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Title: Ornithological Biography, Volume 1 (of 5) - An Account of the Habits of the Birds of the United States of America
Author: Audubon, John James
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ornithological Biography, Volume 1 (of 5) - An Account of the Habits of the Birds of the United States of America" ***

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Libraries.)



Transcriber's Note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
  been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

  The following inconsistencies were noted and retained:

      fly-catcher and flycatcher
      bottom lands and bottom-lands
      Kestrel and Kestril
      Chicasaw and Chickasaw
      Redwings and Red-wings
      Black-and-yellow Warbler and Black and Yellow Warbler
      Chuckwill's Widow and Chuck-Will's Widow
      Columbian Jay and Columbia Jay
      Shawaney and Shawanee
      Falco Haliaetos, Haliäetos, Haliaetus and Haliaëtus
      Pont Chartrain and Pontchartrain
      Genessee and Gennessee
      Musquito and moschetto
      Skuylkill and Schuylkil

  The following are possible errors, but retained:
      Massachusets
      napsack
      pease
      pannel
      scissars
      "flat and juicy" should possibly be "fat and juicy"
      "wet cloths" should possibly be "wet clothes"
      Gelseminum should possibly be Gelsemium
      Psittaccus should possibly be Psittacus
      Gadwal Duck should possibly be Gadwall Duck
      Anona should possibly be Annona
      The plate number of the Adult Female Great Horned Owl should
        possibly be LXI.

    Several of the words in the sections in French are unaccented where
    modern French uses accents.  They have been left as printed.



ORNITHOLOGICAL BIOGRAPHY.



     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.

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

     FELLOW OF THE LINNEAN AND ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETIES OF LONDON; MEMBER
     OF THE LYCEUM AND LINNEAN SOCIETY OF NEW YORK, OF THE NATURAL HISTORY
     SOCIETY OF PARIS, THE WERNERIAN NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH;
     HONORARY MEMBER OF THE SOCIETY OF NATURAL HISTORY OF MANCHESTER, AND
     OF THE SCOTTISH ACADEMY OF PAINTING, ARCHITECTURE, AND SCULPTURE, &C.

     EDINBURGH:

     ADAM BLACK, 55. NORTH BRIDGE, EDINBURGH;

     R. HAVELL JUN., ENGRAVER, 77. OXFORD STREET, AND LONGMAN, REES, BROWN,
     & GREEN, LONDON; GEORGE SMITH, TITHEBARR STREET, LIVERPOOL; T. SOWLER,
     MANCHESTER; MRS ROBINSON, LEEDS; E. CHARNLEY, NEWCASTLE; POOL & BOOTH,
     CHESTER; AND BEILBY, KNOTT, & BEILBY, BIRMINGHAM.

     MDCCCXXXI.



     NEILL & CO. PRINTERS,
     Old Fishmarket, Edinburgh.



INTRODUCTORY ADDRESS.


KIND READER,—Should you derive from the perusal of the following pages,
which I have written with no other wish than that of procuring one
favourable thought from you, a portion of the pleasure which I have felt
in collecting the materials for their composition, my gratification will
be ample, and the compensation for all my labours will be more than,
perhaps, I have a right to expect from an individual to whom I am as
yet unknown, and to whom I must therefore, in the very outset, present
some account of my life, and of the motives which have influenced me in
thus bringing you into contact with an American Woodsman.

       *       *       *       *       *

I received life and light in the New World. When I had hardly yet
learned to walk, and to articulate those first words always so endearing
to parents, the productions of Nature that lay spread all around,
were constantly pointed out to me. They soon became my playmates; and
before my ideas were sufficiently formed to enable me to estimate the
difference between the azure tints of the sky, and the emerald hue of
the bright foliage, I felt that an intimacy with them, not consisting
of friendship merely, but bordering on phrenzy, must accompany my steps
through life;—and now, more than ever, am I persuaded of the power of
those early impressions. They laid such hold upon me, that, when removed
from the woods, the prairies, and the brooks, or shut up from the view of
the wide Atlantic, I experienced none of those pleasures most congenial
to my mind. None but aërial companions suited my fancy. No roof seemed
so secure to me as that formed of the dense foliage under which the
feathered tribes were seen to resort, or the caves and fissures of the
massy rocks to which the dark-winged Cormorant and the Curlew retired to
rest, or to protect themselves from the fury of the tempest. My father
generally accompanied my steps, procured birds and flowers for me with
great eagerness,—pointed out the elegant movements of the former, the
beauty and softness of their plumage, the manifestations of their pleasure
or sense of danger,—and the always perfect forms and splendid attire of
the latter. My valued preceptor would then speak of the departure and
return of birds with the seasons, would describe their haunts, and, more
wonderful than all, their change of livery; thus exciting me to study
them, and to raise my mind toward their great Creator.

A vivid pleasure shone upon those days of my early youth, attended with a
calmness of feeling, that seldom failed to rivet my attention for hours,
whilst I gazed in ecstacy upon the pearly and shining eggs, as they lay
imbedded in the softest down, or among dried leaves and twigs, or were
exposed upon the burning sand or weather-beaten rock of our Atlantic
shores. I was taught to look upon them as flowers yet in the bud. I
watched their opening, to see how Nature had provided each different
species with eyes, either open at birth, or closed for some time after;
to trace the slow progress of the young birds toward perfection, or
admire the celerity with which some of them, while yet unfledged, removed
themselves from danger to security.

I grew up, and my wishes grew with my form. These wishes, kind reader,
were for the entire possession of all that I saw. I was fervently desirous
of becoming acquainted with nature. For many years, however, I was sadly
disappointed, and for ever, doubtless, must I have desires that cannot
be gratified. The moment a bird was dead, however beautiful it had been
when in life, the pleasure arising from the possession of it became
blunted; and although the greatest cares were bestowed on endeavours to
preserve the appearance of nature, I looked upon its vesture as more than
sullied, as requiring constant attention and repeated mendings, while,
after all, it could no longer be said to be fresh from the hands of its
Maker. I wished to possess all the productions of nature, but I wished
life with them. This was impossible. Then what was to be done? I turned
to my father, and made known to him my disappointment and anxiety. He
produced a book of _Illustrations_. A new life ran in my veins. I turned
over the leaves with avidity; and although what I saw was not what I
longed for, it gave me a desire to copy nature. To Nature I went, and
tried to imitate her, as in the days of my childhood I had tried to raise
myself from the ground and stand erect, before nature had imparted the
vigour, necessary for the success of such an undertaking.

How sorely disappointed did I feel for many years, when I saw that my
productions were worse than those which I ventured (perhaps in silence)
to regard as bad, in the book given me by my father! My pencil gave
birth to a family of cripples. So maimed were most of them, that they
resembled the mangled corpses on a field of battle, compared with the
integrity of living men. These difficulties and disappointments irritated
me, but never for a moment destroyed the desire of obtaining perfect
representations of nature. The worse my drawings were, the more beautiful
did I see the originals. To have been torn from the study would have
been as death to me. My time was entirely occupied with it. I produced
hundreds of these rude sketches annually; and for a long time, at my
request, they made bonfires on the anniversaries of my birth-day.

Patiently, and with industry, did I apply myself to study, for, although
I felt the impossibility of giving life to my productions, I did not
abandon the idea of representing nature. Many plans were successively
adopted, many masters guided my hand. At the age of seventeen, when I
returned from France, whither I had gone to receive the rudiments of my
education, my drawings had assumed a form. DAVID had guided my hand in
tracing objects of large size. Eyes and noses belonging to giants, and
heads of horses represented in ancient sculpture, were my models. These,
although fit subjects for men intent on pursuing the higher branches of
the art, were immediately laid aside by me. I returned to the woods of
the New World with fresh ardour, and commenced a collection of drawings,
which I henceforth continued, and which is now publishing, under the
title of "THE BIRDS OF AMERICA."

To these Illustrations I shall often refer you, good-natured reader,
in the sequel, that you may judge of them yourself. Should you discover
any merit in them, happy would the expression of your approbation render
me, for I should feel that I had not spent my life in vain. You can best
ascertain the truth of these delineations. I am persuaded that you love
nature—that you admire and study her. Every individual, possessed of
a sound heart, listens with delight to the love-notes of the woodland
warblers. He never casts a glance upon their lovely forms without
proposing to himself questions respecting them; nor does he look on the
trees which they frequent, or the flowers over which they glide, without
admiring their grandeur, or delighting in their sweet odours or their
brilliant tints.

       *       *       *       *       *

In Pennsylvania, a beautiful State, almost central on the line of our
Atlantic shores, my father, in his desire of proving my friend through
life, gave me what Americans call a beautiful "plantation," refreshed
during the summer heats by the waters of the Schuylkil River, and
traversed by a creek named Perkioming. Its fine woodlands, its extensive
fields, its hills crowned with evergreens, offered many subjects to my
pencil. It was there that I commenced my simple and agreeable studies,
with as little concern about the future as if the world had been made
for me. My rambles invariably commenced at break of day; and to return
wet with dew, and bearing a feathered prize, was, and ever will be, the
highest enjoyment for which I have been fitted.

Yet think not, reader, that the enthusiasm which I felt for my favourite
pursuits was a barrier opposed to the admission of gentler sentiments.
Nature, which had turned my young mind toward the bird and the flower,
soon proved her influence upon my heart. Be it enough to say, that the
object of my passion has long since blessed me with the name of husband.
And now let us return, for who cares to listen to the love-tale of a
naturalist, whose feelings may be supposed to be as light as the feathers
which he delineates!

For a period of nearly twenty years, my life was a succession of
vicissitudes. I tried various branches of commerce, but they all proved
unprofitable, doubtless because my whole mind was ever filled with my
passion for rambling and admiring those objects of nature from which
alone I received the purest gratification. I had to struggle against
the will of all who at that period called themselves my friends. I must
here, however, except my wife and children. The remarks of my other
friends irritated me beyond endurance, and, breaking through all bonds,
I gave myself entirely up to my pursuits. Any one unacquainted with the
extraordinary desire which I then felt of seeing and judging for myself,
would doubtless have pronounced me callous to every sense of duty, and
regardless of every interest. I undertook long and tedious journeys,
ransacked the woods, the lakes, the prairies, and the shores of the
Atlantic. Years were spent away from my family. Yet, reader, will you
believe it, I had no other object in view, than simply to enjoy the sight
of nature. Never for a moment did I conceive the hope of becoming in
any degree useful to my kind, until I accidentally formed acquaintance
with the PRINCE of MUSIGNANO at Philadelphia, to which place I went,
with the view of proceeding eastward along the coast.

I reached Philadelphia on the 5th April 1824, just as the sun was sinking
beneath the horizon. Excepting the good Dr MEASE, who had visited me in
my younger days, I had scarcely a friend in the city; for I was then
unacquainted with HARLAN, WETHERELL, MACMURTRIE, LESUEUR, or SULLY. I
called on him, and showed him some of my drawings. He presented me to
the celebrated CHARLES LUCIAN BONAPARTE, who in his turn introduced me
to the Natural History Society of Philadelphia. But the patronage which
I so much needed, I soon found myself compelled to seek elsewhere. I
left Philadelphia, and visited New York, where I was received with a
kindness well suited to elevate my depressed spirits; and afterwards,
ascending that noble stream the Hudson, glided over our broad lakes, to
seek the wildest solitudes of the pathless and gloomy forests.

It was in these forests that, for the first time, I communed with myself
as to the possible event of my visiting Europe again; and I began
to fancy my work under the multiplying efforts of the graver. Happy
days, and nights of pleasing dreams! I read over the catalogue of my
collection, and thought how it might be possible for an unconnected and
unaided individual like myself to accomplish the grand scheme. Chance,
and chance alone, had divided my drawings into three different classes,
depending upon the magnitude of the objects which they represented; and,
although I did not at that time possess all the specimens necessary, I
arranged them as well as I could into parcels of five plates, each of
which now forms a Number of my Illustrations. I improved the whole as
much as was in my power; and as I daily retired farther from the haunts
of man, determined to leave nothing undone, which my labour, my time,
or my purse, could accomplish.

Eighteen months elapsed. I returned to my family, then in Louisiana,
explored every portion of the vast woods around, and at last sailed
towards the Old World. But before we visit the shores of hospitable
England, I have the wish, good-natured reader, to give you some idea of
my mode of executing the original drawings, from which the Illustrations
have been taken; and I sincerely hope that the perusal of these lines
may excite in you a desire minutely to examine them.

Merely to say, that each object of my Illustrations is of the size of
nature, were too vague—for to many it might only convey the idea that
they are so, more or less, according as the eye of the delineator may
have been more or less correct in measurement simply obtained through that
medium; and of avoiding error in this respect I am particularly desirous.
Not only is every object, as a whole, of the natural size, but also
every portion of each object. The compass aided me in its delineation,
regulated and corrected each part, even to the very foreshortening which
now and then may be seen in the figures. The bill, the feet, the legs,
the claws, the very feathers as they project one beyond another, have
been accurately measured. The birds, almost all of them, were killed
by myself, after I had examined their motions and habits, as much as
the case admitted, and were regularly drawn on or near the spot where
I procured them. The positions may, perhaps, in some instances, appear
_outré_; but such supposed exaggerations can afford subject of criticism
only to persons unacquainted with the feathered tribes; for, believe me,
nothing can be more transient or varied than the attitudes or positions
of birds. The Heron, when warming itself in the sun, will sometimes
drop its wings several inches, as if they were dislocated; the Swan may
often be seen floating with one foot extended from the body; and some
Pigeons, you well know, turn quite over, when playing in the air. The
flowers, plants, or portions of trees which are attached to the principal
objects, have been chosen from amongst those in the vicinity of which
the birds were found, and are not, as some persons have thought, the
trees or plants upon which they always feed or perch.

An accident which happened to two hundred of my original drawings,
nearly put a stop to my researches in ornithology. I shall relate it,
merely to show you how far enthusiasm—for by no other name can I call
the persevering zeal with which I laboured—may enable the observer of
nature to surmount the most disheartening obstacles. I left the village
of Henderson, in Kentucky, situated on the bank of the Ohio, where I
resided for several years, to proceed to Philadelphia on business. I
looked to all my drawings before my departure, placed them carefully in
a wooden box, and gave them in charge to a relative, with injunctions
to see that no injury should happen to them. My absence was of several
months; and when I returned, after having enjoyed the pleasures of home
for a few days, I inquired after my box, and what I was pleased to call
my treasure. The box was produced, and opened;—but, reader, feel for
me—a pair of Norway rats had taken possession of the whole, and had
reared a young family amongst the gnawed bits of paper, which, but a few
months before, represented nearly a thousand inhabitants of the air! The
burning heat which instantly rushed through my brain was too great to
be endured, without affecting the whole of my nervous system. I slept
not for several nights, and the days passed like days of oblivion,—until
the animal powers being recalled into action, through the strength of my
constitution, I took up my gun, my note-book, and my pencils, and went
forth to the woods as gaily as if nothing had happened. I felt pleased
that I might now make much better drawings than before, and, ere a period
not exceeding three years had elapsed, I had my portfolio filled again.

America being my country, and the principal pleasures of my life having
been obtained there, I prepared to leave it with deep sorrow, after
in vain trying to publish my Illustrations in the United States. In
Philadelphia, WILSON's principal engraver, amongst others, gave it as
his opinion to my friends, that my drawings could never be engraved. In
New York, other difficulties presented themselves, which determined me
to carry my collections to Europe.

As I approached the coast of England, and for the first time beheld
her fertile shores, the despondency of my spirits became very great. I
knew not an individual in the country; and, although I was the bearer
of letters from American friends, and statesmen of great eminence, my
situation appeared precarious in the extreme. I imagined that every
individual whom I was about to meet, might be possessed of talents
superior to those of any on our side of the Atlantic! Indeed, as I for
the first time walked on the streets of Liverpool, my heart nearly failed
me, for not a glance of sympathy did I meet in my wanderings, for two
days. To the woods I could not betake myself, for there were none near.

But how soon did all around me assume a different aspect! How fresh is
the recollection of the change! The very first letter which I tendered
procured me a world of friends. The RATHBONES, the ROSCOES, the TRAILLS,
the CHORLEYS, the MELLIES, and others, took me by the hand; and so kind
and beneficent, nay, so generously kind, have they all been towards
me, that I can never cancel the obligation. My drawings were publicly
exhibited, and publicly praised. Joy swelled my heart. The first
difficulty was surmounted. Honours, which, on application being made
through my friends, Philadelphia had refused, Liverpool freely accorded.

I left that emporium of commerce, with many a passport, bent upon visiting
fair Edina, for I longed to see the men and the scenes immortalized
by the fervid strains of BURNS, and the glowing eloquence of SCOTT and
WILSON. I arrived at Manchester; and here, too, the GREGGS, the LLOYDS,
the SERGEANTS, the HOLMES, the BLACKWALLS, the BENTLEYS, and many others,
rendered my visit as pleasing as it was profitable to me. Friends pressed
me to accompany them to the pretty villages of Bakewell, Mattlock, and
Buxton. It was a jaunt of pure enjoyment. Nature was then at her best,
at least such was the feeling of our whole party; the summer was full
of promise.

My journey to Scotland was performed along the north-western shores of
England. I passed in view of Lancaster Castle, and through Carlisle. I had
by this time much altered my ideas of this Island and its inhabitants.
I found her churches all hung with her glories, and her people all
alive to the kindest hospitality. I saw Edinburgh, and was struck with
the natural pictorial elegance of her site; and I soon found that her
inhabitants were as urbane as those whom I had left behind me. The
principal scientific and literary characters of the ancient metropolis
of Scotland received me as a brother. It is impossible for me to mention
all the individuals from whom I received the kindest attention; but
gratitude forbids my omitting the names of Professors JAMESON, GRAHAM,
RUSSEL, WILSON, BROWN, and MONRO, Sir WALTER SCOTT, Captain HALL, Dr
BREWSTER, Dr GREVILLE, Mr JAMES WILSON, Mr NEILL, Mr HAY, Mr COMBE,
Mr HAMILTON, the WITHAMS, the LIZARSES, the SYMES, and the NICHOLSONS.
The Royal Society, the Wernerian Natural History Society, the Society
of Scottish Antiquaries, the Society of Useful Arts, and the Scottish
Academy of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture, spontaneously and
gratuitously enrolled me among their members.

In this capital commenced the publication of my ILLUSTRATIONS, and there
it might have been accomplished, had not unexpected difficulties come in
the way. My engraver, Mr W. H. LIZARS, advised me to seek an artist in
London. There, after many fruitless inquiries, I became acquainted with
Mr ROBERT HAVELL junior, who has ever since continued to be employed by
me, and who, I am happy in saying, has given general satisfaction to my
patrons.

Four years have passed. One volume of my Illustrations, containing one
hundred plates, is before the public. You may easily see, good-natured
reader, that to Britain I owe nearly all my success. She has furnished
the artists through whom my labours were to be presented to the world;
she has granted me the highest patronage and honours;—in a word, she
has thus far supported the prosecution of my Illustrations. To Britain,
therefore, I shall ever be grateful.

Two objections have been made to the mode in which my work is published:
the great size of the paper upon which the representations are offered
to you, and the length of time necessary for their completion.

As to the size of the paper, which has been complained of by some, it
could not be avoided without giving up the desire of presenting to the
world those my favourite objects in nature, of the size which nature has
given to them. As one of the first ornithologists of the age, who kindly
reviewed a few numbers of the Plates, has spoken upon this subject in
a manner which I cannot here use, I refer you to his observations. The
name of SWAINSON is, doubtless, well known to you. Permit me also to lead
you, for a defence of my resolution in this matter, to one, who, being
the centre of zoological science, is well entitled to your deference in
a question relating to Ornithology. You will readily apprehend that I
allude to the great, the immortal CUVIER.

Secondly, As to the time necessary for finishing my Work, I have only
to observe, that it will be less than the period frequently given by
many persons to the maturation of certain wines placed in their cellars,
several years previous to the commencement of my work, and which will
not be considered capable of imparting their full relish until many
years after the conclusion of the "Birds of America."

Since I became acquainted with Mr ALEXANDER WILSON, the celebrated
author of the well-known and duly appreciated work on American Birds,
and subsequently with my excellent friend CHARLES LUCIAN BONAPARTE,
I have been aware of the keenness with which every student of Natural
History presses forward to describe an object of his own discovery, or
that may have occurred to travellers in distant countries. There seems
to be a pride, a glory in doing this, that thrusts aside every other
consideration; and I really believe that the ties of friendship itself
would not prevent some naturalists from even robbing an old acquaintance
of the merit of first describing a previously unknown object. Although I
have certainly felt very great pleasure, when, on picking up a bird, I
discovered it to be new to me, yet I have never known the desire above
alluded to. This feeling I still cherish; and in spite of the many
injunctions which I have received from naturalists far more eminent
than I can ever expect to be, I have kept, and still keep, unknown to
others, the species, which, not finding portrayed in any published work,
I look upon as new, having only given in my Illustrations a number of
them proportionate to the drawings of already known species that have
been engraved. Attached to the descriptions of these, you will find the
place and date of their discovery. I do not, however, intend to claim
any merit for these discoveries, and should have liked as well that the
objects of them had been previously known, as this would have saved
some unbelievers the trouble of searching for them in books, and the
disappointment of finding them actually new. I assure you, good reader,
that, even at this moment, I should have less pleasure in presenting
to the scientific world a new bird, the knowledge of whose habits I
do not possess, than in describing the peculiarities of one long since
discovered.

There are persons whose desire of obtaining celebrity induces them to
suppress the knowledge of the assistance which they have received in the
composition of their works. In many cases, in fact, the real author of the
drawings or the descriptions in books on Natural History is not so much
as mentioned, while the pretended author assumes to himself all the merit
which the world is willing to allow him. This want of candour I never
could endure. On the contrary, I feel pleasure in here acknowledging the
assistance which I have received from a friend, Mr WILLIAM MACGILLIVRAY,
who being possessed of a liberal education and a strong taste for the
study of the Natural Sciences, has aided me, not in drawing the figures
of my Illustrations, nor in writing the book now in your hand, although
fully competent for both tasks, but in completing the scientific details,
and smoothing down the asperities of my Ornithological Biographies.

I do not present to you the objects of which my work consists in the
order adopted by systematic writers. Indeed, I can scarcely believe
that yourself, good-natured reader, could wish that I should do so; for
although you and I, and all the world besides, are well aware that a
grand connected chain does exist in the Creator's sublime system, the
subjects of it have been left at liberty to disperse in quest of the
food best adapted for them, or the comforts that have been so abundantly
scattered for each of them over the globe, and are not in the habit of
following each other, as if marching in regular procession to a funeral
or a merry-making. He who would write a general ornithology of the world,
and is possessed of knowledge adequate to such a task, is the only one
by whom the ordination of birds could be made truly useful. When this
work is completed, and when the results of my observations have been duly
weighed and arranged, I shall reduce the whole to an order corresponding
with the improvements recently made in ornithological science, and
present to you a Synopsis of the Birds of the United States, including
the ordinal, generic and specific characters, with the distinctive habits
of each species, and references to the descriptions of other writers.

I shall therefore simply offer you the results of my own observation
with respect to each of the species, in the order in which I have
published the representations of them. Nor do I intend to annoy you
with long descriptions, including the number and shape of the feathers,
particularly in cases where the species are well known. Tables of synonyms
I have also judged superfluous. Indeed, the technical descriptions and
references you will find as appendages to the more generally interesting
descriptions of the habits of each species; so that you may read them
or not, just as you please. Yet, should you be inclined to enter into
these matters, I trust you will find in these appendages descriptions
constructed according to the strictest rules of science.

Should you, good-natured reader, be a botanist, I hope you will find
pleasure while looking at the flowers, the herbs, the shrubs, and the
trees, which I have represented; the more so, I imagine, if you have
seen them in their native woods. Should you not, the sight of them in
my Illustrations may, for aught I know, tempt you to go and partake of
the hospitality of our brethren the Aborigines of America.

       *       *       *       *       *

Permit me now to address a few words to the Critic, who I fervently
hope is a good-natured reader too. This I do with much deference. He
has seen my Illustrations, and has judged favourably of them; he has
passed his keen eye over this page; he knows the very moderate strength
of my talents; and I have only to add, with my compliments, that ever
since I have known that such a person as himself exists, I have laboured
harder, with more patience and with more care, to gain his good will,
indulgence, and support.

     JOHN J. AUDUBON.

     EDINBURGH,    }
     March 1831.   }



TABLE OF CONTENTS


                                                                 Page

     The Wild Turkey,                _Meleagris Gallopavo_,          1

     The Yellow-billed Cuckoo,       _Coccyzus Americanus_,         18

     The Prothonotary Warbler,       _Sylvia Protonotarius_,        22

     The Purple Finch,               _Fringilla purpurea_,          24

     Bonaparte's Fly-catcher,        _Muscicapa Bonapartii_,        27

     THE OHIO,                                                      29

     The Wild Turkey. Female,        _ Meleagris Gallopavo_,        33

     The Purple Grakle or Common
       Crow-Black-bird,              _Quiscalus versicolor_,        35

     The White-throated Sparrow,     _Fringilla pennsylvanica_,     42

     Selby's Flycatcher,             _Muscicapa Selbii_,            46

     The Brown Titlark,              _Anthus Spinoletta_,           49

     THE GREAT PINE SWAMP,                                          52

     The Bird of Washington,         _Falco Washingtonii_,          58

     The Baltimore Oriole,           _Icterus Baltimore_,           66

     The Snow Bird,                  _Fringilla hyemalis_,          72

     The Prairie Warbler,            _Sylvia discolor_,             76

     The Blue Yellow-backed Warbler, _Sylvia americana_,            78

     THE PRAIRIE,                                                   81

     The Great-footed Hawk,          _Falco peregrinus_,            85

     The Carolina Turtle Dove,       _Columba carolinensis_,        91

     Bewick's Wren,                  _Troglodytes Bewickii_,        96

     The Louisiana Water Thrush,     _Turdus ludovicianus_,         99

     The Blue-winged Yellow Warbler, _Sylvia solitaria_,           102

     THE REGULATORS,                                               105

     The Mocking Bird,               _Turdus polyglottus_,         108

     The Purple Martin,              _Hirundo purpurea_,           115

     The Yellow-breasted Warbler,
       or Maryland Yellow-throat,    _Sylvia Trichas_,             121

     Roscoe's Yellow-throat,         _Sylvia Roscoe_,              124

     The Song Sparrow,               _Fringilla melodia_,          126

     IMPROVEMENTS IN THE NAVIGATION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,            130

     The Carolina Parrot,            _Psittacus carolinensis_,     135

     The Red-headed Woodpecker,      _Picus erythrocephalus_,      141

     The Solitary Fly-catcher, or
       Vireo,                        _Vireo solitarius_,           147

     The Towhe Bunting,              _Fringilla erythrophthalma_,  150

     Vigors's Warbler,               _Sylvia Vigorsii_,            153

     A FLOOD,                                                      155

     The White-headed Eagle,         _Falco leucocephalus_,        160

     The Black-billed Cuckoo,        _Coccyzus erythrophthalmus_,  170

     The American Goldfinch,         _Fringilla tristis_,          172

     The Worm-eating Warbler,        _Sylvia vermivora_,           177

     Children's Warbler,             _Sylvia Childrenii_,          180

     MEADVILLE,                                                    182

     The Stanley Hawk,               _Falco Stanleii_,             186

     The Golden-winged Woodpecker,   _Picus auratus_,              191

     The Kentucky Warbler,           _Sylvia formosa_,             196

     The Crested Titmouse,           _Parus bicolor_,              199

     The American Redstart,          _Muscicapa Ruticilla_,        202

     THE COUGAR,                                                   205

     The Ruffed Grouse,              _Tetrao Umbellus_,            211

     The Orchard Oriole,             _Icterus spurius_,            221

     The Cedar Bird,                 _Bombycilla carolinensis_,    227

     The Summer Red Bird,            _Tanagra æstiva_,             232

     Traill's Fly-catcher,           _Muscicapa Traillii_,         236

     THE EARTHQUAKE,                                               239

     The Barred Owl,                 _Strix nebulosa_,             242

     The Ruby-throated Humming
       Bird,                         _Trochilus colubris_,         248

     The Azure Warbler,              _Sylvia azurea_,              255

     The Blue-green Warbler,         _Sylvia rara_,                258

     The Black-and-yellow Warbler,   _Sylvia maculosa_,            260

     THE HURRICANE,                                                262

     The Red-tailed Hawk,            _Falco borealis_,             265

     Chuckwill's Widow,              _Caprimulgus carolinensis_,   273

     The Painted Finch,              _Fringilla ciris_,            279

     The Rice Bird,                  _Icterus agripennis_,         283

     Cuvier's Regulus,               _Regulus Cuvierii_,           288

     KENTUCKY SPORTS,                                              290

     The Red-shouldered Hawk,        _Falco lineatus_,             296

     The Loggerhead Shrike,          _Lanius ludovicianus_,        300

     The Hermit Thrush,              _Turdus minor_,               303

     The Chestnut-sided Warbler,     _Sylvia icterocephala_,       306

     The Carbonated Warbler,         _Sylvia carbonata_,           308

     THE TRAVELLER AND THE POLE-CAT,                               310

     The Great Horned Owl,           _Strix virginiana_,           313

     The Passenger Pigeon,           _Columba migratoria_,         319

     The White-eyed Flycatcher, or
       Vireo,                        _Vireo noveboracensis_,       328

     The Swamp Sparrow,              _Fringilla palustris_,        331

     The Rathbone Warbler,           _Sylvia Rathbonia_,           333

     DEER HUNTING,                                                 335

     The Ivory-billed Woodpecker,    _Picus principalis_,          341

     The Red-winged Starling, or
       Marsh Blackbird,              _Icterus phœniceus_,          348

     The Republican, or Cliff
       Swallow,                      _Hirundo fulva_,              353

     The Bay-breasted Warbler,       _Sylvia castanea_,            358

     Henslow's Bunting,              _Emberiza Henslowii_,         360

     NIAGARA,                                                      362

     The Winter Hawk,                _Falco hyemalis_,             364

     The Swallow-tailed Hawk,        _Falco furcatus_,             368

     The Wood Thrush,                _Turdus mustelinus_,          372

     The Indigo Bird,                _Fringilla cyanea_,           377

     Le Petit Caporal,               _Falco temerarius_,           381

     HOSPITALITY IN THE WOODS,                                     383

     The Virginian Partridge,        _Perdix virginiana_,          388

     The Belted Kingsfisher,         _Alcedo Alcyon_,              394

     The Great Carolina Wren,        _Troglodytes ludovicianus_,   399

     The Tyrant Fly-catcher,         _Muscicapa tyrannus_,         403

     The Prairie Titlark,            _Anthus pipiens_,             408

     THE ORIGINAL PAINTER,                                         410

     The Fish Hawk or Osprey,        _Falco Haliaetus_,            415

     Whip-poor-will,                 _Caprimulgus vociferus_,      422

     The House Wren,                 _Troglodytes ædon_,           427

     The Blue-grey Fly-catcher,      _Muscicapa cærulea_,          431

     The Yellow-throated Warbler,    _Sylvia pensilis_,            434

     LOUISVILLE IN KENTUCKY,                                       437

     The Black Warrior,              _Falco Harlani_,              441

     The Florida Jay,                _Corvus floridanus_,          444

     The Autumnal Warbler,           _Sylvia autumnalis_,          447

     The Nashville Warbler,          _Sylvia rubricapilla_,        450

     The Black-and-white Creeper,    _Certhia varia_,              452

     THE ECCENTRIC NATURALIST,                                     455

     The Broad-winged Hawk,          _Falco pennsylvanicus_,       461

     The Pigeon Hawk,                _Falco columbarius_,          466

     The Sea-side Finch,             _Fringilla maritima_,         470

     The Grass Finch or Bay-winged
        Bunting,                     _Fringilla graminea_,         473

     The Yellow-poll Warbler,        _Sylvia æstiva_,              476

     SCIPIO AND THE BEAR,                                          479

     The Columbian Jay,              _Corvus Bullockii_,           483

     The Little Screech Owl,         _Strix Asio_,                 486

     The White-bellied Swallow,      _Hirundo bicolor_,            491

     The Cow-pen Bird,               _Icterus pecoris_,            493

     The Marsh Wren,                 _Troglodytes palustris_,      500

     COLONEL BOON,                                                 503



ORNITHOLOGICAL BIOGRAPHY.



THE WILD TURKEY.

_MELEAGRIS GALLOPAVO_, LINN.

PLATE I. MALE.


The great size and beauty of the Wild Turkey, its value as a delicate
and highly prized article of food, and the circumstance of its being the
origin of the domestic race now generally dispersed over both continents,
render it one of the most interesting of the birds indigenous to the
United States of America.

The unsettled parts of the States of Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, and
Indiana, an immense extent of country to the north-west of these
districts, upon the Mississippi and Missouri, and the vast regions
drained by these rivers from their confluence to Louisiana, including
the wooded parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama, are the most
abundantly supplied with this magnificent bird. It is less plentiful
in Georgia and the Carolinas, becomes still scarcer in Virginia and
Pennsylvania, and is now very rarely seen to the eastward of the last
mentioned States. In the course of my rambles through Long Island, the
State of New York, and the country around the Lakes, I did not meet with
a single individual, although I was informed that some exist in those
parts. Turkeys are still to be found along the whole line of the Alleghany
Mountains, where they have become so wary as to be approached only with
extreme difficulty. While, in the Great Pine Forest, in 1829, I found a
single feather that had been dropped from the tail of a female, but saw
no bird of the kind. Farther eastward, I do not think they are now to
be found. I shall describe the manners of this bird as observed in the
countries where it is most abundant, and having resided for many years
in Kentucky and Louisiana, may be understood as referring chiefly to them.

The Turkey is irregularly migratory, as well as irregularly gregarious.
With reference to the first of these circumstances, I have to state, that
whenever the _mast_[1] of one portion of the country happens greatly to
exceed that of another, the Turkeys are insensibly led toward that spot,
by gradually meeting in their haunts with more fruit the nearer they
advance towards the place where it is most plentiful. In this manner
flock follows after flock, until one district is entirely deserted, while
another is, as it were, overflowed by them. But as these migrations are
irregular, and extend over a vast expanse of country, it is necessary
that I should describe the manner in which they take place.

About the beginning of October, when scarcely any of the seeds and fruits
have yet fallen from the trees, these birds assemble in flocks, and
gradually move towards the rich bottom lands of the Ohio and Mississippi.
The males, or, as they are more commonly called, the _gobblers_, associate
in parties of from ten to a hundred, and search for food apart from the
females; while the latter are seen either advancing singly, each with
its brood of young, then about two-thirds grown, or in connexion with
other families, forming parties often amounting to seventy or eighty
individuals, all intent on shunning the old cocks, which, even when the
young birds have attained this size, will fight with, and often destroy
them by repeated blows on the head. Old and young, however, all move
in the same course, and on foot, unless their progress be interrupted
by a river, or the hunter's dog force them to take wing. When they come
upon a river, they betake themselves to the highest eminences, and there
often remain a whole day, or sometimes two, as if for the purpose of
consultation. During this time, the males are heard _gobbling_, calling,
and making much ado, and are seen strutting about, as if to raise their
courage to a pitch befitting the emergency. Even the females and young
assume something of the same pompous demeanour, spread out their tails,
and run round each other, _purring_ loudly, and performing extravagant
leaps. At length, when the weather appears settled, and all around is
quiet, the whole party mounts to the tops of the highest trees, whence,
at a signal, consisting of a single _cluck_, given by a leader, the flock
takes flight for the opposite shore. The old and fat birds easily get
over, even should the river be a mile in breadth; but the younger and
less robust frequently fall into the water,—not to be drowned, however,
as might be imagined. They bring their wings close to their body, spread
out their tail as a support, stretch forward their neck, and, striking
out their legs with great vigour, proceed rapidly towards the shore;
on approaching which, should they find it too steep for landing, they
cease their exertions for a few moments, float down the stream until
they come to an accessible part, and by a violent effort generally
extricate themselves from the water. It is remarkable, that immediately
after thus crossing a large stream, they ramble about for some time, as
if bewildered. In this state, they fall an easy prey to the hunter.

When the Turkeys arrive in parts where the mast is abundant, they separate
into smaller flocks, composed of birds of all ages and both sexes,
promiscuously mingled, and devour all before them. This happens about
the middle of November. So gentle do they sometimes become after these
long journeys, that they have been seen to approach the farm-houses,
associate with the domestic fowls, and enter the stables and corn-cribs
in quest of food. In this way, roaming about the forests, and feeding
chiefly on mast, they pass the autumn and part of the winter.

As early as the middle of February, they begin to experience the impulse
of propagation. The females separate, and fly from the males. The
latter strenuously pursue, and begin to gobble or to utter the notes of
exultation. The sexes roost apart, but at no great distance from each
other. When a female utters a call-note, all the gobblers within hearing
return the sound, rolling note after note with as much rapidity as if
they intended to emit the last and the first together, not with spread
tail, as when fluttering round the females on the ground, or practising
on the branches of the trees on which they have roosted for the night,
but much in the manner of the domestic turkey, when an unusual or
unexpected noise elicits its singular hubbub. If the call of the female
comes from the ground, all the males immediately fly towards the spot,
and the moment they reach it, whether the hen be in sight or not, spread
out and erect their tail, draw the head back on the shoulders, depress
their wings with a quivering motion, and strut pompously about, emitting
at the same time a succession of puffs from the lungs, and stopping now
and then to listen and look. But whether they spy the female or not,
they continue to puff and strut, moving with as much celerity as their
ideas of ceremony seem to admit. While thus occupied, the males often
encounter each other, in which case desperate battles take place, ending
in bloodshed, and often in the loss of many lives, the weaker falling
under the repeated blows inflicted upon their head by the stronger.

I have often been much diverted, while watching two males in fierce
conflict, by seeing them move alternately backwards and forwards, as
either had obtained a better hold, their wings drooping, their tails
partly raised, their body-feathers ruffled, and their heads covered
with blood. If, as they thus struggle, and gasp for breath, one of them
should lose his hold, his chance is over, for the other, still holding
fast, hits him violently with spurs and wings, and in a few minutes
brings him to the ground. The moment he is dead, the conqueror treads
him under foot, but, what is strange, not with hatred, but with all the
motions which he employs in caressing the female.

When the male has discovered and made up to the female (whether such
a combat has previously taken place or not), if she be more than one
year old, she also struts and gobbles, turns round him as he continues
strutting, suddenly opens her wings, throws herself towards him, as if
to put a stop to his idle delay, lays herself down, and receives his
dilatory caresses. If the cock meet a young hen, he alters his mode of
procedure. He struts in a different manner, less pompously and more
energetically, moves with rapidity, sometimes rises from the ground,
taking a short flight around the hen, as is the manner of some Pigeons,
the Red-breasted Thrush, and many other birds, and on alighting, runs
with all his might, at the same time rubbing his tail and wings along
the ground, for the space of perhaps ten yards. He then draws near the
timorous female, allays her fears by purring, and when she at length
assents, caresses her.

When a male and a female have thus come together, I believe the connexion
continues for that season, although the former by no means confines his
attentions to one female, as I have seen a cock caress several hens,
when he happened to fall in with them in the same place, for the first
time. After this the hens follow their favourite cock, roosting in his
immediate neighbourhood, if not on the same tree, until they begin to
lay, when they separate themselves, in order to save their eggs from the
male, who would break them all, for the purpose of protracting his sexual
enjoyments. The females then carefully avoid him, excepting during a
short period each day. After this the males become clumsy and slovenly,
if one may say so, cease to fight with each other, give up gobbling or
calling so frequently, and assume so careless a habit, that the hens
are obliged to make all the advances themselves. They _yelp_ loudly
and almost continually for the cocks, run up to them, caress them, and
employ various means to rekindle their expiring ardour.

Turkey-cocks when at roost sometimes strut and gobble, but I have more
generally seen them spread out and raise their tail, and emit the pulmonic
puff, lowering their tail and other feathers immediately after. During
clear nights, or when there is moonshine, they perform this action at
intervals of a few minutes, for hours together, without moving from the
same spot, and indeed sometimes without rising on their legs, especially
towards the end of the love-season. The males now become greatly
emaciated, and cease to gobble, their _breast-sponge_ becoming flat.
They then separate from the hens, and one might suppose that they had
entirely deserted their neighbourhood. At such seasons I have found them
lying by the side of a log, in some retired part of the dense woods and
cane thickets, and often permitting one to approach within a few feet.
They are then unable to fly, but run swiftly, and to a great distance. A
slow turkey-hound has led me miles before I could flush the same bird.
Chases of this kind I did not undertake for the purpose of killing the
bird, it being then unfit for eating, and covered with ticks, but with
the view of rendering myself acquainted with its habits. They thus retire
to recover flesh and strength, by purging with particular species of
grass, and using less exercise. As soon as their condition is improved,
the cocks come together again, and recommence their rambles. Let us now
return to the females.

About the middle of April, when the season is dry, the hens begin to
look out for a place in which to deposit their eggs. This place requires
to be as much as possible concealed from the eye of the Crow, as that
bird often watches the Turkey when going to her nest, and, waiting in
the neighbourhood until she has left it, removes and eats the eggs. The
nest, which consists of a few withered leaves, is placed on the ground,
in a hollow scooped out, by the side of a log, or in the fallen top of
a dry leafy tree, under a thicket of sumach or briars, or a few feet
within the edge of a cane-brake, but always in a dry place. The eggs,
which are of a dull cream colour, sprinkled with red dots, sometimes
amount to twenty, although the more usual number is from ten to fifteen.
When depositing her eggs, the female always approaches the nest with
extreme caution, scarcely ever taking the same course twice; and when
about to leave them, covers them carefully with leaves, so that it is
very difficult for a person who may have seen the bird to discover the
nest. Indeed, few Turkeys' nests are found, unless the female has been
suddenly started from them, or a cunning Lynx, Fox, or Crow has sucked
the eggs and left their shells scattered about.

Turkey hens not unfrequently prefer islands for depositing their eggs and
rearing their young, probably because such places are less frequented by
hunters, and because the great masses of drifted timber which usually
accumulate at their heads, may protect and save them in cases of great
emergency. When I have found these birds in such situations, and with
young, I have always observed that a single discharge of a gun made them
run immediately to the pile of drifted wood, and conceal themselves in
it. I have often walked over these masses, which are frequently from
ten to twenty feet in height, in search of the game which I knew to be
concealed in them.

When an enemy passes within sight of a female, while laying or sitting,
she never moves, unless she knows that she has been discovered, but
crouches lower until he has passed. I have frequently approached within
five or six paces of a nest, of which I was previously aware, on assuming
an air of carelessness, and whistling or talking to myself, the female
remaining undisturbed; whereas if I went cautiously towards it, she would
never suffer me to approach within twenty paces, but would run off, with
her tail spread on one side, to a distance of twenty or thirty yards,
when assuming a stately gait, she would walk about deliberately, uttering
every now and then a cluck. They seldom abandon their nest, when it has
been discovered by men; but, I believe, never go near it again, when
a snake or other animal has sucked any of the eggs. If the eggs have
been destroyed or carried off, the female soon yelps again for a male;
but, in general, she rears only a single brood each season. Several
hens sometimes associate together, I believe for their mutual safety,
deposit their eggs in the same nest, and rear their broods together. I
once found three sitting on forty-two eggs. In such cases, the common
nest is always watched by one of the females, so that no Crow, Raven,
or perhaps even Pole-cat, dares approach it.

The mother will not leave her eggs, when near hatching, under any
circumstances, while life remains. She will even allow an enclosure to be
made around her, and thus suffer imprisonment, rather than abandon them.
I once witnessed the hatching of a brood of Turkeys, which I watched
for the purpose of securing them together with the parent. I concealed
myself on the ground within a very few feet, and saw her raise herself
half the length of her legs, look anxiously upon the eggs, cluck with
a sound peculiar to the mother on such occasions, carefully remove each
half-empty shell, and with her bill caress and dry the young birds, that
already stood tottering and attempting to make their way out of the
nest. Yes, I have seen this, and have left mother and young to better
care than mine could have proved,—to the care of their Creator and
mine. I have seen them all emerge from the shell, and, in a few moments
after, tumble, roll, and push each other forward, with astonishing and
inscrutable instinct.

Before leaving the nest with her young brood, the mother shakes herself
in a violent manner, picks and adjusts the feathers about her belly,
and assumes quite a different aspect. She alternately inclines her eyes
obliquely upwards and sideways, stretching out her neck, to discover hawks
or other enemies, spreads her wings a little as she walks, and softly
clucks to keep her innocent offspring close to her. They move slowly
along, and as the hatching generally takes place in the afternoon, they
frequently return to the nest to spend the first night there. After this,
they remove to some distance, keeping on the highest undulated grounds,
the mother dreading rainy weather, which is extremely dangerous to the
young, in this tender state, when they are only covered by a kind of
soft hairy down, of surprising delicacy. In very rainy seasons, Turkeys
are scarce, for if once completely wetted, the young seldom recover.
To prevent the disastrous effects of rainy weather, the mother, like
a skilful physician, plucks the buds of the spice-wood bush, and gives
them to her young.

In about a fortnight, the young birds, which had previously rested on
the ground, leave it and fly, at night, to some very large low branch,
where they place themselves under the deeply curved wings of their
kind and careful parent, dividing themselves for that purpose into two
nearly equal parties. After this, they leave the woods during the day,
and approach the natural glades or prairies, in search of strawberries,
and subsequently of dewberries, blackberries and grasshoppers, thus
obtaining abundant food, and enjoying the beneficial influence of the
sun's rays. They roll themselves in deserted ants' nests, to clear their
growing feathers of the loose scales, and prevent ticks and other vermin
from attacking them, these insects being unable to bear the odour of
the earth in which ants have been.

The young Turkeys now advance rapidly in growth, and in the month of
August are able to secure themselves from unexpected attacks of Wolves,
Foxes, Lynxes, and even Cougars, by rising quickly from the ground, by
the help of their powerful legs, and reaching with ease the highest
branches of the tallest trees. The young cocks shew the tuft on the
breast about this time, and begin to gobble and strut, while the young
hens pur and leap, in the manner which I have already described.

The old cocks have also assembled by this time, and it is probable that
all the Turkeys now leave the extreme north-western districts, to remove
to the Wabash, Illinois, Black River, and the neighbourhood of Lake Erie.

Of the numerous enemies of the Wild Turkey, the most formidable, excepting
man, are the Lynx, the Snowy Owl, and the Virginian Owl. The Lynx sucks
their eggs, and is extremely expert at seizing both young and old, which
he effects in the following manner. When he has discovered a flock of
Turkeys, he follows them at a distance for some time, until he ascertains
the direction in which they are proceeding. He then makes a rapid circular
movement, gets in advance of the flock, and lays himself down in ambush,
until the birds come up, when he springs upon one of them by a single
bound, and secures it. While once sitting in the woods, on the banks of
the Wabash, I observed two large Turkey-cocks on a log, by the river,
pluming and picking themselves. I watched their movements for a while,
when of a sudden one of them flew across the river, while I perceived
the other struggling under the grasp of a lynx. When attacked by the two
large species of Owl above mentioned, they often effect their escape in
a way which is somewhat remarkable. As Turkeys usually roost in flocks,
on naked branches of trees, they are easily discovered by their enemies,
the owls, which, on silent wing, approach and hover around them, for the
purpose of reconnoitering. This, however, is rarely done without being
discovered, and a single _cluck_ from one of the Turkeys announces to
the whole party the approach of the murderer. They instantly start upon
their legs, and watch the motions of the Owl, which, selecting one as its
victim, comes down upon it like an arrow, and would inevitably secure
the Turkey, did not the latter at that moment lower its head, stoop,
and spread its tail in an inverted manner over its back, by which action
the aggressor is met by a smooth inclined plane, along which it glances
without hurting the Turkey; immediately after which the latter drops to
the ground, and thus escapes, merely with the loss of a few feathers.

The Wild Turkeys cannot be said to confine themselves to any particular
kind of food, although they seem to prefer the pecan-nut and winter-grape
to any other, and, where these fruits abound, are found in the greatest
numbers. They eat grass and herbs of various kinds, corn, berries, and
fruit of all descriptions. I have even found beetles, tadpoles, and
small lizards in their crops.

Turkeys are now generally extremely shy, and the moment they observe a
man, whether of the red or white race, instinctively move from him. Their
usual mode of progression is what is termed walking, during which they
frequently open each wing partially and successively, replacing them
again by folding them over each other, as if their weight were too great.
Then, as if to amuse themselves, they will run a few steps, open both
wings and fan their sides, in the manner of the common fowl, and often
take two or three leaps in the air and shake themselves. Whilst searching
for food among the leaves or loose soil, they keep their head up, and
are unremittingly on the lookout; but as the legs and feet finish the
operation, they are immediately seen to pick up the food, the presence
of which, I suspect, is frequently indicated to them through the sense
of touch in their feet, during the act of scratching. This habit of
scratching and removing the dried leaves in the woods, is pernicious to
their safety, as the spots which they thus clear, being about two feet
in diameter, are seen at a distance, and, if fresh, shew that the birds
are in the vicinity. During the summer months they resort to the paths
or roads, as well as the ploughed fields, for the purpose of rolling
themselves in the dust, by which means they clear their bodies of the
ticks which at that season infest them, as well as free themselves of
the moschettoes, which greatly annoy them, by biting their heads.

When, after a heavy fall of snow, the weather becomes frosty, so as to
form a hard crust on the surface, the Turkeys remain on their roosts for
three or four days, sometimes much longer, which proves their capability
of continued abstinence. When near farms, however, they leave the roosts,
and go into the very stables and about the stacks of corn, to procure
food. During melting snow-falls, they will travel to an extraordinary
distance, and are then followed in vain, it being impossible for hunters
of any description to keep up with them. They have then a dangling and
straggling way of running, which, awkward as it may seem, enables them
to outstrip any other animal. I have often, when on a good horse, been
obliged to abandon the attempt to put them up, after following them for
several hours. This habit of continued running, in rainy or very damp
weather of any kind, is not peculiar to the Wild Turkey, but is common
to all gallinaceous birds. In America, the different species of Grouse
exhibit the same tendency.

In spring, when the males are much emaciated, in consequence of their
attentions to the females, it sometimes happens that, on plain and open
ground, they may be overtaken by a swift dog, in which case they squat,
and allow themselves to be seized, either by the dog, or the hunter
who has followed on a good horse. I have heard of such occurrences, but
never had the pleasure of seeing an instance of them.

Good dogs scent the Turkeys, when in large flocks, at extraordinary
distances,—I think I may venture to say half a mile. Should the dog be
well trained to this sport, he sets off at full speed, and in silence,
until he sees the birds, when he instantly barks, and pushing as much
as possible into the centre of the flock, forces the whole to take wing
in different directions. This is of great advantage to the hunter, for
should the Turkeys all go one way, they would soon leave their perches
and run again. But when they separate in this manner, and the weather
happens to be calm and lowering, a person accustomed to this kind of
sport finds the birds with ease, and shoots them at pleasure.

When Turkeys alight on a tree, it is sometimes very difficult to see
them, which is owing to their standing perfectly motionless. Should
you discover one, when it is down on its legs upon the branch, you may
approach it with less care. But if it is standing erect, the greatest
precaution is necessary, for should it discover you, it instantly flies
off, frequently to such a distance that it would be vain to follow.

When a Turkey is merely winged by a shot, it falls quickly to the ground
in a slanting direction. Then, instead of losing time by tumbling and
rolling over, as other birds often do when wounded, it runs off at such
a rate, that unless the hunter be provided with a swift dog, he may bid
farewell to it. I recollect coming on one shot in this manner, more than
a mile from the tree where it had been perched, my dog having traced
it to this distance, through one of those thick cane-brakes that cover
many portions of our rich alluvial lands near the banks of our western
rivers. Turkeys are easily killed if shot in the head, the neck, or the
upper part of the breast; but if hit in the hind parts only, they often
fly so far as to be lost to the hunter. During winter many of our _real_
hunters shoot them by moonlight, on the roosts, where these birds will
frequently stand a repetition of the reports of a rifle, although they
would fly from the attack of an owl, or even perhaps from his presence.
Thus sometimes nearly a whole flock is secured by men capable of using
these guns in such circumstances. They are often destroyed in great
numbers when most worthless, that is, early in the fall or autumn, when
many are killed in their attempt to cross the rivers, or immediately
after they reach the shore.

Whilst speaking of the shooting of Turkeys, I feel no hesitation in
relating the following occurrence, which happened to myself. While in
search of game, one afternoon late in autumn, when the males go together,
and the females are by themselves also, I heard the clucking of one of
the latter, and immediately finding her perched on a fence, made towards
her. Advancing slowly and cautiously, I heard the yelping notes of some
gobblers, when I stopped and listened in order to ascertain the direction
in which they came. I then ran to meet the birds, hid myself by the
side of a large fallen tree, cocked my gun, and waited with impatience
for a good opportunity. The gobblers continued yelping in answer to the
female, which all this while remained on the fence. I looked over the
log and saw about thirty fine cocks advancing rather cautiously towards
the very spot where I lay concealed. They came so near that the light
in their eyes could easily be perceived, when I fired one barrel, and
killed three. The rest, instead of flying off, fell a strutting around
their dead companions, and had I not looked on shooting again as murder
without necessity, I might have secured at least another. So I shewed
myself, and marching to the place where the dead birds were, drove away
the survivors. I may also mention, that a friend of mine shot a fine hen,
from his horse, with a pistol, as the poor thing was probably returning
to her nest to lay.

Should you, good-natured reader, be a sportsman, and now and then have
been fortunate in the exercise of your craft, the following incident,
which I shall relate to you as I had it from the mouth of an honest
farmer, may prove interesting. Turkeys were very abundant in his
neighbourhood, and, resorting to his corn fields, at the period when the
maize had just shot up from the ground, destroyed great quantities of
it. This induced him to swear vengeance against the species. He cut a
long trench in a favourable situation, put a great quantity of corn in
it, and having heavily loaded a famous duck gun of his, placed it so as
that he could pull the trigger by means of a string, when quite concealed
from the birds. The Turkeys soon discovered the corn in the trench, and
quickly disposed of it, at the same time continuing their ravages in the
fields. He filled the trench again, and one day seeing it quite black
with the Turkeys, whistled loudly, on which all the birds raised their
heads, when he pulled the trigger by the long string fastened to it. The
explosion followed of course, and the Turkeys were seen scampering off
in all directions, in utter discomfiture and dismay. On running to the
trench, he found nine of them extended in it. The rest did not consider
it expedient to visit his corn again for that season.

During spring, Turkeys are _called_, as it is termed, by drawing the air
in a particular way through one of the second joint bones of a wing of
that bird, which produces a sound resembling the voice of the female, on
hearing which the male comes up, and is shot. In managing this, however,
no fault must be committed, for Turkeys are quick in distinguishing
counterfeit sounds, and when _half civilized_ are very wary and cunning.
I have known many to answer to this kind of call, without moving a
step, and thus entirely defeat the scheme of the hunter, who dared not
move from his hiding-place, lest a single glance of the gobbler's eye
should frustrate all further attempts to decoy him. Many are shot when
at roost, in this season, by answering with a rolling gobble to a sound
in imitation of the cry of the Barred Owl.

But the most common method of procuring Wild Turkeys, is by means of
_pens_. These are placed in parts of the woods where Turkeys have been
frequently observed to roost, and are constructed in the following
manner. Young trees of four or five inches diameter are cut down, and
divided into pieces of the length of twelve or fourteen feet. Two of
these are laid on the ground parallel to each other, at a distance of
ten or twelve feet. Two other pieces are laid across the ends of these,
at right angles to them; and in this manner successive layers are added,
until the fabric is raised to the height of about four feet. It is then
covered with similar pieces of wood, placed three or four inches apart,
and loaded with one or two heavy logs to render the whole firm. This
done, a trench about eighteen inches in depth and width is cut under one
side of the cage, into which it opens slantingly and rather abruptly. It
is continued on its outside to some distance, so as gradually to attain
the level of the surrounding ground. Over the part of this trench within
the pen, and close to the wall, some sticks are placed so as to form
a kind of bridge about a foot in breadth. The trap being now finished,
the owner places a quantity of Indian corn in its centre, as well as in
the trench, and as he walks off drops here and there a few grains in the
woods, sometimes to the distance of a mile. This is repeated at every
visit to the trap, after the Turkeys have found it. Sometimes two trenches
are cut, in which case the trenches enter on opposite sides of the trap,
and are both strewn with corn. No sooner has a Turkey discovered the
train of corn, than it communicates the circumstance to the flock by a
cluck, when all of them come up, and searching for the grains scattered
about, at length come upon the trench, which they follow, squeezing
themselves one after another through the passage under the bridge. In
this manner the whole flock sometimes enters, but more commonly six or
seven only, as they are alarmed by the least noise, even the cracking
of a tree in frosty weather. Those within, having gorged themselves,
raise their heads, and try to force their way through the top or sides
of the pen, passing and repassing on the bridge, but never for a moment
looking down, or attempting to escape through the passage by which they
entered. Thus they remain until the owner of the trap arriving, closes
the trench, and secures his captives. I have heard of eighteen Turkeys
having been caught in this manner at a single visit to the trap. I have
had many of these pens myself, but never found more than seven in them
at a time. One winter I kept an account of the produce of a pen which
I visited daily, and found that seventy-six had been caught in it, in
about two months. When these birds are abundant, the owners of the pens
sometimes become satiated with their flesh, and neglect to visit the
pens for several days, in some cases for weeks. The poor captives thus
perish for want of food; for, strange as it may seem, they scarcely
ever regain their liberty, by descending into the trench, and retracing
their steps. I have, more than once, found four or five, and even ten,
dead in a pen, through inattention. Where Wolves or Lynxes are numerous,
they are apt to secure the prize before the owner of the trap arrives.
One morning, I had the pleasure of securing in one of my pens, a fine
Black Wolf, which, on seeing me, squatted, supposing me to be passing
in another direction.

Wild Turkeys often approach and associate with tame ones, or fight with
them, and drive them off from their food. The cocks sometimes pay their
addresses to the domesticated females, and are generally received by
them with great pleasure, as well as by their owners, who are well aware
of the advantages resulting from such intrusions, the half-breed being
much more hardy than the tame, and, consequently, more easily reared.

While at Henderson, on the Ohio, I had, among many other wild birds, a
fine male Turkey, which had been reared from its earliest youth under
my care, it having been caught by me when probably not more than two or
three days old. It became so tame that it would follow any person who
called it, and was the favourite of the little village. Yet it would never
roost with the tame Turkeys, but regularly betook itself at night to the
roof of the house, where it remained until dawn. When two years old, it
began to fly to the woods, where it remained for a considerable part of
the day, to return to the enclosure as night approached. It continued
this practice until the following spring, when I saw it several times
fly from its roosting place to the top of a high cotton-tree, on the
bank of the Ohio, from which, after resting a little, it would sail to
the opposite shore, the river being there nearly half a mile wide, and
return towards night. One morning I saw it fly off, at a very early hour,
to the woods, in another direction, and took no particular notice of the
circumstance. Several days elapsed, but the bird did not return. I was
going towards some lakes near Green River to shoot, when, having walked
about five miles, I saw a fine large gobbler cross the path before me,
moving leisurely along. Turkeys being then in prime condition for the
table, I ordered my dog to chase it, and put it up. The animal went off
with great rapidity, and as it approached the Turkey, I saw, with great
surprise, that the latter paid little attention. Juno was on the point of
seizing it, when she suddenly stopped, and turned her head towards me.
I hastened to them, but you may easily conceive my surprise when I saw
my own favourite bird, and discovered that it had recognised the dog,
and would not fly from it; although the sight of a strange dog would
have caused it to run off at once. A friend of mine happening to be in
search of a wounded deer, took the bird on his saddle before him, and
carried it home for me. The following spring it was accidentally shot,
having been taken for a wild bird, and brought to me on being recognised
by the red ribbon which it had around its neck. Pray, reader, by what
word will you designate the recognition made by my favourite Turkey of
a dog which had been long associated with it in the yard and grounds?
Was it the result of instinct, or of reason,—an unconsciously revived
impression, or the act of an intelligent mind?

At the time when I removed to Kentucky, rather more than a fourth of
a century ago, Turkeys were so abundant, that the price of one in the
market was not equal to that of a common barn-fowl now. I have seen them
offered for the sum of three pence each, the birds weighing from ten to
twelve pounds. A first-rate Turkey, weighing from twenty-five to thirty
pounds avoirdupois, was considered well sold when it brought a quarter
of a dollar.

The weight of Turkey hens generally averages about nine pounds
avoirdupois. I have, however, shot barren hens in strawberry season,
that weighed thirteen pounds, and have seen a few so fat as to burst
open on falling from a tree when shot. Male Turkeys differ more in their
bulk and weight. From fifteen to eighteen pounds may be a fair estimate
of their ordinary weight. I saw one offered for sale in the Louisville
market, that weighed thirty-six pounds. Its pectoral appendage measured
upwards of a foot.

Some closet naturalists suppose the hen Turkey to be destitute of the
appendage on the breast, but this is not the case in the full-grown bird.
The young males, as I have said, at the approach of the first winter,
have merely a kind of protuberance in the flesh at this part, while the
young females of the same age have no such appearance. The second year,
the males are to be distinguished by the hairy tuft, which is about
four inches long, whereas in the females that are not barren, it is
yet hardly apparent. The third year, the male Turkey may be said to be
adult, although it certainly increases in weight and size for several
years more. The females at the age of four are in full beauty, and have
the pectoral appendage four or five inches long, but thinner than in
the male. The barren hens do not acquire it until they are very old. The
experienced hunter knows them at once in the flock, and shoots them by
preference. The great number of young hens destitute of the appendage
in question, has doubtless given rise to the idea that it is wanting in
the female Turkey.

The long downy _double_ feathers[2] about the thighs and on the lower
parts of the sides of the Wild Turkey, are often used for making tippets,
by the wives of our squatters and farmers. These tippets, when properly
made, are extremely beautiful as well as comfortable.

A long account of the habits of this remarkable bird has already been
given in Bonaparte's American Ornithology, vol. i. As that account was
in a great measure derived from notes furnished by myself, you need not
be surprised, good reader, to find it often in accordance with the above.

Having now said all that I have thought it might be agreeable to you
to know of the history and habits of the Wild Turkey, I proceed to the
technical description of that interesting bird.


     MELEAGRIS GALLOPAVO, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 268.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. p. 618.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 122.

     WILD TURKEY, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Americ. Ornith. vol. i. p. 79.
     Pl. ix. Male and Female.

     AMERICAN TURKEY, _Lath._ Synops. vol. ii. p. 676.


Adult Male. Plate I.

Bill shortish, robust, slightly arched, rather obtuse, the base covered
by a bare membrane; upper mandible with the dorsal outline arched, the
sides convex, the edges overlapping, the tip a little declinate; under
mandible somewhat bulging towards the tip, the sides convex. Nostrils
situated in the basal membrane, oblique, linear, covered above by a
cartilage. Head small, flattened above, with a conical pendulous, erectile
caruncle on the forehead. Neck slender. Body robust. Feet longish and
strong; tarsus covered anteriorly with numerous transverse scutella,
scaly on the sides, scutellate behind; toes scutellate above, scabrous,
papillar and flat beneath; hind toe elevated, half the length of the
lateral toes, which are nearly equal, and much shorter than the middle
toe; claws slightly arched, strong, convex above, obtuse, flat beneath.
A conical, rather obtuse spur on the tarsus, about two-thirds down.

Conical papilla of the forehead rugose, sparsely covered with bristles.
Head bare, and corrugated, the skin irregularly raised, and covered with
a few scattered bristles. External ear margined with short and slender
thin feathers. Neck also bare, corrugated, beset anteriorly and below
with a series of oblong, irregular, cavernous caruncles, interspersed
with small bristly feathers. Plumage in general compact, glossy, with
metallic reflections. Feathers double, as in other gallinaceous birds,
generally oblong and truncated. A pendulous tuft of long bristles from
the upper part of the breast. Wings shortish, convex, rounded, the fourth
and fifth quills longest. Tail rather long, ample, rounded, consisting of
eighteen broad rounded feathers; capable of being erected and expanded
in a permanent manner, when the bird is excited, and reaching nearly to
the ground, when the bird stands erect.

Bill yellowish-brown. Frontal caruncle blue and red. Rugose and
carunculated skin of the head and neck of various tints of blue
and purple, the pendulous anterior caruncles of the latter, or the
_wattles_, bright red, changing to blue. Iris hazel. Legs and toes
bright purplish-red; claws brown. Upper part of the back and wings
brownish-yellow, with metallic lustre, changing to deep purple, the
truncated tips of the feathers broadly margined with velvet-black. On
the middle and lower back, the black terminal bands of the feathers
almost conceal the bronze colour. The large quill-coverts are of the
same colour as the back, but more bronzed, with purple reflections.
Quills brownish-black, the primaries banded with greyish-white, the
secondaries with brownish-white, gradually becoming deeper towards the
proximal feathers, which are similar to the coverts. The lower part of
the back and the tail-coverts are deep chestnut, banded with green and
black. The tail-feathers are of the same colour, undulatingly barred and
minutely sprinkled with black, and having a broad blackish bar towards
the tip, which is pale brown and minutely mottled. The under parts are
duller. Breast of the same colours as the back, the terminal black band
not so broad; sides dark-coloured; abdomen and thighs brownish-grey;
under tail-coverts blackish, glossed with bronze, and at the tip bright
reddish-brown.

Length 4 feet 1 inch, extent of wings 5 feet 8 inches; beak 1½ inches
along the ridge, 2 along the gap; tarsus 7¼; middle toe 5, hind toe 2;
pectoral appendage 1 foot. Such were the dimensions of the individual
represented in the plate, which, I need not say, was a fine specimen.



THE YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO.

_COCCYZUS AMERICANUS._ BONAP.

PLATE II. MALE AND FEMALE.


Were I inclined, like many persons who write on Natural History, to
criticise the figures given by other students, I should find enough to
be censured; but as my object is simply to communicate the result of
studies to which I have devoted the greater part of my life, I shall
content myself with merely recommending to those intent on the advancement
of that most interesting science, to bestow a little more care on their
representations of the bills, legs and feet of the species which they
bring into notice, and let it be seen that they indeed borrow from nature.

From Nature!—How often are these words used, when at a glance he who
has seen the perfect and beautiful forms of birds, quadrupeds or other
objects, as they have come from the hand of Nature, discovers that the
representation is not that of _living_ Nature! But I am deviating from
the track which I wish to follow, my desire being simply to give you
an opportunity, good reader, of judging for yourself as to the truth of
my delineations, and to present you with the results of my observations
made in those very woods where the subjects have been found and depicted.

The flight of the bird now before you is rapid, silent, and horizontal,
as it moves from one tree to another, or across a field or river, and is
generally continued amongst the branches of the trees in our woods. When
making its way among the branches, it occasionally inclines the body to
either side, so as alternately to shew its whole upper or under parts.
During its southward migration, it flies high in the air, and in such
loose flocks that the birds might seem to follow each other, instead of
their keeping company together. On the other hand, early in March, the
greater number enter our southern boundaries singly, the males arriving
first, and the females a few weeks after. They do not fly in a continued
line, but in a broad front, as, while travelling with great rapidity in
a steam-boat, so as to include a range of a hundred miles in one day,
I have observed this Cuckoo crossing the Mississippi at many different
points on the same day. At this season, they resort to the deepest shades
of the forests, and intimate their presence by the frequent repetition
of their dull and unmusical notes, which are not unlike those of the
young Bull-Frog. These notes may be represented by the word _cow_, _cow_,
repeated eight or ten times with increasing rapidity. In fact, from the
resemblance of its notes to that word, this Cuckoo is named _Cow Bird_
in nearly every part of the Union. The Dutch farmers of Pennsylvania
know it better by the name of _Rain Crow_ and in Louisiana the French
settlers call it _Coucou_.

It robs smaller birds of their eggs, which it sucks on all occasions,
and is cowardly and shy, without being vigilant. On this latter account,
it often falls a prey to several species of Hawks, of which the Pigeon
Hawk (_Falco columbarius_) may be considered as its most dangerous enemy.
It prefers the Southern States for its residence, and when very mild
winters occur in Louisiana, some individuals remain there, not finding
it necessary to go farther south.

This bird is not abundant anywhere, and yet is found very far north. I
have met with it in all the low grounds and damp places in Massachusets,
along the line of Upper Canada, pretty high on the Mississippi and
Arkansas, and in every state between these boundary lines. Its appearance
in the State of New York seldom takes place before the beginning of May,
and at Green Bay not until the middle of that month. A pair here and
there seem to appropriate certain tracts to themselves, where they rear
their young in the midst of peace and plenty. They feed on insects, such
as caterpillars and butterflies, as well as on berries of many kinds,
evincing a special predilection for the mulberry. In autumn they eat
many grapes, and I have seen them supporting themselves by a momentary
motion of their wings opposite a bunch, as if selecting the ripest, when
they would seize it and return to a branch, repeating their visits in
this manner until satiated. They now and then descend to the ground, to
pick up a wood-snail or a beetle. They are extremely awkward at walking,
and move in an ambling manner, or leap along sidewise, for which the
shortness of their legs is ample excuse. They are seldom seen perched
conspicuously on a twig, but on the contrary are generally to be found
amongst the thickest boughs and foliage, where they emit their notes
until late in autumn, at which time they discontinue them.

The nest is simple, flat, composed of a few dry sticks and grass, formed
much like that of the Common Dove, and, like it, fastened to a horizontal
branch, often within the reach of man, who seldom disturbs it. It makes
no particular selection as to situation or the nature of the tree, but
settles any where indiscriminately. The eggs are four or five, of a
rather elongated oval form, and bright green colour. They rear only one
brood in a season, unless the eggs are removed or destroyed. The young
are principally fed with insects during the first weeks. Towards autumn
they become very fat, and are fit for being eaten, although few persons,
excepting the Creoles of Louisiana, shoot them for the table.

The branch, among the foliage of which you see the male and female winging
their way, is one of the Papaw, a tree of small size, seldom more than
from twenty to thirty feet in height, with a diameter of from three to
seven inches. It is found growing in all rich grounds, to which it is
peculiar, from the southern line of our States to central Pennsylvania,
seldom farther eastward, here and there only along the alluvial shores
of the Ohio and Mississippi. In all other places of like nature you may
meet with groves of Papaw trees, covering an acre or more of ground. The
fruit, which is represented in the plate, consists of a pulpy and insipid
substance, within which are found several large, hard, and glossy seeds.
The rind is extremely thin. The wood is light, soft, brittle, and almost
useless. The bark, which is smooth, may be torn off from the foot of the
tree to the very top, and is frequently used for making ropes, after it
has been steeped in water sufficiently to detach the outer part, when
the fibres are obtained, which, when twisted, are found to be nearly as
tough and durable as hemp. The numerous islands of the Ohio and all the
other western rivers are generally well stocked with this tree.


     COCCYZUS AMERICANUS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 42.

     CUCULUS AMERICANUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 170.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 219.

     CAROLINA CUCKOO, _Lath._ Synopsis, vol. ii. p. 527.

     YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, CUCULUS CAROLINENSIS. _Wils._ Americ.
     Ornith. vol. iv. p. 13. Pl. 28. fig. 1.


Adult Male. Plate II. Fig. 1.

Bill as long as the head, compressed, slightly arched, acute, scarcely
more robust than in many Sylviæ; 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 scutellate before and behind; toes two before,
separated; two behind, one of which is versatile, the sole flat; claws
slender, compressed, arched.

Plumage blended, slightly glossed. Wings long, the first quill short,
the third longest, the primaries tapering. Tail long, graduated, of ten
feathers, which are rather narrow and rounded.

Upper mandible brownish-black, yellow on the margin towards the base;
under mandible yellow. 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, deeper anteriorly. Primary quills
with the inner webs brownish-orange. Tail-feathers, excepting the two
middle ones, black, the next two entirely black, the rest broadly tipped
with white, the outermost white on the outer web. The under parts are
greyish-white.

Length 12½ inches, extent of wings 16; bill along the ridge 1, along
the gap 1⅓.


Adult Female. Plate II. Fig. 2.

The female differs very little from the male in colouring.


THE PAPAW TREE.

     PORCELIA TRILOBA, _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 383. ANONA
     TRILOBA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 1267. _Mich._ Arbr.
     Forest. de l'Amer. Sept. vol. iii. p. 162. Pl. 9. —POLYANDRIA
     POLYGYNIA, _Linn._ Anonæ, _Juss._

Leaves obovato-cuneate, acuminate, smoothish; outer petals orbiculate;
fruits oblong, large, and fleshy. The leaves are from six to ten inches
long; the flowers of a rich dark purple.



THE PROTHONOTARY WARBLER.

_SYLVIA PROTONOTARIUS_, LATH.

PLATE III. MALE AND FEMALE.


I never saw this pretty bird in any of our eastern districts, and rarely
farther up the Ohio than Louisville, in the neighbourhood of which place
it rears its young. Louisiana seems in fact better suited to its habits
than any other state, on account of its numerous lakes, creeks and
lagoons, overshadowed by large trees, and which are favourite places of
resort for this species. It is fond of flying over the water of these
creeks and lagoons, and is seldom seen in the woods. Its flight is rapid,
and more steady than is usual in birds of its genus; and as it moves
along, the brightness of its colours attracts the eye. On alighting,
it moves rapidly along the twigs, partly sidewise, frequently turning
about and extending its neck to look under the leaves, from which it
picks various kinds of insects. It often perches upon the rank grasses
and water plants, in quest of minute molluscous animals which creep
upon them, and which, together with small land snails, I have found in
its stomach. It does not perform _sorties_, or sally forth after flying
insects, as many other Warblers are in the habit of doing. It has a few
notes for its song, which possess no interest. The males, when chasing
each other, keep up a creaking noise, until the little battle is over,
when they perch and balance their body with much grace and liveliness.

I have observed their arrival in Louisiana to take place, according to
the state of the weather, from the middle of March to the first of April.
At Henderson, in Kentucky, they do not arrive until a month later. They
remain until October, but, I am inclined to believe, rear only a single
brood in a season. The nest is fixed in the fork of a small twig bending
over the water, and is constructed of slender grasses, soft mosses, and
fine fibrous roots. The number of eggs is from four to six. I could never
ascertain whether the male assists in incubation, as the difference of
plumage in the sexes is not perceptible when the bird is at large, and
indeed can hardly be traced when one has procured the male and the female
for comparison. It cannot be called a plentiful species. To search for
them on the high lands, or at any considerable distance from the places
mentioned, would prove quite useless.

The plant on which you see these birds, grows in swampy places, but
is extremely rare, and I have not been able to procure any scientific
appellation for it. In Louisiana, it is called the _Cane Vine_. It bears
a small white flower in clusters. The berries are bitter and nauseous.
The stem, which runs up and over trees, resembles that of other climbing
plants, is extremely elastic, and as tough as a cord. The leaves, of
which you see the form and colour, are also tough and thick.


     SYLVIA PROTONOTARIUS, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 542.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 86.

     PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, SYLVIA PROTONOTARIUS, _Wilson_, Americ.
     Ornith. vol. iii. p. 72. Pl. xxiv. fig. 3.


Adult Male. Plate III. Fig. 1.

Bill nearly as long as the head, slender, tapering, nearly straight,
as deep as broad at the base. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical,
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 with a few scutella, the uppermost long: toes
scutellate above, the inner free, the hind toe of moderate size; claws
slender, compressed, acute, arched.

Plumage soft, blended, tufty. Wings of ordinary length, acute, the
first and second quills longest. Tail nearly even, of twelve straight,
rather narrow feathers. Bill brownish-black. Iris hazel. Feet and claws
greyish-blue. Head all round, neck and under parts generally, of a
bright rich pure yellow, paler on the abdomen, and passing into white
on the under tail-coverts. Fore part of the back and lesser wing-coverts
yellowish-green. Lower back and wings light greyish-blue. Inner webs of
the quills blackish. Inner webs of the tail-feathers bluish-grey at the
base then white to near the tip, which is black, as well as the outer
webs. The two middle feathers blackish, tinged with greyish-blue.

Length 5½ inches, extent of wings 8½; beak along the ridge 7/12, along
the gap ¾; tarsus 11/12.


Adult Female. Plate III. Fig. 2.

The differences which the female exhibits are so slight as scarcely to
be describable, the tints being merely a little duller.



THE PURPLE FINCH.

_FRINGILLA PURPUREA_, GMEL.

PLATE IV. MALE AND FEMALE.


From the beginning of November until April, flocks of the Purple Finch,
consisting of from six to twenty individuals, are seen throughout the
whole of Louisiana and the adjoining States. They fly compactly, with an
undulating motion, similar to that of the Common Greenfinch of Europe.
They alight all at once, and after a moment of rest, and as if frightened,
all take to wing again, make a circuit of no great extent, and return to
the tree from which they had thus started, or settle upon one near it.
Immediately after this, every individual is seen making its way toward
the extremities of the branches, husking the buds with great tact, and
eating their internal portion. In doing this, they hang like so many
Titmice, or stretch out their necks to reach the buds below. Although
they are quite friendly among themselves during their flight, or while
sitting without looking after food, yet, when they are feeding, the moment
one goes near another, it is strenuously warned to keep off by certain
unequivocal marks of displeasure, such as the erection of the feathers
of the head and the opening of the mouth. Should this intimation be
disregarded, the stronger or more daring of the two drives off the other
to a different part of the tree. They feed in this manner principally
in the morning, and afterwards retire to the interior of the woods.
Towards sunset they reappear, fly about the skirts of the fields and
along the woods, until, having made choice of a tree, they alight, and,
as soon as each bird has chosen a situation, stand still, look about
them, plume themselves, and make short sallies after flies and other
insects, but without interfering with each other. They frequently utter a
single rather mellow _clink_, and are seen occupied in this manner until
near sunset, when they again fly off to the interior of the forest. I
one night surprised a party of them roosting in a small holly tree, as
I happened to be brushing by it. In their consternation they suddenly
started all together, and in the same direction, when, not knowing what
birds they were, I shot at them and brought down two.

It is remarkable that, at this season, males in full beauty of plumage
are as numerous as during the summer months in far more northern parts,
where they breed; and you may see different gradations of plumage, from
the dingy greenish-brown of the female and young to the richest tints of
the oldest and handsomest male; while along with these there are others
which, by my habit of examining birds, I knew to be old, and which are
of a yellowish-green, neither the colour of the young males, nor that
of the females, but a mixture of all.

The song of the Purple Finch is sweet and continued, and I have enjoyed
it much during the spring and summer months, in the mountainous parts
of Pennsylvania, where it occasionally breeds, particularly about the
Great Pine Forest, where, although I did not find any nests, I saw pairs
of these birds flying about and feeding their young, which could not
have been many days out, and were not fully fledged. The food which
they carried to their young consisted of insects, small berries, and
the juicy part of the cones of the spruce pine.

They frequently associate with the Common Cross-bills, feeding on the same
trees, and like them are at times fond of alighting against the mud used
for closing the log-houses. They are seldom seen on the ground, although
their motions there are by no means embarrassed. They are considered as
destructive birds by some farmers, who accuse them of committing great
depredations on the blossoms of their fruit-trees. I never observed this
in Louisiana, where they remain long after the peach and pear trees are
in full bloom. I have eaten many of them, and consider their flesh equal
to that of any other small bird, excepting the Rice Bunting.


     FRINGILLA PURPUREA, _Gmel._ Syst. vol. i. p. 923.—_Lath._ Ind.
     Ornith. vol. i. p. 446.

     PURPLE FINCH, FRINGILLA PURPUREA, _Wilson_, Americ. Ornith.
     vol. i. p. 119, Pl. 7, fig. 4. Adult Male; and vol. v. p. 87,
     Pl. 42, fig. 3. Male.


Adult Male. Plate IV. Fig. 1, 2.

Bill shortish, robust, bulging, conical, acute; upper mandible with its
dorsal outline a little convex, under mandible with its outline also
slightly convex, both broadly convex transversely, the edges straight
to near the base, where they are a little deflected. Nostrils basal,
roundish, open, partially concealed by the feathers. Head rather large.
Neck short and thick. Body full. Legs of moderate size; tarsus of the
same length as the middle toe, covered anteriorly with a longitudinal
plate above and a few transverse scutella below, posteriorly with an
acutely angular longitudinal plate; toes scutellate above, free, the
lateral ones nearly equal; claws slender, arched, compressed, acute,
that of the hind toe not much larger.

Plumage compact above, blended beneath, wings of moderate length, third
and fourth primaries longest, second and first very little shorter. Tail
forked. The lateral feathers curved outwards toward the tip.

Bill deep brown above, paler and tinged with blue beneath. Iris
blackish-brown. Feet and claws brown. Head, neck, breast, back, and upper
tail-coverts of a rich deep lake, approaching to crimson on the head
and neck, and fading into rose-colour on the belly. Fore part of the
back streaked with brown. Quills and larger coverts deep brown, margined
externally and tipped with red. Tail feathers deep brown, similarly
margined. A narrow band of cream-colour across the forehead margining
the base of the upper mandible.

Length 6 inches, extent of wings 9, beak along the ridge 5/12, along
the gap 7/12, tarsus ⅔.


Female. Plate IV. Fig. 3.

The young bird so closely resembles the adult female, that the same
description will answer for both. The general colour of the upper parts
is brownish-olive, streaked with dark brown. There is a broadish white
line over the eye, and another from the commissure of the gap backwards.
The under parts are greyish white, the sides streaked with brown. The
quills and tail-feathers are dark brown, margined with olive.


THE RED LARCH.

     LARIX AMERICANA, _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. vol. ii. p. 645. _Mich._
     Arbr. Forest. de l'Amer. Sept. vol. iii. p. 137. Pl. 4.—MONŒCIA
     POLYANDRIA, _Linn._ CONIFERÆ, _Juss._

This species of larch, which is distinguished by its short, deciduous,
fasciculate leaves, and short ovate cones, occurs in the more northern
parts of the United States, and in the mountainous regions of the middle
states. It attains a height of sixty feet, and a diameter sometimes
of two feet. The wood is highly esteemed on account of its excellent
qualities.



BONAPARTE'S FLY-CATCHER.

_MUSCICAPA BONAPARTII._

PLATE V. MALE.


Whilst I have the pleasure of honouring this beautiful new species with
the name of so distinguished a naturalist as CHARLES LUCIEN BONAPARTE,
Prince of Musignano, I regret that I am unable to give any account of
its habits, or even of its manner of flight, and must therefore confine
my remarks upon it within very brief space. The following extract from
my journal contains all that I have to say respecting it.

"Monday, August 13th 1821.—Louisiana.—On arriving at the Cypress Swamp
(about five miles from St Francisville), I saw a great number of small
birds of different species, and as I looked at them I observed two engaged
in a fight or quarrel. I shot at them, but only one fell. On reaching
the spot, I found the bird was only wounded, and saw it standing still
and upright as if stupified by its fall. When I approached it to pick
it up, it spread its tail, opened its wings, and snapped its bill about
twenty times sharply and in quick succession, as birds of the genus do
when seizing insects on wing. I carried it home, and had the pleasure
of drawing it while alive and full of spirit. It often made off from my
hand, by starting suddenly, and then would hop round the room as quickly
as a Carolina Wren, uttering its _tweet, tweet, tweet_ all the while,
and snapping its bill every time I took it up. I put it into a cage for a
few minutes, but it obstinately thrust its head through the lower parts
of the wires. I relieved it from this sort of confinement, and allowed
it to go about the room. Next day it was very weak and ruffled up, so
I killed it and put it in spirits." To this account I have only to add,
that I have not seen another individual since.


     MUSCICAPA BONAPARTII. Plate V.

Bill of moderate length, straight, subtrigonal, 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 large.
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 ordinary, blended. Wings rather long, somewhat acute, second
primary longest. Tail rather long, nearly even, straight. Basirostral
feathers bristly and directed outwards.

Bill brown above, yellowish beneath, orbits yellow. Iris deep brown.
Feet and claws flesh-colour. The upper parts of a light greyish-blue, the
quills dusky, their outer webs blue, the two first margined with white.
Under parts and forehead ochre-yellow, under tail-coverts whitish; a
few dark spots on the upper part of the breast.

Length 5¼ inches; bill along the ridge 5/12, along the gap ⅔; tarsus ⅚.


THE GREAT MAGNOLIA.

     MAGNOLIA GRANDIFLORA, _Wild._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 1255. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 380. _Mich._ Arbr. Forest. de l'Amer.
     Sept. vol. iii. p. 71. Pl. i.—POLYANDRIA POLYGYNIA, _Linn._
     MAGNOLIÆ, _Juss._

The magnificent tree, of which a twig, with a cone of ripe fruit, is
represented in the plate, attains a height of a hundred feet or even more.
The bright red bodies are the seeds, suspended by a filament for some
time after the capsules have burst. The trunk is often very straight,
from two to four feet in diameter at the base, with a greyish smooth
bark. The leaves which remain during the winter are stiff and leathery,
smooth, elliptical, tapering at the base. The flowers are white, and
seven or eight inches in diameter. It is known by the names of _Large
Magnolia_, _Big Laurel_ and _Bay-tree_, and occurs abundantly in some
parts of Carolina, Georgia, the Floridas and Louisiana.



THE OHIO.


To render more pleasant the task which you have imposed upon yourself,
of following an author through the mazes of descriptive ornithology,
permit me, kind reader, to relieve the tedium which may be apt now and
then to come upon you, by presenting you with occasional descriptions
of the scenery and manners of the land which has furnished the objects
that engage your attention. The natural features of that land are not
less remarkable than the moral character of her inhabitants; and I cannot
find a better subject with which to begin, than one of those magnificent
rivers that roll the collected waters of her extensive territories to
the ocean.

       *       *       *       *       *

When my wife, my eldest son (then an infant), and myself were returning
from Pennsylvania to Kentucky, we found it expedient, the waters being
unusually low, to provide ourselves with a _skiff_, to enable us to
proceed to our abode at Henderson. I purchased a large, commodious, and
light boat of that denomination. We procured a mattress, and our friends
furnished us with ready prepared viands. We had two stout Negro rowers,
and in this trim we left the village of Shippingport, in expectation of
reaching the place of our destination in a very few days.

It was in the month of October. The autumnal tints already decorated
the shores of that queen of rivers, the Ohio. Every tree was hung with
long and flowing festoons of different species of vines, many loaded
with clustered fruits of varied brilliancy, their rich bronzed carmine
mingling beautifully with the yellow foliage, which now predominated
over the yet green leaves, reflecting more lively tints from the clear
stream than ever landscape painter portrayed or poet imagined.

The days were yet warm. The sun had assumed the rich and glowing hue
which at that season produces the singular phenomenon called there the
"Indian Summer." The moon had rather passed the meridian of her grandeur.
We glided down the river, meeting no other ripple of the water than that
formed by the propulsion of our boat. Leisurely we moved along, gazing
all day on the grandeur and beauty of the wild scenery around us.

Now and then, a large cat-fish rose to the surface of the water in pursuit
of a shoal of fry, which starting simultaneously from the liquid element,
like so many silvery arrows, produced a shower of light, while the
pursuer with open jaws seized the stragglers, and, with a splash of his
tail, disappeared from our view. Other fishes we heard uttering beneath
our bark a rumbling noise, the strange sounds of which we discovered
to proceed from the white perch, for on casting our net from the bow we
caught several of that species, when the noise ceased for a time.

Nature, in her varied arrangements, seems to have felt a partiality
towards this portion of our country. As the traveller ascends or descends
the Ohio, he cannot help remarking that alternately, nearly the whole
length of the river, the margin, on one side, is bounded by lofty hills
and a rolling surface, while on the other, extensive plains of the
richest alluvial land are seen as far as the eye can command the view.
Islands of varied size and form rise here and there from the bosom of
the water, and the winding course of the stream frequently brings you
to places where the idea of being on a river of great length changes to
that of floating on a lake of moderate extent. Some of these islands are
of considerable size and value; while others, small and insignificant,
seem as if intended for contrast, and as serving to enhance the general
interest of the scenery. These little islands are frequently overflowed
during great _freshets_ or floods, and receive at their heads prodigious
heaps of drifted timber. We foresaw with great concern the alterations
that cultivation would soon produce along those delightful banks.

As night came, sinking in darkness the broader portions of the river,
our minds became affected by strong emotions, and wandered far beyond
the present moments. The tinkling of bells told us that the cattle which
bore them were gently roving from valley to valley in search of food, or
returning to their distant homes. The hooting of the Great Owl, or the
muffled noise of its wings as it sailed smoothly over the stream, were
matters of interest to us; so was the sound of the boatman's horn, as
it came winding more and more softly from afar. When daylight returned,
many songsters burst forth with echoing notes, more and more mellow to
the listening ear. Here and there the lonely cabin of a squatter struck
the eye, giving note of commencing civilization. The crossing of the
stream by a deer foretold how soon the hills would be covered with snow.

Many sluggish flat-boats we overtook and passed: some laden with produce
from the different head-waters of the small rivers that pour their
tributary streams into the Ohio; others, of less dimensions, crowded with
emigrants from distant parts, in search of a new home. Purer pleasures
I never felt; nor have you, reader, I ween, unless indeed you have felt
the like, and in such company.

The margins of the shores and of the river were at this season amply
supplied with game. A Wild Turkey, a Grouse, or a Blue-winged Teal,
could be procured in a few moments; and we fared well, for, whenever we
pleased, we landed, struck up a fire, and provided as we were with the
necessary utensils, procured a good repast.

Several of these happy days passed, and we neared our home, when, one
evening, not far from Pigeon Creek (a small stream which runs into the
Ohio, from the State of Indiana), a loud and strange noise was heard, so
like the yells of Indian warfare, that we pulled at our oars, and made
for the opposite side as fast and as quietly as possible. The sounds
increased, we imagined we heard cries of "murder;" and as we knew that
some depredations had lately been committed in the country by dissatisfied
parties of Aborigines, we felt for a while extremely uncomfortable. Ere
long, however, our minds became more calmed, and we plainly discovered
that the singular uproar was produced by an enthusiastic set of
Methodists, who had wandered thus far out of the common way, for the
purpose of holding one of their annual camp meetings, under the shade of
a beech forest. Without meeting with any other interruption, we reached
Henderson, distant from Shippingport by water about two hundred miles.

When I think of these times, and call back to my mind the grandeur and
beauty of those almost uninhabited shores; when I picture to myself the
dense and lofty summits of the forest, that everywhere spread along the
hills, and overhung the margins of the stream, unmolested by the axe
of the settler; when I know how dearly purchased the safe navigation of
that river has been by the blood of many worthy Virginians; when I see
that no longer any Aborigines are to be found there, and that the vast
herds of elks, deer and buffaloes which once pastured on these hills
and in these valleys, making for themselves great roads to the several
salt-springs, have ceased to exist; when I reflect that all this grand
portion of our Union, instead of being in a state of nature, is now
more or less covered with villages, farms, and towns, where the din
of hammers and machinery is constantly heard; that the woods are fast
disappearing under the axe by day, and the fire by night; that hundreds
of steam-boats are gliding to and fro, over the whole length of the
majestic river, forcing commerce to take root and to prosper at every
spot; when I see the surplus population of Europe coming to assist in
the destruction of the forest, and transplanting civilization into its
darkest recesses;—when I remember that these extraordinary changes have
all taken place in the short period of twenty years, I pause, wonder,
and, although I know all to be fact, can scarcely believe its reality.

Whether these changes are for the better or for the worse, I shall not
pretend to say; but in whatever way my conclusions may incline, I feel
with regret that there are on record no satisfactory accounts of the
state of that portion of the country, from the time when our people
first settled in it. This has not been because no one in America is able
to accomplish such an undertaking. Our IRVINGS and our COOPERS have
proved themselves fully competent for the task. It has more probably
been because the changes have succeeded each other with such rapidity,
as almost to rival the movements of their pen. However, it is not too
late yet; and I sincerely hope that either or both of them will ere long
furnish the generations to come with those delightful descriptions which
they are so well qualified to give, of the original state of a country
that has been so rapidly forced to change her form and attire under the
influence of increasing population. Yes; I hope to read, ere I close my
earthly career, accounts from those delightful writers of the progress of
civilization in our western country. They will speak of the CLARKS, the
CROGHANS, the BOONS, and many other men of great and daring enterprise.
They will analyze, as it were, into each component part, the country as
it once existed, and will render the picture, as it ought to be, immortal.



THE WILD TURKEY.

_MELEAGRIS GALLOPAVO_, LINN.

PLATE VI. FEMALE AND YOUNG.


The Male Turkey has already been described, and you have seen that
magnificent bird roaming in the forests, approaching the haunts of man,
and performing all the offices for which he is destined in the economy
of nature. Here you have his mate, now converted into a kind and anxious
parent, leading her young progeny, with measured step and watchful eye,
through the intricacies of the forest. The chickens, still covered with
down, are running among her feet in pursuit of insects. One is picking
its sprouting plumelets, while another is ridding itself of a tick which
has fastened upon its little wing.

In addition to what has already been said respecting the manners of
the Wild Turkey, I have a few circumstances to mention, which relate
chiefly to both sexes. Its flight is powerful and rapid, and is composed
of strong flappings, which enable it to rise with ease to the highest
branches of the largest forest trees. When it starts from the ground, it
generally leaves marks which are made by the first motions of its wings,
which are so powerful as raise the withered leaves around it. When the
ground is covered with snow, the impressions are so distinctly defined
as to imitate the form of the pinions. When it leaves its perch, it
flaps its wings only a few times at the outset, and then sails for many
hundred yards, balancing itself as it proceeds, with great steadiness,
until it reaches the ground. If it has flown from its perch with the
view of reaching another, it repeats the flappings at intervals of a
hundred yards or so. On coming to the ground, it is obliged to run for
a few yards, its great weight rendering this necessary to prevent its
body from being injured.

The great strength of a full grown Turkey-cock renders it no easy matter
to hold it when but slightly wounded; and once or twice I have thought
myself in jeopardy, when on entering a pen in which six or seven large
cocks had imprisoned themselves, their flutterings and struggles rendered
it extremely difficult to secure them.

The Female Turkey, which is considerably inferior in size to the male,
differs further from him in wanting the spurs and pendulous wattles, in
having the frontal papilla much smaller, the naked space of the neck less,
and the colours much duller, although similar in distribution. The naked
parts of the head and neck are more furnished with bristly feathers,
and are of a light blue colour, with reddish tints interspersed. The
bill, the eyes, and the feet, are of the same colour as in the male, the
latter considerably paler. There is a line of short bristly dark-coloured
feathers down the back of the neck. The general colour of the upper and
under parts is greyish-brown, with metallic bronzed reflections, each
feather terminated by a band of black. On the lower back the brown tints
become brighter, and on the rump and upper tail-coverts change into
bright chestnut, with transverse bands of brown. The ground colour of
the tail is pale yellowish-brown, transversely barred and mottled as in
the male, and with a broad subterminal band of brownish-black, beyond
which the feathers are mottled, and finally terminated by uniform light
brown. The abdominal region is dull brownish-grey. The primary quills are
greyish-white, barred with brownish-black; the secondaries brownish-grey,
similarly barred. The wing-coverts are similar to the feathers of the
back.

Length 3 feet 1 inch, extent of wings 4 feet 6 inches; bill 1 inch
along the ridge, 1¾ along the gap; tarsus 6; middle toe 3¾, hind toe
1½, pectoral appendage 4 inches.

The young, a few days old, are pale brownish-yellow above, pale
yellowish-grey beneath, the top of the head brighter, marked in the middle
with a longitudinal pale brown band, the back and wings spotted with
brownish-black, excepting the lesser wing-coverts, which are uniformly
dull brown. Iris yellowish-brown; bill and feet flesh-coloured.



PURPLE GRAKLE OR COMMON CROW-BLACKBIRD.

_QUISCALUS VERSICOLOR_, VIEILL.

PLATE VII. MALE AND FEMALE.


I could not think of any better mode of representing these birds than
that which I have adopted, as it exhibits them in the exercise of their
nefarious propensities. Look at them: The male, as if full of delight
at the sight of the havoc which he has already committed on the tender,
juicy, unripe corn on which he stands, has swelled his throat, and
is calling in exultation to his companions to come and assist him in
demolishing it. The female has fed herself, and is about to fly off
with a well-loaded bill to her hungry and expectant brood, that, from
the nest, look on their plundering parents, joyously anticipating the
pleasures of which they shall ere long be allowed to participate. See
how torn the husk is from the ear, and how nearly devoured the grains
of corn already are! This is the tithe our Blackbirds take from our
planters and farmers; but it was so appointed, and such is the will of
the beneficent Creator.

These birds are constant residents in Louisiana. I say they are so,
because a certain number of them, which in some countries would be called
immense, is found there at all seasons of the year. No sooner has the
cotton or corn planter begun to turn his land into brown furrows, than
the Crow-Blackbirds are seen sailing down from the skirts of the woods,
alighting in the fields, and following his track along the ridges of
newly-turned earth, with an elegant and elevated step, which shews them
to be as fearless and free as the air through which they wing their
way. The genial rays of the sun shine on their silky plumage, and offer
to the ploughman's eye such rich and varying tints, that no painter,
however gifted, could ever imitate them. The coppery bronze, which in
one light shews its rich gloss, is, by the least motion of the bird,
changed in a moment to brilliant and deep azure, and again, in the next
light, becomes refulgent sapphire or emerald-green.

The bird stops, spreads its tail, lowers its wings, and, with swelled
throat and open bill, sounds a call to those which may chance to be
passing near. The stately step is resumed. Its keen eye, busily engaged
on either side, is immediately attracted by a grub, hastening to hide
itself from the sudden exposure made by the plough. In vain does it hurry,
for the Grakle has seen and marked it for its own, and it is snatched
up and swallowed in a moment.

Thus does the Grakle follow the husbandman as he turns one furrow after
another, destroying a far worse enemy to the corn than itself, for every
worm which it devours would else shortly cut the slender blade, and
thereby destroy the plant when it would perhaps be too late to renew it
by fresh seed. Every reflecting farmer knows this well, and refrains from
disturbing the Grakle at this season. Were he as merciful at another
time, it would prove his grateful recollection of the services thus
rendered him. But man is too often forgetful of the benefit which he
has received; he permits his too commonly weak and selfish feelings to
prevail over his reason; and no sooner does the corn become fit for his
own use, than he vows and executes vengeance on all intruders. But to
return to our Blackbird.

The season of love has arrived. Each male having, by assiduity, valour,
or good fortune, received the affectionate regards of a faithful mate,
unites with her in seeking a safe and agreeable retreat. The lofty dead
trees left standing in our newly cultivated fields, have many holes
and cavities, some of which have been bored by woodpeckers, and others
caused by insects or decay. These are visited and examined in succession,
until a choice being made, and a few dry weeds and feathers collected,
the female deposits her eggs, which are from four to six in number, of
a bluish tint, blotched and streaked with brown and black. She sits upon
them while her valiant mate and guardian mounts to the summit of a broken
branch, pours forth his rude notes, and cheers and watches her with the
kindest and most unremitting care. I think I see him plunging through
the air and overtaking the Red-headed or the Golden-winged Woodpecker,
which, in search of their last year's nest, have imprudently alighted at
the entrance of the already chosen and occupied hole. The conflict is but
momentary; the creeping bird is forced to yield, and after whirling round
in the air as it defends itself, and very nearly comes to the ground,
makes the best of its way off, well knowing that there its opponent is
more formidable than even in the air.

This over, the Grakle roams in quest of food. Little heaps of grubs,
with a few grains of corn, afford delicious repasts to himself and his
mate. They thus share the labours of incubation, and see the time pass
in eager and pleasant expectation. And now the emerging brood shake off
the shell that so long enclosed them; their tottering heads are already
raised toward their mother, while she, with intense anxiety, dries and
cherishes them. They grow up day after day. The hole becomes nearly
filled with their increased bulk. The vigilance and industry of the
parents also augment apace. I wish, good-natured reader, you would seek
out such a sight: it would gladden your heart, for the rearing of such
a family is worthy of your contemplation.

It is with regret that I must turn from this picture. I have already told
you that the Grakles are at least as fond of corn as the lords of the
land are. Hark to the sound of rattles, and the hallooing of the farmer's
sons and servants, as they spread over the field! Now and then the report
of a gun comes on the ear. The Grakles have scarcely a single moment of
quiet; they are chased, stolen upon, and killed in great numbers, all
the country round; but the hungry birds heed not the slaughter of their
brethren. They fly in flocks from place to place, and, in spite of all
that the farmer has done or threatens to do, continue their depredations.
Food must be had. Grubs and worms have already retired to their winter
quarters within the earth; no beech-nuts or acorns have yet fallen from
the trees; corn is now their only resource, and the quantity of it which
they devour is immense.

Now gloomy November brings up its cold blasts from the north, and drives
before it the Grakles from the Eastern States. They reach Louisiana and
all the Southern States when autumn has not yet retired, when the weather
is still mild and serene, and the yellow foliage of the wide woods gives
shelter to myriads of birds. The Grakles, congregated in prodigious
flocks, alight on the trees that border the vast forests, covering every
twig and bough in such astonishing masses, that the most unskilful or
most avaricious gunner finds no difficulty in satisfying his wish for
sport or game. This is the time to listen to their choruses. They seem
to congratulate each other on their escape, and vociferate at such a
rate as to make one imagine their number double what it is.

Beech-nuts and acorns are now abundant in the woods, having by this
time fallen from the trees, and the Grakles roam in quest of them in
immense bodies, rising on wing when disturbed, uttering at the same time
a tremendous noise, then making a few rounds, and alighting again. They
thus gradually clear away the mast, in the same manner as the wild pigeons
are wont to do. As the weather becomes colder, they frequent the farms,
and even resort to the cattle pens, where, from among the litter and
refuse straw, they pick the scattered grains that have fallen from the
stores with which the farmer has supplied his stock. They remain about
the farms until the commencement of spring. They are easily caught in
traps, and shew little fear when seized, biting so severely as often to
draw blood, and laying hold with their claws in a very energetic manner.

During the winter of 1821, I caught a number of them, as well as many
other birds, for the purpose of sending them alive to Europe. The whole
of my captives were confined together in a large cage, where they were
well fed and watered, and received all necessary attention. Things went
on favourably for several days, and I with pleasure saw them becoming
daily more gentle. An unexpected change, however, soon took place, for
as the Grakles became reconciled to confinement, they began to attack
the other birds, beating and killing one after another so fast that
I was obliged to remove them from the cage. Even this did not prevent
further breach of the peace, for the strong attacked and killed the weak
of their own race, so that only a few remained in the end. The Grakles
thus mangled, killed and partially devoured several Cardinal Grosbeaks,
Doves, Pigeons, and Blue Jays. I look upon this remarkable instance of
ferocity in the Grakle with the more amazement, as I never observed it
killing any bird when in a state of freedom.

What I have said respecting the Purple Grakle (which by some is improperly
named the Boat-tailed Grakle) refers particularly to the habits of those
in the south, where some of them are found at all seasons. I shall now
speak of those of the Western and Middle States. Most of these birds
leave the south about the middle of February, setting out in small
detached flocks. They reach the State of New York in this straggling
manner about the middle of May. Their migratory flight is performed in
short undulating lines, resembling small segments of very large circles.
It may be explained in this manner. Supposing the bird poised in the air
and intent on moving forwards, it propels itself by a strenuous flap of
the wings, which carries it forward in a curve, along which it ascends
until it attains the level of its original point of departure, when it
flaps its wings again, and performs another curve. In this form of flight
they pursue their long journey, during which they keep up a continual
low chattering, as if they were discussing some important question.
When they reach Pennsylvania, they commence the avocations which I have
already described, and are seen following the plough, while their kindred
that have been left in Louisiana are probably by this time feeding their
young, as the difference of climate between these latitudes leaves the
northern states a month later in their seasons than the southern.

In the Northern States these birds construct their nests in a much
more perfect, and therefore more natural manner. A pine tree, whenever
it occurs in a convenient place, is selected by preference, its dense
foliage and horizontal branches being well adapted for nidification.
There the Grakle forms a nest, which from the ground might easily be
mistaken for that of our Robin, the _Turdus migratorius_, were it less
bulky. But it is much larger, and instead of being placed by itself, is
associated with others, often to the number of a dozen or more, on the
horizontal arms of the pine, forming tier above tier, from the lowest
to the highest branches. The centre of the nest is what I would call
_saddled_ on the bough, the materials being laid so that the nest is
thinner in its middle part and thicker at the two opposite sides, so
as to have a firm hold. It is about six inches in diameter outside,
and four inches within, the depth being the same, and is composed of
grass, slender roots and mud, lined with hair and finer grasses. I had
a white pine-tree in one of my fields on Mill Grove Farm, on which many
of these birds bred every spring, when some mischievous lads frequently
amused themselves with beating down the nests with long fishing-rods,
to my great annoyance. Some of the Pennsylvanian farmers, from a very
laudable motive, have given out that Grakles are fond of pulling up the
garlic plant, so injurious to the pastures of the Middle States; but I
am sorry to say this assertion is by no means correct, and were these
good people to look to the Grakles for the clearing of their fields from
that evil, they might wait long enough.

The flesh of the Purple Grakle is little better than that of the Crow,
being dry and ill-flavoured, notwithstanding which it is frequently used,
with the addition of one or two Golden-winged Woodpeckers or Redwings,
to make what is here called _pot pie_, even amidst a profusion of so
many better things. The eggs, on the contrary, are very delicate, and I
am astonished that those who are so anxious for the destruction of these
birds do not gratify their wishes by eating them while yet in embryo
in the egg. In some parts of Louisiana, the farmers, or, as they are
styled, the planters, steep the seed corn for a few hours in a solution
of Glauber's salt, to deter the Grakles and other birds from eating the
grains when just _planted_, as we term it in America, the word _sow_
being seldom employed there to denote the act of depositing in the earth
even the smallest seed.

The Purple Grakle travels very far north. I have found it everywhere
during my peregrinations, and in one or two instances have seen it form
its nest in the fissures of rocks.


     QUISCALUS VERSICOLOR, _Vieill._ Nouv. Dict. d'Hist. Nat. vol. xxviii.
     p. 488.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synopsis of Birds of the
     United States, p. 54; and Americ. Ornith. vol. i. p. 42, Pl. v.
     fig. 1. Female.

     GRACULA BARITA, _Gmel._ Syst. vol. i. p. 396.—_Lath._ Ind.
     Ornith. p. 191.

     PURPLE GRAKLE, _Lath._ Synops. vol. ii. p. 462.

     BOAT-TAILED GRAKLE, _Lath._ Synops. vol. ii. p. 460.—_Wilson_,
     Americ. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 44, Pl. xxi. fig. 4. Male.


Adult Male. Plate VII. Fig. 1.

Bill longish, straight, tapering, compressed from the base; upper
mandible prolonged on the forehead, forming an acute angle there, a
little declinate at the tip, its dorsal outline slightly convex, as
are the sides; under mandible nearly straight in its lower outline,
convex on the sides, acute at the tip; edges of both acute, of the
lower inflected; the gap line deflected at the base, reaching to beneath
the eye. Nostrils basal, oval, half closed by a membrane. Head large,
rounded above. Neck of moderate length, thick. Body rather robust. Feet
of moderate length, strong; tarsus considerably longer than the middle
toe, covered anteriorly with longish scutella, shorter below, laterally
with two longitudinal plates, meeting behind at an acute angle; lateral
toes nearly equal, the outer connected at the base by a membrane; claws
strong, arched, compressed, acute.

Plumage soft, silky, glossy, blended. Wings of ordinary length; second,
third and fourth quills longest, first and fifth nearly equal and little
shorter. Tail longish, of twelve feathers, much rounded, concave along
the middle above, or what is termed boat-shaped.

Bill, feet and claws black. Iris bright-yellow. Head, neck, and upper part
of the breast blackish, with vivid reflections of violet, steel-blue, and
green. General colour of the body black, with bright-green, purple and
bronze-coloured reflections above, dull beneath. Quills and tail-feathers
black, the latter with purple and green reflections; secondaries and
wing-coverts tinged with brown.

Length 13 inches, extent of wings 19; beak 1¼ along the ridge, 1½ along
the gap; tarsus 1¾, middle toe 1¼.


Adult Female. Plate VII. Fig. 2.

The female differs from the male in being smaller, in having the tail
less hollow above, and in the less brilliant reflections of its plumage,
which has more of a brown tint.

Length 11 inches, extent of wings 16; bill 1 along the ridge, 1¼ along
the gap.


THE MAIZE OR INDIAN CORN.

     ZEA MAYS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 200. _Pursh_, Flor.
     Americ. p. 46.—MONŒCIA TRIANDRIA, _Linn._ GRAMINEÆ, _Juss._

This very important plant is abundantly cultivated in all parts of
America. As it is generally known, and as I shall have occasion to speak
of it elsewhere, it is unnecessary for me to describe it here.



THE WHITE-THROATED SPARROW.

_FRINGILLA PENNSYLVANICA_, LATH.

PLATE VIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


This pretty little bird is a visitor of Louisiana and all the southern
districts, where it remains only a very short time. Its arrival in
Louisiana may be stated to take place in the beginning of November, and
its departure in the first days of March. In all the Middle States it
remains longer. How it comes and how it departs are to me quite unknown.
I can only say, that, all of a sudden, the hedges of the fields bordering
on creeks or swampy places, and overgrown with different species of
vines, sumach bushes, briars, and the taller kinds of grasses, appear
covered with these birds. They form groups, sometimes containing from
thirty to fifty individuals, and live together in harmony. They are
constantly moving up and down among these recesses, with frequent jerkings
of the tail, and uttering a note common to the tribe. From the hedges
and thickets they issue one by one in quick succession, and ramble to
the distance of eight or ten yards, hopping and scratching, in quest of
small seeds, and preserving the utmost silence. When the least noise is
heard, or alarm given, and frequently, as I thought, without any alarm
at all, they all fly back to their covert, pushing directly into the
very thickest part of it. A moment elapses, when they become reassured,
and ascending to the highest branches and twigs, open a little concert,
which, although of short duration, is extremely sweet. There is much
plaintive softness in their note, which I wish, kind reader, I could
describe to you; but this is impossible, although it is yet ringing in
my ear, as if I were in those very fields where I have so often listened
to it with delight. No sooner is their music over than they return to
the field, and thus continue alternately sallying forth and retreating
during the greater part of the day. At the approach of night, they utter
a sharper and shriller note, consisting of a single _twit_, repeated
in smart succession by the whole group, and continuing until the first
hooting of some owl frightens them into silence. Yet, often during fine
nights, I have heard the little creatures emit here and there a twit,
as if to assure each other that "all's well."

During the warmer days, they remove partially to the woods, but never out
of reach of their favourite briar thickets, ascend the tops of hollies,
or such other trees as are covered with tangled vines, and pick either
a berry or a winter grape. Their principal enemies in the daytime, are
the little Sparrow Hawk, the Slate-coloured or Sharp-shinned Hawk, and
above all, the Hen-harrier or Marsh Hawk. The latter passes over their
little coteries with such light wings, and so unlooked for, that he
seldom fails in securing one of them.

No sooner does spring return, when our woods are covered with white
blossoms, in gay mimicry of the now melted snows, and the delighted eye
is attracted by the beautiful flowers of the Dog-wood tree, than the
White-throated Sparrow bids farewell to these parts, not to return till
winter. Where it spends the summer I know not, but I should think not
within the States.

It is a plump bird, fattening almost to excess, whilst in Louisiana,
and affords delicious eating, for which purpose many are killed with
_blow-guns_. These instruments—should you not have seen them—are prepared
by the Indians, who cut the straightest canes, perforating them by
forcing a hickory rod through the internal partitions which intersect
this species of bamboo, and render them quite smooth within by passing
the rod repeatedly through. The cane is then kept perfectly straight,
and is well dried, after which it is ready for use. Splints of wood, or
more frequently of cane, are then worked into tiny arrows, quite sharp
at one end, and at the other, instead of being feathered, covered with
squirrel hair or other soft substances, in the manner of a bottle-brush,
so as to fill the tube and receive the impulse imparted by a smart
puff of breath, which is sufficient to propel such an arrow with force
enough to kill a small bird at the distance of eight or ten paces. With
these blow-guns or pipes, several species of birds are killed in large
quantities; and the Indians sometimes procure even squirrels by means
of them.

The Dog-wood, of which I have represented a twig in early spring, is a
small tree found nearly throughout the Union, but generally preferring
such lands as with us are called of second quality, although it
occasionally makes its appearance in the richest alluvial deposits.
Its height seldom exceeds twenty feet, or its diameter ten inches. It
is scarcely ever straight to any extent, but the wood, being extremely
hard and compact, is useful for turning, when well dried and free of
wind-shakes, to which it is rather liable. Its berries are eaten by
various species of birds, and especially by our different kinds of
Squirrels, all of which shew great partiality to them. Its flowers,
although so interesting in early spring, are destitute of odour, and
of short duration. The bark is used by the inhabitants in decoction as
a remedy for intermittent fevers, and the berries are employed by the
housewife for dyeing black.


     FRINGILLA PENNSYLVANICA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 445.
     —_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synopsis of Birds of the United States,
     p. 108.

     WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, FRINGILLA ALBICOLLIS, _Wils._ Americ.
     Ornith. vol. iii. p. 51, Pl. xxxi. fig. 5. Male.

     WHITE-THROATED FINCH, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iii. p. 443.


Adult Male. Plate VIII. Fig. 1.

Bill short, robust, conical, acute; upper mandible broader than the
lower, scarcely declinate at the tip, 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, 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, arched, compressed, acute, that of the hind toe rather
large.

Plumage compact above, soft and blended beneath. Wings short and curved,
rounded, the third and fourth quills longest, the first much shorter,
the secondaries long. Tail longish, forked, the lateral feathers curved
outwards towards the tip.

Upper mandible dark brown, its edges and the lower mandible light blue.
Iris hazel. Feet flesh-coloured, claws light brown. Upper part of the head
black, with a narrow white stripe from the forehead to the upper part of
the neck. A broader white stripe, anteriorly passing into bright orange,
over each eye, margined by a narrow black stripe extending from the eye
down the neck. Upper part of the back, and the lesser wing-coverts, bright
bay, variegated with black; lower back and tail-coverts brownish-grey.
Quills and large coverts blackish, margined with bay, the latter, as
well as the next series, tipped with white, forming two conspicuous bands
on the wing. Tail dusky brown. Throat white; sides and fore-part of the
neck and breast bluish-grey; the rest of the under parts greyish-white.

Length 6½ inches, extent of wings 9; bill 5/12 along the ridge, 7/12
along the gap; tarsus 1¼, middle toe 1.


Adult Female. Plate VIII. Fig. 2.

In the female, the colours are similarly arranged, but much duller, the
bright bay of the male being changed into reddish-brown, the black into
dark brown, and the white into greyish-white. The white streak above the
eye is narrower, shorter, and anteriorly less yellow, the greyish-blue
of the breast paler, and the white spot on the throat less defined.

Length 6¼ inches, extent of wings 8½; bill ⅓ along the ridge, ½ along
the gap.


DOG-WOOD.

     CORNUS FLORIDA, _Willd._ Sp. Plant. vol. i. p. 661. _Michaux_,
     Abr. Forest. de l'Amer. Sept. t. iii. p. 138, Pl. iii. _Pursh_,
     Flora Americ. p. 108.—TETRANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ CAPRIFOLIA,
     _Juss._

A beautiful small tree, generally about twenty feet in height, with
very hard wood; dark grey bark, cracked into squarish compartments;
ovate-elliptical, acuminate leaves, which are light green above, whitish
beneath; large, obcordate involucral leaves; and bright-red oval berries.



SELBY'S FLY-CATCHER.

_MUSCICAPA SELBII._

PLATE IX. MALE.


The works of every student of nature are always pleasing to me, and it
is with delight that I see the number of such students daily increasing;
but when I meet with one who, regardless of the labour attending upon
figuring in their full size the objects from which he has derived his
knowledge, my heart expands, and I hail his name with enthusiasm. Mr
SELBY's great work is so well known to the scientific world, that I need
only here mention the favour which its accomplished author has conferred
upon me by permitting me to decorate one of my pages with his name, in
quality of foster-father to a beautiful and hitherto unknown species of
Fly-catcher.

As this bird, to the day on which my engraving of it appeared, had not
been described, or, in as far as I know, obtained by any other person
than myself, notwithstanding the great number of individuals who have
of late years been searching our States for new and rare species, it
must be considered as of very unfrequent occurrence, and probably as
seldom going farther north or east than the place where I discovered it.
Moreover, it is so scarce even there, that in all my walks I only shot
three individuals, in the course of nine years. In no instance have I
been able to cultivate its society longer than a few minutes, as, before
it might escape from me, I was obliged to shoot it, in order to satisfy
myself that it was indeed a different bird from any figured or described
in books.

My journal, under the date of 1st July 1821, contains the following
statement:—"I found this bird about three miles from St Francisville
in Louisiana, whilst engaged in searching for a Turkey, which I had
wounded. It was afternoon, and the heat oppressive. I saw it innocently
approaching us until within a few yards, anxiously looking, as if trying
to discover our intentions; but as we stood motionless, it once came so
near that I could easily have reached it with my gun barrel. It moved
nimbly among the twigs of the low bushes, making now and then short
dashes at flies, which it swallowed after killing them under foot, as
many other Fly-catchers are in the habit of doing, then peeping at us,
and again setting off in pursuit of flies. The snapping of its bill when
seizing an insect, was sharp, and as distinct as if the bird had been
in my hand. At length, fearing that it might escape, I desired my young
friend JOSEPH MASON to retire further from it, that we might shoot it."

On the 4th July, while searching with care about the same place, to find
its nest or the female, I shot another of these birds, which I found to
be a female. It differed only in being rather smaller, darker above,
and paler beneath. On the 27th September of the same year, I shot a
second male in beautiful plumage, six or seven miles off, in a different
direction, in the same State. Finding the pretty flower on which the bird
is drawn, in the immediate neighbourhood, and growing wild, although I am
assured it is originally from Europe, I have represented it, thinking it
might contrast well with the Fly-catcher in its richly coloured flowers,
and be assimilated to it in that of its stem and leaves. This flower is
found in damp places, in Louisiana only, at least I have not met with
it in the woods of any other State.


     SELBY'S FLY-CATCHER, MUSCICAPA SELBII.


Adult Male. Plate X.

Bill longish, depressed, tapering to a sharp point, very broad at the
base, the gap reaching to nearly under the eye; upper mandible slightly
notched and inflected at the tip; lower straight. Nostrils basal, lateral,
linear. Head and neck of moderate size. Body somewhat slender. Feet
moderately long, slender; tarsus covered with short scutella above, with
a longitudinal keeled plate behind, longer than the middle toe; toes
slender, unconnected; claws small, weak, slightly arched, compressed,
acute.

Plumage blended, soft and glossy. The beak margined at the base with
long spreading bristles. Wings of moderate length, third quill longest,
second and first little shorter, the other quills graduated. Tail rather
long, forked when closed, rounded when spread, the feathers acuminate.

Bill brown, horn-colour above, passing into dark flesh-colour below. Iris
dark brown. Legs, feet, and claws very light flesh-colour. The whole
upper parts dark olive; wings black, the feathers margined externally
with light olive, internally with white. The whole under parts, including
the tail-coverts, and a broad line over the eyes, rich yellow. The three
external feathers of the tail marked internally with white, the first
more so than the second, and the third less than the latter. Shafts of
the quills and tail-feathers deep brownish-black. Basirostral bristles
black.

Length 5½ inches, extent of wings 7¾; bill along the ridge 7/12, along
the gap 11/12; tarsus 1, middle toe ¾.

The female, as has been said, is nearly similar, the distribution of
the colours being the same.


FLOS-ADONIS.

     ADONIS AUTUMNALIS, _Linn._ Sp. Pl. p. 771. _Wild._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii.
     p. 1304. _Smith_, Engl. Fl. vol. iii. p. 43.—POLYANDRIA
     PENTAGYNIA, _Linn._ RANUNCULACEÆ, _Juss._

This plant, vulgarly named Pheasant's-eye, grows in Europe in cornfields.
It has an erect, branched stem, with copiously pinnatifid, alternate,
sessile, dark green leaves, the segments of which are linear and acute,
and deep crimson flowers, having a black spot near the claw of each of
the petals, which vary from six to ten.



THE BROWN TITLARK.

_ANTHUS SPINOLETTA_, BONAP.

PLATE X. MALE AND FEMALE.


Although this species is met with in every portion of the United States
which I have visited, I have not seen it anywhere during the summer
months, or heard of it breeding with us. It is one of the birds that I
should call gifted with a double set of habits, for, like a very few
others that are strictly named land birds, it occurs not only in the
fields in the interior of the country, but also on the borders of rivers,
and even on the shores of the Atlantic.

Its flight is extremely easy, and what I would call of a beautiful and
delicate nature. In other words, these birds pass and repass through the
air, performing numberless evolutions, as if it did not cost them the
least labour to fly. When in the interior of the country, they resort to
the old fields, and the vast prairies, as well as the ploughed lands,
seldom in flocks of less than ten or a dozen, and not unfrequently by
hundreds. Now, they are seen high, loosely moving in short reiterated
undulations, inspecting the ground below; now, they come sweeping over
and close to it, and seem about to alight, when, on the contrary, their
ranks close in an instant, they wheel about, and rise again into the
air. These feats are often repeated six or seven times, when at last,
satisfied as to their safety, or the abundance of food in the spot, they
alight, and immediately run about in quest of food. They run briskly,
and as lightly as birds usually called Larks are wont to do, but with
this difference, that they suffer their tails to vibrate whenever they
stop running. Again, instead of squatting partially down, as true Larks
do, to pick up their food, they move their body upon the upper joints
of the legs, in the manner of Thrushes and other birds. Another habit
seldom found in the Lark genus is that of settling on fences and trees,
and walking along them with apparent ease. In fact, the bird, although
called a Lark by WILSON and others, belongs to the Pipit or Titlark
family.

Whilst residing among the meadows and ploughed fields, these birds feed on
insects and small seeds, picking up some gravel at the same time. Along
the rivers, or on the sea-shores, they are fond of running as near the
edge of the water as possible, and searching among the drifted leaves
and weeds for such insects as are usually found there. The vibratory
motion of their tail is now more perceptible, being quicker. Their
feeble notes are also frequently uttered. When shot along the shores,
their stomachs have been found filled with fragments of minute shells,
as well as small shrimps, and other garbage. When raised by the report
of a gun, they rise high, and sometimes fly to a considerable distance;
but you may expect their return to the same spot, if you keep yourself
concealed for a few minutes. They are expert fly-catchers, inasmuch as
they leap from the ground, and follow insects on the wing for several
feet with avidity. The company of cattle is agreeable to them, so much
so, that they walk almost under them in quest of insects. When in fields,
the Brown Titlarks are often seen mixed with a few other birds known by
the name of Winter Larks, the habits of which I shall detail in my next
volume.

The species now under consideration reaches Louisiana about the middle
of October, and leaves it in the beginning of March. I caught some
of these birds on my passage from France to the United States, on the
Great Newfoundland Banks. They came on board wearied, and so hungry that
the crumbs of biscuit thrown to them were picked up with the greatest
activity. I am inclined to consider the Brown Titlark identical with
the Water Pipit of Europe.


     ANTHUS SPINOLETTA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synopsis of Birds of the
     United States, p. 90.

     ALAUDA SPINOLETTA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. p. 288.

     PIPIT SPIONCELLE, _Temm._ Man. d'Ornith. Part i. p. 265.

     BROWN LARK, ALAUDA RUFA, _Wilson_, Amer. Ornith. vol. v. p. 89.
     Pl. 42. fig. 4.


Adult Male. Plate X. Fig. 1.

Bill straight, subulate, depressed at the base, acute, the edges slightly
inflected at the middle, the gap not reaching to beneath the eyes;
upper mandible keeled at the base, afterwards rounded, slightly notched
and declinate at the tip. Nostrils basal, oval, half closed above by a
membrane. Head small. Neck slender. Body slender. Feet longish, slender;
tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with longish scutella, longer than
the middle toe; toes scutellate above, granulated beneath; inner toe
free; hind toe with a very long, almost straight claw, which, together
with the rest, is slender, compressed and acute.

Plumage blended, soft, with little gloss. Wings rather long, acute, the
first, second, and third primaries longest. Tail longish, forked, the
feathers rather narrow and sharpish.

Bill brownish-black. Legs and claws deep brown, tinged with green. Iris
brown. Upper parts olive-brown tinged with grey; throat and a line over
the eye brownish-white. Quills brownish-black, margined externally with
whitish; tail of the same colour, the outermost feather half white, the
next obliquely white at the end. Under parts reddish white, the sides
of the neck and the breast longitudinally spotted with dark brown.

Length 6½ inches, extent of wings 10½; bill 7/12 along the ridge, ⅔
along the gap; tarsus 11/12, middle toe ¾; hind toe ⅚ including the
claw, which is 5/12.


Adult Female. Plate X. Fig. 2.

The female differs from the male only in being somewhat smaller, and in
having the colours paler, and the upper parts more tinged with brown.



THE GREAT PINE SWAMP.


I left Philadelphia, at four of the morning, by the coach, with no other
accoutrements than I knew to be absolutely necessary for the jaunt which
I intended to make. These consisted of a wooden box, containing a small
stock of linen, drawing paper, my journal, colours and pencils, together
with 25 pounds of shot, some flints, the due quantum of cash, my gun
_Tear-jacket_, and a heart as true to nature as ever.

Our coaches are none of the best, nor do they move with the velocity of
those of some other countries. It was eight, and a dark night, when I
reached Mauch Chunk, now so celebrated in the Union for its rich coal
mines, and eighty-eight miles distant from Philadelphia. I had passed
through a very diversified country, part of which was highly cultivated,
while the rest was yet in a state of nature, and consequently much more
agreeable to me. On alighting, I was shewn to the travellers' room, and
on asking for the landlord, saw coming towards me a fine-looking young
man, to whom I made known my wishes. He spoke kindly, and offered to
lodge and board me at a much lower rate than travellers who go there for
the very simple pleasure of being dragged on the railway. In a word, I
was fixed in four minutes, and that most comfortably.

No sooner had the approach of day been announced by the cocks of the
little village, than I marched out with my gun and note-book, to judge
for myself of the wealth of the country. After traversing much ground,
and crossing many steep hills, I returned, if not wearied, at least much
disappointed at the extraordinary scarcity of birds. So I bargained to
be carried in a cart to the central parts of the Great Pine Swamp, and,
although a heavy storm was rising, ordered my conductor to proceed. We
winded round many a mountain, and at last crossed the highest. The weather
had become tremendous, and we were thoroughly drenched, but my resolution
being fixed, the boy was obliged to continue his driving. Having already
travelled about fifteen miles or so, we left the turnpike, and struck up
a narrow and bad road, that seemed merely cut out to enable the people
of the Swamp to receive the necessary supplies from the village which
I had left. Some mistakes were made, and it was almost dark, when a
post directed us to the habitation of a Mr JEDIAH IRISH, to whom I had
been recommended. We now rattled down a steep declivity, edged on one
side by almost perpendicular rocks, and on the other by a noisy stream,
which seemed grumbling at the approach of strangers. The ground was so
overgrown by laurels and tall pines of different kinds, that the whole
presented only a mass of darkness.

At length we got to the house, the door of which was already opened,
the sight of strangers being nothing uncommon in our woods, even in
the most remote parts. On entering, I was presented with a chair, while
my conductor was shewn the way to the stable, and on expressing a wish
that I should be permitted to remain in the house for some weeks, I was
gratified by receiving the sanction of the good woman to my proposal,
although her husband was then from home. As I immediately fell a-talking
about the nature of the country, and inquired if birds were numerous
in the neighbourhood, Mrs IRISH, more _au fait_ to household affairs
than ornithology, sent for a nephew of her husband's, who soon made
his appearance, and in whose favour I became at once prepossessed. He
conversed like an educated person, saw that I was comfortably disposed
of, and finally bade me good-night in such a tone as made me quite happy.

The storm had rolled away before the first beams of the morning sun
shone brightly on the wet foliage, displaying all its richness and
beauty. My ears were greeted by the notes, always sweet and mellow, of
the Wood Thrush and other songsters. Before I had gone many steps, the
woods echoed to the report of my gun, and I picked from among the leaves
a lovely Sylvia, long sought for, but until then sought for in vain. I
needed no more, and standing still for awhile, I was soon convinced that
the Great Pine Swamp harboured many other objects as valuable to me.

The young man joined me, bearing his rifle, and offered to accompany
me through the woods, all of which he well knew. But I was anxious to
transfer to paper the form and beauty of the little bird I had in my
hand; and requesting him to break a twig of blooming laurel, we returned
to the house, speaking of nothing else than the picturesque beauty of
the country around.

A few days passed, during which I became acquainted with my hostess and
her sweet children, and made occasional rambles, but spent the greater
portion of my time in drawing. One morning, as I stood near the window
of my room, I remarked a tall and powerful man alight from his horse,
loose the girth of the saddle, raise the latter with one hand, pass the
bridle over the head of the animal with the other, and move towards the
house, while the horse betook himself to the little brook to drink. I
heard some movements in the room below, and again the same tall person
walked towards the mills and stores, a few hundred yards from the
house. In America, business is the first object in view at all times,
and right it is that it should be so. Soon after my hostess entered my
room, accompanied by the fine-looking woodsman, to whom, as Mr JEDIAH
IRISH, I was introduced. Reader, to describe to you the qualities of
that excellent man were vain; you should know him, as I do, to estimate
the value of such men in our sequestered forests. He not only made me
welcome, but promised all his assistance in forwarding my views.

The long walks and long talks we have had together I never can forget, or
the many beautiful birds which we pursued, shot, and admired. The juicy
venison, excellent bear flesh, and delightful trout that daily formed
my food, methinks I can still enjoy. And then, what pleasure I had in
listening to him as he read his favourite Poems of BURNS, while my pencil
was occupied in smoothing and softening the drawing of the bird before
me! Was not this enough to recall to my mind the early impressions that
had been made upon it by the description of the golden age, which I here
found realized?

The Lehigh about this place forms numerous short turns between the
mountains, and affords frequent falls, as well as below the falls deep
pools, which render this stream a most valuable one for mills of any
kind. Not many years before this date, my host was chosen by the agent of
the Lehigh Coal Company, as their mill-wright, and manager for cutting
down the fine trees which covered the mountains around. He was young,
robust, active, industrious, and persevering. He marched to the spot
where his abode now is, with some workmen, and by dint of hard labour
first cleared the road mentioned above, and reached the river at the
centre of a bend, where he fixed on erecting various mills. The pass
here is so narrow that it looks as if formed by the bursting asunder of
the mountain, both sides ascending abruptly, so that the place where the
settlement was made is in many parts difficult of access, and the road
then newly cut was only sufficient to permit men and horses to come to
the spot where JEDIAH and his men were at work. So great, in fact, were
the difficulties of access, that, as he told me, pointing to a spot about
150 feet above us, they for many months slipped from it their barrelled
provisions, assisted by ropes, to their camp below. But no sooner was the
first saw-mill erected, than the axemen began their devastations. Trees
one after another were, and are yet, constantly heard falling, during
the days; and in calm nights, the greedy mills told the sad tale, that
in a century the noble forests around should exist no more. Many mills
were erected, many dams raised, in defiance of the impetuous Lehigh. One
full third of the trees have already been culled, turned into boards,
and floated as far as Philadelphia.

In such an undertaking, the cutting of the trees is not all. They have
afterwards to be hauled to the edge of the mountains bordering the river,
launched into the stream, and led to the mills over many shallows and
difficult places. Whilst I was in the Great Pine Swamp, I frequently
visited one of the principal places for the launching of logs. To see
them tumbling from such a height, touching here and there the rough
angle of a projecting rock, bouncing from it with the elasticity of a
foot-ball, and at last falling with awful crash into the river, forms
a sight interesting in the highest degree, but impossible for me to
describe. Shall I tell you that I have seen masses of these logs heaped
above each other to the number of five thousand? I may so tell you, for
such I have seen. My friend IRISH assured me that at some seasons, these
piles consisted of a much greater number, the river becoming in those
places completely choked up.

When _freshets_ (or floods) take place, then is the time chosen for
forwarding the logs to the different mills. This is called a _Frolic_.
JEDIAH IRISH, who is generally the leader, proceeds to the upper leap with
his men, each provided with a strong wooden handspike, and a short-handled
axe. They all take to the water, be it summer or winter, like so many
Newfoundland spaniels. The logs are gradually detached, and, after a
time, are seen floating down the dancing stream, here striking against
a rock and whirling many times round, there suddenly checked in dozens
by a shallow, over which they have to be forced with the handspikes. Now
they arrive at the edge of a dam, and are again pushed over. Certain
numbers are left in each dam, and when the party has arrived at the
last, which lies just where my friend IRISH's camp was first formed,
the drenched leader and his men, about sixty in number, make their way
home, find there a healthful repast, and spend the evening and a portion
of the night in dancing and frolicking, in their own simple manner, in
the most perfect amity, seldom troubling themselves with the idea of
the labour prepared for them on the morrow.

That morrow now come, one sounds a horn from the door of the store-house,
at the call of which each returns to his work. The sawyers, the millers,
the rafters and raftsmen are all immediately busy. The mills are all
going, and the logs, which a few months before were the supporters of
broad and leafy tops, are now in the act of being split asunder. The
boards are then launched into the stream, and rafts are formed of them
for market.

During the summer and autumnal months, the Lehigh, a small river of
itself, soon becomes extremely shallow, and to float the rafts would
prove impossible, had not art managed to provide a supply of water for
this express purpose. At the breast of the lower dam is a curiously
constructed lock, which is opened at the approach of the rafts. They
pass through this lock with the rapidity of lightning, propelled by
the water that had been accumulated in the dam, and which is of itself
generally sufficient to float them to Mauch Chunk, after which, entering
regular canals, they find no other impediments, but are conveyed to
their ultimate destination.

Before population had greatly advanced in this part of Pennsylvania, game
of all descriptions found within that range was extremely abundant. The
Elk itself did not disdain to browse on the shoulders of the mountains,
near the Lehigh. Bears and the Common Deer must have been plentiful, as,
at the moment when I write, many of both kinds are seen and killed by
the resident hunters. The Wild Turkey, the Pheasant and the Grouse, are
also tolerably abundant; and as to trout in the streams—Ah, reader, if
you are an angler, do go there, and try for yourself. For my part, I can
only say, that I have been made weary with pulling up from the rivulets
the sparkling fish, allured by the struggles of the common grasshopper.

A comical affair happened with the bears, which I shall relate to you,
good reader. A party of my friend IRISH's raftsmen, returning from Mauch
Chunk, one afternoon, through sundry short cuts over the mountains, at
the season when the huckle-berries are ripe and plentiful, were suddenly
apprised of the proximity of some of these animals, by their snuffing the
air. No sooner was this perceived than, to the astonishment of the party,
not fewer than eight bears, I was told, made their appearance. Each man,
being provided with his short-handled axe, faced about, and willingly
came to the scratch; but the assailed soon proved the assailants, and
with claw and tooth drove off the men in a twinkling. Down they all
rushed from the mountain; the noise spread quickly; rifles were soon
procured and shouldered; but when the spot was reached, no bears were
to be found; night forced the hunters back to their homes, and a laugh
concluded the affair.

I spent six weeks in the Great Pine Forest—Swamp it cannot be
called—where I made many a drawing. Wishing to leave Pennsylvania, and
to follow the migratory flocks of our birds to the south, I bade adieu
to the excellent wife and rosy children of my friend, and to his kind
nephew. JEDIAH IRISH, shouldering his heavy rifle, accompanied me, and
trudging directly across the mountains, we arrived at Mauch Chunk in
good time for dinner. Shall I ever have the pleasure of seeing that good,
that generous man again?

At Mauch Chunk, where we both spent the night, Mr WHITE, the civil
engineer, visited me, and looked at the drawings which I had made in
the Great Pine Forest. The news he gave me of my sons, then in Kentucky,
made me still more anxious to move in their direction, and, long before
day-break, I shook hands with the goodman of the forest, and found
myself moving towards the capital of Pennsylvania, having as my sole
companion a sharp frosty breeze. Left to my thoughts, I felt amazed that
such a place as the Great Pine Forest should be so little known to the
Philadelphians, scarcely any of whom could direct me towards it. How
much is it to be regretted, thought I, that the many young gentlemen who
are there so much at a loss how to employ their leisure days, should
not visit these wild retreats, valuable as they are to the student of
nature. How differently would they feel, if, instead of spending weeks
in smoothing a useless bow, and walking out in full dress, intent on
displaying the make of their legs, to some rendezvous where they may
enjoy their wines, they were to occupy themselves in contemplating the
rich profusion which nature has poured around them, or even in procuring
some desiderated specimen for their _Peale's Museum_, once so valuable
and so finely arranged? But alas! no: they are none of them aware of
the richness of the Great Pine Swamp, nor are they likely to share the
hospitality to be found there.

Night came on, as I was thinking of such things, and I was turned out of
the coach in the streets of the fair city, just as the clock struck ten.
I cannot say that my bones were much rested, but not a moment was to be
lost. So I desired a porter to take up my little luggage, and leading
him towards the nearest wharf, I found myself soon after gliding across
the Delaware, towards my former lodgings in the Jerseys. The lights were
shining from the parallel streets as I crossed them, all was tranquil and
serene, until there came the increasing sound of the Baltimore steamer,
which, for some reason unknown to me, was that evening later than usual
in its arrival. My luggage was landed, and carried home by means of a
bribe. The people had all retired to rest, but my voice was instantly
recognised, and an entrance was afforded to me.



THE BIRD OF WASHINGTON.

_FALCO WASHINGTONII._

PLATE XI. MALE.


It was in the month of February 1814, that I obtained the first sight of
this noble bird, and never shall I forget the delight which it gave me.
Not even HERSCHEL, when he discovered the planet which bears his name,
could have experienced more rapturous feelings. We were on a trading
voyage, ascending the Upper Mississippi. The keen wintry blasts whistled
around us, and the cold from which I suffered had, in a great degree,
extinguished the deep interest which, at other seasons, this magnificent
river has been wont to awake in me. I lay stretched beside our patroon.
The safety of the cargo was forgotten, and the only thing that called my
attention was the multitude of ducks, of different species, accompanied
by vast flocks of swans, which from time to time passed us. My patroon,
a Canadian, had been engaged many years in the fur trade. He was a man
of much intelligence, and, perceiving that these birds had engaged my
curiosity, seemed anxious to find some new object to divert me. An eagle
flew over us. "How fortunate!" he exclaimed; "this is what I could have
wished. Look, sir! the Great Eagle, and the only one I have seen since
I left the lakes." I was instantly on my feet, and having observed it
attentively, concluded, as I lost it in the distance, that it was a
species quite new to me. My patroon assured me that such birds were
indeed rare; that they sometimes followed the hunters, to feed on the
entrails of animals which they had killed, when the lakes were frozen
over, but that when the lakes were open, they would dive in the daytime
after fish, and snatch them up in the manner of the Fishing Hawk; and
that they roosted generally on the shelves of the rocks, where they
built their nests, of which he had discovered several by the quantity
of white dung scattered below.

Convinced that the bird was unknown to naturalists, I felt particularly
anxious to learn its habits, and to discover in what particulars it
differed from the rest of its genus. My next meeting with this bird was
a few years afterwards, whilst engaged in collecting crayfish on one of
those flats which border and divide Green River, in Kentucky, near its
junction with the Ohio. The river is there bordered by a range of high
cliffs, which, for some distance, follow its windings. I observed on the
rocks, which, at that place, are nearly perpendicular, a quantity of white
ordure, which I attributed to owls that might have resorted thither. I
mentioned the circumstance to my companions, when one of them, who lived
within a mile and a half of the place, told me it was from the nest of
the Brown Eagle, meaning the White-headed Eagle (_Falco leucocephalus_)
in its immature state. I assured him this could not be, and remarked
that neither the old nor the young birds of that species ever build
in such places, but always in trees. Although he could not answer my
objection, he stoutly maintained that a brown eagle of some kind, above
the usual size, had built there; and added that he had espied the nest
some days before, and had seen one of the old birds dive and catch a
fish. This he thought strange, having, till then, always observed that
both Brown Eagles and Bald Eagles procured this kind of food by robbing
the fish-hawks. He said that if I felt particularly anxious to know what
nest it was, I might soon satisfy myself, as the old birds would come
and feed their young with fish, for he had seen them do so before.

In high expectation, I seated myself about a hundred yards from the
foot of the rock. Never did time pass more slowly. I could not help
betraying the most impatient curiosity, for my hopes whispered it was a
Sea Eagle's nest. Two long hours had elapsed before the old bird made
his appearance, which was announced to us by the loud hissings of the
two young ones, which crawled to the extremity of the hole to receive a
fine fish. I had a perfect view of this noble bird as he held himself
to the edging rock, hanging like the Barn, Bank, or Social Swallow,
his tail spread, and his wings partly so. I trembled lest a word should
escape from my companions. The slightest murmur had been treason from
them. They entered into my feelings; and, although little interested,
gazed with me. In a few minutes the other parent joined her mate, and
from the difference in size (the female of rapacious birds being much
larger), we knew this to be the mother bird. She also had brought a fish;
but, more cautious than her mate, she glanced her quick and piercing
eye around, and instantly perceived that her abode had been discovered.
She dropped her prey, with a loud shriek communicated the alarm to the
male, and, hovering with him over our heads, kept up a growling cry,
to intimidate us from our suspected design. This watchful solicitude I
have ever found peculiar to the female:—must I be understood to speak
only of birds?

The young having concealed themselves, we went and picked up the fish
which the mother had let fall. It was a white perch, weighing about 5½
lb. The upper part of the head was broken in, and the back torn by the
talons of the eagle. We had plainly seen her bearing it in the manner
of the Fish-Hawk.

This day's sport being at an end, as we journeyed homewards, we agreed
to return the next morning, with the view of obtaining both the old and
young birds; but rainy and tempestuous weather setting in, it became
necessary to defer the expedition till the third day following, when,
with guns and men all in readiness, we reached the rock. Some posted
themselves at the foot, others upon it, but in vain. We passed the entire
day, without either seeing or hearing an eagle, the sagacious birds, no
doubt, having anticipated an invasion, and removed their young to new
quarters.

I come at last to the day which I had so often and so ardently desired.
Two years had gone by since the discovery of the nest, in fruitless
excursions; but my wishes were no longer to remain ungratified. In
returning from the little village of Henderson, to the house of Doctor
RANKIN, about a mile distant, I saw an eagle rise from a small enclosure
not a hundred yards before me, where the Doctor had a few days before
slaughtered some hogs, and alight upon a low tree branching over the
road. I prepared my double-barrelled piece, which I constantly carry, and
went slowly and cautiously towards him. Quite fearlessly he awaited my
approach, looking upon me with undaunted eye. I fired and he fell. Before
I reached him he was dead. With what delight did I survey the magnificent
bird! Had the finest salmon ever pleased him as he did me?—Never. I ran
and presented him to my friend, with a pride which they alone can feel,
who, like me, have devoted themselves from their earliest childhood to
such pursuits, and who have derived from them their first pleasures.
To others I must seem to "prattle out of fashion." The Doctor, who was
an experienced hunter, examined the bird with much satisfaction, and
frankly acknowledged he had never before seen or heard of it.

The name which I have chosen for this new species of Eagle, "The Bird of
Washington," may, by some, be considered as preposterous and unfit; but
as it is indisputably the noblest bird of its genus that has yet been
discovered in the United States, I trust I shall be allowed to honour
it with the name of one yet nobler, who was the saviour of his country,
and whose name will ever be dear to it. To those who may be curious to
know my reasons, I can only say, that, as the new world gave me birth
and liberty, the great man who ensured its independence is next to my
heart. He had a nobility of mind, and a generosity of soul, such as
are seldom possessed. He was brave, so is the eagle; like it, too, he
was the terror of his foes; and his fame, extending from pole to pole,
resembles the majestic soarings of the mightiest of the feathered tribe.
If America has reason to be proud of her Washington, so has she to be
proud of her Great Eagle.

In the month of January following, I saw a pair of these eagles flying
over the Falls of the Ohio, one in pursuit of the other. The next day I
saw them again. The female had relaxed her severity, had laid aside her
coyness, and to a favourite tree they continually resorted. I pursued
them unsuccessfully for several days, when they forsook the place.

The flight of this bird is very different from that of the White-headed
Eagle. The former encircles a greater space, whilst sailing keeps nearer
to the land and the surface of the water, and when about to dive for
fish falls in a spiral manner, as if with the intention of checking any
retreating movement which its prey might attempt, darting upon it only
when a few yards distant. The Fish-hawk often does the same. When rising
with a fish, the Bird of Washington flies, to a considerable distance,
forming, in its line of course, a very acute angle with the surface
line of the water. My last opportunity of seeing this bird, was on the
15th of November 1821, a few miles above the mouth of the Ohio, when two
passed over our boat, moving down the river with a gentle motion. In a
letter from a kind relative, Mr W. BAKEWELL, dated, "Falls of the Ohio,
July 1819," and containing particulars relative to the Swallow-tailed
Hawk (_Falco furcatus_), that gentleman says:—"Yesterday, for the first
time, I had an opportunity of viewing one of those magnificent birds,
which you call the Sea Eagle, as it passed low over me, whilst fishing.
I shall be really glad when I can again have the pleasure of seeing your
drawing of it."

Whilst in Philadelphia, about twelve months ago, I had the gratification
of seeing a fine specimen of this Eagle at Mr BRANO's museum. It was a
male in fine plumage, and beautifully preserved. I wished to purchase it
with a view to carry it to Europe, but the price put upon it was above
my means.

My excellent friend RICHARD HARLAN, M. D. of that city, speaking of this
bird in a letter dated "Philadelphia, August 19, 1830," says, "That fine
specimen of _Washington Eagle_, which you noticed in BRANO's museum, is
at present in my possession. I have deposited it in the Academy, where
it will most likely remain." I saw the specimen alluded to, which, in
as far as I could observe, agreed in size and markings exactly with my
drawing, to which, however, I could not at the time refer, as it was,
with the whole of my collection, deposited in the British Museum, under
the care of my ever kind and esteemed friend J. G. CHILDREN, Esq. of
that Institution.

The glands containing the oil used for the purpose of anointing the
surface of the plumage were, in the specimen represented in the plate,
extremely large. Their contents had the appearance of hog's lard, which
had been melted and become rancid. This bird makes more copious use of
that substance than the White-headed Eagle, or any of the tribe to which
it belongs, excepting the Fish-hawk, the whole plumage looking, upon
close examination, as if it had received a general coating of a thin
clear dilution of gum-arabic, and presenting less of the downy gloss
exhibited in the upper part of the White-headed Eagle's plumage. The
male bird weighs 14½ lb. avoirdupois, and measures 3 feet 7 inches in
length, and 10 feet 2 inches in extent.


     FALCO WASHINGTONII.


Adult Male. Plate XI.

Bill shortish, very deep, compressed; upper mandible with the dorsal
outline forming the third of a circle, rounded above, sloping and flattish
on the sides, nearly straight with a slight obtuse process, on the acute,
overlapping edges, the tip deflected, trigonal, acute, at its lower
part perpendicular to the gap line; lower mandible convex in its dorsal
outline, with inflected acute edges, which are deflected at the end. A
naked cere, in the fore part of which are the oblong, oblique, nearly
dorsal, open nostrils, which have a process from the anterior margin.
Head rather large, flat above. Neck robust, of ordinary length. Body
ovate. Feet rather short, with the leg long, the tarsus short, rounded,
anteriorly covered with transversely narrow scutella, posteriorly with
large, laterally with small tuberculous scales; toes robust, free,
scutellate above, papillar and scabrous beneath, with large tubercles;
claws curved, rounded, marginate beneath, very acute.

Plumage compact, imbricated, glossy; feathers of the head, neck and breast
narrow and pointed; of the back, breast and belly, ovate, distinct, acute;
the wing-coverts narrow, acute, compact. Space between the beak and eye
barish, being sparsely covered with feathers consisting of a shaft, downy
at the base, prolonged into a hair. Eyebrow bare, and greatly projecting.
Wings long, second quill longest, first considerably shorter. Tail of
ordinary length, rounded, extending considerably beyond the tips of the
wings, of twelve broad acute feathers. Tarsus feathered one-third down.

Bill bluish-black, the edges pale, the soft margin towards the commissure,
and the base of the under mandible yellow. Cere yellowish-brown. Lore
light greenish-blue. Iris chestnut-brown. Feet deep yellow; claws
bluish-black. Upper part of the head, hind neck, back, scapulars, rump,
tail-coverts, and posterior tibial feathers blackish-brown, glossed with a
coppery tint. Throat, fore-neck, breast and belly light brownish-yellow,
each feather marked along the centre with blackish-brown. Wing-coverts
light greyish-brown, those next the body becoming darker and approaching
the colour of the back. Primary quills dark brown, deeper on their inner
webs; secondaries lighter, and on their outer webs of nearly the same
light tint as their coverts. Tail uniform dark brown. Anterior tibial
feathers greyish-brown.

Length 3 feet 7 inches, extent of wings 10 feet 2 inches. Bill 3¼ inches
along the back; along the gap, which commences directly under the eye,
to the tip of the lower mandible 3⅓, and 1¾ deep. Length of wing when
folded 32 inches; length of tail 15 inches; tarsus 4½, middle 4¾, hind
claw 2½.

The two stomachs large and baggy. Their contents in the individual
described were fish, fishes' scales, and entrails of various kinds.
Intestines large, but thin and transparent.

Passing over the affinity of this bird to the young of the White-headed
Eagle (_Falco leucocephalus_), which WILSON has described and figured
under the name of Sea Eagle (_Falco Ossifragus_, Linn.), I shall institute
a comparison between it and the true Sea Eagle or Cinereous Eagle
(_Falco Albicilla_), which bears so strong a resemblance to the Bird of
Washington, that by a superficial observer they might be confounded, at
least were he to view them separately.

The White-tailed or Cinereous Eagle (_Falco Albicilla_ of LINNÆUS), has,
when full grown, the bill and iris yellow, the general colour of the
upper parts pale greyish-brown, passing into wood-brown, the belly and
thighs chocolate-brown, some of the upper tail-coverts, and the whole of
the tail, white. In this state, it is sufficiently different from our
bird, at least in colouring, but the young has a different appearance.
In the bird just fully fledged, the bill is deep brown, tinged with
blue, its base and the cere greenish-yellow; the iris dark brown; the
feet gamboge-yellow; the head deep brown, the bases of all the feathers
of the body white; on the hind neck the whole feathers white, excepting
the ends which are deep brown; the upper and middle back light brown,
the tips umber; the lower back white, with umber tips; the tail greyish
at its origin, deep brown, with an irregular brownish-white patch along
the inner webs, the fore-neck and upper breast brownish-white, spotted
with umber, the tips being of the latter colour; the belly pale brown,
spotted with umber; the thighs brown; the under tail-coverts whitish,
tipped with deep brown. In this state, and until nearly full grown, it
has been described as a distinct species, under the name of Sea Eagle
or Osprey (_Falco Ossifragus_, LINN.).

The principal changes which take place in regard to colour as the bird
advances, are these: the bill first becomes bluish-black, and ultimately
yellow, the cere becomes brighter, the iris assumes more of yellow, the
white at the base of the plumage gradually disappears, the tail becomes
lighter, the general colour of the plumage at first darker, but ultimately
paler. At the age of two years, the only period when the bird much
resembles ours, it is as follows:—and here I shall make the description
correspond in its arrangement with that of the Bird of Washington, that
the two may be more satisfactorily compared.

The bill corresponds with that of our bird, only that it is _not so deep_,
and proportionally _more elongated_. The other circumstances mentioned
in the first paragraph of the description of the Bird of Washington are
the same in the Sea Eagle.

Plumage compact, imbricated, glossy; feathers of the head, neck and
breast, narrow and pointed; of the back, breast and belly, ovate,
distinct, acute; the wing-coverts ovate and pointed. Space between
the beak and eye barish, being sparsely covered with bristly feathers.
Eyebrow projecting and bare on the edge. Wings long, _fourth and fifth
quills longest_, the first considerably shorter. Tail of ordinary length,
rounded, of the same length as the closed wing, and consisting of twelve
broad acute feathers. Tarsus feathered one-third down.

Bill bluish-black, brownish at the tip of the upper mandible, and along
the greater part of the under; yellowish at the edges of the lower.
Cere greenish-yellow. Lore of the same colour. Iris darkish brown.
Head and hind neck dark brown, the latter still _marked with white_.
Fore neck and breast _brownish white_, longitudinally marked with deep
brown. Upper parts in general pale brown, spotted with deeper, some of
the scapulars glossed with purple. Lower back _white_, the tips umber.
Tail-coverts brownish-grey. Base, outer webs and tips of tail-feathers
deep brown; inner webs and part of outer near the tip _brownish-white_.
Belly pale brown spotted with umber. Primaries brownish-black, secondaries
greyish-brown.

Length 3 feet, extent of wings 6 feet 9 inches; bill 3½ inches along
the back, 1⅕ deep.

All circumstances duly considered, the Bird of Washington stands forth
as the champion of America, _sui speciei_, and henceforth not to be
confounded with any of its rivals or relatives. If ornithologists are
proud of describing new species, I may be allowed to express some degree
of pleasure in giving to the world the knowledge of so majestic a bird.



THE BALTIMORE ORIOLE.

_ICTERUS BALTIMORE._ DAUD.

PLATE XII. MALE IN DIFFERENT STATES OF PLUMAGE, AND NEST.


No traveller who is at all gifted with the faculty of observation, can
ascend that extraordinary river, the Mississippi, in the first days of
autumn, without feeling enchanted by the varied vegetation which adorns
its alluvial shores:—The tall Cotton-tree descending to the very margin
of the stream, the arrow-shaped Ash mixing its branches with those of the
Pecan and Black Walnut, immense Oaks and numerous species of Hickory,
covering with their foliage the densely tangled Canes, from amongst
which, at every step, Vines of various kinds shoot up, winding round
the stems and interlacing their twigs and tendrils, stretching from one
branch to another, until they have reached and overspread the whole,
like a verdant canopy, forming one solid mass of richest vegetation, in
the fore ground of the picture; whilst, wherever the hills are in view,
the great Magnolias, the Hollies, and the noble Pines, are seen gently
waving their lofty heads to the breeze.

The current becomes rapid, and ere long several of the windings of the
great stream have been met and passed, and with these new scenes present
themselves to the view. The forest at this place, as if in doleful
mourning at the sight of the havock made on its margin by the impetuous
and regardless waters, has thrown over her a ragged veil, produced by
the long dangling masses that spread from branch to branch over the
cypress trees. The dejected Indian's camp lies in your sight. He casts
a melancholy glance over the scene, and remembers that he is no longer
the peaceful and sole possessor of the land. Islands, one after another,
come in sight, and at every winding of the stream you see boats propelled
by steam ascending the river, and others, without such aid, silently
gliding with the current.

Much might the traveller find to occupy his mind, and lead him into
speculations regarding the past, the present, and the future, were he
not attracted by the clear mellow notes, that issue from the woods,
and gratified by the sight of the brilliant Oriole now before you. In
solitudes like these, the traveller might feel pleased with any sound,
even the howl of the wolf, or the still more dismal bellow of the
alligator. Then how delightful must it be to hear the melody resulting
from thousands of musical voices that come from some neighbouring tree,
and which insensibly leads the mind, with whatever it may previously
have been occupied, first to the contemplation of the wonders of nature,
and then to that of the Great Creator himself.

Now we have ascended the mighty river, have left it, and entered the still
more enchanting Ohio, and yet never for a day have we been without the
company of the Oriole. Here, amongst the pendulous branches of the lofty
Tulip-trees, it moves gracefully up and down, seeking in the expanding
leaves and opening blossoms the caterpillar and the green beetle, which
generally contribute to its food. Well, reader, it was one of these
pendulous twigs which I took when I made the drawing before you. But
instead of having cut it on the banks of the Ohio, I found it in the
State of Louisiana, to which we shall return.

The Baltimore Oriole arrives from the south, perhaps from Mexico, or
perhaps from a more distant region, and enters Louisiana as soon as
spring commences there. It approaches the planter's house, and searches
amongst the surrounding trees for a suitable place in which to settle
for the season. It prefers, I believe, the trees that grow on the sides
of a gentle declivity. The choice of a twig being made, the male Oriole
becomes extremely conspicuous. He flies to the ground, searches for the
longest and driest filaments of the moss, which in that State is known
by the name of Spanish Beard, and whenever he finds one fit for his
purpose, ascends to the favourite spot where the nest is to be, uttering
all the while a continued chirrup, which seems to imply that he knows
no fear, but on the contrary fancies himself the acknowledged king of
the woods. This sort of chirruping becomes louder, and is emitted in an
angry tone, whenever an enemy approaches, or the bird is accidentally
surprised, the sight of a cat or a dog being always likely to produce it.
No sooner does he reach the branches, than with bill and claws, aided by
an astonishing sagacity, he fastens one end of the moss to a twig, with
as much art as a sailor might do, and takes up the other end, which he
secures also, but to another twig a few inches off, leaving the thread
floating in the air like a swing, the curve of which is perhaps seven
or eight inches from the twigs. The female comes to his assistance with
another filament of moss, or perhaps some cotton thread, or other fibrous
substance, inspects the work which her mate has done, and immediately
commences her operations, placing each thread in a contrary direction
to those arranged by her lordly mate, and making the whole cross and
recross, so as to form an irregular network. Their love increases daily
as they see the graceful fabric approaching perfection, until their
conjugal affection and faith become as complete as in any species of
birds with which I am acquainted.

The nest has now been woven from the bottom to the top, and so secured
that no tempest can carry it off without breaking the branch to which
it is suspended. Remark what follows. This nest contains no warming
substance, such as wool, cotton, or cloth, but is almost entirely composed
of the Spanish moss, interwoven in such a manner that the air can easily
pass through it. The parents no doubt are aware of the intense heat which
will exist ere long in this part of the world, and moreover take especial
care to place their nest on the north-east side of the trees. On the
contrary, had they gone as far as Pennsylvania or New York, they would
have formed it of the warmest and softest materials, and have placed
it in a position which would have left it exposed to the sun's rays,
the changes in the weather during the early period of incubation being
sometimes so great there, that the bird looks on these precautions as
necessary to ensure the life of its brood against intense cold, should
it come, while it knows that the heat in these northern latitudes will
not be so great as to incommode them. I have observed these sensible
differences in the formation and position of the nests of the Baltimore
Oriole, a great many times, as no doubt have other persons. The female
lays from four to six eggs, and in Louisiana frequently rears two broods
in a season. The period of incubation is fourteen days. The eggs are about
an inch in length, rather broadly ovate, pale brown, dotted, spotted,
and tortuously lined with dark brown.

The movements of these birds as they run among the branches of trees
differ materially from those of almost all others. They cling frequently
by the feet in order to reach an insect at such a distance from them
as to require the full extension of their neck, body, and legs, without
letting go their hold. They sometimes glide, as it were, along a small
twig, and at other times move sidewise for a few steps. Their motions
are elegant and stately. Their song consists of three or four, or at
most eight or ten, loud, full, and mellow notes, extremely agreeable to
the ear.

A day or two before the young are quite able to leave the nest, they
often cling to the outside, and creep in and out of it like young
Woodpeckers. After leaving the nest, they follow the parents for nearly
a fortnight, and are fed by them. As soon as the mulberries and figs
become ripe, they resort to these fruits, and are equally fond of sweet
cherries, strawberries, and others. During spring, their principal food
is insects, which they seldom pursue on the wing, but which they search
for with great activity, among the leaves and branches. I have seen the
young of the first brood out early in May, and of the second in July. As
soon as they are fully able to take care of themselves, they generally
part from each other, and leave the country, as their parents had come,
that is, singly.

During migration, the flight of the Baltimore Oriole is performed high
above all the trees, and mostly during day, as I have usually observed
them alighting, always singly, about the setting of the sun, uttering a
note or two, and darting into the lower branches to feed, and afterwards
to rest. To assure myself of this mode of travelling by day, I marked the
place where a beautiful male had perched one evening, and on going to
the spot next morning, long before dawn, I had the pleasure of hearing
his first notes as light appeared, and saw him search a while for food,
and afterwards mount in the air, making his way to warmer climes. Their
flight is straight and continuous.

This beautiful bird is easily kept in cages, and may be fed on dried
figs, raisins, hard-boiled eggs, and insects. When shot they will often
clench the twig so firmly as to remain hanging fast to it until dislodged
by another shot or a blow against the twig.

The plumage of the male bird is not mature until the third spring, and I
have therefore in my drawing represented the males of the first, second,
and third years. The female will form the subject of another plate. The
male of the first year was taken for a female by my engraver, during my
absence, and marked as such, although some of the plates were corrected
the moment I saw the mistake.

The Baltimore Oriole, although found throughout the Union, is so partial
to particular sections or districts, that of two places not twenty miles
distant from each other, while none are to be seen in the one, a dozen
pairs or more may be in the neighbourhood of the other. They are fondest
of hilly grounds, refreshed by streams.


     ICTERUS BALTIMORE, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synopsis of Birds of the
     United States, p. 51.

     ORIOLUS BALTIMORE, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. p. 162.—_Gmel._ Syst.
     vol. i. p. 389.—_Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 180.

     BALTIMORE ORIOLE, ORIOLUS BALTIMORE, _Wilson_, Amer. Ornith.
     vol. i. p. 23. Pl. i. fig. 3. Male; and vol. vi. p. 83. Pl. 53.
     fig. 4. Female.

     BALTIMORE BIRD, _Lath._ Synops. vol. ii. p. 432.


Adult Male, three years old, in spring. Plate XII. Fig. 1.

Bill conical, slender, longish, compressed, a little curved, very acute,
with inflected acute margins; upper mandible obtuse above, lower broadly
obtuse beneath. Nostrils oval, covered by a membrane, basal. Head and
neck of ordinary size. Body rather slender. Feet of ordinary length;
tarsus a little longer than the middle toe; inner toe little shorter
than the outer; claws arched, compressed, acute, that of the hind toe
twice the size of the others.

Plumage blended, glossy. Wings longish, somewhat rounded, the first quill
being almost as long as the second and third, which are the longest.
Tail longish, rounded, and slightly forked, the feathers rather narrow,
and acuminate.

Bill and feet light blue. Iris orange. Head, throat, back part of the
neck, fore part of the back, quills and larger secondaries, black, as
are the two middle tail-feathers, and the base of all the rest. The
whole under parts, the lesser wing-coverts, and the posterior part of
the back, bright orange, deeply tinged with vermilion on the breast and
neck. The tips of the two middle tail-feathers, and the terminal ends
of the others, of a duller orange. Quills, excepting the first, margined
with white.

Length 7¾ inches, extent of wings 12; bill ⅚ along the ridge, 11/12
along the gap; tarsus ¼, toe 1.


Male, two years old, in spring. Plate XII. Fig. 2.

The distribution of the colours is the same as in the adult male, but
the yellow is less vivid, the upper mandible is brownish-black above,
and the iris is light-brown.


Young Male, one year old, in spring. Plate XII. Fig. 1.

The bill is dark brown above, pale blue beneath. Iris brown. Feet light
blue. The general colour is dull brownish-yellow, tinged with olive on the
head and back. The wings are blackish-brown, the quills and large coverts
margined and tipped with white. The lesser coverts are olivaceous, the
tail destitute of black, and the under parts paler than in the adult,
without any approach to the vivid orange tints displayed on it.

Length 7½ inches.


THE TULIP-TREE.

     LIRIODENDRON TULIPIFERA, _Willd._ Sp. Plant. vol. ii. p. 1254.
     _Pursh_, Flora Americ. p. 332. _Mich._ Abr. Forest. de l'Amer.
     Sept. t. iii. p. 202, Pl. v.—POLYANDRIA POLYGYNIA, _Linn._
     MAGNOLIÆ, _Juss._

This tree is one of the most beautiful of those indigenous to the United
States, and attains a height of seventy, eighty, or even a hundred
feet. The flowers are yellow and bright red, mixed with green, and
upwards of three inches in diameter. The leaves are ovate at the base,
truncato-bilobate at the end, with one or two lobes on each side, all
the lobes acuminate. It is generally distributed, but prefers rich
soils. Its bark is smooth on the branches, cracked and fissured on the
stems. The wood is yellow, hard, but easily wrought, and is employed for
numerous purposes, particularly in the construction of houses, and for
charcoal. The Indians often form their canoes of it, for which purpose
it is well adapted, the trunk being of great length and diameter, and
the wood light. In different parts of the United States, it receives
the names of Poplar, White Wood, and Cane Wood.



THE SNOW BIRD.

_FRINGILLA HYEMALIS_. LINN.

PLATE XIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


This is one of our winter visitants from the north, which, along with
many others, makes its appearance in Louisiana about the beginning of
November, to remain a few months, and again, when spring returns, fly
off, to seek in higher latitudes a place in which to nestle and rear its
young. So gentle and tame does it become on the least approach of hard
weather, that it forms, as it were, a companion to every child. Indeed,
there is not an individual in the Union who does not know the little
Snow Bird, which, in America, is cherished as the Robin is in Europe. I
have seen it fed by persons from the "Old Country," and have always been
pleased by such a sight. During fine weather, however, it becomes more
timorous, and keeps aloof, resorting to the briar patches and the edges
of the fences; but even then it is easily approached, and will suffer a
person on horseback to pass within a few feet of the place where it may
be searching for food on the road, or the rails of the fences on which
it is perched.

Although the Snow Birds live in little families, consisting of twenty,
thirty, or more individuals, they seem always inclined to keep up a
certain degree of etiquette among themselves, and will not suffer one
of their kind, or indeed any other bird, to come into immediate contact
with them. To prevent intrusions of this kind, when a stranger comes too
near, their little bills are instantly opened, their wings are extended,
their eyes are seen to sparkle, and they emit a repelling sound peculiar
to themselves on such occasions.

They are aware of the advantages to be derived by them from larger birds
scratching the earth, and in some degree keep company with Partridges,
Wild Turkeys, and even Squirrels, for the purpose of picking up such
food as these animals may deem beneath their notice. This habit is
more easily observed in those which frequent the farm-yards, where the
domestic fowls prove regular purveyors to them. The report of a gun, or
the unexpected barking of a dog, cause the little flock to rise and perch
either on the fences or an adjoining tree, where, however, they remain
only for a few minutes, after which they return to their avocations.
They are particularly fond of grass-seeds, to procure which they often
leap up from the ground, and dexterously seize the bending panicles.

It is a true hopping bird, and performs its little leaps without the
least appearance of moving either feet or legs, in which circumstance
it resembles the Sparrows. Another of its habits, also indicative of
affinity to these birds, is it resorting at night, during cold weather,
to stacks of corn or hay, in which it forms a hole that affords a snug
retreat during the continuance of such weather, or its recurrence through
the winter. In fine weather, however, it prefers the evergreen foliage
of the holly, the cedar or low pines, among which to roost. Its flight
is easy, and as spring approaches, and its passions become excited by
the increased temperature, the males chase each other on wing, when
their tails being fully expanded, the white and black colours displayed
in them present a quite remarkable contrast.

The migration of these birds is performed by night, as they are seen
in a district one day, and have disappeared the next. Early in March,
the Snow Bird is scarcely to be seen in Louisiana, but may be followed,
as the season advances, retreating towards the mountains of the middle
districts, where many remain during the summer and breed. Although I
have never had the good fortune to find any of their nests, yet I have
seen them rear their young in such places, and particularly in the
neighbourhood of the Great Pine Forest, where many persons told me they
had often seen their nests.

During the period when the huckleberries are ripe, they feed partially
upon them, being found chiefly on the poorest mountain lands, in which
that shrub grows most abundantly. I have seen the Snow Birds far up the
Arkansas, and in the province of Maine, as well as on our Upper Lakes.
I have been told of their congregating so as to form large flocks of a
thousand individuals, but have never seen so many together. Their flesh
is extremely delicate and juicy, and on this account small strings of
them are frequently seen in the New Orleans market, during the short
period of their sojourn in that district. Towards the spring, the males
have a tolerably agreeable song.

The twig on which you see them is one of the Tupelo, a tree of great
magnitude, growing in the low grounds of the state of Louisiana, and on
one of which I happened to shoot the pair represented in the plate.


     FRINGILLA HYEMALIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. Ed. 10. p. 183.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 109.

     EMBERIZA HYEMALIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. Ed. 12. p. 308.

     SNOW BIRD, FRINGILLA NIVALIS, _Wilson_, American Ornithology,
     vol. ii. p. 129. Pl. 16. fig. 6.


Adult Male. Plate XIII. Fig. 1.

Bill short, rather small, conical, very acute; upper mandible a little
broader 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, not extending to beneath the eye. Nostrils basal,
roundish, concealed by the feathers. Head rather large. Neck short. Body
full. 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 very slender, greatly
compressed, acute and slightly arched, that of the hind toe little larger.

Plumage soft and blended. Wings shortish, curved, rounded, the third
and fourth quills longest, the second nearly as long, the first little
shorter. Tail long, forked, the lateral feathers curved outwards a little
towards the tip.

Bill white, tinged with red, dark coloured at the tip. Iris
blackish-brown. Feet and claws flesh-coloured. Head, neck, fore part
of the breast, back, wings and upper part of the sides, blackish-grey,
deeper on the head. Quills margined with whitish; tail of the same dark
colour as the wings, excepting the two outer feathers on each side,
which are white, as are the lower breast and abdomen.

Length 6¼ inches, extent of wings 9; beak ⅓ along the ridge, ½ along
the gap; tarsus ¾, middle toe ½.


Adult Female. Plate XIII. Fig. 2.

The female differs from the male in being of a lighter grey, tinged on
the back with brown. Length 5½ inches.


THE LARGE TUPELO.

     NYSSA TOMENTOSA, _Wild._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 1113. _Pursh_,
     Flora Americ. p. 177.

     —— GRANDIDENTATA, _Michaux_, Arbr. Forest. de l'Amer. Sept.
     t. ii. p. 252. Pl. 19.

     POLYGAMIA DIŒCIA, _Linn._ ELŒAGNI, _Juss._

This species, which occurs in the Southern States only, growing in low
and marshy grounds, attains a height of from seventy to eighty feet,
with a diameter of eighteen or twenty inches some feet above the ground,
although at the very base it is sometimes five or six feet. The leaves are
five or six inches in length, elliptical, acuminate, distantly toothed,
when young very downy, but finally smooth. The fruit is oblong, and of
a dark purple colour. The wood is remarkably light and soft.



THE PRAIRIE WARBLER.

_SYLVIA DISCOLOR._ VIEILL.

PLATE XIV. MALE AND FEMALE.


This little bird has no song, at least I never heard any from it,
excepting a delicate soft _whirr_, ejaculated whilst it stands erect
on the top of some rank weed or low bush. Its nest, which forms by
far the most interesting part of its history, is uncommonly small and
delicate. Its eggs I have uniformly found to be four in number, and of
a white colour, with a few brownish spots near the larger end. The nest
is sometimes attached to three or four blades of tall grass, or hangs
between two small sprigs of a slender twig. At first sight, it seems
to be formed like that of the Humming Bird, the external parts being
composed of delicate grey lichens and other substances, and skins of
black caterpillars, and the interior finished with the finest fibres of
dried vines. Two broods are reared each season.

In Louisiana I found this bird amongst our cotton fields, where it
easily procures the small insects and flies of which its food is
entirely composed. It is also found in the prairies along the skirts of
the woodlands. I have shot several within a few miles of Philadelphia,
in the Jerseys, in a large opening where the woods had been cut down,
and were beginning to spring up again. Its flight is light and short,
it making an effort to rise to the height of eight or ten yards, and
immediately sinking down to the grass or bushes. Whilst on the ground,
where it remains a good deal, it searches amongst the leaves slowly and
carefully, differing in this respect from all the _true_ warblers with
which I am acquainted. They go singly, and far apart, scarcely more than
three or four being ever seen on an extent of twenty or thirty acres.
It is one of the first birds that arrives in spring in Louisiana, and
one of the first to depart, being rarely found after the first week of
September. I never saw it farther east than on the ridges of the Broad
Mountain, about twelve miles from Mauch Chunk; but I have seen it on
the Arkansas River, and high up on the Mississippi, as well as along
the southern borders of Lake Erie. The young are apt to leave the nest
if discovered when unable to fly, and follow their parents through the
grass to be fed.

The plant on which a pair of Prairie Warblers are represented, is commonly
called Buffalo Grass, and is found all along the edges of our extensive
prairies, in the barrens of Kentucky, and in Louisiana, excepting in
the swamps, it being more inclined to grow in dry soil and stiff grounds.


     SYLVIA DISCOLOR, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 83.

     PRAIRIE WARBLER, SYLVIA MINUTA, _Wils._ Americ. Ornith. vol. iii.
     p. 87. Pl. 25. fig. 4. Male.


Adult Male. Plate XIV. Fig. 1.

Bill of ordinary, length, slender, nearly straight, acute, as deep as
broad at the base, slightly declinate at the tip. Nostrils oval, basal,
lateral, half closed by a membrane. Head rather small, elongated. Neck
and body slender. Feet of ordinary length, slender; tarsus longer than
the middle toe, covered anteriorly by a few scutella, the upper long;
toes scutellate above, the inner free, the hind toe of moderate size;
claws slender, compressed, acute, arched.

Plumage soft, blended, tufty. A few short bristles at the base of the
upper mandible. Wings of ordinary length, the second quill longest. Tail
longish, rounded.

Bill brown, paler at the margin. Iris dark hazel. Feet and claws
dark brown. The upper parts are light olive, the back spotted with
brownish-red. The under parts, a line over the eye, and the cheeks,
dull ochrey yellow, the sides of the neck and breast spotted with
brownish-black. Lore, and a curved streak under the eye, black. Quills
and tail-feathers deep brown, the former margined with pale yellow;
larger coverts margined and tipped with the same, the second row almost
entirely yellow, the three outer tail-feathers with a broad oblique band
of white.

Length 5 inches, extent of wings 7; beak along the ridge ⅓, along the
gap ½; tarsus ⅔, middle toe ½.


Adult Female. Plate XIV. Fig. 2.

The female is nearly of the same size, and is coloured in the same
manner, but wants the black markings about the eye, and has only two of
the lateral tail-feathers white in the middle. The spots on the sides
of the neck and breast are also much paler.

Length 4¾.



THE BLUE YELLOW-BACKED WARBLER.

_SYLVIA AMERICANA_, LATH.

PLATE XV. MALE AND FEMALE.


This pretty species enters Louisiana from the south as early as spring
appears, at the period when most insects are found closer to the ground,
and more about water-courses, than shortly after, when a warmer sun has
invited every leaf and blossom to hail the approach of that season when
they all become as brilliant as nature intended them to be. The little
fellow under your eye is then seen flitting over damp places, such as
the edges of ponds, lakes, and rivers, chasing its prey with as much
activity and liveliness as any other of the delicate and interesting
tribe to which it belongs. It alights on every plant in its way, runs
up and down it, picks here and there a small winged insect, and should
one, aware of its approach, fly off, pursues it and snatches it in an
instant.

I have placed a pair of these Warblers on a handsome species of Iris.
This plant grows in the water, and in the neighbourhood of New Orleans,
a few miles below that city, where I found it abundantly, and in bloom,
in the beginning of April. Several flowers are produced upon the same
stem. I have not met with it anywhere else, and the name of _Louisiana
Flag_ is the one commonly given it.

As soon as the foliage of the forests begins to expand, the Blue
Yellow-backed Warbler flies to the tops of the trees, and there remains
during the season, gleaning amongst the leaves and branches, in the
same active manner as it employed when nearer the ground, not leaving
off its quick and short pursuit of small insects on the wing. When on
the branches, it frequently raises its body (which is scarcely larger
when stripped of its feathers than the first joint of a man's finger)
upwards to the full length of its legs and toes, and is thus enabled to
seize insects otherwise beyond its reach.

Its flight is that of a true Sylvia. It ascends for a while in a very
zigzag manner, and returns suddenly to nearly the same place, as if afraid
to encounter the dangers of a prolonged excursion. I do not think it ever
flies to the ground. It hops sidewise as well as straight forward, hangs
like a Titmouse, and searches the cups of even the smallest flowers for
its favourite insects.

I am inclined to think that it raises two broods in a season, having
seen and shot the young on the trees, in Louisiana, early in May, and
again in the beginning of July. The nest is small, formed of lichens,
beautifully arranged on the outside, and lined with the cottony substances
found on the edges of different mosses. It is placed in the fork of a
small twig, and so far towards the extremity of the branches as to have
forced me to cut them ten or fifteen feet from it, to procure one. On
drawing in the branch carefully to secure the nest, the male and female
always flew toward me, exhibiting all the rage and animosity befitting
the occasion. The eggs are pure white, with a few reddish dots at the
larger end, and were in two instances four in number. It was several
years before I discovered one of these nests, so small are they, and so
difficult to be seen from the ground.

This species is found throughout the United States, and may be considered
as one of the most beautiful of the birds of those countries. It has no
song, but merely a soft, greatly prolonged twitter, repeated at short
intervals. It returns southward, out of the Union, in the beginning of
October.


     SYLVIA AMERICANA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 520.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 33.

     YELLOW-BACKED WARBLER, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iv. p. 440.

     BLUE YELLOW-BACK WARBLER, SYLVIA PUSILLA, _Wils._ Americ.
     Ornith. vol. iv. p. 17. Pl. 28. fig. 3. Male.


Adult Male. Plate XV. Fig. 1.

Bill longish, depressed at the base, nearly straight, tapering to a point.
Nostrils basal, oval, half concealed by the feathers. Feet of ordinary
length, slender; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long
scutella, acute behind, longer than the middle toe; toes scutellate
above, free; claws arched, slender, compressed, acute.

Plumage blended, glossy. Wings longish, little curved, the first quill
longest. Tail slightly forked, of ordinary length, the twelve feathers
rather narrow and obtuse. A few longish bristles at the base of the
upper mandible.

Bill brownish-black above, yellow beneath. Iris dark brown. Feet and claws
dusky. Front and lore black. Head and back part of the neck bright rich
blue, including the eye, above and beneath which is a slight streak of
white. Back yellowish-green; rump pale blue. Quills blackish, margined
externally with bright blue, of which colour are the wing-coverts, the
tips of the first two rows of which are white, forming two bands of
that colour on the wings. Tail-feathers blackish, the outer webs blue,
a white spot on the inner webs of the three outer, towards the end.
Throat whitish, spotted with yellow; a lunulated blackish spot on the
lower neck in front; breast yellow, spotted with orange; the rest of the
under parts yellowish, fading into white on the abdomen and under tail
coverts.

Length 4⅙ inches, extent of wings 6½; bill along the ridge ⅓, along the
gap ½; tarsus ¾.


Adult Female. Plate XV. Fig. 2.

Beak and feet of the same colour. Upper parts similarly coloured but
paler, the frontal band wanting. Throat, fore neck and breast, yellow,
without the orange spots, or black lunule. The other parts as in the
male, but fainter.

Length 4 inches.


THE COPPERY IRIS, OR LOUISIANA FLAG.

     IRIS CUPREA, _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 30.—TRIANDRIA
     MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ IRIDES. _Juss._

"Beardless, the stem equal in height to the leaves, which are broadly
ensiform, the stigmas linear and short, all the petals emarginate,
reflected, and obovate, the inner shorter, the capsules large and
hexagonal. Found on the banks of the Mississippi near New Orleans.
Flowers of a beautiful copper colour, veined with purple."



THE PRAIRIE.


On my return from the Upper Mississippi, I found myself obliged to cross
one of the wide Prairies, which, in that portion of the United States,
vary the appearance of the country. The weather was fine, all around
me was as fresh and blooming as if it had just issued from the bosom of
nature. My napsack, my gun, and my dog, were all I had for baggage and
company. But, although well moccassined, I moved slowly along, attracted
by the brilliancy of the flowers, and the gambols of the fawns around
their dams, to all appearance as thoughtless of danger as I felt myself.

My march was of long duration; I saw the sun sinking beneath the horizon
long before I could perceive any appearance of woodland, and nothing in
the shape of man had I met with that day. The track which I followed
was only an old Indian trace, and as darkness overshaded the prairie,
I felt some desire to reach at least a copse, in which I might lie down
to rest. The Night-hawks were skimming over and around me, attracted by
the buzzing wings of the beetles which form their food, and the distant
howling of wolves, gave me some hope that I should soon arrive at the
skirts of some woodland.

I did so, and almost at the same instant a fire-light attracting my eye,
I moved towards it, full of confidence that it proceeded from the camp
of some wandering Indians. I was mistaken:—I discovered by its glare
that it was from the hearth of a small log cabin, and that a tall figure
passed and repassed between it and me, as if busily engaged in household
arrangements.

I reached the spot, and presenting myself at the door, asked the tall
figure, which proved to be a woman, if I might take shelter under her
roof for the night. Her voice was gruff, and her attire negligently
thrown about her. She answered in the affirmative. I walked in, took
a wooden stool, and quietly seated myself by the fire. The next object
that attracted my notice was a finely formed young Indian, resting his
head between his hands, with his elbows on his knees. A long bow rested
against the log wall near him, while a quantity of arrows and two or
three raccoon skins lay at his feet. He moved not; he apparently breathed
not. Accustomed to the habits of the Indians, and knowing that they pay
little attention to the approach of civilized strangers (a circumstance
which in some countries is considered as evincing the apathy of their
character), I addressed him in French, a language not unfrequently
partially known to the people in that neighbourhood. He raised his head,
pointed to one of his eyes with his finger, and gave me a significant
glance with the other. His face was covered with blood. The fact was,
that an hour before this, as he was in the act of discharging an arrow
at a raccoon in the top of a tree, the arrow had split upon the cord,
and sprung back with such violence into his right eye as to destroy it
for ever.

Feeling hungry, I inquired what sort of fare I might expect. Such a thing
as a bed was not to be seen, but many large untanned bear and buffalo
hides lay piled in a corner. I drew a fine time-piece from my breast,
and told the woman that it was late, and that I was fatigued. She had
espied my watch, the richness of which seemed to operate upon her feelings
with electric quickness. She told me that there was plenty of venison
and jerked buffalo meat, and that on removing the ashes I should find
a cake. But my watch had struck her fancy, and her curiosity had to be
gratified by an immediate sight of it. I took off the gold chain that
secured it from around my neck, and presented it to her. She was all
ecstacy, spoke of its beauty, asked me its value, and put the chain round
her brawny neck, saying how happy the possession of such a watch should
make her. Thoughtless, and, as I fancied myself, in so retired a spot,
secure, I paid little attention to her talk or her movements. I helped
my dog to a good supper of venison, and was not long in satisfying the
demands of my own appetite.

The Indian rose from his seat, as if in extreme suffering. He passed and
repassed me several times, and once pinched me on the side so violently,
that the pain nearly brought forth an exclamation of anger. I looked at
him. His eye met mine; but his look was so forbidding, that it struck a
chill into the more nervous part of my system. He again seated himself,
drew his butcher-knife from its greasy scabbard, examined its edge, as
would do that of a razor suspected dull, replaced it, and again taking
his tomahawk from his back, filled the pipe of it with tobacco, and
sent me expressive glances whenever our hostess chanced to have her back
toward us.

Never until that moment had my senses been awakened to the danger which
I now suspected to be about me. I returned glance for glance to my
companion, and rested well assured that, whatever enemies I might have,
he was not of their number.

I asked the woman for my watch, wound it up, and under pretence of
wishing to see how the weather might probably be on the morrow, took up
my gun, and walked out of the cabin. I slipped a ball into each barrel,
scraped the edges of my flints, renewed the primings, and returning to
the hut, gave a favourable account of my observations. I took a few
bear-skins, made a pallet of them, and calling my faithful dog to my
side, lay down, with my gun close to my body, and in a few minutes was,
to all appearance, fast asleep.

A short time had elapsed, when some voices were heard, and from the corner
of my eyes I saw two athletic youths making their entrance, bearing
a dead stag on a pole. They disposed of their burden, and asking for
whisky, helped themselves freely to it. Observing me and the wounded
Indian, they asked who I was, and why the devil that rascal (meaning
the Indian, who, they knew, understood not a word of English) was in the
house. The mother—for so she proved to be, bade them speak less loudly,
made mention of my watch, and took them to a corner, where a conversation
took place, the purport of which it required little shrewdness in me to
guess. I tapped my dog gently. He moved his tail, and with indescribable
pleasure I saw his fine eyes alternately fixed on me and raised towards
the trio in the corner. I felt that he perceived danger in my situation.
The Indian exchanged a last glance with me.

The lads had eaten and drunk themselves into such condition, that I
already looked upon them as _hors de combat_; and the frequent visits
of the whisky bottle to the ugly mouth of their dam I hoped would soon
reduce her to a like state. Judge of my astonishment, reader, when I saw
this incarnate fiend take a large carving-knife, and go to the grindstone
to whet its edge. I saw her pour the water on the turning machine, and
watched her working away with the dangerous instrument, until the cold
sweat covered every part of my body, in despite of my determination to
defend myself to the last. Her task finished, she walked to her reeling
sons, and said, "There, that'll soon settle him! Boys, kill you ——, and
then for the watch."

I turned, cocked my gun-locks silently, touched my faithful companion,
and lay ready to start up and shoot the first who might attempt my life.
The moment was fast approaching, and that night might have been my last
in this world, had not Providence made preparations for my rescue. All
was ready. The infernal hag was advancing slowly, probably contemplating
the best way of despatching me, whilst her sons should be engaged with
the Indian. I was several times on the eve of rising, and shooting her
on the spot:—but she was not to be punished thus. The door was suddenly
opened, and there entered two stout travellers, each with a long rifle
on his shoulder. I bounced up on my feet, and making them most heartily
welcome, told them how well it was for me that they should have arrived
at that moment. The tale was told in a minute. The drunken sons were
secured, and the woman, in spite of her defence and vociferations,
shared the same fate. The Indian fairly danced with joy, and gave us
to understand that, as he could not sleep for pain, he would watch over
us. You may suppose we slept much less than we talked. The two strangers
gave me an account of their once having been themselves in a somewhat
similar situation. Day came, fair and rosy, and with it the punishment
of our captives.

They were now quite sobered. Their feet were unbound, but their arms
were still securely tied. We marched them into the woods off the road,
and having used them as Regulators were wont to use such delinquents,
we set fire to the cabin, gave all the skins and implements to the young
Indian warrior, and proceeded, well pleased, towards the settlements.

During upwards of twenty-five years, when my wanderings extended to all
parts of our country, this was the only time at which my life was in
danger from my fellow creatures. Indeed, so little risk do travellers
run in the United States, that no one born there ever dreams of any to
be encountered on the road; and I can only account for this occurrence
by supposing that the inhabitants of the cabin were not Americans.

Will you believe, good-natured reader, that not many miles from the place
where this adventure happened, and where fifteen years ago, no habitation
belonging to civilized man was expected, and very few ever seen, large
roads are now laid out, cultivation has converted the woods into fertile
fields, taverns have been erected, and much of what we Americans call
comfort is to be met with. So fast does improvement proceed in our
abundant and free country.



THE GREAT-FOOTED HAWK.

_FALCO PEREGRINUS_, GMEL.

PLATE XVI. ADULT MALE AND FEMALE.


The French and Spaniards of Louisiana have designated all the species of
the genus Falco by the name of "_Mangeurs de Poulets_;" and the farmers
in other portions of the Union have bestowed upon them, according to
their size, the appellations of "Hen Hawk," "Chicken Hawk," "Pigeon
Hawk," &c. This mode of naming these rapacious birds is doubtless natural
enough, but it displays little knowledge of the characteristic manners
of the species. No bird can better illustrate the frequent inaccuracy
of the names bestowed by ignorant persons than the present, of which on
referring to the plate, you will see a pair enjoying themselves over a
brace of ducks of different species. Very likely, were tame ducks as
plentiful on the plantations in our States, as wild ducks are on our
rivers, lakes and estuaries, these hawks might have been named by some
of our settlers "_Mangeurs de Canards_."

Look at these two pirates eating their _déjeuné à la fourchette_, as it
were, congratulating each other on the savouriness of the food in their
grasp. One might think them real epicures, but they are in fact true
gluttons. The male has obtained possession of a Green-winged Teal, while
his mate has procured a Gadwal Duck. Their appetites are equal to their
reckless daring, and they well deserve the name of "Pirates," which I
have above bestowed upon them.

The Great-footed Hawk, or Peregrine Falcon, is now frequently to be
met with in the United States, but within my remembrance it was a very
scarce species in America. I can well recollect the time when, if I shot
one or two individuals of the species in the course of a whole winter,
I thought myself a fortunate mortal; whereas of late years I have shot
two in one day, and perhaps a dozen in the course of a winter. It is
quite impossible for me to account for this increase in their number,
the more so that our plantations have equally increased, and we have now
three gunners for every one that existed twenty years ago, and all of
them ready to destroy a hawk of any kind whenever an occasion presents
itself.

The flight of this bird is of astonishing rapidity. It is scarcely ever
seen sailing, unless after being disappointed in its attempt to secure
the prey which it has been pursuing, and even at such times it merely
rises with a broad spiral circuit, to attain a sufficient elevation to
enable it to reconnoitre a certain space below. It then emits a cry much
resembling that of the Sparrow Hawk, but greatly louder, like that of the
European Kestrel, and flies off swiftly in quest of plunder. The search
is often performed with a flight resembling that of the tame pigeon,
until perceiving an object, it redoubles its flappings, and pursues
the fugitive with a rapidity scarcely to be conceived. Its turnings,
windings and cuttings through the air are now surprising. It follows
and nears the timorous quarry at every turn and back-cutting which the
latter attempts. Arrived within a few feet of the prey, the Falcon is
seen protruding his powerful legs and talons to their full stretch.
His wings are for a moment almost closed; the next instant he grapples
the prize, which, if too weighty to be carried off directly, he forces
obliquely toward the ground, sometimes a hundred yards from where it
was seized, to kill it, and devour it on the spot. Should this happen
over a large extent of water, the Falcon drops his prey, and sets off
in quest of another. On the contrary, should it not prove too heavy,
the exulting bird carries it off to a sequestered and secure place. He
pursues the smaller Ducks, Water-hens, and other swimming birds, and if
they are not quick in diving, seizes them, and rises with them from the
water. I have seen this Hawk come at the report of a gun, and carry off
a Teal not thirty steps distant from the sportsman who had killed it,
with a daring assurance as surprising as unexpected. This conduct has
been observed by many individuals, and is a characteristic trait of the
species. The largest duck that I have seen this bird attack and grapple
with on the wing is the Mallard.

The Great-footed Hawk does not however content himself with water-fowl.
He is generally seen following the flocks of Pigeons and even Blackbirds,
causing great terror in their ranks, and forcing them to perform various
aerial evolutions to escape the grasp of his dreaded talons. For several
days I watched one of them that had taken a particular fancy to some
tame pigeons, to secure which it went so far as to enter their house at
one of the holes, seize a bird, and issue by another hole in an instant,
causing such terror among the rest as to render me fearful that they
would abandon the place. However, I fortunately shot the depredator.

They occasionally feed on dead fish that have floated to the shores
or sand bars. I saw several of them thus occupied while descending
the Mississippi on a journey undertaken expressly for the purpose of
observing and procuring different specimens of birds, and which lasted
four months, as I followed the windings of that great river, floating
down it only a few miles daily. During that period, I and my companion
counted upwards of fifty of these Hawks, and killed several, among which
was the female represented in the plate now before you, and which was
found to contain in its stomach bones of birds, a few downy feathers,
the gizzard of a Teal, and the eyes and many scales of a fish. It was
shot on the 26th December 1820. The ovary contained numerous eggs, two
of which were as large as pease.

Whilst in quest of food, the Great-footed Hawk will frequently alight
on the highest dead branch of a tree in the immediate neighbourhood of
such wet or marshy grounds as the Common Snipe resorts to by preference.
His head is seen moving in short starts, as if he were counting every
little space below; and while so engaged, the moment he spies a Snipe,
down he darts like an arrow, making a rustling noise with his wings that
may be heard several hundred yards off, seizes the Snipe, and flies away
to some near wood to devour it.

It is a cleanly bird, in respect to feeding. No sooner is the prey dead
than the Falcon turns its belly upward, and begins to pluck it with his
bill, which he does very expertly, holding it meantime quite fast in his
talons; and as soon as a portion is cleared of feathers, tears the flesh
in large pieces, and swallows it with great avidity. If it is a large
bird, he leaves the refuse parts, but, if small, swallows the whole in
pieces. Should he be approached by an enemy, he rises with it and flies
off into the interior of the woods, or if he happens to be in a meadow,
to some considerable distance, he being more wary at such times than
when he has alighted on a tree.

The Great-footed Hawk is a heavy, compact, and firmly built bird for
its size, and when arrived at maturity, extremely muscular, with very
tough flesh. The plumage differs greatly according to age. I have seen it
vary in different individuals, from the deepest chocolate-brown to light
grey. Their grasp is so firm, that should one be hit while perched, and
not shot quite dead, it will cling to the branch until life has departed.

Like most other Hawks, this is a solitary bird, excepting during the
breeding season, at the beginning of which it is seen in pairs. Their
season of breeding is so very early, that it might be said to be in
winter. I have seen the male caressing the female as early as the first
days of December.

This species visits Louisiana during the winter months only; for although
I have observed it mating then, it generally disappears a few days
after, and in a fortnight later none can be seen. It is scarce in the
Middle States, where, as well as in the Southern Districts, it lives
along water-courses, and in the neighbourhood of the shores of the sea
and inland lakes. I should think that they breed in the United States,
having shot a pair in the month of August near the Falls of Niagara.
It is extremely tenacious of life, and if not wounded in the wings,
though mortally so in the body, it flies to the last gasp, and does not
fall until life is extinct. I never saw one of them attack a quadruped,
although I have frequently seen them perched within sight of squirrels,
which I thought they might easily have secured, had they been so inclined.

Once when nearing the coast of England, being then about a hundred and
fifty miles distant from it, in the month of July, I obtained a pair
of these birds, which had come on board our vessel, and had been shot
there. I examined them with care, and found no difference between them
and those which I had shot in America. They are at present scarce in
England, where I have seen only a few. In London, some individuals of
the species resort to the cupola of St Paul's Cathedral, and the towers
of Westminster Abbey, to roost, and probably to breed. I have seen them
depart from these places at day dawn, and return in the evening.

The achievements of this species are well known in Europe, where it
is even at the present day trained for the chase. Whilst on a visit
at Dalmahoy, the seat of the Earl of Morton, near Edinburgh, I had the
pleasure of seeing a pair of these birds hooded, and with small brass
bells on their legs, in excellent training. They were the property of
that nobleman.

These birds sometimes roost in the hollows of trees. I saw one resorting
for weeks every night to a hole in a dead sycamore, near Louisville in
Kentucky. It generally came to the place a little before sunset, alighted
on the dead branches, and in a short time after flew into the hollow,
where it spent the night, and from whence I saw it issuing at dawn. I
have known them also retire for the same purpose to the crevices of high
cliffs, on the banks of Green River in the same state. One winter, when I
had occasion to cross the Homochitta River, in the State of Mississippi,
I observed these Hawks in greater numbers than I had ever before seen.

Many persons believe that this Hawk, and some others, never drink any
other fluid than the blood of their victims; but this is an error. I
have seen them alight on sand bars, walk to the edge of them, immerse
their bills nearly up to the eyes in the water, and drink in a continued
manner, as Pigeons are known to do.


     FALCO PEREGRINUS, _Gmel._ Syst. vol. i. p. 272.—_Lath._ Ind.
     Ornith. vol. i. p. 33.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synopsis of Birds of
     the United States, p. 27.

     PEREGRINE FALCON, _Lath._ Synopsis, vol. i. p. 73, and Suppl.
     p. 18.

     GREAT-FOOTED HAWK, _Wilson_, Americ. Ornith. vol ix. p. 120,
     Pl. 76.


Adult Male. Plate XVI. Fig. 1.

Bill shortish, as broad as deep, the sides convex, the dorsal outline
convex from the base; upper mandible cerate, the edges blunt, slightly
inflected, with a process towards the curvature on either side with a
hollow, the tip trigonal, descending obliquely, acute; lower mandible
involute at the edges, truncate at the end, with a notch near it,
corresponding to the process above. Nostrils round, lateral, with a
soft papilla in the centre, connected with the upper edge. Head rather
large and round. Neck shortish. Body ovate, anteriorly broad. Legs
robust, short roundish; tarsi covered all round with imbricated scales,
the anterior largest, broad, and subhexagonal, the posterior small and
rounded. Toes robust, covered above with broad scutella, scabrous and
tubercular below; middle and outer toes connected by a membrane; claws
roundish, strong and curved, acute, marginate beneath.

Plumage ordinary, compact, imbricated. Feathers of the back rounded, of
the neck and breast anteriorly broad and rounded; of the sides long, all
acuminate; of the thighs long and rounded. Space between the bill and
eye covered only with bristly feathers. Feathers of the forehead with
bristly points. Wings long; primary quills moderately broad, attenuated;
first quill notched near the end; secondaries curved inwards, broad,
obtuse, with an acumen. Tail-feathers broadish, rounded, the tail rather
long, and nearly even.

Bill blackish-blue at the tip, pale green at the base, cere oil-green;
bare orbital space orange. Iris hazel. Feet lemon-yellow; claws
brownish-black. Head and hind neck greyish-black, tinged with blue; the
rest of the upper parts dark bluish-grey, indistinctly barred with deep
brown. Quills blackish-brown, the inner webs marked with transverse
elliptical spots of reddish-white. Tail greyish-brown, marked with
about twelve bars, the last of which is broad, the rest diminishing in
size and intensity of tint. Throat and fore-neck white; a broad band of
blackish-blue from the angle of the mouth downwards; cheeks whitish-grey;
sides, breast and thighs reddish-white, transversely marked with
dark brown spots in longitudinal series. Under wing feathers whitish,
transversely barred.

Length 16½ inches, extent of wings 30; bill 1⅛ along the ridge; tarsus
1⅞, middle toe 2½.

The figure represents a male in full vigour. When the bird gets older,
the colours of the upper parts acquire a lighter tint in the male, and
sometimes the back is ash-grey; but in the female, they gradually assume
a deeper hue.


Adult Female. Plate XVI. Fig. 2.

The colour of the upper parts is more brown; tips of the secondary quills
more or less whitish, tail tipped with brownish-white; throat and fore
neck yellowish-white; the latter longitudinally marked with guttiform
spots; general colour beneath yellowish-white, marked with longitudinal
broad spots. Vent-feathers reddish; under tail-coverts marked with narrow
bars.

Length 19½ inches, extent of wings 36; beak 1½ along the ridge; tarsus
2, middle toe 3½.



THE CAROLINA TURTLE DOVE.

_COLUMBA CAROLINENSIS_, LINN.

PLATE XVII. MALE AND FEMALE.


I have tried, kind reader, to give you a faithful representation of two
as gentle pairs of Turtles as ever cooed their loves in the green woods.
I have placed them on a branch of Stuartia, which you see ornamented
with a profusion of white blossoms, emblematic of purity and chastity.

Look at the female, as she assiduously sits on her eggs, embosomed among
the thick foliage, receiving food from the bill of her mate, and listening
with delight to his assurances of devoted affection. Nothing is wanting
to render the moment as happy as could be desired by any couple on a
similar occasion.

On the branch above, a love scene is just commencing. The female, still
coy and undetermined, seems doubtful of the truth of her lover, and
virgin-like resolves to put his sincerity to the test, by delaying the
gratification of his wishes. She has reached the extremity of the branch,
her wings and tail are already opening, and she will fly off to some
more sequestered spot, where, if her lover should follow her with the
same assiduous devotion, they will doubtless become as blessed as the
pair beneath them.

The Dove announces the approach of spring. Nay, she does more:—she forces
us to forget the chilling blasts of winter, by the soft and melancholy
sound of her cooing. Her heart is already so warmed and so swelled by
the ardour of her passion, that it feels as ready to expand as the buds
on the trees are, under the genial influence of returning heat.

The flight of this bird is extremely rapid, and of long duration. Whenever
it starts from a tree or the ground, on being unexpectedly approached,
its wings produce a whistling noise, heard at a considerable distance.
On such occasions, it frequently makes several curious windings through
the air, as if to prove its capability of efficient flight. It seldom
rises far above the trees, and as seldom passes through dense woods or
forests, but prefers following their margins, or flying about the fences
and fields. Yet, during spring, and particularly whilst the female is
sitting on her eggs, the male rises as if about to ascend to a great
height in the air, flapping his wings, but all of a sudden comes downwards
again, describing a large circle, and sailing smoothly with wings and
tail expanded, until in this manner he alights on the tree where his
mate is, or on one very near it. These manœuvres are frequently repeated
during the days of incubation, and occasionally when the male bird is
courting the female. No sooner do they alight than they jerk out their
tail in a very graceful manner, and balance their neck and head. Their
migrations are not so extensive as those of the Wild Pigeon (_Columba
migratoria_); nor are they performed in such numbers, two hundred and
fifty or three hundred doves together being considered a large flock.

On the ground, along the fences, or on the branches of trees, the Carolina
Turtle walks with great ease and grace, frequently jerking its tail.
It is able to run with some swiftness when searching for food in places
where it is scarce. It seldom bathes, but drinks by swallowing the water
in long draughts, with the bill deeply immersed, frequently up to the
eyes.

They breed in every portion of the United States that I have visited,
and according to the temperature of different localities, rear either
one or two broods in the season. In Louisiana, they lay eggs early in
April, and sometimes in the month of March, and have there two broods.
In the State of Connecticut, they seldom begin to lay before the middle
of May, and as seldom have more than one brood. On the borders of Lake
Superior, they are still later. They lay two eggs of a pure white colour,
and having some degree of translucency. They make their nest in any
kind of tree, on horizontal branches or twigs. It is formed of a few dry
sticks, so loosely put together as to appear hardly sufficient to keep
the eggs or young from falling.

The roosting places which the Carolina Turtles prefer are among the long
grasses found growing in abandoned fields, at the foot of dry stalks of
maize, or on the edges of meadows, although they occasionally resort
to the dead foliage of trees, as well as that of different species of
evergreens. But in all these places they rise and fly at the approach
of man, however dark the night may be, which proves that the power of
sight which they then possess is very great. They seldom place themselves
very near each other when roosting on the ground, but sometimes the
individuals of a flock appear diffused pretty equally over a whole field.
In this particular, they greatly differ from our Common Wild Pigeon,
which settles in compact masses on the limbs of trees during the night.
The Doves, however, like the Pigeons, are fond of returning to the same
roosting grounds from considerable distances. A few individuals sometimes
mix with the Wild Pigeons, as do the latter sometimes with the Doves.

The Turtle Dove may with propriety be considered more as a gleaner than
as a reaper of the husbandman's fields, scarcely ever committing any
greater depredation than the picking up a few grains in seed-time, after
which it prefers resorting to those fields from which the grain has been
cut and removed. It is a hardy bird, and stands the severest winters of
our Middle States, where some remain the whole year.

The flesh of these birds is remarkably fine, when they are obtained young
and in the proper season. Such birds become extremely fat, are tender
and juicy, and in flavour equal in the estimation of some of my friends,
as well as in my own, to that of the Snipe or even the Woodcock; but as
taste in such matters depends much on circumstances, and perhaps on the
whim of individuals, I would advise you, reader, to try for yourself.
These birds require good shooting to bring them down, when on wing, for
they fly with great swiftness, and not always in a direct manner. It is
seldom that more than one can be killed at a shot when they are flying,
and rarely more than two or three when on the ground, on account of
their natural propensity to keep apart.

In winter, they approach the farm-houses, feed among the Poultry,
Sparrows, Grakles, and many other birds, and appear very gentle; but
no sooner are they frequently disturbed or shot at, than they become
extremely shy. When raised from the nest, they are easily tamed. I have
even known some instances of their breeding in confinement. When caught
in traps and cooped, they feed freely, and soon become fat, when they
are excellent for the table.

When shot, or taken alive in the hand, this and our other species of
Pigeon, lose the feathers on the slightest touch, a circumstance peculiar
to the genus, and to certain gallinaceous birds.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Stuartia Malacodendron_, on which I have placed the two pairs alluded
to at the commencement of this article, is a tree of small height, which
grows in rich grounds at the foot of hills not far from water-courses.
The wood is brittle and useless, the flower destitute of scent, but
extremely agreeable to the eye. Little clusters of twenty or thirty of
these trees are dispersed over the southernmost of the United States.
I have never met with it in the Middle, Western or Northern Districts.


     COLUMBA CAROLINENSIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 286.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 613.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of
     Birds of the United States, p. 119.

     CAROLINA PIGEON, _Lath._ Syn. vol. iv. p. 663.

     CAROLINA PIGEON, OR TURTLE DOVE, COLUMBA CAROLINENSIS, _Wils._
     Amer. Ornith. vol. v. p. 91. Pl. xliii. fig. 1.


Adult Male. Plate XVII. Fig. 1, 1.

Bill straight, of ordinary length, rather slender, broader than deep
at the base, with a tumid fleshy covering, compressed towards the end,
rather obtuse; upper mandible slightly declinate at the tip; edges
involute. Head small. Neck slender. Body rather full. Legs short and
strong; tarsus covered anteriorly with scutella, rather rounded; toes
scutellate, slightly webbed at the base; claws short, depressed, obtuse.

Plumage compact on the back, blended and soft on the head, neck and
under parts. Wings long, second quill longest. Tail wedge-shaped, long,
of fourteen feathers, the middle ones tapering, the rest obtuse.

Bill blackish, at the base carmine-purple. Iris hazel; orbit
greenish-blue. Feet carmine-purple; claws dusky. Crown of the head,
and upper part of the neck, bright greenish-blue; the rest of the upper
parts, including the wing-coverts, light yellowish-brown, tinged with
light blue, of which colour are the edges of the wings, and the outer
webs of the quills towards the base. Some of the proximal wing-coverts
spotted with black. Forehead, and sides of the head brownish-yellow,
which colour predominates on the under parts, the breast and neck tinged
with blue, and the abdomen and under tail-coverts paler. Quills dusky,
margined externally with whitish, the last secondaries light brown and
spotted with black. The two middle tail-feathers, and the outer webs of
the next five on each side like the back; all the feathers, excepting the
middle ones, have a spot of black about an inch from their extremity, the
space between which and the base is bright greenish-blue, that beyond it
being paler and tinged with brown, excepting in the three outer feathers,
where it is white, as is the outer web of the outermost.

Length 12 inches, extent of wings 17; bill along the ridge 7/12, along
the gap ¾.


Adult Female. Plate XVII. Fig. 2, 2.

The female is somewhat duller in the tints of the plumage; the bright
blue of the head is wanting, that part being coloured like the back; the
neck and breast have less blue, and the white of the tail is less pure.

Length 11 inches, extent of wings 15½; bill as in the male.


THE WHITE-FLOWERED STUARTIA.

     STUARTIA MALACODENDRON, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iii. p. 840.
     STUARTIA VIRGINICA, _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. vol. ii. p. 451.
     —MONADELPHIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._

A small tree, with smooth spreading branches; ovate-acute leaves,
generally entire at the margins; axillar flowers, which are solitary,
or two together; large white corollas, of five rounded petals, and
reddish-purple stamina. The leaves vary in being sometimes serrated,
and more or less downy. It flowers from June to September.



BEWICK'S WREN.

_TROGLODYTES BEWICKII._

PLATE XVIII. MALE.


The bird represented under the name of Bewick's Wren I shot on the 19th
October 1821, about five miles from St Francisville, in the State of
Louisiana. It was standing as nearly as can be represented in the position
in which you now see it, and upon the prostrate trunk of a tree not far
from a fence. My drawing of it was made on the spot. Another individual
was shot a few days after, by a young friend, JOSEPH R. MASON, who
accompanied me on my rambles. In the month of November 1829, I had the
pleasure of meeting with another of the same species, about fifteen miles
from the place above mentioned, and as it was near the house at which I
was then on a visit, I refrained from killing it, in order to observe its
habits. For several days, during which I occasionally saw it, it moved
along the bars of the fences, with its tail generally erect, looking
from the bar on which it stood towards the one next above, and caught
spiders and other insects, as it ran along from one pannel of the fence
to another in quick succession, now and then uttering a low _twitter_,
the only sound which I heard it emit. It occasionally hopped sidewise,
now with its head towards me, and again in the contrary direction, at
times descending to the ground, to inspect the lowest bar, but only for
a few moments. At other times, it would fly to a peach or apple-tree
close to the fence, ascend to its top branches, always with hopping
movements, and, as if about to sing, would for an instant raise its
head, and lower its tail, but without giving utterance to any musical
notes. It would then return to the fence, and continue its avocations
as already described. I shot the bird, and have it preserved in spirits.

In shape, colour and movements, it nearly resembles the Great Carolina
Wren, and forms a kind of link between that bird and the House Wren, an
account of which you will find in this volume. It has not the quickness
of motion, nor the liveliness, of either of these birds. Where it comes
from, and whither it goes to breed, are quite unknown to me.

I have honoured this species with the name of BEWICK, a person too well
known for his admirable talents as an engraver on wood, and for his
beautiful work on the Birds of Great Britain, to need any eulogy of mine.
I enjoyed the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with that gentleman,
and found him at all times a most agreeable, kind, and benevolent friend.

The little twig on which the Wren is perched, is from the tree commonly
called the Iron-wood Tree, a species of Elm, the wood of which is very
hard and of close texture. The branches, and sometimes the stem, are
ornamented with longitudinal expansions, resembling cork in their nature,
but much harder.


     TROGLODYTES BEWICKII.


Adult Male. Plate XVIII.

Bill nearly as long as the head, subulato-conical, acute, slightly
arched, compressed. Mandibles of equal breadth, with acute margins, the
gap line a little arched, and slightly deflected at the base. Nostrils
basal, oval, half closed by a membrane. Feet longish, proportionally
rather robust; tarsus anteriorly scutellate, compressed, acute behind,
longer than the middle toe; toes free, scutellate above, the lateral
ones nearly equal, the posterior long; claws slender, compressed, acute,
arched, that of the hind toe much larger.

Plumage rather compact above, blended beneath. Wings short, very convex,
rounded; first quill short, third and fourth longest. Tail erect, long,
of ten feathers, much rounded, the outer feather not more than half the
length of the middle one, all rounded at the end.

Bill blackish-brown above, pale blue beneath. Iris brown. Feet and claws
pale brown. The general colour of the upper parts is rusty brown, that
of the lower greyish-blue. Quills and wing-coverts barred with rusty
brown and black, as are the two middle tail-feathers. Outer web of the
lateral tail-feather, and the terminal portion of that of the others,
whitish, barred with black, their middle parts black, toward the base
barred with rusty brown. A line of pale brownish-yellow extending from
the upper mandible, over the eye, to half way down the neck. The rump
feathers white towards their base, with central spots.

Length 5 inches, extent of wings 6½; beak along the ridge ½, along the
gap ⅔; tarsus 7/12, middle toe ½, hind toe 7/12.


THE IRON-WOOD TREE, OR WAHOO.

     ULMUS ALATA, _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 200. _Mich._ Arbr.
     Forest. de l'Amer. Sept. vol. vi. p. 275. Pl. 5.—PENTANDRIA
     DIGYNIA, _Linn._ AMENTACEÆ, _Juss._

Twigs winged on two opposite sides with a corky substance; leaves
oblongo-oval, acute, nearly equal at the base; fruit downy and ciliated.
This species of Elm occurs only in the Southern States, where it grows
by the sides of rivers and in marshes. It attains a height of from thirty
to forty feet.



THE LOUISIANA WATER THRUSH.

_TURDUS LUDOVICIANUS._

PLATE XIX. MALE.


Much and justly as the song of the Nightingale is admired, I am inclined,
after having often listened to it, to pronounce it in no degree superior
to that of the Louisiana Water Thrush. The notes of the latter bird are
as powerful and mellow, and at times as varied.

This bird is a resident of the low lands of the States of Louisiana
and Mississippi, and is to be found at all seasons in the deepest and
most swampy of our cane brakes, from which its melodies are heard to a
considerable distance, its voice being nearly as loud as that of the Wood
Thrush. The bird may be observed perched on a low bough scarcely higher
than the tops of the canes, in an erect attitude, swelling its throat,
and repeating several times in succession sounds so approaching the
whole two octaves of a good piano-forte, as almost to induce the hearer
to imagine that the keys of that instrument are used on the occasion.
The bird begins on the upper key, and progressively passes from one to
another, until it reaches the base note, this last frequently being lost
when there is the least agitation in the air. Its song is heard even in
the winter, when the weather is calm and warm.

I have taken the liberty of naming this first songster of our groves after
the country which has afforded me my greatest pleasures, not, however,
as I trust I shall prove in the sequel, without having assured myself
that in _habits_, and somewhat in colour, it differs from its kinsman
the Common Water Thrush.

The Common Water Thrush is at all times, and in every situation, shy even
to wildness. The Louisiana Water Thrush is so gentle and unsuspicious as
to allow a person to approach within a few yards of it. The species met
with in the Eastern and Northern Districts during the spring months only,
has its feet of a clear and transparent flesh-colour, and its tail even.
The Southern bird, on the contrary, has the feet of a deep bluish-brown,
and the tail forked. Never have I seen it wade through water, although it
is always near and over it; while in the bird of the Northern Districts
this is a prominent habit. I may add, that I never heard the latter
species sing, but merely utter a single smart _twit_, when started by
surprise. It moreover frequently feeds on minute water-insects, none of
which I have ever been able to discover on dissecting the present species.

The flight of this bird is easy, and continued amongst the trees, just
above the canes, or closer over the ground, when it is passing along
their skirts, gliding smoothly through the air. When alighted, its body
is continually vibrating, the tail being at the same time alternately
jerked out and closed again. It walks prettily along the branches, or
on the ground, but never _hops_. It feeds on insects and larvæ, often
pursuing the former on wing, as well as on the ground, yet in seizing them
it does not produce the clicking sound heard from the bill of Flycatchers.

I think its proper station in a general system would be between the
Golden-crowned Thrush and the Water Thrush. Its location, however, I
leave to the consideration of better ornithologists than myself.

The nest of this species is commenced in the first days of April. I may
here remark, that I am not aware that the Common Water Thrush breeds in
the United States. It is placed at the foot and amongst the roots of
a tree, or by the side of a decayed log, and is so easily discovered
at times that my eyes have once or twice been attracted by it, whilst
walking about in search of something else. The outer parts are formed of
dry leaves and mosses, the inner of fine grasses, with a few hairs, or
the dried fibres of the Spanish Moss, which so much resemble horse-hair
as scarcely to be distinguished from it. The female lays four or five
eggs, and takes fourteen days to hatch them. When disturbed on her nest
at an early period of incubation, she merely flies off; but if discovered
towards the conclusion of that period, she is seen tumbling and rolling
about, spreading her wings and tail, as if in the last agonies of despair,
uttering all the while a most piteous tone, to entice the intruder to
follow her.

The young leave the nest in about ten days, and follow the parent from
place to place, on the ground, where they are fed until able to fly. I
have not been able to ascertain whether this bird rears more than one
brood in a season, but am inclined to believe that it does not. The eggs
are flesh-coloured, sprinkled with darker red on the large end.

During winter, this bird becomes so plump as to be a pure mass of fat,
and furnishes extremely delicate eating. I have never seen this species
farther eastward than Georgia, nor higher on the Ohio than the cane
brakes about Henderson.

The plant on which I have placed a male (the sexes being so nearly alike
as to offer no external distinctive characters) is commonly called the
Indian Turnip. It grows abundantly in the places frequented by this
bird. The root, which is like a small potato, is extremely pungent.


     TURDUS LUDOVICIANUS.


Adult Male. Plate XIX.

Bill of ordinary length, straight, slender, tapering to a point, broadish
at the base, compressed toward the end; upper mandible with the edges
sharp, and destitute of a notch. Nostrils basal, rounded, half closed
by a membrane. Feet of ordinary length, rather slender; tarsus a little
longer than the middle toe; toes free; claws slender, much compressed,
arched, acute, the hind one not much larger than that of the middle toe.

Plumage ordinary, soft, slightly glossy; a few bristles at the base of
the upper mandible. Wings of ordinary length; first quill longest. Tail
shortish, a little notched, the feathers rather obtuse.

Bill deep brown above, black at the tip, flesh-coloured beneath. Iris
deep brown. Feet and claws brown, tinged with blue. The general colour
of the upper parts is dull greenish-brown, that of the under parts
yellowish-white. A streak of the latter colour over the eye, from the
base of the upper mandible, and another from the base of the lower,
curving upwards behind the ear-coverts. Fore-neck and breast marked with
sagittiform spots of blackish-brown; sides under the wings streaked with
the same colour.

Length 5¾ inches, extent of wings 9½; bill along the ridge ½, along the
gap ¾; tarsus ¾.

The female, as has been said, hardly differs from the male in appearance.


THE INDIAN TURNIP.

     ARUM TRIPHYLLUM, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 480. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 399.—POLYANDRIA POLYGYNIA, _Linn._
     AROIDEÆ, _Juss._

Somewhat caulescent; leaves ternate, with ovate acuminate leaflets;
spadix clavate; flowers monœcious. The flowers are green and purple,
and the roots are used by the Indians as a remedy for colic.



THE BLUE-WINGED YELLOW WARBLER.

_SYLVIA SOLITARIA_, WILS.

PLATE XX. MALE AND FEMALE.


This pretty little Warbler is migratory, and arrives in Louisiana from
the south, in the beginning of spring. It is found in open woods, as well
as in the vicinity of ponds overgrown with low bushes and rank weeds.
Along with a pair of Blue-winged Yellow Warblers, I have represented a
species of Hibiscus, which grows on the edges of these ponds. Its flowers
are handsome, but unfortunately have no pleasant odour.

The species which now occupies our attention is a busy, active bird,
and is seen diligently searching among the foliage and grasses for the
small insects on which it feeds, mounting now and then towards the tops
of the bushes, to utter a few weak notes, which are in no way interesting.

Its nest, which is singularly constructed, and of an elongated inversely
conical form, is attached to several stalks or blades of tall grass by
its upper edge. The materials of which it is formed are placed obliquely
from its mouth to the bottom. The latter part is composed of dried
leaves, and is finished within with fine grass and lichens. The female
lays from four to six eggs, of a pure white colour, with a few pale red
spots at the larger end. The first brood is out about the middle of May,
the second in the middle of July. The young disperse as soon as they
are able to provide for themselves, this bird being of solitary habits.

It leaves Louisiana in the beginning of October. I have never seen
the species farther eastward than the State of Jersey, where I killed
several within a few miles of Philadelphia, not however until my last
visit to that State in 1829. It is frequent in the barrens of Kentucky,
and up the Mississippi, as far at least as St Genevieve, where I shot
two individuals many years ago.

Its flight is short, undetermined, and is performed in zig-zag lines,
as in most of its tribe. It sometimes ascends twenty or thirty yards in
the air, as if with an intention of going to a great distance, but still
moving in a zig-zag manner, when it suddenly turns about, and comes
down near the place from which it set out. It does not chase insects
on wing, but feeds in a great measure on the smaller kinds of spiders,
not neglecting, however, to seize other insects when they come within
reach. It remains almost constantly among the bushes, and is seldom seen
on trees of any size.


     SYLVIA SOLITARIA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 87.

     BLUE-WINGED YELLOW WARBLER, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 109.
     Pl. 15. fig. 4.


Adult Male. Plate XX. Fig. 1.

Bill nearly as long as the head, straightish, subulato-conical, acute,
as deep as broad at the base, the edges acute, the gap line a little
deflected at the base. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, 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 scutella, the uppermost long; toes scutellate above, the inner
free, the hind toe of moderate size; claws slender, compressed, acute,
arched.

Plumage soft, blended, tufty. Wings of ordinary length, acute, the second
quill longest. Tail longish, rounded when expanded, slightly forked when
closed.

Bill black, with a pale margin. Iris dark brown. Feet and claws
flesh-colour, tinged with yellow. Forehead, crown, and under parts of a
rich bright-yellow. Back of the head and neck, the back and upper tail
coverts bright grass-green. Lore black. Wings greyish-blue, slightly
margined with paler, the first two rows of coverts tipped with whitish.
Four middle tail-feathers greyish-blue, the outer webs of the rest, and
an oblique portion of the outer feather at the end, of the same colour,
their inner webs white.

Length 4¾ inches, extent of wings 7; bill along the ridge ½, along the
gap 1.


Adult Female. Plate XX. Fig. 2.

The female scarcely differs from the male in appearance, and is of nearly
the same dimensions.


LARGE-FLOWERED HIBISCUS, COTTON ROSE, OR WILD ALTHÆA.

     HIBISCUS GRANDIFLORUS, _Mich._ Fl. Amer. vol. ii. p. 46.
     _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. p. 455.—MONADELPHIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._
     MALVACEÆ, _Juss._

This beautiful species of Hibiscus, which does not precisely agree with
any that I have seen described, although it is probably the above, is
characterised by its ovato-cordate, obtusely and irregularly serrated,
acute, venous tough leaves, and its large rose-coloured flowers, which
are deep-red at the base, and streaked with the same colour. The corolla
is about five inches in diameter, the anthers yellow. The stem and leaves
are smooth. It grows in salt marshes, and by the edges of pools.



THE REGULATORS.


The population of many parts of America is derived from the refuse of
every other country. I hope I shall elsewhere prove to you, kind reader,
that even in this we have reason to feel a certain degree of pride, as
we often see our worst denizens becoming gradually freed from error,
and at length changing to useful and respectable citizens. The most
depraved of these emigrants are forced to retreat farther and farther
from the society of the virtuous, the restraints imposed by which they
find incompatible with their habits and the gratification of their
unbridled passions. On the extreme verge of civilization, however, their
evil propensities find more free scope, and the dread of punishment for
their deeds, or the infliction of that punishment, are the only means
that prove effectual in reforming them.

In those remote parts, no sooner is it discovered that an individual
has conducted himself in a notoriously vicious manner, or has committed
some outrage upon society, than a conclave of the honest citizens takes
place, for the purpose of investigating the case, with a rigour without
which no good result could be expected. These honest citizens, selected
from among the most respectable persons in the district, and vested with
powers suited to the necessity of preserving order on the frontiers,
are named _Regulators_. The accused person is arrested, his conduct laid
open, and if he is found guilty of a first crime, he is warned to leave
the country, and go farther from society, within an appointed time.
Should the individual prove so callous as to disregard the sentence,
and remain in the same neighbourhood, to commit new crimes, then woe
be to him; for the Regulators, after proving him guilty a second time,
pass and execute a sentence, which, if not enough to make him perish
under the infliction, is at least for ever impressed upon his memory.
The punishment inflicted is generally a severe castigation, and the
destruction by fire of his cabin. Sometimes, in cases of reiterated
theft or murder, death is considered necessary; and, in some instances,
delinquents of the worst species have been shot, after which their heads
have been stuck on poles, to deter others from following their example.
I shall give you an account of one of these desperadoes, as I received
it from a person who had been instrumental in bringing him to punishment.

The name of MASON is still familiar to many of the navigators of the
Lower Ohio and Mississippi. By dint of industry in bad deeds he became
a notorious horse-stealer, formed a line of worthless associates from
the eastern parts of Virginia (a State greatly celebrated for its fine
breed of horses) to New Orleans, and had a settlement on Wolf Island,
not far from the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi, from which he
issued to stop the flat-boats, and rifle them of such provisions and
other articles as he and his party needed. His depredations became the
talk of the whole Western Country; and to pass Wolf Island was not less
to be dreaded than to anchor under the walls of Algiers. The horses,
the negroes, and the cargoes, his gang carried off and sold. At last,
a body of Regulators undertook, at great peril, and for the sake of the
country, to bring the villain to punishment.

MASON was as cunning and watchful as he was active and daring. Many of
his haunts were successively found out and searched, but the numerous
spies in his employ enabled him to escape in time. One day, however, as
he was riding a beautiful horse in the woods, he was met by one of the
Regulators, who immediately recognised him, but passed him as if an utter
stranger. MASON, not dreaming of danger, pursued his way leisurely, as
if he had met no one. But he was dogged by the Regulator, and in such a
manner as proved fatal to him. At dusk, MASON having reached the lowest
part of a ravine, no doubt well known to him, hoppled (tied together the
fore-legs of) his stolen horse, to enable it to feed during the night
without chance of straying far, and concealed himself in a hollow log
to spend the night. The plan was good, but proved his ruin.

The Regulator, who knew every hill and hollow of the woods, marked
the place and the log with the eye of an experienced hunter, and as he
remarked that MASON was most efficiently armed, he galloped off to the
nearest house, where he knew he should find assistance. This was easily
procured, and the party proceeded to the spot. MASON, on being attacked,
defended himself with desperate valour; and as it proved impossible to
secure him alive, he was brought to the ground with a rifle ball. His
head was cut off, and stuck on the end of a broken branch of a tree,
by the nearest road to the place where the affray happened. The gang
soon dispersed, in consequence of the loss of their leader, and this
infliction of merited punishment proved beneficial in deterring others
from following a similar predatory life.

The punishment by castigation is performed in the following manner. The
individual convicted of an offence is led to some remote part of the
woods, under the escort of sometimes forty or fifty Regulators. When
arrived at the chosen spot, the criminal is made fast to a tree, and a
few of the Regulators remain with him, whilst the rest scour the forest,
to assure themselves that no strangers are within reach, after which
they form an extensive ring, arranging themselves on their horses, well
armed with rifles and pistols, at equal distances and in each other's
sight. At a given signal that "all's ready," those about the culprit,
having provided themselves with young twigs of hickory, administer the
number of lashes prescribed by the sentence, untie the sufferer, and
order him to leave the country immediately.

One of these castigations which took place more within my immediate
knowledge, was performed on a fellow who was neither a thief nor a
murderer, but who had misbehaved otherwise sufficiently to bring himself
under the sentence with mitigation. He was taken to a place where nettles
were known to grow in great luxuriance, completely stripped, and so
lashed with them, that although not materially hurt, he took it as a
hint not to be neglected, left the country, and was never again heard
of by any of the party concerned.

Probably at the moment when I am copying these notes respecting the early
laws of our frontier people, few or no Regulating Parties exist, the
terrible examples that were made having impressed upon the new settlers
a salutary dread, which restrains them from the commission of flagrant
crimes.



THE MOCKING BIRD.

_TURDUS POLYGLOTTUS_, LINN.

PLATE XXI. MALE AND FEMALE.


It is where the Great Magnolia shoots up its majestic trunk, crowned with
evergreen leaves, and decorated with a thousand beautiful flowers, that
perfume the air around; where the forests and fields are adorned with
blossoms of every hue; where the golden Orange ornaments the gardens and
groves; where Bignonias of various kinds interlace their climbing stems
around the White-flowered Stuartia, and mounting still higher, cover
the summits of the lofty trees around, accompanied with innumerable
Vines, that here and there festoon the dense foliage of the magnificent
woods, lending to the vernal breeze a slight portion of the perfume
of their clustered flowers; where a genial warmth seldom forsakes the
atmosphere; where berries and fruits of all descriptions are met with
at every step;—in a word, kind reader, it is where Nature seems to have
paused, as she passed over the Earth, and opening her stores, to have
strewed with unsparing hand the diversified seeds from which have sprung
all the beautiful and splendid forms which I should in vain attempt to
describe, that the Mocking Bird should have fixed its abode, there only
that its wondrous song should be heard.

But where is that favoured land?—It is in that great continent to whose
distant shores Europe has sent forth her adventurous sons, to wrest for
themselves a habitation from the wild inhabitants of the forest, and to
convert the neglected soil into fields of exuberant fertility. It is,
reader, in Louisiana that these bounties of nature are in the greatest
perfection. It is there that you should listen to the love-song of the
Mocking Bird, as I at this moment do. See how he flies round his mate,
with motions as light as those of the butterfly! His tail is widely
expanded, he mounts in the air to a small distance, describes a circle,
and, again alighting, approaches his beloved one, his eyes gleaming
with delight, for she has already promised to be his and his only. His
beautiful wings are gently raised, he bows to his love, and again bouncing
upwards, opens his bill, and pours forth his melody, full of exultation
at the conquest which he has made.

They are not the soft sounds of the flute or of the hautboy that I hear,
but the sweeter notes of Nature's own music. The mellowness of the song,
the varied modulations and gradations, the extent of its compass, the
great brilliancy of execution, are unrivalled. There is probably no bird
in the world that possesses all the musical qualifications of this king
of song, who has derived all from Nature's self. Yes, reader, all!

No sooner has he again alighted, and the conjugal contract has been
sealed, than, as if his breast was about to be rent with delight, he again
pours forth his notes with more softness and richness than before. He
now soars higher, glancing around with a vigilant eye, to assure himself
that none has witnessed his bliss. When these love-scenes, visible only
to the ardent lover of nature, are over, he dances through the air, full
of animation and delight, and, as if to convince his lovely mate that to
enrich her hopes he has much more love in store, he that moment begins
anew, and imitates all the notes which nature has imparted to the other
songsters of the grove.

For a while, each long day and pleasant night are thus spent; but at
a peculiar note of the female he ceases his song, and attends to her
wishes. A nest is to be prepared, and the choice of a place in which to
lay it is to become a matter of mutual consideration. The Orange, the
Fig, the Pear-tree of the gardens are inspected; the thick briar patches
are also visited. They appear all so well suited for the purpose in view,
and so well does the bird know that man is not his most dangerous enemy,
that instead of retiring from him, they at length fix their abode in
his vicinity, perhaps in the nearest tree to his window. Dried twigs,
leaves, grasses, cotton, flax, and other substances, are picked up,
carried to a forked branch, and there arranged. The female has laid an
egg, and the male redoubles his caresses. Five eggs are deposited in due
time, when the male having little more to do than to sing his mate to
repose, attunes his pipe anew. Every now and then he spies an insect on
the ground, the taste of which he is sure will please his beloved one.
He drops upon it, takes it in his bill, beats it against the earth, and
flies to the nest to feed and receive the warm thanks of his devoted
female.

When a fortnight has elapsed, the young brood demand all their care and
attention. No cat, no vile snake, no dreaded hawk, is likely to visit
their habitation. Indeed the inmates of the next house have by this
time become quite attached to the lovely pair of Mocking Birds, and
take pleasure in contributing to their safety. The dew-berries from the
fields, and many kinds of fruit from the gardens, mixed with insects,
supply the young as well as the parents with food. The brood is soon
seen emerging from the nest, and in another fortnight, being now able
to fly with vigour, and to provide for themselves, they leave the parent
birds, as many other species do.

The above account does not contain all that I wish you to know of the
habits of this remarkable songster; so, I shall shift the scene to the
woods and wilds, where we shall examine it more particularly.

The Mocking Bird remains in Louisiana the whole year. I have observed
with astonishment, that towards the end of October, when those which had
gone to the Eastern States, some as far as Boston, have returned, they
are instantly known by the "southrons," who attack them on all occasions.
I have ascertained this by observing the greater shyness exhibited by
the strangers for weeks after their arrival. This shyness, however, is
shortly over, as well as the animosity displayed by the resident birds,
and during the winter there exists a great appearance of sociality among
the united tribes.

In the beginning of April, sometimes a fortnight earlier, the Mocking
Birds pair, and construct their nests. In some instances they are so
careless as to place the nest between the rails of a fence directly by
the road. I have frequently found it in such places, or in the fields,
as well as in briars, but always so easily discoverable that any person
desirous of procuring one, might do so in a very short time. It is
coarsely constructed on the outside, being there composed of dried
sticks of briars, withered leaves of trees, and grasses, mixed with wool.
Internally it is finished with fibrous roots disposed in a circular form,
but carelessly arranged. The female lays from four to six eggs the first
time, four or five the next, and when there is a third brood, which
is sometimes the case, seldom more than three, of which I have rarely
found more than two hatched. The eggs are of a short oval form, light
green, blotched and spotted with umber. The young of the last brood not
being able to support themselves until late in the season, when many
of the berries and insects have become scarce, are stunted in growth;—a
circumstance which has induced some persons to imagine the existence in
the United States of two species of Mocking Bird, a larger and a smaller.
This, however, in as far as my observation goes, is not correct. The
first brood is frequently brought to the bird-market in New Orleans as
early as the middle of April. A little farther up the country, they are
out by the fifteenth of May. The second brood is hatched in July, and
the third in the latter part of September.

The nearer you approach to the sea-shores, the more plentiful do you find
these birds. They are naturally fond of loose sands, and of districts
scantily furnished with small trees, or patches of briars, and low bushes.

During incubation, the female pays such precise attention to the position
in which she leaves her eggs, when she goes to a short distance for
exercise and refreshment, to pick up gravel, or roll herself in the dust,
that, on her return, should she find that any of them has been displaced,
or touched by the hand of man, she utters a low mournful note, at the
sound of which the male immediately joins her, and they are both seen
to condole together. Some people imagine that, on such occasions, the
female abandons the nest; but this idea is incorrect. On the contrary,
she redoubles her assiduity and care, and scarcely leaves the nest for
a moment; nor is it until she has been repeatedly forced from the dear
spot, and has been much alarmed by frequent intrusions, that she finally
and reluctantly leaves it. Nay, if the eggs are on the eve of being
hatched, she will almost suffer a person to lay hold of her.

Different species of snakes ascend to their nests, and generally suck
the eggs or swallow the young; but on all such occasions, not only the
pair to which the nest belongs, but many other Mocking Birds from the
vicinity, fly to the spot, attack the reptiles, and, in some cases, are
so fortunate as either to force them to retreat, or deprive them of
life. Cats that have abandoned the houses to prowl about the fields,
in a half wild state, are also dangerous enemies, as they frequently
approach the nest unnoticed, and at a pounce secure the mother, or at
least destroy the eggs or young, and overturn the nest. Children seldom
destroy the nests of these birds, and the planters generally protect
them. So much does this feeling prevail throughout Louisiana, that they
will not willingly permit a Mocking Bird to be shot at any time.

In winter, nearly all the Mocking Birds approach the farm-houses and
plantations, living about the gardens or outhouses. They are then
frequently seen on the roofs, and perched on the chimney-tops; yet they
always appear full of animation. Whilst searching for food on the ground,
their motions are light and elegant, and they frequently open their wings
as butterflies do when basking in the sun, moving a step or two, and
again throwing out their wings. When the weather is mild, the old males
are heard singing with as much spirit as during the spring or summer,
while the younger birds are busily engaged in practising, preparatory
to the love season. They seldom resort to the interior of the forest
either during the day or by night, but usually roost among the foliage
of evergreens, in the immediate vicinity of houses in Louisiana, although
in the Eastern States they prefer low fir trees.

The flight of the Mocking Bird is performed by short jerks of the body
and wings, at every one of which a strong twitching motion of the tail is
perceived. This motion is still more apparent while the bird is walking,
when it opens its tail like a fan and instantly closes it again. The
common _cry_ or _call_ of this bird is a very mournful note, resembling
that uttered on similar occasions by its first cousin the _Turdus
rufus_, or, as it is commonly called, the "_French Mocking Bird_." When
travelling, this flight is only a little prolonged, as the bird goes
from tree to tree, or at most across a field, scarcely, if ever, rising
higher than the top of the forest. During this migration, it generally
resorts to the highest parts of the woods near water-courses, utters its
usual mournful note, and roosts in these places. It travels mostly by day.

Few hawks attack the Mocking Birds, as on their approach, however sudden
it may be, they are always ready not only to defend themselves vigorously
and with undaunted courage, but to meet the aggressor half way, and force
him to abandon his intention. The only hawk that occasionally surprises
it is the _Falco Stanleii_, which flies low with great swiftness, and
carries the bird off without any apparent stoppage. Should it happen
that the ruffian misses his prey, the Mocking Bird in turn becomes the
assailant, and pursues the Hawk with great courage, calling in the mean
time all the birds of its species to its assistance; and although it
cannot overtake the marauder, the alarm created by their cries, which
are propagated in succession among all the birds in the vicinity, like
the watchwords of sentinels on duty, prevents him from succeeding in
his attempts.

The musical powers of this bird have often been taken notice of by
European naturalists, and persons who find pleasure in listening to the
song of different birds whilst in confinement or at large. Some of these
persons have described the notes of the Nightingale as occasionally
fully equal to those of our bird. I have frequently heard both species
in confinement, and in the wild state, and without prejudice, have no
hesitation in pronouncing the notes of the European Philomel equal to
those of a _soubrette_ of taste, which, could she study under a MOZART,
might perhaps in time become very interesting in her way. But to compare
her essays to the finished talent of the Mocking Bird, is, in my opinion,
quite absurd.

The Mocking Bird is easily reared by hand from the nest, from which
it ought to be removed when eight or ten days old. It becomes so very
familiar and affectionate, that it will often follow its owner about
the house. I have known one raised from the nest kept by a gentleman at
Natchez, that frequently flew out of the house, poured forth its melodies,
and returned at sight of its keeper. But notwithstanding all the care
and management bestowed upon the improvement of the vocal powers of this
bird in confinement, I never heard one in that state produce any thing
at all approaching in melody to its own natural song.

The male bird is easily distinguished in the nest, as soon as the brood
is a little fledged, it being larger than the female, and shewing more
pure white. It does not shrink so deep in the nest as the female does,
at the sight of the hand which is about to lift it. Good singing birds
of this species often bring a high price. They are long-lived, and very
agreeable companions. Their imitative powers are amazing, and they mimic
with ease all their brethren of the forests or of the waters, as well as
many quadrupeds. I have heard it asserted that they possess the power
of imitating the human voice, but have never met with an instance of
the display of this alleged faculty.


     TURDUS POLYGLOTTUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 293.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 339.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synopsis of
     Birds of the United States, p. 74.

     MIMIC THRUSH, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iii. p. 40.

     MOCKING BIRD, TURDUS POLYGLOTTUS, _Wils._ Americ. Ornith. vol. ii.
     p. 14. Pl. x. fig. 1.


Adult Male. Plate XXI. Fig. 1, 1.

Bill of moderate length, rather weak, compressed, straightish; upper
mandible slightly arched in its dorsal outline, little declinate at
the tip; lower mandible nearly straight, acute. Nostrils basal, oblong,
half-closed by a membrane. Head of ordinary size. Neck and body rather
slender. Feet longish, rather strong; tarsus compressed, acute behind,
covered anteriorly with a few long scutella; toes scutellate above,
the middle one hardly shorter than the tarsus; inner toe free; hind toe
rather robust; claws compressed, acute, arched.

Plumage soft and blended. Wings of moderate length, rounded; third and
fourth primaries longest, first short. Tail long, much rounded, of twelve
nearly straight, rather narrow, rounded feathers.

Bill brownish-black. Iris pale yellow. Feet and claws dark brown. Upper
parts of the head, neck and body dark grey, tinged with brown on the
forehead and sides of the head. Under parts brownish-white. Quills
brownish-black; primaries white in their proximal part, forming a large
spot of that colour on the wing, concealed on the first three, and on
the last reaching to near the tip. Large primary coverts white, with
a line of black at the tip. Secondary coverts and second row tipped
with white. Outer tail-feather white, excepting a light streak of dusky
near the tip; the next two also white, but with a longitudinal streak
of black on the outer web, larger and broader on the third. The rest
brownish-black tinged with grey, and, excepting the middle ones, tipped
with white.

Length 9½ inches, extent of wings 13½; bill along the ridge 7/12, along
the gap 1; tarsus 1½, middle toe 1.


Adult Female. Plate XXI. Fig. 2, 2.

The female differs very little from the male. The plumage is slightly
duller, with more brown, the lateral tail-feathers have more black, and
the white parts are less pure. The dimensions are nearly the same.


THE FLORIDA JESSAMINE.

     GELSEMINUM NITIDUM, _Mich._ Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 120.
     _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 184.—PENTANDRIA DIGYNIA;
     _Linn._ APOCINEÆ, _Juss._

A climbing shrub, with smooth lanceolate leaves, axillary clusters
of yellow flowers, which are funnel-shaped, with the limb spreading
and nearly equal, the calyx five-toothed, the capsule two-celled and
two-valved. It grows along the sea-coast, especially near rivers, from
Virginia to Florida, flowering through the summer. The flowers are
fragrant. It is also named _Carolina Jessamine_ and _Yellow Jessamine_.



THE PURPLE MARTIN.

_HIRUNDO PURPUREA_, LINN.

PLATE XXII. MALE AND FEMALE.


The Purple Martin makes its appearance in the City of New Orleans from
the 1st to the 9th of February, occasionally a few days earlier than the
first of these dates, and is then to be seen gambolling through the air,
over the city and the river, feeding on many sorts of insects, which
are there found in abundance at that period.

It frequently rears three broods whilst with us. I have had several
opportunities, at the period of their arrival, of seeing prodigious
flocks moving over that city or its vicinity, at a considerable height,
each bird performing circular sweeps as it proceeded, for the purpose of
procuring food. These flocks were loose, and moved either eastward, or
towards the north-west, at a rate not exceeding four miles in the hour,
as I walked under one of them with ease for upwards of two miles, at that
rate, on the 4th of February 1821, on the bank of the river below the
city, constantly looking up at the birds, to the great astonishment of
many passengers, who were bent on far different pursuits. My Fahrenheit's
thermometer stood at 68°, the weather being calm and drizzly. This flock
extended about a mile and a half in length, by a quarter of a mile in
breadth. On the 9th of the same month, not far above the _Battle-ground_,
I enjoyed another sight of the same kind, although I did not think the
flock so numerous.

At the Falls of the Ohio, I have seen Martins as early as the 15th of
March, arriving in small detached parties of only five or six individuals,
when the thermometer was as low as 28°, the next day at 45°, and again,
in the same week, so low as to cause the death of all the Martins, or to
render them so incapable of flying as to suffer children to catch them.
By the 25th of the same month, they are generally plentiful about that
neighbourhood.

At St Genevieve, in the State of Missouri, they seldom arrive before the
10th or 15th of April, and sometimes suffer from unexpected returns of
frost. At Philadelphia, they are first seen about the 10th of April. They
reach Boston about the 25th, and continue their migration much farther
north, as the spring continues to open.

On their return to the Southern States, they do not require to wait for
warmer days, as in spring, to enable them to proceed, and they all leave
the above-mentioned districts and places about the 20th of August. They
assemble in parties of from fifty to a hundred and fifty, about the
spires of churches in the cities, or on the branches of some large dead
tree about the farms, for several days before their final departure.
From these places they are seen making occasional sorties, uttering a
general cry, and inclining their course towards the west, flying swiftly
for several hundred yards, when suddenly checking themselves in their
career, they return in easy sailings to the same tree or steeple. They
seem to act thus for the purpose of exercising themselves, as well as
to ascertain the course they are to take, and to form the necessary
arrangements for enabling the party to encounter the fatigues of their
long journey. Whilst alighted, during these days of preparation, they
spend the greater part of the time in dressing and oiling their feathers,
cleaning their skins, and clearing, as it were, every part of their
dress and body from the numerous insects which infest them. They remain
on their roosts exposed to the night air, a few only resorting to the
boxes where they have been reared, and do not leave them until the sun
has travelled an hour or two from the horizon, but continue, during the
fore part of the morning, to plume themselves with great assiduity. At
length, on the dawn of a calm morning, they start with one accord, and
are seen moving due west or south-west, joining other parties as they
proceed, until there is formed a flock similar to that which I have
described above. Their progress is now much more rapid than in spring,
and they keep closer together.

It is during these migrations, reader, that the power of flight possessed
by these birds can be best ascertained, and more especially when they
encounter a violent storm of wind. They meet the gust, and appear to
slide along the edges of it, as if determined not to lose one inch of
what they have gained. The foremost front the storm with pertinacity,
ascending or plunging along the skirts of the opposing currents, and
entering their undulating recesses, as if determined to force their way
through, while the rest follow close behind, all huddled together into
such compact masses as to appear like a black spot. Not a twitter is
then to be heard from them by the spectator below; but the instant the
farther edge of the current is doubled, they relax their efforts, to
refresh themselves, and twitter in united accord, as if congratulating
each other on the successful issue of the contest.

The usual flight of this bird more resembles that of the _Hirundo urbica_
of LINNÆUS, or that of the _Hirundo fulva_ of VIEILLOT, than the flight
of any other species of Swallow; and, although graceful and easy, cannot
be compared in swiftness with that of the Barn Swallow. Yet the Martin
is fully able to distance any bird not of its own genus. They are very
expert at bathing and drinking while on the wing, when over a large
lake or river, giving a sudden motion to the hind part of the body, as
it comes into contact with the water, thus dipping themselves in it,
and then rising and shaking their body, like a water spaniel, to throw
off the water. When intending to drink, they sail close over the water,
with both wings greatly raised, and forming a very acute angle with each
other. In this position, they lower the head, dipping their bill several
times in quick succession, and swallowing at each time a little water.

They alight with comparative ease on different trees, particularly
willows, making frequent movements of the wings and tail as they shift
their place, in looking for leaves to convey to their nests. They also
frequently alight on the ground, where, notwithstanding the shortness
of their legs, they move with some ease, pick up a goldsmith or other
insect, and walk to the edges of puddles to drink, opening their wings,
which they also do when on trees, feeling as if not perfectly comfortable.

These birds are extremely courageous, persevering, and tenacious of what
they consider their right. They exhibit strong antipathies against cats,
dogs, and such other quadrupeds as are likely to prove dangerous to them.
They attack and chase indiscriminately every species of Hawk, Crow, or
Vulture, and on this account are much patronized by the husbandman. They
frequently follow and tease an Eagle, until he is out of sight of the
Martin's box; and to give you an idea of their tenacity, when they have
made choice of a place in which to rear their young, I shall relate to
you the following occurrences.

I had a large and commodious house built and fixed on a pole, for the
reception of Martins, in an enclosure near my house, where for some years
several pairs had reared their young. One winter I also put up several
small boxes, with a view to invite Blue-birds to build nests in them. The
Martins arrived in the spring, and imagining these smaller apartments
more agreeable than their own mansion, took possession of them, after
forcing the lovely Blue-birds from their abode. I witnessed the different
conflicts, and observed that one of the Blue-birds was possessed of as
much courage as his antagonist, for it was only in consequence of the
more powerful blows of the Martin, that he gave up his house, in which
a nest was nearly finished, and he continued on all occasions to annoy
the usurper as much as lay in his power. The Martin shewed his head at
the entrance, and merely retorted with accents of exultation and insult.
I thought fit to interfere, mounted the tree on the trunk of which the
Blue-bird's box was fastened, caught the Martin, and clipped his tail
with scissars, in the hope that such mortifying punishment might prove
effectual in inducing him to remove to his own tenement. No such thing;
for no sooner had I launched him into the air, than he at once rushed
back to the box. I again caught him, and clipped the tip of each wing
in such a manner that he still could fly sufficiently well to procure
food, and once more set him at liberty. The desired effect, however, was
not produced, and as I saw the pertinacious Martin keep the box in spite
of all my wishes that he should give it up, I seized him in anger, and
disposed of him in such a way that he never returned to the neighbourhood.

At the house of a friend of mine in Louisiana, some Martins took
possession of sundry holes in the cornices, and there reared their young
for several years, until the insects which they introduced to the house
induced the owner to think of a reform. Carpenters were employed to clean
the place, and close up the apertures by which the birds entered the
cornice. This was soon done. The Martins seemed in despair; they brought
twigs and other materials, and began to form nests wherever a hole could
be found in any part of the building; but were so chased off that after
repeated attempts, the season being in the mean time advanced, they
were forced away, and betook themselves to some Woodpeckers' holes on
the dead trees about the plantation. The next spring, a house was built
for them. The erection of such houses is a general practice, the Purple
Martin being considered as a privileged pilgrim, and the harbinger of
spring.

The note of the Martin is not melodious, but is nevertheless very
pleasing. The twitterings of the male while courting the female are
more interesting. Its notes are among the first that are heard in the
morning, and are welcome to the sense of every body. The industrious
farmer rises from his bed as he hears them. They are soon after mingled
with those of many other birds, and the husbandman, certain of a fine
day, renews his peaceful labours with an elated heart. The still more
independent Indian is also fond of the Martin's company. He frequently
hangs up a calabash on some twig near his camp, and in this cradle the
bird keeps watch, and sallies forth to drive off the vulture that might
otherwise commit depredations on the deer-skins or pieces of venison
exposed to the air to be dried. The humbled slave of the Southern States
takes more pains to accommodate this favourite bird. The calabash is
neatly scooped out, and attached to the flexible top of a cane, brought
from the swamp, where that plant usually grows, and placed close to his
hut. It is, alas! to him a mere memento of the freedom which he once
enjoyed; and, at the sound of the horn which calls him to his labour,
as he bids farewell to the Martin, he cannot help thinking how happy
he should be, were he permitted to gambol and enjoy himself day after
day, with as much liberty as that bird. Almost every country tavern has
a Martin box on the upper part of its sign-board; and I have observed
that the handsomer the box, the better does the inn generally prove to
be.

All our cities are furnished with houses for the reception of these
birds; and it is seldom that even lads bent upon mischief disturb the
favoured Martin. He sweeps along the streets, here and there seizing a
fly, hangs to the eaves of the houses, or peeps into them, as he poises
himself in the air in front of the windows, or mounts high above the
city, soaring into the clear sky, plays with the string of the child's
kite, snapping at it, as he swiftly passes, with unerring precision, or
suddenly sweeps along the roofs, chasing off grimalkin, who is probably
prowling in quest of his young.

In the Middle States, the nest of the Martin is built, or that of the
preceding year repaired and augmented, eight or ten days after its
arrival, or about the 20th of April. It is composed of dry sticks,
willow-twigs, grasses, leaves, green and dry, feathers, and whatever rags
he meets with. The eggs, which are pure white, are from four to six. Many
pairs resort to the same box to breed, and the little fraternity appear
to live in perfect harmony. They rear two broods in a season. The first
comes forth in the end of May, the second about the middle of July. In
Louisiana, they sometimes have three broods. The male takes part of the
labour of incubation, and is extremely attentive to his mate. He is seen
twittering on the box, and frequently flying past the hole. His notes
are at this time emphatical and prolonged, low and less musical than
even his common _pews_. Their food consists entirely of insects, among
which are large beetles. They seldom seize the honey-bee.

The circumstance of their leaving the United States so early in autumn,
has inclined me to think that they must go farther from them than any of
our migratory land birds. This, however, is only conjecture, of which,
kind reader, you may better judge when you have read my account of the
Cliff Swallow.


     HIRUNDO PURPUREA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 844.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 578.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synopsis of
     Birds of the United States, p. 64.

     PURPLE MARTIN, HIRUNDO PURPUREA, _Wils._ Americ. Ornith. p. 58,
     Pl. xxxix. fig. 1. Male; fig. 2. Female.


Adult Male. Plate XXII. Fig 1, 1.

Bill short, rather robust, much depressed and very broad at the base;
compressed towards the tip; upper mandible notched near the tip, which
is rather obtuse and a little declinate; lower mandible nearly straight;
gap as wide as the head, and extending to beneath the eye. Nostrils
basal, lateral, roundish. Head large. Neck short. Body rather elongated
and depressed. Feet very short; tarsus and toes scutellate anteriorly,
lateral toes nearly equal, the outer united to the second joint; claws
short, weak, arched, rather obtuse.

Plumage silky, shining, and blended. Wings very long and slender,
sickle-shaped when closed, the first primary longest. Tail of ordinary
length, shorter than the wings, forked, when spread even, of twelve
straight, narrowish feathers.

Bill deep brownish-black. Iris dark brown. Feet purplish-black. The
plumage is generally of a deep blackish-blue, with intense purplish-blue
reflections; the quills and tail-feathers brownish-black.

Length 7½ inches, extent of wings 16; bill along the back ⅓, along the
gap 1, width of the gap ¾; tarsus ¾, middle toe the same.


Adult Female. Plate XXII. Fig. 2, 2.

Fore and upper part of the head brownish-grey, mottled with black; upper
parts generally of the same tints as the male, with more grey. Throat,
fore neck, and upper breast, dark grey, transversely lined with black.
The rest of the under parts lightish grey, longitudinally streaked with
blackish, darker and transversely streaked on the sides, and under the
tail nearly white, with slight lines.



THE YELLOW-BREASTED WARBLER, OR MARYLAND YELLOW-THROAT.

_SYLVIA TRICHAS_, LATH.

PLATE XXIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


The notes of this little bird render it more conspicuous than most of
its genus, for although they cannot be called very musical, they are far
from being unpleasant, and are uttered so frequently during the day,
that one, in walking along the briary ranges of the fences, is almost
necessarily brought to listen to its _whitititee_, repeated three or
four times every five or six minutes, the bird seldom stopping expressly
to perform its music, but merely uttering the notes after it has picked
an insect from amongst the leaves of the low bushes which it usually
inhabits. It then hops a step or two up or down, and begins again.

Although timid, it seldom flies far off at the approach of man, but
instantly dives into the thickest parts of its favourite bushes and high
grass, where it continues searching for food either along the twigs, or
among the dried leaves on the ground, and renews its little song when
only a few feet distant.

Its nest is one of those which the Cow Bunting (_Icterus pecoris_)
selects, in which to deposit one of its eggs, to be hatched by the
owners, that bird being similar in this respect to the European Cuckoo.
The nest, which is placed on the ground, and partly sunk in it, is now
and then covered over in the form of an oven, from which circumstance
children name this warbler the _Oven-bird_. It is composed externally
of withered leaves and grass, and is lined with hair. The eggs are
from four to six, of a white colour, speckled with light brown, and are
deposited about the middle of May. Sometimes two broods are reared in
a season. I have never observed the egg of the Cow Bunting in the nests
of the second brood. It is less active in its motions than most of the
Sylviæ, but makes up this deficiency by continued application, it being,
to appearance, busily employed during the whole of the day. It does
not chase insects by flying after them, but secures them by surprise.
Caterpillars and spiders form its principal food.

Although this species is found throughout the Union, the Middle States
seem to attract and detain more individuals, during the breeding season,
than any others. Very few breed in Louisiana. In Kentucky, however,
many breed in the barrens. The neighbourhood of swamps and such places
is their favourite ground, but every field provided with briar patches
or tall weeds harbours some of them. It leaves the Central Districts
about the middle of September. The male bird does not attain its full
colouring until the first spring, being for several months of the same
tints as the female.

The twig on which the male is seen, is commonly called in Louisiana the
Wild Olive. The tree is small, brittle and useless. It bears an acid
fruit, which is sometimes employed as a pickle, and eaten when ripe by
some people.

The female is perched on a twig of the Bitter-wood Tree, the wood of
which is hard, and resembles that of the Crab. This is also a small tree,
and grows along fences, amongst the briars, where the birds are found.
Both these trees I have seen in Louisiana only.


     SYLVIA TRICHAS, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 519.

     TURDUS TRICHAS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 293.

     SYLVIA MARILANDICA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 85.

     YELLOW-BREASTED WARBLER, _Lath._ Synops, vol. iv. p. 438.

     MARYLAND YELLOW-THROAT, SYLVIA MARILANDICA, _Wilson_, Americ.
     Ornith. vol. i. p. 88. Pl. 6. fig. 1. Male; and vol. ii. p. 163.
     Pl. 18. fig. 4. Female.


Adult Male. Plate XXIII. Fig. 1.

Bill of ordinary length, tapering, slender, nearly straight, acute.
Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, half-closed by a membrane. Head
and neck of ordinary size, the latter short. Body rather short. Feet
longish, slender; tarsus longer than the middle toe, covered anteriorly
with a few scutella, the uppermost long; toes scutellate above, the inner
free, the hind toe of moderate size; claws slender, compressed, acute,
arched.

Plumage loose, blended. Wings very short, the first quill longest. Tail
rounded.

Bill dark brown. Iris dark hazel. Feet flesh colour. A broad band of black
across the forehead, including the eyes, and terminating in a pointed
form half-way down the neck; behind which is a narrower band of very
pale blue; a slender white streak under the eye. Fore part of the neck
bright ochre-yellow, the rest of the under parts pale brownish-yellow,
fading into white on the abdomen and under tail-coverts. Upper parts
dull greyish-olive, on the head tinged with red. Inner webs of the quills
deep brown.

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 6½; bill along the ridge 5/12; along
the gap ⅔; tarsus 11/12.


Adult Female, Plate XXIII. Fig. 2.

The female has the upper parts lighter, the under parts tinged with
reddish-brown, and wants the two bands on the head, which is of a pale
brownish red colour.


THE SNOW-DROP TREE, SILVER-BELL TREE, OR WILD OLIVE.

     HALESIA TETRAPTERA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 849. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 448.—MONADELPHIA DECANDRIA, _Linn._
     GUAIACANÆ, _Juss._

Leaves ovate, acuminate, serrate; flowers with twelve stamina; the fruit
rhomboidal. It grows in shady woods, generally near rivers.


THE BITTER-WOOD TREE.

     VIBURNUM PRUNIFOLIUM, _Wild._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 1847. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 201.—PENTANDRIA DYGYNIA, _Linn._
     CAPRIFOLIA, _Juss._

Glabrous; the branches spreading; the leaves roundish; crenato-serrate;
the petioles smooth; the cymes sessile; the fruit round. The flowers
are white, the berries dark purplish-blue.



ROSCOE'S YELLOW-THROAT.

_SYLVIA ROSCOE._

PLATE XXIV. MALE.


The many kind attentions which I have received from the celebrated author
of the Life of Leo the Tenth, joined to the valuable advice with which I
have been favoured by that excellent gentleman, has induced me to honour
the little bird before you with his name.

I shot it in a deep swamp not far from the River Mississippi, in the
State bearing the same name, in September 1821. It was flitting amongst
the top branches of a high Cypress, when I first observed it, moving
sideways, searching for insects, and occasionally following one on the
wing. It uttered a single _twit_ repeated at short intervals. It having
unexpectedly flown to a distant tree of the species on a branch of which
you now see it, I followed it and shot it. It was the only one of the
kind I have ever seen, although I went to the same swamp for several days
in succession. It proved a male, and was to all appearance in perfect
plumage. The gizzard was nearly filled with very minute red insects,
found on Cypresses and Pines, the wings of different flies, and the
heads of red ants.

In general appearance, this species so much resembles the preceding,
that had not its habits differed so greatly from those of the Maryland
Yellow-throat, I might have been induced to consider it as merely
an accidental variety. On examining it more closely, however, and on
comparing it with that bird, I felt, as I now feel, fully confident of
its being different.

The species of Oak, on a twig of which it stands, is commonly called the
_Swamp Oak_. It grows to a large size, always near the edges of damp or
watery places. The height is from fifty to sixty feet, its diameter from
two to three. The branches come off from the trunk at a height of eight
feet from the ground, nearly at right angles. The twigs have a similar
disposition. The wood is extremely hard and close in the texture, heavier
than that of either the Red or the White Oak, and sinks when thrown into
water. The Southern States appear to be those in which it thrives best.


     SYLVIA ROSCOE.


Adult Male. Plate XXIV.

Bill of ordinary length, tapering, slender, nearly straight, acute.
Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, half-closed by a membrane. Head
and neck of ordinary size, the latter short. Body rather short. Feet
of ordinary length, slender; tarsus scarcely longer than the middle
toe, covered anteriorly with a few scutella, the uppermost long; toes
scutellate above, the inner free, the hind toe of moderate size; claws
slender, compressed, acute, arched.

Plumage loose, blended. Wings very short, the first quill longest. Tail
rounded.

Bill dark flesh-colour, brown at the tip. Iris light brown. Feet
flesh-colour. General colour of the upper parts very dark olive, the
feathers edged with lighter. The inner webs of the quills dark brown.
A slender white streak over the eye and close to it; a broad band of
black from the eye downwards.

Length 5⅛ inches, extent of wings 6¼; bill along the ridge 5/12, along
the gap ⅔; tarsus ⅓.


THE SWAMP OAK.

     QUERCUS AQUATICA, WATER OAK, _Mich._ Arb. Forest. vol. ii. p. 90.
     Pl. 17.—MONŒCIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._ AMENTACEÆ, _Juss._

Leaves oblongo-cuneate, tapering at the base, rounded or apiculate,
sometimes three-lobed.



THE SONG SPARROW.

_FRINGILLA MELODIA_, WILS.

PLATE XXV. MALE AND FEMALE.


The Song Sparrow is one of the most abundant of its tribe in Louisiana,
during winter. This abundance is easily accounted for by the circumstance
that it rears three broods in the year:—six, five, and three young at each
time, making fourteen per annum from a single pair. Supposing a couple
to live in health, and enjoy the comforts necessary for the bringing
up of their young families, for a period of only ten years, which is a
moderate estimate for birds of this class, you will readily conceive how
a whole flock of Song Sparrows may in a very short time be produced by
them.

Among the many desiderata connected with the study of nature, there
is one which, long felt by me, is not less so at the present moment.
I have never been able to conceive why a bird which produces more than
one brood in a season, should abandon its first nest to construct a new
one, as is the case with the present species; while other birds, such
as the Ospreys, and various species of Swallows, rear many broods in
the first nest which they have made, and to which they return, after
their long annual migrations, to repair it, and render it fit for the
habitation of the young brood. There is another fact which renders the
question still more difficult to be solved. I have generally found the
nests of this Sparrow cleaner and more perfect after the brood raised
in them have made their departure, than the nests of the other species
of birds mentioned above are on such occasions; a circumstance which
would render it unnecessary for the Song Sparrow to repair its nest.
You are aware of the cleanliness of birds with respect to their nests
during the whole period occupied in rearing their young. You know that
the parents remove the excrements to a distance from them, so long as
these excrements are contained in a filmy kind of substance, of which the
old bird lays hold with its bill for that express purpose, frequently
carrying them off to a distance of forty or fifty yards, or even more.
Well, the Song Sparrow is among the cleanest of the clean. I have often
watched the young birds leaving the nest; and after their departure,
have found it as well fitted for the reception of a fresh set of eggs
as the new nest which the bird constructs. I am unable to understand
the reason why a new nest is formed. Can you, reader, solve the question?

I have at all times been very partial to the Song Sparrow; for although
its attire is exceedingly plain, it is pleasing to hear it, in the
Middle States, singing earlier in spring, and later in autumn, than
almost any other bird. Its song is sweet, of considerable duration, and
performed at all hours of the day. It nestles sometimes on trees, and
sometimes on the ground. I have imagined that the old birds, finding by
experience the insecurity of their ordinary practice of nestling on the
ground, where the eggs are often devoured by Crows, betake themselves
to the bushes to conceal their nests from their enemies. But whatever
may be the reason, the fact certainly exists, and the nests of the Song
Sparrow occur in both kinds of situation. The nest for the first brood
is prepared, and the eggs laid, sometimes as early as the 15th of April.
The young are out by the first week of May. The third brood is seen by
the middle of September. The nest, when on the ground, is well sunk in
the earth, and is placed at the roots of tall grasses. It is made of
fine grass, and lined with hair, principally horse hair. The number of
eggs is from five to seven, usually from four to six, excepting those
for the last brood, which I have seldom found to exceed three. They are
of a very broad ovate form, light greenish-white, speckled with dark
umber, the specks larger toward the greater end. The male assists in
the process of incubation, during which one of the birds feeds the other
in succession. At this time the male is often to be observed singing on
the top of a neighbouring bush, low tree, or fence-rail.

The flight of the Song Sparrow is short, and much undulated, when the
bird is high in the air, but swifter and more level when it is near the
ground. They migrate by night, singly or in straggling troops. Some of
them remain the whole winter in the Middle Districts, where they are
not unfrequently heard to sing, if the weather prove at all pleasant.
The greater part, however, seek the Southern States, where myriads of
Sparrows of different kinds are everywhere to be seen in low swampy
situations, such as they at all periods prefer. It is a fine plump bird,
and becomes very flat and juicy. It is picked up in great numbers by the
Hen-harriers, which visit us for the purpose of feeding on the different
kinds of Sparrows that resort to these States in winter from the Middle
Districts. In Louisiana, they are frequently seen to ascend to the tops
of large trees, and there continue for some time singing their agreeable
chant, after which they dive again into the low bushes or amongst the
rank weeds which grow wherever a stream is to be found. They feed on
grass seeds, some berries and insects, especially grasshoppers, and
now and then pursue flies on the wing. On the ground their motions are
lively. They continue running about with great nimbleness and activity,
and sometimes cross shallow waters leg-deep. To the eastward, they often
frequent orchards and large gardens, but seldom approach houses.

I have placed a pair of them on a twig of the Huckleberry Bush in blossom.
This species sometimes grows to the height of six or seven feet, and
produces a fine berry in great abundance. Huckleberries of every sort
are picked by women and children, and sold in the eastern markets in
great profusion. They are used for tarts, but in my opinion are better
when eaten fresh.


     FRINGILLA MELODIA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 108.

     SONG SPARROW, FRINGILLA MELODIA, _Wilson_, Americ. Ornith.
     vol. ii. p. 125. Pl. xvi. fig. 4.


Adult Male. Plate XXV. Fig. 1.

Bill short, robust, conical, a little bulging, straight, acute; upper
mandible broader, slightly declinate at the tip; gap line a little
declinate at the base. Nostrils basal, roundish, concealed by the frontal
feathers. Feet of moderate length; tarsus longer than the middle toe;
toes free, the lateral ones nearly equal; claws compressed, arched, acute.

Plumage rather compact above, soft and blended beneath. Wings short,
rounded, the third and fourth quills longest. Tail longish, even, the
feathers narrow and acute.

Bill deep brown above, bluish beneath. Iris hazel. Feet and claws pale
brown. Upper part of the head reddish-brown, mottled with dark brown,
with a broad line of bluish-grey down the middle. Back grey, streaked
with reddish-brown and dusky. Lower back bluish-grey; tail-coverts tinged
with light brown. Sides of the head bluish-grey; a broad line of brown
from the eye backwards, and another from the commissure of the mouth.
Under parts white, tinged on the sides with grey, and posteriorly with
reddish-brown, the neck and breast spotted with dark brown, and the
lateral under tail-coverts streaked with the same. Wings dark brown, the
quills margined externally with reddish-brown, the coverts margined and
tipped with whitish. Tail-feathers uniformly dull brown.

Length 6 inches, extent of wings 8½; bill along the ridge ⅓, along the
gap ½; tarsus 1, middle toe ¾, hind toe ⅔.


Adult Female. Plate XXV. Fig. 2.

The female hardly differs in colour from the male.


THE HUCKLE-BERRY OR BLUE-TANGLES.

     VACCINIUM FRONDOSUM, _Wild._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 352. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 285.—DECANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ ERICÆ,
     _Juss._

Leaves deciduous, ovato-oblong or lanceolate, entire, smooth, glaucous
beneath, resinous; racemes lax, bracteate; pedicels long, filiform,
bracteolate; corollas ovato-companulate, with acute laciniæ and included
anthers. The flower is white, the calyx green, the berry globular and
of a bluish-black colour. It varies greatly in the form of the leaves,
as well as in stature, sometimes attaining a height of six or seven feet.

Huckle-berries form a portion of the food of many birds, as well as of
various quadrupeds. Of the former, I may mention in particular the Wild
Turkey, several species of Grouse, the Wild Pigeon, the Turtle Dove,
some Loxias, and several Thrushes. Among the latter, the Black Bear
stands pre-eminent, although Raccoons, Foxes, Oppossums, and others
destroy great quantities. When the season is favourable, these berries
are so thickly strewn on the twigs, that they may be gathered in large
quantities, and as they become ripe, numerous parties resort to the
grounds in which they are found, by way of frolicking, and spend the
time in a very agreeable manner.



IMPROVEMENTS IN THE NAVIGATION OF THE MISSISSIPPI.


I have so frequently spoken of the Mississippi, that an account of the
progress of navigation on that extraordinary stream may be interesting
even to the student of nature. I shall commence with the year 1808, at
which time a great portion of the western country, and the banks of the
Mississippi River, from above the City of Natchez particularly, were
little more than a waste, or, to use words better suited to my feelings,
remained in their natural state. To ascend the great stream against a
powerful current, rendered still stronger wherever islands occurred,
together with the thousands of sand-banks, as liable to changes and
shiftings as the alluvial shores themselves, which at every deep curve
or _bend_ were seen giving way, as if crushed down by the weight of the
great forests that everywhere reached to the very edge of the water,
and falling and sinking in the muddy stream, by acres at a time, was
an adventure of no small difficulty and risk, and which was rendered
more so by the innumerable logs, called _sawyers_ and _planters_, that
everywhere raised their heads above the water, as if bidding defiance to
all intruders. Few white inhabitants had yet marched towards its shores,
and these few were of a class little able to assist the navigator. Here
and there a solitary encampment of native Indians might be seen, but
its inmates were as likely to prove foes as friends, having from their
birth been made keenly sensible of the encroachments of the white men
upon their lands.

Such was then the nature of the Mississippi and its shores. That river was
navigated principally in the direction of the current, in small canoes,
pirogues, keel-boats, some flat-boats, and a few barges. The canoes and
pirogues being generally laden with furs from the different heads of
streams that feed the great river, were of little worth after reaching the
market of New Orleans, and seldom reascended, the owners making their way
home through the woods, amidst innumerable difficulties. The flat-boats
were demolished and used as fire-wood. The keel-boats and barges were
employed in conveying produce of different kinds besides furs, such as
lead, flour, pork, and other articles. These returned laden with sugar,
coffee, and dry goods suited for the markets of St Genevieve and St Louis
on the Upper Mississippi, or branched off and ascended the Ohio to the
foot of the Falls near Louisville in Kentucky. But, reader, follow their
movements, and judge for yourself of the fatigues, troubles and risks of
the men employed in that navigation. A keel-boat was generally manned by
ten hands, principally Canadian French, and a patroon or master. These
boats seldom carried more than from twenty to thirty tons. The barges
frequently had forty or fifty men, with a patroon, and carried fifty
or sixty tons. Both these kinds of vessels were provided with a mast,
a square-sail, and coils of cordage, known by the name of _cordelles_.
Each boat or barge carried its own provisions. We shall suppose one of
these boats under way, and, having passed Natchez, entering upon what
were called the difficulties of their ascent. Wherever a point projected,
so as to render the course or bend below it of some magnitude, there
was an eddy, the returning current of which was sometimes as strong as
that of the middle of the great stream. The bargemen therefore rowed
up pretty close under the bank, and had merely to keep watch in the
bow, lest the boat should run against a planter or sawyer. But the boat
has reached the point, and there the current is to all appearance of
double strength, and right against it. The men, who have all rested a
few minutes, are ordered to take their stations, and lay hold of their
oars, for the river must be crossed, it being seldom possible to double
such a point and proceed along the same shore. The boat is crossing,
its head slanting to the current, which is however too strong for the
rowers, and when the other side of the river has been reached, it has
drifted perhaps a quarter of a mile. The men are by this time exhausted,
and, as we shall suppose it to be twelve o'clock, fasten the boat to
the shore or to a tree. A small glass of whisky is given to each, when
they cook and eat their dinner, and after repairing their fatigue by an
hour's repose, recommence their labours. The boat is again seen slowly
advancing against the stream. It has reached the lower end of a large
sand-bar, along the edge of which it is propelled by means of long poles,
if the bottom be hard. Two men called bowsmen remain at the prow, to
assist, in concert with the steersman, in managing the boat, and keeping
its head right against the current. The rest place themselves on the
land side of the footway of the vessel, put one end of their poles on
the ground, the other against their shoulders, and push with all their
might. As each of the men reaches the stern, he crosses to the other
side, runs along it, and comes again to the landward side of the bow,
when he recommences operations. The barge in the mean time is ascending
at a rate not exceeding one mile in the hour.

The bar is at length passed, and as the shore in sight is straight on
both sides of the river, and the current uniformly strong, the poles
are laid aside, and the men being equally divided, those on the river
side take to their oars, whilst those on the land side lay hold of the
branches of willows, or other trees, and thus slowly propel the boat.
Here and there, however, the trunk of a fallen tree, partly lying on
the bank, and partly projecting beyond it, impedes their progress, and
requires to be doubled. This is performed by striking it with the iron
points of the poles and gaff-hooks. The sun is now quite low, and the
barge is again secured in the best harbour within reach. The navigators
cook their supper, and betake themselves to their blankets or bear-skins
to rest, or perhaps light a large fire on the shore, under the smoke of
which they repose, in order to avoid the persecutions of the myriads of
moschettoes which occur during the whole summer along the river. Perhaps,
from dawn to sunset, the boat may have advanced fifteen miles. If so,
it has done well. The next day, the wind proves favourable, the sail is
set, the boat takes all advantages, and meeting with no accident, has
ascended thirty miles, perhaps double that distance. The next day comes
with a very different aspect. The wind is right a-head, the shores are
without trees of any kind, and the canes on the banks are so thick and
stout, that not even the cordelles can be used. This occasions a halt.
The time is not altogether lost, as most of the men, being provided with
rifles, betake themselves to the woods, and search for the deer, the
bears, or the turkeys, that are generally abundant there. Three days may
pass before the wind changes, and the advantages gained on the previous
fine day are forgotten. Again the boat proceeds, but in passing over a
shallow place runs on a log, swings with the current, but hangs fast,
with her lea-side almost under water. Now for the poles! All hands are
on deck, bustling and pushing. At length towards sunset, the boat is
once more afloat, and is again taken to the shore, where the wearied
crew pass another night.

I shall not continue this account of difficulties, it having already
become painful in the extreme. I could tell you of the crew abandoning
the boat and cargo, and of numberless accidents and perils; but be it
enough to say, that, advancing in this tardy manner, the boat that left
New Orleans on the first of March, often did not reach the Falls of
the Ohio until the month of July,—nay, sometimes not until October; and
after all this immense trouble, it brought only a few bags of coffee, and
at most 100 hogsheads of sugar. Such was the state of things in 1808.
The number of barges at that period did not amount to more than 25 or
30, and the largest probably did not exceed 100 tons burden. To make
the best of this fatiguing navigation, I may conclude by saying, that
a barge which came up in three months had done wonders, for I believe,
few voyages were performed in that time.

If I am not mistaken, the first steam-boat that went down out of the
Ohio to New Orleans was named the "Orleans," and if I remember right,
was commanded by Captain OGDEN. This voyage, I believe was performed
in the spring of 1810. It was, as you may suppose, looked upon as the
_ne plus ultra_ of enterprise. Soon after, another vessel came from
Pittsburg, and before many years elapsed, to see a vessel so propelled
become a common occurrence. In 1826, after a lapse of time that proved
sufficient to double the population of the United States of America,
the navigation of the Mississippi had so improved both in respect to
facility and quickness, that I know no better way of giving you an idea
of it, than by presenting you with an extract of a letter from my eldest
son, which was taken from the books of N. BERTHOUD, Esq. with whom he
at that time resided.

"You ask me in your last letter for a list of the arrivals and departures
here. I give you an abstract from our list of 1826, shewing the number
of boats which plied each year, their tonnage, the trips which they
performed, and the quantity of goods landed here from New Orleans and
intermediate places.

                                        measuring
              from      to     boats      tons.    trips.     tons.
     "1823,  Jan. 1.  Dec. 31.  42       7,860       98      19,453
      1824,       1.  Nov. 25.  36       6,393      118      20,291
      1825,       1.  Aug. 15.  42       7,484      140      24,102
      1826,       1.  Dec. 31.  51       9,388      182      28,914

"The amount for the present year will be much greater than any of the
above. The number of flat-boats and keels is beyond calculation. The
number of steam-boats above the Falls I cannot say much about, except
that one or two arrive at and leave Louisville every day. Their passage
from Cincinnati is commonly 14 or 16 hours. The Tecumseh, a boat which
runs between this place and New Orleans, and which measures 210 tons,
arrived here on the 10th instant, in 9 days 7 hours, from port to port;
and the Philadelphia, of 300 tons, made the passage in 9 days 9½ hours,
the computed distance being 1650 miles. These are the quickest trips made.
There are now in operation on the waters west of the Alleghany Mountains
140 or 145 boats. We had last spring (1826), a very high freshet, which
came 4½ feet deep in the counting-room. The rise was 57 feet 3 inches
perpendicular."

The whole of the steam-boats of which you have an account did not perform
voyages to New Orleans only, but to all points on the Mississippi, and
other rivers which fall into it. I am certain that since the above date
the number has increased, but to what extent I cannot at present say.

When steam-boats first plied between Shippingport and New Orleans, the
cabin passage was a hundred dollars, and a hundred and fifty dollars on
the upward voyage. In 1829, I went down to Natchez from Shippingport
for twenty-five dollars, and ascended from New Orleans on board the
Philadelphia, in the beginning of January 1830, for sixty dollars,
having taken two state-rooms for my wife and myself. On that voyage we
met with a trifling accident, which protracted it to fourteen days; the
computed distance being, as mentioned above, 1650 miles, although the
real distance is probably less. I do not remember to have spent a day
without meeting with a steam-boat, and some days we met several. I might
here be tempted to give you a description of one of these steamers of
the western waters, but the picture having been often drawn by abler
hands, I shall desist.



THE CAROLINA PARROT.

_PSITTACCUS CAROLINENSIS_, LINN.

PLATE XXVI. MALE, FEMALE AND YOUNG.


Doubtless, kind reader, you will say, while looking at the seven figures
of Parakeets represented in the plate, that I spared not my labour. I
never do, so anxious am I to promote your pleasure.

These birds are represented feeding on the plant commonly named the
_Cockle-bur_. It is found much too plentifully in every State west of the
Alleghanies, and in still greater profusion as you advance towards the
Southern Districts. It grows in every field where the soil is good. The
low alluvial lands along the Ohio and Mississippi are all supplied with
it. Its growth is so measured that it ripens after the crops of grain
are usually secured, and in some rich old fields it grows so exceedingly
close, that to make one's way through the patches of it, at this late
period, is no pleasant task. The burs stick so thickly to the clothes,
as to prevent a person from walking with any kind of ease. The wool of
sheep is also much injured by them; the tails and manes of horses are
converted into such tangled masses, that the hair has to be cut close
off, by which the natural beauty of these valuable animals is impaired.
To this day, no useful property has been discovered in the Cockle-bur,
although in time it may prove as valuable either in medicine or chemistry
as many other plants that had long been considered of no importance.

Well, reader, you have before you one of these plants, on the seeds of
which the parrot feeds. It alights upon it, plucks the bur from the stem
with its bill, takes it from the latter with one foot, in which it turns
it over until the joint is properly placed to meet the attacks of the
bill, when it bursts it open, takes out the fruit, and allows the shell
to drop. In this manner, a flock of these birds, having discovered a
field ever so well filled with these plants, will eat or pluck off all
their seeds, returning to the place day after day until hardly any are
left. The plant might thus be extirpated, but it so happens that it is
reproduced from the ground, being perennial, and our farmers have too
much to do in securing their crops, to attend to the pulling up the
cockle-burs by the roots, the only effectual way of getting rid of them.

The Parrot does not satisfy himself with Cockle-burs, but eats or destroys
almost every kind of fruit indiscriminately, and on this account is always
an unwelcome visitor to the planter, the farmer, or the gardener. The
stacks of grain put up in the field are resorted to by flocks of these
birds, which frequently cover them so entirely, that they present to the
eye the same effect as if a brilliantly coloured carpet had been thrown
over them. They cling around the whole stack, pull out the straws, and
destroy twice as much of the grain as would suffice to satisfy their
hunger. They assail the Pear and Apple-trees, when the fruit is yet
very small and far from being ripe, and this merely for the sake of the
seeds. As on the stalks of Corn, they alight on the Apple-trees of our
orchards, or the Pear-trees in the gardens, in great numbers; and, as if
through mere mischief, pluck off the fruits, open them up to the core,
and, disappointed at the sight of the seeds, which are yet soft and of
a milky consistence, drop the apple or pear, and pluck another, passing
from branch to branch, until the trees which were before so promising,
are left completely stripped, like the ship water-logged and abandoned
by its crew, floating on the yet agitated waves, after the tempest has
ceased. They visit the Mulberries, Pecan-nuts, Grapes, and even the
seeds of the Dog-wood, before they are ripe, and on all commit similar
depredations. The Maize alone never attracts their notice.

Do not imagine, reader, that all these outrages are borne without severe
retaliation on the part of the planters. So far from this, the Parakeets
are destroyed in great numbers, for whilst busily engaged in plucking off
the fruits or tearing the grain from the stacks, the husbandman approaches
them with perfect ease, and commits great slaughter among them. All the
survivors rise, shriek, fly round about for a few minutes, and again
alight on the very place of most imminent danger. The gun is kept at
work; eight or ten, or even twenty, are killed at every discharge. The
living birds, as if conscious of the death of their companions, sweep
over their bodies, screaming as loud as ever, but still return to the
stack to be shot at, until so few remain alive, that the farmer does
not consider it worth his while to spend more of his ammunition. I have
seen several hundreds destroyed in this manner in the course of a few
hours, and have procured a basketful of these birds at a few shots, in
order to make choice of good specimens for drawing the figures by which
this species is represented in the plate now under your consideration.

The flight of the Parakeet is rapid, straight, and continued through the
forests, or over fields and rivers, and is accompanied by inclinations
of the body which enable the observer to see alternately their upper
and under parts. They deviate from a direct course only when impediments
occur, such as the trunks of trees or houses, in which case they glance
aside in a very graceful manner, merely as much as may be necessary. A
general cry is kept up by the party, and it is seldom that one of these
birds is on wing for ever so short a space without uttering its cry. On
reaching a spot which affords a supply of food, instead of alighting at
once, as many other birds do, the Parakeets take a good survey of the
neighbourhood, passing over it in circles of great extent, first above the
trees, and then gradually lowering until they almost touch the ground,
when suddenly re-ascending they all settle on the tree that bears the
fruit of which they are in quest, or on one close to the field in which
they expect to regale themselves.

They are quite at ease on trees or any kind of plant, moving sidewise,
climbing or hanging in every imaginable posture, assisting themselves very
dexterously in all their motions with their bills. They usually alight
extremely close together. I have seen branches of trees as completely
covered by them as they could possibly be. If approached before they
begin their plundering, they appear shy and distrustful, and often at a
single cry from one of them, the whole take wing, and probably may not
return to the same place that day. Should a person shoot at them, as
they go, and wound an individual, its cries are sufficient to bring back
the whole flock, when the sportsman may kill as many as he pleases. If
the bird falls dead, they make a short round, and then fly off.

On the ground these birds walk slowly and awkwardly, as if their tail
incommoded them. They do not even attempt to run off when approached by
the sportsman, should he come upon them unawares; but when he is seen
at a distance, they lose no time in trying to hide, or in scrambling up
the trunk of the nearest tree, in doing which they are greatly aided by
their bill.

Their roosting-place is in hollow trees, and the holes excavated by the
larger species of Woodpeckers, as far as these can be filled by them. At
dusk, a flock of Parakeets may be seen alighting against the trunk of a
large Sycamore or any other tree, when a considerable excavation exists
within it. Immediately below the entrance the birds all cling to the
bark, and crawl into the hole to pass the night. When such a hole does
not prove sufficient to hold the whole flock, those around the entrance
hook themselves on by their claws, and the tip of the upper mandible,
and look as if hanging by the bill. I have frequently seen them in such
positions by means of a glass, and am satisfied that the bill is not
the only support used in such cases.

When wounded and laid hold of, the Parakeet opens its bill, turns its
head to seize and bite, and, if it succeed, is capable of inflicting a
severe wound. It is easily tamed by being frequently immersed in water,
and eats as soon as it is placed in confinement. Nature seems to have
implanted in these birds a propensity to destroy, in consequence of which
they cut to atoms pieces of wood, books, and, in short, every thing that
comes in their way. They are incapable of articulating words, however
much care and attention may be bestowed upon their education; and their
screams are so disagreeable as to render them at best very indifferent
companions. The woods are the habitation best fitted for them, and there
the richness of their plumage, their beautiful mode of flight, and even
their screams, afford welcome intimation that our darkest forests and
most sequestered swamps are not destitute of charms.

They are fond of sand in a surprising degree, and on that account are
frequently seen to alight in flocks along the gravelly banks about the
creeks and rivers, or in the ravines of old fields in the plantations,
when they scratch with bill and claws, flutter and roll themselves in
the sand, and pick up and swallow a certain quantity of it. For the same
purpose, they also enter the holes dug by our Kingsfisher. They are fond
of saline earth, for which they visit the different Licks interspersed
in our woods.

Our Parakeets are very rapidly diminishing in number; and in some
districts, where twenty-five years ago they were plentiful, scarcely
any are now to be seen. At that period, they could be procured as far
up the tributary waters of the Ohio as the Great Kenhawa, the Scioto,
the heads of the Miami, the mouth of the Manimee at its junction with
Lake Erie, on the Illinois River, and sometimes as far north-east as
Lake Ontario, and along the eastern districts as far as the boundary
line between Virginia and Maryland. At the present day, very few are to
be found higher than Cincinnati, nor is it until you reach the mouth of
the Ohio that Parakeets are met with in considerable numbers. I should
think that along the Mississippi there is not now half the number that
existed fifteen years ago.

Their flesh is tolerable food, when they are young, on which account
many of them are shot. The skin of their body is usually much covered
with the mealy substances detached from the roots of the feathers. The
head especially is infested by numerous minute insects, all of which
shift from the skin to the surface of the plumage, immediately after
the bird's death. Their nest, or the place in which they deposit their
eggs, is simply the bottom of such cavities in trees as those to which
they usually retire at night. Many females deposit their eggs together.
I am of opinion that the number of eggs which each individual lays
is two, although I have not been absolutely to assure myself of this.
They are nearly round, and of a light greenish white. The young are at
first covered with soft down, such as is seen on young Owls. During the
first season, the whole plumage is green; but towards autumn a frontlet
of carmine appears. Two years, however, are passed before the male or
female are in full plumage. The only material differences which the
sexes present externally are, that the male is rather larger, with more
brilliant plumage. I have represented a female with two supernumerary
feathers in the tail. This, however, is merely an accidental variety.


     PSITTACUS CAROLINESIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 141.
     —_Lath._ Ind. Orn. vol. i. p. 93.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops.
     of Birds of the United States, p. 41.

     CAROLINA PARROT, _Lath._ Synops. vol. i. p. 227.—_Wils._ Amer.
     Ornith. vol. iii. p. 89. Pl. 26. fig. 1.


Adult Male. Plate XXVI. Fig. 1, 1, 1.

Bill short, bulging, very strong and hard, deeper than broad, convex
above and below, with a cere at the base; upper mandible curved from
the base, convex on the sides, the margin overlapping, with an angular
process, the tip trigonal, acute, declinate, much exceeding the under
mandible, which is very short, broadly convex on the back, truncate at
the extremity. Nostrils basal, round, open, placed in the cere. Head
very large. Neck robust. Body rather elongated. Feet short and robust;
tarsus scaly all round; toes scutellate above, flat beneath, two behind
and two before, the latter united at the base; claws curved, acute.

Plumage compact and imbricated on the back, blended on the head, neck,
and under parts. Orbital space bare. Wings long, second and third quills
longest. Tail long, wedge-shaped, of twelve, narrow, tapering feathers.

Bill white. Iris hazel. Bare orbital space whitish. Feet pale
flesh-colour, claws dusky. Fore part of the head and the cheeks bright
scarlet, that colour extending over and behind the eye, the rest of
the head and the neck pure bright yellow; the edge of the wing bright
yellow, spotted with orange. The general colour of the other parts is
emerald-green, with light blue reflections, lighter beneath. Primary
coverts deep bluish-green; secondary coverts greenish-yellow. Quills
bluish-green on the outer web, brownish-red on the inner, the primaries
bright yellow at the base of the outer web. Two middle tail-feathers
deep green, the rest of the same colour externally, their inner webs
brownish-red. Tibial feathers yellow, the lowest deep orange.

Length 14 inches, extent of wings 22; bill along the ridge 1-1/12, gap,
measured from the tip of the lower mandible, ½; tarsus ⅚, middle toe 1¼.


Adult Female. Plate XXVI. Fig. 2, 2, 2.

The female is similar to the male in colour. The upper figure represents
a kind of occasional variety, with fourteen tail-feathers. The specimen
from which the drawing was taken was shot at Bayou Sara, in Louisiana.


Young Bird. Plate XXVI. Fig. 3.

The young bird is known by the comparative shortness of the tail, and
the uniform green colour of the head.


THE COCKLE-BUR.

     XANTHIUM STRUMARIUM, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol iv. p. 373. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 581. _Smith_, Engl. Fl. vol. iv. p. 136.
     —MONŒCIA PENTANDRIA, _Linn._ CORYMBIFERÆ, _Juss._

Root fibrous; stem solitary, erect, branched, from three to six feet
high, furrowed, downy; leaves on long petioles, cordate, lobed, serrate,
scabrous, three-nerved at the base; clusters axillar, of four or five
fertile, and one or two barren flowers, which are green; nuts densely
armed, and furnished with two beaks.



THE RED-HEADED WOODPECKER.

_PICUS ERYTHROCEPHALUS_, LINN.

PLATE XXVII. MALE, FEMALE, AND YOUNG.


You have now, kind reader, under consideration a family of Woodpeckers,
the general habits of which are so well known in our United States, that,
were I assured of your having traversed the woods of America, I should
feel disposed to say little about them.

The _Red-heads_ (by which name this species is usually designated)
may be considered as residents of the United States, inasmuch as many
of them remain in the Southern Districts during the whole winter, and
breed there in summer. The greater number, however, pass to countries
farther south. Their migration takes place under night, is commenced in
the middle of September, and continues for a month or six weeks. They
then fly very high above the trees, far apart, like a disbanded army,
propelling themselves by reiterated flaps of the wings, at the end of
each successive curve which they describe in their flight. The note which
they emit at this time is different from the usual one, sharp and easily
heard from the ground, although the birds may be out of sight. This
note is continued, as if it were necessary for keeping the straggling
party in good humour. At dawn of day, the whole alight on the tops of
the dead trees about the plantations, and remain in search of food until
the approach of sunset, when they again, one after another, mount the
air, and continue their journey.

With the exception of the Mocking Bird, I know no species so gay and
frolicksome. Indeed, their whole life is one of pleasure. They find a
superabundance of food everywhere, as well as the best facilities for
raising their broods. The little labour which they perform is itself
a source of enjoyment, for it is undertaken either with an assurance
of procuring the nicest dainties, or for the purpose of excavating a
hole for the reception of themselves, their eggs, or their families.
They do not seem to be much afraid of man, although they have scarcely
a more dangerous enemy. When alighted on a fence-stake by the road, or
in a field, and one approaches them, they gradually move sidewise out
of sight, peeping now and then to discover your intention; and when you
are quite close and opposite, lie still until you are past, when they
hop to the top of the stake, and rattle upon it with their bill, as if
to congratulate themselves on the success of their cunning. Should you
approach within arm's length, which may frequently be done, the Woodpecker
flies to the next stake or the second from you, bends his head to peep,
and rattles again, as if to provoke you to a continuance of what seems
to him excellent sport. He alights on the roof of the house, hops along
it, beats the shingles, utters a cry, and dives into your garden to pick
the finest strawberries which he can discover.

I would not recommend to any one to trust their fruit to the Red-heads;
for they not only feed on all kinds as they ripen, but destroy an immense
quantity besides. No sooner are the cherries seen to redden, than these
birds attack them. They arrive on all sides, coming from a distance
of miles, and seem the while to care little about the satisfaction you
might feel in eating some also. Trees of this kind are stripped clean by
them. When one has alighted and tasted the first cherry, he utters his
call-note, jerks his tail, nods his head, and at it again in an instant.
When fatigued, he loads his bill with one or two, and away to his nest,
to supply his young.

It is impossible to form any estimate of the number of these birds
seen in the United States during the summer months; but this much I may
safely assert, that an hundred have been shot upon a single cherry-tree
in one day. Pears, Peaches, Apples, Figs, Mulberries, and even Pease,
are thus attacked. I am not disposed to add to these depredations those
which they commit upon the Corn, either when young and juicy, or when
approaching maturity, lest I should seem too anxious to heap accusations
upon individuals, who, although culprits, are possessed of many undeniably
valuable qualities.

But to return:—They feed on apples as well as on other fruit, and carry
them off by thrusting into them their sharp bills when open, with all
their force, when they fly away to a fence-stake or a tree, and devour
them at leisure. They have another bad habit, which is that of sucking
the eggs of small birds. For this purpose, they frequently try to enter
the boxes of the Martins or Blue-birds, as well as the pigeon-houses,
and are often successful. The corn, as it ripens, is laid bare by their
bill, when they feed on the top parts of the ear, and leave the rest
either to the Grakles or the Squirrels, or still worse, to decay, after
a shower has fallen upon it.

All this while the Red-heads are full of gaiety. No sooner have they
satisfied their hunger, than small parties of them assemble on the tops
and branches of decayed trees, from which they chase different insects
that are passing through the air, launching after them for eight or
ten yards, at times performing the most singular manœuvres, and, on
securing their victim, return to the tree, where, immediately after, a
continued cry of exultation is uttered. They chase each other on wing
in a very amicable manner, in long, beautifully curved sweeps, during
which the remarkable variety of their plumage becomes conspicuous, and
is highly pleasing to the eye. When passing from one tree to another,
their flight resembles the motion of a great swing, and is performed by
a single opening of the wings, descending at first, and rising towards
the spot on which they are going to alight with ease, and in the most
graceful manner. They move upwards, sidewise, or backwards, without
apparent effort, but seldom with the head downwards, as Nuthatches and
some smaller species of Woodpeckers are wont to do.

Their curving from one tree to another, in the manner just described,
is frequently performed as if they intended to attack a bird of their
own species; and it is amusing to see the activity with which the latter
baffles his antagonist, as he scrambles sidewise round the tree with
astonishing celerity, in the same manner in which one of these birds,
suspecting a man armed with a gun, will keep winding round the trunk
of a tree, until a good opportunity presents itself of sailing off to
another. In this manner a man may follow from one tree to another over a
whole field, without procuring a shot, unless he watches his opportunity
and fires while the bird is on wing. On the ground, this species is by
no means awkward, as it hops there with ease, and secures beetles which
it had espied whilst on the fence or a tree.

It is seldom that a nest newly perforated by these birds is to be
found, as they generally resort to those of preceding years, contenting
themselves with working them a little deeper. These holes are found not
only in every decaying tree, but often to the number of ten or a dozen
in a single trunk, some just begun, others far advanced, and others
ready to receive the eggs. The great number of these holes, thus left
in different stages, depends upon the difficulties which the bird may
experience in finishing them; for whenever it finds the wood hard and
difficult to be bored, it tries another spot. So few green or living
trees are perforated by _this_ species, that I cannot at the present
moment recollect having seen a single instance of such an occurrence.

All Woodpeckers are extremely expert at discovering insects as they lie
under the bark of trees. No sooner have they alighted, than they stand
for a few moments motionless and listening. If no motion is observed in
the bark, the Woodpecker gives a smart rap with its bill, and bending
its neck sidewise lays its head close to it, when the least crawling
motion of a beetle or even a larva is instantly discovered, and the
bird forthwith attacks the tree, removes the bark, and continues to dig
until it reaches its prey, when it secures and swallows it. This manner
of obtaining food is observed particularly during the winter, when few
forest fruits are to be found. Should they, at this season, discover a
vine loaded with grapes, they are seen hanging to the branches by their
feet, and helping themselves with their bill. At this time they also
resort to the corn-cribs, and feed on the corn gathered and laid up by
the farmers.

In Louisiana and Kentucky, the Red-headed Woodpecker rears two broods
each year; in the Middle Districts more usually only one. The female lays
from two to six eggs, which are pure white and translucent, sometimes in
holes not more than six feet from the ground, at other times as high as
possible. The young birds have at first the upper part of the head grey;
but towards autumn the red begins to appear. During the first winter,
the red is seen richly intermixed with the grey feathers, and, at the
approach of spring, scarcely any difference is perceptible between the
sexes.

The Red-headed Woodpecker is found in all parts of the United States.
Its flesh is tough, and smells strongly of ants and other insects, so
as to be scarcely eatable.

A European friend of mine, on seeing some of these birds for the first
time, as he was crossing the Alleghanies, wrote me, on reaching Pittsburg,
that he had met with a beautiful species of Jay, the plumage of which
was red, black and white, and its manners so gentle, that it suffered
him to approach so near as the foot of a low tree on which it was.

On being wounded in the wing, they cry as they fall, and continue to do
so for many minutes after being taken, pecking at their foe with great
vigour. If not picked up, they make to the nearest tree, and are soon
out of reach, as they can climb by leaps of considerable length faster
than can be imagined. The number of insects of all sorts destroyed by
this bird alone is incalculable, and it thus affords to the husbandman
a full return for the mischief which it commits in his garden and fields.

In Kentucky and the Southern States, many of these birds are killed in the
following manner. As soon as the Red-heads have begun to visit a Cherry
or Apple tree, a pole is placed along the trunk of the tree, passing
up amongst the central branches, and extending six or seven feet beyond
the highest twigs. The Woodpeckers alight by preference on the pole, and
while their body is close to it, a man standing at the foot of the pole
gives it a smart blow with the head of an axe, on the opposite side to
that on which the Woodpecker is, when, in consequence of the sudden and
violent vibration produced in the upper part, the bird is thrown off dead.


     PICUS ERYTHROCEPHALUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 174.
     —_Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 227.—_Ch. Bonaparte_,
     Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 45.

     RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, PICUS ERYTHROCEPHALUS, _Wilson_, Amer.
     Ornith. vol i. p. 142. Pl. ix. fig. i.—_Lath._ Synops. vol. ii.
     p. 561.


Adult Male. Plate XXVII. Fig. 1.

Bill longish, straight, strong, compressed toward the tip, which is
vertically acute; upper mandible with the dorsal outline nearly straight,
the edges acute and overlapping; under mandible with acute, slightly
inflected edges. Nostrils basal, elliptical, direct, open. Head rather
large; neck short; body robust. Feet short; tarsus and toes scutellate;
two toes before and two behind, the inner hind toe shortest; claws
strong, arched, acute.

Plumage glossy, generally blended, on the back and wings compact. Wings
longish, third and fourth quills longest. Tail much rounded, of twelve
decurved stiff feathers, worn by rubbing to an acute, ragged point.
Palpebral region bare.

Bill light blue, dark at the tip. Feet of the same colour. Iris dark
hazel, palpebral region bluish. Head and neck bright crimson. Back
wing-coverts, primaries and tail-feathers black, with blue reflections;
rump and secondaries white, the shafts of the latter black. Breast and
abdomen white, tinged with yellowish-brown; an irregular transverse
narrow band of black at the junction of the red of the fore-neck and
the white of the breast.

Length 9 inches, extent of wings 17; bill along the ridge 1, along the
gap 1⅓; tarsus 1.


Adult Female. Plate XXVII. Fig. 2.

The female differs from the male only in being smaller, and in having
the tints of the plumage somewhat less vivid.

Length 8½ inches.


Young Birds. Plate XXVII. Fig. 3, 3, 3.

The young when fully fledged have the bill and iris dark brown, the
feet bluish. The head and neck are dark brownish-grey, mottled with
small streaks of dark brown; the back and wing-coverts of the same
colour, spotted with darker; the primaries brownish-black, margined with
whitish, the secondaries yellowish-white, barred with black; the tail
brownish-black, tipped with white; the rump and under parts greyish-white.



THE SOLITARY FLY-CATCHER, OR VIREO.

_VIREO SOLITARIUS_, VIEILL.

PLATE XXVIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


This, reader, is one of the scarce birds that visit the United States
from the south, and I have much pleasure in being able to give you
an account of it, as hitherto little or nothing has been known of its
history.

It is an inhabitant of Louisiana during the spring and summer months,
when it resorts to the thick cane-brakes of the alluvial lands near
the Mississippi, and the borders of the numberless swamps that lie in
a direction parallel to that river. It is many years since I discovered
it, but as I am not at all anxious respecting priority of names, I shall
not insist upon this circumstance. In the month of May 1809, I killed a
male and a female of this species, near the mouth of the Ohio, while on
a shooting expedition after young swans. The following spring, I killed
a female near Henderson in Kentucky. In 1821, I again procured a pair,
with their nest and eggs, near the mouth of Bayou La Fourche, on the
Mississippi, and since that period have killed eight or ten pairs.

The nest is prettily constructed, and fixed in a partially pensile manner
between two twigs of a low bush, on a branch running horizontally from
the main stem. It is formed externally of grey lichens, slightly put
together, and lined with hair, chiefly from the deer and raccoon. The
female lays four or five eggs, which are white, with a strong tinge of
flesh-colour, and sprinkled with brownish-red dots at the larger end.
I am inclined to believe that the bird raises only one brood in a season.

The manners of this bird are not those of the Titmouse, Fly-catcher, or
Warbler, but partake of those of all three. It has the want of shyness
exhibited in the Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Fly-catchers. It hangs to
bunches of small berries, feeding upon them as a Titmouse does on buds
of trees; and again searches amongst the leaves and along the twigs of
low bushes, like most of the Warblers. On the other hand, it differs from
all these in their principal habits. Thus, it never snaps at insects
on the wing, although it pursues them; it never attacks small birds
and kills them by breaking in their skulls, as the Titmouse does; nor
does it hold its prey under its foot in the way of the Yellow-throated
Fly-catcher or Vireo, a habit which allies the latter to the Shrikes. On
account of all these circumstances, I look upon this bird as deserving
the attention of systematic writers, who probably will find its proper
place in the general arrangement.

The flight of this bird is performed by a continued _tremor_ of the
wings, as if it were at all times angry. It seldom rises high above
its favourite cane-brakes, but is seen hopping up and down about the
stems of low bushes and the stalks of the canes, silently searching
for food, more in the manner of the Worm-eating Warbler than in that
of any other bird known to me. Their confidence at the approach of man
is very remarkable. They look on without moving until you are within a
few feet, and retire only in proportion as you advance towards them. In
this respect it resembles the White-eyed Fly-catcher.

When wounded by a shot, it remains quite still on the ground, opens its
bill when you approach it, and bites with all its might when laid hold
of, although its strength is not sufficient to enable it to inflict a
wound. I have never heard it utter a note beyond that of a querulous low
murmuring sound, when chasing another bird from the vicinity of its nest.
The young all leave the nest, if once touched, and hide among the grass
and weeds, where the parents continue to feed them. I once attempted
to feed some young birds of this species, but they rejected the food,
which consisted of flies, worms, and hard-boiled eggs, and died in three
days without ever uttering a note. In 1829, I shot one of these birds,
a fine male, in the Great Pine Swamp. This was the only individual I
ever saw to the eastward of Henderson on the Ohio. As this happened
in the beginning of September, it is probable that some migrate to a
considerable distance north-east; but I am at the same time of opinion
that very few of these birds enter the United States.

I have represented a pair of them killed near a nest in a cane-brake.
A general description of the American Cane will be found in the present
volume.


     VIREO SOLITARIUS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 70.

     SOLITARY FLY-CATCHER, MUSCICAPA SOLITARIA, _Wils._ Amer.
     Ornith. vol ii. p. 143. Pl. xvii. fig. 6.


Adult Male. Plate XXVIII. Fig. 1.

Bill rather short, broad and depressed at the base, strong, nearly
straight; upper mandible with the sides convex, the edges overlapping
and notched near the tip, which is suddenly decurved; lower mandible a
little shorter, convex on the sides and back. Nostrils basal, roundish.
Head and neck large. Body ovate. Feet of ordinary length, rather strong;
tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with transverse scutella; toes
free, scutellate above, the lateral ones nearly equal; claws arched,
compressed, acute.

Plumage blended, tufty. Bristle-pointed feathers at the base of the
bill. Wings of ordinary length, the third quill longest. Tail slightly
forked, of twelve feathers.

Bill black above, light blue beneath. Iris dark brown. Feet and claws
light blue. Head and back light olive-green; cheeks of the same colour.
A band of white on the forehead, passing over the eye, and nearly
encircling it, leaving the loral space dark green. Rump and upper
tail-coverts greenish-brown. Quills blackish-brown, margined externally
with brownish-yellow; two first rows of coverts blackish-brown, largely
tipped with white, forming two bands on the wing. Tail brownish-black,
margined externally with yellowish-white. Under parts brownish-grey,
fading posteriorly into white.

Length 5½ inches, extent of wings 8½; bill along the ridge 9/12, along
the gap ½; tarsus ⅔.


Adult Female. Plate XXVIII. Fig. 2.

The female is considerably duller. The colouring is generally similar,
but the head is brownish-grey, and the band on the forehead and round
the eyes narrower and tinged with grey.

Length 5¼.


THE AMERICAN CANE.

     MIEGIA MACROSPERMA, _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 59.
     ARUNDINARIA MACROSPERMA, _Mich._ Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 74.
     —TRIANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ GRAMINEÆ, _Juss._

As the Cane is elsewhere described, it is unnecessary to speak
particularly of it here.



THE TOWHE BUNTING.

_FRINGILLA ERYTHROPHTHALMA_, LINN.

PLATE XXIX. MALE AND FEMALE.


The flight of the Towhe Bunting is short, low, and performed from one
bush or spot to another, in a hurried manner, with repeated strong jerks
of the tail, and such quick motions of the wings, that one may hear
their sound, although the bird should happen to be out of sight. On the
ground, where it is more usually to be seen, it hops lightly, without
moving the tail more than the Common Sparrow of Europe. It is a diligent
bird, spending its days in searching for food and gravel, amongst the
dried leaves and in the earth, scratching with great assiduity, and every
now and then uttering the notes _tow-hee_, from which it has obtained
its name. At other times, it ascends to the top of a small tree, or its
favourite low bushes and briars, on which it sings very sweetly a few
continued mellow notes.

This species constructs a larger nest than birds of its size usually
do, and scoops out a place for its foundation in the earth, sometimes
in an open spot, more commonly at the foot of a small sapling or large
bunch of tall grass. The nest is sunk into the ground, so as to be level
with it at top, and is composed of dried leaves and the bark of vines,
lined with grasses of fine texture, as well as fibrous roots. The female
lays from four to six eggs, and rears two, sometimes three, broods each
season. If disturbed while sitting, she moves off apparently in great
agony, but with more celerity than most other birds, by which means
she generally prevents her nest being discovered. Snakes, however, suck
the eggs, as does the Crow. The young leave the nest long before they
are able to fly, and follow the mother about on the ground for several
days. Some of the nests of this species are so well concealed, that in
order to discover them, one requires to stand quite still on the first
appearance of the mother. I have myself several times had to regret not
taking this precaution.

The favourite haunts of the Towhe Buntings are dry barren tracts, but
not, as others have said, low and swampy grounds, at least during the
season of incubation. In the Barrens of Kentucky they are found in the
greatest abundance.

Their migrations are performed by day, from bush to bush, and they seem
to be much at a loss when a large extent of forest is to be traversed
by them. They perform these journeys almost singly. The females set out
before the males in autumn, and the males before the females in spring,
the latter not appearing in the Middle Districts until the end of April,
a fortnight after the males have arrived. Many of them pass the confines
of the United States in their migrations southward and northward.

Although these birds are abundant in all parts of the Union, they never
associate in flocks, but mingle during winter with several species of
Sparrow. They generally rest on the ground at night, when many are caught
by weasels and other small quadrupeds. None of them breed in Louisiana,
nor indeed in the State of Mississippi, until they reach the open woods
of the Choctaw Indian Nation.

I have represented the male and female moving through the twigs of the
Common Briar, usually called the _Black Briar_. It is a plump bird, and
becomes very fat in winter, in consequence of which it is named _Grasset_
in Louisiana, where many are shot for the table by the French planters.


     FRINGILLA ERYTHROPHTHALMA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 318.
     —_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States,
     p. 112.

     EMBERIZA ERYTHROPHTHALMA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 413.

     TOWHE BUNTING, EMBERIZA ERYTHROPHTHALMA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. ii. p. 35. Pl. 10. fig. 5, Male; vol. vi. p. 90. Pl. 53.
     fig. 5. Female.—_Lath._ Synops. vol. iii. p. 199.


Adult Male. Plate XXIX. Fig. 1.

Bill short, robust, narrower than the head, regularly conical, acute;
upper mandible almost straight in its dorsal outline, as is the lower,
both having inflected edges; the gap line nearly straight, a little
deflected at the base. Nostrils basal, roundish, open, partially concealed
by the feathers. Head rather large, neck shortish, body robust. Legs
of moderate length, rather robust; 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 long.

Plumage rather compact above, soft and blended beneath. Wings of ordinary
length, the third and fourth quills longest, the first much shorter,
the secondaries short. Tail long, rounded, the lateral feathers slightly
curved outwards towards the tip.

Bill black. Iris bright red. Legs and claws pale yellowish-brown.
Head, neck, and upper parts generally, deep black. A white band across
the primaries, partly concealed by their coverts; outer edge of first
quill white; margins of the last secondaries brownish-white. Lateral
tail-feathers white, excepting at the base, and a longitudinal streak
towards the tip, on the outer web; the next two white on the inner web,
towards the end. Breast white, abdomen pale red; sides and lateral parts
of the breast brownish-red.

Length 8½ inches, extent of wings 12; beak along the ridge ½, along the
gap ⅔; tarsus 1⅓, middle toe 1, hind toe ⅚.


Adult Female. Plate XXIX. Fig. 2.

The female is scarcely smaller, and differs from the male in having
the parts which in him are of a deep black, reddish-brown, excepting
the bill, which is almost entirely light blue, the ridge of the upper
mandible only being dark brown.

Length 8¼ inches.

In the adult bird the iris is bright red, but in the young it is
frequently brown, and sometimes yellowish-white. In some instances, one
eye is brown and the other red.


THE BLACKBERRY.

     RUBUS VILLOSUS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 1085. _Pursh_, Fl.
     Amer. vol. i. p. 346.—ICOSANDRIA POLYGYNIA, _Linn._ ROSACEÆ,
     _Juss._

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; and a loose raceme of white flowers.
The berry is black. This species grows abundantly in old fields and by
fences.



VIGORS'S WARBLER.

_SYLVIA VIGORSII._

PLATE XXX. MALE.


I regret that I am unable to give any account of the habits of a species
which I have honoured with the name of a naturalist whose merits are so
well known to the learned world. The individual represented in the plate
I shot upwards of twenty years ago, and have never met with another
of its kind. It was in the month of May, on a small island of the
Perkioming Creek, forming part of my farm of Mill Grove, in the State
of Pennsylvania. The bird was flittering amongst grasses, uttering an
often repeated _cheep_.

The plant on which it is represented is that on which it was perched
when I shot it, and is usually called _Spider-wort_. It grows in damp
and shady places, as well as sometimes in barren lands, near the banks
of brooks.


     SYLVIA VIGORSII.


Male. Plate XXX.

Bill of ordinary length, rather robust, depressed at the base, straight,
acute; upper mandible notched, slightly deflected at the tip; lower
shorter. Head of ordinary size, neck short, body ovate. Legs of ordinary
length, slender; tarsus compressed, anteriorly covered with a few long
scutella, toes free, the lateral ones nearly equal, the middle toe much
longer; claws weak, much compressed, acute, slightly arched.

Plumage soft, tufty, blended. Wings of ordinary size, the second quill
longest. Tail longish, a little forked, of twelve feathers. A few small
basirostral bristles.

Bill brownish-black. Iris dark brown. Feet flesh-coloured. Head and
back light greenish-brown. Wings blackish-brown, the first two rows of
coverts tipped with white. Tail of the same colour, the outer feather
white. Throat pale grey, lower neck and breast ochre-yellow, abdomen
yellowish-white.

Length 6 inches, extent of wings 9; bill along the ridge 5/12, along
the gap 7/12; tarsus ¾, middle toe ⅔.


THE VIRGINIAN SPIDER-WORT.

     TRADESCANTIA VIRGINICA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 16.
     _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 218.—HEXANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._
     JUNCI, _Juss._

This species is distinguished by its erect, succulent stem; elongated,
lanceolate, smooth leaves; and umbellate, subsessile flowers, which are
of a deep purple colour, with yellow anthers.



A FLOOD.


Many of our larger streams, such as the Mississippi, the Ohio, the
Illinois, the Arkansas and the Red River, exhibit at certain seasons
the most extensive overflowings of their waters, to which the name of
_floods_ is more appropriate than the term _freshets_, usually applied
to the sudden risings of smaller streams. If we consider the vast
extent of country through which an inland navigation is afforded by
the never-failing supply of water furnished by these wonderful rivers,
we cannot suppose them exceeded in magnitude by any other in the known
world. It will easily be imagined what a wonderful spectacle must present
itself to the eye of the traveller, who for the first time views the
enormous mass of waters, collected from the vast central regions of our
continent, booming along, turbid and swollen to overflowing, in the broad
channels of the Mississippi and Ohio, the latter of which has a course
of more than a thousand miles, and the former of several thousands.

To give you some idea of a _Booming Flood_ of these gigantic streams, it
is necessary to state the causes which give rise to it. These are, the
sudden melting of the snows on the mountains, and heavy rains continued
for several weeks. When it happens that, during a severe winter, the
Alleghany Mountains have been covered with snow to the depth of several
feet, and the accumulated mass has remained unmelted for a length of
time, the materials of a flood are thus prepared. It now and then happens
that the winter is hurried off by a sudden increase of temperature, when
the accumulated snows melt away simultaneously over the whole country,
and the south-easterly wind which then usually blows, brings along with
it a continued fall of heavy rain, which, mingling with the dissolving
snow, deluges the alluvial portions of the western country, filling up
the rivulets, ravines, creeks and small rivers. These delivering their
waters to the great streams, cause the latter not merely to rise to a
surprising height, but to overflow their banks, wherever the land is
low. On such occasions, the Ohio itself presents a splendid, and at the
same time an appalling spectacle; but when its waters mingle with those
of the Mississippi, then, kind reader, is the time to view an American
flood in all its astonishing magnificence.

At the foot of the Falls of the Ohio, the water has been known to rise
upwards of sixty feet above its lowest level. The river, at this point,
has already run a course of nearly seven hundred miles, from its origin
at Pittsburg, in Pennsylvania, during which it has received the waters
of its numberless tributaries, and overflowing all the bottom lands or
valleys, has swept along the fences and dwellings which have been unable
to resist its violence. I could relate hundreds of incidents which might
prove to you the dreadful effects of such an inundation, and which have
been witnessed by thousands besides myself. I have known, for example,
of a cow swimming through a window, elevated at least seven feet from
the ground, and sixty-two feet above low-water mark. The house was then
surrounded by water from the Ohio, which runs in front of it, while the
neighbouring country was overflowed; yet the family did not remove from
it, but remained in its upper portion, having previously taken off the
sashes of the lower windows, and opened the doors. But let us return to
the Mississippi.

There the overflow is astonishing; for no sooner has the water reached
the upper part of the banks, than it rushes out and overspreads the whole
of the neighbouring swamps, presenting an ocean overgrown with stupendous
forest-trees. So sudden is the calamity, that every individual, whether
man or beast, has to exert his utmost ingenuity to enable him to escape
from the dreaded element. The Indian quickly removes to the hills of
the interior, the cattle and game swim to the different stripes of land
that remain uncovered in the midst of the flood, or attempt to force
their way through the waters until they perish from fatigue. Along the
banks of the river, the inhabitants have rafts ready made, on which they
remove themselves, their cattle and their provisions, and which they
then fasten with ropes or grape-vines to the larger trees, while they
contemplate the melancholy spectacle presented by the current, as it
carries off their houses and wood-yards piece by piece. Some who have
nothing to lose, and are usually known by the name of _Squatters_, take
this opportunity of traversing the woods in canoes, for the purpose of
procuring game, and particularly the skins of animals, such as the deer
and bear, which may be converted into money. They resort to the low
ridges surrounded by the waters, and destroy thousands of deer, merely
for their skins, leaving the flesh to putrefy.

The river itself, rolling its swollen waters along, presents a spectacle
of the most imposing nature. Although no large vessel, unless propelled
by steam, can now make its way against the current, it is seen covered
by boats, laden with produce, which running out from all the smaller
streams, float silently towards the City of New Orleans, their owners
meanwhile not very well assured of finding a landing-place even there.
The water is covered with yellow foam and pumice, the latter having
floated from the Rocky Mountains of the north-west. The eddies are
larger and more powerful than ever. Here and there tracts of forest are
observed undermined, the trees gradually giving way, and falling into
the stream. Cattle, horses, bears and deer are seen at times attempting
to swim across the impetuous mass of foaming and boiling water; whilst
here and there a Vulture or an Eagle is observed perched on a bloated
carcass, tearing it up in pieces, as regardless of the flood, as on former
occasions it would have been of the numerous _sawyers_ and _planters_,
with which the surface of the river is covered, when the water is low.
Even the steamer is frequently distressed. The numberless trees and logs
that float along break its paddles and retard its progress. Besides, it
is on such occasions difficult to procure fuel to maintain its fires;
and it is only at very distant intervals that a wood-yard can be found
which the water has not carried off.

Following the river in your canoe, you reach those parts of the shores
that are protected against the overflowing of the waters, and are called
_Levees_. There you find the whole population of the district at work
repairing and augmenting those artificial barriers, which are several
feet above the level of the fields. Every person appears to dread the
opening of a _crevasse_, by which the waters may rush into his fields.
In spite of all exertions, however, the crevasse opens, the water bursts
impetuously over the plantations, and lays waste the crops which so
lately were blooming in all the luxuriance of spring. It opens up a new
channel, which, for aught I know to the contrary, may carry its waters
even to the Mexican Gulf.

I have floated on the Mississippi and Ohio when thus swollen, and have in
different places visited the submersed lands of the interior, propelling
a light canoe by the aid of a paddle. In this manner I have traversed
immense portions of the country overflowed by the waters of these rivers,
and, particularly whilst floating over the Mississippi bottom-lands,
I have been struck with awe at the sight. Little or no current is met
with, unless when the canoe passes over the bed of a bayou. All is silent
and melancholy, unless when the mournful bleeting of the hemmed in Deer
reaches your ear, or the dismal scream of an Eagle or a Raven is heard,
as the foul bird rises, disturbed by your approach, from the carcass on
which it was allaying its craving appetite. Bears, Cougars, Lynxes, and
all other quadrupeds that can ascend the trees, are observed crouched
among their top branches. Hungry in the midst of abundance, although they
see floating around them the animals on which they usually prey, they
dare not venture to swim to them. Fatigued by the exertions which they
have made in reaching the dry land, they will there stand the hunter's
fire, as if to die by a ball were better than to perish amid the waste
of waters. On occasions like this, all these animals are shot by hundreds.

Opposite the City of Natchez, which stands on a bluff bank of considerable
elevation, the extent of inundated land is immense, the greater portion
of the tract lying between the Mississippi and the Red River, which is
more than thirty miles in breadth, being under water. The mail-bag has
often been carried through the immersed forests, in a canoe, for even
a greater distance, in order to be forwarded to Natchitochez.

But now, kind reader, observe this great flood gradually subsiding, and
again see the mighty changes which it has effected. The waters have now
been carried into the distant ocean. The earth is everywhere covered by a
deep deposit of muddy loam, which in drying splits into deep and narrow
chasms, presenting a reticulated appearance, and from which, as the
weather becomes warmer, disagreeable, and at times noxious, exhalations
arise, and fill the lower stratum of the atmosphere as with a dense
fog. The banks of the river have almost everywhere been broken down in
a greater or less degree. Large streams are now found to exist, where
none were formerly to be seen, having forced their way in direct lines
from the upper parts of the bends. These are by the navigator called
_short-cuts_. Some of them have proved large enough to produce a change in
the navigation of the Mississippi. If I mistake not, one of these, known
by the name of the _Grand Cut-off_, and only a few miles in length, has
diverted the river from its natural course, and has shortened it by fifty
miles. The upper parts of the islands present a bulwark consisting of
an enormous mass of floated trees of all kinds, which have lodged there.
Large sand-banks have been completely removed by the impetuous whirls of
the waters, and have been deposited in other places. Some appear quite
new to the eye of the navigator, who has to mark their situation and
bearings in his log-book. The trees on the margins of the banks have in
many parts given way. They are seen bending over the stream, like the
grounded arms of an overwhelmed army of giants. Everywhere are heard
the lamentations of the farmer and planter, whilst their servants and
themselves are busily employed in repairing the damages occasioned by the
floods. At one crevasse an old ship or two, dismantled for the purpose
are sunk, to obstruct the passage opened by the still rushing waters,
while new earth is brought to fill up the chasms. The squatter is seen
shouldering his rifle, and making his way through the morass, in search
of his lost stock, to drive the survivors home, and save the skins of
the drowned. New fences have everywhere to be formed; even new houses
must be erected, to save which from a like disaster, the settler places
them on an elevated platform supported by pillars made of the trunks of
trees. The lands must be ploughed anew, and if the season is not too far
advanced, a crop of corn and potatoes may yet be raised. But the rich
prospects of the planter are blasted. The traveller is impeded in his
journey, the creeks and smaller streams having broken up their banks in
a degree proportionate to their size. A bank of sand, which seems firm
and secure, suddenly gives way beneath the traveller's horse, and the
next moment the animal has sunk in the quicksand, either to the chest
in front, or over the crupper behind, leaving its master in a situation
not to be envied.

Unlike the mountain-torrents and small rivers of other parts of the
world, the Mississippi rises but slowly during these floods, continuing
for several weeks to increase at the rate of about an inch in the day.
When at its height, it undergoes little fluctuation for some days, and
after this subsides as slowly as it rose. The usual duration of a flood
is from four to six weeks, although, on some occasions, it is protracted
to two months.

Every one knows how largely the idea of floods and cataclysms enters
into the speculations of the geologist. If the streamlets of the European
Continent afford illustrations of the formation of strata, how much more
must the Mississippi, with its ever-shifting sand-banks, its crumbling
shores, its enormous masses of drift timber, the source of future beds
of coal, its extensive and varied alluvial deposits, and its mighty mass
of waters rolling sullenly along, like the flood of eternity!



THE WHITE-HEADED EAGLE.

_FALCO LEUCOCEPHALUS_, LINN.

PLATE XXXI. MALE.


The figure of this noble bird is well known throughout the civilized
world, emblazoned as it is on our national standard, which waves in the
breeze of every clime, bearing to distant lands the remembrance of a
great people living in a state of peaceful freedom. May that peaceful
freedom last for ever!

The great strength, daring, and cool courage of the White-headed Eagle,
joined to his unequalled power of flight, render him highly conspicuous
among his brethren. To these qualities did he add a generous disposition
towards others, he might be looked up to as a model of nobility. The
ferocious, overbearing, and tyrannical temper which is ever and anon
displaying itself in his actions, is, nevertheless, best adapted to his
state, and was wisely given him by the Creator to enable him to perform
the office assigned to him.

To give you, kind reader, some idea of the nature of this bird, permit
me to place you on the Mississippi, on which you may float gently along,
while approaching winter brings millions of water-fowl on whistling
wings, from the countries of the north, to seek a milder climate in
which to sojourn for a season. The Eagle is seen perched, in an erect
attitude, on the highest summit of the tallest tree by the margin of the
broad stream. His glistening but stern eye looks over the vast expanse.
He listens attentively to every sound that comes to his quick ear from
afar, glancing now and then on the earth beneath, lest even the light
tread of the fawn may pass unheard. His mate is perched on the opposite
side, and should all be tranquil and silent, warns him by a cry to
continue patient. At this well known call, the male partly opens his
broad wings, inclines his body a little downwards, and answers to her
voice in tones not unlike the laugh of a maniac. The next moment, he
resumes his erect attitude, and again all around is silent. Ducks of many
species, the Teal, the Wigeon, the Mallard and others, are seen passing
with great rapidity, and following the course of the current; but the
Eagle heeds them not: they are at that time beneath his attention. The
next moment, however, the wild trumpet-like sound of a yet distant but
approaching Swan is heard. A shriek from the female Eagle comes across
the stream,—for, kind reader, she is fully as alert as her mate. The
latter suddenly shakes the whole of his body, and with a few touches of
his bill, aided by the action of his cuticular muscles, arranges his
plumage in an instant. The snow-white bird is now in sight: her long
neck is stretched forward, her eye is on the watch, vigilant as that of
her enemy; her large wings seem with difficulty to support the weight
of her body, although they flap incessantly. So irksome do her exertions
seem, that her very legs are spread beneath her tail, to aid her in her
flight. She approaches, however. The Eagle has marked her for his prey.
As the Swan is passing the dreaded pair, starts from his perch, in full
preparation for the chase, the male bird, with an awful scream, that to
the Swan's ear brings more terror than the report of the large duck-gun.

Now is the moment to witness the display of the Eagle's powers. He glides
through the air like a falling star, and, like a flash of lightning,
comes upon the timorous quarry, which now, in agony and despair, seeks,
by various manœuvres, to elude the grasp of his cruel talons. It mounts,
doubles, and willingly would plunge into the stream, were it not prevented
by the Eagle, which, long possessed of the knowledge that by such a
stratagem the Swan might escape him, forces it to remain in the air by
attempting to strike it with his talons from beneath. The hope of escape
is soon given up by the Swan. It has already become much weakened, and
its strength fails at the sight of the courage and swiftness of its
antagonist. Its last gasp is about to escape, when the ferocious Eagle
strikes with his talons the under side of its wing, and with unresisted
power forces the bird to fall in a slanting direction upon the nearest
shore.

It is then, reader, that you may see the cruel spirit of this dreaded
enemy of the feathered race, whilst, exulting over his prey, he for the
first time breathes at ease. He presses down his powerful feet, and drives
his sharp claws deeper than ever into the heart of the dying Swan. He
shrieks with delight, as he feels the last convulsions of his prey, which
has now sunk under his unceasing efforts to render death as painfully
felt as it can possibly be. The female has watched every movement of
her mate; and if she did not assist him in capturing the Swan, it was
not from want of will, but merely that she felt full assurance that the
power and courage of her lord were quite sufficient for the deed. She
now sails to the spot where he eagerly awaits her, and when she has
arrived, they together turn the breast of the luckless Swan upwards,
and gorge themselves with gore.

At other times, when these Eagles, sailing in search of prey, discover
a Goose, a Duck, or a Swan, that has alighted on the water, they
accomplish its destruction in a manner that is worthy of your attention.
The Eagles, well aware that water-fowl have it in their power to dive
at their approach, and thereby elude their attempts upon them, ascend
in the air in opposite directions over the lake or river, on which they
have observed the object which they are desirous of possessing. Both
Eagles reach a certain height, immediately after which one of them glides
with great swiftness towards the prey; the latter, meantime, aware of
the Eagle's intention, dives the moment before he reaches the spot.
The pursuer then rises in the air, and is met by its mate, which glides
toward the water-bird, that has just emerged to breathe, and forces it
to plunge again beneath the surface, to escape the talons of this second
assailant. The first Eagle is now poising itself in the place where its
mate formerly was, and rushes anew to force the quarry to make another
plunge. By thus alternately gliding, in rapid and often repeated rushes,
over the ill-fated bird, they soon fatigue it, when it stretches out its
neck, swims deeply, and makes for the shore, in the hope of concealing
itself among the rank weeds. But this is of no avail, for the Eagles
follow it in all its motions, and the moment it approaches the margin,
one of them darts upon it, and kills it in an instant, after which they
divide the spoil.

During spring and summer the White-headed Eagle, to procure sustenance,
follows a different course, and one much less suited to a bird apparently
so well able to supply itself without interfering with other plunderers.
No sooner does the Fish-Hawk make its appearance along our Atlantic
shores, or ascend our numerous and large rivers, than the Eagle follows
it, and, like a selfish oppressor, robs it of the hard-earned fruits of
its labour. Perched on some tall summit, in view of the ocean, or of some
water-course, he watches every motion of the Osprey while on wing. When
the latter rises from the water, with a fish in its grasp, forth rushes
the Eagle in pursuit. He mounts above the Fish-Hawk, and threatens it
by actions well understood, when the latter, fearing perhaps that its
life is in danger, drops its prey. In an instant, the Eagle, accurately
estimating the rapid descent of the fish, closes his wings, follows
it with the swiftness of thought, and the next moment grasps it. The
prize is carried off in silence to the woods, and assists in feeding
the ever-hungry brood of the Eagle.

This bird now and then procures fish himself, by pursuing them in the
shallows of small creeks. I have witnessed several instances of this in
the Perkioming Creek in Pennsylvania, where, in this manner, I saw one
of them secure a number of _Red-fins_, by wading briskly through the
water, and striking at them with his bill. I have also observed a pair
scrambling over the ice of a frozen pond, to get at some fish below,
but without success.

It does not confine itself to these kinds of food, but greedily devours
young pigs, lambs, fawns, poultry, and the putrid flesh of carcasses
of every description, driving off the vultures and carrion-crows, or
the dogs, and keeping a whole party at defiance until it is satiated.
It frequently gives chase to the vultures, and forces them to disgorge
the contents of their stomachs, when it alights and devours the filthy
mass. A ludicrous instance of this took place near the city of Natchez,
on the Mississippi. Many Vultures were engaged in devouring the body
and entrails of a dead horse, when a White-headed Eagle accidentally
passing by, the vultures all took to wing, one among the rest with a
portion of the entrails partly swallowed, and the remaining part, about
a yard in length, dangling in the air. The Eagle instantly marked him,
and gave chase. The poor vulture tried in vain to disgorge, when the
Eagle, coming up, seized the loose end of the gut, and dragged the bird
along for twenty or thirty yards, much against its will, until both fell
to the ground, when the Eagle struck the vulture, and in a few moments
killed it, after which he swallowed the delicious morsel.

I have heard of several attempts made by this bird to destroy children,
but have never witnessed any myself, although I have little doubt of
its having sufficient daring to do so.

The flight of the White-headed Eagle is strong, generally uniform,
and protracted to any distance, at pleasure. Whilst travelling, it is
entirely supported by equal easy flappings, without any intermission,
in as far as I have observed it, by following it with the eye or the
assistance of a glass. When looking for prey, it sails with extended
wings, at right angles to its body, now and then allowing its legs to
hang at their full length. Whilst sailing, it has the power of ascending
in circular sweeps, without a single flap of the wings, or any apparent
motion either of them or of the tail; and in this manner it often rises
until it disappears from the view, the white tail remaining longer
visible than the rest of the body. At other times, it rises only a
few hundred feet in the air, and sails off in a direct line, and with
rapidity. Again, when thus elevated, it partially closes its wings, and
glides downwards for a considerable space, when, as if disappointed,
it suddenly checks its career, and reassumes its former steady flight.
When at an immense height, and as if observing an object on the ground,
it closes its wings, and glides through the air with such rapidity as
to cause a loud rustling sound, not unlike that produced by a violent
gust of wind passing amongst the branches of trees. Its fall towards the
earth can scarcely be followed by the eye on such occasions, the more
particularly that these falls or glidings through the air usually take
place when they are least expected.

This bird has the power of raising from the surface of the water any
floating object not heavier than itself. In this manner it often robs
the sportsman of ducks which have been killed by him. Its audacity is
quite remarkable. While descending the Upper Mississippi, I observed one
of these Eagles in pursuit of a Green-winged Teal. It came so near our
boat, although several persons were looking on, that I could perceive the
glancings of its eye. The Teal, on the point of being caught, when not
more than fifteen or twenty yards from us, was saved from the grasp of its
enemy, one of our party having brought the latter down by a shot, which
broke one of its wings. When taken on board, it was fastened to the deck
of our boat by means of a string, and was fed with pieces of cat-fish,
some of which it began to eat on the third day of its confinement. But,
as it became a very disagreeable and dangerous associate, trying on
all occasions to strike at some one with its talons, it was killed and
thrown overboard.

When these birds are suddenly and unexpectedly approached or surprised,
they exhibit a great degree of cowardice. They rise at once and fly off
very low, in zig-zag lines, to some distance, uttering a hissing noise,
not at all like their usual disagreeable imitation of a laugh. When
not carrying a gun, one may easily approach them; but the use of that
instrument being to appearance well known to them, they are very cautious
in allowing a person having one to get near them. Notwithstanding all
their caution, however, many are shot by approaching them under cover
of a tree, on horseback, or in a boat. They do not possess the power of
smelling gunpowder, as the crow and the raven are absurdly supposed to
do; nor are they aware of the effects of spring-traps, as I have seen
some of them caught by these instruments. Their sight, although probably
as perfect as that of any bird, is much affected during a fall of snow,
at which time they may be approached without difficulty.

The White-headed Eagle seldom appears in very mountainous districts, but
prefers the low lands of the sea-shores, those of our large lakes, and
the borders of rivers. It is a constant resident in the United States, in
every part of which it is to be seen. The roosts and breeding places of
pigeons are resorted to by it, for the purpose of picking up the young
birds that happen to fall, or the old ones when wounded. It seldom,
however, follows the flocks of these birds when on their migrations.

When shot at and wounded, it tries to escape by long and quickly repeated
leaps, and, if not closely pursued, soon conceals itself. Should it happen
to fall on the water, it strikes powerfully with expanded wings, and in
this manner often reaches the shore, when it is not more than twenty or
thirty yards distant. It is capable of supporting life without food for
a long period. I have heard of some, which, in a state of confinement,
had lived without much apparent distress for twenty days, although I
cannot vouch for the truth of such statements, which, however, may be
quite correct. They defend themselves in the manner usually followed
by other Eagles and Hawks, throwing themselves backwards, and furiously
striking with their talons at any object within reach, keeping their bill
open, and turning their head with quickness to watch the movements of the
enemy, their eyes being apparently more protruded than when unmolested.

It is supposed that Eagles live to a very great age,—some persons have
ventured to say even a hundred years. On this subject, I can only observe,
that I once found one of these birds, which, on being killed, proved to
be a female, and which, judging by its appearance, must have been very
old. Its tail and wing-feathers were so worn out, and of such a rusty
colour, that I imagined the bird had lost the power of moulting. The
legs and feet were covered with large warts, the claws and bill were much
blunted, it could scarcely fly more than a hundred yards at a time, and
this it did with a heaviness and unsteadiness of motion such as I never
witnessed in any other bird of the species. The body was poor and very
tough. The eye was the only part which appeared to have sustained no
injury. It remained sparkling and full of animation, and even after death
seemed to have lost little of its lustre. No wounds were perceivable on
its body.

The White-headed Eagle is seldom seen alone, the mutual attachment which
two individuals form when they first pair seeming to continue until one
of them dies or is destroyed. They hunt for the support of each other,
and seldom feed apart, but usually drive off other birds of the same
species. They commence their amatory intercourse at an earlier period
than any other _land bird_ with which I am acquainted, generally in the
month of December. At this time, along the Mississippi, or by the margin
of some lake not far in the interior of the forest, the male and female
birds are observed making a great bustle, flying about and circling in
various ways, uttering a loud cackling noise, alighting on the dead
branches of the tree on which their nest is already preparing, or in
the act of being repaired, and caressing each other. In the beginning
of January incubation commences. I shot a female, on the 17th of that
month, as she sat on her eggs, in which the chicks had made considerable
progress.

The nest, which in some instances is of great size, is usually placed
on a very tall tree, destitute of branches to a considerable height, but
by no means always a dead one. It is never seen on rocks. It is composed
of sticks, from three to five feet in length, large pieces of turf, rank
weeds, and Spanish moss in abundance, whenever that substance happens to
be near. When finished, it measures from five to six feet in diameter,
and so great is the accumulation of materials, that it sometimes measures
the same in depth, it being occupied for a great number of years in
succession, and receiving some augmentation each season. When placed in
a naked tree, between the forks of the branches, it is conspicuously
seen at a great distance. The eggs, which are from two to four, more
commonly two or three, are of a dull white colour, and equally rounded at
both ends, some of them being occasionally granulated. Incubation lasts
for more than three weeks, but I have not been able to ascertain its
precise duration, as I have observed the female on different occasions
sit for a few days in the nest, before laying the first egg. Of this I
assured myself by climbing to the nest every day in succession, during
her temporary absence,—a rather perilous undertaking when the bird is
sitting.

I have seen the young birds when not larger than middle-sized pullets.
At this time, they are covered with a soft cottony kind of down, their
bill and legs appearing disproportionately large. Their first plumage is
of a greyish colour, mixed with brown of different depths of tint, and
before the parents drive them off from the nest, they are fully fledged.
As a figure of the Young White-headed Eagle will appear in the course of
the publication of my Illustrations, I shall not here trouble you with a
description of its appearance. I once caught three young Eagles of this
species, when fully fledged, by having the tree on which their nest was,
cut down. It caused great trouble to secure them, as they could fly and
scramble much faster than any of our party could run. They, however,
gradually became fatigued, and at length were so exhausted as to offer
no resistance, when we were securing them with cords. This happened on
the border of Lake Pontchartrain, in the month of April. The parents did
not think fit to come within gun-shot of the tree while the axe was at
work.

The attachment of the parents to the young is very great, when the latter
are yet of a small size; and to ascend to the nest at this time would be
dangerous. But as the young advance, and, after being able to take wing
and provide for themselves, are not disposed to fly off, the old birds
turn them out, and beat them away from them. They return to the nest,
however, to roost, or sleep on the branches immediately near it, for
several weeks after. They are fed most abundantly while under the care
of the parents, which procure for them ample supplies of fish, either
accidentally cast ashore, or taken from the Fish-Hawk, together with
rabbits, squirrels, young lambs, pigs, oppossums, or raccoons. Every
thing that comes in the way is relished by the young family, as by the
old birds.

The young birds begin to breed the following spring, not always in pairs
of the same age, as I have several times observed one of these birds in
brown plumage mated with a full-coloured bird, which had the head and
tail pure white. I once shot a pair of this kind, when the brown bird
(the young one) proved to be the female.

This species requires at least four years before it attains the full
beauty of its plumage when kept in confinement. I have known two instances
in which the white of the head did not make its appearance until the
sixth spring. It is impossible for me to say how much sooner this state
of perfection is attained, when the bird is at full liberty, although
I should suppose it to be at least one year, as the bird is capable of
breeding the first spring after birth.

The weight of Eagles of this species varies considerably. In the males,
it is from six to eight pounds, and in the females from eight to twelve.
These birds are so attached to particular districts, where they have
first made their nest, that they seldom spend a night at any distance
from the latter, and often resort to its immediate neighbourhood. Whilst
asleep, they emit a loud hissing sort of snore, which is heard at the
distance of a hundred yards, when the weather is perfectly calm. Yet, so
light is their sleep, that the cracking of a stick under the foot of a
person immediately wakens them. When it is attempted to smoke them while
thus roosted and asleep, they start up and sail off without uttering
any sound, but return next evening to the same spot.

Before steam-navigation commenced on our western rivers, these Eagles
were extremely abundant there, particularly in the lower parts of the
Ohio, the Mississippi, and the adjoining streams. I have seen hundreds
going down from the mouth of the Ohio to New Orleans, when it was not at
all difficult to shoot them. Now, however, their number is considerably
diminished, the game on which they were in the habit of feeding,
having been forced to seek refuge from the persecution of man farther
in the wilderness. Many, however, are still observed on these rivers,
particularly along the shores of the Mississippi.

In concluding this account of the White-headed Eagle, suffer me, kind
reader, to say how much I grieve that it should have been selected as the
Emblem of my Country. The opinion of our great Franklin on this subject,
as it perfectly coincides with my own, I shall here present to you. "For
my part," says he, in one of his letters, "I wish the Bald Eagle had not
been chosen as the representative of our country. He is a bird of bad
moral character; he does not get his living honestly; you may have seen
him perched on some dead tree, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he
watches the labour of the Fishing-Hawk; and when that diligent bird has
at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of
his mate and young ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him, and takes it from
him. With all this injustice, he is never in good case, but, like those
among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and
often very lousy. Besides, he is a rank coward; the little King Bird,
not bigger than a Sparrow, attacks him boldly, and drives him out of the
district. He is, therefore, by no means a proper emblem for the brave
and honest Cincinnati of America, who have driven all the _King Birds_
from our country; though exactly fit for that order of knights which
the French call _Chevaliers d'Industrie_."

It is only necessary for me to add, that the name by which this bird
is universally known in America is that of _Bald Eagle_, an erroneous
denomination, as its head is as densely feathered as that of any other
species, although its whiteness may have suggested the idea of its being
bare.


     FALCO LEUCOCEPHALUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 124.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 11.

     BALD EAGLE, _Lath._ Synops. vol. i. p. 29.—_Wilson_, Americ.
     Ornith. vol. iv. p. 89. Pl. 36. Adult.

     SEA EAGLE, FALCO OSSIFRAGUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. vii.
     p. 16. Pl. 55. fig. 2. Young.


Adult Male. Plate XXXI.

Bill shortish, very deep, compressed; upper mandible with the dorsal
outline at first straight, curved towards the tip, rounded above, sloping
and flattish on the sides, nearly straight, with an obtuse process,
in the acute, overlapping edges; the tip deflected, trigonal, acute,
at its lower part nearly perpendicular to the gap line; lower mandible
slightly convex in its dorsal outline, with inflected acute edges, which
are arched toward the end, the tip broadly rounded. A naked cere, in the
fore part of which are the oblong, oblique, nearly dorsal, open nostrils,
which have a process from the anterior margin. Head rather large, flat
above. Neck robust, rather short. Body ovate. Feet with the leg long, the
tarsus short, feathered in its upper third, rounded, anteriorly covered
with transverse scutella, posteriorly with large, laterally with small
tuberculous scales; toes robust, free, scutellate above, papillar and
scabrous beneath, with large tubercles; claws curved, rounded, marginate
beneath, very acute.

Plumage compact, imbricated, glossy; feathers of the head, neck and
breast, narrow and pointed; of the back and breast acute, of the other
parts broad and rounded. Space between the bill and eye barish, being
sparsely covered with bristly feathers. Eyebrow bare and projecting.
Wings long, second quill longest, first considerably shorter. Tail of
ordinary length, much rounded, extending considerably beyond the tips
of the wings; of twelve, broad, rounded feathers.

Bill, cere, edge of eyebrow, iris, and feet, yellow; claws bluish-black.
The general colour of the plumage is deep chocolate, the head, neck,
tail, abdomen, and upper and under tail-coverts, white.

Length 34 inches, extent of wings 7 feet; bill along the back 2¾ inches,
along the under mandible 2¾, in depth 1-5/12; tarsus 3, middle toe 3½.



THE BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO.

_COCCYZUS ERYTHROPHTHALMUS_, CH. BONAP.

PLATE XXXII. MALE AND FEMALE.


I have not met with this species in the State of Louisiana more than
half a dozen times; nor indeed have I seen it at all in the Western
States, excepting that of Ohio, where I have occasionally observed an
individual, apparently out of its usual range. Some of these individuals
were probably bound for the Upper Lakes. The woody sides of the sea are
the places to which this species usually resorts. It passes from the
south early in March, and continues its route through Florida, Georgia,
and all the other States verging on the Atlantic, beginning to rest and
to breed in North Carolina, and extending its travels to the Province
of Maine.

The flight of this species is swifter than that of its near relative, the
Yellow-billed Cuckoo, for which bird it is easily mistaken by ordinary
observers. It does not so much frequent the interior of woods, but appears
along their margins, on the edges of creeks and damp places. But the
most remarkable distinction between this species and the Yellow-billed
Cuckoo is, that the former, instead of feeding principally on insects
and fruits, procures fresh-water shellfish and aquatic larvæ for its
sustenance. It is therefore more frequently seen on the ground, near the
edges of the water, or descending along the drooping branches of trees
to their extremities, to seize the insects in the water beneath them[3].

The nest of this bird is built in places similar to those chosen
by the other species, and is formed of the same materials, arranged
with quite as little art. The females lay from four to six eggs, of a
greenish-blue, nearly equal at both ends, but rather smaller than those
of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo. It retires southward fully a fortnight
before the latter.

It being so scarce a species in Louisiana, I have honoured it by placing
a pair on a branch of Magnolia in bloom, although the birds represented
were not shot on one of these trees, but in a swamp near some, where
the birds were in pursuit of such flies as you see figured, probably to
amuse themselves. The Magnolia has already been presented to your view
in another plate, where it was figured in seed. Here you have it arrayed
in all the beauty of its splendid blossoms.


     COCCYZUS ERYTHROPHTHALMUS, _Ch. Bonap._ Synops. of Birds of
     United States, p. 42.

     BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, CUCULUS ERYTHROPHTHALMA, _Wils._ Amer.
     Ornith. vol. iv. p. 15. Pl. xxviii. fig. 2.


Adult Male. Plate XXXII. Fig 1.

Bill as long as the head, compressed, slightly arched, acute, not more
robust than that of many Sylviæ; upper mandible carinated above, its
margins acute and entire; lower mandible carinated beneath, acute.
Nostrils basal, lateral, linear-elliptical, half-closed by a membrane.
Head and neck of ordinary size. Body rather slender. Feet short and
small; tarsus scutellate before and behind; toes two before, separated;
two behind, one of which is versatile; the sole flat; claws slender,
compressed, arched.

Plumage blended, soft, slightly glossed. Wings long, the first quill
short, the third longest. Tail long, graduated, of ten feathers, which
are rather narrow and rounded.

Upper mandible brownish-black; lower bluish. Iris hazel. A bare space of
a deep scarlet tint around the eye. Feet dull blue. The general colour
of the upper parts is light greenish-brown. Cheeks and forehead tinged
with greyish-blue. Tail-feathers, excepting the two middle ones, tipped
with white. Under parts brownish-white.

Length 11½ inches, extent of wings 15; beak along the ridge ⅚, along
the gap 1¼.


Adult Female, Plate XXXII. Fig. 2.

The female differs very little in external appearance from the male,
and is nearly of the same dimensions.


THE GREAT MAGNOLIA.

     MAGNOLIA GRANDIFLORA, _Wild._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 1255.

This plant has already been described at p. 28, the ripe fruit having
been represented in Plate V.



THE AMERICAN GOLDFINCH.

_FRINGILLA TRISTIS_, LINN.

PLATE XXXIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


This species merely passes over the State of Louisiana in the beginning of
January, and at that season is seen there for only a few days, alighting
on the highest tops of trees near water-courses, in small groups of
eight or ten, males and females together. They feed at that period on
the opening buds of Maples, and others that are equally tender and juicy.
In the month of November they are again seen moving southwards, and for
a few days only.

A few breed in Kentucky and the State of Ohio, but the Middle Districts
are their principal places of resort during summer, although they extend
their migrations to a high latitude. They arrive in the State of New
York about the middle of April; and as they become very abundant in that
State during the summer, I shall describe their habits as observed there.

The flight of the American Goldfinch is exactly similar to that of the
European Bird of the same name, being performed in deep curved lines,
alternately rising and falling, after each propelling motion of the
wings. It scarcely ever describes one of these curves without uttering
two or three notes whilst ascending, such as its European relative
uses on similar occasions. In this manner, its flight is prolonged to
considerable distances, and it frequently moves in a circling direction
before alighting. Their migration is performed during the day. They seldom
alight on the ground, unless to procure water, in which they wash with
great liveliness and pleasure, after which they pick up some particles of
gravel or sand. So fond of each other's company are they, that a party
of them passing on the wing will alter its course at the calling of a
single one perched on a tree. This call is uttered with much emphasis:
the bird prolongs its usual note, without much alteration, and as the
party approaches, erects its body, and moves it to the right and left,
as if turning on a pivot, apparently pleased at shewing the beauty of
its plumage and the elegance of its manners. No sooner has the flock,
previously on wing, alighted, than the whole party plume themselves,
and then perform a little sweet concert. So much does the song of our
Goldfinch resemble that of the European species, that whilst in France
and England, I have frequently thought, and with pleasure thought, that
they were the notes of our own bird which I heard. In America again,
the song of the Goldfinch recalled to my remembrance its transatlantic
kinsman, and brought with it too a grateful feeling for the many acts
of hospitality and kindness which I have experienced in the "old country."

The nest also is perfectly similar to that of the European bird, being
externally composed of various lichens fastened together by saliva, and
lined with the softest substances. It is small and extremely handsome,
and is generally fixed on a branch of the Lombardy Poplar, being
sometimes secured to one side of a twig only. I have also found it in
Alder bushes, a few feet above the ground, as well as in other trees.
The female deposits from four to six eggs, which are white, tinged with
blush, and marked at the larger end with reddish-brown spots. They raise
only one brood in a season. The young follow the parents for a long
time, are fed from the mouth, as Canaries are, and are gradually taught
to manage this themselves. When it happens that the female is disturbed
while on her nest, she glides off to a neighbouring tree, and calls for
her mate, pivoting herself on her feet, as above described. The male
approaches, passes and repasses on the wing at a respectful distance
from the intruder, in deeper curves than usual, uttering its ordinary
note, and when the unwelcome visitant has departed, flies with joy to
his nest, accompanied by the female, who presently resumes her occupation.

The food of the American Goldfinch consists chiefly of seeds of the
Hemp, the Sun-flower, the Lettuce, and various species of Thistle. Now
and then, during winter, it eats the fruit of the Elder.

In ascending along the shores of the Mohawk river, in the month of
August, I have met more of these pretty birds in the course of a day's
walk than anywhere else; and whenever a thistle was to be seen along
either bank of the New York Canal, it was ornamented with one or more
Goldfinches. They tear up the down and withered petals of the ripening
flowers with ease, leaning downwards upon them, eat off the seed, and
allow the down to float in the air. The remarkable plumage of the male,
as well as its song, are at this season very agreeable; and so familiar
are these birds, that they suffer you to approach within a few yards,
before they leave the plant on which they are seated. For a considerable
space along the Gennessee river, the shores of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario,
and even Lake Superior, I have always seen many of them in the latter
part of summer. They have then a decided preference for the vicinity of
water.

It is an extremely hardy bird, and often remains the whole winter in
the Middle Districts, although never in great numbers. When deprived of
liberty, it will live to a great age in a room or cage. I have known two
instances in which a bird of this species had been confined for upwards
of ten years. They were procured in the market of New York when in mature
plumage, and had been caught in trap-cages. One of them having undergone
the severe training, more frequently inflicted in Europe than America,
and known in France by the name of _galérien_, would draw water for its
drink from a glass, it having a little chain attached to a narrow belt
of soft leather fastened round its body, and another equally light chain
fastened to a little bucket, kept by its weight in the water, until the
little fellow raised it up with its bill, placed a foot upon it, and
pulled again at the chain until it reached the desired fluid and drank,
when, on letting go, the bucket immediately fell into the glass below.
In the same manner, it was obliged to draw towards its bill a little
chariot filled with seeds; and in this distressing occupation was doomed
to toil through a life of solitary grief, separated from its companions,
wantoning on the wildflowers, and procuring their food in the manner
in which nature had taught them. After being caught in trap-cages, they
feed as if quite contented; but if it has been in spring that they have
lost their liberty, and they have thus been deprived of the pleasures
anticipated from the previous connexion of a mate, they linger for a
few days and die. It is more difficult to procure a mule brood between
our species and the Canary, than between the latter and the European
Goldfinch, although I have known many instances in which the attempt
was made with complete success.

The young males do not appear in full plumage until the following spring.
The old ones lose their beauty in winter, and assume the duller tints
of the female. In fact, at that season, young and old of both sexes
resemble each other.

There is a trait of sagacity in this bird and the Purple Finch (_Fringilla
purpurea_), which is quite remarkable, and worthy of the notice of
such naturalists as are fond of contrasting instinct with reason.
When a Goldfinch alights on a twig imbued with bird-lime expressly for
the purpose of securing it, it no sooner discovers the nature of the
treacherous substance, than it throws itself backwards, with closed
wings, and hangs in this position until the bird-lime has run out in
the form of a slender thread considerably below the twig, when feeling
a certain degree of security, it beats its wings and flies off, with a
resolution, doubtless, never to alight in such a place again; as I have
observed Goldfinches that had escaped from me in this manner, when about
to alight on any twig, whether smeared with bird-lime or not, flutter
over it, as if to assure themselves of its being safe for them to perch
upon it.


     FRINGILLA TRISTIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 320.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 62.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synopsis of Birds
     of the United States, p. 111.

     AMERICAN GOLDFINCH, FRINGILLA TRISTIS, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iii.
     p. 288.—_Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 20. Pl. 1. fig. 2.
     Adult Male in Summer.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Amer. Ornith. vol. i.
     p. 57. Pl. 6. fig. 4. Female.


Adult Male in spring. Plate XXXIII. Fig. 1.

Bill rather short, conical, very acute; upper mandible a little broader
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, not extending to beneath the eye. Nostrils basal, roundish,
concealed by the feathers. Head rather large. Neck short. Body pretty
full. 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 very slender, much
compressed, acute, and slightly arched, that of the hind toe not much
larger.

Plumage soft and blended. Wings of ordinary length, the third and fourth
quills longest, the second nearly as long. Tail of ordinary length,
forked, the lateral feathers curved outwards a little towards the tip.

Bill and feet yellowish-brown. Iris dark brown. The general colour of the
plumage is a rich lemon-yellow, fading posteriorly into yellowish-white.
Fore and upper part of the head, wings, and tail, black; quills externally
margined, and the large coverts tipped, with yellowish-white; inner webs
of the tail white.

Length 4½ inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the ridge ⅓, along the
gap 5/12.


Adult Female in spring. Plate XXXIII. Fig. 2.

The female wants the black spot on the head, and in her the fine yellow
of the male is changed into brownish-olive, fading posteriorly into
yellowish-grey, the fore neck and breast greyish-yellow. The band formed
by the tips of the large wing-coverts is dull white.

Length and other dimensions nearly as in the male.


THE COMMON THISTLE.

     CNICUS LANCEOLATUS, _Wild._ Sp. Pl. vol. iii. p. 1666. _Pursh_,
     Flora Amer. vol. ii. p. 506. _Smith_, Engl. Bot. vol. iii.
     p. 388.—SYNGENESIA POLYGAMIA ÆQUALIS, _Linn._ CINAROCEPHALÆ,
     _Juss._

This well known species of Thistle, common in the temperate and colder
parts of both continents, it is unnecessary to describe.



THE WORM-EATING WARBLER.

_SYLVIA VERMIVORA_, LATH.

PLATE XXXIV. MALE AND FEMALE.


The nest of this active little bird is formed of singular materials,
being composed externally of dried mosses and the green blossoms of
Hickories and Chestnut-trees, while the interior is prettily lined with
fine fibrous roots, the whole apparently rather small for the size of
the occupants. About the middle of May the female lays four or five eggs,
which are cream-coloured, with a few dark red spots near the larger end,
leaving a circular unspotted part at the extremity. The nest is usually
placed between two small twigs of a bush, not more than eight or nine
feet from the ground, and sometimes only four or five.

The flight of the Worm-eating Warbler resembles that of the Crested
Titmouse, being of short duration, and accompanied with the same rustling
noise, which is occasioned by the rather concave formation of their wings.

It merely passes through Louisiana in spring, appearing there as early
as the beginning of April, and extends its migrations to the borders
of Lake Erie, where I shot several in autumn. It is probable that it
proceeds farther north. It returns through Louisiana about the end of
October, only remaining a few days on its passage.

It is an inhabitant of the interior of the forests, and is seldom found
on the borders of roads or in the fields. In spring they move in pairs,
and, during their retrograde marches, in little groups, consisting each
of a family, seven or eight in number; on which account I am inclined
to believe that they raise only a single brood in the year. They are
ever amongst the decayed branches of trees or other plants, such as are
accidentally broken off by the wind, and are there seen searching for
insects or caterpillars. They also resort to the ground, and turn over
the dried leaves in quest of the same kind of food. They are unsuspecting,
and will suffer a person to approach within a few paces. When disturbed,
they fly off to some place where withered leaves are seen. They have
only a few weak notes, which do not deserve the name of song. Their
industry, however, atones for this defect, as they are seen continually
moving about, rustling among the leaves, and scarcely ever removing from
one situation to another until after they have made a full inspection
of the part in which they have been employed.

This species reaches the Central Atlantic Districts in the middle of
May, and breeds there, as well as farther northward. I have found them
more numerous in the Jerseys than in any other portion of the Union. In
Kentucky and Ohio I have seen only a few of them; nor have I ever found
their nests in either of these States.

The plant on which you see a pair of Worm-eating Warblers is well known
throughout the United States by the name of Poke-berry. It grows in
every situation, from the tops of the most arid mountain-ridges to the
lowest and richest valleys; and it is almost impossible to follow a
fence for a hundred yards without seeing some of it. Its berries are
food for numerous species of our birds, and produce a beautiful dark
crimson juice, which is used instead of red ink by some of the country
people, although it does not retain its original colour for many days.
This plant grows to the height of four or six feet, and is eaten when it
first shoots from the ground as a substitute for asparagus, quantities
of it being not unfrequently exposed in the markets. The juice of the
berries is taken in cases of ague and continued fever, but requires to
be used with judgment, as too large a doze proves deleterious.


     SYLVIA VERMIVORA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 544.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 86.

     WORM-EATING WARBLER, SYLVIA VERMIVORA, _Wils._ Americ. Ornith.
     vol. iii. p. 74. vol. xxiv. fig. 4.


Adult Male. Plate XXXIV. Fig. 1.

Bill longish, nearly straight, rather strong, elongated-conical, as deep
as broad at the base, with sharp, nearly straight edges. Nostrils basal,
oval, half concealed by the feathers. Head rather large, neck short.
Body short and full. Feet of ordinary length, rather slender; tarsus
compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long scutella, acute behind,
longer than the middle toe; toes scutellate above, free; claws arched,
slender, compressed, acute.

Plumage blended, soft and tufty. Wings of ordinary length, considerably
curved, the second quill longest, the first little shorter. Tail rather
short, a little rounded, of twelve rather narrow, obtuse feathers.

Bill blackish-brown above, greenish-grey beneath. Iris hazel. Feet
flesh-colour. General colour of the upper parts deep green, tinged with
brown. Head and lower parts light brownish-yellow, the former with four
longitudinal black bands, of which one on each side proceeds from the
middle of the upper mandible, the other from the inferior angle of its
base. The lower part of the neck anteriorly, and the fore part of the
breast are more yellow than the rest of the under parts; the abdomen
and under tail-coverts nearly white.

Length 5½ inches, extent of wings 8½; bill along the ridge 7/12, along
the gap ¾; tarsus ⅚, middle toe ¾.


Adult Female. Plate XXXIV. Fig. 2.

The female hardly differs from the male in external appearance.


THE AMERICAN POKE-WEED.

     PHYTOLACCA DECANDRA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 322. _Pursh_,
     Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 324.—DECANDRIA DECAGYNIA, _Linn._
     ATRIPLICES, _Juss._

This species is distinguished by its elliptico-lanceolate leaves,
and decandrous flowers, the other species differing in the number of
stamina and one of them being diœcious. The berries, which are nearly
globular, are disposed in an elongated, pendulous raceme, and are of a
purplish-black colour. The flowers are white, their peduncles, partial
and general, of a bright carmine-purple colour.



CHILDREN'S WARBLER.

_SYLVIA CHILDRENII._

PLATE XXXV. MALE AND FEMALE.


This little bird so much resembles the young of that called, I know
not why, the Blue-eyed Yellow Warbler, that I was at first inclined to
think it the same; but, recollecting that the latter acquires the full
colouring of its plumage, in both sexes, before the return of spring, and
finding some material differences in their habits, I have not hesitated
in presenting it to you, kind reader, not only as a new species, but as
one extremely rare in the United States.

I shot two of these birds in May 1821, near the town of Jackson, in the
State of Louisiana. They were sitting amongst the stalks of the plant, on
which they are represented. Their wings were constantly drooping by the
sides of their body, their tail spread out like a fan, and they uttered
a low _tweet_ note, which was very soft and sweet. They now and then
chased small insects on the wing, but more commonly searched for them
amongst the leaves and blossoms of the plants on which they were. After
a few minutes, I discovered their nest, which contained five young ones
nearly fledged. It was attached by the sides to two twigs of the plant,
and was formed of the dried bark of the same plant, mixed with skins of
caterpillars and some silky substances. The lining consisted of goat's
or deer hair, I think the former, as there were some tame goats in an
adjoining pasture. I shot both the parents, and took the young under my
care, but they would not receive any food, and died towards the end of
the second day after their removal. I have never seen another of these
birds since.

The scarcity of this species in the United States putting me in mind of
that of true friendship among men, I have named it after my most esteemed
friend, J. G. CHILDREN, Esq. of the British Museum, as a tribute of
sincere gratitude for the unremitted kindness which he has shewn me.

The plant is known by the name of the _Wild Spanish Coffee_. It grows very
abundantly in almost every field in the Uplands of Lower Louisiana. The
smell of its flowers, as well as of its leaves, is extremely disagreeable,
if not nauseous.


     CHILDREN'S WARBLER, SYLVIA CHILDRENII.


Adult Male. Plate XXXV. Fig. 1.

Bill longish, straight, subulato-conical, acute, the edges sharp, the gap
line slightly deflected at the base. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical,
half closed by a membrane. Head and neck of ordinary size. Body rather
slender. Feet of ordinary length, slender; tarsus longer than the middle
toe, covered anteriorly by a few scutella, the uppermost long; toes
scutellate above, free, the hind toe of moderate size; claws slender,
compressed, acute, arched.

Plumage soft, blended, tufty. Wings of ordinary length, acute, the
first quill longest. Tail shortish, when closed nearly even. A few short
bristles at the base of the upper mandible.

Bill brown, lighter beneath. Iris dark brown. Feet flesh-coloured.
The general colour of the upper parts is yellowish-green, tinged with
brown. Forehead, sides of the head, supra-ocular region, and under parts
generally deep yellow. Quills dusky on the inner webs. Tail feathers
dusky on the outer webs, yellow on the inner, excepting the two middle,
which are dusky.

Length 4¾ inches, extent of wings 7½; bill along the ridge 5/12, along
the gap 7/12.


Adult Female. Plate XXXV. Fig. 2.

The female is considerably smaller. The distribution of its colouring
is the same, but the tints are much lighter, the upper parts being pale
yellowish-green tinged with grey; the sides of the head, supra-ocular
and frontal spaces pale yellowish-grey, and the under parts of a tint
approaching to lemon-yellow.


THE WILD SPANISH COFFEE.

     CASSIA OCCIDENTALIS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 518. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 305.—DECANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._
     LEGUMINOSÆ, _Juss._

This species is distinguished by its ovato-lanceolate, quinquejugate
leaves, scabrous at the margin, the outer larger; its many-flowered
axillar and somewhat panicled peduncles, and its linear, falciform
legumes. It flowers through the summer, and grows chiefly in old fields,
in the Southern States.



MEADVILLE.


The incidents that occur in the life of a student of nature, are not
all of the agreeable kind, in proof of which, I shall present you, good
reader, with an extract from one of my journals.

My money was one day stolen from me by a person, who perhaps imagined
that to a naturalist it was of little importance. This happened on the
shores of Upper Canada. The affair was as unexpected as it well could
be, and as adroitly managed as if it had been planned and executed in
Cheapside. To have repined when the thing could not be helped, would
certes not have been acting manfully. I therefore told my companion to
keep a good heart, for I felt satisfied that Providence had some relief
in store for us. The whole amount of cash left with two individuals
fifteen hundred miles from home, was just seven dollars and a-half. Our
passage across the lake had fortunately been paid for. We embarked and
soon got to the entrance of Presque Isle Harbour, but could not pass the
bar, on account of a violent gale which came on as we approached it. The
anchor was dropped, and we remained on board during the night, feeling
at times very disagreeable, under the idea of having taken so little
care of our money. How long we might have remained at anchor I cannot
tell, had not that Providence, on whom I have never ceased to rely, come
to our aid. Through some means to me quite unknown, Captain Judd of the
United States Navy, then probably commandant at Presque Isle, sent a gig
with six men to our relief. It was on the 29th of August 1824, and never
shall I forget that morning. My drawings were put into the boat with
the greatest care. We shifted into it, and seated ourselves according to
directions politely given us. Our brave fellows pulled hard, and every
moment brought us nearer to the American shore. I leaped upon it with
elated heart. My drawings were safely landed, and for any thing else I
cared little at the moment. I searched in vain for the officer of our
navy, to whom I still feel grateful, and gave one of our dollars to
the sailors to drink the "freedom of the waters;" after which we betook
ourselves to a humble inn to procure bread and milk, and consider how
we were to proceed.

Our plans were soon settled, for to proceed was decidedly the best. Our
luggage was rather heavy, so we hired a cart to take it to Meadville,
for which we offered five dollars. This sum was accepted, and we set
off. The country through which we passed might have proved favourable
to our pursuits, had it not rained nearly the whole day. At night we
alighted and put up at a house belonging to our conductor's father. It
was Sunday night. The good folks had not yet returned from a distant
meeting-house, the grandmother of our driver being the only individual
about the premises. We found her a cheerful dame, who bestirred herself
as actively as age would permit, got up a blazing fire to dry our wet
cloths, and put as much bread and milk on the table as might have sufficed
for several besides ourselves.

Being fatigued by the jolting of the cart, we asked for a place in which
to rest, and were shewn into a room in which were several beds. We told
the good woman that I should paint her portrait next morning for the
sake of her children. My companion and myself were soon in bed, and soon
asleep, in which state we should probably have remained till morning, had
we not been awakened by a light, which we found to be carried by three
young damsels, who having observed where we lay, blew it out, and got
into a bed opposite ours. As we had not spoken, it is probable the girls
supposed us sound asleep, and we heard them say how delighted they would
be to have their portraits taken, as well as that of their grandmother.
My heart silently met their desire, and we fell asleep, without farther
disturbance. In our back woods it is frequently the case that one room
suffices for all the sleepers of a family.

Day dawned, and as we were dressing we discovered that we were alone
in the apartment, the good country girls having dressed in silence and
left us before we had awakened. We joined the family and were kindly
greeted. No sooner had I made known my intentions as to the portraits,
than the young folks disappeared and soon after returned attired in
their Sunday clothes. The black chalk was at work in a few minutes,
to their great delight, and as the fumes of the breakfast that was
meantime preparing reached my sensitive nose, I worked with redoubled
ardour. The sketches were soon finished, and soon too was the breakfast
over. I played a few airs on my flageolet, while our guide was putting
the horses to the cart, and by ten o'clock we were once more under way
towards Meadville. Never shall I forget Maxon Randell and his hospitable
family. My companion was as pleased as myself, and as the weather was
now beautiful, we enjoyed our journey with all that happy thoughtlessness
best suited to our character. The country now became covered with heavy
timber, principally evergreens, the Pines and the Cucumber trees loaded
with brilliant fruits, and the Spruces throwing a shade over the land
in good keeping for a mellow picture. The lateness of the crops was the
only disagreeable circumstance that struck us; hay was yet standing,
probably, however, a second crop; the peaches were quite small and green,
and a few persons here and there, as we passed the different farms,
were reaping oats. At length we came in sight of French Creek, and soon
after reached Meadville. Here we paid the five dollars promised to our
conductor, who instantly faced about, and applying the whip to his nags,
bade us adieu, and set off.

We had now only a hundred and fifty cents. No time was to be lost. We
put our baggage and ourselves under the roof of a tavern-keeper known
by the name of J. E. SMITH, at the sign of the _Traveller's Rest_, and
soon after took a walk to survey the little village that was to be laid
under contribution for our further support. Its appearance was rather
dull; but, thanks to God, I have never despaired while rambling thus for
the sole purpose of admiring his grand and beautiful works. I had opened
the case that contained my drawings, and putting my portfolio under my
arm, and a few good credentials in my pocket, walked up Main Street,
looking to the right and left, examining the different _heads_ which
occurred, until I fixed my eyes on a gentleman in a store who looked as
if he might want a sketch. I begged him to allow me to sit down. This
granted, I remained purposely silent until he very soon asked me what
was "_in that portfolio_." These three words sounded well, and without
waiting another instant, I opened it to his view. This was a Hollander,
who complimented me much on the execution of the drawings of birds and
flowers in my portfolio. Shewing him a sketch of the best friend I have in
the world at present, I asked him if he would like one in the same style
of himself. He not only answered in the affirmative, but assured me that
he would exert himself in procuring as many more customers as he could.
I thanked him, be assured, kind reader; and having fixed upon the next
morning for drawing the sketch, I returned to the _Traveller's Rest_,
with a hope that to-morrow might prove propitious. Supper was ready, and
as in America we have generally but one sort of _Table d'hôte_, we sat
down, when, every individual looking upon me as a Missionary priest, on
account of my hair, which in those days flowed loosely on my shoulders,
I was asked to say grace, which I did with a fervent spirit.

Daylight returned. I visited the groves and woods around, with my
companion, returned, breakfasted, and went to the store, where,
notwithstanding my ardent desire to begin my task, it was ten o'clock
before the sitter was ready. But, reader, allow me to describe the
_artist's room_. See me ascending a crazy flight of steps, from the back
part of a store-room into a large garret extending over the store and
counting room, and mark me looking round to see how the light could be
stopped from obtruding on me through no less than four windows facing
each other at right angles. Then follow me scrutinizing the corners, and
finding in one a cat nursing her young, among a heap of rags intended
for the paper-mill. Two hogsheads filled with oats, a parcel of Dutch
toys carelessly thrown on the floor, a large drum and a bassoon in
another part, fur caps hanging along the wall, and the portable bed of
the merchant's clerk swinging like a hammock near the centre, together
with some rolls of sole leather, made up the picture. I saw all this at
a glance, and closing the extra windows with blankets, I soon procured
a _painter's light_.

A young gentleman sat, to try my skill. I finished his phiz, which
was approved of. The merchant then took the chair, and I had the good
fortune to please him also. The room became crowded with the gentry of
the village. Some laughed, while others expressed their wonder; but my
work went on notwithstanding the observations that were made. My sitter
invited me to spend the evening with him, which I did, and joined him
in some music on the flute and violin. I returned to my companion with
great pleasure; and you may judge how much that pleasure was increased,
when I found that he also had made two sketches. Having written a page
or two of our journals, we retired to rest.

The following day was spent much in the same manner. I felt highly
gratified that from under my grey coat my talents had made their way
and I was pleased to discover that industry and moderate abilities prove
at least as valuable as first-rate talents without the former of these
qualities. We left Meadville on foot, having forwarded our baggage by
waggon. Our hearts were light, our pockets replenished, and we walked
in two days to Pittsburg, as happy as circumstances permitted us to be.



THE STANLEY HAWK.

_FALCO STANLEII._

PLATE XXXVI. MALE AND FEMALE.


Before entering upon the description of this interesting species, allow
me to submit to your consideration a few observations respecting the
flight of the different species of Hawks, which I have had occasion to
examine both in America and in Europe.

All such species as are usually referred to the subgenus Astur, or are
most nearly allied to it, and which consequently have shorter wings,
as well as longer tails, than the true Falcons, sail less frequently
and less continuously in circles, and embrace a smaller space in their
gyrations, than the latter birds. Their general flight is low, sometimes
only a few feet above the ground, and their velocity surpasses that of
the true Falcons on such occasions. Their body is more compressed and
elongated, and appears to be propelled through the air chiefly by the
action of their long tail. None of these birds ever glide down on their
prey from a great height, with closed wings, and the rustling noise
produced by Eagles or other nobler tribes of the genus. The types of
this group I would consider to be the Goshawk (_Falco palumbarius_) and
the Stanley Hawk. For the type of the True Falcons, no species could
answer better than the Great-footed Hawk (_Falco peregrinus_).

A distinct and intermediate kind of flight belongs to such Hawks as have
both a long tail and long wings. These species are able to dive through
the air, either when in pursuit of their prey, or for amusement or
exercise, although with less firmness of action than the True Falcons;
and they fly over the earth with less velocity than the Asturs, their
motions then consisting of easy flappings, or loose protracted sailings.
The Hen-harrier (_Falco cyaneus_), the Forked-tailed Hawk (_Falco
furcatus_), and the White-tailed Hawk (_Falco dispar_), are of this tribe.

It may be remarked here, that most species of Shrikes bear a great
resemblance in their flight to the Asturs. But, let us return to the
Stanley Hawk.

On the 5th of December 1809, I made a drawing of the male of this species,
in its matured state of colouring, at Louisville, in Kentucky, where
I then resided. That drawing is now before me, and the bird which it
represents is to this day undescribed. The figure would have been engraved
and presented to your consideration, kind reader, had it not been as
stiff, and as little indicative of life, as those usually seen in books
on Natural History. The expectation of being able to procure another
individual in precisely the same state of plumage, has, together with the
above circumstance, induced me to content myself, for the present, with
offering to your inspection a male, probably two years old, and an adult
female. I have killed many of the latter in the course of my rambles, but
I had not the good fortune to obtain an old male, although I have seen
several on wing, and once wounded one whilst perched near its nest. In
this article, I shall give you a full description of the three different
figures, as they shew considerable diversity, especially in the colour
of the eyes, the adult bird having the iris of a reddish-orange tint,
while the young bird has it of a bright yellow. But as I am desirous of
adhering to my plan, I shall speak of its habits before I trouble you
with its description, remarking in the mean time, that I have honoured
the species with the name of the President of the Linnean Society of
London, the Right Honourable Lord STANLEY, a nobleman whose continued
kindness to me I am happy in acknowledging.

The flight of the Stanley Hawk is rapid, protracted, and even. It is
performed at a short height above the ground or through the forest. It
passes along in a silent gliding manner, with a swiftness even superior
to that of the Wild Pigeon (_Columba migratoria_), seldom deviating
from a straight-forward course, unless to seize and secure its prey.
Now and then, but seldom unless after being shot at, it mounts in the
air in circles, of which it describes five or six in a hurried manner,
and again plunging downwards, continues its journey as before.

The daring exploits performed by the Stanley Hawk, which have taken
place in my presence, are very numerous, and I shall relate one or two
of them. This marauder frequently attacks birds far superior to itself
in weight, and sometimes possessed of courage equal to its own. As I was
one morning observing the motions of some Parakeets near Bayou Sara,
in the State of Louisiana, in the month of November, I heard a Cock
crowing not far from me, and in sight of a farm-house. The Stanley Hawk
the next moment flew past me, and so close that I might have touched it
with the barrel of my gun, had I been prepared. Its wings struck with
extraordinary rapidity, and its tail appeared as if closed. Not more
than a few seconds elapsed before I heard the cackling of the Hens, and
the war-cry of the Cock, and at the same time observed the Hawk rising,
as if without effort, a few yards in the air, and again falling towards
the ground with the rapidity of lightning. I proceeded to the spot, and
found the Hawk grappled to the body of the Cock, both tumbling over and
over, and paying no attention to me as I approached. Desirous of seeing
the result, I remained still, until perceiving that the Hawk had given
a fatal squeeze to the brave Cock, I ran to secure the former; but the
marauder had kept a hawk's eye upon me, and, disengaging himself, rose in
the air in full confidence. The next moment I pulled a trigger, and he
fell dead to the ground. It proved a young male, such as you see, kind
reader, represented in the Plate, pursuing a lovely Blue-bird nearly
exhausted. The Cock was also dead; its breast was torn, and its neck
pierced in several places by the sharp claws of the Hawk.

Some years afterwards, not far from the famed Falls of Niagara, in the
month of June, one of these Hawks, which on being examined proved to
be a female, attacked a brood of young chickens, yet under the care of
their mother. It had just struck one of the chickens, and was on the
eve of carrying it off in its claws, when the hen, having perceived the
murderous deed, flew against the Hawk with such force as to throw it
fairly on its back, when the intrepid mother so effectively assailed the
miscreant with feet and bill, as to enable me, on running up, to secure
the latter.

This species frequently kills and eats the bird commonly called the
Pheasant (_Tetrao Umbellus_). Partridges and young hares are also
favourite dainties. It also follows the Wild Pigeons in their migrations,
and always causes fear and confusion in their ranks.

It breeds in the mountainous districts of the Middle and Northern States,
to which it returns early in spring from the Southern States, where it
spends the winter in considerable numbers, and is known by the name of
the _Great Pigeon Hawk_. So rapidly must they travel from one extremity
of the country to another, to reach the places to which they resort for
the purpose of breeding, that I have seen them copulate in Louisiana,
where they never breed, in the month of February, and have found their
nest with eggs in which the chick was far advanced, in the State of
Connecticut, on the 20th of April.

The nest is usually placed in the forks of the branch of an Oak-tree
towards its extremity. In its general appearance it resembles that of the
Common Crow, for which I have several times mistaken it. It is composed
externally of numerous crooked sticks, and has a slight lining of grasses
and a few feathers. The eggs are three or four, almost globular, large
for the size of the bird, of a dullish-white colour, strongly granulated,
and consequently rough to the touch. It was on discovering one of
these nests that I wounded the second adult male which I have seen, but
which never returned to its nest, on which I afterwards shot the female
represented in the Plate, in the act of pouncing. I have several times
found other nests of birds of this species, but the owners were not in
full plumage, and their eyes had not obtained the rich orange colouring
of the adult birds.

Those which I have observed near the Falls of Niagara were generally
engaged in pursuing Red-winged Starlings, over the marshes of the
neighbourhood. When this Hawk is angry, it raises the feathers of the
upper part of the head, so as to make them appear partially tufted. The
cry at this time may be represented by the syllable _kee, kee, kee_,
repeated eight or ten times in rapid succession, and much resembling
that of the Pigeon Hawk (_Falco columbarius_) or the European Kestril.
The young of this species bear no resemblance to those of the Goshawk,
of which a figure will be given in the same Plate with the adult of the
Stanley Hawk.


     STANLEY HAWK, FALCO STANLEII.


Adult Male.

Bill short, robust, cerate; upper mandible with the dorsal outline
curved from the base, the back rounded, the sides sloping at the base,
convex toward the end, the margin sharp, overlapping, having an obtuse
lobe, the tip trigonal, very acute, and curved downwards; lower mandible
broadly rounded on the back, convex on the sides, acute in the edges,
somewhat abrupt at the end. Nostrils oval, oblique, in the fore-part of
the cere. Head rather large, flat above; eyebrow acute and projecting.
Neck strong. Body rather elongated. Legs long; tarsi rather long, and
with the toes somewhat slender, the former scutellate anteriorly, the
latter scutellate above, papillar and tuberculate beneath; claws long,
curved, roundish, rather slender, and extremely acute.

Plumage compact, imbricated, glossy. Space between the beak and eye
sparsely covered with bristly feathers. Tibial feathers rather compact,
and not much elongated. Wings long: fifth quill longest, sixth and fourth
nearly equal, first very short. Tail long, straight, a little rounded,
of twelve rather broad feathers.

Bill light blue at the base, black at the tip. Cere greenish-yellow. Iris
reddish-orange. Tarsus and toes bright yellow; claws brownish-black. The
general colour of the upper parts is dark greyish-brown. Quills barred
with brownish-black. Tail with four bars of brownish-black, the terminal
one broader; the tips of all the feathers white. The general colour
of the lower parts is brownish-white. Sides of the head and the throat
longitudinally lined with dark brown; fore-neck and breast marked with
arrow-shaped spots of brownish-red, the shafts blackish. Legs similarly
marked, the spots smaller, and transversely elongated. Abdomen and under
tail-coverts nearly free of spots.

Length 20 inches, extent of wings 36; beak along the back 1¼, along the
gap from the tip of the lower mandible 1¼; tarsus 2¾, middle toe 2½.
Wings 4½ inches shorter than the tail.


Adult Female. Plate XXXVI. Fig. 2.

Bill brownish-black above; the base of the upper mandible, and the
greater part of the lower, light blue. Cere greenish. Iris yellow. Feet
greenish-yellow; claws brownish-black. Head and neck brownish-white, each
feather with a large reddish-brown spot near the end. General colour of
the upper parts chocolate-brown; quills and tail wood-brown, barred as
in the male. Under parts brownish-white. Throat and sides of the head
marked as in the male; breast with guttiform spots of deep brown; legs
with smaller, somewhat arrow-shaped spots of reddish-brown. Abdomen and
under tail-coverts whitish.

Length 21¼ inches, extent of wings 38; bill along the back 1¼, along
the gap 1¼; tarsus 3, middle toe 2¾. Wings 5 inches shorter than the tail.


Young Male. Plate XXXVI. Fig. 1.

Bill and feet coloured nearly as in the adult. Iris yellow, as in the
female. The general colour of the upper parts is dark umber; several of
the scapulars, wing-coverts and upper tail-coverts with a large spot of
white. Quills and tail-feathers barred as in the adult, the last bar on
the tail much narrower. Under parts light reddish-brown. Sides of the
head, and the neck longitudinally streaked with deep brown; the markings
on the breast and legs also longitudinal.

Length 19¾, extent of wings 34; beak 1¼; wings 5½ inches shorter than
the tail.

The bird represented as about to be seized by the male is the Blue-bird,
_Saxicola Sialis_ of Bonaparte, _Sylvia Sialis_ of other authors.



THE GOLDEN-WINGED WOODPECKER.

_PICUS AURATUS_, LINN.

PLATE XXXVII. MALE AND FEMALE.


It is generally agreeable to be in the company of individuals who are
naturally animated and pleasant. For this reason, nothing can be more
gratifying than the society of Woodpeckers in the forests. To prove this
to you, kind reader, I shall give you a full account of the habits of
the Golden-winged Woodpecker.

This species, which is usually called _Pique-bois jaune_ by the French
settlers in Louisiana, and receives the name of _High-holder_, _Yucker_,
and _Flicker_ in other parts of the Union, being seldom or never graced
with the epithet _Golden-winged_, employed by naturalists, is one of
the most lively of our birds, and is found over the whole of the United
States.

No sooner has spring called them to the pleasant duty of making love,
as it is called, than their voice, which, by the way, is not at all
disagreeable to the ear of man, is heard from the tops of high decayed
trees, proclaiming with delight the opening of the welcome season. Their
note at this period is merriment itself, as it imitates a prolonged and
jovial laugh, heard at a considerable distance. Several males pursue
a female, reach her, and, to prove the force and truth of their love,
bow their heads, spread their tail, and move sidewise, backwards and
forwards, performing such antics, as might induce any one witnessing
them, if not of a most morose temper, to join his laugh to theirs. The
female flies to another tree, where she is closely followed by one,
two, or even half a dozen of these gay suitors, and where again the
same ceremonies are gone through. No fightings occur, no jealousies seem
to exist among these beaux, until a marked preference is shewn to some
individual, when the rejected proceed in search of another female. In
this manner all the Golden-winged Woodpeckers are soon happily mated.
Each pair immediately proceed to excavate the trunk of a tree, and finish
a hole in it sufficient to contain themselves and their young. They both
work with great industry and apparent pleasure. Should the male, for
instance, be employed, the female is close to him, and congratulates him
on the removal of every chip which his bill sends through the air. While
he rests, he appears to be speaking to her on the most tender subjects,
and when fatigued, is at once assisted by her. In this manner, by the
alternate exertions of each, the hole is dug and finished. They caress
each other on the branches, climb about and around the tree with apparent
delight, rattle with their bill against the tops of the dead branches,
chase all their cousins the Red-heads, defy the Purple Grakles to enter
their nest, feed plentifully on ants, beetles and larvæ, cackling at
intervals, and ere two weeks have elapsed, the female lays either four
or six eggs, the whiteness and transparency of which are doubtless the
delight of her heart. If to raise a numerous progeny may contribute to
happiness, these Woodpeckers are in this respect happy enough, for they
have two broods each season; and as this might induce you to imagine
Woodpeckers extremely abundant in America, I may at once tell you that
they are so.

Even in confinement, the Golden-winged Woodpecker never suffers its
naturally lively spirit to droop. It feeds well, and by way of amusement,
will continue to destroy as much furniture in a day as can well be mended
by a different kind of workman in two. Therefore, kind reader, do not
any longer believe that Woodpeckers, I mean those of America, are such
stupid, forlorn, dejected and unprovided for beings, as they have hitherto
been represented. In fact, I know not one of the seventeen species found
in our extensive woods, that does not exhibit quite as much mirth and
gaiety as the present bird. They are serviceable birds in many points of
view, and therefore are seldom shot at, unless by idlers, their flesh,
moreover, not being very savoury. They have ample range, and wherever
they alight, there is to be found the food to which they at all times
give decided preference.

The flight of this species is strong and prolonged, being performed
in a straighter manner than that of any other of our Woodpeckers. They
propel themselves by numerous beats of the wings, with short intervals
of sailing, during which they scarcely fall from the horizontal. Their
migrations, although partial, as many remain even in the middle districts
during the severest winters, are performed under night, as is known by
their note and the whistling of their wings, which are heard from the
ground, although by no means so distinctly as when they fly from a tree
or from the earth, when suddenly alarmed. When passing from one tree to
another on wing, they also fly in a straight line, until within a few
yards of the spot on which they intend to alight, when they suddenly
raise themselves a few feet, and fasten themselves to the bark of the
trunk by their claws and tail. If they intend to settle on a branch,
which they as frequently do, they do not previously rise; but in either
case, no sooner has the bird alighted, if it be not pursued or have
suspicions of any object about it, than it immediately nods its head,
and utters its well-known note, "_Flicker_." It easily moves sidewise on
a small branch, keeping itself as erect as other birds usually do; but
with equal ease does it climb by leaps along the trunk of trees or their
branches, descend, and move sidewise or spirally, keeping at all times
its head upwards, and its tail pressed against the bark as a support.

On the ground, where it frequently alights, it hops with great ease.
This, however, it does merely to pick up a beetle, a caterpillar, a grain
of corn dropt by a squirrel from the ear in the fields, or to enable
it to examine the dead roots of trees, or the side of a prostrate log,
from which it procures ants and other small insects. It is also fond of
various fruits and berries. Apples, grapes, persimons and dogwood berries
seem quite agreeable to it, and it does not neglect the young corn of the
farmer's field. Even poke-berries or huckle-berries answer its purpose
at times, and during winter it is a frequenter of the corn-cribs.

In this species, as in a few others, there is a singular arrangement
in the colouring of the feathers of the upper part of the head, which I
conceive it necessary for me to state, that it may enable persons better
qualified than myself to decide as to the reasons of such arrangement.
The young of this species frequently have the whole upper part of the
head tinged with red, which at the approach of winter disappears, when
merely a circular line of that colour is to be observed on the hind
part, becoming of a rich silky vermilion tint. The Hairy, Downy and
Red-cockaded Woodpeckers are subject to the same extraordinary changes,
which, as far as I know, never reappear at any future period of their
lives. I was at first of opinion that this change appeared only on the
head of the male birds, but on dissection I found it equally affecting
both sexes. I am induced to believe, that, in consequence of this, many
young Woodpeckers of different species have been described and figured
as forming distinct species themselves. I have shot dozens of young
Woodpeckers in this peculiar state of plumage, which, on being shewn to
other persons, were thought by them to be of different species from what
the birds actually were. This occurrence is the more worthy of notice,
as it is exhibited on all the species of this genus on the heads of
which, when in full plumage, a very narrow line exists.

Raccoons and Black Snakes are dangerous enemies to this bird. The former
frequently put one of their fore legs into the hole where it has nestled
or retired to rest, and if the hole be not too deep, draw out the eggs
and suck them, and frequently by the same means secure the bird itself.
The Black Snake contents itself with the eggs or young. Several species
of Hawks attack them on the wing, and as the Woodpeckers generally
escape by making for a hole in the nearest tree, it is pleasing to see
the disappointment of the Hawk, when, as it has just been on the point
of seizing the terrified bird, the latter dives, as it were, into the
hole. Should the Woodpecker not know of a hole near enough to afford it
security, it alights on a trunk, and moves round it with such celerity
as frequently to enable it to elude its pursuer.

Their flesh is esteemed good by many of the sportsmen of the Middle
Districts, and is frequently eaten. Some are now and then exposed in
the markets of New York and Philadelphia; but I look upon the flesh as
very disagreeable, it having a strong flavour of ants.

The neck of this species is larger than that of any other with which
I am acquainted, and consequently the skin of this bird is more easily
pulled over the head, which it is difficult to do in the other species,
on account of the slenderness of their neck, and the great size of the
head.


     PICUS AURATUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 174.—_Lath._ Ind.
     Ornith. vol. i. p. 242.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synopsis of Birds of
     the United States, p. 44.

     GOLD-WINGED WOODPECKER, _Lath._ Synops. vol. ii. p. 597—_Wils._
     Americ. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 45. Pl. iii. fig. 1. Male.


Adult Male. Plate XXXVII. Fig. 1, 1, 1.

Bill slightly arched, strong, nearly as long as the head, compressed at
the tip, which is a little abrupt; upper mandible convex on the sides,
with acute, overlapping edges; lower mandible with acute, inflected
edges, the dorsal outline nearly straight, a little convex towards the
end. Nostrils basal, lateral, oval, partly covered by recumbent feathers.
Head of ordinary size. Neck shortish. Body ovate. Feet short, rather
robust; tarsus scutellate before, compressed; two toes before, and two
behind, scutellate above; claws compressed, arched, acute.

Plumage rather compact and imbricated, blended on the head and neck. Wings
longish, the third and fourth quills longest, the second much shorter,
the first very small. Tail of ordinary length, rounded, consisting of
ten broad feathers, worn to an elongated tip by being rubbed against
the bark of trees.

Bill brown above and at the tip, light blue beneath. Iris light
brown. Feet greyish-blue. Upper part of the head and hind neck light
purplish-grey; a transverse band of scarlet on the lower part of the
occiput. Upper parts generally light greenish-brown, spotted with black;
the lower back white, the tail-coverts of the same colour, spotted with
black. Primaries brownish-black, their shafts, as are those of all the
large feathers, orange. Tail brownish-black. Sides of the head and fore
neck light brownish-red tinged with grey. A black streak along each side
of the throat, and a lunated patch of the same across the fore part of
the breast. The rest of the breast reddish-white, spotted with black, as
are the lighter coloured abdomen and under tail-coverts. Under surface
of the wings and tail of a fine rich yellow.

Length 12½ inches, extent of wings 16; bill along the ridge 1⅓, along
the gap 1¾; tarsus 1⅙, middle toe 1¼.


Adult Female. Plate XXXVII. Fig. 2, 2.

The female differs chiefly in wanting the black streaks on the throat,
in having the lunulated spot on the breast smaller, and in being somewhat
duller in the tints of the plumage generally.

Dimensions nearly the same.



THE KENTUCKY WARBLER.

_SYLVIA FORMOSA_, WILS.

PLATE XXXVIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


This beautiful species is the most common and abundant that visits the
State of Louisiana and those situated on the borders of the Mississippi.
In Kentucky it is much less common, and in the State of Ohio scarcer
still. It is an extremely active and lively bird. It is found in all the
low grounds and damp places near water-courses, and generally among the
tall rank weeds and low bushes growing in rich alluvial soil. Continually
in motion, it is seen hopping in every direction from stalk to stalk,
or from one twig to another, preying upon insects and larvæ, or picking
small berries, seldom, however, pursuing insects on wing. During spring,
its agreeable notes are heard in every quarter. They are emphatic, and
resemble the words _tweedle, tweedle, tweedle_, distinctly repeated.
This little bird is seen at intervals of a few minutes on the skirts of
the tall plants, peeping cunningly to discover whether any intruders may
be near; after which it immediately re-enters the thicket, and repeats
its little ditty.

I never saw this bird fly farther than a few yards at a time. Its flight
is low, and performed in a quick gliding manner, the bird throwing
itself into the nearest bush or thicket of tall grass. It arrives in the
Southern States, from Mexico, about the middle of March, and remains
with us until the middle of September, during which time it rears two
broods. Its nest is small, beautifully constructed, and usually attached
to several stems of rank weeds. The outer parts are formed of the bark
of stalks of the same weeds in a withered state, mixed with a finer kind
and some cottony substances. It is beautifully lined with the cottony
or silky substance that falls from the Cotton-wood tree. The eggs are
from four to six, of a pure white colour, finely sprinkled with bright
red dots.

This species destroys great numbers of spiders, which it frequently
obtains by turning over the withered leaves on the ground. The young
males do not attain the full beauty of their plumage until the first
spring, and resemble the mother during their stay with us the first
season Young and old associate together, and live in great harmony. I
have not seen this species farther eastward than North Carolina.

The branch on which two of these birds are represented, is that of
the tree commonly called the White Cucumber, a species of Magnolia. It
flowers as early in the season as the Dog-wood. The flowers open before
the leaves are expanded, and emit an odour resembling that of a lemon,
but soon becoming disagreeable, as the blossom fades. This tree seldom
grows to the height of thirty feet, and is consequently disregarded
as a timber-tree. I have met with it only in the States of Mississippi
and Louisiana, where it grows on the grounds preferred by the Kentucky
Warbler during its stay in those States.


     KENTUCKY WARBLER, SYLVIA FORMOSA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iii.
     p. 85. Pl. xxv. fig. 3.

     SYLVIA FORMOSA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United
     States, p. 34.


Adult Male. Plate XXXVIII. Fig. 1.

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

Plumage soft, blended, tufty. Wings of ordinary length, acute, the second
quill longest. Tail of ordinary length, slightly forked when closed.

Bill brownish-black above, lighter beneath. Iris hazel. Feet pale
flesh-colour. The general colour of the plumage above is deep
yellowish-green, the crown of the head, and a broad patch under the
eye, including the lore, black. Under parts, and a broad streak over the
eye, bright yellow, tinged with green on the sides, abdomen, and under
tail-coverts. Wings and tail yellowish-green, the inner webs only being
dusky. Some spots of bluish-grey on the occiput.

Length 5½ inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the ridge 5/12, along
the gap 7/12; tarsus 11/12, middle toe ⅚.


Adult Female. Plate XXXVIII. Fig. 2.

The female resembles the male, but wants the black band under the eye,
and has the black of the head less extended backwards. The tints of the
plumage generally are also lighter.

Dimensions nearly the same.


     MAGNOLIA AURICULATA, _Wild._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 1268. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 482. _Mich._ Arbr. Forest. de l'Amer.
     Septentr. vol. iii. p. 94 Pl. 7.—POLYANDRIA POLYGYNIA, _Linn._
     MAGNOLIÆ, _Juss._

This species, which is remarkable for the beauty of its foliage, is
known in America by the names of _White Cucumber Tree_, _Long-leaved
Cucumber Tree_, and _Indian Physic_. The latter name it has obtained from
the circumstance of its bark being used in intermittent fevers. It is
characterized by its rhomboido-oboval acute leaves, which are narrowed
and two-lobed at the base; and its ovate acute petals. The flowers are
greenish-white.



THE CRESTED TITMOUSE.

_PARUS BICOLOR_, LINN.

PLATE XXXIX. MALE AND FEMALE.


Although this smart little bird breeds in the State of Louisiana and
the adjacent districts, it is not there found in so great numbers as in
the Middle States, and farther to the northward. It generally prefers
the depth of the forests during summer, after which it approaches the
plantations, and even resorts to the granaries for corn.

Its flight is short, the bird being seldom seen on the wing long enough
to cross a field of moderate extent. It is performed by repeated flaps
of the wings, accompanied by jerks of the body and tail, and occasions
a rustling noise, as it takes place from one tree to another. It moves
along the branches, searches in the chinks, flies to the end of twigs
and hangs to them by its feet, whilst the bill is engaged in detaching
a beech or hazel nut, an acorn or a chinquapin, upon all of which it
feeds, removing them to a large branch, where, having secured them in a
crevice, it holds them with both feet, and breaks the shell by repeated
blows of its bill. They are to be seen thus employed for many minutes
at a time. They move about in little companies formed of the parents
and their young, eight or ten together, and escorted by the Nuthatch or
the Downy Woodpecker. It is pleasing to listen to the sound produced by
their labour, which in a calm day may be heard at the distance of twenty
or thirty yards. If a nut or an acorn is accidentally dropped, the bird
flies to the ground, picks it up, and again returns to a branch. They
also alight on the ground or on dry leaves, to look for food, after
the trees become bare, and hop about with great nimbleness, going to
the margins of the brooks to drink, and when unable to do so, obtaining
water by stooping from the extremity of a twig hanging over the stream.
In fact, they appear to prefer this latter method, and are also fond
of drinking the drops of rain or dew as they hang at the extremities of
the leaves.

Their notes are rather musical than otherwise, the usual one being loud
and mellow. They do not use the _tee-tee-tee_ of their relative the
Black-capped Titmouse, half so often as the latter does, but emit a
considerable variety of sounds, many of which, if the bird from which
they come does not happen to be known to the listener, are apt to induce
disappointment in him, when on going up he finds it to be very different
from what he expected. These sounds sometimes resemble a whistle, at
another time a loud murmur, and seem as if proceeding from a bird at a
much greater distance.

The crest of this species, which is generally erect, is a great
improvement to its general appearance, the tints of the plumage being,
as you perceive, kind reader, none of the most brilliant. The Crested
Titmouse is of a rather vicious disposition, which sometimes prompts it
to attack smaller birds, and destroy them by thumping their heads with
its bill until it breaks the skull.

This species sometimes forms a nest by digging a hole for the purpose
in the hardest wood, with great industry and perseverance, although it
is more frequently contented with the hole of the Downy Woodpecker, or
some other small bird of that genus. It fills the hole with every kind
of warm materials, after which the female deposits from six to eight
eggs, of a pure white, with a few red spots at the larger end. The eggs
are laid about the beginning of April in the Southern States, and nearly
a month later in the Middle Districts. As soon as the young are able to
leave the nest, they are seen following the parent birds, and continue
with them until the next spring.

I have met with this species in all parts of the United States which
I have visited; and as my rambles have been extended over a very large
portion of that country, I am surprised that I have not met with more
than two species of Titmice, although I am of opinion that several others
will yet be discovered.

The species of Pine, on a twig of which you see a pair these birds, is
the _White Pine_ (_Pinus Strobus_), a tree of great beauty, of which
individuals have been observed of the enormous height of 180 feet, with
a diameter at the base of from six to eight feet. The trunk is branchless
for two-thirds of its height, and affords the most valuable wood perhaps
of any tree in the United States.


     PARUS BICOLOR, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 544.—_Lath._ Ind.
     Ornith. vol. ii. p. 567.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 100.

     CRESTED TITMOUSE, PARUS BICOLOR, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. i.
     p. 137. Pl. 8. fig. 5.

     TOUPET TITMOUSE, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iv. p. 544.


Adult Male. Plate XXXIX. Fig 1.

Bill short, straight, rather robust, compressed, acute; both mandibles,
with the dorsal outline arched, the upper slightly declinate at the tip.
Nostrils basal, roundish, concealed by the recumbent feathers. Head large.
Neck and body robust. Feet of ordinary length, rather robust; tarsus
compressed, anteriorly scutellate, a little longer than the middle toe;
outer toe slightly united at the base, hind one much stronger; claws
rather large, much compressed, arched, acute.

Plumage blended, tufty; feathers of the upper part of the head elongated
into a crest. Wings of moderate length, the second, third, and fourth
quills nearly equal and longest. Tail long, even, of ten rather narrow,
rounded feathers.

Bill black. Iris dark brown. Feet lead-colour. The general colour of
the upper parts is a dull leaden blue; the forehead black; sides of the
head lighter, and tinged with brown. Under parts greyish-white, sides
tinged with yellowish-brown.

Length 6½ inches, extent of wings 9; bill along the ridge ⅓, along the
gap ½; tarsus 11/12, middle toe ¾.


Adult Female. Plate XXXIX. Fig. 2.

The female hardly differs from the male in external appearance, being
equally crested, and having the same tints.


THE WHITE PINE.

     PINUS STROBUS, _Willd._ Sp. Plant. vol. iv. p. 501. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 644. _Mich._ Arb. Forest. de l'Amer.
     Sept. vol. i. p. 104. Pl. x.—MONŒCIA MONADELPHIA, _Linn._
     CONIFERÆ, _Juss._

This species, which is a true Pine, has the leaves very slender, five
together, with very short sheaths, and is further characterized by its
cylindrical, pendulous cones, which are longer than the leaves, and have
their scales lax. It grows in rich soil, in all parts of the United States
from Canada to Virginia, and affords the best timber for masts, as well
as for other purposes. In Britain, where it has long been planted, it
is generally known by the name of _Weymouth_ Pine, or Lord Weymouth's
Pine, from the name of the nobleman who introduced it.



THE AMERICAN REDSTART.

_MUSCICAPA RUTICILLA_, LINN.

PLATE XL. MALE AND FEMALE.


This is one of the most lively, as well as one of the handsomest, of
our Fly-catchers, and ornaments our woods during spring and summer, when
it cannot fail to attract the attention of any person who may visit the
interior of the shady forests. It is to be met with over the whole of the
United States, where it arrives, according to the different localities,
between the beginning of March and the 1st of May. It takes its departure,
on its way southward, late in September, and in the beginning of October.

It keeps in perpetual motion, hunting along the branches sidewise, jumping
to either side in search of insects and larvæ, opening its beautiful
tail at every movement which it makes, then closing it, and flirting it
from side to side, just allowing the transparent beauty of the feathers
to be seen for a moment. The wings are observed gently drooping during
these motions, and its pleasing notes, which resemble the sounds of
_Tetee-whee, Tetee-whee_, are then emitted. Should it observe an insect
on the wing, it immediately flies in pursuit of it, either mounts into
the air in its wake, or comes towards the ground spirally and in many
zig-zags. The insect secured, the lovely Redstart reascends, perches,
and sings a different note, equally clear, and which may be expressed by
the syllables _wizz, wizz, wizz_. While following insects on the wing,
it keeps its bill constantly open, snapping as if it procured several of
them on the same excursion. It is frequently observed balancing itself
in the air, opposite the extremity of a bunch of leaves, and darting
into the midst of them after the insects there concealed.

When one approaches the nest of this species, the male exhibits the
greatest anxiety respecting its safety, passes and repasses, fluttering
and snapping its bill within a few feet, as if determined to repel the
intruder. They now and then alight on the ground, to secure an insect,
but this only for a moment. They are more frequently seen climbing along
the trunks and large branches of trees for an instant, and then shifting
to a branch, being, as I have said, in perpetual motion. It is also fond
of giving chase to various birds, snapping at them without any effect,
as if solely for the purpose of keeping up the natural liveliness of
its disposition.

The young males of this species do not possess the brilliancy and
richness of plumage which the old birds display, until the second year,
the first being spent in the garb worn by the females; but, towards the
second autumn, appear mottled with pure black and vermilion on their
sides. Notwithstanding their want of full plumage, they breed and sing
the first spring like the old males.

I have looked for several minutes at a time on the ineffectual attacks
which this bird makes on wasps while busily occupied about their own
nests. The bird approaches and snaps at them, but in vain; for the wasp
elevating its abdomen, protrudes its sting, which prevents its being
seized. The male bird is represented in the plate in this posture.

Its nest is generally made on a low bush or sapling, and has the
appearance of hanging to the twigs. It is slight, and is composed of
lichens and dried fibres of rank weeds or grape vines, nicely lined with
soft cottony materials. The female lays from four to six white eggs,
sprinkled with ash-grey and blackish dots. It rears only a single brood
in a season. The old birds, I am inclined to think, leave the United
States a month or three weeks before the young, some of which linger
in the deep swamps of the States of Mississippi and Louisiana until the
beginning of November.


     MUSCICAPA RUTICILLA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 236.—_Lath._
     Ornith. vol. ii. p. 473.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 68.

     AMERICAN REDSTART, MUSCICAPA RUTICILLA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. i. p. 103. Pl. vi. fig. 6. adult male; vol. v. p. 119.
     Pl. 45. fig. 2. young.—_Lath._ Synops. vol. iv. p. 427.


Adult Male. Plate XL. Fig. 1.

Bill of ordinary length, depressed at the base, compressed toward the tip,
acute; upper mandible slightly notched, and deflected at the tip; lower
straight. Nostrils basal, lateral, linear. Head and neck of moderate size.
Body rather slender. Feet moderately long, slender; tarsus covered with
short scutella before, with a longitudinal keeled plate behind, longer
than the middle toe; toes slender, free; claws small, weak, slightly
arched, compressed, acute.

Plumage blended, soft, glossy. The bill margined at the base with long
spreading bristles. Wings of moderate length, third quill longest, second
and first little shorter. Tail rather long, rounded.

Bill brownish-black. Iris dark brown. Feet blackish. Head, neck, fore part
of the breast, and upper parts, black, the head, neck, and back glossed
with blue. Sides of the breast, and under wing-coverts reddish-orange;
abdomen white. Quills brownish-black, their anterior half orange, forming
a broad transverse band on the wing. Two middle tail-feathers black,
the rest black in their terminal half, yellow in the basal half.

Length 5 inches, extent of wings 6½; bill along the ridge 9/24, along
the gap ½; tarsus ¾, middle toe 7/12.


Adult Female, Plate XL. Fig. 2.

Bill, feet and iris, as in the male. Head and upper parts brownish-grey,
the former tinged with blue. Under parts greyish-white, the breast at
the sides dull yellow. Band on the wings and at the base of the tail,
pale yellow, tinged with green.

Dimensions nearly as in the male.


THE VIRGINIAN HORNBEAM, OR IRON-WOOD TREE.

     OSTRYA VIRGINICA, _Wild._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 469. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 623.—MONŒCIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._
     Amentaceæ, _Juss._

This species is distinguished by its ovato-oblong leaves, which are
somewhat cordate at the base, unequally serrated and acuminate, and
its twin, ovate, acute cones. It is a small tree, attaining a height of
from twenty to thirty feet, and a diameter of about one foot. The wood
is white, and close-grained. The common name in America is _Iron-wood_,
which it receives on account of the great hardness of the wood.



THE COUGAR.


There is an extensive Swamp in the section of the State of Mississippi
which lies partly in the Choctaw territory. It commences at the borders of
the Mississippi, at no great distance from a Chicasaw village, situated
near the mouth of a creek known by the name of Vanconnah, and partly
inundated by the swellings of several large bayous, the principal of
which, crossing the swamp in its whole extent, discharges its waters
not far from the mouth of the Yazoo River. This famous bayou is called
False River. The swamp of which I am speaking follows the windings of the
Yazoo, until the latter branches off to the north-east, and at this point
forms the stream named Cold Water River, below which the Yazoo receives
the draining of another bayou inclining towards the north-west, and
intersecting that known by the name of False River, at a short distance
from the place where the latter receives the waters of the Mississippi.
This tedious account of the situation of the Swamp, is given with the
view of pointing it out to all students of nature who may chance to
go that way, and whom I would earnestly urge to visit its interior, as
it abounds in rare and interesting productions: birds, quadrupeds and
reptiles, as well as molluscous animals, many of which, I am persuaded,
have never been described.

In the course of one of my rambles, I chanced to meet with a squatter's
cabin on the banks of the Cold Water River. In the owner of this hut,
like most of those adventurous settlers in the uncultivated tracts of
our frontier districts, I found a person well versed in the chase, and
acquainted with the habits of some of the larger species of quadrupeds
and birds. As he who is desirous of instruction ought not to disdain
listening to any one, who has knowledge to communicate, however humble
may be his lot, or however limited his talents, I entered the squatter's
cabin, and immediately opened a conversation with him respecting the
situation of the swamp, and its natural productions. He told me he
thought it the very place I ought to visit, spoke of the game which
it contained, and pointed to some bear and deer skins, adding that the
individuals to which they had belonged formed but a small portion of the
number of those animals which he had shot within it. My heart swelled
with delight, and on asking if he would accompany me through the great
morass, and allow me to become an inmate of his humble but hospitable
mansion, I was gratified to find that he cordially assented to all my
proposals. So I immediately unstrapped my drawing materials, laid up my
gun, and sat down to partake of the homely but wholesome fare intended
for the supper of the squatter, his wife, and his two sons.

The quietness of the evening seemed in perfect accordance with the
gentle demeanour of the family. The wife and children, I more than
once thought, seemed to look upon me as a strange sort of person, going
about, as I told them I was, in search of birds and plants; and were I
here to relate the many questions which they put to me in return for
those which I addressed to them, the catalogue would occupy several
pages. The husband, a native of Connecticut, had heard of the existence
of such men as myself, both in our own country and abroad, and seemed
greatly pleased to have me under his roof. Supper over, I asked my kind
host what had induced him to remove to this wild and solitary spot. "The
people are growing too numerous now to thrive in New England," was his
answer. I thought of the state of some parts of Europe, and calculating
the denseness of their population compared with that of New England,
exclaimed to myself, "How much more difficult must it be for men to
thrive in those populous countries!" The conversation then changed, and
the squatter, his sons and myself, spoke of hunting and fishing, until
at length tired, we laid ourselves down on pallets of bear skins, and
reposed in peace on the floor of the only apartment of which the hut
consisted.

Day dawned, and the squatter's call to his hogs, which, being almost in
a wild state, were suffered to seek the greater portion of their food in
the woods, awakened me. Being ready dressed, I was not long in joining
him. The hogs and their young came grunting at the well known call of
their owner, who threw them a few ears of corn, and counted them, but
told me that for some weeks their number had been greatly diminished by
the ravages committed upon them by a large _Panther_, by which name the
Cougar is designated in America, and that the ravenous animal did not
content himself with the flesh of his pigs, but now and then carried off
one of his calves, notwithstanding the many attempts he had made to shoot
it. The _Painter_, as he sometimes called it, had on several occasions
robbed him of a dead deer; and to these exploits the squatter added
several remarkable feats of audacity which it had performed, to give
me an idea of the formidable character of the beast. Delighted by his
description, I offered to assist him in destroying the enemy, at which
he was highly pleased, but assured me that unless some of his neighbours
should join us with their dogs and his own, the attempt would prove
fruitless. Soon after, mounting a horse, he went off to his neighbours,
several of whom lived at a distance of some miles, and appointed a day
of meeting.

The hunters, accordingly, made their appearance, one fine morning, at
the door of the cabin, just as the sun was emerging from beneath the
horizon. They were five in number, and fully equipped for the chase,
being mounted on horses, which in some parts of Europe might appear
sorry nags, but which in strength, speed and bottom, are better fitted
for pursuing a cougar or a bear through woods and morasses than any in
that country. A pack of large ugly curs were already engaged in making
acquaintance with those of the squatter. He and myself mounted his two
best horses, whilst his sons were bestriding others of inferior quality.

Few words were uttered by the party until we had reached the edge of
the Swamp, where it was agreed that all should disperse and seek for
the fresh track of the Painter, it being previously settled that the
discoverer should blow his horn, and remain on the spot, until the rest
should join him. In less than an hour, the sound of the horn was clearly
heard, and, sticking close to the squatter, off we went through the
thick woods, guided only by the now and then repeated call of the distant
huntsmen. We soon reached the spot, and in a short time the rest of the
party came up. The best dog was sent forward to track the Cougar, and
in a few moments, the whole pack were observed diligently trailing, and
bearing in their course for the interior of the Swamp. The rifles were
immediately put in trim, and the party followed the dogs, at separate
distances, but in sight of each other, determined to shoot at no other
game than the Panther.

The dogs soon began to mouth, and suddenly quickened their pace. My
companion concluded that the beast was on the ground, and putting our
horses to a gentle gallop, we followed the curs, guided by their voices.
The noise of the dogs increased, when, all of a sudden their mode of
barking became altered, and the squatter, urging me to push on, told me
that the beast was _treed_, by which he meant that it had got upon some
low branch of a large tree to rest for a few moments, and that should we
not succeed in shooting him when thus situated, we might expect a long
chase of it. As we approached the spot, we all by degrees united into
a body, but on seeing the dogs at the foot of a large tree, separated
again and galloped off to surround it.

Each hunter now moved with caution, holding his gun ready, and allowing
the bridle to dangle on the neck of his horse, as it advanced slowly
towards the dogs. A shot from one of the party was heard, on which the
Cougar was seen to leap to the ground, and bound off with such velocity
as to shew that he was very unwilling to stand our fire longer. The dogs
set off in pursuit with great eagerness and a deafening cry. The hunter
who had fired came up and said that his ball had hit the monster, and
had probably broken one of his fore-legs near the shoulder, the only
place at which he could aim. A slight trail of blood was discovered on
the ground, but the curs proceeded at such a rate that we merely noticed
this, and put spurs to our horses, which galloped on towards the centre
of the Swamp. One bayou was crossed, then another still larger and more
muddy; but the dogs were brushing forward, and as the horses began to
pant at a furious rate, we judged it expedient to leave them and advance
on foot. These determined hunters knew that the Cougar being wounded,
would shortly ascend another tree, where in all probability he would
remain for a considerable time, and that it would be easy to follow the
track of the dogs. We dismounted, took off the saddles and bridles, set
the bells attached to the horses' necks at liberty to jingle, hoppled
the animals, and left them to shift for themselves.

Now, kind reader, follow the group marching through the swamp, crossing
muddy pools, and making the best of their way over fallen trees and
amongst the tangled rushes that now and then covered acres of ground. If
you are a hunter yourself, all this will appear nothing to you; but if
crowded assemblies of "beauty and fashion," or the quiet enjoyment of
your "pleasure-grounds," alone delight you, I must mend my pen before
I attempt to give you an idea of the pleasure felt on such an expedition.

After marching for a couple of hours, we again heard the dogs. Each of
us pressed forward, elated at the thought of terminating the career of
the cougar. Some of the dogs were heard whining, although the greater
number barked vehemently. We felt assured that the cougar was treed,
and that he would rest for some time to recover from his fatigue. As we
came up to the dogs, we discovered the ferocious animal lying across
a large branch, close to the trunk of a cotton-wood tree. His broad
breast lay towards us; his eyes were at one time bent on us and again
on the dogs beneath and around him; one of his fore legs hung loosely
by his side, and he lay crouched, with his ears lowered close to his
head, as if he thought he might remain undiscovered. Three balls were
fired at him, at a given signal, on which he sprang a few feet from the
branch, and tumbled headlong to the ground. Attacked on all sides by the
enraged curs, the infuriated Cougar fought with desperate valour; but
the squatter advancing in front of the party, and almost in the midst
of the dogs, shot him immediately behind and beneath the left shoulder.
The Cougar writhed for a moment in agony, and in another lay dead.

The sun was now sinking in the west. Two of the hunters separated from
the rest, to procure venison, whilst the squatter's sons were ordered
to make the best of their way home, to be ready to feed the hogs in the
morning. The rest of the party agreed to camp on the spot. The cougar
was despoiled of its skin, and its carcass left to the hungry dogs.
Whilst engaged in preparing our camp, we heard the report of a gun, and
soon after one of our hunters returned with a small deer. A fire was
lighted, and each hunter displayed his _pone_ of bread, along with a
flask of whisky. The deer was skinned in a trice, and slices placed on
sticks before the fire. These materials afforded us an excellent meal,
and as the night grew darker, stories and songs went round, until my
companions, fatigued, laid themselves down, close under the smoke of
the fire, and soon fell asleep.

I walked for some minutes round the camp, to contemplate the beauties of
that nature, from which I have certainly derived my greatest pleasures.
I thought of the occurrences of the day, and glancing my eye around,
remarked the singular effects produced by the phosphorescent qualities
of the large decayed trunks which lay in all directions around me. How
easy, I thought, would it be for the confused and agitated mind of a
person bewildered in a swamp like this, to imagine in each of these
luminous masses some wondrous and fearful being, the very sight of
which might make the hair stand erect on his head. The thought of being
myself placed in such a predicament burst over my mind, and I hastened
to join my companions, beside whom I laid me down and slept, assured
that no enemy could approach us without first rousing the dogs, which
were growling in fierce dispute over the remains of the cougar.

At daybreak we left our camp, the squatter bearing on his shoulder the
skin of the late destroyer of his stock, and retraced our steps until
we found our horses, which had not strayed far from the place where we
had left them. These we soon saddled, and jogging along, in a direct
course, guided by the sun, congratulating each other on the destruction
of so formidable a neighbour as the panther had been, we soon arrived
at my host's cabin. The five neighbours partook of such refreshment as
the house could afford, and dispersing, returned to their homes, leaving
me to follow my favourite pursuits.



THE RUFFED GROUSE.

_TETRAO UMBELLUS_, LINN.

PLATE XLI. MALE AND FEMALE.


You are now presented, kind reader, with a species of Grouse, which,
in my humble opinion, far surpasses as an article of food every other
land-bird which we have in the United States, except the Wild Turkey,
when in good condition. You must not be surprised that I thus express an
opinion contradictory to that of our Eastern epicures, who greatly prefer
the flesh of the Pinnated Grouse to that of the present species, for I
have had abundant opportunity of knowing both. Perhaps, after all, the
preference may depend upon a peculiarity in my own taste; or I may give
the superiority to the Ruffed Grouse, because it is as rarely met with
in the Southern States, where I have chiefly resided, as the Pinnated
Grouse is in the Middle Districts; and were the _bon-vivants_ of our
eastern cities to be occasionally satiated with the latter birds, as I
have been, they might possibly think their flesh as dry and flavourless
as I do.

The names of _Pheasant_ and _Partridge_ have been given to the present
species by our forefathers, in the different districts where it is
found. To the west of the Alleghanies, and on these mountains, the first
name is generally used. The same appellation is employed in the Middle
Districts, to the east of the mountains, and until you enter the State
of Connecticut; after which that of _Partridge_ prevails.

The Ruffed Grouse, although a constant resident in the districts which it
frequents, performs partial sorties at the approach of autumn. These are
not equal in extent to the peregrinations of the Wild Turkey, our little
Partridge, or the Pinnated Grouse, but are sufficiently so to become
observable during the seasons when certain portions of the mountainous
districts which they inhabit become less abundantly supplied with food
than others. These partial movings might not be noticed, were not the
birds obliged to fly across rivers of great breadth, as whilst in the
mountain lands their groups are as numerous as those which attempt these
migrations; but on the north-west banks of the Ohio and Susquehanna
rivers, no one who pays the least attention to the manners and habits
of our birds, can fail to observe them. The Grouse approach the banks of
the Ohio in parties of eight or ten, now and then of twelve or fifteen,
and, on arriving there, linger in the woods close by for a week or a
fortnight, as if fearful of encountering the danger to be incurred in
crossing the stream. This usually happens in the beginning of October,
when these birds are in the very best order for the table, and at this
period great numbers of them are killed. If started from the ground,
with or without the assistance of a dog, they immediately alight on the
nearest trees, and are easily shot. At length, however, they resolve
upon crossing the river; and this they accomplish with so much ease,
that I never saw any of them drop into the water. Not more than two or
three days elapse after they have reached the opposite shore, when they
at once proceed to the interior of the forests, in search of places
congenial to the general character of their habits. They now resume
their ordinary manner of living, which they continue until the approach
of spring, when the males, as if leading the way, proceed singly towards
the country from which they had retreated. The females follow in small
parties of three or four. In the month of October 1820, I observed a
larger number of Ruffed Grouse migrating thus from the States of Ohio,
Illinois and Indiana into Kentucky, than I had ever before remarked.
During the short period of their lingering along the north-west shore of
the Ohio that season, a great number of them was killed, and they were
sold in the Cincinnati market for so small a sum as 12½ cents each.

Although these birds are particularly attached to the craggy sides of
mountains and hills, and the rocky borders of rivers and small streams,
thickly mantled with evergreen trees and small shrubs of the same
nature, they at times remove to low lands, and even enter the thickest
cane-brakes, where they also sometimes breed. I have shot some, and have
heard them _drumming_ in such places, when there were no hills nearer
than fifteen or twenty miles. The lower parts of the State of Indiana and
also those of Kentucky, are amongst the places where I have discovered
them in such situations.

The charming groves which here and there contrast so beautifully with
the general dull appearance of those parts of Kentucky and Tennessee, to
which the name of _Barrens_ is given, are sought by the Ruffed Grouse.
These groves afford them abundant food and security. The gentle coolness
that prevails in them during the summer heat is agreeable and beneficial
to these birds, and the closeness of their undergrowth in other spots
moderates the cold blasts of winter. There this species breeds, and is at
all times to be found. Their _drumming_ is to be heard issuing from these
peaceful retreats in early spring, at the same time that the _booming_
of their relative, the Pinnated Grouse, is recognised, as it reaches the
ear of the traveller, from the different parts of the more open country
around. In such places as the groves just mentioned, the species now
before you, kind reader, is to be met with, as you travel towards the
south, through the whole of Tennessee and the Choctaw Territory; but as
you approach the city of Natchez they disappear, nor have I ever heard
of one of these birds having been seen in the State of Louisiana.

The mountainous parts of the Middle States being more usually the chosen
residence of this species, I shall, with your permission, kind reader,
return to them, and try to give you an account of this valuable Grouse.

The flight of the Ruffed Grouse is straight-forward, rather low, unless
when the bird has been disturbed, and seldom protracted beyond a few
hundred yards at a time. It is also stiff, and performed with a continued
beating of the wings for more than half its duration, after which the
bird sails and seems to balance its body as it proceeds through the air,
in the manner of a vessel sailing right before the wind. When this bird
rises from the ground at a time when pursued by an enemy, or tracked by
a dog, it produces a loud whirring sound, resembling that of the whole
tribe, excepting the Black Cock of Europe, which has less of it than
any other species. This whirring sound is never heard when the Grouse
rises of its own accord, for the purpose of removing from one place to
another; nor, in similar circumstances, is it commonly produced by our
little Partridge. In fact, I do not believe that it is emitted by any
species of Grouse, unless when surprised and forced to rise. I have
often been lying on the ground in the woods or the fields for hours at a
time, for the express purpose of observing the movements and habits of
different birds, and have frequently seen a Partridge or a Grouse rise
on wing from within a few yards of the spot in which I lay unobserved
by them, as gently and softly as any other bird, and without producing
any whirring sound. Nor even when this Grouse ascends to the top of a
tree, does it make any greater noise than other birds of the same size
would do.

I have said this much respecting the flight of Grouse, because it is a
prevalent opinion, both among sportsmen and naturalists, that the whirring
sound produced by birds of that genus, is a necessary effect of their
_usual_ mode of flight. But that this is an error, I have abundantly
satisfied myself by numberless observations.

On the ground, where the Ruffed Grouse spends a large portion of its
time, its motions are peculiarly graceful. It walks with an elevated
firm step, opening its beautiful tail gently and with a well-marked jet,
holding erect its head, the feathers of which are frequently raised, as
are the velvety tufts of its neck. It poises its body on one foot for
several seconds at a time, and utters a soft _cluck_, which in itself
implies a degree of confidence in the bird that its _tout ensemble_
is deserving of the notice of any bystander. Should the bird discover
that it is observed, its step immediately changes to a rapid run, its
head is lowered, the tail is more widely spread, and if no convenient
hiding-place is at hand, it immediately takes flight with as much of the
whirring sound as it can produce, as if to prove to the observer, that,
when on wing, it cares as little about him as the deer pretends to do,
when, on being started by the hound, he makes several lofty bounds, and
erects his tail to the breeze. Should the Grouse, however, run into a
thicket, or even over a place where many dried leaves lie on the ground,
it suddenly stops, squats, and remains close until the danger is over,
or until it is forced by a dog or the sportsman himself to rise against
its wish.

The shooting of Grouse of this species is precarious, and at times very
difficult, on account of the nature of the places which they usually
prefer. Should, for instance, a covey of these birds be raised from
amongst Laurels (_Kalmia latifolia_) or the largest species of Bay
(_Rhododendron maximum_), these shrubs so intercept the view of them,
that, unless the sportsman proves quite an adept in the difficult art
of pulling the trigger of his gun at the proper moment, and quickly,
his first chance is lost, and the next is very uncertain. I say still
more uncertain, because at this putting up of the birds, they generally
rise higher over the bushes, flying in a straight course, whereas at
the second start, they often fly among the laurels, and rise above them
in a circuitous manner, when to follow them along the barrel of the gun
is considerably more difficult. Sometimes, when these birds are found
on the sides of a steep hill, the moment they start, they dive towards
the foot of the declivity, take a turn, and fly off in a direction so
different from the one expected, that unless the sportsman is aware of
the trick, he may not see them again that day. The young birds often
prove equally difficult to be obtained, for as they are raised from
amongst the closely tangled laurels, they only fly a few yards, and
again drop among them. A smart cur-dog generally proves the best kind on
these occasions; for no sooner does he start a covey of Ruffed Grouse
than his barking alarms the birds as much as the report of a gun, and
causes them to rise and alight on the nearest trees, on which they may
be shot at with great success.

This leads me to remark, that the prevailing notion which exists in
almost every district where these birds are numerous, that on firing
at the lowest bird perched on a tree, the next above will not fly, and
that by continuing to shoot at the lowest in succession, the whole may
be killed, is contradicted by my experience; for on every attempt which
I have made to shoot several in this manner on the same tree, my efforts
have proved unsuccessful, unless indeed during a fall of snow, when I
have killed three and sometimes four. The same cause produces the same
effect on different birds. It may happen, however, that in districts
covered with deep snow for several weeks, during severe winters, these
birds, becoming emaciated and weak, may stand a repetition of shots from
a person determined to shoot Grouse even when they are good for nothing;
but, kind reader, this barbarous taste is, I hope, no more yours than
it is mine.

During spring, and towards the latter part of autumn, at which times the
Ruffed Grouse is heard _drumming_ from different parts of the woods to
which it resorts, I have shot many a fine cock by imitating the sound of
its own wings striking against the body, which I did by beating a large
inflated bullock's bladder with a stick, keeping up as much as possible
the same _time_ as that in which the bird beats. At the sound produced
by the bladder and the stick, the male Grouse, inflamed with jealousy,
has flown directly towards me, when, being prepared, I have easily shot
it. An equally successful stratagem is employed to decoy the males of our
little Partridge by imitating the call-note of the female during spring
and summer; but in no instance, after repeated trials, have I been able
to entice the Pinnated Grouse to come towards me, whilst imitating the
_booming_ sounds of that bird.

Early in spring, these birds are frequently seen feeding on the tender
buds of different trees, and at that season are more easily approached
than at any other. Unfortunately, however, they have not by this time
recovered their flesh sufficiently to render them worthy of the attention
of a true sportsman, although their flavour has already improved.
When our mountains are covered with a profusion of Huckleberries and
Whortleberries, about the beginning of September, then is the time for
shooting this species, and enjoying the delicious food which it affords.

The Ruffed Grouse, on alighting upon a tree, after being raised from the
ground, perches amongst the thickest parts of the foliage, and, assuming
at once an erect attitude, stands perfectly still, and remains silent
until all appearance of danger has vanished. If discovered when thus
perched, it is very easily shot. On rising from the ground, the bird
utters a cackling note repeated six or seven times, and before taking
wing emits a lisping sort of whistle, which seems as if produced by the
young of another bird, and is very remarkable.

When the ground is covered with snow sufficiently soft to allow this bird
to conceal itself under it, it dives headlong into it with such force
as to form a hole several yards in length, re-appears at that distance,
and continues to elude the pursuit of the sportsman by flight. They are
sometimes caught while beneath the snow. Many of them are taken alive
in trap boxes during winter, although the more common method of catching
or rather destroying them is by setting dead falls with a figure-of-four
trigger.

Early in April, the Ruffed Grouse begins to _drum_ immediately after
dawn, and again towards the close of day. As the season advances, the
drumming is repeated more frequently at all hours of the day; and where
these birds are abundant, this curious sound is heard from all parts
of the woods in which they reside. The drumming is performed in the
following manner. The male bird, standing erect on a prostrate decayed
trunk, raises the feathers of its body, in the manner of a Turkey-cock,
draws its head towards its tail, erecting the feathers of the latter at
the same time, and raising its ruff around the neck, suffers its wings
to droop, and struts about on the log. A few moments elapse, when the
bird draws the whole of its feathers close to its body, and stretching
itself out, beats its sides with its wings, in the manner of the domestic
Cock, but more loudly, and with such rapidity of motion, after a few
of the first strokes, as to cause a tremor in the air not unlike the
rumbling of distant thunder. This, kind reader, is the "_drumming_" of
the Pheasant. In perfectly calm weather, it may be heard at the distance
of two hundred yards, but might be supposed to proceed from a much
greater distance. The female, which never drums, flies directly to the
place where the male is thus engaged, and, on approaching him, opens
her wings before him, balances her body to the right and left, and then
receives his caresses.

The same trunk is resorted to by the same birds during the season, unless
they are frequently disturbed. These trunks are easily known by the
quantity of excrements and feathers about them. The males have the liberty
of promiscuous concubinage, although not to such an extent as those
of the Pinnated Grouse. They have frequent and severe battles at this
season, which, although witnessed by the females, are never interrupted
by them. The drumming sounds of these birds lead to their destruction,
every young sportsman taking the unfair advantage of approaching them
at this season, and shooting them in the act.

About the beginning of May, the female retires to some thicket in a close
part of the woods, where she forms a nest. This is placed by the side
of a prostrate tree, or at the foot of a low bush, on the ground, in a
spot where a heap of dried leaves has been formed by the wind. The nest
is composed of dried leaves and herbaceous plants. The female lays from
five to twelve eggs, which are of a uniform dull yellowish colour, and
are proportionate in size to the bird. The latter never covers them on
leaving the nest, and in consequence, the Raven and the Crow, always on
the look out for such dainties, frequently discover and eat them. When
the female is present, however, she generally defends them with great
obstinacy, striking the intruder with her wings and feet, in the manner
of the Common Hen.

The young run about and follow the mother, the moment after they leave
the egg. They are able to fly for a few yards at a time, when only six
or seven days old, and still very small. The mother leads them in search
of food, covers them at night with her wings, and evinces the greatest
care and affection towards them on the least appearance of danger,
trying by every art in her power to draw the attention of her enemies to
herself, feigning lameness, tumbling and rolling about as if severely
wounded, and by this means generally succeeding in saving them. The
little ones squat at the least chuck of alarm from the mother, and lie
so close as to suffer one to catch them in the hand, should he chance
to discover them, which, however, it is very difficult to do. The males
are then beginning to associate in small parties, and continue separated
from the females until the approach of winter, when males, females, and
young, mingle together. During summer, these birds are fond of dusting
themselves, and resort to the roads for that purpose, as well as to pick
up gravel. I have observed this species copulating towards autumn, but
have not been able to account for this unseasonable procedure, as only
one brood is raised in the season.

These birds have various enemies besides man. Different species of Hawks
destroy them, particularly the Red-tailed Hawk and the Stanley Hawk.
The former watches their motions from the tops of trees, and falls upon
them with the swiftness of thought, whilst the latter seizes upon them
as he glides rapidly through the woods. Pole-cats, weasels, raccoons,
oppossums, and foxes, are all destructive foes to them. Of these, some
are content with sucking their eggs, while others feed on their flesh.

I have found these birds most numerous in the States of Pennsylvania
and New York. They are brought to the markets in great numbers, during
the winter months, and sell at from 75 cents to a dollar a-piece, in the
eastern cities. At Pittsburg I have bought them, some years ago, for 12½
cents the pair. It is said that when they have fed for several weeks
on the leaves of the _Kalmia latifolia_, it is dangerous to eat their
flesh, and I believe laws have been passed to prevent their being sold
at that season. I have, however, eaten them at all seasons, and although
I have found their crops distended with the leaves of the Kalmia, have
never felt the least inconvenience after eating them, nor even perceived
any difference of taste in their flesh. I suspect it is only when the
birds have been kept a long time undrawn and unplucked, that the flesh
becomes impregnated with the juice of these leaves.

The food of this species consists of seeds and berries of all kinds,
according to the season. It also feeds on the leaves of several species
of evergreens, although these are only resorted to when other food has
become scarce. They are particularly fond of fox-grapes and winter-grapes,
as well as strawberries and dewberries. To procure the latter, they
issue from the groves of the Kentucky Barrens, and often stray to the
distance of a mile. They roost on trees, amongst the thickest parts of
the foliage, sitting at some distance from each other, and may easily
be smoked to death, by using the necessary precautions.

I cannot conclude this article, kind reader, without observing how
desirable the acquisition of this species might be to the sportsmen of
Europe, and especially to those of England, where I am surprised it has
not yet been introduced. The size of these birds, the beauty of their
plumage, the excellence of their flesh, and their peculiar mode of
flying, would render them valuable, and add greatly to the interest of
the already diversified sports of that country. In England and Scotland
there are thousands of situations that are by nature perfectly suited
to their habits, and I have not a doubt that a few years of attention
would be sufficient to render them quite as common as the Grey Partridge.


     TETRAO UMBELLUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 275.—_Lath._
     Ind. Orn. vol. ii. p. 638.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 126.

     RUFFED GROUSE, TETRAO UMBELLUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. vi.
     p. 45. Pl. 49. Male.—_Lath._ Synops. vol. iv. p. 738.

     SHOULDER-KNOT GROUSE.—_Lath._ Synops. vol. iv. p. 737.


Adult Male. Plate XLI. Fig. 1, 2.

Bill short, robust, slightly arched, rather obtuse, the base covered
by feathers; upper mandible with the dorsal outline straight in the
feathered part, convex towards the end, the edges overlapping, the tip
declinate; under mandible somewhat bulging toward the tip, the sides
convex. Nostrils concealed among the feathers. Head and neck small.
Body bulky. Feet of ordinary length; tarsus feathered, excepting at the
lower part anteriorly, where it is scutellate, spurless; toes scutellate
above, pectinated on the sides; claws arched, depressed, obtuse.

Plumage compact, glossy. Feathers of the head narrow and elongated into
a curved tuft. A large space on the neck destitute of feathers, but
covered over by an erectile ruff of elongated feathers, of which the
upper are silky, shining, and curved forwards at the end, which is very
broad and rounded. Wings short, broad, much rounded and curved, the
third and fourth quills longest. Tail long, ample, rounded, of eighteen
feathers.

Bill horn-colour, brownish-black towards the tip. Iris hazel. Feet
yellowish-grey. Upper part of the head and hind part of the neck bright
yellowish-red. Back rich chestnut, marked with oblong white spots,
margined with black. Upper wing-coverts similar to the back. Quills
brownish-dusky, their outer webs pale reddish, spotted with dusky. Upper
tail-coverts banded with black. Tail reddish-yellow, barred and minutely
mottled with black, and terminated by a broad band of the latter colour,
between two narrow bands of bluish-white, of which one is terminal. A
yellowish-white band from the upper mandible to the eye, beyond which it
is prolonged. Throat and lower part of the neck light brownish-yellow.
Lower ruff feathers of the same colour, barred with reddish-brown, the
upper black with blue reflections. A tuft of light chestnut feathers
under the wings. The rest of the under parts yellowish-white, with broad
transverse spots of brownish-red; the abdomen yellowish-red; and the
under tail-coverts mottled with brown.

Length 18 inches, extent of wings 2 feet; bill along the ridge ¾, along
the gap 1-1/12; tarsus 1-7/12, middle toe 1¾.


Adult Female. Plate XLI. Fig. 3.

The plumage of the female is less developed and inferior in beauty. The
feathers of the head and ruff are less elongated, the latter of a duller
black. The tints of the plumage generally are lighter than in the male.



THE ORCHARD ORIOLE.

_ICTERUS SPURIUS_, BONAP.

PLATE XLII. MALE IN DIFFERENT STATES, ADULT FEMALE AND NEST.


The plumage of many species of our birds undergoes at times very
extraordinary changes. Some, such as the male Tanagers, which during the
summer months exhibit the most vivid scarlet and velvety black, assume
a dingy green before they leave the country, on their way southward.
The Goldfinch nearly changes to the same colour, after having been seen
in a gay apparel of yellow and black. The Rice Bird loses its lively
brightness until the return of spring. Others take several years before
they complete their plumage, so as to shew the true place which they hold
amongst the other species, as is the case with the Ibis, the Flamingo,
and many other Waders, as well as with several of our land birds, among
which, kind reader, the species now under your consideration is probably
that in which these gradual improvements are most observable by such
persons as reside in the country inhabited by them.

The plumage of the young birds of this species, when they leave the
nest, resembles that of the female parent, although rather less decided
in point of colouring, and both males and females retain this colour
until the approach of the following spring, when the former exhibit a
portion of black on the chin, the females never altering. In birds kept
in cages, this portion of black remains without farther augmentation
for two years; but in those which are at liberty, a curious mixture of
dull orange or deep chestnut peeps out through a considerable increase
of black-coloured feathers over the body and wings, intermixed with the
yellowish-green hue which the bird had when it left the nest. The third
spring brings him nearer towards perfection, as at that time the deep
chestnut colour has taken possession of the lower parts, the black has
deepened on the upper parts, and over the whole head, as well as on the
wings and tail-feathers. Yet the garb with which it is ultimately to be
covered requires another return of spring before it is completed, after
which it remains as exhibited in the adult male, represented in the plate.

These extraordinary changes are quite sufficient of themselves to lead
naturalists abroad into error, as they give rise to singular arguments
even with some persons in America, who maintain that the differences of
colour are indicative of different species. But, since the _habits_ of
these birds under all these singular changes of plumage are ascertained
to be precisely the same, the argument no longer holds good. I shall
now endeavour to describe these habits with all the accuracy supplied
by long observation.

The migration of the Orchard Oriole from south to north is performed by
day, and singly, as is that of its relative the Baltimore Oriole, the
males appearing a week or ten days sooner than the females. Their flight
is lower than that of the Baltimore, and considerably shorter in its
continuance, the Orchard Oriole alighting more frequently on the tops
of the trees, to rest or to feed. They exhibit a greater repetition of
motions of the wings, although sliding through the air for a few yards
only at a time, and whilst about to alight, as well as afterwards, perform
strong and well marked jettings of the tail. This the Baltimore seldom
does. No sooner have they reached the portion of the country in which
they intend to remain during the time of raising their young, than these
birds exhibit all the liveliness and vivacity belonging to their nature.
The male is seen rising in the air for ten or twenty yards in an indirect
manner, jerking his tail and body, flapping his wings, and singing with
remarkable impetuosity, as if under the influence of haste, and anxious
to return to the tree from which he has departed. He accordingly descends
with the same motions of the body and tail, repeating his pleasant song
as he alights. These gambols and carollings are performed frequently
during the day, the intervals being employed in ascending or descending
along the branches and twigs of different trees, in search of insects or
larvæ. In doing this, they rise on their legs, seldom without jetting
the tail, stretch their neck, seize the prey, and emit a single note,
which is sweet and mellow, although in power much inferior to that of the
Baltimore. At other times, it is seen bending its body downwards, in a
curved posture, with the head greatly inclined upwards, to peep at the
under parts of the leaves, so as not to suffer any grub to escape its
vigilance. It now alights on the ground, where it has spied a crawling
insect, and again flies towards the blossoms, in which many are lurking,
and devours hundreds of them each day, thus contributing to secure to
the farmer the hopes which he has of the productiveness of his orchard.

The arrival of the females is marked with all due regard, and the males
immediately use every effort in their power to procure from them a return
of attention. Their singings and tricks are performed with redoubled
ardour, until they are paired, when nidification is attended to with
the utmost activity. They resort to the meadows, or search along the
fences for the finest, longest, and toughest grasses they can find, and
having previously fixed on a spot either on an Apple Tree, or amidst
the drooping branches of the Weeping Willow, they begin by attaching
the grass firmly and neatly to the twigs more immediately around the
chosen place. The filaments are twisted, passed over and under, and
interwoven in such a manner as almost to defy the eye of man to follow
their windings. All this is done by the bill of the bird, in the manner
used by the Baltimore Oriole. The nest is of a hemispherical form, and
is supported by the margin only. It seldom exceeds three or four inches
in depth, is open almost to the full extent of its largest diameter at
the top or entrance, and finished on all sides, as well as within, with
the long slender grasses already mentioned. Some of these go round the
nest several times, as if coarsely woven together. This is the manner
in which the nest is constructed in Louisiana; in the Middle Districts
it is usually lined with soft and warm materials. The female lays from
four to six eggs of a bluish-white tint, sprinkled with dark brown, and
raises only a single brood in the season. The young follow the parents
for several weeks, and many birds congregate towards autumn, but the
males soon separate from the females, and set out by themselves as they
arrived in spring.

The sociality of the Orchard Oriole is quite remarkable, and in this
respect that bird differs widely from the Baltimore, which will not suffer
any other bird of its species to build a nest, or to remain within a
considerable distance from the spot which it has selected for its own;
whereas many nests of the species now before you may be observed in the
same garden or orchard, and often within a few yards of the house. I
have counted as many as nine of these nests on a few acres of ground,
and the different pairs to which they belonged lived in great harmony.

Although the food of the Orchard Orioles consists principally of insects
of various kinds, it is not composed exclusively of them. They are fond
of different sorts of fruits and berries. Figs are also much relished by
them, as well as mulberries and strawberries, but not to such a degree
as to draw the attention of the gardener or husbandman towards their
depredations.

This species makes its first appearance in Louisiana early in March, and
remains until October, being seen for several weeks after the Baltimore
Oriole has set out. In reaches the Middle Districts in the beginning of
April. I have met with it as far as the province of Maine and the head
waters of the Mississippi. It is fond of high ground and the neighbourhood
of mountains during the breeding season, after which it removes to the
meadows and prairies in considerable numbers. Whilst in these meadows,
it feeds principally upon a small species of cricket, ground spiders
and small grasshoppers. Their flesh is very good at that late season,
and is much esteemed by the Creoles of Louisiana.

The French of that State give it the name of _Pape de Prairie_, while
they designate the Baltimore Oriole by that of _Pape de Bois_, which
arises no doubt from the marked preference which the former manifests
to the plains in autumn, where a great number are shot or caught in trap
cages. It is easily kept in cages, where it sings with all the liveliness
which it shews in its wild state, and may be fed on rice and dry fruits,
when fresh ones cannot be procured. I have known one of these birds, a
beautiful male, kept for upwards of four years by a friend of mine at
New Orleans. It had been raised from the nest, and having passed through
the different changes of its plumage, had become perfect, was full of
action, and sung delightfully.

The nest represented in the plate was drawn in Louisiana, and was entirely
composed of grass. It may be looked upon as a sample of the usual form
and construction. The branch of Honey Locust on which you see these
birds belongs to a tree which sometimes grows to a great height, without
much apparent choice of situation. It is more abundant to the west of
the Alleghanies, and towards the Southern Districts, than in the Middle
States. The wood is brittle and seldom used. The trunk and branches are
frequently covered with innumerable long, sharp, and extremely hard
spines, protruded in every direction, and in some instances placed
so near to each other as to preclude the possibility of any person's
climbing them. It bears a long pod, containing a sweet substance, not
unlike that of the honey of bees, and which is eaten by children, when
it becomes quite ripe. The spines are made use of by tobacconists for
the purpose of fastening together the different twists of their rolls.


     ICTERUS SPURIUS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 51.

     ORIOLUS SPURIUS, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 389.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 180.

     BASTARD BALTIMORE, _Lath._ Synops. vol. ii. p. 433.

     ORCHARD ORIOLE, ORIOLUS MUTATUS, _Wils._ Americ. Ornith. vol. i.
     p. 64. Pl. iv. fig. 1, 2, 3, 4.


Male in complete plumage. Plate XLII. Fig. 1, 2.

Bill conical, slender, longish, compressed, a little curved, very acute,
with inflected acute margins; upper mandible obtuse above, lower broadly
obtuse beneath. Nostrils oval, covered by a membrane above, basal. Head
and neck of ordinary size. Body rather slender. Feet of ordinary length;
tarsus a little longer than the middle toe; inner toe little shorter
than the outer; claws arched, compressed, acute, that of the hind toe
twice the size of the others.

Plumage soft, blended, glossy. Wings of ordinary length, the second and
third primaries longest. Tail long, rounded, of twelve rounded feathers.

Bill black above with light blue margins, light blue beneath. Iris
reddish-brown. Feet light blue. Head, neck, and upper back black; the
rest of the body dusky orange-red, approaching to chestnut. Quills
and larger coverts black, margined with yellow, the latter tipped with
yellowish-white; tail black.

Length 6½ inches, extent of wings 9; bill along the ridge 7/12, along
the gap ¾; tarsus 1, middle toe ⅚.


Adult Female. Plate XLII. Fig. 5.

Bill, feet and iris, as in the male. Head and upper parts brownish-green.
Wings and tail greenish-brown; wing-coverts tipped with white; throat
white, sides of the neck and under parts generally greyish-yellow. The
young of both sexes resemble the female.


Male, first autumn and spring. Plate XLII. Fig. 3.

A patch of black on the throat, continued upwards over the lore and
forehead. Head and upper parts brownish-green; fore part of the back
orange; a yellow band over the eye. Under parts light yellow. Wings and
tail as in the female, but the coverts tipped with yellow.


Male in the second year. Plate XLII. Fig 4.

Irregularly spotted with black, yellow, and reddish orange, on the head,
neck, and back; the other parts nearly as in the adult male.


THE HONEY LOCUST.

     GLEDITSCHIA TRICANTHOS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 1097.
     _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 221. _Mich._ Arbr. Forest.
     vol. iii. p. 164. Pl. 10.—POLYGAMIA DIŒCIA, _Linn._ LEGUMINOSÆ,
     _Juss._

This tree, when growing in situations most favourable to it, sometimes
attains a height of sixty or eighty feet, and a diameter of three or
four. The bark is detached in large plates, and the trunk is marked with
several broad furrows. The flowers, which are small and of a greenish
colour, are succeeded by long, flat, pendent, generally tortuous pods,
of a brown colour. The wood is very hard, but porous and brittle. This
species is distinguished by its numerous, generally tripartite spines,
its linear-oblong leaflets, and its many-seeded, compressed legumes.



THE CEDAR BIRD.

_BOMBYCILLA CAROLINENSIS_, BRISS.

PLATE XLIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


Louisiana affords abundance of food and pleasant weather to this species,
for nearly four months of the year, as the Cedar Birds reach that
State about the beginning of November, and retire towards the Middle
Districts in the beginning of March. The Holly, the Vines, the Persimon,
the Pride-of-China, and various other trees, supply them with plenty
of berries and fruits, on which they fatten, and become so tender and
juicy as to be sought by every epicure for the table. I have known an
instance of a basketful of these little birds having been forwarded to
New Orleans as a Christmas present. The donor, however, was disappointed
in his desire to please his friend in that city, for it was afterwards
discovered that the steward of the steamer, in which they were shipped,
made pies of them for the benefit of the passengers.

The appetite of the Cedar Bird is of so extraordinary a nature as to
prompt it to devour every fruit or berry that comes in its way. In this
manner they gorge themselves to such excess as sometimes to be unable
to fly, and suffer themselves to be taken by the hand. Indeed I have
seen some which, although wounded and confined in a cage, have eaten of
apples until suffocation deprived them of life in the course of a few
days. When opened afterwards, they were found to be gorged to the mouth.

It is a beautiful bird, but without any song, even during the breeding
season, having only a note which it uses for the purpose of calling or
rallying others of its species. This note is feeble, and as it were
lisping, yet perfectly effectual, for when uttered by one in a flock
within hearing of another party, the latter usually check their flight,
and alight pell-mell on the same tree.

Their flight is easy, continued, and often performed at a considerable
height. The birds move in close bodies, sometimes amounting to large
flocks, making various circumvolutions before they alight, and then
coming down in such numbers together as to seem to be touching each
other. At this particular moment, or while performing their evolutions,
some dozens may be killed at a single shot; but if this opportunity is
lost, the next moment after they alight, the whole group is in motion,
dispersing over every bough to pick the berries which attracted them from
the air. Their crest is now erected, their wings are seen constantly
moving, and so eagerly do they grasp at the berries that they suffer
many of them to fall. Every flock passing within hearing is invited
to join in the feast, and in a few hours the tree is entirely stripped
of its fruit. In this manner they search the whole of the forests, and
towards winter are even satisfied with the berries of the Dog-wood. As
the cherries and mulberries ripen in the Middle Districts, the Cedar
Bird pays them frequent visits, and when these are out of season, the
blackberries and huckleberries have their turn. After this, the Cedars
supply a new and favourite food. I think the name of _Fruit-devourers_
would be more applicable to these birds than that of _Chatterers_, which
they bear among naturalists.

They are excellent fly-catchers also, spending much of their time in
the pursuit of winged insects. This is by way of dessert, and is not
managed with the vivacity or suddenness of true Fly-catchers, but with
a kind of listlessness. They start from the branches, and give chase to
the insects, ascending after them for a few yards, or move horizontally
towards them, perhaps rather farther than when ascending, and as soon
as the prey is secured, return to the spot, where they continue watching
with slow motions of the head. Towards evening, this amusement is carried
on for half an hour, or an hour at a time, and is continued longer at
the approach of autumn, the berries then becoming scarcer.

These birds come from the north, but the furthest place from which they
have started I am unable to tell. They reach the Middle Districts about
the beginning of April, and begin to pair in the beginning of June,
when thousands of young birds of other species have already left the
nest. Their favourite place for their nest is generally the branch of an
Apple-tree in the Orchard, its horizontal direction being apparently best
adapted for their taste, although here they are frequently very insecure,
the nest being seldom higher than ten feet from the ground, and often
so low as to be seen into. It is composed of coarse grasses externally,
and is lined with a finer kind. The female usually lays four eggs, of
a purplish white, marked with black spots, which are larger towards the
great end. The young are at first fed on insects, but after a week the
parents procure different kinds of fruits for them. The Cedar Bird nestles
less frequently in the low lands than it does in the upper parts of
the country, preferring the immediate neighbourhood of mountains. These
birds are more careful of themselves during the intrusion of strangers
to their nest, than perhaps any other species, and sneak off, in a very
unparental manner, quite out of sight, without ever evincing the least
appearance of sorrow on the occasion. I have not been able to ascertain
whether they raise more than one brood in a season.

When wounded by a shot, they fall to the ground as if dead, and remain
there in a stiffened posture, as if absolutely stupid. When taken up
in the hand, they merely open their bill, without ever attempting to
bite, and will suffer a person to carry them in the open hand, without
endeavouring to make off. Their crest at such times is laid flat and
close to the head. It is lowered or raised at the will of the bird, but
more usually stands erect. Their plumage is silky. The females do not
exhibit the waxen appendages on the wings so soon as the males; but these
appendages form no criterion as to the sex. I have seen males and females
with them, both at the extremities of the scapulars and tail-feathers,
seldom more than two or three attached to the latter, whilst there were
five or six at the former. Very few of these birds remain the whole
winter in the Middle States.

Now, kind reader, can _you_ give a reason why these birds are so tardy
in laying their eggs and rearing their young? It cannot be through want
of fruit for the food of their progeny, as the young birds, being at
first fed on insects, might continue to be so, at a season when these
abound, and as the old birds themselves evince pleasure at seizing them
on the wing on all occasions.


     BOMBYCILLA CAROLINENSIS, _Briss._ vol. ii. p. 337.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 59.

     AMPELIS GARRULUS, var. _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 297.
     —_Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 364.

     CHATTERER OF CAROLINA, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iii. p. 93.

     CEDAR BIRD, AMPELIS AMERICANA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. i.
     p. 107. Fig. 1.


Adult Male. Plate XLIII. Fig. 1.

Bill short, straightish, broader than deep at the base, compressed towards
the end; upper mandible convex in its dorsal outline, with the edges
sharp, overlapping, and marked with a notch close upon the declinate,
acute tip; lower mandible nearly straight, a little bulging toward the
end. Nostrils basal, oval, partially concealed by the recumbent feathers.
Head and neck of ordinary size. Body bulky. Legs rather short; tarsus
compressed, anteriorly scutellate; toes scutellate above, the outer toe
united at the base to the middle one, the inner shorter than the outer;
claws arched, compressed, acute.

Plumage blended, soft and silky; an erectile tuft on the head. Wings
rather long, the first quill longest. Tail slightly rounded, of twelve
straight, broad feathers.

Bill, eyes, and feet, brownish-black. A black band on the forehead,
passing backwards, tapering behind the eye, to the occiput, and
margined above and below by a narrow white band. Head, neck, and breast
yellowish-brown, or fawn colour, fading into yellow on the abdomen,
and yellowish-white under the tail. Chin black. Back and wing-coverts
greyish-brown, passing on the lower back into light bluish-grey, of
which colour are the tail-coverts. Quills brownish-black, some of the
secondaries tipped with a small flat, oblong appendage, of the colour
of red sealing-wax. Of these appendages there are also frequently some
on the tail, which is greyish at the base, passing into brownish-black,
and terminated by a band of pale yellow.

Length 6¾ inches, extent of wings 11; bill along the ridge 5/12, along
the gap ¾; tarsus ¾.


Adult Female. Plate XLIII. Fig. 2.

The female is slightly smaller, and in external appearance differs from
the male only in being a little lighter in the tints of the plumage,
and in having the crest shorter. The waxen appendages also occur in the
female.


THE RED CEDAR.

     JUNIPERUS VIRGINIANA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 863. _Mich._
     Arbr. Forest. de l'Amer. Septent. vol. iii. p. 42. Pl. 5.—DIŒCIA
     MONADELPHIA, _Linn._ CONIFERÆ, _Juss._

This plant is very generally distributed in the United States, and
frequently attains a height of from forty to fifty feet, with a diameter
of a foot or fifteen inches at the base. It is distinguished by its
ternate leaves, which are adnate at the base, and imbricated. The berries
are oval, small, and of a bluish colour. The wood is red, close-grained,
very durable, and has a strong scent. Its growth is extremely slow, and
this circumstance, together with the great destruction of the tree for
various purposes, has rendered it difficult to procure cedar-wood of
tolerable size in the more accessible parts of the country.



THE SUMMER RED BIRD.

_TANAGRA ÆSTIVA_, GMEL.

PLATE XLIV. ADULT MALE, YOUNG MALE, AND FEMALE.


This beautiful species is destitute of song, and is of solitary habits,
preferring at all times the interior of the forests, but not the densest
parts of them. I have observed that woods interspersed with what are
called _scrubby_ hickories or stunted oaks, are favourite resorts of
the Summer Red Birds.

Their residence in the United States scarcely exceeds four months. None
remain in any of the more southern parts of our districts. Indeed, by
the middle of September, it would be difficult to see a single pair in
the forests of Louisiana. So very tender do they seem to be in regard
to cold, or even temperate weather, that they seldom go farther north
than Boston, or the shores of Lake Erie, but prefer the sandy woodlands
all along the eastern shores, as far as Massachusets.

Their flight is performed in a gliding manner when passing through the
woods, generally amidst the top branches of trees. Whilst migrating,
they rise high above the trees, and pursue their journeys only during
the day, diving towards dusk into the thickest parts of the foliage of
tall trees, from which their usual unmusical but well-known notes of
_chicky-chucky-chuck_ are heard, after the light of day has disappeared.
This species feeds principally on insects, and especially coleoptera,
some of which are often of larger size than a bird of the dimensions of
the Summer Red Bird might be supposed capable of swallowing. It seldom
alights on the ground, but prefers pursuing insects on the wing, which
it frequently does from the dried twigs at the extremity of the branches.

The construction of the nest of this richly clad species is nearly the
same in all parts of the Union in which it breeds. It is frequently
fixed on a branch crossing a road, or an opening of some description,
or, if in the woods, in some partially cleared space. It is usually
placed low on a horizontal branch. It is composed externally of dried
stalks of weeds, and is finished within with fine grass, arranged in
a slovenly manner. It is so insecurely fastened to the branch, that it
may be shaken off by striking the latter smartly. The female lays four
or five eggs of a light blue colour. The male and female sit upon them
alternately for twelve days, and are as anxious about their safety as
most species. The young are seen about the beginning of June, and follow
their parents until the time of the migration of the latter, which takes
place a fortnight earlier than that of the young birds. They raise only
one brood in a season.

The alterations of plumage which appear in the young birds between the
period at which they leave the nest, and the ensuing spring, are as great
as those of the Orchard Oriole. They are at first nearly of the colour of
the female. The males become a little mottled with dull reddish-orange,
towards the time of their departure for the south, the females only
deepening their tints. The following spring, the male appears either
spotted all over the body with bright red and yellowish-green, or only
partially so, having sometimes one wing of a greenish hue, whilst the
other is tinged all over with a dull vermilion tint. All these spots
and shades of colour gradually disappear, giving place to vermilion,
which, however, is yet dull; nor is it until the third spring that the
full brilliancy of the plumage is attained.

I have several times attempted to raise the young from the nest, but
in vain. Insects, fruits, and eggs, mixed with boiled meat of various
kinds, always failed, and the birds generally died in a very few days,
uttering a dull note, as if elicited by great suffering. The same note
is emitted by the young in their state of freedom, when, perched on a
branch, they await the appearance of their parents with their proper food.

I have represented an adult male, his mate, and a young bird in its
singularly patched state, to enable you to judge how different a family
of these birds must appear to the eye of a person unacquainted with the
peculiarity of these differences and changes of plumage.

The Vine on which you see them is usually called the _Muscadine_. It grows
everywhere in Louisiana, and the State of Mississippi, and that most
luxuriantly. In those States you may see vines of this species fifteen
inches in diameter near the roots, either entwined round the trunk of a
large tree, and by this means reaching the top branches and extending
over them and those of another tree, or, as if by magic, swinging in
the air, from roots attached at once to some of the uppermost branches.
In favourable seasons, they are laden with grapes, which hang in small
clusters from every branch, from which, when they are fully ripe, a good
shake will make them fall in astonishing quantity. The skin is thick
and very tough, the pulp glutinous, but so peculiarly flavoured as to
be very agreeable to the taste. These grapes are eaten by most people,
although an idea prevails, in Lower Louisiana particularly, that the
eating of them gives rise to bilious fevers. For my part, I can well
say, that the more I have eaten of them the better I have found myself;
and for this reason seldom lost an opportunity of refreshing my palate
with some of them in all my rambles. I am equally confident, that their
juice would make an excellent wine. Another absurd opinion prevails
in Louisiana, which is, that the Common Blackberries, however ripe and
pleasant, produce boils; although the country people make use of a strong
decoction of the root as a cure for dysentery.


     TANAGRA ÆSTIVA, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 889.—_Lath._
     Ind. Orn. vol i. p. 422.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 105.

     SUMMER TANAGER, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iii. p. 220.

     SUMMER RED BIRD, TANAGRA ÆSTIVA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol i.
     p. 95. Pl. vi. fig. 3. Male, fig. 4. Female.


Adult Male. Plate XLIV. Fig. 1.

Bill rather short, robust, tapering, compressed, acute; upper mandible
a little convex in its dorsal outline, convex on the sides, the acute
edge slightly notched near the tip, which is a little declinate; lower
mandible also a little convex in its dorsal outline, with the edges
inflected. Nostrils basal, lateral, round. Head large. Body rather long.
Feet shortish; tarsus compressed, anteriorly scutellate, about the length
of the middle toe; outer toe united at the base to the middle one; claws
arched, compressed, acute.

Plumage soft, blended, glossy. Wings of ordinary length, the second
quill longest. Tail slightly emarginate, of twelve acute feathers.

Bill yellowish-brown above, bluish below. Iris hazel. Feet and claws
light greyish-blue. The whole plumage is vermilion, brighter on the
lower parts, excepting the tips and inner webs of the quills, which are
tinged with brown.

Length 7¼ inches, extent of wings 11; bill along the ridge 7/12, along
the gap 1; tarsus ⅚.


Adult Female. Plate XLIV. Fig. 3.

The general colour above is light brownish-green, the sides of the
head and the under parts generally brownish-yellow; larger wing-coverts
dusky, edged with yellow; quills deep brown, externally margined with
yellowish-red; tail-feathers of the same colour. The bill, eyes and legs
are of the same tints as in the male.

Dimensions nearly the same.


Young Male. Plate XLIV. Fig. 2.

Dull vermilion, spotted with dull green.


THE WILD MUSCADINE.

     VITIS ROTUNDIFOLIA, _Mich._ Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 231.
     _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 169.—PENTANDRIA MONOGYNIA,
     _Linn._ VITES, _Juss._

Leaves between heart-shaped and kidney-shaped, nearly equally toothed,
shining on both sides.



TRAILL'S FLY-CATCHER.

_MUSCICAPA TRAILLII._

PLATE XLV. MALE.


This is a species which, in its external appearance, is so closely allied
to the _Wood Pewee_, and the small Green-crested Fly-catcher, that the
most careful inspection is necessary to establish the real differences
existing between these three species. Its notes, however, are perfectly
different, as are, in some measure, its habits, as well as the districts
in which it resides.

The notes of Traill's Fly-catcher consist of the sounds _wheet, wheet_,
which it articulates clearly while on wing. It resides in the skirts of
the woods along the prairie lands of the Arkansas river, where alone I
have been able to procure it. When leaving the top branches of a low tree,
this bird takes long flights, skimming in zigzag lines, passing close
over the tops of the tall grasses, snapping at and seizing different
species of winged insects, and returning to the same trees to alight.
Its notes, I observed, were uttered when on the point of leaving the
branch. The pair chased the insects as if acting in concert, and doubtless
had a nest in the immediate neighbourhood, although I was unable to
discover it. It being in the month of April, I suspected the female had
not begun to lay. Five of the eggs in the ovary were about the size of
green pease. I could not perceive any difference in the colouring of
the plumage between the sexes, and I have represented the male in that
inclined and rather crouching attitude which I observed the bird always
to assume when alighted.

I have named this species after my learned friend Dr THOMAS STEWART TRAILL
of Liverpool, in evidence of the gratitude which I cherish towards that
benevolent gentleman for all his kind attentions to me.

The Sweet Gum, on a branch of which I have placed Traill's Fly-catcher,
grows in almost every portion of the western and southern districts of the
United States. It sometimes attains a great size, but is more commonly
of moderate stature. Its wood is of little use. This tree is frequently
found with a cork-like bark protruding in shreds from its branches.


     MUSCICAPA TRAILLII.


Plate XLV. Adult Male.

Bill of ordinary length, depressed, tapering to a point, the lateral
outlines a little convex, very broad at the base; the gap reaching to
nearly under the eye; upper mandible with the edges acute, slightly
notched close upon the tip, which is a little deflected and acute; lower
mandible straight, acute. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical. Head and
neck of moderate size. Body rather slender. Feet of moderate length,
slender; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with short scutella, and
longer than the middle toe; toes free, scutellate above; claws compressed,
arched, acute.

Plumage soft and tufty; feathers of the head narrow and erectile. Wings
of moderate length, third quill longest. Tail longish, slightly forked
when closed, of twelve rather narrow, obtuse feathers.

Bill dark brown above, yellow beneath. Iris hazel. Feet brownish-black.
The general colour of the plumage above is dull brownish-olive, the two
rows of larger wing-coverts tipped with dull white. Throat greyish-white,
as is a very narrow space around the eye; sides of the head and neck,
and fore part of the breast, coloured like the back, but lighter; the
rest of the under parts dull yellowish-white.

Length 5¾ inches, extent of wings 8½; bill along the ridge ½, along gap ¾;
tarsus 7/12.

As already mentioned, this species bears a very close resemblance to
_Muscicapa acadica_, and _M. virens_, more especially the former.

_Muscicapa virens_ has the tail deeply emarginate, whereas in the present
species that part is nearly even. The colouring is nearly the same in
both, but _M. virens_ is considerably larger.

_Muscicapa acadica_ is also similarly coloured, but in it the whitish
space about the eye is larger, the throat darker, the breast and abdomen
lighter. The tail also is quite even. A decided difference exists in
the bill, which, in place of being convex in its lateral outlines, is
a little concave.


THE SWEET GUM.

     LIQUIDAMBAR STYRACIFLUA, _Wild._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 476.
     _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. vol. ii. p. 635. _Mich._ Arbr. Forest. de
     l'Amer. Sept. vol. iii. p. 194, Pl. iv.—MONŒCIA POLYANDRIA,
     _Linn._ AMENTACEÆ, _Juss._

This species, which is the only one that grows in the United States,
is distinguished by its palmate leaves, the lobes of which are toothed
and acuminate, the axils of the nerves downy. In large individuals, the
bark is deeply cracked. The wood is very hard and fine grained, but is
now little used, although formerly furniture of various kinds was made
of it. When the bark is removed, a resinous substance exudes, which has
an agreeable smell, but is only obtained in very small quantity.



THE EARTHQUAKE.


Travelling through the Barrens of Kentucky (of which I shall give you
an account elsewhere) in the month of November, I was jogging on one
afternoon, when I remarked a sudden and strange darkness rising from the
western horizon. Accustomed to our heavy storms of thunder and rain,
I took no more notice of it, as I thought the speed of my horse might
enable me to get under shelter of the roof of an acquaintance, who lived
not far distant, before it should come up. I had proceeded about a mile,
when I heard what I imagined to be the distant rumbling of a violent
tornado, on which I spurred my steed, with a wish to gallop as fast
as possible to the place of shelter; but it would not do, the animal
knew better than I what was forthcoming, and, instead of going faster,
so nearly stopped, that I remarked he placed one foot after another on
the ground with as much precaution as if walking on a smooth sheet of
ice. I thought he had suddenly foundered, and, speaking to him, was
on the point of dismounting and leading him, when he all of a sudden
fell a-groaning piteously, hung his head, spread out his four legs, as
if to save himself from falling, and stood stock still, continuing to
groan. I thought my horse was about to die, and would have sprung from
his back had a minute more elapsed, but at that instant all the shrubs
and trees began to move from their very roots, the ground rose and fell
in successive furrows, like the ruffled waters of a lake, and I became
bewildered in my ideas, as I too plainly discovered that all this awful
commotion in nature was the result of an earthquake.

I had never witnessed any thing of the kind before, although, like
every other person, I knew of earthquakes by description. But what is
description compared with the reality? Who can tell of the sensations
which I experienced when I found myself rocking as it were on my horse,
and with him moved to and fro like a child in a cradle, with the most
imminent danger around, and expecting the ground every moment to open,
and present to my eye such an abyss as might engulf myself and all around
me? The fearful convulsion, however, lasted only a few minutes, and the
heavens again brightened as quickly as they had become obscured; my horse
brought his feet to the natural position, raised his head, and galloped
off as if loose and frolicking without a rider.

I was not, however, without great apprehension respecting my family,
from which I was yet many miles distant, fearful that where they were
the shock might have caused greater havock than I had witnessed. I gave
the bridle to my steed, and was glad to see him appear as anxious to get
home as myself. The pace at which he galloped accomplished this sooner
than I had expected, and I found, with much pleasure, that hardly any
greater harm had taken place than the apprehension excited for my own
safety.

Shock succeeded shock almost every day or night for several weeks,
diminishing, however, so gradually as to dwindle away into mere vibrations
of the earth. Strange to say, I for one became so accustomed to the
feeling as rather to enjoy the fears manifested by others. I never can
forget the effects of one of the slighter shocks which took place when
I was at a friend's house, where I had gone to enjoy the merriment
that, in our western country, attends a wedding. The ceremony being
performed, supper over, and the fiddles tuned, dancing became the order
of the moment. This was merrily followed up to a late hour, when the
party retired to rest. We were in what is called, with great propriety,
a _Log-house_, one of large dimensions, and solidly constructed. The
owner was a physician, and in one corner were not only his lancets,
tourniquets, amputating-knives, and other sanguinary apparatus, but all
the drugs which he employed for the relief of his patients, arranged in
jars and phials of different sizes. These had some days before made a
narrow escape from destruction, but had been fortunately preserved by
closing the doors of the cases in which they were contained.

As I have said, we had all retired to rest, some to dream of sighs and
smiles, and others to sink into oblivion. Morning was fast approaching,
when the rumbling noise that precedes the earthquake began so loudly,
as to waken and alarm the whole party, and drive them out of bed in the
greatest consternation. The scene which ensued it is impossible for me
to describe, and it would require the humorous pencil of CRUICKSHANK to
do justice to it. Fear knows no restraints. Every person, old and young,
filled with alarm at the creaking of the log-house, and apprehending
instant destruction, rushed wildly out to the grass enclosure fronting
the building. The full moon was slowly descending from her throne,
covered at times by clouds that rolled heavily along, as if to conceal
from her view the scenes of terror which prevailed on the earth below.
On the grass-plat we all met, in such condition as rendered it next
to impossible to discriminate any of the party, all huddled together
in a state of almost perfect nudity. The earth waved like a field of
corn before the breeze; the birds left their perches, and flew about
not knowing whither; and the Doctor, recollecting the danger of his
gallipots, ran to his shop-room, to prevent their dancing off the shelves
to the floor. Never for a moment did he think of closing the doors, but,
spreading his arms, jumped about the front of the cases, pushing back
here and there the falling jars; with so little success, however, that
before the shock was over, he had lost nearly all he possessed.

The shock at length ceased, and the frightened females, now sensible
of their dishabille, fled to their several apartments. The earthquakes
produced more serious consequences in other places. Near New Madrid,
and for some distance on the Mississippi, the earth was rent asunder in
several places, one or two islands sunk for ever, and the inhabitants
fled in dismay towards the eastern shores.



THE BARRED OWL.

_STRIX NEBULOSA_, LINN.

PLATE XLVI. MALE.


Should you, kind reader, find it convenient or agreeable to visit the
noble forests existing in the lower parts of the State of Louisiana,
about the middle of October, when nature, on the eve of preparing for
approaching night, permits useful dews to fall and rest on every plant,
with the view of reviving its leaves, its fruits, or its lingering
blossoms, ere the return of morn; when every night-insect rises on
buzzing wings from the ground, and the fire-fly, amidst thousands of
other species, appears as if purposely to guide their motions through the
sombre atmosphere; at the moment when numerous reptiles and quadrupeds
commence their nocturnal prowlings, and the fair moon, empress of the
night, rises peacefully on the distant horizon, shooting her silvery rays
over the heavens and the earth, and, like a watchful guardian, moving
slowly and majestically along; when the husbandman, just returned to his
home, after the labours of the day, is receiving the cheering gratulations
of his family, and the wholesome repast is about to be spread out for
master and servants alike;—it is at this moment, kind reader, that were
you, as I have said, to visit that happy country, your ear would suddenly
be struck by the discordant screams of the Barred Owl. Its _whah, whah,
whah, whah-aa_ is uttered loudly, and in so strange and ludicrous a
manner, that I should not be surprised were you, kind reader, when you
and I meet, to compare these sounds to the affected bursts of laughter
which you may have heard from some of the fashionable members of our
own species.

How often, when snugly settled under the boughs of my temporary
encampment, and preparing to roast a venison steak or the body of a
squirrel, on a wooden spit, have I been saluted with the exulting bursts
of this nightly disturber of the peace, that, had it not been for him,
would have prevailed around me, as well as in my lonely retreat! How
often have I seen this nocturnal marauder alight within a few yards of
me, exposing his whole body to the glare of my fire, and eye me in such
a curious manner that, had it been reasonable to do so, I would gladly
have invited him to walk in and join me in my repast, that I might have
enjoyed the pleasure of forming a better acquaintance with him. The
liveliness of his motions, joined to their oddness, have often made me
think that his society would be at least as agreeable as that of many
of the buffoons we meet with in the world. But as such opportunities of
forming acquaintance have not existed, be content, kind reader, with the
imperfect information which I can give you of the habits of this Sancho
Pança of our woods.

Such persons as conclude, when looking upon owls in the glare of day,
that they are, as they then appear, extremely dull, are greatly mistaken.
Were they to state, like BUFFON, that Woodpeckers are miserable beings,
they would be talking as incorrectly; and, to one who might have lived
long in the woods, they would seem to have lived only in their libraries.

The Barred Owl is found in all those parts of the United States which
I have visited, and is a constant resident. In Louisiana it seems to
be more abundant than in any other state. It is almost impossible to
travel eight or ten miles in any of the retired woods there, without
seeing several of them even in broad day; and, at the approach of night,
their cries are heard proceeding from every part of the forest around
the plantations. Should the weather be lowering and indicative of the
approach of rain, their cries are so multiplied during the day, and
especially in the evening, and they respond to each other in tones so
strange, that one might imagine some extraordinary fête about to take
place among them. On approaching one of them, its gesticulations are
seen to be of a very extraordinary nature. The position of the bird,
which is generally erect, is immediately changed. It lowers its head and
inclines its body, to watch the motions of the person beneath, throws
forward the lateral feathers of its head, which thus has the appearance
of being surrounded by a broad ruff, looks towards him as if half blind,
and moves its head to and fro in so extraordinary a manner, as almost to
induce a person to fancy that part dislocated from the body. It follows
all the motions of the intruder with its eyes; and should it suspect any
treacherous intentions, flies off to a short distance, alighting with its
back to the person, and immediately turning about with a single jump, to
recommence its scrutiny. In this manner, the Barred Owl may be followed
to a considerable distance, if not shot at, for to halloo after it does
not seem to frighten it much. But if shot at and missed, it removes to
a considerable distance, after which its _whah-whah-whah_ is uttered
with considerable pomposity. This owl will answer the imitation of its
own sounds, and is frequently decoyed by this means.

The flight of the Barred Owl is smooth, light, noiseless, and capable
of being greatly protracted. I have seen them take their departure
from a detached grove in a prairie, and pursue a direct course towards
the skirts of the main forest, distant more than two miles, in broad
daylight. I have thus followed them with the eye until they were lost in
the distance, and have reason to suppose that they continued their flight
until they reached the woods. Once, whilst descending the Ohio, not far
from the well-known _Cave-in-rock_, about two hours before sunset, in
the month of November, I saw a Barred Owl teased by several crows, and
chased from the tree in which it was. On leaving the tree, it gradually
rose in the air, in the manner of a Hawk, and at length attained so great
a height that our party lost sight of it. It acted, I thought, as if it
had lost itself, now and then describing small circles, and flapping its
wings quickly, then flying in zigzag lines. This being so uncommon an
occurrence, I noted it down at the time. I felt anxious to see the bird
return towards the earth, but it did not make its appearance again. So
very lightly do they fly, that I have frequently discovered one passing
over me, and only a few yards distant, by first seeing its shadow on the
ground, during clear moon-light nights, when not the faintest rustling
of its wings could be heard.

Their power of sight during the day seems to be rather of an equivocal
character, as I once saw one alight on the back of a cow, which it left
so suddenly afterwards, when the cow moved, as to prove to me that it
had mistaken the object on which it had perched for something else.
At other times, I have observed that the approach of the grey squirrel
intimidated them, if one of these animals accidentally jumped on a branch
close to them, although the Owl destroys a number of them during the
twilight. It is for this reason, kind reader, that I have represented
the Barred Owl gazing in amazement at one of the squirrels placed only
a few inches from him.

The Barred Owl is a great destroyer of poultry, particularly of chickens
when half-grown. It also secures mice, young hares, rabbits, and many
species of small birds, but is especially fond of a kind of frog of a
brown colour, very common in the woods of Louisiana. I have heard it
asserted that this bird catches fish, but never having seen it do so,
and never having found any portion of fish in its stomach, I cannot
vouch for the truth of the report.

About the middle of March, these Owls begin to lay their eggs. This
they usually do in the hollows of trees, on the dust of the decomposed
wood. At other times they take possession of the old nest of a Crow
or a Red-tailed Hawk. In all these situations I have found their eggs
and young. The eggs are of a globular form, pure white, with a smooth
shell, and are from four to six in number. So far as I have been able to
ascertain, they rear only one brood in a season. The young, like those
of all other Owls, are at first covered with a downy substance, some
of which is seen intermixed with and protruding from the feathers, some
weeks after the bird is nearly fledged. They are fed by the parents for
a long time, standing perched, and emitting a hissing noise in lieu of
a call. This noise may be heard in a calm night, for fifty or probably a
hundred yards, and is by no means musical. To a person lost in a swamp,
it is, indeed, extremely dismal.

The plumage of the Barred Owl differs very considerably, in respect to
colour, in different individuals, more so among the males. The males
are also smaller than the females, but less so than in some other
species. During the severe winters of our Middle Districts, those that
remain there suffer very much; but the greater number, as in some other
species, remove to the Southern States. When kept in captivity, they
prove excellent mousers.

The antipathy shewn to Owls by every species of day bird is extreme.
They are followed and pursued on all occasions; and although few of the
day birds ever prove dangerous enemies, their conduct towards the Owls
is evidently productive of great annoyance to them. When the Barred
Owl is shot at and wounded, it snaps its bill sharply and frequently,
raises all its feathers, looks towards the person in the most uncouth
manner, but, on the least chance of escape, moves off in great leaps
with considerable rapidity.

The Barred Owl is very often exposed for sale in the New Orleans market.
The Creoles make _gumbo_ of it, and pronounce the flesh palatable.


     STRIX NEBULOSA, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 291.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 21.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 38.

     BARRED OWL, STRIX NEBULOSA, _Lath._ Synops. vol. i. p. 133.
     —_Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iv. p. 61. Pl. 23. fig. 2.


Adult Male. Plate XLVI. Fig. 1.

Bill very short, compressed, curved, acute, with a small cere at the
base; upper mandible with its dorsal outline curved from the base, the
edges acute, the point trigonal, very acute, deflected, lower mandible
with the edges acute and inflected, obtuse at the tip. Nostrils roundish,
in the fore part of the cere, concealed by the recumbent bristles. Head
disproportionately large, as are the eyes and external ears. Body short.
Legs long; tarsus feathered; toes feathered at the base, scutellate
above, papillar and tubercular beneath; claws curved, slender, rounded,
extremely sharp.

Plumage exceedingly soft and downy, somewhat distinct above, tufty and
loose beneath. Long bristly feathers at the base of the bill, stretching
forwards. Eyes surrounded by several circles of compact feathers;
auricular feathers forming a ruff, and with those of the head and neck
capable of being erected. Wings ample, the fourth quill longest, the
first short. Tail long, large, rounded, of twelve broad, rounded feathers.

Bill yellow, the under mandible tinged with blue on the back. Eyes black.
Toes yellow; claws bluish-black. The general colour of the upper parts is
light reddish-brown. Face and greater part of the head brownish-white,
the feathers of the latter broadly marked with brown, of which a narrow
band passes from the bill along the middle of the head. Feathers of the
back and most of the wing-coverts largely spotted with white. Primary
coverts, quills, and tail, barred with light brownish-red; wings and tail
tipped with greyish-white. Under parts pale brownish-red, longitudinally
streaked with brown, excepting the neck and upper breast, which are
transversely marked, the abdomen, which is yellowish-white, and the
tarsal feathers, which are light reddish.

Length 18 inches, extent of wings 40. Bill along the ridge 1½; tarsus
2½, middle toe 2.


THE GREY SQUIRREL.

     SCIURUS CINEREUS, _Harlan_, Fauna Americana, p. 173.

The Grey Squirrel is too well known to require any description. It
migrates in prodigious numbers, crossing large rivers by swimming
with its tail extended on the water, and traverses immense tracts of
country, in search of the places where food is most abundant. During
these migrations, the Squirrels are destroyed in vast quantities. Their
flesh is white, very delicate, and affords excellent eating, when the
animals are young. "In 1749," says Dr HARLAN, in the work above referred
to, "a premium of three pence a-head was offered for their destruction,
which amounted in one year to L.8000 Sterling, which is equal to about
1,180,000 individuals killed."



THE RUBY-THROATED HUMMING BIRD.

_TROCHILUS COLUBRIS_, LINN.

PLATE XLVII. MALE, FEMALE, AND YOUNG.


Where is the person who, on seeing this lovely little creature moving
on humming winglets through the air, suspended as if by magic in it,
flitting from one flower to another, with motions as graceful as they
are light and airy, pursuing its course over our extensive continent,
and yielding new delights wherever it is seen;—where is the person, I
ask of you, kind reader, who, on observing this glittering fragment of
the rainbow, would not pause, admire, and instantly turn his mind with
reverence toward the Almighty Creator, the wonders of whose hand we
at every step discover, and of whose sublime conceptions we everywhere
observe the manifestations in his admirable system of creation?—There
breathes not such a person; so kindly have we all been blessed with that
intuitive and noble feeling—admiration!

No sooner has the returning sun again introduced the vernal season, and
caused millions of plants to expand their leaves and blossoms to his
genial beams, than the little Humming Bird is seen advancing on fairy
wings, carefully visiting every opening flower-cup, and, like a curious
florist, removing from each the injurious insects that otherwise would
ere long cause their beauteous petals to droop and decay. Poised in the
air, it is observed peeping cautiously, and with sparkling eye, into
their innermost recesses, whilst the etherial motions of its pinions, so
rapid and so light, appear to fan and cool the flower, without injuring
its fragile texture, and produce a delightful murmuring sound, well
adapted for lulling the insects to repose. Then is the moment for the
Humming Bird to secure them. Its long delicate bill enters the cup of
the flower, and the protruded double-tubed tongue, delicately sensible,
and imbued with a glutinous saliva, touches each insect in succession,
and draws it from its lurking place, to be instantly swallowed. All
this is done in a moment, and the bird, as it leaves the flower, sips so
small a portion of its liquid honey, that the theft, we may suppose, is
looked upon with a grateful feeling by the flower, which is thus kindly
relieved from the attacks of her destroyers.

The prairies, the fields, the orchards and gardens, nay, the deepest
shades of the forests, are all visited in their turn, and everywhere
the little bird meets with pleasure and with food. Its gorgeous throat
in beauty and brilliancy baffles all competition. Now it glows with a
fiery hue, and again it is changed to the deepest velvety black. The
upper parts of its delicate body are of resplendent changing green; and
it throws itself through the air with a swiftness and vivacity hardly
conceivable. It moves from one flower to another like a gleam of light,
upwards, downwards, to the right, and to the left. In this manner, it
searches the extreme northern portions of our country, following with
great precaution the advances of the season, and retreats with equal
care at the approach of autumn.

I wish it were in my power at this moment to impart to you, kind reader,
the pleasures which I have felt whilst watching the movements, and viewing
the manifestation of feelings displayed by a single pair of these most
favourite little creatures, when engaged in the demonstration of their
love to each other:—how the male swells his plumage and throat, and,
dancing on the wing, whirls around the delicate female; how quickly he
dives towards a flower, and returns with a loaded bill, which he offers
to her to whom alone he feels desirous of being united; how full of
ecstacy he seems to be when his caresses are kindly received; how his
little wings fan her, as they fan the flowers, and he transfers to her
bill the insect and the honey he has procured with a view to please her;
how these attentions are received with apparent satisfaction; how, soon
after, the blissful compact is sealed; how, then, the courage and care
of the male are redoubled; how he even dares to give chase to the Tyrant
Fly-catcher, hurries the Blue-bird and the Martin to their boxes; and
how, on sounding pinions, he joyously returns to the side of his lovely
mate. Reader, all these proofs of the sincerity, fidelity, and courage,
with which the male assures his mate of the care he will take of her
while sitting on her nest, may be seen, and have been seen, but cannot
be portrayed or described.

Could you, kind reader, cast a momentary glance on the nest of the
Humming Bird, and see, as I have seen, the newly-hatched pair of young,
little larger than humble-bees, naked, blind, and so feeble as scarcely
to be able to raise their little bill to receive food from the parents;
and could you see those parents, full of anxiety and fear, passing and
repassing within a few inches of your face, alighting on a twig not more
than a yard from your body, waiting the result of your unwelcome visit
in a state of the utmost despair,—you could not fail to be impressed
with the deepest pangs which parental affection feels on the unexpected
death of a cherished child. Then how pleasing is it, on your leaving the
spot, to see the returning hope of the parents, when, after examining
the nest, they find their nurslings untouched! You might then judge
how pleasing it is to a mother of another kind, to hear the physician
who has attended her sick child assure her that the crisis is over, and
that her babe is saved. These are the scenes best fitted to enable us
to partake of sorrow and joy, and to determine every one who views them
to make it his study to contribute to the happiness of others, and to
refrain from wantonly or maliciously giving them pain.

I have seen Humming Birds in Louisiana as early as the 10th of March.
Their appearance in that State varies, however, as much as in any other,
it being sometimes a fortnight later, or, although rarely, a few days
earlier. In the Middle Districts, they seldom arrive before the 15th of
April, more usually the beginning of May. I have not been able to assure
myself whether they migrate during the day or by night, but am inclined
to think the latter the case, as they seem to be busily feeding at all
times of the day, which would not be the case had they long flights to
perform at that period. They pass through the air in long undulations,
raising themselves for some distance at an angle of about 40 degrees,
and then falling in a curve; but the smallness of their size precludes
the possibility of following them farther then fifty or sixty yards
without great difficulty, even with a good glass. A person standing in
a garden by the side of a Common Althæa in bloom, will be as surprised
to hear the humming of their wings, and then see the birds themselves
within a few feet of him, as he will be astonished at the rapidity with
which the little creatures rise into the air, and are out of sight and
hearing the next moment. They do not alight on the ground, but easily
settle on twigs and branches, where they move sidewise in prettily
measured steps, frequently opening and closing their wings, pluming,
shaking and arranging the whole of their apparel with neatness and
activity. They are particularly fond of spreading one wing at a time,
and passing each of the quill-feathers through their bill in its whole
length, when, if the sun is shining, the wing thus plumed is rendered
extremely transparent and light. They leave the twig without the least
difficulty in an instant, and appear to be possessed of superior powers
of vision, making directly towards a Martin or a Blue-bird when fifty or
sixty yards from them, and reaching them before they are aware of their
approach. No bird seems to resist their attacks, but they are sometimes
chased by the larger kinds of humble-bees, of which they seldom take the
least notice, as their superiority of flight is sufficient to enable
them to leave these slow moving insects far behind in the short space
of a minute.

The nest of this Humming Bird is of the most delicate nature, the external
parts being formed of a light grey lichen found on the branches of trees,
or on decayed fence-rails, and so neatly arranged round the whole nest,
as well as to some distance from the spot where it is attached, as to
seem part of the branch or stem itself. These little pieces of lichen are
glued together with the saliva of the bird. The next coating consists
of cottony substance, and the innermost of silky fibres obtained from
various plants, all extremely delicate and soft. On this comfortable
bed, as in contradiction to the axiom that the smaller the species the
greater the number of eggs, the female lays only two, which are pure
white and almost oval. Ten days are required for their hatching, and the
birds raise two broods in a season. In one week the young are ready to
fly, but are fed by the parents for nearly another week. They receive
their food directly from the bill of their parents, which disgorge it
in the manner of Canaries or Pigeons. It is my belief that no sooner
are the young able to provide for themselves than they associate with
other broods, and perform their migration apart from the old birds, as
I have observed twenty or thirty young Humming Birds resort to a group
of Trumpet-flowers, when not a single old male was to be seen. They do
not receive the full brilliancy of their colours until the succeeding
spring, although the throat of the male bird is strongly imbued with
the ruby tints before they leave us in autumn.

The Ruby-throated Humming Bird has a particular liking for such flowers as
are greatly tubular in their form. The Common Jimpson-weed or Thorn-apple
(_Datura Stramonium_) and the Trumpet-flower (_Bignonia radicans_) are
among the most favoured by their visits, and after these, Honeysuckle, the
Balsam of the gardens, and the wild species which grows on the borders
of ponds, rivulets, and deep ravines; but every flower, down to the
wild violet, affords them a certain portion of sustenance. Their food
consists principally of insects, generally of the coleopterous order,
these, together with some equally diminutive flies, being commonly found
in their stomach. The first are procured within the flowers, but many of
the latter on wing. The Humming Bird might therefore be looked upon as an
expert flycatcher. The nectar or honey which they sip from the different
flowers, being of itself insufficient to support them, is used more as
if to allay their thirst. I have seen many of these birds kept in partial
confinement, when they were supplied with artificial flowers made for the
purpose, in the corollas of which water with honey or sugar dissolved in
it was placed. The birds were fed on these substances exclusively, but
seldom lived many months, and on being examined after death, were found
to be extremely emaciated. Others, on the contrary, which were supplied
twice a-day with fresh flowers from the woods or garden, placed in a room
with windows merely closed with moschetto gauze-netting, through which.
minute insects were able to enter, lived twelve months, at the expiration
of which time their liberty was granted them, the person who kept them
having had a long voyage to perform. The room was kept artificially warm
during the winter months, and these, in Lower Louisiana, are seldom
so cold as to produce ice. On examining an orange-tree which had been
placed in the room where these Humming Birds were kept, no appearance of
a nest was to be seen, although the birds had frequently been observed
caressing each other. Some have been occasionally kept confined in our
Middle Districts, but I have not ascertained that any one survived a
winter.

The Humming Bird does not shun mankind so much as birds generally do. It
frequently approaches flowers in the windows, or even in rooms when the
windows are kept open, during the extreme heat of the day, and returns,
when not interrupted, as long as the flowers are unfaded. They are
extremely abundant in Louisiana during spring and summer, and wherever a
fine plant of the trumpet-flower is met with in the woods, one or more
Humming Birds are generally seen about it, and now and then so many as
ten or twelve at a time. They are quarrelsome, and have frequent battles
in the air, especially the male birds. Should one be feeding on a flower,
and another approach it, they are both immediately seen to rise in the
air, twittering and twirling in a spiral manner until out of sight. The
conflict over, the victor immediately returns to the flower.

If comparison might enable you, kind reader, to form some tolerably
accurate idea of their peculiar mode of flight, and their appearance
when on wing, I would say, that were both objects of the same colour,
a large sphinx or moth, when moving from one flower to another, and in
a direct line, comes nearer the Humming Bird in aspect than any other
object with which I am acquainted.

Having heard several persons remark that these little creatures had
been procured with less injury to their plumage, by shooting them with
water, I was tempted to make the experiment, having been in the habit of
killing them either with remarkably small shot, or with sand. However,
finding that even when within a few paces, I seldom brought one to the
ground when I used water instead of shot, and was moreover obliged to
clean my gun after every discharge, I abandoned the scheme, and feel
confident that it can never have been used with material advantage. I
have frequently secured some by employing an insect net, and were this
machine used with dexterity, it would afford the best means of procuring
Humming Birds.

I have represented ten of these pretty and most interesting birds, in
various positions, flitting, feeding, caressing each other, or sitting
on the slender stalks of the trumpet-flower and pluming themselves. The
diversity of action and attitude thus exhibited, may, I trust, prove
sufficient to present a faithful idea of their appearance and manners.
A figure of the nest you will find elsewhere. The nest is generally
placed low, on the horizontal branch of any kind of tree, seldom more
than twenty feet from the ground. They are far from being particular
in this matter, as I have often found a nest attached by one side only
to a twig of a rose-bush, currant, or the strong stalk of a rank weed,
sometimes in the middle of the forest, at other times on the branch of
an oak, immediately over the road, and again in the garden close to the
walk.


     TROCHILUS COLUBRIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 191.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 312.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synopsis of
     Birds of the United States, p. 98.

     RED-THROATED HUMMING BIRD, _Lath._ Synops. vol. ii. p. 769.

     HUMMING BIRD, TROCHILUS COLUBRIS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. ii.
     p. 26. Pl. 10. fig. 3. Male; fig. 4. Female.


Adult Male. Plate XLVII. Fig. 1, 1, 1, 1.

Bill long, straight, subulate, depressed at the base, acute; upper
mandible rounded, its edges overlapping. Nostrils basal, linear. Tongue
very extensile, filiform, divided towards the end into two filaments.
Feet very short and feeble; tarsus slender, shorter than the middle toe,
partly feathered; fore toes united at the base; claws curved, compressed,
acute.

Plumage compact, imbricated above and on the throat, with metallic lustre,
blended beneath. Wings long, narrow, a little incurved at the tip, the
first quill longest. Tail forked when closed, when spread even in the
middle and laterally rounded, of ten broad feathers, the outer curved
inwards.

Bill and feet black. Iris of the same colour. Upper parts generally,
including the two middle tail-feathers, green, with gold reflections.
Quills and tail purplish-brown. Throat, sides of the head, and fore
neck, carmine-purple, spotted with black, varying to crimson, orange,
and deep black. Sides of the same colour as the back; the rest of the
under parts greyish-white, mixed with green.

Length 3½ inches, extent of wings 4¼; bill along the ridge ¾, along the
gap ⅚; tarsus ⅙, toe ¼.


Adult Female. Plate XLVII. Fig. 2, 2, 2.

The female differs from the male in wanting the brilliant patch on the
throat, which is white, as are the under parts generally, and in having
the three lateral tail-feathers tipped with the same colour.

Dimensions the same.


Young Bird. Plate XLVII. Fig. 3, 3.

The young birds have the under parts brownish-white, the tail tipped
with white, and are somewhat lighter in their upper parts. In autumn
the young males begin to acquire the red feathers of the throat.


THE TRUMPET-FLOWER.

     BIGNONIA RADICANS, _Wild._ Sp. Pl. vol. iii. p. 301. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 420.—DIDYNAMIA ANGIOSPERMIA, _Linn._
     BIGNONIÆ, _Juss._

This splendid species of Bignonia, which grows in woods and on the
banks of rivers in all the Middle and Southern States, climbing on trees
and bushes, is distinguished by its pinnate leaves, with ovate, widely
serrate, acuminate leaflets, and large scarlet flowers, of which the
funnel-shaped tube of the corolla is thrice the length of the calyx. The
pods are of a brown colour, from four to seven inches long, and contain
a double row of kidney-shaped light brown seeds.



THE AZURE WARBLER.

_SYLVIA AZUREA_, STEPH.

PLATE XLVIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


So scarce is this bird in the Middle Districts, that its discovery in
the State of Pennsylvania has been made a matter of much importance. Its
habits are consequently very little known, even at the present day, and
it would appear that only two individuals have been seen by our American
ornithologists, one of which, a young female, has been figured by the
Prince of Musignano.

It arrives in the lower parts of the State of Louisiana, in company
with many other species of Warblers, breeds there and sets out again
about the beginning of October. It is as lively as most species of
its genus, possesses the same manner of flight, moves sidewise up and
down the branches and twigs, frequently changing sides, and hangs to
the extremities of bunches of leaves or berries, on which it procures
the insects and larvæ of which its food is principally composed. The
liveliness of its notes renders it conspicuous in those parts of the
skirts of the forests which it frequents; and its song, although neither
loud nor of long continuance, is extremely sweet and mellow.

I have no precise recollection of the time when I first made a drawing
of this pretty little bird, but know this well, that a drawing which I
had of it was one of the unfortunate collection destroyed by the rats
at Henderson. In Louisiana, where it is as numerous as other Sylviæ, I
have several times shot five or six during a single walk, towards the
end of August, when the young are nearly full coloured.

The nest is placed in the forks of a low tree or bush, more frequently
on a Dog-wood tree. It is partly pensile, projecting a little above the
twigs to which it is attached, and extending below them for nearly two
inches. The fibres of vines and of the stalks of rank herbaceous plants,
together with slender roots, compose the outer part, being arranged in
a circular manner. The lining consists entirely of the dry fibres of the
Spanish Moss. The female lays four or five eggs, of a pure white colour,
with a few reddish spots at the larger end. When the female is disturbed
during incubation, she trails along the twigs and branches, with expanded
tail and drooping wings, and utters a plaintive note, resembling in all
these circumstances the Blue-eyed Warbler. I am not sure that they raise
more than one brood in a season. When the young abandon the nest, their
plumage partakes of a greenish tinge, and no difference can be perceived
between the sexes without dissection. The little family move and hunt
together, and exhibit much pleasure in pursuing small insects on wing,
which they seize without any clicking sound of their bill. They seem at
this period to evince a great partiality for trees the tops of which
are thickly covered by grape vines, amongst the broad leaves of which
they find ample supplies of food. They also sometimes alight on the tall
weeds, and pick a few of their seeds. The males or females do not assume
the full brilliancy of their plumage until the following spring.

I am inclined to think that this species is extremely abundant in the
Mexican dominions, as I have observed these birds more numerous towards
Natchitochez and along the waters of the Red River. On the other hand,
I have not observed it eastward of the State of Tennessee.

The twig on which it is represented, belongs to a small tree or shrub,
which grows along the skirts of the forests in the State of Louisiana.
The bark is easily stripped off, when the wood shows a yellow, resinous
colour. It is brittle, and is not applied to any use. The berries are
eaten by different species of birds.


     SYLVIA AZUREA, _Stephens_, Cont. Shaw's Zool. vol. i. p. 653.
     —_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States,
     p. 85; and Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 27. Pl. xi. fig. 2. Young
     female.

     CÆRULEAN WARBLER, SYLVIA CÆRULEA, _Wilson_, Amer. Ornith. vol. ii.
     p. 141. Pl. xvii. fig. 5. Male.


Adult Male. Plate XLVIII. Fig. 1.

Bill of ordinary length, straight, much broader than deep at the base,
tapering, compressed toward the acute tip. Nostrils basal, oval, exposed.
Head of ordinary size. Body rather slender. Feet of ordinary length,
slender; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long scutella,
acute behind, scarcely longer than the middle toe; toes free, scutellate
above; claws arched, slender, much compressed, acute.

Plumage soft and blended, glossy. Wings of ordinary length, the first
and second quills longest. Tail longish, even, of twelve rather narrow,
obtuse feathers. Short bristle-pointed feathers at the base of the upper
mandible.

Bill bluish-black. Iris blackish-brown. Feet blue. Head and upper parts
generally, of a fine rich blue, the back marked with longitudinal streaks
of blackish, and a narrow band of black from the forehead passing along
the lore to behind the eye. Tips of the two rows of larger wing-coverts
white, forming two conspicuous bands across the wing. Quills black,
externally margined with blue. Tail of the same colour, each feather
having a patch of white on the inner web, near the end, excepting the
two middle ones; all externally margined with blue. Under parts white,
as well as a streak over the eye, above which is a streak of blackish.

Length 4½ inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the ridge 5/12, along
the gap 7/12; tarsus ⅔, middle toe 7/12.


Adult Female. Plate XLVIII. Fig. 2.

The female differs from the male, chiefly in having the colours paler.


THE BEAR-BERRY.

     ILEX DAHOON, _Mich._ Fl. Amer. vol ii. p. 228. _Pursh_, Fl.
     Amer. vol. i. p. 117.—TETRANDRIA TETRAGYNIA, _Linn._ RHAMNI,
     _Juss._

This species of Holly is distinguished by its elliptico-lanceolate leaves,
which are thick, leathery, shining, and reflected at the margin, and
its corymboso-paniculate, lateral and terminal peduncles. The berries
are globular and bright red.



THE BLUE-GREEN WARBLER.

_SYLVIA RARA_, WILS.

PLATE XLIX. MALE.


The Blue-green Warbler so resembles the young of the Azure Warbler, that
were not the form of its bill, and some of its habits, considerably
different, I should be tempted to consider it a mere variety of that
bird. It is equally rare in the Middle Districts, where I have shot only
a few, and these in the dark recesses of the Great Pine Swamp.

On its passage through the States, it is found in Louisiana, where it
appears in the beginning of April. This lateness of its arrival indicates
its coming from a great distance, most of the other species appearing
several weeks earlier. They seem to disperse soon after, as on their
first appearance several may be procured in one day, as well as during
their equally short stay in autumn, when, again, I have shot six or
seven from a single tree, on which they appeared as busily engaged as if
so many Titmice. I have met with them singly and far apart in Kentucky,
in Ohio, upon the Missouri, and along Lake Erie, but I have never found
their nest.

In spring it has a soft and mellow song, which is not heard beyond the
distance of a few paces. It is performed at intervals between the times
at which the bird secures an insect, which it does with great expertness,
either on wing, or amongst the leaves of the trees and bushes. The tops
of trees, however, appear to please them best, the reverse being the
case with the Azure Warbler.

The Blue-green Warbler has a peculiar cunning manner of leaning downwards
to view a person, or while searching for an insect, and which is very
different from that of any other bird, although I am unable to describe
it. While thus leaning, it moves its head sidewise so very slowly that
the motion is hardly perceptible, unless much attention is paid to it.
After this, it either starts off and flies to some distance from the
observer, or darts towards the prey that had attracted its notice. While
catching an insect on the wing, it produces a slight clicking sound with
its bill, and in this respect approaches the Vireos. Like some of them
also, it descends from the highest tops of the trees to low bushes, and
eats small berries, particularly towards autumn, when insects begin to
fail.

Its flight is performed in zigzag lines of a few yards, as if it were
undetermined where to alight. I have found no difference between the
sexes as to external appearance.

The plant on which I have figured a male is found in Louisiana, growing
along the skirts of woods and by fences. It is called the _Spanish
Mulberry_. It is a herbaceous perennial plant, attaining a height of from
four to eight feet. The fruits are eaten by children, but are insipid.


     SYLVIA RARA, BLUE-GREEN WARBLER, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iii.
     p. 119. Pl. 27. fig. 2.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 82.


Adult Male. Plate XLIX.

Bill longish, nearly straight, depressed at the base, tapering to a point.
Nostrils basal, oval, half concealed by the feathers. Head and neck
of ordinary size. Body ovate. Feet of ordinary length, rather slender;
tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long scutella, acute
behind, rather longer than the middle toe; toes scutellate above, free;
claws arched, slender, much compressed, acute.

Plumage blended, soft and tufty. Wings longish, little curved, the first
and second quills longest. Tail shortish, rounded, of twelve rather
acute feathers.

Bill dark brown above, light blue beneath. Iris dark brown. Feet light
blue. General colour of the upper parts light greenish-blue, of the
under parts white. A white streak over the eyes. Tips of the two first
rows of wing-coverts white, forming two bands across the wing. Quills
blackish-brown, their outer margins blue. Tail blackish-brown, the outer
feathers having a white patch on the inner web near the end.

Length 4¾ inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the ridge ⅓, along the
gap ½; tarsus ⅔.


THE SPANISH MULBERRY.

     CALLICARPA AMERICANA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 619. _Pursh_,
     Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 97.—TETRANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ VITICES,
     _Juss._

A perennial herbaceous plant, with oval, serrate leaves, which are downy
beneath; sessile cymes of red flowers, and globular red berries, arranged
apparently in dense whorls. It grows in dry gravelly or sandy soil, in
Virginia, Carolina, and Louisiana.



THE BLACK AND YELLOW WARBLER.

_SYLVIA MACULOSA_, LATH.

PLATE L. YOUNG MALE.


This little bird was by mistake engraved, and named after my friend W.
SWAINSON, Esq., during my absence from London, one drawing having been
accidentally substituted for another. It is in reality the young of the
Black and Yellow Warbler, and was intended to form part of the Plate
which will represent the adult male and female of that species. My good
friend will, I know, excuse this mistake, as I have honoured a beautiful
new species with his name.

It being more consistent with my present arrangement to give a full
account of each species, as it is represented in the Plate allotted to
it, and its different states of plumage, as much as this object can be
attained, you will permit me, kind reader, to postpone the habits of
this species until you see the whole group together. In the mean time,
I shall confine myself to a description of the immature state of plumage
as represented in my illustrations.


     SYLVIA MACULOSA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 536.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 78.

     YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iv. p. 481.

     BLACK AND YELLOW WARBLER, SYLVIA MAGNOLIA, _Wils._ Americ.
     Ornith. vol. iii. p. 63. Pl. 23. Male.


Young Male. Plate L.

Bill brown above, brownish-yellow beneath. Iris dark hazel. Feet
brownish-yellow, claws yellow. Head and hind-neck light greyish-blue,
blending into yellowish-green on the back, the lower part of which
is spotted with black; a broad band across the rump yellow, the upper
tail-coverts black. Wings bluish-grey when closed, the outer webs being
of that colour, the inner brownish-black; tips of the two larger rows
of coverts white, forming two bands of that colour. Tail black, with a
broad band of white in the middle, on the inner webs, excepting on the
two middle feathers, which are margined with blue, the outer webs of the
other feathers being bluish-white; the under parts are ochre-yellow,
the posterior part of the breast and sides spotted with black. Length
5 inches, extent of wings 7¼.


THE WHITE OAK.

     QUERCUS PRINUS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 439. _Pursh_,
     Fl. Amer. vol. ii. p. 633.—QUERCUS PRINUS PALUSTRIS, _Mich._
     Arbr. Forest. de l'Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 51. Pl. 7.—MONŒCIA
     POLYANDRIA, _Linn._ AMENTACEÆ, _Juss._

Leaves oblongo-oval, acute, largely toothed, the teeth nearly equal,
dilated, and callous at the tip; cupule craterate, attenuated at the
base; acorn ovate. This species grows in low shady woods, and along the
margins of rivers, from Pennsylvania to Florida. The wood is porous,
and of inferior quality.



THE HURRICANE.


Various portions of our country have at different periods suffered
severely from the influence of violent storms of wind, some of which have
been known to traverse nearly the whole extent of the United States,
and to leave such deep impressions in their wake as will not easily be
forgotten. Having witnessed one of these awful phenomena, in all its
grandeur, I shall attempt to describe it for your sake, kind reader,
and for your sake only, the recollection of that astonishing revolution
of the etherial element even now bringing with it so disagreeable a
sensation, that I feel as if about to be affected by a sudden stoppage
of the circulation of my blood.

I had left the village of Shawaney, situated on the banks of the Ohio,
on my return from Henderson, which is also situated on the banks of
the same beautiful stream. The weather was pleasant, and I thought not
warmer than usual at that season. My horse was jogging quietly along, and
my thoughts were, for once at least in the course of my life, entirely
engaged in commercial speculations. I had forded Highland Creek, and was
on the eve of entering a tract of bottom land or valley that lay between
it and Canoe Creek, when on a sudden I remarked a great difference in
the aspect of the heavens. A hazy thickness had overspread the country,
and I for some time expected an earthquake, but my horse exhibited no
propensity to stop and prepare for such an occurrence. I had nearly
arrived at the verge of the valley, when I thought fit to stop near a
brook, and dismounted to quench the thirst which had come upon me.

I was leaning on my knees, with my lips about to touch the water, when,
from my proximity to the earth, I heard a distant murmuring sound of
an extraordinary nature. I drank, however, and as I rose on my feet,
looked toward the south-west, where I observed a yellowish oval spot,
the appearance of which was quite new to me. Little time was left me
for consideration, as the next moment a smart breeze began to agitate
the taller trees. It increased to an unexpected height, and already the
smaller branches and twigs were seen falling in a slanting direction
towards the ground. Two minutes had scarcely elapsed, when the whole
forest before me was in fearful motion. Here and there, where one tree
pressed against another, a creaking noise was produced, similar to that
occasioned by the violent gusts which sometimes sweep over the country.
Turning instinctively toward the direction from which the wind blew,
I saw, to my great astonishment, that the noblest trees of the forest
bent their lofty heads for a while, and unable to stand against the
blast, were falling into pieces. First, the branches were broken off
with a crackling noise; then went the upper part of the massy trunks;
and in many places whole trees of gigantic size were falling entire
to the ground. So rapid was the progress of the storm, that before I
could think of taking measures to insure my safety, the hurricane was
passing opposite the place where I stood. Never can I forget the scene
which at that moment presented itself. The tops of the trees were seen
moving in the strangest manner, in the central current of the tempest,
which carried along with it a mingled mass of twigs and foliage, that
completely obscured the view. Some of the largest trees were seen bending
and writhing under the gale; others suddenly snapped across; and many,
after a momentary resistance, fell uprooted to the earth. The mass of
branches, twigs, foliage and dust that moved through the air, was whirled
onwards like a cloud of feathers, and on passing, disclosed a wide space
filled with fallen trees, naked stumps, and heaps of shapeless ruins,
which marked the path of the tempest. This space was about a fourth of
a mile in breadth, and to my imagination resembled the dried-up bed of
the Mississippi, with its thousands of planters and sawyers, strewed in
the sand, and inclined in various degrees. The horrible noise resembled
that of the great cataracts of Niagara, and as it howled along in the
track of the desolating tempest, produced a feeling in my mind which it
were impossible to describe.

The principal force of the hurricane was now over, although millions of
twigs and small branches, that had been brought from a great distance,
were seen following the blast, as if drawn onwards by some mysterious
power. They even floated in the air for some hours after, as if supported
by the thick mass of dust that rose high above the ground. The sky had
now a greenish lurid hue, and an extremely disagreeable sulphureous
odour was diffused in the atmosphere. I waited in amazement, having
sustained no material injury, until nature at length resumed her wonted
aspect. For some moments, I felt undetermined whether I should return
to Morgantown, or attempt to force my way through the wrecks of the
tempest. My business, however, being of an urgent nature, I ventured into
the path of the storm, and after encountering innumerable difficulties,
succeeded in crossing it. I was obliged to lead my horse by the bridle,
to enable him to leap over the fallen trees, whilst I scrambled over or
under them in the best way I could, at times so hemmed in by the broken
tops and tangled branches, as almost to become desperate. On arriving at
my house, I gave an account of what I had seen, when, to my surprise,
I was told that there had been very little wind in the neighbourhood,
although in the streets and gardens many branches and twigs had fallen
in a manner which excited great surprise.

Many wondrous accounts of the devastating effects of this hurricane
were circulated in the country, after its occurrence. Some log houses,
we were told, had been overturned, and their inmates destroyed. One
person informed me that a wire-sifter had been conveyed by the gust to
a distance of many miles. Another had found a cow lodged in the fork of
a large half-broken tree. But, as I am disposed to relate only what I
have myself seen, I shall not lead you into the region of romance, but
shall content myself with saying that much damage was done by this awful
visitation. The valley is yet a desolate place, overgrown with briars and
bushes, thickly entangled amidst the tops and trunks of the fallen trees,
and is the resort of ravenous animals, to which they betake themselves
when pursued by man, or after they have committed their depredations on
the farms of the surrounding district. I have crossed the path of the
storm, at a distance of a hundred miles from the spot where I witnessed
its fury, and, again, four hundred miles farther off, in the State of
Ohio. Lastly, I observed traces of its ravages on the summits of the
mountains connected with the Great Pine Forest of Pennsylvania, three
hundred miles beyond the place last mentioned. In all these different
parts, it appeared to me not to have exceeded a quarter of a mile in
breadth.



THE RED-TAILED HAWK.

_FALCO BOREALIS_, GMEL.

PLATE LI. MALE AND FEMALE.


The Red-tailed Hawk is a constant resident in the United States, in
every part of which it is found. It performs partial migrations, during
severe winters, from the Northern Districts towards the Southern. In the
latter, however, it is at all times more abundant, and I shall endeavour
to present you with a full account of its habits, as observed there.

Its flight is firm, protracted, and at times performed at a great height.
It sails across the whole of a large plantation, on a level with the
tops of the forest-trees which surround it, without a single flap of its
wings, and is then seen moving its head sidewise to inspect the objects
below. This flight is generally accompanied by a prolonged mournful cry,
which may be heard at a considerable distance, and consists of a single
sound resembling the monosyllable _Kae_, uttered in such a manner as to
continue for three or four minutes, without any apparent inflection or
difference of intensity. It would seem as if uttered for the purpose of
giving notice to the living objects below that he is passing, and of thus
inducing them to bestir themselves and retreat to a hiding-place, before
they attain which he may have an opportunity of pouncing upon some of
them. When he spies an animal, while he is thus sailing over a field,
I have observed him give a slight check to his flight, as if to mark
a certain spot with accuracy, and immediately afterwards alight on the
nearest tree. He would then instantly face about, look intensely on the
object that had attracted his attention, soon after descend towards it
with wings almost close to his body, and dart upon it with such accuracy
and rapidity as seldom to fail in securing it.

When passing over a meadow, a cotton-field, or one planted with
sugar-canes, he performs his flight close over the grass or plants,
uttering no cry, but marking the prey in the manner above described, and
on perceiving it, ascending in a beautiful curved line to the top of the
nearest tree, after which he watches and dives as in the former case.
Should he not observe any object worthy of his attention, while passing
over a meadow or a field, he alights, shakes his feathers, particularly
those of the tail, and after spending a few minutes in pluming himself,
leaves the perch, uttering his usual cry, and ascending in the air,
performs large and repeated circular flights, carefully inspecting the
field, to assure himself that there is in reality nothing in it that
may be of use to him. He then proceeds to another plantation. At other
times, as if not assured that his observations have been duly made, he
rises in circles over the same field to an immense height, where he looks
like a white dot in the heavens. Yet from this height he must be able
to distinguish the objects on the ground, even when these do not exceed
our little partridge or a young hare in size, and although their colour
may be almost the same as that of surrounding bodies; for of a sudden
his circlings are checked, his wings drawn close to his body, his tail
contracted to its smallest breadth, and he is seen to plunge headlong
towards the earth, with a rapidity which produces a loud rustling sound
nearly equal to that of an Eagle on a similar occasion.

Should he not succeed in discovering the desired object in the fields,
he enters the forest and perches on some detached tree, tall enough to
enable him to see to a great distance around. His posture is now erect,
he remains still and silent, moving only his head, as on all other
occasions, to enable his keen eye to note the occurrences which may take
place in his vicinity. The lively Squirrel is seen gaily leaping from one
branch to another, or busily employed in searching for the fallen nuts
on the ground. It has found one. Its bushy tail is beautifully curved
along its back, the end of it falling off with a semicircular bend; its
nimble feet are seen turning the nut quickly round, and its teeth are
already engaged in perforating the hard shell; when, quick as thought,
the Red-tailed Hawk, which has been watching it in all its motions,
falls upon it, seizes it near the head, transfixes and strangles it,
devours it on the spot, or ascends exultingly to a branch with the yet
palpitating victim in his talons, and there feasts at leisure.

As soon as the little King-bird has raised its brood, and when its
courage is no longer put in requisition for the defence of its young
or its mate, the Red-tailed Hawk visits the farm-houses, to pay his
regards to the poultry. This is done without much precaution, for, while
sailing over the yard where the chickens, the ducklings, and the young
turkeys are, the Hawk plunges upon any one of them, and sweeps it off
to the nearest wood. When impelled by continued hunger, he now and then
manages to elude the vigilance of the Martins, Swallows and King-birds,
and watching for a good opportunity, falls upon and seizes an old fowl,
the dying screams of which are heard by the farmer at the plough, who
swears vengeance against the robber. He remembers that he has observed
the Hawk's nest in the woods, and full of anger at the recollection
of the depredations which the plunderer has already committed, and at
the anticipation of its many visits during the winter, leaves his work
and his horses, strides to his house, and with an axe and a rifle in
his hands proceeds towards the tree, where the hopes of the Red-tailed
Hawk are snugly nestled among the tall branches. The farmer arrives,
eyes the gigantic tree, thinks for a moment of the labour which will be
required for felling it, but resolves that he shall not be overreached
by a Hawk. He throws aside his hat, rolls up his sleeves, and applies
himself to the work. His brawny arms give such an impulse to the axe,
that at every stroke large chips are seen to fall off on all sides. The
poor mother-bird, well aware of the result, sails sorrowfully over and
around. She would fain beg for mercy towards her young. She alights on
the edge of the nest, and would urge her offspring to take flight. But
the farmer has watched her motions. The axe is left sticking in the core
of the tree, his rifle is raised to his shoulder in an instant, and the
next moment the whizzing ball has pierced the heart of the Red-tailed
Hawk, which falls unheeded to the earth. The farmer renews his work,
and now changes sides. A whole hour has been spent in the application of
ceaseless blows. He begins to look upwards, to judge which way the giant
of the forest will fall, and having ascertained this, he redoubles his
blows. The huge oak begins to tremble. Were it permitted to speak, it
might ask why it should suffer for the deeds of another; but it is now
seen slowly to incline, and soon after with an awful rustling produced
by all its broad arms, its branches, twigs and leaves, passing like
lightning through the air, the noble tree falls to the earth, and almost
causes it to shake. The work of revenge is now accomplished: the farmer
seizes the younglings, and carries them home, to be tormented by his
children, until death terminates their brief career.

Notwithstanding the very common occurrence of such acts of retribution
between man and the Hawk, it would be difficult to visit a plantation
in the State of Louisiana, without observing at least a pair of this
species hovering about, more especially during the winter months. Early in
February, they begin to build their nest, which is usually placed within
the forest, and on the tallest and largest tree in the neighbourhood.
The male and female are busily engaged in carrying up dried sticks,
and other materials, for eight or ten days, during which time their
cry is seldom heard. The nest is large, and is fixed in the centre of a
triply forked branch. It is of a flattish form, constructed of sticks,
and finished with slender twigs and coarse grasses or Spanish moss. The
female lays four or five eggs, of a dull white colour, splatched with
brown and black, with a very hard, smooth shell. The male assists the
female in incubating, but it is seldom that the one brings food to the
other while thus employed.

I have seen one or two of these nests built in a large tree which had
been left standing in the middle of a field; but occurrences of this kind
are rare, on account of the great enmity shewn to this species by the
farmers. The young are abundantly supplied with food of various kinds,
particularly grey squirrels, which the parents procure while hunting in
pairs, when nothing can save the squirrel from their attacks excepting
its retreat into the hole of a tree; for should the animal be observed
ascending the trunk or branch of a tree by either of the Hawks, this one
immediately plunges toward it, while the other watches it from the air.
The little animal, if placed against the trunk, when it sees the Hawk
coming towards it, makes swiftly for the opposite side of the trunk, but
is there immediately dived at by the other Hawk, and now the murderous
pair chase it so closely, that unless it immediately finds a hole into
which to retreat, it is caught in a few minutes, killed, carried to the
nest, torn in pieces, and distributed among the young Hawks. Small hares,
or, as we usually call them, _rabbits_, are also frequently caught, and
the depredations of the Red-tailed Hawks at this period are astonishing,
for they seem to kill every thing, fit for food, that comes in their
way. They are great destroyers of tame Pigeons, and woe to the Cock or
Hen that strays far from home, for so powerful is this Hawk, that it
is able not only to kill them, but to carry them off in its claws to a
considerable distance.

The continued attachment that exists between Eagles once paired, is
not exhibited by these birds, which, after rearing their young, become
as shy towards each other as if they had never met. This is carried to
such a singular length, that they are seen to chase and rob each other
of their prey, on all occasions. I have seen a couple thus engaged,
when one of them had just seized a young rabbit or a squirrel, and was
on the eve of rising in the air with it, for the purpose of carrying it
off to a place of greater security. The one would attack the other with
merciless fury, and either force it to abandon the prize, or fight with
the same courage as its antagonist, to prevent the latter from becoming
the sole possessor. They are sometimes observed flying either one after
the other with great rapidity, emitting their continued cry of _kae_,
or performing beautiful evolutions through the air, until one or other
of them becomes fatigued, and giving way, makes for the earth where the
battle continues until one is overpowered and obliged to make off. It
was after witnessing such an encounter between two of these powerful
marauders, fighting hard for a young hare, that I made the drawing now
before you, kind reader, in which you perceive the male to have greatly
the advantage over the female, although she still holds the hare firmly
in one of her talons, even while she is driven towards the earth, with
her breast upwards.

I have observed that this species will even condescend to pounce on
wood-rats and meadow-mice; but I never saw one of these birds seize even
those without first alighting on a tree before committing the act.

During the winter months, the Red-tailed Hawk remains perched for hours
together, when the sun is shining and the weather calm. Its breast is
opposed to the sun, and it then is seen at a great distance, the pure
white of that portion of its plumage glittering as if possessed of a
silky gloss. They return to their roosting-places so late in the evening,
that I have frequently heard their cry after sun-set, mingling with the
jovial notes of Chuck-will's-widow, and the ludicrous laugh of the Barred
Owl. In the State of Louisiana, the Red-tailed Hawk roosts amongst the
tallest branches of the _Magnolia grandiflora_, a tree which there often
attains a height of a hundred feet, and a diameter of from three to four
feet at the base. It is also fond of roosting on the tall Cypress-trees
of our swamps, where it spends the night in security, amidst the mosses
attached to the branches.

The Red-tailed Hawk is extremely wary, and difficult to be approached by
any one bearing a gun, the use of which it seems to understand perfectly;
for no sooner does it perceive a man thus armed than it spreads its
wings, utters a loud shriek, and sails off in an opposite direction.
On the other hand, a person on horseback, or walking unarmed, may pass
immediately under the branch on which it is perched, when it merely
watches his motions as he proceeds. It seldom alights on fences, or the
low branches of trees, but prefers the highest and most prominent parts
of the tallest trees. It alights on the borders of clear streams to
drink. I have observed it in such situations, immersing its bill up to
the eyes, and swallowing as much as was necessary to quench its thirst
at a single draught.

I have seen this species pounce on soft-shelled tortoises, and amusing
enough it was to see the latter scramble towards the water, enter it,
and save themselves from the claws of the Hawk by immediately diving.
I am not aware that this Hawk is ever successful in these attacks, as
I have not on any occasion found any portion of the skin, head, or feet
of tortoises in the stomachs of the many Hawks of this species which I
have killed and examined. Several times, however, I have found portions
of bull-frogs in their stomach.

All our Falcons are pestered with parasitic flying ticks. Those found
amongst the plumage of the Red-tailed Hawk, like all others, move swiftly
sidewise between the feathers, issue from the skin, and shift from one
portion of the body to another on wing, and do not abandon the bird for
a day or two after the latter is dead. These ticks are large, and of an
auburn colour.

The body of the Red-tailed Hawk is large, compact, and muscular. These
birds protrude their talons beyond their head in seizing their prey, as
well as while fighting in the air, in the manner shown in the Plate. I
have caught several birds of this species by baiting a steel-trap with
a live chicken.

The animal represented as held in one of the feet of the female, is
usually called a _rabbit_ in all parts of the United States, but is
evidently a true hare. It never burrows, but has a _form_ to rest in,
and to which it returns in the manner of the common hare of Europe.
I may hereafter present you, kind reader, with a full account of this
American species, which occurs in great abundance in the United States.

I have only here to add, that amongst the American farmers the common
name of our present bird is the _Hen-hawk_, while it receives that of
_Grand mangeur de poules_ from the Creoles of Louisiana.


     FALCO BOREALIS, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 266.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 25.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. p. 32.

     AMERICAN BUZZARD, _Lath._ Synops. vol. i. p. 50.

     RED-TAILED HAWK, FALCO BOREALIS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. vi.
     p. 75. Pl. 52. fig. 1. Adult.

     AMERICAN BUZZARD, OR WHITE-BREASTED HAWK, FALCO LEVERIANUS,
     _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. vi. p. 78. Pl. 51. fig. 3. Young.


Adult Male. Plate LI. Fig. 1.

Bill short, robust, at the base as broad as deep, compressed towards
the end, cerate; upper mandible, with the dorsal outline, convex from
the base, rounded on the sides, the edges with an obtuse lobe, the
tip trigonal, descending obliquely, acute; lower mandible involute at
the edges, truncate at the end, broadly rounded on the back. Nostrils
roundish, nearly dorsal, in the fore part of the cere. Head large,
flat above. Neck shortish, robust. Body bulky. Legs rather long, very
robust; tarsi stout, scutellate before and behind, the sides covered with
hexagonal scales; toes scutellate above, scaly on the sides, scabrous
and tubercular beneath; claws roundish, strong, curved, very acute.

Plumage compact and firm; feathers of the head and neck rather narrow,
of the other parts broad and rounded. Tarsus feathered anteriorly about
one-third down. Wings long, ample, rounded, the fourth quill longest,
the first short. Tail of twelve broad, rounded feathers, even, and of
ordinary length.

Bill light blue, blackish at the tip, greenish-yellow on the margin
towards the base; cere greenish-yellow. Iris hazel. Tarsi and toes yellow;
claws brownish-black. Upper part of the head light brownish-grey. Loral
space and under eyelid white. A broad band of dark brown from the angle
of the mouth backwards. Neck above and on the sides reddish-yellow, with
large deep brown spots. Back deep brown; scapulars of the same colour,
broadly margined and tipped with brownish-white. Lesser wing-coverts
chocolate-brown; larger lighter brown, tipped with white. Primary quills
blackish-brown; secondaries lighter, tipped with brownish-white; all
barred with blackish. Upper tail-coverts whitish, barred with brown,
and yellowish-red in the middle. Tail bright yellowish-red, tipped with
whitish, and having a narrow bar of black near the end. Lower parts
brownish-white; the fore part of the breast and neck light yellowish-red,
the former marked with guttiform, somewhat sagittate brown spots: abdomen
and chin white; feathers of the leg and tarsus pale reddish-yellow,
those on the outside indistinctly spotted.

Length 20½ inches, extent of wings 46; bill along the back 1¼, along the
gap 2; tarsus 3⅓, middle toe 2¾. Wings when closed reaching to within
two inches of the tip of the tail.


Adult Female. Plate LI. Fig. 2.

The female, which is considerably larger, agrees with the male in the
general distribution of its colouring. The upper parts are darker, and
the under parts nearly white, there being only a few narrow streaks on
the sides of the breast; the tibial and tarsal feathers as in the male.
The tail is of a duller red, and wants the black bar.

Length 24 inches.


THE AMERICAN HARE.

     LEPUS AMERICANUS, _Harlan_, Fauna Americana, p. 193.

The Rabbit, as this animal is named in the United States, has the habits
of the European Hare, forming a flat, well-beaten, oblong space among
the grass, on which it rests during the day. It never burrows like the
Common Rabbit of Europe, although it resorts for safety to the hollows
of fallen trunks, or those frequently existing at the roots of standing
trees, as well as to cavities in rocks. It feeds principally towards
the approach of night and early in the morning, and spends the greater
part of the day in its form. When startled by a dog, it proceeds in a
direct manner for a considerable way, and then returns nearly by the
same course. When disturbed, if there be not a dog present, it runs to
a short distance, stops, raises its head, erects its ears, and is then
easily discovered and shot. When the period of parturition approaches,
it forms a kind of nest of long grass, arranged in an oblong form. Its
flesh is whiter than that of the European Hare, but resembles it in
flavour. It gnaws the bark of young trees in the orchards as well as in
the forests, and is in many parts very abundant.



CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW.

_CAPRIMULGUS CAROLINENSIS_, BRISS.

PLATE LII. MALE AND FEMALE.


Our Goatsuckers, although possessed of great power of wing, are
particularly attached to certain districts and localities. The species now
under consideration is seldom observed beyond the limits of the Choctaw
Nation in the State of Mississippi, or the Carolinas, on the shores
of the Atlantic, and may with propriety be looked upon as the southern
species of the United States. Louisiana, Florida, the lower portions of
Alabama and Georgia, are the parts in which it most abounds; and there
it makes its appearance early in spring, coming over from Mexico, and
probably still warmer climates.

About the middle of March, the forests of Louisiana are heard to echo
with the well-known notes of this interesting bird. No sooner has the
sun disappeared, and the nocturnal insects emerge from their burrows,
than the sounds, "_chuck-will's-widow_" repeated with great clearness
and power six or seven times in as many seconds, strike the ear of every
individual, bringing to the mind a pleasure mingled with a certain degree
of melancholy, which I have often found very soothing. The sounds of
the Goatsucker, at all events, forebode a peaceful and calm night, and I
have more than once thought, are conducive to lull the listener to repose.

The deep ravines, shady swamps, and extensive pine ridges, are all equally
resorted to by these birds; for in all such places they find ample means
of providing for their safety during the day, and of procuring food
under night. Their notes are seldom heard in cloudy weather, and never
when it rains. Their roosting places are principally the hollows of
decayed trees, whether standing or prostrate, from which latter they are
seldom raised during the day, excepting while incubation is in progress.
In these hollows I have found them, lodged in the company of several
species of bats, the birds asleep on the mouldering particles of the
wood, the bats clinging to the sides of the cavities. When surprised in
such situations, instead of trying to effect their escape by flying out,
they retire backwards to the farthest corners, ruffle all the feathers
of their body, open their mouth to its full extent, and utter a hissing
kind of murmur, not unlike that of some snakes. When seized and brought
to the light of day, they open and close their eyes in rapid succession
as if it were painful for them to encounter so bright a light. They snap
their little bill in the manner of Fly-catchers, and shuffle along as
if extremely desirous of making their escape. On giving them liberty
to fly, I have found them able to proceed until out of my sight. They
passed between the trees with apparently as much ease and dexterity as
if it had been twilight. I once cut two of the quill-feathers of a wing
of one of these birds, and allowed it to escape. A few days afterwards
I found it in the same log, which induces me to believe that they, like
many other birds, resort to the same spot, to roost or spend the day.

The flight of the Chuck-will's-widow is as light as that of its relative,
the well-known _Whip-poor-will_, if not more so, and is more graceful
as well as more elevated. It somewhat resembles the flight of the
Hen-harrier, being performed by easy flappings of the wings, interspersed
with sailings and curving sweeps, extremely pleasing to the bystander.
At the approach of night, this bird begins to sing clearly and loudly,
and continues its notes for about a quarter of an hour. At this time it
is perched on a fence-stake, or on the decayed branch of a tree in the
interior of the woods, seldom on the ground. The sounds or notes which
it emits seem to cause it some trouble, as it raises and lowers its
head in quick succession at each of them. This over, the bird launches
into the air, and is seen sweeping over the cotton fields or the sugar
plantations, cutting all sorts of figures, mounting, descending, or
sailing, with so much ease and grace, that one might be induced to call
it the _Fairy of the night_. If it passes close to one, a murmuring
noise is heard, at times resembling that spoken of when the bird is
caught by day. It suddenly checks its course, inclines to the right or
left, secures a beetle or a moth, continues its flight over the field,
passes and repasses hundreds of times over the same ground, and now and
then alights on a fence-stake, or the tallest plant in the place, from
which it emits its notes for a few moments with increased vivacity.
Now, it is seen following a road or a path on the wing, and alighting
here and there to pick up the beetle emerging from its retreat in the
ground; again, it rises high in air, and gives chase to the insects that
are flying there, perhaps on their passage from one wood to another. At
other times, I have seen it poise itself on its wings opposite the trunk
of a tree, and seize with its bill the insects crawling on the bark, in
this manner inspecting the whole tree, with motions as light as those
by which the Humming Bird flutters from one flower to another. In this
manner Chuck-will's-widow spends the greater part of the night.

The greatest harmony appears to subsist between the birds of this
species, for dozens may be observed flying together over a field, and
chasing insects in all directions, without manifesting any enmity or
envy. A few days after the arrival of the male birds, the females make
their appearance, and the love season at once commences. The male pays
his addresses to the female with a degree of pomposity only equalled by
the Tame Pigeon. The female, perched lengthwise on a branch, appears
coy and silent, whilst the male flies around her, alights in front of
her, and with drooping wings and expanded tail advances quickly, singing
with great impetuosity. They are soon seen to leave the branch together
and gambol through the air. A few days after this, the female, having
made choice of a place in one of the most retired parts of some thicket,
deposits two eggs, which I think, although I cannot be certain, are all
that she lays for the season. This bird forms no nest. A little space is
carelessly scratched amongst the dead leaves, and in it the eggs, which
are elliptical, dull olive, and speckled with brown, are dropped. These
are not found without great difficulty, unless when by accident a person
passes within a few feet of the bird whilst sitting, and it chances to
fly off. Should you touch or handle these dear fruits of happy love,
and, returning to the place, search for them again, you would search in
vain; for the bird perceives at once that they have been meddled with,
and both parents remove them to some other part of the woods, where
chance only could enable you to find them again. In the same manner,
they also remove the young when very small.

This singular occurrence has as much occupied my thoughts as the equally
singular manner in which the _Cow Bunting_ deposits her eggs, which she
does, like the _Common Cuckoo_ of Europe, one by one, in the nests of
other birds, of different species from her own. I have spent much time
in trying to ascertain in what manner the Chuck-will's-widow removes
her eggs or young, particularly as I found, by the assistance of an
excellent dog, that neither the eggs nor the young were to be met with
within at least a hundred yards from the spot where they at first lay.
The Negroes, some of whom pay a good deal of attention to the habits
of birds and quadrupeds, assured me that these birds push the eggs or
young with their bill along the ground. Some farmers, without troubling
themselves much about the matter, imagined the transportation to be
performed under the wings of the old bird. The account of the Negroes
appearing to me more likely to be true than that of the farmers, I
made up my mind to institute a strict investigation of the matter. The
following is the result.

When the Chuck-will's-widow, either male or female (for each sits
alternately) has discovered that the eggs have been touched, it ruffles
its feathers and appears extremely dejected for a minute or two, after
which it emits a low murmuring cry, scarcely audible to me, as I lay
concealed at a distance of not more than eighteen or twenty yards. At
this time I have seen the other parent reach the spot, flying so low
over the ground that I thought its little feet must have touched it, as
it skimmed along, and after a few low notes and some gesticulations, all
indicative of great distress, take an egg in its large mouth, the other
bird doing the same, when they would fly off together, skimming closely
over the ground, until they disappeared among the branches and trees.
But to what distance they remove their eggs, I have never been able to
ascertain; nor have I ever had an opportunity of witnessing the removal
of the young. Should a person, coming upon the nest when the bird is
sitting, refrain from touching the eggs, the bird returns to them and
sits as before. This fact I have also ascertained by observation.

I wish I could have discovered the peculiar use of the _pectinated
claw_ which this bird has on each foot; but, reader, this remains one of
the many desiderata in ornithology, and I fear, with me at least, will
continue so.

The Chuck-will's-widow manifests a strong antipathy towards all snakes,
however harmless they may be. Although these birds cannot in any way
injure the snakes, they alight near them on all occasions, and try to
frighten them away, by opening their prodigious mouth, and emitting a
strong hissing murmur. It was after witnessing one of these occurrences,
which took place at early twilight, that the idea of representing these
birds in such an occupation struck me. The beautiful little snake, gliding
along the dead branch, between two Chuck-will's-widows, a male and a
female, is commonly called the _Harlequin Snake_, and is, I believe,
quite harmless.

The food of the bird now under consideration consists entirely of all
sorts of insects, among which the larger species of moths and beetles are
very conspicuous. The long bristly feathers at the base of the mandibles
of these birds no doubt contribute greatly to prevent the insects from
escaping, after any portion of them has entered the mouth of the bird.

These birds become silent as soon as the young are hatched, but are heard
again before their departure towards the end of summer. At this season,
however, their cry is much less frequently heard than in spring. They
leave the United States all of a sudden, about the middle of the month
of August.


     CAPRIMULGUS CAROLINENSIS, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 1028.
     —_Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 584.—_Ch. Bonaparte_,
     Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 61.

     CAROLINA GOATSUCKER, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iv. p. 592.

     CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW, CAPRIMULGUS CAROLINENSIS, _Wils._ Amer.
     Ornith. vol. vi. p. 95. Pl. 54. fig. 2.


Adult Male. Plate LII. Fig. 1.

Bill extremely short, feeble, opening to beyond the eyes, making the
mouth when open of enormous dimensions; upper mandible arched in its
dorsal outline, very broad at the base, suddenly contracted towards
the tip, which is compressed and rather obtuse; lower mandible a little
decurved at the tip. Nostrils basal, oval, prominent, covered above by a
membrane. Head disproportionately large. Eyes and ears very large. Neck
short. Body rather slender. Feet very short; tarsus partly feathered,
anteriorly scutellate below; fore toes three, connected to the second
joint by membranes, scutellate above; claws depressed, arched, that of
the middle toe with the inner edge expanded and pectinate.

Plumage blended, soft and silky, without much gloss. Upper mandible
margined at the base with long, stiff bristles, extending forwards and
outwards. Wings long, somewhat falcate, narrow, the second and third
quills longest. Tail long, ample, even, of ten broad, rounded feathers.

Bill yellowish-brown, the tip black. Iris hazel. Feet yellowish-brown,
tinged with purple. Head and back dark brown, minutely mottled with
yellowish-red, and longitudinally streaked with black. Three lines
of the latter colour from the upper mandible, diverging along the
head. A yellowish-white line over the eye. Sides of the head and chin
yellowish-red, mottled with black. Wings barred with yellowish-red and
brownish-black, and minutely sprinkled with the latter colour, as are the
wing-coverts, which, together with the scapulars, are largely spotted with
black, and tinged with bluish-grey. Tail similarly barred and sprinkled,
the inner webs of the three outer feathers white, and their extremities
light yellowish-red, more minutely sprinkled, and without bars. Under
parts blackish, sprinkled with yellowish-red, the belly lighter, and a
slight band of whitish across the fore-neck.

Length 12¾ inches, extent of wings 26; bill along the back ⅓, along the
gap 2.


Adult Female. Plate LII. Fig. 2.

The colouring of the female is similar to that of the male. The three
outer tail-feathers are brownish on their inner webs, yellowish-red,
without dots, at the tip, with a distinct subterminal bar of black.


THE HARLEQUIN SNAKE.

This beautiful Snake is rather rare in the United States, where I have
observed it only in the south. It glides through the grass with ease,
and ascends to the tops of bushes and among the branches of fallen
trees, to bask in the sun. Children are fond of catching it on account
of its beauty. It feeds principally on insects, such as flies and small
Coleoptera. Its usual size is that represented in the plate.



THE PAINTED FINCH.

_FRINGILLA CIRIS_, TEMM.

PLATE LIII. MALE IN DIFFERENT STATES OF PLUMAGE, AND FEMALE.

About the middle of April, the orange groves of the lower parts of
Louisiana, and more especially those in the immediate vicinity of the
City of New Orleans, are abundantly supplied with this beautiful little
Sparrow. But no sooner does it make its appearance than trap-cages are
set, and a regular business is commenced in the market of that city. The
method employed in securing the male Painted Finch is so connected with
its pugnacious habits, that I feel inclined to describe it, especially
as it is so different from the common way of alluring birds, that it
may afford you, kind reader, some amusement.

A male bird in full plumage is shot and stuffed in a defensive attitude,
and perched among some grass seed, rice, or other food, on the same
platform as the trap-cage. This is taken to the fields or near the
orangeries, and placed in so open a situation, that it would be difficult
for a living bird of any species to fly over it, without observing it.
The trap is set. A male Painted Finch passes, perceives it, and dives
towards the stuffed bird, with all the anger which its little breast can
contain. It alights on the edge of the trap for a moment, and throwing
its body against the stuffed bird, brings down the trap, and is made
prisoner. In this manner, thousands of these birds are caught every
spring. So pertinacious are they in their attacks, that even when the
trap has closed upon them, they continue pecking at the feathers of
the supposed rival. The approach of man seems to allay its anger in a
moment. The live bird is removed to the lower apartment of the cage,
and is thereby made to assist in decoying others.

They feed almost immediately after being caught; and if able to support
the loss of liberty for a few days, may be kept for several years. I have
known some instances of their being kept in confinement for upwards of
ten years. Few vessels leave the port of New Orleans during the summer
months, without taking some Painted Finches, and through this means
they are transported probably to all parts of Europe. I have seen them
offered for sale in London and Paris, with the trifling difference of
value on each individual, which converted the sixpence paid for it at
New Orleans to three guineas in London.

The pugnacious habits of this species are common in a great degree to
the whole family of Sparrows. Like the most daring, the Common House
Sparrow of Europe, they may be observed in spring time, in little groups
of four, five or six, fighting together, moving round each other to
secure an advantageous position, pecking and pulling at each other's
feathers with all the violence and animosity to which their small degree
of strength can give effect.

A group thus occupied I have attempted to represent in the plate. I have
at the same time endeavoured to save you the trouble of reading a long
description of the changes which take place in their plumage, from the
time at which the young leave the nest, until the fourth year following,
when the males attain the full beauty of their brilliant livery. Where
in fact would be the necessity of telling you more, than that the young,
during the first summer, are similar in colouring to the female; that the
next spring, the head of the males only has become of a handsome blue;
that, the spring following, the same bird is mottled more or less with
azure, carmine, yellow and green; and that it requires another return
of the warm season before all these colours are perfected and rendered
permanent; when at a single glance you can determine all this at once.
Long descriptions of this kind are only fit to be read to the blind.
Colours speak for themselves.

The flight of the _Pape_, by which name the Creoles of Louisiana know
this bird best, is short, although regular, and performed by a nearly
constant motion of the wings, which is rendered necessary by their
concave form. It hops on the ground, moving forward with ease, now and
then jetting out the tail a little, and, like a true Sparrow, picking
up and carrying off on wing a grain of rice or a crumb of bread to some
distance, where it may eat in more security. It has a sprightly song,
often repeated, which it continues even when closely confined. When the
bird is at liberty, this song is uttered from the top branches of an
orange-tree, or those of a common briar, and although not so sonorous
as that of the Canary, or of its nearer relative, the Indigo Bunting, is
not far from equalling either. Its song is continued during the greatest
heats of the day, which is also the case with that of the Indigo Bird.

The nest of this pretty bird is generally placed in a low situation, in
an orange-tree, frequently within a few paces of the house, or far from
it on the edge of the fences, where briars are convenient. It raises two
broods each season. The eggs are four or five, of a beautiful pearly,
rather bluish colour, speckled with blackish, and are deposited in a
simply constructed nest, lined with fine fibrous roots or horse-hair,
and externally formed of fine grass. They readily breed in confinement,
if their prison is rendered tolerably comfortable. The young are fed at
first in the manner of Canaries, but at the end of ten or twelve days
are taught to swallow grains of rice, insects or berries. No sooner are
figs or grapes ripe than these birds attack them, feeding for some time
almost entirely upon them. Towards evening, they also pursue insects on
wing.

Some persons give the name of _Nonpareil_ to this species, but it is
more commonly known by the name of _Pape_, which, in fact, is a general
appellation given by the inhabitants of Louisiana to all the smaller
species of thick-billed birds.

The Painted Finches do not proceed far eastward, nor, indeed, up the
Mississippi, being seldom seen above the City of Natchez, on that river,
or farther to the east than the Carolinas. It retires southward in the
beginning of October.

The Chickasaw Wild Plum, on a twig of which I have represented a group of
these birds, is found growing abundantly in the country where the birds
occur. It is a small shrub, the fruit of which is yellow when ripe, and
excellent eating.


     FRINGILLA CIRIS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synopsis of Birds of the
     United States, p. 107.

     EMBERIZA CIRIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 313.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 416.

     PAINTED BUNTING, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iii. p. 206.—_Wils._
     Amer. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 68. Pl. xxiv. fig. 1. Male; fig. 2.
     Female.


Adult Male, in full plumage. Plate LIII. Fig 1.

Bill short, robust, conical, somewhat bulging, straight, acute; upper
mandible broader, slightly declinate at the tip; gap-line a little
declinate at the base. Nostrils basal, roundish, partly concealed by
the frontal feathers. Head and neck rather large. Body full. Feet of
moderate length; tarsus a little longer than the middle toe; toes free,
the lateral ones nearly equal; claws compressed, arched, acute.

Plumage blended, tufty, somewhat compact on the head and back. Wings of
ordinary length, the third quill longest. Tail shortish, even, of twelve
rounded feathers.

Bill dark brown above, light-blue beneath. Iris hazel. Feet light blue.
Head and upper neck pure azure, a circle of carmine round the eye. Back
and lesser wing-coverts yellowish-green. Lower back and under parts deep
carmine. Quills and tail purplish-brown; secondary coverts green.

Length 5¼, extent of wings 7½; bill along the ridge ⅓, along the gap ½;
tarsus ¾, middle toe ⅔.


Male in the third year. Plate LIII. Fig. 2.

Head and under parts as in the full-plumaged male. Back mottled with
yellow and light green; upper wing-coverts patched with green, yellow
and brown.


Male in the second year. Plate LIII. Fig. 4.

Bill and upper part of the head as in the adult. Upper parts generally
olive-green; under parts dull orange, paler behind.


Male in the first year. Plate LIII. Fig. 3.

Under mandible blue; in other respects similar to the female.


Adult Female. Plate LIII. Fig. 5.

Bill brown. Feet light blue. Upper parts in general light olive green;
under parts dull orange, paler behind.


THE CHICKASAW PLUM.

     PRUNUS CHICASA, _Mich._ Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 284. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 332.—ICOSANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._
     ROSACEÆ, _Juss._

This species is distinguished by its oblongo-elliptical, acuminate,
serrulate leaves; smooth spinescent branches; flowers in pairs, with
very short pedicels, and glabrous calyces; and its broadly oval fruits.
It flowers in April and May.



THE RICE BIRD.

_ICTERUS AGRIPENNIS_, CH. BONAP.

PLATE LIV. MALE AND FEMALE.


Very few of these birds pass through Louisiana in spring, and still
fewer, on their return, in autumn; for which reason I am inclined to
think that they do not spend the winter months so much in the Southern
parts of America as in some of the West India Islands. Indeed, I am
the more inclined to believe this to be the case, that they seldom
penetrate far into the interior, during their stay with us, but prefer
the districts bordering upon the Atlantic, through which they pass and
repass in incredible numbers.

In Louisiana, small detached flocks of males or of females appear about
the middle of March and beginning of April, alighting in the meadows
and grain-fields, where they pick up the grubs and insects found about
the roots of the blades. I have heard it asserted, though I cannot give
it as a fact, that the appearance of the Rice Bird in spring forebodes
a bad harvest. The idea probably originates from the circumstance that
these birds do not pass through Louisiana regularly every year, there
being sometimes three or four springs in succession in which they are
not observed.

The plumage of many of the males at this early season still resembles
that of the females, but it changes in the course of their stay,
which is seldom more than a fortnight. I have ascertained this fact by
dissecting many at this period, when, notwithstanding the dull colour
of their plumage, I found the sexual organs greatly developed, which is
not the case in autumn, even in the old males. I had another clew to
the discovery of this fact. No sooner did a flock of females make its
appearance, than these dull-looking gentlemen immediately paid them such
particular attention, and sang so vehemently, that the fact of their
being of a different sex became undeniable.

Here they pass under the name of _Meadow Birds_. In Pennsylvania they
are called _Reed Birds_, in Carolina _Rice Buntings_, and in the State
of New York _Boblinks_. The latter appellation is given to them as far
eastward as they are known to proceed for the purpose of breeding.

During their sojourn in Louisiana, in spring, their song, which is
extremely interesting, and emitted with a volubility bordering on the
burlesque, is heard from a whole party at the same time; when, as each
individual is, of course, possessed of the same musical powers as his
neighbours, it becomes amusing to listen to thirty or forty of them
beginning one after another, as if ordered to follow in quick succession,
after the first notes are given by a leader, and producing such a medley
as it is impossible to describe, although it is extremely pleasant to
hear it. While you are listening, the whole flock simultaneously ceases,
which appears equally extraordinary. This curious exhibition takes place
every time that the flock has alighted on a tree, after feeding for a
while on the ground, and is renewed at intervals during the day.

There is a very remarkable fact in the history of this species, which is,
that while moving eastward, during their migration, in spring, they fly
mostly at night; whereas in autumn, when they are returning southward,
their flight is diurnal. This, kind reader, is another puzzle to me.

About the middle of May, the Boblinks reach the State of New York,
their stay in the intermediate States being of short duration at that
season, although sufficient to enable them to cause great injury to the
corn fields in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, where it is said,
although I can scarcely give credit to the assertion, that they cut
the blade near the root. This is perhaps laid to their charge for the
purpose of aggravating the real injury which they afterwards inflict on
the farmers, by feeding on the grain when in a milky and tender state.
However, they reach the States of New York and Connecticut, and extend
their journey to the easternmost of our districts, proceeding also to
the borders of Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, and the St Laurence.

By this time, they have become so plentiful, and have so dispersed all
over the country, that it is impossible to see a meadow or a field of
corn, which does not contain several pairs of them. The beauty, or,
perhaps more properly, the variety of their plumage, as well as of their
song, attracts the attention of the bird-catchers. Great numbers are
captured and exposed for sale in the markets, particularly in those of
the city of New York. They are caught in trap-cages, and feed and sing
almost immediately after. Many are carried to Europe, where the shipper
is often disappointed in his profits, as by the time they reach there,
the birds have changed their colours and seem all females.

Whilst the love season lasts, the males are more sprightly than ever.
Their song is mostly performed in the air, while they are rising and
falling in successive jerks, which are as amusing as the jingling of
their vocal essays. The variety of their colours is at this juncture
very remarkable. It is equally so, when, on rising from among the grass
and flying away from the observer, they display the pure black and white
of their wings and body.

The nest of the Rice Bunting is placed on the ground, without much
apparent care as to choice of situation, but always amongst the grass,
or in a field of wheat or barley. It is composed of coarse dried grasses
and leaves externally, and is lined with finer meadow grass. It appears
large for the size of the bird. The female lays from four to six eggs, of
a white colour, strongly tinged with dull blue, and irregularly spotted
with blackish. They raise only one brood in a season.

No sooner have the young left the nest, than they and their parents
associate with other families, so that by the end of July large flocks
begin to appear. They seem to come from every portion of the Eastern
States, and already resort to the borders of the rivers and estuaries to
roost. Their songs have ceased, the males have lost their gay livery,
and have assumed the yellow hue of the females and young, although the
latter are more firm in their tints than the old males, and the whole
begin to return southward, slowly and with a single _clink_, sufficient
however to give intimation of their passage, as they fly high in long
files during the whole day.

Now begin their devastations. They plunder every field, but are shot
in immense numbers. As they pass along the sea shores, and follow the
muddy edges of the rivers, covered at that season with full grown reeds,
whose tops are bent down with the weight of the ripe seeds, they alight
amongst them in countless multitudes, and afford abundant practice to
every gunner.

It is particularly towards sunset, and when the weather is fine, that
the sport of shooting _Reed Birds_ is most profitable. They have then
fully satiated their appetite, and have collected closely for the
purpose of roosting. At the discharge of a gun, a flock sufficient to
cover several acres rises _en masse_, and performing various evolutions,
densely packed, and resembling a sultry cloud, passes over and near
the sportsman, when he lets fly, and finds occupation for some time in
picking up the dozens which he has brought down at a single shot. One
would think that every gun in the country has been put in requisition.
Millions of these birds are destroyed, and yet millions remain, for after
all the havock that has been made among them in the Middle Districts,
they follow the coast, and reach the rice plantations of the Carolinas
in such astonishing numbers, that no one could conceive their flocks to
have been already thinned. Their flesh is extremely tender and juicy.
The markets are amply supplied, and the epicures have a glorious time
of it.

By the end of October, few are found remaining in the States of New York
and Pennsylvania; and by the first of December they have left the United
States.

The food of these birds varies according to the seasons, and consists
of grubs, caterpillars, insects of various kinds, such as beetles,
grasshoppers, crickets, and ground-spiders, and the seeds of wild oats,
wheat, barley, rice, and other grasses. They cling or climb along the
stalks of rank weeds, reeds, and corn, with great activity and ease,
and when at roost place themselves as near the ground as possible.


     ICTERUS AGRIPENNIS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 53.

     EMBERIZA ORYZIVORA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 311.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 408.

     RICE BUNTING, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iii. p. 188.—_Wils._ Amer.
     Ornith. vol. ii. p. 48, Pl. xii. fig. 1, 2.


Plate LIV. Fig. 1. Adult Male in summer.

Bill of ordinary length, robust, conical, compressed; upper mandible
narrower, inflected at the edges, the dorsal outline a little convex,
the ridge slightly prolonged on the forehead, the palate furnished with
a hard tubercle; under mandible with the dorsal outline convex, as are
the sides, the edges inflected; the gap line much deflected at the base,
straight. Nostrils basal, oval, in a short deep grove, nearly concealed
by the feathers. Head large, neck thick, body full. Feet of ordinary
length, rather strong; tarsus compressed, anteriorly covered with six
scutella, posteriorly acute; toes scutellate above, the outer united at
the base; claws arched, compressed, acute, the hind one very long.

Plumage compact, glossy. Wings of ordinary length, the second quill
longest. Tail of ordinary length, composed of twelve acuminate feathers.

Bill dark brown above, bluish-grey beneath. Iris hazel. Feet light
reddish-brown. Upper and fore part of the head, cheeks, tail, quills, and
the whole under parts, black. Back of the head and neck brownish-yellow.
Fore part of the back black, the feathers margined with yellow, as are
the secondary quills and coverts. Lower back, tail-coverts and scapulars,
pure white.

Length 7 inches, extent of wings 11; bill along the ridge 7/12, along
the gap ⅔; tarsus 1⅙, middle toe 1¼.


Adult Female in summer. Plate LIV. Fig. 2.

The female is somewhat less than the male, and differs greatly in the
colours of the plumage, the upper parts being light yellowish-brown,
longitudinally streaked with blackish-brown, the under parts pale
greyish-yellow, the sides longitudinally marked with dark brown. There
is a broad band of dark brown on each side of the head, beneath which
is a yellowish streak over the eye, and a blackish spot behind it. The
quills and tail-feathers are wood-brown, the former, as well as the
coverts, margined with yellowish.

Notwithstanding the somewhat greater length of the bill, this bird
evidently approaches very nearly to the genus _Emberiza_, or is one of
the connecting links between it and the genus _Icterus_. The female in
colouring bears a striking resemblance to _Emberiza miliaria_.


THE RED MAPLE.

     ACER RUBRUM, _Willd._ Sp. Plant. vol. iv. p. 984. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 265. _Mich._ Arb. Forest. de l'Amer.
     Sept. vol. ii. p. 210. Pl. 14.—OCTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._
     ACERINEÆ, _Juss._

This species, which is known by the names of _Red Maple_ and _Swamp
Maple_, is distinguished by its five-lobed or three-lobed leaves, which
are cordate at the base, unequally and deeply toothed, and glaucous
beneath; its sessile umbels, elongated pedicels, and smooth germens.
The flowers and seeds are red. It is very extensively distributed, and
in the Swamps of Pennsylvania and New Jersey attains a height of from
sixty to eighty feet. When young, the bark is smooth, and covered with
large white spots, but it ultimately cracks and becomes brown. The wood
is hard and close, and takes a good polish. It is extensively used for
various purposes.



CUVIER'S REGULUS.

_REGULUS CUVIERII._

PLATE LV. MALE.


I have named this pretty and rare species after BARON CUVIER, not merely
by way of acknowledgment for the kind attentions which I have received
at the hands of that deservedly celebrated naturalist, but more as a
homage due by every student of nature to one at present unrivalled in
the knowledge of General Zoology.

I shot the bird represented in the Plate, on my father-in-law's plantation
of Fatland Ford, on the Skuylkill River in Pennsylvania, on the 8th June
1812, while on a visit to my honoured relative Mr WILLIAM BAKEWELL.
The drawing which I then made I have kept to this date, without having
described the bird from which it was taken. I killed this little bird,
supposing it to be one of its relatives, the Ruby-crested Wren, whilst
it was searching for insects and larvæ amongst the leaves and blossoms
of the _Kalmia latifolia_, on a branch of which you see it represented,
and was not aware of its being a different bird until I picked it up
from the ground. I have not seen another since, nor have I been able to
learn that this species has been observed by any other individual. It
might, however, be very easily mistaken for the Ruby-crowned Wren, the
manners of which appear to be much the same.

My excellent friend CHARLES LUCIAN BONAPARTE, to whom also I shewed my
drawing of this bird in London, proposed naming it _Regulus Carbunculus_;
and I should probably have introduced it to you, kind reader, under that
appellation, had I not changed it for that of _Regulus Cuvierii_, on my
fortunately becoming acquainted with the highly celebrated and equally
kind Secretary of the Royal Institute of France.

The _Kalmia latifolia_ grows in great profusion in the State of
Pennsylvania, and along the range of the Alleghanies, in all rocky and
hilly situations.


     REGULUS CUVIERII.


Plate LV. Male.

Bill short, straight, subulate, very slender, compressed, with inflected
edges; upper mandible nearly straight in its dorsal outline, the edges
slightly notched close upon the slightly declinate acute tip; lower
mandible straight, acute. Nostrils basal, elliptical, half closed above
by a membrane, covered over by the feathers. The whole form slender.
Legs rather long; tarsus slender, much compressed, longer than the middle
toe, covered anteriorly with a few indistinct scutella; toes scutellate,
the lateral ones nearly equal and free; hind toe stouter; claws weak,
compressed, arched, acute.

Plumage very loose and tufty. Bristles at the base of the bill; a small
decomposed feather covering the nostril. Wings of ordinary length, the
third and fourth primaries longest. Tail of twelve feathers, emarginate.

Bill black. Iris hazel. Feet yellowish-brown. The general colour of the
upper parts is dull greyish-olive. Forehead, lore, and a line behind
the eye, black. A semilunar band of the same on the top of the head, the
middle space vermilion. Wings and tail dusky, edged with greenish-yellow.
Secondary coverts tipped with greyish-white. Under parts greyish-white.

Length 4¼ inches, extent of wings 6; bill along the ridge nearly ⅓,
along the gap nearly ½; tarsus ¾.


THE BROAD-LEAVED KALMIA, OR LAUREL.

     KALMIA LATIFOLIA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 600. _Pursh_, Fl.
     Amer. vol. i. p. 296.—DECANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ RHODODENDRA,
     _Juss._

This beautiful species is characterized by its scattered, petiolate,
elliptical leaves, which are smooth, and nearly of the same colour on
both sides; and its terminal, viscid, and pubescent corymbs. It is a
middle-sized shrub, sometimes attaining a height of eight or ten feet.
The leaves are evergreen, as in the other species, and the flowers of
a delicate pink.



KENTUCKY SPORTS.


It may not be amiss, kind reader, before I attempt to give you some idea
of the pleasures experienced by the sportsmen of Kentucky, to introduce
the subject with a slight description of that State.

Kentucky was formerly attached to Virginia, but in those days the Indians
looked upon that portion of the western wilds as their own, and abandoned
the district only when forced to do so, moving with disconsolate hearts
farther into the recesses of the unexplored forests. Doubtless the
richness of its soil, and the beauty of its borders, situated as they are
along one of the most beautiful rivers in the world, contributed as much
to attract the Old Virginians, as the desire so generally experienced
in America, of spreading over the uncultivated tracts, and bringing
into cultivation lands that have for unknown ages teemed with the wild
luxuriance of untamed nature. The conquest of Kentucky was not performed
without many difficulties. The warfare that long existed between the
intruders and the Redskins was sanguinary and protracted; but the former
at length made good their footing, and the latter drew off their shattered
bands, dismayed by the mental superiority and indomitable courage of
the white men.

This region was probably discovered by a daring hunter, the renowned
DANIEL BOON. The richness of its soil, its magnificent forests, its
numberless navigable streams, its salt springs and licks, its saltpetre
caves, its coal strata, and the vast herds of buffaloes and deer that
browsed on its hills and amidst its charming valleys, afforded ample
inducements to the new settler, who pushed forward with a spirit far
above that of the most undaunted tribes, which for ages had been the
sole possessors of the soil.

The Virginians thronged towards the Ohio. An axe, a couple of horses, and
a heavy rifle, with store of ammunition, were all that were considered
necessary for the equipment of the man, who, with his family, removed
to the new State, assured that, in that land of exuberant fertility, he
could not fail to provide amply for all his wants. To have witnessed the
industry and perseverance of these emigrants, must at once have proved the
vigour of their minds. Regardless of the fatigue attending every movement
which they made, they pushed through an unexplored region of dark and
tangled forests, guiding themselves by the sun alone, and reposing at
night on the bare ground. Numberless streams they had to cross on rafts,
with their wives and children, their cattle and their luggage, often
drifting to considerable distances before they could effect a landing
on the opposite shores. Their cattle would often stray amid the rice
pasturage of these shores, and occasion a delay of several days. To these
troubles add the constantly impending danger of being murdered, while
asleep in their encampments, by the prowling and ruthless Indians; while
they had before them a distance of hundreds of miles to be traversed,
before they could reach certain places of rendezvous called _Stations_.
To encounter difficulties like these must have required energies of no
ordinary kind; and the reward which these veteran settlers enjoy was
doubtless well merited.

Some removed from the Atlantic shores to those of the Ohio in more comfort
and security. They had their waggons, their Negroes, and their families.
Their way was cut through the woods by their own axemen, the day before
their advance, and when night overtook them, the hunters attached to
the party came to the place pitched upon for encamping, loaded with the
dainties of which the forest yielded an abundant supply, the blazing light
of a huge fire guiding their steps as they approached, and the sounds
of merriment that saluted their ears assuring them that all was well.
The flesh of the buffalo, the bear, and the deer, soon hung in large
and delicious steaks, in front of the embers; the cakes already prepared
were deposited in their proper places, and under the rich drippings of
the juicy roasts, were quickly baked. The waggons contained the bedding,
and whilst the horses which had drawn them were turned loose to feed on
the luxuriant undergrowth of the woods, some perhaps hoppled, but the
greater number, merely with a light bell hung to their neck, to guide
their owners in the morning to the spot where they might have rambled,
the party were enjoying themselves after the fatigues of the day.

In anticipation all is pleasure; and these migrating bands feasted in
joyous sociality, unapprehensive of any greater difficulties than those
to be encountered in forcing their way through the pathless woods to
the land of abundance; and although it took months to accomplish the
journey, and a skirmish now and then took place between them and the
Indians, who sometimes crept unperceived into their very camp, still did
the Virginians cheerfully proceed towards the western horizon, until
the various groups all reached the Ohio, when, struck with the beauty
of that magnificent stream, they at once commenced the task of clearing
land, for the purpose of establishing a permanent residence.

Others, perhaps encumbered with too much luggage, preferred descending
the stream. They prepared _arks_ pierced with port-holes, and glided
on the gentle current, more annoyed, however, than those who marched
by land, by the attacks of the Indians, who watched their motions. Many
travellers have described these boats, formerly called _arks_, but now
named _flat-boats_. But have they told you, kind reader, that in those
times a boat thirty or forty feet in length, by ten or twelve in breadth,
was considered a stupendous fabric; that this boat contained men, women
and children, huddled together, with horses, cattle, hogs and poultry
for their companions, while the remaining portion was crammed with
vegetables and packages of seeds? The roof or deck of the boat was not
unlike a farm-yard, being covered with hay, ploughs, carts, waggons, and
various agricultural implements, together with numerous others, among
which the spinning-wheels of the matrons were conspicuous. Even the
sides of the floating-mass were loaded with the wheels of the different
vehicles, which themselves lay on the roof. Have they told you that these
boats contained the little all of each family of venturous emigrants,
who, fearful of being discovered by the Indians under night moved in
darkness, groping their way from one part to another of these floating
habitations, denying themselves the comfort of fire or light, lest the
foe that watched them from the shore should rush upon them and destroy
them? Have they told you that this boat was used, after the tedious
voyage was ended, as the first dwelling of these new settlers? No, kind
reader, such things have not been related to you before. The travellers
who have visited our country, have had other objects in view.

I shall not describe the many massacres which took place among the
different parties of White and Red men, as the former moved down the
Ohio; because I have never been very fond of battles, and indeed have
always wished that the world were more peaceably inclined than it is; and
shall merely add, that, in one way or other, Kentucky was wrested from
the original owners of the soil. Let us, therefore, turn our attention to
the sports still enjoyed in that now happy portion of the United States.

We have individuals in Kentucky, kind reader, that even there are
considered wonderful adepts in the management of the rifle. To _drive a
nail_ is a common feat, not more thought off by the Kentuckians than to
cut off a wild turkey's head, at a distance of a hundred yards. Others
will _bark_ off squirrels one after another, until satisfied with the
number procured. Some, less intent on destroying game, may be seen under
night _snuffing a candle_ at the distance of fifty yards, off-hand,
without extinguishing it. I have been told that some have proved so
expert and cool, as to make choice of the eye of a foe at a wonderful
distance, boasting beforehand of the sureness of their piece, which has
afterwards been fully proved when the enemy's head has been examined!

Having resided some years in Kentucky, and having more than once been
witness of rifle sport, I shall present you with the results of my
observation, leaving you to judge how far rifle-shooting is understood
in that State.

Several individuals who conceive themselves expert in the management
of the gun, are often seen to meet for the purpose of displaying their
skill, and betting a trifling sum, put up a target, in the centre of
which a common-sized nail is hammered for about two-thirds of its length.
The marksmen make choice of what they consider a proper distance, which
may be forty paces. Each man cleans the interior of his tube, which is
called _wiping_ it, places a ball in the palm of his hand, pouring as much
powder from his horn upon it as will cover it. This quantity is supposed
to be sufficient for any distance within a hundred yards. A shot which
comes very close to the nail is considered as that of an indifferent
marksman; the bending of the nail is, of course, somewhat better; but
nothing less than hitting it right on the head is satisfactory. Well,
kind reader, one out of three shots generally hits the nail, and should
the shooters amount to half a dozen, two nails are frequently needed
before each can have a shot. Those who drive the nail have a further
trial amongst themselves, and the two best shots out of these generally
settle the affair, when all the sportsmen adjourn to some house, and
spend an hour or two in friendly intercourse, appointing, before they
part, a day for another trial. This is technically termed _Driving the
Nail_.

_Barking off squirrels_ is delightful sport, and in my opinion requires a
greater degree of accuracy than any other. I first witnessed this manner
of procuring squirrels, whilst near the town of Frankfort. The performer
was the celebrated DANIEL BOON. We walked out together, and followed
the rocky margins of the Kentucky River, until we reached a piece of
flat land thickly covered with black walnuts, oaks and hickories. As the
general mast was a good one that year, squirrels were seen gambolling
on every tree around us. My companion, a stout, hale, and athletic man,
dressed in a homespun hunting-shirt, bare-legged and moccasined, carried
a long and heavy rifle, which, as he was loading it, he said had proved
efficient in all his former undertakings, and which he hoped would not
fail on this occasion, as he felt proud to shew me his skill. The gun
was wiped, the powder measured, the ball patched with six-hundred-thread
linen, and the charge sent home with a hickory rod. We moved not a
step from the place, for the squirrels were so numerous that it was
unnecessary to go after them. BOON pointed to one of these animals
which had observed us, and was crouched on a branch about fifty paces
distant, and bade me mark well the spot where the ball should hit. He
raised his piece gradually, until the _bead_ (that being the name given
by the Kentuckians to the _sight_) of the barrel was brought to a line
with the spot which he intended to hit. The whip-like report resounded
through the woods and along the hills, in repeated echoes. Judge of my
surprise, when I perceived that the ball had hit the piece of the bark
immediately beneath the squirrel, and shivered it into splinters, the
concussion produced by which had killed the animal, and sent it whirling
through the air, as if it had been blown up by the explosion of a powder
magazine. BOON kept up his firing, and, before many hours had elapsed,
we had procured as many squirrels as we wished; for you must know, kind
reader, that to load a rifle requires only a moment, and that if it is
wiped once after each shot, it will do duty for hours. Since that first
interview with our veteran BOON, I have seen many other individuals
perform the same feat.

The _snuffing of a candle_ with a ball, I first had an opportunity of
seeing near the banks of Green River, not far from a large pigeon-roost,
to which I had previously made a visit. I heard many reports of guns
during the early part of a dark night, and knowing them to be those of
rifles, I went towards the spot to ascertain the cause. On reaching the
place, I was welcomed by a dozen of tall stout men, who told me they
were exercising, for the purpose of enabling them to shoot under night
at the reflected light from the eyes of a deer or wolf, by torch-light,
of which I shall give you an account somewhere else. A fire was blazing
near, the smoke of which rose curling among the thick foliage of the
trees. At a distance which rendered it scarcely distinguishable, stood a
burning candle, as if intended for an offering to the goddess of night,
but which in reality was only fifty yards from the spot on which we all
stood. One man was within a few yards of it, to watch the effects of the
shots, as well as to light the candle should it chance to go out, or to
replace it should the shot cut it across. Each marksman shot in his turn.
Some never hit either the snuff or the candle, and were congratulated
with a loud laugh; while others actually snuffed the candle without
putting it out, and were recompensed for their dexterity by numerous
hurrahs. One of them, who was particularly expert, was very fortunate,
and snuffed the candle three times out of seven, whilst all the other
shots either put out the candle, or cut it immediately under the light.

Of the feats performed by the Kentuckians with the rifle, I could say
more than might be expedient on the present occasion. In every thinly
peopled portion of the State, it is rare to meet one without a gun of
that description, as well as a tomahawk. By way of recreation, they
often cut off a piece of the bark of a tree, make a target of it, using
a little powder wetted with water or saliva, for the bull's eye, and
shoot into the mark all the balls they have about them, picking them
out of the wood again.

After what I have said, you may easily imagine with what ease a Kentuckian
procures game, or dispatches an enemy, more especially when I tell you
that every one in the State is accustomed to handle the rifle from the
time when he is first able to shoulder it until near the close of his
career. That murderous weapon is the means of procuring them subsistence
during all their wild and extensive rambles, and is the source of their
principal sports and pleasures.



RED-SHOULDERED HAWK.

_FALCO LINEATUS_, GMEL.

PLATE LVI. MALE AND FEMALE.


Although we are informed that a _skin_ of this species has long ago
been described in Europe, we are, in the same breath, told that nothing
is known of the life and habits of the individual on the body of which
it once shone in all its native glossiness. Nothing, kind reader:—the
tarnished coat only has been transmitted abroad; and, like that belonging
to many equally interesting species of the feathered tribe, has been
exposed for sale in distant markets, where the purchaser has felt as
little concern about the life of the individual to which it belonged,
as purchasers of another kind usually feel about the former owners
of the thread-bare vestments which we see offered for sale by the
old-clothes'-men of St Giles's. Even Mr ALEXANDER WILSON himself, knew
nothing respecting the habits of this species; and as other authors,
ranking equally high with that pleasing writer, have unwittingly
confounded it with another species, known in the United States by the
name of the _Winter Hawk_, it is with satisfaction that I find myself in
some degree qualified to give an account of the differences of _habit_
between the two species.

The _Red-shouldered Hawk_, or, as I would prefer calling it, the
_Red-breasted Hawk_, although dispersed over the greater part of the
United States, is rarely observed in the Middle Districts, where, on
the contrary, the _Winter Falcon_ usually makes its appearance from the
north, at the approach of every autumn, and is of more common occurrence.
Kentucky, Tennessee, and other Western States, with the most Southern
Districts of our Union, are apparently best adapted for the constant
residence of the Red-shouldered Hawk, as in all these latter districts
it is met with in greater numbers than in any other.

This bird is one of the most noisy of its genus, during spring especially,
when it would be difficult to approach the skirts of woods bordering a
large plantation without hearing its discordant shrill notes, _ka-hee,
ka-hee_, as it is seen sailing in rapid circles at a very great elevation.
Its ordinary flight is even and protracted, excepting when it is
describing the circles just mentioned, when it often dives and gambols.
It is a more general inhabitant of the woods than most of our other
species, particularly during the summer, and in autumn and winter; now
and then only, in early spring, shewing itself in the open grounds, and
about the vicinity of small lakes, for the purpose securing Red-winged
Starlings and wounded Ducks.

The interior of woods seems, as I have said, the fittest haunts for
the Red-shouldered Hawk. He sails through them a few yards above the
ground, and suddenly alights on the low branch of a tree, or the top
of a dead stump, from which he silently watches, in an erect posture,
for the appearance of squirrels, upon which he pounces directly and
kills them in an instant, afterwards devouring them on the ground. If
accidentally discovered, he essays to remove the squirrel, but finding
this difficult, he drags it partly through the air and partly along the
ground, to some short distance, until he conceives himself out of sight
of the intruder, when he again commences feeding. The eating of a whole
squirrel, which this bird often devours at one meal, so gorges it, that
I have seen it in this state almost unable to fly, and with such an
extraordinary protuberance on its breast as seemed very unnatural, and
very injurious to the beauty of form which the bird usually displays.
On all occasions, such as I have described, when the bird is so gorged,
it is approached with the greatest ease. On the contrary, when it is in
want of food, it requires the greatest caution to get within shooting
distance of it.

At the approach of spring, this species begins to pair, and its flight
is accompanied with many circlings and zigzag motions, during which it
emits its shrill cries. The male is particularly noisy at this time. He
gives chase to all other Hawks, returns to the branch on which his mate
has chanced to perch, and caresses her. This happens about the beginning
of March. The spot adapted for a nest is already fixed upon, and the
fabric is half finished. The top of a tall tree appears to be preferred
by this Hawk, as I have found its nest more commonly placed there, not
far from the edges of woods bordering plantations. The nest is seated
in the forks of a large branch, towards its extremity, and is as bulky
as that of the Common Crow. It is formed externally of dry sticks and
Spanish moss, and is lined with withered grass and fibrous roots of
different sorts, arranged in a circular manner. The female usually lays
four eggs, sometimes five. They are of a broad oval form, granulated all
over, pale blue, faintly blotched with brownish-red at the smaller end.

When one ascends to the nest, which, by the way, is not always an easy
matter, as our Beech-trees are not only very smooth, but frequently
without any boughs to a considerable distance from the ground, as well
as of rather large size, the female bird, if she happens to be sitting,
flies off silently and alights on a neighbouring tree, to wait the
result. But, should the male, who supplies her with food, and assists
in incubation, be there, or make his appearance, he immediately sets
up a hue and cry, and plunges towards the assailant with such violence
as to astonish him. When, on several occasions, I have had the tree on
which the nest was placed cut down, I have observed the same pair, a few
days after, build another nest on a tree not far distant from the spot
in which the first one had been.

The mutual attachment of the male and the female continues during life.
They usually hunt in pairs during the whole year; and although they
build a new nest every spring, they are fond of resorting to the same
parts of the woods for that purpose. I knew the pair represented in the
Plate for three years, and saw their nest each spring placed within a
few hundred yards of the spot in which that of the preceding year was.

The young remain in the nest until fully fledged, and are fed by the
parents for several weeks after they have taken to wing, but leave them
and begin to shift for themselves in about a month, when they disperse
and hunt separately until the approach of the succeeding spring, at
which time they pair. The young birds acquire the rusty reddish colour
of the feathers on the breast and shoulders before they leave the nest.
It deepens gradually at the approach of autumn, and by the first spring
they completely resemble the old birds. Only one brood is raised each
season. Scarcely any difference of size exists between the sexes, the
female being merely a little stouter.

This Hawk seldom attacks any kind of poultry, and yet frequently pounces
on Partridges, Doves, or Wild Pigeons, as well as Red-winged Starlings,
and now and then very young rabbits. On one or two occasions, I have
seen them make their appearance at the report of my gun, and try to
rob me of some Blue-winged Teals shot in small ponds. I have never seen
them chase any other small birds than those mentioned, or quadrupeds of
smaller size than the _Cotton Rat_; nor am I aware of their eating frogs,
which are the common food of the Winter Falcon, an account of which you
will find, kind reader, in another part of this the first volume of my
Biography of the Birds found in the United States of America.


     FALCO LINEATUS, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 268.—_Lath._
     Synops. vol. i. p. 27.—_Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. vi. p. 86.
     Pl. 53, fig. 3. Young Male.

     FALCO HYEMALIS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United
     States, p. 33.


Adult Male. Plate LVI. Fig. 1.

Bill short, as broad as deep, the sides convex, the dorsal outline
convex from the base; upper mandible cerate, the edges blunt, slightly
inflected, with an obtuse lobe towards the curvature, the tip trigonal,
deflected, very acute; lower mandible involute at the edges, a little
truncate at the end. Nostrils round, lateral, with a soft papilla in the
centre. Head rather large. Neck and body rather slender. Legs longish;
tarsus rather slender, anteriorly scutellate; 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, slender,
curved, very acute.

Plumage compact, imbricated; feathers of the head and neck narrow towards
the tip, of the back broad and rounded; tibial feathers elongated behind.
Wings long, third and fourth primaries longest, first short.

Bill light blue at the base, bluish-black at the tip; cere, basal
margin of the bill, edges of the eyelids, and the feet, bright yellow.
Iris hazel. Claws black. Head, neck, and back, light yellowish-red,
longitudinally spotted with dark brown. Tail brownish-black, banded
with greyish-white, the tip of the latter colour. Lesser wing-coverts
bright yellowish-red, spotted with brown; larger coverts and secondary
quills dusky, broadly barred with white; primary quills brownish-black
banded with white, the greater part of their inner webs being of the
latter colour. Lower parts of the neck and under wing-coverts light
yellowish-red, the former longitudinally lined with blackish; breast
reddish-white, marked with transverse hastate yellowish-red spots;
abdomen and under tail-coverts reddish-white. Tibial feathers yellowish,
transversely barred with dull orange.

Length 18 inches; bill along the back 1¼, along the gap from the tip of
under mandible 1¼; tarsus 2¾.


Adult Female. Plate LVI. Fig. 1.

The female differs from the male in being a little larger, and in having
the tints lighter.



THE LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE.

_LANIUS LUDOVICIANUS_, LINN.

PLATE LVII. MALE AND FEMALE.


This species may with great propriety be called an inhabitant of the
"Low Countries," as it is seldom or never met with even in the vicinity
of the mountains intersecting the districts in which it usually resides.
It is also confined to that portion of our country usually known under
the name of the Southern States, seldom reaching farther eastward than
North Carolina, or farther inland than the State of Mississippi, in
which latter, as well as in Louisiana, it appears only during the winter
months. Its residence may, therefore, be looked upon as confined to the
Floridas, Georgia, and the Carolinas. In these States, it is seen along
the fences and bushes about the rice plantations at all seasons, and is
of some service to the planter, as it destroys the field-mice in great
numbers, as well as many of the larger kinds of grubs and insects, upon
which it pounces in the manner of a Hawk.

The Loggerhead has no song, but utters a shrill clear creaking prolonged
note, resembling the grating of a rusty hinge slowly moved to and fro.
This sound is heard only during the spring season, and whilst the female
is sitting. About the beginning of March these birds begin to pair. They
exhibit at this time few of those marks of the tender affection which
birds usually shew. The male courts the female without much regard, and
she, in return, appears to receive his haughty attentions with merely
just as much condescension as enables her to become the mother of a
family, whose feelings are destined to be of the same cold nature.

The nest is fixed in a low bush, generally near the centre of a dwarf
hawthorn, and is so little concealed as to be easily discovered. It is
coarsely constructed of dry crooked twigs, and is lined with fibrous
roots and slender grasses. The eggs, which are of a greenish white, are
from three to five. Incubation is performed by the male as well as by
the female, but each searches for its own food during the intervals of
sitting.

The young are at first fed on crickets, grasshoppers, and other insects;
but as they become larger and stronger, they receive portions of mice,
which form the principal food of the grown birds at all seasons. The
Loggerheads rear only one brood in the season.

Whilst this species is on wing, its motions are very rapid and direct,
its flight being produced by quick flutterings of the wings, without any
apparent undulation. The bird alights in a sudden firm manner, like a
Hawk, stands erect, silent and watchful, until it spies its prey on the
ground, when it suddenly pounces upon it, striking it first _with its
bill_, but seizing it with its claws so immediately after, that the most
careful observation alone can enable one to decide as to the priority
of either action. I have never seen it attack birds, nor stick its prey
on thorns in the manner of the Great American Shrike.

This bird appears in Louisiana only at intervals, and seldom remains more
than a few weeks in December or January. It never comes near houses,
although it frequents the fields around them. It has no note at this
period, and appears singly, alighting on the stacks and fences, where
it stands perched for a considerable time, carefully looking around over
the ground. As soon as the spot is thoroughly examined, it flies off to
another, and there renews its search.

I have given you, kind reader, the representation of a pair of these
Shrikes, contending for a mouse. The difference of plumage in the sexes
is scarcely perceptible; but I have thought it necessary to figure both,
in order to shew the quarrelsome disposition of these birds even when
united by the hymeneal band.


     LANIUS LUDOVICIANUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 134.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 72.

     LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, LANIUS CAROLINENSIS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. iii. p. 57. Pl. 22. fig. 8.


Adult Male. Plate LVII. Fig. 1.

Bill of moderate length, straightish, robust, acute, compressed; upper
mandible with the dorsal outline a little arched, the tip declinate,
the edges acute and overlapping, with a sharp process near the tip;
lower mandible with the dorsal line a little convex, the tip acute and
ascending. Nostrils basal, lateral, half closed by an arched membrane.
Head large. Neck and body robust. Feet of ordinary length; tarsus
scutellate before, acute behind; toes free, the lateral ones nearly
equal; claws arched, compressed, acute.

Plumage soft, blended. Long bristly feathers at the base of the bill.
Wings of ordinary length, curved, the second quill longest, the first
and fifth equal. Tail long, graduated, of twelve rounded feathers.

Bill black. Iris dark brown. Feet greyish-black. The general colour
of the upper parts is dark grey, of the under greyish-white, the sides
tinged with brown. Forehead and sides of the head included in a broad
black band. Wings and tail black. Base of the primaries, and tips of
the secondaries and six inner primaries, white. Tail-feathers, excepting
the four middle ones, white towards the end, the outer ones nearly all
of that colour.

Length 8½ inches, extent of wings 13; bill along the ridge 7/12, along
the gap nearly 1; tarsus 1, middle toe 11/12.


Adult Female. Plate LVII. Fig. 2.

The female differs from the male only in being a little smaller and
somewhat darker and duller in the plumage.


THE GREEN BRIAR, OR ROUND-LEAVED SMILAX.

     SMILAX ROTUNDIFOLIA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 779. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 250.—DIŒCIA HEXANDRIA, _Linn._ ASPARAGI,
     _Juss._

This species of Smilax, which is common along fences, in old fields,
and by the borders of woods, is characterized by its shrubby stem,
round branches, roundish-ovate, acuminate, slightly cordate, five or
seven-nerved leaves, and spherical berries. It flowers in May and June.
The berries are of a dark purple colour.


THE FIELD MOUSE.

This species is found in all parts of the United States, living in the
meadows and woods. It forms narrow subterranean passages, to which it
resorts on the least appearance of danger, but from which it is easily
driven, by thrusting a twig into them.



THE HERMIT THRUSH.

_TURDUS MINOR_, GMEL.

PLATE LVIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


This, kind reader, is another constant resident in the Southern States,
more especially those of Mississippi and Louisiana, where it abounds
during the winter months, and is found in considerable numbers during
spring and summer. In the lower parts of Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee,
it is also observed during spring and summer; but it becomes scarcer as
you advance towards the Middle Districts, where a few are occasionally
seen about the low woodlands of the Atlantic shores.

Except during winter, this Thrush prefers the darkest, most swampy, and
most secluded cane-brakes along the margins of the Mississippi, where
it breeds and spends the summer, retiring to higher lands during the
period when the alluvial grounds are covered with the water which, during
freshets, generally inundates these low cane-brakes and swampy retreats.

The flight of the Hermit Thrush is performed low over the ground, and
in a gliding manner, as the bird shifts from one place to another at a
short distance. In this respect, it differs greatly from its relative, my
great favourite, the Wood Thrush, the flight of which is more protracted,
and is performed at a greater elevation.

The Hermit Thrush has no song, and only utters a soft plaintive note,
seldom heard at a greater distance than twenty-five or thirty yards.
It is most frequently seen on the ground, where it hops with the same
movements employed by the well-known little _Red-breast_ of Europe, in
other words, before it hops its breast almost comes in contact with the
ground, the tail is a little raised, the wings droop, and after hopping,
it runs a few steps, erects its head, and looks around.

All the nests of the Hermit Thrush which I have found were in every
instance placed lower on the branches of trees than those of the Wood
Thrush, seldom above seven or eight feet from the ground, and sometimes
so low that I could easily look into them. These nests were fixed to
a horizontal bough, but were not _saddled_ upon it so deeply as those
of the Wood Thrush are. They were smaller, and had no mud or plaster
of any kind, but were extremely compact, the outer parts being formed
of coarse dry weeds, and here and there a withered leaf, the interior
composed of a long delicate kind of grass, which is found growing along
the edges of cane-brakes. This grass is arranged in a circular manner,
to the whole extent of its length, and gives the inner part of the nest
of this bird a remarkable appearance of neatness and finish. The female
lays from four to six eggs, of a light blue colour, sprinkled with dark
dots towards the large end. The first set are laid early in April, the
second about the middle of June; for, in Lower Louisiana, this species
rears two broods in the year. The female is much attached to her nest,
and glides off silently from it when closely approached, not, however,
unless she thinks herself or her nest observed. The young run after the
parents, on the ground, for several days after they leave the nest.

As soon as the waters of the Mississippi become so swelled as to overflow
the banks, the Hermit Thrush retires to the nearest hills, and mixes
with many other birds, amongst which the Wood Thrush is pre-eminent. The
former is, however, easily recognised at once, by its single plaintive
note, heard from the boughs of low trees, on the berries of which it
feeds. In fact, its food is altogether composed of different fruits and
berries, which are at all seasons abundant in our woods.

The branches so thickly covered with dull red berries, and upon which two
Hermit Thrushes are seen, belong to a shrub which grows in the swampy
recesses preferred by these birds. Its leaves fall off at an early
period, and are of an ovato-lanceolate form, thin consistence, and deep
green colour, their under surface light grey. The common name of it is
_Robin Wood_. It seldom grows taller than from seven to eight feet, and
all the branches, in a favourable season, are thickly covered with the
berries, on which many birds, besides the _Turdus migratorius_, from
which it seems to have derived its common name, are seen to feed.


     TURDUS MINOR, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 809.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 75.
     —_Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 328.

     LITTLE THRUSH, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iii. p. 20.

     HERMIT THRUSH, TURDUS SOLITARIUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. v.
     p. 95, Pl. 43. fig. 2.


Adult Male. Plate LVIII. Fig. 1.

Bill of ordinary length, 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 slightly convex in its dorsal line, the
tip rather obtuse. Head of ordinary size; neck and body rather slender.
Feet rather long; tarsus longish, compressed, slender, anteriorly covered
with a few elongated, indistinct scutella, posteriorly edged, longer
than the middle toe; toes scutellate above, lateral ones almost equal,
the outer connected as far as the second joint.

Plumage rather loose. A few longish bristles at the base of the upper
mandible. Wings of ordinary length, the third quill longest, the first
very short. Tail rather short, even, of twelve broad feathers, the shaft
of which projects a little beyond the extremity of the webs, as is the
case with the outer primaries.

Bill dark brown, yellowish towards the base of the lower mandible. Iris
hazel. Feet flesh-colour. The general colour of the upper parts is light
yellowish-brown, changing on the rump and tail into dull yellowish-red.
Quills dusky, margined externally with yellowish-brown. Primary coverts
yellowish-brown, dusky at the end; secondary coverts tipped with
yellowish-red. Under parts greyish-white, the neck and breast spotted
with dark brown.

Length 7 inches, extent of wings 10½; bill along the ridge, 7/12, along
the gap ⅚; tarsus 1⅙.


Adult Female. Plate LVIII. Fig. 2.

The female differs only in having the spots on the breast somewhat
larger, and the tints of the upper parts rather deeper.



THE CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER.

_SYLVIA ICTEROCEPHALA_, LATH.

PLATE LIX. MALE AND FEMALE.


In the beginning of May 1808, I shot five of these birds, on a very cold
morning, near Potts-grove, in the State of Pennsylvania. There was a
slight fall of snow at the time, although the Peach and Apple trees were
already in full bloom. I have never met with a single individual of this
species since. They all had their wings drooping, as if suffering severely
from the sudden change of the weather, and had betaken themselves to
the lower rails of a fence, where they were engaged in searching after
insects, particularly spiders. I procured every one of those which I
met with that morning, and which were five in number, two of them males,
and the rest females.

Where this species goes to breed I am unable to say, for to my inquiries
on this subject I never received any answers which might have led me
to the districts resorted to by it. I can only suppose, that if it is
at all plentiful in any portion of the United States, it must be far to
the northward, as I ransacked the borders of Lake Ontario, and those of
Lakes Erie and Michigan, without meeting with it. I do not know of any
naturalist who has been more fortunate, otherwise I should here quote
his observations.

The females had the ovaries furnished with numerous eggs, about the size
of the head of a common pin. The stomach of all the birds which I killed
contained some grass seeds of the preceding year, and a few small black
spiders; but the birds appeared half-starved. Having procured them near
the ground, I have placed them on a plant which grows about the fields,
and flowers in the beginning of May.


     SYLVIA ICTEROCEPHALA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 538.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 80.

     MOTACILLA ICTEROCEPHALA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 334.

     QUEBEC WARBLER, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iv. p. 484.

     CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 99.
     Pl. 14. fig. 5.


Adult Male. Plate LIX. Fig. 1.

Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight, subulato-conical, acute, nearly
as deep as broad at the base, the edges acute, the gap-line slightly
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 a few scutella, acutely edged behind; toes scutellate
above, the inner free, the hind toe of moderate size; claws slender,
compressed, acute, arched.

Plumage soft, blended, tufty. Wings of ordinary length, acute, the second
quill longest. Tail short, slightly notched.

Bill light blue, blackish above. Iris hazel. Feet dusky. Forehead
white; upper part of the head bright yellow. Loral space, and two lines
proceeding from it, one over and behind the eye, the other downwards,
black. Back dusky green, spotted with black, as are the lesser
wing-coverts, the larger broadly tipped with bright yellow, excepting
those of the primary quills, which are dusky. Primaries dusky, edged
externally with light blue, as is the tail. Under parts white; side of
the lower neck and body under the wings deep chestnut.

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the ridge 5/12, along
the gap 7/12; tarsus ¾.


Adult Female. Plate LIX. Fig. 2.

The female is considerably smaller, but is coloured nearly in the same
manner as the male. The chestnut patch on the sides is of less extent,
and the primaries are yellow, instead of blue, on their outer webs.


THE MOTH MULLEIN.

     VERBASCUM BLATTARIA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 1005. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 142. _Smith_, Engl. Flor. vol. i. p. 513.
     —PENTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ SOLANEÆ, _Juss._

A biennial plant, distinguished from the other species of the same genus
by its amplexicaul ovato-oblong, rugose, serrated, glabrous leaves, and
one-flowered solitary pedicels. The ordinary colour of the flowers is
yellow, but the plant represented is of a variety with larger whitish
or pale rose-coloured flowers. It grows in fields and by roads, and is
of common occurrence.



THE CARBONATED WARBLER.

_SYLVIA CARBONATA._

PLATE LX. MALE.


I shot the two little birds here represented, near the village of
Henderson, in the State of Kentucky, in May 1811. They were both busily
engaged in searching for insects along the branches and amongst the
leaves of a Dog-wood tree. Their motions were those common to all the
species of the genus _Sylvia_. On examination, they were found to be
both males. I am of opinion, that they were both young birds of the
preceding year, and not in full plumage, as they had no part of their
dress seemingly complete, excepting the head. Not having met with any
other individuals of the species, I am at this moment unable to say any
thing more about them. They were drawn, like all the other birds which
I have represented, immediately after being killed; but the branch on
which you see them was not added until the following summer.

The common name of this plant is _Service Tree_. It seldom attains a
greater height than thirty or forty feet, and is usually found in hilly
ground of secondary quality. The berries are agreeable to the taste, and
are sought after by many species of birds, amongst which the Red-headed
Woodpecker is very conspicuous.


     SYLVIA CARBONATA.


Young Male. Plate LX.

Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight, subulato-conical, acute, nearly
as deep as broad at the base, the edges acute, the gap line slightly
deflected at the base. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, 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 scutella, acutely-edged behind; toes scutellate
above, the inner free, the hind toe of moderate size; claws slender,
compressed, acute, arched.

Plumage, soft, blended, tufty. Wings of ordinary length, acute, the
second quill longest. Tail short, notched.

Bill brownish-black above, light blue beneath. Iris hazel. Feet light
flesh-colour. Upper part of the head black. Fore part of the back,
lesser wing-coverts and sides dusky, spotted with black. Lower back dull
yellowish-green, as is the tail, of which the outer web of the outer
feather is whitish. Tips of the second row of coverts white, of the first
row yellow; quills dusky, their outer webs tinged with yellow. A line
from the lore over the eye, sides of the neck, and the throat, bright
yellow. A dusky line behind the eye. The rest of the under parts dull
yellow, excepting the sides.

Length 4¾ inches; bill along the ridge 5/12, along the gap 7/12; tarsus ¾.


THE MAY-BUSH OR SERVICE.

     PYRUS BOTRYAPIUM, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 1013. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 339. ICOSANDRIA PENTAGYNIA, _Linn._
     Rosaceæ, _Juss._

This species is distinguished by its ovate, acuminate leaves, racemose
flowers, linear-lanceolate petals, pubescent germens, and smooth calycine
segments.



THE TRAVELLER AND THE POLE-CAT.


On a journey from Louisville to Henderson in Kentucky, performed during
very severe winter weather, in company with a foreigner, the initials of
whose name are D. T., my companion spying a beautiful animal, marked with
black and pale yellow, and having a long and bushy tail, exclaimed, "Mr
AUDUBON, is not that a beautiful squirrel?" "Yes," I answered, "and of a
kind that will suffer you to approach it, and lay hold of it, if you are
well gloved." Mr D. T. dismounting, took up a dry stick, and advanced
toward the pretty animal, with his large cloak floating in the breeze.
I think I see him approach, and laying the stick gently across the body
of the animal, try to secure it; and I can yet laugh almost as heartily
as I then did, when I plainly saw the discomfiture of the traveller.
The Pole-cat, (for a true Pole-cat it was, the _Mephitis americana_ of
zoologists), raised its fine bushy tail, and showered such a discharge
of the fluid given him by nature as a defence, that my friend, dismayed
and infuriated, began to belabour the poor animal. The swiftness and
good management of the Pole-cat, however, saved its bones, and as it
made its retreat towards its hole, it kept up at every step a continued
ejectment, which fully convinced the gentleman that the pursuit of such
squirrels as these was at the best an unprofitable employment.

This was not all, however. I could not suffer his approach, nor could
my horse; it was with difficulty he mounted his own; and we were forced
to continue our journey far asunder, and he much to leeward. Nor did
the matter end here. We could not proceed much farther that night; as,
in the first place, it was nearly dark when we saw the Pole-cat, and
as, in the second place, a heavy snow-storm began, and almost impeded
our progress. We were forced to make for the first cabin we saw. Having
asked and obtained permission to rest for the night, we dismounted and
found ourselves amongst a crowd of men and women who had met for the
purpose of _corn-shucking_.

To a European who has not visited the western parts of the United States,
an explanation of this corn-shucking may not be unacceptable. Corn (or
you may prefer calling it maize) is gathered in the husk, that is, by
breaking each large ear from the stem. These ears are first thrown into
heaps in the field, and afterwards carried in carts to the barn, or, as
in this instance, and in such portions of Kentucky, to a shed made of
the blades or long leaves that hang in graceful curves from the stalk,
and which, when plucked and dried, are used instead of hay as food for
horses and cattle. The husk consists of several thick leaves rather longer
than the corn-ear itself, and which secure it from the weather. It is
quite a labour to detach these leaves from the ear, when thousands of
bushels of the corn are gathered and heaped together. For this purpose,
however, and in the western country more especially, several neighbouring
families join alternately at each other's plantations, and assist in
clearing away the husks, thus preparing the maize for the market or for
domestic use.

The good people whom we met with at this hospitable house, were on
the point of going to the barn (the farmer here being in rather good
condition) to work until towards the middle of the night. When we had
stood the few stares to which strangers must accustom themselves, no
matter where, even in a drawing-room, we approached the fire. What a
shock for the whole party! The scent of the Pole-cat, that had been
almost stifled on my companion's vestments by the cold of the evening
air, now recovered its primitive strength. The cloak was put out of
the house, but its owner could not be well used in the same way. The
company, however, took to their heels, and there only remained a single
black servant, who waited on us until supper was served.

I felt vexed at myself, as I saw the good traveller displeased. But he
had so much good breeding as to treat this important affair with great
forbearance, and merely said he was sorry for his want of knowledge in
zoology. The good gentleman, however, was not only deficient in zoological
lore, but, fresh as he was from Europe, felt more than uneasy in this
out-of-the-way house, and would have proceeded towards my own house that
night, had I not at length succeeded in persuading him that he was in
perfect security.

We were shewn to bed. As I was almost a stranger to him, and he to me,
he thought it a very awkward thing to be obliged to lie in the same
bed with me, but afterwards spoke of it as a happy circumstance, and
requested that I should suffer him to be placed next the logs, thinking,
no doubt, that there he should run no risk.

We started by break of day, taking with us the frozen cloak, and after
passing a pleasant night in my own house, we parted. Some years after,
I met my Kentucky companion in a far distant land, when he assured me,
that whenever the sun shone on his cloak, or it was brought near a fire,
the scent of the Pole-cat became so perceptible, that he at last gave
it to a poor monk in Italy.

The animal commonly known in America by the name of Pole-cat is about a
foot and a half in length, with a large bushy tail, nearly as long as the
body. The colour is generally brownish-black, with a large white patch
on the back of the head; but there are many varieties of colouring, in
some of which the broad white bands of the back are very conspicuous. The
Pole-cat burrows, or forms a subterranean habitation among the roots of
trees, or in rocky places. It feeds on birds, young hares, rats, mice,
and other animals, and commits great depredations on poultry. The most
remarkable peculiarity of this animal is the power, alluded to above, of
squirting for its defence a most nauseously scented fluid contained in
a receptacle situated under the tail, which it can do to the distance
of several yards. It does not, however, for this purpose, sprinkle its
tail with the fluid, as some allege, unless when extremely harassed by
its enemies. The Pole-cat is frequently domesticated. The removal of
the glands prevents the secretion of the nauseous fluid, and when thus
improved, the animal becomes a great favourite, and performs the offices
of the common cat with great dexterity.



THE GREAT HORNED OWL.

_STRIX VIRGINIANA_, GMEL.

PLATE LXI. MALE AND FEMALE.


It is during the placid serenity of a beautiful summer night, when the
current of the waters moves silently along, reflecting from its smooth
surface the silver radiance of the moon, and when all else of animated
nature seems sunk in repose, that the Great Horned Owl, one of the Nimrods
of the feathered tribes of our forests, may be seen sailing silently
and yet rapidly on, intent on the destruction of the objects destined
to form his food. The lone steersman of the descending boat observes
the nocturnal hunter, gliding on extended pinions across the river,
sailing over one hill and then another, or suddenly sweeping downwards,
and again rising in the air like a moving shadow, now distinctly seen,
and again mingling with the sombre shades of the surrounding woods,
fading into obscurity. The bark has now floated to some distance, and is
opposite the newly cleared patch of ground, the result of a squatter's
first attempt at cultivation, in a place lately shaded by the trees of
the forest. The moon shines brightly on his hut, his slight fence, the
newly planted orchard, and a tree, which, spared by the axe, serves as a
roosting-place for the scanty stock of poultry which the new comer has
procured from some liberal neighbour. Amongst them rests a Turkey-hen,
covering her offspring with extended wings. The Great Owl, with eyes
keen as those of any falcon, is now seen hovering above the place. He
has already espied the quarry, and is sailing in wide circles meditating
his plan of attack. The Turkey-hen, which at another time might be sound
asleep, is now, however, so intent on the care of her young brood, that
she rises on her legs and purs so loudly, as she opens her wings and
spreads her tail, that she rouses her neighbours, the hens, together
with their protector. The cacklings which they at first emit soon become
a general clamour. The squatter hears the uproar, and is on his feet in
an instant, rifle in hand; the priming examined, he gently pushes open
his half closed door, and peeps out cautiously, to ascertain the cause
by which his repose has been disturbed. He observes the murderous Owl
just alighting on the dead branch of a tall tree, when, raising his
never-failing rifle, he takes aim, touches the trigger, and the next
instant sees the foe falling dead to the ground. The bird is unworthy
of his farther attention, and is left a prey to some prowling oppossum
or other carnivorous quadruped. Again, all around is tranquillity. In
this manner falls many a Great Horned Owl on our frontiers, where the
species abounds.

Differences of locality are no security against its depredations, for
it occurs in the highest mountainous districts, as well as in the low
alluvial lands that border the rivers, in the interior of the country, and
in the neighbourhood of the sea-shore. Every where it finds abundance of
food. It is, moreover, an extremely hardy bird, and stands the severest
winters of our northernmost latitudes. It is consequently found dispersed
over all parts of the United States.

The flight of the Great Horned Owl is elevated, rapid and graceful. It
sails with apparent ease, and in large circles, in the manner of an eagle,
rises and descends without the least difficulty, by merely inclining its
wings or its tail, as it passes through the air. Now and then, it glides
silently close over the earth, with incomparable velocity, and drops, as
if shot dead, on the prey beneath. At other times, it suddenly alights on
the top of a fence-stake or a dead stump, shakes its feathers, arranges
them, and utters a shriek so horrid that the woods around echo to its
dismal sound. Now, it seems as if you heard the barking of a cur-dog;
again, the notes are so rough and mingled together, that they might be
mistaken for the last gurglings of a murdered person, striving in vain
to call for assistance; at another time, when not more than fifty yards
distant, it utters its more usual _hoo, hoo, hoo-e_, in so peculiar an
under tone, that a person unacquainted with the notes of this species
might easily conceive them to be produced by an Owl more than a mile
distant. During the utterance of all these unmusical cries, it moves
its body, and more particularly its head, in various ways, putting them
into positions, all of which appear to please it much, however grotesque
they may seem to the eye of man. In the interval following each cry,
it snaps its bill, as if by way of amusement; or, like the wild boar
sharpening the edges of his tusks, it perhaps expects that the action
will whet its mandibles.

The food of the Great Horned Owl consists chiefly of the larger species
of gallinaceous birds, half-grown Wild Turkeys, Pheasants, and domestic
poultry of all kinds, together with several species of Ducks. Hares,
young Oppossums and Squirrels are equally agreeable to it, and whenever
chance throws a dead fish on the shore, the Great Owl feeds with peculiar
avidity on it.

It is one of the most common species along the shores of the Ohio and
Mississippi, where it is to be met with at all seasons, being fond of
roosting amongst the thick-growing young cotton-wood trees and willows,
that cover the muddy sand-bars of these noble streams, as well as in the
more retired woody swamps, where the gloomy cypress spreads its broad
arms, covered with dangling masses of Spanish beard, which give way to
the gentlest breeze. In both such situations I have frequently met with
this owl: its body erect, its plumage closed, its tufted head-feathers
partially lowered, and its head half turned and resting on one shoulder.

When the sun shines brightly, the bird is easily approached; but if the
weather be cloudy, it rises on its feet, at the least noise, erects the
tufts of its head, gives a knowing kind of nod, flies off in an instant,
and generally proceeds to such a distance that it is difficult to find
it again. When disturbed while at roost on willows near a river, it
sails off low over the stream, as if aware that by so doing it renders
its pursuit more difficult. I once nearly lost my life by going towards
one that I had shot on a willow-bar, for, while running up to the spot,
I suddenly found myself sunk in quicksand up to my arm-pits, and in this
condition must have remained to perish, had not my boatmen come up and
extricated me, by forming a bridge of their oars and some driftwood,
during which operation I had to remain perfectly quiet, as any struggle
would soon have caused me to sink overhead.

I have related this occurrence to you, kind reader,—and it is only one
out of many,—to shew you that every student of nature must encounter
some difficulties in obtaining the objects of his research, although
these difficulties are little thought of when he has succeeded. So much
is this the case with me, that, could I renew the lease of my life, I
could not desire to spend it in any other pursuit than that which has
at last enabled me to lay before you an account of the _habits_ of our
birds.

Early in February the Great Horned Owls are seen to pair. The curious
evolutions of the male in the air, or his motions when he has alighted
near his beloved, it is impossible to describe. His bowings, and the
snappings of his bill, are extremely ludicrous; and no sooner is the
female assured that the attentions paid her by the beau are the result
of a sincere affection, than she joins in the motions of her future
mate. At this juncture both might be said to be _dancing mad_, little
dreaming, like most owls on such occasions, of the possibility of their
being one day _horn-mad_.

The nest, which is very bulky, is usually fixed on a large horizontal
branch, not far from the trunk of the tree. It is composed externally of
crooked sticks, and is lined with coarse grasses and some feathers. The
whole measures nearly three feet in diameter. The eggs, which are from
three to six, are almost globular in form, and of a dull white colour.
The male assists the female in sitting on the eggs. Only one brood is
raised in the season. The young remain in the nest until fully fledged,
and afterwards follow the parents for a considerable time, uttering a
mournful sound, to induce them to supply them with food. They acquire the
full plumage of the old birds in the first spring, and until then are
considerably lighter, with more dull buff in their tints. I have found
nests belonging to this species in large hollows of decayed trees, and
twice in the fissures of rocks. In all these cases, little preparation
had been made previous to the laying of the eggs, as I found only a few
grasses and feathers placed under them.

The Great Horned Owl lives retired, and it is seldom that more than
one is found in the neighbourhood of a farm, after the breeding season;
but as almost every detached farm is visited by one of these dangerous
and powerful marauders, it may be said to be abundant. The havock which
it commits is very great. I have known a plantation almost stripped of
the whole of the poultry raised upon it during spring, by one of these
daring foes of the feathered race, in the course of the ensuing winter.

This species is very powerful, and equally spirited. It attacks Wild
Turkeys when half-grown, and often masters them. Mallards, Guinea-fowls,
and common barn fowls, prove an easy prey, and on seizing them it
carries them off in its talons from the farm-yards to the interior of
the woods. When wounded, it exhibits a revengeful tenacity of spirit,
scarcely surpassed by any of the noblest of the Eagle tribe, disdaining
to scramble away like the Barred Owl, but facing its enemy with undaunted
courage, protruding its powerful talons, and snapping its bill, as long
as he continues in its presence. On these occasions, its large goggle
eyes are seen to open and close in quick succession, and the feathers
of its body, being raised, swell out its apparent bulk to nearly double
the natural size.

You have before you, kind reader, a male and a female of this species,
which I hope will give you a more perfect idea of the size and form of
the Great Horned Owl than any description could do.


     STRIX VIRGINIANA, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 287.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 52.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 37.

     VIRGINIAN EARED OWL, _Lath._ Synops. vol. i. p. 119.

     GREAT HORNED OWL, STRIX VIRGINIANA, _Wilson_, Americ. Ornith.
     vol. vi. p. 52. Pl. 50. fig. 1.


Adult Male. Plate LXI. Fig. 1.

Bill short, compressed, curved, acute, with a cere at the base; upper
mandible with its dorsal outline curved from the base, the edges acute,
the point trigonal, very acute, deflected; lower mandible with the edges
acute and inflected, obtuse at the tip. Nostrils oval, in the fore part
of the cere. Head disproportionately large, as are the eyes and external
ears. Body short. Legs of ordinary length; tarsus and toes feathered;
toes papillar and tuberculate beneath; claws curved, rounded, long,
extremely sharp.

Plumage very soft and downy, somewhat distinct above, tufty and loose
beneath. Long bristly feathers at the base of the bill, stretching
forwards. Eyes surrounded by circles of compact feathers; auricular
coverts forming a ruff. Two erectile tufts of feathers on the head, one
on each side. Wings ample, the fourth quill longest, the first short.
Tail of ordinary length, rounded, of twelve broad feathers.

Bill black. Iris yellow. Claws black. Upper part of the head
brownish-black, mottled with light brown, the tufts or horns of the
same colour, margined with brown. Face brownish-red, with a circle of
blackish-brown. The upper parts are undulatingly banded and minutely
mottled with brownish-black and brownish-red, the ground colour on
the lower part of the back tinged with grey. Wings and tail light
brownish-yellow, barred and mottled with blackish-brown and light
brownish-red. Chin white, upper part of the throat light reddish, spotted
with black, a band of white across the middle of the fore neck; lower
fore neck and breast light yellowish-red, barred with deep brown, as are
the under parts generally, some of the feathers being nearly white, but
barred; several longitudinal brownish-black patches on the lower fore
neck; tarsal feathers light yellowish-red, obscurely barred.

Length 23 inches; extent of wings 56; bill along the ridge 2; tufts on
the head 3.


Adult Female. Plate LXI. Fig. 2.

The female is considerably larger than the male, and is duller and lighter
in colouring, although the distribution of the tints is similar. The
white of the chin is less pure, and the broad band of the same colour
on the fore neck is wanting.



THE PASSENGER PIGEON.

_COLUMBA MIGRATORIA_, LINN.

PLATE LXII. MALE AND FEMALE.


The Passenger Pigeon, or, as it is usually named in America, the Wild
Pigeon, moves with extreme rapidity, propelling itself by quickly
repeated flaps of the wings, which it brings more or less near to the
body, according to the degree of velocity which is required. Like the
Domestic Pigeon, it often flies, during the love season, in a circling
manner, supporting itself with both wings angularly elevated, in which
position it keeps them until it is about to alight. Now and then, during
these circular flights, the tips of the primary quills of each wing are
made to strike against each other, producing a smart rap, which may be
heard at a distance of thirty or forty yards. Before alighting, the Wild
Pigeon, like the Carolina Parrot and a few other species of birds, breaks
the force of its flight by repeated flappings, as if apprehensive of
receiving injury from coming too suddenly into contact with the branch
or the spot of ground on which it intends to settle.

I have commenced my description of this species with the above account of
its flight, because the most important facts connected with its habits
relate to its migrations. These are entirely owing to the necessity
of procuring food, and are not performed with the view of escaping
the severity of a northern latitude, or of seeking a southern one for
the purpose of breeding. They consequently do not take place at any
fixed period or season of the year. Indeed, it sometimes happens that a
continuance of a sufficient supply of food in one district will keep these
birds absent from another for years. I know, at least, to a certainty,
that in Kentucky they remained for several years constantly, and were
nowhere else to be found. They all suddenly disappeared one season when
the mast was exhausted, and did not return for a long period. Similar
facts have been observed in other States.

Their great power of flight enables them to survey and pass over an
astonishing extent of country in a very short time. This is proved
by facts well known in America. Thus, Pigeons have been killed in the
neighbourhood of New York, with their crops full of rice, which they must
have collected in the fields of Georgia and Carolina, these districts
being the nearest in which they could possibly have procured a supply
of that kind of food. As their power of digestion is so great that they
will decompose food entirely in twelve hours, they must in this case
have travelled between three hundred and four hundred miles in six hours,
which shews their speed to be at an average about one mile in a minute.
A velocity such as this would enable one of birds, were it so inclined,
to visit the European continent in less than three days.

This great power of flight is seconded by as great a power of vision,
which enables them, as they travel at that swift rate, to inspect the
country below, discover their food with facility, and thus attain the
object for which their journey has been undertaken. This I have also
proved to be the case, by having observed them, when passing over a
sterile part of the country, or one scantily furnished with food suited
to them, keep high in the air, flying with an extended front, so as
to enable them to survey hundreds of acres at once. On the contrary,
when the land is richly covered with food, or the trees abundantly hung
with mast, they fly low, in order to discover the part most plentifully
supplied.

Their body is of an elongated oval form, steered by a long well-plumed
tail, and propelled by well-set wings, the muscles of which are very
large and powerful for the size of the bird. When an individual is seen
gliding through the woods and close to the observer, it passes like a
thought, and on trying to see it again, the eye searches in vain; the
bird is gone.

The multitudes of Wild Pigeons in our woods are astonishing. Indeed,
after having viewed them so often, and under so many circumstances, I
even now feel inclined to pause, and assure myself that what I am going
to relate is fact. Yet I have seen it all, and that too in the company
of persons who, like myself, were struck with amazement.

In the autumn of 1813, I left my house at Henderson, on the banks of
the Ohio, on my way to Louisville. In passing over the Barrens a few
miles beyond Hardensburgh, I observed the pigeons flying from north-east
to south-west, in greater numbers than I thought I had ever seen them
before, and feeling an inclination to count the flocks that might pass
within the reach of my eye in one hour, I dismounted, seated myself on an
eminence, and began to mark with my pencil, making a dot for every flock
that passed. In a short time finding the task which I had undertaken
impracticable, as the birds poured in in countless multitudes, I rose,
and counting the dots then put down, found that 163 had been made in
twenty-one minutes. I travelled on, and still met more the farther
I proceeded. The air was literally filled with Pigeons; the light of
noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse; the dung fell in spots, not
unlike melting flakes of snow; and the continued buzz of wings had a
tendency to lull my senses to repose.

Whilst waiting for dinner at YOUNG's inn at the confluence of Salt-River
with the Ohio, I saw, at my leisure, immense legions still going by, with
a front reaching far beyond the Ohio on the west, and the beech-wood
forests directly on the east of me. Not a single bird alighted; for
not a nut or acorn was that year to be seen in the neighbourhood. They
consequently flew so high, that different trials to reach them with a
capital rifle proved ineffectual; nor did the reports disturb them in
the least. I cannot describe to you the extreme beauty of their aerial
evolutions, when a Hawk chanced to press upon the rear of a flock. At
once, like a torrent, and with a noise like thunder, they rushed into
a compact mass, pressing upon each other towards the centre. In these
almost solid masses, they darted forward in undulating and angular lines,
descended and swept close over the earth with inconceivable velocity,
mounted perpendicularly so as to resemble a vast column, and, when high,
were seen wheeling and twisting within their continued lines, which then
resembled the coils of a gigantic serpent.

Before sunset I reached Louisville, distant from Hardensburgh fifty-five
miles. The Pigeons were still passing in undiminished numbers, and
continued to do so for three days in succession. The people were all in
arms. The banks of the Ohio were crowded with men and boys, incessantly
shooting at the pilgrims, which there flew lower as they passed the
river. Multitudes were thus destroyed. For a week or more, the population
fed on no other flesh than that of Pigeons, and talked of nothing but
Pigeons. The atmosphere, during this time, was strongly impregnated with
the peculiar odour which emanates from the species.

It is extremely interesting to see flock after flock performing exactly
the same evolutions which had been traced as it were in the air by a
preceding flock. Thus, should a Hawk have charged on a group at a certain
spot, the angles, curves, and undulations that have been described by
the birds, in their efforts to escape from the dreaded talons of the
plunderer, are undeviatingly followed by the next group that comes up.
Should the bystander happen to witness one of these affrays, and, struck
with the rapidity and elegance of the motions exhibited, feel desirous
of seeing them repeated, his wishes will be gratified if he only remain
in the place until the next group comes up.

It may not, perhaps, be out of place to attempt an estimate of the number
of Pigeons contained in one of those mighty flocks, and of the quantity
of food daily consumed by its members. The inquiry will tend to shew the
astonishing bounty of the great Author of Nature in providing for the
wants of his creatures. Let us take a column of one mile in breadth,
which is far below the average size, and suppose it passing over us
without interruption for three hours, at the rate mentioned above of one
mile in the minute. This will give us a parallelogram of 180 miles by
1, covering 180 square miles. Allowing two pigeons to the square yard,
we have One billion, one hundred and fifteen millions, one hundred and
thirty-six thousand pigeons in one flock. As every pigeon daily consumes
fully half a pint of food, the quantity necessary for supplying this
vast multitude must be eight millions seven hundred and twelve thousand
bushels per day.

As soon as the Pigeons discover a sufficiency of food to entice them
to alight, they fly round in circles, reviewing the country below.
During their evolutions, on such occasions, the dense mass which they
form exhibits a beautiful appearance, as it changes its direction, now
displaying a glistening sheet of azure, when the backs of the birds come
simultaneously into view, and anon, suddenly presenting a mass of rich
deep purple. They then pass lower, over the woods, and for a moment are
lost among the foliage, but again emerge, and are seen gliding aloft.
They now alight, but the next moment, as if suddenly alarmed, they take
to wing, producing by the flappings of their wings a noise like the roar
of distant thunder, and sweep through the forests to see if danger is
near. Hunger, however, soon brings them to the ground. When alighted,
they are seen industriously throwing up the withered leaves in quest of
the fallen mast. The rear ranks are continually rising, passing over
the main-body, and alighting in front, in such rapid succession, that
the whole flock seems still on wing. The quantity of ground thus swept
is astonishing, and so completely has it been cleared, that the gleaner
who might follow in their rear would find his labour completely lost.
Whilst feeding, their avidity is at times so great that in attempting
to swallow a large acorn or nut, they are seen gasping for a long while,
as if in the agonies of suffocation.

On such occasions, when the woods are filled with these Pigeons, they
are killed in immense numbers, although no apparent diminution ensues.
About the middle of the day, after their repast is finished, they settle
on the trees, to enjoy rest, and digest their food. On the ground they
walk with ease, as well as on the branches, frequently jerking their
beautiful tail, and moving the neck backwards and forwards in the most
graceful manner. As the sun begins to sink beneath the horizon, they
depart _en masse_ for the roosting-place, which not unfrequently is
hundreds of miles distant, as has been ascertained by persons who have
kept an account of their arrivals and departures.

Let us now, kind reader, inspect their place of nightly rendezvous.
One of these curious roosting-places, on the banks of the Green River
in Kentucky, I repeatedly visited. It was, as is always the case, in
a portion of the forest where the trees were of great magnitude, and
where there was little underwood. I rode through it upwards of forty
miles, and, crossing it in different parts, found its average breadth
to be rather more than three miles. My first view of it was about a
fortnight subsequent to the period when they had made choice of it, and
I arrived there nearly two hours before sunset. Few Pigeons were then
to be seen, but a great number of persons, with horses and waggons, guns
and ammunition, had already established encampments on the borders. Two
farmers from the vicinity of Russelsville, distant more than a hundred
miles, had driven upwards of three hundred hogs to be fattened on the
pigeons which were to be slaughtered. Here and there, the people employed
in plucking and salting what had already been procured, were seen sitting
in the midst of large piles of these birds. The dung lay several inches
deep, covering the whole extent of the roosting-place, like a bed of
snow. Many trees two feet in diameter, I observed, were broken off at no
great distance from the ground; and the branches of many of the largest
and tallest had given way, as if the forest had been swept by a tornado.
Every thing proved to me that the number of birds resorting to this part
of the forest must be immense beyond conception. As the period of their
arrival approached, their foes anxiously prepared to receive them. Some
were furnished with iron-pots containing sulphur, others with torches of
pine-knots, many with poles, and the rest with guns. The sun was lost
to our view, yet not a Pigeon had arrived. Every thing was ready, and
all eyes were gazing on the clear sky, which appeared in glimpses amidst
the tall trees. Suddenly there burst forth a general cry of "Here they
come!" The noise which they made, though yet distant, reminded me of a
hard gale at sea, passing through the rigging of a close-reefed vessel.
As the birds arrived and passed over me, I felt a current of air that
surprised me. Thousands were soon knocked down by the pole-men. The
birds continued to pour in. The fires were lighted, and a magnificent,
as well as wonderful and almost terrifying, sight presented itself. The
Pigeons, arriving by thousands, alighted everywhere, one above another,
until solid masses as large as hogsheads were formed on the branches all
round. Here and there the perches gave way under the weight with a crash,
and, falling to the ground, destroyed hundreds of the birds beneath,
forcing down the dense groups with which every stick was loaded. It was
a scene of uproar and confusion. I found it quite useless to speak, or
even to shout to those persons who were nearest to me. Even the reports
of the guns were seldom heard, and I was made aware of the firing only
by seeing the shooters reloading.

No one dared venture within the line of devastation. The hogs had been
penned up in due time, the picking up of the dead and wounded being left
for the next morning's employment. The Pigeons were constantly coming,
and it was past midnight before I perceived a decrease in the number of
those that arrived. The uproar continued the whole night; and as I was
anxious to know to what distance the sound reached, I sent off a man,
accustomed to perambulate the forest, who, returning two hours afterwards,
informed me he had heard it distinctly when three miles distant from the
spot. Towards the approach of day, the noise in some measure subsided,
long before objects were distinguishable, the Pigeons began to move off
in a direction quite different from that in which they had arrived the
evening before, and at sunrise all that were able to fly had disappeared.
The howlings of the wolves now reached our ears, and the foxes, lynxes,
cougars, bears, raccoons, oppossums and pole-cats were seen sneaking off,
whilst eagles and hawks of different species, accompanied by a crowd of
vultures, came to supplant them, and enjoy their share of the spoil.

It was then that the authors of all this devastation began their entry
amongst the dead, the dying, and the mangled. The pigeons were picked up
and piled in heaps, until each had as many as he could possibly dispose
of, when the hogs were let loose to feed on the remainder.

Persons unacquainted with these birds might naturally conclude that
such dreadful havock would soon put an end to the species. But I have
satisfied myself, by long observation, that nothing but the gradual
diminution of our forests can accomplish their decrease, as they not
unfrequently quadruple their numbers yearly, and always at least double
it. In 1805 I saw schooners loaded in bulk with Pigeons caught up the
Hudson River, coming in to the wharf at New York, when the birds sold
for a cent a piece. I knew a man in Pennsylvania, who caught and killed
upwards of 500 dozens in a clap-net in one day, sweeping sometimes twenty
dozens or more at a single haul. In the month of March 1830, they were so
abundant in the markets of New York, that piles of them met the eye in
every direction. I have seen the Negroes at the United States' Salines
or Saltworks of Shawanee Town, wearied with killing Pigeons, as they
alighted to drink the water issuing from the leading pipes, for weeks at
a time; and yet in 1826, in Louisiana, I saw congregated flocks of these
birds as numerous as ever I had seen them before, during a residence of
nearly thirty years in the United States.

The breeding of the Wild Pigeons, and the places chosen for that
purpose, are points of great interest. The time is not much influenced
by season, and the place selected is where food is most plentiful
and most attainable, and always at a convenient distance from water.
Forest-trees of great height are those in which the Pigeons form their
nests. Thither the countless myriads resort, and prepare to fulfil one
of the great laws of nature. At this period the note of the Pigeon is a
soft _coo-coo-coo-coo_, much shorter than that of the domestic species.
The common notes resemble the monosyllables _kee-kee-kee-kee_, the
first being the loudest, the others gradually diminishing in power. The
male assumes a pompous demeanour, and follows the female whether on the
ground or on the branches, with spread tail and drooping wings, which
it rubs against the part over which it is moving. The body is elevated,
the throat swells, the eyes sparkle. He continues his notes, and now and
then rises on the wing, and flies a few yards to approach the fugitive
and timorous female. Like the domestic Pigeon and other species, they
caress each other by billing, in which action, the bill of the one
is introduced transversely into that of the other, and both parties
alternately disgorge the contents of their crop by repeated efforts.
These preliminary affairs are soon settled, and the Pigeons commence
their nests in general peace and harmony. They are composed of a few dry
twigs, crossing each other, and are supported by forks of the branches.
On the same tree from fifty to a hundred nests may frequently be seen:—I
might say a much greater number, were I not anxious, kind reader, that
however wonderful my account of the Wild Pigeon is, you may not feel
disposed to refer it to the marvellous. The eggs are two in number, of
a broadly elliptical form, and pure white. During incubation, the male
supplies the female with food. Indeed, the tenderness and affection
displayed by these birds towards their mates, are in the highest degree
striking. It is a remarkable fact, that each brood generally consists
of a male and a female.

Here again, the tyrant of the creation, man, interferes, disturbing the
harmony of this peaceful scene. As the young birds grow up, their enemies,
armed with axes, reach the spot, to seize and destroy all they can. The
trees are felled, and made to fall in such a way that the cutting of
one causes the overthrow of another, or shakes the neighbouring trees
so much, that the young Pigeons, or _squabs_, as they are named, are
violently hurried to the ground. In this manner also, immense quantities
are destroyed.

The young are fed by the parents in the manner described above; in other
words, the old bird introduces its bill into the mouth of the young
one in a transverse manner, or with the back of each mandible opposite
the separations of the mandibles of the young bird, and disgorges the
contents of its crop. As soon as the young birds are able to shift for
themselves, they leave their parents, and continue separate until they
attain maturity. By the end of six months they are capable of reproducing
their species.

The flesh of the Wild Pigeon is of a dark colour, but affords tolerable
eating. That of young birds from the nest is much esteemed. The skin
is covered with small white filmy scales. The feathers fall off at the
least touch, as has been remarked to be the case in the Carolina Turtle.
I have only to add, that this species, like others of the same genus,
immerses its head up to the eyes while drinking.

In March 1830, I bought about 350 of these birds in the market of New
York, at four cents a piece. Most of these I carried alive to England,
and distributed amongst several noblemen, presenting some at the same
time to the Zoological Society.


     COLUMBA MIGRATORIA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 285.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 612.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of
     Birds of the United States, p. 120.

     PASSENGER PIGEON, COLUMBA MIGRATORIA, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iv.
     p. 661.—_Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. v. p. 102. Pl. 44. fig. 1.
     Male.


Adult Male. Plate LXII. Fig. 1.

Bill straight, of ordinary length, rather slender, broader than deep
at the base, with a tumid fleshy covering above, compressed towards
the end, rather obtuse; upper mandible slightly declinate at the tip;
edges inflected. Head small, neck slender, body rather full. Legs short
and strong; tarsus rather rounded, anteriorly scutellate; toes slightly
webbed at the base; claws short, depressed, obtuse.

Plumage blended on the neck and under parts, compact on the back. Wings
long, the second quill longest. Tail graduated, of twelve tapering
feathers.

Bill black. Iris bright red. Feet carmine purple, claws blackish. Head
above and on the sides light blue. Throat, fore-neck, breast, and sides,
light brownish-red, the rest of the under parts white. Lower part of the
neck behind, and along the sides, changing to gold, emerald green, and
rich crimson. The general colour of the upper parts is greyish-blue,
some of the wing-coverts marked with a black spot. Quills and larger
wing-coverts blackish, the primary quills bluish on the outer web, the
larger coverts whitish at the tip. The two middle feathers of the tail
black, the rest pale blue at the base, becoming white towards the end.

Length 16¼ inches, extent of wings 25; bill along the ridge ⅚, along
the gap 1-1/12; tarsus 1¼, middle toe 1⅓.


Adult Female. Plate LXII. Fig. 2.

The colours of the female are much duller than those of the male, although
their distribution is the same. The breast is light-greyish-brown, the
upper parts pale reddish-brown, tinged with blue. The changeable spot
on the neck is of less extent, and the eye of a somewhat duller red, as
are the feet.

Length 15 inches, extent of wings 23; bill along the ridge ¾, along the
gap ⅚.



THE WHITE-EYED FLY-CATCHER, OR VIREO.

_VIREO NOVEBORACENSIS_, CH. BONAP.

PLATE LXIII. MALE.


This interesting little bird enters the State of Louisiana often as
early as the 1st of March. Indeed, some individuals may now and then
be seen a week or ten days sooner, provided the weather be mild. It
throws itself into the thickest part of the briars, sumachs, and small
evergreen bushes, which form detached groves in abandoned fields, where
its presence is at once known by the smartness of its song. This song
is composed of many different notes, emitted with great spirit, and a
certain degree of pomposity, which makes it differ materially from that
of all other Fly-catchers. It is frequently repeated during the day.

These birds become at once so abundant, that it would be more difficult
not to meet one, than to observe a dozen or more, during a morning walk.
Their motions are as animated as their music. They pass from twig to
twig, upwards or downwards, examining every opening bud and leaf, and
securing an insect or a larva at every leap. Their flight is short,
light, and easy. Their migrations are performed during the day, and by
passing from one low bush to another, for these birds seldom ascend to
the tops of even moderately tall trees. Like all our other visitors, they
move eastward as the season opens, and do not reach the Middle States
before the end of April, or the beginning of May. Notwithstanding this
apparently slow progress, they reach and disperse over a vast expanse of
country. I have met with some in every part of the United States which
I have visited.

Many remain in Louisiana, where they rear two broods, perhaps sometimes
three, in a season. Of this, however, I am not quite certain. I never
saw them alight on the ground, unless for the purpose of drinking, or of
procuring fibrous roots for their nests. They are fond of sipping the
dew drops that hang at the extremities of leaves. Their sorties after
insects seldom extend beyond the bushes.

About the first of April, the White-eyed Fly-catcher forms a nest of dry
slender, twigs, broken pieces of grasses, and portions of old hornets'
nests, which have so great a resemblance to paper, that the nest appears
as if studded with bits of that substance. It is lined with fine fibrous
roots, and the dried filaments of the Spanish moss. The nest is of the
form of an inverted cone, and is fastened to two or three twigs of a
Green Briar, a species of Smilax abundant in the old fields and along
the fences. The eggs are from four to six, of a pure white, with a few
dark spots near the larger end. In those districts where the Cow-bird
is found, it frequently drops one of its eggs among them. I have seen
the first brood from the nest about the middle of May. Unless when
disturbed while upon its nest, this bird is extremely sociable, and may
be approached within a few feet; but when startled from the nest, it
displays the anxiety common to almost all birds on such occasions. The
difference of colour in the sexes is scarcely perceptible.

The figure of a male has been given on a branch of the tree called in
Louisiana the _Pride of China_, an ornamental plant, with fragrant
flowers. The wood is extremely valuable on account of its great
durability, and is employed for making posts and rails for the fences.
Being capable of receiving a beautiful polish, it is also frequently
made into various articles of furniture. For these reasons, the planters
have found it expedient to adopt measures for increasing the propagation
of this tree. It bears a pulpy fruit inclosing a hard seed, which is
swallowed by different birds during the winter months. It has been thought
deleterious, but without reason. A decoction of the root is used by the
planters as an effectual vermifuge.


     VIREO NOVEBORACENSIS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 70.

     MUSCICAPA NOVEBORACENSIS, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 947.
     —_Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 489.

     HANGING FLY-CATCHER, _Lath._ Synops. Suppl. p. 174.

     WHITE-EYED FLY-CATCHER, MUSCICAPA CANTATRIX, _Wils._ Amer.
     Ornith. vol. ii. p. 266. Pl. 18. fig. 6.


Adult Male. Plate LXIII.

Bill shortish, nearly straight, rather strong, conico-acuminate,
compressed towards the end; upper mandible slightly notched, and a little
deflected at the tip; lower mandible ascending at the tip. Nostrils
basal, rounded. Head and neck of ordinary size; body rather slender.
Feet of ordinary length, slender; tarsus anteriorly scutellate; lateral
toes nearly equal.

Plumage blended, soft and tufty. Wings shortish, the third quill longest.
Tail even, of twelve rounded feathers.

Upper mandible blackish blue, lower light blue. Iris white. Feet
greyish-blue. The general colour of the upper parts is light olive,
the head greener. Sides of the head, including a line above the eye,
and the loral space, bright yellow. Quills, large coverts, and tail,
wood-brown, the quills edged externally with greenish-yellow, the larger
coverts tipped with white, forming two bands. Sides of the neck tinged
with bluish-grey; the under parts greyish-white, excepting the sides,
which are yellow.

Length 5 inches, extent of wings 7; bill along the ridge 5/12, along
the gap 7/12.

The female scarcely differs from the male in external appearance.


THE PRIDE OF CHINA, OR BEAD-TREE.

     MELIA AZEDARACH, _Linn._ Sp. Plant. p. 550.—DECANDRIA MONOGYNIA,
     _Linn._ MELIÆ, _Juss._

Distinguished by its bipinnate shining leaves, with ferruginous dots
beneath. In the south of Europe, the nuts are bored and strung by the
Roman Catholics.



THE SWAMP SPARROW.

_FRINGILLA PALUSTRIS_, WILS.

PLATE LXIV. MALE.


The shores and such flat sand-bars as are overgrown with grasses and
rank weeds, along the Mississippi, from its mouth to a great height, as
well as the swamps that occur in the woods, within a short distance from
the margins of that river, are the resorts of the Swamp Sparrow, during
autumn and winter. Although these birds do not congregate in flocks,
their numbers are immense. They form the principal food of the many
Sparrow Hawks, Pigeon Hawks, and Hen-harriers, which follow them as well
as several other species, on their return from the Middle Districts,
where they go towards spring, for the purpose of breeding. In those
districts they continue to prefer low swampy places, damp meadows, and
the margins of creeks and rivers.

It is a timid species, destitute of song, and merely uttering a single
_cheep_, which is now and then heard during the day, but more frequently
towards evening. They skulk along the weeds with activity, and feed
principally upon the seeds of grasses, with a few insects, sometimes
wading in shallow water. When wounded and forced to fall in the stream,
they swim off to the nearest tuft of grass and hide in it. Their flight
is short, low, and assisted by strong jerking motions of the body and
tail, accompanied by a rustling of the wings. They alight by dropping
suddenly amongst the weeds, seldom making towards a high tree. They are
rarely if ever met with in dry woodlands.

Their nest is placed on the ground, at the foot of a large bunch of tall
grass. It is composed of dry weeds and finer fibres of the same, and is
sometimes partially covered over. The eggs are four or five, of a dull
white, speckled with reddish. They raise two, sometimes three, broods
in a season.

I found these birds abundantly dispersed in the swamps of Cayaga Lakes,
and those bordering the Illinois river, during summer, and far up the
Arkansas River in the winter months. Their flesh is sedgy, which perhaps
forms no objection to some people against its use. They become fat and
tender, when the weeds have produced an abundance of seeds. Their note
differs from that of all other species of Sparrow, being harsher in its
tone. The young follow the parents on the ground, skulking among the
grass for nearly a week before they are able to fly.

The plant on which you see this bird is called the _May-apple_. It shoots
from the ground in great numbers, and grows very close. The flowers
appear at an early season, and are succeeded by a pulpy yellowish fruit,
about the size of a pullet's egg, and which, when ripe, is pleasant to
the taste, being a little acid and very cooling.


     FRINGILLA PALUSTRIS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 110.

     SWAMP SPARROW, FRINGILLA PALUSTRIS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iii.
     p. 49, Pl. xxii. fig. 1. Male.


Adult Male. Plate LXIV.

Bill short, conical, acute, straight; upper mandible nearly straight
in its dorsal line, as is the lower; gap-line a little declinate at the
base. Nostrils basal, roundish, partly concealed by the feathers. Feet
of moderate length; tarsus longer than the middle toe; toes free, the
lateral ones nearly equal; claws compressed, arched, acute.

Plumage rather compact above, soft and blended beneath. Wings short,
rounded, the third and fourth quills longest. Tail longish, slightly
notched, the feathers broad and rather acute.

Bill dark brown above, paler and tinged with blue beneath. Iris hazel.
Feet yellowish-brown. Upper part of the head reddish-brown, streaked with
black. Loral space, and a broad streak over the eye, yellowish-grey;
a dark line behind the eye, and another from the commissure of
the mandibles. Upper parts generally yellowish-brown, spotted with
brownish-black. Primary quill-coverts dusky, as are the inner webs of
the secondary coverts and quills, their outer webs being brownish-red.
Tail-feathers dusky, their outer webs brownish-red. Sides of the neck
and the breast light grey, the rest of the under parts greyish-white.

Length 5½ inches, extent of wings 7½; bill along the ridge 5/12, along
the back ⅔; tarsus 11/12.


THE MAY-APPLE.

     PODOPHYLLUM PELTATUM, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 1141.
     _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 366.—POLYANDRIA MONOGYNIA,
     _Linn._ RANUNCULACEÆ, _Juss._

Root of many large tubers. Stalks several, each divided at the top,
and bearing two peltate leaves, composed of five or seven lobes, with a
flower in the fork. Petals nine, white. Fruit when ripe of the size of
a plum, yellow.



THE RATHBONE WARBLER.

_SYLVIA RATHBONIA._

PLATE LXV. MALE AND FEMALE.


Kind reader, you are now presented with a new and beautiful little
species of Warbler, which I have honoured with the name of a family that
must ever be dear to me. Were I at liberty here to express the gratitude
which swells my heart, when the remembrance of all the unmerited kindness
and unlooked-for friendship which I have received from the RATHBONES
of Liverpool comes to my mind, I might produce a volume of thanks. But
I must content myself with informing you, that the small tribute of
gratitude which alone it is in my power to pay, I now joyfully accord,
by naming after them one of those birds, to the study of which all my
efforts have been directed. I trust that future naturalists, regardful of
the feelings which have guided me in naming this species, will continue
to it the name of the _Rathbone Warbler_.

I met with the species now under consideration only once, when I procured
both the male and the female represented in the plate. They were actively
engaged in searching for food amongst the blossoms and leaves of the
Bignonia on which I have placed them. All my endeavours to discover
their nest, or to procure other individuals, having proved abortive,
I am unable to say any thing of their habits and history; but should I
be more fortunate at some future period, I shall not fail to record the
result of my observations respecting this delicate little Warbler.

The Bignonia on which they are represented, grows abundantly in the low
alluvial grounds of the States of Mississippi and Louisiana, sparingly
in Tennessee, and about the mouth of the Ohio. It twines round the trunks
of various trees, and produces beautiful flowers, in which Humming Birds
are frequently seen to search for the minute insects which form their
food. They are destitute of smell, but are seen both during spring and
autumn.


     SYLVIA RATHBONIA.


Adult Male. Plate LXV. Fig. 1.

Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight subulato-conical, acute, as
deep as broad at the base, with sharp edges. Nostrils basal, oval, half
concealed by the feathers. Head rather large, neck short, body ovate.
Feet of ordinary length, slender; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly
with a few long scutella, acute behind, a little longer than the middle
toe; toes free, scutellate above; claws arched, slender, compressed,
acute.

Plumage blended, soft, and tufty. Wings of ordinary length, the second
quill longest. Tail rather short, nearly even, of twelve obtuse feathers.

Bill yellowish-brown above, yellow beneath. Iris hazel. Feet flesh-colour.
The general colour is bright yellow, the upper parts olivaceous. Quills
and tail wood-brown, the former yellow on the outer web, the latter
margined externally with the same colour.

Length 4½ inches; bill along the ridge ⅓, along the gap 5/12; tarsus
7/12, middle toe ½.


Adult Female. Plate LXV. Fig. 2.

The female is almost precisely the same in external appearance.


THE RAMPING TRUMPET-FLOWER.

     BIGNONIA CAPREOLATA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iii. p. 297. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 419.—DIDYNAMIA ANGIOSPERMIA, _Linn._
     BIGNONIÆ, _Juss._

This species is distinguished by its conjugate cirrhous leaves, with
oblongo-lanceolate leaflets, which are somewhat cordate at the base,
the lower leaves single. The flowers are carmine.



DEER HUNTING.


The different modes of destroying Deer are probably too well understood
and too successfully practised in the United States; for, notwithstanding
the almost incredible abundance of these beautiful animals in our forests
and prairies, such havock is carried on amongst them, that, in a few
centuries, they will probably be as scarce in America, as the Great
Bustard now is in Britain.

We have three modes of hunting Deer, each varying in some slight degree,
in the different States and Districts. The first is termed _Still
Hunting_, and is by far the most destructive. The second is called
_Fire-light Hunting_, and is next in its exterminating effects. The
third, which may be looked upon as a mere amusement, is named _Driving_.
Although many deer are destroyed by this latter method, it is not by
any means so pernicious as the others. These methods I shall describe
separately.

_Still Hunting_ is followed as a kind of trade by most of our frontier
men. To be practised with success, it requires great activity, an expert
management of the rifle, and a thorough knowledge of the forest, together
with an intimate acquaintance with the habits of the Deer, not only at
different seasons of the year, but also at every hour of the day, as
the hunter must be aware of the situations which the game prefers, and
in which it is most likely to be found, at any particular time. I might
here present you with a full account of the habits of our Deer, were it
not my intention to lay before you, at some future period, in the form
of a distinct work, the observations which I have made on the various
Quadrupeds of our extensive territories.

Illustrations of any kind require to be presented in the best possible
light. We shall therefore suppose that we are now about to follow the
_true hunter_, as the Still Hunter is also called, through the interior
of the tangled woods, across morasses, ravines, and such places, where
the game may prove more or less plentiful, even should none be found
there in the first instance. We shall allow our hunter all the agility,
patience, and care, which his occupation requires, and will march in
his rear, as if we were spies, watching all his motions.

His dress, you observe, consists of a leather hunting-shirt, and a pair of
trowsers of the same material. His feet are well moccassined; he wears a
belt round his waist; his heavy rifle is resting on his brawny shoulder;
on one side hangs his ball-pouch, surmounted by the horn of an ancient
Buffalo, once the terror of the herd, but now containing a pound of the
best gunpowder; his butcher knife is scabbarded in the same strap; and
behind is a tomahawk, the handle of which has been thrust through his
girdle. He walks with so rapid a step, that probably few men, besides
ourselves, that is, myself and my kind reader, could follow him, unless
for a short distance, in their anxiety to witness his ruthless deeds.
He stops, looks at the flint of his gun, its priming, and the leather
cover of the lock, then glances his eye towards the sky, to judge of
the course most likely to lead him to the game.

The heavens are clear, the red glare of the morning sun gleams through
the lower branches of the lofty trees, the dew hangs in pearly drops
at the top of every leaf. Already has the emerald hue of the foliage
been converted into the more glowing tints of our autumnal months. A
slight frost appears on the fence-rails of his little corn-field. As he
proceeds, he looks to the dead foliage under his feet, in search of the
well known traces of a buck's hoof. Now he bends toward the ground, on
which something has attracted his attention. See! he alters his course,
increases his speed, and will soon reach the opposite hill. Now, he
moves with caution, stops at almost every tree, and peeps forward, as
if already within shooting distance of the game. He advances again,
but how very slowly! He has reached the declivity, upon which the sun
shines in all its growing splendour;—but mark him! he takes the gun from
his shoulder, has already thrown aside the leathern cover of the lock,
and is wiping the edge of his flint with his tongue. Now he stands like
a monumental figure, perhaps measuring the distance that lies between
him and the game, which he has in view. His rifle is slowly raised, the
report follows, and he runs. Let us run also. Shall I speak to him, and
ask him the result of this first essay? Assuredly, reader, for I know
him well.

"Pray, friend, what have you killed?" for to say, "what have you shot
at?" might imply the possibility of his having missed, and so might
hurt his feelings? "Nothing but a Buck." "And where is it?" "Oh, it has
taken a jump or so, but I settled it, and will soon be with it. My ball
struck, and must have gone through his heart." We arrive at the spot,
where the animal had laid itself down among the grass in a thicket of
grape-vines, sumachs, and spruce-bushes, where it intended to repose
during the middle of the day. The place is covered with blood, the hoofs
of the deer have left deep prints in the ground, as it bounced in the
agonies produced by its wound; but the blood that has gushed from its
side discloses the course which it has taken. We soon reach the spot.
There lies the buck, its tongue out, its eye dim, its breath exhausted:
it is dead. The hunter draws his knife, cuts the buck's throat almost
asunder, and prepares to skin it. For this purpose he hangs it upon the
branch of a tree. When the skin is removed, he cuts off the hams, and
abandoning the rest of the carcass to the wolves and vultures, reloads his
gun, flings the venison, enclosed, by the skin, upon his back, secures
it with a strap, and walks off in search of more game, well knowing
that, in the immediate neighbourhood, another at least is to be found.

Had the weather been warmer, the hunter would have sought for the buck
along the _shadowy_ side of the hills. Had it been the spring season, he
would have led us through some thick cane-brake, to the margin of some
remote lake, where you would have seen the deer, immersed to his head in
the water, to save his body from the tormenting attacks of moschettoes.
Had winter overspread the earth with a covering of snow, he would have
searched the low damp woods, where the mosses and lichens, on which at
that period the deer feeds, abound, the trees being generally crusted with
them for several feet from the ground. At one time, he might have marked
the places where the deer clears the velvet from his horns by rubbing
them against the low stems of bushes, and where he frequently _scrapes_
the earth with his fore-hoofs; at another, he would have betaken himself
to places where persimons and crab-apples abound, as beneath these trees
the deer frequently stops to munch their fruits. During early spring,
our hunter would imitate the bleating of the doe, and thus frequently
obtain both her and the fawn; or, like some tribes of Indians, he would
prepare a deer's head, placed on a stick, and creeping with it amongst
the tall grass of the prairies, would decoy the deer within reach of his
rifle. But kind reader, you have seen enough of the _still hunter_. Let
it suffice for me to add, that by the mode pursued by him, thousands
of deer are annually killed, many individuals shooting these animals
merely for the skin, not caring for even the most valuable portions of
the flesh, unless hunger, or a near market, induce them to carry off
the hams.

The mode of destroying deer by _fire-light_, or, as it is named in some
parts of the country, _forest-light_, never fails to produce a very
singular feeling in him who witnesses it for the first time. There is
something in it which at times appears awfully grand. At other times, a
certain degree of fear creeps over the mind, and even affects the physical
powers, of him who follows the hunter through the thick undergrowth of
our woods, having to leap his horse over hundreds of huge fallen trunks,
at one time impeded by a straggling grape-vine crossing his path, at
another squeezed between two stubborn saplings, whilst their twigs come
smack in his face, as his companion has forced his way through them.
Again, he every now and then runs the risk of breaking his neck, by being
suddenly pitched headlong on the ground, as his horse sinks into a hole
covered over with moss. But I must proceed in a more regular manner, and
leave you, kind reader, to judge whether such a mode of hunting would
suit your taste or not.

The hunter has returned to his camp or his house, has rested and eaten of
his game. He waits impatiently for the return of night. He has procured
a quantity of pine-knots filled with resinous matter, and has an old
frying-pan, that, for aught I know to the contrary, may have been used
by his great grandmother, in which the pine-knots are to be placed when
lighted. The horses stand saddled at the door. The hunter comes forth,
his rifle slung on his shoulder, and springs upon one of them, while
his son, or a servant, mounts the other, with the frying-pan and the
pine-knots. Thus accoutred, they proceed towards the interior of the
forest. When they have arrived at the spot where the hunt is to begin,
they strike fire with a flint and steel, and kindle the resinous wood.
The person who carries the fire moves in the direction judged to be
the best. The blaze illuminates the near objects, but the distant parts
seem involved in deepest obscurity. The hunter who bears the gun keeps
immediately in front, and after a while discovers before him two feeble
lights, which are produced by the reflection of the pine-fire from the
eyes of an animal of the deer or wolf kind. The animal stands quite
still. To one unacquainted with this strange mode of hunting, the glare
from its eyes might bring to his imagination some lost hobgoblin that had
strayed from its usual haunts. The hunter, however, nowise intimidated,
approaches the object, sometimes so near as to discern its form, when
raising the rifle to his shoulder, he fires and kills it on the spot.
He then dismounts, secures the skin and such portions of the flesh as
he may want, in the manner already described, and continues his search
through the greater part of the night, sometimes until the dawn of day,
shooting from five to ten deer, should these animals be plentiful. This
kind of hunting proves fatal, not to the deer alone, but also sometimes
to wolves, and now and then to a horse or a cow, which may have straggled
far into the woods.

Now, kind reader, prepare to mount a generous, full blood Virginian
Hunter. See that your gun is in complete order, for, hark to the sound
of the bugle and horn, and the mingled clamour of a pack of harriers!
Your friends are waiting you, under the shade of the wood, and we must
together go _driving_ the light-footed deer. The distance over which
one has to travel is seldom felt, when pleasure is anticipated as the
result: so, galloping we go pell-mell through the woods, to some well
known place, where many a fine buck has drooped its antlers under the
ball of the hunter's rifle. The servants, who are called the _drivers_,
have already begun their search. Their voices are heard exciting the
hounds, and unless we put spurs to our steeds, we may be too late at
our stand, and thus lose the first opportunity of shooting the fleeting
game, as it passes by. Hark again! The dogs are in chase, the horn sounds
louder and more clearly. Hurry, hurry on, or we shall be sadly behind!

Here we are at last! Dismount, fasten your horse to this tree, place
yourself by the side of that large yellow poplar, and mind you do not
shoot me! The deer is fast approaching; I will to my own stand, and he
who shoots him dead wins the prize.

The deer is heard coming. It has inadvertently cracked a dead stick
with its hoof, and the dogs are now so near it that it will pass in a
moment. There it comes! How beautifully it bounds over the ground! What
a splendid head of horns! How easy its attitudes, depending, as, it seems
to do, on its own swiftness for safety! All is in vain, however: a gun is
fired, the animal plunges and doubles with incomparable speed. There he
goes! He passes another stand, from which a second shot, better directed
than the first, brings him to the ground. The dogs, the servants, the
sportsmen are now rushing forward to the spot. The hunter who has shot
it is congratulated on his skill or good luck, and the chase begins
again in some other part of the woods.

A few lines of explanation may be required to convey a clear idea of this
mode of hunting. Deer are fond of following and retracing the paths which
they have formerly pursued, and continue to do so even after they have
been shot at more than once. These tracks are discovered by persons on
horseback in the woods, or a deer is observed crossing a road, a field,
or a small stream. When this has been noticed twice, the deer may be
shot from the places called _stands_ by the sportsman, who is stationed
there, and waits for it, a line of stands being generally formed so as
to cross the path which the game will follow. The person who ascertains
the usual pass of the game, or discovers the parts where the animal feeds
or lies down during the day, gives intimation to his friends, who then
prepare for the chase. The servants start the deer with the hounds, and
by good management, generally succeed in making it run the course that
will soonest bring it to its death. But, should the deer be cautious,
and take another course, the hunters, mounted on swift horses, gallop
through the woods to intercept it, guided by the sound of the horns and
the cry of the dogs, and frequently succeed in shooting it. This sport
is extremely agreeable, and proves successful on almost every occasion.

Hoping that this account will be sufficient to induce you, kind reader,
to go _driving_ in our Western and Southern Woods, I now conclude my
chapter on Deer Hunting by informing you, that the species referred to
above is the Virginian Deer, _Cervus virginianus_; and that, until I be
able to present you with a full account of its habits and history, you
may consult for information respecting it the excellent _Fauna Americana_
of my esteemed friend Dr HARLAN of Philadelphia.



THE IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER.

_PICUS PRINCIPALIS_, LINN.

PLATE LXVI. MALE AND FEMALE.


I have always imagined, that in the plumage of the beautiful Ivory-billed
Woodpecker, there is something very closely allied to the style of
colouring of the great VANDYKE. The broad extent of its dark glossy
body and tail, the large and well-defined white markings of its wings,
neck, and bill, relieved by the rich carmine of the pendent crest of the
male, and the brilliant yellow of its eye, have never failed to remind
me of some of the boldest and noblest productions of that inimitable
artist's pencil. So strongly indeed have these thoughts become ingrafted
in my mind, as I gradually obtained a more intimate acquaintance with
the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, that whenever I have observed one of these
birds flying from one tree to another, I have mentally exclaimed, "There
goes a Vandyke!" This notion may seem strange, perhaps ludicrous, to
you, good reader, but I relate it as a fact, and whether or not it may
be found in accordance with your own ideas, after you have inspected
the plate in which is represented this great chieftain of the Woodpecker
tribe, is perhaps of little consequence.

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker confines its rambles to a comparatively
very small portion of the United States, it never having been observed
in the Middle States within the memory of any person now living there.
In fact, in no portion of these districts does the nature of the woods
appear suitable to its remarkable habits.

Descending the Ohio, we meet with this splendid bird for the first time
near the confluence of that beautiful river and the Mississippi; after
which, following the windings of the latter, either downwards toward the
sea, or upwards in the direction of the Missouri, we frequently observe
it. On the Atlantic coast, North Carolina may be taken as the limit of
its distribution, although now and then an individual of the species may
be accidentally seen in Maryland. To the westward of the Mississippi,
it is found in all the dense forests bordering the streams which empty
their waters into that majestic river, from the very declivities of the
Rocky Mountains. The lower parts of the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama,
Louisiana, and Mississippi, are, however, the most favourite resorts
of this bird, and in those States it constantly resides, breeds, and
passes a life of peaceful enjoyment, finding a profusion of food in all
the deep, dark, and gloomy swamps dispersed throughout them.

I wish, kind reader, it were in my power to present to your mind's eye
the favourite resort of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Would that I could
describe the extent of those deep morasses, overshadowed by millions of
gigantic dark cypresses, spreading their sturdy moss-covered branches, as
if to admonish intruding man to pause and reflect on the many difficulties
which he must encounter, should he persist in venturing farther into
their almost inaccessible recesses, extending for miles before him,
where he should be interrupted by huge projecting branches, here and
there the massy trunk of a fallen and decaying tree, and thousands of
creeping and twining plants of numberless species! Would that I could
represent to you the dangerous nature of the ground, its oozing, spongy,
and miry disposition, although covered with a beautiful but treacherous
carpeting, composed of the richest mosses, flags, and water-lilies, no
sooner receiving the pressure of the foot than it yields and endangers
the very life of the adventurer, whilst here and there, as he approaches
an opening, that proves merely a lake of black muddy water, his ear is
assailed by the dismal croaking of innumerable frogs, the hissing of
serpents, or the bellowing of alligators! Would that I could give you
an idea of the sultry pestiferous atmosphere that nearly suffocates the
intruder during the meridian heat of our dogdays, in those gloomy and
horrible swamps! But the attempt to picture these scenes would be vain.
Nothing short of ocular demonstration can impress any adequate idea of
them.

How often, kind reader, have I thought of the difference of the tasks
imposed on different minds, when, travelling in countries far distant
from those where birds of this species and others as difficult to be
procured are now and then offered for sale in the form of dried skins,
I have heard the amateur or closet-naturalist express his astonishment;
that half-a-crown was asked by the person who had perhaps followed the
bird when alive over miles of such swamps, and after procuring it, had
prepared its skin in the best manner, and carried it to a market thousands
of miles distant from the spot where he had obtained it. I must say, that
it has at least grieved me as much as when I have heard some idle fop
complain of the poverty of the Gallery of the Louvre, where he had paid
nothing, or when I have listened to the same infatuated idler lamenting
the loss of his shilling, as he sauntered through the Exhibition Rooms of
the Royal Academy of London, or any equally valuable repository of art.
But, let us return to the biography of the famed Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

The flight of this bird is graceful in the extreme, although seldom
prolonged to more than a few hundred yards at a time, unless when it has
to cross a large river, which it does in deep undulations, opening its
wings at first to their full extent, and nearly closing them to renew the
propelling impulse. The transit from one tree to another, even should
the distance be as much as a hundred yards, is performed by a single
sweep, and the bird appears as if merely swinging itself from the top
of the one tree to that of the other, forming an elegantly curved line.
At this moment all the beauty of the plumage is exhibited, and strikes
the beholder with pleasure. It never utters any sound whilst on wing,
unless during the love season; but at all other times, no sooner has this
bird alighted than its remarkable voice is heard, at almost every leap
which it makes, whilst ascending against the upper parts of the trunk
of a tree, or its highest branches. Its notes are clear, loud, and yet
rather plaintive. They are heard at a considerable distance, perhaps
half a mile, and resemble the false high note of a clarionet. They are
usually repeated three times in succession, and may be represented by
the monosyllable _pait, pait, pait_. These are heard so frequently as
to induce me to say that the bird spends few minutes of the day without
uttering them, and this circumstance leads to its destruction, which is
aimed at, not because (as is supposed by some) this species is a destroyer
of trees, but more because it is a beautiful bird, and its rich scalp
attached to the upper mandible forms an ornament for the war-dress of
most of our Indians, or for the shot-pouch of our squatters and hunters,
by all of whom the bird is shot merely for that purpose.

Travellers of all nations are also fond of possessing the upper part
of the head and the bill of the male, and I have frequently remarked,
that on a steam-boat's reaching what we call a _wooding-place_, the
_strangers_ were very apt to pay a quarter of a dollar for two or three
heads of this Woodpecker. I have seen entire belts of Indian chiefs
closely ornamented with the tufts and bills of this species, and have
observed that a great value is frequently put upon them.

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker nestles earlier in spring than any other
species of its tribe. I have observed it boring a hole for that purpose
in the beginning of March. The hole is, I believe, always made in the
trunk of a live tree, generally an ash or a hagberry, and is at a great
height. The birds pay great regard to the particular situation of the
tree, and the inclination of its trunk; first, because they prefer
retirement, and again, because they are anxious to secure the aperture
against the access of water during beating rains. To prevent such a
calamity, the hole is generally dug immediately under the junction of a
large branch with the trunk. It is first bored horizontally for a few
inches, then directly downwards, and not in a spiral manner, as some
people have imagined. According to circumstances, this cavity is more
or less deep, being sometimes not more than ten inches, whilst at other
times it reaches nearly three feet downwards into the core of the tree.
I have been led to think that these differences result from the more
or less immediate necessity under which the female may be of depositing
her eggs, and again have thought that the older the Woodpecker is, the
deeper does it make its hole. The average diameter of the different
nests which I have examined was about seven inches within, although the
entrance, which is perfectly round, is only just large enough to admit
the bird.

Both birds work most assiduously at this excavation, one waiting outside
to encourage the other, whilst it is engaged in digging, and when the
latter is fatigued, taking its place. I have approached trees whilst
these Woodpeckers were thus busily employed in forming their nest, and
by resting my head against the bark, could easily distinguish every blow
given by the bird. I observed that in two instances, when the Woodpeckers
saw me thus at the foot of the tree in which they were digging their
nest, they abandoned it for ever. For the first brood there are generally
six eggs. They are deposited on a few chips at the bottom of the hole,
and are of a pure white colour. The young are seen creeping out of the
hole about a fortnight before they venture to fly to any other tree.
The second brood makes its appearance about the 15th of August.

In Kentucky and Indiana, the Ivory-bills seldom raise more than one brood
in the season. The young are at first of the colour of the female, only
that they want the crest, which, however, grows rapidly, and towards
autumn, particularly in birds of the first breed, is nearly equal to
that of the mother. The males have then a slight line of red on the head,
and do not attain their richness of plumage until spring, or their full
size until the second year. Indeed, even then, a difference is easily
observed between them and individuals which are much older.

The food of this species consists principally of beetles, larvæ, and
large grubs. No sooner, however, are the grapes of our forests ripe than
they are eaten by the Ivory-billed Woodpecker with great avidity. I have
seen this bird hang by its claws to the vines, in the position so often
assumed by a Titmouse, and, reaching downwards, help itself to a bunch
of grapes with much apparent pleasure. Persimons are also sought for by
them, as soon as the fruit becomes quite mellow, as are hagberries.

The Ivory-bill is never seen attacking the corn, or the fruit of the
orchards, although it is sometimes observed working upon and chipping
off the bark from the belted trees of the newly-cleared plantations. It
seldom comes near the ground, but prefers at all times the tops of the
tallest trees. Should it, however, discover the half-standing broken
shaft of a large dead and rotten tree, it attacks it in such a manner
as nearly to demolish it in the course of a few days. I have seen the
remains of some of these ancient monarchs of our forests so excavated,
and that so singularly, that the tottering fragments of the trunk
appeared to be merely supported by the great pile of chips by which its
base was surrounded. The strength of this Woodpecker is such, that I
have seen it detach pieces of bark seven or eight inches in length at
a single blow of its powerful bill, and by beginning at the top branch
of a dead tree, tear off the bark, to an extent of twenty or thirty
feet, in the course of a few hours, leaping downwards with its body in
an upward position, tossing its head to the right and left, or leaning
it against the bark to ascertain the precise spot where the grubs were
concealed, and immediately after renewing its blows with fresh vigour,
all the while sounding its loud notes, as if highly delighted.

This species generally moves in pairs, after the young have left their
parents. The female is always the most clamorous and the least shy. Their
mutual attachment is, I believe, continued through life. Excepting when
digging a hole for the reception of their eggs, these birds seldom, if
ever, attack living trees, for any other purpose than that of procuring
food, in doing which they destroy the insects that would otherwise prove
injurious to the trees.

I have frequently observed the male and female retire to rest for the
night, into the same hole in which they had long before reared their
young. This generally happens a short time after sunset.

When wounded and brought to the ground, the Ivory-bill immediately makes
for the nearest tree, and ascends it with great rapidity and perseverance,
until it reaches the top branches, when it squats and hides, generally
with great effect. Whilst ascending, it moves spirally round the tree,
utters its loud _pait, pait, pait_, at almost every hop, but becomes
silent the moment it reaches a place where it conceives itself secure.
They sometimes cling to the bark with their claws so firmly, as to
remain cramped to the spot for several hours after death. When taken
by the hand, which is rather a hazardous undertaking, they strike with
great violence, and inflict very severe wounds with their bill as well
as claws, which are extremely sharp and strong. On such occasions, this
bird utters a mournful and very piteous cry.


     PICUS PRINCIPALIS, _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.

     WHITE-BILLED WOODPECKER, _Lath._ Synops. vol. ii. p. 553.

     IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER, PICUS PRINCIPALIS, _Wils._ Amer.
     Ornith. vol. iv. Pl. 29. fig. i.


Adult Male. Plate LXVI. Fig. 1.

Bill long, straight, strong, polyhedral, tapering, compressed and
truncated at the tip; mandibles nearly equal, both nearly straight in
their dorsal outline. Nostrils basal, oval, partly covered by recumbent
bristly feathers. Head large. Neck long and slender. Body robust. Feet
rather short, robust; tarsus strong, scutellate 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 and erectile.
Wings large, the third and fourth quills longest. Tail long, graduated,
of twelve tapering stiff feathers worn to a point by being rubbed against
the bark of trees.

Bill of an ivory-white, whence the common name of the bird. Iris bright
yellow. Feet greyish blue. The general colour of the plumage is black,
with violet reflections, more glossy above. The feathers of the middle
and hind part of the head are of a vivid deep carmine. A broad band of
white runs down the neck and back, on either side, commencing narrow under
the ear, and terminating with the scapulars. The five outer primaries
black, the rest white towards the end, the secondaries wholly white, so
that when the wings are closed, the posterior part of the back seems
white, although it is in reality black. Lateral tail-feathers with a
spot of white near the tip of each web.

Length 21 inches, extent of wings 30; bill along the back 2⅓, along the
gap 3; tarsus 2.


Adult Female. Plate LXVI. Fig. 2, 3.

The female resembles the male in colouring, but wants the vivid patch
on the crest, which is wholly black.



THE RED-WINGED STARLING, OR MARSH BLACKBIRD.

_ICTERUS PHŒNICEUS_, DAUD.

PLATE LXVII. MALE IN DIFFERENT STATES, FEMALE AND YOUNG.


If the name of _Starling_ has been given to this well-known species, with
the view of assimilating it to the European bird of that name, it can
only have been on account of the numbers of individuals that associate
together, for in every other respect it is as distinct from the true
Starlings as a Common Crow. But without speaking particularly of generic
or specific affinities—a task which I reserve for another occasion—I
shall here content myself with giving you, kind reader, an account of
the habits of this bird.

The Marsh Blackbird is so well known as being a bird of the most nefarious
propensities, that in the United States one can hardly mention its name,
without hearing such an account of its pilferings as might induce the
young student of nature to conceive that it had been created for the
purpose of annoying the farmer. That it destroys an astonishing quantity
of corn, rice, and other kinds of grain, cannot be denied; but that
before it commences its ravages, it has proved highly serviceable to
the crops, is equally certain.

As soon as spring makes its appearance, almost all the Redwings leave
the Southern States, in small detached and straggling flocks, the males
leading the way in full song, as if to invite the females to follow.
Prodigious numbers make their appearance in the Eastern Districts, as
winter recedes, and are often seen while piles of drifted snow still
remain along the roads, under shelter of the fences. They frequently
alight on trees of moderate size, spread their tail, swell out their
plumage, and utter their clear and not unmusical notes, particularly in
the early morning, before their departure from the neighbourhood of the
places in which they have roosted; for their migrations, you must know,
are performed entirely during the day.

Their food at this season is almost exclusively composed of grubs,
worms, caterpillars, and different sorts of coleopterous insects, which
they procure by searching with great industry, in the meadows, the
orchards, or the newly ploughed fields, walking with a graceful step,
but much quicker than either of their relatives, the Purple Grakle or
the Boat-tail of the Southern States. The millions of insects which
the Red-wings destroy at this early season, are, in my opinion, a full
equivalent for the corn which they eat at another period; and for this
reason, the farmers do not molest them in spring, when they resort to the
fields in immense numbers. They then follow the ploughman, in company
with the Crow Blackbird, and as if aware of the benefit which they are
conferring, do not seem to regard him with apprehension.

The females being all arrived, the pairing season at once commences.
Several males are seen flying in pursuit of one, until, becoming fatigued,
she alights, receives the addresses of her suitors, and soon makes
a choice that establishes her the consort of one of them. The "happy
couple" immediately retire from the view of the crowds around them, and
seek along the margins of some sequestered pond or damp meadow, for a
place in which to form their nest. An Alder bush or a thick tuft of rank
weeds answer equally well, and in such places a quantity of coarse dried
weeds is deposited by them, to form the exterior of the fabric which is
to receive the eggs. The nest is lined with fine grasses, and, in some
instances, with horse-hair. The eggs are from four to six in number, of
a regular oval form, light blue, sparsely spotted with dusky.

Now is the time, good-natured reader, to see and admire the courage
and fidelity of the male, whilst assiduously watching over his beloved
mate. He dives headlong towards every intruder that approaches his nest,
vociferating his fears and maledictions with great vehemence, passing
at times within a few yards of the person who has disturbed his peace,
or alighting on a twig close to his nest, and uttering a plaintive
note, which might well prevent any other than a mischievous person from
interfering with the hopes and happiness of the mated Redwings.

The eggs are hatched, and the first brood has taken flight. The young
soon after associate with thousands of other striplings, and shift for
themselves, whilst the parent birds raise a second family. The first brood
comes abroad about the beginning of June, the second in the beginning
of August. At this latter period, the corn in the Middle Districts has
already acquired considerable consistence, and the congregated Redwings
fall upon the fields in such astonishing numbers as to seem capable of
completely veiling them under the shade of their wings. The husbandman,
anxious to preserve as much of his corn as he can, for his own use or
for market, pursues every possible method of annoyance or destruction.
But his ingenuity is almost exerted in vain. The Redwings heed not his
efforts further than to remove, after each report of his gun, from one
portion of the field to another. All the _scarecrows_ that he may choose
to place about his grounds are merely regarded by the birds as so many
_observatories_, on which they occasionally alight.

The corn becoming too hard for their bills, they now leave the fields,
and resort to the meadows and the margins of streams thickly overgrown
with the Wild Oat and other grasses, upon the seeds of which they feed
with great avidity during the autumnal and winter months. They then
associate partially with the Reed Birds, Grakles, and Cow-pen Buntings,
and are seen to move from the Eastern to the Southern Districts, in such
immense and thick flocks as almost to cloud the air.

The havock made amongst them is scarcely credible. I have heard that
upwards of fifty have been killed at a shot, and am the more inclined
to believe such accounts that I have myself shot hundreds in the course
of an afternoon, killing from ten to fifteen at every discharge. Whilst
travelling in different parts of the Southern States, during the latter
part of autumn, I have often seen the fences, trees and fields so strewed
with these birds, as to make me believe their number fully equal to that
of the falling leaves of the trees in the places traversed by me.

Towards evening they alight in the marshes by millions, in compact
bodies, settle on the reeds and rushes close above the water, and remain
during the night, unless disturbed by the gunners. When this happens,
they rise all of a sudden, and perform various evolutions in the air,
now gliding low over the rushes, and again wheeling high above them,
preserving silence for a while, but finally diving suddenly to the spot
formerly chosen, and commencing a general chuckling noise, after which
they remain quiet during the rest of the night.

Different species of Hawks derive their principal sustenance from them
at this season. The Pigeon Hawk is an adept in picking the fattest from
their crowded flocks; and while they are in the Southern States, where
millions of them spend the winter, the Hen-harriers are seen continually
hovering over them, and picking up the stragglers.

The Marsh Blackbird is easily kept in confinement, and sings there with
as much vigour as when at full liberty. It is kept in good order with
rice, wheat, or any other small grain. Attempts have been made to induce
these birds to breed in confinement, but in as far as I have been able
to ascertain, have failed. As an article of food, they are little better
than the Starling of Europe, or the Crow Blackbird of the United States,
although many are eaten and thought good by the country people, who make
pot-pies of them.

I have represented a male and a female in the adult state, a male in the
first spring, and a young bird, and have placed them on the branch of a
Water Maple, these birds being fond of alighting on trees of that kind,
in early spring, to pick up the insects that frequent the blossoms. This
tree is found dispersed throughout the United States, and grows, as its
name indicates, in the immediate vicinity of water. Its wood is soft,
and is hardly used for any other purpose than that of being converted
into common domestic utensils.


     ICTERUS PHŒNICEUS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 52.

     ORIOLUS PHŒNICEUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 161.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 178.

     RED-WINGED STARLING, STURNUS PRÆDATORIUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. iv. p. 30. Pl. 30. Male and Female.

     RED-WINGED ORIOLE, _Lath._ Synops. vol. ii. p. 428.


Male in complete plumage. Plate LXVII. Fig. 1.

Bill conical, rather slender, longish, compressed, nearly straight,
very acute, with inflected acute margins; upper mandible obtuse above,
encroaching on the forehead, lower broadly obtuse beneath; gap-line
deflected at the base. Nostrils oval, basal. Head and neck of ordinary
size. Body full. Feet of ordinary length; tarsus a little longer than
the middle toe; inner toe little shorter than the outer; claws arched,
acute, compressed, that of the hind toe twice the size of the rest.

Plumage soft, blended, glossy. Wings of ordinary length, the second
and third quills longest. Tail rather long, rounded, of twelve rounded
feathers.

Bill and feet black. Iris dark brown. The general colour of the plumage
is glossy black; the lesser wing-coverts scarlet, their lower row bright
yellow.

Length 9 inches, extent of wings 14; bill along the ridge 11/12, along
the gap 1.


Male, the first spring. Plate LXVII. Fig. 2.

Bill, eyes and feet, as in the adult male. The general colour of the upper
parts is dark-brown, the feathers edged with lighter. The shoulder is
scarlet, but of a lighter tint; the second row of wing-coverts broadly
margined with brownish-white; the larger coverts and quills margined
with reddish-white. Quills and tail brownish-black. The under parts are
dark greyish-brown, spotted with black.


Adult Female. Plate LXVII. Fig. 3.

The adult female resembles the male of the first spring in colouring.
The bill is lighter; there is a broad streak of pale brown from the bill
over each eye; the wing-coverts are less broadly margined, and the lesser
wing-coverts are merely tinged with red. The size is greatly inferior
to that of the adult male, the length being only 7½ inches.


Young Bird. Plate LXVII. Fig. 4.

The young is similar to the female, lighter on the cheeks and throat,
and having merely a slight tinge of red on the lesser wing-coverts.


THE RED MAPLE OR SWAMP MAPLE.

     ACER RUBRUM, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 984. _Pursh_, Flor.
     Amer. vol. i. p. 266. _Mich._ Abr. Forest. de l'Amer. Sept.
     vol. ii. p. 210, Pl. 14.—OCTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ ACERINÆ,
     _Juss._

This species having been represented in Plate LXVII in seed, has already
been described at p. 287.



THE REPUBLICAN OR CLIFF SWALLOW.

_HIRUNDO FULVA_, VIEILL.

PLATE LXVIII. MALE, FEMALE, AND NESTS.


In the spring of 1815, I for the first time saw a few individuals of
this species at Henderson, on the banks of the Ohio, a hundred and twenty
miles below the Falls of that river. It was an excessively cold morning,
and nearly all were killed by the severity of the weather. I drew up a
description at the time, naming the species _Hirundo republicana_, the
_Republican Swallow_, in allusion to the mode in which the individuals
belonging to it associate, for the purpose of forming their nests and
rearing their young. Unfortunately, through the carelessness of my
assistant, the specimens were lost, and I despaired for years of meeting
with others.

In the year 1819, my hopes were revived by Mr ROBERT BEST, curator of
the Western Cincinnati Museum, who informed me that a strange species
of bird had made its appearance in the neighbourhood, building nests in
clusters, affixed to the walls. In consequence of this information, I
immediately crossed the Ohio to New Port, in Kentucky, where he had seen
many nests the preceding season; and no sooner were we landed than the
chirruping of my long-lost little strangers saluted my ear. Numbers of
them were busily engaged in repairing the damage done to their nests by
the storms of the preceding winter.

Major OLDHAM of the United States' Army, then commandant of the garrison,
politely offered us the means of examining the settlement of these birds,
attached to the walls of the building under his charge. He informed us,
that, in 1815, he first saw a few of them working against the wall of
the house, immediately under the eaves and cornice; that their work was
carried on rapidly and peaceably, and that as soon as the young were able
to travel, they all departed. Since that period, they had returned every
spring, and then amounted to several hundreds. They usually appeared
about the 10th of April, and immediately began their work, which was at
that moment, it being then the 20th of that month, going on in a regular
manner, against the walls of the arsenal. They had about fifty nests
quite finished, and others in progress.

About day-break they flew down to the shore of the river, one hundred
yards distant, for the muddy sand of which the nests were constructed,
and worked with great assiduity until near the middle of the day, as if
aware that the heat of the sun was necessary to dry and harden their moist
tenements. They then ceased from labour for a few hours, amused themselves
by performing aerial evolutions, courted and caressed their mates with
much affection, and snapped at flies and other insects on the wing. They
often examined their nests to see if they were sufficiently dry, and
as soon as these appeared to have acquired the requisite firmness, they
renewed their labours. Until the females began to sit, they all roosted
in the hollow limbs of the Sycamores (_Platanus occidentalis_) growing
on the banks of the Licking River, but when incubation commenced, the
males alone resorted to the trees. A second party arrived, and were so
hard pressed for time, that they betook themselves to the holes in the
wall, where bricks had been left out for the scaffolding. These they
fitted with projecting necks, similar to those of the complete nests of
the others. Their eggs were deposited on a few bits of straw, and great
caution was necessary in attempting to procure them, as the slightest
touch crumbled their frail tenement into dust. By means of a table spoon,
I was enabled to procure many of them. Each nest contained four eggs,
which were white, with dusky spots. Only one brood is raised in a season.
The energy with which they defended their nests was truly astonishing.
Although I had taken the precaution to visit them at sun-set, when I
supposed they would all have been on the Sycamores, yet a single female
happened to be sitting, and gave the alarm, which immediately called out
the whole tribe. They snapped at my hat, body and legs, passed between
me and the nests, within an inch of my face, twittering their rage and
sorrow. They continued their attacks as I descended, and accompanied
me for some distance. Their note may be perfectly imitated by rubbing
a cork damped with spirit against the neck of a bottle.

A third party arrived a few days after, and immediately commenced
building. In one week they had completed their operations, and at the
end of that time thirty nests hung clustered like so many gourds, each
having a neck two inches long. On the 27th July, the young were able
to follow their parents. They all exhibited the white frontlet, and
were scarcely distinguishable in any part of their plumage from the old
birds. On the 1st of August, they all assembled near their nests, mounted
about three hundred feet in the air, and at ten in the morning took
their departure, flying in a loose body, in a direction due north. They
returned the same evening about dusk, and continued these excursions,
no doubt to exercise their powers, until the third, when, uttering a
farewell cry, they shaped the same course at the same hour, and finally
disappeared. Shortly after their departure, I was informed that several
hundreds of their nests were attached to the Court-House at the mouth of
the Kentucky River. They had commenced building them in 1815. A person
likewise informed me, that, along the cliffs of the Kentucky, he had
seen many _bunches_, as he termed them, of these nests attached to the
naked shelving rocks overhanging that river.

Being extremely desirous of settling the long-agitated question respecting
the migration or supposed torpidity of Swallows, I embraced every
opportunity of examining their habits, carefully noted their arrival
and disappearance, and recorded every fact connected with their history.
After some years of constant observation and reflection, I remarked that
among all the species of migratory birds, those that remove farthest
from us, depart sooner than those which retire only to the confines
of the United States; and, by a parity of reasoning, those that remain
later return earlier in the spring. These remarks were confirmed, as I
advanced towards the south-west on the approach of winter, for I there
found numbers of Warblers, Thrushes, &c. in full feather and song. It
was also remarked that the _Hirundo viridis_ of WILSON (called by the
French of Lower Louisiana, _Le Petit Martinet à ventre blanc_) remained
about the City of New Orleans later than any other Swallow. As immense
numbers of them were seen during the month of November, I kept a diary
of the temperature from the third of that month, until the arrival of
_Hirundo purpurea_. The following notes are taken from my journal, and
as I had excellent opportunities, during a residence of many years in
that country, of visiting the lakes to which these Swallows were said
to resort, during the transient frosts, I present them with confidence.

_November 11._—Weather very sharp, with a heavy, white frost. Swallows
in abundance during the whole day. On inquiring of the inhabitants if
this was a usual occurrence, I was answered in the affirmative by all
the French and Spaniards. From this date to the 22d, the thermometer
averaged 65°, the weather generally a drizzly fog. Swallows playing over
the city in thousands.

_November 25._—Thermometer this morning at 30°. Ice in New Orleans a
quarter of an inch thick. The Swallows resorted to the lee of the Cypress
Swamp in the rear of the city. Thousands were flying in different flocks.
Fourteen were killed at a single shot, all in perfect plumage, and very
fat. The markets were abundantly supplied with these tender, juicy, and
delicious birds. Saw Swallows every day, but remarked them more plentiful
the stronger the breeze blew from the sea.

_December 20._—The weather continues much the same. Foggy and drizzly
mist. Thermometer averaging 63°.

_January 14._—Thermometer 42°. Weather continues the same. My little
favourites constantly in view.

_January 28._—Thermometer at 40°. Having seen the _Hirundo viridis_
continually, and the _H. purpurea_ or Purple Martin beginning to appear,
I discontinued my observations.

During the whole winter many of them retired to the holes about the
houses, but the greater number resorted to the lakes, and spent the night
among the branches of _Myrica cerifera_, the _Cirier_, as it is termed
by the French settlers.

About sunset they began to flock together, calling to each other for
that purpose, and in a short time presented the appearance of clouds
moving towards the lakes, or the mouth of the Mississippi, as the weather
and wind suited. Their aërial evolutions before they alight, are truly
beautiful. They appear at first as if reconnoitring the place, when,
suddenly throwing themselves into a vortex of apparent confusion, they
descend spirally with astonishing quickness, and very much resemble
a _trombe_ or water-spout. When within a few feet of the _Ciriers_,
they disperse in all directions, and settle in a few moments. Their
twittering, and the motions of their wings, are, however, heard during
the whole night. As soon as the day begins to dawn, they rise, flying
low over the lakes, almost touching the water for some time, and then
rising, gradually move off in search of food, separating in different
directions. The hunters who resort to these places destroy great numbers
of them, by knocking them down with light paddles, used in propelling
their canoes.


     HIRUNDO FULVA, _Vieill._, Ois. de l'Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 62.
     Pl. 32.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United
     States, p. 64.

     FULVOUS or CLIFF-SWALLOW, HIRUNDO FULVA, _Ch. Bonaparte_,
     Amer. Ornith. vol i. p. 63. Pl. 7. fig. 1.


Adult Male. Plate LXVIII. Fig. 1.

Bill short, feeble, much depressed and very broad at the base, compressed
towards the tip; upper mandible nearly straight; gap as wide as the head,
and extending to beneath the eye. Nostrils basal, lateral, roundish.
Head of ordinary size. Neck short. Body rather slender. Feet very short
and feeble; tarsus and toes scutellate anteriorly, lateral toes nearly
equal, the outer united to the second joint; claws short, weak, arched,
rather obtuse.

Plumage silky, shining, and blended; wings very long and slender, the
first quill longest. Tail of ordinary length, the same length as the
wings, even, of twelve straight, narrowish, rather abrupt feathers.

Bill black. Iris hazel. Feet dusky. Upper part of the head, the back,
and the lesser wing-coverts black, with violet reflections. A line of
black across the anterior part of the forehead, extending over the eyes.
Forehead marked with a semilunar band of white, slightly tinged with
red. Chin, throat, and sides of the head deep brownish-red, the band
of each side narrowing and meeting the other at the back of the neck.
Posterior part of the back and upper tail-coverts light yellowish-red.
Breast pale reddish, the rest of the under parts greyish-white, tinged
with red. Wings and tail brownish-black.

Length 5½ inches, extent of wings 12; bill along the ridge ¼, along
the gap 7/12; tarsus ⅓, middle toe a little more than ½.


Adult Female. Plate LXVIII. Fig. 2.

The female in external appearance differs in no respect from the male.



THE BAY-BREASTED WARBLER.

_SYLVIA CASTANEA_, WILS.

PLATE LXIX. MALE AND FEMALE.


This species does not breed in the United States, or if it does, must
spend the summer in some of the most remote north-western districts,
so that I have not been able to discover its principal abode. It
merely passes through the better known portions of the Union, where it
remains for a very short time. There is something so very uncommon in
its appearance in different States, that I cannot refrain from briefly
mentioning it. It is sometimes found in Pennsylvania, or the State of
New York, as well as in New Jersey, as early as the beginning of April,
but is only seen there for a few days. I have shot some individuals at
such times, when I observed them employed in searching for insects and
larvæ along the fences bordering our fields. At other times I have shot
them late in June, in the State of Louisiana, when the cotton-plant was
covered with blossoms, amongst which they were busily searching for food.
The Bay-breasted Warbler, however, has so far eluded my inquiries, that
I am unable to give any further account of its habits.


     SYLVIA CASTANEA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 80.

     BAY-BREASTED WARBLER, SYLVIA CASTANEA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. ii. p. 97. Pl. 14, fig. 4.


Adult Male. Plate LXIX. Fig. 1.

Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight, subulato-conical, acute, as
deep as broad at the base, with sharp edges. Nostrils basal, oval, half
concealed by the feathers. Head of ordinary size, neck short, body ovate.
Feet of ordinary length, slender; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly
with a few long scutella, acute behind, a little longer than the middle
toe; toes free, scutellate above; claws arched, slender, compressed,
acute.

Plumage loose, tufty. Wings rather long, the second quill longest. Tail
of ordinary length, slightly emarginate, of twelve rounded feathers.

Bill blackish above, greyish-blue beneath. Iris hazel. Feet greyish-blue,
upper part of the head, the fore-neck, anterior part of the breast, and
the sides, bright chestnut. Forehead and cheeks, including a small space
over the eye, deep black, behind which is a transverse broad band of
yellowish-white on the sides of the neck. Back and lesser wing-coverts
yellowish-grey, spotted with blackish-brown. Larger coverts, quills
and tail, blackish-brown, edged with light bluish-grey. Middle of the
breast, abdomen, and under tail-coverts, white, tinged with reddish.

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 11; bill along the ridge nearly 5/12,
along the gap 7/12; tarsus ⅚, middle toe ¾.


Adult Female. Plate LXIX. Fig. 2.

The female is somewhat less. The colours are similar to those of the
male, and have the same distribution, but are much fainter, especially
the chestnut of the head and under parts, which are converted into light
brownish-red.


THE HIGHLAND COTTON-PLANT.

     GOSSIPIUM HERBACEUM, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. ii. p. 462.
     —MONADELPHIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._ MALVACEÆ, _Juss._

This species, commonly known in America, where it is cultivated, under
the name of _Highland Cotton_, is distinguished by its five-lobed leaves
and herbaceous stem.



HENSLOW'S BUNTING.

_EMBERIZA HENSLOWII._

PLATE LXX.


I obtained the bird represented in this plate opposite Cincinnati, in the
State of Kentucky, in the year 1820, whilst in the company of Mr ROBERT
BEST, then Curator of the Western Museum. It was on the ground, amongst
tall grass, and exhibited the usual habits of its tribe. Perceiving it
to be different from any which I had seen, I immediately shot it, and
the same day made an accurate drawing of it.

In naming it after the Rev. Professor HENSLOW of Cambridge, a gentleman
so well known to the scientific world, and who has permitted me so to
designate it, my object has been to manifest my gratitude for the many
kind attentions which he has shewn towards me. Its history and habits
are unknown. In appearance it differs so little from the Buntings, that,
for the present, I shall refer it to that genus.


     EMBERIZA HENSLOWII.


Plate LXX.

Bill short, robust, conical, acute; upper mandible straight in the dorsal
outline, angular, and encroaching a little on the forehead, broader
than the lower, acute and inflected on the edges; lower mandible also
inflected at the edges; the gap-line deflected at the base. Head rather
large, neck short, body full. Feet of ordinary length; tarsus scutellate
before, acute behind; toes free, scutellate above; claws slightly arched,
compressed, acute, that of the hind toe elongated.

Plumage compact, slightly glossed. Wings short, curved, the third and
fourth quills longest, the secondaries nearly as long as the primaries,
when the wing is closed. Tail short, graduated and deeply notched, of
twelve rather narrow very acute feathers.

Bill flesh-colour, darker above. Iris dark-brown. Feet flesh-colour.
The general colour of the upper parts is pale brown, the central part
of the feathers brownish-black, the margins of those of the back bright
red. Secondary coverts yellowish-red on the outer webs. Quills dark
brown, externally margined with light yellowish-brown. Tail-feathers
dusky, margined externally with yellowish-brown. The under parts
pale yellowish-grey, the breast, sides, and throat, spotted with
brownish-black.

Length 5 inches, bill along the ridge ⅓, along the gap nearly ½; tarsus
⅔, middle toe ⅔, hind toe the same.


THE INDIAN PINK-ROOT OR WORM-GRASS.

     SPIGELIA MARILANDICA, _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 139. Fig. 1.
     of the Plate.—PENTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ APOCINEÆ, _Juss._

Stem tetragonal, all the leaves opposite, ovate, acuminate. Flowers rich
carmine, in a terminal spike. This plant is perennial, flowers in the
summer months, and grows in rich soil by the margins of woods, in the
Middle States. The roots are used as a vermifuge.


     PHLOX ARISTATA, _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 130. Fig. 2. of
     the Plate.—PENTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ POLEMONIA, _Juss._

This species is characterized by its erect, feeble stem, its
linear-lanceolate leaves, lax fastigiate panicle, twin pedicels, oboval
segments of the corolla, pubescent curved tube, and long subulate calycine
teeth. The corolla is rose-coloured, but varies in tint, being sometimes
nearly white, and sometimes deep red. It is perennial, flowers in the
summer months, and occurs in the Middle and Atlantic States.



NIAGARA.


After wandering on some of our great lakes for many months, I bent my
course towards the celebrated Falls of Niagara, being desirous of taking
a sketch of them. This was not my first visit to them, and I hoped it
should not be the last.

Artists (I know not if I can be called one) too often imagine that what
they produce must be excellent, and with that foolish idea go on spoiling
much paper and canvas, when their time might have been better employed in
a different manner. But digressions aside,—I directed my steps towards
the Falls of Niagara, with the view of representing them on paper, for
the amusement of my family.

Returning as I then was from a tedious journey, and possessing little
more than some drawings of rare birds and plants, I reached the tavern at
Niagara Falls in such plight, as might have deterred many an individual
from obtruding himself upon a circle of well-clad and perhaps well-bred
society. Months had passed since the last of my linen had been taken
from my body, and used to clean that useful companion, my gun. I was
in fact covered just like one of the poorer class of Indians, and was
rendered even more disagreeable to the eye of civilized man, by not
having, like them, plucked my beard, or trimmed my hair in any way.
Had HOGARTH been living, and there when I arrived, he could not have
found a fitter subject for a ROBINSON CRUSOE. My beard covered my neck
in front, my hair fell much lower at my back, the leather dress which
I wore had for months stood in need of repair, a large knife hung at my
side, a rusty tin-box containing my drawings and colours, and, wrapped
up in a worn-out blanket that had served me for a bed, was buckled to
my shoulders. To every one I must have seemed immersed in the depths of
poverty, perhaps of despair. Nevertheless, as I cared little about my
appearance during those happy rambles, I pushed into the sitting-room,
unstrapped my little burden, and asked how soon breakfast would be ready.

In America, no person is ever refused entrance to the inns, at least
far from cities. We know too well how many poor creatures are forced to
make their way from other countries in search of employment or to seek
uncultivated land, and we are ever ready to let them have what they may
call for. No one knew who I was, and the landlord looking at me with
an eye of close scrutiny, answered that breakfast would be on the table
as soon as the company should come down from their rooms. I approached
this important personage, told him of my avocations, and convinced him
that he might feel safe as to remuneration. From this moment, I was,
with him at least, on equal footing with every other person in his
house. He talked a good deal of the many artists who had visited the
Falls that season, from different parts, and offered to assist me, by
giving such accommodations as I might require to finish the drawings I
had in contemplation. He left me, and as I looked about the room, I saw
several views of the Falls, by which I was so disgusted, that I suddenly
came to my better senses. "What!" thought I, "have I come here to mimic
nature in her grandest enterprise, and add _my_ caricature of one of
the wonders of the world to those which I here see? No.—I give up the
vain attempt. I shall look on these mighty cataracts and imprint them,
where alone they can be represented,—on my mind!"

Had I taken a view, I might as well have given you what might be termed
a regular account of the form, the height, the tremendous roar of
these Falls; might have spoken of people perilling their lives by going
between the rock and the sheet of water, calculated the density of the
atmosphere in that strange position, related wondrous tales of Indians
and their canoes having been precipitated the whole depth;—might have
told of the narrow, rapid, and rockbound river that leads the waters of
the Erie into those of Ontario, remarking _en passant_ the Devil's Hole
and sundry other places or objects;—but supposing you had been there, my
description would prove useless, and quite as puny as my intended view
would have been for my family; and should you not have seen them, and are
fond of contemplating the more magnificent of the Creator's works, go to
Niagara, reader, for all the pictures you may see, all the descriptions
you may read, of these mighty Falls, can only produce in your mind the
faint glimmer of a glow-worm compared with the overpowering glory of
the meridian sun.

I breakfasted amid a crowd of strangers, who gazed and laughed at me,
paid my bill, rambled about and admired the Falls for a while, saw
several young gentlemen _sketching on cards_ the mighty mass of foaming
waters, and walked to Buffalo, where I purchased new apparel and sheared
my beard. I then enjoyed civilized life as much as, a month before, I
had enjoyed the wildest solitudes and the darkest recesses of mountain
and forest.



THE WINTER HAWK.

_FALCO HYEMALIS_, GMEL.

PLATE LXXI.


Every species of bird is possessed of a certain, not always definable,
cast of countenance, peculiar to itself. Although it undergoes changes
necessary for marking the passions of the individual, its joy, its
anger, its terror or despondency, still it remains the same _specific
look_. Hawks are perhaps more characteristically marked in this manner
than birds of any other genus, being by nature intended for deeds of
daring enterprise, and requiring a greater perfection of sight to enable
them to distinguish their prey at great distances. To most persons the
_family-look_ of particular species does not appear so striking as to the
student of Nature, who examines her productions in the haunts which she
has allotted to them. He perceives at a glance the differences of species,
and when he has once bent his attention to an object, can distinguish
it at distances which to the ordinary observer present merely a moving
object, whether beast or bird. When years of constant observation have
elapsed, it becomes a pleasure to him to establish the differences that he
has found to exist among the various species of a tribe, and to display
to others whose opportunities have been more limited the fruits of his
research.

I hope, kind reader, you will not lay presumption to my charge, when I
tell you that I think myself somewhat qualified to decide in a matter of
this kind, or say that I go too far, when I assert that the Hawk which
sails before me, at a distance so great that a careless observer might be
apt to fancy it something else, I can distinguish and name with as much
ease as I should recognise an old friend by his walk or his _tournure_.
Independently of the cast of countenance so conspicuously distinctive of
different species of birds, there are characters of separation in their
peculiar notes or cries; and if you add to these the distinctions that
exist in their habits, it will be easy for you, when you have looked
at the Plate of the _Winter Falcon_ and that of the _Red-shouldered
Hawk_, and have been told that their notes and manners differ greatly,
to perceive that these birds, although confounded by some, are truly
distinct.

The Winter Hawk is not a constant resident in the United States, but
merely visits them, making its first appearance there at the approach
of winter. It extends over the whole Union, from the eastern to the
southernmost parts, but gives a decided preference to the Middle
Districts, where the greater number spend the winter. They come from
the northern portions of the continent, where they breed, and from
whence they seem to be forced by the severity of the weather, to seek
subsistence for a time in milder climates. They return at the approach
of spring, and none, in as far as I have been able to discover, remain
to breed in the United States.

The flight of the Winter Hawk is smooth and light, although greatly
protracted, when necessity requires it to be so. It sails at times at a
considerable elevation, and, notwithstanding the comparative shortness
of its wings, performs this kind of motion with grace, and in circles
of more than moderate diameter. It is a remarkably silent bird, often
spending the greater part of a day without uttering its notes more than
once or twice, which it does just before it alights to watch with great
patience and perseverance for the appearance of its prey. Its haunts are
the extensive meadows and marshes which occur along our rivers. There it
pounces with a rapid motion on the frogs, which it either devours on the
spot, or carries to the perch, or the top of the hay-stack, on which it
previously stood. If it seizes a small frog, it swallows it whole and at
once; but if a large one, it first tears it to pieces. The appetite of
the Winter Hawk may be said to be ravenous. It seldom gives up eating,
when food is plentiful, until it has gorged itself so as to seem on the
point of being suffocated. At such times, it flies heavily, but removes
farther at once from a person who pursues it, than when its stomach is
empty, as if at one effort to ensure its safety, and afterwards enjoy
the digestion of its food in quiet.

When frogs are scarce during frosty weather, the Winter Hawk pursues the
meadow mouse, but only in such cases, frogs being the favourite food
of this species. I have seen it when disappointed in seizing a large
bull-frog, which had saved itself by leaping into the water, stand on the
spot previously occupied by the reptile, and wait until it reappeared
and approached the shore, when the Hawk would strike at it with his
talons, although seldom successfully, as the frog would sink backward,
and thus escape.

Mr ALEXANDER WILSON has given a figure so unlike any bird of this species,
for one of the Winter Falcons, that although he has at the same time
briefly described the habits of the latter with accuracy, I cannot think
that the bird figured by him was of that species. My excellent friend
CHARLES LUCIAN BONAPARTE, has probably been led by Mr WILSON's error to
consider the Winter Hawk and the Red-shouldered Hawk as identical. I have
killed many individuals of both species, and knowing as I do that the
Red-shouldered Hawk is a constant resident in the Southern States, where
I have often destroyed its nest and young, and where very few Winter
Hawks are ever seen, even during winter, I cannot hesitate a moment to
pronounce them different and distinct species.

The Winter Hawk generally rests at night on the ground, amongst the
tall sedges of the marshes. From such places I have on several occasions
started it, whilst in search of Ducks, and have shot it as it flew low
over the ground, attempting to escape unobserved. I have never seen this
Hawk in pursuit of any other birds than those of its own species, each
individual chasing the others from the district which it has selected
for itself.

The cry of the Winter Hawk is clear and prolonged, and resembles the
syllables _kay-o_. After uttering these notes, it generally alights.
Towards spring they associate in small parties of four or five, to
perform their migrations. In this respect the species resembles most of
the Marsh Hawks or Hen-harriers.


     FALCO HYEMALIS, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 274.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 34.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 33.

     WINTER FALCON, FALCO HYEMALIS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iv.
     p. 73. Pl. 35.


Adult Male. Plate LXXI.

Bill short, as broad as deep at the base, the sides convex, the dorsal
outline convex from the base; upper mandible cerate, the edges blunt,
slightly inflected, with an obtuse lobe towards the curvature, the tip
trigonal, deflected, very acute; lower mandible involute at the edges,
a little truncate at the end. Nostrils round, lateral, with a soft
papilla in the centre. Head rather large, neck and body rather slender.
Tarsus rather slender, anteriorly scutellate; 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,
slender, very acute.

Plumage compact, imbricated; feathers of the head and neck narrow towards
the tips, of the back broad and rounded; tibial feathers elongated
behind. Wings long, third and fourth primaries longest, the first short.

Bill light blue, darker at the tip; cere, basal margin of the bill,
edges of the eyelids, and the feet, yellow, tinged with green.
Iris yellow. Claws black. Head, neck and back, pale brownish-red,
longitudinally spotted with dark-brown, the sides and fore-part of the
head greyish-white. Upper tail-coverts bluish-grey at the margins. Tail
dull brown, banded with brownish-white, and tipped with white. Lesser
wing-coverts brownish-red, spotted with dark brown; larger coverts
and secondary quills umber, banded with brownish-white; primary quills
light yellowish-red at the base, dull brown towards the end, barred with
dark brown. Lower part of the neck, the sides and under wing-coverts,
light brownish-red, the former longitudinally lined with brown. Breast
greyish-white, sparsely marked with guttiform spots, abdomen white.
Tibial feathers yellowish-white, marked with small roundish spots.

Length 22 inches; bill along the back 1½; tarsus 3.

Compared with the adult male of the Red-shouldered Hawk, the present bird
is much larger, and differs greatly in colouring; but the differences
will be best understood by referring to the figures.


THE BULL-FROG, RANA TAURINA, _Cuv._

The body olive-green, clouded with black; a yellow line along the back.
Length ten or twelve inches. This Frog is found in all parts of the
United States, but is more abundant in the Southern Districts. Its voice
is louder than that of any other species, and may be distinctly heard
at the distance of forty or fifty yards. It is particularly fond of
such small pure streams of water as are thickly shaded by overhanging
bushes. It sits for hours during the middle of the day, basking in the
sun, near the margin of the water, to which it betakes itself by a great
leap at the least appearance of danger, diving at once to the bottom, or
swimming to the opposite side. In the Southern States, it is heard at
all seasons, but principally during the spring and summer months. Its
flesh is tender, white, and affords excellent eating. The hind legs,
however, are the only parts used as food. They make excellent bait for
the larger cat-fish. Some bull-frogs weigh as much as half a pound. I
have generally used the gun for procuring them, shooting with very small
shot.



THE SWALLOW-TAILED HAWK.

_FALCO FURCATUS_, LINN.

PLATE LXXII. MALE.


The flight of this elegant species of Hawk is singularly beautiful and
protracted. It moves through the air with such ease and grace, that
it is impossible for any individual, who takes the least pleasure in
observing the manners of birds, not to be delighted by the sight of
it whilst on wing. Gliding along in easy flappings, it rises in wide
circles to an immense height, inclining in various ways its deeply forked
tail, to assist the direction of its course, dives with the rapidity
of lightning, and, suddenly checking itself, reascends, soars away, and
is soon out of sight. At other times a flock of these birds, amounting
to fifteen or twenty individuals, is seen hovering around the trees.
They dive in rapid succession amongst the branches, glancing along the
trunks, and seizing in their course the insects and small lizards of
which they are in quest. Their motions are astonishingly rapid, and the
deep curves which they describe, their sudden doublings and crossings,
and the extreme ease with which they seem to cleave the air, excite the
admiration of him who views them while thus employed in searching for
food.

A solitary individual of this species has once or twice been seen in
Pennsylvania. Farther to the eastward, the Swallow-tailed Hawk has never,
I believe, been observed. Travelling southward, along the Atlantic coast,
we find it in Virginia, although in very small numbers. Beyond that State
it becomes more abundant. Near the Falls of the Ohio, a pair had a nest
and reared four young ones, in 1820. In the lower parts of Kentucky it
begins to become numerous; but in the States farther to the south, and
particularly in parts near the sea it is abundant. In the large prairies
of the Attacapas and Oppellousas, it is extremely common.

In the States of Louisiana and Mississippi, where these birds are
abundant, they arrive in large companies, in the beginning of April, and
are heard uttering a sharp plaintive note. At this period I generally
remarked that they came from the westward, and have counted upwards of
a hundred in the space of an hour, passing over me in a direct easterly
course. At that season, and in the beginning of September, when they all
retire from the United States, they are easily approached when they have
alighted, being then apparently fatigued, and busily engaged in preparing
themselves for continuing their journey, by dressing and oiling their
feathers. At all other times, however, it is extremely difficult to get
near them, as they are generally on wing through the day, and at night
rest on the highest pines and cypresses, bordering the river-bluffs,
the lakes or the swamps of that district of country.

They always feed on the wing. In calm and warm weather, they soar to an
immense height, pursuing the large insects called _Musquito Hawks_, and
performing the most singular evolutions that can be conceived, using
their tail with an elegance of motion peculiar to themselves. Their
principal food, however, is large grasshoppers, grass-caterpillars, small
snakes, lizards, and frogs. They sweep close over the fields, sometimes
seeming to alight for a moment to secure a snake, and holding it fast
by the neck, carry it off, and devour it in the air. When searching for
grasshoppers and caterpillars, it is not difficult to approach them
under cover of a fence or tree. When one is then killed and falls to
the ground, the whole flock comes over the dead bird, as if intent upon
carrying it off. An excellent opportunity is thus afforded of shooting
as many as may be wanted, and I have killed several of these Hawks in
this manner, firing as fast as I could load my gun.

The Forked-tailed Hawks are also very fond of frequenting the creeks,
which, in that country, are much encumbered with drifted logs and
accumulations of sand, in order to pick up some of the numerous
water-snakes which lie basking in the sun. At other times, they dash
along the trunks of trees, and snap off the pupæ of the locust, or that
insect itself. Although when on wing they move with a grace and ease
which it is impossible to describe, yet on the ground they are scarcely
able to walk.

I kept for several days one which had been slightly wounded in the wing.
It refused to eat, kept the feathers of the head and rump constantly
erect, and vomited several times part of the contents of its stomach. It
never threw itself on its back, nor attempted to strike with its talons,
unless when taken up by the tip of the wing. It died from inanition,
as it constantly refused the food placed before it in profusion, and
instantly vomited what had been thrust down its throat.

The Swallow-tailed Hawk pairs immediately after its arrival in the
Southern States, and as its courtships take place on the wing, its motions
are then more beautiful than ever. The nest is usually placed on the
top branches of the tallest oak or pine tree, situated on the margin
of a stream or pond. It resembles that of the Common Crow externally,
being formed of dry sticks, intermixed with Spanish moss, and is lined
with coarse grasses and a few feathers. The eggs are from four to six,
of a greenish-white colour, with a few irregular blotches of dark brown
at the larger end. The male and the female sit alternately, the one
feeding the other. The young are at first covered with buff-coloured
down. Their next covering exhibits the pure white and black of the old
birds, but without any of the glossy purplish tints of the latter. The
tail, which at first is but slightly forked, becomes more so in a few
weeks, and at the approach of autumn exhibits little difference from
that of the adult birds. The plumage is completed the first spring. Only
one brood is raised in the season. The species leaves the United States
in the beginning of September, moving off in flocks, which are formed
immediately after the breeding-season is over.

Hardly any difference as to external appearance exists between the sexes.
They never attack birds or quadrupeds of any species, with the view of
preying upon them. I never saw one alight on the ground. They secure
their prey as they pass closely over it, and in so doing sometimes seem
to alight, particularly when securing a snake. The common name of the
Snake represented in the plate is the Garter Snake.


     FALCO FURCATUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 129.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 22.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 31.

     SWALLOW-TAILED FALCON, _Lath._ Synops. vol. i. p. 60.

     SWALLOW-TAILED HAWK, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. vi. p. 70.
     Pl. 51. fig. 2.


Adult Male. Plate LXXII.

Bill short, strong, curved, compressed towards the tip, opening to
beneath the eye; upper mandible cerate, its dorsal outline curved from
the base, the edges acute and overlapping, the tip trigonal, very acute;
lower mandible rounded on the back, the edges acute, the tip rounded and
declinate. Head large, neck short, body robust. Feet rather short; tarsus
very short, scaly all round; toes scaly, scutellate above, excepting at
the base; claws curved, very acute.

Plumage rather compact, blended, glossy. Wings very long and acute, the
third quill longest, the first equal to the fifth, the primaries widely
graduated, the secondaries comparatively very short. Tail very deeply
forked, of twelve feathers, the lateral ones extremely elongated.

Bill bluish-black above, light blue on the cere, and the edges of both
mandibles. Edges of the eyelids light blue; iris black. Feet light blue,
tinged with green; claws flesh-coloured. The head, the neck all round,
and the under parts, are white, tinged with bluish-grey; the shafts of
the head, neck, and breast blackish. The rest of the plumage is black,
with blue and purple reflections.

Length 25 inches, extent of wings 51½; beak along the back 1¼.

The female is similar to the male.


THE GARTER SNAKE.

This is one of our most abundant species, and is found everywhere in the
meadows, the fields, the gardens, and the forests. It moves with ease,
and now and then ascends low bushes. It is quite harmless.



THE WOOD THRUSH.

_TURDUS MUSTELINUS_, GMEL.

PLATE LXXIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


Kind reader, you now see before you my greatest favourite of the feathered
tribes of our woods. To it I owe much. How often has it revived my
drooping spirits, when I have listened to its wild notes in the forest,
after passing a restless night in my slender shed, so feebly secured
against the violence of the storm, as to shew me the futility of my
best efforts to rekindle my little fire, whose uncertain and vacillating
light had gradually died away under the destructive weight of the dense
torrents of rain that seemed to involve the heavens and the earth in
one mass of fearful murkiness, save when the red streaks of the flashing
thunderbolt burst on the dazzled eye, and, glancing along the huge trunk
of the stateliest and noblest tree in my immediate neighbourhood, were
instantly followed by an uproar of crackling, crashing, and deafening
sounds, rolling their volumes in tumultuous eddies far and near, as if
to silence the very breathings of the unformed thought! How often, after
such a night, when far from my dear home, and deprived of the presence
of those nearest to my heart, wearied, hungry, drenched, and so lonely
and desolate as almost to question myself why I was thus situated, when
I have seen the fruits of my labours on the eve of being destroyed, as
the water, collected into a stream, rushed through my little camp, and
forced me to stand erect, shivering in a cold fit like that of a severe
ague, when I have been obliged to wait with the patience of a martyr for
the return of day, trying in vain to destroy the tormenting moschettoes,
silently counting over the years of my youth, doubting perhaps if ever
again I should return to my home, and embrace my family!—how often, as
the first glimpses of morning gleamed doubtfully amongst the dusky masses
of the forest-trees, has there come upon my ear, thrilling along the
sensitive cords which connect that organ with the heart, the delightful
music of this harbinger of day!—and how fervently, on such occasions, have
I blessed the Being who formed the Wood Thrush, and placed it in those
solitary forests, as if to console me amidst my privations, to cheer my
depressed mind, and to make me feel, as I did, that never ought man to
despair, whatever may be his situation, as he can never be certain that
aid and deliverance are not at hand.

The Wood Thrush seldom commits a mistake after such a storm as I have
attempted to describe; for no sooner are its sweet notes heard than the
heavens gradually clear, the bright refracted light rises in gladdening
rays from beneath the distant horizon, the effulgent beams increase in
their intensity, and the great orb of day at length bursts on the sight.
The grey vapour that floats along the ground is quickly dissipated, the
world smiles at the happy change, and the woods are soon heard to echo
the joyous thanks of their many songsters. At that moment, all fears
vanish, giving place to an inspiriting hope. The hunter prepares to
leave his camp. He listens to the Wood Thrush, while he thinks of the
course which he ought to pursue, and as the bird approaches to peep at
him, and learn somewhat of his intentions, he raises his mind towards
the Supreme Disposer of events. Seldom, indeed, have I heard the song of
this Thrush, without feeling all that tranquillity of mind, to which the
secluded situation in which it delights is so favourable. The thickest and
darkest woods always appear to please it best. The borders of murmuring
streamlets, overshadowed by the dense foliage of the lofty trees growing
on the gentle declivities, amidst which the sunbeams seldom penetrate,
are its favourite resorts. There it is, kind reader, that the musical
powers of this hermit of the woods must be heard, to be fully appreciated
and enjoyed.

The song of the Wood Thrush, although composed of but few notes, is so
powerful, distinct, clear, and mellow, that it is impossible for any
person to hear it without being struck by the effect which it produces
on the mind. I do not know to what instrumental sounds I can compare
these notes, for I really know none so melodious and harmonical. They
gradually rise in strength, and then fall in gentle cadences, becoming
at length as to be scarcely audible; like the emotions of the lover,
who at one moment exults in the hope of possessing the object of his
affections, and the next pauses in suspense, doubtful of the result of
all his efforts to please.

Several of these birds seem to challenge each other from different
portions of the forest, particularly towards evening, and at that time
nearly all the other songsters being about to retire to rest, the notes of
the Wood Thrush are doubly pleasing. One would think that each individual
is anxious to excel his distant rival, and I have frequently thought that
on such occasions their music is more than ordinarily effective, as it
then exhibits a degree of skilful modulation quite beyond my power to
describe. These concerts are continued for some time after sunset, and
take place in the month of June, when the females are sitting.

This species glides swiftly through the woods, whilst on wing, and
performs its migrations without appearing in the open country. It is
a constant resident in the State of Louisiana, to which the dispersed
individuals resort, as to winter quarters, from the different parts of the
United States, to which they had gone to breed. They reach Pennsylvania
about the beginning or middle of April, and gradually proceed farther
north.

Their food consists of different kinds of berries and small fruits, which
they procure in the woods, without ever interfering with the farmer.
They also occasionally feed on insects and various lichens.

The nest is usually placed in a low horizontal branch of the Dogwood
Tree, occasionally on smaller shrubs. It is large, well saddled on the
branch, and composed externally of dry leaves of various kinds, with a
second bed of grasses and mud, and an internal layer of fine fibrous
roots. The eggs are four or five, of a beautiful uniform light blue.
The nest is generally found in deep swampy hollows, on the sides of hills.

On alighting on a branch, this Thrush gives its tail a few jets, uttering
at each motion a low chuckling note peculiar to itself, and very different
from those of the Hermit or Tawny Thrush. It then stands still for a
while, with the feathers of the hind part a little raised. It walks and
hops along the branches with much ease, and often bends down its head
to peep at the objects around. It frequently alights on the ground,
and scratches up the dried leaves in search of worms and beetles, but
suddenly flies back to the trees, on the least alarm.

The sight of a fox or raccoon causes them much anxiety, and they generally
follow these animals at a respectful distance, uttering a mournful
_cluck_, well known to hunters. Although, during winter, these birds are
numerous in Louisiana, they never form themselves into flocks, but go
singly at this period, and only in pairs in the breeding season. They
are easily reared from the nest, and sing nearly as well in confinement
as while free. Their song is occasionally heard during the whole winter,
particularly when the sun reappears after a shower. Their flesh is
extremely delicate and juicy, and many of them are killed with the
blow-gun.

Having given you a description of the Dogwood before, when I presented
that tree in bloom, I have only to say here, that you now see it in its
autumnal colouring, adorned with its berries, of which the Wood Thrush
is fond.


     TURDUS MUSTELINUS, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 817.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 331.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 75.

     TAWNY THRUSH, _Lath._ Syn. vol. iii. p. 28.

     WOOD THRUSH, TURDUS MELODIUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. i.
     p. 35. Pl. 2. fig. 1.


Adult Male. Plate LXXIII. Fig. 1.

Bill of ordinary length, 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 slightly convex in its dorsal line,
the tip rather obtuse. Head of ordinary size; neck and body rather
slender. Feet rather long; tarsus longish, compressed, slender, anteriorly
covered with a few elongated scutella, posteriorly edged, longer than
the middle toe; toes scutellate above, lateral ones almost equal, the
outer connected as far as the second joint.

Plumage rather loose. A few longish bristles at the base of the upper
mandible. Wings of ordinary length, the third quill longest, the first
very short. Tail rather short, even, of twelve broad feathers.

Bill dark brown above, flesh-colour beneath. Iris dark brown. Feet
pale flesh-colour. The general colour of the upper parts is light
yellowish-brown, the tail and wings a little darker, the lower part of
the back and the upper tail-coverts green. Eyes margined with a whitish
circle. Under parts yellowish-white, spotted with blackish-brown,
excepting the throat, the under tail-coverts, and the middle part of
the breast and abdomen.

Length 8 inches, extent of wings 13; bill along the ridge 7/12, along
the gap 1; tarsus 1⅓, middle toe 11/12.


Adult Female. Plate LXXIII. Fig. 2.

The female scarcely differs from the male in external appearance.


THE DOG-WOOD.

     CORNUS FLORIDA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 661. _Mich._ Arbr.
     Forest. de l'Amer. Sept. t. iii. p. 138. Pl. iii. _Pursh_, Fl.
     Amer. p. 108.—TETRANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ CAPRIFOLIA, _Juss._

This plant has already been described at p. 45, a twig of it in flower
having been represented in Plate VIII.



THE INDIGO BIRD.

_FRINGILLA CYANEA_, WILS.

PLATE LXXIV. MALE, FEMALE, AND YOUNG.


The species here presented for inspection is best known to the Creoles
of Louisiana by the name of _Petit Papebleu_. This is in accordance with
the general practice of the first settlers of that State, who named all
the Finches, Buntings, and Orioles, _Papes_; and all the Warblers and
Fly-catchers, _Grassets_. They made an exception, however, in favour
of the Rice Bird, which they honoured with the name of _Ortolan_, an
appellation given in the Island of St Domingo to the Ground Dove, which,
however, is seldom seen near New Orleans.

The Indigo Bird arrives in the Southern States from the direction of
Mexico, along with its relative the Painted Finch, and is caught in
trap-cages, but with more difficulty than the latter bird. It spreads
far and wide over the United States, extending from the borders of our
Atlantic shores to those of our great lakes. It is not a forest bird,
but prefers the skirts of the woods, the little detached thickets in
and along the fields, the meadows, the gardens, and orchards, and is
frequently seen hopping along, or perched on a fence, from which it does
not disdain to send forth its pretty little song. The highest top of a
detached tree is, however, preferred for this purpose, and the Indigo Bird
is to be observed perched on this pinnacle, singing at short intervals
for half an hour at a time. Its song is at first loud and clear, falling
in cadences to a very low key. The whole consists of eight or ten notes.
The bird now and then launches into the air, to cross a field, and
sings until it has espied a favourite spot amongst the clover, when it
immediately becomes silent and dives to the ground. The whole of this
parade is performed by the male, which is alone to be seen, the female
at this season keeping amongst the grass or the briars along the fields,
where her humble plumage hides her in a great measure from observation.
Some persons have thought that this practice was changed towards the
latter part of summer, when, by a casual observer, only the females are
to be seen. The true reason of this, however, is, that the young birds
of both sexes resemble the mother during the first season.

The Indigo Bird is an active and lively little fellow, possesses much
elegance in his shape, and also a certain degree of firmness in his make,
which renders him equally a favourite with the Painted Finch, although
he does not possess the variegated plumage of the latter. When the male
of the species now before you is in full plumage, the richness of his
apparel cannot fail to attract and please the eye of any observer. It is
highly glossy, and changes from the brightest azure to green, when placed
in a strong light. It requires three years to attain this perfect state.
The female continues in the same very humble vesture which nature first
accorded to her. The males, in the first spring, and not unfrequently
during the first autumn, are mottled with dull light blue, interspersed
among the original deep buff of their earlier stage. The blue increases
in extent, and acquires a deeper tint, as the age of the bird advances.
I have often seen males two years old which were still much inferior
in the beauty of their plumage to those which had passed through three
springs. Should the birds be caught when in full plumage, they gradually
lose their brilliant tints, which at length become extremely dull. A
similar alteration is observed to take place in Painted Finches which
have been kept in cages for a certain period, as well as in the Baltimore
and Orchard Orioles, and in the Bulfinch, Chaffinch, and other European
birds.

The nest of the Indigo Bird is usually fixed amongst the rankest stalks
of weeds or grass, now and then amongst the stems of a briar, or even in
a small hollow in a decayed tree. In all cases its composition is the
same; but when amongst grass, clover, or briars, it is attached to two
or three of the stalks by its sides. It is formed of coarse grasses,
hemp stalks, and flax, and is lined with slender grasses. The female
lays from four to six eggs, which are blue, with a spot or two of purple
at the larger end.

Towards fall, the young congregate into loose flocks or parties of eight
or ten individuals, and proceed southward. I think their migration,
at both periods of the year, is performed during night. Two broods
are generally raised in a season. The food of the Indigo Bird consists
of small seeds of various kinds, as well as insects, some of which it
occasionally pursues on wing with great vigour. They are fond of basking
and rolling themselves in the roads, from which they gather small
particles of sand or gravel. I have frequently seen live birds of this
species offered for sale in Europe.

I have represented an adult female, two young males of the first and
second year, in autumn, and a male in the full beauty of its plumage.
They are placed on a plant usually called the _Wild Sarsaparilla_. It
grows in Louisiana, on the skirts of the forests, in low damp places,
and along the fields, where the Indigo Birds are to be found. It is a
creeping plant, and is considered valuable on account of its medicinal
properties.


     FRINGILLA CYANEA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 107.

     INDIGO BIRD, FRINGILLA CYANEA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. i.
     p. 100. Pl. 4. fig. 5. Male.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Amer. Ornith.
     vol. ii. Pl. 2. fig. 3. Female.


Male in full plumage. Plate LXXIV. Fig. 1.

Bill short, robust, conical, a little bulging, straight, acute; upper
mandible broader, slightly declinate at the tip; gap-line a little
declinate at the base. Nostrils basal, roundish, partially concealed
by the frontal feathers. Head rather large. Neck of ordinary size. Body
ovate. Feet of ordinary length, rather slender; tarsus covered anteriorly
with a few scutella, the uppermost long, posteriorly edged; toes free,
scutellate above; claws slender, compressed, arched, acute.

Plumage glossy, somewhat silky, blended. Wings of ordinary length, the
second and third quills longest. Tail of ordinary length, distinctly
emarginate, of twelve obtuse feathers.

Bill brownish-black, light blue beneath. Iris dark brown. Feet
yellowish-brown. The general colour is a rich sky-blue, deeper on the
head, lighter beneath, and in certain lights changing to verdigris-green.
The quills, larger wing-coverts, and tail-feathers, dark brown, margined
externally with blue.

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 7½; bill along the ridge ⅓, along the
gap nearly ½; tarsus ¾.


Male in the second year. Plate LXXIV. Fig. 3.

Bill lighter, irides and feet as in the adult. Head, neck and body,
blue, but of a lighter tint; tail as in the adult; wings, including the
lesser coverts, dull brown, the secondary coverts and some of the quills
margined with blue.


Male in the first autumn. Plate LXXIV. Fig. 2.

Bill, irides and feet as in the last. Head and body of a lighter and
duller blue, interspersed with brown patches; wings brown, secondary
coverts tipped with whitish.


Adult Female. Plate LXXIV. Fig. 4.

Bill light brown, tinged with blue. Iris hazel. Feet yellowish-brown.
The general colour is light yellowish-brown, the under parts and the
sides of the head lighter; the wings deep brown, margined with lighter.
The female is also considerably smaller.


THE WILD SARSAPARILLA.

     SCHISANDRA COCCINEA, _Mich._ Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 218,
     _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. vol i. p. 212.—PENTANDRIA POLYGYNIA,
     _Linn._

A climbing shrubby plant, distinguished by its carmine-coloured flowers,
consisting of nine sepals; its numerous, one-seeded berries, and
elliptico-lanceolate leaves, acute at both ends, and supported upon a
long petiole.



LE PETIT CAPORAL.

_FALCO TEMERARIUS._

PLATE LXXV.


This beautiful little Hawk appears to be nearly allied to the European
Hobby (_Falco Subbuteo_, LINN.), and is not inferior to that species in
spirit and activity. I procured the individual represented, in April
1812, near Fatland Ford in Pennsylvania, whilst in pursuit of a Dove,
which it would doubtless have secured, had I not terminated its career.
When I first discovered this species, the individual was standing perched
on an old fence-stake, in the position in which it is figured. Never
having met with another of the kind, I conclude that it is extremely
rare in the United States. Of its nest or young I am unable to say any
thing at present.

The name which I have given to this new and rare species was chosen at
the time when NAPOLEON LE GRAND was in the zenith of his glory. Every
body knows that his soldiers frequently designated him by the nickname
of _Le Petit Caporal_, which I thought more suitable to our _little_
Hawk, than the names NAPOLEON or BONAPARTE, which I should have adopted,
had I been so fortunate as to procure a new Eagle.


     FALCO TEMERARIUS.


Plate LXXV.

Bill short, as broad as deep at the base, compressed towards the end,
the dorsal outline convex from the base; upper mandible cerate, with
the edges acute, slightly inflected, and forming a sharp projecting
process on each side, the tip trigonal, acute, descending; lower mandible
inflected at the edges, with a notch near the end on each side, abrupt
at the tip. Nostrils roundish, with a central tubercle, perforated in
the cere. Head rather large, neck short, body robust. Legs of ordinary
length; tarsus scutellate before and behind; toes scutellate above, scaly
on the sides, scabrous and tuberculate beneath; middle toe much longer
than the outer, which is connected with it at the base by a membrane;
claws long, curved, roundish, very acute.

Plumage ordinary compact. Feathers of the head and neck narrow, of the
back broad and rounded, of the breast oblong. Tibial feathers elongated
externally. Space between the bill and eye covered with bristly feathers.
Orbital spaces, and projecting edge of eyebrow bare. Wings nearly as
long as the tail; the primary quills narrow and tapering, the second
longest; the secondary quills short and rounded. Tail longish, nearly
even.

Bill bluish-black above, yellow beneath. Cere, orbits and eyebrow
greenish-yellow. Iris hazel. Feet pale orange. The general colour of
the upper parts is light bluish-grey, darker on the head and wings, each
feather with a black line along the shaft. Quills brownish-black. Tail
marked with alternate broad bands of light ash-grey and brownish-black,
the last black band much broader, the feathers tipped with white. Chin and
throat yellowish-white; sides of the neck light yellowish-red, streaked
with dark brown; lower part of the fore neck, the whole of the breast,
and the sides, yellowish-white, with large spots of brown. Abdomen and
under tail-coverts brownish-white; tibial feathers light reddish, each
with a central line of blackish-brown.

Length 10⅘ inches; bill along the back ⅔; tarsus 1½, middle toe 1-7/12.



HOSPITALITY IN THE WOODS.


Hospitality is a virtue, the exercise of which, although always agreeable
to the stranger, is not always duly appreciated. The traveller who
has acquired celebrity, is not unfrequently received with a species of
hospitality, which is so much alloyed by the obvious attention of the
host to his own interest, that the favour conferred upon the stranger
must have less weight, when it comes mingled with almost interminable
questions as to his perilous adventures. Another receives hospitality
at the hands of persons, who, possessed of all the comforts of life,
receive the way-worn wanderer with pomposity, lead him from one part of
their spacious mansion to another, and bidding him good night, leave
him to amuse himself in his solitary apartment, because he is thought
unfit to be presented to a party of _friends_. A third stumbles on a
congenial spirit, who receives him with open arms, offers him servants,
horses, perhaps even his purse, to enable him to pursue his journey,
and parts from him with regret. In all these cases, the traveller feels
more or less under obligation, and is accordingly grateful. But, kind
reader, the hospitality received from the inhabitant of the forest,
who can offer only the shelter of his humble roof, and the refreshment
of his homely fare, remains more deeply impressed on the memory of the
bewildered traveller than any other. This kind of hospitality I have
myself frequently experienced in our woods, and now proceed to relate
an instance of it.

I had walked several hundred miles, accompanied by my son, then a
stripling, and, coming upon a clear stream, observed a house on the
opposite shore. We crossed in a canoe, and finding that we had arrived
at a tavern, determined upon spending the night there. As we were both
greatly fatigued, I made an arrangement with our host to be conveyed in
a light Jersey waggon a distance of a hundred miles, the period of our
departure to be determined by the rising of the moon. Fair Cynthia, with
her shorn beams, peeped over the forest about two hours before dawn, and
our conductor, provided with a long twig of hickory, took his station
in the fore-part of the waggon. Off we went at a round trot, dancing
in the cart like pease in a sieve. The road, which was just wide enough
to allow us to pass, was full of deep ruts, and covered here and there
with trunks and stumps, over all which we were hurried. Our conductor
Mr FLINT, the landlord of the tavern, boasting of his perfect knowledge
of the country, undertook to drive us by a short-cut, and we willingly
confided ourselves to his management. So we jogged along, now and then
deviating to double the fallen timber. Day commenced with promise of fine
weather, but several nights of white frost having occurred, a change
was expected. To our sorrow, the change took place long before we got
to the road again. The rain fell in torrents; the thunder bellowed; the
lightning blazed. It was now evening, but the storm had brought perfect
night, black and dismal. Our cart had no cover. Cold and wet, we sat
silent and melancholy, with no better expectation than that of passing
the night under the little shelter the cart could afford us.

To stop was considered worse than to proceed. So we gave the reins to the
horses, with some faint hope that they would drag us out of our forlorn
state. Of a sudden the steeds altered their course, and soon after we
perceived the glimmer of a faint light in the distance, and almost at
the same moment heard the barking of dogs. Our horses stopped by a high
fence, and fell a-neighing, while I hallooed at such a rate, that an
answer was speedily obtained. The next moment, a flaming pine torch
crossed the gloom, and advanced to the spot where we stood. The Negro
boy who bore it, without waiting to question us, enjoined us to follow
the fence, and said that Master had sent him to shew the strangers to
the house. We proceeded, much relieved, and soon reached the gate of a
little yard, in which a small cabin was perceived.

A tall fine-looking young man stood in the open door, and desired
us to get out of the cart and walk in. We did so, when the following
conversation took place. "A bad night this, strangers; how came you to
be along the fence? you certainly must have lost your way, for there
is no public road within twenty miles." "Aye," answered Mr FLINT, "sure
enough we lost our way; but, thank God! we have got to a house, and thank
_you_ for your reception." "Reception!" replied the woodsman, "no very
great thing after all; you are all here safe, and that's enough.—Eliza,"
turning to his wife, "see about some victuals for the strangers, and
you, Jupiter," addressing the Negro lad, "bring some wood and mend the
fire. Eliza, call the boys up, and treat the strangers the best way you
can. Come, gentlemen, pull off your wet clothes, and draw to the fire.
Eliza, bring some socks and a shirt or two."

For my part, kind reader, knowing my countrymen as I do, I was not
much struck at all this; but my son, who had scarcely reached the age
of fourteen, drew near to me, and observed how pleasant it was to have
met with such good people. Mr FLINT bore a hand in getting his horses
put under a shed. The young wife was already stirring with so much
liveliness, that to have doubted for a moment that all she did was not
a pleasure to her would have been impossible. Two Negro lads made their
appearance, looked at us for a moment, and going out, called the dogs.
Soon after the cries of the poultry informed us that good cheer was
at hand. JUPITER brought more wood, the blaze of which illumined the
cottage. Mr FLINT and our host returned, and we already began to feel
the comforts of hospitality. The woodsman remarked that it was a pity
we had not chanced to come that day three weeks; "for," said he, "it was
our wedding-day, and father gave us a good house-warming, and you might
have fared better; but, however, if you can eat bacon and eggs, and a
broiled chicken, you shall have that. I have no whisky in the house, but
father has some capital cider, and I'll go over and bring a keg of it."
I asked how far off his father lived. "Only three miles, Sir, and I'll
be back before Eliza has cooked your supper." Off he went accordingly,
and the next moment the galloping of his horse was heard. The rain fell
in torrents, and now I also became struck with the kindness of our host.

To all appearance the united ages of the pair under whose roof we had
found shelter did not exceed two score. Their means seemed barely
sufficient to render them comfortable, but the generosity of their
young hearts had no limits. The cabin was new. The logs of which it was
formed were all of the tulip-tree, and were nicely pared. Every part
was beautifully clean. Even the coarse slabs of wood that formed the
floor looked as if newly washed and dried. Sundry gowns and petticoats
of substantial homespun hung from the logs that formed one of the sides
of the cabin, while the other was covered with articles of male attire.
A large spinning-wheel, with rolls of wool and cotton, occupied one
corner. In another was a small cupboard, containing the little stock of
new dishes, cups, plates, and tin pans. The table was small also, but
quite new, and as bright as polished walnut could be. The only bed that
I saw was of domestic manufacture, and the counterpane proved how expert
the young wife was at spinning and weaving. A fine rifle ornamented the
chimney-piece. The fire-place was of such dimensions that it looked as
if it had been purposely constructed for holding the numerous progeny
expected to result from the happy union.

The black boy was engaged in grinding some coffee. Bread was prepared
by the fair hands of the bride, and placed on a flat board in front of
the fire. The bacon and eggs already murmured and spluttered in the
frying-pan, and a pair of chickens puffed and swelled on a gridiron
over the embers, in front of the hearth. The cloth was laid, and every
thing arranged, when the clattering of hoofs announced the return of
the husband. In he came, bearing a two-gallon keg of cider. His eyes
sparkled with pleasure as he said, "Only think, ELIZA; father wanted to
rob us of the strangers, and was for coming here to ask them to his own
house, just as if we could not give them enough ourselves; but here's the
drink—Come gentlemen, sit down and help yourselves." We did so, and I,
to enjoy the repast, took a chair of the husband's making in preference
to one of those called _Windsor_, of which there were six in the cabin.
This chair was bottomed with a piece of deer's skin tightly stretched,
and afforded a very comfortable seat.

The wife now resumed her spinning, and the husband filled a jug with
the sparkling cider, and, seated by the blazing fire, was drying his
clothes. The happiness he enjoyed beamed from his eye, as at my request
he proceeded to give us an account of his affairs and prospects, which he
did in the following words:—"I will be twenty-two next Christmas-day,"
said our host; "My father came from Virginia when young, and settled on
the large tract of land where he yet lives, and where with hard working he
has done well. There were nine children of us. Most of them are married
and settled in the neighbourhood. The old man has divided his lands
among some of us, and bought others for the rest. The land where I am
he gave me two years ago, and a finer piece is not easily to be found.
I have cleared a couple of fields, and planted an orchard. Father gave
me a stock of cattle, some hogs, and four horses, with two Negro boys.
I camped here for most of the time when clearing and planting; and when
about to marry the young woman you see at the wheel, father helped me
in raising this hut. My wife, as luck would have it, had a Negro also,
and we have begun the world as well off as most folks, and, the Lord
willing, may—but, gentlemen, you don't eat; do help yourselves—ELIZA,
maybe the strangers would like some milk." The wife stopped her work,
and kindly asked if we preferred sweet or sour milk; for you must know,
reader, that sour milk is by some of our farmers considered a treat.
Both sorts were produced, but, for my part, I chose to stick to the cider.

Supper over, we all neared the fire, and engaged in conversation. At
length our kind host addressed his wife as follows:—"ELIZA, the gentlemen
would like to lie down, I guess. What sort of bed can you fix for them?"
ELIZA looked up with a smile, and said: "Why, WILLY, we will divide
the bedding, and arrange half on the floor, on which we can sleep very
well, and the gentlemen will have the best we can spare them." To this
arrangement I immediately objected, and proposed lying on a blanket by
the fire; but neither WILLY nor ELIZA would listen. So they arranged
a part of their bedding on the floor, on which, after some debate, we
at length settled. The Negroes were sent to their own cabin, the young
couple went to bed, and Mr FLINT lulled us all asleep, with a long story
intended to shew us how passing strange it was that he should have lost
his way.

"Tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep,"—and so forth. But Aurora
soon turned her off. Mr SPEED, our host, rose, went to the door, and
returning assured us that the weather was too bad for us to attempt
proceeding. I really believe he was heartily glad of it; but anxious to
continue our journey, I desired Mr FLINT to see about his horses. ELIZA
by this time was up too, and I observed her whispering to her husband,
when he immediately said aloud; "To be sure, the gentlemen will eat
breakfast before they go, and I will shew them the way to the road."
Excuses were of no avail. Breakfast was prepared and eaten. The weather
brightened a little, and by nine we were under way. WILLY on horseback
headed us. In a few hours, our cart arrived at a road, by following
which we at length got to the main one, and parted from our woodsman
with the greater regret that he would accept nothing from any of us. On
the contrary, telling Mr FLINT with a smile, that he hoped he might some
time again follow the longest track for a short cut, he bade us adieu,
and trotted back to his fair ELIZA and his happy home.



THE VIRGINIAN PARTRIDGE.

_PERDIX VIRGINIANA_, LATH.

PLATE LXXVI. MALE, FEMALE, AND YOUNG.


The common name given to this bird in the Eastern and Middle Districts
of our Union is that of _Quail_, but in the Western and Southern States,
the more appropriate appellation of _Partridge_ is bestowed upon it.
It is abundantly met with in all parts of the United States, but more
especially towards the interior. In the States of Ohio and Kentucky,
where they are very abundant, they are to be seen in the markets, both
dead and alive, in large quantities.

This species performs occasional migrations from the north-west to
the south-east, usually in the beginning of October, and somewhat in
the manner of the Wild Turkey. For a few weeks at this season, the
north-western shores of the Ohio are covered with flocks of Partridges.
They ramble through the woods along the margin of the stream, and
generally fly across towards evening. Like the Turkeys, many of the
weaker Partridges often fall into the water, while thus attempting to
cross, and generally perish; for although they swim surprisingly, they
have not muscular power sufficient to keep up a protracted struggle,
although, when they have fallen within a few yards of the shore, they
easily escape being drowned. I have been told by a friend that a person
residing in Philadelphia had a hearty laugh on hearing that I had
described the Wild Turkey as swimming for some distance, when it had
accidentally fallen into the water. But be assured, kind reader, almost
every species of land-bird is capable of swimming on such occasions, and
you may easily satisfy yourself as to the accuracy of my statement by
throwing a Turkey, a Common Fowl, or any other bird into the water. As
soon as the Partridges have crossed the principal streams in their way,
they disperse in flocks over the country, and return to their ordinary
mode of life.

The flight of these birds is generally performed at a short distance
from the ground. It is rapid, and is continued by numerous quick flaps
of the wings for a certain distance, after which the bird sails until
about to alight, when again it flaps its wings to break its descent.
When chased by dogs, or started by any other enemy, they fly to the
middle branches of trees of ordinary size, where they remain until danger
is over. They walk with ease on the branches. If they perceive that
they are observed, they raise the feathers of their head, emit a low
note, and fly off either to some higher branch of the same tree, or to
another tree at a distance. When these birds rise on wing of their own
accord, the whole flock takes the same course; but when put up (in the
sportsman's phrase), they disperse, after alighting call to each other,
and soon after unite, each running or flying towards the well-known cry
of the patriarch of the covey. During deep and continued snows, they
often remain on the branches of trees for hours at a time.

The usual cry of this species is a clear whistle, composed of three
notes; the first and last nearly equal in length, the latter less loud
than the first, but more so than the intermediate one. When an enemy is
perceived they immediately utter a lisping note, frequently repeated,
and run off with their tail spread, their crest erected, and their wings
drooping, towards the shelter of some thicket or the top of a fallen
tree. At other times, when one of the flock has accidentally strayed to
a distance from its companions, it utters two notes louder than any of
those mentioned above, the first shorter and lower than the second, when
an answer is immediately returned by one of the pack. This species has
moreover a love-call, which is louder and clearer than its other notes,
and can be heard at a distance of several hundred yards. It consists of
three distinct notes, the two last being loudest, and is peculiar to the
male bird. A fancied similarity to the words _Bob White_ renders this
call familiar to the sportsman and farmer; but these notes are always
preceded by another, easily heard at a distance of thirty or forty yards.
The three together resemble the words _Ah Bob White_. The first note is
a kind of aspiration, and the last is very loud and clear. This whistle
is seldom heard after the breeding season, during which an imitation
of the peculiar note of the female will make the male fly towards the
sportsman, who may then easily shoot it.

In the Middle Districts, the love-call of the male is heard about the
middle of April, and in Louisiana much earlier. The male is seen perched
on a fence-stake, or on the low branch of a tree, standing nearly in the
same position for hours together, and calling _Ah Bob White_ at every
interval of a few minutes. Should he hear the note of a female, he sails
directly towards the spot whence it proceeded. Several males may be heard
from different parts of a field challenging each other, and should they
meet on the ground, they fight with great courage and obstinacy, until
the conqueror drives off his antagonist to another field.

The female prepares a nest composed of grasses, arranged in a circular
form, leaving an entrance not unlike that of a common oven. It is placed
at the foot of a tuft of rank grass or some close stalks of corn, and
is partly sunk in the ground. The eggs are from ten to eighteen, rather
sharp at the smaller end, and of a pure white. The male at times assists
in hatching them. This species raises only one brood in the year, unless
the eggs or the young when yet small have been destroyed. When this
happens, the female immediately prepares another nest; and should it
also be ravaged, sometimes even a third. The young run about the moment
after they make their appearance, and follow their parents until spring,
when, having acquired their full beauty, they pair and breed.

The Partridge rests at night on the ground, either amongst the grass
or under a bent log. The individuals which compose the flock form a
ring, and moving backwards, approach each other until their bodies are
nearly in contact. This arrangement enables the whole covey to take wing
when suddenly alarmed, each flying off in a direct course, so as not to
interfere with the rest.

These birds are easily caught in snares, common dead-falls, traps and
pens, like those for the Wild Turkey, but proportionate to the size of
the bird. Many are shot, but the principal havock is effected by means of
nets, especially in the Western and Southern States. The method employed
is as follows:

A number of persons on horseback, provided with a net, set out in search
of Partridges, riding along the fences or briar-thickets, which the birds
are known to frequent. One or two of the party whistle in imitation of
the second call-note above described, and as Partridges are plentiful,
the call is soon answered by a covey, when the sportsmen immediately
proceed to ascertain their position and number, seldom considering it
worth while to set the net when there are only a few birds. They approach
in a careless manner, talking and laughing as if merely passing by. When
the birds are discovered one of the party gallops off in a circuitous
manner, gets in advance of the rest by a hundred yards or more, according
to the situation of the birds, and their disposition to run, while the
rest of the sportsmen move about on their horses, talking to each other,
but at the same time watching every motion of the Partridges. The person
in advance being provided with the net, dismounts, and at once falls to
placing it, so that his companions can easily drive the Partridges into
it. No sooner is the machine ready, than the net-bearer remounts and
rejoins the party. The sportsmen separate to a short distance, and follow
the Partridges, talking and whistling, clapping their hands, or knocking
upon the fence-rails. The birds move with great gentleness, following
each other, and are kept in the right direction by the sportsmen. The
leading bird approaches and enters the mouth of the net, the others
follow in succession, when the net-bearer leaps from his horse, runs up
and secures the entrance, and soon dispatches the birds. In this manner,
fifteen or twenty Partridges are caught at one driving, and sometimes
many hundreds in the course of a day. Most netters give liberty to a
pair out of each flock, that the breed may be continued.

The success of driving depends much on the state of the weather. Drizzly
rain or melting snow are the best, for in such weather Partridges and
Gallinaceous Birds in general will run to a great distance rather than
fly; whereas if the weather be dry and clear, they generally take to
wing the moment they discover an intruder, or squat so that they cannot
be driven without very particular care. Again, when the flocks are found
in the woods, they run off so briskly and so far, that it is difficult
for the net-bearer to place his machine in time.

The net is cylindrical, thirty or forty feet in length, by about two
in diameter, excepting at the mouth or entrance, where it is rather
larger, and at the extremity, where it assumes the form of a bag. It is
kept open by means of small wooden hoops, at a distance of two or three
feet from each other. The mouth is furnished with a semicircular hoop,
sharpened at both ends, which are driven into the ground, thus affording
an easy entrance to the birds. Two pieces of netting called wings, of the
same length as the cylindrical one, are placed one on each side of the
mouth, so as to form an obtuse angle with each other, and are supported
by sticks thrust into the ground, the wings having the appearance of
two low fences leading to a gate. The whole is made of light and strong
materials.

The Virginian Partridge is easily kept in cages or coops, and soon becomes
very fat. Attempts at rearing them from the eggs have generally failed,
probably for want of proper care, and a deficiency of insects, on which
the young feed. The ordinary food of the species consists of seeds of
various kinds, and such berries as grow near the surface of the ground,
along with which they pick up a quantity of sand or gravel. Towards
autumn, when the young have nearly attained their full size, their flesh
becomes fat, juicy and tender, and being moreover white and extremely
agreeable to the palate, is in much request. Twenty years ago, they were
commonly sold at twelve cents the dozen; but now they are more commonly
sold at fifty cents. They suffer greatly in the Middle Districts during
severe winters, and are killed in immense numbers.

This bird has been introduced into various parts of Europe, but is not
much liked there, being of such pugnacious habits as to drive off the
common Grey Partridge, which is considered a better bird for the table.

In the Plate I have represented a group of Partridges attacked by a Hawk.
The different attitudes exhibited by the former cannot fail to give you
a lively idea of the terror and confusion which prevail on such occasions.


     PERDIX VIRGINIANA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 650.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 124.

     TETRAO VIRGINIANUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 277.

     QUAIL or PARTRIDGE, PERDIX VIRGINIANA, _Wils._ Americ. Ornith.
     vol. vi. p. 21. Pl. 47. fig. 2. Male.


Adult Male. Plate LXXVI. Fig. 1, 1, 1, 1.

Bill short, robust, rather obtuse, the base covered by feathers; upper
mandible with the dorsal outline curved, the sides convex, the edges
overlapping, the tip declinate; under mandible nearly straight in its
dorsal outline, arched on the edges, the sides convex. Nostrils concealed
among the feathers. Head and neck of ordinary size. Body short and
bulky. Feet of ordinary length; tarsus anteriorly scutellate, a little
compressed, spurless; toes scutellate above, pectinate on the sides;
claws arched, obtuse.

Plumage compact, glossy. Feathers of the upper part of the head erectile
into a tuft. Wings short, broad, much curved and rounded, the fourth
quill longest. Tail short, rounded, of twelve rounded feathers.

Bill dark brown. Iris hazel. Feet greyish-blue. The forehead, a broad
line over each eye, and the throat and fore-neck, white. Lore, auricular
coverts, and a broad irregular semilunar band on the fore-neck, more or
less black. Upper part of the head, hind and lower part of the neck all
round, reddish-brown. Upper back and wing-coverts bright brownish-red;
the lower part of the back light red tinged with yellow. Primaries dusky,
externally margined with blue; secondaries irregularly barred with light
red. Tail greyish-blue, excepting the middle feathers, which are dull
greyish-yellow, sprinkled with black. Sides of the neck spotted with
white. Under parts white, streaked with brownish-red, transversely and
undulatingly barred with black. Sides and under tail-coverts reddish.

Length 10 inches, extent of wings 15; bill along the back ½, along the
gap 7/12; tarsus ¼, middle toe nearly the same.


Young Male. Plate LXXVI. Fig. 2, 2.

Similar to the adult male in the general distribution of the colours;
but the white of the head and throat bright reddish-yellow, the black
of the fore-neck and sides of the head deep brown, the under parts less
pure and more dusky, and the tail of a duller grey.


Adult Female. Plate LXXVI. Fig. 3, 3, 3.

The female resembles the young male, but is more decidedly coloured,
the bill darker, the head of a more uniform and richer reddish-yellow,
the sides of the neck spotted with yellow and black.

Length 9½ inches, extent of wings 14.


Young Female. Plate LXXVI. Fig. 4, 4. 4.

The young females are somewhat smaller and lighter in their tints than
the young males.


Very Young Birds. Plate LXXVI. Fig. 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5.

Bill brownish-yellow. Iris light hazel. The general colour of the upper
parts light yellowish-brown, patched with grey; sides of the head dusky.



THE BELTED KINGSFISHER.

_ALCEDO ALCYON_, LINN.

PLATE LXXVII. MALE AND FEMALE.


You must not suppose, good-natured reader, that the lives which I try
to write, are short or lengthy according to the natural dimensions of
the objects themselves; for if with the representation of a large bird,
I present you with a long history of its habits, it is merely because
that bird, being perhaps more common, and therefore more conspicuous, I
have had better and more frequent opportunities of studying them. This
happens to be the case with the bird which I proceed to describe.

The Belted Kingsfisher!—Now, kind reader, were I infected with the
desire of giving new names to well-known objects, you may be assured
that, notwithstanding the partly appropriate name given to this bird,
I should call it, as I think it ought to have been called, the _United
States' Kingsfisher_. My reason for this will, I hope, become apparent
to you, when I say that it is the only bird of its genus found upon
the inland streams of the Union. Another reason of equal force might be
adduced, which is, that, although the males of all denominations have,
from time immemorial, obtained the supremacy, in this particular case the
term Belted applies only to the female, the male being destitute of the
belt or band by which she is distinguished. But names already given and
received, whether apt or inapt, I am told, must not be meddled with. To
this law I humbly submit, and so proceed, contenting myself with feeling
assured that many names given to birds might, with much benefit to the
student of nature, become the subjects of reform.

The Belted Kingsfisher is a constant resident in the States of Louisiana,
Mississippi, Arkansas, and all the districts that lie to the south of
North Carolina. Its inland migrations along the windings of our noble
rivers extend far and wide, over the whole of the United States. In all
those portions which I have visited it also breeds, although it returns
to the south from many parts during severe winters.

The flight of this bird is rapid, and is prolonged according to its
necessities, extending at times to considerable distances, in which
case it is performed high in the air. When, for instance, the whole
course of one of our northern rivers becomes frozen, the Kingsfisher,
instead of skimming closely over the surface that no longer allows it to
supply itself with food, passes high above the tallest trees, and takes
advantage of every short cut which the situation of the river affords.
By this means it soon reaches a milder climate. This is also frequently
the case, when it seems tired of the kind of fish that occurs in a lake,
and removes to another in a direct line, passing over the forests, not
unfrequently by a course of twenty or thirty miles towards the interior
of the country. Its motions when on wing consist of a series of flaps,
about five or six in number, followed by a direct glide, without any
apparent undulation. It moves in the same way when flying closely over
the water.

If, in the course of such excursions, the bird passes over a small pool,
it suddenly checks itself in its career, poises itself in the air, like
a Sparrow-hawk or Kestril, and inspects the water beneath, to discover
whether there may be fishes in it suitable to its taste. Should it find
this to be the case, it continues poised for a few seconds, dashes
spirally headlong into the water, seizes a fish, and alights on the
nearest tree or stump, where it swallows its prey in a moment.

The more usual range of the Belted Kingsfisher, however, is confined
to the rivers and creeks that abound throughout the United States; all
of which, according to the seasons, are amply supplied with various
fishes, on the fry of which this bird feeds. It follows their course up
to the very source of the small rivulets; and it is not unusual to hear
the hard, rapid, rattling notes of our Kingsfisher, even amongst the
murmuring cascades of our higher mountains. When the bird is found in
such sequestered situations, well may the angler be assured that trout
is abundant. Mill-ponds are also favourite resorts of the Kingsfisher,
the usual calmness of the water in such places permitting it to discover
its prey with ease. As the freshets are proportionally less felt on the
adjoining shores, the holes dug in the earth or sand by this species, in
which it deposits its eggs, are generally found in places not far from
a mill worked by water.

I have laid open to my view several of these holes, in different
situations and soils, and have generally found them to be formed as
follows. The male and female, after having fixed upon a proper spot, are
seen clinging to the bank of the stream in the manner of Woodpeckers.
Their long and stout bills are set to work, and as soon as the hole has
acquired a certain depth, one of the birds enters it, and scratches out
the sand, earth or clay, with its feet, striking meanwhile with its bill
to extend the depth. The other bird all the while appears to cheer the
labourer, and urge it to continue its exertions; and, when the latter is
fatigued, takes its place. Thus, by the co-operation of both, the hole is
dug to the depth of four, five, or sometimes six feet, in a horizontal
direction, at times not more than eighteen inches below the surface of
the ground, at others eight or ten feet. At the Chicasaw Bluffs, on the
Mississippi, I have seen some of these holes more than fifty feet below
the surface, but generally beyond reach of the highest freshets. The
hole is just large enough to admit the passage of a single bird at a
time. The end is rounded and finished in the form of a common oven, to
allow the pair or the whole brood to turn round in it at ease. Here, on a
few sticks and feathers, the eggs are deposited to the number generally
of six. They are pure white. Incubation continues for sixteen days. In
the Middle States, these birds seldom raise more than one brood in the
year, but in the southern usually two. Incubation is performed by both
parents, which evince great solicitude for the safety of their young.
The mother sometimes drops on the water, as if severely wounded, and
flutters and flounders as if unable to rise from the stream, in order to
induce the intruder to wade or swim after her, whilst her mate, perched
on the nearest bough, or even on the edge of the bank, jerks his tail,
erects his crest, rattles his notes with angry vehemence, and then
springing off, passes and repasses before the enemy, with a continued
cry of despair.

I have not been able to ascertain whether or not the young are fed with
macerated food disgorged by the parents into their bills, but I have
reason to think so, and I have always observed the old ones to swallow
the fishes which they had caught, before they entered the hole. The
young are, however, afterwards fed directly on the entire fish; and I
have frequently seen them follow the parent birds, and alight on the
same branch, flapping their wings, and calling with open bill for the
food just taken out of the water, when the petition was seldom denied.

The Kingsfisher resorts to the same hole, to breed and roost, for many
years in succession. On one occasion, when I attempted two evenings to
seize one of these birds, long after night had closed, I tried in vain
the first time. I fitted a small net bag to the entrance, and returned
home. Next morning the bird had scratched a passage under the net, and
thus escaped. The following evening I saw it enter the hole, and having
procured a stick that filled the entrance for upwards of a foot, I felt
certain of obtaining it; but before I reached the place next day, it
had worked its way out. After this, I abandoned my attempt, although
the bird continued to repose in the same hole.

No superstitious notions exist in the United States respecting this
species. The flesh is extremely fishy, oily, and disagreeable to the
taste. On the contrary, the eggs are fine eating.

I was ready to put my pen aside, kind reader, when, on consulting my
journals, all of which are now at hand, I happened to read, that I have
seen instances of this bird's plunging into the sea after small fry,
at Powles Hook, in the bay opposite to the City of New York. I am not
aware that this is a common occurrence.


     ALCEDO ALCYON, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 180.—_Lath._ Ind.
     Ornith. vol. i. p, 257.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 48.

     BELTED KINGSFISHER, _Lath._ Synops. vol. ii. p. 637.—_Wils._
     Amer. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 59, Pl. 23, fig. 1.


Adult Male. Plate LXXVII. Fig. 1, 2.

Bill long, straight, tetragonal, tapering to an acute point, compressed
towards the end; upper mandible keeled, with the dorsal line straight, the
edges overlapping; lower mandible with the dorsal line slightly convex,
the tip ascending; gap-line extending to beneath the eyes. Nostrils basal,
dorsal, oblong, oblique, half-closed by a bare membrane. Head large,
neck short, body robust. Feet very short; tarsus roundish, anteriorly
scutellate, half the length of the middle toe; outer and middle toes
nearly equal, inner much shorter, hind toe small; claws rather strong,
arched, acute, channelled beneath.

Plumage compact. Feathers of the head long, narrow, rather loose, pointed,
and erectile, in the form of a longitudinal crest, of which the anterior
feathers are longest. Wings longish, the third primary longest. Tail
short, even, of twelve broad rounded feathers.

Bill brownish-black, light greenish-blue at the base. Iris hazel. Feet
greyish-blue; claws black. Head, cheeks, hind neck and upper parts,
generally light blue, the shaft of each feather blackish. A white spot
before the eye, and a slight streak of the same colour on the under
eyelid. Quills brownish-black, the base of the primaries barred with
white, the secondaries blue on the outer web. Two middle tail-feathers
blue, as are the outer edges of the rest, excepting the outermost; all,
excepting the two middle ones, brownish-black, barred with white. A broad
band of white across the neck, broader anteriorly and including the chin
and throat. A band of blue across the fore part of the breast. The rest
of the under parts white, excepting the sides, which are mottled with
blue.

Length 12½ inches, extent of wings 20; bill along the ridge 2, along
the gap 2½; tarsus ½, middle toe 1-1/12.


Adult Female. Plate LXXVII. Fig. 3.

The blue of the female is much duller. The band on the upper part of
the breast is of dull greyish blue and light red intermixed; below this
is a narrow band of white, and across the middle of the breast a broad
band of yellowish-red, of which colour also are the sides. The rest of
the under parts are white, tinged with red.



THE GREAT CAROLINA WREN.

_TROGLODYTES LUDOVICIANUS_, CH. BONAPARTE.

PLATE LXXVIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


Permit me to suggest, kind reader, that I think it always best to see
and judge of individuals in their own country. There independence and
ease are more commonly met with, and the observer is less attended to.
This being admitted, I shall give you the history and life of the Great
Carolina Wren, as studied in the State of Louisiana, where that bird is
a constant resident.

Its flight is performed by short flappings of the wings, the concave
under surfaces of which occasion a low rustling, as the bird moves to
the distance of a few steps only at each start. It is accompanied by
violent jerks of the tail and body, and is by no means graceful. In this
manner the Carolina Wren moves from one fence-rail to another, from log
to log, up and down among the low branches of bushes, piles of wood, and
decayed roots of prostrate trees, or between the stalks of canes. Its
tail is almost constantly erect, and before it starts to make the least
flight or leap, it uses a quick motion, which brings its body almost
into contact with the object on which it stands, and then springs from
its legs. All this is accompanied with a strong _chirr-up_, uttered as
if the bird were in an angry mood, and repeated at short intervals.

The quickness of the motions of this active little bird is fully equal
to that of the mouse. Like the latter it appears and is out of sight
in a moment, peeps into a crevice, passes rapidly through it, and shews
itself at a different place the next instant. When satiated with food,
or fatigued with these multiplied exertions, the little fellow stops,
droops its tail, and sings with great energy a short ditty something
resembling the words _come-to-me, come-to-me_, repeated several times
in quick succession, so loud, and yet so mellow, that it is always
agreeable to listen to them. During spring, these notes are heard from
all parts of the plantations, the damp woods, the swamps, the sides
of creeks and rivers, as well as from the barns, the stables and the
piles of wood, within a few yards of the house. I have frequently heard
these Wrens singing from the roof of an abandoned flat-boat, fastened
to the shore, a small distance below the city of New Orleans. When its
song was finished, the bird went on creeping from one board to another,
thrust itself through an auger-hole, entered through the boat's side
at one place, and peeped out at another, catching numerous spiders and
other insects all the while. It sometimes ascends to the higher branches
of a tree of moderate size, by climbing along a grape-vine, searching
diligently amongst the leaves and in the chinks of the bark, alighting
sidewise against the trunk, and moving like a true Creeper. It possesses
the power of creeping and of hopping in a nearly equal degree. The latter
kind of motion it employs when nearer the ground, and among piles of
drifted timber. So fond is this bird of the immediate neighbourhood of
water, that it would be next to impossible to walk along the shore of
any of the islands of the Mississippi, from the mouth of the Ohio to
New Orleans, without observing several on each island.

Amongst the many species of insects which they destroy, several are of
an aquatic nature, and are procured by them whilst creeping about the
masses of drifted wood. Their _chirr-up_ and _come-to-me come-to-me_
seldom cease for more than fifteen or twenty minutes at a time, commencing
with the first glimpse of day, and continuing sometimes after sunset.

The nest of the Carolina Wren is usually placed in a hole in some low
decayed tree, or in a fence-stake, sometimes even in the stable, barn or
coach-house, should it there find a place suitable for its reception.
I have found some not more than two feet from the ground, in the stump
of a tree that had long before been felled by the axe. The materials
employed in its construction are hay, grasses, leaves, feathers, and
horse-hair, or the dry fibres of the Spanish moss; the feathers, hair
or moss forming the lining, the coarse materials the outer parts. When
the hole is sufficiently large, the nest is not unfrequently five or
six inches in depth, although only just wide enough to admit one of the
birds at a time. The number of eggs is from five to eight. They are of a
broad oval form, greyish-white, sprinkled with reddish-brown. Whilst at
Oakley, the residence of my friend JAMES PERRIE, Esq. near Bayou Sara,
I discovered that one of these birds was in the habit of roosting in a
Wood Thrush's nest that was placed on a low horizontal branch, and had
been filled with leaves that had fallen during the autumn. It was in the
habit of thrusting his body beneath the leaves, and I doubt not found
the place very comfortable.

They usually raise two, sometimes three broods in a season. The young
soon come out from the nest, and in a few days after creep and hop about
with as much nimbleness as the old ones. Their plumage undergoes no
change, merely becoming firmer in the colouring.

Many of these birds are destroyed by Weasels and Minxes. It is,
notwithstanding, one of the most common birds which we have as resident
in Louisiana. They ascend along the shores of the Mississippi as high as
the Missouri River, and along the Ohio nearly to Pittsburgh, although
they do not occur in great numbers in the neighbourhood of that city.
They are common in Georgia, the Carolinas, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.
A few are to be seen along the Atlantic shores as far as Pennsylvania
and New Jersey. In the latter State I have found its nest, near a swamp,
a few miles from Philadelphia. I never observed them farther to the
eastward.

The Dwarf Buck-eye, on a blossomed twig of which you observe a pair
of Great Carolina Wrens, is by nature as well as name a low shrub. It
grows near swampy ground in great abundance. Its flowers, which are
scentless, are much resorted to by the Humming Birds, on their first
arrival, as they appear at a very early season. The wood resembles that
of the Common Horse-chestnut, and its fruit is nearly the same in form
and colour, but much smaller. I know of no valuable property possessed
by this beautiful shrub.


     TROGLODYTES LUDOVICIANUS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 93.

     SYLVIA LUDOVICIANA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 548.

     GREAT CAROLINA WREN, CERTHIA CAROLINIANA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. ii. p. 61, Pl. 12, fig. 5.


Adult Male. Plate LXXVIII. Fig. 1.

Bill nearly as long as the head, subulato-conical, slightly arched,
compressed towards the tip; upper mandible with the sides convex towards
the end, concave at the base, the edges acute and overlapping; under
mandible with the back and sides convex. Nostrils oblong, straight,
basal, with a cartilaginous lid above, open and bare. Head oblong, neck
of ordinary size, body ovate. Legs of ordinary length; tarsus longer
than the middle toe, compressed, anteriorly scutate, posteriorly edged;
toes, scutellate above, inferiorly granulate; second and fourth nearly
equal, the hind toe almost as long as the middle one, third and fourth
united as far as the second joint; claws long, slender, acute, arcuate,
much compressed.

Plumage soft, lax, and tufty. Wings short, very convex, broad and rounded,
the first quill very short, the fourth longest. Tail rather long, curved
downwards, much rounded, of twelve narrowish, rounded feathers.

Bill wood-brown above, bluish beneath. Iris hazel. Legs flesh-colour.
The general colour of the upper part is brownish-red. A yellowish-white
streak over the eye, extending far down the neck, and edged above with
dark brown. Quills, coverts and tail barred with blackish-brown; secondary
and middle coverts tipped with white; shafts of the scapulars white.
Throat greyish-white, under parts reddish-buff, paler behind. Under
tail-coverts white, barred with blackish.

Length 5½ inches, extent of wings 7½; bill along the ridge 5/4, along
the gap 11/12; tarsus ⅚.


Adult Female. Plate LXXVIII. Fig. 2.

The female differs from the male in being lighter above, tinged with
grey beneath, and in wanting the white tips of the wing-coverts.

This species and the Marsh Wren form the transition from Troglodytes to
Certhia, resembling the former in habits and colouring, and the latter
in the form of the bill, as well as partly in habits.


THE DWARF BUCK-EYE.

     ÆSCULUS PAVIA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 286. _Pursh_, Fl.
     Amer. vol. ii. p. 254.—HEPTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ ACERA,
     _Juss._

Leaves quinate, smooth, unequally serrated; racemes lax; generally with
ternate flowers; corollas tetrapetalous, their connivent claws of the
length of the calyx; stamens seven, shorter than the corolla. The flowers
are scarlet.



THE TYRANT FLY-CATCHER.

_MUSCICAPA TYRANNUS_, BRISS.

PLATE LXXIX. MALE AND FEMALE.


The Tyrant Fly-catcher, or, as it is commonly named, the Field Martin,
or King Bird, is one of the most interesting visitors of the United
States, where it is to be found during spring and summer, and where,
were its good qualities appreciated as they deserve to be, it would
remain unmolested. But man being generally disposed to consider in his
subjects a single fault sufficient to obliterate the remembrance of
a thousand good qualities, even when the latter are beneficial to his
interest, and tend to promote his comfort, persecutes the _King Bird_
without mercy, and extends his enmity to its whole progeny. This mortal
hatred is occasioned by a propensity which the Tyrant Fly-catcher now
and then shews to eat a honey-bee, which the narrow-minded farmer looks
upon as exclusively his own property, although he is presently to destroy
thousands of its race, for the selfish purpose of seizing upon the fruits
of their labours, which he does with as little remorse as if nature's
bounties were destined for man alone.

The Field Martin arrives in Louisiana, from the south, about the middle
of March. Many individuals remain until the middle of September, but
the greater number proceed gradually northwards, and are dispersed over
every portion of the United States. For a few days after its arrival, it
seems fatigued and doleful, and remains perfectly silent. But no sooner
has it recovered its naturally lively spirits, than its sharp tremulous
cry is heard over the fields, and along the skirts of all our woods.
It seldom enters the forests, but is fond of orchards, large fields of
clover, the neighbourhood of rivers, and the gardens close to the houses
of the planters. In this last situation, its habits are best observed.

Its flight has now assumed a different manner. The love-season is at
hand. The male and female are seen moving about through the air, with
a continued quivering motion of their wings, at a height of twenty or
thirty yards above the ground, uttering a continual, tremulous, loud
shriek. The male follows in the wake of the female, and both seem panting
for a suitable place in which to form their nest. Meanwhile, they watch
the motions of different insects, deviate a little from the course of
their playful rounds, and with a sweeping dart secure and swallow the
prey in an instant. Probably the next sees them perched on the twig of
a tree, close together, and answering the calls of nature.

The choice of a place being settled by the happy pair, they procure
small dry twigs from the ground, and rising to a horizontal branch,
arrange them as the foundation of their cherished home. Flakes of cotton,
wool or tow, and other substances of a similar nature, are then placed
in thick and regular layers, giving great bulk and consistence to the
fabric, which is finally lined with fibrous roots and horse-hair. The
female then deposits her eggs, which are from four to six in number,
broadly ovate, reddish-white, or blush colour, irregularly spotted
with brown. No sooner has incubation commenced, than the male, full of
ardour, evinces the most daring courage, and gallantly drives off every
intruder. Perched on a twig not far from his beloved mate, in order to
protect and defend her, he seems to direct every thought and action to
these objects. His snow-white breast expands with the warmest feelings;
the feathers of his head are raised and spread, the bright orange spot
laid open to the rays of the sun; he stands firm on his feet, and his
vigilant eye glances over the wide field of vision around him. Should
he spy a Crow, a Vulture, a Martin, or an Eagle, in the neighbourhood
or at a distance, he spreads his wings to the air, and pressing towards
the dangerous foe, approaches him, and commences his attack with fury.
He mounts above the enemy, sounds the charge, and repeatedly plunging
upon the very back of his more powerful antagonist, essays to secure a
hold. In this manner, harassing his less active foe with continued blows
of his bill, he follows him probably for a mile, when, satisfied that
he has done his duty, he gives his wings their usual quivering motion,
and returns exulting and elated to his nest, trilling his notes all the
while.

Few Hawks will venture to approach the farm-yard while the King Bird
is near. Even the cat in a great measure remains at home; and, should
she appear, the little warrior, fearless as the boldest Eagle, plunges
towards her, with such rapid and violent motions, and so perplexes her
with attempts to peck on all sides, that grimalkin, ashamed of herself,
returns discomfited to the house.

The many eggs of the poultry which he saves from the plundering Crow,
the many chickens that are reared under his protection, safe from the
clutches of the prowling Hawks, the vast number of insects which he
devours, and which would otherwise torment the cattle and horses, are
benefits conferred by him, more than sufficient to balance the few
raspberries and figs which he eats, and calculated to insure for him
the favour and protection of man.

The King Bird fears none of his aërial enemies save the Martin; and
although the latter frequently aids him in protecting his nest, and
watching over the farm-yard, it sometimes attacks him with such animosity
as to force him to retreat, the flight of the Martin being so superior to
that of the King Bird in quickness and power, as to enable it to elude
the blows which the superior strength of the latter might render fatal.
I knew an instance in which some Martins, that had been sole proprietors
of a farm-yard for several seasons, shewed so strong an antipathy to
a pair of King Birds, which had chanced to build their nest on a tree
within a few yards of the house, that, no sooner had the female begun
to sit on her eggs, than the Martin attacked the male with unremitting
violence for several days, and, notwithstanding his courage and superior
strength, repeatedly felled him to the ground, until he at length died
of fatigue, when the female was beaten off in a state of despair, and
forced to seek a new protector.

The King Bird is often seen passing on the wing over a field of clover,
diving down to the very blossoms, and reascending in graceful undulations,
snapping his bill, and securing various sorts of insects, now and then
varying his mode of chase in curious zigzag lines, shooting to the
right and left, up and down, as if the object which he is pursuing were
manœuvring for the purpose of eluding him.

About the month of August, this species becomes comparatively mute,
and resorts to the old abandoned fields and meadows. There, perched on
a fence-stake or a tall mullein stalk, he glances his eye in various
directions, watching the passing insects, after which he darts with a
more direct motion than in spring. Having secured one, he returns to
the same or another stalk, beats the insect, and then swallows it. He
frequently flies high over the large rivers and lakes, sailing and dashing
about in pursuit of insects. Again, gliding down towards the water, he
drinks in the manner of various species of Swallow. When the weather
is very warm, he plunges repeatedly into the water, alights after each
plunge on the low branch of a tree close by, shakes off the water and
plumes himself, when, perceiving some individuals of his tribe passing
high over head, he ascends to overtake them, and bidding adieu to the
country, proceeds towards a warmer region.

The King Bird leaves the Middle States earlier than most other species.
While migrating southwards, at the approach of winter, it flies with
a strong and continued motion, flapping its wings six or seven times
pretty rapidly, and sailing for a few yards without any undulations, at
every cessation of the flappings. On the first days of September, I have
several times observed them passing in this manner, in detached parties
of twenty or thirty, perfectly silent, and so resembling the _Turdus
migratorius_ in their mode of flight, as to induce the looker-on to
suppose them of that species, until he recognises them by their inferior
size. Their flight is continued through the night, and by the 1st of
October none are to be found in the Middle States. The young acquire
the full colouring of their plumage before they leave us for the south.

The flesh of this bird is delicate and savoury. Many are shot along the
Mississippi, not because these birds eat bees, but because the French
of Louisiana are fond of bee-eaters. I have seen some of these birds
that had the shafts of the tail-feathers reaching a quarter of an inch
beyond the end of the webs.

I have placed a male and a female Field Martin on a twig of the
Cotton-wood Tree. This plant is very appropriately named, for not only
are the grape-like bunches of seeds filled with a beautiful soft cottony
substance, but the wood can scarcely be sawed on account of the looseness
of its inner fibres. It grows to a great height and size, particularly
along the shores of the Mississippi and Ohio, and in all alluvial
grounds to the west of the Alleghany Mountains. It is principally used
for fire-wood and fence-rails, but is of indifferent quality for either
purpose.


     MUSCICAPA TYRANNUS, _Briss._ vol. ii. p. 391.—_Ch. Bonaparte_,
     Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 66.

     LANIUS TYRANNUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 130.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 81.

     TYRANT SHRIKE, _Lath._ Synops. vol. i. p. 184.

     TYRANT FLY-CATCHER, MUSCICAPA TYRANNUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. ii. p. 66. Pl. 13. fig. 1.


Adult Male. Plate LXXIX. Fig. 1.

Bill of moderate length, rather stout, subtrigonal, depressed at the
base, straight; upper mandible with the dorsal outline nearly straight,
and sloping to near the tip, which is deflected and acute, the edges
sharp and overlapping; lower mandible with the back broad, the sides
slanting, the end slightly declinate. Nostrils basal, lateral, roundish,
partly covered by the bristly feathers. Head rather large, neck stout,
body ovate. Feet rather short; tarsus covered anteriorly with a few
scutella, compressed, acute behind, about the same length as the middle
toe; toes free, scutellate above; claws arched, compressed, acute.

Plumage soft, blended, glossy. Basirostral bristles long, directed
outwards. Feathers of the head narrow, elongated, and erectile, forming
a short longitudinal tuft. Wings rather long, the second and third quills
longest. Tail rather long, even, of twelve broadly acuminate feathers.

Bill black. Iris dark brown. Feet greyish-blue. The general colour of
the upper parts is dark bluish-grey, the head darker. Feathers along
the middle of the crown forming a rich flame-coloured patch, margined
with yellow. Quills brownish-black, as are the coverts, which, together
with the secondary quills, are externally margined and tipped with dull
white. Tail brownish-black, deeper towards the end, each feather largely
tipped with white, of which colour also is part of the outer web of the
lateral feathers. Under parts greyish-white, throat and fore-neck pure
white, the breast tinged with ash-grey.

Length 8¼ inches, extent of wings 14½; bill along the ridge 7/12, along
the gap 1.


Adult Female. Plate LXXIX. Fig. 2.

The female is duller in colouring; the upper parts being lighter and
tinged with brown, the under parts more dusky, the orange spot on the
head smaller and not so bright, and the white tip of the tail less pure
and not so extensive.


THE COTTON-WOOD.

     POPULUS CANDICANS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 806. _Pursh_,
     Fl. Amer. vol. ii. p. 618. _Mich._ Arbr. Forest. de l'Amer.
     Sept. vol. iii. Pl. 13.—DIŒCIA OCTANDRIA, _Linn._ AMENTACEÆ,
     _Juss._

This species of Poplar is distinguished by its broadly cordate, acuminate,
unequally and obtusely serrated, venous leaves; hairy petioles, resinous
buds, and round twigs. The leaves are dark green above, whitish beneath.
The resinous substance with which the buds are covered has an agreeable
smell. The bark is smooth, of a greenish tint.



THE PRAIRIE TITLARK.

_ANTHUS PIPIENS._

PLATE LXXX. MALE.


I shot two of these birds whilst traversing one of the extensive prairies
of our North-western States. Five of them had been running along the
foot-path before me, for some time. I at first looked upon them as of the
Common Brown Titlark species (_Anthus Spinoletta_), but as they rose on
the wing, the difference of their notes struck me, and, shooting at them,
I had the good fortune to kill two, which I discovered, on examination,
to be of a new and distinct species, although in the general appearance
of their plumage they were very nearly allied to the Brown Titlark. The
rest I pursued in vain, and was forced to abandon the chase on account
of the approach of night, and the necessity of preparing for rest after
a long walk.

The flight of the Prairie Titlark is irregular, and performed by jerks,
although greatly protracted, when the bird is pursued or frightened. At
short intervals these birds plunged through the air, came towards the
ground, and flew close over the prairie, as if about to alight, and again
rising, made a large circuit. In this manner they continued all the time
I saw them on wing. Whilst on the ground they ran briskly, vibrating
their tail, whenever they stopped, and picking up the insects near them.

The notes of the Prairie Titlark are clear and sharp, consisting of a
number of _tweets_, the last greatly prolonged. The two individuals
which I procured proved to be males. They seemed to be in imperfect
plumage, it being then the month of October, and the crescent on their
breast not being so distinctly defined at the surface, as it was deeper
among the feathers. Of their mode of nestling, and other habits, I can
say nothing, as I never happened to meet with another individual of the
species.


     ANTHUS PIPIENS.


Male. Plate LXXX.

Bill straight, slender, compressed, acuminate; upper mandible carinated
at the base, rounded on the sides, the edges inflected towards the tip,
which is slightly decimate and notched; lower mandible ascending in its
dorsal outline. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, half closed above
by a membrane. The general form slender. Feet of ordinary length; tarsus
slender, compressed; toes free; claws of the fore toes arched, compressed,
acute, of the hind toe very long, subulate-compressed, nearly straight.

Plumage soft, blended. Wings of ordinary length, first, second, and third
quills longest, the secondaries notched at the tip. Tail long, emarginate.

Bill dark brown, the under mandible orange at the base. Iris hazel. Feet
brownish-black. The general colour of the upper parts is dull olive-brown;
a brownish-white line over the eye; auricular coverts blackish. Under
parts pale yellowish-grey; an obscure lunule of brownish-black on the
fore neck, the lower part of which, and the sides, are streaked with
dark brown, and tinged with reddish-brown.

Length 6½ inches, bill along the ridge ½, along the gap ¾; tarsus ⅚,
middle toe ¾, hind toe ¾.


     PHLOX SUBULATA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 842. _Pursh_, Fl.
     Amer. vol. i. p. 151.—PENTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ POLEMONIA,
     _Juss._

Cæspitose, pubescent; leaves linear, pungent, ciliate; corymbs
few-flowered; pedicels trifid; divisions of the corolla wedge-shaped,
emarginate; teeth of the calyx subulate, scarcely shorter than the tube
of the corolla. The flowers are pink, with a purple star in the centre.
It grows in rocky places, and on barren, gravelly ground, flowering
through the summer.



THE ORIGINAL PAINTER.


As I was lounging one fair and very warm morning on the _Levee_ at
New Orleans, I chanced to observe a gentleman, whose dress and other
accompaniments greatly attracted my attention. I wheeled about, and
followed him for a short space, when, judging by every thing about him
that he was a true original, I accosted him.

But here, kind reader, let me give you some idea of his exterior. His
head was covered by a straw hat, the brim of which might cope with those
worn by the fair sex in 1830; his neck was exposed to the weather; the
broad frill of a shirt, then fashionable, flapped about his breast,
whilst an extraordinary collar, carefully arranged, fell over the top
of his coat. The latter was of a light green colour, harmonizing well
with a pair of flowing yellow nankeen trowsers, and a pink waistcoat,
from the bosom of which, amidst a large bunch of the splendid flowers
of the Magnolia, protruded part of a young alligator, which seemed more
anxious to glide through the muddy waters of some retired swamp, than to
spend its life swinging to and fro among folds of the finest lawn. The
gentleman held in one hand a cage full of richly-plumed Nonpareils, whilst
in the other he sported a silk umbrella, on which I could plainly read
"_Stolen from I_," these words being painted in large white characters.
He walked as if conscious of his own importance, that is, with a good
deal of pomposity, singing "My love is but a lassie yet," and that
with such thorough imitation of the Scotch emphasis, that had not his
physiognomy brought to my mind a denial of his being from "within a mile
of Edinburgh," I should have put him down in my journal for a true Scot.
But no:—his tournure, nay, the very shape of his visage, pronounced him
an American, from the farthest parts of our eastern Atlantic shores.

All this raised my curiosity to such a height, that I accosted him with
"Pray, Sir, will you allow me to examine the birds you have in that cage?"
The gentleman stopped, straightened his body, almost closed his left
eye, then spread his legs apart, and, with a look altogether quizzical,
answered, "Birds, Sir, did you say birds?" I nodded, and he continued,
"What the devil do you know about birds, Sir?"

Reader, this answer brought a blush into my face. I felt as if caught
in a trap, for I was struck by the force of the gentleman's question;
which, by the way, was not much in discordance with a not unusual mode of
granting an answer in the United States. Sure enough, thought I, little
or perhaps nothing do I know of the nature of those beautiful denizens
of the air; but the next moment vanity gave me a pinch, and urged me to
conceive that I knew at least as much about birds as the august personage
in my presence. "Sir," replied I, "I am a student of nature, and admire
her works, from the noblest figure of man to the crawling reptile which
you have in your bosom." "Ah!" replied he, "a-a-a naturalist, I presume."
"Just so, my good Sir," was my answer. The gentleman gave me the cage;
and I observed from the corner of one of my eyes, that his were cunningly
inspecting my face. I examined the pretty finches as long as I wished,
returned the cage, made a low bow, and was about to proceed on my walk,
when this odd sort of being asked me a question quite accordant with my
desire of knowing more of him: "Will you come with me, Sir? If you will,
you shall see some more curious birds, some of which are from different
parts of the world. I keep quite a collection." I assured him I should
feel gratified, and accompanied him to his lodgings.

We entered a long room, where, to my surprise, the first objects that
attracted my attention were a large easel, with a full length unfinished
portrait upon it, a table with pallets and pencils, and a number of
pictures of various sizes placed along the walls. Several cages containing
birds were hung near the windows, and two young gentlemen were busily
engaged in copying some finished portraits. I was delighted with all
I saw. Each picture spoke for itself: the drawing, the colouring, the
handling, the composition, and the keeping—all proved, that, whoever
was the artist, he certainly was possessed of superior talents.

I did not know if my companion was the painter of the picture, but, as
we say in America, I strongly guessed, and without waiting any longer,
paid him the compliments which I thought he fairly deserved. "Aye," said
he, "the world is pleased with my work, I wish I were so too, but time
and industry are required as well as talents, to make a good artist. If
you will examine the birds, I'll to my labour." So saying, the artist
took up his pallet, and was searching for a rest-stick, but not finding
the one with which he usually supported his hand, he drew the rod of a
gun, and was about to sit, when he suddenly threw down his implements on
the table, and, taking the gun, walked to me, and asked if "I had ever
seen a percussion-lock." I had not, for that improvement was not yet in
vogue. He not only explained the superiority of the lock in question,
but undertook to prove that it was capable of acting effectually under
water. The bell was rung, a flat basin of water was produced, the
gun was charged with powder, and the lock fairly immersed. The report
terrified the birds, causing them to beat against the gilded walls of
their prisons. I remarked this to the artist. He replied, "The devil
take the birds!—more of them in the market; why, Sir, I wish to shew you
that I am a marksman as well as a painter." The easel was cleared of the
large picture, rolled to the further end of the room, and placed against
the wall. The gun was loaded in a trice, and the painter, counting ten
steps from the easel, and taking aim at the supporting-pin on the left,
fired. The bullet struck the head of the wooden pin fairly, and sent the
splinters in all directions. "A bad shot, sir," said this extraordinary
person, "the ball ought to have driven the pin farther into the hole,
but it struck on one side; I'll try at the hole itself." After reloading
his piece, the artist took aim again, and fired. The bullet this time
had accomplished its object, for it had passed through the aperture, and
hit the wall behind. "Mr ——, ring the bell and close the windows," said
the painter, and turning to me, continued, "Sir, I will shew you the
_ne plus ultra_ of shooting." I was quite amazed, and yet so delighted,
that I bowed my assent. A servant having appeared, a lighted candle was
ordered. When it arrived, the artist placed it in a proper position, and
retiring some yards, put out the light with a bullet, in the manner which
I have elsewhere, in this volume, described. When light was restored,
I observed the uneasiness of the poor little alligator, as it strove to
effect its escape from the artist's waistcoat. I mentioned this to him.
"True, true," he replied, "I had quite forgot the reptile, he shall have
a dram;" and unbuttoning his vest, unclasped a small chain and placed
the alligator in the basin of water on the table.

Perfectly satisfied with the acquaintance which I had formed with this
renowned artist, I wished to withdraw fearing I might inconvenience
him by my presence. But my time was not yet come. He bade me sit down,
and paying no more attention to the young pupils in the room than if
they had been a couple of cabbages, said, "If you have leisure and
will stay awhile, I will shew you how I paint, and will relate to you
an incident of my life, which will prove to you how sadly situated an
artist is at times." In full expectation that more eccentricities were
to be witnessed, or that the story would prove a valuable one, even to
a naturalist, who is seldom a painter, I seated myself at his side, and
observed with interest how adroitly he transferred the colours from his
glistening pallet to the canvas before him. I was about to compliment
him on his facility of touch, when he spoke as follows:

"This is, sir, or, I ought to say rather, this will be the portrait of
one of our best navy officers, a man as brave as CÆSAR, and as good a
sailor as ever walked the deck of a seventy-four. Do you paint, Sir?"
I replied "Not yet." "Not yet! what do you mean?" "I mean what I say:
I intend to paint as soon as I can draw better than I do at present."
"Good," said he, "you are quite right, to draw is the first object;
but, sir, if you should ever paint, and paint portraits, you will often
meet with difficulties. For instance, the brave Commodore, of whom this
is the portrait, although an excellent man at every thing else, is the
worst sitter I ever saw; and the incident I promised to relate to you,
as one curious enough, is connected with his bad mode of sitting. Sir,
I forgot to ask if you would take any refreshment—a glass of wine, or
——." I assured him I needed nothing more than his agreeable company,
and he proceeded. "Well; Sir, the first morning that the Commodore came
to sit, he was in full uniform, and with his sword at his side. After
a few moments of conversation, and when all was ready on my part, I
bade him ascend this _throne_, place himself in the attitude which I
contemplated, and assume an air becoming an officer of the navy. He
mounted, placed himself as I had desired, but merely looked at me as
if I had been a block of stone. I waited a few minutes when, observing
no change on his placid countenance, I ran the chalk over the canvas,
to form a rough outline. This done, I looked up to his face again, and
opened a conversation which I thought would warm his warlike nature; but
in vain. I waited and waited, talked and talked, until my patience—Sir,
you must know I am not overburdened with phlegm—being almost run out,
I rose, threw my pallet and brushes on the floor, stamped, walking
to and fro about the room, and vociferated such calumnies against our
navy, that I startled the good Commodore. He still looked at me with
a placid countenance, and, as he has told me since, thought I had lost
my senses. But I observed him all the while, and, fully as determined
to carry my point, as he would be to carry off an enemy's ship, I gave
my oaths additional emphasis, addressed him as a representative of the
navy, and, steering somewhat clear of personal insult, played off my
batteries against the craft. The Commodore walked up to me, placed his
hand on the hilt of his sword, and told me, in a resolute manner, that
if I intended to insult the navy, he would instantly cut off my ears.
His features exhibited all the spirit and animation of his noble nature,
and as I had now succeeded in rousing the lion, I judged it time to
retreat. So, changing my tone, I begged his pardon, and told him he now
looked precisely as I wished to represent him. He laughed, and returning
to his seat, assumed a bold countenance. And now, Sir, see the picture?"

At some future period, I may present you with other instances of the odd
ways in which this admired artist gave animation to his sitters. For
the present, kind reader, we shall leave him finishing the Commodore,
while we return to our proper studies.



THE FISH HAWK, OR OSPREY.

PLATE LXXXI. MALE.


Comparing the great size of this bird, its formidable character, its
powerful and protracted flight, and the dexterity with which, although
a land bird, it procures its prey from the waters of the ocean, with
the very inferior powers of the bird named the Kingsfisher, I should
be tempted to search for a more appropriate appellation than that of
Fish-Hawk, and, were I not a member of a republic, might fancy that of
_Imperial Fisher_ more applicable to it.

The habits of this famed bird differ so materially from those of almost
all others of its genus, that an accurate description of them cannot
fail to be highly interesting to the student of nature.

The Fish Hawk may be looked upon as having more of a social disposition
than most other Hawks. Indeed, with the exception of the Swallow-tailed
Hawk (_Falco furcatus_), I know none so gregarious in its habits. It
migrates in numbers, both during spring, when it shews itself along our
Atlantic shores, lakes, and rivers, and during autumn, when it retires
to warmer climes. At these seasons, it appears in flocks of eight or
ten individuals, following the windings of our shores in loose bodies,
advancing in easy sailings or flappings, crossing each other in their
gyrations. During the period of their stay in the United States, many
pairs are seen nestling, rearing their young, and seeking their food,
within so short a distance of each other, that while following the margins
of our eastern shores, a Fish Hawk or a nest belonging to the species,
may be met with at every short interval.

The Fish Hawk may be said to be of a mild disposition. Not only do these
birds live in perfect harmony together, but they even allow other birds
of very different character to approach so near to them as to build their
nests of the very materials of which the outer parts of their own are
constructed. I have never observed a Fish Hawk chasing any other bird
whatever. So pacific and timorous is it, that, rather than encounter a
foe but little more powerful than itself, it abandons its prey to the
White-headed Eagle, which, next to man, is its greatest enemy. It never
forces its young from the nest, as some other Hawks do, but, on the
contrary, is seen to feed them even when they have begun to procure food
for themselves.

Notwithstanding all these facts, a most erroneous idea prevails among
our fishermen, and the farmers along our coasts, that the Fish Hawk's
nest is the best _scare-crow_ they can have in the vicinity of their
houses or grounds. As these good people affirm, no Hawk will attempt to
commit depredations on their poultry, so long as the Fish Hawk remains
in the country. But the absence of most birds of prey from those parts
at the time when the Fish Hawk is on our coast, arises simply from the
necessity of retiring to the more sequestered parts of the interior for
the purpose of rearing their young in security, and the circumstance of
their visiting the coasts chiefly at the period when myriads of water-fowl
resort to our estuaries at the approach of winter, leaving the shores
and salt-marshes at the return of spring, when the Fish Hawk arrives.
However, as this notion has a tendency to protect the latter bird, it
may be so far useful, the fisherman always interposing when he sees a
person bent upon the destruction of his favourite bird.

The Fish Hawk differs from all birds of prey in another important
particular, which is, that it never attempts to secure its prey in the
air, although its rapidity of flight might induce an observer to suppose
it perfectly able to do so. I have spent weeks on the Gulf of Mexico,
where these birds are numerous, and have observed them sailing and
plunging into the water, at a time when numerous shoals of flying-fish
were emerging from the sea to evade the pursuit of the dolphins. Yet
the Fish Hawk never attempted to pursue any of them while above the
surface, but would plunge after one of them or a bonita-fish, after they
had resumed their usual mode of swimming near the surface.

The motions of the Fish Hawk in the air are graceful, and as majestic as
those of the Eagle. It rises with ease to a great height by extensive
circlings, performed apparently by mere inclinations of the wings and
tail. It dives at times to some distance with the wings partially closed,
and resumes its sailing, as if these plunges were made for amusement
only. Its wings are extended at right angles to the body, and when thus
flying it is easily distinguishable from all other Hawks by the eye of
an observer accustomed to note the flight of birds. Whilst in search of
food, it flies with easy flappings at a moderate height above the water,
and with an apparent listlessness, although in reality it is keenly
observing the objects beneath. No sooner does it spy a fish suited to
its taste, than it checks its course with a sudden shake of its wings
and tail, which gives it the appearance of being poised in the air for
a moment, after which it plunges headlong with great rapidity into the
water, to secure its prey, or continue its flight, if disappointed by
having observed the fish sink deeper.

When it plunges into the water in pursuit of a fish, it sometimes proceeds
deep enough to disappear for an instant. The surge caused by its descent
is so great as to make the spot around it present the appearance of
a mass of foam. On rising with its prey, it is seen holding it in the
manner represented in the Plate. It mounts a few yards into the air,
shakes the water from its plumage, squeezes the fish with its talons,
and immediately proceeds towards its nest, to feed its young, or to a
tree, to devour the fruit of its industry in peace. When it has satisfied
its hunger, it does not, like other Hawks, stay perched until hunger
again urges it forth, but usually sails about at a great height over
the neighbouring waters.

The Fish Hawk has a great attachment to the tree to which it carries its
prey, and will not abandon it, unless frequently disturbed, or shot at
whilst feeding there. It shews the same attachment to the tree on which
it has built its first nest, and returns to it year after year.

This species arrives on the southern coasts of the United States early
in the month of February, and proceeds eastward as the season advances.
In the Middle Districts, the fishermen hail its appearance with joy,
as it is the harbinger of various species of fish which resort to the
Atlantic coasts, or ascend the numerous rivers. It arrives in the Middle
States about the beginning of April, and returns southward at the first
appearance of frost. I have occasionally seen a few of these birds on
the muddy lakes of Louisiana, in the neighbourhood of New Orleans, during
the winter months; but they appeared emaciated, and were probably unable
to follow their natural inclinations, and proceed farther south.

As soon as the females make their appearance, which happens eight or ten
days after the arrival of the males, the love-season commences, and soon
after, incubation takes place. The loves of these birds are conducted
in a different way from those of the other Falcons. The males are seen
playing through the air amongst themselves, chasing each other in sport,
or sailing by the side or after the female which they have selected,
uttering cries of joy and exultation, alighting on the branches of the
tree on which their last year's nest is yet seen remaining, and doubtless
congratulating each other on finding their home again. Their caresses
are mutual. They begin to augment their habitation, or to repair the
injuries which it may have sustained during the winter, and are seen
sailing together towards the shores, to collect the drifted sea-weeds
with which they line the nest anew. They alight on the beach, search
for the driest and largest weeds, collect a mass of them, clench them
in their talons, and fly towards their nest with the materials dangling
beneath. They both alight and labour together. In a fortnight the nest
is complete, and the female deposits her eggs, which are three or four
in number, of a broadly oval form, yellowish-white, densely covered with
large irregular spots of reddish-brown.

The nest is generally placed in a large tree in the immediate vicinity
of the water, whether along the seashore, on the margins of the inland
lakes, or by some large river. It is, however, sometimes to be seen in
the interior of a wood, a mile or more from the water. I have concluded
that, in the latter case, it was on account of frequent disturbance, or
attempts at destruction, that the birds had removed from their usual
haunt. The nest is very large, sometimes measuring fully four feet
across, and is composed of a quantity of materials sufficient to render
its depth equal to its diameter. Large sticks, mixed with sea-weeds,
tufts of strong grass, and other materials, form its exterior, while the
interior is composed of sea-weeds and finer grasses. I have not observed
that any particular species of tree is preferred by the Fish Hawk. It
places its nest in the forks of an oak or a pine with equal pleasure.
But I have observed that the tree chosen is usually of considerable size,
and not unfrequently a decayed one. I dare not, however, affirm that the
juices of the plants which compose the nest, ever become so detrimental
to the growth of a tree as ultimately to kill it. In a few instances,
I have seen the Fish Crow and the Purple Grakle raising their families
in nests built by them among the outer sticks of the Fish Hawk's nest.

The male assists in incubation, during the continuance of which the one
bird supplies the other with food, although each in turn goes in quest
of some for itself. At such times the male bird is now and then observed
rising to an immense height in the air, over the spot where his mate
is seated. This he does by ascending almost in a direct line, by means
of continued flappings, meeting the breeze with his white breast, and
occasionally uttering a cackling kind of note, by which the bystander is
enabled to follow him in his progress. When the Fish Hawk has attained
its utmost elevation, which is sometimes such that the eye can no longer
perceive him, he utters a loud shriek, and dives smoothly on half-extended
wings towards his nest. But before he readies it, he is seen to expand his
wings and tail, and in this manner he glides towards his beloved female,
in a beautifully curved line. The female partially raises herself from
her eggs, emits a low cry, resumes her former posture, and her delighted
partner flies off to the sea, to seek a favourite fish for her whom he
loves.

The young are at length hatched. The parents become more and more
attached to them, as they grow up. Abundance of food is procured to favour
their development. So truly parental becomes the attachment of the old
birds, that an attempt to rob them of those dear fruits of their love,
generally proves more dangerous than profitable. Should it be made, the
old birds defend their brood with great courage and perseverance, and
even sometimes, with extended claws and bill, come in contact with the
assailant, who is glad to make his escape with a sound skin.

The young are fed until fully fledged, and often after they have left the
nest, which they do apparently with great reluctance. I have seen some
as large as the parents, filling the nest, and easily distinguished by
the white margins of their upper plumage, which may be seen with a good
glass at a considerable distance. So much fish is at times carried to
the nest, that a quantity of it falls to the ground, and is left there
to putrify around the foot of the tree. Only one brood is raised each
season.

The Fish Hawk seldom alights on the ground, and when it does so, walks
with difficulty, and in an extremely awkward manner. The only occasions
on which it is necessary for them to alight, are when they collect
materials for the purpose of repairing their nest at the approach of
autumn, or for building a new one, or repairing the old, in spring.

I have found this bird in various parts of the interior of the United
States, but always in the immediate neighbourhood of rivers or lakes.
When I first removed to Louisville in Kentucky, several pairs were in the
habit of raising their brood annually on a piece of ground immediately
opposite the foot of the Falls of the Ohio in the State of Indiana. The
ground belonged to the venerable General CLARK, and I was several times
invited by him to visit the spot. Increasing population, however, has
driven off the birds, and few are now seen on the Ohio, unless during
their migrations to and from Lake Erie, where I have met with them.

I have observed many of these birds at the approach of winter, sailing
over the lakes near the Mississippi, where they feed on the fish which
the Wood Ibis kills, the Hawks themselves being unable to discover them
whilst alive in the muddy water with which these lakes are filled. There
the Ibises wade among the water in immense flocks, and so trample the
bottom as to convert the lakes into filthy puddles, in which the fishes
are unable to respire with ease. They rise to the surface, and are
instantly killed by the Ibises. The whole surface is sometimes covered in
this manner with dead fish, so that not only are the Ibises plentifully
supplied, but Vultures, Eagles and Fish Hawks, come to participate in
the spoil. Except in such places, and on such occasions, I have not
observed the Fish Hawk to eat of any other prey than that which it had
procured by plunging headlong into the water after it.

I have frequently heard it asserted that the Fish Hawk is sometimes
drawn under the water and drowned, when it has attempted to seize a
fish which is too strong for it, and that some of these birds have been
found sticking by their talons to the back of Sturgeons and other large
fishes. But, as nothing of this kind ever came under my observation,
I am unable to corroborate these reports. The roosting place of this
bird is generally on the top-branches of the tree on which its nest is
placed, or of one close to it.

Fish Hawks are very plentiful on the coast of New Jersey, near Great
Egg Harbour, where I have seen upwards of fifty of their nests in the
course of a day's walk, and where I have shot several in the course of
a morning. When wounded, they defend themselves in the manner usually
exhibited by Hawks, erecting the feathers of the head, and trying to
strike with their powerful talons and bill, whilst they remain prostrate
on their back.

The largest fish which I have seen this bird take out of the water, was
a Weak Fish, such as is represented in the plate, but sufficiently large
to weigh more than five pounds. The bird carried it into the air with
difficulty, and dropped it, on hearing the report of a shot fired at it.


     FALCO HALIAËTUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 129.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 17. _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 26.

     CAROLINA OSPREY, _Lath._ Synops. vol. i. p. 74.

     FISH HAWK, FALCO HALIAËTUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. v. p. 13.
     Pl. 5. fig. 1.


Adult Male. Plate LXXXI.

Bill short, as broad as deep at the base, the sides convex, dorsal outline
straight at the base, curved towards the end; upper mandible cerate,
the edges acute, with a festoon at the curvature, the tip trigonal,
deflected, very acute; lower mandible inflected at the edges, which are
slightly arched, the tip obtusely truncate, the dorsal line slightly
concave at the base, convex towards the end. Nostrils oval, oblique,
lateral, in the fore part of the cere. Head rather large. Body robust.
Legs rather long; tarsus short, remarkably thick, covered all round
with hexagonal scales; toes also remarkably thick, the outer versatile,
covered anteriorly with broad, laterally with small hexagonal scales;
claws curved, roundish, very acute.

Plumage compact, imbricated; feathers of the head and neck narrow, of
the back broad and rounded, of the breast also rounded. Tibial feathers
short, tarsus feathered anteriorly one-third down. Wings very long,
acute, the third quill longest, the second and fourth equal, the first
not much shorter. Tail rather long, of twelve broad, rounded feathers.

Bill brownish-black, blue at the base and margin; cere light-blue. Iris
yellow. Feet pale greyish-blue, tinged with brown; claws black. The
general colour of the upper parts is dusky brown, the tail barred with
pale brown. The upper part of the head and neck white, the middle part
of the crown dark brown. A broad band of the latter colour from the bill
down the side of the neck on each side. Under parts of the neck brownish
white, streaked with dark brown. Under parts generally white. Anterior
tarsal feathers tinged with brown.

Length 23 inches, extent of wings 54; bill along the back 2; tarsus 2¼,
middle toe 3.


THE WEAK FISH.

The Weak Fish makes its appearance along our eastern shores about the
middle of April, and remains until autumn. It is caught in the seine,
and sold in our markets, being a delicate well-flavoured fish. It seldom
attains any remarkable size. It is particularly plentiful about Great
Egg Harbour, in New Jersey.



WHIP-POOR-WILL.

_CAPRIMULGUS VOCIFERUS_, WILS.

PLATE LXXXII. MALE AND FEMALE.


This bird makes its appearance in most parts of our Western and Southern
Districts, at the approach of spring, but is never heard, and indeed
scarcely ever seen, in the State of Louisiana. The more barren and
mountainous parts of the Union seem to suit it best. Accordingly, the open
Barrens of Kentucky, and the country through which the Alleghany ridges
pass, are more abundantly supplied with it than any other regions. Yet,
wherever a small tract of country, thinly covered with timber, occurs
in the Middle Districts, there the _Whip-poor-will_ is heard during the
spring and early autumn.

This species of Night-jar, like its relative the Chuck-will's-widow,
is seldom seen during the day, unless when accidentally discovered in a
state of repose, when, if startled, it rises and flies off, but only to
such a distance as it considers necessary, in order to secure it from the
farther intrusion of the disturber of its noon-day slumbers. Its flight
is very low, light, swift, noiseless, and protracted, as the bird moves
over the places which it inhabits, in pursuit of the moths, beetles and
other insects, of which its food is composed. During the day, it sleeps
on the ground, the lowest branches of small trees and bushes, or the
fallen trunks of trees so abundantly dispersed through the woods. In
such situations, you may approach within a few feet of it; and, should
you observe it whilst asleep, and not make any noise sufficient to alarm
it, it will suffer you to pass quite near it, without taking flight, as
it seems to sleep with great soundness, especially about the middle of
the day. In rainy or very cloudy weather, it sleeps less, and is more
on the alert. Its eyes are then kept open for hours at a time, and it
flies off as soon as it discovers an enemy approaching, which it can
do, at such times, at a distance of twenty or thirty yards. It always
appears with its body parallel to the direction of the branch or trunk
on which it sits, and, I believe, never alights _across_ a branch or a
fence-rail.

No sooner has the sun disappeared beneath the horizon, than this bird
bestirs itself, and sets out in pursuit of insects. It passes low over
the bushes, moves to the right or left, alights on the ground to secure
its prey, passes repeatedly and in different directions over the same
field, skims along the skirts of the woods, and settles occasionally
on the tops of the fence-stakes or on stumps of trees, from whence
it sallies, like a Fly-catcher, after insects, and, on seizing them,
returns to the same spot. When thus situated, it frequently alights on
the ground, to pick up a beetle. Like the Chuck-will's-widow, it also
balances itself in the air, in front of the trunks of trees, or against
the sides of banks, to discover ants, and other small insects that may
be lurking there. Its flight is so light and noiseless, that whilst it
is passing within a few feet of a person, the motion of its wings is not
heard by him, and merely produces a gentle undulation in the air. During
all this time, it utters a low murmuring sound, by which alone it can
be discovered in the dark, when passing within a few yards of one, and
which I have often heard when walking or riding through the barrens at
night.

Immediately after the arrival of these birds, their notes are heard in the
dusk and through the evening, in every part of the thickets, and along
the skirts of the woods. They are clear and loud, and to me are more
interesting than those of the Nightingale. This taste I have probably
acquired, by listening to the Whip-poor-will in parts where Nature
exhibited all her lone grandeur, and where no discordant din interrupted
the repose of all around. Only think, kind reader, how grateful to me must
have been the cheering voice of this my only companion, when, fatigued
and hungry, after a day of unremitted toil, I have planted my camp in the
wilderness, as the darkness of night put a stop to my labours! I have
often listened to the Nightingale, but never under such circumstances,
and therefore its sweetest notes have never awaked the same feeling.

The Whip-poor-will continues its lively song for several hours after
sunset, and then remains silent until the first dawn of day, when its
notes echo through every vale, and along the declivities of the mountains,
until the beams of the rising sun scatter the darkness that overhung the
face of nature. Hundreds are often heard at the same time in different
parts of the woods, each trying to out-do the others; and when you are
told that the notes of this bird may be heard at the distance of several
hundred yards, you may form an idea of the pleasure which every lover
of nature must feel during the time when this chorus is continued.

Description is incapable of conveying to your mind any accurate idea of
the notes of this bird, much less of the feelings which they excite.
Were I to tell you that they are, in fact, not strictly musical, you
might be disappointed. The cry consists of three distinct notes, the
first and last of which are emphatical and sonorous, the intermediate
one less so. These three notes are preceded by a low cluck, which seems
preparatory to the others, and which is only heard when one is near
the bird. A fancied resemblance which its notes have to the syllables
_whip-poor-will_, has given rise to the common name of the bird.

This species is easily shot, when the moon is shining, and the night
clear, as you may then approach it without much caution. It is, however,
difficult to hit it on wing, on account of the zig-zag lines in which
it flies, as well as the late hour at which it leaves its resting-place.
It is seldom killed, however, being too small to be sought as an article
of food, although its flesh is savoury, and it is too harmless to excite
dislike.

It deposits its eggs about the middle of May, on the bare ground, or on
dry leaves, in the most retired parts of the thickets which it frequents.
They are always two in number, of a short elliptical form, much rounded,
and nearly equal at both ends, of a greenish-white colour, spotted and
blotched with bluish-grey, and light brown. The young burst the shell in
fourteen days after the commencement of incubation, and look at first
like a mouldy and almost shapeless mass, of a yellowish colour. When
first able to fly they are of a brown colour, interspersed with patches
of buff, the brown being already beautifully sprinkled with darker dots
and zig-zag lines. They attain their full plumage before they depart,
with their parents, for the south. I think their southward migration,
which is performed by night, must be very rapid, as I have never found
any of these birds in Louisiana at that season, whereas they proceed
slowly on their return in spring. Both birds sit on the eggs, and feed
the young for a long time after they are able to fly, either on wing,
in the manner of the Common House Swallow, or while perched on the
fences, wood-piles, or houses. The food of the young at first consists of
ants, and partially digested beetles and large moths, which the parents
disgorge; but at the end of a fortnight the parents present the food
whole to the young, which then swallow it with ease.

Much has been said respecting the difference existing between the
_Whip-poor-will_ and the _Night Hawk_ for the purpose of shewing them to
be distinct species. On this subject I shall only say, that although I
have known both birds from my early youth, I have seldom seen a farmer
or even a boy in the United States, who did not know the difference
between them.

It is a remarkable fact that even the largest moths on which the
Whip-poor-will feeds, are always swallowed tail foremost, and when
swallowed, the wings and legs are found closely laid together, and as if
partially glued by the saliva or gastric juice of the bird. The act of
deglutition must be greatly aided by the long bristly feathers of the
upper mandible, as these no doubt force the wings of the insects close
together, before they enter the mouth.

I have represented a male and two females, as well as some of the insects
on which they feed. The former are placed on a branch of Red Oak, that
tree being abundant on the skirts of the Kentucky Barrens, where the
Whip-poor-will is most plentiful.


     CAPRIMULGUS VOCIFERUS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 62.

     WHIP-POOR-WILL, CAPRIMULGUS VOCIFERUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. v. p. 71. Pl. 41. fig. 1. Male, fig. 2. Female, fig. 3.
     Young.


Adult Male. Plate LXXXII. Fig. 1.

Bill extremely short, feeble, opening to beyond the eyes, making the
mouth, when open, of enormous dimensions; upper mandible arched in
its dorsal outline, very broad at the base, suddenly contracted at the
tip, which is compressed and rather obtuse; lower mandible decurved.
Nostrils basal, oval, prominent, covered above by a membrane. Head
disproportionately large. Eyes and ears very large. Neck short. Body
rather slender. Feet very short; tarsus partly feathered, anteriorly
scutellate below; fore toes three, connected to the second joint by
membranes, scutellate above; claws depressed, arched, that of the middle
toe with the inner edge expanded and pectinate.

Plumage blended, soft and silky, without much gloss. Upper mandible
margined at the base with stiff bristles, much longer than the bill,
extending forwards and outwards. Wings long, narrow, the second and
third quills longest. Tail rather long, ample, even, of ten broad rounded
feathers.

Bill dark brown. Iris dark hazel. Feet reddish-purple, the scales
and claws blackish. The general colour of the upper parts is dark
brownish-grey, streaked and minutely sprinkled with brownish-black.
Cheeks brownish-red. The quills and coverts are dark brown, spotted in
bars with light brown, the tips of the former mottled with light and
dark brown. Four middle tail-feathers like those of the back, the three
lateral white in their terminal half, deep brown, spotted with light
brown towards the base, the latter colours running along the outer web
of the outermost to near the tip. Throat and breast similar to the back,
with a transverse band of yellowish-white across the fore-neck; the rest
of the under parts paler and mottled.

Length 9 inches, extent of wings 19; bill along the ridge 5/12, along
the gap 1-7/12.


Adult Female. Plate LXXXII. Fig. 2, 3.

The female resembles the male in colouring, but the lateral tail-feathers
are reddish-white towards the tip only, and the band across the fore-neck
is pale yellowish-brown.


BLACK OAK OR QUERCITRON.

     QUERCUS TINCTORIA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 414. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 629. _Mich._ Abr. Forest. de l'Amer.
     Sept. vol. ii. p. 110. Pl. 2.—MONŒCIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._
     AMENTACEÆ, _Juss._

Leaves obovato-oblong, sinuate, pubescent beneath, their lobes acuminate,
obsoletely denticulate; the cup scutellato-turbinate; the acorn globular
depressed. This is one of the largest trees of the United States, and
attains a height from eighty to ninety feet, with a diameter of from
four to five. The bark is deeply cracked, and of a black colour. The
wood is reddish, coarse-grained, and not so much esteemed as that of
the White Oak, and some other species. The bark is used for tanning, as
well as for dyeing wool of a yellow colour. It is generally distributed,
especially in the mountainous parts.



THE HOUSE WREN.

_TROGLODYTES ÆDON_, VIEILL.

PLATE LXXXIII. MALE, FEMALE, AND YOUNG.


Although Louisiana is supplied with thousands of the Great Carolina Wren,
not a single individual of the present species is ever to be found there.
It appears, indeed, that the central districts of our Atlantic coasts
are their principal places of resort, probably because certain portions
of the country are intended to be occupied by different species of the
same genus. Thus, I think it highly probable that the Great Carolina
Wren has been intended for the Southern Districts, the House Wren for
the Middle States, Bewick's Long-tailed Wren for the regions of the
Rocky Mountains, and the Little Wren for our north-eastern territories,
along the St Lawrence, although it also breeds in the State of New York,
and even in that of Pennsylvania, where I have found it in the Great
Pine Swamp. I am induced to think that a fifth species of Wren will yet
be found within the limits of the United States. From this arrangement
I exclude the bird called the Marsh Wren, which more properly belongs
to the genus _Certhia_. But, as I have already said, I leave all these
matters to be discussed by the system-makers.

The opinion expressed by a former writer, that the House Wren occurs
in the United States, is as incorrect as the assertion of a subsequent
author, that the Florida Jay is met with on the Mississippi and Ohio.
During a residence of twenty years in the different States through which
these great streams pass, I never saw either the one or the other of
these birds. These are errors, however, which are to be attributed to
the circumstance that one of the writers alluded to never visited the
Southern or Western States, while the other merely passed once through
them.

From whence the House Wren comes, or to what parts it retires during
winter, is more than I have been able to ascertain. Although it is
extremely abundant in the States of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia,
and Maryland, from the middle of April until the beginning of October, I
have never been able to trace its motions, nor do I know of any naturalist
in our own country, or indeed in any other, who has been more fortunate.

Its flight is short, generally low, and performed by a constant tremor
of the wings, without any jerks of either the body or tail, although the
latter is generally seen erect, unless when the bird is singing, when
it is always depressed. When passing from one place to another, during
the love-season, or whilst its mate is sitting, this sweet little bird
flutters still more slowly through the air, singing all the while. It
is sprightly, active, vigilant, and courageous. It delights in being
near and about the gardens, orchards, and the habitations of man, and is
frequently found in abundance in the very centre of our eastern cities,
where many little boxes are put up against the walls of houses, or the
trunks of trees, for its accommodation, as is also done in the country.
In these it nestles and rears its young. It is seldom, however, at a
loss for a breeding place, it being satisfied with any crevice or hole
in the walls, the sill of a window, the eaves, the stable, the barn, or
the upper side of a piece of timber, under the roof of a piazza. Now and
then, its nest may be seen in the hollow branch of an apple tree. I knew
of one in the pocket of an old broken-down carriage, and many in such
an old hat as you see represented in the plate, which, if not already
before you, I hope you will procure, and look at the little creatures
anxiously peeping out or hanging to the side of the hat, to meet their
mother, which has just arrived with a spider, whilst the male is on the
lookout, ready to interpose should any intruder come near. The same nest
is often resorted to for several successive years, merely receiving a
little mending.

The familiarity of the House Wren is extremely pleasing. In Pennsylvania
a pair of these birds had formed a nest, and the female was sitting in
a hole of the wall, within a few inches of my (literally so-called)
drawing-room. The male was continually singing within a few feet of
my wife and myself, whilst I was engaged in portraying birds of other
species. When the window was open, its company was extremely agreeable,
as was its little song, which continually reminded us of its happy life.
It would now and then dive into the garden at the foot of the window,
procure food for its mate, return and creep into the hole where it had
its nest, and be off again in a moment. Having procured some flies and
spiders, I now and then threw some of them towards him, when he would
seize them with great alacrity, eat some himself, and carry the rest
to his mate. In this manner, it became daily more acquainted with us,
entered the room, and once or twice sang whilst there. One morning I
took it in to draw its portrait, and suddenly closing the window, easily
caught it, held it in my hand, and finished its likeness, after which
I restored it to liberty. This, however, made it more cautious, and it
never again ventured within the window, although it sang and looked at
us as at first. It is it which you see placed on the hat.

The antipathy which the House Wren shews to cats is extreme. Although
it does not attack puss, it follows and scolds her until she is out of
sight. In the same manner, it makes war on the Martin, the Blue Bird
and the House Swallow, the nest of any of which it does not scruple to
appropriate to itself, whenever occasion offers. Its own nest is formed
of dry crooked twigs, so interwoven as scarcely to admit entrance to
any other bird. Within this outer frame-work grasses are arranged in a
circular manner, and the whole is warmly lined with feathers and other
equally soft materials. The eggs are five or six, of a regularly oval
form, and uniform pale reddish colour. Two broods are raised in the
season.

The male seems to delight in attempting to surpass in vocal powers others
of his species, during the time of incubation; and is frequently seen
within sight of another, straining his little throat, and gently turning
his body from side to side, as if pivoted on the upper joints of his
legs. For a moment he conceives the musical powers of his rival superior
to his own, and darts towards him, when a battle ensues, which over, he
immediately resumes his song, whether he has been the conqueror or not.

When the young issue from the nest, it is interesting to see them follow
the parents amongst the currant bushes in the gardens, like so many mice,
hopping from twig to twig, throwing their tail upwards, and putting
their bodies into a hundred different positions, all studied from the
parents, whilst the latter are heard scolding, even without cause, but
as if to prevent the approach of enemies, so anxious are they for the
safety of their progeny. They leave Pennsylvania about the 1st of October.


     TROGLODYTES ÆDON, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 92.

     HOUSE WREN, SYLVIA DOMESTICA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. i.
     p. 129, Pl. 8. fig. 3.


Adult Male. Plate LXXXIII. Fig. 1.

Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight, slender, acute, subtrigonal
at the base, compressed towards the tip; upper mandible with the ridge
obtuse, the sides convex towards the end, concave at the base, the edges
acute and overlapping; under mandible with the back and sides convex.
Nostrils oblong, straight, basal, with a cartilaginous lid above, open
and bare. Head ovate, eyes of moderate size, neck of ordinary length,
body ovate, nearly equal in breadth and depth. Legs of ordinary length;
tarsus longer then the middle toe, compressed, covered anteriorly with
six scutella, posteriorly with a long plate forming an acute angle. Toes
scutellate above, inferiorly granulate, second and fourth nearly equal,
the hind toe almost equal to the middle one, third and fourth united
as far as the second joint; claws long, slender, acute, arcuate, much
compressed.

Plumage soft, tufty, slightly glossed. No bristly feathers about the
beak. Wings shortish, broad, rounded: first quill half the length of the
second, which is very little shorter than the third and fourth. Tail of
ordinary length, of twelve narrow, lax feathers.

Bill dark brown above, yellowish-brown beneath. Iris hazel. Feet
flesh-colour. The general colour of the upper parts is reddish-brown,
darker on the head, brighter on the tail-coverts, indistinctly barred
with dark brown; wings and tail undulatingly banded, tips of the larger
wing-coverts whitish. A yellowish-grey line from the upper mandible over
the eye; cheeks of the same colour, mottled with brownish-red. Under parts
brownish-grey; sides barred with brown, as are the under tail-coverts.

Length 4¼ inches, extent of wings 5½; bill along the ridge ½, along the
gap ¾; tarsus ⅔, middle toe 7/12.


Adult Female. Plate LXXXIII. Fig. 2.

The female scarcely differs from the male in external appearance.


Young Birds. Plate LXXXIII. Fig. 3.

The young are of a lighter brown, more indistinctly barred, but resemble
the old birds in the general distribution of their colouring.

       *       *       *       *       *

This species differs from the Winter Wren, chiefly in having the bill a
little stouter, the tail considerably longer, and the under parts less
distinctly barred.



THE BLUE-GREY FLY-CATCHER.

_MUSCICAPA CÆRULEA_, WILS.

PLATE LXXXIV. MALE AND FEMALE.


This diminutive lively bird is rendered peculiarly conspicuous by its
being frequently the nurse or foster-parent of the young Cow Bunting,
the real mother of which drops her egg in its nest. A few individuals
of this species remain in Louisiana during spring and summer, and breed
there; but the greater number proceed far eastward, and spread over the
United States, although they are not common in any part.

The Blue-grey Fly-catcher arrives in the neighbourhood of New Orleans
about the middle of March, when it is observed along the water-courses,
flitting about and searching diligently, amidst the branches of the
Golden Willow, for the smaller kinds of winged insects, devouring amongst
others great numbers of moschettoes. Its flight resembles that of the
Long-tailed Titmouse of Europe. It moves to short distances, vibrating
its tail while on wing, and, on alighting, is frequently seen hanging
to the buds and bunches of leaves, at the extremities of the branches
of trees. It seldom visits the interior of the forests, in any portion
of our country, but prefers the skirts of woods along damp or swampy
places, and the borders of creeks, pools, or rivers. It seizes insects
on wing with great agility, snapping its bill like a true Fly-catcher,
now and then making little sallies after a group of those diminutive
flies that seem as if dancing in the air, and cross each other in their
lines of flight, in a thousand various ways.

When it has alighted, its tail is constantly erected, its wings droop, and
it utters at intervals its low and uninteresting notes, which resemble
the sounds _Tsee, Tsee_. It seldom if ever alights on the ground, and
when thirsty prefers procuring water from the extremities of branches,
or sips the rain or dewdrops from the ends of the leaves.

Its nest is composed of the frailest materials, and is light and small
in proportion to the size of the bird. It is formed of portions of
dried leaves, the husks of buds, the silky fibres of various plants and
flowers, and light grey lichens, and is lined with fibres of Spanish Moss
or horse-hair. I have found these nests always attached to two slender
twigs of Willow. The eggs are four or five, pure white, with a few reddish
dots at the larger end. Two broods are reared in a season. The young and
old hunt and migrate together, passing amongst the tops of the highest
trees, from one to another. They leave the State of Louisiana in the
beginning of October, the Middle States about the middle of September. I
have seen some of these birds on the border line of Upper Canada, along
the shores of Lake Erie. I have also observed them in Kentucky, Indiana,
and along the Arkansas River.

In the plate is represented, along with a pair of these delicate birds,
a twig of one of our most valuable trees, with its pendulous blossoms.
This tree, the Black Walnut, grows in almost every part of the United
States, in the richest soils, and attains a great height and diameter.
The wood is used for furniture of all sorts, receives a fine polish,
and is extremely durable. The stocks of muskets are generally made of
it. The Black Walnut is plentiful in all the alluvial grounds in the
vicinity of our rivers. The fruit is contained in a very hard shell,
and is thought good by many people.


     SYLVIA CÆRULEA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 540.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 85.

     MOTACILLA CÆRULEA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 337.

     CÆRULEAN WARBLER, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iv. p. 490.

     BLUE-GREY FLY-CATCHER, MUSCICAPA CÆRULEA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. ii. p. 164. Pl. 18. fig. 5.


Adult Male. Plate LXXXIV. Fig. 1.

Bill of ordinary length, straight, subulato-conical, depressed at the
base, acute; upper mandible with the edges acute and overlapping, notched
close to the end, the tip slightly declinate. Head rather large. Neck
short, body ovate. Legs of ordinary length; tarsus slender, compressed,
scutellate before, acute behind; toes free, scutellate; claws arched,
compressed, acute.

Plumage soft, blended, tufty. Basirostral bristles distinct. Wings short,
much curved, the third quill longest. Tail longish, rounded, of twelve
rounded feathers.

Bill bluish-black. Iris hazel. Feet greyish-blue. The general colour
of the upper parts is bright blue, approaching to ultramarine, deeper
on the head, and fading on the tail-coverts. Quills and primary coverts
brownish-black, margined externally with blue; secondary coverts slightly
tipped with greyish. Tail blackish, the lateral feathers nearly all
white, the two next tipped with the same colour. A narrow band of black
on the forehead, extending over the eyes. Under parts greyish-white,
the sides of the neck bright blue, the sides greyish-blue.

Length 4¼ inches, extent of wings 6½; bill along the ridge ⅓, along the
gap a little more than ½; tarsus 7/12.


Adult Female. Plate LXXXIV. Fig. 2.

The female is much duller in colouring, the bright blue of the male being
in her light greyish-blue. The black band on the forehead is also wanting.


THE BLACK WALNUT.

     JUGLANS NIGRA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 456. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 636. _Mich._ Arbr. Forest. de l'Amer.
     Sept. vol. i. p. 157. Pl. 1.—MONŒCIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._
     TEREBINTHACEÆ, _Juss._

This species belongs to the division with simple, polyandrous male
catkins, and is distinguished by its numerous ovato-lanceolate,
subcordate, serrated leaflets, narrowed towards the end, somewhat downy
beneath, as are the petioles; its globular scabrous fruits, and wrinkled
nuts. The leaves have seven or eight nearly opposite pairs of leaflets.
The male catkins are pendent. The fruits are sometimes from six to eight
inches in circumference, the kernel brown and corrugated, and, although
eaten, inferior to the Common Walnut. The bark of the trunk is thick,
blackish, and cracked; the wood of a very dark colour.



THE YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER.

_SYLVIA PENSILIS_, LATH.

PLATE LXXXV. MALE.


This beautiful bird absents itself from the State of Louisiana only for
two months in the year, December and January. When they return in the
beginning of February, they throw themselves by thousands into all the
cypress woods and cane-brakes, where they are heard singing from the
first of March until late in autumn, sometimes in November.

Their habits are very different from those of the Warblers, and are
more in general accordance with those of the Certhiæ. They move up and
down, sidewise and spirally, along the trunks, branches, and even twigs
of the tallest and largest Cypresses, or such other trees as are found
intermingled with them. They are extremely active, in fact, fully as much
so as the little Brown Creeper itself. Like it, they suddenly leave the
uppermost branches or higher parts of the trunks, and diving downwards
alight on the roots, and renew their search after small insects and
larvæ. I never saw any of them pursue insects on wing.

The nest of this species is prettily constructed. Its outer parts
are composed of grey lichens and soft mosses, the interior of silky
substances and a few fibres of the Spanish moss. The female lays four
pure white eggs, having two or three purple dots near the larger end. I
think they raise two broods during their stay in Louisiana, but cannot
speak of this as certain. The nest is placed on a horizontal branch of
a Cypress, twenty, thirty, or even fifty feet above the ground, and is
with difficulty discovered from below, as it resembles a knot or a tuft
of moss.

The song of the Yellow-throated Warbler would please you, kind reader.
Of this I have not a doubt, as it is soft and loud, and is continued for
two or three minutes at a time, not unlike that of the Painted Finch,
or Indigo Bird. As it is heard in all parts of our most dismal Cypress
Swamps, it contributes to soothe the mind of a person whose occupation
may lead him to such places. I never saw this species on the ground. The
male and the female are nearly alike in plumage, but the young birds,
which hunt for insects in company, in the manner of Creepers or Titmice,
do not acquire the yellow on the throat, nor the full brilliancy of
their plumage, until the first spring.

These birds confine themselves to the Southern States, seldom moving
farther towards the Middle Districts than North Carolina. They do not
even ascend the Mississippi farther than the Walnut Hills. They are
abundant in the neighbourhood of the Red River, and probably do not go
farther south than Mexico, during their short absence from the United
States.

Happening to shoot several of these birds on a large Chinquapin tree,
growing on the edge of a hill close to a swamp, I have put a male on
one of its twigs, which is furnished with a few fruits quite ripe and
ready to leave their husks. In the Southern States this tree is rare.
It generally prefers elevated places, and rocky declivities, with an
arid soil. The wood resembles that of the Chestnut, but the trees being
generally small, little use is made of it as timber. The fruit is eaten
by children. This tree is abundant along the greater part of the range
of the Alleghanies and its branches.


     SYLVIA PENSILIS, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 520.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 79.

     PENSILE WARBLER, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iv. p. 441.

     YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, SYLVIA FLAVICOLLIS, _Wils._ Amer.
     Ornith. vol. ii. p. 64. Pl. 4. fig. 6.


Adult Male. Plate LXXXV.

Bill shortish, nearly straight, subulato-conical, acute, 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 slender. Feet of ordinary length,
slender; tarsus longer than the middle toe, covered anteriorly by a few
scutella, the uppermost long; toes scutellate above, the inner free,
the hind toe of moderate size; claws slender, compressed, acute, arched.

Plumage soft, blended, tufty. Wings of ordinary length, acute, the second
quill longest. Tail longish, slightly emarginate.

Bill brownish-black. Iris dark-brown. Feet yellowish-brown. The general
colour of the upper parts is light greyish-blue, the head darker. A white
line from the base of the upper mandible over the eye. Forehead, loral
space, a line behind the eye, and a patch including the ear-coverts,
descending along the neck, and terminating acutely, black. Under eyelid
white. Wing-coverts dusky, tipped with white. Quills blackish, externally
margined with light greyish-green. Tail-feathers black, the middle ones
edged with greenish-blue, the outer white along the outer margin, and
with the next two having a white patch on the inner web towards the end.
Throat and fore-neck bright yellow, as is a spot before the eye. The
rest of the under parts white, the sides mottled with dusky.

Length 5½ inches, extent of wings 8½; bill along the ridge nearly ½,
along the gap 7/12; tarsus ⅚, middle toe ⅔.

The female is similar to the male, but has the colours somewhat duller.


THE CHINQUAPIN.

     CASTANEA PUMILA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 461. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 625. _Mich._ Arbr. Forest. de l'Amer.
     Sept. vol. ii. p. 166. Pl. 7.—MONŒCIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._
     AMENTACEÆ, _Juss._

This species of Chestnut is characterized by its oblong, acute,
sharply-serrated leaves, which are whitish and downy beneath. The fruit
is very agreeable, and is a favourite food of Squirrels, and birds of
different species, such as Pigeons, Jays, Turkeys, and Woodpeckers.



LOUISVILLE IN KENTUCKY.


Louisville in Kentucky has always been a favourite place of mine. The
beauty of its situation, on the banks of _La Belle Rivière_, just at
the commencement of the famed rapids, commonly called the Falls of the
Ohio, had attracted my notice, and when I removed to it, immediately
after my marriage, I found it more agreeable than ever. The prospect
from the town is such that it would please even the eye of a Swiss. It
extends along the river for seven or eight miles, and is bounded on the
opposite side by a fine range of low mountains, known by the name of the
Silver Hills. The rumbling sound of the waters, as they tumble over the
rock-paved bed of the rapids, is at all times soothing to the ear. Fish
and game are abundant. But, above all, the generous hospitality of the
inhabitants, and the urbanity of their manners, had induced me to fix
upon it as a place of residence; and I did so with the more pleasure
when I found that my wife was as much gratified as myself, by the kind
attentions which were shewn to us, utter strangers as we were, on our
arrival.

No sooner had we landed, and made known our intention of remaining, than
we were introduced to the principal inhabitants of the place and its
vicinity, although we had not brought a single letter of introduction, and
could not but see, from their unremitting kindness, that the Virginian
spirit of hospitality displayed itself in all the words and actions
of our newly-formed friends. I wish here to name those persons who so
unexpectedly came forward to render our stay among them agreeable, but
feel at a loss with whom to begin, so equally deserving are they of our
gratitude. The CROGHANS, the CLARKS (our great traveller included),
the BERTHOUDS, the GALTS, the MAUPINS, the TARASCONS, the BEALS, and
the BOOTHS, form but a small portion of the long list which I could
give. The matrons acted like mothers towards my wife, the daughters
proved agreeable associates, and the husbands and sons were friends and
companions to me. If I absented myself on business or otherwise, for
any length of time, my wife was removed to the hospitable abode of some
friend in the neighbourhood until my return, and then, kind reader,
I was several times obliged to spend a week or more with these good
people, before they could be prevailed upon to let us return to our own
residence. We lived for two years at Louisville, where we enjoyed many
of the best pleasures which this life can afford; and whenever we have
since chanced to pass that way, we have found the kindness of our former
friends unimpaired.

During my residence at Louisville, much of my time was employed in my
ever favourite pursuits. I drew and noted the habits of every thing which
I procured, and my collection was daily augmenting, as every individual
who carried a gun, always sent me such birds or quadrupeds as he thought
might prove useful to me. My portfolios already contained upwards of two
hundred drawings. Dr W. C. GALT, being a botanist, was often consulted
by me, as well as his friend Dr FERGUSON. M. GILLY drew beautifully, and
was fond of my pursuits. So was my friend, and now relative, N. BERTHOUD.
As I have already said, our time was spent in the most agreeable manner,
through the hospitable friendship of our acquaintance.

One fair morning, I was surprised by the sudden entrance into our
counting-room of Mr ALEXANDER WILSON, the celebrated author of the
"American Ornithology," of whose existence I had never until that moment
been apprised. This happened in March 1810. How well do I remember him,
as he then walked up to me! His long, rather hooked nose, the keenness
of his eyes, and his prominent cheek-bones, stamped his countenance with
a peculiar character. His dress, too, was of a kind not usually seen
in that part of the country; a short coat, trowsers, and a waistcoat of
grey cloth. His stature was not above the middle size. He had two volumes
under his arm, and as he approached the table at which I was working,
I thought I discovered something like astonishment in his countenance.
He, however, immediately proceeded to disclose the object of his visit,
which was to procure subscriptions for his work. He opened his books,
explained the nature of his occupations, and requested my patronage.

I felt surprised and gratified at the sight of his volumes, turned over
a few of the plates, and had already taken a pen to write my name in his
favour, when my partner rather abruptly said to me in French, "My dear
AUDUBON, what induces you to subscribe to this work? Your drawings are
certainly far better, and again you must know as much of the habits of
American birds as this gentleman." Whether Mr WILSON understood French
or not, or if the suddenness with which I paused, disappointed him, I
cannot tell; but I clearly perceived that he was not pleased. Vanity and
the encomiums of my friend prevented me from subscribing. Mr WILSON asked
me if I had many drawings of birds. I rose, took down a large portfolio,
laid it on the table, and shewed him, as I would shew you, kind reader,
or any other person fond of such subjects, the whole of the contents,
with the same patience with which he had shewn me his own engravings.

His surprise appeared great, as he told me he never had the most distant
idea that any other individual than himself had been engaged in forming
such a collection. He asked me if it was my intention to publish, and
when I answered in the negative, his surprise seemed to increase. And,
truly, such was not my intention; for, until long after, when I met
the Prince of Musignano in Philadelphia, I had not the least idea of
presenting the fruits of my labours to the world. Mr WILSON now examined
my drawings with care, asked if I should have any objections to lending
him a few during his stay, to which I replied that I had none: he then
bade me good morning, not, however, until I had made an arrangement to
explore the woods in the vicinity along with him, and had promised to
procure for him some birds, of which I had drawings in my collection,
but which he had never seen.

It happened that he lodged in the same house with us, but his retired
habits, I thought, exhibited either a strong feeling of discontent, or a
decided melancholy. The Scotch airs which he played sweetly on his flute
made me melancholy too, and I felt for him. I presented him to my wife and
friends, and seeing that he was all enthusiasm, exerted myself as much
as was in my power, to procure for him the specimens which he wanted.
We hunted together, and obtained birds which he had never before seen;
but, reader, I did not subscribe to his work, for, even at that time,
my collection was greater than his. Thinking that perhaps he might be
pleased to publish the results of my researches, I offered them to him,
merely on condition that what I had drawn, or might afterwards draw and
send to him, should be mentioned in his work, as coming from my pencil.
I at the same time offered to open a correspondence with him, which I
thought might prove beneficial to us both. He made no reply to either
proposal, and before many days had elapsed, left Louisville, on his way
to New Orleans, little knowing how much his talents were appreciated in
our little town, at least by myself and my friends.

Some time elapsed, during which I never heard of him, or of his work. At
length, having occasion to go to Philadelphia, I, immediately after my
arrival there, inquired for him, and paid him a visit. He was then drawing
a White-headed Eagle. He received me with civility, and took me to the
Exhibition Rooms of REMBRANDT PEALE, the artist, who had then portrayed
NAPOLEON crossing the Alps. Mr WILSON spoke not of birds or drawings.
Feeling, as I was forced to do, that my company was not agreeable, I
parted from him; and after that I never saw him again. But judge of my
astonishment some time after, when on reading the thirty-ninth page of
the ninth volume of American Ornithology, I found in it the following
paragraph:—

"_March 23d, 1810._—I bade adieu to Louisville, to which place I had four
letters of recommendation, and was taught to expect much of every thing
there; but neither received one act of civility from those to whom I
was recommended, one subscriber, nor one new bird; though I delivered my
letters, ransacked the woods repeatedly, and visited all the characters
likely to subscribe. Science or literature has not one friend in this
place."



THE BLACK WARRIOR.

_FALCO HARLANI._

PLATE LXXXVI. MALE AND FEMALE.


Long before I discovered this fine Hawk, I was anxious to have an
opportunity of honouring some new species of the feathered tribe with
the name of my excellent friend Dr RICHARD HARLAN of Philadelphia.
This I might have done sooner, had I not waited until a species should
occur, which in its size and importance should bear some proportion to
my gratitude toward that learned and accomplished friend.

The Hawks now before you were discovered near St Francisville, in
Louisiana, during my late sojourn in that State, and had bred in the
neighbourhood of the place where I procured them, for two seasons,
although they had always eluded my search, until, at last, as I was
crossing a large cotton field, one afternoon, I saw the female represented
in the Plate standing perched on the top of a high belted tree in an
erect and commanding attitude. It looked so like the Black Hawk (_Falco
niger_) of WILSON, that I apprehended what I had heard respecting it might
prove incorrect. I approached it, however, when, as if it suspected my
evil intentions, it flew off, but after at first sailing as if with the
view of escaping from me, passed over my head, when I shot at it, and
brought it winged to the ground. No sooner had I inspected its eye, its
bill, and particularly its naked legs, than I felt assured that it was,
as had been represented by those persons who had spoken to me of its
exploits, a new species. I drew it whilst alive; but my intentions of
preserving it and carrying it to England as a present to the Zoological
Society were frustrated by its refusing food. It died in a few days,
when I preserved its skin, which, along with those of other rare birds, I
have since given to the British Museum, through my friend J. G. CHILDREN,
Esq. of that Institution.

A few days afterwards I saw the male bird perched on the same tree, but
was unable to approach him so long as I had a gun, although he frequently
allowed me and my wife to pass close to the foot of the tree when we were
on horseback and unarmed. I followed it in vain for nearly a fortnight,
from one field to another, and from tree to tree, until our physician,
Dr JOHN B. HEREFORD, knowing my great desire to obtain it, shot it in
the wing with a rifle ball, and sent it alive to me. It was still wilder
than the female, erected the whole of the feathers of its head, opened
its bill, and was ever ready to strike with its talons at any object
brought near it. I made my drawing of the male also while still alive.

This species, although considerably smaller than the Red-tailed Hawk, to
which it is allied, is superior to it in flight and daring. Its flight
is rapid, greatly protracted, and so powerful as to enable it to seize
its prey with apparent ease, or effect its escape from its stronger
antagonist, the Red-tail, which pursues it on all occasions.

The Black Warrior has been seen to pounce on a fowl, kill it almost
instantly, and afterwards drag it along the ground for several hundred
yards, when it would conceal it, and return to feed upon it in security.
It was not observed to fall on Hares or Squirrels, but at all times
evinced a marked preference for common Poultry, Partridges, and the
smaller species of Wild Duck.

I was told that the young birds appeared to be of a leaden-grey colour at
a distance, but at the approach of winter became as dark as the parents.
None of them were to be seen at the time when I procured the latter.
Of its nest or eggs nothing is yet known. My friends Messrs JOHNSON and
CARPENTER frequently spoke of this Hawk to me immediately after my return
to Louisiana from Europe, which took place in November 1829. I have a
skin of this bird in my possession. Should its nest be discovered, and
should I have an opportunity of becoming more acquainted with its habits,
I shall not fail to give you an account of my observations.


     FALCO HARLANI.


Adult Male. Plate LXXXVI. Fig. 1.

Bill short, robust, as broad as deep at the base, compressed towards the
end; upper mandible nearly straight, and sloping in its dorsal outline,
curved towards the tip, which is decimate, trigonal, acute, the sides
convex, the edges acute, overlapping, with a rounded process on each
side; lower mandible convex in its dorsal outline and on the sides, the
tip rounded. Nostrils oval, oblique, in the fore part of the cere. Head
very large, neck short, body robust. Feet of ordinary length; tarsus a
little compressed, scutellate before and behind, reticularly scaly on
the sides; toes scutellate above, scaly on the sides, tubercular and
scabrous beneath; claws curved, roundish, very acute.

Plumage compact, feathers of the head and neck short and rounded, tibial
feathers elongated and loose at the tips. Wings long; first quill short,
fourth longest, third and fifth equal, the first primaries cut out on
the inner web towards the end. Tail longish, ample, of twelve broad,
rounded feathers.

Bill light blue, black towards the end; cere and angles of the mouth
yellowish-green. Iris light yellowish-brown. Feet dull greenish-yellow,
claws black.

The general colour of the plumage is deep chocolate-brown, the under
parts lighter, the feathers there being margined with light brown. Tail
lighter than the back, and rather narrowly barred with brownish-black,
the tips brownish-red. Under wing-coverts whitish, spotted with deep
brown.

Length 21 inches, extent of wings 45; bill along the back 1½, along the
gap, from the tip of the lower mandible, 1½; tarsus 1¾.


Adult Female. Plate LXXXVI. Fig. 2.

The female resembles the male in external appearance.

Length 22 inches; bill along the back 1½.

This species bears a strong resemblance to the Common Buzzard (_Falco
Buteo_) of Europe, from which, however, it differs in having the head
broader, the legs stouter, and the general colour of the plumage darker.
It is also considerably larger.



THE FLORIDA JAY.

_CORVUS FLORIDANUS_, BARTRAM.

PLATE LXXXVII. MALE AND FEMALE.


This beautiful and lively bird is a constant resident in the south-western
parts of Florida, from which country it seldom if ever removes to any
great distance. It is never seen in the State of Louisiana, far less in
that of Kentucky, and when CHARLES BONAPARTE asserts that it occurs in
these districts, we must believe that he has been misinformed. It is so
confined to the particular portions of Florida which it inhabits, that
even on the eastern shores of that peninsula few are to be seen. I have
never observed it in any part of Georgia, or farther to the eastward.

The flight of the Florida Jay is generally performed at a short distance
from the ground, and consists either of a single sailing sweep, as it
shifts from one tree or bush to another, or of continuous flappings,
with a slightly undulated motion, in the manner of the Magpie (_Corvus
Pica_) or of the Canada Jay (_Corvus canadensis_). Its notes are softer
than those of its relative the Blue Jay (_Corvus cristatus_), and are
more frequently uttered. Its motions are also more abrupt and quicker.
It is seen passing from one tree to another with expanded tail, stopping
for a moment to peep at the intruder, and hopping off to another place
the next minute. It frequently descends to the ground, along the edges
of oozy or marshy places, to search for snails, of which, together with
berries of various kinds, fruits and insects, its food consists. It is
easily approached during the breeding season, but is more shy at other
times. It is a great destroyer of the eggs of small birds, as well as
of young birds, which it chases and kills by repeated blows of its bill
on their heads, after which it tears their flesh with avidity.

The Florida Jay is easily kept in a cage, where it will feed on recent
or dried fruits, such as figs, raisins, and the kernels of various nuts,
and exhibits as much gaiety as the Blue Jay does in a similar state.
Like the latter, it secures its food between its feet, and breaks it into
pieces before swallowing it, particularly the acorns of the Live Oak, and
the snails which it picks up among the Sword Palmetto. No sooner have
the seeds of that plant become black, or fully ripe, than the Florida
Jay makes them almost its sole food for a time, and wherever a patch of
these troublesome plants are to be seen, there also is the Jay to be met
with. I have called the Palmetto a troublesome plant, because its long,
narrow, and serrated leaves are so stiff, and grow so close together,
that it is extremely difficult to walk among them, the more so that it
usually grows in places where the foot is seldom put without immediately
sinking in the mire to a depth of several inches.

The nest of the Florida Jay is sparingly formed of dry sticks, placed
across each other, and, although of a rounded shape, is so light that
the bird is easily seen through it. It is lined with fibrous roots,
placed in a circular manner. The eggs are from four to six, of a light
olive colour, marked with irregular blackish dashes. Only one brood is
raised in the season.

I had a fine opportunity of observing a pair of these birds in
confinement, in the city of New Orleans. They had been raised out of a
family of five, taken from the nest, and when I saw them had been two
years in confinement. They were in full plumage, and extremely beautiful.
The male was often observed to pay very particular attentions to the
female, at the approach of spring. They were fed upon rice, and all kinds
of dried fruit. Their cage was usually opened after dinner, when both
immediately flew upon the table, fed on the almonds which were given
them, and drank claret diluted with water. Both affected to imitate
particular sounds, but in a very imperfect manner. These attempts at
mimicry probably resulted from their having been in company with parrots
and other birds. They suffered greatly when moulting, becoming almost
enti