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Title: Ornithological Biography, Volume 2 (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 2 (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:

    subterminal and sub-terminal
    College Yard and College-yard
    Jer falcon and Jerfalcon
    foreneck and fore-neck
    acknowledgement and acknowledgment
    Hackmatack, Hackmetack, hackmitack
    Piercey and Piercy
    gray and grey
    Magdalene, Magdeleine, Magdaleine Islands
    Pittsburg and Pittsburgh
    Schuylkil and Schuylkill
    vermilion and vermillion
    grouse and grous
    aerial and ærial
    teasing and teazing
    sunrise and sun-rise
    characterised, characterized
    Huckleberry and Huckle-berry
    cupshaped and cup-shaped
    Bunting and Buntling
    pokeweed and poke-weed
    Red-wing and Redwing
    Charleston and Charlestown
    Linnæan and Linnean
    north-eastern and northeastern
    dog wood and dog-wood.

  The following are possible errors, but retained:

    befal
    racoon
    persimons
    musquitoes
    tarpauling
    mollasses
    Carribbean
    tipt
    capt
    Chesapeak
    cruize
    chuse
    begrimmed
    Marratees
    pacan.

In the entries for the Rosa Rubiginosa and Fringilla Zonotrichia,
the question marks are as printed.

In the entry for the Cardinal Grosbeak, the author says, "I have
represented a pair of these beautiful birds on a branch of the
Wild Olive." but the following entry is for the Wild Almond.

In the entry for the Pinnated Grous, a page number is missing.

In the entry for the Great American Shrike, the volume number for
Amer. Ornith. is missing.

Headings are missing for a number of the plant sections.

The Errata on page 580 have been corrected in the text.


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.S.S.L. & E.

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

     VOL. II.

     EDINBURGH:

     ADAM & CHARLES BLACK, EDINBURGH;

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

     MDCCCXXXIV.



     PRINTED BY NEILL & CO.
     Old Fishmarket, Edinburgh.



INTRODUCTION.


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

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

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

I was then on my way to London, which I had never yet visited. The number
of letters given me to facilitate my entry into the metropolis of England,
and to aid me in procuring subscribers to my work, accumulated during my
progress. At Newcastle-upon-Tyne I made my next halt. There the venerable
BEWICK, the ADAMSONS, the TURNERS, the DONKINS, the BUDDLES, the CHARNLEYS
and others, received me with great kindness, and helped to increase my
list of subscribers. The noble family of the RAVENSWORTHS I also added
to my friends, and from them I have since received important benefits,
particularly from the Honourable THOMAS LIDDELL, whose partiality for
my pursuits induced him to evince a warm interest in my favour, which
I shall ever acknowledge with feelings of affection and esteem.

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

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

At Leeds, the GOTTS, the BANKSES, the WALKERS, the MARSHALLS, the DAVYS,
were all extremely kind to me, and I found a fine museum belonging to
the most interesting and amiable family of the CALVERTS, in whose society
my evenings were chiefly spent.

On my second visit to Manchester I obtained upwards of twenty subscribers
in one week, and became acquainted with persons whose friendship has
never failed. Of them I may particularly mention the DYERS, the KENNEDYS,
the DARBISHIRES, and the SOWLERS.

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

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

Eighty-two letters of introduction were contained in my budget. Besides
these I was the bearer of general letters from HENRY CLAY, Speaker of
the House of Congress, General ANDREW JACKSON, and other individuals in
America, to all our diplomatists and consuls in Europe and elsewhere.
Thus, reader, you will perceive that I had some foundation for the hope
that I should acquire friends in the great city.

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

Wearied and disappointed, I thought my only chance of getting my letters
delivered was to consign them to the post, and accordingly I handed
them all over to its care, excepting one, which was addressed to "J.
G. CHILDREN, Esq. British Museum." Thither I now betook myself, and was
delighted to meet with that kind and generous person, whose friendship
I have enjoyed ever since. He it was who pointed out to me the great
error I had committed in having put my letters into the post-office, and
the evil arising from this step is perhaps still hanging over me, for
it has probably deprived me of the acquaintance of half of the persons
to whom they were addressed. In the course of a week, about half a
dozen of the gentlemen who had read my letters, left their cards at my
rooms. By degrees I became acquainted with a few of them, and my good
friend of the Museum introduced me to others. I renewed my acquaintance
with the benevolent Lord STANLEY, and became known to other noblemen,
liberal like himself. Soon after I was elected a Member of the Linnæan
and Zoological Societies.

About this time, the Prince of MUSIGNANO, so well known for his successful
cultivation of Natural History, arrived in London. He found me out through
the medium of the learned geologist FEATHERSTONHAUGH, and one evening
I had the pleasure of receiving a visit from him, accompanied by that
gentleman, Mr VIGORS, and some other persons. I felt happy in having once
more by my side my first ornithological adviser, and that amiable and
highly talented friend, with the accomplished geologist, remained with
me until a late hour. Their departure affected me with grief, and since
that period I have not seen the Prince. For several months I occupied
myself with painting in oil, and attending to the progress of my plates.
I now became acquainted with that eminent and amiable painter, Sir
THOMAS LAWRENCE, through a kindred spirit, THOMAS SULLY of Philadelphia;
from both of whom, at different periods, I have received advice with
reference to their enchanting art. One morning I had the good fortune to
receive a visit from Mr SWAINSON, whose skill as a naturalist every one
knows, and who has ever since been my substantial friend. M. TEMMINCK
also called, as did other scientific individuals, among whom was my
ever-valued friend ROBERT BAKEWELL, whose investigations have tended so
much to advance the progress of geology; and as my acquaintance increased
I gradually acquired happiness. Having visited those renowned seats of
learning, Cambridge and Oxford, I became acquainted at the former with
the Vice-Chancellor Mr DAVIE, Professors SEDGWICK, WHEWELL, and HENSLOW,
the Right Honourable WENTWORTH FITZWILLIAM, JOHN LODGE, Esq. Dr THACKERY,
and many other gentlemen of great learning and talent; at the latter,
with Dr BUCKLAND, Dr KIDD, and others. These Universities afforded me
several subscribers.

In the summer of 1828, my friend SWAINSON and I went to Paris, where
I became acquainted with the great CUVIER, GEOFFROY ST HILAIRE, his
son ISIDORE, M. DORBIGNY, and M. LESSON, as well as that master of
flower-painters M. REDOUTÉ, and other persons eminent in science and
the arts. Our time in Paris was usefully and agreeably spent. We were
gratified at the liberality with which every object that we desired to
examine in the great Museum of France was submitted to our inspection.
Many of our evenings were spent under the hospitable roof of Baron
CUVIER, where the learned of all countries usually assembled. Through
the influence of my noble-spirited friend M. REDOUTÉ, I was introduced
to the Duke of ORLEANS, now King of the French, and to several Ministers
of State. The hour spent with LOUIS PHILLIPPE and his Son, was, by their
dignified urbanity, rendered one of the most agreeable that has fallen
to my lot; and in consequence of that interview I procured many patrons
and friends.

Returning to England, I spent the winter there, and in April 1829, sailed
for America. With what pleasure did I gaze on each setting sun, as it
sunk in the far distant west! with what delight did I mark the first
wandering American bird that hovered over the waters! and how joyous
were my feelings when I saw a pilot on our deck! I leaped on the shore,
scoured the woods of the Middle States, and reached Louisiana in the end
of November. Accompanied by my wife, I left New Orleans on the 8th of
January 1830, and sailing from New York on the 1st of April, we had the
pleasure, after a voyage of twenty-five days, of landing in safety at
Liverpool, and finding our friends and relations well. When I arrived
in London, my worthy friend J. G. CHILDREN, Esq. presented me with a
Diploma from the Royal Society. Such an honour conferred on an American
Woodsman could not but be highly gratifying to him. I took my seat in the
hall, and had the pleasure of pressing the hand of the learned President
with a warm feeling of esteem. I believe I am indebted for this mark of
favour more particularly to Lord STANLEY and Mr CHILDREN.

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

Previous to my departure from England, on a second visit to the United
States, I had the honour and gratification of being presented to his Royal
Highness the DUKE OF SUSSEX, who graciously favoured me with a general
letter of recommendation to the authorities in the British colonies.
With others of a similar nature I was also honoured by the Noble Lords
STANLEY, PALMERSTON, HOWICK, and GODERICH.

We sailed on the 1st of August 1831, and landed at New York, where I
spent a few days only, and proceeded to Philadelphia. There I found my old
and firm friends HARLAN, WETHERELL, PICKERING, SULLY, NORRIS, WALSH, and
others, a few subscribers, and some diplomas. I had now two assistants,
one from London, Mr WARD, the other a highly talented Swiss, Mr GEORGE
LEHMAN. At Washington I received from the heads of our Government
letters of assistance and protection along the frontiers, which it was my
intention to visit. For these acts of kindness and encouragement, without
which my researches would have been more arduous and less efficient, I am
much indebted, and gratefully offer my acknowledgments, to Major-General
M'COMB, General JESSUP, General GRATIOT, the Honourable Messrs M'LEAN,
LIVINGSTON, and WOODBURY, to Colonel JOHN ABERT, and others, whose frank
and prompt attentions will never be forgotten by me. I need not say
that towards our President and the enlightened members of the civil,
military, and naval departments, I felt the deepest gratitude for the
facilities which they thus afforded me. All received me in the kindest
manner, and accorded to me whatever I desired of their hands. How often
did I think of the error committed by WILSON, when, instead of going to
Washington, and presenting himself to President JEFFERSON, he forwarded
his application through an uncertain medium. He, like myself, would
doubtless have been received with favour, and obtained his desire. How
often have I thought of the impression his piercing eye would have made
on the discriminating and learned President, to whom, in half the time
necessary for reading a letter, he might have said six times as much as
it contained. But, alas! WILSON, instead of presenting himself, sent
a substitute, which, it seems, was not received by the President, and
which, therefore, could not have answered the intended end. How pleasing
was it to me to find in our Republic, young as she is, the promptitude
to encourage science occasionally met with in other countries. Methinks
I am now bidding adieu to the excellent men who so kindly received me,
and am still feeling the pressure of their hands indicative of a cordial
wish for the success of my undertaking. May He who gave me being and
inspired me with a desire to study his wondrous works, grant me the means
of proving to my country the devotedness with which I strive to render
myself not unworthy of her!

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

It was late in the afternoon when we took our lodgings in Charleston.
Being fatigued, and having written the substance of my journey to my
family, and delivered a letter to the Rev. Mr GILMAN, I retired to rest.
At the first glimpse of day the following morning, my assistants and
myself were already several miles from the city, commencing our search
in the fields and woods, and having procured abundance of subjects both
for the pencil and the scalpel, we returned home, covered with mud, and
so accoutred as to draw towards us the attention of every person in the
streets. As we approached the boarding house, I observed a gentleman on
horseback close to our door. He looked at me, came up, inquired if my
name was AUDUBON, and on being answered in the affirmative, instantly
leaped from his saddle, shook me most cordially by the hand—there is much
to be expressed and understood by a shake of the hand—and questioned
me in so kind a manner, that I for a while felt doubtful how to reply.
At his urgent desire, I removed to his house, as did my assistants.
Suitable apartments were assigned to us, and once introduced to the
lovely and interesting group that composed his family, I seldom passed
a day without enjoying their society. Servants, carriages, horses, and
dogs, were all at our command, and friends accompanied us to the woods
and plantations, and formed parties for water excursions. Before I left
Charleston, I was truly sensible of the noble and generous spirit of
the hospitable Carolinians.

Having sailed for the Floridas, we, after some delay, occasioned by
adverse winds, put into a harbour near St Simon's Island, where I was so
fortunate as to meet with THOMAS BUTLER KING, Esq. who, after replenishing
our provision-stores, subscribed to the "Birds of America." At length
we were safely landed at St Augustine, and commenced our investigation.
Of my sojourn in Florida, during the winter of 1831-32, you will find
some account in this volume. Returning to Charleston, we passed through
Savannah, respecting my short stay in which city you will also find some
particulars in the sequel. At Charleston we lived with my friend BACHMAN,
and continued our occupations. In the beginning of April, through the
influence of letters from the Honourable LEWIS M'LEAN, of the Treasury
Department, and the prompt assistance of Colonel J. PRINGLE, we went on
board the revenue cutter the "Marion," commanded by ROBERT DAY, Esq.,
to whose friendly attention I am greatly indebted for the success which
I met with in my pursuits, during his cruize along the dangerous coast
of East Florida, and amongst the islets that every where rise from
the surface of the ocean, like gigantic water-lilies. At Indian Key,
the Deputy-Collector, Mr THRUSTON, afforded me important aid; and at
Key West I enjoyed the hospitality of Major GLASSEL, his officers, and
their families, as well as of my friend Dr BENJAMIN STROBEL, and other
inhabitants of that singular island, to all of whom I now sincerely
offer my best thanks for the pleasure which their society afforded me,
and the acquisitions which their ever ready assistance enabled me to make.

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

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

Who that has visited that fair city, has not admired her site, her
universities, her churches, her harbours, the pure morals of her
people, the beautiful country around her, gladdened by glimpses of
villas, each vying with another in neatness and elegance? Who that has
made his pilgrimage to her far-famed Bunker's Hill, entered her not
less celebrated Fanneuil Hall, studied the history of her infancy, her
progress, her indignant patriotism, her bloody strife, and her peaceful
prosperity—that has moreover experienced, as I have done, the beneficence
of her warm-hearted and amiable sons—and not felt his bosom glow with
admiration and love? Think of her ADAMSES, her PERKINS, her EVERETTS, her
PEABODYS, CUSHINGS, QUINCEYS, STOREYS, PAINES, GREENS, TUDORS, DAVISES,
and PICKERINGS, whose public and private life presents all that we deem
estimable, and let them be bright examples of what the citizens of a
free land ought to be. But besides these honourable individuals whom
I have taken the liberty of mentioning, many others I could speak of
with delight, and one I would point out in particular, as he to whom my
deepest gratitude is due, one whom I cannot omit mentioning, because,
of all the good and the estimable, he it is whose remembrance is most
dear to me:—that generous friend is GEORGE PARKMAN.

About the middle of August, we left our Boston friends, on our way
eastward; and, after rambling here and there, came in sight of Moose
Island, on which stands the last frontier town, boldly facing one of
the entrances of the Bay of Fundy. The climate was cold, but the hearts
of the inhabitants of Eastport were warm. One day sufficed to render
me acquainted with all whom I was desirous of knowing. Captain CHILDS,
the commander of the garrison, was most obliging to me, while his wife
shewed the greatest kindness to mine, and the brave officers received
my sons with brotherly feelings. Think, reader, of the true pleasure we
enjoyed when travelling together, and everywhere greeted with so cordial
a welcome, while every facility was afforded me in the prosecution of my
researches. We made excursions into the country around, ransacked the
woods and the shores, and on one occasion had the pleasure of meeting
with a general officer in his Britannic Majesty's service, who, on my
presenting to him the official documents with which I had been honoured
by the Home Department, evinced the greatest desire to be of service to
me. We removed for some weeks to Dennisville, a neat little village,
where the acquaintance of Judge LINCOLN'S family rendered our stay
exceedingly agreeable. We had, besides, the gratification of being joined
by two gentlemen from Boston, one of whom has ever since remained a
true friend to me. Time passed away, and having resolved to explore the
British provinces of New Brunswick, we proceeded to St John's, where we
met with much politeness, and ascending the river of that name, a most
beautiful stream, reached Frederickton, where we spent a week. Here Sir
ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL, Bart. received us with all the urbanity and kindness
of his amiable nature. We then ascended the river to some miles below
the "Great Falls" parallel to Mar's Hill, and again entered the United
States' territory near Woodstock. From this spot we proceeded to Bangor,
on the Penobscot river, as you will find detailed in one of my short
narratives entitled, "A Journey in New Brunswick and Maine."

Soon after our arrival in Boston, my son VICTOR GIFFORD set sail for
England, to superintend the publication of my "Birds of America," and we
resumed our pursuits, making frequent excursions into the surrounding
country. Here I was a witness to the melancholy death of the great
SPURZHEIM, and was myself suddenly attacked by a severe illness, which
greatly alarmed my family; but, thanks to Providence, and my medical
friends PARKMAN, WARREN, and SHATTUCK, I was soon enabled to proceed
with my labours. A sedentary life and too close application being the
cause assigned for my indisposition, I resolved to set out again in
quest of fresh materials for my pencil and pen. My wishes directing
me to Labrador, I returned eastward with my youngest son, and had the
pleasure of being joined by four young gentlemen, all fond of Natural
History, and willing to encounter the difficulties and privations of
the voyage,—GEORGE SHATTUCK, THOMAS LINCOLN, WILLIAM INGALLS, and JOSEPH
COOLEDGE.

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

The next day, favoured by a good breeze, we proceeded at a rapid rate
and passing through the interesting Gut of Cansso, launched into
the broad waters of the Gulf of St Lawrence, and made sail for the
Magdeleine Islands. There we spent a few days, and made several valuable
observations. Proceeding from thence, we came in view of the famous
"Gannet Rock," where countless numbers of Solan Geese sat on their
eggs. A heavy gale coming on, away we sped with reefed sails, towards
the coast of Labrador, which next morning came in view. The wind had by
this time fallen to a moderate breeze, the sky was clear, and every eye
was directed towards the land. As we approached it we perceived what we
supposed to be hundreds of snow-white sails sporting over the waters,
and which we conjectured to be the barks of fishermen; but on nearing
them, we found them to be masses of drifting snow and ice, which filled
every nook and cove of the rugged shores. Our captain had never been on
the coast before, and our pilot proved useless; but the former being a
skilful and sagacious seaman, we proceeded with confidence, and after
passing a group of fishing boats, the occupiers of many of which we had
known at Eastport, we were at length safely anchored in the basin named
"American Harbour," where we found several vessels taking in cured fish.

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

Of the country of Labrador you will find many detached sketches in
this volume, so that for the present it is enough for me to say that
having passed the summer there, we sailed on our return for the United
States, touched at Newfoundland, explored some of its woods and rivers,
and landed at Pictou in Nova Scotia, where we left the Ripley, which
proceeded to Eastport with our collections. While at Pictou, we called
upon Professor MACCULLOCH of the University, who received us in the most
cordial manner, shewed us his superb collections of Northern Birds, and
had the goodness to present me with specimens of skins, eggs, and nests.
He did more still, for he travelled forty miles with us, to introduce us
to some persons of high station in the Province, who gave us letters for
Halifax. There, however, we had the misfortune of finding the individuals
to whom we had introductions absent, and being ourselves pressed for
time, we remained only a day or two, when we resumed our progress.

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

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

From Boston we proceeded to New York, where I obtained a goodly number
of subscribers, and experienced much kindness. My work demanded that
I should spend the winter in the south, and therefore I determined to
set out immediately. I have frequently thought that my success in this
vast undertaking was in part owing to my prompt decision in every thing
relating to it. This decision I owe partly to my father, and partly to
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. We arrived at Charleston in October 1833. At Columbia
I formed an acquaintance with THOMAS COOPER, the learned President of
the College there. Circumstances rendered impracticable my projected
trip to the Floridas, and along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, for
which reason, after spending the winter in keen research, aided by my
friend BACHMAN, I retraced my steps in March, in company with my wife
and son, to New York. At Baltimore, where we spent a week, my friends
Messrs MORRIS, GILMORE, SKINNER, and Drs POTTER, EDMONSTON, GEDDINGS,
and DUCATELL, greatly aided me in augmenting my list of subscribers, as
did also my friend Colonel THEODORE ANDERSON. My best acknowledgments
are offered to these gentlemen for their polite and kind attentions.

Taking a hurried leave of my friends Messrs PRIME, KING, STUVEYSANT,
HARRIS, LANG, RAY, VAN RANSSELAER, LOW, JOSEPH, KRUGER, BUCKNER, CARMAN,
PEAL, COOPER, and the Reverend W. A. DUER, President of the College,
we embarked on board the packet ship the North America, commanded by
that excellent man and experienced seaman Captain CHARLES DIXEY, with
an accession of sixty-two subscribers, and the collections made during
nearly three years of travel and research.

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

Ever anxious to please you, and lay before you the best efforts of
my pencil, I carefully examined all my unpublished drawings before I
departed from England, and since then I have made fresh representations
of more than a hundred objects, which had been painted twenty years or
more previously. On my latter rambles I have not only procured species
not known before, but have also succeeded in obtaining some of those of
which BONAPARTE and WILSON had only met with single specimens. While in
the Floridas and Carolinas, my opportunities of determining the numerous
species of Herons, Ibises, Pigeons, &c. were ample, for I lived among
them, and carefully studied their habits. One motive for my journey to
Labrador was to ascertain the summer plumage and mode of breeding of the
Water Birds, which in spring retire thither for the purpose of rearing
their young in security, far remote from the haunts of man. Besides
accomplishing this object, I also met there with a few species hitherto
undescribed.

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

From my original intention of publishing _all_ the Land Birds first, I
have been induced to deviate, in consequence of letters from my patrons,
requesting that, after the conclusion of the second volume, the Water
Birds should immediately appear. Indeed the various opinions which my
subscribers occasionally express, are not a little perplexing to the
"American Woodsman," ever desirous to please all, and to adhere to
the method proposed at the commencement of the work. In the fourth and
last volume, after the Water Birds, will be represented all that remain
unpublished, or that may in the mean time be discovered, of the Land
Birds. As I cannot, in the fourth volume, proportion the plates in the
same manner as in the other three, the number of large drawings will be
much greater in it: but the _numbers_ will still consist of five plates,
and I trust my patrons will find the same careful delineation as before,
with more perfect engraving and colouring. These last numbers will of
course be much more expensive to me than those in which three of the
plates were small. The fourth volume will conclude with representations
of the eggs of the different species.

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

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

I have spoken to you, kind reader, more than once of my family. Allow
me to introduce them:—my eldest son VICTOR GIFFORD, the younger JOHN
WOODHOUSE.—Of their natural or acquired talents it does not become me to
speak; but should you some day see the "Quadrupeds of America" published
by their united efforts, do not forget that a pupil of DAVID first gave
them lessons in drawing, and that a member of the BAKEWELL family formed
their youthful minds.

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

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

I have in this, as in my preceding volume, followed the nomenclature of
my much valued friend CHARLES LUCIAN BONAPARTE, and this I intend to do
in those which are to come, excepting always those alterations which
I may deem absolutely necessary. It is my intention, at the close, to
present a general table, exhibiting the geographical distribution of the
different species. The order in which the plates have been published,
precluding the possibility of arranging the species in a systematic
manner, it has not been deemed expedient to enter into the critical
remarks as to affinity and grouping, which might otherwise have been
made; but at another period I may offer you my ideas on this interesting
subject.

       *       *       *       *       *

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

     JOHN J. AUDUBON.

     EDINBURGH,           }
     1st December 1834.   }



TABLE OF CONTENTS.


                                                                  Page

     The Raven,                           _Corvus Corax_,            1
     The Blue Jay,                        _Corvus cristatus_,       11
     The Canada Flycatcher,               _Muscicapa canadensis_,   17
     The Chipping Sparrow,                _Fringilla socialis_,     21
     The Red-bellied Nuthatch,            _Sitta canadensis_,       24

     THE RUNAWAY,                                                   27

     The Black Vulture or Carrion Crow,   _Cathartes Jota_,         33
     The Canada Jay,                      _Corvus canadensis_,      53
     The Fox-coloured Sparrow,            _Fringilla iliaca_,       58
     The Savannah Finch,                  _Fringilla Savanna_,      63
     The Hooded Warbler,                  _Sylvia mitrata_,         66

     THE LOST ONE,                                                  69

     The Pileated Woodpecker,             _Picus pileatus_,         74
     The Downy Woodpecker,                _Picus pubescens_,        81
     The Blue Bird,                       _Sylvia Sialis_,          84
     The White-crowned Sparrow,           _Fringilla leucophrys_,   88
     The Wood Pewee,                      _Muscicapa virens_,       93

     THE FORCE OF THE WATERS,                                       97

     The Ferruginous Thrush,              _Turdus rufus_,          102
     The Mississippi Kite,                _Falco plumbeus_,        108
     The Warbling Flycatcher or Vireo,    _Vireo gilvus_,          114
     The Yellow-throated Flycatcher, or
       Vireo,                             _Vireo flavifrons_,      119
     The Pewee Flycatcher,                _Muscicapa fusca_,       122

     THE SQUATTERS OF THE MISSISSIPPI,                             131

     The Snowy Owl,                      _Strix nyctea_,           135
     The Blue Grosbeak,                  _Fringilla cærulea_,      140
     The Black and Yellow Warbler,       _Sylvia maculosa_,        145
     The Green Black-capped Flycatcher,  _Muscicapa Wilsonii_,     148
     The Brown-headed Nuthatch,          _Sitta pusilla_,          151

     THE SQUATTERS OF LABRADOR,                                    154

     The White-headed Eagle,             _Falco leucocephalus_,    160
     The Rose-breasted Grosbeak,         _Fringilla ludoviciana_,  166
     The Cat Bird,                       _Turdus felivox_,         171
     The Great Crested Flycatcher,       _Muscicapa crinita_,      176
     The Yellow-winged Sparrow,          _Fringilla passerina_,    180
     Townsend's Bunting,                 _Emberiza Townsendii_,    183

     DEATH OF A PIRATE,                                            185

     The American Robin, or Migratory
       Thrush,                           _Turdus migratorius_,     190
     The Three-toed Woodpecker,          _Picus tridactylus_,      197
     The Black-poll Warbler,             _Sylvia striata_,         200
     The Hemlock Warbler,                _Sylvia parus_,           205
     The Blackburnian Warbler,           _Sylvia Blackburniæ_,     208

     A BALL IN NEWFOUNDLAND,                                       211

     The Meadow Lark or American
       Starling,                         _Sturnus ludovicianus_,   216
     The Yellow-breasted Chat,           _Icteria viridis_,        223
     The Connecticut Warbler,            _Sylvia agilis_,          227
     The Field Sparrow,                  _Fringilla pusilla_,      229
     The Pine Creeping Warbler,          _Sylvia pinus_,           232

     THE LIVE-OAKERS,                                              236

     The Goshawk,                        _Falco Palumbarius_,      241
     The American Sparrow-hawk,          _Falco Sparverius_,       246
     The Golden-crowned Thrush,          _Turdus aurocapillus_,    253
     The Small Green Crested Flycatcher, _Muscicapa acadica_,      256
     The Yellow Red-poll Warbler,        _Sylvia petechia_,        259

     SPRING GARDEN,                                                263

     The Fish-Crow,                      _Corvus ossifragus_,      268
     The Night-hawk,                    _Caprimulgus virginianus_, 273
     The Pine Swamp Warbler,            _Sylvia sphagnosa_,        279
     The Sharp-tailed Finch,            _Fringilla caudacuta_,     281
     MacGillivray's Finch,              _Fringilla Macgillivraii_, 283
     The Red-eyed Vireo,                _Vireo olivaceus_,         287

     ST JOHN'S RIVER IN FLORIDA,                                   291

     The Turkey Buzzard,                _Cathartes Aura_,          296
     The White-breasted Nuthatch,       _Sitta carolinensis_,      299
     The Yellow-rump Warbler,           _Sylvia coronata_,         303
     The Tennessee Warbler,             _Sylvia peregrina_,        307
     The Black-throated Blue Warbler,   _Sylvia canadensis_,       309

     THE FLORIDA KEYS,                                             312

     The American Crow,                 _Corvus americanus_,       317
     The Rusty Grakle,                  _Quiscalus ferrugineus_,   325
     The Chimney Swallow, or American
       Swift,                           _Cypselus pelasgius_,      329
     The Cardinal Grosbeak,             _Fringilla Cardinalis_,    336
     The Carolina Titmouse,             _Parus carolinensis_,      341

     THE FLORIDA KEYS,                                             345

     The Caracara Eagle,                _Polyborus vulgaris_,      350
     The Zenaida Dove,                  _Columba Zenaida_,         354
     The Yellow Red-Poll Warbler,       _Sylvia petechia_,         360
     The Tawny Thrush,                  _Turdus Wilsonii_,         362
     Bachman's Finch,                   _Fringilla Bachmanii_,     366

     THE TURTLERS,                                                 370

     The Rough-legged Falcon,           _Falco lagopus_,           377
     The Key West Pigeon,               _Columba montana_,         382
     The Fork-tailed Flycatcher,        _Muscicapa savana_,        387
     The Mangrove Cuckoo,               _Coccyzus Seniculus_,      390
     The Pipiry Flycatcher,             _Muscicapa dominicensis_,  392

     THE BURNING OF THE FORESTS,                                   397

     The Barn Owl,                      _Strix flammea_,           403
     The Blue-headed Pigeon,            _Columba cyanocephala_,    411
     The Barn Swallow,                  _Hirundo rustica_,         413
     The Olive-sided Flycatcher,        _Muscicapa Cooperi_,       422
     Nuttall's Short-Billed Marsh Wren, _Troglodytes
                                          brevirostris_,           427

     A MOOSE HUNT,                                                 431

     The Spotted or Canada Grous,       _Tetrao canadensis_,       437
     White-headed Pigeon,               _Columba leucocephala_,    443
     The Orange-crowned Warbler,        _Sylvia celata_,           440
     The Wood Wren,                     _Troglodytes americana_,   452
     The Pine Finch,                    _Fringilla pinus_,         455

     JOURNEY IN NEW BRUNSWICK AND MAINE,                           459

     The Golden Eagle,                  _Falco chrysaëtos_,        464
     The Ground Dove,                   _Columba passerina_,       471
     American Golden-crested Wren,      _Regulus tricolor_,        476
     The Mango Humming Bird,            _Trochilus Mango_,         480
     Bachman's Warbler,                 _Sylvia Bachmanii_,        483

     THE BAY OF FUNDY,                                             485

     The Pinnated Grous,                _Tetrao Cupido_,           490
     The Boat-tailed Grakle or Great
         Crow Blackbird,                _Quiscalus major_,         504
     The Tree Sparrow,                  _Fringilla canadensis_,    511
     The Snow Bunting,                  _Emberiza nivalis_,        515
     The Yellow-bellied Woodpecker,     _Picus varius_,            519

     COD-FISHING,                                                  522

     The Willow Grous,                  _Tetrao Saliceti_,         528
     The Great Cinereous Shrike,        _Lanius Excubitor_,        534
     Lincoln's Finch,                   _Fringilla Lincolnii_,     539
     The Hudson's Bay Titmouse,         _Parus hudsonicus_,        543
     The Ruby-crowned Regulus,          _Regulus Calendula_,       546

     THE MERCHANT OF SAVANNAH,                                     549

     The Iceland or Jer Falcon,         _Falco islandicus_,        552
     The Common Crossbill,              _Loxia curvirostra_,       559
     Swainson's Warbler,                _Sylvia Swainsonii_,       563
     The Little or Acadian Owl,         _Strix acadica_,           567
     The Shore Lark,                    _Alauda alpestris_,        570

     KENTUCKY BARBICUE ON THE FOURTH OF JULY,                      576



ORNITHOLOGICAL BIOGRAPHY.



THE RAVEN.

_CORVUS CORAX_, LINN.

PLATE CI. MALE.


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

There, amid the tall grass of the far-extended prairies of the West, in
the solemn forests of the North, on the heights of the midland mountains,
by the shores of the boundless ocean, and on the bosom of the vast lakes
and magnificent rivers, have I sought to search out the things which have
been hidden since the creation of this wondrous world, or seen only by
the naked Indian, who has, for unknown ages, dwelt in the gorgeous but
melancholy wilderness. Who is the stranger to my own dear country that
can form an adequate conception of the extent of its primeval woods,—of
the glory of those columnar trunks, that for centuries have waved in
the breeze, and resisted the shock of the tempest,—of the vast bays of
our Atlantic coasts, replenished by thousands of streams, differing in
magnitude, as differ the stars that sparkle in the expanse of the pure
heavens,—of the diversity of aspect in our western plains, our sandy
southern shores, interspersed with reedy swamps, and the cliffs that
protect our eastern coasts,—of the rapid currents of the Mexican Gulf,
and the rushing tide streams of the Bay of Fundy,—of our ocean-lakes,
our mighty rivers, our thundering cataracts, our majestic mountains,
rearing their snowy heads into the calm regions of the clear cold sky?
Would that I could delineate to you the varied features of that loved
land! But, unwilling, as I always am, to attempt the description of
objects beyond my comprehension, you will, I hope, allow me to tell you
all that I know of those which I have admired in youth, and studied in
manhood,—for the acquisition of which I have braved the enervating heats
of the south, and the cramping colds of the north, penetrated the tangled
cane-swamp, thrid the dubious trail of the silent forest, paddled my
frail canoe in the creeks of the marshy shore, and swept in my gallant
bark o'er the swelling waves of the ocean. And now, Kind Reader, let me
resume my descriptions, and proceed towards the completion of a task
which, with reverence would I say it, seems to have been imposed upon
me by Him who called me into existence.

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

There, through the clear and rarified atmosphere, the Raven spreads
his glossy wings and tail, and, as he onward sails, rises higher and
higher each bold sweep that he makes, as if conscious that the nearer
he approaches the sun, the more splendent will become the tints of his
plumage. Intent on convincing his mate of the fervour and constancy of
his love, he now gently glides beneath her, floats in the buoyant air,
or sails by her side. Would that I could describe to you, reader, the
many musical inflections by means of which they hold converse during
these amatory excursions! These sounds doubtless express their pure
conjugal feelings, confirmed and rendered more intense by long years of
happiness in each other's society. In this manner they may recall the
pleasing remembrance of their youthful days, recount the events of their
life, express the pleasure they have enjoyed, and perhaps conclude with
humble prayer to the Author of their being for a continuation of it.

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

All around is now silent, save the hoarse murmur of the waves, or the
whistling sounds produced by the flight of the waterfowl travelling
towards the northern regions. At length the young burst the shell, when
the careful parents, after congratulating each other on the happy event,
disgorge some half-macerated food, which they deposit in their tender
mouths. Should the most daring adventurer of the air approach, he is
attacked with fury and repelled. As the young grow up, they are urged to
be careful and silent:—a single false movement might precipitate them
into the abyss below; a single cry during the absence of their parents
might bring upon them the remorseless claws of the swift Peregrine or
Jerfalcon. The old birds themselves seem to improve in care, diligence,
and activity, varying their course when returning to their home, and often
entering it when unexpected. The young are now seen to stand on the edge
of the nest; they flap their wings, and at length take courage and fly
to some more commodious and not distant lodgment. Gradually they become able
to follow their parents abroad, and at length search for maintenance in
their company, and that of others, until the period of breeding arrives,
when they separate in pairs, and disperse.

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

The flight of the Raven is powerful, even, and at certain periods greatly
protracted. During calm and fair weather it often ascends to an immense
height, sailing there for hours at a time; and although it cannot be
called swift, it propels itself with sufficient power to enable it
to contend with different species of hawks, and even with eagles when
attacked by them. It manages to guide its course through the thickest
fogs of the countries of the north, and is able to travel over immense
tracts of land or water without rest.

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

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

The Raven may be said to be of a social disposition, for, after the
breeding season, flocks of forty, fifty, or more, may sometimes be
seen, as I observed on the coast of Labrador, and on the Missouri. When
domesticated, and treated with kindness, it becomes attached to its owner,
and will follow him about with all the familiarity of a confiding friend.
It is capable of imitating the human voice, so that individuals have
sometimes been taught to enunciate a few words with great distinctness.

On the ground the Raven walks in a stately manner, its motions exhibiting
a kind of thoughtful consideration, almost amounting to gravity. While
walking it frequently moves up its wings as if to keep their muscles in
action. I never knew an instance of their roosting in the woods, although
they frequently alight on trees, to which they sometimes resort for the
purpose of procuring nuts and other fruits. They usually betake themselves
at night to high rocks, in situations protected from the northerly
winds. Possessing to all appearance the faculty of judging of the coming
weather, they remove from the higher, wild and dreary districts where
they breed, into the low lands, at the approach of winter, when they
are frequently seen along the shores of the sea, collecting the garbage
that has been cast to land, or picking up the shell-fish as the tide
retires. They are vigilant, industrious, and, when the safety of their
young or nest is at stake, courageous, driving away hawks and eagles
whenever they happen to come near, although in no case do they venture
to attack man. Indeed, it is extremely difficult to get within shot of
an old Raven. I have more than once been only a few yards from one while
it was sitting on its eggs, having attained this proximity by creeping
cautiously to the overhanging edge of a precipice; but the moment the
bird perceived me, it would fly off apparently in much confusion. They
are so cunning and wary, that they can seldom be caught in a trap; and
they will watch one intended for a fox, a wolf, or a bear, until one of
these animals comes up, and is taken, when they will go to it and eat
the alluring bait.

While at Little Macatina Harbour, on the coast of Labrador, in July
1833, I saw a Raven's nest placed under the shelvings of the rugged and
fearful rocks that form one side of that singular place. The young were
nearly fledged, and now and then called loudly to their parents, as if
to inquire why our vessel had come there. One of them in attempting to
fly away fell into the water. It was secured, when I trimmed one of its
wings, and turned it loose on the deck along with some other birds. The
mother, however, kept sailing high over the schooner, repeating some
notes, which it seems the young one understood, for it walked carefully
to the end of the bowsprit, opened its wings, and tried to fly, but
being unable, fell into the water and was drowned. In a few days the
rest of the family left the place, and we saw no more of them. Some
of the sailors who had come to the harbour eight years in succession,
assured me that they had always observed the Ravens breeding there. My
whole party found it impossible to shoot one of the old ones, who went
to the nest and left it with so much caution, that the task of watching
them became irksome. One afternoon I concealed myself under a pile of
detached rocks for more than two hours. The young frequently croaked as I
was waiting there, but no parent came; so I left the place, but the next
moment the female was seen from the deck of the Ripley. She alighted in
the nest, fed her young, and was off again before I could reach within
shooting distance. It was at this place that I observed how singularly
well those birds could travel to and from their nest, at a time when I
could not, on account of the fog, see them on wing at a greater distance
than twenty or thirty yards. On the 29th of the same month, young Ravens
were seen in flocks with their parents; but they were already very shy.

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

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

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

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

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


     CORVUS CORAX, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 155.—_Lath._ Ind.
     Ornith. vol. i. p. 150.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 56.—_Swains. and Richards._ Fauna
     Boreali-Americ. part ii. p. 290.—_Lath._ Gen. Synops. vol. i.
     p. 367.

     RAVEN, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. ix. p. 113. pl. 75. fig. 3.
     —_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 202.


Old Male. Plate CI.

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

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

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

Length 26 inches, extent of wings 50; beak along the ridge 3, along the
gap 3¼; tarsus 2¼, middle toe 2¾.

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

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


THE THICK SHELL-BARK HICKORY.

     JUGLANS SULCATA, _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 637.—J.
     LACINIOSA, _Mich._ Arbr. Forest. de l'Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 199.
     pl. 8.—MONŒCIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._ TEREBINTHACEÆ, _Juss._

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



THE BLUE JAY.

_CORVUS CRISTATUS_, LINN.

PLATE CII. MALE AND FEMALE.


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

The Blue Jay is one of those birds that are found capable of subsisting
in cold as well as in warm climates. It occurs as far north as the
Canadas, where it makes occasional attacks upon the corn cribs of the
farmers, and it is found in the most southern portions of the United
States, where it abounds during the winter. Every where it manifests
the same mischievous disposition. It imitates the cry of the Sparrow
Hawk so perfectly, that the little birds in the neighbourhood hurry into
the thick coverts, to avoid what they believe to be the attack of that
marauder. It robs every nest it can find, sucks the eggs like the crow,
or tears to pieces and devours the young birds. A friend once wounded a
Grous (_Tetrao umbellus_), and marked the direction which it followed, but
had not proceeded two hundred yards in pursuit, when he heard something
fluttering in the bushes, and found his bird belaboured by two Blue
Jays, who were picking out its eyes. The same person once put a Flying
Squirrel into the cage of one of these birds, merely to preserve it for
one night; but on looking into the cage about eleven o'clock next day,
he found the animal partly eaten. A Blue Jay at Charleston destroyed
all the birds of an aviary. One after another had been killed, and the
rats were supposed to have been the culprits, but no crevice could be
seen large enough to admit one. Then the mice were accused, and war was
waged against them, but still the birds continued to be killed; first
the smaller, then the larger, until at length the Keywest Pigeons; when
it was discovered that a Jay which had been raised in the aviary was
the depredator. He was taken out, and placed in a cage, with a quantity
of corn, flour and several small birds which he had just killed. The
birds he soon devoured, but the flour he would not condescend to eat,
and refusing every other kind of food soon died. In the north, it is
particularly fond of ripe chestnuts, and in visiting the trees is sure
to select the choicest. When these fail, it attacks the beech nuts,
acorns, pears, apples, and green corn.

While at Louisville, in Kentucky, in the winter of 1830, I purchased
twenty-five of these birds, at the rate of 6¼ cents each, which I shipped
to New Orleans, and afterwards to Liverpool, with the view of turning
them out in the English woods. They were caught in common traps, baited
with maize, and were brought to me one after another as soon as secured.
In placing them in the large cage which I had ordered for the purpose
of sending them abroad, I was surprised to see how cowardly each newly
caught bird was when introduced to his brethren, who, on being in the
cage a day or two, were as gay and frolicksome as if at liberty in the
woods. The new comer, on the contrary, would run into a corner, place
his head almost in a perpendicular position, and remain silent and
sulky, with an appearance of stupidity quite foreign to his nature. He
would suffer all the rest to walk over him and trample him down, without
ever changing his position. If corn or fruit was presented to him, or
even placed close to his bill, he would not so much as look at it. If
touched with the hand, he would cower, lie down on his side, and remain
motionless. The next day, however, things were altered: he was again
a Jay, taking up corn, placing it between his feet, hammering it with
his bill, splitting the grain, picking out the kernel, and dropping the
divided husks. When the cage was filled, it was amusing to listen to their
hammering; all mounted on their perch side by side, each pecking at a
grain of maize, like so many blacksmiths paid by the piece. They drank a
great deal, eat broken pacan nuts, grapes, dried fruits of all sorts, and
especially fresh beef, of which they were extremely fond, roosted very
peaceably close together, and were very pleasing pets. Now and then one
would utter a cry of alarm, when instantly all would leap and fly about
as if greatly concerned, making as much ado as if their most inveterate
enemy had been in the midst of them. They bore the passage to Europe
pretty well, and most of them reached Liverpool in good health; but a
few days after their arrival, a disease occasioned by insects adhering
to every part of their body, made such progress that some died every
day. Many remedies were tried in vain, and only one individual reached
London. The insects had so multiplied on it, that I immersed it in an
infusion of tobacco, which, however, killed it in a few hours.

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

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

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

This species breeds in all parts of the United States, from Louisiana
to Maine, and from the Upper Missouri to the coast of the Atlantic. In
South Carolina it seems to prefer for this purpose the live oak trees.
In the lower parts of the Floridas it gives place in a great measure to
the Florida Jay; nor did I meet with a single individual in the Keys of
that peninsula. In Louisiana, it breeds near the planter's house, in the
upper parts of the trees growing in the avenues, or even in the yards,
and generally at a greater height than in the Middle States, where it is
comparatively shy. It sometimes takes possession of the old or abandoned
nest of a Crow or Cuckoo. In the Southern States, from Louisiana to
Maryland, it breeds twice every year; but to the eastward of the latter
State seldom more than once. Although it occurs in all places from the
sea shore to the mountainous districts, it seems more abundant in the
latter. The nest is composed of twigs and other coarse materials, lined
with fibrous roots. The eggs are four or five, of a dull olive colour,
spotted with brown.

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

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

As if for the purpose of gleaning the country in this manner, the Blue
Jay migrates from one part to another during the day only. A person
travelling or hunting by night, may now and then disturb the repose of a
Jay, which in its terror sounds an alarm that is instantly responded to
by all its surrounding travelling companions, and their multiplied cries
make the woods resound far and near. While migrating, they seldom fly
to any great distance at a time without alighting, for like true rangers
they ransack and minutely inspect every portion of the woods, the fields,
the orchards, and even the gardens of the farmers and planters. Always
exceedingly garrulous, they may easily be followed to any distance,
and the more they are chased the more noisy do they become, unless a
hawk happen to pass suddenly near them, when they are instantly struck
dumb, and, as if ever conscious of deserving punishment, either remain
motionless for a while, or sneak off silently into the closest thickets,
where they remain concealed as long as their dangerous enemy is near.

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


     CORVUS CRISTATUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 157.—_Lath._
     Synops. vol. i. p. 386.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 58.

     GARRULUS CRISTATUS, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna
     Boreali-Americ. part ii. p. 293.

     BLUE JAY, CORVUS CRISTATUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 2.
     pl. i. fig. 1.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 224.


Adult Male. Plate CII. Fig. 1.

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

Plumage soft, blended, glossy. A tuft of reflected, adpressed, bristly
feathers over the nostril on each side. Feathers of the head elongated,
and erectile into a tuft. Wings short, first quill very short, fourth
and fifth longest. Tail much rounded or wedge-shaped at the extremity,
rather long, of twelve rounded feathers.

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

Length 12 inches, extent of wings 14; bill ⅞; tarsus 1-2/12, middle toe
nearly the same.


Adult Female. Plate CII. Fig. 2, 3.

The female scarcely differs in appearance from the male, being merely
somewhat smaller, with the blue of the upper parts less rich, and the
breast more tinged with brown.


THE TRUMPET-FLOWER.

     BIGNONIA RADICANS, _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 420.

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



THE CANADA FLYCATCHER.

_MUSCICAPA CANADENSIS_, LINN.

PLATE CIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


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

A comparison of the plate in which I have represented this interesting
species, with that exhibiting the bird named by me the Bonaparte
Flycatcher,[1] will suffice to convince you, good reader, that these
birds are truly distinct. My excellent friend Mr WILLIAM SWAINSON, is
quite correct, when, after describing the present species, he says, "we
can perceive no character, either in the figure or the description of
WILSON, which does not accord with our bird," but is certainly mistaken
in supposing me to have informed him that the Canada Flycatcher and that
named after the Prince of Musignano, are one and the same[2].

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

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

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

The nest of this bird which I found, was filled to the brim with four
young ones ready to take wing; and as it was on the 11th of August,
I concluded that the parents had reared another brood that season.
When I put my hand on them, they all left the nest and scrambled off,
emitting a plaintive _tsche_, which immediately brought the old ones.
Notwithstanding all the anxious cares of the latter in assisting them to
hide, I procured all of them; but after examining each minutely I set
them at liberty. They were of a dull greyish tint above, of a delicate
citron colour beneath, and without any spots on the breast or sides. The
nest was placed in the fork of a small branch of laurel, not above four
feet from the ground, and resembled that of the Black-capped Warbler.
The outer parts were formed of several sorts of mosses, supporting a
delicate bed of slender grasses, carefully disposed in a circular form,
and lined with hair. In another nest found near Eastport, in the State
of Maine, on the 22d of May, five eggs had been laid, and the female was
sitting on them. They were of a transparent whiteness, with a few dots
of a bright red colour towards the large end. This nest also was placed
in the fork of a small bush, and immediately over a rivulet.

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


     MUSCICAPA CANADENSIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 327.

     SYLVIA PARDALINA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 79.

     SETOPHAGA BONAPARTII, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna
     Boreali-Americana, part ii. p. 225.

     CANADA FLYCATCHER, MUSCICAPA CANADENSIS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. iii. p. 100. Pl. 26. fig. 2. Male.


Adult Male. Plate CIII. Fig. 1.

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

Plumage ordinary, blended. Wings of ordinary length, the second primary
longest. Tail rather long, slightly emarginate, straight. Basirostral
feathers bristly, and directed outwards.

Bill pale brown above, flesh-coloured below. Iris deep brown. Feet
and claws flesh-coloured and semitransparent. The upper parts are of a
light brownish-grey, the quills brown edged externally with paler, as
are the tail-feathers, except the two middle, which are grey like the
back. The head mottled with brownish-black; spots of the same colour,
descending in a line from the lower mandible to the upper part of the
breast, forming an interrupted gorgelet. A bright yellow line from the
base of the mandible over the eye. The lower parts of a fine bright
yellow, excepting under the tail, where they are white.

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 9; bill ⅜; tarsus ⅞, toe about the
same length.


Adult Female. Pl. CIII. Fig. 2.

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


THE GREAT LAUREL.

     RHODODENDRON MAXIMUM, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 600.
     —_Pursh_, Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 297.—DECANDRIA MONOGYNIA,
     _Linn._—RHODODENDRA, _Juss._

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



THE CHIPPING SPARROW.

_FRINGILLA SOCIALIS_, WILS.

PLATE CIV. MALE.


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

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

The song of this species, if song it can with propriety be called, is
heard at all hours of the day, the bird seeming determined to make up by
quantity for defect in the quality of its notes. Mounted on the topmost
branch of any low tree or bush, or on the end of a fence stake, it emits
with rapidity six or seven notes resembling the sounds produced by smartly
striking two pebbles together, each succeeding note rising in strength,
although the song altogether is scarcely louder than the chirping of a
cricket. It is often heard during the calm of a fine night, or in the
warmer days of winter.

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

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

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


     FRINGILLA SOCIALIS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. p. 109.

     CHIPPING SPARROW, FRINGILLA SOCIALIS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. ii. p. 127. Pl. 16. Fig. 5.—_Nuttall_, Manual, vol. i.
     p. 497.


Adult male. Plate CIV.

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

Plumage soft, rather compact. Wings shortish, curved, rounded, the third
and fourth quills longest, the second nearly as long, the first little
shorter. Tail rather long, emarginate.

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

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 8; bill little more than ¼.

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


THE BLACK LOCUST OR FALSE ACACIA.

     ROBINIA PSEUDACACIA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iii. p. 1131.
     _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 487.—DIADELPHIA DECANDRIA,
     _Linn._ LEGUMINOSÆ, _Juss._

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



THE RED-BELLIED NUTHATCH.

_SITTA CANADENSIS_, LINN.

PLATE CV. MALE AND FEMALE.


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

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

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

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

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

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


     SITTA CANADENSIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 177.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. p. 262.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synopsis of Birds of
     the United States, p. 96.

     RED-BELLIED BLACK-CAP NUTHATCH, SITTA CANADENSIS, _Wilson_,
     Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 40. Pl. 2. fig. 4.—_Nuttall_, Manual,
     vol. i. p. 583.


Adult Male. Plate CV. Fig. 1.

Bill straight, of moderate length, very hard, conico-subulate, a little
compressed, more or less wedge-shaped at the tip; upper mandible with the
dorsal outline very slightly arched, the edges sharp towards the point;
lower mandible smaller, of equal length, straight. Nostrils basal, round,
half-closed by a membrane, partially covered by the frontal feathers.
The general form is short and compact. Feet rather strong, the hind toe
stout, with a strong hooked claw; the claws arched, compressed, acute.

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

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

Length 4½ inches; extent of wings 8; bill along the ridge 5/12; gap-line
7/12.


Adult Female. Plate CV. Fig. 2.

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



THE RUNAWAY.


Never shall I forget the impression made on my mind by the _rencontre_
which forms the subject of this article, and I even doubt if the relation
of it will not excite in that of my reader emotions of varied character.

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

Scarcely had I stood erect on the opposite bank, when my dog ran to
me, exhibiting marks of terror, his eyes seeming ready to burst from
their sockets, and his mouth grinning with the expression of hatred,
while his feelings found vent in a stifled growl. Thinking that all
this was produced by the scent of a wolf or bear, I stooped to take
up my gun, when a stentorial voice commanded me to "stand still, or
die!" Such a "_qui vive_" in these woods was as unexpected as it was
rare. I instantly raised and cocked my gun; and although I did not yet
perceive the individual who had thus issued so peremptory a mandate, I
felt determined to combat with him for the free passage of the grounds.
Presently a tall firmly-built Negro emerged from the bushy underwood,
where, until that moment, he must have been crouched, and in a louder
voice repeated his injunction. Had I pressed a trigger, his life would
have instantly terminated; but observing that the gun, which he aimed
at my breast, was a wretched rusty piece, from which fire could not
readily be produced, I felt little fear, and therefore did not judge it
necessary to proceed at once to extremities. I laid my gun at my side,
tapped my dog quietly, and asked the man what he wanted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On a stormy night, when the elements raged with all the fury of a
hurricane, the poor negro made his escape, and, being well acquainted
with all the neighbouring swamps, at once made directly for the cane
brake, in the centre of which I found his camp. A few nights afterwards
he gained the abode of his wife, and the very next after their meeting
he led her away. The children one after another he succeeded in stealing,
until at last the whole objects of his love were under his care.

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

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

Day broke so fair, so pure, and so gladdening, that I told them such
heavenly appearances were ominous of good, and that I scarcely doubted of
obtaining their full pardon. I desired them to take their children with
them, and promised to accompany them to the plantation of their first
master. They gladly obeyed. My Ibises were hung around their camp, and,
as a memento of my having been there, I notched several trees, after
which I bade adieu, perhaps for the last time, to that cane brake. We
soon reached the plantation, the owner of which, with whom I was well
acquainted, received me with all the generous kindness of a Louisiana
planter. Ere an hour had elapsed, the Runaway and his family were looked
upon as his own. He afterwards repurchased them from their owners, and
treated them with his former kindness; so that they were rendered as
happy as slaves generally are in that country, and continued to cherish
that attachment to each other which had led to their adventures. Since
this event happened, it has, I have been informed, become illegal to
separate slave families without their consent.



THE BLACK VULTURE OR CARRION CROW.

_CATHARTES JOTA_, BONAP.

PLATE CVI. MALE AND FEMALE.


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

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

This power of smelling so acutely I adopted as a fact from my youth.
I had read of this when a child; and many of the theorists, to whom I
subsequently spoke of it, repeated the same with enthusiasm, the more
particularly as they considered it an extraordinary gift of nature. But
I had already observed, that nature, although wonderfully bountiful,
had not granted more to any one individual than was necessary, and that
no one was possessed of any two of the senses in a very high state of
perfection; that if it had a good scent, it needed not so much acuteness
of sight, and _vice versa_. When I visited the Southern States, and
had lived, as it were, amongst these Vultures for several years, and
discovered thousands of times that they did not smell me when I approached
them, covered by a tree, until within a few feet; and that when so near,
or at a greater distance, I shewed myself to them, they instantly flew
away much frightened; the idea evaporated, and I assiduously engaged in
a series of experiments, to prove to _myself_, at least, how far this
acuteness of smell existed, or if it existed at all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

These the young Vultures could tear to pieces by putting both feet on
the body, and applying the bill with great force. So accustomed to my
going towards them were they in a few days, that when I approached the
cage with hands filled with game for them, they immediately began hissing
and gesticulating very much like young pigeons, and putting their bills
to each other, as if expecting to be fed mutually, as their parent had
done.

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

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

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

Whilst I had these two young vultures in confinement, an extraordinary
occurrence took place respecting an old bird of the same kind, which I
cannot help relating to you. This bird, sailing over the yard, whilst
I was experimenting with the pole and squirrels, saw the food, and
alighted on the roof of one of the outhouses; then alighted on the
ground, walked directly to the cage, and attempted to reach the food
within. I approached it carefully, and it hopped off a short distance;
as I retired, it returned, when always the appearances of the strongest
congratulations would take place from the young towards this new comer.
I directed several young negroes to drive it gently towards the stable,
and to try to make it go in there. This would not do; but, after a short
time, I helped to drive it into that part of the _gin-house_ where the
cotton seeds are deposited, and there caught it. I easily discovered
that the bird was so emaciated, that to this state of poverty only I
owed my success. I put it in with the young, who both at once jumped
about him, making most extraordinary gestures of welcome, whilst the
old bird, quite discomfited at his confinement, lashed both with great
violence with his bill. Fearing the death of the young, I took them
out, and fed plentifully the old bird; his appetite had become so great
through fasting, that he ate too much, and died of suffocation.

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

Vultures are gregarious, and often associate in flocks of twenty, forty,
or more;—hunting thus together, they fly in sight of each other, and
thus cover an immense extent of country. A flock of twenty may easily
survey an area of two miles, as they go turning in large circles, often
intersecting each other in their lines, as if forming a vast chain
of rounded links;—some are high, whilst others are low;—not a spot is
passed unseen, and, consequently, the moment that a prey is discovered,
the favoured bird rounds to, and, by the impetuosity of its movements,
gives notice to its nearest companion, who immediately follows him,
and is successively attended by all the rest. Thus the farthest from
the discoverer being at a considerable distance, sails in a direct line
towards the spot indicated to him by the flight of the others, who all
have gone in a straight course before him, with the appearance of being
impelled by this extraordinary power of smelling, so erroneously granted
to them. If the object discovered is large, lately dead, and covered with
a skin too tough to be eaten and torn asunder, and affords free scope to
their appetites, they remain about it, and in the neighbourhood. Perched
on high dead limbs, in such conspicuous positions, they are easily seen by
other Vultures, who, through habit, know the meaning of such stoppages,
and join the first flock, going also directly, and affording further
evidence to those persons who are satisfied with appearance only. In
this manner I have seen several hundreds of Vultures and Carrion Crows
assembled near a dead ox at the dusk of evening, that had only two or
three about it in the morning; when some of the later comers had probably
travelled hundreds of miles searching diligently themselves for food,
and probably would have had to go much farther, had they not espied this
association.

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

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

The repast finished, each bird gradually rises to the highest branches
of the nearest trees, and remains there until the full digestion of all
the food they have swallowed is completed; from time to time opening
their wings to the breeze, or to the sun, either to cool or to warm
themselves. The traveller may then pass under them unnoticed; or, if
regarded, a mere sham of flying off is made. The bird slowly recloses
its wings, looks at the person as he passes, and remains there until
hunger again urges him onwards. This takes often times more than a day,
when gradually, and very often singly, each vulture is seen to depart.

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

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

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

During one of those heavy _gusts_ that so often take place in Louisiana,
in the early part of summer, I saw a flock of these birds, which had
undoubtedly discovered that the current of air that was tearing all over
them, was a mere sheet, raise themselves obliquely against it, with great
force, slide through its impetuous current, and reassume _above_ it, their
elegant movements. The power given to them by nature of discerning the
approaching death of a wounded animal, is truly remarkable. They will
watch each individual thus assailed by misfortune, and follow it with
keen perseverance, until the loss of life has rendered it their prey. A
poor old emaciated horse or ox, a deer mired on the margin of the lake,
where the timid animal has resorted to escape flies and musquitoes, so
fatiguing in summer, is seen in distress with exultation by the Buzzard.
He immediately alights; and, if the animal does not extricate itself,
waits and gorges in peace on as much of the flesh as the nature of the
spot will allow. They do more: they often watch the young kid, the lamb
and the pig issuing from the mother's womb, and attack it with direful
success; yet, notwithstanding this, they frequently pass over a healthy
horse, hog, or other animal, lying as if dead, basking in the sunshine,
without even altering their course in the least. Judge then, my dear
Sir, how well they must see.

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

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

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

I do not think that the vultures thus attached to cities are so much
inclined to multiply as those more constantly resident in the forests,
perceiving the diminution of number during the breeding season, and
having remarked that many individuals known to me by particular marks
made on them, and a _special cast of countenance_, were positively
constant residents of town. The _Vultur Aura_ is by no means so numerous
as the _atratus_. I have seldom seen more than from twenty-five to thirty
together; when, on the contrary, the latter are frequently associated
to the number of an hundred.

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

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

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

If approached at that time by a stranger or enemy, they hiss with a noise
resembling that made by a strangling cat or fox, swell themselves, and
hop sideways as fast as in their power. The parents, while sitting, and
equally disturbed, act in the same manner; fly only a very short distance,
waiting there the departure of the offender, to resume their duty. As
the young grow larger, the parents simply throw their food before them;
and, with all their exertions, seldom bring their offspring fat to the
field. Their nests become so fetid, before the final departure of the
young birds, that a person forced to remain there half an hour would be
in danger of suffocation.

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

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

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


The above account of my experiments was read on the 16th day of December
1826, and was what I may call my "maiden speech." Well do I remember the
uneasy feelings which I experienced: the audience was large, and composed
of many of the most distinguished men of that enlightened country. My
paper was a long one; and it contradicted all former opinions on the
subject under discussion; yet the cheering appearance of kindness which
every where met my eye, as I occasionally glanced around, gradually
dispelled my uneasiness, and brought me to a state of confidence. The
reading of the paper being at length accomplished, I was congratulated by
the President, as well as by every member present. Many questions were
put to me, all of which I answered as well as I could. My esteemed and
learned friend, Professor JAMESON, requested permission to publish my
paper in his valuable journal, which I most readily granted. Strolling
homeward, I felt proud that I had at last broken the charm by which
men had so long been held in ignorance respecting the history of our
Vultures, assured that the breach which I had made upon a general and
deeply rooted opinion, must gradually dissolve it, as well as many other
absurdities which have for ages infested science, like the vile grub
beneath the bark of the noblest forest tree, retarding its growth, until
happily removed by the constant hammerings of the industrious Woodpecker!

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

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

There were two points in particular on which the veracity of AUDUBON
had been assailed, _1st_, Whether the Vultures feed on fresh or putrid
flesh, and, _2d_, Whether they are attracted to their food by the eye
or scent.

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

_2d_, Whether is the Vulture attracted to its food by the sense of smell
or sight? A number of experiments were tried to satisfy us on this head,
and all led to the same result. A few of these I proceed to detail.

_1st_, A dead Hare (_Lepus timidus_), a Pheasant (_Phasianus colchicus_),
a Kestrel (_Falco Tinnunculus_), a recent importation from Europe,
together with a wheel-barrow full of offal from the slaughter-pens, were
deposited on the ground, at the foot of my garden. A frame was raised
above it at the distance of 12 inches from the earth; this was covered
with brushwood, allowing the air to pass freely beneath it, so as to
convey the effluvium far and wide; and although 25 days have now gone
by, and the flesh has become offensive, not a single Vulture appears to
have observed it, though hundreds have passed over it, and some very
near it, in search of their daily food. Although the Vultures did not
discover this dainty mess, the dogs in the vicinity, who appeared to
have better olfactory nerves, frequently visited the place, and gave us
much trouble in the prosecution of our experiments.

_2d_, I now suggested an experiment which would enable us to test the
inquiry whether the Vulture would be attracted to an object by the sight
alone. A coarse painting on canvass was made, representing a sheep skinned
and cut open. This proved very amusing;—no sooner was this picture placed
on the ground, than the Vultures observed it, alighted near, walked over
it, and some of them commenced tugging at the painting. They seemed much
disappointed and surprised, and after having satisfied their curiosity,
flew away. This experiment was repeated more than fifty times, with the
same result. The painting was then placed within fifteen feet of the
place where the offal was deposited; they came as usual, walked around
it, but in no instance, evinced the slightest symptoms of their having
scented the offal which was so near him.

_3d_, The most offensive portions of the offal were now placed on the
earth; these were covered over by a thin canvass cloth; on this were
strewed several pieces of fresh beef. The Vultures came, ate the flesh
that was in sight, and although they were standing on a quantity beneath
them, and although their bills were frequently within the eighth of an
inch of this putrid matter, they did not discover it. We made a small
rent in the canvass, and they at once discovered the flesh, and began to
devour it. We drove them away, replaced the canvass with a piece that
was entire; again they commenced eating the fresh pieces exhibited to
their view, without discovering the hidden food they were trampling upon.

_4th_, The medical gentlemen who were present made a number of experiments
to test the absurdity of a story, widely circulated in the United States,
through the newspapers, that the eye of the Vulture, when perforated,
and the sight extinguished, would in a few minutes be restored, in
consequence of his placing his head under his wing, the down of which was
said to renew his sight. The eyes were perforated; I need not add, that
although they were refilled, and had the appearance of rotundity, yet
the bird became blind, and that it was beyond the power of the healing
art to restore his lost sight. His life was, however, preserved, by
occasionally putting food in his mouth. In this situation they placed him
in a small out-house, hung the flesh of the hare (which had now become
offensive) within his reach; nay, they frequently placed it within an
inch of his nostrils, but the bird gave no evidence of any knowledge
that his favourite food was so near him. This was repeated from time to
time during an interval of twenty-four days (the period of his death),
with the same results.

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


As my humble name can scarcely be known to many of those into whose
hands this communication may fall, I have thought proper to obtain the
signature of some of the gentlemen who aided me in, or witnessed these
experiments; and I must also add, that there was not an individual
among the crowd of persons who came to judge for themselves, who did not
coincide with those who have given their signatures to this certificate.

"We the subscribers, having witnessed the experiments made on the habits
of the Vultures of Carolina (_Cathartes Aura_ and _Cathartes Jota_),
commonly called Turkey Buzzard and Carrion Crow, feel assured that they
devour fresh as well as putrid food of any kind, and that they are guided
to their food altogether through their sense of sight, and not that of
smell.

     ROBERT HENRY, A.M., President of the College of South Carolina.

     JOHN WAGNER, M.D., Prof. of Surg. at the Med. Col. State So. Car.

     HENRY R. FROST, M.D., Pro. Mat. Med. Col. State So. Car.

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

     B. B. STROBEL, M.D.

     MARTIN STROBEL."


It now remains for me to present you with an account of those habits
of the Black Vulture which have not been described above. This bird
is a constant resident in all our Southern States, extends far up the
Mississippi, and continues the whole year in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois,
and even in the State of Ohio as far as Cincinnati. Along the Atlantic
coast, it is, I believe, rarely seen farther east than Maryland. It
seems to give a preference to maritime districts, or the neighbourhood
of water. Although shy in the woods, it is half domesticated in and
about our cities and villages, where it finds food without the necessity
of using much exertion. Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, Natchez,
and other cities, are amply provided with these birds, which may be
seen flying or walking about the streets the whole day in groups. They
also regularly attend the markets and shambles, to pick up the pieces
of flesh thrown away by the butchers, and, when an opportunity occurs,
leap from one bench to another, for the purpose of helping themselves.
Hundreds of them are usually found, at all hours of the day, about the
slaughter-houses, which are their favourite resort. They alight on the
roofs and chimney-tops, wherever these are not guarded by spikes or
pieces of glass, which, however, they frequently are, for the purpose
of preventing the contamination by their ordure of the rain water, which
the inhabitants of the Southern States collect in tanks, or cisterns, for
domestic use. They follow the carts loaded with offal or dead animals,
to the places in the suburbs where these are deposited, and wait the
skinning of a cow or horse, when in a few hours they devour its flesh,
in the company of the dogs, which are also accustomed to frequent such
places. On these occasions, they fight with each other, leap about and
tug in all the hurry and confusion imaginable, uttering a harsh sort of
hiss or grunt, which may be heard at a distance of several hundred yards.
Should eagles make their appearance at such a juncture, the Carrion
Crows retire, and patiently wait until their betters are satisfied, but
they pay little regard to the dogs. When satiated, they rise together,
should the weather be fair, mount high in the air, and perform various
evolutions, flying in large circles, and alternately plunging and rising,
until they at length move off in a straight direction, or alight on the
dead branches of trees, where they spread out their wings and tail to
the sun or the breeze. In cold and wet weather they assemble round the
chimney-tops, to receive the warmth imparted by the smoke. I never heard
of their disgorging their food on such occasions, that being never done
unless when they are feeding their young, or when suddenly alarmed or
caught. In that case, they throw up the contents of their stomach with
wonderful quickness and power.

No law exists for the protection of this or the other species, their
usefulness alone affording them security in the Southern States, although
the people generally speak of a law with the view of preventing them from
being molested. As to their propensity to attack live animals, at least
those in a sickly state, although I could adduce numerous instances, it
will suffice to produce the following attestations:—


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

     PAUL S. H. LEE.
     STILES RIVERS.
     L. WITSELL.
     THOS. RIGGS.
     THOS. W. BOONE.
     MALACHI FORD.
     L. S. FISHBURNE.

     SAINT BARTHOLOMEW PARISH, _Colleton District,
     32 miles from Charleston_, _25th Jan. 1834_."


"I hereby certify, that some years ago—I cannot specify the precise
time, but have a perfect recollection of the fact—I saw a horse lying on
the common, about half-a-mile from the city of Charleston, surrounded
by a number of Buzzards, apparently feeding on him. My curiosity being
excited by observing the horse move, I approached and drove off the
Buzzards. They had already plucked out the eyes of the horse, and picked
a wound in the anus, where I discovered a jet of blood from a small
artery, which had been divided. I am well satisfied that the horse did
not die for many hours afterwards. He struggled considerably whilst the
Buzzards were operating on him, but was unable to rise from the ground.

     B. B. STROBEL, M.D.

     CHARLESTON, _5th Feb. 1834_."


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

     GILBERT C. GEDDES.

     CHARLESTON, _26th Feb. 1834_."


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

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

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

The Carrion Crow and Turkey Buzzard possess great power of recollection,
so as to recognise at a great distance a person who has shot at them, and
even the horse on which he rides. On several occasions I have observed
that they would fly off at my approach, after I had trapped several,
when they took no notice of other individuals; and they avoided my horse
in the pastures, after I had made use of him to approach and shoot them.

At the commencement of the love season, which is about the beginning
of February, the gesticulation and parade of the males are extremely
ludicrous. They first strut somewhat in the manner of the Turkey Cock,
then open their wings, and, as they approach the female, lower their
head, its wrinkled skin becoming loosened, so as entirely to cover the
bill, and emit a puffing sound, which is by no means musical. When these
actions have been repeated five or six times, and the conjugal compact
sealed, the "happy pair" fly off, and remain together until their young
come abroad. These birds form no nest, and consequently _never breed
on trees_; the hollow of a prostrate log, or the excavation of a bank
of earth, suffices for them. They _never lay more than two eggs_, which
are deposited on the bare ground; they are about three inches in length,
rather pointed at the smaller end, thick in the shell, with a pure white
ground, marked towards the greater ends with large irregular dashes of
black and dark brown. Twenty-one days are required for hatching them.
The male and female sit by turns, and feed each other. The young are at
first covered with a light cream-coloured down, and have an extremely
uncouth appearance. They are fed by regurgitation almost in the same
manner as pigeons, and are abundantly supplied with food. When fledged,
which is commonly about the beginning of June, they follow their parents
through the woods. At this period, their head is covered with feathers
to the very mandibles. The plumage of this part gradually disappears,
and the skin becomes wrinkled; but they are not in full plumage till the
second year. During the breeding season, they frequent the cities less,
those remaining at that time being barren birds, of which there appear
to be a good number. I believe that the individuals which are no longer
capable of breeding, spend all their time in and about the cities, and
roost on the roofs and chimneys. They go out, in company with the Turkey
Buzzards, to the yards of the hospitals and asylums, to feed on the
remains of the provisions cooked there, which are as regularly thrown
out to them.

I have represented a pair of Carrion Crows or Black Vultures in
full plumage, engaged with the head of our Common Deer, the _Cervus
virginianus_.


     CATHARTES JOTA, _Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United
     States, p. 23.

     CATHARTES ATRATUS, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna Boreali-Americ.
     part ii. p. 6.

     VULTUR JOTA, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 247.

     BLACK VULTURE or CARRION CROW, VULTUR ATRATUS, _Wils._ Amer.
     Ornith. vol. ix. p. 104. Pl. 75. fig. 2.—_Nuttall_, Manual,
     p. 46.


Adult Male. Plate CVI. Fig. 1.

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

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

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

Length 26 inches; extent of wings 54; bill 2½; tarsus 3½; middle toe 4.


Adult Female. Plate CVI. Fig. 2.

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



THE CANADA JAY.

_CORVUS CANADENSIS_, LINN.

PLATE CVII. MALE AND FEMALE.


I have found this species of Jay breeding in the State of Maine, where
many individuals belonging to it reside the whole year, and where in
fact so many as fifteen or twenty may be seen in the course of a day by a
diligent person anxious to procure them. In the winter, their numbers are
constantly augmented by those which repair to that country from places
farther north. They advance to the southward as far as the upper parts
of the State of New York, where the person who first gave intimation to
Mr Wilson that the species was to be found in the Union, shot seven or
eight one morning, from which number he presented one to the esteemed
author of the "American Ornithology," who afterwards procured some in
the same neighbourhood. This species is best known in Maine by the name
of the "Carrion Bird," which is usually applied to it on account of its
carnivorous propensities. When their appetite is satisfied, they become
shy, and are in the habit of hiding themselves amongst close woods or
thickets; but when hungry, they shew no alarm at the approach of man, nay,
become familiar, troublesome, and sometimes so very bold as to enter the
camps of the "lumberers," or attend to rob them of the bait affixed to
their traps. My generous friend, EDWARD HARRIS, Esq. of New York, told
me that while fishing in a birch canoe on the lakes in the interior of
the State of Maine, in the latter part of the summer of 1833, the Jays
were so fearless as to alight in one end of his bark, while he sat in
the other, and help themselves to his bait, taking very little notice
of him.

The lumberers or wood-cutters of this State frequently amuse themselves in
their camp during their eating hours, with what they call "transporting
the carrion bird." This is done by cutting a pole eight or ten feet in
length, and balancing it on the sill of their hut, the end outside the
entrance being baited with a piece of flesh of any kind. Immediately
on seeing the tempting morsel, the Jays alight on it, and while they
are busily engaged in devouring it, a wood-cutter gives a smart blow
to the end of the pole within the hut, which seldom fails to drive the
birds high in the air, and not unfrequently kills them. They even enter
the camps, and would fain eat from the hands of the men while at their
meals. They are easily caught in any kind of trap. My friend, the Rev.
JOHN BACHMAN, informed me that when residing in the State of New York,
he found one caught in a snare which had been set with many others for
the common Partridge or "Quail," one of which the Jay had commenced
eating before he was himself caught.

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

I have often been delighted by the sight of their graceful movements
on alighting after removing from one tree to another, or while flying
across a road or a piece of water. They have an odd way of nodding their
head, and jerking their body and tail, while they emit their curiously
diversified notes, which at times resemble a low sort of mewing, at
others the sound given out by an anvil lightly struck with a hammer.
They frequently alight about the middle of a tree, and hop with airy
grace from one branch to another until they reach the very top, when
they remove to another tree, and thus proceed through the woods. Their
flight resembles that of the Blue Jay, although I do not consider it
quite so firm or protracted.

The Canada Jay breeds in Maine, in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia,
Newfoundland, and Labrador. It begins so early as February or March to
form its nest, which is placed in the thickest part of a fir tree, near
the trunk, and at a height of from five to ten feet. The exterior is
composed of dry twigs, with moss and grass, and the interior, which is
flat, is formed of fibrous roots. The eggs, which are from four to six,
are of a light grey colour, faintly marked with brown. Only one brood
is raised in the season. I found the young following their parents on
the 27th June 1833, at Labrador, where I shot both old and young, while
the former was in the act of feeding the latter.

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

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


     CORVUS CANADENSIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. p. 158.—_Lath._ Synops.
     vol. i. p. 389.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United
     States, p. 58.

     CANADA JAY, CORVUS CANADENSIS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iii.
     p. 33. Pl. 21. Fig. 1.—_Nuttall_, Manual, p. 232.

     GARRULUS CANADENSIS, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna
     Boreali-Americana, part ii. p. 295.


Adult Male. Plate CVII. Fig. 1.

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

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

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

Length 11 inches, extent of wings 15; beak 1; tarsus 1½.


Adult Female. Plate CVII. Fig. 2.

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


THE WHITE OAK.

     QUERCUS ALBA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 429.—_Michaux_, Arbr.
     Forest. de l'Amerique Sept. vol. ii. p. 13. pl. 1. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 633.—MONŒCIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._
     AMENTACEÆ, _Juss._

Leaves oblong, pinnatifido-sinuate, downy beneath, the lobes
linear-lanceolate, obtuse, attenuated at the base, entire on the margin;
the fruit pedunculate, the cupule tubercular, flat at the base, cupshaped,
the acorn ovate. Although this species of oak is not abundant in Maine,
where the Canada Jay chiefly occurs, I have employed it in my drawing,
on account of the rich colouring of its fine leaves during the autumnal
months. It is in Louisiana, where it is plentiful, that one must see it,
to judge of the grandeur which it attains under favourable circumstances.
I have often seen these oaks spreading their young branches amid the
tops of Magnolias fully one hundred feet above the ground, with stems
from four to six feet in diameter, to the height of fifty or more feet,
straight as a line, and without a branch to that height. When left in
fields, their tops, naturally inclined to spread, render their aspect
majestic; and one is tempted to try to calculate the many years these
noble trees have stood against the blast of the tempest. The wood, which
is of excellent quality, being hard and durable, is applied to numerous
uses. Its distribution is very extensive in the United States, it being
found in the forests from Louisiana to Massachusetts, and in the western
countries beyond the Mississippi.



THE FOX-COLOURED SPARROW.

_FRINGILLA ILIACA_, MERREM.

PLATE CVIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


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

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

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

Follow these birds wherever you will, you invariably find them not in
deep woods, but along the fences, and amid patches of briars and tangled
underwood, which at all times seem so pleasing to them. They traverse
the whole of the Union by day, resting here and there awhile, to watch
the gradual improvement of the season.

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

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

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

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

While in South Carolina, in January 1834, after I had returned from the
country where this species breeds, I happened, one fair day, to meet
with a group of these birds. They were singing in concert. Never shall I
forget the impression which their notes made on me: I suddenly stopped
and looked around; for a moment I imagined that I had been by magic
transported to the wilds of Labrador; but how short was the duration of
these feelings!—a hawk sailed over the spot of their concealment, and
in an instant all was silent as the tomb.

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

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

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

Dr WILSON, who was almost in the daily habit of visiting my friend
BACHMAN, with whom it was my good fortune to reside while at Charleston,
was fond of talking about birds, many of which he knew more accurately
than ordinary ornithologists are wont to do. "My Dear Mr AUDUBON," he
said, "I have several beautiful Fox-coloured Sparrows in my aviary, but
of late some of them have been killed, and I wish you would tell me
by what other birds the murders can have been committed." I laid the
charge first on the Blue Jays; but he replied that even they appeared
as if greatly molested by some other species. A day elapsed, the Doctor
returned, and astonished me not a little by informing me that the culprit
was a Mocking-bird. I went to his house on the 8th December; and, while
standing on the piazza, we both saw the Mocking-bird alight on one of
the Fox-coloured Sparrows, in the manner of a small hawk, and peck at
the poor bird with such force as to convince us that its death must soon
ensue. The muscular powers of the finch, however, appeared almost too
much for the master songster of our woods; it desisted for a moment,
out of breath, and we could observe its pantings; but it did not fail to
resume its hitherto unknown character of tyrant. A servant was dispatched
to the rescue, and peace was restored; but the finch was almost reduced
to its last gasp, and shortly after expired. This very Mocking-bird we
strongly suspected of being the individual that had killed a Blue Jay
of exceedingly meek disposition, a few weeks before. It was ultimately
removed into a lonely cage, where it is yet passing its days, perhaps
in unavailing penitence.


     FRINGILLA ILIACA, _Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United
     States, p. 112.

     FOX-COLOURED SPARROW, FRINGILLA RUFA, _Wilson's_ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. iii. p. 53. pl. 22. fig. 4.—_Nuttall_, Manual, vol. i.
     p. 514.

     FRINGILLA (ZONOTRICHIA?) ILIACA, _Swains._ North Zool. vol. ii.
     p. 257.


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

Bill short, robust, conical, acute; upper mandible broader than the
lower, almost straight in its dorsal outline, as is the lower, both being
rounded on the sides, and the lower with inflected acute edges; the gap
line nearly straight, a little deflected at the base, and not extending
to beneath the eye. Nostrils basal, roundish, open, partially concealed
by the feathers. Head rather large, neck shortish; body robust. Legs
of moderate length, rather strong; tarsus shorter than the middle toe;
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, curved,
rounded, the second, third and fourth quills longest, and nearly equal;
the first and fifth equal; tail longish, even, or slightly rounded.

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

Length 7½ inches; extent of wings 10½; bill 5/12 along the ridge, 7/12
along the gap; tarsus 8/12, middle toe 1.


Adult Female. Plate CVIII. Fig. 2.

The Female differs little from the Male, the tints being merely somewhat
fainter. Length 7½ inches.



THE SAVANNAH FINCH.

_FRINGILLA SAVANNA_, WILS.

PLATE CIX. MALE AND FEMALE.


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

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

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

The nest of the Savannah Finch is placed on the ground at the foot of a
tuft of rank grass, or of a low bush. It is formed of dry grasses, and is
imbedded in the soil, or among the grass, the inner part being finished
with straw and blades of a finer texture. The eggs, from four to six in
number, are of a pale bluish colour, softly mottled with purplish-brown.
Some eggs have a broadish circle of these spots near the large end,
while the extremity itself is without any markings. It generally breeds
twice every season in the Middle States, but never more than once to
the eastward of Massachusetts. While searching for the nests of this and
many other species, I observed that the artifices used by the female to
draw intruders away, are seldom if ever practised until after incubation
has commenced.

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

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


     FRINGILLA SAVANNA, _Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United
     States, p. 109.

     SAVANNAH FINCH, FRINGILLA SAVANNA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iv.
     p. 72. Pl. 34. fig. 4, Male; and vol. iii. p. 55. Pl. 22.
     fig. 3, Female.—_Nuttall_, Manual, vol. i. p. 489.


Adult Male. Plate CIX. Fig. 1.

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

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

Bill pale-brown beneath, dusky above. Iris brown. Feet light flesh-colour.
Cheeks and space over the eye light citron-yellow. The general colour of
the plumage above is pale reddish-brown, spotted with brownish-black,
the edges of the feathers being of the former colour. The lower parts
are white, the breast marked with small deep brown spots, the sides with
long streaks of the same.

Length 5½ inches; extent of wings 8½; bill along the ridge 5/12, along
the gap 6/12; tarsus 10/12.


Adult Female. Plate CIX. Fig. 2.

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

Length 5½ inches; extent of wings 8½.


THE INDIAN PINK-ROOT OR WORM-GRASS.

     SPIGELIA MARILANDICA, _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 139.
     —PENTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ APOCYNEÆ, _Juss._ Fig. 1.
     of the Plate.

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

     PHLOX ARISTATA, _Mich._ Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 144.—_Pursh_,
     Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 150.—PENTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._
     POLEMONIA, _Juss._ Fig. 2. of the Plate.

     See vol. i. p. 361.



THE HOODED WARBLER.

_SYLVIA MITRATA_, LATH.

PLATE CX. MALE AND FEMALE.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This species, like many of its delicate tribe, appears to suffer so much
from occasional cold, that, although at all other times a shy and wary
bird, when chilly weather surprises it, it becomes at once careless of
its safety. On such occasions I have approached them near enough to touch
them with my gun. By the middle of September they all retire farther
south.

The plant on which I have represented a pair of these birds, is common
in the localities which they usually prefer. Although richly coloured,
it has no scent.


     HOODED FLYCATCHER, MUSCICAPA CUCULLATA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. iii. p. 101. Pl. 26. Fig. 3. Male.—_Nuttall_, Manual,
     vol. i. p. 373.

     SYLVIA MITRATA, _Lath._ Index Ornith. vol. ii. p. 528.
     —_Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 79.


Adult Male. Plate CX. Fig. 1.

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

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

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

Length 5½, extent of wings 8; bill along the ridge nearly 5/12.


Adult Female. Plate CX. Fig. 2.

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

Dimensions nearly the same as in the male.


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



THE LOST ONE.

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

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

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

Young, healthy, and active, he imagined that he had walked with more
than usual speed, and had passed the place to which he was bound. He
accordingly turned his back upon the sun, and pursued a different route,
guided by a small trail. Time passed, and the sun headed his course:
he saw it gradually descend in the west, but all around him continued
as if enveloped with mystery. The huge grey trees spread their giant
boughs over him, the rank grass extended on all sides, not a living
being crossed his path, all was silent and still, and the scene was
like a dull and dreary dream of the land of oblivion. He wandered like
a forgotten ghost that had passed into the land of spirits, without yet
meeting one of his kind with whom to hold converse.

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

You may imagine the length of that cold, dull, moonless night. With
the dawn of day came the usual fogs of those latitudes. The poor man
started on his feet, and with a sorrowful heart, pursued a course which
he thought might lead him to some familiar object, although, indeed, he
scarcely knew what he was doing. No longer had he the trace of a track
to guide him, and yet, as the sun rose, he calculated the many hours of
day-light he had before him, and the farther he went continued to walk
the faster. But vain were all his hopes: that day was spent in fruitless
endeavours to regain the path that led to his home, and when night
again approached, the terror that had been gradually spreading over his
mind, together with the nervous debility induced by fatigue, anxiety,
and hunger, rendered him almost frantic. He told me that at this moment
he beat his breast, tore his hair, and, had it not been for the piety
with which his parents had in early life imbued his mind, and which had
become habitual, would have cursed his existence. Famished as he now
was, he laid himself on the ground, and fed on the weeds and grass that
grew around him. That night was spent in the greatest agony and terror.
"I knew my situation," he said to me. "I was fully aware that unless
Almighty God came to my assistance, I must perish in those uninhabited
woods. I knew that I had walked more than fifty miles, although I had
not met with a brook, from which I could quench my thirst, or even allay
the burning heat of my parched lips and blood-shot eyes. I knew that if
I should not meet with some stream I must die, for my axe was my only
weapon, and although deer and bears now and then started within a few
yards or even feet of me, not one of them could I kill; and although I
was in the midst of abundance, not a mouthful did I expect to procure,
to satisfy the cravings of my empty stomach. Sir, may God preserve you
from ever feeling as I did the whole of that day!"

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

The Lost One remained and passed the night, at the foot of the same
tree under which his repast had been made. Refreshed by a sound sleep,
he started at dawn to resume his weary march. The sun rose bright, and
he followed the direction of the shadows. Still the dreariness of the
woods was the same, and he was on the point of giving up in despair, when
he observed a racoon lying squatted in the grass. Raising his axe, he
drove it with such violence through the helpless animal, that it expired
without a struggle. What he had done with the turtle, he now did with the
racoon, the greater part of which he actually devoured at one meal. With
more comfortable feelings, he then resumed his wanderings—his journey
I cannot say,—for although in the possession of all his faculties, and
in broad daylight, he was worse off than a lame man groping his way in
the dark out of a dungeon, of which he knew not where the door stood.

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

This is no tale of fiction, but the relation of an actual occurrence,
which might be embellished, no doubt, but which is better in the plain
garb of truth. The notes by which I recorded it were written, in the
cabin of the once lost live-oaker, about four years after the painful
incident occurred. His amiable wife, and loving children, were present at
the recital, and never shall I forget the tears that flowed from them as
they listened to it, albeit it had long been more familiar to them than
a tale thrice told. Sincerely do I wish, good reader, that neither you
nor I may ever elicit such sympathy, by having undergone such sufferings,
although no doubt such sympathy would be a rich recompense for them.

It only remains for me to say, that the distance between the cabin and
the live-oak hummock to which the woodsman was bound, scarcely exceeded
8 miles, while the part of the river at which he was found, was 38
miles from his house. Calculating his daily wanderings at 10 miles, we
may believe that they amounted in all to 400. He must, therefore, have
rambled in a circuitous direction, which people generally do in such
circumstances. Nothing but the great strength of his constitution, and
the merciful aid of his Maker, could have supported him for so long a
time.



THE PILEATED WOODPECKER.

_PICUS PILEATUS_, _Linn._

PLATE CXI. MALE, FEMALE AND YOUNG MALES.


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

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

Their natural wildness never leaves them, even although they may have
been reared from the nest. I will give you an instance of this, as related
to me by my generous friend the Reverend JOHN BACHMAN of Charleston, who
also speaks of the cruelty of the species. "A pair of Pileated Woodpeckers
had a nest in an old elm tree, in a swamp which they occupied that year;
the next spring early, two Blue Birds took possession of it, and there
had young. Before these were half grown, the Woodpeckers returned to
the place, and, despite of the cries and reiterated attacks of the Blue
Birds, the others took the young, not very gently, as you may imagine,
and carried them away to some distance. Next the nest itself was disposed
of, the hole cleaned and enlarged, and there they raised a brood. The
nest, it is true, was originally their own. The tree was large, but so
situated, that, from the branches of another I could reach the nest. The
hole was about 18 inches deep, and I could touch the bottom with my hand.
The eggs, which were laid on fragments of chips, expressly left by the
birds, were six, large, white and translucent. Before the Woodpeckers
began to sit, I robbed them of their eggs, to see if they would lay a
second time. They waited a few days as if undecided, when on a sudden
I heard the female at work again in the tree; she once more deepened
the hole, made it broader at bottom, and recommenced laying. This time
she laid five eggs. I suffered her to bring out her young, both sexes
alternately incubating, each visiting the other at intervals, peeping
into the hole to see that all was right and well there, and flying off
afterwards in search of food.

When the young were sufficiently grown to be taken out with safety,
which I ascertained by seeing them occasionally peeping out of the
hole, I carried them home, to judge of their habits in confinement, and
attempted to raise them. I found it exceedingly difficult to entice
them to open their bill in order to feed them. They were sullen and
cross, nay, three died in a few days; but the others, having been fed
on grasshoppers forcibly introduced into their mouths, were raised. In
a short time they began picking up the grasshoppers thrown into their
cage, and were fully fed with corn-meal, which they preferred eating
dry. Their whole employment consisted in attempting to escape from their
prison, regularly demolishing one every two days, although made of pine
boards of tolerable thickness. I at last had one constructed with oak
boards at the back and sides, and rails of the same in front. This was
too much for them, and their only comfort was in passing and holding
their bills through the hard bars. In the morning after receiving water,
which they drank freely, they invariably upset the cup or saucer, and
although this was large and flattish, they regularly turned it quite
over. After this they attacked the trough which contained their food,
and soon broke it to pieces, and when perchance I happened to approach
them with my hand, they made passes at it with their powerful bills with
great force. I kept them in this manner until winter. They were at all
times uncleanly and unsociable birds. On opening the door of my study
one morning, one of them dashed off by me, alighted on an apple-tree
near the house, climbed some distance, and kept watching me from one
side and then the other, as if to ask what my intentions were. I walked
into my study:—the other was hammering at my books. They had broken one
of the bars of the cage, and must have been at liberty for some hours,
judging by the mischief they had done. Fatigued of my pets, I opened the
door, and this last one hearing the voice of his brother, flew towards
him and alighted on the same tree. They remained about half an hour, as
if consulting each other, after which, taking to their wings together,
they flew off in a southern direction, and with much more ease than could
have been expected from birds so long kept in captivity. The ground was
covered with snow, and I never more saw them. No birds of this species
ever bred since in the hole spoken of in this instance, and I consider
it as much wilder than the Ivory-billed Woodpecker."

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

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

The Pileated Woodpecker is fond of Indian corn, chestnuts, acorns, fruits
of every kind, particularly wild grapes, and insects of all descriptions.
The maize it attacks while yet in its milky state, laying it bare, like
the Redheads or Squirrels. For this reason, it often draws upon itself
the vengeance of the farmer, who, however, is always disposed, without
provocation, to kill the "Woodcock," or "Logcock" as it is commonly
named by our country people.

The flight of this well known bird is powerful, and, on occasion,
greatly protracted, resembling in all respects that of the Ivory-billed
Woodpecker. Its notes are loud and clear, and the rolling sound produced
by its hammerings, may be heard at the distance of a quarter of a mile.
Its flesh is tough, of a bluish tint, and smells so strongly of the worms
and insects on which it generally feeds, as to be extremely unpalatable.
It almost always breeds in the interior of the forests, and frequently
on trees placed in deep swamps over the water, appearing to give a
preference to the southern side of the tree, on which I have generally
found its hole, to which it retreats during winter or in rainy weather,
and which is sometimes bored perpendicularly, although frequently not, as
I have seen some excavated much in the form of that of the Ivory-billed
Woodpecker. Its usual depth is from twelve to eighteen inches, its breadth
from two and a half to three, and at the bottom sometimes five or six.
It rears, I believe, only one brood in a season. The young follow their
parents for a long time after coming abroad, receive food from them, and
remain with them until the return of spring. The old birds, as well as
the young, are fond of retiring at night to their holes, to which they
return more especially in winter. My young friend, THOMAS LINCOLN, Esq.
of the State of Maine, knew of one that seldom removed far from its
retreat during the whole of the inclement season.

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


     PICUS PILEATUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 173.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 225.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 44.

     PILEATED WOODPECKER, PICUS PILEATUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. iv. p. 27. Pl. 29. Fig. 2.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p.567.


Adult Male. Plate CXI. Fig. 1.

Bill long, straight, strong, polyhedral, tapering, compressed and
slightly truncated by being worn at the tip; mandibles of equal length,
both nearly straight in their dorsal outline; their sides convex. Tongue
worm-shaped, capable of reaching four inches beyond the bill, horny near
the tip for about one-eighth of an inch, and barbed. Nostrils basal,
oval, partly covered by recumbent bristly feathers. Head large. Neck
rather long, slender. Body robust. Feet rather short, robust; tarsus
strong 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, loose, and
erectile. Wings large, the third and fourth quills longest. Tail long,
cuneate, of twelve tapering stiff feathers, worn to a point by being
rubbed against the bark of trees.

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

Length 18 inches; extent of wings 28; bill along the back 1¾, along the
edges 3.


Adult Female. Plate CXI. Fig. 2.

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


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

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


THE RACOON GRAPE.

     VITIS ÆSTIVALIS, _Mich._ Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 230.—_Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 169.—PENTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._
     VITES, _Juss._

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



THE DOWNY WOODPECKER.

_PICUS PUBESCENS_, LINN.

PLATE CXII. MALE AND FEMALE.


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

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

About the middle of April it begins to form its nest, shewing little care
as to the kind of tree it selects for the purpose, although it generally
chooses a sound one, sometimes, however, taking one that is partially
decayed. The pair work together for several days before the hole is
completed, sometimes perhaps a whole week, as they dig it to the depth
of a foot or sixteen inches. The direction is sometimes perpendicularly
downwards from the commencement, sometimes transverse to the tree for
four or five inches, and then longitudinal. The hole is rendered smooth
and conveniently large throughout, the entrance being perfectly round,
and just large enough to admit one bird at a time. The eggs, commonly
six in number, pure white, and translucent, are deposited on the bare
wood. In the Southern and Middle States, two broods are raised in the
season; farther north seldom more than one. The young follow their parents
through the woods, in company with Nuthatches and Creepers, and seem at
all times lively and happy. Their shrill rolling notes are heard at a
considerable distance, as well as those which they use when calling to
each other. Their food, during summer, consists of insects and their
larvæ; but, at the approach of autumn, they feed on fruits of various
kinds, especially small grapes, and the berries of the poke-weed. The
extensile portion of the tongue of this species, as well as of _Picus
varius_, _P. villosus_, and _P. querulus_, is cylindrical or vermiform,
while the extremity, or tongue itself, is linear, flat above, convex
beneath, with projecting edges which are serrated backwards, the tip
pointed.

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

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


     PICUS PUBESCENS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 175.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 46.
     —_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 576.

     DOWNY WOODPECKER, PICUS PUBESCENS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. i.
     p. 153. pl. 9. fig. 4.


Adult Male. Plate CXII. Fig. 1.

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

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

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

Length 6¾ inches, extent of wings 12; bill along the ridge 10/12; tarsus ¾.


Adult Female. Plate CXII. Fig. 2.

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


THE RAMPING TRUMPET-FLOWER.

     BIGNONIA CAPREOLATA. See vol. i. p. 334.

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



THE BLUE BIRD.

_SYLVIA SIALIS_, LATH.

PLATE CXIII. MALE, FEMALE, AND YOUNG.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


     MOTACILLA SIALIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 336.

     SYLVIA SIALIS, _Lath._ Index Ornith. vol. ii. p. 523.

     SAXICOLA SIALIS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 89.

     ERYTHACA (SIALIA) WILSONII, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna Bor.-
     Amer. part ii. p. 210.

     BLUE BIRD, SYLVIA SIALIS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 56.
     pl. iii. fig. 5. Male.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 444.


Adult Male. Plate CXIII. Fig. 1.

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

Plumage soft and blended, slightly glossed. Wings of ordinary length,
broad, the first quill longest, the second scarcely shorter, the secondary
quills truncato-emarginate. Tail rather long, broad, nearly even, of
twelve broad, rounded feathers. Short bristle-pointed feathers at the
base of the mandible.

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

Length 7 inches, extent of wing 10; bill along the ridge ½, along the
edge ¾; tarsus 8/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXIII. Fig. 2.

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

Length 6½ inches.


Young Bird. Plate CXIII. Fig. 3.

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


THE GREAT MULLEIN.

     VERBASCUM THAPSUS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 1001. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 142. _Smith_, Engl. Flor. vol. i. p. 512.
     —PENTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ SOLANEÆ, _Juss._

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



THE WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW.

_FRINGILLA LEUCOPHRYS_, BONAP.

PLATE CXIV. MALE AND FEMALE.


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

Thus it was with me, when, some time after I had been landed on the
dreary coast of Labrador, I for the first time heard the song of the
White-crowned Sparrow. I could not refrain from indulging in the thought
that, notwithstanding the many difficulties attending my attempts—my
mission I must call it—to study God's works in this wild region, I was
highly favoured. At every step, new objects presented themselves, and
whenever I rested, I enjoyed a delight never before experienced. Humbly
and fervently did I pray for a continuation of those blessings, through
which I now hoped to see my undertaking completed, and again to join my
ever-dear family.

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

One day, while near American Harbour, in Labrador, I observed a pair
of these birds frequently resorting to a small hummock of firs, where I
concluded they must have had a nest. After searching in vain, I intimated
my suspicion to my young friends, when we all crept through the tangled
branches, and examined the place, but without success. Determined,
however, to obtain our object, we returned with hatchets, cut down
every tree to its roots, removed each from the spot, pulled up all the
mosses between them, and completely cleared the place; yet no nest did
we find. Our disappointment was the greater that we saw the male bird
frequently flying about with food in its bill, no doubt intended for
its mate. In a short while, the pair came near us, and both were shot.
In the female we found an egg, which was pure white, but with the shell
yet soft and thin. On the 6th July, while my son was creeping among some
low bushes, to get a shot at some Red-throated Divers, he accidentally
started a female from her nest. It made much complaint. The nest was
placed in the moss, near the foot of a low fir, and was formed externally
of beautiful dry green moss, matted in bunches like the coarse hair of
some quadruped, internally of very fine dry grass, arranged with great
neatness, to the thickness of nearly half an inch, with a full lining of
delicate fibrous roots of a rich transparent yellow. It was 5 inches in
diameter externally, 2 in depth, 2¼ in diameter within, although rather
oblong, and 1¾ deep. In one nest we found a single feather of the Willow
Grous. The eggs, five in number, average ⅞ of an inch in length, are
proportionally broad, of a light sea-green colour, mottled toward the
larger end with brownish spots and blotches, a few spots of a lighter
tint being dispersed over the whole. This description differs greatly
from that of the nest and eggs of this species given by others, who, I
apprehend, have mistaken for them those of the Fox-tailed Sparrow, or the
_Anthus Spinoletta_. We found many nests, which were all placed on the
ground, or among the moss, and were all constructed alike. They deposit
their eggs from the beginning to the end of June. In the beginning of
August, I saw many young that were able to fly, and by the 12th of that
month the birds had already commenced their southward migration. The
young follow their parents until nearly full grown.

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

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

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

I have met with this bird in almost every portion of the United States
during early spring and autumn, but always either single or in very small
groups. I have shot some near New Orleans in April, at Cincinnati, and
near New York in May. They reach the Magdeleine Islands, Newfoundland,
and the coast of Labrador, about the first of June. Those which I have
seen on their passage through the United States were perfectly silent,
and usually frequented low bushes and grape vines, the fruit of which
they eagerly eat, but never entering the woods. In every instance I
found them as gentle and unsuspicious as whilst at Labrador.

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


     FRINGILLA LEUCOPHRYS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 107.—_Nuttall_, Manual, p. 479.

     EMBERIZA LEUCOPHRYS, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 874.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 413.

     WHITE-CROWNED BUNTING, EMBERIZA LEUCOPHRYS, _Wils._ Amer.
     Ornith. vol. iv. p. 49. pl. 31. fig. 4. Male.


Adult male. Plate CXIV. Fig. 1.

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

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

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

Length 7½ inches; extent of wings 10½; bill along the ridge 4½/12, along
the edge 7/12; tarsus 10/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXIV. Fig. 2.

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

Length 7¼ inches.


THE SUMMER GRAPE.

     VITIS ÆSTIVALIS, var. SINUATA, _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. i.
     p. 169.

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



THE WOOD PEWEE.

_MUSCICAPA VIRENS_, LINN.

PLATE CXV. MALE.


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

It is in the darkest and most gloomy retreats of the forest that the
Wood Pewee is generally to be found, during the season which it spends
with us. You may find it, however, lurking for a while in the shade of
an overgrown orchard; or, as autumn advances, you may see it gleaning
the benumbed insects over the slimy pools, or gliding on the outskirts
of the woods, when, for the last time, the piping notes of the Bullfrog
are heard mingling with its own plaintive notes. In all these places, it
exhibits the simplicity and freedom of its natural habits, dashing after
the insects on which it principally feeds, with a remarkable degree of
inattention to surrounding objects. Its sallies have also the appearance
of being careless, although at times protracted, when it seems to seize
several insects in succession, the more so perhaps that it has no rival
to contend with in such situations. Sometimes towards autumn, it sweeps
so closely over the pools that it is enabled to seize the insects as
they float on the water; while, at other times, and as if in surprise,
it rises to the tops of the forest trees, and snaps the insect which is
just launching forth on some extensive journey, with all the freedom of
flight that the bird itself possesses.

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

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

In autumn, when its notes are almost the only ones heard, it may often
be seen approaching the roads and pathways, or even flitting among the
tall and beautiful elms in the vicinity, or in the midst of our eastern
cities. There you may observe the old birds teaching the young how to
procure their food. The various groups, imperceptibly as it were, and
in the most peaceable manner, now remove southward by day; and, at this
season, their notes are heard at a very late hour, as in early spring.
They may be expressed by the syllables _pē-wēe_, _pettowēe_, _pēe-wēe_,
prolonged like the last sighs of a despondent lover, or rather like what
you might imagine such sighs to be, it being, I believe, rare actually
to hear them.

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

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

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

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


     MUSCICAPA VIRENS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 327.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 68.

     WOOD PEWEE, MUSCICAPA RAPAX, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. ii.
     p. 81. pl. 13. fig. 5.—_Nuttall_, Manual, p. 285.


Adult Male. Plate CXV.

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

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

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

Length 6½ inches, extent of wings 11; bill along the ridge 7/12, along
the edge ¾; tarsus 8/12.


THE SWAMP HONEYSUCKLE.

     AZALEA VISCOSA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 831. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 153. PENTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._
     RHODODENDRA, _Juss._

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



THE FORCE OF THE WATERS.


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

While present on more than one occasion at what Americans call "ploughing
matches," which they have annually in many of the States, I have been
highly gratified, and in particular at one, of which I still have a
strong recollection, and which took place a few miles from the fair and
hospitable city of Boston. There I saw fifty or more ploughs drawn by
as many pairs of oxen, which performed their work with so much accuracy
and regularity, without the infliction of whip or rod, but merely guided
by the verbal mandates of the ploughmen, that I was perfectly astonished.

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

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

Weeks and weeks have elapsed; the earth's pure white covering has become
thickly and firmly crusted by the increasing intensity of the cold, the
fallen trees have all been sawn into measured logs, and the long repose
of the oxen has fitted them for hauling them to the nearest frozen
streams. The ice gradually becomes covered with the accumulating mass
of timber, and, their task completed, the lumberers wait impatiently
for the breaking up of the winter.

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

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

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

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

It was the month of September. At the upper extremity of Dennisville,
which is itself a pretty village, are the saw-mills and ponds of the
hospitable Judge Lincoln and other persons. The creek that conveys
the logs to these ponds, and which bears the name of the village, is
interrupted in its course by many rapids and narrow embanked gorges. One
of the latter is situated about half a mile above the mill-dams, and is so
rocky and rugged in its bottom and sides, as to preclude the possibility
of the trees passing along it at low water, while, as I conceived, it
would have given no slight labour to an army of woodsmen or millers, to
move the thousands of large logs that had accumulated in it. They lay
piled in confused heaps to a great height along an extent of several
hundred yards, and were in some places so close as to have formed a kind
of dam. Above the gorge there is a large natural reservoir, in which
the head waters of the creek settle, while only a small portion of them
ripples through the gorge below, during the latter weeks of summer and
in early autumn, when the streams are at their lowest.

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

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

Scarcely had they effected their escape from the frightful peril that
threatened them, when the mass of waters burst forth with a horrible
uproar. All eyes were bent towards the huge heaps of logs in the gorge
below. The tumultuous burst of the waters instantly swept away every
object that opposed their progress, and rushed in foaming waves among the
timber that every where blocked up the passage. Presently a slow, heavy
motion was perceived in the mass of logs; one might have imagined that
some mighty monster lay convulsively writhing beneath them, struggling
with a fearful energy to extricate himself from the crushing weight. As
the waters rose, this movement increased; the mass of timber extended in
all directions, appearing to become more and more entangled each moment;
the logs bounced against each other, thrusting aside, demersing, or
raising into the air those with which they came in contact:—it seemed
as if they were waging a war of destruction, such as ancient authors
describe the efforts of the Titans, the foamings of whose wrath might
to the eye of the painter have been represented by the angry curlings of
the waters, while the tremulous and rapid motions of the logs, which at
times reared themselves almost perpendicularly, might by the poet have
been taken for the shakings of the confounded and discomfited giants.

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

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



THE FERRUGINOUS THRUSH.

_TURDUS RUFUS_, LINN.

PLATE CXVI. MALE, FEMALE, AND NEST.


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

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

The Brown Thrush, or Thrasher, by which names the bird is generally
known, may be said to be a constant resident in the United States, as
immense numbers are found all the year round in Louisiana, the Floridas,
Georgia, and the Carolinas. Indeed some spend the winter in Virginia
and Maryland. During spring and summer they are met with in all our
Eastern States. They also enter the British provinces, and are sometimes
seen in Nova Scotia; but I observed none farther north. It is the most
numerous species found in the Union, excepting the Robin or Migratory
Thrush. Those which breed in the Middle and Eastern Districts return
to the south about the beginning of October, having been absent fully
six months from that genial region, where more than half of the whole
number remain at all seasons. They migrate by day, and singly, never
congregating, notwithstanding their abundance. They fly low, or skip from
one bush to another, their longest flight seldom exceeding the breadth
of a field or river. They seem to move rather heavily, on account of
the shortness of their wings, the concavity of which usually produces
a rustling sound, and they travel very silently.

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

The actions of this species during the period of courtship are very
curious, the male often strutting before the female with his tail trailing
on the ground, moving gracefully round her, in the manner of some pigeons,
and while perched and singing in her presence, vibrating his body with
vehemence. In Louisiana, the Brown Thrush builds its nest as early as the
beginning of March; in the Middle Districts rarely before the middle of
May; while in Maine, it seldom has it finished before June. It is placed
without much care in a briar bush, a sumach, or the thickest parts of a
low tree, never in the interior of the forest, but most commonly in the
bramble patches which are every where to be met with along the fences
or the abandoned old fields. Sometimes it is laid flat on the ground.
Although the bird is abundant in the barrens of Kentucky, in which and
in similar places it seems to delight, it has seldom been known to breed
there. In the Southern States the nest is frequently found close to
the house of the planter, along with that of the Mocking Bird. To the
eastward, where the denseness of the population renders the bird more
shy, the nest is placed with more care. But wherever it is situated,
you find it large, composed externally of dry twigs, briars, or other
small sticks, imbedded in and mixed with dried leaves, coarse grass, and
other such materials, thickly lined with fibrous roots, horse hair, and
sometimes rags and feathers. The eggs are from four to six, of a pale
dull buff colour, thickly sprinkled with dots of brown. Two broods are
usually raised in the Southern States, but rarely more than one in the
Middle and Northern Districts.

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

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

The Brown or Ferruginous Thrush is the strongest of the genus in the
United States, neither the Mocking Bird, nor the Robin being able to
cope with it. Like the former, it will chase the cat or the dog, and
greatly tease the racoon or the fox. It follows the _Falco Cooperii_
and the Goshawk, bidding them defiance, and few snakes come off with
success when they attack its nest. It is remarkable also, that, although
these birds have frequent and severe conflicts among themselves, yet
when the least alarm is given by an individual, a whole party of them
instantly rush forth to assist in chasing off the common enemy. When
two nests happen to be placed near each other, the males are seen to
fight furiously, and are joined by the females. On such occasions, the
males approach each other with much caution, spreading out, and often
jerking up, down, or to either side, their long fan-like tail, generally
betaking themselves to the ground, and uttering a note of defiance, until
one of them, perceiving some advantage afforded by its position or some
other circumstance, rushes to the charge. The attack once fairly made,
the fight seldom ends until one has beaten the other, after which the
vanquished rarely attempts to retaliate, and peace is made between the
parties. They are fond of bathing and of dusting themselves in the sand
of the roads. They bathe in small puddles during the heat of the sun,
and then remove to the sandy paths, where they roll themselves, dry their
plumage, and free it of insects. When disturbed on these occasions, they
merely run off and hide themselves under the nearest bushes, to return
as soon as the intruder has retired.

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

The food of this Thrush, which is also known by the name of French
Mocking Bird, consists of insects, worms, berries, and fruits of all
sorts. It is fond of figs, and wherever ripe pears are, there also may
it be found. In winter, they resort to the berries of the dogwood, the
sumach, and holly, and ascend to the tops of the tallest trees in search
of grapes. At this season, they are easily caught in traps, and many
are exposed for sale in the southern markets, although few of the old
birds live long in captivity. Some planters complain of their propensity
to scratch the ground for the purpose of picking up the newly planted
corn; but I am of opinion that the scratching has reference exclusively
to worms or beetles, their strong legs and feet being well adapted for
this purpose; and, generally speaking, they are great favourites, as
they commit few depredations on the crops.

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


     TURDUS RUFUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 293.—_Lath._ Ind.
     Ornith. vol. i. p. 338.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 75.

     FERRUGINOUS THRUSH, TURDUS RUFUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. ii.
     p. 83. pl. 14. fig. 1.—_Nuttall_, Manual, vol. i. p. 328.

     ORPHEUS RUFUS, FOX-COLOURED MOCK-BIRD, _Swains. and Richards._
     Fauna Boreali-Amer. part ii. p. 189.


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

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

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

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

Length 11½ inches, extent of wings 13; bill along the back 1, along the
edge 1-3/12; tarsus 1-4/12.


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

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


THE BLACK JACK OAK.

     QUERCUS NIGRA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 442. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 629.

     QUERCUS FERRUGINEA, _Mich._ Arbr. Forest. vol. i. p. 92. pl. 18.
     MONŒCIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._ AMENTACEÆ, _Juss._

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


THE BLACK SNAKE.

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



THE MISSISSIPPI KITE.

_FALCO PLUMBEUS_, GMEL.

PLATE CXVII. MALE AND FEMALE.


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

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

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

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

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

The young had the head of a fawn-colour, but I took little more notice
of it, depositing the two birds under a log, whence I intended to remove
them on my return, for the purpose of drawing and describing them. I
then proceeded on my excursion to a lake a few miles distant. On coming
back, what was my mortification, when I found that some quadruped had
devoured both! My punishment was merited.

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

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

The nest of this species is always placed in the upper branches of the
tallest trees. I thought it gave the preference to those tall and splendid
magnolias and white oaks, which adorn our Southern States. The nest
resembles that of the dilapidated tenement of the Common American Crow,
and is formed of sticks slightly put together, along with branches of
Spanish moss (_Usnea_), pieces of vine bark, and dried leaves. The eggs
are two or three, almost globular, of a light greenish tint, blotched
thickly over with deep chocolate-brown and black. Only one brood is
raised in the season, and I think the female sits more than half the
time necessary for incubation. The young I also think obtain nearly
the full plumage of the old bird before they depart from us, as I have
examined these birds early in August, when the migration was already
begun, without observing much difference in their general colour, except
only in the want of firmness in the tint of the young ones.

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

The Mississippi Kite is by no means a shy bird, and one may generally
depend on getting near it when alighted; but to follow it while on wing
were useless, its flight being usually so elevated, and its sweeps over
a field or wood so rapid and varied, that you might spend many hours
in vain in attempting to get up with it. Even when alighted, it perches
so high, that I have sometimes shot at it, without producing any other
effect than that of causing it to open its wings and close them again,
as if utterly ignorant of the danger to which it had been exposed, while
it seemed to look down upon me quite unconcerned. When wounded, it comes
to the ground with great force, and seldom attempts to escape, choosing
rather to defend itself, which it does to the last, by throwing itself
on its back, erecting the feathers of its head, screaming loudly in
the manner of the Pigeon Hawk, disgorging the contents of its stomach,
stretching out its talons, and biting or clenching with great vigour.
It is extremely muscular, the flesh tough and rigid.

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


     FALCO PLUMBEUS, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 283.—_Lath._
     Index Ornith. vol. i. p. 49.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 90.—_Nuttall_, Manual, vol. i. p. 92.

     MISSISSIPPI KITE, FALCO MISSISSIPPIENSIS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. iii. p. 80. fig. 1. Male.


Adult Male. Plate CXVII. Fig. 1.

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

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

Bill black, as are the cere, lore, and a narrow band round the eye.
Iris blood-red. Feet purplish, the scutella deep red; claws black. The
head, the neck all round, and the under parts in general bluish-white.
The back and wing-coverts are of a dark leaden colour, the ends of the
secondary coverts white. The primaries black, margined externally with
bright bay; the tail also deep black, as is the rump.

Length 14 inches, extent of wings 36; bill along the ridge 11/12, along
the edge 11/12; tarsus 1¾.


Adult Female. Plate CXVII. Fig. 2.

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

Length 15 inches.



THE WARBLING FLYCATCHER OR VIREO.

_VIREO GILVUS_, BONAP.

PLATE CXVIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


While at the little village, now the city, of Camden, in New Jersey,
where I had gone for the purpose of watching the passage of certain
Warblers on their way north early in the month of May, I took lodgings
in a street ornamented with a long avenue of tall Lombardy poplars, one
of which almost touched my window. On it too I had the pleasure shortly
afterwards of finding the nest of this interesting little bird. Never
before had I seen it placed so low, and never before had I an opportunity
of examining it, or of observing the particular habits of the species
with so much advantage. The nest, although formed nearly in the same
manner as several others, which I have since obtained by cutting them
down with rifle balls, from the top twigs of the tall trees to which
they were attached, instead of being fastened in the fork of a twig, was
fixed to the body of the tree, and that of a branch coming off at a very
acute angle. The birds were engaged in constructing it during eight days,
working chiefly in the morning and evening. Previous to their selecting
the spot, I frequently saw them examining the tree, warbling together as
if congratulating each other on their good fortune in finding so snug
a place. One morning I observed both of them at work; they had already
attached some slender blades of grass to the knots on the branch and
the bark of the trunk, and had given them a circular disposition. They
continued working downwards and outwards, until the structure exhibited
the form of their delicate tenement. Before the end of the second day,
bits of hornets' nests and particles of corn-husks had been attached
to it by pushing them between the rows of grass, and fixing them with
silky substances. On the third day, the birds were absent, nor could I
hear them anywhere in the neighbourhood, and thinking that a cat might
have caught them from the edge of the roof, I despaired of seeing them
again. On the fourth morning, however, their notes attracted my attention
before I rose, and I had the pleasure of finding them at their labours.
The materials which they now used consisted chiefly of extremely slender
grasses, which the birds worked in a circular form within the frame
which they had previously made. The little creatures were absent nearly
an hour at a time, and returned together bringing the grass, which I
concluded they found at a considerable distance. Going into the street
to see in what direction they went, I watched them for some time, and
followed them as they flew from tree to tree towards the river. There
they stopped, and looked as if carefully watching me, on which I retired
to a small distance, when they resumed their journey, and led me quite
out of the village, to a large meadow, where stood an old hay stack.
They alighted on it, and in a few minutes each had selected a blade of
grass. Returning by the same route, they moved so slowly from one tree
to another, that my patience was severely tried. Two other days were
consumed in travelling for the same kind of grass. On the seventh I saw
only the female at work, using wool and horse hair. The eighth was almost
entirely spent by both in smoothing the inside. They would enter the nest,
sit in it, turn round, and press the lining, I should suppose a hundred
times or more in the course of an hour. The male had ceased to warble,
and both birds exhibited great concern. They went off and returned so
often that I actually became quite tired of this lesson in the art of
nest-building, and perhaps I should not have looked at them more that
day, had not the cat belonging to the house made her appearance just
over my head, on the roof, within a few feet of the nest, and at times
so very near the affrighted and innocent creatures, that my interest was
at once renewed. I gave chase to grimalkin, and saved the Flycatchers
at least for that season.

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

On the fifteenth day, about eight in the morning, the little birds all
stood on the border of the nest, and were fed as usual. They continued
there the remainder of the day, and about sunset re-entered the nest.
The old birds I had frequently observed roosted within about a foot above
them. On the sixteenth day after their exclusion from the egg, they took
to wing, and ascended the branches of the tree, with surprising ease and
firmness. They were fed another day after, on the same tree, and roosted
close together in a row on a small twig, the parents just above them.
The next morning they flew across the street, and betook themselves to
a fine peach-orchard several hundred yards from my lodging. Never had
HUBER watched the operations of his bees with more intentness than I
had employed on this occasion, and I bade them adieu at last with great
regret.

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

I observed that they now and then stood in a stiffened attitude, balancing
their body from side to side on the joint of the tarsus and toes, as
on a hinge, but could not discover the import of this singular action.
During the love days of the pair mentioned above, the male would spread
its little wings and tail, and strut in short circles round the female,
pouring out a low warble so sweet and mellow that I can compare it only
to the sounds of a good musical box. The female received these attentions
without coyness, and I have often thought that these birds had been
attached to each other before that season.

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

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

It was never observed by me in Louisiana or Kentucky, nor does it pass
along the maritime districts of Georgia or the Carolinas; but from
Virginia to Maine it is not uncommon, although I saw none farther north.
It arrives in the Jerseys and Pennsylvania about the first of May, some
years perhaps a little earlier, and proceeds farther east as the season
advances. I do not think that it raises more than one brood each season,
although I have observed it as late as the 15th of October in the Middle
Districts, where I believe the greater number of these birds spend the
summer. Not one could I see during the winter in the Floridas, where,
however, the White-eyed and Red-eyed Flycatchers were frequently heard
in full song.


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

     WARBLING FLYCATCHER, MUSCICAPA MELODIA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. v. p. 85. pl. 42. fig. 2.

     WARBLING VIREO, _Nuttall_, Manual, vol. i. p. 309.


Adult Male. Plate CXVIII.

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

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

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

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 8½; bill along the ridge 4/12, along
the edge 6/12; tarsus 8/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXVIII. Fig. 2.

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


THE SWAMP MAGNOLIA.

     MAGNOLIA GLAUCA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 1256.—_Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 381.—_Mich._ Arbr. Forest. de
     l'Amer. Septentr. vol. iii. p. 78. pl. 2.—POLYANDRIA POLYGYNIA,
     _Linn._ MAGNOLIÆ, _Juss._

The Swamp Magnolia is abundant in all marshy places from Louisiana
to Connecticut, growing in groves in and around the swamps. It seldom
exceeds twenty feet in height, and is more usually eight or ten. The
flowers have an agreeable odour, but are of short duration, although
the tree continues blooming for several months. It is not unfrequent to
find it, in the Southern States, in flower during autumn. The species
is characterized by its ovate leaves, which are glaucous beneath, and
its obovate petals, narrowed at the base. It bears different names in
the different States, such as _Swamp Laurel_, _Swamp Sassafras_, _Sweet
Bay_, _White Bay_, &c.



THE YELLOW-THROATED FLYCATCHER, OR VIREO.

_VIREO FLAVIFRONS_, VIEILL.

PLATE CXIX. MALE.


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

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

This species is at all times extremely rare in Louisiana, where I
have seen it only during early spring or late in the autumn. My friend
BACHMAN, has never observed it in South Carolina. Indeed, it is only from
Pennsylvania eastward that it is met with in any quantity. During summer
it feeds entirely on insects, devouring with equal pleasure caterpillars,
small moths, wasps, and wild bees. The summer over, it ranges among the
low bushes in search of berries, accompanied by its young, and at that
time enters the orchards and gardens even of our villages and cities.
It arrives in Pennsylvania and New Jersey about the end of April, and
in Massachusetts and Maine about a month later.

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


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

     YELLOW-THROATED FLYCATCHER, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 117.
     pl. 7. fig. 3.

     YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, _Nuttall_, Manual, vol. i. p. 302.


Adult Male. Plate CXIX.

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

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

Bill brownish-black above, the greater part of the lower mandible pale
blue, the tip dusky. Iris dark brown. Feet lead-colour. The upper parts
of a deep greenish-olive, the quills and coverts deep brown, the latter
tipped with white, the primaries and some of the secondaries edged with
the same, as are the tail-feathers. Throat, fore-neck, and anterior
part of the breast, with a short line over the eye, rich lemon-yellow;
posterior half of the breast, the abdomen, and the lower tail-coverts,
white.

Length 5¾ inches, extent of wings 9½; bill along the ridge 5/12, along
the edge 8/12; tarsus ¾.


The Female resembles the male in external appearance.


THE SWAMP SNOWBALL.

     HYDRANGEA QUERCIFOLIA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 634.
     _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 309.—DECANDRIA DIGYNIA,
     _Linn._ SAXIFRAGÆ, _Juss._

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



THE PEWEE FLYCATCHER.

_MUSCICAPA FUSCA_, BONAP.

PLATE CXX. MALE AND FEMALE.


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

I had observed the nest of this plain-coloured Flycatcher fastened, as
it were, to the rock immediately over the arched entrance of this calm
retreat. I had peeped into it: although empty, it was yet clean, as if
the absent owner intended to revisit it with the return of spring. The
buds were already much swelled, and some of the trees were ornamented
with blossoms, yet the ground was still partially covered with snow,
and the air retained the piercing chill of winter. I chanced one morning
early to go to my retreat. The sun's glowing rays gave a rich colouring
to every object around. As I entered the cave, a rustling sound over my
head attracted my attention, and, on turning, I saw two birds fly off,
and alight on a tree close by:—the Pewees had arrived! I felt delighted,
and fearing that my sudden appearance might disturb the gentle pair, I
walked off, not, however, without frequently looking at them. I concluded
that they must have just come, for they seemed fatigued:—their plaintive
note was not heard, their crests were not erected, and the vibration of
the tail, so very conspicuous in this species, appeared to be wanting in
power. Insects were yet few, and the return of the birds looked to me as
prompted more by their affection to the place, than by any other motive.
No sooner had I gone a few steps than the Pewees, with one accord glided
down from their perches and entered the cave. I did not return to it any
more that day, and as I saw none about it, or in the neighbourhood, I
supposed that they must have spent the day within it. I concluded also
that these birds must have reached this haven, either during the night,
or at the very dawn of that morn. Hundreds of observations have since
proved to me that this species always migrates by night.

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

Several days in succession I went to the spot, and saw with pleasure that
as my visits increased in frequency, the birds became more familiarized
to me, and, before a week had elapsed, the Pewees and myself were quite
on terms of intimacy. It was now the 10th of April; the spring was
forward that season, no more snow was to be seen, Redwings and Grakles
were to be found here and there. The Pewees, I observed, began working
at their old nest. Desirous of judging for myself, and anxious to enjoy
the company of this friendly pair, I determined to spend the greater part
of each day in the cave. My presence no longer alarmed either of them.
They brought a few fresh materials, lined the nest anew, and rendered
it warm by adding a few large soft feathers of the common goose, which
they found strewn along the edge of the water in the creek. There was a
remarkable and curious twittering in their note while both sat on the
edge of the nest at those meetings, and which is never heard on any
other occasion. It was the soft, tender expression, I thought, of the
pleasure they both appeared to anticipate of the future. Their mutual
caresses, simple as they might have seemed to another, and the delicate
manner used by the male to please his mate, rivetted my eyes on these
birds, and excited sensations which I can never forget.

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

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

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

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

On some other occasion, I will give you such instances of the return of
birds, accompanied by their progeny, to the place of their nativity, that
perhaps you will become convinced, as I am at this moment, that to this
propensity every country owes the augmentation of new species, whether
of birds or of quadrupeds, attracted by the many benefits met with, as
countries become more open and better cultivated: but now I will, with
your leave, return to the Pewees of the cave.

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

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

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

At the season when the Pewee returns to Pennsylvania, I had the
satisfaction to observe those of the cave in and about it. There again,
in the very same nest, two broods were raised. I found several Pewees'
nests at some distance up the creek, particularly under a bridge, and
several others in the adjoining meadows, attached to the inner part of
sheds erected for the protection of hay and grain. Having caught several
of these birds on the nest, I had the pleasure of finding that two of
them had the little ring on the leg.

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

This species is so peculiarly fond of attaching its nest to rocky caves,
that, were it called the Rock Flycatcher, it would be appropriately
named. Indeed I seldom have passed near such a place, particularly during
the breeding season, without seeing the Pewee, or hearing its notes. I
recollect that, while travelling in Virginia with a friend, he desired
that I would go somewhat out of our intended route, to visit the renowned
Rock Bridge of that State. My companion, who had passed over this natural
bridge before, proposed a wager that he could lead me across it before I
should be aware of its existence. It was early in April; and, from the
descriptions of this place which I had read, I felt confident that the
Pewee Flycatcher must be about it. I accepted the proposal of my friend
and trotted on, intent on proving to myself that, by constantly attending
to one subject, a person must sooner or later become acquainted with
it. I listened to the notes of the different birds, which at intervals
came to my ear, and at last had the satisfaction to distinguish those
of the Pewee. I stopped my horse, to judge of the distance at which the
bird might be, and a moment after told my friend that the bridge was
short of a hundred yards from us, although it was impossible for us to
see the spot itself. The surprise of my companion was great. "How do you
know this?" he asked, "for," continued he, "you are correct."—"Simply,"
answered I, "because I hear the notes of the Pewee, and know that a
cave, or a deep rocky creek, is at hand." We moved on; the Pewees rose
from under the bridge in numbers; I pointed to the spot and won the wager.

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

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

I have found this species abundant in the Floridas in winter, in full
song, and as lively as ever, also in Louisiana and the Carolinas,
particularly in the cotton fields. None, however, to my knowledge, breed
south of Charlestown in South Carolina, and very few in the lower parts
of that State. They leave Louisiana in February, and return to it in
October. Occasionally during winter they feed on berries of different
kinds, and are quite expert at discovering the insects impaled on thorns
by the Loggerhead Shrike, and which they devour with avidity. I met
with a few of these birds on the Magdeleine Islands, on the coast of
Labrador, and in Newfoundland.

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

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

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


     MUSCICAPA FUSCA, _Ch. Bonaparte's_ Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 68.

     PEWIT FLYCATCHER, MUSCICAPA NUNCIOLA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. ii. p. 78. Pl. 13. Fig. 4.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 278.


Adult Male. Plate CXX. Fig. 1.

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

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

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

Length 7 inches, extent of wings 9½; bill along the ridge 6/12, along
the edge 10/12; tarsus ¾.


Adult Female. Plate CXX. Fig. 2.

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


THE COTTON PLANT.

     GOSSYPIUM HERBACEUM, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. ii. p. 462.
     —MONADELPHIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._ MALVACEÆ, _Juss._

See vol. i. p. 359.



THE SQUATTERS OF THE MISSISSIPPI.


Although every European traveller who has glided down the Mississippi,
at the rate of ten miles an hour, has told his tale of the Squatters,
yet none has given any other account of them than that they are "a
sallow, sickly-looking sort of miserable beings," living in swamps, and
subsisting on pig-nuts, Indian corn, and bear's flesh. It is obvious,
however, that none but a person acquainted with their history, manners,
and condition, can give any real information respecting them.

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

As I am not disposed too highly to colour the picture which I am about
to submit to your inspection, instead of pitching on individuals who
have removed from our eastern boundaries, and of whom certainly there
are a good number, I shall introduce to you the members of a family from
Virginia, first giving you an idea of their condition in that country,
previous to their migration to the west. The land which they and their
ancestors have possessed for a hundred years, having been constantly
forced to produce crops of one kind or other, is now completely worn
out. It exhibits only a superficial layer of red clay, cut up by deep
ravines, through which much of the soil has been conveyed to some more
fortunate neighbour, residing in a yet rich and beautiful valley. Their
strenuous efforts to render it productive have failed. They dispose
of every thing too cumbrous or expensive for them to remove, retaining
only a few horses, a servant or two, and such implements of husbandry
and other articles as may be necessary on their journey, or useful when
they arrive at the spot of their choice.

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

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

The exhalations arising from the swamps and morasses around them, have a
powerful effect on these new settlers, but all are intent on preparing
for the winter. A small patch of ground is cleared by the axe and the
fire, a temporary cabin is erected, to each of the cattle is attached
a jingling-bell before it is let loose into the neighbouring canebrake,
and the horses remain about the house, where they find sufficient food
at that season. The first trading boat that stops at their landing,
enables them to provide themselves with some flour, fish-hooks, and
ammunition, as well as other commodities. The looms are mounted, the
spinning-wheels soon furnish some yarn, and in a few weeks the family
throw off their ragged clothes, and array themselves in suits adapted to
the climate. The father and sons meanwhile have sown turnips and other
vegetables; and from some Kentucky flat boat, a supply of live poultry
has been procured.

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

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

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

The sons have by this time discovered a swamp covered with excellent
timber, and as they have seen many great rafts of saw logs, bound for
the mills of New Orleans, floating past their dwelling, they resolve
to try the success of a little enterprise. Their industry and prudence
have already enhanced their credit. A few cross-saws are purchased, and
some broad-wheeled "carry-logs" are made by themselves. Log after log is
hauled to the bank of the river, and in a short time their first raft
is made on the shore, and loaded with cord-wood. When the next freshet
sets it afloat, it is secured by long grape-vines or cables, until the
proper time being arrived, the husband and sons embark on it, and float
down the mighty stream.

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

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

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

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



THE SNOWY OWL.

_STRIX NYCTEA._

PLATE CXXI. MALE AND FEMALE.


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

The Snowy Owl hunts during the day, as well as in the dusk. Its flight
is firm and protracted, although smooth and noiseless. It passes swiftly
over its hunting ground, seizes its prey by instantaneously falling
on it, and generally devours it on the spot. When the objects of its
pursuit are on wing, such as ducks, grouse, or pigeons, it gains upon
them by urging its speed, and strikes them somewhat in the manner of the
Peregrine Falcon. It is fond of the neighbourhood of rivers and small
streams, having in their course cataracts or shallow rapids, on the
borders of which it seizes on fishes, in the manner of our wild cat. It
also watches the traps set for musk-rats, and devours the animals caught
in them. Its usual food, while it remains with us, consists of hares,
squirrels, rats, and fishes, portions of all of which I have found in
its stomach. In several fine specimens which I examined immediately
after being killed, I found the stomach to be extremely thin, soft, and
capable of great extension. In one of them I found the whole of a large
house-rat, in pieces of considerable size, the head and the tail almost
entire. This bird was very fat, and its intestines, which were thin, and
so small as not to exceed a fourth of an inch in diameter, measured 4½
feet in length.

When skinned, the body of the Snowy Owl appears at first sight compact and
very muscular, for the breast is large, as are the thighs and legs, these
parts being covered with much flesh of a fine and delicate appearance,
very much resembling that of a chicken, and not indelicate eating, but the
thorax is very narrow for so large a bird. The keel of the breast-bone
is fully an inch deep at its junction with the fourchette, which is
wide. The heart and liver are large; the œsophagus is extremely wide,
enabling the bird to swallow very large portions of its food at once.
The skin may be drawn over the head without any difficulty, and from
the body with ease. The male weighs 4 lb., the female 4¾ lb. avoirdupois.

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

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

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

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

Several individuals have been procured near Charleston, in South
Carolina, one on James' Island, another, now in the Charleston Museum,
on Clarkson's plantation. A fine one was shot at Columbia, the seat of
government for the State of that name, from the chimney of one of the
largest houses in that town, and was beautifully preserved by Professor
Gibbes of the Columbia College. I once met with one while walking with
a friend near Louisville in Kentucky, in the middle of the day. It was
perched on a broken stump of a tree in the centre of a large field; and,
on seeing us, flew off, sailed round the field, and alighted again on
the same spot. It evinced much impatience and apprehension, opening its
wings several times as if intending to fly off; but, with some care, it
was approached and shot. It proved to be a fine old female, the plumage
of which was almost pure white. I have heard of individuals having been
seen as far down the Mississippi as the town of Memphis. Some Indians
assured me that they had shot one at the mouth of the Red River; and,
while on the Arkansas River, I was frequently told of a large White Owl
that had been seen there during winter.

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


     STRIX NYCTEA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 132.—_Lath._ Index
     Ornith. vol. i. p. 57.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 36.—_Swains. and Richards._ Fauna Bor.-
     Americ. vol. i. p. 88.

     SNOWY OWL, STRIX NYCTEA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iv. p. 53.
     pl. 32. fig. 1.—_Nuttall_, Manual, vol. i. p. 116.


Adult Male. Plate CXXI. Fig. 1.

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

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

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

Length 21 inches, extent of wings 53; bill along the ridge 1-8/12, along
the edge 2; tarsus 1-6/12, middle toe with the claw 2½.


Adult Female. Plate CXXI. Fig. 2.

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

Length 26 inches, extent of wings 65.


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



THE BLUE GROSBEAK.

_FRINGILLA CÆRULEA_, BONAP.

PLATE CXXII. MALE, FEMALE, AND YOUNG.


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

Although this sweet songster spends the spring and summer in our Southern
States, it must be considered as a rather scarce bird there. It seldom
enters deep woods, but prefers such low grounds as I have described above,
or the large and level abandoned fields covered with rank grasses and
patches of low bushes. It arrives in the lower parts of Louisiana about
the middle of March, the males appearing eight or ten days before the
females, in small parties of five or six, when their common call-note, a
single chuck, is frequently uttered to attract the females. They proceed
through Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas, in all which districts they
breed. Beyond this, however, few are to be met with. I never observed
this species on the Mississippi farther up than the neighbourhood of
Natchez; nor is it ever seen in Kentucky, or in any other part of the
western country. Along the Atlantic coast, it is rarely found beyond
the State of New Jersey.

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

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

In the summer of 1829, I accidentally met with a nest of these birds
in the State of New Jersey, a few miles only from Philadelphia. I was
attracted towards it by the cries of the birds, both of which were perched
on a tall hickory tree, standing on a piece of barren ground, near a
swamp well known on account of the visits it receives during the Woodcock
season. I looked for the nest for some time in vain. The parents left the
tree, flew about as if much alarmed and distressed, and at last alighted
on the ground not far from me. Following them gradually, I saw them go
up to one of their young, and on reaching the place, saw the nest in a
low bush of the dogwood. In it were two young ones, dead, and covered
with large insects. Presently I heard the chirp of a fourth, which I
found within a few yards of the place. Concluding that the insects were
the cause of all the distress I saw, I destroyed them, and replaced the
young birds in the nest, where I left them. Visiting them repeatedly
afterwards, I saw them grow apace, until at length they flew off, when
I cut the twig, and drew it with the nest, as you now see it in the Plate.

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

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

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

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

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


     FRINGILLA CÆRULEA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 114.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 529.

     LOXIA CÆRULEA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 306.—_Lath._ Ind.
     Ornith. vol. i. p. 374.

     BLUE GROSBEAK, LOXIA CÆRULEA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iii.
     p. 78. Pl. 24. fig. 6.


Adult Male. Plate CXXII. Fig. 1.

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

Plumage soft, rather compact above, blended beneath. Wings of moderate
length, third and fourth primaries longest. Tail rather long, emarginate.

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

Length 7½ inches, extent of wings 11; bill along the ridge 7/12, along
the edge 10/12; tarsus 1.


Adult Female. Plate CXXII. Fig. 2.

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


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

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


THE DOG WOOD.

     CORNUS FLORIDA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 661. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 108.—TETRANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._
     CAPRIFOLIA, _Juss._

See vol. i. pages 45, and 376.



THE BLACK AND YELLOW WARBLER.

_SYLVIA MACULOSA_, LATH.

PLATE CXXIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


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

The Black and Yellow Warbler has a clear and sweetly modulated song,
surpassing that of many other birds of its tribe. It sings in the interior
of the low woods, to which it seems at all times to give a decided
preference. Its motions are extremely graceful; its tail is constantly
spread as it flits along the branches, or even while it is on the ground,
to which it frequently betakes itself, and its wings are usually held in
a drooping position, so as to display all the beauty of its plumage. It
feeds on insects and their larvæ. Now and then it may be seen balancing
itself in the air, opposite a cluster of leaves, among which it darts to
secure its prey, and not unfrequently it emerges a few feet from among
the foliage of a tree or bush, to seize a fluttering insect. In catching
its prey, it does not produce the clicking sound, caused by the sudden
meeting of the mandibles, so remarkable in some other species.

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

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

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


     SYLVIA MACULOSA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 536.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 78.

     BLACK, AND, YELLOW WARBLER, SYLVIA MAGNOLIA, _Wils._ Americ.
     Ornith. vol. iii. p. 63. Pl. 23. Male.—_Nuttall_, Manual, vol. i.
     p. 370.


Adult Male. Plate CXXIII. Fig. 1.

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

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

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

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

Length 5 inches, extent of wings 7½; bill along the ridge 4/12, along
the edge 6/12; tarsus ¾, middle toe 7/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXXIII. Fig. 2.

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


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


THE FLOWERING RASPBERRY.

     RUBUS ODORATUS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 1085. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 348.—ICOSANDRIA POLYGYNIA, _Linn._
     ROSACEÆ, _Juss._

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



THE GREEN BLACK-CAPPED FLYCATCHER.

_MUSCICAPA WILSONII._

PLATE CXXIV. MALE AND FEMALE.


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

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

The nest is placed on the extremity of a small horizontal branch, amongst
the thick foliage of dwarf firs, not more than from three to five feet
from the ground, and in the centre of the thickets of these trees so
common in Labrador. The materials of which it is composed are bits
of dry moss and delicate pine twigs, agglutinated together and to the
branches or leaves around it, and beneath which it is suspended, with a
lining of extremely fine and transparent fibres. The greatest diameter
does not exceed 3½ inches, and the depth is not more than 1½. The eggs
are four, dull white, sprinkled with reddish and brown dots towards the
larger end, where the markings form a circle, leaving the extremity plain.

The parents shew much uneasiness at the approach of any intruder, skipping
about and around among the twigs and in the air, snapping their bill,
and uttering a plaintive note. They raise only one brood in the season.
The young males shew their black cap as soon as they are fully fledged,
and before their departure to the south. The head of the young females
is at first of the same tint as the back, but I could not ascertain if
they acquire their full colour the first autumn.

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


     MUSCICAPA WILSONII.

     SYLVIA WILSONII, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 86.

     GREEN BLACK-CAPT FLYCATCHER, MUSCICAPA PUSILLA, _Wils._ Amer.
     Ornith. vol. iii. p. 103. pl. 26. fig. 4.

     GREEN BLACK-CAPT WARBLER, _Nuttall_, Manual, vol. i. p. 408.


Adult Male. Plate CXXIV. Fig. 1.

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

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

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

Length 4½ inches, extent of wings 6¾; bill along the ridge 3/12, along
the edge 5/12; tarsus 8/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXXIV. Fig. 2.

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


THE SNAKE'S HEAD.

     CHELONE GLABRA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iii. p. 225. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 427.—DIDYNAMIA ANGIOSPERMIA,
     _Linn._ SCROPHULARINÆ, _Juss._

This plant grows on the banks of rivers and swamps, in the Middle
and Southern States. It is herbaceous and perennial, with opposite
lanceolate-oblong, acuminate, serrate leaves, and dense terminal spikes
of pale red flowers, not remarkable for beauty.



THE BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH.

_SITTA PUSILLA_, LATH.

PLATE CXXV. MALE AND FEMALE.


Actively and most diligently employed is this little rover ever found
in our pine woodlands of the Southern Districts, where it resides all
the year, and beyond which it seldom extends, few being ever seen to
the eastward of Maryland. Those large tracts of sandy soil that occupy
the greater portion of the Floridas, Georgia, and the Carolinas, appear
to suit its habits best. It is rather rare in Louisiana, and none go
so far as Kentucky. It is the smallest species of Nuthatch as yet found
in the United States. Its notes are several octaves above those of the
White-bellied Nuthatch, more shrill, and at least one and a half above
those of its northern cousin, the Red-bellied.

Although fond of pine-trees and pine-barrens, it does not confine itself
to these, but may not unfrequently be seen pursuing its avocations
on lower trees and on fences, mounting, descending, turning in every
imaginable position, and with a quickness of motion so much greater than
that of most other birds as to render it extremely difficult to shoot
at. It examines every hole and cranny of the bark of trees, as well
as their leaves and twigs, on which it finds abundance of food at all
seasons. During the breeding period they move in pairs, and are constantly
chattering. Their notes resemble the syllables _deut_, _deut_, _dend_,
_dend_, and although not musical are not disagreeable, particularly
when heard in the woods in which they usually reside, and where at that
season a mournful silence intimates the wildness of the place.

When the young have left the nest they continue together, and move from
tree to tree with the activity of their parents, who join them when the
succeeding broods are able to find food for themselves. Towards winter
they associate with the smaller species of Woodpeckers, the Brown Creeper,
and the _Southern_ Black-headed Tit. These birds pursue their avocations
with so much cheerfulness that the woods echo to their notes. I have
seen a congregation of these Nuthatches, amounting to fifty or more,
thus perambulating the Floridas in the months of November and December.
In those districts they pair in the beginning of February, and have eggs
about the middle of that month, while in South Carolina they breed about
a month later.

The nest is usually excavated by the birds themselves, in the dead portion
of a low stump or sapling, sometimes only a few feet from the ground, but
not unfrequently so high as thirty or forty feet. The little creatures
work in concert, with great earnestness, for several days, until the
hole, which is round, and not larger at its entrance than the body of
the bird, is dug ten or twelve inches deep, and widening at the bottom.
The eggs are laid on the bare wood; they are from four to six, white,
with reddish dots, and scarcely larger than those of the Humming Bird.
They frequently raise three broods in the season, but more commonly two.

Extremely careless at the presence of man, who indeed seldom molests
them, they often peep at him when at the distance of only a few feet;
yet when apprehensive of danger, they instantly fly off or ascend the
tree, and are out of sight in an instant.

Their flight is similar to that of the other species, and like them
they frequently utter their notes while on the wing. Now and then they
are seen on the ground, where they hop and turn over the dead leaves in
search of their food, which consists entirely of insects and their larvæ.

The young of this species do not acquire the brown colour of the head
until the approach of spring, when no difference is observable between
the sexes.


     SITTA PUSILLA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 263.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 97.

     BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH, SITTA PUSILLA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. ii. p. 105. pl. 15. fig. 2.—_Nuttall_, Manual, vol. i.
     p. 584.


Adult Male. Plate CXXV. Fig. 1.

Bill of moderate length, strong, subconical, compressed, the tip abrupt
and wedge-shaped; upper mandible slightly convex in the dorsal outline,
the sides sloping, the edges acute; dorsal outline of lower mandible
straight. Nostrils basal, lateral, oblong. General form short and robust.
Feet rather short and strong; tarsus compressed, anteriorly scutellate,
behind sharp; toes free, scutellate above, the hind toe strong; claws
arched, compressed, acute, that of the hind toe large.

Plumage soft and blended; wings of ordinary length, the second, third,
and fourth quills longest. Tail short, even, of twelve rounded feathers.

Bill brownish-black above, and on the tips of the lower mandible, the
base of which is light greyish-blue. Iris hazel. Feet dusky brown.
The general colour of the plumage above is dull leaden grey; the two
middle tail-feathers of the same tint; the rest black, the margin of the
outermost and the ends of it, and of the three next on each side, white,
the tips grey. Upper part of the head and hind-neck light reddish-brown,
with a white spot on the hind-neck. The under parts in general are dull
white.

Length 4 inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the back 5/12, along the
edge 7/12; tarsus 8/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXXV. Fig. 2.

The female has the tints paler, but in other respects resembles the male.



THE SQUATTERS OF LABRADOR.


Go where you will, if a shilling can there be procured, you may expect
to meet with individuals in search of it.

In the course of last summer, I met with several persons as well as
families, whom I could not compare to any thing else than what in America
we understand by the appellation of Squatters. The methods they employed
to accumulate property form the subject of the observations which I now
lay before you.

Our schooner lay at anchor in a beautiful basin on the coast of Labrador,
surrounded by uncouth granitic rocks, partially covered with stunted
vegetation. While searching for birds and other objects I chanced one
morning to direct my eye towards the pinnacle of a small island, separated
from the mainland by a very narrow channel, and presently commenced
inspecting it with my telescope. There I saw a man on his knees, with
clasped hands, and face inclined heavenwards. Before him was a small
monument of unhewn stones, supporting a wooden cross. In a word, reader,
the person whom I thus unexpectedly discovered, was engaged in prayer.
Such an incident in that desolate land was affecting, for there one seldom
finds traces of human beings, and the aid of the Almighty, although
necessary everywhere, seems there peculiarly required to enable them
to procure the means of subsistence. My curiosity having been raised,
I betook myself to my boat, landed on the rock, and scrambled to the
place, where I found the man still on his knees. When his devotions
were concluded, he bowed to me, and addressed me in very indifferent
French. I asked him why he had chosen so dreary a spot for his prayers.
"Because," answered he, "the sea lies before me, and from it I receive
my spring and summer sustenance. When winter approaches, I pray fronting
the mountains on the Main, as at that period the karaboos come towards
the shore, and I kill them, feed on their flesh, and form my bedding of
their skins." I thought the answer reasonable, and as I longed to know
more of him, followed him to his hut. It was low and very small, formed
of stones plastered with mud to a considerable thickness, The roof was
composed of a sort of thatching made of weeds and moss. A large Dutch
stove filled nearly one-half of the place, a small port-hole, then
stuffed with old rags, served at times instead of a window; the bed was
a pile of deer skins; a bowl, a jug, and an iron pot were placed on a
rude shelf; three old and rusty muskets, their locks fastened by thongs,
stood in a corner; and his buck shot, powder, and flints, were tied up
in bags of skin. Eight Esquimaux dogs yelled and leaped about us. The
strong smell that emanated from them, together with the smoke and filth
of the apartment, rendered my stay in it extremely disagreeable.

Being a native of France, the good man shewed much politeness, and invited
me to take some refreshment, when, without waiting for my assent, he took
up his bowl and went off I knew not whither. No sooner had he and his
strange dogs disappeared, than I went out also, to breathe the pure air,
and gaze on the wild and majestic scenery around. I was struck with the
extraordinary luxuriance of the plants and grasses that had sprung up
on the scanty soil on the little valley which the _Squatter_ had chosen
for his home. Their stalks and broad blades reached my waist. June had
come, and the flies, musquitoes, and other insects filled the air, and
were as troublesome to me as if I had been in a Florida swamp.

The Squatter returned, but he was chop-fallen;—nay I thought his visage
had assumed a cadaverous hue. Tears ran down his cheeks, and he told
me that his barrel of _rum_ had been stolen by the "eggers," or some
fishermen! He said that he had been in the habit of hiding it in the
bushes, to prevent its being carried away by those merciless thieves,
who must have watched him in some of his _frequent_ walks to the spot.
"Now," said he, "I can expect none until next spring, and God knows what
will become of me in the winter!"

PIERRE JEAN BAPTISTE MICHAUX had resided in that part of the world for
upwards of ten years. He had run away from the fishing smack that had
brought him from his fair native land, and expected to become rich some
day by the sale of the furs, seal skins, eider down, and other articles
which he collected yearly, and sold to the traders who regularly visited
his dreary abode. He was of moderate stature, firmly framed, and as
active as a wild cat. He told me that excepting the loss of his rum,
he had never experienced any other cause of sorrow, and that he felt as
"happy as a lord."

Before parting with this fortunate mortal, I inquired how his dogs managed
to find sufficient food. "Why, Sir, during spring and summer they ramble
along the shores, where they meet with abundance of dead fish, and in
winter they eat the flesh of the seals which I kill late in autumn, when
these animals return from the north. As to myself, every thing eatable
is good, and when hard pushed, I assure you I can relish the fare of my
dogs just as much as they do themselves."

Proceeding along the rugged indentations of the bay with my companions,
I reached the settlement of another person, who, like the first, had
come to Labrador with the view of making his fortune. We found him after
many difficulties; but as our boats turned a long point jutting out into
the bay, we were pleased to see several small schooners at anchor, and
one lying near a sort of wharf. Several neat-looking houses enlivened
the view, and on landing, we were kindly greeted with a polite welcome
from a man who proved to be the owner of the establishment. For the
rude simplicity of him of the rum-cask, we found here the manners and
dress of a man of the world. A handsome fur cap covered his dark brow,
his clothes were similar to our own, and his demeanour was that of a
gentleman. On my giving my name to him, he shook me heartily by the
hand, and on introducing each of my companions to him, he extended the
like courtesy to them also. Then, to my astonishment, he addressed me
as follows:—"My dear Sir, I have been expecting you these three weeks,
having read _in the papers_ your intention to visit Labrador, and some
fishermen told me of your arrival at Little Natasguan. Gentlemen, walk
in."

Having followed him to his neat and comfortable mansion, he introduced
us to his wife and children. Of the latter there were six, all robust
and rosy. The lady, although a native of the country, was of French
extraction, handsome, and sufficiently accomplished to make an excellent
companion to a gentleman. A smart girl brought us a luncheon, consisting
of bread, cheese, and good port wine, to which, having rowed fourteen or
fifteen miles that morning, we helped ourselves in a manner that seemed
satisfactory to all parties. Our host gave us newspapers from different
parts of the world, and shewed us his small but choice collection of
books. He inquired after the health of the amiable Captain BAYFIELD of
the Royal Navy, and the officers under him, and hoped they would give
him a call.

Having refreshed ourselves, we walked out with him, when he pointed to
a very small garden, where a few vegetables sprouted out, anxious to
see the sun. Gazing on the desolate country around, I asked him how _he_
had thus secluded himself from _the world_. For it he had no relish, and
although he had received a liberal education, and had mixed with society,
he never intended to return to it. "The country around," said he, "is
all my own, much farther than you can see. No fees, no lawyers, no taxes
are _here_. I do pretty much as I choose. My means are ample, through
my own industry. These vessels come here for seal-skins, seal-oil, and
salmon, and give me in return all the necessaries, and indeed comforts,
of the life I love to follow; and what else could _the world_ afford me!"
I spoke of the education of his children. "My wife and I teach them all
that is _useful_ for them to know, and is not that enough? My girls will
marry their countrymen, my sons the daughters of my _neighbours_, and I
hope all of them will live and die in the country!" I said no more, but
by way of compensation for the trouble I had given him, purchased from
his eldest child a beautiful fox's skin.

Few birds, he said, came around him in summer, but in winter thousands
of ptarmigans were killed, as well as great numbers of gulls. He had
a great dislike to all fishermen and eggers, and I really believe was
always glad to see the departure even of the hardy navigators who annually
visited him for the sake of his salmon, seal-skins, and oil. He had
more than forty Esquimaux dogs; and, as I was caressing one of them, he
said, "Tell my brother-in-law at Bras-d'Or, that we are all well here,
and that, after visiting my wife's father, I will give him a call!"

Now, reader, his wife's father resided at the distance of seventy miles
down the coast, and, like himself, was a recluse. He of Bras d'Or was at
double that distance; but, when the snows of winter have thickly covered
the country, the whole family, in sledges drawn by dogs, travel with
ease, and pay their visits, or leave their cards. This good gentleman
had already resided there more than twenty years. Should he ever read
this article, I desire him to believe that I shall always be grateful
to him and his wife for their hospitable welcome.

When our schooner, the Ripley, arrived at Bras d'Or, I paid a visit to
Mr —, the brother-in-law, who lived in a house imported from Quebec,
which fronted the strait of Belle Isle, and overlooked a small island,
over which the eye reached the coast of Newfoundland, whenever it was
the wind's pleasure to drive away the fogs that usually lay over both
coasts. The gentleman and his wife, we were told, were both out on a
walk, but would return in a very short time, which they in fact did, when
we followed them into the house, which was yet unfinished. The usual
immense Dutch stove formed a principal feature of the interior. The
lady had once visited the metropolis of Canada, and seemed desirous of
acting the part of a blue-stocking. Understanding that I knew something
of the fine arts, she pointed to several of the vile prints hung on
the bare walls, which she said were _elegant_ Italian pictures, and
continued her encomiums upon them, assuring me that she had purchased
them from an Italian, who had come there with a trunk full of them. She
had paid a shilling Sterling for each, frame included! I could give no
answer to the good lady on this subject, but I felt glad to find that
she possessed a feeling heart. One of her children had caught a siskin,
and was tormenting the poor bird, when she rose from her seat, took the
little fluttering thing from the boy, kissed it, and gently launched it
into the air. This made me quite forget the tattle about the fine arts.

Some excellent milk was poured out for us in clean glasses. It was a
pleasing sight, for not a cow had we yet seen in the country. The lady
turned the conversation on music, and asked if I played on any instrument.
I answered that I did, but very indifferently. Her forte, she said, was
music, of which she was indeed immoderately fond. Her instrument had
been sent to Europe to be repaired, but would return that season, when
the whole of her children would again perform many beautiful airs, for
in fact any body could use it with ease, as when she or the children
felt fatigued, the servant played on it for them. Rather surprised at
the extraordinary powers of this family of musicians, I asked what sort
of an instrument it was, when she described it as follows:—"Gentlemen,
my instrument is large, longer than broad, and stands on four legs, like
a table. At one end is a crooked handle, by turning which round, either
fast or slow, I do assure you we make most excellent music." The lips
of my young friends and companions instantly curled, but a glance from
me as instantly recomposed their features. Telling the fair one that it
must be a hand-organ she used, she laughingly said, "Ah, that is it;
it is a hand-organ, but I had forgot the name, and for the life of me
could not recollect it."

The husband had gone out to work, and was in the harbour caulking an old
schooner. He dined with me on board the Ripley, and proved to be also an
excellent fellow. Like his brother-in-law, he had seen much of the world,
having sailed nearly round it; and, although no scholar, like him, too,
he was disgusted with it. He held his land on the same footing as his
neighbours, caught seals without number, lived comfortably and happily,
visited his father-in-law and the scholar, by the aid of his dogs, of
which he kept a great pack, bartered or sold his commodities, as his
relations did, and cared about nothing else in the world. Whenever the
weather was fair, he walked with his dame over the moss-covered rocks of
the neighbourhood; and, during winter, killed ptarmigans and karaboos,
while his eldest son attended to the traps, and skinned the animals caught
in them. He had the only horse that was to be found in that part of the
country, as well as several cows; but, above all, he was kind to every
one, and every one spoke well of him. The only disagreeable thing about
his plantation or settlement, was a heap of fifteen hundred carcasses
of skinned seals, which, at the time when we visited the place, in the
month of August, notwithstanding the coolness of the atmosphere, sent
forth a stench that, according to the ideas of some naturalists, might
have sufficed to attract all the Vultures in the United States.

During our stay at Bras d'Or, the kind-hearted and good Mrs — daily
sent us fresh milk and butter, for which we were denied the pleasure of
making any return.



THE WHITE-HEADED EAGLE.

_FALCO LEUCOCEPHALUS_, LINN.

PLATE CXXVI. YOUNG.


Although I have already given a long account of the adult of this species,
in the first volume of my biographies, I have thought it necessary, not
only to figure the young, but also to offer you some of the observations
relative to the habits of this handsome and powerful bird, which I have
collected in the course of my long rambles. These I select from among
the many recorded in my journals, giving the preference to those which
seem most likely to interest you.

_St John's River, East Florida, 7th February 1832._—I observed four nests
of the White-headed Eagle this day, while the United States' schooner
Spark lay at anchor not far from the shore. They were at no great distance
from each other, and all placed on tall live pine-trees. Our commander,
Lieutenant Piercey of our Navy, having at that time little to do, as he
lay waiting the flood-tide, a boat was manned, and several of us went on
shore. On approaching the nearest nest, we saw two young birds standing
erect on its edge, while their parents were perched on the branches above
them. As we went nearer, the old ones flew off silently, while the young
did not seem to pay the least attention to us, this being a part of the
woods where probably no white man had ever before put his foot, and the
Eaglets having as yet had no experience of the barbarity of the race.
The captain took the first shot: one of the birds was severely wounded,
and tumbled half way from the nest towards the ground, when it recovered,
flapped its wings, and suddenly sailed away until we lost sight of it as
it flew into the woods. I marked its course, however. One of the sailors
was told to shoot the other, which had not moved from its position; he
missed it; and as I saw it make movements indicative of its surprise
and fear, I fired, but wounded it so slightly in one pinion, that it
was enabled to fly off in an irregular manner towards the river. This
I judged was the first attempt it had ever made to fly. I followed its
course with my eye, and after in vain waiting a long time for a shot at
the old birds, I went in search of it, while the rest of the party pursued
the other. After some time I reached our boat, and at the same instant
was surprised to see the wounded bird perched on a low stump within half
gun shot. I fired, and the bird fell, but before I reached the spot, it
flew off again and tumbled into the river, where, in this to it new and
wonderful element, it flapped its wings, and made way so fast, that I
took to the water and brought it ashore, my faithful Newfoundland dog
Plato being on board, quite lamed by having brought me birds some days
before from banks of _racoon oysters_. After all, it was necessary to
knock the bird on the head, which done I returned to the party, none of
whom had yet found their prey, they having disagreed as to the course
it had taken. Being somewhat of a woodsman, I pointed towards the place
where I thought the bird must be, and after a few hundred yards walking
among palmettoes, Spanish bayonets, sword-grass, and other disagreeable
undergrowth, we discovered the poor bird gasping in its last agonies.
On examining their bodies we found both well supplied with shot, and I
became more assured than ever of the hardiness of the species.

_On the same river, 8th February._—We visited another nest, on which, by
the aid of a telescope, we saw three young ones in the posture described
above. The bird first shot fell back in the nest and there remained: it
was struck by a bullet. The next was so severely wounded that it clung
outside the nest, until fired at a second time, when it fell. The third
was killed, as it was preparing to fly off. Our axes being dull, the
tree large, and a fair breeze springing up, we returned to the Spark,
where in a few hours these young birds were skinned, cooked, and eaten,
by those who had been "in at the death." They proved good eating, the
flesh resembling veal in taste and tenderness. One of us only did not
taste of the dish, simply I believe from prejudice. The contents of the
stomachs of these young Eagles were large fragments of cat-fish heads
and bones of quadrupeds and birds. We frequently saw old birds of the
species sail down to the surface of the water, and rise holding in their
talons heads of cat-fishes which abounded on the water and were rejected,
as the inhabitants assured us, by the alligators, who content themselves
with the best part, the tail, leaving the heads to such animals as can
dissect them and escape the dangerous sharp bony guards placed near
the gills, and which the fish has the power of firmly fixing at right
angles as if they were a pair of small bayonets. Should this really be
a general habit of the alligator, it indicates his faculty of gaining
knowledge by experience, or of having it naturally implanted. I could
easily distinguish the sex of all the young Eagles of this species which
we procured. The females were not only larger, but almost black, whilst
the males were much lighter and of less weight.

Some weeks afterwards, when young Eagles would have been thought a
dainty even by our most prejudiced companions—for you must not suppose,
reader, that every student of nature meets with "pigs ready roasted" in
our woods—we saw an old White-headed Eagle perched on a tall tree at the
edge of the river. While admiring its posture, by means of a telescope,
and marking its eye keenly bent towards the water, it suddenly dropped
like a stone from its perch, almost immersed its body into the stream,
and rose with a large trout, with which it scrambled to the shore. Our
captain, his first lieutenant, my assistant, and your humble servant,
were present on this occasion, and saw it very composedly eat the fish,
after shaking the water from its plumage. I must add that never before
had I seen this bird plunge into the water, although I had several times
seen it scrambling after small fishes in shallows and gravel banks.

_February 29th._—I saw some Fish-Hawks defend themselves, and chase away
from their nests the Bald Eagle. The former were incubating, and the
latter, as well as some Turkey Buzzards, were anxiously trying to rob
the nest, wherever they found the Fisher Bird absent from its tenement.
The Fish-hawks at last collected from different parts of the river, and
I felt great pleasure in seeing these brave birds actually drive away
their cowardly enemies. The Fish-Hawk had only eggs in that country when
the young of the Eagle were large and fully able to fly.

_Bay of Fundy, 10th May 1833._—While admiring the extraordinary boldness
of the rocky shores of this perhaps most wonderful of all bays, and trying
to discover in what manner the stupendous natural fortifications are
connected with the formidable tides that dash against them, I observed
Crows, Ravens, and the White-headed Eagle, leisurely feeding on mussels
and sea-eggs. The rocks were clad towards their summits with melancholy
firs, of which each broken branch told of a tempest; slimy sea-weeds
hung sluggishly over the waters; and, as each successive wave retired,
banks of shells were exposed to view, closely impacted, and conveying
to my mind the idea of gigantic honeycombs.

_Labrador, July 1833._—The White-headed Eagle is unknown in this country,
although many Fish-Hawks are found here, and I saw several of their
nests, placed on the low fir trees.

_Boston, Massachusetts, 21st November 1832._—This morning I received the
following letter from my learned friend JACOB BIGELOW, Esq. M.D.—"Dear
Sir, about sixteen years since, a large eagle, _Falco leucocephalus_,
belonging to the Linnean Society of this city, was sentenced to contribute
to a cabinet of natural history. A variety of experiments was made with a
view to destroy him without injuring his plumage, and a number of mineral
poisons were successively given him in large doses, but without effect.
At length a drachm of corrosive sublimate of mercury was inclosed in a
small fish, and given him to eat. After swallowing the whole of this,
he continued to appearance perfectly well, and free from inconvenience.
The next day an equal quantity of white arsenic was given him, without
any greater effect; so that in the end the refractory bird was obliged
to be put to death by mechanical means. The experiments were made by Dr
HAYWARD and myself, in presence of other members of the Society. Very
truly, your obedient servant, JACOB BIGELOW."

I have now no doubt that in a state of confinement, this species sometimes
requires a long series of years before it attains the full adult plumage,
by which it is so distinctly characterized. There is now one living in
the suburbs of Philadelphia, which was eight years in coming to this
state of maturity. Almost every person who saw it, while yet in its
brown dress, called it either a new species or a Golden Eagle! Nay some
said that it must be "_the pretended Bird of Washington_!" My constant
and most worthy friend, Dr RICHARD HARLAN, took me to see it. I felt
assured as to the species, and told him that its head and bill would
become white, and that its size, which was rather larger than common,
was not such as to indicate a different species. I offered a wager of
one thousand dollars in support of my assertions, but the Doctor wisely
declined meeting me on this ground. Four years afterwards, when this bird
was eight years of age, it moulted, and the head and tail assumed a pure
white colour. Dr HARLAN, in one of his letters, dated 26th April 1831,
says, "I wish I could walk with you this moment to M'ARRAN'S garden, to
shew you how _white_ the head of the eagle, which we talked of betting
about, has at last become, as well as his tail; but he must have been
at least nine or ten years old first." This very eagle happened to have
each of his middle claws of a whitish colour, and his owner would fain
have persuaded me that it was a new bird, on the assertion, as he said,
of a well-known ornithologist residing in Philadelphia, who has since
published a description of it under a new and very curious name. The
proprietor of this famed bird valued it at one hundred dollars, I at one!

While at the lovely village of Columbia, in South Carolina, Dr ROBERT W.
GIBBES, a man of taste and talent, as well as one who loves the science
of birds for its own sake, kept one of these Eagles for some time in his
aviary, and, being desirous of granting it more liberty, cut across all
the primary quills of one of its wings, and turned it loose in his yard.
No sooner was the bird at liberty, than it deliberately pulled out the
stump of each mutilated quill, in consequence of which the wing was soon
furnished anew. The Doctor told me that his first intention was to draw
them out himself, but this he found so difficult that he gave it up. Do
birds possess a power of contracting the sheaths of their feathers so
powerfully as to prevent their being pulled without great force?

Since my earliest acquaintance with birds, I have felt assured of
the ignoble spirit of the White-headed Eagle, and the following fact
strengthens the impression. WILLIAM W. KUNHARDT, Esq. of Charleston,
S. C., kept one of these birds (a full-grown male) for many months. He
one day put a game-cock into its cage, to see how the prisoner would
conduct himself. The gallant cock at once set to, and beat the eagle in
the "handsomest manner," his opponent giving in at each blow, without
paying the least regard to the established rules of combat. Other cocks
of the common race proved equally formidable to the degraded robber of
the Fish-Hawk.

The White-headed Eagle seldom utters its piercing cry without throwing
its head backward until it nearly touches the feathers of the back.
It then opens its bill, and its tongue is seen to move as it emits its
notes, of which five or six are delivered in rapid succession. Although
loud and disagreeable when heard at hand, they have a kind of melancholy
softness when listened to at a great distance. When these birds are
irritated, and on the wing, they often thrust forth their talons, opening
and closing them, as if threatening to tear the object of their anger
in pieces.

The synonyms and necessary references having been already given in the
first volume (page 169), it is unnecessary to repeat them here. WILSON
figured and described the young of the White-headed Eagle under the name
of the Sea Eagle, _Falco ossifragus_, although not without expressing
doubts.


     FALCO LEUCOCEPHALUS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 26.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 72.

     AQUILA LEUCOCEPHALA, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna
     Boreali-Americana, part ii. p. 15.

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


The Young Bird fully fledged is represented in Plate CXXVI.

In this state it differs greatly in its colours from the _F. ossifragus_
or young of the _F. albicilla_ of Europe, with which it was confounded
by WILSON.

The bill is black above, bluish-grey towards the end of the lower
mandible, the cere, the base of the lower mandible, and the soft margins
of the bill at the angle, yellow tinged with green. The narrow elongated
feathers of the head and neck are dark-brown tipped with dull white, and
the general colour of the plumage above is dull hair-brown; the lower
parts having the feathers deep brown, broadly margined with greyish-white.
The quills are deep brown, and the tail-feathers are brownish white,
minutely mottled with dark brown, and having their extremities of that
colour. The iris is yellowish-brown, the feet greenish-yellow, the claws
black.


The Adult birds have been described in vol. i. of the present work, p. 169.



THE ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK.

_FRINGILLA LUDOVICIANA_, BONAP.

PLATE CXXVII. MALE, FEMALE, AND YOUNG.


One year, in the month of August, I was trudging along the shores of the
Mohawk River, when night overtook me. Being little acquainted with that
part of the country, I resolved to camp where I was, the evening was calm
and beautiful, the sky sparkled with stars, which were reflected by the
smooth waters, and the deep shade of the rocks and trees of the opposite
shore fell on the bosom of the stream, while gently from afar came on
the ear the muttering sound of the cataract. My little fire was soon
lighted under a rock, and, spreading out my scanty stock of provisions, I
reclined on my grassy couch. As I looked around on the fading features of
the beautiful landscape, my heart turned towards my distant home, where
my friends were doubtless wishing me, as I wished them, a happy night
and peaceful slumbers. Then were heard the barkings of the watch-dog,
and I tapped my faithful companion to prevent his answering them. The
thoughts of my worldly mission then came over my mind, and having thanked
the Creator of all for his never failing mercy, I closed my eyes, and
was passing away into the world of dreaming existence, when suddenly
there burst on my soul the serenade of the Rose-breasted bird, so rich,
so mellow, so loud in the stillness of the night, that sleep fled from
my eyelids. Never did I enjoy music more: it thrilled through my heart,
and surrounded me with an atmosphere of bliss. One might easily have
imagined that even the Owl, charmed by such delightful music, remained
reverently silent. Long after the sounds ceased did I enjoy them, and
when all had again become still, I stretched out my wearied limbs, and
gave myself up to the luxury of repose. In the morning I awoke vigorous
as ever, and prepared to continue my journey.

I have frequently observed this beautiful species, early in the month
of March, in the lower parts of Louisiana, making its way eastward; and
when residing at Henderson in Kentucky, and in Cincinnati in Ohio, I
have noticed the same circumstance. At this early period, it passes at
a considerable height in the air, and now and then alights on the tops
of the tallest trees of the forest, as if to rest a while. While on
wing it utters a clear note, but when perched it remains silent, in an
upright and rather stiff attitude. It is then easily approached. I have
followed it in its migrations into Pennsylvania, New York, and other
Eastern States, through the British provinces of New Brunswick and Nova
Scotia, as far as Newfoundland, where many breed, but I saw none in
Labrador. It is never seen in the maritime parts of Georgia, or those of
the Carolinas, but some have been procured in the mountainous portions
of those States. I have found them rather plentiful in the early part of
May, along the steep banks of the Schuylkil River, twenty or thirty miles
from Philadelphia, and observed, that at that season they fed mostly on
the buds of the trees, their tender blossoms, and upon insects, which
they catch on wing, making short sallies for the purpose. I saw several
in the Great Pine Forest of that State; but they were more abundant in
New York, especially along the banks of the beautiful river called the
Mohawk. They are equally abundant along the shores of Lakes Ontario
and Erie, although I believe that the greater number go as far as New
Brunswick to breed. While on an excursion to the islands at the entrance
of the Bay of Fundy, in the beginning of May, my son shot several which
were in full song. These islands are about thirty miles distant from
the mainland.

The most western place in which I found the nest of this species was
within a few miles of Cincinnati on the Ohio. It was placed in the
upright forks of a low bush, and differed so much in its composition
from those which I have seen in the Eastern States, that it greatly
resembled the nest of the Blue Grosbeak already described. The young,
three in number, were ready to fly. The parents fed them on the soft
grains of wheat which they procured in a neighbouring field, and often
searched for insects in the crannies of the bark of trees, on which
they alighted sidewise, in the manner of sparrows. This was in the end
of July. Generally, however, the nest of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak is
placed on the top branches of an alder bush, near water, and usually on
the borders of meadows or alluvial grounds. It is composed of the dried
twigs of trees, mixed with a few leaves and the bark of vines, and is
lined with fibrous roots and horse hair. The eggs are seldom more than
four, and I believe only one brood is raised in the season. Both sexes
incubate. I have found the nest and eggs, on the 20th of May, on the
borders of Cayuga Lake in the State of New York.

The flight of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak is strong, even, and as graceful
as it is sustained. When travelling southward, at the approach of autumn,
or about the 1st of September, it passes high over the forest trees,
in the manner of the King Bird and the Robin, alighting toward sunset
on a tall tree, from which it in a few minutes dives into some close
thicket, where it remains during the night. The birds travel singly at
this season, as well as during spring.

I am indebted to my friend JOHN BACHMAN, for the following information
respecting this interesting Grosbeak: "One spring, I shot at a beautiful
male bird of this species, in the State of New York. It was wounded in one
foot only, and although I could not perceive any other injury afterwards,
it fell from the tree to the ground, and before it recovered itself I
secured it. Not having a cage at hand, I let it fly in the room which I
had made my study. Before an hour had elapsed, it appeared as if disposed
to eat; it refused corn and wheat, but fed heartily on bread dipped
in milk. The next day it was nearly quite gentle, and began to examine
the foot injured by the shot which was much swollen and quite black. It
began to bite off its foot at the wounded part, and soon succeeded in
cutting it quite across. It healed in a few days, and the bird used the
mutilated leg almost as well as the other, perching and resting upon it.
It required indeed some care to observe that the patient had been injured.
I procured a cage for it, to which it immediately became reconciled. It
ate all kinds of food, but preferred Indian corn meal and hempseed. It
appeared fonder of insects than birds of that genus are supposed to be,
and ate grasshoppers and crickets with peculiar relish. It would at times
sit for hours watching the flies, as these passed about it, and snatched
at and often secured such wasps as now and then approached the pieces
of fruit thrown into the cage. Very often, of fine moonshiny nights, it
would tune its pipe, and sing sweetly, but not loudly, remaining quietly
perched and in the same position. Whilst singing during the day, it was
in the habit of opening its wings, and gently raising them, somewhat in
the manner of the Mocking Bird. I found it very difficult to preserve
this bird during winter, and was obliged for that purpose to place it
in a room heated by a stove to summer temperature. It was a lively and
very gentle companion of my study for nearly three years; it died of
cold the third winter. It frequently escaped from the cage, but never
exhibited the least desire to leave me, for it invariably returned to
some portion of the house at the approach of night. Its song continued
about six weeks during summer, and about two in the autumn; at all other
periods it simply uttered a faint chuck, and seemed to possess many of
the ordinary habits of the Blue Grosbeak."

The food of this beautiful bird consists of seeds of the cereal plants,
of grasses, and those of different kinds of berries, along with insects.
The young are three years in obtaining their full dress, and undergo
their changes very slowly. I have placed several of these birds of both
sexes, and of different ages, on a branch of the ground hemlock, the
berries of which they attack for their seeds.


     LOXIA LUDOVICIANA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 306.—_Lath._
     Index Ornith. vol. i. p. 379.

     FRINGILLA LUDOVICIANA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 113.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 527.

     ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, LOXIA ROSEA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. ii. p. 135. pl. 17. fig. 1. Male.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Amer.
     Ornith. vol. ii. pl. 14. fig. 2. Female.

     COCCOTHRASTES LUDOVICIANA, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna Bor.-
     Amer. vol. ii. p. 271.


Adult Male. Plate CXXVII. Fig. 1, 1.

Bill short, robust, bulging at the base, conical, acute; upper mandible
with its dorsal outline a little convex, the sides rounded, the edges
sharp; lower mandible with its dorsal outline also a little convex,
the sides rounded, the edges inflected; the gap-line is deflected at
the base, then straight to the end. Nostrils basal, roundish, open,
partly concealed by the feathers. Head rather large, neck short, general
form robust. Legs of moderate length, rather strong; tarsus anteriorly
covered with a few scutella, the upper long, posteriorly sharp; toes
scutellate above, free, the lateral ones nearly equal; claws slender,
arched, compressed, acute, that of the hind toe not much larger.

Plumage soft and blended, but firm and elastic. Wings of moderate length,
broad, the second, third, and fourth quills longest, the secondaries
rounded. Tail longish, slightly emarginate, of twelve rounded feathers.

Bill white. Iris hazel. Feet greyish-blue. The head all round, including
the upper part of the neck, the hind neck, the back, wings, and tail,
glossy black; the first row of coverts, the tips of the secondary coverts,
the basal half of the primary quills, and the inner webs towards the end
of the three lateral tail-feathers, white, as is the rump, that part,
however, being spotted with black. Lower neck and middle of the breast
of a bright carmine tint; lower wing coverts white, tinged with carmine.

Length 7¾ inches, extent of wings 13; bill along the back 7½/12, along
the edge 9/12; tarsus 11/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXXVII. Fig. 2.

The female differs greatly from the male in external appearance. The
bill brown above, paler beneath; iris hazel; feet as in the male. The
general colour of the plumage above is olivaceous brown, spotted with
brownish-black, the central part of each feather being of the latter
colour. On the head is a central longitudinal band of pale yellowish-grey,
spotted with dark brown, then on each side, a dark brown band, and above
the eye a white one; a brown band from the bill to the eye and beyond
it, and under this a whitish band. There are two white bands on the
wings as in the male, but narrower and duller. The quills and tail are
brown. The lower parts light brownish-yellow, fading behind into white;
the fore neck, breast, and sides, marked with small longitudinal spots
or streaks of dark-brown. The lower wing-coverts very slightly tinged
with rose-colour.


Young Male in autumn. Plate CXXVII. Fig. 3.

After the first moult, the young male resembles the female, but already
shews the rosy tints both on the breast, and on the under wing-coverts.


Young in first plumage. Plate CXXVII. Fig. 4.

In this state also the young resemble the female.


THE GROUND HEMLOCK.

     TAXUS CANADENSIS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 856. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 647.—DIŒCIA MONADELPHIA. CONIFERÆ,
     _Juss._

The Ground Hemlock, or Canadian Yew, is abundant on the declivities of
the mountains from Maryland to Maine. It is a low tree, or rather bush,
often almost prostrate, and frequently hanging from the rocks. The leaves
are linear, distichous, revolute at the margin. The berries, which are
oblong or globular, and of a pale red colour, are eatable.



THE CAT BIRD.

_TURDUS FELIVOX_, VIEILL.

PLATE CXXVIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


Some individuals of this species spend the winter in the southern
portions of East Florida, where I have found them during the months of
December and January; but the greater number retire beyond the limits
of the United States about the middle of October. They are very rarely
seen in the State of Louisiana, nor have I known any to breed in that
portion of the country. They pass in abundance through Georgia and the
Carolinas early in September, feeding then on the berries of the Sweet
Gum, those of the Poke and Sumach, the seeds of grasses, &c. On their
return in spring, they reach the neighbourhood of Charleston, about
the 20th of March, when they feed on insects found along the lanes and
garden-walks; but none are heard to sing, or are found to breed there.
They are abundant during summer in the whole of the western country,
and are plentifully dispersed from Virginia to the middle portions of
Massachusetts, beyond which, proceeding eastward, I saw none. They are in
fact unknown in the State of Maine, as well as in the British provinces.

Their migration is performed mostly during night, when they move slowly
from bush to bush, scarcely ever extending their flight beyond the
breadth of the rivers which they meet with. In a place where not an
individual is to be seen in an afternoon, in the months of April or
May, a considerable number may be found the following morning. They
seem to give a preference to the Middle States during the summer season.
Pennsylvania is particularly favoured by them; and it would be difficult
to walk through an orchard or garden, along a field, or the borders of
a wood, without being saluted by their plaintive notes. They breed in
these places with much carelessness, placing their nests in any bush,
tree, or briar that seems adapted for the purpose, and seeming to think
it unnecessary to conceal them from man, who indeed ought to protect
such amiable birds, but who sometimes destroys them in revenge for the
trifling depredations which they commit on the fruits of the garden.

No sooner has the Cat Bird made its appearance in the country of its
choice, than its song is heard from the topmost branches of the trees
around, in the dawn of the morning. This song is a compound of many
of the gentler trills and sweeter modulations of our various woodland
choristers, delivered with apparent caution, and with all the attention
and softness necessary to enable the performer to please the ear of
his mate. Each cadence passes on without faltering; and if you are
acquainted with the song of the birds he so sweetly imitates, you are
sure to recognise the manner of the different species. When the warmth
of his loving bosom engages him to make choice of the notes of our best
songsters, he brings forth sounds as mellow and as powerful as those
of the Thrasher and Mocking Bird. These medleys, when heard in the calm
and balmy hours of retiring day, always seem to possess a double power,
and he must have a dull ear indeed, and little relish for the simple
melodies of nature, who can listen to them without delight.

The manners of this species are lively, and at intervals border on the
grotesque. It is extremely sensitive, and will follow an intruder to
a considerable distance, wailing and mewing as it passes from one tree
to another, its tail now jerked and thrown from side to side, its wings
drooping, and its breast deeply inclined. On such occasions, it would
fain peck at your hand; but these exhibitions of irritated feeling seldom
take place after the young are sufficiently grown to be able to take care
of themselves. In some instances, I have known this bird to recognise
at once its friend from its foe, and to suffer the former even to handle
the treasure deposited in its nest, with all the marked assurance of the
knowledge it possessed of its safety; when, on the contrary, the latter
had to bear all its anger. The sight of a dog seldom irritates it, while
a single glance at the wily cat excites the most painful paroxysms of
alarm. It never neglects to attack a snake with fury, although it often
happens that it becomes the sufferer for its temerity.

The vulgar name which this species bears, has probably rendered it more
conspicuous than it would otherwise be, and has also served to bring
it into some degree of contempt with persons not the best judges of
the benefits it confers on the husbandman in early spring, when, with
industrious care, it cleanses his fruit-trees of thousands of larvæ and
insects, which, in a single day, would destroy, while yet in the bud,
far more of his fruit than the Cat Bird would eat in a whole season.
But alas, selfishness, the usual attendant of ignorance, not only heaps
maledictions on the harmless bird, but dooms it to destruction. The
naughty boys pelt the poor thrush with stones, and destroy its nest
whenever an opportunity presents; the farmer shoots it to save a pear;
and the gardener to save a raspberry; some hate it, not knowing why: in
a word, excepting the poor, nearly extirpated crow, I know no bird more
generally despised and tormented than this charming songster.

The attachment which the Cat Bird shews towards its eggs or young is
affecting. It even possesses a humanity, or rather a generosity and
gentleness, worthy of beings more elevated in the scale of nature. It
has been known to nurse, feed, and raise the young of other species, for
which no room could be afforded in their nests. It will sit on its eggs
after the nest has been displaced, or even after it has been carried
from one bush to another.

Like all our other Thrushes, this is very fond of bathing and rolling
itself in the dust or sand of the roads or fields. Several are frequently
seen together on the borders of small ponds or clear rivulets, immersed
up to their body, splashing the water about them until completely wetted;
then, ascending to the tops of the nearest bushes, they plume themselves
with apparent care, notwithstanding which they are at times so infested
with a minute species of louse as to be destroyed by it. This is also the
case with the Mocking Bird and the Ferruginous Thrush, many individuals
of which I have known to be killed by these parasitic animals.

Although the Cat Bird is a pleasant songster, it is seldom kept in a cage,
and I believe all attempts at breeding it in aviaries have failed. Its
food consists of fruits and berries of all descriptions, worms, wasps,
and various other insects. Its flight is low, often rapid, and somewhat
protracted, generally performed by glidings, accompanied with sudden
jerks of the tail. It moves on the ground with alertness and grace, not
unfrequently going before a person the whole length of the garden-walk.

The nest of the Cat Bird is large, composed externally of dry twigs and
briars, mixed with withered leaves, weeds, and grass, and lined with
black fibrous roots, neatly arranged in a circular form. The eggs are
from four to six, of a plain glossy greenish-blue, without spots. Two
and sometimes three broods are raised in the season.

I have placed a pair of these birds on a branch of the Blackberry Bush,
on the fruit of which they feed. The young attain their full plumage
before they depart in autumn.


     TURDUS FELIVOX, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United
     States, p. 75.

     MUSCICAPA CAROLINENSIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 328.
     —_Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 483.

     ORPHEUS FELIVOX, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna Bor.-Amer. part
     ii. p. 192.

     CAT BIRD, TURDUS LIVIDUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 90.
     pl. 20. fig. 3.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 332.


Adult Male. Plate CXXVIII. Fig. 1.

Bill of moderate length, rather weak, slightly arched, broad at the base,
compressed towards the end acute; upper mandible with the ridge rather
acute, the sides convex, the edges sharp, the tip a little declinate;
lower mandible nearly straight. Nostrils basal, oblong, half closed above
by a membrane, and partially concealed by the feathers. Head of ordinary
size, neck rather long, general form slender. Feet of ordinary length,
slender; tarsus compressed, anteriorly scutellate, acute behind; toes
free, scutellate above, the lateral ones nearly equal; hind toe rather
stronger; claws compressed, arched, acute.

Plumage soft and blended. Bristles at the base of the bill. Feathers
of the hind head longish. Wings of ordinary length, broad, rounded, the
fifth quill longest, the fourth nearly equal, the first very short. Tail
long, rounded, of twelve straight narrowly rounded feathers.

Bill black. Iris hazel. Feet dark umber. The general colour of the plumage
above is blackish-grey, the head and tail brownish-black, as are the
inner webs of the quills. The cheeks, and under surface in general, deep
bluish-grey, the abdomen paler, and the under tail-coverts brownish-red.
The outer tail-feather transversely barred with white on the inner web.

Length 9 inches, extent of wings 12; bill along the ridge 7½/12, along
the edge 9½/12; tarsus 1-1/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXXVIII. Fig. 2.

The female is a little paler in the tints of the plumage, but in other
respects is similar to the male.

The Cat Bird, both in the form of its bill, and the colour of its
plumage, as well as in many of its habits, is closely allied to several
Flycatchers, while in other respects it approaches the genus Turdus,
and especially that section of it which contains the Mocking Birds.


THE BLACKBERRY.

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

This species of bramble is pubescent, prickly, with angular twigs; the
leaves ternate or quinate, with ovato-oblong, serrate, acuminate leaflets,
downy on both sides; the calycine leaves short, acuminate; the flowers
white, in a loose raceme. Blackberries are so plentiful in all parts
of the United States, that they are gathered in great quantities, and
often exposed for sale in the markets, especially those of the Eastern
Districts, where they are applied to various domestic uses. They grow to
a remarkably large size in the Southern States, where the plant itself is
larger and more productive. In Kentucky and Louisiana, I have observed a
variety bearing fruit of a light yellow colour, which is still superior
to the common sort in flavour.



THE GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER.

_MUSCICAPA CRINITA_, LINN.

PLATE CXXIX. MALE.


How often whilst gazing on the nest of a bird, admiring the beauty of its
structure, or wondering at the skill displayed in securing it from danger,
have I been led to question myself why there is often so much difference
in the conformation and materials of those of even the same species, in
different latitudes or localities. How often, too, while admiring the
bird itself, have I in vain tried to discover the causes why more mental
and corporeal hardihood should have been granted to certain individuals,
which although small and seemingly more delicate than others, are wont
to force their way, and that at an early season, quite across the whole
extent of the United States; while others, of greater bodily magnitude,
equal powers of flight, and similar courage, never reach so far, in fact
merely enter our country or confine their journeys to half the distance
to which the others reach. The diminutive Ruby-throated Humming-bird,
the delicate Winter Wren, and many warblers, all birds of comparatively
short flight, are seen to push their way from the West India Islands,
or the table-lands of Mexico and South America, farther north than our
boundary-lines, before they reach certain localities, which we cannot
look upon but as being the favourite places of rendezvous allotted to
these beings for their summer abode.

How wonderful have I thought it that all birds which migrate are not
equally privileged. Why do not the Turkey Buzzard, the Fork-tailed Hawk,
and many others possessing remarkable ease and power of flight, visit the
same places? There the Vulture would find its favourite carrion during
the heat of the dog-days, and the Hawk abundance of insects. Why do
not the Pigeons found in the south ever visit the State of Maine, when
one species, the _Columba migratoria_, is permitted to ramble over the
whole extent of our vast country? And why does the small Pewee go so far
north, accompanied by the Tyrant Flycatcher; while the Titirit, larger
and stronger than either, remains in the Floridas and Carolinas, and
the Great Crested Flycatcher, the bird now before you, seldom travels
farther east than Connecticut? Reader, can you assist me?

The places chosen by the Great Crested Flycatcher for its nest are
so peculiar, and the composition of its fabric is so very different
from that of all others of the genus with which I am acquainted, that
perhaps no one on seeing it for the first time, would imagine it to
belong to a Flycatcher. There is nothing of the elegance of some, or of
the curious texture of others, displayed in it. Unlike its kinsfolk,
it is contented to seek a retreat in the decayed part of a tree, of a
fence-rail, or even of a prostrate log mouldering on the ground. I have
found it placed in a short stump at the bottom of a ravine, where the
tracks of racoons were as close together as those of a flock of sheep
in a fold, and again in the lowest fence-rail, where the black snake
could have entered it, sucked the eggs or swallowed the young with more
ease than by ascending to some large branches of a tree forty feet from
the ground, where after all the reptile not unfrequently searches for
such dainties. In all those situations, our bird seeks a place for its
nest, which is composed of more or fewer materials, as the urgency may
require, and I have observed that in the nests nearest the ground, the
greatest quantity of grass, fibrous roots, feathers, hair of different
quadrupeds, and exuviæ of snakes was accumulated. The nest is at all
times a loose mass under the above circumstances. Sometimes, when at a
great height, very few materials are used, and in more than one instance
I found the eggs merely deposited on the decaying particles of the wood,
at the bottom of a hole in a broken branch of a tree, sometimes of one
that had been worked out by the grey squirrel. The eggs are from four to
six, of a pale cream colour, thickly streaked with deep purplish-brown
of different tints, and, I believe, seldom more than a single brood is
raised in the season.

The Great Crested Flycatcher arrives in Louisiana and the adjacent
country in March. Many remain there and breed, but the greater number
advance towards the Middle States, and disperse among the lofty woods,
preferring at all times sequestered places. I have thought that they
gave a preference to the high lands, and yet I have often observed them
in the low sandy woods of New Jersey. Louisiana, and the countries along
the Mississippi, together with the State of Ohio, are the districts most
visited by this species in one direction, and in another the Atlantic
States as far as Massachusetts. In this last, however, it is very seldom
met with unless in the vicinity of the mountains, where occasionally
some are found breeding. Farther eastward it is entirely unknown.

Tyrannical perhaps in a degree surpassing the King Bird itself, it yet
seldom chases the larger birds of prey, but, unlike the Bee Martin,
prefers attacking those smaller ones which inadvertently approach its nest
or its station. Among themselves these birds have frequent encounters,
on which occasions they shew an unrelenting fierceness almost amounting
to barbarity. The _plucking_ of a conquered rival is sometimes witnessed.

In its flight this bird moves swiftly and with power. It sweeps after its
prey with a determined zeal, and repeatedly makes its mandibles clatter
with uncommon force and rapidity. When the prey is secured, and it has
retired to the spray on which it was before, it is seen to beat the
insect on it, and swallow it with greediness, after which its crest is
boldly erected, and its loud harsh squeak immediately resounds, imitating
the syllables _paiip, paip, payup, payiup_. No association takes place
among different families, and yet the solicitude of the male towards
his mate, and of the parent birds towards their young, is exemplary. The
latter are fed and taught to provide for themselves, with a gentleness
which might be copied by beings higher in the scale of nature, and in
them might meet with as much gratitude as that expressed by the young
Flycatchers towards their anxious parents. The family remain much together
while in the United States, and go off in company early in September.
This species, like the Tyrant Flycatcher, migrates by day, and during
its journeys is seen passing at a great height.

The squeak or sharp note of the Great Crested Flycatcher is easily
distinguished from that of any of the genus, as it transcends all
others in shrillness, and is heard mostly in those dark woods where,
recluse-like, it seems to delight. During the love-season, and as long
as the male is paying his addresses to the female, or proving to her
that he is happy in her society, it is heard for hours both at early
dawn and sometimes after sunset; but as soon as the young are out, the
whole family are mute.

It feeds principally upon insects, so long as these are abundant; but
frequently in autumn, and as it retrogrades from the Middle Districts, its
food is grapes and several species of berries, among which those of the
pokeweed are conspicuous. While in the woods, its flight is peculiarly
rapid: it dashes through the upper branches of the tallest trees like
an arrow, and often sweeps from this elevated range close to the earth,
to seize an insect, which it has espied issuing from among the grass or
the fallen leaves.


     MUSCICAPA CRINITA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 325.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 485.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 67.

     GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, MUSCICAPA CRINITA, _Wils._ Amer.
     Ornith. vol. ii. p. 75. pl. 13. fig. 2.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i.
     p. 271.


Adult Male. Plate CXXIX. Fig. 1

Bill rather long, stout, broader than deep, excepting towards the end,
where it is compressed; upper mandible with the ridge broad and nearly
straight, the sides convex, the tip declinate, the edges sharp, with a
sinus close to the tip; lower mandible with the back broad at the base,
the sides convex, the ridge rather sharp towards the end, the edges
sharp. Nostrils basal, lateral, roundish, partly covered by the bristly
feathers. Head rather large, but the general form rather slender. Feet
short; tarsus very short, covered anteriorly with a few scutella, sharp
behind; toes free, scutellate, slender; claws arched, much compressed,
very acute.

Plumage soft and blended. Feathers of the head pointed and elongated.
Wings of ordinary length, broad, rounded, the fourth and fifth quills
longest. Tail rather long, slightly forked, of twelve rounded feathers.
The bristles at the base of the bill strong.

Bill and legs brownish-black. Iris brown. The colour of the upper parts
is dull greenish-olive. Quills and coverts dark brown, the primaries
margined with light reddish-brown, the secondaries with white, of which
there are two bars across the wing, formed by the tips of the secondary
coverts and first row of small coverts. Inner webs of the tail-feathers
light ferruginous, as are those of the quills. Sides of the head and
neck bluish-grey. The under parts in general lemon-yellow.

Length 8½ inches, extent of wings 13; bill along the ridge 8/12, along
the edge 11/12; tarsus 8/12.

The Female resembles the male.



THE YELLOW-WINGED SPARROW.

_FRINGILLA PASSERINA_, WILS.

PLATE CXXX. MALE.


This is another of those remarkable species which pass unobserved from
the Mexican dominions and some of the West India Islands, to the middle
portions of our Atlantic States. Not one of the species have I ever
met with in Louisiana, the Floridas, any of the other Southern States,
or those west of the Alleghany range; while from Maryland to Maine it
is found in considerable numbers, and is not uncommon in Pennsylvania,
New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. In all the States it prefers the
neighbourhood of the coast and a light sandy soil. It arrives in the
latter districts about the 10th of May, and throws itself into the open
newly-ploughed fields, and those covered with the valuable red clover.
It is never found in the woodlands. Its food consists of such insects
and larvæ as are found on the ground, together with the seeds of grasses
and other plants.

Its flight is low, short, and performed by a kind of constant tremor of
the wings, resembling that of a young bird. It alights on the tops of
low bushes, fence-rails, and tall grasses, to sing its unmusical ditty,
composed of a few notes weakly enunciated at intervals, but sufficing
to manifest its attachment to its mate. Almost unregarded, it raises two
broods in the season, perhaps three when it has chosen the warmer sandy
soils in the vicinity of the sea, where it is evidently more abundant
than in the interior of the country.

The nest of the Yellow-winged Sparrow is as simple as its owner is
innocent and gentle. It is placed on the ground, and is formed of light
dry grasses, with a scanty lining of withered fibrous roots and horse
hair. The female deposits her first egg about the 20th of May. The eggs
are four or five, of a dingy white, sprinkled with brown spots. The
young follow their parents on the ground for a short time, after which
they separate and search for food singly. This species, indeed, never
congregates, as almost all others of its tribe do, before they depart
from us, but the individuals seem to move off in a sulky mood, and in
so concealed a way, that their winter quarters are yet unknown.

Scarcely any difference is perceptible in the plumage of the sexes,
and by the time the young return to us the following spring, they have
obtained the full plumage of their parents.


     FRINGILLA PASSERINA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 109.

     YELLOW-WINGED SPARROW, FRINGILLA PASSERINA, _Wils._ Amer.
     Ornith. vol. iii. p. 76. pl. 24. fig. 5.

     SAVANNAH FINCH, or YELLOW-SHOULDERED BUNTING (FRINGILLA
     SAVANARUM, _Gmel._) _Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 494.


Bill short, conical, acute; upper mandible slightly convex in its dorsal
outline, angular, and encroaching a little on the forehead, of the same
breadth as the lower, with sharp and inflected edges; lower mandible
also inflected on the edges; gap-line slightly deflected at the base.
Nostrils basal, roundish, open, concealed by the feathers. Head rather
large, neck short, body full. Feet of moderate length, slender; tarsus
covered anteriorly with a few longish scutella, acute behind; toes
free, scutellate above, the lateral ones nearly equal; claws slender,
compressed, acute, slightly arched, that of the hind toe elongated.

Plumage soft and blended, slightly glossed. Wings shortish, curved,
rounded, the first and second primaries longest, the third scarcely
shorter; the secondaries long, but less so than in the Henslow Bunting,
which belongs to the same group. Tail short, small, rounded, slightly
emarginate, of twelve narrow, tapering feathers.

Bill flesh-coloured beneath, dusky above. Iris dark brown. Feet
light flesh-coloured. The general colour of the upper parts is light
greyish-brown, mixed on the neck with ash-grey tints, the central parts
of the feathers brownish-black, the margins of those of the back bright
chestnut. The upper part of the head brownish-black, with a longitudinal
central line of brownish-white. Secondary coverts dusky, margined with
greyish-white; along the flexure of the wing the small feathers are bright
yellow, whence the name of the species. Quills wood-brown, margined with
pale yellowish-brown. Tail-feathers of the same colour, the outermost
much paler. The under parts pale yellowish-grey, the breast of a richer
tint, being of a light yellowish-brown, its sides anteriorly spotted
with brownish-black.

Length 4-10/12 inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the ridge 5½/12,
along the edge ½; tarsus ⅔, middle toe a little more than ⅔, hind toe
7/12.

This species forms part of a group more allied to the Buntings than to
the Finches, and composed of HENSLOW'S Bunting or Finch, the Savannah
Finch, and the Yellow-winged Sparrow. They are all very closely allied,
so that it is somewhat difficult to distinguish them.

Let us compare the _Yellow-winged Sparrow_ in the first place, with the
_Henslow Bunting_, described at p. 360 of Vol. I.

In HENSLOW'S Bunting the bill is smaller, and has the margin less
sinuous; the tarsi are shorter, being only 7/12 (erroneously ⅔ in the
description), while those of the present species are ⅔. The feet of the
latter are also stronger, and the toes a little longer. The colouring of
the upper parts is very similar; but the present species has a distinct
white line along the middle of the head, whereas the other has the same
part of the general olivaceous tint of the hind-neck, the quills are
differently coloured on their margins, and while the present species is
unspotted on the breast and sides, the other is distinctly streaked.

But besides these differences the feathers present others still more
decisive. The tail of HENSLOW'S Bunting is 2⅛ inches long, graduated, with
narrower feathers, which taper to a point, while that of the Yellow-winged
Sparrow is only 1-10/12, rounded, much stronger, with broader (though
still very narrow) feathers, having a narrow rounded point. Then in the
first the secondaries are so long as to be only 2/12 shorter than the
longest primary, whereas in the second they are ½ inch shorter. In the
first the third quill is longest, while in the second the first exceeds
the others, although in neither is there any great difference between
the first three quills in length.

But the Yellow-winged Sparrow is much more closely allied to the Savannah
Finch than to HENSLOW'S Bunting.

The colouring of the upper parts is almost the same, but the Savannah
Finch has very little of the bright bay tints, and the flexure of the wing
is so slightly tinged with yellow that one might be apt to overlook it.
There is a central whitish streak on the head of the Savannah Finch, as
on that of the Yellow-winged Sparrow. The great difference in colouring
lies in the circumstance, that while the throat, breast, and sides of
the latter are unspotted, those of the former are very conspicuously
marked with longitudinal dark brown streaks, margined with reddish-brown.

The bills and feet are of the same form, but the bill of the Savannah
Finch is much less robust, and its feet rather more so. In the Savannah
Finch the secondaries are proportionally as long as in the Henslow
Bunting, and the third and fourth quills are longest; whereas in the
Yellow-winged Sparrow the first is longest, and in the Henslow Bunting
the third.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having in my possession a fine specimen of a new species allied to the
above, but still more decidedly an Emberiza, I embrace this opportunity
of describing it. The species having been discovered, in the vicinity
of Philadelphia, by Dr TOWNSEND of that city, I cannot dedicate it with
equal propriety to any other individual, and I am happy in thus paying
my tribute of respect to him for his great attainments in ornithology.



TOWNSEND'S BUNTING.

_EMBERIZA TOWNSENDII._


In form this species is compact and rather robust, like the common
Sparrow of Europe, or the Black-throated Bunting of America. The bill is
short, strong, conical, compressed, acute; the upper mandible narrower,
with its dorsal line a little convex, as is that of the lower, the edges
of both inflected, and the gap-line declinate at the base. Nostrils
roundish, basal. Feet of ordinary length and thickness, the tarsus with
seven anterior scutella, and two lateral plates meeting behind so as to
form an edge; lateral toes equal, the outer united as far as the second
joint, hind-toe strong; claws, arched, compressed, acute, with a lateral
groove.

The wings are short, the first quill longest, the next scarcely shorter,
the rest graduated, the second, third, and fourth, very slightly cut
out on the outer web towards the end, the secondaries rounded, the outer
slightly emarginate. Tail of moderate length, and slightly emarginate.
The plumage is soft and rather compact.

Bill brownish-black above, light blue beneath, with a longitudinal black
line from the tip half way to the base. Iris light hazel. Feet and claws
dusky brown. Head above deep bluish-grey, streaked with black; the cheeks,
hind-neck, sides of the neck, fore part of the breast, and the sides of
the same colour, becoming paler backwards. Back bluish-grey, each feather
with a narrow dark brown central streak bordered with light brown, the
margins grey; the rump grey, without streaks. Quills and tail wood-brown,
slightly edged with paler, wing-coverts light brown, the central parts
of the feathers darker. There is a narrow white line over the eye, and
the minute feathers margining the eyelids are of the same colour. The
throat and fore-neck are white. A line of short brownish-black streaks
passes on either side from the base of the lower mandible, separating a
narrow portion of the white space, and margining the lower part of it,
although there the streaks are scattered; the middle part of the breast
and abdomen are also greyish-white.

Length 5¾ inches, extent of wings 9; bill along the ridge 7/12; tarsus
10/12.



DEATH OF A PIRATE.


In the calm of a fine moonlight night, as I was admiring the beauty of
the clear heavens, and the broad glare of light that glanced from the
trembling surface of the waters around, the officer on watch came up
and entered into conversation with me. He had been a turtler in other
years, and a great hunter to boot, and although of humble birth and
pretensions, energy and talent, aided by education, had raised him to a
higher station. Such a man could not fail to be an agreeable companion,
and we talked on various subjects, principally, you may be sure, birds
and other natural productions. He told me he once had a disagreeable
adventure, when looking out for game, in a certain cove on the shores
of the Gulf of Mexico; and, on my expressing a desire to hear it, he
willingly related to me the following particulars, which I give you, not
perhaps precisely in his own words, but as nearly so as I can remember.

"Towards evening, one quiet summer day, I chanced to be paddling along
a sandy shore, which I thought well fitted for my repose, being covered
with tall grass, and as the sun was not many degrees above the horizon,
I felt anxious to pitch my musquito bar or net, and spend the night in
this wilderness. The bellowing notes of thousands of bull-frogs in a
neighbouring swamp might lull me to rest, and I looked upon the flocks
of blackbirds that were assembling as sure companions in this secluded
retreat.

I proceeded up a little stream, to insure the safety of my canoe from
any sudden storm, when, as I gladly advanced, a beautiful yawl came
unexpectedly in view. Surprised at such a sight in a part of the country
then scarcely known, I felt a sudden check in the circulation of my blood.
My paddle dropped from my hands, and fearfully indeed, as I picked it
up, did I look towards the unknown boat. On reaching it, I saw its sides
marked with stains of blood, and looking with anxiety over the gunwale,
I perceived to my horror, two-human bodies covered with gore. Pirates
or hostile Indians I was persuaded had perpetrated the foul deed, and my
alarm naturally increased; my heart fluttered, stopped, and heaved with
unusual tremors, and I looked towards the setting sun in consternation and
despair. How long my reveries lasted I cannot tell; I can only recollect
that I was roused from them by the distant groans of one apparently in
mortal agony. I felt as if refreshed by the cold perspiration that oozed
from every pore, and I reflected that though alone, I was well armed,
and might hope for the protection of the Almighty.

Humanity whispered to me that, if not surprised and disabled, I might
render assistance to some sufferer, or even be the means of saving a
useful life. Buoyed up by this thought, I urged my canoe on shore, and
seizing it by the bow, pulled it at one spring high among the grass.

The groans of the unfortunate person fell heavy on my ear, as I cocked
and reprimed my gun, and I felt determined to shoot the first that should
rise from the grass. As I cautiously proceeded, a hand was raised over the
weeds, and waved in the air in the most supplicating manner. I levelled
my gun about a foot below it, when the next moment, the head and breast
of a man covered with blood were convulsively raised, and a faint hoarse
voice asked me for mercy and help! A death-like silence followed his
fall to the ground. I surveyed every object around with eyes intent, and
ears impressible by the slightest sound, for my situation that moment
I thought as critical as any I had ever been in. The croakings of the
frogs, and the last blackbirds alighting on their roosts, were the only
sounds or sights; and I now proceeded towards the object of my mingled
alarm and commiseration.

Alas! the poor being who lay prostrate at my feet, was so weakened by
loss of blood, that I had nothing to fear from him. My first impulse
was to run back to the water, and having done so, I returned with my
cap filled to the brim. I felt at his heart, washed his face and breast,
and rubbed his temples with the contents of a phial, which I kept about
me as an antidote for the bites of snakes. His features, seamed by the
ravages of time, looked frightful and disgusting; but he had been a
powerful man, as the breadth of his chest plainly shewed. He groaned in
the most appalling manner, as his breath struggled through the mass of
blood that seemed to fill his throat. His dress plainly disclosed his
occupation:—a large pistol he had thrust into his bosom, a naked cutlass
lay near him on the ground, a red silk handkerchief was bound over his
projecting brows, and over a pair of loose trowsers he wore fisherman's
boots. He was, in short, a pirate.

My exertions were not in vain, for as I continued to bathe his temples,
he revived, his pulse resumed some strength, and I began to hope
that he might perhaps survive the deep wounds which he had received.
Darkness, deep darkness, now enveloped us. I spoke of making a fire.
"Oh! for mercy's sake," he exclaimed, "don't." Knowing, however, that
under existing circumstances it was expedient for me to do so, I left
him, went to his boat, and brought the rudder, the benches, and the
oars, which with my hatchet I soon splintered. I then struck a light,
and presently stood in the glare of a blazing fire. The pirate seemed
struggling between terror and gratitude for my assistance; he desired
me several times in half English and Spanish to put out the flames, but
after I had given him a draught of strong spirits, he at length became
more composed. I tried to staunch the blood that flowed from the deep
gashes in his shoulders and side. I expressed my regret that I had no
food about me, but when I spoke of eating he sullenly waved his head.

My situation was one of the most extraordinary that I have ever been
placed in. I naturally turned my talk towards religious subjects, but,
alas, the dying man hardly believed in the existence of a God. "Friend,"
said he, "for friend you seem to be, I never studied the ways of Him of
whom you talk. I am an outlaw, perhaps you will say a wretch,—I have
been for many years a Pirate. The instructions of my parents were of
no avail to me, for I have always believed that I was born to be a most
cruel man. I now lie here, about to die in the weeds, because I long ago
refused to listen to their many admonitions. Do not shudder when I tell
you—these now useless hands murdered the mother whom they had embraced.
I feel that I have deserved the pangs of the wretched death that hovers
over me; and I am thankful that one of my kind will alone witness my
last gaspings."

A fond but feeble hope that I might save his life, and perhaps assist
in procuring his pardon, induced me to speak to him on the subject. "It
is all in vain, friend—I have no objection to die—I am glad that the
villains who wounded me were not my conquerors—I want no pardon from
_any one_—Give me some water, and let me die alone."

With the hope that I might learn from his conversation something that
might lead to the capture of his guilty associates, I returned from the
creek with another capful of water, nearly the whole of which I managed
to introduce into his parched mouth, and begged him, for the sake of
his future peace, to disclose his history to me. "It is impossible,"
said he, "there will not be time; the beatings of my heart tell me so.
Long before day, these sinewy limbs will be motionless. Nay, there will
hardly be a drop of blood in my body; and that blood will only serve
to make the grass grow. My wounds are mortal, and I must and will die
without what you call confession."

The moon rose in the east. The majesty of her placid beauty impressed me
with reverence. I pointed towards her, and asked the Pirate if he could
not recognise God's features there. "Friend, I see what you are driving
at," was his answer,—"you, like the rest of our enemies, feel the desire
of murdering us all.—Well—be it so—to die is after all nothing more than
a jest; and were it not for the pain, no one, in my opinion, need care
a jot about it. But, as you really have befriended me, I will tell you
all that is proper."

Hoping his mind might take a useful turn, I again bathed his temples
and washed his lips with spirits. His sunk eyes seemed to dart fire at
mine—a heavy and deep sigh swelled his chest and struggled through his
blood-choked throat, and he asked me to raise him for a little. I did so,
when he addressed me somewhat as follows, for, as I have told you, his
speech was a mixture of Spanish, French and English, forming a jargon,
the like of which I had never heard before, and which I am utterly unable
to imitate. However I shall give you the substance of his declaration.

"First tell me, how many bodies you found in the boat, and what sort
of dresses they had on." I mentioned their number, and described their
apparel. "That's right," said he, "they are the bodies of the scoundrels
who followed me in that infernal Yankee barge. Bold rascals they were,
for when they found the water too shallow for their craft, they took to
it and waded after me. All my companions had been shot, and to lighten
my own boat I flung them overboard; but as I lost time in this, the two
ruffians caught hold of my gunwale, and struck on my head and body in such
a manner, that after I had disabled and killed them both in the boat,
I was scarce able to move. The other villains carried off our schooner
and one of our boats, and perhaps ere now have hung all my companions
whom they did not kill at the time. I have commanded my beautiful vessel
many years, captured many ships, and sent many rascals to the devil. I
always hated the Yankees, and only regret that I have not killed more
of them.—I sailed from Mantanzas.—I have often been in concert with
others. I have money without counting, but it is buried where it will
never be found, and it would be useless to tell you of it." His throat
filled with blood, his voice failed, the cold hand of death was laid on
his brow, feebly and hurriedly he muttered, "I am a dying man, farewell!"

Alas! It is painful to see death in any shape; in this it was horrible,
for there was no hope. The rattling of his throat announced the moment
of dissolution, and already did the body fall on my arms with a weight
that was insupportable. I laid him on the ground. A mass of dark blood
poured from his mouth; then came a frightful groan, the last breathing
of that foul spirit; and what now lay at my feet in the wild desert?—a
mangled mass of clay!

The remainder of that night was passed in no enviable mood; but my
feelings cannot be described. At dawn I dug a hole with the paddle of my
canoe, rolled the body into it, and covered it. On reaching the boat I
found several buzzards feeding on the bodies, which I in vain attempted
to drag to the shore. I therefore covered them with mud and weeds,
and launching my canoe, paddled from the cove with a secret joy for my
escape, overshaded with the gloom of mingled dread and abhorrence."



THE AMERICAN ROBIN OR MIGRATORY THRUSH.

_TURDUS MIGRATORIUS_, LINN.

PLATE CXXXI. MALE, FEMALE, YOUNG, AND NEST.


The first land-bird seen by me, when I stepped upon the rugged shores of
Labrador, was the Robin; its joyful notes were the first that saluted
my ear. Large patches of unmelted snow still dappled the surface of
that wild country; and although vegetation was partially renewed, the
chillness of the air was so peculiarly penetrating, that it brought
to the mind a fearful anxiety for the future. The absence of trees,
properly so called, the barren aspect of all around, the sombre mantle of
the mountainous distance that hung along the horizon, excited the most
melancholy feelings; and I could scarcely refrain from shedding tears
when I heard the song of the Thrush, sent there as if to reconcile me to
my situation. That song brought with it a thousand pleasing associations
referring to the beloved land of my youth, and soon inspired me with
resolution to persevere in my hazardous enterprise.

The traveller who, for the first time in his life, treads the wastes
of Labrador, is apt to believe that what he has been told or read of
it, must be at least in part true. So it was with me: I had conceived
that I should meet with numberless Indians who would afford me much
information respecting its rivers, lakes, and mountains, and who, like
those of the far west, would assist me in procuring the objects of my
search. But alas! how disappointed was I when, in rambling along three
hundred miles of coast, I scarcely met with a single native Indian, and
was assured that there were none in the interior. The few straggling
parties that were seen by my companions or myself, consisted entirely of
half-bred descendants of "the mountaineers;" and, as to Esquimaux, there
were none on that side of the country. Rivers, such as the Natasguan,
which on the maps are represented as of considerable length, degenerated
into short, narrow, and shallow creeks. Scarcely any of its innumerable
lakes exceeded in size what are called ponds in the Southern States;
and, although many species of birds are plentiful, they are far less
numerous than they were represented to us by the fishermen and others
before we left Eastport. But our business at present is with the Robin,
who greeted our arrival.

This bird breeds from North Carolina, on the eastern side of the
Alleghany Mountains, to the 56th degree of north latitude, and perhaps
still farther. On the western side of those mountains, it is found
tolerably abundant, from the lower parts of Kentucky to Canada, at all
times of the year; and, notwithstanding the snow and occasional severe
winters of Massachusetts and Maine, flocks remain in those States the
whole season. Thousands, however, migrate into Louisiana, the Floridas,
Georgia, and the Carolinas, where, in winter, one cannot walk in any
direction without meeting several of them. While at Fayetteville, in
North Carolina, in October 1831, I found that the Robins had already
arrived and joined those which breed there. The weather was still warm
and beautiful, and the woods, in every direction, were alive with them,
and echoed with their song. They reached Charleston by the end of that
month. Their appearance in Louisiana seldom takes place before the
middle of November. In all the Southern States, about that period, and
indeed during the season, until they return in March, their presence is
productive of a sort of jubilee among the gunners, and the havoc made
among them with bows and arrows, blowpipes, guns, and traps of different
sorts, is wonderful. Every gunner brings them home by bagfuls, and the
markets are supplied with them at a very cheap rate. Several persons
may at this season stand round the foot of a tree loaded with berries,
and shoot the greater part of the day, so fast do the flocks of Robins
succeed each other. They are then fat and juicy, and afford excellent
eating.

During the winter they feed on the berries and fruits of our woods,
fields, gardens, and even of the ornamental trees of our cities and
villages. The holly, the sweet-gum, the gall-berry, and the poke, are
those which they first attack; but, as these fail, which is usually the
case in January, they come nearer the towns and farm-houses, and feed
voraciously on the caperia berry (_Ilex caperia_), the wild-orange berry
(_Prunus caroliniana_), and the berries of the pride of India (_Melia
azedarach_). With these they are often choked, so that they fall from
the trees, and are easily caught. When they feed on the berries of the
poke-plant, the rich crimson juices colour the stomach and flesh of these
birds to such an extent as to render their appearance, when plucked,
disagreeable; and although their flesh retains its usual savour, many
persons decline eating them. During summer and spring they devour snails
and worms, and at Labrador I saw some feeding on small shells, which
they probed or broke with ease.

Toward the approach of spring they throw themselves upon the newly
ploughed grounds, into the gardens, and the interior of woods, the
undergrowth of which has been cleared of grass by fire, to pick up
ground-worms, grubs, and other insects, on which, when perched, they
descend in a pouncing manner, swallowing the prey in a moment, jerking
their tail, beating their wings, and returning to their stations. They
also now and then pick up the seed of the maize from the fields.

Whenever the sun shines warmly over the earth, the old males tune
their pipe, and enliven the neighbourhood with their song. The young
also begin to sing; and, before they depart for the east, they have
all become musical. By the 10th of April, the Robins have reached the
Middle Districts; the blossoms of the dogwood are then peeping forth in
every part of the budding woods; the fragrant sassafras, the red flowers
of the maple, and hundreds of other plants, have already banished the
dismal appearance of winter. The snows are all melting away, and nature
again, in all the beauty of spring, promises happiness and abundance
to the whole animal creation. Then it is that the Robin, perched on a
fence-stake, or the top of some detached tree of the field, gives vent
to the warmth of his passion. His lays are modest, lively, and ofttimes
of considerable power; and although his song cannot be compared with
that of the Thrasher, its vivacity and simplicity never fail to fill the
breast of the listener with pleasing sensations. Every one knows the
Robin and his song. Excepting in the shooting season, he is cherished
by old and young, and is protected by all with anxious care.

The nest of this bird is frequently placed on the horizontal branch of
an apple-tree, sometimes in the same situation on a forest-tree; now and
then it is found close to the house, and it is stated by NUTTALL that one
was placed in the stern timbers of an unfinished vessel at Portsmouth,
New Hampshire, in which the carpenters were constantly at work. Another,
adds this amiable writer, has been known to rebuild his nest within a
few yards of the blacksmith's anvil. I discovered one near Great Egg
Harbour, in the State of New Jersey, affixed to the cribbing-timbers of
an unfinished well, seven or eight feet below the surface of the ground.
To all such situations this bird resorts, for the purpose of securing
its eggs from the Cuckoo, which greedily sucks them. It is seldom indeed
that children meddle with them.

Wherever it may happen to be placed, the nest is large and well secured.
It is composed of dry leaves, grass, and moss, which are connected
internally with a thick layer of mud and roots, lined with pieces of
straw and fine grass, and occasionally a few feathers. The eggs are from
four to six, of a beautiful bluish-green, without spots. Two broods are
usually raised in a season.

The young are fed with anxious care by their tender parents, who, should
one intrude upon them, boldly remonstrate, pass and repass by rapid
divings, or, if moving along the branches, jerk their wings and tail
violently, and sound a peculiar shrill note, evincing their anxiety
and displeasure. Should you carry off their young, they follow you to
a considerable distance, and are joined by other individuals of the
species. The young, before they are fully fledged, often leave the nest
to meet their parents, when coming home with a supply of food. The family
of Robins which I have grouped in the plate exhibits such an occurrence.

During the pairing season, the male pays his addresses to the female
of his choice frequently on the ground, and with a fervour evincing the
strongest attachment. I have often seen him, at the earliest dawn of a
May morning, strutting around her with all the pomposity of a pigeon.
Sometimes along a space of ten or twelve yards, he is seen with his tail
fully spread, his wings shaking, and his throat inflated; running over
the grass and brushing it, as it were, until he has neared his mate, when
he moves round her several times without once rising from the ground.
She then receives his caresses.

Many of these birds shew a marked partiality to the places they have
chosen to breed in, and I have no doubt that many who escape death in
the winter, return to those loved spots each succeeding spring.

The flight of the Robin is swift, at times greatly elevated and capable
of being long sustained. During the periods of its migrations, which
are irregular, depending upon the want of food or the severity of the
weather, it moves in loose flocks over a space of several hundred miles
at once, and at a considerable height. From time to time a few shrill
notes are heard from different individuals in the flock. Should the
weather be calm, their movements are continued during the night, and at
such periods the whistling noise of their wings is often heard. During
heavy falls of snow and severe gales, they pitch towards the earth, or
throw themselves into the woods, where they remain until the weather
becomes more favourable. They not unfrequently disappear for several
days from a place where they have been in thousands, and again visit it.
In Massachusetts and Maine, many spend the most severe winters in the
neighbourhood of warm springs and spongy low grounds sheltered from the
north winds. In spring they return northward in pairs, the males having
then become exceedingly irritable and pugnacious.

The gentle and lively disposition of the Robin when raised in the cage,
and the simplicity of his song, of which he is very lavish in confinement,
render him a special favourite in the Middle Districts, where he is as
generally kept as the Mocking Bird is in the Southern States. It feeds
on bread soaked in either milk or water, and on all kinds of fruit. Being
equally fond of insects, it seizes on all that enter its prison. It will
follow its owner, and come to his call, peck at his finger, or kiss his
mouth, with seeming pleasure. It is a long-lived bird, and instances
are reported of its having been kept for nearly twenty years. It suffers
much in the moult, even in the wild state, and when in captivity loses
nearly all its feathers at once.

The young obtain their full plumage by the first spring, being spotted on
the breast, and otherwise marked, as in the plate. When in confinement
they become darker and less brilliant in the colours, than when at
liberty.

So much do certain notes of the Robin resemble those of the European
Blackbird, that frequently while in England the cry of the latter, as it
flew hurriedly off from a hedge-row, reminded me of that of the former
when similarly surprised, and while in America the Robin has in the same
manner recalled the Blackbird to my recollection.


     TURDUS MIGRATORIUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 292.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 330.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 75.

     MERULA MIGRATORIA, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna Bor.-Amer.
     part ii. p. 176.

     ROBIN, TURDUS MIGRATORIUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 35.
     pl. ii. fig. 2.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 338.


Adult Male. Plate CXXXI. Fig. 1.

Bill of moderate length, rather strong, compressed, acute; upper mandible
slightly arched in its dorsal line, with acute edges, which are notched
close to the declinate tip; lower mandible nearly straight along the
back. Nostrils basal, oblong, half closed above by a membrane. The
general form is rather slender. Feet longish, rather strong; tarsus
compressed, anteriorly covered with a few long scutella, sharp behind;
toes scutellate above, free; the outer and middle united to the second
joint, claws arched, compressed, acute.

Plumage soft and rather blended. Wings of moderate length rounded, the
first primary extremely short, the third and fourth longest. Tail rather
long, even, of twelve broad rounded feathers.

Bill lemon-yellow, the tip brownish, in old birds the whole is
yellow. Iris hazel. Feet pale brown. Upper part and sides of the head
brownish-black, fading on the back of the neck; the upper parts in
general, smoke-grey, tinged on the shoulders with brown. The wings
and tail blackish-brown, with greyish edges; the first row of small
wing-coverts tipped with pale-grey, and the end of the inner web of the
outermost tail-feather, together with the tip of the next, white. An
interrupted circle of three lines of white round the eye. Chin white,
spotted with brownish-black. The under surface generally, including the
wing-coverts, reddish-orange, fading on the abdomen into whitish.

Length 10 inches, extent of wings 14; bill along the ridge ¾, along the
edge 11/12; tarsus 1-3/12, middle toe 1-3/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXXXI. Fig. 2.

The colours of the female are paler, but resemble those of the male.
Her dimensions are a little less, the length varying from 9 to 10 inches.


Young Birds. Plate CXXXI. Fig. 3, 3, 3, 3, 3.

The young birds are spotted with blackish-brown on the fore-neck,
breast, and sides, which are of a paler reddish tint; the upper parts
have the shafts of the feathers whitish, and the bill is dark-brown. It
is remarkable that all the Thrushes known to me which have the breast
of a uniform tint when old, have it spotted when young, shewing that
in their mode of colouring the different species of the genus agree in
this respect at one period or other.


THE ROCK OR CHESTNUT OAK.

     QUERCUS MONTANA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 440. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 634. _Mich._ Arbr. Forest. vol. i.
     p. 56. pl. 8.—MONŒCIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._ AMENTACEÆ, _Juss._

This species of oak is distinguished by its obovate or oblong largely
toothed or sinuate leaves, which are acuminate, and tapering at the base,
of a deep shining green above, whitish and downy beneath. The cupule is
hemispherical, with tuberculate scales; the acorn ovate. It grows to a
great size, forming a fine ornament to our woods, and in open situations
spreads abroad its branches to a great extent. The wood is valuable,
and is much employed in the Western and Southern countries, where, as
well as in some of the Middle Districts, it abounds. It prefers elevated
situations, and generally occurs in dry gravelly soil.



THE THREE-TOED WOODPECKER.

_PICUS TRIDACTYLUS_, LINN.

PLATE CXXXII. MALE AND FEMALE.


This curious species of Woodpecker is found in the northern parts of the
State of Massachusetts, and in all portions of Maine that are covered
by forests of tall trees, in which it constantly resides. I saw a few
in the Great Pine Forest of Pennsylvania, and my friend, the Rev. JOHN
BACHMAN, observed four near the Falls of Niagara, about twelve years ago,
and is of opinion that some may breed in the upper part of the State of
New York.

It is a restlessly active bird, spending its time generally on the
topmost branches of the tallest trees, without, however, confining itself
to pines. Although it cannot be called shy, its habitual restlessness
renders it difficult of approach. Its movements resemble those of the
Red-cockaded Woodpecker, but it is still more petulant than that bird.
Like it, it will alight, climb along a branch, seek for insects there,
and in a very few moments remove to another part of the same tree, or to
another tree at more or less distance, thus spending the day in rambling
over a large extent of ground. Its cries also somewhat resemble those
of the species above mentioned, but are louder and more shrill, like
those of some small quadruped suffering great pain. During the middle
hours of the day it becomes silent, and often retires to some concealed
place to rest a while. In the afternoon of warm days, it very frequently
makes sorties after flying insects, which it seems to secure in the air
with as much ease as the Red-headed Woodpecker. Besides insects, it also
feeds on berries and other small fruits.

Its flight is rapid, gliding, and deeply undulated, as it shifts from
one place to another. Now and then it will fly from a detached tree of
a field to a considerable distance before it alights, emitting at every
glide a loud shrill note. When alighted, the rolling tappings of its
bill against a dead and dried branch are as sonorous as those of the
Redhead. I never saw one on the ground, but I have not unfrequently met
with them searching the decayed wood of a prostrate tree.

The nest of this species is generally bored in the body of a sound tree,
near its first large branches. I observed no particular choice as to
the timber, having seen it in oaks, pines, &c. The nest, like that of
other allied species, is worked out by both sexes, and takes fully a week
before it is completed, its usual depth being from twenty to twenty-four
inches. It is smooth and broad at the bottom, although so narrow at its
entrance as to appear scarcely sufficient to enable one of the birds to
enter it. The eggs are from four to six, rather rounded, and pure white.
Only one brood is raised in the season. The young follow their parents
until autumn, when they separate and shift for themselves. They do not
attain their full plumage until the second year.

The number of these Woodpeckers is greatly increased in the State of
Maine during winter, by accessions from Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and
Labrador, in all which countries I have found the species in summer,
but where, if I am rightly informed, few remain during severe winters.


     PICUS TRIDACTYLUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 177.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 243.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 46.

     PICUS (APTERNUS) ARCTICUS, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna
     Bor.-Amer. part ii. p. 311.

     NORTHERN THREE-TOED WOODPECKER, PICUS TRIDACTYLUS, _Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. pl. 14. fig. 2.—_Nuttall_,
     Manual, part i. p. 578.


Adult Male. Plate CXXXII. Fig. 1. 1.

Bill longish, straight, strong, angular, compressed toward the tip, which
is slightly truncate and cuneate; upper mandible with the dorsal line
straight, the ridge distinct, the sloping sides quite flat, the lateral
angle or ridge close to the edges, which are acute and overlapping;
lower mandible with the ridge distinct, the sides convex, edges sharp
and inflected. Tongue comparatively shorter than that of the _Picus
villosus_, but of the same form, the extensile part being vermiform, the
tip flat above, convex below, and serrated backwards on the thin edges.
Nostrils basal, elliptical, covered by the feathers. Head rather large,
neck short, body robust. Feet very short; tarsus scutellate before and
behind; two toes before, one only behind, which is versatile and larger,
all scutellate above; claws strong, extremely compressed, very acute,
and uncinate.

Plumage blended, glossy, on the back and wings rather compact. Feathers
of the top of the head stiff and silky. Wings longish, third and fourth
quills longest and equal. Tail graduated, of twelve decurved stiff
feathers, worn to a point, excepting the outermost, which is extremely
small. Base of the bill covered by recumbent bristly feathers.

Bill bluish-black, the lower mandible greyish-blue, as are the feet,
the scutella and claws black. Iris bluish-black. The general colour of
the upper parts is deep glossy black, the head with blue reflections,
the back with green. Crown of the head yellow tinged with orange. Quills
blackish-brown, the outer primaries with seven rows of white spots. Two
middle tail-feathers black, two next of the same colour, but with three
cream-coloured spots on the edge of the outer web towards the end; two
next black at the base, cream-coloured towards the end, black at the
tip; two next cream-coloured, with little black at the base, and a mere
touch of black on the tip; two next of the same colour, with very little
black at the base; the two outermost, which are very short, rounded,
and generally concealed, barred with black and cream-colour. A white
band from the base of the mandible passes under the eye, and there is a
very slender line of the same behind it. Throat, fore neck, and anterior
part of the breast, white; the rest of the under parts also white, but
barred with black.

Length 10½ inches, extent of wings 16; bill along the ridge 1-2/12,
along the edge 7/12; tarsus 11/12, middle toe and claw 11/12, of hind
toe and claw 1¼.


Adult Female. Plate CXXXII. Fig. 2.

The female wants the yellow patch on the crown of the head, and has
the line of white behind the eye rather more conspicuous, but in other
respects resembles the male.



THE BLACK-POLL WARBLER.

_SYLVIA STRIATA_, LATH.

PLATE CXXXIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


No sooner had the Ripley come to an anchor in the curious harbour of
Labrador, known by the name of Little Macatina, than my party and myself
sought the shore;—but before I proceed, let me describe this singular
place. It was the middle of July, the weather was mild and pleasant, our
vessel made her way under a smart breeze through a very narrow passage,
beyond which we found ourselves in a small circular basin of water,
having an extent of seven or eight acres. It was so surrounded by high,
abrupt, and rugged rocks, that, as I glanced around, I could find no apter
comparison for our situation than that of a nut-shell in the bottom of
a basin. The dark shadows that overspread the waters, and the mournful
silence of the surrounding desert, sombred our otherwise glad feelings
into a state of awe. The scenery was grand and melancholy. On one side,
hung over our heads, in stupendous masses, a rock several hundred feet
high, the fissures of which might to some have looked like the mouths
of some huge undefined monster. Here and there a few dwarf-pines were
stuck as if by magic to this enormous mass of granite; in a gap of the
cliff the brood of a pair of grim Ravens shrunk from our sight, and the
Gulls, one after another, began to wend their way overhead towards the
middle of the quiet pool, as the furling of the sails was accompanied
by the glad cries of the sailors. The remarkable land-beacons erected
in that country to guide vessels into the harbour, looked like so many
figures of gigantic stature formed from the large blocks that lay on
every hill around. A low valley, in which meandered a rivulet, opened at
a distance to the view. The remains of a deserted camp of seal-catchers
was easily traced from our deck, and as easily could we perceive the
innate tendency of man to mischief, in the charred and crumbling ruins
of the dwarf-pine forests. But the harbour was so safe and commodious,
that, before we left it to find shelter in another, we had cause to be
thankful for its friendly protection.

We were accoutred for the occasion, and, as I have said, instantly made
for the shore. Anxious to receive as much information as possible in
a given time, we separated. The more active scaled the most difficult
heights, and among them was our Captain, Mr EMERY, than whom a more
expert seaman and a better man is rarely to be found. Others chose the
next most difficult place of ascent; while I and my young friend Dr
SHATTUCK of Boston, slowly moved along in quest of birds, plants, and
other objects. We soon reached a considerable elevation, from which
we beheld the broad Gulf of St Lawrence gathering its gray vapours, as
if about to cover itself with a mantle; while now and then our eye was
suddenly attracted by the gliding movements of our distant parties, as
they slipped down the declivities. In this manner we had surveyed the
country for several miles, when the sea-fog began to approach the land so
swiftly, that, with the knowledge we all had acquired of the difficulty
of proceeding overland when surprised by it, we judged it prudent to
return to our vessel. There we compared notes, and made preparations
for the morrow.

One fair morning, while several of us were scrambling through one of the
thickets of trees, scarcely waist-high, my youngest son chanced to scare
from her nest a female of the Black-poll Warbler. Reader, just fancy how
this raised my spirits. I felt as if the enormous expense of our voyage
had been refunded. "There," said I, "we are the first white men who have
seen such a nest." I peeped into it, saw that it contained four eggs, and
observed its little owner looking upon us with anxiety and astonishment.
It was placed about three feet from the ground, in the fork of a small
branch, close to the main stem of a fir tree. Its diameter internally was
two inches, the depth one and a half. Externally it resembled the nest
of the White-crowned Sparrow, being formed of green and white moss and
lichens, intermixed with coarse dried grass; within this was a layer of
bent grass, and the lining was of very dark-coloured dry moss, looking
precisely like horse-hair, arranged in a circular direction with great
care. Lastly, there was a thick bed of large soft feathers, some of
which were from Ducks, but most of them from the Willow Grouse.

I must now return to the United States, and trace the progress of our
Warbler. It enters Louisiana as early as the middle of February. At
this time it is seen gleaning food among the taller branches of the
willows, maples, and other trees that overhang the rivers and lakes. Its
migrations eastward follow the advance of the season, and I have not
been able to comprehend why it is never seen in the maritime parts of
South Carolina, while it is abundantly found in the State of New Jersey
close to the sea shore. There you would think that it had changed its
habits; for, instead of skipping among the taller branches of trees, it
is seen moving along the trunks and large limbs, almost in the manner
of a Certhia, searching the chinks of the bark for larvæ and pupæ. They
are met with in groups of ten, twelve, or more, in the end of April,
but after that period few are to be seen. In Massachusetts they begin to
appear nearly a month later, the intervening time being no doubt spent
on their passage through New York and Connecticut. I found them at the
end of May in the eastern part of Maine, and met with them wherever we
landed on our voyage to Labrador, where they arrive from the 1st to the
10th of June, throwing themselves into every valley covered by those
thickets, which they prefer for their breeding places. It also breeds
abundantly in Newfoundland.

In these countries it has almost become a Flycatcher. You see it
darting in all directions after insects, chasing them on wing, and not
unfrequently snapping so as to emit the clicking sound characteristic
of the true Flycatcher. Its activity is pleasing, but its notes have no
title to be called a song. They are shrill, and resemble the noise made
by striking two small pebbles together, more than any other sound that
I know. They may be in some degree imitated by pronouncing the syllable
_sche, sche, sche, sche, sche_, so as progressively to increase the
emphasis.

I found the young fully grown in the latter part of August, but with the
head as in the females, and like them they obtain their full plumage
during the next spring migration, after which these birds return
southward. They raise only one brood in the season, and if any of them
breed in the United States, it must be in the northern parts. They are
seldom seen in autumn in the States, and very seldom during the summer
months.

The Black-poll Warbler is a gentle bird, by no means afraid of man,
although it pursues some of its smaller enemies with considerable courage.
The sight of a Canadian Jay excites it greatly, as that marauder often
sucks its eggs, or swallows its young. In a few instances I have seen
the Jay confounded by the temerity of its puny assailant.

The occurrence of this species so far north in the breeding season, and
the curious diversity of its habits in different parts of the vast extent
of country which it traverses, are to me quite surprising, and lead me to
add some remarks on the migration of various species of Sylvia, which,
like the present, seem to skip, as it were, over large portions of the
country.

In the course of my voyages to the south-eastern extremity of the
Peninsula of the Floridas, I frequently observed birds of many kinds
flying either high or low over the sea. Of these the greater number
were, like the present species, Sylviæ which are never found in Georgia
or the two Carolinas. Their course was a direct one, and such as led me
to believe that the little voyagers were bound for Cape Hatteras. The
meeting with many of the species to which I allude, along the shores
of Maryland, New Jersey, the eastern coast of Long Island, &c., and all
along to the Bay of Fundy, has strengthened the idea; but as I may not
be correct, I leave the matter to the determination of more experienced
observers. The subject appears to me to be one of the greatest importance,
for the occurrence of plants in certain parts of a country and not in
others may possibly be caused by the absence, during migration, of such
birds as move by "short cuts" from one point of land to another.


     SYLVIA STRIATA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 61.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 81.

     SYLVICOLA STRIATA, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna Bor.-Amer.
     part ii. p. 218.

     BLACK-POLL WARBLER, SYLVIA STRIATA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iv.
     p. 40. pl. 30. fig. 3. Male; and vol. vi. p. 10. pl. 49.
     fig. 4. Female.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 383.


Adult Male. Plate CXXXIII. Fig. 1, 1.

Bill shortish, nearly straight, subulato-conical, acute, nearly as deep
as broad at the base, the edges sharp, with a slight notch near the tip,
the gap line a little deflected at the base. Nostrils basal, elliptical,
lateral, half-closed by a membrane. Head of ordinary size, neck short,
general form slender. Feet of ordinary length, slender; tarsus covered
anteriorly by a few scutella, the uppermost long, sharp behind; toes
scutellate above, the inner free, the hind toe of moderate size; claws
arched, slender, extremely compressed, acute.

Plumage soft, blended, slightly glossed. Wings of ordinary length, the
first quill longest. Tail of moderate length, emarginate.

Bill brownish-black above, pale beneath. Iris deep-brown. Feet pale
yellowish-brown. Upper part of the head deep black. Hind neck, back, and
tail-coverts, bluish-grey, each feather with a broad central stripe of
deep black. Wing-coverts and secondary quills brownish-black, the latter
margined, the secondary coverts margined and tipped, and the first row
of small coverts broadly tipped with white, that colour forming two bands
on the wing. Primary quills clove-brown, edged with paler. Tail-feathers
blackish-brown, the two outer on each side with a white patch on the
inner webs near the end. A broad band of white crosses the cheek, and
all the lower parts are of the same colour, an interrupted line of black
spots running down the sides of the neck and breast.

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 8½; bill along the ridge 5½/12,
along the edge 7/12; tarsus 9½/12.


Adult female. Plate CXXXIII. Fig. 2.

The female has the whole of the upper parts oil-green, tinged with
grey, with central blackish-brown spots on the feathers, the rump and
tail-coverts with the dark spots inconspicuous. Wing-bands tinged with
yellow, as are the sides of the breast. The sides of the head, neck,
breast, and flanks, marked with blackish-brown spots. In other respects
the colouring is similar to that of the male.

Length 5¼ inches.


THE BLACK GUM TREE.

     NYSSA AQUATICA, _Linn._ Sp. Pl. 1511. _Mich._ Arbr. Forest.
     vol. ii. p. 265 pl. 22.

     N. BIFLORA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. liv, p. 1113. _Pursh_, Flor.
     Amer. vol. i. p. 177. POLYGAMIA MONŒCIA, _Linn._ ELÆAGNI,
     _Juss._

The Black Gum is seldom found of a greater height than from fifty to sixty
feet, with a diameter of about three. The wood is of little use, even for
firing, as it takes a long time to consume, affords no blaze, and burns
dismally. A trunk of this tree falling into the water immediately sinks
and remains. Its foliage is pleasing to the eye, and in many parts of the
Middle Districts some are kept standing as shade-trees for cattle. The
berries, which hang in pairs, and sometimes three or four together, at
the extremity of their slender peduncle, are eaten in great quantities
during winter by various species of birds.



THE HEMLOCK WARBLER.

_SYLVIA PARUS_, WILS.

PLATE CXXXIV. MALE AND FEMALE.


It is to the persevering industry of WILSON that we are indebted for
the discovery of this bird. He has briefly described the male, of which
he had obtained but a single specimen. Never having met with it until
I visited the Great Pine Forest, where that ardent ornithologist found
it, I followed his track in my rambles there, and had not spent a week
among the gigantic hemlocks which ornament that interesting part of our
country, before I procured upwards of twenty specimens. I had therefore
a fair opportunity of observing its habits, which I shall now attempt
to describe.

The tallest of the hemlock pines are the favourite haunts of this species.
It appears first among the highest branches early in May, breeds there,
and departs in the beginning of September. Like the Blue Yellow-back
Warbler, its station is ever amidst the thickest foliage of the trees,
and with as much agility as its diminutive relative, it seeks its food
by ascending from one branch to another, examining most carefully the
under parts of each leaf as it proceeds. Every insect that escapes is
followed on wing, and quickly secured. It now and then, as if for variety
or sport, makes a downward flight, alights on a smaller tree, surveys
it for a while, and again ascends to a higher station. During the early
part of autumn it frequents, with its young, the margins of rivulets,
where insects are then more abundant.

Its notes are sweet and mellow, and although not numerous, are easily
distinguished from those of any other Warbler. Like a true Sylvia, it
is often seen hanging at the end of a branch, searching for insects.
It never alights on the trunk of a tree, and in this particular differs
from every other species of its genus. Its food is altogether of insects.

To the inimitable skill of the worthy JEDIAH IRISH in the use of the
rifle, I am indebted for the possession of a nest of this bird. On
discovering one of the birds, we together watched it for hours, and at
last had the good fortune to see itself and its mate repeatedly enter a
thick cluster of leaves, where we concluded their nest must be placed. The
huntsman's gun was silently raised to his shoulder, the explosion followed
in course, and as I saw the twig whirling downwards, I experienced all
the enthusiastic anxiety ever present with me on such occasions. Picking
up the branch, I found in it a nest, containing three naked young, with
as yet sealed eyelids. The nest was small, compact, somewhat resembling
that of the American Goldfinch. It was firmly attached to the leaves of
the hemlock twig, which appeared as if intentionally closed together
over and around it, so as to conceal it from all enemies. Lichens,
dry leaves of hemlock, and slender twigs formed its exterior. It was
delicately lined with the fur of the hare and racoon; and the young lay
imbedded in the softest feathers of the Ruffed Grouse. The parents soon
became aware of the mischief which we had done; they descended, glided
over our heads, manifested the most tender affection and the deepest
sorrow, and excited our sympathy so far, that I carefully placed their
tender offspring on a fallen log, leaving them to the care of their kind
protectors, and contenting myself with their cradle.

I have since met with this species in the State of Maine, and have seen
several individuals in Newfoundland; but never again have I found a
nest, nor can I say any thing regarding its eggs. Confined as it is to
the interior of the forests, I cannot even tell you more respecting its
mode of flying than what I have already related, never having observed
it performing a longer flight than from one tree to another.


     SYLVIA PARUS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United
     States, p. 82.

     HEMLOCK WARBLER, SYLVIA PARUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. v.
     p. 114. pl. 44. fig. 3. Male.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 392.


Adult Male. Plate CXXXIV. Fig. 1.

Bill shortish, nearly straight, subulato-conical, acute, nearly as deep
as broad at the base, the edges sharp, the gap line slightly deflected at
the base. Nostrils basal, elliptical, lateral, half-closed by a membrane.
General form rather slender. Feet of ordinary length; tarsus slender,
compressed, anteriorly scutellate, sharp behind; toes scutellate above,
the inner free, the hind toe of moderate size; claws arched, slender,
compressed, acute.

Plumage soft, blended, slightly glossed. Wings of ordinary length, the
first quill longest. Tail shortish, emarginate.

Bill dark brown above, pale brown beneath. Iris hazel. Feet pale brown,
tinged with yellow. The upper parts are yellowish-green, spotted
with brownish-black. The head yellow. The quills and their coverts
brownish-black, margined with yellowish-green. The outer margin of
the inner secondary quills, and the ends of the secondary coverts and
first row of small coverts, white. Tail-feathers brownish-black, edged
externally with yellowish-green; the three outer on each side white,
with the shafts and a broadish line at the end black. A yellow band
passes over the eye; cheeks greenish; throat, fore neck, and breast,
rich yellow, which gradually fades posteriorly; the sides streaked with
blackish-brown.

Length 5½ inches, extent of wings 8½; bill along the back 5/12, along
the edge 7/12; tarsus 9/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXXXIV. Fig. 2.

The Female resembles the male, but is rather paler.


THE DWARF MAPLE.

ACER SPICATUM.

This is a low shrubby tree, which does not attain a greater height at
most than fifteen or twenty feet. It abounds along the rocky margins
of creeks or rivers, especially those meandering at the bases of the
Alleghany Mountains.



THE BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER.

_SYLVIA BLACKBURNIÆ_, LATH.

PLATE CXXXV. MALE.


This charming and delicate Warbler passes through the United States in
April and May. I have met with it at different times, although sparingly,
in every part of the Union, more frequently in the southern districts
in spring, and in the eastern in early autumn. In the State of Maine,
on the north-eastern confines of the United States, it is not uncommon,
and I have reason to think that it breeds in the vicinity of Mars Hill,
and other places, along the banks of St John's River, where my sons and
myself shot several individuals, in the month of September. While at
Frederickton, New Brunswick, Sir ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL kindly presented me
with specimens. On the Magdalene Islands, in the Gulf of St Lawrence,
which I visited in June 1833, I found the Blackburnian Warbler in all
the brilliancy of its spring plumage, and had the pleasure of hearing
its sweet song, while it was engaged in pursuing its insect prey among
the branches of a fir tree, moving along somewhat in the manner of the
American Redstart. Its song, which consisted of five or six notes, was
so much louder than could have been expected from the size of the bird,
that it was not until I had fairly caught it in the act, that I felt
satisfied as to its proceeding from my old acquaintance. My endeavours to
discover its nest proved fruitless. In Labrador we saw several individuals
of both sexes, and on the coast of Newfoundland, on our return westward,
we again found it.

To Professor MACCULLOCH of the Pictou College I am indebted for a nest
and three eggs of this bird. While looking at his valuable collection of
the Birds of Nova Scotia, my attention was attracted by a case containing
nests with eggs, among which was that of the Blackburnian Warbler. It was
composed externally of different textures, and lined with silky fibres
and thin delicate stripes of fine bark, over which lay a thick bed of
feathers and horse-hair. The eggs were small, very conical towards the
smaller end, pure white, with a few spots of light red towards the larger
end. It was found in a small fork of a tree, five or six feet from the
ground, near a brook. The Professor informed me that it was the only
nest he had seen, and that he considered this species of Warbler as rare
in the district.

My friend JOHN BACHMAN has since informed me, that, in June 1833, he saw
a pair of these birds engaged in constructing a nest near Lansingburgh,
in the State of New York. He never saw the species in the maritime parts
of South Carolina.

The specimen from which I made the drawing copied in the plate before you,
I procured near Reading in Pennsylvania, on the banks of the Schuylkill
River, about thirty years ago. Some specimens shot in New Brunswick in
September, were mottled somewhat in the manner of a two years old Tanager
or Summer Red Bird, being probably very young birds.


     SYLVIA BLACKBURNIÆ, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 257.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 80.

     BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, SYLVIA BLACKBURNIÆ, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. iii. p. 67. pl. 28. fig. 3.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i.
     p. 379.


Adult Male. Plate CXXXV.

Bill short, straight, subulato-conical, acute, rather broader than
deep at the base, the edges sharp. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical,
half-closed by a membrane. General form slender. Feet of ordinary length;
tarsus slender, compressed, anteriorly scutellate, sharp behind; toes
free, scutellate above, the hind toe of moderate size; claws arched,
slender, compressed, acute.

Plumage soft, blended, slightly glossed. Wings longish, the first quill
longest, the two next scarcely shorter, and almost equal. Tail of moderate
length, slightly emarginate.

Bill and legs umber-brown, the former bluish at the base below. Iris
hazel. The general colour of the upper parts is black, with streaks
of white on the back. A small patch of orange on the top of the head,
a band of the same colour from the base of the mandible over the eye,
passing down the neck and curving forwards; a similar short band under
the eye; lore, and a patch behind the eye, black. Quills margined with
white, and a large patch of the same on the wing, including the inner
secondary coverts, and the ends of the outer, with those of the first
row of smaller coverts. The three outer tail-feathers on each side
white at the base, and along the inner web. Throat and breast of a rich
reddish-orange, the hind part of the breast and belly dull yellow, fading
backwards; the sides of the breast marked with black streaks and spots.

Length 4¾ inches, extent of wings 7¾; bill along the ridge 4/12, along
the edge ½; tarsus 8½/12.


The Female resembles the male in colouring, but the bright orange of
the head and breast is replaced by yellow.


     PHLOX MACULATA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 840. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 149.—PENTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._
     POLEMONIA, JUSS.

Erect; the stem rough, with purplish dots; the leaves oblongo-lanceolate,
smooth, with the margin rough; the flowers in an oblong crowded panicle,
of a purplish-red tint, the segments of the corolla rounded; the calycine
teeth acute and recurved. It grows abundantly in wet meadows, from New
England to Carolina. The flowers, although pleasing to the eye, have no
scent.



A BALL IN NEWFOUNDLAND.


On our return from the singularly wild and interesting country of
Labrador, the "Ripley" sailed close along the northern coast of
Newfoundland. The weather was mild and clear; and, while my young
companions amused themselves on the deck with the music of various
instruments, I gazed on the romantic scenery spread along the bold and
often magnificent shores. Portions of the wilds appeared covered with a
luxuriance of vegetable growth far surpassing that of the regions which
we had just left, and in some of the valleys I thought I saw trees of
moderate size. The number of habitations increased apace, and many small
vessels and boats danced on the waves of the coves which we passed. Here
a precipitous shore looked like the section of a great mountain, of which
the lost half had sunk into the depths of the sea, and the dashing of the
waters along its base was such as to alarm the most daring seaman. The
huge masses of broken rock impressed my mind with awe and reverence, as
I thought of the power that still gave support to the gigantic fragments
which every where hung, as if by magic, over the sea, awaiting, as it
were, the proper moment to fall upon and crush the impious crew of some
piratical vessel. There again, gently swelling hills reared their heads
towards the sky, as if desirous of existing within the influence of its
azure purity; and I thought the bleatings of rein-deer came on my ear.
Dark clouds of Curlews were seen winging their way towards the south,
and thousands of Larks and Warblers were flitting through the air. The
sight of these birds excited in me a wish that I also had wings to fly
back to my country and friends.

Early one morning our vessel doubled the northern cape of the Bay of St
George; and, as the wind was light, the sight of that magnificent expanse
of water, which extends inward to the length of eighteen leagues, with
a breadth of thirteen, gladdened the hearts of all on board. A long
range of bold shores bordered it on one side, throwing a deep shadow
over the water, which added greatly to the beauty of the scene. On the
other side, the mild beams of the autumnal sun glittered on the water,
and whitened the sails of the little barks that were sailing to and
fro, like so many silvery gulls. The welcome sight of cattle feeding
in cultivated meadows, and of people at their avocations, consoled us
for the labours which we had undergone, and the privations which we had
suffered; and, as the Ripley steered her course into a snug harbour that
suddenly opened to our view, the number of vessels that were anchored
there, and a pretty village that presented itself, increased our delight.

Although the sun was fast approaching the western horizon when our anchor
was dropped, no sooner were the sails furled than we all went ashore.
There appeared a kind of curious bustle among the people, as if they
were anxious to know who we were, for our appearance, and that of our
warlike looking schooner, shewed that we were not fishermen. As we bore
our usual arms and hunting accoutrements, which were half Indian and half
civilized, the individuals we met on the shore manifested considerable
suspicion, which our captain observing, instantly made a signal, when the
star-spangled banner glided to the mast-head, and saluted the flags of
France and Britain in kindly greeting. We were welcomed and supplied with
abundance of fresh provisions. Glad at once more standing on something
like soil, we passed through the village, and walked round it, but as
night was falling, were quickly obliged to return to our floating home,
where, after a hearty supper, we serenaded with repeated glees the
peaceful inhabitants of the village.

At early dawn I was on deck, admiring the scene of industry that presented
itself. The harbour was already covered with fishing-boats, employed in
procuring mackerel, some of which we appropriated to ourselves. Signs of
cultivation were observed on the slopes of the hills, the trees seemed
of goodly size, a river made its way between two ranges of steep rocks,
and here and there a group of Mickmack Indians were searching along the
shores for lobsters, crabs, and eels, all of which we found abundant and
delicious. A canoe laden with rein-deer meat came alongside, paddled by
a pair of athletic Indians, who exchanged their cargo for some of our
stores. You would have been amused to see the manner in which these men,
and their families on shore, cooked the lobsters: they threw them alive
into a great wood-fire; and, as soon as they were broiled, devoured them
while yet so hot that any of us could not have touched them. When properly
cooled, I tasted these roasted lobsters, and found them infinitely better
flavoured than boiled ones. The country was represented as abounding
in game. The temperature was higher, by twenty degrees, than that of
Labrador, and yet I was told that the ice of the bay seldom broke up
before the middle of May, and that few vessels attempted to go to Labrador
before the 10th of June, when the cod-fishery at once commences.

One afternoon we were visited by a deputation from the inhabitants of
the village, inviting our whole party to a ball which was to take place
that night, and requesting us to take with us our musical instruments. We
unanimously accepted the invitation, which had been made from friendly
feelings; and finding that the deputies had a relish for "old Jamaica,"
we helped them pretty freely to some, which soon shewed that it had lost
nothing of its energies by having visited Labrador. At ten o'clock, the
appointed hour, we landed, and were lighted to the dancing hall by paper
lanterns, one of us carrying a flute, another a violin, and I with a
flageolet stuck into my waistcoat pocket.

The hall proved nothing else than the ground floor of a fisherman's
house. We were presented to his wife, who, like her neighbours, was an
adept in the piscatory art. She curtseyed, not _à la Taglioni_, it is
true, but with a modest assurance, which to me was quite as pleasing
as the airiness with which the admired performer just mentioned might
have paid her respects. The good woman was rather unprepared, and quite
_en negligée_, as was the apartment, but full of activity, and anxious
to arrange things in becoming style. In one hand she held a bunch of
candles, in the other a lighted torch, and distributing the former at
proper intervals along the walls, she applied the latter to them in
succession. This done, she emptied the contents of a large tin vessel
into a number of glasses which were placed in a tea-tray on the only
table in the room. The chimney, black and capacious, was embellished with
coffee-pots, milk-jugs, cups and saucers, knives and forks, and all the
paraphernalia necessary on so important an occasion. A set of primitive
wooden stools and benches was placed around, for the reception of the
belles of the village, some of whom now dropped in, flourishing in all
the rosy fatness produced by an invigorating northern climate, and in
decoration vying with the noblest Indian queen of the west. Their stays
seemed ready to burst open, and their shoes were equally pressed, so full
of sap were the arctic beauties. Around their necks, brilliant beads,
mingled with ebony tresses, and their naked arms might have inspired
apprehension had they not been constantly employed in arranging flowing
ribbons, gaudy flowers, and muslin flounces.

Now arrived one of the beaux, just returned from the fishing, who, knowing
all, and being equally known, leaped without ceremony on the loose boards
that formed a kind of loft overhead, where he soon exchanged his dripping
apparel for a dress suited to the occasion, when he dropped upon the
floor, and strutting up and down, bowed and scraped to the ladies, with
as much ease, if not elegance, as a Bond Street highly-scented exquisite.
Others came in by degrees, ready dressed, and music was called for. My
son, by way of overture, played "Hail Columbia, happy land," then went
on with "La Marseillaise," and ended with "God save the King." Being
merely a spectator, I ensconced myself in a corner, by the side of an
old European gentleman, whom I found an agreeable and well-informed
companion, to admire the decorum of the motley assemblage.

The dancers stood in array, little time having been spent in choosing
partners, and a Canadian accompanying my son on his Cremona, mirth and
joy soon abounded. Dancing is certainly one of the most healthful and
innocent amusements. I have loved it a vast deal more than watching for
the nibble of a trout, and I have sometimes thought enjoying it with an
agreeable female softened my nature as much as the pale pure light of
the moon softens and beautifies a winter night. A maiden lady, who sat
at my side, and who was the only daughter of my talkative companion,
relished my remarks on the subject so much, that the next set saw her
gracing the floor with her tutored feet.

At each pause of the musicians, refreshments were handed round by the
hostess and her son, and I was not a little surprised to see all the
ladies, maids and matrons, swallow, like their sweethearts and husbands,
a full glass of pure rum, with evident pleasure. I should perhaps
have recollected that, in cold climates, a dose of ardent spirits is
not productive of the same effects as in burning latitudes, and that
refinement had not yet induced these healthy and robust dames to affect
a delicacy foreign to their nature.

It was now late, and knowing how much I had to accomplish next day, I
left the party and proceeded towards the shore. My men were sound asleep
in the boat, but in a few moments I was on board the Ripley. My young
friends arrived towards daylight, but many of the fishermen's sons and
daughters kept up the dance, to the music of the Canadian, until after
our breakfast was over.

Although all the females whom I had seen at this ball were perfectly
free from _mauvaise honte_, we were much surprised when some of them,
which we afterwards met in the course of our rambles in the neighbouring
meadows and fields, ran off on seeing us, like gazelles before jackalls.
One bearing a pail of water on her head, dropped it the moment she saw
us, and ran into the woods to hide herself. Another, who was in search
of a cow, on observing us going towards her, took to the water and waded
through an inlet more than waist-deep, after which she made for home with
the speed of a frightened hare. On inquiring the reason of this strange
conduct, the only answer I received from several was a deep blush!



THE MEADOW LARK OR AMERICAN STARLING.

_STURNUS LUDOVICIANUS_, LINN.

PLATE CXXXVI. MALE, FEMALE, AND NEST.


How could I give the history of this beautiful bird, were I not to return
for a while to the spot where I have found it most abundant, and where
the most frequent opportunities occurred of observing it? Then, reader,
to those rich grass fields let us stray. We are not far from the sandy
sea-shores of the Jerseys; the full beauties of an early spring are
profusely spread around us; the glorious sun illumines the creation with
a flood of golden light, as he yet lies beneath the deep; the industrious
bee is yet asleep, as are the birds in bush and tree; the small wavelets
break on the beach with a gentle murmur; the sky is so beautifully
blue, that, on seeing it, one fancies himself near heaven; the moon is
about to disappear in the distant west; the limpid dew-drops hang on
every leaf, bud and blossom, each tall blade of grass bending under the
weight. Anxious to view Nature at her best, I lie waiting in pleasure
for the next moment:—it has come; all is life and energy; the bee, the
bird, the quadruped, all nature awakes into life, and every being seems
moving in the light of the Divine countenance. Fervently do I praise
the God who has called me into existence, and devotedly do I pursue my
avocations, carefully treading on the tender grass, until I reach a seat
by nature's own hand prepared, when I pause, survey, admire, and essay
to apprehend all—yes, _all_ around me! Delightful days of my youth, when
full of strength, health and gladness, I so often enjoyed the bliss of
contemplating the beauties of creation! They are gone, never to return;
but memory fondly cherishes the thoughts which they called into being,
and while life remains will their memory be pleasing.

See the Lark that arrived last evening! fully refreshed, and with a bosom
overflowing with love towards her who had led him thus far, he rises
from his grassy couch, and on gently whirring pinions launches into the
air, in the glad hope of finding the notes of his beloved fall on his
ear. Females are usually tardy at this early season. I shall not pretend
to tell you why, reader, but that such is the fact, I have been fully
convinced, since the very first feelings of their value was impressed on
my mind. The male is still on the wing; his notes sound loud and clear as
he impatiently surveys the grassy plain beneath him. His beloved is not
there. His heart almost fails him, and, disappointed, he rises towards
the black walnut-tree, under which, during many a summer's heat, the
mowers have enjoyed both their repast and their mid-day rest. I now see
him, not desponding as you might suppose, but vexed and irritated. See
how he spreads his tail, how often he raises his body, how he ejaculates
his surprise, and loudly calls for her whom of all things he best
loves.—Ah!—there comes the dear creature; her timorous, tender notes
announce her arrival. Her mate, her beloved, has felt the charm of her
voice. His wings are spread, and buoyant with gladness, he flies to meet,
to welcome her, anticipating all the bliss prepared for him. Would that
I could interpret to you, reader, as I feel them, the many assurances of
friendship, fidelity and love that at this precious moment pass from the
one to the other, as they place their bills together and chatter their
mutual loves!—the gentle chidings of the male for the sorrow her delay
has caused him, and the sweet words she uses to calm his ardour. Alas!
it were vain to attempt it. I have listened to the talk, it is true;
I have witnessed all their happiness; but I cannot describe it to you.
You, reader, must watch them, as I have done, if you wish to understand
their language. If not, I must try to give you a taste of what I would
willingly impart, were I competent to the task, and proceed to relate
what I have observed of their habits.

When the Meadow Lark first rises from the ground, which it does with
a smart spring, it flutters like a young bird, then proceeds checking
its speed and resuming it in a desultory and uncertain manner, flying
in general straight forward, and glancing behind as if to ascertain
the amount of its danger, but yet affording an easy aim to the most
inexperienced marksman. When pursued for a while, it moves more swiftly,
sailing and beating its wings alternately, until it gets out of reach.
It will not stand before the pointer longer than a moment, and that
only when surprised among rank weeds or grasses. During its migrations,
which are usually performed by day, it rises above the tallest forest
trees, passing along in loose bodies, and not unfrequently in flocks
of from fifty to a hundred individuals. At such times its motions are
continued, and it merely sails at intervals, to enable it to breathe
and renew its exertions. Now and then, one may be seen making directly
towards another, chasing it downwards or horizontally away from the group,
uttering all the time a sharp querulous note, and keeping up the pursuit
for a distance of several hundred yards, when it suddenly abandons it.
Both birds then rejoin the flock, and the party continue their journey
in amity. When flocks thus travelling spy a favourable feeding place,
they gradually descend and alight on some detached tree, when, as if by
one accord, each individual jerks out its tail, springs on its legs, and
utters a loud soft call-note. They then fly successively to the ground,
and immediately proceed in search of food. An old male now and then
erects itself, glances its eye around with anxious scrutiny, and should
danger be perceived, does not fail to inform his party by emitting a
loud rolling note, on hearing which the rest of the flock become alert,
and hold themselves in readiness to depart.

In this manner the Meadow Larks proceed in autumn from the northern parts
of Maine to the State of Louisiana, the Floridas, or Carolinas, where
they abound during the winter. At this season the pine barrens of the
Floridas are filled with them, and after the land has been fired by the
native herdsmen, these birds become as sooty as the sparrows residing in
London. Some were so infested with ticks as to have lost almost all the
feathers off their body, and in general they appeared much smaller than
those of the Atlantic States, probably on account of the deficiency of
their plumage. In the prairies of the Opellousas and those bordering on
the Arkansas River, they are still more abundant. Many of these, however,
retire into the Mexican country at the approach of very severe weather.
They now sleep on the ground among the tall grass, but at a distance of
many yards from each other, in the manner of the Carolina Dove.

At the approach of spring, the flocks break up, the females first
separating. The males then commence their migration, flying in small
flocks, or even sometimes singly. At this season the beauty of their
plumage is much improved, their movements have acquired more grace, their
manner of flight and all their motions when on the ground evidently
shewing how strongly they feel the passion that glows in their bosom.
The male is seen to walk with stately measured steps, jerking out his
tail, or spreading it to its full extent, and then closing it, like a
fan in the hands of some fair damsel. Its loud notes are more melodious
than ever, and are now frequently heard, the bird sitting the while on
the branch of a tree, or the top of some tall weed of the meadows.

Woe to the rival who dares to make his appearance! Nay, should any male
come in sight, he is at once attacked, and, if conquered, chased beyond
the limits of the territory claimed by the first possessor. Several
males may sometimes be seen engaged in fierce conflict, although these
frays seldom last more than a few moments. The sight of a single female
at once changes their occupation, and after her they all fly off as if
mad. The female exhibits the usual timidity of her sex, that timidity
without which, even in Meadow Larks, she would probably fail in finding
a mate. As he flies towards her, uttering the softest of his notes, she
moves off in such a manner that her ardent admirer often seems doubtful
whether she means to repel or encourage him. At length, however, he is
permitted to go nearer, to express by his song and courteous demeanour
the strength and constancy of his passion. She accepts him as her lord,
and in a few days both are seen busily searching for an appropriate spot
in which to rear their young.

At the foot of some tuft of tall strong grass you find the nest. A cavity
is scooped out of the ground, and in it is placed a quantity of grass,
fibrous roots, and other materials; circularly disposed so as to resemble
an oven, around which leaves and the blades of the surrounding grasses
are matted together so as to cover and conceal it. The entrance admits
only one at a time, but both birds incubate. The eggs are four or five,
pure white, sprinkled and blotched with reddish-brown, mostly towards
the larger end. The young are out towards the end of June, and follow
their parents for some weeks afterwards. These birds are unremitting in
their attention towards each other, and in the care of their offspring,
and while the female sits, the male not only supplies her with food,
but constantly comforts her by his song and the watchfulness which he
displays. Should one approach the nest, he immediately rises on wing,
passes and repasses in circles over and around the spot in which the
nest is, and thus frequently leads to the hidden treasure.

Excepting hawks and snakes, the Meadow Lark has few enemies at this
season. The prudent and enlightened farmer, mindful of the benefit his
meadows have received from the destruction of thousands of larvæ, which
might have greatly injured his grass, disturbs it not, and should he
find its nest while cutting his hay, he leaves the tuft in which it is
placed. Even young children seldom destroy this bird or its brood.

It must not, however, be supposed that the Meadow Lark is entirely
harmless. In the Carolinas, many well instructed planters agree in
denouncing it as a depredator, alleging that it scratches up oat seeds
when sown early in spring, and is fond of plucking up the young corn,
the wheat, the rye, or the rice.

In confinement, this bird has another fault, of which I was not aware
until my last visit to Charleston. In February 1834, Dr SAMUEL WILSON of
that city told me that one of the Meadow Larks which he had purchased in
the market, with a number of other birds, ten days previously, had been
found feeding on the body of a Bay-winged Bunting, which it had either
killed, or found dead in the aviary. He said he had watched the bird
more than twenty minutes, and plainly saw that it plunged its bill into
the flesh of the finch to its eyes, and appeared to open and close it
alternately, as if sucking the juices of the flesh. Two days afterwards,
the same Meadow Lark actually killed two other finches that had their
wings clipped, and ate them.

During the latter part of autumn, as well as in winter, this species
affords a good deal of sport, especially to young gunners, some of whom
speak highly of its flesh. This may be true respecting the young, but
the yellow oily appearance of the flesh of the old ones, its toughness,
and the strong smell of insects which it emits, prevent it from being
an agreeable article of food. They are nevertheless offered for sale in
almost all our markets.

In the winter months, this bird frequently associates with the Carolina
Dove, several species of Grakle, and even Partridges, is fond of spending
its time in corn fields after the grain has been gathered, and often
makes its appearance in the cattle-yard of the planters. In Virginia,
it is called the "Old-field Lark."

While on the ground, the Meadow Lark walks well, and much in the manner
of the Grakle and the European Starling, to which it is in some measure
allied. When on the wing, they seldom fly close enough to allow more
than one to be shot at a time. When wounded, they run off with alacrity,
and hide with great care, so as to be found with difficulty. They alight
with equal readiness on trees, on the branches of which they walk with
ease, on fences, and even at times on out-houses. Their food consists
of grass seeds, and grains of almost every sort, along with all kinds of
insects and berries. Although gregarious, they seldom move close together
while on the ground, and, on the report of a gun, you may see perhaps a
hundred of them rise on the wing from different parts of a field. They
are never found in close woods. During winter, the open western prairies
abound with them, and in every corn-field in the State of Kentucky, you
are sure to find them in company with partridges and doves. They now and
then resort to roads, for the purpose of dusting themselves, and move
along the edge of the water in order to bathe.

The plate represents two pairs of these birds, with a nest placed in a
rich cluster of the Yellow Gerardia.


     STURNUS LUDOVICIANUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 290.
     —_Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 323.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops.
     of Birds of the United States, p. 50.

     MEADOW LARK, ALAUDA MAGNA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 20.
     pl. 19. fig. 2.

     AMERICAN STARLING or MEADOW LARK, _Nuttall_, Manual, part i.
     p. 147.

     STURNELLA LUDOVICIANA, CRESCENT STARELET, _Swains. and
     Richards._ Fauna Bor.-Amer. part ii. p. 282.


Adult Male. Plate CXXXVI. Fig. 1. 1.

Bill rather long, almost straight, strong, conico-subulate, depressed
towards the end; upper mandible encroaching a little on the forehead,
flattish on the ridge, with sharp overlapping edges, the tip rounded;
lower mandible nearly straight, the back convex, the sides ascending,
the edges sharp, the tip slightly rounded, and a little shorter. Nostrils
oval, half-closed by an arched membrane. Head of ordinary size, depressed,
neck of moderate length, body rather full. Feet of moderate length,
strong; tarsus anteriorly scutellate, sharp behind; lateral toes nearly
equal, hind toe stoutest, with a large claw; claws arched, compressed,
acute.

Plumage soft, rather compact. The upper eyelid margined with strong
bristles. Feathers of the top of the head with strong shafts. Wings of
ordinary length, broad, the second, third, and fourth primaries longest,
the first longer than the fifth; those mentioned, except the first,
sinuate on the outer web; primaries rather pointed, secondaries broad
and rounded, two of the inner nearly as long as the primaries when the
wing is closed. Tail short, much rounded, of twelve acute feathers.

Bill dark brown above, bluish-grey beneath and on the sides. Iris hazel.
Feet flesh-coloured, tinged with blue. The upper parts are variegated
with dark brown, bay, and light yellowish-brown, the latter bordering
the feathers; those of the hind parts of the back barred, as are the
secondary quills and their coverts. Primary quills dark brown, margined
the outermost with white, the rest with pale brown. The edge of the wing
yellow; the smaller wing-coverts black bordered with grey. The three
outer tail-feathers white, with a dash of black on the outer web near the
end; the next feather also more or less white, and barred on the outer
web. On the upper part of the head are a central and two lateral stripes
of brownish-yellow, separated by two broader stripes of brownish-black;
the lateral stripes are sometimes white tinged with yellow anteriorly.
Sides of the head and neck greyish-white, dotted with dusky, and the
flanks and under tail-coverts are spotted with black; abdomen white,
the rest of the under parts rich yellow, excepting a large crescent of
black on the breast.

Length 11-2/12, extent of wings 16½; bill along the back 1-3/12, along
the edge 1-5/12; tarsus 1¾, middle toe 1-4/8.


Adult Female. Plate CXXXVI. Fig 2. 2.

The Female differs little from the male, the colours being scarcely
paler, but is smaller.


YELLOW-FLOWERED GERARDIA.

     GERARDIA FLAVA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iii. p. 223. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 423.—DIDYNAMIA ANGIOSPERMIA,
     _Linn._ SCROPHULARINÆ, _Juss._

Downy, with the stems nearly undivided, the leaves subsessile, lanceolate,
entire or toothed, the lower incised, the flowers axillary, opposite,
nearly sessile. I found this plant abundant in the meadows of New Jersey,
where it was in full flower at the end of May, the rich yellow blossoms
enlivening the uniform aspect of the plains. It is pretty generally
distributed along the Atlantic coasts, and attains a height of from two
to three feet.



THE YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT.

_ICTERIA VIRIDIS_, BONAP.

PLATE CXXXVII. MALE, FEMALE, AND NEST.


This singular bird is extremely plentiful in Louisiana, Georgia, and
the Carolinas, during spring and summer. It arrives in the first of
those States as soon as the blossoms of the dog-wood mark the return
of the vernal season. Many continue their migrations eastward as far
as Connecticut, but beyond this the species is seldom if ever seen. I
have found it equally abundant in Kentucky, particularly in the barrens
of that State; and it ascends the Ohio, spreading over the country, and
extending as far as the borders of Lake Erie in Pennsylvania. It never
enters what is properly called the woods, preferring at all periods
of its short stay with us, the large tangled and almost impenetrable
patches of briars, sumach, prickly ash, and different species of smilax,
wherever a rivulet or a pool may be found.

As in other migratory species, the males precede the females several
days. As soon as they have arrived, they give free vent to their song at
all hours of the day, renewing it at night when the weather is calm, and
the moon shines brightly, seeming intent on attracting the females, by
repeating in many varied tones the ardency of their passion. Sometimes
the sounds are scarcely louder than a whisper, now they acquire strength,
deep guttural notes roll in slow succession as if produced by the emotion
of surprise, then others clear and sprightly glide after each other,
until suddenly, as if the bird had become confused, the voice becomes
a hollow bass. The performer all the while looks as if he were in the
humour of scolding, and moves from twig to twig among the thickets with
so much activity and in so many directions, that the notes reach the
ear as it were from opposite places at the same moment. Now the bird
mounts in the air in various attitudes, with its legs and feet hanging,
while it continues its song and jerks its body with great vehemence,
performing the strangest and most whimsical gesticulations; the next
moment it returns to the bush. If you imitate its song, it follows your
steps with caution, and responds to each of your calls, now and then
peeping at you for a moment, the next quite out of sight. Should you
have a dog, which will enter its briary retreat, it will skip about him,
scold him, and frequently perch, or rise on wing above the thicket, so
that you may easily shoot it.

The arrival of the females is marked by the redoubled exertions of the
males, who now sing as if delirious with the pleasurable sensations they
experience. Before ten days have elapsed, the pairs begin to construct
their nest, which is placed in any sort of bush or briar, seldom more
than six feet from the ground, and frequently not above two or three. It
is large, and composed externally of dry leaves, small sticks, stripes
of vine bark and grasses, the interior being formed of fibrous roots and
horse-hair. The eggs are four or five, of a light flesh colour, spotted
with reddish-brown. In Louisiana and the Carolinas, these birds have
two broods in the season; but in Pennsylvania, where they seldom lay
before the 20th of May, they have only one brood. The eggs are hatched
in twelve days. The male is seldom heard to sing after the breeding
season, and they all depart from the Union by the middle of September.
Their eggs and young are frequently destroyed by snakes, and a species
of insect that feeds on carrion, and burrows in the ground under night.
The young resemble the females, and do not acquire the richness of the
spring plumage while in the Union.

The food of the Yellow-breasted Chat consists of coleopterous insects
and small fruits. They are especially fond of the wild strawberries so
abundant in the Kentucky barrens.

When migrating they move from bush to bush by day, and frequently continue
their march by night, especially should the moon be out and the weather
pleasant. Their flight is short and irregular at all times. When alighted,
they frequently jerk their tail, squat, and spring on their legs, and
are always in a state of great activity. I never observed them chasing
insects on the wing.

I have presented you with several figures of this singular species, to
shew you their positions when on the wing performing their antics in the
love season as well as when alighted. The wild rose branch with the nest,
was cut out of a thicket for the purpose which you see accomplished.


     ICTERIA VIRIDIS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 69.

     YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, PIPRA POLYGLOTTA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. i. p. 90. pl. 6. fig. 2.

     YELLOW-BREASTED ICTERIA, ICTERIA VIRIDIS, _Nuttall_, Manual,
     part i. p. 299.


Adult Male. Plate CXXXVII. Fig. 1, 1.

Bill of moderate length, strong, slightly arched, broad at the base,
compressed towards the end; upper mandible with the sides convex, the
edges acute, destitute of notch, the tip acute, and a little declinate;
lower mandible with the dorsal line nearly straight, the edge line
slightly arched and inflected. Nostrils rounded, half covered by a
vaulted membrane. The form is rather robust. Legs of moderate length,
slender; tarsus compressed, anteriorly scutellate, sharp behind; two
lateral toes nearly equal, the hind one not much stouter; claws small,
compressed, acute.

Plumage blended. Wings of moderate length, rounded; third and fourth
primaries longest, second almost equal, first a little shorter. Tail
longish, rounded. Feathers of the throat and breast with a silky gloss.

Bill black, the base of lower mandible blue. Iris hazel. Feet
greyish-blue. The general colour of the upper parts is deep olive-green;
the inner webs of the tail-feathers and quills, and the ends of the
latter, dusky-brown. A line over the eye, a small streak under it, and
a spot at the base of the lower mandible, white. Lore black. Throat and
breast bright yellow, abdomen and under tail-coverts white.

Length 7 inches, extent of wings 9; bill along the ridge 6/12, along
the edge 9/12; tarsus 10/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXXXVII. Fig. 2, 2.

The Female scarcely differs from the male in any perceptible degree,
and is of the same size.


THE SWEET BRIAR.

     ROSA RUBIGINOSA?—ICOSANDRIA POLYGYNIA, _Linn._ ROSACEÆ, _Juss._

The Sweet Briar is very generally distributed in the United States. I
have found it from Louisiana to the extremities of Nova Scotia along
the Atlantic coast, and as far in the interior as I have travelled.
The delicious odour of its leaves never fails to gratify the person who
brushes through patches of it, while the delicate tints of its flowers
reminds one of the loveliness of female beauty in its purest and most
blooming state. Truly a "sweet home" must be the nest that is placed
in an eglantine bower, and happy must be the bird that in the midst of
fragrance is cheered by the warble of her ever loving mate.



THE CONNECTICUT WARBLER.

_SYLVIA AGILIS_, WILS.

PLATE CXXXVIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


I procured the pair represented in the Plate, on a fine evening, nearly
at sun-set, at the end of August, on the banks of the Delaware River, in
New Jersey, a few miles below Camden. When I first observed them, they
were hopping and skipping from one low bush to another, and among the
tall reeds of the marsh, emitting an often-repeated _tweet_ at every
move. They were chasing a species of spider which runs nimbly over the
water, and which they caught by gliding over it, as a Swallow does when
drinking. I followed them for about a hundred yards, when, watching a fair
opportunity, I shot both at once. The weather was exceedingly sultry;
and although I outlined both by candle-light that evening, and finished
the drawing of them next morning by breakfast time, they had at that
early hour become putrid, so that their skins could not be preserved. On
opening them I counted upwards of fifty of the spiders mentioned above,
but found no appearance of any other food. The sexual distinction was
very apparent, and the brace proved a pair. They were not in the least
shy, and in fact seemed to take very little notice of me, although at
times I was quite close to them. These being the only individuals I ever
met with, I am of course unable to say where the species breeds, or what
are its migrations.

The plant on which they are placed grew abundantly on the spot where I
procured them; and as they had just alighted on it when I shot them, it
being moreover a handsome species, I thought it best to attach it to them.


     SYLVIA AGILIS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United
     States, p. 84.

     CONNECTICUT WARBLER, SYLVIA AGILIS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. v.
     p. 64. pl. 39. fig. 4.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 399.


Adult Male, Plate CXXXVIII, Fig. 1.

Bill short, straight, conico-subulate, acute; nostrils basal, lateral,
oval, exposed; head of moderate size; neck short, body rather slender;
feet of moderate length; tarsus slender, compressed, scutellate before,
sharp behind; toes free, the lateral equal, the hind one not much
stronger; claws arched, slender, much compressed, acute.

Plumage soft and blended, with little gloss; wings rather short, the
first and second quills longest; tail of moderate length, rounded, and
emarginate.

Bill light-brown on the ridge and tips, flesh-coloured beneath. Iris
hazel. Legs pale flesh-coloured. The general colour above is rich
olive-green, the concealed parts of the quills and tail dusky-brown;
eye margined with a ring of yellowish-white; throat ash-grey, the rest
of the under parts dull greenish-yellow, excepting the sides, under the
wings, which are olive-green.

Length 5¾ inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the ridge 4/12, along
the edge 6½/12; tarsus 10/12.


Adult Female, Plate CXXXVIII, Fig. 2.

The Female resembles the male in the upper parts, but the throat is
greenish-yellow, and the rest of the under parts somewhat less richly
coloured than those of the male.


     GENTIANA SAPONARIA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 1388. _Pursh_,
     Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 185.—PENTANDRIA DIGYNIA, _Linn._
     GENTIANEÆ, _Juss._

Stem round, smooth; leaves oblongo-lanceolate, three nerved; flowers
sessile, tufted, terminal and axillar; corolla quinquefid, campanulate,
ventricose, with the divisions obtuse, the internal plaits with toothed
segments. It grows in meadows and woods, from Canada to Carolina,
flowering in August and September.



THE FIELD SPARROW.

_FRINGILLA PUSILLA_, WILS.

PLATE CXXXIX. ADULT.


This diminutive and elegant species of Finch may certainly be ranked
among our constant residents, numerous individuals remaining during the
winter within the limits of the Union. In Louisiana and the countries
along the Mississippi, as far as Kentucky, and in all the Southern
States, as far as Maryland, they are to be found in the coldest weather.
In South Carolina they are met with along every hedge-row and in every
briar-patch, as well as in the old fields slightly covered with tall
slender grasses, on the seeds of which they chiefly subsist during the
inclement season. Loose flocks, sometimes of forty or fifty, are seen
hopping along the sandy roads, picking up particles of gravel. On the
least alarm, they all take to wing, and alight on the nearest bushes, but
the next moment return to the ground. They leave the south as early as
March, move northwards as the season advances, and appear in the States
of New York and Pennsylvania, about the middle of April.

The song of the Field Sparrow is remarkable, although not fine. It trills
its notes like a young Canary Bird, and now and then emits emphatical,
though not very distinct sounds of some length. One accustomed to
distinguish the notes of different birds can easily recognise the song
of this species; but the description of it, I confess, I am unable to
accomplish, so at least as to afford you any tolerable idea of it.

It is a social and peaceable bird. When the breeding season is at hand
they disperse, move off in pairs, and throw themselves into old pasture
grounds, overgrown with low bushes, on the tops of which the males may be
heard practising their vocal powers. They usually breed on the ground,
at the foot of a small bush or rank-weed; but I have also found several
of their nests on the lower branches of trees, a foot or two from the
ground. The nest is simple, formed chiefly of fine dry grasses, in some
instances scantily lined with horse-hair or delicate fibrous roots, much
resembling hair. The eggs are from four to six, of a light ferruginous
tint, produced by the blending of small dots of that colour. So prolific
is this species, that I have observed a pair raise three broods in one
summer, the amount of individuals produced being fifteen. The young
run after their parents, leaving the nest before they can fly, and are
left to shift for themselves ere they are fully fledged; but as they
find every where abundance of insects, berries, and small seeds, they
contrive to get on without help.

These birds are fond of orchards, enter our country towns in autumn,
alight on the tallest trees in open woods, and migrate solely by day.
Their flight is rapid, even, and occasionally sustained; for, when fairly
alarmed, they move at once over fields of considerable extent.

I saw few in Maine, and none in the British provinces, in Labrador or
in Newfoundland.

The colour of the bill varies with the seasons, being in winter of a
dingy reddish-brown, and in summer assuming a tint approaching to orange.
There is no perceptible difference in the size or colour of the sexes.
The young acquire their full plumage the first autumn.

Travelling from Great Egg Harbour towards Philadelphia, I found a nest
of this species placed at the foot of a bush growing in almost pure
sand. Near it were the plants which you see accompanying the figure.


     FRINGILLA PUSILLA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 110.

     FIELD SPARROW, FRINGILLA PUSILLA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. ii.
     p. 121. pl. 16. fig. 2.

     FIELD OR RUSH SPARROW, FRINGILLA JUNCORUM, _Nuttall_, Manual,
     part i. p. 499.


Adult Male, Plate CXXXIX.

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

Plumage soft, blended, rather compact on the back; wings shortish,
curved, rounded, the third quill longest, the second and fourth scarcely
shorter; tail long, emarginate.

This species, in size and general appearance, is very closely allied to
the Chipping Sparrow (see p. 21. of the present volume.)

Bill reddish-brown or cinnamon-colour. Iris chestnut. Feet pale
yellowish-brown. Upper part of the head chestnut; anterior portion of
the back and scapulars of the same tint, but marked with blackish-brown
spots, the middle part of each feather being of that colour; sides of
the neck pale bluish-grey, and a line of the same over the eye; rump and
tail yellowish-grey, the inner webs of the latter light-brown; quills and
coverts blackish-brown, margined with whitish, the two rows of coverts
slightly tipped with brownish-white; the under parts are greyish-white;
the sides of the neck and fore part of the breast tinged with chestnut.

Length 6 inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the back ¼, along the
edge 5/12.


The Female is rather less, and somewhat duller beneath, but in other
respects is precisely similar.


     CALOPOGON PULCHELLUS, _Brown_—CYMBIDIUM PULCHELLUM, _Willd._
     Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 105. _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 592.
     —GYNANDRIA MONANDRIA, _Linn._ ORCHIDEÆ, _Juss._

Root tuberous, of an oblong form; radical leaves linear-lanceolate,
nerved; scape few-flowered; lip at the back clawed, the inside bearded;
five distinct petals of a light purplish-red. It grows in sandy soils
from Maine to the Floridas; I have not observed it in the more Southern
or Western States.


THE DWARF HUCKLE-BERRY.

     VACCINIUM TENELLUM, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 353. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 289.—DECANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._
     ERICÆ, _Juss._

The branches angular, green; leaves sessile, ovato-lanceolate, mucronate,
serrulate, glossy on both sides; flowers in sessile clusters; corolla
ovate. This plant grows in most of the lands of the Middle and Eastern
Districts, both in woods and in open places. Its berries are eaten by
various birds, as well as by children.



THE PINE CREEPING WARBLER.

_SYLVIA PINUS_, LATH.

PLATE CXL. MALE AND FEMALE.


The Pine Creeping Warbler, the most abundant of its tribe, is met with
from Louisiana to Maine, more profusely in the warmer, and more sparingly
in the colder regions, breeding wherever fir or pine trees are to be
found. Although it may occasionally be seen on other trees, yet it
always prefers those of that remarkable and interesting tribe. I found
it on the sandy barrens bordering St John's River, in East Florida, in
full song, early in February. I am pretty certain that they had already
formed nests at that early period, and it seems to me not unlikely that
this species, as well as some others that breed in that country at the
same time, may afterwards travel far to the eastward, and there rear
another brood the same year.

In some degree allied to the Certhiæ in its habits, it is often seen
ascending the trunks and larger branches of trees, hopping against the
bark, in search of the larvæ that lurk there. At times it moves sidewise
along a branch three or four steps, and turning about, goes on in the same
manner, until it has reached a twig, which it immediately examines. Its
restless activity is quite surprising: now it gives chase to an insect
on wing; now, it is observed spying out those more diminutive species
concealed among the blossoms and leaves of the pines; again, it leaves
the topmost branches of a tree, flies downwards, and alights sidewise
on the trunk of another, which it ascends, changing its position, from
right to left, at every remove. It also visits the ground in quest of
food, and occasionally betakes itself to the water, to drink or bathe.

It is seldom that an individual is seen by itself going through its
course of action, for a kind of sympathy seems to exist in a flock, and
in autumn and winter especially, thirty or more may be observed, if not
on the same tree, at least not far from each other. Although it feeds
on insects, larvæ, and occasionally small crickets, it seems to give a
decided preference to a little red insect of the coleopterous order, which
is found inclosed in the leaves or stipules of the pine. Low lands seem
to suit it best, for it is much less numerous in mountainous countries
than in those bordering the sea.

Like many other birds, the Pine Creeping Warbler constructs its nest
of different materials, nay even makes it of a different form, in the
Southern and Eastern States. In the Carolinas, for instance, it is
usually placed among the dangling fibres of the Spanish moss, with less
workmanship and less care, than in the Jerseys, the State of New York,
or that of Maine. In the latter, as well as in Massachusetts, where it
breeds about the middle of June, it places its nest at a great height,
sometimes fifty feet, attaching it to the twigs of a forked branch.
Here the nest is small, thin but compact, composed of the slender stems
of dried grasses mixed with coarse fibrous roots and the exuviæ of
caterpillars or other insects, and lined with the hair of the deer, moose,
racoon, or other animals, delicate fibrous roots, wool, and feathers.
The eggs, which are from four to six, have a very light sea-green tint,
all over sprinkled with small pale reddish-brown dots, of which there
is a thicker circle near the larger end. In these districts, it seldom
breeds more than once in the season, whereas in the Carolinas, Georgia,
and the Floridas, where it is a constant resident, it usually has two,
sometimes three, broods in the year, and its eggs are deposited on
the first days of April, fully a month earlier than in the State above
mentioned.

Its flight is short, and exhibits undulating curves of considerable
elegance. It migrates entirely by day, flying from tree to tree, and
seldom making a longer flight than is necessary for crossing a river. The
song is monotonous, consisting at times merely of a continued tremulous
sound, which may be represented by the letters _Trr-rr-rr-rr_. During
the love season, this is changed into a more distinct sound, resembling
_twĕ, twĕ, tĕ, tĕ, tē, tēē_. It sings at all hours of the day, even in
the heat of summer noon, when the woodland songsters are usually silent.

It is a hardy bird, seldom abandoning the most northern of the Eastern
States until the middle of October. I saw none beyond the Province of
New Brunswick, and Professor MACCULLOCH of Pictou had not observed it
in Nova Scotia. In Newfoundland and Labrador I did not see a single
individual.

I have placed a pair of these birds on a branch of their favourite pine;
but the colouring of the male is not so brilliant as it is in spring
and summer, the individual represented having been drawn in Louisiana
in the winter, where, as well as in the Carolinas, the Floridas, and
all the Southern Districts, it is a constant resident.


     SYLVIA PINUS, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 537.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 81.

     PINE CREEPING WARBLER, SYLVIA PINUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. iii. p. 25. pl. 19. fig. 4.

     PINE WARBLER, SYLVIA PINUS, _Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 387.

Adult Male. Plate CXL. Fig. 1.

Bill shortish, nearly straight, subulato-conical, rather depressed at
the base, compressed towards the end, acute, the edges sharp, with a
very slight notch close to the tip. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical,
half-closed by a membrane. Head of ordinary size, neck short, body rather
slender. Feet of ordinary length, slender; tarsus compressed, anteriorly
scutellate, sharp behind; toes free, the hind toe of moderate size, the
lateral toes nearly equal; claws slender, compressed, arched acute.

Plumage soft blended. Wings rather long, second quill longest, first and
third scarcely shorter. Tail rather long, emarginate. Distinct bristles
at the base of the bill.

Bill brownish-black. Iris hazel. Feet dusky. The general colour of the
upper parts is yellowish-green inclining to olive, the rump lighter;
throat, sides and breast, greenish-yellow, the sides of the latter
spotted with greenish-brown, belly white. Wings and tail blackish-brown,
with greyish-white margins; the secondary coverts and first row of small
coverts tipped with white, forming two bars across the wing.

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 8½; bill along the back 5½/12, along
the sides ¾; tarsus ¾.


Adult Female. Plate CXL. Fig. 2.

On the upper parts the female is greyish-brown, tinged with olive, the
lower parts paler than in the male. In other respects, the differences
are not remarkable.

Length 5, extent of wings 8.


THE YELLOW PINE.

     PINUS VARIABILIS, _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 643.
     —P. MITIS, _Michaux_, Arbr. Forest. vol. i. p. 52. pl. 3.—MONŒCIA
     MONADELPHIA, _Linn._ CONIFERÆ, _Juss._

This species is known by various names:—Long-leaved Pine, Yellow Pine,
Red Pine, and Pitch Pine. It attains a height of a hundred feet, and
has a diameter of four. The leaves are very long, three in a sheath,
and fasciculate at the ends of the branches. It is very abundant in
the Southern States, where it is employed for various purposes, more
especially for the inclosure of cultivated fields, and for ship-building
and domestic architecture. Most of the tar of the Southern States is
obtained from this tree.



THE LIVE-OAKERS.


The greater part of the forests of East Florida principally consists
of what in that country are called "Pine Barrens." In these districts,
the woods are rather thin, and the only trees that are seen in them are
tall pines of rather indifferent quality, beneath which is a growth of
rank grass, here and there mixed with low bushes and sword palmettoes.
The soil is of a sandy nature, mostly flat, and consequently either
covered with water during the rainy season, or parched in the summer and
autumn, although you meet at times with ponds of stagnant water, where
the cattle, which are abundant, allay their thirst, and around which
resort the various kinds of game found in these wilds.

The traveller, who has pursued his course for many miles over the
barrens, is suddenly delighted to see in the distance the appearance of
a dark "hummock" of live oaks and other trees, seeming as if they had
been planted in the wilderness. As he approaches, the air feels cooler
and more salubrious, the song of numerous birds delights his ear, the
herbage assumes a more luxuriant appearance, the flowers become larger
and brighter, and a grateful fragrance is diffused around. These objects
contribute to refresh his mind, as much as the sight of the waters of
some clear spring, gliding among the undergrowth, seems already to allay
his thirst. Over head festoons of innumerable vines, jessamines, and
bignonias, link each tree with those around it, their slender stems being
interlaced as if in mutual affection. No sooner, in the shade of these
beautiful woods, has the traveller finished his mid-day repast, than
he perceives small parties of men lightly accoutred, and each bearing
an axe, approaching towards his resting place. They exchange the usual
civilities, and immediately commence their labours, for they too have
just finished their meal.

I think I see them proceeding to their work. Here two have stationed
themselves on the opposite sides of the trunk of a noble and venerable
live-oak. Their keen-edged and well-tempered axes seem to make no
impression on it, so small are the chips that drop at each blow around
the mossy and wide-spreading roots. There, one is ascending the stem of
another, of which, in its fall, the arms have stuck among the tangled tops
of the neighbouring trees. See how cautiously he proceeds, barefooted,
and with a handkerchief round his head. Now he has climbed to the height
of about forty feet from the ground; he stops, and squaring himself
with the trunk on which he so boldly stands, he wields with sinewy arms
his trusty blade, the repeated blows of which, although the tree be as
tough as it is large, will soon sever it in two. He has changed sides,
and his back is turned to you. The trunk now remains connected by only
a thin stripe of wood. He places his feet on the part which is lodged,
and shakes it with all his might. Now swings the huge log under his
leaps, now it suddenly gives way, and as it strikes upon the ground its
echoes are repeated through the hummock, and every wild turkey within
hearing utters his gobble of recognition. The wood-cutter, however,
remains collected and composed; but the next moment, he throws his axe
to the ground, and, assisted by the nearest grape-vine, slides down and
reaches the earth in an instant.

Several men approach and examine the prostrate trunk. They cut at both
its extremities, and sound the whole of its bark, to enable them to judge
if the tree has been attacked by the white rot. If such has unfortunately
been the case, there, for a century or more, this huge log will remain
until it gradually crumbles; but if not, and if it is free of injury or
"wind-shakes," while there is no appearance of the sap having already
ascended, and its pores are altogether sound, they proceed to take its
measurement. Its shape ascertained, and the timber that is fit for use
laid out by the aid of models, which, like fragments of the skeleton of
a ship, shew the forms and sizes required, the "hewers" commence their
labours. Thus, reader, perhaps every known hummock in the Floridas is
annually attacked, and so often does it happen that the white-rot or some
other disease has deteriorated the quality of the timber, that the woods
may be seen strewn with trunks that have been found worthless, so that
every year these valuable oaks are becoming scarcer. The destruction of
the young trees of this species caused by the fall of the great trunks
is of course immense, and as there are no artificial plantations of
these trees in our country, before long a good sized live-oak will be so
valuable that its owner will exact an enormous price for it, even while
it yet stands in the wood. In my opinion, formed on personal observation,
Live-oak Hummocks are _not quite_ so plentiful as they are represented
to be, and of this I will give you _one_ illustration.

On the 25th of February 1832, I happened to be far up the St John's River
in East Florida, in the company of a person employed by our government
in protecting the live-oaks of that section of the country, and who
received a good salary for his trouble. While we were proceeding along
one of the banks of that most singular stream, my companion pointed out
some large hummocks of dark-leaved trees on the opposite side, which he
said were entirely formed of live-oaks. I thought differently, and as
our controversy on the subject became a little warm, I proposed that our
men should row us to the place, where we might examine the leaves and
timber, and so decide the point. We soon landed, but after inspecting
the woods, not a single tree of the species did we find, although there
were thousands of large "swamp-oaks." My companion acknowledged his
mistake, and I continued to search for birds.

One dark evening as I was seated on the banks of the same river,
considering what arrangements I should make for the night, as it began
to rain in torrents, a man who happened to see me, came up and invited
me to go to his cabin, which he said was not far off. I accepted his
kind offer, and followed him to his humble dwelling. There I found his
wife, several children, and a number of men, who, as my host told me,
were, like himself, Live-Oakers. Supper was placed on a large table,
and on being desired to join the party, I willingly assented, doing my
best to diminish the contents of the tin pans and dishes set before the
company by the active and agreeable housewife. We then talked of the
country, its climate and productions, until a late hour, when we laid
ourselves down on bears' skins, and reposed till day-break.

I longed to accompany these hardy wood-cutters to the hummock where they
were engaged in preparing live-oak timber for a man of war. Provided with
axes and guns, we left the house to the care of the wife and children,
and proceeded for several miles through a pine-barren, such as I have
attempted to describe. One fine wild Turkey was shot, and when we arrived
at the _Shantee_ put up near the hummock, we found another party of
wood-cutters waiting our arrival, before eating their breakfast, already
prepared by a Negro man, to whom the turkey was consigned to be roasted
for part of that day's dinner.

Our repast was an excellent one, and vied with a Kentucky breakfast:
beef, fish, potatoes, and other vegetables, were served up, with coffee
in tin cups, and plenty of biscuit. Every man seemed hungry and happy,
and the conversation assumed the most humorous character. The sun now
rose above the trees, and all, excepting the cook, proceeded to the
hummock, on which I had been gazing with great delight, as it promised
rare sport. My host, I found, was the chief of the party; and although
he also had an axe, he made no other use of it than for stripping here
and there pieces of bark from certain trees which he considered of
doubtful soundness. He was not only well versed in his profession, but
generally intelligent, and from him I received the following account,
which I noted at the time.

The men who are employed in cutting the live oak, after having discovered
a good hummock, build shantees of small logs, to retire to at night,
and feed in by day. Their provisions consist of beef, pork, potatoes,
biscuit, flour, rice, and fish, together with excellent whisky. They are
mostly hale, strong, and active men, from the eastern parts of the Union,
and receive excellent wages, according to their different abilities.
Their labours are only of a few months' duration. Such hummocks as are
found near navigable streams are first chosen, and when it is absolutely
necessary, the timber is sometimes hauled five or six miles to the nearest
water-course, where, although it sinks, it can, with comparative ease,
be shipped to its destination. The best time for cutting the live oak is
considered to be from the first of December to the beginning of March,
or while the sap is completely down. When the sap is flowing, the tree
is "bloom," and more apt to be "shaken." The white-rot, which occurs so
frequently in the live-oak, and is perceptible only by the best judges,
consists of round spots, about an inch and a half in diameter, on the
outside of the bark, through which, at that spot, a hard stick may be
driven several inches, and generally follows the heart up or down the
trunk of the tree. So deceiving are these spots and trees to persons
unacquainted with this defect, that thousands of trees are cut and
afterwards abandoned. The great number of trees of this sort strewn in
the woods would tend to make a stranger believe that there is much more
good oak in the country than there really is; and perhaps, in reality,
not more than one-fourth of the quantity usually reported, is to be
procured.

The Live-oakers generally revisit their distant homes in the Middle and
Eastern Districts, where they spend the summer, returning to the Floridas
at the approach of winter. Some, however, who have gone there with their
families, remain for years in succession; although they suffer much from
the climate, by which their once good constitutions are often greatly
impaired. This was the case with the individual above mentioned, from
whom I subsequently received much friendly assistance in my pursuits.



THE GOSHAWK.

_FALCO PALUMBARIUS_, LINN.

PLATE CXLI. ADULT MALE AND YOUNG MALE (WITH ADULT STANLEY HAWK).


The Goshawk is of rare occurrence in most parts of the United States, and
the districts of North America to which it usually retires to breed are
as yet unknown. Some individuals nestle within the Union, others in the
British provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, but the greater part
seem to proceed farther north. I saw none, however, in Labrador, but was
informed that they are plentiful in the wooded parts of Newfoundland. On
returning from the north, they make their appearance in the Middle States
about the beginning of September, and after that season range to very
great distances. I have found them rather abundant in the lower parts
of Kentucky and Indiana, and in severe winters I have seen a few even in
Louisiana. In the Great Pine Forest of Pennsylvania, and at the Falls of
Niagara, I have observed them breeding. During autumn and winter, they
are common in Maine, as well as in Nova Scotia, where I have seen six or
seven specimens that were procured by a single person in the course of
a season. At Pictou, Professor MACCULLOCH shewed me about a dozen well
mounted specimens of both sexes, and of different ages, which he had
procured in the neighbourhood. In that country, they prey on hares, the
Canada Grous, the Ruffed Grous, and Wild Ducks. In Maine, they are so
daring as to come to the very door of the farmer's house, and carry off
chickens and ducks with such rapidity as generally to elude all attempts
to shoot them. When residing in Kentucky I shot a great number of these
birds, particularly, one cold winter, near Henderson, when I killed a
dozen or more on the ice in Canoe Creek, where I generally surprised
them by approaching the deep banks of that stream with caution, and not
unfrequently almost above them, when their escape was rendered rather
difficult. They there caught mallards with ease, and after killing them
turned them belly upwards, and ate only the flesh of the breast, pulling
the feathers with great neatness, and throwing them round the bird, as
if it had been plucked by the hand of man.

The flight of the Goshawk is extremely rapid and protracted. He sweeps
along the margins of the fields, through the woods, and by the edges of
ponds and rivers, with such speed as to enable him to seize his prey
by merely deviating a few yards from his course, assisting himself on
such occasions by his long tail, which, like a rudder, he throws to the
right or left, upwards or downwards, to check his progress, or enable him
suddenly to alter his course. At times he passes like a meteor through
the underwood, where he secures squirrels and hares with ease. Should
a flock of Wild Pigeons pass him when on these predatory excursions, he
immediately gives chase, soon overtakes them, and forcing his way into
the very centre of the flock, scatters them in confusion, when you may
see him emerging with a bird in his talons, and diving towards the depth
of the forest to feed upon his victim. When travelling, he flies high,
with a constant beat of the wings, seldom moving in large circles like
other hawks, and when he does this, it is only a few times in a hurried
manner, after which he continues his journey.

Along the Atlantic coast, this species follows the numerous flocks of
ducks that are found there during autumn and winter, and greatly aids in
the destruction of Mallards, Teals, Black Ducks, and other species, in
company with the Peregrine Falcon. It is a restless bird, apparently more
vigilant and industrious than many other Hawks, and seldom alights unless
to devour its prey; nor can I recollect ever having seen one alighted
for many minutes at a time, without having a bird in its talons. When
thus engaged with its prey, it stands nearly upright, and in general,
when perched, it keeps itself more erect than most species of Hawk. It
is extremely expert at catching Snipes on the wing, and so well do these
birds know their insecurity, that, on his approach, they prefer squatting.

When the Passenger Pigeons are abundant in the western country, the
Goshawk follows their close masses, and subsists upon them. A single
hawk suffices to spread the greatest terror among their ranks, and the
moment he sweeps towards a flock, the whole immediately dive into the
deepest woods, where, notwithstanding their great speed, the marauder
succeeds in clutching the fattest. While travelling along the Ohio, I
observed several Hawks of this species in the train of millions of these
Pigeons. Towards the evening of the same day, I saw one abandoning its
course, to give chase to a large flock of Crow Blackbirds (_Quiscalus
versicolor_), then crossing the river. The Hawk approached them with the
swiftness of an arrow, when the Blackbirds rushed together so closely that
the flock looked like a dusky ball passing through the air. On reaching
the mass, he, with the greatest ease, seized first one, then another,
and another, giving each a squeeze with his talons, and suffering it to
drop upon the water. In this manner, he had procured four or five before
the poor birds reached the woods, into which they instantly plunged,
when he gave up the chase, swept over the water in graceful curves, and
picked up the fruits of his industry, carrying each bird singly to the
shore. Reader, is this instinct or reason?

The nest of the Goshawk is placed on the branches of a tree, near the
trunk or main stem. It is of great size, and resembles that of our Crow,
or some species of Owl, being constructed of withered twigs and coarse
grass, with a lining of fibrous stripes of plants resembling hemp. It
is, however, much flatter than that of the Crow. In one I found, in the
month of April, three eggs, ready to be hatched; they were of a dull
bluish-white, sparingly spotted with light reddish-brown. In another,
which I found placed on a pine-tree, growing on the eastern rocky bank
of the Niagara River, a few miles below the Great Cataract, the lining
was formed of withered herbaceous plants, with a few feathers, and the
eggs were four in number, of a white colour, tinged with greenish-blue,
large, much rounded, and somewhat granulated. In another nest were four
young birds, covered with buff-coloured down, their legs and feet of a
pale yellowish flesh-colour, the bill light-blue, and the eyes pale-grey.
They differed greatly in size, one being quite small compared with the
rest. I am of opinion that few breed to the south of the State of Maine.

The variations of plumage exhibited by the Goshawk are numerous. I
have seen some with horizontal bars, of a large size on the breast, and
blotches of white on the back and shoulders, while others had the first
of these parts covered with delicate transverse lines, the shaft of each
feather being deep brown or black, and were of a plain cinereous tint
above. The young, which at first have but few scattered dashes of brown
beneath, are at times thickly mottled with that, and each feather of
the back and wings is broadly edged with dull white.

My opinion respecting the identity of the American Goshawk and that of
Europe, is still precisely the same as it was four years ago, when I wrote
a paper on the subject, which was published in the Edinburgh Journal of
Natural and Geographical Science. I regret differing on this point from
such accomplished ornithologists as my excellent friend Prince CHARLES
BONAPARTE and M. TEMMINCK; but, after due consideration, I cannot help
thinking these birds the same.

The figure of the adult was drawn at Henderson, in Kentucky, many years
ago. That of the young bird was taken from a specimen shot in the Great
Pine Forest in Pennsylvania.


     FALCO PALUMBARIUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 130.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 29.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 28.

     ACCIPITER (ASTUR) PALUMBARIUS, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna
     Bor.-Americ. part ii. p. 39.

     ASH-COLOURED OR BLACK-CAPPED HAWK, FALCO ATRICAPILLUS, _Wils._
     Amer. Ornith. vol. vi. p. 80. pl. 5. Fig. 3.—AMERICAN GOSHAWK,
     _Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 85.


Adult Male. Plate CXLI. Fig. 1.

Bill short, nearly as deep as broad at the base, the tip trigonal, very
acute and decurved; upper mandible with the dorsal outline convex from the
base, the ridge rounded, the sides convex, the edges acute, overlapping,
and slightly festooned; lower mandible a little deflected towards the
tip, which is broadly rounded. Head large, neck short, body robust.
Legs longish, the tibia long, the tarsus rounded, anteriorly scutellate,
scaly on the sides, tubercular and scabrous beneath; the fore-toes with
a slight web at the base; claws roundish, curved, extremely acute, that
of the inner toe as large as the claw of the hind one.

Plumage compact. Wings reaching to the middle of the tail, the fourth
quill longest, the first and eighth equal. Tail long, nearly even, of
twelve broad feathers. Tarsus feathered more than one-third down.

Bill black, light blue at the base; cere greenish-yellow; eye-brow
greenish-blue. Iris reddish-orange. Feet yellow. The general colour of
the upper parts is dark ash-grey; the upper part of the head and the
ear-coverts are greyish-black; a broad line of white over each eye; a
central line on each feather black, as is the case with those of the
neck and back; under parts greyish-white; the sides and abdomen tinged
with brown; fore-neck longitudinally marked with blackish-brown streaks;
the breast, sides, and belly transversely barred with blackish-grey,
and longitudinally lined with black; tail with five broad bands of
brownish-black, the terminal band much broader; the extreme tips whitish.

Length 24 inches, extent of wings 47. Weight 2½ lb.


Young Male. Plate CXLI. Fig. 2.

Bill as in the adult. Iris light-yellow. Feet greenish-yellow. The
general colour of the upper parts is light reddish-brown, largely spotted
with brownish-black; on the upper part of the head, the margins of the
feathers are brownish-red, and the black predominates; a broad band
of white over each eye. Quills lightish-brown, barred with a darker
colour; tail brownish-grey, banded with brownish-black; ear-coverts
brownish, streaked with black, as is the throat; fore-neck and breast
pale reddish-brown, the former marked with small oblong spots of dark
brown, the latter with large ovate, acuminate spots of a deeper tint;
the shafts black; the short tarsal feathers similarly spotted.

Length 21½ inches; extent of wings 46.


The Female agrees with the Male in external appearance, but is
considerably larger.


STANLEY HAWK. FALCO STANLEII, _Audub._

An Adult Female and a Young Male of this species have been represented
in Plate XXXVI. of my American Birds, and the figure of an Adult Male is
here introduced, for the purpose of being compared with the Goshawk. The
form is the same in both, and in the colouring of the upper parts there
is little difference; but the size is much less, and the breast is marked
with light-brown arrow-shaped spots, and large irregular transverse bars,
differing greatly from the markings of the Goshawk. Other differences
are perceptible, especially in the colour of the ear-coverts; but as
this specimen has been described at page 189 of the first volume, and
as a glance at the figures in the plate will convey more intelligence
than words could do, it is quite unnecessary to say more here.



THE AMERICAN SPARROW-HAWK.

_FALCO SPARVERIUS_, LINN.

PLATE CXLII. MALE AND FEMALE.


We have few more beautiful hawks in the United States than this active
little species, and I am sure, none half so abundant. It is found in every
district from Louisiana to Maine, as well as from the Atlantic shores to
the western regions. Every one knows the Sparrow-Hawk, the very mention
of its name never fails to bring to mind some anecdote connected with
its habits, and, as it commits no depredations on poultry, few disturb
it, so that the natural increase of the species experiences no check from
man. During the winter months especially it may be seen in the Southern
States about every old field, orchard, barn-yard, or kitchen-garden,
but seldom indeed in the interior of the forest.

Beautifully erect, it stands on the highest fence-stake, the broken
top of a tree, the summit of a grain stack, or the corner of the barn,
patiently and silently waiting until it spy a mole, a field-mouse, a
cricket, or a grasshopper, on which to pounce. If disappointed in its
expectation, it leaves its stand and removes to another, flying low
and swiftly until within a few yards of the spot on which it wishes to
alight, when all of a sudden, and in the most graceful manner, it rises
towards it and settles with incomparable firmness of manner, merely
suffering its beautiful tail to vibrate gently for a while, its wings
being closed with the swiftness of thought. Its keen eye perceives
something beneath, when down it darts, secures the object in its talons,
returns to its stand, and devours its prey piece by piece. This done,
the little hunter rises in the air, describes a few circles, moves on
directly, balances itself steadily by a tremulous motion of its wings,
darts towards the earth, but, as if disappointed, checks its course,
reascends and proceeds. Some unlucky finch crosses the field beneath
it. The Hawk has marked it, and, anxious to secure its prize, sweeps
after it; the chase is soon ended, for the poor affrighted and panting
bird becomes the prey of the ruthless hunter, who, unconscious of wrong,
carries it off to some elevated branch of a tall tree, plucks it neatly,
tears the flesh asunder, and having eaten all that it can pick, allows
the skeleton and wings to fall to the ground, where they may apprise
the traveller that a murder has been committed.

Thus, reader, are the winter months spent by this little marauder. When
spring returns to enliven the earth, each male bird seeks for its mate,
whose coyness is not less innocent than that of the gentle dove. Pursued
from place to place, the female at length yields to the importunity of
her dear tormenter, when side by side they sail, screaming aloud their
love notes, which if not musical, are doubtless at least delightful to
the parties concerned. With tremulous wings they search for a place in
which to deposit their eggs secure from danger, and now they have found
it.

On that tall mouldering headless trunk, the hawks have alighted side by
side. See how they caress each other! Mark! The female enters the deserted
Woodpecker's hole, where she remains some time measuring its breadth and
depth. Now she appears, exultingly calls her mate, and tells him there
could not be a fitter place. Full of joy they gambol through the air,
chase all intruders away, watch the Grakles and other birds to which the
hole might be equally pleasing, and so pass the time, until the female
has deposited her eggs, six, perhaps even seven in number, round, and
beautifully spotted. The birds sit alternately, each feeding the other
and watching with silent care. After a while the young appear, covered
with white down. They grow apace, and now are ready to go abroad, when
their parents entice them forth. Some launch into the air at once, others,
not so strong, now and then fall to the ground; but all continue to be
well provided with food, until they are able to shift for themselves.
Together they search for grasshoppers, crickets, and such young birds
as, less experienced than themselves, fall an easy prey. The family
still resort to the same field, each bird making choice of a stand, the
top of a tree, or that of the Great Mullein. At times they remove to the
ground, then fly off in a body, separate, and again betake themselves to
their stands. Their strength increases, their flight improves, and the
field-mouse seldom gains her retreat before the little Falcon secures
it for a meal.

The trees, of late so richly green, now disclose the fading tints of
autumn; the cricket becomes mute, the grasshopper withers on the fences,
the mouse retreats to her winter quarters, dismal clouds obscure the
eastern horizon, the sun assumes a sickly dimness, hoarfrosts cover the
ground, and the long night encroaches on the domains of light. No longer
are heard the feathered choristers of the woods, who throng towards more
congenial climes, and in their rear rushes the Sparrow-Hawk.

Its flight is rather irregular, nor can it be called protracted. It flies
over a field, but seldom farther at a time; even in barren lands, a few
hundred yards are all the extent it chooses to go before it alights.
During the love season alone it may be seen sailing for half an hour,
which is, I believe, the longest time I ever saw one on the wing. When
chasing a bird, it passes along with considerable celerity, but never
attains the speed of the Sharp-shinned Hawk or of other species. When
teazing an Eagle or a Turkey Buzzard, its strength seems to fail in a
few minutes, and if itself chased by a stronger hawk, it soon retires
into some thicket for protection. Its migrations are pursued by day,
and with much apparent nonchalance.

The cry of this bird so much resembles that of the European Kestrel,
to which it seems allied, that, were it rather stronger in intonation,
it might be mistaken for it. At times it emits its notes while perched,
but principally when on the wing, and more continually before and after
the birth of its young, the weaker cries of which it imitates when they
have left the nest and follow their parents.

The Sparrow Hawk does not much regard the height of the place in which
it deposits its eggs, provided it be otherwise suitable, but I never saw
it construct a nest for itself. It prefers the hole of a Woodpecker, but
now and then is satisfied with an abandoned crow's nest. So prolific
is it, that I do not recollect having ever found fewer than five eggs
or young in the nest, and, as I have already said, the number sometimes
amounts to seven. The eggs are nearly globular, of a deep buff-colour,
blotched all over with dark brown and black. This Hawk sometimes raises
two broods in the season, in the Southern States, where in fact it may
be said to be a constant resident; but in the Middle and Eastern States,
seldom if ever more than one. Nay, I have thought that in the South the
eggs of a laying are more numerous than in the North, although of this
I am not quite certain.

So much attached are they to their stand, that they will return to it
and sit there by preference for months in succession. My friend BACHMAN
informed me that, through this circumstance, he has caught as many as
seven in the same field, each from its favourite stump.

Although the greater number of these Hawks remove southward at the
approach of winter, some remain even in the State of New York during the
severest weather of that season. These keep in the immediate neighbourhood
of barns, where now and then they secure a rat or a mouse for their
support. Sometimes this species is severely handled by the larger Hawks.
One of them who had caught a Sparrow, and was flying off with it, was
suddenly observed by a Red-tailed Hawk, which in a few minutes made it
drop its prey: this contented the pursuer and enabled the pursued to
escape.

THEODORE LINCOLN, Esq. of Dennisville, Maine, informed me that the
Sparrow-Hawk is in the habit of attacking the Republican Swallow, while
sitting on its eggs, deliberately tearing the bottle-neck-like entrance
of its curious nest, and seizing the occupant for its prey. This is as
fit a place as any to inform you, that the father of that gentleman,
who has resided at Dennisville upwards of forty years, found the swallow
just mentioned abundant there, on his arrival in that then wild portion
of the country.

In the Floridas the Sparrow-Hawk pairs as early as February, in the
Middle States about April, and in the northern parts of Maine seldom
before June. Few are seen in Nova Scotia, and none in Newfoundland, or
on the western coast of Labrador. Although abundant in the interior of
East Florida, I did not observe one on any of the keys which border the
coast of that singular peninsula. During one of my journeys down the
Mississippi, I frequently observed some of these birds standing on low
dead branches over the water, from which they would pick up the beetles
that had accidentally fallen into the stream.

No bird can be more easily raised and kept than this beautiful Hawk.
I once found a young male that had dropped from the nest before it was
able to fly. Its cries for food attracted my notice, and I discovered
it lying near a log. It was large, and covered with soft white down,
through which the young feathers protruded. Its little blue bill and yet
grey eyes made it look not unlike an owl. I took it home, named it Nero,
and provided it with small birds, at which it would scramble fiercely,
although yet unable to tear their flesh, in which I assisted it. In a
few weeks it grew very beautiful, and became so voracious, requiring a
great number of birds daily, that I turned it out, to see how it would
shift for itself. This proved a gratification to both of us: it soon
hunted for grasshoppers and other insects, and on returning from my
walks I now and then threw a dead bird high in the air, which it never
failed to perceive from its stand, and towards which it launched with
such quickness as sometimes to catch it before it fell to the ground. The
little fellow attracted the notice of his brothers, brought up hard by,
who, accompanied by their parents, at first gave it chase, and forced
it to take refuge behind one of the window-shutters, where it usually
passed the night, but soon became gentler towards it, as if forgiving
its desertion. My bird was fastidious in the choice of food, would not
touch a Woodpecker, however fresh, and as he grew older, refused to eat
birds that were in the least tainted. To the last he continued kind to
me, and never failed to return at night to his favourite roost behind
the window-shutter. His courageous disposition often amused the family,
as he would sail off from his stand, and fall on the back of a tame
duck, which, setting up a loud quack, would waddle off in great alarm
with the Hawk sticking to her. But, as has often happened to adventurers
of similar spirit, his audacity cost him his life. A hen and her brood
chanced to attract his notice, and he flew to secure one of the chickens,
but met one whose parental affection inspired her with a courage greater
than his own. The conflict, which was severe, ended the adventures of
poor Nero.

I have often observed birds of this species in the Southern States, and
more especially in the Floridas, which were so much smaller than those met
with in the Middle and Northern Districts, that I felt almost inclined
to consider them different; but after studying their habits and voice,
I became assured that they were the same. Another species allied to the
present, and alluded to by WILSON, has never made its appearance in our
Southern States.


     FALCO SPARVERIUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 128.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 42.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
     of the United States, p. 27.

     AMERICAN SPARROW-HAWK, FALCO SPARVERIUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. ii. p. 117. pl. 16. fig. 1, Female; and vol. iv. p. 57.
     pl. 32. fig. 2, Male.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 58.

     FALCO SPARVERIUS, LITTLE RUSTY-CROWNED FALCON, _Swains. and
     Richards._ Fauna Bor.-Amer. part ii. p. 31.


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

Bill short, cerate at the base, the dorsal line curved in its whole
length; upper mandible with the edges slightly inflected, and forming
a small projecting process, the tip trigonal, acute, descending; lower
mandible inflected at the edges, with a notch near the end, which is
abrupt. Nostrils roundish, with a central papilla, and placed close to
the edge of the cere. Head rather large, flattened, neck short, body of
moderate size. Legs of ordinary length; tarsi roundish with two rows
of large scales before, three only below being transverse, with small
scales on the sides; toes scutellate above, scabrous and tuberculate
beneath; middle toe much longer than the outer, which is connected with
it by a small web; claws longish, curved, rounded, very acute.

Plumage compact on the back, blended on the head and under parts. Feathers
of the head and neck narrow, of the breast oblong, of the back broad and
rounded. Space between the bill and eye covered with bristly feathers.
Wings long, much pointed, the primaries tapering, the second and third
with their outer webs, the first and second their inner ones sinuated;
second quill longest. Tail long, moderately rounded, of twelve rather
narrow, rounded feathers.

Bill light blue, the tip black, the cere yellow. Iris brown. Feet yellow;
claws black. A circular patch of deep orange-brown on the crown of the
head, which is surrounded by a band of dark greyish-blue, with which is
in contact a black spot on the nape; a patch of black descends from the
fore part of the eye, another immediately behind it, the cheek between
them being white, and there is a third farther back, and surrounded by
pale brown. A narrow line between the forehead and the bill, and another
over the eye, white. The back and scapulars are brownish-red, with a few
transverse black bars, the rump unspotted and deeper. Tail of the same
colour as the rump, with a broad sub-terminal band of black, the tips
white, as is the outer web of the lateral feather, which on its inner
web has five black bars (including the sub-terminal one), the spaces
between them white. The next feather has also frequently a few marks of
black and white. The wing-coverts are greyish-blue, spotted with black.
Quills brownish-black, their inner webs transversely spotted with white.
The throat, hind part of the belly, and under tail-coverts, white; the
breast brownish-white, its fore part and sides, with the lower part of
the neck, marked with guttiform black spots. Under wing-coverts white,
spotted with black.

Length 12 inches, extent of wings 22; bill along the back ¾; tarsus
1-5/12; middle toe and claw 1-3/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXLII. Fig. 3.

The female is similarly coloured, but the crown of the head is marked
with longitudinal black lines, and the back, which is of a duller tint,
with regular transverse bars of the same. The tail is barred with black,
the subterminal bar not nearly so broad as in the male, and the tips
brownish-white. The under surface is like that of the male, but the
breast and flanks are marked with oblong pale yellowish-brown streaks,
the spots on the inner webs of the quills are pale brown.

Length 12 inches.


THE BUTTER-NUT, OR WHITE WALNUT.

     JUGLANS CINEREA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 456. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 626.—J. CATHARTICA, _Mich._
     Arbr. Forest. vol. i. p. 165. pl. 2.

In this species the leaflets are numerous, serrated, rounded at the
base, downy beneath, their petiols villous; the fruit oblongo-ovate,
with a long nipple-like apex, which is grooved and rough. It is often a
graceful tree, growing to the height of fifty feet or more. The wood is
light coloured, but is not much used. The nuts, when young and tender,
make a pickle which is relished in many parts of the Union. It does not
occur in Maine, but farther south is abundant, as well as in the western
country.



THE GOLDEN-CROWNED THRUSH.

_TURDUS AUROCAPILLUS_, LATH.

PLATE CXLIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


It is difficult for me to conceive the reasons which have induced certain
naturalists to remove this bird from the Thrushes, and place it in the
genus Sylvia. The habits of a bird certainly are as sure indications of
its nature, as the form of its bill or feet can be; and while the latter
afford no good grounds for rejecting this species as a Thrush, the former
are decidedly favourable to its remaining where its discoverer placed it.

The Golden-crowned Thrush nestles on the ground, where, certes, the nest
of no true Sylvia has ever been found, at least in America; it searches
for food as much there as on the branches of trees; and its young follow
it for nearly a week before they resort to the latter, although quite
able to fly. But differences of opinion, such as that occurring in the
present case, are of little interest to me, and cannot influence Nature,
whom alone I follow, in her arrangements.

The notes of this bird are first heard in Louisiana, about the beginning
of March. Some individuals remain there all summer, but the greater
number proceed eastward, some going as far as Nova Scotia, while others
move towards the west. Over all this extent of country the species is
dispersed, and its breeding places are in the interior or along the
margins of shady woods watered by creeks and rivulets, and seldom visited
by man, it being of a shy and retiring disposition, so that its occurrence
in the open parts of the country is very rare. In places like these, it
settles for the season, attunes its pipe to its simple lay, forms its
nest, rears a brood or two, and at the approach of winter, spreads its
wings and returns to southern regions.

Perched erect on a low horizontal branch, or sometimes on a fallen tree,
it emits, at intervals of ten or fifteen minutes, a short succession
of simple notes, beginning with emphasis and gradually falling. This
suffices to inform the female that her lover is at hand, as watchful
as he is affectionate. The quieter the place of his abode, the more
the little minstrel exerts his powers; and in calm evenings, its music
immediately following the song of the Tawny Thrush, appears to form a
pleasant unison.

The nest is so like an oven, that the children in many places call
this species the "Oven Bird." I have found it always on the ground,
sometimes among the roots of a tall tree, sometimes by the side of a
fallen trunk, and again at the foot of some slender sapling. It is sunk
in the ground among dry leaves or decayed moss, and is neatly formed of
grasses, both inside and out, arched over with a thick mass of the same
material, covered by leaves, twigs, and such grasses as are found in the
neighbourhood. A small aperture is left on one side, just sufficient to
admit the owner. In this snug tenement the female deposits from four to
six eggs, which are white, irregularly spotted with reddish-brown near
the larger end.

When accidentally disturbed at the period of incubation, it glides over
the ground before you, and uses all sorts of artifices to decoy you
from its nest. Several species of snakes and small quadrupeds are its
principal enemies. From children it has little to dread, its gentleness
securing it a place in their affections, so that they seldom molest it.

While on wing it appears to glide through the woods with ease and
celerity, although it seldom extends its flight to more than a hundred
yards at a time. It migrates by day, resorting at night to the deepest
swamps. In these situations I have met it in company with the Cat Bird
and other Thrushes. When disturbed on such occasions, its simple _tweet_
was familiar to my ear. None remain in the United States during winter,
although some are found lingering in the lower parts of Louisiana as
late as the first of December.

The plant on which I have placed a pair of them, grew near the spot
where I obtained the birds, in a dark wood not far from Philadelphia.


     TURDUS AUROCAPILLUS, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 328.

     GOLDEN-CROWNED THRUSH, TURDUS AUROCAPILLUS, _Wils._ Amer.
     Ornith. vol. ii. p. 88. pl. 17. fig. 2.—_Nuttall_, Manual,
     part ii. p. 355.

     SYLVIA AUROCAPILLA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 77.

     SEIURUS AUROCAPILLUS, GOLDEN-CROWNED ACCENTOR, _Swains. and
     Richards._ Fauna Bor.-Amer. part ii. p. 227.


Adult Male. Plate CXLIII. Fig. 1.

Bill shortish, nearly straight, subulato-conical, rather broader than
deep at the base, compressed towards the end, the edges sharp and a little
inflected, the dorsal outlines of both mandibles slightly convex. Nostrils
basal, elliptical, lateral, half-closed by a membrane. The general form
is slender. Feet of ordinary length; tarsus compressed, slender, covered
anteriorly with a long undivided piece, and three inferior scutella,
sharp behind; toes scutellate above, free; claws slender, compressed,
acute, arched.

Plumage soft and blended. Wings of ordinary length, the second and third
quills almost equal, the third longest. Tail short, slightly emarginate,
of twelve pointed feathers.

Bill dusky above, flesh-coloured beneath. Iris brown. Feet very light
flesh-coloured and transparent. The general colour of the plumage above
is greenish-brown, the crown brownish-orange, with two lateral lines of
brownish-black spots. The lower parts are white, the throat with two
lateral lines of brownish-black, and the lower neck, fore part of the
breast, and the sides marked with triangular spots of the same.

Length 6 inches, extent of wings 9; bill along the ridge 5½/12, along
the edge 7½/12; tarsus 9½/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXLIII. Fig. 2.

The female resembles the male, but is somewhat lighter, with the crown
paler. The dimensions are nearly the same.


THE WOODY NIGHTSHADE.

     SOLANUM DULCAMARA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 1027. _Pursh_,
     Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 156.—PENTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._

This species is found in the woods, as well as along the margins of
cultivated land, and is one of those common to both continents.



THE SMALL GREEN CRESTED FLYCATCHER.

_MUSCICAPA ACADICA_, GMEL.

PLATE CXLIV. MALE AND FEMALE.


The Small Green Crested Flycatcher is not abundant, even in South
Carolina, in the maritime parts of which it occasionally breeds. It
merely passes through Louisiana, in early spring and in autumn; but it
is found distributed from Maryland to the eastern extremities of Nova
Scotia, proceeding perhaps still farther north, although neither I nor
any of my party observed a single individual in Newfoundland or Labrador.

It is a usual inhabitant of the most gloomy and secluded parts of our
deep woods, although now and then a pair may be found to have taken
possession of a large orchard near the house of the farmer. Almost as
pugnacious as the King Bird, it is seen giving chase to every intruder
upon its premises, not only during the season of its loves, but during
its whole stay with us. As soon as it has paired, it becomes so retired
that it seldom goes farther from its nest than is necessary for procuring
food.

Perched on some small spray or dry twig, it stands erect, patiently
eyeing the objects around. When it perceives an insect, it sweeps after
it with much elegance, snaps its bill audibly as it seizes the prey, and
on realighting, utters a disagreeable squeak. While perched it is heard
at intervals repeating its simple, guttural, gloomy notes, resembling
the syllables _queae, queae, tchooe, tchewee_. These notes are often
followed, as the bird passes from one tree to another, by a low murmuring
chirr or twitter, which it keeps up until it alights, when it instantly
quivers its wings, and jerks its tail a few times. At intervals it emits
a sweeter whistling note, sounding like _weet, weet, weet, will_; and
when angry it emits a loud _chirr_.

Early in May, in our Middle Districts, the Small Green Crested Flycatcher
constructs its nest, which varies considerably in different parts of the
country, being made warmer in the northern localities, where it breeds
almost a month later. It is generally placed in the darkest shade of
the woods, in the upright forks of some middle-sized tree, from eight
to twenty feet above the ground, sometimes so low as to allow a man to
look into it. In some instances I have found it on the large horizontal
branches of an oak, when it looked like a knot. It is always neat and
well-finished, the inside measuring about two inches in diameter, with a
depth of an inch and a half. The exterior is composed of stripes of the
inner bark of various trees, vine fibres and grasses, matted together
with the down of plants, wool, and soft moss. The lining consists of
fine grass, a few feathers, and horse hair. The whole is light, elastic,
and firmly coherent, and is glued to the twigs or saddled on the branch
with great care. The eggs are from four to six, small, and pure white.
While the female is sitting, the male often emits a scolding _chirr_
of defiance, and rarely wanders far from the nest, but relieves his
mate at intervals. In the Middle States they often have two broods in
the season, but in Maine or farther north only one. The young follow
their parents in the most social manner; but before these birds leave
us entirely, the old and the young form different parties, and travel
in small groups towards warmer regions.

I have thought that this species throws up pellets more frequently than
most others. Its food consists of insects during spring and summer, such
as moths, wild bees, butterflies, and a variety of smaller kinds; but
in autumn it greedily devours berries and small grapes. Although not shy
with respect to man, it takes particular notice of quadrupeds, following
a minx or polecat to a considerable distance, with every manifestation of
anger. The mutual affection of the male and female, and their solicitude
respecting their eggs or young, are quite admirable.

The flight of the Small Green Flycatcher is performed by short glidings,
supported by protracted flaps of the wings, not unlike those of the
Pewee Flycatcher; and it is often seen, while passing low through the
woods or following the margins of a creek, to drink in the manner of
swallows, or sweep after its prey, until it alights. Like the King Bird,
it always migrates by day.


     MUSCICAPA ACADICA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 68.

     SMALL GREEN CRESTED FLYCATCHER, MUSCICAPA QUERULA, _Wils._
     Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 77. pl. 13. fig. 3.

     SMALL PEWEE, _Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 288.

Adult Male. Plate CXLIV. Fig. 1.

Bill of ordinary length, depressed (much deeper than in _M. Traillii_),
tapering to a point, the lateral outlines a little convex; upper mandible
with the sides convex, the edges sharp, slightly notched close upon the
tip, which is deflected and acute; lower mandible convex below, acute,
short. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical. Head of moderate size, neck
short, general form slender. Feet of moderate length, slender; tarsus
compressed, covered anteriorly with short scutella, sharp behind; toes
free; claws compressed, arched, acute.

Plumage soft and tufty; feathers of the head narrow and erectile. Wings
of moderate length, third quill longest, first and fourth equal. Tail
rather long, slightly rounded.

Bill dark brown above, flesh-coloured beneath. Iris hazel. Feet
greyish-blue. The general colour of the plumage above is light
greenish-olive. Quills and tail wood-brown margined with pale
greenish-olive; secondary coverts, and first row of small coverts tipped
with yellowish-white, forming two bands across the wing, the secondary
quills broadly edged and tipped with the same. A very narrow ring of
greyish-white round the eye; throat of the same colour; sides of the
neck and fore part of the breast olivaceous, tinged with grey; the rest
of the under parts yellowish-white.

Length 5½ inches, extent of wings 8½; bill along the ridge 6/12, along
the edge ¾; tarsus 7/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXLIV. Fig. 2.

The female differs from the male only in having the tints somewhat
duller, and being rather less.


SASSAFRAS.

     LAURUS SASSAFRAS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 485. _Pursh_,
     Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. 277.—ENNEANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._
     LAURI, _Juss._

The Sassafras grows on almost every kind of soil in the Southern and
Western States, where it is of common occurrence. Along the Atlantic
States it extends as far as New Hampshire, and still farther north in the
western country. The beauty of its foliage and its medicinal properties
render it one of our most interesting trees. It attains a height of fifty
or sixty feet, with a proportionate diameter. The leaves are alternate,
petiolate, oval, and undivided, or three-lobed. The flowers, which appear
before the leaves, are of a greenish-yellow colour, and the berries are
of an oval form and bluish-black tint, supported on cups of a bright
red, having long filiform peduncles.



THE YELLOW RED-POLL WARBLER.

_SYLVIA PETECHIA_, LATH.

PLATE CXLV. MALE AND FEMALE.


I most willingly acknowledge the error under which I laboured many years,
in believing that this species and the _Sylvia palmarum_ of BONAPARTE,
are distinct from each other. To the sound judgment of my good friend
JOHN BACHMAN, I am indebted for convincing me that the figure given
by the Prince of Musignano is that of our present bird, at a different
period of life, and therefore with different plumage. I was not fully
aware of this, until the 63d plate of my second volume of Illustrations
had been delivered to the subscribers, bearing on it the name of _Sylvia
palmarum_. That plate, however, will prove useful, as it represents both
sexes of the _Sylvia petechia_ in full summer plumage, while the 45th
plate shews them in their first autumnal dress. While at Charleston, in
the winter and spring of 1833-4, I became convinced of my error, after
examining a great number of specimens, in different states of plumage,
corresponding to the figures in my two plates. All these individuals
had the same habits, and uttered the same notes. I may here remark, that
the true _Sylvia palmarum_ has not yet been met with in the United States.

The Yellow Red-poll Warbler is extremely abundant in the Southern States,
from the beginning of November to the first of April, when it migrates
northward. It is one of the most common birds in the Floridas during
winter, especially along the coasts, where they are fond of the orchards
and natural woods of orange trees. In Georgia and South Carolina, they
are also very abundant, and are to be seen gambolling, in company with
the Yellow-rumped Warbler, on the trees that ornament the streets of
the cities and villages, or those of the planter's yard. They approach
the piazzas and enter the gardens, in search of insects, on which they
feed principally on the wing, now and then securing some by moving
slowly along the branches. It never removes from one spot to another,
without uttering a sharp twit, and vibrating its tail in the manner of
the Wagtails of Europe, though less frequently. I never saw this species
in Pennsylvania in summer, although occasionally in the month of May
it is to be seen for a few days. It is very rare in Maine; but I found
it abundant in Newfoundland and Labrador, where I seldom passed a day
without searching for its nest, although I am sorry to say, in vain. In
the month of August the old birds were feeding their young all around
us, and preparing to return to milder winter quarters.

The pair represented in the plate were drawn on the banks of the
Mississippi, along with a plant which grew there, and was in flower at
the time. Those represented in the 63d plate, were drawn in the Floridas,
in full spring plumage, a few days previous to the departure of the
species from that country. These I placed on their favourite wild orange
tree, which was then in full bloom.

Nothing can be more gladdening to the traveller, when passing through
the uninhabited woods of East Florida, than the wild orange groves which
he sometimes meets with. As I approached them, the rich perfume of the
blossoms, the golden hue of the fruits, that hung on every twig, and
lay scattered on the ground, and the deep green of the glossy leaves,
never failed to produce the most pleasing effect on my mind. Not a branch
has suffered from the pruning knife, and the graceful form of the trees
retains the elegance it received from nature. Raising their tops into
the open air, they allow the uppermost blossoms and fruits to receive
the unbroken rays of the sun, which one might be tempted to think are
conveyed from flower to flower, and from fruit to fruit, so rich and
balmy are all. The pulp of these fruits quenches your thirst at once,
and the very air you breathe in such a place refreshes and reinvigorates
you. I have passed through groves of these orange trees fully a mile
in extent. Their occurrence is a sure indication of good land, which in
the south-eastern portion of that country is rather scarce. The Seminole
Indians and poorer Squatters feed their horses on oranges, which these
animals seem to eat with much relish. The immediate vicinity of a wild
orange grove is of some importance to the planters, who have the fruits
collected and squeezed in a horse mill. The juice is barrelled and sent to
different markets, being in request as an ingredient in cooling drinks.
The straight young shoots are cut and shipped in bundles, to be used as
walking sticks.


     SYLVIA PETECHIA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 535.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 83.

     YELLOW RED-POLL WARBLER, SYLVIA PETECHIA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. vi. p. 19. pl. 28. fig. 4. Male.—_Nuttall_, Manual, p. 364.

     SYLVICOLA PETECHIA, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna Bor.-Amer.
     part i. p. 215.


Adult Male in Winter. Plate CXLV. Fig. 1.

Bill short, straight, conico-subulate, very slender, acute. Nostrils
basal, lateral, oval, half closed by a membrane. Head rather small; neck
short, body slender. Feet of ordinary length, slender; tarsus longer than
the middle toe, covered anteriorly by a few scutella, the upper ones
long; toes scutellate above, the inner free, the hind toe of moderate
size; claws slender, compressed, acute, arched.

Plumage soft and blended, with little gloss. Wings of ordinary length,
acute, the second quill longest, the secondaries rather long and rounded.
Tail of moderate length, emarginate. Bristles at the base of the bill.

Bill dusky-brown above, yellowish beneath. Iris deep brown. Feet
umber-brown. The general colour of the plumage above is yellow-olive,
streaked with dark brown; crown of the head brownish-red, margined on
each side with a line of pale-yellow over the eye; rump and tail-coverts
greenish-yellow; quills blackish-brown, edged with yellow-olive; tail of
the colour of the wings, the two lateral feathers white in their whole
breadth towards the end, forming a white band across the tail beneath
when it is closed. The sides of the head are yellow, with two dusky
bands, and the lower parts generally are bright yellow, the fore-neck,
breast and sides streaked with brownish-red.

Length 4½ inches, extent of wings 8½; bill along the back 4½/12, along
the edge ½; tarsus ¾.


Adult Female. Plate CXLV. Fig. 2.

The Female is coloured in the same manner as the Male, but the tints
are much paler, the red of the head scarcely apparent, and the fore-neck
very faintly marked.

Individuals of both sexes exhibit considerable difference in the tints
of the plumage, at different ages and in different seasons.


     HELENIUM QUADRIDENTATUM, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iii. p. 2121.
     _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 560.—SYNGENESIA POLYGAMIA
     SUPERFLUA. COMPOSITÆ, _Juss._

From three to four feet high, with the stem branched, the leaves
decurrent, the lower subpinnatifid, the upper lanceolate, undivided,
smooth; the corollas of the disk four-toothed. This plant springs up
spontaneously over all the abandoned lands of Louisiana, and is very
difficult to be extirpated. It is often gathered and burnt, to prevent
the musquitoes from entering houses.



SPRING GARDEN.


Having heard many wonderful accounts of a certain spring near the sources
of the St John's River in East Florida, I resolved to visit it, in order
to judge for myself. On the 6th of January 1832, I left the plantation of
my friend JOHN BULOW, accompanied by an amiable and accomplished Scotch
gentleman, an engineer employed by the planters of those districts in
erecting their sugar-house establishments. We were mounted on horses
of the Indian breed, remarkable for their activity and strength, and
were provided with guns and some provisions. The weather was pleasant,
but not so our way, for no sooner had we left the "King's Road," which,
had been cut by the Spanish government for a goodly distance, than we
entered a thicket of scrubby oaks, succeeded by a still denser mass of
low palmettoes, which extended about three miles, and among the roots of
which our nags had great difficulty in making good their footing. After
this we entered the Pine Barrens, so extensively distributed in this
portion of the Floridas. The sand seemed to be all sand and nothing but
sand, and the palmettoes at times so covered the narrow Indian trail which
we followed, that it required all the instinct or sagacity of ourselves
and our horses to keep it. It seemed to us as if we were approaching the
end of the world. The country was perfectly flat, and, so far as we could
survey it, presented the same wild and scraggy aspect. My companion, who
had travelled there before, assured me that, at particular seasons of
the year, he had crossed the barrens when they were covered with water
fully knee-deep, when, according to his expression, they "looked most
awful;" and I readily believed him, as we now and then passed through
muddy pools, which reached the saddle-girths of our horses. Here and there
large tracts covered with tall grasses, and resembling the prairies of
the western wilds, opened to our view. Wherever the country happened to
be sunk a little beneath the general level, it was covered with cypress
trees, whose spreading arms were hung with a profusion of Spanish moss.
The soil in such cases consisted of black mud, and was densely covered
with bushes, chiefly of the Magnolia family.

We crossed in succession the heads of three branches of Haw Creek, of
which the waters spread from a quarter to half a mile in breadth, and
through which we made our way with extreme difficulty. While in the middle
of one, my companion told me, that once when in the very spot where we
then stood, his horse chanced to place his fore-feet on the back of a
large alligator, which, not well pleased at being disturbed in his repose,
suddenly raised his head, opened his monstrous jaws, and snapped off a
part of the lips of his affrighted pony. You may imagine the terror of
the poor beast, which, however, after a few plunges, resumed its course,
and succeeded in carrying its rider through in safety. As a reward for
this achievement, it was ever after honoured with the appellation of
"Alligator."

We had now travelled about twenty miles, and the sun having reached the
zenith, we dismounted to partake of some refreshment. From a muddy pool
we contrived to obtain enough of tolerably clear water to mix with the
contents of a bottle, the like of which I would strongly recommend to
every traveller in these swampy regions; our horses, too, found something
to grind among the herbage that surrounded the little pool; but as little
time was to be lost, we quickly remounted, and resumed our disagreeable
journey, during which we had at no time proceeded at a rate exceeding
two miles and a half in the hour.

All at once, however, a wonderful change took place:—the country became
more elevated and undulating; the timber was of a different nature, and
consisted of red and live oaks, magnolias, and several kinds of pine.
Thousands of "mole-hills," or the habitations of an animal here called
"the salamander," and "goffer's burrows," presented themselves to the
eye, and greatly annoyed our horses, which every now and then sank to the
depth of a foot, and stumbled at the risk of breaking their legs, and,
what we considered fully as valuable, our necks. We now saw beautiful
lakes of the purest water, and passed along a green space, having a
series of them on each side of us. These sheets of water became larger
and more numerous the farther we advanced, some of them extending to a
length of several miles, and having a depth of from two to twenty feet of
clear water; but their shores being destitute of vegetation, we observed
no birds near them. Many tortoises, however, were seen basking in the
sun, and all, as we approached, plunged into the water. Not a trace
of man did we observe during our journey, scarcely a bird, and not a
single quadruped, not even a rat; nor can one imagine a poorer and more
desolate country than that which lies between the Halifax River, which
we had left in the morning, and the undulated grounds at which we had
now arrived.

But at length we perceived the tracks of living beings, and soon after
saw the huts of Colonel REES'S negroes. Scarcely could ever African
traveller have approached the city of Timbuctoo with more excited
curiosity than we felt in approaching this plantation. Our Indian horses
seemed to participate in our joy, and trotted at a smart rate towards
the principal building, at the door of which we leaped from our saddles,
just as the sun was withdrawing his ruddy light. Colonel REES was at
home, and received us with great kindness. Refreshments were immediately
placed before us, and we spent the evening in agreeable conversation.

The next day I walked over the plantation, and examining the country
around, found the soil of good quality, it having been reclaimed
from swampy ground of a black colour, rich and very productive. The
greater part of the cultivated land was on the borders of a lake, which
communicates with others, leading to the St John's River, distant about
seven miles, and navigable so far by vessels not exceeding fifty or
sixty tons. After breakfast, our amiable host shewed us the way to the
celebrated spring, the sight of which afforded me pleasure sufficient
to counterbalance the tediousness of my journey.

This spring presents a circular basin, having a diameter of about sixty
feet, from the centre of which the water is thrown up with great force,
although it does not rise to a height of more than a few inches above the
general level. A kind of whirlpool is formed, on the edges of which are
deposited vast quantities of shells, with pieces of wood, gravel, and
other substances, which have coalesced into solid masses having a very
curious appearance. The water is quite transparent, although of a dark
colour, but so impregnated with sulphur, that it emits an odour which
to me was highly nauseous. Its surface lies fifteen or twenty feet below
the level of the woodland lakes in the neighbourhood, and its depth, in
the autumnal months, is about seventeen feet, when the water is lowest.
In all the lakes, the same species of shells as those thrown up by the
spring, occur in abundance, and it seems more than probable that it is
formed of the water collected from them by infiltration, or forms the
subterranean outlet of some of them. The lakes themselves are merely
reservoirs, containing the residue of the waters which fall during the
rainy seasons, and contributing to supply the waters of the St John
River, with which they all seem to communicate by similar means. This
spring pours its waters into "Rees's Lake," through a deep and broad
channel, called Spring Garden Creek. This channel is said to be in some
places fully sixty feet deep, but it becomes more shallow as you advance
towards the entrance of the lake, at which you are surprised to find
yourself on a mud flat covered only by about fifteen inches of water,
under which the depositions from the spring lie to a depth of four or
five feet in the form of the softest mud, while under this again is
a bed of fine white sand. When this mud is stirred up by the oars of
your boat or otherwise, it appears of a dark green colour, and smells
strongly of sulphur. At all times it sends up numerous babbles of air,
which probably consist of sulphuretted hydrogen gas.

The mouth of this curious spring is calculated to be two and a half
feet square; and the velocity of its water, during the rainy season, is
three feet per second. This would render the discharge per hour about
499,500 gallons. Colonel REES showed us the remains of another spring
of the same kind, which had dried up from some natural cause.

My companion the Engineer having occupation for another day, I requested
Colonel REES to accompany me in his boat towards the River St John,
which I was desirous of seeing, as well as the curious country in its
neighbourhood. He readily agreed, and, after an early breakfast next
morning, we set out, accompanied by two servants to manage the boat. As
we crossed Rees's Lake, I observed that its north-eastern shores were
bounded by a deep swamp, covered by a rich growth of tall cypresses,
while the opposite side presented large marshes and islands ornamented
by pines, live-oaks, and orange trees. With the exception of a very
narrow channel, the creek was covered with nympheæ, and in its waters
swam numerous alligators, while Ibises, Gallinules, Anhingas, Coots,
and Cormorants, were seen pursuing their avocations on its surface or
along its margins. Over our heads the Fish Hawks were sailing, and on
the broken trees around we saw many of their nests.

We followed Spring Garden Creek for about two miles and a half, and
passed a mud bar, before we entered "Dexter's Lake." The bar was stuck
full of unios in such profusion, that each time the Negroes thrust their
hands into the mud they took up several. According to their report, these
shellfish are quite unfit for food. In this lake the water had changed
its hue, and assumed a dark chestnut colour, although it was still
transparent. The depth was very uniformly five feet, and the extent of
the lake was about eight miles by three. Having crossed it, we followed
the creek, and soon saw the entrance of Woodruff's Lake, which empties
its still darker waters into the St John's River.

I here shot a pair of curious Ibises, which you will find described in
my fourth volume, and landed on a small island covered with wild orange
trees, the luxuriance and freshness of which were not less pleasing to
the sight, than the perfume of their flowers was to the smell. The group
seemed to me like a rich bouquet formed by nature to afford consolation
to the weary traveller, cast down by the dismal scenery of swamps, and
pools, and rank grass, around him. Under the shade of these beautiful
evergreens, and amidst the golden fruits that covered the ground, while
the humming birds fluttered over our heads, we spread our cloth on the
grass, and with a happy and thankful heart I refreshed myself with the
bountiful gifts of an ever-careful Providence. Colonel REES informed
me that this charming retreat was one of the numerous _terræ incognitæ_
of this region of lakes, and that it should henceforth bear the name of
"Audubon's Isle."

In conclusion, let me inform you, that the spring has been turned to
good account by my generous host Colonel REES, who, aided by my amiable
companion the Engineer, has directed its current so as to turn a mill,
which suffices to grind the whole of his sugar cane.



THE FISH-CROW.

_CORVUS OSSIFRAGUS_, WILS.

PLATE CXLVI. MALE AND FEMALE.


This may be said to be the only species of _Black Bird_ found in the
United States, that is not constantly subjected to persecution. You
would suppose it fully aware of its privileges, were you to witness
the liveliness of its motions, and to listen to its continued chatter.
While the Raven and the Common Crow are ever on the watch to escape the
effects of the enmity which man harbours towards them, the Fish-Crow pays
little attention to him as he approaches, and even enters his garden to
feed on his best fruits. Hundreds are seen to alight on the trees near
the towns and cities placed along our southern shores; many fly over
or walk about the pools and rivers, and all pursue their avocations
without apprehension of danger from the lords of the land. This sense
of security arises entirely from the circumstance that man generally
believes the bird to be perfectly inoffensive, and glad am I, reader,
that it at least bears so good a character.

The Fish-Crow is almost entirely confined to the maritime districts of
the Southern States, and there it abounds at all seasons. Those which
migrate proceed to the eastward about the beginning of April, and some
go as far as New York, where they are, however, rather rare. They ascend
the Delaware River in Pennsylvania, nearly up to its source, and some
breed in the State of Jersey every year; but all return to the south
at the approach of cold weather. Some go up the Mississippi for four
or five hundred miles, but I have not seen any higher on that stream,
which they generally leave to return to the vicinity of the sea-shore,
in the winter season. In East Florida, where they abound, I found them
breeding in February, in South Carolina about the 20th of March, and in
New Jersey a month later.

While on the St John's River in Florida, during the month of February,
I saw flocks of Fish-Crows, consisting of several hundred individuals,
sailing high in the air, somewhat in the manner of the Raven, when the
whole appeared paired, for I could see that, although in such numbers,
each pair moved distinctly apart. These aërial excursions would last for
hours, during the calm of a fine morning, after which the whole would
descend toward the water, to pursue their more usual avocations in all
the sociability of their nature. When their fishing, which lasted about
half an hour, was over, they would alight in flocks on the live oaks and
other trees near the shores, and there keep up their gabbling, pluming
themselves for hours. Once more they returned to their fishing-grounds,
where they remained until about an hour from sunset, when they made for
the interior, often proceeding thirty or forty miles, to roost together
in the trees of the Loblolly Pine. They scarcely utter a single note
during this retreat, but no sooner does the first glimmer of day appear
than the woods around echo to their matin cries of gratulation. They
depart at once for the sea-shores, noisy, lively, and happy. Now you
find them busily engaged over the bays and rivers, the wharfs, and even
the salt-ponds and marshes, searching for small fry, which they easily
secure with their claws as they pass close over the water, and picking
up any sort of garbage suited to their appetite.

Like the Raven, the Common Crow, or the Grakle, the Fish-Crow robs
other birds of their eggs and young. I observed this particularly on
the Florida Keys, where they even dared to plunder the nests of the
Cormorant (_Carbo Graculus_) and White Ibis, waiting with remarkable
patience, perched in the neighbourhood, until these birds left their
charge. They also frequently alight on large mud flats bordering the
salt-water marshes, for the purpose of catching the small crabs called
_Fiddlers_. This they do with ease, by running after them or digging
them out of the muddy burrows into which they retire at the approach of
danger. I have frequently been amused, while standing on the "Levée" at
New Orleans, to see the alacrity and audacity with which they pursued
and attacked the smaller Gulls and Terns, to force them to disgorge the
small fish caught by them within sight of the Crows, which, with all
the tyrannical fierceness of the Lestris, would chase the sea birds
with open bill, and extended feet and claws, dashing towards their
victims with redoubled ardour, the farther they attempted to retreat.
But as most gulls are greatly superior in flight to the Crow, the black
tyrants are often frustrated in their attempts, and obliged to return,
and seek their food in the eddies by their own industry. They are able
to catch fish alive with considerable dexterity, but cannot feed on the
wing, and for that purpose are obliged to retire to some tree, stake,
or sandbank, and like the Common Crow, the Magpie, and the Cow Bunting,
they sometimes alight on the backs of cattle, to search there for the
larvæ which frequently harbour in their skin.

During winter and spring, the Fish-crows are very fond of feeding on
many kinds of berries. After the frosts have imparted a rich flavour
to those of the cassina (_Ilex Cassina_), they are seen feeding on them
in flocks often amounting to more than a hundred individuals. They are
also fond of the berries of the holly (_Ilex opaca_), and of those of
an exotic tree now naturalized in South Carolina, and plentiful about
Charleston, the tallow-tree (_Stillingia sebifera_). The seeds of this
tree, which is originally from China, are of a white colour when ripe,
and contain a considerable quantity of an oily substance. In the months
of January and February, these trees are covered by the crows, which
greedily devour the berries. As spring advances, and the early fruits
ripen, the Fish-crows become fond of the mulberry, and select the
choicest of the ripe figs, more especially when they are feeding their
young. A dozen are often seen at a time, searching for the tree which
has the best figs, and so troublesome do they become in the immediate
vicinity of Charleston, that it is found necessary to station a man near
a fig-tree with a gun, not to burn powder to drive the Crows away by
the smell, but to fire in good earnest at them. They eat pears also, as
well as various kinds of huckleberries (_Vaccinium_), and I have seen
them feeding on the berries of at least one species of smilax.

In the Floridas, Georgia, and the Carolinas, this species usually breeds
on moderate-sized trees of the loblolly pine (_Pinus Tæda_), making its
nest generally about twenty or thirty feet from the ground, towards the
extremities of the branches. In the State of New Jersey, where they are
frequently killed in common with the larger crow, in whose company they
are often found, they are more careful, and place their nests in the
interior of the deepest and most secluded swamps. The nest is smaller than
that of the Common Crow, and is composed of sticks, moss, and grasses,
neatly finished or lined with fibrous roots. The eggs are from four to
six, and resemble those of the Common American Crow, but are smaller.
I once found several nests of this crow a few miles from Philadelphia,
in the State of Jersey, which were placed on high oaks and other trees.
The birds when disturbed, evinced much concern for the safety of their
brood. Although I have found this species breeding in different districts,
from February till May, I am unable to say decidedly whether it raises
more than one brood in the year, although I am of opinion that it does
not.

The common note of the Fish-Crow is different from that of the other
species of the genus, resembling the syllables _ha, ha, hae_, frequently
repeated. At times the sound of their voice seems as if a faint mimicry
of that of the Common Crow; at others, one would suppose that they are
troubled with a cough or cold. During the breeding season, their notes
are much varied, and are not disagreeable.

Their flight is strong and protracted. While searching for food, these
birds hover at a moderate height over the water; but when they rise in
the air, to amuse themselves, they often reach a great elevation. While
on the ground, their movements are graceful, and resemble those of the
Boat-tailed Grakle. Like the other crows, they are fond of replacing
their wings, as it were, in their proper situations, frequently opening
them out a little, and instantly closing them again.

On several occasions, when one of these birds had been wounded, I
found, on approaching it, that it had the power of disgorging its food
somewhat in the manner of the Turkey Buzzard. When one is thus wounded,
its companions come sailing over you, with a loud scream, in the manner
of gulls, so that several may be brought down by an expert marksman, as
they are not easily intimidated at such times. Indeed, this species is
easily approached, and may be killed without difficulty. I have known
fifteen of them shot at once, while feeding on the cassina berries.

During winter, when they are chiefly frugivorous, they become extremely
fat and very tender. Their pouch-like stomach, although large, is not
muscular; the intestines are large and baggy. Very few are bare on the
lower mandible; perhaps among a hundred which I have examined, not more
than six or seven exhibited this nakedness, without removing the feathers
of that part with the hand.

I have represented a pair on a branch of the Honey-locust, already
figured in my first volume, but here represented with its matured fruit.


     CORVUS OSSIFRAGUS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 57.

     FISH-CROW, CORVUS OSSIFRAGUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. v.
     p. 27. pl. 37. fig. 2.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 216.


Adult Male. Plate CXLVI. Fig. 1.

Bill longish, straight, robust, somewhat compressed; upper mandible with
the dorsal line arched and declinate, the sides concave at the base, flat
in the middle, the edges slightly inflected, the tip declinate; lower
mandible straight, the dorsal line slightly convex, the sides at the
base flat, towards the end rounded, the edges inclinate. Nostrils basal,
lateral, round, covered by bristly feathers. Head large, neck short, body
moderate. Legs of moderate length, strong, tarsus compressed, covered
anteriorly with scutella, sharp behind; toes united at the base, the
middle toe long, the outer longer than the inner, the hind toe robust;
claws rather large, arched, compressed, acute, channelled beneath.

Plumage soft, highly glossed, on the head and neck blended, on the
back compact. Stiff bristly feathers, with disunited barbs over the
nostrils, directed forwards and adpressed. Wings long, first primary
short, third longest, fourth little shorter, seventh equal to first;
primaries tapering, second, third, fourth, and fifth, slightly cut out
on the outer web; secondaries broad, rounded with a minute acumen.

Tail of moderate length, slightly rounded, of twelve straight feathers.

Beak, tarsi, toes, and claws, black. Iris dark brown. The general colour
of the plumage is deep black, with blue and purple reflections above,
blue and greenish beneath; the colouring being almost the same as that
of the Common American Crow.

Length 16 inches, extent of wings 33; bill along the back 1-11/12; tarsus
1¾; middle toe and claw 1-11/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXLVI. Fig. 2.

The female is considerably smaller, but resembles the male in plumage,
although the gloss not quite so rich, and the reflections more brown on
the upper parts.

Length 15 inches, extent of wings 31.


THE HONEY LOCUST.

     GLEDITSCHIA TRIACANTHOS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 1097.
     _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. vol. ii. p. 221.—POLYGAMIA DIŒCIA, _Linn._
     LEGUMINOSÆ, _Juss._

See Vol. I. p. 226.



THE NIGHT-HAWK.

_CAPRIMULGUS VIRGINIANUS_, BRISS.

PLATE CXLVII. MALE AND FEMALE.


The name of this bird disagrees with the most marked characteristics of
its habits, for it may be seen, and has frequently been seen, on the
wing, during the greater part of the day, even when the atmosphere is
perfectly pure and clear, and while the sun is shining in all its glory.
It is equally known that the Night-Hawk retires to rest shortly after
dusk, at the very time when the loud notes of the Whip-poor-will, or
those of the Chuck-will's-widow, both of which are nocturnal ramblers,
are heard echoing from the places to which these birds resort.

About the 1st of April, the Night-Hawk makes its appearance in the
lower parts of Louisiana, on its way eastward. None of them breed in
that State, or in that of Mississippi, nor I am inclined to believe any
where south of the neighbourhood of Charleston, in South Carolina. The
species is, however, seen in all the Southern States, on its passage to
and from those of the east. The Night-Hawks pass with so much comparative
swiftness over Louisiana in the spring, that in a few days after their
first appearance none are to be seen; nor are any to be found there until
their return in autumn, when, on account of the ample supply of food they
still meet with at this late season, they remain several weeks, gleaning
the insects off the cotton fields, waste lands, or sugar plantations,
and gambolling over the prairies, lakes or rivers, from morning till
night. Their return from the Middle Districts varies according to the
temperature of the season, from the 15th of August to late in October.

Their migrations are carried on over so great an extent, and that so
loosely, that you might conceive it their desire to glean the whole
country, as they advance with a front extending from the mouths of the
Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains, passing in this manner from the south
far beyond our eastern boundary lines. Thus they are enabled to disperse
and breed throughout the whole Western and Eastern States, from South
Carolina to Maine. On their way they may be seen passing over our cities
and villages, alighting on the trees that embellish our streets, and
even on chimney tops, from which they are heard to squeak their sharp
notes, to the amusement or surprise of those who observe them.

I have seen this species in the British Provinces of New Brunswick and
Nova Scotia, where they remain so late as the beginning of October, but
I observed none in Newfoundland, or on the shores of Labrador. In going
north, their appearance in the Middle States is about the first of May;
but they seldom reach Maine before June.

The Night-Hawk has a firm, light, and greatly prolonged flight. In dull
cloudy weather, it may be seen on the wing during the whole day, and is
more clamorous than at any other time. The motions of its wings while
flying are peculiarly graceful, and the playfulness which it evinces
renders its flight quite interesting. The bird appears to glide through
the air with all imaginable ease, assisting its ascent, or supporting
itself on high, by irregular hurried flappings performed at intervals,
as if it had unexpectedly fallen in with its prey, pursued, and seized
it. Its onward motion is then continued. It moves in this manner, either
upwards in circles, emitting a loud sharp squeak at the beginning of
each sudden start it takes, or straight downwards, then to the right or
left whether high or low, as it presses onward, now skimming closely over
the rivers, lakes, or shores of the Atlantic, and again wending its way
over the forests or mountain tops. During the love season its mode of
flight is particularly interesting: the male may be said to court his
mate entirely on the wing, strutting as it were through the air, and
performing a variety of evolutions with the greatest ease and elegance,
insomuch that no bird with which I am acquainted can rival it in this
respect.

It frequently raises itself a hundred yards, sometimes much more, and
apparently in the same careless manner already mentioned, its squeaking
notes becoming louder and more frequent the higher it ascends; when,
checking its course, it at once glides obliquely downwards, with wings
and tail half closed, and with such rapidity that a person might easily
conceive it to be about to dash itself against the ground. But when
close to the earth, often at no greater distance than a few feet, it
instantaneously stretches out its wings, so as to be nearly directed
downwards at right angles with the body, expands its tail, and thus
suddenly checks its downward career. It then brushes as it were, through
the air, with inconceivable force, in a semicircular line of a few yards
in extent. This is the moment when the singular noise produced by this
bird is heard, for the next instant it rises in an almost perpendicular
course, and soon begins anew this curious mode of courtship. The
concussion caused, at the time the bird passes the centre of its plunge,
by the new position of its wings, which are now brought almost instantly
to the wind, like the sails of a ship suddenly thrown aback, is the cause
of this singular noise. The female does not produce this, although she
frequently squeaks whilst on the wing.

Sometimes, when several males are paying their addresses to the same
female, the sight of those beaux plunging through the air in different
directions, is curious and highly entertaining. This play is quickly
over, however, for no sooner has the female made her choice, than her
approved gives chase to all intruders, drives them beyond his dominions,
and returns with exultation, plunging and gambolling on the wing, but
with less force, and without nearing the ground.

In windy weather, and as the dusk of the evening increases, the Night-Hawk
flies lower and more swiftly than ever, making wide and irregular
deviations from its general course, to overtake an insect which its keen
eye has seen at a distance, after which it continues onward as before.
When darkness comes on, it alights either on the ground or on a tree,
where it spends the night, now and then uttering its squeak.

These birds can scarcely walk on the ground, on account of the small size
and position of their legs, which are placed very far back, for which
reason they cannot stand erect, but rest their breast on the ground, or
on the branch of a tree, on which they are obliged to alight sidewise.
They alight with ease, however, and squat on branches or fence-rails,
now and then on the tops of houses or barns. In all such positions they
are easily approached. I have neared them when on a fence or low wall to
within a few feet, when they would look upon me with their large mild
eyes more as a friend than an enemy, although they flew off the moment
they observed any thing suspicious in my movements. They now and then
squeak while thus seated, and when this happens when they are perched
on the trees of our cities, they seldom fail to attract the attention
of persons passing.

In Louisiana this species is called by the French Creoles "_Crapaud
volant_," in Virginia "_Bat_;" but the name by which it is most commonly
known is "_Night-Hawk_." The beauty and rapidity of its motions render it
a tempting object to sportsmen generally, and its flesh is by no means
unpalatable. Thousands are shot on their return to the south during the
autumn, when they are fat and juicy. Now and then at this season, they
plunge through the air, but the rustling sound of their wings at this
or any other time after the love season is less remarkable.

In the Middle States, about the 20th of May, the Night-Hawk, without much
care as to situation, deposits its two, almost oval, freckled eggs, on
the bare ground, or on an elevated spot in the ploughed fields, or even
on the naked rock, sometimes in barren or open places in the skirts of
the woods, never entering their depths. No nest is ever constructed,
nor is the least preparation made by scooping the ground. They never, I
believe, raise more than one brood in a season. The young are for some
time covered with a soft down, the colour of which, being a dusky brown,
greatly contributes to their safety. Should the female be disturbed
during incubation, she makes her escape, pretending lameness, fluttering
and trembling, until she feels assured that you have lost sight of her
eggs or young, after which she flies off, and does not return until you
have withdrawn, but she will suffer you to approach her, if unseen,
until within a foot or two of her eggs. During incubation, the male
and female sit alternately. After the young are tolerably grown, and
require less warmth from their parents, the latter are generally found
in their immediate neighbourhood, quietly squatted on some fence, rail,
or tree, where they remain so very silent and motionless that it is no
easy matter to discover them.

When wounded they scramble off very awkwardly, and if taken in the hand
immediately open their mouth to its full extent repeatedly, as if the
mandibles moved on hinges worked by a spring. They also strike with
their wings in the manner of pigeons, but without any effect.

The food of the Night-Hawk consists entirely of insects, especially
those of the Coleopterous order, although they also seize on moths and
caterpillars, and are very expert at catching crickets and grasshoppers,
with which they sometimes gorge themselves, as they fly low over the
ground with great rapidity. They now and then drink whilst flying closely
over the water, in the manner of swallows.

None of these birds remain during the winter in any portion of the United
States. The Chuck-will's-widow alone have I heard, and found far up the
St John's River, in East Florida, in January. Frequently during autumn,
at New Orleans, I have known some of these birds to remain searching for
food over the meadows and river until the rainy season had begun, and
then is the time at which the sportsmen shoot many of them down; but the
very next day, if the weather was still drizzly, scarcely one could be
seen there. When returning from the northern districts at a late period
of the year, they pass close over the woods, and with so much rapidity,
that you can obtain only a single glimpse of them.

While at Indian Key, on the coast of Florida, I saw a pair of these
birds killed by lightning, while they were on wing, during a tremendous
thunder-storm. They fell on the sea, and after picking them up I examined
them carefully, but failed to discover the least appearance of injury
on the feathers or in the internal parts.


     CAPRIMULGUS VIRGINIANUS, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 585.
     —_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States,
     p. 62.

     CAPRIMULGUS (CHORDEILES) VIRGINIANUS, _Swains. and Richards._
     part. i. p. 62.

     NIGHT-HAWK, CAPRIMULGUS AMERICANUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. v.
     p. 65. pl. 40. fig. 1. Male; fig. 2. Female.—_Nuttall_,
     Manual, part. i. p. 619.


Adult Male. Plate CXLVII. Fig. 1.

Bill extremely short, feeble, opening to beyond the eyes, the mouth,
when open, appearing of enormous width; upper mandible, in its dorsal
outline straight at first, deflected at the end, very broad at the base,
and suddenly contracted towards the tip, which is compressed and rather
obtuse; lower mandible a little recurved at the tip. Nostrils basal, oval,
prominent, covered above by a membrane. Head large, depressed. Eyes and
ears very large. Neck short, body rather slender. Feet very short and
feeble; tarsus partly feathered, anteriorly scutellate below; fore-toes
three, connected by webs as far as the second joint, scutellate above;
claws very small, curved, compressed, acute; that of the middle larger,
curved outwards, with the inner edge expanded and pectinate.

Plumage blended, soft, but with the feathers distinct, slightly glossed.
Upper mandible margined with short bristles. Wings very long, somewhat
falcate, narrow, the first and second quills longest, and almost equal.
Tail rather long, ample, forked, of ten broad, rounded feathers.

Bill black. Iris dark-brown. Feet purplish-brown, the claws dark-brown.
Head and upper surface in general brownish-black, mottled with white
and pale reddish-brown. Secondary quills tipped with brownish-white. A
conspicuous white bar extending across the inner web of the first, and
the whole breadth of the second, third, fourth, and fifth primaries.
Tail-feathers barred with brownish-grey, the four outer on each side
plain brownish-black towards the end, with a white spot. Sides of the
head and fore-neck mottled like the back; a broad white band, in the form
of the letter V reversed, on the throat and sides of the neck. The rest
of the under parts greyish-white, transversely, marked with undulating
bars of dark-brown; lower tail-coverts white, with a few dark bars;
under wing-coverts blackish-brown, with white tips.

Length 9½ inches, extent of wings 23½; bill along the back ¼, along the
edge 1-1/12; tarsus ½.


Adult Female. Plate CXLVII. Fig. 2. 2.

The colouring of the Female is similar to that of the Male, but the dark
parts of the former are browner, and the white parts more tinged with
red; the white wing-spot smaller, the band on the throat brownish-white,
and the white spots on the tail-feathers wanting.

Length 9.

The full-fledged young bird resembles the female.


THE WHITE OAK.

     QUERCUS ALBA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. p. 449. _Pursh_, Fl. Amer.
     Sept. vol. ii. p. 633. _Mich._ Arbr. Forest. vol. ii. p. 13.
     pl. 1.—MONŒCIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._ AMENTACEÆ, _Juss._

Leaves oblong, pinnatifido-sinuate, downy beneath, their lobes oblong,
obtuse; fruit rather large, with a cup-shaped tubercular cupule, and ovate
acorn. The White Oak is abundant in most parts of the United States from
Maine to Louisiana, and is one of the most useful trees of the genus,
the wood being strong and lasting; and, as it is of large dimensions,
it is employed for numerous purposes, especially ship building, and
the manufacture of carriage-wheels, and domestic utensils. It attains
a height of seventy or eighty feet, with a diameter of six or seven.



THE PINE SWAMP WARBLER.

_SYLVIA SPHAGNOSA_, BONAP.

PLATE CXLVIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


I have met with this homely and humble little Warbler, on the low, almost
submersed Keys of the Floridas, about Key West, in considerable numbers.
This happened in the month of April. One was caught in a house at Indian
Key some days before. In a short time, however, they all disappeared.
Like many other species of this extensive and interesting family, they
seem to cross directly from Cape Florida to Cape Hatteras, as none were
seen in Louisiana, Georgia, or the lower parts of the Carolinas. It is
not improbable that it comes from the West Indies, resting a few days on
the lower islets of Florida, before proceeding northward. In the early
part of May, I have found it in New Jersey, as well as in Pennsylvania,
particularly in the Great Pine Forest, where I drew a pair of them, and
found their nest. During my progress eastward, I saw them frequently.
In the State of Maine, I found them exceedingly abundant near Eastport,
and on the other islands in that vicinity; but there their progress
appeared to have stopped, for I did not see one of them beyond the Island
of Grand Manan, while on my way to Labrador.

The Pine-Swamp Warbler delights in the dark, humid parts of thick
underwood, by the sides of small streams. It is very active, seizing
much of its prey on wing, as well as among the leaves and bark of low
trees. During the breeding-season, the male utters a few clear notes,
resembling the syllables _wheet-te-tee-hŭ_, the last note being the
loudest and shortest. At all other times, it is a very silent bird.

The nest which I found in the Pine Forest was placed in one of the forks
of a low bush, not more than five feet from the ground. It was neat,
compact, of small size, and formed of moss, stripes of vine-bark, and
fibres of a kind of wild hemp, with a lining of fine bent-grass, and a
few horse-hairs or fibres of moss. The eggs were five, roundish, of a
delicate buff-colour, with a few spots at the larger end, where they
appeared to be all collected. The female was so gentle that I put my
hand close over her before she moved; and when she did so, she flew only
a few feet, returning to her eggs whenever I retired a few yards. The
male expressed his sorrow by a low tweet, but made no attempt to molest
me.

Their food consists entirely of insects. Their flight is short, low,
with a tremulous motion of the wings, unless when in pursuit of their
prey. They all retire southward in the beginning of October.


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

     PINE SWAMP WARBLER, SYLVIA PUSILLA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. v.
     p. 100. pl. 43. fig. 4.—_Nuttall_, part i. p. 406.


Adult Male. Plate CXLVIII. Fig. 1.

Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight, broader than deep at the base,
tapering, compressed toward the acute tip. Nostrils basal, oval, exposed.
Head of ordinary size, neck short, body rather full. Feet of ordinary
length, slender; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long
scutella, sharp behind; toes free, scutellate above; claws arched, much
compressed, acute.

Plumage soft and blended, slightly glossed. Wings of ordinary length,
the first quill longest. Tail longish, slightly emarginate, the feathers
pointed.

Bill black above. Iris dark-brown. Legs flesh-coloured. The general colour
of the plumage above is a rich olive-green, the quills and tail-feathers
margined with paler; at the base of the primary quills a white spot,
part of which is apparent beyond the primary coverts. A yellowish-white
line over the eye, and a spot of the same beneath it. Cheeks and sides
of the neck olivaceous. The under parts ochre-yellow, tinged with brown
below the wings.

Length 5½ inches, extent of wings 7½; bill along the ridge 4/12, along
the edge ½; tarsus ¾.


Adult Female. Plate CXLVIII. Fig. 2.

The Female resembles the male, but is paler in its tints.


HOBBLE BUSH.

     VIBURNUM LANTANOIDES, _Mich._ Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 179. _Pursh_,
     Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 202.—PENTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._

This species, which grows in the woods, from Canada to Virginia, is
characterized by its large suborbicular, subcordate, unequally serrate,
acute leaves, its dense cymes, and ovate berries, which are at first
red, but ultimately black.



THE SHARP-TAILED FINCH.

_FRINGILLA CAUDACUTA_, WILS.

PLATE CXLIX. MALE, FEMALE, AND NEST.


This species and the _Fringilla maritima_ spend the winter among the
salt marshes of South Carolina, where I have observed thousands of both
late in December, and so numerous are they, that I have seen more than
forty of the latter killed at one shot. At that season, the neighbourhood
of Charleston seems to be peculiarly suited to their habits, and there
they are found in great abundance along the mouths of all the streams
that flow into the Atlantic. When the tide is out, they resort to the
sedgy marshes, but on the approach of the returning waters, they take
wing and alight along the shores and on the artificial banks formed for
the protection of the rice fields.

The flight of this species is so different from that of any other finch,
that one can easily know them at first sight, if he only observes that
when flying from one spot to another, they carry the tail very low. During
winter, both species are provided with an extra quantity of feathers on
the rump. This circumstance has not a little surprised me, when I found
them residing in a climate where the Blue Heron (_Ardea cærulea_) also
is now and then to be seen in the young state during winter. I am indeed
of opinion that most birds of this species and of the other remain here
the whole year, and that if some go farther south, they must be the
weaker and younger birds, whose constitution is unable to bear the least
degree of cold.

These Finches keep so much about the water, that they walk upon the
floating weeds as unconcernedly as if on land, or on any drifting garbage
raised from the mud at high tides; they congregate and feed together, and
doubtless are constant companions until the spring, when these species
separate for the purpose of breeding.

The Sharp-tailed Finch is rather silent, a single _tweet_ being all that
I have heard it utter. In spring their attempts to sing can hardly be
said to produce a series of notes that can be dignified by the name of
song. They feed on the smaller species of shell-fish, on shrimps, and
aquatic insects or crustacea, as well as on the seeds of the grasses
growing on the grounds which they inhabit.

Within a few years this species has extended its range towards the
eastern portions of the Union, as far as the vicinity of Boston, perhaps
farther. I doubt, however, that they ever reach the State of Maine and
the British provinces, chiefly because the shores of those countries are
rocky, and because very few salt marshes are to be met with there. None
were seen by me in Newfoundland, Labrador, or the intervening islands.

The young birds of this species are considerably lighter in the tints
of their plumage, during winter, than their parents. Some shot on the
11th of December, in the neighbourhood of Charleston in South Carolina,
were so pale as almost to tempt one to pronounce them of a different
species. At that period, the mornings were very cold, the ground being
covered with a thick white frost. So very intent are they on visiting
the interior of the broadest salt-marshes, that on returning, when the
tide declined, to the same banks where we had seen so many at the time
of flowing, we could scarcely find an individual. They are, however,
less addicted to search into the muddy recesses along the creeks and
bayous than the Sea-side Finches.

The nest is placed on the ground, as represented in my plate, at the
distance of a few feet from high-water mark, and generally in a place
resembling a portion of a newly mown meadow. A slight hollow is scraped,
in which are placed the delicate grasses forming the nest, disposed
rather loosely in a circular form. The eggs are from four to six, rather
small, dull white, sprinkled with light brown dots, more numerous towards
the greater end. About Cape May and Great Egg Harbour, two broods are
usually raised in a season; but from the immense numbers seen in autumn,
when they begin to congregate, I am inclined to believe that in many
instances they have three broods in the same year, especially in South
Carolina and Georgia. I saw none of these birds on the eastern coast
of the Floridas. They are most easily shot on the wing, for while among
the sedges and tall grasses, they move with great celerity, gliding from
one blade to another, or suddenly throwing themselves amid the thickest
parts of the weeds, where it is impossible to see them.


     FRINGILLA CAUDACUTA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 110.

     SHARP-TAILED FINCH, FRINGILLA CAUDACUTA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. iv. pl. 70. fig. 3.

     SHORE FINCH, FRINGILLA LITTORALIS, _Nuttall_, Manual, part i.
     p. 504.


Adult Male. Plate CXLIX. Fig. 1.

Bill shortish, strong, conical, acute; upper mandible of the same breadth
as the lower, convex on the sides, the tip acute and slightly declinate;
lower mandible convex on the back and sides, and both involute on the
sharp edges. Nostrils basal, roundish, open, partially concealed by the
feathers. Head rather large, neck short, body rather robust. Legs of
moderate length, slender; tarsus compressed, anteriorly scutellate, sharp
behind; toes rather large, free, scutellate above, the lateral nearly
equal, the hind toe strong; claws arched, much compressed, longish,
acute, that of the hind toe larger.

Plumage ordinary, soft and blended beneath. Wings short and much curved;
the second and third primaries longest and equal, the fourth scarcely
shorter, the first and fifth about equal. Tail of ordinary length,
graduated, slender, the feathers narrow and pointed.

Bill brownish-black above, the sides of the upper mandible yellow, the
lower mandible light bluish-grey. Iris hazel. Feet pale brown. Crown of
the head bluish-grey in the middle, deep brown at the sides, the feathers
black along the centre. Hind neck dull grey, tinged with brown; back
brown, tinged with grey, some of the feathers marked with black and edged
with greyish-white. Primary quills wood-brown, secondary dark brown,
edged with reddish-brown; the secondary and small coverts principally
of the latter colour. Tail-feathers wood-brown, with a central line of
blackish-brown, excepting the lateral, which are plain and paler. A broad
band of light yellowish-red from the base of the mandible over the eye;
ear-coverts grey; fore neck pale yellowish-red, the throat paler and
unspotted, the rest streaked with dusky. The sides of the same tint, but
paler, and similarly streaked; the middle of the breast and the abdomen
greyish white; under tail-coverts pale yellowish-red.

Length 5 inches, extent of wings 7¼; bill along the back 4½/12, along
the edge 9½/12; tarsus 9/12.


Adult Female. Plate CXLIX. Fig. 2.

The female is coloured like the male, but the tints are a little fainter.

This species is allied in form and habits to the Sea-side Finch,
_Fringilla maritima_, with which, however, it cannot possibly be
confounded by any person possessing the least observation. The description
of that species in my first volume being defective in several particulars,
I here subjoin a more accurate account of its colouring and dimensions
taken from a number of specimens.

Bill dark brown above, paler on the sides; the lower mandible bluish-grey,
but in some individuals dusky. Iris hazel. Feet and claws greyish-blue,
tinged with brown. Crown of the head bluish-grey in the middle, deep-brown
at the sides, the feathers black along the centre. Hind neck dull grey,
tinged with brown; back dark brown tinged with grey, some of the feathers
edged with greyish-white. Primary quills wood-brown, secondary dark brown
edged with reddish-brown; the secondary and smaller coverts principally of
the latter colour; the edge of the wing yellow. Tail-feathers wood-brown,
with a central line of blackish-brown, excepting the lateral, which are
plain and paler. A broad yellowish-brown streak from the base of the
bill over the eye, but not extending beyond it. Throat and fore neck
greyish-white, with a streak of bluish-grey on each side. Breast and
sides dull greyish-white, tinged with yellowish-red, and streaked with
dusky; the middle of the breast and the abdomen greyish-white; under
tail-coverts pale yellowish-brown, streaked with dusky.

Length 6¼ inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the back 5/12, along
the edge 7/12; tarsus 10/12.

_Fringilla maritima_ is a much larger bird than _F. caudacuta_; the bill
is proportionally more elongated; instead of the broad yellowish-red band
over the eye, it has a narrow and much shorter one of a duller tint; the
band of the same colour beneath the eye is wanting, and the under parts
are differently coloured and much duller. The third and fourth quills
are longest in _F. maritima_, the second and third in _F. caudacuta_,
while in the former the first is much shorter, and in the latter very
little.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another species of Finch, belonging to the same group, and which, like
_F. maritima_ and _F. caudacuta_, is found abundantly in the salt marshes
of the Carolinas, has been discovered by my most worthy friend the Rev.
JOHN BACHMAN of Charleston, who has presented me with a dozen specimens
of it. With his approval, I have named it after a gentleman who, besides
being my friend, is possessed, not only of a technical, but also of a
practical knowledge of ornithology, and of whom I may safely say, that he
is unquestionably the best portrayer of the feathered race that I know.
It was my intention to have had the figures of this newly discovered
species, which were drawn at Charleston by my son JOHN WOODHOUSE, engraved
for the second volume of "The Birds of America;" but the drawing did not
reach London in time. The plate, however, is finished, and will appear
in the fourth and last volume of that work. In the mean time, I subjoin
a brief description.



MACGILLIVRAY'S FINCH.

_FRINGILLA MACGILLIVRAII._

Bill rather long, in other respects similar to those of the two species
mentioned above, as are the proportions of the different parts, and the
texture of the plumage. The second, third, and fourth quills are equal
and longest, and the tail is rounded.

Bill dusky-brown above, the sides of the upper mandible paler, the
lower mandible bluish-grey. Iris hazel. Feet dark brown. The colouring
is similar to that of _F. maritima_ in the upper parts, and to that of
_F. caudacuta_ in the lower, but is darker above than the former, and
duller beneath than the latter. Feathers of the head brownish-black
margined with dull greyish-brown, but not grey in the middle nor darker
towards the sides, as in the other species. Hind neck and back of the
same colour, the middle of the latter having some of the margins pale
reddish-brown. Primary quills hair-brown; secondary dark brown, edged
with reddish-brown; the secondary and smaller coverts like the latter;
the edge of the wing white, slightly tinged with yellow. Tail-feathers
hair-brown at the edges, the centre blackish-brown, except the lateral,
which are plain, but scarcely paler. A yellowish-brown streak from
the nostrils over the eye. Throat and fore neck greyish-white, with
an indistinct dusky streak on each side. Breast and sides pale dull
yellowish-brown, marked with brownish-black streaks. The middle of the
breast and the abdomen greyish-white, tinged with yellowish-brown.

Length 5½ inches, extent of wings 7¾; bill along the back 6½/12, along
the edge 8/12; tarsus 11/12.

       *       *       *       *       *

The different species can be readily distinguished by attending to the
above particulars. Macgillivray's Finch is in size intermediate between
the other two, and in colouring it resembles both, as has been stated
above.

When the three are together it is very easy to distinguish that species
from the rest, by the greater length of the bill and tarsus, and the
greater breadth of the black band along the middle of each tail-feather.
In all the species, the bills of individuals differ greatly in length,
old birds having them much longer than younger ones.

In the republication of WILSON'S Ornithology, by Sir WILLIAM JARDINE,
Bart., the editor makes the following statement.—"Mr AUDUBON has figured
a bird very closely allied in plumage, under the name of _Ammodramus
Henslowii_, and, in the letter press, has described it as Henslow's
Bunting, _Emberiza Henslowii_. It will evidently come under the first
genus, and if new and distinct, will form a third North American species.
It is named after Professor HENSLOW of Cambridge, and was obtained near
Cincinnati. There is no account of its history and habits."—Vol. ii. p. 78.
I have already shewn that the species is a perfectly distinct one,
but its affinities are not with _Ammodramus_. During my last three years'
rambles in the United States, my friends, my assistants, and myself,
procured hundreds of specimens of the Henslow's Bunting, and gained much
information respecting its habits, which are totally different from those
of _Fringilla caudacuta_ or _F. maritima_. The HENSLOW Bunting is never
found near salt water marshes, as these species always are, but spends
its life on dry elevated meadows and in sandy open pine forests, where
it passes the winter in the Southern and Western Districts. As to the
similarity of colouring alluded to, I cannot see the least resemblance
between the birds in question, in that respect, more than in size or
shape. This might have become apparent, had he compared my figure of the
Henslow Bunting with that given by WILSON, which in my humble opinion is
incorrect. I have not represented the nest of _F. maritima_ along with
my figures of that bird, although this has been asserted.



THE RED-EYED VIREO.

_VIREO OLIVACEUS_, BONAP.

PLATE CL. MALE.


One of the principal differences between the habits of this and some
other species, which are now called Vireos, and the Flycatchers, is, that
the former procure their food principally by moving about, and along the
branches or the twigs of the trees, by light hops, alternately changing
sides, reaching and securing their prey by an elastic extension of the
legs and neck, without the continual snapping or clicking of the bill
so common among the Muscicapæ on such occasions, and that they seldom
make sorties on the wing to any distance, for the purpose of seizing
the insects on which they usually feed. This habit is retained until
autumn, when, insects being scarce, the Vireo sallies forth to a short
distance in pursuit of them, as they may chance to pass near the tree
on which, in the silent mood of a Flycatcher, it stands erect, using the
watchful side-glances peculiar to its tribe, as it anxiously expects the
passage of its prey. Another difference is, that Vireos are generally
more musical, lively and gay, than Flycatchers, so that their society
is more welcome to man; and, as if fully conscious of their superiority
in this respect, and knowing that they commit no depredations upon his
fruit or bees, calculated to arouse his anger, they often suffer him
to approach with a carelessness that evidently proves the simplicity
of their nature. The third great difference between the Vireos and
Flycatchers is, that the former seldom, if ever, go down from the trees
to the water, for the purpose of drinking; while the latter are often
seen gliding closely over rivers and pools, from which they sip their
drink. The Vireos quench their thirst with the drops of dew or rain that
adhere to the leaves or twigs. I might add, that the quivering motions of
the wings in Flycatchers when alighted, is not exhibited by the Vireos,
at least has never been observed by me. On the other hand, the affinity
existing between the Vireos and Muscicapæ is indicated by their being
equally possessed of the power of regurgitation.

The Red-eyed Flycatcher is an inhabitant of the whole of our forests.
Now you hear its sweet, unaffected, musical, loud and free warble, from
the inner top branches of a tall tree, for hours at a time, and even
during the hottest part of the day; again, you may count each note that
it utters, the little vocalist resting as it were to enjoy the sounds
of its own music; next moment all seems hurry and bustle;—it raises its
voice, and chants on with great volubility, so loudly that one might think
the little creature intent on drowning all other sounds. The darker the
woods, the more cloudy the day, the more unremitting are its exertions.
It is one of the earliest singers in spring, and among the latest in
autumn. In the south-eastern parts of East Florida, where many spend the
winter, I have heard its notes and those of the White-eyed Vireo, even
at that season. In South Carolina, in the neighbourhood of Charleston,
I have heard and seen it early in the month of February, when scarce a
leaf was yet expanded. It is not seen in Louisiana until the beginning
of March, and I am inclined to think that perhaps an equal number of
these birds come to us from the West India Islands or from Mexico.

Few birds seem to enjoy life more than this Vireo, for at almost every
short cessation of its song, it is seen making a movement or two up
or along a branch, searching with extreme diligence for food, peeping
cautiously under the leaves, and examining each bud or blossom with a
care peculiarly its own. It may be seen flying from one tree to another
with indefatigable industry, and this not only from morning to night,
but during the whole time of its stay with us.

So abundant is this bird, and so prodigal of its song, that any one
paying the least attention is sure to hear it either from the trees
which embellish the streets of the villages and cities, or the gardens
and woods. The principal notes resemble the syllables _pewee_, _pea_,
_sho-re_, _sheire_, _chew-ree_, _piwit_. They are, as I have said, clear,
loud, and melodious.

The flight of this bird is altogether performed in a gliding manner, and
when it is engaged in pursuit of a rival or an enemy, it passes through
the woods with remarkable swiftness. It is an affectionate parent,
generally leading about its young, particularly its second brood; for
it often breeds twice in the year, even in the State of Massachusetts,
or far up on the Mississippi. On such occasions, the parents proceed
through the woods with more care, and on the least appearance of danger
utter a querulous note, the meaning of which is so well understood by
the little family, that they seldom fail to hide or become mute in an
instant. The young are fed for several weeks after they leave the nest,
and, I believe, migrate with the old ones, for I have frequently seen
them on the move until dusk, and going to roost together at nightfall.
I do not recollect ever having seen one of them on the ground.

Like the true Flycatchers, these birds eject small pellets formed of the
hard crusts of the abdomen, legs, and other parts of insects. I have
but very seldom seen them feeding on berries of any kind, although in
Louisiana I have observed them pecking at ripe figs.

The nest of the Red-eyed Vireo is small, and extremely neat. It is
generally suspended, at a moderate height, from the slender twigs
forming the fork at the end of a branch. I have found some situated so
low that I could easily look into them, while others were hung thirty
feet over head. Dog-wood trees seem to be preferred by them, although
I have found the nests on oaks, beeches, and sugar-maples, as well as
on tall grasses. The male bird frequently leads you to the discovery
of the nest, by its great anxiety about the safety of its mate. The
outer parts are firmly attached to the twigs, the fibres being warped
around them in various directions. The materials are usually the bark
of the grape-vine, the silk of large cocoons, some lichens, particles
of hornets' or wasps' nests, and decayed worm-eaten leaves. The lining,
which is beautifully disposed, consists of fibrous roots, grasses, and
now and then the hair of various quadrupeds, especially the grey squirrel
and racoon. The nest, however, differs greatly in different latitudes;
for, in the Middle States, they often use the leaves of the pine, cedar,
and hemlock, which they glue together apparently with their saliva. The
eggs are from four to six, pure white, sparingly spotted at the larger
end with reddish-brown or blackish dots. They are laid in Pennsylvania
about the first of June, and later in more northern parts.

The eyes of the Young are of an umber colour, and do not become red until
the following spring. Those of some shot in the Floridas in January,
had not changed their colour. In February I shot two, each of which had
a red and a brown eye.

This species, as well as the White-eyed Vireo, is often called to nurse
the young of the Cow Bird, which deposits its egg in the nests of either
species, assured that it will be properly treated. No difference exists
in the plumage, or even size of the sexes.

WILSON, who was a most excellent observer, was quite correct, as well
as Dr BARTON of Philadelphia, in alluding to another species of Vireo,
which, although nearly allied to this, is quite distinct. It is smaller,
has brown eyes at all times of its life, sings sweetly, lives in low
thickets, and builds a pensile nest. You will see its figure in my
fourth volume of Illustrations, when I hope to be able to give you a
good account of its habits.


     VIREO OLIVACEUS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 71.

     RED-EYED FLYCATCHER, MUSCICAPA OLIVACEA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. ii. p. 55. pl. 12. fig. 3.—_Nuttall_, Manual, p. 312.


Adult Male. Plate CL.

Bill of moderate length, strong, depressed at the base, compressed
towards the end, somewhat ascending. Upper mandible with the dorsal line
slightly convex, the sides convex, the edges sharp and notched towards
the end, the tip acute and suddenly deflected; lower mandible with the
dorsal line also slightly convex, the back rounded, the edges sharp and
inflected, the tip acute. Nostrils basal, lateral, oblong. Head rather
large, neck short, body rather robust. Feet of ordinary length; tarsus
compressed, anteriorly scutellate, sharp behind; toes slender, free;
claws arched, compressed, acute.

Plumage soft and blended. Wings rather long, the second and third
primaries longest; tail of ordinary length, slightly emarginate. Bristles
at the base of the bill short.

Bill brown above, pale bluish-grey beneath. Iris red. Feet bluish-grey.
The general colour of the plumage above is light yellowish-olive, the
crown of the head deep-grey, bordered on each side by a line of blackish,
below which is a line of greyish-white passing from the nostril over the
eye. Quills dusky, olivaceous on the outer margin, white on the inner.
Tail wood-brown. The lower parts are white, the breast and sides tinged
with pale yellow.

Length 5½ inches, extent of wings 9; bill along the back nearly ½, along
the edge 8/12; tarsus 8/12.

The Female resembles the Male, but is of a duller white beneath.


HONEY-LOCUST.

     GLEDITSCHIA TRIACANTHOS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 1097.
     —_Pursh_, Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 221.—POLYGAMIA DIŒCIA,
     _Linn._ LEGUMINOSÆ, _Juss._

See Vol. I. p. 226.



ST JOHN'S RIVER IN FLORIDA.


Soon after landing at St Augustine, in East Florida, I formed acquaintance
with Dr SIMMONS, Dr POCHER, Judge SMITH, the Misses JOHNSON, and other
individuals, my intercourse with whom was as agreeable as beneficial
to me. Lieutenant CONSTANTINE SMITH, of the United States army, I
found of a congenial spirit, as was the case with my amiable, but since
deceased friend, Dr BELL of Dublin. Among the planters who extended their
hospitality to me, I must particularly mention General HERNANDEZ, and
my esteemed friend JOHN BULOW, Esq. To all these estimable individuals
I offer my sincere thanks.

While in this part of the peninsula, I followed my usual avocations,
although with little success, it being then winter. I had letters from
the Secretaries of the Navy and Treasury of the United States, to the
commanding officers of vessels of war of the revenue service, directing
them to afford me any assistance in their power; and the schooner
Spark having come to St Augustine, on her way to the St John's River, I
presented my credentials to her commander Lieutenant PIERCY, who readily
and with politeness, received me and my assistants on board. We soon
after set sail, with a fair breeze. The strict attention to duty on
board even this small vessel of war, afforded matter of surprise to me.
Every thing went on with the regularity of a chronometer: orders were
given, answered to, and accomplished, before they ceased to vibrate on
the ear. The neatness of the crew equalled the cleanliness of the white
planks of the deck; the sails were in perfect condition; and, built as
the Spark was, for swift sailing, on she went gambolling from wave to
wave.

I thought that, while thus sailing, no feeling but that of pleasure could
exist in our breasts; but, alas! how fleeting are our enjoyments. When
we were almost at the entrance of the river, the wind changed, the sky
became clouded, and, before many minutes had elapsed, the little bark
was lying to "like a duck," as her commander expressed himself. It blew
a hurricane:—let it blow, reader. At the break of day we were again at
anchor within the bar of St Augustine.

Our next attempt was successful. Not many hours after we had crossed the
bar, we perceived the star-like glimmer of the light in the great lantern
at the entrance of the St John's River. This was before day-light; and,
as the crossing of the sand-banks or bars, which occur at the mouths of
all the streams of this peninsula is difficult, and can be accomplished
only when the tide is up, one of the guns was fired as a signal for
the government pilot. The good man, it seemed, was unwilling to leave
his couch, but a second gun brought him in his canoe alongside. The
depth of the channel was barely sufficient. My eyes, however, were not
directed towards the waters, but on high, where flew some thousands of
snowy Pelicans, which had fled affrighted from their resting grounds.
How beautifully they performed their broad gyrations, and how matchless,
after a while, was the marshalling of their files, as they flew past us!

On the tide we proceeded apace. Myriads of Cormorants covered the face
of the waters, and over it Fish-Crows innumerable were already arriving
from their distant roosts. We landed at one place to search for the birds
whose charming melodies had engaged our attention, and here and there
some young Eagles we shot, to add to our store of fresh provisions! The
river did not seem to me equal in beauty to the fair Ohio; the shores were
in many places low and swampy, to the great delight of the numberless
Herons that moved along in gracefulness, and the grim alligators that
swam in sluggish sullenness. In going up a bayou, we caught a great
number of the young of the latter for the purpose of making experiments
upon them.

After sailing a considerable way, during which our commander and officers
took the soundings, as well as the angles and bearings of every nook
and crook of the sinuous stream, we anchored one evening at a distance
of fully one hundred miles from the mouth of the river. The weather,
although it was the 12th of February, was quite warm, the thermometer
on board standing at 75°, and on shore at 90°. The fog was so thick
that neither of the shores could be seen, and yet the river was not a
mile in breadth. The "blind musquitoes" covered every object, even in
the cabin, and so wonderfully abundant were these tormentors, that they
more than once fairly extinguished the candles whilst I was writing my
journal, which I closed in despair, crushing between the leaves more
than a hundred of the little wretches. Bad as they are, however, these
blind musquitoes do not bite. As if purposely to render our situation
doubly uncomfortable, there was an establishment for jerking beef, on
the nearer shores to the windward of our vessel, from which the breeze
came laden with no sweet odours.

In the morning when I arose, the country was still covered with thick
fogs, so that although I could plainly hear the notes of the birds on
shore, not an object could I see beyond the bowsprit, and the air was as
close and sultry as on the previous evening. Guided by the scent of the
jerkers' works, we went on shore, where we found the vegetation already
far advanced. The blossoms of the jessamine, ever pleasing, lay steeped
in dew; the humming bee was collecting her winter's store from the snowy
flowers of the native orange; and the little warblers frisked along the
twigs of the smilax. Now, amid the tall pines of the forest, the sun's
rays began to force their way, and as the dense mists dissolved in the
atmosphere, the bright luminary at length shone forth. We explored the
woods around, guided by some friendly live-oakers who had pitched their
camp in the vicinity. After a while the Spark again displayed her sails,
and as she silently glided along, we spied a Seminole Indian approaching
us in his canoe. The poor dejected son of the woods, endowed with talents
of the highest order, although rarely acknowledged by the proud usurpers
of his native soil, has spent the night in fishing, and the morning in
procuring the superb-feathered game of the swampy thickets; and with
both he comes to offer them for our acceptance. Alas! thou fallen one,
descendant of an ancient line of freeborn hunters, would that I could
restore to thee thy birthright, thy natural independence, the generous
feelings that were once fostered in thy brave bosom. But the irrevocable
deed is done, and I can merely admire the perfect symmetry of his frame,
as he dexterously throws on our deck the trouts and turkeys which he
has captured. He receives a recompense, and without smile or bow, or
acknowledgement of any kind, off he starts with the speed of an arrow
from his own bow.

Alligators were extremely abundant, and the heads of the fishes which
they had snapped off lay floating around on the dark waters. A rifle
bullet was now and then sent through the eye of one of the largest,
which, with a tremendous splash of its tail, expired. One morning we
saw a monstrous fellow lying on the shore. I was desirous of obtaining
him to make an accurate drawing of his head, and, accompanied by my
assistant and two of the sailors, proceeded cautiously towards him.
When within a few yards, one of us fired and sent through his side an
ounce ball, which tore open a hole large enough to receive a man's hand.
He slowly raised his head, bent himself upwards, opened his huge jaws,
swung his tail to and fro, rose on his legs, blew in a frightful manner,
and fell to the earth. My assistant leaped on shore, and, contrary to
my injunctions, caught hold of the animal's tail, when the alligator,
awakening from its trance, with a last effort crawled slowly towards the
water, and plunged heavily into it. Had he thought of once flourishing
his tremendous weapon there might have been an end of his assailant's
life, but he fortunately went in peace to his grave, where we left him,
as the water was too deep. The same morning, another of equal size was
observed swimming directly for the bows of our vessel, attracted by the
gentle rippling of the water there. One of the officers, who had watched
him, fired and scattered his brain through the air, when he tumbled and
rolled at a fearful rate, blowing all the while most furiously. The river
was bloody for yards around, but although the monster passed close by
the vessel, we could not secure him, and after a while he sunk to the
bottom.

Early one morning I hired a boat and two men, with the view of returning
to St Augustine by a short cut. Our baggage being placed on board,
I bade adieu to the officers, and off we started. About four in the
afternoon we arrived at the short cut, forty miles distant from our point
of departure, and where we had expected to procure a waggon, but were
disappointed. So we laid our things on the bank, and, leaving one of my
assistants to look after them, I set out, accompanied by the other, and
my Newfoundland dog. We had eighteen miles to go; and as the sun was
only two hours high, we struck off at a good rate. Presently we entered
a pine barren. The country was as level as a floor; our path, although
narrow, was well beaten, having been used by the Seminole Indians for
ages, and the weather was calm and beautiful. Now and then a rivulet
occurred, from which we quenched our thirst, while the magnolias and
other flowering plants on its banks relieved the dull uniformity of the
woods. When the path separated into two branches, both seemingly leading
the same way, I would follow one, while my companion took the other,
and unless we met again in a short time, one of us would go across the
intervening forest.

The sun went down behind a cloud, and the south-east breeze that sprung
up at this moment, sounded dolefully among the tall pines. Along the
eastern horizon lay a bed of black vapour, which gradually rose, and soon
covered the heavens. The air felt hot and oppressive, and we knew that
a tempest was approaching. Plato was now our guide, the white spots on
his skin being the only objects that we could discern amid the darkness,
and as if aware of his utility in this respect, he kept a short way
before us on the trail. Had we imagined ourselves more than a few miles
from the town, we would have made a camp, and remained under its shelter
for the night; but conceiving that the distance could not be great, we
resolved to trudge along.

Large drops began to fall from the murky mass overhead; thick,
impenetrable darkness surrounded us, and to my dismay, the dog refused
to proceed. Groping with my hands on the ground, I discovered that
several trails branched out at the spot where he lay down; and when I had
selected one, he went on. Vivid flashes of lightning streamed across the
heavens, the wind increased to a gale, and the rain poured down upon us
like a torrent. The water soon rose on the level ground so as almost to
cover our feet, and we slowly advanced, fronting the tempest. Here and
there a tall pine on fire presented a magnificent spectacle, illumining
the trees around it, and surrounded with a halo of dim light, abruptly
bordered with the deep black of the night. At one time we passed through
a tangled thicket of low trees, at another crossed a stream flushed by
the heavy rain, and again proceeded over the open barrens.

How long we thus, half-lost, groped our way, is more than I can tell
you; but at length the tempest passed over, and suddenly the clear sky
became spangled with stars. Soon after we smelt the salt-marshes, and
walking directly towards them, like pointers advancing on a covey of
partridges, we at last to our great joy descried the light of the beacon
near St Augustine. My dog began to run briskly around, having met with
ground on which he had hunted before, and taking a direct course, led us
to the great causeway that crosses the marshes at the back of the town.
We refreshed ourselves with the produce of the first orange tree that we
met with, and in half an hour more arrived at our hotel. Drenched with
rain, steaming with perspiration, and covered to the knees with mud,
you may imagine what figures we cut in the eyes of the good people whom
we found snugly enjoying themselves in the sitting room. Next morning,
Major GATES, who had received me with much kindness, sent a waggon with
mules and two trusty soldiers for my companion and luggage.



THE TURKEY BUZZARD.

_CATHARTES AURA_, ILLIG.

PLATE CLI. MALE AND YOUNG.


Having already, when speaking of the Black Vulture, described the
habits of the Turkey Buzzard, I shall here merely add a few observations
necessary to complete its history.

This species is far from being known throughout the United States, for
it has never been seen farther eastward than the confines of New Jersey.
None, I believe, have been observed in New York; and on asking about
it in Massachusetts and Maine, I found that, excepting those persons
acquainted with our birds generally, none knew it. On my late northern
journeys I nowhere saw it. A very few remain and spend the winter in
New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where I have seen them only during summer,
and where they breed. As we proceed farther south, they become more and
more abundant. They are equally attached to maritime districts, and the
vicinity of the sea-shore, where they find abundance of food.

The flight of the Turkey Buzzard is graceful compared with that of the
Black Vulture. It sails admirably either high or low, with its wings
spread beyond the horizontal position, and their tips bent upward by
the weight of the body. After rising from the ground, which it does at
a single spring, it beats its wings only a very few times, to enable it
to proceed in its usual way of sailing. Like the Black Vultures, they
rise high in the air, and perform large circles, in company with those
birds, the Fork-tailed Hawk, Mississippi Kite, and the two species of
Crow. The Hawks, however, generally teaze them, and force them off toward
the ground.

They are gregarious, feed on all sorts of food, and suck the eggs
and devour the young of many species of Heron and other birds. In the
Floridas, I have, when shooting, been followed by some of them, to watch
the spot where I might deposit my game, which, if not carefully covered,
they would devour. They also eat birds of their own species, when they
find them dead. They are more elegant in form than the Black Vultures,
and walk well on the ground or the roofs of houses. They are daily seen
in the streets of the southern cities, along with their relatives, and
often roost with them on the same trees. They breed on the ground, or
at the bottom of hollow trees and prostrate trunks, and lay _only two
eggs_. These are large, of a light cream-colour, splashed toward the
great end with large irregular markings of black and brown. The young
somewhat resemble those of the Black Vulture, and take a long time before
they can fly. Both species drink water freely, and in doing this immerse
their bill to the base, and take a long draught at a time. They both
breed at the same period, or nearly so, and raise only one brood in the
season.

I have found birds of this species apparently very old, with the upper
parts of their mandibles, and the wrinkled skin around their eyes, so
diseased as to render them scarcely able to feed amongst others, all
of which seldom failed to take advantage of their infirmities. I have
represented the adult male in full plumage, along with a young bird,
procured in the autumn of its first year. The average weight of a full
grown bird is 6½ lb., about 1 lb. less than that of the Carrion Crow.


     CATHARTES AURA, ILLIGER, _Prodr._ p. 236.—_Ch. Bonaparte_,
     Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 22.—_Richards. and
     Swains._ Fauna Boreali-Amer. part ii. p. 4.

     TURKEY VULTURE or TURKEY BUZZARD, VULTUR AURA, _Wils._ Amer.
     Ornith. vol. ix. p. 96. pl. 75. fig. 1.—_Nuttall_, Manual,
     part i. p. 43.


Adult Male. Plate CLI. Fig. 1.

Bill nearly as long as the head, strong, straight at the base, compressed;
the upper mandible covered beyond the middle by the cere, its dorsal
outline nearly straight, being slightly undulated, its tip large, curved,
and pointed, and of a boney hardness; the edge with a slight undulation;
lower mandible with the end rounded, and having a broad groove. Nostrils
medial, approximate, oblong, pervious, of very large size, and forming
an open space, into which posteriorly open the two nasal tubes, which
are furnished each with a valve. Head elongated, small, neck rather
long, body robust. Feet strong; tarsus roundish, covered with small
hexagonal scales; toes scutellate above, the middle one much longer,
the two lateral nearly equal, and united to the middle one at the base
by a web, the hind-toe small. Claws arched, strong, acute, that of the
hind-toe smallest.

Plumage rather compact, with ordinary lustre, the back somewhat metallic.
The head and upper part of the neck are destitute of feathers, having
a red wrinkled skin, sparsely covered with short black hair, and downy
behind. Feathers of the neck full and rounded, concealing the naked crop.
Wings ample, long; the first quill rather short, the third and fourth
longest. Tail longish, rounded, of twelve broad straight feathers.

Bill at the tip yellowish-white; the cere and the naked part of the head
of a tint approaching to blood-red. Iris dark brown. Feet flesh-coloured,
tinged with yellow; claws black. The general colour of the plumage is
blackish-brown, deepest on the neck and under parts, the wing-coverts
broadly margined with brown; the back glossed with brown and greenish
tints; the tail purplish-black; the under parts of a sooty brown, on
the breast glossed with green.

Length 32 inches, extent of wings 6 feet 4 inches; bill 2½ along the
ridge, 2-2/12 along the gap; tarsus 2½, middle-toe 3½.


Young fully fledged. Plate CLI. Fig. 2.

The bill is, of course, shorter and more slender, its horny tip pale
blue, black on the back; the skin of the head is flesh-coloured, the
iris yellowish, the feet flesh-coloured. The plumage is nearly of the
same colour as in the adult.



THE WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH.

_SITTA CAROLINENSIS_, BRISS.

PLATE CLII. MALE AND FEMALE.


Only three species of Nuthatch have as yet been observed within the limits
of the United States. My opinion however is, that at least two more will
be discovered:—one larger than any of those known, in the high wooded
plains bordering the Pacific Ocean; the other, of nearly the size of
the present species, towards the boundary line of Mexico and the United
States.

Although the species now under consideration is found in all parts of our
extensive country, it is yet the least numerous; there being to appearance
more than three of the Brown-headed, and two of the Red-bellied, for
every one of the White-breasted. It is an inhabitant of the forest and
the orchard, frequently approaching to the very doors of the farm-houses
during winter, when it is not unusually seen tapping at the eaves beneath
the roof, thrusting itself into barns and houses, or searching for food
among the poultry _on the ground_, where it moves prettily by short hops.
During summer it gives a preference to the interior of the forest, and
lives in a retired and secluded manner, especially during the breeding
season. Although a lively bird, its actions are less animated, and it
exhibits less petulance and restlessness than the other species. It moves
alertly, however, when searching for food, climbing or retrograding
downwards or sidewise, with cheerfulness and a degree of liveliness,
which distinguish it at once from other birds. Now and then it has a
quaint look, if I may so speak, while watching the observer, clinging
to the bark head downward, and perhaps only a few feet distant from
him whom it well knows to be its enemy, or at least not its friend, for
many farmers, not distinguishing between it and the Sap-sucker (_Picus
pubescens_), shoot at it, as if assured that they are doing a commendable
action.

During the breeding season, the affection which this bird ordinarily shews
to its species, is greatly increased. Two of them may be seen busily
engaged in excavating a hole for their nest in the decayed portion of
the trunk or branch of a tree, all the time congratulating each other
in the tenderest manner. The male, ever conspicuous on such occasions,
works some, and carries off the slender chips, chiselled by the female.
He struts around her, peeps into the hole, chirrups at intervals, or
hovers about her on the wing. While she is sitting on her eggs, he seldom
absents himself many moments; now with a full bill he feeds her, now
returns to be assured that her time is pleasantly spent.

When the young come from the egg, they are fed with unremitting care. They
now issue from their wooden cave, and gently creep around its aperture.
There, while the genial rays of the summer's sun give vigour to their
tender bodies, and enrich their expanding plumage, the parents, faithful
guardians to the last, teach them how to fly, to ascend the tree with
care, and at length to provide for their own wants. Ah! where are the
moments which I have passed, in the fulness of ecstacy, contemplating
the progress of these amiable creatures! Alas! they are gone, those
summer days of hope and joy are fled, and the clouds of life's winter
are mustering in their gloomy array.

This species breeds twice in the year, in the Southern and Middle States;
seldom more than once, to the eastward of New York. In the State of
Maine, they work at their nest late in May; in Nova Scotia not until
June. Farther north I did not find them. Sometimes they are contented
with the hole bored by any small Woodpecker, or even breed in the decayed
hollow of a tree or fence. The eggs, five or six in number, are dull
white, spotted with brown at the larger end. They are laid on detached
particles of wood.

The notes of the White-breasted Nuthatch are remarkable on account of
their nasal sound. Ordinarily they resemble the monosyllables _hānk_,
_hānk_, _kānk_, _kānk_; but now and then in the spring, they emit a
sweeter kind of chirp, whenever the sexes meet, or when they are feeding
their young.

Its flight is rapid, and at times rather protracted. If crossing a river
or a large field, they rise high, and proceed with a tolerably regular
motion; but when passing from one tree to another, they form a gently
incurvated sweep. They alight on small branches or twigs, and now and
then betake themselves to the ground to search for food.

Their bill is strong and sharp, and they not unfrequently break acorns,
chestnuts, &c., by placing them in the crevices of the bark of trees, or
between the splinters of a fence-rail, where they are seen hammering at
them for a considerable time. The same spot is usually resorted to by
the Nuthatch as soon as it has proved to be a good and convenient one.
A great object seems to be to procure the larvæ entombed in the kernels
of the hard fruits, insects being at all times the favourite food of
these birds. They are fond of roosting in their own nest, to which I
believe many return year after year, simply cleaning or deepening it for
the purpose of depositing their eggs in greater security. Like others
of the tribe, they hang head-downwards to sleep, especially in a state
of captivity.

The young obtain their full plumage during winter. The only differences
between the male and the female are, a slight inferiority of the latter
as to size, and a somewhat less depth of colouring. Like the other two
species, they now and then alight on a top branch for an instant, in
the manner used by other birds.


     SITTA CAROLINENSIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 177.—_Lath._
     Index Ornith. vol. i. p. 262.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of
     Birds of the United States, p. 96.

     WHITE-BREASTED AMERICAN NUTHATCH, SITTA CAROLINENSIS, _Wils._
     Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 10. pl. 2. fig. 3.—_Nuttall_, Manual,
     vol. i. p. 581.


Adult Male. Plate CLII. Fig. 1.

Bill straight, of the length of the head, very hard, conico-subulate, a
little compressed, acute; upper mandible with the dorsal outline very
slightly arched, the edges sharp towards the point; lower mandible
smaller, of equal length, straight. Nostrils basal, round, half-closed
by a membrane, partially covered by the frontal feathers. The general
form is short and compact. Feet rather strong, the hind toe stout, and
as long as the middle toe, with a strong hooked claw; the claws arched,
compressed, acute.

Plumage soft, blended, with little gloss, excepting on the head. Wings
rather short, broad, the second primary longest. Tail short, broad,
even, of twelve rounded feathers.

Bill black, pale blue at the base of the lower mandible. Iris dark brown.
Feet brown. The upper part of the head and the hind neck deep black,
glossed with blue, that colour curving down on either side of the neck at
its base. The back, wing, and tail-coverts, and middle feathers of the
tail, light greyish-blue. Quills black, edged with bluish-grey; three
lateral tail feathers black, with a broad band of white near the end,
the rest black, excepting the middle ones. The sides of the head, space
above the eye, fore neck and breast white; abdomen and lower tail-coverts
brownish-red, with white tips; under wing-coverts black.

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 11; bill along the ridge 8/12, along
the gap 10/12; tarsus 8/12, middle toe 10/12.


Adult Female. Plate CLII. Fig. 2, 2.

The female resembles the male.



THE YELLOW-RUMP WARBLER.

_SYLVIA CORONATA_, LATH.

PLATE CLIII. MALE AND YOUNG.


This very abundant species I observed in East Florida, on the 1st of
March 1831, in full summer plumage. In South Carolina, no improvement
on its winter dress could be seen on the 18th of the same month. On the
10th of April, many were procured by my friend BACHMAN and myself, in
the neighbourhood of Charleston. They were in moult, especially about
the head and neck, where the new feathers were still inclosed in their
sheath; but so rapidly did the change take place, that, before a few
days had elapsed, they were in full plumage.

During a winter spent in the Floridas, I saw these birds daily, and
so had abundant opportunity of studying their manners. They were very
social among themselves, skipped by day along the piazzas, balanced
themselves in the air, opposite the sides of the houses, in search of
spiders and insects, rambled among the low bushes of the gardens, and
often dived among the large cabbage-leaves, where they searched for worms
and larvæ. At night they roosted on the branches of the orange trees,
in the luxuriant groves so abundant in that country. Frequently, in the
early part of warm mornings, I saw flocks of them fly off to sea until
they were out of sight, and again observed their return to land about
an hour after. This circumstance I considered as indicative of their
desire to migrate, and as shewing that their journeys are performed by
day.

In the beginning of May, I found them so abundant in Maine, that the
skirts of the woods seemed alive with them. They appeared to be merely
waiting for warmer weather, that they might resume their journey
northwards. As we advanced towards Labrador, I observed them at every
place where we happened to land. They were plentiful in the Magdaleine
Islands; and when we landed on the Labrador coast, they were among the
first birds observed by our party.

As Professor MACCULLOCH of the Pictou University informed me, few
breed in the province of Nova Scotia, nor had his sons, who are active
collectors, ever found one of their nests in the vicinity of that town.
I am indebted to his liberality for a nest with four eggs, which formed
part of his fine collection. Although they are abundant in Labrador, we
did not find any of their nests; but we had the good fortune to procure
several young birds scarcely able to fly. The nest above mentioned
was placed near the extremity of the branch of a low fir-tree, about
five feet from the ground. It resembles that of the _Sylvia æstiva_ of
Latham, being firm, compact, the outer parts formed of silky fibres from
different plants attached to the twigs near it by means of glutinous
matter, mixed with stripes of the inner bark of some tree unknown to me.
Within this is a deep and warm bed of thistle-down, and the inner layer
consists of feathers and the fine hair of small quadrupeds. The eggs
are rather large, of a light rosy tint, the shell thin and transparent;
they are sparingly dotted with reddish-brown near the larger end, but
in a circular manner, so that the extremity is unspotted.

This species feeds on insects, is an expert fly catcher, and a great
devourer of caterpillars. During winter, however, its principal food
consists of berries of various kinds, especially those of the Myrtle
and Pokeweed. They also feed on the seeds of various grasses. When, at
this season, a warm day occurs, and the insects are excited to activity,
the Warblers are sure to be seen in pursuit of them. The rows of trees
about the plantations are full of them, and, from the topmost to the
lowest branches, they are seen gliding upwards, downwards, and in every
direction, in full career after their prey, and seldom missing their
aim. At this time of the year, they emit, at every movement, a single
_tweet_, so very different from that of any other Warbler, that one can
instantly recognise the species by it among a dozen. They rarely enter
the woodlands, but prefer the neighbourhood of cultivated or old fields,
the nurseries, gardens, and trees about towns, villages, or farm-houses,
or by the sides of roads. They are careless of man, allowing him to
approach within a few yards, or even feet, without manifesting much
alarm. As they breed so far north, it is probable that they raise only
one brood in the season. They return south early in September, already
clad in their winter dress.


     SYLVIA CORONATA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 538.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 78.

     YELLOW-RUMP WARBLER, SYLVIA CORONATA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. ii. p. 138. pl. 17. fig. 4. and vol. v. p. 121. pl. 45.
     fig. 3.

     YELLOW-CROWNED WARBLER, OR MYRTLE BIRD, SYLVIA CORONATA,
     _Nuttall_, Manual, p. 361.


Adult Male. Plate CLIII. fig. 1.

Bill short, straight, rather strong, tapering, compressed towards the end;
upper mandible nearly straight in its dorsal outline, the tip slightly
declinate, the edges sharp, with a slight notch near the tip, nostrils
basal, oval, covered above by a membrane, and partially concealed by the
feathers. Head of ordinary size, neck short, body rather slender. Feet of
ordinary length, rather slender; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly
with a few long scutella, sharp behind; toes slender, free, the outer
united to the second joint, the hind toe proportionally large; claws
arched, slender, much compressed, acute.

Plumage blended, soft, without lustre. Wings longish, little curved;
second and third quills longest; fourth almost equal; first scarcely
shorter. Tail rather long, slightly emarginate, nearly even, the lateral
feathers bent outwards.

Bill and feet black. Iris brown. The general colour of the plumage above
is deep ash-grey, streaked with black; crown, rump, and sides of the
head, rich yellow. Secondary coverts, and first row of large coverts
tipped with white, of which there are thus two bars across the wing.
Quills and tail dark-brown, slightly margined with greyish-brown; outer
margin of the two outer tail feathers on each side white, and a spot of
the same colour on the inner webs of the three outer towards the end.
A small white line over the eye, and a touch of the same under it; lore
and cheek black. Throat white, lower neck, fore part of the breast and
sides variegated with black and white, the crest of the under parts white.

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 8½; bill along the back 4/12; along
the edge 5½/12; tarsus ¾.


Adult Female. Plate CLIII. Fig. 2.

The Female is rather less, and wants the yellow spot on the crown,
although the feathers there are tinged with that colour at the base.
The upper parts are of light brownish-olive, streaked with dusky, the
lower parts whitish, tinged with olive, and streaked with dusky; the
yellow spots on the breast and rump paler, and tinged with green. Feet
and legs blackish-brown.


IRIS VERSICOLOR.

     IRIS VERSICOLOR, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 233. _Pursh_,
     Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 29.—TRIANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._
     IRIDES, _Juss._

Beardless; the stem round, flexuous, equal in height to the leaves,
which are ensiform; the stigmas equalling the inner petals; capsules
ovate, with their angles obtuse. This Iris is extremely common in all
the swampy parts of the Southern States, and extends far up along the
Mississippi. In many places I have seen beds of a quarter of an acre.
It is cultivated here and there in gardens.

The Smilax represented grows abundantly in the same localities, climbing
over any low bush so profusely as to cover it. The berries when ripe
are eaten by many species of birds.



THE TENNESSEE WARBLER.

_SYLVIA PEREGRINA_, WILS.

PLATE CLIV. MALE.


So very rare does this little bird seem to be in the United States, that
in the course of all my rambles I never saw more than three individuals
of the species. The first was procured near Bayou Sara, in the State of
Louisiana, in the spring of 1821, when I drew it with the holly twig on
which it was standing when I shot it. The second I obtained in Louisiana
also, not many miles from the same spot, in the autumn of 1829, and the
last at Key West, in May 1832. Of its migrations or place of breeding
I know nothing.

It is an active and nimble species, an expert catcher of flies, fond
of hanging to the extremities of branches, like several others of the
tribe. It utters a single mellow _tweet_, as it passes from one branch
to another in search of food, or while on the wing, when it moves in a
desultory manner for some distance, diving suddenly towards the tree on
which it intends to alight. All the individuals which I procured were
males.


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

     TENNESSEE WARBLER, SYLVIA PEREGRINA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. iii. p. 83. pl. 25. fig. 2.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i.
     p. 412.

Bill of moderate length, thick at the base, tapering, straight, acute;
upper mandible nearly straight in its dorsal outline, the edges sharp,
without a notch. Nostrils basal, oval, covered above by a membrane, and
partially concealed by the feathers. Head of ordinary size, neck short,
body rather slender. Feet of ordinary length, rather slender; tarsus
compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long scutella, sharp behind;
toes slender, free, the outer united to the second joint, the hind-toe
proportionally large; claws arched, slender, much compressed, acute.

Plumage blended, soft. Wings longish, little curved; the second and third
quills longest. Tail rather longish, nearly even, the lateral feathers
bent outwards.

Bill dark brown, paler beneath. Iris hazel. Feet brown, tinged with blue.
The general colour above is yellow-olive, the head darker, the under
parts cream-coloured, fading behind into white. A pale yellow line over
the eye; quills dark brown, the primaries margined with yellowish-grey;
the wings without bands.

Length 4½ inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the back 4¼/12, along
the edge 6/12; tarsus 8/12.


ILEX LAXIFLORA.

     ILEX LAXIFLORA, _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 117.
     —TETRANDRIA TETRAGYNIA, _Linn._ RHAMMI, _Juss._

Leaves ovate, sinuato-dentate, spinous, shiny, flat; peduncles
supra-axillar, aggregated on the younger branches. An evergreen shrub,
with yellowish-red berries.



THE BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER.

_SYLVIA CANADENSIS_, LATH.

PLATE CLV. MALE.


I have met with this species in every portion of the Southern and Western
States, where, however, it is seen only in the early part of spring and
in autumn, on its passage to and from its summer residence. In South
Carolina it arrives about the 25th of March, and becomes more abundant
in April; but it has left that country by the 10th of May. During its
stay there, it keeps in deep woods, where it may be seen passing among
the boughs, at a height of from ten to twenty feet from the ground.

Proceeding eastward, we find it more numerous, but residing only in
the depth of the morasses and swampy thickets. I saw many individuals
of the species in the Great Pine Forest of Pennsylvania, after which I
traced it through the upper parts of the State of New York into Maine,
the British Provinces, and the Magdaleine Islands, in the Bay of St
Lawrence. In Newfoundland I saw none, and in Labrador only a dead one,
dry and shrivelled, deposited like a mummy in the fissure of a rock,
where the poor bird had fallen a victim to the severity of the climate,
from which it had vainly endeavoured to shelter itself.

I am indebted to the generous and most hospitable Professor MACCULLOCH
of Pictou for the nest and eggs of this Warbler, which had been found by
his sons, who are keen observers of birds. The nest is usually placed on
the horizontal branch of a fir-tree, at a height of seven or eight feet
from the ground. It is composed of slips of bark, mosses, and fibrous
roots, and is lined with fine grass, on which is laid a warm bed of
feathers. The eggs, four or five in number, are of a rosy tint, and,
like those of most other Sylviæ, scantily sprinkled with reddish-brown
at the larger end. Only one brood is raised in a season. The young, when
fully fledged, resemble their parents in the colours of their plumage,
which, however, is mixed with duller tints, the differences indicative
of the sex being already observable.

The Black-throated Blue Warbler is an expert catcher of flies, pursues
insects to a considerable distance in all directions, and in seizing
them snaps its bill so as to produce a clicking sound. It now and then
alights on a low plant, such as that represented in the plate, and moves
along the branches searching for pupæ, ants, and insects. I have never
heard its love-song, but its common note is a rather melancholy _cheep_.
I am inclined to believe that it breeds in the State of Maine, having
seen several individuals of both sexes not far from Eastport, in the
beginning of June 1833, when several other species had nests.


     SYLVIA CANADENSIS, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 539.—_Ch.
     Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 84.

     BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. ii.
     p. 115. pl. 15. fig. 7.—_Nuttall_, Manual, p. 398.


Adult Male. Plate CLV.

Bill short, nearly straight, tapering, depressed at the base, compressed
towards the end; upper mandible slightly arched in its dorsal outline,
and in the sharp notchless edge. Nostrils basal, oval, covered above by
a membrane, and partially concealed by the feathers. Head of ordinary
size, neck short, body rather slender. Feet of ordinary length, slender;
tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long scutella, sharp
behind; toes slender, free, the outer united to the second joint, the
hind-toe proportionally large; claws arched, slender, much compressed,
acute.

Plumage blended, soft, slightly glossed. Wings longish, straight, third
quill longish, second almost equal, fourth next in length, and not much
longer than the first. Tail of moderate length, even, the lateral feathers
bent outwards towards the end. Bristles at the base of the bill distinct.

Bill black. Iris dark brown. Feet light brown. The general colour of the
plumage above is deep greyish-blue. Quills, coverts, and tail-feathers
black, edged with blue; base of the primaries, excepting the first,
white, forming a conspicuous spot on the wing; inner margin of most of
the quills and tips of the secondaries, white, of which there is a large
spot on the inner webs of the four outer quill-feathers on each side.
Margin of the forehead all round, a line over the eye, the sides of the
head, fore-neck and sides of the body deep black; the rest of the under
parts white.

Length 5 inches, extent of wings 7½; bill along the back 4/12, along
the edge 6/12; tarsus 9/12.

The Female resembles the male, but is somewhat paler in the colours.


THE CANADIAN COLUMBINE.

     AQUILEGIA CANADENSIS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 1247.
     _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 372.—POLYANDRIA PENTAGYNIA,
     _Linn._ RANUNCULACEÆ, _Juss._

This species, which has the flowers of a bright red mixed with yellow, and
is characterised by having the horns of the nectaries or petals straight,
grows in the crevices of rocks, and in dry places near rivulets.



THE FLORIDA KEYS.


As the "Marion" neared the inlet called "Indian Key," which is situated
on the eastern coast of the peninsula of Florida, my heart swelled with
uncontrollable delight. Our vessel once over the coral reef that every
where stretches along the shore like a great wall, reared by an army
of giants, we found ourselves in safe anchoring ground, within a few
furlongs of the land. The next moment saw the oars of a boat propelling
us towards the shore, and in brief time we stood on the desired beach.
With what delightful feelings did we gaze on the objects around us!—the
gorgeous flowers, the singular and beautiful plants, the luxuriant trees.
The balmy air which we breathed filled us with animation, so pure and
salubrious did it seem to be. The birds which we saw were almost all
new to us; their lovely forms appeared to be arrayed in more brilliant
apparel than I had ever before seen, and as they gambolled in happy
playfulness among the bushes, or glided over the light green waters, we
longed to form a more intimate acquaintance with them.

Students of nature spend little time in introductions, especially
when they present themselves to persons who feel an interest in their
pursuits. This was the case with Mr THRUSTON, the Deputy Collector of
the island, who shook us all heartily by the hand, and in a trice had a
boat manned at our service. Accompanied by him, his pilot and fishermen,
off we went, and after a short pull landed on a large key. Few minutes
had elapsed, when shot after shot might be heard, and down came whirling
through the air the objects of our desire. One thrust himself into the
tangled groves that covered all but the beautiful coral beach that in
a continued line bordered the island, while others gazed on the glowing
and diversified hues of the curious inhabitants of the deep. I saw one
of my party rush into the limpid element, to seize on a crab, that with
claws extended upwards, awaited his approach, as if determined not to
give way. A loud voice called him back to the land, for sharks are as
abundant along these shores as pebbles, and the hungry prowlers could
not have got a more savoury dinner.

The pilot, besides being a first-rate shot, possessed a most intimate
acquaintance with the country. He had been a "conch-diver," and no matter
what number of fathoms measured the distance between the surface of the
water and its craggy bottom, to seek for curious shells in their retreat
seemed to him more pastime than toil. Not a Cormorant or Pelican, a
Flamingo, an Ibis, or Heron, had ever in his days formed its nest without
his having marked the spot; and as to the Keys to which the Doves are
wont to resort, he was better acquainted with them than many fops are
with the contents of their pockets. In a word, he positively knew every
channel that led to these islands, and every cranny along their shores.
For years his employment had been to hunt those singular animals called
Sea Cows or Marratees, and he had conquered hundreds of them, "merely,"
as he said, because the flesh and hide bring "a fair price," at Havannah.
He never went anywhere to land without "Long Tom," which proved indeed
to be a wonderful gun, and which made smart havoc when charged with
"groceries," a term by which he designated the large shot which he used.
In like manner, he never paddled his light canoe without having by his
side the trusty javelin, with which he unerringly transfixed such fishes
as he thought fit either for market or for his own use. In attacking
turtles, netting, or overturning them, I doubt if his equal ever lived
on the Florida coast. No sooner was he made acquainted with my errand,
than he freely offered his best services, and from that moment until I
left Key West he was seldom out of my hearing.

While the young gentlemen who accompanied us were engaged in procuring
plants, shells, and small birds, he tapped me on the shoulder, and with
a smile said to me, "Come along, I'll shew you something better worth
your while." To the boat we betook ourselves, with the Captain and only
a pair of tars, for more he said would not answer. The yawl for a while
was urged at a great rate, but as we approached a point, the oars were
taken in, and the pilot alone skulling, desired us to make ready, for
in a few minutes we should have "rare sport." As we advanced, the more
slowly did we move, and the most profound silence was maintained, until
suddenly coming almost in contact with a thick shrubbery of mangroves,
we beheld, right before us, a multitude of pelicans. A discharge of
artillery seldom produced more effect;—the dead, the dying, and the
wounded, fell from the trees upon the water, while those unscathed flew
screaming through the air in terror and dismay. "There," said he, "did
not I tell you so; is it not rare sport?" The birds, one after another,
were lodged under the gunwales, when the pilot desired the Captain to
order the lads to pull away. Within about half a mile we reached the
extremity of the key. "Pull away," cried the pilot, "never mind them on
the wing, for those black rascals don't mind a little firing—now, boys,
lay her close under the nests." And there we were, with four hundred
cormorants' nests over our heads. The birds were sitting, and when we
fired, the number that dropped as if dead and plunged into the water was
such, that I thought by some unaccountable means or other we had killed
the whole colony. You would have smiled at the loud laugh and curious
gestures of the pilot. "Gentlemen," said he, "almost a blank shot!" And
so it was, for, on following the birds as one after another peeped up
from the water, we found only a few unable to take to wing. "Now," said
the pilot, "had you waited until _I had spoken_ to the black villains,
you might have killed a score or more of them." On inspection, we found
that our shots had lodged in the tough dry twigs of which these birds
form their nests, and that we had lost the more favourable opportunity
of hitting them, by not waiting until they rose. "Never mind," said the
pilot, "if you wish it, you may load the _Lady of the Green Mantle_[3]
with them in less than a week. Stand still, my lads; and now, gentlemen,
in ten minutes you and I will bring down a score of them." And so we
did. As we rounded the island, a beautiful bird of the species called
Peale's Egret, came up and was shot. We now landed, took in the rest
of our party, and returned to Indian Key, where we arrived three hours
before sunset.

The sailors and other individuals to whom my name and pursuits had
become known, carried our birds to the pilot's house. His good wife had
a room ready for me to draw in, and my assistant might have been seen
busily engaged in skinning, while GEORGE LEHMAN was making a sketch of
the lovely isle.

Time is ever precious to the student of nature. I placed several birds
in their natural attitudes, and began to outline them. A dance had
been prepared also, and no sooner was the sun lost to our eye, than
males and females, including our captain and others from the vessel,
were seen advancing gaily towards the house in full apparel. The birds
were skinned, the sketch was on paper, and I told my young men to amuse
themselves. As to myself, I could not join in the merriment, for, full
of the remembrance of you, reader, and of the patrons of my work both
in America and in Europe, I went on "grinding"—not on an organ, like
the Lady of Bras d'Or, but on paper, to the finishing, not merely of my
outlines, but of my notes respecting the objects seen this day.

The room adjoining that in which I worked, was soon filled. Two miserable
fiddlers screwed their screeching silken strings—not an inch of catgut
graced their instruments; and the bouncing of brave lads and fair lasses
shook the premises to the foundation. One with a slip came down heavily
on the floor, and the burst of laughter that followed echoed over the
isle. Diluted claret was handed round to cool the ladies, while a beverage
of more potent energies warmed their partners. After supper our captain
returned to the Marion, and I, with my young men, slept in light swinging
hammocks under the eaves of the piazza.

It was the end of April, when the nights were short and the days
therefore long. Anxious to turn every moment to account, we were on
board Mr THRUSTON'S boat at three next morning. Pursuing our way through
the deep and tortuous channels that every where traverse the immense
muddy soap-like flats that stretch from the outward Keys to the Main, we
proceeded on our voyage of discovery. Here and there we met with great
beds of floating sea-weeds, which shewed us that Turtles were abundant
there, these masses being the refuse of their feeding. On talking to
Mr THRUSTON of the nature of these muddy flats, he mentioned that he
had once been lost amongst their narrow channels for several days and
nights, when in pursuit of some smugglers' boat, the owners of which
were better acquainted with the place than the men who were along with
him. Although in full sight of several of the Keys, as well as of the
main land, he was unable to reach either, until a heavy gale raised the
water, when he sailed directly over the flats, and returned home almost
exhausted with fatigue and hunger. His present pilot often alluded to
the circumstance afterwards, ending with a great laugh, and asserting
that had he "been there, the rascals would not have escaped."

Coming under a Key on which multitudes of Frigate Pelicans had begun
to form their nests, we shot a good number of them, and observed their
habits. The boastings of our pilot were here confirmed by the exploits
which he performed with his long gun, and on several occasions he brought
down a bird from a height of fully a hundred yards. The poor birds,
unaware of the range of our artillery, sailed calmly along, so that it
was not difficult for "Long Tom," or rather for his owner, to furnish
us with as many as we required. The day was spent in this manner, and
towards night we returned, laden with booty, to the hospitable home of
the pilot.

The next morning was delightful. The gentle sea-breeze glided over the
flowery isle, the horizon was clear, and all was silent save the long
breakers that rushed over the distant reefs. As we were proceeding
towards some Keys, seldom visited by men, the sun rose from the bosom
of the waters with a burst of glory that flashed on my soul the idea
of that power which called into existence so magnificent an object. The
moon, thin and pale, as if ashamed to shew her feeble light, concealed
herself in the dim west. The surface of the waters shone in its tremulous
smoothness, and the deep blue of the clear heavens was pure as the world
that lies beyond them. The Heron heavily flew towards the land, like the
glutton retiring at day-break, with well-lined paunch, from the house of
some wealthy patron of good cheer. The Night Heron and the Owl, fearful
of day, with hurried flight sought safety in the recesses of the deepest
swamps; while the Gulls and Terns, ever cheerful, gambolled over the
water, exulting in the prospect of abundance. I also exulted in hope,
my whole frame seemed to expand; and our sturdy crew shewed, by their
merry faces, that nature had charms for them too. How much of beauty and
joy is lost to them who never view the rising sun, and of whose waking
existence the best half is nocturnal!

Twenty miles our men had to row before we reached "Sandy Island," and as
on its level shores we all leaped, we plainly saw the southernmost cape
of the Floridas. The flocks of birds that covered the shelly beaches,
and those hovering over head, so astonished us that we could for a
while scarcely believe our eyes. The first volley procured a supply of
food sufficient for two days' consumption. Such tales, you have already
been told, are well enough at a distance from the place to which they
refer; but you will doubtless be still more surprised when I tell you
that our first fire among a crowd of the Great Godwits laid prostrate
sixty-five of these birds. Rose-coloured Curlews stalked gracefully
beneath the mangroves; Purple Herons rose at almost every step we
took, and each cactus supported the nest of a White Ibis. The air was
darkened by whistling wings, while, on the waters, floated Gallinules
and other interesting birds. We formed a kind of shed with sticks and
grass, the sailor cook commenced his labours, and ere long we supplied
the deficiencies of our fatigued frames. The business of the day over,
we secured ourselves from insects by means of musquito-nets, and were
lulled to rest by the cacklings of the beautiful Purple Gallinules!

In the morning we arose from our sandy beds, and—



THE AMERICAN CROW.

_CORVUS AMERICANUS._

PLATE CLVI. MALE.


The Crow is an extremely shy bird, having found familiarity with man
no way to his advantage. He is also cunning—at least he is so called,
because he takes care of himself and his brood. The state of anxiety,
I may say of terror, in which he is constantly kept, would be enough to
spoil the temper of any creature. Almost every person has an antipathy
to him, and scarcely one of his race would be left in the land, did he
not employ all his ingenuity, and take advantage of all his experience,
in counteracting the evil machinations of his enemies. I think I see him
perched on the highest branch of a tree, watching every object around.
He observes a man on horseback travelling towards him; he marks his
movements in silence. No gun does the rider carry,—no, that is clear;
but perhaps he has pistols in the holsters of his saddle!—of that the
Crow is not quite sure, as he cannot either see them or "smell powder."
He beats the points of his wings, jerks his tail once or twice, bows his
head, and merrily sounds the joy which he feels at the moment. Another
man he spies walking across the field towards his stand, but he has only
a stick. Yonder comes a boy shouldering a musket loaded with large shot
for the express purpose of killing crows! The bird immediately sounds
an alarm; he repeats his cries, increasing their vehemence the nearer
his enemy advances. All the crows within half a mile round are seen
flying off, each repeating the well known notes of the trusty watchman,
who, just as the young gunner is about to take aim, betakes himself to
flight. But alas, he chances unwittingly to pass over a sportsman, whose
dexterity is greater; the mischievous prowler aims his piece, fires;—down
towards the earth broken-winged, falls the luckless bird in an instant.
"It is nothing but a crow," quoth the sportsman, who proceeds in search
of game, and leaves the poor creature to die in the most excruciating
agonies.

Wherever within the Union the laws encourage the destruction of this
species, it is shot in great numbers for the sake of the premium offered
for each crow's head. You will perhaps be surprised, reader, when I tell
you that in one single State, in the course of a season, 40,000 were
shot, besides the multitudes of young birds killed in their nests. Must
I add to this slaughter other thousands destroyed by the base artifice
of laying poisoned grain along the fields to tempt these poor birds?
Yes, I will tell you of all this too. The natural feelings of every
one who admires the bounty of Nature in providing abundantly for the
subsistence of all her creatures, prompt me to do so. Like yourself, I
admire all her wonderful works, and respect her wise intentions, even
when her laws are far beyond our limited comprehension.

The Crow devours myriads of grubs every day of the year, that might lay
waste the farmer's fields; it destroys quadrupeds innumerable, every one
of which is an enemy to his poultry and his flocks. Why then should the
farmer be so ungrateful, when he sees such services rendered to him by
a providential friend, as to persecute that friend even to the death?
Unless he plead ignorance, surely he ought to be found guilty at the bar
of common sense. Were the soil of the United States, like that of some
other countries, nearly exhausted by long continued cultivation, human
selfishness in such a matter might be excused, and our people might look
on our Crows, as other people look on theirs; but every individual in
the land is aware of the superabundance of food that exists among us,
and of which a portion may well be spared for the feathered beings,
that tend to enhance our pleasures by the sweetness of their song, the
innocence of their lives, or their curious habits. Did not every American
open his door and his heart to the wearied traveller, and afford him
food, comfort and rest, I would at once give up the argument; but when
I know by experience the generosity of the people, I cannot but wish
that they would reflect a little, and become more indulgent toward our
poor, humble, harmless, and even most serviceable bird, the Crow.

The American Crow is common in all parts of the United States. It becomes
gregarious immediately after the breeding season, when it forms flocks
sometimes containing hundreds, or even thousands. Towards autumn, the
individuals bred in the Eastern Districts almost all remove to the
Southern States, where they spend the winter in vast numbers.

The voice of our Crow is very different from that of the European species
which comes nearest to it in appearance, so much so indeed, that this
circumstance, together with others relating to its organization, has
induced me to distinguish it, as you see, by a peculiar name, that of
_Corvus Americanus_. I hope you will think me excusable in this, should
my ideas prove to be erroneous, when I tell you that the Magpie of
Europe is assuredly the very same bird as that met with in the western
wilds of the United States, although some ornithologists have maintained
the contrary, and that I am not disposed to make differences in name
where none exist in nature. I consider our Crow as rather less than the
European one, and the form of its tongue does not resemble that of the
latter bird; besides the Carrion Crow of that country seldom associates
in numbers, but remains in pairs, excepting immediately after it has
brought its young abroad, when the family remains undispersed for some
weeks.

Wherever our Crow is abundant, the Raven is rarely found, and _vice
versa_. From Kentucky to New Orleans, Ravens are extremely rare, whereas
in that course you find one or more Crows at every half mile. On the
contrary, far up the Missouri, as well as on the coast of Labrador, few
Crows are to be seen, while Ravens are common. I found the former birds
equally scarce in Newfoundland.

Omnivorous like the Raven, our Crow feeds on fruits, seeds, and vegetables
of almost every kind; it is equally fond of snakes, frogs, lizards, and
other small reptiles; it looks upon various species of worms, grubs and
insects as dainties; and if hard pressed by hunger, it will alight upon
and devour even putrid carrion. It is as fond of the eggs of other birds
as is the Cuckoo, and, like the Titmouse, it will, during a paroxysm
of anger, break in the skull of a weak or wounded bird. It delights in
annoying its twilight enemies the Owls, the Opossum, and the Racoon,
and will even follow by day a fox, a wolf, a panther, or in fact any
other carnivorous beast, as if anxious that man should destroy them for
their mutual benefit. It plunders the fields of their superabundance,
and is blamed for so doing, but it is seldom praised when it chases the
thieving Hawk from the poultry-yard.

The American Crow selects with uncommon care its breeding place. You may
find its nest in the interior of our most dismal swamps, or on the sides
of elevated and precipitous rocks, but almost always as much concealed
from the eye of man as possible. They breed in almost every portion of
the Union, from the Southern Cape of the Floridas to the extremities of
Maine, and probably as far westward as the Pacific Ocean. The period of
nestling varies from February to the beginning of June, according to the
latitude of the place. Its scarcity on the coast of Labrador, furnishes
one of the reasons that have induced me to believe it different from the
Carrion Crow of Europe; for there I met with several species of birds
common to both countries, which seldom enter the United States farther
than the vicinity of our most eastern boundaries.

The nest, however, greatly resembles that of the European Crow, as
much, in fact, as that of the American Magpie resembles the nest of the
European. It is formed externally of dry sticks, interwoven with grasses,
and is within thickly plastered with mud or clay, and lined with fibrous
roots and feathers. The eggs are from four to six, of a pale greenish
colour, spotted and clouded with a purplish-grey and brownish-green.
In the Southern States they raise two broods in the season, but to the
eastward seldom more than one. Both sexes incubate, and their parental
care and mutual attachment are not surpassed by those of any other bird.
Although the nests of this species often may be found near each other,
their proximity is never such as occurs in the case of the Fish-Crow,
of which many nests may be seen on the same tree.

When the nest of this species happens to be discovered, the faithful pair
raise such a hue and cry that every Crow in the neighbourhood immediately
comes to their assistance, passing in circles high over the intruder
until he has retired, or following him, if he has robbed it, as far as
their regard for the safety of their own will permit them. As soon as
the young leave the nest, the family associates with others, and in this
manner they remain in flocks till spring. Many crows' nests may be found
within a few acres of the same wood, and in this particular their habits
accord more with those of the Rooks of Europe (_Corvus frugilegus_),
which, as you very well know, breed and spend their time in communities.
The young of our Crow, like that of the latter species, are tolerable
food when taken a few days before the period of their leaving the nest.

The flight of the American Crow is swift, protracted, and at times
performed at a great elevation. They are now and then seen to sail among
the Turkey Buzzards or Carrion Crows, in company with their relatives
the Fish-Crows, none of the other birds, however, shewing the least
antipathy towards them, although the Vultures manifest dislike whenever
a White-headed Eagle comes among them.

In the latter part of autumn and in winter, in the Southern States,
this Crow is particularly fond of frequenting burnt grounds. Even
while the fire is raging in one part of the fields, the woods, or the
prairies, where tall grass abounds, the Crows are seen in great numbers
in the other, picking up and devouring the remains of mice and other
small quadrupeds, as well as lizards, snakes, and insects, which have
been partly destroyed by the flames. At the same season they retire in
immense numbers to roost by the margins of ponds, lakes, and rivers,
covered with a luxuriant growth of rank weeds or cat-tails. They may
be seen proceeding to such places more than an hour before sunset, in
long straggling lines, and in silence, and are joined by the Grakles,
Starlings, and Reed Birds, while the Fish-Crows retire from the very same
parts to the interior of the woods many miles distant from any shores.

No sooner has the horizon brightened at the approach of day, than the
Crows sound a reveillé, and then with mellowed notes, as it were, engage
in a general thanksgiving for the peaceful repose they have enjoyed. After
this they emit their usual barking notes, as if consulting each other
respecting the course they ought to follow. Then parties in succession
fly off to pursue their avocations, and relieve the reeds from the weight
that bent them down.

The Crow is extremely courageous in encountering any of its winged
enemies. Several individuals may frequently be seen pursuing a Hawk or
an Eagle with remarkable vigour, although I never saw or heard of one
pouncing on any bird for the purpose of preying on it. They now and then
teaze the Vultures, when those foul birds are alighted on trees, with
their wings spread out, but they soon desist, for the Vultures pay no
attention to them.

The most remarkable feat of the Crow, is the nicety with which it, like
the Jay, pierces an egg with its bill, in order to carry it off, and eat
it with security. In this manner I have seen it steal, one after another,
all the eggs of a wild Turkey's nest. You will perceive, reader, that
I endeavour to speak of the Crow with all due impartiality, not wishing
by any means to conceal its faults, nor withholding my testimony to its
merits, which are such as I can well assure the farmer, that were it not
for its race, thousands of corn stalks would every year fall prostrate,
in consequence of being cut over close to the ground by the destructive
grubs which are called "cut-worms."

I never saw a pet Crow in the United States, and therefore cannot say
with how much accuracy they may imitate the human voice, or, indeed, if
they possess the power of imitating it at all, which I very much doubt,
as in their natural state they never evince any talents for mimicry. I
cannot say if it possess the thieving propensities attributed by authors
to the European Crow.

Its gait, while on the ground, is elevated and graceful, its ordinary mode
of progression being a sedate walk, although it occasionally hops when
under excitement. It not unfrequently alights on the backs of cattle,
to pick out the worms lurking in their skin, in the same manner as the
Magpie, Fish-Crow, and Cow-bird. Its note or cry may be imitated by the
syllables _cāw, cāw, cāw_, being different from the cry of the European
Carrion Crow, and resembling the distant bark of a small dog.

At Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania I saw a pair of Crows perfectly white, in
the possession of Mr LAMPDIN, the owner of the museum there, who assured
me that five which were found in the nest were of the same colour.

I have placed the pensive oppressed Crow of our country on a beautiful
branch of the Black Walnut tree, loaded with nuts, on the lower twig of
which I have represented the delicate nest of our Common Humming Bird,
to fulfil the promise which I made when writing the history of that
species for my first volume.

In conclusion, I would again address our farmers, and tell them that
if they persist in killing Crows, the best season for doing so is when
their corn begins to ripen.


     CORVUS AMERICANUS.

     CORVUS CORONE, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 56.—_Nuttall_, Manual, p. 209.—_Swains. and
     Richards._ Fauna Bor.-Amer. vol. ii. p. 291.

     THE CROW, CORVUS CORONE, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iv. p. 79.
     pl. 35 fig. 3.


Adult Male. Plate CLVI.

Bill longish, straight, robust, compressed; upper mandible with the
dorsal line a little convex, declinate towards the end, the sides
convex; lower mandible straight, the sides inclined obliquely outwards;
the edges of both sharp and inflected. Nostrils basal, lateral, round,
covered by bristly feathers, which are directed forwards. Head large,
neck of ordinary length, body of moderate proportions, the whole form
rather compact and not inelegant. Legs of moderate length, strong; tarsus
anteriorly scutellate, rather longer than the middle toe; toes scutellate
above, separated almost to the base; first, second, and fourth nearly
equal in length, third longest; claws moderate, arched, compressed, acute.

Plumage of the back compact, of the head and neck blended, and glossy,
of the lower parts rather loose. Stiff bristly feathers with disunited
barbs over the nostrils, directed forwards and adpressed. Wings long,
first primary short, fourth longest; primaries tapering, secondaries
broad, the outer abrupt with a minute acumen, the inner rounded. Tail
rather long, rounded, of twelve nearly straight, rounded feathers, their
shafts distinctly undulated.

Beak, tarsi, toes and claws, black. Iris brown. The general colour of
the plumage is deep black, with purplish-blue reflections, the hind
parts of the neck tinged with purplish-brown; the lower parts less glossy.

Length 18 inches, extent of wings 3 feet 2 inches; bill along the ridge
2-2/12; tarsus 2½.

The Female differs from the Male in being less glossy, but the difference
is not very perceptible. The young when fully fledged are of a rather
dull brownish-black, with the blue and purple reflections much less
brilliant.

After a careful comparison of specimens of the European Carrion Crow with
others of the American Crow, I have found decided differences, which to
me seem quite sufficient to set the question of their identity at rest.

The European Crow is larger than the American; the length of the former
being 20 inches, that of the latter 18; and the wing from the flexure
to the extremity is proportional, being in the one 13¼ inches, in the
other 12.

The bill is stronger and deeper, more convex on the sides, and with the
edges more involute in the Carrion Crow than in the American Crow, the
depth at the base in the former being 10/12, in the latter 8½/12.

The scutella of the tarsus in both are 10, but the feet of the Carrion
Crow are much stronger and its toes and claws larger than those of the
other. In the European Crow, the fourth primary is longest, the third
almost equal, and this is also the case in the American, although slight
differences occur in individuals.

The principal character besides the different form of the bill, is
to be found in the feathers of the neck. In the European bird, the
feathers of the hind neck are narrow, and although blended, have their
points distinct; while in the American bird, they are broad, rounded,
and perfectly blended, so that their individual form cannot be traced.
The feathers of the fore neck in the former are lanceolate, compact
at the end, and, although shorter, resemble those of the Raven; but in
the American Crow they are three times as broad, rounded, and entirely
blended.

Lastly, the American species has a decided purplish-brown tinge on the
neck, while the European bird has that part glossed with green and blue.

I am happy on this occasion to have an opportunity of referring you
to an excellent paper, on the specific characters of birds, by Mr
MACGILLIVRAY, which you will find in the Transactions of the Wernerian
Natural History Society, and in which he shews the great advantage that
may be derived from attending to the structure and form of the feathers.
The characters by which the American Crow is distinguished from the
European Carrion Crow are an exemplification of his views, in which I
cordially agree:—"Allowing," says he, "only a partial application of the
principle of characterizing the species by the forms of the feathers,
even this would be a matter of importance; and were the attention of
ornithologists directed toward this point, there can be little doubt
that discoveries would quickly be made, which would determine species and
varieties with much greater precision than can be attained by attending
to colour alone."


THE BLACK WALNUT.

     JUGLANS NIGRA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 456. _Pursh_, Flor.
     Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 636. _Mich._ Arbr. Forest. vol. i. p. 157.
     pl. i.—MONŒCIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._ TEREBINTHACEÆ, _Juss._

The Black Walnut of the United States is generally a tree of beautiful
form, and often, especially in the Western and Southern States, attains
a great size. Wherever it is found, you may calculate on the land being
of good quality; the wood is very firm, of a dark brown tint, veined,
and extremely useful for domestic purposes, many articles of furniture
being made of it. It is also employed in ship-building. When used for
posts or fence rails, it resists the action of the weather for many
years. The nuts are gathered late in autumn, and although rather too
oily, are eaten and considered good by many persons. The husking of
them is however a disagreeable task, as their covering almost indelibly
stains every object with which it comes in contact.

See Vol. I. p. 433.



THE RUSTY GRAKLE.

_QUISCALUS FERRUGINEUS_, BONAP.

PLATE CLVII. MALE, FEMALE, AND YOUNG.


In the winter months the Rusty Grakle is found as far south as Lower
Louisiana and the Floridas, which it reaches in small flocks, along
with the Cow Bunting and Red-winged Starling, with which it continues
frequently to associate until the return of spring. At this season it
occurs in all the Southern and Western States, as well as in the Middle
and Eastern Districts, where some remain during the most severe cold.

These Grakles are fond of the company of cattle, and are seen with them
in the pastures or in the farm-yards, searching for food among their
droppings, and picking up a few grains of the refuse corn. They are less
shy than the other species, possibly because less acquainted with man, as
they retire to the north for the purpose of breeding. In the winter they
frequently resort to moist places, such as are met with round the ponds
and low swampy meadows, where you sometimes find a single one remaining
for weeks apart from its companions. They then feed on aquatic insects
and small snails, for which they search diligently among the rank reeds
or sedges, which they climb with great agility. Their note is a kind of
chuck. It is rare to meet with them in full plumage at this time, even
the old males becoming rather rusty, instead of being of a pure glossy
black, as they are in spring.

About the beginning of March, the males are seen moving northwards.
They cross the greater part of the United States almost in silence
and unheeded, seldom tarrying any where until they reach the State of
Maine, where some few remain to breed, while the greater number advance
farther north. I saw some of these birds on the Magdeleine Islands, in
Newfoundland, as well as in Labrador, where many breed. Their migrations
are performed by day.

In their habits they resemble the Red-winged Starling, becoming loquacious
at this season, and having a lively and agreeable song, although less
powerful in tone than that of the species just mentioned. Equally fond
of the vicinity of meadows or moist places, they construct their nests
in the low bushes that occur there. The nest is not so large as that of
the Redwing, but is composed of much the same materials. In Labrador I
found it lined with moss instead of coarse grass. The eggs are four or
five, of a light blue colour, streaked and dashed with straggling lines
of brown and deep black, much smaller than those of the Redwing, but in
other respects bearing a considerable resemblance to them. They begin to
lay about the 1st of June, in the State of Maine, and fully a fortnight
later in Labrador. They raise only one brood in the season. The young,
when first able to fly, are nearly of an uniform brown, brighter on
the breast and shoulders. Although they seem to prefer alder and willow
bushes, for the purpose of incubation, I have found their nests among
the tall reeds of the _Cat's-tail_ or Typha, to which they were attached
by interweaving the leaves of the plant with the grasses and stripes of
bark of which they were externally composed.

During early autumn, and before they remove southward, they frequently
resort to the sandy beaches of lakes, rivers, and the sea, in search
of small testaceous mollusca and aquatic insects. They do little or no
mischief in the corn-fields. While walking they frequently jerk their
tail, and move with much grace, in the same manner as other birds of
the genus. Their flight resembles that of the Red-winged species.

An acquaintance of mine, residing in New Orleans, found one of these
birds, a beautiful male in full plumage, not far from that city, while
on one of his accustomed walks. It had been shot, but was only slightly
injured in one of its wings, and as it was full of vivacity, and had a
clear and brilliant eye, indicating that its health had not suffered, he
took it home and put it in a cage with several Painted Buntings. They
soon became accustomed to each other, the Grakle evincing no desire
to molest its smaller companions. I saw it when it had already been
caged upwards of four months, and had the satisfaction to hear it sing
repeatedly. Its notes, however, were less sonorous than they usually
are when the birds are at liberty. It frequently uttered its travelling
chuck-note. It was fed entirely on rice. This was the only specimen I
ever saw in captivity, and it proved a very amiable companion.

I have figured four of these birds, to enable you the better to understand
their different states of plumage, and placed them on a plant of the
genus Prunus, which grows in Louisiana, and on the berries of which they
occasionally feed.


     ORIOLUS FERRUGINEUS, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 126.

     QUISCALUS FERRUGINEUS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 55.

     SCOLECOPHAGUS FERRUGINEUS, RUSTY MAGGOT-EATER, _Swains. and
     Richards._ Fauna Bor.-Amer. part ii. p. 286.

     RUSTY GRAKLE, GRACULA FERRUGINEA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iii.
     p. 41. pl. 21. fig. 3. Male.

     RUSTY BLACKBIRD, QUISCALUS FERRUGINEUS, _Nuttall_, Manual, p. 199.


Adult Male. Plate CLVII. Fig. 1.

Bill of moderate length, straight, tapering, compressed from the base;
upper mandible prolonged on the forehead, forming an acute angle there,
a little declinate at the tip, the dorsal outline slightly convex,
the sides convex, the edges sharp and inflected; lower mandible nearly
straight in its dorsal outline, convex on the sides, the edges sharp and
inflected; gap-line deflected at the base. Nostrils basal, oval, half
closed above by a membrane. Head of ordinary size, neck rather short,
body rather slender. Feet of moderate length, strong; tarsus compressed,
with a few long scutella anteriorly, sharp behind; toes compressed, the
lateral nearly equal, the outer united as far as the second joint to the
middle, which is much longer, hind-toe not much stouter than the inner;
claws rather long, arched, compressed, very acute.

Plumage soft, blended, glossy. Wings rather long, second quill longest,
first and fourth equal. Tail rather long, slightly rounded, of twelve
broad feathers.

Bill and feet black. Iris pale yellow. The general colour is deep black,
with greenish and bluish reflections.

Length 9¼ inches, extent of wings 14¼; bill along the back ¾, along the
edge 11/12; tarsus 1¼.


Adult Female. Plate CLVII. Fig. 2.

Bill, iris, and feet as in the male. The general colour is brownish-black;
the sides of the head over the eyes, and a broad band beneath it light
yellowish-brown, the feathers of the lower parts more or less margined
with brownish.

Length 8-11/12 inches, extent of wings 13½.


Young bird fully fledged. Plate CLVII. Fig. 3, 3.

Bill and feet brownish-black. Iris pale yellow. Head and neck light
brown, the rest of the upper parts brownish-black, edged with light
reddish-brown, the rump tinged with grey. A band over the eye, and the
fore part and sides of the neck and breast pale yellowish-brown, sides
tinged with brown, under tail-coverts dusky.


THE BLACK HAW.

     PRUNUS NIGRA, _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 331.
     —ICOSANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._ ROSACEÆ, _Juss._

Leaves deciduous, ovate, acuminate, unequally serrate, smooth on both
sides; umbels sessile, solitary, few-flowered.

This species of Prunus, which is tolerably abundant in Louisiana, the
only State in which I have observed it, grows along the borders of the
forest, and often attains a height of thirty or more feet. Its leaves
fall at a very early period, but its fruits, which are pleasant to the
taste, remain until after the first frosts, or until devoured by birds,
opossums, squirrels, or racoons.



THE CHIMNEY SWALLOW, OR AMERICAN SWIFT.

_CYPSELUS PELASGIUS_, TEMM.

PLATE CLVIII. MALE, FEMALE, AND NEST.


Since our country has furnished thousands of convenient places for this
Swallow to breed in, free from storms, snakes, or quadrupeds, it has
abandoned, with a judgment worthy of remark, its former abodes in the
hollows of trees, and taken possession of the chimneys, which emit no
smoke in the summer season. For this reason, no doubt, it has obtained
the name by which it is generally known. I well remember the time when,
in Lower Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, many resorted to excavated
branches and trunks, for the purpose of breeding; nay, so strong is the
influence of original habit, that not a few still betake themselves to
such places, not only to roost, but also to breed, especially in those
wild portions of our country that can scarcely be said to be inhabited.
In such instances, they appear to be as nice in the choice of a tree, as
they generally are in our cities in the choice of a chimney, wherein to
roost, before they leave us. Sycamores of gigantic growth, and having a
mere shell of bark and wood to support them, seem to suit them best, and
wherever I have met with one of those patriarchs of the forest rendered
habitable by decay, there I have found the Swallows breeding in spring
and summer, and afterwards roosting until the time of their departure. I
had a tree of this kind cut down, which contained about thirty of their
nests in its trunk, and one in each of the hollow branches.

The nest, whether placed in a tree or chimney, consists of small dry
twigs, which are procured by the birds in a singular manner. While on
wing, the Chimney Swallows are seen in great numbers whirling round
the tops of some decayed or dead tree, as if in pursuit of their insect
prey. Their movements at this time are extremely rapid; they throw their
body suddenly against the twig, grapple it with their feet, and by an
instantaneous jerk, snap it off short, and proceed with it to the place
intended for the nest. The Frigate Pelican sometimes employs the same
method for a similar purpose, carrying away the stick in its bill, in
place of holding it with its feet.

The Swallow fixes the first sticks on the wood, the rock, or the chimney
wall, by means of its saliva, arranging them in a semicircular form,
crossing and interweaving them, so as to extend the framework outwards.
The whole is afterwards glued together with saliva, which is spread
around it for an inch or more, to fasten it securely. When the nest is
in a chimney, it is generally placed on the east side, and is from five
to eight feet from the entrance; but in the hollow of a tree, where
only they breed in communities, it is placed high or low according to
convenience. The fabric, which is very frail, now and then gives way,
either under the pressure of the parents and young, or during sudden
bursts of heavy rain, when the whole is dashed to the ground. The eggs
are from four to six, and of a pure white colour. Two broods are raised
in the season.

The flight of this species is performed somewhat in the manner of the
European Swift, but in a more hurried although continued style, and
generally by repeated flappings, unless when courtship is going on, on
which occasion it is frequently seen sailing with its wings fixed as it
were, both sexes as they glide through the air issuing a shrill rattling
twitter, and the female receiving the caresses of the male. At other
times it is seen ranging far and wide at a considerable elevation over
the forests and cities; again, in wet weather, it flies close over the
ground; and anon it skims the water, to drink and bathe. When about to
descend into a hollow tree or a chimney, its flight, always rapid, is
suddenly interrupted as if by magic, for down it goes in an instant,
whirling in a peculiar manner, and whirring with its wings, so as to
produce a sound in the chimney like the rumbling of very distant thunder.
They never alight on trees or on the ground. If one is caught and placed
on the latter, it can only move in a very awkward fashion. I believe
that the old birds sometimes fly at night, and have reason to think that
the young are fed at such times, as I have heard the whirring sound of
the former, and the acknowledging cries of the latter, during calm and
clear nights.

When the young accidentally fall, which sometimes happens, although the
nest should remain, they scramble up again, by means of their sharp
claws, lifting one foot after another, in the manner of young Wood
Ducks, and supporting themselves with their tail. Some days before the
young are able to fly, they scramble up the walls to near the mouth of
the chimney, where they are fed. Any observer may discover this, as he
sees the parents passing close over them, without entering the funnel.
The same occurrence takes place when they are bred in a tree.

In the cities, these birds make choice of a particular chimney for their
roosting place, where, early in spring, before they have begun building,
both sexes resort in multitudes, from an hour or more before sunset,
until long after dark. Before entering the aperture, they fly round and
over it many times, but finally go in one at a time, until hurried by
the lateness of the hour, several drop in together. They cling to the
wall with their claws, supporting themselves also by their sharp tail,
until the dawn, when, with a roaring sound, the whole pass out almost
at once. Whilst at St Francisville in Louisiana, I took the trouble of
counting how many entered one chimney before dark. I sat at a window not
far from the spot, and reckoned upwards of a thousand, having missed a
considerable number. The place at that time contained about a hundred
houses, and no doubt existed in my mind that the greater number of these
birds were on their way southward, and had merely stopped there for the
night.

Immediately after my arrival at Louisville, in the State of Kentucky, I
became acquainted with the hospitable and amiable Major WILLIAM CROGHAN
and his family. While talking one day about birds, he asked me if I had
seen the trees in which the Swallows were supposed to spend the winter,
but which they only entered, he said, for the purpose of roosting.
Answering in the affirmative, I was informed that on my way back to
town, there was a tree remarkable on account of the immense numbers
that resorted to it, and the place in which it stood was described to
me. I found it to be a sycamore, nearly destitute of branches, sixty or
seventy feet high, between seven and eight feet in diameter at the base,
and about five for the distance of forty feet up, where the stump of a
broken hollowed branch, about two feet in diameter, made out from the
main stem. This was the place at which the Swallows entered. On closely
examining the tree, I found it hard, but hollow to near the roots. It
was now about four o'clock after noon, in the month of July. Swallows
were flying over Jeffersonville, Louisville, and the woods around,
but there were none near the tree. I proceeded home, and shortly after
returned on foot. The sun was going down behind the Silver Hills; the
evening was beautiful; thousands of Swallows were flying closely above
me, and three or four at a time were pitching into the hole, like bees
hurrying into their hive. I remained, my head leaning on the tree,
listening to the roaring noise made within by the birds as they settled
and arranged themselves, until it was quite dark, when I left the place,
although I was convinced that many more had to enter. I did not pretend
to count them, for the number was too great, and the birds rushed to
the entrance so thick as to baffle the attempt. I had scarcely returned
to Louisville, when a violent thunder-storm passed suddenly over the
town, and its appearance made me think that the hurry of the Swallows to
enter the tree was caused by their anxiety to avoid it. I thought of the
Swallows almost the whole night, so anxious had I become to ascertain
their number, before the time of their departure should arrive.

Next morning I rose early enough to reach the place long before the
least appearance of daylight, and placed my head against the tree. All
was silent within. I remained in that posture probably twenty minutes,
when suddenly I thought the great tree was giving way, and coming down
upon me. Instinctively I sprung from it, but when I looked up to it
again, what was my astonishment to see it standing as firm as ever. The
Swallows were now pouring out in a black continued stream. I ran back
to my post, and listened in amazement to the noise within, which I could
compare to nothing else than the sound of a large wheel revolving under
a powerful stream. It was yet dusky, so that I could hardly see the
hour on my watch, but I estimated the time which they took in getting
out at more than thirty minutes. After their departure, no noise was
heard within, and they dispersed in every direction with the quickness
of thought.

I immediately formed the project of examining the interior of the tree,
which, as my kind friend, Major CROGHAN, had told me, proved the most
remarkable I had ever met with. This I did, in company with a hunting
associate. We went provided with a strong line and a rope, the first
of which we, after several trials, succeeded in throwing across the
broken branch. Fastening the rope to the line we drew it up, and pulled
it over until it reached the ground again. Provided with the longest
cane we could find, I mounted the tree by the rope, without accident,
and at length seated myself at ease on the broken branch; but my labour
was fruitless, for I could see nothing through the hole, and the cane,
which was about fifteen feet long, touched nothing on the sides of the
tree within that could give any information. I came down fatigued and
disappointed.

The next day I hired a man, who cut a hole at the base of the tree. The
shell was only eight or nine inches thick, and the axe soon brought
the inside to view, disclosing a matted mass of exuviæ, with rotten
feathers reduced to a kind of mould, in which, however, I could perceive
fragments of insects and quills. I had a passage cleared, or rather
bored through this mass, for nearly six feet. This operation took up a
good deal of time, and knowing by experience that if the birds should
notice the hole below, they would abandon the tree, I had it carefully
closed. The Swallows came as usual that night, and I did not disturb
them for several days. At last, provided with a dark lantern, I went
with my companion about nine in the evening, determined to have a full
view of the interior of the tree. The hole was opened with caution. I
scrambled up the sides of the mass of exuviæ, and my friend followed.
All was perfectly silent. Slowly and gradually I brought the light
of the lantern to bear on the sides of the hole above us, when we saw
the Swallows clinging side by side, covering the whole surface of the
excavation. In no instance did I see one above another. Satisfied with
the sight, I closed the lantern. We then caught and killed with as much
care as possible more than a hundred, stowing them away in our pockets
and bosoms, and slid down into the open air. We observed that, while
on this visit, not a bird had dropped its dung upon us. Closing the
entrance, we marched towards Louisville perfectly elated. On examining
the birds which we had procured, a hundred and fifteen in number, we
found only six females. Eighty-seven were adult males; of the remaining
twenty-two the sex could not be ascertained, and I had no doubt that
they were young of that year's first brood, the flesh and quill-feathers
being tender and soft.

Let us now make a rough calculation of the number that clung to the
tree. The space beginning at the pile of feathers and moulded exuviæ,
and ending at the entrance of the hole above, might be fully 25 feet in
height, with a breadth of 15 feet, supposing the tree to be 5 feet in
diameter at an average. There would thus be 375 feet square of surface.
Each square foot, allowing a bird to cover a space of 3 inches by 1½,
which is more than enough, judging from the manner in which they were
packed, would contain 32 birds. The number of Swallows, therefore, that
roosted in this single tree was 9000.

I watched the motions of the Swallows, and when the young birds that
had been reared in the chimneys of Louisville, Jeffersonville, and the
houses of the neighbourhood, or the trees suited for the purpose, had
left their native recesses, I visited the tree on the 2d day of August.
I concluded that the numbers resorting to it had not increased; but I
found many more females and young than males, among upwards of fifty,
which were caught and opened. Day after day I watched the tree. On the
13th of August, not more than two or three hundred came there to roost.
On the 18th of the same month, not one did I see near it, and only a few
scattered individuals were passing, as if moving southward. In September
I entered the tree at night, but not a bird was in it. Once more I
went to it in February, when the weather was very cold; and perfectly
satisfied that all these Swallows had left our country, I finally closed
the entrance, and left off visiting it.

May arrived, bringing with its vernal warmth the wanderers of the air,
and I saw their number daily augmenting, as they resorted to the tree
to roost. About the beginning of June, I took it in my head to close
the aperture above, with a bundle of straw, which with a string I could
draw off whenever I might chuse. The result was curious enough; the
birds as usual came to the tree towards night; they assembled, passed
and repassed, with apparent discomfort, until I perceived many flying
off to a great distance, on which I removed the straw, when many entered
the hole, and continued to do so until I could no longer see them from
the ground.

I left Louisville, having removed my residence to Henderson, and did
not see the tree until five years after, when I still found the Swallows
resorting to it. The pieces of wood with which I had closed the entrance
had rotted, or had been carried off, and the hole was again completely
filled with exuviæ and mould. During a severe storm, their ancient
tenement at length gave way, and came to the ground.

General WILLIAM CLARK assured me that he saw this species on the whole
of his route to the Pacific, and there can be no doubt that in those
wilds it still breeds in trees or rocky caverns.

Its food consists entirely of insects, the pellets composed of the
indigestible parts of which it disgorges. It is, furnished with glands
which supply the unctuous matter with which it fastens its nest.

This species does not appear to extend its migrations farther east than
the British provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It is unknown
in Newfoundland and Labrador; nor was it until the 29th of May that I
saw some at Eastport in Maine, where a few breed.


     HIRUNDO PELASGIA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 345.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 581.

     CYPSELUS PELASGIUS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 63.

     CHIMNEY SWALLOW, HIRUNDO PELASGIA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith, vol. v.
     p. 48. pl. 39. fig. 1.—_Nuttall_, Manual, p. 609.


Adult Male. Plate CLVIII. Fig. 1.

Bill extremely short, very broad at the base, with a very wide rictus,
compressed towards the tip; upper mandible bent towards the end, the
sides convex, the sharp edges inflected and having an indistinct sinus
near the tip; lower mandible nearly straight; gap line slightly arched.
Nostrils basal, approximate, oblong. Head large and depressed, neck
short, body slender. Feet extremely short and weak; tarsus rounded,
destitute of scutella; toes extremely short, the three anterior nearly
equal, each with only two joints, hind toe puny, with a much smaller
claw; claws strong, shortish, compressed, arched, very acute.

Plumage short, compact, rather blended, slightly glossed; wings extremely
elongated, falciform, quills narrow with excessively strong shafts, the
first longest. Tail of ten feathers, very short, slightly rounded, the
shaft of extraordinary strength, and projecting beyond the webs in the
form of a stiff prickle.

Bill black. Iris black. Feet dusky, with black claws. The general
colour is brownish-black, lighter on the rump, and with slight greenish
reflections on the head and back; the throat greyish-white, gradually
shaded into the greyish-brown colour of the under parts, which have a
peculiar grey and greenish lustre; the space from the eye to the bill
black; a greyish-white line over the eye.

Length 4¾ inches, extent of wings 12; bill along the back 2/12, along
the edge 7/12; tarsus 5/12.


Adult Female. Plate CLVIII. Fig. 2.

The Female is similar to the male.

Two views of the nest are also given in the plate.



THE CARDINAL GROSBEAK.

_FRINGILLA CARDINALIS_, BONAP.

PLATE CLIX. MALE AND FEMALE.


In richness of plumage, elegance of motion, and strength of song, this
species surpasses all its kindred in the United States. It is known by
the names of Red Bird, Virginia Nightingale, Cardinal Bird, and that at
the head of the present article. It is very abundant in all our Southern
States, as well as in the peninsula of the Floridas. In the western
country a great number are found as far up on the Ohio as the city of
Cincinnati, and they extend to considerable distances into Indiana,
Illinois and Missouri. They are found in the maritime districts of
Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where they breed, and where a few remain
the whole year; some are also seen in the State of New York, and now
and then a straggler proceeds into Massachusetts; but farther eastward
this species has never been observed.

This fine songster relishes the interior of the forest, and the heart of
the deepest cane-brakes or retired swamps, as well as the neighbourhood
of cities. It is constantly found in our fields, orchards and gardens;
nay, it often enters the very streets of our southern towns and villages
to breed; and it is rare that one goes into a planter's yard without
observing the Red Bird skipping about the trees or on the turf beneath
them. Go where it may, it is always welcome, and every where a favourite,
so rich is its song, and so brilliant its plumage.

The Cardinal Bird breeds in the Floridas. In the beginning of March I
found them already paired in that country, and on the 8th of February
near General HERNANDEZ'S. In the neighbourhood of Charleston, as well
as in Louisiana, they are nearly a month later, and much the same lapse
of time takes place again before they form a nest in the State of New
Jersey or in that of Kentucky.

The nest is placed, apparently without much consideration, in some low
briar, bush, or tree, often near the fence, the middle of a field, or
the interior of a thicket, not far from a cooling stream, to which they
are fond of resorting, for the purpose of drinking and bathing. Sometimes
you find it placed close to the planter's house or in his garden, a few
yards from that of the Mocking Bird or the Thrasher. It is composed of
dry leaves and twigs, together with a large proportion of dry grass and
slips of grape-vines, and is finished within with bent-grass, wrought in
a circular form. The eggs are from four to six, of a dull white colour,
marked all over with touches of olive-brown.

In the Southern Districts they now and then raise three broods in the
season, but in the Middle States seldom more than one. The young on
leaving the nest, frequently follow their parents on the ground for
several days, after which they disperse and seek for food apart. During
the pairing season, the males are so pugnacious, that although they breed
near birds of other species, they never allow one of their own to nestle
in their vicinity. One male may be seen following another from bush to
bush, emitting a shrill note of anger, and diving towards the fugitive
antagonist whenever an opportunity offers, until the latter has escaped
quite beyond his jurisdiction, when the conqueror, elated, returns to
his grounds, ascends his favourite tree, and pours out his song in full
exultation.

Those which migrate to the eastward begin to move about the commencement
of March, usually in the company of the Towhe Bunting and other Sparrows,
hopping and passing from bush to bush during the whole day, announcing to
the traveller and husbandman the approach of a more genial season, and
resting at night in the secluded swamps. The males precede the females
about ten days.

Towards autumn they frequently ascend to the tops of tall trees in search
of grapes and berries, being as fond of succulent or pulpy fruits as they
are of the seeds of corn and grasses. On the least appearance of danger
they at once glide into the interior of the nearest thickets. During the
summer heats they frequently resort to sandy roads to dust themselves,
carelessly suffering people to approach them until within a few yards,
when they only remove to the nearest bushes, until the intruders pass.

They are easily raised when taken from the nest, and breed when kept
in aviaries. My friend Dr SAMUEL WILSON of Charleston, has had them
breeding with him, having placed straw-baskets for the purpose, in which
the female deposited her eggs, without improving the nest any more than
by placing in it a few grass blades, perhaps pilfered from some of her
neighbours. The purity of its colouring is soon lost when it is kept in
confinement, where it is gentle, easily fed on corn or hemp-seed, and
it sings when placed in a cage for several months in the year.

During winter the Cardinal Grosbeak frequently shews itself in the
farm-yard, among Turtle-Doves, Jays, Mocking-Birds, and various species
of Sparrows, picking up its food from the store daily supplied to
the poultry. It now and then seeks refuge at night in the lee of some
hay-stack, or throws itself with many other birds among the thickest
branches of the nearest evergreen tree.

The flight of this species is strong and rapid, although seldom continued
to any great distance. It is performed by glidings and jerks of the tail.
When the bird is alighted it also frequently juts its tail with grace.
Like all birds of the genus it hops, but does not walk.

Its song is at first loud and clear, resembling the finest sounds
produced by the flageolet, and gradually descends into more marked and
continued cadences, until it dies away in the air around. During the
love-season the song is emitted with increased emphasis by this proud
musician, who, as if aware of his powers, swells his throat, spreads
his rosy tail, droops his wings, and leans alternately to the right and
left, as if on the eve of expiring with delight at the delicious sounds
of his own voice. Again and again are those melodies repeated, the bird
resting only at intervals to breathe. They may be heard from long before
the sun gilds the eastern horizon, to the period when the blazing orb
pours down its noonday floods of heat and light, driving the birds to
the coverts to seek repose for a while. Nature again invigorated, the
musician recommences his song, when, as if he had never strained his
throat before, he makes the whole neighbourhood resound, nor ceases
until the shades of evening close around him. Day after day the song of
the Red Bird beguiles the weariness of his mate as she assiduously warms
her eggs; and at times she also assists with the modesty of her gentler
sex. Few individuals of our own race refuse their homage of admiration
to the sweet songster. How pleasing is it, when, by a clouded sky, the
woods are rendered so dark, that were it not for an occasional glimpse
of clearer light falling between the trees, you might imagine night at
hand, while you are yet far distant from your home—how pleasing to have
your ear suddenly saluted by the well known notes of this favourite bird,
assuring you of peace around, and of the full hour that still remains
for you to pursue your walk in security! How often have I enjoyed this
pleasure, and how often, in due humbleness of hope, do I trust that I
may enjoy it again!

I have represented a pair of these beautiful birds on a branch of the
Wild Olive.


     FRINGILLA CARDINALIS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 113.

     CARDINAL GROSBEAK, LOXIA CARDINALIS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
     vol. ii. p. 38. pl. 2. fig. 1. Male; fig. 2. Female.—_Nuttall_,
     Manual, p. 519.


Adult Male. Plate CLIX. Fig. 1.

Bill short, very robust, conical, acute, deeper than broad at the base;
upper mandible with its dorsal outline a little convex, the sides rounded,
the edges sharp and inflected, the tip slightly declinate; lower mandible
broader than the upper, with its dorsal line straight, the back broad,
the sides rounded, the edges inflected; the gap-line deflected at the
base. Nostrils basal, roundish, concealed by the feathers. Head large,
neck short, body robust. Legs of moderate length, rather strong; tarsus
compressed, anteriorly covered with a few scutella, posteriorly sharp;
toes scutellate above, free, the lateral ones nearly equal; claws slender,
arched, compressed, acute, that of the hind toe considerably larger.

Plumage soft and blended, slightly glossed. Wings of moderate length,
broad, much rounded, the fourth quill longest; primaries rather broad,
rounded, from the second to the sixth slightly cut out on the outer web,
secondaries rather narrow and rounded. Tail long, straight, rounded.
Feathers of the crown long, pointed, and erectile.

Bill of a tint approaching to coral-red. Iris dark hazel. Feet pale umber.
The whole upper parts of a deep dusky-red, excepting the head which is
vermillion. The anterior part of the forehead, the lores, and the upper
anterior part of the neck, black. The under parts are vermillion, which
is brightest anteriorly. Inner webs of the quills light brown, their
shafts and those of the tail-feathers blackish-brown.

Length 8¼ inches, extent of wings 11½; bill along the back 7/12, along
the edge ¾; tarsus 1½/12.


Adult Female. Plate CLIX. Fig. 2.

The female has a crest as well as the male, which it resembles in the
texture of its plumage, but the tail is proportionally shorter. The
general colour of the upper parts is dull greyish-brown slightly tinged
with olive; the longer crest-feathers are streaked with dull red, the
wings, coverts, and outer edges of the quills, are of the same tint;
the edge of the wings and the lower coverts are pale vermillion, and
the inner edges of the quills are of the same tint, but paler. The
parts surrounding the base of the bill, which are black in the male,
are blackish-grey, and the lower parts in general are pale greyish-brown.

Length 7½ inches.


THE WILD ALMOND.

     PRUNUS CAROLINIANA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 987. _Pursh_,
     Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 330.—ICOSANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._
     ROSACEÆ, _Juss._

Flowers in racemes; leaves evergreen, oblong-lanceolate, mucronate,
serrate, without glands at the base. The Wild Almond is altogether a
southern tree. Its height now and then is as much as twenty-five feet,
the stem in that case being a foot or more in diameter. The usual rounded
form of its top, and the persistence of its foliage, together with its
white flowers, and dark coloured fruits, render it a very agreeable
object. Many are planted around the plantation grounds or the gardens of
our southern cities, on account of their beautiful appearance. The fruits
are greedily devoured by many species of birds, but are unpalatable to
man. I have not observed it to the east of Virginia, nor farther west
than the town of Memphis on the Mississippi. The wood is seldom applied
to any useful purpose.



THE CAROLINA TITMOUSE.

_PARUS CAROLINENSIS._

PLATE CLX. MALE AND FEMALE.


It was not until some time after my drawing of this small southern
species of Titmouse had been engraved and distributed among my patrons,
that I discovered the difference as to size and habits between it and
the one which inhabits the Middle and Northern States, and which has
been so well described by WILSON, NUTTALL and SWAINSON. Indeed, I never
was struck with the difference of size until I reached Eastport in the
State of Maine, early in May 1833, when one morning my friend Lieutenant
GREEN of the United States army entered my room and shewed me a Titmouse
which he had just procured. The large size of his bird, compared with
those met with in the south, instantly struck me.

On my return from Labrador, I immediately proceeded to Charleston in
South Carolina, with a view of once more visiting the western portions
of the Floridas and the whole coast of the Gulf of Mexico. In the course
of conversation with my friend, the Reverend JOHN BACHMAN, I mentioned
my ideas on the subject of Titmice, when he immediately told me that he
had for some time been of the same mind. We both went to the woods, and
procured some specimens. I wrote to several persons of my acquaintance
in Massachusetts, Maine, and Maryland, and before a month had elapsed,
I received an abundant supply of the Northern species, preserved in
spirits, from my friend JOHN BETHUNE of Boston, Lieutenant GREEN, and
Colonel THEODORE ANDERSON of Baltimore. We examined and compared many
individuals of both species, and satisfied ourselves that they were
indeed specifically distinct.

The new species, the Carolina Titmouse, is a constant inhabitant of
the Southern States, in which I have traced it from the lower parts
of Louisiana through the Floridas as far as the borders of the Roanoke
River, which separates North Carolina from Virginia, when it altogether
disappeared. In these countries it is found only in the immediate
vicinity of ponds and deep marshy and moist swamps, rarely during winter
in greater numbers than one pair together, and frequently singly. The
parent birds separate from the young probably soon after the latter
are able to provide for themselves. The other species moves in flocks
during the whole winter, frequenting the orchards, the gardens, or the
hedges and trees along the roads, entering the villages, and coming to
the woodpiles of the farmers. The southern species is never met with in
such places at any time of the year, and is at all seasons a shyer bird,
and more difficult to be obtained. Its notes are also less sonorous,
and less frequent, than those of the Titmouse found in the Middle and
Northern Districts.

My friend JOHN BACHMAN is of opinion that the smaller species particularly
retires from South Carolina during winter, in consequence of the small
number met with there at that season. On referring to my journals,
written in the Floridas, in the winter of 1831-32, I find that they
are mentioned as being much more abundant than in the Carolinas, and as
breeding in the swamps as early as the middle of February.

The Carolina Titmouse breeds in the holes abandoned by the Brown-headed
Nuthatch; but I have not yet examined either its eggs or its nest, having
at first carelessly supposed the bird to be identical with the northern
species, as my predecessors had done.

My drawing of the Carolina Titmouse was made not far from New Orleans
late in 1820. I have named it so, partly because it occurs in Carolina,
and partly because I was desirous of manifesting my gratitude towards the
citizens of that State, who by their hospitality and polite attention
have so much contributed to my comfort and happiness, whenever it has
been my good fortune to be among them.


     PARUS CAROLINENSIS.


Adult Male. Plate CLX. Fig. 1.

Bill very short, straight, strong, compressed, rather obtuse; both
mandibles with the dorsal outline slightly convex, the sides convex,
the edges sharp. Nostrils basal, roundish, concealed by the recumbent
feathers. Head large, neck short, body rather robust. Feet of ordinary
length, rather robust; tarsus compressed, anteriorly scutellate; toes
large, the three anterior united as far as the second joint, the hind
one much stronger; claws rather large, compressed, arched, acute.

Plumage blended, tufty; feathers of the head glossy. Wings of moderate
length, the third and fourth quills longest and equal, fifth little
shorter, second longer than sixth, first and seventh about equal. Tail
long, slender, slightly incurved, rounded, of twelve narrow, rounded
feathers.

Bill black. Iris dark brown. Feet bluish-grey. The whole upper part
of the head and the hind neck pure black, as is a large patch on the
throat and fore neck. Between these patches of black, there is a band
of greyish-white, from the base of the bill down the side of the neck,
becoming broader and greyer behind. Back and wing-coverts ash-grey,
tinged with brown. Quills brown, margined with greyish-blue, as is the
tail, which is more tinged with grey. Lower parts greyish-white tinged
with brown, the sides more deeply tinted.

Length 4¼ inches, extent of wings 6; bill along the ridge 3/12, along
the edge 5/12; tarsus 6½/12.


Adult Female. Plate CLX. Fig. 2.

The female is similar to the male, but somewhat fainter in its tints.

This species is closely allied to the _Parus palustris_ of Europe, which,
however, has the black of the head tinged with brown, and that of the
throat not nearly so extensive or decided, and has the lower parts still
more tinged with yellowish-brown. It is also closely allied to the _Parus
atricapillus_ of WILSON, of which a description is subjoined.



THE BLACK-CAP TITMOUSE.

_PARUS ATRICAPILLUS_, _Wils._

Proportions and plumage as in _Parus carolinensis_.

Bill brownish-black. Iris dark brown. Feet bluish-grey. The whole upper
part of the head and the hind neck pure black, as is a large patch on
the throat and fore neck. Between these patches of black is a band of
white, from the base of the bill down the sides of the neck, becoming
broader behind and encroaching on the back, which, with the wing-coverts,
is ash-grey tinged with brown. Quills brown, margined with bluish-white,
the secondary quills so broadly margined as to leave a conspicuous white
dash on the wing; tail of the same colour, similarly edged. Lower parts
brownish-white.

Length 5½ inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the ridge 5/12, along
the edge 7½/12; tarsus 7/12.

The two species are almost precisely similar in most respects; but _Parus
carolinensis_ is much smaller than _P. atricapillus_, the former being
4½ inches long, while the latter is 5½, a great difference in birds of
so small a size. The differences in the other parts are proportional.
The grey of the back is purer in the smaller species, and the white of
the neck more so in the larger, in which also the white edgings of the
wings are very conspicuous.


THE SUPPLE JACK.

The Supple Jack is a species of Smilax extremely abundant in all the
swampy portions of the Southern States. Its slender stem entwines the
trunk and branches of even the tallest trees, and, with its delicate
branches, is extremely tough and pliant, one of half an inch in diameter
being strong enough to suspend a body having a weight of several hundred
pounds. It is frequently used instead of a cord to hang clothes upon to
dry. The festoons which it forms are graceful and pleasing to the eye.



THE FLORIDA KEYS.


I left you abruptly, perhaps uncivilly, reader, at the dawn of day, on
Sandy Island, which lies just six miles from the extreme point of South
Florida. I did so because I was amazed at the appearance of things around
me, which in fact looked so different then from what they seemed at
night, that it took some minutes' reflection to account for the change.
When we laid ourselves down in the sand to sleep, the waters almost
bathed our feet; when we opened our eyes in the morning, they were at an
immense distance. Our boat lay on her side, looking not unlike a whale
reposing on a mud-bank. The birds in myriads were probing their exposed
pasture-ground. There great flocks of Ibises fed apart from equally
large collections of Godwits, and thousands of Herons gracefully paced
along, ever and anon thrusting their javelin bills into the body of
some unfortunate fish confined in a small pool of water. Of Fish-Crows
I could not estimate the number, but from the havoc they made among the
crabs, I conjecture that these animals must have been scarce by the time
of next ebb. Frigate Pelicans chased the Jager, which himself had just
robbed a poor Gull of its prize, and all the Gallinules ran with spread
wings from the mud-banks to the thickets of the island, so timorous had
they become when they perceived us.

Surrounded as we were by so many objects that allured us, not one could
we yet attain, so dangerous would it have been to venture on the mud;
and our pilot having assured us that nothing could be lost by waiting,
spoke of our eating, and on this hint told us that he would take us to
a part of the island where "our breakfast would be abundant although
uncooked." Off we went, some of the sailors carrying baskets, others
large tin pans and wooden vessels, such as they use for eating their
meals in. Entering a thicket of about an acre in extent, we found on
every bush several nests of the Ibis, each containing three large and
beautiful eggs, and all hands fell to gathering. The birds gave way to
us, and ere long we had a heap of eggs that promised delicious food.
Nor did we stand long in expectation, for, kindling a fire, we soon
prepared, in one way or other, enough to satisfy the cravings of our
hungry maws. Breakfast ended, the pilot looking at the gorgeous sunrise,
said, "Gentlemen, prepare yourselves for fun, the tide is acoming."

Over these enormous mud-flats, a foot or two of water is quite sufficient
to drive all the birds ashore, even the tallest Heron or Flamingo,
and the tide seems to flow at once over the whole expanse. Each of us
provided with a gun, posted himself behind a bush, and no sooner had
the water forced the winged creatures to approach the shore, than the
work of destruction commenced. When it at length ceased, the collected
mass of birds of different kinds looked not unlike a small haycock. Who
could not with a little industry have helped himself to a few of their
skins? Why, reader, surely no one as fond of these things as I am. Every
one assisted in this, and even the sailors themselves tried their hand
at the work.

Our pilot, good man, told us he was no hand at such occupations, and
would go after something else. So taking Long Tom and his fishing-tackle,
he marched off quietly along the shores. About an hour afterwards we
saw him returning, when he looked quite exhausted, and on our inquiring
the cause said, "There is a dew-fish yonder and a few balacoudas, but
I am not able to bring them, or even to haul them here; please send the
sailors after them." The fishes were accordingly brought, and as I had
never seen a dew-fish, I examined it closely, and took an outline of its
form, which some days hence you may perhaps see. It exceeded a hundred
pounds in weight, and afforded excellent eating. The balacouda is also
a good fish, but at times a dangerous one, for, according to the pilot,
on more than one occasion "some of these gentry" had followed him when
waist-deep in the water, in pursuit of a more valuable prize, until in
self-defence he had to spear them, fearing that "the gentlemen" might
at one dart cut off his legs, or some other nice bit, with which he was
unwilling to part.

Having filled our cask from a fine well long since dug in the sand of
Cape Sable, either by Seminole Indians or pirates, no matter which,
we left Sandy Isle about full tide, and proceeded homewards, giving a
call here and there at different keys, with the view of procuring rare
birds, and also their nests and eggs. We had twenty miles to go "as
the birds fly," but the tortuosity of the channels rendered our course
fully a third longer. The sun was descending fast, when a black cloud
suddenly obscured the majestic orb. Our sails swelled by a breeze, that
was scarcely felt by us, and the pilot, requesting us to sit on the
weather gunwale, told us that we were "going to get it." One sail was
hauled in and secured, and the other was reefed although the wind had
not increased. A low murmuring noise was heard, and across the cloud that
now rolled along in tumultuous masses, shot vivid flashes of lightning.
Our experienced guide steered directly across a flat towards the nearest
land. The sailors passed their quids from one cheek to the other, and
our pilot having covered himself with his oil-jacket, we followed his
example. "Blow, sweet breeze," cried he at the tiller, and "we'll reach
land before the blast overtakes us, for, gentlemen, it is a furious
cloud yon."

A furious cloud indeed was the one which now, like an eagle on
outstretched wings, approached so swiftly, that one might have deemed
it in haste to destroy us. We were not more than a cable's length from
the shore, when, with imperative voice, the pilot calmly said to us,
"Sit quite still, Gentlemen, for I should not like to lose you overboard
just now; the boat can't upset, my word for that, if you will but sit
still—here we have it!"

Reader, persons who have never witnessed a hurricane, such as not
unfrequently desolates the sultry climates of the south, can scarcely form
an idea of their terrific grandeur. One would think that, not content
with laying waste all on land, it must needs sweep the waters of the
shallows quite dry, to quench its thirst. No respite for an instant does
it afford to the objects within the reach of its furious current. Like
the scythe of the destroying angel, it cuts every thing by the roots,
as it were with the careless ease of the experienced mower. Each of its
revolving sweeps collects a heap that might be likened to the full sheaf
which the husbandman flings by his side. On it goes with a wildness
and fury that are indescribable; and when at last its frightful blasts
have ceased, Nature, weeping and disconsolate, is left bereaved of her
beauteous offspring. In some instances, even a full century is required,
before, with all her powerful energies, she can repair her loss. The
planter has not only lost his mansion, his crops, and his flocks, but
he has to clear his lands anew, covered and entangled as they are with
the trunks and branches of trees that are every where strewn. The bark
overtaken by the storm, is cast on the lee-shore, and if any are left
to witness the fatal results, they are the "wreckers" alone, who, with
inward delight, gaze upon the melancholy spectacle.

Our light bark shivered like a leaf the instant the blast reached her
sides. We thought she had gone over; but the next instant she was on
the shore. And now in contemplation of the sublime and awful storm, I
gazed around me. The waters drifted like snow; the tough mangroves hid
their tops amid their roots, and the loud roaring of the waves driven
among them blended with the howl of the tempest. It was not rain that
fell; the masses of water flew in a horizontal direction, and where a
part of my body was exposed, I felt as if a smart blow had been given me
on it. But enough!—in half an hour it was over. The pure blue sky once
more embellished the heavens, and although it was now quite night, we
considered our situation a good one.

The crew and some of the party spent the night in the boat. The pilot,
myself, and one of my assistants took to the heart of the mangroves,
and having found high land, we made a fire as well as we could, spread
a tarpauling, and fixing our insect bars over us, soon forgot in sleep
the horrors that had surrounded us.

Next day, the Marion proceeded on her cruize, and in a few more days,
having anchored in another safe harbour, we visited other Keys, of which
I will, with your leave, give you a short account.

The Deputy-Collector of Indian Isle gave me the use of his pilot for a
few weeks, and I was the more gratified by this, that besides knowing
him to be a good man and a perfect sailor, I was now convinced that he
possessed a great knowledge of the habits of birds, and could without loss
of time lead me to their haunts. We were a hundred miles or so farther
to the south. Gay May like a playful babe gambolled on the bosom of his
mother nature, and every thing was replete with life and joy. The pilot
had spoken to me of some birds, which I was very desirous of obtaining.
One morning, therefore, we went in two boats to some distant isle, where
they were said to breed. Our difficulties in reaching that Key might to
some seem more imaginary than real, were I faithfully to describe them.
Suffice it for me to tell you that after hauling our boats and pushing
them with our hands, for upwards of nine miles, over the flats, we at
last reached the deep channel that usually surrounds each of the mangrove
islands. We were much exhausted by the labour and excessive heat, but
we were now floating on deep water, and by resting a short while under
the shade of some mangroves, we were soon refreshed by the breeze that
gently blew from the Gulf. We further repaired our strength by taking
some food; and I may as well tell you here, that during all the time I
spent in that portion of the Floridas, my party restricted themselves
to fish and soaked biscuit, while our only and constant beverage was
water and mollasses. I found that in these warm latitudes, exposed as we
constantly were to alternate heat and moisture, ardent spirits and more
substantial food would prove dangerous to us. The officers, and those
persons who from time to time kindly accompanied us, adopted the same
regimen, and not an individual of us had ever to complain of so much as
a headache.

But we were under the mangroves—at a great distance on one of the
flats, the Heron which I have named _Ardea occidentalis_ was seen moving
majestically in great numbers. The tide rose and drove them away, and
as they came towards us, to alight and rest for a time on the tallest
trees, we shot as many as I wished. I also took under my charge several
of their young alive.

At another time we visited the "Mule Keys." There the prospect was
in many respects dismal in the extreme. As I followed their shores,
I saw bales of cotton floating in all the coves, while spars of every
description lay on the beach, and far off on the reefs I could see the
last remains of a lost ship, her dismantled hulk. Several schooners were
around her; they were wreckers. I turned me from the sight with a heavy
heart. Indeed, as I slowly proceeded, I dreaded to meet the floating
or cast ashore bodies of some of the unfortunate crew. Our visit to
the Mule Keys was in no way profitable, for besides meeting with but a
few birds in two or three instances, I was, whilst swimming in the deep
channel of a mangrove isle, much nearer a large shark than I wish ever
to be again.

"The service" requiring all the attention, prudence and activity of
Captain DAY and his gallant officers, another cruize took place, of which
you will find some account in the sequel; and while I rest a little on
the deck of the Lady of the Green Mantle, let me offer my humble thanks
to the Being who has allowed me the pleasure of thus relating to you,
kind reader, a small part of my adventures.



THE CARACARA EAGLE.

_POLYBORUS VULGARIS_, VIEILL.

PLATE CLXI. ADULT.


I was not aware of the existence of the Caracara or Brazilian Eagle in
the United States, until my visit to the Floridas in the winter of 1831.
On the 24th November of that year, in the course of an excursion near
the town of St Augustine, I observed a bird flying at a great elevation,
and almost over my head. Convinced that it was unknown to me, and bent
on obtaining it, I followed it nearly a mile, when I saw it sail towards
the earth, making for a place where a group of Vultures were engaged in
devouring a dead horse. Walking up to the horse, I observed the new bird
alighted on it, and helping itself freely to the savoury meat beneath
its feet; but it evinced a degree of shyness far greater than that of its
associates, the Turkey Buzzards and Carrion Crows. I moved circuitously,
until I came to a deep ditch, along which I crawled, and went as near
to the bird as I possibly could; but finding the distance much too great
for a sure shot, I got up suddenly, when the whole of the birds took to
flight. The eagle, as if desirous of forming acquaintance with me, took
a round and passed over me. I shot, but to my great mortification missed
it. However it alighted a few hundred yards off, in an open savanna,
on which I laid myself flat on the ground, and crawled towards it,
pushing my gun before me, amid burs and mud-holes, until I reached the
distance of about seventy-five yards from it, when I stopped to observe
its attitudes. The bird did not notice me; he stood on a lump of flesh,
tearing it to pieces, in the manner of a Vulture, until he had nearly
swallowed the whole. Being now less occupied, he spied me, erected the
feathers of his neck, and, starting up, flew away, carrying the remainder
of his prey _in his talons_. I shot a second time, and probably touched
him; for he dropped his burden, and made off in a direct course across
the St Sebastian River, with alternate sailings and flappings, somewhat
in the manner of a Vulture, but more gracefully. He never uttered a cry,
and I followed him wistfully with my eyes until he was quite out of sight.

The following day the bird returned, and was again among the Vultures,
but at some distance from the carcass, the birds having been kept off by
the dogs. I approached by the ditch, saw it very well, and watched its
movements, until it arose, when once more I shot, but without effect.
It sailed off in large circles, gliding in a very elegant manner, and
now and then diving downwards and rising again.

Two days elapsed before it returned. Being apprised by a friend of
this desired event, instead of going after it myself, I dispatched
my assistant, who returned with it in little more than half an hour.
I immediately began my drawing of it. The weather was sultry, the
thermometer being at 89°; and, to my surprise, the vivid tints of
the plumage were fading much faster than I had ever seen them in like
circumstances, insomuch that Dr BELL of Dublin, who saw it when fresh, and
also when I was finishing the drawing twenty-four hours after, said he
could scarcely believe it to be the same bird. How often have I thought
of the changes which I have seen effected in the colours of the bill,
legs, eyes, and even the plumage of birds, when looking on imitations
which I was aware were taken from stuffed specimens, and which I well knew
could not be accurate! The _skin_, when the bird was quite recent, was
of a bright yellow. The bird was extremely lousy. Its stomach contained
the remains of a bullfrog, numerous hard-shelled worms, and a quantity
of horse and deer-hair. The _skin_ was saved with great difficulty, and
its plumage had entirely lost its original lightness of colouring. The
deep red of the fleshy parts of the head had assumed a purplish livid
hue, and the spoil scarcely resembled the coat of the living Eagle.

I made a double drawing of this individual, for the purpose of shewing
all its feathers, which I hope will be found to be accurately represented.

Since the period when I obtained the specimen above mentioned, I have
seen several others, in which no remarkable differences were observed
between the sexes, or in the general colouring. My friend Dr BENJAMIN
STROBEL, of Charleston, South Carolina, who has resided on the west
coast of Florida, procured several individuals for the Reverend JOHN
BACHMAN, and informed me that the species undoubtedly breeds in that
part of the country, but I have never seen its nest. It has never been
seen on any of the Keys along the eastern coast of that peninsula; and
I am not aware that it has been observed any where to the eastward of
the Capes of Florida.

The most remarkable difference with respect to habits, between these
birds and the American Vultures, is the power which they possess of
carrying their prey in their talons. They often walk about, and in the
water, in search of food, and now and then will seize on a frog or a
very young alligator with their claws, and drag it to the shore. Like
the Vultures, they frequently spread their wings towards the sun, or in
the breeze, and their mode of walking also resembles that of the Turkey
Buzzard.


     POLYBORUS VULGARIS, _Vieillot_, Galerie des Ois. pl. vii.

     FALCO BRASILIENSIS, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 262.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 21.

     CARACARA, _Raii_, Synops. p. 17.—CARACARA ORDINAIRE, _Cuv._
     Regne Animal, vol. i. p. 328.

     BRAZILIAN KITE, _Lath._ Synops. vol. i. p. 63.


Adult Male. Plate CLXI. Two figures.

Bill rather long, very deep, much compressed, cerate for one-half of
its length; upper mandible with the dorsal outline nearly straight, but
declinate for half its length, curved in the remaining part, the ridge
narrow, the sides flat and sloping, the sharp edges slightly undulated,
the tip declinate, trigonal; lower mandible with the sides nearly erect,
the back rounded, the tip narrow, and obliquely rounded. Nostrils oblong,
oblique, in the fore and upper parts of the cere. Head of moderate size,
flattened; neck rather short, body rather slender. Feet rather long and
slender; tarsus rounded, covered all round with hexagonal scales, the
anterior much larger, and the five lower broad and transverse; toes of
moderate size, scutellate above, the inner scaly at the base; the outer
is connected with the middle-toe, at the base by a web, as is the inner,
although its web is smaller; lateral toes equal, middle one considerably
longer, hind-toe shortest, and not proportionally stronger; claws long,
arched, roundish, tapering to a point.

Plumage compact, slightly glossed. Upper eye-lid with short strong
bristles; space before the eye, cheeks, throat, and cere of both
mandibles, bare, having merely a few scattered bristly feathers. Feathers
of the head, neck, and breast narrow; of the back broad and rounded;
outer tibial feathers elongated, but shorter than in most Hawks. Wings
long, reaching to within two inches of the tip of the tail; primaries
tapering, secondaries broad and rounded, with an acumen; the fourth
quill longest, third scarcely shorter, first and seventh about equal;
almost all the primaries are more or less sinuate on their inner webs,
and the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth on their outer. Tail
long, rounded, of twelve broadish, rounded feathers. There is a large
bare space on the breast, as in the Turkey Buzzard.

Bill pale blue, yellow on the edges, cere carmine. Iris dark-brown. Feet
yellow; claws black. Upper part of the head umber-brown, streaked with
brownish-black. Feathers of hind-neck and fore part of the back light
brownish-yellow, mottled with dark brown towards the end. Back and wings
dark brown, edged with umber. Primaries and some of the secondaries
barred with broad bands of white, excepting towards the end. Tail
coverts dull-white, slightly barred with dusky. Tail greyish-white, with
sixteen narrow bars, and a broad terminal band of blackish-brown, the
tips lighter. Fore part and sides of the neck light brownish-yellow; the
fore part of the breast marked like that of the back, the yellow colour
extending over the lateral part of the neck; the hind part, abdomen,
sides, and tibia dark brown; the lower tail-coverts yellowish-white.
Interior of mouth and skin of the whole body bright yellow.

Length 23½ inches, extent of wings 4 feet; bill along the ridge 2¼, the
cere being 1, along the edge 2¼; tarsus 3¼, middle-toe and claw 3¾.



THE ZENAIDA DOVE.

_COLUMBA ZENAIDA_, BONAP.

PLATE CLXII. MALE AND FEMALE.


The impressions made on the mind in youth, are frequently stronger than
those at a more advanced period of life, and are generally retained. My
Father often told me, that when yet a child, my first attempt at drawing
was from a preserved specimen of a dove, and many times repeated to me
that birds of this kind are usually remarkable for the gentleness of
their disposition, and that the manner in which they prove their mutual
affection, and feed their offspring, was undoubtedly intended in part
to teach other beings a lesson of connubial and parental attachment.
Be this as it may, hypothesis or not, I have always been especially
fond of doves. The timidity and anxiety which they all manifest, on
being disturbed during incubation, and the continuance of their mutual
attachment for years, are distinguishing traits in their character. Who
can approach a sitting dove, hear its notes of remonstrance, or feel the
feeble strokes of its wings, without being sensible that he is committing
a wrong act?

The cooing of the Zenaida Dove is so peculiar, that one who hears it
for the first time naturally stops to ask, "What bird is that?" A man
who was once a pirate assured me that several times, while at certain
wells dug in the burning shelly sands of a well known Key, which must
here be nameless, the soft and melancholy cry of the doves awoke in his
breast feelings which had long slumbered, melted his heart to repentance,
and caused him to linger at the spot in a state of mind which he only
who compares the wretchedness of guilt within him with the happiness
of former innocence, can truly feel. He said he never left the place
without increased fears of futurity, associated as he was, although I
believe by force, with a band of the most desperate villains that ever
annoyed the navigation of the Florida coasts. So deeply moved was he
by the notes of any bird, and especially by those of a dove, the only
soothing sounds he ever heard during his life of horrors, that through
these plaintive notes, and them alone, he was induced to escape from
his vessel, abandon his turbulent companions, and return to a family
deploring his absence. After paying a parting visit to those wells,
and listening once more to the cooings of the Zenaida Dove, he poured
out his soul in supplications for mercy, and once more became what one
has said to be "the noblest work of God," an honest man. His escape was
effected amidst difficulties and dangers, but no danger seemed to him
to be compared with the danger of one living in the violation of human
and divine laws, and now he lives in peace in the midst of his friends.

The Zenaida Dove is a transient visitor of the Keys of East Florida.
Some of the fishermen think that it may be met with there at all seasons,
but my observations induce me to assert the contrary. It appears in the
islands near Indian Key about the 15th of April, continues to increase
in numbers until the month of October, and then returns to the West
India Islands, whence it originally came. They begin to lay their eggs
about the first of May. The males reach the Keys on which they breed
before the females, and are heard cooing as they ramble about in search
of mates, more than a week before the latter make their appearance. In
autumn, however, when they take their departure, males, females, and
young set out in small parties together.

The flight of this bird resembles that of the little Ground Dove more than
any other. It very seldom flies higher than the tops of the mangroves,
or to any considerable distance at a time, after it has made choice of
an island to breed on. Indeed, this species may be called a Ground Dove
too; for, although it alights on trees with ease, and walks well on
branches, it spends the greater portion of its time on the ground, walking
and running in search of food with lightness and celerity, carrying its
tail higher than even the Ground Dove, and invariably roosting there.
The motions of its wings, although firm, produce none of the whistling
sound, so distinctly heard in the flight of the Carolina Dove; nor does
the male sail over the female while she is sitting on her eggs, as is the
habit of that species. When crossing the sea, or going from one Key to
another, they fly near the surface of the water; and, when unexpectedly
startled from the ground, they remove to a short distance, and alight
amongst the thickest grasses or in the heart of the low bushes. So gentle
are they in general, that I have approached some so near that I could
have touched them with my gun, while they stood intently gazing on me,
as if I were an object not at all to be dreaded.

Those Keys which have their interior covered with grass and low shrubs,
and are girt by a hedge of mangroves, or other trees of inferior height,
are selected by them for breeding; and as there are but few of this
description, their places of resort are well known, and are called Pigeon
or "_Dove Keys_." It would be useless to search for them elsewhere. They
are by no means so abundant as the White-headed Pigeons, which place
their nest on any kind of tree, even on those whose roots are constantly
submersed. Groups of such trees occur of considerable extent, and are
called "Wet Keys."

The Zenaida Dove always places her nest on the ground, sometimes
artlessly at the foot of a low bush, and so exposed that it is easily
discovered by any one searching for it. Sometimes, however, it uses
great discrimination, placing it between two or more tufts of grass, the
tops of which it manages to bend over, so as completely to conceal it.
The sand is slightly scooped out, and the nest is composed of slender
dried blades of grass, matted in a circular form, and imbedded amid dry
leaves and twigs. The fabric is more compact than the nest of any other
pigeon with which I am acquainted, it being sufficiently solid to enable
a person to carry the eggs or young in it with security. The eggs are
two, pure white, and translucent. When sitting on them, or when her young
are still small, this bird rarely removes from them, unless an attempt
be made to catch her, which she however evades with great dexterity.
On several occasions of this kind, I have thought that the next moment
would render me the possessor of one of these doves alive. Her beautiful
eye was steadily bent on mine, in which she must have discovered my
intention, her body was gently made to retire sidewise to the farther
edge of her nest, as my hand drew nearer to her, and just as I thought
I had hold of her, off she glided with the quickness of thought, taking
to wing at once. She would then alight within a few yards of me, and
watch my motions with so much sorrow, that her wings drooped, and her
whole frame trembled as if suffering from intense cold. Who could stand
such a scene of despair? I left the mother to her eggs or offspring.

On one occasion, however, I found two young birds of this species about
half grown, which I carried off, and afterwards took to Charleston, in
South Carolina, and presented to my worthy friend the Rev. JOHN BACHMAN.
When I robbed this nest, no parent bird was near. The little ones uttered
the usual lisping notes of the tribe at this age, and as I put their
bills in my mouth, I discovered that they might be easily raised. They
were afterwards fed from the mouth with Indian corn meal, which they
received with avidity, until placed under the care of a pair of common
tame pigeons, which at once fostered them.

The cooing of this species so much resembles that of the Carolina Dove,
that, were it not rather soft, and heard in a part of the world where
the latter is never seen, you might easily take it for the notes of that
bird. Morning is the time chosen by the Zenaida Dove to repeat her tender
tales of love, which she does while perched on the low large branch of
some tree, but never from the ground. Heard in the wildest solitudes of
the Keys, these notes never fail to remind one that he is in the presence
and under the protection of the Almighty Creator.

During mid-day, when the heat is almost insufferable in the central parts
of the Keys resorted to by these birds, they are concealed and mute.
The silence of such a place at noon is extremely awful. Not a breath
of air is felt, nor an insect seen, and the scorching rays of the sun
force every animated being to seek for shelter and repose.

From what I have said of the habits of the Zenaida Dove, you may easily
conceive how difficult a task it is to procure one. I have had full
experience of the difficulty, and entire satisfaction in surmounting it,
for in less than an hour, with the assistance of Captain DAY, I shot
nineteen individuals, the internal and external examination of which
enabled me to understand something of their structure.

The flesh is excellent, and they are generally very fat. They feed on
grass seeds, the leaves of aromatic plants, and various kinds of berries,
not excepting those of a tree which is extremely poisonous,—so much so,
that if the juice of it touch the skin of a man, it destroys it like
aqua-fortis. Yet these berries do not injure the health of the birds,
although they render their flesh bitter and unpalatable for a time. For
this reason, the fishermen and wreckers are in the habit of examining the
crops of the doves previous to cooking them. This, however, only takes
place about the time of their departure from the Keys, in the beginning
of October. They add particles of shell or gravel to their food.

From my own observations, and the report of others, I am inclined to
believe that they raise only two broods each season. The young, when
yet unfledged, are of a deep leaden or purplish-grey colour, the bill
and legs black, nor is it until the return of spring that they attain
their full plumage. The male is larger than the female, and richer in
the colouring of its plumage. Their feathers fall off at the slightest
touch, and like all other pigeons, when about to die, they quiver their
wings with great force.

The branch on which I have represented these birds, belonged to a low
shrub abundant in the Keys where they are found. The flower has a musty
scent, and is of short duration.

This species resorts to certain wells, which are said to have been dug
by pirates, at a remote period. There the Zenaida Doves and other birds
are sure to be seen morning and evening. The loose sand thrown up about
these wells suits them well to dust in, and clean their apparel.


     COLUMBA ZENAIDA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 119, and Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. pl. 15. fig. 2.
     —_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 625.


Adult Male. Plate CLXII. Fig. 1.

Bill short, straight, rather slender, compressed; upper mandible with
a tumid fleshy covering at the base, a convex, declinate, obtuse tip,
of which the margins are acute and overlapping; lower mandible, with
the angle near the extremity, which is compressed and rounded. Nostrils
medial, oblique, linear. Head small and compressed; the general form
rather full. Legs short and of moderate strength; tarsus short, covered
anteriorly with four broad scutella at the upper part, and a double
series below, rounded and hexagonally reticulated behind; toes scutellate
above, free, margined; two lateral toes nearly equal, middle one not
much longer, hind toe much smaller.

Plumage rather compact. Wings of moderate length, second and third quills
longest, first and fourth equal. Tail rather short, much rounded.

Bill deep carmine-purple. Iris brown; bare space surrounding the eye
light blue. Feet deep carmine-purple. The general colour of the plumage
above is light yellowish-brown tinged with grey. Quills brownish-black,
narrowly margined with white, seven of the secondaries broadly tipped
with the same; the inner ones of the same colour as the back, but having
a broad black spot on the inner web towards the end, which is also
the case with the tertiaries; several of the coverts also have a black
spot on the outer web. The four lateral tail-feathers on each side are
greyish-blue, with a broad black bar towards the end, the extremity
greyish-white, the four middle feathers of the colour of the back, with
a faint dusky bar. The sides of the head and under parts are of a light
brownish-red, paler on the throat, and passing into greyish-blue on the
sides; under wing-coverts pale bluish-grey. There is a small spot of
deep blue immediately behind the eye, and a larger one a little below on
the side of the neck; and a band of splendent feathers extends over the
back and sides of the neck, having bright purple and greenish reflections.

Length 11½ inches; extent of wings 18⅛; bill along the back 7/12, along
the edges 11/12; tarsus 11/12.


Adult Female. Plate CLXII. Fig. 2.

The female can scarcely be distinguished from the male, the colouring
being but slightly fainter.

Length 10½ inches.


PURPLE-FLOWERED ANONA.

     PORCELIA PARVIFLORA, _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 383.

This plant is very abundant on many of the outer Keys of the Floridas.
It grows among other shrubs, seldom exceeding seven or eight feet in
height, and more frequently not more than four or five. The leaves are
obovate, rounded at the base, thick, glossy above, downy beneath. The
outer petals are larger, and not unlike the divided shell of a hickory
or pig nut; the inner ovate, deep purple, with a white band at the base.
I did not see the fruit, which I was told is not unpalatable when ripe,
it being then about the size of a common walnut, and of a black colour.



THE YELLOW RED-POLL WARBLER.

_SYLVIA PETECHIA_, LATH.

PLATE CLXIII. ADULT AND YOUNG.


The Yellow Red-Poll Warbler, of which an old bird in summer and a young
one fully fledged are represented in the plate, being abundant in East
Florida, and especially in the neighbourhood of St Augustine, the most
prosperous town on the eastern coast of that peninsula, I hope you will
not think it irrelevant to say a few words respecting that place, to
whose inhabitants I am indebted for many acts of kindness.

To reach St Augustine, the navigator has first to pass over a difficult
sand-bar, which frequently changes its position; he then, however, finds
a deep channel leading to a safe and commodious harbour. The appearance
of the town is rather romantic, especially when the Spanish Fort, which
is quite a monument of ancient architecture, opens to the view. The
place itself is quite Spanish, the streets narrow, the church not very
remarkable, and the market-place the resort of numerous idlers, whether
resident or from other parts. It is supplied with, I believe, the best
fish in America, the "sheep-head" and "mullet" being the finest I have
ever seen; and its immediate neighbourhood produces as good oranges
as can any where be found. The country around is certainly poor, and
although in an almost tropical climate, is by no means productive. When
the United States purchased the peninsula from the Spanish Government,
the representations given of it by Mr BARTRAM and other poetical writers,
were soon found greatly to exceed the reality. For this reason, many
of the individuals who flocked to it, returned home or made their way
towards other regions with a heavy heart; yet the climate during the
winter months is the most delightful that could be imagined.

In the plate you will find a branch of the wild orange, with its flowers.
I have already spoken of the tree at p. 260, to which I refer you.
Whatever its original country may be _supposed_ to be, the plant is to
all appearance indigenous in many parts of Florida, not merely in the
neighbourhood of plantations, but in the wildest portions of that wild
country.


     SYLVIA PETECHIA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 355.

     SYLVIA PALMARUM, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 78.


Adult Male in summer. Plate CXLIII. Fig. 1.

In its full summer plumage this bird presents so different an appearance,
that it has in that state been considered as a distinct species, and
yet the difference is not greater than is observed in many other birds.
When the plumage is new, with the tips of the feathers unworn, the
lower parts shew less of the red streaks so conspicuous in the opposite
case; the yellow is brighter, and the crown of the head is of a richer
brownish-red colour. In other respects, however, the description already
given at p. 261, corresponds with that which might be presented here.


Young Bird. Plate CLXIII. Fig. 2.

On the head of the young the red is not perceptible, that part being of
nearly the same colour as the back.



THE TAWNY THRUSH.

_TURDUS WILSONII_, BONAP.

PLATE CLXIV. MALE.


The song of this northern species greatly resembles that of its relative,
the ever-pleasing Wood-Thrush. While at Charleston, in March 1834, I heard
a bird singing in the garden-ground of my learned and highly respected
fellow-citizen Mr POINSETT, in the immediate neighbourhood of the city.
I mentioned the circumstance to my friend JOHN BACHMAN, who expressed
his surprise on account of the early period of the season. The next day,
as we were both going out to the woods, we heard the same music again,
when a short discussion ensued, and as neither of us could be positive
whether it came from a Wood-Thrush or not, we shot the bird, which we
instantly discovered to be of the species which has been honoured with
the name of its illustrious discoverer. This was the more extraordinary,
as that Thrush is very rarely seen in Carolina either in winter or in
summer. It was indeed the first time my friend BACHMAN had ever heard
its voice.

WILSON'S Thrush is never seen or heard in Louisiana during spring, and
a few only pass through the lower portions of that State in autumn. I
suppose its migration from the farther south is along the declivities of
the range of the Alleghany Mountains, at least for some distance, and it
probably takes place under night. It reaches the mountainous districts
of Pennsylvania early in the month of May, but few if any breed there.
In the upper parts of the State of New York, they become more plentiful,
and there some undoubtedly spend the summer; but from Massachusetts
eastward to Labrador, they become more and more abundant. On the 20th
of July, while in the latter country, I saw the young of this species
following their mother. They were there almost full grown, and could
fly a hundred yards or so at a time. By the 12th of August none were
seen, although during my stay they were as common as any other birds.
In the latter part of the same month, I met with those which had bred
at Newfoundland, on their return to the south, and followed them into
Massachusetts.

At Labrador, as well as in the latter State, the Tawny Thrush retains
its retired habits, and seeks refuge in the concealment of dark shady
woods, near brooks or moist grounds. There, in a low bush, or on the
ground beneath it, this bird builds its nest, which is large, composed
externally of dry leaves, mosses, and the stalks of grasses, and lined
with finer grasses, and delicate fibrous portions of different kinds of
mosses, without any mud or clay. The eggs, which are deposited early
in June, are from four to six, and resemble those of the Cat Bird in
colour and shape, but are of smaller size. They raise only one brood in
the season. The parents, ever extremely shy, shew no desire to assist
their young, or defend their nest from intruders, but remain during your
visit at some distance, uttering a mournful and angry _quake_, somewhat
resembling that of the Cat Bird on such occasions. The Cow Bunting
not unfrequently deposits its egg in the nest of this Thrush, where it
is hatched, and the young brought up with all imaginable care. In the
neighbourhood of the city of Boston, some of these birds, according to
my learned friend NUTTALL, breed sometimes in the gardens, and he has
known of a nest placed in a gooseberry bush. A full-fledged young one
that was caught and placed in a cage, retained the unsocial and silent
timidity peculiar to the species. The males are obstinate in their
quarrels, and fight with great fierceness in maintaining their right to
the ground which they have appropriated to themselves.

The song of this species, although resembling that of the Wood Thrush in
a great degree, is less powerful, and is composed of continued trills
repeated with different variations, enunciated with great delicacy and
mellowness, so as to be extremely pleasing to one listening to them in
the dark solitudes where the sylvan songster resides. It now and then
tunes its throat in the calm of evening, and is heard sometimes until
after the day has closed.

It searches for food even at those hours, and feeds principally on
coleopterous insects. In Labrador it also picks the tender blossoms of
several dwarf plants, and feeds on berries. Its time is, for the most
part, spent on the ground, where it moves with singular agility by leaps,
stopping instantaneously and standing erect for a few moments, as if
apprehending danger, but immediately renewing its course.

We have in the Middle Districts another species of Thrush nearly allied
to this, but differing considerably in the size and shape of its bill,
and especially in its habits. Of this bird I shall give you an account
on another occasion.

The specimen represented in the plate was procured and drawn in the
State of Maine, and was in full plumage. The female can scarcely be
distinguished from the male.


     TURDUS WILSONII, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 76.

     MERULA WILSONII, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna Boreali-Americ.
     vol. ii. p. 182.

     TAWNY THRUSH, TURDUS MUSTELINUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. v.
     p. 98. pl. 43. fig. 3.—_Nuttall_, Manual, vol. i. p. 349.


Adult Male. Plate CLXIV.

Bill rather short, nearly straight, compressed towards the end; upper
mandible with the dorsal outline a little convex, the tip slightly
declinate, the margins acute, inflected towards the end, slightly
notched close upon the tip; lower mandible nearly straight in its dorsal
outline, the tip rather obtuse. Head of ordinary size, neck and body
rather slender. Feet rather long; tarsus longish, compressed, slender,
anteriorly covered with a few elongated scutella, posteriorly sharp-edged,
longer than the middle toe; toes scutellate above, lateral ones almost
equal, the outer connected as far as the second joint.

Plumage soft, rather loose, slightly glossed. A few longish bristles
at the base of the upper mandible. Wings of ordinary length, the third
quill longest, the second and fourth little shorter, the first very
short. Tail rather short, even, of twelve broad feathers.

Bill brownish-black above, flesh-coloured at the base of the lower
mandible. Iris dark-brown. Feet pale flesh-colour. The general colour of
the upper parts is uniform reddish-brown, slightly tinged with green,
the upper tail-coverts and edge of the wing inclined to rufous. Cheeks
and space before the eye pale greyish-brown, obscurely streaked with
hair-brown; a faint line of the same colour over the eye. Wings and tail
dark brown, margined with pale. The lower parts are white, the sides of
the neck tinged with pale brownish-yellow, and with the lateral parts
of the breast and the sides faintly marked with small triangular dusky
spots.

Length 7-2/12 inches, extent of wings 12; bill along the ridge 7/12,
along the edge 9/12; tarsus 1-3/12; middle-toe 11/12; weight 1⅛ oz.

The Female resembles the Male in external aspect.


     HABENARIA LACERA, _Brown_, ORCHIS LACERA, _Mich._ Flor.
     Amer. vol. ii. p. 156. _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 586.
     —GYNANDRIA MONANDRIA, _Linn._ ORCHIDEÆ, _Juss._—Fig. 1.
     of the plate.

This beautiful Habenaria is characterized by having the lip of the corolla
elongated and tripartite, with narrow segments, the spur filiform,
and of the length of the ovarium, and the flowers alternate. The stem
is about a foot in height, leafy; the lower leaves ovate, the upper
gradually narrower; the large loose spike is composed of numerous pale
pink flowers. It grows in moist meadows.


     CORNUS CANADENSIS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 661. _Pursh_,
     Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 107.—TETRANDRIA MONOGYNIA,
     _Linn._—Fig. 2. of the plate.

The plate represents the aggregated bright red globular berries, and
ovate-acute leaves of this pretty little plant, which is abundant in
shady woods and in mountainous situations in the Middle and Northern
States, as well as in the British provinces.



BACHMAN'S FINCH.

_FRINGILLA BACHMANII._

PLATE CLXV. MALE.


In honouring so humble an object as this Finch with the name of BACHMAN,
my aim is to testify the high regard in which I hold that learned and
most estimable individual, to whose friendship I owe more than I can
express on this occasion.

"In the month of April 1832," says my worthy friend, the gentleman
just named, "I discovered near Parker's Ferry, on the Edisto River,
in this State, a Fringilla which I had not seen before, and which, on
investigation, I found had never been described. On searching for the
same bird in the neighbourhood of Charleston, I discovered it breeding
in small numbers on the Pine Barrens, about six miles north of this
city, where I obtained many specimens of it.

"This bird appears to be rarer in Carolina than it really is. It is
in fact oftener heard than seen. When I first heard its notes, they so
nearly resembled those of the Towhe Bunting, that I took it to be that
bird: a somewhat greater softness, and a slight variation in the notes,
alone induced me to suspect that it was another, and caused me to go
in pursuit of it. Since then I have heard as many as five or six in the
course of a morning's ride, but found it almost impossible to get even a
sight of the bird. This was owing, not to its being particularly wild,
but to the habits it possesses of darting from the tall pine-trees,
where it usually sits to warble out its melodious notes, and concealing
itself in the tall brome-grass which is almost invariably found in those
places which it frequents. As soon as alighted, it keeps running off in
the grass, like a mouse, and it is extremely difficult to put them up,
or see them afterwards.

"It breeds in Carolina, to all appearance on the ground, where it is
usually found when not singing. I never saw its nest; but in the month of
June last (1833), I observed two pair of these birds, each having four
young ones, that were pretty well fledged, and following their parents
along the low scrub oaks of the pine lands.

"This is decidedly the finest songster of the Sparrow Family with which
I am acquainted. Its notes are very loud, considering the size of the
bird, and can be heard at a considerable distance in the pine woods,
where it is found, and where it is the only songster at that season.

"In the beginning of November, this bird usually disappears, and I think
it probably migrates farther south. Still it is likely that it does not
go beyond the limits of the United States, and that some few remain in
Carolina during the whole winter, as, on the 6th of February, the coldest
time of the year, I found one of these birds in some long grass, a few
miles from Charleston."

Since then, kind reader, I have had the pleasure, in the company of its
amiable discoverer, to hear the melodious notes of this southern species.
Our endeavours, however, to find its nest have been unsuccessful.

On my return from the Floridas to New York, in June 1832, I travelled
through both the Carolinas, and observed many of these Finches on the
sides of the roads cut through the pine woods of South Carolina. At this
time, they filled the air with their melodies. I traced them as far as
the boundary between that State and North Carolina, in which none were
seen or heard. They were particularly abundant near the Great Santee
River.

The food of this species consists of the seeds of grasses, coleopterous
insects, and a variety of the small berries so abundant in that part of
the country. Its flight is swift and direct, now and then protracted,
so that the bird is out of sight before it alights.

I observed no difference in the size or colour of the sexes, and have
represented a Male in full summer dress, which was presented to me,
while yet quite fresh, by my friend BACHMAN.

The beautiful plant on which it is placed, was drawn by my friend's
sister, who has kindly rendered me similar services, which will be
pointed out on the proper occasions; and here let me again express my
gratitude toward that amiable lady, and her esteemed brother.


     FRINGILLA BACHMANII.


Adult Male. Plate CLXV. Fig. 1.

Bill short, conical, acute; upper mandible almost straight in its
dorsal outline, rounded on the sides; lower mandible slightly convex
beneath, the sides rounded; edges of both sharp and inflected; gap-line
deflected at the base. Nostrils basal, roundish, partially concealed by
the feathers. Head rather large, neck short, body rather full. Feet of
moderate length, slender; tarsus covered anteriorly with a few longish
scutella; toes free, scutellate above, the lateral ones nearly equal,
hind-toe proportionally large; claws slender, compressed, acute, slightly
arched, that of the hind-toe longer.

Plumage soft, blended, rather compact on the back, slightly glossed.
Wings shortish, curved, third and fourth quills longest, fifth and second
nearly equal; the secondaries long and rounded. Tail long, graduated,
and deeply emarginate, of twelve straight, narrow feathers, tapering to
a rounded point.

Bill dark brown above, light blue beneath. Iris hazel. Feet very light
flesh-coloured. The general colour of the upper parts is reddish-brown,
the central parts of the feathers on the back black, their margins
bluish-grey. Secondary coverts dull yellowish-brown on the outer edge;
quills dark brown, the first seven or eight slightly edged with pale
ochre, the rest edged with light brown; flexure of the wing bright
yellow; small coverts varied with brown and yellowish-grey. Tail-feathers
brown, lighter on the outer edges. A streak from the upper mandible
over the eye, as well as the margin of the eye, ochre-yellow. Throat
pale yellowish-grey, with a short streak of blackish on each side, from
the base of the mandible; fore part of the breast and sides tinged with
brown; the rest of the lower parts yellowish-grey.

Length 6 inches, extent of wings 7½; bill along the ridge ½, along the
sides ⅝; tarsus ⅞.


The Female is slightly smaller, but does not differ in colouring.


This species belongs to the same group as the Yellow-winged Sparrow,
the Savannah Finch, the Lincoln Finch, and the Henslow Finch. At the
same time, the form of the bill and tail indicates an affinity to the
Sharp-tailed Finch, the Sea-side Finch, and MacGillivray's Finch, which
are maritime birds, while the former do not betake themselves to the
salt marshes. Both groups, however, have the tail-feathers more or less
sharp.


     PINCKNEYA PUBESCENS, _Mich._ Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 105. _Pursh_,
     Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 158.—PENTANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._

This shrubby tree grows on the banks of rivers, and near swamps in
Georgia; but the twig represented in the Plate was from a tree in the
beautiful botanic garden of M. NOISETTE, a few miles from Charleston, in
South Carolina. The leaves are oval, acute at both ends, somewhat downy
beneath; the flowers are yellow, tinged with red; one of the divisions
of the calyx enlarges to a whitish leaf, tinged with red, which renders
the plant highly ornamental.



THE TURTLERS.


The Tortugas are a group of islands lying about eighty miles from Key
West, and the last of those that seem to defend the peninsula of the
Floridas. They consist of five or six extremely low uninhabitable banks
formed of shelly sand, and are resorted to principally by that class
of men called Wreckers and Turtlers. Between these islands are deep
channels, which, although extremely intricate, are well known to those
adventurers, as well as to the commanders of the revenue cutters, whose
duties call them to that dangerous coast. The great coral reef or wall
lies about eight miles from these inhospitable isles, in the direction of
the Gulf, and on it many an ignorant or careless navigator has suffered
shipwreck. The whole ground around them is densely covered with corals,
sea-fans, and other productions of the deep, amid which crawl innumerable
testaceous animals, while shoals of curious and beautiful fishes fill
the limpid waters above them. Turtles of different species resort to
these banks, to deposit their eggs in the burning sand, and clouds of
sea-fowl arrive every spring for the same purpose. These are followed
by persons called "Eggers," who, when their cargoes are completed, sail
to distant markets, to exchange their ill-gotten ware for a portion of
that gold, on the acquisition of which all men seem bent.

The "Marion" having occasion to visit the Tortugas, I gladly embraced
the opportunity of seeing those celebrated islets. A few hours before
sunset the joyful cry of "land" announced our approach to them, but as
the breeze was fresh, and the pilot was well acquainted with all the
windings of the channels, we held on, and dropped anchor before twilight.
If you have never seen the sun setting in those latitudes, I would
recommend to you to make a voyage for the purpose, for I much doubt, if,
in any other portion of the world, the departure of the orb of day is
accompanied with such gorgeous appearances. Look at the great red disk,
increased to triple its ordinary dimensions! Now it has partially sunk
beneath the distant line of waters, and with its still remaining half
irradiates the whole heavens with a flood of golden light, purpling the
far off clouds that hover over the western horizon. A blaze of refulgent
glory streams through the portals of the west, and the masses of vapour
assume the semblance of mountains of molten gold. But the sun has now
disappeared, and from the east slowly advances the grey curtain which
night draws over the world.

The Night-hawk is flapping its noiseless wings in the gentle sea-breeze;
the Terns, safely landed, have settled on their nests; the Frigate
Pelicans are seen wending their way to distant mangroves; and the Brown
Gannet, in search of a resting-place, has perched on the yard of the
vessel. Slowly advancing landward, their heads alone above the water,
are observed the heavily-laden Turtles, anxious to deposit their eggs
in the well-known sands. On the surface of the gently rippling stream, I
dimly see their broad forms, as they toil along, while at intervals may
be heard their hurried breathings, indicative of suspicion and fear. The
moon with her silvery light now illumines the scene, and the Turtle having
landed, slowly and laboriously drags her heavy body over the sand, her
"flappers" being better adapted for motion in the water than on shore.
Up the slope, however, she works her way, and see how industriously she
removes the sand beneath her, casting it out on either side. Layer after
layer she deposits her eggs, arranging them in the most careful manner,
and, with her hind-paddles, brings the sand over them. The business is
accomplished, the spot is covered over, and, with a joyful heart, the
Turtle swiftly retires toward the shore, and launches into the deep.

But the Tortugas are not the only breeding places of the Turtles; these
animals, on the contrary, frequent many other keys, as well as various
parts of the coast of the mainland. There are four different species,
which are known by the names of the _Green_ Turtle, the _Hawk-billed_
Turtle, the _Logger-head_ Turtle, and the _Trunk_ Turtle. The first is
considered the best as an article of food, in which capacity it is well
known to most epicures. It approaches the shores, and enters the bays,
inlets and rivers, early in the month of April, after having spent the
winter in the deep waters. It deposits its eggs in convenient places, at
two different times in May, and once again in June. The first deposit
is the largest, and the last the least, the total quantity being at an
average about two hundred and forty. The Hawk-billed Turtle, whose shell
is so valuable as an article of commerce, being used for various purposes
in the arts, is the next with respect to the quality of its flesh. It
resorts to the outer keys only, where it deposits its eggs in two sets,
first in July, and again in August, although it "crawls" the beaches of
these keys much earlier in the season, as if to look for a safe place.
The average number of its eggs is about three hundred. The Loggerhead
visits the Tortugas in April, and lays from that period until late in
June three sets of eggs, each set averaging a hundred and seventy. The
Trunk Turtle, which is sometimes of an enormous size, and which has a
pouch like a pelican, reaches the shores latest. The shell and flesh are
so soft that one may push his finger into them, almost as into a lump
of butter. This species is therefore considered as the least valuable,
and indeed is seldom eaten, unless by the Indians, who, ever alert when
the turtle season commences, first carry off the eggs, and afterwards
catch the Turtles themselves. The average number of eggs which it lays
in the season, in two sets, may be three hundred and fifty.

The Loggerhead and the Trunk Turtles are the least cautious in choosing
the places in which to deposit their eggs, whereas the two other species
select the wildest and most secluded spots. The Green Turtle resorts
either to the shores of the Main, between Cape Sable and Cape Florida,
or enters Indian, Halifax, and other large rivers or inlets, from which
it makes its retreat as speedily as possible, and betakes itself to
the open sea. Great numbers, however, are killed by the Turtlers and
Indians, as well as by various species of carnivorous animals, as cougars,
lynxes, bears and wolves. The Hawkbill, which is still more wary, and
is always the most difficult to surprise, keeps to the sea islands. All
the species employ nearly the same method in depositing their eggs in
the sand, and as I have several times observed them in the act, I am
enabled to present you with circumstantial account of it.

On first nearing the shores, and mostly on fine calm moonlight nights,
the Turtle raises her head above the water, being still distant thirty or
forty yards from the beach, looks around her, and attentively examines
the objects on the shore. Should she observe nothing likely to disturb
her intended operations, she emits a loud hissing sound, by which such
of her many enemies as are unaccustomed to it, are startled, and so are
apt to remove to another place, although unseen by her. Should she hear
any noise, or perceive indications of danger, she instantly sinks and
goes off to a considerable distance; but should every thing be quiet,
she advances slowly towards the beach, crawls over it, her head raised
to the full stretch of her neck, and when she has reached a place fitted
for her purpose, she gazes all round in silence. Finding "all well,"
she proceeds to form a hole in the sand, which she effects by removing
it from _under_ her body with her _hind_ flappers, scooping it out with
so much dexterity that the sides seldom if ever fall in. The sand is
raised alternately with each flapper, as with a large ladle, until it
has accumulated behind her, when supporting herself with her head and
fore part on the ground fronting her body, she with a spring from each
flapper, sends the sand around her, scattering it to the distance of
several feet. In this manner the hole is dug to the depth of eighteen
inches or sometimes more than two feet. This labour I have seen performed
in the short period of nine minutes. The eggs are then dropped one by
one, and disposed in regular layers, to the number of a hundred and
fifty, or sometimes nearly two hundred. The whole time spent in this
part of the operation may be about twenty minutes. She now scrapes the
loose sand back over the eggs, and so levels and smooths the surface,
that few persons on seeing the spot could imagine any thing had been
done to it. This accomplished to her mind, she retreats to the water
with all possible dispatch, leaving the hatching of the eggs to the heat
of the sand. When a turtle, a loggerhead for example, is in the act of
dropping her eggs, she will not move although one should go up to her,
or even seat himself on her back, for it seems that at this moment she
finds it necessary to proceed at all events, and is unable to intermit
her labour. The moment it is finished, however, off she starts; nor would
it then be possible for one, unless he were as strong as a Hercules, to
turn her over and secure her.

To upset a turtle on the shore, one is obliged to fall on his knees,
and, placing his shoulder behind her forearm, gradually raise her up by
pushing with great force, and then with a jerk throw her over. Sometimes
it requires the united strength of several men to accomplish this; and,
if the turtle should be of very great size, as often happens on that
coast, even hand-spikes are employed. Some turtlers are so daring as to
swim up to them while lying asleep on the surface of the water, and turn
them over in their own element, when, however, a boat must be at hand
to enable them to secure their prize. Few turtles can bite beyond the
reach of their fore legs, and few, when once turned over, can, without
assistance, regain their natural position; but, notwithstanding this,
their flappers are generally secured by ropes so as to render their
escape impossible.

Persons who search for turtles' eggs are provided with a light stiff
cane or a gun-rod, with which they go along the shores, probing the sand
near the tracks of the animals, which, however, cannot always be seen,
on account of the winds and heavy rains, that often obliterate them. The
nests are discovered not only by men, but also by beasts of prey, and
the eggs are collected, or destroyed on the spot in great numbers, as
on certain parts of the shores hundreds of turtles are known to deposit
their eggs within the space of a mile. They form a new hole each time
they lay, and the second is generally dug near the first, as if the
animal were quite unconscious of what had befallen it. It will readily
be understood that the numerous eggs seen in a turtle on cutting it up
could not be all laid the same season. The whole number deposited by
an individual in one summer may amount to four hundred, whereas if the
animal is caught on or near her nest, as I have witnessed, the remaining
eggs, all small, without shells, and as it were threaded like so many
large beads, exceed three thousand. In an instance where I found that
number, the turtle weighed nearly four hundred pounds. The young, soon
after being hatched, and when yet scarcely larger than a dollar, scratch
their way through their sandy covering, and immediately betake themselves
to the water.

The food of the Green Turtle consists chiefly of marine plants, more
especially the Grasswrack (_Zostera marina_), which they cut near the
roots to procure the most tender and succulent parts. Their feeding
grounds, as I have elsewhere said, are easily discovered by floating
masses of these plants on the flats, or along the shores to which they
resort. The Hawk-billed species feeds on sea-weeds, crabs, various
kinds of shellfish, and fishes; the Loggerhead mostly on the fish of
conch-shells of large size, which they are enabled, by means of their
powerful beak, to crush to pieces with apparently as much ease as a man
cracks a walnut. One which was brought on board the Marion, and placed
near the fluke of one of her anchors, made a deep indentation in that
hammered piece of iron that quite surprised me. The Trunk Turtle feeds
on mollusca, fish, crustacea, sea urchins, and various marine plants.

All the species move through the water with surprising speed; but the
Green and Hawk-billed in particular, remind you, by their celerity and
the ease of their motions, of the progress of a bird in the air. It is
therefore no easy matter to strike one with a spear, and yet this is
often done by an accomplished turtler.

While at Key West and other islands on the coast, where I made the
observations here presented to you, I chanced to have need to purchase
some turtles, to feed my friends on board the Lady of the Green Mantle—not
my friends her gallant officers, or the brave tars who formed her crew,
for all of them had already been satiated with turtle soup, but my friends
the Herons, of which I had a goodly number alive in coops, intending to
carry them to JOHN BACHMAN of Charleston, and other persons for whom
I ever feel a sincere regard. So I went to a "crawl," accompanied by
Dr BENJAMIN STROBEL, to inquire about prices, when, to my surprise, I
found that the smaller the turtles, above ten pounds weight, the dearer
they were, and that I could have purchased one of the loggerhead kind
that weighed more than seven hundred pounds, for little more money than
another of only thirty pounds. While I gazed on the large one, I thought
of the soups the contents of its shell would have furnished for a "Lord
Mayor's dinner," of the numerous eggs which its swollen body contained,
and of the curious carriage which might be made of its shell,—a car in
which Venus herself might sail over the Carribbean sea, provided her
tender doves lent their aid in drawing the divinity, and provided no
shark or hurricane came to upset it. The turtler assured me that although
the "great monster" was in fact better meat than any other of a less
size, there was no disposing of it, unless indeed it had been in his
power to have sent it to some very distant market. I would willingly
have purchased it, but I knew that if killed, its flesh could not keep
much longer than a day, and on that account I bought eight or ten small
ones, which "my friends" really relished exceedingly, and which served
to support them for a long time.

Turtles such as I have spoken of, are caught in various ways on the
coasts of the Floridas, or in estuaries and rivers. Some turtlers are in
the habit of setting great nets across the entrance of streams, so as to
answer the purpose either at the flow or at the ebb of the waters. These
nets are formed of very large meshes, into which the turtles partially
enter, when, the more they attempt to extricate themselves, the more
they get entangled. Others harpoon them in the usual manner; but in my
estimation no method is equal to that employed by Mr EGAN, the Pilot of
Indian Isle.

That extraordinary turtler had an iron instrument, which he called a
_peg_, and which at each end had a point not unlike what nail-makers
call a brad, it being four-cornered but flattish, and of a shape somewhat
resembling the beak of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker, together with a neck
and shoulder. Between the two shoulders of this instrument a fine tough
line, fifty or more fathoms in length, was fastened by one end being
passed through a hole in the centre of the peg, and the line itself
was carefully coiled up and placed in a convenient part of the canoe.
One extremity of this peg enters a sheath of iron that loosely attaches
it to a long wooden spear, until a turtle has been pierced through the
shell by the other extremity. He of the canoe paddles away as silently
as possible whenever he spies a turtle basking on the water, until he
gets within a distance of ten or twelve yards, when he throws the spear
so as to hit the animal about the place which an entomologist would
choose, were it a large insect, for pinning it to a piece of cork. As
soon as the turtle is struck, the wooden handle separates from the peg,
in consequence of the looseness of its attachment. The smart of the
wound urges on the animal as if distracted, and it appears that the
longer the peg remains in its shell, the more firmly fastened it is,
so great a pressure is exercised upon it by the shell of the turtle,
which being suffered to run like a whale, soon becomes fatigued, and is
secured by hauling in the line with great care. In this manner, as the
Pilot informed me, eight hundred Green Turtles were caught by one man
in twelve months.

Each turtler has his _crawl_, which is a square wooden building or
pen, formed of logs, which are so far separated as to allow the tide to
pass freely through, and stand erect in the mud. The turtles are placed
in this inclosure, fed and kept there until sold. If the animals thus
confined have not laid their eggs previous to their seizure, they drop
them in the water, so that they are lost. The price of Green Turtles,
when I was at Key West, was from four to six cents per pound.

The loves of the turtles are conducted in a most extraordinary manner;
but as the recital of them must prove out of place here, I shall pass
them over. There is, however, a circumstance relating to their habits,
which I cannot omit, although I have it not from my own ocular evidence,
but from report. When I was in the Floridas, several of the turtlers
assured me, that any turtle taken from the depositing ground, and
carried on the deck of a vessel several hundred miles, would, if then
let loose, certainly be met with at the same spot, either immediately
after, or in the following breeding season. Should this prove true, and
it certainly may, how much will be enhanced the belief of the student
in the uniformity and solidity of Nature's arrangements, when he finds
that the turtle, like a migratory bird, returns to the same locality,
with perhaps a delight similar to that experienced by the traveller,
who, after visiting distant countries, once more returns to the bosom
of his cherished family.



THE ROUGH-LEGGED FALCON.

_FALCO LAGOPUS_, GMEL.

PLATE CLXVI. MALE.


Should the bird known in Europe by the above name, and that found in the
United States, prove to be identical, I should not be a little surprised,
as I consider our Rough-legged Falcon and the _Falco niger_ of WILSON
to be of the same species, the difference in their colour being merely
indicative of a difference in age.

While at Boston, in the winter of 1832, I offered premiums for birds
of this family, and received as many as eight at one time, of which
not one resembled another in the colour of the plumage, although they
were precisely similar in form and internal structure. The females were
similar to the males, but were distinguished by their superior size.
These eight birds, and some others which I examined, were all shot on the
same salt marshes, within about five miles of the city. Their flight was
precisely similar, as were their usual attitudes, either when perched
on the branches of trees, stakes, or stalks of salt grass-hay, or when
alighted on the banks of the ditches to watch for their prey. The darker
the bird the more shy it was; when pursued it would fly at a much greater
elevation and farther off than the light coloured individuals; and I
feel confident, from my knowledge of birds, that this difference as to
shyness arose from the circumstance, that the dark birds were the oldest.
When listening to their disagreeable squealing notes, I could perceive
no difference whatever. All these Hawks arrived in the marshes within
a day or two of each other, in straggling parties of four or five, and
the individuals composing these parties remained near each other as if
retaining a mutual attachment. These and similar observations, made in
other places from the Bay of Fundy to the marshes and meadows in the
maritime districts of the State of Maryland, have convinced me that
these Hawks form only one species.

The Rough-legged Hawk seldom goes farther south along our Atlantic coast
than the Eastern portions of North Carolina, nor have I ever seen it to
the west of the Alleghanies. It is a sluggish bird, and confines itself
to the meadows and low grounds bordering the rivers and salt-marshes,
along our bays and inlets. In such places you may see it perched on a
stake, where it remains for hours at a time, unless some wounded bird
comes in sight, when it sails after it, and secures it without manifesting
much swiftness of flight. It feeds principally on moles, mice, and other
small quadrupeds, and never attacks a duck on the wing, although now
and then it pursues a wounded one. When not alarmed, it usually flies
low and sedately, and does not exhibit any of the courage and vigour so
conspicuous in most other hawks, suffering thousands of birds to pass
without pursuing them. The greatest feat I have seen them perform was
scrambling at the edge of the water, to secure a lethargic frog.

They alight on trees to roost, but appear so hungry or indolent at all
times, that they seldom retire to rest until after dusk. Their large eyes
indeed, seem to indicate their possession of the faculty of seeing at
that late hour. I have frequently put up one, that seemed watching for
food at the edge of a ditch, long after sunset. Whenever an opportunity
offers, they eat to excess, and, like the Turkey Buzzards and Carrion
Crows, disgorge their food, to enable them to fly off. The species is
more nocturnal in its habits than any other Hawk found in the United
States.

Nothing is known respecting their propagation in the United States, and
as I have no desire to compile, I must pass over this subject. They leave
us in the beginning of March, and betake themselves to more northern
countries; yet not one did either myself, or my youthful and enterprising
party, observe on my late rambles in Labrador.

I have given you the figure of what I suppose to have been a middle-aged
bird, and will at another time place before you one of the dark-coloured
kind, known by the name of _Falco niger_, but which I consider as the
old bird of the present species.

However highly I esteem the labours of WILSON, I am here compelled to
differ from him. How that accurate observer made two different species of
the young and the adult Rough-legged Falcon, I cannot well understand,
more especially as his description of _Falco lagopus_ and _F. niger_
are so similar, that one might infer from their comparison that they
referred to the same species.

Of _Falco lagopus_ he says:—"The Rough-legged Hawk measures twenty-two
inches in length, and four feet two inches in extent; cere, sides of
the mouth, and feet, rich yellow; legs feathered to the toes, with
brownish-yellow plumage, streaked with brown; femorals the same; toes
comparatively short; claws and bill blue-black; iris of the eye bright
amber; upper part of the head pale ochre, streaked with brown; back and
wings chocolate, each feather edged with bright ferruginous; first four
primaries nearly black about the tips, edged externally with silvery
in some lights; rest of the quills dark chocolate; lower, side, and
interior vanes white; tail-coverts white; tail rounded, white, with a
broad band of dark brown near the end, and tipt with white; body below,
and breast, light yellow ochre, blotched and streaked with chocolate.
What constitutes a characteristic mark of this bird, is a belt or girdle
of very dark brown, passing round the belly just below the breast, and
reaching under the wings to the rump; head very broad, and bill uncommonly
small, suited to the humility of its prey.

"The female is much darker both above and below, particularly in the
belt or girdle, which is nearly black; the tail-coverts are also spotted
with chocolate; she is also something larger.

"The Black Hawk is twenty-one inches long, and four feet two inches in
extent; bill bluish-black; cere and sides of the mouth orange-yellow;
feet the same; eye very large; iris bright hazel; cartilage overhanging
the eye prominently, of a dull greenish colour; general colour above
brown-black, slightly dashed with dirty white; nape of the neck pure
white under the surface; front white; whole lower parts black, with slight
tinges of brown; and a few circular touches of the same on the femorals;
legs feathered to the toes, and black, touched with brownish; the wings
reach rather beyond the tip of the tail; the five first primaries are
white on their inner vanes; tail rounded at the end, deep black, crossed
with five narrow bands of pure white, and broadly tipped with dull white;
vent black, spotted with white; inside vanes of the primaries snowy;
claws black, strong, and sharp; toes remarkably short."

I have frequently examined the very specimen from which WILSON took
his figure of the _Falco niger_, and which is now in the collection of
the Academy of Natural Sciences at Philadelphia. On comparing it with
specimens of the Rough-legged Falcon in its ordinary states, I could
discover no essential differences, nor, in fact, any excepting such as
have reference to colour, a circumstance or quality which in hawks is
known to vary so much in almost every species at different periods of
their lives, that it would be useless for me to offer any remarks on
the subject. Besides this, WILSON'S figure is by no means correct as to
colouring, it being in fact black, in contradiction to his description.
I have beside me specimens in which the colour of the plumage is very
different, some being quite light, others almost black; and I feel pretty
confident that further researches respecting this species will shew that
my opinion is not incorrect, when I say that the Rough-legged Falcon of
America and the _Falco niger_ of WILSON, are the same bird.

I am of opinion that the reason for which the dark coloured individuals
are of much rarer occurrence with us, than the lighter ones, is, that
the former being older and stronger birds, are much better able to bear
the inclemency of the weather in more northern regions.


     FALCO LAGOPUS, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 260.—_Lath._ Ind.
     Ornith. vol. i. p. 19.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 32.

     BUTEO LAGOPUS, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna Bor.-Amer. part
     ii. p. 52.

     ROUGH-LEGGED FALCON, FALCO LAGOPUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iv.
     p. 59. pl. 33. Fig.1.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 97.


Middle aged Male. Plate CLXVI.

Bill short, as broad as deep at the base, which is cerate, the sides
convex; upper mandible with the dorsal outline straight and declinate at
the base, soon becoming convex, the tip trigonal, descending obliquely,
acute, the sharp margin undulated and perpendicular; lower mandible
with the back convex, the edges sharp, arched, and inflected, the tip
obliquely truncate. Nostrils large, subovate in the fore and under part
of the cere. Head rather large, broad, neck of moderate length, body
robust. Feet short, robust; tarsi roundish, feathered; toes short, and
rather small, hind toe and inner strongest and nearly equal, the latter
connected with the middle at the base by a short membrane, the outer
smallest; all with four transverse scutella at the end, the rest of their
upper parts covered with very small hexagonal scales; claws compressed,
strong, curved, acute, flat beneath.

Plumage ordinary, soft beneath. Space between the bill and eye covered
with bristly feathers, the bases of which are furnished with short
barbs. Feathers of the head and neck lanceolate, of the back and breast
broad and rounded, of the legs short and narrow, excepting the external
tibial, which are long and rounded. Wings long, third quill longest,
fourth almost equal, second shorter than fifth, first very short; first
four abruptly cut out towards the end on the inner web; secondaries
broad and rounded. Tail rather long, broad, rounded.

Bill dull bluish-grey, black at the end. Iris hazel, projecting part
of the eye-brow greenish-blue, cere yellow. Toes yellow, claws black.
Bases of the black bristles of the lore whitish. The head and neck are
streaked with umber-brown and yellowish-white, the centre and tip of
each feather being of the former colour. Back umber-brown, variegated
with light reddish-brown and yellowish-white. Quills dark brown towards
the end, the outer webs of the first six tinged with grey, the base of
all white, that colour extending farther on the secondaries, of most
of which, and of some of the primaries, the inner web is irregularly
barred with brown. Upper tail-coverts white, irregularly barred with
dark brown. Tail white at the base, brown and mottled towards the end,
with a broad subterminal bar of brownish-black, the tips brownish-white.
Middle and hind part of the thorax, with the sides blackish-brown. Breast
yellowish-white, largely spotted and blotched with umber. Feathers of
the legs paler yellowish-red, barred with dusky; abdomen yellowish-white,
as are the under tail-coverts, which are marked with a small brown spot.

Length 22 inches, extent of wings 4 feet 1 inch; bill along the back
1⅜, along the edge 1-7/12; tarsus 2-11/12.

The Female agrees in colouring, but is considerably larger.


The old bird, which has a very different look as to colour, has been
noticed or described under different names.


     BLACK HAWK, FALCO NIGER, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. vi. p. 82.
     pl. 53. fig. 1.

     FALCO SANCTI JOHANNIS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 32.

The bill, feet, and iris, are coloured as in middle age; but the plumage
is of a nearly uniform chocolate-brown, the bases of the quills, however,
remaining white, the broad band on the under surface of the wing being
the same as in the younger bird; and the tail being brown, without a
subterminal bar of black, but slightly tipped with brownish-white, and
barred with yellowish-white on the inner webs, the bars becoming more
distinct on the outer feathers. The wings in both reach to near the tip
of the tail. The feathers on the nape of the neck are white excepting
at the extremities, which is also the case in the young and middle aged
birds, and is not a circumstance peculiar to this species, being observed
in _F. Albicilla_, _F. palumbarius_, _F. Nisus_, and many others.



THE KEY WEST PIGEON.

_COLUMBA MONTANA_, LINN.

PLATE CLXVII. MALE AND FEMALE.


It was at Key West that I first saw this beautiful Pigeon. The Marion was
brought to anchor close to, and nearly opposite, the little town of the
same name, some time after the setting of the sun. The few flickering
lights I saw nearly fixed the size of the place in my imagination. In
a trice, the kind captain and I were seated in his gig, and I felt the
onward movement of the light bark as if actually on wing, so well timed
was the pulling of the brave tars who were taking us to the shore. In
this place I formed acquaintance with Major GLASSEL of the United States
Artillery, and his family, of Dr BENJAMIN STROBEL, and several other
persons, to whom I must ever feel grateful for the kind attention which
they paid to me and my assistants, as well as for the alacrity with which
they aided me in procuring rare specimens not only of birds, but also
of shells and plants, most of which were unknown to me. Indeed—I cannot
too often repeat it—the facilities afforded me by our Government, during
my latter journeys and voyages, have been so grateful to my feelings,
that I have frequently thought that circumstance alone quite sufficient
to induce even a less ardent lover of nature to exert himself to the
utmost in repaying the favour.

Major GLASSEL sent one of his serjeants with me to search the whole
island, with which he was perfectly acquainted. The name of this soldier
was SYKES, and his life, like mine, had been a chequered one; for there
are few pleasures unaccompanied with pains, real or imaginary, and the
worthy sergeant had had his share of both. I soon discovered that he
was a perfect woodsman, for although we traversed the densest thickets,
in close and gloomy weather, he conducted me quite across the island,
in as masterly a manner as ever did an Indian on a like occasion.—But
perhaps, kind reader, a copy of my journal for that day, may afford you
a clearer idea of our search for rare birds, than any other means that I
could devise. Before I proceed, however, allow me to state, that, while
at Charleston, in South Carolina, I saw at my friend BACHMAN'S house
the head of a Pigeon which Dr STROBEL had sent from Key West, and which
I perceived did not belong to the Zenaida Dove. Serjeant SYKES had seen
the Pigeon, and acquainted as he was with the birds of the country, he
gave some hope that we might procure a few of them that very day;—and
now, for my Journal.

_May 6. 1832._—When I reached the garrison, I found the sergeant waiting
for me. I gave him some small shot, and we set off, not in full run,
nor even at a dog-trot, but with the slowness and carefulness usually
employed by a lynx or a cougar when searching for prey. We soon reached
the thickets, and found it necessary to move in truth very slowly, one
foot warily advanced before the other, one hand engaged in opening a
passage, and presently after occupied in securing the cap on the head,
in smashing some dozens of hungry musquitoes, or in drawing the sharp
thorn of a cactus from a leg or foot, in securing our gun-locks, or
in assisting ourselves to rise after a fall occasioned by stumbling
against the projecting angle of a rock. But we pushed on, squeezed
ourselves between the stubborn branches, and forced our way as well as
we could, my guide of course having the lead. Suddenly I saw him stoop,
and observing the motion of his hand, immediately followed his example.
Reduced by his position to one half of his natural height, he moved more
briskly, inclined to the right, then to the left, then pushed forward,
and raising his piece as he stopped, immediately fired. "I have it,"
cried he. "What?" cried I. "The pigeon"—and he disappeared. The heat
was excessive, and the brushwood here was so thick and tangled, that
had not Mr SYKES been a United States soldier, I should have looked upon
him as bent on retaliating on behalf of "the eccentric naturalist;" for,
although not more than ten paces distant from me, not a glimpse of him
could I obtain. After crawling to the spot I found him smoothing the
feathers of a Pigeon which I had never seen, nay the most beautiful yet
found in the United States. How I gazed on its resplendent plumage!—how
I marked the expression of its rich-coloured, large and timid eye, as
the poor creature was gasping its last breath!—Ah, how I looked on this
lovely bird! I handled it, turned it, examined its feathers and form,
its bill, its legs and claws, weighed it by estimate, and after a while
formed a winding sheet for it of a piece of paper. Did ever an Egyptian
pharmacopolist employ more care in embalming the most illustrious of
the Pharaohs, than I did in trying to preserve from injury this most
beautiful of the woodland cooers!

I never felt, nor did my companion, that our faces and hands were covered
with musquitoes; and although the perspiration made my eyes smart, I was
as much delighted as ever I had been on such an occasion. We travelled
onward, much in the same manner, until we reached the opposite end of
the island; but not another bird did we meet this day.

As we sat near the shore gazing on the curious light pea-green colour
of the sea, I unfolded my prize, and as I now more quietly observed the
brilliant changing metallic hues of its plumage, I could not refrain
from exclaiming—"But who will draw it?" for the obvious difficulties of
copying nature struck me as powerfully as they ever had done, and brought
to my memory the following passage:—"La nature se joue du pinceau des
hommes;—lorsqu'on croit qu'il a atteint sa plus grande beauté, elle
sourit et s'embellit encore!"

We returned along the shore of this curious island to the garrison,
after which Major GLASSEL'S barge conveyed me on board of the Marion.

I have taken upon myself to name this species the Key West Pigeon, and
offer it as a tribute to the generous inhabitants of that island, who
favoured me with their friendship.

The flight of this bird is low, swift, and protracted. I saw several
afterwards when they were crossing from Cuba to Key West, the only place
in which I found them. It flies in loose flocks of from five or six to
a dozen, with flappings having an interval apparently of six feet, so
very low over the sea, that one might imagine it on the eve of falling
into the water every moment. It is fond of going out from the thickets
early in the morning, for the purpose of cleansing itself in the shelly
sand that surrounds the island; but the instant it perceives danger it
flies off to the woods, throws itself into the thickest part of them,
alights on the ground, and runs off with rapidity until it thinks itself
secure. The jetting motions of its tail are much like those of the
Carolina Dove, and it moves its neck to and fro, forward and backward,
as Pigeons are wont to do.

The cooing of this species is not so soft or prolonged as that of the
Common Dove, or of the Zenaida Dove, and yet not so emphatical as that
of any true Pigeon with which I am acquainted. It may be imitated by
pronouncing the following syllables:—_Whoe-whoe-oh-oh-oh_. When suddenly
approached by man, it emits a guttural gasping-like sound, somewhat in
the manner of the Common Tame Pigeon on such an occasion. They alight
on the lower branches of shrubby trees, and delight in the neighbourhood
of shady ponds, but always inhabit, by preference, the darkest solitudes.

The nest of the Key West Pigeon is formed of light dry twigs, and much
resembles in shape that of the Carolina Dove. Sometimes you find it
situated on the ground, when less preparation is used. Some nests are
placed on the large branches of trees quite low, while others are fixed on
slender twigs. On the 20th May, one of these nests was found containing
two pure white eggs, about the size of those of the White-headed Pigeon,
nearly round, and so transparent that I could see the yolk by holding
them to the light. How long incubation continues, or if they raise more
than one brood in a season, I am unable to say.

Towards the middle of July they become sufficiently abundant at Key
West, to enable sportsmen to shoot as many as a score in a day; for,
as soon as the young are able to follow their parents, they frequently
resort to the roads to dust themselves, and are then easily approached.
Dr STROBEL told me he had procured more than a dozen of these birds in
the course of a morning, and assured me that they were excellent eating.

Their food consists of berries and seeds of different plants, and when
the sea-grape is ripe, they feed greedily upon it. They all depart for
Cuba, or the other West India Islands, about the middle of October.

Until my arrival at Key West, this species was supposed to be the Zenaida
Dove. The young, when fully feathered, are of a dark-grey colour above,
lighter below, the bill and legs of a deep leaden hue. I am inclined
to believe that they attain their full beauty of plumage the following
spring.

So much are these birds confined to the interior of the undergrowth, that
their loves are entirely prosecuted there; nor do they on such occasions
elevate themselves in the air, as is the manner of the Carolina Dove.


     COLUMBA MONTANA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 281.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 594.

     PARTRIDGE PIGEON, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iv. p. 615.


Adult Male. Plate CLXVII. Fig. 1.

Bill straight, of ordinary length, rather slender, broader than deep at
the base, compressed toward the end; upper mandible with a tumid fleshy
covering at the base, a convex declinate obtuse tip, and a slight sinus
in the sharp margins; lower mandible with the angle near the extremity,
which is compressed and rounded. Nostrils medial, oblique, linear. Head
small and compressed, the general form rather robust. Legs short, and
of moderate strength; tarsus covered anteriorly with broad scutella,
rounded behind; toes scutellate free, margined; claws rather small,
arched, compressed, marginate, obtuse.

Plumage compact on the back, elsewhere blended with strong, but disunited
barbs. Wings of ordinary length; second quill longest, first intermediate
between the fourth and fifth. First four primaries more or less cut out
on the outer web, towards the end. Tail much rounded, of twelve broad
rounded feathers.

Bill horn-colour at the end, the fleshy parts at the base bright carmine.
Iris and margins of the eye-lids carmine. Feet flesh-coloured, the
scutella of the tarsus and toes carmine. Forehead and a band running
behind the eye light reddish-brown; upper part of the head shining with
purplish-brown and light green reflections, as is the back of the neck.
The general colour of the upper parts is brownish-red, the wing-coverts
and margins of the quills and tail shaded with green, the fore part of
the back splendent with purple reflections. There is a broad white band
from the lower mandible beneath the eye, and the throat is of the same
colour; under the subocular white band is another of the same colour as
the forehead. The fore-neck and breast are of a rich but delicate pale
purple, which fades into cream-colour behind. Under surface of the wings
and tail of the same colour as the upper, but fainter.

Length 11¾ inches, extent of wings 17½; bill along the back 10/12, along
the edge 1 inch; tarsus 1-2/12, middle-toe 4/12; weight 6 ounces.


Adult Female. Plate CLXVII. Fig. 2.

The Female resembles the Male, the tints being merely fainter, and the
gloss of the neck and back less splendent.

       *       *       *       *       *

The plants represented in this plate grew on Key West, in sheltered
situations. That with purple flowers is a Convolvulus, the other
an Ipomæa. The blossoms are partially closed at night, and although
ornamental, are destitute of odour.



THE FORKED-TAILED FLYCATCHER.

_MUSCICAPA SAVANA_, BONAP.

PLATE CLXVIII. MALE.


In the end of June 1832, I observed one of these birds a few miles below
the city of Camden, flying over a meadow in pursuit of insects, after,
which it alighted on the top of a small detached tree, where I followed
it and succeeded in obtaining it. The bird appeared to have lost itself:
it was unsuspicious, and paid no attention to me as I approached it.
While on the wing, it frequently employed its long tail, when performing
sudden turns in following its prey, and when alighted, it vibrated it
in the manner of the Sparrow-Hawk. The bird fell to the ground wounded,
and uttering a sharp squeak, which it repeated, and accompanied with
smart clicks of its bill, when I went up to it. It lived only a few
minutes, and from it the drawing transferred to the plate was made.
This figure corresponds precisely with a skin shewn to me by my friend
CHARLES PICKERING, at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia,
except in the general tint of the plumage, his specimen, which he had
received from South America, having been much faded.

Many years ago, while residing at Henderson in Kentucky, I had one of
these birds brought to me which had been caught by the hand, and was
nearly putrid when I got it. The person who presented it to me had caught
it in the Barrens, ten or twelve miles from Henderson, late in October,
after a succession of white frosts, and had kept it more than a week.
While near the city of Natchez, in the State of Mississippi, in August
1822, I saw two others high in the air, twittering in the manner of the
King Bird; but they disappeared to the westward, and I was unable to see
them again. These four specimens were the only ones I have seen in the
United States, where individuals appear only at long intervals, and in
far distant districts, as if they had lost themselves. I regret that I
am unable to afford any information respecting their habits.

The bird has been placed on a plant which grows in Georgia, and which
was drawn by my friend BACHMAN'S sister.


     MUSCICAPA TYRANNUS, _Linn._ vol. i. p. 325.—_Lath._ Ind.
     Ornith. vol. ii. p. 484.

     MUSCICAPA SAVANA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
     United States, p. 67.

     FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER, MUSCICAPA SAVANA, _Ch. Bonaparte_,
     Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 1. pl. 1. fig. 1.—_Nuttall_, Manual,
     part ii. p. 274.


Adult Male. Plate CLVIII.

Bill of moderate length, rather stout, straight, broad at the base,
compressed towards the end; upper mandible with the dorsal outline a
little convex, the sides convex, the edges sharp and nearly perpendicular,
with a very small notch close upon the small deflected tip; lower mandible
with the back broad, the sides rounded, the edges sharp and inflected.
Nostrils basal, lateral, oblong, partly covered by the bristly feathers.
Head rather large, depressed, neck short, body rather slender. Feet rather
short; tarsus compressed, rather sharp before and behind, anteriorly
covered with broad scutella; toes free, the hind toe not proportionally
larger; claws slightly arched, compressed, acute.

Plumage soft, blended, slightly glossed. Basirostral bristles strong.
Wings rather long, second quills longest, third a little shorter, first
almost as long as third, all the three curiously cut into near the end,
with a sharp sinus, the rest of the quills to the tip being extremely
slender. Tail with the lateral feather extremely elongated, very deeply
forked, the middle feathers being of ordinary length, the intermediate
ones graduated.

Bill and feet black. Iris dusky. Head and cheeks deep black, the feathers
of the crown deep yellow at the base, that colour being visible only when
the crest is elevated. The back is ash-grey, becoming darker behind,
so that the tail-feathers are blackish-brown, margined with grey.
Wing-coverts and quills blackish-brown, slightly margined with grey, as
is the tail, of which, however, the outer web of the lateral feather is
white for half its length from the base. The lower parts are white.

Length 14¼ inches, extent of wings 14; bill along the ridge 7/12, along
the edge 10/12; tarsus 7½/12. Outer tail-feathers 10, the next 4¾, the
middle ones 2½.


The Female resembles the Male.


     GORDONIA LASIANTHUS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iii. p. 840. _Pursh_,
     Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 451.—MONODELPHIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._

This beautiful small tree is met with in Georgia, South Carolina, and
Florida, in moist lands near the coast, and never fails to attract the
eye by its beautiful blossoms. The twig from which the drawing was made
was procured from the garden of Mr NOISETTE, who liberally afforded
me all the aid in his power for embellishing my plates. The leaves are
evergreen, lanceolato-oblong, shining, and leathery; the flowers white,
of the size of the common garden-rose, and placed on long peduncles;
the capsules conical and acuminate.



THE MANGROVE CUCKOO.

_COCCYZUS SENICULUS_, NUTTALL.

PLATE CLXIX. MALE.


A few days after my arrival at Key West in the Floridas, early in the
month of May, Major GLASSEL of the United States' Army presented me with
a specimen of this bird, which had been killed by one of the soldiers
belonging to the garrison. I had already observed many Cuckoos in the
course of my walks through the tangled woods of that curious island;
but as they seemed to be our Common Yellow-billed species, I passed
them without paying much attention to them. The moment this specimen
was presented to me however, I knew that it was a species unknown to me,
and thought, as I have on many occasions had reason to do, how vigilant
the student of nature ought to be, when placed in a country previously
unvisited by him. The bird was immediately drawn, and I afterwards shot
several others, all precisely corresponding with it.

The habits of the Mangrove Cuckoo I found to be much the same as those
of our two other well known species. Like them, it is fond of sucking
the eggs of all kinds of birds in the absence of their owners, and also
feeds on fruits and various species of insects. It is, however, more
vigilant and shy, and does not extend its migrations northward beyond
the eastern capes of the Floridas, appearing, indeed, to confine itself
mostly to the islets covered with mangroves, among the sombre foliage of
which trees it usually builds its nest and rears its young. It retires
southward in the beginning of September, according to the accounts of
it which I received in the country.

The nest is slightly constructed of dry twigs, and is almost flat,
nearly resembling that of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, which I have already
described. The eggs are of the same number and form as those of that
species, but somewhat larger. It raises two broods in the season, and
feeds its young on insects until they are able to go abroad.

The White-headed Pigeon is frequently robbed of its eggs by this
plunderer, and it is alleged by the fishermen and wreckers that it
destroys the squabs when yet very young, but I saw no instance of this
barbarous propensity. One which had been caught in its nest, and which
I saw placed in a cage, refused all kinds of food, and soon died. This,
however proved to me the great affection which they have towards their
eggs. Their flight is much like that of the other species described by
me, perhaps only more rapid and elevated when they are proceeding to
some distant place.


     COCCYZUS SENICULUS, _Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 558.

     CUCULUS SENICULUS, _Lath._ Index Ornith. vol. i. p. 219.

     MANGROVE CUCKOO, _Lath._ Synops. vol. ii. p. 537.


Adult Male. Plate CLXIX.

Bill as long as the head, broad at the base, compressed, slightly
arched, acute; upper mandible carinated above, its margins acute and
entire; lower mandible carinated beneath, acute. Nostrils basal, lateral,
linear-elliptical, half-closed by a membrane. Feet short; tarsus covered
with a few large scutella, which extend around it and meet behind; toes
two before, separated; two behind, one of which is versatile; their
under surface broad and flat; claws slender, compressed, arched.

Plumage soft, blended, slightly glossed. Wings long, the first quill
short, the third and fourth longest and equal; primaries tapering,
secondaries broad and rounded. Tail very long, graduated, of ten feathers,
which are broad and rounded.

Upper mandible brownish-black, lower mandible yellow at the base,
blackish on the margin and at the end. Iris hazel. Feet greyish-blue.
The general colour of the upper parts, including the wing-coverts and
two middle tail-feathers, is light greenish-brown, the head tinged
with grey; primary quills umber-brown; tail-feathers, excepting the two
middle ones, brownish-black tipped with white, the outer more largely.
The lower surface brownish-orange.

Length 12 inches, extent of wings 15; bill along the ridge 1, along the
edge 1¼; tarsus 1-1/12, longest toe 1¼.


The Female resembles the male, but is somewhat paler, especially on the
lower surface, which is tinged with grey.


THE SEVEN YEARS' APPLE, _Catesby_, plate 59.

The plant, on a twig of which I have represented the Mangrove Cuckoo,
is found on all the Florida Keys, and at times is seen growing in large
patches on the mud flats that exist between the outer islets and the
mainland. The leaves are thick, glossy above, furred, and of a dull
brown colour beneath.



THE PIPIRY FLYCATCHER.

_MUSCICAPA DOMINICENSIS_, BRISS.

PLATE CLXX. MALE.


Having landed on one of the Florida Keys, I scarcely had time to cast
a glance over the diversified vegetation which presented itself, when I
observed a pair of birds mounting perpendicularly in the air twittering
with a shrill continued note new to me. The country itself was new: it
was what my mind had a thousand times before conceived a tropical scene
to be. As I walked over many plants, curious and highly interesting to
me, my sensations were joyous in the highest degree, for I saw that in
a few moments I should possess a new subject, on which I could look with
delight, as one of the great Creator's marvellous works.

I was on one of those yet unknown islets, which the foot of man has
seldom pressed. A Flycatcher unknown to me had already presented itself,
and the cooing of a Dove never before heard come on my ear. I felt some
of that pride, which doubtless pervades the breast of the discoverer
of some hitherto unknown land. Although desirous of obtaining the birds
before me, I had no wish to shoot them at that moment. My gun lay loosely
on my arms, my eyes were rivetted on the Flycatchers, my ears open to
the soft notes of the Doves. Reader, such are the moments, amid days of
toil and discomfort, that compensate for every privation. It is on such
occasions that the traveller feels most convinced, that the farther he
proceeds, the better will be his opportunities of observing the results
of the Divine conception. What else, I would ask of you, can be more
gratifying to the human intellect!

Delighted and amused I stood for a while contemplating the beautiful
world that surrounded me, and from which man would scarcely retire with
willingness, had not the Almighty ordained it otherwise. But action had
now to succeed, and I quickly procured some of the Flycatchers. Their
habits too, I subsequently studied for weeks in succession, and the
result of my observations I now lay before you.

About the 1st of April, this species reaches the Florida Keys, and
spreads over the whole of them, as far as Cape Florida, or perhaps
somewhat farther along the eastern coast of the Peninsula. It comes
from Cuba, where the species is said to be rather abundant, as well as
in the other West India Islands. Its whole demeanour so much resembles
that of the Tyrant Flycatcher, that were it not for its greater size,
and the difference of its notes, it might be mistaken for that bird, as
I think it has been on former occasions by travellers less intent than
I, on distinguishing species. At the season when I visited the Floridas,
there was not a Key ever so small without at least a pair of them.

Their flight is performed by a constant flutter of the wings, unless
when the bird is in chase, or has been rendered shy, when it exhibits a
power and speed equal to those of any other species of the genus. During
the love season, the male and female are seen rising from a dry twig
together, either perpendicularly, or in a spiral manner, crossing each
other as they ascend, twittering loudly, and conducting themselves in a
manner much resembling that of the Tyrant Flycatcher. When in pursuit
of insects, they dart at them with great velocity. Should any large
bird pass near their stand, they immediately pursue it, sometimes to a
considerable distance. I have seen them, after teasing a Heron or Fish
Crow, follow them nearly half a mile, and return exulting to the tree on
which they had previously been perched. Yet I frequently observed that
the approach of a White-headed Pigeon or Zenaida Dove, never ruffled
their temper. To the Grakles they were particularly hostile, and on all
occasions drove them away from their stand, or the vicinity of their
nest, with unremitting perseverance. The reason in this case, and in
that of the Fish Crow, was obvious, for these birds sucked their eggs
or destroyed their young whenever an opportunity occurred. This was also
the case with the Mangrove Cuckoo.

This species is careless of the approach of man, probably because it
is seldom disturbed by him. I have been so near some of them as to see
distinctly the colour of their eyes. No sooner, however, had it begun
to build its nest, than it flew about me or my companions, as if much
exasperated at our being near, frequently snapping its beak with force,
and in various ways loudly intimating its disapprobation of our conduct.
Then as if we retired from the neighbourhood of its nest, it flew upwards,
chattering notes of joy.

They fix their nest somewhat in the manner of the King Bird, that is,
on horizontal branches, or in the large fork of a mangrove, or bush of
any other species, without paying much attention to its position, with
respect to the water, but with very singular care to place it on the
western side of the tree, or of the islet. I found it sometimes not
more than two feet above high water, and at other times twenty. It is
composed externally of light dry sticks, internally of a thin layer of
slender grasses or fibrous roots, and has some resemblance to that of
the Carolina Pigeon in this respect that, from beneath, I could easily
see the eggs through it. These were regularly four in all the nests
that I saw, of a white colour, with many dots towards the larger end.
The young I have never seen, my visit to those Keys having been in some
measure abridged through lack of provisions.

On one of the Keys to which I went, although of small size, I saw several
nests, and at least a dozen of these birds all peaceably enjoying
themselves. The sexes present no external difference. According to
report, they retire from these islands about the beginning of November,
after which few land birds of any kind are seen on them.

After I had arrived at Charlestown in South Carolina, on returning from
my expedition to the Floridas, a son of PAUL LEE, Esq. a friend of the
Rev. JOHN BACHMAN, called upon us, asserting that he had observed a
pair of Flycatchers in the College Yard, differing from all others with
which he was acquainted. We listened, but paid little regard to the
information, and deferred our visit to the trees in the College Yard.
A week after, young LEE returned to the charge, urging us to go to the
place, and see both the birds and their nest. To please this amiable
youth Mr BACHMAN and I soon reached the spot; but before we arrived the
nest had been destroyed by some boys. The birds were not to be seen,
but a Common King Bird happening to fly over us, we jeered our young
observer, and returned home. Soon after the Flycatchers formed another
nest, in which they reared a brood, when young LEE gave intimation to Mr
BACHMAN, who, on visiting the place, recognised them as of the species
described in this article. Of this I was apprised by letter after I had
left Charleston, for the purpose of visiting the northern parts of the
Union. The circumstance enforced upon me the propriety of never suffering
an opportunity of acquiring knowledge to pass, and of never imagining
for a moment that another may not know something that has escaped your
attention.

Since that time, three years have elapsed. The birds have regularly
returned every spring to the College-yard, and have there reared, in
peace, two broods each season, having been admired and respected by the
collegians, after they were apprised that the species had not previously
been found in the State. It thus furnishes another of the now numerous
instances of new species entering the Union from the south, to increase
our Fauna, and enliven our hours.


The branch on which I have represented a Male in full plumage, is that of
a species rather rare on the Florida Keys, although, as I was assured,
it abounds in Cuba. It blooms during the season when this bird builds
its nest. The flower is destitute of scent; the fruit is a long narrow
legume, containing numerous seeds, placed at equal distances.


     LE TYRAN DE S. DOMINIQUE, TYRANNUS DOMINICENSIS, _Briss._ vol. ii.
     p. 394. pl. 38. fig. 2.

     LANIUS TYRANNUS, var. β, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 81.

     TYRANNUS GRISEUS, _Vieill._ Ois. de l'Amer. pl. 46.


Adult Male. Plate CLXX.

Bill rather long, stout, straight, broad at the base, a little compressed
towards the end; both mandibles with the dorsal line a little convex,
the sides rounded, the edges nearly straight, sharp, inclinate; a slight
notch close to the small deflected tip. Nostrils basal, lateral, roundish,
partly covered by the bristly feathers. Head rather large, neck short,
body rather slender. Feet short; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly
with a few very broad scutella; toes of moderate size, the hind one
not proportionally stronger, the inner a little shorter than the outer;
claws rather long, arched, much compressed, very acute.

Plumage soft and blended, with little gloss. Strong bristles at the base
of the upper mandible. Wings rather long, third quill longest, but the
second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth differ very little in length;
the first is the next in length, and is much longer than the seventh;
all these quills, excepting the last, are slightly cut out on the outer
web, and are suddenly diminished on the inner, near the end, so as to
have a very narrow rounded extremity. Tail rather long, emarginate, of
twelve rounded feathers.

Bill and feet brownish-black. Iris dark hazel. Upper parts in general
dull ash-grey; shaded with brown posteriorly, a concealed spot of flame
colour on the top of the head, which is perceptible only when the feathers
are raised. Coverts, quills, and tail-feathers dusky brown, all more or
less margined with brownish-white. The lower parts are greyish-white, the
breast and sides pale grey, the lower tail-coverts tinged with yellow,
as are the lower wing-coverts.

Length 8⅞ inches, extent of wings 14⅜; bill along the ridge 1-1/12,
along the edge 1-4/12; tarsus 9/12.


The Female resembles the Male, but is somewhat smaller, and the bright
spot on the head is paler.


The leguminous plant of which a twig is represented in the plate, is
one of the handsomest productions of Key West, where I found it in full
flower in the month of May. It reaches the height of twenty feet or
more, and has a rather slender, but elegant stem, of which the wood is
as brittle as that of our common acacias. The pods are eight or nine
inches in length, and of the size of a swan's quill; the seeds, which
are dark-brown when ripe, glossy and globular, lie at regular intervals.
The deep green of the long pendulous leaves, and the bright red of the
large papilionaceous flowers, form a beautiful contrast. Many of these
trees were planted near the house of my friend Dr BENJAMIN STROBEL,
under whose hospitable roof the twig was drawn. I saw no plants of the
species on any other Key.



THE BURNING OF THE FORESTS.


With what pleasure have I seated myself by the blazing fire of some lonely
cabin, when, faint with fatigue, and chilled with the piercing blast, I
had forced my way to it through the drifted snows that covered the face
of the country as with a mantle! The affectionate mother is hushing her
dear babe to repose, while a group of sturdy children surround their
father, who has just returned from the chase, and deposited on the rough
flooring of his hut the varied game which he has procured. The great back
log, that with some difficulty has been rolled into the ample chimney,
urged, as it were, by lighted pieces of pine, sends forth a blaze of
light over the happy family. The dogs of the hunter are already licking
away the trickling waters of the thawing icicles that sparkle over their
shaggy coats, and the comfort-loving cat is busied in passing her furry
paws over each ear, or with her rough tongue smoothing her glossy coat.

How delightful to me has it been, when kindly received and hospitably
treated under such a roof, by persons whose means were as scanty as
their generosity was great, I have entered into conversation with
them respecting subjects of interest to me, and received gratifying
information. When the humble but plentiful repast was ended, the mother
would take from the shelf the Book of books, and mildly request the
attention of her family while the father read aloud a chapter. Then
to Heaven would ascend their humble prayers, and a good-night would
be bidden to all friends far and near. How comfortably have I laid my
wearied frame on the buffalo hide, and covered me with the furry skin of
some huge bear! How pleasing have been my dreams of home and happiness,
as I there lay secure from danger, and sheltered from the inclemency of
the weather.

I recollect that once while in the State of Maine, I passed such a night
as I have described. Next morning the face of nature was obscured by
the heavy rains that fell in torrents, and my generous host begged me
to remain in such pressing terms, that I was well content to accept his
offer. Breakfast over, the business of the day commenced: the spinning
wheels went round, and the boys employed themselves, one in searching
for knowledge, another in attempting to solve some ticklish arithmetical
problem. In a corner lay the dogs dreaming of plunder, while close to the
ashes stood grimalkin seriously purring in concert with the wheels. The
hunter and I seated ourselves each on a stool, while the matron looked
after her domestic arrangements.

"Puss," quoth the Dame, "get away; you told me last night of this day's
rain, and I fear you may now give us worse news with tricky paws." Puss
accordingly went off, leaped on a bed, and rolling herself in a ball,
composed herself for a comfortable nap. I asked the husband what his
wife meant by what she had just said. "The goodwoman," said he, "has
some curious notions at times, and she believes, I think, in the ways
of animals of all kinds. Now, her talk to the cat refers to the fires
of the woods around us, and although they have happened long ago, she
fears them quite as much as ever, and indeed she and I, and all of us,
have good reason to dread them, as they have brought us many calamities."
Having read of the great fires to which my host alluded, and frequently
observed with sorrow the mournful state of the forests, I felt anxious
to know something of the causes by which these direful effects had been
produced. I therefore requested him to give me an account of the events
resulting from those fires which he had witnessed. Willingly he at once
went on nearly as follows:—

"About twenty-five years ago, the larch or hackmitack trees were nearly
all killed by insects. This took place in what hereabouts is called the
"black soft growth" land, that is the spruce, pine, and all other firs.
The destruction of the trees was effected by the insects cutting the
leaves, and you must know, that although other trees are not killed by
the loss of their leaves, the evergreens always are. Some few years after
this destruction of the larch, the same insects attacked the spruces,
pines, and other firs, in such a manner, that before half a dozen years
were over, they began to fall, and, tumbling in all directions, they
covered the whole country with matted masses. You may suppose that,
when partially dried or seasoned, they would prove capital fuel, as well
as supplies for the devouring flames which accidentally, or perhaps by
intention, afterwards raged over the country, and continued burning at
intervals for years, in many places stopping all communication by the
roads, the resinous nature of the firs being of course best fitted to
ensure and keep up the burning of the deep beds of dry leaves or of the
other trees."—Here I begged him to give me some idea of the form of the
insects which had caused such havoc.

"The insects," said he, "were, in their caterpillar form, about three
quarters of an inch in length, and as green as the leaves of the trees
they fed on, when they committed their ravages. I must tell you also,
that in most of the places over which the fire passed, a new growth of
wood has already sprung up, of what we lumberers call hard wood, which
consists of all other sorts but pine or fir; and I have always remarked
that wherever the first natural growth of a forest is destroyed, either
by the axe, the hurricane, or the fire, there springs up spontaneously
another of quite a different kind." I again stopped my host to inquire
if he knew the method or nature of the first kindling of the fires.

"Why, Sir," said he, "there are different opinions about this. Many
believe that the Indians did it, either to be the better able to kill the
game, or to punish their enemies the Pale-faces. My opinion, however, is
different; and I derive it from my experience in the woods as a lumberer.
I have always thought that the fires began by the accidental fall of a
dry trunk against another, when their rubbing together, especially as
many of them are covered with resin, would produce fire. The dry leaves
on the ground are at once kindled, next the twigs and branches, when
nothing but the intervention of the Almighty could stop the progress of
the fire.

"In some instances, owing to the wind, the destructive element approached
the dwellings of the inhabitants of the woods so rapidly that it was
difficult for them to escape. In some parts, indeed, hundreds of families
were obliged to flee from their homes, leaving all they had behind them,
and here and there some of the affrighted fugitives were burnt alive."

At this moment a rush of wind came down the chimney, blowing the blaze
of the fire towards the room. The wife and daughter, imagining for a
moment that the woods were again on fire, made for the door, but the
husband, explaining the cause of their terror, they resumed their work.

"Poor things," said the lumberer, "I dare say that what I have told you
brings sad recollections to the minds of my wife and eldest daughter, who,
with myself, had to fly from our home, at the time of the great fires."
I felt so interested in his relation of the causes of the burnings,
that I asked him to describe to me the particulars of his misfortunes
at the time. "If Prudence and Polly," said he, looking towards his wife
and daughter, "will promise to sit still, should another puff of smoke
come down the chimney, I will do so." The good natured smile with which
he accompanied this remark, elicited a return from the women, and he
proceeded:—

"It is a difficult thing, Sir, to describe, but I will do my best to make
your time pass pleasantly. We were sound asleep one night, in a cabin
about a hundred miles from this, when about two hours before day, the
snorting of the horses and lowing of the cattle which I had ranging in
the woods suddenly wakened us. I took yon rifle, and went to the door
to see what beast had caused the hubbub, when I was struck by the glare
of light reflected on all the trees before me, as far as I could see
through the woods. My horses were leaping about, snorting loudly, and
the cattle ran among them with their tails raised straight over their
backs. On going to the back of the house, I plainly heard the crackling
made by the burning brushwood, and saw the flames coming towards us in
a far extended line. I ran to the house, told my wife to dress herself
and the child as quickly as possible, and take the little money we had,
while I managed to catch and saddle the two best horses. All this was
done in a very short time, for I guessed that every moment was precious
to us.

"We then mounted, and made off from the fire. My wife, who is an excellent
rider, stuck close to me; my daughter, who was then a small child, I
took in one arm. When making off as I said, I looked back and saw that
the frightful blaze was close upon us, and had already laid hold of the
house. By good luck, there was a horn attached to my hunting clothes,
and I blew it, to bring after us, if possible, the remainder of my live
stock, as well as the dogs. The cattle followed for a while; but, before
an hour had elapsed, they all ran as if mad through the woods, and that,
Sir, was the last of them. My dogs, too, although at all other times
extremely tractable, ran after the deer that in bodies sprung before
us, as if fully aware of the death that was so rapidly approaching.

"We heard blasts from the horns of our neighbours, as we proceeded, and
knew that they were in the same predicament. Intent on striving to the
utmost to preserve our lives, I thought of a large lake, some miles off,
which might possibly check the flames; and, urging my wife to whip up
her horse, we set off at full speed, making the best way we could over
the fallen trees and the brush heaps, which lay like so many articles
placed on purpose to keep up the terrific fires that advanced with a
broad front upon us.

By this time we could feel the heat; and we were afraid that our horses
would drop every instant. A singular kind of breeze was passing over our
heads, and the glare of the atmosphere shone over the day light. I was
sensible of a slight faintness, and my wife looked pale. The heat had
produced such a flush in the child's face, that when she turned towards
either of us, our grief and perplexity were greatly increased. Ten miles,
you know, are soon gone over on swift horses; but, notwithstanding this,
when we reached the borders of the lake, covered with sweat and quite
exhausted, our hearts failed us. The heat of the smoke was insufferable,
and sheets of blazing fire flew over us in a manner beyond belief.
We reached the shores, however, coasted the lake for a while, and got
round to the lee side. There we gave up our horses, which we never saw
again. Down among the rushes we plunged by the edge of the water, and
laid ourselves flat, to wait the chance of escaping from being burnt or
devoured. The water refreshed us, and we enjoyed the coolness.

"On went the fire, rushing and crashing through the woods. Such a sight
may we never see! The heavens themselves, I thought, were frightened,
for all above us was a red glare, mixed with clouds of smoke, rolling
and sweeping away. Our bodies were cool enough, but our heads were
scorching, and the child, who now seemed to understand the matter, cried
so as nearly to break our hearts.

"The day passed on, and we became hungry. Many wild beasts came plunging
into the water beside us, and others swam across to our side and stood
still. Although faint and weary, I managed to shoot a porcupine, and we
all tasted its flesh. The night passed I cannot tell you how. Smouldering
fires covered the ground, and the trees stood like pillars of fire, or
fell across each other. The stifling and sickening smoke still rushed
over us, and the burnt cinders and ashes fell thick about us. How we got
through that night I really cannot tell, for about some of it I remember
nothing." Here the hunter paused, and took breath. The recital of his
adventure seemed to have exhausted him. His wife proposed that we should
have a bowl of milk, and the daughter having handed it to us, we each
took a draught.

"Now," said he, "I will proceed. Towards morning, although the heat did
not abate, the smoke became less, and blasts of fresh air sometimes made
their way to us. When morning came, all was calm, but a dismal smoke
still filled the air, and the smell seemed worse than ever. We were now
cooled enough, and shivered as if in an ague fit; so we removed from the
water, and went up to a burning log, where we warmed ourselves. What
was to become of us I did hot know. My wife hugged the child to her
breast, and wept bitterly; but God had preserved us through the worst
of the danger, and the flames had gone past, so I thought it would be
both ungrateful to Him, and unmanly to despair now. Hunger once more
pressed upon us, but this was easily remedied. Several deer were still
standing in the water, up to the head, and I shot one of them. Some of
its flesh was soon roasted; and, after eating it, we felt wonderfully
strengthened.

"By this time the blaze of the fire was beyond our sight, although the
ground was still burning in many places, and it was dangerous to go
among the burnt trees. After resting a while, and trimming ourselves,
we prepared to commence our march. Taking up the child, I led the way
over the hot ground and rocks; and, after two weary days and nights,
during which we shifted in the best manner we could, we at last reached
the "hard woods," which had been free of the fire. Soon after we came
to a house, where we were kindly treated for a while. Since then, Sir,
I have worked hard and constantly as a lumberer; but, thanks be to God,
here we are safe, sound, and happy!"



THE BARN OWL.

_STRIX FLAMMEA_, LINN.

PLATE CLXXI. MALE AND FEMALE.


Not a single individual of the numerous persons who have described the
birds of the United States, seems to have had opportunities of studying
the habits of this beautiful Owl, and all that I find related respecting
it is completely at variance with my observations. In describing the
manners of this bird, I shall therefore use all due caution, although
at the same time I shall not be too anxious to obtain credit in this,
more than in some other matters, for which I have patiently borne the
contradictions of the ignorant. The following extracts from my journals
I hope will prove interesting.

_St Augustine, East Florida, 8th November 1832._—Mr SIMMONS, the Keeper
of the Fort, whom I had known at Henderson in Kentucky, having informed
me that some boys had taken five young Barn Owls from a hole in one of
the chimneys, I went with a ladder to see if I could procure some more.
After much search I found only a single egg, which had been recently
laid. It was placed on the bare stone of the wall, surrounded by fragments
of small quadrupeds of various kinds. During our search I found a great
number of the disgorged pellets of the Owl, among which some were almost
fresh. They contained portions of skulls and bones of small quadrupeds
unknown to me. I also found the entire skeleton of one of these Owls in
excellent condition, and observing a curious bony crest-like expansion
on the skull from the base of the cere above to that of the lower
mandible, elevated nearly a quarter of an inch from the solid part of
the skull, and forming a curve like a horse-shoe, I made an outline of
it. On speaking to the officers of the garrison respecting this species
of Owl, Lieutenant CONSTANTINE SMITH, a most amiable and intelligent
officer of our army, informed me, that, in the months of July and August
of that year, these birds bred more abundantly than at the date above
stated. Other persons also assured me that, like the House Pigeon, the
Barn Owl breeds at all seasons of the year in that part of the country.
The statement was farther corroborated by Mr LEE WILLIAMS, a gentleman
formerly attached to the topographical department, and who, I believe,
has written an excellent account of the eastern portion of the peninsula
of the Floridas.

Having arrived at Charleston, South Carolina, in October 1833, as soon as
my family and myself were settled in the house of my friend the Reverend
JOHN BACHMAN, I received information that a pair of Owls (of the present
species) had a nest in the upper story of an abandoned sugar-house in
the city, when I immediately proceeded to the place, accompanied by Dr
SAMUEL WILSON and WILLIAM KUNHARDT, Esq. We ascended cautiously to the
place, I having pulled off my boots to prevent noise. When we reached it
I found a sort of large garret filled with sugar-moulds, and lighted by
several windows, one of which had two panes broken. I at once discovered
the spot where the Owls were, by the hissing sounds of the young ones,
and approached slowly and cautiously towards them, until within a few
feet, when the parent bird seeing me, flew quickly toward the window,
touched the frame of the broken panes, and glided silently through the
aperture. I could not even afterwards observe the course of its flight.
The young were three in number, and covered with down of a rich cream
colour. They raised themselves on their legs, appeared to swell, and
emitted a constant hissing sound, somewhat resembling that of a large
snake when angry. They continued thus without altering their position,
during the whole of our stay, which lasted about twenty minutes. They
were on a scattered parcel of bits of straw, and surrounded by a bank
made of their ejected pellets. Very few marks of their excrements were on
the floor, and they were beautifully clean. A Cotton Rat, newly caught,
and still entire, lay beside them, and must have been brought from a
distance of several miles, that animal abounding in the rice-fields, none
of which, I believe, are nearer than three or four miles. After making
some arrangements with the Negro man who kept the house, we returned
home. The eggs from which these young Owls had been hatched must have
been laid six weeks before this date, or about the 15th of September.

On the 25th of November they had grown much in size, but none of the
feathers had yet made their appearance, excepting the primaries, which
were now about an inch long, thick, full of blood, and so tender that
the least pressure of the fingers might have burst them. As the young
grow more and more, the parents feed and attend to them less frequently
than when very small, coming to them in the night only with food. This
proves the caution of these birds in avoiding danger, and the faculty
which the young possess of supporting abstinence in this middle state
of their growth.

On the 7th of December I visited the Owls in company with my friend JOHN
BACHMAN. We found them much grown; indeed, their primaries were well
out; but their back and breast, and all their lower parts, were still
thickly covered with down.

On the 6th of January I again saw them, but one of the young was dead,
although in good condition. I was surprised that their food still
continued to be composed entirely of small quadrupeds, and principally
of the rat mentioned above.

My last visit to them was on the 18th of January. The two younger ones
were now, to all appearance, fully grown, but were yet unable to fly. A
few tufts of down still remained attached to the feathers on scattered
parts of the body. I took them home. One was killed, and the skin
preserved.

Now, these facts are the more interesting, that none of the numerous
European authors with whom I am acquainted, have said a single word
respecting the time of breeding of this species, but appear to be more
intent on producing long lists of synonyms than on presenting the useful
materials from which the student of nature can draw inferences. I shall
therefore leave to them to say whether our species is, or is not, the
same as the one found in the churches and ruins of Europe. Should it
prove to be the same species, and if the European bird breeds, as I
suspect it does, at so different a period of the year, the habits of the
American Owl will form a kind of mystery in the operations of nature,
as they differ not only from those of the bird in question, but of all
other Owls with which I am acquainted.

My opinion is, that the Barn Owl of the United States is far more abundant
in the Southern Districts than in the other parts. I never found it to
the east of Pennsylvania, and only twice in that State, nor did I ever
see, or even hear of one in the Western Country; but as soon as I have
reached the maritime districts of the Carolinas, Georgia, the Floridas,
and all along to Louisiana, the case has always been different. In Cuba
they are quite abundant, according to the reports which I have received
from that island. I am indeed almost tempted to believe, that the few
which have been found in Pennsylvania were bewildered birds, surprised by
the coldness of the winter, and perhaps unable to return to the Southern
Districts. During my visit to Labrador I neither saw any of these birds,
nor found a single person who had ever seen them, although the people
to whom I spoke were well acquainted with the Snowy Owl, the Grey Owl,
and the Hawk Owl.

THOMAS BUTLER KING, Esq., of St Simon's Island, Georgia, sent me two
very beautiful specimens of this Owl, which had been caught alive. One
died shortly after their arrival at Charleston; the other was in fine
order when I received it. The person to whose care they were consigned,
kept them for many weeks at Charleston before I reached that city, and
told me that in the night their cries never failed to attract others of
the same species, which he observed hovering about the place of their
confinement.

This species is altogether nocturnal or crepuscular, and when disturbed
during the day, flies in an irregular bewildered manner, as if at a loss
how to look for a place of refuge. After long observation, I am satisfied
that our bird feeds entirely on the smaller species of quadrupeds, for I
have never found any portions of birds about their nests, nor even the
remains of a single feather in the pellets which they regurgitate, and
which are always formed of the bones and hair of quadrupeds.

Owls which approach to the diurnal species in their habits, or which
hunt for food in the morning and evening twilight, are more apt to seize
on objects which are themselves more diurnal than otherwise, or than
the animals which I have found to form the constant food of our Barn
Owl. Thus the Short-eared, the Hawk, the Fork-tailed, the Burrowing,
and other Owls, which hunt either during broad day, or mostly towards
evening, or at the return of day, will be found to feed more on mixed
food than the present species. I have no doubt that the anatomist will
detect corresponding differences in the eye, as they have already been
found in the ear. The stomach is elongated, almost smooth, and of a deep
gamboge-yellow; the intestines small, rather tough, and measuring one
foot nine inches in length.

Its flight is light, regular, and much protracted. It passes through
the air at an elevation of thirty or forty feet, in perfect silence, and
pounces on its prey like a Hawk, often waiting for a fair opportunity from
the branch of a tree, on which it alights for the purpose. During day,
they are never seen, unless accidentally disturbed, when they immediately
try to hide themselves. I am not aware of their having any propensity to
fish, as the Snowy Owl has, nor have I ever seen one pursuing a bird.
Ever careful of themselves, they retreat to the hollows of trees and
such holes as they find about old buildings. When kept in confinement,
they feed freely on any kind of flesh, and will stand for hours in the
same position, frequently resting on one leg, while the other is drawn
close to the body. In this position I watched one on my drawing table
for six hours.

This species is never found in the depth of the forests, but confines
itself to the borders of the woods around large savannas or old
abandoned fields overgrown with briars and rank grass, where its food,
which consists principally of field-mice, moles, rats, and other small
quadrupeds, is found in abundance, and where large beetles and bats fly
in the morning and evening twilight. It seldom occurs at a great distance
from the sea. I am not aware that it ever emits any cry or note, as other
owls are wont to do; but it produces a hollow hissing sound continued
for minutes at a time, which has always reminded me of that given out
by an opossum when about to die by strangulation.

When on the ground, this Owl moves by sidelong leaps, with the body much
inclined downwards. If wounded in the wing, it yet frequently escapes
through the celerity of its motions. Its hearing is extremely acute, and
as it marks your approach, instead of throwing itself into an attitude of
defence, as Hawks are wont to do, it instantly swells out its plumage,
extends its wings and tail, hisses, and clacks its mandibles with force
and rapidity. If seized in the hand, it bites and scratches, inflicting
deep wounds with its bill and claws.

It is by no means correct to say that this Owl, or indeed any other,
always swallows its prey entire: some which I have kept in confinement,
have been seen tearing a young hare in pieces with their bills in the
manner of hawks; and mice, small rats, or bats, are the largest objects
that I have seen them gobble up entire, and not always without difficulty.
From having often observed their feet and legs covered with fresh earth,
I am inclined to think that they may use them to scratch mice or moles
out of their shallow burrows, a circumstance which connects them with
the Burrowing Owls of our western plains, which like them have very long
legs. In a room their flight is so noiseless that one is surprised to find
them removed from one place to another without having heard the least
sound. They disgorge their pellets with difficulty, although generally
at a single effort, but I did not observe that this action was performed
at any regular period. I have mentioned these circumstances, to induce
you to examine more particularly the habits of the Barn Owls of Europe
and the Southern States of America, that the question of their identity
may be decided.

The pair which I have represented were given to me by my friend RICHARD
HARLAN, M.D., of Philadelphia. They had been brought from the south,
and were fine adult birds in excellent plumage. I have placed a ground
squirrel under the feet of one of them, as being an animal on which the
species is likely to feed.


     STRIX FLAMMEA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 133.—_Lath._ Index
     Ornith. vol. i. p. 60.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
     the United States, p. 38.

     WHITE or BARN OWL, STRIX FLAMMEA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. vi.
     p. 57. pl. 50. fig. 2.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part ii. p. 139.


Adult Male. Plate CLXXI. Fig. 1.

Bill short, compressed, deep, and strong, with a short cere at the base;
upper mandible with its dorsal outline straight to the end of the cere,
then curved, the sides nearly flat and perpendicular, the edges acute,
the tip deflected, with a rounded but sharp-edged point; lower mandible,
with the dorsal outline, convex, the sides convex, the edges arched and
sharp, the extremity obliquely truncate. Nostrils large, oval, in the
fore part of the cere. Head disproportionately large, as are the eyes and
external ears. Neck also very short, body rather slender. Legs rather
long; tarsus long, feathered, scaly at the lower part; toes large, the
hind one short, the inner nearly as long as the middle one; the outer
connected by a short web at the base; all covered above with series of
small tuberculiform oblong scales, intermixed with a few bristles, and
three broad scutella at the end; claws arched, long, rounded above,
extremely sharp, that of the middle toe with an edge on the inner sides,
which in old birds is transversely cracked.

Plumage very soft and downy, blended above, loose beneath. Long bristly
feathers at the base of the bill stretching forwards. Eyes surrounded
by circles of loose thin feathers; auricular feathers narrow, recurved
and compact at the end, forming a ruff. Wings ample, long; second quill
longest, third slightly shorter, first next in length; primaries incurvate
towards the end, broad and rounded, the first, as usual in the genus,
pectinated. Tail rather short, even, of twelve broad rounded feathers.

Bill pale greyish-yellow or light horn-colour. Iris bluish-black. Scales
of the feet and claws brownish-yellow. The general colour above is
greyish-brown, with light yellowish-red interspersed, produced by very
minute mottling, each feather having towards the end a central streak of
deep brown terminated by a small oblong greyish-white spot. The wings
are similarly coloured; the secondary coverts and outer edges of the
primary coverts with a large proportion of light brownish-red; the quills
and tail transversely barred with brown. The face is white, tinged with
red, especially near the inner angle of the eye; the ruff of compact
feathers light brownish-red. The under parts are pale brownish-red,
fading anteriorly into white, each feather having a small dark-brown
spot at the tip.

Length 17 inches, extent of wings 3 feet 6 inches; bill along the back
1-8/12; tarsus 3-2/12, middle toe and claw 2-7/12.


Adult Female. Plate CLXXI. Fig. 2.

The female resembles the male, but is considerably larger.

Length 18 inches, extent of wings 3 feet 8 inches.


This bird is so closely allied to the Barn Owl of Europe, that it is
very difficult to characterize the two by any comparative marks. The
principal differences are to be found in the size and colouring. The
American bird is much larger than the European, as will be seen by the
following measurements taken from an adult male.

Length 14 inches, extent of wings 3 feet; bill along the back 1-6/12;
tarsus 2⅜, middle toe and claw 2-1/12.

The colouring of the American is much darker than that of the European
bird, and in the former the ruff is red, whereas it is usually white in
the latter; but as both birds present variations of colour, no stress
can be laid on this circumstance. The difference that strikes one most
on comparing the two, is the greater size of the American bird, and more
especially of its tarsus and toes.

On the whole, although I suspect they will ultimately be found to be
different species, I am unable to point out any satisfactory distinctions.



THE GROUND SQUIRREL.

With the exception of the Flying Squirrel, we have no small quadruped
more interesting than this. It occurs in all parts of the United States,
and being so beautifully marked in its colouring, is known to every body.
It seems to me, by the liveliness of its motions, to be among quadrupeds
what the Wren is among birds; for, like it, the Ground Squirrel, full
of vivacity, plays as it were with the utmost grace and agility among
the rocky debris or the uprooted stumps of trees; and its chatter,
although less musical than that of the Little Winter Wren, excites a
peculiar pleasure as it comes on the ear. I think I see him as he runs
before me with the speed of thought, his tail quite erect, his chops
distended with the produce of the woods, until he reaches the entrance
of his retreat. Now he stands upright, clatters his little chops, and
as I move onwards a single step, he disappears in a moment. Stone after
stone I have removed from the fence, but in vain, for beneath the whole
the cunning creature has formed its deep and circuitous burrow. With my
hatchet I cut the tangled roots, and as I follow the animal into its
innermost recesses, I hear its angry voice. I am indeed within a few
inches of his last retreat, and now I see his large dark protruded eye;
but at this moment out he rushes with such speed that it would be vain
to follow him. He has twenty burrows all ready prepared, and, delighted
with his foresight and sagacity, I willingly leave him unmolested in
that to which he has now betaken himself.

The Ground Squirrel varies greatly in its external appearance in different
parts of the United States. In the Southern Districts it is smaller than
to the eastward, and the farther north you go the lighter are its tints,
the differences being at least as great as those between the Barn Owl of
America and that of Europe. But the variations are confined to size and
intensity of colouring, nor can I perceive any differences indicative
of specific distinction. I am not inclined to consider variations of
colour sufficient to constitute species, for instance, in the case of
the Chimney Swallow of Europe and the Barn Swallow of America; nor is
there any reason for believing that very considerable differences in
size may not exist in the same species; indeed the fact is very apparent
among water birds especially.



THE BLUE-HEADED PIGEON.

_COLUMBA CYANOCEPHALA_, LINN.

PLATE CLXXII. MALE AND FEMALE.


A few of these birds migrate each spring from the Island of Cuba to the
Keys of Florida, but are rarely seen, on account of the deep tangled woods
in which they live. Early in May 1832, while on a shooting excursion
with the commander of the United States Revenue Cutter, the Marion, I
saw a pair of them on the western side of Key West. They were near the
water, picking gravel, but on our approaching them they ran back into
the thickets, which were only a few yards distant. Several fishermen and
wreckers informed us that they were more abundant on the "Mule Keys;"
but although a large party and myself searched these islands for a whole
day, not one did we discover there. I saw a pair which I was told had
been caught when young on the latter Keys, but I could not obtain any
other information respecting them, than that they were fed on cracked
corn and rice, which answered the purpose well.

I have represented three of these Pigeons on the ground, with some of the
creeping plants which grew in the place where I saw the pair mentioned
above.


     COLUMBA CYANOCEPHALA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 282.—_Lath._
     Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 698.

     BLUE-HEADED TURTLE, _Lath._ Synops. vol. iv. p. 651.


Adult Male. Plate CLXXII.

Bill straight, and short, rather slender, compressed; upper mandible with
a tumid fleshy covering at the base, a convex declinate obtuse tip, of
which the margins are acute and overlapping; lower mandible with the angle
near the extremity, which is compressed and rounded. Nostrils medial,
oblique, linear. Head small and compressed; the general form robust,
resembling that of many partridges. Legs short and of moderate length;
tarsus covered anteriorly and laterally with quincuncial subhexagonal
scales, rounded and scaly behind; toes scutellate, free, margined; claws
rather small, arched, compressed, flat beneath, obtuse.

Plumage compact all over. Wings short, rounded, third, fourth and fifth
quills longest and almost equal; second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth
slightly cut out on the outer web. Tail of moderate length, slightly
rounded, of twelve broad rounded feathers.

Bill bright blue above, the fleshy parts at the base bright carmine.
Iris very dark brown. Scales of the feet carmine, the interspaces white;
claws bluish-grey. The general colour of the plumage above is a rich deep
chocolate, slightly tinged with olive, beneath brownish-red, lighter on
the middle of the breast, the sides and under tail coverts approaching to
the tint of the back. The upper part of the head bright blue, encircled
by a band of deep black, broader on the occiput, and very narrow in
front; a band of white under the eye meeting its fellow on the chin, a
broad patch of black on the fore neck, margined with white beneath, and
on the sides spotted with bright blue.

Length 12¼ inches, extent of wings 17½; bill along the ridge ½, along
the edge 1; tarsus 1¼, middle toe 1¼; weight 10¼ oz.


Adult Female. Plate CLXXII. Fig. 2.

The Female is rather less, but in external appearance resembles the male.


The beautiful Cyperus represented in this plate is quite abundant on
all the dry Keys of the Floridas, and is also found in many parts of
the interior of the peninsula.



THE BARN SWALLOW.

_HIRUNDO RUSTICA_, LINN.

PLATE CLXXIII. MALE, FEMALE, AND NEST.


There is a pleasure known but to few, a pleasure which I have often
enjoyed and still enjoy, whenever an opportunity occurs. It is when
the heats of summer have already swelled the fruits of our fields, our
gardens, and our orchards; when Nature herself benignantly smiles on the
rich scenery which she has thus embellished; when the husbandman guides
the healthful labours of his sons, and wields the instruments of his
humble but important calling from the early dawn to the noontide hour
of repose; when the bee herself for a while retires from the honeyed
flower, which now languishingly droops on its tender stem; when the
cattle recline beneath the broad shade of some majestic tree, and the
labourers retire to the banks of some favourite brook to enjoy their
frugal meal, and quench their thirst from the limpid waters. Now all is
silent, sweet sleep closes their eyes, and nature seems to pause in her
labours. But no sooner have the meridian hours passed, than all return
to their occupations, and again every thing is full of life and activity.

Observe that passing Swallow, how swiftly she glides around us, how
frequently she comes and goes, how graceful her flight, how pleasant
her musical twitterings, how happy she seems to be! Now she has again
entered the barn. I will follow her into her summer abode, and laying
myself down on the fragrant new-mown hay, watch her motions in silence.
Ah! over my head a nest is firmly fixed to each rafter; nay on this and
that are placed several, and the barn is filled with swallows and their
melodies. Happy and charming little creatures! There a female sits on her
eggs, and is receiving a store of insects from the mouth of her mate.
Having fed her, he solaces her with a soft chattering voice, and away
he goes in search of more food. Here is another nest filled to the brim
with young birds trimming their new clothing, and shaking their little
wings, while their parents approach with a supply of food. See how they
open their yellow throats! There, how busily are these two birds occupied
in sticking layer after layer of damp sandy earth mixed with bits of
grass against the beam! Dear things! their old tenement has crumbled
and fallen down, or they are unusually late; but going and returning so
often will surely enable them to accomplish their undertaking. Leaving
them for a moment, I see some old birds meeting their young on wing.
How cleverly have the little things received the proffered fly! and now
away for more speeds the happy parent. I wish I could count the number
now in the barn; but I cannot unless I ascertain first how many young
there are, and then double the quantity of nests to get the number of
their parents. I have done so:—there are more than a hundred.

Night now draws near, the sun is beneath the horizon; the farmer has
closed the barn door, the Swallows enter by the air-holes; there is
still enough of light to enable them to find their nests, and now each
has alighted on the edge, and addresses itself to rest. Here are no
bickerings, no quarrels; all is peace and harmony, and now, the labours
of the day ended, how quiet is their repose! I too may take a nap among
the fragrant hay, and dream of the joys of my distant home.

Day-light approaches from the east. All is calm, pure, and delightful.
The little birds shoot forth from their retreats, and with songs of joy
commence their pleasant labours. What a happy world are they in! Here a
smart fellow roguishly challenges his neighbour in all the pride of his
full song, or listens for a while to the gentler notes of his beloved
mate, while she sits on her pearly egglets. Others have already resorted
to the fields, the meadows, or the river's side; and there I will follow
them. The dew glitters on every leaf and blade, and the bright sun throws
his glory over the face of nature, which joyously spreads out all her
treasures before him. The husbandman, who is seen advancing toward the
scene of his labours, observes the flight of the Swallows, and assures
himself that there will be a continuance of fair feather. Numberless
insects have already left their place of rest, and, like the birds,
are seen in search of food, swiftly moving through the calm and balmy
air. She of the forked-tail follows them with gliding motion, and with
unerring dexterity seizes one and another. She seems hardly to exert
herself on this occasion; for all her movements, upwards, downwards,
or sidewise, are performed with perfect ease, and now she sweeps along
like a meteor. How many circuits she makes in the hour is more than I
can tell, but numerous indeed they must be, when every one knows that
at her ordinary speed she can travel a mile in a minute.

Now, towards the sandy shores of the lake or river, she betakes herself.
She alights, and with delicate steps, aiding her motions by gentle
flappings of her wings, she advances towards the edge, takes a few
drops, plumes herself, and returns to her nest, filling as she flies her
wide mouth with insects. Should her nest be not finished, or need some
repair, she carries a pellet of tempered earth in her bill, or picks up a
feather that has been shed by a goose or a fowl, or from the hay carries
off a stem of long grass to mix with the mortar. As the heat becomes
oppressive to all animals save herself, she passes and repasses round
the cattle under the shady trees, and snaps off each teasing insect. Now
on the fence she alights by the side of her offspring, or teaches them
to settle on the slender dry twig of some convenient tree. There they
plume themselves, chatter, and rest for a while, until, sorry to have
lost so much time, they launch into the air, to continue their sport.

The summer has now closed, and the Swallows, young and old, assemble
on the roof of the barn, and in a few days are joined by many others,
reared in humbler situations. Each parent bird perhaps tells her young
that, before dismal winter cramps the insects, they must escape to some
far distant land, where the genial heat continues unabated. The talk
becomes general, and day after day increases. The course of the journey is
pointed out to each inexperienced traveller, by means of short excursions
through the air. At length a chill night comes, the following brings a
slight frost, the time has arrived, and on the next bright morning the
flocks rise high above the trees, and commence their journey.

The Barn Swallow makes its first appearance at New Orleans, from the
middle of February to the first of March. They do not arrive in flocks,
but apparently in pairs, or a few together, and immediately resort to
the places where they have bred before, or where they have been reared.
Their progress over the Union depends much on the state of the weather;
and I have observed a difference of a whole month, owing to the varying
temperature, in their arrival at different places. Thus in Kentucky,
Virginia, or Pennsylvania, they now and then do not arrive until the
middle of April or the beginning of May. In milder seasons, they reach
Massachusetts and the eastern parts of Maine by the 10th of the latter
month, when you may rest assured that they are distributed over all
the intermediate districts. So hardy does this species seem to be, that
I observed it near Eastport in Maine, on the 7th May 1833, in company
with the Republican or Cliff Swallow, pursuing its different avocations,
while masses of ice hung from every cliff, and the weather felt cold
to me. I saw them in the Gut of Cansso on the 10th of June, and on the
Magdeleine Islands on the 13th of the same month. They were occupied in
building their nests in the open cupola of a church. Not one, however,
was observed in Labrador, although many Sand Martins were seen there.
On our return, I found at Newfoundland some of the present species, and
of the Cliff Swallow, all of which were migrating southward on the 14th
of August, when Fahrenheit's thermometer stood at 41°.

In spring, the Barn Swallow is welcomed by all, for she seldom appears
before the final melting of the snows and the commencement of mild
weather, and is looked upon as the harbinger of summer. As she never
commits depredations on any thing that men consider as their own, every
body loves her, and, as the child was taught by his parents, so the man
teaches his offspring, to cherish her. About a week after the arrival
of this species, and when it has already resorted to its wonted haunts,
examined its last year's tenement, or made choice of a place to which
it may securely fix its nest, it begins either to build or to deposit
its eggs.

The nest is attached to the side of a beam or rafter in a barn or shed,
under a bridge, or sometimes even in an old well, or in a sink hole,
such as those found in the Kentucky barrens. Whenever the situation is
convenient and affords sufficient room, you find several nests together,
and in some instances I have seen seven or eight within a few inches
of each other; nay, in some large barns I have counted forty, fifty,
or more. The male and the female both betake themselves to the borders
of creeks, rivers, ponds, or lakes, where they form small pellets of
mud or moist earth, which they carry in their bill to the chosen spot,
and place against the wood, the wall, or the rock, as it may chance to
be. They dispose of these pellets in regular layers, mixing, especially
with the lower, a considerable quantity of long slender grasses, which
often dangle for several inches beneath the bottom of the nest. The
first layers are short, but the rest gradually increase in length, as
the birds proceed upwards with their work, until they reach the top,
when the fabric resembles the section of an inverted cone, the length
being eight inches, and the greatest diameter six, while that from the
wall or other flat surface to the outside of the shell is three and a
half, and the latter is fully an inch thick. I have never observed in
a newly finished nest, the expansion of the upper layer mentioned by
WILSON, although I have frequently seen it in one that has been repaired
or enlarged. The average weight of such a nest as I have described is
more than two pounds, but there is considerable difference as to size
between different nests, some being shorter by two or three inches, and
proportionally narrow at the top. These differences depend much on the
time the birds have to construct their tenement previous to depositing
the eggs. Now and then I have seen some formed at a late period, that
were altogether destitute of the intermixture of grass with the mud
observed in the nest described above, which was a perfect one, and had
occupied the birds seven days in constructing it, during which period
they laboured from sunrise until dusk, with an intermission of several
hours in the middle of the day. Within the shell of mud is a bed, several
inches thick, of slender grasses arranged in a circular form, over which
is placed a quantity of large soft feathers. I never saw one of these
nests in a chimney, nor have I ever heard of their occurring in such
situations, they being usually occupied by the American Swift, which is
a more powerful bird, and may perhaps prevent them from entering. The
eggs are from four to six, rather small and elongated, semitranslucent,
white, and sparingly spotted all over with reddish-brown. The period
of incubation is thirteen days, and both sexes sit, although not for
the same length of time, the female performing the greater part of the
task. Each provides the other with food on this occasion, and both rest
at night beside each other in the nest. In South Carolina, where a few
breed, the nest is formed in the beginning of April, and in Kentucky
about the first of May.

When the young have attained a considerable size, the parents, who
feed them with much care and affection, roost in the nearest convenient
place. This species seldom raises more than two broods in the Southern
and Middle Districts, and never, I believe, more than one in Maine and
farther north. The little ones, when fully fledged, are enticed to fly
by their parents, who, shortly after their first essays, lead them to
the sides of fields, roads or rivers, where you may see them alight,
often not far from each other, on low walls, fence-stakes and rails, or
the withered twigs or branches of some convenient tree, generally in the
vicinity of a place in which the old birds can easily procure food for
them. As the young improve in flying, they are often fed on the wing
by the parent birds. On such occasions, when the old and young birds
meet, they both rise obliquely in the air, and come close together, when
the food is delivered in a moment, and they separate to continue their
gambols. In the evening the family retires to the breeding place, to
which it usually resorts until the period of their migration.

About the middle of August, the old and young birds form more extensive
associations, flying about in loose flocks, which are continually
increasing, and alighting in groups on tall trees, churches, court-houses,
or barns, where they may be seen for hours pluming and dressing
themselves, or removing the small insects which usually infest them.
At such times they chirp almost continually, and make sallies of a few
hundred yards, returning to the same place. These meetings and rambles
often occupy a fortnight, but generally by the 10th of September great
flocks have set out for the south, while others are seen arriving from
the north. The dawn of a fair morning is the time usually chosen by these
birds for their general departure, which I have no reason to believe is
prevented by a contrary wind. They are seen moving off without rising
far above the tops of the trees or towns over which they pass; and I am
of opinion that most of those large parties usually migrate either along
the shores of the Atlantic, or along the course of large streams, such
places being most likely to afford them suitable retreats at night, when
they betake themselves to the reeds and other tall grasses, whenever it
is convenient to do so, although I have witnessed their migration during
a fine clear and quiet evening. Should they meet with a suitable spot,
they alight close together, and for a while twitter loudly, as if to
invite approaching flocks or stragglers to join them. In such places I
have seen great flocks of this species in East Florida;—and here, reader,
I may tell you that the fogs of that latitude seem not unfrequently to
bewilder their whole phalanx. One morning, whilst on board the United
States Schooner "Spark," Lieutenant commandant PIERCEY and the officers
directed my attention to some immense flocks of these birds flying only a
few feet above the water for nearly an hour, and moving round the vessel
as if completely lost. But when the morning is clear, these Swallows
rise in a spiral manner from the reeds to the height of thirty or forty
yards, extend their ranks, and continue their course.

I found flocks of Barn Swallows near St Augustine for several days in
succession, until the beginning of December; but after the first frost
none were to be seen. These could not have removed many degrees farther
south for want of proper food, and I suspect that numbers of them spend
the whole winter along the south coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

The flight of this species is not less interesting than any other of
its characteristics. It probably surpasses in speed that of any other
species of the feathered tribes, excepting the Humming Bird. In fine
calm weather their circuits are performed at a considerable elevation,
with a lightness and ease that are truly admirable. They play over the
river, the field, or the city with equal grace, and during spring and
summer you might imagine their object was to fill the air around them
with their cheerful twitterings. When the weather lowers, they move more
swiftly in tortuous meanderings over the meadows, and through the streets
of the towns; they pass and repass, now close to the pavement, now along
the walls of the buildings, here and there snapping an insect as they
glide along with a motion so rapid that you can scarcely follow them
with the eye. But try:—there she skims against the wind over the ruffled
stream; up she shoots, seizes an insect, and wheeling round, sails down
the breeze with a rapidity that carries her out of your sight almost in
a moment. Noon arrived, and the weather being sultry, round the horse
or the cow she passes a thousand times, seizing on each tormenting fly.
Now she seems fain to enter the wood, so close along its edge does she
pursue her prey; but spying a Crow, a Raven, a Hawk or an Eagle, off
she shoots with doubled speed after the marauder, and the next instant
is seen lashing, as it were, the object of her anger with admirable
dexterity, after which, full of gaiety and pride the tiny thing returns
towards the earth, forming to herself a most tortuous path in the air.

On the ground the movements of this Swallow are by no means awkward,
although, when compared with those of other birds, they seem rather
hampered. It walks by very short steps, and aids itself with its wings.
Should it be necessary to remove to the distance of a few yards, it
prefers flying. When alighted on a twig, it shews a peculiar tremulous
motion of the wings and tail.

The song of our Barn Swallow resembles that of the Chimney Swallow of
England so much that I am unable to discern the smallest difference. Both
sing on the wing and when alighted, and the common _tweet_ which they
utter when flying off is precisely the same in both. Their food also is
similar; at least that of our bird consists entirely of insects, some
being small coleoptera, the crustaceous parts of which are disgorged in
roundish pellets scarcely the size of a small pea.

I have represented a pair of our Barn Swallows in the most perfect spring
plumage, together with a nest taken from one of the rafters of a barn
in the State of New Jersey, in which there was at least a score of them.


     HIRUNDO RUSTICA, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 343.

     HIRUNDO RUFA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United
     States, p. 64.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 601.

     BARN SWALLOW, HIRUNDO AMERICANA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. v.
     p. 34. pl. 38. fig. 1, 2.—_Swains. and Richards._ Fauna Bor.-
     Amer. part ii. p. 329.


Adult Male. Plate CLXXIII. Fig. 1.

Bill very short, feeble, much depressed and very broad at the base,
compressed towards the tip, upper mandible with the ridge straight
and sloping, the sides towards the end convex, the edges sharp and
overlapping, having a slight notch close upon the tip, which is very
small, rather obtuse, and declinate; lower mandible flattish, the edges
inflected, the tip acute. Nostrils basal, lateral, oblong, with a membrane
above. Head of ordinary size, neck short, body rather slender. Feet
very small and feeble, tarsus very short, anteriorly scutellate, sharp
behind; toes free, lateral nearly equal, the outer united as far as the
second joint; claws shortish, arched, much compressed, very acute.

Plumage rather compact and shining above, blended and with ordinary
lustre beneath. Wings very long and narrow, primaries narrow and tapering
to a rounded point, the first longest, the rest gradually diminishing;
secondaries very short, truncato-emarginate.

Bill black. Iris hazel. Feet purplish-black. Anterior part of the
forehead bright chestnut; the rest of the head, the hind neck, back,
rump and smaller wing-coverts glossy deep steel-blue. Quills and tail
brownish-black, the latter with a white spot on the inner web of each
feather, excepting the two middle ones. Throat bright chestnut; a broad
band of black glossed with steel-blue on the lower part of the neck,
joining the dark colour of the upper parts. The rest of the lower parts
light brownish-red.

Length 7 inches, extent of wings 13; bill along the back 3/12, along
the edge 7/12; tarsus 4/12.


Adult Female. Plate CLXXIII. Fig. 2.

The Female differs from the Male only in being generally paler beneath.

The young bird fully fledged has the red of the forehead and throat
paler, the band on the forepart of the breast brownish-black, without
gloss, and the rest of the lower parts white tinged with red.

There is considerable diversity in the colouring of the under parts of
this bird. Frequently there is a broad band of steel-blue across the
neck or fore part of the breast, in other cases this band is narrow, or
interrupted in the middle, or wanting, as in the individuals represented
in the plate. The rufous colour of the breast, sides and belly varies
from reddish-white in young birds to bright brownish-red in old ones.
In the former case it is singular to the colour of the European Chimney
Swallow, which, on the other hand, never has those parts so deeply tinted
as in the latter case. The bill and feet of the two are precisely similar
as are the colours of the upper parts; but in the European bird, the
dark band on the fore part of the breast is much broader, the first and
second primaries are almost equal, although the first is longest, and
the lateral tail-feathers are more elongated. These differences do not
seem to me to be sufficient to distinguish the two birds as species,
and the similarity of their habits renders them too nearly allied to be
separated with propriety.

The differences in colour between the European Chimney Swallow and the
American Barn Swallow, are analogous to those between the Barn Owl of
the former and that of the latter country. The Swallows and the Owls
may be distinct species; but I see no reason for separation in the one
case more than in the other; and if the so called _Hirundo Americana_
be distinguished from the _H. rustica_, the _Strix flammea_ ought to be
distinguished from the American Owl, which might in that case be named
_Strix Americana_. But let the differences first be shewn.



THE OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER.

_MUSCICAPA COOPERI_, NUTTALL. _TYRANNUS BOREALIS_, SWAINS.

PLATE CLXXIV. MALE AND FEMALE.


It is difficult, for me at least, to understand how we should now have
in the United States so many birds which, not more than twenty years
ago, were nowhere to be found in those countries. Of these new-comers
the Olive-sided Flycatcher is one, and one, too, whose size and song
render it very conspicuous among its kindred. That birds should thus
suddenly make their appearance, and at once diffuse themselves over
almost the whole of the country, is indeed a very curious fact; and were
similar changes to take place in the other tribes of animals, and in
other countries, the arrangements of systematic writers would have to
undergo corresponding revolutions, a circumstance which would tend to
add to the confusion arising from the continual shiftings, combinations,
disseverings, abrasions of names, and alterations of method, which the
interpreters of nature are pleased to dignify with the name of science.

The discovery of this species is due to my amiable and learned friend
NUTTALL, part of whose account of its habits I have pleasure in laying
before you. When, a few years ago, I rambled, as I do now, in quest of
knowledge, scarcely an individual could be found in the United States
conversant with birds. At the present day there are several, with whom I
am personally acquainted, who have fully proved their zeal and activity,
by their discoveries and descriptions. It is enough for me to mention here
the well known names of BONAPARTE, NUTTALL, COOPER, BACHMAN, PICKERING,
OAKS, and TOWNSEND, whose labours demonstrate the rapid advance of
science in our country, and whose works will endure for ages.

On the 8th of August 1832, while walking out from Boston towards the
country seat of the Honourable THOMAS H. PERKINS, along with my friend
NUTTALL, we were suddenly saluted with the note of this bird. As I
had never seen it, I leaped over the fence beside us, and cautiously
approached the tree on which a male was perched and singing. Desiring
my friend to go in search of a gun, I watched the motions of the devoted
bird. He returned with a large musket, a cow's horn filled with powder,
and a handful of shot nearly as large as peas; but just as I commenced
charging this curious piece, I discovered that it was flintless! We were
nearly a mile distant from Mr PERKINS' house, but as we were resolved
to have the bird, we proceeded to it with all dispatch, procured a gun,
and returning to the tree, found the Flycatcher, examined its flight
and manners for a while, and at length shot it. As the representative
of a species, I made a drawing of this individual, which you will find
copied in the plate indicated above. But now let us attend to NUTTALL'S
account.

"This undescribed species, which appertains to the group of Pewees,
was obtained in the woods of Sweet Auburn, in this vicinity, by Mr
JOHN BETHUNE of Cambridge, on the 7th of June 1830. This and the
second specimen acquired soon afterwards, were females on the point of
incubation. A third individual of the same sex was killed on the 21st
of June 1831. They were all of them fat, and had their stomach filled
with torn fragments of wild bees, wasps, and other similar insects. I
have watched the motions of two other living individuals, who appeared
tyrannical and quarrelsome, even with each other. The attack was
always accompanied with a whining querulous twitter. Their dispute was
apparently, like that of savages, about the rights of their respective
hunting-grounds. One of the birds, the female, whom I usually saw alone,
was uncommonly sedentary. The territory she seemed determined to claim
was circumscribed by the tops of a cluster of Virginian junipers or red
cedars, and an adjoining elm and decayed cherry-tree. From this sovereign
station, in the solitude of a barren and sandy piece of forest, adjoining
Sweet Auburn, she kept a sharp look-out for passing insects, and pursued
them with great vigour and success as soon as they appeared, sometimes
chasing them to the ground, and generally resuming her perch with an
additional mouthful, which she swallowed at leisure. On ascending to
her station, she occasionally quivered her wings and tail, erected her
blowzy cap, and kept up a whistling, oft-repeated, whining call, of _pŭ,
pŭ_, then varied to _pŭ, pip_, and _pip, pŭ_, also at times _pip, pip,
pŭ, pip, pip, pip, pŭ, pŭ, pip_, or _tŭ, tŭ, tŭ_, and sometimes _tŭ,
tŭ_. This shrill, pensive, and quick whistle, sometimes dropped almost
to a whisper, or merely _pŭ_. The tone is, in fact, much like that of
the _phŭ, phŭ, phŭ_, of the Fish Hawk. The male, however, besides this
note, at long intervals had a call of _eh phèbēē_, or _h'phebéă_, almost
exactly in the tone of the circular tin whistle or bird call, being
loud, shrill, and guttural at the commencement. The nest of this pair
I at length discovered in the horizontal branch of a tall red cedar,
forty or fifty feet from the ground. It was formed much in the manner
of the King-bird's, externally made of interlaced dead twigs of the
cedar, internally of wiry stolons of the common cinquefoil, dry grass,
and some fragments of branching lichen or _usnea_. It contained three
young, and had probably four eggs. The eggs had been hatched about the
20th of June, so that the pair had arrived in this vicinity about the
close of May. The young remained in the nest no less than twenty-three
days, and were fed from the first on beetles and perfect insects, which
appeared to have been wholly digested, without any regurgitation. Towards
the close of this protracted period, the young could fly with all the
celerity of their parents, and they probably went to and from the nest
before abandoning it. The male was at this time extremely watchful, and
frequently followed me from his usual residence, after my paying him
a visit, nearly half a mile. These birds, which I watched on several
successive days, were no way timid, and allowed me for some time previous
to visiting their nest, to investigate them and the premises they had
chosen, without showing any sign of alarm or particular observation."

I received from my friend the following additional account, in a letter
dated September 12. 1833. "Something serious has happened to our pair of
the new Flycatchers (_Muscicapa Cooperi_), which have for three years at
least, bred and passed the summer in the grounds of Mount Auburn. This
summer they were no longer seen. It is true they were not very well used
last year; for, in the first place, I took two of the four eggs they had
laid, when they deserted the nest, and soon, within little more than a
stone's-throw, they renewed their labours, and made a second, which was
also visited; but from this I believe they raised a small brood. The
nest, as before, was placed on a horizontal branch of a red cedar, and
made chiefly of the smallest interlaced twigs collected from the dead
limbs of the same tree, in all cases so thin, like that of the Tanager,
as to let the light readily through its interstices. An egg you have,
which, as to size, so completely resembles that of the _Wood Pewee_, as
to make one and the same description serve for both; that is to say, a
yellowish cream-white, with spots of reddish-brown, of a light and dark
shade. All the nests, three in number, were within 150 yards of each
other respectively. I saw another pair once in a small piece of dry
pine wood in Mount Auburn one year; but they did not stay long. A third
pair I saw the summer before the last, on the edge of the marsh towards
West Cambridge Pond; these appeared resident. The next pair I had the
rare good fortune to see in your company, by which means they have been
masterly figured. It is beyond a doubt _M. borealis_ of RICHARDSON, but
I believe Mr COOPER and myself discovered it previously, at least before
the appearance of Dr RICHARDSON'S Northern Zoology."

In the course of my journey farther eastward, I found this species here
and there in Massachusetts and the State of Maine, as far as Mars Hill,
and subsequently on the Magdeleine Islands, and the coast of Labrador;
but I have not yet been able to discover its line of migration, or the
time of its arrival in the Southern States.


     MUSCICAPA INORNATA, _Nuttall_, Nat. Sci. Philad.

     TYRANNUS BOREALIS, NORTHERN TYRANT, _Swains. and Richards._
     Fauna Bor.-Amer. part ii. p. 141.

     OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER or PE-PE, MUSCICAPA COOPERI, _Nuttall_,
     Manual, part i. p. 282.


Adult Male. Plate CLXXIV. Fig. 1.

Bill of moderate length, stout, straight, broad at the base, and
tapering, compressed only close to the tip; both mandibles with the
dorsal line very slightly convex, the sides rounded, the edges nearly
straight, sharp, inclinate; a slight notch close to the small deflected
tip. Nostrils basal, lateral, roundish, partly covered by the bristly
feathers. Head rather large, neck short, body rather slender. Feet short;
tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with a few broad scutella; toes of
moderate size, the hind one not proportionally larger, the inner a little
shorter than the outer; claws rather long, arched, much compressed, very
acute.

Plumage soft and blended, with little gloss. Strong bristles at the base
of the upper mandible. Wings rather long, second quill longest, first
longer than third, second and third slightly cut out on the outer web;
the primaries tapering and rounded. Tail of ordinary length, emarginate,
of twelve rounded feathers.

Bill blackish-brown above, the lower mandible brownish-yellow, with the
tip dusky. Iris dark hazel. Feet dusky, claws brownish-black. The whole
upper parts, with the cheeks and sides of the neck, dusky brown; quills
and tail blackish-brown, the secondaries margined with brownish-white.
A stripe of greyish-white runs down the fore-neck from the bill, and
joins the white of the breast and abdomen, the latter being tinged with
yellow; the sides dusky grey.

Length 7½ inches, extent of wings 12¾; bill along the ridge 8/12, along
the edge 1-3/12; tarsus 7/12.


Adult Female. Plate CLXXIV. Fig. 2.

The Female resembles the Male, but has the lower parts of a duller hue.

This species is nearly allied to the King Bird and the Grey Tyrant, from
both of which, however, it is readily distinguished.


THE BALSAM OR SILVER FIR.

     PINUS BALSAMEA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 504. _Pursh_, Fl.
     Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 639.—ABIES BALSAMIFERA, _Mich._ Fl.
     Amer. vol. ii. p. 207.—MONŒCIA MONADELPHIA, _Linn._ CONIFERÆ,
     _Juss._

This beautiful fir is abundant in the State of Maine, where I made
a drawing of the twig before you. It grows on elevated rocky ground,
often near streams or rivers. Its general form is conical, the lower
branches coming off horizontally near the ground, and the succeeding ones
becoming gradually more oblique, until the uppermost are nearly erect.
The leaves and cones become so resinous in autumn, that, in climbing
one of these trees, a person is besmeared with the excreted juice, which
is then white, transparent, and almost fluid. The leaves are solitary,
flat, emarginate, or entire, bright green above, and glaucous or silvery
beneath; the cones cylindrical, erect, with short obovate, serrulate,
mucronate scales. It is abundant in the British provinces, the Northern
States, and in the higher parts of the Alleghany Mountains. The height
does not exceed fifty feet. The bark is smooth, the wood light and
resinous. The resin is collected and sold under the names of Balm of
Gilead and Canada Balsam.



NUTTALL'S SHORT-BILLED MARSH WREN.

_TROGLODYTES BREVIROSTRIS_, NUTTALL.

PLATE CLXXV. MALE, FEMALE, AND NEST.


I hope, kind reader, you will approve of the liberty which I have taken
in prefixing the name of the learned NUTTALL to the present species,
which was discovered by his indefatigable and enthusiastic devotion
to science, in a country where WILSON, BONAPARTE, BACHMAN, PICKERING,
COOPER, SAY, and others had already exerted themselves to the utmost
in their endeavours to complete its diversified and interesting Fauna.
I hope, too, that you will allow me to present you with the history of
this sweet little inhabitant of our freshwater marshes, as given by my
friend, who at this moment is toiling with all imaginable spirit, far
towards the west, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. In granting my
request, you will confer on me a favour, truly acceptable, as it enables
me to testify the friendship which I feel towards him of whom I have
spoken.

"This amusing and not unmusical little species inhabits the lowest
marshy meadows, but does not frequent the reed flats. It never visits
cultivated grounds, and is at all times shy, timid, and suspicious. It
arrives in this part of Massachusetts about the close of the first week
in May, and retires to the south by the middle of September at farthest,
probably by night, as it is never seen in progress, so that its northern
residence is only prolonged about four months.

"Its presence is announced by its lively and quaint song of _tsh, tship,
ă dăy, dăy, dăy, dăy_, delivered in haste and earnest at short intervals,
either when he is mounted on a tuft of sedge, or while perched on some
low bush near the skirt of the marsh. The _tsh, tship_ is uttered with
a strong aspiration, and the remainder with a guttural echo. While thus
engaged, his head and tail are alternately depressed and elevated, as
if the little odd performer were fixed on a pivot. Sometimes the note
varies to _tschip, tschip, tshia, dh, dh, dh, dh_, the latter part being
a pleasant trill.

"When approached too closely, which not often happened, as he permitted
me to come within two or three feet of his station, his song becomes
harsh and more hurried, like _tship, dă, dă, dă_, and _de, de, de, de,
d, d, dh_, or _tshe, de, de, de, de_, rising into an angry petulant cry,
which is also sometimes a low hoarse and scolding _daigh, daigh_. Then
again on invading the nest, the sound sinks to a plaintive _tsh, tship,
tsh, tship_. In the early part of the breeding season, the male is very
lively and musical, and in his best humour he tunes up a _tship, tship,
tship, ā dee_, with a pleasantly warbled and reiterated _de_. At a later
period, another male uttered little else than a hoarse and guttural
_daigh_, hardly louder than the croaking of a frog. When approached, they
repeatedly descend into the grass, where they spend much of their time,
in quest of insects, chiefly crustaceous, which, with moths, constitute
their principal food. Here unseen they still sedulously utter their
quaint warbling; and _tship, tship, a day, day, day, day_, may, for
about a month from their arrival, be heard pleasantly echoing on a fine
morning, from the borders of every low marsh, and wet meadow, provided
with tussocks of sedge grass, in which they indispensably dwell, for
a time engaged in the cares and gratification of raising and providing
for their young.

"The nest of the Short-billed Marsh Wren is made wholly of dry or partly
green sedge, bent usually from the top of the grassy tuft in which the
fabric is situated. With much ingenuity and labour these simple materials
are loosely entwined together into a spherical form, with a small and
rather obscure entrance left on the side. A thin lining is sometimes
added to the whole, of the linty fibres of the silk-weed, or some other
similar material. The eggs, pure white, and destitute of spots, are
probably from six to eight. In a nest containing seven eggs, there were
three of them larger than the rest, and perfectly fresh, while the four
smaller were far advanced towards hatching. From this circumstance we may
fairly infer that two different individuals had laid in the same nest,
a circumstance more common among wild birds than is generally imagined.
This is also the more remarkable, as the male of this species, like many
other Wrens, is much employed in making nests, of which not more than
one in three or four are ever occupied by the females!

"The summer limits of this species, confounded with the ordinary Marsh
Wren, are yet unascertained; and it is singular to remark how near it
approaches to another species inhabiting the temperate parts of the
southern hemisphere in America, namely the _Sylvia platensis_, figured
and indicated by BUFFON. The description, however, of this bird, obtained
by COMMERSON, on the banks of La Plata, is too imperfect for certainty.
It was found probably in a marshy situation, as it entered the boat in
which he was sailing. The time of arrival and departure of this species,
agreeing exactly with the appearance of the Marsh Wren of WILSON, inclines
me to believe that it also exists in Pennsylvania."

While in New Jersey, in the summer of 1832, after I had become acquainted
with this species through NUTTALL, I spent several days in searching the
freshwater marshes, often waist-deep in mud, in the hopes of procuring
it; but my efforts, as well as those of my friend EDWARD HARRIS, Esq.
and my sons, were unsuccessful. I therefore concluded that it probably
does not exist in that district. This is certainly strange, for it is
very abundant in South Carolina, where the Rev. JOHN BACHMAN, myself,
and others, have often seen it. Nay, I am of opinion that it spends the
winter there, as well as in the Floridas, as I shot several individuals
in February 1833, nine miles from Charleston, at a distance from any
river, and on high, usually dry plains, at that season partially covered
with water. They did not rise, until we had almost walked upon them, and
could be shot only on wing, as they flew directly off at the height of a
few inches above the grass, and alighted on the first bunch as abruptly
as if they had been shot. They then emitted a single rough grating note,
quite distinct from that of any other Wren. About this time I received
from NUTTALL a letter, which completes the history of this diminutive
species.

"Concerning the Short-billed Marsh Wren of which you inquired, I have
but little to add to what I have already published; but it is for you to
fill up the history of its summer migrations. Did you find it in Maine
or Labrador? This season they have been more than usually abundant.
Last year (1832) I saw extremely few, and believe many were famished,
or some way destroyed by the long continuance of our spring rains. This
year (1833) also, several pairs of Marsh Wrens have been seen occupied
in making their nests in the reeds, on the margin of Fresh Pond, in
our vicinity. These nests are suspended; those of the _short-billed_
species always repose directly on the surface of the sedgy tussock of
which they are made. The young are easily approached, appearing, by the
placid innocence of their manner, as if wholly unconscious of danger.
Coleopterous insects are the principal food of the species. I heard once
or twice this season, the anxious guttural bubbling sound attributed to
the Marsh Wren, mentioned by WILSON. The Short-billed species and the
Common, now near the time of their departure for the south, frequent the
reeds by Fresh Pond, in little roving companies.—_Cambridge, September
12. 1833._"


     SHORT-BILLED MARSH WREN, TROGLODYTES BREVIROSTRIS, _Nuttall_,
     Manual, part i. p. 436.


Adult Male. Plate CLXXV. Fig. 1.

Bill of moderate length, slender, nearly straight, acute, subtrigonal
at the base, compressed towards the end; upper mandible with the dorsal
outline slightly arched, the sides convex towards the end, the edges
sharp, the tip narrow but rather obtuse; lower mandible also much
compressed, with the dorsal line straight, the sides nearly erect and
slightly rounded, the sharp edges inflected. Nostrils basal, lateral,
oblong, with an arched membrane above, open and bare. Head rather
compressed, neck and body short. Legs of ordinary length; tarsus
compressed, anteriorly covered with six scutella, posteriorly with a long
plate forming a sharp edge; toes scutellate above, the second and fourth
nearly equal, the hind toe much stronger, with a much larger claw, the
third and fourth united as far as the second joint; claws arched, much
compressed, acute.

Plumage soft and blended. No bristly feathers about the bill. Wings short,
broad, rounded, first quill about half the length of the second, which
is considerably shorter than the third, fourth, and fifth, which are
nearly equal, the fourth, however, being the longest. Tail of ordinary
length, graduated, of twelve narrow rounded feathers.

Bill dusky above, pale brownish-yellow beneath. Iris dark hazel. Feet
pale flesh-colour. The upper parts are blackish-brown, each feather
with a brownish-white line along the shaft, and the outer edge towards
the end reddish-brown. Wings dusky, the outer edges barred with pale
yellowish-brown on the outer webs. Upper tail-coverts and tail similarly
barred. Throat and central part of the breast greyish-white, the rest
of the lower parts pale reddish-brown, the sides under the wings faintly
barred with dusky.

Length 4⅜ inches, extent of wings 5⅝; bill along the ridge 4½/12, along
the edge 6/12; tarsus 8½/12.


Adult Female. Plate CLXXV. Fig. 2.

The female resembles the male, and the young birds are distinguishable
only by having the bill shorter, and the lower parts more tinged with red.


The Long-billed Marsh Wren is very closely allied to the present species,
and the two form part of a group which VIEILLOT distinguishes by the
name of Thyrothorus.



A MOOSE HUNT.


In the spring of 1833, the Moose were remarkably abundant in the
neighbourhood of the Schoodiac Lakes; and, as the snow was so deep in
the woods as to render it almost impossible for them to escape, many of
them were caught. About the 1st of March 1833, three of us set off on
a hunt, provided with snow-shoes, guns, hatchets, and provisions for a
fortnight. On the first day we proceeded fifty miles, in a sledge drawn
by one horse, to the nearest lake, where we stopped for the night, in
the hut of an Indian named LEWIS, of the Passamaquody tribe, and who has
abandoned the wandering life of his race, and turned his attention to
farming and lumbering. Here we saw the operation of making snow-shoes,
which requires more skill than one might imagine. The men generally make
the bows to suit themselves, and the women weave in the threads, which
are usually made of the skin of the Karaboo deer.

The next day we went on foot sixty-two miles farther, when a heavy
rain-storm coming on, we were detained a whole day. The next morning we
put on snow-shoes, and proceeded about thirteen miles, to the head of
the Musquash Lake, where we found a camp, which had been erected by some
lumberers in the winter, and here we established our head-quarters. In
the afternoon an Indian had driven a female moose-deer, and two young
ones of the preceding year, within a quarter of a mile of our camp, when
he was obliged to shoot the old one. We undertook to procure the young
alive, and after much exertion succeeded in getting one of them, and shut
it up in the shed made for the oxen; but as the night was falling, we
were compelled to leave the other in the woods. The dogs having killed
two fine deer that day, we feasted upon some of their flesh, and upon
Moose, which certainly seemed to us the most savoury meat we had ever
eaten, although a keen appetite is very apt to warp one's judgment in
such a case. After supper we laid ourselves down before the huge fire
we had built up, and were soon satisfied that we had at last discovered
the most comfortable mode of sleeping.

In the morning we started off on the track of a Moose, which had been
driven from its haunt or yard by the Indians the day before; and, although
the snow was in general five feet deep, and in some places much deeper,
we travelled three miles before we came to the spot where the Moose had
rested for the night. He had not left this place more than an hour, when
we came to it. So we pushed on faster than before, trusting that ere
long we should overtake him. We had proceeded about a mile and a half
farther, when he took a sudden turn, which threw us off his track, and
when we again found it, we saw that an Indian had taken it up and gone
in pursuit of the harassed animal. In a short time we heard the report
of a gun, and immediately running up, we saw the Moose standing in a
thicket wounded, when we brought him down. The animal finding himself
too closely pursued, had turned upon the Indian, who fired and instantly
ran into the bushes to conceal himself. It was three years old, and
consequently not nearly grown, although already about six feet and a
half in height.

It is difficult to conceive how an animal could have gone at such a
rate, when the snow was so deep, with a thick crust at top. In one place
he had followed the course of a brook, over which the snow had sunk
considerably on account of the higher temperature of the water, and
we had an opportunity of seeing evidence of the great power which the
species possesses in leaping over objects that obstruct his way. There
were places in which the snow had drifted to so great a height, that you
would have imagined it impossible for any animal to leap over it, and
yet we found that he had done so at a single bound, without leaving the
least trace. As I did not measure these snow-heaps, I cannot positively
say how high they were, but I am well persuaded that some of them were
ten feet.

We proceeded to skin and dress the Moose, and buried the flesh under
the snow, where it will keep for weeks. On opening the animal we were
surprised to see the great size of the lungs and heart, compared with
the contents of the abdomen. The heart was certainly larger than that
of any animal which I had seen. The head bears a great resemblance
to that of a horse, but the "muffle" is more than twice as large, and
when the animal is irritated or frightened, it projects that part much
farther than usual. It is stated in some descriptions of the Moose,
that he is short-winded and tender-footed, but he certainly is capable
of long-continued and very great exertion, and his feet, for any thing
that I have seen to the contrary, are as hard as those of any other
quadruped. The young Moose was so exhausted and fretted, that it offered
no opposition to us as we led it to the camp; but in the middle of the
night we were awakened by a great noise in the hovel, and found that as
it had in some measure recovered from its terror and state of exhaustion,
it began to think of getting home, and was now much enraged at finding
itself so securely imprisoned. We were unable to do any thing with it,
for if we merely approached our hands to the openings of the hut, it
would spring at us with the greatest fury, roaring and erecting its mane
in a manner that convinced us of the futility of all attempts to save
it alive. We threw to it the skin of a deer, which it tore to pieces
in a moment. This individual was a yearling, and about six feet high.
When we went to look for the other, which we had left in the woods, we
found that he had "taken his back-track," or retraced his steps, and
gone to the "beat," about a mile and a half distant, and which it may
be interesting to describe.

At the approach of winter, parties of Moose Deer, from two to fifty in
number, begin to lessen their range, and proceed slowly to the south
side of some hill, where they feed within still narrower limits, as the
snows begin to fall. When it accumulates on the ground, the snow, for
a considerable space, is divided into well trodden, irregular paths, in
which they keep, and browse upon the bushes at the sides, occasionally
striking out a new path, so that, by the spring, many of those made at
the beginning of winter are obliterated. A "yard" for half a dozen Moose
would probably contain about twenty acres.

A good hunter, although still a great way off, will not only perceive
that there is a yard in the vicinity, but can tell the direction in which
it lies, and even be pretty sure of the distance. It is by the marks on
the trees that he discovers this circumstance; he finds the young maple,
and especially the moose-wood and birch, with the bark gnawed off to the
height of five or six feet on one side, and the twigs bitten, with the
impression of the teeth left in such a manner, that the position of the
animal when browsing on them may be ascertained. Following the course
indicated by these marks, the hunter gradually finds them more distinct
and frequent, until at length he arrives at the yard; but there he finds
no moose, for long before he reaches the place, their extremely acute
smell and hearing warn them of his approach when they leave the yard,
generally altogether, the strongest leading in one track, or in two or
three parties. When pursued they usually separate, except the females,
which keep with their young, and go before to break the track for them;
nor will they leave them under any circumstances until brought down
by their ruthless pursuers. The males, especially the old ones, being
quite lean at this season, go off at great speed, and unless the snow
is extremely deep, soon outstrip the hunters. They usually go in the
direction of the wind, making many short turns to keep the scent, or
to avoid some bad passage; and although they may sink to the bottom at
every step, they cannot be overtaken in less than three or four days.
The females, on the contrary, are remarkably fat, and it is not at all
unfrequent to find in one of them a hundred pounds of raw tallow. But
let us return to the young buck, which had regained the yard.

We found him still more untractable than the female we had left in the
hovel; he had trodden down the snow for a small space around him, which
he refused to leave, and would spring with great fury at any one who
approached the spot too near; and as turning on snow-shoes is not an
easy operation, we were content to let him alone, and try to find one
in a better situation for capture, knowing that if we did eventually
secure him, he would probably in the struggle injure himself too much
to live. I have good reason to believe that the only practicable mode
of taking them uninjured, except when they are very young, is, when they
are exhausted and completely defenceless, to bind them securely, and keep
them so till they have become pacified and convinced of the uselessness
of any attempt at resistance. If allowed to exert themselves as they
please, they almost always kill themselves, as we found by experience.

On the following day we again set out, and coming across the tracks of
two young bucks, which had been started by the Indians, we pursued them,
and in two or three miles overtook them. As it was desirable to obtain
them as near the camp as possible, we attempted to steer them that way.
For a while we succeeded very well in our scheme, but at last one of
them, after making many ineffectual attempts to get another way, turned
upon his pursuer, who, finding himself not very safe, felt obliged to
shoot him. His companion, who was a little more tractable, we drove on
a short way, but as he had contrived to take many turnings, he could
approach us on his back-track too swiftly, so that we were compelled
to shoot him also. We "dressed" them, taking with us the tongues and
muffles, which are considered the most delicate parts.

We had not walked more than a quarter of a mile, when we perceived
some of the indications before mentioned, which we followed for half a
mile, when we came across a yard, and, going round it, we found where
the Moose had left it, though we afterwards learned that we had missed
a fine buck, which the dogs, however, afterwards discovered. We soon
overtook a female with a young one, and were not long in sight of them
when they stood at bay. It is really wonderful how soon they beat down
a hard space in the snow to stand upon, when it is impossible for a dog
to touch them, as they stamp so violently with their fore feet, that it
is certain death to approach them. This Moose had only one calf with
her, and on opening her we perceived that she would only have had one
the next year, though the usual number is two, almost invariably a male
and a female. We shot them with ball through the brain.

The Moose bears a considerable resemblance to the horse in his
conformation, and in his disposition a still greater, having much of the
sagacity as well as viciousness of that animal. We had an opportunity
of observing the wonderful acuteness of its hearing and smelling. As
we were standing by one, he suddenly erected his ears, and put himself
on the alert, evidently aware of the approach of some person. About ten
minutes after one of our party came up, who must have been at the time
at least half a mile off, and the wind was from the Moose towards him.

This species of Deer feeds on the hemlock, cedar, fir or pine, but will
not touch the spruce. It also eats t