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Full text of "Ornithological biography, or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America ; accompanied by descriptions of the objects represented in the work entitled The Birds of America, and interspersed with delineations of American scenery and manners"

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ORNITHOLOGICAL BIOGRAPHY. 




ORNITHOLOGI 



OB, AN ACCOUNT OF THE HABITS OF THE 

BIRDS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ; 

ACCOMPANIED BY DESCRIPTIONS OF THE OBJECTS REPRESENTED 
IN THE WORK ENTITLED 

THE BIRDS OF AMERICA, 

AND INTERSPERSED WITH DELINEATIONS OF AMERICAN 
SCENERY AND MANNERS. 

BY JOHN JAMES AUDUBON, F.R.S.S.L. &E. 



FELLOW OP THE LINNEAN AND ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETIES OF LONDON; MEMBER OF THE LYCEUM 
OF NEW YORK, OF THE NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY OF PARIS, THE WERNERIAN NATURAL 
HISTORY SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH ; HONORARY MEMBER OF THE SOCIETY OP NATURAL 
HISTORY OF MANCHESTER, AND OP THE SCOTTISH ACADEMY OF PAINTING, SCULPTURE, 
AND ARCHITECTURE ; MEMBER OF THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, OF THE 
ACADEMY OF NATURAL SCIENCES AT PHILADELPHIA, OP THE NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETIES 
OF BOSTON, OP CHARLESTON IN SOUTH CAROLINA, &C. &C. 




EDIN 



ADAM & CHARLES BLACK, EDINBURGH; 

LONGMAN, REES, BROWN, GREEN, & LONGMAN, LONDON ; R. HAVELL, 
ENGRAVER, 77- OXFORD STREET, LONDON ; THOMAS SOWLER, 
MANCHESTER; MRS ROBINSON, LEEDS; ALEXANDER HILL, EDIN- 
BURGH; BEILBY, KNOTT & BEILBY, BIRMINGHAM; E. CHARNLEY, 
NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE; AND GEORGE SMITH, LIVERPOOL. 



MDCCCXXXIV. 



PRINTED BY NEILL & CO. 
Old Fishmaiket, Edinburgh. 



INTRODUCTION. 



When, for the first time, I left my father, and all the dear 
friends of my youth, to cross the great ocean that separates my 
native shores from those of the eastern world, my heart sunk 
within me. While the breezes wafted along the great ship that 
from La Belle France conveyed me towards the land of my 
birth, the lingering hours were spent in deep sorrow or melan- 
choly musing. Even the mighty mass of waters that heaved 
around me excited little interest : my affections were with those 
I had left behind, and the world seemed to me a great wilder- 
ness. At length I reached the country in which my eyes first 
opened to the light ; I gazed with rapture upon its noble forests, 
and no sooner had I landed, than I set myself to mark every 
object that presented itself, and became imbued with an anxious 
desire to discover the purpose and import of that nature which 
lay spread around me in luxuriant profusion. But ever and 
anon the remembrance of the kind parent, from whom I had 
been parted by uncontrollable circumstances, filled my mind, 
and as I continued my researches, and penetrated deeper into 
the forest, I daily became more anxious to return to him, and 
to lay at his feet the simple results of my multiplied exertions. 



vi INTRODUCTION. 

Reader, since I left you, I have felt towards you as towards 
that parent. When I parted from him he evinced his sorrow ; 
when I returned he met me with an affectionate smile. If my 
recollection of your kind indulgence has not deceived me, I car- 
ried with me to the western world your wish that I should re- 
turn to you ; and the desire of gratifying that wish, ever present 
with me as I wandered amidst the deep forests, or scaled the 
rugged rocks, in regions which I visited expressly for the pur- 
pose of studying nature and pleasing you, has again brought 
me into your presence : — I have returned to present you with all 
that seems most interesting in my collections. Should you 
accept the offering, and again smile benignantly upon me, I 
shall be content and happy. 

Soon after the engraving of my work commenced, I bade 
adieu to my valued friends in Edinburgh, whose many kind- 
nesses were deeply impressed on my heart. The fair city gra- 
dually faded from my sight, and, as 1 crossed the dreai'y heaths 
of the Lammermoor, the mental prospect became clouded ; but 
my spirits revived as I entered the grounds of Mr Sei.bv of 
Twizel House, for in him I knew I possessed a friend. The 
few days spent under his most hospitable roof, and the many 
pleasures I enjoyed there, I shall ever remember with gratitude. 

1 was then on my way to London, which I had never yet 
visited. The number of letters given me to facilitate my entry 
into the metropolis of England, and to aid m.e in procuring sub- 
scribers to my work, accumulated during my progress. At 
Newcastle-upon-Tyne I made my next halt. There the venerable 
Bewick, the Adamsons, the Turners, the Donkins, the 
Bubbles, the Charnleys and others, received me with great 
kindness, and helped to increase my list of subscribers. The 



INTRODUCTION. vii 

noble family of the Ravensworths I also added to my friends, 
and from them I have since received important benefits, parti- 
cularly from the Honourable Thomas Liddell, whose par- 
tiality for my pursuits induced him to evince a warm interest in 
my favour, which I shall ever acknowledge with feelings of affec- 
tion and esteem. 

It was there, reader, that, as my predecessor Wilson had 
done in America, I for the first time in England exhibited some 
engravings of my work, together with the contents of my port- 
folios. I cannot say that the employment was a pleasant one to 
me, nor do I believe it was so to him ; but by means of it he at 
the time acquired that fame, of which I also was desirous of ob- 
taining a portion ; and, knowing that should I be successful, it 
would greatly increase the happiness of my wife and children, I 
waged war against my feelings, and welcomed all, who, from 
love of science, from taste, or from generosity, manifested an in- 
terest in the " American Woodsman." 

See him, reader, in a room crowded by visitors, holding at 
arm's length each of his large drawings, listening to the varied 
observations of the lookers on, and feel, as he now and then did, 
the pleasure which he experienced when some one placed his 
sign manual on the list. This occupation was continued all the 
way until I reached the skirts of London ; but the next place 
to which I went was the city of York, where I formed acquaint- 
ance with a congenial spirit, Mr Phillips, who is now well 
known to you as an eminent Professor of Geology. There also 
I admired the magnificent Minster, within whose sacred walls 1 
in silence offered up my humble prayer to heaven. 

At Leeds, the Gotts, the Bankses, the Walkers, the 
Marshalls, the Davys, were all extremely kind to me, and 



via INTRODUCTION. 

I found a fine museum belonging to the most interesting and 
amiable family of the Cai. verts, in whose society my evenings 
were chiefly spent. 

On my second visit to Manchester I obtained upwards of 
twenty subscribers in one week, and became acquainted with 
persons whose friendship has never failed. Of them I may par- 
ticularly mention the Dyers, the Kennedys, the Darbi- 
SHiRES, and the Sowlers. 

Having once more reached the hospitable home of the Rath- 
bones at Liverpool, 1 felt my heart expand within me, and I 
poured forth my thanks to my Maker for the many favours which 
I had in so short a period received. I read to my friends the 
names of more than seventy subscribers to my " Birds of Ame- 
rica." 

My journey was continued through Chester, Birmingham, 
and Oxford, and I passed in view of the regal and magnificent 
Castle of Windsor. The impression made on my mind the day 
I reached the very heart of London I am unable to describe. 
Suffice it, kind reader, to tell you that many were the alterna- 
tions of hope and fear as I traversed the vast metropolis. I can- 
not give you an adequate idea of my horror or of my admira- 
tion, when on the one side I saw pallid poverty groping in filth 
and rags, and turning away almost in despair, beheld the huge 
masses of the noblest monument ever raised to St Paul, which 
reminded me of the power and grandeur of man ; — and along 
with the thronging crowds I moved, like them intent on making 
my way through the world. 

Eighty-two letters of introduction were contained in my 
budget. Besides these I was the bearer of general letters from 
Henjry Clay, Speaker of the House of Congress, General 



JNTRODUCTION. ix 

Andrew Jackson, and other individuals in America, to all 
our diplomatists and consuls in Europe and elsewhere. Thus, 
reader, you will perceive that 1 had some foundation for the 
hope that I should acquire friends in the great city. 

In May 1827, I reached that emporium of the productions 
of all climes and nations. After gazing a day on all that I 
saw of wonderful and interesting, I devoted the rest to visiting. 
Guided by a map, 1 proceeded along the crowded streets, and 
endeavoured to find my way through the vast labyrinth. From 
one great man's door to another I went ; but judge of my sur- 
prise, reader, when, after wandering the greater part of three 
successive days, early and late, and at all hours, 1 had not found 
a single individual at home ! 

Wearied and disappointed, I thought my only chance of get- 
ting my letters delivered was to consign them to the post, and 
accordingly I handed them all over to its care, excepting one, 
which was addressed to " J. G. Children, Esq. British Mu- 
seum." Thither I now betook myself, and was delighted to meet 
with that kind and generous person, whose friendship I have en- 
joyed ever since. He it was who pointed out to me the great 
error I had committed in having put my letters into the post- 
office, and the evil arising from this step is perhaps still hanging 
over me, for it has probably deprived me of the acquaintance of 
half of the persons to whom they were addressed. In the course 
of a week, about half a dozen of the gentlemen who had read my 
letters, left their cards at my rooms. By degrees I became ac- 
quainted with a few of them, and my good friend of the Museum 
introduced me to others. I renewed my acquaintance with the 
benevolent I.,ord Stanley, and became known to other noble- 



X INTRODUCTION. 

men, liberal like himself. Soon after I was elected a Member 
of the Linnajan and Zoological Societies. 

About this time, the Prince of Musignano, so well known 
for his successful cultivation of Natural History, arrived in Lon- 
don. He found me out through the medium of the learned geo- 
logist Featherstonhaugh, and one evening I had the plea- 
sure of receiving a visit from him, accompanied by that gentle- 
man, JVlr Vigors, and some other persons. I felt happy in 
having once more by my side my first ornithological adviser, and 
that amiable and highly talented friend, with the accomplished 
geologist, remained with me until a late hour. Their departure 
affected me with grief, and since that period I have not seen the 
Prince. For several months I occupied myself with painting in 
oil, and attending to the progress of my plates. I now became 
acquainted with that eminent and amiable painter, Sir Thomas 
Lawrence, through a kindred spirit, Thomas Sully of Phi- 
ladelphia ; from both of whom, at different periods, I have re- 
ceived advice with reference to their enchanting art. One morn- 
ing I had the good fortune to receive a visit from Mr Swain- 
son, whose skill as a naturalist every one knows, and who has 
ever since been my substantial friend. M. Temminck also called, 
as did other scientific individuals, among whom was my ever- 
valued friend Robert Bakewell, whose investigations have 
tended so much to advance the progress of geology ; and as my 
acquaintance increased I gradually acquired happiness. Having 
visited those renowned seats of learning, Cambridge and Oxford, 
I became acquainted at the former with the Vice-Chancellor Mr 
Davie, Professors Sedgwick, Whewell, and Henslow, 
the Right Honourable Went worth Fitzwilliam, John 



INTRODUCTION. xi 

Lodge, Esq, Dr Thackery, and many other gentlemen of 
great learning and talent ; at the latter, with Dr Buckland, 
Dr KiDD, and others. These Universities afforded me several 
subscribers. 

In the summer of 1828, my friend Swainson and I went 
to Paris, where I became acquainted with the great Cuviek, 
Geoffroy St Hilaire, his son Isidore, M. Dorbigny, 
and M. Lesson, as well as that master of flower-painters M. 
Redoute', and other persons eminent in science and the arts. 
Our time in Paris was usefully and agreeably spent. We were 
gratified at the liberality with which every object that we de- 
sired to examine in the great Museum of France was submitted 
to our inspection. Many of our evenings were spent under the 
hospitable roof of Baron Cuvier, where the learned of all coun- 
tries usually assembled. Through the influence of my noble- 
spirited friend M. Redoute', I was introduced to the Duke of 
Ori-eans, now King of the French, and to several Ministers 
of State. The hour spent with Louis Phit.lippe and his 
Son, was, by their dignified urbanity, rendered one of the most 
agreeable that has fallen to my lot ; and in consequence of that 
interview I procured many patrons and friends. 

Returning to England, I spent the winter there, and in 
April 1829, sailed for America. With what pleasure did I 
gaze on each setting sun, as it sunk in the far distant west ! 
with what delight did I mark the first wandering American bird 
that hovered over the waters ! and how joyous were my feelings 
when I saw a pilot on our deck ! I leaped on the shore, scour- 
ed the woods of the Middle States, and reached Louisiana in 
the end of November. Accompanied by my wife, I left New 
Orleans on the 8th of January 1830, and sailing from New York 



xii INTRODUCTION. 

on the 1st of April, we had the pleasure, after a voyage of 
twenty-five days, of landing in safety at Liverpool, and finding 
our friends and relations well. When I arrived in London, my 
worthy friend J. G. Children, Esq. presented rae with a Di- 
ploma from the Royal Society. Such an honour conferred on 
an American Woodsman could not but be highly gratifying to 
him. I took my seat in the hall, and had the pleasure of press- 
ing the hand of the learned President with a warm feeling of 
esteem. I believe I am indebted for this mark of favour more 
particularly to Lord Stanley and Mr Children. 

And now, kind reader, having traced my steps to the period 
when I presented you with my first volume of Illustrations and 
that of my Ornithological Biographies, allow me to continue my 
narrative. 

Previous to my departure from England, on a second visit 
to the United States, I had the honour and gratification of be- 
ing presented to his Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, 
who graciously favoured me with a general letter of recommen- 
dation to the authorities in the British colonies. With others 
of a similar nature I was also honoured by the Noble T^ords 
Stanley, Palmerston, Howick, and Goderich. 

We sailed on the 1st of August 1831, and landed at New 
York, where 1 spent a few days only, and proceeded to Phila- 
delphia. There I found my old and firm friends Harlan, 
Wetherell, Pickering, Sully, Norris, Walsh, and 
others, a few subscribers, and some diplomas. I had now two 
assistants, one from London, Mr Ward, the other a highly 
talented Swiss, Mr George Lehman. At Washington I re- 
ceived from the heads of our Government letters of assistance 
and protection along the frontiers, which it was my intention to 



INTRODUCTION. xiii 

visit. For these acts of kindness and encouragement, without 
which my researches would have been more arduous and less 
efficient, I am much indebted, and gratefully offer my acknow- 
ledgments, to Major-General M'Comb, General Jessup, Gene- 
ral Gratiot, the Honourable Messrs M'Lean, Livingston, 
and Woodbury, to Colonel John Abert, and others, whose 
frank and prompt attentions will never be forgotten by me. I 
need not say that towards our President and the enlightened 
members of the civil, military, and naval departments, I felt 
the deepest gratitude for the facilities which they thus afforded 
me. All received me in the kindest manner, and accorded to 
me whatever I desired of their hands. How often did I think 
of the error committed by Wilson, when, instead of going 
to Washington, and presenting himself to President Jeffer- 
son, he forwarded his application through an uncertain medium. 
He, like myself, would doubtless have been received with fa- 
vour, and obtained his desire. How often have I thought of 
the impression his piercing eye would have made on the dis- 
criminating and learned President, to whom, in half the time 
necessary for reading a letter, he might have said six times 
as much as it contained. But, alas ! Wilson, instead of 
presenting himself, sent a substitute, which, it seems, was not 
received by the President, and which, therefore, could not have 
answered the intended end. How pleasing was it to me to find 
in our Republic, young as she is, the promptitude to encourage 
science occasionally met with in other countries. Methinks I 
am now bidding adieu to the excellent men who so kindly re- 
ceived me, and am still feeling the pressure of their hands indi- 
cative of a cordial wish for the success of my undertaking. May 
He who gave me being and inspired me with a desire to study 



xiv INTRODUCTION. 

his wondrous works, grant me the means of proving to my court- 
try the devotedness with which I strive to render myself not 
unworthy of her ! 

We now proceeded swiftly down the broad Chesapeak Bay, 
reached Norfolk, and removing into another steamer bound to 
the capital of Virginia, soon arrived at Richmond. Having 
made acquaintance, many years before, in Kentucky, with the 
governor of that State, the Honourable John Floyd, I went 
directly to him, was received in the kindest manner, and fur- 
nished with letters of introduction ; after which we proceeded 
southward until we arrived at Charleston in South Carolina. It 
was there that 1 formed an acquaintance, now matured into a 
highly valued friendship, with the Rev. John Bachman, a 
proficient in general science, and in particular in zoology and 
botany, and one whose name you will often meet with in the 
course of my biographies. But I cannot refrain from describing 
to you my first interview with this generous friend, and men- 
tioning a few of the many pleasures I enjoyed under his hospi- 
table roof, and in the company of his most interesting family 
and connections. 

It was late in the afternoon when we took our lodgings in 
Charleston. Being fatigued, and having written the substance 
of my journey to my family, and delivered a letter to the Rev. 
Mr Oilman, T retired to rest. At the first glimpse of day the 
following morning, ray assistants and myself were already several 
miles from the city, commencing our search in the fields and 
woods, and having procured abundance of subjects both for the 
pencil and the scalpel, we returned home, covered with mud, and 
so accoutred as to draw towards us the attention of every per- 
son in the streets. As we approached the boarding house, I 



INTRODUCTION. xv 

observed a gentleman on horseback close to our door. He looked 
at me, came up, inquired if my name was Audubon, and on 
being answered in the affirmative, instantly leaped from his 
saddle, shook me most cordially by the hand — there is much to 
be expressed and understood by a shake of the hand — and ques- 
tioned me in so kind a manner, that I for a while felt doubtful 
how to reply. At his urgent desire, I removed to his house, as 
did my assistants. Suitable apartments were assigned to us, . 
and once introduced to the lovely and interesting group that 
composed his family, I seldom passed a day without enjoying 
their society. Servants, carriages, horses, and dogs, were all at 
our command, and friends accompanied us to the woods and 
plantations, and formed parties for water excursions. Before I 
left Charleston, I was truly sensible of the noble and generous 
spirit of the hospitable Carolinians. 

Having sailed for the Floridas, we, after some delay, occa- 
sioned by adverse winds, put into a harbour near St Simon's 
Island, where I was so fortunate as to meet with Thomas 
Butler King, Esq. who, after replenishing our provision- 
stores, subscribed to the " Birds of America." At length we 
were safely landed at St Augustine, and commenced our inves- 
tigation. Of my sojourn in Florida, during the winter of 
1831-32, you will find some account in this volume. Return- 
ing to Charleston, we passed through Savannah, respecting my 
short stay in which city you will also find some particulars in 
the sequel. At Charleston we lived with my friend Bach- 
man, and continued our occupations. In the beginning of 
April, through the influence of letters from the Honourable 
Lewis M'Lean, of the Treasury Department, and the prompt 



xvi INTRODUCTION. 

assistance of Colonel J. Pkingle, we went on board the re- 
venue cutter the " Marion," commanded by Robert Day, 
Esq., to whose friendly attention I am greatly indebted for the 
success which I met with in my pursuits, during his cruize 
along the dangerous coast of East Florida, and amongst the 
islets that every where rise from the surface of the ocean, like 
gigantic water-lilies. At Indian Key, the Deputy-Collector, 
Mr Thruston, aflPorded me important aid ; and at Key West 
I enjoyed the hospitaUty of Major Glassel, his officers, and 
their families, as well as of my friend Dr Benjamin Strobel, 
and other inhabitants of that singular island, to all of whom I 
now sincerely offer my best thanks for the pleasure which their 
society afforded me, and the acquisitions which their ever ready 
assistance enabled me to make. 

Having examined every part of the coast which it was the 
duty of the commander of the Marion to approach, we returned 
to Charleston with our numerous prizes, and shortly afterwards 
I bent my course eastward, anxious to keep pace with the birds 
during their migrations. With the assistance of my friend 
Bachman, 1 now procured for my assistant Mr Ward, a 
situation of ease and competence, in the Museum of the Natural 
History Society of Charleston, and Mr Lehman returned to 
his home. At Philadelphia I was joined by my family, and 
once more together we proceeded towards Boston. That dreadful 
scourge the cholera was devastating the land, and spreading 
terror around its course. We left Philadelphia under its chas- 
tising hand, and arrived at New York, where it was raging, 
while a heavy storm that suddenly burst over our heads threw 
an additional gloom over the devoted city, already bereft of a 



INTRODUCTION. xvii 

great part of her industrious inhabitants. After spending a 
day with our good friends and relatives, we continued our jour- 
ney, and arrived at Boston. 

Boston ! Ah ! reader, my heart fails me when I think of 
the estimable friends whose society afforded me so much plea- 
sure in that beautiful city, the Athens of our Western World. 
Never, I fear, shall I have it in my power to return a tithe of 
the hospitality which was there shewn towards us, or of the be- 
nevolence and generosity which we experienced, and which evi- 
dently came from the heart, without the slightest mixture of 
ostentation. Indeed, I must acknowledge that although I have 
been happy in forming many valuable friendships in various 
parts of the world, all dearly cherished by me, the outpouring 
of kindness which I experienced at Boston far exceeded all that 
I have ever met with. 

Who that has visited that fair city, has not admired her 
site, her universities, her churches, her harbours, the pure mo- 
rals of her people, the beautiful country around her, gladdened 
by glimpses of villas, each vying with another in neatness and 
elegance ? Who that has made his pilgrimage to her far- 
famed Bunker's Hill, entered her not less celebrated Fanneuil 
Hall, studied the history of her infancy, her progress, her indig- 
nant patriotism, her bloody strife, and her peaceful prosperity — 
that has moreover experienced, as I have done, the beneficence 
of her warm-hearted and amiable sons — and not felt his bosom 
glow with admiration and love? Think of her Adamses, 
her Perkins, her Everetts, her Peabodys, Cushings, 
QuiNCEYs, Storeys, Paines, Greens, Tudors, Davises, 
and Pickerings, whose public and private life presents all that 
we deem estimable, and let them be bright examples of what the 



xviii INTRODUCTION. 

citizens of a free land ought to be. But besides these honour- 
able individuals whom I have taken the liberty of mentioning, 
many others I could speak of with delight, and one I would point 
out in particular, as he to whom my deepest gratitude is due, 
one whom I cannot omit mentioning, because, of all the good 
and the estimable, he it is whose remembrance is most dear to 
me : — that generous friend is George Parkman. 

About the middle of August, we left our Boston friends, on 
our way eastward ; and, after rambling here and there, came in 
sight of Moose Island, on which stands the last frontier town, 
boldly facing one of the entrances of the Bay of Fundy. The 
climate was cold, but the hearts of the inhabitants of Eastport 
were warm. One day sufficed to render me acquainted ^vith all 
whom I was desirous of knowing. Captain Childs, the com- 
mander of the garrison, was most obliging to me, while his 
wife shewed the greatest kindness to mine, and the brave offi- 
cers received my sons with brotherly feelings. Think, reader, of 
the true pleasure we enjoyed when travelling together, and every- 
where greeted with so cordial a welcome, while every facility was 
affiarded me in the prosecution of my researches. We made 
excursions into the country around, ransacked the woods and 
the shores, and on one occasion had the pleasure of meeting 
with a general officer in his Britannic Majesty's service, who, 
on my presenting to him the official documents with which I 
had been honoured by the Home Department, evinced the 
greatest desire to be of service to me. We removed for some 
weeks to Dennisville, a neat little village, where the acquaint- 
ance of Judge Lincoln's family rendered our stay exceedingly 
agreeable. We had, besides, the gratification of being joined 
by two gentlemen from Boston, one of whom has ever since re- 



INTRODUCTION. xk 

inained a true friend to me. Time passed away, and having 
resolved to explore the British provinces of New Brunswick, we 
proceeded to St John's, where we met with much politeness, 
and ascending the river of that name, a most beautiful stream, 
reached Frederickton, where we spent a week. Here Sir Ar- 
chibald Campbell, Bart, received us with all the urbanity 
and kindness of his amiable nature. We then ascended the river 
to some miles below the " Great Falls" parallel to Mar's Hill, and 
again entered the United States' territory near Woodstock. From 
this spot we proceeded to Bangor, on the Penobscot river, as 
you will find detailed in one of my short narratives entitled, " A 
Journey in New Brunswick and Maine." 

Soon after our arrival in Boston, my son Victor Gifford 
set sail for England, to superintend the publication of my 
" Birds of America," and we resumed our pursuits, making 
frequent excursions into the surrounding country. Here I was 
a witness to the melancholy death of the great Spurzheim, 
and was myself suddenly attacked by a severe illness, which 
greatly alarmed my family ; but, thanks to Providence, and my 
medical friends Parkman, Warren, and Shattuck, I was 
soon enabled to proceed with my labours. A sedentary life and 
too close application being the cause assigned for my indisposition, 
I resolved to set out again in quest of fresh materials for my 
pencil and pen. My wishes directing me to Labrador, I re- 
turned eastward with my youngest son, and had the pleasure of 
being joined by four young gentlemen, all fond of Natural His- 
tory, and willing to encounter the difficulties and privations of 
the voyage, — George Shattuck, Thomas Lincoln, Wil- 
liam Ingalls, and Joseph Cooledge. 

At Eastport in Maine, I chartered a beautiful and fast- 



XX INTRODUCTION. 

sailing schooner, the " Ripley," under the command of Mr 
Henry W. Emmery, and, through the medium of my 
governmeut letters, was enabled to visit, in the United States' 
Revenue Cutters, portions of the Bay of Fundy, and several of 
the thinly inhabited islands at its entrance. At length the 
day of our departure for Labrador arrived. The wharf was 
crowded with all our friends and acquaintance, and as the " star- 
spangled banner" swiftly glided to the mast-head of our buoyant 
bark, we were surprised and gratified by a salute from the fort 
that towers high over the bay. As we passed the Revenue 
Cutter at anchor, her brave commander paid us the same honour; 
after which he came on board, and piloted us through a very 
difficult outlet. 

The next day, favoured by a good breeze, we proceeded at 
a rapid rate and passing through the interesting Gut of Cansso, 
launched into the broad waters of the Gulf of St Lawrence, and 
made sail for the Magdeleine Islands. There we spent a few 
days, and made several valuable observations. Proceeding from 
thence, we came in view of the famous " Gannet Rock," where 
countless numbers of Solan Geese sat on their eggs. A heavy 
gale coming on, away we sped with i-eefed sails, towards the 
coast of Labrador, which next morning came in view. The 
wind had by this time fallen to a moderate breeze, the sky was 
clear, and every eye was directed towards the land. As we ap- 
proached it we perceived what we supposed to be hundreds of 
snow-white sails sporting over the waters, and which we conjec- 
tured to be the barks of fishermen ; but on n earing them, we 
found them to be masses of drifting snow and ice, which filled 
every nook and cove of the rugged shores. Our captain had 
never been on the coast before, and our pilot proved useless ; 



INTRODUCTION. xxi 

but the former being a skilful and sagacious seaman, we pro- 
ceeded with confidence, and after passing a group of fishing 
boats, the occupiers of many of which we had known at Bast- 
port, we were at length safely anchored in the basin named 
" American Harbour," where we found several vessels taking 
in cured fish. 

But few days had elapsed, when, one morning, we saw a 
vessel making towards our anchorage, with the gallant flag of 
England waving in the breeze, and as she was moored within a 
cable-length of the Ripley, I soon paid my respects to her com- 
mander, Captain Bayfield of the Royal Navy. The polite- 
ness of British Naval officers is proverbial, and from the truly 
frank and cordial reception of this gentleman and his brave 
" companions in arms," I feel more than ever assured of the 
truth of this opinion. On board the " Gulnare," there was also 
an amiable and talented surgeon, who was a proficient in botany. 
We afterwards met with the vessel in several other harbours. 

Of the country of Labrador you will find many detached 
sketches in this volume, so that for the present it is enough 
for me to say that having passed the summer there, we sailed 
on our return for the United States, touched at Newfound- 
land, explored some of its woods and rivers, and landed at Pic- 
tou in Nova Scotia, where we left the Ripley, which pro- 
ceeded to Eastport with our collections. While at Pictou, we 
called upon Professor MacCulloch of the University, who 
received us in the most cordial manner, shewed us his superb 
collections of Northern Birds, and had the goodness to present 
me with specimens of skins, eggs, and nests. He did more still, 
for he travelled forty miles with us, to introduce us to some per- 
sons of high station in the Province, who gave us letters fcr 



xxii INTRODUCTION. 

Halifax. There, however, we had the misfortune of finding the 
individuals to whom we had introductions absent, and being 
ourselves pressed for time, we remained only a day or two, when 
we resumed our progress. 

Our journey through Nova Scotia was delightful, and, like 
the birds that, over our heads, or amidst the boughs, were cheer- 
fully moving towards a warmer climate, we proceeded gaily in a 
southern direction. At St John's in New Brunswick, I had the 
gratification of meeting with my kind and generous friend 
Edward Harris, Esq. of New York. Letters from my son 
in England which he handed to me, compelled me to abandon 
our contemplated trip, through the woods to Quebec, and I 
immediately proceeded to Boston. One day only was spent there, 
when the husband was in the arms of his wife, who with equal 
tenderness embraced her beloved child. 

I had left Eastport with four young gentlemen under my 
care, some of whom were strangers to me, and I felt the respon- 
sibility of my charge, being now and then filled with terror lest 
any accident should befal them, for they were as adventurous as 
they were young and active. But thanks to the Almighty, who 
granted us his protection, I had the satisfaction of restoring 
them in safety to their friends. And so excellent was the dis- 
position of my young companions, that not a single instance of 
misunderstanding occurred on the journey to cloud our enjoy- 
ment, but the most perfect cordiality was manifested by each 
towards all the rest. It was a happy moment to me when I de- 
livered them to their parents. 

From Boston we proceeded to New York, where I obtained 
a goodly number of subscribers, and experienced much kind- 
ness. My work demanded that I should spend the winter in 



INTRODUCTION. xxiii 

the south, and therefore I determined to set out immediately, 
I have frequently thought that my success in this vast under- 
taking was in part owing to my prompt decision in every thing 
relating to it. This decision I owe partly to my father, and 
partly to Benjamin Franklin. We arrived at Charles- 
ton in October 1833. At Columbia I formed an acquaintance 
with Thomas Cooper, the learned President of the College 
there. Circumstances rendered impracticable my projected trip 
to the Floridas, and along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, 
for which reason, after spending the winter in keen research, 
aided by my friend Bachman, I retraced my steps in March, 
in company with my wife and son, to New York. At Balti- 
more, where we spent a week, my friends Messrs Morris, 
GiLMORE, Skinner, and Drs Potter, Edmonston, Ged- 
DiNGS, and DucATELL, greatly aided me in augmenting my 
list of subscribers, as did also my friend Colonel Theodore 
Anderson. IMy best acknowledgments are offered to these 
gentlemen for their polite and kind attentions. 

Taking a hurried leave of my friends JMessrs Prime, King, 
Stuveysant, Harris, Lang, Ray, Van Ransselaer, 
Low, Joseph, Kruger, Buckner, Carman, Peal, 
Cooper, and the Reverend W. A. Duer, President of the 
College, we embarked on board the packet ship the North Ame- 
rica, commanded by that excellent man and experienced seaman 
Captain Charles Dixey, with an accession of sixty-two sub- 
scribers, and the collections made during nearly three years of 
travel and research. 

In the course of that period, I believe, I have acquired much 
information relative to the Ornithology of the United States. 
and in consequence of observations from naturalists on both con- 



xxiv INTRODUCTION. 

tinents, I embraced every opportunity of forming a complete 
collection of the various birds portrayed in my work. Until 
this journey I had attached no value to a skin after the life 
which gave it lustre had departed : indeed, the sight of one 
gave me more pain than pleasure. Portions of my collections 
of skins I sent to my friends in Europe at different times, and 
in this manner I parted with those of some newly discovered 
species before I had named them, so careless have 1 hitherto 
been respecting " priority." While forming my collection, I 
have often been pleased to find that many species, which, twenty- 
five years ago, were scarce and rarely to be met with, are now 
comparatively abundant ; — a circumstance which I attribute to 
the increase of cultivated land in the United States. I need 
scarcely add, that the specimens here alluded to have been mi- 
nutely examined, for the purpose of rendering the specific des- 
criptions as accurate as possible. And here I gladly embrace the 
opportunity offered of presenting my best thanks to Professor 
Jameson, for the kindness and liberality with which he has al- 
lowed me the free use of the splendid collection of birds in the 
museum of the University of Edinburgh. Of this privilege I 
have availed myself in comparing specimens in my own collec- 
tion with others obtained both in the United States and in other 
parts of the world. 

Ever anxious to please you, and lay before you the best ef- 
forts of my pencil, I carefully examined all my unpublished 
drawings before I departed from England, and since then I 
have made fresh representations of more than a hundred objects, 
which had been painted twenty years or more previously. On 
my latter rambles I have not only procured species not known 
before, but have also succeeded in obtaining some of those of 



INTRODUCTION. xxv 

which Bonaparte and Wilson had only met with single 
specimens. While in the Floridas and Carolinas, my oppor- 
tunities of determining the numerous species of Herons, Ibises, 
Pigeons, &c. were ample, for I lived among them, and carefully 
studied their habits. One motive for my journey to Labrador 
was to ascertain the summer plumage and mode of breeding of 
the Water Birds, which in spring retire thither for the purpose 
of rearing their young in security, far remote from the haunts 
of man. Besides accomplishing this object, I also met there 
with a few species hitherto undescribed. 

It has been said by some, that my work on the Birds of 
America would not terminate until I had added to those of the 
United States, the numerous species of the southern portion of 
our continent. Allow me, reader, to refer you in refutation of 
this assertion to my prospectus, in which it is stated that my 
work will be completed in four volumes- In whatever other 
enterprise I may engage, rely upon it 1 will adhere to my ori- 
ginal design in this ; and the only change will be, that the pe- 
riod of pubhcation will be shortened, and that there will be 
added landscapes and views, which were not promised in the 
prospectus 

From my original intention of publishing rt//the I^and Birds 
first, I have been induced to deviate, in consequence of letters 
from my patrons, requesting that, after the conclusion of the se- 
cond volume, the Water Birds should immediately appear. In- 
deed the various opinions which my subscribers occasionally ex- 
press, are not a little perplexing to the " American Woodsman," 
ever desirous to please all, and to adhere to the method proposed 
at the commencement of the work. In the fourth and last vo- 
lume, after the Water Birds, will be represented all that remain 



xxvi INTRODUCTION- 

unpublished, or that may in the mean time be discovered, of the 
Laud Birds. As I cannot, in the fourth volume, proportion 
the plates in the same manner as in the other three, the number 
of large drawings will be much greater in it : but the numbers 
will still consist of five plates, and I trust my patrons will find the 
same careful delineation as before, with more perfect engraving 
and colouring. These last numbers will of course be much more 
expensive to me than those in which three of the plates were 
small. The fourth volume will conclude with representations of 
the eggs of the different species. 

You have perhaps observed, or if not, I may be allowed to 
tell you, that in the first volume of my Illustrations, in which 
there are 100 plates, 240 figures of birds are given ; and that in 
the second, consisting of the same number of plates, there are 
244 figures. The number of species not described by Wil- 
son, are, in the first volume twenty-one, and in the second 
twenty-four. 

Having had but one object in view since I became acquaint- 
ed with my zealous ornithological friend, the Prince of Musig- 
nano, I have spared no time, no labour, no expense, in endeavour- 
ing to render my work as perfect as it was possible for me and 
my family to make it. We have all laboured at it, and every 
other occupation has been laid aside, that we might present in 
the best form the Birds of America, to the generous individuals 
who have placed their names on my subscription list. I shall 
rejoice if I have in any degree advanced the knowledge of so 
delightful a study as that which has occupied the greater part 
of my life. 

I have spoken to you, kind reader, more than once of my 
family. Allow me to introduce them : — my eldest son Victor 



INTRODUCTION. xxvii 

GiFFORD, the younger John Woodhouse. — Of their natural 
or acquh'ed talents it does not become me to speak ; but should 
you some day see the " Quadrupeds of America" published by 
their united efforts, do not forget that a pupil of David first 
gave them lessons in drawing, and that a member of the Bake- 
well family formed their youthful minds. 

To England I am as much as ever indebted for support in my 
hazardous and most expensive undertaking, and more than ever 
grateful for that assistance without which my present publica- 
tion might, like an uncherished plant, have died. While I re- 
flect on the unexpected honours bestowed on a stranger through 
the generous indulgence of her valuable scientific associations, 
I cannot refrain from expressing my gratitude for the facilities 
which I have enjoyed under the influence which these societies 
are spreading over her hospitable lands, as well as in other coun- 
tries. I feel equally proud and thankful when I have to say 
that my own dear country is affording me a support equal to 
that supplied by Europe. 

Permit me now to say a few words respecting the persons 
engaged about my work. T have much pleasure in telling my 
patrons in Europe and America, that my engraver Mr Havell 
has improved greatly in the execution of the plates, and that the 
numbers of the " Birds of America" have appeared with a regu- 
larity seldom observed in so large a publication. For this, praise 
is due not only to Mr Havell, but also to his assistants Mr 
Blake, Mr Stewart, and Mr Edington. 

I have in this, as in my preceding volume, followed the no- 
menclatm-e of my much valued friend Charles Lucian Bo- 
naparte, and this I intend to do in those which are to come, 
excepting always those alterations which I may deem absolutely 



xxviii INTRODUCTION. 

necessary. It is my intention, at the close, to present a general 
table, exhibiting the geographical distribution of the different 
species. The order in which the plates have been published, 
precluding the possibility of arranging the species in a systema- 
tic manner, it has not been deemed expedient to enter into the 
critical remarks as to affinity and grouping, which might other- 
wise have been made ; but at another period I may offer you my 
ideas on this interesting subject. 

And now, reader, allow me to address my excellent friend 
the Critic. Would that it were in my power to express the feel- 
ings that ever since he glanced his eye over my productions, 
whether brought forth by the pencil or the pen, have filled my 
heart with the deepest gratitude ; — that I could disclose to him 
how exhilarating have been his smiles, and how useful have been 
his hints in the prosecution of my enterprise ! If he has found 
reason to bestow his commendations upon my first volume, I 
trust he will not find the present more defective. Indeed, I can 
assure him that the labour bestowed upon it by me has been 
much greater, and that I have exerted every effort to deserve his 
approbation. 

JOHN J. AUDUBON. 

Edinburgh, 'J 

1st December 1834. ) 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



The Raven, 

The Blue Jay 

The Canada Flycatcher, 
The Chipping Sparrow, 
The Red-bellied Nuthatch, 

The Runaway, .... 

The Black Vulture or Carrion Crow, 
The Canada Jay, .... 
The Fox-coloured Sparrow, 
The Savannah Finch, . . 
The Hooded Warbler, . . 



Corvus Corax, 
Corvus cristatus, . 
Muscicapa canadensis, 
Fringilla socialise 
Sitta canadensis, . 



The Lost One, 



The Pileated Woodpecker, 
The Downy Woodpecker, 
The Blue Bird, .... 
The White-crowned Sparrow, 
The Wood Pewee, . . . , 



Cathartes Jota, 
Corvus canadensis, 
Fringilla iliaca, , 
Fringilla Savanna, 
Sylvia mitrata, 



Picus pileatus, 

Picus pnbescens, . 
Sylvia Sialis, . . 
Fringilla leucophrys, 
Muscicapa virens, 



The Force of the Waters, 

The Ferruginous Thrush, 
The Mississippi Kite, . . . 
The Warbling Flycatcher or Vireo, 
The Yellow-throated Flycatcher, or i 

Vireo, ) 

The Pewee Flycatcher, .... 

The Squatters of the Mississippi, 



Turdus rufus, 
Falco pliimbeus, 
Vireo gilvus, . 



Vireo flavifrons, 
Muscicapa fusca. 



Page 
1 

11 

17 
21 
24 

27 

33 
53 

58 
63 
66 

69 

74 
81 
84 
88 
93 

97 

102 
108 
114 

119 

122 

131 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



The Snowy Owl, 

The Blue Grosbeak, .... 
The Black and Yellow Warbler, 
The Green Black-capped Flycatcher 
The Brown-headed Nuthatch, 

The Squatters of Labrador, 
The White-headed Eagle, . . 
The Rose-breasted Grosbeak, 

The Cat Bird, 

The Great Crested Flycatcher, . 
The Yellow-winged Sparrow, 
Townsend's Bunting, .... 

Death of a Pirate, .... 
The American Robin, or Migratory 

Thrush, 

The Three- toed Woodpecker. . . 

The Black-poll Warbler, . . . . 

The Hemlock Warbler, . . . . 

The Blackburnian Warbler, . . . 



Sti'ix nyctea, . . 
Fringilla ccerulea, 
Sylvia maculosa, . 
Muscicapa Wilsomi, 
Sitta pusilla, 



Falco leucocephalus, . 
Fringilla ludoviciana, 
Turdus felivox, 
Muscicapa crinita, . 
Fringilla passerina, . 
Emheriza Townsendii, 



Turdus migratorius, 

Picus tridactylus, 
Sylvia striata, 
Sylvia parus, . . 
Sylvia BlackhurnicB, 



A Ball in Newfoundland, . . 

The Meadow Lark or American 

Starling, 

The Yellow-breasted Chat, . . 
The Connecticut Warbler, . . 
The Field Sparrow, .... 
The Pine Creeping Warbler, '. 

The Live-Oakers, .... 

The Goshawk, 

The American Sparrow-hawk, . 
The Golden-crowned Thrush, 
The Small Green Crested Flycatcher 
The Yellow Red-poll Warbler, . 

Spring Garden, 

The Fish-Crow, 



Sturnus ludovicianus, 

Icteria viridis, 
Sylvia agilis, . 
Fringilla pusilla, . 
Sylvia pinus, . . 



Falco Palumharius, 
Falco Sparverius, 
Turdus aurocapillus, 
Muscicapa acadica, 
Sylvia petechia, 



Corvus ossifragus, 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



The Night-hawk, .... 
The Pine Swamp Warbler, . 
The Sharp-tailed Finch, . 
MacGillivray's Finch, . . 
The Red-eyed Vireo, . . . 

St John's River in Florida, 
The Turkey Buzzard, . . . 
The White-breasted Nuthatch, 
The Yellow- rump Warbler, . 
The Tennessee Warbler, . . 
The Black-throated Blue Warbler, 

The Florida Keys, . . 
The American Crow, . . 
The Rusty Grakle, . . . 
The Chimney Swallow, or American 

Swift, 

The Cardinal Grosbeak, 
The Carolina Titmouse, . 

The Florida Keys, . . . 
The Caracara Eagle, . . . 
The Zenaida Dove, .... 
The Yellow Red-Poll Warbler, 
The Tawny Thrush, . . . 
Bachman's Finch, .... 

The Turtlers, 

The Rough-legged Falcon, 
The Key West Pigeon, . . 
The Fork-tailed Flycatcher, . 
The Mangrove Cuckoo, 
The Pipiry Flycatcher, . . 

The Burning of the Forests 

The Barn Owl, 

The Blue-headed Pigeon, . . 
The Barn Swallow, .... 



Caprimulgus virginiatms, 
Sylvia sphagnosa, 
Fringilla caudacuta, . 
Fringilla Macgillivraii 
Vireo olivaceus, 



Cathartes Aura, . 
Sitta carolinensis, 
Sylvia coronata, . 
Sylvia peregrina, . 
Sylvia canadensis, 



Corvus americanus, . 
Quiscalus ferrugineus, 

> Cypselus pelasgius, . 

Fringilla Cardinalis, 
Parus carolinensis, . 



Polyborus vulgaris, . 
Columba Zenaida, 
Sylvia petechia, 
Turdiis Wilsonii, 
Fringilla Bachmanii, 



Falco lagopus, . . 
Columba tnontana, 
Muscicapa savana, . 
Coccyzus Seniculus, . 
Muscicapa dominicensis, 

Strix fiammea, 
Columba cyanocephala, 
Hirundo rustica, . . 



Page 

273 

279 
281 

283 

287 

291 
296 
299 
303 
307 
309 

312 
317 
325 

329 

336 
341 

345 

350 
354 
360 
362 

366 

370 
377 

382 
387 
390 
392 

397 
403 
411 
413 



xxxii TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

Page 

The Olive-sided Flycatcher, . . . Muscicapa Cooperi, . . . 422 

Nuttall's Short-Billed Marsh Wren, Troglodytes brevirostris, . 427 

A Moose Hunt, 431 

The Spotted or Canada Grous, . . Tefrao canadensis, . . . 437 

White-headed Pigeon, . . . . ' Columba leucocephala, . . 443 

The Orange-crowned Warbler, . . Sylvia celata, 440 

The Wood Wren, Troglodytes americana, . . 452 

The Pine Finch, Fringilla pinus, .... 455 

Journey in New Brunswick and Maine, 459 

The Golden Eagle, Falco chrysaetos, .... 464 

The Ground Dove, Columba passerina, . . . 471 

American Golden-crested Wren, . Regulus tricolor, .... 476 

The Mango Hamming Bird, . . . Trochilus Mango, . . . 480 

Bach man's Warbler, Sylvia Bachmanii, . . . 483 

The Bay of Fundy, 485 

The Pinnated Grous, Tetrao Cupido, .... 490 

The Boat-tailed Grakle or Great 

Crow Blackbird 

The Tree Sparrow, Fringilla canadensis, . . 511 

The Snow Bunting, Emberiza nivalis, . . . 515 

The Yellow-bellied Woodpecker, . Picus varius, 519 

CoD-riSHiNG, 522 

The Willow Grous, Tetrao Saliceti, .... 528 

The Great Cinereous Shrike, . . Lanius Excubitor, . . . 534 

Lincoln's Finch, Fringilla Lincolnii, . . . 539 

The Hudson's Bay Titmouse, . . Parus Imdsonicus, . . . 543 

The Ruby-crowned Regulus, . . Regulus Calendula, . . . 546 

The Merchant of Savannah, 549 

The Iceland or Jer Falcon, . . . Falco islandicus, .... 552 



V Quiscalus major, .... 504 



The Common Crossbill, 
Swainson's Warbler, . . 
The Little or Acadian Owl, 
The Shore Lark, .... 



. Loxia curvirostra, . . 559 

. Sylvia Swainsonii, . . . 563 

. Strix acadica, 567 

. Alauda alpestris, .... 570 

Kentucky Barbicue on the Fourth of July, 576 



ORNITHOLOGICAL BIOGRAPHY. 



THE RAVEN. 

CoRvus Cor AX, Linn. 

PLATE CI. Male. 

Leaving to compilers the task of repeating the mass of fabulous and 
unedifying matter that has been accumulated in the course of ages, re- 
specting this and other remarkable species of birds, and arranging the 
materials which I have obtained during years of laborious but gratifying 
observation, I now resume my attempts to delineate the manners of the 
feathered denizens of ovir American woods and plains. In treating of the 
birds represented in the Second Volume of my Plates, as I have done with 
respect to those of the First, I will confine myself to the particulars which 
I have been able to gather in the course of a life chiefly spent in studying 
the birds of my native land, where I have had abundant opportunities of 
contemplating their manners, and of admiring the manifestations of the 
glorious perfections of their Omnipotent Creator. 

There, amid the tall grass of the far-extended prairies of the West, in 
the solemn forests of the North, on the heights of the midland mountains, 
by the shores of the boundless ocean, and on the bosom of the vast lakes 
and magnificent rivers, have I sought to search out the things which have 
been hidden since the creation of this wondrous world, or seen only by 
the naked Indian, who has, for unknown ages, dwelt in the gorgeous but 
melancholy wilderness. Who is the stranger to my own dear country 
that can form an adequate conception of the extent of its primeval woods, 
— of the glory of those columnar trunks, that for centuries have waved in 
the breeze, and resisted the shock of the tempest, — of the vast bays of 
our Atlantic coasts, replenished by thousands of streams, differing in 

VOL. II. A 



2 RAVEN. 

magnitude, as differ the stars that sparkle in the expanse of the pure 
heavens, — of the diversity of aspect in our western plains, our sandy 
southern shores, interspersed with reedy swamps, and the cliffs that pro- 
tect our eastern coasts, — of the rapid currents of the Mexican Gulf, and 
the rushing tide streams of the Bay of Fundy, — of our ocean-lakes, our 
mighty rivers, our thundering cataracts, our majestic mountains, rearing 
their snowy heads into the calm regions of the clear cold sky ? Would that 
I could delineate to you the varied features of that loved land ! But, un- 
willing, as I always am, to attempt the description of objects beyond my 
comprehension, you will, I hope, allow me to tell you all that I know of 
those which I have admired in youth, and studied in manhood, — for the 
acquisition of which I have braved the enervating heats of the south, and 
the cramping colds of the north, penetrated the tangled cane-swamp, thrid 
the dubious trail of the silent forest, paddled my frail canoe in the creeks 
of the marshy shore, and swept in my gallant bark o'er the swelling waves 
of the ocean. And now. Kind Reader, let me resume my descriptions, and 
proceed towards the completion of a task which, with reverence would I 
say it, seems to have been imposed upon me by Him who called me into 
existence. 

In the United States, the Raven is in some measure a migratory bird, 
individuals retiring to the extreme south during severe winters, but re- 
turning towards the Middle, Western, and Northern Districts, at the first 
indications of milder weather. A few are known to breed in the moun- 
tainous portions of South Carohna, but instances of this kind are rare, 
and are occasioned merely by the security aflForded by inaccessible preci- 
pices, in which they may rear their young. Their usual places of resort 
are the mountains, the abrupt banks of rivers, the rocky shores of lakes, 
and the cliffs of thinly-peopled or deserted islands. It is in such places 
that these birds must be watched and examined, before one can judge of 
their natural habits, as manifested amid their freedom from the dread of 
their most dangerous enemy, the lord of the creation. 

There, through the clear and rarifled atmosphere, the Raven spreads 
his glossy wings and tail, and, as he onward sails, rises higher and higher 
each bold sweep that he makes, as if conscious that the nearer he ap- 
proaches the sun, the more splendent will become the tints of his plumage. 
Intent on convincing his mate of the fervour and constancy of his love, 
he now gently glides beneath her, floats in the buoyant air, or saUs by her 
side. Would that I could describe to you, reader, the many musical in- 



RAVEN. 3 

flections by means of which they hold converse during these amatory ex- 
cursions ! These sounds doubtless express their pure conjugal feelings, 
confirmed and rendered more intense by long years of happiness in each 
other's society. In this manner they may recall the pleasing remem- 
brance of their youthful days, recount the events of their life, express the 
pleasure they have enjoyed, and perhaps conclude with humble prayer to 
the Author of their being for a continuation of it. 

Now, tlieir matins are over ; the happy pair are seen to glide towards 
the earth in spiral lines ; they alight on the boldest summit of a rock, so 
high that you can scarcely judge of their actual size ; they approach each 
other, their bills meet, and caresses are exchanged as tender as those of 
the gentle Turtle Dove. Far beneath, wave after wave dashes in foam 
against the impregnable sides of the rocky tower, the very aspect of 
which would be terrific to almost any other creatures than the sable 
pair, which for years have resorted to it, to rear the dearly-cherished fruits 
of their connubial love. Midway between them and the boiUng waters, 
some shelving ledge conceals their eyry. To it they now betake them- 
selves, to see what damage it has sustained from the peltings of the winter 
tempests. Off they fly to the distant woods for fresh materials with which 
to repair the breach ; or on the plain they collect the hair and fur of qua- 
drupeds; or from the sandy beach pick up the weeds that have been 
washed there. By degrees, the nest is enlarged and trimmed, and when 
every thing has been rendered clean and comfortable, the female deposits 
her eggs, and begins to sit upon them, while her brave and affectionate 
mate protects and feeds her, and at intervals takes her place. 

All around is now silent, save the hoarse murmur of the waves, or the 
whistling sounds produced by the flight of the waterfowl travelling towards 
the northern regions. At length the young burst the shell, when the care- 
ful parents, after congratulating each other on the happy event, disgorge 
some half-macerated food, which they deposit in their tender mouths. 
Should the most daring adventurer of the air approach, he is attacked 
with fury and repelled. As the young grow up, they are urged to be care- 
ful and silent : — a single false movement might precipitate them into the 
abyss below ; a single cry during the absence of their parents might bring 
upon them the remorseless claws of the swift Peregrine or Jerfalcon. 
The old birds themselves seem to improve in care, diligence, and activity, 
varying their course Avhen returning to their home, and often entering it 
when unexpected. The young are now seen to stand on the edge of the 



4 RAVEN. 

nest ; they flap their wings, and at length take courage and fly to some 
more commodious and not distant lodgment. Gradually they become 
able to follow their parents abroad, and at length search for maintenance 
in their company, and that of others, until the period of breeding arrives, 
when they separate in pairs, and disperse. 

Notwithstanding all the care of the Raven, his nest is invaded where- 
ever it is found. His usefulness is forgotten, his faults are remembered 
and multiplied by imagination ; and whenever he presents himself he is 
shot at, because from time immemorial ignorance, prejudice, and destruc- 
tiveness have operated on the mind of man to his detriment. Men will 
peril their lives to reach his nest, assisted by ropes and poles, alleging 
merely that he has killed one of their numerous sheep or lambs. Some 
say they destroy the Raven because he is black ; others, because his 
croaking is unpleasant and ominous ! Unfortunate truly are the young 
ones that are carried home to become the wretched pets of some ill-brought- 
up child ! For my part, I admire the Raven, because I see much in him 
calculated to excite our wonder. It is true that he may sometimes hasten 
the death of a half-starved sheep, or destroy a weakly lamb ; he may eat 
the eggs of other birds, or occasionally steal from the farmer some of those 
which he calls his own ; young fowls also afford precious morsels to him- 
self and his progeny ; — but how many sheep, lambs, and fowls, are saved 
through his agency ! The more intelligent of our farmers are well aware 
that the Raven destroys numberless insects, grubs, and worms ; that he 
kills mice, moles, and rats, whenever he can find them ; that he will seize 
the weasel, the young opossum, and the skunk ; that, with the perseverance 
of a cat, he will watch the burrows of foxes, and pounce on the cubs ; 
our farmers also are fully aware that he apprises them of the wolfs prow- 
lings around their yard, and that he never intrudes on their corn fields 
except to benefit them ; — yes, good reader, the farmer knows all this 
well, but he also knows his power, and, interfere as you may, with tale of 
pity or of truth, the bird is a Raven, and, as Lafontaine has aptly 
and most truly said, " La loi du plus fort est toujours la meilleure ! " 

The flight of the Raven is powerful, even, and at certain periods 
greatly protracted. During calm and fair weather it often ascends to an 
immense height, sailing there for hours at a time ; and although it cannot 
be called swift, it propels itself with sufficient power to enable it to con- 
tend with different species of hawks, and even with eagles when attacked 
by them. It manages to guide its course through the thickest fogs of 



RAVEN. 5 

the countries of the north, and is able to travel over immense tracts of 
land or water without rest. 

The Raven is omnivorous, its food consisting of small animals of every 
kind, eggs, dead fish, carrion, shell-fish, insects, worms, nuts, berries, and 
other kinds of fruit. I have never seen one attack a large living animal, 
as the Turkey Buzzard and Carrion Crow are wont to do ; but I have 
known it follow hunters when without dogs, to feed on the offals of the 
game, and carry off salted fish when placed in a spring to freshen. It 
often rises in the air with a shell-fish for the purpose of breaking it by 
letting it fall on a rock. Its sight is exceedingly acute, but its smell, if it 
possess the sense, is weak. In this respect, it bears a great resemblance 
to our vultures. 

The breeding season of this bird varies, according to the latitude, 
from the beginning of January to that of June. I have found young Ravens 
on the banks of the Lehigh and the Susquehannah rivers on the 1st of 
May ; about ten days later on those of the majestic Hudson ; in the be- 
ginning of June on the island of Grand Manan off the Bay of Fundy ; 
and at Labrador, as late as the middle of July. The nest is always placed 
in the most inaccesssible part of rocks that can be found, never, I believe, 
on trees, at least in America. It is composed of sticks, coarse weeds, 
wool, and bunches of hair of different animals. The eggs are from four 
to six, of a rather elongated oval shape, fully two inches in length, having 
a ground colour of light greenish-blue, sprinkled all over with small irre- 
gular blotches of light purple and yellowish-brown, so numerous on the 
larger end, as almost entirely to cover it. The period of incubation extends 
to nineteen or twenty days. Only one brood is raised in a year, unless the 
eggs or young be removed or destroyed. The young remain in the nest 
many weeks before they are able to fly. The old birds return to the same 
nest for years in succession ; and should one of them be destroyed, the 
other will lead a new partner to the same abode. Even after the young 
have made their appearance, should one of the parents be killed, the sur- 
vivor usually manages to find a mate, who undertakes the task of assisting 
in feeding them. 

The Raven may be said to be of a social disposition, for, after the 
breeding season, flocks of forty, fifty, or more, may sometimes be seen, as 
I observed on the coast of Labrador, and on the Missouri. When domes- 
ticated, and treated with kindness, it becomes attached to its owner, and 
will follow him about with all the familiaritv of a confiding friend. It is 



fi RAVEN. 

capable of imitating the human voice, so that individuals have sometimes 
been taught to enunciate a few words with great distinctness. 

On the ground the Raven walks in a stately manner, its motions ex- 
hibiting a kind of thoughtful consideration, almost amounting to gravity. 
While walking it frequently moves up its wings as if to keep their muscles 
in action. I never knew an instance of their roosting in the woods, al- 
though they frequently alight on trees, to which they sometimes resort 
for the purpose of procuring nuts and other fruits. They usually betake 
themselves at night to high rocks, in situations protected from the nor- 
therly winds. Possessing to all appearance the faculty of judging of the 
coming weather, they remove from the higher, wild and dreary districts 
where they breed, into the low lands, at the approach of winter, when 
they are frequently seen along the shores of the sea, collecting the garbage 
that has been cast to land, or picking up the shell-fit-h as the tide retires. 
They are vigilant, industrious, and, when the safety of their young or nest 
is at stake, courageous, driving away hawks and eagles whenever they 
happen to come near, although in no case do they venture to attack man. 
Indeed, it is extremely difficult to get within shot of an old Raven. I 
have more than once been only a few yards from one while it was sitting 
on its eggs, having attained this proximity by creeping cautiously to the 
overhanging edge of a precipice ; but the moment the bird perceived me, 
it would fly off apparently in much confusion. They are so cunning and 
wary, that they can seldom be caught in a trap ; and they vnU watch one 
intended for a fox, a wolf, or a bear, until one of these animals comes up, 
and is taken, when they wiU go to it and eat the alluring bait. 

While at Little Macatina Harbour, on the coast of Labrador, in July 
1833, I saw a Raven's nest placed under the shelvings of the rugged and 
fearful rocks that form one side of that singular place. The young 
were nearly fledged, and now and then called loudly to their parents, as 
if to inquire why our vessel had come there. One of them in attempting 
to fly away fell into the water. It was secured, when I trimmed one of 
its wings, and turned it loose on the deck along with some other birds. 
The mother, however, kept sailing high over the schooner, repeating some 
notes, which it seems the young one understood, for it walked carefully to 
the end of the bowsprit, opened its wings, and tried to fly, but being un- 
able, fell into the water and was drowned. In a few days the rest of the 
family left the place, and we saw no more of them. Some of the sailors 
Avho had come to the harbour eight years in succession, assured me that they 



RAVEN. 7 

had always observed the Ravens breeding there. My whole party found 
it impossible to shoot one of the old ones, who went to the nest and left it 
with so much caution, that the task of watching them became irksome. One 
afternoon I concealed myself under a pile of detached rocks for more than 
two hours. The young frequently croaked as I was waiting there, but 
no parent came ; so I left the place, but the next moment the female was 
seen from the deck of the Ripley. She alighted in the nest, fed her 
young, and was off again before I could reach within shooting distance. 
It was at this place that I observed how singularly well those birds coidd 
travel to and from their nest, at a time when I could not, on account 
of the fog, see them on wing at a greater distance than twenty or thirty 
yards. On the 29th of the same month, young Ravens were seen in 
flocks with their parents ; but they were already very shy. 

I found a nest of this bird at a narrow part of the Lehigh in Penn- 
sylvania, in a deep fissure of the rocks, not more than twenty feet above 
the water, the security afforded by which had probably been considered 
as equivalent to that which might have been gained by a greater height of 
rock. The nest, in fact, hung over the stream, so that it was impossible 
to reach it either from above or from below. Many years ago, I saw ano- 
ther placed immediately beneath the arch of the Rock Bridge in Virginia. 
It was situated on a small projecting stone scarcely a foot square ; yet the 
Raven appeared quite satisfied as to the security of her brood on that nar- 
row bed. This extraordinary production of Nature is placed on the as- 
cent of a hill, which appears to have been rent asunder by some convul- 
sion of the earth. The fissure is about 200 feet deep, and above 80 in 
width under the arch, narrowing to 40 or so at the bottom. The thick- 
ness of the arch probably exceeds 30 feet, and increases at either end. 
At the bottom is seen the water of what is called Cedar Creek, gently 
meandering in its rocky channel. The place, when I saw it, was graced 
by handsome trees, and in some positions there was a pleasing view 
of the " Blue Ridge"" and the " North Mountain."" Tradition reports 
that General Washington threw a dollar over the bridge from the creek 
below. I may mention, that I passed it under pecuhar circumstances 
connected with my ornithological pursuits, as you will find detailed in 
another page of this volume. 

I have already stated that some Ravens breed as far south as the 
Carolinas. The place to which they resort for this purpose is called the 
Table Mountain, which is situated in the district of Pendleton, and of 



8 RAVEN. 

which I extract an account from Drayton's Views of South Carolina. 
" The Table Mountain is the most distinguished of all the eminences of 
the State. Its height exceeds 3000 feet, and thirty farms may be dis- 
cerned at any one view from its top by the unaided eye. Its side is an 
abrupt precipice of solid rock, 300 feet deep, and nearly perpendicular. 
The valley underneath appears to be as much below the level as the top 
of the mountain towers above it. This precipice is called the Lover's 
Leap. To those who are in the vaUey, it looks like an immense wall 
stretching up to heaven, and the awe which it inspires is considerably in- 
creased by the quantities of bones which lie whitening at its base, — the 
remains of various animals which had incautiously approached too near 
its edge. Its summit is often enveloped in clouds. The gradual ascent 
of the country from the sea-coast to this western extremity of the State, 
added to the height of this mountain, must place its top more than 4000 
feet above the level of the Atlantic Ocean ; an eminence from which vessels 
crossing the bar of Charleston might be seen with the aid of such improved 
glasses as are now in use. Large masses of snow tumble from the side of 
this mountain in the winter season, the fall of which has been heard seven 
miles. Its summit is the resort of deer and bears. The woods produce 
mast in abundance ; wild pigeons resort to it in such numbers as some- 
times to break the limbs of trees on which they alight." 

A friend of mine, who is an excellent observer of the habits of birds, 
has told me that he saw a Raven's nest in the high lands of New York 
placed in a deep fissure of a rock, in the immediate vicinity of that of a 
Golden Eagle. I chanced one day, while in the Great Pine Forest of 
Pennsylvania, to stop, for the purpose of resting and refreshing myself, 
at a camp of the good Jediah Irish, with whom I have already made 
you acquainted during my former rambles in that remarkable district. 
We had seen some Ravens that day, and our conversation returning to 
them, the person employed in preparing the food of the woodcutters told 
us, that whenever she chanced to place a salt mackerel or other fish in 
the brook running from the spring near the camp, " the Raven was sure 
to carry it away in less than an hour." She firmly believed that it had 
the power of smelHng the fish as she carried it from the hut to the water. 
We went to the spot with her, and, leaving a fish there, returned to our 
homely meal, but on visiting the place several hours after, we found it 
untouched. " The Raven perhaps smelt the powder in our gims !" At 
all events, it did not choose to come that day. 



RAVEN. 9 

The flesh of this bird is tough and unfit for food, but this indicates 
its great strength. When wounded, it bites severely, and scratches with 
its claws as fiercely as a Hawk. Like the latter also, it disgorges indi- 
gestible substances, as bones, hair, and feathers. 

I have represented a very old male Raven on a branch of the Shell- 
bark Hickory ; not because the bird alights on any particular kind of 
tree by preference, but because I thought you might be interested in see- 
ins so fruitful a branch of that valuable ornament of our forests. 



CoHvus CoRAX, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 155 — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 150 — 
Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 56 — Swains, and Richards. 
Fauna Boreali-Americ. part ii. p. 290 — Lath. Gen. Synops. vol. i. p. 367. 

E.AVEN, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. ix. p. 113, pi. 75, fig. 3. — Nuttall, Manual, part i, 
p. 202. 

Old Male. Plate CI. 

Bill longish, thick, robust, somewhat compressed ; upper mandible 
with the dorsal line arched and declinate, the sides convex ; lower man- 
dible straight, the sides inclined obliquely outwards ; the edges of both 
sharp, the tip slightly deflected. Nostrils basal, lateral, round, covered 
by bristly feathers, which are directed forwards. Head large, neck short, 
body robust. Legs of moderate length, strong ; tarsus covered anteriorly 
with scutella, shorter than the middle toe ; toes scutellate above, separated 
almost to the base ; first, second, and fourth primaries nearly equal in 
length, third longest ; claws moderate, arched, acute, compressed, chan- 
nelled beneath. 

Plumage compact, highly glossed. Stiff, bristly feathers, with dis- 
united barbs over the nostrils, directed forwards and adpressed. Feathers 
of the hind neck with disunited barbs, of the fore part of the neck elon- 
gated, lanceolatedj'and pointed. Wings long, first primary short, fourth 
longest ; primaries tapering, the third, fourth, and fifth, cut out towards 
the end externally ; secondaries very broad, the outer abrupt with a minute 
acumen, the inner rounded. Tail rather long, rounded, of twelve slightly 
recurved feathers. 

Beak, tarsi, toes and claws, deep black and shining. Iris brown. The 
general colour of the plumage is deep black, with purple reflections above, 
greenish below. Tints of green on the back, quills, and tail. Breast and 
belly browned, with green reflections, and a slight mixture of purple tints. 



10 RAVEN. 

Length 26 inches, extent of wings 50 ; beak along the ridge 3, along 
the gap 3| ; tarsus Q^, middle toe 2f . 

The Female is usually somewhat smaller, but in all respects resembles 
the male. 

The Young Males are three years in acquiring the full development of 
the long-pointed feathers, which hang, as it were, from the throat and 
fore-part of the neck. 



The Thick Shell-Bark Hickory. 

JuGLANS SULCATA, Pursh, Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 637.— J. laciniosa, Mick. Arbr. 
Forest, de I'Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 199, pi. 8 — Moncecia Polyandria, Linn. 
Terebinthace^, Juss. 

Leaves pinnate, with about nine obovato-lanceolate, acuminate, ser- 
rate leaflets, which are downy beneath, the terminal one nearly sessile and 
attenuated at the base ; fruit roundish, with four longitudinal promi- 
nences ; nut nearly globular, slightly compressed, smooth, with an elon- 
o-ated tip. It occurs from Louisiana to Massachusetts, although not, I 
beheve, farther eastward, and also exists in the whole of the western coun- 
try, as far as I have travelled. It grows in almost every kind of soil, and 
in some parts acquires a great size. When detached, it forms a fine 
ornament to the meadows and fields. The wood, which is hard and ex- 
tremely pliant, is greatly esteemed for various purposes, and when kept 
dry is lasting. Excepting the Paean nuts, none in America are considered 
equal to those of the present species. They are generally collected after 
falling, late in autumn, and are abundant in most of our markets, large 
quantities being shipped to Europe. 



( 11 ) 



THE BLUE JAY. 

CORVUS CRISTATUS, LiNN. 
PLATE CII. Male and Female. 

Readee, look at the plate in which are represented three individuals of 
this beautiful species, — rogues though they be, and thieves, as I would 
call them, were it fit for me to pass judgment on their actions. See how 
each is enjoying the fruits of his knavery, sucking the egg which he has 
pilfered from the nest of some innocent dove or harmless partridge ! Who 
could imagine that a form so graceful, arrayed by nature in a garb so 
resplendent, should harbour so much mischief ; — that selfishness, duph- 
city, and mahce should form the moral accompaniments of so much 
physical perfection ! Yet so it is, and how like beings of a much higher 
order, are these gay deceivers ! Aye, I could write you a whole chapter 
on this subject, were not my task of a different nature. 

The Blue Jay is one of those birds that are found capable of subsist- 
ing in cold as well as in warm climates. It occurs as far north as the 
Canadas, where it makes occasional attacks upon the corn cribs of the 
farmers, and it is found in the most southern portions of the United 
States, where it abounds during the winter. Every where it manifests the 
same mischievous disposition. It imitates the cry of the Sparrow Hawk 
so perfectly, that the little birds in the neighbourhood hurry into the thick 
coverts, to avoid what they believe to be the attack of that marauder. 
It robs every nest it can find, sucks the eggs like the crow, or tears to 
pieces and devours the young birds. A friend once wounded a Grous 
(Tetrao umhellus), and marked the direction which it followed, but had 
not proceeded two hundred yards in pursuit, when he heard something 
fluttering in the bushes, and found his bird belaboured by two Blue 
Jays, who were picking out its eyes. The same person once put a Flying 
Squirrel into the cage of one of these birds, merely to preserve it for one 
night ; but on looking into the cage about eleven o'clock next day, he 
found the animal partly eaten. A Blue Jay at Charleston destroyed all 
the birds of an aviary. One after another had been killed, and the rats 
were supposed to have been the culprits, but no crevice could be seen 
large enough to admit one. Then the mice were accused, and war was 



12 BLUE JAY. 

waged against them, but still the birds continued to be killed ; first the 
smaller, then the larger, until at length the Key west Pigeons ; when it 
was discovered that a Jay which had been raised in the aviary was the 
depredator. He was taken out, and placed in a cage, with a quantity of 
corn, flour and several small birds which he had just killed. The birds 
he soon devoured, but the flour he would not condescend to eat, and re- 
fusing every other kind of food soon died. In the north, it is particu- 
larly fond of ripe chestnuts, and in visiting the trees is sure to select the 
choicest. When these fail, it attacks the beech nuts, acorns, pears, ap- 
ples, and green corn. 

While at Louisville, in Kentucky, in the winter of 1830, I purchased 
twenty-five of these birds, at the rate of 6| cents each, which I shipped 
to New Orleans, and afterwards to Liverpool, with the view of turning 
them out in the English woods. They were caught in common traps, 
baited with maize, and were brought to me one after another as soon as 
secured. In placing them in the large cage which I had ordered for the 
purpose of sending them abroad, I was surprised to see how cowardly 
each newly caught bird was when introduced to his brethren, who, on be- 
ing in the cage a day or two, were as gay and frolicksome as if at liberty 
in the woods. The new comer, on the contrary, would run into a corner, 
place his head almost in a perpendicular position, and remain silent and 
sulky, with an appearance of stupidity quite foreign to his nature. He 
would suffer all the rest to walk over him and trample him down, without 
ever changing his position. If corn or fruit was presented to him, or even 
placed close to his bill, he would not so much as look at it. If touched 
with the hand, he would cower, lie down on his side, and remain motion- 
less. The next day, however, things were altered : he was again a Jay, 
taking up corn, placing it between his feet, hammering it with his bill, 
splitting the grain, picking out the kernel, and dropping the divided 
husks. When the cage was filled, it was amusing to listen to their ham- 
mering ; all mounted on their perch side by side, each pecking at a grain 
of maize, like so many blacksmiths paid by the piece. They drank 
a great deal, eat broken paean nuts, grapes, dried fruits of all sorts, 
and especially fresh beef, of which they were extremely fond, roosted 
very peaceably close together, and were very pleasing pets. Now and 
then one would utter a cry of alarm, when instantly all would leap and 
fly about as if greatly concerned, making as much ado as if their most in- 
veterate enemy had been in the midst of them. They bore the passage 



BLUE JAY. 13 

to Europe pretty well, and most of them reached Liverpool in good 
health ; but a few days after their arrival, a disease occasioned by insects 
adhering to every part of their body, made such progress that some 
died every day. Many remedies were tried in vain, and only one indivi- 
dual reached London. The insects had so multiplied on it, that I im- 
mersed it in an infusion of tobacco, which, however, killed it in 9 few hours. 

On advancing north, I observed that as soon as the Canada Jay made 
its appearance, the Blue Jay became more and more rare ; not an indivi- 
dual did any of our party observe in Newfovmdland or Labrador, during 
our stay there. On landing a few miles from Pictou, on the 22d of August 
1833, after an absence of several months from the United States, the 
voice of a Blue Jay sounded melodious to me, and the sight of a Hum- 
ming Bird quite filled my heart with delight. 

These Jays are plentiful in all parts of the United States. In Louisi- 
ana, they are so abundant as to prove a nuisance to the farmers, pick- 
ing the newly planted corn, the pease, and the sweet potatoes, attacking 
every fruit tree, and even destroying the eggs of pigeons and domestic 
fowls. The planters are in the habit of occasionally soaking some corn 
in a solution of arsenic, and scattering the seeds over the ground, in con- 
sequence of which many Jays are found dead about the fields and gar- 
dens. 

The Blue Jay is extremely expert in discovering a fox, a racoon, or 
any other quadruped hostile to birds, and will follow it, emitting a loud 
noise, as if desirous of bringing every Jay or Crow to its assistance. It 
acts in the same manner towards owls, and even on somp occasions to- 
wards hawks. 

This species breeds in all parts of the United States, from Louisiana 
to Maine, and from the Upper Missouri to the coast of the Atlantic. In 
South Carolina it seems to prefer for this purpose the live oak trees. In 
the lower parts of the Floridas it gives place in a great measure to the 
Florida Jay ; nor did I meet with a single individual in the Keys of that 
peninsula. In Louisiana, it breeds near the planter''s house, in the up- 
per parts of the trees growing in the avenues, or even in the yards, and 
generally at a greater height than in the Middle States, where it is com- 
paratively shy. It sometimes takes possession of the old or abandoned 
nest of a Crow or Cuckoo. In the Southern States, from Louisiana to 
Maryland, it breeds twice every year ; but to the eastward of the latter 
State seldom more than once. Although it occurs in all places from the 



14 BLUE JAY. 

sea shore to the mountainous districts, it seems more abundant in the 
latter. The nest is composed of twigs and other coarse materials, lined 
with fibrous roots. The eggs are four or five, of a dull ohve colour, 
spotted with brown. 

The Blue Jay is truly omnivorous, feeding indiscriminately on all sorts 
of flesh, seeds, and insects. He is more tyrannical than brave, and, Uke 
most boasters, domineers over the feeble, dreads the strong, and flies even 
from his equals. In many cases in fact, he is a downright coward. The 
Cardinal Grosbeak will challenge him, and beat him off the ground. The 
Red Thrush, the Mocking Bird, and many others, although inferior in 
strength, never allow him to approach their nest with impunity ; and the 
Jay, to be even with them, creeps silently to it in their absence, and devours 
their eo-o-s and young whenever he finds an opportunity. I have seen one 
go its round from one nest to another every day, and suck the newly laid 
eo-o-s of the different birds in the neighbourhood, with as much regularity 
and composure as a physician would call on his patients. I have also 
witnessed the sad disappointment it experienced, when, on returning to 
its own home, it found its mate in the jaws of a snake, the nest upset, and 
the eggs all gone. I have thought more than once on such occasions 
that, like all great culprits, when brought to a sense of their enormities, 
it evinced a strong feeling of remorse. While at Charleston, in Novem- 
ber 1833, Dr Wilson of that city told me that on opening a division of 
his aviary, a Mocking Bird that he had kept for three years, flew at another 
and killed it, after which it destroyed several Blue Jays, which he had 
been keeping for me some months in an adjoining compartment. 

The Blue Jay seeks for its food with great diligence at all times, but 
more especially during the period of its migration. At such a time, where- 
ever there are chinquapins, wild chestnuts, acorns, or grapes, flocks will be 
seen to alight on the topmost branches of these trees, disperse, and engage 
with great vigour in detaching the fruit. Those that fall are picked up 
from the ground, and carried into a chink in the bark, the sphnters of a 
fence rail, or firmly held under foot on a branch, and hammered with the 
bill until the kernel be procured. 

As if for the purpose of gleaning the country in this manner, the Blue 
Jay migrates from 'one part to another during the day only. A person 
travelling or hunting by night, may now and then disturb the repose of a 
Jay, which in its terror sounds an alarm that is instantly responded to by 
all its surrounding travelling companions, and their multiplied cries make 



BLUE JAY. 15 

the woods resound far and near. While migrating, they seldom fly to 
any great distance at a time without alighting, for Uke true rangers they 
ransack and minutely inspect every portion of the woods, the fields, the 
orchards, and even the gardens of the farmers and planters. Always ex- 
ceedingly garrulous, they may easily be followed to any distance, and the 
more they are chased the more noisy do they become, unless a hawk happen 
to pass suddenly near them, when they are instantly struck dumb, and, as 
if ever conscious of deserving punishment, either remain motionless for a 
while, or sneak off silently into the closest thickets, where they remain 
concealed as long as their dangerous enemy is near. 

During the winter months they collect in large numbers about the plan- 
tations of the Southern States, approach the houses and barns, attend the 
feeding of the poultry, as well as of the cattle and horses in their separate 
pens, in company with the Cardinal Grosbeak, the Towhe Bunting, the 
Cow Bunting, the Starlings and Grakles, pick up every grain of loose 
com they can find, search amid the droppings of horses along the roads, 
and enter the corn cribs, where many are caught by the cat and the sons 
of the farmer. Their movements on the wing are exceedingly graceful, 
and as they pass from one tree to another, their expanded wings and tail, 
exhibiting all the beauty of their graceful form and lovely tints, never 
fail to delight the observer. 

CoKVUS CRisTATUS, Linn. Syst. Nat. voL i. p. 157. Lath. Synops. vol. i. p. 386. 

Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 58. 
Garrulus CRISTATUS, Swaifis. and Riclmrds. Fauna Boreali-Americ. part ii. p. 293. 
Blue Jay, Corvus cristatus, Wils. Amer. Ornith. voL i. p. 2. pi. i. fig. 1 

Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 224. 

Adult Male. Plate CII. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, strong, straight, compressed, acute ; upper mandible with 
the dorsal outline slightly arched, the sides sloping, the edges sharp and 
overlapping, the tip shghtly declinate ; lower mandible with the back 
narrow, the sides sloping. Nostrils basal, open, covered by the reversed 
bristly feathers. Head rather large, neck short, body robust. Feet of 
ordinary length ; tarsus about the same length as the middle toe, ante- 
riorly scutellate, compressed, acute behind ; toes free, scutellate, the inner 
shorter than the outer ; claws arched, compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft, blended, glossy. A tuft of reflected, adpressed, bristly 
feathers over the nostril on each side. Feathers of the head elongated, 



16 BLUE JAY. 

and erectile into a tuft. Wings short, first quill very short, fourth and 
fifth longest. Tail much rounded or wedge-shaped at the extremity, ra- 
ther long, of twelve rounded feathers. 

Bill and feet brownish-black. Iris brown. The general colour of the 
upper parts is a beautiful bright purplish-blue ; the ends of the secondary 
coverts, secondary quills and tail feathers white ; the larger wing-coverts, 
secondary quills, and tail transversely barred with black. Feathers along 
the base of upper mandible black, and a broad band of the same colour 
from the occiput, passing behind the eye, down to the lower part of the 
neck, forming a kind of curved collar. Sides of the head pale blue, throat 
white. The lower parts are whitish, tinged on the breast and under the 
wings with reddish-brown. 

Length 12 inches, extent of wings 14 ; bill | ; tarsus \j%, middle toe 
nearly the same. 

Adult Female. * Plate CII. Fig. 3, 4. 

The female scarcely differs in appearance from the male, being mere- 
ly somewhat smaller, with the blue of the upper parts less rich, and the 
breast more ting-ed with brown. 



The Trumpet-flower. 

BiGNOKiA RADiCANS. Pursh. Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 420. 

The plant on which this Jay is represented, has been already noticed 
at p. 254 of vol. i. 



( 17 ) 
THE CANADA FLYCATCHER. 

MUSCICAPA CANADENSIS, LiNN. 
PLATE CIII. Male and Female. 

What a beautiful object, in the delightful season of spring, is our 
Great Laurel, covered with its tufts of richly, yet delicately, coloured 
flowers ! In imagination I am at this moment rambling along the banks 
of some murmuring streamlet, overshadowed by the thick foliage of this 
gorgeous ornament of our mountainous districts. Methinks I see the 
timid trout eyeing my movements from beneath his rocky covert, while 
the warblers and other sylvan choristers, equally fond of their wild re- 
treats, are skipping in aU the freedom of nature around me. Dehghtful 
moments have been to me those when, seated in such a place, with senses 
all intent, I gazed on the rosy tints of the flowers that seemed to acquire 
additional colouring from the golden rays of the sun, as he rode proudly 
over the towering mountains, drawing aside as it were the sable curtain 
that till now hung over the landscape, and drying up, with the gentle- 
ness of a parent towards his cherished ofispring, the dewy tears that 
glittered on each drooping plant. Would that I could describe to you the 
thoughts that on such a morning have filled my whole soul ; but alas, I 
have not words wherewith to express the feelings of gratitude, love, and 
wonder that thriUed and glowed in my bosom ! I must therefore content 
myself with requesting you to look at the blossoms of the laurel as de- 
picted in the plate, together with two of the birds, which, in pairs, side by 
side, are fond of residing among its glossy and verdant foliage. 

A comparison of the plate in which I have represented this interest- 
ing species, with that exhibiting the bird named by me the Bonaparte 
Flycatcher,* will suffice to convince you, good reader, that these birds 
are truly distinct. My excellent friend Mr William Swainson, is 
quite correct, when, after describing the present species, he says, " we 
can perceive no character, either in the figure or the description of Wil- 
son, which does not accord with our bird," but is certainly mistaken in 
supposing me to have informed him that the Canada Flycatcher and that 
named after the Prince of Musignano, are one and the samef. 

* Birds of America, vol. i. PI. V, f Fauna Boreali Americana, p. 223. Note. 

VOL. II. B 



18 CANADA FLYCATCHER. 

The Muscicapa Bonapartii was met with in Louisiana, where, during 
a residence of many years, I never saw the present species. Nay, the 
Canada Flycatcher, although a migratory, may be said to be truly a north- 
ern bird, never having been observed south of Pennsylvania, east of the 
range of the Alleghany mountains, or below Pittsburg, on their broad 
western slope. 

I first became acquainted with the habits of the Canada Flycatcher in 
the Great Pine Forest, while in company with that excellent woodsman 
Jediah Irish, of whom I have previously spoken ; and I have since as- 
certained that it gives a decided preference to mountainous places, thickly 
covered with almost impenetrable undergrowths of tangled shrubbery. 
I found it breeding in the Pine Forest, and have followed it through 
Maine, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and the country of 
Labrador, in every portion of which, suited to its retired habits, it brings 
forth its broods in peaceful security. 

It no doubt comes from the southern parts of America, or from the 
West Indies, but the mode of its migration is still unknown to me. In 
Pennsylvania, about the middle of May, a few are seen in the maritime 
districts, where they seem merely to be resting after the fatigues of a 
long and tedious journey, before they retreat to their favourite haunts 
in the mountainous tracts. There they are heard while concealed among 
the opening blossoms, giving vent to their mirth in song, perhaps thank- 
ing the Author of their being for their safe return to their cherished abode. 
Their notes are not unmusical, although simple and not attractive. Where- 
ever a streamlet of rushing water, deeply shaded by the great mountain 
laurel (Rhododendron maximum) was met with, there was the Canada 
Flycatcher to be found. You might see it skipping among the branches, 
peeping beneath each leaf, examining every chink of the bark, moving 
along with rapidity and elegance, singing, making love to its mate, and 
caressing her with all the fervour of a true sylvan lover. 

The nest of this bird which I found, was filled to the brim with four 
yovmg ones ready to take wing ; and as it was on the 11th of August, I 
conclvided that the parents had reared another brood that season. When 
I put my hand on them, they all left the nest and scrambled off, emitting 
a plaintive tsche, which immediately brought the old ones. Notwithstanding 
all the anxious cares of the latter in assisting them to hide, I procured all 
of them ; but after examining each minutely I set them at liberty. They 
were of a dull greyish tint above, of a delicate citron colour beneath, and 



CANADA FLYCATCHER. 19 

without any spots on the breast or sides. The nest was placed in the 
fork of a small branch of laurel, not above four feet from the groiuid, 
and resembled that of the Black-capped Warbler. The outer parts were 
formed of several sorts of mosses, supporting a dehcate bed of slender 
grasses, carefully disposed in a circular form, and lined with hair. In 
another nest found near Eastport, in the State of Maine, on the 22d of 
May, five eggs had been laid, and the female was sitting on them. They 
were of a transparent whiteness, with a few dots of a bright red colour 
towards the large end. This nest also was placed in the fork of a small 
bush, and immediately over a rivulet. 

The flight of the Canada Flycatcher is rather swifter than that of 
sylviae generally is; and as it passes low amid bushes, the bird cannot be 
followed by the eye to any considerable distance. Now and then it gives 
chase on the wing, when the clicking of its bill is distinctly heard. By 
the 1 st of October not one remained in the Great Pine Forest, nor did I 
see any in Labrador after the 1st of August. A few were seen in New- 
foundland in the course of that month, and as I returned through Nova 
Scotia, these birds, like my own party, were all moving southward. 

MuscicAPA CANADENSIS, Linn. Sjst. Nat. vol. i. p. 32?. 

Sylvia pardalina, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 79- 

Setophaga Bonapaktii, Swains, and Richards, Fauna Boreali- Americana, Part ii. 

p. 225. 
Canada Flycatcher, Muscicapa canadensis, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iii, p. 100. 

PI. 26, fig. 2. Male. 

Adult Male. Plate CIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill of moderate length, straight, broad and depressed at the base, 
acute ; upper mandible slightly notched, and a little inflected at the tip, 
lower mandible straight. Nostrils basal, lateral, roundish, partly covered 
by the frontal feathers. Head and neck moderate. Eyes moderate. Body 
slender. Legs of ordinary size ; tarsus a little longer than the middle 
toe ; inner toe a little united at the base ; claws compressed, acute, arched. 

Plumage oi-dinary, blended. Wings of ordinary length, the second 
primary longest. Tail rather long, slightly emarginate, straight. Basi- 
rostral feathers bristly, and directed outwards. 

Bill pale brown above, flesh-coloured below. Iris deep brown. Feet 
and claws flesh-coloured and semitransparent. The upper parts are of 
a light brownish-grey, the quills brown edged externally with paler, as 

B 2 



20 CANADA FLYCATCHER. 

are the tail-feathers, except the two middle, which are grey like the back. 
The head mottled with brownish-black ; spots of the same colour, de- 
scending in a line from the lower mandible to the upper part of the breast, 
forming an interrupted gorgelet. A bright yellow line from the base of 
the mandible over the eye. The lower parts of a fine bright yellow, ex- 
cepting under the tail, where tliey are white. 

Length 5^ inches, extent of Avings 9 ; bill f ; tarsus f , toe about the 
same length. 

Adult Female. PI. CIII. Fig. 2. 

The female has the grey of the upper parts more tinged with brown, 
and the yeUow of the lower parts less briUiant ; but in other respects so 
resembles the male as not to require any particular description. 



The Great Laurel. 



Rhododendhon maximum, Willd. Sp. PL voL iL p. 600. — Pursh. Flor. Amer. vol.i. 
p. 297 Decandkia Monogyxia, Linn Rhododendra, Juss. 

This beautiful species frequently attains a height of 15 or even 20 feet. 
It is characterised by its oblong, acute leaves, its terminal umbels or clus- 
ters of pink campanulate flowers, the divisions of the calyces of which are 
oval and obtuse. It exhibits several varieties depending on the shape of 
the leaves, the colour of the flowers, and the comparative length of the 
stamens and style. The wood, which is tough and stubborn, is well 
adapted for turner's work. The species is found on all the moist decli- 
vities of our mountainous districts, from Carolina to Massachusetts. 



J 



( 21 ) 

THE CHIPPING SPARROW. 

Fringilla socialis, Wils. 

PLATE CIV. Male. 

Few birds are more common throughovit the United States than this 
gentle arid harmless httle finch. It inhabits the towns, villages, orchards, 
gardens, borders of fields, and prairie grounds. Abundant in the whole 
of the Middle States during spring, summer, and autumn ; it removes to 
the southern parts to spend the winter, and there you may meet with it 
in flocks almost anywhere, even in the open woods. So social is it in its 
character that you see it at that season in company with the Song Sparrow, 
the White-throated, the Savannah, the Field, and almost every other spe- 
cies of the genus. The sandy roads exposed to the sun's rays are daily 
visited by it, where, among the excrement of horses and cattle, it searches 
for food, or among the tall grasses of our old fields it seeks for seeds, small 
berries, and insects of various kinds. Should the weather be cold it enters 
the barn- yard, and even presents itself in the piazza. It reaches Louisiana, 
the Carolinas, and othef southern districts in November, and returns about 
the middle of March to the Middle and Eastern States, where it breeds. 

Early in May the Chipping Sparrow has already formed its nest, 
which it has placed indifferently in the apple or peach tree of the orchard 
or garden, in any evergreen bush or cedar, high or low, as it may best 
suit, but never on the ground. It is small and compai-atively slender, be- 
ing formed of a scanty collection of fine dried grass, and lined with horse 
or cow hair. The eggs are four or five, of a bright greenish-blue colour, 
slightly marked with dark and light-brown spots, chiefly distributed towards 
the larger end. They are more pointed at the small end than is common in 
this genus. Although timorous, these birds express great anxiety when their 
nest is disturbed, especially the female. They generally raise two broods 
in the season, south of Pennsylvania, and not unfrequently in Virginia and 
Maryland. 

The song of this species, if song it can with propriety be called, is 
heard at all hours of the day, the bird seeming determined to make up by 
quantity for defect in the quality of its notes. Mounted on the topmost 
branch of any low tree or bush, or on the end of a fence stake, it emits 



22 CHIPPING SPARROW. 

with rapidity six or seven notes resembling the sounds produced by smart- 
ly striking two pebbles together, each succeeding note rising in strength, 
although the song altogether is scarcely louder than the chirping of a 
cricket. It is often heard during the calm of a fine night, or in the warmer 
days of winter. 

These gentle birds migrate by day ; and no sooner has October re- 
turned and mellowed the tints of the sylvan foliage, than flitting before 
you on the road, you see family after family moving southward, chasing 
each other as if in play, sweeping across the path, or flocking suddenly to 
a tree if surprised, but almost instantly returning to the ground and re- 
suming their line of march. At the approach of night they throw them- 
selves into thickets of brambles, where, in company with several other spe- 
cies, they keep up a murmuring conversation until long after dark. Their 
flight is short, rather irregular, and seldom more elevated than the height 
of moderate-sized trees. 

With the exception of the Sharp-shinned Hawk, the Marsh Hawk, 
and the Black Snake, these birds have few enemies, children being gene- 
rally fond of protecting them. Little or no difference is perceptible be- 
tween the sexes, and the young acquire the full plumage of their parents 
at the earliest approach of spring. 

I did not find one individual of the species in Newfoundland, Labra- 
dor, or Nova Scotia. 



Fringilla socialis, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. p. 109. 

Chipping Sparrow, Fringilla socialis, Wih. Anier. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 12?. 
PL 16. Fig. 5 Nuttall, Manual, vol. i. p. 497. 

Adult male. Plate CIV. 

Bill short, rather small, conical, acute ; upper mandible rather nar- 
rower than the lower, very slightly declinate at the tip, rounded on the 
sides, as is the lower, which has the edges inflected and acute ; the gap 
line straight, slightly deflected at the base. Nostrils basal, roundish, 
concealed by the feathers. Head rather large, neck short, body robust. 
Legs of moderate length, slender ; tarsus longer than the middle toe, 
covered anteriorly with a few longish scutella ; toes scutellate above, free, 
the lateral ones nearly equal ; claws slender, greatly compressed, acute, 
slightly arched, that of the hind toe little larger. 

Plumage soft, rather compact. Wings shortish, curved, rounded, the 



CHIPPING SPARROW. 23 

third and fourth quills longest, the second nearly as long, the first little 
shorter. Tail rather long, emarginate. 

Bill dusky. Iris brown. Feet flesh-colour. Upper part of the head, 
anterior portion of the back, and scapulars, bright chestnut, with blackish- 
brown spots, the middle of each feather being of the latter colour. Sides 
of the neck and rump light greyish-blue, as are the smaller wing-coverts. 
Quills, larger coverts and first row of smaller, dusky, the two latter tipped 
with white, the former more or less margined with chestnut. Tail dusky, 
the feathers edged with pale ochre. A wliite line over the eye, and the 
lower parts generally of a greyish-white. 

Length 5i inches, extent of wings 8; bill little more than |. 

The Female differs only in having the tints generally less intense. In 
winter, both have a blackish frontlet. 



The Black Locust ob False Acacia. 

RoBiKiA psEUDACACiA, Willd. Sp. PL vol. iu. p. 1131. Pursh, Flor. Amer. vol. ii. 
p. 487. — DiADELPHiA Decandeia, Linn. Leguminos^, Juss. 

This beautiful tree grows in the mountainous parts of the United 
States, from Canada to Carolina. Its wood, which is of great durability, 
is employed for various purposes, and particularly for gates and fence- 
stakes. The species is characterised by its spinescent stipules, pendulous 
racemes of white, sweet-scented flowers, and large smooth legumes. Al- 
though abundant in the natural state, it is now planted around farms and 
plantations, on account of the great value of its timber. It is besides a 
charming ornament of our avenues, either in the country, or in the streets 
of villages and cities. 



( 24 ) 



THE RED BELLIED NUTHATCH. 

SiTTA CANADENSIS, LiNN. 
PLATE CV. Male and Female. 

While the Brown-headed Nuthatch perambulates the southern dis- 
tricts, the Red-bellied species spends its time in the eastern and northern 
States, the two dividing the country, as it were, nearly equally between 
them. The southern limits of this little bird seldom extend farther than 
Maryland. It is more plentiful in Pennsylvania, particularly in the 
mountainous parts of that State, and becomes still more abundant as you 
proceed towards Maine and Nova Scotia, where the greater number spend 
even the coldest winters. Yet I saw none in Newfoundland, and only one 
in Labrador, which had probably been blown thither by a gale. 

I found it building its nest near Eastport in Maine, on the 19th of 
May, before the Blue Bird had made its appearance there, and while much 
ice still remained on the northern exposures. The nest is dug in a low 
dead stump, seldom more than four feet from the ground, both the male and 
the female working by turns, until they have got to the depth of about 
fourteen inches. The eggs, four in number, are small, and of a white 
colour, tinged with a deep blush, and sprinkled with reddish dots. They 
raise, I believe, only one brood in the season. 

The activity and industry of this little creature are admirable. With 
the quickness of thought it moves up and down the branches of trees, as- 
suming various positions, examining every hole or cranny in the bark, 
frequently rapping against it with its bill, and detaching now and then 
small fragments, in order to get at the insects or larvae concealed beneath. 
It searches for its food among the leaves of the tallest pines, along the 
fences, and on the fallen logs, ever busy, petulant, and noisy, probably 
never resting except during the night, when, like other species of the 
tribe, it attaches itself by the feet to the bark, and sleeps head downwards. 
Like other birds of this genus also, it is careless of man, although it 
never suffers him to form too close an acquaintance. During the breed- 
ing season, they move in pairs, and manifest a strong mutual attachment. 
Their almost incessant hink, hinJc, hink-hink, is heard at every hop they 
take, but less loudly sounded than the notes of the Brown-headed species. 



RED-BELLIED NUTHATCH. 26 

the male being more prodigal of noise than the female, which, however, 
now and then answers to his call. 

It is pleasant to see such a pair leading their offspring through the 
tops of the tall trees of our great pine forests of the north, accompanied 
by a train of small Woodpeckers and Creepers, all bent on the same object, 
that of procuring food. Gaily they move from tree to tree, each emitting 
its peculiar note, and all evincing the greatest sociality. If danger is ap- 
parent, dead silence takes place, but as soon as their fear is removed, they 
become as clamorous and lively as before. 

The flight of the Red-bellied Nuthatch is seldom protracted farther 
than from tree to tree ; and in this manner a certain number go south at 
the approach of winter, some at this season venturing as far as South 
Carolina, although they are never seen in the maritime districts of that 
State. They are plentiful during summer in the Pocano mountains of 
Pennsylvania, and many breed there. Those which remain in our north- 
ern States during winter, now and then shew themselves in the orchards and 
farm-yards, alighting about the eaves of the out-houses, to seek for food. 

While at sea, on one of my migrations from Europe to America, and 
at a distance of 300 miles from land, I saw one of these birds come on 
board one evening, during a severe gale. It alighted on the rigging, and 
proceeded at once to search for food in its usual manner. It was caught 
and brought to me ; but although I gave it flies and some bits of cheese, 
it refused to touch them, generally sitting in the bottom of the cage with 
its head under its wing, and it died in the course of the night. On open- 
ing it, I could not perceive a particle of food in its stomach, so that its 
sudden death was probably occasioned by inanition and fatigue. 



SiTTA CANADENSIS Linu. Sjst. Nat. vol. i. p. m.—Lath. Ind. Ornith. p. 262 Ch. 

Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 96. 
Red-bellied Black-cap Nuthatch, Sitta canadensis, Wilson, Anier. Ornith. 

vol. i. p. 40. PI. 2. fig. 4 Nuttall, Manual, vol. i. p. 583. 

Adult Male. Plate CV. Fig. 1. 

Bill straight, of moderate length, very hard, conico-subulate, a little 
compressed, more or less wedge-shaped at the tip ; upper mandible with 
the dorsal outline very slightly arched, the edges sharp towards the point ; 
lower mandible smaller, of equal length, straight. Nostrils basal, round, 
half-closed by a membrane, partially covered by the frontal feathers. 



26 RED-BELLIED NUTHATCH. 

The general form is short and compact. Feet rather strong, the hind toe 
stout, with a strong hooked claw ; the claws arched, compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft, blended, with Httle gloss. Wings rather short, broad, 
the second and third primaries longest. Tail short, broad, even, of twelve 
rounded feathers. 

Bill black. Iris brown. Feet and claws flesh-coloured, tinged with 
yellowish-green. The general colour of the plumage above is a light 
leaden-grey, beneath pale brownish-red. The top of the head is bluish- 
black. A long white hne passes over the eye ; a broader line of black 
from the bill to the eye, and beyond it down the neck ; the throat white. 
Primary quills dusky margined with greyish-blue ; tail-feathers blackish, 
the two middle ones of the general colour of the back ; the lateral ones 
white towards the end. 

Length 4| inches ; extent of wings 8; bill along the ridge ^^ ; gap- 
line ^5. 

Adult Female. Plate CV. Fig. 2. 

There is scarcely any perceptible external difference between the sexes, 
the lower parts of the female being merely a little paler, and the black of 
the head not so deep. 



( 27 ) 



THE RUNAWAY. 

Never shall I forget the impression made on my mind by the ren- 
contre which forms the subject of this article^ and I even doubt if the rela- 
tion of it will not excite in that of my reader emotions of varied character. 

Late in the afternoon of one of those sultry days which render the 
atmosphere of the Louisiana swamps pregnant with baneful effluvia, I 
direcced my course towards my distant home, laden with a pack consist- 
ing of five or six Wood Ibises, and a heavy gun, the weight of which, 
even in those days when my natural powers were unimpaired, prevented 
me from moving with, much speed. Reaching the banks of a miry bayou, 
only a few yards in breadth, but of which I could not ascertain the depth, 
on account of the muddiness of its waters, I thought it might be danger- 
ous to wade through it with my burden ; for which reason, throwing to 
the opposite side each of my heavy birds in succession, together with my 
gun, powder-flask, and shot-bag, and drawing my hunting-knife from its 
scabbard, to defend myself, if need should be, against alligators, I enter- 
ed the water, followed by my faithful dog. As I advanced carefuUy and 
slowly, " Plato" SAvam around me, enjoying the refreshing influence of 
the liquid element that cooled his fatigued and heated frame. The water 
deepened, as did the mire of its bed ; but with a stroke or two I gained 
the shore. 

Scarcely had I stood erect on the opposite bank, when my dog ran to 
me, exhibiting marks of terror, his eyes seeming ready to burst from their 
sockets, and his mouth grinning with the expression of hatred, while his 
feelings found vent in a stifled growl. Thinking that all this was pro- 
duced by the scent of a wolf or bear, I stooped to take up my gun, when 
a stentorial voice commanded me to " stand stiU, or die !" Such a " gut 
vive^'' in these woods was as unexpected as it was rare. I instantly raised 
and cocked my gun ; and although I did not yet perceive the individual 
who had thus issued so peremptory a mandate, I felt determined to com- 
bat with him for the free passage of the grounds. Presently a tall firmlv- 
built Negro emerged from the bushy underwood, where, until that mo- 
ment, he must have been crouched, and in a louder voice repeated his 
injunction. Had I pressed a trigger, his life would have instantly ter- 



28 THE RUNAWAY. 

minated ; but observing that the gun, which he aimed at my breast, was 
a wretched rusty piece, from which fire could not readily be produced, I 
felt little fear, and therefore did not judge it necessary to proceed at once 
to extremities. I laid my gun at my side, tapped my dog quietly, and 
asked the man what he wanted. 

My forbearance, and the stranger's long habit of submission, produced 
the most powerful effect on his mind. " Master," said he, " I am a run- 
away. I might perhaps shoot you down ; but God forbids it, for I feel 
just now, as if I saw him ready to pass his judgment against mc for such 
a foul deed, and I ask mercy at your hands. For God's sake, do not kill 
me, master !" And why, answered I, have you left your quarters, where 
certainly you must have fared better than in these unwholesome swamps ? 
" Master, my story is a short, but a sorrowful one. My camp is close by, 
and as I know you cannot reach home this night, if you will follow me 
there, depend upon my honour you shall be safe until the morning, when 
I will carry your birds, if you choose, to the great road." 

The large intelligent eyes of the Negro, the complacency of his man- 
ner, and the tones of his voice, I thought, invited me to venture ; and as 
I felt that I was at least his equal, while, moreover, I had my dog to se- 
cond me, I answered that I wanlAJbllow him. He observed the emphasis 
laid on the words, the meaning of which he seemed to understand so tho- 
roughly, that, turning to me, he said, " There, master, take my butcher's 
knife, while I throw away the flint and priming from my gun !" Reader, I 
felt confounded : this was too much for me ; I refused the knife, and told 
him to keep his piece ready, in case we might accidentally meet a cougar 
or a bear. 

Generosity exists everywhere. The greatest monarch acknowledges its 
impulse, and all around him, from his lowliest menial to the proud nobles 
that encircle his throne, at times experience that overpowering sentiment. 
I offered to shake hands with the runaway. " ^Master," said he, " I beg 
you thanks," and with this he gave me a squeeze, that alike impressed me 
with the goodness of his heart, and his great physical strength. From 
that moment we proceeded through the woods together. My dog smelt 
at him several times, but as he heard me speak in my usual tone of voice, 
he soon left us, and rambled around as long as my whistle was unused. 
As we proceeded, I observed that he was guiding me towards the setting 
of the sun, and quite contrary to my homeward course. I remarked this 

i 



THE RUNAWAY. 29 

to him, when he with the greatest simplicity replied, " merely for our se- 
curity." 

After trudging along for some distance, and crossing several bayous, 
at all of which he threw his gun and knife to the opposite bank, and 
stood still until I had got over, we came to the borders of an immense 
cane brake, from which I had, on former occasions, driven and killed 
several deer. We entered, as I had frequently done before, now erect, 
then on " all fours." He regularly led the way, divided here and there 
the tangled stalks, and, whenever we reached a fallen tree, assisted me in 
getting over it with all possible care. I saw that he was a perfect Indian 
in the knowledge of the woods, for he kept a direct course as precisely as 
any " Red- skin" I ever travelled with. All of a sudden he emitted a 
loud shriek, not unlike that of an owl, which so surprised me, that I once 
more instantly levelled my gun. " No harm, master, I only give notice 
to my wife and children that I am coming." A tremulous answer of the 
same nature gently echoed through the tree-tops. The runaway's lips 
separated with an expression of gentleness and delight, when his beauti- 
ful set of ivory teeth seemed to smile through the dusk of evening that 
was thickening around us. " Master," said he, " my wife, though black, 
is as beautiful to me as the President's wife is to him ; she is my queen, 
and I look on our young ones as so many princes : — but you shall see 
them all, for here they are, thank God !" 

There, in the heart of the cane-brake, I found a regular camp. A 
small fire was lighted, and on its embers lay gridling some large slices of 
venison. A lad nine or ten years old was blowing the ashes from some 
fine sweet potatoes. Various articles of household furniture were care- 
fully disposed around, and a large pallet of bear and deer skins seemed 
to be the resting-place of the whole family. The wife raised not her eyes 
towards mine, and the little ones, three in number, retired into a corner, 
like so many discomfited racoons ; but the Runaway, bold and apparently 
happy, spoke to them in such cheering words, that at once one and all 
seemed to regard me as one sent by Providence to relieve them from all 
their troubles. My clothes were hung up by them to dry, and the Negro 
asked if he might clean and grease my gun, which I permitted him to do, 
while the wife threw a large piece of deer's flesh to my dog, which the 
children were already caressing. 

Only think of my situation, reader ! Here I was, ten miles at least 



30 THE RUNAWAY. 

from home, and four or five from the nearest plantation, in the camp of 
runaway slaves, and quite at their mercy. My eyes involuntarily follow- 
ed their motions, but as I thought I perceived in them a strong desire to 
make me their confidant and friend, I gradually relinquished all suspicion. 
The venison and potatoes looked quite tempting, and by this time I was 
in a condition to rehsh much less savoury fare ; so, on being humbly ask- 
ed to divide the viands before us, I partook of as hearty a meal as I had 
ever done in my life. 

Supper over, the fire was completely extinguished, and a small lighted 
pine-knot placed in a hollowed calabash. Seeing that both the husband 
and wife were desirous of communicating something to me, I at once and 
fearlessly desired them to unburden their minds ; when the Runaway told 
me a tale of which the following is the substance. 

About eighteen months before, a planter residing not very far off, 
having met with some losses, was obliged to expose his slaves at a public 
sale. The value of his negroes was well known, and on the appointed 
day, the auctioneer laid them out in small lots, or offered them singly, in 
the manner which he judged most advantageous to their owner. The 
Runaway, who was well known as being the most valuable next to his Avife, 
was put up by himself for sale, and brought an immoderate price. For 
his wife, who came next, and alone, eight hundred dollars were bidden 
and paid down. Then the children were exposed, and, on account of their 
breed, brought high prices. The rest of the slaves went off at rates cor- 
responding to their quahficatrons. 

The Runaway chanced to be purchased by the overseer of the planta- 
tion ; the wife was bought by an individual residing about a hundred 
miles off, and the children went to different places along the river. The 
heart of the husband and father failed him under this dire calamity. For 
a while he pined in deep sorrow under his new master ; but having mark- 
ed down in his memory the names of the different persons who had pur- 
chased each dear portion of his family, he feigned illness, if indeed he 
whose affections had been so grievously blasted could be said to feign it, 
refrained from food for several days, and was little regarded by the over- 
seer, who felt himself disappointed in what he had considered a bargain. 

On a stormy night, when the elements raged with all the fury of a 
hurricane, the poor negro made his escape, and, being well acquainted 
with all the neighbouring swamps, at once made directly for the cane 



THE RUNAWAY. 31 

brake, in the centre of which I found his camp. A few nights afterwards 
he gained the abode of his wife, and the very next after their meeting he 
led her away. The children one after another he succeeded in stealing, 
until at last the whole objects of his love were under his care. 

To provide for five individuals was no easy task in those wilds, which, 
after the first notice was given of the wonderful disappearance of this ex- 
traordinary family, were daily ransacked by armed planters. Necessity, 
it is said, will bring the wolf from the forest. The Runaway seems to 
have well understood the maxim, for under night he approached his first 
master's plantation, where he had ever been treated with the greatest 
kindness. The house servants knew him too well not to aid him to the 
best of their power, and at the approach of each morning he returned to 
his camp with an ample supply of provisions. One day, while in search 
of wild fruits, he found a bear dead before the muzzle of a gun that had 
been set for the purpose. Both articles he carried to his home. His 
friends at the plantation managed to supply him with some ammunition, 
and in damp and cloudy days he first ventured to hunt around his camp. 
Possessed of courage and activity, he gradually became more careless, and 
rambled farther in search of game. It was on one of his excursions that 
I met him, and he assured me that the noise which I made in passing the 
bayou had caused him to lose the chance of killing a fine deer, although, 
said he, " my old musket misses fire sadly too often."" 

The runaways, after disclosing their secret to me, both rose from their 
seat, with eyes full of tears. " Good master, for God's sake, do some- 
thing for us and our children," they sobbed forth with one accord. Their 
little ones lay sound asleep in the fearlessness of their innocence. Who 
could have heard such a tale without emotion ? I promised them my most 
cordial assistance. They both sat up that night to watch my repose, and 
I slept close to their urchins, as if on a bed of the softest down. 

Day broke so fair, so pure, and so gladdening, that I told them such 
heavenly appearances were ominous of good, and that I scarcely doubted 
of obtaining their full pardon. I desired them to take their children with 
them, and promised to accompany them to the plantation of their first 
master. They gladly obeyed. My Ibises were hung around their camp, 
and, as a memento of my having been there, I notched several trees, after 
which I bade adieu, perhaps for the last time, to that cane brake. We 
soon reached the plantation, the owner of which, with whom I was well 



32 THE RUNAWAY. 

acquainted, received me with all the generous kindness of a Louisiana 
planter. Ere an hour had elapsed, the Runaway and his family were look- 
ed upon as his own. He afterwards repurchased them from their owners, 
and treated them with his former kindness ; so that they were rendered as 
happy as slaves generally are in that country, and continued to cherish 
that attachment to each other which had led to their adventures. Since 
this event happened, it has, I have been informed, become illegal to sepa- 
rate slave families without their consent. 



( 33 ) 
THE BLACK VULTURE OR CARRION CROW. 

CATHARTES JOTA, BONAP. 
PLATE CVI. Male and Female. 

The habits of this species are so intimately connected with those of 
the Turkey Buzzard {Catliartcs Aura), that I cannot do better than de- 
vote this article to the description of both. And here, I beg leave to re- 
quest of you, reader, that you allow me to present you with a copy of a 
paper which I published several years ago on the subject, and which was 
read, in my presence, to a numerous assemblage of the members of the 
Wernerian Natural History Society of Edinburgh, by my friend Mr 
Neill, the Secretary of that Society. It is scarcely necessary for me to 
apologise for introducing here the observations which I then narrated, 
more especially as they referred principally to an interesting subject of 
discussion, which has been since resumed. They are as follows : — 

" As soon as, like me, you shall have seen the Turkey Buzzard follow, 
with arduous closeness of investigation, the skirts of the forests, the 
meanders of creeks and rivers, sweeping over the whole of extensive 
plains, glancing his quick eye in all directions, with as much intentness 
as ever did the noblest of Falcons, to discover where below him lies the 
suitable prey ; when, like me, you have repeatedly seen that bird pass 
over objects calculated to glut his voracious appetite, unnoticed, because 
unseen ; and when you have also observed the greedy Vulture, propelled 
by hunger, if not famine, moving like the wind suddenly round his 
course, as the carrion attracts his eye ; then will you abandon the deeply- 
rooted notion, that this bird possesses the faculty of discovering, by his 
sense of smell, his prey at an immense distance. 

This power of smelling so acutely I adopted as a fact from my youth. 
I had read of this when a child ; and many of the theorists, to whom I 
subsequently spoke of it, repeated the same with enthusiasm, the more 
particularly as they consideied it an extraordinary gift of nature. But 
I had already observed, that nat'ire, although wonderfully bountiful, had 
not granted more to any one individual than was necessary, and that no 
one was possessed of any two of the senses in a very high state of pei'fec- 
tion ; that if it had a good scent, it needed not so much acuteness of 

VOL. II. c 



34 BLACK VULTURE, 

sight, and vice versa. When I visited the Southern States, and had 
lived, as it were, amongst these Vultures for several years, and discovered 
thousands of times that they did not smell me when I approached them, 
covered by a tree, until within a few. feet ; and that when so near, or at a 
greater distance, I shewed myself to them, they instantly flew away much 
frightened; the idea evaporated, and I assiduously engaged in a series 
of experiments, to prove to myself, at least, how far this acuteness of 
smell existed, or if it existed at all. 

I sit down to communicate to you the results of those experiments, 
and leave for you to conclude how far and how long the world has been 
imposed on by the mere assertions of men who had never seen more than 
the skins of our Vultures, or heard the accounts from men caring little 
about observing nature closely. 

My First Experiment was as follows : — I procured a skin of our com- 
mon deer, entire to the hoofs, and stuffed it carefully with dried grass until 
filled rather above the natural size,— suffered the whole to become per- 
fectly dry, and as hard as leather, — took it to the middle of a large open 
field, — laid it down on its back with the legs up and apart, as if the 
animal was dead and putrid. I then retired about a hundred yards, 
and in the lapse of some minutes, a Vulture, coursing round the field to- 
lerably high, espied the skin, sailed directly towards it, and ahghted 
within a few yards of it. I ran immediately, covered by a large tree, 
until within about forty yards, and from that place could spy the bird 
with ease. He approached the skin, looked at it with apparent suspicion, 
jumped on it, raised his tail, and voided freely (as you well know all 
birds of prey in a wild state generally do before feeding), — then approach- 
ing the eyes, that were here soUd globes of hard, dried, and painted clay, 
attacked first one and then the other, with, however, no farther advantage 
than that of disarranging them. This part was abandoned ; the bird 
walked to the other extremity of the pretended animal, and there, with 
much exertion, tore the stitches apart, until much fodder and hay was 
pulled out ; but no flesh could the bird find or smell ; he was intent on 
discovering some where none existed, and, after reiterated efforts, all use- 
less, he took flight and coursed about the field, when, suddenly wheeling 
round and ahghting, I saw him kill a small garter snake, and swallow it 
in an instant. The Vulture rose again, sailed about, and passed several 
times quite low over the stuffed deer-skin, as if loth to abandon so good 
looking a prey. 



BLACK VULTURE. 35 

Judge of my feelings when I plainly saw that the Vulture, which 
could not discover, through its extraordinary sense of smell, that no flesh, 
either fresh or putrid, existed about that skin, could at a glance see a 
snake, scarcely as thick as a man's finger, alive, and destitute of odour, 
hundreds of yards distant. I concluded that, at all events, his ocular 
powers were much better than his sense of smell. 

Second Experiment. — I had a large dead hog hauled some distance 
from the house, and put into a ravine, about twenty feet deeper than the 
surface of the earth around it, narrow and winding much, filled with 
briars and high cane. In this I made the negroes conceal the hog, by 
binding cane over it, until I thought it would puzzle either Buzzards, 
Carrion Crows, or any other birds to see it, and left it for two days. 
This was early in the month of July, when, in this latitude, a dead body 
becomes putrid and extremely fetid in a short time. I saw from time to 
time many Vultures, in search of food, sail over the field and ravine in all 
directions, but none discovered the carcass, although during this time se- 
veral dogs had visited it, and fed plentifully on it. I tried to go near it, 
but the smell was so insufferable when within thirty yards, that I aban- 
doned it, and the remnants were entirely destroyed at last through natu- 
ral decay. 

I then took a young pig, put a knife through its neck, and made it 
bleed on the earth and grass about the same place, and having covered it 
closely with leaves, also watched the result. The Vultures saw the fresh 
blood, alighted about it, followed it down into the ravine, discovered by 
the blood the pig, and devoured it, when yet quite fresh, within my sight. 

Not contented with these experiments, which I already thought fully 
conclusive, having found two young Vultures, about the size of pullets, 
covered yet with down, and looking more like quadrupeds than birds, 
I had them brought home and put into a large coop in the yard, in the 
view of every body, and attended to their feeding myself. I gave them 
a great number of Red-headed Woodpeckers and Parokeets, birds then 
easy to procure, as they were feeding daily on the mulberry trees in the 
immediate neighbourhood of my orphans. 

These the young Vultures could tear to pieces by putting both feet 
on the body, and applying the bill with great force. So accustomed to 
my going towards them were they in a few days, that when I approached 
the cage with hands filled with game for them, they immediately began 

c2 



36 BLACK VULTURE. 

hissing and gesticulating very much like young pigeons, and putting 
their bills to each other, as if expecting to be fed mutually, as their pa- 
rent had done. 

Two weeks elapsed, black feathers made their appearance, and the down 
diminished. I remarked an extraordinary increase of their legs and bill, 
and thinking them fit for trial, I closed three sides of the cage with plank, 
leaving the front only with bars for them to see through, — had the cage 
cleaned, washed, and sanded, to remove any filth attached to it from the 
putrid flesh that had been in it, and turned its front immediately from 
the course I usually took towards it with food for them. 

I approached it often barefooted, and soon perceived that if I did not 
accidentally make a noise, the young birds remained in their silent up- 
right attitudes, until I shewed myself to them by turning to the front of 
their prison. I frequently fastened a dead squirrel or rabbit, cut open, 
with all the entrails hanging loosely, to a long pole, and in this situation 
would put it to the back part of the cage ; but no hissing, no movement, 
was made ; when, on the contrary, I presented the end of the pole thus 
covered over the cage, no sooner would it appear beyond the edge, than 
my hungry birds would jump against the bars, hiss furiously, and attempt 
all in their power to reach the food. This was repeatedly done with fresh 
and putrid substances, all very congenial to their taste. 

Satisfied within myself, I dropped these trials, but fed the birds until 
full grown, and then turned them out into the yard of the kitchen, for 
the purpose of picking up whatever substances might be thrown to them. 
Their voracity, however, soon caused their death : young pigs were not 
safe if within their reach ; and young ducks, turkeys, or chickens, were 
such a constant temptation, that the cook, imable to watch them, killed 
them both, to put an end to their depredations. 

Whilst I had these two young vultures in confinement, an extraordi- 
nary occurrence took place respecting an old bird of the same kind, which 
I cannot help relating to you. This bird, sailing over the yard, whilst I 
was experimenting with the pole and squirrels, saw the food, and alighted 
on the roof of one of the outhouses ; then alighted on the ground, walked 
directly to the cage, and attempted to reach the food within. I approached 
it carefully, and it hopped off a short distance ; as I retired, it returned, 
when always the appearances of the strongest congratulations would take 
place from the young towards this new comer. I directed several young 
negroes to drive it gently towards the stable, and to try to make it go in 



BLACK VULTURE. 37 

there. This would not do ; but, after a short time, I helped to drive it 
into that part of the gin-house where the cotton seeds are deposited, and 
there caught it. I easily discovered that the bird was so emaciated, that 
to this state of poverty only I owed my success. I put it in with the 
young, who both at once jumped about him, making most extraordinary 
gestures of welcome, whilst the old bird, quite discomfited at his confine- 
ment, lashed both with great violence with his bill. Fearing the death of 
the young, I took them out, and fed plentifully the old bird ; his appe- 
tite had become so great through fasting, that he ate too much, and died 
of suffocation. 

I could enumerate many more instances, indicating that the power of 
smelling in these birds has been grossly exaggerated, and that, if they can 
smell objects at any distance, they can see the same objects much farther. 
I would ask any observer of the habits of birds, why if Vultures could 
smell at a great distance their prey, they should spend the greater por- 
tion of their lives hunting for it, when they are naturally so lazy, that, if 
fed in one place, they never leave it, and merely make such a change as 
is absolutely necessary to enable them to reach it. But I will now enter 
on their habits, and you will easily discover how this far famed power has 
originated. 

Vultures are gregarious, and often associate in flocks of twenty, forty, 
or more ; — hunting thus together, they fly in sight of each other, and 
thus cover an immense extent of country. A flock of twenty may easily 
survey an area of two miles, as they go turning in large circles, often in- 
tersecting each other in their lines, as if forming a vast chain of rounded 
links ; — some are high, whilst others are low ; — not a spot is passed un- 
seen, and, consequently, the moment that a prey is discovered, the favoured 
bird rounds to, and, by the impetuosity of its movements, gives notice to 
its nearest companion, who immediately follows him, and is successively 
attended by all the rest. Thus the farthest from the discoverer being at 
a considerable distance, sails in a direct line towards the spot indicated to 
him by the flight of the others, who all have gone in a straight course 
before him, with the appearance of being impelled by this extraordinary 
power of smelling, so erroneously granted to them. If the object dis- 
covered is large, lately dead, and covered with a skin too tough to be eaten 
and torn asunder, and affords free scope to their appetites, they remain 
about it, and in the neighbourhood. Perched on high dead limbs, in such 
conspicuous positions, they are easily seen by other Vultures, who, througli 



38 BLACK VULTURE. 

habit, know the meaning of such stoppages, and join the first flock, going 
also directly, and affording further evidence to those persons who are sa- 
tisfied with appearance only. In this manner I have seen several hun- 
dreds of Vultures and Carrion Crows assembled near a dead ox at the dusk 
of evening, that had only two or three about it in the morning ; when 
some of the later comers had probably travelled hundreds of miles search- 
ing diligently themselves for food, and probably would have had to go 
much farther, had they not espied this association. 

Around the spot both species remain ; some of them from time to 
time examining the dead body, giving it a tug in those parts most acces- 
sible, until putridity ensues. The accumulated number then fall to work, 
exhibiting a jmost disgusting picture of famished cannibals ; the strongest 
driving the weakest, and the latter harassing the former with all the 
animosity that a disappointed hungry stomach can excite. They are seen 
jumping off the carcass, reattacking it, entering it, and wrestling for por- 
tions partly swallowed by two or more of them, hissing at a furious rate, 
and clearing every moment their nostrils from the filth that enters there, 
and stops their breathing. No doubt remains on my mind, that the great 
outward dimensions of these nostrils were allotted them for that especial 
and necessary purpose. 

The animal is soon reduced to a mere skeleton, no portion of it being 
now too hard to be torn apart and swallowed, so that nothing is left but 
the bare bones. Soon aU these bloody feeders are seen standing gorged, 
and scarcely able to take wing. At such times the observer may approach 
very near the group, whilst engaged in feeding, and see the Vultures in 
contact with the Dogs, who reaUy by smeUing have found the prey ; — 
whenever this happens, it is with the greatest reluctance that the birds 
suffer themselves to be driven off, although frequently the sudden scowl 
or growl of the Dogs will cause nearly all the Vultures to rise a few yards 
in the air. I have several times seen the Buzzards feeding at one extre- 
mity of the carcass, whilst the Dogs were tearing the other ; but if a 
single Wolf approached, or a pair of White-headed Eagles, driven by 
extreme hunger, then the place was abandoned to them until their wants 
were supplied. 

The repast finished, each bird gradually rises to the highest branches 
of the nearest trees, and remains there until the full digestion of all the 
food they have swallowed is completed ; from time to time opening their 
wings to the breeze, or to the sun, either to cool or to warm themselves, 



BLACK VULTURE. 38 

The traveller may then pass under them unnoticed ; or, if regarded, a 
mere sham of flying off" is made. The bird slowly recloses its wings, 
looks at the person as he passes, and remains there until hunger again 
urges him onwards. This takes often times more than a day, when gra- 
dually, and very often singly, each vulture is seen to depart. 

They now rise to an immense height ; cutting, with great elegance 
and ease, many circles through the air ; now and then gently closing their 
wings, they launch themselves obliquely, with great swiftness, for several 
hundred yards, check and resume their portly movements, ascending 
until, like specks in the distance, they are seen altogether to leave that 
neighbourhood, to seek elsewhere the required means of subsistence. 

Having heard it said, no doubt with the desire of proving that Buz- 
zards smell their prey, that these birds usually fly against the breeze, I 
may state that, in my opinion, this action is simply used, because it is 
easier for birds to sustain themselves on the wing, encountering a mode- 
rate portion of wind, than when flying before it ; but I have so often wit- 
nessed these birds bearing away under the influence of a strong breeze, as 
if enjoying it, that I consider either case as a mere incident connected 
with their pleasures or their wants. 

Here, my dear Sir, let me relate one of those facts, curious in itself, 
and attributed to mere instincts but which I cannot admit under that 
appellation, and which, in my opinion, so borders on reason, that, were I 
to call it by that name, I hope you will not look on my judgment as 
erroneous, without your further investigating the subject in a more 
general point of view. 

During one of those heavy gusts that so often take place in Louisiana, 
in the early part of summer, I saw a flock of these birds, which had un- 
doubtedly discovered that the current of air that was tearing all over 
them, was a mere sheet, raise themselves obliquely against it, with great 
force, slide through its impetuous current, and reassume above it, their 
elegant movements. The power given to them by nature of discerning 
the approaching death of a wounded animal, is truly remarkable. They 
will watch each individual thus assailed by misfortune, and follow it with 
keen perseverance, until the loss of life has rendered it their prey. A 
poor old emaciated horse or ox, a deer mired on the margin of the lake, 
where the timid animal has resorted to escape flies and musquitoes, so 
fatiguing in summer, is seen in distress with exultation by the Buzzard. 
He immediately alights ; and, if the animal does not extricate itself, waits 



40 BLACK VULTURE. 

and gorges in peace on as much of the flesh as the nature of the spot will 
allow. They do more : they often watch the young kid, the lamb and 
the pig issuing from the mother's womb, and attack it with direful suc- 
cess ; yet, notwithstanding this, they frequently pass over a healthy horse, 
hog, or other animal, lying as if dead, basking in the sunshine, without 
even altering their course in the least. Judge then, my dear Sir, how 
well they must see. 

Opportunities of devouring young living animals are so very frequent 
around large plantations in this country, that to deny them would be ridi- 
culous, although I have heard it attempted by European writers. Du- 
ring the terrifying inundations of the Mississippi, I have very frequently 
seen many of these birds ahght on the dead floating bodies of animals, 
drowned by the waters in the lowlands, and washed by the current, gorg- 
ing themselves at the expense of the squatter, who often loses the greater 
portion of his wandering flocks on such occasions. Dastardly withal, and 
such cowards are they, that our smaller hawks can drive them off' any 
place : the little king-bird proves indeed a tyrant, whenever he espies the 
large marauder saihng about the spot where his dearest mate is all intent 
on incubation ; and the eagle, if hungry, will chase him, force liim to dis- 
gorge his food in a moment, and leave it at his disposal. 

Many of those birds accustomed, by the privileges granted them by 
law, of remaining about cities and villages in our southern states, seldom 
leave them, and might almost be called a second set, differing widely in 
habits from those that reside constantly at a distance from these places. 
Accustomed to be fed, they are still more lazy ; their appearance exhibits 
aU the nonchalance belonging to the garrisoned half-paid soldier. To 
move is for them a hardship, and nothing but extreme hunger will make 
them fly down from the roof of the kitchen into the yard, or follow the 
vehicles employed in cleaning the streets of disagreeable substances, ex- 
cept where (at Natchez for instance), the number of these expecting pa- 
rasites is so great that all the refuse of the town, within their reach, is 
insufficient : they then are seen following the scavengers' cart, hopping, 
flying, and ahghting all about it, amidst grunting hogs and snarling 
dogs, until the contents, having reached a place of destination outside the 
suburbs, are deposited, and swallowed by them. 

Whilst taking a view of this city from her lower ancient j^r^ I have 
for several days seen exhibitions of this kind. 

I do not think that the vultures thus attached to cities are so much 



BLACK VULTURE. 41 

inclined to multiply as those more constantly resident in the forests, per- 
ceiving the diminution of number during the breeding season, and having 
remarked that many individuals known to me by particular marks made 
on them, and a special cast of countenance, were positively constant resi- 
dents of town. The Vidtur Aura is by no means so numerous as the 
atratus. I have seldom seen more than from twenty-five to thirty to- 
gether ; when, on the contrary, the latter are frequently associated to the 
number of an hundred. 

The Vultur Aura is a more retired bird in habits, and more inclined to 
feed on dead game, snakes, lizards, frogs, and the dead fish that frequently 
are found about the sand-flats of rivers and borders of the sea-shore ; is 
more cleanly in its appearance ; and, as you will see by the difference in 
the drawings of both species, a neater and better formed bird. Its flight 
is also vastly superior in softness and elegance, requiring but a few flaps 
of its large wings to raise itself from the ground ; after which it will sail 
for miles by merely turning either on one side or the other, and using its 
tail so slowly, to alter its course, that a person looking at it, whilst 
elevated and sailing, would be inclined to compare it to a machine fit to 
perform just a certain description of evolutions. The noise made by the 
vultures through the air, as they glide obliquely towards the earth, is 
often as great as that of our largest hawks, when falling on their prey ; 
but they never reach the ground in this manner, always checking when 
about 100 yards high, and gmng several rotmds, to eaamine well the spot 
they are about to aUght on. The Vultur Aura cannot bear cold weather 
well ; the few who, during the heat of svimmer, extend their excursions to 
the middle or northern states, generally return at the approach of winter ; 
and I believe also, that very few of these birds breed east of the pine 
swamps of New Jersey. They are much attached to particular roosting- 
trees, and I know will come to them every night from a great distance. 
On alighting on these, eacli of them, anxious for a choice of place, creates 
always a general disturbance ; and often, when quite dark, their hissing is 
heard in token of this inclination for supremacy. These roosting-trees of the 
Buzzards are generally in deep swamps, and mostly in high dead cypress 
trees ; frequently, however, they roost with the carrion crows {Vultur at- 
tratiis), and then it is on the largest dead timber of our fields, not un- 
frequently near the houses. Sometimes, also, this bird will roost close to 
the body of a thickly leaved tree : in such a position I have killed several 



4g BLACK VULTURE. 

when hunting wild turkeys by moonlight, mistaking them for these latter 
birds. 

In Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, and Carolina, they prepare to breed 
early in the month of February, in common with most of the genus Falco. 
The most remarkable habit attached to their life is now to be seen : they 
assemble in parties of eight or ten, sometimes more, on large fallen logs, 
males and females, exhibiting the strongest desire to please mutually, and 
forming attachments in the choice of a mate, when each male, after many 
caresses, leads his partner off on the wing from the group, neither to mix 
nor associate with any more, until their offspring are well able to follow 
them in the air ; after which, and until incubation takes place (about two 
weeks), they are seen sailing side by side the whole day. \ 

These birds form no nest, yet are very choice respecting tke place of 
deposite for their two eggs. Deep in the swamps, but always above the 
line of overflowing water-mark, a large hollow tree is sought, eitWtr stand- 
ing or fallen, and the eggs are dropped on the mouldering parfccles in- 
side, sometimes immediately near the entrance, at other times as much as 
twenty feet within. Both birds alternately incubate, and each feeds the 
other, by disgorging tlie contents of the stomach, or part of theoij im- 
mediately before the bird that is sitting. Thirty-two days are restjuired 
to bring forth the young from the shell ; a thick down covers them com- 
pletely ; the parents, at that early period, and indeed for nearly two 
weeks, feed them by disgorging food considerably digested from their 
bills, in the manner of the common pigeons. The down acquires length, 
becomes thinner, and of a darker tint as the bird grows older. The 
young vultures, at three weeks, are large for their age, weighing then 
upwards of a pound, but extremely clumsy and inactive ; unable to keep 
up their wings, then partly covered by large pin feathers, dragging them 
almost upon the ground, and bearing their whole weight on the full 
length of their legs and feet. 

If approached at that time by a stranger or enemy, they hiss with a 
noise resembling that made by a strangling cat or fox, swell themselves, 
and hop sideways as fast as in their power. The parents, while sitting, 
and equally disturbed, act in the same manner ; fly only a very short 
distance, waiting there the departure of the offender, to resume their duty. 
As the young grow larger, the parents simply throw their food before 
them ; and, with all their exertions, seldom bring their offspring fat to the 



BLACK VULTURE. 43 

field. Their nests become so fetid, before the final departure of the young 
birds, that a person forced to remain there half an hour would be in dan- 
ger of suffocation. 

I have been frequently told, that the same pair will not abandon their 
first nest or place of deposit, unless broken up during incubation. This 
would attach to the vulture a constancy of affection that T cannot believe 
exists ; as I do not think that pairing, in the manner described, is of any 
longer duration than the necessitous call of nature for the one season ; 
and again, were they so inclined, they would never congregate in the 
manner they do, but would go in single pairs all their lives like eagles. 

Vultures do not possess, in any degree, the power of bearing off their 
prey as falcons do, unless it be slender portions of entrails hanging by the 
bill. When chased by others from a carcass, it even renders them very 
awkward in their flight, and forces them to the earth again almost imme- 
diately. 

Many persons in Europe believe that Buzzards prefer putrid flesh to 
any other. This is a mistake. Any flesh that they can at once tear with 
their very powerful bill in pieces, is swallowed, no matter how fresh. 
What I have said of their kilUng and devouring young animals, affords 
sufficient proofs of this ; but it frequently happens that these birds are 
compelled to wait until the hide of their prey will yield to the bill. I have 
seen a large dead alligator, surrounded by vultures and carrion crows, of 
which neai'ly the whole of the fjesh was so completely decomposed before 
these birds could perforate the tough skin of the monster, that, when at 
last it took place, their disappointment was apparent, and the matter, in 
an almost fluid state, abandoned by the vultures.'' 

The above account of my experiments was read on the 16th day of 
December 1826, and was what I may call my " maiden speech." Well do 
I remember the uneasy feelings which I experienced : the audience was 
large, and composed of many of the most distinguished men of that en- 
lightened country. My paper was a long one ; and it contradicted all for- 
mer opinions on the subject under discussion ; yet the cheering appear- 
ance of kindness which every where met my eye, as I occasionally glanced 
around, gradually dispelled my uneasiness, and brought me to a state 
of confidence. The reading of the paper being at length accomplished, 
I was congratulated by the President, as well as by every member pre- 
sent. Many (questions were put to me, all of which I answered as well as 



44 BLACK VULTURE. 

I could. My esteemed and learned friend, Professor Jameson, requested 
permission to pubHsh my paper in his valuable journal, which I most 
readily granted. Strolling homeward, I felt proud that I had at last broken 
the charm by which men had so long been held in ignorance respecting 
the history of our Vultures, assured that the breach which I had made 
upon a general and deeply rooted opinion, must gradually dissolve it, as 
well as many other absurdities which have for ages infested science, like 
the vile grub beneath the bark of the noblest forest tree, retarding its 
growth, until happily removed by the constant hammerings of the indus- 
trious Woodpecker ! 

I returned to America, urged by enthusiasm, to pursue the study of 
Nature in the majestic forests ; and finding that doubts excited by persons 
prejudiced against me, existed in the minds of some individuals, I resol- 
ved to have my series of experiments repeated by some other person, in 
those districts where Vultures abound, and in the presence of a number 
of scientific men, with the view of satisfying the incredulous as much as 
in my power. My travels were continued, and 1 became acquainted 
with one of the best practical ornithologists our country affords, and 
moreover a man of general learning, my worthy and esteemed friend the 
Reverend John Bachman of Charleston, South Carolina. To him I 
frequently wrote, requesting him to make experiments on the faculty of 
smelling in our vultures. In the winter of 1833-4, the following were 
made, and afterwards published in Loudon's Magazine of Natural His- 
tory (No. 38, March 1834, p. 164). 

" On the 16th December 1833, I commenced a series of experiments 
on the habits of our Vultures, which continued till the end of tlie month, 
and these have been renewed at intervals till the 15th of January 1834. 
Written invitations were sent to all the Professors of the two Medical 
Colleges in this city, to the officers and some of the members of the Phi- 
losophical Society, and such other individuals as we believed might take 
an interest in the subject. Although Mr Audubon was present during 
most of this time, and was willing to render any assistance required of 
him, yet he desired that we might make the experiments ourselves — that 
we might adopt any mode that the ingenuity or experience of others could 
suggest, at arriving at the most correct conclusions. The manner in 
which these experiments were made, together with the results, I now pro- 
ceed to detail. 

There were two points in pai'ticular on which the veracity of Audubon 



BLACK VULTURE. 45 

had been assailed, 1*^, Whether the Vultures feed on fresh or putrid 
flesh, and, ^2d, Whether they are attracted to their food by the eye or 
scent. 

On the first head it was unnecessary to make many experiments, it 
being a subject with which even the most casual observer amongst us is 
well acquainted. It is well known that the roof of our market-house is 
covered with these birds every morning, waiting for any little scrap of 
fresh meat that may be thrown to them by the butchers. At our slaughter- 
pens, the ofFal is quickly devoured by our vultures, whilst it is yet warm 
from the recent death of the slain animal. I have seen the VuUiir Atira 
a hundred miles in the interior of the country, where he may be said to 
be altogether in a state of nature, regaling himself on the entrails of a 
deer which had been killed not an hour before. Two years ago, Mr 
Henry Ward, who is now in London, and who was in the employ of the 
Philosophical Society of this city, was in the habit of depositing at the 
foot of my garden, in the suburbs of Charleston, the fresh carcasses of the 
birds he had skinned, and in the course of half an hour, both species of Vul- 
ture, and particularly the Turkey Buzzard, came and devoured the whole. 
Nay, we discovered that Vultures fed on the bodies of those of their own 
species that had been thus exposed. A few days ago, a Vulture that had 
been killed by some boys in the neighbourhood, and that had fallen near 
the place where we were performing our experiments, attracted, on the 
following morning, the sight of a Turkey Buzzard, who commenced pull- 
ing off its feathers and feeding upon it. This brought down two of the 
Black Vultures, who joined him in the repast. In this instance, the former 
chased away the two latter to some distance, — an unusual occurrence, as 
the Black Vulture is the strongest bird, and generally keeps off the other 
species. We had the dead bird lightly covered with some rice chaff, 
where it still remains undiscovered by the Vultures. 

2d, Whether is the Vulture attracted to its food by the sense of smell 
or sight ? A number of experiments were tried to satisfy us on this head, 
and all led to the same result. A few of these I proceed to detail. 

1*^, A dead Hare (Lepus timidus), a Pheasant {Phasianus colchicus), 
a Kestrel (Falco Tinnunculus), a recent importation from Europe, toge- 
ther with a wheel-barrow full of ofFal from the slaughter-pens, were depo- 
sited on the ground, at the foot of my garden. A frame was raised above 
it at the distance of 12 inches from the earth ; this was covered with 
brushwood, allowing the air to pass freely beneath it, so as to convey the 



46 BLACK VULTURE. 

effluvium far and wide ; and although 25 days liave now gone by, and the 
flesh has become offensive, not a single Vulture appears to have observed 
it, though hundreds have passed over it, and some very near it, in search 
of their daily food. Although the Vultures did not discover this dainty 
mess, the dogs in the vicinity, who appeared to have better olfactory 
nerves, frequently visited the place, and gave us much trouble in the pro- 
secution of our experiments. 

2d, I now suggested an experiment which would enable us to test the 
inquiry whether the Vulture would be attracted to an object by the sight 
alone. A coarse painting on canvass was made, representing a sheep 
skinned and cut open. This proved very amusing ; — no sooner was this 
picture placed on the ground, than the Vultures observed it, alighted 
near, walked over it, and some of them commenced tugging at the paint- 
ing. They seemed much disappointed and surprised, and after having 
satisfied their curiosity, flew away. This experiment was repeated more 
than fifty times, with the same result. The painting was then placed 
within fifteen feet of the place where the offal was deposited ; they came 
as usual, walked around it, but in no instance evinced the slightest symp- 
toms of their having scented the offal which was so near him. 

Sd, The most offensive portions of the offal were now placed on the 
earth ; these were covered over by a thin canvass cloth ; on this were 
strewed several pieces of fresh beef The Vultures came, ate the flesh 
that was in sight, and although they were standing on a quantity beneath 
them, and although their bills were frequently within the eighth of an 
inch of this putrid matter, they did not discover it. We made a small 
rent in the canvass, and they at once discovered the flesh, and began to 
devour it. We drove them away, replaced the canvass with a piece that 
was entire ; again they commenced eating the fresh pieces exliibited to 
their view, without discovering the hidden food they were trampling 
upon. 

4>th, The medical gentlemen who were present made a number of expe- 
riments to test the absurdity of a story, widely circulated in the United 
States, through the newspapers, that the eye of the Vulture, when perfo- 
rated, and the sight extinguished, would in a few minutes be restored, in 
consequence of his placing his head under his wing, the down of which 
was said to renew his sight. The eyes were perforated ; I need not add, 
that although they were refilled, and had the appearance of rotundity, yet 
the bird became blind, and that it was beyond the power of the healing 



BLACK VULTURE. 47 

art to restore his lost sight. His life was, however, preserved, by occa- 
sionally putting food in his mouth. In this situation they placed him in a 
small out-house, hung the flesh of the hare (which had now become offen- 
sive) within his reach ; nay, they frequently placed it within an inch of 
his nostrils, but the bird gave no evidence of any knowledge that his fa- 
vourite food was so near him. This was repeated from time to time dur- 
ing an interval of twenty-four days (the period of his death), with the 
same results. 

We were not aware that any other experiment could be made to enable 
us to arrive at more satisfactory conclusions; and as we feared, if pro- 
longed, they might become offensive to the neighbours, we abandoned 
them." 

As my humble name can scarcely be known to many of those into whose 
hands this communication may fall, I have thought proper to obtain the 
signature of some of the gentlemen who aided me in, or witnessed these 
experiments; and I must also add, that there was not an individual 
among the crowd of persons who came to judge for themselves, who did 
not coincide with those who have given their signatures to this certificate. 
" We the subscribers, having witnessed the experiments made on the 
habits of the Vultures of Carolina [CatJiartes Aura and Cathartes Jota), 
commonly called Turkey Buzzard and Carrion Crow, feel assured that 
they devour fresh as well as putrid food of any kind, and that they are 
guided to their food altogether through their sense of sight, and not that 
of smell. 

Robert Henry, A.M., President of the College of South Carolina. 

John Wagner, M.D., Prof, of Surg, at the Med. Col. State So. Gar. 

Henry R. Frost, M.D., Pro. Mat. Med. Col. State So. Car. 

C. F. Leitner, Lecturer on Bot. and Nat. His. So. Car. 

B. B. Strobel, M.D. 

Martin Stbobel." 

It now remains for me to present you with an account of those habits 
of the Black Vulture which have not been described above. This bird is 
a constant resident in all our Southern States, extends far up the Missis- 
sippi, and continues the whole year in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and 
even in the State of Ohio as far as Cincinnati. Along the Atlantic coast, 
it is, I believe, rarely seen farther east than Maryland. It seems to give 



48 BLACK VULTURE. 

a preference to maritime districts, or the neighbourhood of water. Al- 
though shy in the woods, it is half domesticated in and about our cities 
and villages, where it finds food without the necessity of using much ex- 
ertion. Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, Natchez, and other cities, 
are amply provided with these birds, which may be seen flying or walk- 
ing about the streets the whole day in groups. They also regularly 
attend the markets and shambles, to pick up the pieces of flesh thrown 
away by the butchers, and, when an opportunity occurs, leap from one 
bench to another, for the pur]30se of helping themselves. Hundreds of 
them are usually found, at all hours of the day, about the slaughter- 
houses, which are their favourite resort. They alight on the roofs and 
chimney-tops, wherever these are not guarded by spikes or pieces of glass, 
which, however, they frequently are, for the purpose of preventing the 
contamination by their ordure of the rain water, which the inhabitants of 
the Southern States collect in tanks, or cisterns, for domestic use. They 
follow the carts loaded with ofFal or dead animals, to the places in the 
suburbs where these are deposited, and wait the skinning of a cow or 
horse, when in a few hours they devour its flesh, in the company of the 
dogs, which are also accustomed to frequent such places. On these occa- 
sions, they fight with each other, leap about and tug in all the hurry and 
confusion imaginable, uttering a harsli sort of hiss or grunt, which may 
be heard at a distance of several hundred yards. Should eagles make 
their appearance at such a juncture, the Carrion Crows retire, and pa- 
tiently wait until their betters are satisfied, but they pay little regard to 
the dogs. When satiated, they rise together, should the weather be fair, 
mount high in the air, and perform various evolutions, flying in large cir- 
cles, and alternately plunging and rising, until they at length move off" in 
a straight direction, or alight on the dead branches of trees, where they 
spread out their wings and tail to the sun or the breeze. In cold and 
wet weather they assemble round the chimney-tops, to receive the warmth 
imparted by the smoke. I never heard of their disgorging their food on 
such occasions, that being never done unless when they are feeding their 
young, or when suddenly alarmed or caught. In that case, they throw 
up the contents of their stomach with wonderful quickness and power. 

No law exists for the protection of this or the other species, their use- 
fulness alone affording them security in the Southern States, although the 
people generally speak of a law with the view of preventing them from 
being molested. As to their propensity to attack live animals, at least 



BLACK VULTURE. 49 

those in a sickly state, although I could adduce numerous instances, it 
will suffice to produce the following attestations : — 

" We the subscribers, natives of South Carolina, certify, that the 
Vultures of this State, commonly called the Turkey Buzzard and Carrion 
Crow, particularly the latter, will attack and destroy living animals, by 
feeding on them, such as young poultry, and the young of sheep and 
hogs ; that they will also attack grown animals when in a helpless state, 
and destroy them in like manner. 

Paul S. H. Lee. Thos. Riggs. 

Stiles Rivers. Thos. W. Boone. 

L. WiTSELL. Malachi Ford. 

L. S. FiSHBURNE. 

Saint Bartholomew Parish, Colleton District, 
32 miles from Charleston, 25th Jan. 1834." 

" I hereby certify, that some years ago — I cannot specify the precise 

time, but have a perfect recollection of the fact — I saw a horse lying on 

the common, about half-a-mile from the city of Charleston, surrounded by 

a number of Buzzards, apparently feeding on him. My curiosity being 

excited by observing the horse move, I approached and drove off the 

Buzzards. They had already plucked out the eyes of the horse, and 

picked a wound in the anus, where I discovered a jet of blood from a small 

artery, which had been divided. I am well satisfied that the horse did 

not die for many hours afterwards. He struggled considerably whilst 

the Buzzards were operating on him, but was unable to rise from the 

ground. 

B. B. Strobel, M. D. 
Charleston, 5th Feb. 1834." 

" I certify, that at my plantation, about four miles from the city of 
Charleston, one of my cattle, about two years old, in feeding in a ditch, 
got its horn so entangled in the root of a cane, as to be unable to get out. 
In this situation it was attacked by the Turkey Buzzard and Carrion 
Crow, who picked out one of its eyes, and would have killed it by feed- 
ing on it while alive, if it had not been discovered. It was extricated 
and driven home, but had been so much injured, that I had it knocked 
on the head to put it out of its misery. 

Gilbert C. Geddes. 
Charleston, 2Qth Feb. 1834." 
VOL. II. JD 



Sa BLACK VULTURE. 

The Carrion Crows of Charleston resort at night to a swampy wood 
across the Ashley river, about two miles from the city. I visited this roost- 
ing place in company with my friend John Bachman, approaching it by 
a close thicket of undergrowth, tangled with vines and briars. When 
nearly under the trees on which the birds were roosted, we found the 
ground destitute of vegetation, and covered with ordure and feathers, 
■ mixed with the broken branches of the trees. The stench was horrible. The 
trees were completely cover^^with birds, from the trunk to the very tip& 
of the branches. They were quite unconcerned ; but, having determined 
to send them the contents of our guns, and firing at the same instant, we 
saw most of them fly off, hissing, grunting, disgorging, and looking down 
on their dead companions as if desirous of devouring them. We kept up 
a brisk fusilade for several minutes, when they all flew off" to a great dis- 
tance high in the air ; but as we retired, we observed them gradually de- 
scending and settling on the same trees. The piece of ground was about 
two acres in extent, and the number of Vultures we estimated at several 
thousands. During very wet weather, they not unfrequently remain the 
whole day on the roost ; but when it is fine, they reach the city every 
morning by the first glimpse of day. 

The flight of this species, although laboured, is powerful and protract- 
ed. Before rising from the ground, they are obliged to take several leaps, 
which thev do in an awkward sidelong manner. Their flight is continued 
by flappings, repeated eight or ten times, alternating with sailings of from 
thirty to fifty yards. The wings are disposed at right angles to the body, 
and the feet protrude beyond the tail, so as to be easily seen. In calm 
weather, they may be heard passing over you at the height of forty or 
fifty yards ; so great is the force with which they beat the air. When 
about to alight, they allow their legs to dangle beneath, the better to en- 
able them to alight. 

They feed on all sorts of flesh, fresh or putrid, whether of quadrupeds 
or birds, as well as on fish. I saw a great number of them eating a dead 
shark near the wharf at St Augustine in East Florida ; and I observed 
them many times devouring young cormorants and herons in the nest, on 
the keys bordering that peninsula. 

The Carrion Crow and Turkey Buzzard possess great power of recol- 
lection, so as to recognise at a great distance a person who has shot at 
them, and even the horse on which he rides. On several occasions I have 
observed that they would fly off at my approach, after I had trapped 



BLACK VULTURE. 51 

several, when they took no notice of othei- individuals ; and they avoid- 
ed my horse in the pastures, after I had made use of him to approach and 
shoot them. 

At the commencement of the love season, which is about the begin- 
ning of February, the gesticulation and parade of the males are extreme- 
ly ludicrous. They first strut somewhat in the manner of the Turkey 
Cock, then open their wings, and, as they approach the female, lower their 
head, its wrinkled skin becoming loosened, so as entirely to cover the bill, 
and emit a puffing sound, which is by no means musical. When these 
actions have been repeated five or six times, and the conjugal compact 
sealed, the " happy pair'"' fly off, and remain together until their young 
come abroad. These birds form no nest, and consequently never breed 
on trees ; the hollow of a prostrate log, or the excavation of a bank of 
earth, suffices for them. They never lay more than two eggs, which are 
deposited on the bare ground ; they are about three inches in length, rather 
pointed at the smaller end, thick in the shell, with a pure white ground, 
marked towards the greater ends with large irregular dashes of black and 
dark brown. Twenty-one days are required for hatching them. The 
male and female sit by turns, and feed each other. The young are at 
first covered with a light cream-coloured down, and have an extremely 
uncouth appearance. They are fed by regurgitation, almost in the same 
manner as pigeons, and are abundantly supplied with food. When fled- 
ged, which is commonly about the beginning of June, they follow their 
parents through the woods. At this period, their head is covered with 
feathers to the very mandibles. The plumage of this part gradually dis- 
appears, and the skin becomes wrinkled ; but they are not in full plum- 
age till the second year. During the breeding season, they frequent the 
cities less, those remaining at that time being barren birds, of which there 
appear to be a good number. I believe that the individuals which are no 
longer capable of breeding, spend all their time in and about the cities, 
and roost on the roofs and chimneys. They go out, in company with the 
Turkey Buzzards, to the yards of the hospitals and asylums, to feed on the 
remains of the provisions cooked there, which are as regularly thrown out 
to them. 

I have represented a pair of Carrion Crows or Black Vultures in full 
plumage, engaged with the head of our Common Deer, the Cei-vus virgi- 
nianus. 



52 BLACK VULTURE. 

Cathartes Jota, Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 23. 
Cathartes atratus, Swains and Richards, Fauna Boreali-Americ. Part 11. p. 6. 
VuLTDR Jota, Gmel. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 247. 

Black Vulture or Carrion Crow, Vultur atratus, Wils. Amer. Ornith. 
vol. ix. p. 104. PI. 75. fig. 2 — Nuttall, Manual, p. 46. 

Adult Male. Plate CVI. Fig. 1. 

Bill elongated, rather stout, straight at the base, slightly compres- 
sed; the upper mandible covered to the middle by the cere, broad, 
curved, and acute at the end, the edge doubly undulated. Nostrils 
medial, approximate, linear, pervious. Head elongated, neck longish, 
body robust. Feet strong; tarsus roundish, covered with small rhom- 
boidal scales ; toes scutellate above, the middle one much longer, the la- 
teral nearly equal, second and third united at the base by a web. Claws 
arched, strong, rather obtuse. 

Plumage rather compact, with ordinary lustre. The head and upper 
part of the neck are destitute of feathers, having a black, rugose, carun- 
culated skin, sparsely covered with short hairs, and downy behind. Wings 
ample, long, the first quill rather short, third and fourth longest. Tail 
longish, even, or very slightly emarginated at the end, of twelve broad, 
straight, feathers. 

Bill greyish-yellow at the end, dusky at the base, as is the corrugated 
skin of the head and neck. Iris reddish-brown. Feet yellowish-grey ; 
claws black. The general colour of the plumage is dull-black, slightly 
glossed with blue ; the primary quills light brownish on the inside. 

Length 26 inches; extent of wings 54 ; bill 2| ; tarsus 3^ ; middle 
toe 4. 

Adult Female. Plate CVII. Fig. 2. 

The female resembles the male in external appearance, and is rather 
less. 



{ 53 ) 

THE CANA^DA JAY. 

CoRvus Canadensis, Linn. 

PLATE CVII. Male and Female. 

I HAVE found this species of Jay breeding in the State of Maine, 
where many individuals belonging to it reside the whole year, and where 
in fact so many as fifteen or twenty may be seen in the course of a day by 
a diligent person anxious to procure them. In the winter, their numbers 
are constantly augmented by those which repair to that country from 
places farther north. They advance to the southward as far as the upper 
parts of the State of New York, where the person who first gave intima- 
tion to Mr Wilson that the species was to be found in the Union, shot 
seven or eight one morning, from which number he presented one to the 
esteemed author of the " American Ornithology," who afterwards pro- 
cured some in the same neighbourhood. This species is best known in 
Maine by the name of the " Carrion Bird," which is usually applied to it 
on account of its carnivorous propensities. When their appetite is satis- 
fied, they become shy, and are in the habit of hiding themselves amongst 
close woods or thickets ; but when hungry, they shew no alarm at the 
approach of man, nay, become familiar, troublesome, and sometimes so 
very bold as to enter the camps of the " lumberers," or attend to rob 
them of the bait affixed to their traps. My generous friend, Edward 
Harris, Esq. of New York, told me that while fishing in a birch canoe on 
the lakes in the interior of the State of Maine, in the latter part of the sum- 
mer of 1 833, the Jays were so fearless as to alight in one end of his havk, 
while he sat in the other, and help themselves to his bait, taking very 
little notice of him. 

The lumberers or wood-cutters of this State frequently amuse them- 
selves in their camp during their eating hours, with what they call " trans- 
porting the carrion bird." This is done by cutting a pole eight or ten 
feet in length, and balancing it on the sill of their hut, the end outside 
the entrance being baited with a piece of flesh of any kind. Immediately 
on seeing the tempting morsel, the Jays alight on it, and while they are 
busily engaged in devouring it, a wood-cutter gives a smart blow to the 



54 CANADA JAY. 

end of the pole within the hut, which seldom fails to drive the birds high 
in the air, and not unfrequently kills them. They even enter the camps, 
and would fain eat from the hands of the men while at their meals. They 
are easily caught in any kind of trap. My friend, the Rev. John Bach- 
man, informed me that when residing in the State of New York, he found 
one caught in a snare which had been set with many others for the com- 
mon Partridge or " Quail," one of which the Jay had commenced eating 
before he was himself caught. 

In the winter they are troublesome to the hunters, especially when the 
ground is thickly covered with snow, and food consequently scarce, for, 
at such a time, they never meet with a Deer or a Moose hung on a tree, 
without mutilating it as much as in their power. In the Bay of Fundy 
I observed, several mornings in succession, a Canada Jay watching the 
departure of a Crow from her nest, after she had deposited an egg. When 
the Crow flew off, the cunning Jay immediately repaired to the nest, and 
carried away the egg. I have heard it said that the Canada Jay some- 
times destroys the young of other birds of its species, for the purpose of 
feeding its own with them ; but not having witnessed such an act, I can- 
not vouch for the truth of the report, which indeed appears to me too 
monstrous to be credited. 

I have often been delighted by the sight of their graceful movements on 
alighting after removing from one tree to another, or while flying across a 
road or a piece of water. They have an odd way of nodding their head, 
and jerking their body and tail, while they emit their curiously diversified 
notes, which at times resemble a low sort of mewing, at others the sound 
given out by an anvil lightly struck with a hammer. They frequently 
alight about the middle of a tree, and hop with airy grace from one branch 
to another until they reach the very top, when they remove to another 
tree, and thus proceed through the woods. Their flight resembles that 
of the Blue Jay, although I do not consider, it quite so firm or protracted. 
The Canada Jay breeds in Maine, in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, 
Newfoundland, and Labrador. It begins so early as February or March 
to form its nest, which is placed in the thickest part of a fir tree, near 
the trunk, and at a height of from five to ten feet. The exterior is com- 
posed of dry twigs, with moss and grass, and the interior, which is flat, 
is formed of fibrous roots. The eggs, which are from four to six, are of a 
light grey colour, faintly marked with brown. Only one brood is raised 



CANADA JAY. 5^ 

4n the season. I found the young following their parents on the 27th 
June 1833, at Labrador, where I shot both old and young, while the 
former was in the act of feeding the latter. 

The young, which was fully fledged, had no white about the head ; 
the whole plumage was of a very deep slate colour approaching to black, 
excepting the ends of the tail feathers, which were of a sullied white, the 
lower mandible almost white. The bill was (of course) shorter than that 
of the old bird, more dilated at the base, the bristles there propor- 
tionally shorter. The legs were of a deep purplish black. In short, it 
bore a perfect resemblance to the bird called the " Short-billed Jay, or 
Whiskey Jack,'' Garrulus brachyrinchus^'' of my excellent friend Mr 
SwAiNsoN, as described and figured by himself and Dr Richardson in 
their beautiful and valuable Fauna Boreali-Americana, (Vol. II. p. 296, 
PI. 551.) So unlike the parent birds did the young of this species ap- 
pear, that before I saw them fed by the old ones, I urged my young 
companions to shoot every one of the brood, thinking they might be of a 
new species. The contents of the stomach of both young and old birds 
were insects, leaves of fir trees, and eggs of ants. The intestines mea- 
sured one foot eleven inches. The flesh of both was of a dark bluish 
colour, and smelt strongly of their food. 

I have represented a pair of these birds on an oak branch, with its 
rich autumnal tints, and have attached to it the nest of a hornet, having 
observed the bird in the State of Maine pursuing that insect. 



CoRvus Canadensis, imw. Syst. Nat. p. 158 Lath. Synops. vol. i. p. 389. — Ch. 

Bonaparte, Sjnops. of Birds of the United States, p. 58. 
Canada' Jay, Corvus canadensis, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 33, PL 21. 

Fig. h—Nuttall, Manual, p. 232. 
GARauLBs canadensis, Swains and Richards, Fauna Boreali-Americana, part ii. 

p. 295. 

Adult Male. Plate CVII. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, strongs straight, compressed, acute ; upper mandible with 
the dorsal outline shghtly arched, the sides sloping, the edges sharp and 
overlapping, the tip slightly declinate ; lower mandible with the back 
narrow, the sides sloping. Nostrils basal, open, covered by the reversed 
bristly-feathers. Head rather large, neck short, body rather slight. Feet of 
ordinary length ; tarsus about the same length as the middle toe, ante- 



56 CANADA JAY. 

riorly scutellate, compressed, acute behind ; toes free, scutellate, the inner 
shorter than the outer ; claws arched, compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft, blended, slightly glossed. A tuft of reflected, adpres- 
sed, bristly feathers over the nostril on each side. Wings short ; first 
quill very short, fourth and fifth longest. Tail longish, much rounded, 
of twelve rounded feathers. During winter, there is an accumulation of 
soft, downy feathers on the rump. 

Bill and feet black. Iris brown. Forehead and feathers covering 
the nostrils brownish- white ; throat, a collar passing round the lower part 
of the neck, and the lower parts generally of a white colour, slightly 
tinged with yellowish. The general tint of the upper parts is a dull 
leaden grey ; the back of the neck black ; the margins of the quiUs and 
coverts duU- white, as are those of the tail feathers, which are broadly tip- 
ped with the same. 

Length 11 inches, extent of wings 15 ; beak 1 ; tarsus Ig. 

Adult Female. Plate CVII. Fig. 2. 

The Female scarcely differs in any perceptible degree from the Male ; 
the light coloured tints being only more tinged with brown, and the 
grey of the upper parts somewhat duller. 



Thk White Oak. 



QuERCDS ALBA, JVUld. Sp. PI. vol. iv. p. 429 Michaux. Arbr. Forest, de I'Amerique 

Sept. vol. ii. p. 13. pi. 1. Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. voL ii. p. 633 MoNfficiA 

PoLYANDRiA, Linn. AmentacEjE, Juss. 

Leaves oblong, pinnatifido-sinuate, downy beneath, the lobes linear- 
lanceolate, obtuse, attenuated at the base, entire on the margin ; the fruit 
pedunculate, the cupule tubercular, flat at the base, cupshaped, the 
acorn ovate. Although this species of oak is not abundant in Maine, 
where the Canada Jay chiefly occurs, I have employed it in my drawing, 
on account of the rich colouring of its fine leaves during the autumnal 
months. It is in Louisiana, where it is plentiful, that one must see it, to 
judge of the grandeur which it attains under favourable circumstances. 
I have often seen these oaks spreading their young branches amid the 



CANADA JAY. 57 

tops of Magnolias fully one hundred feet above the ground, with stems 
from four to six feet in diameter, to the height of fifty or more feet, straight 
as a line, and without a branch to that height. When left in fields, 
their tops, naturally inclined to spread, render their aspect majestic ; and 
one is tempted to try to calculate the many years these noble trees have 
stood against the blast of the tempest. The wood, which is of excellent 
quality, being haard and durable, is applied to numerous uses. Its dis- 
tribution is very extensive in the United States, it being found in the 
forests from Louisiana to Massachusetts, and in the western countries 
beyond the Mississippi. 



( 58 ; 

THE FOX-COLOURED SPARROW. 

Fringilla iliac a, Merrem. 

PLATE CVIII. Male and Female. 

Although the Fox-coloured Sparrow visits us regularly at the ap- f 
proach of winter, it merely remains during the few months of the year 
which are too severe in the more northern parts of our continent, where it 
resides at all other periods. It wanders, however, as far southward as the 
lower parts of Louisiana, is also met with in Kentucky, and in the coun- 
tries bordering on the Ohio, Missouri, and Mississippi, and visits the Flo- 
ridas, Georgia, the Carolinas, and in short every State south of Massa- 
chusetts. In the latter State, and in that of Maine, few individuals are 
seen after its passage through these districts, late in October. 

In the northern parts of America, where it breeds, it replaces the 
Towhe Bunting, so abundant in our middle States, where it delights us with 
its song. To that species the Fox-coloured Sparrow comes next in siz#- 
while it greatly surpasses it in its musical powers. 

While in the United States, it lives retired, and separates itself from 
most other species. Little flocks, consisting of a family or two, take pos- 
session of some low well-covered thicket, by the side of some clear stream- 
let, where they spend the winter unmolested, searching for food among 
the fallen and withered leaves, or among the roots and dead branches of 
trees. Should a warm morning dawn on their retreat, the male birds 
directly ascend to the middle branches of the brambles, and in a soft un- 
der tone cheer the females with their melodies. At all other times they 
remain comparatively silent, merely emitting a note to call each other, or 
to assure their little family that all is safe around them. Towards spring 
a kind of bvistle takes place in their camp : the males, already warmed 
with affection and love, renew their attentions to their mates ; new con- 
nections are formed by the young ; their song becomes much improved ; 
and the passer by may here and there see a pair moving slowly and cau- 
tiously towards the land whence they had emigrated some months before. 

Follow these birds wherever you will, you invariably find them not in 
deep woods, but along the fences, and amid patches of briars and tangled 
underwood, which at all times seem so pleasing to them. They traverse 



FOX-COLOURED SPARROW. 59 

the whole of the Union by day, resting here and there awhile, to watch 
the gradual improvement of the season. 

They enter the British Provinces full of joy, and lavish of song. Many 
are well pleased to remain there, but the greater number pursue their 
course to revisit the Magdeleine Islands, Newfoundland, and the country 
of Labrador. There you find them in every pleasant dell, where no sooner 
have they arrived than each searches for a safe retreat in which to place 
its nest. This is in due time replenished with eggs ; and, while the fe- 
male sits on them with care and anxiety, her devoted lover chants the 
blessings they both enjoy. 

The flight of this bird is low, rapid, and undulating. While passing, 
over the Gulf of St Lawrence, it flies swiftly, at a moderate height, with- 
out uttering any note. They appear to be able to travel to a considerable 
distance, without the necessity of alighting, and I have thought that they 
may accomplish the passage of the Gulf without resting on any of its 
islands. As soon as they aUght, they betake themselves to the deepest 
thickets. 

During the breeding season, their plumage has a richness which it 
does not exhibit in the winter months, while with us. Indeed some of the 
males at that time are so highly coloured as to be of a bright red rather 
than of a brown tint ; and their appearance, as they pass from one bush 
to another, or skip from stone to stone, is extremely pleasing. I have 
attempted to represent this colouring in the Plate. 

Would that I could describe the sweet song of this finch ; that I could 
convey to your mind the efiect it produced on my feelings, when wander- 
ing on the desolate shores of Labrador ! — that I could intelligibly tell 
you of the clear, full notes of its unaffected warble, as it sat perched on 
the branch of some stunted fir. There for hours together was continued 
the dehghtful serenade, which kept me lingering about the spot. The 
briUiancy and clearness of each note, as it flowed through the air, were so 
enchanting, the expression and emphasis of the song so powerful, that I 
never tired of listening. But, reader, I can furnish no description of the 
melody. 

While in South Carolina, in January 1834, after I had returned from 
the country where this species breeds, I happened, one fair day, to meet 
with a groupe of these birds. They were singing in concert. Never shall 
I forget the impression which their notes made on me : I suddenly stopped 
and looked around ; for a moment I imagined that I had been by magic 



60 FOX-COLOURED SPARROW. 

transported to the wilds of Labrador ; but how short was the duration of 
these feelings ! — a hawk sailed over the spot of their concealment, and in 
an instant all was silent as the tomb. 

The nest of the Fox-coloured Sparrow, which is large for the size of the 
bird, is usually placed on the ground, among moss or tall grass, near the 
stem of a creeping fir, the branches of which completely conceal it from 
view. Its exterior is loosely formed of dry grass and moss, with a care- 
fully disposed inner layer of finer grasses, circularly arranged ; and the 
lining consists of very delicate fibrous roots, together with some feathers 
from different species of water-fowl. In one instance I found it composed 
of the down of the Eider-duck. The period at which the eggs are laid, 
is from the middle of June to the 5th of July. They are proportionally 
large, four or five in number, rather sharp at the smaller end, of a dull 
greenish tint, sprinkled with irregular small blotches of brown. I think 
that the description given in the splendid work of my friends Swainson 
and Richardson, of the eggs of this species, must have been taken from 
those of the White- crowned Bunting, as it agrees precisely with eggs which 
I have found in many nests of that bird. 

When one approaches the nest, the female affects lameness, and em- 
ploys aU the usual arts to decoy him from it. They raise only one brood 
in the season. The young, before they depart for the United States, 
already resemble their parents, which have by this time lost much of the 
orilliancy of their colouring. They leave Labrador about the 1st of Sep- 
tember, in small groups, formed each of a single family. When in that 
country, and in Newfoundland, I frequently observed them searching 
along the shores for minute shell-fish, on which they feed abundantly. 

Many of these birds are frequently offered for sale in the markets of 
Charleston, they being easily caught in " figure-of-four traps !"" Their 
price is usually ten or twelve cents each. I saw many in the aviaries of 
my friends Dr Samuel Wilson and the Reverend John Bachman, of 
that city. To the former I am indebted for the following particulars re- 
lative to this species, part of which I was myself witness to. 

Dr Wilson, who was almost in the daily habit of visiting my friend 
Bachman, with whom it was my good fortune to reside while at Charles- 
ton, was fond of talking about birds, many of which he knew more accu- 
rately than ordinary ornithologists are wont to do. " My Dear Mr Au- 
dubon," he said, " I have several beautiful Fox-coloured SpaiTows in my 
aviary, but of late some of them have been killed, and I wish you would 



FOX-COLOURED SPARROW. 61 

tell me by what other birds the murders can have been committed." I 
laid the charge first on the Blue Jays ; but he replied that even they ap- 
peared as if greatly molested by some other species. A day elapsed, the 
Doctor returned, and astonished me not a little by informing me that the 
culprit was a Mocking-bird. I went to his house on the 8th December ; 
and, while' standing on the piazza, we both saw the Mocking-bird alight on 
one of the Fox-coloured Sparrows, in the manner of a small hawk, and peck 
at the poor bird with such force as to convince us that its death must soon 
ensue. The muscular powers of the finch, however, appeared almost too 
much for the master songster of our woods ; it desisted for a moment, out 
of breath, and we could observe its pantings ; but it did not fail to resume 
its hitherto unknown character of tyrant. A servant was dispatched to 
the rescue, and peace was restored ; but the finch was almost reduced to 
its last gasp, and shortly after expired. This very Mocking-bird we 
strongly suspected of being the individual that had killed a Blue Jay of 
exceedingly meek disposition, a few weeks before. It was ultimately re- 
moved into a lonely cage, where it is yet passing its days, perhaps in un- 
availing penitence. 



Fringilla iliaca, Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 112. 
Fox-coloured Sparrow, Fringilla rufa, Wilson's Amer. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 53. 

pi. 22. fig. 4 Nuttall, Manual, vol. i. p. 514. 

Fringilla (Zonotrichia ?) iliaca, Swains: North Zool. vol. ii. p. 257. 

Adult Male in Summer. Plate CVIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, robust, conical, acute ; upper mandible broader than the 
lower, almost straight in its dorsal outline, as is the lower, both being 
rounded on the sides, and the lower with inflected acute edges ; the gap 
line nearly straight, a little deflected at the base, and not extending to 
beneath the eye. Nostrils basal, roundish, open, partially concealed by 
the feathers. Head rather large, neck shortish ; body robust. Legs of 
moderate length, rather strong ; tarsus shorter than the middle toe ; co- 
vered anteriorly with a few longish scutella ; toes scutellate above, free, 
the lateral ones nearly equal ; claws slender, arched, compressed, acute, 
that of the hind toe rather large. 

Plumage compact above, soft and blended beneath ; wings short, 
curved, rounded, the second, third and fourth quills longest, and nearly 
equal ; the first and fifth equal ; tail longish, even, or slightly rounded. 



6-2 FOX-COLOURED SPARROW. 

Bill dark brown above, the base of the lower mandible yellow, its tip 
bluish ; iris deep brown ; feet flesh-coloured ; upper part of the head 
and neck smoke-grey ; back dusky brown ; rump, tail, wing-coverts, and 
outer part of the quills bright ferruginous ; tips of the coverts whitish, 
forming a narrow bar, space from the upper mandible to the eye pale 
reddish ; ear-coverts chestnut. The ground colovu* of the lower parts is 
white anteriorly, pale greyish behind ; the sides of the neck, the throat, 
and flanks, marked with triangular spots of chestnut, which are darker 
on the hind parts. 

Length Tf inches ; extent of wings 10| ; bill ^% along the ridge, ^^ 
along the gap ; tarsus j%, middle toe 1. 

Adult Female. Plate CVIIT. Fig. 2. 

The Female differs little from the Male, the tints being merely some- 
what fainter. Length 7^ inches. 



( 63 ) 

THE SAVANNAH FINCH. 

Fringilla Savanna, Wils. 

PLATE CIX. Male and Female. 

This species is one of the most abundant of our Finches. It is also 
one of the hardiest, standing the winter of our Middle Districts, ranging 
as far north as Labrador, and crowding our old fields and open woods 
of the south, from October to April. It is nearly allied to the Yellow- 
Winged Sparrow and Henslow's Bunting, but differs from both in many 
important particulars. 

It confines itself principally to the ground, where it runs with ex- 
treme agility, lowering its body as if to evade your view, and when in 
danger hiding as closely as a mouse, nay, seldom taking to wing, unless 
much alarmed or suddenly surprised. It is fondest of dry, rather ele- 
vated situations, not very distant from the sea shore, and although it 
travels much, I have never found one in deep woods. During winter it 
associates with the Field Sparrow and Bay-winged Sparrow, and with 
these it is often seen in open plains of great extent, scantily covered with 
tall grasses or low clumps of trees and briars. Regardless of 'man, it ap- 
proaches the house, frequents the garden, and ahghts on low buildings 
with as little concern as if in the most retired places. 

It migrates by day, when it suffers from the attacks of the Marsh, 
the Pigeon and the Sharp-shinned Hawks, and rests on the ground 
by night, when it^is liable to be preyed upon by the insidious Minx. 
Its flight, although rather irregular, is considerably protracted, for it 
crosses I believe without resting the broad expanse of the Gulf of St 
Lawrence. In June 1833, I found it gradually moving northward as 
I advanced towards the country of Labrador ; and although a great num- 
ber tarry and breed in all intermediate places from Maryland to that 
dreary region, I saw them there in abundance. 

The nest of the Savannah Finch is placed on the ground at the foot 
of a tuft of rank grass, or of a low bush. It is formed of dry grasses, 
and is imbedded in the soil, or among the grass, the inner part being 
finished with straw and blades of a finer texture. The eggs, from four 
to six in number, are of a pale bluish colour, softly mottled with pur- 



64 SAVANNAH FINCH. 

plish-brown. Some eggs have a broadish circle of these spots near the 
large end, while the extremity itself is without any markings. It gene- 
rally breeds twice every season in the Middle States, but never more 
than once to the eastward of Massachusetts. While searching for the 
nests of this and many other species, I observed that the artifices used by 
the female to draw intruders away, are seldom if ever practised until af- 
ter incubation has commenced. 

Although this little Finch cannot be said to have a song, it is yet 
continually pouring out its notes. You see it perched on a fence rail, the 
top of a stone, or a tall grass or bush, mimicking as it were the sounds 
of the Common Cricket. Indeed, when out of sight of the performer, 
one might readily imagine it was that insect he heard. During winter, 
it now and then repeats a cheep, which, although more sonorous, is not 
more musical. In spring, when disturbed and forced from its perch, it 
flies quite low over the ground in a whirring manner, and re-alights 
as soon as an opportunity offers. 

Like all the other land-birds that resort to Labrador in summer, it 
returns from that country early in September. 

Fhingilla Savanna, Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 109. 
Savannah Finch, Fringilla Savanna, Wils. Amer. Ornith. voL iv. p. 72. PI. 34. 

fig. 4, Male ; and vol. iii. p. 55. PI. 22. fig. .3, Female — Nuttall, Manual, vol. i. 

p. 489. 

Adult Male. Plate CIX. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, conical, acute ; upper mandible straight in its dorsal out- 
line, rounded on the sides, as is the lower, which has the edges sharp and 
inflected ; the gap line straight, not extending to beneath the eye. Nos- 
trils basal, roundish, open, concealed by the feathers. Head rather large. 
Neck short. Legs of moderate length, slender ; tarsus longer than the 
middle toe, covered anteriorly with a few longish scutella ; toes scutellate 
above, free, the lateral ones nearly equal ; claws slender, compressed, 
acute, slightly arched ; that of the hind toe a little larger. 

Plumage soft and blended. Wings shortish, curved, rounded, the 
third and fourth quills longest. Tail short, emarginate. 

Bill pale-brown beneath, dusky above. Iris brown. Feet light flesh- 
colour. Cheeks and space over the eye light citron-yellow. The general 
colour of the plumage above is pale reddish-brown, spotted with brownish- 
black, the edges of the feathers being of the former colour. The lower 



SAVANNAH FINCH. 65 

parts are white, the breast marked with small deep brown spots, the sides 
with long streaks of the same. 

Length 5| inches ; extent of wings 8|; bill along the ridge -^^^ along 
the gap ^^ ; tarsus 1 §. 

Adult Female. Plate CIX. Fig. % 

The Female resembles the Male, the tints of the plumage being merely 
a little hghter. 

Length 5| inches ; extent of mngs 8|. 



The Indian Pink-root or Worm-grass. 

Spigelia MAHiLANmcA, Pwsh, Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 139 — Pentandria Mono- 
GYNIA, Linn. Apocyne^, Juss. Fig. 1. of the Plate. 

Stem tetragonal, all the leaves opposite, ovate, acuminate. Peren- 
nial. This plant grows in damp meadows, along rivulets, and even in 
the depth of the woods. It is abundant in Kentucky, as well as on the 
eastern ranges of the Alleghany Mountains, even to the vicinity of the 
Atlantic. Its rich carmine flowers have no scent. 

Phlox aristata, Mich. Fl. Amer. vol. 1. p. 144 — Pursh, Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. 1. 

p. 150 Pentakdria Monogynia, Linn. Polemonia, Juss. Fig. 2. of the 

Plate. 
See vol. i. p. 361. 



VOL. II. 



( 66 ) 

THE HOODED WARBLER. 

Sylvia mitrata. Lath. 
PLATE ex. Male and Female. 

In many parts of our woods, the traveller, as he proceeds, cannot help 
stopping to admire the peaceful repose that spreads its pleasing charm on 
all around. The tall trees are garlanded with climbing plants, which 
have entwined their slender stems around them, creeping up the crevices 
of the deeply furrowed bark, and vying with each other in throwing forth 
the most graceful festoons, to break the straight lines of the trunks which 
support them ; while here and there from the taller branches, numberless 
grape-vines hang in waving clusters, or stretch across from tree to tree- 
The underwood shoots out its branches, as if jealous of the noble growth 
erf the larger stems, and each flowering shrub or plant displays its blos- 
soms, to tempt the stranger to rest a while, and enjoy the beauty of their 
tints, or refresh his nerves with their rich odours. Reader, add to this 
scene the pure waters of a rivulet, and you may have an idea of the places 
in which you will find the Hooded Warbler. 

The Southern and Western States are those to which this beautiful 
bird gives a preference. It abounds in Louisiana, along the Mississippi, 
and by the Ohio nearly to Cincinnati. It is equally plentiful in the north- 
ern parts of the Floridas, Georgia, and the two Carolinas, after which it 
becomes rare. None, I believe, are ever seen east of the State of New 
York. It enters the lower parts of Louisiana about the middle of March, 
and by the beginning of May has laid its eggs, or sometimes even hatched 
them. It arrives in South Carolina in April, immediately constructs its 
nest, and has young quite as soon as in Louisiana. 

The Hooded Flycatcher is one of the hveUest of its tribe, and is al- 
most continually in motion. Fond of secluded places, it is equally to be 
met with in the thick cane brakes of the high or low lands, or amid the 
rank weeds and tangled bushes of the lowest and most impenetrable 
swamps. You recognise it instantly on seeing it, for the pecuKar grace- 
ful opening and closing of its broad tail distinguishes it at once, as it goes 
on gambolling from bush to bush, now in sight, now hid from your eye, 
but constantly within hearing. 



HOODED WARBLER. 67 

Its common call-note so resembles that of the Painted Finch or Non- 
pareil, that it requires a practised ear to distinguish them. Its song, 
however, is very different. It is rather loud, lively yet mellow, and con- 
sists of three notes, resembling the syllables weet, weet, zceetee, a marked 
emphasis being laid on the last. Although extremely loquacious during 
the early part of spring, it becomes almost silent the moment it has a 
brood ; after which its notes are heard only while the female is sitting 
on her eggs ; for they raise two, sometimes three, broods in a season. 

FuU of activity and spirit, it flies swiftly after its insect prey, secu- 
ring the greater part of it on wing. Its flight is low, gliding, and now 
and then protracted to a considerable distance, as it seldom abandons the 
pursuit of an insect until it has obtained it. 

The nest of this gay bird is always placed low, and is generally at- 
tached to the forks of small twigs. It is neatly and compactly formed of 
mosses, dried grasses, and fibrous roots, and is carefully lined with hair, 
and not unfrequently a few large feathers. The eggs are from four to 
six, of a dull white, spotted with reddish-brown towards the larger end. 
The male and female sit by turns, and show extreme anxiety for the safety 
of their eggs or young. 

My worthy friend John Bachman, gave me the following account 
of the courageous disposition and strength of attachment of the Hooded 
Flycatcher. " I found a nest of these birds in a low piece of ground, so 
entangled with smilax and briars that it was difficult for me to pass 
through it. The nest was not placed more than two feet from the ground. 
This was in the month of May, and the parents were engaged in feeding 
the young it contained. Not far from that spot, whilst on a stand, wait- 
ing for a deer to pass, I saw another pair of the Hooded Flycatcher col- 
lecting materials to build a nest. The female was the most active, and 
yet the male was constantly near to her. A Sharp-skinned Hawk sud- 
denly pounced upon them, seized the female, and flew off with her. The 
male, to my surprise, followed close after the Hawk, flying within a few 
inches of him, and darting at him in all directions, as if fully determined 
to make him drop his prey. The pursuit continued thus until the birds 
were quite out of my sight !" 

This species, like many of its delicate tribe, appears to suffer so much 
from occasional cold, that, although at all other times a shy and wary bird, 
when chilly weather surprises it, it becomes at once careless of its safety. 



68 HOODED WARBLER. 

On such occasions I have approached them near enough to touch them 
with my gun. By the middle of September they all retire farther south. 
The plant on which I have represented a pair of these birds, is com- 
mon in the localities which they usually prefer. Although richly colour- 
ed, it has no scent. 



Hooded Flycatcheh, Mdscicapa cucullata, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 101, 

PL 26. Fig. 3. Male Nuttall, Manual, vol. i. p. 373. 

Sylvia mitkata, Lath. Index Ornith. vol. ii. p. 528 — Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds 

of the United States, p. 79- 

Adult Male. Plate CX. Fig. 1. 

Bill of moderate length, straight, subulato-conical, acute, nearly as 
deep as broad at the base, the edges acute, the gap line a little deflected 
at the base. Nostrils basal, elliptical, lateral, half- closed by a membrane. 
Head rather small. Neck short. Body rather slender. Feet of ordinary 
length, slender ; tarsus longer than the middle toe, covered anteriorly by 
a few scutella, the uppermost long ; toes scu tell ate above, the inner free, 
the hind toe of moderate size ; claws slender, compressed, acute, arched. 

Plumage soft and blended. Wings short, a little rounded, the second 
and third quills longest. Tail longish, slightly emarginate. Rather strong 
bristles at the base of the bill. 

Bill blackish above, paler below. Iris brown. Feet flesh-coloured. 
Forehead, sides of the head, and the chin deep yellow, as are the breast 
and belly. Hind-head, throat, and lower part of the neck black. The 
general colour of the upper parts is yellowish-olive ; wings dusky ; three 
lateral tail-feathers white on the terminal half of their inner webs. 

Length 5|, extent of wings 8 ; bill along the ridge nearly ■^■^. 

Adult Female. Plate CX. Fig. 2. 

The Female has the forehead, the sides of the head, and all the lower 
parts yellow, the hind part of the head dusky ; in other respects she re- 
sembles the male. 

Dimensions nearly the same as in the male. 

' This species more resembles a Flycatcher than a Sylvia in its habits, 
as well as in the bristles at the base of the bill, and, in fact, is very nearly 
allied to the Muscicapa Selbii, vol. i. p. 46. 



( 69 ) 



THE LOST ONE. 

A " Live-oaker" employed on the St John's River, in East Florida, 
left his cabin, situated on the banks of that stream, and, with his axe on 
his shoulder, proceeded towards the swamp in which he had several times 
before plied his trade of felling and squaring the giant trees that afford 
the most valuable timber for naval architecture and other purposes. 

At the season which is the best for this kind of labour, heavy fogs not 
unfrequently cover the country, so as to render it difficult for one to see far- 
ther than thirty or forty yards in any direction. The woods, too, present 
so little variety, that every tree seems the mere counterpart of every other ; 
and the grass, when it has not been burnt, is so tall that a man of ordinary 
stature cannot see over it, whence it is necessary for him to proceed with 
great caution, lest he should unwittingly deviate from the ill-defined trail 
which he follows. To increase the difficulty, several trails often meet, in 
which case, unless the explorer be perfectly acquainted with the neighbour- 
hood, it would be well for hiin to lie down, and wait until the fog should 
disperse. Under such circumstances, the best woodsmen are not unfre- 
quently bewildered for a while ; and I well remember that such an oc- 
currence happened to myself, at a time when I had imprudently ventured 
to pursue a wounded quadruped, which led me some distance from the 
track. 

The live-oaker had been jogging onwards for several hours, and be- 
came aware that he must have travelled considerably more than the dis- 
tance between his cabin and the " hummock"" which he desired to reach. 
To his alarm, at the moment when the fog dispersed, he saw the sun at its 
meridian height, and could not recognise a single object around him. 

Young, healthy, and active, he imagined that he had walked with 
more than usual speed, and had passed the place to which he was bound. 
He accordingly turned his back upon the sun, and pursued a different 
route, guided by a small trail. Time passed, and the sun headed his 
course : he saw it gradually descend in the west •, but all around him con- 
tinued as if enveloped with mystery. The huge grey trees spread their 
giant boughs over him, the rank grass extended on all sides, not a living 
being crossed his path, all was silent and still, and the scene was like a 
dull and dreary dream of the land of oblivion. He wandered like a for- 



70 THE LOST ONE. 

gotten ghost that had passed into the land of spirits, without yet meeting 
one of his kind with whom to hold converse. 

The condition of a man lost in the woods is one of the most perplexing 
that could be imagined by a person who has not himself been in a like pre- 
dicament. Every object he sees, he at first thinks he recognises, and while 
his whole mind is bent on searching for more that may gradually lead to 
his extrication, he goes on committing greater errors the farther he pro- 
ceeds. This was the case with the live-oaker. The sun was now setting 
with a fiery aspect, and by degrees it sunk in its full circular form, as if 
giving warning of a sultry morrow. Myriads of insects, delighted at its 
departure, now filled the air on buzzing wings. Each piping frog arose 
from the muddy pool in which it had concealed itself ; the squirrel retired 
to its hole, the crow to its roost, and, far above, the harsh croaking voice 
of the heron announced that, full of anxiety, it was wending its way to 
the miry interior of some distant swamp. Now the woods began to re- 
sound to the shrill cries of the owl ; and the breeze, as it swept among the 
columnar stems of the forest-trees, came laden with heavy and chilling 
dews. Alas, no moon with her silvery light shone on the dreary scene, and 
the Lost One, wearied and vexed, laid himself down on the damp ground. 
Prayer is always consolatory to man in every difficulty or danger, and the 
woodsman fervently prayed to his Maker, wished his family a happier 
night than it was his lot to experience, and with a feverish anxiety waited 
the return of day. 

You may imagine the length of that cold, dull, moonless night. With 
the dawn of day came the usual fogs of those latitudes. The poor man 
started on his feet, and with a sorrowful heart, pursued a course which he 
thought might lead him to some familiar object, although, indeed, he 
scarcely knew what he was doing. No longer had he the trace of a track 
to guide him, and yet, as the sun rose, he calculated the many hours of 
day-light he had before him, and the farther he went continued to walk 
the faster. But vain were all his hopes : that day was spent in fruitless 
endeavours to regain the path that led to his home, and when night again 
approached, the terror that had been gradually spreading over his mind, 
together with the nervous debility induced by fatigue, anxiety, and hun- 
ger, rendered him almost frantic. He told me that at this moment he 
beat his breast, tore his hair, and, had it not been for the piety with which 
his parents had in early life imbued his mind, and which had become ha- 
bitual, would have cursed his existence. Famished as he now was, he laid 



THE LOST ONE. 71 

himself on the ground, and fed on the weeds and grass that grew around 
him. That night was spent in the greatest agony and terror. " I knew 
my situation,"" he said to me. " I was fully aware that unless Almighty 
God came to my assistance, I must perish in those uninhabited woods. I 
knew that I had walked more than fifty miles, although I had not met 
with a brook, from which I could quench my thirst, or even allay the 
burning heat of my parched lips and blood-shot eyes. I knew that if I 
should not meet with some stream I must die, for my axe was my only 
weapon, and although deer and bears now and then started within a few 
yards or even feet of me, not one of them could I kill ; and although I 
was in the midst of abundance, not a mouthful did I expect to procure, to 
satisfy the cravings of my empty stomach. Sir, may God preserve you 
from ever feeling as I did the whole of that day !" 

For several days after, no one can imagine the condition in which he 
was, for when he related to me this painful adventure, he assured me 
that he had lost aU recollection of what had happened. " God," he con- 
tinued, " must have taken pity on me one day, for, as I ran wildly 
through those dreadful pine barrens, I met with a tortoise. I gazed upon 
it with amazement and delight, and, although I knew that were I to fol- 
low it undisturbed, it would lead me to some water, my hunger and thirst 
would not allow me to refrain from satisfying both, by eating its flesh, 
and drinking its blood. With one stroke of my axe the beast was cut in 
two, and in a few moments I dispatched all but the shell. Oh, Sir, how 
much I thanked God, whose kindness had put the tortoise in my way ! I 
felt greatly renewed. I sat down at the foot of a pine, gazed on the 
heavens, thought of my poor wife and children, and again, and again 
thanked my God for my life, for now I felt less distracted in mind, and 
more assured that before long 1 must recover my way, and get back to 
my home." 

The Lost One remained and passed the night, at the foot of the same 
tree under which his repast had been made. Refreshed by a sound sleep, 
he started at dawn to resume his weary march. The sun rose bright, 
and he followed the direction of the shadows. Still the dreariness of the 
woods was the same, and he was on the point of giving up in despair, 
when he observed a racoon lying squatted in the grass. Raising his axe, 
he drove it with such violence through the helpless animal, that it expired 
without a struggle. What he had done with the turtle, he now did with the 



72 THE LOST ONE. 

racoon, the greater part of which he actually devoured at one meal. With 
more comfortable feelings, he then resumed his wanderings — his journey 
I cannot say, — for although in the possession of all his faculties, and in 
broad dayhght, he was worse off than a lame man groping his way in the 
dark out of a dungeon, of which he knew not where the door stood. 

Days, one after another, passed, — nay, weeks in succession. He fed 
now on cabbage-trees, then on frogs and snakes. All that fell in his way 
was welcome and savoury. Yet he became daily more emaciated, until 
at length he could scarcely crawl. Forty days had elapsed, by his own 
reckoning, when he at last reached the banks of the river. His clothes in 
tatters, his once bright axe dimmed with rust, his face begrimmed with 
beard, his hair matted, and his feeble frame little better than a skeleton 
covered with parchment, there he laid himself down to die. Amid the 
perturbed dreams of his fevered fancy, he thought he heard the noise of 
oars far away on the silent river. He listened, but the sounds died away 
on his ear. It was indeed a dream, the last glimmer of expiring hope, 
and now the light of hfe was about to be quenched for ever. But again, 
the sound of oars awoke him from his lethargy. He listened so eagerly, 
that the hum of a fly could not have escaped his ear. They were indeed 
the measured beats of oars, and now, joy to the forlorn soul ! the sound 
of human voices thrilled to his heart, and awoke the tumultuous pulses 
of returning hope. On his knees did the eye of God see that poor man 
by the broad still stream that ghttered in the sunbeams, and human eyes 
soon saw him too, for round that headland covered with tangled |)rush- 
wood boldly advances the little boat, propelled by its lusty rowers. The 
Lost One raises his feeble voice on high ; — it was a loud shrill scream of 
joy and fear. The rowers pause, and look around. Another, but feebler 
scream, and they observe him. It comes, — his heart flutters, his sight is 
dimmed, his brain reels, he gasps for breath. It comes, — it has run upon 
the beach, and the Lost One is found. 

This is no tale of fiction, but the relation of an actual occurrence, 
which might be embellished, no doubt, but which is better in the plain 
garb of truth. The notes by which I recorded it were written, in the 
cabin of the once lost live-oaker, about four years after the painful inci.- 
dent occurred. His amiable wife, and loving children, were present at 
the recital, and never shall I forget the tears that flowed from them as 
they listened to it, albeit it had long been more familiar to them than a 



THE LOST ONE. 73 

tale thrice told. Sincerely do I wish, good reader, that neither you nor 
I mav ever elicit such sympathy, by having undergone such sufferings, 
although no doubt such sympathy would be a rich recompence for them. 
It only remains for me to say, that the distance between the cabin 
and the Live-oak hummock to which the woodsman was bound, scarcely 
exceeded 8 miles, while the part of the river at which he was found, 
was 38 miles from his house. Calculating his daily wanderings at 10 
miles, we may believe that they amounted in all to 400. He must, there- 
fore, have rambled in a circuitous direction, which people generally do in 
such circumstances. Nothing but the great strength of his constitution, 
and the merciful aid of his Maker, could have supported him for so long 
a time. 



( 74 ) 

THE PILEATED WOODPECKER. 

Pic us pileatus, Linn. 
PLATE CXI. Male, Female, and Young Males. 

It would be difficult for me to say in what part of our extensive coun- 
try I have not met with this hardy inhabitant of the forest. Even now, 
when several species of our birds are becoming rare, destroyed as they 
are, either to gratify the palate of the epicure, or to adorn the cabinet of 
the naturalist, the Pileated Woodpecker is every where to be found in the 
wild woods, although scarce and shy in the peopled districts. 

Wherever it occurs it is a permanent resident, and, like its relative the 
Ivory-billed Woodpecker, it remains pretty constantly in the place which 
it has chosen after leaving its parents. It is at all times a shy bird, so 
that one can seldom approach it, unless under cover of a tree, or when he 
happens accidentally to surprise it whUe engaged in its daily avocations. 
When seen in a large field newly brought into tillage, and yet covered 
with girdled trees, it removes from one to another, cackling out its laugh- 
ter-like notes, as if it found delight in leading you a wild-goose chase in 
pursuit of it. When followed it always alights on the tallest branches or 
trunks of trees, removes to the side farthest off, from which it every mo- 
ment peeps, as it watches your progress in silence ; and so well does it seem 
to know the distance at which a shot can reach it, that it seldom permits 
so near an approach. Often when you think the next step will take you 
near enough to fire with certainty, the wary bird flies off before you can 
reach it Even in the wildest parts of Eastern Florida, where I have at 
times followed it, to assure myself that the birds I saw were of the same 
species as that found in our distant Atlantic States, its vigilance was not in 
the least abated. For miles have I chased it from one cabbage-tree to 
another, without ever getting within shooting distance, until at last I was 
forced to resort to stratagem, and seeming to abandon the chase, took a 
circuitous route, concealed myself in its course, and waited until it came 
up, when, it being now on the side of the trees next to me, I had no dif- 
ficulty in bringing it down. I shall never forget, that, while in the Great 
Pine Forest of Pennsylvania, I spent several days in the woods endeavour- 



PILEATED WOODPECKER. 75 

ing to procure one, for the same purpose of proving its identity with 
others elsewhere seen. 

Their natural wildness never leaves them, even although they may 
have been reared from the nest. I will give you an instance of this, as 
related to me by my generous friend the Reverend John Bachman of 
Charleston, who also speaks of the cruelty of the species. " A pair of 
Fileated Woodpeckers had a nest in an old elm tree, in a swamp which 
they occupied that year ; the next spring early, two Blue Birds took pos- 
session of it, and there had young. Before these were half grown, the 
Woodpeckers returned to the place, and, despite of the cries and reiterat- 
ed attacks of the Blue Birds, the others took the young, not very gently, 
as you may imagine, and carried them away to some distance. Next the 
nest itself was disposed of, the hole cleaned and enlarged, and there they 
raised a brood. The nest, it is true, was originally their own. The tree 
was large, but so situated, that, from the branches of another I could 
reach the nest. The hole was about 18 inches deep, and I could touch 
the bottom with my hand. The eggs, which were laid on fragments 
of chips, expressly left by the birds, were six, large, white and trans- 
lucent. Before the Woodpeckers began to sit, I robbed them of their 
eggs, to see if they would lay a second time. They waited a few days 
as if undecided, when on a sudden I heard the female at work affain in 

o 

the tree ; she once more deepened the hole, made it broader at bottom, 
and recommenced laying. This time she laid five eggs. I suffered her 
to bring out her young, both sexes alternately incubating, each visiting 
the other at intervals, peeping into the hole to see that all was right and 
well there, and flying off afterwards in search of food. 

When the young were sufficiently grown to be taken out with safety, 
which I ascertained by seeing them occasionally peeping out of the hole, 
I carried them home, to judge of their habits in confinement, and at- 
tempted to raise them. I found it exceedingly difficult to entice them to 
open their bill in order to feed them. They were sullen and cross, nay, 
three died in a few days ; but the others, having been fed on grasshoppers 
forcibly introduced into their mouths, were raised. In a short time they 
began picking up the grasshoppers thrown into their cage, and were fully 
fed with corn-meal, which they preferred eating dry. Their whole em- 
ployment consisted in attempting to escape from their prison, regularly 
demolishing one every two days, although made of pine boards of toler- 
able thickness. I at last had one constructed with oak boards at the back 



76 PILEATED WOODPECKER. 

and sides, and rails of the same in front. This was too much for them, 
and their only comfort was in passing and holding their bills through the 
hard bars. In the morning after receiving water, which they drank 
freely, they invariably upset the cup or saucer, and although this was 
large and flattish, they regularly turned it quite over. After this they 
attacked the trough which contained their food, and soon broke it to 
pieces, and when perchance I happened to approach them with my hand, 
they made passes at it with their powerful bills with great force. I kept 
them in this manner until winter. They were at all times uncleanly and 
unsociable birds. On opening the door of my study one morning, one of 
them dashed off by me, alighted on an apple-tree near the house, climbed 
some distance, and kept watching me from one side and then the other, 
as if to ask what my intentions were. I walked into my study : — the 
other was hammering at my books. They had broken one of the bars of 
the cage, and must have been at liberty for some hours, judging by the 
mischief they had done. Fatigued of my pets, 1 opened the door, and 
this last one hearing the voice of his brother, flew towards him and alight- 
ed on the same tree. They remained about half an hour, as if consulting 
each other, after which, taking to their wings together, they flew off in a 
southern direction, and with much more ease than could have been ex- 
pected from birds so long kept in captivity. The ground was covered 
with snow, and I never more saw them. No birds of this species ever 
bred since in the hole spoken of in this instance, and I consider it as much 
wilder than the Ivory- billed Woodpecker.'' 

While in the Great Pine Forest of Pennsylvania, of which I have re- 
peatedly spoken, I was surprised to see how differently this bird worked 
on the bark of different trees, when searching for its food. On the hem- 
lock and spruce, for example, of which the bark is difficult to be detach- 
ed, it used the bill sideways, hitting the bark in an oblique direction, and 
proceeding in close parallel lines, so that when, after a while, a piece of 
the bark was loosened and broken off by a side stroke, the surface of the 
trunk appeared as if closely grooved by a carpenter using a gouge. In 
this manner the Pileated Woodpecker often, in that country, strips the 
entire trunks of the largest trees. On the contrary, when it attacked 
any other sort of timber, it pelted at the bark in a straightforward man- 
ner, detacliing a large piece by a few strokes, and leaving the trunks 
smooth, no injury having been inflicted upon it by the bill. 

This bird, when surprised, is subject to very singular and astonishing 



PILEATED WOODPECKER. 77 

fits of terror. While in Louisiana, I have several times crept up to one 
occupied in searching for food, on the rotten parts of a low stump only a 
few inches from the ground, when, having got so near the tree as almost 
to touch it, I have taken my cap and suddenly struck the stump, as if 
with the intention of securing the bird ; on which the latter instantly 
seemed to lose all power or presence of mind, and fell to the ground as if 
dead. On such occasions, if not immediately secured, it soon recovers, 
and flies off with more than its usual speed. When surprised when feed- 
ing on a tree, they now and then attempt to save themselves by turning 
round the trunk or branches, and do not fly away unless two persons be 
present, well knowing, it would seem, that flying is not always a sure 
means of escape. If wounded without falling, it mounts at once to the 
highest fork of the tree, where it squats and remains in silence. It is 
then very difficult to kill it, and sometimes, when shot dead, it clings so 
firmly to the bark that it may remain hanging for hours. When winged 
and brought to the ground, it cries loudly on the approach of its enemy, 
and essays to escape by every means in its power, often inflicting a severe 
wound if incautiously seized. 

The Pileated Woodpecker is fond of Indian corn, chestnuts, acorns, 
fruits of every kind, particularly wild grapes', and insects of all descrip- 
tions. The maize it attacks while yet in its milky state, laying it bare, 
like the Redheads or Squirrels. For this reason, it often draws upon it- 
self the vengeance of the farmer, who, however, is always disposed, with- 
out provocation, to kill the " Woodcock,"" or " Logcock" as it is common- 
ly named by our country people. 

The flight of this well known bird is powerful, and, on occasion, 
greatly protracted, resembling in all respects that of the Ivory-billed 
Woodpecker. Its notes are loud and clear, and the rolling sound produced 
by its hammerings, may be heard at the distance of a quarter of a mile. 
Its flesh is tough, of a bluish tint, and smells so strongly of the worms and 
insects on which it generally feeds, as to be extremely unpalatable. It 
almost always breeds in the interior of the forests, and frequently on trees 
placed in deep swamps over the water, appearing to give a preference to 
the southern side of the tree, on which I have generally found its hole, to 
which it retreats during winter or in rainy weather, and which is some- 
times bored perpendicularly, although frequently not, as I have seen some 
excavated much in the form of that of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Its 
usual depth is from twelve to eighteen inches, its breadth from two and a 



78 PILEATED WOODPECKER. 

half to three, and at the bottom sometimes five or six. It rears, I believe, 
only one brood in a season. The young follow their parents for a long 
time after coming abroad, receive food from them, and remain with them 
until the return of spring. The old birds, as well as the young, are fond 
of retiring at night to their holes, to which they return more especially in 
winter. My young friend, Thomas Lincoln, Esq. of the State of Maine, 
knew of one that seldom removed far from its retreat during the whole of 
the inclement season. 

The observation of many years has convinced me, that Woodpeckers 
of all sorts have the bill longer when just fledged than at any future pe- 
riod of their life, and that through use it becomes not only shorter, but 
also much harder, stronger, and sharper. When the Woodpecker first 
leaves the nest, its bill may easily be bent ; six months after, it resists the 
force of the fingers ; and when the bird is twelve months old, the organ 
has acquired its permanent bony hardness. On measuring the bill of a 
young bird of this species not long able to fly, and that of an adult bird, 
I found the former seven-eighths of an inch longer than the latter. This 
difference I have represented in the plate. It is also curious to observe, 
that the young birds of this family, which have the bill tender, either 
search for larvae in the most decayed or rotten stumps and trunks of trees, 
or hunt the deserted old fields, in search of blackberries and other fruits, 
as if sensible of their inaptitude for attacking the bark of sound trees or 
the wood itself. 



Picus piLEATUS, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 173 — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 225 

Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 44. 

PiLEATED Woodpecker, Picus pileatus, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iv. p. 27- 
PL 29. Fig. 2 — Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 56?. 

Adult Male. Plate CXI. Fig. 1. 

Bill long, straight, strong, polyhedral, tapering, compressed and slight- 
ly truncated by being worn at the tip ; mandibles of equal length, both 
nearly straight in their dorsal outline ; their sides convex. Tongue worm- 
shaped, capable of reaching four inches beyond the bill, horny near the 
tip for about one-eighth of an inch, and barbed. Nostrils basal, oval, partly 
covered by recumbent bristly feathers- Head large. Neck rather long, 
slender. Body robust. Feet rather short, robust ; tarsus strong scutel- 



PILEATED WOODPECKER. 79 

late before, scaly on the sides ; two toes before and two behind, the inner 
hind toe shortest ; claws strong, arched, very acute. 

Plumage compact, glossy. Feathers of the head elongated, loose, and 
erectile. Wings large, the third and fourth quills longest. Tail long, 
cuneate, of twelve tapering stiff feathers, worn to a point by being rubbed 
against the bark of trees. 

Bill and feet deep blue. Iris yellow. The general colour of the 
plumage is deep black, glossed with purplish-blue. The whole upper 
part of the head of a shining deep carmine ; a broad band of black runs 
backwards from the eye, and is continued, narrow to the forehead ; between 
this band and the bright red of the upper part of the head is a narrow 
line of white ; at the base of the bill commences, at first yellowish, a band 
of white, which crosses the cheek, expands on the side of the neck, where 
it is joined by the white of the throat, and terminates under the wing ; 
there is also a broad band of red from the base of the lower mandible. 
Under wing-coverts white, as are the proximal portions of the quills. 

Length 18 inches; extent of wings 28; bill along the back If, along 
the edges 3. 

Adult Female. Plate CXI. Fig. 2. 

The female differs little in external appearance from the male. The 
fore part and sides of the head over the eye are dusky, and the bright red 
of the upper part of the head is confined to the vertex and occiput, while 
the red band, from the base of the lower mandible, is substituted by one 
of a brownish colour. In other respects it resembles the male. 

Young Males. Plate CXI. Fig. 3, 4. 

The young males fully fledged, differ little from the old males in the 
tints and distribution of their colours ; but they are represented in the 
plate for the purpose of shewing the original pointed form and greater 
length of the bill. 



80 PILEATED WOODPECKER. 



The Racoon Grape. 

ViTis AESTIVALIS, Mich. Flor. Amer. vol. iL p. 230. — Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. 
voL i. p. 169. — Pentandria Monogtnia, Linn. Vites, Juss. 

The Racoon Grape is characterized by its broadly-cordate leaves, which 
have three or five lobes, its oblong clusters, and the small size of the bluish- 
black fruit. It is one of the finest of our vines, in regard to the luxuri- 
ancei of its growth, its tortuous stem ascending the tallest trees to their 
summit, while its branches spread out so as to entwine the whole top. I 
have seen stems that measured eighteen inches in diameter, and the 
branches often extended from one tree to another, so as to render it diffi- 
cult to pull down a plant after its stem has been cut. Its flowers perfume 
the woods. The grapes are small, hard, and very acrid, until severely bit- 
ten by frost. In autumn and winter, racoons, bears, opossums, and many 
species of birds, feed upon them. 



( 81 ) 
THE DOWNY WOODPECKER. 

PiCUS PUBESCENS, LiNN. 
PLATE CXII. Male and Female. 

The Downy Woodpecker, which is best known in all parts of the 
United States by the name of Sap-sucker, is perhaps not surpassed by any 
of its tribe in hardiness, industry, or vivacity. If you watch its motions 
while in the woods, the orchard, or the garden, you will find it ever at 
work. It perforates the bark of trees with uncommon regularity and 
care ; and, in my opinion, greatly assists their growth and health, and ren- 
ders them also more productive. Few of the farmers, however, agree with 
me in this respect ; but those who have had experience in the growing of 
fruit-trees, and have attended to the effects produced by the boring of this 
Woodpecker, will testify to the accuracy of my statement. 

This species is met with, during summer, in the depth of the forest, 
as well as in the orchard or the garden. In winter it frequently visits 
the wood-pile of the farmer, close to his house, or resorts to his corn-crib, 
where, however, it does little damage. I have found it pretty generally 
distributed from the lower parts of Louisiana to Labrador, and as far to 
the westward as I have travelled. It seems, in fact, to accommodate it- 
self to circumstancesj and to live contented anywhere. 

About the middle of April it begins to form its nest, shewing little 
care as to the kind of tree it selects for the purpose, although it generally 
chooses a sound one, sometimes, however, taking one that is partially de- 
cayed. The pair work together for several days before the hole is com- 
pleted, sometimes perhaps a whole week, as they dig it to the depth of a 
foot or sixteen inches. The direction is sometimes perpendicularly down- 
wards from the commencement, sometimes transverse to the tree for four 
or five inches, and then longitudinal. The hole is rendered smooth and 
conveniently large throughout, the entrance being perfectly round, and 
just large enough to admit one bird at a time. The eggs, commonly six 
in number, pure white, and translucent, are deposited on the bare wood. 
In the Southern and Middle States, two broods are raised in the season ; 
farther north seldom more than one. The young follow their parents 
through the woods, in company with Nuthatches and Creepers, and seem 

VOL. II. F 



82 DOWNY WOODPECKER. 

at all times lively and happy. Their shrill rolling notes are heard at a 
considerable distance, as well as those which they use when calling to 
each other. Their food, during summer, consists of insects and their 
larvae ; but, at the approach of autumn, they feed on fruits of various 
kinds, especially small grapes, and the berries of the poke-weed. The 
extensile portion of the tongue of this species, as well as of Picus varius, 
P. villosus, and P. querulus, is cylindrical or vermiform, while the extre- 
mity, or tongue itself, is linear, flat above, convex beneath, with project- 
ing edges which are serrated backwards, the tip pointed. 

The flight of the Downy Woodpecker, like that of the other species, 
is performed by glidings and undulations, between each of which it utters 
a single click note ; and, although usually short, is capable, on occasion, 
of being protracted. The bird is by no means shy or suspicious, and 
scarcely pays any attention to man, even when standing close to the tree 
on which it is at work. Towards winter many individuals migrate south- 
ward, and spend their time in the immediate neighbourhood of the planter's 
dwelling. 

I have observed that during their stay in the Floridas, Georgia, and 
the Carolinas, their breast and belly are so soiled by the carbonaceous 
matter adhering to the trees, in consequence of the burning of the grass 
at that season, that one might be apt to take a specimen in that state, as 
belonging to a different species. 

Picus pubescens, lAnn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 175. Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds 
of the United States, p. 46. Nuttalt, Manual, part i. p. 576. 

Downy Woodpecker, Pjcus pubescens, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 153. pi. 9. 
fig. 4. 

Adult Male. Plate CXII. Fig. 1. 

Bill longish, straight, strong, tapering, compressed, slightly truncated 
and cuneate at the tip ; mandibles of equal length, both nearly straight in 
their dorsal outline, their sides convex ; nostrils basal, oval, covered by 
recumbent bristly feathers. Head of moderate size, neck of ordinary 
length, body robust. Feet rather short, strong ; tarsus strong, scutellate 
before ; two toes before and two behind, the inner hind toe shortest ; 
claws strong, arched, very acute. 

Plumage soft, with rather disunited barbs, slightly glossed ; wings 
large, the third and fourth quills longest ; tail longish, cuneate, of ten 
tapering stiff" feathers, worn to a point. 



DOWNY WOODPECKER. 83 

Bill bluish-black ; iris dark red ; feet hluish-green ; claws light blue, 
black at the end. The top of the head is black, as are a broad band beliind 
the eye, another below the cheek, as well as the shoulders, wings, and tail ; 
there is a bright red narrow band on the occiput. A band over the eye, and 
meeting on the hind neck ; another from the base of the upper mandible, 
passing under the eye, and down the neck ; six bars on the wings, and the 
greater part of the middle of the back, together with the three lateral 
tail-feathers on each side, white, the latter marked with black spots. The 
lower parts in general are dull white. 

Length 6| inches, extent of wings 12 ; bill along the ridge { | ; 
tarsus |. 

Adult Female. Plate CXII. Fig. 2. 

In the female, the red band on the head is wanting, the place occupied 
by it in the male being white. The lower parts are brownish- white. 



The Ramping Trumpet-flower. 



BiGNONiA CAPHEOLATA. See vol. i. p. 334. 



This species is met with only in the Southern Districts. It is rather 
rare in Louisiana, but abounds in Georgia, Alabama, and the Floridas. 
The flowers are destitute of odour. Humming-birds delight to search 
for food in them, as well as in those of other species of the genus. 



( 84 ) 

THE BLUE BIRD. 

Sylvia Sialis, Lath. 
PLATE CXIII. Male, Female, and Young. 

This lovely bird is found in all parts of the United States, where it 
is generally a permanent resident. It adds to the delight imparted by 
spring, and enlivens the dull days of wiuter. Full of innocent vivacity, 
warbling its ever pleasing notes, and familiar as any bird can be in its na- 
tural freedom, it is one of the most agreeable of our feathered favourites. 
The pure azure of its mantle, and the beautiful glaw of its breast, render 
it conspicuous,- as it flits through the orchards and gardens, crosses the 
fields or meadows, or hops along by the road-side. Recollecting the little- 
box made for it, as it sits on the roof of the house, the barn, or the fence- 
stake, it returns to it even during the winter, and its visits are always 
welcomed by those who know it best. 

When March returns, the male commences his courtship, manifesting 
as much tenderness and affection towards his chosen one, as the dove it- 
self. Martins and House- wrens ! be prepared to encounter his anger, or 
keep at a respectful distance. Even the wily cat he will torment with 
querulous chirpings, whenever he sees her in the path from which he 
wishes to pick up an insect for his mate. 

The Blue Bird breeds in the Floridas as early as January, and pairs 
at Charleston in that month, in Pennsylvania about the middle of April, 
and in the State of Maine in June. It forms its nest in the box made 
expressly for the purpose, or in any convenient hole or cavity it can find, 
often taking possession of those abandoned by the Woodpecker. The 
eggs are from four to six, of a pale blue colour. Two and often three 
broods are raised in the year. While the female sits on the second set of 
eggs, the male takes charge of the first brood, and so on to the end. 

The food of this species consists of coleoptera, caterpillars, spiders, 
and insects of various kinds, in procuring which it frequently alights 
against the bark of trees. They are also fond of ripe fruits, such as figs, 
persimons, and grapes, and during the autumnal months they pounce on 
grasshoppers from the tops of the great mullein, so frequent in the old 
fields. They are extremely fond of newly ploughed land, on which. 



BLUE BIRD. 85 

especially during winter and early spring, they are often seen in search of 
the insects turned out of their burrows by the plough. 

The song of the Blue Bird is a soft agreeable warble, often repeated 
during the love-season, when it seldom sings without a gentle quivering 
of the wings. When the period of migration arrives, its voice consists 
merely of a tender and plaintive note, perhaps denoting the reluctance 
with which it contemplates the approach of winter. In November most 
of the individuals that have resided during the summer in the Northern 
and Middle Districts, are seen high in the air moving southward along 
with their families, or alighting to seek for food and enjoy repose. But 
many are seen in winter, whenever a few days of fine weather occur, so 
fond are they of their old haunts, and so easily can birds possessing 
powers of flight like theirs, move from one place to another. Their re- 
turn takes place early in February or March, when they appear in parties 
of eight or ten of both sexes. When they alight at this season, the joy- 
ous carols of the males are heard from the tops of the early-blooming sas- 
safras and maple. 

During winter, they are extremely abundant in all the Southern States, 
and more especially in the Floridas, where I found hundreds of them on 
all the plantations that I visited. The species becomes rare in Maine, 
still more so in Nova Scotia, and in Newfoundland and Labrador none 
were seen by our exploring party. 

My excellent and learned friend Dr Richard Harlan of Philadel- 
phia, told me that one day, while in the neighbourhood of that city, sit- 
ting in the piazza of a friend's house, he observed that a pair of Blue 
Birds had taken possession of a hole cut out expressly for them in the end 
of the cornice above him. They had young, and were very solicitous for 
their safety, insomuch that it was no uncommon thing to see the male 
especially fly at a person who happened to pass by. A hen with her brood 
in the yard came within a few yards of the piazza. The wrath of the 
Blue Bird rose to such a pitch that, notwithstanding its great disparity 
of strength, it flew at the hen with violence, and continued to assail her, 
until she was at length actually forced to retreat and seek refuge under a 
distant shrub, when the little fellow returned exultingly to his nest, and 
there carolled his victory with great animation. At times, however, mat- 
ters take a very difi'erent course, and you may recollect the combats of a 
Purple Martin and a Blue Bird, of which I gave you an account in my 
first volume. 



86 BLUE BIRD. 

This species has often reminded me of the Robin Redbreast of 
Europe, to which it bears a considerable resemblance in form and habits. 
Like the Blue Bird the Redbreast has large eyes, in which the power of 
its passions are at times seen to be expressed. Like it also, he alights on 
the lower branches of a tree, where, standing in the same position, he peeps 
sidewise at the objects beneath and around, until spying a grub or an 
insect, he launches lightly towards it, picks it up, and gazes around in- 
tent on discovering more, then takes a few hops with a downward incli- 
nation of the body, stops, erects himself, and should not another insect be 
near, returns to the branch, and tunes his throat anew. Perhaps it may 
have been on account of having observed something of this similarity of 
habits, that the first settlers in Massachusetts named our bird the Blue 
Robin, a name which it still retains in that state. 

Were I now engaged in forming an arrangement of the birds of our 
country, I might conceive it proper to assign the Blue Bird a place among 
the Thrushes. 



MoTACiLLA SiALis, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 336. 

Sylvia Sialis, Lath. Index Ornith. vol. ii. p. 523. 

Saxicox A Sialis, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 80. 

Erythaca (Sialia) Wilsonii, Swains, and Richards. Fauna Bor. Anicr. part ii. 

p. 210. 
Blue Bird, Sylvia Sialis, Wils. Amer. Ornith. voL i. p. 60. pi. iii. fig. 5. Male. 

Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 444. 

Adult Male. Plate CXIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight, broader than deep at the 
base, compressed towards the end ; upper mandible with the dorsal line 
convex, the tip declinate, the edges sharp. Nostrils basal, oval. Head 
rather large, neck short, body rather full. Feet of ordinary length, 
slender ; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long scutella, 
acute behind, scarcely longer than the middle toe ; toes scutellate above 
the two lateral ones nearly equal ; claws arched, slender, compressed, 
that of the hind toe much larger. 

Plumage soft and blended, slightly glossed. Wings of ordinary 
length, broad, the first quill longest, the second scarcely shorter, the se- 
condary quills truncato-emarginate. Tail rather long, broad, nearly 



BLUE BIRD. 87 

even, of twelve broad, rounded feathers. Short bristle-pointed feathers 
at the base of the mandible. 

Bill and feet black, the soles yellow, iris yellowish-brown. The ge- 
neral colour of the upper parts is bright azure-blue, that of the lower 
yellowish-brown, the belly white. Shafts of the quills and tail feathers 
dusky. 

Length 7 inches, extent of wing 10 ; bill along the ridge ^, along 
the edge | ; tarsus j%. 

Adult Female. Plate CXIII. Fig. 2. 

The female has the upper part of a tint approaching to leaden, the 
foreneck and sides yellowish-brown, but duller than in the male, the 
belly white. 

Length 6^ inches. 

Young Bird. Plate CXIII. Fig. 3. 

When fully fledged, the young have the upper part of the head, the 
back of the neck, and a portion of the back broccoli-brown ; the rest of 
the upper part much as in the Female. The lower parts are light grey, 
the feathers of the breast and sides margined with brown. 



The Great Mullein. 



Verbascum Thapsus, Wild. Sp. PL vol. i. p. 1001. Pursh, Flor. Amer. vol. i. 
p. 142. Smilh, Engl. Flor. vol. i. p. 512. — Pentandria Monogynia, Linn. 

SOLANE^, JuSS. 

This plant, which is well knovra in Europe, is equally so in America; 
but whether it has been accidentally or otherwise introduced into the 
latter country, I cannot say. At present there is hardly an old field or 
abandoned piece of ground on the borders of the roads that is not over- 
oTown with it. In the Middle and Southern Districts, it frequently at- 
tains a height of five or six feet. The flowers are used in infusion for 
catarrhs, and a decoction of the leaves is employed in chronic rheuma- 
tism. 



( 88 ) 

THE WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW 

Fringilla leucophrys, Bonap. 

PIATE CXIV. Male and Female. 

It is to the wild regions of Labrador that you must go, kind reader, 
if you wish to form a personal acquaintance with the White-crowned 
Sparrow. There in every secluded glen opening upon the boisterous 
Gulf of St Lawrence, while amazed you glance over the wilderness that 
extends around you, so dreary and desolate that the blood almost con- 
geals in your veins, you meet with this interesting bird. Your body is 
sinking under the fatigue occasioned by your wading through beds of 
moss, as extraordinary for their depth, as for the brilliancy of their tints, 
and by the difficulties which you have encountered in forcing your way 
through the tangled creeping pines, so dwarfish and so stubborn, that 
you often find it easier to trample down their branches than to separate 
them so as to allow you a passage. In such a place, when you are far 
away from all that is dear to you, how cheering is it to hear the meUow 
notes of a bird, that seems as if it had been sent expressly for the pur- 
pose of relieving your mind from the heavy melancholy that bears it 
down ! The sounds are so sweet, so refreshing, so soothing, so hope in- 
spiring, that as they come upon the soul in all their gentleness and joy, 
the tears begin to flow from your eyes, the burden on your mind becomes 
lighter, your heart expands, and you experience a pure delight, produced 
by the invitation thus made to ofFer your humblest and most sincere thanks 
to that all-wondrous Being, who has caused you to be there no doubt for 
the purpose of becoming better acquainted with the operations of his 
mighty power. 

Thus it was with me, when, some time after I had been landed on the 
dreary coast of Labrador, I for the first time heard the song of the 
White-crowned Sparrow. I could not refrain from indulging in the 
thought that, notwithstanding the many difficulties attending my attempts 
— my mission I must call it — to study God's works in this wild region, 
I was highly favoured. At every step, new objects presented themselves, 
and whenever I rested, I enjoyed a delight never before experienced. 



WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW. 89 

Humbly and fervently did I pray for a continuation of those blessings, 
throuo-h which I now hoped to see my undertaking completed, and again 
to join my ever-dear family. 

I first became acquainted with the White-crowned Sparrow at Hen- 
derson, in the autumn of 1817. I then thought it the handsomest bird 
of its kind, and my opinion stiU is that none other known to me as a visi- 
ter or inhabitant of the United States, exceeds it in beauty. I procured 
five individuals, three of which were in full plumage and proved to be 
males. The sex of the other two could not be ascertained ; but I have 
since become convinced that these birds lose the white stripes on the head 
in the winter season, when they might be supposed to be of a different 
species. During spring and summer the male and the female are of equal 
beauty, the former being only a little larger than the latter. The young 
which I procured in Labrador, shewed the white stripes on the head as 
they were fully fledged, and I think they retain those marks in autumn 
lonsrer than the old birds, of which the feathers have become much worn 
at that season. In the winter of 1833, I procured at Charleston in 
South Carolina, one in its brown livery. 

One day, while near American Harbour, in Labrador, I observed a 
pair of these birds frequently resorting to a small hummock of firs, where 
I concluded they must have had a nest. After searching in vain, I inti- 
mated my suspicion to my young friends, when we all crept through the 
tangled branches, and examined the place, but without success. Deter- 
mined, however, to obtain our object, we returned with hatchets, cut 
down every tree to its roots, removed each from the spot, pulled up all 
the mosses between them, and completely cleared the place ; yet no nest 
did we find. Our disappointment was the greater that we saw the male 
bird frequently flying about with food in its bill, no doubt intended for 
its mate. In a short while, the pair came near us, and both vrere shot. 
In the female we found an egg, which was pure white, but with the shell 
yet soft and thin. On the 6th July, while my son was creeping among 
some low bushes, to get a shot at some Red-throated Divers, he accidental- 
ly started a female from her nest. It made much complaint. The nest 
was placed in the moss, near the foot of a low fir, and was formed exter- 
nally of beautiful dry green moss, matted in bunches like the coarse hair 
of some quadruped, internally of very fine dry grass, arranged with great 
neatness, to the thickness of nearly half an inch, with a full linino- of de- 
licate fibrous roots of a rich transparent yellow. It was 5 inches in dia- 



90 WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW. 

meter externally, 2 in depth, 2| in diameter within, although rather ob- 
long, and 1 1 deep. In one nest we found a single feather of the Willow 
Grous. The eggs, five in number, average | of an inch in length, are 
proportionally broad, of a light sea-green colour, mottled toward the 
larger end with brownish spots and blotches, a few spots of a lighter tint 
being dispersed over the whole. This description differs greatly from 
that of the nest and eggs of this species given by others, who, I appre- 
hend, have mistaken for them those of the Fox-tailed Sparrow, or the 
Anthus Spinoletta. We found many nests, which were all placed on the 
ground, or among the moss, and were all constructed alike. They deposit 
their eggs from the beginning to the end of June. In the beginning of 
Avigust, I saw many young that were able to fly, and by the 12th of that 
month the birds had already commenced their southward migration. The 
young follow their parents until nearly full grown. 

The food of this species, while in Labrador, consists of small coleop- 
terous insects, grass seeds, and a variety of berries, as well as some mi- 
nute sheU-fish, for which they frequently search the margins of ponds or 
the seashore. At the approach of autumn, they pursue insects on the 
wing, to a short distance, and doubtless secure some in that manner. 

The song of the White-crowned Finch consists of six or seven notes, 
the first of which is loud, clear, and musical, although of a plaintive na- 
ture ; the next broader, less firm, and seeming merely a second to the first ; 
the rest form a cadence diminishing in power to the last note^ which 
sounds as if the final effort of the musician. These notes are repeated at 
short intervals during the whole day, even on those dismal days produced 
by the thick fogs of the country where it breeds, and where this species 
is of aU the most abundant. The White-throated Finch was also very 
plentiful, and we found it breeding in the same locahties. 

The flight of this interesting bird is usually low, swift, and greatly pro- 
tracted. It is performed without any jerk of the tail. They migrate 
mostly by day — I say mostly, because while crossing a great arm of the 
sea, like the Gulf of St Lawrence, they perhaps may not always be able 
to accomplish their transit in one day. 

I have met with this bird in almost every portion of the United States 
during early spring and autumn, but always either single or in very small 
groups. I have shot some near New Orleans in April, at Cincinnati, and 
near New York in May. They reach the Magdeleine Islands, Newfound- 
land, and the coast of Labrador, about the first of June. Those which I 



WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW. 91 

have seen on their passage through the United States were perfectly silent, 
and usually frequented low bushes and grape vines, the fruit of which 
they eagerly eat, but never entering the woods. In every instance I found 
them as gentle and unsuspicious as whilst at Labrador. 

In the plate are to be seen two of these birds, drawn many years ago, 
one of them a male in full summer plumage, the other a female in the 
winter dress. I have no doubt that this species retires far south in Mexi- 
co, to spend the winter. It is nearly allied to the White-throated and 
Fox-tailed Sparrows, and in its winter plumage it may perhaps prove to 
be the Fringilla ambigua of my friend Nottall. 



Fringilla leucophrys, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, 

p. 107 Nuttall, Manual, p. 479. 

Emberiza leucophrys, Gmel. Syst. Nat, vol. i. p. 874 — Lath. Ind. Ornith. voL i. 

p. 413. 
White-crowned Buntikg, Emberiza leucophrys, Wik. Amer. Ornith. vol. iv. 

p. 49. pL 31. fig. 4. Male. 

Adult male. Plate CXIV. Fig. 1. 

Bill very short, robust, conical, acute ; upper mandible scarcely broader 
than the lower, both almost straight in their outline, rounded on the sides, 
with the edges inflected and sharp ; the gap line very slightly deflected 
at the base, and not extending to beneath the eye. Nostrils basal, 
roundish, partially concealed by the feathers. Head rather large, neck 
short, body full. Legs of moderate length, rather strong ; tarsus longer 
than the middle toe, covered anteriorly with a few longish scutella ; toes 
scutellate above, free, the lateral ones nearly equal ; claws slender, arched, 
compressed, acute, that of the hind toe rather large. 

Plumage soft and rather blended above, loose beneath. Wings short 
and curved, rounded, the third quill longest, the second and fourth almost 
as long. Tail rather long, nearly even, of twelve rounded feathers. 

Bill reddish-orange, tipped with brown. Iris reddish-brown. Feet 
pale brown. The head is marked with three stripes of white, and four of 
deep black. Back and wing-coverts dark reddish-brown, with pale grey 
margins, the posterior part of the back and upper tail-coverts hghter 
brown. Quills and tail dark brown, margined with pale ; the tip of the 
smaller coverts white, as are those of some of the primary coverts, which, 
with the secondary quills, have chestnut-brown edges. Throat and belly 



92 WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW. 

white ; sides of the neck and the breast dull purplish-grey ; the flanks 
and under tail-coverts pale brownish-grey. 

Length 7^ inches; extent of wings 10 h ; bill along the ridge y, 
along the edge ^j^ ; tarsus ^ §. 

Adult Female. Plate CXIV. Fig. 2. 

In its summer dress, the female resembles the male at that season ; 
but in winter the white lines on the head are less pure, the dark lines are 
reddish-brown, but the tints of the other parts are nearly similar, these 
circumstances being the same in the male. 

Length 7i inches. 



The Summer Grap;e. 

ViTis ^STiVALis, var. Sinuata, Purs/i, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 169. 

This variety has large cordate leaves, which are less deeply lobed, 
and with large marginal teeth. It occurs in all the barren lands of the 
Western Country, particularly in those of Kentucky, Tenessee,and Illinois. 
Although it seldom attains much strength of stem, it spreads broadly on 
the bushes, and forms beautiful festoons. The grapes are juicy and 
agreeable to the taste. They are fully ripe by the middle of August, 
and remain hanging until destroyed by the frost. When wild pigeons 
happen to be abundant where it ^rows, they speedily devour the fruit. 



( 93 ) 
THE WOOD PEWEE 

MUSCICAPA VIRENS, LiNN. 
PLATE CXV. Maee. 

The great similarity as to form, size, tone of voice, and general co- 
louring, that exists between the Wood Pewee, Traill's Flycatcher, the 
Muscicapa acadica of Gmelin, and a smaller species, which I found 
abundant in Labrador, and which has been beautifully figured and de- 
scribed in the Fauna Boreali-Americana of my friends Swainson and 
Richardson, uiider the name of Tyrannula Richardsonii^ renders it 
difficult to indicate their distinctive characters. The student finds it 
difficult to recognise them ; and indeed, unless familiar with their habits, 
it is not easy for any one to distinguish them at first sight, nor can the 
observer be sure of the species, without paying very close attention to 
their notes, and the various peculiarities of their manners. Even my 
learned friend Nuttall has supposed that my Muscicapa Traillii, and 
Gmelin's M. acadica, are the same, and has expressed his doubts as to 
the differences between the latter and the smaller species mentioned above, 
of which I intend, at a future period, to give you some account ; although, 
almost at the same time, he says that he heard a Dark-coloured Flycatcher, 
apparently larger than that represented in the plate, in the pine forest of 
South Carolina, which was unknown to him, but which I have established 
to be the M. Traillii. If doubts on the subject exist in the mind of such 
an observer as Nuttall, who has examined the species both in the living 
and dead state, in the very places which these birds frequent, how difficult 
must it be for a " closet naturalist" to ascertain the true distinctions of 
these birds, when, having no better samples of the species than some 
dried skins, perhaps mangled, and certainly distorted, with shrivelled 
bills and withered feet. 

It is in the darkest and most gloomy retreats of the forest that the 
Wood Pewee is generally to be found, during the season which it spends 
with us. You may find it, however, lurking for a while in the shade of 
an overgrown orchard ; or, as autumn advances, you may see it gleaning 
the benumbed insects over the slimy pools, or gliding on the outskirts 
of the woods, when, for the last time, the piping notes of the Bullfrog 



94 WOOD PEWEE. 

are heard mingling with its own plaintive notes. In all these places, it 
exhibits the simplicity and freedom of its natural habits, dashing after the 
insects on which it principally feeds, with a remarkable degree of inatten- 
tion to surrounding objects. Its sallies have also the appearance of be- 
ing careless, although at times protracted, when it seems to seize several 
insects in succession, the more so perhaps that it has no rival to contend 
with in such situations. Sometimes towards autumn, it sweeps so closely 
over the pools that it is enabled to seize the insects as they float on the 
water ; while, at other times, and as if in surprise, it rises to the tops of 
the forest trees, and .snaps the insect which is just launching forth on some 
extensive journey, with all the freedom of flight that the bird itself pos- 
sesses. 

The weary traveller, who at this season wanders from his path in 
search of water to quench his thirst, or to repose for a wliile in the shade, 
is sure to be saluted with the melancholy song of this little creature, 
which, perched erect on a withered twig, its wings quivering as if it had 
been seized with a momentary chill, pours forth its rather low, mellow 
notes with such sweetness as is sure to engage the attention. Few other 
birds are near ; and, should the more musical song of a Wood-thrush come 
on his ear, he may conceive himself in a retreat where no danger is likely 
to assail him during his repose. 

This species, which is considerably more abundant than the M.fusca^ 
is rather late in entering the Middle States, seldom reaching Pennsylvania 
until the 10th of May ; yet it pushes its migrations quite beyond the 
limits of the United States. On the one hand, many of them spend the 
winter months in the most Southern States, such as Louisiana and the 
pine barrens of Florida, feeding on different berries, as well as insects ; 
while, on the other, I have met with them in September, in the British 
province of New Brunswick, and observed their retrograde movements 
through Maine and Massachusetts. I have also seen some near Halifax, 
but neither in Labrador nor Newfoundland did I find an individual. 

In autumn, when its notes are almost the only ones heard, it may often 
be seen approaching the roads and pathways, or even flitting among the 
tall and beautiful elms in the vicinity, or in the midst of our eastern cities. 
There you may observe the old birds teaching the young how to procure 
their food. The various groups, imperceptibly as it were, and in the 
most peaceable manner, now remove southward by day ; and, at this sea- 
son, their notes are heard at a very late hour, as in early spring. They 



WOOD PEWEE. 95 

may be expressed by the syllables pe-wee, pettowee, pe-wee, prolonged 
like the last sighs of a despondent lover, or rather like what you might 
imagine such sighs to be, it being, I believe, rare actually to hear them. 

This species, in common with the Great Crested Flycatcher, and the 
Least Wood Pewee, is possessed of a peculiarity of vision, which enables 
it to see and pursue its prey with certainty, when it is so dark that you 
cannot perceive the bird, and are rendered aware of its occupation only 
by means of the clicking of its bill. 

The nest of the Wood Pewee is as delicate in its form and structure, 
as the bird is in the choice of the materials which it uses in its construc- 
tion. In almost every case, 1 have found it well fastened to the upper 
part of a horizontal branch, without any apparent preference being given 
to particular trees. Were it not that the bird generally discloses its situa- 
tion, it would be difficult to discover it, for it is shallow, well saddled to 
the branch, and connected with it by an extension of the lichens forming 
its outer coat, in such a manner as to induce a person seeing it to suppose 
it merely a swelling of the branch. These lichens are glued together ap- 
parently by the saliva of the bird, and are neatly lined with very fine grasses, 
the bark of vines, and now and then a few horse-hairs. The eggs are four 
or five, of a light yellowish hue, dotted and blotched with reddish at the 
larger end. It raises two broods in a season in Virginia and Pennsylvania, 
but rarely more than one in the Northern States. By the middle of Au- 
gust the young are abroad ; and it is then that the birds seem more in- 
clined to remove from the interior of the forest. 

Although less pugnacious than the larger Flycatchers, it is yet very 
apt to take offence when any other bird approaches its stand, or appears 
near its nest. 

In its ordinary flight the Wood Pewee passes through the gloom of 
tlie forest, at a small elevation, in a horizontal direction, moving the wings 
rapidly, and sweeping suddenly to the right or left, or darting upwards, 
after its prey, with the most perfect ease. During the love season, it of- 
ten flies, with a vibratory motion of the wings, so very slowly that one 
might suppose it about to poise itself in the air. On such occasions its 
notes are guttural, and are continued for several seconds as a low twitter. 



96 WOOD PEWEE. 

MusciCAPA viHENS, Liim. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 327- Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds 

of the United States, p. C8. 
Wood Pewee, Muscicapa rapax, Wils. Amer. Omith. voL ii. p. 81. pi. 13, fig. 5. 

Kutlall, Manual, p. 285. 

Adult Male. Plate CXV. 

Bill of ordinary length, straight, depressed at the base ; upper man- 
dible with the sides somewhat convex, the edges sharp, the tip slightly 
declinate, and having a small notch on each side ; nostrils small, rounded, 
nearly concealed. The head is rather large, but the whole form is light. 
Feet of ordinary length ; tarsus slender, compressed, anteriorly scutellate, 
acute behind ; toes free, small, the two side ones about equal ; claws slen- 
der, shghtly arched, compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft, blended, tufty ; the feathers of the head capable of be- 
ing raised into a longish tuft or crest ; basirostral bristles distinct ; wings 
of ordinary length ; the second quill longest, first shorter than third, and 
longer than sixth ; tail rather long, distinctly emarginate, or forked, of 
twelve broad, obliquely pointed feathers. 

Bill dusky above, pale yellowish-brown beneath. Iris brown. Feet 
light brown. The general colour of the upper parts is brownish-olive ; the 
upper part of the head much darker, inclining to brownish-black ; a pale 
greyish ring encircles the eye ; two narrow bands of the same colour cross 
the wing, one formed by the tips of the lesser coverts, the other by those 
of the greater secondary coverts ; the secondary quills are margined ex- 
ternally with paler ; the throat and breast are ash-grey, tinged with 
green, the rest of the lower parts pale greenish yellow. 

Length 6^ inches, extent of wings 11 ; bill along the ridge j'^g, 
along the edge f ; tarsus ^'g. 



The Swamp Honeysuckle. 

Azalea viscosa, Willd. Sp. PL voL i. p. 831. Pursh, Flon Amer. Sept. vol. L p. 153. 
Pentanduia MoNOGYJfiA, lAnn. Rhododendra, Juss. 

The leaves of this species of Azalea are oblongo-obovate, acute, smooth 
on both sides ; the flowers white, sweet-scented, with a very short calyx. 
It grows abundantly in almost every district of the United States, in such 
localities as are suited to it, namely, low damp meadows, swamps, and 
shady woods. 



( 97 ) 



THE FORCE OF THE WATERS. 

The men who are employed in cutting down th* trees, and conveying 
the logs to the saw-mills or the places for shipping, are, in the State of 
Maine, called " Lumberers.'" Their labours may be said to be continual. 
Before winter has commenced, and while the ground is yet uncovered 
with a great depth of snoAV, they leave their homes to proceed to the in- 
terior of the pine forests, which in that part of the country are truly mag- 
nificent, and betake themselves to certain places already well known to 
them. Their provisions, axes, saws, and other necessary articles, to- 
gether with provender for their cattle, are conveyed by oxen in heavy 
sledges. Almost at the commencement of their march, they are obliged 
to enter the woods, and they have frequently to cut a way for themselves, 
for considerable spaces, as the ground is often covered with the decaying 
trunks of immense trees, which have fallen either from age, or in conse- 
quence of accidental burnings. These trunks, and the undergrowth which 
lies entangled in their tops, render many places almost impassable even to 
men on foot. Over miry ponds they are sometimes forced to form cause- 
ways, this being, under all circumstances, the easiest mode of reaching the 
opposite side. Then, reader, is the time for witnessing the exertions of their 
fine large cattle. No rods do their drivers use to pain their flanks ; no 
oaths or imprecations are ever heard to fall from the lips of these most in- 
dustrious and temperate men, for in them, as indeed in most of the inha- 
bitants of our Eastern States, education and habit have tempered the pas- 
sions and reduced the moral constitution to a state of harmony. Nay, 
the sobriety that exists in many of the villages of Maine, I acknowledge 
I have often considered as carried to excess, for on asking for brandy, 
rum or whisky, not a drop could I obtain, and it is probable there was 
an equal lack of spiritous liquors of every other kind. Now and then I 
saw some good old wines, but they were always drunk in careful mode- 
ration. But to return to the management of the oxen. Why, reader, 
the lumberers speak to them as if they were rational beings. Few words 
seem to suffice, and their whole strength is applied to the labour, as if in 
gratitude to those who treat them with so much gentleness and humanity. 

While present on more than one occasion at what Americans call 
" ploughing matches," which they have annually in many of the States, I 

VOL, II. G 



98 FORCE OF THE WATERS. 

have been highly gratified, and in particular at one, of which I still have 
a strong recollection, and which took place a few miles from the fair and 
hospitable city of Boston. There I saw fifty or more ploughs drawn by 
as many pairs of oxen, which performed their work with so much accu- 
racy and regularity, without the infliction of whip or rod, but merely 
guided by the verbal mandates of the ploughmen, that I was perfectly as- 
tonished. 

After surmounting all obstacles, the lumberers with their stock arrive 
at the spot which they have had in view, and immediately commence 
building a camp. The trees around soon fall under the blows of their 
axes, and before many days have elapsed, a low habitation is reared and 
fitted within for the accommodation of their cattle, while their provender 
is secured on a kind of loft covered with broad shingles or boards. Then 
their own cabin is put up ; rough bedsteads, manufactured on the spot, 
are fixed in the corners ; a chimney, composed of a frame of sticks plastered 
with mud, leads away the smoke ; the skins of bears or deer, with some 
blankets, form their bedding, and around the walls are hung their changes 
of home-spun clothing, guns, and various necessaries of life. Many pre- 
fer spending the night on the sweet-scented hay and corn-blades of their 
cattle, which are laid on the ground. All arranged within, the lumberers 
set their " dead-falls," large " steel-traps," and " spring-guns,"" in suitable 
places around their camp, to procure some of the bears that ever prowl 
around such establishments. 

Now the heavy clouds of November, driven by the northern blasts, 
pour down the snow in feathery flakes. The winter has fairly set in, and 
seldom do the sun's gladdening rays fall on the wood-cutter's hut. In 
warm flannels his body is enveloped, the skin of a racoon covers his head 
and brow, his moose-skin leggins reach the girdle that secures them around 
his waist, while on broad moccasins, or snow-shoes, he stands from the 
earliest dawn until night, hacking away at the majestic pines that for a 
century past have embellished the forest. The fall of these valuable trees 
no longer resounds on the ground ; and, as they tumble here and there, 
nothing is heard but the rustling and crackling of their branches, their 
heavy trunks sinking into the deep snows. Thousands of large pines thus 
cut down every winter afford room for the younger trees, which spring up 
profusely to supply the wants of man. 

Weeks and weeks have elapsed ; the earth's pure white covering has 
become thickly and firmly crusted by the increasing intensity of the 



FORCE OF THE WATERS. 99 

cold, the fallen trees have all been sawn into measured logs, and the long 
repose of the oxen has fitted them for hauUng them to the nearest frozen 
streams. The ice gradually becomes covered with the accumulating mass 
of timber, and, their task completed, the lumberers wait impatiently for the 
breaking up of the winter. 

At this period, they pass the time in hunting the moose, the deer, and 
the bear, for the benefit of their wives and children ; and as these men 
are most excellent woodsmen, great havoc is made among the game. 
Many skins of sables, martins, and musk-rats they have procured during 
the intervals of their labour, or under night. The snows are now giving 
way, as the rains descend in torrents, and the lumberers collect their uten- 
sils, harness their cattle, and prepare for their return. This they accom- 
plish in safety. 

From being lumberers they now become millers, and with pleasure 
each applies the grating file to his saws. Many logs have already reached 
the dams on the swoUen waters of the rushing streams, and the task com- 
mences, which is carried on through the summer, of cutting them up into 
boards. 

The great heats of the dog-days have parched the ground ; every creek 
has become a shallow, except here and there, where in a deep hole the 
salmon and the trout have found a retreat ; the sharp slimy angles of mul- 
titudes of rocks project, as if to afford resting places to the wood-ducks 
and herons that breed on the borders of these streams. Thousands of 
" saw logs" remain in every pool, beneath and above each rapid or fall. 
The miller's dam has been emptied of its timber, and he must now resort 
to some expedient to procure a fresh supply. 

It was my good fortune to witness the method employed for the pur- 
pose of collecting the logs that had not reached their destination, and I 
had the more pleasure that it was seen in company with my little family. 
I wish for your sake, reader, that I could describe in an adequate manner 
the scene which I viewed ; but, although not so well qualified as I could 
wish, rely upon it, that the desire which I feel to gratify you, will induce 
me to use all my endeavours to give you an idea of it. 

It was the month of September. At the upper extremity of Dennis- 
ville, which is itself a pretty viUage, are the saw-mills and ponds of the 
hospitable Judge Lincoln and other persons. The creek that conveys 
the logs to these ponds, and which bears the name of the village, is inter- 
rupted in its course by many rapids and narrow embanked gorges. One 

r. 9. 



100 FORCE OF THE WATERS. 

of the latter is situated about half a mile above the mill-dams, and is so 
rocky and rugged in its bottom and sides, as to preclude the possibili- 
ty of the trees passing along it at low water, while, as I conceived, it 
would have given no slight labour to an army of woodsmen or millers, to 
move the thousands of large logs that had accumulated in it. They lay 
piled in confused heaps to a great height along an extent of several hun- 
dred yards, and were in some places so close as to have formed a kind of 
dam. Above the gorge there is a large natural reservoir, in which the 
head waters of the creek settle, while only a small portion of them ripples 
through the gorge below, during the latter weeks of summer and in early 
autumn, when the streams are at their lowest. 

At the nech of this basin, the lumberers raised a temporary barrier 
with the refuse of their sawn logs. The boards were planted nearly up- 
right, and supported at their tops by a strong tree extended from side 
to side of the creek, Avhicli might there be about forty feet in breadth. 
It was prevented from giving way under the pressure of the rising waters, 
by leaving strong abutments of wood laid against its centre, while the 
ends of these abutments were secured by wedges, which could be knock- 
ed off when necessary. 

The temporary dam was now finished. Little or no water escaped 
through the barrier, and that in the creek above it rose in the course 
of three weeks to its top, which was about ten feet high, forming a 
sheet that extended upwards fully a mile from the dam. My family 
was invited early one morning, to go and witness the extraordinary ef- 
fect which would be produced by the breaking down of the barrier, and 
we all accompanied the lumberers to the place. Two of the men, on 
reaching it, threw off their jackets, tied handkerchiefs round their heads, 
and fastened to their bodies a long rope, the end of which was held by 
three or four others, who stood ready to drag their companions ashore, 
in case of danger or accident. The two operators, each bearing an axe, 
walked along the abutments, and at a given signal, knocked out the wedges. 
A second blow from each sent off the abutments themselyes, and the 
men, leaping with extreme dexterity from one cross log to another, sprung 
to the shore with almost the quickness of thought. 

Scarcely had they effected their escape from the frightful peril that 
threatened them, when the mass of waters burst forth with a horrible up- 
roar. All eyes were bent towards the huge heaps of logs in the gorge 
below. The tumultuous burst of the waters instantly swept away every 



FORCE OF THE WATERS. 101 

object that opposed their progress, and rushed in foaming waves among the 
timber that every where blocked up tlie passage. Presently a slow, heavy 
motion was perceived in the mass of logs ; one might have imagined that 
some mighty monster lay convulsively writhing beneath them, struggling 
with a fearful energy to extricate himself from the crushing weight. As 
the waters rose, this movement increased ; tlie mass of timber extended 
in all directions, appearing to become more and more entangled each 
moment ; the logs bounced against each other, thrusting aside, demers- 
ing, or raising into the air those with which they came in contact : — it 
seemed as if they were waging a war of destruction, such as ancient au- 
thors describe the efforts of the Titans, the foamings of whose wrath 
might to the eye of the painter have been represented by the angry cur- 
hngs of the waters, while the tremulous and rapid motions of the logs, 
which at times reared themselves almost perpendicularly, might by the 
poet have been taken for the shakings of the confounded and discomfited 
giants. 

Now the rusliing element filled up the gorge to its brim. The logs, 
once under way, rolled, reared, tossed and tumbled amid the foam, as 
they were carried along. Many of the smaller trees broke across, from 
others great splinters were sent up, and all were in some degree seamed 
and scarred. Then in tumultuous majesty swept along the mingled 
wreck, the current being now increased to such a pitch, that the logs as they 
were dashed against the rocky shores, resounded like the report of dis- 
tant artillery, or the angry rumblings of the thunder. Onward it rolls, the 
emblem of wreck and ruin, destruction and chaotic strife. It seemed 
to me as if I witnessed the rout of a vast army, surprised, overwhelmed, 
and overthrown. The roar of the cannon, the groans of the dying, and 
the shouts of the avengers, were thundering through my brain ; and 
amid the frightful confusion of the scene, there came over my spirit, a 
melancholy feeling, Avhich had not entirely vanished at the end of many 
days. 

In a few hours, almost all the timber that had lain heaped in the 
rocky gorge, was floating in the great pond of the millers ; and as we 
walked homewards, we talked of the Force of the Waters. 



( 102 ) 
THE FERRUGINOUS THRUSH. 

TURDVS RUFUS, LiNN. 
PLATE CXVI. Male, Female, and Nest. 

Reader, look attentively at the plate before you, and say if such a 
scene as that which I have attempted to portray, is not calculated to ex- 
cite the compassion of any one who is an admirer of woodland melody, or 
who sympathizes with the courageous spirit which the male bird shews, 
as he defends his nest, and exerts all his powers to extricate his beloved 
mate from the coils of the vile snake which has already nearly deprived 
her of life. Another male of the same species, answering the call of des- 
pair from his " fellow creature," comes swiftly do^ynwards to rescue the 
sufferers. With open bill he is already prepared to strike a vengeful blow 
at the reptile, his bright eye glancing hatred at his foe. See a third grap- 
pling with the snake, and with all its might tearing the skin from its body ! 
Should this alhance of noble spirits prove victorious, will it not remind 
you that innocence, although beset with difficulties, may, with the aid of 
friendship, extricate herself with honour.'' 

The birds in the case represented were greatly the sufferers : their 
nest was upset, their eggs lost, and the life of the female in imminent 
danger. But the snake was finally conquered, and a jubilee held over its 
carcass by a crowd of thrushes and other birds, until the woods resounded 
with their notes of exultation. I was happy in contributing my share to 
the general joy, for, on taking the almost expiring bird into my hand for 
a few minutes, she recovered in some degree, and I restored her to her 
anxious mate. 

The Brown Thrush, or Thrasher, by which names the bird is gene- 
rally known, may be said to be a constant resident in the United States, 
as immense numbers are found all the year round in Louisiana, the Flo- 
ridas, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Indeed some spend the winter in Vir- 
ginia and Maryland. During spring and summer they are met with in 
all our Eastern States. They also enter the British provinces, and are 
sometimes seen in Nova Scotia; but I observed none farther north. It is the 
most numerous species found in the Union, excepting the Robin or Mi- 
gratory Thrush. Those which breed in the Middle and Eastern Districts 



FERRUGINOUS THRUSH. 103 

return to the south about the beginning of October, having been absent 
fully six months from that genial region, where more than half of the 
whole number remain at all seasons. They migrate by day, and singly, 
never congregating, notwithstanding their abundance. They fly low, or 
skip from one bush to another, their longest flight seldom exceeding the 
breadth of a field or river. They seem to move rather heavily, on ac- 
count of the shortness of their wings, the concavity of which usually pro- 
duces a rustling sound, and they travel very silently. 

No sooner has the bird reached its destined abode, than whenever a 
fair morning occurs, it mounts the topmost twig of a detached tree, and 
pours forth its loud, richly varied, and highly melodious song. It 
scarcely possesses the faculty of imitation, but is a steady performer ; and, 
although it sings for hours at a time, seldom, if ever, commits errors whUe 
repeating the beautiful lessons set to it by Nature, all of which it studies 
for months during spring and summer. Ah ! reader, that I could repeat 
to you its several cadences, all so full of sweetness and melody, that one 
might imagine each last trill, as it dies on the ear, the careful lullaby of 
some blessed mother chanting her babe to repose ; — that I could imitate 
its loudest notes, surpassed only by those of that unrivalled vocalist, the 
Mocking Bird ! But, alas ! it is impossible for me to convey to you the 
charms of the full song of the Brown Thrush ; you must go to its own 
woods and there Usten to it. In the southern districts, it now and then 
enlivens the calm of autumnal days by its song, but it is generally silent 
after the breeding season. 

The actions of this species during the period of courtship are very 
curious, the male often strutting before the female with his tail trailing on 
the ground, moving gracefully round her, in the manner of some pigeons, 
and while perched and singing in her presence, vibrating his body with 
vehemence. In Louisiana, the Brown Thrush builds its nest as early as 
the beginning of March ; in the Middle Districts rarely before the middle 
of May ; while in Maine, it seldom has it finished before June. It is 
placed without much care in a briar bush, a sumach, or the thickest parts 
of a low tree, never in the interior of the forest, but most commonly in the 
bramble patches which are every where to be met with along the fences 
or the abandoned old fields. Sometimes it is laid flat on the ground. 
Although the bird is abundant in the barrens of Kentucky, in which and 
in similar places it seems to delight, it has seldom been known to breed 
there. In the Southern States the nest is frequently found close to the 



104 FERRUGINOUS THRUSH. 

house of the planter, along with tliat^of the Mocking Bird. To the east- 
ward, where the denseness of the population renders the bird more shy, 
the nest is placed with more care. But wherever it is situated, you find 
it large, composed externally of dry twigs, briars, or other small sticks, 
imbedded in and mixed with dried leaves, coarse grass, and other such 
materials, thickly lined with fibrous roots, horse hair, and sometimes rags 
and feathers. The eggs are from four to six, of a pale dull buff colour, 
thickly sprinkled with dots of brown. Two broods are usually raised in 
the Southern States, but rarely more than one in the Middle and North- 
ern Districts. 

They breed well in aviaries, and are quite tractable in a closer state of 
confinement. The young are raised in the same manner, and with the same 
food, as those of the Mocking Bird. In cages it sings well, and has much 
of the movements of the. latter bird, being full of activity, petulant, and 
occasionally apt to peck in resentment at the hand which happens to ap- 
proach it. The young begin their musical studies in autumn, repeating 
passages with as much zeal as ever did Paganini. By the following spring 
their full powers of song are developed. 

My friend Bachman, who has raised many of these birds, has favour- 
ed me with the following particulars respecting them : — " Though good- 
humoured towards the person who feeds them, they are always savage 
towards all other kinds of birds. I placed three sparrows in the cage of 
a Thrush one evening, and found them killed, as well as nearly stripped 
of their feathers, the next morning. So perfectly gentle did this bird be- 
come, that when I opened its cage, it would follow me about the yard and 
the garden. The instant it saw me take a spade or a hoe, it would fol- 
low at my heels, and, as I turned up the earth, would pick up every in- 
sect or worm thus exposed to its view. I kept it for three years, and its 
affection for me at last cost it its life. It usually slept on the back of my 
chair, in my study, and one night the door being accidentally left open, 
it was killed by a cat. I once knew a few of these birds remain the whole 
of a mild winter in the State of New York, in a wild state." 

The Brown or Ferruginous Thrush is the strongest of the genus in 
the XInited States, neither the Mocking Bird nor the Robin being able to 
cope with it. Like the former, it will chase the cat or the dog, and 
greatly tease the racoon or the fox. It follows the Falco Cooperii and 
the Goshawk, bidding them defiance, and few snakes come off with suc- 
cess when they g,ttack its nest. It is remarkable also, that, although these 



FERRUGINOUS THRUSH. 105 

birds have frequent and severe conflicts among themselves, yet when the 
least alarm is given by an individual, a whole party of them instantly 
rush forth to assist in chasing off the common enemy. When two nests 
happen to be placed near each other, the males are seen to fight furiously, 
and are joined by the females. On such occasions, the males approach 
each other with much caution, spreading out, and often jerking up, 
down, or to either side, their long fan-like tail, generally betaking them- 
selves to the ground, and uttering a note of defiance, until one of them, 
perceiving some advantage afforded by its position or some other circum- 
stance, rushes to the charge. The attack once fairly made, the fight 
seldom ends until one has beaten the other, after which the vanquished 
rarely attempts to retaliate, and peace is made between the parties. They 
are fond of bathing and of dusting themselves in the sand of the roads. 
They bathe in small puddles during the heat of the sun, and then remove 
to the sandy paths, where they roll themselves, dry their plumage, and 
free it of insects. When disturbed on these occasions, they merely run 
off and hide themselves under the nearest bushes, to return as soon as the 
intruder has retired. 

During the period of incubation, the male is heard from the top of a 
neighbouring tree, singing for hours at a time. It ascends to this pin- 
nacle by leaping from branch to branch, and selects several trees for the 
purpose, none of them more than a hundred yards from the nest. Its 
song over, it dives towards its favourite thicket, seldom descending by 
the assistance of the branches. Both male and female sit on the eggs. 
Their mutual attachment, and their courage in defending their nest, are 
well known to children living in the country. They resent the intrusion 
evenof man, assaulting him, and emitting a strong guttural note resem- 
bling tcliai, tcliai, accompanied by a plaintive wed, and continued until 
the enemy retires. Should he carry off their treasure, he is sure to be 
followed a great way, perhaps half a mile, both birds continually crossing 
his path, and bestowing on him the reproaches he so richly deserves. 

The food of this Thrush, which is also known by the name of French 
Mocking Bird, consists of insects, worms, berries, and fruits of all sorts. 
It is fond of figs, and wherever ripe pears are, there also may it be found. 
In winter, they resort to the berries of the dogwood, the sumach, and 
holly, and ascend to the tops of the tallest trees in search of grapes. 
At this season, they are easily caught in traps, and many are exposed for 
sale in the southern markets, although few of the old birds live long in 



106 FERRUGINOUS THRUSH. 

captivity. Some planters complain of their propensity to scratch the 
ground for the purpose of picking up the newly planted corn ; but I am 
of opinion that the scratching has reference exclusively to worms or beetles, 
their strong legs and feet being well adapted for this purpose ; and, 
generally speaking, they are great favourites, as they commit few depre- 
dations on the crops. 

This species, as well as the R,obin and some others of this genus, suffer 
greatly during the autumnal moults, and when in cages at this season, 
become almost naked of feathers. The young acquire the full beauty of 
their plumage during the first winter. 

TuEDUS HUFUS, Linru Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 293. — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 338— 
Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 75. 

Ferruginous Thrush, Turdus rufus, Wils. Amer. Ornith. voL ii. p. 83. pi. 14, 
fig. 1 Nuttall, Manual, vol. L p. 328. 

Orpheus rufus, Fox-coloured Mock-Bird, Swains.&aA Richards. Fauna Boreali- 
Amer. part ii. p. 189. 

Adult Male. Plate CXVI. Fig. 1. 1. 

Bill rather long and slender, slightly arched, compressed, acute ; upper 
mandible slightly arched in its dorsal Une and acute edges, the tip de- 
clinate ; lower mandible nearly straight along the back. Nostrils basal, 
oblong, half-closed by a membrane. The general form is rather slender 
and elegant, like that of the Mocking Bird. Feet longish, rather strong ; 
tarsus compressed, anteriorly covered with a few long scutella, sharp be- 
hind ; toes scutellate above, free ; claws compressed, arched, acute. 

Plumage soft and blended. Wings of moderate length, rounded, the 
first primary very short, the fourth and fifth longest. Tail very long, of 
twelve straight rounded feathers. 

Bill black, the base of the lower mandible light blue. Iris yellow. 
Feet dusky-brown. The general colour of the plumage above is a bright 
reddish -brown, the quills dusky on their inner webs, and the wings crossed 
with two white bars margined anteriorly with black, being on the tips of 
the smaller and secondary coverts. The lower parts are yellowish-white, 
the breast and sides marked with triangular dark-brown spots, the lower 
tail-coverts pale brownish-red. 

Length 11^ inches, extent of wings 13 ; bill along the back 1, along 
the edge l/^ ' tarsus 1/^. 



FERRUGINOUS THRUSH. 107 

Adult Female. Plate CXVI. Fig. 2. 2. 

The female resembles the male, the bars on the wings being narrower, 
and the spots on the breast lighter. The dimensions are nearly the 
same. 



The Black Jack Oak. 



QuERCUs NIGRA, Willd. Sp. PL voL iv. p. 442. Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. 

p. 629. 
QuERCUs FERRDGiNEA, Mich. Avbr. Forest, vol. i. p. 92, pi. 18. Mon(ecia poly- 

ANDRiA, Linn. AmektacejE, Juss. 

Leaves coriaceous, dilated at the end and three-lobed, when young 
mucronate, smooth above, covered with a rust-Uke powder beneath, the 
cupule turbinate, its scales obtuse and scarious, the acorn shortly ovate. 
This tree forms the principal growth of the open barrens of Kentucky, 
and is also met with in all our Southern Districts. It is of small height, 
and extremely crooked in its growth, so as to be of little service, except- 
ing as fire-wood ; but it bears abundantly, producing fine raast for hogs. 



The Black Snake. 



This Snake is possessed of great activity, chmbs with ease over bushes 
and along the trunks of trees, and glides so swiftly over the ground as 
easily to elude pursuit. It feeds on birds, eggs, frogs, and small quad- 
rupeds, and evinces great antipathy towards all other species of Serpent, 
with most of which, although destitute of poison fangs, it fights on the least 
provocation. It occurs abundantly from Louisiana to Connecticut, but 
I have not observed it in Maine or the British provinces. 



( 108 ) 

THE MISSISSIPPI KITE. 

Falco plumbs us, Gmel. 

PLATE CXVII. Male and Female. 

Whex, after many a severe conflict, the southern breezes, in alHance 
with the sun, have, as if through a generous effort, driven back for a sea- 
son to their desolate abode the chill blasts of the north ; when warmth 
and plenty are insured for a while to our happy lands ; when clouds of 
anxious Swallows, returning from the far south, are guiding millions of 
Warblers to their summer residence ; when numberless insects, cramped in 
their hanging shells, are impatiently waiting for the full expansion of 
their wings ; when the vernal flowers, so welcome to all, swell out their 
bursting leaflets, and the rich-leaved Magnolia opens its pure blossoms to 
the Humming Bird ; — then look up, and you will see the Mississippi 
Kite, as he comes sailing over the scene. He glances towards the earth 
with his fiery eye ; sweeps along, now with the gentle breeze, now against 
it ;: seizes here and there the high-flying giddy bug, and allays his hunger 
without fatigue to wing or talon. Suddenly he spies some creeping 
thing, that changes, like the chameleon, from vivid green to dull-brown, 
to escape his notice. It is the red-throated panting lizard that has made 
its way to the highest branch of a tree in quest of food. Casting upwards 
a sidelong look of fear, it remains motionless, so well does it know the 
prowess of the bird of prey : but its caution is vain ; it has been per- 
ceived, its fate is sealed, and the next moment it is swept away. 

The Mississippi Kite thus extends its migrations as high as the city 
of Memphis, on the noble stream whose name it bears, and along our 
eastern shores to the Carolinas, where it now and then breeds, feeding 
the while on lizards, small snakes, and beetles, and sometimes, as if for 
want of better employ, teaching the Carrion Crows and Buzzards to fly. 
At other times, congregating to the number of twenty or more, these 
birds are seen sweeping around some tree, catching the large locusts 
which abound in those countries at an early part of the season, and re- 
minding one of the Chimney Swallows, which are so often seen perform- 
in o- similar evolutions, when endeavouring to snap off the little dried 
twigs of which their nests are composed. 



MISSISSIPPI KITE. 109 

Early in May, the thick-leaved Bay-Tree {^Magnolia grand'ijlora) , 
affords in its high tops a place of safety, in which the Hawk of the South 
may raise its young. These are out by the end of July, and are fed by 
the parent birds mitil well practised in the art of procuring subsistence. 
About the middle of August, they all wing their way southward. 

The affection which the old birds display towards their young, and 
the methods which they occasionally employ to insure the safety of the 
latter, are so remarkable, that, before I proceed to describe their general 
habits, I shall relate a case in which I was concerned. 

Early one morning, whilst I was admiring the beauties of nature, as 
the vegetable woi'ld lay embalmed in dew, I heard the cry of a bird that 
I mistook for that of a Pewee Flycatcher. It was prolonged, I thought, 
as if uttered in distress. After looking for the bird a long time in vain, 
an object which I had at first supposed to be something that had acci- 
dentally lodged in a branch, attracted my attention, as I thought I per- 
ceived it moving. It did move distinctly, and the cry that had ceased 
from the time when I reached the spot where I stood, was repeated, evi- 
dently coming from the object in view. I now took it for a young one 
of the Chuck-Wiirs- Widow, as it sat lengthwise on the branch. I shot 
at it, but perhaps did not hit it, as it only opened and closed its wings, 
as if surprised. At the report of the gun, the old bird came, holding 
food in her claws. She perceived me, but alighted, and fed her young 
with great kindness. I shot at both, and again missed, or at least did 
not succeed, which might have happened from my having only small shot 
in my gun. The mother flew in silence, sailed over head just long 
enough to afford me time to reload, returned, and to my great surprise 
gently lifted her young, and sailing with it to another tree, about thirty 
yards distant, deposited it there. My feelings at that moment I cannot 
express. I wished I had not discovered the poor bird; for who could 
have witnessed, without emotion, so striking an example of that affection 
which none but a mother can feel ; so daring an act, performed in the 
midst of smoke, in the presence of a dreaded and dangerous enemy. I 
followed, however, and brought both to the ground at one shot, so keen 
is the desire of possession ! 

The young had the head of a fawn-colour, but I took little more no- 
tice of it, depositing the two birds under a log, whence I intended to re- 
move them on my return, for the purpose of drawing and describing 
them. I then proceeded on my excursion to a lake a few miles distant. 



110 MISSISSIPPI KITE. 

On coming back, what was my mortification^ wlien I found that some 
quadruped had devoured both ! My punishment was merited. 

The Mississippi Kite arrives in Lower Louisiana about the middle of 
April^ in small parties of five or six, and confines itself to the borders of 
deep woods, or to those near plantations, not far from the shores of the 
rivers, lakes, or bayous. It never moves into the interior of the country, 
and in this respect resembles the Falco Jurcatus. Plantations lately 
cleared, and yet covered with tall dying girted trees, placed near a creek 
or bayou, seemed to suit it best. 

Its flight is graceful, vigorous, protracted, and often extended to a 
great height, the Forked-tailed Hawk being the only species that can 
compete with it. At times it floats in the air, as if motionless, or sails in 
broad regular circles, when, suddenly closing its wings, it slides along to 
some distance, and renews its curves. Now it sweeps in deep and long 
undulations, with the swiftness of an arrow, passing almost within touch- 
ing distance of a branch on which it has observed a small lizard, or an 
insect it longs for, but from which it again ascends disappointed. Now 
it is seen to move in hurried zig-zags, as if pursued by a dangerous ene- 
my, sometimes seeming to turn over and over like a Tumbling Pigeon. 
Again it is observed flying round the trunk of a tree to secure large in- 
sects, sweeping with astonishing velocity. While travelling, it moves in 
the desultory manner followed by Swallows ; but at other times it is seen 
soaring at a great elevation among the large flocks of Carrion Crows and 
Turkey Buzzards, joined by the Forked-tailed Hawk, dashing at the 
former, and giving them chase, as if in play, until these cowardly sca- 
vengers sweep downwards, abandoning this to them disagreeable sport 
to the Hawks, who now continue to gambol undisturbed. When in 
pursuit of a large insect or a small reptile, it turns its body sidewise, 
throws out its legs, expands its talons, and generally seizes its prey in an 
instant. It feeds while on wing, apparently with as much ease and com- 
fort, as when alighted on the branch of a tall tree. It never alights on 
the earth ; at least I have never seen it do so, except when wounded, and 
then it appears extremely awkward. It never attacks birds or quadru- 
peds of any kind, with the view of destroying them for food, although it 
will chase a fox to a considerable distance, screaming loudly all the whUe, 
and soon forces a Crow to retreat to the woods. 

The nest of this species is always placed in the upper branches of the 
tallest trees. I thought it gave the preference to those tall and splendid 



MISSISSIPPI KITE. Ill 

magnolias and white oaks, which adorn our Southern States, The nest re- 
sembles that of the dilapidated tenement of the Common American Crow, 
and is formed of sticks shghtly put together, along with branches of Spa- 
nish moss (Usnea), pieces of vine bark, and dried leaves. The eggs are 
two or three, almost globular, of a light greenish tint, blotched thickly over 
with deep chocolate-brown and black. Only one brood is raised in the 
season, and I think the female sits more than half the time necessary for 
incubation. The young I also think obtain nearly the full plumage of 
the old bird before they depart from us, as I have examined these birds 
early in August, when the migration was already begun, without obser- 
ving much difference in their general colour, except only in the want of 
firmness in the tint of the young ones. 

Once, early in^the month of May, I found a nest of this bird placed on 
a fine tall white oak near a creek, and observed that the female was sit- 
ting with unceasing assiduity. The male I saw bring her food fre- 
quently. Not being able to ascend the tree, I hired a Negro, who had 
been a sailor for some years, to climb it and bring down the eggs or young. 
This he did by first mounting another tree, the branches of which crossed 
the lower ones of the oak. No sooner had he reached the trunk of the 
tree on which the nest was placed, than the male was seen hovering about 
and over it in evident displeasure, screaming and sweeping towards the 
intruder the higher he advanced. When he attained the branch on which 
the nest was, the female left her charge, and the pair, infuriated at his 
daring, flew with such velocity, and passed so close to him, that I ex- 
pected every moment to see him struck by them. The black tar, how- 
ever, proceeded quietly, reached the nest, and took out the eggs, ap- 
prising me that there were three. I requested him to bring them down 
with care, and to throw ofi^ the nest, which he did. The poor birds, see- 
ing their tenement cast down to the ground, continued sweeping around 
us so low and so long, that I could not resist the temptation thus offered 
of shooting them. 

The Mississippi Kite is by no means a shy bird, and one may gene- 
rally depend on getting near it when alighted ; but to follow it while on 
wing were useless, its flight being usually so elevated, and its sweeps over 
a field or wood so rapid and varied, that you might spend many hours in 
vain in attempting to get up with it. Even when alighted, it perches so 
high, that I have sometimes shot at it, without producing any other effect 
than that of causing it to open its wings and close them again, as if utterly 



112 MISSISSIPPI KITE. 

ignorant of the danger to which it had been exposed, while it seemed to 
look down upon me quite unconcerned. When wounded, it comes to the 
ground with great force, and seldom attempts to escape, choosing rather 
to defend itself, which it does to the last, by throwing itself on its back, 
erecting the feathers of its head, screaming loudly in the manner of the 
Pigeon Hawk, disgorging the contents of its stomach, stretching out its 
talons, and biting or clenching with great vigour. It is extremely mus- 
cular, the flesh tough and rigid. 

These birds at times search for food so far from the spot where their 
nest has been placed, that I have on several occasions been obliged to 
follow their course over the woods, as if in search of a wild bee's hive, be- 
fore I could discover it. There is scarcely any perceptible difiference be- 
tween the sexes as to size, and in colour they are precisely similar, only 
the female has less of the ferruginous colour on her primaries than the 
male. The stomach is thin, rugous, and of a deep orange colour. 



Falco tlumbeus, Gmel. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 2^2.— Lath. Index Ornitli. vol. i. p. 49. 

Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 90 — Nuttall, Manual, 

vol. i. p. 92. 
Mississippi Kite, Falco Mississippiensis, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 80. 

fig. 1. Male. 

Adult Male. Plate CXVII. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, as broad as deep at the base, the sides convex, the dorsal 
outline convex from the base ; upper mandible cerate, the edges sharp, 
with an obtuse lobe towards the curvate, the tip trigonal, deflected, very 
acute ; lower mandible inflected at the edges, rounded at the end. Nos- 
trils round, lateral, basal, with a central papilla. Head rather large, the 
general form robust. Legs of moderate length, strong; tarsus stout, 
covered anteriorly with scutella, rounded behind ; toes scutellate above, 
scaly on the sides, scabrous and tuberculate beneath ; middle and outer 
toe connected at the base by a small membrane ; claws roundish, curved, 
very acute. 

Plumage compact, imbricated ; feathers of the head narrow, pointed, 
and rather loose ; tibial feathers elongated. Wings long and pointed, the 
third quill longest. Tail long, straight, retuse. 

Bill black, as are the cere, lore, and a narrow band round the eye. 
Iris blood-red. Feet purplish, the scutella deep red ; claws black. The 



MISSISSIPPI KITE. 113 

head, the neck all round, and the under parts in general bluish-white. 
The back and wing-coverts are of a dark leaden colour, the ends of the 
secondary coverts white. The primaries black, margined externally with 
bright bay ; the tail also deep black, as is the rump. 

Length 14 inches, extent of wings 36 ; bill along the ridge H, along 
the edge 4 2 ; tarsus 1|. 

Adult Female. Plate CXVII. Fig. 2. 

The female differs little from the male in colour, and is not much 
larger. 

Length 15 inches. 



VOL. II. 



( 114 ) 
THE WARBLING FLYCATCHER OR VIREO 

ViREO GILVUS, BONAP. 
PLATE CXVIII. Male and Female. 

While at the little village, now the city, of Camden, in New Jersey, 
where I had gone for the purpose of watching the passage of certain 
Warblers on their way north early in the month of May, I took lodgings 
in a street ornamented with a long avenue of tall Lombardy poplars, one 
of which almost touched my window. On it too I had the pleasure short- 
ly afterwards of finding the nest of this interesting little bird. Never be- 
fore had I seen it placed so low, and never before had I an opportunity 
of examining it, or of observing the particular habits of the species with 
so much advantage. The nest, although formed nearly in the same man- 
ner as several others, which I have since obtained by cutting them down 
with rifle balls, from the top twigs of the taU trees to which they were 
attached, instead of being fastened in the fork of a twig, was fixed to 
the body of the tree, and that of a branch coming off at a very acute 
angle. The birds were engaged in constructing it during eight days, 
working chiefly in the morning and evening. Pi-evious to their select- 
ing the spot, I frequently saw them examining the tree, warbhng toge- 
ther as if congratulating each other on their good fortune in finding 
so snug a place. One morning I observed both of them at work ; they 
had already attached some slender blades of grass to the knots on the 
branch and the bark of the trunk, and had given them a circular disposi- 
tion. They continued working downwards and outwards, until the struc- 
ture exhibited the form of their delicate tenement. Before the end of the 
second day, bits of hornets"" nests and particles of corn-husks had been 
attached to it by pushing them between the rows of grass, and fixing 
them with silky substances. On the third day, the birds were absent, 
nor could I hear them anywhere in the neighbourhood, and tliinking that 
a cat might have caught them from the edge of the roof, I despaired 
of seeing them again. On the fourth morning, however, their notes at- 
tracted my attention before I rose, and I had the pleasure of finding them 
at their labours. The materials which they now used consisted chiefly of 
extremely slender grasses, which the birds worked in a circular form 



WARBLING FLYCATCHER, 115 

within the frame which tliey had previously made. The little creatures 
were absent nearly an hour at a time, and returned together bringing the 
grass, which I concluded they found at a considerable distance. Going 
into the street to see in what direction they went, I watched them for 
some time, and followed them as they flew from tree to tree towards the 
river. There they stopped, and looked as if carefully watching me, on 
which I retired to a small distance, when they resumed their journey, and 
led me quite out of the village, to a large meadow, where stood an old hay 
stack. They alighted on it, and in a few minutes each had selected a 
blade of grass. Returning by the same route, they moved so slowly from 
one tree to another, that my patience was severely tried. Two other 
days were consumed in travelling for the same kind of grass. On the 
seventh I saw only the female at work, using wool and horse hair. 
The eighth was almost entirely spent by both in smoothing the inside. 
They would enter the nest, sit in it, turn round, and press the lining, I 
should suppose a hundred times or moi'e in the course of an hour. The 
male had ceased to warble, and both birds exhibited great concern. They 
went off and returned so often that I actually became quite tired of this 
lesson in the art of nest-building, and perhaps I should not have looked' 
at them more that day, had not the cat belonging to the house made her 
appearance just over my head, on the roof, within a few feet of the nest,, 
and at times so very near the affrighted and innocent creatures, that my 
interest was at once renewed. I gave chase to grimalkin, and saved the 
Flycatchers at least for that season. 

In the course of five days, an equal number of eggs was laid. They 
were small, of a rather narrow oval form, white, thinly spotted with red- 
dish-black at the larger end. The birds sat alternately, though not with 
regularity as to time, and on the twelfth day of incubation the young 
came out. I observed that the male would bring insects to the female, 
and that after chopping and macerating them with her beak, she placed 
them in the mouth of her young with a care and delicacy which were not 
less curious than pleasing to me. Three or four days after, the male 
fed them also, and I thought that I saw them grow every time I turned 
from my drawing to peep at them. 

On the fifteenth day, about eight in the morning, the little birds all 
stood on the border of the nest, and were fed as usual. They continued 
there the remainder of the day, and about sunset re-entered the nest. 
The old birds I had frequently observed roosted within about a foot above 

h2 



116 WARBLING FLYCATCHER. 

them. On the sixteenth day after their exclusion from the egg, they took 
to wing, and ascended the branches of the tree, with surprising ease and 
firmness. They were fed another day after, on the same tree, and roosted 
close together in a row on a small twig, the parents just above them. 
The next morning they flew across the street, and betook themselves to 
a fine peach-orchard several hundred yards from my lodging. Never had 
HcBER watched the operations of his bees with more intentness than I 
had employed on this occasion, and I bade them adieu at last with great 
regret. 

The principal food of this species consists of small black caterpillars, 
which that season infested all the poplars in the street. They searched 
for them in the manner of the Red-eyed Flycatcher and Blue-eyed Yelr 
low Warbler, moving sidewise along the twigs, like the latter, now and 
then balancing themselves on the wing opposite their prey, and snapping 
it in the manner of the Muscicapa Ruticilla, sometimes alighting sidewise 
on the tree, seldom sallying forth in pursuit of insects more than a few 
yards, and always preferring to remain among the branches. I never saw 
either of the old birds disgorge pellets, as I have seen Pewees do. 

I observed that they now and then stood in a stiffened attitude, ba- 
lancing their body from side to side on the joint of the tarsus and toes, 
as on a hinge, but could not discover the import of this singular action. 
During the love days of the pair mentioned above, the male would spread 
its little wings and tail, and strut in short circles round the female, pour- 
ing out a low warble so sweet and mellow that I can compare it only to the 
sounds of a good musical box. The female received these attentions with- 
out coyness, and I have often thought that these birds had been attached 
to each other before that season. 

No name could have been imposed upon this species with more pro- 
priety than that of the Warbling Flycatcher. The male sings from morn- 
ing to night, so sweetly, so tenderly, with so much mellowness and soft- 
ness of tone, and yet with notes so low, that one might think he sings only 
for his beloved, without the least desire to attract the attention of rivals. 
In this he differs greatly from most other birds. Even its chiding notes — 
tsche, tsche, were low and unobtruding. The nestlings uttered a lisping 
sound, not unlike that of a young mouse. The only time I saw the old 
birds ruffled, was on discovering a brown lizard ascending their tree. 
They attacked it courageously, indeed furiously, and although I did not 
see them strike it, compelled it to leave the place. 



WARBLING FLYCATCHER. 117 

The flight of the Warbling Flycatcher is performed by gentle glid- 
ings, and seldom extends to a greater length than a hundred yards at a 
time. I never saw it on the ground. 

It was never observed by me in Louisiana or Kentucky, nor does it 
pass along the maritime districts of Georgia or the Carolinas ; but from 
Virginia to Maine it is not uncommon, although I saw none farther north. 
It arrives in the Jerseys and Pennsylvania about the first of May, some 
years perhaps a little earlier, and proceeds farther east as the season ad- 
vances. I do not think tliatit raises more than one larood each season, 
although I have observed it as late as the 1 5th of October in the Middle 
Districts, where I believe the greater number of these birds spend the 
summer. Not one could I see during the winter in the Floridas, where, 
however, the White-eyed and Red-eyed Flycatchers were frequently heard 
in full sonff. 



ViREO GiLVus, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 70. 
Wakbling Flycatcher, Muscicapa melodia, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. v. p. 85. 

pi. 42, fig. 2. 
Warbling Vireo, Nuttall, Manual, voL i. p. 309. 

Adult Male. Plate CXVI II. 

Bill rather short, depressed at the base, subtriangular, compressed to- 
ward the tip, acute ; upper mandible with the sides convex, notched to- 
wards the end, and deflected at the tip. Nostrils basal, lateral, oblong. 
Head rather large, neck short, body ovate. Feet of ordinary length ; 
tarsus compressed, anteriorly scutellate, sharp behind ; toes slender, free ; 
claws small, slightly arched, compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft and blended. Wings of ordinary length, the second 
and third primaries longest, first and fifth about equal. Tail of ordinary 
length, slightly emarginate. Basirostral bristles rather short. 

Bill lead-colour above, flesh-colour beneath. Iris dark hazel. Feet 
lead-colour. The general colour of the plumage above is pale olive-green, 
tinged with ash on the neck and shoulders. A white line over the eye ; 
space beneath it and the under parts generally of the same colour, the 
sides tinged with pale greenish-yellow. Quills and their coverts dark- 
brown, margined with pale olive-green. Tail similarly edged. 

Length 5| inches, extent of wings 8^ ; bill along the ridge -/j, along 
ihc edge j*2 ; tarsus j.j. 



118 WARBLING FLYCATCHER. 

Adult Female. Plate CXVIIL Fig. 2. 

The Female, which is slightly smaller, resembles the male in colouring. 



The Swamp Magnolia. 



Magnolia gladca, Wild. Sp. PI. vol. ii. p. 1256 — Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. 

p. 381 Mich. Arbr. Forest de I'Amer. Septentr. vol. iii. p. 78, pL 2 — Poly- 

ANDRIA PoLYGYNiA, Linn. Magnoli.«, Juss. 

The Swamp Magnoha is abundant in all marshy places from Louisi- 
ana to Connecticut, growing in groves in and around the swamps. It 
seldom exceeds twenty feet in height, and is more usually eight or ten. 
The flowers have an agreeable odour, but are of short duration, although 
the tree continues blooming for several months. It is not unfrequent to 
find it, in the Southern States, in flower during autumn. The species is 
characterized by its ovate leaves, which are glaucous beneath, and its ob- 
ovate petals, narrowed at the base. It bears different names in the diffe- 
rent States, such as Swamp Laurel, Swamp Sassafras, Sweet Bay, White 
Bay, &c. 



( 119 ; 

THE YELLOW-THRO /VTED FLYCATCHER, 
OR VIREO. 

P'iREO FLAVIFRONS, ViEILL. 
PLATE CXIX. Male. 

While the small White-eyed Vireo rambles among the low bushes 
and brambles of the fields of all parts of the United States, the Yellow- 
throated species takes possession of the forest, and gleans with equal ease 
among the branches of the tallest trees, to which it seems to give a mark- 
ed preference during the spring and summer. It is fond of the quietest 
solitudes, and in its habits is nearly allied to the Red-eyed Vireo. Like 
it also, it is a slow, careful, and industrious bird, never imitating the 
petulant, infantile, and original (if I may so speak) freaks of its gay rela- 
tive, the White-eyed. It is more silent than either of the species above 
mentioned, although its notes have a strong resemblance to those of the 
Red-eyed. These notes are more measured and plaintive than those of 
any of its tribe, sometimes consisting of sounds resembling the syllables 
pree-d, pree-d, rising and falling in sweet modulation. One might imagine 
them the notes of a bird lost in the woods, and they make a strong im- 
pression on the mind of the listener. Now and then the sight of his mate 
seems to animate the male, when he repeats the same syllables eight or 
ten times in succession. When sitting pensively on a twig, as if waiting 
for an invitation to sing, it utters a kind of whining sound, and in autumn, 
as well as during its retrograde march towards the south, it becomes quite 
silent. 

When searching for food, it ascends the branches of trees by regular 
short hops, examining with care every leaf and bud in its way, never 
leaving a branch for another until it is quite assured that nothing re- 
mains on it. When flying to some distance, its motions, although quick, 
are irregular, and it passes among the boughs at a moderate height. 

This species is at all times extremely rare in Louisiana, where I have 
seen it only during early spring or late in the autumn. My friend Bach- 
man, has never observed it in South Carolina. Indeed, it is only from 
Pennsylvania eastward that it is met with in any quantity. During sum- 
mer it feeds entirely on insects, devouring with equal pleasure cater- 
pillars, small moths, wasps, and wild bees. The summer over, it ranges 



120 YELLOW-THROATED FLYCATCHER. 

among the low bushes in search of berries, accompanied by its young, 
and at that time enters the orchards and gardens even of our villages and 
cities. It arrives in Pennsylvania and New Jersey about the end of 
April, and in Massachusetts and Maine about a month later. 

The nest of the Yellow-throated Vireo is truly a beautiful fabric. It 
sometimes extends to five or six inches in depth, and as it is always placed 
at the extremity of small twigs, it is very conspicuous. It is attached to 
these twigs with much care by slender threads of vines, or those of other 
trees at its upper edges, mixed with the silk of different caterpillars, and 
enclosed with lichens, so neatly attached by means of saliva, that the 
whole outer surface seems formed of them, while the inner bed, which is 
about two and a half inches in diameter, by an inch and a half in depth, 
is lined with delicate grasses, between which and the bottom coarser mate- 
rials are employed to fiU the space, such as bits of hornets"' nests, dry 
leaves, and wool. The eggs, which are four or five in number, are of an 
elongated form, white, spotted with reddish-brown or black. The young- 
are out about the beginning of July. In Maine it raises one brood only, 
but farther south not unfrequently two. 



Vireo flavifeons, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 70- 
Yellow-throated Flycatcher, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 117, pi. ?• fig- 3. 
Yellow-throated Vireo, Nuttall, Manual, vol. i. p. 302. 

Adult Male. Plate CXIX. 

Bill of moderate length, broad and depressed at the base, compressed 
towards the tip, acute ; upper mandible with the sides convex, the edges 
sharp, the tip deflected ; lower mandible straight, the back rounded, the 
edges sharp, the tip acute. Nostrils basal, lateral, oblong. Head rather 
large, neck short, body robust. Feet of ordinary length ; tarsus com- 
pressed, anteriorly scutellate, sharp behind ; toes slender, free ; claws 
slightly arched, compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft and blended. Wings of ordinary length, the second 
and third primaries longest. Tail of ordinary length, emarginate. Basi- 
rostral bristles short. 

Bill brownish-black above, the greater part of the lower mandible 
pale blue, the tip dusky. Iris dark brown. Feet lead-colour. The 
vipper parts of a deep greenish-olive, the quills and coverts deep brown, 
the latter tipped with white, the primaries and some of the secondaries 



YELLOW-THROATED FLYCATCHER. 121 

edged with the same, as are the tail-feathers. Throat, fore-neck, and 
anterior part of the breast, with a short line over the eye, rich lemon- 
yellow ; posterior half of the breast, the abdomen, and the lower tail- 
coverts, white. 

Length 5| inches, extent of wings 9J ; bill along the ridge /j,, along 
the edge f^ ; tarsus |. 

The Female resembles the male in external appearance. 



The Swamp Snowball. 



Hydbangea quercifolia, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. ii. p. 634. Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. 
vol. i. p. 309. — Decanduia Digynia, Linn. SaxifragjE, Juss. 

This plant is found on the broken sandy banks bordering small water- 
courses, and is abundant in such situations in the uplands of Louisiana. 
It seldom grows beyond the size of a bush. The blossoms are lasting, and 
although without odour, are pleasing to the eye, on account of their 
pure white colour when first expanded ; they dry on the stalks, retaining 
their form, and remaining until winter. The species is characterized by 
its oblong, deeply sinuate leaves, which are downy beneath, and its ra- 
diated loosely thyrsiform cymes. 



( 1^2 ) 



THE PEWEE FLYCATCHER. 

MUSCICAPA FUSCA, BoNAP. 
PLATE CXX. Male and Female. 

Connected with the biography of this bird are so many incidents re- 
lative to my own, that could I with propriety deviate from my proposed 
method, the present volume would contain less of the habits of birds than 
of those of the youthful days of an American woodsman. While young, 
I had a plantation that lay on the sloping declivities of a creek, the name 
of which I have already given, but as it will ever be dear to my recollec- 
tion, you will, I hope, allow me to repeat it — the Perkioming. I was 
extremely fond of rambling along its rocky banks, for it would have been 
difficult to do so either without meeting with a sweet flower, spreading 
open its beauties to the sun, or observing the watchfid KingVfisher 
perched on some projecting stone over the clear water of the stream. 
Nay, now and then, the Fish Hawk itself, followed by a White-headed 
Eagle, would make his appearance, and by his graceful aerial motions, 
raise my thoughts far above them into the heavens, silently leading me to 
the admiration of the sublime Creator of all. These impressive, and al- 
ways delightful, reveries often accompanied my steps to tlie entrance of a 
small cave scooped out of the solid rock by the hand of nature. It was, 
I then thought, quite large enough for my study. My paper and pen- 
cils, with now and then a volume of Edgeworth's natural and fascina- 
ting Tales or Lafontaine's Fables, afforded me ample pleasures. It was 
in that place, kind reader, that I first saw with advantage the force of 
parental affection in birds. There it was that I studied the habits of the 
Pewee ; and there I was taught most forcibly that to destroy the nest 
of a bird, or to deprive it of its eggs or young, is an act of great cruelty. 

I had observed the nest of this plain-coloured Flycatcher fastened, as 
it were, to the rock immediately over the arched entrance of this calm re- 
treat. I had peeped into it : although empty, it was yet clean, as if the 
absent owner intended to revisit it with the return of spring. The buds 
were already much swelled, and some of the trees were ornamented with 
blossoms, yet the ground was still partially covered with snow, and the 



PEWEE FLYCATCHER. 12^ 

air retained the piercing chill of winter. I chanced one morning early 
to go to my retreat. The sun's glowing rays gave a rich colouring to 
every object around. As I entered the cave, a rustling sound over my 
head attracted my attention, and, on turning, I saw two birds fly off, and 
alight on a tree close by : — the Pewees had arrived ! I felt dehghted, 
and fearing that my sudden appearance might disturb the gentle pair, I 
walked off', not, however, without frequently looking at them. I con- 
cluded that they must have just come, for they seemed fatigued : — their 
plaintive note was not heard, their crests were not erected, and the vibra- 
tion of the tail, so very conspicuous in this species, appeared to be want- 
ing in power. Insects were yet few, and the return of the birds looked 
to me as prompted more by their affection to the place, than by any other 
motive. No sooner had I gone a few steps than the Pewees, with one ac- 
cord glided down from their perches and entered the cave. I did not re- 
turn to it any more that day, and as I saw none about it, or in the 
neighbourhood, I supposed that they must have spent the day within it. 
I concluded also that these birds must have reached this haven, either du- 
ring the night, or at the very dawn of that morn. Hundreds of obser- 
vations have since proved to me that this species always migrates by 
night. 

Filled with the thoughts of the little pilgrims, I went early next morn- 
ing to their retreat, yet not early enough to surprise them in it. Lono- 
before I reached the spot, my ears were agreeably saluted by their well- 
known note, and I saw them darting about through the air, giving chase 
to some insects close over the water. They were full of gaiety, fre- 
quently flew into and out of the cave, and while alighted on a favourite 
tree near it, seemed engaged in the most interesting converse. The light 
fluttering or tremulous motions of their wings, the jetting of their tail, 
the erection of their crest, and the neatness of their attitudes, all indicated 
that they were no longer fatigued, but on the contrary refreshed and 
happy. On my going into the cave, the male flew violently towards the 
entrance, snapped his bill sharply and repeatedly, accompanying this ac- 
tion with a tremulous rolling note, the import of which I soon guessed. 
Presently he flew into the cave and out of it again, with a swiftness 
scarcely credible : it was like the passing of a shadow. 

Several days in succession I went to the spot, and saw with pleasure 
that as my visits increased in frequency, the birds became more fami- 
liarized to me, and, before a week had elap.scd, the Pewees and myself 



124 PEWEE FLYCATCHER. 

were quite on terms of intimacy. It was now the 10th of April ; the 
spring was forward that season, no more snow was to be seen, Redwings 
and Grakles Avere to be found here and there. The Pewees, I observed, 
began working at their old nest. Desirous of judging for myself, and 
anxious to enjoy the company of this friendly pair, I determined to spend 
the greater part of each day in the cave. My presence no longer alarmed 
either of them. They brought a few fresh materials, lined the nest anew, 
and rendered it wariB by adding a few large soft feathers of the common 
goose, which they found strewn along the edge of the water in the creek. 
There was a remarkable and curious twittering in their note while both 
sat on the edge of the nest at those meetings, and which is never heard 
on any other occasion. It was the soft, tender expression, I thought, of 
the pleasure they both appeared to anticipate of the future. Their mu- 
tual caresses, simple as they might have seemed to another, and the deli- 
cate manner used by the male to please liis mate, ri\-etted my eyes on these 
birds, and excited sensatioiis which I can never forget. 

The female one day spent the greater part of the time in her nest ; 
she frequently changed her position ; her mate exhibited much uneasiness, 
he would alight by her sometimes, sit by her side for a moment, and 
suddenly flying out, would return with an insect, which she took from 
his bill with apparent gratification. About three o'clock in the afternoon, 
I saw the uneasiness of the female increase ; the male showed an unusual 
appearance of despondence, when, of a sudden, the female rose on her 
feet, looked sidewise under her, and flying out, followed by her attentive 
consort, left the cave, rose high in the air, performing evolutions more 
curious to me than any I had seen before. They flew about over the 
water, the female leading her mate, as it were, through her own mean- 
derings. Leaving the Pewees to their avocations, I peeped into their 
nest, and saw there their first egg, so white and so transparent — for I be- 
lieve, reader, that eggs soon loose this peculiar transparency after being 
laid — that to me the sight was more pleasant than if I had met with a 
diamond of the same size. The knowledge that in an enclosure so frail, 
life already existed, and that ere many weeks would elapse, a weak, deli- 
cate, and helpless creature, but perfect in all its parts, would burst the 
shell, and immediately call for the most tender care and attention of its 
anxious parents, filled my mind with as much wonder as when, looking 
towards the heavens, I searched, alas ! in vain, for the true import of all 
that I saw. 



PEWEE FLYCATCHER. 125 

In six tlays, six eggs were deposited ; but I observed that as they in- 
creased in number, the bird remained a shorter time in the nest. The 
last she deposited in a few minutes after alighting. Perhaps, thought I, 
this is a law of nature, intended for keeping the eggs fresh to the last. 
Kind reader, what are your thoughts on the subject ? About an hour 
after laying the last egg, the female Pewee returned, settled in her nest, 
and, after arranging the eggs, as I thought, several times under her body, 
expanded her wings a little, and fairly commenced the arduous task of 
incubation. 

Day after day passed by. I gave strict orders that no one should 
go near the cave, much less enter it, or indeed destroy any bird's nest on 
the plantation. Whenever I visited the Pewees, one or other of them 
was on the nest, while its mate was either searching for food, or perched 
in the vicinity, filling the air with its loudest notes. I not unfrequently 
reached out my hand near the sitting bird ; and so gentle had they both 
become, or rather so well acquainted were we, that neither moved on 
such occasions, even when my hand was quite close to it. Now and then 
the female would shrink back into the nest, but the male frequently 
snapped at my fingers, and once left the nest as if in great anger, flew 
round the cave a few times, emitting his querulous whining notes, and 
alighted again to resume his labours. 

At this very time, a Pewee's nest was attached to one of the rafters 
of my mill, and there was another under a shed in the cattle-yard. Each 
pair, any one would have felt assured, had laid out the limits of its own 
domain, and it was seldom that one trespassed on the grounds of its 
neighbour. The Pewee of the cave generally fed or spent its time so far 
above the mill on the creek, that he of the mill never came in contact 
wth it. The Pewee of the cattle-yard confined himself to the orchard, 
and never disturbed the rest. Yet I sometimes could hear distinctly the 
notes of the three at the same moment. I had at that period an idea that 
the whole of these birds were descended from the same stock. If not cor- 
rect in this supposition, I had ample proof afterwards that the brood of 
young Pewees, raised in the cave, returned the following spring, and 
estabhshed themselves farther up on the creek, and among the out- 
houses in the neighbourhood. 

On some other occasion, I will give you such instances of the return 
of birds, accompanied by their progeny, to the place of their nativity, 
that perhaps you will become convinced, as I am at this moment, that to 



126 PEWEE FLYCATCHER. 

this propensity every country owes the augmentation of new species, 
whether of birds or of quadrupeds, attracted by the many benefits met 
with, as countries become more open and better cultivated : but now I 
will, with your leave, return to the Pewees of the cave. 

On the thirteenth day, the little ones were hatched. One egg was 
unproductive, and the female, on the second day after the birth of her 
brood, very dehberately pushed it out of the nest. On examining this 
egg, I found it containing the embryo of a bird partly dried up, with its 
vertebrjE quite fast to the shell, which had probably occasioned its 
death. Never have I since so closely witnessed the attention of birds to 
their young. Their entrance with insects was so frequently repeated, 
that I thought I saw the httle ones grow as I gazed upon them. The 
old birds no longer looked upon me as an enemy, and would often come 
in close by me, as if I had been a post. I now took upon me to handle 
the young frequently ; nay, several times I took the whole family out, and 
blew off the exuviae of the feathers from the nest. I attached light threads 
to their leo-s : these they invariably removed, either with their bills, or 
with the assistance of their parents. I renewed them, however, until I 
found the little fellows habituated to them ; and at last, when they were 
about to leave the nest, I fixed a light silver thread to the leg of each, 
loose enouo-h not to hurt the part, but so fastened that no exertions of 
theirs could remove it. 

Sixteen days had passed, when the brood took to wing ; and the old 
birds, dividing the time with caution, began to arrange the nest anew. 
A second set of eggs were laid, and in the beginning of August a new 
brood made its appearance. 

The young birds took much to the woods, as if feeling themselves 
more secure there than in the open fields ; but before they departed, they 
all appeared strong, and minded not making long sorties into the open 
air, over the whole creek, and the fields around it. On the 8th of Oc- 
tober, not a Pewee could I find on the plantation : my little companions 
had all set off on their travels. For weeks afterwards, however, I saw 
Pewees arrivino- from the north, and lingering a short time, as if to rest, 
when they also moved southward. 

At the season when the Pewee returns to Pennsylvania, I had the 
satisfaction to observe those of the cave in and about it. There again, 
in the very same nest, two broods were raised. I found several Pewees 
nests at some distance up the creek, particularly under a bridge, and 



PEWEE FLYCATCHER. 127 

several others in the adjoining meadows, attached to the inner part of 
sheds erected for the protection of hay and grain. Having caught several 
of these birds on the nest, I had the pleasure of finding that two of them 
had the little ring on the leg. 

I was now obliged to go to France, where I remained two years. On 
my return, which happened early in August, I had the satisfaction of 
finding three young Pewees in the nest of the cave ; but it was not the 
nest which I had left in it. The old one had been torn off from the 
roof, and the one which I found there was placed above where it stood. 
I observed at once that one of the parent birds was as shy as possible, 
while the other allowed me to approach within a few yards. This was 
the male bird, and I felt confident that the old female had paid the debt 
of nature. Having inquired of the railler''s son, I found that he had 
killed the old Pewee and four young ones, to make bait for the purpose 
of catching fish. Then the male Pewee had brought another female 
to the cave ! As long as the plantation of Mill Grove belonged to me, 
there continued to be a Pewee's nest in my favourite retreat ; but after I 
had sold it, the cave was destroyed, as were nearly all. the beautiful rocks 
along the shores of the creek, to build a new dam across the Perkioming. 

This species is so peculiarly fond of attaching its nest to rocky caves, 
that, were it called the Rock Flycatcher, it would be appropriately 
named. Indeed I seldom have passed near such a. place, particularly 
during the breeding season, without seeing the Pewee, or hearing its 
notes. I recollect that, while travelling in Vii'ginia with a friend, he de- 
sired that I would go somewhat out of our intended route, to visit the 
renowned Rock Bridge of that State. My companion, who had passed 
over this natural bridge before, proposed a wager that he could lead me 
across it before I should be aware of its existence. It was early in 
April ; and, from the descriptions of this place which I had read, I felt 
confident that the Pewee Flycatcher must be about it. I accepted the 
proposal of my friend and trotted on, intent on proving to myself that, 
by constantly attending to one subject, a person must sooner or later be- 
come acquainted with it. I listened to the notes of the different birds, 
which at intervals came to my ear, and at last had the satisfaction to dis- 
tinguish those of the Pewee. I stopped my horse, to judge of the dis- 
tance at which the bird might be, and a moment after told my friend 
that the bridge was short of a hundred yards from us, although it was 
nnpossible for us to see the spot itself. The surprise of my companion 



128 PEWEE FLYCATCHER. 

was great. " How do you know this .?" he asked, " for,"" continued he, 
" you are correct."" — " Simply,"" answered I, " because I hear the notes 
of the Pewee, and know that a cave, or a deep rocky creek, is at hand."" 
We moved on ; the Pewees rose from under tlie bridge in numbers ; I 
pointed to the spot and won the wager. 

This rule of observation I have almost always found to work, as arith- 
meticians say, both ways. Thus the nature of the woods or place in 
which the observer may be, whether high or low, moist or dry, sloping 
north or south, with whatever kind of vegetation, tall trees of particular 
species, or low shrubs, will generally disclose the nature of their inhabi- 
tants. 

The flight of the Pewee Flycatcher is performed by a fluttering light 
motion, frequently interrupted by sailings. It is slow when the bird is 
proceeding to some distance, rather rapid when in pursuit of prey. It 
often mounts perpendicularly from its perch after an insect, and returns to 
some dry twig, from which it can see around to a considerable distance. 
It then swallows the insect whole, unless it happen to be large. It will 
at times pursue an insect to a considerable distance, and seldom without 
success. It alights with great firmness, immediately erects itself in the 
manner of hawks, glances all around, shakes its wings with a tremulous 
motion, and vibrates its tail upwards as if by a spring. Its tufty crest is 
generally erected, and its whole appearance is neat, if not elegant. The 
Pewee has its particular stands, from which it seldom rambles far. The 
top of a fence stake near the road is often selected by it, from which it 
sweeps off in all directions, returning at intervals, and thus remaining the 
greater part of the morning and evening. The corner of the roof of the 
barn suits it equally well, and if the weather requires it, it may be seen 
perched on the highest dead twig of a tall tree. During the heat of the 
day it reposes in the shade of the woods. In the autumn it will choose 
the stalk of the mullein for its stand, and sometimes the projecting angle 
of a rock jutting over a stream. It now and then alights on the ground 
for an instant, but this happens principally during winter, or while en- 
gaged during spring in collecting the materials of which its nest is com- 
posed, in our Southern States, where many spend their time at this sea- 
son. 

I have found this species abundant in the Floridas in winter, in full 
song, and as lively as ever, also in Louisiana and the Carolinas, parti- 
cularly in the cotton fields. None, however, to my knowledge, breed 



PEWEE FLYCATCHER. 12^ 

south of Charlestown in South Carolina, and very few in the lower parts 
of that State. They leave Louisiana in February, and return to it in 
October. Occasionally during winter they feed on berries of different 
kinds, and are quite expert at discovering the insects impaled on thorns 
by the I>oggerhead Shrike, and which they devour with avidity. I met 
with a few of these birds on the Magdeleine Islands, on the coast of Lab- 
rador, and in Newfoundland. 

The nest of this species bears some resemblance to that of the Barn 
Swallow, the outside consisting of mud, with which are firmly impacted 
grasses or mosses of various kinds deposited in regular strata. It is Uned 
with delicate fibrous roots, or shreds of vine bark, wool, horse-hair, and 
sometimes a few feathers. The greatest diameter across the open mouth 
is from five to six inches, and the depth from four to five. Both birds 
work alternately, bringing pellets of mud or damp earth, mixed with moss, 
the latter of which is mostly disposed on the outer parts, and in some in- 
stances the whole exterior looks as if entirely formed of it. The fabric is 
firmly attached to a rock, or a wall, 'the rafter of a house, &c. In the 
barrens of Kentucky I have found the nests fixed to the side of those 
curious places called sink-holes, and as much as twenty feet below the sur- 
face of the ground. I have observed that when the Pewees return in 
spring, they strengthen their tenement by adding to the external parts 
attached to the rock, as if to prevent it from falling, which after all 
it sometimes does when several years old. Instances of their taking 
possession of the nest of the Republican Swallow ( Hirundo Julva) have 
been observed in the State of Maine. The eggs are from four to six, 
rather elongated, pure white, generally with a few reddish spots near the 
larger end. 

In Virginia, and probably as far as New York, they not unfre- 
quently raise two broods, sometimes three, in a season. My learned 
friend. Professor Nuttall, of Cambridge College, Massachusetts, thinks 
that the Pewee seldom raises more than one brood in the year in that 
State. 

This species ejects the hard particles of the wings, legs, abdomen, and 
other parts of insects, in small pellets, in the manner of owls, goatsuckers 
and swallows. 



130 PEWEE FLYCATCHER. 

MusciCAPA rrscA, Ch. Bonaparte's Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 68. 
Pewit flycatcher, Muscicapa nunciola, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 78. 
PL 13. Fig. 4 Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 278. 

Adult Male. Plate CXX. Fig. 1. 

Bill rather long, broad and depressed at the base, compressed towards 
the tip, acute ; upper mandible with the dorsal line slightly arched, the 
sides convex, the edges sharp, the tip dechnate ; lower mandible straight, 
the back convex, the edges sharp. The general proportions are rather 
slender, the eyes large. Feet short, rather slender ; tarsus shorter than 
the middle toe, compressed anteriorly scutellate, sharp behind ; toes 
slender, free ; claws small, weak, sUghtly arched, acute. 

Plumage blended, soft, glossy ; feathers of the head elongated and 
erectile. Basirostral bristles long. Wings of ordinary length, the third 
and fourth quills longest. Tail rather long, emarginate. 

Bill and feet black. Iris brown. The general colour of the plumage 
is dull olive green, darker on the head ; the quills and tail dusky, the 
larger coverts and inner secondaries edged with pale brown ; the outer 
tail feathers whitish on their outer edge towards the base. The lower 
parts in general are brownish white, the sides dusky. 

Length 7 inches, extent of wings 9^ ; bill along the ridge j\, along 
the edge i§ ; tarsus f . 

Adult Female. Plate CXX. Fig. 2. 

The Female resembles the Male, being only a little lighter on the 
sides of the neck. 



The Cotton Plant. 



GossYPiuM hehbaceum, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. ii. p. 462 — Monadelphia Poiy- 
ANDRiA, Linn. Malvaceae, Juss. 

See vol. i. p. 359. 



( 131 ) 



THE SQUATTERS OF THE MISSISSIPPI. 

Although every European traveller who has ghded clown the Mis- 
sissippi, at the rate of ten miles an hour, has told his tale of the Squatters, 
yet none has given any other account of them than that they are " a sal- 
low, sickly-looking sort of miserable beings," Hving in swamps, and sub- 
sisting on pig-nuts, Indian corn, and bear's flesh. It is obvious, however, 
that none but a person acquainted with their history, manners, and con- 
dition, can give any real information respecting them. 

The individuals who become squatters, choose that sort of life of their 
own free will. They mostly remove from other parts of the United 
States, after finding that land has become too high in price, and they are 
persons who, having a family of strong and hardy children, are anxious 
to enable them to provide for themselves. They have heard from good 
authorities, that the country extending along the great streams of the 
West, is of all parts of the Union the richest in its soil, the growth of its 
timber, and the abundance of its game ; that, besides, the Mississippi is 
the great road to and from all the markets in the world ; and that every 
vessel borne by its waters, affords to settlers some chance of selling their 
commodities, or of exchanging them for others. To these recommenda- 
tions is added another, of even greater weight with persons of the above 
denomination, namely, the prospect of being able to settle on land, and 
perhaps to hold it for a number of years, without purchase, rent or tax 
of any kind. How many thousands of individuals in all parts of the 
globe would gladly try their fortune with such prospects, I leave to you, 
reader, to determine. 

As I am not disposed too highly to colour the picture which I am 
about to submit to your inspection, instead of pitching on individuals 
who have removed from our eastern boundaries, and of whom certainly 
there are a good number, I shall introduce to you the members of a family 
from Virginia, first giving you an idea of their condition in that country, 
previous to their migration to the west. The land which they and their 
ancestors have possessed for a hundred years, having been constantly 
forced to produce crops of one kind or other, is now completely worn out. 
It exhibits only a superficial layer of red clay, cut up by deep ravines, 
through which much of the soil has been conveyed to some more fortunate 
neighbour, residing in a yet rich and beautiful valley. Their strenuous 

i2 



132 SQUATTERS OF THE MISSISSIPPI. 

efforts to render it productive have failed. They dispose of every thing 
too cumbrous or expensive for them to remove, retaining only a few 
horses, a servant or two, and such implements of husbandry and other 
articles as may be necessary on their journey, or useful when they arrive 
at the spot of their choice. 

I think I see them at this moment harnessing their horses, and at- 
taching them to their waggons, which are already filled with bedding, 
provisions, and the younger children, while on their outside are fastened 
spinning-wheels and looms, and a bucket filled with tar and tallow swings 
between the hind wheels. Several axes are secured to the bolster, and the 
feeding trough of the horses contains pots, kettles, and pans. The ser- 
vant, now become a driver, rides the near saddled horse, the wife is mount- 
ed on another, the worthy husband shoulders his gun, and his sons, clad 
in plain substantial homespun, drive the cattle a-head, and lead the pro- 
cession, followed by the hounds and other dogs. Their day's journey is 
short and not agreeable : — the cattle, stubborn or wild, frequently leave 
the road for the woods, giving the travellers much trouble ; the harness 
of the horses here and there gives way, and needs immediate repair ; a 
basket, which has accidentally dropped, must be gone after, for nothing 
that they have can be spared ; the roads are bad, and now and then all 
hands are called to push on the waggon, or prevent it from upsetting. 
Yet by sun-set they have proceeded perhaps twenty miles. Rather fa- 
tigued, all assemble round the fire, which has been lighted, supper is pre- 
pared, and a camp being erected, there they pass the night. 

Days and weeks, nay months, of unremitting toil, pass before they 
gain the end of their journey. They have crossed both the Carolinas, 
Georgia, and Alabama. They have been travelling from the begin- 
ning of May to that of September, and with heavy hearts they traverse the 
State of Mississippi. But now, arrived on the banks of the broad stream, 
they gaze in amazement on the dark deep woods around them. Boats of 
various kinds they see gliding downwards with the current, while others 
slowly ascend against it. A few inquiries are made at the nearest dwel- 
ling, and, assisted by the inhabitants with their boats and canoes, they at 
once cross the Mississippi, and select their place of habitation. 

The exhalations arising from the swamps and morasses around them, 
have a powerful effect on these new settlers, but all are intent on prepar- 
ing for the winter. A small patch of ground is cleared by the axe and 
the fire, a temporary cabin is erected, to each of the cattle is attached a 



SQUATTERS OF THE MISSISSIPPI. 133 

jingling-bell before it is let loose into the neighbouring canebrake, and the 
horses remain about the house, where they find sufficient food at that sea- 
son. The first trading boat that stops at their landing, enables them 
to provide themselves with some flour, fish-hooks, and ammunition, as 
well as other commodities. The looms are mounted, the spinning-wheels 
soon furnish some yarn, and in a few weeks the family throw off their 
ragged clothes, and array themselves in suits adapted to the climate. The 
father and sons meanwhile have sown turnips and other vegetables ; and 
from some Kentucky flat boat, a supply of live poultry has been procured. 

October tinges the leaves of the forest, the morning dews are heavy, 
the days hot, the nights chill, and the unacclimated family in a few days 
are attacked with ague. The lingering disease almost prostrates their 
whole faculties, and one seeing them at such a period might well call them 
sallow and sickly. Fortunately the unhealthy season soon passes over, 
and the hoarfrosts make their appearance. Gradually each individual 
recovers strength. The largest ash trees are felled ; their trunks are cut, 
split, and corded in front of the building ; a large fire is lighted under 
night on the edge of the water, and soon a steamer calls to purchase the 
wood, and thus add to their comforts during the winter. 

This first fruit of their industry imparts new courage to them ; their 
exertions multiply, and when spring returns, the place has a cheerful look. 
Venison, bearVflesh, wild turkeys, ducks, and geese, with now and then 
some fish, have served to keep up their strength, and now their enlarged 
field is planted with corn, potatoes, and pumpkins. Their stock of cattle, 
too, has augmented; the steamer, which now stops there as if by preference, 
buys a calf or a pig, together with the whole of their wood. Their store 
of provisions is renewed, and brighter rays of hope enliven their spirits. 

Who is he of the settlers on the Mississippi that cannot realise some 
profit ? Truly none who is industrious. When the autumnal months 
return, all are better prepared to encounter the ague, which then prevails. 
Substantial food, suitable clothing, and abundant firing, repel its attacks ; 
and before another twelvemonth has elapsed, the family is naturalized. 

The sons have by this time discovered a swamp covered with ex- 
cellent timber, and as they have seen many great rafts of saw logs, 
bound for the mills of New Orleans, floating past their dwelling, they re- 
solve to try the success of a little enterprise. Their industry and pru- 
dence have already enhanced their credit. A few cross-saws are pur- 
chased, and some broad-wheeled " carry-logs" are made by themselves. 



134 SQUATTERS OF THE IVIISSISSIPPI. 

Log after log is hauled to the bank of the river, and in a short time their 
first raft is made on the shore, and loaded with cord-wood. When the 
next freshet sets it afloat, it is secured by long grape-vines or cables, un- 
til the proper time being arrived, the husband and sons embark on it, and 
float down the mighty stream. 

After encountering many difficulties, they arrive in safety at New 
Orleans where they dispose of their stock, the money obtained for which 
may be said to be all profit, supply themselves with such articles as may 
add to their convenience or comfort, and with light hearts, procure a pas- 
sage on the upper deck of a steamer, at a very cheap rate, on account 
of the benefit of their labour in taking in wood or otherwise. 

And now the vessel approaches their home. See the joyous mother 
and daughters as they stand on the bank ! A store of vegetables lies 
around them, a large tub of fresh milk is at their feet, and in their hands 
are plates filled with rolls of butter. As the steamer stops, three broad 
straw-hats are waved from its upper deck ; and soon, husband and wife, 
brothers and sisters, are in each other's embrace. The boat carries off" the 
provisions, for which value has been left, and as the captain issues his or- 
ders for putting on the steam, the happy family enter their humble dwell- 
ing. The husband gives his bag of dollars to the wife, while the sons 
present some token of afffection to their sisters. Surely, at such a moment, 
the Squatters are richly repaid for all their labours. 

Every successive year has increased their savings. They now possess 
a large stock of horses, cows, and hogs, with abundance of provisions, 
and domestic comfort of every kind. The daughters have been married 
to the sons of neighbouring Squatters, and have gained sisters to them- 
selves by the marriage of their brothers. The government secures to the 
family the lands, on which, twenty years before, they settled in poverty 
and sickness. Larger buildings are erected on piles, secure from the in- 
undations ; where a single cabin once stood, a neat village is now to be 
seen ; warehouses, stores, and work-shops increase the importance of the 
place. The Squatters live respected, and in due time die regretted, by 
all who knew them. 

Thus are the vast frontiers of our country peopled, and thus does culti- 
vation , year after year, extend over the western wilds. Time will no doubt 
be, when the great valley of the Mississippi, still covered with primeval 
forests, interspersed with swamps, will smile with corn-fields and orchards, 
while crowded cities will rise at intervals along its banks, and enlightened 
nations will rejoice in the bounties of Providence. 



( 135 ) 

THE SNOWY OWL. 

Strjx nyctea. 

PLATE CXXI. Male and Female. 

This beautiful bird is merely a winter visitor of the United States, 
where it is seldom seen before the month of November, and whence it 
retires as early as the beginning of February. It wanders at times along 
the sea coast, as far as Georgia. I have occasionally seen it in the lower 
parts of Kentucky, and in the State of Ohio. It is more frequently met 
with in Pennsylvania and the Jerseys ; but in Massachusetts and Maine 
it is far more abundant than in any other parts of the Union. 

The Snowy Owl hunts during the day, as well as in the dusk. Its 
flight is firm and protracted, although smooth and noiseless. It passes 
swiftly over its hunting ground, seizes its prey by instantaneously fal- 
ling on it, and generally devours it on the spot. When the objects of 
its pursuit are on wing, such as ducks, grouse, or pigeons, it gains up- 
on them by urging its speed, and strikes them somewhat in the manner 
of the Peregrine Falcon. It is fond of the neighbourhood of rivers 
and small streams, having in their course cataracts or shallow rapids, 
on the borders of which it seizes on fishes, in the manner of our wild 
cat. It also watches the traps set for musk-rats, and devours the ani- 
mals caught in them. Its usual food, while it remains with us, consists 
of hares, squirrels, rats, and fishes, portions of all of which I have found 
in its stomach. In several fine specimens which I examined immediately 
after being killed, I found the stomach to be extremely thin, soft, and 
capable of great extension. In one of them I found the whole of a large 
house-rat, in pieces of considerable size, the head and the tail almost 
entire. This bird was very fat, and its intestines, which were thin, and 
so small as not to exceed a fourth of an inch in diameter, measured 4^ feet 
in length. 

When skinned, the body of the Snowy Owl appears at first sight com- 
pact and very muscular, for the breast is large, as are the thighs and legs, 
these parts being covered with much flesh of a fine and delicate appearance, 
very much resembling that'of a chicken, and not indelicate eating, but the 
thorax is very narrow for so large a bird. The keel of the breast-bone is 



136 SNOWY OWL. 

fully an inch deep at its junction with the fourchette, which is wide. 
The heart and liver are large ; the cesophagus is extremely wide, enabling 
the bird to swallow very large portions of its food at once. The skin 
may be drawn over the head without any difficulty, and from the body 
with ease. The male weighs 4 lb, the female 4| lb. avoirdupois. 

The observations which I have made induce me to believe that the 
pure and rich light-yellowish whiteness of this species belongs to both 
sexes after a certain age. I have shot specimens which were, as I thought, 
so young as to be nearly of a uniform light-brown tint, and which puzzled 
me for several years, as I had at first conceived them to be of a different 
species. This, indeed, led me to think that, when young, these birds are 
brown. Others were more or less marked with broad transverse lines of 
deep brown or black ; but I have seen specimens of both sexes perfectly 
free from spots, excepting on the occiput, where I have never missed 
them. 

Some twenty years passed; and, during that time, scarcely was there 
a winter which did not bring several of these hardy natives of the north 
to the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville. At the break of day, one morn- 
ing, when I lay hidden in a pile of floated logs, at the Falls of the Ohio, 
waiting for a shot at some wild geese, I had an opportunity of seeing this 
Owl secure fish in the following manner : — While watching for their 
prey on the borders of the " pots," they invariably lay flat on the rock, 
with the body placed lengthwise along the border of the hole, the head also 
laid down, but turned towards the water. One might have supposed the 
bird sound asleep, as it would remain in the same position until a good 
opportunity of securing a fish occurred, which I believe was never missed ; 
for, as the latter unwittingly rose to the surface, near the edge, that instant 
the Owl thrust out the foot next the water, and, with the quickness of 
lightning, seized it, and drew it out. The Owl then removed to the dis- 
tance of a few yards, devoured its prey, and returned to the same hole ; or, 
if it had not perceived any more fish, flew only a few yards over the many 
pots there, marked a likely one, and alighted at a little distance from it. It 
then squatted, moved slowly towards the edge, and lay as before watch- 
ing for an opportunity. Whenever a fish of any size was hooked, as I 
may say, the Owl struck the other foot also into it, and flew off with it 
to a considerable distance. In two instances of this kind, I saw the bird 
carry its prey across the Western or Indiana Shute, into the woods, as if 
to be quite out of harm's way. I never heard it utter a single note on 



SNOWY OWL. 137 

such occasions, even when two birds joined in the repast, which was fre- 
quently the case, when the fish that had been caught was of a large size. 
At sun-rise, or shortly after, the Owls flew to the woods, and I did not 
see them until the next morning, when, after witnessing the same feats, I 
watched an opportunity, and killed both at one shot. 

An old hunter, now residing in Maine, told me that one winter he lost 
so many musk-rats by the owls, that he resolved to destroy them. To 
effect this, without loss of ammunition, a great object to him, he placed 
musk-rats caught in the traps usually employed for the purpose, in a pro- 
minent spot, and in the centre of a larger trap. He said he seldom failed, 
and in this manner considerably " thinned the thieves," before the season 
was over. He found, however, more of the Great Grey Owl, Strix cine- 
rea, than of the Snowy Owl. The latter he thought was much more cun- 
ning than the former. 

In the course of a winter spent at Boston, I had some superb speci- 
mens of the Snowy Owl brought to me, one of which, a male, was alive, 
having only been touched in the wing. He stood upright, keeping his 
feathers close, but would not suffer me to approach him. His fine eyes 
watched every movement I made, and if I pretended to walk round him, 
the instant his head had turned as far as he could still see me, he would 
open his wings, and with large hops get to a corner of the room, when he 
would turn towards me, and again watch my approach. This bird had been 
procured on one of the sea-islands off Boston, by a gunner in my employ, 
who, after following it from one rock to another, with difficulty wounded 
it. In the course of the same winter, I saw one sailing high over the bay 
along with a number of gulls, which appeared to dislike his company, and 
chased it at a respectful distance, the owl seeming to pay no regard to 
them. 

Several individuals have been procured near Charleston, in South 
Carolina, one on James' Island, another, now in the Charleston Museum, 
on Clarkson's plantation. A fine one was shot at Columbia, the seat of 
government for the State of that name, from the chimney of one of the 
largest houses in that town, and was beautifully preserved by Professor 
Gibbes of the Columbia College. I once met with one while walking 
with a friend near Louisville in Kentucky, in the middle of the day. It 
was perched on a broken stump of a tree in the centre of a large field ; 
and, on seeing us, flew off, sailed round the field, and alighted again on 
the same spot. It evinced much impatience and apprehension, opening 



138 SNOWY OWL. 

its wings several times as if intending to fly off'; but, with some care, it 
was approached and shot. It proved to be a fine old female, the plumage 
of which was almost pure white. I have heard of individuals having 
been seen as far down the Mississippi as the town of Memphis. Some 
Indians assured me that they had shot one at the mouth of the Red 
River ; and, while on the Arkansas River, I was frequently told of a 
large White Owl that had been seen there during winter. 

So much has been said to me of its breeding in the northern parts of 
the State of Maine, that this may possibly be correct. In Nova Scotia 
they are abundant at the approach of winter; and Professor Mac Culloch, 
of the University of Pictou, shewed me several beautiful specimens in his 
fine collection of North American Birds. Of its place and mode of 
breeding I know nothing ; for, although every person to whom I spoke 
of this bird while in Labrador knew it, my party saw none there ; and in 
Newfoundland we were equally unsuccessful in our search. 



Sims. NYCTEA, Linn. Sj'st. Nat. vol. i. p. 132 La^/i. Index Ornith. vol. i. p. 57 — 

Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 36. — Swains, and Richards, 
Fauna Bor. Americ. vol. i. p. 88. 

Snowy Owl, Strix nyctea, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iv. p. 53. pi. 32. fig. I. — Nul. 
tall, Manual, vol. i. p. 116. 

Adult Male. Plate CXXI. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, compressed, curved, acute, with a small cere at the base ; 
upper mandible with its dorsal outline curved from the base, the edges 
sharp, the point trigonal, very acute, deflected ; lower mandible with the 
edges sharp and inflected, the tip obtuse. Nostrils roundish, in the fore 
part of the cere, concealed. J)y the recumbent bristles. Head very large, 
although proportionally smaller than in most other owls, as are the eyes and 
external ears. Body short. Legs of ordinary length ; tarsus feathered, 
as are the toes, on which, however, are two scutella ; claws curved, slender, 
rounded, extremely sharp. 

The plumage is soft but compact above, blended beneath, and in ge- 
neral remarkable for its bulk and elasticity. The feet are thickly clothed 
with long shaggy feathers, and the eyes are surrounded by circles of 
bristly feathers with disunited barbs. Wings ample, the third quill 
lono-est; the secondaries very broad and rounded. Tail of moderate 
length, slightly rounded, of twelve very broad rounded feathers. 



SNOWY OWL. 139 

Bill and claws black. Ii-is bright yellow. The general colour of the 
plumage is white, the face, forehead, nape, fore neck, anterior part of the 
breast, abdomen, and rump, with the upper and lower tail-coverts, un- 
spotted ; the upper part of the head and the back marked with lunated um- 
ber brown spots, and the breast, sides, and thigh-coverts, with transverse 
curved lines of the same. Wing-coverts, wings, and tail, barred with 
transverse oblong dark-brown spots. 

Length 21 inches, extent of wings 53 ; bill along the ridge 1^%, along 
the edge 2 ; tarsus 1-^^, middle toe with the claw 2^. 

Adult Female. Plate CXXI. Fig. 2. 

The female is similar in external appearance, but much larger. 

Length 26 inches, extent of wings 65. 

Individuals of either sex vary according to age, the spots gradually 
disappearing the older the birds become, so that not unfrequently speci- 
mens of a uniform white may be found. 



(140 ) 

THE BLUE GROSBEAK. 

Fringilla ccerulej, Bonap. 

PLATE CXXII. Male, Female, and Young. 

While the Cardinal Grosbeak enlivens the neighbourhood of our 
southern cities and villages, and frequents the lawn of the planter's habi- 
tation, the present species, shy and bashful, retires to the borders of the 
almost stagnant waters used as reservoirs for the purpose of irrigating the 
rice plantations. There, where the alligator, basking sluggishly on the 
miry pool, bellows forth its fearful cries, or in silence watches the timid 
deer, as it approaches to immerse its body in order to free it from the at- 
tacks of myriads of tormenting insects ; where the watchful Heron stands 
erect, silent, and ready to strike its slippery prey, or leisurely and grace- 
fully steps along the muddy margins ; where baneful miasmata fill the 
sultry air, now imbued with a virus almost sufficient to prostrate all other 
beino-s save those whose nature enables them to remain in those damps ; — 
there you meet with the Ccerulean Grosbeak, timidly skipping from bush 
to bush, or over and amid the luxuriant rice, watchful even of the move- 
ments of the slave employed in cultivating the fertile soil. If the place 
is silent and the weather calm, this cautious bird gradually ascends some 
high tree, from the top of which it pours forth its melting melodies, the 
female sitting the while on her eggs in her grassy nest, in some low shel- 
tered bush hard by. Her mate now and then relieves her from her task, 
provides her with food while she sits, and again lulls her to repose by his 
sono-. One brood and again another are hatched, reared, and led forth to 
find for themselves the food so abundantly spread around them. Humbly 
and inconspicuously clad as the young birds are, most of them escape the 
talon of the watchful Hawk, or the fire of the mischief-loving gunner. 
The parents soon join them, and no sooner is their favourite rice gathered, 
than the whole fly off, and gradually wend their way to warmer chmes. 

Althouo-h this sweet songster spends the spring and summer in our 
Southern States, it must be considered as a rather scarce bird there. It 
seldom enters deep woods, but prefers such low grounds as I have de- 
scribed above, or the large and level abandoned fields covered with rank 
grasses and patches of low bushes. It arrives in the lower parts of Lou- 



BLUE GROSBEAK. l4l 

isiana about the middle of March, the males appearing eight or ten days 
before the females, in small parties of five or six, when their common call- 
note, a single chuck, is frequently uttered to attract the females. They 
proceed through Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas, in all which dis- 
tricts they breed. Beyond this, however, few are to be met with. I 
never observed this species on the Mississippi farther up than the neigh- 
bourhood of Natchez ; nor is it ever seen in Kentucky, or in any other 
part of the western country. Along the Atlantic coast, it is rarely found 
beyond the State of New Jersey. 

It is remarkable that, although this bird seldom places its nest more 
than a few feet from the ground, it is fond of ascending to the tops of the 
tallest detached trees, to sing, during the spring and summer, rarely per- 
forming that pleasant duty among the low bushes which it usually in- 
habits. 

One or two pairs of these birds generally take possession of a field, for 
the purpose of breeding, making choice of one little frequented by other 
birds. There, in the most secluded part, the Blue Grosbeak builds its 
nest, placing it in the upright fork of some small slender bush, or attach- 
ing it to the tall blades of a tuft of rank grass. It is composed of fine 
dried grasses, which are more carefully arranged towards the interior, and 
is lined with a few delicate fibrous roots, dried moss, or horse-hair. There 
are seldom more than four eggs, but two broods are raised in the season. 
When the first broods leave their parents, the young birds assemble in 
small flocks composed of a few families, and resort mostly to the rice 
fields, feeding on the grain when yet in its milky state, and until it is ga- 
thered. The parents join them with their second brood, and shortly af- 
ter, or about the first days of September, they all depart southward. 

In the summer of 1829, I accidentally met with a nest of these birds 
in the State of New Jersey, a few miles only from Philadelphia. I Avas 
attracted towards it by the cries of the birds, both of which were perched 
on a tall hickory tree, standing on a piece of barren ground, near a swamp 
well known on account of the visits it receives during the Woodcock sea- 
son. I looked for the nest for some time in vain. The parents left the 
tree, flew about as if much alarmed and distressed, and at last alighted 
on the ground not far from me. Following them gradually, I saw them 
go up to one of their young, and on reaching the place, saw the nest in a 
low bush of the dogwood. In it were two young ones, dead, and covered 
with large insects. Presently I heard the chirp of a fourth, which I found 



142 BLUE GROSBEAK. 

within a few yards of the place. Concluding that the insects were the 
cause of all the distress I saw, I destroyed them, and replaced the young 
birds in the nest, where I left them. Visiting them repeatedly after- 
wards, I saw them grow apace, until at length they flew off, when I cut 
the twig, and drew it with the nest, as you now see it in the Plate. 

My friend Bachman has favoured me with the following remarks, 
which I have pleasure in recommeixling to you. " Being desirous of 
procuring and raising the young of this bird, I made considerable exer- 
tions to find a nest. Having found four in the course of one spring, I 
observed that two of them had been robbed of their eggs before incuba^ 
tion commenced. The young of the third were destroyed by a snake, 
which I found in the act, and shot from the bush. Those of the fourth 
escaped until nearly fledged, when going towards them one morning to 
carry them away, and being within twenty steps of them, I heard them 
chirping loudly, as if anxious to be fed, when I Sftw a black snake a few 
yards before me, with its head raised high above ground, as if listening 
to their cries. It went in a straight line to the bush, as if following the 
sound, and before I came up to the place, it had swallowed one, and was 
trying to escape Avith another in its mouth. I carried the two remaining 
home, raised them with great ease, and kept them in an aviary for two 
years. They proved to be females. On taking them out of the nest, I 
had with me a trap cage, in which I tried to catch the old ones. They 
were both very shy, suspicious, and so cautious, that the female alone 
was inclined to enter it, and was secured. When left with her young, 
she noticed them not, and although I kept her for several years, she never 
attempted to build a nest. A full-plumaged male purchased in the mar- 
ket, and put in the aviary, mated on the following spring with one of 
the young females, took possession of the nest of a Cardinal Grosbeak, 
which they drove off, carefully repaired it, rendered it neat and comfort- 
able, and laid two eggs, which unfortunately were destroyed by the rats. 
In the aviary these birds are generally silent, and during rain appeared 
delighted. They clung to the bars, driving all other birds away, as if 
determined to enjoy the whole pleasure themselves." 

The food of this species consists principally of different sorts of seeds. 
They are fond of those of rice and grass of all kinds during spring and 
summer. Towards autumn, they now and then throw themselves into 
the fields of Guinea corn, the seeds of which they easily break with their 
strong bills. I never saw them eat fruits or berries. 



BLUE GROSBEAK. 143 

The song of the Blue Grosbeak is prolonged or rapidly renewed, and 
resembles that of the Rice Bird (Fringilla oryzivora), but it seldom 
sings after the breeding season. Its flight is prolonged, undulating, and 
rapid, resembling that of the Rose-breasted species. They hop on the 
ground, where they pick up gravel to mix with their food, and frequently 
bathe. They are confined to the maritime districts, seldom going more 
than forty or fifty miles inland. 

Individuals are now and then exposed for sale in the markets of the 
southern cities, where, on account of the difficulty experienced in catch- 
ing them, they sell for about a dollar the pair. 

The young, which has heretofore been represented as the female, does 
not attain its full plumage until the third year, and in the mean time varies 
but little from the one represented in the plate. In the course of the se- 
cond autumn, it shews spots of blue irregularly placed on its back, and 
the following spring acquires its full beauty. The male and female re- 
presented in the same plate are both adult, and in their perfect spring 
plumage. They retain their colours unimpaired during winter, while in 
confinement, which is therefore probably the case in the countries to which 
they resort at that season. 



Fringilla ccerulea, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 114, 

— Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 529. 

LoxiA CCERULEA, Linn, Sjst. Nat. vol. i. p. 306 Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 374. 

Blue Grosebeak, Loxia cuerulea, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 78. PI. 24. 

fig. 6. 

Adult Male. Plate CXXII. Fig. 1. 

Bill rather short, robust, bulging a little at the base, conical, acute ; 
upper mandible with its dorsal outline very slightly convex, as is the 
lower, both rounded on the sides, the edges acute and straight to near the 
base, where they are a little deflected. Nostrils basal, roundish, open, par- 
tially concealed by the feathers. Head rather large, neck short, body 
robust. Legs of moderate size ; tarsus of the same length as the middle 
toe, covered anteriorly with a few scutella, the upper long, posteriorly 
sharp edged ; toes scutellate above, free, the lateral ones nearly equal ; 
claws slender, arched, compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft, rather compact above, blended beneath. Wings of 



144 BLUE GROSBEAK. 

moderate length, third and fourth primaries longest. Tail rather long, 
emarginate. 

Bill pale greyish-blue beneath and on the edges of the upper mandi- 
ble, the rest of which is dusky. Iris brown. Feet dusky. The general 
colour of the plumage is deep purplish-blue. Lore, chin, and a line round 
the base of the mandibles, black. Quills and larger coverts brownish- 
black, the primaries edged with blue, the secondary quills, secondary co- 
verts and first row of smaller coverts light reddish-brown. Tail feathers 
brownish-black, edged with blue, as are the under tail coverts. 

Length 7^ inches, extent of wings 11 ; bill along the ridge /j, along 
the edge \^; tarsus 1. 

Adult Female. Plate CXXII. Fig. 2. 

Bill as in the male, but paler. Feet brown. Head and hind part 
of the back, as in the male ; the back, sides of the neck, and forepart of 
the breast greyish-brown, tinged with dull blue. The rest of the under 
parts yellowish-grey. The wings are nearly as in the male, but hghter, 
and the black at the base of the bill is wanting. The dimensions are 
somewhat less than those of the male. 

Young Bird fully fledged. Plate CXXII. Fig. 3. 

Bill yellowish-grey, dusky above. Feet brown. The general colour 
is light greenish-brown, the upper part of the head, the back, smaller 
wing coverts and upper tail coverts tinged with dusky. The wings and 
tail are as in the female. 



The Dog Wood. 



CoRVUs FLORIDA, TVUld. Sp. PI. vol. i. p. 661. Pursh, Flor. Amer. voL i. p. 108. 
Tetrandria Monogynia, Lin?*. Capbifolia, Ju^s. 

See vol. i. pages 45. and 376. 



( 145 ) 

THE BLACK AND YELLOW WARBLER. 

Sylvia maculosa, Lath. 

PLATE CXXIII. Male and Female. 

Few of our Warblers have a more varied plumage, or are more ani- 
mated in their motions, than this beautiful little bird. In Louisiana it is 
met with now and then as early as the middle of March, but there its 
occurrence appears to be merely accidental, as is indeed the case in Ken- 
tucky, Ohio, or any portion of the Middle States, through which a few 
are to be seen on their passage to more northern regions. In autumn I 
have seen them in great numbers near the Pocano Mountains, accompa- 
nied by their young, proceeding southward, as I thought, along the di- 
rection of that range. While in Maine, on my way to Labrador, in the 
month of May, I observed them to be very abundant by the roads, in 
the fields, the low woods, and even the orchards and gardens. In fact, 
so numerous were those interesting birds, that you might have fancied that 
an army of them had assembled to take possession of the country. Scarce 
a leaf was yet expanded, large icicles hung along the rocky shores, and I 
could not but feel surprised at the hardihood of the little adventurers. 
At night they roosted in numbers in the small evergreen trees, and by 
day they were to be seen flitting about wherever the sun shone. If the 
morning was cold, you might catch them with the hand, and several spe- 
cimens, procured in that manner by children, were brought to me. This 
happened in the neighbourhood of Eastport. By the end of a fortnight, 
the greater part of them had pushed farther north. I met them where- 
ever I landed in the neighbouring islands, and along the shores of the 
Bay of Fundy, as well as in the Straits of Cansso, the Magdeleihe Isles, 
and Labrador. I have no doubt that the extraordinary congregation 
which I saw near Eastport, was caused by the foresight of the tiny tra- 
vellers, aware that they could not at so early a period proceed farther 
without imminent danger. Many of these birds, however, remain and 
breed in the State of Maine, and in the British Provinces. 

The Black and Yellow Warbler has a clear and sweetly modulated 
song, surpassing that of many other birds of its tribe. It sings in the in- 
terior of the low woods, to which it seems at all times to give a decided 
VOL. II. „■ 



146 BLACK AND YELLOW WARBLER. 

preference. Its motions are extremely graceful ; its tail is constantly 
spread as it flits along the branches, or even while it is on the ground, to 
which it frequently betakes itself, and its wings are usually held in a droop- 
ing position, so as to display all the beauty of its plumage. It feeds on in- 
sects and their larvae. Now and then it may be seen balancing itself in 
the air, opposite a cluster of leaves, among which it darts to secure its 
prey, and not unfrequently it emerges a few feet from among the foliage 
of a tree or bush, to seize a flvittering insect. In catching its prey, it 
does not produce the clicking sound, caused by the sudden meeting of the 
mandibles, so remarkable in some other species. 

The nest, which is placed deep among the branches of low fir trees, is 
supported by horizontal twigs, and is constructed of moss and lichens, 
lined with fibrous roots, and a great quantity of feathers. In one, found 
in Labrador, in the beginning of July, there were five small eggs, rather 
more elongated than is usual in the genus. They were white, sprinkled 
with reddish dots near the larger end. The female, on being disturbed, 
spread out her wings and tail, fluttered along the branches in the agony 
of despair, lingered trembling about the spot, and returned to the nest 
while we were only a few yards distant from it. 

During the first days of August, I saw many of the young following 
their parents, and perceived that some were already on their way south- 
ward. While in the Bay of St George, Newfoundland, I again saw these 
birds daily, although they became scarcer the longer we remained in the 
country. I also traced their retrograde flight into Nova Scotia, but on 
landing in the United States lost sight of them. 

The young of this species is represented in Plate L., and described at 
page 260 of the first volume of the present work. 

Sylvia maculosa, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 536 — Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds 

of the United States, p. 78. 
Black, and, Yellow Wakbleh, Sylvia magnolia, Wils. Americ. Ornith. vol. iii. 

p. 63. PI. 23. Male. Nuttall, Manual, vol. i. p. 370. 

Adult Male. Plate CXXIII. Fig. 1. 

BiU shortish, nearly straight, subulato-conical, acute, nearly as deep 
as broad at the base, the edges acute, the gap-hne a little deflected at the 
base. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, half closed by a membrane. 
Head of ordinary size, neck short, body slender. Feet of ordinary 
length, slender ; tarsus longer than the middle toe, covered anteriorly by 



BLACK AND YELLOW WARBLER. 147 

a few long scutella ; toes scutellate above, the inner free, the hind toe of 
moderate size ; claws slender, compressed, arched, acute. 

Plumage soft, blended. Wings rather short, second and third quills 
longest, first shorter than the fourth, which is almost as long as the third. 
Tail rather long, slightly emarginate, of twelve rounded feathers. 

Bill black. Iris brownish-black. Feet dusky, the toes yellow be- 
neath. Upper part of the head ash-grey. A band from the forehead to 
the eye, passing under it, and becoming broader behind the eye, hind 
neck, anterior part of the back, and upper tail-coverts, black. A short 
white line over and behind the eye, and a speck of the same under it. 
Wing-coverts and quills deep brown, edged with light grey, the first row 
of small coverts and the secondary coverts broadly tipped with white, 
forming two bars across the wing. Tail brownish-black, the feathers, ex- 
cepting the two middle, having an oblong white mark on the inner web 
beyond the middle, forming a broad bar across the tail. The throat bright 
yellow, the rest of the lower parts of the same colour, fading behind into 
white, the middle of the neck, the breast, and sides, mai'ked with large 
oblong longitudinal spots of brownish-black. Rump greyish-yellow. 

During winter the black band crossing the cheek, passes over the hind 
neck, and joins the black of the back. 

Length 5 inches, extent of wings 7J ; bill along the ridge ^%, along 
the edge ^% ; tarsus |, middle toe ^^. 

Adidt Female. Plate CXXIII. Fig. 2. 

The Female is similar to the male, bat somewhat paler beneath. 

For the description of the Young fully fledged, see vol. i. p. 260. 



The Flowering Raspberry. 



RiTBUs ODORATUs, WUM. Sp. PI. vol. ii. p. 1085. Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. i. 
p. 348. — IcosANDRiA PoLYGVNiA, Linn. Rosacea, Juss. 

This species of rasp has the stems hispid ; the leaves three or five- 
lobed, acute ; the flowers in lateral and terminal corymbs, with divaricate 
stalks and appendiculate calyces. It is abundant in the Middle and 
Eastern, but rare in the Southern and Western Districts. It forms part 
of the rich undergrowth of our woods, and also grows in old fields with 
other species of the genus. The flowers are rose-coloured and showy, but 
destitute of odour, and the fruit is delicious and highly fragrant, from 
which circumstance the species derives its name. 

k2 



( 148 ) 
THE GREEN BLACK-CAPPED FLYCATCHER. 

MUSCJCAPA WiLSONlI. 
PLATE CXXIV. Male and Female. 

This species passes rapidly through the United States on its way to 
the Northern Districts, where it breeds and spends the summer. Wilson 
saw only a few specimens, which he met with in the lower parts of Dela- 
ware and New Jersey, and supposed it to be an inhabitant of the Southern 
States, where, however, it is never found in the summer months. It is 
not rare in the State of Maine, and becomes more abundant the farther 
north we proceed. I found it in Labrador and all the intermediate 
districts. It reaches that country early in June, and returns southward 
by the middle of August. 

It has all the habits of a true Flycatcher, feeding on small insects, 
which it catches entirely on the wing, snapping its bill with a smart click- 
ing sound. It frequents the borders of the lakes, and such streams as 
are fringed with low bushes, from which it is seen every moment sallying 
forth, pursuing its insect prey for many yards at a time, and again throw- 
ing itself into its favourite thickets. 

The nest is placed on the extremity of a small horizontal branch, 
amongst the thick foliage of dwarf firs, not more than from three to five 
feet from the grotind, and in the centre of the thickets of these trees so 
common in Labrador, The materials of which it is composed are bits 
of dry moss and delicate pine twigs, agglutinated together and to the 
branches or leaves around it, and beneath which it is suspended, with a 
lining of extremely fine and transparent fibres. , The greatest diameter 
does not exceed 3^ inches, and the depth is not more than 1|. The eggs 
are four, dull white, sprinkled with reddish and brown dots towards the 
larger end, where the markings form a circle, leaving the extremity plain. 

The parents shew much uneasiness at the approach of any intruder, 
skipping about and around among the twigs and in the air, snapping 
their bill, and uttering a plaintive note. They raise only one brood in 
the season. The young males shew their black cap as soon as they are 
fully fledged, and before their departure to the south. The head of the 



GREEN BLACK-CAPPED FLYCATCHER. 149 

young females is at first of the same tint as the back, but I could not 
ascertain if they acquire their full colour the first autumn. 

I found these birds abundant in Newfoundland, but perceived that 
they had already begun to migrate, on the 20th of August ; they were 
moving from bush to bush, and seldom flew farther than thirty or forty 
yards at a time ; yet when crossing the arms of the Gulf of St Lawrence, 
they are obliged to fly forty miles or more without alighting. The little 
Winter Wren must perform the same task, it being found in the same 
countries, to which some individuals travel from the United States. I 
observed the Green Black-capped Flycatcher in considerable numbers, in 
the northern parts of Maine, in October 1832, and concluded that the 
individuals seen must have come from a great distance. 



MUSCICAPA WiLSONII. 

Sylvia Wilsonii, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 86. 
Geeen Black-capt Flycatcher, Muscicai-a Pusilla, Wils. Amer. Ornith. 

vol iii. p. 103. pi. 26. fig. 4. 
Green Black-capt Wahbler, Nuttall, Manual, vol. i. p. 408. 

Adult Male. Plate CXXIV. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, straight, conical, depressed at the base, compressed towards 
the end, the tip acute ; upper mandible slightly convex in its dorsal line, 
the sides convex, the edges sharp ; lower mandible straight along the 
back, the sides convex. Nostrils basal, oval, half covered by the bristly 
feathers of the forehead. Head of ordinary size, neck short, body com- 
pact, rather slender. Feet of ordinary length, slender ; tarsus compress- 
ed, covered anteriorly with a few long scutella, sharp behind, longer than 
the middle toe ; toes free, scutellate above ; claws arched, slender, much 
compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft and blended, slightly glossed ; short but distinct bristles 
at the base of the upper mandible. Wings short, the second quill longest. 
Tail rather long, even, of twelve rounded feathers. 

Bill light-brown. Iris hazel. Feet flesh-coloured. Back, rump, 
and upper tail-coverts olive-green ; crown black, bordered on the fore- 
head and over the eyes with a broad band of bright yellow. Wings and 
tail dusky, the feathers margined with green, the tips of the first row of 
small coverts and of the secondary coverts pale greenish-grey. The sides 
of the neck greenish-grey, the lower parts in general bright yellow. 



150 



GREEN BLACK-CAPPED FLYCATCHER. 



Length 4^ inches, extent of wings 6| ; bill along the ridge ^'g' along 
the edge -^^ ; tarsus j%. 

Adult Female. Plate CXXIV. Fig. 2. 

The female has the colours in general somewhat paler, and is without 
the black patch on the head, it being substituted by ahght yellowish-grey 
colour. 



The Snake's Head. 

Chelone glabra, Willd. Sp. PL vol. iii. p. 225. Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. 
p. 427. DiDYNAMiA Angiospermia, Linn. ScrophulatiinjE, Juss. 

This plant grows on the banks of rivers and swamps, in the Middle 
and Southern States. It is herbaceous and perennial, with opposite lan- 
ceolate-oblong, acuminate, serrate leaves, and dense terminal spikes of 
pale red flowers, not reinarkable for beauty. 



( 131 ) 

THE BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH. 

SiTTA PUSILLJ, Lath. 

PLATE CXXV. Male and Female. 

Actively and most diligently employed is this little rover ever found 
in our pine woodlands of the Southern Districts, where it resides all the 
year, and beyond which it seldom extends, few being ever seen to the 
eastward of Maryland. Those large tracts of sandy soil that occupy the 
greater portion of the Floridas, Georgia, and the Carolinas, appear to 
suit its habits best. It is rather rare in Louisiana, and none go so far 
as Kentucky. It is the smallest species of Nuthatch as yet found in the 
United States. Its notes are several octaves above those of the White- 
bellied Nuthatch, more shrill, and at least one and a half above those of 
its northern cousin, the Red-bellied. 

Although fond of pine-trees and pine-barrens, it does not confine itself 
to these, but may not unfrequently be seen pursuing its avocations on 
lower trees and on fences, mounting, descending, turning in every imagi- 
nable position, and with a quickness of motion so much greater than that 
of most other birds as to render it extremely difficult to shoot at. It 
examines every hole and cranny of the bark of trees, as well as their 
leaves and twigs, on which it finds abundance of food at all seasons. 
During the breeding period they move in pairs, and are constantly chat- 
tering. Their notes resemble the syllables deut, deut, dend, dend, and al- 
though not musical are not disagreeable, particularly when heard in the 
woods in which they usually reside, and where at that season a mournful 
silence intimates the wildness of the place. 

When the young have left the nest they continue together, and move 
from tree to tree with the activity of their parents, who join them when 
the succeeding broods are able to find food for themselves. Towards 
winter they associate with the smaller species of Woodpeckers, the Brown 
Creeper, and the Southern Black-headed Tit. These birds pursue their 
avocations with so much cheerfulness that the woods echo to their notes. 
I have seen a congregation of these Nuthatches, amounting to fifty or 
more, thus perambulating the Floridas in the months of November and 
December. In those districts they pair in the beginning of February, 



152 BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH. 

and have eggs about the middle of that month, while in South Carolina 
they breed about a month later. 

The nest is usually excavated by the birds themselves, in the dead 
portion of a low stump or saphng, sometimes only a few feet from the 
ground, but not unfrequently so high as thirty or forty feet. The little 
creatures work in concert, with great earnestness, for several days, until 
the hole, which is round, and not larger at its entrance than the body of 
the bird, is dug ten or twelve inches deep, and widening at the bottom. 
The eggs are laid on the bare wood ; they are from four to six, white, 
with reddish dots, and scarcely larger than those of the Humming Bird. 
They frequently raise three broods in the season, bvit more commonly 
two. 

Extremely careless at the presence of man, who indeed seldom molests 
them, they often peep at him when at the distance of only a few feet ; yet 
when apprehensive of danger, they instantly fly off or ascend the tree, 
and are out of sight in an instant. 

Their flight is similar to that of the other species, and like them they 
frequently utter their notes while on the wing. Now and then they are seen 
on the ground, where they hop and turn over the dead leaves in search 
of their food, which consists entirely of insects and their larvae. 

The young of this species do not acquire the brown colour of the 
head until the approach of spring, when no difference is observable be- 
tween the sexes. 



SiTTA PUSILLA, Lath. Iiid. Ornith. vol. i. p. 263 Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds 

of the United States, p. 97. 
Brown-headed Nuthatch, Sitta pusilla, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 105, 

pi. 15. fig. 2 — Nuttall, Manual, vol. i. p. 584. 

Adult Male. Plate CXXV. Fig. 1. 

Bill of moderate leng'th, strong, subcorneal, compressed, the tip abrupt 
and wedge-shaped ; upper mandible slightly convex in the dorsal outline, 
the sides sloping, the edges acute ; dorsal outline of lower mandible 
straight. Nostrils basal, lateral, oblong. General form short and ro- 
bust. Feet rather short and strong ; tarsus compressed, anteriorly scu- 
tellate, behind sharp; toes free, scu tell ate above, the hind toe strong j 
claws arched, compressed, acute, that of the hind toe large. 



BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH. 153 

Plumage soft and blended ; wings of ordinary length, the second, 
third, and fourth quills longest. Tail short, even, of twelve rounded 
feathers. 

Bill brownish-black above, and on the tips of ihe lower mandible, the 
base of which is light greyish-blue. Iris hazel. Feet dusky brown. The 
general colour of the plumage above is dull leaden grey ; the two middle 
tail-feathers of the same tint ; the rest black, the margin of the outer- 
most and the ends of it, and of the three next on each side, white, the 
tips grey. Upper part of the head and hind-neck light reddish-brown, 
with a white spot on the hind-neck. The under parts in general are dull 
white. 

Length 4 inches, extent of wings 8 ; bill along the back -^^, along 
the edge -^^ ; tarsus y\. • 

Adult Female. Plate CXXV. Fig. 2. 

The female has the tints paler, but in other respects resembles the male. 



( 154 ) 



THE SQUAiTTERS OF LABRADOR 

Go where you will, if a shilling can there be procured, you may ex- 
pect to meet with individuals in search of it. 

In the course of last summer, I met with several persons as well as 
families, whom I could not compare to any thing else than what in 
America we imderstand by the appellation of Squatters. The methods 
they employed to accumulate property form the subject of the observa- 
tions which I now lay before you. 

Our schooner lay at anchor in a beautiful basin on the coast of La- 
brador, surrounded by uncouth granitic rocks, partially covered with 
stunted vegetation. While searching for birds and other objects I chanced 
one morning to direct my eye towards the pinnacle of a small island, se- 
parated from the mainland by a very narrow channel, and presently 
commenced inspecting it with my telescope. There I saw a man on his 
knees, with clasped hands, and face inclined heavenwards. Before him 
was a small monument of unhewn stones, supporting a wooden cross. In 
a word, reader, the person whom I thus unexpectedly discovered, was 
engaged in prayer. Such an incident in that desolate land was affecting, 
for there one seldom finds traces of human beings, and the aid of the Al- 
mighty, although necessary everywhere, seems there peculiarly required 
to enable them to procure the means of subsistence. My curiosity having 
been raised, I betook myself to my boat, landed on the rock, and scrambled 
to the place, where I found the man still on his knees. When his devotions 
were concluded, he bowed to me, and addressed me in very indifferent 
French. I asked him why he had chosen so dreary a spot for his prayers. 
" Because,"" answered he, " the sea lies before me, and from it I receive 
my spring and summer sustenance. When winter approaches, I pray 
fronting the mountains on the Main, as at that period the karaboos come 
towards the shore, and I kill them, feed on their flesh, and form my bed- 
ding of their skins." I thought the answer reasonable, and as I longed 
to know more of him, followed him to his hut. It was low and very 
small, formed of stones plastered with mud to a considerable thickness, 
The roof was composed of a sort of thatching made of weeds and moss. 
A large Dutch stove filled nearly one-half of the place, a small port-hole, 
then stuffed with old rags, served at times instead of a window ; the bed 



THE SQUATTERS OF LABRADOR. 155 

was a pile of deer skins; a bowl, a jug, and an iron pot were placed on a 
rude shelf; three old and rusty muskets, their locks fastened by thono-s, 
stood in a corner ; and his buck shot, powder, and flints, were tied up in 
bags of skin. Eight Esquimaux dogs yelled and leaped about us. The 
strong smell that emanated from them, together with the smoke and filth 
of the apartment, rendered my stay in it extremely disagreeable. 

Being a native of France, the good man shewed much politeness, and 
invited me to take some refreshment, when, without waiting for my as- 
sent, he took up his bowl and went off I knew not whither. No sooner 
had he and his strange dogs disappeared, than I went out also, to breathe 
the pure air, and gaze on the wild and majestic scenery around. I was 
struck with the extraordinary luxuriance of the plants and grasses that 
had sprung up on th'e scanty soil on the little valley which the Squatter 
had chosen for his home. Their stalks and broad blades reached my 
waist. June had come, and the flies, musquitoes, and other insects filled 
the air, and were as troublesome to me as if I had been in a Florida 
swamp. 

The Squatter returned, but he was chop-fallen ; — nay I thouo-ht his 
visage had assumed a cadaverous hue. Tears ran down his cheeks and 
he told me that his barrel of rum. had been stolen by the " eo-gers," or 
some fishermen ! He said that he had been in the habit of hiding it in 
the bushes, to prevent its being carried away by those merciless thieves 
who must have watched him in some of his frequent walks to the spot. 
" Now," said he, " I can expect none until next spring, and God knows 
what will become of me in the winter !'" 

Pierre Jean Baptiste Michaux had resided in that part of the 
world for upwards of ten years. He had run away from the fishino- 
smack that had brought him from his fair native land, and expected to 
become rich some day by the sale of the furs, seal skins, eider down and 
other articles which he collected yearly, and sold to the traders who re- 
gularly visited his dreary abode. He was of moderate stature, firmly 
framed, and as active as a wild cat. He told me that excepting the loss 
of his rum, he had never experienced any other cause of sorrow, and that 
he felt as " happy as a lord." 

Before parting with this fortunate mortal, I inquired how his doo-s 
managed to find sufficient food. " Why, Sir, during spring and sum- 
mer they ramble along the shores, where they meet with abundance of 
dead fish, and in winter they eat the flesh of the seals which I kill late in 



156 THE SQUATTERS OF LABRADOR. 

autumn, when these animals return from the north. As to myself, every 
thing eatable is good, and when hard pushed, I assure you I can relish 
the fare of my dogs just as much as they do themselves."" 

Proceeding along the rugged indentations of the bay with my com- 
panions, I reached the settlement of another person, who, like the first, had 
come to Labrador with the view of making his fortune. We found him 
after many difficulties ; but as our boats turned a long point jutting 
out into the bay, we were pleased to see several small schooners at 
anchor, and one lying near a sort of wharf. Several neat- looking houses 
enhvened the view, and on landing, we were kindly greeted with a polite 
welcome from a man who proved to be the owner of the establishment. 
For the rude simplicity of him of the rum-cask, we found here the man- 
ners and dress of a man of the world. A handsome fur cap covered his 
dark brow, his clothes were similar to our own, and his demeanour was 
that of a gentleman. On my giving my name to him, he shook me hearti- 
ly by the hand, and on introducing each of my companions to him, he 
extended the Hke courtesy to them also. Then, to my astonishment, he 
addressed me as foUows : — " My dear Sir, I have been expecting you 
these three weeks, having read in the papers your intention to visit La- 
brador, and some fishermen told me of your arrival at Little Natasguan, 
Gentlemen, walk in." 

Having followed him to his neat and comfortable mansion, he intro- 
duced us to his wife and children. Of the latter there were six, all robust 
and rosy. The lady, although a native of the country, was of French 
extraction, handsome, and sufficiently accomplished to make an excellent 
companion to a gentleman. A smart girl brought us a luncheon, con- 
sisting of bread, cheese, and good port wine, to which, having rowed 
fourteen or fifteen miles that morning, we helped ourselves in a manner 
that seemed satisfactory to all parties. Our host gave us newspapers 
from different parts of the world, and shewed us his small but choice col- 
lection of books. He inquired after the health of the amiable Captain 
Bayfield of the Royal Navy, and the officers under him, and hoped 
they would give him a call. 

Having refreshed ourselves, we walked out with him, when he pointed 
to a very small garden, where a few vegetables sprouted out, anxious to see 
the sun. Gazing on the desolate country around, I asked him how ?ie had 
thus secluded himself from the world. For it he had no relish, and although 
he had received a liberal education, and had mixed with society, he never 



i 



THE SQUATTERS OF LABRADOR. 157 

intended to return to it. " The country around," said he, " is all my 
own, much farther than you can see. No fees, no lawyers, no taxes are 
here. I do pretty much as I choose. My means are ample, through my 
own industry. These vessels come here for seal-skins, seal-oil, and sal- 
mon, and give me in return all the necessaries, and indeed comforts, of 
the life I love to follow ; and what else could the world afford me r I 
spoke of the education of his children. " My wife and I teach them all 
that is useful for them to know, and is not that enough .? My girls will 
marry their countrymen, my sons the daughters of my neighbours, and I 
hope all of them will live and die in the country !" I said no more, but 
by way of compensation for the trouble I had given him, purchased from 
his eldest child a beautiful fox's skin. 

Few birds, he said, came around him in summer, but in winter thou- 
sands of ptarmigans were killed, as well as great numbers of gulls. He 
had a great dislike to all fishermen and eggers, and I really believe was 
always glad to see the departure even of the hardy navigators who an- 
nually visited him for the sake of his salmon, seal-skins, and oil. He had 
more than forty Esquimaux dogs ; and, as I was caressing one of them, 
he said, " Tell my brother-in-law at Bras-d'Or, that we are all well here, 
and that, after visiting my wife's father, I will give him a call .'" 

Now, reader, his wife's father resided at the distance of seventy miles 
down the coast, and, like himself, was a recluse. He of Bras d'Or was at 
double that distance ; but, when the snows of winter have thickly covered 
the country, the whole family, in sledges drawn by dogs, travel with 
ease, and pay their visits, or leave their cards. This good gentleman had 
already resided there more than twenty years. Should he ever read this 
article, I desire him to believe that I shall always be grateful to him and 
his wife for their hospitable welcome. 

When our schooner, the Ripley, arrived at Bras d'Or, I paid a visit 
to Mr , the brother-in-law, who lived in a house imported from Que- 
bec, which fronted the strait of Belle Isle, and overlooked a small island, 
over which the eye reached the coast of Newfoundland, whenever it was 
the wind's pleasure to drive away the fogs that usually lay over both 
coasts. The gentleman and his wife, we were told, were both out on a 
walk, but would return in a very short time, which they in fact did, when 
we followed them into the house, which was yet unfinished. The usual im- 
mense Dutch stove formed a principal feature of the interior. The lady 
had once visited the metropolis of Canada, and seemed desirous of acting 



IS8 THE SQUATTERS OF LABRADOR. 

the part of a blue-stocking. Understanding that I knew something of the 
fine arts, she pointed to several of the vile prints hung on the bare walls, 
which she said were elegant Italian pictures, and continued her enco- 
miums upon them, assuring me that she had purchased them from an 
Italian, who had come there with a trunk full of them. She had paid a 
shilUng Sterling for each, frame included ! I could give no answer to 
the good lady on this subject, but I felt glad to find that she possessed a 
feeling heart. One of her children had caught a siskin, and was tor- 
menting the poor bird, when she rose from her seat, took the httle flut- 
tering thing from the boy, kissed it, and gently launched it into the air. 
This made me quite forget the tattle about the fine arts. 

Some excellent milk was poured out for us in clean glasses. It was 
a pleasing sight, for not a cow had we yet seen in the country. The 
lady turned the conversation on music, and asked if I played on any in- 
strument. I answered that I did, but very indifferently. Her forte, she 
said, was music, of which she was indeed immoderately fond. Her instru- 
ment had been sent to Europe to be repaired, but would return that sea- 
son, when the whole of her children would again perform many beautiful 
airs, for in fact any body could use it with ease, as when she or the chil- 
dren felt fatigued, the servant played on it for them. Rather surprised 
at the extraordinary powers of this family of musicians, I asked what sort 
of an instrument it was, when she described it as follows : — " Gentlemen, 
my instrument is large, longer than broad, and stands on four legs, like 
a table. At one end is a crooked handle, by turning which round, either 
fast or slow, I do assure you we make most excellent music." The lips 
of my young friends and companions instantly curled, but a glance from 
me as instantly recomposed their features. Telling the fair one that it 
must be a hand-organ she used, she laughingly said, " Ah, that is it ; it 
is a hand-organ, but I had forgot the name, and for the life of me could 
not recollect it." 

The husband had gone out to work, and was in the harbour caulking 
an old schooner. He dined with me on board the Ripley, and proved to 
be also an excellent fellow. Like his brother-in-law, he had seen much 
of the world, having sailed nearly round it ; and, although no scholar, like 
him, too, he was disgusted vdth it. He held his land on the same footing 
as his neighbours, caught seals without number, lived comfortably and 
happily, visited his father-in-law and the scholar, by the aid of his dogs, 
of which he kept a great pack, bartered or sold his commodities, as his 



THE SQUATTERS OF LABRADOR. 159 

relations did, and cared about nothing else in the world. Whenever the 
weather was fair, he walked with his dame over the moss-covered rocks 
of the neighbourhood ; and, during winter, killed ptarmigans and kara- 
boos, while his eldest son attended to the traps, and skinned the animals 
caught in them. He had the only horse that was to be found in that 
part of the country, as well as several cows ; but, above all, he was kind 
to every one, and every one spoke well of him. The only disagreeable 
thing about his plantation or settlement, was a heap of fifteen hundred 
carcasses of skinned seals, which, at the time when we visited the place, in 
the month of August, notwithstanding the coolness of the atmosphere, 
sent forth a stench that, according to the ideas of some naturalists, might 
have sufficed to attract all the Vultures in the United States. 

During our stay at Bras d'Or, the kind-hearted and good Mrs 

daily sent us fresh milk and butter, for which we were denied the pleasure 
of making any return. 



( 160 ) 

THE WHITE-HEADED EAGLE. 

Falco leucocepualus, Linn. 

PLATE CXXVI. YouHR. 

Although I have already given a long account of the adult of this spe- 
cies, in the first volume of my biographies, I have thought it necessary, 
not only to figure the young, but also to ofEer you some of the observa- 
tions relative to the habits of this handsome and powerful bird, which I 
have collected in the course of my long rambles. These I select from 
among the many recorded in my journals, giving the preference to those 
which seem most likely to interest you. 

St John's River, East Florida, 1th February 1832. — I observed four 
nests of the White-headed Eagle this day, while the United States' schooner 
Spark lay at anchor not far from the shore. They were at no great dis- 
tance from each other, and all placed on tall live pine-trees. Our com- 
mander, Lieutenant Piercey of our Navy, having at that time httle to do, 
as he lay waiting the flood-tide, a boat was manned, and several of us 
went on shore. On approaching the nearest nest, we saw two young birds 
standing erect on its edge, while their parents were perched on the branches 
above them. As we went nearer, the old ones flew off" silently, while the 
young did not seem to pay the least attention to us, this being a part of 
the woods where probably no white man had ever before put his foot, and 
the Eaglets having as yet had no experience of the barbarity of the race. 
The captain took the first shot : one of the birds was severely wounded, 
and tumbled half way from the nest towards the ground, when it recover- 
ed, flapped its wings, and suddenly sailed away until we lost sight of it 
as it flew into the woods. I marked its course, however. One of the 
sailors was told to shoot the other, which had not moved from its posi- 
tion ; he missed it ; and as I saw it make movements indicative of its sur- 
prise and fear, I fired, but wounded it so slightly in one pinion, that it 
was enabled to fly ofi" in an irregular manner towards the river. This I 
judged was the first attempt it had ever made to fly. I followed its course : 
with my eye, and after in vain waiting a long time for a shot at the old birds, 
I went in search of it, while the rest of the party pursued the other. After 
some time I reached our boat, and at the same instant was surprised to 

1 



WHITE-HEADED EAGLE. 161 

see the wounded bird perched on a low stump within half gun shot. I 
fired, and the bird fell, but before I reached the spot, it flew off again 
and tumbled into the river, where, in this to it new and wonderful ele- 
ment, it flapped its wings, and made way so fast, that I took to the wa- 
ter and brought it ashore, my faithful Newfoundland dog Plato being 
on board, quite lamed by having brought me birds some days before from 
banks of racoon oysters. After all, it was necessary to knock the bird on 
the head, which done I returned to the party, none of whom had yet 
found their prey, they having disagreed as to the course it had taken. 
Being somewhat of a woodsman, I pointed towards the place where I 
thought the bird must be, and after a few hundred yards walking among 
palmettoes, Spanish bayonets, sword-grass, and other disagreeable under- 
growth, we discovered the poor bird gasping in its last agonies. On ex- 
amiiaing their bodies we found both v/ell supplied with shot, and I be- 
came more assured than ever of the hardiness of the species. 

On the same river, 8th Februarij. — We visited another nest, on which, 
by the aid of a telescope, we saw three young ones in the posture describ- 
ed above. The bird first shot fell back in the nest and there remained : 
it was struck by a bullet. The next was so severely wounded that it 
clung outside the nest, until fired at a second time, when it fell. The 
third was killed, as it was preparing to fly off. Our axes being dull, the 
tree large, and a fair breeze springing up, we returned to the Spark, 
where in a few hours these young birds were skinned, cooked, and eaten, 
by those who had been " in at the death."" They proved good eating, 
the flesh resembling veal in taste and tenderness. One of us only did not 
taste of the dish, simply I believe from prejudice. The contents of the 
stomachs of these young Eagles were large fragments of cat-fish heads 
and bones of quadrupeds and birds. We frequently saw old birds of the 
species sail down to the surface of the water, and rise holding in their 
talons heads of cat-fishes which abounded on the water and were rejected, 
as the inhabitants assured us, by the alligators, who content themselves 
with the best part, the tail, leaving the heads to such animals as can dis- 
sect them and escape the dangerous sharp bony guards placed near the 
gUls, and which the fish has the power of firmly fixing at right angles as 
if they were a pair of small bayonets. Should this really be a general 
habit of the alligator, it indicates his faculty of gaining knowledge by 
experience, or of having it naturally implanted. I could easily distin- 
guish the sex of all the young Eagles of this species which we procured. 

VOL. 11. I, 



162 WHITE-HEADED EAGLE. 

The females were not only larger, but almost black, whilst the males 
were much lighter and of less weight. 

Some weeks afterwards, when young Eagles would have been thought 
a dainty even by our most prejudiced companions — for you must not sup- 
pose, reader, that every student of nature meets with " pigs ready roasted'" 
in our woods — we saw an old White-headed Eagle perched on a tall tree 
at the edge of the river. While admiring its posture, by means of a 
telescope, and marking its eye keenly bent towards the water, it suddenly 
dropped like a stone from its perch, almost immersed its body into the 
stream, and rose with a large trout, with which it scrambled to the shore. 
Our captain, his first lieutenant, my assistant, and your humble servant, 
were present on this occasion, and saw it very composedly eat the fish, af- 
ter shaking the water from its plumage. I must add that never before 
had I seen this bird plunge into the water, although I had several times 
seen it scrambling after small fishes in shallows and gravel banks. 

February 9Qth. — I saw some Fish-Hawks defend themselves, and chase 
away from their nests the Bald Eagle. The former were incubating, and 
the latter, as well as some Turkey Buzzards, were anxiously trying to rob 
the nest, wherever they found the Fisher Bird absent from its tenement. 
The Fish-hawks at last collected from different parts of the river, and I felt 
great pleasure in seeing these brave birds actually drive away their coward- 
ly enemies. The Fish-Hawk had only eggs in that country when the 
young of the Eagle were large and fully able to fly. 

Bay ofFundy, \Qth May 1833. — While admiring the extraordinary 
boldness of the rocky shores of this perhaps most wonderful of all bays, 
and trying to discover in what manner the stupendous natural fortifica- 
tions are connected with the formidable tides that dash against them, I 
observed Crows, Ravens, and the White-headed Eagle, leisurely feeding on 
mussels and sea-eggs. The rocks were clad towards their summits with 
melancholy firs, of which each broken branch told of a tempest ; shmy 
sea- weeds hung sluggishly over the waters ; and, as each successive wave 
retired, banks of shells were exposed to view, closely impacted, and con- 
veying to my mind the idea of gigantic honeycombs. 

Labrador, July 1833. — The White-headed Eagle is unknown in this 
country, although many Fish-Hawks are found here, and I saw several 
of their nests, placed on the low fir trees. 

Boston, Massachusetts, 9Ast November 1832. — This morning I receiv- 
ed the following letter from my learned friend Jacob Bigelow, Esq. 



WHITE-HEADED EAGLE. 168 

M. D. — " Dear Sir, about sixteen years since, a large eagle, Falco leuco- 
cephalus, belonging to the Linnean Society of this city, was sentenced to 
contribute to a cabinet of natural history. A variety of experiments was 
made with a view to destroy him without injuring his plumage, and a 
number of mineral poisons were successively given him in large doses, 
but without effect. At length a drachm of corrosive sublimate of mer- 
cury was inclosed in a small fish, and given him to eat. After swallow- 
ing the whole of this, he continued to appearance perfectly well, and free 
from inconvenience. The next day an equal quantity of white arsenic 
was given him, without any greater effect ; so that in the end the refrac- 
tory bird was obliged to be put to death by mechanical means. The ex- 
periments were made by Dr Hay ward and myself, in presence of other 
members of the Society, Very truly, your obedient servant, Jacob 

BlGELOW." 

I have now no doubt that in a state of confinement, this species some- 
times requires a long series of years before it attains the full adult plu- 
mage, by which it is so distinctly characterized. There is now one living 
in the suburbs of Philadelphia, which was eight years in coming to this 
state of maturity. Almost every person who saw it, while yet in its 
brown dress, called it either a new species or a Golden Eagle ! Nay some 
said that it must be " the pretended Bird of Washington r My constant 
and most worthy friend, Dr Richard Harlan, took me to see it. I 
felt assured as to the species, and told him that its head and bill would 
become white, and that its size, which was rather larger than common, 
was not such as to indicate a different species. I offered a wager of one 
thousand dollars in support of my assertions, but the Doctor wisely de- 
clined meeting me on this ground. Four years afterwards, when this bird 
was eight years of age, it moulted, and the head and tail assumed a pure 
white colour. Dr Harlan, in one of his letters, dated 26th April 1831, 
says, " I wish I could walk with you this moment to M'Arrax's garden, 
to shew you how white the head of the eagle, which we talked of betting 
about, has at last become, as well as his tail ; but he must have been at 
least nine or ten years old first." This very eagle happened to have each 
of his middle claws of a whitish colour, and his owner would fain have 
persuaded me that it was a new bird, on the assertion, as he said, of a 
well-known ornithologist residing in Philadelphia, who has since published 

l2 



164 WHITE-HEADED EAGLE. 

a description of it under a new and very curious name. The proprietor 
of this famed bird valued it at one hundred dollars, I at one ! 

While at the lovely village of Columbia, in South Carolina, Dr 
Robert W. Gibbes, a man of taste and talent, as well as one who loves 
the science of birds for its own sake, kept one of these Eagles for some 
time in his aviary, and, being desirous of granting it more liberty, cut 
across all the primary quills of one of its wings, and turned it loose in his 
yard. No sooner was the bird at liberty, than it deliberately pulled out. 
the stump of each mutilated quill, in consequence of which the wing was 
soon furnished anew. The DQctor told me that his first intention was to 
draw them out himself, but this he found so difficult that he gave it up. 
Do birds possess a power of contracting the sheaths of their feathers so 
powerfully as to prevent their being pulled without great force ? 

Since my earliest acquaintance with birds, I have felt assured of the ig- 
noble spirit of the White-headed Eagle, and the following fact strengthens 
the impression. William W. Kunhardt, Esq. of Charleston, S. C, 
kept one of these birds (a full-grown male) for many months. He one 
day put a game-cock into its cage, to see how the prisoner would conduct 
himself. The gallant cock at once set to, and beat the eagle in the 
" handsomest manner," his opponent giving in at each blow, without pay- 
ing the least regard to the established rules of combat. Other cocks of 
the common race proved equally formidable to the degraded robber of the 
Fish-Hawk. 

The White-headed Eagle seldom utters its piercing cry without throw- 
ing its head backward until it nearly touches the feathers of the back. 
It then opens its bill, and its tongue is seen to move as it emits its notes, 
of which five or six are delivered in rapid succession. Although loud and 
disagreeable when heard at hand, they have a kind of melancholy softness 
when listened to at a great distance. When these birds are irritated, and 
on the wing, they often thrust forth their talons, opening and closing 
them, as if threatening to tear the object of their anger in pieces. 

The synonyms and necessary references having been already given in 
the first volume (page 169), it is unnecessary to repeat them here. Wil- 
son figured and described the young of the White-headed Eagle under 
the name of the Sea Eagle, Falco ossifragus, although not without ex- 
pressing doubts. 



WHITE-HEADED EAGLE. 165 



Falco leucocephalus, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 26. 

Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 72. 
AauiLA LEUcocEPHALA, Swuins. and Richards. Fauna Boreali-Americana, part ii. 

p. 15. 

Sea Eagle, Falco ossifragus, WUs. Amer. Ornith. vol. vii. p. 16. pi. 55. fig. 2. 

The Young Bird fully fledged is represented in Plate CXXVI. 

In this state it differs greatly in its colours from the F. ossifragus 
or young of the F. albicilla of Europe, with which it was confounded by 
Wilson. 

The bill is black above, bluish-grey towards the end of the lower 
mandiblej the cere, the base of the lower mandible, and the soft margins 
of the bill at the angle, yellow tinged with green. The narrow elongated 
feathers of the head and neck are dark-brown tipped with dull white, and 
the general colour of the plumage above is dull hair-brown ; the lower parts 
having the feathers deep brown, broadly margined with greyish-white. 
The quiUs are deep brown, and the tail-feathers are brownish white, 
minutely mottled with dark brown, and having their extremities of that 
colour. The iris is yeUowish-brown, the feet greenish-yellow, the claws 
black. 

The Adult birds have been described in vol. i. of the present work, 
p. 169. 



( 166 ) 
THE ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK. 

FrINGILLA LUDOVICIANA, BoNAP. 
PLATE CXXVII. Male, Female, and Young. 

One year, in the month of August, I was trudging along the shores of 
the Mohawk River, when night overtook me. Being little acquainted 
with that part of the country, I resolved to camp where I was, the even- 
ing was calm and beautiful, the sky sparkled with stars, which were re- 
flected by the smooth waters, and the deep shade of the rocks and trees 
of the opposite shore fell on the bosom of the stream, while gently from 
afar came on the ear the muttering sound of the cataract. My little fire 
was soon lighted under a rock, and, spreading out my scanty stock of 
provisions, I reclined on my grassy couch. As I looked around on the 
fading features of the beautiful landscape, my heart turned towards my 
distant home, where my friends were doubtless wishing me, as I wished 
them, a happy night and peaceful slumbers. Then were heard the bark- 
ings of the watch-dog, and I tapped my faithful companion to prevent 
his answering them. The thoughts of my worldly mission then came 
over my mind, and having thanked the Creator of all for his never fail- 
ing mercy, I closed my eyes, and was passing away into the world of 
dreaming existence, when suddenly there burst on my soul the serenade 
of the Rose-breasted bird, so rich, so mellow, so loud in the stillness of 
the night, that sleep fled from my eyelids. Never did I enjoy music 
more : it thrilled through my heart, and surrounded me with an atmo- 
sphere of bliss. One might easily have imagined that even the Owl, 
charmed by such delightful music, remained reverently silent. Long 
after the sounds ceased did I enjoy them, and when aU had again become 
still, I stretched out my wearied limbs, and gave myself up to the luxury 
of repose. In the morning I awoke vigorous as ever, and prepared \a 
continue my journey. 

I have frequently observed this beautiful species, early in the month 
of March, in the lower parts of Louisiana, making its way eastward ; 
and when residing at Henderson in Kentucky, and in Cincinnati in Ohio, 
I have noticed the same circumstance. At this early period, it passes at 
a considerable height in the air, and now and then alights on the tops of 



ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK. 167 

the tallest trees of the forest, as if to rest a while. While on wino- it 
utters a clear note, but when perched it remains silent, in an upright and 
rather stiff attitude. It is then easily approached. I have followed it in 
its migrations into Pennsylvania, New York, and other Eastern States, 
through the British provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, as far 
as Newfoundland, where many breed, but I saw none in Labrador. It is 
never seen in the maritime parts of Georgia, or those of the Carolinas, 
but some have been procured in the mountainous portions of those States. 
I have found them rather plentiful in the early part of May, along the 
steep banks of the Schuylkil River, twenty or thirty miles from Phila- 
delphia, and observed, that at that season they fed mostly on the buds of 
the trees, their tender blossoms, and upon insects, which they catch on 
wing, making short sallies for the purpose. I saw several in the Great 
Pine Forest of that State ; but they were more abundant in New York, 
especially along the banks of the beautiful river called the Mohawk. 
They are equally abundant along the shores of Lakes Ontario and Erie, 
although I believe that the greater number go as far as New Brunswick 
to breed. While on an excursion to the islands at the entrance of the 
Bay of Fundy, in the beginning of May, my son shot several which were 
in full song. These islands are about thirty miles distant from the main- 
land. 

The most western place in which I found the nest of this species was 
within a few miles of Cincinnati on the Ohio. It was placed in the up- 
right forks of a low bush, and differed so much in its composition from 
those which I have seen in the Eastern States, that it greatly resembled 
the nest of the Blue Grosbeak already described. The young, three in 
number, were ready to fly. The parents fed them on the soft grains of 
wheat which they procured in a neighbouring field, and often searched 
for insects in the crannies of the bark of trees, on which they alighted 
sidewise, in the manner of sparrows. This was in the end of July. 
Generally, however, the nest of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak is placed on 
the top branches of an alder bush, near water, and usually on the borders 
of meadows or alluvial grounds. It is composed of the dried twigs of 
trees, mixed with a few leaves and the bark of vines, and is lined with 
fibrous roots and horse hair. The eggs are seldom more than four, and 
I believe only one brood is raised in the season. Both sexes incubate. 
I have found the nest and eggs, on the 20th of May, on the borders of 
Cayuga Lake in the State of New York. 



i68 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK. 

The flight of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak is strong, even, and as 
graceful as it is sustained. When traveUing southward, at the approach 
of autumn, or about the 1st of September, it passes high over the forest 
trees, in the manner of the King Bird and the Robin, ahghting toward 
sunset on a tall tree, from which it in a few minutes dives into some close 
thicket, where it remains during the night. The birds travel singly at 
this season, as Avell as during spring. 

I am indebted to my friend John Bachman, for the following infor- 
mation respecting this interesting Grosbeak : " One spring, I shot at a 
beautiful male bird of this species, in the State of New York. It was 
wounded in one foot only, and although I could not perceive any other 
injury afterwards, it fell from the tree to the ground, and before it recover- 
ed itself I secured it. Not having a cage at hand, I let it fly in the room 
which I had made my study. Before an hour had elapsed, it appeared as 
if disposed to eat ; it refused corn and wheat, but fed heartily on bread 
dipped in milk. The next day it was nearly quite gentle, and began to 
examine the foot injured by the shot which was much swollen and quite 
black. It began to bite off" its foot at the wounded part, and soon succeeded 
in cutting it quite across. It healed in a few days, and the bird used the 
mutilated leg almost as well as the other, perching and resting upon it. It 
required indeed some care to observe that the patient had been injured. I 
procured a cage for it, to which it immediately became reconciled. It ate all 
kinds of food, but preferred Indian corn meal and hempseed. It appeared^ 
fonder of insects than birds of that genus are supposed to be, and ate grass- 1 
hoppers and crickets with peculiar relish. It would at times sit for hours^ 
watching the flies, as these passed about it, and snatched at and ofteni 
secured such wasps as now and then approached the pieces of fruit throwilj 
into the cage. Very often, of fine moonshiny nights, it would tune itsi 
pipe, and sing sweetly, but not loudly, remaining quietly perched and inlj 
the same position. Whilst singing during the day, it was in the habit of 
opening its wings, and gently raising them, somewhat in the manner of 
the Mocking Bird. I found it very difficult to preserve this bird duringj 
winter, and was obliged for that purpose to place it in a room heated byj 
a stove to summer temperature. It was a hvely and very gentle com- 
panion of my study for nearly three years ; it died of cold the third win- 
ter. It frequently escaped from the cage, but never exhibited the least^ 
desire to leave me, for it invariably returned to some portion of the hous 
at the approach of night. Its song continued about six weeks duringi 



ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK. 169 

summer, and about two in the autumn ; at all other periods it simply 
uttered a faint chuck, and seemed to possess many of the ordinary habits 
of the Blue Grosbeak.'" 

The food of this beautiful bird consists of seeds of the cereal plants, 
of grasses, and those of different kinds of berries, along with insects. The 
young are three years in obtaining their full dress, and undergo their 
changes very slowly. I have placed several of these birds of both sexes, 
and of different ages, on a branch of the ground hemlock, the berries of 
which they attack for their seeds. 



LoxiA LUDoviciANA, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 306 Lath. Index Ornith. vol. i. 

p. 379. 

Frin&illa LUDOVICIANA, Ch. BonopaHe, Synops. of Eirds of the United States, 
p. 113 Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 52?. 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Loxia rosea, Wils. Amer. Ornith. voL ii. p. 135. 
pi. 17- fig. 1- Male — Ch. Bonaparte, Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. pi. 14. fig. 2. Fe- 
male. 

CoccoTHRASTES LUDOVICIANA, Swaius. aiid Richards. Fauna. Bor. Amer. vol. ii. 
p. 271. 

Adult Male. Plate CXXVII. Fig. 1,1. 

Bill short, robust, bulging at the base, conical, acute ; upper man- 
dible with its dorsal outline a little convex, the sides rounded, the edges 
sharp ; lower mandible with its dorsal outline also a little convex, the 
sides rounded, the edges inflected ; the gap-line is deflected at the base, 
then straight to the end. Nostrils basal, roundish, open, partly concealed 
by the feathers. Head rather large, neck short, general form robust. 
Legs of moderate length, rather strong ; tarsus anteriorly covered with a 
few scutella, the upper long, posteriorly sharp ; toes scutellate above, free, 
the lateral ones nearly equal ; claws slender, arched, compressed, acute, 
that of the hind toe not much larger. 

Plumage soft and blended, but firm and elastic. Wings of moderate 
length, broad, the second, third, and fourth quills longest, the secondaries 
rounded. Tail longish, slightly emarginate, of twelve rounded feathers. 

Bill white. Iris hazel. Feet greyish-blue. The head all round, in- 
cluding the upper part of the neck, the hind neck, the back, wings, and 
tail, glossy black ; the first row of coverts, the tips of the secondary co- 
verts, the basal half of the primary quills, and the inner webs towards 
the end of the three lateral tail-feathers, white, as is the rump, that part. 



170 ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK. 

however, being spotted with black. Lower neck and middle of the breast 
of a bright carmine tint ; lower wing coverts white, tinged with carmine. 
Length 7| inches, extent of wings 13 ; bill along the back {^^, along 
the edge j% ; tarsus ji. 

Adult Female. Plate CXXVII. Fig. 2. 

The female differs greatly from the male in external appearance. The 
bill brown above, paler beneath ; iris hazel ; feet as in the male. The ge- 
neral colour of the plumage above is olivaceous brown, spotted with 
brownish-black, the central part of each feather being of the latter colour. 
On the head is a central longitudinal band of pale yellowish-grey, spotted 
with dark brown, then on each side, a dark brown band, and above the 
eye a white one ; a brown band from the bill to the eye and beyond it, 
and under this a whitish band. There are two white bands on the wings 
as in the male, but narrower and duller. The quills and tail are brown. 
The lower parts light brownish-yellow, fading behind into white; the 
fore neck, breast, and sides, marked with small longitudinal spots or streaks 
of dark-brown. The lower wing-coverts very slightly tinged with rose- 
colour. 

Young Male in autumn. Plate CXXVIL Fig. 3. 

After the first moult, the young male resembles the female, but al- 
ready shews the rosy tints both on the breast, and on the under wing- 
coverts. 

Young in first plumage. Plate CXXVIL Fig. 4. 
In this state also the young resemble the female. 



The Ground Hemlock. 



Taxus canadensis, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. iv. p. 856. Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. 

p, 647.— Dl.ICIA MONADELPHIA. CoNIFER^E, JuSS. 

The Ground Hemlock, or Canadian Yew, is abundant on the decUvi- 
ties of the mountains from Maryland to Maine. It is a low tree, or ra- 
ther bush, often almost prostrate, and frequently hanging from the rocks. 
The leaves are linear, distichous, revolute at the margin. The berrie.s, 
which are oblong or globular, and of a pale red colour, are eatable. 



( 171 ) 
THE CAT BIRD. 

TuitDUS FELIVOX, ViEILL. 
PLATE CXXVIII. Male and Female. 

Some individuals of this species spend the winter in the southern por- 
tions of East Florida, where I have found them during the months of 
December and January ; but the greater number retire beyond the limits 
of the United States about the middle of October. They are very x-arely 
seen in the State of Louisiana, nor have I known any to breed in that 
portion of the country. They pass in abundance through Georgia and 
the Carolinas earlv in September, feeding then on the berries of the 
Sweet Gum, those of the Poke and Sumach, the seeds of grasses, &c. 
On their return in spring, they reach the neighbourhood of Charleston, 
about the 20th of March, when they feed on insects found along the 
lanes and garden- walks ; but none are heard to sing, or are found to 
breed there. They are abundant during summer in the whole of the 
western country, and are plentifully dispersed from Virginia to the middle 
portions of Massachusetts, beyond which, proceeding eastward, I saw 
none. They are in fact unknown in the State of Maine, as well as in the 
British provinces. 

Their migration is performed mostly during night, when they move 
slowly from bush to bush, scarcely ever extending their flight beyond the 
breadth of the rivers which they meet with. In a place where not an in- 
dividual is to be seen in an afternoon, in the months of April or May, a 
considerable number may be found the following morning. They seem 
to give a preference to the Middle States during the summer season. 
Pennsylvania is particularly favoured by them ; and it would be difficult 
to walk through an orchard or garden, along a field, or the borders of a 
wood, without being saluted by their plaintive notes. They breed in 
these places with much carelessness, placing their nests in any bush, tree, 
or briar that seems adapted for the purpose, and seeming to think it un- 
necessary to conceal them from man, who indeed ought to protect such 
amiable birds, but who sometimes destroys them in revenge for the trifling 
depredations which they commit on the fruits of the garden. 

No sooner has the Cat Bird made its appearance in the country of its 



172 CAT BIRD. 

choice, than its song is heard from the topmost branches of the trees 
around, in the dawn of the morning. This song is a compound of many 
of the gentler trills and sweeter modulations of our various woodland 
choristers, delivered with apparent caution, and with all the attention and 
softness necessary to enable the performer to please the ear of his mate. 
Each cadence passes on without faltering; and if you are acquainted 
with the song of the birds he so sweetly imitates, you are sure to recog- 
nise the manner of the different species. When the warmth of his loving 
bosom engages him to make choice of the notes of our best songsters, he 
brings forth sounds as mellow and as powerful as those of the Thrasher 
and Mocking Bird. These medleys, when heard in the calm and balmy 
hours of retiring day, always seem to possess a double power, and he 
must have a dull ear indeed, and little rehsh for the simple melodies of 
nature, who can listen to them without delight. 

The manners of this species are lively, and at intervals border on the 
grotesque. It is extremely sensitive, and will follow an intruder to a 
considerable distance, wailing and mewing as it passes from one tree to 
another, its tail now jerked and thrown from side to side, its wings 
drooping, and its breast deeply inchned. On such occasions, it would 
fain peck at your hand ; but these exhibitions of irritated feeling seldom 
take place after the young are sufficiently grown to be able to take care 
of themselves. In some instances, I have known this bird to recognise at 
once its friend from its foe, and to suffer the former even to handle the 
treasure deposited in its nest, with all the marked assurance of the know- 
ledge it possessed of its safety; when, on the contrary, the latter had to 
bear all its anger. The sight of a dog seldom irritates it, while a single 
glance at the wily cat excites the most painful paroxysms of alarm. It 
never neglects to attack a snake with fury, although it often happens that 
it becomes the sufferer for its temerity. 

The vulgar name which this species bears, has probably rendered it 
more conspicuous than it would otherwise be, and has also served to bring 
it into some degree of contempt with persons not the best judges of the 
benefits it confers on the husbandman in early spring, when, with indus- 
trious care, it cleanses his fruit-trees of thousands of larvae and insects, 
which, in a single day, would destroy, while yet in the bud, far more of 
his fruit than the Cat Bird would eat in a whole season. But alas, selfish- 
ness, the usual attendant of ignorance, not only heaps maledictions on the 
harmless bird, but dooms it to destruction. The naughty boys pelt the 



CAT BIRD. 173 

poor thrush with stones, and destroy its nest whenever an opportunity 
presents; the farmer shoots it to save a pear ; and the gardener to save a 
raspberry ; some hate it, not knowing why : in a word, excepting the 
poor, nearly extirpated crow, I know no bird more generally despised and 
tormented than this charming songster. 

The attachment which the Cat Bird shews towards its eggs or young 
is affecting. It even possesses a humanity, or rather a generosity and 
o-entleness, worthy of beings more elevated in the scale of nature. It has 
been known to nurse, feed, and raise the young of other species, for which 
no room could be afforded in their nests. It will sit on its eggs after the 
nest has been displaced, or even after it has been carried from one bush 
to another. 

Like all our other Thrushes, this is very fond of bathing and rolling 
itself in the dust or sand of the roads or fields. Several are frequently 
seen together on the borders of small ponds or clear rivulets, immersed up 
to their body, splashing the water about tl>em until completely wetted ; 
then, ascending to the tops of the nearest bushes, they plume them- 
selves with apparent care, notwithstanding which they are at times so in- 
fested with a minute species of louse as to be destroyed by it. This is 
also the case with the Mocking Bird and the Ferruginous Thrush, many 
individuals of which I have known to be killed by these parasitic animals. 

Although the Cat Bird is a pleasant songster, it is seldom kept in a 
cage, and I believe all attempts at breeding it in aviaries have failed. Its 
food consists of fruits and berries of all descriptions, worms, wasps, and 
various other insects. Its flight is low, often rapid, and somewhat pro- 
tracted, generally performed by gUdings, accompanied with sudden jerks 
of the tail. It moves on the ground with alertness and grace, not unfre- 
quently going before a person the whole length of the garden-walk. 

The nest of the Cat Bird is large, composed externally of dry twigs 
and briars, mixed with withered leaves, weeds, and grass, and lined with 
black fibrous roots, neatly arranged in a circular form. The eggs are 
from four to six, of a plain glossy greenish-blue, without spots. Two 
and sometimes three broods are raised in the season. 

I have placed a pair of these birds on a branch of the Blackberry 
Bush, on the fruit of which they feed. The young attain their full 
plumage before they depart in autumn. 



174 CAT BIRD. 

TuRDus FELivox, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 75- 
MusciCAPA CAROHNENSis, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 328 — Lath. Ind. Ornith. 

vol. ii. p. 483. 
Orpheus felivox, Swains, and Richards. Fauna Bor. Amer. part ii. p. 192. 
Cat Bird, Turdus lividds, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 90. pi. 20. fig. 3 — 

Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 332. 

Adult Male. Plate CXXVIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill of moderate length, rather weak, slightly arched, broad at the 
base, compressed towards the end acute ; upper mandible with the ridge 
rather acute, the sides convex, the edges sharp, the tip a little decUnate ; 
lower mandible nearly straight. Nostrils basal, oblong, half closed above 
by a membrane, and partially concealed by the feathers. Head of ordi- 
nary size, neck rather long, general form slender. Feet of ordinary 
length, slender ; tarsus compressed, anteriorly scutellate, acute behind ; 
toes free, scutellate above, the lateral ones nearly equal ; hind toe rather 
stronger ; claws compressed, arched, acute. 

Plumage soft and blended. Bristles at the base of the bill. Feathers 
of the hind head longish. Wings of ordinary length, broad, rounded, 
the fifth quill longest, the fourth nearly equal, the first very short. Tail 
long, rounded, of twelve straight narrowly rounded feathers. 

Bill black. Iris hazel. Feet dark umber. The general colour of 
the plumage above is blackish-grey, the head and tail brownish-black, as 
are the inner webs of the quills. The cheeks, and under surface in gene- 
ral, deep bluish-grey, the abdomen paler, and the under tail-coverts 
brownish-red. The outer tail-feather transversely barred with white on 
the inner web. 

Length 9 inches, extent of wings 12 ; bill along the ridge ^^, along 
the edge jf| ; tarsus \^^. 

Adult Female. Plate CXXVIII. Fig. 2. 

The female is a little paler in the tints of the plumage, but in other re- 
spects is similar to the male. 

The Cat Bird, both in the form of its bill, and the colour of its plu- 
mage, as well as in many of its habits, is closely allied to several Flycatchers, 
while in other respects it approaches the genus Turdus, and especially 
that section of it which contains the Mocking Birds. 



CAT BIRD. 175 



The Blackberry. 

RuBUS viLLOSus, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. ii. p, 1085. Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. i. 
p. 346. — IcosANDEiA PoLYGYNiA, Linn. Rosacea, Juss. 

This species of bramble is pubescent, prickly, with angular twigs ; the 
leaves ternate or quinate, with ovato-oblong, serrate, acuminate leaflets, 
downy on both sides ; the calycine leaves short, acuminate ; the flowers 
white, in a loose raceme. Blackberries are so plentiful in all parts of the 
United States, that they are gathered in great quantities, and often ex- 
posed for sale in the markets, especially those of the Eastern Districts, 
where they are applied to various domestic uses. They grow to a remark- 
ably large size in the Southern States, where the plant itself is larger and 
more productive. In Kentucky and Louisiana, I have observed a variety 
bearing fruit of a light yellow colour, which is still superior to the com- 
mon sort in flavour. 



( 176 ) 
THE GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. 

MUSCICAPA CRINITA, LiNN. 
PLATE CXXIX. Male. 

How often whilst gazing on the nest of a bird, admiring the beauty 
of its structure, or wondering at the skill displayed in securing it from 
danger, have I been led to question myself why there is often so much 
difference in the conformation and materials of those of even the same 
species, in different latitudes or localities. How often, too, while admir- 
ing the bird itself, have I in vain tried to discover the causes why more 
mental and corporeal hardihood should have been granted to certain indi- 
viduals, which although small and seemingly more delicate than others, 
are wont to force their way, and that at an early season, quite across the 
whole extent of the United States ; while others, of greater bodily magni- 
tude, equal powers of flight, and similar courage, never reach so far, in 
fact merely enter our country or confine their journeys to half the dis- 
tance to which the others reach. The diminutive Ruby-throated Hum- 
ming-bird, the delicate Winter Wren, and many warblers^ all birds of 
comparatively short flight, are seen to push their way from the West 
India Islands, or the table-lands of Mexico and South America, farther 
north than our boundary-lines, before they reach certain localities, which 
we cannot look upon but as being the favourite places of rendezvous al- 
lotted to these beings for their summer abode. 

How wonderful have I thought it that all birds wliich migrate are 
not equally privileged. Why do not the Turkey Buzzard, the Fork- 
tailed Hawk, and many others possessing remarkable ease and power of 
flight, visit the same places ? There the Vulture would find its favourite 
carrion during the heat of the dog-days, and the Hawk abundance of in- 
sects. Why do not the Pigeons found in the south ever visit the State 
of Maine, when one species, the Columba migratoria, is permitted to 
ramble over the whole extent of our vast country ? And why does the 
small Pewee go so far north, accompanied by the Tyrant Flycatcher ; 
while the Titirit, larger and stronger than either, remains in the Floridas 
and Carolinas, and the Great Crested Flycatcher, the bird now before 
you, seldom travels farther east than Connecticut ? Reader, can you as- 
sist me ? 1 



GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. 177 

The places chosen by the Great Crested Flycatcher for its nest are so 
peculiar, and the composition of its fabric is so very different from that 
of all others of the genus with which I am acquainted, that perhaps no 
one on seeing it for the first time, would imagine it to belong to a Fly- 
catcher. There is nothing of the elegance of some, or of the curious tex- 
ture of others, displayed in it. Unlike its kinsfolk, it is contented to seek 
a retreat in the decayed part of a tree, of a fence-rail, or even of a pros- 
trate log mouldering on the ground. I have found it placed in a short 
stump at the bottom of a ravine, where the tracks of racoons were as close 
together as those of a flock of sheep in a fold, and again in the lowest 
fence-rail, where the black snake could have entered it, sucked the eggs 
or swallowed the young with more ease than by ascending to some large 
branches of a tree forty feet from the ground, where after all the reptile 
not unfrequently searches for such dainties. In all those situations, our 
bird seeks a place for its nest, which is composed of more or fewer mate- 
rials, as the urgency may require, and I have observed that in the nests 
nearest the ground, the greatest quantity of grass, fibrovis roots, feathers, 
hair of different quadrupeds, and exuviae of snakes was accumulated. The 
nest is at all times a loose mass under the above circumstances. Some- 
times, when at a great height, very few materials are used, and in more 
than one instance I found the eggs merely deposited on the decaying par- 
ticles of the wood, at the bottom of a hole in a broken branch of a tree, 
sometimes of one that had been worked out by the grey squirrel. The 
eggs are from four to six, of a pale cream colour, thickly streaked with 
deep purplish-brown of different tints, and, I believe, seldom more than 
a single brood is raised in the season. 

The Great Crested Flycatcher arrives in Louisiana and the adjacent 
country in March. Many remain there and breed, but the greater num- 
ber advance towards the Middle States, and disperse among the lofty woods, 
preferring at all times sequestered places. I have thought that they gave 
a preference to the high lands, and yet I have often observed them in the 
low sandy woods of New Jersey. Louisiana, and the countries along the 
Mississippi, together with the State of Ohio, are the districts most visited 
by this species in one direction, and in another the Atlantic States as far 
as Massachusetts. In this last, however, it is very seldom met with un- 
less in the vicinity of the mountains, where occasionally some are found 
breeding. Farther eastward it is entirely unknown. 

Tyrannical perhaps in a degree surpassing the King Bird itself, it 



178 GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. 

yet seldom chases the larger birds of prey, but, unlike the Bee Martin, 
prefers attacking those smaller ones which inadvertently approach its nest 
or its station. Among themselves these birds have frequent encounters, 
on which occasions they shew an unrelenting fierceness almost amounting 
to barbarity. The plutking of a conquered rival is sometimes witnessed. 

In its flight this bird moves swiftly and with power. It sweeps after 
its prey with a determined zeal, and repeatedly makes its mandibles clat- 
ter with uncommon force and rapidity. When the prey is secured, and 
it has retired to the spray on which it was before, it is seen to beat the 
insect on it, and swallow it with greediness, after which its crest is boldly 
erected, and its loud harsh squeak immediately resounds, imitating the 
syllables paiip, paip, payup, payiup. No association takes place among 
different families, and yet the solicitude of the male towards his mate, and 
of the parent birds towards their young, is exemplary. The latter are 
fed and taught to provide for themselves, with a gentleness which might 
be copied by beings higher in the scale of nature, and in them might meet 
with as much gratitude as that expressed by the young Flycatchers to- 
wards their anxious parents. The family remain much together while in 
the United States, and go off in company early in September. This spe- 
cies, like the Tyrant Flycatcher, migrates by day, and during its jour- 
neys is seen passing at a great height. 

The squeak or sharp note of the Great Crested Flycatcher is easily 
distinguished from that of any of the genus, as it transcends all others in 
shrillness, and is heard mostly in those dark woods where, recluse-like, it 
seems to delight. During the love-season, and as long as the male is pay- 
ing his addresses to the female, or proving to her that he is happy in her 
society, it is heard for hours both at early dawn and sometimes after sun- 
set ; but as soon as the yovmg are out, the whole family are mute. 

It feeds principally upon insects, so long as these are abundant ; but 
frequently in autumn, and as it retrogrades from the Middle Districts, its 
food is grapes and several species of berries, among which those of the 
pokeweed are conspicuous. While in the woods, its flight is peculiarly 
rapid : it dashes through the upper branches of the tallest trees like an 
arrow, and often sweeps from this elevated range close to the earth, to 
seize an insect, which it has espied issuing from among the grass or the 
fallen leaves. 



GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. 179 



MusciCAPA CRIKITA, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 325 — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. 

p. 485 — Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 67. 
Great Crested Flycatcher, Muscicapa crinita, Wils, Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. 

p. 75. pi. 13. fig. 2 Kuttall, Manual, part i. p. 271. 

Adult Male. Plate CXXIX. Fig. 1. 

Bill rather long, stout, broader than deep, excepting towards the end, 
where it is compressed ; upper mandible with the ridge broad and nearly 
straight, the sides convex, the tip declinate, the edges sharp, with a sinus 
close to the tip ; lower mandible with the back broad at the base, the 
sides convex, the ridge rather sharp towards the end, the edges sharp. 
Nostrils basal, lateral, roundish, partly covered by the bristly feathers. 
Head rather large, but the general form rather slender. Feet short ; 
tarsus very short, covered anteriorly with a few scutella, sharp behind ; 
toes free, scutellate, slender ; claws arched, much compressed, very acute. 

Plumage soft and blended. Feathers of the head pointed and elon- 
gated. Wings of ordinary length, broad, rounded, the fourth and fifth 
quills longest. Tail rather long, slightly forked, of twelve rounded 
feathers. The bristles at the base of the bill strong. 

Bill and legs brownish-black. Iris brown. The colour of the upper 
parts is dull greenish-olive. Quills and coverts dark brown, the primaries 
margined with light reddish-brown, the secondaries with white, of which 
there are two bars across the wing, formed by the tips of the secondary 
coverts and first row of small coverts. Inner webs of the tail-feathers 
light ferruginous, as are those of the quills. Sides of the head and neck 
bluish-grey. The under parts in general lemon-yellow 

Length 8| inches, extent of wings 13 ; bill along the ridge ■^^, along 
the edge l^ ; tarsus /j. 

The Female resembles the male. 



M 2 



( 180 ) 

THE YELLOW-WINGED SPARROW. 

Fringilla passerina, Wils. 

PLATE CXXX. Male. 

This is another of those remarkable species which pass unobserved 
from the Mexican dominions and some of the West India Islands, to 
the middle portions of our Atlantic States. Not one of the species have 
I ever met with in Louisiana, the Floridas, any of the other Southern 
States, or those west of the Alleghany range ; while from Maryland to 
Maine it is found in considerable numbers, and is not uncommon in Penn- 
sylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. In aU the States it 
prefers the neighbourhood of the coast and a light sandy soil. It arrives 
in the latter districts about the 10th of May, and throws itself into the 
open newly-ploughed fields, and those covered with the valuable red 
clover. It is never found in the woodlands. Its food consists of such 
insects and larvae as are found on the ground, together with the seeds of 
grasses and other plants. 

Its flight is low, short, and performed by a kind of constant tremor of 
the wings, resembling that of a young bird. It alights on the tops of low 
bushes, fence-rails, and tall grasses, to sing its unmusical ditty, composed 
of a few notes weakly enunciated at intervals, but sufficing to manifest its 
attachment to its mate. Almost unregarded, it raises two broods in the 
season, perhaps three when it has chosen the warmer sandy soils in the 
vicinity of the sea, where it is evidently more abundant than in the inte- 
rior of the country. 

The nest of the Yellow-winged Sparrow is as simple as its owner is 
innocent and gentle. It is placed on the ground, and is formed of light 
dry grasses, with a scanty lining of withered fibrous roots and horse hair. 
The female deposits her first egg about the 20th of May. The eggs are 
four or five, of a dingy white, sprinkled with brown spots. The young 
follow their parents on the ground for a short time, after which they se- 
parate and search for food singly. This species, indeed, never congre- 
gates, as almost all others of its tribe do, before they depart from us, but 
the individuals seem to move off in a sulky mood, and in so concealed a 
"way, that their winter quarters are yet unknown. 



YELLOW-WINGED SPARROW. 181 

Scarcely any difference is perceptible in the plumage of the sexes, and 
by the time the young return to us the following spring, they have ob- 
tained the full plumage of their parents. 



Fringilla passerina, Ch. Bonaparte, Sjnops. of Birds of the United States, p. 109. 
Yellow-winged Sparrow, Fringilla passerina, Wils. Amer. Omith. vol. iii- 

p. 76. pi. 24. fig. 5. 
Savannah Finch, or Yellow-shouldered Bunting (Fringilla savanarum, 

Gmel.) Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 494. 

Bill short, conical, acute ; upper mandible slightly convex in its dor- 
sal outline, angular, and encroaching a little on the forehead, of the same 
breadth as the lower, with sharp and inflected edges ; lower mandible also 
inflected ont he edges ; gap-line slightly deflected at the base. Nostrils 
basal, roundish, open, concealed by the feathers. Head rather large, 
neck short, body full. Feet of moderate length, slender ; tarsus covered 
anteriorly with a few longish scutella, acute behind ; toes free, scutellate 
above, the lateral ones nearly equal ; claws slender, compressed, acute, 
slightly arched, that of the hind toe elongated. 

Plumage soft and blended, slightly glossed. Wings shortish, curved, 
rounded, the first and second primaries longest, the third scarcely shorter : 
the secondaries long, but less so than in the Henslow Bunting, which be- 
longs to the same group. Tail short, small, rounded, slightly emargi- 
nate, of twelve narrow, tapering feathers. 

Bill flesh-coloured beneath, dusky above. Iris dark brown. Feet 
light flesh-coloured. The general colour of the upper parts is light 
greyish-brown, mixed on the neck with ash-grey tints, the central parts 
of the feathers brownish-black, the margins of those of the back bright 
chestnut. The upper part of the head brownish-black, with a longitudi- 
nal central line of brownish- white. Secondary coverts dusky, margined 
with greyish -white ; along the flexure of the wing the small feathers are 
bright yellow, whence the name of the species. Quills wood-brown, mar- 
gined with pale yellowish-brown. Tail-feathers of the same colour, the 
outermost much paler. The under parts pale yellowish-grey, the breast 
of a richer tint, being of a light yellowish-brown, its sides anteriorly spot- 
ted with brownish-black. 

Length 4{ g inches, extent of wings 8 ; bill along the ridge p^ , along 
the edge ^ ; tarsus |, middle toe a little more than 2, hind toe j\. 



18JJ YELLOW-WINGED SPARROW. 

This species forms part of a group more allied to the Buntings than 
to the Finches, and composed of Henslow's Bunting or Finch, the Sa- 
vannah Finch, and the Yellow-winged Sparrow. They are all very 
closely allied, so that it is somewhat difficult to distinguish them. 

Let us compare the Yellow-winged Sparrow in the first place, with 
the Henslow Bunting, described at p. 360 of Vol. I. 

In Henslow's Bunting the bill is smaller, and has the margin less 
sinuous ; the tarsi are shorter, being only Vg (erroneously | in the de- 
scription), while those of the present species are |. The feet of the lat- 
ter are also stronger, and the toes a little longer. The colouring of the 
upper parts is very similar ; but the present species has a distinct white 
line along the middle of the head, whereas the other has the same part 
of the general olivaceous tint of the hind-neck, the quills are differently 
coloured on their margins, and while the present species is unspotted on 
the breast and sides, the other is distinctly streaked. 

But besides these differences the feathers present others still more de- 
cisive. The tail of Henslow's Bunting is 2| inches long, graduated, 
with narrower feathers, which taper to a point, while that of the Yellow- 
winged Sparrow is only \\% rounded, much stronger, with broader 
(though still very narrow) feathers, having a narrow rounded point. Then 
in the first the secondaries are so long as to be only -^^ shorter than the 
longest primary, whereas in the second they are ^ inch shorter. In the 
first the third quill is longest, while in the second the first exceeds the 
others, although in neither is there any great difference between the first 
three quills in length. 

But the Yellow- winged Sparrow is much more closely allied to the 
Savannah Finch than to Henslow's Bunting. 

The colouring of the upper parts is almost the same, but the Savan- 
nah Finch has very little of the bright bay tints, and the flexure of the 
wing is so slightly tinged with yellow that one might be apt to overlook 
it. There is a central whitish streak on the head of the Savannah Finch, 
as on that of the Yellow- winged Sparrow. The great difference in colour- 
ing lies in the circumstance, that while the throat, breast, and sides of the 
latter are unspotted, those of the former are very conspicuously marked 
with longitudinal dark brown streaks, margined with reddish-brown. 

The bills and feet are of the same form, but the bill of the Savannah 
Finch is much less robust, and its feet rather more so. In the Savannah 
Finch the secondaries are proportionally as long as in the Henslow Bunt- 



YELLOW- WINGED SPARROW. 183 

ing, and the third and fourth quills are longest ; whereas in the Yellow- 
winged Sparrow the first is longest, and in the Henslow Bunting the 
third. 



Having in my possession a fine specimen of a new species allied to the 
above, but still more decidedly an Emberiza, I embrace this opportunity 
of describing it. The species having been discovered, in the vicinity of 
Philadelphia, by Dr Townsend of that city, I cannot dedicate it VNith 
equal propriety to any other individual, ; nd I am happy in thus paying 
my tribute of respect to him for his great attainments in ornithology. 

TOWNSEND'S BUNTING. 

Emberiza Townsendit- 

In form this species is compact and rather robust, like the common 
Sparrow of Europe, or the Black- throated Bunting of America. The bill 
is short, strong, conical, compressed, acute ; the upper mandible narrower, 
with its dorsal line a little convex, as is that of the lower, the edges of 
both inflected, and the gap-line declinate at the base. Nostrils round- 
ish, basal. Feet of ordinary length and thickness, the tarsus with seven 
anterior scutella, and two lateral plates meeting behind so as to form an 
edge ; lateral toes equal, the outer united as far as the second joint, hind- 
toe strong ; claws arched, compressed, acute, with a lateral groove. 

The wings are short, the first quill longest, the next scarcely shorter, 
the rest graduated, the second, third, and fourth, very slightly cut out on 
the outer web towards the end, the secondaries rounded, the outer slightly 
emarginate. Tail of moderate length, and slightly emarginate. The 
plumage is soft and rather compact. 

Bill brownish-black above, light blue beneath, with a longitudinal 
black line from the tip half way to the base. Iris light hazel. Feet and 
claws dusky brown. Head above deep bluish-grey, streaked with black ; 
the cheeks, hind-neck, sides of the neck, fore part of the breast, and the 
sides of the same colour, becoming paler backwards. Back bluish-grey, 
each feather with a narrow dark brown central streak bordered with light 
brown, the margins grey ; the rump grey, without streaks. Quills and 



184 



YELLOW- WINGED SPARROW^. 



tail wood-brown, slightly edged with paler, wing-coverts light brown, the 
central parts of the feathers darker. There is a narrow white line over 
the eye, and the minute feathers margining the eyelids are of the same 
colour. The throat and fore-neck are white. A line of short brownish- 
black streaks passes on either side from the base of the lower mandible, 
separating a narrow portion of the white space, and margining the lower 
part of it, although there the streaks are scattered ; the middle part of 
the breast and abdomen are also greyish-white. 

Length 5| inches, extent of wings 9 ; bill along the ridge /^ ; tar- 



( 185 ) 



DEATH OF A PIRATE. 

In the calm of a fine moonlight night, as I was admiring the beauty 
of the clear heavens, and the broad glare of light that glanced from the 
trembling surface of the waters around, the officer on watch came up and 
entered into conversation with me. He had been a turtler in other years, 
and a great hunter to boot, and although of humble birth and pretensions, 
energy and talent, aided by education, had raised him to a higher station. 
Such a man could not fail to be an agreeable companion, and we talked 
on various subjects, principally, you may be sure, birds and other natural 
productions. He told me he once had a disagreeable adventure, when 
looking out for game, in a certain cove on the shores of the Gulf of 
Mexico ; and, on my expressing a desire to hear it, he willingly related 
to me the following particulars, which I give you, not perhaps precisely 
in his own words, but as nearly so as I can remember. 

" Towards evening, one quiet summer day, I chanced to be paddling 
along a sandy shore, which I thought well fitted for my repose, being co- 
vered with tall grass, and as the sun was not many degrees above the 
horizon, I felt anxious to pitch my musq[uito bar or net, and spend the 
night in this wilderness. The bellowing notes of thousands of bull-frogs 
in a neighbouring swamp might lull me to rest, and I looked upon the 
flocks of blackbirds that were assembling as sure companions in this se- 
cluded retreat. 

I proceeded up a little stream, to insure the safety of my canoe from 
any sudden storm, when, as I gladly advanced, a beautiful yawl came un- 
expectedly in view. Surprised at such a sight in a part of the country 
then scarcely known, I felt a sudden check in the circulation of my blood. 
My paddle dropped from my hands, and fearfully indeed, as I picked it 
up, did I look towards the unknown boat. On reaching it, I saw its sides 
marked with stains of blood, and looking with anxiety over the gunwale, 
I perceived to my horror, two human bodies covered with gore. Pirates 
or hostile Indians I was persuaded had perpetrated the foul deed, and 
my alarm naturally increased ; my heart fluttered, stopped, and heaved 
with unusual tremors, and I looked towards the setting sun in consterna- 
tion and despair. How long my reveries lasted I cannot tell ; I can only 
recollect that I was roused from them by the distant groans of one appa- 



186 DEATH OF A PIRATE. 

rently in mortal agony. I felt as if refreshed, by the cold perspiration 
that oozed from every pore, and I reflected that though alone, I was well 
armed, and might hope for the protection of the Almighty. 

Humanity whispered to me that, if not surprised and disabled, I might 
render assistance to some sufferer, or even be the means of saving a useful 
life. Buoyed up by this thought, I urged my canoe on shore, and seiz- 
ing it by the bow, pulled it at one spring high among the grass. 

The o-roans of the unfortunate person fell heavy on my ear, as I cock- 
ed and reprimed my gun, and I felt determined to shoot the first that 
should rise from the grass. As I cautiously proceeded, a hand was raised 
over the weeds, and waved in the air in the most supplicating manner. 
I levelled my gun about a foot below it, when the next moment, the head 
and breast of a man covered with blood were convulsively raised, and a 
faint hoarse voice asked me for mercy and help ! A death-like silence 
followed his fall to the ground. I surveyed every object around with 
eyes intent, and ears impressible by the slightest sound, for my situation 
that moment I thought as critical as any I had ever been in. The croak- 
ino-s of the frogs, and the last blackbirds ahghting on their roosts, were 
the only sounds or sights; and I now proceeded towards the object of my 
mingled alarm and commiseration. 

Alas ! the poor being who lay prostrate at my feet, was so weakened 
by loss of blood, that I had nothing to fear from him. My first impulse 
was to run back to the water, and having done so, I returned with my 
cap filled to the brim. I felt at his heart, washed his face and breast, and 
rubbed his temples with the contents of a phial, which I kept about me 
as an antidote for the bites of snakes. His features, seamed by the ravages 
of time, looked frightful and disgusting ; but he had been a powerful 
man, as the breadth of his chest plainly shewed. He groaned in the most 
appalling manner, as his breath struggled through the mass of blood that 
seemed to fill his throat. His dress plainly disclosed his occupation : — a 
large pistol he had thrust into his bosom, a naked cutlass lay near him on 
the ground, a red silk handkerchief was bound over his projecting brows, 
and over a pair of loose trowsers he wore fisherman's boots. He was, in 
short, a pirate. 

My exertions were not in vain, for as I continued to bathe his temples, 
he revived, his pulse resumed some strength, and I began to hope that 
he might perhaps survive the deep wounds which he had received. Park- 



DEATH OF A PIRATE. 187 

ness, deep darkness, now enveloped us. I spoke of making a tire. " Oh ! 
for mercy's sake," he exclaimed, " don't." Knowing, however, that under 
existing circumstances it was expedient for me to do so, I left him, went 
to his boat, and brought the rudder, the benches, and the oars, which 
with my hatchet I soon splintered. I then struck a light, and presently 
stood in the glare of a blazing fire. The pirate seemed struggling be- 
tween terror and gratitude for my assistance ; he desired me several times 
in half English and Spanish to put out the flames, but after I had given 
him a draught of strong spirits, he at length became more composed. I 
tried to staunch the blood that flowed from the deep gashes in his shoulders 
and side. I expressed my regret that I had no food about me, but when 
I spoke of eating he sullenly waved his head. 

My situation was one of the most extraordinary that I have ever been 
placed in. I naturally turned my talk towards religious subjects, but, 
alas, the dying man hardly believed in the existence of a God. " Friend," 
said he, " for friend you seem to be, I never studied the ways of Him of 
whom you talk. I am an outlaw, perhaps you will say a wretch, — I 
have been for many years a Pirate. The instructions of my parents 
were of no avail to me, for I have always believed that I was born to be 
a most cruel man. I now lie here, about to die in the weeds, because I long 
ago refused to listen to their many admonitions. Do not shudder when 
I tell you — these now useless hands murdered the mother whom they had 
embraced. I feel that I have deserved the pangs of the wretched death 
that hovers over me ; and I am thankful that one of my kind will alone 
witness my last gaspings." 

A fond but feeble hope that I might save his life, and perhaps assist 
in procuring his pardon, induced me to speak to him on the subject. " It 
is all in vain, friend — I have no objection to die — I am glad that the 
villains who wounded me were not my conquerors — I want no pardon 
from any one — Give me some water, and let me die alone. 

With the hope that I might learn from his conversation something 
that might lead to the capture of his guilty associates, I returned from 
the creek with another capful of water, nearly the whole of which I ma- 
naged to introduce into his parched mouth, and begged him, for the sake 
of his future peace, to disclose his history to me. " It is impossible," 
said he, " there will not be time ; the beatings of my heart tell me so. 
Long before day, these sinewy limbs will be motionless. Nay, there will 



188 DEATH OF A PIRATE. 

hardly be a drop of blood in ray body ; and that blood will only serve to 
make the grass grow. My wounds are mortal, and I must and will die 
without what you call confession." 

The moon rose in the east. The majesty of her placid beauty im- 
pressed me with reverence. 1 pointed towards her, and asked the Pirate 
if he could not recognise God's features there. " Friend, I see what you 
are driving at," was his answer, — " you, like the rest of our enemies, feel 
the desire of murdering us all. — Well — be it so — to die is after all nothing 
more than a jest ; and were it not for the pain, no one, in my opinion, 
need care a jot about it. But, as you really have befriended me, I will 
tell you all that is proper." 

Hoping his mind might take a useful turn, I again bathed his temples 
and washed his lips with spirits. His sunk eyes seemed to dart fire at 
mine — a heavy and deep sigh swelled his chest and struggled through his 
blood-choked throat, and he asked me to raise him for a little. I did so, 
when he addressed me somewhat as follows, for, as I have told you, his 
speech was a mixture of Spanish, French and English, forming a jargon, 
the like of which I had never heard before, and which I am utterly un- 
able to imitate. However I shall give you the substance of his declara- 
tion. 

" First tell me, how many bodies you found in the boat, and what 
sort of dresses they had on." I mentioned their number, and described 
their apparel. " That's right,'' said he, " they are the bodies of the 
scoundrels who followed me in that infernal Yankee barge. Bold ras- 
cals they were, for when they found the water too shallow for their 
craft, they took to it and waded after me. All my companions had 
been shot, and to lighten my own boat I flung them overboard ; but as 
I lost time in this, the two ruffians caught hold of my gunwale, and struck 
on my head and body in such a manner, that after I had disabled and 
killed them both in the boat, I was scarce able to move. The other vil- 
lains carried off our schooner and one of our boats, and perhaps ere now 
have hung all my companions whom they did not kill at the time. I 
have commanded my beautiful vessel many years, captured many ships, 
and sent many rascals to the devil. I always hated the Yankees, and only 
regret that I have not killed more of them. — I sailed from Mantanzas. — 
I have often been in concert with others. I have money without count- 
ing, but it is buried where it will never be found, and it would be useless 
to tell you of it." His throat filled with blood, his voice failed, the cold 



DEATH OF A PIRATE, 189 

liand of death was laid on his brow, feebly and hm-riedly he muttered, 
"• I am a dying man, farewell !" 

Alas ! It is painful to see death in any shape ; in this it was horrible, 
for there was no hope. The rattling of his throat announced the moment 
of dissolution, and already did the body fall on my arms with a weight 
that was insupportable. I laid him on the ground. A mass of dark 
blood poured from his mouth ; then came a frightful groan, the last brea- 
thing of that foul spirit ; and what now lay at my feet in the wild desert ? 
— a mangled mass of clay ! 

The remainder of that night was passed in no enviable mood ; but my 
feehngs cannot be described. At dawn I dug a hole with the paddle of 
my canoe, rolled the body into it, and covered it. On reaching the boat 
I found several buzzards feeding on the bodies, which I in vain attempted 
to drag to the shore. I therefore covered them with mud and weeds, and 
launching my canoe, paddled from the cove with a secret joy for my es- 
cape, overshaded with the gloom of mingled dread and abhorrence." 



( 19^» ) 



THE AMERICAN ROBIN OR MIGRATORY 
THRUSH. 

TuRDus mighatorius, Linn. 

PLATE CXXXI. Male, Female, Youkg, and Nest. 

The first land-bird seen by me, when I stepped upon the rugged 
shores of Labrador, was the Robin ; its joyful notes were the first that 
saluted my ear. Large patches of unmelted snow still dappled the sur- 
face of that wild country ; and although vegetation was partially re- 
newed, the chillness of the air was so peculiarly penetrating, that it 
brought to the mind a fearful anxiety for the future. The absence of 
trees, properly so called, the barren aspect of all around, the sombre 
mantle of the mountainous distance that hung along the horizon, excited 
the most melancholy feelings ; and I could scarcely refrain from shedding 
tears when I heard the song of the Thrush, sent there as if to reconcile 
me to my situation. That song brought with it a thousand pleasing 
associations referring to the beloved land of my youth, and soon inspired 
me with resolution to persevere in my hazardous enterprise. 

The traveller who, for the first time in his life, treads the wastes of 
Labrador, is apt to believe that what he has been told or read of it, must 
be at least in part true. So it was with me : I had conceived that I 
should meet with numberless Indians who would afford me much infor- 
mation respecting its rivers, lakes, and mountains, and who, like those of 
the far west, would assist me in procuring the objects of my search. But 
alas ! how disappointed was I when, in rambling along three hundred 
miles of coast, I scarcely met with a single native Indian, and was as- 
sured that there were none in the interior. The few straggling parties 
that were seen by my companions or myself, consisted entirely of half- 
bred descendants of " the mountaineers ;"" and, as to Esquimaux, there 
were none on that side of the country. Rivers, such as the Natasguan, 
which on the maps are represented as of considerable length, degenerated 
into short, narrow, and shallow creeks. Scarcely any of its innumerable 
lakes exceeded in size what are called ponds in the Southern States ; and, 
although many species of birds are plentiful, they are far less numerous 
than they were represented to us by the fishermen and others before we 



AMERICAN ROBIN. 191 

left Eastport. But our business at present is with the Robin, who greeted 
our arrival. 

This bird breeds from North Carolina, on the eastern side of the 
AUeghany Mountains, to the 56th degree of north latitude, and perhaps 
still farther. On the western side of those mountains, it is found tolerably 
abundant, from the lower parts of Kentucky to Canada, at all times of 
the year ; and, notwithstanding the snow and occasional severe winters of 
Massachusetts and Maine, flocks remain in those States the whole season. 
Thousands, however, migrate into Louisiana, the Floridas, Georgia, and 
the Carolinas, where, in winter, one cannot walk in any direction without 
meeting several of them. While at Fayetteville, in North Carolina, in 
October 1831, I found that the Robins had already arrived and joined 
those which breed there. The weather was still warm and beautiful, and 
the woods, in every direction, were alive with them, and echoed with their 
song. They reached Charleston by the end of that month. Their ap- 
pearance in Louisiana seldom takes place before the middle of November. 
In all the Southern States, about that period, and indeed during the sea- 
son, until they return in March, their presence is productive of a sort of 
jubilee among the gunners, and the havoc made among them with bows 
and arrows, blowpipes, guns, and traps of different sorts, is wonderful. 
Every gunner brings them home by bagfuls, and the markets are supplied 
with them at a very cheap rate. Several persons may at this season 
stand round the foot of a tree loaded with berries, and shoot the greater 
part of the day, so fast do the flocks of Robins succeed each other They 
are then fat and juicy, and afford excellent eating. 

During the winter they feed on the berries and fruits of our woods, 
fields, gardens, and even of the ornamental trees of our cities and villages. 
The holly, the sweet-gum, the gall-berry, and the poke, are those which 
they first attack ; but, as these fail, which is usually the case in January, 
they come nearer the towns and farm-houses, and feed voraciously on the 
caperia berry {Ilex caperia), the wild-orange berry (Prunus caroliniana), 
and the berries of the pride of India {Melia azedarach). With these 
they are often choked, so that they fall from the trees, and are easily 
caught. When they feed on the berries of the poke-plant, the rich crim- 
son juices colour the stomach and flesh of these birds to such an extent 
as to render their appearance, when plucked, disagreeable ; and although 
their flesh retains its usual savour, many persons decline eating them. 
Dunng summer and spring they devour snails and worms, and at La- 



r«2 AMERICAN ROBIN. 

brador I saw some feeding on small shells, which they probed or broke 
with ease. 

Toward the approach of spring they throw themselves upon the newly 
ploughed grounds, into the gardens, and the interior of woods, the under- 
growth of which has been cleared of grass by fire, to pick up ground- 
worms, grubs, and other insects, on which, when perched, they descend 
in a pouncing manner, swallowing the prey in a moment, jerking their 
tail, beating their wings, and returning to their stations. They also now 
and then pick up the seed of the maize from the fields. 

Whenever the sun shines warmly over the earth, the old males tune 
their pipe, and enliven the neighbourhood Avith their song. The young 
also begin to sing ; and, before they depart for the east, they have all be- 
come musical. By the 10th of April, the Robins have reached the Middle 
Districts ; the blossoms of the dogwood are then peeping forth in every 
part of the budding woods ; the fragrant sassafras, the red flowers of the 
maple, and hundreds of other plants, have already banished the dismal 
appearance of winter. The snows are all melting away, and nature 
again, in all the beauty of spring, promises happiness and abundance to 
the whole animal creation. Then it is that the Robin, perched on a 
fence-stake, or the top of some detached tree of the field, gives vent to 
the warmth of his passion. His lays are modest, lively, and ofttimes of 
considerable power ; and although his song cannot be compared with that 
of the Thrasher, its vivacity and simplicity never fail to fill the breast of 
the listener with pleasing sensations. Every one knows the Robin and 
his song. Excepting in the shooting season, he is cherished by old and 
young, and is protected by all with anxious care. 

The nest of this bird is frequently placed on the horizontal branch of 
an apple-tree, sometimes in the same situation on a forest-tree ; now and 
then it is found close to the house, and it is stated by Nuttall that one 
was placed in the stern timbers of an unfinished vessel at Portsmouth, 
New Hampshire, in which the carpenters were constantly at work. An- 
other, adds this amiable writer, has been known to rebuild his nest within 
a few yards of the blacksmith's anvil. I discovered one near Great Egg 
Harbour, in the State of New Jersey, affixed to the cribbing-timbers of 
an unfinished well, seven or eight feet below the surface of the ground. 
To all such situations this bird resorts, for the purpose of securing its 
eggs from the Cuckoo, which greedily sucks them. It is seldom indeed 
that children meddle with them. 



AMERICAN ROBIN. 193 

Wherever it may happen to be placed, the nest is large and well 
secured. It is composed of dry leaves, grass, and moss, which are con- 
nected internally with a thick layer of mud and roots, lined with pieces 
of straw and fine grass, and occasionally a few feathers. The eggs are 
from four to six, of a beautiful bluish-green, without spots. Two broods 
are usually raised in a season. 

The young are fed with anxious care by their tender parents, who, 
should one intrude upon them, boldly remonstrate, pass and repass by 
rapid divings, or, if moving along the branches, jerk their wings and tail 
violently, and sound a peculiar shrill note, evincing their anxiety and 
displeasure. Should you carry off their young, they follow you to a Con- 
siderable distance, and are joined by other individuals of the species. 
The young, before they are fully fledged, often leave the nest to meet 
their parents, when coming home with a supply of food. The family of 
Robins which I have grouped in the plate exhibits such an occurrence. 

During the pairing season, the male pays his addresses to the female 
of his choice frequently on the ground, and with a fervour evincing the 
strongest attachment. I have often seen him, at the earliest dawn of a 
May morning, strutting around her with all the pomposity of a pigeon. 
Sometimes along a space of ten or twelve yards, he is seen with his tail 
fully spread, his wings shaking, and his throat inflated, running over the 
grass and brushing it, as it were, until he has neared his mate, when he 
moves round her several times without once rising from the ground. 
She then receives his caresses. 

Many of these birds shew a marked partiality to the places they have 
chosen to breed in, and I have no doubt that many who escape death in 
the winter, return to those loved spots each succeeding spring. 

The flight of the Robin is swift, at times greatly elevated and capable 
of being long sustained. During the periods of its migrations, which are 
irregular, depending upon the want of food or the severity of the weather, 
it moves in loose flocks over a space of several hundred miles at once, and 
at a considerable height. From time to time a few shrill notes are heard 
from different individuals in the flock. Should the weather be calm, their 
movements are continued during the night, and at such periods the whist- 
ling noise of their wings is often heard. During heavy falls of snow and se- 
vere gales, they pitch towards the earth, or throw themselves into the woods, 
where they remain until the weather becomes more favourable. They not 
unfrequently disappear for several days from a place where they have 

VOL. II. N 



194 AMERICAN ROBIN. 

been in thousands, and again visit it. In Massachusetts and Maine, many 
spend the most severe winters in the neighbourhood of warm springs and 
spongy low grounds sheltered from the north winds. In spring they re- 
turn northward in pairs, the males having then become exceedingly irri- 
table and pugnacious. 

The o-entle and lively disposition of the Robin when raised in the 
cage, and the simplicity of his song, of which he is very lavish in con- 
finement, render him a special favourite in the Middle Districts, where he 
is as generally kept as the Mocking Bird is in the Southern States. It 
feeds on bread soaked in either milk or water, and on all kinds of fruit. 
Being equally fond of insects, it seizes on all that enter its prison. It 
will follow its owner, and come to his call, peck at his finger, or kiss his 
mouth, with seeming pleasure. It is a long-lived bird, and instances are 
reported of its having been kept for nearly twenty years. It suffers 
much in the moult, even in the wild state, and when in captivity loses 
nearly all its feathers at once. 

The young obtain their full plumage by the first spring, being spot- 
ted on the breast, and otherwise marked, as in the plate. When in con- 
finement they become darker and less brilliant in the colours, than when 
at liberty. 

So much do certain notes of the Robin resemble those of the European 
Blackbird, that frequently while in England the cry of the latter, as it 
flew hurriedly off from a hedge-row, reminded me of that of the former 
when similarly surprised, and while in America the Robin has in the 
same manner recalled the Blackbird to my recollection. 



TuEDus MiGRAToairs, Lirrn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 292. Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. 

p. 330. Ch. Bonaparte, Sjnops. of Birds of the United States, p. 75. 
Mekula MiGEAToaiA, Swains. and Richards. Fauna Bor. Amer. part ii. p. 176. 
Robin, Turdus mighatorius, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 35. pi. ii. fig. 2. 

Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 338. 

Adult Male. Plate CXXXI. Fig. 1. 

Bill of moderate length, rather strong, compressed, acute ; upper man- 
dible slightly arched in its dorsal line, with acute edges, which are notched 
close to the declinate tip ; lower mandible nearly straight along the back. 
Nostrils basal, oblong, half closed above by a membrane. The general 
form is rather slender. Feet longish, rather strong ; tarsus compressed, 
anteriorly covered with a few long scutella, sharp behind ; toes scutellate 



AMERICAN ROBIN. 195 

above, free ; the outer and middle united to the second joint, claws arched 
compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft and rather blended. Wings of moderate length round- 
ed, the first primary extremely short, the third and fourth longest. Tail 
rather long, even, of twelve broad rounded feathers. 

Bill lemon-yellow, the tip brownish, in old birds the whole is yellow. 
Iris hazel. Feet pale brown. Upper part and sides of the head brownish- 
black, fading on the back of the neck ; the upper parts in general, smoke- 
grey, tinged on the shoulders with brown. The wings and tail blackish- 
brown, with greyish edges; the first row of small wing-coverts tipped 
with pale-grey, and the end of the inner web of the outermost tail-feather, 
together with the tip of the next, white. An interrupted circle of three 
lines of white round the eye. Chin white, spotted with brownish-black. 
The under surface generally, including the wing-coverts, reddish-orange, 
fading on the abdomen into whitish. 

Length 10 inches, extent of wings 14 ; bill along the ridge |, along 
the edge \l ; tarsus \^^, middle toe 1^%. 

Adult Female. Plate CXXXI. Fig. 2. 

The colours of the female are paler, but resemble those of the male. 
Her dimensions are a little less, the length varying from 9 to 1 inches. 

Young Birds. Plate CXXXI. Fig. 3, 3, 3, 3, 3. 

The young birds are spotted with blackish-brown on the fore-neck, 
breast, and sides, which are of a paler reddish tint ; the upper parts have the 
shafts of the feathers whitish, and the bill is dark-brown. It is remark- 
able that all the Thrushes known to me which have the breast of a uni- 
form tint when old, have it spotted when young, shewing that in their 
mode of colouring the different species of the genus agree in this respect 
at one period or other. 



The Rock or Chestnut Oak. 

Qdercus MONTANA, Willd. Sp. PL vol. iv. p. 440. Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. voL ii. 
p. 634. Mich. Arbr. Forest, vol. i. p. 56. pi. 8 — Moniecia Polyandria, lAnn. 
AmentacejE, Juss. 

This species of oak is distinguished by its obovate or oblong largely 
toothed or sinuate leaves, which are acuminate, and tapering at the base, 

n2 



196 AMERICAN ROBIN. 

of a deep shining green above, whitish and downy beneath. The cu- 
pula is hemispherical, with tuberculate scales ; the acorn ovate. It grows 
to a great size, forming a fine ornament to our woods, and in open situa- 
tions spreads abroad its branches to a great extent. The wood is valu- 
able, and is much employed in the Western and Southern countries, where, 
as well as in some of the Middle Districts, it abounds. It prefers elevated 
situations, and generally occurs in dry gravelly soil. 



( 197 ) 
THE THREE-TOED WOODPECKER. 

PiCUS TRIDACTYLUS, LiNN. 
PLATE CXXXII. Male and Female. 

This curious species of Woodpecker is found in the northern parts of 
the State of Massachusetts, and in all portions of Maine that are covered 
by forests of tall trees, in which it constantly resides. I saw a few in the 
Great Pine Forest of Pennsylvania, and my friend, the Rev. John 
Bachman, observed four near the Falls of Niagara, about twelve years 
ago, and is of opinion that some may breed in the upper part of the State 
of New York. 

It is a restlessly active bird, spending its time generally on the top- 
most branches of the tallest trees, without, however, confining itself to 
pines. Although it cannot be called shy, its habitual restlessness renders 
it difficult of approach. Its movements resemble those of the Red-cock- 
aded Woodpecker, but it is still more petulant than that bird. Like it, 
it will alight, climb along a branch, seek for insects there, and in a very 
few moments remove to another part of the same tree, or to another tree 
at more or less distance, thus spending the day in rambling over a large 
extent of ground. Its cries also somewhat resemble those of the species 
above mentioned, but are louder and more shrill, like those of some small 
quadruped suffering great pain. During the middle hours of the day it 
becomes silent, and often retires to some concealed place to rest a while. 
In the afternoon of warm days, it very frequently makes sorties after fly- 
ing insects, which it seems to secure in the air with as much ease as the 
Red-headed Woodpecker. Besides insects, it also feeds on berries and 
other small fruits. 

Its flight is rapid, gliding, and deeply undulated, as it shifts from one 
place to another. Now and then it will fly from a detached tree of a 
field to a considerable distance before it alights, emitting at every glide a 
loud shrill note. When alighted, the rolling tappings of its bill against 
a dead and dried branch are as sonorous as those of the Redhead. I 
never saw one on the ground, but I have not unfrequently met with them 
searching the decayed wood of a prostrate tree. 

The nest of this species is generally bored in the body of a sound tree, 
near its first large branches. I observed no particular choice as to the 



198 THREE-TOED WOODPECKER. 

timber, having seen it in oaks, pines, &c. The neit, hke that of other 
allied species, is worked out by both sexes, and takes fully a week before 
it is completed, its usual depth being from twenty to twenty- four inches. 
It is smooth and broad at the bottom, although &o narrow at its entrance 
as to appear scarcely sufficient to enable one of the birds to enter it. The 
eggs are from four to six, rather rounded, and pure white. Only one 
brood is raised in the season. The young follow their parents until 
autumn, when they separate and shift for themselves. They do not at- 
tain their full plumage until the second year. 

The number of these Woodpeckers is greatly increased in the State 
of Maine during winter, by accessions from Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, 
and Labrador, in all which countries I have found the species in summer, 
but where, if I am rightly informed, few remain during severe winters. 



Picus TRiDACTVLUS, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 177. Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. 

p. 243. Ch,. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 46. 
Picus (apternus) ahcticus, Swains, and Richards. Fauna Bor-Amer. part ii. p. 311. 
Northern Three-toed Woodpecker, Picus tridactylus, Ch. Bonaparte, Amer. 

Ornith. vol. ii. pi. 14. fig. 2. Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. S78. 

Adult Male. Plate CXXXII. Fig. 1. 1. 

Bill longish, straight, strong, angular, compressed toward the tip, which 
is slightly truncate and cuneate ; upper mandible with the dorsal line 
straight, the ridge distinct, the sloping sides quite flat, the lateral angle 
or ridge close to the edges, which are acute and overlapping ; lower man- 
dible with the ridge distinct, the sides convex, edges sharp and inflected. 
Tongue comparatively shorter than that of the Picus villosus, but of the 
same form, the extensile part being vermiform, the tip flat above, convex 
below, and serrated backwards on the thin edges. Nostrils basal, elliptical, 
covered by the feathers. Head rather large, neck short, body robust. Feet 
very short ; tarsus scutellate before and behind ; two toes before, one only 
behind, which is versatile and larger, all scutellate above ; claws strong, 
extremely compressed, very acute, and uncinate. 

Plumage blended, glossy, on the back and wings rather compact. 
Feathers of the top of the head stiff" and silky. Wings longish, third 
and fourth quills longest and equal. Tail graduated, of twelve decurved 
stiff" feathers, worn to a point, excepting the outermost, which is extremely 
small. Base of the bill covered by recumbent bristly feathers. 



THREE-TOED WOODPECKER. 199 

Bill bluish-black, the lower mandible greyish-blue, as are the feet, the 
scutella and claws black. Iris bluish-black. The general colour of the 
upper parts is deep glossy black, the head with blue reflections, the back 
with green. Crown of the head yellow tinged with orange. Quills 
blackish-brown, the outer primaries with seven rows of white spots. Two 
middle tail-feathers black, two next of the same colour, but with three 
cream-coloured spots on the edge of the outer web towards the end ; two 
next black at the base, cream-coloured towards the end, black at the tip ; 
two next cream-coloured, with little black at the base, and a mere touch 
of black on the tip ; two next of the same colour, with very little black at 
the base ; the two outermost, which are very short, rounded, and generally 
concealed, barred with black and cream-colour. A white band from the 
base of the mandible passes under the eye, and there is a very slender line 
of the same behind it. Throat, fore neck, and anterior part of the breast, 
white ; the rest of the under parts also white, but barred with black. 

Length 10^ inches, extent of wings 16; bill along the ridge l/g, 
along the edge /^; tarsus \^, middle toe and claw \l, of hind toe and 
claw 1|. 

Adult Female. Plate CXXXII. Fig. 2. 

The female wants the yellow patch on the crown of the head, and has 
the line of white behind the eye rather more conspicuous, but in other 
respects resembles the~ male. 



■ I ( -200 ) 

THE BLACK-POLL WARBLER. 

Sylvia strijta, Lath. 

PLATE CXXXIII. Male and Female. 

No sooner had the Ripley come to an anchor in the curious harbour 
of Labrador, known by the name of Little Macatina, than my party and 
myself sought the shore ; — but before I proceed, let me describe this sin- 
gular place. It was the middle of July, the weather was mild and plea- 
sant, our vessel made her way under a smart breeze through a very nar- 
row passage, beyond which we found ourselves in a small circular basin 
of water, having an extent of seven or eight acres. It was so surround- 
ed by high, abrupt, and rugged rocks, that, as I glanced around, I could 
find no apter comparison for our situation than that of a nut-shell in the 
bottom of a basin. The dark ' shadows that overspread the waters, and 
the mournful silence of the surrounding desert, sombred our otherwise 
glad feelings into a state of awe. The scenery was grand and melan- 
choly. On one side, hung over our heads, in stupendous masses, a rock 
several hundred feet high, the fissures of which might to some have look- 
ed like the mouths of some huge undefined monster. Here and there a 
few dwarf-pines were stuck as if by magic to this enormous mass of gra- 
nite ; in a gap of the cliff the brood of a pair of grim Ravens shrunk 
from our sight, and the Gulls, one after another, began to wend their 
way overhead towards the middle of the quiet pool, as the furling of the 
sails was accompanied by the glad cries of the sailors. The remarkable 
land-beacons erected in that country to guide vessels into the harbour, 
looked like so many figures of gigantic stature formed from the large 
blocks that lay on every hill around. A low valley, in which meandered 
a rivulet, opened at a distance to the view. The remains of a deserted 
camp of seal-catchers was easily traced from our deck, and as easily could 
we perceive the innate tendency of man to mischief, in the charred and 
crumbling ruins of the dwarf-pine forests. But the harbour was so safe 
and commodious, that, before we left it to find shelter in another, we had 
cause to be thankful for its friendly protection. 

We were accoutred for the occasion, and, as I have said, instantly 
made for the shore. Anxious to receive as much information as possible 



BLACK-POLL WARBLER. -201 

in a given time, we separated. The more active scaled the most difficult 
heights, and among them was our Captain, Mr Emeky, than whom a 
more expert seaman and a better man is rarely to be found. Others 
chose the next most difficult place of ascent ; while I and my young friend 
Dr Shattuck of Boston, slowly moved along in quest of birds, plants, 
and other objects. We soon reached a considerable elevation, from which 
we beheld the broad Gulf of St Lawrence gathering its gray vapours, as 
if about to cover itself with a mantle ; while now and then our eye was 
suddenly attracted by the gliding movements of our distant parties, as 
they slipped down the declivities. In this manner we had surveyed the 
country for several miles, when the sea-fog began to approach the land so 
swiftly, that, with the knowledge we all had acquired of the difficulty of 
proceeding overland when surprised by it, we judged it prudent to return 
to our vessel. There we compared notes, and made preparations for the 
morrow. 

One fair morning, while several of us were scrambling through one 
of the thickets of trees, scarcely waist-high, my youngest son chanced to 
scare from her nest a female of the Black-poll Warbler. Reader, just 
fancy how this raised my spirits. I felt as if the enormous expense of 
our voyage had been refunded. " There,"" said I, " we are the first white 
men who have seen such a nest." I peeped into it, saw that it contained 
four eggs, and observed its little owner looking upon us with anxiety 
and astonishment. It was placed about three feet from the ground, in 
the fork of a small branch, close to the main stem of a fir tree. Its 
diameter internally was two inches, the depth one and a half. Exter- 
nally it resembled the nest of the White-crowned Sparrow, being formed 
of green and white moss and lichens, intermixed with coarse dried grass ; 
within this was a layer of bent grass, and the lining was of very dark- 
coloured dry moss, looking precisely like horse-hair, arranged in a circu- 
lar direction with great care. Lastly, there was a thick bed of large soft 
feathers, some of which were from Ducks, but most of them from the 
WiUow Grouse. 

I must now return to the United States, and trace the progress of our 
Warbler. It enters Louisiana as early as the middle of February. At 
this time it is seen gleaning food among the taller branches of the wil- 
lows, maples, and other trees that overhang the rivers and lakes. Its mi- 
grations eastward follow the advance of the season, and I have not been 
able to comprehend why it is never seen in the maritime parts of South 



202 BLACK-POLL WARBLER. 

Carolina, while it is abundantly found in the State of New Jersey close 
to the sea shore. There you would think that it had changed its habits ; 
for, instead of skipping among the taller branches of trees, it is seen 
moving along the trunks and large limbs, almost in the manner of a Cer- 
thia, searching the chinks of the bark for larvae and pupas. They are 
met with in groups of ten, twelve, or more, in the end of April, but 
after that period few are to be seen. In Massachusetts they begin 
to appear nearly a month later, the intervening time being no doubt 
spent on their passage through New York and Connecticut. I found 
them at the end of May in the eastern part of Maine, and met with them 
wherever we landed on our voyage to Labrador, where they arrive from 
the 1st to the 10th of June, throwing themselves into every valley covered 
by those thickets, which they prefer for their breeding places. It also 
breeds abundantly in Newfoundland. 

In these countries it has almost become a Flycatcher. You see it 
darting in all directions after insects, chasing them on mng, and not un- 
frequently snapping so as to emit the clicking sound characteristic of the 
true Flycatcher. Its activity is pleasing, but its notes have no title to 
be called a song. They are shrill, and resemble the noise made by strik- 
ing two small pebbles together, more than any other sound that I know. 
They may be in some degree imitated by pronouncing the syllable sche, 
sche, sche, sche, sche, so as progressively to increase the emphasis. 

I found the young fully grown in the latter part of August, but Avith 
the head as in the females, and like them they obtain their full plumage 
during the next spring migration, after which these birds return south- 
ward. They raise only one brood in the season, and if any of them breed 
in the United States, it must be in the northern parts. They are seldom 
seen in autumn in the States, and very seldom during the summer months. 

The Black-poll Warbler is a gentle bird, by no means afraid of man, 
although it pursues some of its smaller enemies with considerable courage. 
The sight of a Canadian Jay excites it greatly, as that marauder often 
sucks its eggs, or swallows its young. In a few instances I have seen the 
.Jay confounded by the temerity of its puny assailant. 

The occurrence of this species so far north in the breeding season, and 
the curious diversity of its habits in different parts of the vast extent of 
country which it traverses, are to me quite surprising, and lead me to 
add some remarks on the migration of various species of Sylvia, which, 
like the present, seem to skip, as it were, over large portions of the country. 



BLACK-POLL WARBLER. 203 

In the course of my voyages to the south-eastern extremity of the 
Peninsula of the Floridas, I frequently observed birds of many kinds fly- 
ing either high or low over the sea. Of these the greater number were, 
like the present species, Sylviae which are never found in Georgia or the 
two Carolinas. Their course was a direct one, and such as led me to be- 
Heve that the little voyagers were bound for Cape Hatteras. The meet- 
ing with many of the species to which I allude, along the shores of Mary- 
land, New Jersey, the eastern coast of Long Island, &c., and all along to 
the Bay of Fundy, has strengthened the idea ; but as I may not be cor- 
rect, I leave the matter to the determination of more experienced ob- 
servers. The subject appears to me to be one of the greatest importance, 
for the occurrence of plants in certain parts of a country and not in others 
may possibly be caused by the absence, during migration, of such birds 
as move by " short cuts" from one point of land to another. 



Sylvia striata, Lath. Ind Ornith. vol. ii. p. 61 — Ch. Bonaparte, Synods, of Birds of 

the United States, p. 81. 
Sylvicola striata, Swains, and Richards. Fauna Bor. Amer. part ii. p. 218. 
Black-poll Warbler, Sylvia striata, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iv. p. 40. pi. 30. 

fig. 3. Male ; and vol. vi. p. 10. pi. 49. fig. 4. Female — Nuttall, Manual, part i. 

p. 383. 

Adult Male. Plate CXXXIII. Fig. 1, 1. 

Bill shortish, nearly straight, subulato-conical, acute, nearly as deep 
as broad at the base, the edges sharp, with a slight notch near the tip, 
the gap line a little deflected at the base. Nostrils basal, elliptical, lateral, 
half-closed by a membrane. Head of ordinary size, neck short, general 
form slender. Feet of ordinary length, slender ; tarsus covered anteriorly 
by a few scutella, the uppermost long, sharp behind ; toes scutellate above, 
the inner free, the hind toe of moderate size ; claws arched, slender, ex- 
tremely compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft, blended, slightly glossed. Wings of ordinary length, 
the first quill longest. Tail of moderate length, emarginate. 

Bill brownish-black above, pale beneath. Iris deep-brown. Feet 
pale yellowish-brown. Upper part of the head deep black. Hind neck, 
back, and tail- coverts, bluish-grey, each feather with a broad central 
stripe of deep black. Wing-coverts and secondary quills brownish- 
black, the latter margined, the secondary coverts margined and tipped, and 
the first row of small coverts broadly tipped with white, that colour form- 



204 BLACK-POLL WARBLER. 

ing two bands on the wing. Primary quills clove-brown, edged with 
paler. Tail-feathers blackish-brown, the two outer on each side with a 
white patch on the inner webs near the end. A broad band of white 
crosses the cheek, and all the lower parts are of the same colour, an in- 
terrupted line of black spots running down the sides of the neck and 
breast. 

Length 5^ inches, extent of wings 8^ ; bill along the ridge -f *j, along 
the edge j''^, ; tarsus ||^. 

Adult female. Plate CXXXIV. Fig. 2. 

The female has the whole of the upper parts oil-green, tinged with 
grey, with central blackish-brown spots on the feathers, the rump and 
tail-coverts with the dark spots inconspicuous. Wing-bands tinged with 
yellow, as are the sides of the breast. The sides of the head, neck, breast, 
and flanks, marked with blackish-brown spots. In other respects the 
colouring is similar to that of the male. 

Length 5i inches. 



The Black Gum Tree. 



Nyssa AauATiCA, Linn. Sp. PL 1511. Mich. Arbr. Forest, vol. ii. p. 265 pi. 22.— 
N. bifloha, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. jiv. p. 1113. Pursh, Flor. Amer. voL i. p. l^^. 
PoLTGAMiA MoNCECiA, Linn. El^agni, Juss. 

The Black Gum is seldom found of a greater height than from fifty to 
sixty feet, with a diameter of about three. The wood is of little use, even 
for firing, as it takes a long time to consume, affords no blaze, and burns 
dismally. A trunk of this tree falling into the water immediately sinks 
and remains. Its foliage is pleasing to the eye, and in many parts of 
the Middle Districts some are kept standing as shade-trees for cattle. 
The berries, which hang in pairs, and sometimes three or four together, 
at the extremity of their slender peduncle, are eaten in great quantities 
during winter by various species of birds. 



( 205 ) 

THE HEMLOCK WARBLER. 

Sylvia parus, Wils. 

PLATE CXXXIV. Male and Female. 

It is to the persevering industry of Wilson that we are indebted for 
the discovery of this bird. He has briefly described the male, of which 
he had obtained but a single specimen. Never having met with it until 
I visited the Great Pine Forest, where that ardent ornithologist found it, 
I followed his track in my rambles there, and had not spent a week among 
the gigantic hemlocks which ornament that interesting part of our coun- 
try, before I procured upwards of twenty specimens. I had therefore a 
fair opportunity of observing its habits, which I shall now attempt to de- 
scribe. 

The tallest of the hemlock pines are the favourite haunts of this spe- 
cies. It appears first among the highest branches early in May, breeds 
there, and departs in the beginning of September. Like the Blue Yel- 
low-back Warbler, its station is ever amidst the thickest foliage of the 
trees, and with as much agility as its diminutive relative, it seeks its food 
by ascending from one branch to another, examining most carefully the 
under parts of each leaf as it proceeds. Every insect that escapes is fol- 
lowed on wing, and quickly secured. It now and then, as if for variety 
or sport, makes a downward flight, alights on a smaller tree, surveys it 
for a while, and again ascends to a higher station. During the early part 
of autumn it frequents, with its young, the margins of rivulets, where 
insects are then more abundant. 

Its notes are sweet and mellow, and although not numerous, are easily 
distinguished from those of any other Warbler. Like a true Sylvia, it is 
often seen hanging at the end of a branch, searching for insects. It never 
alights on the trunk of a tree, and in this particular differs from every 
other species of its genus. Its food is altogether of insects. 

To the inimitable skill of the worthy Jediah Irish in the use of the 
rifle, I am indebted for the possession of a nest of this bird. On discover- 
ing one of the birds, we together watched it for hours, and at last had the 
good fortune to see itself and its mate repeatedly enter a thick cluster of 
leaves, where we concluded their nest must be placed. The huntsman's 



206 HEMLOCK WARBLER. 

gun was silently raised to his shoulder, the explosion followed in course, 
and as I saw the twig whirling downwards, I experienced all the enthu- 
siastic anxiety ever present with me on such occasions. Picking up the 
branch, I found in it a nest, containing three naked young, with as yet 
sealed eyelids. The nest was small, compact, somewhat resembling that 
of the American Goldfinch. It was firmly attached to the leaves of the 
hemlock twig, which appeared as if intentionally closed together over and 
around it, so as to conceal it from all enemies. Lichens, dry leaves of 
hemlock, and slender twigs formed its exterior. It was delicately lined 
with the fur of the hare and racoon ; and the young lay imbedded in the 
softest feathers of the Ruffed Grouse. The parents soon became aware 
of the mischief which we had done ; they descended, glided over our 
heads, manifested the most tender affection and the deepest sorrow, and 
excited our sympathy so far, that I carefully placed their tender offspring 
on a fallen log, leaving them to the care of their kind protectors, and con- 
tenting myself with their cradle. 

I have since met with this species in the State of Maine, and have 
seen several individuals in Newfoundland ; but never again have I found 
a nest, nor can I say any thing regarding its eggs. Confined as it is to 
the interior of the forests, I cannot even tell you more respecting its mode 
of flying than what 1 have already related, never having observed it per- 
forming a longer flight than from one tree to another. 



Sylvia parus, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 82. 
Hemlock Wakbler, Sylvla parus, Wils. Amer. Ornith. voL v. p. 114. pi. 44. 
fig. 3. M.d\e.—Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 392. 

Adult Male. Plate CXXXIV. Fig. 1. 

Bill shortish, nearly straight, subulato-conical, acute, nearly as deep 
as broad at the base, the edges sharp, the gap line slightly deflected at 
the base. Nostrils basal, elliptical, lateral, half-closed by a membrane. 
General form rather slender. Feet of ordinary length ; tarsus slender, 
compressed, anteriorly scutellate, sharp behind ; toes scutellate above, the 
inner free, the hind toe of moderate size ; claws arched, slender, compress- 
ed, acute. 

Plumage soft, blended, slightly glossed. Wings of ordinary length, 
the first quill longest. Tail shortish, emarginate. 

Bill dark brown above, pale brown beneath. Iris hazel. Feet pale 



HEMLOCK WARBLER. 207 

brown, tinged with yellow. The upper parts are yellowish-green, spotted 
with brownish-black. The head yellow. The quills and their coverts 
brownish-black, margined with yellowish-green. The outer maro-in of 
the inner secondary quills, and the ends of the secondary coverts and first 
row of small coverts, white. Tail-feathers brownish-black, edged exter- 
nally with yellowish-green ; the three outer on each side white, with the 
shafts and a broadish line at the end black. A yellow band passes over 
the eye; cheeks greenish; throat, fore neck, and breast, rich yellow, 
which gradually fades posteriorly ; the sides streaked with blackish-brown. 
Length 5^ inches, extent of wings 8^ ; bill along the back j%, along 
the edge j'^g ; tarsus ^\. 

Adult Female. Plate CXXXIV. Fig. 2. 

The Female resembles the male, but is rather paler. 



The Dwarf Maple. 

Acer spicatum. 



This is a low shrubby tree, which does not attain a greater height at 
most than fifteen or twenty feet. It abounds along the rocky margins of 
creeks or rivers, especially those meandering at the bases of the Alleghany 
Mountains. 



( 208 ; 

THE BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER. 

Sylvia Blackburn ijE, Lath. 

PLATE CXXXV. Male. 

This charming and delicate Warbler passes through the United 
States in April and May. T have met with it at different times, al- 
though sparingly, in every part of the Union, more frequently in the 
southern districts in spring, and in the eastern in early autumn. In the 
State of Maine, on the north-eastern confines of the United States, it is 
not uncommon, and I have reason to think that it breeds in the vicinity 
of Mars Hill, and other places, along the banks of St John's River, where 
my sons and myself shot several individuals, in the month of September. 
While at Frederickton, New Brunswick, Sir Archibald Campbell kind- 
ly presented me with specimens. On the Magdalene Islands, in the Gulf 
of St Lawrence, which I visited in June 1833, I found the Blackburnian 
Warbler in all the brilliancy of its spring plumage, and had the pleasure 
of hearing its sweet song, while it was engaged in pursuing its insect prey 
among the branches of a fir tree, moving along somewhat in the manner 
of the American Redstart. Its song, which consisted of five or six notes, 
was so much louder than could have been expected from the size of the 
bird, that it was not until I had fairly caught it in the act, that I felt satis- 
fied as to its proceeding from my old acquaintance My endeavours to dis- 
cover its nest proved fruitless. In Labrador we saw several individuals 
of both sexes, and on the coast of Newfoundland, on our return west- 
ward, we again found it. 

To Professor MacCulloch of the Pictou College I am indebted for 
a nest and three eggs of this bird. While looking at his valuable collec- 
tion of the Birds of Nova Scotia, my attention was attracted by a case 
containing nests with eggs, among which was that of the Blackburnian 
Warbler. It was composed externally of different textures, and lined 
with silky fibres and thin delicate stripes of fine bark, over which lay a 
thick bed of feathers and horse-hair. The eggs were small, very conical 
towards the smaller end, pure white, with a few spots of light red to- 
wards the larger end. It was found in a small fork of a tree, five or six 
feet from the ground, near a brook. The Professor informed me that it 



BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER. 209 

was the only nest he had seen, and that he considered this species of 

Warbler as rare in the district. 

My friend John Bachman has since informed me, that, in June 1833, 
he saw a pair of these birds engaged in constructing a nest near Lansing' 
burgh, in the State of New York. He never saw the species in the ma- 
ritime parts of South Carolina. 

The specimen from which I made the drawing copied in the plate be- 
fore you, I procured near Reading in Pennsylvania, on the banks of the 
Schuylkill River, about thirty years ago. Some specimens shot in New 
Brunswick in September, were mottled somewhat in the manner of a two 
years old Tanager or Summer Red Bird, being probably very young birds. 

Sylvia Blackburni^, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 257 Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of 

Birds of the United States, p. 80. 
Blackbdrnian Warbler, Sylvia Blackburni^, Wils. Atner. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 67. 

pi. 28, fig. 3 — Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 379. 

Adult Male. Plate CXXXV. 

Bill short, straight, subulato-conical, acute, rather broader than deep 
at the base, the edges sharp. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, half-closed 
by a membrane. General form slender. Feet of ordinary length ; tar- 
sus slender, compressed, anteriorly scutellate, sharp behind ; toes free, 
scutellate above, the hind toe of moderate size ; claws arched, slender, 
compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft, blended, slightly glossed. Wings longish, the first 
quill longest, the two next scarcely shorter, and almost equal. Tail of 
moderate length, slightly emarginate. 

Bill and legs umber-brown, the former bluish at the base below. 
Iris hazel. The general colour of the upper parts is black, with streaks 
of white on the back. A small patch of orange on the top of the head, 
a band of the same colour from the base of the mandible over the eye, 
passing down the neck and curving forwards ; a similar short band under 
the eye ; lore, and a patch behind the eye, black. Quills margined with 
white, and a large patch of the same on the wing, including the inner 
secondary coverts, and the ends of the outer, with those of the first row 
of smaller coverts. The three outer tail-feathers on each side white at 
the base, and along the inner web. Throat and breast of a rich reddish- 
orange, the hind part of the breast and belly dull yellow, fading back- 
wards ; the sides of the breast marked with black streaks and spots. 
VOL. II. o 



210 BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER. 

Length 4| inches, extent of wings 7f ; bill along the ridge /j, along 
the edge ^; tarsus ^|. 

The Female resembles the male in colouring, but the bright orange 
of the head and breast is replaced by yellow. 



Phlox macclata, Wild. Sp. PI. vol. i. p. 840. Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. i. 
p. 149. — Pentandria Monogynia, Linn. Polemonia, Jms. 

Erect ; the stem rough, with purplish dots ; the leaves oblongo- 
lanceolate, smooth, with the margin rough ; the flowers in an oblong crowd- 
ed panicle, of a purplish-red tint, the segments of the corolla rounded ; 
the calycine teeth acute and recurved. It grows abundantly in wet mea- 
dows, from New England to CaroUna. The flowers, although pleasing 
to the eye, have no scent. 



( ^11 ) 



A BALL IN NEWFOUNDLAND. 

On our return from the singularly wild and interesting country of 
Labrador, the " Ripley" sailed close along the northern coast of New- 
foundland. The weather was mild and clear; and, while my young- 
companions amused themselves on the deck with the music of various in- 
struments, I gazed on the romantic scenery spread along the bold and 
often magnificent shores. Portions of the wilds appeared covered with a 
luxuriance of vegetable growth far surpassing that of the regions which 
we had just left, and in some of the valleys I thought I saw trees of 
moderate size. The number of habitations increased apace, and many 
small vessels and boats danced on the waves of the coves which we passed. 
Here a precipitous shore looked like the section of a great mountain, of 
which the lost half had sunk into the depths of the sea, and the dashing 
of the waters along its base was such as to alarm the most daring seaman. 
The huge masses of broken rock impressed my mind with awe and reve- 
rence, as I thought of the power that still gave support to the gigantic 
fragments which every where hung, as if by magic, over the sea, awaiting, 
as it were, the proper moment to fall upon and crush the impious crew of 
some piratical vessel. There again, gently swelling hills reared their 
heads towards the sky, as if desirous of existing within the influence of 
its azure piu-ity ; and I thought the bleatings of rein-deer came on my 
ear. Dark clouds of Curlews were seen winging their way towards the 
south, and thousands of Larks and Warblers were flitting through the 
air. The sight of these birds excited in me a wish that I also had wings 
to fly back to my country and friends. 

Early one morning our vessel doubled the northern cape of the Bay 
of St George ; and, as the wind was light, the sight of that magnificent 
expanse of water, which extends inward to the length of eighteen leagues, 
with a breadth of thirteen, gladdened the hearts of all on board. A long 
range of bold shores bordered it on one side, throwing a deep shadow 
over the water, which added greatly to the beauty of the scene. On the 
other side, the mild beams of the autumnal sun glittered on the water, 
and whitened the sails of the little barks that were sailing to and fro, like 
so many silvery gulls. The welcome sight of cattle feeding in cultivated 
meadows, and of people at their avocations, consoled us for the labours 

o2 



212 BALL IN NEWFOUNDLAND. 

which we had undergone, and the privations which we had suffered ; and, 
as the Ripley steered her course into a snug harbour that suddenly 
opened to our view, the number of vessels that were anchored there, and a 
pretty village that presented itself, increased our delight. 

Although the sun was fast approaching the western horizon when our 
anchor was dropped, no sooner were the sails furled than we all went 
ashore. There appeared a kind of curious bustle among the people, as if 
they were anxious to know who we were, for our appearance, and that of 
our warlike looking schooner, shewed that we were not fishermen. As 
we bore our usual arms and hunting accoutrements, which were half 
Indian and half civilized, the individuals we met on the shore manifested 
considerable suspicion, which our captain observingj instantly made a 
signal, when the star-spangled banner glided to the mast-head, and 
saluted the flags of France and Britain in kindly greeting. We were 
welcomed and supplied with abundance of fresh provisions. Glad at once 
more standing on something like soil, we passed through the village, and 
walked round it, but as night was falling, were quickly obhged to return 
to our floating home, where, after a hearty supper, we serenaded with 
repeated glees the peaceful inhabitants of the village. 

At early dawn I was on deck, admiring the scene of industry that 
presented itself. The harbour was already covered with fishing-boats, 
employed in procuring mackerel, some of which we appropriated to our- 
selves. Signs of cultivation were observed on the slopes of the hills, the 
trees seemed of goodly size, a river made its way between two ranges of 
steep rocks, and here and there a group of Mickmack Indians were 
searching along the shores for lobsters, crabs, and eels, all of which we 
found abundant and delicious. A canoe laden with rein-deer meat came 
alongside, paddled by a pair of athletic Indians, who exchanged their 
cargo for some of our stores. You would have been amused to see the 
manner in which these men, and their families on shore, cooked the lob- 
sters : they threw them alive into a great wood-fire ; and, as soon as they 
were broiled, devoured them while yet so hot that any of us could not 
have touched them. When properly cooled, I tasted these roasted lob- 
sters, and found them infinitely better flavoured than boiled ones. The 
country was represented as abounding in game. The temperature was 
higher, by twenty degrees, than that of Labrador, and yet I was told 
that the ice of the bay seldom broke up before the middle of May, and 

1 



BALL IN NEWFOUNDLAND. 213 

* 

that few vessels attempted to go to Labrador before the 10th of June, 
when the cod-fishery at once commences. 

One afternoon we were visited by a deputation from the inhabitants of 
the village, inviting our whole party to a ball which was to take place 
that night, and requesting us to take with us our musical instruments. 
We unanimously accepted the invitation, which had been made from 
friendly feelings ; and finding that the deputies had a relish for " old 
Jamaica," we helped them pretty freely to some, which soon shewed that 
it had lost nothing of its energies by having visited Labrador. At ten 
o'clock, the appointed hour, we landed, and were lighted to the dancing 
hall by paper lanterns, one of us carrying a flute, another a violin, and I 
with a flageolet stuck into my waistcoat pocket. 

The hall proved nothing else than the ground floor of a fishermarfs 
house. We were presented to his wife, who, like her neighbours, was an 
adept in the piscatory art. She curtseyed, not a la Taglioni, it is true, 
but with a modest assurance, which to me was quite as pleasing as the 
airiness with which the admired performer just mentioned might have 
paid her respects. The good woman was rather unprepared, and quite 
en negligee, as was the apartment, but full of activity, and anxious to 
arrange things in becoming style. In one hand she held a bunch of can- 
dles, in the other a lighted torch, and distributing the former at proper 
intervals along the walls, she applied the latter to them in succession. 
This done, she emptied the contents of a large tin vessel into a number 
of glasses which were placed in a tea-tray on the only table in the room. 
The chimney, black and capacious, was embellished with cofi'ee-pots, 
milk-jugs, cups and saucers, knives and forks, and all the paraphernalia 
necessary on so important an occasion. A set of primitive wooden stools 
and benches was placed around, for the reception of the belles of the vil- 
lage, some of whom now dropped in, flourishing in all the rosy fatness 
produced by an invigorating northern climate, and in decoration vying 
with the noblest Indian queen of the west. Their stays seemed ready to 
burst open, and their shoes were equally pressed, so full of sap were the 
arctic beauties. Around their necks, brilliant beads, mingled with ebony 
tresses, and their naked arms might have inspired apprehension had they 
not been constantly employed in arranging flowing ribbons, gaudy 
flowers, and muslin flounces. 

Now arrived one of the beaux, just returned from the fishing, who, 
knowing all, and being equally known, leaped without ceremony on the 



214 BALL IN NEWFOUNDLAND. 

loose boards that formed a kind of loft overhead, where he soon ex- 
changed his dripping apparel for a dress suited to the occasion, when 
he dropped upon the floor, and strutting up and down, bowed and scrap- 
ed to the ladies, with as much ease, if not elegance, as a Bond Street highly- 
scented exquisite. Others came in by degrees, ready dressed, and music 
was called for. My son, by way of overture, played " Hail Columbia, 
happy land," then went on \vith " La Marseillaise," and ended with 
" God save the King." Being merely a spectator, I ensconsed myself in 
a comer, by the side of an old European gentleman, whom I found an 
agreeable and well-informed companion, to admire the decorum of the 
motley assemblage. 

The dancers stood in array, little time having been spent in choosing 
partners, and a Canadian accompanying my son on his Cremona, mirth 
and joy soon abounded. Dancing is certainly one of the most healthful 
and innocent amusements. I have loved it a vast deal more than watching 
for the nibble of a trout, and I have sometimes thought enjoying it with 
an agreeable female softened my nature as much as the pale pure light of 
the moon softens and beautifies a winter night. A maiden lady, who sat 
at my side, and who was the only daughter of my talkative companion, 
relished my remarks on the subject so much, that the next set saw her 
gracing the floor with her tutored feet. 

At each pause of the musicians, refreshments were handed round by 
the hostess and her son, and I was not a little surprised to see all the 
ladies, maids and matrons, swallow, like their sweethearts and husbands, a 
full glass of pure rum, with evident pleasure. I should perhaps have re- 
collected that, in cold climates, a dose of ardent spirits is not productive 
of the same effects as in burning latitudes, and that refinement had not 
yet induced these healthy and robust dames to affect a dehcacy foreign 
to their nature. 

It was now late, and knowing how much I had to accompUsh next 
day, I left the party and proceeded towards the shore. My men were 
sound asleep in the boat, but in a few moments I was on board the Rip- 
ley. My young friends arrived towards daylight, but many of the fisher- 
men's sons and daughters kept up the dance, to the music of the Cana- 
dian, until after our breakfast was over. 

Although all the females whom I had seen at this ball were perfectly 
free from mauvaise Jionte, we were much surprised when some of them, 
which we afterwards met in the course of our rambles in the neighbour-^ 



BALL IN NEWFOUNDLAND. 215 

ing meadows and fields, ran off on seeing us, like gazelles before jackalls. 
One bearing a pail of water on her head, dropped it the moment she saw 
us, and ran into the woods to hide herself. Another, who was in search 
of a cow, on observing us going towards her, took to the water and wad- 
ed through an inlet more than waist-deep, after which she made for home 
with the speed of a frightened hare. On inquiring the reason of this 
strange conduct, the only answer I received from several was a deep 
blush .' 



( 216 ) 

THE MEADOW LARK OR AMERICAN STARLING. 

Sturnus Ludovicianus, Linn. 

PLATE CXXXVI. Male, Female, and Nest. 

How could I give the history of this beautiful bird, were I not to re- 
turn for a while to the spot where I have found it most^abundant, and 
where the most frequent opportunities occurred of observing it .? Then, 
reader, to those rich grass fields let us stray. We are not far from the 
sandy sea-shores of the Jerseys ; the full beauties of an early spring are 
profusely spread around us ; the glorious sun illumines the creation with 
a flood of golden light, as he yet lies beneath the deep ; the industrious 
bee is yet asleep, as are the birds in bush and tree ; the small wavelets 
break on the beach with a gentle murmur ; the sky is so beautifully blue, 
that, on seeing it, one fancies himself near heaven ; the moon is about to 
disappear in the distant west; the limpid dew-drops hang on every leaf, bud 
and blossom, each tall blade of grass bending ui>der the weight." Anxious 
to view Nature at her best, I lie waiting in pleasure for the next moment : 
—it has come ; all is life and energy ; the bee, the bird, the quadruped, 
all nature awakes into Ufe, and every being seems moving in the light of 
the Divine countenance. Fervently do I praise the God who has called 
me into existence, and devotedly do I pursue my avocations, carefully 
treading on the tender grass, until I reach a seat by nature''s own hand 

prepared, when I pause, survey, admire, and essay to apprehend all ^yes 

all around me ! Delightful days of my youth, when full of strength, 
health and gladness, I so often enjoyed the bhss of contemplatino- the 
beauties of creation ! They are gone, never to return ; but memory 
fondly cherishes the thoughts which they called into being, and while life 
remains will their mem_ory be pleasing. 

See the Lark that arrived last evening ! fully refreshed, and with a 
bosom overflowing with love towards her who had led him thus far he 
rises from his grassy couch, and on gently whirring pinions launches into 
the air, in the glad hope of finding the notes of his beloved fall on his 
ear. Females are usually tardy at this early season. I shall not pretend 
to tell you why, reader, but that such is the fact, I have been fully con- 
vinced, since the very first feelings of their value was impressed on my 



MEADOW LARK. 217 

mind. The male is still on the Aving ; his notes sound loud and clear as 
he impatiently surveys the grassy plain beneath him. His beloved is not 
there. His heart almost fails him, and, disappointed, he rises towards 
the black walnut-tree, under which, during many a summer's heat, the 
mowers have enjoyed both their repast and their mid-day rest. I now 
see him, not desponding as you might suppose, but vexed and irritated. 
See how he spreads his tail, how often he raises his body, how he ejacu- 
lates his surprise, and loudly calls for her whom of all things he best 
loves. — Ah ! — there comes the dear creature ; her timorous, tender notes 
announce her arrival. Her mate, her beloved, has felt the charm of her 
voice. His wings are spread, and buoyant with gladness, he flies to meet, 
to welcome her, anticipating all the bliss prepared for him. Would 
that I could interpret to you, reader, as I feel them, the many assurances 
of friendship, fidelity and love that at this precious moment pass from the 
one to the other, as they place their bills together and chatter their mu- 
tual loves ! — the gentle chidings of the male for the sorrow her delay has 
caused him, and the sweet words she uses to calm his ardour. Alas ! it 
were vain to attempt it. I have listened to the talk, it is true ; I have 
witnessed all their happiness ; but I cannot describe it to you. You 
reader, must watch them, as I have done, if you wish to understand their 
language. If not, I must try to give you a taste of what I would will- 
ingly impart, were I competent to the task, and proceed to relate what I 
have observed of their habits. 

When the Meadow Lark first rises from the ground, which it does 
with a smart spring, it flutters like a young bird, then proceeds checking 
its speed and resuming it in a desultory and uncertain manner, flyino- in 
general straight forward, and glancing behind as if to ascertain the amount 
of its danger, but yet affording an easy aim to the most inexperienced 
marksman. When pursued for a while, it moves more swiftly, sailino- and 
beating its wings alternately, until it gets out of reach. It will not stand 
before the pointer longer than a moment, and that only when surprised 
among rank weeds or grasses. During its migrations, which are usually 
performed by day, it rises above the tallest forest trees, passing along in 
loose bodies, and not vmfrequently in flocks of from fifty to a hundred in- 
dividuals. At such times its motions are continued, and it merely sails at 
intervals, to enable it to breathe and renew its exertions. Now and then, 
one may be seen making directly towards another, chasing it downwards or 
horizontally away from the group, uttering all the time a sharp querulous 



218 MEADOW LARK. 

note, and keeping up the pursuit for a distance of several hundred yards, 
when it suddenly abandons it. Both birds then rejoin the flock, and the 
party continue their journey in amity. When flocks thus travelling spy 
a favourable feeding place, they gradually descend and alight on some 
detached tree, when, as if by one accord, each individual jerks out its 
tail, springs on its legs, and utters a loud soft call-note. They then fly 
successively to the ground, and immediately proceed in search of food. 
An old male now and then erects itself, glances its eye around with anx- 
ious scrutiny, and should danger be perceived, does not fail to inform his 
party by emitting a loud rolling note, on hearing which the rest of the 
flock become alert, and hold themselves in readiness to depart. 

In this manner the Meadow Larks proceed in autumn from the north- 
ern parts of Maine to the State of Louisiana, the Floridas, or Carolinas, 
where they abound during the winter. At this season the pine barrens of 
the Floridas are filled with them, and after the land has been fired by the 
native herdsmen, these birds become as sooty as the sparrows residing in 
London. Some were so infested with ticks as to have lost almost all the 
feathers off their body, and in general they appeared much smaller than 
those of the Atlantic States, probably on account of the deficiency of their 
plumage. In the prairies of the Opellousas and those bordering on the 
Arkansas River, they are still more abundant. Many of these, however, 
retire into the Mexican country at the approach of very severe weather. 
They now sleep on the ground among the tall grass, but at a distance of 
many yards from each other, in the manner of the Carolina Dove. 

At the approach of spring, the flocks break up, the females first sepa- 
rating. The males then commence their migration, flying in small flocks, 
or even sometimes singly. At this season the beauty of their plumage is 
much improved, their movements have acquired more grace, their manner 
of flight and all their motions when on the ground evidently shewing how 
strongly they feel the passion that glows in their bosom. The male is 
seen to walk with stately measured steps, jerking out his tail, or spread- 
ing it to its fuU extent, and then closing it, like a fan in the hands of 
some fair damsel. Its lovid notes are more melodious than ever, and are 
now frequently heard, the bird sitting the while on the branch of a tree, 
or the top of some tall weed of the meadows. 

Woe to the rival who dares to make his appearance ! Nay, should 
any male come in sight, he is at once attacked, and, if conquered, chased 
beyond the limits of the territory claimed by the first possessor. Several 



MEADOW LARK. 219 

males may sometimes be seen engaged in fierce conflict, although these 
frays seldom last more than a few moments. The sight of a single female 
at once changes their occupation, and after her they all fly off as if mad. 
The female exhibits the usual timidity of her sex, that timidity without 
which, even in Meadow Larks, she would probably fail in finding a mate. 
As he flies towards her, uttering the softest of his notes, she moves off in 
such a manner that her ardent admirer often seems doubtful whether she 
means to repel or encourage him. At length, however, he is permitted to 
go nearer, to express by his song and courteous demeanour the strength 
and constancy of his passion. She accepts him as her lord, and in a few 
days both are seen busily searching for an appropriate spot in which to 
rear their young. 

At the foot of some tuft of tall strong grass you find the nest. A ca- 
vity is scooped out of the ground, and in it is placed a quantity of grass, 
fibrous roots, and other materials, circularly disposed so as to resemble an 
oven, around which leaves and the blades of the surrounding grasses are 
matted together so as to cover and conceal it. The entrance admits only 
one at a time, but both birds incubate. The eggs are four or five, pure 
white, sprinkled and blotched with reddish-brown, mostly towards the 
larger end. The young are out towards the end of June, and follow their 
parents for some weeks afterwards. These birds are unremitting in their 
attention towards each other, and in the care of their oflTspring, and while 
the female sits, the male not only supplies her with food, but constantly 
comforts her by his song and the watchfulness which he displays. Should 
one approach the nest, he immediately rises on wing, passes and repasses 
in circles over and around the spot in which the nest is, and thus fre- 
quently leads to the hidden treasure. 

Excepting hawks and snakes, the Meadow Lark has few enemies at 
this season. The prudent and enlightened farmer, mindful of the benefit 
his meadows have received from the destruction of thousands of larvae, 
which might have greatly injured his grass, disturbs it not, and should he 
find its nest while cutting his hay, he leaves the tuft in which it is placed. 
Even young children seldom destroy this bird or its brood. 

It must not, however, be supposed that the Meadow Lark is entirely 
harmless. In the Carolinas, many well instructed planters agree in de- 
nouncing it as a depredator, alleging that it scratches up oat seeds when 
sown early in spring, and is fond of plucking up the young corn, the 
wheat, the rye, or the rice. 



220 MEADOW LARK. 

In confinement, this bird has another fault, of which I was not aware 
until my last visit to Charleston. In February 1834, Dr Samuel Wil- 
so>f of that city told me that one of the Meadow Larks which he had 
purchased in the market, with a number of other birds, ten days previ- 
ously, had been found feeding on the body of a Bay- winged Bunting, 
■which it had either killed, or found dead in the aviary. He said he had 
watched the bird more than twenty minutes, and plainly saw that it 
plunged its bill into the flesh of the finch to its eyes, and appeared to open 
and close it alternately, as if sucking the juices of the flesh. Two days 
afterwards, the same Meadow Lark actually killed two other finches that 
had their wings clipped, and ate them. 

During the latter part of autumn, as well as in winter, this species 
affords a good deal of sport, especially to young gunners, some of whom 
speak highly of its flesh. This may be true respecting the young, but 
the yellow oily appearance of the flesh of the old ones, its toughness, and 
the strong smell of insects which it emits, prevent it from being an agree- 
able article of food. They are nevertheless offered for sale in almost all 
our markets. 

In the winter months, this bird frequently associates with the Carolina 
Dove, several species of Grakle, and even Partridges, is fond of spending 
its time in corn fields after the grain has been gathered, and often makes 
its appearance in the cattle-yard of the planters. In Virginia, it is called 
the " Old-field Lark." 

While on the ground, the Meadow Lark walks well, and much in the 
manner of the Grakle and the European Starling, to which it is in some 
measure allied. When on the wing, they seldom fly close enough to allow 
more than one to be shot at a time. When wounded, they run off" with 
alacrity, and hide with great care, so as to be found with difficulty. They 
alight with equal readiness on trees, on the branches of which they walk 
with ease, on fences, and even at times on out-houses. Their food con- 
sists of grass seeds, and grains of almost every sort, along with all kinds 
of insects and berries. Although gregarious, they seldom move close to- 
gether while on the ground, and, on the report of a gun, you may see 
perhaps a hundred of them rise on the wing from different parts of a field. 
They are never found in close woods. During winter, the open western 
prairies abound with them, and in every corn-field in the State of Ken- 
tucky, you are sure to find them in company with partridges and doves. 
They now and then resort to roads, for the purpose of dusting themselves, 
and move along the edge of the water in order to bathe. 



MEADOW LARK. 221 

The plate represents two pairs of these birds, with a nest placed in a 
rich cluster of the Yellow Gerardia. 



Sturnus ludovicianus, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 290. Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. 

p. 323. Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 50. 
Meadow Lark, Aladda magna, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 20. pi. 19. fig. 2. 
American Starling or Meadow Lark, Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 147- 
Sturnella ludoviciana. Crescent Starelet, Swains, and Richards. Fauna Bor. 

Amer. part ii. p. 282. 

Adult Male. Plate CXXXVI. Fig. 1. 1. 

Bill rather long, almost straight, strong, conico-subulate, depressed 
towards the end ; upper mandible encroaching a little on the forehead, 
flattish on the ridge, with sharp overlapping edges, the tip rounded; 
lower mandible nearly straight, the back convex, the sides ascending, the 
edges sharp, the tip slightly rounded, and a little shorter. Nostrils oval, 
half-closed by an arched membrane. Head of ordinary size, depressed, 
neck of moderate length, body rather full, Feet of moderate length, 
strong; tarsus anteriorly scutellate, sharp behind; lateral toes nearly 
equal, hind toe stoutest, with a large claw ; claws arched, compressed, 
acute. 

Plumage soft, rather compact. The upper eyelid margined with strong 
bristles. Feathers of the top of the head with strong shafts. Wings of 
ordinary length, broad, the second, third, and fourth primaries longest, 
the first longer than the fifth ; those mentioned, except the first, sinuate on 
the outer web ; primaries rather pointed, secondaries broad and rounded, 
two of the inner nearly as long as the primaries when the wing is closed. 
Tail short, much rounded, of twelve acute feathers. 

Bill dark brown above, bluish-grey beneath and on the sides. Iris 
hazel. Feet flesh-coloured, tinged with blue. The upper parts are 
variegated with dark brown, bay, and light yellowish-brown, the latter 
bordering the feathers ; those of the hind parts of the back barred, as 
are the secondary quills and their coverts. Primary qmlls dark brown, 
margined the outermost with white, the rest with pale brown. The edge 
of the wing yellow; the smaller wing- coverts black bordered with grey. 
The three outer tail-feathers white, with a dash of black on the outer web 
near the end ; the next feather also more or less white, and barred on the 
outer web. On the upper part of the head are a central and two lateral 
stripes of brownish-yellow, separated by two broader stripes of brownish- 



222 xMEADOW LARK. 

black ; the lateral stripes are sometimes white tinged with yellow ante- 
riorly. Sides of the head and neck greyish-white, dotted with dusky, and 
the flanks and under tail-coverts are spotted with black ; abdomen white, 
the rest of the under parts rich yellow, excepting a large crescent of black 
on the breast. 

Length 11 j%, extent of wings 16^ ; bill along the back l^'j, along 
the edge l/j ; tarsus 1|, middle toe If. 

Adult Female. Plate CXXXVI. Fig 2. 2. 

The Female differs little from the male, the colours being scarcely 
paler, but is smaller. 



Yellow-flowered Gerardia. 

Gerardia flava, Willd. Sp. PL vol. iii. p. 223. Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. 
p. 423 DiDYNAMiA Angiospermia, Linn. ScrophularinjE, Jti^s. 

Downy, with the stems nearly undivided, the leaves subsessile, lanceo- 
late, entire or toothed, the lower incised, the flowers axillary, opposite, 
nearly sessile. I found this plant abundant in the meadows of New 
Jersey, where it was in full flower at the end of May, the rich yellow 
blossoms enlivening the uniform aspect of the plains. It is pretty general- 
ly distributed along the Atlantic coasts, and attains a height of from two 
to three feet. 



I 



( 223 ) 
THE YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT. 

ICTERIA VIRIDIS, BoNAP. 
PLATE CXXXVII. Male, Female, and Nest. 

This singular bird is extremely plentiful in Louisiana, Georgia, and 
the CaroUnas, during spring and summer. It arrives in the first of those 
States as soon as the blossoms of the dog-wood mark the return of 
the vernal season. Many continue their migrations eastward as far as 
Connecticut, but beyond this the species is seldom if ever seen. I have 
found it equally abundant in Kentucky, particularly in the barrens of 
that State ; and it ascends the Ohio, spreading over the country, and ex- 
tending as far as the borders of Lake Erie in Pennsylvania. It never 
enters what is properly called the woods, preferring at all periods of its 
short stay with us, the large tangled and almost impenetrable patches of 
briars, sumach, prickly ash, and different species of smilax, wherever a 
rivulet or a pool may be found. 

As in other ntiigratory species, the males precede the females several 
days. As soon as they have arrived, they give free vent to their sono- at 
all hours of the day, renewing it at night when the weather is calm, and 
the moon shines brightly, seeming intent on attracting the females, by re- 
peating in many varied tones the ardency of their passion. Sometimes 
the sounds are scarcely louder than a whisper, now they acquire strength, 
deep guttural notes roll in slow succession as if produced by the emotion of 
surprise, then others clear and sprightly glide after each other, until sud- 
denly, as if the bird had become confused, the voice becomes a hollow 
bass. The performer all the while looks as if he were in the humour of 
scolding, and moves from twig to twig among the thickets with so much 
activity and in so many directions, that the notes reach the ear as it were 
from opposite places at the same moment. Now the bird mounts in the 
air in various attitudes, with its legs and feet hanging, while it continues 
its song and jerks its body with great vehemence, performing the strangest 
and most whimsical gesticulations ; the next moment it returns to the 
bush. If you imitate its song, it follows your steps with caution, and 
responds to each of your calls, now and then peeping at you for a moment. 



224 YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT. 

the next quite out of sight. Should you have a dog, which will enter its 
briary reti-eat, it will skip about him, scold him, and frequently perch, 
or rise on wing above the thicket, so that you may easily shoot it. 

The arrival of the females is marked by the redoubled exertions of 
the males, who now sing as if delirious with the pleasurable sensations 
they experience. Before ten days have elapsed, the pairs begin to con- 
struct their nest, which is placed in any sort of bush or briar, seldom 
more than six feet from the ground, and frequently not above two or 
three. It is large, and composed externally of dry leaves, small sticks, 
stripes of vine bark and grasses, the interior being formed of fibrous roots 
and horse-hair. The eggs are four or five, of a light flesh colour, spot- 
ted with reddish-brown. In Louisiana and the Carolinas, these birds 
have two broods in the season ; but in Pennsylvania, where they seldom 
lay before the 20th of May, they have only one brood. The eggs are 
hatched in twelve days. The male is seldom heard to sing after the 
breeding season, and they all depart from the Union by the middle of 
September. Their eggs and young are frequently destroyed by snakes, 
and a species of insect that feeds on carrion, and burrows in the ground 
under night. The young resemble the females, and do not acquire the 
richness of the spring plumage while in the Union. 

The food of the Yellow-breasted Chat consists of coleopterous insects 
and small fruits. They are especially fond of the wild strawberries so 
abundant in the Kentucky barrens. 

When migrating they move from bush to bush by day, and frequent- 
ly continue their march by night, especially should the moon be out and 
the weather pleasant. Their flight is short and irregular at all times. 
When alighted, they frequently jerk their tail, squat, and spring on their 
legs, and are always in a state of great activity. I never observed them 
chasing insects on the wing. 

I have presented you with several figures of this singular species, to 
shew you their positions when on the wing performing their antics in 
the love season as well as when alighted. The wild rose branch with 
the nest, was cut out of a thicket for the purpose which you see accom- 
plished. 



YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT. 225 



IcTERiA viHTDis, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 69. 
Yellow-breasted Chat, Pipra polyglotta, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 90. 

pi. 6. fig. 2. 
Yeijlgw-breasted Icteria, Icteria viridis, Nutlall, Manual, part i. p. 299. 

Adult Male. Plate CXXXVII. Fig. 1, ]. 

Bill of moderate length, strong, slightly arched, broad at the base, 
compressed towards the end ; upper mandible with the sides convex, the 
edges acute, destitute of notch, the tip acute, and a little declinate ; lower 
mandible with the dorsal hne nearly straight, the edge line slightly arched 
and inflected. Nostrils rounded, half covered by a vaulted membrane. 
The form is rather robust. Legs of moderate length, slender ; tarsus 
compressed, anteriorly scutellate, sharp behind ; two lateral toes nearly 
equal, the hind one not much stouter ; claws small, compressed, acute. 

Plumage blended. Wings of moderate length, rounded; third and 
fourth primaries longest, second almost equal, first a httle shorter. Tail 
longish, rounded. Feathers of the throat and breast with a silky gloss. 

Bill black, the base of lower mandible blue. Iris hazel. Feet grey- 
ish-blue. The general colour of the upper parts is deep olive-green ; the 
inner webs of the tail-feathers and quills, and the ends of the latter, dusky- 
brown. A line over the eye, a small streak under it, and a spot at the base 
of the lower mandible, white. Lore black. Throat and breast bright 
yellow, abdomen and under tail-coverts white. 

Length 7 inches, extent of wings 9 ; bill along the ridge j^^^, along 
the edge ^\ ; tarsus i§. 

Adult Female. Plate CXXXVII. Fig. 2, 2. 

The Female scarcely differs from the male in any perceptible degree, 
and is of the same size. 



The Sweet Briar. 

Kosa rubiginosa ? — Icosandria Polygynia, Linn. Rosacea, Juss. 

The Sweet Briar is very generally distributed in the United States. 
I have found it from Louisiana to the extremities of Nova Scotia along 

VOL. II. P 



226 YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT. 

the Atlantic coast, and as far in the interior as I have travelled. The 
delicious odour of its leaves never fails to gratify the person who brushes 
through patches of it, while the delicate tints of its flowers reminds one 
of the loveliness of female beauty in its purest and most blooming state. 
Truly a " sweet home " must be the nest that is placed in an eglantine 
bower, and happy must be the bird that in the midst of fragrance is 
cheered by the warble of her ever loving mate. 



THE CONNECTICUT WARBLER. 

Sylvia agilis, Wils. 

PI>ATE CXXXVIII. Male and Female. 

I PROCURED the pair represented in the Plate, on a fine evening, nearly 
at sun-set, at the end of August, on the banks of the Delaware River, in 
New Jersey, a few miles below Camden. When I first observed them, 
they were hopping and skipping from one low bush to another, and 
among the tall reeds of the marsh, emitting an often-repeated tweet at 
every move. They were chasing a species of spider which runs nimbly 
over the water, and which they caught by gliding over it, as a Swallow 
does when drinking. I followed them for about a hundred yards, when, 
watching a fair opportunity, I shot both at once. The weather was ex- 
ceedingly sultry ; and although I outlined both by candle-light that even- 
ing, and finished the drawing of them next morning by breakfast time, 
they had at that early hour become putrid, so that their skins could not 
be preserved. On opening them I counted upwards of fifty of the spiders 
mentioned above, but found no appearance of any other food. The sexual 
distinction was very apparent, and the brace proved a pair. They were 
not in the least shy, and in fact seemed to take very little notice of me, 
although at times I was quite close to them. These being the only indi- 
viduals I ever met with, I am of course unable to say where the species 
breeds, or what are its migrations. 

The plant on which they are placed grew abundantly on the spot 
where I procured them; and as they had just alighted on it when I shot 
them, it being moreover a handsome species, I thouglit it best to attach it 
to them. 



Sylvia agilis, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. S4. 
Connecticut Waubler, Svlvia agilis, Wih. Amer. Ornith. vol. v. p. 64, pi. 39, 
fig. 4. Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 399. 

Adult Male, Plate CXXXVIII, Fig. 1. 

Bill short, straight, conico-subulate, acute ; nostrils basal, lateral, oval, 
exposed ; head of moderate size ; neck short, body rather slender ; feet ot 

p 2 



228 CONNECTICUT WARBLER. 

moderate length ; tarsus slender, compressed, scutellate before, sharp be- 
hind ; toes free, the lateral equal, the hind one not much stronger ; claws 
arched, slender, much compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft and blended, with little gloss ; wings rather short, the 
first and second quills longest ; tail of moderate length, rounded, and 
emarginate. 

Bill light-brown on the ridge and tips, flesh-coloured beneath. Iris ha- 
zel. Legs pale flesh-coloured. The general colour above is rich olive-green, 
the coiTcealed parts of the quills and tail dusky-brown ;^ eye margined 
with a ring of yellowish-white ; throat asli-grey, the rest of the under 
parts dull greenish-yellow, excepting the sides, under the wings, which 
are olive-green. 

Length 5| inches, extent of wings 8 ; bill along the ridge -j*g, along 
the edge |*2 ; tarsus 4|. 

Adult Female, Plate CXXXVIII, Fig. 2. 

The Female resembles the male in the upper parts, but the throat is 
greenish-yellow, and the rest of the under parts somewhat less richly 
coloured than those of the male. 



Gentiaka saponakia, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. i. p. 1388. Pursh. Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. 
p. 185. — Pentandeia Digynia, Linn. GzntianejE, Juss. 

Stem round, smooth ; leaves oblongo-lanceolate, three nerved ; flowers 
sessile, tufted, terminal and axillar; corolla quinquefid, campanulate, 
ventricose, with the divisions obtuse, the internal plaits with toothed seg- 
ments. It grows in meadows and woods, from Canada to Carolina, 
flowering in August and September. 



( 2^9 ) 

THE FIELD SPARROW. 

Fringilla pusilla, Wils. 

PLATE CXXXIX. Adult. 

This diminutive and elegant species of Finch may certainly be ranked 
among our constant residents, numerous individuals remaining during 
the winter within the limits of the Union. In Louisiana and the coun- 
tries along the Mississippi, as far as Kentucky, and in all the Southern 
States, as far as Maryland, they are to be found in the coldest weather. 
In South Carolina they are met with along every hedge-row and in every 
briar-patch, as well as in the old fields slightly covered with tall slender 
grasses, on the seeds of which they chiefly subsist during the inclement 
season. Loose flocks, sometimes of forty or fifty, are seen hopping along 
the sandy roads, picking up particles of gravel. On the least alarm, they 
all take to wing, and ahght on the nearest bushes, but the next moment 
return to the ground. They leave the south as early as March, move 
northwards as the season advances, and appear in the States of New York 
and Pennsylvania, about the middle of April. 

The song of the Field Sparrow is remarkable, although not fine. It 
trills its notes like a young Canary Bird, and now and then emits empha- 
tical, though not very distinct sounds of some length. One accustomed 
to distinguish the notes of different birds can easily recognise the song of 
this species; but the description of it, I confess, I am unable to accom- 
phsh, so at least as to afford you any tolerable idea of it. 

It is a social and peaceable bird. When the breeding season is at 
hand they disperse, move off" in pairs, and throw themselves into old pas- 
ture grounds, overgrown with low bushes, on the tops of which the males 
may be heard practising their vocal powers. They usually breed on the 
ground, at the foot of a small bush or rank-weed ; but I have also found 
several of their nests on the lower branches of trees, a foot or two from 
the ground. The nest is simple, formed chiefly of fine dry grasses, in 
some instances scantily lined with horse-hair or delicate fibrous roots, 
much resembling hair. The eggs are from four to six, of a light ferru- 
ginous tint, produced by the blending of small dots of that colour. So 
prolific is this species, that I have observed a pair raise three broods in 



230 FIELD SPARROW. 

one summer, the amount of individuals pi-oduced being fifteen. The 
young run after their parents, leaving the nest before they can fly, and 
are left to shift for themselves ere they are fully fledged ; but as they 
find every where abundance of insects, berries, and small seeds, they con- 
trive to get on without help, 

These birds are fond of orchards, enter our country towns in autumn, 
alight on the tallest trees in open woods, and migrate solely by day. 
Their flight is rapid, even, and occasionally sustained ; for, when fairly 
alarmed, they move at once over fields of considerable extent. 

I saw few in Maine, and none in the British provinces, in Labrador 
or in Newfoundland. 

The colour of the bill varies with the seasons, being in winter of a 
dingy reddish-brown, and in summer assuming a tint approaching to 
orange. There is no perceptible difl'erence in the size or colour of the 
sexes. The young acquire their full plumage the first autumn. 

Travelling from Great Egg Harbour towards Philadelphia, I found 
a nest of this species placed at the foot of a bush growing in almost pure 
sand. Near it were the plants which you see accompanying the figure. 

Fringilla pusilla, Ch. Bonaparte, Sjnops. of Birds of the United States, p. 110. 
Field Sparrow, Fringilla pusilla, Wik. Amer. Ornitli. vol. ii. p. 121. pi. IG. 

fig. 2. 
Field or Rush Sparrow, Fringilla juncorum, Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 499. 

Adult Male, Plate CXXXIX. 

Bill short, rather small, strong, conical, acute ; upper mandible rather 
narrower than the lower, very slightly declinate at the tip, rounded on the 
sides, as is the lower, which has the edges inflected and acute ; the gap- 
line very slightly arched, slightly deflected at the base. Nostrils basal, 
roundish, partially concealed by the feathers. The general form rather 
robust. Legs of moderate length, slender; tarsus longer than the middle 
toe, covered anteriorly with a few longish scutella ; toes scutellate above, 
free, the lateral ones nearly equal ; claws slender, slightly arched, that of 
the hind toe scarcely larger, much compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft, blended, rather compact on the back ; wings shortish, 
curved, rounded, the third quill longest, the second and fourth scarcely 
shorter ; tail long, emarginate. 

This species, in size and general appearance, is very closely allied to 
the Chipping Sparrow (see p. 21. of the present volume.) 



FIELD SPARROW. 231 

Bill reddish-brown or cinnamon-colour. Iris chestnut. Feet pale 
yellowish-brown. Upper part of the head chestnut ; anterior portion of 
the back and scapulars of the same tint, but marked with blackish-brown 
spots, the middle part of each feather being of that colour ; sides of the 
neck pale bluish-grey, and a line of the same over the eye ; rump and tail 
yellowish-grey, the inner webs of the latter light-brown ; quills and co- 
verts blackish-brown, margined with whitish, the two rows of coverts 
slightly tipped with brownish-white ; the under parts are greyish-white ; 
the sides of the neck and fore part of the breast tinged with chestnut. 

Length 6 inches^ extent of Avings 8 ; bill along the back j, along the 
edge ^%. 

The Female is rather less, and somewhat duller beneath, but in other 
respects is precisely similar. 



Calopogon pulchellus, Brown — Cymbidium pulchellum, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. 
iv. p. 105. Pursh, FL Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 592. — Gynandria Monandria, 
Linn. Orchide^, Juss. 

Root tuberous, of an oblong form ; radical leaves linear-lanceolate, 
nerved ; scape few-flowered ; lip at the back clawed, the inside bearded ; 
five distinct petals of a light purplish-red. It grows in sandy soils 
from Maine to the Floridas ; I have not observed it in the more Southern 
or Western States. 



The Dwarf Huckle-berry. 



Vaccinium tenellum, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. ii. p. 353. Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. 
vol. i. p. 289 Decandria Monogynia, Linn. Eric^, Juss. 

The branches angular, green ; leaves sessile, ovato-lanceolate, mucro- 
nate, serrulate, glossy on both sides ; flowers in sessile clusters ; corolla 
ovate. This plant grows in most of the lands of the Middle and Eastern 
Districts, both in woods and in open places. Its berries are eaten by 
various birds, as well as by children. 



( 232 ) 

THE PINE CREEPING WARBLER. 

Sylvia pinus, Lath. 

PIATE OXL. Male and Female. 

The Pine Creeping Warbler, the most abundant of its tribe, is met 
with from Louisiana to Maine, more profusely in the warmer, and more 
sparingly in the colder regions, breeding wherever fir or pine trees are to 
be found. Although it may occasionally be seen on other trees, yet it 
always prefers those of that remarkable and interesting tribe. I found 
it on the sandy barrens bordering St John's River, in East Florida, 
in full song, early in February. I am pretty certain that they had al- 
ready formed nests at that early period, and it seems to me not unlikely 
that this species, as well as some others that breed in that country at the 
same time, may afterwards travel far to the eastward, and there rear an- 
other brood the same year. 

In some degree allied to the Certhiae in its habits, it is often seen as- 
cending the trunks and larger branches of trees, hopping against the bark, 
in search of the larvae that lurk there. At times it moves sidewise along 
a branch three or four steps, and turning about, goes on in the same 
manner, until it has reached a twig, which it immediately examines. 
Its restless activity is quite surprising : now it gives chace to an in- 
sect on wing ; now, it is observed spying out those more diminutive 
species concealed among the blossoms and leaves of the pines ; again, it 
leaves the topmost branches of a tree, flies downwards, and alights side- 
wise on the trunk of another, which it ascends, changing its position, 
from right to left, at every remove. It also visits the ground in quest 
of food, and occasionally betakes itself to the water, to drink or bathe. 

It is seldom that an individual is seen by itself going through its 
course of action, for a kind of sympathy seems to exist in a flock, and in 
autumn and winter especially, thirty or more may be observed, if not on 
the same tree, at least not far from each other. Although it feeds on in- 
sects, larvEe, and occasionally small crickets, it seems to give a decided 
preference to a little red insect of the coleopterous order, which is found 
inclosed in the leaves or stipules of the pine. Low lands seem to suit it 
best, for it is much less numerous in mountainous countries than in those 
bordei'ing the sea. 



PINE CREEPING WARBLER. 233 

Like many other birds, the Pine Creeping Warbler constructs its 
nest of different materials, nay even makes it of a different form, in the 
Southern and Eastern States. In the Carolinas, for instance, it is usually 
placed among the dangling fibres of the Spanish moss, with less work- 
manship and less care, than in the Jerseys, the State of New York, or 
that of Maine. In the latter, as well as in Massachusetts, where it breeds 
about the middle of June, it places its nest at a great height, sometimes 
fifty feet, attaching it to the twigs of a forked branch. Here the nest is 
small, thin but compact, composed of the slender stems of dried grasses 
mixed with coarse fibrous roots and tlie exuvia9 of caterpillars or other in- 
sects, and lined with the hair of the deer, moose, racoon, or other animals, 
delicate fibrous roots, wool, and feathers. The eggs, which are from four 
to six, have a very light sea-green tint, all over sprinkled with small pale 
reddish-brown dots, of which there is a thicker circle near the larger end. 
In these districts, it seldom breeds more than once in the season, whereas 
in the Carolinas, Georgia, and the Floridas, where it is a constant resi- 
dent, it usually has two, sometimes three, broods in tlie year, and its eggs 
are deposited on the first days of April, fully a month earlier than in the 
State above mentioned. 

Its flight is short, and exhibits undulating curves of considerable ele- 
gance. It migrates entirely by day, flying from tree to tree, and seldom 
making a longer flight than is necessary for crossing a river. The song 
is monotonous, consisting at times merely of a continued tremulous 
sound, which may be represented by the letters Trr—rr-rr-rr. During 
the love season, this is changed into a more distinct sound, resembling- 
toe, twe, te, te, te, tee. It sings at all hours of the day, even in the heat 
of summer noon, when the woodland songsters are usually silent. 

It is a hardy bird, seldom abandoning the most northern of the 
Eastern States until the middle of October. I saw none beyond the Pro- 
vince of New Brunswick, and Professor MacCu'lloch of Pictou had not 
observed it in Nova Scotia. In Newfoundland and Labrador I did not 
see a single individual. 

I have placed a pair of these birds on a branch of their favourite 
pine ; but the colouring of the male is not so briUiant as it is in spring 
and summer, the individual represented having been drawn in Louisiana 
in the winter, where, as well as in the Carolinas, the Floridas, and all the 
Southern Districts, it is a constant resident. 



234 PINE CREEPING WARBLER. 



Sylvia Tnavs, Lath.' Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 537.— Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of 

the United States, p. 81. 
Fine Creeping Warbler, Sylvia Pinus, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 25, 

pi. 19. fig. 4. 
Pine Warbler, Sylvia Pinus, NuttaU, Manual, part i. p. 387. 

Adult Male. Plate CXL. Fig. 1. 

Bill shortish, nearly straight, subulato-conical, rather depressed^at the 
base, compressed towards the end, acute, the edges sharp, with a very 
slight notch close to the tip. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, half- 
closed by a membrane. Head of ordinary size, neck short, body rather 
slender. Feet of ordinary length, slender ; tarsus compressed, anteriorly 
scutellate, sharp behind ; toes free, the hind toe of moderate size, the la- 
teral toes nearly equal ; claws slender, compressed, arched acute. 

Plumage soft blended. Wings rather long, second quill longest, first 
and third scarcely shorter. Tail rather long, emarginate. Distinct bristles 
at the base of the bill. 

Bill brownish-black. Iris hazel. Feet dusky. The general colour 
of the upper parts is yellowish -green inclining to olive, the rump lighter ; 
throat, sides and breast, greenish-yellow, the sides of the latter spotted 
with greenish- brown, belly white. Wings and tail blackish-brown, with 
greyish- white margins ; the secondary coverts and first row of small co- 
verts tipped with white, forming two bars across the wing. 

Length 5j inches, extent of wings 8| ; bill along the back {\, along 
the sides | ; tarsus |. 

Adult Female. Plate CXL. Fig. 2. 

On the vipper parts the female is greyish-brown, tinged with olive, the 
lower parts paler than in the male. In other respects, the differences are 
not remarkable. 

Length 5, extent of wings 8. 



PINE CREEPING WARBLER. 235 



The Yellow Pine. 

PiNus VARIABILIS, PuTsh, Flor. Amer. Sept. voL ii. p. 643 P. mitis. MichaiLv, 

Arbr. Forest, vol. i. p. 52. pi. 3 Moniecia Movadelpiiia, Linn. Coni- 

feujE, Juss. 

This species is known by various names : — Long-leaved Pine, Yellow 
Pine, Red Pine, and Pitch Pine. It attains a height of a hundred 
feet, and has a diameter of four. The leaves are very long, three in 
a sheath, and fasciculate at the ends of the branches. It is very abun- 
dant in the Southern States, where it is employed for various purposes, 
more especially for the inclosure of cultivated fields, and for ship-building 
and domestic architecture. Most of the tar of the Southern States is ob- 
tained from this tree. 



( 236 ) 



THE LIVE-OAKERS. 



The greater part of the forests of East Florida principally consists of 
what in that country are called " Pine Barrens." In these districts, the 
woods are rather thin, and the only trees that are seen in them are tall 
pines of rather indifferent quality, beneath which is a growth of rank 
grass, here and there mixed with low bushes and sword palmettoes. The 
soil is of a sandy nature, mostly flat, and consequently either covered with 
water during the rainy season, or parched in the summer and autumn, al- 
though you meet at times with ponds of stagnant water, where the cattle, 
which are abundant, allay their thirst, and around which resort the vari- 
ous kinds of game found in these wilds. 

The traveller, who has pursued his course for many miles over the 
barrens, is suddenly delighted to see in the distance the appearance of a 
dark " hummock'" of live oaks and other trees, seeming as if they had been 
planted in the wilderness. As he approaches, the air feels cooler and 
more salubrious, the song of numerous birds delights his ear, the herbage 
assumes a more luxuriant appearance, the flowers become larger and 
brighter, and a grateful fragrance is diffused around. These objects con- 
tribute to refresh his mind, as much as the sight of the waters of some 
clear spring, gliding among the undergrowth, seems already to allay his 
thirst. Over head festoons of innumerable vines, jessamines, and bigno- 
nias, link each tree with those around it, their slender stems being inter- 
laced as if in mutual affection. No sooner, in the shade of these beauti- 
ful woods, has the traveller finished his mid-day repast, than he perceives 
small parties of men lightly accoutred, and each bearing an axe, approach- 
ing towards his resting place. They exchange the usual civihties, and 
immediately commence their labours, for they too have just finished their 
meal. 

I think I see them proceeding to their work. Here two have station- 
ed themselves on the opposite sides of the trunk of a noble and venerable 
live-oak. Their keen-edged and well-tempered axes seem to make no im- 
pression on it, so small are the chips that drop at each blow around the 
mossy and wide-spreading roots. There, one is ascending the stem of 
another, of which, m its fall, the arms have stuck among the tangled tops 



THE LIVE-OAKERS. a37 

of the neighbouring trees. See how cautiously he proceeds, barefooted, 
and with a handkerchief round his head. Now he has cHmbed to the 
height of about forty feet from the ground ; he stops, and squaring him- 
self with the trunk on which he so boldly stands, he wields with sinewy 
arms his trusty blade, the repeated blows of which, although the tree be 
as tough as it is large, will soon sever it in two. He has changed sides, 
and his back is turned to you. The trunk now remains connected by 
only a thin stripe of wood. He places his feet on the part which is lodg- 
ed, and shakes it with all his might. Now sAvings the hnge log under 
his leaps, now it suddenly gives way, and as it strikes upon the ground 
its echoes are repeated through the hummock, and every wild turkey 
within hearing utters his gobble of recognition. Tlie wood-cutter, how- 
ever, remains collected and composed ; but the next moment, he throws 
his axe to the ground, and, assisted by the nearest grape-vine, slides down 
and reaches the earth in an instant. 

Several men approach and examine the prostrate trunk. They cut 
at both its extremities, and sound the whole of its bark, to enable them 
to judge if the tree has been attacked by the white rot. If such has un- 
fortunately been the case, there, for a century or more, this huge log will 
remain until it gradually crumbles ; but if not, and if it is free of injury 
or " wind-shakes," while there is no appearance of the sap having already 
ascended, and its pores are altogether sound, they proceed to take its 
measurement. Its shape ascertained, and the timber that is fit for use 
laid out by the aid of models, Avhich, like fragments of the skeleton of a 
ship, shew the forms and sizes required, the " hewers" commence their 
labours. Thus, reader, perhaps every known hummock in the Floridas is 
annually attacked, and so often does it happen that the white-rot or some 
other disease has deteriorated the quality of the timber, that the woods 
may be seen strewn with trunks that have been found worthless, so that 
every year these valuable oaks are becoming scarcer. The destruction of 
the young trees of this species caused by the fall of the great trunks is of 
course immense, and as there are no artificial plantations of these trees in 
our country, before long a good sized live-oak will be so valuable that its 
owner will exact an enormous price for it, even while it yet stands in the 
wood. In my opinion, formed on personal observation, Live-oak Hum- 
mocks are not quite so plentiful as they are represented to be, and of this 
I will give you one illustration. 



238 THE LIVE-OAKERS. 

On the 25th of February 1832, I happened to be far up the St John s 
River in East Florida, in the company of a person employed by our 
o-overnment in protecting the live-oaks of that section of the country, 
and who received a good salary for his trouble. While we were pro- 
ceeding along one of the banks of that most singular stream, my com- 
panion pointed out some large hummocks of dark-leaved trees on the 
opposite side, which he said were entirely formed of live oaks. I 
thouo-ht differently, and as our controversy on the subject became a 
little warm, I proposed that our men should row us to the place, where 
we mio-ht examine the leaves and timber, and so decide the point. We 
soon landed, but after inspecting the woods, not a single tree of the spe- 
cies did we find, although there were thousands of large " swamp-oaks." 
My companion acknowledged his mistake, and I continued to search for 
birds. 

One dark evening as I was seated on the banks of the same river, con- 
sidering what arrangements I should make for the nighi, as it began to 
rain in torrents, a man who happened to see me, came up and invited me 
to go to his cabin, which he said was not far off. I accepted his kind 
offer, and followed him to his humble dwelling. There I found his wife, 
several children, and a number of men, who, as my host told me, were, 
like himself, Live-Oakers. Supper was placed on a large table, and on 
being desired to join the party, I willingly assented, doing my best to di- 
minish the contents of the tin pans and dishes set before the company by 
the active and agreeable housewife. We then talked of the country, its 
climate and productions, until a late hour, when we laid ourselves down 
on bears' skins, and reposed till day-break. 

I longed to accompany these hardy wood-cutters to the hummock 
where they were engaged in preparing live-oak timber for a man of war. 
Provided with axes and guns, we left the house to the care of the wife 
and children, and proceeded for several miles through a pine-barren, such 
as I have attempted to describe. One fine wild Turkey was shot, and 
when we arrived at the Shantee put up near the hummock, we found an- 
other party of wood-cutters waiting our arrival, before eating their break- 
fast, already prepared by a Negro man, to whom the turkey was consign- 
ed to be roasted for part of that day's dinner. 

Our repast was an excellent one, and vied with a Kentucky break- 
fast : beef, fish, potatoes, and other vegetables, were served up, with 



THE LIVEOAKERS. 239 

coffee in tin cups, and plenty of biscuit. Every man seemed hungry 
and happy, and the conversation assumed the most humorous character. 
The sun now rose above the trees, and all, excepting the cook, proceeded 
to the hummock, on which I had been gazing with great delight, as it 
promised rare sport. My host, I found, was the chief of the party ; and 
although he also had an axe, he made no other use of it than for strip- 
ping here and there pieces of bark from certain trees which he considered 
of doubtful soundness. He was not only well versed in his profession, 
but generally intelligent, and from him I received the following account, 
which I noted at the time. 

The men who are employed in cutting the live oak, after having dis- 
covered a good hummock, build shantees of small logs, to retire to at 
night, and feed in by day. Their provisions consist of beef, pork, pota- 
toes, biscuit, flour, rice, and fish, together with excellent whisky. They 
are mostly hale, strong, and active men, from the eastern parts of the 
Union, and receive excellent wages, according to their different abihties. 
Their labours are only of a few months' duration. Such hummocks as 
are found near navigable streams are first chosen, and when it is abso- 
lutely necessary, the timber is sometimes hauled five or six miles to the 
nearest water-course, where, although it sinks, it can, with comparative 
ease, be shipped to its destination. The best time for cutting the live 
oak is considered to be from the first of December to the beginning of 
March, or while the sap is completely down. When the sap is flowing, 
the tree is " bloom," and more apt to be " shaken." The white-rot, 
which occurs so frequently in the live-oak, and is perceptible only by the 
best judges, consists of round spots, about an inch and a half in dia- 
meter, on the outside of the bark, through which, at that spot, a hard 
stick may be driven sevei'al inches, and generally follows the heart up or 
down the trunk of the tree. So deceiving are these spots and trees to 
persons unacquainted with this defect, that thousands of trees are cut and 
afterwards abandoned. The great number of trees of this sort strewn in 
the woods would tend to make a stranger believe that there is much more 
good oak in the country than there really is ; and perhaps, in reality, not 
more than one-fourth of the quantity usually reported, is to be pro- 
cured. 

The Live-oakers generally revisit their distant homes in the Middle 
and Eastern Districts, where they spend the summer, returning to the 



240 THE LIVE-OAKERS. 

Floridas at the approach of winter. "Some, however, who have gone 
there with their famihes, remain for years in succession ; although they 
suffer much from the climate, by which their once good constitutions are 
often greatly impaired. This was the case with the individual above 
mentioned, from whom I subsequently received much friendly assistance 
in my pursuits. 



( 241 ) 

THE GOSHAWK. 

Falco falumbarius, Linn. 

PLATE CXLI. Adult Male and Young Male (with Adult Stanley Hawk). 

The Goshawk is of rare occurrence in most parts of the United 
States, and the districts of North America to which it usually retires to 
breed are as yet unknown. Some individuals nestle within the Union, 
t)thers in the British provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, but 
the greater part seem to proceed farther north. I saw none, however, in 
Labrador, but was informed that they are plentiful in the wooded parts 
of Newfoundland. On returning from the north, they make their ap- 
pearance in the Middle States about the beginning of September, and af- 
ter that season range to very great distances. I liaAe found them rather 
abundant in the lower parts of Kentucky and Indiana, and in severe 
winters I have seen a few even in Louisiana. In the Great Pine Forest of 
Pennsylvania, and at the Falls of Niagara, I have observed them breed- 
ing. During autumn and winter, they are common in Maine, as well as 
in Nova Scotia, where I have seen six or seven specimens that were pro- 
cured by a single person in the course of a season. At Pictou, Profes- 
sor MacCulloch shewed me about a dozen well mounted specimens of 
both sexes, and of different ages, which he had procured in the neigh- 
bourhood. In that country, they prey on hares, the Canada Grous, the 
Ruffed Grous, and Wild Ducks. In Maine, they are so daring as to 
come to the very door of the farmery's house, and carry off chickens and 
ducks with such rapidity as generally to elude all attempts to shoot them. 
AVhen residing in Kentuck} ^ shot a great number of these birds, parti- 
cularly, one cold winter, near Henderson, when I killed a dozen or more 
on the ice in Canoe Creek, where I generally surprised them by ap- 
proaching the deep banks of that stream with caution, and not unfre- 
quently almost above them, when their escape was rendered rather diffi- 
cult. They there caught mallards with ease, and after killing them 
turned them belly upwards, and ate only the flesh of the breast, pull- 
ing the feathers with great neatness, and throwing them round the bird, 
as if it had been plucked by the hand of man. 

VOL. II. , Q 



242 GOSHAWK. 

The flight of the Goshawk is extremely rapid and protracted. He 
sweeps along the margins of the fields, through the woods, and by the 
edges of ponds and rivers, with such speed as to enable him to seize his 
prey by merely deviating a few yards from his course, assisting himself 
on such occasions by his long tail, which, like a rudder, he throws 
to the right or left, upwards or downwards, to check his progress, or 
enable him suddenly to alter his course. At times he passes like a 
meteor through the underwood, where he secures squirrels and hares with 
ease. Should a flock of Wild Pigeons pass him when on these predatory 
excursions, he immediately gives chase, soon overtakes them, and forcing 
his way into the very centre of the flock, scatters them in confusion, when 
you may see him emerging with a bird in his talons, and diving towards 
the depth of the forest to feed upon his victim. When travelling, he 
flies high, with a constant beat of the wings, seldom moving in large 
circles like other hawks, and when he does this, it is only a few times in 
a hurried manner, after which he continues his journey. 

Along the Atlantic coast, this species follows the numerous flocks of 
ducks that are found there during autumn and winter, and greatly aids 
in the destruction of Mallards, Teals, Black Ducks, and other species, in 
company with the Peregrine Falcon. It is a restless bird, apparently more 
vigilant and industrious than many other Hawks, and seldom alights un- 
less to devour its prey ; nor can I recollect ever having seen one alighted 
for many minutes at a time, without having a bird in its talons. When 
thus engaged with its prey, it stands nearly upright, and in general, 
when perched, it keeps itself more erect than most species of Hawk. It 
is extremely expert at catching Snipes on the wing, and so well do these 
birds know their insecurity, that, on his approach, they prefer squatting. 
When the Passenger Pigeons are abundant in the western country, 
the Goshawk follows their close masses, and subsists upon them. A single 
hawk suffices to spread the greatest terror among their ranks, and the 
moment he sweeps towards a flock, the whole immediately dive into the 
deepest woods, where, notwithstanding their great speed, the marauder 
succeeds in clutching the fattest. While travelling along the Ohio, I 
observed several Hawks of this species in the train of millions of these 
Pigeons. Towards the evening of the same day, I saw one abandoning 
its course, to give chase to a large flock of Crow Blackbirds (Quiscalus 
versicolor), then crossing the river. The Hawk approached them with 
the swiftness of an arrow, when the Blackbirds rushed together so closely 



GOSHAWK. 243 

that the flock looked like a dusky ball passing through the air. On 
reaching the mass, he, with the greatest ease, seized first one, then an- 
other, and another, giving each a squeeze with his talons, and suffering it 
to drop upon the water. In this manner, he had procured four or five 
before the poor birds reached the woods, into which they instantly plunged, 
when he gave up the chase, swept over the water in graceful curves, 
and picked up the fruits of his industry, carrying each bird singly to the 
shore. Reader, is this instinct or reason .'' 

The nest of the Goshawk is placed on the branches of a tree, near the 
trunk or main stem. It is of great size, and resembles that of our Crow, 
or some species of Owl, being constructed of withered twigs and coarse 
grass, with a lining of fibrous stripes of plants resembling hemp. It is, 
however, much flatter than that of the Crow. In one I found, in the 
month of April, three eggs, ready to be hatched ; they were of a dull 
bluish-white, sparingly spotted with light reddish-brown. In another, 
which I found placed on a pine-tree, growing on the eastern rocky bank 
of the Niagara River, a few miles below the Great Cataract, the lining 
was formed of withered herbaceous plants, with a few feathers, and the 
eo-g-s were four in number, of a white colour, tinged with greenish-blue, 
large, much rounded, and somewhat granulated. In another nest were 
four young birds, covered with bufF-coloured down, their legs and feet of 
a pale yellowish flesh-colour, the bill light-blue, and the eyes pale-grey. 
They diff'ered greatly in size, one being quite small compared with the 
rest. I am of opinion that few breed to the south of the State of Maine. 

The variations of plumage exhibited by the Goshawk are numerous. 
I have seen some with horizontal bars, of a large size on the breast, and 
blotches of white on the back and shoulders, while others had the first 
of these parts covered with delicate transverse lines, the shaft of each 
feather being deep brown or black, and were of a plain cinereous tint 
above. The young, which at first have but few scattered dashes of 
brown beneath, are at times thickly mottled with that, and each feather 
of the back and wings is broadly edged with dull white. 

My opinion respecting the identity of the American Goshawk and 
that of Europe, is still precisely the same as it was four years ago, when 
I wrote a paper on the svibject, which was published in the Edinburgh 
Journal of Natural and Geographical Science. I regret differing on this 
point from such accomplished ornithologists as my excellent friend Prince 

Q 2 



244 GOSHAWK, 

Charles Bonapakte and M. Temminck ; but, after due consideration, 
I cannot help thinking these birds the same. 

The figure of the adult was drawn at Henderson, in Kentucky, many 
years ago. That of the young bird was taken from a specimen shot in 
the Great Pine Forest in Pennsylvania. 



Falco palumbarius, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 130 — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 29. 

— Ch. Bonaparte^ Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 28. 
AcciPiTER (Astur) palumbarius, Swains, and Richards, Fauna Bor. Americ. part ii. 

p. 39. 
Ash-coloured or Black-capped Hawk, Falco atricapillus, Wils. Amer. Ornith^ 

vol. vi. p. 80. pi. 5. Fig. 3 American Goshawk, Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 85. 

Adult Male. Plate CXLI. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, nearly as deep as broad at the base, the tip trigonal, very 
acute and decurved ; upper mandible with the dorsal outline convex from 
the base, the ridge rounded, the sides convex, the edges acute, overlap- 
ping, and shghtly festooned ; lower manchble a Uttle deflected towards 
the tip, which is broadly rounded. Head large, neck short, body robust. 
Legs longish, the tibia long, the tarsus rounded, anteriorly scutellate, 
scaly on the sides, tubercular and scabrous beneath ; the fore-toes with a 
slight web at the base ; claws roundish, curved, extremely acute, that of 
the inner toe as large as the claw of the hind one. 

Plumage compact. Wings reaching to the middle of the tail, the 
fourth quill longest, the first and eighth equal. Tail long, nearly even, 
of twelve broad feathers. Tarsus feathered more than one-third down. 

Bill black, light blue at the base ; cere greenish-yellow ; eye-brow 
greenish-blue. Iris retldish-orange. Feet yellow. The general colour 
of the upper parts is dark ash-grey ; the upper part of the head and the 
ear-coverts are greyish-black ; a broad line of white over each eye ; a cen- 
tral line on each feather black, as is the case with those of the neck and 
back ; under parts greyish- white ; the sides and abdomen tinged with 
brown ; fore-neck longitudinally marked with blackish-brown streaks ; the 
breast, sides, and belly transversely barred with blackish-grey, and lon- 
gitudinally lined with black ; tail with five broad bands of brownish- 
black, the terminal band much broader ; the extreme tips whitish. 

Length 24 inches, extent of wings 47. Weight 2^ lb. 



GOSHAWK. 245 

Young Male. Plate CXLI. Fig. 2. 

Bill as in the adult. Iris light-yellow. Feet greenish-yellow. The ge- 
neral colour of the upper parts is light reddish-brown, largely spotted 
with brownish-black ; on the upper part of the head, the margins of the 
feathers are brownish-red, and the black predominates ; a broad band of 
white over each eye. Quills lightish-brown, barred with a darker colour; 
tail brownish-grey, banded with brownish-black ; ear-coverts brownish, 
streaked with black, as is the throat ; fore-neck and breast pale reddish- 
brown, the former marked with small oblong spots of dark brown, the 
latter with large ovate, acuminate spots of a deeper tint ; the shafts black ; 
the short tarsal feathers similarly spotted. 

Length 21| inches ; extent of wings 46. 

The Female agrees with the Male in external appearance, but is con- 
siderably larger. 



Stanley Hawk. Falco Stanleii, Audub. 

An Adult Female and a Young Male of this species have been repre- 
sented in Plate XXXVI. of my American Birds, and the figure of an 
Adult Male is here introduced, for the purpose of being compared with 
the Goshawk. The form is the same in both, and in the colouring of the 
upper parts there is little difference ; but the size is much less, and the 
breast is marked with light-brown arrow-shaped spots, and large irregular 
transverse bars, differing greatly from the markings of the Goshawk. 
Other differences are perceptible, especially in the colour of the ear- 
coverts ; but as this specimen has been described at page 189 of the first 
volume, and as a glance at the figures in the plate will convey more in- 
;elligence than words could do, it is quite unnecessary to say more here. 



( 246 ) 

THE AMERICAN SPARROW-HAWK 

Falco sparverius, Linn. 

PLATE CXLII. Male and Female. 

We have few more beautiful hawks in the United States than this 
active httle species, and I am sure, none half so abundant. It is found 
in every district from Louisiana to Maine, as well as from the Atlantic 
shores to the western regions. Every one knows the Sparrow-Hawk, the 
very mention of its name never fails to bring to mind some anecdote con- 
nected with its habits, and, as it commits no depredations on poultry, few 
disturb it, so that the natural increase of the species experiences no check 
from man. During the winter months especially it may be seen in the 
Southern States about every old field, orchard, barn-yard, or kitchen-gar- 
den, but seldom indeed in the interior of the forest. 

Beautifully erect, it stands on the highest fence-stake, the broken top 
of a tree, the summit of a grain stack, or the corner of the barn, patiently 
and silently waiting until it spy a mole, a field-mouse, a cricket, or a 
grasshopper, on which to pounce. If disappointed in its expectation, it 
leaves its stand and removes to another, flying low and swiftly until with- 
in a few yards of the spot on which it wishes to alight, when all of a sud- 
den, and in the most graceful manner, it rises towards it and settles with 
incomparable firmness of manner, merely suffering its beautiful tail to 
vibrate gently for a while, its wings being closed with the swiftness of 
thought. Its keen eye perceives something beneath, when down it darts, 
secures the object in its talons, returns to its stand, and devours its prey 
piece by piece. This done, the little hunter rises in the air, describes a few 
circles, moves on directly, balances itself steadily by a tremulous motion 
of its wings, darts towards the earth, but, as if disappointed, checks it 
course, reascends and proceeds. Some unlucky finch crosses the field be- 
neath it. The Hawk has marked it, and, anxious to secure its prize, 
sweeps after it •, the chase is soon ended, for the poor affrighted and pant- 
ing bird becomes the prey of the ruthless hunter, who, unconscious of 
wrong, carries it off to some elevated branch of a tall tree, plucks it neatly, 
tears the flesh asunder, and having eaten all that it can pick, allows the 



AMERICAN SPARROW-HAWK. 247 

skeleton and wings to fall to the ground, where they may apprise the 
traveller that a murder has been committed. 

Thus, reader, are the winter months spent by this little marauder. 
When spring returns to enliven the earth, each male bird seeks for its 
mate, whose coyness is not less innocent than that of the gentle dove. 
Pursued from place to place, the female at length yields to the importunity 
of her dear tormenter, when side by side they sail, screaming aloud their 
love notes, which if not musical, are doubtless at least delightful to the 
parties concerned. With tremulous wings they search for a place in which 
to deposit their eggs secure from danger, and now they have found it. 

On that tall mouldering headless trunk, the hawks have alighted side 
by side. See how they caress each other ! Mark ! The female enters 
the deserted Woodpecker's hole, where she remains some time measuring 
its breadth and depth. Now she appears, exultingly calls her mate, and 
tells him there could not be a fitter place. FuU of joy they gambol through 
the air, chase all intruders away, watch the Grakles and other birds to 
which the hole might be equally pleasing, and so pass the time, until the 
female has deposited her eggs, six, perhaps even seven in number, round, 
and beautifully spotted. The birds sit alternately, each feeding the 
other and watching with silent care. After a while the young appear, 
covered with white down. They grow apace, and now are ready to go 
abroad, when their parents entice them forth. Some launch into the air 
at once, others, not so strong, now and then fall to the ground ; but all 
continue to be well provided with food, until they are able to shift for 
themselves. Together they search for grasshoppers, crickets, and such 
young birds as, less experienced than themselves, fall an easy prey. The 
family still resort to the same field, each bird making choice of a stand, 
the top of a tree, or that of the Great Mullein. At times they remove to 
the ground, then fly off in a body, separate, and again betake themselves 
to their stands. Their strength increases, their flight improves, and the 
field-mouse seldom gains her retreat before the little Falcon secures it for 
a meal. 

The trees, of late so richly green, now disclose the fading tints of 
autumn ; the cricket becomes mute, the grasshopper withers on the fences, 
the mouse retreats to her winter quarters, dismal clouds obscure the 
eastern horizon, the sun assumes a sickly dimness, hoarfrosts cover the 
ground, and the long night encroaches on the domains of light. No longer 



248 AMERICAN SPARROW-HAWK. 

are heard the feathered choristers of the woods, who throng towards more 
congenial climes, and in their rear rushes the Sparrow-Hawk. 

Its flight is rather irregular, nor can it be called protracted. It flies 
over a field, but seldom farther at a time ; even in barren lands, a few 
hundred yards are all the extent it chooses to go before it alights. Du- 
ring the love season alone it may be seen sailing for half an hour, which 
i-;I believe, the longest time I ever saw one on the wing. When chasing 
a bird, it passes along with considerable celerity, but never attains the 
speed of the Sharp-shinned Hawk or of other species. When teazing an 
Eagle or a Turkey Buzzard, its strength seems to fail in a few minutes, 
and if itself chased by a stronger hawk, it soon retires into some thicket 
for protection. Its migrations are pursued by day, and with much appa- 
rent nonchalance. 

The cry of this bird so much resembles that of the European Kestrel, 
to which it seems allied, that, were it rather stronger in intonation, it 
might be mistaken for it. At times it emits its notes while perched, but 
principally when on the wing, and more continually before and after the 
birth of its young, the weaker cries of which it imitates when they have 
left the nest and follow their parents. 

The Sparrow Hawk does not much regard the height of the place in 
which it deposits its eggs, provided it be otherwise suitable, but I never saw 
it construct a nest for itself. It prefers the hole of a Woodpecker, but now 
and then is satisfied with an abandoned crow's nest. So prolific is it, that 
I do not recollect having ever found fewer than five eggs or young in the 
nest, and, as I have already said, the number sometimes amounts to seven. 
The eggs are nearly globular, of a deep buff-colour, blotched all over with 
dark brown and black. This Hawk sometimes raises two broods in the sea- 
son, in the Southern States, where in fact it may be said to be a constant 
resident ; but in the Middle and Eastern States, seldom if ever more than 
one. Nay, I have thought that in the South the eggs of a laying are more 
numerous than in the North, although of this I am not quite certain. 

So much attached are they to their stand, that they will return to it 
and sit there by preference for months in succession. My friend Bach- 
man informed me that, through this circumstance, he has caught as many 
as seven in the same field, each from its favourite stump. 

Although the greater number of these Hawks remove southward at . 
the approach of winter, some remain even in the State of New York dii- 



AMERICAN SPARROW-HAWK. 249 

ring the severest weather of that season. These keep in the immediate 
neighbourhood of barns, where now and then they secure a rat or a mouse 
for their support. Sometimes this species is severely handled by the larger 
Hawks. One of them who had caught a Sparrow, and was flying off with 
it, was suddenly observed by a Red-tailed Hawk, which in a few minutes 
made it drop its prey : this contented the pursuer and enabled the pur- 
sued to escape. 

Theodore Lincoln, Esq. of Dennisville, Maine, informed me that 
the Sparrow-Hawk is in the habit of attacking the Republican Swallow, 
while sitting on its eggs, deliberately tearing the bottle-neck-like entrance 
of its curious nest, and seizing the occupant for its prey. This is as fit 
a place as any to inform you, that the father of that gentleman, who has 
resided at Dennisville upwards of forty years, found the swallow just 
mentioned abundant there, on his arrival in that then wild portion of the 
country. 

In the Floridas the Sparrow-Hawk pairs as early as February, in the 
Middle States about April, and in the northern parts of Maine seldom be- 
fore June. Few are seen in Nova Scotia, and none in Newfoundland, or on 
the western coast of Labrador. Although abundant in the interior of East 
Florida, I did not observe one on any of the keys which border the coast 
of that singular peninsula. During one of my journeys down the Mis- 
sissippi, I frequently observed some of these birds standing on low dead 
branches over the water, from which they would pick up the beetles that 
had accidentally fallen into the stream. 

No bird can be ntiore easily raised and kept than this beautiful Hawk. 
I once found a young male that had dropped from the nest before it was 
able to fly. Its cries for food attracted my notice, and I discovered it 
lying near a log. It was large, and covered with soft white down, 
through which the young feathers protruded. Its little blue bill and yet 
grey eyes made it look not unlike an owl. I took it home, named it 
Nero, and provided it with small birds, at which it would scramble fiercely, 
although yet unable to tear their flesh, in which I assisted it. In a few 
weeks it grew very beautiful, and became so voracious, requiring a great 
number of birds daily, that I turned it out, to see how it would shift for 
itself. This proved a gratification to both of us : it soon hunted for grass- 
hoppers and other insects, and on returning from my walks I now and then 
threw a dead bird high in the air, which it never failed to perceive from 
Its stand, and towards which it launched with such quickness as sometimes 



250 AMERICAN SPARROW-HAWK. 

to catch it before it fell to the ground. The little fellow attracted 
the notice of his brothers, brought up hard by, who, accompanied by 
their parents, at first gave it chase, and forced it to take refuge behind 
one of the window-shutters, where it usually passed the night, but soon 
became gentler towards it, as if forgiving its desertion. My bird was fas- 
tidious in the choice of food, would not touch a Woodpecker, however 
fresh, and as he grew older, refused to eat birds that were in the least 
tainted. To the last he continued kind to me, and never failed to return 
at night to his favourite roost behind the window-shutter. His courage- 
ous disposition often amused the family, as he would sail off from his 
stand, and fall on the back of a tame duck, which, setting up a loud 
quack, would waddle off in great alarm with the Hawk sticking to her. 
But, as has often happened to adventurers of similar spirit, his audacity 
cost him his life. A hen and her brood chanced to attract his notice, and 
he flew to secure one of the chickens, but met one whose parental affec- 
tion inspired her with a courage greater than his own. The conflict, 
which was severe, ended the adventures of poor Nero. 

I have often observed birds of this species in the Southern States, 
and more especially in the Floridas, which were so much smaller than 
those met with in the Middle and Northern Districts, that I felt almost in- 
clined to consider them different ; but after studying their habits and 
voice, I became assured that they were the same. Another species allied 
to the present, and alluded to by Wilson, has never made its appear- 
ance in our Southern States. 



Falco sparverius, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. L p. 128. Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 42. 

Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 2?. 

American Sparrow-Hawk, Falco sparverius, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 117. 

pi, 16. fig. 1, Female; and voL iv. p. 5?. pi. 32. fig. 2, Male. JVuttall, Manual, 

part i. p. 58. 
Falco sparverius, Little Rusty-crowned Falcon, Swains, and Richards. Fauna 

Bor. Amer. part ii. p. 31. 

Adult Male. Plate CXLII. Fig. 1, 2. 

Bill short, cerate at the base, the dorsal line curved in its whole 
length ; upper mandible with the edges slightly inflected, and forming a 
small projecting process, the tip trigonal, acute, descending ; lower man- 
dible inflected at the edges, with a notch near the end, which is abrupt. 



AMERICAN SPARROW-HAWK. 251 

Nostrils roundish, with a central papilla, and placed close to the edge of the 
cere. Head rather large, flattened, neck short, body of moderate size. Legs 
of ordinary length ; tarsi roundish with two rows of large scales before, 
three only below being transverse, with small scales on the sides ; toes 
scutellate above, scabrous and tuberculate beneath ; middle toe much 
longer than the outer, which is connected with it by a small web ; claws 
longish, curved, rounded, very acute. 

Plumage compact on the back, blended on the head and under parts. 
Feathers of the head and neck narrow, of the breast oblong, of the back 
broad and rounded. Space between the bill and eye covered with bristly 
feathers. Wings long, much pointed, the primaries tapering, the second 
and third with their outer webs, the first and second their inner ones 
sinuated ; second quill longest. Tail long, moderately rounded, of 
twelve rather narrow, rounded feathers. 

Bill light blue, the tip black, the cere yellow. Iris brown. Feet 
yellow ; claws black. A circular patch of deep orange-brown on the 
crown of the head, which is surrounded by a band of dark greyish-blue, 
with which is in contact a black spot on the nape ; a patch of black de- 
scends from the fore part of the eye, another immediately behind it, the 
cheek between them being white, and there is a third farther back, and 
surrounded by pale brown. A narrow line between the forehead and the 
bill, and another over the eye, white. The back and scapulars are 
brownish-red, with a few transverse black bars, the rump unspotted and 
deeper. Tail of the same colour as the rump, with a broad sub-termi- 
nal band of black, the tips white, as is the outer web of the lateral 
feather, which on its inner web has five black bars (including the sub- 
terminal one), the spaces between them white. The next feather has also 
frequently a few marks of black and white. The wing-coverts are greyish- 
blue, spotted with black. Quills brownish-black, their inner webs trans- 
versely spotted with white. The throat, hind part of the belly, and under 
tail -coverts, white ; the breast brownish-white, its fore part and sides, with 
the lower part of the neck, marked with guttiform black spots. Under 
wing-coverts white, spotted with black. 

Length 12 inches, extent of wings ; bill along the back ; tarsus 1 /^ ; 
middle toe and claw 1^'j. 

Adult Female. Plate CXLII. Fig. 3. 

The female is similarly coloured, but the crown of the head is marked 



252 AMERICAN SPARROW-HAWK. 

with longitudinal black lines, and the back, which is of a duller tint, 
with regular transverse bars of the same. The tail is barred with black, 
the subterminal bar not nearly so broad as in the male, and the tips 
brownish-white. The under surface is Uke that of the male, but the breast 
and flanks are marked with oblong pale yellowish-brown streaks, the spots 
on the inner webs of the quills are pale brown. 
Length 12 inches. 



The Butter-nut, or White Walnut. 

JuGLAKs ciNEREA, JVilld. Sp. PI. vol. iv. p. 450. Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. 
p, C26.— J. CATHARTiCA, Mich. Arbr. Forest, vol. i. p. 165. pi. 2. 

In this species the leaflets are numerous, serrated, rounded at the 
base, downy beneath, their petiols villous ; the fruit oblongo-ovate, with 
a lono- nipple-like apex, which is grooved and rough. It is often a grace- 
ful tree, growing to the height of fifty feet or more. The wood is light 
coloured, but is not much used. The nuts, when young and tender, 
make a pickle which is relished in many parts of the Union. It does not 
occur in Maine, but farther south is abundant, as well as in the western 
country. 



( 253 ) 
THE GOLDEN-CROWNED THRUSH. 

TURDUS AUROCAPILLUS, LaTH. 

PLATE CXLIII. Male and Female. 

It is difficult for me to conceive the reasons which have induced cer- 
tain naturalists to remove this bird from the Thrushes, and place it in the 
genus Sylvia. The habits of a bird certainly are as sure indications of 
its nature, as the form of its bill or feet can be ; and while the latter 
afford no good grounds for rejecting this species as a Thrush, the former 
are decidedly favourable to its remaining where its discoverer placed it. 

The Golden-crowned Thrush nestles on the ground, where, certes, 
the nest of no true Sylvia has ever been found, at least in America ; it 
searches for food as much there as on the branches of trees ; and its young 
follow it for nearly a week before they resort to the latter, although quite 
able to fly. But differences of opinion, such as that occurring in the present 
case, are of little interest to me, and cannot influence Nature, whom alone 
I follow, in her arrangements. 

The notes of this bird are first heard in Louisiana, about the begin- 
ning of March. Some individuals remain there all summer, but the 
greater number proceed eastward, some going as far as Nova Scotia, while 
others move towards the west. Over all this extent of country the species 
is dispersed, and its breeding places are in the interior or along the margins 
of shady woods watered by creeks and rivulets, and seldom visited by man, 
it being of a shy and retiring disposition, so that its occurrence in the open 
parts of the country is very rare. In places like these, it settles for the sea- 
son, attunes its pipe to its simple lay, forms its nest, rears a brood or two, and 
at the approach of winter, spreads its wings and returns to southern regions. 
Perched erect on a low horizontal branch, or sometimes on a fallen 
tree, it emits, at intervals of ten or fifteen minutes, a short succession of 
simple notes, beginning with emphasis and gradually falling. This suf- 
fices to inform the female that her lover is at hand, as watchful as he is 
affectionate. The quieter the place of his abode, the more the little min- 
strel exerts his powers ; and m calm evenings, its music immediately fol- 
lowing the song of the Tawny Thrush, appears to form a pleasant unison. 
The nest is so like an oven, that the children in many places call this 
species the " Oven Bird." I have found it always on the ground, some- 



254 GOLDEN-CROWNED THRUSH. 

times among the roots of a tall tree, sometimes by the side of a fallen 
trunk, and again at the foot of some slender sapling. It is sunk in the 
ground among dry leaves or decayed moss, and is neatly formed of grasses, 
both inside and out, arched over with a thick mass of the same material, 
covered by leaves, twigs, and such grasses as are found in the neighbour- 
hood. A small aperture is left on one side, just sufficient to admit the 
owner. In this snug tenement the female deposits from four to six eggs, 
which are white, irregularly spotted with reddish -brown near the larger 
end. 

When accidentally disturbed at the period of incubation, it glides 
over the ground before you, and uses all sorts of artifices to decoy you 
from its nest. Several species of snakes and small quadrupeds are its 
principal enemies. From children it has little to dread, its gentleness se- 
curing it a place in their affections, so that they seldom molest it. 

While on wing it appears to glide through the woods with ease and 
celerity, although it seldom extends its flight to more than a hundred 
yards at a time. It migrates by day, resorting at night to the deepest 
swamps. In these situations I have met it in company with the Cat Bird 
and other Thrushes. When disturbed on such occasions, its simple 
tweet was familiar to my ear. None remain in the United States during 
winter, although some are found lingering in the lower parts of Louisi- 
ana as late as the first of December. 

The plant on which I have placed a pair of them, grew near the spot 
where I obtained the birds, in a dark wood not far from Philadelphia. 



TuuDus AUROCAPiLLUs, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 328. 

GoLDEN-CKOwNED Theush, Turdus aukocapillus, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. 

p. 88. pL 17. fig- 2 — JVn«a//, Manual, part ii. p. 355. 
SrLviA AUROCAPiLLA, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of tiie United States, p. 77. 
Seiurus AUROCAPILLUS, Golden-crowned Accentor, Swains, and Richards. Fauna. 

Bor. Amer. part ii. p. 227. 

Adult Male. Plate CXLIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill shortish, nearly straight, subulato-conical, rather broader than 
deep at the base, compressed towards the end, the edges sharp and a little 
inflected, the dorsal outlines of both mandibles slightly convex. Nos- 
trils basal, elliptical, lateral, half-closed by a membrane. The general 
form is slender. Feet of ordinary length ; tarsus compressed, slen- 
der, covered anteriorly with a long undivided piece, and three inferior 



GOLDEN-CROWNED THRUSH. 255 

scutella, sharp behind ; toes scutellate above, free ; claws slender, com- 
pressed, acute, arched. 

Plumage soft and blended. Wings of ordinary length, the second 
and third quills almost equal, the third longest. Tail short, slightly emar- 
ginate, of twelve pointed feathers. 

Bill dusky above, flesh-coloured beneath. Iris brown. Feet very 
light flesh-coloured and transparent. The general colour of the plumage 
above is greenish-brown, the crown brownish-orange, with two lateral 
lines of brownish-black spots. The lower parts are white, the throat with 
two lateral lines of brownish-black, and the lower neck, fore part of the 
breast, and the sides marked with triangular spots of the same. 

Length 6 inches, extent of wings 9 ; bill along the ridge ||, along 
the edge ]| ; tarsus f |. 

Adult Female. Plate CXLIII. Fig. 2. 

The female resembles the male, but is somewhat lighter, with the 
crown paler. The dimensions are nearly the same. 



The Woody Nightshade. 



SoLANUM Dulcamara, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. i. p. 1027. Pursh. Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. 
p. 150". — Pentandria Monogynia, Linn. 

This species is found in the woods, as well as along the margins of 
cultivated land, and is one of those common to both continents. 



( 25G ) 
THE SMALL GREEN CRESTED FLYCATCHER 

MUSCICAPA ACADicA, Gmel. 
PLATE CXLIV. Male and Female. 

The Small Green Crested Flycatcher is not abundant, even in South 
Carolina, in the maritime parts of which it occasionally breeds. It 
merely passes through Louisiana, in early spring and in autumn ; but 
it is found distributed from Maryland to the eastern extremities of Nova 
Scotia, proceeding perhaps still farther north, although neither I nor 
any of my party observed a single individual in Newfoundland or La- 
brador. 

It is a usual inhabitant of the most gloomy and secluded parts of our 
deep woods, although now and then a pair may be found to have taken 
possession of a large orchard near the house of the farmer. Almost as 
pugnacious as the King Bird, it is seen giving chase to every intruder 
upon its premises, not only during the season of its loves, but during 
its whole stay with us. As soon as it has paired, it becomes so retired 
that it seldom goes farther from its nest than is necessary for procuring 
food. 

Perched on some small spray or dry twig, it stands erect, patiently 
eying the objects around. When it perceives an insect, it sweeps after it 
with much elegance, snaps its bill audibly as it seizes the prey, and on 
reaUghting, utters a disagreeable squeak. While perched it is heard at 
intervals repeating its simple, guttural, gloomy notes, resembling the syl- 
lables queae, queae, fchooe, tchewee. These notes are often followed, as 
the bird passes from one tree to another, bv a low murmuring chirr or 
twitter, which it keeps vip until it alights, when it instantly quivers its 
wings, and jerks its tail a few times. At intervals it emits a sweeter 
whistling note, sounding like weet, weet, weet, will; and when angry it 
emits a loud chirr. 

Early in May, in our Middle Districts, the Small Green Crested 
Flycatcher constructs its nest, which varies considerably in diiferent parts 
of the country, being made warmer in the northern localities, where it 
breeds almost a month later. It is generally placed in the darkest shade 
of the woods, in the upright forks of some middle-sized tree, from eight 



SMALL GREEN CRESTED FLYCATCHER. 257 

to twenty feet above the ground, sometimes so low as to allow a man to 
look into it. In some instances I have found it on the large horizontal 
branches of an oak, when it looked like a knot. It is always neat and 
WeU--finished, the inside measuring about two inches in diameter, with a 
depth of an inch and a half. The exterior is composed of stripes of the 
inner bark of various trees, vine fibres and grasses, matted together with 
the down of plants, wool, and soft moss. The lining consists of fine grass, 
a few feathers, and horse hair. The whole is light, elastic, and firmly 
coherent, and is glued to the twigs or saddled on the branch with great 
care. The eggs are from four to six, small, and pure white. While the 
female is sitting, the male often emits a scolding chirr of defiance, and 
rarely wanders far from the nest, but relieves his mate at intervals. In 
the Middle States they often have two broods in the season, but in 
Maine or farther north only one. The young follow their parents in the 
most social manner ; but before these birds leave us entirely, the old and 
the young form different parties, and travel in small groups towards 
warmer regions. 

I have thought that this species throws up pellets more frequently 
than most others. Its food consists of insects during spring and summer, 
such as moths, wild bees, butterflies, and a variety of smaller kinds ; but 
in autumn it greedily devours berries and small grapes. Although not 
shy with respect to man, it takes particular notice of quadrupeds, follow- 
ing a minx or polecat to a considerable distance, with every manifesta- 
tion of anger. The mutual affection of the male and female, and their 
solicitude respecting their eggs or young, are quite admirable. 

The flight of the Small Green Flycatcher is performed by short ghd- 
ings, supported by protracted flaps of the wings, not unlike those of the 
Pewee Flycatcher ; and it is often seen, while passing low through the 
woods or following the margins of a creek, to drink in the manner of 
swallows, or sweep after its prey, until it alights. Like the King Bjrd, 
ii always migrates by day. 

MusciCAPA ACADicA, Ch. BonupaHe, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 68. 
Small Green Crested Flycatcher, Muscicapa querula, Wih, Amer. Ornitb- 

voL ii. p. 77- pi. 13, fig. 3. 
Small Pewee, Nuttall, Manual, pare. i. p. 288. 

Adult Male. Plate CXLIV. Fig. 1. 

Bill of ordinary length, depressed (much deeper than in M. Traillii), 
tapering to a point, the lateral outlines a little convex ; upper mandible 

VOL. II. K, 



258 SMALL GREEN CRESTED FLYCATCHER. 

with the sides convex, the edges sharp, shghtly notched close upon the tip, 
which is deflected and acute ; lower mandible convex below, acute, short. 
Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical. Head of moderate size, neck short, 
general form slender. Feet of moderate length, slender ; tarsus com- 
pressed, covered anteriorly with short scutella, sharp behind ; toes free ; 
claws compressed, arched, acute. 

Plumage soft and tufty ; feathers of the head narrow and erectile. 
Wings of moderate length, third quiU longest, first and fourth equal. 
Tail rather long, slightly rounded. 

Bill dark brown above, flesh-coloured beneath. Iris hazel. Feet 
greyish-blue. The general colour of the plumage above is light greenish- 
olive. Quills and tail wood-brown margined with pale greenish-ohve ; 
secondary coverts, and first row of small coverts tipped with yellowish- 
white, forming two bands across the wing, the secondary quills broadly 
edged and tipped with the same. A very narrow ring of greyish- white 
round the eye ; throat of the same colour ; sides of the neck and fore 
part of the breast olivaceous, tinged with grey ; the rest of the under parts 
yellowish- white. 

Length 5| inches, extent of wings 8| ; bill along the ridge j%, along 
the edge | ; tarsus /g. 

Adult Female. Plate CXLIV. Fig. 2. 

The female differs from the male only in having the tints somewhat 
duller, and being rather less. 



Sassafras. 

Laurus sassafras, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. ii. p. 485. Pursh, Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. 
277. — Enneandria Monogynia, Linn. Lauri, Jms. 

The Sassafras grows on almost every kind of soil in the Southern 
and Western States, where it is of common occurrence. Along the 
Atlantic States it extends as far as New Hampshire, and still farther 
north in the western country. The beauty of its fohage and its medi- 
cinal properties render it one of our most interesting trees. It attains a 
height of fifty or sixty feet, with a proportionate diameter. The leaves 
are alternate, petiolate, oval, and undivided, or three-lobed. The flowers, 
which appear before the leaves, are of a greenish-yellow colour, and the 
berries are of an oval form and bluish-black tint, supported on cups of a 
bright red, having long filiform peduncles. 



( 259 ) 

THE YELLOW RED-POLL WARBLER 

Sylvia petechij, Lath. 

PLATE CXLV. Male and Female. 

I MOST willingly acknowledge the error under which I laboured 
many years, in believing that this species and the Sylvia palmarum of 
Bonaparte, are distinct from each other. To the sound judgment of 
my good friend John Bachman, I am indebted for convincing me that 
the figure given by the Prince of Musignano is that of our present bird, 
at a different period of life, and therefore with different plumage. I was 
not fully aware of this, until the 6i3d plate of my second volume of Il- 
lustrations had been delivered to the subscribers, bearing on it the name of 
Sylvia palmarum. That plate, however, will prove useful, as it represents 
both sexes of the Sylvia petechia in full summer plumage, while the 45th 
plate shews them in their first autumnal dress. While at Charleston, 
in the winter and spring of 1833-4, I became convinced of my error, 
after examining a great number of specimens, in different states of plu- 
mage, corresponding to the figures in my two plates. All these individuals 
had the same habits, and vxttered the same notes. I may here remark, 
that the true Sylvia palmarum has not yet been met with in the United 
States. 

The Yellow Red-poll Warbler is extremely abundant in the Southern 
States, from the beginning of November to the first of April, when it 
migrates northward. It is one of the most common birds in the Floridas 
during winter, especially along the coasts, where they are fond of the 
orchards and natural woods of orange trees. In Georgia and South 
Carolina, they are also very abundant, and are to be seen gambolling, 
in company with the Yellow-rumped Warbler, on the trees that orna- 
ment the streets of the cities and villages, or those of the planter''s yard. 
They approach the piazzas and enter the gardens, in search of insects, 
on which they feed principally on the wing, now and then securing some 
by moving slowly along the branches. It never removes from one spot 
to another, without uttering a sharp twit, and vibrating its tail in the 
manner of the Wagtails of Europe, though less frequently. I never saw 



26Q YELLOW RED-POLL WARBLER. 

this species in Pennsylvania in summer, although occasionally in the 
month of May it is to be seen for a few days. It is very rare in Maine ; 
but I found it abundant in Newfoundland and Labrador, where I seldom 
passed a day without searching for its nest, although I am sorry to say, 
in vain. In the month of August the old birds were feeding their young 
all around us, and preparing to return to milder winter quarters. 

The pair represented in the plate were drawn on the banks of the 
Mississippi, along with a plant which grew there, and was in flower at 
the time. Those represented in the 63d plate, were drawn in the Flori- 
das, in full spring plumage, a few days previous to the departure of the 
species from that country. These I placed on their favourite wild orange 
tree, which was then in full bloom. 

Nothing can be more gladdening to the traveller, when passing 
through the uninliabited woods of East Florida, than the wild orange 
groves which he sometimes meets with. As I approached them, the 
rich perfume of the blossoms, the golden hue of the fruits, that hung 
on every twig, and lay scattered on the ground, and the deep green of 
the glossy leaves, never failed to produce the most pleasing effect on my 
mind. Not a branch has suffered from the pruning knife, and the grace- 
ful form of the trees retains the elegance it received from nature. Rais- 
ing their tops into the open air, they allow the uppermost blossoms and 
fruits to receive the unbroken rays of the sun, which one might be tempt- 
ed to think are conveyed from flower to flower, and from fruit to fruit, so 
rich and balmy are all. The pulp of these fruits quenches your thirst 
at once, and the very air you breathe in such a place refreshes and rein- 
vigorates you. I have passed through groves of these orange trees 
fully a mile in extent. Their occurrence is a sure indication of good 
land, which in the south-eastern portion of that country is rather scarce. 
The Seminole Indians and poorer Squatters feed their horses on oranges, 
which these animals seem to eat with much relish. The immediate 
vicinity of a wild orange grove is of some importance to the planters, 
who have the fruits collected and squeezed in a horse mill. The juice 
is barrelled and sent to different markets, being in request as an ingre- 
dient in cooling drinks. The straight young shoots are cut and shipped 
in bundles, to be used as walking sticks. 



I 



YELLOW RED-POLL WARBLER. 261 



Sylvia petechia, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 535 Ch. Bonaparte, Sjnops. of 

Birds of the United States, p. 83. 
Yellow Red-poll Warbler, Sylvia petechia, WUs. Amer. Ornith. vol. vi. 

p. 1.9. pi. 28. fig. 4. Male — Nuttall, Manual, p. 364. 
Sylvicola petechia, Swains, and Richards. Fauna. Bor, Amer. part i. p. 215. 

Adult Male in Winter. Plate CXLV. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, straight, conico-subulate, very slender, acute. Nostrils 
basal, lateral, oval, half closed by a membrane. Head rather small ; 
neck short, body slender. Feet of ordinary length, slender ; tarsus 
longer than the middle toe, covered anteriorly by a few scuteUa, the upper 
ones long ; toes scuteUate above, the inner free, the hind toe of moderate 
size ; claws slender, compressed, acute, arched. 

Plumage soft and blended, with little gloss. Wings of ordinary 
length, acute, the second quill longest, the secondaries rather long and 
rounded. Tail of moderate length, emarginate. Bristles at the base of 
the bill. 

Bill dusky-brown above, yellowish beneath. Iris deep brown. Feet 
umber-brown. The general colour of the plumage above is yellow-olive, 
streaked with dark brown ; crown of the head brownish-red, margined on 
each side with a line of pale-yellow over the eye ; rump and tail-coverts 
greenish-yellow ; quills blackish-brown, edged with yeUow-olive ; tail of 
the colour of the wings, the two lateral feathers white in their whole 
breadth towards the end, forming a white band across the tail beneath 
when it is closed. The sides of the head are yellow, with two dusky 
bands, and the lower parts generally are bright yellow, the fore-neck, 
breast and sides streaked with brownish-red. 

Length 4^ inches, extent of wings 8^ ; biU along the back ^|, along 
the edge \ ; tarsus |. 

Adult Female. Plate CXLV. Fig. % 

The Female is coloured in the same manner as the Male, but the 
tints are much paler, the red of the head scarcely apparent, and the fore- 
neck very faintly marked. 



262 YELLOW RED-POLL WARBLER. 

Individuals of both sexes exhibit considerable difference in the tints 
of the plumage, at different ages and in different seasons. 



Helenidm QUABRiDENTATUM, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. iii. p. 2121, Pursli, Flor. Amer. 
Sept. voL ii. p. 560. — Stngenesia Polygamia Superflua. CompositjE, 
Juss. 

From three to four feet high, with the stem branched, the leaves de- 
current, the lower subpinnatifid, the upper lanceolate, undivided, smooth ; 
the corollas of the disk four-toothed. This plant springs up spontane- 
ously over aU the abandoned lands of Louisiana, and is very difficult to 
be extirpated. It is often gathered and burnt, to prevent the musquitoes 
from entering houses. 



{ ^«3 ) 



SPRING GARDEN. 

Having heard many wonderful accounts of a certain spring near the 
sources of the St John's River in East Florida, I resolved to visit it, in 
order to iudo-e for myself. On the 6th of January 1832, I left the plan- 
tation of my friend John Bulow, accompanied by an amiable and ac- 
complished Scotch gentleman, an engineer employed by the planters of 
those districts in erecting their sugar-house estabhshments. We were 
mounted on horses of the Indian breed, remarkable for their activity and 
strength, and were provided with guns and some provisions. The wea- 
ther was pleasant, but not so our way, for no sooner had we left the 
" King's Road," which had been cut by the Spanish government for a 
o-oodly distance, than we entered a thicket of scrubby oaks, succeeded 
by a still denser mass of low palmettoes, which extended about three miles, 
and among the roots of which our nags had great difficulty in making 
o-ood their footing. After this we entered the Pine Barrens, so exten- 
sively distributed in this portion of the Floridas. The sand seemed to be 
all sand and nothing but sand, and the palmettoes at times so covered the 
narrow Indian trail which we followed, that it required all the instinct or 
sagacity of ourselves and our horses to keep it. It seemed to us as if we 
were approaching the end of the world. The country was perfectly flat, 
and, so far as we could survey it, presented the same wild and scraggy 
aspect. My companion, who had travelled there before, assured me that, 
at particular seasons of the year, he had crossed the barrens when they 
were covered with water fully knee-deep, when, according to his expres- 
sion, they " looked most awful ;" and I readily believed him, as we now 
and then passed through muddy pools, which reached the saddle-girths of 
our horses. Here and there large tracts covered with tall grasses, and 
resembling the prairies of the western wilds, opened to our view. Where- 
ever the country happened to be sunk a little beneath the general level, 
it was covered with cypress trees, whose spreading arms were hung with 
a profusion of Spanish moss. The soil in such cases consisted of black 
mud, and was densely covered with bushes, chiefly of the Magnolia 
family. 

We crossed in succession the heads of three branches of Haw Creek, 
of which the waters spread from a quarter to half a mile in breadth, and 



264 SPRING GARDEN. 

through which we made our way with extreme difficulty. While in the 
middle of one, my companion told me, that once when in the very spot 
where we then stood, his horse chanced to place his fore-feet on the back 
of a large alligator, which, not well pleased at being disturbed in his re- 
pose, suddenly raised his head, opened his monstrous jaws, and snapped 
off a part of the lips of his affrighted pony. You may imagine the 
terror of the poor beast, which, however, after a few plunges, resumed its 
course, and succeeded in carrying its rider through in safety. As a re- 
ward for this achievement, it Was ever after honoured with the appella- 
tion of " Alligator."" 

We had now travelled about twenty miles, and the sun having reached 
the zenith, we dismounted to partake of some refreshment. From a muddy 
pool we contrived to obtain enough of tolerably clear water to mix with 
the contents of a bottle, the like of which I would strongly recommend to 
every traveller in these swampy regions ; our horses, too, found something 
to grind among the herbage that surrounded the little pool ; but as little 
time was to be lost, we quickly remounted, and resumed our disagreeable 
journey, during which we had at no time proceeded at a rate exceeding 
two miles and a half in the hour. 

All at once, however, a wonderful change took place : — the country 
became more elevated and undulating ; the timber was of a different na- 
ture, and consisted of red and live oaks, magnolias, and several kinds 
of pine. Thousands of " mole-hills," or the habitations of an animal 
here called " the salamander," and " goffer''s burrows," presented them- 
selves to the eye, and greatly annoyed our horses, which every now and 
then sank to the depth of a foot, and stumbled at the risk of breaking 
their legs, and what we considered fully as valuable, our necks. We 
now saw beautiful lakes of the purest Avater, and passed along a green 
space, having a series of them on each side of us. These sheets of water 
became larger and more numerous the farther we advanced, some of them 
extending to a length of several miles, and having a depth of from two to 
twenty feet of clear water ; but their shores being destitute of vegetation, 
we observed no birds near them. Many tortoises, however, were seen 
basking in the sun, and all, as we approached, plunged into the water. 
Not a trace of man did we observe during our journey, scarcely a bird, 
and not a single quadruped, not even a rat ; nor can one imagine a poorer 
and more desolate country than that which lies between the Halifax River, 



SPRING GARDEN. 265 

which we had left in the morning, and the undulated grounds at which 
we had now arrived. 

But at length we perceived the tracks of living beings, and soon after 
saw the huts of Colonel Rees's negroes. Scarcely covild ever African 
traveller have approached the city of Timbuctoo with more excited cu- 
riosity than we felt in approaching this plantation. Our Indian horses 
seemed to participate in our joy, and trotted at a smart rate towards the 
principal building, at the door of which we leaped from our saddles, just 
as the sun was withdrawing his ruddy light. Colonel Rees was at home, 
and received us with great kindness. Refreshments were immediately 
placed before us, and we spent the evening in agreeable conversation. 

The next day I walked over the plantation, and examining the country 
around, found the soil of good quality, it having been reclaimed from 
swampy ground of a black colour, rich and very productive. The greater 
part of the cultivated land was on the borders of a lake, which communi- 
cates with others, leading to the St John's River, distant about seven 
miles, and navigable so far by vessels not exceeding fifty or sixty tons. 
After breakfast, our amiable host shewed us the way to the celebrated 
spring, the sight of which afforded me pleasure sufficient to counter- 
balance the tediousness of my journey. 

This spring presents a circular basin, having a diameter of about sixty 
feet, from the centre of which the water is thrown up with great force, 
although it does not rise to a height of more than a few inches above the 
general level. A kind of whirlpool is formed, on the edges of which are 
deposited vast quantities of shells, with pieces of wood, gravel, and other 
substances, which have coalesced into solid masses having a very curious 
appearance. The water is quite transparent, although of a dark colour, 
but so impregnated with sulphur, that it emits an odour which to me was 
highly nauseous. Its surface lies fifteen or twenty feet below the level of 
the woodland lakes in the neighbourhood, and its depth, in the autumnal 
months, is about seventeen feet, when the water is lowest. In all the 
lakes, the same species of shells as those thrown up by the spring, occur 
in abundance, and it seems more than probable that it is formed of the 
water collected from them by infiltration, or forms the subterranean out- 
let of some of them. The lakes themselves are merely reservoirs, contain- 
ing the residue of the waters which fall during the rainy seasons, and 
contributing to supply the waters of the St John River, with which they 
all seem to communicate by similar means. This spring pours its waters 



266 SPRING GARDEN. 

into " Rees's Lake," through a deep and broad channel, called Spring 
Garden Creek. This channel is said to be in some places fully sixty feet 
deep, but it becomes more shallow as you advance towards the entrance 
of the lake, at which you are surprised to find yourself on a mud flat co- 
vered only by about fifteen inches of water, under which the depositions 
from the spring lie to a depth of four or five feet in the form of the softest 
mud, while under this again is a bed of fine white sand. When this mud 
is stirred up by the oars of your boat or otherwise, it appears of a dark 
green colour, and smells strongly of sulphur. At all times it sends up 
numerous bubbles of air, which probably consist of sulphuretted hydro- 
gen gas. 

The mouth of this curious spring is calculated to be two and a half 
feet square ; and the velocity of its water, during the rainy season, is three 
feet per second. This would render the discharge per hour about 
499,500 gallons. Colonel Rees showed us the remains of another spring 
of the same kind, which had dried up from some natural cause. 

My companion the Engineer having occupation for another day, I 
requested Colonel Rees to accompany me in his boat towards the River 
St John, which I was desirous of seeing, as well as the curious country 
in its neighbourhood. He readily agreed, and, after an early breakfast 
next morning, we set out, accompanied by two servants to manage the 
boat. As we crossed Rees's Lake, I observed that its north-eastern shores 
were bounded by a deep swamp, covered by a rich growth of tall cypres- 
ses, while the opposite side presented large marshes and islands ornament- 
ed by pines, live-oaks, and orange trees. With the exception of a very 
narrow channel, the creek was covered with nympheae, and in its waters 
swam numerous alligators, while Ibises, Gallinules, Anhingas, Coots, and 
Cormorants, wei'e seen pursuing their avocations on its surface or along 
its margins. Over our heads the Fish Hawks were sailing, and on the 
broken trees around we saw many of their nests. 

We followed Spring Garden Creek for about two miles and a half, 
and passed a mud bar, before we entered " Dexter's Lake."" The bar was 
stuck full of unios in such profusion, that each time the Negroes thrust 
their hands into the mud they took up several. According to their re- 
port, these shellfish are quite unfit for food. In this lake the water had 
changed its hue, and assumed a dark chestnut colour, although it was still 
transparent. The depth was very uniformly five feet, and the extent of 
the lake was about eight miles by three. Having crossed it, we followed 



SPRING GARDEN. 267 

the creek, and soon saw the entrance of Woodruffs Lake, which empties 
its still darker waters into the St John"'s River. 

I here shot a pair of curious Ibises, which you will find described in my 
fourth volume, and landed on a small island covered with wild orange trees, 
the luxuriance and freshness of which were not less pleasing to the sight, 
than the perfume of their flowers was to the smell. The group seemed 
to me like a rich bouquet formed by nature to afford consolation to the 
weary traveller, cast down by the dismal scenery of swamps, and pools, 
and rank grass, around him. Under the shade of these beautiul ever- 
greens, and amidst the golden fruits that covered the ground, while the 
humming birds fluttered over our heads, we spread our cloth on the grass, 
and with a happy and thankful heart I refreshed myself with the bounti- 
ful gifts of an ever-careful Providence. Colonel Rees informed me that 
this charming retreat was one of the numerous terrtE incognita, of this 
region of lakes, and that it should henceforth bear the name of " Audu- 
bon's Isle." 

In conclusion, let me inform you, that the spring has been turned to 
good account by my generous host ColonelREES, who, aided by my ami- 
able companion the Engineer, has directed its current so as to turn a 
mill, which suffices to grind the whole of his sugar cane. 



( 268 ) 
THE FISH-CROW. 

CORVUS OSSIFKAGUS, WiLS. 
PLATE CXLVI. Male and Female. 

This may be said to be the only species of Black Bird found in the 
United States, that is not constantly subjected to persecution. You 
would suppose it fully aware of its privileges, were you to witness the 
liveliness of its motions, and to listen to its continued chatter. While 
the Raven and the Common Crow are ever on the watch to escape the 
effects of the enmity which man harbours towards them, the Fish-Crow 
pays little attention to him as he approaches^ and even enters his garden 
to feed on his best fruits. Hundreds are seen to alight on the trees near 
the towns and cities placed along our southern shores ; many fly over or 
walk about the pools and rivers, and all pursue their avocations without 
apprehension of danger from the lords of the land. This sense of secu- 
rity arises entirely from the circumstance that man generally believes the 
bird to be perfectly inoffensive, and glad am I, reader, that it at least 
bears so good a character. 

The Fish-Crow is almost entirely confined to the maritime districts 
of the Southern States, and there it abounds at all seasons. Those Avhich 
migrate proceed to the eastward about the beginning of April, and some 
go as far as New York, where they are, however, rather rare. They as- 
cend the Delaware River in Pennsylvania, nearly up to its source, and 
some breed in the State of Jersey every year ; but all return to the 
south at the approach of cold weather. Some go up the Mississippi for 
four or five hundred miles, but I have not seen any higher on that stream, 
which they generally leave to return to the vicinity of the sea-shore, in 
the winter season. In East Florida, where they abound, I found them 
breeding in February, in South Carolina about the 20th of March, and 
in New .Jersey a month later. 

While on the St John's River in Florida, during the month of Feb- 
ruary, I saw flocks of Fish-Crows, consisting of several hundred indivi- 
duals, sailing high in the air, somewhat in the manner of the Raven, 
when the whole appeared paired, for I could see that, although in such 
numbers, each pair moved distinctly apart. These aerial excursions would 



FISH-CROW. 269 

last for hours, during the cahn of a fine morning, after which the whole 
would descend toward the water, to pursue their more usual avocations 
in all the sociability of their nature. When their fishing, which lasted 
about half an hour, was over, they would alight in flocks on the live oaks 
and other trees near the shores, and there keep up their gabbling, plu- 
ming themselves for hours. Once more they returned to their fishing- 
grounds, where they remained until about an hour from sunset, when 
they made for the interior, often proceeding thirty or forty miles, to roost 
together in the trees of the Loblolly Pine. They scarcely utter a single 
note during this retreat, but no sooner does the first glimmer of day ap- 
pear than the woods around echo to their matin cries of gratulation. They 
depart at once for the sea-shores, noisy, lively, and happy. Now you 
find them busily engaged over the bays and rivers, the wharfs, and even 
the salt-ponds and marshes, searching for small fry, which they easily 
secure with their claws as they pass close over the water, and picking up 
any sort of garbage suited to their appetite. 

Like the Raven, the Common Crow, or the Grakle, the Fish-Crow 
robs other birds of their eggs and young. I observed this particularly 
on the Florida Keys, where they even dared to plunder the nests of the 
Cormorant (Carbo Graculus) and White Ibis, waiting with remarkable 
patience, perched in the neighbourhood, until these birds left their charge. 
They also frequently alight on large mud flats bordering the salt-water 
marshes, for the purpose of catching the small crabs called Fiddlers. This 
they do with ease, by running after them or digging them out of the 
muddy burrows into which they retire at the approach of danger. I have 
frequently been amused, while standing on the " Levee"" at New Orleans, 
to see the alacrity and audacity with which they pursued and attacked the 
smaller Gulls and Terns, to force them to disgorge the small fish caught 
by them within sight of the Crows, which, with all the tyrannical fierceness 
of the Lestris, would chase the sea birds with open bill, and extended feet 
and claws, dashing towards their victims with redoubled ardour, the far- 
ther they attempted to retreat. But as most gulls are greatly superior 
in flight to the Crow, the black tyrants are often frustrated in their at- 
tempts, and obliged to return, and seek their food in the eddies by their 
own industry. They are able to catch fish alive with considerable dex- 
terity, but cannot feed on the wing, and for that purpose are obliged to 
retire to some tree, stake, or sandbank, and like the Common Crow, the 
Magpie, and the Cow Bunting, they sometimes alight on the backs of 



270 FISH-CROW. 

cattle, to search there for the larvae which frequently harbour in their 
skin. 

During winter and spring, the Fish-crows are very fond of feeding on 
many kinds of berries. After the frosts have imparted a rich flavour to 
those of the cassina (Ilex Cassina), they are seen feeding on them in 
flocks often amounting to more than a hundred individuals. They are 
also fond of the berries of the holly (Ilex opaca), and of those of an exo- 
tic tree now naturalized in South Carolina, and plentiful about Charles- 
ton, the tallow-tree ( Stillingia sebifera). The seeds of this tree, which 
is originally from China, are of a white colour when ripe, and contain a 
considerable quantity of an oily substance. In the months of January 
and February, these trees are covered by the crows, which greedily devour 
the berries. As spring advances, and the early fruits ripen, the Fish- 
crows become fond of the mulberry, and select the choicest of the ripe 
figs, more especially when they are feeding their young. A dozen are 
often seen at a time, searching for the tree which has the best figs, and so 
troublesome do they become in the immediate vicinity of Charleston, that 
it is found necessary to station a man near a fig-tree with a gun, not to 
burn powder to drive the Crows away by the smell, but to fire in good 
earnest at them. They eat pears also, as well as various kinds of huckle- 
berries (Vaccinium), and I have seen tliem feeding on the berries of at 
least one species of smilax. 

In the Floridas, Georgia, and the Carohnas, this species usually breeds 
on moderate- sized trees of the loblolly pine (Pinus Toeda), making its 
nest generally about twenty or thirty feet from the ground, towards the 
extremities of the branches. In the State of New Jersey, where they are 
frequently killed in common with the larger crow, in whose company they 
are often found, they are more careful, and place their nests in the inte- 
rior of the deepest and most secluded swamps. The nest is smaller than 
that of the Common Crow, and is composed of sticks, moss, and grasses, 
neatly finished or lined with fibrous roots. The eggs are from four to 
six, and resemble those of the Common American Crow, but are smaller. 
I once found several nests of this crow a few miles from Philadelphia, in 
the State of Jersey, which were placed on high oaks and other trees. The 
birds when disturbed, evinced much concern for the safety of their brood. 
Although I have found this species breeding in different districts, from 
February till May, I am unable to say decidedly whether it raises more 
than one brood in the year, although I am of opinion that it does not. 



FISH-CROW. 271 

The common note of the Fish-Crow is different from that of the other 
species of the genus, resembling the syllables ha, ha, hae, frequently re- 
peated. At times the sound of their voice seems as if a faint mimicry of 
that of the Common Crow ; at others, one would suppose that they are 
troubled with a cough or cold. During the breeding season, their notes 
are much varied, and are not disagreeable. 

Their flight is strong and protracted. While searching for food, these 
birds hover at a moderate height over the water ; but when they rise in 
the air, to amuse themselves, they often reach a great elevation. While 
on the ground, their movements are graceful, and resemble those of the 
Boat-tailed Grakle. Like the other crows, they are fond of replacing 
their wings, as it were, in their proper situations, frequently opening them 
out a little, and instantly closing them again. 

On several occasions, when one of these birds had been wounded, I 
found, on approaching it, that it had the power of disgorging its food 
somewhat in the manner of the Turkey Buzzard. When one is thus 
wounded, its companions come sailing over you, with a loud scream, in 
the manner of gulls, so that several may be brought down by an expert 
marksman, as they are not easily intimidated at such times. Indeed, this 
species is easily approached, and may be killed without difficulty. I have 
known fifteen of them shot at once, while feeding on the cassina berries. 

During winter, when they are chiefly frugivorous, they become extreme- 
ly fat and very tender. Their pouch-like stomach, although large, is not 
muscular ; the intestines are large and baggy. Very few are bare on the 
lower mandible ; perhaps among a hundred which I have examined, not 
more than six or seven exhibited this nakedness, without removing the 
feathers of that part with the hand. 

I have represented a pair on a branch of the Honey-locust, already 
figured in my first volume, but here represented with its matured fruit. 



CoRvus ossiFRAGUS, Ck, Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 57. 

Fish-Crow, Corvus ossifragus, Wik. Amer. Ornith. vol. v. p. 27. pi. 37. fig. 2. 

Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 216. 

Adult Male. Plate CXLVI. Fig. 1. 

Bill longish, straight, robust, somewhat compressed ; upper mandible 
with the dorsal line arched and declinate, the sides concave at the base, 
flat in the middle, the edges slightly inflected, the tip declinate ; lower 



272 FISH-CROW. 

mandible straight, the dorsal line slightly convex, the sides at the ba.se 
flat, towards the end rounded, the edges indinate. Nostrils basal, lateral, 
round, covered by bristly feathers. Head large, neck short, body mode- 
rate. Legs of moderate length, strong, tarsus compressed, covered ante- 
riorly with scutella, sharp behind ; toes united at the base, the middle 
toe long, the outer longer than the inner, the hind toe robust ; claws ra- 
ther large, arched, compressed, acute, channelled beneath. 

Plumao-e soft, highly glossed, on the head and neck blended, on the 
back compact. Stiff bristly feathers, with disunited barbs over the nos- 
trils, directed forwards and adpressed. Wings long, first primary short, 
third lono-est, fourth little shorter, seventh equal to first ; primaries taper- 
ing, second, third, fourth, and fifth, slightly cut out on the outer web ; 
secondaries broad, rounded with a minute acumen. 

Tail of moderate length, shghtly rounded, of twelve straight feathers. 

Beak, tarsi, toes, and claws, black. Iris dark brown. The general 
colour of the plumage is deep black, with blue and purple reflections 
above, blue and greenish beneath ; the colouring being almost the same 
as that of the Common American Crow. 

Leno-th 16 inches, extent of wings 33 ; bill along the back 1^| ; tarsus 
1| ; middle toe and claw li^. 

Adult Female. Plate CXLVI. Fig. 2. 

The female is considerably smaller, but resembles the male in plu- 
mao^, although the gloss not quite so rich, and the reflections more brown 
on the upper parts. 

Length 15 inches, extent of wings 31. 



The Honey Locust. 



Glzditschia thiacanthos, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. iv. p. 1097. Pursh, Fl. Amer. 
vol. ii. p. 221 PoLYGAMiA DiiECiA, Linn. Leguminos^e, Juss. 

See Vol. I. p. 226. 



( 273 ). 

THE NIGHT-HAWK. 

Caprimulgus virginianus, Briss. 

PLATE CXLVII. Male and Female. 

The name of this bird disagrees with the most marked characteristics 
of its habits, for it may be seen, and has frequently been seen, on the 
wing, during the greater part of the day, even when the atmosphere is 
perfectly pure and clear, and while the sun is shining in all its glory. It 
is equally known that the Night-Hawk retires to rest shortly after dusk, 
at the very time when the loud notes of the Whip-poor-will, or those of 
the Chuck- wilPs-widow, both of which are nocturnal ramblers, are heard 
echoing from the places to which these birds resort. 

About the 1st of April, the Night-Hawk makes its appearance in the 
lower parts of Louisiana, on its way eastward. None of them breed in 
that State, or in that of Mississippi, nor I am inclined to believe any 
where south of the neighbourhood of Charleston, in South Carolina. 
The species is, however, seen in all the Southern States, on its passage to 
and from those of the east. The Night-Hawks pass with so much com- 
parative swiftness over Louisiana in the spring, that in a few days after 
their first appearance none are to be seen ; nor are any to be found there 
until their return in autumn, when, on account of the ample supply of 
food they still meet with at this late season, they remain several weeks, 
gleaning the insects off the cotton fields, waste lands, or sugar planta- 
tions, and gambolling over the prairies, lakes or rivers, from morning till 
night. Their return from the Middle Districts varies according to the 
temperature of the season, from the 15th of August to late in October. 

Their migrations are carried on over so great an extent, and that so 
loosely, that you might conceive it their desire to glean the whole coun- 
try, as they advance with a front extending from the mouths of the Mis- 
sissippi to the Rocky Mountains, passing in this manner from the south 
far beyond our eastern boundary lines. Thus they are enabled to dis- 
perse and breed throughout the whole Western and Eastern States, from 
South Carolina to Maine. On their way they may be seen passing over 
our cities and villages, alighting on the trees that embellish our streets, 

VOL. II. s 



274 NIGHT-HAWK. 

and even on chimney tops, from which they are heard to squeak their 
sharp notes, to the amusement or surprise of those who observe them. 

I have seen this species in the British Provinces of New Brunswick 
and Nova Scotia, where they remain so late as the beginning of October, 
but I observed none in Newfoundland, or on the shores of Labrador. In 
going north, their appeai'ance in the Middle States is about the first of 
May ; but they seldom reach Maine before June. 

The Night-Hawk has a firm, light, and greatly prolonged flight. In 
dull cloudy weather, it may be seen on the wing during the whole day, 
and is more clamorous than at any other time. The motions of its wings 
while flying are peculiarly graceful, and the playfulness which it evinces 
renders its flight quite interesting. The bird appears to glide through 
the air with all imaginable ease, assisting its ascent, or supporting itself 
on high, by irregular hurried flappings performed at intervals, as if it 
had unexpectedly fallen in with its prey, pursued, and seized it. Its on- 
ward motion is then continued. It moves in this manner, either up- 
wards in circles, emitting a loud sharp squeak at the beginning of each 
sudden start it takes, or straight downwards, then to the right or left 
whether high or low, as it presses onward, now skimming closely over the 
rivers, lakes, or shores of the Atlantic, and again wending its way over 
the forests or mountain tops. During the love season its mode of flight 
is particularly interesting : the male may be said to court his mate en- 
tirely on the wing, strutting as it were through the air, and performing a 
variety of evolutions with the greatest ease and elegance, insomuch that 
no bird with which I am acquainted can rival it in this respect. 

It frequently raises itself a hundred yards, sometimes much more, and 
apparently in the same careless manner already mentioned, its squeaking 
notes becoming louder and more frequent the higher it ascends ; when, 
checking its course, it at once glides obliquely downwards, with wings 
and tail half closed, and with such rapidity that a person might easily 
conceive it to be about to dash itself against the ground. But when close 
to the earth, often at no greater distance than a few feet, it instantaneously 
stretches out its wings, so as to be nearly directed downwards at right 
angles with the body, expands its tail, and thus suddenly checks its 
downward career. It then brushes as it were, through the air, with in- 
conceivable force, in a semicircular line of a few yards in extent. This 
is the moment when the singular noise produced by this bird is heard, for 
the next instant it rises in an almost perpendicular course, and soon be- 



NIGHT-HAWK. 275 

gins anew this curious mode of courtship. The concussion caused, at 
the time the bird passes the centre of its plunge, by the new position 
of its wings, which are now brought almost instantly to the wind, like 
the sails of a ship suddenly thrown aback, is the cause of this singular 
noise. The female does not produce this, although she frequently squeaks 
whilst on the wing. 

Sometimes, when several males are paying their addi'esses to the 
same female, the sight of those beaux plunging through the air in different 
directions, is curious and highly entertaining. This play is quickly over, 
however, for no sooner has the female made her choice, than her approved 
gives chase to all intruders, drives them beyond his dominions, and re- 
turns with exultation, plunging and gambolling on the wing, but with 
less force, and without nearing the ground. 

In windy weather, and as the dusk of the evening increases, the Night- 
Hawk flies lower and more swiftly than ever, making wide and irregular 
deviations from its general course, to overtake an insect which its keen 
eye has seen at a distance, after which it continues onward as before. 
When darkness comes on, it alights either on the ground or on a tree, 
where it spends the night, now and then uttering its squeak. 

These birds can scarcely walk on the ground, on account of the small 
size and position of their legs, which are placed very far back, for which 
reason they cannot stand erect, but rest their breast on the ground, or on 
the branch of a tree, on which they are obliged to alight sidewise. They 
alight with ease, however, and squat on branches or fence-rails, now and 
then on the tops of houses or barns. In all such positions they are easily 
approached. I have neared them when on a fence or low wall to within 
a few feet, when they would look upon me with their large mild eyes more 
as a friend than an enemy, although they flew off the moment they ob- 
served any thing suspicious in my movements. They now and then 
squeak while thus seated, and when this happens when they are perched 
on the trees of our cities, they seldom fail to attract the attention of 
persons passing. 

In Louisiana this species is called by the French Creoles " Crapaud 
volant,"" in Virginia " Bai ,•■" but the name by which it is most commonly 
known is " Night-Hawl:.'''' The beauty and rapidity of its motions ren- 
der it a tempting object to sportsmen generally, and its flesh is by no 
means unpalatable. Thousands are shot on their return to the south 
during the autumn, when they are fat and juicy. Now and then at this 

s2 



276 NIGHT-HAWK. 

season, they plunge through the air, but the rusthng sound of their wings 
at this or any other time after the love season is less remarkable. 

In the Middle States, about the 20th of May, the Night-Hawk, with- 
out much care as to situation, deposits its two, almost oval, freckled eggs, 
on the bare ground, or on an elevated spot in the ploughed fields, or even 
on the naked rock, sometimes in barren or open places in the skirts of the 
woods, never entering their depths. No nest is ever constructed, nor is 
the least preparation made by scooping the ground. They never, I be- 
Heve, raise more than one brood in a season. The young are for some 
time covered with a soft down, the colour of which, being a dusky brown, 
greatly contributes to their safety. Should the female be disturbed du- 
ring incubation, she makes her escape, pretending lameness, fluttering 
and trembhng, until she feels assured that you have lost sight of her eggs 
or young, after which she flies off, and does not return until you have 
withdrawn, but she will suffer you to approach her, if unseen, until with- 
in a foot or two of her eggs. During incubation, the male and female 
sit alternately. After the young are tolerably grown, and require less 
warmth from their parents, the latter are generally found in their imme- 
diate neighbourhood, quietly squatted on some fence, rail, or tree, where 
they remain so very silent and motionless that it is no easy matter to dis- 
cover them. 

When wounded they scramble off very awkwardly, and if taken in 
the hand immediately open their mouth to its full extent repeatedly, as 
if the mandibles moved on hinges worked by a spring. They also strike 
with their wings in the manner of pigeons, but without any effect. 

The food of the Night-Hawk consists entirely of insects, especially 
those of the Coleopterous order, although they also seize on moths and 
caterpillars, and are very expert at catching crickets and grasshoppers, 
with which they sometimes gorge themselves, as they fly low over the 
ground with great rapidity. They now and then drink whilst flying 
closely over the water, in the manner of swallows. 

None of these birds remain during the winter in any portion of the 
United States. The Chuck-wiUVwidow alone have I heard, and found 
far up the St John's River, in East Florida, in January. Frequently 
during autumn, at New Orleans, I have known some of these birds to re- 
main searching for food over the meadows and river until the rainy sea- 
son had begun, and then is the time at which the sportsmen shoot many 
of them down ; but the very next day, if the weather was still drizzly. 



NIGHT-HAWK. 277 

scarcely one could be seen there. When returning from the northern 
districts at a late period of the year, they pass close over the woods, and 
with so much rapidity, that you can obtain only a single glimpse of them. 
While at Indian Key, on the coast of Florida, 1 saw a pair of these 
birds killed by lightning, while they were on wing, during a tremendous 
thunder-storm. They fell on the sea, and after picking them up I exa- 
mined them carefully, but failed to discover the least appearance of injury 
on the feathers or in the internal parts. 



Caprimulgus virginianus, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 585 — Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. 

of Birds of the United States, p. 62. 
Caprimulgus (Chordeii.es) virginianus, Swains, and Uichards, part. i. p. 62. 
Night-Hawk, Caprimulgus Americancs, Wils. Amer. Ornith, vol. v. p. 65. pi. 40. 

fig. 1. Male ; fig. 2. Female — Nuttall, Manual, part. i. p. 619. 

Adult Male. Plate CXLVII. Fig. 1. 

Bill extremely short, feeble, opening to beyond the eyes, the mouth, 
when open, appearing of enormous width ; upper mandible, in its dorsal 
outline straight at first, deflected at the end, very broad at the base, 
and suddenly contracted towards the tip, which is compressed and rather 
obtuse ; lower mandible a little recurved at the tip. Nostrils basal, oval, 
prominent, covered above by a membrane. Head large, depressed. Eyes 
and ears very large. Neck short, body rather slender. Feet very short 
and feeble ; tarsus partly feathered, anteriorly scutellate below ; fore-toes 
three, connected by webs as far as the second joint, scutellate above.; 
claws very small, curved, compressed, acute ; that of the middle larger, 
curved outwards, with the inner edge expanded and pectinate. 

Plumage blended, soft, but with the feathers distinct, slightly glossed. 
Upper mandible margined with short bristles. Wings very long, some- 
what falcate, narrow, the first and second quills longest, and almost 
equal. Tail rather long, ample, forked, of ten broad, rounded feathers. 

Bill black. Iris dark-brown. Feet purplish-brown, the claws dark- 
brown. Head and upper surface in general brownish-black, mottled with 
white and pale reddish-brown. Secondary quills tipped with brownish- 
white. A conspicuous white bar extending across the inner web of the 
first, and the whole breadth of the second, third, fourth, and fifth prima- 
ries. Tail-feathers barred with brownish-grey, the four outer on each 
side plain brownish-black towards the end;, with a white spot. Sides of 



278 NIGHT-HAWK. 

the head and fore-neck mottled like the back ; a broad white band, in the 
form of the letter V reversed, on the throat and sides of the neck. The 
rest of the under parts greyish-white, transversely, marked with undula- 
ting bars of dark-brown ; lower tail-coverts white, with a few dark bars ; 
under wing-coverts blackish-brown, with white tips. 

Length 9i inches, extent of wings 23| ; bill along the back \, along 
the edge l^^g ; tarsus ^. 

Adult Female. Plate CXLVII. Fig. 2. 2. 

The colouring of the Female is similar to that of the Male, but the 
dark parts of the former are browner, and the white parts more tinged 
■with red ; the white wing-spot smaller, the band on the throat brownish- 
white, and the white spots on the tail-feathers wanting. 

Length 9. 

The full-fledged young bird resembles the female. 



The White Oak. 

QuEHCus ALBA, Willd. Sp. PL p. 449. Fursh. Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 633. Mic7i. 
Arbr. Forest, vol. ii. p. 13. pi. 1 — Mon(ecia Polyandkia, Linn. Amentace^e, 
Juss. 

Leaves oblong, pinnatifido-sinuate, downy beneath, their lobes oblong, 
obtuse; fruit rather large, with a cup-shaped tubercular cupule, and 
ovate acorn. The White Oak is abundant in most parts of the United 
States from Maine to Louisiana, and is one of the most useful trees of 
the genus, the wood being strong and lasting ; and, as it is of large di- 
mensions, it is employed for numerous purposes, especially ship building, 
and the manufacture of carriage- wheels, and domestic utensils. It at- 
tains a height of seventy or eighty feet, with a diameter of six or seven. 



( 279 ) 

THE PINE SWAMP WARBLER. 

Sylvia sphagawsa. Bo nap. 

PLATE CXLVIII. Male and Female. 

I HAVE met with this homely and humble little Warbler, on the low, 
almost submersed Keys of the Floridas, about Key West, in considerable 
numbers. This happened in the month of April. One was caught in a 
house at Indian Key some days before. In a short time, however, they 
all disappeared. Like many other species of this extensive and interest- 
ing family, they seem to cross directly from Cape Florida to Cape Hat- 
teras, as none were seen in Louisiana, Georgia, or the lower parts of the 
Carolinas. It is not improbable that it comes from the West Indies, 
resting a few days on the lower islets of Florida, before proceeding north- 
ward. In the early part of May, I have found it in New Jersey, as well 
as in Pennsylvania, particularly in the Great Pine Forest, where I drew 
a pair of them, and found their nest. During my progress eastward, I 
saw them frequently. In the State of Maine, I found them exceedingly 
abundant near Eastport, and on the other islands in that vicinity ; but 
there their progress appeared to have stopped, for I did not see one of 
them beyond the Island of Grand Manan, while on my way to Labrador. 

The Pine-Swamp Warbler delights in the dark, humid parts of thick 
underwood, by the sides of small streams. It is very active, seizing 
much of its prey on wing, as well as among the leaves and bark of low 
trees. During the breeding season, the male utters a few clear notes, re- 
sembling the syllables wheet-te-tee-hu, the last note being the loudest and 
shortest. At all other times, it is a very silent bird. 

The nest which I found in the Pine Forest was placed in one of the 
forks of a low bush, not more than five feet from the ground. It was 
neat, compact, of small size, and formed of moss, stripes of vine-bark, and 
fibres of a kind of wild hemp, with a lining of fine bent-grass, and a few 
horse-hairs or fibres of moss. The eggs were five, roundish, of a delicate 
buff-colour, with a few spots at the larger end, where they appeared to be 
all collected. The female was so gentle that I put my hand close over 
her before she moved ; and when she did so, she flew only a few feet, re- 
turning to her eggs whenever I retired a few yards. The male expressed 
his sorrow by a low tweet, but made no attempt to molest me. 



260 PINE-SWAMP WARBLER. 

Their food consists entirely of insects. Their flight is short, low, 
with a tremulous motion of the wings, unless when in pursuit of their 
prey. They all retire southward in the beginning of October. 

Sylvia spuagnosa, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 85, 
Pine Swamp Wakbler. Sylvia posii-la, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. v. p. 100, pL 43. 
fig. 4 Nuttall, part i. p. 40fi. 

Adult Male. Plate CXLVIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight, broader than deep at the 
base, tapering, compressed toward the acute tip. Nostrils basal, oval, 
exposed. Head of ordinary size, neck short, body rather full. Feet of 
ordinary length, slender ; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with a 
few long scutella, sharp behind ; toes free, scutellate above ; claws arched, 
much compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft and blended, slightly glossed. Wings of ordinary 
length, the first quill longest. Tail longish, slightly emarginate, the 
feathers pointed. 

Bill black above. Iris dark-brown. Legs flesh-coloured. The ge- 
neral colour of the plumage above is a rich olive-green, the quills and 
tail-feathers margined with paler ; at the base of the primary quills a 
white spot, part of which is apparent beyond the primary coverts. A 
yellowish-white line over the eye, and a spot of the same beneath it. 
Cheeks and sides of the neck olivaceous. The under parts ochre-yellow, 
tinged with brown below the wings. 

Length 5\ inches, extent of wings 7^ ; bill along the ridge /j, along 
the edge | ; tarsus f . 

Adult Female. Plate CXLVIIL Fig. 2. 

The Female resembles the male, but is paler in its tints. 



Hobble Bush. 



Viburnum lantanoides, Mkh. Fl. Amer. voL i. p. 179. Pursh. Fl. Amer. Sept. 
vol. i. p. 202. — Pentandria Monogynia, Linn. 

This species, which grows in the woods, from Canada to Virginia, is 
characterized by its large suborbicular, subcordate, unequally serrate, 
acute leaves, its dense cymes, and ovate berries, which are at first red. but 
ultimately black. ^ 



( 5281 ) 

THE SHARP-TAILED FINCH. 

Fringilla caudacuta, Wils. 

PLATE CXLIX. Male, Female, and Nest. 

This species and the Fringilla viai-itima spend the winter among the 
salt marshes of South Carolina, where I have observed thousands of both 
late in December, and so numerous are they, that I have seen more than 
forty of the latter killed at one shot. At that season, the neighbourhood 
of Charleston seems to be peculiarly suited to their habits, and there they 
are found in great abundance along the mouths of all the streams that 
flow into the Atlantic. When the tide is out, they resort to the sedgy 
marshes, but on the approach of the returning waters, they take wing and 
alight along the shores and on the artificial banks formed for the protec- 
tion of the rice fields. 

The flight of this species is so different from that of any other finch, 
that one can easily know them at first sight, if he only observes that when 
flying from one spot to another, they carry the tail very low. During 
winter, both species are provided with an extra quantity of feathers on 
the rump. This circumstance has not a little surprised me, when I found 
them residing in a climate where the Blue Heron {Ardea coerulea) also is 
now and then to be seen in the young state during winter. I am indeed 
of opinion that most birds of this species and of the other remain here 
the whole year, and that if some go farther south, they must be the 
weaker and younger birds, whose constitution is unable to bear the least 
degree of cold. 

These Finches keep so much about the water, that they walk upon 
the floating Aveeds as unconcernedly as if on land, or on any drifting gar- 
bage raised from the mud at high tides ; they congregate and feed to- 
gether, and doubtless are constant companions until the spring, when 
these species separate for the purpose of breeding. 

The Sharp-tailed Finch is rather silent, a single tweet being aU that I 
have heard it utter. In spring their attempts to sing can hardly be said 
to produce a series of notes that can be dignified by the name of song. 
They feed on the smaller species of shell-fish, on shrimos, and aquatic in- 



282 SHARP-TAILED FINCH. 

sects or Crustacea, as well as on the seeds of the grasses growing on the 
grounds which they inhabit. 

Within a few years this species has extended its range towards the 
eastern portions of the Union, as far as the vicinity of Boston, perhaps 
farther. I doubt, however, that they ever reach the State of Maine and 
the British provinces, chiefly because the shores of those countries are 
rocky, and because very few salt marshes are to be met with there. 
None were seen by me in Newfoundland, Labrador, or the intervening- 
islands. 

The young birds of this species are considerably lighter in the tints 
of their plumage, during winter, than their parents. Some shot on the 
11th of December, in the neighbourhood of Charleston in South Caro- 
lina, were so pale as almost to tempt one to pronounce them of a different 
species. At that period, the mornings were very cold, the ground being 
covered with a thick white frost. So very intent are they on visiting the 
interior of the broadest salt-marshes, that on returning, when the tide de- 
clined, to the same banks where we had seen so many at the time of flow- 
ing, we could scarcely find an individual. They are, however, less ad- 
dicted to search into the muddy recesses along the creeks and bayous than 
the Sea-side Finches. 

The nest is placed on the ground, as represented in my plate, at the 
distance of a few feet from high-water mark, and generally in a place re- 
sembling a portion of a newly mown meadow. A slight hollow is scraped, 
in which are placed the delicate grasses forming the nest, disposed rather 
loosely in a circular form. The eggs are from four to six, rather small, 
dull white, sprinkled with light brown dots, more numerous towards the 
greater end. About Cape May and Great Egg Harbour, two broods are 
usually raised in a season ; but from the immense numbers seen in 
autumn, when they begin to congregate, I am inclined to believe that in 
many instances they have three broods in the same year, especially in 
South Carolina and Georgia. I saAV none of these birds on the eastern 
coast of the Floridas. They are most easily shot on the wing, for while 
among the sedges and tall grasses, they move with great celerity, gliding 
from one blade to another, or suddenly throwing themselves amid the 
thickest parts of the weeds, where it is impossible to see them. 



SHARP- TAILED FINCH. 283 

Fringilla caudacuta, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 1 10. 
Sharp-tailed Finch, Fringilla caudacuta, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iv. pi. 70. 

fig. 3. 
Shore Finch, Fringilla littoralis, Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 504. 

Adult Male. Plate CXLIX. Fig. 1. 

Bill shortish, strong, conical, acute ; upper mandible of the same 
breadth as the lower, convex on the sides, the tip acute and slightly de- 
clinate ; lower mandible convex on the back and sides, and both involute 
on the sharp edges. Nostrils basal, roundish, open, partially concealed 
by the feathers. Head rather large, neck short, body rather robust. 
Legs of moderate length, slender ; tarsus compressed, anteriorly scutel- 
late, sharp behind ; toes rather large, free, scutellate above, tlie lateral 
nearly equal, the hind toe strong ; claws arched, much compressed, 
longish, acute, that of the hind toe larger. 

Plumage ordinary, soft and blended beneath. Wings short and much 
curved ; the second and third primaries longest and equal, the fourth 
scarcely shorter, the first and fifth about equal. Tail of ordinary length, 
graduated, slender, the feathers narrow and pointed. 

Bill brownish-black above, the sides of the upper mandible yellow, 
the lower mandible light bluish-grey. Iris hazel. Feet pale brown. 
Crown of the head bluish-grey in the middle, deep brown at the sides, 
the feathers black along the centre. Hind neck dull grey, tinged with 
brown ; back brown, tinged with grey, some of the feathers marked with 
black and edged with greyish- white. Primary quills wood-brown, secon- 
dary dark brown, edged Avith reddish-brown ; the secondary and small 
coverts principally of the latter colour. Tail-feathers wood-brown, with 
a central line of blackish-brown, excepting the lateral, which are plain and 
paler. A broad band of light yellowish-red from the base of the man- 
dible over the eye ; ear-coverts grey ; fore neck pale yellowish-red, the 
throat paler and unspotted, the rest streaked with dusky. The sides of 
the same tint, but paler, and similarly streaked ; the middle of the breast 
and the abdomen greyish white ; under tail-coverts pale yellowish-red. 

Length 5 inches, extent of wings 1\ ; bill along the back f |, along the 
edge \^ ; tarsus j^g. 



284 SHARP-TAILED FINCH. 

Adult Female. Plate CXLIX. Fig. 2. 

The female is coloured like the male, but the tints are a little fainter. 

This species is allied in form and habits to the Sea-side Finch, Frin- 
gilla maritima, with which, however, it cannot possibly be confounded by 
any person possessing the least observation. The description of that spe- 
cies in my first volume being defective in several particulars, I here sub- 
join a more accurate account of its colouring and dimensions taken from a 
number of specimens. 

Bill dark brown above, paler on the sides ; the lower mandible bluish- 
grey, but in some individuals dusky. Iris hazel. Feet and claws grey- 
ish-blue, tinged with brown. Crown of the head bluish- grey in the mid- 
dle, deep-brown at the sides, the feathers black along the centre. Hind 
neck dull grey, tinged with brown ; back dark brown tinged with grey, 
some of the feathers edged with greyish-white. Primary quills wood- 
brown, secondary dark brown edged with reddish-brown ; the secondary 
and smaller coverts principally of the latter colour ; the edge of the wing 
vellow. Tail-feathers wood-brown, with a central line of blackish-brown, 
excepting the lateral, which are plain and paler. A broad yellowish- 
brown streak from the base of the bill over the eye, but not extending 
beyond it. Throat and fore neck greyish-white, with a streak of bluish- 
grey on each side. Breast and sides dull greyish-white, tinged with yel- 
lowish-red, and streaked with dusky ; the middle of the breast and the 
abdomen greyish-white; under tail-coverts pale yellowish-brown, streaked 
Tvith dusky. 

Length 6| inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the back /^j, along 
the edge /g ; tarsus \%. 

Fringilla maritima is a much larger bird than F. caudacuta ; the bill 
is proportionally more elongated ; instead of the broad yellowish-red band 
over the eye, it has a narrow and much shorter one of a duller tint ; the 
band of the same colour beneath the eye is wanting, and the under parts 
are differently coloured and much duller. The third and fourth quills 
are longest in F. maritima, the second and third in F. caudacuta, while 
in the former the first is much shorter, and in the latter very little. 



SHARP- TAILED FINCH. 285 

Another species of Finch, belonging to the same group, and which, 
like F. maritima and F. caudacuta, is found abundantly in the salt marshes 
of the Carolinas, has been discovered by my most worthy friend the Rev. 
John Bachman of Charleston, who has presented me with a dozen spe- 
cimens of it. With his approval, I have named it after a gentleman who, 
besides being my friend, is possessed, not only of a technical, but also of 
a practical knowledge of ornithology, and of whom I may safely say, that 
he is unquestionably the best portrayer of the feathered race that I know. 
It was my intention to have had the figures of this newly discovered spe- 
cies, which were drawn at Charleston by my son John Woodhouse, en- 
graved for the second volume of "■ The Birds of America ;" but the draw- 
ing did not reach London in time. The plate, however, is finished, and 
\vill appear in the fourth and last volume of that work. In the mean 
time, I subjoin a brief description. 

MACGILLIVRAY'S FINCH. 

Fringilla Macgillivraii, 

Bill rather long, in other respects similar to those of the two species 
mentioned above, as are the proportions of the different parts, and the 
texture of the plumage. The second, third, and fourth quills are equal 
and longest, and the tail is rounded. 

Bill dusky-brown above, the ades of the upper mandible paler, the 
lower mandible bluish-grey. Iris hazel. Feet dark brown. The co- 
louring is similar to that of F. maritima in the upper parts, and to 
that of F. caudacuta in the lower, but is darker above than the form- 
er, and duller beneath than the latter. Feathers of the head brownish- 
black margined with dull greyish-brown, but not grey in the middle nor 
darker towards the sides, as in the other species. Hind neck and back of 
the same colour, the middle of the latter having some of the margins pale 
reddish-brown. Primary quiUs hair-brown ; secondary dark bi^own, edged 
with reddish-brown ; the secondary and smaller coverts like the latter ; 
the edge of the wing white, slightly tinged with yellow. Tail-feathers 
hair-brown at the edges, the centre blackish-brown, except the lateral, 
which are plain, but scarcely paler. A yellowish-brown streak from the 
nostrils over the eye. Throat and fore neck greyish- white, with an in- 
distinct dusky streak on each side. Breast and sides pale dull yellowish- 



286 SHARP-TAILED FINCH. 

brown, marked with brownish-black streaks. The middle of the breast 
and the abdomen greyish-white, tinged with yellowish-brown. 

Length 5^ inches, extent of wings 7f ; bill along the back f |, along 
the edge ^% ; tarsus ii. 



The different species can be readily distinguished by attending to the 
above particulars. MacgiUivray's Finch is in size intermediate between 
the other two, and in colouring it resembles both, as has been stated above. 

When the three are together it is very easy to distinguish that species 
from the rest, by the greater length of the bill and tarsus, and the greater 
breadth of the black band along the middle of each tail-feather. In all 
the species, the bills of individuals differ greatly in length, old birds hav- 
ing them much longer than younger ones. 

In the repubhcation of Wilson's Ornithology, by Sir William Jar- 
dine, Bart., the editor makes the following statement. — " Mr Audu- 
bon has figured a bird very closely aUied in plumage, under the name 
of Ammodramus Henslowii, and, in the letter-press, has described it 
as Henslow's Bunting, Emheriza Henslowii. It will evidently come un- 
der the first genus, and if new and distinct, will form a third North 
American species. It is named after Professor Kexslow of Cambridge, 
and was obtained near Cincinnati. There is no account of its history and 
habits.'" — Vol. ii. p. 78. I have already shewn that the species is a per- 
fectly distinct one, but its affinities are not with Ammodramus. During 
my last three years' rambles in the United States, my friends, my assist- 
ants, and myself, procured hundreds of specimens of the Henslow's 
Bunting, and gained much information respecting its habits, which are 
totally different from those of Fringilla caudacuta or F. maritivia. The 
Henslow Bunting is never found near salt water marshes, as these spe- 
cies always are, but spends its life on dry elevated meadows and in sandy 
open pine forests, where it passes the winter in the Southern and Western 
Districts. As to the similarity of colouring alluded to, I cannot see the 
least resemblance between the birds in question, in that respect, more 
than in size or shape. This might have become apparent, had he com- 
pared my figure of the Henslow Bunting with that given by Wilson 
which in my humble opinion is incorrect. I have not represented the 
nest of F. maritima along with my figures of that bird, although this 
has been asserted. 



( 287 ) 
THE RED-EYED VIREO. 

ViREO OLIVACEUS, BoNAP. 

PLATE CL. Male. 

One of the principal differences between the habits of this and some 
other species, which are now called Vireos, and the Flycatchers, is, that 
the former procure their food principally by moving about, and along the 
branches or the twigs of the trees, by light hops, alternately changing 
sides, reaching and securing their prey by an elastic extension of the 
legs and neck, without the continual snapping or clicking of the bill so 
common among the Muscicapae on such occasions, and that they seldom 
make sorties on the wing to any distance, for the purpose of seizino- the 
insects on which they usually feed. This habit is retained until autumn, 
when, insects being scarce, the Vireo sallies forth to a short distance in 
pursuit of them, as they may chance to pass near the tree on which, in 
the silent mood of a Flycatcher, it stands erect, using the watchful side- 
glances peculiar to its tribe, as it anxiously expects the passage of its 
prey. Another difference is, that Vireos are generally more musical, 
lively and gay, than Flycatchers, so that their society is more welcome to 
man ; and, as if fully conscious of their superiority in this respect, and 
knowing that they commit no depredations upon his frioit or bees, calcu- 
lated to arouse his anger, they often suffer him to approach with a care- 
lessness that evidently proves the simpHcity of their nature. The third 
great difference between the Vireos and Flycatchers is, that the former 
seldom, if ever, go down from the trees to the water, for the purpose of 
drinking ; while the latter are often seen gliding closely over rivers and 
pools, from which they sip their drink. The Vireos quench their thirst 
with the drops of dew or rain that adhere to the leaves or twigs. I might 
add, that the quivering motions of the wings in Flycatchers when alight- 
ed, is not exhibited by the Vireos, at least has never been observed by 
me. On the other hand, the affinity existing between the Vireos and 
Muscicapae is indicated by their being equally possessed of the power of 
regurgitation. 

The Red-eyed Flycatcher is an inhabitant of the whole of our forests. 
Now you hear its sweet, unaffected, musical, loud and free warble, from 



288 RED-EYED VIREO. 

the inner top branches of a tall tree, for hours at a time, and even during 
the hottest part of the day ; again, you may count each note that it 
utters, the little vocalist resting as it were to enjoy the sounds of its own 
music ; next moment all seems hurry and bustle ; — it raises its voice, and 
chants on with great volubility, so loudly that one might think the little 
creature intent on drowning all other sounds. The darker the woods, 
the more cloudy the day, the more unremitting are its exertions. It is 
one of the earliest singers in spring, and among the latest in autumn. In 
the south-eastern parts of East Florida, where many spend the winter, I 
have heard its notes and those of the White-eyed Vireo, even at that sea- 
son. In South Carolina, in the neighbourhood of Charleston, I have 
heard and seen it early in the month of February, when scarce a leaf was 
yet expanded. It is not seen in Louisiana until the beginning of March, 
and I am inclined to think that perhaps an equal number of these birds 
come to us from the West India Islands or from Mexico. 

Few birds seem to enjoy life more than this Vireo, for at almost every 
short cessation of its song, it is seen making a movement or two up or 
along a branch, searching with extreme diligence for food, peeping cau- 
tiously under the leaves, and examining each bud or blossom with a care 
peculiarly its own. It may be seen flying from one tree to another with 
indefatigable industry, and this not only from morning to night, but du- 
ring the whole time of its stay with us. 

So abundant is this bird, and so prodigal of its song, that any one 
paying the least attention is sure to hear it either froin the trees which 
embellish the streets of the villages and cities, or the gardens and woods. 
The principal notes resemble the syllables pewee, pea, sho-re, sheire, 
chew-ree, piwit. They are, as I have said, clear, loud, and melodious. 

The flight of this bird is altogether performed in a gliding manner, 
and when it is engaged in pursuit of a rival or an enemy, it passes through 
the woods with remarkable swiftness. It is an affectionate parent, gene- 
rally leading about its young, particularly its second brood ; for it often 
breeds twice in the year, even in the State of Massachusetts, pr far up on 
the Mississippi. On such occasions, the parents proceed through the 
woods with more care, and on the least appearance of danger utter a que- 
rulous note, the meaning of which is so well understood by the little 
family, that they seldom fail to hide or become mute in an instant. The 
young are fed for several weeks after they leave the nest, and, I believe, 
migrate with the old ones, for I have frequently seen them on the move 



RED-EYED VIREO. 289 

until dusk, and going to roost together at nightfall. I do not recollect 
ever having seen one of them on the ground. 

Like the true Flycatchers, these birds eject small pellets formed of the 
hard crusts of the abdomen, legs, and other parts of insects. I have but 
very seldom seen them feeding on berries of any kind, although in Loui- 
siana I have observed them pecking at ripe figs. 

The nest of the Red-eyed Vireo is small, and extremely neat. It is 
generally suspended, at a moderate height, from the slender twigs form- 
ing the fork at the end of a branch. I have found some situated so low 
that I could easily look into them, while others were hung thirty feet 
over head. Dog-wood trees seem to be preferred by them, although I 
have found the nests on oaks, beeches, and sugar-maples, as well as on 
tall grasses. The male bird frequently leads you to the discovery of the 
nest, by its great anxiety about the safety of its mate. The outer parts 
are firmly attached to the twigs, the fibres being warped around them 
in various directions. The materials are usually the bark of the grape- 
vine, the silk of large cocoons, some lichens, particles of hornets' or wasps' 
nests, and decayed worm-eaten leaves. The lining, which is beautifully 
disposed, consists of fibrous roots, grasses, and now and then the hair of 
various quadrupeds, especially the grey squirrel and racoon. The nest, 
however, differs greatly in different latitudes ; for, in the Middle States, 
they often use the leaves of the pine, cedar, and hemlock, which they 
glue together apparently with their saliva. The eggs are from four to 
six, pure white, sparingly spotted at the larger end with reddish-brown or 
blackish dots. They are laid in Pennsylvania about the first of June, 
and later in more northern parts. 

The eyes of the Young are of an umber colour, and do not become 
red until the following spring. Those of some shot in the Floridas in 
January, had not changed their colour. In February I shot two, each 
of which had a red and a brown eye. 

This species, as well as the White-eyed Vireo, is often called to nurse 
the young of the Cow Bird, which deposits its egg in the nests of either 
species, assured that it will be properly treated. No difference exists in 
the plumage, or even size of the sexes. 

Wilson, who was a most excellent observer, was quite correct, as 
well as Dr Barton of Philadelphia, in alluding to another species of Vi- 
reo, which, although nearly allied to this, is quite distinct. It is smaller, 
has brown eyes at all times of its life, sings sweetly, lives in low thickets, 

VOL. II. X 



290 RED-EYED VIREO. 

and builds a pensile nest. You will see its figure in my fourth volume of 
Illustrations, when I hope to be able to give you a good account of its 
habits. 



ViREO OLivACEUs, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 71- 
Red-eyed Flycatcher, Muscicapa olivacea, Wih. Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 55. 
pL 12, fig. 3 Nuttall, Manual, p. 312. 

Adult Male. Plate CL. 

Bill of moderate length, strong, depressed at the base, compressed to- 
wards the end, somewhat ascending. Upper mandible with the dorsal 
line slightly convex, the sides convex, the edges sharp and notched to- 
wards the end, the tip acute and suddenly deflected; lower mandible 
with the dorsal line also slightly convex, the back rounded, the edges 
sharp and inflected, the tip acute. Nostrils basal, lateral, oblong. Head 
rather large, neck short, body rather robust. Feet of ordinary length ; 
tarsus compressed, anteriorly scutellate, sharp behind ; toes slender, free ; 
claws arched, compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft and blended. Wings rather long, the second and third 
primaries longest ; tail of ordinary length, slightly emarginate. Bristles 
at the base of the bill short. 

Bill brown above^ pale bluish-grey beneath. Iris red. Feet bluish- 
grey. The general colour of the plumage above is light yellowish-olive, 
the crown of the head deep-grey, bordered on each side by a line of 
blackish^ below which is a line of greyish-white passing from the nostril 
over the eye. Quills dusky, olivaceous on the outer margin, white on the 
inner. Tail wood-brown. The lower parts are white, the breast and 
sides tinged with pale yellow. 

Length 5\ inches, extent of wings 9 ; bill along the back nearly ^, 
along the edge j*^ ; tarsus ■^^. 

The Female resembles the Male, but is of a duller white beneath. 



Honey-Locust. 



Gleditschia triacanthos, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. iv. p. \09T.^Pursh. Fl. Amer. Sept. 

voL i. p. 221 — PoLYGAMiA DifficiA, Linn. LEGUMiNOSiE, Jms. 
See Vol. I. p. 226. 



( 291 ) 



ST JOHN'S RIVER IN FLORIDA. 

Soon after landing at St Augustine, in East Florida, I formed ac- 
quaintance with Dr Simmons, Dr Pocher, Judge Smith, the Misses 
Johnson, and other individuals, my intercourse with whom was as agree- 
able as beneficial to me. Lieutenant Constaxtine Smith, of the United 
States army, I found of a congenial spirit, as was the case with my 
amiable, but since deceased friend, Dr Bell of Dublin. Among the 
planters who extended their hospitality to me, I must particularly men- 
tion General Hernandez, and my esteemed friend John Bltlow, Esq. 
To all these estimable individuals I offer my sincere thanks. 

While in this part of the peninsula, I followed my usual avocations, 
although with little success, it being then winter. I had letters from th6 
Secretaries of the Navy and Treasury of the United States, to the com- 
manding officers of vessels of war of the revenue service, directing them 
to afford me any assistance in their power ; and the schooner Spark ha- 
ving come to St Augustine, on her way to the St John's River, I pre- 
sented my credentials to her commander Lieutenant Piercy, who readily 
and with politeness, received me and my assistants on board. We soon 
after set sail, with a fair breeze. The strict attention to duty on board 
even this small vessel of war, afforded matter of surprise to me. Every 
thing went on with the regularity of a chronometer : orders were given, 
answered to, and accomplished, before they ceased to vibrate on the ear. 
The neatness of the crew equalled the cleanliness of the white planks of 
the deck ; the sails were in perfect condition ; and, built as the Spark 
was, for swift sailing, on she went gambolUng from wave to wave. 

I thought that, while thus sailing, no feeling but that of pleasure 
could exist in our breasts ; but, alas ! how fleeting are our enjoyments. 
When we were almost at the entrance of the river, the wind changed, 
the sky became clouded, and, before many minutes had elapsed, the httle 
bark was lying to " like a duck," as her commander expressed himself. 
It blew a hurricane : — let it blow, reader. At the break of day we were 
again at anchor within the bar of St Augustine. 

Our next attempt was successful. Not many hours after we had 
crossed the bar, we perceived the star-like glimmer of the hght in the 
great lantern at the entrance of the St John's River. This was before 

T 2 



292 ST JOHN'S RIVER IN FLORIDA. 

day-light ; and, as the crossing of the sand-banks or bars, which occur at 
the mouths of all the streams of this peninsula is difficult, and can be 
accomplished only when the tide is up, one of the guns was fired as a sig- 
nal for the government pilot. The good man, it seemed, was unwilling 
to leave his couch, but a second gun brought him in his canoe alongside. 
The depth of the channel was barely sufficient. My eyes, however, were 
not directed towards the waters, but on high, where flew some thousands 
of snowy Pelicans, which had fled affrighted from their resting grounds. 
How beautifully they performed their broad gyrations, and how match- 
less, after a while, was the marshalling of their files, as they flew past 
us I 

On the tide we proceeded apace. Myriads of Cormorants covered the 
face of the waters, and over it Fish-Crows innum.erable were already ar- 
riving from their distant roosts. We landed at one place to search for the 
birds whose charming melodies had engaged our attention, and here and 
there some young Eagles we shot, to add to our store of fresh provisions ! 
The river did not seem to me equal in beauty to the fair Ohio ; the shores 
were in many places low and swampy, to the great delight of the number- 
less Herons that moved along in gracefulness, and the grim alligators that 
swam in sluggish sullenness. In going up a bayou, we caught a great 
number of the young of the latter for the purpose of making experiments 
upon them. 

After sailing a considerable way, during which our commander and 
officers took the soundings, as well as the angles and bearings of every 
nook and crook of the sinuous stream, we anchored one evening at a dis- 
tance of fully one hundred miles from the mouth of the river. The wea- 
ther, although it was the 12th of February, was quite warm, the thermo- 
meter on board standing at 75°, and on shore at 90°. The fog was so 
thick that neither of the shores could be seen, and yet the river was not 
a mile in breadth. The " blind musquitoes''' covered every object, even 
in the cabin, and so wonderfully abundant were these tormentors, that 
they more than once fairly extinguished the candles whilst I was writing 
my journal, which I closed in despair, crushing between the leaves more 
than a hundred of the little wretches. Bad as they are, however, these 
blind musquitoes do not bite. As if purposely to render our situation 
doubly uncomfortable, there was an establishment for jerking beef, on the 
nearer shores to the windward of our vessel, from which the breeze came 
laden with no sweet odours. 



ST JOHN'S RIVER IN FLORIDA. 293 

In the morning when I arose, the country was still covered with thick 
fogs, so that although I could plainly hear the notes of the birds on shore, 
not an object could I see beyond the bowsprit, and the air was as close 
and sultry as on the previous evening. Guided by the scent of the 
jerkers' works, we went on shore, where we found the vegetation already 
far advanced. The blossoms of the jessamine, ever pleasing, lay steeped 
in dew ; the humming bee was collecting her winter's store from the snowy 
flowers of the native orange ; and the little warblers frisked alons; the 
twigs of the smilax. Now, amid the tali pines of the forest, the sun's 
rays began to force their way, and as the dense mists dissolved in the at- 
mosphere, the bright luminary at length shone forth. We explored the 
woods around, guided by some friendly live-oakers who had pitched their 
camp in the vicinity. After a while the Spark again displayed her sails, 
and as she silently glided along, we spied a Seminole Indian approaching 
us in his canoe. The poor dejected son of the woods, endowed with ta- 
lents of the highest order, although rarely acknowledged by the proud 
usurpers of his native soil, has spent the night in fishing, and the morn- 
ing in procuring the superb-feathered game of the swampy thickets; 
and with both he comes to offer them for our acceptance. Alas ! thou 
fallen one, descendant of an ancient line of freeborn hunters, would that 
I could restore to thee thy birthright, thy natural independence, the ge- 
nerous feelings that were once fostered in thy brave bosom. But the ir- 
revocable deed is done, and I can merely admire the perfect symmetry of 
his frame, as he dexterously throws on our deck the trouts and turkeys 
which he has captured. He receives a recompense, and without smile or 
bow, or acknowledgement of any kind, off he starts with the speed of an 
arrow from his own bow. 

Alligators were extremely abundant, and the heads of the fishes which 
they had snapped off lay floating around on the dark waters. A rifle 
bullet was now and then sent through the eye of one of the largest, which, 
with a tremendous splash of its tail, expired. One morning we saw a 
monstrovis fellow lying on the shore. I jvas desirous of obtaining him 
to make an accurate drawing of his head, and, accompanied by my as- 
sistant and two of the sailors, proceeded cavitiously towards him. When 
within a few yards, one of us fired and sent through his side an ounce 
ball, which tore open a hole large enough to receive a man's hand. He 
slowly raised his head, bent himself upwards, opened his huge jaws, 
swung his tail to and fro, rose on his legs, blew in « frightful manner, 



294 ST JOHNS RIVER IN FLORIDA. 

and fell to the earth. My assistant leaped on shore, and, contrary to my 
injunctions, caught hold of the animal's tail, when the alligator, awakening 
from its trance, with a last effort crawled slowly towards the water, and 
plunged heavily into it. Had he thought of once flourishing his tremen- 
dous weapon there might have been an end of his assailant's life, but he for- 
tunately went in peace to his grave, where we left him, as the water was 
too deep. The same morning, another of equal size was observed swim- 
ming directly for the bows of our vessel, attracted by the gentle ripphng 
of the water there. One of the officers, who had watched him, fired and 
scattered his brain through the air, when he tumbled and rolled at a fear- 
ful rate, blowing all the while most furiously. The river was bloody for 
yards around, but although the monster passed close by the vessel, we 
could not secui-e him, and after a while he sunk to the bottom. 

Early one morning I hired a boat and two men, with the view of re- 
turning to St Augustine by a short cut. Our baggage being placed on 
board, I bade adieu to the officers, and off we started. About four in 
the afternoon we arrived at the short cut, forty miles distant from our 
point of departure, and where we had expected to procure a waggon, but 
were disappointed. So we laid our things on the bank, and, leaving one 
of my assistants to look after them, I set out, accompanied by the other, 
and my Newfoundland dog. We had eighteen miles to go ; and as 
the sun was only two hours high, we struck oft' at a good rate. Present- 
ly we entered a pine barren. The country was as level as a floor ; our 
path, although narrow, was well beaten, having been used by the Semi- 
nole Indians for ages, and the weather was calm and beautiful. Now and 
then a rivulet occurred, from which we quenched our thirst, while the 
magnolias and other flowering plants on its banks relieved the dull uni- 
formity of the woods. When the path separated into two branches, both 
seemingly leading the same way, I would follow one, while my companion 
took the other, and unless we met again in a short time, one of us would 
go across the intervening forest. 

The sun went down behind a cloud, and the south-east breeze that 
sprung up at this moment, sounded dolefully among the tall pines. 
Along the eastern horizon lay a bed of black vapour, which gradually 
rose, and soon covered the heavens. The air felt hot and oppressive, 
and we knew that a tempest was approaching. Plato was now our 
guide, the white spots on his skin being the only objects that we could 
discern amid the darkness, and as if aware of his utility in this respect, 



ST JOHN'S RIVER IN FLORIDA. 295 

he kept a short way before us on the trail. Had we imagined ourselves 
more than a few miles from the town, we would have made a camp, and 
remained under its shelter for the night ; but conceiving that the distance 
could not be great, we resolved to trudge along. 

Large drops began to fall from the murky mass overhead ; thick, in- 
penetrable darkness surrounded us, and to my dismay, the dog refused 
to proceed. Groping with my hands on the ground, I discovered that 
several trails branched out at the spot where he lay down ; and when I 
had selected one, he went on. Vivid flashes of lightning streamed across 
the heavens, the wind increased to a gale, and the rain poured down up- 
on us like a torrent. The water soon rose on the level ground so as al- 
most to cover our feet, and we slowly advanced, fronting the tempest. 
Here and there a tall pine on fire presented a magnificent spectacle, illu- 
mining the trees around it, and surrounded with a halo of dim light, 
abruptly bordered with the deep black of the night. At one time we 
passed through a tangled thicket of low trees, at another crossed a stream 
flushed by the heavy rain, and again proceeded over the open barrens. 

How long we thus, half-lost, groped our way, is more than I can tell 
you ; but at length the tempest passed over, and suddenly the clear sky 
became spangled with stars. Soon after we smelt the salt-marshes, and 
walking directly towards them, like pointers advancing on a covey of 
partridges, we at last to our great joy descried the light of the beacon 
near St Augustine. My dog began to run briskly around, having met 
with ground on which he had hunted before, and taking a direct course, 
led us to the great causeway that crosses the marshes at the back of the 
town. We refreshed ourselves with the produce of the first orange tree 
that we met with, and in half an hour more arrived at our hotel. 
Drenched with rain, steaming with perspiration, and covered to the knees 
with mud, you may imagine what figures we cut in the eyes of the good 
people whom we found snugly enjoying themselves in the sitting room. 
Next morning. Major Gates, who had received me with much kindness, 
sent a waggon with mules and two trusty soldiers for my companion and 
luggage. 



( 296 ) 

THE TURKEY BUZZARD. 

Cathartes aura, Illig. 

PLATE CLI. Male and Young. 

Having already, when speaking of the Black Vulture, described the 
habits of the Turkey Buzzard, I shall here merely add a few observations 
necessary to complete its history. 

This species is far from being known throughout the United States, 
for it has never been seen farther eastward than the confines of New Jer- 
sey. None, I beUeve, have been observed in New York ; and on asking 
about it in Massachusetts and Maine, I found that, excepting those per- 
sons acquainted with our birds generally, none knew it. On my late 
northern journeys I nowhere saw it. A very few remain and spend the 
winter in New Jersey and Pennsylvannia, where I have seen them only 
during summer, and where they breed. As we proceed farther south, 
they become more and more abundant. They are equally attached to 
maritime districts, and the vicinity of the sea-shore, where they find abun- 
dance of food. 

The flight of the Turkey Buzzard is graceful compared with that of 
the Black Vulture. It sails admirably either high or low, with its wings 
spread beyond the horizontal position, and their tips bent upward by the 
weight of the body. After rising from the ground, which it does at a 
single spring, it beats its wings only a very few times, to enable it to pro- 
ceed in its usual way of sailing. Like the Black Vultures, they rise high 
in the air, and perform large circles, in company with those birds, the 
Fork-tailed Hawk, Mississippi Kite, and the two species of Crow. The 
Hawks, however, generally teaze them, and force them off toward the 
ground. 

They are gregarious, feed on all sorts of food, and suck the eggs and 
devour the young of many species of Heron and other birds. In the 
Floridas, I have, when shooting, been followed by some of them, to watch 
the spot where I might deposit my game, which, if not carefully covered, 
they would devour. They also eat birds of their own species, when they 
find them dead. They are more elegant in form than the Black Vultures, 
and walk well oh the ground or the roofs of houses. They are daily seen 



TURKEY BUZZARD. 297 

in the streets of the southern cities, along with their relatives, and often 
roost with them on the same trees. They breed on the ground, or at the 
bottom of hollow trees and prostrate trunks, and lay only tzoo eggs. 
These are large, of a light cream-colour, splashed toward the great 
end with large irregular markings of black and brown. The young- 
somewhat resemble those of the Black Vulture, and take a long time be- 
fore they can fly. Both species drink water freely, and in doing this im- 
merse their bill to the base, and take a long draught at a time. They 
both breed at the same period, or nearly so, and raise only one brood in 
the season. 

I have found birds of this species apparently very old, with the up- 
per parts of their mandibles, and the ^\Tinkled skin around their eyes, so 
diseased as to render them scarcely able to feed amongst others, all of 
which seldom failed to take advantage of their infirmities. I have repre- 
sented the adult male in full plumage, along with a young bird, procured 
in the autumn of its first year. The average weight of a full grown bird 
is 6^ lb., about 1 lb. less than that of the Carrion Crow. 



Cathartes aura, Illiger, Prodr. p. 236 — Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the 
United States, p. 22 Richards, and Swains. Fauna Boreali-Amer. part ii. p. 4. 

Turkey Vulture or Turkey Buzzard, Vdltur aura, Wils. Amer. Omith. 
vol. ix. p. 96, pi. 75- fig- 1 Nutall, Manual, part i. p. 43. 

Adult Male. Plate CLT. Fig. 1. 

Bill nearly as long as the head, strong, straight at the base, compress- 
ed ; the upper mandible covered beyond the middle by the cere, its dor- 
sal outline nearly straight, being slightly undulated, its tip large, curved, 
and pointed, and of a boney hardness ; the edge with a slight undula- 
tion ; lower mandible with the end rounded, and having a broad groove. 
Nostrils medial, approximate, oblong, pervious, of very large size, and 
forming an open space, into which posteriorly open the two nasal tubes, 
which are furnished each with a valve. Head elongated, small, neck 
rather long, body robust. Feet strong ; tarsus roundish, covered with 
small hexagonal scales ; toes scutellate above, the middle one much lon- 
ger, the two lateral nearly equal, and united to the middle one at the base 
by a web, the hind-toe small. Claws arched, strong, acute, that of the 
hind-toe smallest. 

Plumage rather compact, with ordinary lustre, the back somewhat 



298 TURKEY BUZZARD. 

metallic. The head and upper part of the neck are destitute of feathers, 
having a red wrinkled skin, sparsely covered with short black hair, and 
downy behind. Feathers of the neck full and rounded, concealing the 
naked crop. Wings ample, long ; the first quill rather short, the third and 
fourth longest. Tail longish, rounded, of twelve broad straight feathers. 

Bill at the tip yellowish-white ; the cere and the naked part of the 
head of a tint approaching to blood-red. Iris dark brown. Feet flesh- 
colouredj tinged with yellow ; claws black. The general colour of the 
plumage is blackish-brown, deepest on the neck and under parts, the 
wing-coverts broadly margined with brown ; the back glossed with brown 
and greenish tints ; the tail purplish-black ; the under parts of a sooty 
brown, on the breast glossed with green. 

Length 32 inches, extent of wings 6 feet 4 inches ; bill 2^ along the 
ridge, 2/^ along the gap; tarsus 2^, middle-toe 3^. 

Young fully fledged. Plate CLI. Fig. 2. 

The bill is, of course, shorter and more slender, its horny tip pale 
blue, black on the back ; the skin of the head is flesh-coloured, the iris 
yellowish, the feet flesh-coloured. The plumage is nearly of the same 
colour as in the adult. 



( 299 ) 
THE WHITE-BREA^STED NUTHATCH. 

SiTTA CAROLINENSIS, BrISS. 
PLATE CLII. Male and Female. 

Only three species of Nuthatch have as yet been observed within the 
limits of the United States. My opinion however is, that at least two 
more wiU be discovered : — one larger than any of those known, in the 
high wooded plains bordering the Pacific Ocean ; the other, of nearly the 
size of the present species, towards the boundary line of Mexico and the 
United States. 

Although the species now under consideration is found in aU parts of 
our extensive country, it is yet the least numerous ; there being to ap- 
pearance more than three of the Brown-headed, and two of the Red- 
beUied, for every one of the White-breasted. It is an inhabitant of the 
forest and the orchard, frequently approaching to the very doors of the 
farm-houses during winter, when it is not unusually seen tapping at the 
eaves beneath the roof, thrusting itself into barns and houses, or search- 
ing for food among the poultry on the grou7id, where it moves prettily by 
short hops. During summer it gives a preference to the interior of the 
forest, and lives in a retired and secluded manner, especially during the 
breeding season. Although a lively bird, its actions are less animated, 
and it exhibits less petulance and restlessness than the other species. It 
moves alertly, however, when searching for food, climbing or retrograding 
downwards or sidewise, with cheerfulness and a degree of liveliness, 
which distinguish it at once from other birds. Now and then it has a 
quaint look, if I may so speak, while watching the observer, clinging to 
the bark head downward, and perhaps only a few feet distant from him 
whom it well knows to be its enemy, or at least not its friend, for many 
farmers, not distinguishing between it and the Sap-sucker (Picus pube- 
scens), shoot at it, as if assured that they are doing a commendable action. 

During the breeding season, the affection which this bird ordinarily 
shews to its species, is greatly increased. Two of them may be seen bu- 
sily engaged in excavating a hole for their nest in the decayed portion of 
the trunk or branch of a tree, all the time congratulating each other in 



300 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH. 

the tenderest manner. The male, ever conspicuous on such occasions, 
works some, and carries off the slender chips, chiselled by the female. 
He struts around her, peeps into the hole, chirrups at intervals, or hovers 
about her on the wing. While she is sitting on her eggs, he seldom ab- 
sents himself many moments ; now with a full bill he feeds her, now re- 
turns to be assured that her time is pleasantly spent. 

When the young come from the egg, they are fed with unremitting 
care. They now issue from their wooden cave, and gently creep around 
its aperture. There, while the genial rays of the summer's sun give vi- 
gour to their tender bodies, and enrich their expanding plumage, the pa- 
rents, faithful guardians to the last, teach them how to fly, to ascend the 
tree with care, and at length to provide for their own wants. Ah ! where 
are the moments which I have passed, in the fulness of ecstacy, contem- 
plating the progress of these amiable creatures ! Alas ! they are gone, 
those summer days of hope and joy are fled, and the clouds of life's win- 
ter are mustering in their gloomy array. 

This species breeds twice in the year, in the Southern and Middle 
States ; seldom more than once, to the eastward of New York. In the 
State of Maine, they work at their nest late in May ; in Nova Scotia not 
until June. Farther north I did not find them. Sometimes they are con- 
tented with the hole bored by any small Woodpecker, or even breed in 
the decayed hollow of a tree or fence. The eggs, five or six in number, 
are dull white, spotted with brown at the larger end. They are laid on 
detached particles of wood. 

The notes of the White-bi-easted Nuthatch are remarkable on account 
of their nasal sound. Ordinarily they resemble the monosyllables haul, 
hank, hank, hank ; but now and then in the spring, they emjt a sweeter 
kind of chirp, whenever the sexes meet, or when they are feeding their 
young. 

Its flight is rapid, and at times rather protracted. If crossing a 
river or a large field, they rise high, and proceed with a tolerably regu- 
lar motion ; but when passing from one tree to another, they form a gently 
incurvated sweep. They alight on small branches or twigs, and now and 
then betake themselves to the ground to search for food. JB 

Their bill is strong and sharp, and they not unfrequently break 
acorns, chestnuts, &c., by placing them in the crevices of the bark of trees, 
or between the splinters of a fence-rail, where they are seen hammering 



WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH. 301 

at them for a considerable time. The same spot is usually resorted to 
by the Nuthatch as soon as it has proved to be a good and convenient 
one. A great object seems to be to procure the larvae entombed in the 
kernels of the hard fruits, insects being at all times the favourite food of 
these birds. They are fond of roosting in their own nest, to which I 
believe many return year after year, simply cleaning or deepening it for 
the purpose of depositing their eggs in greater security. Like others of 
the tribe, they hang head-downwards to sleep, especially in a state of cap- 
tivity. 

The young obtain their full plumage during winter. The only dif- 
ferences between the male and the female are, a slight inferiority of the 
latter as to size, and a somewhat less depth of colouring. Like the other 
two species, they now and then alight on a top branch for an instant, in 
the manner used by other birds. 



SiTTA CAEOLiNENSis, Linn. Sjst. Nat. voL i. p. 177 — Lath. Index Omith. vol. i. 

p. 262 Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 96. 

Whitz-breasted Ameeican Nuthatch, Sitta caeolinensis, Wils. Amer. Or- 

nith. vol. 1. p. 10. pi. 2. fig. 3 — Nuttall, Manual, voL i. p. 581. 

Adult Male. Plate CLIL Fig. 1. 

Bill straight, of the length of the head, very hard, conico-subidate, a 
little compressed, acute ; upper mandible with the dorsal outline very 
slightly arched, the edges sharp towards the point ; lower mandible 
smaller, of equal length, straight. Nostrils basal, round, half-closed by a 
membrane, partially covered by the frontal feathers. The general form 
is short and compact. Feet rather strong, the hind toe stout, and as long 
as the middle toe, with a strong hooked claw ; the claws arched, com- 
pressed, acute. 

Plumage soft, blended, with little gloss, excepting on the head. Wings 
rather short, broad, the second primary longest. Tail short, broad, even, 
of twelve rounded feathers. 

Bill black, pale blue at the base of the lower mandible. Iris dark 
brown. Feet brown. The upper part of the head and the hind neck 
deep black, glossed with blue, that colour curving down on either side of 
the neck at its base. The back, wing, and tail-coverts, and middle feathers 
of the tail, light greyish-blue. Quills black, edged with bluish-grey ; three 



302 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH. 

lateral tail feathers black, with a broad band of white near the end, the 
rest black, excepting the middle ones. The sides of the head, space above 
the eye, fore neck and breast white; abdomen and lower tail-coverts 
brownish-red, with white tips ; under wing- coverts black. 

Length 5i inches, extent of wings 11 ; bill along the ridge /j, along 
the gap i| ; tarsus ^^, middle toe ^§. 

Adult Female. Plate CLII. Fig. 2, 2. 
The female resembles the male. 



( 303 ) 



THE YELLOW-RUMP WARBLER. 

Sylvia coronata, Lath. 

PLATE CLIII. Male and Young. 

This very abundant species I observed in East Florida, on the 1st of 
March 1831, in full summer plumage. In South Carolina, no improve- 
ment on its winter dress could be seen on the 18th of the same month. 
On the 10th of April, many were procured by my friend Bachman and 
myself, in the neighbourhood of Charleston. They were in moult, espe- 
cially about the head and neck, where the new feathers were stiU inclosed 
in their sheath ; but so rapidly did the change take place, that, before a 
few days had elapsed, they were in full plumage. 

During a winter spent in the Floridas, I saw these birds daily, and 
so had abundant opportunity of studying their manners. They were 
very social among themselves, skipped by day along the piazzas, balanced 
themselves in the air, opposite the sides of the houses, in search of spiders 
and insects, rambled among the low bushes of the gardens, and often 
dived among the large cabbage-leaves, where they searched for worms 
and larvse. At night they roosted on the branches of the orange trees, 
in the luxuriant groves so abundant in that country. Frequently, in the 
early part of warm mornings, I saw flocks of them fly off to sea until they 
were out of sight, and again observed their return to land about an hour 
after. This circumstance I considered as indicative of their desire to 
migrate, and as shewing that their journeys are performed by day. 

In the beginning of May, I found them so abundant in Maine, that 
the skirts of the woods seemed alive with them. They appeared to be 
merely waiting for warmer weather, that they might resume their journey 
northwards. As we advanced towards Labrador, I observed them at 
every place where we happened to land. They were plentiful in the 
Magdaleine Islands ; and when we landed on the Labrador coast, they 
were among the first birds observed by our party. 

As Professor MacCulloch of the Pictou University informed me, few 
breed in the province of Nova Scotia, nor had his sons, who are active 
collectors, ever found one of their nests in the vicinity of that town. I 



304 YELLOW-RUMP WARBLER. 

am indebted to his liberality for a nest with four eggs, which formed part 
of his fine collection. Although they are abundant in Labrador, we did 
not find any of their nests ; but we had the good fortune to procure 
several voung birds scarcely able to fly. The nest above mentioned was 
placed near the extremity of the branch of a low fir-tree, about five feet 
from the ground. It resembles that of the Sylvia astiva of Latham, 
being firm, compact, the outer parts formed of silky fibres from diff*erent 
plants attached to the twigs near it by means of glutinous matter, mixed 
with stripes of the inner bark of some tree unknown to me. Within this 
is a deep and warm bed of thistle-down, and the inner layer consists of 
feathers and the fine hair of small quadrupeds. The eggs are rather 
large, of a light rosy tint, the shell thin and transparent ; they are spa- 
ringly dotted with reddish-brown near the larger end, but in a circular 
manner, so that the extremity is unspotted. 

This species feeds on insects, is an expert fly catcher, and a great 
devourer of caterpillars. During winter, however, its principal food con- 
sists of berries of various kinds, especially those of the Myrtle and Poke- 
weed. They also feed on the seeds of various grasses. When, at this 
season, a warm day occurs, and the insects are excited to activity, the 
Warblers are sure to be seen in pursuit of them. The rows of trees about 
the plantations are full of them, and, from the topmost to the lowest 
branches, they are seen gliding upwards, downwards, and in every direc- 
tion, in full career after their prey, and seldom missing their aim. At 
this time of the year, they emit, at every movement, a single tweet, so 
very different from that of any other Warbler, that one can instantly re- 
cognise the species by it among a dozen. They rarely enter the wood- 
lands, but prefer the neighbourhood of cultivated or old fields, the nur- 
series, gardens, and trees about towns, villages, or farm-houses, or by the 
sides of roads. They are careless of man, allowing him to approach 
within a few yards, or even feet, without manifesting much alarm. As 
they breed so far north, it is probable that they raise only one brood in 
the season. They return south early in September, already clad in their 
winter dress. 



YELLOW RUMP-WARBLER. 305 

Sylvia corona x' a, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 538. Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds 
of the United States, p. 78. 

Yellow-hdmp Waebler, Sylvia coronata, Wils. Amer. Ornith. voL ii. p. 138, 
pi, 17. fig. 4. and vol. v. p. 121. pi. 45. fig. 3. 

Yellow-crowned Warbler, or Myrtle Bird, Sylvia coronata, Nuttall, Ma- 
nual, p. 361. 

Adult Male. Plate CLIIL fig. 1. 

Bill short, straight, rather strong, tapering, compressed towards the 
end ; upper mandible nearly straight in its dorsal outHne, the tip slightly 
declinate, the edges sharp, with a slight notch near the tip, nostrils basal, 
oval, covered above by a membrane, and partially concealed by the 
feathers. Head of ordinary size, neck short, body rather slender. Feet 
of ordinary length, rather slender ; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly 
with a few long scutella, sharp behind ; toes slender, free, the outer united 
to the second joint, the hind toe proportionally large ; claws arched, slen- 
der, much compressed, acute. 

Plumage blended, soft, without lustre. Wings longish, little curved; 
second and third quills longest ; fourth almost equal ; first scarcely shorter. 
Tail rather long, slightly emarginate, nearly even, the lateral feathers 
bent outwards. 

Bill and feet black. Iris brown. The general colour of the plumage 
above is deep ash-grey, streaked with black ; crown, rump, and sides of 
the head, rich yellow. Secondary coverts, and first row of large coverts 
tipped with white, of which there are thus two bars across the wing. 
Quills and tail dark-brown, shghtly margined with greyish-brown ; outer 
margin of the two outer tail feathers on each side white, and a spot of the 
same colour on the inner webs of the three outer towards the end, A 
small white line over the eye, and a touch of the same under it ; lore and 
cheek black. Throat white, lower neck, fore part of the breast and sides 
variegated with black and white, the crest of the under parts white. 

Length 51 inches, extent of wings 8^ ; bill along the back >g ; along the 
edge 1^ ; tarsus |. 

Adult Female. Plate CLIII. Fig. % 

The Female is rather less, and wants the yellow spot on the crown, 
although the feathers there are tinged with that colour at the base. The 
upper parts are of light brownish-olive, streaked with dusky, the lower 
parts whitish, tinged with olive, and streaked with dusky ; the yellow 

VOL. II, o 



306 YELLOW-RUMP WARBLER. 

spots on the breast and rump paler, and tinged with green. Feet and 
legs blackish-brown. 



Iris versicolor. 



Iris veesicoloe, WilM. Sp. PI. vol. i. p. 233. Pursh, Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 29. 
^Teiandeia Monogynia, lAnn, Ieides, Juss. 

Beardless ; the stem round, flexuous, equal in height to the leaves, 
which are ensiform ; the sti^as equalling the inner petals ; capsules ovate, 
with their angles obtuse. This Iris is extremely common in all the 
swampy parts of the Southern States, and extends far up along the Mis- 
sissippi. In many places I have seen beds of a quarter of an acre. It is 
cultivated here and there in gardens. 

The Smilax represented grows abundantly in the same localities, 
climbing over any low bush so profusely as to cover it. The berries when 
ripe are eaten by many species of birds. 



( 307 ) 

THE TENNESSEE WARBLER 

Sylvia peregrina, Wils. 

PLATE CLIV. Male. 

So very rare does this little bird seem to be in the United States, that 
in the course of all my rambles I never saw more than three individuals 
of the species. The first was procured near Bayou Sara, in the State of 
Louisiana, in the spring of 1821, when I drew it with the holly twig on 
which it was standing when I shot it. The second I obtained in Loui- 
siana also, not many miles from the same spot, in the autumn of 1829, 
and the last at Key West, in May 1832. Of its migrations or place of 
breeding I know nothing. 

It is an active and nimble species, an expert catcher of flies, fond of 
haneins: to the extremities of branches, like several others of the tribe. 
It utters a single mellow tzveet, as it passes from one branch to another in 
search of food, or while on the wing, when it moves in a desultory man- 
ner for some distance, diving suddenly towards the tree on which it in- 
tends to alight. All the individuals which I procured were males. 



■Sylvia peregrina, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 87. 
Tennessee Warbler, Sylvia peregrina, Wils. Amer. Omith. vol. iii. p. 83. pi. 25. 
fig. 2. — Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 412. 

Bill of moderate length, thick at the base, tapering, straight, acute ; 
upper mandible nearly straight in its dorsal outline, the edges sharp, 
without a notch. Nostrils basal, oval, covered above by a membrane, 
and partially concealed by the feathers. Head of ordinary size, neck 
short, body rather slender. Feet of ordinary length, rather slender ; tar- 
sus compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long scutella, sharp be- 
hind ; toes slender, free, the outer united to the second joint, the hind- 
toe proportionally large ; claws arched, slender, much compressed, acute. 

Plumage blended, soft. Wings longish, little curved ; the second 
and third quills longest. Tail rather longish, nearly even, the lateral 
feathers bent outwards. 

Bill dark brown, paler beneath. Iris hazel. Feet brown, tinged 

u 2 



308 TENNESSEE WARBLER. 

with blue. The general colour above is yellow-olive, the head darker, 
the under parts cream-coloured, fading behind into white. A pale yellow 
line over the eye ; quills dark brown, the primaries margined with yel- 
lowish-grey ; the wings without bands. 

Length 4^ inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the back ^g, along 
the edge /j ; tarsus j%. 



Ilex laxiplora. 



Ilex laxiploha, Pursh, Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 11? — Teteandria Tetragy- 
NiA, Linn. Khammi, Juss. 

Leaves ovate, sinuato-dentate, spinous, shiny, flat ; peduncles supra- 
axillar, aggregated on the younger branches. An evergreen shrub, with 
yellowish-red berries. 



( 309 ) 

THE BLACKTHROATED BLUE WARBLER. 

Sylvia canadensis, Lath. 

PLATE CLV. Male. 

I HAVE met with this species in every portion of the Southern and 
Western States, where, however, it is seen only in the early part of spring 
and in autumn, on its passage to and from its summer residence. In 
South Carolina it arrives about the 25th of March, and becomes more 
abundant in April ; but it has left that country by the 10th of May. 
During its stay there, it keeps in deep woods, where it may be seen pass- 
ing among the boughs, at a height of from ten to twenty feet from the 
ground. 

Proceeding eastward, we find it more numerous, but residing only in 
the depth of the morasses and swampy thickets. I saw many individuals 
of the species in the Great Pine Forest of Pennsylvania, after which I 
traced it through the upper parts of the State of New York into Maine, 
the British Provinces, and the Magdaleine Islands, in the Bay of St Law- 
rence. In Newfoundland I saw none, and in Labrador only a dead one, 
dry and shrivelled, deposited like a mummy in the fissure of a rock, 
where the poor bird had fallen a victim to the severity of the climate, 
from which it had vainly endeavoured to shelter itself. 

I am indebted to the generous and most hospitable Professor MacCui.- 
LOCH of Pictou for the nest and eggs of this Warbler, which had been 
found by his sons, who are keen observers of birds. The nest is usually 
placed on the horizontal branch of a fir-tree, at a height of seven or eight 
feet from the ground. It is composed of slips of bark, mosses, and fibrous 
roots, and is lined with fine grass, on which is laid a warm bed of feathers. 
The eggs, four or five in number, are of a rosy tint, and, like those of 
most other Sylviae, scantily sprinkled with reddish-brown at the larger 
end. Only one brood is raised in a season. The young, when fully 
fledged, resemble their parents in the colours of their plumage, which, 
however, is mixed with duUer tints, the differences indicative of the sex 
being already observable. 

The Black-throated Blue Warbler is an expert catcher of flies, pursues 
insects to a considerable distance in all directions, and in seizing them 



310 BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER. 

snaps its bill so as to produce a clicking sound. It now and then alights 
on a low plant, such as that represented in the plate, and moves along the 
branches searching for pupae, ants, and insects. I have never heard its 
love-song, but its common note is a rather melancholy cheep. I am in- 
clined to believe that it breeds in the State of Maine, having seen several 
individuals of both sexes not far from Eastport, in the beginning of June 
1833, when several other species had nests. 



SytviA CANADENSIS, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 539. Ch. Bonaparte, Synops, of 

Birds of the United States, p. 84. 
Black-throated Blue Warbler, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 115. pL 15. fig. ?• 

Nuttall, Manual, p. 398. 

Adult Male. Plate CLV. 

Bill short, nearly straight, tapering, depressed at the base, compressed 
towards the end ; upper mandible slightly arched in its dorsal outline, 
and in the sharp notchless edge. Nostrils basal, oval, covered above by 
a membrane, and partially concealed by the feathers. Head of ordinary 
size, neck short, body rather slender. Feet of ordinary length, slender ; 
tarsus compressed, covered atnteriorly with a few long scutella, sharp be- 
hind ; toes slender, free, the outer united to the second joint, the hind- 
toe proportionally large; claws arched, slender, much compressed, acute. 
Plumage blended, soft, slightly glossed. Wings longish, straight, third 
quill longish, second almost equal, fourth next in length, and not much 
longer than the first. Tail of moderate length, even, the lateral feathers 
bent outwards towards the end. Bristles at the base of the bill distinct. 
Bill black. Iris dark brown. Feet light brown. The general colour 
of the plumage above is deep greyish-blue. Quills, coverts, and tail- 
feathers black, edged with blue ; base of the primaries, excepting the 
first, white, forming a conspicuous spot on the wing ; inner margin of 
most of the quills and tips of the secondaries, white, of which there is a 
large spot on the inner webs of the four outer quill-feathers on each side. 
Margin of the forehead all round, a Une over the eye, the sides of the 
head, fore-neck and sides of the body deep black ; the rest of the under 
parts white. 

Length 5 inches, extent of wings 1\ ; bill along the back y%, along 
the edge ^^ ; tarsus ^^. 

The Female resembles the male, but is somewhat paler in the colours. 



BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER. 311 



The Canadian Columbine. 

Aquilegia canadensis, Willd. Sp. PL vol. ii. p. 1247. Pursk, Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. iL 
p. 372 — PoLYANDRiA Pentagynia, Linn. Ranunculaceje, Juss. 

This species, which has the flowers of a bright red mixed with yellow, 
and is characterised by having the horns of the nectaries or petals straight, 
grows in the crevices of rocks, and in dry places near rivulets. 



,( 312 ) 



THE FLORIDA KEYS. 

As the " Marion " neared the inlet called " Indian Key," which is 
situated on the eastern coast of the peninsula of Florida, my heart swelled 
with uncontrollable delight. Our vessel once over the coral reef that 
every where stretches along the shore like a great wall, reared by an army 
of giants, we found ourselves in safe anchoring ground, within a few 
furlongs of the land. The next moment saw the oars of a boat propel- 
ling us towards the shore, and in^brief time we stood on the desired beach. 
With what delightful feelings did we gaze on the objects around us ! — 
the gorgeous flowers, the singular and beautiful plants, the luxuriant 
trees. The balmy air which we breathed fiUed us with animation, so 
pure and salubrious did it seem to be. The birds which we saw were 
almost all new to us ; their lovely forms appeared to be arrayed in more 
brilliant apparel than I had ever before seen, and as they gambolled in 
happy playfulness among the bushes, or glided over the light green wa- 
ters, we longed to form a more intimate acquaintance with them. 

Students of nature spend little time in introductions, especially when 
they present themselves to persons who feel an interest in their pursuits. 
This was the case with Mr Thruston, the Deputy Collector of the is- 
land, who shook us all heartily by the hand, and in a trice had a boat 
manned at our service. Accompanied by him, his pilot and fishermen, 
off we went, and after a short pull landed on a large key. Few minutes 
had elapsed, when shot after shot might be heard, and down came 
whirling through the air the objects of our desire. One thrust himself 
into the tangled groves that covered all but the beautiful coral beach 
that in a continued line bordered the island, while others gazed on the 
glowing and diversified hues of the curious inhabitants of the deep. I 
saw one of my party rush into the limpid element, to seize on a crab, 
that with claws extended upwards, awaited his approach, as if determined 
not to give way. A loud voice called him back to the land, for sharks 
are as abundant along these shores as pebbles, and the hungry prowlers 
could not have got a more savoury dinner. 

The pilot, besides being a first-rate shot, possessed a most intimate ac- 
quaintance with the country. He had been a " conch-diver," and no 
matter what number of fathoms measured the distance between the sur- 



FLORIDA KEYS. 313 

face of the water and its craggy bottom, to seek for curious shells in their 
retreat seemed to him more pastime than toil. Not a Cormorant or 
Pelican, a Flamingo, an Ibis, or Heron, had ever in his days formed its 
nest without his having marked the spot ; and as to the Keys to which 
the Doves are wont to resort, he was better acquainted with them than 
many fops are Avith the contents of their pockets. In a word, he posi- 
tively knew every channel that led to these islands, and every cranny 
along their shores. For years his employment had been to hunt those 
singular animals called Sea Cows or Marratees, and he had conquered 
hundreds of them, " merely," as he said, because the flesh and hide 
bring " a fair price," at Havannah. He never went anywhere to land 
without " Long Tom," which proved indeed to be a wonderful gun, and 
which made smart havoc when charged with " groceries," a term by 
which he designated the large shot which he used. In like manner, he 
never paddled his light canoe without having by his side the trusty ja- 
velin, with which he unerringly transfixed such fishes as he thought fit 
either for market or for his own use. In attacking turtles, netting, or 
overturning them, I doubt if his equal ever lived on the Florida coast. 
No sooner was he made acquainted with my errand, than he freely offer- 
ed his best_services, and from that moment until I left Key West he was 
seldom out of mv hearing. 

While the young gentlemen who accompanied us were engaged in 
procuring plants, shells, and small birds, he tapped me on the shoulder, 
and with a smile said to me, " Come along, I'U shew you something 
better worth your while." To the boat we betook ourselves, with the 
Captain and only a pair of tars, for more he said would not. answer. The 
yawl for a while was urged at a great rate, but as we approached a point, 
the oars were taken in, and the pilot alone skulling, desired us to make 
ready, for in a few minutes we should have " rare sport," As we ad- 
vanced, the more slowly did we move, and the most profound silence was 
maintained, until suddenly coming almost in contact with a thick shrub- 
bery of mangroves, we beheld, right before us, a multitude of pelicans. 
A discharge of artillery seldom produced more effect ; — the dead, the dy- 
ing, and the wounded, fell from the trees upon the water, while those 
unscathed flew screaming through the air in terror and dismay. " There," 
said he, " did not I tell you so ; is it not rare sport .?" The birds, one 
after another, were lodged under the gunwales, when the pilot desired 
the Captain to order the lads to pull away. Within about half a mile we 
reached the extremity of the key. " Pull away," cried the pilot, " never 



314 FLORIDA KEYS. 

mind them on the wing, for those black rascals don't mind a little firing 
— now, boys, lay her close under the nests." And there we were, with 
four hundred cormorants'" nests over our heads. The birds were sitting, 
and when we fired, the number that dropped as if dead and plunged into 
the water was such, that I thought by some unaccountable means or other 
we had killed the whole colony. You would have smiled at the loud 
laugh and curious gestures of the pilot. " Gentlemen,"" said he, " almost 
a blank shot !" And so it was, for, on following the birds as one after 
another peeped up from the water, we found only a few unable to take 
to wing. " Now,"" said the pilot, " had you waited until / had spoken to 
the black villains, you might have killed a score or more of them."" On 
inspection, we found that our shots had lodged in the tough dry twigs of 
which these birds form their nests, and that we had lost the more favour- 
able opportunity^of hitting them, by not waiting until they rose. " Never 
mind," said the pilot, " if you wish it, you may load the Lady of the 
Green Mantle * with them in less than a week. Stand still, my lads ; and 
now, gentlemen, in ten minutes you and I will bring down a score of 
them." And so we did. As we rounded the island, a beautiful bird of 
the species called Peale's Egret, came up and was shot. We now landed, 
took in the rest of our party, and returned to Indian Key, where we ar- 
rived three hours before sunset. 

The sailors and other individuals to whom my name and pursuits had 
become known, carried our birds to the pilot's house. His good wife had 
a room ready for me to draw in, and ray assistant might have been seen 
busily engaged in skinning, while Geokge Lehman was making a sketch 
of the lovely isle. 

Time is ever precious to the student of nature. I placed several 
birds in their natural attitudes, and began to outline them. A dance 
had been prepared also, and no sooner was the sun lost to our eye, 
than males and females, including our captain and others from the ves- 
sel, were seen advancing gaily towards the house in full apparel. The 
birds were skinned, the sketch was on paper, and I told my young men 
to amuse themselves. As to myself, I could not join in the merriment, 
for, full of the remembrance of you, readei', and of the patrons of my 
work both in America and in Europe, I went on " grinding" — not on an 
organ, like the Lady of Bras d'Or, but on paper, to the finishing, not 
merely of my outlines, but of my notes respecting the objects seen this day. 
• The name given by the wreckers and smugglers to tlie Marion. 



FLORIDA KEYS. 315 

The room adjoining that in which I worked, was soon filled. Two 
miserable fiddlers screwed their screeching silken strings — not an inch of 
catgut graced their instruments ; and the bouncing of brave lads and fair 
lasses shook the premises to the foundation. One with a slip came down 
heavily on the floor, and the burst of laughter that followed echoed over 
the isle. Diluted claret was handed round to cool the ladies, while a be- 
verage of more potent energies warmed their partners. After supper 
our captain returned to the Marion, and I, with my young men, slept in 
light swinging hammocks under the eaves of the piazza. 

It was the end of April, when the nights were short and the days 
therefore long. Anxious to turn every moment to account, we were on 
board Mr Thruston's boat at three next morning. Pursuing our way 
through the deep and tortuous channels that every where traverse the 
immense muddy soap-like flats that stretch from the outward Keys to the 
Main, we proceeded on our voyage of discovery. Here and there we met 
with great beds of floating sea- weeds, which shewed us that Turtles were 
abundant there, these masses being the refuse of their feeding. On talk- 
ing to Mr Thruston of the nature of these muddy flats, he mentioned 
that he had once been lost amongst their narrow channels for several 
days and nights, when in pursuit of some smugglers' boat, the owners of 
which were better acquainted with the place than the men who were 
along with him. Although in full sight of several of the Keys, as well 
as of the main land, he was unable to reach either, until a heavy gale 
raised the water, when he sailed directly over the flats, and returned 
home almost exhausted with fatigue and hunger. His present pilot 
often alluded to the circumstance afterwards, ending with a great laugh, 
and asserting that had he " been there, the rascals would not have 
escaped." 

Coming under a Key on which multitudes of Frigate Pelicans had 
begun to form their nests, we shot a good number of them, and observed 
their habits. The boastings of our pilot were here confirmed by the ex- 
ploits which he performed with his long gun, and on several occasions he 
brought down a bird from a height of fully a hundred yards. The poor 
birds, unaware of the range of our artillery, sailed calmly along, so that 
it was not difiicult for " Long Tom," or rather for his owner, to furnish 
us with as many as we required. The day was spent in this manner, and 
towards night we returned, laden with booty, to the hospitable home of 
the pilot. 



316 FLORIDA KEYS. 

The next morning was delightful. The gentle sea-breeze glided over 
the flowery isle, the horizon was clear, and all was silent save the long 
breakers that rushed over the distant reefs. As we were proceeding to- 
wards some Keys, seldom visited by men, the sun rose from the bosom of 
the waters with a burst of glory that flashed on my soul the idea of that 
power which called into existence so magnificent an object. The moon, 
thin and pale, as if ashamed to shew her feeble light, concealed herself 
in the dim west. The surface of the waters shone in its tremulous 
smoothness, and the deep blue of the clear heavens was pure as the world 
that lies beyond them. The Heron heavily flew towards the land, like 
the glutton retiring at day-break, with well-lined paundi, from the house 
of some wealthy patron of good cheer. The Night Heron and the Owl, 
fearful of day, with hurried flight sought safety in the recesses of the 
deepest swamps ; while the Gulls and Terns, ever cheerful, gambolled 
over the water, exulting in the prospect of abundance. I also exulted in 
hope, my whole frame seemed to expand ; and our sturdy crew shewed, 
by their merry faces, that nature had charms for them too. How much 
of beauty and joy is lost to them who never view the rising sun, and of 
whose waking existence the best half is nocturnal ! 

Twenty miles our men had to row before we reached " Sandy Island," 
and as on its level shores we aU leaped, we plainly saw the southern- 
most cape of the Floridas. The flocks of birds that covered the shelly 
beaches, and those hovering over head, so astonished us that we could for 
a while scarcely believe our eyes. The first volley procured a supply of 
food sufficient for two days"' consumption. Such tales, you have already 
been told, are well enough at a distance from the place to which they 
refer ; but you will doubtless be still more surprised when I tell you that 
our first fire among a crowd of the Great Godwits laid prostrate sixty-five 
of these birds. Rose-coloured Curlews stalked gracefully beneath the man- 
groves ; Purple Herons rose at almost every step we took, and each cactus 
supported the nest of a White Ibis. The air was darkened by whistling 
wings, while, on the waters, floated Gallinules and other interesting birds. 
We formed a kind of shed with sticks and grass, the sailor cook commenced 
his labours, and ere long we supplied the deficiencies of our fatigued 
frames. The business of the day over, we secured ourselves from insects 
by means of musquito-nets, and were lulled to rest by the cacklings of 
the beautiful Purple Gallinules ! 

In the morning we arose from our sandy beds, and 



( 317 ) 
THE AMERICAN CROW. 

CORVUS AMERICANUS. 
PLATE CLVI. Male. 

The Crow is an extremely shy bird, having found familiarity with 
man no way to his advantage. He is also cunning — at least he is so call- 
ed, because he takes care of himself and his brood. The state of anxiety, 
I may say of terror, in which he is constantly kept, would be enough to 
spoil the temper of any creature. Almost every person has an antipathy 
to him, and scarcely one of his race would he left in the land, did he not 
employ all his ingenuity, and take advantage of all liis experience, in 
counteracting the evil machinations of his enemies. I think I see him 
perched on the highest branch of a tree, watching every object around. 
He observes a man on horseback travelling towards him ; he marks his 
movements in silence. No gun does the rider carry, — no, that is clear ; 
but perhaps he has pistols in the holsters of his saddle ! — of that the 
Crow is not quite sure, as he cannot either see them or " smell powder." 
He beats the points of his wings, jerks his tail once or twice, bows his head, 
and merrily sounds the joy which he feels at the moment. Another man 
he spies walking across the field towards his stand, but he has only a stick. 
Yonder comes a boy shouldering a musket loaded with large shot for the 
express purpose of killing crows ! The bird immediately sounds an alarm ; 
he repeats his cries, increasing their vehemence the nearer his enemy ad- 
vances, AU the crows within half a mile round are seen flying off', each 
repeating the well known notes of the trusty watchman, who, just as the 
young gunner is about to take aim, betakes himself to flight. But alas, 
he chances unwittingly to pass over a sportsman, whose dexterity is great- 
er ; the mischievous prowler aims his piece, fires ; — down towards the 
earth broken-winged, falls the luckless bird in an instant, " It is nothing 
but a crow," quoth the sportsman, who proceeds in search of game, and 
leaves the poor creature to die in the most excruciating agonies. 

Wherever within the Union the laws encourage the destruction of 
this species, it is shot in great numbers for the sake of the premium of- 
fered for each crow's head. You will perhaps be surprised, reader, when 
I tell you that in one single State, in the course of a season, 40,000 were 



318 AMERICAN CROW. 

shot, besides the multitudes of young birds killed in their nests. Must I 
add to this slaughter other thousands destroyed by the base artifice of 
laying poisoned grain along the fields to tempt these poor birds ? Yes, I 
will tell you of all this too. The natural feelings of every one who ad- 
mires the bounty of Nature in providing abundantly for the subsistence of 
all her creatures, prompt me to do so. Like yourself, I admire all her 
wonderful works, and respect her wise intentions, even when her laws are 
far beyond our Umited comprehension. 

The Crow devours myriads of grubs every day of the year, that- 
might lay waste the farmer's fields ; it destroys quadrupeds innumer- 
able, every one of which is an enemy to his poultry and his flocks. Why 
then should the farmer be so ungrateful, when he sees such services ren- 
dered to him by a providential friend, as to persecute that friend even to 
the death ? Unless he plead ignorance, surely he ought to be found guilty 
at the bar of common sense. Were the soil of the United States, like 
that of some other countries, nearly exhausted by long continued culti- 
vation, human selfishness in such a, matter might be excused, and our 
people might look on our Crows, as other people look on theirs ; but every 
individual in the land is aware of the superabundance of food that exists 
among us, and of which a portion may well he spared for the feathered 
beings, that tend to enhance our pleasures by the sweetness of their song, 
the innocence of their lives, or their curious habits. Did not every Ame- 
rican open his door and his heart to^the wearied traveller, and afford him 
food, comfort and rest, I would at once give up the argument ; but when 
I know by experience the generosity of the people, I cannot but wish 
that they would reflect a little, and become more indulgent toward our 
poor, humble, harmless, and even most serviceable bird, the Crow. , 

The American .Crow is common in all parts of the United States. It 
becomes gregarious immediately after the breeding season, when it forms 
flocks sometimes containing hundreds, or even thousands. Towards 
autumn, the individuals bred in the Eastern Districts almost all remove 
to the Southern States, where they spend the winter in vast numbers. 

The voice of our Crow is very different from that of the European 
species which comes nearest to it in appearance, so much so indeed, that 
this circumstance, together with others relating to its organization, has 
induced me to distinguish it, as you see, by a peculiar name, that of Corvus 
Americanus. I hope you will think me excusable in this, should my 
ideas prove to be erroneous, when I tell you that the Magpie of Europe i 



AMERICAN CROW. 319 

is assuredly the very same bird as that met with in the western wilds of 
the United States, although some ornithologists have maintained the con- 
trary, and that I am not disposed to make differences in name where 
none exist in nature. I consider our Crow as rather less than the Euro- 
pean one, and the form of its tongue does not resemble that of the latter 
bird ; besides the Carrion Crow of that country seldom associates in num- 
bers, but remains in pairs, excepting immediately after it has brought its 
young abroad, when the family remains undispersed for some weeks. 

Wherever our Crow is abundant, the Raven is rarely found, and 
vice versa. From Kentucky to New Orleans, Ravens are extremely rare, 
whereas in that course you find one or more Crows at every half mile. 
On the contrary, far up the Missouri, as weU as on the coast of Labra- 
dor, few Crows are to be seen, while Ravens are common. I found the 
former birds equally scarce in Newfoundland. 

Omnivorous like the Raven, our Crow feeds on fruits, seeds, and vege- 
tables of almost every kind ; it is equally fond of snakes, frogs, hzards, 
and other small reptiles ; it looks upon various species of worms, orubs 
and insects as dainties ; and if hard pressed by hunger, it will aHo-ht up- 
on and devour even putrid carrion. It is as fond of the eggs of other 
birds as is the Cuckoo, and, like the Titmouse, it will, during a paroxysm 
of anger, break in the skuU of a weak or wounded bird. It delights in 
annoying its twilight enemies the Owls, the Opossum, and the Racoon, 
and will even foUow by day a fox, a wolf, a panther, or in fact any other 
carnivorous beast, as if anxious that man should destroy them for their 
mutual benefit. It plunders the fields of their superabundance, and is 
blamed for so doing, but it is seldom praised when it chases the thievincy 
Hawk from the poultry-yard. 

The American Crow selects with uncommon care its breeding place. 
You may find its nest in the interior of our most dismal swamps, or on 
the sides of elevated and precipitous rocks, but almost always as much 
concealed from the eye of man as possible. They breed in almost every 
portion of the Union, from the Southern Cape of the Floridas to the ex- 
tremities of Maine, and probably as far westward as the Pacific Ocean. 
The period of nestling varies from February to the beginning of June, 
according to the latitude of the place. Its scarcity on the coast of La- 
brador, furnishes one of the reasons that have induced me to believe it 
different from the Carrion Crow of Europe ; for there I met with several 



820 AMERICAN CROW. 

species of birds common to both countries, which seldom enter the United 
States farther than the vicinity of our most eastern boundaries. 

The nest, however, greatly resembles that of the European Crow, as 
much, in fact, as that of the American Magpie resembles the nest of the 
European. It is formed externally of dry sticks, interwoven with grasses, 
and is within thickly plastered with mud or clay, and lined with fibrous 
roots and feathers. The eggs are from four to six, of a pale greenish 
colour, spotted and clouded with purplish-grey and brownish-green. In 
the Southern States they raise two broods in the season, but to the east- 
ward seldom more than one. Both sexes incubate, and their parental 
care and mutual attachment are not surpassed by those of any other 
bird. Although the nests of this species often may be found near each 
other, their proximity is never such as occurs in the case of the Fish-Crow, 
of which many nests may be seen on the same tree. 

When the nest of this species happens to be discovered, the faithful 
pair raise such a hue and cry that every Crow in the neighbourhood im- 
mediately comes to their assistance, passing in circles high over the in- 
truder until he has retired, or follov/ing him, if he has robbed it, as far as 
their regard for the safety of their own will permit them. As soon as 
the young leave the nest, the family associates with others, and in this 
manner they remain in flocks till spring. Many crows' nests may be 
found within a few acres of the same wood, and in this particular their 
habits accord more with those of the Rooks of Europe {Corvusjrugile- 
gus), which, as you very well know, breed and spend their time in com- 
munities. The young of our Crow, like that of the latter species, are 
tolerable food when taken a few days before the period of their leaving 
the nest. 

The flight of the American Crow is swift, protracted, and at times 
performed at a great elevation. They are now and then seen to sail 
among the Turkey Buzzards or Carrion Crows, in company with their 
relatives the Fish-Crows, none of the other birds, however, shewing the 
least antipathy towards them, although the Vultures manifest dislike when- 
ever a White-headed Eagle comes among them. 

In the latter part of autumn and in winter, in the Southern States, 
this Crow is particularly fond of frequenting burnt grounds. Even 
while the fire is raging in one part of the fields, the woods, or the prairies, 
where tall grass abounds, the Crows are seen in great numbers in the 
other, picking up and devouring the remains of mice and other small 



AMERICAN CROW. 321 

quadrupeds, as well as lizards, snakes, and insects, which have been partly 
destroyed by the flames. At the same season they retire in immense num- 
bers to roost by the margins of ponds, lakes, and rivers, covered with a 
luxuriant growth of rank weeds or cat-tails. They may be seen proceed- 
ing to such places more than an hour before sunset, in long straggling 
hues, and in silence, and are joined by the Grakles, Starlings, and Reed 
Birds, while the Fish-Crows retire from the very same parts to the inte- 
rior of the woods many miles distant from any shores. 

No sooner has the horizon brightened at the approach of day, than 
the Crows sound a reveille, and then with mellowed notes, as it were, en- 
gage in a general thanksgiving for the peaceful repose they have enjoyed. 
After this they emit their usual barking notes, as if consulting each other 
respecting the course they ought to follow. Then parties in succession 
fly off" to pursue their avocations, and relieve the reeds from the weight 
that bent them down. 

The Crow is extremely courageous in encountering any of its winged 
enemies. Several individuals may frequently be seen pursuing a Hawk 
or an Eagle with remarkable vigour, although I never saw or heard of 
one pouncing on any bird for the purpose of preying on it. They now 
and then teaze the Vultures, when those foul birds are alighted on trees, 
with their wings spread out, but they soon desist, for the Vultures pay 
no attention to them. 

The most remarkable feat of the Crow, is the nicety with which it, 
like the Jay, pierces an egg with its bill, in order to carry it off, and eat 
it with security. In this manner 1 have seen it steal, one after another, 
all the eggs of a wild Turkey's nest. You will perceive, reader, that I 
endeavour to speak of the Crow with all due impartiality, not wishing by 
any means to conceal its faults, nor withholding my testimony to its me- 
rits, which are such as I can well assure the farmer, that were it not for 
Its race, thousands of corn stalks would every year fall prostrate, in con- 
sequence of being cut over close to the ground by the destructive grubs 
which are called " cut-worms." 

I never saw a pet Crow in the United States, and therefore cannot say 
with how much accuracy they may imitate the human voice, or, indeed, 
if they possess the power of imitating it at all, which I very much doubt, 
as in their natural state they never evince any talents for mimicry. I can- 
not say if it possess the thieving propensities attributed by authors to the 
European Crow. 



322 AMERICAN CROW. 

Its gait, while on the ground, is elevated and graceful, its ordinary 
mode of progression being a sedate walk, although it occasionally hops 
when under excitement. It not unfrequently alights on the backs of cattle, 
to pick out the worms lurking in their skin, in the same manner as the 
Magpie, Fish-Crow, and Cow-bird. Its note or cry may be imitated by 
the syllables caw, caw, caw, being different from the cry of the European 
Carrion Crow, and resembling the distant bark of a small dog. 

At Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania I saw a pair of Crows perfectly white, 
in the possession of Mr Lampdin, the owner of the museum there, who 
assured me that five which were found in the nest were of the same 
colour. 

I have placed the pensive oppressed Crow of our country on a beauti- 
ful branch of the Black Walnut tree, loaded with nuts, on the lower twig 
of which I have represented the delicate nest of our Common Humming 
Bird, to fulfil the promise which I made when writing the history of that 
species for my first volume. 

In conclusion, I would again address our farmers, and tell them that if 
they persist in kiUing Crows, the best season for doing so is when their 
corn begins to ripen. 



CORVUS Americanus. 

CoRvus CORONE, Ch. Botiaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 56. — 

Nuttall, Manual, p. 209 Swains, and Richards. Fauna Bor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 291, 

The Crow, Corvus corone, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iv. p. 79. pi. 35. fig. 3. 

Adult Male. Plate CLVI. 

Bill longish, straight, robust, compressed ; upper mandible with the 
dorsal line a little convex, decUnate towards the end, the sides convex ; 
lower mandible straight, the sides inclined obliquely outwards ; the edges 
of both sharp and inflected. Nostrils basal, lateral, round, covered by 
bristly feathers, which are directed forwards. Head large, neck of ordi- 
nary length, body of moderate proportions, the whole form rather com- 
pact and not inelegant. Legs of moderate length, strong ; tarsus ante- 
riorly scutellate, rather longer than the middle toe ; toes scutellate above, 
separated almost to the base ; first, second, and fourth nearly equal in 
length, third longest ; claws moderate, arched, compressed, acute. 

Plumage of the back compact, of the head and neck blended, and 



AMERICAN CROW. 323 

glossy, of the lower parts rather loose. Stiff bi-istly feathers with dis- 
united barbs over the nostrils, directed forwards and adpressed. Wings 
long, first primary short, fourth longest ; primaries tapering, secondaries 
broad, the outer abrupt with a minute acumen, the inner rounded. Tail 
rather long, rounded, of twelve nearly straight, rounded feathers, their 
shafts distinctly undulated. 

Beak, tarsi, toes and claws, black. Iris brown. The general colour 
of the plumage is deep black, with purplish-blue reflections, the hind parts 
of the neck tinged with purplish-brown ; the lower parts less glossy. 

Length 18 inches, extent of wings 3 feet 2 inches; bill along the ridge 
9,^2 '■> tarsus 2|. 

The Female differs from the Male in being less glossy, but the difference 
is not very perceptible. The young when fully fledged are of a rather 
dull brownish-black, with the blue and purple reflections much less bril- 
liant. 

After a careful comparison of specimens of the European Carrion 
Crow with others of the American Crow, I have found decided differ- 
ences, which to me seem quite sufficient to set the question of their iden- 
tity at rest. 

The European Crow is larger than the American ; the length of the 
former being 20 inches, that of the latter 18 ; and the wing from the 
flexure to the extremity is proportional, being in the one 13 J inches, in 
the other 12. 

The bill is stronger and deeper, more convex on the sides, and with 
the edges more involute in the Carrion Crow than in the American Crow, 
the depth at the base in the former being }§, in the latter ^|. 

The scutella of the tarsus in both are 10, but the feet of the Carrion 
Crow are much stronger and its toes and claws larger than those of the other. 
In the European Crow, the fourth primary is longest, the third almost 
equal, and this is also the case in the American, although slight differ- 
ences occur in individuals. 

The principal character besides the different form of the bill, is to be 
found in the feathers of the neck. In the European bird, the feathers 
of the hind neck are narrow, and although blended, have their points 
distinct ; while in the American bird, they are broad, rounded, and per- 
fectly blended, so that their individual form cannot be traced. The fea- 
thers of the fore neck in the former are lanceolate, compact at the end, 

X 2 



324 AMERICAN CROW. 

and, although shorter, resemble tliose of the Raven ; but in the Ameri- 
can Crow they are three times as broad, rounded, and entirely blended. 

Lastly, the American species has a decided purpUsh-brown tinge on the 
neck, while the European bird has that part glossed with green and blue. 

I am happy on this occasion to have an opportunity of referring you 
to an excellent paper, on the specific characters of birds, by Mr Mac- 
GiLLivRAY, which you will find in the Transactions of the Wernerian 
Natural History Society, and in which he shews the great advantage that 
may be derived from attending to the structure and form of the feathers. 
The characters by which the American Crow is distinguished from the 
European Carrion Crow are an exemplification of his views, in which I 
cordially agree : — " Allowing," says he, " only a partial application of 
the principle of characterizing the species by the forms of the feathers, 
even this would be a matter of importance ; and were the attention of 
ornithologists directed toward this point, there can be little doubt that 
discoveries would quickly be made, which would determine species and 
varieties with much greater precision than can be attained by attending 
to colour alone." 



The Black Walnut. 



JuGLANs NIGRA, WUld. Sp. PI. vol. iv. p. 45C. PuTsh, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. iL p. 636. 

Mich. Arbr. Forest, vol. i. p. 157. pi- i Monizcia Polyandria, Linn. Tere- 

binthacEjE, Juss. 

The Black Walnut of the United States is generally a tree of beauti- 
ful form, and often, especially in the Western and Southern States, at- 
tains a great size. Wherever it is found, you may calculate on the land 
being of good quality ; the wood is very firm, of a dark brown tint, vein- 
ed, and extremely useful for domestic purposes, many articles of furni- 
ture being made of it. It is also employed in ship-building. When us- 
ed for posts or fence rails, it resists the action of the weather for many 
years. The nuts are gathered late in autumn, and although rather too 
oily, are eaten and considered good by many persons. The husking of 
them is however a disagreeable task, as their covering almost indelibly 
stains every object with which it comes in contact. 

See Vol. I. p 433. 



( 325 ) 
THE RUSTY GRAKLE 

QUISCALUS FERRUGINEUS, BoNAP. 
PLATE CLVII. Male, Female, and Young. 

In the winter months the Rusty Grakle is found as far south as Lower 
Louisiana and the Floridas, which it reaches in small flocks, along with 
the Cow Bunting and Red-winged Starling, with which it continues fre- 
quently to associate until the return of spring. At this season it occurs 
in all the Southern and Western States, as well as in the Middle and Eas- 
tern Districts, where some remain during the most severe cold. 

These Grakles are fond of the company of cattle, and are seen with 
them in the pastures or in the farm-yards, searching for food among their 
droppings, and picking up a few grains of the refuse corn. They are 
less shy than the other species, possibly because less acquainted with man, 
as they retire to the north for the purpose of breeding. In the winter 
they frequently resort to moist places, such as are met with round the ponds 
and low swampy meadows, whei'e you sometimes find a single one remain- 
ing for weeks apart from its companions. They then feed on aquatic in- 
sects and small snails, for which they search diligently among the rank 
reeds or sedges, which they climb with great agility. Their note is a 
kind of chuck. It is rare to meet with them in full plumage at this time, 
even the old males becoming rather rusty, instead of being of a pure 
glossy black, as they are in spring. 

About the beginning of March, tlie males are seen moving northwards. 
They cross the greater part of the United States almost in silence and 
unheeded, seldom tarrying any where until they reach the State of Maine, 
where some few remain to breed, while the greater number advance far- 
ther north. I saw some of these birds on the Magdeleine Islands, in 
Newfoundland, as well as in Labrador, where many breed. Their migra- 
tions are performed by day. 

In their habits they resemble the Red- winged Starling, becoming lo- 
quacious at this season, and having a lively and agreeable song, although 
less powerful in tone than that of the species just mentioned. Equally 
fond of the vicinity of meadows or moist places, they construct their nests 
in the low bushes that occur there. The nest is not so large as that of. 



326 RUSTY GRAKLE. 

the Redwing, but is composed of much the same materials. In Labra- 
dor I found it lined with moss instead of coarse grass. The eggs are four 
or five, of a light blue colour, streaked and dashed with straggling lines 
of brown and deep black, much smaller than those of the Redwing, but 
in other respects bearing a considerable resemblance to them. They be- 
gin to lay about the 1st of June, in the State of Maine, and fully a fort- 
night later in Labrador. They raise only one brood in the season. The 
young, when first able to fly, are nearly of an uniform brown, brighter on 
the breast and shoulders. Although they seem to prefer alder and willow 
bushes, for the purpose of incubation, I have found their nests among the 
tall reeds of the Cafs-tail or Typha, to which they were attached by in- 
terweaving the leaves of the plant with the grasses and stripes of bark 
of which they were externally composed. 

During early autumn, and before they remove southward, they fre- 
quently resort to the sandy beaches of lakes, rivers, and the sea, in search 
of small testaceous mollusca and aquatic insects. They do little or no 
mischief in the corn-fields. While walking they frequently jerk their 
tail, and move with much grace, in the same manner as other birds of the 
genus. Their flight resembles that of the Red- winged species. 

An acquaintance of mine, residing in New Orleans, found one of these 
birds, a beautiful male in full plumage, not far from that city, while on 
one of his accustomed walks. It had been shot, but was only slightly 
injured in one of its wings, and as it was full of vivacity, and had a clear 
and brilliant eye, indicating that its health had not suffered, he took it 
home and put it in a cage with several Painted Buntings. They soon 
became accustomed to each other, the Grakle evincing no desire to molest ; 
its smaller companions. I saw it when it had already been caged up- 
wards of four months, and had the satisfaction to hear it sing repeatedly..j 
Its notes, however, were less sonorous than they usually are when the] 
birds are at liberty. It frequently uttered its travelling chvick-note. Itl 
was fed entirely on rice. This was the only specimen I ever saw in cap- 
tivity, and it proved a very amiable companion. 

I have figured four of these birds, to enable you the better to under- 
stand their different states of plumage, and placed them on a plant of the 
genus Prunus, wliich grows in Louisiana, and on the berries of which they ; 
occasionally feed. 



RUSTY GRAKLE. 327 



Oriolus ferrugikeus, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 126. 

QuiscALUS FERRUGiNEUS, CA. Soraujoarfe, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 55. 

ScoLECoPHAGusFERRUGiNEUs,RusTY Maggot-eater, Swains. onA. Richards. Fauna 

Bor. Amer. part ii. p. 286. 
Rusty Grakle, Gracula ferruginea, Wils. Amei*. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 41. pi. 21. 

fig. 3. Male. 
Rusty Blackbird, Quiscalus ferrugineus, Nuttall, Manual, p. 199. 

Adult Male. Plate CXLVII. Fig. 1. 

Bill of moderate length, straight, tapering, compressed from the base ; 
upper mandible prolonged on the forehead, forming an acute angle there, 
a little declinate at the tip, the dorsal outline slightly convex, the sides 
convex, the edges sharp and inflected ; lower mandible nearly straight in 
its dorsal outline, convex on the sides, the edges sharp and inflected ; 
gap-line deflected at the base. Nostrils basal, oval, half closed above by 
a membrane. Head of ordinary size, neck rather short, body rather slen- 
der. Feet of moderate length, strong ; tarsus compressed, with a few 
long scutella anteriorly, sharp behind ; toes compressed, the lateral nearly 
equal, the outer united as far as the second joint to the middle, which is 
much longer, hind-toe not much stouter than the inner; claws rather 
long, arched, compressed, very acute. 

Plumage soft, blended, glossy. Wings rather long, second quill 
longest, first and fourth equal. Tail rather long, slightly rounded, of 
twelve broad feathers. 

Bill and feet black. Iris pale yellow. The general colour is deep 
black, with greenish and bluish reflections. 

Length 94 inches, extent of wings 14^ ; bill along the back |, along 
the edge \\ ; tarsus li. 

Adult Female. Plate CLVII. Fig. 2. 

Bill, iris, and feet as in the male. The general colour is brownish- 
black ; the sides of the head over the eyes, and a broad band beneath it 
light yellowish-brown, the feathers of the lower parts more or les margined 
with brownish. 

Length 8^^ inches, extent of wings 13|. 



328 RUSTY GRAKLE. 

Young bird fuUy fledged. Plate CLVII. Fig. 3, 3. 

Bill and feet brownish-black. Iris pale yellow. Head and neck Ught 
brown, the rest of the upper parts brownish-black, edged with light red- 
dish-brown, the rump tinged with grey. A band over the eye, and the 
fore part and sides of the neck and breast pale yellowish-brown, sides tinged 
with brown, under tail-coverts dusky. 



The Black Haw. 

Prunus nigra, Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 331 — Icosandria Monogynia, 
Linn. Rosace^e, Juks. 

Leaves deciduous, ovate, acuminate, unequally serrate, smooth on 
both sides ; vunbels sessile, solitary, few-flowered. 

This species of Prunus, which is tolerably abundant in Louisiana, 
the only State in which I have observed it, grows along the borders of 
the forest, and often attains a height of thirty or more feet. Its leaves 
fall at a very early period, but its fruits, which are pleasant to the taste, 
remain until after the first frosts, or until devoured by birds, opossums, 
squirrels, or racoons. 



( 329 ) 
THE CHIMNEY SWALLOW, OR AMERICAN SWIFT. 

CyFSELUS PELASGIUS, TeMM. 
PLATE CLVIII. Male, Female, and Nest. 

Since our country has furnished thousands of convenient places for 
this Swallow to breed in, free from storms, snakes, or quadrupeds, it has 
abandoned, with a judgment worthy of remark, its former abodes in the 
hollows of trees, and taken possession of the chimneys, which emit no 
smoke in the summer season. For this reason, no doubt, it has obtained 
the name by which it is generally known. I well remember the time 
when, in Lower Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, many resorted to exca- 
vated branches and trunks, for the purpose of breeding ; nay, so strong 
is the influence of original habit, that not a few still betake themselves to 
such places, not only to roost, but also to breed, especially in those wild 
portions of our country that can scarcely be said to be inhabited. In 
such instances, they appear to be as nice in the choice of a tree, as they 
generally are in our cities in the choice of a chimney, wherein to roost, 
before they leave us. Sycamores of gigantic growth, and having a mere 
shell of bark and wood to support them, seem to suit them best, and 
wherever I have met with one of those patriarchs of the forest rendered ha- 
bitable by decay, there I have found the Svvallows breeding in spring and 
summer, and afterwards roosting until the time of their departure. I 
had a tree of this kind cut down, which contained about thirty of their 
nests in its trunk, and one in each of the hollow branches. 

The nest, whether placed in a tree or chimney, consists of small dry 
twigs, which are procured by the birds in a singular manner. While on 
wing, the Chimney Swallows are seen in great numbers whirling round 
the tops of some decayed or dead tree, as if in pursuit of their insect prey. 
Their movements at this time are extremely rapid ; they throw their body 
suddenly against the twig, grapple it with their feet, and by an instanta- 
neous jerk, snap it off short, and proceed with it to the place intended for 
the nest. The Frigate Pelican sometimes employs the same method for 
a similar purpose, carrying away the stick in its bill, in place of holding 
it with its feet. 

The Swallow fixes the first sticks on the wood, the rock, or the chim- 



330 CHIMNEY SWALLOW. 

ney wall, by means of its saliva, arranging them in a semicircular form, 
crossing and interweaving them, so as to extend the framework outwards. 
The whole is afterwards glued together with saliva, which is spread around 
it for an inch or more, to fasten it securely. When the nest is in a chim- 
ney, it is generally placed on the east side, and is from five to eight feet 
from the entrance ; but in the hollow of a tree, where only they breed in 
communities, it is placed high or low according to convenience. The 
fabric, which is very frail, now and then gives way, either under the 
pressure of the parents and young, or during sudden bursts of heavy 
rain, when the whole is dashed to the ground. The eggs are from four 
to six, and of a pure white colour. Two broods are raised in the season. 

The flio-ht of this species is performed somewhat in the manner of the 
European Swift, but in a more hurried although continued style, and ge- 
nerally by repeated flappings, unless when courtship is going on, on which 
occasion it is frequently seen sailing with its wings fixed as it were, both 
sexes as they glide through the air issuing a shrill rattling twitter, and 
the female receiving the caresses of the male. At other times it is seen 
ranf^ino- far and wide at a considerable elevation over the forests and cities ; 
again, in wet weather, it flies close over the ground ; and anon it skims 
the water, to drink and bathe. When about to descend into a hollow 
tree or a chimney, its flight, always rapid, is suddenly interrupted as if 
by mao-ic, for down it goes in an instant, whirling in a peculiar manner, 
and whirring with its wings, so as to produce a sound in the chimney 
like the rumbling of very distant thunder. They never alight on trees 
or on the ground. If one is caught and placed on the latter, it can only 
move in a very awkward fashion. I believe that the old birds sometimes 
fly at nio-ht, and have reason to think that the young are fed at such times, 
as I have heard the whirring sound of the former, and the acknowledging 
cries of the latter, during calm and clear nights. 

When the young accidentally fall, which sometimes happens, although 
the nest should remain, they scramble up again, by means of their sharp 
claws, lifting one foot after another, in the manner of young Wood Ducks, 
and supporting themselves with their tail. Some days before the young 
are able to fly, they scramble up the walls to near the mouth of the chim- 
ney where they are fed. Any observer may discover this, as he sees the 
parents passing close over them, without entering the funnel. The same 
occurrence takes place when they are bred in a tree. 

In the cities, these birds make choice of a particular chimney for their 



CHIMNEY SWALLOW. 331 

roosting place, where, early in spring, before they have begun building, 
both sexes resort in multitudes, from an hour or more before sunset, un- 
til long after dark. Before entering the aperture, they fly round and over 
it many times, but finally go in one at a time, until hurried by the late- 
ness of the hour, several drop in together. They cling to the wall with 
their claws, supporting themselves also by their sharp tail, until the dawn, 
when, with a roaring sound, the whole pass out almost at once. Whilst 
at St FrancisviJle in Louisiana, I took the trouble of counting how many 
entered one chimney before dark. I sat at a window not far from the 
spot, and reckoned upwards of a thousand, having missed a considerable 
number. The place at that time contained about a hundred houses, and 
no doubt existed in my mind that the greater number of these birds were 
on their way southward, and had merely stopped there for the night. 

Immediately after my arrival at Louisville, in the State of Kentucky, 
I became acquainted with the hospitable and amiable Major William 
Croghan and his family. While talking one day about birds, he asked 
me if I had seen the trees in which the Swallows were supposed to spend 
the winter, but which they only entered, he said, for the purpose of roost- 
ing. Answering in the affirmative, I was informed that on my way back 
to town, there was a tree remarkable on account of the immense numbers 
that resorted to it, and the place in which it stood was described to me. I 
found it to be a sycamore, nearly destitute of branches, sixty or seventy feet 
high, between seven and eight feet in diameter at the base, and about five 
for the distance of forty feet up, where the stump of a broken hollowed 
branch, about two feet in diameter, made out from the main stem. This was 
the place at which the Swallows entered. On closely examining the tree, I 
found it hard, but hollow to near the roots. It was now about four 
o'clock after noon, in the month of July. Swallows were flying over 
Jeffersonville, Louisville, and the woods around, but there were none near 
the tree. I proceeded home, and shortly after returned on foot. The sun 
was going down behind the Silver Hills ; the evening was beautiful ; 
thousands of Swallows were flying closely above me, and three or four at 
a time were pitching into the hole, like bees hurrying into their hive. I 
remained, my head leaning on the tree, listening to the roaring noise made 
within by the birds as they settled and arranged themselves, until it was 
quite dark, when I left the place, although I was convinced that many 
more had to enter. I did not pretend to count them, for the number was 
too great, and the birds rushed to the entrance so thick as to baffle the 



332 CHIMNEY SWALLOW. 

attempt. I had scarcely returned to Louisville, when a violent thunder- 
storm passed suddenly over the town, and its appearance made me think 
that the hurry of the Swallows to enter the tree was caused by their 
anxiety to avoid it. I thought of the Swallows almost the whole night, 
so anxious had I become to ascertain their number, before the time of 
their departure should arrive. 

Next morning I rose early enough to reach the place long before the 
least appearance of daylight, and placed my head against the tree. All 
was silent within. I remained in that posture probably twenty minutes, 
when suddenly I thought the great tree was giving way, and coming 
down upon me. Instinctively I sprung from it, but when I looked up 
to it again, what was my astonishment to see it standing as firm as ever. 
The Swallows were now pouring out in a black continued stream. I ran 
back to my post, and listened in amazement to the noise within, which I 
could compare to nothing else than the sound of a large wheel revolving 
under a powerful stream. It was yet dusky, so that I could hardly see 
the hour on my watch, but I estimated the time which they took in get- 
ting out at more than thirty minutes. After their departure, no noise was 
heard within, and they dispersed in every direction with the quickness of 
thought. 

I immediately formed the project of examining the interior of the 
tree, which, as my kind friend, Major Crogham, had told me, proved 
the most remarkable I had ever met with. This I did, in company 
with a hunting associate. We went provided with a strong line and 
a rope, the first of which we, after several trials, succeeded in throwing 
across the broken branch. Fastening the rope to the line we drew it up, 
and pulled it over until it reached the ground again. Provided with 
the longest cane we could find, I mounted the tree by the rope, without 
accident, and at length seated myself at ease on the broken branch ; but 
my labour was fruitless, for I could see nothing through the hole, and 
the cane, which was about fifteen feet long, touched nothing on the sides 
of the tree within that could give any information. I came down fatigued 
and disappointed. 

The next day I hired a man, who cut a hole at the base of the tree. 
The shell was only eight or nine inches thick, and the axe soon brought 
the inside to view, disclosing a matted mass of exuviae, with rotten feathers 
reduced to a kind of mould, in which, however, I could perceive frag- 
ments of insects and quills. I had a passage cleared, or rather bored 



CHIMNEY SWALLOW. 333 

through this mass, for nearly six feet This operation took up a good 
deal of time, and knowing by experience that if the birds should notice 
the hole below, they would abandon the tree, I had it carefully closed. 
The Swallows came as usvial that night, and I did not disturb them for seve- 
ral days. At last, provided with a dark lantern, I went with my companion 
about nine in the evening, determined to have a full view of the interior of 
the tree. The hole was opened with caution. !• scrambled up the sides 
of the mass of exuviae, and my friend followed. All was perfectly silent. 
Slowly and gradually I brought the light of the lantern to bear on the 
sides of the hole above us, when we saw the Swallows clinging side by 
side, covering the whole surface of the excavation. In no instance did I 
see one above another. Satisfied with the sight, I closed the lantern. 
We then caught and killed with as much care as possible more than a 
hundred, stowing them away in our pockets and bosoms, and slid down 
into the open air. We observed that, while on this visit, not a bird had 
dropped its dung upon us. Closing the entrance, we marched towards 
Louisville perfectly elated. On examining the birds which we had pro- 
cured, a hundred and fifteen in number, we found only six females. 
Eighty-seven were adult males ; of the remaining twenty -two the sex 
could not be ascertained, and I had no doubt that they were young of 
that year's first brood, the flesh and quill-feathers being tender and soft. 

Let us now make a rough calculation of the number that clung to the 
tree. The space beginning at the pile of feathers and moulded exuviae, 
and ending at the entrance of the hole above, might be fully 25 feet in 
height, with a breadth of 15 feet, supposing the tree to be 5 feet in dia- 
meter at an average. There would thus be 375 feet square of sur- 
face. Each square foot, allowing a bird to cover a space of 3 inches by 
1|, which is more than enough, judging from the manner in which they 
were packed, would contain 32 birds. The number of Swallows, there- 
fore, that roosted in this single tree was 9000. 

I watched the motions of the Swallows, and when the young birds 
that had been reared in the chimneys of Louisville, Jefffersonville, and the 
houses of the neighbourhood, or the trees suited for the purpose, had left 
their native recesses, I visited the tree on the 2d day of August. I con- 
cluded that the numbers resorting to it had not increased ; but I found many 
more females and young than males, among upwards of fifty, which were 
caught and opened. Day after day I watched the tree. On the 13th of 
August, not more than two or three hundred came there to I'oost. On. 



334 CHIMNEY SWALLOW. 

the 18th of the same month, not one did 1 see near it, and only a few 
scattered individuals were passing, as if moving southward. In Septem- 
ber I entered the tree at night, but not a bird was in it. Once more I 
went to it in February, when the weather was very cold ; and perfectly 
satisfied that all these Swallows had left our countiy, I finally closed the 
entrance, and left off visiting it. 

May arrived, bringing with its vernal warmth the wanderers of the 
air, and I saw their number daily augmenting, as they resorted to the tree 
to roost. About the beginning of June, I took it in my head to close the 
aperture above, with a bundle of straw, which with a string I could 
draw off whenever I might chuse. The result was curious enough ; the 
birds as usual came to the tree towards night ; they assembled, passed and 
repassed, with apparent discomfort, until I perceived many flying off" to a 
great distance, on which I removed the straw, when many entered the hole, 
and continued to do so until I could no longer see them from the ground. 

I left Louisville, having removed my residence to Henderson, and did 
not see the tree until five years after, when I still found the Swallows re- 
sorting to it. The pieces of wood with which I had closed the entrance 
had rotted, or had been carried off, and the hole was again completely 
filled with exuviae and mould. During a severe storm, their ancient tene- 
ment at length gave way, and came to the ground. 

General William Clakk assured me that he saw this species on the 
whole of his route to the Pacific, and there can be no doubt that in those 
wilds it still breeds in trees or rocky caverns. 

Its food consists entirely of insects, the pellets composed of the indi- 
gestible parts of which it disgorges. It is furnished with glands which 
supply the unctuous matter with which it fastens its nest. 

This species does not appear to extend its migrations farther east than 
the British provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It is unknown 
in Newfoundland and Labrador ; nor was it until the 29th of May that 
I saw some at Eastport in Maine, where a few breed. 

HiRUNDO PELASGiA, Linn. Syst. Nat. voL i. p. 345. Latli, Ind. Ornith. voL ii. p. 581 . 
Cypselus pelasgius, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 63. 
Chimney Swallow, Hirundo pelasgia, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. v. p. 48, pi. 39. 
fig. 1. Nuttall, Manual, p. 609. 

Adult Male. Plate CLVIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill extremely short, very broad at the base, with a very wide rictus, 



CHIMNEY SWALLOW. 335 

compressed towards the tip ; upper mandible bent towards the end, the 
sides convex, the sharp edges inflected and having an indistinct sinus 
near the tip ; lower mandible nearly straight ; gap line slightly arched. 
Nostrils basal, approximate, oblong. Head large and depressed, neck 
short, body slender. Feet extremely short and weak ; tarsus rounded, 
destitute of scutella ; toes extremely short, the three anterior nearly equal, 
each with only two joints, hind toe puny, with a much smaller claw ; 
claws strong, shortish, compressed, arched, very acute. 

Plumage short, compact, rather blended, slightly glossed ; wings ex- 
tremely elongated, falciform, quiUs narrow with excessively strong shafts, 
the first longest. Tail of ten feathers, very short, slightly rounded, the 
shaft of extraordinary strength, and projecting beyond the webs in the 
form of a stiff" prickle. 

Bill black. Iris black. Feet dusky, with black claws. The general 
colour is brownish-black, lighter on the rump, and with slight greenish 
reflections on the head and back ; the throat greyish-white, gradually 
shaded into the greyish-brown colour of the under parts, which have a 
peculiar grey and greenish lustre ; the space from the eye to the bill 
black ; a greyish-white line over the eye. 

Length 4f inches, extent of wings 12 ; bill along the back y^g, along 
the edge -^^ ; tarsus ^^. 

Adult Female. Plate CLVIII. Fig. 2. 

The Female is similar to the male. 

Two views of the nest are also given in the plate. 



( 336 ) 

THE CARDINAL GROSBEAK. 

Fringilla cardinalis, Bonap. 

PLATE CLIX. Male and Female. 

In richness of plumage^ elegance of motion, and strength of song, this 
species surpasses all its kindred in the United States. It is known by the 
names of Red Bird, Virginia Nightingale, Cardinal Bird, and that at the 
head of the present article. It is very abundant in all our Southern 
States, as well as in the peninsula of the Floridas. In the western coun- 
try a great number are found as far up on the Ohio as the city of Cincin- 
nati, and they extend to considerable distances into Indiana, Illinois and 
Missouri. They are found in the maritime districts of Pennsylvania and 
New Jersey, where they breed, and where a few remain the whole year ; 
some are also seen in the State of New York, and now and then a straggler 
proceeds into Massachusetts ; but farther eastward this species has never 
been observed. 

This fine songster relishes the interior of the forest, and the heart of 
the deepest cane-brakes or retired swamps, as well as the neighbourhood 
of cities. It is constantly found in our fields, orchards and gardens ; 
nay, it often enters the very streets of our southern towns and villages to 
breed ; and it is rare that one goes into a planter's yard without observing 
the Red Bird skipping about the trees or on the turf beneath them. Go 
where it may, it is always welcome, and every where a favourite, so rich 
is its song, and so brilliant its plumage. 

The Cardinal Bird breeds in the Floridas. In the beginning of March 
I found them already paired in that country, and on the 8th of February 
near General Hernandez's. In the neighbourhood of Charleston, as well 
as in Louisiana, they are nearly a month later, and much the same lapse 
of time takes place again before they form a nest in the State of New Jer- 
sey or in that of Kentucky. 

The nest is placed, apparently without much consideration, in some 
low briar, bush, or tree, often near the fence, the middle of a field, or the 
interior of a thicket, not far from a cooling stream, to which they are 
fond of resorting, for the purpose of drinking and bathing. Sometimes 
you find it placed close to the planter's house or in his garden, a few 



CARDINAL GROSBEAK. 337 

yards from that of the Mocking Bird or the Thrasher. It is composed of 
dry leaves and twigs, together with a large proportion of dry grass and 
slips of grape-vines, and is finished within with bent-grass, wrought in a 
circular form. The eggs are from four to six, of a dull white colour, 
marked all over with touches of olive-brown. 

In the Southern Districts they now and then raise three broods in the 
season, but in the Middle States seldom more than one. The young on 
leaving the nest, frequently follow their parents on the gi'ound for seve- 
ral days, after which they disperse and seek for food apart. During the 
pairing season, the males are so pugnacious, that although they breed 
near birds of other species, they never allow one of their own to nestle in 
their vicinity. One male may be seen following another from bush to bush, 
emitting a shrill note of anger, and diving towards the fugitive antago- 
nist whenever an opportunity offers, until the latter has escaped quite be- 
yond his jurisdiction, when the conqueror, elated, returns to his grounds, 
ascends his favourite tree, and pours out his song in full exultation. 

Those which migrate to the eastward begin to move about the com- 
mencement of March, usually in the company of the Towhe Bunting and 
other Sparrows, hopping and passing from bush to bush during the whole 
day, announcing to the traveller and husbandman the approach of a more 
genial season, and resting at night in the secluded swamps. The males 
precede the females about ten days. 

Towards autumn they frequently ascend to the tops of tall trees in 
search of grapes and berries, being as fond of succulent or pulpy fruits 
as they are of the seeds of corn and grasses. On the least appearance of 
danger they at once glide into the interior of the nearest thickets. Du- 
ring the summer heats they frequently resort to sandy roads to dust them- 
selves, carelessly suffering people to approach them until within a few 
yards, when they only remove to the nearest bushes, until the intruders 
pass. 

They are easily raised when taken from the nest, and breed when 
kept in aviaries. My friend Dr Samuel Wilson of Charleston, has had 
them breeding with him, having placed straw-baskets for the purpose, in 
which the female deposited her eggs, without improving the nest any 
more than by placing in it a few grass-blades, perhaps pilfered from some 
of her neighbours. The purity of its colouring is soon lost when it is 
kept in confinement, where it is gentle, easily fed on corn or hemp-seed, 
and it sings when placed in a cage for several months in the year. 
VOL. ir, Y 



338 CARDINAL GROSBEAK. 

During winter the Cardinal Grosbeak frequently shews itself in the 
farm-yard, among Turtle-Doves, Jays, Mocking-Birds, and various spe- 
cies of Sparrows, picking up its food from the store daily supplied to the 
poultry. It now and then seeks refuge at night in the lee of some hay- 
stack, or throws itself with many other birds among the thickest branches 
of the nearest evergreen tree. 

The flight of this species is strong and rapid, although seldom con- 
tinued to any great distance. It is performed by glidings and jerks of 
the tail. When the bird is alighted it also frequently juts its tail with 
grace. Like all birds of the genus it hops, bvit does not walk. 

Its song is at first loud and clear, resembling the finest sounds pro- 
duced by the flageolet, and gradually descends into more marked and 
continued cadences, until it dies away in the air around. During the 
love-season the song is emitted with increased emphasis by this proud 
musician, who, as if aware of his powers, swells his throat, spreads his 
rosy tail, droops his wings, and leans alternately to the right and left, as 
if on the eve of expiring with delight at the delicious sounds of his own 
voice. Again and again are those melodies repeated, the bird resting 
only at intervals to breathe. They may be heard from long before the 
sun gilds the eastern horizon, to the period when the blazing orb pours 
down its noonday floods of heat and light, driving the birds to the coverts 
to seek repose for a while. Nature again invigorated, the musician re- 
commences his song, when, as if he had never strained his throat before, 
he makes the whole neighbourhood resound, nor ceases until the shades 
of evening close around him. Day after day the song of the Red Bird 
beguiles the weariness of his mate as she assidously warms her eggs ; and 
at times she also assists with the modesty of her gentler sex. Few in- 
dividuals of our own race refuse their homage of admiration to the 
sweet songster. How pleasing is it, when, by a clouded sky, the woods 
are rendered so dark, tliat were it not for an occasional glimpse of clearer 
light falling between the trees, you might imagine night at hand, while 
you are yet far distant from your home — how pleasing to have your ear 
suddenly saluted by the well known notes of this favourite bird, assu- 
ring you of peace around, and of the full hour that still remains for you 
to pursue your walk in security ! How often have I enjoyed this pleasure, 
and how often, in due humbleness of hope, do I trust that I may enjoy 
it again ! 



CARDINAL GROSBEAK. 339 

I have represented a pair of tliese beautiful birds on a branch of the 
Wild Olive. 



Feingilla CARBiNALis, Ch. BoTiaparte, Svnops. of Birds of the United States, p. 113. 
Cardinal Grosbeak, Loxia cardinalis, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 38.pl. 2. 
fig. 1. Male; fig. 2. Female Nuttall, Manual, p. 519. 

Adult Male. Plate CLIX. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, very robust, conical, acute, deeper than broad at the base ; 
upper mandible with its dorsal outline a little convex, the sides rounded, 
the edges sharp and inflected, the tip slightly declinate ; lower mandible 
broader than the upper, with its dorsal line straight, the back broad, the 
sides rounded, the edges inflected ; the gap-line deflected at the base. 
Nostrils basal, roundish, concealed by the feathers. Head large, neck 
short, body robust. Legs of moderate length, rather strong ; tarsus com- 
pressed, anteriorly covered with a few scutella, posteriorly sharp ; toes 
scutellate above, free, the lateral ones nearly equal ; claws slender, arched, 
compressed, acute, that of the hind toe considerably larger. 

Plumage soft and blended, slightly glossed. Wings of moderate 
length, broad, much rounded, the fourth quill longest ; primaries rather 
broad, rounded, from the second to the sixth slightly cut out on the outer 
web, secondaries rather narrow and rounded. Tail long, straight, 
rounded. Feathers of the crown long, pointed, and erectile. 

Bill of a tint approaching to coral-red. Iris dark hazel. Feet pale 
umber. The whole upper parts of a deep dusky-red, excepting the head 
which is Vermillion. The anterior part of the forehead, the lores, and 
the upper anterior part of the neck, black. The under parts are vermil- 
hon, which is brightest anteriorly. Inner webs of the quills hght brown, 
their shafts and those of the tail-feathers blackish-brown. 

Length 8| inches, extent of wings 11^; bill along the back j'j, along 
the edge f ; tarsus \\. 

Adult Female. Plate CLIX. Fig. 2. 

The female has a crest as well as the male, which it resembles in the 
texture of its plumage, but the tail is proportionally shorter. The gene- 
ral colour of the upper parts is dull greyish-brown slightly tinged with 
olive ; the longer crest-feathers are streaked with dull red, the wings, co- 
verts, and outer edges of the quills, are of the same tint ; the edge of the 



340 CARDINAL GROSBEAK. 

wings and the lower coverts are pale vermillion, and the inner edges of 
the quills are of the same tint, but paler. The parts surrounding the 
base of the bill, which are black in the male, are blackish-grey, and the 
lower parts in general are pale greyish-brown. 
Length 7^ inches. 



The Wild Almond. 



Prunus CAEOLiNiANA, JVUld. Sp. PL vol. ii. p. 987. Pursh. Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. 
p, 330. — IcosANDRiA MoNOGYNiA, Linn. RosacEjE, Juss. 

Flowers in racemes ; leaves evergreen, oblong-lanceolate, mucronate, 
serrate, without glands at the base. The Wild Almond is altogether a 
southern tree. Its height now and then is as much as twenty-five feet, 
the stem in that case being a foot or more in diameter. The usual 
rounded form of its top, and the persistence of its foliage, together with 
its white flowers, and dark coloured fruits, render it a very agreeable ob- 
ject. Many are planted around the plantation grounds or the gardens of 
our southern cities, on account of their beautiful appearance. The fruits 
are greedily devoured by many species of birds, but are unpalatable to 
man. I have not observed it to the east of Virginia, nor farther west 
than the town of Memphis on the Mississippi. The wood is seldom ap- 
plied to any useful purpose. 



i 



( 341 ) 

THE CAROLINA TITMOUSE 

Far us carolinensis. 

PLATE CliX. Male and Female. 

It was not until some time after my drawing of this small southern 
species of Titmouse had been engraved and distributed among my patrons, 
that I discovered the difference as to size and habits between it and the 
one which inhabits the Middle and Northern States, and which has been 
so well described by Wilson, Nuttall and Swainson. Indeed, I never 
was struck with the difference of size until I reached Eastport in the State 
of Maine, early in May 1833, when one morning my friend Lieutenant 
Green of the United States army entered my room and shewed me a 
Titmouse which he had just procured. The large size of his bird, com- 
pared with those met with in the south, instantly struck me. 

On my return from Labrador, I immediately proceeded to Charles- 
ton in South Carolina, with a view of once more visiting the western por- 
tions of the Floridas and the whole coast of the Gulf of Mexico. In the 
course of conversation with my friend, the Reverend John Baghman, I 
mentioned my ideas on the subject of Titmice, when he immediately told 
me that he had for some time been of the same mind. We both went to 
the woods, and procured some specimens. I wrote to several persons of 
my acquaintance in Massachusetts, Maine, and Maryland, and before a 
month had elapsed, I received an abundant supply of the Northern spe- 
cies, preserved in spirits, from my friend John Bethune of Boston, 
Lieutenant Green, and Colonel Theodore Anderson of Baltimore. 
We examined and compared many individuals of both species, and satisfied 
ourselves that they were indeed specifically distinct. 

The new species, the Carolina Titmouse, is a constant inhabitant of 
the Southern States, in which I have traced it from the lower parts of 
Louisiana through the Floridas as far as the borders of the Boanoke 
River, which separates North Carolina from Virginia, when it altogether 
disappeared. In these countries it is found only in the immediate vi- 
cinity of ponds and deep marshy and moist swamps, rarely during winter 
in greater numbers than one pair together, and frequently singly. The 
parent birds separate from the voung probablv soon after the latter are 



342 CAROLINA TITMOUSE. 

able to provide for themselves. The other species moves in flocks during 
the whole winter, frequenting the orchards, the gardens, or the hedges 
and trees along the roads, entering the villages, and coming to the wood- 
piles of the farmers. The southern species is never met with in such 
places at any time of the year, and is at all seasons a shyer bird, and 
more difficult to be obtained. Its notes are also less sonorous, and less 
frequent, than those of the Titmouse found in the Middle and Northern 
Districts. 

My friend John Bachman is of opinion that the smaller species 
particularly retires from South Carolina during winter, in consequence 
of the small number met with there at that season. On referring to 
my journals, written in the Floridas, in the winter of 1831-32, I find 
that they are mentioned as being much more abundant than in the Caro- 
linas, and as breeding in the swamps as early as the middle of February. 

The Carolina Titmouse breeds in the holes abandoned by the Brown- 
headed Nuthatch ; but I have not yet examined either its eggs or its 
nest, having at first carelessly supposed the bird to be identical with the 
northern species, as my predecessors had done. 

My drawing of the Carolina Titmouse was made not far from New 
Orleans late in 1820. I have named it so, partly because it occurs in 
Carolina, and partly because I was desirous of manifesting my gratitude 
towards the citizens of that State, who by their hospitality and polite at- 
tention have so much contributed to my comfort and happiness, whenever 
it has been my good fortune to be among them. 



PaRUS CAB.OLINENSIS. 

Adult Male. Plate CLX. Fig. 1. 

Bill very short, straight, strong, compressed, rather obtuse ; both 
mandibles with the dorsal outline slightly convex, the sides convex, the 
edges sharp. Nostrils basal, roundish, concealed by the recumbent fea- 
thers. Head large, neck short, body rather robust. Feet of ordinary 
length, rather robust ; tarsus compressed, anteriorly scuteUate ; toes large, 
the three anterior united as far as the second joint, the hind one much 
stronger ; claws rather large, compressed, arched, acute. 

Plumage blended, tufty ; feathers of the head glossy. Wings of 
moderate length, the third and fourth quills longest and equal, fifth httle 
shorter, second longer than sixth, first and seventh about equal. Tail 



CAROLINA TITMOUSE. 343 

long, slender, slightly incurved, rounded, of twelve narrow, rounded fea- 
thers. 

Bill black. Iris dark brown. Feet bluish-grey. The whole upper 
part of the head and the hind neck pure black, as is a large patch on the 
throat and fore neck. Between these patches of black, thei'e is a band of 
greyish-white, from the base of the bill down the side of the neck, be- 
coming broader and greyer behind. Back and wing-coverts ash-grey, 
tinged with brown. Quills brown, margined with greyish-blue, as is the 
tail, which is more tinged with grey. Lower parts greyish-white tinged 
with brown, the sides more deeply tinted. 

Length 4j inches, extent of wings 6 ; bill along the ridge /^, along 
the edge ^^^ ; tarsus ^ ^ . 

Adult Female. Plate CLX. Fig. 2. 

The female is similar to the male, but somewhat fainter in its tints. 

This species is closely allied to the Parus palustris of Europe, which, 
however, has the black of the head tinged with brown, and that of the 
throat not nearly so extensive or decided, and has the lower parts still 
more tinged with yellowish-brown. It is also closely allied to the Partis 
atricapillus of Wilson, of which a description is subjoined. 

THE BLACK-CAP TITMOUSE. 

Parus atricapillus, Wils. 

Proportions and plumage as in Parus caroUnensis. 

Bill brownish-black. Iris dark brown. Feet bluish-grey. The whole 
upper part of the head and the hind neck pure black, as is a large patch 
on the throat and fore neck. Between these patches of black is a band 
of white, from the base of the bill down the sides of the neck, becoming 
broader behind and encroaching on the back, which, with the wing-coverts, 
is ash-grey tinged with brown. Quills brown, margined with bluish-white, 
the secondary quills so broadly margined as to leave a conspicuous white 
dash on the wing ; tail of the same colour, similarly edged. Lower parts 
brownish-white. 

Length 5\ inches, extent of wings 8 ; bill along the ridge ■^%, along 
the edge H ; tarsus J^. 

The two species are almost precisely similar in most respects; but 
Parus caroUnensis is much smaller than P. atricapillus, the former being 



344 CAROLINA TITMOUSE. 

4^ inches long, while the latter is 5^, a great difference in birds of so 
small a size. The differences in the other parts are proportional. The 
grey of the back is purer in the smaller species, and the white of the 
neck more so in the larger, in which also the white edgings of the wings 
are very conspicuous. 



The Supple Jack. 

The Supple Jack is a species of Smilax extremely abundant in all the 
swampy portions of the Southern States. Its slender stem entwines the 
trunk and branches of even the tallest trees, and, with its delicate branches, 
is extremely tough and pliant, one of half an inch in diameter being 
strong enough to suspend a body having a weight of several hundred 
pounds. It is frequently used instead of a cord to hang clothes upon 
to dry. The festoons which it forms are graceful and pleasing to the 
eye. 



( 345 ) 



THE FLORIDA KEYS. 

I LEFT you abruptly, perhaps uncivilly, reader, at the dawn of day, 
on Sandy Island, which lies just six miles from the extreme point of 
South Florida. I did so because I was amazed at the appearance of 
things around me, which in fact looked so different then from what they 
seemed at night, that it took some minutes' reflection to account for the 
change. When we laid ourselves down in the sand to sleep, the waters 
almost bathed our feet ; when we opened our eyes in the morning, they 
were at an immense distance. Our boat lay on her side, looking not un- 
like a whale reposing on a mud-bank. The birds in myriads were prob- 
ing their exposed pasture-ground. There great flocks of Ibises fed apart 
from equally large collections of Godwits, and thousands of Herons grace- 
fully paced along, ever and anon thrusting their javelin bills into the body 
of some unfortunate fish confined in a small pool of water. Of Fish-Crows 
I cotdd not estimate the number, but from the havoc they made among 
the crabs, I conjecture that these animals must have been scarce by the 
time of next ebb. Frigate Pelicans chased the Jager, which himself had 
just robbed a poor Gull of its prize, and all the Gallinules ran with spread 
wines from the mud-banks to the thickets of the island, so timorous had 
they become when they perceived us. 

Surrounded as we were by so many objects that allured us, not one 
could we yet attain, so dangerous would it have been to venture on the 
mud ; and our pilot having assured us that nothing could be lost by 
waiting, spoke of our eating, and on this hint told us that he would take 
us to a part of the island where " our breakfast would be abundant al- 
though uncooked." Off* we went, some of the sailors carrying baskets, 
others large tin pans and wooden vessels, such as they use for eating their 
meals in. Entering a thicket of about an acre in extent, we found on 
every bush several nests of the Ibis, each containing three large and beau- 
tiful eggs, and all hands fell to gathering. The birds gave way to us, 
and ere long we had a heap of eggs that promised delicious food. Nor 
did we stand long in expectation, for, kindling a fire, we soon prepared, 
in one way or other, enough to satisfy the cravings of our hungry maws. 
Breakfast ended, the pilot looking at the gorgeous sunrise, said, " Gentle- 
men, prepare yourselves for fun, the tide is acoming." 



346 FLORIDA KEYS. 

Over these enormous mud-flats, a foot or two of water is quite suffi- 
cient to drive all the birds ashore, even the tallest Heron or Flamingo, 
and the tide seems to flow at once over the whole expanse. Each of 
us provided with a gun, posted himself behind a bush, and no sooner had 
the water forced the winged creatures to approach the shore, than the 
work of destruction commenced. When it at length ceased, the collected 
mass of birds of different kinds looked not unlike a small haycock. Who 
could not with a Httle industry have helped himself to a few of their skins ? 
Why, reader, surely no one as fond of these things as I am. Every one 
assisted in this, and even the sailors themselves tried their hand at the 
work. 

Our pilot, good man, told us he was no hand at such occupations, and 
would go after something else. So taking Long Tom and his fishing-tackle, 
he marched off quietly along the shores. About an hour afterwards we 
saw him returning, when he looked quite exhausted, and on our inquiring 
the cause said, " There is a dew-fish yonder and a few balacoudas, but I 
am not able to bring them, or even to haul them here ; please send the 
sailors after them." The fishes were accordingly brought, and as I had 
never seen a dewfish, I examined it closely, and took an outline of its 
form, which some days hence you may perhaps see. It exceeded a hun- 
dred pounds in weight, and afforded excellent eating. The balacouda is 
also a good fish, but at times a dangerous one, for, according to the pilot, 
on more than one occasion " some of these gentry" had followed him when 
waist-deep in the water, in pursuit of a more valuable prize, until in self- 
defence he had to spear them, fearing that " the gentlemen" might at one 
dart cut off" his legs, or some other nice bit, with which he was unwilling 
to part. 

Having filled our cask from a fine well long since dug in the sand of 
Cape Sable, either by Seminole Indians or pirates, no matter which, we 
left Sandy Isle about full tide, and proceeded homewards, giving a call 
here and there at different keys, with the view of procuring rare birds, 
and also their nests and eggs. We had twenty miles to go " as the birds 
fly," but the tortuosity of the channels rendered our course fully a third 
longer. The sun was descending fast, when a black cloud suddenly ob- 
scured the majestic orb. Our sails swelled by a breeze, that was scarcely 
felt by us, and the pilot, requesting us to sit on the weather gunwale, told 
us that we were " going to get it." One sail was hauled in and secured, 
and the other Avas reefed although the wind had not increased. A low 



FLORIDA KEYS. 347 

murmuring noise was heard, and across the cloud that now rolled along 
in tumultuous masses, shot vivid flashes of lightning. Our experienced 
guide steered directly across a flat towards the nearest land. The sailors 
passed their quids from one cheek to the other, and our pilot having 
covered himself with his oil-jacket, we followed his example. " Blow, 
sweet breeze," cried he at the tiller, and " we'll reach land before the blast 
overtakes us, for, gentlemen, it is a furious cloud yon." 

A furious cloud indeed was the one which now, like an eagle on out- 
stretched wings, approached so swiftly, that one might have deemed it 
in haste to destroy us. We were not more than a cable's length from the 
shore, when, with imperative voice, the pilot calmly said to us, " Sit quite 
still. Gentlemen, for I should not like to lose you overboard j ust now; 
the boat can't upset, my word for that, if you will but sit still — here we 
have it !"" 

Reader, persons who have never witnessed a hurricane, such as not 
unfrequently desolates the sultry climates of the south, can scarcely form 
an idea of their terrific grandeur. One would think that, not content 
with laying waste all on land, it must needs sweep the waters of the shal- 
lows quite dry, to quench its thirst. No respite for an instant does it af- 
ford to the objects within the reach of its furious current, I^ike the scythe 
of the destroying angel, it cuts every thing by the roots, as it were with 
the careless ease of the experienced mower. Each of its revolving sweeps 
collects a heap that might be likened to the full sheaf which the hus- 
bandman flings by his side. On it goes with a wildness and fury that are 
indescribable ; and when at last its frightful blasts have ceased, Nature, 
weeping and disconsolate, is left bereaved of her beauteous offspring. 
In some instances, even a full century is required, before, with all her 
powerful energies, she can repair her loss. The planter has not only lost 
his mansion, his crops, and his flocks, but he has to clear his lands anew, 
covered and entangled as they are with the trunks and branches of trees 
that are every where strewn. The bark overtaken by the storm, is cast 
on the lee-shore, and if any are left to witness the fatal results, they are 
the " wreckers" alone, who, with inward delight, gaze upon the melan- 
choly spectacle. 

Our light bark shivered like a leaf the instant the blast reached her 
sides. We thought she had gone over ; but the next instant she was on 
the shore. And now in contemplation of the sublime and awful storm, I 
gazed around me. The waters drifted like snow ; the tough mangroves 



348 FLORIDA KEYS. 

hid their tops amid their roots, and the loud roaring of the waves driven 
among them blended with the howl of the tempest. It was not rain that 
fell ; the masses of water flew in a horizontal direction, and where a part 
of my body was exposed, I felt as if a smart blow had been given me on 
it. But enough ! — in half an hour it was over. The pure blue sky once 
more embellished the heavens, and although it was now quite night, we 
considered our situation a good one. 

The crew and some of the party spent the night in the boat. The 
pilot, myself, and one of my assistants took to the heart of the mangroves, 
and having found high land, we made a fire as well as we could, spread 
a tarpauling, and fixing our insect bars over us, soon forgot in sleep the 
horrors that had surrounded us. 

Next day, the Marion proceeded on her cruize, and in a few more 
days, having anchored in another safe harbour, we visited other Keys, of 
which I will, with your leave, give you a short account. 

The Deputy-Collector of Indian Isle gave me the use of his pilot for 
a few weeks, and I was the more gratified by this, that besides knowing 
him to be a good man and a perfect sailor, I was now convinced that he pos- 
sessed a great knowledge of the habits of birds, and could without loss of 
time lead me to their haunts. We were a hundred miles or so farther to 
the south. Gay May like a playful babe gambolled on the bosom of his 
mother natiu-e, and every thing was replete with life and joy. The pilot 
had spoken to me of some birds, which I was very desirous of obtain- 
ing. One morning, therefore, we went in two boats to some distant isle, 
where they were said to breed. Our difficulties in reaching that Key 
might to some seem more imaginary than real, were I faithfully to de- 
scribe them. Suffice it for me to tell you that after hauling our boats 
and pushing them with our hands, for upwards of nine miles, over the 
flats, we at last reached the deep channel that usually surrounds each of 
the mangrove islands. We were much exhausted by the labour and ex- 
cessive heat, but we were now floating on deep water, and by resting a 
short while under the shade of some mangroves, we were soon refreshed 
by the breeze that gently blew from the Gulf. We further repaired 
our strength by taking some food ; and I may as well tell you here, 
that during all the time I spent in that portion of the Floridas, my 
party restricted themselves to fish and soaked biscuit, while our only 
and constant beverage was water and niollasses. I found that in these 
warm latitudes, exposed as we constantly Avere to alternate heat and mois- 



FLORIDA KEYS. 349 

ture, ardent spirits and more substantial food would prove dangerous to 
us. The officers, and those persons who from time to time kindly accom- 
panied us, adopted the same regimen, and not an individual of us had 
ever to complain of so much as a headach. 

But we were under the mangroves — at a great distance on one of the 
flats, the Heron which I have named Ardea occidentalis was seen moving 
majestically in great numbers. The tide rose and drove them away, and 
as they came towards us, to alight and rest for a time on the tallest trees, 
we shot as many as I wished. I also took under my charge several of 
their young ahve. 

At another time we visited the " Mule Keys."" There the prospect 
was in many respects dismal in the extreme. As I followed their shores, 
I saw bales of cotton floating in all the coves, while spars of every de- 
scription lay on the beach, and far off" on the reefs I could see the last 
remains of a lost ship, her dismantled hulk. Several schooners were 
around her ; they were wreckers. I turned me from the sight with a 
heavy heart. Indeed, as I slowly proceeded, I dreaded to meet the float- 
ing or cast ashore bodies of some of the unfortunate crew. Our visit to 
the Mule Keys was in no way profitable, for besides meeting with but a 
few birds in two or three instances, I was, whilst swimming in the deep 
channel of a mangrove isle, much nearer a large shark than I wish ever 
to be again. 

" The service" requiring all the attention, prudence and activity of 
Captain Day and his gallant officers, another cruize took place, of which 
you will find some account in the sequel ; and while I rest a little on the 
deck of the Lady of the Green Mantle, let me offer my humble thanks to 
the Being who has allowed me the pleasure of thus relating to you, kind 
reader, a small part of my adventures. 



( 350 ) 

THE CARACARA EAGLE. 

Pol Y£ OR us vulgaris, Vieill. 

PLATE CLXI. Adult. 

I WAS not aware of the existence of the Caracara or Brazilian Eagle in 
the United States, until my visit to the Floridas in the winter of 1831. On 
the 24th November of that year, in the course of an excursion near the 
town of St Augustine, I observed a bird flying at a great elevation, and 
almost over my head. Convinced that it was unknown to me, and bent on 
obtaining it, I followed it nearly a mile, when I saw it sail towards the 
earth, making for a place where a group of Vultures were engaged in 
devouring a dead horse. Walking up to the horse, I observed the new 
bird alio-hted on it, and helping itself freely to the savoury meat beneath 
its feet; but it evinced a degree of shyness far greater than that of its asso- 
ciates, the Turkey Buzzards and Carrion Crows. I moved circuitously, 
until I came to a deep ditch, along which I crawled, and went as near to 
the bird as I possibly could ; but finding the distance much too great for 
a sure shot, I got up suddenly, when the whole of the birds took to flight. 
The eacle, as if desirous of forming acquaintance with me, took a round 
and passed over me. I shot, but to my great mortification missed it. 
However it alighted a few hundred yards oflP, in an open savanna, on 
which I laid myself flat on the ground, and crawled towards it, pushing 
my o-un before me, amid burs and mud-holes, until I reached the distance 
of about seventy-five yards from it, when I stopped to observe its atti- 
tudes. The bird did not notice me ; he stood on a lump of flesh, tearing 
it to pieces, in the manner of a Vulture, until he had nearly swallowed 
the whole. Being now less occupied, he spied me, erected the feathers of 
his neck, and, starting up, flew away, carrying the remainder of his prey 
in his talons. I shot a second time, and probably touched him ; for he 
dropped his burden, and made off in a direct course across the St Sebas- 
tian River, with alternate sailings and flappings, somewhat in the manner 
of a Vulture, but more gracefully. He never uttered a cry, and I fol- 
lowed him wistfully with my eyes until he was quite out of sight. 

. The following day the bird returned, and was again among the Viil- 
tures, but at some distance from the carcass, the birds having been kept 
oiF by the dogs. I approached by the ditch, saw it very well, and watched 



CARACARA EAGLE. 351 

its movements, until it arose, when once more I shot, but without effect. 
It sailed off in large circles, gliding in a very elegant manner, and now 
and then diving downwards and rising again. 

Two days elapsed before it returned. Being apprised by o. friend of 
this desired event, instead of going after it myself, I dispatched my as- 
sistant, who returned with it in little more than half an hour. I imme- 
diately began my drawing of it. The weather was sultry, the thermo- 
meter being at 89°; and, to my surprise, the vivid tints of the plumage 
were fading much faster than I had ever seen them in like circumstances, 
insomuch that Dr Bell of Dublin, who saw it when fresh, and also when 
I was finishing the drawing twenty-four hours after, said he could scarcely 
believe it to be the same bird. How often have I thoiight of the changes 
which I have seen effected in the colours of the bill, legs, eyes, and even 
the plumage of birds, when looking on imitations which I was aware 
were taken from stuffed specimens, and which I well knew could not be 
accurate ! The skin, when the bird v/as quite recent, was of a bright 
yellow. The bird was extremely lousy. Its stomach contained the re- 
mains of a bullfrog, numerous hard-shelled worms, and a quantity of horse 
and deer-hair. The skin was saved with great difficulty, and its plumage 
had entirely lost its original lightness of colouring. The deep red of the 
fleshy parts of the head had assumed a purplish livid hue, and the spoil 
scarcely resembled the coat of the living Eagle. 

I made a double drawing of this individual, for the purpose of shew- 
ing all its feathers, which I hope will be found to be accurately repre- 
sented. 

Since the period when I obtained the specimen above mentioned, I 
have seen several others, in which no remarkable differences were ob- 
served between the sexes, or in the general colouring. My friend Dr 
Benjamin Strobel, of Charleston, South Carolina, who has resided on 
the west coast of Florida, procured several individuals for the Reverend 
John Bachman, and informed me that the species undoubtedly breeds 
in that part of the country, but I have never seen its nest. It has never 
been seen on any of the Keys along the eastern coast of that peninsula ; 
and I am not aware that it has been observed any where to the eastward 
of the Capes of Florida. 

The most remarkable difference with respect to habits, between these 
birds and the American Vultures, is the power which they possess of car- 
rying their prey in their talons. They often walk about, and in the 



352 CARACARA EAGLE. 

water, in search of food, and now and then will seize on a frog or a very 
young alligator with their claws, and drag it to the shore. Like the 
Vultures, they frequently spread their wings towards the sun, or in the 
breeze, and their mode of Avalking also resembles that of the Turkey 
Buzzard. 

PoLYBOHUs VULGARIS, Vieillot, Galerie des Ois, pi. vii. 

Fai-co brasiliensis, Gmel. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 2C2 — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 21. 

Cabacara, Rati Synops. p. 17 Cabacara ordinaire, Cuv. Regne Animal, vol. i. 

p. 328. 
Brazilian Kite, Lath. Synops. vol. i. p. C3. 

Adult Male. Plate CLXI. Two figures. 

Bill rather long, very deep, much compressed, cerate for one-half of its 
length ; upper mandible with the dorsal outline nearly straight, but de- 
clinate for half its length, curved in the remaining part, the ridge nar- 
row, the sides flat and sloping, the sharp edges slightly undulated, the 
tip declinate, trigonal ; lower mandible with the sides nearly erect, the 
back rounded, the tip narrow, and obliquely rounded. Nostrils oblong, 
oblique, in the fore and upper parts of the cere. Head of moderate size, 
flattened ; neck rather short, body rather slender. Feet rather long and 
slender; tarsus rounded, covered all round with hexagonal scales, the 
anterior much larger, and the five lower broad and transverse ; toes of 
moderate size, scutellate above, the inner scaly at the base ; the outer is 
connected with the middle-toe, at the base by a web, as is the inner, al- 
though its web is smaller; lateral toes equal, middle one considerably! 
longer, hind-toe shortest, and not proportionally stronger; claws long, 
arched, roundish, tapering to a point. 

Plumage compact, slightly glossed. Upper eye-lid with short strong] 
bristles ; space before the eye, cheeks, throat, and cere of both mandibles,J 
bare, having merely a few scattered bristly feathers. Feathers of the! 
head, neck, and breast narrow ; of the back broad and rounded ; outerJ 
tibial feathers elongated, but shorter than in most Hawks. Wings long,i 
reaching to within two inches of the tip of the tail ; primaries tapering,! 
secondaries broad and rounded, with an acumen ; the fourth quill long- 
est, third scarcely shorter, first and seventh about equal ; almost all thei 
primaries are more or less sinuate on their inner webs, and the second,] 
third, fourth, fifth, and sixth on their outer. Tail long, rounded, of twelve! 
broadish, rounded feathers. There is a large bare space on the breast^ 
as in the Turkey Buzzard. 



CARACARA EAGLE. 353 

Bill pale blue, yellow on the edges, cere carmine. Iris dark-brown. 
Feet yellow ; claws black. Upper part of the head umber-brown, streaked 
with brownish-black. Feathers of hind-neck and fore part of the back 
light brownish-yellow, mottled with dark brown towards the end. Back 
and wings dark brown, edged with umber. Primaries and some of the 
secondaries barred with broad bands of white, excepting towards the end. 
Tail coverts dull-white, slightly barred with dusky. Tail greyish-white, 
with sixteen narrow bars, and a broad terminal band of blackish-brown, 
the tips lighter. Fore part and sides of the neck light brownish-yellow ; 
the fore part of the breast marked like that of the back, the yellow colour 
extending over the lateral part of the neck ; the hind part, abdomen, sides, 
and tibia dark brown ; the lower tail-coverts yellowish- white. Interior of 
mouth and skin of the whole body bright yellow. 

Length 23^ inches, extent of wings 4 feet ; bill along the ridge 2i, 
the cere being 1, along the edge 2| ; tarsus 3^, middle-toe and claw Sf. 



( 354 ) 
THE ZENAIDA DOVE. 

COLUMBA ZENAIDA, BoNAP. 
PIATE CLXII. Male and Female. 

The impressions made on the mind in youth, are frequently stronger 
than those at a more advanced period of life, and are generally retained. 
My Father often told me, that when yet a child, my first attempt at 
drawing was from a preserved specimen of a dove, and many times re- 
peated to me that birds of this kind are usually remarkable for the gentle- 
ness of their disposition, and that the manner in which they prove their 
mutual affection, and feed their offspring, was undoubtedly intended in 
part to teach other beings a lesson of connubial and parental attachment. 
Be this as it may, hypothesis or not, I have always been especially fond 
of doves. The timidity and anxiety which they all manifest, on being dis- 
turbed during incubation, and the continuance of their mutual attachment 
for years, are distinguishing traits in their character. Who can approach 
a sitting dove, hear its notes of remonstrance, or feel the feeble strokes of 
its wings, without being sensible that he is committing a wrong act ? 

The cooing of the Zenaida Dove is so peculiar, that one who hears it 
for the first time naturally stops to ask, " What bird is that ?" A man 
who was once a pirate assured me that several times, while at certain wells 
dug in the burning shelly sands of a well known Key, which must here 
be nameless, the soft and melancholy cry of the doves awoke in his breast 
feelings which had long slumbered, melted his heart to repentance, and 
caused him to linger at the spot in a state of mind which he only who 
compares the wretchedness of guilt within him with the happiness of 
former innocence, can truly feel. He said he never left the place with- 
out increased fears of futurity, associated as he was, although I believe 
by force, with a band of the most desperate villains that ever annoyed 
the navigation of the Florida coasts. So deeply moved was he by the 
notes of any bird, and especially by those of a dove, the only soothing 
sounds he ever heard during his life of horrors, that through these plain- 
tive notes, and them alone, he was induced to escape from his vessel, 
abandon his turbulent companions, and return to a family deploring his 
absence. After paying a parting visit to those wells, and listening once 



ZENAIDA DOVE. 355 

more to the cooings of the Zenaida Dove, he poured out his soul in sup- 
plications for mercy, and once more became what one has said to be " the 
noblest work of God,"" an honest man. His escape was effected amidst 
difficulties and dangers, but no danger seemed to him to be compared 
with the danger of one living in the violation of human and divine laws, 
and now he lives in peace in the midst of his friends. 

The Zenaida Dove is a transient visitor of the Keys of East Florida. 
Some of the fishermen think that it may be met with there at aU seasons, 
but my observations induce me to assert the contrary. It appears in 
the islands near Indian Key about the 15th of April, continues to in- 
crease in numbers until the month of October, and then returns to the 
West India Islands, whence it originally came. They begin to lay their 
eggs about the first of May. The males reach the Keys on which they 
breed l;)efore the females, and are heard cooing as they ramble about in 
search of mates, more than a week before the latter make their appearance. 
In autumn, however, when they take their departure, males, females, and 
young set out in small parties together. 

The flight of this bird resembles that of the little Ground Dove more 
than any other. It very seldom flies higher than the tops of the man- 
groves, or to any considerable distance at a time, after it has made choice 
of an island to breed on. Indeed, this species may be called a Ground 
Dove too ; for, although it alights on trees with ease, and walks weU on 
branches, it spends the greater portion of its time on the ground, walking 
and running in search of food with lightness and celerity, carrying its 
tail higher than even the Ground Dove, and invariably roosting there. 
The motions of its wings, although firm, produce none of the whistling 
sound, so distinctly heard in the flight of the Carolina Dove ; nor does 
the male sail over the female while she is sitting on her eggs, as is the 
habit of that species. When crossing the sea, or going from one Key to 
another, they fly near the surface of the water ; and, when unexpectedly 
startled from the ground, they remove to a short distance, and alight 
amongst the thickest grasses or in the heart of the low bushes. So gentle 
are they in general, that I have approached some so near that I could 
have touched them with my gun, while they stood intently gazing on me, 
as if I were an object not at all to be dreaded. 

Those Keys which have their interior covered with grass and low 
shrubs, and are girt by a hedge of mangroves, or other trees of inferior 
height, are selected by them for breeding ; and as there are but few of 

2^ 



356 ZENAIDA DOVE. 

this description, their places of resort are well known, and are called 
Pigeon or " Dove KeysT It would be useless to search for them else- 
where. They are by no means so abundant as the White-headed Pigeons, 
which place their nest oii any kind of tree, even on those whose roots are 
constantly submersed. Groups of such trees occur of considerable ex- 
tent, and are called " Wet Keys."" 

The Zenaida Dove always places her nest on the ground, sometimes 
artlessly at the foot of a low bush, and so exposed that it is easily dis- 
covered by any one searching for it. Sometimes, however, it uses great 
discrimination, placing it between two or more tufts of grass, the tops of 
which it manages to bend over, so as completely to conceal it. The sand 
is slightly scooped out, and the nest is composed of slender dried blades 
of grass, matted in a circular form, and imbedded amid dry leaves and 
twigs. The fabric is more compact than the nest of any other pigeon 
with which I am acquainted, it being sufficiently solid to enable a person 
to carry the eggs or young in it with security. The eggs are two, pure 
white, and translucent. When sitting on them, or when her young are 
still small, this bird rarely removes from them, unless an attempt be made 
to catch her, which she however evades with great dexterity. On several 
occasions of this kind, I have thought that the next moment would ren- 
der me the possessor of one of these doves alive. Her beautiful eye was 
steadily bent on mine, in which she must have discovered my intention, 
her body was gently made to retire sidewise to the farther edge of her 
nest, as my hand drew nearer to her, and just as I thought I had hold 
of her, off she glided with the quickness of thought, taking to wing at 
once. She would then alight within a few yards of me, and watch my 
motions with so much sorrow, that her wings drooped, and her whole 
frame trembled as if suffering from intense cold. Who could stand such 
a scene of despair .'' I left the mother to her eggs or offspring. 

On one occasion, however, I found two young birds of this species 
about half grown, which I carried off, and afterwards took to Charleston, 
in South Carolina, and presented to my worthy friend the Rev. John 
Bachman. When I robbed this nest, no parent bird was near. The 
little ones uttered the usual lisping notes of the tribe at this age, and as 
I put their bills in my mouth, I discovered that they might be easily 
raised. They were afterwards fed from the mouth with Indian corn 
meal, which they received with avidity, until placed under the care of a 
pair of common tame pigeons, which at once fostered them. 



ZENAIDA DOVE. 357 

The cooing of this species so much resembles that of the Carolina 
Dove, that, were it not rather soft, and heard in a part of the world where 
the latter is never seen, you might easily take it for the notes of that 
bird. Morning is the time chosen by the Zenaida Dove to repeat her 
tender tales of love, which she does while perched on the low large branch 
of some tree, but never from the ground. Heard in the wildest solitudes 
of the Keys, these notes never fail to remind one that he is in the presence 
and under the protection of the Almighty Creator. 

During mid-day, when the heat is almost insuffera;ble in the central 
parts of the Keys resorted to by these birds, they are concealed and mute. 
The silence of such a place at noon is extremely awful. Not a breath of 
air is felt, nor an insect seen, and the scorching rays of the sun force 
every animated being to seek for shelter and repose. 

From what I have said of the habits of the Zenaida Dove, you may 
easily conceive how difficult a task it is to procure one. I have had full 
experience of the difficulty, and entire satisfaction in surmounting it, for 
in less than an hour, with the assistance of Captain Day, I shot nineteen 
individuals, the internal and external examination of which enabled me to 
understand something of their structure. 

The flesh is excellent, and they are generally very fat. They feed on 
grass seeds, the leaves of aromatic plants, and various kinds of berries, 
not excepting those of a tree which is extremely poisonous, — so much so, 
that if the juice of it touch the skin of a man, it destroys it like aqua- 
fortis. Yet these berries do not injure the health of the birds, although 
they render their flesh bitter and unpalatable for a time. For this reason, 
the fishermen and wreckers are in the habit of examining the crops of the 
doves previous to cooking them. This, however, only takes place about 
the time of their departure from the Keys, in the beginning of October. 
They add particles of shell or gravel to their food. 

From my own observations, and the report of others, I am inclined 
to believe that they raise only two broods each season. The young, 
when yet unfledged, are of a deep leaden or purplish-grey colour, the bill 
and legs black, nor is it until the return of spring that they attain their 
full plumage. The male is larger than the female, and richer in the 
colouring of its plumage. Their feathers fall off" at the slightest touch, 
and like all other pigeons, when about to die, they quiver their wings 
Avith great force. 

The branch on wliich I have represented these birds, belonged to a 



338 ZENAIDA DOVE. 

low shrub abundant in the Keys where they are found. The flower has 
a musty scent, and is of short duration. 

This species resorts to certain wells, which are said to have been dug 
by pirates, at a remote period. There the Zenaida Doves and other 
birds are sure to be seen morning and evening. The loose sand thrown 
up about these wells suits them well to dust in, and clean their apparel. 

CoLUMBA Zenahja, Ch. Bonaparte, Synods, of Birds of the United States, p. 119, and 
Amer. Ornith. voL ii. pi. 15. fig. 2 Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. (j25. 

Adult Male. Plate CLXII. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, straight, rather slender, compressed ; upper mandible with 
a tumid fleshy covering at the base, a convex, declinate, obtuse tip, of 
which the margins are acute and overlapping ; lower mandible, with the 
angle near the extremity, which is compressed and rounded. Nostrils 
medial, obhque, linear. Head small and compressed ; the general form 
rather full. Legs short and of moderate strength ; tarsus short, covered 
anteriorly with four broad scutella at the upper part, and a double series 
below, rounded and hexagonally reticulated behind ; toes scutellate above, 
free, margined ; two lateral toes nearly equal, middle one not much longer, 
hind toe much smaller. 

Plumage rather compact. Wings of moderate length, second and 
third quills longest, first and fourth equal. Tail rather short, much 
rounded. 

Bill deep carmine-purple. Iris brown ; bare space surrounding the 
eye light blue. Feet deep carmine-purple. The general colour of the 
plumage above is light yellowish-brown tinged with grey. Quills brown- 
ish-black, narrowly margined with white, seven of the secondaries broadly 
tipped with the same ; the inner ones of the same colour as the back, but 
having a broad black spot on the inner web towards the end, which is al- 
so the case with the tertiaries ; several of the coverts also have a black 
spot on the outer web. The four lateral tail-feathers on each side are 
greyish-blue, with a broad black bar towards the end, the extremity grey- 
ish-white, the four middle feathers of the colour of the back, with a faint 
dusky bar. The sides of the head and under parts are of a light brown- 
ish-red, paler on the throat, and passing into greyish-blue on the sides ; 
under wing-coverts pale bluish-^rey. There is a small spot of deep blue 
immediately behind the eye, and a larger one a little below on the side 



ZEN AID A DOVE. 359 

of the neck ; and a band of splendent feathers extends over the back and 
sides of the neck, having bright purple and greenish reflections. 

Length 11 ^ inches ; extent of wings 18^ ; bill along the back^'g, along 
the edges ^^ ; tarsus i^. 

Adult Female. Plate CLXII. Fig. 2. 

The female can scarcely be distinguished from the male, the colour- 
ing being but slightly fainter. 
Length 10^ inches. 



Purple-flowered Anona. 

PoRCELiA PAaviFLOEA, Pursh, Fl. Amcr. Sept. voL iL p. 383. 

This plant is very abundant on many of the outer Keys of the Flo- 
ridas. It grows among other shrubs, seldom exceeding seven or eight 
feet in height, and more frequently not more than four or five. The leaves 
are obovate, rounded at the base, thick, glossy above, downy beneath. 
The outer petals are larger, and not unlike the divided shell of a hickory 
or pig nut ; the inner ovate, deep purple, with a white band at the base. 
I did not see the fruit, which I was told is not unpalatable when ripe, it 
being then about the size of a common walnut, and of a black colour. 



( 360 ) 

THE YELLOW RED-POLL WARBLER. 

Sylvia petechia. Lath. 

PLATE CLXriI. Adult and Young. 

The Yellow Red-Poll Warbler, of which an old bird in summer and 
a young one fully fledged are represented in the plate, being abundant 
in East Florida, and especially in the neighbourhood of St Augustine, 
the most prosperous to^vn on the eastern coast of that peninsula, I hope 
you will not think it irrelevant to say a few words respecting that place, 
to whose inhabitants I am indebted for many acts of kindness. 

To reach St Augustine, the navigator has first to pass over a difficult 
sand-bar, which frequently changes its position ; he then, however, finds a 
deep channel leading to a safe and commodious harbour. The appear- 
ance of the town is rather romantic, especially when the Spanish Fort, 
which is quite a monument of ancient architecture, opens to the view. The 
place itself is quite Spanish, the streets narrow, the church not very re- 
markable, and the market-place the resort of numerous idlers, whether 
resident or from other parts. It is supplied with, I believe, the best fish 
in America, the " sheep-head"" and " mullet" being the finest I have ever 
seen ; and its immediate neighbourhood produces as good oranges as can 
any where be found. The country around is certainly poor, and although 
in an almost tropical climate, is by no means productive. When the 
United States purchased the peninsula from the Spanish Government, the 
representations given of it by Mr Bartram and other poetical writers, 
were soon found greatly to exceed the reality. For this reason, many of 
the individuals who flocked to it, returned home or made their way to- 
wards other regions with a heavy heart ; yet the climate during the win- 
ter months is the most dehghtful that could be imagined. 

In the plate you will find a branch of the wild orange, with its flowers. 
I have already spoken of the tree at p. 260, to which I refer you. What- 
ever its original country may be supposed to be, the plant is to all appear- 
ance indigenous in many parts of Florida, not merely in the neighbour- 
hood of plantations, but in the wildest portions of that wild country. 



YELLOW RED-POLL WARBLER. gei 



Sylvia petechia, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 355. 

Sylvia palmarum, Ch. Bonaparte, Sjnops. of Birds of the United States, p. 78. 

Adult Male in summer. Plate CXLIII. Fig. 1. 
In its full summer plumage this bird presents so different an appear- 
ance, that it has in that state been considered as a distinct species, and 
yet the difference is not greater than is observed in many other birds. 
When the plumage is new, with the tips of the feathers unworn, the lower 
parts shew less of the red streaks so conspicuous in the opposite case ; 
the yellow is brighter, and the crown of the head is of a richer brownish- 
red colour. In other respects, however, the description already given at 
p. 261, corresponds with that which mi^ht be presented here. 

Young Bird. Plate CLXIII. Fio- 2 

On the head of the young the red is not perceptible, that part being 
of nearly the same colour as the back. 



( ^62 ) 

THE TAWNY THRUSH. 

Turd us Wilsonii, Bo nap. 

PLATE CLXIV. Male. 

The song of this northern species greatly resembles that of its re- 
lative, the ever-pleasing Wood-Thrush. While at Charleston, in March 
1834, I heard a bird singing in the garden-ground of my learned and 
highly respected fellow-citizen Mr Poinsett, in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood of the city. I mentioned the circumstance to my friend John 
Bachman, who expressed his surprise on account of the early period of 
the season. The next day, as we were both going out to the woods, we 
heard the same music again, when a short discussion ensued, and as neither 
of us could be positive whether it came from a Wood-Thrush or not, we 
shot the bird, which we instantly discovered to be of the species which 
has been honoured with the name of its illustrious discoverer. This was 
the more extraordinary, as that Thrush is very rarely seen in Carolina 
either in winter or in summer. It was indeed the first time my friend 
Bachman had ever heard its voice. 

Wilson's Thrush is never seen or heard in Louisiana during spring, 
and a few only pass through the lower portions of that State in autumn. 
I suppose its migration from the farther south is along the declivities of 
the range of the Alleghany Mountains, at least for some distance, and it 
probably takes place under night. It reaches the mountainous districts 
of Pennsylvania early in the month of May, but few if any breed there. 
In the upper parts of the State of New York, they become more plenti- 
ful, and there some undoubtedly spend the summer ; but from Massa- 
chusetts eastward to Labrador, they become more and more abundant. 
On the 20th of July, while in the latter country, I saw the young of this 
species following their mother. They were there almost full grown, and 
could fly a hundred yards or so at a time. By the 12th of August none 
were seen, although during my stay they were as common as any other 
birds. In the latter part of the same month, I met with those which had 
bred at Newfoundland, on their return to the south, and followed them 
into Massachusetts. 

At Labrador, as well as in the latter State, the Tawny Thrush retains 



TAWNY THRUSH. 363 

its retired habits, and seeks refuge in the concealment of dark shady 
woods, near brooks or moist grounds. There, in a low bush, or on the 
ground beneath it, this bird builds its nest, which is large, composed ex- 
ternally of dry leaves, mosses, and the stalks of grasses, and lined with 
finer grasses, and delicate fibrous portions of difi'erent kinds of mosses, 
without any mud or clay. The eggs, which are deposited early in June, 
are from four to six, and resemble those of the Cat Bird in colour and 
shape, but are of smaller size. They raise only one brood in the season. 
The parents, ever extremely shy, shew no desire to assist their young, or 
defend their nest from intruders, but remain during your visit at some 
distance, uttering a mournful and angry quake, somewhat resembling that 
of the Cat Bird on such occasions. The Cow Bunting not unfrequently 
deposits its egg in the nest of this Thrush, where it is hatched, and the 
young brought up with all imaginable care. In the neighbourhood of 
the city of Boston, some of these birds, according to my learned friend 
NuTTALL, breed sometimes in the gardens, and he has known of a nest 
placed in a gooseberry bush. A full-fledged young one that was caught 
and placed in a cage, retained the unsocial and silent timidity peculiar 
to the species. The males are obstinate in their quarrels, and fight with 
great fierceness in maintaining their right to the ground which they have 
appropriated to themselves. 

The song of this species, although resembling that of the Wood 
Thrush in a great degree, is less powerful, and is composed of continued 
trills repeated with different variations, enunciated with great delicacy and 
mellowness, so as to be extremely pleasing to one listening to them in the 
dark solitudes where the sylvan songster resides. It now and then tunes 
its throat in the calm of evening, and is heard sometimes until after the 
day has closed. 

It searches for food even at those hours, and feeds principally on co- 
leopterous insects. In Labrador it also picks the tender blossoms of se- 
veral dwarf plants, and feeds on berries. Its time is, for the most part, 
spent on the ground, where it moves with singular agility by leaps, stop- 
ping instantaneously and standing erect for a few moments, as if appre- 
hending danger, but immediately renewing its course. 

We have in the Middle Districts another species of Thrush nearly 
allied to this, but differing considerably in the size and shape of its bill, 
and especially in its habits. Of this bird I shall give you an account on 
another occasion. 



364 TAWNY THRUSH. 

The specimen represented in the plate was procured and drawn in the 
State of Maine, and was in full plumage. The female can scarcely be 
distinguished from the male. 



TuRDUS WiLsoNii, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 76. 
Merula Wilsonii, Swains, and Richards, Fauna Boreali. Americ. vol. ii. p. 182. 
Tawny Thrush, Turdus mtjstelinus, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. v. p. 98. pi. 43. 
fig. 3 Nuttall, Manual, vol. i. p. 349. 

Adult Male. Plate CLXVI. 

Bill rather short, nearly straight, compressed towards the end ; upper 
mandible with the dorsal outline a little convex, the tip slightly declinate, 
the margins acute, inflected towards the end, slightly notched close upon 
the tip ; lower mandible nearly straight in its dorsal outline, the tip rather 
obtuse. Head of ordinary size, neck and body rather slender. Feet ra- 
ther long ; tarsus longish, compressed, slender, anteriorly covered with a 
few elongated scutella, posteriorly sharp-edged, longer than the middle 
toe ; toes scutellate above, lateral ones almost equal, the outer connected 
as far as the second joint. 

Plumage soft, rather loose, slightly glossed. A few longish bristles 
at the base of the upper mandible. Wings of ordinary length, the third 
quill longest, the second and fourth little shorter, the first very short. 
Tail rather short, even, of twelve broad feathers. 

Bill brownish-black above, flesh-coloured at the base of the lower man- 
dible. Iris dark-brown. Feet pale flesh-colour. The general colour of 
the upper parts is uniform reddish-brown, slightly tinged with green, 
the upper tail-coverts and edge of the wing inclined to rufous. Cheeks 
and space before the eye pale greyish-brown, obscurely streaked with 
hair-brown ; a faint line of the same colour over the eye. Wings and 
tail dark brown, margined with pale. The lower parts are white, the 
sides of the neck tinged with pale brownish-yellow, and with the lateral 
parts of the breast and the sides faintly marked with small triangular dusky 
spots. 

Length 7i% inches, extent of wings 12 ; bill along the ridge -^^^ along 
the edge -^-^ ; tarsus 1/^ ; middle-toe \^ ; weight \\ oz. 

The Female resembles the Male in external aspect. 



TAWNY THRUSH. 365 



Habevaria laceka, Brown. Orchis lacera, Mich. Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 156. 

Pursh, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 586 Gynandria Monandria, Linn. Or- 

CHiDE^E, Juss Fig. 1. of the plate. 

This beautiful Habenaria is characterized by having the lip of the 
corolla elongated and tripartite, \vith narrow segments, the spur filiform, 
and of the length of the ovarium, and the flowers alternate. The stem is 
about a foot in height, leafy ; the lower leaves ovate, the vipper gradually 
narrower ; the large loose spike is composed of numerous pale pink 
flowers. It grows in moist meadows. 

CoHNUs CANADENSIS, Wtlld. Sp. PI. vol. i. p. 661. Pursli, Flor. Amer. Sept, vol. i. 
p. 107 — Tetrandria Monogynia, Linn Fig. 2. of the plate. 

The plate represents the aggregated bright red globular berries, and 
ovate-acute leaves of this pretty little plant, which is abundant in shady 
woods and in mountainous situations in the Middle and Northern States, 
as well as in the British provinces. 



( 366 ) 

BACHMAN'S FINCH. 

Fringilla Bachmanii. 

PLATE CLXV. Male. 

In honouring so humble an object as this Finch with the name of 
Bachman, my aim is to testify the high regard in which I hold that 
learned and most estimable individual, to whose friendship I owe more 
than I can express on this occasion. 

" In the month of April ISSS," says my worthy friend, the gentle- 
man just named, " I discovered near Parker's Ferry, on the Edisto 
River, in this State, a Fringilla which I had not seen before, and which, 
on investigation, I found had never been described. On seai'ching for the 
same bird in the neighbourhood of Charleston, I discovered it breeding 
in small numbers on the Pine Barrens, about six miles north of this city, 
where I obtained many specimens of it. 

" This bird appears to be rarer in Carolina than it really is. It is 
in fact oftener heard than seen. When I first heard its notes, they so 
nearly resembled those of the Towee Bunting, that I took it to be that 
bird : a somewhat greater softness, and a slight variation in the notes, 
alone induced me to suspect that it was another, and caused me to go in 
pursuit of it. Since then I have heard as many as tive or six in the 
course of a morning's ride, but found it almost impossible to get even a 
sight of the bird. This was owing, not to its being particularly wild, 
but to the habits it possesses of darting from the tall pine-trees, where it 
usually sits to warble out its melodious notes, and concealing itself in the 
tall brome-grass which is almost invariably found in those places which it 
frequents. As soon as alighted, it keeps running off in the grass, hke a 
mouse, and it is extremely difficult to put them up, or see them after- 
wards. 

" It breeds in Carolina, to all appearance on the ground, where it is 
usually found when not singing. I never saw its nest ; but in the month 
of June last (1833), I observed two pair of these birds, each having four 
young ones, that were pretty well fledged, and following their parents 
along the low scrubb oaks of the pine lands. 

" This is decidedly the finest songster of the Sparrow Family with 



BACHAIAN'S FINCH. 367 

which I am acquainted. Its notes are very loud, considering the size of 
the bird, and can be heard ... considerable distance in the pine woods, 
where it is found, and where it is the only songster at that season. 

" In the beginning of November, this bird usually disappears, and I 
think it probably migrates farther south. Still it is likely that it does not 
go beyond the limits of the United States, and that som-^ few remain in 
Carolina during the whole winter, as, on the 6th of February, the coldest 
time of the year, I found one of these birds in some long grass, a few 
miles from Charleston." 

Since then, kind reader, I have had the pleasure, in the company of 
its amiable discoverer, to hear the melodious notes of this southern spe- 
cies. Our endeavours, however, to find its nest have been unsuccessful. 

On my return from the Floridas to New York, in June 1832, I tra- 
velled through both the Carolinas, and observed many of these Finches on 
the sides of the roads cut through the pine woods of South Carolina. At 
this time, they filled the air with their melodies. I traced them as far as 
the boundary between that State and North Carolina, in which none were 
seen or heard. They were particularly abundant near the Great Santee 
River. 

The food of this species consists of the seeds of grasses, coleopterous 
insects, and a variety of the small berries so abundant in that part of the 
country. Its flight is swift and direct, now and then protracted, so that 
the bird is out of sight before it alights. 

I observed no diff'erence in the size or colour of the sexes, and have 
represented a Male in full summer dress, which was presented to me, while 
yet quite fresh, by my friend Bachman. 

The beautiful plant on which it is placed, was drawn by my friend's 
sister, who has kindly rendered me similar services, which will be pointed 
out on the proper occasions ; and here let me again express my gratitude 
toward that amiable lady, and her esteemed brother. 

Fringilla Bach man II. 

Adult Male. Plate LXV. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, conical, acute ; upper mandible almost straight in its dorsal 
outline, rounded on the sides ; lower mandible slightly convex beneath, 
the sides rounded ; edges of both sharp and inflected ; gap-line deflected 
at the base. Nostrils basal, roundish, partially concealed by the feathers. 



368 BACHMAN'S FINCH. 

Head rather large, neck short, body rather full. Feet of moderate length, 
slender ; tarsus covered anteriorly with a few longish scuteUa ; toes free, 
scutellate above, the lateral ones nearly equal, hind-toe proportionally 
large ; claws slender, compressed, acute, slightly arched, that of the 
hind-toe longer. 

Plumage soft, blended, rather compact on the back, slightly glossed. 
Wings shortish, curved, third and fourth quills longest, fifth and second 
nearly equal ; the secondaries long and rounded. Tail long, graduated, 
and deeply emarginate, of twelve straight, narrow feathers, tapering to a 
rounded point. 

Bill dark brown above, light blue beneath. Iris hazel. Feet very 
light flesh-coloured. The general colour of the upper parts is reddish- 
brown, the central parts of the feathers on the back black, their margins 
bluish-grey. Secondary coverts duU yellowish-brown on the outer edge ; 
quills dark brown, the first seven or eight slightly edged with pale ochre, 
the rest edged with light brown ; flexure of the wing bright yellow ; small 
coverts varied with brown and yellowish-grey. Tail-feathers brown, 
lighter on the outer edges. A streak from the upper mandible over the 
eye, as well as the margin of the eye, ochre-yellow. Throat pale yellow- 
ish-grey, with a short streak of blackish on each side, from the base of the 
mandible ; fore part of the breast and sides tinged with brown ; the rest 
of the lower parts yellowish-grey. 

Length 6 inches, extent of wings 71 ; bill along the ridge J, along the 
sides f ; tarsus |. 

The Female is slightly smaller, but does not differ in colouring. 

This species belongs to the same group as the Yellow-winged Spar- 
row, the Savannah Finch, the Lincoln Finch, and the Henslow Finch. 
At the same time, the form of the bill and tail indicates an affinity to the 
Sharp-tailed Finch, the Sea^side Finch, and MacGillivray's Finch, which 
are maritime birds, while the former do not betake themselves to the 
salt marshes. Both groups, however, have the tail-feathers more or less 
sharp. 



BACHMAN'S FINCH. 369 



PiNCKNEYA PUBESCENS, Mich. Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 105. Pursk, Fl. Amer. Sept. 

vol. i. p. 158. — PENTANDB.IA MoKOGYNIA, Linn. 

This shrubby tree grows on the banks of rivers, and near swamps in 
Georgia; but the twig represented in the Plate was from a tree in the 
beautiful botanic garden of M. Noisette, a few miles from Charleston, 
in South Carolina. The leaves are oval, acute at both ends, somewhat 
downy beneath ; the flowers are yellow, tinged with red ; one of the divi- 
sions of the calyx enlarges to a whitish leaf, tinged with red, which ren- 
ders the plant highly ornamental. 



vol. II. 



I 



( ;370 ) 



THE TURTLERS. 

The Tortugas are a group of islands lying about eighty miles from 
Key West, and the last of those that seem to defend the peninsula of 
the Floridas. They consist of five or six extremely low uninhabitable 
banks formed of shelly sand, and are resorted to principally by that 
class of men called Wreckers and Turtlers. Between these islands are 
deep channels, which, although extremely intricate, are well known to those 
adventurers, as well as to the commanders of the revenue cutters, whose 
duties call them to that dangerous coast. The great coral reef or wall 
lies about eight miles from these inhospitable isles, in the direction of the 
Gulf, and on it many an ignorant or careless navigator has suffered ship- 
wreck. The whole ground around them is densely covered with corals, 
sea-fans, and other productions of the deep, amid which crawl innumerable 
testaceous animals, while shoals of curious and beautiful fishes fill the lim- 
ped waters above them. Turtles of different species resort to these banks, 
to deposit their eggs in the burning sand, and clouds of sea-fowl ar- 
rive every spring for the same purpose. These are followed by persons 
called " Eggers," who, when their cargoes are completed, sail to distant 
markets, to exchange their ill-gotten ware for a portion of that gold, on 
the acquisition of which all men seem bent. 

The " Marion" having occasion to visit the Tortugas, I gladly em- 
braced the opportunity of seeing those celebrated islets. A few hours 
before sunset the joyful cry of " land" announced our approach to them, 
but as the breeze was fresh, and the pilot was well acquainted with all 
the windings of the channels, we held on, and dropped anchor before 
twilight. If you have never seen the sun setting in those latitudes, I 
would recommend to you to make a voyage for the purpose, for I much 
doubt, if, in any other portion of the world, the departure of the orb 
of day is accompanied with such gorgeous appearances. Look at the 
great red disk, increased to triple its ordinary dimensions ! Now it has 
partially sunk beneath the distant line of waters, and with its still re- 
maining half irradiates the whole heavens with a flood of golden light, 
purpling the far off clouds that hover over the western horizon. A blaze 
of refulgent glory streams through the portals of the west, and the masses 



THE TURTLERS. 371 

of vapour assume the semblance of mountains of molten gold. But the 
sun has now disappeared, and from the east slowly advances the grey cur- 
tain which night draws over the world. 

The Night-hawk is flapping its noiseless wings in the gentle sea-breeze; 
the Terns, safely landed, have settled on their nests ; the Frigate Pelicans 
are seen wending their way to distant mangroves ; and the Brown Gan- 
net, in search of a resting-place, has perched on the yard of the vessel. 
Slowly advancing landward, their heads alone above the water, are ob- 
served the heavily-laden Turtles, anxious to deposit their eggs in the 
well-known sands. On the surface of the gently rippling stream, I dimly 
see their broad forms, as they toil along, while at intervals may be heard 
their hurried breathings, indicative of suspicion and fear. The moon 
with her silvery light now illumines the scene, and the Turtle having 
landed, slowly and laboriously drags her heavy body over the sand, 
her " flappers'" being better adapted for motion in the water than on shore. 
Up the slope, however, she works her way, and see how industriously she 
removes the sand beneath her, casting it out on either side. Layer after 
layer she deposits her eggs, arranging them in the most careful manner, 
and, with her hind-paddles, brings the sand over them. The business is 
accomplished, the spot is covered over, and, with a joyful heart, the Turtle 
swiftly retires toward the shore, and launches into the deep. 

But the Tortugas are not the only breeding places of the Turtles ; 
these animals, on the contrary, frequent many other keys, as well as va- 
rious parts of the coast of the mainland. There are four different species, 
which are known by the names of the Green Turtle, the Hawk-billed Turtle, 
the Logger-head Turtle, and the Trunk Turtle. The first is considered the 
best as an article of food, in which capacity it is well known to most epi- 
cures. It approaches the shores, and enters the bays, inlets and rivers, 
early in the month of April, after having spent the winter in the deep 
waters. It deposits its eggs in convenient places, at two different times 
in May, and once again in June. The first deposit is the largest, and 
the last the least, the total quantity being at an average about two hun- 
dred and forty. The Hawk-billed Turtle, whose shell is so valuable as 
an article of commerce, being used for various purposes in the arts, is the 
next with respect to the quality of its flesh. It resorts to the outer keys 
only, where it deposits its eggs in two sets, first in July, and again in 
August, although it " crawls'" the beaches of these keys much earlier in 
the season, as if to look for a safe place. The average number of its eggs 

Aa2 



372 THE TURTLRRS. 

is about three hundred. The Loggerhead visits the Tortugas in April, 
and lays from that period until late in June three sets of eggs, each set 
averaging a hundred and seventy. The Trunk Turtle, which is some- 
times of an enormous size, and which has a pouch like a pelican, reaches 
the shores latest. The shell and flesh are so soft that one may push 
his finger into them, almost as into a lump of butter. This species is 
therefore considered as the least valuable, and indeed is seldom eaten, 
unless by the Indians, who, ever alert when the turtle season commences, 
first carry off the eggs, and afterwards catch the Turtles themselves. The 
average number of eggs which it lays in the season, in two sets, may be 
three hundred and fifty. 

The Loggerhead and the Trunk Turtles are the least cautious in 
choosing the places in which to deposit their eggs, whereas the two other 
species select the wildest and most secluded spots. The Green Turtle 
resorts either to the shores of the Main, between Cape Sable and Cape 
Florida, or enters Indian, Halifax, and other large rivers or inlets, from 
which it makes its retreat as speedily as possible, and betakes itself to the 
open sea. Great numbers, however, are killed by the Turtlers and In- 
dians, as well as by various species of carnivorous animals, as cougars, 
lynxes, bears and wolves. The Hawkbill, which is still more wary, and 
is always the most difficult to surprise, keeps to the sea islands. All the 
species employ nearly the same method in depositing their eggs in the 
sand, and as I have several times observed them in the act, I am enabled 
to present you with a circumstantial account of it. 

On first nearing the shores, and mostly on fine calm moonlight nights, 
the Turtle raises her head above the water, being still distant thirty or 
forty yards from the beach, looks around her, and attentively examines 
the objects on the shore. Should she observe nothing likely to disturb 
her intended operations, she emits a loud hissing sound, by which such of 
her many enemies as are unaccustomed to it, are startled, and so are apt 
to remove to another place, although unseen by her. Should she hear 
any noise, or perceive indications of danger, she instantly sinks and goes 
off to a considerable distance ; but should every thing be quiet, she ad- 
vances slowly towards the beach, crawls over it, her head raised to the 
full stretch of her neck, and when she has reached a place fitted for her 
purpose, she gazes all round in silence. Finding " all well," she pro- 
ceeds to form a hole in the sand, which she effects by removing it from 
under her body with her hind flappers, scooping it out with so much 



THE TURTLERS. 373 

dexterity that the sides seldom if ever fall in. The sand is raised alter- 
nately with each flapper, as with a large ladle, until it has accumulated 
behind her, when supporting herself with her head and fore part on the 
ground fronting her body, she with a spring from each flapper, sends the 
sand around her, scattering it to the distance of several feet. In this 
manner the hole is dug to the depth of eighteen inches or sometimes more 
than two feet. This labour I have seen performed in the short period of 
nine minutes. The eggs are then dropped one by one, and disposed in 
regular layers, to the number of a hundred and fifty, or sometimes nearly 
two hundred. The whole time spent in this part of the operation may be 
about twenty minutes. She now scrapes the loose sand back over the 
eggs, and so levels and smooths the surface, that few persons on seeing the 
spot could imagine any thing had been done to it. This accomplished to 
her mind, she retreats to the water with all possible dispatch, leaving the 
hatching of the eggs to the heat of the sand. When a turtle, a logger- 
head for example, is in the act of dropping her eggs, she will not move 
although one should go up to her, or even seat himself on her back, for it 
seems that at this moment she finds it necessary to proceed at all events, 
and is unable to intermit her labour. The moment it is finished, how- 
ever, off" she starts ; nor would it then be possible for one, unless he were 
as strong as a Hercules, to turn her over and secure her. 

To upset a turtle on the shore, one is obliged to fall on his knees, 
and, placing his shoulder behind her forearm, gradually raise her up by 
pushing with great force, and then with a jerk throw her over. Some- 
times it requires the united strength of several men to accomplish this ; 
and, if the turtle should be of very great size, as often happens on that 
coast, even hand-spikes are employed. Some turtlers are so daring as to 
swim up to them while lying asleep on the surface of the water, and turo 
them over in their own element, when, however, a boat must be at hand 
to enable them to secure their prize. Few turtles can bite beyond the 
reach of their fore legs, and few, when once turned over, can, without 
assistance, regain their natural position ; but, notwithstanding this, their 
flappers are generally secured by ropes so as to render their escape im- 
possible. 

Persons who search for turtles' eggs are provided with a light stift' 
cane or a gun-rod, with which they go along the shores, probing the sand 
near the tracks of the animals, which, however, cannot always be seen, on 
account of the winds and heavy rains, that often obliterate them. The 



374 THE TURTLERS. 

nests are discovered not only by men, but also by beasts of prey, and the 
eggs are collected, or destroyed on the spot in great numbers, as on cer- 
tain parts of the shores hundreds of turtles are known to deposit their 
eggs within the space of a mile. They form a new hole each time they 
lay, and the second is generally dug near the first, as if the animal were 
quite unconscious of what had befallen it. It will readily be understood 
that the numerous eggs seen in a turtle on cutting it up could not be all 
laid the same season. The whole number deposited by an individual in 
one summer may amount to four hundred, whereas if the animal is caught 
on or near her nest, as I have witnessed, the remaining eggs, all small, 
without shells, and as it were threaded like so many large beads, exceed 
three thousand. In an instance where I found that number, the turtle 
weighed nearly four hundred pounds. The young, soon after being 
hatched, and when yet scarcely larger than a dollar, scratch their way 
through their sandy covering, and immediately betake themselves to the 
water. 

The food of the Green Turtle consists chiefly of marine plants, more 
especially the Grasswrack (Zostera marina), which they cut near the 
roots to procure the most tender and succulent parts. Their feeding 
grounds, as I have elsewhere said, are easily discovered by floating masses 
of these plants on the flats, or along the shores to which they resort. 
The Hawk-billed species feeds on sea-weeds, crabs, various kinds of shell- 
fish, and fishes; the Loggerhead mostly on the fish of conch-shells of 
large size, which they are enabled, by means of their powerful beak, to 
crush to pieces with apparently as much ease as a man cracks a walnut. 
One which was brought on board the Marion, and placed near the fluke 
of one of her anchors, make a deep indentation in that hammered piece 
of iron that quite surprised me. The Trunk Turtle feeds on mollusca, 
fish, Crustacea, sea urchins, and various marine plants. 

All the species move through the water with surprising speed ; but 
the Green and Hawk-biEed in particular, remind you, by their celerity 
and the ease of their motions, of the progress of a bird in the air. It is 
therefore no easy matter to strike one with a spear, and yet this is often 
done by an accomplished turtler. 

While at Key West and other islands on the coast, where I made the 
observations here presented to you, I chanced to have need to purchase 
some turtles, to feed my friends on board the Lady of the Green Mantle 
— not my friends her gallant officers, or the brave tars who formed her 



THE TURTLERS. 375 

crew, for all of them had already been satiated with turtle soup, but my 
friends the Herons, of which I had a goodly number alive in coops, in- 
tending to carry them to John Bachman of Charleston, and other persons 
for whom I ever feel a sincere regard. So I went to a " crawl," accom- 
panied by Dr Benjamin Strobel, to inquire about prices, when, to my 
surprise, I found that the smaller the turtles, above ten pounds weight, 
the dearer they were, and that I could have purchased one of the logger- 
head kind that weighed more than seven hundred pounds, for little more 
money than another of only thirty pounds. While I gazed on the large 
one, I thought of the soups the contents of its shell would have furnished 
for a " Lord Mayor s dinner," of the numerous eggs which its swollen 
body contained, and of the curious carriage which might be made of its 
shell, — a car in which Venus herself might sail over the Carribbean sea, 
provided her tender doves lent their aid in drawing the divinity, and pro- 
vided no shark or hurricane came to upset it. The turtler assured me 
that although the " great monster" was in fact better meat than any other 
of a less size, there was no disposing of it, unless indeed it had been in 
his power to have sent it to some very distant market. I would wilUng- 
ly have purchased it, but I knew that if killed, its flesh could not keep 
much longer than a day, and on that account I bought eight or ten small 
ones, which " my friends" really relished exceedingly, and which served 
to support them for a long time. 

Turtles such as I have spoken of, are caught in various ways on the 
coasts of the Floridas, or in estuaries and rivers. Some turtlers are in 
the habit of setting great nets across the entrance of streams, so as to an- 
swer the purpose either at the flow or at the ebb of the waters. These 
nets are formed of very large meshes, into which the turtles partially 
enter, when, the more they attempt to extricate themselves, the more they 
get entangled. Others harpoon them in the usual manner ; but in my 
estimation no method is equal to that employed by Mr Egan, the Pilot 
of Indian Isle. 

That extraordinai'y turtler had an iron instrument, which he called a 
peg, and which at each end had a point not unlike what nail-makers call a 
brad, it being four-cornered but flattish, and of a shape somewhat re- 
sembling the beak of an Ivory -billed Woodpecker, together with a neck 
and shoulder. Between the two shoulders of this instrument a fine 
tough line, fifty or more fathoms in length, was fastened by one end 
being passed through a hole in the centre of the peg, and the hue itsself 



376 THE TURTLERS. 

was carefully coiled up and placed in a convenient part of the canoe. One 
extremity of this peg enters a sheath of iron that loosely attaches it to a 
long wooden spear, until a turtle has been pierced through the shell by 
the other extremity. He of the canoe paddles away as silently as possible 
whenever he spies a turtle basking on the water, until he gets within a 
distance of ten or twelve yards, when he throws the spear so as to hit the 
animal about the place which an entomologist would choose, were it a 
large insect, for pinning it to a piece of cork. As soon as the turtle is 
struck, the wooden handle separates from the peg, in consequence of 
the looseness of its attachment. The smart of the wound urges on the 
animal as if distracted, and it appears that the longer the peg remains 
in its shell, the more firmly fastened it is, so great a pressure is exercised 
upon it by the shell of the tvirtle, which being suffered to run like a whale, 
soon becomes fatigued, and is secured by hauling in the line with great 
care. In this manner, as the Pilot informed me, eight hundred Green 
Turtles were caught by one man in twelve months. 

Each turtler has his crawl, which is a square wooden building or pen, 
formed of logs, which are so far separated as to allow the tide to pass 
freely through, and stand erect in the mud. The turtles are placed in 
this inclosure, fed and kept there until sold. If the animals thus con- 
fined have not laid their eggs previous to their seizure, they drop them 
in the water, so that they are lost. The price of Green Turtles, when I 
was at Key West, was from four to six cents per pound. 

The loves of the turtles are conducted in a most extraordinary man- 
ner ; but as the recital of them must prove out of place here, I shall pass 
them over. There is, however, a circumstance relating to their habits, 
which I cannot omit, although I have it not from my own ocular evidence, 
but from report. When I was in the Floridas, several of the turtlers assured 
me, that any turtle taken from the depositing ground, and carried on the 
deck of a vessel several hundred miles, would, if then let loose, certainly 
be met with at the same spot, either immediately after, or in the following 
breeding season. Should this prove true, and it certainly may, how much 
will be enhanced the belief of the student in the uniformity and solidity 
of Nature's arrangements, when he finds that the turtle, like a migratory 
bird, returns to the same locality, with perhaps a delight similar to that 
experienced by the traveller, who, after visiting distant countries, once 
more returns to the bosom of his cherished family. 



( 377 ) 

THE ROUGH-LEGGED FALCON. 

Fjlco lagopus, Gmel. 
PLATE CLXVI. Male. 

Should the bird known in Europe by tiie above name, and that found 
in the United States, prove to be identical, I should not be a little sur- 
prised, as I consider our Rough-legged Falcon and the Falco niger of 
WitsoN to be of the same species, tiie diiFerence in tlieir colour being 
merely indicative of a difference in age. 

While at Boston, in the winter of 1832, I offered premiums for biriis 
of this family, and received as many as eight at one time, of which not 
one resembled another in the colour of the plumage, although they were 
precisely similar in form and internal structure. The females were si- 
milar to the males, but were distinguished by their superior size. These 
eight birds, and some others which I examined, were all shot on the 
same salt marshes, within about five miles of the city. Their flight 
was precisely similar, as were their usual attitudes, either when perched 
on the branches of trees, stakes, or stalks of salt grass-hay, or when 
alighted on the banks of the ditches to watch for their prey. '1 he 
"darker the bird the more shy it was; when pursued it would fly at a 
much greater elevation and farther off than the light coloured indivi- 
duals ; and I feel confident, from my knowledge of birds, that this diffe- 
rence as to shyness arose from the circumstance, that the dark birds were 
the oldest. When listening to their disagreeable squealing notes, I could 
perceive no difference whatever. All these Hawks arrived in the marshes 
within a day or two of each other, in straggling parties of four or five, 
and the individuals composing these parties remained near each other as 
if retaining a mutual attachment. These and similar observations, made 
in other places from the Bay of Fundy to the marshes and meadows in 
the maritime districts of the State of Maryland, have convinced me that 
these Hawks form only one species. 

The Rough-legged Hawk seldom goes farther south along our Atlan- 
tic coast than the Eastern portions of North Carolina, nor have I ever 
seen it to the west of the Alleghanies. It is a sluggish bird, and con- 
fines itself to the meadows and low grounds bordering the rivers and 



378 ROUGH-LEGGED FALCON. 

salt-marshes, along our bays and inlets. In such places you may see it 
perched on a stake, where it remains for hours at a time, unless some 
wounded bird comes in sight, when it sails after it, and secures it without 
manifesting much swiftness of flight. It feeds principally on moles, mice, 
and other small quadrupeds, and never attacks a duck on the wing, al- 
though now and then it pursues a wounded one. When not alarmed, it 
usually flies low and sedately, and does not exhibit any of the courage 
and vicrour so conspicuous in most other hawks, suffering thousands of 
birds to pass without pursuing them. The greatest feat I have seen them 
perform was scrambling at the edge of the water, to secure a lethargic frog. 

They alight on trees to roost, but appear so hungry or indolent at 
all times, that they seldom retire to rest until after dusk. Their large 
eyes indeed, seem to indicate their possession of the faculty of seeing at 
that late hour. I have frequently put up one, that seemed watching for 
food at the edge of a ditch, long after sunset. Whenever an opportunity 
ofi'ers, they eat to excess, and, like the Turkey Buzzai'ds and Carrion 
Crows, disgorge their food, to enable them to fly off". The species is 
more noctuinial in its habits than any other Hawk found in the United 
States. 

Nothing is known respecting their propagation in the United States, 
and as I have no desire to compile, I must pass over this subject. They 
leave us in the beginning of March, and betake themselves to more nor- 
thern countries ; yet not one did either myself, or my youthful and en- 
terprising party, observe on my late rambles in Labrador. 

I have given you the figure of what I suppose to have been a middle- 
aged bird, and will at another time place before you one of the dark- 
coloured kind, known by the name of Fulco niger, but which I consider 
as the old bird of the present species. 

However highly I esteem the labours of Wilson, I am here com- 
pelled to differ from him. How that accurate observer made two diffe- 
rent species of the young and the adult Rough-legged Falcon, I cannot 
well understand, more especially as his description of Falco logopus and 
F. niger are so similar, that one might infer from their comparison that 
they referred to the same species. 

Of Falco lagopus he says: — " The Rough-legged Hawk measures 
twenty-two inches in length, and four feet two inches in extent ; cere, 
sides of the mouth, and feet, rich yeUow ; legs feathered to the toes, with 
brownish-yellow plumage, streaked with brown ; femorals the same ; toes 



ROUGH-LEGGED FALCON. 379 

comparatively short ; claws and bill blue-black ; iris of the eye bright 
amber ; upper part of the head pale ochre, streaked with brown ; back 
and wings chocolate, each feather edged with bright ferruginous; first 
four primaries nearly black about the tips, edged externally with silvery 
in some lights ; rest of the quills dark chocolate ; lower, side, and interior 
vanes white ; tail-coverts white ; tail rounded, white, with a broad band 
of dark brown near the end, and tipt with white ; body below, and bi-east, 
light yellow ochre, blotched and streaked with chocolate. What consti- 
tutes a characteristic mark of this bird, is a belt or girdle of very dark 
brown, passing round the belly just below the breast, and reaching under 
the wings to the rump ; head very broad, and bill uncommonly small, 
suited to the humility of its prey. 

" The female is much darker both above and below, particularly in 
the belt or girdle, which is nearly black ; the tail-coverts are also spotted 
with chocolate ; she is also something larger. 

" The Black Hawk is twenty-one inches long, and four feet two inches 
in extent ; bill bluish-black ; cere and sides of the mouth orange-yellow ; 
feet the same ; eye very large ; iris bright hazel ; cartilage overhanging 
the eye prominently, of a dull greenish colour; general colour above 
brown-black, slightly dashed with dirty white ; nape of the neck pure 
white under the surface ; front white ; whole lower parts black, with 
slight tinges of brown ; and a few circular touches of the same on the 
femorals ; legs feathered to the toes, and black, touched with brownish ; 
the wings reach rather beyond the tip of the tail ; the five first primaries 
are white on their inner vanes ; tail rounded at the end, deep black, 
crossed with five narrow bands of pure white, and broadly tipped with 
dull white ; vent black, spotted with white ; inside vanes of the primaries 
snowy ; claws black, strong, and sharp ; toes remarkably short." 

I have frequently examined the very specimen from which Wil- 
son took his figure of the Falco niger, and which is now in the col- 
lection of the Academy of Natural Sciences at Philadelphia. On com- 
paring it with specimens of the Rough- legged Falcon in its ordinary 
states, I could discover no essential differences, nor, in fact, any except- 
ing such as have reference to colour, a circumstance or quality which in 
hawks is known to vary so much in almost every species at different pe- 
riods of their lives, that it would be useless for me to offer any remarks 
on the subject. Besides this, Wilson's figure is by no means correct as 
to colouring, it being in fact black, in contradiction to his description. I 



380 ROUGH-LEGGED FALCON. 

have beside me specimens in which the colour of the plumage is very dif- 
ferent, some being quite light, others almost black ; and I feel pretty con- 
fident that further researches i-especting this species will shew that my 
opinion is not incorrect, when I say that the Rough-legged Falcon of 
America and the F.alco niger of Wilson, are the same bird. 

I am of opinion that the reason for which the dark coloured indivi- 
duals are of much rarer occurrence with us, than the lighter ones, is, that 
the former being older and stronger birds, are much better able to bear 
the inclemency of the weather in more northern regions. 

Falco lagopus, Gmel. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 260 — Lath. Ind. Ornith. voL i. p. 19 — 
Ch. Bonaparte, Syiiops. of Birds of the United States, p. 32. 

BuTEO LAGOPUS, Sivains. and Richards. Fauna Bor. Amer. part ii. p. 52. 

KouGH-LEGGED Falcon, Falco lagopus, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iv. p, 59. pi. 33. 
Fig. 1 Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 97. 

Middle-aged Male. Plate CLXVL 

Bill short, as broad as deep at the base, which is cerate, the sides con- 
vex ; upper mandible with the dorsal outline straight and declinate at the 
base, soon becoming convex, the tip trigonal, descending obhquely, acute, 
the sharp margin undulated and perpendicular ; lower mandible with the 
back convex, the edges sharp, arched, and inflected, the tip obliquely 
truncate. Nostrils large, subovate in the fore and imder part of the cere. 
Head rather large, broad, neck of moderate length, body robust. Feet 
short, robust ; tarsi roundish, feathered ; toes short, and rather small, hind 
toe and inner strongest and nearly equal, the latter connected with the 
middle at the base by a short membrane, the outer smallest ; aU with four 
transverse scutella at the end, the rest of their upper parts covered with 
very small hexagonal scales ; claws compressed, strong, curved, acute, flat 
beneath. 

Plumage ordinary, soft beneath. Space between the bill and eye co- 
vered with bristly feathers, the bases of which are furnished with short 
barbs. Feathers of the head and neck lanceolate, of the back and breast 
broad and rounded, of the legs short and narrow, excepting the external 
tibial, which are long and rounded. Wings long, third quill longest, 
fourth almost equal, second shorter than fifth, first very short ; first four 
abruptly cut out towards the end on the inner web ; secondaries broad 
and rounded. Tail rather long, broad, rounded. 

Bill dull bluish-grey, black at the end. Iris hazel, projecting part 



ROUGH-LEGGED FALCON. 381 

of the eye-brow greenish-blue, cere yellow. Toes yellow, claws black. 
Bases of the black bristles of the lore whitish. The head and neck 
are streaked with umber-brown and yellowish-white, the centre and 
tip of each feather being of the former colour. Back umber-brown, 
variegated with light reddish-brown and yellowish-white. Quills dark 
brown towards the end, the outer webs of the first six tinged with grey, 
the base of all white, that colour extending farther on the secondaries, 
of most of which, and of some of the primaries, the inner web is ir- 
regularly barred with brown. Upper tail-coverts white, irregularly 
barred with dark brown. Tail white at the base, brown and mottled to- 
wards the end, with a broad subterminal bar of brownish-black, the tips 
brownish-white. Middle and hind part of the thorax, with the sides 
blackish-brown. Breast yellowish-white, largely spotted and blotched 
with umber. Feathers of the legs paler yellowish-red, barred with dusky ; 
abdomen yellowish- white, as are the under tail-coverts, which are marked 
with a small brown spot. 

Length 22 inches, extent of wings 4 feet 1 inch ; bill along the back 1 1, 
along the edge ly\; tarsus 21 1. 

The Female agrees in colouring, but is considerably larger. 



The old bird, which has a very different look as to colour, has been 
noticed or described under different names. 

Black Hawk, Falco Niger, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. vL p. 82. pi. 53. fig. 1. 
Falco Sancti Johannis, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 32. 

The bill, feet, and iris, are coloured as in middle age ; but the plu- 
mage is of a nearly uniform chocolate-brown, the bases of the quills, how- 
ever, remaining white, the broad band on the under surface of the wing 
being the same as in the younger bird ; and the tail being brown, with- 
out a subterminal bar of black, but slightly tipped with brownish-white, 
and barred with yellowish-white on the inner webs, the bars becoming 
more distinct on the outer feathers. The wings in both reach to near 
the tip of the tail. The feathers on the nape of the neck are white ex- 
cepting at the extremities, which is also the case in the young and middle 
aged birds, and is not a circumstance peculiar to this species, being ob- 
served in F. AMcilla, F. palumbarius, F. Nisus, and many others. 



( 382 ) 
THE KEY WEST PIGEON. 

COLUMBA MONTANA, LiNN. 
PLATE CLXVII. Male and Female. 

It was at Key West that I first saw this beautiful Pigeon. The 
Marion was brought to anchor close to, and nearly opposite, the little 
town of the same name, some time after the setting of the sun. The few 
flickering lights I saw nearly fixed the size of the place in my imagination. 
In a trice, the kind captain and 1 were seated in his gig, and I felt the 
onward movement of the light bark as if actually on wing, so well timed 
was the pulling of the brave tars who were taking us to the shore. In 
this place I formed acquaintance with Major Glassel of the United 
States Artillery, and his family,of Dr Benjamin STROBEL,and several other 
persons, to whom I must ever feel grateful for the kind attention which 
they paid to me and my assistants, as well as for the alacrity with which 
they aided me in procuring rare specimens not only of birds, but also of 
shells and plants, most of which were unknown to me. Indeed — I can- 
not too often repeat it — the facilities afforded me by our Government, 
during my latter journeys and voyages, have been so grateful to my feel- 
ings, that I have frequently thought that circumstance alone quite suf- 
ficient to induce even a less ardent lover of nature to exert himself to the 
utmost in repaying the favour. 

Major Glassel sent one of his Serjeants with me to search the whole 
island, with which he was perfectly acquainted. The name of this soldier 
was Sykes, and his life, like mine, had been a chequered one ; for there 
are few pleasures unaccompanied with pains, real or imaginary, and the 
worthy sergeant had had his share of both. I soon discovered that he 
was a perfect woodsman, for although we traversed the densest thickets, 
in close and gloomy weather, he conducted me quite across the island, in 
as masterly a manner as ever did an Indian on a like occasion. — But per- 
haps, kind reader, a copy of my journal for that day, may afford you a 
clearer idea of our search for rare birds, than any other means that I 
could devise. Before I proceed, however, allow me to state, that, while 
at Charleston, in South Carolina, I saw at my friend Bachman's house 



KEY WEST PIGEON. 888 

the head of a Pigeon which Dr Stiiobel had sent from Key West, and 
which I perceived did not belong to the Zenaida Dove. Serjeant Sykes 
had seen the Pigeon, and acquainted as he was with the birds of the 
country, he gave some hope that we might procure a few of them that 
very day ; — and now, for my Journal. 

" Maij 6. 1832. — When I reached the garrison, I found the sergeant 
waiting for me. I gave him some small shot, and we set off, not in full 
run, nor even at a dog-trot, but with the slowness and carefulness usually 
employed by a lynx or a cougar when searching for prey. We soon 
reached the thickets, and found it necessary to move in truth very slow- 
ly, one foot warily advanced before the other, one hand engaged in open- 
ing a passage, and presently after occupied in securing the cap on the 
head, in smashing some dozens of hungry musquitoes, or in drawing the 
sharp thorn of a cactus from a leg or foot, in securing our gun-locks, or 
in assisting ourselves to rise after a fall occasioned by stumbling against 
the projecting angle of a rock. But we pushed on, squeezed ourselves 
between the stubborn branches, and forced our way as well as we could, 
my guide of course having the lead. Suddenly I saw him stoop, and ob- 
serving the motion of his hand, immediately followed his example. Re- 
duced by his position to one half of his natural height, he moved more 
briskly, inclined to the right, then to the left, then pushed forward, and 
raising his piece as he stopped, immediately fired. " I have it," cried he. 
'* What?" cried I. " The pigeon"" — and he disappeared. The heat was 
excessive, and the brushwood here was so thick and tangled, that had not 
Mr Sykes been a United States soldier, I should have looked upon him 
as bent on retahating on behalf of " the eccentric naturalist ;" for, al- 
though not more than ten paces distant from me, not a glimpse of him 
could I obtain. After crawling to the spot I found him smoothing the 
feathers of a Pigeon which I had never seen, nay the most beautiful yet 
found in the United States. How I gazed on its resplendent plumage ! — 
how I marked the expression of its rich-coloured, large and timid eye, as 
the poor creature was gasping its last breath I — Ah, how 1 looked on this 
lovely bird ! I handled it, turned it, examined its feathers and form, its 
bin, its legs and claws, weighed it by estimate, and after a while formed 
a winding sheet for it of a piece of paper. Did ever an Egyptian phar- 
macopolist employ more care in embalming the most illustrious of the 
Pharaohs, than I did in trying to preserve from injury this most beauti- 
ful of the woodland cooers ! 



384 KEY WEST PIGEON. 

I never felt, nor did my companion, that our faces and hands were 
covered with musquitoes ; and although the perspiration made my eyes 
smart, I was as much delighted as ever I had been on such an occasion. 
We travelled onward, much in the same manner, until we reached the 
opposite end of the island ; but not another bird did we meet this day. 

As we sat near the shore gazing on the curious light pea-green co- 
lour of the sea, I unfolded my prize, and as I now more quietly observed 
the brilliant changing metallic hues of its plumage, I could not refrain 
from exclaiming — " But who will draw it ?"" for the obvious difficulties of 
copying nature struck me as powerfully as they ever had done, and 
brought to my memory the following passage : — " La nature se joue du 
pinceau des hommes; — lorsqu' on croit qu'il a atteint sa plus grande 
beaute, elle sourit et s'embeUit encore !"" 

We returned along the shore of this curious island to the garrison, 
after which Major Glassel's barge conveyed me on board of the Ma- 
rion. 

I have taken upon myself to name this species the Key West Pigeon, 
and offer it as a tribute to the generous inhabitants of that island, who 
favoured me with their friendship. 

The flight of this bird is low, swift, and protracted. I saw several 
afterwards when they were crossing from Cuba to Key West, the only 
place in which I found them. It flies in loose flocks of from five or six 
to a dozen, with flappings having an interval apparently of six feet, so 
very low over the sea, that one might imagine it on the eve of falling 
into the water every moment. It is fond of going out from the thickets 
early in the morning, for the purpose of cleansing itself in the shelly 
sand that surrounds the island ; but the instant it perceives danger it 
flies off" to the woods, throws itself into the thickest part of them, alights 
on the ground, and runs off with rapidity until it thinks itself secure. 
The jetting motions of its tail are much like those of the Carolina Dove, 
and it moves its neck to and fro, forward and backward, as Pigeons are 
wont to do. 

The cooing of this species is not so soft or prolonged as that of the 
Common Dove, or of the Zenaida Dove, and yet not so emphatical as 
that of any true Pigeon with which I am acquainted. It may be imi- 
tated by pronouncing the following syllables : — Whoe-whoe-oh-oh-oh. 
When suddenly approached by man, it emits a guttural gasping-like 
sound, somewhat in the manner of the Common Tame Pigeon on such an 



KEY WEST PIGEON. 386 

occasion. They alight on the lower branches of shrubby trees, and delight 
in the neighbourhood of shady ponds, but always inhabit, by preference, 
the darkest solitudes. 

The nest of the Key West Pigeon is formed of light dry twigs, and 
much resembles in shape that of the Carolina Dove. Sometimes you 
find it situated on the ground, when less preparation is used. Some nests 
are placed on the large branches of trees quite low, while others are fixed 
on slender twigs. On the 20th May, one of these nests was found con- 
taining two pure white eggs, about the size of those of the White-headed 
Pigeon, nearly round, and so transparent that I could see the yolk by 
holding them to the light. How long incubation continues, or if they 
raise more than one brood in a season, I am unable to say. 

Towards the middle of July they become sufficiently abundant at 
Key West, to enable sportsmen to shoot as many as a score in a day ; 
for, as soon as the young are able to follow their parents^ they frequently 
resort to the roads to dust themselves, and are then easily approached. Dr 
Stroeel told me he had procured more than a dozen of these birds in 
tiie course of a morning, and assured me that they were excellent eating. 

Their food consists of berries and seeds of different plants, and when 
the sea^grape is ripe, they feed greedily upon it. They all depart for 
Cuba, or the other West India Islands, about the middle of October. 

Until my arrival at Key West, this species was supposed to be the 
Zenaida Dove. The young, when fully feathered, are of a dark-grey 
colour above, lighter below, the bill and legs of a deep leaden hue. I 
am inclined to believe that they attain their full beauty of plumage the 
following spring. 

So much are these birds confined to the interior of the undergrowth, 
that their loves are entirely prosecuted there ; nor do they on such occa- 
^ons elevate themselves in the air, as is the manner of the Carolina 
Dove. 



CoLUMBA MONTANA, Linn. Sjst. Nat. vol. i. p. 281. — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 594. 
Pakthidge Pigeon, Lath. S^nops. vol. iv. p. 615. 

Adult Male. Plate CLXVII. Fig 1. 

Bill straight, of ordinary length, rather slender, broader than deep 
at the base, compressed toward the end ; upper mandible with a tumid 
fleshy covering at the base, a convex declinate obtuse tip, and a slight 

VOL. II. B b 



386 KEY WEST PIGEON. 

sinus in the sharp margins ; lower mandible with the angle near the ex- 
tremity, which is compressed and rounded. Nostrils medial, oblique, li- 
near. Head small and compressed, the general form rather robust. Legs 
short, and of moderate strength ; tarsus covered anteriorly witli broad 
scutella, rounded behind ; toes scutellate free, margined ; claws rather 
small, arched, compressed, marginate, obtuse. 

Plumage compact on the back, elsewhere blended with strong, but 
disunited barbs. Wings of ordinary length ; second quill longest, first 
intermediate between the fourth and fifth. First four primaries more or 
less cut out on the outer web, towards the end. Tail much rounded, of 
twelve broad rounded feathers. 

Bill horn-colour at the end, the fleshy parts at the base bright car- 
mine. Iris and margins of the eye-lids carmine. Feet flesh-coloured, 
the scutella of the tarsus and toes carmine. Forehead and a band run- 
ning behind the eye light reddish-brown ; upper part of the head shining 
with purplish-brown and hght green reflections, as is the back of the 
neck. The general colour of the upper parts is brownish-red, the wing- 
coverts and margins of the quills and tail shaded with green, the fore part 
of the back splendent with purple reflections. There is a broad white 
band from the lower mandible beneath the eye, and the throat is of the 
same colour ; under the subocular white band is another of the same co- 
lour as the forehead. The fore-neck and breast are of a rich but delicate 
pale purple, which fades into cream-colour behind. Under surface of the 
wings and tail of the same colour as the upper, but fainter. 

Length ll| inches, extent of wings 17 j ; bill along the back \^, 
along the edge 1 inch ; tarsus Ij^, middle-toe ^^ ; weight 6 ounces. 

Adult Female. Plate CLXVII. Fig. 2. 

The Female resembles the Male, the tints being merely fainter, and 
the gloss of the neck and back less splendent. 



The plants represented in this plate grew on Key West, in sheltered 
situations. That with purple flowers is a Convolvulus, the other an 
Ipomaea. The blossoms are partially closed at night, and although orna- 
mental, are destitute of odour. 



( 387 ) 
THE FORKED-TAILED FLYCATCHER. 

MUSCICAPA SAVANA, BoNAP. 
PLATE CLXVIII. Male. 

In the end of June 1832, I observed one of these birds a few miles 
below the city of Camden, flying over a meadow in pursuit of insects, after 
which it ahghted on the top of a small detached tree, where I followed it 
and succeeded in obtaining it. The bird appeared to have lost itself : it 
was unsuspicious, and paid no attention to me as I approached it. While 
on the wing, it frequently employed its long tail, when performing sudden 
turns in following its prey, and when alighted, it vibrated it in the man- 
ner of the Sparrow-Hawk. The bird fell to the ground wounded, and 
uttering a sharp squeak, which it repeated, and accompanied with smart 
clicks of its biU, when I went up to it. It lived only a few minutes, 
and from it the drawing transferred to the plate was made. This figure 
corresponds precisely with a skin shewn to me by my friend Charles 
Pickering, at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, except 
in the general tint of the plumage, his specimen, which he had received 
from South America, having been much faded. 

Many years ago, while residing at Henderson in Kentucky, I had one 
of these birds brought to me which had been caught by the hand, and 
was nearly putrid when I got it. The person who presented it to me had 
caught it in the Barrens, ten or twelve miles from Henderson, late in Oc- 
tober, after a succession of white frosts, and had kept it more than a 
week. While near the city of Natchez, in the State of Mississippi, in 
August 1822, I saw two others high in the air, twittering in the manner 
of the King Bird ; but they disappeared to the westward, and I was un- 
able to see them again. These four specimens were the only ones I have 
seen in the United States, where individuals appear only at long intervals, 
and in far distant districts, as if they had lost themselves. I regret that 
I am unable to afford any information respecting their habits. 

The bird has been placed on a plant which grows in Georgia, and 
which was drawn by my friend Bachman's sister. 

B b2 



388 FORKED'TAILED FLYCATCHER. 



MusciCAPA Tybannus, lAnn. voL i. p. 325 — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. iL p. 484. 
MusciCAPA Savana, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 67- 
FOHK-TAILED FLYCATCHER, MusciCAPA Savana, Ch. Bonaparte, Amer. Ornith. 
voL i. p. 1. pi. 1. fig. 1 Nuttall, Manual, part ii. p. 274. 

Adult Male. Plate CLVIII. 

Bill of moderate length, rather stout, straight, broad at the base, 
compressed towards the end ; upper mandible with the dorsal outline a little 
convex, the sides convex, the edges sharp and nearly perpendicular, with 
a very small notch close upon the small deflected tip ; lower mandible 
with the back broad, the sides rounded, the edges sharp and inflected. 
Nostrils basal, lateral, oblong, partly covered by the bristly feathers. 
Head rather large, depressed, neck short, body rather slender. Feet 
rather short ; tarsus compressed, rather sharp before and behind, ante- 
riorly covered with broad scuteUa ; toes free, the hind toe not propor- 
tionally larger ; claws slightly arched, compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft, blended, slightly glossed. Basirostral bristles strong. 
Wings rather long, second quills longest, third a little shorter, first al- 
most as long as third, all the three curiously cut into near the end, with 
a sharp sinus, the rest of the quills to the tip being extremely slender. 
Tail with the lateral feather extremely elongated, very deeply forked, 
the middle feathers being of ordinary length, the intermediate ones gra- 
duated. 

BUI and feet black. Iris dusky. Head and cheeks deep black, the 
feathers of the crown deep yeUow at the base, that colour being visible 
only when the crest is elevated. The back is ash-grey, becoming darker 
behind, so that the tail-feathers are blackish-brown, margined with grey. 
Wing-coverts and quills blackish-brown, slightly margined with grey, as 
is the tail, of which, however, the outer web of the lateral feather is 
white for half its length from the base. The lower parts are white. 

Length 14;^ inches, extent of wings 14 ; bill along the ridge ^'j, along 
the edge \% ; tarsus l\. Outer tail-feathers 10, the next 4|, the middle 
ones 9,\. 

The Female resembles the Male. 



I 



FORKED-TAILED FLYCATCHER. 389 



GoHDONiA Lasianthus, Willd. Sp. PL voL iu. p.' 840. Pursh, Fl. Amer. Sept. 
voL ii. p. 451 MoKODELPHiA PoLTANDBiA, Linn. 

This beautiful small tree is met with in Georgia, South Carolina, and 
Florida, in moist lands near the coast, and never fails to attract the eye 
by its beautiful blossoms. The twig from which the drawing was made 
was procured from the garden of Mr Noisette, who liberally afforded 
me all the aid in his power for embellishing my plates. The leaves are 
evergreen, lanceolato-oblong, shining, and leathery ; the flowers white, of 
the size of the common garden-rose, and placed on long peduncles ; the 
capsules conical and acuminate. 



( 390 ) 

THE MANGROVE CUCKOO 

CoccYZUS Seniculus, Nuttall. 

PLATE CLXIX. Male. 

A few days after my arrival at Key West in the Floridas, early in 
the month of May, Major Glassel of the United States' Army presented 
me with a specimen of this bird, which had been killed by one of the sol- 
diers belonging to the garrison. I had already observed many Cuckoos 
in the course of my walks through the tangled woods of that curious 
island ; but as they seemed to be our Common Yellow-billed species, I 
passed them without paying much attention to them. The moment this 
specimen was presented to me however, I knew that it was a species un- 
known to me, and thought, as I have on many occasions had reason to 
do, how vigilant the student of nature ought to be, when placed in a 
country previously unvisited by him. The bird was immediately drawn, 
and I afterwards shot several others, all precisely corresponding with it. 

The habits of the Mangrove Cuckoo I found to be much the same as 
those of our two other well known species. Like them, it is fond of suck- 
ing the eggs of all kinds of birds in the absence of their owners, and also 
feeds on fruits and various species of insects. It is, however, more vigi- 
lant and shy, and does not extend its migrations northward beyond the 
eastern capes of the Floridas, appearing, indeed, to confine itself mostly 
to the islets covered with mangroves, among the sombre foliage of which 
trees it usually builds its nest and rears its young. It retires southward 
in the beginning of September, according to the accounts of it which I 
received in the country. 

The nest is slightly constructed of dry twigs, and is almost flat, nearly 
resembling that of the Yellow-biUed Cuckoo, which I have already de- 
scribed. The eggs are of the same number and form as those of that 
species, but somewhat larger. It raises two broods in the season, and 
feeds its young on insects until they are able to go abroad. 

The White-headed Pigeon is frequently robbed of its eggs by this 
plunderer, and it is alleged by the fishermen and wreckers that it destroys 
the squabs when yet very young, but I saw no instance of this barbarous 
propensity. One which had been caught in its nest, and which I saw 
;)laced in a cage, refused all kinds of food, and soon died. This, however 



I 



MANGROVE CUCKOO. 391 

proved to me the great affection which they have towards their eggs. Their 
flight is much like that of the other species described by me, perhaps only 
more rapid and elevated when they are proceeding to some distant place. 

CoccYzus Seniculus, Nuttall, Manual, part i. p. 558. 
CucuLus Seniculus, Lath. Index Ornith. vol. i. p. 219. 
Mangrove Cuckoo, Lath. Synops. vol. ii. p. 537- 

Adult Male. Plate CLXIX. 

Bill as long as the head, broad at the base, compressed, slightly 
arched, acute ; upper mandible carinated above, its margins acute and 
entire ; lower mandible carinated beneath, acute. Nostrils basal, lateral, 
linear-elliptical, half-closed by a membrane. Feet short ; tarsus covered 
with a few large scutella, which extend around it and meet behind ; toes 
two before, separated ; two behind, one of which is versatile ; their under 
surface broad and flat ; claws slender, compressed, arched. 

Plumage soft, blended, slightly glossed. Wings long, the first quill 
short, the third and fourth longest and equal ; primaries tapering, second- 
aries broad and rounded. Tail very long, graduated, of ten feathers, 
which are broad and rounded. 

Upper mandible brownish-black, lower mandible yellow at the base, 
blackish on the margin and at the end. Iris hazel. Feet greyish-blue. 
The general colour of the upper parts, including the wing-coverts and 
two middle tail-feathers, is light greenish-brown, the head tinged with 
grey ; primary quills umber-brown ; tail-feathers, excepting the two 
middle ones, brownish-black tipped with white, the outer more largely. 
The lower surface brownish-orange. 

Length 12 inches, extent of wings 15 ; bill along the ridge 1, along 
the edge \\ ; tarsus l^'g, longest toe l^. 

The Female resembles the male, but is somewhat paler, especially on 
the lower surface, which is tinged with grey. 



The Seven Years' Apple, Catesby, plate 59. 

The plant, on a twig of which I have represented the Mangrove 
Cuckoo, is found on all the Florida Keys, and at times is seen growing 
in large patches on the mud flats that exist between the outer islets and 
the mainland. The leaves are thick, glossy above, furred, and of a dull 
brown colour beneath. 



( 392 ) 
THE PIPIRY FLYCATCHER. 

MUSCICAPA DOMINICENSIS, BriSS. 
PLATE CLXX. Male. 

Having landed on one of the Florida Keys, I scarcely had time to 
cast a glance over the diversified vegetation which presented itself, when 
I observed a pair of birds mounting perpendicularly in the air twit- 
tering with a shrill continued note new to me. The country itself was 
new : it was what my mind had a thousand times before conceived a 
tropical scene to be. As I walked over many plants, curious and 
highly interesting to me, my sensations were joyous in the highest de- 
gree, for I saw that in a few moments I should possess a new subject, on 
which I could look with delight, as one of the great Creator's marvellous 
works. 

I was on one of those yet unknown islets, which the foot of man has 
seldom pressed. A Flycatcher unknown to me had already presented it- 
self, and the coing of a Dove never before heard come on my ear. I felt 
some of that pride, which doubtless pervades the breast of the discoverer 
of some hitherto unknown land. Although desirous of obtaining the 
birds before me, I had no wish to shoot them at that moment. My gun 
lay loosely on my arms, my eyes were rivetted on the Flycatchers, my 
ears open to the soft notes of the Doves. Reader, such are the moments, 
amid days of toil and discomfort, that compensate for every privation. 
It is on such occasions that the traveller feels most convinced, that the 
farther he proceeds, the better will be his opportunities of observing the 
results of the Divine conception. What else, I would ask of you, can 
be more gratifying to the human intellect ! 

Delighted and amused I stood for a while contemplating the beauti- 
ful world that surrounded me, and from which man would scarcely retire 
with willingness, had not the Almighty ordained it otherwise. But action 
had now to succeed, and I quickly procured some of the Flycatchers. 
Their habits too, I subsequently studied for weeks in succession, and the 
result of my observations I now lay before you. 

About the 1st of April, this species reaches the Florida Keys, and 
spreads over the whole of them, as far as Cape Florida, or perhaps some- 



PIPIRY FLYCATCHER. 393 

what farther along the eastern coast of the Peninsula. It comes from 
Cuba, where the species is said to be rather abundant, as well as in the 
other West India Islands. Its whole demeanour so much resembles that 
of the Tyrant Flycatcher, that were it not for its greater size, and the dif- 
ference of its notes, it might be mistaken for that bird, as I think it has 
been on former occasions by travellers less intent than I, on distinguish- 
ing species. At the season when I visited the Floridas, there was not a 
Key ever so small without at least a pair of them. 

Their flight is performed by a constant flutter of the Avings, unless 
when the bird is in chase, or has been rendered shy, when it exhibits a 
power and speed equal to those of any other species of the genus. Du- 
ring the love season, the male and female are seen rising from a dry twig 
together, either perpendicularly, or in a spiral manner, crossing each 
other as they ascend, twittering loudly, and conducting themselves in a 
manner much resembling that of the Tyrant Flycatcher. When in pur- 
suit of insects, they dart at them with great velocity. Should any large 
bird pass near their stand, they immediately pursue it, sometimes to a 
considerable distance. I have seen them, after teasing a Heron or Fish 
Crow, follow them nearly half a mile, and return exulting to the tree on 
which they had previously been perched. Yet I frequently observed 
that the approach of a White-headed Pigeon or Zenaida Dove, never 
ruffled their temper. To the Grakles they were particularly hostile, and 
on all occasions drove them away from their stand, or the vicinity of their 
nest, with unremitting perseverance. The reason in this case, and in 
that of the Fish Crow, was obvious, for these birds sucked their eggs 
or destroyed their young whenever an opportunity occurred. This was 
also the case with the Mangrove Cuckoo. 

This species is careless of the approach of man, probably because it 
is seldom disturbed by him. I have been so near some of them as to see 
distinctly the colour of their eyes. No sooner, however, had it begun to 
build its nest, than it flew about me or my companions, as if much ex- 
asperated at our being near, frequently snapping its beak with force, 
and in various ways loudly intimating its disapprobation of our conduct. 
Then as if we retired from the neighbourhood of its nest, it flew upwards, 
chattering notes of joy. 

They fix their nest somewhat in the manner of the King Bird, that is, 
on horizontal branches, or in the large fork of a mangrove, or bush of any 
other species, without paying much attention to its position, with respect to 



394 PIPIRY FLYCATCHER. 

the water, but with very singular care to place it on the western side of the 
tree, or of the islet. I found it sometimes not more than two feet above 
high water, and at other times twenty. It is composed externally of 
light dry sticks, internally of a thin layer of slender grasses or fibrous 
roots, and has some resemblance to that of the Carolina Pigeon in this 
respect that, from beneath, I could easily see the eggs through it. These 
were regularly four in all the nests that I saw, of a white colour, with 
many dots towards the larger end. The young I have never seen, my 
visit to those Keys having been in some measure abridged through lack 
of provisions. 

On one of the Keys to which I went, although of small size, I saw 
several nests, and at least a dozen of these birds all peaceably enjoying 
themselves. The sexes present no external difference. According to re- 
port, they retire from these islands about the beginning of November, 
after which few land birds of any kind are seen on them. 

After I had arrived at Charlestown in South Carolina, on returning 
from my expedition to the Floridas, a son of Paul Lee, Esq. a friend of 
the Rev. John Bachman, called upon us, asserting that he had observed a 
pair of Flycatchers in the College Yard, differing from all others with 
which he was acquainted. We listened, but paid little regard to the in- 
formation, and deferred our visit to the trees in the College Yard. A 
week after, young Lee returned to the charge, urging us to go to the 
place, and see both the birds and their nest. To please this amiable youth 
Mr Bachman and I soon reached the spot ; but before we arrived the 
nest had been destroyed by some boys. The birds were not to be seen, 
but a Common King Bird happening to fly over us, we jeered our young 
observer, and returned home. Soon after the Flycatchers formed another 
nest, in which they reared a brood, when young Lee gave intimation to 
Mr Bachman, who, on visiting the place, recognised them as of the 
species described in this article. Of this I was apprised by letter after 
I had left Charleston, for the purpose of visiting the northern parts of 
the Union. The circumstance enforced upon me the propriety of never 
suffering an opportunity of acquiring knowledge to pass, and of never 
imagining for a moment that another may not know something that has 
escaped your attention. 

Since that time, three years have elapsed. The birds have regularly 
returned every spring to the College-yard, and have there reared, in 
peace, two broods each season, having been admired and respected by the 



PIPIRY FLYCATCHER. 395 

collegians, aftei- they were apprised that the species had not previously 
been found in the State. It thus furnishes another of the now numerous 
instances of new species entering the Union from the south, to increase 
our Fauna, and enliven our hours. 

The branch on which I have represented a Male in full plumage, is 
that of a species rather rare on the Florida Keys, although, as I was as- 
sured, it abounds in Cuba. It blooms during the season when this bird 
builds its nest. The flower is destitute of scent ; the fruit is a long narrow 
legume, containing numerous seeds, placed at eq^ual distances. 

Le Tyran de S. DoMiNiauE,TYEANNUs dominicensis, firm. vol. ii. p. 394. pi. 38. 

fig. 2. 
Lanius tyrannus, var. /3, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 81. 
Tyranntts griseus, Vieill. Ois. d'Amer. pi. 46. 

Adult Male. Plate CLXX. 

Bill rather long, stout, straight, broad at the base, a little compressed 
towards the end ; both mandibles with the dorsal hne a little convex, the 
sides rounded, the edges nearly straight, sharp, inclinate ; a slight notch 
close to the small deflected tip. Nostrils basal, lateral, roundish, partly 
covered by the bristly feathers. Head rather large, neck short, body 
rather slender. Feet short ; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with a 
few very broad scutella ; toes of moderate size, the hind one not propor- 
tionally stronger, the inner a little shorter than the outer ; claws rather 
long, arched, much compressed, very acute. 

Plumage soft and blended, with httle gloss. Strong bristles at the 
base of the upper mandible. Wings rather long, third quill longest, but 
the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth differ very little in length ; the 
first is the next in length, and is much longer than the seventh ; all these 
quills, excepting the last, are slightly cut out on the outer web, and are 
suddenly diminished on the inner, near the end, so as to have a very nar- 
row rounded extremity. Tail rather long, emarginate, of twelve rounded 
feathers. 

Bill and feet brownish-black. Iris dark hazel. Upper parts in general 
dull ash-grey, shaded with brown posteriorly, a concealed spot of flame 
colour on the top of the head, which is perceptible only when the feathers 
are raised. Coverts, quills, and tail-feathers dusky brown, all more or 
less margined with brownish-white. The lower parts are greyish-white, 



396 PIPIRY FLYCATCHER. 

the breast and sides pale grey, the lower tail-coverts tinged with yellow, 
as are the lower wing-coverts. 

Length 8| inches, extent of wings 14f ; bill along the ridge 1^'j, along 
the edge 1 j\ ; tarsus j%. 

The Female resembles the Male, but is somewhat smaller, and the 
bright spot on the head is paler. 



The leguminous plant of which a twig is represented in the plate, is 
one of the handsomest productions of Key West, where I found it in full 
flower in the month of May. It reaches the height of twenty feet or 
more, and has a rather slender, but elegant stem, of which the wood is as 
brittle as that of our common acacias. The pods are eight or nine inches 
in length, and of the size of a swan's quill ; the seeds, which are dark- 
brown when ripe, glossy and globular, he at regular intervals. The deep 
green of the long pendulous leaves, and the bright red of the large papi- 
lionaceous flowers, form a beautiful contrast. Many of these trees were 
planted near the house of my friend Dr Benjamin Strobel, under whose 
hospitable roof the twig was drawn. I saw no plants of the species on 
any other Key. 



( 397 ) 



THE BURNING OF THE FORESTS. 

With what pleasure have I seated myself by the blazing fire of some 
lonely cabin, when, faint with fatigue, and chilled with the piercing blast, 
had forced my way to it through the drifted snows that covered the 
face of the country as with a mantle ! The affectionate mother is hushing 
her dear babe to repose, while a group of sturdy children surround their 
father, who has just returned from the chase, and deposited on the rough 
flooring of his hut the varied game which he has procured. The great 
back log, that with some difficulty has been rolled into the ample chim- 
ney, urged, as it were., by lighted pieces of pine, sends forth a blaze of 
light over the happy family. The dogs of the hunter are already lick- 
ing away the trickling waters of the thawing icicles that sparkle over 
their shaggy coats, and the comfort-loving cat is busied in passing her 
furry paws over each ear, or with her rough tongue smoothing her glossy 
coat. 

How dehghtful to me has it been, when kindly received and hospi- 
tably treated under such a roof, by persons whose means were as scanty 
as their generosity was great, I have entered into conversation with them 
respecting subjects of interest to me, and received gratifying information. 
When the humble but plentiful repast was ended, the mother would take 
from the shelf the Book of books, and mildly request the attention of her 
family while the father read aloud a chapter. Then to Heaven would as- 
cend their humble prayers, and a good-night would be bidden to all 
friends far and near. How comfortably have I laid my wearied frame on 
the buffalo hide, and covered me with the furry skin of some huge bear ! 
How pleasing have been my dreams of home and happiness, as I there 
lay secure from danger, and sheltered from the inclemency of the weather. 

I recollect that once while in the State of Maine, I passed such a night 
as I have described. Next morning the face of nature was obscured by 
the heavy rains that fell in torrents, and my generous host begged me to 
remain in such pressing terms, that I was well content to accept his offer. 
Breakfast over, the business of the day commenced : the spinning wheels 
went round, and the boys employed themselves, one in searching for 
knowledge, another in attempting to solve some ticklish arithmetical prob- 
lem. In a corner lay the dogs dreaming of plunder, while close to the 



398 BURNING OF THE FORESTS. 

ashes stood grimalkin seriously purring in concert with the wheels. The 
hunter and I seated ourselves each on a stool, while the matron looked 
after her domestic arrangements. 

" Puss," quoth the Dame, " get away ; you told me last night of this 
day's rain, and I fear you may now give us worse news with tricky paws." 
Puss accordingly went off, leaped on a bed, and roUing herself in a ball, 
composed herself for a comfortable nap. I asked the husband what his 
wife meant by what she had just said. " The good woman," said he, 
" has some curious notions at times, and she believes, I think, in the 
ways of animals of all kinds. Now, her talk to the cat refers to the fires 
of the woods around us, and although they have happened long ago, she 
fears them quite as much as ever, and indeed she and I, and all of us, 
have good reason to dread them, as they have brought us many calami- 
ties." Having read of the great fires to which my host alluded, and fre- 
quently observed with sorrow the mournful state of the forests, I felt 
anxious to know something of the causes by which these direful effects 
had been produced. I therefore requested him to give me an account of 
the events resulting from those fires which he had witnessed. Willingly 
he at once went on nearly as foUows : — 

" About twenty-five years ago, the larch or hackmitack trees were 
nearly all killed by insects. This took place in what hereabouts is called 
the " black soft growth" land, that is the spruce, pine, and all other firs. 
The destruction of the trees was effected by the insects cutting the leaves, 
and you must know, that although other trees are not killed by the loss 
of their leaves, the evergreens always are. Some few years after this 
destruction of the larch, the same insects attacked the spruces, pines, 
and other firs, in such a manner, that before half a dozen years were 
over, they began to fall, and, tumbling in all directions, they covered the 
whole country with matted masses. You may suppose that, when par- 
tially dried or seasoned, they would prove capital fuel, as well as supplies 
for the devouring flames which accidentally, or perhaps by intention, 
afterwards raged over the country, and continued burning at intervals 
for years, in many places stopping all communication by the roads, the 
resinous nature of the firs being of course best fitted to ensure and keep 
up the burning of the deep beds of dry leaves or of the other trees." — 
Here I begged him to give me some idea of the form of the insects which 
had caused such havoc. 

" The insects," said he, " were, in their caterpillar form, about three 



BURNING OF THE FORESTS. 399 

quarters of an inch in length, and as green as the leaves of the trees they 
fed on, when they committed their ravages. I must tell you also, that 
in most of the places over which the fire passed, a new growth of wood 
has already sprung up, of what we lumberers call hard wood, which 
consists of all other sorts but pine or fir ; and I have always remarked 
that wherever the first natural growth of a forest is destroyed, either by 
the axe, the hurricane, or the fire, there springs up spontaneously another 
of quite a different kind." I again stopped my host to inquire if he 
knew the method or nature of the first kindling of the fires. 

" Why, Sir," said he, " there are different opinions about this. ' Many 
believe that the Indians did it, either to be the better able to kill the 
game, or to punish their enemies the Pale-faces. My opinion, however, 
is different ; and I derive it from my experience in the woods as a lum- 
berer. I have always thought that the fires began by the accidental fall 
of a dry trunk against another, when their rubbing together, especially 
as many of them are covered with resin, would produce fire. The dry 
leaves on the ground are at once kindled, next the twigs and branches, 
when nothing but the intervention of the Almighty could stop the pro- 
gress of the fire. 

" In some instances, owiiig to the wind, the destructive element ap- 
proached the dwellings of the inhabitants of the woods so rapidly that it 
was difficult for them to escape. In some parts^ indeed, hundreds of 
famihes were obliged to flee from their homes, leaving all they had be- 
hind them, and here and there some of the affrighted fugitives were burnt 
alive." 

At this moment a rush of wind came down the chimney, blowing the 
blaze of the fire towards the room. The wife and daughter, imagining 
for a moment that the woods were again on fire, made for the door, but 
the husband, explaining the cause of their terror, they resumed their 
work. 

" Poor things," said the lumberer, " I dare say that what I have told 
you brings sad recollections to the minds of my wife and eldest daughter, 
who, with myself, had to fly from our home, at the time of the great 
fires." I felt so interested in his relation of the causes of the burnings, 
that I asked him to describe to me the particulars of his misfortunes at 
the time. " If Prudence and Polly," said he, " looking towards his 
wife and daughter, will promise to sit still, should another puflF of smoke 
come down the chimney, I will do so." The good natured smile with 



40e BURNING OF THE FORESTS. 

which he accompanied this remark, eUcited a return from the women, and 
he proceeded : — 

" It is a difficult thing, Sir, to describe, but I will do my best to 
make your time pass pleasantly. We were sound asleep one night, in a 
cabin about a hundred miles from this, when about two hours before 
day, the snorting of the horses and lowing of the cattle which I had 
ranging in the woods suddenly wakened us. I took yon rifle, and went 
to the door to see what beast had caused the hubbub, when I was struck 
by the glare of light reflected on all the trees before me, as far as I could 
see through the woods. My horses were leaping about, snorting loudly, 
and the cattle ran among them with their tails raised straight over their 
backs. On going to the back of the house, I plainly heard the crackling 
made by the burning brushwood, and saw the flames coming towards us 
in a far extended line. I ran to the house, told my wife to dress herself 
and the child as quickly as possible, and take the little money we had, 
while I managed to catch and saddle the two best horses. All this was 
done in a very short time, for I guessed that every moment was precious 
to vis. 

" We then mounted, and made off from the fire. My wife, who is an 
excellent rider, stuck close to me ; my daughter, who was then a small 
child, I took in one arm. When making off as I said, I looked back and 
saw that the frightful blaze was close upon us, and had already laid hold 
of the house. By good luck, there was a horn attached to my hunting 
clothes, and I blew it, to bring after us, if possible, the remainder of my 
live stock, as well as the dogs. The cattle followed for a while ; but, 
before an hour had elapsed, they all ran as if mad through the woods, 
and that. Sir, was the last of them. My dogs, too, although at all other 
times extremely tractable, ran after the deer that in bodies sprung before 
us, as if fully aware of the death that was so rapidly approaching. 

" We heard blasts from the horns of our neighbours, as we proceeded, 
and knew that they were in the same predicament. Intent on striving to 
the utmost to preserve our lives, I thought of a large lake, some miles off, 
which might possibly check the flames ; and, urging my wife to whip up 
her horse, we set off at full speed, making the best way we could over the 
fallen trees and the brush heaps, which lay like so many articles placed 
on purpose to keep up the terrific fires that advanced with a broad front 

upon us. 

By this time we could feel the heat ; and we were afraid that our 



BURNING OF THE FORESTS. 401 

horses would drop every instant. A singular kind of breeze was passing 
over our heads, and the glare of the atmosphere shone over the day light. 
I was sensible of a slight faintness, and my wife looked pale. The heat 
had produced such a flush in the child's face, that when she turned to- 
wards either of us, our grief and perplexity were greatly increased. Ten 
miles, you know, are soon gone over on swift horses ; but, notwithstand- 
ing this, when we reached the borders of the lake, covered with sweat 
and quite exhavisted, our hearts failed us. The heat of the smoke was 
insufferable, and sheets of blazing fire flew over us in a manner beyond 
belief. We reached the shores, however, coasted the lake for a while, 
and got round to the lee side. There we gave up our horses, which we 
never saw again. Down among the rushes we plunged by the edge of 
the water, and laid ourselves flat, to wait the chance of escaping from be- 
ing burnt or devoured. The water refreshed us, and we enjoyed the 
coolness. 

";0n went the fire, rushing and crashing through the woods. Such a 
sight may we never see ! The heavens themselves, I thought, were 
frightened, for all above us was a red glare, mixed with clouds of smoke, 
rolling and sweeping away. Our bodies were cool enough, but our heads 
were scorching, and the child, who now seemed to understand the matter, 
cried so as nearly to break our hearts. 

" The day passed on, and we became hungry, Many wild beasts came 
plunging into the water beside us, and others swam across to our side 
and stood still. Although faint and weary, I managed to shoot a por- 
cupine, and we all tasted its flesh. The night passed I cannot tell you 
how. Smouldering fires covered the ground, and the trees stood like 
pillars of fire, or fell across each other. The stifling and sickening smoke 
still rushed over us, and the burnt cinders and ashes fell thick about us. 
How we got through that night I really cannot tell, for about some of it 
I remember nothing." Here the hunter paused, and took breath. The 
recital of his adventure seemed to have exhausted him. His wife pro- 
posed that we should have a bowl of milk, and the daughter having 
handed it to us, we each took a draught. 

" Now,"" said he, " I will proceed. Towards morning, although the 
heat did not abate, the smoke became less, and blasts of fresh air some- 
times made their way to us. When morning came, all was calm, but a 
dismal smoke still filled the air, and the smell seemed worse than ever. 
We were now cooled enough, and shivered as if in an ague fit ; so we 
VOL. II. c c 



402 BURNING OF THE FORESTS. 

removed from the water, and went up to a burning log, where we warmed 
ourselves. What was to become of us I did not know. My wife hugged 
the child to her breast, and wept bitterly ; but God had preserved us 
through the worst of the danger, and the flames had gone past, so I 
thought it would be both vmgrateful to Him, and unmanly to despair 
now. Hunger once more pressed upon us, but this was easily remedied. 
Several deer were still standing in the water, up to the head, and I shot 
one of them. Some of its flesh was soon roasted ; and, after eating it, we 
felt wonderfully strengthened. 

" By this time the blaze of the fire was beyond our sight, although the 
ground was stiU burning in many places, and it was dangerous to go 
among the burnt trees. After resting a while, and trimming ourselves, 
we prepared to commence our march. Taking up the child, I led the 
way over the hot ground and rocks ; and, after two weary days and 
nights, during which we shifted in the best manner we could, we at last 
reached the " hard woods," which had been free of the fire. Soon after 
we came to a house, where we were kindly treated for a while. Since 
then. Sir, I have worked hard and constantly as a lumberer ; but, thanks 
be to God, here we are safe, sound, and happy !" 



I 



( 403 > • ' 

THE BARN OWL. 

Strix Flammea, Linn. 

PLATE CLXXI. Male and Female. 

Not a single individual of the numerous persons who have described 
the birds of the United States, seems to have had opportunities of study- 
ing the habits of this beautiful Owl, and all that I find related respecting 
it is completely at variance with my observations. In describing the 
manners of this bird, I shall therefore use all due caution, although at 
the same time I shall not be too anxious to obtain credit in this, more 
than in some other matters, for which I have patiently borne the contra- 
dictions of the ignorant. The following extracts from my journals I 
hope will prove interesting. 

iS*^ Atigustine, East Florida, 8t/i November 1832. — Mr Simmons, the 
Keeper of the Fort, whom I had known at Henderson in Kentucky, 
having informed me that some boys had taken five young Barn Owls from 
a hole in one of the chimneys, I went with a ladder to see if I could pro- 
cure some more. After much search I found only a single egg, which 
had been recently laid. It was placed on the bare stone of the wall, sur- 
rounded by fragments of small quadrupeds of various kinds. During 
our search I found a great number of the disgorged pellets of the Owl, 
among which some were almost fresh. They contained portions of skulls 
and bones of small quadrupeds unknown to me. I also found the entire 
skeleton of one of these Owls in excellent condition, and observing a 
curious bony crest-like expansion on the skull from the base of the cere 
above to that of the lower mandible, elevated nearly a quarter of an inch 
from the solid part of the skull, and forming a curve like a horse-shoe, 
I made an outline of it. On speaking to the officers of the garrison re- 
specting this species of Owl, Lieutenant Constantine Smith, a most 
amiable and intelligent officer of our army, informed me, that, in the 
months of July and August of that year, these birds bred more abun- 
dantly than at the date above stated. Other persons also assured me 
that, like the House Pigeon, the Barn Owl breeds at all seasons of the 
year in that part of the country. The statement was farther corroborated 
by Mr Lee Williams, a gentleman formerly attached to the topographi- 

c c2 



404 BARN OWL. 

©al department, and who, I believe, has written an excellent account of 
the eastern portion of the peninsula of the Floridas. 

Having arrived at Charleston, South Carolina, in October 1833, as 
soon as my family and myself were settled in the house of my friend the 
Reverend John Bachman, I received information that a pair of Owls 
(of the present species) had a nest in the upper story of an abandoned 
sugar-house in the city, when I immediately proceeded to the place, ac- 
tompanied by Dr Samuel Wilson and William Kunhardt, Esq. 
We ascended cautiously to the place, I having pulled off my boots to pre- 
vent noise. When we reached it I found a sort of large garret filled 
with sugar-moulds, and lighted by several windows, one of which had 
two panes broken. I at once discovered the spot where the Owls were, 
by the hissing sounds of the young ones, and approached slowly and 
cautiously towards them, until within a few feet, when the parent bird 
seeing me, flew quickly toward the window, touched the frame of the 
broken panes, and glided silently through the aperture. I could not even 
afterwards observe the course of its flight. The young were three in 
number, and covered with down of a rich cream colour. They raised 
themselves on their legs, appeared to swell, and emitted a constant hiss- 
ing sound, somewhat resembling that of a large snake when angry. They 
continued thus without altering their position, during the whole of our 
stay, which lasted about twenty minutes. They were on a scattered 
parcel of bits of straw, and surrounded by a bank made of their ejected 
peUets. Very few marks of their excrements were on the floor, and 
they were beautifully clean. A Cotton Rat, newly caught, and still 
entire, lay beside them, and must have been brought from a distance 
of several miles, that animal abounding in the rice-fields, none of which, 
I believe, are nearer than three or four miles. After making some 
arrangements with the Negro man who kept the house, we returned home. 
The eggs from which these young Owls had been hatched must have 
■been laid six weeks before this date, or about the 15th of September. 

On the 25th of November they had grown much in size, but none of 
the feathers had yet made their appearance, excepting the primaries, 
which were now about an inch long, thick, full of blood, and so tender 
that the least pressure of the fingers might have burst them. As the 
young grow more and more, the parents feed and attend to them less fre- 
quently than when very small, coming to them in the night only with food. 
This proves the caution of these birds in avoiding danger, and the faculty 



BARN OWL. 4(^ 

which the young possess of supporting abstinence in this middle state of 
their growth. 

On the 7th of December I visited the Owls in company with my friend 
John Bachman. We found them much grown ; indeed, their primaries 
were well out ; but their back and breast, and all their lower parts, were 
still thickly covered with down. 

On the 6th of January I again saw them, but one of the young was 
dead, although in good condition. I was surprised that their food still 
continued to be composed entirely of small quadrupeds, and principally 
of the rat mentioned above. 

My last visit to them was on the 18th of January. The two younger 
ones were now, to all appearance, fully grown, but were yet unable to 
fly. A few tufts of down still remained attached to the feathers on scat- 
tered parts of the body. I took them home. One was killed, and the 
skin preserved. 

Now, these facts are the more interesting, that none of the numerous 
European authors with whom I am acquainted, have said a single word 
respecting the time of breeding of this species, but appear to be more 
intent on producing long lists of synonyms than on presenting the use- 
ful materials from which the student of nature can draw inferences. I 
shall therefore leave to them to say whether our species is, or is not, the 
same as the one found in the churches and ruins of Europe. Should it 
prove to be the same species, and if the European bird breeds, as I suspect 
it does, at so different a period of the year, the habits of the American 
Owl will form a kind of mystery in the operations of nature, as they dif- 
fer not only from those of the bird in question, but of all other Owls 
with which I am acquainted 

My opinion is, that the Barn Owl of the United States is far more 
abundant in the Southern Districts than in the other parts. I never 
found it to the east of Pennsylvania, and only twice in that State, nor did 
I ever see, or even hear of one in the Western Country ; but as soon as I 
have reached the maritime districts of the Carolinas, Georgia, the Flori- 
das, and all along to Louisiana, the case has always been different. In 
Cuba they are quite abundant, according to the reports which I have re- 
ceived from that island. I am mdeed almost tempted to believe, that the 
few which have been found in Pennsylvania were bewildered birds, sur- 
prised by the coldness of the winter, and perhaps unable to return to the 
Southern Districts. During my visit to Labrador I neither saw any of 



406 BARN OWL. 

these birds, nor found a single person who had ever seen them, although 
the people to whom I spoke were well acquainted with the Snowy Owl, 
the Grey Owl, and the Hawk Owl. 

Thomas Butler King, Esq., of St Simon's Island, Georgia, sent me 
two very beautiful specimens of this Owl, which had been caught alive. 
One died shortly after their arrival at Charleston ; the other was in fine 
order when I received it. The person to whose care they were con- 
signed, kept them for many weeks at Charleston before I reached that 
city, and told me that in the night their cries never failed to attract others 
of the same species, which he observed hovering about the place of their 
confinement. 

This species is altogether nocturnal or crepuscular, and when dis- 
turbed during the day, flies in an irregular bewildered manner, as if at 
a loss how to look for a place of refuge. After long observation, I am 
satisfied that our bird feeds entirely on the smaller species of quadrupeds, 
for I have never found any portions of birds about their nests, nor even 
the remains of a single feather in the pellets which they regurgitate, and 
which are always formed of the bones and hair of quadrupeds. 

Owls which approach to the diurnal species in their habits, or which 
hunt for food in the morning and evening twihght, are more apt to seize 
on objects which are themselves more diurnal than otherwise, or than the 
animals which I have found to form the constant food of our Barn Owl. 
Thus the Short-eared, the Hawk, the Fork-tailed, the Burrowing, and 
other Owls, which hunt either during broad day, or mostly towards even- 
ing, or at the return of day, will be found to feed more on mixed food 
than the present species. I have no doubt that the anatomist will detect 
corresponding differences in the eye, as they have already been found in 
the ear. The stomach is elongated, almost smooth, and of a deep gam- 
boge-yellow ; the intestines small, rather tough, and measuring one foot 
nine inches in length. 

Its flight is light, regular, and much protracted. It passes through 
the air at an elevation of thirty or forty feet, in perfect silence, and 
pounces on its prey like a Hawk, often waiting for a fair opportunity 
from the branch of a tree, on which it alights for the purpose. During 
day, they are never seen, unless accidentally disturbed, when they imme- 
diately try to hide themselves. I am not aware of their having any pro- 
pensity to fish, as the Snowy Owl has, nor have I ever seen one pursu- 
ing a bird. Ever careful of themselves, they retreat to the hollows of 



BARN OWL. 40q 

trees and such holes as they find about old buildings. When kept in con- 
finement, they feed freely on any kind of flesh, and will stand for hours 
in the same position, frequently resting on one leg, while the other is 
drawn close to the body. In this position I watched one on my drawing 
table for six hours. 

This species is never found in the depth of the forests, but confines 
itself to the borders of the woods around large savannas or old abandoned 
fields overgrown with briars and rank grass, where its food, which consists 
principally of field-mice, moles, rats, and other small quadrupeds, is found 
in abundance, and where large beetles and bats fly in the morning and 
evening twilight. It seldom occurs at a great distance from the sea. I 
am not aware that it ever emits any cry or note, as other owls are wont 
to do ; but it produces a hollow hissing sound continued for minutes at a 
time, which has always reminded me of that given out by an oppossum 
when about to die by strangulation. 

When on the ground, this Owl moves by sidelong leaps, with the 
body much inclined downwards. If wounded in the wing, it yet fre- 
quently escapes through the celerity of its motions. Its hearing is ex- 
tremely acute, and as it marks your approach, instead of throwing itself 
into an attitude of defence, as Hawks are wont to do, it instantly swells 
out its plumage, extends its wings and tail, hisses, and clacks its mandi- 
bles with force and rapidity. If seized in the hand, it bites and scratches, 
inflicting deep wounds with its bill and claws. 

It is by no means correctto say that this Owl, or indeed any other, 
always swallows its prey entire : some which I have kept in confinement, 
have been seen tearing a young hare in pieces with their bills in the man- 
ner of hawks ; and mice, small rats, or bats, are the largest objects that 
I have seen them gobble up entire, and not always without difficulty. 
From having often observed their feet and legs covered with fresh earth, 
I am inclined to think that they may use them to scratch mice or moles 
out of their shallow burrows, a circumstance which connects them with 
the Burrowing Owls of our western plains, which like them have very 
long legs. In a room their flight is so noiseless that one is surprised to 
find them removed from one place to another without having heard the 
least sound. They disgorge their pellets with difficulty, although gene- 
rally at a single effbrt, but I did not observe that this action was per- 
formed at any regular period. I have mentioned these circumstances, to 
induce you to examine more pai'ticularly the habits of the Barn Owls of 



408 BARN OWL. 

Europe and the Southern States of America, that the question of their 
identity may be decided. 

The pair which I have represented were given to me by my friend 
RiCHAKD Haelan, M. D., of Philadelphia. They had been brought 
from the south, and were fine adult birds in excfellent plumage. I have 
placed a ground squirrel under the feet of one of them, as being an ani- 
mal on which the species is likely to feed. 



Sthix flammea, Linn. Syst. Nat. voL i. p. 133 — Lath. Index. Omith. vol. i. p. 60, 
— Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 38. 

"White or Barn Owl, Strix elammea, Wils. Amer. Omith. vol. vi. p. 57. pi. 50. 
fig. 2 Nuttall, Manual, part ii. p. 139. 

Adult Male. Plate CLXXI. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, compressed, deep, and strong, with a short cere at the 
base ; upper mandible with its dorsal outline straight to the end of the 
cere, then curved, the sides nearly flat and perpendicular, the edges acute, 
the tip deflected, with a rounded but sharp-edged point ; lower mandible, 
with the dorsal outUne, convex, the sides convex, the edges arched and 
sharp, the extremity obliquely truncate. Nostrils large, oval, in the fore 
part of the cere. Head disproportionately large, as are the eyes and ex- 
ternal ears. Neck also very short, body rather slender. Legs rather 
long ; tarsus long, feathered, scaly at the lower part ; toes large, the hind 
one short, the inner nearly as long as the middle one ; the outer connect- 
ed by a short web at the base ; all covered above with series of small tu- 
berculiform oblong scales, intermixed with a few bristles, and three broad 
scutella at the end ; claws arched, long, rounded above, extremely sharp, 
that of the middle toe with an edge on the inner sides, which in old birds 
is transversely cracked. 

Plumage very soft and downy, blended above, loose beneath. Long- 
bristly feathers at the base of the bill stretching forwards. Eyes sur- 
rounded by circles of loose thin feathers ; auricular feathers narrow, re- 
curved and compact at the end, forming a ruff". Wings ample, long; se- 
cond quill longest, third slightly shorter, first next in length ; primaries 
incurvate towards the end, broad and rounded, the first, as usual in the 
genus, pectinated. Tail rather short, even, of twelve broad rounded^ 
feathers. 

Bill pale greyish-yellow or hght horn-colour. Iris bluish-black. , 



BARN OWL. 409 

Scales of the feet and claws brownish-yellow. The general colour above is 
greyish-brown, with light yellowish-red interspersed, produced by very 
minute niotthng, each feather having towards the end a central streak of 
deep brown terminated by a small oblong greyish-white spot. The wings 
are similarly coloured; the secondary coverts and outer edges of the primary 
coverts with a large proportion of light brownish-red ; the quills and tail 
transversely barred with brown. The face is white, tinged with red, es- 
pecially near the inner angle of the eye ; the rulF of compact feathers 
light brownish-red. The under parts are pale brownish-red, fading ante- 
riorly into white, each feather having a small dark-brown spot at the tip. 
Length 17 inches, extent of wings 3 feet 6 inches; bill along the 
back 1-^% ; tarsus 2j^, middle toe and claw 2^^. 

Adult Female. Plate CLXXI. Fig. 2. 

The female resembles the male, but is considerably larger. 

Length 18 inches, extent of wings 3 feet 8 inches. 



This bird is so closely allied to the Barn Owl of Europe, that it is 
very difficult to characterize the two by any comparative marks. The 
principal differences are to be found in the size and colouring. The 
American bird is much larger than the European, as will be seen by the 
following measurements taken from an adult male. 

Length 14 inches, extent of wings 3 feet ; bill along the back 1j% ; 
tarsus 2|, middle toe and claw 2^^. 

The colouring of the American is much darker than that of the Euro- 
pean bird, and in the former the ruff is red, whereas it is usually white in 
the latter ; but as both birds present variations of colour, no stress can be 
laid on this circumstance. The difference that strikes one most on com- 
paring the two, is the greater size of the American bird, and more espe- 
cially of its tarsus and toes. 

On the whole, although I suspect they will ultimately be found to be 
different species, I am unable to point out any satisfactory distinctions. 



410 BARN OWL. 



The Ground Squirrel. 



With the exception of the Flying Squirrel, we have no small qua- 
druped more interesting than this. It occurs in all parts of the United 
States, and being so beautifully marked in its colouring, is known to 
every body. It seems to rae, by the liveliness of its motions, to be among 
quadrupeds what the Wren is among birds ; for, like it, the Ground 
Squirrel, full of vivacity, plays as it were with the utmost grace and agi- 
lity among the rocky debris or the uprooted stumps of trees ; and its 
chatter, although less musical than that of the Little Winter Wren, ex- 
cites a peculiar pleasure as it comes on the ear. I think I see him as he 
runs before me with the speed of thought, his tail quite erect, his chops 
distended \vith the produce of the woods, until he reaches the entrance of 
his retreat. Now he stands upright, clatters his little chops, and as I 
move onwards a single step, he disappears in a moment. Stone after 
stone I have removed from the fence, but in vain, for beneath the whole 
the cunning creature has formed its deep and circuitous burrow. With 
my hatchet I cut the tangled roots, and as I follow the animal into its 
innermost recesses, I hear its angry voice. I am indeed ^vithin a few 
inches of his last retreat, and now I see his large dark protruded eye ; 
but at this moment out he rushes with such speed that it would be vain 
to follow him. He has twenty burrows all ready prepared, and, delighted 
with his foresight and sagacity, I willingly leave him uimiolested in that 
to which he has now betaken himself. 

The Ground Squirrel varies greatly in its external appearance in dif- 
ferent parts of the United States. In the Southern Districts it is smaller 
than to the eastward, and the farther north you go the lighter are its 
tints^ the differences being at least as great as those between the Barn 
Owl of America and that of Europe. But the variations are confined to 
size and intensity of colouring, nor can I perceive any differences indica- 
tive of specific distinction. I am not inclined to consider variations of 
colour sufficient to constitute species, for instance, in the case of the 
Chimney Swallow of Europe and the Barn Swallow of America ; nor is 
there any reason for believing that very considerable differences in size 
may not exist in the same species ; indeed the fact is very apparent among 
water birds especially. 



( 411 ) 
THE BLUE-HEADED PIGEON 

COLUMBA CYANOCEPHALA, LiNN. 
PLATE CLXXII. Male and Female. 

A FEW of these birds migrate each spring from the Island of Cuba 
to the Keys of Florida, but are rarely seen, an account of the deep 
tangled woods in which they live. Early in May 1832, while on a shoot- 
ing excursion with the commander of the United States Revenue Cutter, 
the Marion, I saw a pair of them on the western side of Key West. 
They were near the water, picking gravel, but on our approaching them 
they ran back into the thickets, which were only a few yards distant. Se- 
veral fishermen and wreckers informed us that they were more abundant 
on the " Mule Keys ;" but although a large party and myself searched 
these islands for a whole day, not one did we discover there. I saw a 
pair which I was told had been caught when young on the latter Keys, 
but I could not obtain any other information respecting them, than that 
they were fed on cracked com and rice, which answered the purpose well. 

I have represented three of these Pigeons on the ground, with some 
of the creeping plants which grew in the place where I saw the pair men- 
tioned above. 



Columba CYANOCEPHALA, Lhiii. Sjst. Nat. vol. i. p. 282 Lalh. Intl. Ornitli. 

vol. ii. p. 698. 
Blue-headed Turtle, Lath. Synops. vol. iv. p. 651. 

Adult Male. Plate CLXXII. 

Bill straight, and short, rather slender, compressed ; upper mandible 
with a tumid fleshy covering at the base, a convex declinate obtuse tip, 
of which the margins are acute and overlapping ; lower mandible with the 
angle near the extremity, which is compressed and rounded. Nostrils 
medial, oblique, linear. Head small and compressed ; the general form 
robust, resembling that of many partridges. Legs short and of mode- 
rate length ; tarsus covered anteriorly and laterally with quincuncial sub- 
hexagonal scales, rounded and scaly behind ; toes scutellate, free, mar- 
gined ; claws rather small, arched, compressed, flat beneath, obtuse. 



412 BLUE-HEADED PIGEON. 

Plumage compact all over. Wings short, rounded, third, fourth and 
fifth quills longest and almost equal ; second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth 
slightly cut out on the outer web. Tail of moderate length, slightly 
rounded, of twelve broad rounded feathers. 

Bill bright blue above, the fleshy parts at the base bright carmine. Iris 
very dark brown. Scales of the feet carmine, the interspaces white ; 
claws bluish-grey. The general colour of the plumage above is a rich 
deep chocolate, slightly tinged with olive, beneath brownish-red, lighter 
on the middle of the breast, the sides and under tail coverts approaching 
to the tint of the back. The upper part of the head bright blue, en- 
circled by a band of deep black, broader on the occiput, and very narrow 
in front ; a band of white under the eye meeting its fellow on the chin, a 
broad patch of black on the fore neck, margined with white beneath, and 
on the sides spotted with bright blue. 

Length 12^ inches, extent of wings ITg ; bill along the ridge |, along 
the edge 1 ; tarsus 1|, middle toe 1| ; weight IO5 oz. 

Adult Female. Plate CLXXII. Fig. 2. 

The Female is rather less, but in external appearance resembles the 
male. 



The beautiful Cyperus represented in this plate is quite abundant on 
all the dry Keys of the Floridas, and is also found in many parts of the 
interior of the peninsula. 



( 413 ) 
THE BARN SWALLOW. 

HiRUNDO RUSTIC A, LiNN. 
PLATE CLXXIII. Male, Female, and Nest. 

There is a pleasure known but to few, a pleasure which I have of- 
ten enjoyed and still enjoy, whenever an opportunity occurs. It is when 
the heats of summer have already swelled the fruits of our fields, our 
gardens, and our orchards ; when Nature herself benignantly smiles on the 
rich scenery which she has thus embellished; when the husbandman 
guides the healthful labours of his sons, and wields the instruments of 
his humble but important calling from the early <lawn to the noon- 
tide hour of repose ; when the bee herself for a while retires from the 
honeyed flower, which now languishingly droops on its tender stem ; 
when the cattle recline beneath the broad shade of some majestic tree, 
and the labourers retire to the banks of some favourite brook to enjoy 
their frugal meal, and quench their thirst from the limpid waters. Now 
all is silent, sweet sleep closes their eyes, and nature seems to pause in 
her labours. But no sooner have the meridian hours passed, than all re- 
turn to their occupations, and again every thing is full of life and ac- 
tivity. 

Observe that passing Swallow, how swiftly she glides around us, how 
frequently she comes and goes, how graceful her flight, how pleasant 
her musical twitterings, how happy she seems to be ! Now she has again 
entered the bam. I will follow her into her summer abode, and laying 
myself down on the fragrant new-mown hay, watch her motions in silence. 
Ah ! over my head a nest is firmly fixed to each rafter ; nay on this and 
that are placed several, and the barn is filled with swallows and their 
melodies. Happy and charming little creatures ! There a female sits on 
her eggs, and is receiving a store of insects from the mouth of her mate. 
Having fed her, he solaces her with a soft chattering voice, and away he 
goes in search of more food. Here is another nest filled to the brim with 
young birds trimming their new clothing, and shaking their little wings, 
while their parents approach with a supply of food. See how they open 
their yellow throats ! There, howbusily are these two birds occupied in stick- 
ing layer after layer of damp sandy earth mixed with bits of grass against 



414 BARN SWALLOW. 

the beam ! Dear things ! their old tenement has crumbled and fallen down, 
or they are unusually late ; but going and returning so often will surely en- 
able them to accomplish their undertaking. Leaving them for a moment, I 
see some old birds meeting their young on wing. How cleverly have the 
little things received the proffered fly ! and now away for more speeds 
the happy parent. I wish I could count the number now in the barn ; 
but I cannot unless I ascertain first how many young there are, and 
then double the quantity of nests to get the number of their parents. I 
have done so : — there ai'e more than a hundred. 

Night now draws near, the sun is beneath the horizon ; the farmer has 
closed the barn door, the Swallows enter by the air-holes ; there is still 
enough of light to enable them to find their nests, and now each has a- 
lighted on the edge, and addresses itself to rest. Here are no bickerings, 
no quarrels ; all is peace and harmony, and now, the labours of the day 
ended, how quiet is their repose ! I too may take a nap among the fra- 
grant hay, and dream of the joys of my distant home. 

Day-light approaches from the east. All is calm, pure, and delight- 
ful. The little birds shoot forth from their retreats, and with songs of 
joy commence their pleasant labours. What a happy world are they in ! 
Here a smart fellow roguishly challenges his neighbour in all the pride 
of his full song, or listens for a while to the gentler notes of his beloved 
mate, while she sits on her pearly egglets. Others have already resorted 
to the fields, the meadows, or the river's side ; and there I will follo\V^ 
them. The dew glitters on every leaf and blade, and the bright sun 
throws his glory over the face of nature, which joyously spreads out all 
her treasures before him. The husbandman, who is seen advancing to- 
ward the scene of his labours, observes the flight of the Swallows, and 
assures himself that there will be a continuance of fair feather. Num- 
berless insects have already left their place of rest, and, like the birds, are 
seen in search of food, swiftly moving through the calm and balmy air. 
She of the forked-tail follows them with gliding niotion, and with un- 
erring dexterity seizes one and another. She seems hardly to exert her- 
self on this occasion ; for all her movements, upwards, downwards, or 
sidewise, are performed with perfect ease, and now she sweeps along 
like a meteor. How many circuits she makes in the hour is more than I 
can tell, but numerous indeed they must be, when every one knows that 
at her ordinary speed she can travel a mile in a minute. 

Now, towards the sandy shores of the lake or river, she betakes her- 



BARN SWALLOW. 415 

self. She alights, and with delicate steps, aiding her motions by gentle 
flappings of her wings, she advances towards the edge, takes a few drops, 
plumes herself, and returns to her nest, filling as she flies her wide mouth 
with insects. Should her nest be not finished, or need some repair, she 
carries a pellet of tempered earth in her bill, or picks up a feather that 
has been shed by a goose or a fowl, or from the hay carries ofi* a stem of 
long grass to mix with the mortar. As the heat becomes oppressive to 
all animals save herself, she passes and repasses round the cattle under 
the shady trees, and snaps off' each teasing insect. Now on the fence she 
alights by the side of her ofl'spring, or teaches them to settle on the slender 
dry twig of some convenient tree. There they plume themselves, chat- 
ter, and rest for a while, until, sorry to have lost so much time, they 
launch into the air, to continue their sport. 

The summer has now closed, and the Swallows, young and old, as- 
semble on the roof of the barn, and in a few days are joined by many 
others, reared in humbler situations. Each parent bird perhaps tells her 
young that, before dismal winter cramps the insects, they must escape to 
some far distant land, where the genial heat continues unabated. The 
talk becomes general, and day after day increases. The course of the 
journey is pointed out to each inexperienced traveller, by means of short 
excursions through the air. At length a chiU night comes, the following 
brings a slight frost, the time has arrived, and on the next bright morn- 
ing the flocks rise high above the trees, and commence their journey. 

The Barn Swallow makes its first appearance at New Orleans, from 
the middle of February to the first of March. They do not arrive in 
flocks, but apparently in pairs, or a few together, and immediately resort 
to the places where they have bred before, or where they have been rear- 
ed. Their progress over the Union depends much on the state of the 
weather ; and I have observed a difference of a whole month, owing to 
the varying temperature, in their arrival at different places. Thus in 
Kentucky, Virginia, or Pennsylvania, they now and then do not arrive 
until the middle of April or the beginning of May. In milder seasons, 
they reach Massachusetts and the eastern parts of Maine by the 10th of 
the latter month, when you may rest assured that they are distributed 
over all the intermediate districts. So hardy does this species seem to be, 
that I observed it near Eastport in Maine, on the 7th May 1833, in com- 
pany with the Republican or Cliff' Swallow, pursuing its different avoca- 
tions, while masses of ice hung from every cliff', and the weather felt cold 



416 BARN SWALLOW. 

to me. I saw them in the Gut of Cansso on the 10th of June, and on 
the Magdeleine Islands on the 13th of the same month. They were oc- 
cupied in building their nests in the open cupola of a church. Not one, 
however, was observed in Labrador, although many Sand Martins were 
seen there. On our return, I found at Newfoundland some of the pre- 
sent species, and of the Cliff Swallow, all of which were migrating south- 
ward on the 14th of August, when Fahrenheit's thermometer stood at 
41°. 

In spring, the Barn Swallow is welcomed by all, for she seldom ap- 
pears before the final melting of the snows and the commencement of mild 
weather, and is looked upon as the harbinger of summer. As she never 
commits depredations on any thing that men consider as their own, every 
body loves her, and, as the child was taught by his parents, so the man 
teaches his offspring, to cherish her. About a week after the arrival of this 
species, and when it has akeady resorted to its wonted haunts, examined 
its last year's tenement, or made choice of a place to which it may securely 
fix its nest, it begins either to build or to deposit its eggs. 

The nest is attached to the side of a beam or rafter in a barn or shed 
imder a bridge, or sometimes even in an old well, or in a sink hole, such 
as those found in the Kentucky barrens. Whenever the situation is con- 
venient and affords sufficient room, you find several nests together, and 
in some instances I have seen seven or eight within a few inches of each 
other ; nay, in some large barns I have counted forty, fifty, or more. 
The male and the female both betake themselves to the borders of creeks, 
rivers, ponds, or lakes, where they form small pellets of mud or moist 
earth, which they carry in their bill to the chosen spot, and place against 
the wood, the wall, or the rock, as it may chance to be. They dispose of 
these pellets in regular layers, mixing, especially with the lower, a con- 
siderable quantity of long slender grasses, which often dangle for several 
inches beneath the bottom of the nest. The first layers are short, but 
the rest gradually increase in length, as the birds proceed upwards with 
their work, until they reach the top, when the fabric resembles the section 
of an inverted cone, the length being eight inches, and the greatest dia- 
meter six, while that from the wall or other flat surface to the outside of 
the shell is three and a half, and the latter is fully an inch thick. I 
have never observed in a newly finished nest, the expansion of the upper 
layer mentioned by Wilson, although I have frequently seen it in one 
that has been repaired or enlarged. The average weight of such a nest 



BARN SWALLOW. 417 

as I have described is more than two pounds, but there is considerable 
difference as to size between different nests, some being shorter by two or 
three inches, and proportionally narrow at the top. These differences 
depend much on the time the birds have to construct their tenement pre- 
vious to depositing the eggs. Now and then I have seen some formed 
at a late period, that were altogether destitute of the intermixture of grass 
with the mud observed in the nest described above, which was a perfect 
one, and had occupied the birds seven days in constructing it, during 
"which period they laboured from sunrise until dusk, with an intermission 
of several hours in the middle of the day. Within the shell of mud is a 
bed, several inches thick, of slender grasses arranged in a circular form, 
over which is placed a quantity of large soft feathers. I never saw one 
of these nests in a chimney, nor have I ever heard of their occurring in 
such situations, they being usually occupied by the American Swift, which 
is a more powerful bird, and may perhaps prevent them from entering. 
The eggs are from four to six, rather small and elongated, semitranslucent, 
white, and sparingly spotted all over with reddish-brown. The period of 
incubation is thirteen days, and both sexes sit, although not for the same 
length of time, the female performing the greater part of the task. Each 
provides the other with food on this occasion, and both rest at night beside 
each other in the nest. In South Carolina, where a few breed, the nest is 
formed in the beginning of April, and in Kentucky about the first of May. 
When the young have attained a considerable size, the parents, who 
feed them with much care and affection, roost in the nearest convenient 
place. This species seldom raises more than two broods in the Southern 
and Middle Districts, and never, I believe, more than one in Maine and 
farther north. The little ones, when fully fledged, are enticed to fly by 
their parents, who, shortly after their first essays, lead them to the sides 
of fields, roads or rivers, where you may see them alight, often not 
far from each otheu, on low walls, fence-stakes and rails, or the wither- 
ed twigs or branches of some convenient tree, generally in the vicinity of 
a place in which the old birds can easily procure food for them. As the 
young improve in flying, they are often fed on the wing by the parent 
birds. On such occasions, when the old and young birds meet, they both 
rise obliquely in the air, and come close together, when the food is de- 
livered in a moment, and they separate to continue their gambols. In 
the evening the family retires to the breeding place, to which it usually 
resorts until the period of their migration. 

VOL. ir. D d 



418 BARN SWALLOW. 

About the middle of August, the old and young birds form more ex- 
tensive associations, flying about in loose flocks, which are continually in- 
creasing, and alighting in groups on tall trees, churches, court-houses, or 
barns, where they may be seen for hours pluming and dressing themselves, 
or removing the small insects which usually infest them. At such times 
they chirp almost continually, and make saUies of a few hundred yards, 
returning to the same place. These meetings and rambles often occupy a 
fortnio-ht, but generally by the 10th of September great flocks have set 
out for the south, while others are seen arriving from the north. The 
dawn of a fair morning is the time usually chosen by these birds for their 
general departure, which T have no reason to believe is prevented by a 
contrary wind. They are seen moving off without rising far above the 
tops of the trees or towns over which they pass ; aud I am of opinion 
that most of those large parties usually migrate either along the shores of 
the Atlantic, or along the course of large streams, such places being most 
Hkely to afford them suitable retreats at night, when they betake them- 
selves to the reeds and other tail grasses, whenever it is convenient to 
do so, although I have witnessed their migration during a fine clear and 
quiet evening. Should they meet with a suitable spot, they ahght close 
together, and for a while twitter loudly, as if to invite approaching flocks 
or stragglers to join them. In such places I have seen great flocks of 
this species in East Florida ; — and here, reader, I may tell you that the fogs 
of that latitude seem not unfrequently to bewilder their whole phalanx. 
One morning, whilst on board the United States Schooner " Spark," Lieu- 
tenant commandant Piercey and the officers directed my attention to some 
immense flocks of these birds flying only a few feet above the water for 
nearly an hour, and moving round the vessel as if completely lost. But 
when the morning is clear, these Swallows rise in a spiral manner from 
the reeds to the height of thirty or forty yards, extend their ranks, and 
continue their course. 

I found flocks of Barn Swallows near St Augustine for several days 
in succession, until the beginning of December ; but after the first frost 
none were to be seen. These could not have removed many degrees 
farther south for want of proper food, and I suspect that numbers of them 
spend the whole winter along the south coast of the Gulf of Mexico. 

The flight of this species is not less interesting than any other of its 
characteristics. It probably surpasses in speed that of any other species 
of the feathered tribes, excepting the Humming Bird. In fine calm weather 



BARN SWALLOW. 419 

their circuits are performed at a considerable elevation, with a liglitness 
and ease that are truly admirable. They play over the river, the field, or 
the city with equal grace, and during spring and summer you might ima- 
gine their object was to fill the air around them with their cheerful twitter- 
ings. When the weather lowers, they move more swiftly in tortuous mean- 
derings over the meadows, and through the streets of the towns ; they pass 
and repass, now close to the pavement, now along the walls of the build- 
ings, here and there snapping an insect as they glide along with a motion 
so rapid that you can scarcely follow them with the eye. But try : — 
there she skims against the wind over the ruffled stream ; up she shoots, 
seizes an insect, and wheeling round, sails down the breeze with a ra- 
pidity that carries her out of your sight almost in a moment. Noon ar- 
rived, and the weather being sultry, round the horse or the cow she 
passes a thousand times, seizing on each tormenting fly. Now she seems 
fain to enter the wood, so close along its edge does she pursue her prey ; 
but spying a Crow, a Raven, a Hawk or an Eagle, off she shoots with 
doubled speed after the marauder, and the next instant is seen lashing, as 
it were, the object of her anger with admirable dexterity, after which, full 
of gaiety and pride the tiny thing returns towards the earth, forming to 
herself a most tortuous path in the air. 

On the ground the movements of this Swallow are by no means awk- 
ward, although, when compared with those of other birds, they seem rather 
hampered. It walks by very short steps, and aids itself with its wings. 
Should it be necessary to remove to the distance of a few yards, it pre- 
fers flying. When alighted on a twig, it shews a peculiar tremulous mo- 
tion of the wings and tail. 

The song of our Barn Swallow resembles that of the Chimney Swal- 
low of England so much that I am unable to discern the smallest differ- 
ence. Both sing on the wing and when ahghted, and the common tweet 
which they utter when flying off is precisely the same in both. Their 
food also is similar ; at least that of our bird consists entirely of insects, 
some being small coleoptera, the crustaceous parts of which are disgorged 
in roundish pellets scarcely the size of a small pea. 

I have represented a pair of our Barn Swallows in the most perfect 
spring plumage, together with a nest taken from one of the rafters of a 
barn in the State of New Jersey, in which there was at least a score of 
them. 

Dd2 



420 BARN SWALLOW. 



HiRUNDO RUSTICA, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 343. 

HiRtTNDO RUFA, Ch. BoTiaparle, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 64 Nuitali, 

Manual, part i. p. 601. 
Barn Swallow, Hirundo Americana, Wils. Amer. Ornith. voL v. p. 34. pi. 38, 

fig, 1, 2. Swains, and Richards. Fauna Bor. Amer. part ii. p. 329. 

Adult Male. Plate CLXXIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill very short, feeble, much depressed and very broad at the base, 
compressed towards the tip, upper mandible with the ridge straight and 
sloping, the sides towards the end convex, the edges sharp and overlap- 
ping, having a slight notch close upon the tip, which is very small, rather 
obtuse, and declinate; lower mandible flattish, the edges inflected, the tip 
acute. Nostrils basal, lateral, oblong, with a membrane above. Head 
of ordinary size, neck short, body rather slender. Feet very small and 
feeble, tarsus very short, anteriorly scutellate, sharp behind ; toes free, 
lateral nearly equal, the outer united as far as the second joint ; claws 
shortish, arched, much compressed, very acute. 

Plumage rather compact and shining above, blended and with ordi- 
nary lustre beneath. Wings very long and narrow, primaries narrow 
and tapering to a rounded point, the first longest, the rest gradually di- 
minishing ; secondaries very short, truncato-emarginate. 

Bill black. Iris hazel. Feet purplish-black. Anterior part of the 
forehead bright chestnut ; the rest of the head, the hind neck, back, rump 
and smaller wing-coverts glossy deep steel-blue. Quills and tail brownish- 
black, the latter wath a white spot on the inner web of each feather, ex- 
cepting the two middle ones. Throat bright chestnut ; a broad band of 
black glossed with steel-blue on the lower part of the neck, joining the 
dark colour of the upper parts. The rest of the lower parts light brown- 
ish-red. 

Length 7 inches, extent of wings 13 ; bill along the back /g, along 
the edge -^^ ; tarsus j\. 

Adult Female. Plate CLXXIII. Fig. 2. 

The Female differs from the Male only in being generally paler be- 
neath. 

The young bird fully fledged has the red of the forehead and throat 
paler, the band on the forepart of the breast brownish-black, without 
gloss, and the rest of the lower parts white tinged with red 



BARN SWALLOW. 421 

There is considerable diversity in the colouring of the under parts of 
this bird. Frequently there is a broad band of steel-blue across the neck 
or fore part of the breast, in other cases this band is narrow, or interrupt- 
ed in the middle, or wanting, as in the individuals represented in the 
plate. The rufous colour of the breast, sides and belly varies from red- 
dish-white in young birds to bright brownish-red in old ones. In the 
former case it is similar to the colour of the European Chimney Swallow, 
which, on the other hand, never has those parts so deeply tinted as in the 
latter case. The bill and feet of the two are precisely similar as are the 
colours of the upper parts ; but in the European bird, the dark band on the 
fore part of the breast is much broader, the first and second primaries are 
almost equal, although the first is longest, and the lateral tail-feathers are 
more elongated. These differences do not seem to me to be sufficient to 
distinguish the two birds as species, and the similarity of their habits ren- 
ders them too nearly allied to be separated with propriety. 

The differences in colour between the European Chimney Swallow 
and the American Barn Swallow, are analogous to those between the 
Barn Owl of the former and that of the latter country. The Swallows 
and the Owls may be distinct species ; but I see no reason for separation 
in the one case more than in the other ; and if the so called Hirundo 
Americana be distinguished from the H. rustica, the Strix Jlammea ought 
to be distinguished from the American Owl, which might in that case be 
named Strix Americana. But let the differences first be shewn. 



( 422 ) 

THE OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER. 

MusciCAPA CooPERi, NuTTALL. Tyrannus borealis, Swains. 

PLATE CLXXIV. Male and Female. 

It is difficult, for me at least, to understand how we should now have 
in the United States so many birds which, not more than twenty years 
ago, were nowhere to be found in those countries. Of these new-comers 
the Olive-sided Flycatcher is one, and one, too, whose size and song ren- 
der it very conspicuous among its kindred. That birds should thus sud- 
denly make their appearance, and at once diffuse themselves over almost 
the whole of the country, is indeed a very curious fact ; and were similar 
changes to take place in the other tribes of animals, and in other coun- 
tries, the arrangements of systematic writers would have to undergo cor- 
responding revolutions, a circumstance which would tend to add to the 
confusion arising from the continual shiftings, combinations, disseverings, 
abrasions of names, and alterations of method, which the interpreters of 
nature are pleased to dignify with the name of science. 

The discovery of this species is due to my amiable and learned friend 
NuTTALL, part of whose account of its habits I have pleasure in laying 
before you. When, a few years ago, I rambled, as I do now, in quest of 
knowledge, scarcely an individual could be found in the United States con- 
versant with birds. At the present day there are several, with whom I 
am personally acquainted, who have fully proved their zeal and activity, 
by their discoveries and descriptions. It is enough for me to mention here 
the well known names of Bonaparte, Nuttall, Coopek, Bachman, 
Pickering, Oaks, and Townsend, whose labours demonstrate the rapid 
advance of science in our country, and whose works will endure for ages. 
On the 8th of August 1832, while walking out from Boston towards 
the country seat of the Honourable Thomas H. Perkins, along with my 
friend Nottall, we were suddenly saluted with the note of this bird. As 
I had never seen it, I leaped over the fence beside us, and cautiously ap- 
proached the tree on which a male was perched and singing. Desiring 
my friend to go in search of a gun, I watched the motions of the devoted 
bird. He returned with a large musket, a cow's horn filled with powder, 
and a handful of shot nearly as large as peas ; but just as I commenced 



OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER. 423 

charging this curious piece, I discovered that it was flintless ! We were 
nearly a mile distant from Mr Perkins"' house, but as we were resolved 
to have the bird, we proceeded to it with all dispatch, procured a gun, 
and returning to the tree, found the Flycatcher, examined its flight and 
manners for a while, and at length shot it. As the representative of a 
species, I made a drawing of this individual, which you will find copied 
in the plate indicated above. But now let us attend to Nuttall's ac- 
count. 

" This undescribed species, which appertains to the group of Pewees, 
was obtained in the woods of Sweet Auburn, in this vicinity, by Mr John 
Bethune of Cambridge, on the 7th of June 1830. This and the second 
specimen acquired soon afterwards, were females on the point of incuba- 
tion. A third individual of the same sex was killed on the 21st of June 
1831. They were aU of them fat, and had their stomach filled with torn 
fragments of wild bees, wasps, and other similar insects. I have watched 
the motions of two other living individuals, who appeared tyrannical and 
quarrelsome, even with each other. The attack was always accompanied 
with a whining querulous twitter. Their dispute was apparently, like 
that of savages, about the rights of their respective hunting-grounds. 
One of the birds, the female, whom I usually saw alone, was uncommonly 
sedentary. The territory she seemed determined to claim was circum- 
scribed by the tops of a cluster of Virginian junipers or red cedars, and 
an adjoining elm and decayed cherry-tree. From this sovereign station, in 
the solitude of a barren and sandy piece of forest, adjoining Sweet Auburn, 
she kept a sharp look-out for passing insects, and pursued them with great 
vigour and success as soon as they appeared, sometimes chasing them to 
the ground, and generally resuming her perch with an additional mouth- 
ful, which she swallowed at leisure. On ascending to her station, she oc- 
casionally quivered her wings and tail, erected her blowzy cap, and kept 
up a whisthng, oft-repeated, whining call, o^ pu, pu, then varied to pit, 
pip, and pip, pit, also at times pip, pip, pu, pip, pip, pip, pu, pu, pip, or 
ta, til, til, and sometimes til, til. This shrill, pensive, and quick whistle, 
sometimes dropped almost to a whisper, or merely pU. The tone is, in fact, 
much like that of the phU, phii, phu, of the Fish Hawk. The male, how- 
ever, besides this note, at long intervals had a call of eh phebee, or JCphebea, 
almost exactly in the tone of the circular tin whistle or bird call, being loud, 
shrill, and guttural at the commencement. The nest of this pair 1 at 
length discovered in the horizontal branch of a tall red cedar, forty or 



424 OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER. 

fiTty feet from the ground. It was formed much in the manner of the 
King-bird's, externally made of interlaced dead twigs of the cedar, inter- 
nally of wiry stolons of the common cinquefoil, dry grass, and some frag- 
ments of branching lichen or usnea. It contained three young, and had 
probably four eggs. The eggs had been hatched about the 20th of June, 
so that the pair had arrived in this vicinity about the close of May. 
The young remained in the nest no less than twenty-three days, and were 
fed from the first on beetles and perfect insects, which appeared to have 
been wholly digested, without any regurgitation. Towards the close of 
this protracted period, the young could fly with all the celerity of their 
parents, and they probably went to and from the nest before abandoning 
it. The male was at this time extremely watchful, and frequently fol- 
lowed me from his usual residence, after my paying him a visit, nearly 
half a mile. These birds, which I watched on several successive days, 
were no way timid, and allowed me for some time previous to visiting 
their nest, to investigate them and the premises they had chosen, without 
showing any sign of alarm or particular observation." 

I received from my friend the following additional account, in a letter 
dated September 12. 1833. " Something serious has happened to our 
pair of the new Flycatchers [Musckapa Cooperi), which have for three 
years at least, bred and passed the summer in the grounds of Mount 
Auburn. This summer they were no longer seen. It is true they were 
not very well used last year ; for, in the first place, I took two of the 
four eggs they had laid, when they deserted the nest, and soon, within 
little more than a stone's-throw, they renewed their labours, and made a 
second, which was also visited ; but from this I believe they raised a small 
brood. The nest, as before, was placed on a horizontal branch of a red 
cedar, and made chiefly of the smallest interlaced twigs collected from 
the dead limbs of the same tree, in all cases so thin, like that of the Ta- 
nager, as to let the light readily through its interstices. An egg you 
have, which, as to size, so completely resembles that of the Wood Pewee, 
as to make one and the same description serve for both ; that is to say, a 
yellowish cream-white, with spots of reddish-brown, of a light and dark 
shade. All the nests, three in number, were within 150 yards of each 
other respectively. I saw another pair once in a small piece of dry pine 
wood in Mount Auburn one year ; but they did not stay long. A third 
pair I saw the summer before the last, on the edge of the marsh towards 
West Cambridge Pond ; these appeared resident. The next pair I had 



OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER. 425 

the rare good fortune to see in your company, by which means they have 
been masterly figured. It is beyond a doubt M. boi-ealis of Richardson, 
but I beheve Mr Cooper and myself discovered it previously, at least be- 
fore the appeai-ance of Dr Richardsos's Northern Zoology."" 

In the course of my journey farther eastward, I found this species 
here and there in Massachusetts and the State of Maine, as far as Mars 
Hill, and subsequently on the IMagdeleine Islands, and the coast of La- 
brador ; but I have not yet been able to discover its line of migration, or 
the time of its arrival in the Southern States. 

MuscicAPA iNORNATA, Nuttall, Nat. Sci. Philad. 

Tyrankus borealis, Northern Tyrant, Swains, and Richards. Fauna Bor. Anier. 

part ii. p. 141. 
Olive-sided Flycatcher or Pe-pe, Muscicapa Cooperi, Niiltall, Manual, part i. 

p. 282. 

Adult Male. Plate CLXXIV. Fig. 1. 

Bill of moderate length, stout, straight, broad at the base, and taper- 
ing, compressed only close to the tip ; both mandibles with the dorsal 
line very slightly convex, the sides rounded, the edges nearly straio-ht, 
sharp, inclinate ; a slight notch close to the small deflected tip. Nostrils 
basal, lateral, roundish, partly covered by the bristly feathers. Head 
rather large, neck short, body rather slender. Feet short ; tarsus com- 
pressed, covered anteriorly with a few broad scutella ; toes of moderate 
size, the hind one not proportionally larger, the inner a little shorter than 
the outer ; claws rather long, arched, much compressed, very acute. 

Plumage soft and blended, with little gloss. Strong bristles at the 
base of the upper mandible. Wings rather long, second quill lono-est 
first longer than thii-d, second and third slightly cut out on the outer web • 
the primaries tapering and rounded. Tail of ordinary length, emargi- 
nate, of twelve rounded feathers. 

Bill blackish-brown above, the lower mandible brownish-yellow, with 
the tip dusky. Iris dark hazel. Feet dusky, claws brownish-black. 
The whole upper parts, with the cheeks and sides of the neck, dusky 
brown; quills and tail blackish-brown, the secondaries margined with 
brownish-white. A stripe of greyish-white runs down the fore-neck from 
the bill, and joins the white of the breast and abdomen, the latter beino- 
tinged with yellow ; the sides dusky grey. 

Length 1\ inches, extent of wings 12f ; bill along the ridge j\, along 
the edge l^^^^ 5 tarsus /j. 



426 OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER. 

Adult Female. Plate CLXXIV. Fig. 2. 

The Female resembles the Male, but has the lower parts of a duller 
hue. 

This species is nearly allied to the King Bird and the Grey Tyrant, 
from both of which, however, it is readily distinguished. 



The Balsam or Silver Fir. 

Pivus BALSAMEA, WUld. Sp. PI. vol. iv. p. 504. Pursh. Fl. Amer. Sept. voL ii. 

p. 639 Abies balsamifeba, Mich. Fl. Amer. vol. ii. p. 207 — Moncecia Mo- 

KADELPHiA, Linn. Conifers, Jitss. 

This beautiful fir is abundant in the State of Maine, where I made a 
drawing of the twig before you. It grows on elevated rocky ground, 
often near streams or rivers. Its general form is conical, the lower 
branches coming off horizontally near the ground, and the succeeding 
ones becoming gradually more oblique, until the uppermost are nearly 
erect. The leaves and cones become so resinous in autumn, that, in 
climbing one of these trees, a person is besmeared with the excreted 
juice, which is then white, transparent, and almost fluid. The leaves are 
solitary, flat, emarginate, or entire, bright green above, and glaucous or 
silvery beneath ; the cones cylindrical, erect, with short obovate, serru- 
late, mucronate scales. It is abundant in the British provinces, the 
Northern Sates, and in the higher parts of the Alleghany Mountains. 
The height does not exceed fifty feet. The bark is smooth, the wood 
light and resinous. The resin is collected and sold under the names of 
Balm of Gilead and Canada Balsam. 



i 



( 427 ) 

NUTTALLS SHORT-BILLED MARSH WREN. 

Troglodytes brevirostris, Nuttall. 

PTATE CLXXV. Male, Female, and Nest. 

I HOPE, kind reader, you will approve of the liberty which I have 
taken in prefixing the name of the learned Nuttall to the present spe- 
cies, which was discovered by his indefatigable and enthusiastic devotion 
to science, in a country where Wilson, Bonaparte, Bachman, Picker- 
ing, Cooper, Say, and others had already exerted themselves to the ut- 
most in their endeavours to complete its diversified and interesting Fauna. 
I hope, too, that you will allow me to present you with the history of this 
sweet little inhabitant of our freshwater marshes, as given by my friend, 
who at this moment is toiling with all imaginable spirit, far towards the 
west, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. In granting my request, you 
will confer on me a favour, truly acceptable, as it enables me to testify 
the friendship which I feel towards him of whom I have spoken. 

" This amusing and not unmusical little species inhabits the lowest 
marshy meadows, but does not frequent the reed flats. It never visits 
cultivated grounds, and is at all times shy, timid, and suspicious. It arrives 
in this part of Massachusetts about the close of the first week in May, and 
retires to the south by the middle of September at farthest, probably by 
night, as it is never seen in progress, so that its northern residence is only 
prolonged about four months. 

" Its presence is announced by its lively and quaint song of tsh, tship, 
a day, day, day, day, delivered in haste and earnest at short intervals, 
either when he is mounted on a tuft of sedge, or while perched on some 
low bush near the skirt of the marsh. The tsh, tship is uttered with a 
strong aspiration, and the remainder with a guttural echo. While thus 
engaged, his head and tail are alternately depressed and elevated, as if 
the little odd performer were fixed on a pivot. Sometimes the note varies 
to tschip, tschip, tshia, dh, dh, dh, dh, the latter part being a pleasant trill. 
" When approached too closely, which not often happened, as he 
permitted me to come within two or three feet of his station, his song be- 
comes harsh and more hurried, like tship, da, da, da, and de, de, de, de, 
d, d, dh, or tshe, de, de, de, de, rising into an angry petulant cry, which 



428 NUTTALL'S SHORT-BILLED MARSH WREN. 

is also sometimes a low hoai'se and scolding daigh, daigh. Then again 
on invading the nest, the sound sinks to a plaintive tsh, tship, tsh, tship. 
In the early part of the breeding season, the male is very lively and 
musical, and in his best humour he tunes up a tship, tship, tship, a dee, 
with a pleasantly warbled and reiterated de. At a later period, another 
male uttered little else than a hoarse and guttural daigh, hardly louder 
than the croaking of a frog. When approached, they repeatedly descend 
into the grass, where they spend much of their time, in quest of insects, 
chiefly crustaceous, which, with moths, constitute their principal food. 
Here unseen they still sedulously utter their quaint warbling ; and tship, 
tship, a day, day, day, day, may, for about a month from their arrival, 
be heard pleasantly echoing on a fine morning, from the borders of every 
low marsh and wet meadow, provided with tussocks of sedge grass, in 
which they indispensably dwell, for a time engaged in the cares and gra- 
tification of raising and providing for their young. 

" The nest of the Short-billed Marsh Wren is made wholly of dry or 
partly green sedge, bent usually from the top of the grassy tuft in which 
the fabric is situated. With much ingenuity and labour these simple 
materials are loosely entwined together into a spherical form, with a small 
and rather obscure entrance left on the side. A thin lining is sometimes 
added to the whole, of the linty fibres of the silk-weed, or some other 
similar material. The eggs, pure white, and destitute of spots, are pro- 
bably from six to eight. In a nest containing seven eggs, there were 
three of them larger than the rest, and perfectly fresh, while the four 
smaller were far advanced towards hatching. From this circumstance we 
may fairly infer that two different individuals had laid in the same nest, a 
circumstance more common among wild birds than is generally imagined. 
This is also the more remarkable, as the male of this species, like many 
other Wrens, is much employed in making nests, of which not more than 
one in three or four are ever occupied by the females ! 

" The summer limits of this species, confounded Avith the ordinary 
Marsh Wren, are yet unascertained ; and it is singular to remark how 
near it approaches to another species inhabiting the temperate parts of 
the southern hemisphere in America, namely the Sylvia platensis, figured 
and indicated by Buffon. The description, however, of this bird, ob- 
tained by CoMMERsoN, on the banks of La Plata, is too imperfect for 
certainty. It was found probably in a marshy situation, as it entered the 
boat in which he was sailing. The time of arrival and departure of this 



NUTTALLS SHORT-BILLED MARSH WREN. 429 

species, agi-eeing exactly with the appearance of the Marsh Wren of 
Wilson, inclines me to believe that it also exists in Pennsylvania.'" 

While in New Jersey, in the summer of 18S2, after I had become ac- 
quainted with this species through Nuttall, T spent several days in 
searching the freshwater marshes, often waist-deep in mud, in the hopes 
of procuring it ; but my efforts, as well as those of my friend Edward 
Harris, Esq. and my sons, were unsuccessful. I therefore concluded 
that it probably does not exist in that district. This is certainly strange, 
for it is very abundant in South Carolina, where the Rev. John Bach- 
man, myself, and others, have often seen it. Nay, I am of opinion that 
it spends the winter there, as well as in the Floridas, as I shot several 
individuals in February 1833, nine miles from Charleston, at a distance 
from any river, and on high, usually dry plains, at that season partially 
covered with water. They did not rise, until we had almost walked upon 
them, and could be shot only on wing, as they flew directly off at the 
height of a few inches above the grass, and alighted on the first bunch as 
abruptly as if they had been shot. They then emitted a single rough 
grating note, quite distinct from that of any other Wren. About this 
time I received from Ncttall a letter, which completes the history of 
this diminutive species. 

" Concerning the Short-billed Marsh Wren of which you inquired, I 
have but little to add to what I have already published ; but it is for you 
to fiU up the history of its summer migrations. Did you find it in Maine 
or Labrador ? This season they have been more than usually abundant. 
Last year (1832) I saw extremely few, and believe many were famished, 
or some way destroyed by the long continuance of our spring rains. This 
year (1833) also, several pairs of Marsh Wrens have been seen occupied 
in making their nests in the reeds, on the margin of Fresh Pond, in our 
vicinity. These nests are suspended ; those of the short-billed species al- 
ways repose directly on the surface of the sedgy tussock of which they 
are made. The young are easily approached, appearing, by the placid 
innocence of their manner, as if wholly unconscious of danger. Coleop- 
terous insects are the principal food of the species. I heard once or twice 
this season, the anxious guttural bubbling sound attributed to the Marsh 
Wren, mentioned by Wilson. The Short- billed species and the Common, 
now near the time of their departure for the south, frequent the reeds by 
Fresh Pond, in httle roving companies. — Cambridge, September 12. 1833." 



430 NUTTALL'S SHORT-BILLED MARSH WREN. 

Short-billed Marsh Wren, Troglodytes brevirostris, Nuttall, Manus^l, 
part i. p. 43G. 

Adult Male. Plate CLXXV. Fig. 1. 

Bill of moderate length, slender, nearly straight, acute, subtrigonal at 
the base, compressed towards the end ; upper mandible with the dorsal 
outline slightly arched, the sides convex towards the end, the edges shai-p, 
the tip narrow but rather obtuse ; lower mandible also much compressed, 
with the dorsal line straight, the sides nearly erect and slightly rounded, 
the sharp edges inflected. Nostrils basal, lateral, oblong, with an arched 
membrane above, open and bare. Head rather compressed, neck and 
body short. Legs of ordinary length ; tarsus compressed, anteriorly co- 
vered with six scutella, posteriorly with a long plate forming a sharp edge ; 
toes scutellate above, the second and fourth nearly equal, the hind toe 
much stronger, with a much larger claw, the third and fourth united as 
far as the second joint ; claws arched, much compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft and blended. No bristly feathers about the bill. Wings 
short, bi-oad, rounded, first quill about half the length of the second, 
which is considerably shorter than the third, fourth, and fifth, which are 
nearly equal, the fourth, however, being the longest. Tail of ordinary 
length, graduated, of twelve narrow rounded feathers. 

Bill dusky above, pale brownish-yellow beneath. Iris dark hazel. Feet 
pale flesh-colour. The upper parts are blackish-brown, each feather with 
a brownish-white line along the shaft, and the outer edge towards the end 
reddish-brown. Wings dusky, the outer edges barred with pale yellowish- 
brown on the outer webs. Upper tail-coverts and taU similarly barred. 
Throat and central part of the breast greyish- white, the rest of the lower 
parts pale reddish-brown, the sides under the wings faintly barred with 
dusky. 

Length 4| inches, extent of wings 5| ; bill along the ridge **j, along 
the edge /g ; tarsus \\. 

Adult Female. Plate CLXXV. Fig. 2. 

The female resembles the male, and the young birds are distinguishable 
only by having the bill shorter, and the lower parts more tinged with red. 

The Long-billed Marsh Wren is very closely allied to the present 
species, and the two form part of a group which Vieillot distinguishes 
by the name of Thyrothorus. 



I 



( 431 ) 



A MOOSE HUNT. 

In the spring of 1833, the Moose were remarkably abundant in the 
neighbourhood of the Schoodiac Lakes ; and, as the snow was so deep in 
the woods as to render it almost impossible for them to escape, many of 
them were caught. About the 1st of March 1833, three of us set off on 
a hunt, provided with snow-shoes, guns, hatchets, and provisions for a 
fortnight. On the first day we proceeded fifty miles, in a sledge drawn 
by one horse, to the nearest lake, where we stopped for the night, in the 
hut of an Indian named Lewis, of the Passamaquody tribe, and who has 
abandoned the wandering life of his race, and turned his attention to 
farming and lumbering. Here we saw the operation of making snow- 
shoes, which requires more skill than one might imagine. The men ge- 
nerally make the bows to suit themselves, and the women weave in the 
threads, which are usually made of the skin of the Karaboo deer. 

The next day we went on foot sixty-two miles farther, when a heavy 
rain-storm coming on, we were detained a whole day. The next morn- 
ing we put on snow-shoes, and proceeded about thirteen miles, to the 
head of the Musquash Lake, where we found a camp, which had been 
erected by some lumberers in the winter, and here we established our 
head- quarters. In the afternoon an Indian had driven a female moose- 
deer, and two young ones of the preceding year, within a quarter of a 
mile of our camp, when he was obhged to shoot the old one. We under- 
took to procure the young alive, and after much exertion succeeded in 
getting one of them, and shut it up in the shed made for the oxen ; but 
as the night was falling, we were compelled to leave the other in the 
woods. The dogs having killed two fine deer that day, we feasted upon 
some of their flesh, and upon Moose, which certainly seemed to us the 
most savoury meat we had ever eaten, although a keen appetite is very 
apt to warp one's judgment in such a case. After supper we laid our- 
selves down before the huge fire we had built up, and were soon satisfied 
that we had at last discovered the most comfortable mode of sleeping. 

In the morning we started off on the track of a Moose, which had 
been driven from its haunt or yard by the Indians the day before ; and, 
although the snow was in general five feet deep, and in some places much 
deeper, we travelled three miles before we came to the spot where the 



4S-2 MOOSE HUNT. 

Moose had rested for the night. He had not left this place more than 
an hour, when we came to it. So we pushed on faster than before, trust- 
ing that ere long we should overtake him. We had proceeded about a 
mile and a half farther, when he took a sudden turn, which threw us off' 
his track, and when we again found it, we saw that an Indian had taken 
it up and gone in pursuit of the harassed animal. In a short time we 
heard the report of a gun, and immediately running up, we saw the 
Moose standing in a thicket wounded, when we brought him down. The 
animal finding himself too closely pursued, had turned upon the Indian, 
who fired and instantly ran into the bushes to conceal himself. It was 
three years old, and consequently not nearly grown, although already 
about six feet and a half in height. 

It is difficult to conceive how an animal could have gone at such a 
rate, when the snow was so deep, with a thick crust at top. In one place 
he had followed the course of a brook, over which the snow had sunk 
considerably on account of the higher temperature of the water, and we 
had an opportunity of seeing evidence of the great power which the spe- 
cies possesses in leaping over objects that obstruct his way. There were 
places in which the snow had drifted to so great a height, that you would 
have imagined it impossible for any animal to leap over it, and yet we 
found that he had done so at a single bound, without leaving the least 
trace. As I did not measure these snow-heaps, I cannot positively say 
how high they were, but I am well persuaded that some of them were 
ten feet. 

We proceeded to skin and dress the Moose, and bu