rest it is a bird, migrating, mating, and 
nesting quite like grown folks. 



394 llll-: l'.L.\eK-Clll.\.\i:i) lir.MMlXClUKD. 

\\ liilc moif tliaii five liiiiulrcd s|jecies of Huinmiiigbinls — and these all 
coiifuied to the New World — are known to science, those wiiich have looke<i 
northward at all have shown a decided preference for the Pacific Coast. Thus, 
we have four species in Washington, and we sen<l our l>oldest member, Sclas- 
f<lit>nis riifiis. as far north as the St. h'lias range in Alaska, while our friends 
east of the Mississipjji River know only one species, the Ruhy-throat, Tro- 
chiliis ci'liibris, wliich is own cousin, and only own cousin to our 7'. alc.vaudri. 

Contrary to the ])oi)ular belief Hummers do not feed largely u\nm nectar, 
but insert their needle-bills into the depths of Howers mainly for the jHiriKase of 
capturing insects. This explains the otherwise puzzling habit the birds have of 
revisiting the same (lower beds at frequent intervals. It is not to gather new- 
llowing sweets, but to see what flics the sweets themselves have gathered. If 
a Hummingbird extracted honey to any great extent — it docs some — it would 
be rifling the bait from its own tra])s. Again, the bird is not footless, as 
some supi)ose. for it si)ends a good <leal of time perching on exi)osed limbs, 
from which it may dart. Flycatcher fashion, after passing insects. 

Xor is the bird quite songless. At La Claire's, on the banks of the 
Pend d' Oreille River, we once witnesse<l a very j)retty episode in the life of 
the Black-chinned Hummer. W'e were passing lieside a brush-aiul-log fence 
in a clearing, when we noticed the rocking song-flight of a male Black-chin 
The bird hrst towered to a height of forty feel, or such a matter, with loudly 
buzzing wing, then descended noisily in a great looj). passing under a certain 
proiecting branch in the fence, and emitting along the lower segment of his 
great semicircle a low, musical, murmuring sound of considerable Ijeauty. 
This note, inasmuch as we stood near one end of the fairy lover's course, was 
raised in pitch a nuisical third upon each return journey. Back and forth the 
ardent hero passed, until he tired at length and darted off to tap a Canada 
lilv 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 uj) on the neck, was of a dull green shade, the 
wings were dusky, and the head <lusky, shading into the deep velvety brownish 
black of the throat. There was no lu.strous sheen of the gorget in the dull 
light, but on each side of the mc<lian line of the throat lay an irregular patch 
of metallic orange. The underparts were tinged with dusky and dull rufous: 
and these modest vestments comjileted the attire of a plain-colored but very 
dainty bird. 

l'|)on the |)assionate resumption of his courting dance we ordered an 
investigation, and succeede<l 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 quickly took to the brush again. 

The fairv's nest is commonly saddled to an obliquely descending branch of 
willow, aWler, cottonwood, or young orchard tree. It is a tiny tuft of vcge- 



THE RUFOUS HUiMMER. 395 



table down, bound together and lashed to its support by a wealth of spider- 
webbing. Unlike tlic nest of colubris, the nest of alcxcnulri is not decorated 
witii licliens: and it not infrc(|uently resembles some small fine sponge, not 
only in its yellow-brown tint, but in the elastic texture of its walls, which re- 
gain their shape 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 tlie nest every now and 
then and boxer at some distance to admire them. The m.ile 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 Torrev savs. 



No. 153. 

RUFOUS HUMMER. 

A. O. U. Xo. 433. Selasphoriis rufus ((Jmel.). 

Synonyms. — Red-hackeu Hummingbird. Nootka Hummi:r. 

Description. — Adult male: In general above and below bright rufous or 
cinnamon-red, changing to bronzy green on crown, fading to white on belly and on 
chest, where sharply contrasting with gorget ; wing-quills ])urplish-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 eniargination on the outer 
web; gorget somewhat produced laterally, of close-set rounded metallic scales, shin- 
ing co])pery-red, fiery red, or (varying with individuals) rich ruby-red. Rill 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 black subterminally, 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 I 32.5 I ; bill .68 ( 17.3 1. 

Recognition Marlts. — Pygmy size; abundant rufous of male distinctive; 
female rc(|uires careful discrimination from that of .S". alleni and ma)- ho known 
certainly from it by notching of next central tail-feather, and hv nuter tail-feather 
more than .10 wide. 

Nesting. — Nest: Of plant down and fine mosses bound together with cob- 
webs, and ornamented with lichens, placed on horizontal or declining stem of 
bush or tree. Eggs: 2, pure white, elliptical oval. A v. size, .50 x .33 (12.7 x 8.3). 
Season: April 15-July 10; two broods. 



.^96 THE Kl rorS lUMMl-ll. 

<ioiural kanuc. Wi^lini Nurlli America inun tin- Kocky .Mi>uiilaiii> to ilu- 
I'acilic. lircoliiiK m»iu1i in iixniiilaiiunis rcjjions to Arizona anil north to Mount 
St. Elia> and s.mtliwf^i Yukon 'IVrritorv : Miutli in winter over the tablelands of 
Moxic... 

Ran^e in \\ asliln;;tt)n. Coninion .-lunincr roiiknt on tlu- W'cst-siilc from 
sca-lfvi'l to tniilicr-hnr ; k» loninion on tlu- castirn slopes of tlie Cascades: rare 
in the mountains of eastern Washington. 

Migrations. — Sfriin/: March i3-.\])ril 15. 

Authorities. .' VVi>r/n7i(i- nifiis. Aud. ( )rn. Biog. IV. 1838, 555, pi. 372. 
.S <•/(;.</>/«-» ;(.v iiiiiis Swains. Baird, Kep. I'ac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, p. 135. T. 
L\S;S. I,'. Rh. I)'. Sr. Kb. Ka. Kk. J. !!. E. 

Specimens. — L'. of W . I'. I'rov. !!. UN. E. 

rill"..SiC gaudily dressed little fellows, seemingly part and parcel of the 
sunshine itself, are by no means the delicate creations they appear to Ik-. 
West of the Cascades they are, strange to s.iy, among the very first of the 
spring arrivals from the South. The vanguard always arrives by the last 
week of March, and .sometimes as early as the mid<!le of that month. East 
of the Cascades they are considerably later, and are not found in nearly so 
large numbers. They are seldom to be seen in greatest abundance, however, 
nnich liefore the middle of April. At this sea.son certain bushes tlower in 
jirofusion, and in these flowers the hummers lind unlimited food and drink. — 
honey, and the innumerable tiny insects which it attracts. 

Wright Park, situated in the center of the city of Tacoma. has been very 
extensively |)lanted with the decorative wihl currant: and it is here that hum- 
mers may oftenest be seen in great numbers. It is not uncommon to see 
them by hundreds in this park, and often as many as twenty disport them- 
selves in aud around a single bush. They are the most jiugnacious little 
creatures and are continually s<|uabbling, the females being (piite as (juarrel- 
some as the males. Their war song is a penetrating squeak, or chirrup. 
The i)ausing of one of the birds to select some luscious insect from a cluster 
of flowers seems to be the signal for an onset front one or more of its fellows, 
when all squeak with greatest animation. One cainiot help belie\ing that 
this is more or less in the nature of play, for it is joined in by Ixilh the luales 
and the females, and the one attacked never resents it in the least. I'snally 
it ilescribes 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. They are exceedingly tame at this season, and the bird-lover may 
seat himself under some tlower-laflen bush while these most iKautifnl little 
birds hover and |)erch within three or four feet of him. 

What ajjpears to be the only other vocal accomplishment of this hummer 
is a somewhat long-drawn. ras|)ing note, very loud and harsh for so small a 
bird. This is ma<le bv the male, and, curiously luough. it is the love song 



THE Rl'l'i >rS Ill.MMl'.R. 



397 



uticrctl while wociiui;' his mate. Slie iierclics (|uiftly in llic ci-ntcr nt" sunie 
small tree. a])])arently quite inseiisil)le to his frenzied act inns. These consist 
in flying up to a \ery consiilerahlc height, and then dro]i])ing in a circular 
course to within a few feet of where -lie >ii-~. It is on the downward course 
that he makes 
his declaration 
of love, and if 
it is done to 
arouse her he 
ought to he sue- 



cesstul. 




Cer- 


tainl_\- 


it 


is a 


sound 




most 


startlin 


g 


to a 


human 




being. 


when 


it 


ex- 




Photo by 
Finlcy and 
BohltiMU. 



Kuror> HI 



plodcs uuex- 
pectedly with 
in a few feet of 
his head. 

It is almost 
unnecessary to 
say that the 
nesting habits 
of these little 
birds are of un- 
usual interest. 
The male is a 

disgracefully idle fellow, never doing a stroke of work while the female is 
building the nest, and leaving her as soon as the eggs are laid. It seems that 
at least he might feed her while she sits so |)atieiitly upon her eggs; but no, 
he retires to some warm, sunny gulch and spends his time in selfish enjoyment. 
Strange to say, the first nest-building occurs during the first week in 
April, at which sea.son sleet and cold rains are of not infre(|uent occurrence. 
This is long before the majority of the species have arrived from the South, 
and it would lead one to think that the first comers are already jiaired when 
tiiey arrive. .\ nest containing two fresh eggs was found on the 14th of 
.April, the eggs hatching on the 26th. On this last date it vv.is raining in 
torrents with a bitter cold wind, yet the tiny young did not seem to suffer in 
the least, altbo frcfiuenllv left for as long as fifteen or twentv minutes hv 



398 



THE UI'E-'OIS lirM.MA(. 



their motlicr. IiKlci-d it was a mystery wliere slie ciaild [Mjssibly liave fuuiul 
aiivtliiiig to eat. This nesi was saddled uihmi a twig a few feet alx>ve the 
gruuiul amitlst the slielteriiig brandies of a huge cedar, thus protecting tlie 
young from any direct contact witli tlie rain. 

Tlicre is scarcely a conceival)le situation, except directly on the gr<>un<l, 
that these birds will not select f<>r a nesting site. Such odd places have been 
chosen as a knot in a large rope that hung from the rafters of a woodshed; 
and again, amongst the wires of an electric light -! '■ ' " was sus|)ended in 
the front porch of a 
city residence. It luay 
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 tiicy 
fonn colonies during 
the nesting season, as 
nianv as twenty nests 
being built in a small 
area. Some large fir 
grove is generallv 
chosen for the colony, 
but a most interesting 
one was located on a 
tiny island in Puget 
Sound. This island has 
had most of its large 
timber cut away, ami 
is heavilv overgrown with huckleberry, blackberry, ami small alders. In the 
center is the colony, the nests placed only a few yards apart on any vine or 
bush that will serve the ]nirpose. Huckleberry bushes seem the favorites, 
but many nests are built in the alders and on the blackberry vines. 

The nesting season is greatly protracted, for fresh eggs may be found 
from Ai)ril till July. This makes it seem probal)lc that each pair raises at 
least two broods during the spring and summer, .\fter incubation is some- 
what advanced, the female is most courageous, often iiermitting herself to Ik* 
lifted off the nest before its contents can be examined. .At such times the 
bird student must be on his guard, as the little luothcr will ..fiin rtsfiit the 
intrusion, and her attack is always made at the eye- 




iii-ar Tatcma. Pkolo by Hit Amhi 

NKST OF Rl'FOlS 111 M.MKK OX FIR IIR AXCII 



THE ALLEN HU^LMLXCIURD. 



399 



The eggs, so far as lias ever been recorded, are invarialjlv 
mm]I)cr. They are immaculate milky white in color; and wheii 
laid the yolk makes them look like little pink moonstones, such 
finds on the beach. In 
shape they are elliptical, and 
seem large for so small 
a bird, measuring .50 x .;^^ 
inches. 

The young are 
fed by regurgita- 
tion. For several 
days after hatch- 
ing their bills are 
little longer than , 
those of any other j 
young bird : but 
by the time they f 
leave the m-'. 
their sworddikc 
beaks are nearly | 
as long as those 
of their parents. '--""■■"- ^~ piu„o uy u: u, 

. TT p , , TRE.ASURH TRO\F. FOR TUK HUMMER. 

J. n. rSOWLES. coowi-ns ark largely tllLIZED I.\ THE BUILDING OK A lUMMINCBlR 



two m 
freshly 
as one 




No. 1.54. 

ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD. 



A. O. U. No. 434. Selasphonis alleni llciish. 

Synonym. — GRt:EN-n.\CKi;u RuFois IIummingiurd. 

Description. — Adult male: Similar to adult male of .S". nifiis. l)Ul ii])])cri)arts 
shining bronzy green (duller on crown ) ; undcrparts. including belly, cinnamon- 
rufous, changing to white on chest r)nly : tail-feathers without notching or 
emargination, the two outer pairs smaller and very narrow, the outermost acicular. 
Adult female: \'ery similar to adult male of S. rufus. but ^ith tail as in male 
S. alleni. Length of adult male: 3.25 (82.6) ; wing 1,32 (38.6) ; tail 1.17 (29.7) ; 
bill fiT, (tf^). Female a little larger. 

Recognition Marks. — Pygmy size; fiery gorget with (jrccn back of male 
unmistakal)le ; female indistinguishable out of hand fnun that of S. nifiis: outer- 
most tail-feathers less than .10 wide. 

Nesting.~-.\s in preceding. 

General Range. — Pacific Coast district north to southwestern British Coluni- 



400 IIIK AI.LEX HUMMINil^JUl). 

])ia, i-ast. si>iitlKTl\ . ii> Ari/nna; -laitli in winter to I.nwcr (.'alil'ornia ami Sonora. 

Ran^e in WashinKton. — Ini|nTtcctly ina<lc <>iit ; at Ica^t MininuT rcsi<Uni 
ami inij^rani uc-l <>i tin- Cascades; nut yit riportcd from the Ka>t-siilf. 

Authorities. Lawrence, Auk, \c)I. IX. Jan. iS<)j. p. 44. 1.. I\a. Kb. 1!. K. 

Specimens, i' iv 

I'l" i» the mi-fiTtinie ni certain \vell-ileser\ inp niMiials Ik lie known to 
fame as the luisbamls or lnothers or cousins of some ceiehrity. .Miens 
Hinnmer is the daintier, as he is the rarer, of the sinnmer Silitsf<li(>ri. hut 
we know him thus far only as a momentary vision. .\t each apju-arance wc 
pause to assmc ourselves that we really tlid see a Mummer with a j^reen hack 
<;«(/ a red gorget, for otherwise, we lia\e lieen dnped apain hy one of those 
tiresome female Riifonses. 

Mr. R. 11. Lawrence records the .\llen Hummer as a summer resident of 
the drav's Harlior country, and says of it": "Perhaps as common as 7". nifns. 
and fre(|uentinp similar places. First noted in iS(>i on the Kasi Humptulijis. 
.\pril ,VJ- I ''•"' "^ f;ood view of one on Otiiniault Lake June i^." 

Mr. Clias. .\. Allen, of Nicasin, Cal., who discovered this sjiccies and in 
whose honor it was named, says of these hinls'': "Their courage is beyond 
(|uestion: I once saw two of these little warriors start after a Western Red- 
taileil FL'iwk, and they attacked it so vigorously titat the Hawk was gla<l 
to get out <^i their way. I'ut these little scani])s were even then not satis- 
fied, but helped him along after he had decided to go. Hach male seems 
to claim .1 particular range which he occupies for feeding and breeding 
l)urposes, and every other bird seen by him encroaching <in his preserve 
is at once so deterniinedly set u])on and harassed that he is <inly too glad 
tf» beat a hasty retreat. During their <|uarrels these l)irds kee|) up an incessant 
siiarp chirping, and a harsh ras|)ing buzzing with the wings, which sounds 
very difTerent from the low soft hinuming they make with these while 
feeding. * * * Puring the mating and breeding season the male 
fre(|uenlly shoots straight tip into the air and nearly out of sight, only to 
turn siuldenly and rush headlong down tintil within a few feet of the 
grouiul. The wings during the downward rushes cut the air and cause 
a sharp, whistling screech, as they descend with frightful velocity, an<l 
should they strike anything in their downwaril course. I believe they would 
l)e instantlv killed." 



a. .\iili. \ol. IX.. Jan. i»qi. p. 44. 

h. Brnrtirr, I.ifr Ili»torin N. A. Bird*. Vol. II.. pp. 31?. ji». 



CAI^L.IOPE HUMMKRS 

MALE ASrn KENfALE. S/0 UFE HIZK 

)M A W \TVR-<-'<>t,<>H I'.ivriv.. MV Air.AV III 




r,,^^.^. 



THE CALLIOPE HUMMINGBJRIX 401 

No. 155. 
CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD. 

A. (X v. No. 436. Stellula calliope Gould. 

Synonyms. — Cali.iopic Hummkr. Stak Hi'm.mkr. 

Description. — AiUtlt male: LIppcrparts golden-green; tail chiefly dusky, 
rufous at base, paler on tijjs, slightly double-rounded, its feathers broadening dis- 
tally and nearly rcjund at tips: sides cif throat and nnder])arts white, washed 
with greenish and brownish on sides: gorget .somewhat produced laterally, of 
lengthened acuminate feathers having white bases, rose-purple, or violet, with 
lilac reflections. Bill straight, black above, yellowish below. Adult female: 
Coloration of uppcrjiarts. save tail, as in male; central tail-feathers green tip])ed 
with dusky; remaining rectrices greenish gray mingled with rufous basally. 
crossed with black, and tipped with white. Vouiuj 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 (60.9-76.2); wing 1.55 (39.4): 
tail 1. 00 125.41; bill .57 (14.5). Female much larger — up to 3.50 (88.9). 

Recognition Marks. — Pygmy size; the smallest of the northern ranging 
species: gorget of male with radintiii;; feathers of rose-pur]ile hue distinctive, hut 
female hard to discriminate afield. 

Nesting. — Much as in other si)ecies. A v. size nf E(j<is: .47 x .30 (11.9X 
7.6). Season: June or July according to altitude: one brood. 

General Range. — r)reeding in the mountains of the West, north to central 
British Coluuiliia; south in winter to the moimtains of Mexico. 

Range in Washington. — Summer resident, chiefly in Transition and Canadi- 
an zones, east of the Cascades, and in these mountains to the limit of trees. Mr. 
Lawrence's record remains miique for the West-side, but the bird probablv breeds 
in the Olympics also. 

Authorities. — ? Lawrence, .\uk, \'ol. IX. |an. 1892. |). 44. Bendirc. Life 
Hist. .\. .\. Birds, Vol. TL 1895, ]). 2^<^ L'. O-". J. B. 

Specimens. — P'. C. 

ORXITHOLOGLSTvS have been hard put to it to provide names for 
these most exquisite of birds, the Humtncrs. The realms of caililithology, 
ciiromatics, esthetics, astronomy, history, classical mythology, and a .score 
beside, Iiave been laid under tribute to secure such fanciful and high-sounding 
titles as the Fiery Topaz. Ruby-and-Topaz. .\llied Kmerald. Red-throated 
Sapphire, Sparkling-tail. Wliite-boote<l Racket-tail, Fork-tailed Rainbow, the 
Sappho Comet, the Circe, Ri\'oli and Lucifer Hummers, the .Adorable 
Cof|uctte. and, l:ist but not least, the trul\- Marvelous Humiuingbird ( Loddi- 
gcsia iiiirabilis). What wonder, then, that with so many children to provide 
for, Gould, the great monographer of the Trocltilidcc, should have named 



402 



THE CALLIOPE HUMMIXWIRD 



this nearly silent but always iK'antiful sjKfcies after tlie muse of eloquence. 
Calliope? 

While it is true tiiat ilu* sjK-cies may be found in abundance thruout 
the higher Cascades, and es|K-cially along their eastern slopes, it is hardly 
iii-t u> <.iv with ncndirc. that "ilu- Calliope 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 l>et\veen 6.500 to 8.000 
feet."* We have found it commonly 
in tlie northern and eastern jx^rtions 
of Wasliington at much lower alti- 
tudes, and have taken its nest in tlie 
burning gorge of the Columbia at 
an altitude of only six hundred feet. 
In the mountains the bird knows no 
restriction of range, save that it 
avoids the heavily timlR're<l slo|)es <>f 
the West-side: and it is at least as 
common along the divide as is the 
Rufous Mummer. 

Witliout doubt the mind rcmeml>ers 
longest those birds wliich visit the 
mountain heather be<ls. gorgeous with 
flowers. an<l varie<l lieyond «lescrip- 
tion. .\ bit of heather on Wright's 
Peak at an elevation of S.ooo feet. 
viel<led thirty-two si)ecies of plants in consjjicuous bl<xini witliin a stone's 
throw of camp. The Hummers ap|)ear to lie attracted to the flower l)e<Is by 
color and p<'>sition rather than by scent, and as sure as we neglected to rise 
with the sun. a troop of ])uzzled honey-hunters hovered by turns over our 
parti-colored blankets. Once a Hummer minutely insjiected a red iKindana 
handkerchief which graced the bird-man's neck: and once. I regret to say it. 
fluttered for some moments before his nose (sunburned!). 

The tower and dive of the Calliope Hummer pnxluces at its climax a 
squeak of the tiniest and slirillest quality. It is a siglit well worth seeing 
when one of these elfin gallants, flashing like a jewel and bursting with self- 
consciousness, mounts slowly upward on vibrating wings to a height of a 
hundred feet, then darts back with the speed of lightning to make an affec- 
tionate jass at the placid lady on the twig below. The same tactics are 




,r -' -•,.- Plioio bf F. S. iU-'i 

CALLIOPE HUMMER. FEM.\LE. 



». IWndirr. Liff Hi»t \. A. Birds Vol. II . p. 119 



THE CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD. 



403 



pursued when the cat or a snooping 
chipmunk is the object of attention, 
but the change in temper is unmis- 
takable. I do not feel sure that the 
si)itfire will strike an enemy, hut the 
sudden explosions of winged fury 
hard about the ears are quite suffici- 
ent to put a prowler in a panic. 

The secret of nest-finding in the 
case of Hummingbirds lies in the 
tell-tale wing-buzz of the female as 
she quits her nest. In this way, on 
the 17th of June, 1906, we found 
the first Washington nest of the 
Calliope, in the dense greenery of 
La Chapelle's Springs, on the 
Columbia River, 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 place 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 visits of their owners. Ridgway figures" a four- 
story nest taken at Baird. California, and believed to represent the occupation 
of successive seasons. 




Taken in Sf'okii 



r. Photo by F. 

A .NE.VRUR \ IKW. 



a. The Hummii 



rds (Rep. Nat. Mus., 



pp. 253-383. pla'e I). 



404 rHK POORWIM,. ^ 



No. 15(1. 
I'OORWILI.. 

A. C). r. Xu. 418. t'halitnoptilus nuttallii lAutl.t. 

Description. — Adult: A narrow liand of pure white across tliroat ; below this 
in abrupt cmnrast a hand of l>lark ; under tail-coverts clear creamy hulT: the three 
outer pairs of rectrices tipi)e<l hroadly with white or huffy white; remaining 
plumage an ex(|uisite complex of skeletonized black centers <if feathers with huffy 
and intermingled dusky marginings, tiie wliolc i)roducing a frosted or tarnished 
silvery effect: black most conspicuously outcropping on l)ack and on center of 
crown; huffy "silvering" most complete on sides of crown, wing-coverts, and 
upper surfaces of tail-feathers; l)lack of underparts aj)[)earing chiefly as bars 
where also mingle<l with pale olivaceous; flight feathers (inely and fully banded, 
ochraccous and blackish. Uill black; feet (drying) dark brown; iris brown. 
Length: 7.00-S.cH-) 1 177.S-20.V-' 1 ; wing 5.50 ( 130.7 i; tail 3.50 (S8.<;i; tarsus 
.<'5 ( 16.5). 

Recognition Marks. — Strictly Chewink size biu ai)i)earing larger; smaller 
than a .Xighthawk. which it superficially resembles in coloration. Pooni'lll cry 
heard a hundred times to once the bird is seen. 

Nesting. — Hf/f/s: 2 laid ui)f)n the bare groimd. creamy white with a faint 
jiinkish tinge, oval to blunt ellii)tical oval in sha|)e. .\v. size, .ijn) \ .^-i, ( 25.2 x 10 I. 
Season: c. luiie 1st; one brood. 

General Range. — Rreeds from the western ])ortions of the (ireat I'lains west 
to the Cascade-Sierra Ranges, north into I'lritish Columbia, .\lberta. etc.; •.outh in 
winter thru Mexico to Ciuatemala. 

Range in Washington. — Not common summer resident in treeless jiortioiis 
of eastern \\';isliiii.i,'ton. 

Authorities. — .liilnisloiiiiis iiKttollii Cass'in, "Illustrations." (i8^<>i \>. 2\j. 
C&S. D'. n-'. Ss'. J. 

Specimens. — Prov. C. 

TIIM sun lias set and the last chore is done, all save carrying in the 
brimful pail of milk, which slowly yields trilnite of escaping l»ul)l)les to the 
evening air. Sukey, with a vast sigh of relief, has simk iiiwm the ground, 
where, after summoning a consoling cud. she regards her master wonderingly. 
But the fanner Ixiy is loath to (piit the .scene and to exchange the witching 
twilight for the homely glare of tlie wailing kerosene; so he lingers on his 
milk-stool watching the fading light in the western .sky and dreaming, as only 
a lioy can dream, of days which are yet to Ih". Kvery sense is lulled t<i rest, 
and the spirit comes forth to exi)lore the lands beyond the hills, to con«|uer 
cities, discover poles, or .scale the heights of heaven, when suddenly out of the 
stillness comes the plaintive cry of the Poor-will. Poor-will f^oor-xvill. It is 
not a disturbing note, hut rather the authentic voice of silence, the yearning 



'I'lIE POORWILL. 405 

i)t' llic l)or(lei"ing \vil(k'rno>s made- vocal in appeal to the romantic .si)iril of 
voiitli. Poor Will! I'oor Will' you think upon cities, actions, achieveinenls; 
think rather upon soliiuilc, ujion (|uietness, upon lonely devotions. Come, oh, 
come to the wilderness, to the mystic, silent, fateful wastes! And ever after, 
even tho duty call him to the city, to the stupid, stifling, roaring, (and gh^ri- 
ous ) citv, the voice of the Poor-will has wrought its work within the heart of 
the exiled farmer boy, and he owns a reverence for the silent places, a loyalty 
of afTection for the wilderness, which not all the forced snhservicnce of things 
which creak or blare or sliriek may fully etTace. 

The Poor-will spends the (l;iy sleeping on the gmund uixler the shclier of 
a sage-bush, or close beside some lichen-covered rock', to which its intricate 
pattern of plumage marvelously assimilates. \\"hen startled, by day, the bird 
flits a few yards over the sage-tops and plumps down at haphazard. If it 
chances to settle in the full sunlight, it appears to be blinded and may 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 ground ui)on the slight- 
est pretext and, indeed, a])pear most frequently to attain their olijeci by leap- 
mg u]) at passing insects. They are more strictly nocturnal in habit, also, than 
the Xight Jars, and we know of their later movements only thru the inter- 
mittent exercise of song. Heard in some starlit canon, tlie ])assing of a Poor- 
will in full crv is an indescribal:)le experience, producing feelings somewhere 
between ])leasure and fear, — ])leasure in the delightful melancholy 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, inofYensive fay the Poor-will is, 
all feathers and itself a mere featherweight. The silken sheen and delicate 
tracery of the frost-work upon the plumage it were hopeless to describe. It is 
as tho some fairv' snowball had struck the bird full on the forehead, and from 
thence gone shivering with ever lessening traces all over the upperparts. Or, 
perhaps, to allow another fancy, the dust of the innumerable moth-millers, 
with which the bird is always wrestling, gets powdered over its garments. 
The large bristles which line the up])er mandible, and which increase the catch- 
ing capacity 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 
|)rolected l)y little horny basal sheaths. With this equijmi^nt, and wings, our 
melancholv hero easilv becomes the envv of mere human entomologists. 



406 THE PACIFIC NIGHTHA^K 

No. 157. 
PACIIR- NIGHTHAWK 

\. ( >. r. No. 420 pan. ChorJeilcs vir>;inianus hcspcris J. (".rinnell. 

Synonym. — I'.i i.i.-hat. 

Description. — .Idiill iinilr: MdIiIihI, l)lack, j^ray and ocliraccous, and witli 
wliitc in |iatilK-^; alxivo l)lack predominates, especially on forehead and hack. 
Miuttlinj,' falling; into indistinct hars on npper tail-coverts and tail; anterior edge 
of wing white; the wing-(|uills dusky; a large, white, transverse patch alwut 
midway on the lirst five primaries, save on the ontcr web of the first; a large 
\'-shaped throat-jiatch white; remaining mulerparts 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 crissum sometimes pure white, 
usually barred, at greater inter\ als than on breast ; a white band crossing tail 
near tip. e\cei)t on central feathers. Bill without evident bristles, the horny part 
very sniall, but length of gape about an inch. 'I'arsus very short; the middle 
claw enlarged, and with a curious, horny, comb-like process on the inner edge. 
.Idiilt female: Similar, but without white band on tail, and with white sp<its 
on primaries often much reduced; throat-])atch tinged with ochraceous, and snlTu- 
sion of under])arts by this color more pronounced. Iiiniialiire: More finely and 
heavily mottled than adults, and with u|)perparts more heavily markeil, or even 
suffused with ochraceous-buff. Length 9.00-10.00 (228.6-2541; wing 4.85 
(1 23.2); tail 4.32 (io<).7); bill from nostril .21 (5.3). 

Recognition Marks. — To appearance "Little Hawk" size — really smaller; 
central winle >|)iit in long wing distinctive. 

Nesting. — li</<is: 2, deposited on the bare gruund, nften among nx'ks, some- 
times upon a flat mck. or on the gravel n>nf of a tall building: grayish white, or 
dull olive-buff marbled, mottleil, or clouded and speckled with various shades of 
olive, and brownish- or iiurplish-gray. .\v. size, 1.18 x .86(30x21.8). Season: 
June ; fine brood. 

(ieneral Range. Pacific coast slope nortli to British Columbia. 

Ranx;e in \\ ashington. — West-side, summer resident in open situations. 

Authorities. — Chordeiles popelne. Baird, Rei). I'ac. R. R. Surv. IX. 1858, 
p. 133. T. C&S. B. E. 

Specimens. — I 'r( >v. 

THE Xightliawk arrives si> tardily — never before the middle of .May 
and from that date to the middle of June — that he reminds us of the naughty 
cliiM who lias disregarded the parental suninions and comes u|)ou the scene 
sleepy and cross at Q.30 a. m.. when all good little chiMren arc at school. We 
are sure, too. that it must be something like the necessity of eating cold victuals 
that makes the bird grumble htiynnl - hayord as it flits alxuit discontentedly on 
the first morning. Moreover, there is always something incongruous al)out 
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 very good fellow. 
Oh, to he sure! 

Tlie Pacific Xightha\vi< (hffers lj_\' scarcely assignaljle characters from tlie 
typical form of the eastern United States, hut it is separated from it in distri- 
hution by two bleached phases, C. v. Iicnryi and C. v. seniictli, of the desert 
and plain respectively; so we feel confident that it represents a resaturation of 
the intermediate stock rather than a division or colony of C. z'irginianits 
proper. Bird of the ])Iains tlio it be. it is ])nshing its way determinedly on the 
\\'est-side where\"er openings offer, and is as likely to occur upon the San 
Juan Islands or in some little clearing of the mountain \alleys as up(jn the 
ampler readies of tiie 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 A\enue in Seattle, we judge that it 
must be following the well established eastern custom of laying its eggs on the 
flat roofs of down-town buildings. 



No. 158. 

WESTERN NIGHTHAWK. 

A. O. U. No. 420a. Chordeiles virginianiis henr>i iCass.). 

Description. — Similar to C. v. hesperis, but paler thruout ; areas of black 
reduced, white patches of throat, wing, and tail averaging larger : below more 
e.xtensivcly tawny whitish. 

Recognition Marks. — As in preceding. 

Nesting. — Xcst and Eggs not distinguishable from those of C. v. hesperis. 

General Range. — Arid Transition and Canadian life-zones of the Western 
United States from the eastern slopes of the Rocky ^fountains to the Cascade- 
Sierra ranges, north into British Columbia ; south in winter to northern South 
America. 

Range in Washington. — Common sumiucr resident in ojjcu situations east 
of the Cascade Mountains. 

Migrations. — Spring: Moses Lake. May 13, 1906: Chelan, May 29, 1905; 
Oro. May 29. 1896. 

Authorities. — ("Western Xighthawk," [ohnson. Rep. (lov. W. T. 1S84 
(•iBSt) 22) : Bendire, Life Hist. X. A. Birds." \ol. II. 1895. p. 168. I)'. Sr, Ra. 
D-'. Ss'. Ss^ Kk(?). J. 

Specimens. — ( T'. of W. ) P". Prov. H. 

THLSR Xighthawks are jjerfectly harmless except to moths, midges, and 
their ilk; and their uplifted wings half careened by the evening breeze furnish 



4oS 



I1-: WESTERN' NIC.inil%\\K. 



'•uv i>t till- iinot ]>lca>iiij; adiiniiiuiits '>f Inwlaml meadow (»r sagc-cuvcrcil 
upland. The birds ■■i|iiaiifr the air" incessantly in a l>at-like Hight <if irregular 
zigzags, often jmuting as tliev gu, bnyanl - bnynrd. They arc not so strictly 
nocturnal as the r>M>r-\\i!l>. hut put a liheral construction . m "iw iliijht." l)ciiig 
care f u i to 
a vail them- 
selves of all 
cloiuly days, 
and. in fact, 
moving about 
at will when- 
ever the sun 
slants fairly. 
The m i il d I e 
hours of the 
day are spent 
u p o n t li I- 
ground, whore 
tiieir neutral 
tints serve a 
l)rotcctive ])in"- 
IK)sc and arc 
almost implic- 
itly relied on. 
During the 
mating season 
the males take 
great i)ara- 
Ix^lic headers 
in t h e air. 
r e I u r u i n ii 
sharply a n <1 
producing a 
loud boom- 
ing (/(Jti'-Tf — 
whether by the 
rushing of ;iir 

thru the wings or across the opened month, will, perhaps, never be dc 
termined. 

During migrations scores of these birds are sometimes seen moving aloft 
in loose arrav and. customarily at this season, silent. While not at any time 
strictlv gregarious, favorable conditions are likely to attract considerable 




KCr.S OF WKSTKRN NH.IITM.VW K. IN SITf. 



nil". WKSTERX XIC.HTllAWK. 



409 



nunihers lo a given s\)i>i. I Iia\c seen scores ai a time winginj^ noiselessly to 
antl fro over the tran(|iiil waters of Brook Lake, and once 1 saw a coiii])any 
of not less tiian two hundred executing; a grand march with bewildering 
evolutions, in a \'akima pasture. The date in the last-mentioned instance 
was August lOlh. and it is more likeh' that the birds had discovered some 
notable event in the insect world, than that they themselves were ])reparing 
to migrate. 

The eggs of the Xighlhawk are hea\il\" mottled with slaty and other 
tints, which render them practicalK' imisible to the searching eye. even tho 
tiicy rest ujwn the bare ground or. as ofiener. upon an exposed lava ledge. 
Except during the very warmest hours ( when the sun's rays might addle 
them) and the coolest (when they might become chilled), the sitting bird 
is likely to rest beside her eggs instead of on them. The young Ijirds when 
hatched place great reliance upon their protective coloration, and even jjermit 
the fondlini-- of the hand rather than confess the defect of their faticied 



-; ^ 




Spokan 



WESTERN XH.HTII.AW K AT MI1>D.\Y. 



Tekplwlo by IV. H. Wright. 



security. 'I'he old bird, meanwhile has fluttered away over the ground with 
uncertain wing and droo])ing tail to dro]) at last on the very jxiint of death. 
Or failing in this ruse, she is charging about in luid air with jilaintive cries. 
Look upon the babies for the last time, for they will be spirited away before 
your return, — borne off, it is said, between the thighs of the ])arent bird. 



410 'II1I-. lU.AcK SWIl'l. 

No. I5Q. 

BLACK SWIIT. 

A. I I. I . .\m. 4j_'. Cypseloidcs nixer borealis (Keiiiicrly). 

Synonyms. — Cuhd Swiit. Xhrhikkn I'.lack Ctoti) Swift. 

Description. — .Idiilts: Souiy l)lack; fcatluTb of extreme cliin, anterior por- 
tion of Inres, forecrown. lininjj nf winjjs, alxlonien, siiles, crissum, and under tail- 
coverts, narrowly skirted with while. Hill, feet, and eyes black. Length about 
7.00 ( 177.H1 : win^,' (1.50 ( 1O5.1 ) : tail 2.01 (53t. 

Recognition Marks. — Sparrow size but appearing larger; long wings and 
rapid flight, cloud-haunting habitb with color and size distinctive. 

Nesting. — Xcst: in crannies of cliffs; rejiorted by i'lcndire from the breaks 
of the Columbia in Douglas County. Ii(j(js: unknown. Season: presumably 
June. 

General Range.— Western North .\merica from the R<Kky Mountains to 
the I'acilic. north thru I'ritisit Columbia to southwestern Alaska; partially 
nomadic, erratic, and far-ranging; winters M)uth to Central America. 

Range in Washington.— Stmimer resident in the higher Cascades and (pre- 
sumably) the Olympics: appears sporadically at lower levels, chiefly west of 
the Cascade Moimtains. 

Migrations. — Sfriiii/: Seattle, .May i<'. i</)5. /"d//. Seattle. Se])tember 
20, 1907: < >ctobir 7, 1905: Tatoosh Island, June 4, i'707. 

Authorities. — Cyf'scloidcs hoiralis. Kennerly, I'roc. .\c. Nat. Sci. I'hila. IX., 
Nov. 18^7. joj; tiiii- iiaird. Rep. I'ac. R. K. Surv. l.\., 1858, p. 14V Rh. !>'. Ka. 
I'.. E. 

Specimens. I'rov. C. E. 

NO Other bin! of e(iiial proinineiice in the North .American ornis has 
so successfully ehuled the investigation of the curious. Of equal prom- 
inence, I say, fur on occasion the birds do exhibit themselves at close 
(juarlcrs with every ajipearance of frankness. .And it is precisely Ix'cause 
they do occasionally stoop to our level, that we long to follow them as 
they sweep the cli)uds or hasten hack at a thought to their mountain 
fastnesses. 

Cloud Swifts hunt in great straggling companies, and when one of 
them has attracted attention by swooping near the groun<l, and the eyes 
.ire lifted, a dozen others may be note<l in the neighljorhoiKl. and a hun- 
dred more in the sky, up, up to the limit of vision. Certain atmospheric 
conditions, especially a drizzling rain. m.\v impel the whole company to 
seek the lower levels, and hundreds may l>e seen at once hawking over 
the lownsile. or. better vet. over the surf.ice of n lake, as Whatcom, or 



THE BLACK SWIFT. 



411 



Washington. But on brighter days, and ordinarily, the passing throng 
occupies tlie whole heavens, and a l)ird seen darling across a distant cloud 
may in another instant descend to the lree-lii])s. Altho not quite so speedy 
as the White-throated Swift, there is no bird wliose aerial evolutions convey 
sucii a sense of power and unfettered freedom as do those of tliis veritable 
sky-scraper. 

The extraordinary \oliiatorial ])owers pos.sesscd l>v tlie Cloud Swifts 
permit a l)rea(hh of daily range umnatched in the case of any other species. 
We suppose that the flocks which appear here and there at sea-level thruout 




r.i \i k -w 1 1 I • 



the summer nest only in tlie Cascade .Mountains: 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 would com])rise the entire po])ulation of 
the State. .\ company nesting on C.lacier Peak might elect to spend one 
day hawking over Gray's Harbor, and the ne.xt in the Palouse country. 
Some such diurnal shifting does exist, for at Chelan I have seen the Swifts 
in June passing down the valley at early morning, and returning in the 



412 



rill-: I'.i.AcK swii-r. 




iMiiing l'i>r si-\eral succossixc days, 
al'UT which tlicv would ahsctit tlicni- 
M-lvis ti>r a month. Again, at early 
Mil lining, wf have seen them filing thru 
C'aMade Pass troni west to east, hot- 
wing, as tlio thev iiad business in 
Idaho. 

These Black Swifts nest chielly in 
the mountains uihiii the face of inac- 
cessible clitTs. This much we know, 
but the nest and eggs are still un- 
known". The closest call which tliese 
elusive fowls have had at nesting time 
is thus ie|x>ited by .Major Bendire'': 
"The only locality where I have ob- 
served this sjiecies was on the uit]>er 
l."oluml)ia River, opixisite Lake Chelan. 
Washington, ill July. i^J>). Here quite 
;i colony nested in a high iRM|»endicular 
lilT on the south side of and alH>ut a 
lile liack from the river, ami numlH'rs 
1 them tlew to ami from the valley 
ilow. where they were feeding The 
'lay was a cloudy one. and the slow 
drizzling rain was falling nearly the 
niiire time I was there: this caused 
the birds to tly low and they were easily 
identitied. They evidently had young, 
.iiid the twitterings of the latter could 
re.idily be heard as soon as a bird 
entered one of the numerous crevices 
in the dilT alxive. This was iilterlv 



.T. Thc*c wor<l* arc uvA a^lvi^illy. The caw rc- 
I'TtccI from tlic «cawall of Santa Criif Couniy. Cali- 
- rnia. claim* nti nc«t and only ottf ckk- tf *hi^ ^ "<*' 
t'a«c of mi^ulcntificalion. then il i< an example of 
' .ik nculinn utterly at variance »ith all Swift tradi- 
n«, and with much that i* actually known concerning 
.■ hahil« of this *|iecie». 

I he cla<«ic inMance rciwrted from Seattle in the col- 
,.iiin» of the Auk (Vol. V,. '»», p. 414) of a nenl 
"made of »tra»«. chipv paper, etc.." proved to concern 
the handiwork of tlie Purple Martin {Proimt /iiku). 
hut the mistake wa« a not unnatural one in view of 
ilic then rarity of the Martin, 
b. Life IIi«t. N. .\. Bird". Vol. II. 1895. p. 1,-6 



Taien in Chelan 



C.\SC.\I>K P.\SS. 
luc ai-AcK twiris ii«\k aux siix. 



THE VAUX SWIFT. 413 

inaccessible, being fully 300 feet high and almost perpendicular: and wiilinui 
suitable ropes to lower one from above it was both useless and imiiraciicable 
to make an attempt to reach the nests. These were evidently placed well 
back in the fissures, as Udthing bearing a resemblance to one was x'isible 
from either above or belnw. In this locality 1 beliex'e fresh eggs niay be 
looked for alumt June _'5." 

I had word of ilu- nesting of these birds in the summer of 1906 upon 
a majestic mck wall overlooking the Sahale Glacier in the Upi)er 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 ready to 
confirm the report of their presence the j^revious season. Dr. Edward Hasell, 
of \'ictoria, informs me that they have nested about a certain cliff overlooking 
Cowichan Lake on \'ancouver Island. The cliff referred to is about 1,600 
feet high, and access was. therefore