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Slnimatf Crratinn; 



POPULAR EDITION OF 



"OUR LIVING WORLD." 



A NATURAL HISTORY 



The Rev. J. G. ^VooD. /''^^ ""''' 

JAN 1 2 l;;)38 




REVISED AND ADAPTED TO 







jiMTJUiCA^jsr zooLoair, 



BY 



JOSEPH B. HOLDER, M.D., 

Fellow of the J^ew York fiaademy of Saiences ; Jl/femher of the Society of J^aturalists, E. U. 8.; J^embef 

of the fimeriaan Ornithologists' Union; Qurator of Vertebrate Zoology, ftmeriaan 

Jduseum of Jfatural History, Central (Park, JTew York. 



Fully Illustrated with Scientific Accuracy. 



VOL,. IV. 



NEW YORK: 
SELMAR HESS. 



COPYRIGHT, 

13TH OF OCTOBER, 1898 

BT SELMAR HESS. 











•PL 

AT/) 






CONTENTS 



PAGE 

THbe CONTROSTRES ; OR CONE-BlLLED BIRDS (Continued). 

Sub-Farnilu Graculin^; Gkakles 317 

Miiio Bird — Gracula miitiicd. 317 

Sub-Fdtiiily Buphagix.E; Beef Katers 318 

African Beef-Eater — UkiiIkhjii, trythrorhyncha 31S 

Sub-Familii Stui{sin',«; True Starlings 319 

Kose-Colored Pastor— Pdsto?' roscits 319 

Common Starling— ^ti//'rt».s vuhjariK 320 

Sub-Fuwily Quiscalin^e ; Boat-Taileo Birds 321 

(j reat Boat-Tail -Qaiscalux major 321 

Sub-Family IcTEv.i's.'E; Hang-Nest Birds 322 

Orchard Orio\e—X(itithijrnis varius 322 

Baltimore Oriole — Yphantcs baltimore, or Icte- 
rus gitlbula 334 

Crested Oriole — Cacicus crislutun, or OMnops 
crlsUita 325 

Sub-Family Angelain^e: 

Cow-Bird— Mololhr)L<< pecoris 326 

Red-Winged Starling— <4(;t;ai?(« phftniceus 328 

Bobolink— r>i)'(c'io(u/.r o'ryzivorus 331 

Fami7j/ Fkingillid.e ; Fixciiks: Suh-FiimVy Plocein.e 333 

Sociable Weaver b]yd—l'}iiht(ieriis Darius 333 

Paradise Widah hird — Vidmi pariKlisca 336 

Sub Family Coccothraustin.e ; Hawfinches 336 

Cardinal Grosbeak — ( ardiiialis viKjiiiiiniun 336 

Sub-Family Tanagrin,«; Tanagrine Birds 33!) 

Scarlet Tanager—Pi/r(niy'( rubra 339 

Sub-Family Fringillin^; True Finches 341 

Gouldian Finch— /lmai/(iif( (/oudyii 3H 

Goldtiuch — FrlngiWi cnrdu'clm 341 

Sparrow — Passer domraticns 346 

White- Throated Sparrow— ZonoJrfc/iio albicol- 

lis 347 

Sharp-Tailed Finch — Ammndromus ciiudaculus 348 

Sub-Faniilii Emberizin.e; Buntings 348 

Yellow Bunting — Etnbcriza ritrlnrlla 348 

Black Throated Bixntia^—Eusidza miuricana. . 3 1 
Snow Bunting -PJecti'ophaiit* nivalis 3 2 

Sub-Family Alaudin^e: Larks 354 

Sky-Lark- ^!«M(Za arvtnsis 354 

Pencilled Lark - OtocoHs pcnciUatua 356 

Sub-Family Ptrrhulin.e: 

Bullfinch— Pyn/Hda rubicilla 358 

Sub-Family LoxiAN.e; Crossbills 361 

Crossbill— ioJia curvirostris 361 

Sub-Family Phttotomin-E; Plant Cutters 363 

Chilian Plant Lutter—P/ij/(o(om(t /(HO 363 

Family Colid.e : 

Senegal Coly— CoUus macrourus 364 

Family Musophagid.e: Sub-Family Musophagin.«; 

Plantain-Eaters 365 

Violet Plantaiu-Eaier — Musophnfja violncca 365 

White Crested Tnuraco— '/"itraci/A- alboeristaUis. 366 
Blue Plantain-Eater —i;c/nso77t(S gifjaiUea 366 

Sub-Family Opisthocomin^ ; 

Hoatzin— Opwt/ioco(n.its crintatus 367 

Family Buceuotid.e; Hornbills 367 

Rhinoceros Hornbill— liuteros rhiiwec70s 368 

Order SCAXSORES; OR CLIMBING BIRDS 371 

Family Rhamphastid.e: 

Toco — Jih'impliastos toco 371 

Family Psittacid.e; Parrots; Sub Fam.ily Pezo- 

porin.e; Ground Parrakeets 374 

Parrakeet Cockatoo — Kymphicus novae hol- 

landim 374 

Yellow-Bellied Parrakeet — Platycercus caledon- 

icus 376 

Ground Parrakeet — Pezophoriis formosus 377 

Ringed Parrakeet— Po!(tC0T7! is torquatus 378 

Warbling Grass Parrakeet -Mdopslttacus un- 

dulatus 381 

Blue-Banded Grass Parrakeet— £i/p7icma chrya- 

ogtoma 383 

Scaly-Breasted Lorrikeet — Trichoylossus chloro- 
lepidotus 383 

Sub-Favilly Arain^e : Macaws 384 

Blue and Yellow Macaw — Ara ararauna 384 

Carolina Parrot— Con it/us caroliiiensis 386 

Vol. IV.-N. E. 



Sub-Family LORrN.-r. ; LORTES 389 

Papuan Lory— Cii"' (i!o.si/»r( papua 389 

Purple-Capped Loty— Lo/i'us domlcetlus, or 
DomiccUa atricupi'Ut , 39G 

SubFamily Psittacin.e; True Parrots Sih 

Gray Parrot— P.s((tii('i(.s (rythucus 391 

Festive Green Parrot— C?i7'3/sof*s Hstivus 394 

Swindern'sLove-Bird— Psi'Kncu/ttsu'inderjifana 396 

Sub-Family Cacutuin.e; Ci ckatoos 396 

Goliath Aratoo— jUK-coy/os.s».s- atcrrimus 398 

Great White Cockatoo— Crtcatutt crlstata, or 

PUctolophiis molaccrnsis 398 

Philip Island Parrot— .Vcsdi/' prodiiclus 4i O 

Helmet Cockatoo— i Vi;;//)ioi-r?n/i)WiUs yalcalus 4(3 

Owl Parrot— 8(r; II voyj.s liiiliroptilun 405 

Presquet's Dasyplilus— DiiNi/pfHiis Prcsciuctii . 405 

Family PiciD.E; Woodpeckers; .Sii/j-fYn)!i!y Capiton 

IN^; BarBETS ■•■ 406 

Hair-Breasted Barbet — Laimodon hirsutus 406 

Sub-Fa m ily Picumnin.e ; Piculets 407 

Pigmy Piculet — Piciimntis minutus 407 

Sub Faiiii';!/ Picin.e; True Woodpeckers 40S 

Great Spotted Woodpecker .. P/eii-s major 408 

Ivory Billed Woodpecker— Co»ipt'p/u'h<« princi- 
pa'lis 411 

Sub-FamiU) Gecinin^; Green Woodpeckers 415 

Gre'enWoodpeeker— Gciwiiii.s (or Pi'ci/s) uiridis. . 415 

S«?>-Pomi7y Malanerpin^ ; Black Woodpeckers: 

Red Headed Woodpecker— il/tfciiiiTpcsi or PiCi(^s) 
crytlirocrphidus 418 

Sub-FamlUi Colaptin.e; Ground w-qodpeckers 419 

Gold Winged Woodpecker— Cofapfcs uuratus.. 419 

Sub-Famlly YV'SCi'SA'. : 

Wryneck— Jyin torquilla 421 

PamilM Cuculid^; Cuckoos; Snb-Favilly Indicator- 

in^ 423 

Great Honey Guide— /n'(/cfi(or major 423 

Sub-Family Saurotherin.*; Ground Cuckoos 425 

Rain-Bird- Sd'troHui'i iH'tula 425 

Su6-Fami/i/ Coccyzin'.e; Lark-IIeeled Cuckoos 426 

Pheasant Cuckoo- Vi iitropus phasianu-s 426 

Yellow Billed American Cuckoo— Coccj/gus 
amt'iicaiiiis 427 

Sub-Family Crotophagin.e : 

Savannah Blackbird— Crofojijinga oni 428 

Channel-Bill- Seyt/iiopo nova', hollandiw 430 

Sub-Family Cuculin.e; True Cuckoos 431 

Cuckoo— Ch'ii/iis canurus 431 

Order COLUMB^ ; DOVES and PIGEONS 435 

Pumi'Ji/ Columbid.e; Sub Fainih/ Columbin.E: 

'Oceanic Fruit Pigeon— Curpop/iiii/d oceanica.. 435 

Passenger Pigeon— Scti.jii.s/i.s mujraturivs 436 

Stock Dove— Colum/ia iienas 442 

Top-Knot Pigeon — Lopholaimus antarcticus . . 446 
Turtle Dove— Turtur vuUjaris 446 

Sub- Fa mif y GoURiN.E: 

Crested Pigeon— Ocyphapo 'or Phaps) lophotes 448 

Bronze-Wing Pigeon— P/mps chalcoptera 449 

Wanga-Wonga pigeon- ittioosarcia picata.. . . 450 

Nicobar Pigeon— (Vikr/ios Ju'cobarica 450 

Crowned Pigeon— Gau/M (or CoiMTOba)coro«ata 451 

Sub-Familii Didukculin.e : 

Tooth-Billed Pigeon— Diditnculus strigirostris 453 

Sub-Family Didin.e 453 

Dodo— I>iJus incptiis 453 

Order GALLINvE; the POULTRY 455 

Family Cracid^; Suh-Famlly Cracin^: 

Crested Curassow— Cra.r alector 455 

Family Megapodid^E; Sub-Family MegapodiN^ : 

Australian Jungle Fowl— Afcgiijiod ius tumulus 457 
Leipoa — Leipoa orcllata 458 

Sub-Family Tallegallin^: 

Brush Turkey— 7''/Hc(7alla latham i 459 

Family Phasianid.e; Sub-Family Pavonin.^ ; Pea- 
cocks *63 

Peacock— Praiio cristatns 463 

Crested Peacock Pheasant— Polyplectron napo- 
leonis *^ 



lU 



CONTENTS. 



pa<;e 

Sub-Familti Phasianin,?? ; Pheasants 4'i-t 

Arjjus Pheasaiit^ — A rijiis qiganleiis ■t'H 

Pheasant— P/K(»ianiiK colchlcus 465 

Sub-Family Gallin^e : 

Golden Pheasant— Gat)opfi«S!S (or Tltnnmnica) 

1)icta 4fi7 

Bankiva Jungle Fowl-Oalhis Dankiva 471 

Horned Trapogau— Ccn'or/i is satym 473 

Sub-Family Meleagpjn.'E ; Turkeys ■17S 

Turkey — Melenfjris anlloiiavo 473 

Guinea Fo\\\—N ujiiida i)U(.-hcrani 477 

Sub-Family LopnopiioniN^ : 

Impeyan Pheasant— iopftop/iorus impcyanus.. 478 

Family TetraoniD/I';; Snb-Family Perdicin^ 471) 

Partridge — Pcrch.r riuerciix 479 

Red-Legged Partridge — Guccnbixrufn. -JJSl 

Sanguine Francolin— /»ini;!nis cruintus 4Si 

Quail — Cotunii.r Cdtninunis 4S3 

Sub-Family ODOSTnpiioriix.E : 

Vu-ginian Quail-O/tj/x vlrginiana 484 

Sub-Famihi Tetraonin.« : 

Capercaillie— Tctivto urn(inlliis 487 

Willow Grouse— iagojms ulbus 495 

Sub Family Pteroclin^. : 

Sand Grouse— Ptcroc/cs erustuf: 498 

Family Cnw^WJZ; Sulj-Famili/ Chionidin^; Sheath- 
Bills ' 499 

White Sheath-Bill— CTwonis alba 499 

Family Tin amid/e ; Tinamous 499 

Elegant Tiua . ou—Tiiihiiiiitis clajana 499 

Order STRUTHIONES ; or RUNNING BIRDS 501 

Family Struthionid.e ; Sith-Famffy STBUTHiONiNyE : 

Ostrich — Striitliin camchis 501 

Kmeu—Dromaiux nova; hoUandim 504 

Rhea— R/ica oviericaiin. 505 

Cassowary — Casuarius galeatiis 507 

Sub-Family ApterygiN/E : 

Apterj x—A ptcryx australis 511 

Sub-Family Otinin^ : 

Great Bustard — Otis tarda 514 

Order GRALL^ ; or LONG-LEGGED BIRDS 514 

Family CharapkiAd^e : Sit') Family (Edicnemin^ : 

Great Plover — (Edlciicmus crei>ilans 517 

Sub-Family Glareolin^ : 

Pratincole — Olaicnla pratlncola 518 

Sub-Fatni'y Oiirsokin^: 

Cre.i in Colored Courser— Cursoriws gallirun, or 
Hij IS KgypUa 519 

Sub-Family CnAKADRINyE : 

Lapwing - Vniuiiiis cristntus 519 

Golden Plover — Charadnus pluvia^is 531 

Sub-Family H,ematopodin/e : 

Oyster-Catcher — Ua-inatopus ostralegns 529 

Sub Familti Cinclin.-e : 

Turnstone- tHic'usintcrprcs 531 

Family ArdeiD/E ; Snb-F'imily Psophin.e : 

Goldeu-Brea-ted Trumpeter— Psop/i) a rrepitans 533 
Cariama— CVic/ama cristnta, or ViclmUijilms 
crista (us 533 

Sub-Family Grttin--e : 

Craiie— (r'rus chhcren 533 

Demoiselle Crane- Scops (or Anthropoidcs) 

Virgo 535 

Crowned Craue — Balcarica pavonina 53G 

Sub-Faviily Arpein^ : 

American Egret — Herodias alba egretta, or 

Ardca egiftta. 537 

Bittern— R"tfii(.ri(« stcllaris 545 

Nankeen Night-Heron— Ni/cticoraa; caicdomcu* 549 

Boat B\]\—Caiicniiiia cucldenrea 55i' 

Spoonbill — Platalta Icucorodia 551 

Sub-Fa7nily Ciconin/e ; Storks : 

Stork— C/co«/<t allm 553 

Adjutant— Lc/itopt/liis criivirnlfcr 553 

Jal>i rus— iM ycteria si'negaleniii^'i 555 

Whale-Headed Stork— Batoniccps rei 557 

Vol. IV.-N. E. 



S»b-Fam)7;/ Tantalin.e; Ibis 559 

Sacred Ihis—lhis actliinpica 5S9 

Straw Necked Ibis— Ocronticns spinicollis 560 

Family Scolopacid.e ; Suh-Famihi Ll.MosiNiE 563 

Curlew — Numcnius argudtus 563 

Black-Tailed Godwit— Lhiiosa wgoccphala 565 

Sub-Family Totanin.e; Sandpipers 568 

Green Sandpiper — Totatriiii ochropus 568 

Common Sandpiper — Tringoidcs hypolcuca 569 

Sub-Family Reourvirostein^e : 

Avocet— Rt'CK vvirostra avocetta, 569 

Stilt Plover — Himantopus candidus 570 

Sub-Family Trixgix.* : 

Ruff— P/i(7om((chHS (or Machetes) pugnax 571 

Knot — Tringa caiiutus 571 

Sub-Family Scolopacin^e : 

Great Snipe -G'(/((ringo majnr 575 

Woodcock — Scolopa.r rusticijla 577 

Sub-Famil}i Piialai;opoi)IX;E : 

Gray Phalarope— P/i((/aropi(s fulicarius 578 

Family PalAmedeid.e ; Suh-Fainily ParriN/E : 

Mexican .lacana — Paira gymnostnma 578 

Chiuese Js,ca.nsi—Hydr(iphasianus chiiicnsis 579 

Sub-F<imnj/ Palamedeinjj; Screamers 580 

Horned Screamer — Palamcddca cornutd 580 

Crested Screamer — Cliaiiiia ciistatus 581 

Fami/jy Rallid.e; Rails; .S"b-Ff(mifi/RALLiN.fl; 581 

Water Rail— J?a'/i/s a(pi<iticus 581 

Corncrake— (>//;/i/omei/'a crcx 585 

Sub Familij Gallixulin^ : 

Hyacintliine Gallinule— Po?-p?ii/r'o veteru7ti 586 

Water Hen— G((//;)!.H(a chloropus 587 

Coot— F»;iC(( (lira 589 

Order ANSERES; the GOOSE, SWAN, DUCK, Etc. . . 590 

Family AXATiDyE ; Suh Familji Phcenicopterin^ : 

Flamingo — Pli-cenicnptcrus ruber , . . . 590 

Sub-Family Plectropterin^h : 

Spur-WingHii Goose— PIcctrophancs gambcnsis. 592 
Cape Barron Goose— Ccj'eopsis (or Anscr/ imvce 

hnllandia' 593 

Bernicle Goose— Berrticla leueopsis 594 

S«t)-Fa »i (7i; Cygnix.e : 

M ute Swan— Cygnifs olor 597 

Sub-Family Anatis/E ; True Ducks 601 

Mandarin Duck — Ai.c galcriculata 601 

Widge.in- jl/a/ccK penel ope 601 

Mallard — ^Iiik.s- lioschas 603 

Teal— Q)(fr(/»(''/i(,((i, crecr.a 603 

Shoveller Duck— i'patukt cly'peata 605 

Sub-Family Fuligulin.e 606 

Pochard Dnn-Bird— AVoca tcriiia 606 

Common Duck.—Somateria mollissimd. 610 

Sub-Family Mergin.e 613 

Goosander- Mirgux )ncrgauscr 613 

Smew— Mcrgdl lis iillicllus 612 

Fiiniifj/ Colymbid.u; Divers; S'ih-F«jn)7j; Colymbin^ 613 

(ireat Northern Diver— Colymbus glacialis 613 

Sub-Fam ily Podicepin.e ; GREBES 614 

Great Crested Grebe — Podieeps cristatus 614 

Family Alcid.e; Suh-Famih/ Al.Clf:X: AUKS 615 

'Great Auk— .4'r(( lor Plantax) impeiinis 615 

P^imn—Frattrcida arctica 016 

Sub-Family Spheniscin.e ; Penguins 617 

King Peu'^nm—Aptcnodytcs pennantii 017 

Sub Fam ily Urix.e 618 

Guillemot — Uiin troiJe 618 

Family Procellaridje; Sub-Family Procellarin^e ; 

Petrels 618 

Stormy Petrel- - Thaliissidromn pdagica 618 

Fulmar Petrel— Proccliaria glacialis 619 

Sub-Family Diomedein.E •. 630 

Wandering Albatross— Diomcdca cxulang 630 

Family Larid.e; Sub- Family Larin.E; Gulls 621 

Skua Gnil—Stcrcorariu's catar rhactes, or MegaU 

cstrls skiiii 631 

Common G\M. .Lar\is canvs 623 

Ki tiwake Gull— iJf.vsa trydactyla 633 

Sub-Family Rhyncopin.-e : 

Scissor-Bill—iv/i jyncopg nigra 634 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



ILLUSTRATIONS PRINTED IN COLOES. 



PAGE 

Weaver Birds 332 

Group of Finches 343 



PAGE 

Partridge 480 

AVoodcock 576 



Mallard Duck. 



PAOB 

.. 603 



FULL-PAGE WOOD ENGKAVINGS. 



PAGE 

Finches 340 

Early Breakfast 344 

Marauding Sparrows 346 



PAGE 

Group of Buntings 348 

Crossbills 303 

Nestor- Parrots 403 



PAGK 

Woodpeckers 406 

Albatross 680 



ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT. 



PAGE 

African Beef- Eater 31S 

Rose-Colored Pastor 319 

Common Starling, and Unicolored 

Starling 320 

Great Boat-Tail 331 

Crested Oriole 336 

Cow Troopial 337 

Red- Winged Starling 3i9 

Rice Troopial, or Bobolink 331 

WEAVER BIRDS. 

Sociable Weaver Bird 333 

Gold, and Rufous-Necked Weaver 

Bird 334 

Red-Billed, and Alecto Weaver Bird 33.5 

HAWFINCHES, SPARROWS, 

BUNTINGS, AND LARKS. 

Cardinal Grosbeak, and Hawfinch . . 3.37 

Wild Canary 345 

Common English Sparrow and Tree 

Sparrow 346 

White-Throated Sparrow 347 

Yellow Bunting, or Yellow Ammer 349 

Ortolan 351 

Snow Bunting 353 

Lapland Longspur 353 

Wood-Lark, Sky Lark, and Bonnet- 
Lark 355 

Pencilled Lark 357 

PLANT CUTTERS, AND COLYS. 

Chilian Plant-Cutter 364 

Senegal Coly 304 

Violet Plantain Eater 306 

HORNBILLS. 

Two- Horned Hornbill 368 

Toco 371 

PARROTS. 

Group of Parrakeets 375 

Rose Hill Parrakeet 377 

Ground Parrakeet . 378 

Ringed Parrakeet 379 



Warbling Grass Parrakeet 

Scaly-Breasted Lorrikeet 

Blue and Yellow Macaw 

Carolina Parrot 

Purple-Capped Lory 

Gray Parrot 

Amazon Green Parrot 

Goliath Aratoo 

Great White Cockatoo 

Leadbeater's Cockatoo 

Long Billed Parrot and Black Cock 

atoo 

Helmet Cockatoo 

Owl Parrot 

WOODPECKERS. 

Pigmy Piculet 

Head of Woodpecker 

Woodpeckers 

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker 

Green Woodpecker 

Three-Toed Woodpecker 

Red- Headed Woodpecker 

Gold- Winged Woodpecker 

Wryneck 

CUCKOOS. 

Great Honey Guide 

Ground Cuckoo 

Pbeasaut Cuckoo 

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo 

Savannah Blackbird 

Channel Bill 

Cackoo 



»AGE 

381 
383 
385 
388 
390 
391 
395 
397 
398 
401 

403 
4f'3 
405 

407 
408 
409 
413 
416 
417 
418 
430 
423 

424 
435 

436 
437 
4;9 
430 
431 



DOVES AND PIGEONS. 

Passenger Pigeon 436 

Blue-Headed Pigeon 441 

Ring Dove and Stock Dove 443 

Bl ue Rock-Pigeon 444 

Turtle Dove 447 

Crested Pigeon and Bronze Wing 
Pigeon 448 



Nicobar Pigeon 450 

Crowned Pigeon 451 

Tooth-Billed Pigeon 453 

CURASSOW, PHEASANTS, TUR- 
KEYS, Etc. 
Crested Curassow 455 

Brush Turkey 46O 

Reeve's Pheasant 466 

Golden Pheasant 468 

Amherst's Pheasant 469 

Silver Pheasant 470 

Horned Tragopan 473 

Honduras Turkey 476 

Guinea Fowl 478 

PARTRIDGES QUAILS, GROUSE, 
AND VARIETIES. 

Red-Legged Partridge 481 

Quail 483 

California Quail 486 

Capercaillie 487 

Black Grouse 490 

Pinnated Grouse 49-1 

Willow Grouse (Summer Plumage) 494 
AVillow Grouse (Winter Plumage) 495 

Ptarmigan 497 

Sand Grouse 498 

RUNNING BIRDS. 

Ostrich 501 

Rhea 506 

Apteryx, or Kiwi-Kiwi 512 

BUSTARDS. 

Great Bustard 514 

Little Bustard 515 

PLOVERS, AND VARIETIES. 

Great Plover, or Thick-Knee 517 

Pratincole 518 

Cream-Colored Courser 519 

Lapwing 52O 

Dotterel, and Golden Plover 521 

Oyster Catcher ;^,29 

Turnst ne 531 



Vol.. IV. AjflMATB Cebation.— N.E. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



PAGE 

CRANES, HERONS, Etc. 

Golden Breasted Trumpeter 533 

^ariama 534 

Demoiselle Crane ami Crowned 

Crane 535 

American Egret 538 

Bittern 540 

Day and Night Herons 5iS 

Boat Bill 550 

Spoonbill 651 

STORKS, "IBIS, AND VARIETIES. 

Adj utant 5.54 

Whale-Headed Stork .5.58 

Sacred Iljis 5.59 

Curlew 5H3 

Avocet 509 



PAGE 

Ruff 571 

S-tnderling 574 

lacana 579 

Horned Screamer 580 

Hyacinthine Galliuule 587 

GEESE, SWANS, AND DUCKS. 

Flamingo 590 

Spur-Winged Goose 591 

Cape Barron Goose 593 

Gray- Lag Goose 593 

Bernicle Goose 594 

Eayptian Goose 595 

Whistling Swan 598 

Black Swan 599 

Wood Duck 6(14 

Shoveller Duck 600 



PAGE 

Eider Duck 010 

Goosander 612 

GREBES, AND AUKS. 

Great Crested Greb 614 

Great Auk 615 

King Penguin 617 

Guillemot 618 

PETRELS, GULLS, AND TERNS. 

Stormy Petrel 619 

Fulmar Petrel 6i0 

Giant Fulmar 020 

Group of Gulls 021 

Skua Gull 622 

Daption, or Cape Petrel 622 

Ross's Gull 624 



Vol. IV.-N. K. 



THE GRAKLES. 

The Graculinpe, or Grakles, form the next group of birds. Formerly a very large number 
of species were ranked among the members of this group, but the naturalists of the present 
day have restricted the app(^llation to comparatively few birds. In all the species the bill is 
broad at the base, with the ridge of the ujjper mandible slightly curved, and there is a little 
notch near the extremity. 

The Mii^o Bird is very common in many parts of India and the Indian Islands, where it 
is frequently captured and domesticated. 

It is a bright and lively little bird, wonderfully intelligent, and even conceiving so great 
an affection for its master, that it is permitted to fly about at will. Many amusing tricks are 
often taught to the Mino Bird, and it jjossesses a talent for talking equal to that enjoyed by 
tlie magpie, the raven, the starling, or the parrot. So admirable a conversationalist is the 
Mino Bird that some writers who have had personal ex])erience of its capabilities, think that 
it surpasses even the gray parrot in its i)owers of imitating the human voice. It will repeat 
many words with extraordinary accuracy, and some specimens have learned phrases and sen- 
tences of consideralile length. 

The color of the Mino Bird is a deep velvet-like black, with the exception of a white mark 
on the base of the quill-feathers of the wing. Around the base of the beak and the forehead 
the feathers are extremely short and have a velvety sensation to the touch. The bill and the 
feet are yellow, and on the back of the head are two wattles of a bright yelloAv color. The 
food of tiiis bird consists chiefly of berries, fruits, and insects, and in dimensions it is about 
equal to a common thrush. By the Javanese it is known by the titles of Beci and Mencho, and 
the Sumatrans call it Teeong. 



*e>' 



The Crowned Geakle is one of the handsomest of the genus to which it belongs, and on 
account of the peculiar coloring from which it derives its name is a very conspicuous bird. 

It inhabits the parts of the jungle where the vegetation is thickest, and interspersed with 
tall trees, on whose topmost branches the Crowned Grakle loves to settle while engaged in its 
search after berries, fruits, and the various substances on which it feeds. It is not a very 
timid bird, and will frequently haunt human habitations, entering the gardens wherever tall 
trees have been left standing, and whistling cheerily as it flies from one tree or bough to 
another. When frightened, it signities its alarm by a harsh, rough screech, but its ordinary 
notes are full and melodious. 

The top of the head and part of the nape, together with the chin and a mark on the centre 
of several of the primary feathers of the wings, are bright "king's" yellow. Round the eye 

Vol. IV. op 6-vol. Edition. 317 



318 



THE AFRICAN BEEF-EATER. 



is a large comma-sliaped patch of bare pink skin, the point of the comma being dii'ected 
towards the ear. The general color of the body, as well as the short and sqnare-tipped tail, 
which looks as if it had been snipped off abruptly by a pair of shears, is a very deep green, 
"shot" with blue in certain lights, and sooty-black in others. 

Another curious group of this large family is known by the name of Buphaginfe, i. e., 
Beef-eaters, or Ox-peckers, a title which they have earned by their habits. They may be 
easily known by their remarkably shaped bill, which is wonderfully adapted for the pecu- 
liar duties wliich it has to perform. One of the most common species of this group is the 
Afkican Beef-eatek, a bird wliich is found in great numbers both in Southern and West- 
ern Africa. 

It generally assembles in flocks, and liaunts the spots where cattle are kept, alighting 
upon their backs and setting vigorously to work in digging from beneath their skins the larvae 




AFRICAN BEEP-EATER —BvpHaga eryUvrorhyncnxi. 

of the bot-flies which burrow lieneath the hide, and may often be seen on the backs of cattle 
by means of the little hillock of skin which they raise. To extract these deeply-buried creat- 
ures would seem to be a matter of considerable difficulty, but the Beef-eater manages the 
matter easily enough, by fixing itself tightly on the animal's back by means of its extremely 
powerful claws, and working with its strong and oddly-shaped beak. Other animals besides 
oxen are subject to th^ attacks of these insect foes, and are equally \n sited by the Beef -eater, 
who pursues his beneficial avocation without the least opposition on the part of the suffering 
animal. 

The general color of tlie African Beef-eater is a dull brown upon the whole of the upper 
portions of the body, the chin, and the throat. The breast and abdomen are buff-colored, and 
the upper and under tail-coverts are nearly of the same hue. Tlie tail is wedge-shaped, and 
of a grayish-brown color, warming into reddish-brown on the inner webs of the exterior 
feathers. The basal half of the bill is rich orange, and the curiously squared extremity is 
scarlet. The total length of the bird is between nine and ten inches. 



osr 



THE ROSE-COLORED PASTOR. 



319 



We now come to the true Starlings, or Stuminse, as they are scientifically termed. In 
these birds the bill is almost straight, tapering, and elongated, slightly flattened at the top, 
and with a hardly perceptible notch. Two examples of this group are found in Europe, the 
first and rarest of which is the Rose-colored Pastor. 

These birds are very common in many countries, and in some parts of India are so numer- 
ous that forty or fifty have been killed at a single shot, and they are said by agriculturists to 
be hardly less destructive than locusts. Like the common Starling, the Rose-colored Pastor 
always files in tiocks, and seems to ijossess many of the habits wliich belong to the beef-eaters, 
perching on the backs of cattle and feeding on the parasitic insects and grubs which are gen- 
erally found in such situntions. On account of this habit of frequenting the cattle-field and 
the sheep-fold, the bird has received the title of Pastor, or shepherd. It feeds chiefly on 
insects, but in the autumn months varies its diet with ripe fruits. 

The Rose-colored Pastor possesses a rather flexible voice ; its ordinary cry is rather harsh 
and grating, but the bird is able to modulate its voice so as to imitate the tones of various 



'i>v<\^SNnr 











EOSE-COLORED VASVOR— Pastor i-oems. 



other members of the feathered tribe. One of these birds, that was domesticated by a person 
who had slightly wounded it and afterwards tended it until it had recovered, was so good a 
mimic that an excellent judge of songsters, who had heard its voice without seeing the bird 
from which it proceeded, thought that he was listening to a concert of two starlings, two gold- 
finches, and some songster, probably a siskin. This bird was fed upon insects and barley-meal 
moistened with milk. 

It is a remarkably pretty and conspicuous bird ; the beautiful crest which decorates the 
crown and the delicate tints of the plumage rendering it easily distinguishable from any of its 
kin. The head is ornamented with a crest of long, fiowing feathers, which are of a Jetty black 
glossed with violet ; and the neck, -wings, and tail are of the same hue. Tlie chin, throat, 
front of the neck, thighs, and under tail-coverts are also black. l;)iit without the blue gloss. 
The back, scapularies, breast, sides, and abdomen are of a beautiful rose-pink ; the legs and 
toes are yellowish-brown, and the beak yellow with a dash of rose. The total length of this 
species is between eight and nine inches. The bird does not attain this beautiful plumage 
until the third year ; in the first year there is no crest at all, and the plumage is simply colored 



320 



THE COMMON STARLING. 



with different shades of brown and white ; in the second year the crest is comparatively small 
and scanty, the dark parts of the plumage have a brown tinge, and the rosy parts are duU and 
washed with gi-ay or brown. 

The common Staeling is one of the handsomest birds, the bright mottlings of its plumage, 
the vivacity of its movements, and the elegance of its form rendering it a truly beautiful bird. 

The color of the Starling is very beautiful, and is brietiy as foUows : The general tint is 
an extremely dark purplish-green, having an almost metallic glitter in a strong light. The 
feathers of the shoulders are tipped with buflf, and the wing-coverts, together with the quill- 
feathers of the taU and wings, are edged with pale reddish-brown. The beak is a fine yellow. 




COBLMOtT STARLING aud UNICOLORED STAKLTNG.— «(«/■«!« vulgaris and unicolor. 

The feathers of the upper part of the breast are elongated and pointed. This is the plumage 
of the adult male, and is not brouglit to its perfection until three years have elapsed. The first 
year's bird, before its autumnal moult, is almost wholly of a bro\vnish-gi'ay, and after its moult 
is tartly brown and partly purple and green. In the second year the plumage is more decided 
in its tints, but is variegated with a gi-eat number of light-colored spots on the under and upper 
surfaces, and the beak does not attain its beautiful yellow tinge. 



THE CROW BLACKBIRD. 



'.V2l 



BOAT-TAILED BIRDS. 

The Qiiiscalinse, or Boat-tailed Birds, are so named from tlie peculiar formation of their 
tails, which, as may be seen on reference to the illustration, are hollowed in a manner somewhat 
similar to the interior of a canoe. There are several species of Boat-tails, all being natives of 
America, and being spread over the greater part of our vast country. One of the best known 
species is the Great Boat-tail, or Great Crow Blackbird, as it is sometimes called. 




GREAT BOAT-TiH..— (^iiucmvs mcym. 

This bird is rather a large one, being between sixteen and seventeen inches in length, and 
twenty-two inches across the outspread wings. Its general color is black, glossed with blue, 
green, and purple, in different lights. It is mostly found in the southern portions of the 
United States, where it passes under the name of jackdaw, and is seen in vast flocks among 
the sea islands and marine marshes, busily engaged in finding out the various substances that 
are left by the retiring tide. It preserves its social disposition even in its nesting, and builds 
in company among reeds and bushes in the neighborliood of forests and marshy lands. The 
eggs are of a whitish color and generally five in number. It is a migratory bird, leaving 
America for winter quarters about the latter end of November, and returning in February and 
March. 

The Boat-tailed Grakle {Quiscalus major) is another local name in the southern 
Atlantic States and the Gulf coast. 

A species, called Mexican Boat-tailed Grakle, inhabits the southwestern extremity of 
North America. 



The Crow Blackbird {Qm'scalus purpifreus—tormerlj versicolor), or Purple Grakle, 
is a common bird, in the warmer season, in New England, arriving about the first week in 
April. It is eminently a social bird, forming flocks, and even breeding in numbers on one tree. 
It rarely produces more than one brood yearly. At times enormous numbers are seen congre- 
gating. 



Vol. n—fl. 



322 THE ORCHARD ORIOLE. 

The Bronzed Grakle is a variety of the Purple. It breeds in Maine, and in Illinois it is 
resident throughout the year. 

The Florida Grakle is much smaller, and seems to be conhned to the peninsula of Florida. 
It is also regarded as a variety of tlie Purple Grakle. 

The Rusty Blackbird {ScolecopTiagus ferruglneiis) is a visitor in New England during 
the spring and fall months, when migrating. In Virginia and southwards, these birds are very 
abundant in the winter. They also extend westward. Occasionally they have been found 
breeding in Maine. This blackbird is unsocial and retiring, and on that account is not often 
seen. It visits the low, swampy thickets. 

Bkevver's Blackbird {Scolecophagus breweri), named for Dr. Brewer, the eminent 
ornithologist of Boston, Massachusetts, is found on the high, western plains, and thence to the 
Pacific, and southwards to California and Mexico. It is considerably larger than the preceding. 



HANG-NEST BIRDS. 

The Icterin^, or Hang-nest Birds, now claim our attention. These birds are remarkable 
for the hammock-like nest which they construct, and the wonderful skill with whicli they 
adapt its structure to the exigencies of the climate or locality. 

One of the most familiar examples of these birds is the Orchard Oriole, popularly 
known by the title of Bobolink throughout the countries which it inhabits. 

This bird, in common with other allied species, is so extremely varied in its plumage, 
according to its age and sex, that several sjDecies we^e confounded together in the most per- 
plexing manner, until Wilson succeeded, by dint of patient observation, in unravelling tlie 
tangled web which had been woven by other writers. 

The nest of the Orchard Oriole is a truly wonderful structure, woven into a bag or purse- 
like shape from long grasses, almost as if it had l>een fashioned in a loom, and so firmly con- 
structed that it will withstand no small amount of rough treatment before its texture gives 
way. In one of these jjurse-like nests now lying before me, I find that the bird often employs 
two and sometimes three threads simultaneously, and tliat several of these double threads pass 
over the branch to which the nest is hung, and are then carried to the very bottom of the 
purse, so as to support the structure in the firmest possible manner. The entrance is from 
above, and near the mouth ; the nest is comparatively slight in texture, becoming thicker and 
more compact near the foot, where the eggs and young are laid. The interior of the nest is 
generally lined with some soft, downy seeds. So admirably does the bird's beak weave this 
rernai'kaljle nest, that an old lady to whom Wilson exhibited one of these structures, remarked 
that the Orchard Oriole might learn to darn stockings. 

The size and form of the nest may vary very greatly according to the climate in which the 
bird lives, and the kind of tree on which its home is placed. Should the nest be suspended to 
the firm, stiff boughs of the apple or other strong-branched tree, it is comparatively shallow, 
being hardly three inches in length, and rather wider than it is deej). But if it should be 
hung to the long and slender twigs of the weeping willow, as is often the case, the nest is 
lengthened until it is four or five inches in depth, the size of the entrance remaining the same 
as in the shallower nest. This variation in structure is evidently intended to prevent the eggs 
or young from being shaken out of their home by the swaying of the boughs in the wind. 
The same amount of lunteriMl appears to be used in either case, so that the elongated nest is 
not so thick as the short one. My own specimen is an example of the elongated structure. 
Moreover, in the wanner parts of America, the nest is always much slighter thiiii in the colder 
regions, i^ermitting a- free circulation of air through its walls. 

The habits of this bird are very curious and interesting, and are well described by Wilson 
in his well-known work on the Birds of America : — 



THE ORCHARD ORIOLE. 323 

"The Orchard Oriole, though partly a dependent on the industiy of the farmer, is no 
sneaking pilferer, but an open and truly beneficent friend. To all those countless multitudes 
of destructive bugs and caterpillars that infest the fruit-trees in spring and summer, j^reying 
on the leaves, blossoms, and embryo of the fruit, he is a deadly enemy ; devastating them 
wherever he can find them, and destroying on an average some hundreds of them every day 
without offering the sliglitest injury to the fruit, however much it may stand in his way. I 
have witnessed instances where the entrance to his nest was more than half closed by a cluster 
of apples, which he could easUy have demolished in half a minute ; but, as if holding the 
property of his patron sacred, or considering it a natural bulwark to his own, he slid out and 
in with the greatest gentleness and caution. 

" I am not sufficiently conversant with entomology to particularize the different species on 
which he feeds, but I have good reason for believing that they are almost altogether such as 
commit the greatest depredations on the fruits of the orchard ; and, as he visits us at a time 
when his services are of the greatest value, and, like a faithful guardian, takes up his station 
where the enemy is most to be expected, he ought to be held in respectful esteem, and pro- 
tected by every considerate husbandman. Nor is the gaiety of his song one of his least 
recommendations. Being an exceedingly active, sprightly, and restless bird, he is on the 
ground — in the trees — flying and carolling in his huiTied manner, in almost one and the same 
instant. His notes are shrill and lively, but uttered with such rapidity and seeming confusion, 
that the ear is unable to follow them distinctly. Between these lie has a single note, which is 
agreeable and interesting. 

' ' Wherever he is protected, he shows his confidence and gratitude by his numbers and 
familiarity. In the Botanic Gardens of my worthy and scientific friends, the Messrs. Bartrams, 
of Kingsess, whicli present an epitome of everything that is rare, useful, and beautiful in the 
vegetable kingdom of this western continent, and where the murderous gun scarce ever 
intrudes, the Orchard Oriole revels witliout restraint through thickets of aromatic flowers and 
blossoms, and, heedless of the busy gardener that labors below, hangs his nest in perfect 
security on the branches over his head." 

Audubon, also, has taken great intei'est in this bird, and lias devoted a considerable por- 
tion of his work to the elucidation of its habits. 

' ' No sooner have they reached that portion of the country in which they intend to remain 
during the time of raising their young, than the birds exhibit all the liveliness and vivacity 
belonging to their nature. The male is seen rising in the air from ten to twenty yards in a 
violent manner, jerking his tail and body, flapjiing his wings, and singing witli remarkable 
impetuosity, as if under the influence of haste, and anxious to return to the tree from which 
he has departed. He accordingly descends with the same motions of the body and tail, repeat- 
ing his pleasing song as he alights. 

"These gambols and warblings are performed frequently during the day, the intervals 
being employed in ascending or descending along the branches and twigs of diffei'ent trees in 
search of insects or larvfe. In doing this they rise on their legs, seldom without jetting the 
tail, stretch the neck, seize the prey, and emit a single note, whicli is sweet and mellow, 
although in power much inferior to that of the Baltimore. At other times it is seen bending 
its body downwards in a curved posture, with the head gently inclined upwards, to peep 
at the outer part of the leaves, so as not to suffer any part to escape its vigilance. It 
soon alights on the ground when it has espied a crawling insect, and again flies towards 
the blossoms, in which are many lurking, and devoure hundreds of them each day, thus 
contributing to secure to the farmer the hopes which he has of the productiveness of his 
orchard." 

One of these birds that was kept in a cage by Wilson proved to be a very interesting 
creature, chanting its wild clear notes at an early age, and accommodating itself to its captivity 
with perfect ease. It had a curious love for artificial light, fluttering about its cage, and 
becoming uneasy at the sight of a lighted candle, and not being satisfied when its cage was 
placed close to the object of attraction. In that ease, it would sit close to the side of the cage, 
dress its plumage, and occasionally break into snatches of song. 



324 THE BALTIMORE ORIOLE. 

The adult male is nearly black upon its head, neck, back, wings, and tail, a brownish tint 
being perceptible in the wings. The lower part of the breast, the abdomen, tail-coverts, and 
some of the wing-coverts, are light reddish-brown, and the greater wing-coverts are tipped 
with white. The adult female is yellowish olive above, with a browna tinge on the back, and 
a brown wash over the wings. The whole of the lower parts are yellow, the primary feathers 
of the wings are slightly edged with yellowish white, and the same color is found on the 
edges of the secondaries and greater coverts, and on the tips of the lesser coverts. The length 
of the bird is between six and seven inches. Tlie young male is like the female during his 
first year, but in his second year sundry feathers of black make their appearance in various 
parts of the body, and in the third j^ear they spread over the upper surface and breast, as has 
ah'eady been mentioned. 

Tlie Orchard Orioles arrive in Pennsylvania rather later than tlie Baltimores — usually 
about the first week in May. Early in September they take their departure. In New England 
they are not often seen. They are easily raised from the nest, and prove very agreeable pets. 

Since the days of Audubon and Wilson, several species have been discovered. The 
Hooded, Scott' s Waglers, and Bullocks, are among them. The Troopial is another and splen- 
did species, larger than the others. Another is named for Audubon ; all found in the West 
and Southwest. 

The Baltimore Oriole {Icterus galbula) is an inhabitant of the whole of Northern 
America, its range extending from Canada to Mexico — even as far south as Brazil. 

It is a migratory bird, arriving about the beginning of May, and departing towards the 
end of August or the beginning of September. The name of Baltimore Oriole has been given 
to it because its colors of black and orange are those of the arms belonging to Lord Baltimore, 
to whom Maryland formerly l)elonged. This species is remarkably familiar and fearless of 
man, hanging its beautiful pensile nest upon the garden-trees, and even venturing into the 
streets wherever a green tree flourishes, and chanting its wild mellow notes in close proximity 
to the sounds and sights of a poi:)ulous city. 

The nest of the Baltimore Oriole is somewhat similar to that of the preceding species, 
although it is generally of a thicker and tougher substance, and more ingeniously woven. 
The materials of whicli this beautiful habitation is made are flax, various kinds of vegetable 
fibres, wool and hair, matted together, so as to resemble felt in consistency. A number of 
long horsehairs are passed completely through the fibres, sewing it firmly together with large 
and irregular, but strong and judiciously placed stitching. In one of these nests Wilson 
found that several of the haii's used for this purpose measured two feet in length. The nest 
is in the form of a long purse, and at the bottom is arranged a heap of soft cow's hair and 
similar substances, in which the eggs find a waiin resting-place. The female bird seems to be 
the chief architect, receiving a constant supply of materials from her mate, and occasionally 
rejecting the fibres or hairs which he may bring, and sending him off for another load better 
to her taste. 

Since the advent of civilization, the Baltimore Oriole has availed himself largely of his 
advantages, and instead of troubling himself with a painful search after individual hairs, 
wherewith to sew his hammock together, keeps a lookout for any bits of stray thread that 
may be thrown away by human sempstresses, and makes use of them in the place of the hairs. 
So sharp-sighted is the bird, and so quick are his movements, that during the bleaching season 
the owners of the thread are forced to keep a constant watch upon their property as it lies 
upon the grass, or hangs upon the boughs, knowing that the Oriole is ever ready to pounce 
ui)on such valuable material, and straightway to weave it into his nest. Pieces of loose string, 
skeins of silk, or even the bands with which young grafts are tied, are equally sought by this 
ingenious bird, and often purloined to the discomfiture of the needlewomin or the gardener. 
The average size of the nest is six or seven inches in depth, and three or four in diameter. 
AYilson thinks that the bird improves in nest-building by practice, and that the best speci- 
mens of architecture are the work of the oldest birds. 

The eggs are five in number, and their general color is whitish pink, dotted at the larger 



THE CRESTED ORIOLE. 325 

end with purplish spots, and covered at the smaller end with a great number of fine intersecting 
lines of the same hue. The food of the Baltimore Oriole seems to be almost entirely of an 
animal nature, and to consist of caterpillars, beetles, and other insects, most of them injurious 
to the farmer or the gardener. 

The coloring of this bird is as foUows : The head and throat, together with the upper part 
of the back and the wings, are dee]) black, with the exception .of an orange bar iipon the 
shoulders. The lower part of the back and the whole of the under surface are bright orange, 
warming into scarlet on the breast. Tlie edges of the secondaries, the exterior edges of the 
greater wing-coverts, and pai't of those of the primaries, are white. The tail is rather curiously 
colored, and thus described by AVilson : "The tail-feathers under the coverts, orange ; the 
two middle ones from thence to the \i])& are black, the next five on each side black near the 
coverts, and orange towards the extremities, so disposed that when the tail is exj^anded and 
the coverts removed, the black appears in the form of a j^yramid supported on an arch of 
orange." The female is dull black ux)on the upper parts and mottled with brownish-yellow, 
each feather being marked with that tint upon the edges. The lower part of the back and all 
the under portions of the body are dull orange, and the tail is mostly olive-yellow. The wings 
are dull bro^\'n, and marked with yellowish-white upon the coverts. 

From these colors the bird has derived the names of Golden Robin and Fire Bird. Its total 
length is about seven inches. 

The Baltimore Oriole belongs to a genus almost wholly American, though what are termed 
the true Orioles are Old World birds. The song of this bird is a clear, mellow whistle, 
repeated at short intervals, as he gleans among the branches. There is in it a certain wild 
plaintiveness and na'ivefe extremely interesting. It is not uttered with the rapidity of the 
ferrugiueus thrush, and some other eminent songsters, but with the pleasing tranquillity of 
a careless plough-boy, whistling merely for his own amusement. When alarmed by an 
approach to his nest, or any such circumstance, he makes a kind of rapid chirping — very 
different from his usual note. This, however, is always succeeded by those mellow tones 
which seem so congenial to his nature. 



"'O^ 



Higli ou Ton poplar, clad in glossiest green, 

The orange, black-capped Baltimore is seen. 

The broad, extended boughs still please him best; 

Beneath their bending skirts he hangs his nest. — Wilson. 

He is several years in getting his full plumage. 

One of the most curious and handsome birds of this group is termed the Ceested Oriole, 
on account of the sharp, pointed crest which rises from its head. 

It is a native of tropical America, and seems to be rather a familiar bird, often leaving the 
forests where it usually dwells, and making its home near the habitations of man. Whether 
in the vast woods of its native land, or whether in the cultivated grounds, it is always to be 
found in the loftiest trees, traversing their branches in search of food, and suspending its nest 
from the extremity of the slenderest twigs. It is a very active bii'd both on foot and in the 
air, one quality being needful for its movements among the boughs while getting berries, and 
the other for the chase of the various insects with which it varies its diet. 

The nest of the Crested Oriole is a very elegant structure, much larger than that of either 
of the preceding species, being sometmies not less than three feet in length. It is always hung 
from the very extremity of some delicate twig, so as to escape the marauding hand of the 
monkey, or the dreaded fangs of the snake ; and as a great number of these are generally 
found upon one tree, the combined effect, together with the busy scene of the parent birds 
continually going and returning from their homes, is remarkably fine. The shape of the nest 
is cylindrical, swelling into a somewhat spherical form at the bottom ; and it is found that 
both birds take an equal share of work in its construction. 

The Crested Oriole is veiy beautifully as well as curionsly colored. The head, shoulders, 
breast, and abdomen are warm chocolate-brown, and the wings are dark green, changing 



326 



THE COW TROUriAL. 



gradually into brown at their tips. The central feathers of the tail are dark brown, and the 
remaining feathers are bright yellow. There is also a green tinge upon the thighs and the 
middle of the breast. Upon tlie toii of the head there is a long and jiointed crest, and the horny 




CRESTED ORIOLE.— Os«Mops ciistata. 



portion of the bill is green, and, as may be seen in the illustration, extends above the eye. The 
legs and feet are black. The Crested Oriole is larger than either of the preceding species, 
being about the size of a common Jackdaw. 

In the Cow Bikd, or Cow Troopial, of America, we have a curious instance of the fre- 
quency with which a remarkable habit, supposed to be almost unique, and especially character- 
istic of some particular species, is found to occur in a totally distinct species inhabiting another 
continent. That the cuckoo of Europe is no nest-maker, but only usurps the homes of other 
birds, and forces them to take care of its progeny, is a well-known fact, and it is really remai'k- 
able that the Cow Bird, which inhabits the opposite quarter of the globe, and. belongs to an 
entirely different order of birds, should follow the same princii^le. 

Before commencing the description of this bird, I must caution the reader against mistak- 
ing the present species for the American cuckoo, which is by many persons called the Cow 
Bird on account of its cry, which resembles the word "cow, cow," frequently repeated. The 
American cuckoo is free from the intrusive habits of the Cow Troojiial, and not only builds its 
own nest, but rears and tends its young with great affection. 

Tlie Cow Bird {Molofhnis ater) is one of the migrators, arriving in Pennsylvania about the 
end of March or the beginning of April, and is somewhat gregarious, being found in little 



HABITS OF THE COW BIRD. 



327 



parties, generally accompanied by the red-winged starling, which bird will soon be described. 
Towards the middle or end of October, the Cow Bii'ds begin to leave the place of their tem- 
porary residence, and again assembling in flocks, together with the red-winged starling, take 
their departui'e for their winter quarters in Carolina and Georgia. While remaining in the 
country, they are generally seen near streams, perched on the trees that skirt rivers and creeks. 
It is a i-ather curious fact that during the months of July and August, the Cow Troopials sud- 
denly vanish, and are not seen again till September, when they make their appearance in con- 
siderable numbers. ^Vhether they take a journey during that time, or whether retire into the 
depths of the forest, is not clearly ascertained. 

Unlike the generality of birds, the Cow- Bird seems to be actuated by no attachment to 
those of the oj)posite sex. No pairing has yet been observed, nor does the male bird take pos- 
session of a number of females, as is the case with many species. Indeed, there would be no 
need for such an alliance, for the female Cow Bird makes no nest, neither does she trouble 






(i.-/r'" 



^"f y. 







' v.^,> 



cow TROOPIAL.— J/o/o*r!/s jxcoru. 

herself about rearing her young, but searching out for the nest of some little bird, she deposits 
her own egg among the number, and then leaves it to its fate. The remarkable feature in the 
matter is, that the poor bird on whom this intruder has been foisted invariably takes charge 
of it in preference to its o^vn offspring, and \xi\\ always rear the young Cow Bird, even though 
the whole of its own offspring perish. 

There seems to be in the Cow Bird an irresistible attractive power, forcing other birds to 
take charge of it and attend to its wants. This supposition is strengthened by the conduct of 
a cardinal grosbeak, kejjt by Wilson, into whose cage was introduced a young C-ow Bird just 
taken out of the nest of a Maryland yellow throat. At first, the gi-osbeak examined the 
intruder with some reserve, but as soon as the stranger began to cry for food, the grosbeak took it 
under its protection, tended it carefully, brought it food, tore large insects to pieces in order to 
suit the capacity of the young bird's mouth, cleaned its plumage, taught it to feed itself, and 
exhibited towards it all a mother's care. Wilson writes as foUows, after describing the singular 
habits of this bird : — 



" From twelve to fourteen days is the usual time of incubation with our small birds ; but, 
although I cannot fix the precise period requisite for the Cow Bunting's eggs, I think I can 
almost positively say that it it is a day or two less than the shortest of the above-mentioned 



328 THE RED-WINGED STARLING. 

species. In this singular circiamstauce we see a striking provision ; for, did this egg require 
a day or two more, instead of so mucli less, than those among which it has been dropped, 
the young it contained would, in almost every instance, most inevitably perish, and thus, in a 
few years, the whole species must become extinct. On the first appearance of the young Cow 
Bunting, the parent being frequently obliged to leave the nest to provide sustenance for the 
foundling, tlie business of incubation is thus, necessarily, interrupted ; the disposition to 
continue it abates. Nature has now given a new direction to the zeal of the parent, and the 
remaining eggs, within a week or more at most, generally disappear. In some instances, 
indeed, they have been found on the ground, near or below the nest, but this is rarely the 
case. I have never known more than one egg of the Cow Banting in the same nest. Tlie egg 
is somewhat larger than that of the Bluebird, thickly sprinlded with grains of pale bro\vn on 
a dirty white brown." 

The Cow Bird is pretty evenly distiibuted over the United States, from the Atlantic to the 
Pacific, though it is rare in j\Iaine, and on the coast of the Pacific is not often seen. 

The Cow Bird derives its name from its habit of haunting the pasture-lands for the pur- 
pose of feeding ujion the numerous flies and other insects that are always to be found in the 
vicinity of cattle ; it is also known under the titles of Cow Bunting, and Cow-pen Bird. 

The coloring of the Cow Bii-d is pleasing, though not brilliant. The head and neck are of 
a dark drab, and have a kind of silken gloss ; the whole of the upper surface and abdomen 
are black, "shot " with green, and the upper part of the breast is dark violet. When young 
it is altogethei" brown, and the darker tints make their appearance by degrees, showing tliem- 
selves in patches here and there, which enlarge as the bii'd grows older, and finally overspread 
the entire body. The length of the bird is about seven inches. 

The Meadow Lark {Stiirnella). Wilson says of this bird: "Though this well-known 
species cannot boast of the powers of song which distinguishes that 'harbinger of day,' the 
Skylark of Europe, yet in richness of plumage, as well as sweetness of voice, as far as his few 
notes extend, he stands eminently his superior. He difi'ei's from the greater part of his tribe 
in wanting the long, straight hind-claw, which is probably the reason why he has been classed 
hy some late naturalists ^\-ith the Starlings. But in the particular form of his bill, and his 
manners, plumage, mode and place of building his nest, jN'ature has clearly pointed out his 
proper family. The species has a very extensive range, having myself found them in Upper 
Canada, and in each of the States. Extensive and luxuriant prairies near St. Louis, Missouri, 
abound \nt\\ them." 

These birds, after the breeding season is over, collect in flocks, but seldom fly in a close, 
compact body. Their flight is something like that of the grouse, or partridge, laborious and 
steady, sailing and renewing the I'apid action of the wings alternately. "WTien they alight on 
trees or bushes, it is generally on the tops of the highest branches, whence they send forth a 
long, clear, and somewhat melancholy note, that, in sweetness and tenderness of expression, is 
not surpassed by any of our numerous warblers. This is sometimes followed by a kind of low, 
rapid chattering, the particular caU of the female ; and again the clear and plaintive strain is 
repeated, as before. 

Two varieties are noticed — one of them found in Mexico, and the other in the Western 
States 

The Red-winged Starling is one of those birds which may either be looked upon as 
most beneficial or most hurtful to the coasts in which they live, according to the light in which 
they are viewed. 

From the farmer's point of view, it is one of his worst enemies, as it eats vast amounts of 
grain, and assembles in such enormous flocks that the fields are black with their presence, and 
the sun is obscured by the multitude of their wings. The soft immature grain of the Indian 
corn is a favorite food with the Red -winged Starlings, and, according to Wilson, "reinforced 
by numerous and daily flocks from all parts of the interior, they pour down on the low coun- 
tries in prodigious multitudes. Ilence they are seen like vast clouds, wheeling and driving 



THE RED-WINGED STARLING. 



329 



over the meadows and deserted corn-fields, darkening the air with tlieir numbers. They com- 
mence the work of destruction on the com, the husks of which, though comj>osed of numerous 
envelopments of closely ^^^■apped leaves, are soon completely torn off ; while from all quarters 
myriads continue to pour down like a tempest, blackening half an acre at a time, and if not 
disturbed repeat their depredations till little remains but the cob and the shrivelled skins of 
the grain. From dawn to nearly sunset tMs open and daring devastation is carried on, 
under the eye of the proprietor ; and a farmer who has very considerable extents of corn 
would require half a dozen men at least witli gims to guard it, and even then all their vigi- 
lance and activity could not prevent a ground-tithe of it from becoming the prey of tlie 
blackbii-ds." 

In consequence of their depredations the Red-winged Starling is persecuted in every 
possible way. Every man and boj" who has a gun takes it and shoots at the "blackbirds," 







KED- WINGED STAliLl .\ o . — Aijdaiws ptmnUxus. 



every urchin who can throw a stone hurls it at their blackening flocks, and even the hawks 
come from far and near to the spot where these birds are assembled, and make great havoc 
among them. As they are in the habit of resting at night among the reeds that grow in pro- 
fusion upon the morasses, the farmers destroy great nuiltitudes of them by stealing quietly 
upon their roosting-places at night and setting fire to the dry reeds. The poor birds being 
suddenly awakened by the noise and fiames, dart wildly about, and those who escape the fire 
generally fall victims to the guns of the watchful farmer and his men. Thousands of birds 
are thus killed in a single night, and as their flesh is eatable, though not remarkable for its 
excellence, the party return on the followng morning for the purpose of picking up the game. 

Such are the devastations wrought by the Red-winged Starling, and on the first glance 
they appear so disastrous as to place the bird in the front rank of winged pestilences. But 
there is another side of the question, which we will now examine. 

During the spring months these birds feed almost exclusively upcm insects, especially 
preferring those which are in their larval state, and devour the young leaves of growing crops. 
These destructive grubs are hunted by the Red-winged Starling with the greatest perseverance, 
seeing that upon these the existence of themselves and their young entirely depends. 
Whether a grub be deeply buried in the earth, eating away the root of some doomed plant, 

Vol. n.-42. 



330 THE RED-SHOULDERED BLACKBIRD. 

whether it be concealed among the thick foliage which it is consuming, or whether it be tun- 
nelling a passage into the living trunk of the tree, the Red-winged Starling detects its presence 
and drags it from its hiding-place. From many dissections which he made, Wilson calculated 
that on the very smallest average each bird devours at least fifty larvje per diem, and that it 
probably eats double that number. But, taking the former average as the true one, and 
multiplying it by the number of E,ed-\\'inged Starlings which are kno\vn to visit the country, 
he calculates that these Inrds destroy sixteen thousand millions of noxious insects in the 
course of each breeding season, even supposing that they do not eat a single insect after the 
young are able to shift for themselves. 

The nest of this bird is made among the rank foliage of marshy and low-ljang soils, and 
is not unfrequently placetl iipon the bare ground. The materials of wliich it is made are fine 
reeds, roots, and grasses, lined with soft herbs. In order to keep the nest in its place among 
the loose and yielding substances in which it is placed, the bird fastens the twigs or herbage 
together by intertwining them with the exterior rushes which edge the nest, and sometimes 
fastens the tops of the grass-tufts together. The eggs are five in number, pale blue in color, 
and marked with pale puii^lish blotches and many lines and shades of black. The male bird 
is extremely anxious about his home, and ^vhenever he fears danger from an intruder, he 
enacts a part like that which is so often played by the lapwing of England, and by feigning 
lameness and uttering pitiful cries as he flutters along, endeavors to entice the enemy from 
the vicinity of its nest. The young birds are able to fly about the middle of August, and then 
unite in lai'ge flocks. 

When captured young it soon accommodates itself to its new course of life, becomes very 
familiar with its owner, and is fond of uttering its curious song, puffing out its feathers and 
seeming in great spirits with its own performance. 

The color of the adult male is deep glossy black over the greater part of the body, reddish- 
brown upon the first row of the ^\ing-co verts, and a rich liright scarlet decorating the remain- 
ing coverts. In length it measures about nine inches. The female is much smaller than her 
mate, being only seven inches long, and is colored in a very different manner. The greater 
part of the plumage is black, each feather being edged with light brown, white, or bay, so 
that she presents a curiously mottled aspect. The chin is cream, also with a dash of red ; 
two sti'ipes of the same color, but dotted Avith black, extend from the nostrils over the eyes, 
and from the lower mandible across the head. There is a stripe of Ijrown-black passing from 
the eye over the ear-coverts, and the whole of the lower parts are black streaked with creamy 
white. The young males resemble the females in their coloring, and as they advance in age 
present feathers of the characteristic black and red in different parts of their plumage. Not 
until several years have elapsed is the male joyous in his full plumage, and it is seldom that a 
perfectly black and scarlet bird is found, some of the feathers generally retaining their 
juvenile brown and bay. 

The Red- winged Blackbird {Agelaius pTioeniceus), or Starling, so-called. Wilson takes 
up the charges against this bii'd for theft, and disposes in this wise : " In investigating the 
nature of these, I shall endeavor to render strict historical Justice, adhering to the honest 
injunctions of the poet : — • 

' Nothing extenuate, 
Nor set down aught in malice.' 

Let the reader divest himself of prejudice, and we shall be at no loss to ascertain Ms true 
character. These birds arri\e in Pennsylvania late in March, and are known as Swamp Black- 
bird, Marsh Blackbird, Corn-thief, Red-wing Starling, and Red and Buff-shouldered Blackbird. 
The male is notably very much larger than the female. It is common from the Atlantic to the 
Pacific. 

The Red-shouldeeed Blackbied is a variety found in the Western States, and confined 
to the Pacific coast. 



THE RICE TROOPIAL, OR BOBOLINK. 



331 






The Red and White-shouldered Blackbird {Agelaius tricolor) is also found exclusively 
ou the western portion of the continent. 

The Yellow-headed Blackbird {Xanthocephalus icterocepJmliis) is a large species, 
inliabitiug the region from Illinois to Texas, and thence to the Pacific, preferring the prairies. 
Dr. Cooper states that the only song this bird has consists of a few hoarse chuckling notes 
and comical squeakings, uttered as if it were a great effort to make any noise at all. Its voice 
is regarded as the harshest of any known bird. It is \evx abundant in California. It walks on 
the ground much in the same steady manner of the Cow Bird. 

Few of the American birds are better Iuiowti than the Eice Troopial, which is familiar 
over the gi'eater part of that continent. 

No American zoologist omits a notice of the Rice Troopial, and there are few writers 
on country life who do not mention this little 
bird under one of the many names by which it 
is known. In some parts of the States it is called 
the Rice Bird, in another the Reed Bird, in 
another the Rice or Reed Buxtixg, while its 
more familiar title, by which it is called through- 
out the greater part of America, is Bobolink, or 
BoB-Li]S^KUJi. It also occasionally visits Jamaica, 
where it gets very fat, and is in consequence called 
the Butler Bird. Its title of Rice Troopial is 
earned by the depredations which it annually 
makes upon the rice crojis, tliough its food is by 
no means restricted to that seed, but consists in a 
very large degree of insects, grubs, and various 
wild gi-asses. 

Like the preceding species, it is a migratory 
bird, residing during the winter months in the 
southern parts of America and the AVest Indian 
Islands, and j^assing in vast flocks northwards at 
the commencement of the spring. Few birds liave 
so extensive a range as the Rice Ti'oopial, for it 
is equally able to exist in the warm climates of 
tropical America and the adjacent islands, and 
in the northerly regions of the shores of the St. 
Lawrence. 

According to Wilson, their course of migra- 
tion is as follows : "In the month of April, or 
very early in IMay, the Rice Buntings, male and 
female, arrive Avithin the southern boundaries 
of the United States, and are seen around the 
town of Savannah, in Georgia, about the fourth 

of May, sometimes in separate parties of males and females, but more generally promiscuously. 
They remain there but a short time, and about the twelfth of May make their appearance 
in the lower pai't of Pennsylvania as they did in Savannah. While liere, tlie males are 
extremely gay and full of song, frequenting meadows, newlj'-plouglied fields, sides of creeks, 
rivers, and watery places, feeding on mayflies and caterpillars, of which tliey destroy great 
quantities. In their passage, however, through Yii-ginia at this season, they do great damage 
to the early wheat and barley while in its milky state. About the 20th of May, they dis- 
appear on their way to the north. Nearly at the same time they arrive in the State of 
New York, spread over the whole New England States, as far as the river St. Lawrence, from 
Lake Ontario to the sea, in aU of which places, north of Pennsylvania, they remain during the 
summer, building and rearing their young." 




EICE troopial, or BOBOLINK.— DoJicftony;- oryzlvorm. 



332 THE FINCHES. 

As soon as the young are able to iiy, the Rice Troopials collect in vast flocks, and 
settling down upon the reeds and wild oats, feed so largely that they become very fat. and are 
thought to be equal in flavor to the celebrated ortolan of Europe. Multitudes of these birda 
are killed for sale, and ai-e exposed in the dealer's shop tied together in long strings. 

Of the family Icteridce there are twenty-two species inhabiting North America, the 
Bobolink {Dolu-Jtonyx or/zimrvs) being a most fannliar one. 

To the rice ]:)lanters of the Southern States tliis bird is not welcome ; for the immense 
flocks that visit the rice flelds do incalculable mischief and loss. " They arrive aliout the 
middle of May in the New England States. Their song in spring is exceedingly interesting, 
and, emitted with a volubility bordering on the Ijurlesque, is heard from a whole party 
at the same time ; and it becomes amusing to hear tliirty or forty of them, beginning one 
after another, as if ordered to follow in quick succession, after the first notes are given by 
a leader, and preceding such a medley as is impossible to describe. Although it is extremely 
pleasant to hear, while you are listening, the whole flock simultaneously ceases, which appears 
equally extraordinary. This curious exhibition takes place every time a flock has alighted on 
a tree." — Audubon. 

Wilson says of him : "The song of the male, while the female is sitting, is singular and 
veiy agreeable. Mounting and hovering on wing, at a small height over a field, he chants out 
such a jingling melody of short, variable notes, uttered with such seeming confusion and 
rapidity, and continued for a considerable time, that it appears as if a half a dozen birds 
of different kinds were all singing together. Some idea may be had of this song by striking 
the high keys of a pianoforte at random, singly and quickly, making as many sudden contrasts 
of high and low notes as possible. Many of the tones are in themselves charming, but they 
succeed each other so rapidly that the ear can hardly separate them." 



FINCHES. 

We now arrive at the large and important families of the Finches, in which group is con- 
tained very many of the more familiar birds, which are popularly known by the title of Finch, 
together with some distinctive prefix, as well as a large numl;)er of less known but not less 
interesting natives of foreign lands. In all these birds the bill is conical, short and stout, 
sharp at the extremity, and without any notch in the upper mandible. 

The first group of the Finches is composed of a number of species, which, although for the 
most part not conspiciious either for size, beauty of form, or brilliancy of color, are yet among 
the most remarkable of the feathered tribe. The nests of the Baltimore and orchard oriole are 
sufiiciently curious examples of bird architecture, but those of the Weaver Birds are even 
more wonderful. Dissimilar in shape, fonu and material, there is yet a nameless something in 
the construction of their edifices, which at once points them out as the workmanship of 
the Weaver Birds. Some of them are hvige, heavy, and massive, clustered together in 
vast miiltitudes, and bearing down the branches with their weight. Others are light, delicate. 
and airy, woven so thinly as to permit the breeze to pass through their net-like interior, 
and dangling daintily from the extremity of some slender twig. Others, again, are so firmly 
buUt of flattened reeds and grass blades, that they can be detached from their branches 
and subjected to very rough handling ^Wthout losing their shape, while others are so curiously 
formed of stiff grass-stalks that their exterior bristles with shari) points like the sldn of a 
hedgehog. 

The true Weaver Birds all inhabit the hotter portions of the Old World, the greater num- 
ber of them being found in Africa, and the remainder in various parts of India. 




Pt4,L.Pran^&Co. 



SELMAR HESS, PUBLISHER, N. Y. 



WEAVER BIRDS. 



THE M AHA LI WEAVER BIRD. 



333 



The Sociable Weaver Bird is found in several parts of Africa, and has always attracted 
the attention of travellers from the very remarkable edifice wliich it constructs. Tlie large 
social nests of this bird are so conspicuous as to be notable objects at many miles' distance, 
and it is found that they are generally built in the branches of the giraffe thorn or " kameel- 
dom," one of the acacia tribe, on which the giraft'e is fond of feeding, and which is esi^ecially 
valuable in Southern Africa for the hartlness of its wood, from wliich the axle-trees of wagons, 
handles of agricultural tools, and the strongest timbers of houses are made. This tree only 
grows in the most arid districts, and is therefore very suitable for the purposes of the Sociable 
Weaver Bird, which has a curious attachment to dry localities far from water. 




SOCIABLE WEAVER BIKD.— PAifeter«,< socitis. 



The Mahali Weaver Bird is also an inhabitant of Africa, and has a rathei' large range 
of country, being found spread over the land as far south as the tropic of Capricorn, and prob- 
ably to a still fai'ther extent. 

The nest of this bird is quite as remarkable as that of the preceding species. In general 
shape and size it somewhat resembles the reed-covered bottles which are often to be seen in the 
v>-indows of wine importers, being shaped somewliat like a flask, or perhaps more like a com- 
mon skittle, and being composed of a number of very thick grass stems laid longitudinally, 
and interwoven in a manner that can hardly be understood without an illustration. Contrary 
to the usual custom of nests, in which the materials are woven very smoothly, the nest of this 
bird is purposely constructed so as to present the roughest possible exterior, all the grass stems 
being so arranged that their broken ends protrude for several inches in a manner that reminds 
the observer of a military "aliattis," a defence formed by prostrate trees with the ends of the 
branches cut off and sharpened. Probably this structure is for the same pui-j^ose as the 
abattis, and is meant to protect the bird from the inroad of its enemies. Several of their 
curious ediflces may be seen in the natural museums. The interior of the nest is sufficiently 
soft and warai, more so, indeed, than would be supposed from the porcupine-Uke aspect of the 
exterior walls. 



334 



TEE RED-BILLED WEAVER BIRD. 



The Rtjfous-kecked Weaver is also an inhabitant of Africa, being found in Senegal, 
Congo, and other hot portions of that continent. 

By many persons this species is loiown by tlie name of the Capmore Weaver, a term which 
is evidently nothing but a corruption of Buflfons name for the same bird, namely "LeCap- 
noir," or Blackcap Weaver. It is a brisk and lively bird, and possesses a cheerful though not 
very melodious song. It has often been brought to Europe, and is able to withstand the effects 
of confinement with some hardihood, living for several years in a cage. Some of these caged 
birds carried into captivity the habits of freedom, and as soon as the spring made its welcome 
appearance, they gathered together every stem of grass or blade of hay, and by interweaving 
these materials among the wires of their cage, did their utmost to construct a nest. The food 
of this bird consists mostly of beetles and other hard-shelled insects ; and in order to enable 
it to crush their defensive armor, which is extremely sti-ong in many of the African beetles, 
its peak is powerful and its edges somewhat curved. Seeds of various kinds also fomi part 
of its diet ; and th-e undulating edge of the bill is quite as useful in shelling the seeds as in 
crusliing the insects. 







■^^ rc.rt^t:^-:"'^^ 









GOLD and RUFOUS-NECKED WEAVER BIRD. Hyphanlomis galbida and abyssintca. 

The general color of this species is orange-yellow, variegated with black upon the uppei 
surface. The head, chin, and part of the throat are black, and a nuldy chestnut band crosses 
the nape of the neck. Like many other birds, however, it changes the color of its plumage 
according to the time of year, and after the breeding season is over, its head assumes a tint 
somewhat like that of the back. It is by no means a large bird, its total length being a little 
more than six inches. 



One of the best kno\vn of these curious birds is the Eed-btlled Weaver Bird. 

This species is common in Southern Africa, and is notable for its habit of attending tlie 
herds of buffaloes in a manner somewhat similar to that of the African beef-eater, which has 
already been described. It does not, however, peck the deep-seated grubs from the hide, as 
its bill is not sufficiently strong for that ])ur]iose, but devotes itself to the easier task of 



THE WHIDAH BIRDS. 335 

captuiingand eating the numerous parasitic insects which always infest those large quadrupeds. 
The buffaloes are quite sensible of the benefit wliich is conferred upou them by their feathered 
allies, and move about quite unconcernedly while serving as pasture-groimds for the A\'eaver 
Birds. 

Another iniportiint service is rendered to the buffalo by this Weaver Bird. It is a watch- 
ful and suspicious creature, and at the first intimation of danger it flies abruptly into the air 
from the buffalo's back. The beast, who, as long as the AVeaver Bird remained quietly on his 
back, continued to feed calmly, is roused by the sudden flutter of the wings, and raises its 
head to ascertain the cause of the disturbance. Should it see grounds for apprehension, the 
alarm is given, and tiie whole herd dash oft' to a jjlace of safety, accompanied by theii' watch- 
ful feathered friends. 



-'zMMm 



tiji^^'^ii^^i^^ 




RED-BILLED and ALECTO WEAVER BIRD.— Tc/Mr dlnemelli and alecio. 

Tills species has also been brought to Europe, and accommodates itself so well to the 
climate that the Parisian bird-dealers are able to breed it like the canary, though not with 
quite such success. The general color of this bird is blackish-ln'own, variegated with white 
on the primaries, and reddish-brown below. The chin is black, as is a patch on the ears, and 
the beak is crimson, with a dash of purple on the sides. Sometimes the plumage varies 
slightly, and when the bird is in peculiarly fine condition and has arrived at its full maturity, 
a roseate hue appears on several parts of the body, and gives to it a very pleasing aspect. 



Among the birds which are grouped together under the title of Weavers, none are more 
curious than those species which are popularly knoAvn by the title of Widow Birds, and mora 
rightly by the name of Whidah Birds. 



336 THE CARDINAL GROSBEAK. 

The Paradise, or Broad-shafted Whidah Bird, is the species that is most familiar in 
cages and menageries, as it is by no means an uncommon bird in its native land, and bears 
confinement better than most inhabitants of a tropical land. It is an inhabitant of ^Vestern 
Africa, being found throTighout the whole district from Senegal to Angola ; and as it is of a 
light and airy disposition, it gives a liv^^ly aspect to the trees among which it lives. It is per- 
petually in motion, Hitting from bough to bough with graceful lightness, pecking here and 
there after a casual insect, and evidently admiring its ovpn beautiful tail with thorough appre- 
ciation. 

The name Widow Bird is altogether an erroneous title, although it is supposed by many 
persons to have been given to the bird on account of its dark color and long train, as well as 
in consequence of its evidently disconsolate state when the beautiful tail-feathers have fallen 
off after the breeding season. Certainly a caged Whidah Bird in such a condition exhibits the 
sincerest grief for his loss, and conducts himself as if laboring under the most poignant sorrow. 
Instead of boldly skipping among the highest forks, and flirting his long tail for the admira- 
tion of every spectator, he sits humbly on the lowest perches, or even on the floor of the cage, 
backs himself into a corner, and seems thoroughly ashamed of his undress. In point of fact, 
however, the proper name is Whidah Bird, a title that was originally given to it by the Por- 
tuguese, because the lirst specimens that were brought to Europe came from the kingdom of 
Whidah, on the eastern coast of Africa. 

There are many species of these pretty little creatures, all being remarkable for some 
peculiarity in their form or coloring. One of them is the Shaft-tailed Whidah Bird. 

This exquisite bird is found along the African coasts, and is in great favor in Europe as a 
cage bird. Its voice is superior to that of the preceding species, although none of the Whidah 
Birds are remarkable for the musical power or brilliancy of their song. It is bright and 
sprightly in all its movements, flitting about its cage with a restless activity and fearless 
demeanor that endear it to its owner. From the Paradise Whidah Bird it may be distinguished 
not only by its coloring, but by the curious arrangement of its tail-feathers, which are very 
short, wdth the exception of the four central feathers, which are most singularly elongated, 
each feather presenting to the eye little but the bare shaft for the greater part of its length, 
and then slightly Avidening towards the extremities. The sides of the head and around the 
neck are deep, rusty red, and the back of the neck and top of the head are mottled black. 
The total length of the Shaft-tailed Whidah Bird is from nine to ten inches. 



THE HAWFINCHES. 

The Grosbeaks or Hawfinches now claim our attention. They are all remarkable for their 
very large, broad, and thick beaks, a peculiarity of construction which is intended to serve 
them in their seed-crushing habits. 

The most magnificent example of this group is the Cardinal, or Scarlet Grosbeak, 
an inhabitant of various parts of America, where it is known under the titles of Red Bird, 
Crested Red Bird, and Virginian Nightingale. 

It is rather a large bird, measuring aboxit eight inches in total length, and is colored in a 
most gorgeous fashion. The back is dusky red, and the whole of the rest of the plumage is 
bright, vivid scarlet, wdth the exception of a patch of jetty black short feathers that decorate the 
chin, forehead, and base of the beak. Upon the head there is a high pointed crest, which can 
be raised or lowered at pleasure. Even the bill is bright scarlet. The female is a smaller bird, 
and is not nearly so handsome as her mate. The upper parts of the body are brown-olive, and 
the tail, tip of the crest, and the wings are scarlet. The chin and forehead are ashen-gray, 
and the l)reast and abdomen are drab, with a dash of red. The l)iU is scarlet like that of the 
male. 

The voice of the Cardinal Grosbeak is naturally fine, though the song is apt to be rather 
too monotonous, the bird repeating the same phrase twenty or thirty times before proceeding 






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•^^ Hnimate Creation. S:.^;^ 

kiT/'E have concluded to submit for public patronage a work with the above title, being a series 
of exquisite Engravings representing the Animal World, executed witli great scientific 
accuracy, and accompanied by full Descriptive Text, written in popular terms, so as to 
delight and instruct the people. Anyone who has considered the subject must be at a loss to under- 
stand why an ILLUSTRATED Natural History, comprehensive and at the same time popular, 
has not before this been published in this country. Indeed any lover of animals who has visited the 
great museums and zoological gardens and has had access to books of engravings in the public 
libraries, could not fail to remark the wealth of material in existence devoted to this subject. Being 
confirmed in our conviction of the desirability of such a work, we laid under contribution the best 
existing authorities for the production of most perfect representations of all the more important 
living creatures, and among the artists whose delineations will delight the reader, we may mention 
Harrison Weir, Wolf, Coleman, Fr. Specht, and Mutzel. By far the majority of the engravings in 
these volumes are from drawings made from the living animals, many at the Zoological Society's 
Gardens in London, England. 

We purpose that our patrons shall be aided and interested in their study by such an array of 
pictures as has never before embellished any Natural History. In numerous instances the engraving 
is printed in oil-colors, and this portion of the illustrations has been taken charge of by Messrs. L. 
Prang & Co., of Boston, who we believe rank foremost for high artistic results in this department of 
printing. These Oleographs were copied under the superintendence of Mr. Prang from the renowned 
" Tafeln " of " Brehm's Thierleben," so that they may be declared perfectly reliable. 

We sought competent advice from various sources as to the most suitable text that should ac- 
company this panorama of handsome Engravings. It was found impossible to embody all the present 
ideas of naturalists in a single work like this on account of the rapid advances and constant changes in 
their knowledge of, and habits of thought respecting, the Animal World. And it seemed to us cor- 
rect that the true object of Zoology is not to arrange, to number, and to ticket animals in a formal 
inventory, but to inquire into their life-nature, and not simply to investigate the lifeless organism. 

What do we know of " Man " from the dissecting-room ? Is it not Man, the warrior, the states- 
man, the poet, etc., that we are interested in ? With all veneration which attaches itself to those 
who are the accredited possessors of abstruse learning, their inordinate use of phraseology detracts 
too much, we fear, from the fascination that the study of the Animal World would otherwise yield, 
and as we are not content to have our work restricted to a favored few, we thought the task placed 
in our hands to be to keep the work free from a repellant vocabulary of conventional technicalities. 
Our endeavor has been to find an author whose work would be noted for its fund of anecdote and 
vitality rather than for merely anatomical and scientific presentation, and we arrived at the conclu- 
sion that we could not do better than avail ourselves of the Rev. J. G. Wood's comprehensive work 
— a work most popularly approved by speakers of the English language. It would be superfluous to 
say one word concerning the standard character of his book, from the pages of which old and young 
at the other side of the Atlantic have obtained so much instruction and rational amusement. Avoid- 
ing the lengthened dissertations and minute classifications of specialists, he presents to his readers in 
popular terms a complete treatise on the Animal Kingdom of all climes and countries. The one 
objection that could be urged against it was, that animal life in America might be treated more fully 
and American forms given more consideration. In order to obviate this drawback and to do full 
justice to the creatures of our own country, we secured the aid of Dr. J. B. Holder, of the Ameri- 
can Museum of Natural History in New York, an undoubted American authority, who has adapted 
Wood's work to American wants and given prominence to American forms of Animal life. 

The splendid work on Rodentia, by Allen, Coues, and others, will be fully consulted. The 
valuable work on North American Birds, by Baird, Brewer, and Ridgway, will be the guide in the 
treatment of birds. The late arrangement of the classification and nomenclature of North American 
Birds, by Mr. Ridgway, and the Committee on that subject of the Ornithologists' Union, will be 
utilized in full. The arrangement of Mammals will be after the latest classification by Professor 
Flower, of the Zoological Society of London. So that this will be the first popular Natural History 
worthy of the name that has made its appearance here, which gives due and full recognition to the 
animate world surrounding us. 

ITerms of publication. 

The extent of the work will be 6§ parts of 2§ pages, at the price of 25 cents each. The entire publication will 
contain 34 Oleographs and 68 Full Page Engravings on Wood, besides many hundreds of exquisite Illustrations 
interspersed through the text. The parts will be issued every two weeks, and are payable only as delivered. No 
subscriber's name will be received for less than the entire work, and anyone removing, or not regularly supplied, will 
please address the Publisher by mail. 

N. E. SELMAR HESS, Publisher, New York. 



THE CARDINAL GROSBEAK. :jy7 

to another. Still, its musical powers are siifRciently marked to earn for the bird the title of 
Virginian Nightingale, and it is a curioiis fact that the female often sings nearly as well as 
her mate. 

This bird seems to be of a very tender-hearted disposition, and given to the adoption of 
other birds when young and helpless. Wilson mentions that he placed a young cow bird in 




CARDINAL OROSB£AK and HA WFINCH.— Cu/ c^J/tu^M viryiniaaui awX LuMvUuawsUs valgarus. 



the same cage with a Cardinal Grosbeak, which the latter immediately adopted, and reared 
the poor, helpless little creature that had appealed so suddenly to its compassionate feelings. 
Mr. AYehber, moreover, in his account of the Birds of America, gives an anecdote of a Scarlet 
Grosbeak belonging to an old woman in Washington City, which used to make a regular busi- 
ness of rearing the young of other birds which were i^laced under his charge, and thereby 
learning a considerable sum of money in the course of a season. She had often been offered a 
high price for her bird, but always refused to sell him, impelled either by hope of gain or by 
love of the bird ; we may liope that the latter feeling predominated. 

. lu its native land tlie Cardinal Grosbeak is most common in the Southern States, and in 
some localities is migratory, while in others it remains throughout the year. "Li the 
Northern States," says Wilson, " they are migratory, but in the lower parts of Pennsylvania 
they reside during the whole year, frequenting the borders of creeks and rivulets, in sheltered 
hollows covered with holly, laurel, and other evergreens. They love also to reside in the 
vicinity of fields of Indian corn, a grain that contributes their chief and favorite food. The 
seeds of apples, cherries, and of many other sorts of fruit are also eaten by them, and they 
are accused of destroying bees." 



338 THE HAWFINCH, OR GROSBEAK. 

Many of these splendid birds are now brought to Europe as inhabitants of the aviary, and 
are found to be hardy birds, able to withstand the inclemency even of the English climate. It 
is a remarkable fact, that in confinement the Cardinal Grosbeak is very apt to change its color, 
the bright scarlet and vermilion fading to a dull whitish red ; probably the effect of insufficient 
or imjjroper food. When carefully tended, it is a really healthy and long-lived bird, having 
been known to survive for a space of twenty years in a cage. 

The nest of the Cardinal Grosbeak is generally placed in a holly, cedar, laurel, or other 
thick evergreen, and is made of slender sticks, weeds, strips of bark, and fine grass-stems. 
The eggs are generally five in number, and their color is diiU gray-white, covered with numer- 
ous blotches of brownish olive. There are generally two broods in the season. 

The Cardinal Grosbeak is the most familiar example of a group of birds whose plumage 
is quite suggestive of the tropics. It is called in the Southern States Red-bird, and as such 
is in great request as a singing bird. The male is very rich in color, much of the plumage 
being in singular contrast to that of most of our North American birds. "To the name, 
Virginian Nightingale," says Dr. Latham, "they are well entitled, for the clearness and 
variety of their notes, which, both in a wild and domestic state, are very various and musi- 
cal. Many of them resemble the high notes of a fife and are nearly as loud. In the Northern 
States they are migratory, but in the lower parts of Pennsylvania they are resident the 
whole year." 

In confinement these birds are known to have lived twenty-one years. A specimen is in 
the old Peale's Museum, in Philadelphia ; such a fact is recorded with the stuffed specimen. 
One peculiarity is that the female often sings as well as the male. 

A variety of this bird is called Saint Lucas Cardinal. There is also auothei* species named 
Texan Cardinal. 

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak {Zamelodia ludoTiciana) is one of the most beautiful of 
American birds. It is seen in New England during the summer and fall. The male has most 
beautiful markings of pink and white upon his breast ; and being of considerable size, as com- 
pared with most of our songsters, is notably handsome and conspicuous. 

The Black-headed Grosbeak is another species of about the same size, and though 
very handsome in coloi'ation, is much less brilliant than the preceding. The Blue Grosbeak is 
smaller, and is of a rich i)urplish blue. It inhabits the Southern States. 

The Pine Grosbeak {Pinicola enucleator) is a large, stout bird, of plain olive and red 
plumage, and is one of the most attractive birds that visit the colder regions of America. 
They breed about Hudson's Bay, and visit New England during the more severe winters. 
Its notes are regarded as sweet and mellow. 

Another species is the Evening Grosbeak, inhabiting the Southern States. 

Europe possesses a good example of this group in the well-known Hawfinch, or Gros- 
beak. 

This bird was once thought to be exceedingly scarce, but is now known to be anything 
but uncommon, although it is rai'ely seen, owing to its very shy and retiring habits, which 
lead it to eschew the vicinity of man and to bury itself in the recesses of forests. So 
extremely wary is the Hawfinch that to approach within gunshot is a very difiicult matter, 
and can seldom be accomplished Avirhout the assistance of a decoy-bird, or by imitating the 
call-note, which bears some resemblance to that of a robin. It feeds chiefly on the various 
wild berries, not rejecting even the hard stones of plums and tlie laurel berries. In the spring, 
it is apt to make inroads in the eai'ly dawn upon the cultivated grounds, and has an especial 
liking for peas, among which it often works dire havoc. 

It is a gregarious bird, associating in flocks varying in number from ten to two hundred, 
and always being greatest after the breeding season. According to Mr. Doubleday, it is not 
migratory. Forests with berries of various kinds are its chief strongholds. When in the 



THE SCARLET TANA GEE. 339 

forest, the bird generally perches upon the extreme top of some lofty tree, from whence it 
keeps so complete a watch that hardly a weasel could steal upon it without being perceived 
and its presence reported by an alarm note, which is perfectly understood not only by other 
Grosbeaks, but by all the feathered and some of the furred tribes. 

The nest of the Hawtinch is not reraarkaljle either for elegance or peculiarity of form. It 
is very simply built of slender twigs, bits of dried creepers, gray lichens, roots and hair, and 
is so carelessly put together that it can hardly be moved entire. The eggs are from four to six 
in number, and their color is very pale olive-green, streaked with gray and spotted with black 
dots. The birds pair in the middle of April, begin to build their nests about the end of that 
month, and the young are hatched about the third week in May. 

The color of the adult male Grosbeak is briefly as follows : The head and nape of the 
neck are fawn color, deepening towards the shoulders and fading into gray on the other por- 
tions of the neck, and the chin and throat are velvety black. The upper part of the body 
is chestnut-brown, and the wing-coverts are variegated with white, black, and fawn. The 
primary feathers of the mug are deep blue-black, wldte on the inner webs. The upper tail- 
coverts are fawn, and the tail itself is black and white, with the exception of the two central 
feathers, which are grayish-brown, tipped with white. The sides of the neck, the breast, 
abdomen, and whole of the under parts are bro\\^l of a lighter and paler hue than that of the 
back, and the under tail-coverts are white. The female is similarly colored, but the hues are 
much duller than in her mate. The total length of the bird is seven inches. 

On examining the wings of this bii-d, the observer will be struck with the curious shape of 
the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth in-imary feathers, which are not pointed, but 
are larger at the ends, rounded and hooked in a manner which is well compared by Yarrell to 
the head of an ancient battle-axe. Perhaps the Jedburgh axe is more like the shape of these 
■curious feathers. 

Although not possessed of the glowing scarlet hue which decorates the cardinal Gros- 
beak, the Black and Yellow Grosbeak is quite as remarkable and scarcely a less handsome 
bird. 

Its ordinary habitation is in the northern parts of India, but it is a bird of strong wing, 
and often wanders as far as Central India in search of food. Like others of the same group, 
it mostly feeds on berries and various stone-fruits, crushing even the hard-shelled seeds and 
stones in its thick and powerful beak. Even at a distance, this bii'd is very conspicuous on 
account of the bold and dashing manner in which the whole of the plumage is variegated with 
black, white, and yellow, all these colors being of the purest and brightest quality. 

The whole of the upper surface and the breast are deep jetty black, with a slight silken 
gloss when the bird is in good condition. A few snowy -white spots appear on the basal por- 
tions of the four central primary feathers of the wing, and several of the primaries, togetlier 
with the whole of the secondaries, are edged with the same hue, thus presenting a very strong 
contrast to the jetty feathers of the back. The lower part of the breast and the abdomen are 
bright golden yellow, so that the bird is colored only with these three decided hues, without 
any gradation through intermediate hues, as is generally the case in birds of bright plumage. 
The female is easily distinguished from her mate, as the upper surface is dusky black, largely 
mottled with yellow upon the head, neck, and back. The breast and abdomen are grayish 
yellow, profusely covered with black spots resembling the "tears" in heraldry. The quality 
of the hue is rather variable, as in some specimens the black is of the deepest, and the yellow 
of the richest, glossiest gold, whereas in some individuals — probably the young male just 
entering his perfect plumage, or the old male getting feeble with age — the black has a dirty 
look, and the yellow is nearly white. In size this bird is about equal to the cardinal Grosbeak. 

The Tanagrine birds are well represented by the Scarlet Tanager of America. 

It is a very handsome bird, decorated with Hveiy scarlet and deep black, and is possessed 
of a tolerable, though not especially musical voice. This is one of the migi'atory species, 
arriving in the northern portions of the United States about the end of April, and remaining 



340 THE SCARLET TANAGER. 

until the breeding season is over. The nest is made of rather rough materials, such as flax- 
stalks and dry grass, and is so loosely put together that the light is perceptible through the 
interstices of the walls. The number of eggs is generally three, and their color is dullish blue, 
variegated with brown and purplish spots. While engaged in the business of incubation, both 
birds are extremely terrified at the presence of any strange object, and if a human being 
approaches the nest, the male flies to a little distance and keeps cautiously aloof, peering 
through the boughs at the foe, and constantly fearful of being seen. The female also leaves 
the nest, but continues to fly restlessly about her home, hovering over the eggs or young in 
great distress. When, however, the young are hatched, the male parent takes his full share 
in attending upon them, and cares nothing for being seen. 

The attachment of the male bird to his young seems to be very strong, as is shown by the 
following account, extracted from Wilson : — 

" Passing through an orchard, and seeing one of these young birds that had but lately left 
the nest, I carried it with me about half a mile to show it to my friend, Mr. William Bartram, 
and having procured a cage, hung it up on one of the large ijine-trees in the Botanic Garden, 
within a few feet of the nest of an orchard oriole, which also contained young, hopeful that 
the charity and kindness of the orioles would induce them to supply the cravings of the 
stranger. But charity with them, as with too many of the human race, began and ended 
at home. 

"The i:)oor orphan was altogether neglected, notwithstanding its jJaintive cries, and as it 
refused to be fed by me, I was about to return it to the place where I found it, when towards 
the afternoon a Scarlet Tanager, no doubt its own parent, was seen fluttering round the cage, 
endeavoring to get in. Finding this impracticable, he flew ofl' and soon returned with food in 
his bill, and continued to feed it till after sunset, taking up his lodgings on the higher branches 
oi the same tree. In the morning, almost as soon as day broke, he was again seen most actively 
engaged in the same affectionate manner, and, notwithstanding the insolence of the orioles, 
continued his benevolent offices the whole day, roosting at night as before. 

" On the third or fourth day he appeared extremely solicitous for the libei'ation of his 
charge, using every expression of distressful anxiety, and every call and invitation that nature 
had put in his power for him to come out. This was too much for the feelings of my venerable 
fi-iend ; he procured a ladder, and mounting to the spot where the bird was suspended, opened 
the cage, took out the prisoner, and restored him to liberty and to his parent, who, with notes 
of great exiiltation, accompanied his flight to the woods." 

The tail is forked, and very slightly tipped with white. This plumage is, however, only 
donned during the breeding season, for in the autumnal moult a number of greenish yellow 
feathers make their appearance, giving the bird a uniformly dappled or mottled aspect. The 
female is a comparatively soberly clad bird, being green above and yellow beneath, with wings 
and tail brownish black, edged with green. The total length of the Scarlet Tanager is between 
six and seven inches. 

They may readily be distinguished from the other FringillidsB by the notched upper 
mandible, and by the triangular base and arched ridge of the beak. Most of them are pos- 
sessed of miisical powers ; one species, the Organist Tanager {Eiiplwn.ia musica), deriving 
its popular and scientific title from its rich full tones. The colors of the Tanagers are gen- 
erally biilliant, scarlet, black, and orange being the ordinary hues with Avhich their plumage 
is bedecked. 

The Scarlet Tanager is one of five species inhabiting the United States. The family of 
Tanagers is especially American. The larger number of these species are found in South 
America, where they ab.ound. Many of them excel, in beauty and lichness of plumage, any 
knovm bird. Wilson says of our visitor, the Scarlet Tanager : "He is dressed in the richest 
scarlet, set off witli the most jetty black. Among all the birds that inhabit our woods, there 
is none that strikes the eye of a stranger, or even a native, with such brilliancy as this. Seen 
among the green leaves, with the light falling strongly on his plumage, he is a superb creat- 
ure." The Louisiana Tanager is native to the Southwestern United States. A Western 
si)pcies is known ; and one, called the Hepatic Tanager, inhabitina: Mexico. 




FINCHES. 



THE CHAFFINCH. 3il 

The Summer Red Bird {Pyranga cesiiva). This is a favorite cage bird in the Southeiu 
States. The male is wholly of a rich vei^milion color, most brilliant on the lower parts, except 
the inner vanes and tips of the wiugs. The female is of a sober brown color, or olive-brown. 
It remains in the north until August, when it retires southward, having raised its young, one 
brood. The note is a strong sonorous whistle, lesembling a loose trill, or shake on the notes 
of a iife, frequently repeated ; that of the female is rather a kind of chattering. She is, how 
ever, rarely seen, and is usually mute, and scarcely to be distinguished from the color of the 
foliage at a distance : while the loquacity and brilliant red of the male make him very con- 
spicuous. This bird is very abundant in the Gulf States. It is a rare summer visitor as far 
north as New England. Its food consists of insects, and berries are eaten in the season. 



The true Finches are known by their rather short and conical beak, their long and pointed 
wings, and the absence of nostrils in the beak. Europe possesses many examples of these 
birds, several of which are celebrated for their beauty of plumage and powers of song. 

Among the most beautiful of these birds, the Gouldian Finch holds a high place, its 
plumage being decorated with the softest and most harmonious hues, the feathers glowing 
with delicately opalescent shades of lilac, green, and golden yellow. 

This exquisite little bird is a native of New South Wales, and although not very scarce in 
the district which it frequents, is yet decidedly local in its habits. It is seldom seen in the 
open country, preferring to haimt the thicket and edges of forests, where it may be seen hop- 
ping easily among the branches, in little bands of from four to seven or eight in number. The 
voice of this fiiach is not remarkable for force or beauty, being little more than a querulous 
kind of twitter, which it utters mournfidly when disturbed, at the same time flying to the 
summit of the nearest tree, and there sitting until the cause of alarm is removed. 

The color of this bird is as follows : The head and throat are deep velvet-black, the back 
and wings are soft yellowish-green, and a stripe of bright verditer-green runs from behind the 
eye down the sides of the neck, until it is merged in the yellow-green of the back. Across the 
breast runs a broad band of purple, yellow, or lilac, and the whole of the under surface is 
golden-yellow, with a kind of waxen gloss. The bill is scarlet at the tip, and white at the 
base. These tints belong only to the adult bird, the young being soberly clad in gray, buff, 
and olive. 

On the colored illustration of the Finches, one represents the Goldfinch. It is one of 
the most familiar and prettiest songsters of Europe. 

The CHArriNCH, another representative of the same species, is one of the commonest field 
birds, being spread over the whole of Europe in very great numbers, and frequenting hedges, 
fields, and gardens with equal impartiality. It is a most gay and lively little bird, and whether 
singly, or assembled in large flocks, it always adds much life to the landscape, and delights 
the eye of every one who is not a farmer or a gardener, both of which personages wage deadly 
war against the bright little bird. For the Chaffinch is apt at times to be a sad thief, and has 
so strong a liking for young and tender vegetables, that it pounces upon the green blades of 
corn, turnips, radishes, and similar plants, as soon as they push their way through the soil, 
and in a few hours destroys the whole of the seedlings. In one instance, a few Chaffinches 
settled upon a piece of ground about one hundred and twenty yards square, that had been 
planted with turnips, and before the day had closed, they had pulled up every young shoot 
and eaten a considerable amount of them. 

As, however, is the case of the rook, the chief food of the Chaffinch consists of insects 
which would be most noxious to the agriculturist, and in all probability the harm which they 
do in eating young plants and buds is more than counterbalanced by the benefit which they 
confer in destroying myriads of dangerous insects. 



342 THE AMERICAN GOLDFINCH. 

The specific title of Calebs, which is given to the Chaffinch, signifies a bachelor, and 
refers to the annual separation of the sexes, which takes place in the autumn, the females 
departing to some other region, and the males congregating in vast multitudes, consoling 
themselves as they best can by the pleasures of society for the absence of the gentler portion 
of the community. Yery large flocks of these birds appear towards the end of autumn, and 
seem at first to be wholly composed of females. It is, however, more than pro1)able that they 
consist of the females together Tvith their young families of both sexes, and that the immature 
males have not as yet assumed their perfect i)lumage. The flocks are generally seen about 
hedge-rows and stubble-fields ; and if the weather should be very severe, they adjourn to the 
vicinity of human habitations, haunting the gardens and farm-yards, and often rivalling the 
sparrows in their boldness of demeanor. 

The note of this bird is a merry kind of whistle, and the call-note is very musical and 
ringing, somewhat resembling the word "pinck," which has therefore been often applied to 
the bird as its provincial name. 

The nest of the Chaffinch is one of the prettiest and neatest. It is deeply cnp-shaped, 
and the materials of which it is composed are moss, wool, hair, and lichens, the latter sub- 
stances being always stuck i^rofusely over the surface, so as to give it a resemblance to the 
bough on which it has been built. The nest is almost invariably made in the upright fork of 
a branch, just at its junction with the main stem or bough from which it sprang, and is so 
beautifully worked into harmony with tlie bark of the particular tree on which it is placed, 
that it escapes the eye of any but a practised observer. Great pains are taken by the female 
in making her nest, and the structure occupies her about three weeks. The eggs are from 
four to five in number, and their color is pale bro\vnish buff, decorated with several largish 
sj)ots and streaks of very dark brown. 

The color of tliis pretty bird is as follows : At the base of the beak the feathers are jetty 
black, and the same hue, but with a slight dash of brown, is found on the wings and the 
greater wing-coverts. The top of the head and back of the neck are slaty-gray, the back is 
chestnut, and the sides of the head, the chin, throat, and breast are bright ruddy cliestnut, 
fading into a colder tint upon the abdomen. The larger wing-coverts are tipped with white, 
the lesser coverts are entirely of the same hue, and the tertials are edged with yellowish white. 
The tail has the two central feathers grayish black, the next three pairs black, and the remain- 
ing feathers variegated with black and white. The total length of the bird is six inches. The 
female is colored sometliing like the male, but not so brilliantly. 

Of all the Finches, none is so truly handsome as the Goldfinch, a bird whose bright 
yellow orange hues suffer but little even when it is placed in close proximity to the more gaudy 
Finches of tropical climates. Like the chaffinch, it is spread over the whole of Europe, and 
may be seen in great numbers feeding on the white thistledown. There are few prettier sights 
than to watch a cloud of Goldfinches fluttering along a hedge, chasing the thistledown as it is 
whirled away by the breeze, and uttering all the while their sweet merry notes. 

The birds are not very shy, and by lying quietly in the hedge the observer may watch 
them as they come flying along, ever and anon perching upon the thistle tops, dragging out a 
beakf ul of down, and biting off the seeds with infinite satisfaction. Sometimes a Goldfinch 
will make a dart at a thistle or burdock, and mthout perching snatch several of the seeds 
from their bed, and then alighting on the stem, will run up it as nimbly as a squirrel, and 
peck away at the seeds, quite careless as to the attitude it may be forced to adopt. These 
beautiful little birds are most useful to the farmer, for they not only devour multitudes of 
insects during the spiing months, but in the autumn they turn their attention to the thistle, 
burdock, groundsel, plantain, and other weeds, and work more effectual destruction than the 
farmer could hope to attain with all his laboi-ers. Several Goldfinches may often be seen at 
one time on the stem and top of a single thistle, and two or three are frequently busily engaged 
on the same plant of groundsel. 

The American Goldfinch {Astragalinus tristls) is a pretty and familiar little bird. In 




SELMAR HESS, PUBLISHER, N r 



GROUP OF FINCHES. 



THE BROWN LINNET. 343 

New England it is called Yellow-bird. It is a rich lemon-yellow, with wings of black. The 
great resemblance of this bird to the canary induces people to keep them. They often pair 
with the canary, as they are easily domesticated. The song of the Yellow-bird resembles that 
of the Goldfinch of Eurojie. 

Several other species of Goldfinch are found in the Southern and Western States. 

The Siskin, or Abeedevhste, is one of the European birds which performs an annual 
migration either partial or complete, a question about which there has been some controversy, 
and one which may fully receive a solution from the supposition that some birds remain in the 
countries of that part of the world throughout the year, retiring no farther to the north than 
Scotland, while others pass to Norway and Sweden for the purpose of nidification, and do not 
return to a warmer climate until the autumn. 

They are Lively little birds, assembling in small flocks of eiglit or ten in number, and- 
haunting the edges of brooks and streams for the purpose of seeking the seeds of the elder and 
other trees, on which they chiefly feed. Along the banks they are quick and active, fluttering 
from one bough to another, and clinging in every imaginable attitude, with a strength of limb 
and briskness of gesture much resembling the movements of the titinice. WMle thus engaged, 
they constantly utter their sweet and gentle call note, which is so soft that bird-dealers are in 
the habit of pairing the Siskin wnt\i the canary, in order to obtain a song-bird whose voice 
is not so ear-piercing as that of the pure canary. 

The coloring of this bird is remarkable for the very peculiar green with which most of its 
plumage is tinged, and which is spread over the whole of its back and the upper portions 
of its body. The centre of each feather of its back is dark olive-green. 

The Greenfinch is one of the commonest birds, being a resident in European countries 
throughout the year, and not even requiring a partial migration. 

It is mostly found in hedges, bushes, and copses, and as it is a bold and familiar bird, 
is in the habit of frequenting the habitations of men, and even building its nest within close 
proximity to houses or gardens. During the mild weather, the Gieenflnch remains in the ' 
open country, but in the severe winter months it crowds to the farm-houses, and boldly 
disputes with the sparrows the chance grains of food that it may find. When young, the bird 
is fed almost wholly upon caterpillars and various insects, and not until it has attained its full 
growth does it try upon the hard seeds the large bill which has obtained for it the title of 
Green Grosbeak. 

The voice of the Greenfinch is very ordinary, being possessed neither of strength nor 
melody, so that the bird is in very little demand as an inhabitant of the aviary. 

The nest of this bird is generally buUt rather later than is usual with the Finches, and is 
seldom completed until May has fairly set in. Its substance is not unlike that of the chaffinch, 
being composed of roots, wool, moss, and feathers. It is not, however, so neatly made, nor so 
finely woven together, as the nest of that bird. The eggs are from three to five in number, and 
the color is bluish-white covered at the larger end with spots of brown and gray. 

In the adult male bird, the head, neck, and all the upper parts of the body are yellow with 
a green wash, and the wings are partly edged Avith bright yellow. The primary feathers 
of the -ivings are gray -black, edged for a considerable portion of their length with brilliant 
yellow. The greater wing-coverts, together with the tertiaries, are gray ; the chin, throat, 
breast, and under parts of the body are yellow, falling into gi'ay on the fianks. With the 
exception of the two short middle feathei's, which are gi'ay-brown throughout, the tail-feathers 
are yellow for the first half of their length, and gi-ay-brown for the remainder. The female 
is of much more sober colors, being greenish bro\\Ti on the back and under surface, and the 
yellow of the wings being very didl. The total length of the bird is about six inches, the 
female being little less than her mate. 

The common Linnet is sometimes called the Brown Linnet, in contradistinction to the 
preceding species, or the Greater Redfinch, in allusion to the vermilion-tiiDped feathers 
the crown. 



344 THE BLACK SNOW BIRD. 

Few birds are better known than the Linnet, although the change of plumage to which it 
is subject in the different seasons of the year has caused the same bird, while in its winter 
plumage, to be considered as distinct from the same individual in its summer dress. Except 
during the breeding season, the Linnets associate in flocks, flying from spot to spot, and feed- 
ing upon the seeds of various plants, evidently prefeiTing those of the thistle, dandelion, and 
various cruciferous plants. It is a very lively bird, and is possessed of a sweet and agreeable, 
though not very powerful song. 

The Purple Finch {Carpodacus purpureus). This Is a winter bird of passage, coming 
to us in the Northern States in September and October. Great numbers remain during the 
winter as far south as Pennsylvania, feeding on the seeds of buttonwood, cedar, etc. 

In severe seasons they are found farther south. They return north to breed in May. The 
Purple Finch is a hardy, vigorous bird, and very quarrelsome if placed with other birds 
as pets. 

A Californian variety is known, and three other species of the genus Carpodacus. 



THE CANARY, THE SPARROWS, AND THE BUNTINGS. 

The Snow Bird, which is not to be confounded with the Snow Bunting, hereafter to be 
described, is an inhabitant of America, and has a very large range of country. 

According to Wilson's lively description of ' this bird, "at first they are most generally 
seen on the borders of woods among the falling and decayed leaves, in loose flocks of thirty or 
forty together, always taking to tlie trees when disturbed. As the weather sets in colder, they 
venture nearer the farm-houses and villages, and on the approach of what is usually called 
'falling weather,' assemble in larger flocks, and seem doubly diligent in searching for food. 
This increased activity is generally a sure prognostic of a storm. 

' ' When deep snow covers the gi'ound, they become almost half domesticated. They collect 
about the barns, stables, and other out-houses, spread over the yard, and even round the steps 
of the door ; not only in the country and villages, but in the heart of our large cities ; crowd- 
ing around the thi-eshold early in the morning, gleaning up the crumbs, and appearing very 
lively and familiar. They also have recourse at this severe season, when the face of the earth 
is shut up from them, to the seeds of many kinds of weeds that still rise above the snow, 
in corners of fields, and low sheltered situations, along the borders of creeks and fences, where 
they unite with several species of spaiTow. They are at this time easily caught with almost 
any kind of ti'ap, are generally fat, and it is said are excellent eating." 

At the very beginning of summer, as soon as the weather begins to be warm, the Snow 
Bird retires from its winter quarters, and migrates to the higher regions of the earth, for 
the purpose of breeding. Even in the business of rearing their young, the Snow Birds are 
very gregarious, placing the nest upon the ground, or on the grass, in close proximity to 
each other. 

The head, neck, and upper parts of the body, and the wings, are very deep, slaty -brown, 
either color predominating according to the age of the individual and the season of the year. 
The lower parts of the breast and the abdomen are pure snowy-white, and the two exterior 
tail-feathers are of the same hue, the secondaries being dark slate. The female has but little 
of the slaty-blue, and is almost wholly brown. The total length of this species is about six 
inches. 

The Black Snow Bird {Junco hycemalis — formerly fringiUd) is a cheery, pretty little 
winter visitor from the far north, and is by far the most numerous and widely disseminated 
of all the feathered tribes that come from that direction. Their migrations extend from the 
Arctic Circle to Mexico, and from the Atlantic Ocean to Louisiana. As the winter lengthens, 
this bird, in flocks, approaches the fanti-houses, and even the dwellings in towns. They are 
lively and familiar little creatures. 



t^?'^^^ 



s ^ 

t 



\: 



IW- 



■■*^, 




EARLY BREAKFAST. 



THE CANARY. 



345 



Several species are knovm, inhabiting the southern country, as the Mexican and the 
Gaudeloupe Snow Birds. 

Allied to the preceding are numerous species of Towhees. 

The Chewiitk, or Towhee {Pqnlo erythropthalmus) is the more familiar species in New 
England and the Northern States. It is quickly recognized, if present, by its curious habit of 
scratching among the dried leaves of the forest. 

Four other species are known. One, the Oregon Towhee, inhabits the far west, on the 
Pacific slope. Another is the Gaudeloupe Towhee, inhabiting the extreme southern limits of 
North America. Others aud varieties are found in the canons of Colorado, and in California. 
The Towhees are especially interesting birds ; are shapely, and though the plumage is sober 
in color, it is nevertheless pleasing. 

The cheery, busy Northern Towhee, as he is seen and heard scratching among the leaves 
of the forest during the fall months, is always pleasing. 

We must now pass on to another sjiecies, which everywhere has become so far naturalized, 
that to many eyes it is even more familiar than the sparrow. 

TiTE pretty little Canary Bird, so prized as a domestic pet, derives its name from the 
locality whence it was originally brought. 

Rather more than three hundred years ago, a ship was partly laden with little green birds 
captured in the Canary Islands, and having been wrecked near Elba, the birds made their 
escape, flew to the island, and there settled themselves. Numbers of them were caught by the 
inhabitants, and on account of their sprightly vivacity and the brilliancy of their voice they 
soon became great favorites, and rapidly spread over Europe. 

The original color of the Canary is not the bright yellow with which its feathers are gener- 
ally tinted, but a kind of dappled olive-green, black, and yellow, either color predominating 




./c, j/iH/iM/ui-r 



WUD CANAEY.— Sen«K« cmuirtus. 



according to circumstances. By careful management, however, the bird-fanciers are able to 
procure Canaries of every tint between i\\Q three colors, and have instituted a set of rules by 
which the quality and arrangement of the coloring is reduced to a regular system. Still, the 
original dappled green is always apt to make its appearance ; and even when two light-colored 
birds are mated, a green young one is pretty sure to be found in the nest. For my own part, 
I care little for the artificial varieties produced by the fanciers according to their arbitrary 



Vol. II.-44. 



346 



THE TREE SPARROW. 



rules, always subject to variation ; and to my mind, an intelligent bird and a good songster is 
not one whit the less attractive because the colors of its plumage are not arranged precisely 
according to the fanciers' rules. 

The noisy, familiar, imi)atient Spabeow is one of those creatures that has attached itself 
to man, and follows him wherever he goes. 

Nothino- seems to daunt this bold little bird, which is equally at home in the fresh air of 
the country farm, in the midst of a crowded city, or among the strange sights and sounds of a 




V^^ ■"* 0-- ^f , 



THE COMMON ENGLISH SPARROW and THE TREE SPARROW.— jPasser doiimlims and montamis. 



large railway station ; treating with equal indifference the slow-paced wagon horses, as they 
deliberately drag their load over the country roads, the noisy cabs and omnibuses as they rattle 
over the city pavements, and the snorting, puffing engines, as they dash through the stations 
with a velocity that makes the earth tremble beneath their terrible rush. 

The Tree Sparrow may readily be distinguished from the preceding species by the 
chestnut head, the triangular patch of black on the cheeks, and the browner white of the lower 
surface of the body. 

Tliis bii'd is not nearly so common as the house Sparrow, and generally places its nest in 
trees in preference to thatch and walls. Sometimes, however, it follows the common Si)arrow 
in the building of its domicile, and has been known to place its nest in the deserted home of a 
crow or rook, making a dome like that of the common Sparrow when building in trees. Occa- 




fc-^N 











MARAUDING SPARROWS, 



THE WHITE-THROATED SPARROW. 



347 



sionally it has been observed to build its nest in the hollow of a tree, and to take possession of 
a hole that had formerly been occupied by the woodpecker. The eggs are different in hue from 
those of the common Sparrow, being didlish white, covered entirely with very light dots of 
ashen-brown. Their number is generally from four to six. 

Lately was published a short communication from a gentleman residing at Penzance. 
"A Norwegian brig put into Penzance a few days since, and among other incidents of the 
voyage between Norway and England, the master of the vessel mentioned that midway 
between the two counti'ies, thousands of small Sparrows paused and alighted on the 
ship, covering the deck and rigging. The birds were exhausted and soon died, and some 
half-dozen were kept from mere curiosity to show to friends. These were brought for my 
inspection, a day or two since, by a person who begged them of the captain to show me. 
The six specimens were aU Passer 7/ionta/uis, the Tree Sparrow, the Mountain Sparrow of 
Bewick." 

Besides tlie markings which have already been mentioned, the Tree Sparrow has a streak 
of white, marking the boundary between the chestnut of the neck and the red hue of the back 
and wings. The lower wing-coverts are not so broadly tipped with white as in the common 
species, but are of a deep black, with a very narrow edging of white. Below the eye and over 
the ear-coverts, there is a narrow black streak, and the breast and abdomen are white, with a 
brown tinge, deepening on the flanks. In size the Tree Sparrow is not so large as the common 
species, by nearly half an inch of length. 




WHITE-THROATED SPARROW— Zonotric/iia aMcottis. 



The "WniTE-THROATED Sparrow is an inhabitant of America, and is one of the partial 
migrators, passing to and from the northern and southern portions of that continent, accord- 
ing to the season of the year. 

Of this bird Wilson speaks as follows : "This is the largest as well as the handsomest of 
all our Sparrows. It resides in most of the States south of New England. From Connecticut 
to Savannah I found these birds numerous, particularly in the neighborhood of the Roanoke 
river and among the rice plantations. In summer they retire to the higher inland parts of the 
country, and also farther south, to breed. According to Pennant, they are also found at that 
season in Newfoundland. During their residence here in winter they collect together in flocks, 
always preferring the borders of swampy thickets, creeks, and mill-ponds, skirted with alder 
bushes and long rank weeds, the seeds of which form their principal food. 



348 THE YELLOW BUNTING, OR YELLOW AMMER. 

" Early in the spring, a little before they leave us, they have a few remarkably sweet and 
clear notes, generally in the morning a little after sunrise. About the twentieth of April they 
disappear, and we see no more of them untU the beginning or second week of October, when 
they again return, part to jjuss the winter with us, and part on their return farther south." 

The coloring of this butl is very graceful. The upper surface of the body and the lower 
wing-coverts are rather a'greeably mottled with black, ashen-brown, bay, and clear ash, the 
breast is ash, and the chin and under portions of the body are pure white. The head is striped 
with black and white, and another white streak wliicli passes over the eye warms into orange- 
yellow between the eye and the nostril. The female is easily distinguished by the lighter 
breast, the drab wash upon the wliite, and the smaller size of the orange line on the head. The 
legs are flesh-colored, and the bill has a bluish tinge. The total length of the White-throated 
Sparrow is about six and a half inches. 

The Sharp-tailed Finch derives its popular and appropriate title from the peculiar 
shape of its tail. 

It is an interesting little bird, remarkably swift of foot, and a very excellent climber of 
reeds and rushes, two accomplishments which are very seldom combined in the same species. 
The sea-shore is the favorite haunt of this bird, which seems to depend wholly upon the waves 
for its subsistence. While feeding, it courses along the edge of the water with wonderfid 
celerity, pecking here and there at the little fish and crustaceans which have been flung ashore 
by the water, and would make good their escape were not they interrupted by the ready beak 
of their destroyer. As it trips over the sands it has all the appearance of the sandpipers and 
other shore-living birds, altliough its legs are shorter and its dimensions smaller. 

The low coral-covered islands that edge the Atlantic coast of America are the favored 
resorts of the Sharp-taUed Finch, which seldom quits these places of safety, unless driven by 
continuous and wild easterly gales, which drive the sea over the islands and render them 
untenable for the time. The bird then flies over to the main land, but still remains close to the 
sea, preferring to roost on the ground and run about after dark. On examining the stomach 
of several of these birds, Wilson found that they contained fragments of shrimjjs, very small 
moUusks, and broken limbs of small crabs, no other substances ever being found in their 
interior. Owing to this diet, the flesh of this species is not at all fitted for the table, being 
ranli and fishy. 

The crown of the head is olive-brown divided laterally with a streak of slaty-blue or light 
ash. The head and sides of the face are marked with several streaks of white, one of which 
becomes orange-yellow near the beak. The whole of the upper parts are brownish olive with a 
perceptible blue wash, the chin and abdomen are pure white, the breast is ashen-gray streaked 
liberally with buff, and the under tail-coverts are buff streaked with black. All the wing- 
coverts are tipped with narrow white bands, and the wings are rather richly variegated vdth 
yellow. The total length of this bird is rather more than six inches. 

The Buntings are known by their sharp conical bills, with the edges of the upi:»er mandi- 
ble rounded and slightly turned inwards, and the knob on the palate. They are comnion in 
most parts of the world, are gi-egarious daring the winter months, and in some cases become 
so fat upon the autumn grain that they are considered great dainties. 

One of the most familiar of all these birds is the Yellow Bunting, or Yellow Ammer, 
as it is often called. 

This lively bird frequents our fields and hedge-rows, and is remarkable for a curious mix- 
ture of wariness and curiosity, the latter feeling impelling it to observe a traveller with great 
attention, and the former to keep out of reach of any missile. So, in walking along a country 
lane, the passenger is often preceded by one or more of these birds, which always keeps about 
seventy or eighty yards in advance, and flutters in and out of the hedges or trees with a pecu- 
liar and unmistakable flirt of the wings and tail. It possesses but little song, and is conse- 
quently of no value as a cage-bird, remaining scathless while many a poor goldfinch, lark, or 



; //'/iii(i,i i'|ilj|iilili|i|ikiiii«iffliiiWiiiii!i!^ ruL .. mji\ i^'-^ywiww 










o 
z 

I— I 

m 
o 

D 
O 

o 



THE YELLOW BUNTING, OR YELLOW AMMER. 



349 



thrush falls a victim to the bird-catcher, and passes the remainder of its life cooped in the 
nai-row precincts of a cage. 

The song — if it may so be called — of the bird is set in the minor key, and has a peculiar 
intonation, which is almost articulate, and is variously rendered. For example, it is well 
represented by the words, "A little bit of bread and no cheese!" the last syllable but one 
being strongly accented. In Scotland it assumes a sense quite in accordance with the character 
of its surroundings, and is supposed to say, "De'il, de'il, de'il take ye." So, in revenge for 
the sentiment by which the bird is supposed to be actuated, the rustics persecute the bright 
little creature most shamefully, killing the parents, breaking the eggs and destroying the 
nests, whenever they can find an opportunity. Mr. Thompson says that, to his ears, the 
cry of the Yellow Bunting is of a mournful character, in which opinion I cannot at all agree 
with him, having many a time been cheered by the odd little tones that were poured forth 
close to my ear. 

The nest of the Yellow Bunting is generally placed upon or very close to the earth, and 




YELLOW BUNTING, OK YELLOW AilMEH. - AVjitc/isa citrineUa. 



the best place to seek for the structure, is the bottom of a hedge, where the grass has been 
allowed to grow freely, and the ground has been well drained by the ditch. In rustic parlance, 
a "rough gripe" is the place wherein to look for the Yellow Ammer's nest. It is a neatly- 
built edifice, composed chiefly of grasses, and lined with hair. The eggs are five in number, 
and their color is white, with a dash of very pale purple, and dotted and scribbled all over 
with dark purple-brown. Both dots and lines are most variable, and it also frequently hap- 
pens that an egg appears with hardly a mark upon it, while others in the same nest are entirely 
covered vdth. the quaint-looking decorations. Generally the nest is built later than that of 
most small birds, but there are instances when it has been completed and the five eggs laid as 
early as January, or even December. * 

Both parents are strongly attached to each other and to their young, and during the last 
few days of incubation the mother bird becomes so fearless that she will sit in her nest even 
when she is discovered, and in some instances has even suffered herself to be touched before 
she would leave her charge. 



350 THE COMMON BUNTING. 

About the end of autumn, all the young birds have been fully fledged, and instead of 
haunting the hedge-rows, they assemble in considerable flocks, and visit the fields in search of 
food. In the winter, should the weather be severe, they become very bold, and joining the 
sparrows, and other little birds, enter the farm-yards and cultivated grounds, and endeavor to 
pick up a subsistence. When food is plentiful, the Yellow Ammer becomes very fat, and in 
some instances is killed for the table, being thought nearly as good as the celebrated ortolan, 
to which bird it is closely allied. 

The reader may probably have remarked, that I have called the bird Yellow Ammer, and 
not Yellow Hammer, as is mostly the case. The correction is due to Mr. YaiTell, who weU 
observes that, ' ' I have ventured to restore to this bird what I believe to have been its first 
English name, Yellow Ammer, although it appears to have been printed Yellow Ham and 
Yellow Hammer from the days of Drs. William Turner and Merrett to the present time. The 
word Ammer is a well-known German term for Bunting in very common use. Thus Bechstein 
employs the names Schnee-ammer, Grau-ammer, Rohr-ammer, Garten-ammer, and Gold- 
ammer, for the Snow Bunting, Corn Bunting, Reed Bunting, Ortolan or Garden Bunting, and 
Yellow Bunting. Prefixing the letter H to the word apj)ears to be unnecessary and even 
erroneous, as suggesting a notion which has no reference to any known habit or quality in 
the bird." 

The general color of this bird is bright yellow, variegated with patches of dark brown, and 
having a richly mottled brownish-yellow on the back, with a decided warm ruddy tinge. The 
primary feathers of the Aving are black, edged with yellow, and the remainder of the feathers 
throughout, with all the wing-coverts, are deep brown-black, edged with ruddy brown. The 
chin, throat, and all the under parts of the body are bright, pure yellow, sobering into rusty- 
brown on the flanks. The female is similarly marked, but is not so brilliant in her hues. 
The total length of the bird is about seven inches. 

The Ortolan, or Garden Bunting, is vsddely celebrated for the delicacy of its flesh, or 
rather for that of its fat ; the fat of the Ortolan being somewhat analogous to the green fat of 
the turtle, in the opinion of gounnands. 

The Ortolan is most frequently found on the European continent, where its advent is 
expected witli great anxiety, and vast numbers are annually captured for the table. These 
birds are not killed at once, as they would not be in proper condition, but they are placed in a 
dark room, so as to prevent them from moving about, and are fed largely with oats and millet, 
until they become mere lumps of fat, weighing nearly three ounces, and are then killed and 
sent to table. The net and decoy-bird are the means that are generally employed for their 
ca^jture. 

The nest of the Ortolan is placed on the ground, generally among corn, and upon a sandy 
soil, where some slight defence helps to conceal the nest, and to afford a partial shelter from 
the wind. The materials of which it is made are grasses of different degrees of fineness, and 
a few hairs which are placed in the interior. Tlie num'Der of eggs is five or six, and their color 
is pale bluish-white, covered with spots of black. The nest is generally begun in the early 
part of May. The Ortolan has no real song, its voice being limited to a few monotonous 
chirping notes. 

The coloring of this bird is as follows : The head is gray with a green tinge, and the back 
is ruddy brown, l^eautifully mottled with black. The wings are black, with brown edges to 
the feathers ; the chin, throat, and upper portions of the breast are greenish-yellow ; and the 
abdomen is warm buff. The total length of the Ortolan is rather more than six inches. 

As the Common Bunting is not so brilliant a bird as the Yellow Bunting, it is less 
noticed, though quite as plentiful. 

It is a thick-set and heavily made bird, not being possessed of the elegant shape which is 
found in its yellow relative. During the spring and summer, the Bunting is generally found 
in the corn-fields, from which habit it is sometimes termed the Corn Bunting, and is but seldom 
seen among trees, or on open pasture-lands. Its food chiefly consists of various grass seeds, 



THE BLACK-THROATED BUNTING. 



351 



especially those of tlie stronger species, so that it often does good service to the farmer, by 
preventing the increase of these very stubborn weeds. The millet is a very favorite article of 
food, as may be supposed from the specitic name of vviltaris, which has been given to the bird 
by systematic zoologists, and considerable injury is often done to the millet crops by the 
attacks of the Bunting. 

The Black-theoated Bunting is a native of America, and is rather less than the pre- 
ceding species. Of this bird and its habits, Wilson writes as follows : — 

"They arrive in Pennsylvania, from the south, about the middle of May, descend in the 
neighborhood of Philadelphia, and seem to prefer level fields covered with rye grass, timothy 
or clover, where they build their nest, fixing it on the ground, and forming it of fine, dried 
grass. The female lays five white eggs, sprinlded with specks and lines of black. Like most 
part of their genus, they are nowise celebrated for musical powers. Their whole song consists 
of five notes, or more properly of two notes, the first repeated tvrice, and slowly, the second 




ORTOT.AN.— Emberiza hartidatm. 

thrice, and rapidly, resembling 'chip-chip, che-che-che.' In their shape and manner they 
very much resemble the yellow ammers of Britain ; like them, they are fond of mounting to 
the top of some half-grown tree, and there chiiTuping for half an hour at a time. 

"In travelling through different parts of New York and Pennsylvania in spring and 
summer, whenever I came to level fields of deep grass, I have constantly heard these birds 
around me. In August they become mute, and soon after, that is, towards the beginning of 
Septembei", leave us altogether." 

The top of the head is greenish-yellow, the neck is dark ashen-gray, and the back rusty 
red, touched with black, the same color extending to the wings and tail, but of a darker hue, 
without the black spots. The chin is white, and the throat is marked with a heart-shaped 
patch of deep black edged with white. The breast is yellow, and a line of the same hue 
extends over the eyes and into the lower angle of the bill. The lesser coverts are bay, and the 
abdomen grayish-white. The total length of the bird is about six inches and a half. 



352 THE SNOW BUNTING. 

The Snow Bunting, or Snow Fleck, is one of our winter visitors, and is known by a 
great variety of names, owing to the manner in whicli its plumage is colored, according to the 
time of year or age of the individual. In some places it is called the Tawny Bunting, White 
Lark, or Pied Finch ; in others, the Mountain Bunting, because it is usually found upon the 
hilly ranges of the countries which it frequents. 

It is an interesting l)ird, and has engaged the attention of almost every practical orni- 
thologist. It generally arrives in the northern regions of Europe at the end of autumn, and 
remains during the winter ; the oldest bird's always leaving last and keeping towards the 
north, while the young birds arrive lirst, and go farther southwaixl than their elderly relatives. 
They generally congregate in little flocks, and may be seen scudding over the snow-clad hills, 
their black wings and tail contrasting strangely with the pure white surface over which they 
pass. Colonel ]\Iontague once shot more than forty out of the same flock, and found that 
there were hardly any two specimens whose plumage was precisely alike, the feathers varying 
from the tawny hue of the young l)ird to the j)ure white and black of the adult in full winter 
dress. 

While treating of this bird, Mudie gives tlie following interesting remarks: "There is 
another trait in the natural history of birds, which, although it may be observed in them all, 
resident as well as migrate, is yet so conspicuous in the Snow Bunting that this is the proper 
place for noticing it. The male is the most sensitive to heat, and the female to cold. That 
difl'erence appears, whether the result of the action of heat be change of place or change of 
plumage. The males of all our summer birds arrive earlier than the females, and in all resi- 
dent bii'ds the change of plumage and voice of the male are among tlie first indications of the 
spring, taking precedence of most of the vegetable tribes, for the redbreast and the wTen sing 
before the snowdrop flowers appear. 

"It seems, too, that the song and the attractions of the male are accessories in aid of the 
warmth of the season, to produce the influence of the season upon the female ; and even as 
the season advances, the female remains a skulking and hideling bii'd throughout the season, 
at least until the young have broken the shell and require her labor to feed, and her courage 
(which she sometimes requires to a wonderful degree at this time) to protect them. Whether 
it be that instinct leads the female to husband her heat for tlie purpose of hatching her eggs, 
or simply that the tliinning of the under plumage, which takes j^lace at that time, is the more 
conspicuous the more closely the bird sits, it is certain that the females of most birds avoid 
the sun, and that all cover their eggs from the light during the period of incubation." 

Wilson says of this species that it makes its appearance in the northern states early in 
December, coming in flocks of different sizes, and flying closely together at some little elevation 
from the ground. They seem to be restless in their disposition, seldom staying long in one 
spot, find resuming their flight after a short repose. The nest of the "Snow Bunting is made in 
the most retired mountainous districts, and is placed in the cleft of a rock at some distance 
from otlier habitations of the same species. It is built of grass and feathers, and is lined Vvith 
down or the fur of different quadrupeds ; the fox and the liare being the most usual. The 
number of eggs is five, and the color is white spotted with browni. 

The song of tlie Snow Bunting is feeble but pleasing, and is continually uttered while 
the bird is sitting near its nest. There are, besides, several notes j^eculiar to this bird ; one, a 
sweet, short call, and the other a harsh, ringing scream of alarm. In several countries tliis liird 
is valued for its flesh, whic^li when it is fat is thought to be very delicate, and in Greenland it 
is captured in great quantities and dried ; the Laplanders have an idea that it fattens on the 
flowing of tlu; tide and grows lean on the ebb. 

The food of this bird is rather various, but greatly consists of seeds. According to Wilson, 
it " derives a. considerable part of its food from the seeds of certain aquatic plants, which may 
be one reason for its preferring those remote northern countries, so generally intersected with 
streams, jjonds, lalces, and sheltered arms of the sea,, that probtibly abound with such plants. 
In passing down the Seneca, river towards Lake Ontario, late in the month of October, I was 
surjirised by the appearance of a large flock of these l)irds feeding on the surface of the water, 
supported on the top of a growth of weeds that I'ise from the bottom, growing so close together 



THE LAPLAND LONGSPUR. 



353 



that our boat could with great difficulty make its way through them. They were rumiing 
about with great activity ; and those I shot and examined were filled, not only with the seeds 
of tills plant, but with a minute kind of shell-fish that adheres to the leaves. In this kind of 
aquatic excursion they are, doubtless, greatly assisted by the length of their hind heel and 
claws. I also observed a few on Table Rock, above the Falls of Niagara, seemingly in search 
of the same kind of food." 

As has already been noticed, the 
plumage of the Snow Bunting varies 
greatly in its coloring, passing through 
every imaginable stage between the 
vnnter and summer dress. The winter 
plumage of this bird is briefly as fol- 
lows : The back and part of the wings 
are dark black-brown, and the whole 
of the remaining feathers are pure 
snowy-white. In all cases the amount 
of black is very variable, and in some 
instances the entire plumage has been 
white. In the summer, the color is a 
tawny-brown, speckled with white, 
and the back is black, mottled with 
brown. The quill-feathers of the wing 
and tail are black, variegated with bay and white, and the under surface dull white, deepening 
into ta\vny on the flanks. The length of the bird is about seven inches. 

Besides the examples already given, there are very many other species of Bunting 
scattered over the surface of the globe, whose history is equally interesting, but cannot be 
given in a work of the present dimensions. The species, however, which have already been 
mentioned are good examples of the group, and will serve as types by which the character of 
the sTib-families may be known. 




SNOW BUNTING.— /"icc/co/j/ian** nlvatts. 



The Snow Bunting {Plectrophanes nivalis) is common to both hemispheres. 
Arctic circle is inhabited by flocks of this bird during the summer. 



The entire 




LAPLAND hOyoSPVR.—Centrophanes lappouKus. 

The Lapland Longspur, Smith's Bunting, Chestnut-coUared Bunting, McCowans, are 
closely allied species, with similar habits and localities. 



Tot. n.— 45 



354 THE SET-LARK. 

A LARGE number of SpaiTows inhabit the North American continent. Allied to these 
are certain Finches and Buntings. Besides those already enumerated, there are forty-six 
distinct species. Among them the CHippiJfG Sparrow {Spizella domestica) is an interesting 
and very familiar species. It is a migrating bird ; spending his summer in the north, and 
sojourning in the south during the winter season. 

The Tree Sparrow, Field Sparrow and Song Sparrow are also familiar and welcome visitors 
in the summer season. Wilson says of the latter : "Of all our Sparrows, this is the most 
numerous, the most generally diffused over the United States, and by far the earliest, sweetest, 
and most lasting songster. It is only jjartially migratory, some staying in the north during 
winters, in sechided places. It is the first singing-bird in spring, taking precedence even of 
the Pewee and Blue-bird. Its song continues occasionally through the entire summer and fall, 
and is sometimes heard even in the depth of winter. The notes or chant are very sweet, but 
short, resembling the beginning of a canary's song, and frequently repeated, generally from 
the branches of a bush or small tree, where it sits chanting for an hour or more. 



THE LARKS. 

The Larks may be readily recognized by the very great length of the claw of the hind toe, 
the short and conical bill, and the great length of the tertiary quill-feathers of the wing, which 
are often as long as the primaries. 

The first example of these birds is the well-known Sky-lark, so deservedly famous for its 
song and its aspiring character. 

This most interesting bird is a native of Europe, and has cheered many a sad heart by its 
blithe jubilant notes as it wings skyward on strong pinions, or flutters between cloud and earth, 
pouring out its very soul in its rich wild melody. Early in the spring the Lark begins its song, 
and continues its musical effort for nearly eight months, so that on almost every warm day of 
the year on which a country walk is practicable the Sky-lark's happy notes may be heard ring- 
ing throughout the air, long after the bird which utters them has dwindled to a mere speck, 
hardly distinguishable from a midge floating in the sunbeams. 

The natural impulse of the bird to hurl himself aloft Avhile singing is so powerful, that 
when Ivept in confinement it flings itself against the top of the cage, and would damage itself 
severely were not a piece of green baize strained tightly as a roof, so as to take away the shock 
of the upward spring. In a state of nature, the Sky-lark sometimes sings while on the groxintl, 
and has been seen to sit on the top of a post, and from that point of vantage to pour forth its 
light sparkling melody. 

Although it is by no means a familiar bird, nor does it seek the society of human beings, 
it is marvellously indifferent to their presence, and exhibits no discomposure at the close 
vicinity of the laborer, springing from the ground close to his feet, and singing merrily as it 
passes by his face. When pressed by danger, it has even been known to place itself under 
human protection. A gentleman was once riding along a road, when a Sky-lark suddenly 
dropi)ed on the pummel of his saddle, where it lay with outspread wings, as if wounded to 
death. When the rider tiled to take it up, it shifted round the horse, and finally dropped 
under the legs of the horse, where it lay cowering, evidently smitten with terror. On looking 
up, the rider saw a hawk hovering above, evidently waiting to make its swoop, as soon as the 
Lark left her place of refuge. The Lark presently remounted the saddle, and taking advantage 
of a moment when the hawk shifted its position, sprang from the saddle, and sliot into the 
hedge, where it was safe. 

The following curious instance of a Lark's intelligence I had from the lady who was an 
eye-witness of the scene. 

A pair of Larks had built tlieir nest in a grass field, where they hatched a brood of young. 
Very soon after the young birds were out of the eggs, the owner of the field was forced to set 
the mowers to work, the state of the weather forcing him to cut his grass sooner than' usual. 
As the laborers approached the nest, the jjarent birds seemed to take alarm, and at last the 



THE SKY- LARK. 



35f 



motlier bird laid herself flat upon the ground, with outspread wings and tail, while the male 
bird took one of the young out of tlie nest, and by dint of pushing and pulling, got it on its 
motlier' s back. She then flew away with her young one over the fields, and soon returned for 
another. This time, the father took his turn to carry one of the offspring, being assisted by 
the mother in getting it firmly on his back ; and in this manner they carried off the whole 
brood before the mowers had reached their nest. This is not a solitary instance, as I am 
acquainted with one more example of this ingenious mode of shifting the young, when the 
parent-birds feared that their nest was discovered, and carried the brood into some standiu-; 
wheat. 




WoOD-i.Alili, SKU-I^AltJi, aiiU liUNNET-LAlUi.— -itowda ari»/eo, anen&U,&ii6.cnslala. 

Mr. Yarrell, moreover, mentions that the Lark has been seen in the act of carrying away 
her young in her claws, but not on her back as in the previous instance. Perhaps the bird 
would learn the art of carriage by experience, for the poor little bird was dropped from the 
claws of its parent, and falling from a lieight of nearly tliirty feet, was killed by the shock. 
It was a bird some eight or ten days old. The Lark has also been known to carry away its 
eggs when threatened by danger, grasping them with both feet. 

Tlie nest of the Sky-lark is always placed on the ground, and generally in some little 
depression, such as the imprint of a horse's hoof, the side of a mole-hill, or the old furrow 
of a plough. It is very well concealed, the top of the nest being only just on a level mth the 
surface of the ground', and sometimes below it. I have known several instances where the 
young Larks would suffer themselves to be fed by hand as they sat in their nests, but the 
parent birds always seemed rather distressed at the intrusion into their premises. The 
materials of which it is made are dry grasses, bents, leaves, and hair, the hair being generally 
used in the lining. It wiU be seen that the sober coloring of those substances renders the 



356 THE PENCILLED LARK. 

nest so imiform in tint with the surrounding soil, that to discover it is no easy matter. The 
eggs are four or five in number, and their color is gray-yellow washed with light brown, and 
speckled with browai of a darker hue. They are laid in May, and are hatclied in about a 
fortnight. 

The young birds are rather precocious, and leave the nest long before they are fully 
fledged. Even when young, the sexes can be distinguished by the deep yellow of the breast 
and the more upright carriage. Dealei's say that the most certain mode of ascertaining the 
sex of the Sky-lark is to lay it fiat on its back, when, if it be a male, it will spread its tail like 
a fan. 

The flesh of the Lark is very excellent, and thousands of these birds are annually cap- 
tured and sent to market. Although it may seem a pity to eat a bii'd of such musical 
capacities, the Lark mviltiplies so rapidly that their numbers seem to suffer no perceptible 
diminution, and possibly their quick death at the hands of the bird-catcher may be a merciful 
mode of terminating their existence. The food of the Lark consists of grasshoppers, beetles, 
and other insects, worms, spiders, and various grubs, all of which it finds upon the ground. 
In the sjiring and autumn it varies its diet with vegetable food, eating young grass shoots in 
the spring, and seeds of the wheat in the summer. 

The upward flight of this bird is rather remarkable, as it does not consist of a diagonal 
shoot like that of the jDigeon, nor a succession of leaps like that of the eagle and hawk, but is 
a continual fluttering ascent, taking a spii-al course, widening as the bird rises into the air. 
The form of the spiral has been well described by comparing it to a sjiiral line wound around 
the exterior of an ascending column of smoke. Mudie suggests that the bird extends the 
diameter of the spiral in exact propoi'tion to tlie sustaining power of the atmosphere, and 
remarks that while descending the Lark follows the same line which it had taken in its ascent. 

During the spring and summer the Sky-lark lives in pairs, and is assiduously employed in 
attending to the wants of its family, of which it generally produces two broods in each season. 
Towards the end of autumn and throughout the winter the Larks become very gregarious, 
"packing" in flocks of thousands in number, and becoming very fat when snow should cover 
the ground, in which case they speedily lose their condition. These flocks are often aug- 
mented by the arrival of numerous little flocks from the continent, that come flying over the 
sea about the end of autumn, so that the bird-catchers generally reap a ricli harvest in a 
sharp winter. 

The color of the Sky-lark is brown of different shades, mingled with a very little white 
and an occasional tinge of yellow. The feathers on the top of the head form a crest, and are 
dark brown with paler edges. The whole of the upper parts are brown mottled with a 
darker hue in the middle of each of them, the throat and upper part of the breast are grayish- 
brown spotted with dark brown, and the abdomen is yellowish-white deepening into pale 
brown on the flanks. The greater part of the tail is brown, dark in the centre of the feathers 
and lighter upon the edges, the two exterior feathers are white streaked with brown on the 
inner web, and the two next feathers are dark lirown streaked vdth white on the outer web. 
The total length of tliis bird is rather more than seven inches. 



^o^ 



Another species of Lark is often mistaken for tlie preceding species, from which, how- 
ever, it may be distinguished by its inferior dimensions, its shorter tail, and the light streak 
over the eye. This is the Wood-lark, so called on account of its arboreal tendencies and its 
capability to pei'ch upon the bi'anches of trees, a power which seems to be denied to the sky- 
lark. I have, however, seen one or two letters from persons who assert that they have seen 
the sky-lark singing in trees, and proved the truth of their assertion by shooting the songster. 

There is a curious genus of Larks called by the name of Otocoris, or Eared Larks, on 
account of the double pericil, or tuft of feathers, which they bear upon their heads, and which 
project on each side of the face like the pen of a lawyer s clerk from behind his ear. Two 
species of this genus are now well known to ornithologists, the one being the PENOiXiLED 
Lark, and the other the Shore-lark. 



THE SHORE LARK. 



857 



The Pencilled Lark is a very rare bird, and has comparatively recently been introduced to 
science. It is found in Persia, especially about Erzerouin, and is worthy of notice on account 
of the greatly developed pencils of dark feathers from which it derives its name. It is a 
prettily, though not brightly, colored bird. The upper part of tlie body is darkish ash, the 
wings and quill-feathers being of a brownish cast, with the exception of the external primaries, 




PKNCUXED hARK.— Otocorin pettcUlatiu. 



which are white. The forehead, the chin, ear-coverts, breast, and abdomen are white, and 
the two projecting pencils are jetty black. The top of the head and the nape of the neck are 
also ashen, but mth a purple wash. The tail is dark brown, with the exception of the two 
central feathers, which are dusky gi-ay. 

A CLOSELY allied species is the Shore-lark, a bird which has occasionally been seen, and 
of course killed, in England, although its ordinary dwelling-place is in North America. Of 
this bird, AVilson speaks as follows : — 

" It is one of our winter birds of passage, arriving from the north in the faU ; usually 
staying vnth us the whole muter, frequenting sandy plains and open downs, and is numerous 
in the Southern States, as far as Georgia, duriug that season. They fly high in loose, scat- 
tered flocks, and at these times have a singular cry, almost exactly like the sky-lark of Britain. 

"They are very numerous in many tracts of New Jersey, and are frequently brought to 
Philadelphia market. They are then generally very fat, and are considered excellent eating. 
Their food seems principally to consist of small round compressed seeds, buckwheat, oats, 
etc., with a large proportion of gravel. On the flat commons, within the boundaries of the 
city of Philadelphia, flocks of them are regularly seen during the whole winter. In the 
stomachs of them I have found, in numerous instances, quantities of the eggs or larva? of cer- 
tain insects, mixed with a kind of slimy earth. About the middle of March they generally 
disappear, on their route to the north." 

Forster informs us that they visit the environs of Albany first in the beginning of May, 
but go farther north to breed ; that they feed on grass seeds and buds of the spring birch, 
and run into small holes, keeping close to the ground ; from whence the natives caU them 



\ 



358 THE BULLFINCH. • 

'■'■ cld-cTiup-pi-sue.'''' The pencils which decorate the liead of this bird are movable, and are 
raised or depressed at the will of their owiier, thereby producing a very grotesque appearance. 
It is a remarkable fact that when the bird is dead, they lie so closely among the other feathers, 
that they can with difficidty be distinguished. 

The well-known Bxtllfincii is, perhaps, rather more familiar as a cage bird than as a 
denizen of the wood, for it is so remarkably shy and retiring in its habits that it keeps itself 
sedulously out of sight, and though bold enough in the pursuit of food, invading the gardens 
and orchards with considei'able audacity, it yet has a careful eye to its own safety and seldom 
comes within reach of gunshot. 

It cares little for open country, preferring cultivated grounds, woods, and copses, and is 
very fond of orchards and fruit-gardens, finding there its greatest supply of food. This bird 
seems to feed almost wholly on buds during their season, and is consequently shot without 
mercy by the owners of fruit-gardens. The Bullfinch has a curious propensity for selecting 
those buds which would produce fruit, so that the leafage of the tree is not at all diminished. 
Although the general verdict of the garden-keeping public goes against the Bullfinch, there 
are, nevertheless, some owners of gardens wlio are willing to say a kind word for Bully, and 
who assert that its niisdiievous propensities have been much overrated. 

It is true that the bird will oftentimes set hard to work upon a fruit-tree, and ruthlessly 
atrip off every single flower-bud, thereby destroying to all appearance the prospects of the 
crop for that season. Yet there are cases when a gooseberry-bush has thus been completely 
disbudded, and yet borne a heavy crop of fruit. The reason of this curious jihenomenon may 
probably be, th.at some of the buds were attaclved by insects, and that the kind of pruning 
process achieved by the Bullfinch was beneficial rather than hurtful to the plant. 

The Bullfinch affords a curious instance of the change wrought by domestication. 

In its natui'al state its notes are by no means remarkable, but its memory is so good, and 
its powers of imitation So singular, that it can be taught to pipe tunes with a sweet and flute- 
like intonation, having some of that peculiar "woody" quality that is observable in the 
clarionet. It is always captured very young for tliis purpose, and from the moment of its 
capture its instruction begins. The teacher keeps his birds separate, and always plays the tune 
to be learned uj^on some instrument, such as a bird-organ or a flageolet, as soon as he has 
given them their food. The latter instrument always turns out the best birds, as those which 
are taught \vith the liird-organ acquire that mechanical precision of note and total absence 
of feeling which renders the notes of a grinding organ so obnoxious to musical ears. 

The birds are always apt to forget their lesson during the moulting season, and if they are 
permitted at that time to hear other birds, they pick up notes that are entirely foreign to the 
air which they are meant to perform, and so make a sad jumble. I once knew a piping Bull- 
finch, a very amusing bird, who had forgotten the first two or three bars of " Cherry-ripe," 
and always used to commence in a most absurd manner in the very middle of a x^ln'-ise. 
He always finislied with a long whistle, as of surprise, and then began to chuckle and liop 
about the table as if greatly charmed with his own performance. He had a great wish to teach 
me to i^ipe, and used to give me lessons every time I saw him. Sometimes I would pur- 
posely go wrong in tlie tune, when he would break ofl' his pii)ing, scold harshly, and begin 
afresh. 

The Bullfinch is a remai'kably tamable and loving bird, and is easily affected by predilec- 
tion or dislike for different persons, generally holding fast by its first impulse. The bird 
which I have just mentioned was most absurd in the \iolence of his feelings. He was fond of 
scudding about- on a bare mahogany table, and liked to lift up linitting-needles and let them 
fall, merely foi' the pleasure of hearing them rattle against the wood. But towards the lady to 
whom the said needles belonged lie had an unapi)easab]e enmity, and so jealous was he, 
that when she was working at the same table, she dared not touch her thread or scissors 
without looking to see whether Bully w(>re near, for if he could do so he always dashed across 
the table and pecked her fingers, hissing loudly with anger, and all his feathers ruffled up. 

The lady who was in possession of General Bern gives a very interesting account of a Bull- 



A JEALOUS BULLFINCH. 359 

finch whioli went the way of most pets, and perhaps a happier way than that which would 
• have been travelled. in their neglected state : — 

" The loss of our pet, General Bern, was deeply felt. There was a sad vacancy in our 
house again which we did not soon expect to have filled. However, one morning, while I yet 
wept for General Bem, W came in with a small cage in his hand, containing a BuUfinch. 

"'See!' said he, ' I have brought a fine Bullfinch to cheer you; he sings very sweetly 
several German airs, and it will fill Bem's place a little for you.' 

" ' No, no, I cannot let him stay ; no bird can take Bem's pLace ; I do not want another bird 
to love ; take him away.' 

" ' Poor little Bobby, I found him in the room of a rough fellow who did not care for him,, 
and who gladly exchanged the sullen bird, as he called him, for some trinket. A little girl I 
saw there told me how sweetly he sang, and I determined to have him at any rate. Must I 
take the poor bird away ? He will be so startled among my clamorers that he will not 
sing to me.' 

" '"^Vell, let the fellow stay, though I assure you I cannot love Mm.' 

" So he hung the bird-cage on a naU in my room, and I tried to turn my back upon him. 
I could not help observing, however, that he seemed to relish the glow of my wood fire and' 
the warmth of the room greatly, and was commencing to dress his feathers, and to jump about 
m his little cage with quite a cheerful air. 

" I thought him at all events a sensible bird, and determined to give him a larger cage 
duriiiu' the day. I then discovered that he had been so unfortunate as to lose three of 
his toes, perhaps in the struggles he had made when he had been taken prisoner, by means of 
the deceitful bird-limed twig, so that he was almost incapable of resistance, if one chose 
to catch him while in the cage, and then he would only crouch in a corner, and with his bright 
black eye and beseeching chirp pray to be left at peace. 

"For a week or more I took but little notice of him. only admiring his iiTesistible 
song, for he became so cheerful as to sing to us once or twice during the twenty -four hours. ^ 

"One afternoon, however, I caught myself mimicking the droll whistle with which he 
would break his song, and which had precisely the sound we expressed by the whew-o-o-o 
when we make what we know to be some ludicrous mistake. 

"He instantly repeated it more slowly. I tried again and again till he seemed satisfied, 
and commenced tbe fii'st bar of a strain of German music, and then paused. I looked up, 
' What, do you mean to teach me your song ? ' 

" He repeated the notes, and I essayed to reproduce them ; my efl'ort, however, seemed to 
amuse the young master, for he drew out to its fullest extent his whe\v-o-o-o-o, but instantly 
commenced the bar again. By this time I had become thoroughly interested, and not liking 
to be laughed at, made a more successful effort. This time Bob seemed more satisfied, 
and added a few more notes. "WTien I had achieved these, he repeated all and put me to the 
test, and so on through his whole song ; every few moments, however, evidently enjoying 
the fantastic mistakes whicli I made, and uttering his whistle in the most provokingly 
sarcastic tone. I was greatly amused, and related the story with great gusto on my husband's 
return. 

"The next morning when I came near the cage, the bird came as near me as he could 
and commenced a pleasant chirping, which evidently meant ' Good-morning to you.' This 
I returned in tones resembling his as nearly as I could, and it finally ended by my taking the 
young gentleman into my hand and feeding him. He took his seeds from my fingers from 

that time every morning, for two or three weeks. Then we were to leave C • for some time, 

and I sent him back to W , congratulating myself that I was yet heart-whole as far 

as Bobby was concerned. 

" In about a month we returned, and we called to see the birds. What was my surprise- 
when Master Bullfinch instantly descended from his perch to the corner of the cage nearest to 
my face, and after the first cliirp of greeting commenced singing in a sweet undertone, hover- 
ing and turning, his feathers lifted, his eyes gleaming, and his whole expression one of the 



360 SAD END OF A PET. 

most profound admiration for little me. I was quite heartless, only shrugging my shoulders 
and turning away. 

" But I do not know exactly how it came about ; in a few weeks I had the painted finch 
and the Bullfinch quite domesticated in my room, and though I still said I did not love him, 
yet I talked a great deal to the bird, and as the little fellow grew more and more cheerful and 
sang louder and oftener each day, and was getting so handsome, I found plenty of reasons for 
increasing my attention to him, and then abov^e all things he seemed to need my presence quite 
as much as sunshine, for if I went away, if only to my breakfast, he would utter the most 
piteous and incessant cries until I returned to him, when in a breath his tones were changed 
a.nd he sang liis most enchanting airs. He made himself most fascinating by Ms polite adora- 
tion ; he never considered himself sufficiently well dressed ; he was most devoted in his efforts 
to enchain me by his melodies. Art and nature both were called to his aid, until, finally, 
I could no longer refrain from expressing in no measured terms my admiration. He was then 
satisfied, not to cease his attention, but to take a step further ; he presented me with a straw, 
and even with increased appearance of adulation. 

" From that time he claimed me wholly ; no one else could approach the cage ; he would 
fight most desperately if any one dared to :ii)])r()acli, and if they laid a finger on me his fury 
was unbounded ; he would dash himself against the l)ars of his cage, and bite the wires as if 
he would obtain liis liberty at all hazards, and thiis be enabled to punish the offender. 

" If I went away now lie would first mourn, then endeavor to win me back by sweet 
songs. In the morning I was awakened by his cries, and if I but moved m.y hand, his moans 
were changed to glad greetings. If I sat too quietly at my drawing, he would become weary 
seemingly, and caU me to him ; if I would not come, he would say in gentle tone, ' Come 
here ! come here ! ' so distinctly that all my friends recognized the meaning of the accents at 
once, and then he would sing to me. All the day he would watch me ; if I was cheerful, 
he sang and was so gay ; if I was sad, he would sit by the hour watching every movement, and 
if I arose from my seat I was called, ' Come-e-here ; ' and whenever he could manage it, if the 
wind blew my hair within his cage he would cut it off, calling me to help him, as if he thought 
I had no right to wear anything else than feathers, and if I would have hair it was only suit- 
ab\e to nest-building ! If I let him fly about the room with the painted finch, he would follow 
so close on my footsteps that I was in constant terror that he would be stepped upon or lost in 
following me from the room. At last he came to the conclusion that I could not build a 
nest ; I never seemed to understand what to do with the nice materials he gave me, and when 
I offered to return them, he threw his body to one side and looked at me so drolly from 
one eye, that I was quite abashed. From that time he seemed to think I must be a very young 
creature, and more assiduously fed me at stated periods during the day, throwing up from his 
own stomach the half -digested food for my benefit, precisely in the manner of feeding young 
birds. 

"But I did not like this sort of relationship very much, and determined to keep it down, 
and forthwith commenced by coldly refusing to be fed, and as fast as I could bring my 
hard heart to do it, breaking down all the gentle bonds between us. 

' ' The result was sad enough ; the poor fellow could not bear it. He sat in wondering 
grief ; he would not eat. At night I tooli him in my hand and held him to my cheek ; 
he nestled closely and seemed more happy, although his little heart was too full to let 
him speak. In the morning I scarcely answered his tender low call, 'Come-e-here!' but I 
sat down to my drawing, thinking if I could be so cold much longer to so gentle and uncom- 
plaining a creature. 

" I presently arose and went to the cage. Oh, my poor, poor bird ; he lay strviggling on 
the floor. I took him out, I tried to call him back to life in every way that I knew, but it was 
useless ; I saw lie was dying, his little frame was even then growing cold within my warm 
palm. I uttered the call he knew so well ; he threw back his head with its yet nndimmed 
eye and tried to answer — the effort was made with his last breath. His eye glazed as I gazed, 
and his attitude was never changed ; his little heart was broken. I can never forgive myself 
for my cruelty." 



THE CROSS-BILL. 30 j 

Those who desire to find the nest of the Bullfinch must search in the thickets and most 
retired parts of woods or copses, and they may, perhaps, find the nest hidden very carefully 
away in some leafy branch at no great height from the ground. A tliick bush is a very favorite 
spot for the nest ; but I have more than once found them in hazel branches, so slender that 
their weight has bent them aside. The eggs are very prettily marked with deep violet 
and purple-brown streaks and mottlings upon a greenish-white ground, and are easily recog- 
nizable by the more or less perfect ring which they form round the larger end of the eog. 
The eggs are genei-ally five la number. 

The parents are very fond of their young, and retain them through the autumn and 
winter, not casting them off until the next breeding season. The families assemble together in 
little fiocks only five or six in number, and may be seen flying about in company, but never 
associating with birds of any other species. 

In confinement it is a very jealous and mthal a most combative bird, not easily daunted, 
and fighting with its fellow-prisonei-s till one or the other is vanquislied, or even killed. These 
birds have been known to fight continually with other inhabitants of the same cage, and even 
to kill the goldfinch in spite of his long pointed bill and high spirit. Many persons who 
keep Bullfinches find their plumage getting gradually darker until at last it assumes a black 
hue. This change of color is mostly produced by two causes — one the confinement m a smoky 
atmosphere, and the other the presence of hemp-seed in the food. Hemp-seed, when too 
liberally given, has often this effect upon the cage-birds, and even the light colors of the gold- 
finch will darken into dingy black and brown under its influence. The reason of so curious a 
phenomenon is not known, but it is virtually a problem which, when solved, may be of con- 
siderable value. 

The color of the adult male bird is as follows : — 

The base of the neck and the back are beautifid slaty-gray, which has been known to take 
a roseate hue. The top of the head, the greater wing-coverts, the xipper tail-coverts, and the 
chin are jetty-black, and the tips of the wing-coverts are snowy-white, so that they form 
a bold white bar across the wing. The quill-feathers of the wing and tail are deep black with 
a perceptible violet lustre, and the sides of the head, the throat, breast, and abdomen are light 
and rather peculiar red with a slight chestnut tinge. As is the case with most birds, varieties 
are not uncommon. The bill is deep sliining black. 

The female is not so brilliantly colored as her mate, the gray of the back being of a rather 
dingy cast, and the red of the under portions being of a purplish-brown hue. Young birds are 
colored like the female, except that the head is not black. The total length of the bird rather 
exceeds six inches. 



THE CROSS-BILLS, THE PLANT-CUTTERS, AND THE COLIES. 

The Cross-bills are most remarkable birds, and have long been celebrated on account of 
the singular form of beak from which they derive their name. 

In all these birds, the two mantiibles completely ci'oss one another, so that at first sight 
the structure appears to be a malformation, and to prohibit the bird from picking up seeds or 
feeding itself in any way. But when the Cross-bill is seen feeding, it speedily proves itself to 
be favored with all the ordinary faculties of birds, and to be as capable of obtaining its food as 
any of the straight-beaked bmls. 

The food of the Cross-biU consists almost, if not wholly, of seeds, which it obtains in 
a very curious manner. It is very fond of apple-pips, and settling on the tree where ripe 
apples are to be found, attacks the fruit with its beak, and in a very few moments cuts a hole 
fairly into the "core," from which it picks out the seeds daintly and eats them, rejecting the 
ripe pulj^y fruit in which they had been enveloped. As the Cross-bill is rather a voracious 
bird, the havoc which it will make in an orchard may be imagined. 

Some persons say that the bird is able to cut an apple in two with a single bite ; but T 
should fancy that in such cases the apple must be of the smallest and the bird of the largest. 

Vol. n.— 16. 



362 NESTING OF THE CROSS-BILL. 

for it is hardly larger than the bullfinch, and the head is not at all disproportionate in length 
to the rest of the body. 

'I'liis bird is also very fond of the seeds of cone-bearing trees, and haunts the pine-forests 
in great numbers. While engaged in eating, it breaks the cones from branches, and holding 
them firmly in its feet after the fashion of the parrots, inserts its beak below the scales, 
wrenches them away, and with its bone-tipped tongue scoops out the seed. They get their 
beaks under the scales by partially opening their mouths, so as to bring the extremities of the 
bill immediately over each other, thus forming a kind of wedge. The points of the beak are 
then easily inserted like a wedge under the scales, and by suddenly drawing the lower man- 
dible sideways, the scale is detached from the cone. 

The power of the beak is quite extraordinary, as the bird evinces no difficulty in breaking 
open almonds while in the shell, and getting at the kernel. This feat is achieved by pecking 
a hole in the shell, pushing the point of the beak into the aperture, and then wrenching the 
shell asunder by a sudden turn of the bill. The apparently clumsy beak is thus shown to be 
an apparatus adapted in the most perfect manner to the wants of its owner, and to be capable, 
not only of exerting great force on occasions, but of picking up little seeds as well as could be 
done by a sparrow or a canary. Indeed, the bird can shell hemp and canary seed with perfect 
ease and readiness. 

As might be gathered from the description of the habits of the Cross-bill, the beak and all 
its attendants are of very gi'eat strength, the muscles on each side of the face being very con- 
spicuous for their size and development. Tlie position of the two mandibles is not at all 
imifonn, nor does it depend, according to some jjersons, on the sex of the bird. Sometimes 
the upper mandible is turned to the right and the lower to the left, while in other individuals 
the reverse arrangement is followed. In either case, the lower mandible is that which is used 
for the wrenching asunder of the coverings which hide its food. 

The Cross-bill is not common in England, although when it does make its appearance 
it generally comes over in flocks. Usually, it consorts in little assemblies consisting of the 
parents and their young, but it has often been known to associate in considerable numbers. 
It is a very shy bird, and has a peculiar knack of concealing itself at a moment's notice, press- 
ing itself closely upon the branches at the least alarm, and remaining without a movement or 
a sound to indicate its position until the danger has departed. 

Mr. Yarrell mentions that on one occasion he had succeeded in shooting seven of these 
birds upon a tree, and as they still hung upon the boughs, one of the party volunteered to 
climb the tree in search of them. When he had got among the branches, a iiock of eighteen 
or twenty Cross-bills suddenly flew out, uttering a shrill, sharp ci*y of alarm. Sometimes flocks 
of great extent have been noticed in England, upwards of a hundred individuals having been 
seen in a single flock. 

In Sweden and Norway the Cross-bill is a very common bird ; and the north of Europe 
seems to be their proper breeding-place. 

The nests are always placed in rather close proximity, so that if one nest is found, others 
are sure to be at no great distance. The nest is made of little flr-twigs, mosses, and wool, and 
is of rather a loose texture. It is always found upon the part of the branch that is nearest 
to the stem. The lir is the tree that is almost always, if not invariably, employed by this bird as 
the nesting-place. The eggs are generally three, but sometimes four in number, and are some- 
thing like those of the greenfinch, but rather larger. 

The nest is generally built at the end of February or the beginning of March, and the 
young are remarkable, from the fact that their beaks are not crossed like those of the parents, 
but made much like those of any other young bird, the crossing not taking place until they 
are attaining an age and development which will enable them to shift for themselves. 

The color of this bird is vaiiable in the extreme, seeming to depend on external circum- 
stances for its difference of tint and depth of hue. 

The adult male assumes several varieties of tint, the plumage being colored with red, 
yellow, or orange, which latter hue, as Mr. Yarrell well observes, is partly covered by the 
mixture of the other two. His description of the different kinds of plumage is very interesting : 




CROSS BILLS. 



THE CHILIAN PLANT-GUTTER. 303 

"A red male now before me, that had completed Ms moult during Ms first autumn, has 
the back dull reddish-brown, darkest in color towards the tip of the upper mandible ; the head, 
rump, throat, breast, and belly tile-red ; the feathers on the back mixed with some brown, 
producing a chestnut-brown ; wing-coverts, and quills, and tail-feathers nearly uniform dark 
brown. 

" A. second male bird, killed at the same time as the red bird just described, has the head, 
rump, and under surface of the body pale yellow, tinged with green, the back olive-brown ; 
wings and tail-feathers like those of the red bird. 

" A third male, killed at the same time, has the top of the head and the back a mixture 
of reddish-brown and dark orange ; the rump reddish-orange ; the upper tail-coverts light 
orange ; the cMn, throat, and upper part of the breast red, passing on the lower part of the 
breast, belly, and sides to orange. 

" Red males that have moulted in confinement have changed during the moult to greenish- 
yellow, and others to light yellow ; thus apparently indicating that the yellow color is that of 
the older livery ; but young males, as before observed, certainly sometimes change at once to 
yellow, without going through either the red or the orange-colored stages. The lightest colors, 
whether gi-een, yellow, red, or orange, pervade the feathers of the rump and the upper tail- 
coverts. 

" In captivity I have known several instances of red and yellow-colored specimens chang- 
ing back to dull brown, as dark or even darker than their early plumage. This might be the 
effect of particular food, which is known to exercise such an influence on other birds ; but 
whether having once assumed light tints, they ever in a wild and healthy state go back to 
olive-brown pi' more dull colors, has not, I believe, been ascertained." 

The young birds are dark gi'een, covered with horizontal dashes of black. They after- 
wards assume their yearling plumage, which is a general dull brown, grayish-white on the 
head, and with the under surface of the body liberally streaked with a darker tint. The 
female is of a green-yellow, vdth a dash of brown on the top of the head and the upper sur- 
face of the body, changing into a purer yellow on the upper tail-coverts. 

The total length of the male bii'd is rather more than six inches, and the female frequently 
reaches seven inches in length. 

The Cross-bill {Loxia ciirvirostra) is very closely allied to the European species. It 
breeds in the high northern latitudes, and during the severe winter weather visits the pine 
forests of New England and the Middle States. The color of plumage is much the same as in 
the Purple I'inch and Pine Finch. When kept as a pet, in a cage, it has many of the habits 
of the parrots. Two species are recognized — the present, and the White-winged. 

There are thirteen other birds closely allied to the preceding, including the Rosy Finch, 
Mealy Red -poll, Linnets, and other interesting species. 

The Plant-cutteks derive their name from their habit of seizing the plants on which 
they feed, and nipping their stem's asunder with their sharp bills as neatly as if they had 
been cut with shears. They are ail of moderate size, about equalling the bullfinch in dimen- 
sions. In order to enable them to obtain their food, their beaks are very sharp and slightly 
notched. 

The Chilian Plant-cftter is rather a large species, being equal to a thrush in dimen- 
sions. It is a common bird in its native country, and is most destructive to the crops. It is 
very fond of sprouting corn, and, not content mth eating the green blades, it seems to hud 
such pleasure in the exercise of its bill that it cuts down hundreds of stalks as if in mere 
wantonness, and leaves the green stems lying strewed about the ground. On account of these 
destructive propensities, it is greatly persecuted by the agriculturists, who shoot it and trap 
it, and further aid in its extermination by setting a price on its head, and giving a certain sum 
to every one who will bring in a dead bird. 



364 



THE SENEGAL, OR LONG-TAILED COLT. 



..\ 



_ \ " 
" \ 












The nest is made on tlie summit of a lofty tree in some very retired situation, so tliat in 
ppite of all the persecution with which it meets, it still holds its ground against the farmers. 

In color it is sober ; the 
usual tints being gray, 
with a bronze tinge on 
the back, and somewhat 
of a slaty hue upon the 
'1 \ breast arid abdomen. The 
qui 11 -feathers of the wing 
and tail are black. Its 
voice is rather harsh, and 
consists of a series of 
rough broken notes. 

The Colies form a 
small family of birds, 
whose exact place among 
the feathered tribes seems 
to be rather uncertain. 
They are inhabitants of 
Africa and India ; and as 
their plumage is of a soft 
and silken character, and 
generally of sober tints, 

they often go by the name of Mouse-birds, a title which is also due to tbeir mouse-like 

manner of creeping among the boughs of trees. 




CHILIAN I'LANT-CUTTEii.— /■/((/< o.o«i.i rara. 



The Senegal, or Long-tailed Coly, is found in Africa, in the country from which it 
derives its name. 




SENEGAL COLY.— Colhis mmmirus 



It is a pretty bird, and as it traverses the branches has a peculiarly elegant appearance ; 
its long tail seeming to balance it in the extraordinary and varied attitudes which it assumes^ 



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7T/ E have concluded to submit for public patronage a work with the above title, being a series 
of exquisite Engravings representing the ANIMAL WoRLD, executed with great scientific 
accuracy, and accompanied by full Descriptive Text, written in popular terms, so as to 
delight and instruct the people. Anyone who has considered the subject must be at a loss to under- 
stand why an ILLUSTRATED Natural History, comprehensive and at the same time popular, 
has not before this been published in this country. Indeed any lover of animals who has visited the 
great museums and zoological gardens and has had access to books of engravings in the public 
libraries, could not fail to remark the wealth of material in existence devoted to this subject. Being 
confirmed in our conviction of the desirability of such a work, we laid under contribution the best 
existing authorities for the production of most perfect representations of all the more important 
living creatures, and among the artists whose delineations will delight the reader, we may mention 
Harrison Weir, Wolf, Coleman, Fr. Specht, and Mutzel. By far the majority of the engravings in 
these volumes are from drawings made from the living animals, many at the Zoological Society's 
Gardens in London, England. 

We purpose that our patrons shall be aided and interested in their study by such an array of 
pictures as has never before embellished any'Natural History. In numerous instances the engraving 
is printed in oil-colors, and this portion of the illustrations has been taken charge of by Messrs. L. 
Prang & Co., of Boston, who we believe rank foremost for high artistic results in this department of 
printing. These Oleographs were copied under the superintendence of Mr. Prang from the renowned 
" Tafein " of " Brehm's Thierleben," so that they may be declared perfectly reliable. 

We sought competent advice from various sources as to the most suitable text that should ac- 
company this panorama of handsome Engravings. It was found impossible to embody all the present 
ideas of naturalists in a single work like this on account of the rapid advances and constant changes in 
their knowledge of, and habits of thought respecting, the Animal World. And it seemed to. us cor- 
rect that the true object of Zoology is not to arrange, to number, and to ticket animals in a formal 
inventory, but to inquire into their life-nature, and not simply to investigate the lifeless organism. 

What do we know of " Man '* from the dissecting-room ? Is it not Man, the warrior, the states- 
man, the poet, etc., that we are interested in ? With all veneration which attaches itself to those 
who are the accredited possessors of abstruse learning, their inordinate use of phraseology detracts 
too much, we fear, from the fascination that the study of the Animal World would otherwise yield, 
and as we are not content to have our work restricted to a favored few, we thought the task placed 
in our hands to be to keep the work free from a repellant vocabulary of conventional technicalities. 
Our endeavor has been to find an author whose work would be noted for its fund of anecdote and 
vitality rather than for merely anatomical and scientific presentation, and we arrived at the conclu- 
sion that we could not do better than avail ourselves of the Rev. J. G. Wood's comprehensive work 
— a work most popularly approved by speakers of the English language. It would be superfluous to 
say one word concerning the standard character of his book, from the pages of vvhich old and young 
at the other side of the Atlantic have obtained so much instruction and rational amusement. Avoid- 
ing the lengthened dissertations and minute classifications of specialists, he presents to his readers in 
popular terms a complete treatise on the Animal Kingdom of all climes and countries. The one 
objection that could be urged against it was, that animal life in America might be treated' more fully 
and American forms given more consideration. In order to obviate this diawback and to do full 
justice to the creatures of our own country, we secured the aid of Dr. J. B. Holder, of the Ameri- 
can Museum of Natural History in New York, an undoubted American authority, who has adapted 
Wood's work to American wants and given prominence to American forms of Animal life. 

The splendid work on Rodentia, by Allen, Coues, and others, will be fully consulted. The 
^ ^ valuable work on North American Birds, by Baird, Brewer, and Ridgway, will be the guide in the 

^ u r - treatment of birds. The late arrangement of the classification and nomenclature of North American 
S 2 g a ^ Birds, by Mr. Ridgway, and the Committee on that subject of the Ornithologists' Union, will be 
5 "c S w j; utilized in full. The arrangement of Mammals will be after the latest classification by Professor 
^ S '^ ^ So Flower, of the Zoological Society of London. So that this will be the first popular Natural History 



1 o 



H 33 ? 



g worthy of the name that has made its appearance here, which gives due and full recognition to the 

animate world surrounding us. 



ZcxwxQ Of ipublication. 

The extent of the work will be 68 parts of 28 pages, at the price of 25 cents each. The entire publication will 
contain 34 Oleographs and 68 Full Page Engravings on Wood, besides many hundreds of exquisite Illustrations 
interspersed through the text. The parts will be issued every two weeks, and are payable only as delivered. No 
subscriber's name will be received for less than the entire work, and anj'one removing, or not regularly supplied, will 
please address the Publisher by mail. 

N.E. SELMAR HESS, Publisher, New York. 



ISSUED BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY, AND NOT FOR SALE IN BOOK STORES. 




PART 37 



COMPLETE IN 68 PARTS. 



25 CENTS. 



THE VIOLET PLANTAIN-EATER. 366 

and its highly movable crest being coutinually raised or depressed, giving it a very spirited 
aspect. 

It is gregarious, living in little companies of four or five in number, and is continually 
jumpiag and running about the branches in search of its food, which consists of fruit and 
buds. The grasp of its feet is very powerful, as much so indeed as that of the parrot ; and 
while traversing the boughs it may often be seen hanging by its feet with its head downward, 
and occasionally remaining for some time suspended by a single foot. La Vaillant says that 
this bird, in common \vith other members of the same family, is fond of sleeping in this 
singular attitude, and that in the early morning it may often be found so benumbed with cold, 
that it can be taken by hand before it can loosen its hold from the bougii v/hich it grasps so 
firmly. 

Owing to the formation of its feet, which are almost wholly formed for grasping, it is 
seldom seen on the ground, and when it has alighted, is awkward in its movements. Among 
the boughs, however, it is all life and energy, leaping about with a quick vivacity that reminds 
the observer of our common long-tailed titmouse. In climbing from one branch to another, as 
in lowering themselves, the Colies frequently use their beaks to aid them, after the well- 
known practice of the parrots. 

The nests of the Colies are all large and roiuided, and are generally placed in close prox- 
imity to each other, five or six being often found on the same branch. The materials of which 
they are made are slender t-wigs externally, lined with mosses and soft feathers. The number 
of the eggs is from four to six. When fat and in good condition, the flesh is said to be deli- 
cate and tender. In size it is about equal to a blackbird. 

The general color of this species is a rather light chestnut-gray, brightening into ruddy 
fawn on the forehead. The crest is composed of fine and slender feathers. The nape of the 
neck takes a blue tint, and the back is gray, changing to slaty-blue on the upper tail-coverts. 
The chin and the abdomen are pearl -gray, and the chest is of the same light ruddy fawn as the 
forehead. The beak is thick and sturdy, and is black at the tips, and brown towards the 
base. 

Allied to the colies we find another curious and interesting group of birds called the 

Plantain-eaters. 

These birds are natives of Africa, where they are not at all uncommon, and in the forests 
which they frequent may be seen flitting among the branches of the lofty trees, gliding among 
the boughs Avith great adroitness, and displaying their shining silken plumage to the best 
advantage. They are wary birds, and seem to have tolerably accurate ideas respecting the 
range of shot, for they mostly keep to the highest parts of the tree, and can but seldom be 
approached sufficiently near to be killed by the gun. Their food is almost wholly composed 
of fruits, and for feeding on such substances they are well suited by their large and peculiarly 
formed beaks. 

They are all handsome birds, their dimensions averaging those of the European jay, and 
their plumage glancing with violet, green, purple, and red of different shades. One of the 
finest of the species is the Violet Plantain-eater, a bird which is found about Senegal and 
the (rold Coast. It is remarkable for the exti-aordinary shape and dimensions of the beak, which 
is everywhere large and prominent, but is especially swollen towards the base, where it 
expands into a large shield-like mass of horny substance, which spreads over the forehead as 
far as the crown, where it terminates in a semicircular thickened line. The ridge of the beak 
is greatly arched, and its sides are much comi^-essed. Its color is equally singular with its 
shape, for it is of a fine golden-yellow, passing into rich crimson on the upper part of the 
base. 

The top of the head is crimson, not unlike that of the beak, and the feathers are very soft 
and fine, bearing a velvety or plush-like aspect. The general color of the plumage is very deep 
violet, appearing black in the shade, and glossed with rich green in many lights. Part of the 
primary quills of all the secondaries are carmine, softening into delicate lilac, and tipped with 
deep violet. The large and powerful legs are black. 



366 



THE BLUE PLANTAIN-EATER. 



Another beautiful example of this group is the White-crested Touraco. 

This bii'd is remarkable not only for its handsome plumage, but for its peculiar customs. 
It is even more suspicious and wary than the previous species, and has a peculiar talent 
for concealing itself. Let a White-crested Touraco only take the alaim, and in a second of 
time it wHl be so well hidden that even a practised eye can scarcely obtain a clue of its 
whereabouts. 

It is generally to be found among the branches of trees, and if it should be alarmed, and 
fly from one tree to another, it will vanish from sight so I'apidly that the only way to get a 
shot at it is by sending some one up the tree to beat each bough in succession. While travers- 
ing the branches, it runs along them, always keeping its body in the same line with the bough, 
so that if it fears any danger, it has only to crawl closely to the upper part of the bough to be 
quite imperceptible from below. Like the European creepers, or the squirrel, it often avails 
itself of the thick trunlv of a tree to hide itself from a supposed enemy, slipping quietly round 
the trunk, and always keeping on the opposite side. 




mlK'^^.u^^'' 



K^^ 



VIOLET PLANTAIN-EATER.— JfosopAojo violacea. 



Some of these birds are extremely inquisitive, and, in spite of their native caution, will 
follow a traveller for miles ; keeping just out of gunshot, and screaming loudly the whUe. The 
general color of this species is olive-green above, except on the crest, which is also green, but 
of a lighter hue, and is edged Avith a delicate line of white. The wings take a bluish-purple 
tint, especially upon the primary quill-feathers, and there is a horizontal streak of pure white 
beneath each eye. It is about as large as a common jackdaw. 



The Blue Plantain-eater, whose color may be known by its popular title, is generally 
to be found on the lofty trees that skirt the edges of streams, either perched demurely on the 
boughs, or flitting rapidly through them in search of the fniits and insects on which it feeds. 

The wings of this species are but weak, and are unable to endure a lengthened flight. It 
is rather remarkable that this species should have two distinct modes of flight : the one — which 
is its most usual method — is by a succession of rapid and apparently laborious flappings ; while 
the otherisagnicefnl soar, in which the bird floats softly through the air, with wings extended 
and motionless. It never employs its wings if it can avoid doing so, and even in making a short 



HORNBILLS. 367 

■flight it avails itself of every opportunity of alighting, thinking, like the unfortunate people 
who live in the courts of royalty, that to sit whenever it gets a chance is the wisest course of 
conduct. 

This duplicate kind of movement extends to its feet as well as its wings. Sometimes it 
will take a lazy fit, and wUl sit in a lumpish, drowsy position, as if it were one of the slowest 
birds among the feathered tribes, its body all huddled up, and its head sunk between its 
shoulders. But when roused, it leaps in a single instant from this apathetic condition into 
graceful vivacity, every movement full of life and sparkling energy, traversing the boughs 
with wonderful speed, its head and neck being darted in every direction, like that of a snake, 
its crest rapidly raised and depressed, its eyes full of light, and its voice uttering loud and 
animated cries. 

The voice of this and other Plantain-eaters is always of a loud character. It is quite as 
shy as its comrades, concealing itself in the same effective manner, and displaying more than 
ordinary precaution when in the vicinity of human habitations. The nest of this bird is made 
in the hollow of some decaying tree, llie general color of this bird is dark blue, marked with 
verditer-green. The crest is almost black, the abdomen is greenish, and the thighs chestnut. 

The remarkable bird known by the name of Hoatziis^, or Crested Touraco, is the sole 
example of the family or sub-family, as the case may be, to which it belongs. Its exact place 
in the catalogue of birds is rather unsettled, some authors considering it to belong to the 
poultry, or the gallinaceous birds, and others looldng upon it as one of the true Passerines. 

It is a very fine bird, being nearly as large as a peacock, and having somewhat of the same 
gait and mode of carriage. The peculiar construction of the foot, the outer toe of which can- 
not be turned backward, has induced zoologists of the present day to separate it from 'the 
plantain-eaters, and to consider it as a unique representative of a sub-family. 

This bird is a native of tropical America, being found in Guiana and the Brazils, where it 
leads a gregarious life, assembling together in large flocks, on the banks of creeks and rivers. 
Although so closely resembling the gallinaceous birds in general appearance and habits, its 
flesh is, fortunately for itself, qiute uneatable, being impregnated with a strong and peculiar 
odor that deters any but a starving man from making a meal upon it. Perhaps this odor 
may be caused by its food, which consists almost wholly of the leaves of the arum. 

The nest of the Hoatzin is made in the lower part of a tree, and is composed exteriorly of 
-slender twigs, and interiorly of mosses and other soft substances. The eggs are about three 
or four in number, and their color is grayish-white, besprinkled with red spots. Tlie head of 
this species is adorned with a tuft of elongated and narrow feathers. Its color is brown above, 
striped with white, and the breast and throat are light brown washed with gray. Tlie abdomen 
is deep chestnut, and the tail tipped with white. The biU is short, thick, very convex, and 
hent downwards at the tip. 



HORNBILLS. 

There are many strange and wonderful forms among the feathered tribes ; but there are, 
perhaps, none which more astonish the beholder who sees them for the first time, than the 
group of birds kno^vn by the name of Hoekbills. 

They are all distinguished by a very large beak, to which is added a singular helmet-like 
appendage, equalling the beak itself in some species, while in others it is so small as to attract 
but little notice. On account of the enormous size of the beak and the helmet, which in some 
-species recede to the crown of the head, the bird appears to be overweighted by the mass of 
horny substance which it has to carry ; but on a closer investigation, the whole structure is 
found to be singularly light, and yet very strong. 



8G8 



THE RHINOCEROS HORNBILL. 



On cutting asunder the beak and helmet of a Hornbill, we shall find that the outer 
shell of horny substance is very thin indeed, scarcely thicker than the paper on which this 
description is printed, and that the whole interior is composed of numerous honey-combed 
cells, with very thin walls and very wide spaces, the walls of the cells being so arranged as 
to give very great strength when the bill is used for biting, and with a very slight expenditure 
of material. The whole structure, indeed, reminds us greatly of that beautiful bony network 
which gives to the skull of the elephant its enormous size and lightness, and which is fully 
described in the volume on Mammalia, page 598. The general appearance of the dried head 
of a Hornbill, with its delicate cellular arrangements, and its thin, polished, bony shell, 
is not unlike the well-known shell of the paper nautilus, and crumbles in the grasp almost as 
easUy. 

The most common is the Rhinoceros Hornbill {Biiceros rhinoceros) : one of the hand- 
somest is the White-crested Hornbill {Buceros aJbocristdius) ; other interesting species are 
the Crested Hornbill {Biiceros cristdtus), the Two-iiokned Hornbill {Biiceros bicornis), and 
the Woodpecker Hornbill {Buceros pica.). 




TWO-HOENED HORNBILL.— iiuccro* tiiconils. 



Perhaps the greatest development of beak and helmet is found in the Rhinoceros Horn- 
bill, although there are many otliers which have these appendages o-f great size. 

As is the case with all the Hornbills, the beak varies greatly in proportion to the age of 
the individual, the helmet being almost imperceptible when it is first hatched, and the bill not 
very striking in its dimensions. But as the bird gains in strength, so does the beak gain in 



THE WHITE-CRESTED HORNBILL. 369 

size, and when it is adult the helmet and beak attain theii- full proportions. It is said that 
the age of the HomblU' may be known by inspecting the beak, for that in every year a wrinkle 
is added to the number of the furrows that are found on the; bill. 

The object of the huge helmet-like appendage is very obscure, but the probability is that 
it may aid the bird in x^roducing the loud roaring cry for which it is so celebrated. When at 
liberty in its native forests, the Hornbill is lively and active, leaping from bough to bough 
with great lightness, and ajjpearing not to be in the least incommoded by its large beak. It 
ascends the tree by a succession of easy jumps, each of which brings it to a higher branch, 
and when it has attained the very summit of the tree, it stops and pours forth a succession of 
loud roaring sounds, which can be heard at a considerable distance. 

The flight of the Hornbill is rather laborious, and perfonned by rapid flappings of the 
wings. While in the air the bird has a habit of clattering its great mandibles together, 
which, with the noise of the ^\ings, produces a most weird-like sound in the forest depths, 
which is a fertile source of alann to the timid traveller. 

The food of the Hornbill seems to consist both of animal and vegetable matters, and 
Lesson remarks that those species which inhabit Africa live on carrion, while those tliat are 
found in Asia feed on fruits, and that their flesh acquires thereby an agreeable and peculiar 
flavor — something, we may presume, like that of the famous lamb fed upon pistachio nuts. 
Perhaps this statement may be too sweeping, and the birds of both continents may in all 
probability be able to eat both animal and vegetable food. 

At all events, the enonnous beak of the Rhinocei'os Hornbill, which is one of the Asiatic 
species, appears to be made for the express purpose of destroying animal life, as is now known 
to be the case with t! e ocrresponding member of the toucan. It is hard to think that so for- 
midable a weapon should be given to the Hornbill merely for the purpose of eating fruits ; 
and when we remember that many of the species are acknowledged to be carnivorous, and 
that tlie toucan employs its huge and similarly formed beak in the destruction of small 
quadrupeds and birds, it is but rational to suppose that the Hornbill acts often in a similar 
fashion. 

One individual, a Concave Hornbill {Bucei'os cavdtus), which was kept in captivity, was 
much more attached to animal than vegetable food, and, like the toucan, would seize with 
avidity a dead mouse, and swallow it entire, after squeezing it once or twice between the saw- 
shaped edges of its beak. The Rhinoceros Hornbill is said to be oftentimes extremely 
carnivorous in its habits, and to follow the hunters for the purpose of feeding upon the offal 
of the deer and other game which they may have killed. 

While on the ground, the movements of the Hornbill are rather peculiar, for instead of 
walking soberly along, as might be expected from a bird of its size, it hops a,long by a suc- 
cession of jumps. It is but seldom seen on the ground, preferring the trunks of trees, which 
its powerful feet are well calculated to clasp firmly. 

The color of the Rhinoceros Hornbill is as follows : The general tint of the body is dusky 
black, changing to grayish-white below. The feathers of the head and neck are long and 
loose, and more like hairs than feathers. The tail is of a grayish-white, with a bold black 
band running across it near the extremity. The enormous bill is generally of a yellowish- 
white color, the upper mandible being of a beautiful red at its base, and the lower man- 
dible black. The helmet is colored with black and white. The length of the biU is about 
ten inches. 

Another species of this curious group is the White-crested Hornbill, a bird which is 
remarkable for the j)eculiarity from which it derives its name. 

Although not nearly so large as the preceding species, it is a truly handsome bird, and, 
except by an ornithologist, would hardly be recognized as belonging to the same group as the 
Rhinoceros Hornbill. Its beak, although very large in proportion to the rest of the bird, is 
not so prominent a feature as in the other HornbilLs, and its beautiful white fan-shaped crest 
takes off much of the grotesque aspect which would otherwise be caused by the large bill. 
Very little of the helmet is visible in this species, as it is of comparatively smaU dimensions. 

Vol. IL— 47. 



370 THE WHITE-CRESTED HORNBILL. 

and is hidden by the plumy crowTi which decorates the head. The tail is vei-y long, and 
is gTaduated and colored in a very bold manner, each feather being black, except at the 
extreme tips, which are snowy white. The general color of this bird is deep, dull black, 
through which a few very small white feathers protrude at distant intervals ; the tail is black, 
each feather being tipped with white, and the crest is white, with the exception of the black 
shaft and black tip of each feather. 

The noise produced l)y a flock of Hornbills passing through the air is said to be frightful. 
The constant clattering of their bills with tlie utterance of loud croaking, and the rush of such 
large bodies through the air, has much the effect of a brisk wind. Their voice is like a blast 
from a bugle. 

The nest of some Hornbills is most singular. "The first time I saw one," says Livingston, 
"was at Kolsberg, when I had gone to the forest for some timber. Standing by a tree, a 
native looked behind me and exclaimed, ' there is a nest of a Korwe ! ' I now saw a slit only 
about a half-inch wide, and three or four inches long, in a slight hollow of the tree. Tliinking 
the word Korwe denoted some small animal, I waited with interest to see what he would 
extract. He broke the clay, which surrounded the .slit, put in his arm, and pulled out a 
Tockas, or Red-breasted Hornbill. He informed me that when the female enters her nest, she 
submits to real confinement ; the male plasters up the entrance, leaving only a narrow slit that 
exactly suits the form of his beak, through which to feed his mate. The female makes the 
nest of her own feathers, lays her eggs, hatches them, and remains with the young until they 
are fully fledged. During all this time, which is stated to be fully two or three months, the 
male continues to feed her and the young family. The prisoner generally becomes fat, and is 
esteemed a very dainty morsel by the natives, while the poor slave of a husband gets so lean, 
that on the sudden lowering of the temperature that often occurs after a fall of rain, he is 
benumbed and dies." 

Dr. Livingston also gives the following interesting anecdote, illustrative of the affection of 
these birds to their mates : "Near sunset, on the 2.5th August," (he writes from Dakomoio 
Island), "we saw immense flocks of the largest Hornbills {Biiceros cristdtus) come here to 
roost on the great trees which skirt the edge of the cliffs ; they leave early in the morning, 
often before sunrise, for their feeding places, coming and going in pairs. They are evidently 
of a loving nature, and strongly attached to each other, the male always nestling close to his 
mate. A fine male fell to the ground from fear of Dr. Kirk's gun ; it was caught and kept 
on board. The female did not fly off in the morning to feed with the others, but flew around 
the ship, anxiously trying by the jilaintive calls, to induce her beloved one to follow her. 
She came again in the evening to repeat the performance. The poor disconsolate captive 
refused to eat, and in five days died of grief, because he could not have her company. No 
internal injury could be detected after death." 

The Great Homray, or Two-horned Ilornbill, has been seen five thousand feet above sea 
level, on the Neilgherries and the Himalayas. It is often seen in flocks of twenty. It is 
a silent bird generally, making merely a deej) but very loud croak. Hodgson says: "The 
clamor made V/y s; WTJcnidred bird i^ .rltogether amazing. I cannot liken this vehement vocifer- 
ation to anything but the ))rayiug of a mule. Its power is extraordinary, and is the conse- 
quence of an unusually osseous structure of the rings of the trachea. The Homray flies with 
more repeated flaps of the wings than the others, onlj^ in general, sailing just before alighting. 
The noise of its wings could be heard a mile distant. Like the others it builds in holes of 
trees ; the male building the female in and plastering the entrance, as in the case just described. 
Major Trickell has witnessed this operation, and described it with due care of a naturalist. 
Mason, in his work on Burmah, makes the follovdng statement ; "The female must sit during 
her inculcation, for, if she breaks through her enclosure, her life pays the forfeit. But to 
compensate for loss of freedom, her spirited mate is ever on the watch to gratify his dainty 
mistress." 

Mr. Gilbert remarks of this species, that a small sac is placed at the root of the tail, in 
which is a bundle or pen(;il of short bristles, forming a brush, from whence exudes a yellow, 
oily secretion with which the birds appear to dress their feathers. 




"with a 



SCANSORES, OR CLIMBING BIRDS. 



Large group of birds is arranged by naturalists under the title of Scansores, 
or Climbing Birds, and may be rerognized by the structure of their feet. Two 
toes are directed forward and the other two backward, so that the bird is able to 
take a very powerful liold of the substance on which it is sitting, and this enables 
some species, as the woodpeckers, to run nimbly up tree-trunks and to hold 
themselves tightly on the bark wliile tliey hammer away with their beaks, and 
other species, of which the Pari'ots are familiar examples, to clasp the bough as 
hand. There is some little difficulty in settling the exact limits of this group. 



The very curious birds that go by the name of Toucans are not one whit less remarkable 

than the hombills, their beak 
being often as extravagantly 
large, and their colors by far 
superior. They are inhabi- 
tants of America, the greater 
number of species being found 
in the tropical regions of that 
country. 

Of these birds there are 
many species. Mr. Gould, in 
his magnificent work, the 
"Monograph of the "Rham- 
phnstidse," figures fifty-one 
species, and ranks them under 
six genera. 

The most extraordinary 
part of these birds is the enor- 
mous beak, which in some 
sxiecies, such as the Toco Tou- 
can, is of gigantic dimensions, 
seeming big enough to give its 
owner a perpetual headache, 
while in others, such as the 
Toucanets, it is not so large as 
to attract much attention. 

As in the case of the hom- 
bills, their beak is very thin 
and is strengthened by a vast 
number of honeycomb-cells, so 
that it is very light and does 
not incommode the bird in the 
least. In performing the usual duties of a beak, such as picking up food and pluming the 
feathers, this apparently unwieldy beak is used with perfect address, and even in flight its 
weight does not incommode its ovmer. 




TOCO.— Eamphastus toco. 



372 HABITS OF THE TOUCANS. 

The beak partakes of the brilliant coloring which decorates the plumage, but its beauti- 
ful hues are sadly evanescent, often disappearing or changing so thorouglily as to give no 
intimation of their former beauty. The prevailing color seems to be yellow, and tlie next in 
order is red, but there is hardly a hue that is not found on the beak of one or other of the 
species. As examples of tlie coloring of the beaks, we will mention the foilowmg species. 
In the Toco Toucan it is bright ruddy orange, with a large black oval spot near the extremity, 
in the Short-billed Toucan it is light green, edged and tipped with red ; in the Tocard Toucan 
it is orange above and chocolate below ; in the Red-billed Toucan it is light scarlet and yellow ; 
iu Cuvier s Toucan it is bright yellow and black, with a lilac base ; in the Curl-crested Ara^ari 
it is orange, blue, chocolate, and white ; in the Yellow-billed Toucan it is wholly of a creamy- 
yellow, while in Azara' s Aragari it is cream- white with a broad l)lood-i-ed stripe along the 
middle. Perhaps the most remarkable bill of all the species is found in the Laminated Hill 
Toucan {Andigena lamindtus), where the bill is black, mth a blood-red base, and has a large 
buff-colored shield of horny substance at each side of the upper mandible, the end next the 
base being fused into the beak, and the other end free. The use of this singular, and I believe 
unique, appendage is not known. 

The flight of the Toucan is quick, and the mode of cai-rying the head seems to vary in 
different species, some holding their heads rather high, while others suffer them to droop. 
Writers on this subject, and indeed, on every point in the history of these birds, are rather 
contradictory ; and we may assume that each bird may vary its mode of flight or cai'riage in 
order to suit its convenience at the time. On the ground they get along with a rather awkward 
hopping movement, their legs being kept widely apart. In ascending a tree the Toucan 
does not climb, but ascends by a series of jumps from one branch to another, and has a great 
predilection for the very tops of the loftiest trees, where no missile except a rifle ball can. 
reach him. 

The voice of the Toucan is hoarse and rather disagreeable, and is in many cases rather 
articulate. In one species the cry resembles the word "Tucano," which has given origin to 
the peculiar name by which the whole group is designated. They have a habit of sitting on 
the branches in flocks, having a sentinel to guard them, and are fond of lifting up their beaks, 
clattering them together, and shouting hoarsely, from which custom the natives tenn them 
Preacher-birds. Sometimes the whole party, including tlie sentinel, set up a simultaneous 
yell, which is so deafeningly loud that it can be heard at the distance of a mUe. They are very 
loquacious birds, and are often discovered through their perpetual chattering. 

Grotesque as is their ajipearance, they have a great hatred of birds which they think to be 
uglier than themselves, and will surroimd and "mob" an unfortunate owl that by chance has 
got into the daylight, with as much zest as is displayed by our crows and magpies at home 
under similar circumstances. While engaged in this amusement, they get round the poor bird 
in a circle, and shout at Mm so, that wherever he turns he sees nothing but great snapping 
bills, a number of tails bobbing regularly up and down, and threatening gestures in every 
direction. 

In their wild state their food seems to be mostly of a vegetable nature, except in the breed- 
ing season, wlien they rej^air to the nests of the white ant which have been softened by the rain, 
break down the walls with their strong beaks, and devour the insects wholesale. One writer 
says that during the breeding season they live exclusively on this diet. They are very 
fond of oranges and guavas, and often make such havoc among the fruit-trees, that they 
are shot by the owner, who revenges himself by eating them, as their flesh is very delicate. 
In the cool time of the year they are Idlled in great numbers merely for the purposes of the 
table. 

In domestication they feed on almost any substance, whether animal or vegetable, and are 
very fond of nuce and young birds, wliich they kill by a sharp grip of the tremendous beak, 
and pull to pieces as daintily as a jackdaw or magpie. One Toucan, belonging to a friend, 
killed himself by eating too many ball-cartridges on board a man-of-war. As the habits of 
most of these birds are very similar, only one sjiecies has been figured, for the descriptioa 
of other species would necessarily have been limited to a mere detail of coloring. 



^^^^ Hnimate Creation, &^^^ 



■a; 




E have concluded to submit for public patronage a work with the above title, being a series 
of exquisite Engravings representing the Animal World, executed with great scientific 
accuracy, and accompanied by full Descriptive Text, written in popular terms, so as to 
delight and instruct the people. Anyone who has considered the subject must be at a loss to under- 
stand why an Illustrated Natural History, comprehensive and at the same time popular, 
has not before this been published in this country. Indeed any lover of animals who has visited the 
great museums and zoological gardens and has had access to books of engravings in the public 
libraries, could not fail to remark the wealth of material in existence devoted to this subject. Being 
confirmed in our conviction of the desirability of such a work, we laid under contribution the best 
existing authorities for the production of most perfect representations of all the more important 
living creatures, and among the artists whose delineations will delight the reader, we may mention 
Harrison Weir, Wolf, Coleman, Fr. Specht, and Mutzel. By far the majority of the engravings in 
these volumes are from drawings made from the living animals, many at the Zoological Society's 
Gardens in London, England. 

We purpose that our patrons shall be aided and interested in their study by such an array of 
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We sought competent advice from various sources as to the most suitable te.xt that should ac- 
company this panorama of handsome Engravings. It was found impossible to embody all the present 
ideas of naturalists in a single work like this on account of the rapid advances and constant changes in 
their knowledge of, and habits of thought respecting, the Animal World. And it seemed to us cor- 
rect that the true object of Zoology is not to arrange, to number, and to ticket animals in a formal 
inventory, but to inquire into their life-nature, and not simply to investigate the lifeless organism. 

What do we know of " Man " from the dissecting-room ? Is it not Man, the warrior, the stales- 
man, the poet, etc., that we are interested in ? With all veneration which attaches itself to those 
who are the accredited possessors of abstruse learning, their inordinate use of phraseology detracts 
too m.uch, we fear, from the fascination that the study of the Animal World would otherwise yield, 
and as we are not content to have our work restricted to a favored few, we thought the task placed 
in our hands to be to k-eep the work free from a repellant vocabulary of conventional technicalities. 
^~ 1! 2 S jj Qm- endeavor has been to find an author whose work would be noted for its fund of anecdote and 
••-» .Q > o J, vitality rather than for merely anatomical and scientific presentation, and we arrived at the conclu- 
<J) .c •« *=* i sion that we could not do better than avail ourselves of the Rev. T. G. Wood's comprehensive work 
^ Ji -g o g — a work most popularly approved by speakers of the English language. It would be superfluous to 
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£ -S o '-3 °' at the other side of the Atlantic have obtained so much instruction and rational amusement. Avoid- 
"^ S -S "^ S ing the lengthened dissertations and minute classifications of s]:>ecialists, he presents to his readers in 
O 5 ^ > -I popular terms a complete treatise on the Animal Kingdom of all climes and countries. The one 
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please address the Publisher by mail. 

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PART 38 



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HOW THE TOUCAN SLEEPS. 373 

There exists a very interesting account of an Ariel Toucan and its habits, which has been 
frequently quoted, but is so grapliic a description that any work of this nature would be 
incomplete without it. It is given by a gentleman fond of birds : — 

"After looking at the bird which was the object of my visit, and which was apparently in 
the highest state of health, I asked tlie proprietor to bring up a little bird, that I might see 
how the Toucan would be affected by its appearance. He soon returned, bringing with him a 
goldfinch, a last year's bird; the instant he introduced his hand with the goldfinch into the 
cage of the Toucan, the latter, which was on a perch, snatched it with his bill. The poor little 
bird had only time to utter a short, weak cry, for within a second it was dead — killed by com- 
pression on the sternum and abdomen, and that so powerful, that the bowels were protruded 
after a very few squeezes of the Toucan's bill. 

'•As soon as the goldfinch was dead, the Toucan hopped with it still in his bill to another 
perch, and ])lacing it with his bill between his right foot and the perch, began to strij) off the 
feathers with his bill. When he had plucked away most of them, he broke the bones of the 
wings and legs (still holding the little bird in the same position) with his bUl, taking the limbs 
therein, and giving at the same time a strong lateral wrench. He continued this work with 
great dexterity till he had almost reduced the bird to a shapeless mass ; and ever and anon he 
would take his prey fi'om the perch in his bill, and hop from perch to perch, making at the 
same time a peculiar hollow, clattering noise ; at which times I observed that his bill and wings 
were affected with a vibratory or shivering motion, though the latter were not expanded. 

"He would then return tlie bird to the perch with his bill, and set his foot on it ; he first 
ate the viscera, and then continued pulling off and swallowing piece after piece, till the head, 
neck, and part of the sternum, with their soft parts, were alone left. These, after a little more 
wrenching while they were held on the perch, and mastication, as it were, while they were 
held in the bill, he at last swallowed, not even leaving the beak or legs of his prey. The last 
part gave him most trouble ; but it was clear that he felt great enjoyment, for whenever he 
raised his prey from the perch he appeared to exult, now masticating the morsel with his 
toothed bill, and applying his tongue to it, now attempting to gorge it, and now maldng Irhe 
peculiar clattering noise, accompanied by the shivering motion above mentioned. The whole 
operation, from the time of seizing his prey to that of devouring the last morsel, lasted about 
a quarter of an hour; he then cleansed his bUl from the feathers, by rubbing it against the 
perches and bars of his cage. 

" While on this part of the subject, it may be as well to mention another fact which 
appears to me not unworthy of notice. I have more than once seen him return his food some 
time after he had taken it into liis crop, and after masticating the morsel for awhile in his bill, 
again swallow it ; the whole operation, particularly the return of the food to the biU, bearing^ 
a strong resemblance to the analogous action in ruminating animals. The food on which I saw 
him so employed was a piece of beef, which had evidently been macerated some time in his 
crop. While masticating it, he made the same hollow, clatteiing noise as he made over the 
remains of the goldfinch. 

"Previous to this operation he had examined his feeding trough, in which there was 
nothing but bread, which I saw him take up and reject, and it appeared to me that he was thus 
reduced from necessity to the above mode of solacing his palate Avith animal food. His food 
consists of bread, boiled vegetables, eggs, and flesh, to which a little bird is now added about 
every second or third day. He shows a decided preference for animal food, picking out 
all morsels of that description, and not resorting to the vegetable diet tUl all the former is 
■exhausted." 

Wlien settling itself to sleep, the Toucan joacks itself up in a very systematic manner, sup^ 
porting its huge beak by resting it on its back, and tucking it completely among the feathers, 
while it doubles its tail across its back, just as if it moved on a spring hinge. So completely 
is the bill hidden among the feathers, that hardly a trace of it is visible in spite of its great 
"^ize and bright color, and the bird when sleepms; looks like a great ball of loose feathers. 



374 



THE PAERAKEET COCKATOO. 



In the Toco Toucan the beak is of enormous size, beiug eight inches and a half long, 
forming rather more tlian one third of the entire length. Its color is rich, glowing orange, 
with a large oval patch near the tip, and a black line round the base. There are also a number 
of darker red bars upon the sides. The head and body are deep black, and the throat and 
cheeks are white, changing into brimstone-yelhjw on the breast, edged with a line of blood-red. 
The upper tail-coverts are grayish-white, and the under tail-coverts deep crimson. Around the 
eye is a large orange circle, within which is a second circle of cobalt-blue. The eye is rather 
curious, a green ring encircling the pupil, and a narrow yellow ring encircling the green. 

In one species, the Cui-1-crested Aragair, the feathers of the head assume a most unique 
and somewliat grotesque form, reminding the observer of a coachman's wig dyed black. On 
the top of the head the shafts of the feathers, instead of spreading out into webs, become 
flattened, and ai-e roUed into a profusion of bright shining curls, so that the bii-d really 
appears to have been under the tongs of the hair-dresser. Indeed, it appears almost impossible 
that this singular arrangement of the feathers should not be the work of art. 



PARROTS. 



The general form of the Paebots is too well Itnown to need description. All birds belong- 
ing to this large and splendid group can be recognized by the shape of their beaks, which are 
large, and have the upper mandible extensively curved and hanging far over the lower ; in some 
species tlie upper mandible is of extraordinary length. The tongue is short, thick, and fleshy, 
and the structure of this member aids tlie bird in no slight degree in its singular powers of 
articulation. The wings and tail are generally long, and in some species, such as the Macaws, 
the tail is of very great length, while in most of the Parrakeets it is longer than the body. 

The first sub-family of this group is composed of those birds which are called by the 
title of Ground Parrakeets. In the generality of the Parrot tribe, the legs are short, but in 
these birds they are of greater length in order to enable them to run freely on the ground. 
One of the most striking examples of this little group is the Parrakeet Cockatoo of 
Australia. 

Although not clothed with the brilliant plumage that decorates so many of the PaiTot 
tribe, this bird is a remarkably pretty one, and is worthy of notice not only for the curious 
crest with which its head is adorned, but for the grace and elegance of its form. With the 
exception of the head, on which a, little crimson and yellow are seen, the plumage of the Parra- 
keet Cockatoo is sim]3ly tinted with brown, gray, and white ; but these colors are so pure, 
and their arrangement so liarmonious, that the eye does not at all look for brighter coloring. 

It is mostly seen upon the ground, where it runs mth great swiftness, and is very accom- 
plished at winding its way among ths grass stems, upon the seeds of which it subsists. It is 
by no means a shy bird, and will permit of a close approach, so that its habits can be readily 
watched. When alarmed, it leaves the gi'ound and flies off to the nearest tree, perching upon 
the branches and crouching down upon them lengthwise so as to be invisible from below. 
There is no great difficulty in shooting it, which is a matter of some consequence to the hunter, 
as its flesh is notable for its tenderness and delicate flavor. 

The eggs of this species are pure white, which is the case with Parrot eggs generally, and 
their number is from four to six. 

Mr. Gould gives the following description of the Parrakeet Cockatoo : — 

"The interior portion of the vast continent of Australia may be said to possess a fauna 
almost peculiar to itself, but of which our present knowledge is extremely limited. New 
forms therefore of great interest may be expected when the difiiculties which the explorer has 



THE PARRAKEET COCKATCO. 



375 



to encounter in his journey towards the centre shall be overcome. This beautiful and elegant 
bird is one of its denizens. 1 have, it is true, seen it cross the great mountain ranges and breed 
on the flats between them and the sea ; stiU, this is an unusual occurrence, and the few thus 
found, compared to the thousands observed on the plains stretching from the interior side 
of the mountains, proves that they have, as it were, overstepped their natural boundary. 

"Its range is extended over the whole of the southern portion of Australia, and being 
strictly a migratory bird, it makes a simultaneous movement southward to within one hundred 
miles of the coast in September, arriving in the York district near Swan River, in Western 
Australia, precisely at the same time that it appears in the Liverpool plains in the eastern por- 




GROUP OF PAERAKEETS. 



tion of the country. After breeding and rearing a numerous progeny, the whole again retire 
northwards in February and March, but to what degree of latitude towards the tropics they 
wend their way I have not been able satisfactorily to ascertain. I have never received it from 
Port Essington or any other port in the same latitude, which, however, is no proof that it 
does not visit that part of the continent, since it is merely the country near the coast that 
has yet been traversed. In all probability it will be found at a little distance in the interior 
wherever there are situations suitable to its habits, but doubtless at approximate periods 
to those in which it occurs in New South W ales. 

"It would appear to be more numerous in the eastern divisions of Australia than in the 
western. During one summer it was breeding in all the apple-tree {AngopJwra) flats on the 
Upper Hunter, as well as in similar districts on the Peel and other rivers which flow northward. 

" After the breeding season is over, it congregates in numerous flocks before taking its 
departure. I have seen the ground quite covered by them while engaged in procuring food ; 



376 THE ROSE-HILL PARRAKEET. 

and it was not an unusual circumstance to see hundreds together in the dead branches of the 
gum-trees in the neighborhood of water, a plentiful supply of which would appear to be essen- 
tial to its existence ; hence we may reasonably suppose that the interior of the country is not 
80 sterile and inhospitable as is ordinarily imagined, and that it yet may be made available for 
the uses of man. The Hailequin Bronze-wing and the Warbling Grass Parrakeet are also 
denizens of that part of the country, and equally unable to exist without water." 

The genus Platycercus, or Wide-tailed PaiTakeets, to which the Yellow-bellied Par- 
rakeet belongs, is a very extensive one, and numbers among its members some of the loveliest 
of the Parrot tribe. They all glow with the purest azure, gold, carmine, and green, and are 
almost immediately recognizable by the bold lancet-shaped feathers of the back, and the man- 
ner in which each feather is defined by its light edging and dark centre. 

The Yellow-bellied Parrakeet inhabits the whole of Van Diemen's Land and the islands 
of Bass Straits, where it is very plentifid, and often so completely familiar as to cause extreme 
wonder in the mind of an Englishman who for the first time traverses the roads of this strange 
land, and finds the Parrakeets taking the place of the sparrows of his native country, quite as 
familiar and almost as pert, perching on the trees or fences, and I'egarding him with great 
indifference. But the novelty soon wears off, and before long his only emotions at the sight 
of a Parrot are hatred at its thieving propensities, and a great longing to eat it. As to this 
particular species, its iiesh is cultivated for its delicacy and peculiar flavor, and Mr. Gould is 
so appreciativ'e of its merits, that he waxes quite eloquent when speaking of Parrakeet pie. 

These birds are gregarious, assembling in little companies, probably composed of the 
parents and their young, and haunting almost every kind of locality ; trees, rocks, grass, 
fields, or gully, being equally in favor. They are excellent runners, getting over the ground 
with surprising ease and celerity ; and there are few prettier sights than to behold a liock of 
these gorgeous birds, decked in all the varied beauty of their feathery garments, scudding 
over the ground in search of food, their whole movements instinct with vivacity, and assuming 
those graceful attitudes which are best suited for displaying the beauty of the coloring. 

The food of these birds consists mostly of grass seeds, but they also feed upon the flowers 
of the gum-trees, upon grubs and different insects. Whenever there is a scarcity of food, the- 
Yellow-bellied Parrakeets betake themselves to human habitations, and crowd around the 
farm-doors with as much confidence as if they formed part of the regular establishment. There 
is, however, not very much need for this intrusion into the fann-yard, as its natural food is 
simple and varied, and the powers of wing are sufficiently great to carry the bird over a large 
extent of country. The flight of this species is powerful, and is achieved by means of a series 
of very wide undulations. Yet on some occasions the mendicant Parrakeets may be counted 
by hundreds, as they press around the barn-door, disputing every chance grain of com with, 
the poultry, and behaving with perfect self-reliance. 

In captivity, the Yellow-bellied Parrakeet is a hardy bird, and is well adapted for a 
caged life. 

The nest of this bird is made in the bark of a gum-tree, and the eggs are in color a pure 
white, and in number average from six to eight. The season for nest-building is from September 
to January. When the young are hatched, they are covered with a coating of soft white 
cottony down. 

The coloring of this species is very magnificent. The forehead is rich crimson, and the back 
is a peculiar mottled green, each feather being of a deep black-green, edged with the same hue, 
but of a much lighter character. The throat and the middle of the wings are blue, the breast 
and abdomen are briglit golden-yellow, and the under tail-coverts are marked with a few 
red dashes. The two middle feathers of the tail are green, and the remainder are blue, dark 
at the base, but becoming lighter towards the tip. The female is similarly colored, but not so 
brilliantly. 

Another most beautiful example of this genus is found in the Rose-hill Parrakeet, 
■nopularlv known to dealers by the name of E,osella Parrot. 



THE GROUND PARRAKEET. 



377 



This most lovely bird is found in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, and although 
very plentiful in places which it frequents, it is a very local bird, haunting one spot in 
hundreds, aud then becoming invisible for a range of many mUes. In the open country it 
lives in little companies like the preceding species, and is even more familiar, being exceedingly 
inquisitive, as is the nature of all the Parrot tribe. Plentiful as it is, there are few birds which 
are likely to suffer more from the gun, as its plumage is so magnificent and its form so elegant 
that it is in great request among the dealers, who are always sure of a sale when the beautiful 
skin is properly stuffed and put into a glass case. 

The wings of the Eose-hill Parrakeet are not very powerful, and do not seem capable of 
enduring a journey of very gi-eat extent, for the bii'd always takes opjjortunities of settling as 
often as it can do so, and then after running along the ground for awhile, starts afresh. The 
flight it. composed of a succession of undulations. The voice of this species is not so harsh as 




BOSE-HILL ¥KBB.kK^Wt.—Platycercue eximim. 

that of many PaiTots, being a pleasing and not very loud, whistle, which is often uttered. As 
the bird is a hardy one, and can bear confinement well, it is coming much into fashion as an 
inhabitant of the aviary, and wiU probably be brought away in great numbers. The natural 
food of the Rose-hill Parrakeet consists of seeds, a diet which it varies by eating many 
kinds of insects, a food wliich every Australian bird can have in the greatest variety, and 
without the slightest fear of stint. 



Although not endowed with the glowing hues of the preceding species, the Ground 
Parrakeet is a remarkably pretty and interesting bu-d. 

This species derives its name from its ground-loving habits. Mr. Gould says that it never 
perches on trees; but the author of "Bush Wanderings in Australia" remarks that he 
has seen it perching upon the tea-tree scrub. From its peculiarly pheasant-like shape and 
habits, it is sometimes called the pheasant by the colonists. It is a very common bird, and is 
found spread over the whole of Southern Australia and Van Diemen's Land. 

It is remarkable that this bird, which has much of the outline of the pheasant, should 

Vol. n.— 48. 



3T8 



TEE RINGED PARRAKEET. 



have many of the habits of our game birds, and a very strong game odor. It runs very 
rapidly on the ground, and is especially excellent at getting through grass-stems, among 
which it \\dnds its way with such wonderful celerity, that it can baffle almost any dog. Flight 
seems to be its last resource ; and even when it does take to wing, it remains in the air but a 
very short time, and then pitches and takes to its feet. 

The flight is very low, very quick, as bewilderingly irregular as that of the snipe, but 
is not maintained for more than a hundred yards. When tlie dogs come near the place where 
it is concealed, it crouches closely to the ground, lioping thereby to escape detection ; but 



■# 








GROUND PARRAKEET.— PfjOjUoriM formosus. 

if this stratagem should prove of no avail, it lea^^s suddenly into the air, dashes forward for 
a few yards, and then settles again. This bird makes no nest, and does not even make its 
home in the hollow of a tree, but lays its white eggs upon the bare ground. 

The flesh of the Ground Parrakeet bears some resemblance to that of some game birds, 
and is said to be somewhat of the same character as that of the snipe or the quail. 

The general color of this pretty bird is dark green above, mottled with yellow and varie- 
gated with a multitude of black semilunar marldngs. The under surface is yellow, changing 
to a greener tint upon the throat, and also mottled with a darker hue. The tail is long and 
slender, the two central feathers are green barred with yellow, and the rest are marked in just 
the reverse fashion, being yellow barred with dark green. 



The genus Pal?eornis, of which the Ringed Paeeakeet is an excellent example, is a very 
extensive one, and has representatives in almost every hot portion of the world, even including 
Australia. 

The Ringed Parrakeet is found both in Africa and Asia, the only difference perceptible 
between the individuals brought from the two continents being that the Asiatic species is 
rather larger than its African relative. It has long been the favorite of man as a caged bird, 
and is one of the species to which such frequent reference is made by the ancient vrriters, the 
other species being the Alexandrine Ringed Parrakeet {Palceornis alexandri). 



THE RINGED PARRAKEET. 



379 



The individual from which the illustration is taken, is a very great favorite in the house 
where he belongs, being looked upon more in the light of a human being than a bird. Her 
birthday is scrupulously kept, and on that auspicious morning she is always presented with a 
sponge cake, which she eats daintly whUe sitting on the mantel-piece, chuckling to herself at 
intervals. She is a most affectionate little creature, and cannot bear that any of her especial 
friends should leave the room without bidding farewell ; and I once saw her set up such a 
screech because her mistress happened to go away without speaking to her, that she had to be 
taken out of her cage and comforted before she would settle quietly. 

Her owner has kindly pre- 






4\^^^ 



sented to me the following 
account of the bird : — 

" You ask me to tell you 
something about my little 
Polly. Perhaps the simplest 
plan will be to give a sketch 
of her history, premising that 
although I believe my little 
pet to be a male, still, as I 
love her so tenderly, I always 
use the feminine pronoun in 
speaking of and to her. 

•'Polly's bii'th-place was 
Trincomalee, and she was 
brought over to America by 
one of my wife's sons, an 
officer in the navy, being ac- 
companied hither by a vast 
retinue of Parrakeets, almost 
all of which fell victims to the 
rough, cold weather which 
they had to encounter, to- 
gether with the change of 
climate. The poor birds liter- 
ally laid them down and died, 
the deck being streAVTi with 
their elegant forms. Polly, I 
am thankful to say, was 
blessed with an excellent con- 
stitution, and her nurse, a kind-hearted, weather-beaten sailor, loved her, and she lay in 
his bosom and was so kept warm and comfortable through the cold. 

"On Polly's arrival at Portsmouth, her nurse, being obliged to attend to other matters, 
left her to her own resources in an old cage in which she usually slept, when her horizon was 
suddenly darkened by a cloud of bum-boat women from the shore, one of whom, seeing her 
defenceless situation, seized upon her, like Glumdalclitch upon Gulliver, and conveyed the 
delicate little creature to her coarse bosom. Fortunately for Polly, she uttered a little sound, 
which was heard by her nurse, who, seizing the woman by the shovilders, rescued PoUy from 
the vile embrace. 

"After this contretemps, Polly was put into a rickety old cage, with two buns for her 
nourishment, and sent all by herself in the train to Washington. On her arrival there 
she was forwarded to a person who had formerly been confidential servant to my wife. One 
morning, this good person, hearing a great chattering down-stairs, looked in at her back- 
parlor door, and there, to her infinite sui-prise, she saw Polly seated upon the cat's back, 
chattering away at no allowance, while pussy was majestically marching round the room. 




•t^v'^'^ 



KINGED PARRAKEET.— Po/<eorais torqualus. 



380 EYELID OF THE RINGED PARRAKEET. 

" Soon after this we came to Washington, and then saw for the first time our little pet, 
which soon began to know and love me. Her favorite place is on my shoulder, where at 
lunch-time she deligiits to sit and digest after having peeked from my plate whatever she 
most fancies. If the weather be cold and her feet chilly, she pulls herself up by my whiskers, 
placing herself on the top of my head, which being partially bald is warm to her little pattes. 
Her favorite resort is generally on my shoiilder, and whilst sitting there, her manner of attract- 
ing attention is by giving my ear a little peck. 

' ' Whenever I come home, and wherever Polly may be, no sooner do I put my key in the 
lock, or sometimes before I have quite reached the door, than Polly gives a peculiar shrill 
'jail, and then it is known for certain that I am in the house. Even when I go to bed, though 
it maybe at one or two in the morning, on my entering the room, liowever gently, Polly knows 
I am there, and although apparently asleep and with two thick shawls wrapped round her cage, 
excluding all light, slie immediately utters one little note of welcome. 

"She has a peculiar way of contracting her eye when prepai'ing to do or actually doing 
anything mischievous : when so contracted, the pupil of the eye appears as it were a mere 
speck of jet. I believe that her fondness for and her sympathetic attachment to me were some- 
thing more than mere instinct, for if I think strangely of her at any time, even in the middle of 
the night, she is sure to answer me with her own little note, her eyes remaining shut and her 
head tucked in her shoulder as though she were fast asleep." 

I have noticed the peculiar movement of the eye referred to in this narrative, and must 
add that the entire eyelid partakes of this curious contraction, the bird possessing the power 
of circularly contracting the lid, at first quite smoothly, but afterwards with a multitude 
of tiny radiating wrinkles or puckers, until at last the aperture is reduced to the size of 
a small pin-hole. It looks, to use a familiar illustration, as if the eyelid were made of India- 
rubber, and could be contracted or relaxed at will. 

Perhaps this power of reducing the aperture of vision may be given to the bird for the pur- 
pose of enabling it to see the better, and may have some connection with the united micro- 
scopic and telescopic vision which all birds possess in a greater less or degree. 

This species of Parrakeet is not very good at talldng, though it can learn to repeat a few 
words and is very apt at communicating its own ideas by a language of gesture and informa- 
tion especially its own. It is, however, very docile, and will soon learn any lesson that may 
be imposed, even that most difficult tiisk to a Parrot — remaining silent while any one is 
sj)eaking. One of my pupils had one of these birds, of which he was exceedingly fond ; and 
finding that, although his body was in the school-room below, his mind was with his Polly 
in the room above, I allowed her to stay in the room on condition that the lesson should 
be properly learned. At first, howevei", Polly used to screech so continually that all lessons 
were stopped for the time, and I was fearful that Polly must be banished. However, I soon 
overcame the difficulty, for every time that Polly screamed I used to put her into a dark 
cupboard and not release her for some time. She soon found out my meaning, and it was very 
amusing to see her push out her head ready for a scream, and then check herself suddenly. 

She was a very nice Polly, and became a great favorite. Her great treat was a haK walnut, 
which she held tightly in one claw whUe she delicately prized out the kernel -with her hooked 
bill and horny tongue. The end of the poor bird was very tragic ; she got out of window, 
flew to a tree, and was there shot by a stupid farmer. The history of this bird is given more 
at length in "My Feathered Friends." 

The general color of this species is grass-green, variegated in the adult male as follows : 
The feathers of the forehead are light green, which take a bluish tinge as they approach the 
crown and nape of the neck, where they are of a lovely purple blue. Just below the purple 
runs a narrow band of rose color, and immediately below the rosy line is a streak of black, 
which is narrow towards the back of the neck, but soon becomes broader and envelops the 
cheek and chin. It does not go quite round the neck, as there is an interval of nearly half an 
inch on the back of the neck. The quill-feathers of both wings and taU are darkish green ; 
the wings are black beneath, and the tail yellowish. The two central feathers of the taU are 



THE WARBLING GRASS PARRAKEET. 



381 



always much longer than" the others, sometimes projecting nearly four inches. The female is 
whoUy green, and may thereby be distinguished from her mate. Owing to the variable develop- 
ment of the central feathers of the tail, tlie length of this bird cannot be accurately given, but 
may be set down from sixteen to eighteen inches. The upper mandible is coral-red, and the 
lower is blackish ; the feet ai-e tlesh-colored. 



One of the very prettiest and most interesting of the Parrot tribe is the Gkass, or Zebra 
Pabrakeet ; deriving its names from its habits and the markings of its plumage. 

It is a native of Austi-alia, and may be found in almost all the central portions of that 
land, whence it has been imported in such great numbers as an inhabitant of our aviaries. 
This graceful little creature derives its name of Grass Parrakeet from its fondness for the 
gi-ass lands, where it may be seen in great numbers, running amid the thick grass blades, 
clinging to their stems, or feeding on 
their seeds. It is always an inland 
bird, being very seldom seen between 
the mountain ranges and the coasts. 

Of the habits of this bird Mr. 
Gould writes as follows: "I found 
myself surrounded by numbers, breed- 
ing in all the hollow spouts of the large 
Eucalypti bordering the Mokai ; and on 
crossing the plains between that river 
and the Peel, in the direction of the 
Turi mountains, I saw them in flocks of 
many hundreds, feeding upon the grass 
seeds that are there abundant. So 
numerous were they, that I determined 
to encamp upon the spot, in order to 
observe their habits and to procure 
specimens. The nature of their food 
aud the excessive heat of these plains 
compel them frequently to seek the 
water ; hence my camp, wliich was 
pitched near some small fords, was 
constantly suiTounded by large num- 
bers, arriving in flocks varying from 
twenty to a hundred or more. 

"The hours at which they were 
most numerous were early in the morn- 
ing, and some time before dark in the 
evening. Before going down to drink, 
they alight on the neighboring trees, 

settling together in clusters, sometimes on the dead branches, and at others on the drooping 
boughs of the Eucalypti. Their flight is remarkably straight and rapid, and is generally 
accompanied by a screeching noise. During the heat of the day, when sitting motionless 
among the leaves of the gum-trees, they so closely assimilate in color, particularly on the 
breast, that they are with difficulty detected." 

The voice of this bird is quite unlike the rough screeching sounds in which Parrots seem 
to delight, and is a gentle, soft, warbling kind of song, which seems to be contained within the 
body, and is not poured out with that decision which is usually found in birds that can sing, 
however small their efforts may be. This song, if it may be so called, belongs only to the 
male bird, who seems to have an idea that his voice must be very agreeable to his mate, for in 
light warm weather he will warble nearly all day long, and often pushes his beak almost into 
the ear of his mate, so as to give her the full benefit of his song. The lady, however, does not 




WABBLING GRASS PAKRAKEET.— ilffto/)si«aca« vndulalus. 



382 THE WARBLING GRASS PARRAKEET. 

seem to appreciate liis condescension as lie wishes, and sometimes pecks Mm sharply in return 
Dr. Bennett observes that the bird has some ventriloqnial powers, as he has noticed a Grass 
Parrakeet engaged in tlie amusement of imitating two birds, one warbling and the other chirping. 

The food of this Parralveet consists ahuost cliiefiy of seeds, iliose of the grass plant being 
their constant food in their native country. In captivity they take well to canary seed, and it 
is somewhat remarkable that they do not pick up food with their feet, but always with their 
beaks. It is a great mistake to confine these lively little bii'ds in a small cage, as their wild 
habits are peculiarly lively and active, and require much sx)ace. The difference between a 
Grass Parrakeet when in a little cage and after it has been removed into a large house, where 
it has plenty of space to move about, is really w^onderful. 

This species has frequently bred in captivity, and nest-making is of very common occur- 
rence, though it often happens that the female deserts her eggs before they are hatched. A 
correspondent of a s^jort newspaper writes as follows: "Having been very successful in 
breeding most of the common birds in cages, I was induced to try the Australian Parrakeet, 
commonly known as the Grass Warbling Parrakeet, and I now have the pleasure of making 
known to you what I consider my most extraordinary success. Between the 24th of December 
last and the present month, I have reared eleven fi'om one pair, and having watched their 
habits very carefully, I venture to make a few remarks upon them. 

" They do not build a nest as most birds do, but must have a piece of wood with a rough 
hole in the middle, and this they Avill finish to their liking. Let it be kept private, and let 
them pass through a hole to the nesting- place. A\Tien the hen has laid, take the egg out, 
putting a false one in its place till four have been laid. This should be attended to,- as she 
only lays on alternate days, and the young would be so far apart in hatching. By so doing 1 
have ascertained the exact time of incubation, and have found it to be seventeen days. I 
mention this, as persons might otherwise be led astray. These birds feed their young in the 
same manner as pigeons ; the young never gape, but the old ones take the beak in theii' 
mouths, and by a peculiar process disgorge the food, which the young take at the same 
moment. They begin to breed in December, that being their summer. The young are so 
tame that they will fly after me anywhere." 

In another instance, mentioned in the same journal, the bii'ds laid their eggs upon some 
sawdust and there hatched two young, the number of eggs having been three. This Parrakeet 
will breed more than once in the season. The young birds get on very fast after hatching, 
provided that the room be kept warm and the parent well supplied with food. At thirty days 
of age the young Parrakeet has been observed to feed itself from the seed-drawer of its cage. 
Groundsel seems to be a favorite diet with them, but it seems that lettuce does not agree with 
their constitution. With this exception, the Grass Parrakeet may be fed precisely in the 
same manner as the canary. 

In its native land it is a migratory bird, assembling after the breeding season in enormous 
flocks, as a preparation for their intended journey. The general number of the eggs is three or 
four, and they are merely laid in the holes of the gum-tree without requiring a nest. 

The general color of this pretty bird is dark mottled green, variegated with other colors. 
The forehead is yellow, and the head, the nape of the neck, the upper part of the back, the 
scapularies and the wing-coverts are light yellowish-green, each feather being marked with a 
crescent-shaped spot of brown near the tij), so as to produce the peculiar mottling so character- 
istic of the species. These markings are very small on the head, and increase in size on the 
back, and from their shape the bird is sometimes called the Shell or Scallop Parrot. On each 
cheek there is a patch of deep blue, below which are three circular spots of the same rich 
hue. The wings are brown, having their outer webs deep green, roped wdth a yellower tint. 
The throat is yellow, and the abdomen and whole under surface light grass-green. The two 
central tail-feathei's are blue, and the remainder green, each with an oblique band of yellow in 
the middle. 

The young birds have the scaUopings all over the head, and the females are colored almost 
exactly like their mate, who may be distinguished by the cere of the upper part of the beak 
being of a deep purple. 



THE SCALY-BREASTED LORRIEEET. 



383 



A VERT beautiful species of Parrakeet, and closely allied to the preceding bird, is the 
Blue-banded Grass Parrakeet, also a native of Australia. 

This pretty little Parrakeet is a pleasing and interesting creature, not at aU uncommon in 
its favorite localities. 

It is a summer visitor to Van Diemen' s Land, where it r'emains from September to February 
or March. Thickly wooded places are its usual haunts, as it feeds almost whoUj^ on seeds 
and grasses, and it is generally seen on the ground unless it has been alanned. It congregates 
in ilocks, and appears to have but little fear of danger, and but very confused notions of placing 
itself in safety ; for as soon as a flock is alarmed, they all rise Screaming feebly, and after flying 
for a hundred yards or so, again alight. During the short time that they are on the wing, 
their flight is rapid and very irregular, remindmg the European sportsman of the snipe, and 
being not unlike that of the Ground Parrakeet already mentioned. 

It is a very quick runner, and displays great address in threading its way among the grass 
stems. Sometimes when frightened it wU fly to some neighboring tree and there perch for 
awhile ; but it soon leaves the uncongenial branches and returns to the ground. As it is not 
at all shy, a careful observer can easily approach the flocks within a sliort distance by moving 
very slowly and quietly, and can inspect them quite at his ease through a pocket telescope, 
that invaluable aid to practical ornithologists. As it is a hardy bird and bears confinement 
well, it is rapidly coming into favor as a cage bird, and will probably earn great popularity, as 
it is very easily tamed and of a very affectionate nature. 

The eggs of this species are six or seven in number, and are generally laid in a convenient 
hole of a gum-tree, although the bird sometimes prefers the hollow trunk of a prostx-ate tree 
for the purpose. 

The color of this bird is green with a slight brown wash ; the wings, the tail, and a band 
over the forehead are beautiful azure, and around the eyes and on the centre of the abdomen 
the color is yellow. 




SCALY-BREASTED LOERIKEET.— THcAogrtossMS cMorolepidotve. 

The pretty bird to which so extravagantly long a name has been given is also a native of 
Australia, and is found only in New South Wales, being, though plentiful, very local. 

The Scaly-breasted Lorrikeet is a good example of a very large genus ; and as the 



384 THE RED AND BLUE MACAW. 

habits of all the species are very similar, more than a single example is not necessary. The 
name Trichoglossus signifies "hairy tongue," and is given to these birds in consequence of the 
structure of that member, whicli is furnished with bristly hairs like the tongue of the honey- 
eaters, and is employed for the same purpose. This species may generally be found in those 
bush ranges which are interspersed with lofty gum-trees, from the blossoms of which it 
extracts the sweet juices on wliich it feeds. While emi:)loyed in feeding, it clings so tightly to 
the blossoms, that if shot dead its feet still retain their hold. The amount of honey consumed 
by these birds is really surprising, a teaspoonful of honey having been taken from the crop of 
a single bird. Whenever the natives kill one of these birds, they always put its head in their 
mouths and suck the honey out of its crop. Young birds are always very well supplied with 
this sweet food, and are consequently in great favor with the native epicures. 

When cajitured it is readily tamed, and is sufficiently hardy to live in a cage, provided 
that it be well supplied with sugar as well as seeds. 

It assembles in large fliocks of a thousand or more in number ; and when one of the vast 
assemblies is seen perched on a tree, the effect is most magnificent. They are so heartily 
intent on their food, that they cannot be induced to leave the tree even by the report of a gun 
or the rattling of a shot among them, and at the best will only scream and go to another 
branch. This species wiU associate with others very harmoniously, and Mr. Gould has shot 
at a single discharge four species of Lorrikeet, all feeding in the most friendly manner upon 
the same tree. 

The Lorrikeets are very conversational birds, and discourse in loud and excited tones, so 
that the noise of a large flock is quite deafening. When the whole flock rises simultaneously, 
as is generally the case, and moves to another tree, the effect of all the wings beating the air 
together is extraordinary, and is said to resemble a thunder-storm mixed with wind. 

The color of this species is as follows : The upper surface is rich grass-green, and the 
under surface, together with a few feathers on the back of the neck, is light yellow with green 
edges. The under side of the shoulders and the base of the wings are deep scarlet, and the 
rest of the under surface of the wings is jetty black. 

THE MACAWS. 

The Macaws are mostly inhabitants of Southern America, in which country so many 
magnificent birds find their home. 

They are all very splendid birds, and are remarkable for their great size, their very long 
tails, and the splendid hues of their plumage. The beak is also very large and powerful, and 
in some species the ring round the eyes and part of the face are devoid of covering. Three 
species are well known in our menageries ; but as their habits are all very similar, only one 
example has been figured. This is the gTeat Blue and Yellow Macaw, a bird which is 
mostly found in Demerara. It is a wood-loving bird, particularly haunting those places where 
the ground is wet and swampy, and where grows a certain palm on the fruit of which it chiefly 
feeds. 

The wings of this species are strong, and the long tail is so firmly set that considerable 
powers of flight are manifested. The Macaws often fly at a very high elevation, in large flocks, 
and are fond of executing sundry aerial evolutions before they alight. With one or two 
exceptions they care little for the ground, and are generally seen on the summit of the highest 
trees. 

Waterton writes as follows of the Red and Blue Macaw : — 

" Superior in size and beauty to any Parrot of South America, the Ara will force you to 
take your eyes from the rest of animated nature and gaze at him ; his commanding strength, 
the flaming scarlet of his body, the lovely variety of red, yellow, blue, and green in his wings, 
the extraordinary length of his scarlet and blue taU, seem all to join and demand from him the 
title of emperor of all the parrots. He is scarce in Demerara untU you reach the confines of 
the Macoushi country ; there he is in vast abundance ; he mostly feeds on trees of the palm 
species. 



THE GREAT GREEN MACAW. 



385 



" When the coucourite trees have ripe fruit on them, they are covered with this magnificent 
Parrot. He is not shy or wary ; you may take your blowjDipe and a quiver of poisoned arrows, 
and kill more than you are able to carry back to yoTir hut. They are very vociferous, and, 
like the common Parrots, rise \\\i in bodies towards sunset and fly two and two to their places 
of rest. It is a grand sight in ornithology to see thousands of Aras flying over your head, low 
enough to let you have a full view of their flaming mantle. The Indians find the flesh very 
good, and the feathers serve for ornaments in their head-dresses." 

The Blue and Yellow Macaw generally keeps in pairs, though, like the other species, it 
will sometimes assemble in flocks of considerable size. When thus congregated, the Macaws 
become very conversational, and their united cries are most deafening, and can be heard at a 
great distance, as any one can understand who has visited a Parrot-house. In common with. 



-^f^U^i- 




BLUE AND YELLOW MACAW.-jlm ararauna. 



the other Macaws, this species is easily tamed, and possesses some powers of imitation, being 
able to learn and repeat several words, or even phrases. It is not, however, gifted with the 
extraordinary powers of speech which are so wonderfully developed in the true Parrots, and 
on account of its deafening cries is not an agreeable inhabitant of a house. 

The Macaws lay their eggs in the hollows of decaying trees, and are said to alter the size 
and form of the hole to their taste by means of their powerful beaks, a feat which they cer- 
tainly have the abiUty to perform. The eggs are never more than two, and there are generally 
two broods in the season. Both parents assist in the duties of incubation. 

The Geeat Green Macaw, a very splendid species, -with green body, scarlet and blue 
head, blue-tipped wings, and red and blue tail, is not so exclusively an inhabitant of the forest 

Vol. U.— 49. 



386 THE CAROLINA PARROT. 

nor so wary as the preceding species. Taking advantage of the hibors of mankind, it makes 
raids on the maize and corn iields, and does very great damage in a very short time, for its 
appetite is voracious, and its beak jjowerfid. Like most bii-ds of similar character, it never 
ventures upon one of these predatory excursions without placing a sentinel on some elevated 
post where he can see the whole of the surrounding country, and give the alarm to his com- 
rades whenever he fears the approach of danger. So great is the destruction wrought by these 
birds, that the agriculturists are forced to jirotect their property by keeping a watch day and 
night over their corn-fields, from the time when the grain begins to ripen to the day when it is 
cut and carried. 

During the rainy season these Macaws leave the country, and do not return until January 
or February. 

The plumage of the Blue and Yellow Macaw is rather roughly set on the body, and is 
thus colored : The forehead is green, and the whole of the upper surface ; the wings and tail 
are bright, rich blue of a verditer cast. The cheeks are white and nearly naked, and below the 
eye are three delicate semilunar streaks of black. Below the chin is a broad, black band, 
which sweeps round towards the ears, and runs round nearly the whole of the white space. 
The throat, head, and aljdomen are rich, golden yellow, and the under surfaces of the wings 
and tail are also yellow, but of a more ochreous cast. The bUi is deep black, the eye yellowish- 
white, and the legs and feet blackish-gray. 

The entire length of this bird is about forty inches, of which the tail alone occupies nearly 
two feet. It is not, however, the largest species of Macaw, as the Red and Blue Macaw equals 
it in size. 

Another species of Macaw is found in the more northern portions of America, though 
it is popularly called a Parrot, and not a Macaw. This is the well-known Carolina 
Parrot, of which so much has been written by Wilson, Audubon, and other American orni- 
thologists. 

This bird is much more hardy than the generality of the Parrot tiibe, and has been noticed 
by Wilson in the month of February flying along the banks of the Ohio in the midst of a snow 
storm, and in full cry. It inhabits, according to Wilson, "the interior of Louisiana, and the 
shores of Mississippi and Ohio and their ti-ibutary waters, even beyond the Illinois river, to 
the neighborhood of Lake Michigan in latitude 42° N., and contrary to the generally received 
opinion, is chiefly resident in all these places. Eastward, however, of the great range of the 
Alleghany, it is seldom seen farther north than the State of Maryland ; though straggling 
parties have been occasionally observed among the valleys of the Juniata, and according to 
some, even twenty-five miles to the northwest of Albany, in the State of New York." These 
accidental visits are, however, rightly regarded by our author as of little value. 

The Carolina Pari'ot is chiefly found in those parts of the country which abound most in 
rich alluvial soils, on which grow the cockle-burs, so dear to the Parrot and so hated by the 
farmer. In the destruction of this plant the Carolina Parrot does good service to the sheep- 
owner, for the prickly fruit is apt to come off upon the wool of the sheep, and in some jjlaces 
so abundantly as to cover it with one dense mass of burs, through which the wool is hardly 
perceptible. The pi-icldy hooks of the burs also break away from the fruit, and intermingle 
themselves so thoroughly with the fleece that it is often rendered worthless, the trouble of 
cleansing it costing more than the value of the wool. 

Besides the cockle-burs, the beech-nut and the seeds of the cypress and other trees are 
favorite food of the Carolina Parrot, which is said to eat api^les, but probably only bites 
them off their stems for wantonness, as it drops them to the ground and there lets them lie 
undisturbed. 

An idea was and may be still prevalent in its native country, that the brains and intestines 
of the Carolina Parrot were fatal to cats ; and Wilson, after some trouble, succeeded in getting 
a cat and her kittens to feed upon this supposed poisonous diet. The three ate everything 
excepting the hard bill, and were none the worse for their meal. As, however, the Parrot Avas in 
this case a tame one, and had been fed upon Indian com, he conjectured that the wild Parrot 



A TAME CAROLINA PARROT. 387 

which had lived on cockle-burs might be injurious to the cat, although that which had eaten the 
comparatively hannless diet might do no injury. The nest of this bird is made in hollow trees. 
One of these Parrots was tamed by Wilson, who gave the following animated description 
of his favorite and her actions : — 

" Anxious to try the effects of education on one of those which I procured at the Big Bone 
Lick, and which was but slightly wounded in the ^ving, I fixed up a place for it in the stern 
of my boat, and presented it with some cockle-burs, which it freely fed on, in less than an hour 
after it had been on board. The intermediate time between eating and sleeping was occupied 
in gnawing the sticks that formed its place of confinement, in order to make a practicable 
breach, which it repeatedly effected. 

"When I abandoned the river and travelled by land, I wrapped it up closely in a silk 
handkerchief, tying it tightly around, and carried it in my pocket. When I stopped for 
refreshment I unbound my prisoner and gave it its allowance, which it generally despatched 
with great dexterity, unhusking the seeds from the bur in a twinkling ; in doing which it 
always employed its left foot to hold the bur, as did several others that I kept for some time. 
I began to think that this might be peculiar to the whole tribe, and that they all were, if 
I may use the expression, left-footed ; but by shooting a number afterwards while engaged in 
eating mulberries, I found sometimes the left and sometimes the right foot stained with 
the fruit, the other always clean ; from which, and the constant practice of those I kept, 
it appears that, like the human species in the use of their hands, they do not prefer one or the 
other indiscriminately, but are either left or right-footed. 

" But to return to my prisoner. In recommitting it to 'durance vile' we generally had a 
quarrel, during which it frequently paid me in kind for the wound I had inflicted and for 
depriving it of liberty, by cutting and almost disabling several of my fingers with its sharp and 
powerful bill. 

"The path between Nashville and Natchez is in some places bad beyond description. 
There are dangerous creeks to swim, miles of morass to struggle through, rendered almost as 
gloomy as night by a prodigious growth of timber, and an underwood of canes, and other ever- 
greens, while the descent into these sluggish streams is often ten or fifteen feet perpendicular 
into a bed of deep clay. In some of the worst of these places, where I had, as it were, to fight 
my way throitgh, the Paroquet frequently escaped from my pocket, obliging me to dismount 
and pursue it through the worst of the morass before I could regain it. On these occasions I 
was several times tempted to abandon it, but I persisted in bringing it along. When 
at night I encamped in the woods, I placed it on the baggage beside me, where it usually sat 
with great composure, dozing and gazing at the fire till morning. In this manner I carried it 
upwards of a thousand miles in my pocket, where it was exposed aU day to the jolting of the 
horse, but regularly liberated at meal times and ia the evening, at which it always expressed 
gi'eat satisfaction. 

" In passing through the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations, the Indians, whenever I stopped 
to feed, collected around me— men, women, and children— laughing, and seemingly wonderfully 
amused with the novelty of my companion. The Chickasaws called it in their language 
' Kelinky,' but when they heard me call it Poll, they soon repeated the name ; and whenever 
I chanced to stop amongst these people, we soon become familiar with each other through the 
medium of Poll. 

" On arriving at Mr. Dunbar's, below Natchez, I procured a cage, and placed it under the 
piazza, where, by its call, it soon attracted the passing flocks, such is the attachment they have 
for each other. ' Numerous parties frequently alighted on the trees immediately above, keep- 
ing up a constant conversation with the prisoner. One of these I wounded slightly in the wing, 
and the pleasure PoU expressed on meeting with this new companion was really amusing. 
She crept close up to it, as it hung on the side of the cage, chattering to it in a low tone 
of voice as if sympathizing in its misfortune, scratched about its head and neck with her bill, 
and both at night nestled as close as possible to each other, sometimes Poll's head being 
tJirust among the plumage of the other. 



388 



THE CAROLINA PARROT. 



"On the deatli of this companion she appeared restless and inconsolable for several days. 
On reaching New Orleans I placed a looking-glass beside the place where she usually sat, and 
the instant she perceived her image, all her former fondness seemed to return, so that she 
could scarcely absent herself from it a moment. It was evident she was completely deceived. 
Always when evening drew on, and often during the day, she laid her head close to that of the 
image in the glass, and began to doze with great composure and satisfaction. 

"In this short s^jace she had learned to know her name, to answer when called on, to 
climb up my clothes, sit on my shoulder, and eat from my mouth. I took her with me to 
sea, determined to persevere in her education, but, destined to another fate, poor Poll having 




CAROLINA PARROT.— ConarM carolinemU. 



one morning about daybreak wrought her way through the cage whUe I was asleep, instantly 
flew overboard and perished in the Gulf of Mexico." 



The result of this and other experiments was, that Wilson delivered his verdict in favor of 
the Carolina Parrot, saying that it is a docile and sociable bird, soon becomes perfectly familiar, 
and is probably capable of imitating the accents of man. Towards its own idnd it displays the 
strongest affection, and if its companions be in danger, it hovers about the spot in loving sym- 
pathy. It is very fond of salt, and will frequent the saline marshes in great numbers, covering 
the whole grormd and neighboring trees to such an extent, that nothing is visible but their 
bright and glossy plumage. 

While thus assembled together Wilson shot a great number of the birds, and was much 
striick with their affectionate conduct. " Having shot down a number, some of which were 
only wounded, the whole flock swept repeatedly round their prostrate companions, and agaia 
settled on a low tree within twenty yards of the s])ot where I stood. At each successivp 
discharge, though showers of them fell, yet the affection of the survivors seemed rather to 



THE PAPUAN LORY. 389 

increase, for after a few circuits round the place they again alighted near me, looking down on 
their slaughtered companions with such manifest symptoms of sympathy and concern as 
entirely disarmed me." 

The same graceful writer then proceeds to observe, with that accuracy of detail for which 
his works are so valuable, "I could not but take notice of the remarkable contrast between 
their elegant manner of flight, and their lame, crawling gait, among the branches. They fly 
very much like the wild pigeon— in close, compact bodies, and vdth great rapidity, making 
a loud and outrageous screaming, not unlike that of the red -headed woodpecker. Their 
flight is sometimes in a direct line, but most usually circuitous, making a great variety of 
elegant and easy serpentine meanders as if for pleasure. 

"They are particularly attached to the large sycamores, in the hollows of the trunks and 
branches of which they generally roost ; thirty or forty, and sometimes more, entering at the 
same hole. Here they cling close to the sides of the tree, holding fast by the claws and also 
by the bill. They appear to be fond of sleep, and often retire to their holes during the day, 
probably to take a regular siesta. They are extremely sociable with and fond of each other, 
often scratching each other's heads and necks, and always at night nestling as close as possible 
to each other, preferring at that time a perpendicular position, supported by their bUl and 
claws." 

The general color of this bird is green, washed with blue, and diversified with other tints 
as follows : The forehead and cheeks are reddish-orange, the same tint is seen on the shoulders 
and head and wings, and the neck and back of the head are pure golden-yellow. The upper 
parts of the body are soft green, and the under portions are of the same hue, but with a 
yellowish cast. The greater wing-coverts are yellow, tinged with green, the primaiy feathers 
of the wing are deep purplish black, and the long wedge-shaped tail has the central feathers 
streaked with blue along their central line. The female is colored after the same fashion, but 
not so brightly, and the young of both sexes are green on the neck instead of yellow. The 
total length of this species is about twenty-one inches. 

The Carolina Parrot {Conurus carolinensis)was once a very common species in the United 
States east of the Rocky Mountains, being known along the Mississippi Valley to the Great 
Lakes. They are now quite restricted. Like too many other instances, this bird has a specific 
name of no significance. The bird is, according to Dr. Coues, " scarcely entitled to a place in 
the fauna of South Carolina." 

As this Parrot is confined to such circumscribed areas, none being found south of the 
United States, and in view of the already decreased numbers, it would seem almost inevitable 
that the species will become at no distant day extinct. 

The habits of this bird are singular as compared with others of its race. We are accus- 
tomed to seeing all of this race of birds confined within tropical limits. Here we have a 
Parrot living the year through, west of the Alleghanies, in a cold climate ; and Barton Avrites 
that a very large flock of them was seen northwest of Albany, N. Y., in the year 1780. 
Wilson saw a flock, in the month of February, on the banks of the Ohio, in a snow-storm, flying 
about and uttering their peculiar cry. Wilson states that these birds breed in hollow trees. 



THE LORIES. 

In the Lories the bill is weaker than in the preceding species, and of smaller size, and the 
plumage is very beautiful, scarlet being the predominating tint. 

Tlie Papuan Lory is, as its name denotes, a native of Papua and other parts of New 
Guinea, and has always attracted great attention on account of its beautiful form and rich 
coloring. In its general shape it is not unlike the ring Parrakeet, the contour of the body 
being very similar and the tail boldly graduated, with the two central feathers projecting far 
beyond the rest. -^This elongated form of the tail-feathers is so unusual in the Lories, which 
mostly have rather short and stumpy tails, that it has induced systematic naturalists to place 
the bird in a genus distinct from the other Lories. Many specimens of this lovely bird have 



390 



THE PURPLE-CAPPED LORY. 



been sent to other countries, but, like the birds of paradise, they are often destitute of legs, 
and in some cases even the long tail-feathers have been abstracted, thus entirely altering 
the appearance of the bird. 

The colors with which this species is decorated are remarkably rich and intense The 
general color is deep scarlet, relieved by patches of azure, golden-yellow and grasa-green. 
The head, neck, the upper part of the back, and all the lower parts of the body are brilliant 
scarlet with the exception of two patches of azure-blue across the top of the head, edged 
with deep purple. There are also some patches of yellow on the sides of the breast and the 
thio-hs. The lower parts of the back, the upper tail-coverts, and the lower part of the legs are 
deep azure, and the wings are green. The two long feathers of the tail are light grass-green 
for the greater part of their length, and are tipped with golden-yellow. The remaining 
feathers of the tail have their basal halves deep green, and the remainder golden-yellow. The 




total length of the Papuan Lory is about seventeen inches, of which measurement the two long 
tail-feathers occupy no less than eleven inches. Tlie bill is orange-red, and the upper mandible 
is much longer than the lower, but is not very sharply curved. 

Another beautiful example of these birds is given in the Pukple-Capped Lokt, a native 
of the Moluccas and other islands. 

The reader will not fail to observe the great difference in form between this and the pre- 
ceding species, caused cliieiiy by the shortness and shape of the tail. It is often used as a 
cage-bird, and as it is readily tamed, is of an affectionate nature, and can be taught to speak 
veiy creditably, is somewhat of a favorite among bird-fanciers. It is a lively and active creat- 
ure, even- in motion, and is very fond of attracting the notice of strangers and receiving the 
caresses of those whom it likes. 

Like tlie Papuan Lory, the principal tint of the plumage is rich scarlet, Avhich is in even 
greater abundance than in that bird. Tlie top of its head is very deep purple, being nearly 
black on the forehead, and passing into violet on the hinder part of the head. Upon the 



THE GRAY PARROT. 



391 



upper part of the breast there is a collar of yellow, and with this exception, the whole of the 
face, neck, back, breast, and abdomen are rich scarlet. Tlie wings are green above, changing 
to violet oa the edges and on the under wing-coverts. The feathers of the tail are rich scarlet 
at their base, and each feather is banded near its extremity with black, and tipped with yel- 
low. The feathers of the thigh are azure. The bill is yellow, with a tinge of orange, and is 
rather narrow towards the tip. In spite of its short tail, this bird measures about eleven 
inches in length, so that it is very much larger thau the preceding species. 

The true Parrots constitute a group which are easily recognized by their short squared 
tails, the absence of any crest upon the head, and the toothed edges of the upper mandible. 
Many species belong to this group, of which we shall find three examples in the following 
pages. 



The Gray Parrot has long been celebrated for its wonderful powers of imitation and its 
excellent memory. 

It is a native of Western Africa, and is one of the commonest inhabitants of our aviaries, 
being brought over in great 
numbers by sailors, and always 
finding a ready sale as soon as 
the vessel arrives in port. Un- 
fortunately the nautical vocabu- 
lary is none of the most refined, 
and the sailors have a malicious 
pleasure in teaching the birds to 
repeat some of the most start- 
ling of their phrases. The worst 
of the matter is, that the Par- 
rot's memory is wonderfully te- 
nacious, and even after the lapse 
of years, and in spite of the most 
moral training, the bird is apt 
to break out suddenly with a 
string of very reprehensible ob- 
servations affecting the eyes, 
limbs, and general persons of his 
hearers. 

There is no doubt that the 
Parrot learns in course of time 
to attach some amonnt of mean- 
ing to the words which it repeats, 
for the instances of its apposite 
answers are too numerous and 
convincing not to prove that the 
bird knows the general sense of 
the phrase, if not the exact force 
of each word. 

I am unwilling to reproduce narratives which I have already published, and therefore 
restrict myself to one or two original anecdotes. 

There was a Pkrrot belonging to a friend of our family, a Portuguese gentleman. This 
Parrot was a great favorite in the house, and being accustomed equally to the company of its 
owner and the rest of the household, was familiar with Portuguese as well as English words 
and phrases. The bird evidently had the power of appreciating the distinction between the 
two languages, for if it were addressed, its reply would always be in the language employed. 

The bird learned a Portuguese song about itself and its manifold perfections, the words 
of which I cannot remember. But it would not sing this song if asked to do so in the 




GEAT PARROT.— i%««a«M erit/tacus. 



392 THE GRAY PARROT. 

English language. Saluted in Portuguese, it would answer in the same language, but was 
never known to confuse the two tongues together. Towards dinner-time it always became 
very excited, and used to call to the servant whenever she was late, "Sarah, lay the cloth, 
— want my dinner!" which sentence it would repeat vidth great volubility, and at the top 
of its voice. 

But as soon as its master's step was heard outside the house, its tone changed, for the 
loud voice was disagreeable to its owner, who used to punish it for screaming by flipping 
its beak. So Polly would get off the perch, very humbly sit on the bottom of the cage, put its 
head to the floor, and instead of shouting for its dinner in the former imperious tone, would 
whisper in the lowest of voices, ' ' Want my dinner ! Sarah, make haste, want my dinner ! ' ' 

In the well-known autobiography of Lord Dundonald, there is an amusing anecdote of 
a Parrot which had picked up some nautical phrases, and had learned to use them to good 
eflFect. 

Some ladies were paying a visit to the vessel, and were hoisted on deck as usual by means 
of a "whip," i. e., a rope passing through a block on the yard-arm, and attached to the chair 
on which the lady sits. Two or three had been safely brought on deck, and the chair had just 
been hoisted out of the boat with its fair freight, when an unlucky Parrot on board suddenly 
shouted out, "Let go!" The sailors who were hauling up the rope instantly obeyed the 
supposed order of the boatswain, and away went the poor lady, chair and all, into the sea. 

Its power of imitating all kinds of sounds is really astonishing. I have heard the same 
Parrot imitate, or rather reproduce, in rapid succession the most dissimilar of sounds, with- 
out the least effort and with the most astonishing truthfulness. He could whistle lazily like a 
street idler, cry prawns and shrimps as well as any costermonger, creak like an ungreased 
" sheave " in the pulley that is set in the blocks through which ropes run for sundry nautical 
purposes, or keep up a quiet and gentle monologue about his own accomplishments with a 
simplicity of attitude that was most absurd. 

Even in the imitation of louder noises he was equally expert, and could sound the danger 
whistle or blow off steam with astonishing accuracy. Until I came to understand the bird, I 
used to wonder why some invisible person was always turning an imperceptible capstan in my 
close vicinity, for the Parrot had also learned to imitate the grinding of the capstan bars and 
the metallic clink of the catch as it falls rapidly upon the cogs. 

As for the ordinary accomplishments of Parrots, he possessed them in perfection, but in 
my mind Ms most perfect performance was the imitation of a dog having his foot run over by 
a cart-wheel. First there came the sudden half-frightened bark, as the beast found itself in 
unexpected danger, and then the loud shriek of pain, followed hj the series of howls that is 
popularly termed "pen and ink." Lastly, the howls grew fainter, as the dog was supposed 
to be limping away, and you really seemed to hear him turn the corner and retreat into the 
distance. The memory of the bird must have been most tenacious, and its j^owers of observa- 
tion far beyond the common order ; for he could not have been witness to such canine accidents 
more than once. 

The food of this, as well as the green Parrot, consists chiefly of seeds of various kinds, 
and in captivity may be vaned to some extent. Hemp-seed, grain, canary-seed, and the cones 
of fir-trees are very favorite articles of diet with this bird. Of the cones it is especially fond, 
nibbling them to pieces when they are young and tender ; but when they are old and ripe, 
breaking away the hard scales and scoo])ing out the seeds with its very useful tongue. Haw- 
thorne berries are very good for the Parrot, as are several vegetables. These, however, should 
be given with great caution, as several, such as parsley and chickweed, are very hurtful to 
the bird. 

There are few things which a Parrot likes better than nuts and the stones of various 
fruits. I once succeeded in obtaining the affections of a Parisian Parrot, solely through the 
medium of peach-stones, which I always used to save for the bird, and for which he regularly 
began to gabble as soon as he saw me coming along the street. When taken freshly from the 
peach the stones are very acceptable to the Parrot, who turns them over and over, chuckling 
all the while to show his satisfaction, and picking all the soft parts from the deep indentations 



FOOD OF THE GRAY PARROT. 393 

ia the stone. As a great favor I sometimes used to crack the stone before giving it to him, and his 
delight then knew no bounds. Walnuts when quite ripe are in great favor with Parrots ; and it 
is very curious to see how well the bird sets to work at picking out their contents, holding the 
nut firmly with its foot, and hooking out its kernel with the bill and tongue. A split walnut 
will give a Parrot employment for more than an hour. 

Woody fibre is generally beneficial to these birds, who often try to gratify their natural 
longing for this substance by pulling their perches to pieces. Tlie Parrot owaier will find the 
health of his pet improved and its happiness promoted by giving it, every now and then, a 
small log or bi-anch, on which the mosses and lichens are still growing. Some persons are in 
the habit of giving their Parrots pieces of meat, fish, and other similar articles of diet, but 
generally with evil effects. The diet is too stimulating, and keeps up a continual irritation in 
the system, which induces the bird to be always pecking out its feathers. Many Parrots have 
almost stripped themselves of their plumage by this constant restlessness, and I knew of an 
individual that had contrived to pluck himself completely bare in every part of tlie body which 
his bill could reach, so that he presented the ludicrous siglit of a bare body and a full-plum- 
aged head. The soaked bread and milk which is so often given to these birds is, also, too 
heating a diet, and their bread should only be steeped in water. 

The PaiTot has the true tropical love for hot condiments, and is very fond of cayenne 
pepper or the capsicum pod from which it is supposed to be made. If the bird be ailing, a 
capsicum will often set it right again. It is rather curious that my cat has a similar taste, 
having, I presume, caught it from her master. Some months ago, a careless cook made a 
"curry" with a dessert-spoonful of cayenne pepper instead of curry powder, to the very great 
detriment of the throats of the intended consumers. " Pret," as usual, pushed her nose against 
my hand to ask for some of my dinner, so in joke I gave her a very red piece of the meat. To 
my profound astonishment, she ate the burning morsel with great zest, and became so clamor- 
ous for more that I could hardly satisfy her fast enough. 

The Parrot should be able to change its position, as it does not like to sit perpetually on 
a round perch, and is much relieved by a little walking exercise. If possible, it should have 
some arrangement to enable it to climb ; a matter easily accomplished by means of a little wire 
cord and a small modicum of ingenuity. There should always be some spot where the Parrot 
can find a warm perch ; as aU these birds are singularly plagued with cold feet, and often 
catch sundry disorders in consequence. If it is kept in a cage, the PaiTot should never be 
confined in a brass prison ; for the bird is always climing about the wires by means of its 
beak, and is likely to receive some hurt from the poisonous verdigris that is sure to make its 
appearance sooner or later on brass wire. An occasional bath is very beneficial to the Parrot's 
health ; and if the bird refuses to bathe, tepid water may be thrown over him with very 
good effect. 

When proper precautions are taken, the Parrot is one of our hardiest cage-birds, and will 
li^e to a great age even in captivity. Some of these birds have been knovm to attain an age 
of sixty or seventy years, and one which was seen by Le Vaillant had attained the patriarchal 
age of ninety-three. At sixty its memory began to fail ; and at sixty-five the moult became 
very ii-regular, and the tail changed to yellow. At ninety it was a very decrepid creature, 
almost blind and quite silent, having forgotten its former abundant stock of words. 

A Gray Parrot belonging to one of my friends was, during the fonner part of its life, 
remarkable only for its large vocabulary of highly discreditable language, which it would 
insist upon using exactly when it ought to have been silent, but suddenly changed its nature 
and subsided into a tender and gentle foster-mother. 

In the garden of its owner there were a number of standard rose-trees, around all of which 
was a circular wire fence covered with convolvuluses and honeysuclde. Within one of these 
fences a pair of goldfinches had made their nest, and were constantly fed by the inhabitants of 
the house, Avho all had a great love for beasts and birds, and took a delight in helping the 
little creatures under their charge ; and, indeed, were deeply interested in animated nature 
generally. Polly soon remarked the constant visits to the rose-tree, and the donations of 
crumbs and seeds that were regularly given, and must follow so good an example. So she set 

Vol. U.-50. 



394 THE FESTIVE GREEN PARROT. 

off to the spot ; and after looking at the birds for a little while, went to her cage, brought a 
l>eakf 111 of her sopped bread, and put it into the nest. 

At last the young birds were hatched, much to Polly's delight; but she became so 
energetic in her demonstrations of attachment that she pushed herself fairly through the wii'e 
mashes, and terriiied the parents so much that they flew away. Polly, seeing them deserted, 
took on herself the task of foster-mother, and was so attentive to her little charge that she 
refused to go back to her cage, biit remained with the little birds by night as well as by day, 
feeding them carefully, and forcing them to open their beaks if they refused her attentions. 
When they were able to hop about they were very fond of getting on her back, where four of 
them would gravely sit, while the fifth, which was the youngest, or at all events the smallest, 
always preferred to perch on Polly's head. 

With all these little ones on her back, Polly would very deliberately walk up and down the 
lawn, as if to give them exercise ; and would sometimes vary her performance by rising into 
the air, thus setting the ten little wings in violent motion,- and giving the birds a hard task to 
remain on lier back. By degrees they became less fearful, and when she rose from the ground, 
they would leave her back and fly down. Tliey were but ungrateful little creatures after 
all ; for when they were fully fledged they flew away, and never came back again to their 
foster-mother. 

Poor Polly was for some time in great trouble about the desertion of her foster-children, 
but soon consoled herself by taking care of another little brood. These belonged to a pair of 
hedge-sparrows, whose home had been broken up by the descent of some large bird, which was 
supposed to have been a hawk by the effects produced. Polly found the little birds in dire 
distress ; and contiived in some ingenious manner to get them, one by one, on her back, and 
to fly with them to her cage. Here she established the little family ; never entering the cage 
except for the purpose of attending to her young charge. 

The oddest part of the matter was, that one of the parents survived, and Polly was seen to 
talk to her in the most absurd manner ; mixing up her acquired vocabulary with that universal 
bird -language that seems to be common to all the feathered tribes, and plentifully interlarding 
her discourse with sundry profane expressions. At last the instinctive language conquered the 
human, and the two birds seemed to understand each other perfectly well. At that time Polly 
was supposed to be about eight or nine years old. 

There is a rather general belief tliat only the male Parrot can talk, biat this is merely a 
popular error. The female Parrot has often been known to be an excellent talker, and at the 
same time has proved her sex by the deposition of a solitary egg. As might be supposed, such 
eggs produce no young ; but there are accredited instances where the Gray Parrot has bred in 
Europe. In Buffon's well-known work may be seen a notice of a pair of Parrots that bred 
regularly for five or six yeai's, and brought up their young successfully. The place chosen 
for their incubation was a tub, partially filled with sawdust, and was probably selected because 
it bore some resemblance to the hollow trunk of a tree, which is the usual nesting-place of the 
Parrots. 

The general color of this bird is a very pure ashen-gray, except the tail, which is deep 
scarlet. 

Two species of Green Parrot are tolerably common, the one being the Festive Green 
Pareot, and the other the Amazon Green Parrot. 

The former bird is a much larger and altogether finer species than the latter, often measur- 
ing sixteen inches in length. It is found in various parts of South America, such as Guiana, 
Cayenne, and the Brazils, and is very plentiful along the banks of the Amazon. It is a forest- 
loving bird, frequenting the depths of the vast wooded tracts which cover that country with 
their wonderful luxuriance, and being seldom seen beyond their outskirts. Being of an 
affectionate nature and +>asily tamed, it is in great favor as a cage-bii-d, and can readily be 
taught to pronounce words or even sentences. 

The general color of this Parrot is bright gi'een. On the top of the head and behind the 
eyes the feathers are rather pale cobalt-blue, and a deeper tint of blue is also seen on the outer 



THE AMAZON GREEN PARROT. 



395 



webs of the primary and secondary feathers of the wings, their interior webs being dark 
greenish-black. The lower part of the back and the upper tail-coverts are deep crimson-red', 
and the short, square tail is green, except the outermost feathei's, which are edged with blue. 
On all the tail-feathers, except the central, there is a spot of pale red near the base. The bill 
is large and flesh-colored. 



The Amazon Green Parrot is the species most commoidy seen. It is a handsome bird, 
and is even a better conversationalist than the last-mentioned species. Like the Festive Parrot, 
it is a native of Southern America, and especially frequents the banlis of the Amazon. It is 
not, however, so retiring in its _^ 

habits as that bird, and wall ,.-.. .. J 

often leave the woods for the 
sake of preying upon the orange 
plantations, among which it 
works great havoc. Its nest is 
made in the decayed trunks of 
trees. 

As a general fact, it is not 
so apt at learning and repeat- 
ing phrases as the Gray Parrot, 
but I have knowTi more than 
one instance where its powers 
of speech could hardly be 
exceeded, and very seldom 
rivalled. One of these birds 
which used to live in a little 
garden into which my wndow 
looked, was, on our first en- 
trance into the house, the cause 
of much perplexity to ourselves 
and the servants. The nursery- 
maid's name was Sarah, and the 
unfortunate girl was continu- 
ally running up and down stairs, 
fancying herself called by one 
of the children in distress. The 
voice of the Parrot was just 
that of a child, and it would 
call Sarah in every imaginable 

tone, varying from a mere enunciation of the name, as if in conversation, to angry remon- 
strances, petulant peevishness, or sudden terror. 

Even after we had been weU accustomed to the bird, we were often startled by the sharp 
cry of " Sarah ! Sa-rah, Sa . . . rah ! " Presently it would cry, " Sarah, lay the cloth ; " and 
after a while, "Sarah, why don't you lay the cloth?" always contriving to get the name of 
that domestic into its sentences. 

The end of the poor bird was rather tragic. It was the property of a very irritable master, 
from whom the angry cries for Sarah were probably learned. He was very fond of his Parrot, 
but one day, in playing with her, he teased her so far beyond her patience, that she bit his 
finger ; whereupon, in a fit of passion, he seized her by the neck and dashed her on the ground 
so hard, that she died on the spot. 

From the Festive Parrot it may easily be distinguished, not only for its lesser size, it being 
barely twelve inches in length, but by the different arrangement of the coloring. The whole of 
the cheeks, chin, and the angles at the base of the bill are yellow, the forehead is deep blue- 
purple, and the feathers of the back of the head and nape of the neck are green, edged with 




'^^/Jai^jui^, 



AMAZON GREEN PABROT.— Ofirysotis amazonica. 



396 THE GOLIATH ARATOO. 

black. When the bird is angry, it raises these feathers like a crest. The plumage of the body 
both above and below is rich green. The tail-feathers are beautifully marked with green, 
yellow, and red, and the primary feathers of the wings are tinged with green of various quali- 
ties, azure, deep brownish red and black. 



LOVE-BIRDS AND COCKATOOS. 

The Love-birds derive their name from the great fondness which they display for others 
of their own species, and the manner in which they always sit close to each other while 
perched, each trying to snuggle as closely as possible among the soft feathers of its neighbor. 
They are aU little birds, and among the smallest of these is the Swindern's Love-bied, 
which measures barely six inches in length. 

It is a rather scarce bird, but deserves notice on account of its very small dimensions, and 
its beautiful plumage. Like others of its kind, it is very fond of society, and unless furnished 
with a companion is very apt to droop, refuse nourishment, and die. Its habits in a wild 
state are not jjrecisely known, as it is a bird of rare occurrence, and not easily to be watched. 

The head of this species is light grass-green ; round the back of the neck runs a black 
collar, and the chest, together with a band round the neck, just below the black collar, is 
yellow with a greenish cast. The general color of the body is the same grass-green as that of 
the head, except the upper tail-coverts, which are deep, rich azure. The short and rounded 
tail is beautifully and richly colored, the two central feathers being green, and the others 
bright scarlet for the first half of their length, then banded with a warm bar of black, and the 
tips green. The bill is black, and of a stronger make than is usually the case with the Love- 
birds. The legs and feet are grayish-black. 

The Cockatoos are very familiar birds, as several species are common inhabitants of our 
aviaries, where they create much amusement by their grotesque movements, their exceeding 
love of approbation, and their repeated mention of their own name. Wherever two or three 
of these birds are found in the same apartment, however silent they may be when left alone, 
the presence of a visitor excites them to immediate conversation, and the air resounds with 
"Cockatoo!" " Pretty Cocky ! " in all directions, diversified with an occasional yell, if the 
utterer be not immediately noticed. 

They are confined to the Eastern Archipelago and Australia, in which latter country a 
considerable number of large and sj)lendid species are found. The nesting jjlace of the Cocka- 
toos is always in the holes of decaying trees, and by means of their very powerful beaks, they 
tear away the wood imtil they have angered the hollow to their liking. Their food consists 
almost wholly of fruit and seeds, and they are often very great pests to the agriculturist, 
settling in large flocks upon the fields of maize and corn, and devouring the ripened ears or 
disinterring the newly sown seeds with hearty good-will. The wrath of the famier is naturally 
aroused by these frequent raids, and the Cockatoos peiisli annually in great numbers from the 
constant persecution to which they are subjected, their nests being destroyed, and themselves 
shot and trapped. 

To those, however, who own no land, and are anxious about no crops, a flock of Cockatoos 
is a most beautiful and welcome sight, as they flit among the heavy-leaved trees of the Aus- 
tralian forest, their pinky-white plumage relieved against the dark masses of umbrageous 
shade, as they appear and vanish among the branches like the bright visions of a dream. 

The first of the Cockatoos which will lie noticed in these pages is the Goliath Aratoo, a 
striking and very remarkable V)ii'd. 

The genej-ic name, " microglossum," which is given to this creature, is of Greek origin, 
and signilies "little-tongue," that member being very curiously formed. In the generality of 
the Parrot tribe the tongue is thick and fleshy, but in the Aratoo it is long, tubular, and 
<^xtensile. The powerful bill is also of a rather unusual form, the upper mandible being very 



THE GOLIATH ABA TOO. 



397 



large, sharply curved, and having its cutting edges two-toothed, while the lower mandible is 
comparatively small, and only furnished with a single tooth. 

It is a native of New Guinea and the neighboring islands, and is not a very common bird 
although specimens may be found in several museums. The peculiar formation of the tongue 
and beak would lead the ob- 
server to suppose that its habits 
must be different from those of 
ordinary Cockatoos ; but as lit- 
tle or nothing is known of its 
mode of life in a wild state, 
the precise use of these organs 
is rather problematical. 

In size, this bird is one of 
the largest of the Parrot tiibe, 
being equal to and in some 
cases exceeding that of the 
great macaws, although the 
absence of the long tail renders 
it a less conspicuous bird. The 
general color of this species is 
deep black, with a greenish 
gloss, caused chiefly by the 
large amount of wliitish powder 
which is secreted in certain 
imperfect quills, and thence 
scattered ' among the feathers, 
giving them a kind of " bloom," 
like that of the plum or gi-ape. 

This substance is found 
very largely in most of the Par- 
rot tribe, and I well remera.ber 
getting my coat powdered like 
that of a miller from playing 
with a great white Cockatoo. 
Many other birds, such as the 
vultures, possess this curious 

powdery substance, whose office is rather doubtful. The powder is produced from the forma- 
tive substance of the quill, which, instead of being developed into shaft and web, as in the 
case of the perfect quills, dries tip and is then thrown off in a dusty form. The imperfect 
quill-feathers can generally be seen intei-mixed with the rest of the plumage when the Cockatoo 
bends do^vn its head or plumes itself, and the white substance may be seen in the open ends 
of the imperfect quills, or lying thickly about them. In the case of the vultures it is thought 
to be given for the purpose of keeping their skin and plumage undefiled by the putrid animal 
substances on which those unclean and useful birds feed, but as it is found in equal plenty on 
the Cockatoos, than whom no cleaner feeding or more fastidious birds exist, it is evident that 
it must serve some purpose that is common to these two dissimilar species. Very little 
structure is found in this dust when placed under the microscope, but with the aid of the\ 
polarizer I have made out several well-marked hexagonal cells. 

The green-black hue extends over the whole of the plumage, but around the eye is a large 
naked space of skin, red in color, and covered with wrinkles. The head is ornamented with a 
large and curiously formed crest, which is composed of a number of single feathers, each being 
long, narrow, and the web rather scanty. The color of the crest is rather grayer than the 
remainder of the plumage, probably on account of its less massive construction, and its free- 
dom from the white powdery dust which has just been described. In general the crest lies 




GOLIATH ARATOO. -MicToglossiis aiermiuis. 



398 



THE GREAT WHITE COCKATOO. 



along the top of the head, and merely exhibits the tips of its feathers projecting over the 
neck ; but when the bird is excited by anger or ])leasure, it can erect the crest as well as the 
common Cockatoo. Some naturalists tliink that there are two species of Aratoo, the larger 
being distinguished by tlie title of M. Goliath, and the smaller called by the name of M. 
aterrimum, but the general opinion leans in favor of a single species and two varieties. 

Two species of Cockatoo differ from each other in the color of their crests. 

The first of these is the Great White Cockatoo, a remarkably handsome bird, espe- 
cially when excited. In size it is rather a large bird, equalling a common fowl in dimensions, 
and assuming a much larger form when it ruffles up its feathers when under the influence of 
ano-er. Many of these birds are admirable talkers, and their voice is peculiarly full and loud. 










GREAT WHITE COCKATOO.— Plictolophus ■moluccensis. 



A Great White Cockatoo which I lately saw, was rather celebrated for his powers of con- 
versation ; but as he was moulting, his vocabulary was silenced for the time, and he sat in a 
very disconsolate manner on his perch, looking as if he had fallen into a jiuddle and not 
had time to aiTange his plumage. All the breast and fore parts of the body were quite bare 
of feathers, and even the beautiful crest had a sodden and woe-begone look. By dint, 
however, of talking to the bird, and rubbing his head, I induced him to favor us with a few 
words, which were given in a voice as full and rounded as that of a strong-voiced man accus- 
tomed to taliv to deaf people. 

Presently we were startled with a deafening laugh, not unlike that of the hyena, but 
even louder and more vi^eird-like. On turning round, I saw the Cockatoo suddenly transformed 
into a totally different bird, his whole frame literally blazing with excitement, his crest flung 



THE SULPHUR-CRESTED COCKATOO. 399' 

forward to the fullest extent, and repeatedly spread and closed like the fan of an angi-y 
Spanish lady, every feather standing on end and his eyes sparkling with fury, while he 
volleyed forth the sounds which had so startled us. The cause of this excitement was to be 
found in the persons of two children, who had come to look at the bird, and who by some 
means had excited his ire. He always objected to children, probably with good reason, and 
being naturally irritable from the effect of moulting, his temper was aroused by the presence 
of the objects of his dislike. 

The plumage of this species is white with a very slight roseate tinge, and the crest 
is white. 

The species of Cockatoo which is most common is the Sulphi'r-crested Cockatoo. It 
may readily be distinguished from the preceding bird by the bright yellow color of its crest 
and its more pointed form. 

This bird is an inhabitant of different parts of Australia, and is especially common in 
Van Diemen's Land, where it may be found in flocks of a thousand in number. Owing to 
the ease mth which it is obtained, it is frequently brought to England, and is held in much 
estimation as a pet. 

A Cockatoo which I have lately seen, a young bird, displays admirably many peculiarities, 
of the Cockatoo nature. 

As yet it is not a very accomplished linguist, although it can repeat many words with 
much fidelity. It certainly has some notion of the meaning attached to certain words, as it 
can distinguish between the various members of the family, and when they enter the room wlD 
frequently utter their name. Sometimes it will act in the same manner when they leave 
the room. It can laugh merrily, but in rather too loud a tone for sensitive ears, and promises 
well for further accomplishments. Like others of the parrot tribe, it rejoices greatly in 
exercisihg its sharp beak, and is very fond of biting to pieces every bit of wood that may 
come in its way. 

Empty cotton-reels are favorite toys, and it watches the gradual diminution of the thread 
with great interest, knowing that it is sure to have the wooden reel after the thread has been 
used. When the reel is placed on the outside of the cage the bird descends from its perch, 
pushes one of its feet througli the wires and with extended toes feels in every direction for 
its toy. When the position of the coveted article is found, the bird grasps it with its feet, 
draws it through the wires, and bites it to pieces. Many times it has been known to split a 
reel with a single bite. Sometimes its o^vners give it one of those flat wooden discs on which 
silk-ribbon has been wound, and in such cases it always takes care to turn the disc edgeways 
before attempting to bring it through the wires. 

So powerful is its beak that it can break up the sheU of a periwinkle, or even a whelk, 
and with its curved beak peck out the inhabitant. In a similar manner it will crack nuts to 
pieces, and extract the kernel ; but seems to do so merely for the pleasure of exercising its 
beak, as it generally allows the kernel to fall on the floor and contents itself with breaking the 
shell into many little pieces. 

When I saw it, the plumage was in very fine order, and the crest with its double fan 
of bright yellow feathers had a remarkably fine effect as the bird ruffled up its plumage, 
erected the crest, and began bowing and crying " Pretty Cocky ! " in a very excited state of 
mind. 

Although its beak is so powerful, it can climb up the hands or face of any one whom it 
knows without doing any damage, whereas another Cockatoo of my acquaintance once inflicted 
unwitting but painful damage on my finger, as it lowered itself from my hand to its perch. I 
suppose that the bird found the substance of the finger yielding under the pressure of its 
beak, and fearful lest it should fall, gripped the finger in hope of saving itself, thereby inflict- 
ing a rather severe wound, and bruising the surrounding parts to such an extent that the 
whole finger swelled gi-eatly, and for nearly a week could not be used. 

The Cockatoo seems to court notice even more than the parrot, and will employ various 
ingenious manoeuvres in order to attract attention to its perfections. They are mostly good 



400 THE PHILIP ISLAND PARROT. 

tempered birds, seldom trying to bite unless they have been teased, and even in that case they 
generally give fair notice of their belligerent intentions by yelling loudly with anger, and 
spreading their yellow crests in defiance of their enemy. 

The Cockatoo evidently possesses some sense of humor, particularly of that kind which is 
popularly knovm as practical joking. A lady had once shown some timidity in approaching 
a tame Cockatoo, and was evidently afraid of its beak. The bird thought that it was a great 
Joke to frighten any one so much bigger than itself, and whenever the lady came near its perch 
it would set up its feathers, yell, and make believe to attack her, merely for the pleasure of 
hearing her scream and seeing her run away. 

In its own country the Cockatoo is anything but a favorite, on account of its devastation 
among the crops. In treating of this bird, Mr. Gould writes as follows : "As may be readily 
imagined, this bird is not upon favorable terms with the agriculturist, upon whose fields of 
newly sown grain and ripening maize it commits the greatest devastation. It is consequently 
hunted and shot down wherever it is found, a circumstance which tends much to lessen its 
numbers. It is still, however, very abundant, moving about in flocks varying from a hundred 
to a thousand in number, and evinces a decided preference for the ojDen plains and cleared 
lands, rather than for the dense bushes near the coast. 

"Except when feeding or reposing on the trees after a repast, the joresence of a flock, if not 
seen, is sure to be indicated by their horrid, screaming notes, the discordance of which may be 
slightly conceived by those who have heard the peculiarly loud, piercing, and grating scream 
of the bird in captivity ; always remembering the immense increase of the din occasioned by 
the large number of the birds uttering their disagreeable notes at the same moment." 

The color of this Cockatoo is white, with the exception of the crest, which is of a bright 
sulphur-yellow, and the under surface of the wings and the basal portions of the inner webs of 
the tail-feathers, which are of the same color, but much j)aler in hue. The total length of 
this species is about eighteen inches. 

The remarkably handsome bird which is represented on page 401 is a native of Australia. 
It is called by several names, such as the Tricolor Crested Cockatoo, and the Pink Cocka- 
too, by which latter name it is known to the colonists. The title of Leadbeater's Cockatoo 
was given to the bird in honor of the well-known naturalist, who possessed the Itrst specimen 
brought to Europe. 

It is not so noisy as the common species, and may possibly prove a favorite inhabitant of 
our aviaries, its soft, blush-white plumage and splendid crest well meriting the attention of bird- 
fanciers. The crest is remarkable for its great development, and for the manner in which the 
bird can raise it like a fan over its head, or depress it upon the back of its neck at will. In 
either case it has a very fine effect, and especially so when it is elevated, and the bird is excited 
with anger or pleasure. 

The general color of this bird is white, with a slight pinkish flush. Round the base of 
the beak runs a very narrow crimson line, and the feathers of the crest are long and pointed, 
each feather being crimson at the base, then broadly barred with golden yellow, then with 
crimson, and the remainder is white. The neck, breast, flanks, and tinder tail-coverts are 
deeply stained witli crimson, and the under surface of the wing is deep crimson-red. The beak 
is pale grayish-white, the eyes brown, and the feet and legs dark gray, each scale being edged 
with a lighter tint. In size it is rather superior to the common white Cockatoo. 

A very singular form of Cockatoo is that which is known as the Philip Island, or the 
Long-billed Parrot. 

This bird is only found on the little island from which it derives its name. It may probably 
become extinct at no distant period, as its singularly shaped beak renders it an object of attrac- 
tion to those who get their living by supplying the dealers with skins, and various objects of 
natural history ; and its disposition is so gentle and docile, that it readily accommodates itself to 
captivity. Philip's Island is only five miles in extent ; and it is a very remarkable fact, that 
this Long-billed Parrot is never found even in Norfolk Island, though hardly four miles distant. 




m^^ Enimate Creation, g^.^^ 

,1/ E have concluded to submit for public patronage a work with the above title, being a series 



V'^^r of exquisite Engravings representing the Animal World, executed with great scientific 
accuracy, and accompanied by full Descriptive Text, written in popular terms, so as to 
delight and instruct the people. Anyone who has considered the subject must be at a loss to under- 
stand why an ILLUSTRATED Natural History, comprehensive and at the same time popular, 
has not before this been published in this country. Indeed any lover of animals who has visited the 
great museums and zoological gardens and has had access to books of engravings in the public 
libraries, could not fail to remark the wealth of material in existence devoted to this subject. Being 
confirmed in our conviction of the desirability of such a work, we laid under contribution the best 
existing authorities for the production of most perfect representations of all the more important 
living creatures, and among the artists whose delineations will delight the reader, we may mention 
Harrison Weir, Wolf, Coleman, Fr. Specht, and Mutzel. By far the majority of the engravings in 
these volumes are from drawings made from the living animals, many at the Zoological Society's 
Gardens in London, England. 

We purpose that our patrons shall be aided and interested in their study by such an array of 
pictures as has never before embellished any Natural History. In numerous instances the engraving 
is printed in oil-colors, and this portion of the illustrations has been taken charge of by Messrs. L. 
Prang & Co., of Boston, who we believe rank foremost for high artistic results in this department of 
printing. These Oleographs were copied under the superintendence of Mr.. Prang from the renowned 
" Tafeln" of " Brehm's Thierleben," so that they may be declared perfectly reliable. 

We sought competent advice from various sources as to the most suitable text that should ac- 
company this panorama of handsome Engravings. It was found impossible to embody all the present 
ideas of naturalists in a single work like this on account of the rapid advances and constant changes in 
their knowledge of, and habits of thought respecting, the Animal World. And it seemed to us cor- 
rect that the true object of Zoology is not to arrange, to number, and to ticket animals in a formal 
inventory, but to inquire into their life-nature, and not simply to investigate the lifeless organism. 

What do we know of " Man " from the dissecting-room? Is it not Man, the warrior, the states- 
man, the poet, etc., that we are interested in ? With all veneration which attaches itself to those 
who are the accredited possessors of abstruse learning, their inordinate use of phraseology detracts 
too m.uch, we fear, from the fascination that the study of the Animal World would otherwise yield, 
and as we are not content to have our work restricted to a favored few, we thought the task placed 
in our hands to be to keep the work free from a repellant vocabulary of conventional technicalities. 
Our endeavor has been to find an author whose work would be noted for its fund of anecdote and 
vitality rather than for merely anatomical and scientific presentation, and we arrived at the conclu- 
sion that we could not do better thaii avail ourselves of the Rev. J. G. Wood's comprehensive work 
— a work most popularly approved by speakers of the English language. It would be superfluous to 
say one word concerning the standard character of his book, from the pages of which old and young 
at the other side of the Atlantic have obtained so much instruction and rational amusement. Avoid- 
ing the lengthened dissertations and minute classifications of specialists, he presents to his readers in 
popular terms a complete treatise on the Animal Kingdom of all climes and countries. The one 
objection that could be urged against it was, that animal life in America might be treated more fully 
and American forms given more consideration. ' In order to obviate this drawback and to do full 
justice to the creatures of our own country, we secured the aid of Dr. J. B. HOLDER, of the Ameri- 
can Museum of Natural History in New York, an undoubted American authority, who has adapted 
Wood's work to American wants and given prominence to American forms of Animal life. 

The splendid work on Rodentia, by Allen, Coues, and others, will be fully consulted. The 
^ 1= S R valuable work on North American Birds, by Baird, Brewer, and Ridgway, will be the guide in the 
^ Z ,''^.- treatment of birds. The late arrangement of the classification and nomenclature of North American 
2 I g M i- Birds, by Mr. Ridgway, and the Committee on that subject of the Ornithologists' Union, will be 
^ V I w S utilized in full. The arrangement of Mammals will be after the latest classification by Professor 
'^ S '^ ^ M Flower, of the Zoological Society of London. So that this will be the first popular Natural History 
^ g '^. worthy of the name that has made its appearance here, which gives due and full recognition to the 
animate world surrounding us. 

^enns of publication. 

The extent of the work will be 68 parts of 28 pages, at the price of 25 cents each. The entire publication will 
contain 34 Oleographs and 68 Full Page Engravings on Wood, besides many hundreds of exquisite Illustrations 
interspersed through the text. The parts will be issued every two weeks, and are payable only as delivered. No 
subscriber's name will be received for less than the entire work, and anyone removing, or not regularly supplied, will 
please address the Publisher by mail. 

N. E. SELMAR HESS, Publisher, New York. 





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ISSUED BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY, AND NOT FOR SALE IN BOOK STORES. 




PART 39 



COMPLETE IN 68 PARTS. 



25 CENTS. 



THE PHILIP ISLAND PARROT. 



401 



Its favorite resorts are among rocky ground interspersed with tall trees, and its food con- 
sists mostly of long and succulent vegetable substances. The blossoms of the white Hibiscus 
afford it a plentiful supply of food, and in order to enable it to obtain the sweet juices of 




^-ir^-^-x-^ \ 






-^-^-^k-^. - ''„#'■>'' 



LEADBEATES'S COCKATOO.— Cacatun leaOlieaten. 



the flowers, the tongue is furnished with a long, narrow, horny scoop at the under side of the 
extremity, not very unlike the human nail. As earth has often been found upon the long 
upper mandible, the bird is believed to seek some portion of its food in the ground, and to dig 
up with its pick-axe of a bill the ground nuts and other subterraneous vegetation. This opinion 

Vol. n. B1. 



403 



THE PHILIP ISLAND PARROT. 



is strengthened by tlie fact that another species of Parrot belonging to the same country is 
known to seek its food by digging. 




LONGBU>LED VAKROT!- mslor pmductus ; and BLACK COCKATOO— Cali/piorrhync/ms Baiiksi. 



The liard and strong fruits which are so favored by other Parrots, are i-ejected by this 
species, whose long bill does not possess the great power needed for cracking the shells. In 
captivity it has ])een known to feed upon various soft leaves, such as lettuce and cabbage, and 
displays a decided predilection for ripe fruits, cream, and butter. 




NESTOR-PARROTS. 



THE HELMET COCKATOO. 



403 



While on the ground its mode of progression is not the ungainly waddle generally 
employed by the Parrot tribe, but is accomplished by hopping something after the fashion 
of the rooks, the wings aiding in each hop. One species of this genus has been known to 
imitate the human voice with much accuracy. This is the Southern Nestor, or the Kaka of 
the natives (JVesfor Jiypopoliuf:). The voice of the Long-billed Parrot is harsh, loud, and very 
disagreeable, and is ^aid to resemble the continual barking of a hoarse-voiced, ill-tempered 
cur. ^Vhile ranging among the trees, these birds fill the woods with their dissonant, quacking 
baiks. The eggs of this species are white, and, as is generally the case with the Parrots, are 
laid in the hollow of a decaying ti-ee. 

The birds which belong to the genus Nestor may at once be known by theii- extraordinarily 
long upper mandibles, which curve far over the lower, and remind the observer of the over- 
grown tooth so common in the rat, rabbit, and other rodent animals. This remarkable struc- 
ture is very probably for the purpose of enabling the bird to scoop roots and other vegetable 
substances out of the earth. Tlie length, curve, and shape of the upper mandible differ in the 
various species. Another jieculiarity is that the tips of the tail-feathers are partially denuded 
of their webs, leaving the shaft to project slightly beyond the feathered portion. Some persons 
suppose the Long-billed Parrots to form a link between the Parrots and the Cockatoos. 

Neither of these birds are remarkable for lirilliancy of plumage, the prevailing tints being 
browni and gray, with a little red and yellow here and there. The Philip's Island Parrot is 
dark brown on the upper sur- 
face of the body, but takes a 
grayish hue on the head and 
back of the neck. Each feather 
of the upper surface is edged 
with a deeper tinge, so that the 
otherwise uniform gray and 
brown is agreeably mottled. 
The cheeks, throat, and breast 
are yellow, warming into 
orange on the face. The inner 
surface of the shoulders is 
olive-yellow, and the abdomen 
and both tail-coverts are deep 
orange-red. The tail is mod- 
erately long, and squared at 
the extremity. The feathers 
are crossed at their base by 
bands bf orange-yellow and 
brown, and the under surfaces 
of the inner webs are brown, 
mingled with dusky red. The 
feet are dark blackish brown, 
and the long bill is uniformly 
of a brownish tint. The total 
length of the adult bird is 
about fifteen inches. 

The Helmet Cockatoo 
is a good representative of a 

very curious genus of Cocka- helmet cockatoo.— Calyptorr/iync/ms ffalea/us. 

toos resident in Australia. 

The plumage of these birds, instead of being white or roseate as in the two previous 
Cockatoos, is always of a dark color, and frequently dyed with the richest hues. About six 
species belong to this genus, and they all seem to be wild and fierce birds, capable of using 




404 MODE OF HUNTING COCKATOOS. 

their tremendously powerful beaks with great effect. Their crests are not formed like those of 
the common Cockatoo, and the tails are larger and more rounded. 

The Helmet Cockatoo is only found in New South Wales, inhabiting the vast brush district 
of that land. Its food is mostly of a vegetable nature, consisting chiefly of the seeds of the 
Banksia ; but the bird will also eat the large and fat grubs of different insects, mostly of a 
coleopterous nature, which it digs out of the trunks of trees with its strong bill. 

It is not seen in such large flocks as the white Cockatoo, being generally in pairs, 
although little companies of six or eight in number are occasionally met in the bushes. 
Being a particularly wild and cautious bird, it is not easily approached by a stranger, 
except when feeding, at which time it is so occupied that a cautious sportsman may creep 
within gunshot. The native, however, unencumbered with raiment, and caring nothing for 
his time, can glide through the bushes noiselessly, and bring down the bird with a well-aimed 
stick. 

The flight of this handsome bird is rather heavy, the wings flapping laboriously, and the 
progress being rather slow. It seldom mounts to any great heiglit, and as a general fact only 
flies from the top of one tree to another. The eggs are generally two and sometimes three in 
number, and are laid in the hollow '' spout" of a green tree, without any particular nest. 

The chin of the adult male is deep rich black with a green gloss. A broad vermilion band 
crosses the whole of the tail, with the exception of the two central feathers, and the external 
webs of the outside feathers. The female is also greenish black, but her })lumage is variegated 
with numerous spots and bars of jiale yellow. 

There are many other species of Australian Cockatoos, which camiot be mentioned in 
these pages. The native mode of hunting Cockatoos is so curious, and displays so well the 
character of the birds, that it must be given in the words of the writer. Captain Grey :— 

"Perhaps as fine a sight as can be seen in the whole circle of native sports, is the killing 
Cockatoos with the kiley, or boomerang. A native perceives a large flight of Cockatoos in a 
forest which encircles a lagoon ; the expanse of water affords an open, clear space above it, 
unencumbered with trees, but which raise their gigantic forms all around, more vigorous in 
their growth from the damp soil in which they flourisli. In their leafy summits sit a countless 
number of Cockatoos, screaming and flying from tree to tree, as they make their arrangements 
lor a night' s sound sleep. 

" The native throws aside his cloak, so that he may not have even this slight covering to 
impede his motions, draws his kiley from his belt, and with a noiseless, elastic step, approaches 
the lagoon, creej^ing from tree to tree, and from bush to bush, and disturbing the birds as 
little as possible. Their sentinels, however, take the alarm, the Cockatoos farthest fiom the 
water fly to the trees near its edge, and thus they keep concentrating their force as the native 
advances ; they are aware that danger is at hand, but are ignorant of its nature. At length 
the pursuer almost reaches the edge of the water, and the scared Cockatoos, with wild cries, 
spring into the air ; at the same instant the native raises his right hand high over his shoulder, 
and, bounding forward with his utmost speed, to give impetus to his blow, the kiley quits his 
hand as if it would strike the water ; but when it has almost touched the unruffled surface of 
the lake, it spins upwards with inconceivable velocity, and -with the sti'angest contortions. 

"In vain the terrified Cockatoos strive to avoid it; it sweeps wildly and uncertainly 
through the air — and so eccentric are its motions, that it requires but a slight stretch of 
the imagination to fancy it endowed with life — and with fell swoops in rapid pursuit of 
the devoted birds, some of which are almost certain to be brouglit screaming to the earth. 
But the wily savage has not yet done with them. He avails himself of the extraordinary 
attachment which these birds have for one anotlier, and fastening a wounded one to a tree, 
so that its cries may induce its companions to return, he watches his opportunity, by throwing 
his kiley or spear, to add another bird or two to the booty he has already obtained." 



THE OWL PARROT. 



405 



The name given to the curious bird now before us is a very appropriate one, as the 
creature seems to partake equally of the natures of the Owl and the Parrot. 

Even in its habits it has much of the Owl nature, being as strictly nocturnal as any of 
those birds. During the daytime it conceals itself in holes, under the stumps of trees, and 
similar localities, and seldom being seen except after sunset. The natives of New Zealand 
where it is found, say that during the winter months the Owl Parrots assemble toijether in 
great numbers, collecting themselves into certain lai-ge caverns, and that while arranging for 
their winter-quarters, and be- 
fore dispersing for the sum- 
mer, they become very noisy, 
and raise a deafening clamor. 

The Owl Parrot is weak 
of \\ing and seldom trusts 
itself to the air, taking but a 
very short fliglit whenever it 
rises from the ground. Neither 
is it seen miich in trees, pre- 
ferring to inhabit the ground, 
and making regular paths to 
and from its nest, by means 
of which its habitation may 
be discovered by one who 
knows the habits of the bii'd. 
These tracks are about a foot 
in width, and so closely re- 
semble the paths worn by the 
footsteps of human beings 
that they have l)een mistaken 
for such by travellers. 

Tlie food of this bird 
is mostly obtained on the 
ground, and consists of ten- 
der twigs, leaves, and roots, 
which it digs up with its 
curved bill, covering that 
useful organ with earth and 
mud. The eggs of the Owl 
PaiTot are merely laid upon 
some decaying wood in the same hollows wherein the bird sleeps during the day. 




f-/^n^u/ 



OWL VAMBXiT.Stnjiyops /la&t'OptUus. 



Their 



number is two, although three are sometimes found. The breeding season commences in 
February. The natives distinguish this bird by the name of Kakapo. 

It is a very large bird, nearly equalling the eagle owl in dimensions ; and, like that bird, 
standing very upjright on its legs. The general color of the plumage is darkish green jjrofusely 
mottled with black, and sparingly dashed witli yellow. Under the eye is a patch of yellow- 
green. The beak is long and curved, very like that of an owl, and it is nearly concealed 
by the stiff bristles vrith which it is surrounded, and many of which cross each other at the 
tips over the bill. The abdomen is green of a yellower hue than the upper parts of the body, 
crossed with a few very faint bars of a darker hue. The tail is also green, but marked with 
brown. 



AccoRDiisrG to some authors, the Aratoo, already described on a previous page, is closely 
connected with the very remarkable bird called Presquefs Dasijptilus. 

As in the case of the previous s]iecies we find an example of a Pan'ot following the owl 
type in its form and many of its habits, we have here an instance of another Parrot bearing a 



406 THE HAIRY-BREA8TED BARBET. 

close resembLance to the dinrn;il predaceous birds. Indeed, from examining the Parrots 
and their habits, it is impossible not to perceive the analogy that exists between themselves 
and the birds of prey, many of which are far less formidably armed than the vegetable- 
feeding Parrots. Perhaps we may call the Parrots vegetarian raptores. 

The rather long generic name of Dasyptilus which has been given to this bird is of Greek 
origin, signifying " Hairy -plumage," and is appropriated to the bird on account of the bristle- 
like feathers, which cover the head and neck, and the generally bristly character of the 
plumage. The beak is long, straight for a considerable jjortion of its length, and then curved 
suddenly downwards at the tip, just after the manner of the eagles. Indeed, if the head were 
removed from the body, nine persons out of ten would attribute it to one of the eagles. The 
lower mandible is, however, more like that of the Parrots, short, thick, and keeled. Around 
the eye there is a large patch of bare skin, and the bristly feathers of the head and neck very 
scantily protect those portions. The nostrils are round, and situated in the "cere" at the 
base of the beak. 

The coloring of this bird is very simple. The general tint of the whole upper surface 
is black-green, like that of the Aratoo, excepting the greater wing-coverts, and the upper tail- 
coverts, which are of a rich crimson. The abdomen and thighs are also crimson, but with a 
perceptible vermilion tint. The iipper part of the breast and the neck are black, and a very 
slight white edging appears on some of the feathers. The tail is moderately long, rounded, 
and very firmly made. The total length of this bird is about twenty inches. 



THE WOODPECKERS 



We now take our leave of the Parrots, and come to a very interesting family of scansorial 
birds, known popularly as Woodpeckers, and scientifically as Picidfe. 

There are many members of this large family, difl'ering exceedingly in size, color, and 
form, but yet possessing a kind of family resemblance not easy to be described, but readily 
recognizable. For convenience of description modern zoologists have grouped the Wood- 
peckers into several sub-families, all of which will be represented in the following pages, and 
which are termed the Capitoninee or Barbets, the Picumninse or Piculets, the Picinse or true 
Woodpeckers, the Gecinse or Green Woodpeckers, the Melanerpinse or Black Woodpeckers, 
and the Colaptinse or Ground Woodpeckers. 

Our example of the first sub-family is the Hair-beeasted Baebet. 

This is, perhaps, the most curious of all the Barbets, on account of the peculiarity from 
which it derives its name. The feathers of the bi;past are much stiifer than the others, and 
more sharply pointed, and the shafts of the lower breast-featliers are devoid of web, and pi'o- 
ject to the distance of nearly an inch from the rest of the plumage, looking as if a number 
of long curved bristles had been inserted among the plumage. All the Barbets jtossess strong 
and conical beaks, surrounded with bristles at the base, and their stift" tail-feathers enable 
them to support their bodies while they are perched upon the upright trunk of the tree 
on which they are seeking their insect food. They are all found in tropical climates, and the 
greater number, among which the present species may be included, are natives of Western 
Africa. In their habits they ai'e said to be rather slow and sluggish birds, not possessed of the 
fiery vivacity which distinguishes the true Woodpeckers, and their food is not so wholly of an 
insect nature. The wings and tnil are short, and all the species are of small dimensions. 

The general color of this bird is brown on tiie upper parts of the body, spotted with 
sulphur-yellow, a round mark of that tint being found on the end of each feather. The head, 
chin, and part of the throat are black, and there is one white stripe behind the eye, and 




WOODPECKERS. 



THE PIGMY PICULET. 



407 



another running from the angle of the mouth down the neck. The quill-feathers of the wings 
are deep brown, edged with sulphur-yellow. The whole of the under surface is yellow with a 
green tinge, and is profusely spotted with black. The total length of this species rather 
exceeds seven inches. 

The Piculets seem to bear the same proportion to the Woodpeckers as the merlin to the 
eagle, being about the size of spaiTows and more slenderly framed . Their bills are shorter in 
proportion than those of the true Woodpeckers, and are rather deeper than wide at the base. 
Their wings are short and rounded, and their tails are also short. 

The Pigmy Piculet is a very jjretty example of this little sub-family. It is a native of 
Southern America, and is generally found in the vast forests of that fertile land. It is a lively 
little creature, rumiing quickly up tlie trunks of trees after the manner of the English 







PIGMY PICULET.— iSCMm«u« minutus. 



creeper, but seldom appearing to use its tail in aid of its progress, or to seek its food on the 
tree-trunks in the usual Woodpecker fashion. In general it is seen among the branches, 
where it sits across the boughs when at rest, and hops quickly from one branch to another 
while searcliing after its food. 

It is not a gregarious bird, being generally found either singly or in pairs. The nest of 
this species is made in hollow trees, and its eggs are only two in number. 

This species is a remarkably pretty one, elegant in shape and delicately colored. The 
general color of the back and upper portions of the body is a very soft hair-brown, and the 
wings are also bro^vIl, but of a deeper hue. Over the back are scattered a few oval spots of a 
much lighter brown, each having a nearly black spot towards one end, and contrasting in a 
very pleasing manner with the delicate thrown of the back. The tail is of the same dark 
brown as the wings, with the exce2:)tion of the two central feathers, which are of a light fawn. 
The most strildng portion of this bird is the top of the head, which is decorated Avith a bright 
scarlet crest-like crown, covered with velvety-black dots. The rest of the head and the back 
of the neck are jetty black, interspersed with white dots. The under surface of the body is 
pale brown variegated with the same curious sjjots as those of the back. In size this bird 
hardly exceeds a wren. 




408 THE GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER. 

We now arrive at the true AVoodpeckers, several species of which bird are familiar from 
their frequent occurrence in this country. 

As is well known, the name of Woodpecker is given to these birds from their habit of 
pecking among the decaying wood of trees in order to feed upon the insects that are found 
within. They also chip away the wood for the jDurj^ose of making the holes or tunnels 
wherein their eggs are deposited. In order to enable them to perform these duties, the 
structure of the Woodpecker is very curiously modified. The feet ai'e made extremely 
powerful, and the ciaws are strong and sharply hooked, so that the bird can retain a firm 
hold of the tree to which it is clinging while it works away at the bark or wood with its bill. 
The tail, too, is furnished with very stiff and pointed feathers, which are j^ressed against the 
bark, and form a land of support on which the bii'd can rest a large proportion of its weight. 
The breast-bone is not so prominent as in the generality of flying birds, in order to enable the 
Woodpecker to press its breast closely to the tree, and the beak is long, strong and sharp. 

These modifications aid the bird in cutting away the wood, but there is j^et a provision 
needful to render the Woodpecker capable of seizing the little insects on which it feeds, and 

which lurk in small holes and 
crannies into which the beak 
of the Woodpecker could not 
peneti-ate. This structure is 
shown by the accompanying 
sketch of a Woodpecker's 
head dissected. The tongue- 
bones or "hyoid" bones are 
gi'eatly lengthened, and pass 
HEAD OP WOODPECKER. over the top of the head, 

being fastened in the skull 
just above the right nostril. These long tendinous-looking bones are accompanied by a 
nai'row strip of nuiscie by which they are moved. 

The tongue is furnished at the tip with a long horny appendage covered with barbs and 
sharply pointed at the extremity, so that the bird is enabled to project this instrument to a 
considerable distance from the bill, transfix an insect, and draw it into the mouth. Those 
insects that are too small to be thus treated are captured by means of a glutinous liquid 
poured upon the tongue from certain glands within the mouth, and wnich cause the little 
insects to adhere to the weapon suddenly projected among them. This whole arrangement is 
clearly anulagous to the tongue of the ant-eater, described in the volume on Mammalia. Some 
authors deny the transfixion. ' 

The Great Spotted Woodpecker is also known by the names of Frenchpie and 
Woodpie. 

Like the other Woodpeckers, it must be sought in the forests and woods rather than in 
orchards and gardens. Like other shy birds, however, it soon finds out where it may take 
up its al)ode unmolested, and will occasionally make its nest in some cultivated ground, where 
it has the instinctive assurance of safety, rather than entrust itself to the uncertain security 
of the forest. 

Li the woods frequented by these birds, wliich are often 'more plentiful than is generally 
known, the careful observer may watch their movements without difiiculty, by taking a few 
preliminary x^recautions. 

The rapid series of strokes on the bark, something like the sound of a watchman's rattle, 
vsdll indicate the direction in which the bird is working ; and when the intruding observer has 
drawn near the tree on which he suspects the Woodpecker to have settled, he should quietly 
sit or lie do\TO, without moving. At first the bird will not be visible, for the Woodpeckers, 
like the squirrels, have a natural tact for keeping the tree-trunk or branch between themselves 
and the supposed enemy, and will not show themselves until they think that the danger has 
passed away. 



THE GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER. 



409 



Presently the Woodpecker may be seen coming very cautiously round the tree, peering 
here and there, to assure itself that the coast is clear, and then, after a few preliminary taps, 
will set vigorously to work. So rapidly do the blows follow each other, that the head of the 
bird seems to be vibrating on a spring, and the sound can only be described by the comparison 
ab-eady made, namely, a watchman's rattle. Chilis and bark tly in every direction, and should 
the tree be an old one, whole heaps of bark will be discovered at the foot. By the aid of a 
small telescope, the tongue can be seen darted out occasionally, but the movement is so 
quick, that nnless the attention of the observer be especially directed towards it, he will fail 
to notice it. 

The Woodpecker has several modes of tapping the trees, which can be readily distin- 
guished by a practised ear. First there is the preliminary tap and the rapid whirring strokes 







WOODPECEERS. Picm majijr, rnediue and minor. 



already described, when the bird is engaged in seeking its food. Then there is a curious 
kind of sound made by pushing its beak into a crack, and rattling it in such a manner against 
the wood, that the insects think their house is falling, and run out to escape the im]iending 
danger, just as worms come to the surface when the ground is agitated by a spade or fork. 
Lastly, there is a kind of drumming sound made by striking the bill against some hollow 
tree, and used together with the peculiar cry for the purpose of calling its mate. 

Although the Woodpeckers were formerly much persecuted, under the idea that they 
killed the trees by pecking holes in them, they are most usefiil birds, cutting away the decay- 
ing wood, as a surgeon removes a gangrened spot, and eating the hosts of insects which 
encamp in dead or dying wood, and would soon bring the whole tree to the ground. Tliey do 
not confine themselves to trees, but seek their food wherever they can find it, searching old 

Vol. II.— 53. 



410 THE DOWNY WOODPECKER. 

posts and rails, and especially delighting in those trees that are much infested with the green 
lly, or aphis, as the wood-ants swarm in such trees for tiie purpose of obtaining the "honey- 
dew," as it distils from the aphides, and then the Woodpeckers eat the ants. Those destruc- 
tive creatures generally called wood-lice, and known to boys as "monkey-peas," are a favorite 
article of diet with the Woodpeckers, to whom our best thanks are therefore due. 

But the Woodpeckers, although living mostly on insects, do not confine themselves wholly 
to that diet, but are very fond of fruits, always choosing the ripest. In some countries 
the forest-land forms so small a portion of the area, that the Woodpeckers are comparatively 
few and can do little ai)preciable mischief to the gardens ; but in other lands, such as many 
parts of America, they do very great damage, stripping the trees of their fruit, and the fields 
of their crops, to such an extent that they are annually shot by hundreds. 

As is the case with all its congeners, the Great Spotted Woodpecker lays its eggs in the 
hollow of a tree. 

The locality chosen for this jiurpose is carefully selected, and is a tunnel excavated, or at 
all events altered, by the bird for the special jjurpose of nidification. Before commencing the 
operation, the Woodpeckers always find out whether the tree is sound or rotten, and they can 
ascertain the latter fact, even through several layers of sound wood. When they have fixed 
u]ton a, site for their domicile, they set determinately to work, and speedily cut out a circular 
tunnel just large enough to admit their bodies, but no larger. Sometimes this tunnel is tolera- 
bly straight, but it generally turns off in another direction. 

At the bottom of the hole the female bird collects the little chips of decayed wood that 
have been cut oft' during the boring process, and deposits her eggs upon them without any 
attempt at nest-making. The eggs are generally five in number, but six have been taken from 
the nest of this species. The young are able to run about the tree some time before they can 
fly, and traverse the bark quite fearlessly, retiring to the hole and calling their parents when- 
ever they want food. 

Generally the nests of birds are kept scrupulously clean ; but that of the Woodpecker is 
a sad exception to the rule, the amount of filth and potency of stench being quite beyond 
human endurance. The (^olor of the eggs is white, and their surface glossy, and they are 
remarkable, when fresh, for some very faint and very narrow lines, which run longitudinally 
down the shell towards the small end. 

The general color of this species is black and white, curiously disposed, with the exception 
of the back of the head, which is light scarlet, and contrasts strongly with the sober hues of 
the body. Taking the black to be the ground color, the white is thus arranged : The fore- 
head and ear-coverts, a patch on each side of the neck, the scapularies, and j^art of the wing- 
coverts, several little squared spots on the wings, and large patches on the tail are pure white. 
The throat and the whole of the under surface are also white, but with a grayish cast, and 
the under tail-coverts are red. The total length of the adult male is rather more than nine 
inches. The female has no red on the head, and the young birds of the first year are remark- 
able for having the back of the head black and the top of the head red, often mixed with a 
few little black feathers. 

The Downy Woodpecker derives its name from the strip of loose downy feathers which 
passes along its back. It is a native of America, and very plentiful in various parts of that 
country. Its habits are so well described l)y Wilson, that his o«ai words will be the best com- 
ment on this pretty little bird: — 

" About the middle of May the male and female look out for a suitable place for the recep- 
tion of their eggs and young. An apple, pear, or cherry tree, often in t)ie near neighborhood 
of the farm-house, is generally pitched upon for this purpose. T!ie tree is minutely recon- 
noitered for several days previous to the operation, and the work is first begun by the male, 
who c;uts out a hole in the solid wood as circular as if described with a pair of compasses. He 
is occasionally relieved by the female, both parties working with the most indefatigable dili- 
gence. The direction of the hole, if made in the body of the tree, is generally downwards by an 
angle of thirty or forty degrees for the distance of six or eight inches, and then straight down 



THE IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER. 411 

for ten or twelve more ; within roomy, capacious, and as smooth as if polished by the cabinet 
maker ; but the entrance is judiciously left just so large as to admit the bodies of the owners. 

"During this labor they regularly carry out the chips, often strewing them at a distance 
to prevent suspicion. This operation sometimes occupies the chief part of a week. Before 
she begins to lay the female often visits the place, passes in and out, examines every part of 
the exterior and inteiior with great attention, as every prudent tenant of a new house ought to 
do, and at length takes complete possession. The eggs are generally six, pure white, and laid 
in the smooth bottom of the cavity. The male occasionally supplies the female with food 
while she is sitting, and about the last week in June the young are perceived making their 
way up the tree, climbing with considerable dexterity." 

The same writer then proceeds to remark that the process of nest-making is not always 
permitted to go on without hindrance, for the impertinent little house-wren, who likes to build 
her nest in hollows, but who is not strong or large enough to scoop a habitation for herself, 
will often allow the Woodpeckers to make a nice deep hole, just tit for a wren's nest, and then 
drives them off and takes possession of the deserted domicile. One pair of Woodpeckers met 
with very hard treatment, being twice turned out of their house in one season, and the second 
time they were even forced to abandon one egg that had been laid. 

The holes made by this Woodpecker in trees are very numerous, and have often led more 
observant orchard-owners to think the bird an enemy to their trees, and to kill it accordingly. 
Wilson has, however, completely exonerated the liird from the charge, and proved it to be a 
useful ally to man instead of a noxious foe. " Of all our Woodpeckers, none rid the apple- 
trees of so many vermin as this ; digging off the moss which the negligence of the proprietoi' 
had siiffered to accumulate, and probing every crevice. In fact, the orchard is his favorite 
resort in all seasons ; and his industry is unequalled and almost incessant, which is more than 
can be said of any other species we have. 

" Tn fall he is particularly fond of boring the apjjle-trees for insects, digging a circular hole 
through the bark, just sufficient to admit his bill ; after that a second, third, etc., in pretty 
regular horizontal circles round the body of the tree. These parallel circles of holes are often 
not more than an inch or an inch and a half apart, and sometimes so close together, that I 
have covered eight or ten of them at once with a dollar. From nearly the surface of the 
ground up to the first fork, and sometimes far beyond it, the whole bark of many apple-trees 
is perforated in this manner, so as to appear as if made by successive discharges of buckshot ; 
and our little Woodpecker, the subject of the jpresent account, is the principal perpetrator of 
this supposed mischief. I say supposed, for, so far from these perforations of the bark being 
ruinous, they are not only harmless, but, I have good reason to believe, really beneficial to the 
health and fertility of the tree. 

"In more than fifty oi'chards which I have myself carefully examined, those trees which 
were marked by the Woodpecker (for some trees they never touch, perhaps because not pene- 
trated by insects) were uniformly the most thriving, and seemingly the most productive. 
Many of them were upwai'ds of sixty years old, their trunks completely covered with holes, 
while the branches were broad, luxuriant, and loaded with fruit. Of decayed trees, more 
than three-fourths were untouched by tlie Woodpecker." 

Although a little bird — less than seven inches in length — it is a truly handsome one. The 
crown of the head is velvety black, its back deep scarlet, and there is a white streak over the 
eye. The liack is black, but is divided by a lateral stripe of puffy or downy white feathers. 
The wings are black, spotted \vith white, and the tail is also variegated with the same tints. 
From the base of the beak a black streak runs down the neck. The sides of the neck, the 
throat, and the whole of the under parts of the body are white. The nostrils are thickly 
covered with small, bristly feathers, probably to protect them from the chips of wood struck 
off by the beak. The female is known by the grayish-white of the abdomen, and the absence 
of red upon its head. 

Although not the largest of the Woodpecker tribe, the Ivoky-billed Woodpeckeb, of 
North 'America, is perhaps the handsomest and most striking in appearance. 



412 THE IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER. 

This splendid bird is armed with a tremendous beak, long, powerful, sharp, and white as 
ivory, which can be used equally as an instrument for obtaining its food, or as a weapon for 
repelling the attacks of its enemies, and, in the latter jjoint of view, is a ti'uly formidable arm, 
as terrible to its enemies as the bayonet, to which it bears no little resemblance in general 
sliajie. 

Few birds are more useful than the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, which wages continual war 
upon the myriad insects which undermine the bark of forest-trees, and saves the forest giants 
from falling a prey to their diminutive adversaries. In one season several thousand acres of 
huge pine-trees, from two to three feet in diameter, and many of them measuring one hundred 
and fifty feet in height, were destroyed by the larvfe of a little insect not bigger than a grain 
of rice. Besides this creature, there are lai'ge grubs and caterpillars that bore theii' way into 
the interior of trees, and are the pioneers of the destruction that afterwards follows. 

When the Ivory-billed Woodpecker has been hard at work upon a tree, he leaves ample 
traces of his progress in the heaps of bark and wood chips which surround the ti'ee, and which 
look, according to Wilson, as if a dozen axe-men had been working at the trunk. Strips of 
bark seven or eight inches in length are often struck off by a single blow, and the body of the 
tree is covered with great excavations that seem more like the work of steel tools than of a 
bird's beak. Yet these apparent damages are really useful to the tree, as the sound wood is 
allowed to remain in its place, performing its proper functions, while the decaying substances 
are scooped out in oixler that the bird may get at the grubs and beetles that make their home 
therein. 

As in the case of all AVoodpeckers, the beak is also employed in excavating the holes 
in which the eggs are laid. Tlie following account of the nesting of this bird is given by 
Audubon : — 

" The Ivory -billed Woodpecker nestles earlier in spring than any other species of its tribe. 
I have observed it boring a hole for that jaurpose in the beginning of March. The hole is, 
I believe, always made in tlie trunk of a live tree, generally of an ash or a hagberry, and is at 
a great height. 

" The birds pay great regard to the particular situation of the tree, and the inclination of 
its trunk, first because they prefer retirement, and again, because they are anxious to secure 
the aperture against the access of water during beating rains. To prevent such a calamity, the 
hole is generally dug immediately under the Junctiire of a large branch with the trunk. It is 
first bored horizontally for a few inches, then directly downwards, and not in a spiral manner, 
as some people have imagined. According to circumstances, this cavity is more or less deep, 
being sometimes not more than ten inches, whilst at other times it reaches nearly three feet 
downwards into the core of the tree. I have been led to think these differences result from the 
more or less necessity under whicli the female may be of depositing her eggs, and again have 
thought that the older the Woodpecker is, the deeper does it make its hole. The average 
diameter of the different nests which I have examined was about seven inches within, although 
the entrance, which is perfectly round, is only just large enough to admit the bird. 

"Both birds work most assiduously at this excavation, one waiting outside to encourage 
the other whilst it is engaged in digging, and when the latter is fatigued, taking its place. 
I have ajjproached trees whilst these Woodpeckers were thus busily employed in forming 
their nest, and by resting my head against the bark could easily distinguish every blow given 
by the bird. I observed that in two instances, when the Wooodpeckers saw me thus at the 
foot of tlie tree in which they were digging their nest, they abandoned it forever. For 
the fii'st brood there are genei'allj^ six eggs. Thej^ are deposited in a few chips at the bottom 
of the whole, and ai'e of a pure white color. The young are seen creeping out of the hole 
about a fortnight before they venture to fly to any other tree. The second brood makes its 
appearance about the IStli of August." 

The courage and determination of the Ivory-billed AA'oodpecker is very great, and it will 
fight with its opi^onent in a most desperate manner. When wounded, it endeavors to reach 
the nearest tree, and to run up its trunk, and if intercepted will peck as fiercely at the hand 
of its piarsuer as at the wood and bark, and is able to infiict severe injury with its sharp 



THE IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER. 



413 



powerful bill. On account of this bold and fiery disposition, the American Indians ]iay much 
honor to the bird, and are in tlie habit of carrying its head and bill among the numerous 
charms or ' ' medicines ' ' in which they delight, and which are supposed to transmit to the 
wearer the good qualities of the slain creature. 

The voice of this Woodpecker is seldom uttered while the bird is on the wing, but is fre- 
quently heard as soon as the bird has alighted. It is a rather shrill and very loud tone, and 
can be heard at a great distance. 




rV'OKV BILLED WOODPECKER.— Cam^cM*^"* pnncipalis 



The cry of the wounded bird is, according to Wilson, just like that of a hurt child. " The 
first place I observed this bird at, when on my way to the south, was about twelve miles north 
of Wilmington, in North Carolina. Having wounded it slightly in the wing, on being caught, 
it uttered a loudly reiterated and most piteous note, exactly resembling the violent crying of a 
young child, which terrified my horse so as nearly to have cost me my life. 

"It was distressing to hear it. I carried it with me in the chair, under cover, to Wil- 
mington. In passing through the streets, its affecting cries surprised every one within hearing, 
particularly the females, who hurried to the doors and windows with looks of alarm and 
anxiety. I drove on, and on arriving at the piazza of the hotel where I intended to put up, the 
landlord came forward, and a number of other persons who happened to be there, all equally 
alai-med at what they heard ; this was greatly increased by my asking whether he could fur- 
nish me with accommodations for myself and my baby. The man looked blank and foolish, 



414 THE IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER. 

while the others stared with still greater astonishment. After diverting myself for a minute 
or two at their expense, I drew my Woodpecker from imder the cover, and a general laugh 
took X'hice. I took him upstaii's, and locked him up in my room, while I went to see my 
horse taken care of. 

" In less than an hour I returned, and on opening the door, he set up the same distressing, 
shout, which now appeared to proceed from grief that he had been discovered in his efforts at 
escape. He had mounted along the side of the window, nearly as liigh as the ceiling, a little 
below which he had begun to bi'eak through. The bed was covered with large pieces of jilaster ; 
the lath was exposed for at least fifteen inches square, and a hole large enough to admit the fist, 
open to the weather boards ; so that in less than another hour he would certainly have 
succeeded in making his way through. I now tied a string round his leg, and fastening it to the 
table, again left Mm. I wished to preserve his life, and had gone off in search of suitable food 
for him. As I reascended the stairs, I heard him again hard at work, and on entering had the 
mortification to perceive that he had almost entirely ruined the mahogany table to which 
he was fastened, and on which he had wreaked his whole vengeance. "While engaged in taking 
a drawing, he cut me severely in several places, and on the whole displayed such a noble and 
unconquerable spirit, that I was frequently tempted to restore him to Ms native woods. 
He lived with me nearly three days, but refused all sustenance, and I witnessed his death 
with regret." 

Tlie general color of this bird is black, glossed with green. The fore part of the head is 
black, and the remainder is covered with a beautiful scarlet crest, each feather being spotted 
towards the bottom with white, and taking a grayish ashen hue at the base. Of course these 
colors can only be seen wlien the crest is erected. From below the eye a white streak runs 
down the neck, and along the back, nearly to the insertion of the tail, and the secondaries, 
together with their coverts and the tips of some of the primaries, are also wMte, so that when 
the bird shuts its wings, its back appears wholly white. The tapering tail is black above, 
yellowish-white below, and each feather is singularly concave. The wings are also lined with 
yellowish-white. The bill is white as ivory, strong, fluted along its length, and nearly an 
inch broad at the base. The female is plumaged like the male, with the exception of the 
head, which is wholly ))lack, without the beautiful scarlet crest. The total length of the 
Ivory-billed Woodpecker is about twenty inches. 

Wilson says : "Nature seems to have designed for the Ivory-bill a distinguished charac- 
teristic in the superb carmine crest and bill of polished ivory with wliich she has ornamented 
him. His eye is brilliant and daring ; and his whole frame so admirably adapted for his mode 
of life and method of procuring subsistence, as to impi'ess on the mind of the examiner the 
most reverential ideas of the Creator. His manners also have a dignity in them superior to 
the common herd of Woodpeckers. Trees, shrubbery, fences, old bags, are alike interesting 
to tliese in tlieir humble, indefatigable search for prey ; but the royal hunter now before us 
scorns the humility of such situations, and seeks the most towering trees of the forest, seem- 
ing particularly^ attached to those prodigious cjq^ress swamps whose crowded giant sons 
stretch tlieir bare and blasted arms midway to the skies. In these almost inaccessible recesses, 
amid ruinous piles of imj)ending timber, his trumpet-like notes and loud strokes resound 
through the solitary savage wilds, of which he seems the sole lord and inhal)itant. Wherever 
he frequents he leaves numerous monuments of Ms industi-y behind him. We there see 
enormous pine-trees with cart-loads of bark lying around their roots, and chips of the trunk 
itself, in such quantities as to suggest the idea that half a dozen axe-men had been at work 
there the whole morning. The body of the tree is also disfigured with so numerous and such 
large excavations that one (^an hardly conceive it possible for the whole to be the work of one 
Woodpecker. With such strength, and an apparatus so powerful, what havoc might he not 
commit if numerous, on our most useful forest trees. And yet, with all these appearances, 
and much vulgar ]irejudice against him, it may fairly be questioned whether he is at all 
injurious ; or, at least, whether liis exertions do not contribute most powerfully to the pro- 
tection of our timlx'r. Examine closely the tree where he has been at work, and you will 
soon perceive that it is neither from motives of mischief nor amusement that he slices off the 



THE GREEN WOODPECKER. 415 

bark or digs his way into the trunk, for the sound and healthy tree is the least object of his 
attention. The diseased, hastening to putrefaction, infested with insects, are his favorites. 
Ignorance and prejudice stubbornly persist in directing their indignation against the bird now 
before us, the constant and mortal enemy of those very vermin." 

This bird is seldom seen above Virginia— its principal Jiabltat being in the Grulf States. 
It is not migratorj'-. 

In the South it is called Logcock, and the Pileated Woodpecker is confounded with, or 
they are called respectively. Greater and Lesser Logcnick. 

Dr. Brewer says: " When wounded this bird immediately makes for the nearest tree 
and ascends it with great rapidity, until it reaches the top branches, when it squats and hides, 
generally witli great effect. Whilst ascending it moves spirally around the tree, utters its 
loud 7^«77, ^(ZiY, at almost every hop, but becomes silent the moment it reaches a place where 
it conceives itself secure. They sometimes cling to the bark with their claws so tirmly as to 
remain cramped to the spot several hours after death. They strike with great violence, and 
inflict severe wounds with both bill and claw." 

The Pileated Woodpecker {Hylotomus pileatus) is nearly as large as the Ivory -billed. 
He is the ''great northern chief of his tribe," though his range extends from Canada to the 
Gulf of Mexico. In the high timber lands of Northern New York he is abundant. In Penn- 
sylvania he is called the Black Woodcock ; in the Southern States the Logcoek. 

Like the preceding species, he is eminently serviceable in removing noxious insects from 
the forest trees. He is not migratory, but braves the extremes of the colder regions and the 
tropics. It is rare to see more than two or three together. 

The general color of liis plumage is a dusky brownish-black ; the head is ornamented with 
a conical cap of scarlet, and the scarlet moustaches proceed from the sides of the lower man- 
dible. The eye is a bright golden color. 

The Banded Three-toed Woodpecker {Plcokles trhlactiiliifi) is an extremely rare bird 
in the' United States, and little is known of its habits. Its range is through the Arctic regions 
of America, and southwards in winter as far as Massachusetts. Mr. Welch, of Lynn, Massa- 
chusetts, took some specimens in the latter place. This is the most southern limit known for 
the sjDecies. 

A variety is known as rather common in the Rocky Mountains. 

The commonest of the Woodpeckers is that which is generally known by the name of the 
Green Woodpecker. It has, however, many popular titles, such as Rain-bird, Wood-spite, 
Hew-hole, and Wood- wall. This bird is a representative of the Gecinfe, or Green Woodpeckers. 

Although the Green Woodpecker is a haunter of woods and forests, it will sometimes 
leave those favored localities, and visit the neighborhood of man. The grounds near liouses 
are rather favorite resorts of this pretty bird, and I once performed something of a cruel feat 
by flinging a brickbat at a Green Woodpecker, without the least idea of hitting it, and crush- 
ing its legs with the edge of tlie brick. I do not think I ever threw a stone at a bird after- 
wards, and though the event happened some years ago, I have never forgiven myself for it. 

The name of Rain-bird has been given to this species because it becomes very vociferous 
at the approach of wet weather, and is, as Mr. Yarrell well observes, "a living barometer to 
good observers." Most birds, however, will answer the same puipose to those who know how 
and where to look for them. The other titles are equally appropriate. Wood-spite being 
clearly a corruption of the German term "specht." Hew-hole speaks for itself; and Wood- 
wall is an ancient name for the liird, occurring in the old English poets. 

Tills species, although mostly found on trees, is a frequent visitor to the ground, where it 
finds an abundance of food. Ants' nests are said to form a great attraction to the Green 
Woodpecker, which feasts merrily at the expense of the insect community. During the 
autumn, it also lives on vegetable food, being especially fond of nuts, which it can crack with- 
out any difficulty by repeated strokes from its bill. The nest of this Woodpecker is, like that 



416 



THE YELLOW-BELLIED WOODPECKER. 



of tlie other species, a mere lieap of soft, decaying wood at the bottom of a tunnel dug by the 
birds, or adapted to their use from an already existing cavity. 

Tlie coloring of this species is very pretty. The top of tlie liead is bi'ight scarlet, and 
from the base of the beak starts a kind of moustache, black, with a scarlet centre. The whole 
of the upper surface is dark green, mixed with yellow, changing to sulphur- yellow on the 
ui)per tail-coverts, llie i)rimaries are grayish-black spotted v.ith white, and the secondaries 
and tertials are green on their outer webs, and gray-black spotted with white on the inner. 
The stiff tail-feathers are grayish-black, variegated with some bars of a lighter hue ; and the 
throat, chest, and all the under surface are ashen-green. The color of the beak is dark, homy 
black. The female may be kno^\ni from her mate by the wholly black moustache, and the 



^ '> 











'V ^ I' 



UKKEN WOODPECKER.— Pica* mi-uii». 

smaller ornament of scarlet on the head. In the young birds of both sexes, the scarlet of the 
head is mottled with black and yellow, the green feathers of the back are yellow at their tips, 
and the under surface is dull brownish-white, with streaks and bars of grayish-black. The 
total length of this bird rather exceeds one foot. The other species are the Great Black 
Woodpecker {I)ry6co2ms mdriius), the Northern Three-toe-i Woodpecker {Picoides triddc- 
tylus), and the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker {Picus mmor). 

The Red-headed Woodpeckek is a. most striking and attractive bird. In the Eastern 
States, individuals are found during moderate winters, as well as in New York and Pennsyl- 
vania. They make their appearance about tlie first of May, and leave about the middle of 
October. Their i-ange is from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. ' 



The Yellow-bellied Woodpecker {Spliyrapicus varius) is one of our resident birds, and 
a beautiful one it is. It visits the orchards in considerable numbers in October, and is occa- 
sionally seen during winter. When rearing its young, it seeks the depths of the forests, and 
is therefore not so often seen in the warmer season. 



THE RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER. 



417 



Dr. Brewer says : ' ' This bird was met with in the overland expedition in flocks, on the 
banks of the Saskatchewan, in May. Its manners at the period of the year were strikingly 
contrasted with those of the resident Woodpeckers, for instead of flitting in a solitary way 
fioni tree to tree, and assiduonsly boring for insects, it flew about in crowded flocks in a rest- 
less manner, and kept up a continual chattering." 

The Hairy Woodpecker {Picus villosus) is another of our resident birds, and is also an 
orchard visitor. In May he retires to breed, and is not seen until the autumn months. Some- 
times, however, he remains and breeds in the orchard. Exceptions of this kind seem to occur 
with other species. This species is connuon at Hudson's Bay, and southwards to Georgia. Its 
voice is a shrill cry, strong and tremulous. It also has a single note or e7iuc7i, which it often 
repeats in an eager manner, as it hops about and pei'forms its usual work of digging into the 
bark of trees. Its plumage is soft, loose, and unwebbed ; hence the name. A great mass of 
hairs surround the nostrils, which suggest their use as a x>i'otecting barrier when the head is 
protruded into the decayed wood it so frequently digs into for insect food. 

Lewis' Woodpecker {Melanerpes torquatus) is a singularly marked and elegant bird. 
Its size is considerably more than the preceding, and it has a more compact and pleasing 









^' 



t^iSS>&'4'' 




THE Tl JGE TOED WOODPECKER —Pdttwi^ ^nf/at^V^ 

plumage. It was named by Wilson in honor of the memory of Captain Lewis, who with 
General Clark made the first notable excursion into the then unex]ilored countries of the 
Yellowstone region. This bird is one of several that have the habit of lading acorns in the 
holes purposely pecked for them in decayed trees. 

The Red-bellied Woodpecker {Cerdurus caroUnus), says Wilson, has all the restless 
and noisy habits so characteristic of its tribe. It is more shy and less domestic than the Red- 
headed or any of the spotted Woodpeckers. It is also more solitary. It prefers the largest 
high timbered woods, and taUest decayed trees of the forest seldom appearing near the ground, 
on the fences, or in orchards, xts voice is hoarser than any of the others, and its usual note, 

Vol. n.— 50. 



418 



THE RED-HEADED WOODPECKER. 



chorr, has often reminded me of the bark of a lap-dog. It is a Piost expert climber, possessing 
extraordiarny strength in the muscles of its feet and claws, and moves about the body and limbs 
of trees with great facility. It rattles likes the others of its tribe on dead limbs, and with such 
violence as to be heai'd in clear weather more than a half mile off. Like others, it digs out for 
itself a nesting-place in the limb of a tree, producing two broods in a season. 

This species inhabits a large range of country ; in all portions it seems to be resident, or 
nearly so. The benefits derived from such busy workers after pest insects, that lie lurking 
beneath the barks of trees in our forests, must be incalculable. 

The Red-cockaded Woodpecker {Picns quernlus). Wilson first discovered this bii'd, 
in the woods of North (.'arolina. The singularity of its voice, which qixite resembles that of 
young nestlings, and the red streak on the side of its head, suggested the specific name he 
gave it. He found it also in South C'arolina and Georgia. It is thought to be an intermediate 
form between the Ked-bellied and Hairy ^Voodpecker. The distinguishing character is the 
fine line of vermilion on each side of the head. 



The California Woodpecker {Melanerpes formicivorus) is especially a Pacific coast 
bird, extending to Northern Mexico. Dr. Heerman describes this as one of the noisiest as well 
as the most abundant species in California. It catches insects on the wing, after the manner 
of the Fly-catchers. This bird is noted for its habit of storing acorns in dead trees, by pecking 
holes for each nut, and forcing them into them. 

America possesses many species, among which the Red-headed Woodpecker deserves 
a short notice, as being a good representative of the Black Woodpeckers. 

It is one of the commonest of American birds, bold, fearless of man, and even venturing 
within the precincts of towns. The habits of this bird are well told by Audubon and Wilson. 

The former author re- 
marks of this bird : 
"When alighted on 
a fence stake by the 
road, or in a field, and 
one approaches them, 
they gradually move 
sideways out of sight, 
peeping now and then 
to discover your inten- 
tion, and when you are 
quite close and ojipo- 
site, lie still until you 
li a V e passed, when 
they hop to the top of 
the stake, and rattle 
upon it with their bill, 
as if to congratulate 
themselves on the suc- 
cess of their cunning. 
Should you approacli 
within arm's length, 
which may frequently 
be done, the Wood- 
pecker flies to the first stake or the second from you, bends his head to peep, and rattles 
again, as if to provoke you to continuance of what seems to him excellent sport. He alights 
on the roof of the house, hops along it, beats the shingles, uttei-s a cry, and dives into your 
garden to pick the finest strawberries he can discover." 




RED-HEADED WOODPECKER.— PJciM erylhrocephalus. 



THE GOLD-WINGED WOODPECKER. 419 

Every one who has had practical experience of this bird agrees that it is very mischievous 
in a garden ; and even Wilson, wiiose kind heart would hardly permit him to see that any 
feathered creature could be hurtful to man, is forced to admit that its robberies are very 
extensive, but ought to be conceded as a tribute of thankfulness to the bird for eating so many 
grubs. " "Wherever there is a tree or trees of the wild cherry," writes Wilson, " covered with 
ripe fruit, there you see them busy among the branches, and in passing orchards you may 
easily know where to find the earliest and sweetest apples, by observing those trees on or near 
which the Eed-headed Woodpecker is skulking. For he is so excellent a connoisseur in fruit, 
that wherever an apple or i)ear tree is found broached by him, it is sure to be among the ripest 
and best-flavored ; when alarmed, he seizes a capital one by striking his open bill deep into it, 
and bears it off to the woods. 

"When the Indian corn is in its rich, succulent, milky state, he attacks it -with great 
eagerness, opening a j)assage through the numerous folds of the husks, and feeding on it with 
voracity. The girdled or deadened timber, so common among corn-fields in the back settle- 
ments, are his favorite retreats, whence he sallies out to make his depredations. He is fond 
of the ripe berries of the sour gum, and pays pretty regnlar visits to the t'herry-trees when 
loaded with fruit. Towards fall he often approaches the barn or farm-house, and raps on the 
shingles and weather-boards. He is of a gay and frolicsome disposition, and half a dozen of 
the fraternity are frequently seen diving and vociferating around the high dead limbs of some 
large tree, pursuing and playing with each other, and amusing the passenger with their gambols. 

"Their note or cry is shrill and lively, and so much resembles that of a species of tree- 
fix>g which inhabits the same tree that it is sometimes difficult to distingiush the one from the 
other." 

On account of the garden-robbing propensities of this bird, it is held in much odium, and 
ti^apped whenever occasion offers itself. Tn some places the feeling against it was so strong, 
that a reward was oft'ered for its destruction. It is probable, however, that the services which 
it renders by the destruction of noxious insects may more than compensate for its autunmal 
ravages in the fields and orchards. 

Unlike the previonssiiecies, which is a permanent inhabitant, the Red-headed Woodpecker 
is a bird of passage, appearing in Pennsylvania about the beginning of May, and leaving that 
country towards the end of October. The eggs of this liird are pure white, speckled with 
reddish-brown, mostly towards the larger end, and generally six in number. 

The adult male is a really beautiful bird, its plumage glowing with steely-black, snowy- 
white, and brilliant scarlet, disposed as follows : The head and neck are deep scarlet, and the 
upper parts of the body aie black, with a steel-blue gloss. The upper tail-coverts, the second- 
aries, the breast and abdomen, are i)ure white. The beak is light blue, deepening into black 
towards the tip ; the legs and feet are blue-green, the claws bine, and round the eye there is a 
patch of bare skin of a dusky color. The female is colored like her mate, except that her 
tints are not so brilliant. The young of the first year have the head and neck blacldsh gray, 
and the white on the wings is variegated with black. The total length of the bird is between 
nine and ten inches. 

The Ground Woodpeckers are represented by the Gold-winged Woodpecker of 
America. 

This bird may lay claim to the title of the feathered ant-eater, for it feeds very largely on 
those insects, and has its beak shaped in a someivhat pickaxe-like form, in order to enable it 
to dig tip their nests from the ground and the decaying stumps of trees. In the stomach of 
one of these birds Wilson found a mass of auts nearly as large as a plum. It also feeds much 
on woodlice, those destructive creatures which eat the bitterest and the toughest sulistances 
with the best of appetites, and have been knovm to render a boat unsafe for sea, in spite of the 
strong flavor of salt water, pitch, and tar, with which seafaring boats are so liberally imbued. 

It is a brisk, lively, and playful creature, skipping about the trunks of trees with great 
activity, and "hopping not only upwards and dowii wards, but spirally, pursuing and playing 
with its fellow in this manner round the body of the tree." I may here mention that I never 



420 



THE GOLD -WINGED WOODPECKER. 



yet saw a Woodpecker hop down the tree's trunk. Like others of its race, it is fond of vary- 
ing its insect diet with a little vegetable food, eating various fruits, the Indian corn, the wild 
cherries, and the sour gum and cedar berries. 

The Gold-winged Woodpecker seems to be readily tamed, as may be seen from the follow- 
ing account by Wilson : — 

"In rambling through the woods one day, I hapiaened to shoot one of these birds and 
wounded him slightly in the Aving. Finding him in full feather, and seemingly but little hurt, 
I took him home and put him into a large cage made of willows, intending to keei> him in my 
own room, that we might become better acquainted. 

"As soon as he found himself inclosed on all sides, he lost no time in idle fluttering, but 
throwing himself against the bars of the cage, began instantly to demolish the willo-ws, batter- 
ing them with great vehe- 
mence, and uttering a loud 
piteous kind of cackling, 
similar to that of a hen when 
she is alanned and takes to 
wing. Poor Baron Trenck 
never labored with more 
eager diligence at the walls 
of his prison than tliis son of 
the forest in his exertions 
for liberty ; and he exercised 
his powerful bill with such 
force, digging into the 
sticks, seizing and shaking 
them from side to side, that 
he soon opened for himself 
a passage, and though I 
repeatedly rejiaired the 
breach, and bariicaded every 
opening in the best manner 
I could, yet, on my return 
into the room, I always 
ff)und liini at large, climb- 
ing up the chairs, or running 
about the floor, where, from 
the dexterity of his motions, 
moving backwai'ds, for- 
wards, -and sideways with 
the same facility, it became 
diflicult to get hold of him 
again. 

" Having placed him in a strong wire cage, he seemed to give up all hopes of making his 
escape, and soon became very tame ; fed on young ears of Indian corn, refused apples, but ate 
the berries of the sour gum greedily, small winter grapes, and several otlier kinds of berries, 
exercised himself frequently in climbing, or rather hopping perpendicularly along the sides of 
the cage, and as evening drew on fixed liimself in a high hanging or perpendicular position, 
and slept with his head in his wing. 

"As soon as dawn appeared, even before it was light enough to perceive him distinctly 
across the room, he descended to the bottom of the cage and began his attack on the ears 
of Indian com, rapping so loud as to be heard from every room in the house. After this 
he would sometimes resume his former position and take another nap. He was beginning to 
become very amusing and even sociable, when, after a lapse of several weeks, he became 
drooping and died, as I conceived, from the effects of his wound." 




GOLD-WINGED WOODPECKER.- C'oto/;tes (iiim/ys. 






THE WRYXECK. 421 

The coloring of the Gold-winged Woodpecker is very complicated. The top of the head is 
gray, the cheeks are cinnamon, and the back and wings are umber, marked with transverse 
bars of black. On the back of the head is a semilunar spot of blood-red, the two liorns pointin<j- 
towards the eyes, and a streak of black passes from the base of the beak down tlie throat. The 
sides of the neck are gray. The breast, throat, and chin are cinnamon, and a In-oad crescentic 
patch of black crosses the chest. The abdomen is yellowish-white, profusely spotted with 
black. The upper tail-coverts are white, serrated with black. The inner sides of the wings and 
tail, and the shafts of nearly all the feathers, are of a beautiful golden-yellow ; "the upper 
sides of the tail and the ti^) below are black, edged with light loose tilaments of a cream color, 
the two exterior feathers serrated with whitish." The bill is dusky brown color and slightly 
bent. The female is colored, but does not possess the black feathers on each side of the throat. 
The total length of this bird is about one foot. 

The Golden-winged Woodpecker represents a group of three distinct species. Two varieties 
of the present sj)ecies are also known. These birds have quite a different general appearance 
from the Woodpeckers proper, so called. They are much larger, and liave a very compact and 
handsomely decorated plumage. The tenns Flicker, Iliglihold, and Yellow Hammer are applied 
to them in various localities. Audubon says of this bird : '' They projjel themselves by numer- 
ous beats of the wings, with short intervals of sailing, during which they scarcely drop from 
the horizontal. When passing from one tree to another, they also Hy in a straight line, until 
within a few yards of the spot on wliich they intend to alight, when they suddenly raise 
themselves a few feet, and fasten themselves to the bark of the tree by their claws and tail. 
Their migrations, although partial, as many nMuain in the middle districts during the severest 
winters, are performed in the night, as is known by their note and the whistling of their wings, 
which are heard from the ground." 

The tongue of this bird is round and wiry, flattened towards the tip, i-)ointed and fur- 
nished with minute barbs ; it is also long, and can be instantaneously protruded to an uncommon 
distance. The hyoid bone (in the tongue), like those of its tribe, is a substance, for strength 
and elasticity, resembling whalebone, divided into two branches, each the thickness of a 
knitting-needle, that pass one on each side of the neck to the bird's head, where they iinite and 
run np along the skull in a groove, covered with a thin membrane or sheath, descend into the 
upper mandible by the right side of the right nostril, and reach to within a half an inch of the 
point of the bill, to wbich they are attached by another extremely elastic membrane that 
yields when the tongue is thrown out, and contracts as it is retracted. 

The tongue of this bird is supplied with a viscid fluid, secreted by two glands that lie 
under the ear on each side, and are at least Ave times larger in this species than any other 
of its size. "With this the tongue is continually moistened, so that every small insect it 
touches instantly adheres to it. The tail, with its pointed ends, and the feet and claws, all 
show adaptation to easy climbing, notwithstanding the heavy body. 

The range of this bird is from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the 
.Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains. To some extent it is a constant resident in New 
England, as well as in the Southern States. A variety of Flicker has the shafts of the feath- 
ers red. It is found in the region bounded by the Black Hills and the Pacific. Dr. Cones says 
it is abundant in Arizona, where it is known as the Yellow Hammer. It is a wonderful power 
of bill this bird has. He very readily pecks a hole in the weather-board of a house simply for 
the purpose of lodging ; its board or subsistence being, as we have seen, obtained in a similar 
manner in trunks of trees. Mr. Ridgway says it is more shy than the other variety (of the 
last), but attributes the circumstance to the fact that the Indians hunt them for their 
feathers. 

A Hybrid Flicker, having the characters of two varieties, and another species, caUed Cape 
Flicker, are found in the southwest. 

The curious bird, known under the popular and appropriate name of the Weyneck, is by 
some authors considered to be closely allied to the woodpeckers. 

The Wryneck is a summer visitant to northern countries, appearing just before the cuckoo, 



422 



THE WRYNECK. 



and therefore linown as the cuckoo's footman. There is another name for this bird, signifying 
" Cuckoo's knave," " Gwas-y-gog, " the pronunciation of whicli I must leave to Welsh throats. 
The tongue of this bird is long, slender and capable of being projected to the distance 
of an inch or so from the extremity of the beak, and its construction is almost exactly the 
same as that of the woodpecker. As might be supi>o,sed, it is emi^loyed for the same purjiose, 
being used in capturing little insects, of which ants form its favorite diet. So fond, indeed, is 
the Wryneck of these insects, that in some countiies it is popularly known by the name of 
Emmet-hunter. In i)ursuit of ants it trips nimlily about the trunks and l)ranches of trees, 
picking them off neatly with its tongue as they iiin their untiring course. It also frequents 
ant-hills, especially when the insects are bringing out their pupjB to lie in the sun, and swal- 
lows ants and jnipje at a great pace. When, as in damj) or cold weathei', the ants remain 
within their fortress, the Wryneck pecks briskly at the hillock until it breaks its way through 
the fragile walls of the nest, and as the warlike insects come rushing out to attack the intruder 




'■mm \vi'/ '^ 



WltiNECK Jijnx ImqilUla. 



of their home and to repair damages, it makes an excellent meal of them in spite of their anger 
and their stings. 

When ants are scarce and scantily spread over the ground, the Wryneck runs after them 
in a very agile fashion ; but when it comes upon a well-stocked spot, it stands motionless, 
with the exception of the head, which is darted rapidly in every direction, the neck and 
central line of the l)ack twisting in a maimer that reminds the observer of a snake. When 
captured or wounded, it will lie on its back, ruffle up its feathers, erect its neck, and hiss 
so like an angry servient that it is in some places known by the name of the snake-bird. It is 
a bird of retiring habits, keeiiing itself mostly to the wooded parts of the country, and 
especially favoring fir-woods where the ants most congregate, the dead leaves of the fir-trees 
forming excellent material for their nests without the trouble of cutting them to a proper length. 

As the food of this biixl is so dependent on the ants, it only comes north when the 
weather is warm enough to induce the ants to leave their winter (piarters ; and as soon as they 
begin to retire into their hiding-places, it takes its departure for warmer lands. During the 
early part of the season they are rather sociable, and may be captured by a good imitation of 
their call-note. 



TEE GREAT HONEY GUIDE. 423 

Mr. Yarrell, however, seems to hold rather an opposite oi)inion, and says that "the Wry- 
neck is rather solitary in its liabits, being very seldom seen associating with, or even near, any 
other bird than its own single partnei-, and that too but for a very limited portion of the 
year." 

In captivity, the Wryjieck is tolerably docile ; and when taken young can be perfectly 
tamed. In some countries it is the fashion to tie a string to the leg of a tame Wryneck and 
take it out for daily exercise for food, letting it run up the trees or on the ground in search of 
insects. The little bird soon becomes accustomed to this kind of life, and when the string is 
pulled returns to its owner, and runs about his clothes until he gives it permission to take 
another excursion. 

The nest of the Wryneck is hardly deser\ing of that name, being merely composed of 
chips of decaying wood. The eggs are laid in the hollow of a tree, not wholly excavated by 
the bird, as is the case of the woodpeckers, its beak not being sufficiently strong for such a 
task, but adapted to tlie purpose from some already existing hole. 

From a letter of a correspondent to Mr. Yai'rell, it seems that although the Wryneck 
makes no nest, it does not hesitate in appropriating the deserted home of any other bird which 
it may iind in the hollow which it selects for niditication. The bird had chosen a hole in 
an old apple-tree for that piirpose, and the eggs were laid upon a mass of hair, moss, and 
fibrous roots, evidently a deserted nest of a redstart. The pertinacity with which the Wry- 
neck adhered to the tree was really extraordinary, for she suffered her nest to be disturbed and 
replaced five times, and to be robbed four times of her eggs before she would finally leave the 
spot. The number of eggs laid by the Wryneck is i-ather gi-eat, as many as ten having often 
been found in a single nest. In the instance just mentioned, no less than twenty-two eggs 
were taken at the four intervals. Their color is beautiful white with a pinky tinge, not unlike 
those of the Idngfisher ; and as this pink color is produced by the yolk showing itself through 
the delicate shell, it is, of course, lost when the egg is emjstied of its contents. The plumage 
of this little bird, although devoid of brilliant hues, and decked only with brown, black, and 
gray, is really handsome from the manner in which those apparently sombre tints are dis- 
posed. In Yarrell's l)ook on birds the markings of the Wryneck are given so concisely that 
they cannot be altered without damage. "The top of the head grayish -brown, barred across 
with streaks of darker brown and white ; neck, back, rump, and upper tail-coverts gray, 
speckled with bro\vn. From the occiput (i.e. l)ack of the head) down the middle line of the back 
of the neck and between the scapularies, is a streak of dark brown mixed with black ; the wings 
brown, speckled with lighter yellow-brown, and a few white spots ; the primary quill-feathers 
barred alternately with pale yellow, bro\\-n, and black ; the tertials on the upper surface 
marked \vath a descending line of black ; upper surface of the tail-feathers mottled vrith gray 
and brown, and marked with four irregularly transverse bars of black ; chin, throat, ear- 
coverts, and neck, in front, pale yellow-brown with narrow transverse black lines ; breast, belly, 
sides, and under tail-coverts, dull white tinged \vith yellow-brown, and spotted with black ; 
■ under surface of tail-feathers pale grayish-brown, speckled and barred with black ; legs, toes, 
and claws brown." The total length of the adult male bird is about seven inches, and the 
female is a little smaller than her mate. 



CUCKOOS. 

The Cuckoos constitute a large family, containing several smaller groups, and many 
species. Representatives of the groups will be found in the following pages. All these birds 
have a rather long, slender, and somewhat cui-ved beak, which in some species takes a curve 
so decided, that it gives quite a predaceous air to its owner. Examples of the Cuckoo tribe 
are to be found in almost every portion of the globe, and are most plentiful about the tropics. 

The first group is that of which the celebrated Great Honey Guide is our typical 
example. The Honey Guides derive their name from the fact that they are extremely fond of 
wild bees and their honey, and by their eager cries attract keen-eared and sharp-eyed hunters 



424 



THE GREAT HONEY GUIDE. 



to the spoil. It has been said that the bii'ds iiiteutionally ask the aid of mankind to dig out 
the nests when the combs are placed in too secure a spot, and thai they utter their peculiar 
cry of "Cherr! cherr!" to call attention, and then precede their human assistants to the 
nest, fluttering their wings, and keeping a few yards in advance. Tliat they do lead travellers 
to the bees' nests is true enough, but that they should seek out human beings, and inten- 
tionally bring them to the sweet stores, seems doubtful, though it has been affirmed by many 
travellers. 

At all events, even up to the present time, whenever the Honey Gaide does succeed in 
leading the Hottentot to a store of honey, the men are grateful to it for the service, and do not 
eat tlie whole of the honey, leaving some for their confedei'ate. Neither will they kill the 







^7^'.. e. W^^^'-^, ,'3, , J,.-*- 



GREAT HOJSEY GUIDE.— /«(/fc«to/- major. 



bird, and they are offended if they see any one else do so. Sparrman i-emarks that the present 
species is seldom seen near Cape Town, as it cannot find a supply of its food so near the habi- 
tations of man, and that lie never saw any except on the farm of a single colonist, wlio had 
succeeded in hiving some wild swarms by fixing convenient boxes on his grounds. 

One thing is certain, that the Honey Guide is by no means a safe conductor, as it will 
sometimes lead its follower to the couching-place of a lion or tiger, or the retreat of a poisonous 
snake. Gordon Gumming, as well as other travellers, testifies to this curious mode of conduct. 

The featliers of tlie Honey Guide are thick, and the skin is tougher than is usually the 
case with birds, so that if the irritated bees should attack them, little harm is done iinless a 
sting should penetrate the eye or the bare skin around it. 

Honey Guides are found in various parts of Africa, India, and Borneo, and in all cases 
their habits seem to be very similar. Two species are very common in Southern Africa, 
namely, the bird figured in the engraving, and a smaller species {Indicator minor). The 
nesting of both these birds is very similar, their homes being pendent from the branches 
of trees, and lieautifully woven into a bottle-like f<u'm, the entrance being downward. The 
material of which they are composed is bark torn into filaments. The eggs are from thi'ee 
to four in number, and their color is a brownish white. Both parents assist in the duties 
of incubation. 



THE GROUND CUCKOO. 



425 



These birds are very soberly clad, the Great Honey-eater being brown above, darker on 
the wings and tail, and grayish-white on tlie under surface of the body. 

We now arrive at the Ground Cuckoos, all of which are inhabitants of tropical America 
and the neighboring islands, and are represented by the Rain-Bikd. 

This curious Cuckoo, which is popularly known in Jamaica by the name of Rain-Bird, 
Is tolerably common in the West Indian Islands. 

According to ]Mr. Gosse, who has given a very interesting account of this species in his 
"Birds of Jamaica," the Rain-Bird is so inquisitive at the sight of any new object, and so 
reckless of danger while gratifying its curiosity, that it is often called by the name of Tom 
Fool. Indeed, the first Rain-Bird which he saw lost its life by a stone, while sitting on a 
bush only a few feet distant, so occupied with the two featherless bipeds that were approach- 
ing, that it suffered itself to be struck from its perch by a missile that might have been 
avoided with the least precaution. 







GKOUND OUCKOO.— Geocoariw cdOfttrulaims. 



-'^mmrs^ ^'^ 



m^&'] /^^^.,... 



The wings of this bird are rather short and weak, so that it does not fly to any great 
distance when alarmed, but merely flits to a branch a few yards in advance, and then turns 
round and contemplates the intruder. It has a curious habit of sitting across a branch with 
its head lower than its feet, and balanced by the long tail, wliich hangs nearly perpendicularly. 
The voice is a harsh cackle, something like the words "ticky-ticky," pronounced with very 
great rapidity. It feeds on animal substances, preferring insects and spiders to any other 
kind of food, but not disdaining to prey upon the smaller reptiles and mammalia. The nest 
seems to be made in the fork of a branch. The color of this bird is soft brown-gray upon the 



Vol. n.— 54. 



426 



THE PHEASANT CUCKOO. 



back, dullish yellow on the under parts of the body, and rusty red upon the wings. The long 
tail is beautifully barred with black and white. 



A KIND of Ground Cuckoo {Geococcfjx calif ornianus), is found inhabiting the South- 
west, and Mexico. It is the Chajtarral Cock, Paisano, or Road-runner. The latter term 
explains its habit of frequenting the highways, always on the ground, where it will outrun 
the fleetest horses. The native population hunt this bird on horses, and regard it sport 
to run it down in this manner. Even hounds lind it diflicult to reach them after consid- 
erable running. It has a singularly broad and long tail, which is borne erect when run- 
ning, and no doubt assists materially in steadying the bird in its long and rapid course. In 
evidence of its wonderful swiftness of foot, Col. McCaul states that when, on one occasion, 
approaching Olympia Creek, in Texas, with a small party, he discovei'ed a Chaparral Cock in 
the open road, about a hundred yards in advance, for his amusement he put spurs and dashed 
after the bird with one of his men. It was thus pursued for full four Imndred yards along a 
smooth and level road, over which, with straightened neck and slightly extended wings, it 

swiftly glided, without 
seeming to touch the 
ground. When at last 
it sought shelter in a 
thicket, they had not 
gained upon it more 
than fifty yards. This 
bird is singularly cou- 
rageous in combat 
with the i-attlesnake, 
which it always is 
ready to fight. Its only 
voice is a weak scream, 
which it seldom utters. 
It is unsocial, never 
going in flocks. It be- 
comes quite failiiliar 
when near human 
habitations, and fre- 
quently seems to pre- 
fer the proximity of 
farm-houses. It even 
ventures near enough 
to hunt for mice, 
which it destroys with 
much dexterity. 







PHEASANT CVCKOO.— Cen/ropm phiisianm. 



Of the Coccyginse, or Lark -heeled Cuckoos, so called 
from their long hind toe, we shall select two examples ; the 
one being an Australasian bii'd, and the other an inhabitant 
of America. 

The Pheasant Ci'OKoo derives its popular appropriate 
name from the great length of its tail, which gives to the bird 
an outline bearing some I'esemblance to that of the pheasant, 
a similitude which is further carried out by the bold markings of its plumage. This, handsome 
bird is a native of New South Wales, where it is not uncommon, althouarh rather a local bird, 
seldom wandering to any great distance from the spot which it loves. It frequents low-lying 
and swampy lands ; living almost entirely among the rank herbage of such localities, and 
keeping itself concealed among the bushes. When alarmed it flies to the nearest tree, alights 



THE YELLOW-BILLED AMERICAN CUCKOO. 



427 



on the lowest brandies, rapidly makes its way through the boiighs to the very summit, and 
then takes to wing. 

The nest of this bird is placed on tlie ground, shaded by a convenient tuft of grass. It is 
a large and rather clumsily constructed edifice ; having two apertures, through one of which 
the hen, while sitting, thrusts her head, and through the other she pokes her tail. The eggs 
are generally from three to five in numlier, and are more spherical than is generally the case 
among birds. Their color is grayish-white, sometimes blotched A\ith brown, and they are 
remarkable for the roughness of their shells. 

The colors of this bird are not brilliant, but are rich and warm in their tone and disposed 
so as to fonn very bold markings. The upper surface of the body is black devoid of gloss, 
with the exception of the shafts of the featliers ; which are highly polished and glittering. 
The wing-coverts are brown mottled richly with black. The wings are ruddy chestnut barred 
wdth black, and the tail is dark brown glossed with green, freckled with brown, barred with 
white and tipped with the same color. The young birds are much lighter in color than their 
parents, are more liberally streaked, and have more white about them. 




YELLOW-BILLEU CXSCKOO. -Coccijym umenranus. 



Wilson says : " The singular, I will not say unnatural, conduct of the European Cuckoo 
{Cuculns canorus), which never constructs a nest for itself, but drops its eggs in those of other 
birds, and abandons them to their mercy and management, is so universally known, and so 
proverbial, that the whole tribe of Cuckoos have, by some inconsiderate people, been stigma- 
tized as destitute of all parental care and affection. Without attempting to account for this 
remarkable habit of the European species, far less to consider as an eri'or what the wisdom of 
Heaven has imjjosed as a duty upon the species, I will only remark that the Yellow-billed 
American Cuckoo builds its own nest, hatches its own eggs, and rears its ovra. young ; 
and, in conjugal and parental affection, seems nowise behind any of its neighbors of the 
grove. 



42 8 THE A NI, OR HA \ ^A NNA H B L A CKBIRD. 

"Early in May they begin to j)air, wlien obstinate battles take place among the males. 
About the tenth of that month they commence building. The nest is usually fixed among the 
horizontal branches of an apple-tree ; sometimes in a solitary thorn, crab, or cedar, in some 
retired part of the woods. It is constructed, with little art, and scarcely any concavity, of 
small sticks and twigs, intermixed with green weeds and blossoms of the common maple. On 
this almost flat bed, the eggs, usually three or four in number, are placed ; these are of a 
unifonn greenish-blue color, and of a size proportionable to that of the bii'd. While the 
female is sitting, tlie male is generally not far distant, and gives the alarm, by his notes, when 
any person is approaching. The female sits so close, that you may almost reach her with your 
hand, and then i>recipitates herself to the ground, feigning lameness, to draw you away from 
the spot, fluttering, trailing her wings, and tumbling over, in the manner of the partridge, 
woodcock, and many other species. Both parents unite in providing food for the young. 
This consists, for tlie most part, of caterpillars, x^articularly such as infest apple-trees. Tlie 
same insects constitute the chief j^art of their own sustenance. 

"They are accused, and with some justice, of sucking the eggs of other birds, like the 
crow, the blue jay, and other pillagers. They also occasionally eat various kinds of berries. 
But, from the circumstance of destroying such numbers of very noxious larvae, they prove 
themselves the friends of the farmer, and are highly deserving of his protection." 

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Cocct/gus americaints) is distributed throughout North 
America from Canada to Florida, and from the Atlantic coast to California. It also is met 
with in the West India Islands, and breeds in nearly all these localities. 

The Mangrove Cuckoo {Goccygus minor) is a regular summer visitor in Key West and 
the other Florida Keys. It is especially West Indian. 

The Black-billed Cuckoo {Coccygus eryfJirojjthalmiis) diflfers from the Yellow-billed in 
the black of the bill, and the absence of black on the tail-feathers ; some minor differences also 
occur. In other respects it is closely allied to the latter, and is also distributed in nearly the 
same localities, but is less numerous. Wilson says tliis bird retires into the woods to breed, 
being less familiar than the former sj)ecies, and choosing an evergreen sapling as a site for the 
nest, which is made of twigs pretty well put together, but still little more than a concave floor- 
ing, and lined with moss and withered catkins of the liickory. The female is less timorous 
than the Yellow-bill, and sits composedly until the intruder has ajiproached very closely, 
without showing evidence of alarm. The nest, without being at all remarkable ff)r its finish, 
or the nicety of its arrangements, is much more artistic and elaborate than that of the Yellow- 
billed. 

The Ani, or Savannah Blackbird {Crotophaga an/). This is scarcely more than a 
straggler in the United States, its liahiiat being in the West Indies, and in South America. 
It is about the size of the preceding bird, and has some resemblance to the parrots. In the 
West Indies it is called the Black Witch. Its familiar habits and grotesque appearance make 
it quite universally known. The little chickaree flj^-catcher makes it a subject of torment, 
and chases him with vigorous thrusts of his little bill, until the larger bird retreats in disgust. 
It moves with a jjeculiar gliding flight. In feeding it is omnivorous. It catches insects on the 
ground by very active jumps ; pursues them on the wing, and with its sharp, thin bill, digs 
them out of the earth. It hops about and over the cattle, and when grazing, on the cattle's 
tails will be seen to be one or more clinging to the hairs, and pecking out insects that may be 
there. They are what is called downward climbers, not upward climbei's. They enter a tree 
by alighting on the extremity of a branch, and reach the centre by creeping along the stem. 

Another species, called the Groove-billed Ani, has lately been found to be entitled to a 
place in the North American fauna. 

The Anis are all inhabitants of tropical climates, and are found cliiefly in forest-lands, 
being most common in the dense woods of South America. They are by no means large birds. 




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.^^^ Hnimatc Creation, ^^^ 

E have concluded to submit for public patronage a work with the above title, being a series 
of exquisite Engravings representing the ANIMAL WORLD, executed with great scientific 
accuracy, and accompanied by full Descriptive Text, written in popular terms, so as to 
delight and instruct the people. Anyone who has considered the subject must be at a loss to under- 
stand why an ILLUSTRATED Natural History, comprehensive and at the same time popular, 
has not before this been published in this country. Indeed any lover of animals who has visited the 
great museums and zoological gardens and has had access to books of engravings in the public 
libraries, could not fail to remark the wealth of material in existence devoted to this subject. Being 
confirmed in our conviction of the desirability of such a work, we laid under contribution the best 
existing authorities for the production of most perfect representations of all the more important 
living creatures, and among the artists whose delineations will delight the reader, we may mention 
Harrison Weir, Wolf, Coleman, Fr. Specht, and Mutzel. By far the majority of the engravings in 
these volumes are from drawings made from the living animals, many at the Zoological Society's 
Gardens in London, England. 

We purpose that our patrons shall be aided and interested in their study by such an array of 
pictures as has never before embellished any Natural History. In numerous instances the engra^'ing 
is printed in oil-colors, and this portion of the illustrations has been taken charge of by Messrs. L. 
Prang & Co., of Boston, who we believe rank foremost for high artistic results in this department of 
printing. These Oleographs were copied under the superintendence of Mr. Prang from the renowned 
" Tafeln " of " Brehm's Thierleben," so that they may be declared perfectly reliable. 

We sought competent advice from various sources as to the most suitable text that should ac- 
company this panorama of handsome Engravings. It was found impossible to embody all the present 
ideas of naturalists in a single work like this on account of the rapid advances and constant changes in 
their knowledge of, and habits of thought respecting, the Animal' World. And it seemed to us cor- 
rect that the true object of Zoology is not to arrange, to number, and to ticket animals in a formal 
inventory, but to inquire into their life-nature, and not simply to investigate the lifeless organism. 

What do we know of " Man " from the dissecting-room ? Is it not Man, the warrior, the states- 
man, the poet, etc., that we are interested in? With all veneration which attaches itself to those 
who are the accredited possessors of abstruse learning, their inordinate use of phraseology detracts 
too much, we fear, from the fascination that the study of the Animal World would otherwise yield, 
and as we are not content to have our work restricted to a favored few, we thought the task placed 
in our hands to be to keep the work free from a repellant vocabulary of conventional technicalities. 
Our endeavor has been to find an author whose work would be noted for its fund of anecdote and 
vitality rather than for merely anatomical and scientific presentation, and we arrived at the conclu- 
sion that we could not do better than avail ourselves of the Rev. J. G. Wood's comprehensive work 
— a work most popularly approved by speakers of the English language. It would be superfluous to 
say one word concerning the standard character of his book, from the pages of which old and young 
at the other side of the Atlantic have obtained so much instruction and rational amusement. Avoid- 
ing the lengthened dissertations and minute classifications of specialists, he presents to his readers in 
popular terms a complete treatise on the Animal Kingdom of all climes and countries. The one 
objection that could be urged against it was, that animal life in America might be treated more fully 
and American forms given more consideration. In order to obviate this drawback and to do full 
justice to the creatures of our own country, we secured the aid of Dr. J. B. HOLDER, of the Ameri- 
can Museum of Natural History in New York, an undoubted American authority, who has adapted 
Wood's work to American wants and given prominence to American forms of Animal life. 

The splendid work on Rodentia, by Allen, Coues, and others, will be fully consulted. The 
valuable work on North American Birds, by Baird, Brewer, and Ridgway, will be the guide in the 
treatment of birds. The late arrangement of the classification and nomenclature of North American 
Birds, by Mr. Ridgway, and the Committee on that subject of the Ornithologists' Union, will be 
utilized in full. The arrangement of Mammals will be after the latest classification by Professor 
Flower, of the Zoological Society of London. So that this will be the first popular Natural History 
worthy of the name that has made its appearance here, which gives due and full recognition to the 
animate world surrounding us. 

^crnis of publication. 

The extent of the work will be 68 parts of 28 pages, at the price of 25 cents each. The entire publication will 
contain 34 Oleographs and 68 Full Page Engravings on Wood, besides many hundreds of exquisite Illustrations 
interspersed through the text. The parts will be issued every two weeks, and are payable only as delivered. No 
subscriber's name will be received for less than the entire work, and anyone removing, or not regularly supplied, will 
please address the Publisher by mail. 

N. E. SELMAR HESS, Publisher, New York. 



ISSUED BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY, AND NOT FOR SALE IN BOOK STORES. 




PART 40 



COMPLETE IN 68 PARTS. 



25 CENTS. 



THE SAVANNAH BLACKBIIW. 



429 



seldom exceeding the dimensions of the common Blackbird. These birds are known by their 
compressed and arched beaks, and tlie decided keel or ridge upon the upper mandible. 

The Savannah Blackbird is acknowledged to be the typical species of these birds, as it 
exhibits the peculiar form of the beak in a very marked manner. As it is rather a conspicuous 
bii'd, it is known by several other names, auiong which are Razor-billed Blackbird and Grreat 
Blackbird, in some places it is called the Bhu-k Parrakeel, and in Mexico its native title is 
Cacalototl. 

The food of the Savannah Blackbird is mostly of an animal nature, and consists chiefly of 
grasshoppers, locusts, and similar insects, although the bird is veiy fond of lizards and other 
small vertebrates, a prey which its peculiar beak is well calculated to secure. Seeds are also 
said to be eaten by this bird. 

In some cases their insect-loving nature is directed in a manner very useful to the cattle- 
owners. In those regions, the cows aie greatly troubled with ticks and other parasitic insects, 










SAVANNAH BLXCKBIRD.— Crotophaga anl. 



which fasten upon their backs where the poor beasts cannot reach them. The Anis are for- 
tunately very fond of these noxious insects, and x'erching upon the cow's back, soon rid them 
of their unpleasant companions. The cows are so well aware of the services rendered to them 
by these birds, that when they find themselves much annoyed by ticks, they lie down in order 
to permit the Anis to pursue their avocation without disturbance. Sometimes, according to 
Brown, in his History of Jamaica, the Anis remind the cows of their reciprocal duties, and if 
the great quadruped fora:ets to lie down for their mutual benefit, they hop about just in front 
of its nose as it grazes, and give it no peace until it complies with their request. 

It is gregarious in its habits, associating in large flocks, and is a very fearless creature, 
caring little for the report or the efl'ects of a gun. Whether this insensibility to danger be due 
to love of its comrades and to real courage, or only to that spurious bravery which fears 
nothing because it knows nothing, is not certain ; but it is well known that if a flock of Anis 
be fired at, and many killed by the discharge, the survivors will only rise and fly to a short 
distance, and there settle as composedly as if no danger were at hand. 

The Anis are very noisy, as is often the case with gregarious birds, and the combined 
loquacity of a large flock of Anis is almost deafening. They do not seem to use their wings 



430 



THE CHANNEL-BILL. 



to any great extent, their flight being low and short. They are easily tamed, soon become 
amusing inhabitants of the liouse, and can be taught to utter several words. Fortunately for 
itself, the flesh of the Savannah Blackbird is thought to be very disagreeable, so that it is not 
killed for the table. 

The nesting of this bird is rather peculiar. It haunts bushes, the skirts of woods, and 
similar localities, and builds its nest on the branches of trees. The nest is extremely large, 
and is said to be in common to several pairs of birds, Avhich live amicably under the same roof 
like the sociable weaver birds of Africa. 

In size the Savannah Blackbird rather exceeds the generality of its kind, equalling a 
pigeon in dimensions, the long tail adding to the apparent length. Its color is black, glossed 
with green. 

The very remarkable bird known by the name of Channel-Bill inhabits part of Aus- 
tralia and some of the Eastern 
Islands. Its large and curi- 
ously formed beak gives it so 
singular an aspect, that on a 
hasty glance it might almost 
be taken for a species of tou- 
can or hombill. 

It is most common in New 
South Wales, and is migratory 
in its habits, arriving in Octo- 
ber and departing in June. It 
is a gregarious .bird, being 
seen in little flocks or com- 
panies varying in number from 
three to eight, and sometimes 
living in pairs. The voice of 
the Channel-Bill is by no 
means pleasing, and is exer- 
cised at the approach of rainy 
weather or the presence of a 
hawk. In either instance, the 
bird utters a series of vigorous 
yells, which are well under- 
stood by those who have 
studied its habits. 

Although one of the mi- 
grators, it is slow and heavy 
of wing. Ajiparently, it is not 
easily tamed, for Mr. Gould 
mentions an instance where 
one of these birds was wounded 
and kept alive for two days, during the whole of which time it refused to lie reconciled to 
captivity, screaming and pecking fiercely at its cage and captor. Its food consists of the seeds 
of the red gum and peppermint, and it also feeds upon beetles, phasmidge, and other large 
insects of the land wliir-h it frequents. 

It is a very handsome and elegantly colored bird. The head and breast are gray, and the 
spaces around the eyes and nostrils are scarlet. The back is a deep grayish-green, each feather 
being tipped with black, so as to give that portion of the bird a boldly mottled asi^ect. The 
under parts are white tinged with bufl', and faintly barred with grayish-brown. The long tail 
has the two central feathers black to the very tip, and the others are ban-ed with black and 
tipped with white. Both sexes are alike in their coloring ; the chief difference being that the 




CBLiNNELBILL.— Sc!((/»?-o//i- Novx-BoUandia. 



THE CUCKOO. 



431 



female is smaller than her mate. In dimensions the Channel-Bill is about equal to the com- 
mon crow, but owing to the long and broad tail, wliich causes the bird to measure more than 
two feet in total length, it appears much larger than is really the case. 

There are few birds which are more widely known by good and evil report than the com- 
mon Cuckoo. 

As the harbinger of spring, it is always welcome to the ears of those who have just passed 
through the severities of winter ; and as a heartless mother, an abandoner of its offspring, and 
an occupier of other homes it lias been subjected to general reprobation. As is usual in such 
cases, both opinions are too sweeping ; for the continual cry of " Cuck-oo ! cuck-oo !" however 
agreeable it may be on the first hearing, soon becomes monotonous and fatiguing to the ear ; 
and the mother Cuckoo is not so far lost to all feelings of maternity as to take no thought for 



r ■ f'7NO'^; 



^SM iv^«as§?2sa. 




CUCKOO. — Vuc^Uus canO'uti. 



her young, but ever remains near the place where it has deposited her agg and seems to keep 
watch over the foster-parents. 

It is well known that the female Cuclcoo does not make any nest, but places her egg in 
the nest of some small bird, and leaves it to the care of its unwitting foster-parents. Various 
birds are burdened with this charge, such as the hedge-warbler, the pied wagtail, the meadow- 
pipit, the red-backed shrike, the blackbird, and various finches. Generally, however, the 
three first are those preferred. Considering the size of the mother-bird, the egg of the Cuckoo 
is remarkably small, being about the same size as that of tlie skylark, although the latter bird 
has barely one-fourth the dimensions of the former. Tlie little birds, therefore, which are 
always careless about the color or fonn of an egg, provided that it be nearly the size of their 
own productions, and will be perfectly contented ^^ath an egg-shaped pebble or a scraped 
marble, do not detect the imposition, and hatch the interloper together with their own young. 

The general color of the Cuckoo's egg is mottled reddish-gray, but the tint is very variable 
in different individuals, as I can testify from personal experience. It has also been noted that 
the color of the egg varies with the species in whose nest it is to be placed, so that the egg 



432 THE CUCKOO. 

which is intended to be hatched by the hedge-warbler is not precisely of the same color as that 
which is destined for the nest of the pipit. 

Several experienced naturalists now lean to the opinion that the female Cuckoo really feels 
a mother's anxiety about her young ; and this theory — a somewhat recent one — is corroborated 
by an account kindly sent to me by a lady, at that time unknown to me. A young Cuckoo 
liad been hatched in the nest of some small bird, and after it was able to leave the nest for a 
short time, was taken under the protection of a female Cuckoo, who had been hovering about 
the place, and which at once assumed a mother's autliority over the young bird, feeding it and 
calling it just like any other bird. 

On inquiring whether the old Cuckoo ever helped the young one baclv into the nest, noth- 
ing could be ascertained. The cliildren of the family, who were naturally interested in the 
affair, used sometimes to pick up the young bird, and put it back into the nest, but it was 
often found in its warm home without human intervention, and as it was too helpless and 
timid to perform such a feat unaided, the natural assumption was that the old bird had given 
her assistance. 

The mode by which the Cuckoo contrives to deposit her eggs in the nest of sundry birds 
was extremely dubious, until a key was found to the problem by a chance discovery made by 
Le Vaillant. He had shot a female Cuckoo, and on opening its mouth in order to stuff it with 
tow, he found an egg lodged very snugly witlun the throat. 

When liatched, the proceedings of the young Cuckoo are very strange. As in process of 
time it would be a comparatively large bii'd, the nest would soon be far too small to contain 
the whole family ; so the young bird, almost as soon as it can scramble about the nest, sets 
deliberately to work to turn out all the other eggs or nestlings. This it accomplishes by 
getting its tail under each egg or young bird in succession, wriggling them on to its back, and 
then cleverly jiitching them over the side of the nest. It is rather curious that in its earlier 
days it only throws the eggs over, its more murderous propensities not being developed until 
a more advanced age. 

There seems to be some pecidiarity in the nature of the Cuckoo which forces other birds 
to cater for its benefit, as even in the case of a tame and wing-clipped Cuckoo, which was 
allowed to wander about a lawn, the little birds used to assemble about it wdth food in their 
mouths, and feed it as long as it chose to demand their aid. 

Sometimes two Cuckoo's eggs have been laid in the same nest; when they are hatched 
there is a mutual struggle for tiie sole possession of tlie nest. Dr. Jenner, in his well-known 
and most valuable paper on this bird, gives the following account of such a strife : — 

" Two Cuckoos and a hedge-sj^arrow wei'e hatched in the same nest this morning ; one 
hedge-spaiTOw's egg remained unhatched. In a few hours after, a combat began between the 
Cuckoos for the possession of the nest, which continued undetermined until the next afternoon, 
when one of them, whicli was somewhat superior in size, turned out the other, together with 
the young hedge-sparrow and the imhatched egg. This contest was very remarkable. The 
combatants alternately appeared to have the advantage, as each carried the other several 
times nearly to the top of the nest, and then sank down again oppressed by the weight of its 
burden, till, at length, after various efforts, the strongest prevailed, and was afterwards brought 
up by the hedge-sparrows." 

In order to enable the young Cuckoo to perform this curious feat, its back is very different 
in shape from that of ordinary birds, being very bi'oad from the shoulder downwards, leaving 
a well-marked depression in the middle, on which the egg or j'oung bird rests while it is being 
earned to the edge of the nest. In about a fortnight this cavity is filled up, and the young- 
bird has nothing extraordinary in its appearance. 

Prom its peculiar mode of foisting off its young upon other birds, its character would seem 
to be of a solitary nature. Such, however, is not the case, for at some periods of the year 
these birds may be seen in considerable numbers, playing with each other or feeding in close 
proximity. Upwards of twenty have been observed in a single field, feeding on the caterpillars 
of the burnet moth, and several communications have been addressed to sport journals in 
which the subject of natural history is discussed, relating similar occurrences. One of these 



VOICE AND FOOD OF THE CUCKOO. 433 

•correspondents records a large assembly of Cuckoos seen by herself in the month of August, 
and nnother relates a cuilous anecdote of a number of Cuckoos, which he saw on the wing, 
playing over and near a large gray stone. It seems that these birds are very partial to promi- 
nent objects, such as bushes, tree-stumps, large stones, etc., and that they are fond of con- 
gregating in theii- vicinity. 

The peculiar note of the Cuckoo is so well known as to need no particular description, but 
the public is not quite so familiar with the fact that the note changes according to the time of 
year. When the bird first begins to sing, the notes are full and clear ; but towards the end of 
the season, they become hesitating, hoarse, and broken, like the breaking voice of a young lad. 
This peculiarity was noticed long ago by observant persons, and many are the country rhymes 
which bear allusion to the voice and the sojourn of the Cuckoo. For example : — 

" In April 
Come he will. 
In May 

He sings all day. 
In June 

He alters his tune. 
In July 

He prepares to fly. 
In August 
Go he must " 

This rhyme is often slightly varied, as : — 

' "In April Cuclcoo sings her lay ; 

In May she sings both night and day; 
In June she loses her sweet strain ; 
In July she is off again." 

An old writer, John Haywood, who "flourished," according to Mangnall, about 1580, has the 
following quaint and very graphic rhyme upon the voice of the Cuckoo at different periods of 
the year : — 

" In April the Coocoo can sing her song by rote. 
In June oft time she cannot sing a note. 
At first, koo, koo ; koo, koo ; sings till can she do. 
At last, kooke, kooke, kooke ; six kookes to one koo." 

The voice of the female bird is quite distinct from that of the male, and has been compared 
to the sound made by pouring water out of a narrow-necked bottle, and to the quacking 
clutter of the dabchick. 

Sometimes the Cuckoo has been known to sing at night, having been seen to perch in a 
tree and then to commence its song. Many such instances are recorded, as also of the Cuckoo's 
song heard very early in the season ; but in all such instances where the bird was not actually 
seen, great caution must be used in accepting evidence. For the note of the Cuckoo is so 
peculiar, and so easily imitated, that boys are often in the habit of hiding in the copses and 
behind hedges for the puri:)Ose of deluding people into the idea that the Cuckoo has arrived. 
There have even been instances where such delinquents have confessed their bad practices 
when they attained to mature years, and wrote on natural history themselves. 

When the stomach of the Cuckoo is opened, it is found to be lined with brown hairs, 
which on investigation with the microscope have been found to be those of the long-haired 
caterpillars, such as the "woolly-bear," /. e. the larva of the tiger moth {Arctia caja), on 
which the Cuckoo loves to feed. 

In captivity it feeds on many substances, always preferring caterpillars and raw beef 
chopped fine. It also likes worms, hard-boiled eggs, flies, wasp-grubs, and similar food. 
According to some persons, the young Cuckoo is a very easy bu'd to rear ; while according 
to others it gives the greatest trouble. One writer goes so far as to say that he would sooner 
rear a baby single-handed than a Cuckoo. However this may be, the first vdnter is always a 
trying season to the young bird, and there are very few which get weU through it. 

Vol. n.— 65. 



434 



THE CUCKOO. 



In general appearance the Cuckoo bears some resemblance to a bird of prey, but it haa 
little of the predaceous nature. It is rather curious that small birds have a tendency to treat 
the Cuckoo much as they treat the hawks and owls, following it wherever it flies in the open 
country, and attending it through the air. 

The color of the plumage is bluish gray above, with the exception of the wdngs and tail, 
which are black, and barred with white on the exterior feathers. The chin, neck, and breast 
are ashen-gray, and the abdomen and under wing-coverts are white, barred with slaty -gray. 

Sometimes the color varies from these tints, and a white specimen may occasionally be 
found. Yearling birds of both sexes are hair-brown above, barred profusely with brownish- 
red : the quill-feathers of the wing are reddish-brown, barred with white, while those of the 
tail are of the same dark tinge, but without the white bars, and spotted with white along the 
centre of the feathers. The whole of the under portions of the body are gray- white, barred 
with brown, and the short tail is tipped with white. A little white also appears on the tips 
of some of the feathers on the upper surface of the body. Tlie total length of the adult bird 
is about fourteen inches. The female is rather smaller than her mate, and may be distin- 
guished from the opposite sex by the brown bars upon her neck, and the brown tinge upon 
the back and wings. 




'^^S 



COLUMB^. 



^^ 



DOVES AND PIGEONS. 




HE large order of Columb^, or the Pigeon tribe, comes now under our notice. 
It contains very many beautiful and interesting birds ; but as its members are so" 
extremely numerous, only a few typical examples can be mentioned in these 
pages. 

All the Pigeons may be distinguished from the poultry, and the gallinaceous 
birds in general, by the form of the bill, which is arched towards the tip, and 
has a convex swelling at the base, caused by a gristly kind of plate which covers 
the nasal cavities, and which in some species is very curiously de\eloped. In order to enable 
the parent birds to feed their young, the gullet swells into a double crop, furnished with 
certain large glands during the breeding season, which mingle their secretions with the food,, 
and soften it, so that when the bird throws up the food after its fashion, to feed its young,, 
the whole mass has acquired a soft and pulpy consistence, suitable to the delicate digestive 
powers of the tender young. Other peculiarities of form mil be found in the Appendix to 
this volume. 

In their habits, the Pigeons greatly resemble each other, mostly haunting trees, but 
sometimes preferring the soU. as a hunting-ground. Generally, the family likeness between ^ 
the Pigeons is sufficiently strong to enable even a novice to know a Pigeon when he sees it ; 
but there are one or two remarkable exceptions to this rule, such as the Dodo and the Tooth- 
billed Pigeons, birds which need careful examination to be recognized as belonging to the 
present order. 

The powers of wing are generally very great, the Pigeons being proverbially swift and 
enduring ; but even this rule has its exceptions. They are found in almost aU parts of the 
globe, being most plentifid in tlie warmer regions. In this country the colors of the Pigeons, 
although soft and pleasing, and in some portions of the bird, such as the neck, glowing with 
a changeful beauty, are not particularly striking for depth or brilliancy. But in the hotter 
regions of the world, especially towards the tropics, the Pigeons are among the most magnifi- 
cent of the feathered tribes, their plumage being imbued vdth the richest colors, and often 
assuming very elegant forms. 

Our first example of this order is the Oceanic Fruit Pigeon. 

The whole of the birds belonging to the genus Carpophaga are notable for the curious knob 
that is found upon the base of the upper mandible, and which only makes its appearance 
during the breeding season. During the rest of the year, the base of the beak is more 
flattened than is generally the case with the Pigeons ; but as soon as the breeding season 
approaches, a little swelling is observable in this part, which rapidly grows larger, until it 
assumes the appearance of a knob. Towards the end of the breeding season, the knob 
becomes smaller, and is gradually absorbed, leaving the bill in its former flattened condi- 
tion. 

This species is found in the Pelew and neighboring islands, and is a forest-loving bird, 
taking up its residence in the woods, where it finds abundance of food. The diet which this 
bird most favors is the soft covering of the nutmeg, popularly known as "mace," and the 
flavor which this aromatic food imparts to the flesh is so peculiarly delicate, that the Oceanic 



& 



436 



THE PASSENGER PIGEON. 



Fruit Pigeon is in great request for the table, and is shot by liundreds. During the nutmeg 
season, tliese Pigeons find such an abundance of food that they become inordinately fat, and 
are sometimes so extremely plump, that when they are shot, and fall to the ground, they 
burst asunder. 

Setting aside the gastronomical properties of this bird, it is a most useful creature, being 
the means of disseminating far and wide the remarkable nutmeg-tree. The Pigeon being a 
bird of large appetite, swallows the nutmeg together with the mace, but only the latter sub- 
stance is subject to digestion, the nutmeg itself passing through the system with its repro- 



ductive powers not only uninjured, but even imi^roved. 







PASSENGER VIQEOti.—Bceophtes mlgrakiHut. 



of 

by 



The sojourn within the body of the 
bird seems to be almost necessary in 
order to induce the nutmeg to grow ; 
and when planted by human hands, 
it jnust be chemically treated with 
some prejiaration before it will strike 
root. 

The color of this species is as 
follows: The foreliead, cheeks, and 
throat are grayish-white, and the 
rest of the head and the back of the 
neck are gray with a slaty blue wash. 
The back and ui)per portions of the 
body are light metallic green. The 
lower part of the throat and the 
breast are rusty gray, and the thighs 
and abdomen are deep brownish-red. 
The under surface of the tail is also 
green, but with a reddish gloss. The 
total length of the bird is about 
fourteen or fifteen inches. 

Among the most extraordinary 
of birds, the Passenger Pigeon may 
take very high lunk, not on account 
of its size or beauty, but on account 
of the exti-aordinary multitudes in 
which it sometimes migrates from 
one place to another. The scenes 
which take place during these migra- 
tions are so strange, so wonderful, 
the Atlantic, that they could not 
which tliey are corroborated. To 



and so entirely unlike any events on this side 
be believed, but for the trustworthy testimony 
abridge or to condense the spirited narrations of Wilson and Audubon would be impossible, 
without losing, at the same time, the word-painting which makes their descrijitions so 
exceedingly valuable ; and, accordingly, these well-known naturalists shall speak for them- 
selves. 

After professing his belief that the chief object of the migration is the search after food, 
and that the birds having devoured all the nutriment in one part of the country take wing in 
oi'der to feed on the beech-mast of another region, Wilson proceeds to describe a breeding- 
place seen by himself in Kentucky, which was several miles in breadth, was said to be nearly 
forty miles in length, and in which every tree was absolutely loaded with nests. All the 
smaller branches were destroyed by the birds, many of the large limbs were broken off and 
thrown on the ground, while no few of the grand forest-trees themselves were killed as surely 
as if the axe had been employed for their destruction. The Pigeons had arrived about the 
tenth of Apiil, and left it by the end of May. 



FLIGHT OF THE PASSENGER PIGEON. 43 T 

" As soon as the young were fully grown, and before they left the nests, numerous parties 
of the inhabitants, from all parts of the adjacent country, came with wagons, oxen, beds, 
cooking utensils, many of them accompanied by the greater part of their families, and 
encamped for several days at this immense nursery. Several of them infonned me that the 
noise in the woods was so great as to terrify their horses, and that it was difficult for one 
person to hear another sj)eak without bawling in his ear. 

"The ground was strewed with broken limbs of trees, eggs, and young squab pigeons 
which had been i^recipitated from above, and on which herds of hogs were fattening. Hawks, 
buzzards, and eagles were sailing about in great numbers, and seizing the squabs from their 
nests at pleasure ; while from twenty feet upwards to the top of the trees, the view through the 
woods presented a perpetual tumult of crowding and fluttering multitudes of pigeons, their 
wings roaring like thunder, mingled Avith the frequent crash of falling timber. For now the 
axe-men were at work cutting down those trees which seemed to be most crowded with nests, 
and contriving to fell them in such a manner that in their descent they might bring down 
several others, by which means the falling of one large tree sometimes produced two hundred 
squabs, little inferior in size to the old ones, and almost one mass of fat. 

" On some single trees u^nvards of one hundred nests were found, each containing one 
young only, a circumstance in the history of this bird not generally known to naturalists. It 
was dangerous to walk under these flying and fluttering millions, from the frequent fall of 
large branches, broken down by the weight of the multitudes above, and which, in their 
descent, often desti'oyed numbers of the birds themselves. 

" I had left the public road to visit the remains of the breeding-place, near Shelby villa, 
and was traversing the woods with my gun, on my way to Frankfort, when, about one o'clock, 
the pigeons which I had observed flying the greater part of the morning northerly, began to 
return in such immense numbers as I never before had witnessed. Coming to an opening by 
the side of a creek called the Benson, I was astonished at their appearance. 

"They were flying with great steadiness and rapidity, at a height beyond gunshot, in 
several strata deep, and so close together that could shot have reached them, one discharge 
would not have failed of bringing down several individuals. From right to left, as far as 
the eye could reach, the breadth of this vast procession extended, seeming everywhere equally 
crowded. 

" Curious to determine how long this appearance would continue, I took out my watch to 
note the time, and sat down to observe them. It was then half-past one. I sat for more than 
an hour, but instead of a diminution of this jirodigious procession, it seemed rather to increase 
both in numbers and rapidity ; and anxious to reach Frankfort before night, I rose and went 
on. About four o'clock in the afternoon, I crossed the Kentucky river, at the town of Frank- 
fort, at Avhich time the living torrent above my head seemed as numerous and as extensive 
as ever. The great breadth of front which this mighty multitude preserved would seem to 
intimate a corresponding breadth of their breeding-place, which by several gentlemen who had 
lately passed through part of it, was stated to me at several miles." 

A few observations on the mode of flight of these birds must not be omitted. 

" The appearance of large detached bodies of them in the air, and the various evoliitiong 
they display, are strikingly picturesque and interesting. In descending the Ohio by myself in 
the month of February, I often rested on my oars to contemplate their aerial manoeuvres. 

" A column, eight or ten miles in length, would ai^pear from Kentucky, high in air, steer- 
ing over to Indiana. The leaders of this great body would sometimes gradually vary their 
course, until it formed a large bend of more than a mile in diameter, those behind tracing the 
exact route of their predecessors. This would continue sometimes long after both extremities 
were beyond the reach of sight ; so that the whole, with its glittering undulations, marked a 
space on the face of the heavens resembling the windings of a vast and majestic river. When 
this bend became very great, the birds, as if sensible of the unnecessarily circuitous course 
they were taking, suddenly changed their direction, so that what was in column before became 
an immense front, straightening all its indentures until it swept the heavens in one vast and 
infinitely extended line. 



438 -^ PIOEON ROOST. 

" Other lesser bodies united with each other as they happened to approach, with such ease 
and elegance of evolutions, forming new figures, and varying them as they united or separated, 
that I was never tired of contemplating them. Sometimes a hawk would make a sweep on a 
particular part of the column, when, almost as quick as lightning, that part shot downwards 
out of the common track ; but soon rising again, continued advancing at the same rate as 
before. This reflection was continued by those behind, who on arriving at this point dived 
down almost perpendicularly to a great depth, and rising, followed the exact path of those 
before them." 

Let us now see what Audubon has to say on this subject. The reader will remark the 
brilliant account given by Wilson, of the efl'ects produced by the attack of a hawk on a flock. 
Audubon has also remarked the same circumstance, and says : "But I cannot describe to you 
the extreme beauty of their aerial evolutions when a hawk chanced to press upon the rear of a 
flock. At once, like a torrent, and with a noise like thunder, they rushed into a compact mass, 
pressing upon each other towards the centre. In these almost solid masses, they darted for- 
ward in undulating and angular lines, descended and swept close over the earth with incon- 
ceivable velocity, mounted perpendicularly so as to resemble a vast column, and when high, 
were seen wheeling and twisting within their continued lines, which then resembled the coils 
of a gigantic serpent." 

Writing of the breeding -places of these birds, tlie same author proceeds as follows : — 

"One of these curious roosting-places on the banks of the Green River, in Kentucky, 1 
repeatedly visited. It was, as is always the case, a portion of the forest where the trees are of 
great magnitude, and where there was little underwood. I rode through it upwards of forty 
miles, and found its average breadth to be rather more than three miles. My fix-st view of it 
was about a fortnight subsequent to the period when they had made choice of it, and I arrived 
there nearly two hours before sunset. 

"Few pigeons were then to be seen, but a great number of persons with horses and 
wagons, guns and ammunition, had already established encampments on the borders. Two 
farmers from the vicinity of Russelsville, distant more than a hundred miles, had driven 
upwards of three hundred hogs to be fattened on the pigeons that were to be slaughtered. 
Here and there the people employed in plucking and salting what had already been procured 
were seen sitting in the midst of large piles of these birds. Many trees two feet in diameter 1 
observed were broken off at no great distance from the ground ; and the branches of many of 
the largest and tallest had given way, as if the forest liad been swept by a tornado. Every- 
thing proved to me that the number of birds resorting to this part of the forest must be 
immense beyond conception. As the period of their arrival approached, their foes anxiously 
prepared to receive them ; some were furnished with iron pots containing sulphur — otliers with 
torches of pine-knots, — many with ]3oles, and the rest with guns. The sun was lost to our view, 
yet not a pigeon had arrived. Everything was ready, and all eyes were gazing on the clear 
sky which appeared in glimpses amidst the tall trees. 

"Suddenly there burst forth a general cry of 'Here they come.' The noise which they 
made, though yet distant, i-eminded me of a hard gale at s'ea, ])assing through the rigging of a 
close-reefed vessel. As the birds arrived and passed over me, I felt a current of air that 
surprised me. Tliousands were soon knocked down by the pole-men ; the birds continued to 
pOTxr in ; the fires were lighted, and a most magnificent as well as wonderful and almost ter- 
rifying sight presented itself. Tlie i)igeons arriving by thousands alighted everywhere, one 
above another, until solid masses as large as hogsheads were formed on the brandies all round. 
Here and there the perches gave way with a crash, and falling on the ground destroyed hun- 
dreds of the birds beneath, forcing down the dense groups with which every stick was loaded. 

" It was a scene of uproar and confusion ; no one dared venture within the line of devasta- 
tion ; the hogs had been penned up in due time, the picking up of the dead and wounded being 
left for next morning's employment. The pigeons were constantly coming, and it was past 
midnight before I perceived a decrease' in the number of those that arrived. Towards the 
approach of day the noise in some measure subsided ; long before objects were distinguishable 



POWERS OF THE PASSENGER PIGEON. 439 

the pigeons began to move off in a direction quite different from that in which they had 
arrived the evening before, and at sunrise all that were able to fly had disappeared. The howl- 
ings of the wolves now reached our ears, and the foxes, lynxes, cougars, bears, racoons, and 
opossums were seen sneaking oft', whilst eagles and hawks of different species, accompanied by 
a crowd of vultures, came to supplant them, and enjoy their share of the spoil." 

The chief food of the Passenger Pigeon is beech-mast, but the bird feeds on numerous 
other grains and fruits, such as acorns, buckwheat, hempseed, maize, holly-berries, huckle- 
berries, and chestnuts. Rice is also a favorite article of food, and pigeons have been killed 
with rice still undigested in theii* stomachs, though the nearest rice plantation was distant 
several hundred miles. The amount of food consumed by these birds is almost incredible. 
Wilson calculates that, taking the breadth of the great column of pigeons mentioned above to 
be only one mile, its length to be two hundred and forty miles, and to contain only three 
Pigeons in each square yard (taking no account of the several strata of birds, one above the 
other), and that each bird consumes half a pint of food daily — all which assumptions are below 
the actual amount — the quantity of food consumed in each day would be seventeen millioa 
bushels. Audubon makes a similar calculation, allowing only two birds to the square yard. 

Although these birds are found in such multitudes, there is only a single young one each 
time of hatching, though there are probably two or even three broods in a season. The young 
birds are extremely fat, and their flesh is very delicious, only, as during their stay every one 
eats pigeons all day and every day, they soon pall upon the taste. So plump are these birds, 
that it is often the custom to melt thetn down for the sake of their fat alone. 

When they begin to shift for themselves they pass through the forest in search of their 
food, hunting among the leaves for mast, and appear like a prodigious torrent rolling along 
thi-ough the woods, every one striving to be in the front. "Vast numbers of them are shot 
while in this situation. A person told me that he once rode furiously into one of these rolling 
multitudes and picked up thirteen pigeons, which had been trampled to death by his horse's 
feet. In a few minutes thej^ will beat the whole nuts from a tree with their wings, while all is 
a scramble, both above and below, for tlie same." The young, the males and females, have 
a curious habit of dividing into separate flocks. 

One or two specimens of this bii-d have been taken in Europe, and one individual was shot 
in 1825. This species has bred in aviaries, and it is rather remarkable that the female made the 
nest wliile her mate performed the duties of hodman by bringing materials. The nest is very 
sUght, being only composed of a few twigs rudely woven into a platform, and so loosely made 
that the eggs and young can be seen from below. In this instance the nest was begun and 
finished in the same day. The young bird was hatched after sixteen days. 

The color of the Passenger Pigeon is as follows : The head, part of the neck and the chin 
are slate-blue, and the lower part and sides of the neck are also deep slate, "shot " with gold, 
green, and purplish-crimson, changing at every movement of the bird. The throat, breast, 
and ribs are reddish-hazel ; the back and Tipper tail-coverts dark slaty -blue, slightly spotted 
with black upon the shoulders. TJie primary and secondary quill-feathers of the wings are 
black, the primary being edged and tipped with dirty white. The lower part of the breast is 
a jjale purplish -red, and the abdomen is white. The long and pointed tail has the two central 
feathers deep black, and the rest white, taking a bluish tint near their bases, and being marked 
with one black spot and another of rusty-red on the inner webs. The beak is black, the eye 
fiery orange, and a naked space around it is purplish-red. The female is known by her smaller 
size, her oaken-brown breast and ashen neck, and the slaty hue of the space round the eyes. 
The total length of the adult male is about sixteen inches. 

The extraordinary powers of flight possessed by the Passenger Pigeons enables them to 
pass over a wonderful extent of country in a very short time. Pigeons have been killed in the 
neighborhood of New York, with their crops full of rice, which they must have eaten in the 
rice-fields of Georgia or Carolina ; these districts being the nearest in which they could possibly 
have gathered such food. It is estimated that these birds might easily cross to Europe in 
three days. 



440 THE ZENAIDA DOVE. 

The Wild Pigeons inhabit a wide and extensive region of North America, on this side of 
the Rocky Mountains. They abound in Hudson's Bay, where they remain as late as December, 
and extend their range as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. 

The Band-tailed Pigeon {Columha fasciata) is a handsome species, inhabiting the 
Pacific side of the Rocky Mountains. Dr. Newberry met witli this bird in numbers, and 
in many places, during his survey, and speaks of it as an attractive bird, about the size and 
with many of the habits of the domestic Pigeon. Its colors are ash above, inclining to 
olivaceous on the back, and a fine bluish cast on the rump. A narrow half-collar of white is 
across the upper part of the neck. Its length is about fifteen inches ; its wings eight inches, 
and tail six. 

The White-headed Pigeon {Columha leucocex>7iala) is found in no other locality within 
the United States but Key West, Florida,. It is common in the West Indies. It is exceed- 
ingly shy, affecting secluded places. It is a few inches shoi-ter than the preceding. Its 
general color is a dark slate -blue ; the primaries and tail darker ; upper part of the head, 
from the bill to the najie, pure white ; a triangular patch of dark maroon -purple on the 
occiput, and below it a semicircular cape, covering the nape, of metallic brassy -green, each 
feather distinctly bordered externally with velvety -black, producing a scaly appearance. The 
bill is a dark purple ; the end light blue ; iris, white ; legs, deep lake-red. 

There are two kinds of this Pigeon, known as the Baldpate in Jamaica, distinguished as 
the Mountain and the Mangrove Baldpate. They resort to the low mangrove swamps 
along the coast. Large numbers of squabs are taken for the market. The old birds are easily 
domesticated, but have a fondness for emancipation when opportunity oifers. 

Tliis is an abundant species in Jamaica and in the small islands on the coast of Honduras, 
but has never been taken on the main land. They arrive in the southern Keys of Florida about 
the 20th of April. As they approach the land, they skim along the surface of the water, 
flying with great rapidity, in the same manner as the House Pigeon. When near land they 
rise about a hundred yards, flying in circles, as if to survey the country. 

The Red-billed Dove (Columha erythrina) is a Southwestern species, inhabiting the 
Rio Grande country and Mexico, where it is very abundant, but secluded. Its flight is said to 
be exceedingly rapid. It is one of the handsomest of the race. The head and neck all around, 
breast, and a large patch on the middle and lesser wing-coverts, light chocolate-red, the latter 
deeper and more opake-red ; the middle of the back, scapulars, and tertials, olive ; the rest of 
the body, wings, and tail, very dark slaty-blue ; bill and legs, purple ; eyes, purple. Its length 
is fourteen inches ; wing, eight inches ; tail, five and a half. 

The White-winged Dove {Melopelia leucoptera) is one species, only, of the genus, 
inhabiting Arizona and Lower California. Its general color is a fine ashy, with an olivaceous 
cast on the upper surface, the middle tail-feathers being decidedly brownish ; occiput has a 
purplish tinge ; a spot of black with steel-blue reflections below the ears ; a large patch of 
white on the wings. The male has faint purplish-golden reflections on the sides of the neck. 
In Jamaica this is a very common species, living in the low country. It is not unfrequently 
kept as a pet, and proves quite easily domesticated. 

The Zenaida Dove {Zenaida amdbiUs). Tliis Dove is a West Indian species, visiting 
Key West and tlie other Florida Keys. Audubon found it in considerable numbers at Indian 
Key, where he says it arrives about the middle of April, and remains until October, when it 
returns to the West Indies. In habits this Dove is much like tlie Ground Doves. It is 
extremely gentle, and so tame as to be approached without exhibiting fear. Its notes are 
much like those of the Carolina Dove, but softer and more tender. It has been propagated in 
England successfully, and as a (^age bird becomes quite tame. It is a reddish-olive in color 
generally, variously glossed with gray. Its length is about ten inches. 



THE BLUE-HEADED PIGEON. 



441 



Carolina Dove {Zenaidura caroUaeiiuLs), called also tlie Common Dove, or Mourning 
Dove ; in Louisiana named Ortolan. This is the most familiar of all our native Pigeons. It 
inhabits from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It is migratory in the Northern States, reaching 
New England about the first of April. In some parts of the country it seems to become par- 
tially domesticated. It is rapid in flight, and produces a peculiar whistling sound by its 
wings when flying. Its length is twelve inches and a fraction. 

The Scaly Dove {Scardafella inca) inhabits the Eio Grande valley, Arizona, and Guate- 
mala. There are only two species of this genus known. One inhabits South America. It 
breeds at Cape St. Lucas, where its nests are found in low trees or shrubs. 

The Ground Dove {Ghamcepelia passerina) is common on the South Atlantic and Gulf 
coast ; rarely found as far north as ^Vashington. It is found also in Lower California, and in 
the West Indies, being confined to the sea-coast in every instance. Aiidubon describes this 
bird as having a low, easy flight, accompanied with a whistling sound similar to that of the 
other species. It naturally associates in groujjs of four or five, and shows an especial fondness 
for alighting on fences ; yet it does not exhibit a dislike to visiting trees or low shrubbery. 
The ground is its natural resort — almost as naturally so as for the grouse. In the vicinity of 
Charleston, S. C, it is seen during the wliole year. Its length is six and a quarter inches. 
Its iris is a beautiful orange-red, and its bill yellow. 







BLUE-HEADED VlGKO'ff.—Slarnan.as cyanocephala. 

The Key West T^ig-eos {Geotrygonmartinica.) This bird was first observed by Audu- 
bon, who then considered Key West its only locality in the United States. It is common in 
the West Indies, and migrates to Key West, as a little farther towards cooler climate, in the 
spring or early summer. The habits of this bird are the same as of the Carolina Dove. It prefers 
shady dark recesses of the forest, particularly in the vicinity of ponds overhung by shrubbery. 
The length is about eleven inches ; its wing, six. 

Another species, called the Mountain Dove, is found in South America, which, with the 
latter, comprise the genus. 



The Blue-headed Pigeon {Starnoenas cyanocephala) is another of the West Indian 
species, which visits Key West, as the nearest point northward. Audubon found a few 



Vol. n,— 56. 



442 THE RING-DOVE. 

specimens, but owing to their extremely shy disposition he did not obtain any. It exhibits a 
malted contiast to others we have noticed, in this particular. This one species comprises the 
entire genus. It is curiously like the quails in external appearance, and in some of its habits. 
It has a blue bill, with the fleshy parts at the base, carmine. The scales of the feet are car- 
mine in color. Its length is about eleven inches. 

The Stock-Dove derives its name from its habit of building its nest in the stocks or 
stumps of trees. It is one of the European Pigeons, and is tolerably common in many parts of 
the other hemisphere. 

It is seldom found far northward, and even when it does visit such localities, it is only as 
a summer resident, making its nest in warmer districts. As has ah'eady been mentioned, the 
nest of this species is made in the stocks or stumps of trees, the birds finding out some conven- 
ient hoUow, and placing their eggs within. Other localities are, however, selected for the 
purpose of incubation, among which a deserted rabbit-burrow is among the most common. 
The nest is hardly worthy of the name, being a mere collection of dry fibrous roots, laid about 
three or four feet within the entrance, just thick enough to keep the eggs from the ground, 
but not sufiiciently woven to constitute a true nest. In some places v/hen the keepers discover 
a brood they make a network of sticks at the mouth of the hole, so that the young cannot 
escape, although they can be fed by the parents from without, and when they are sufficiently 
large and plump they are taken for the table. 

Now and then the Stock-Dove takes up its residence under thick furze-bushes, especially 
those which have grown close to the ground, and into which little openings have been made by 
the rabbits. The voice of the Stock-Dove is rather curious, being a hollow rumbling or grunt- 
ing kind of note, quite unlike the well-known cooing of the Ring-Dove. 

The head, neck, and back and wing-coverts are bluish-gray, the primary quill-feathers of 
the wing taking a deeper hue, the secondaries being pearl-gray deepening at the tips, and the 
tertials being blue-gi'ay with two or three spots. The chin is blue-gray, the sides of the neck 
slaty-gray glossed with green, and the breast purplish-red. The specific name of "cenas," or 
wine-colored, is given to the bird on account of the peculiar hue of the throat. The whole of 
the under surface is gray, and the tail-feathers are colored with gray of several tones, the out- 
side feathers having the basal portion of the outer web white. The beak is deep orange, the 
eyes scarlet, and the legs and toes red. The total length is about fourteen inches, the female 
being a little smaller. 

The bird which now comes before our notice is familiar to all residents in the country 
under the titles of Ring-Dove, Wood-Pigeon, Wood-Guest, and Cushat. 

This pretty Dove is one of the commonest of the European birds, breeding in almost 
every little copse or tuft of trees, and inhabiting the forest grounds in great abundance. 
Towards and during the breeding season, its soft complacent cooing — coo-goo-roo-o-o-o ! coo 
goo-roo-o-o-o — is heard in every direction, and with a very slight search its nest may be found. 
It is a strange nest, and hardly deserving that name, being nothing more than a mere platform 
of sticks resting upon the fork of a bough, and placed so loosely across each other, that when 
the maternal bird is away, the light may sometimes be seen through the interstices of the nest, 
and the outline of the eggs made out. Generally the Ring-Dove chooses a rather lofty branch 
for its resting-place, but it occasionally builds at a very low elevation. I have found the nest 
of this bird in a hedge only a few feet from the ground, so low, indeed, that I could look down 
upon the eggs while standing by the hedge, and more like the work of the turtle-dove than of 
the Ring-Dove. 

Tiie eggs are never more than two in number, and perfectly white, looking something like 
hen' s eggs on a small scale, save that the ends are more equally rounded. The young are 
plentifully fed from the crops of their parents, and soon become very fat. Just before they 
are able to fly they are held in great estimation for tlie table, and in some places ingenious 
boys are in the habit of going round to the Ring-Dove' s nest while the young are still in their 
infantile plumage, tying a piece of string to their legs, passing it through the interstices of the 



THE RING-DOVE. 



443 



nest, and fastening it to the branch. The young birds are thereby prevented from escaping, 
and are sure to be at hand when wanted. Even when adult the Ring-Dove is a favorite article 
of food, and is shot by hundreds when they flock together in the cold weather. They also 
exhibit a decided partiality for certain roosting-i^laces, and can be shot by waiting under the 
trees to which they have taken a liking. 

The food of this Dove consists of grain and seeds of various kinds, together with the 
green blades of newly sprung corn, and the leaves of turnips, clover, and other vegetables. 
Quiet and hannless as it may look, the Ring-Dove is a wonderful gormandizer, and can con- 
sume great quantities of food. The crop is capacious to suit the appetite, and can contain 
a singular amount of solid food, as indeed seems to be the case with most of the Pigeon tribe, 
so that when the birds assemble together in the autumn, the flocks will do great damage to the 
farmer. 






('^ 






•^•-^ 




^l]-/,.^'.^ 
ii>^>- 






i I' 



. -^ f. 






4^ 



KING DOVE and STOCK DOVE.— CofernAo patumtnts and cenas. 



The Ring-Dove may be easily known by the peculiarity from which it derives its name, 
the feathers upon the side of the neck being tipped wath white so as to form portions of rings 
set obliquely on the neck. The head, chin and part of the neck are blue-gray ; the remainder 
of tlie neck and the breast are pnrple-red, and the bare skin about the base of the beak is 
nearly white. The upper parts of the body are also blue-gray, but of a more slaty hue than 
the head and neck. The wings are also of the same dark hue, the primary quill-feathers 
having black shafts and a narrow band of white extending along the edges of their outer webs. 
The wing-coverts are mostly blue-gray, but some of the feathers are more or less white, so that 
when the bird spreads its wings they form a very bold white patch, but when the \vings are 
closed the white feathers of the coverts only form a line along the top of the wing. The tail 



444 



THE ROCK-DOVE. 



is marked with several shades of gray, and the abdomen is soft pearly-gray ; the beak is warm 
orange, and the eyes topaz-yellow. It is a lai-ger bird than the preceding species, being about 
seventeen inches in length. 

The many varieties of size, form, and color afford an excellent example of the wonderful 
variations of which animals are susceptible under certain circumstances. Different as are the 
Domestic Pigeons, they all are modiJications of the common Blue Rock-Pigeon, and if per- 
mitted to mix freely with each other, display an inveterate tendency to return to the original 
form, with its simple plumage of black bars across the wing, just as the finest breeds of lop- 
eared rabbits will now and then produce upriglit-eared young. 




BLUE ROCK-PIGEON.— Co/Mm4a livia. 



The Rock -Dove derives its popular name from its habit of frequenting rocks rather than 
trees, an idiosyncracy which is so inherent in its progeny, that even the domestic Pigeons, 
which have not seen anything except their wooden cotes for a long series of generations, will, 
if they escape, take to rocks or buildings, and never trouble themselves about trees, though 
they should be at hand. Some years ago, one of my friends lost all his Pigeons, by their 
gradual desertion of the loft in which they and their progenitors had been born, in favor of a 
tower, where they finally took up their residence in amiable proximity to multidinous jack- 
daws, and several owls, and may be seen hovering about the towers, but always remaining 
near its summit. 

This species seems to have a very consideiable geographical range, for it is common over 
most ports of Europe, Northern Africa, the coasts of the Mediterranean, and has even been 
found ill Japan. 

As a general rule, any one who wants Pigeons about his house, and is not particular about 
the breed, can obtain them without the least trouble, by getting a good cote put up on his 
premises, and painting it white. The Pigeons are sure to be attracted by the glittering object, 
and will take possession of it spontaneously. I think that in many cases the cotes are deserted 
by the birds because they are left so long uncleansed, atid are made on too small a scale. 
Among rocks or ridns, cleanliness is no such great matter, because there is plenty of air, and 



THE ROCK-DOVE. 445 

the birds can change their places freely ; biit in the case of the wooden cotes, the space is very 
limited, and the ventilation almost reduced to a nullity. Vermin, too, swarm in such places, 
and the birds show their good sense in getting away from so unhealthy a situation. The cotes 
should always be well cleaned at intervals, and the owner will be repaid by the health and 
rapidly increasing number of his birds. 

In a domesticated state, although it is better to feed them at home and so keep them from 
straying, they will always forage for themselves and young without any assistance, a flight of 
ten miles or so being a mere nothing to these strong-winged birds. Indeed, the Pigeons that 
inhabit the Hague are known to cross the sea as far as the coast of Norfolk for the sake of 
feeding on the vetches. 

The color of the Rock-Dove is as follows : The head is gray, and the neck of the same 
color, but "shot" with purple and green. The chin is blue-gray, and the throat changeable 
green and pui-ple. The upper surface of the body is also gray, but of a different tone ; the 
greater coverts are barred with black at their tip, forming a decided band across the wing ; 
the tertials are also tipped with black, and another black band crosses the wing a little below 
the first-mentioned bar. These conspicuous black bars are difficult to eradicate from the 
domestic breeds, and are always apt to make their appearance most unexpectedly, and annoy 
the fancier greatly. The lower part of the back is pure white, the upper tail-coverts are pearl- 
gray, and the breast and abdomen of the same hue. The total length of this bird is not quite 
a foot. 

From this stock, the varieties that have been reared by carefid management are almost 
innumerable, and are so different in appearance that if they were seen for the first time, 
almost any systematic naturalist would set them down as belonging not only to different 
species, but to different genera. Such, for example, as the politer, the jacobin, the trumpeter, 
and the fantail, the last-mentioned bird having a greater number of feathers in its tail than any 
of the others. 

As this work is not intended to be of a sporting or "fancy" character, a description of 
the various fancy Pigeons cannot be given. But the "homing" faculty of this bird, and the 
use to which it has been put, is too important to be passed over without' a notice. 

It has long been known that Pigeons have a wonderful power of finding their home, even 
if taken to great distances, and the mode by which the birds are enabled to reach their 
domiciles has long been the object of discussion, one party arguing that it is an instinctive 
operation, and the other, that it is entirely by sight. In my opinion the latter party have 
the better of the argument, though perhaps the element of instinct ought not wholly to 
be omitted. I have been told by those who have hunted on vast plains, where no object 
serves as a guide, that the only way to get safely back is to set off on the homeward track 
without thinking about it, for that when a man begins to exercise his reason, his instinct 
fails him in proportion, and nnless he should be furnished with a compass, he will probably 
be lost. 

Still, that the sense of sight is the principal element cannot, I think, be denied. For in 
training a bird, the instructoi's always take it by degrees to various distances, beginning with 
half a mile or so, and ending with sixty or seventy miles in the case of really good birds, 
which will travel from London to Manchester in four hours and a half. In foggy weather the 
birds are often lost, even though they have to pass over short distances, and when a heavy 
fall of snow has obliterated their landmarks and given the country an unifonn white coating, 
they are sadly troubled in finding their way home. Tlie fancy Carrier Pigeon, with the large 
wattles on the beak, is said to be no very good messenger, the trainers preferring the Belgian 
bird, with its short beak, round head, and broad shoulders. 

It is a curious, but a well ascertained fact, that the accuracy of Pigeon flight depends 
much on the points of the compass, although each individual bird may have a different 
idiosyncracy in this respect. Some birds, for example, always fly best in a line nearly north 
and south, while others prefer east and west as their line of flight. This remarkable pro- 
pensity seems to indicate that the birds are much influenced by the electric or magnetic currents 
continually traversing the earth. When starting from a distance to reach their home, these 



446 THE TURTLE-DOVE. 

Pigeons rise to a great height, generally hover about for a while in an undecided manner, and 
then, as if they had got their line, dart off with an arrowy flight. Missives written on very 
thin paper and rolled up tightly, are secured to the bird in such a way that they will not be 
shaken off by the flapping of the wings, or encumber the bird in its flight ; and before the 
introduction of the electric telegraph, this mode of correspondence was greatly in use, mostly 
in political or sporting circles. 

The splendid Top-knot Pigeon is one of the handsomest of the tribe, and in any collec- 
tion of birds would be one of the most conspicuous species. 

It is a native of Southern and Eastern Australia, and, according to Mr. Gould, is most 
plentifully found in the bushes of the Illawarra and Hunter rivers. The powerful feet and 
general sti-ucture point it out as an arboreal bird, and it is so exclusively found in the trees 
that it will not even perch among the underwood, but must needs take its place on the 
branches of lofty trees. When perched it sits boldly and uprightly, having an almost hawk- 
like air about it. 

It is a gregarious bird, assembling in large flocks, and being very fond of constant 
proximity to its neighbors, whether it be swiftly flying through the air, or quietly perched 
upon a branch. When a flock of Top-knot Pigeons directs its flight towards a tree, 
the rushing sound of wings can be heard at a considerable distance, and when the 
birds perch simultaneously upon the boughs, bending them down with their weight, or 
fluttering their wings and displaying their beautiful crests, they present a very animated 
scene. Their wings are proportionately powerful to their feet, and they have a custom 
of ascending high into the air and taking very long flights, packed so closely together 
that the spectator involuntarily wonders how they can move their wings without striking 
their companions. 

The food of this bird consists mostly of fruits, and it is very fond of the wild fig and 
the beri'ies of the cabbage palm. Its throat is wonderfully capacious, and Mr. Gould says it 
could swallow a walnut without inconvenience. Fortunately for itself, it is not good eating, 
the flesh being dry and coarse. 

The crest of the forehead and top of the head, together with tlie hackle-like feathers of 
the throat and breast, are silver-gray, showing the darker hues on the breast. On the back of 
the head the crest is of a ruddy rust color. From the eye to the back of the head runs a 
dark streak shaded by the crest. The upper surface of the body is dark slaty -gray, and the 
primaries and secondaries, together witli the edge of the wing, are black. The tail is gray 
of two shades, liaving a broad band of black across the centre, and the extremity deeply 
tipped with the same dark hue. The under surface is silver-gray like the breast. The eye 
is flery orange, surrounded with a narrow crimson line ; the base of the bill is blue and 
the remainder red, and the feet are purplish-red. The length of this tine bird is about 
seventeen inches. 

The world-famed Turtle-Dove is, although a regular visitor of northern countries, better 
known by fame and tradition than by actual observation. This bird has, from classic time until 
the present day, been conventionally accepted as the type of matrimonial perfection, loving but 
its mate, and caring for no other until death steps in to part the wedded couple. Yet it is by 
no means the only instance of such conjugal affection among the feathered tribes, for there 
are hundreds of birds which can lay claim to the same excellent qualities, the fierce eagle and 
the ill-omened raven being among their number. 

The Turtle-Dove seems to divide its attention pretty equally between Africa and England, 
pausing for some little time in southern Italy as a kind of half-way house. It arrives in Eng- 
land about the beginning of May, or perhaps alittle earlier, in case the weather be warm, and 
after resting for a little while, sets about making its very simple nest and lajing its white 
eggs. The nest of this bird is built lower than is generally the case with the Wood-Pigeon, 
and is usually placed on a forked branch of some convenient tree, about ten feet or so from 
the ground. Both parents aid in the duties of incubation, as they ought to do, and both 



THE TURTLE-DOVE. 



447 



are equally industrious in the maintenance of their small family. The eggs are laid rather 
late in the season, so that there is seldom more than a single brood of two young in the course 
of the year. 

The Turtle-Dove is far more common in the southern than in the northern countries, and I 
have reason to believe that in Derbyshire, where I was greatly fond of bird-nesting for some 
years, it is not of very frequent occurrence, at least as far as personal experience goes, which, 
however, is only of a negative character in this instance. The white eggs are rather more 
eharply pointed than those of the Wood-Pigeon, but all the English Pigeons' eggs are* much 
alike and can with difficulty be distinguished from each other. 




TUETLE-DOVE.— rartur mlgans. 



The food of the Turtle-Dove mostly consists of seeds, such as com, peas, rape, and similar 
seeds. 

It is a bird of strong flight, and on its migrating journeys prefers to travel in company, 
associating in little flocks of ten or twelve. The end of August and September are the periods 
most in favor for the annual emigration. 

The Turtle-Dove may be readily known by the four rows of black feathers tipped vdth 
white, which are found on the sides of the neck. The top of the head is ashen-slate, deepen- 
ing into a browner hue on the back of the neck. The chin and neck are pale brown, tinged 
with purple upon the breast. The upper surface of the body is pale brown mottled with a 
darker hue, and the wing-coverts are another shade of brown edged with warm, ruddy chest- 
nut. The quill-feathers of the wing are brown, and the upper tail-coverts are also brown vnth 
a slight ruddy tinge. The two central tail-feathers are of the same color, and the remaining 
feathers are dark brown tipped with white. Both edges of the tail are also white. The 



448 



THE CRESTED PIGEON. 



abdomen and under tail-coverts are white. The eye is chestnut, and under it there is a little 
patch of bare pink skin ; the legs and toes are brownish-yellow, and the beak is brown. The 
young birds of the year are differently sliaded with brown ; the head is wholly of that color, 
the wing-coverts are tipped with yellowish- white, and the qnilL-feathers of the wing are edged 
with a rusty hue. The tail, too, is without the white that distinguishes the adult bird. The- 
total length of this species is rather more than eleven inches. 

The little Crested Pigeon, although not so conspicuous as some of its relations, is one 
of the most elegant in form and pleasing in color among this tribe. 

It is a native of central Australia, and, according to Mr. Gould, is fond of haunting the 
marshy ground by the side of rivei's and lagoons, and there assembling in large flocks. The 




CRESTED PIGEON and BRONZE- WING 'PlQ'E.OVi. -Phaps loplwles tiui chalcopteiu. 



gregarious propensities of this bird are indulged to an extent that seems almost ridiculous, for 
a large flock of Crested Pigeons vnW fly to the same tree, sit closely packed upon the same 
branch, and at the same moment descend in a mass to drink, returning in a similar manner to 
their perch. The flight of this bird is strong, and rather curiously managed. When it starts 
from the tree on which it is sitting, it gives a few quick strokes with its wings, and then darts 
off on steady pinion with an arrowy flight. When it settles, it flings up its head, erects its 
crest, and jerks its tail over its back, so that the crest and tail nearly touch each other. Its 
nest is, like that of most Pigeons, made of little twigs, and placed on the low forking branch 
of some convenient tree. AVliile sitting on the nest, or perching quietly on the bough, the 
crest lies almost upon the back, and from below is hardly distinguishable from the rest of 
the plumage. 

The head, face, and most of the under portions are pearl-gray, the hmg slender crest being 
jetty black, and the sid(>s of the neck tinged sliglitly witli ]un"k. The back of the neck, the 
back, flanks, and both tail-coverts are light brown ; the feathers at the insertion of the wing 
are buff, crossed with black nearer their tips, and the great coverts are shining bronze-green 
edged with white. Tlie primary feathers of the wing ai-e bi'own, some partially edged with 
brownisli-v/hite, and the rest with ])urc wliite. The secondaries are bromi in their inner webs, 



THE BRONZE-WING PIGEON. 449 

and their outer webs are bronzy-purple at the base, tipped with brown, and edged with white. 
The two central feathers of the tail are brown, the rest are blackish-brown, with a green gloss 
on their outer webs and tipped with white. The bill is olive-black, deepening at the tip, the 
feet are pink, and the eye orange set in a pink orbit. 

t 

The Broxze-wing Pigeon- is also an Australian bird, and with the exception of the 
Wonga- Wonga Pigeon, hereafter to be described, is the most celebrated for the delicacy of its 
flesh. 

It is a plump, and readily fattening bird, weighing about a pound when in good condition. 
The breast is particularly large, as may be supposed from the great force of its wings, and 
when the bird is fat, is the most esteemed portion. To the Australian traveller tlie Bronze- 
wing is invaluable, as it is a great water-drinker, and its flight will direct the thirsty wanderer 
to the stream or spring. Mr. Gould, who has had long experience of this as well as of many 
other birds, gives the following interesting account of its habits : — 

" Its amazing powers of flight enable it to pass in an incredibly short space of time over a 
great expanse of country, and just before sunset it may be observed s\\iftly winging its way 
over the plains or down the gullies to its drinking place. 

" During the long drought of 1839-40, when I was encamped at the northern extremity of 
the Brezi range, I had daily opportunities of observing the arrival of this bird to drink ; the 
only water for miles, as I was assured by the natives, being that in the immediate vicinity of 
my tent, and that was merely the scanty supply left in a few natural basins in tlie rocks, 
which had been flUed by the rains of many months before. This peculiar situation afforded 
me an excellent opportunity for observing not only the Bronze-Aving, but many other birds 
inhabiting the neighborhood. Few, if any, of the true insectivorous or fissirostrial l)irds came 
to the water holes, but, on the other hand, those species that live upon grain and seeds, par- 
ticularly the parrots and honey-eaters {Tii.cJioglossi and MelipJiagi), were continually rushing 
down to the edges of the pools, utterly regardless of my presence, their thirst for water quite 
overcoming their sense of danger ; seldom, if ever, however, did the Bronze-wing make its 
appearance during the heat of tlu day ; but at sundown, on the contrary, it arrived with arrow- 
like swiftness, either singly or iu pairs. 

" It did not descend at once to th^ edge of the pool, liut dashed down to the ground at 
about ten yards' distance, remained quiet for a short time, then walked leisurely to the water, 
and after taking libations deep and frequent, winged its way to its roosting-place for the 
night. With a knowledge, therefore, of the habits of this bird, the weary traveller may 
always perceive when he is in the vicinity of water ; and however arid the appearance of the 
country may be, if he observes the Bronze-wing wending its way from all quarters to a given 
point, he may be certain to procure a supply of food and water. When rain has fallen in 
abundance, and the rivers and lagoons are flUed not only to the brim, but the water has spread 
over the surface of the surrounding country, the case is materially altered ; then the Bronze- 
wing and many other birds are not so easily procured, the abundant supply of the element so 
requisite to their existence, rendering it no longer necessary that they should brave every 
danger in procuring it." 

This Pigeon does not assemble in flocks, but in many parts of the country is so plentiful 
and is so attached to certain localities that forty or fifty may be killed in a day after the 
breeding season, when ft is in best condition. It feeds almost invariably on the ground, 
its diet consisting chiefly of leguminous seeds. The nest is a frail structure of twigs, 
rather more hollowed than is usually the case with the houses of Pigeons, and is placed on 
the low forking branch of a gum-tree near water. The l)ird is presumed to undergo a partial 



migration. 



In color, the forehead is buff, the head is dark brown changing to deep plum color at the 
sides, the sides of the neck are gray, and there is a white waved line under the eye, and run- 
ning partly down the chin. The upper surface of the body is dark brown. The coverts are 
marked with bronze-green spots, and the tertiaries have a large oblong shining green spot, 
edged with buff. The two central feathers of the tail are brown, and the rest gray, banded with 

Vol. 11.-57. 



450 



THE NICOBAR PIGEON. 



black near the tip. The breast is purple-brown, fading into gray on the abdomen. The eyes 
are reddish-bro\vn, and the legs and feet crimson. 

Of all this group of birds, the Wonga-Wonga Pigeon is the most celebrated for the 
whiteness, plumpness, and delicacy of its flesh, wMch, when eaten with bread sauce, is of such 
remarkable excellence, that the remembrance always excites the liveliest reminiscences in 
those who have partaken of so great a dainty. 

The Wonga-Wonga Pigeon is a native of Australia, but is not spread generally over the 
country, being found mostly, if not wholly, among the bushes along the coast of New South 
Wales, or the sides of the hills of the interior. According to Mr. Gould, it inhabits the same 
district as the bush turkey, the satin bower-bird, and the lyre-bird. It lives mostly on the 
ground, feeding upon the stones and seeds of fallen fruit. When disturbeil, it suddenly rises 
from the ground with a loud wliirring rush like that of the pheasant, and, like that bird, rather 
startles the novice with the noise. It does not maintain a long tiight ; but either directs its 
course to a neighboring tree, or again settles upon the earth. 

In color it is a very conspicuous bird. The forehead and chin are white, and a jetty-black 
line passes from the eye to the base of the bill. The sides of the head are gray, the back and 
upper surface are slate-gray, and the chest is deep blackish -gray, with a very broad white 
band crossing the chest and running up the sides of the neck. The abdomen is white, the 
under coverts dark brown tipped with buff, and the flanks are also white, but agreeably 
diversified with a bold black spot near the tip of each feather. The beak is red tipped with 
black, the eyes are dark brouni with pink orbits, and the legs are bright pink. 




NICOBAK PIGEON.— CaaaTMM nlcobariea. 



The Nicobar Pigeon may fairly be reckoned among the more magnificent species belong- 
ing to the Pigeon tribe ; the long-pointed feathers of the neck and shoulders glowing vnth 
resplendent green, bronze, and steely-blue, and having a peculiarly attractive effect as they 
droop towards the ground, their loose points waving in the wind, and their hues changing with 
every movement. Like others of the sub-family to which it belongs, it is mostly a terrestrial 
bird. As its name imports, it is most commonly found in Nicobar ; but it also inhabits Java, 
Sumatra, and many neighboring islands. 

The head of this Pigeon is slaty-blue, with a purplish cast, which is more conspicuous in 



THE CROWNED PIGEON. 



451 



certain lights. The beautiful long-pointed feathers of the neck are greatly like the hackles of 
the game-cock, except that they hang lower on the neck. Their color is rich, refulgent green, 
deepening into a warm copper when the light falls obliquely upon them, and the wing-coverts 
are of the same hue, and pointed after a similar fashion. The back and whole of the upper 
surface is glowing green, with bronze and steel-blue reflections, and the under surface par- 
takes of the same coloring, but without its peculiar resplendence. The short, square tail is 
pure white. It is rather remarkable that in the breeding season a rounded, fleshy knob makes 
its appearance upon the upper mandible, similar to that which has already been noticed in 
the Fruit Pigeon. The total length of this bird is about fourteen inches. 

The splendid Crowned Pigeon is indisputably the most conspicuous of all its tribe ; its 
great size and splendid crest rendering it a most striking object, even at a considerable distance. 




CROWNED PIGEON.— CWuwiAa coionata. 



So large and so un-pigeon-like is this bird, that few on first seeing it would be likely to 
determine its real relations to the rest of the feathered race, and would be more likely to class 
it among the poultry than the pigeons. If, however, the reader will lay a card upon the crest 
80 as to expose only the head, he will see that the general outline of the head and beak is 
clearly that of a Pigeon. It is a native of Java, New Guinea, and the Moluccas. 

The manners of this splendid bird are very curious and interesting. Their walk is quite 
of a royal character, stately and majestic, and well according with the beautiful feathered 
crown which they bear upon their heads. The crest seems to be always held expanded. They 
have a quaint habit of sunning themselves upon the hot pavement of their prison by lying 
on one side, laying the head flat on the ground, tucking the lower wing under them, and 



452 



THE TOOTH-BILLED PIGEON. 



spreading the other over their bodies so as to form a very shallow tent, each quill-feather being 
separated from its neighbor, and radiating around the body. Sometimes the bird varies this 
attitude by stretching the otlier wing to its fidl length, and holding it from the ground, at an 
angle of twenty degrees or so, as if to take advantage of every sunbeam and every waft of air. 

While lying in this unique attitude, it might easily pass at a little distance for a moss- 
covered stone, a heap of withered leaves, or a rugged tree-stump, with one broken branch pro- 
jecting to the side. No one would think of taking it for a Ijird. Unfortunately, it is a diffi- 
cult matter to take a sketch of the bird while thus reposing, for there are so few salient points 
that a very careful outline is needed, and its companions are sure to come and peck it up 
before the sketch can be concluded. 

The cry of this bird is loud and sonorous, and not very easy of description. Some authors 
compare it to the gobbling of a turkey-cock, but I car. ^lerceive no resemblance to that sound. 
It is more of a loiid, hollow boom, than anything else, a kind of mixture between a trombone 
and a drum, and every time that the bird utters this note, it bows its head so low that the 
crest sweeps the ground. 

The nest of the Crowned Pigeon is said to be made in trees, the eggs being two in number, 
as is generally the case with this group of birds. Its flesh is spoken highly of by those who 
have eaten it. The general color of this bird is a dee]i and nearly uniform slate-blue ; the 
quill-feathers of the wing and tail being very blackish ash, and a patch of pure wliite and 
warm maroon being found on the wing. 




TOOTH-BILLED PIGBON.— 2>j(/«ft<;«iKS etHgiivslris. 



Ik the Samonn ishinds of the Pacific^ is found a bird of extreme rarity of form, which is, 
as far as is known, uuique among the feathered tribes that now inhabit the earth. I say now 
inhabit, because in former days, wlien the Dodo Avas still in existence, that remarkable and 
ungainly bird presented a foi-m and structure greatly similar to those of the 'Tootii-billed 
Pigeon. 

On account of its close rehitiojiship with the Dodo, it lias received from some systematic 
zoologists the generic name of Diduuculus, or Little Dodo, while otliets have given it the title 
of Gnathodon, or Tooth-jaw, in allusion (o the sfruclure of its beak. The food of this bird 



THE DODO. 453 

consists largely of the soft bulbous roots of several plants. The whole contour of the Tooth- 
bill is remarkable, and decidedly quaint ; its rounded body seeming hardly in accordance with 
the large beak, which is nearly as long as the liead, and is greatly arched on the upper man- 
dible. The lower mandible is deeply cleft into three distinct teeth near its tip. 

In color it is rather a brilliant bird. The head, neck, breast, and abdomen are glossy 
greenish-black, and upon the shoulders and the upper part of the back the feathers are 
velvety -black, each having a crescent-shaped mark of shining green near its extremity. The 
rest of the back, the wings, tail, and under tail-coverts are deep chestnut. The primary and 
secondarj^ quill-feathei's of the wing are gTayish-black, and the large arched bill is orange. 
The total length of this bii'd is about fourteen inches. 



THE DODO. 

The position held by the celebrated Dodo among birds was long doubtful, and was only 
settled in comparatively late years by careful examination of the few relics which are our sole 
and scanty records of this very remarkable bird. 

For many years the accounts given by the early voyagers of the Dodar, or "Walgh Vogel, 
found in the Mauritius and other islands, w^ere thought to be merely fabulous narratives, a 
mental reaction having set in from the too comprehensive credulity of the previous times ; and 
the various portraits of the Dodo to l)e found in tlie books of travel were set dov^^l as 
examples, not of the Dodo, but of the inventive faculties possessed by the authors. Truth, 
however, stood its own ground, as it always will do, and steadily withstood the batteries of 
negative reasonings that were brought to bear on the subject. An entire bird was quietly 
lodged in a museum at Oxford ; portions of other specimens made their way to Europe among 
the curiosities which sailors are so fond of bringing home, and tliere is every reason to believe 
that a living example of this bird was exhibited in Holland. 

It is (>urious tliat, but for a code of far-seeing regulations, providing that when the stuffed 
skin of a bird was so far decayed as to be useless as a specimen, the head and feet should be 
preserved, our best and most perfect relics of the Dodo would have been burned as useless 
rubbish. The specimen at Oxford was suffered to fall into decaj', no one seeming to be aware 
of its priceless value, and when the skin was destroyed, the head and feet were laid aside and 
put away with other objects, among which they were afterwards discovered to the great joy of 
the finder. These were sufficiently perfect to prove the real existence of the bird, and the 
correctness with which it had been depicted by many draughtsmen ; some jDortraits being of 
the rudest description, while others were the work of eminent artists, and most valuable for 
their high finish and accuracy of detail. The position of the bird among the feathered tribes 
was long doubtful, and it was provisionally placed between the ostriches and bustards, 
until, after a careful examination of the relics, it was found to belong to the pigeon tribe. 
This decision received a valuable confirmation in the discovery of the tooth -billed pigeon, just 
described. 

For further information respecting the anatomical and scientific details of this bird, 
the reader is referred to Strickland and Melville's instructive and interesting work on the 
subject. 

Many of the earlier travellers have spoken of the Dodo— a name, by the way, corrupted 
from the Dutch tenn Dod-aers — and their accounts are as quaint as the bird which they 
describe. For example, Bontius writes as follows : " The Dronte, or Dod-aers, is for bigness 
of mean size between an ostrich and a turkey, from which it partly differs in shape and partly 
agrees with them, especially va\h the African ostriches, if you consider the rump, quills, and 
feathers ; so that it was like a pigmy among them if you regard the shortness of its legs. 

"It has a great iU -favored head, covered with a kind of membrane, resembling a hood; 
great black eyes ; a bending, prominent, fat neck ; an extraordinary long, strong, bluish- 
white bill, only the ends of each mandible are a different color, that of the upper black, that 



454 THE DODO. 

of the nether yellowish, both sharp-pointed and crooked. Its gape, liuge wide, as being 
naturally very voracious. Its body is fat and round, covered with soft gray feathers after the 
manner of an ostrich's; in each side, instead of hard wdng-feathers or quills, it is furnished 
with small soft-feathered vdngs, of a yellowish ash color ; and behind, the rump, instead of 
a tail, is adorned with five small curled feathers of the same color. It has yellow legs, thick, 
but very short ; four toes in each foot ; solid, long, as it were scaly, armed with strong black 
claws. 

" It is a slow-paced and stupid bird, and which easily becomes a prey to the fowlers. The 
flesh, especially of the breast, is fat, esculent, and so copious that three or four Dodos will 
sometimes suffice to fill one hundred seamen's bellies. If they be old, or not well boiled, they 
are of difficult concoction, and are salted and stored up for provision of victual. There are 
found in their stomachs stones of an ash color, of divers figures and magnitudes, yet not bred 
there, as the common people and seamen fancy, but swallowed by the bird ; as though by this 
mark also nature would manifest that these fowls are of the ostrich kind, in tliat they swallow 
any hard things though they do not digest them." 

Other travellers, such as Leguat and De Bry, agree with Boutins in his description of the 
bird, and coincide in his opinion of the excellence of its fiesh ; but one writer, Mr. T. Herbert, 
who visited the Mauritius about 1G25, differs greatly in his estimation of the value of the Dodo 
as an article of food. In his book of travels, which is perhaps the quaintest and raciest to be 
found among such literature, he speaks as foUows of this bird : — 

"The Dodo, a bird the Dutch call Walghvogel, or Dod Eersen ; her body is round and 
fat, which occasions the slow pace, or that her corpulencie, and so great as few of them weigh 
less than fifty pound ; meat it is wdth some, but better to the eye than stomach, such as only 
a strong appetite can vanquish. . . . It is of a melancholy visage, as sensible of nature's 
injury in fi-aming so massie a body to be directed by complimental wings, such, indeed, as are 
unable to hoise her from the ground, serving only to rank her among birds. Her traine, three 
small plumes, short and improportional)le, her legs suiting to her body, her pounces sharpe, 
her appetite strong and greedy. Stones and iron are digested ; which description will better 
be conceived in her representation." 

So plentiful were the Dodos at one time, and so easily were they killed, that the sailors 
were in the habit of slaying the birds merely for the sake of the stones in their stomachs, these 
being found very efficacious in sharpening their clasp-knives. The nest of the Dodo was a 
mere heap of fallen leaves gathered together on the ground, and the bird laid but one large 
egg. The weight of one full-grown Dodo was said to be between forty and fifty pounds. The 
color of the plumage was a grayish-brown in the adult males, not uuUke that of the ostrich, 
while the plumage of the females was of a paler hue. 




POULTRY. 



^i%t 




CURASSOWS AND GUANS. 



, EAVING the pigeons, we now come to the large and important order of birds, 
termed scientilically the Gallinge, and, more popularly, the Poultry. Sometimes 
they are termed Rasores, or scrapers, from their habit of scraping up the ground 
in search of food. To this order belong our domestic poultry, the grouse, par- 
tridges, and quails, the turkeys, pheasants, and many other useful and interest- 
ing birds. In almost every instance the Gallinse are handsome birds, and inter- 
esting in their habits, but as their number is legion, and our space is rapidly 

diminishing, we must content ourselves with such species as afford the best types of the order 

to which they belong. 




CRESTED CUEASSOW .— Crar aleclor. 



Our first example of these birds is the Crested Curassow, the representative of the 
^enus Crax, in which are to be found a number of truly splendid birds. All the Curassows 
•are natives of tropical America, and are found almost wholly in the forests. 



456 . THE TEXAN OUAN. 

The Crested Curassow inhabits the thickly-wooded disti'icts of Guiana, Mexico, and Brazil, 
and is very plentifully found in those countries. It is a really handsome bird, nearly as large 
as the turkey, and more imposing in form and color. It is gregarious in its habits, and 
assembles together in large troops, mostly perched on the branches of trees. It is susceptible 
of domestication, and, to all appearances, may be acclimatized in England as weU as the 
turkey or the pheasant. 

There is special reason that the Curassows should be added to our list of domesticated 
poultry, for their fiesh is peculiarly white and well flavored, surpassing even that of the 
turkey, and they are of a pleasant temper, and readily tamed by kindness. A dry soil is 
absolutely necessary for their well-being, as they suffer greatly from damp, which produces a 
disease of the foot and toes, often causing the toes to moi'tify and fall off. Ti-ees are also 
needful as these birds are fond of perching at some height from the ground, and the situation 
must be sheltered from wind or rain. 

In their native country the Curassows build among the trees, making a large and rather 
clumsy-looking nest of sticks, grass-stems, leaves, and grass-blades. There are generally six 
or seven eggs, not unlike those of the fowl, but larger and thicker shelled. The voice of the 
Crested Curassow is a short croak, but the various species differ slightly in this respect. The 
male Globose Curassow, for example, has a voice that sounds like a short, hoarse cough, and 
every time that it titters the cry it jerks up its tail and partially spreads the feathers. The 
voice of the female is unlike that of her mate, being a gentle whining sound. While per- 
ambulating the ground or traversing the branches, the Curassow continually raises and 
depresses its crest, giving itself a very animated aspect. 

The color of the Crested Curassow is very dark violet, with a purplish-green gloss above 
and on the breast, and the abdomen is the purest snowy white, contrasting beautifully with 
the dark velvety plumage of the upper parts. The bright golden-yellow of the crest adds in 
no small degree to the beauty of the bird. 

The Guans also belong to the same family as the Curassows. They are also inhabitants 
of the forests of tropical America ; and are easily to be recognized by the naked and dilatable 
skin of the throat. They are not gregarious, like the curassow, but are mostly solitary in 
their habits, feeding chiefly on fruits and remaining on the branches. They are not so sus- 
ceptible of domestication as the curassow, nor are they so large, being of a more delicate and 
slender shape. The flesh of these birds is very excellent. 

Of the family Craeidrp, the genus Ortalida has eighteen species, inhabiting South 
America, called in Englisli, Curassows. 

The Texan Guan {Ortalis vefula). Tliis is the only species of the genus known to IN'orth 
America. Its local name is Chacalacca. Numerous species of the family are native in Mexico 
and Central America. All of them appear to be susceptible of domestication. The present 
species has been especially amenable to domestic treatment. They are quite gentle, and have 
even been crossed with common fowl. In the morning and evening, they utter a loud noise 
that resembles the above local name quickly spoken. These birds are very numerous near 
Brownsville and Matamoras, where they are ex|3osed for sale in considerable numbers. The 
Mexicans esteem them for their fighting qualities. 

Hybrids from the common fowl are used for gaming purposes. Its habits are pleasantly 
related by Mr. Ca^sin : "When I assure you that its voice in compass is equal to that of 
the Guinea fowl, and in harshness but little inferior, you may form some idea of the chorus 
with wliich the forests are made to ring at the hour of sunrise. At that hour in the month 
of April, I have observed a stately fellow descend from the tree on wliich it had roosted, 
and, mounting upon a log or stump, commence Ms clear, shrill cry. This was soon responded 
to in a lower tone by the female, the latter always taking up the strain as soon as the impor- 
tunate call of her mate had ceased. Thus alternating, one pair after another would join 
ill the matutinal chorus, and, before the rising sun had lighted up their close retreat, the 





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^^^ animate Creation, ^^t^ 

E have concluded to submit for public patronage a work with the above title, being a series 
of exquisite Engravings representing the ANIMAL WORLD, executed with great scientific 
accuracy, and accompanied by full Descriptive Text, written in popular terms, so as to 
delight and instruct the people. Anyone who has considered the subject must be at a loss to under- 
stand why an Illustrated Natural History, comprehensive and at the same time popular, 
has not before this been published in this country. Indeed any lover of animals who has visited the 
great museums and zoological gardens and has had access to books of engravings in the public 
libraries, could not fail to remark the wealth of material in existence devoted to this subject. Being 
confirmed in our conviction of the desirability of such a work, we laid under contribution the best 
existing authorities for the production of most perfect representations of all the inore important 
living creatures, and among the artists whose delineations will delight the reader, we may mention 
Harrison Weir, Wolf, Coleman, Fr. Specht, and Mutzel. By far the majority of the engravings in 
these volumes are from drawings made from the living animals, many at the Zoological Society's 
Gardens in London, England. 

We purpose that our patrons shall be aided and interested in their study by such an array of 
pictures as has never before embellished any Natural History. In numerous instances the engraving 
is printed in oil-colors, and this portion of the illustrations has been taken charge of by Messrs. L. 
Prang & Co., of Boston, who we believe rank foremost for high artistic results in this department of 
printing. These Oleographs were copied under the superintendence of Mr. Prang from the renowned 
" Tafein " of " Brehm's Thierleben," so that they may be declared perfectly reliable. 

We sought competent advice from various sources as to the most suitable text that should ac- 
company this panorama of handsome Ekigravings. It was found impossible to embody all the present 
ideas of naturalists in a single work liki^ this on account of the rapid advances and constant changes in 
their knowledge of, and habits of thougjjt respecting, the Animal World. And it seemed to us cor- 
rect that the true object of Zoology is not to arrange, to number, and to ticket animals in a formal 
inventory, but to inquire into their iife-nVture, and not simply to investigate the lifeless organism. 

What do we know of " Man " from the dissecting-room ? Is it not Man, the warrior, the states- 
man, the poet, etc., that we are interested in ? With all veneration which attaches itself to those 
who are the accredited possessors of abstruse learning, their inordinate use of phraseology detracts 
too much, we fear, from the fascination that the study of the Animal World would otherwise yield, 
and as we are not content to have our work restricted to a favored few, we thought the task p)laced 
in our hands to be to keep the work free from a repellant vocabulary of conventional technicalities. 
Our endeavor has been to find an author whose work would be noted for its fund of anecdote and 
vitality rather than for merely anatomical and scientific presentation, and we arrived at the conclu- 
sion that we could not do better than avail ourselves of the Rev. J. G. Wood's comprehensive work 
— a work most popularly approved by speakers of the English language. It would be superfluous to 
say one word concerning the standard character of his book, from the pages of which old and young 
at the other side of the Atlantic have obtained so much instruction and rational amusement. Avoid- 
ing the lengthened dissertations and minute classifications of specialists, he presents to his readers in 
popular terms a complete treatise on the Animal Kingdom of all climes and countries. The one 
objection that could be urged against it was, that animal life in America might be treated more fully 
and American forms given more consideration. In order to obviate this drawback and to do full 
justice to the creatures of our own country, we secured the aid of Dr. J. B. HOLDER, of the Ameri- 
j •' can Museum of Natural History in New York, an undoubted American authority, who has adapted 



■~ -a iJ 

B rt u ; Wood's work to American wants and criven prominence to American forms of Animal life. 
I M ^ , The splendid work on Rodentia, by Allen, Coues, and others, will be fully consulted. The 

§ § S R valuable work on North American Birds, by Baird, Brewer, and Ridgway, will be the guide in the 

•^ C .'^ . treatment of birds. The late arrangement of the classification and nomenclature of North American 

S .£ o e = Birds, by Mr. Ridgway, and the Committee on that subject of the Ornithologists' Union, will be 

< "c I I g utilized in full. The arrangement of Mammals will be after the latest classification by Professor 

^ S "^ ^ S) Flower, of the Zoological Society of London. So that this will be the first popular Natural History 

g ". worthy of the name that has made its appearance here, which gives due and full recognition to the 
animate world surrounding us. 

^erms of publication. 4 

The extent of the work will be 68 parts of 2§ pages, at the price of 25 cents each. The entire publication will 
contain 34 Oleographs and 68 Full Page Engravings on Wood, besides many hundreds of exquisite Illustrations 
interspersed through the text. The parts will be issued every two weeks, and are payable only as delivered. No 
subscriber's name will be received for less than the entire work, and anyone removing, or not regularly supplied, will 
please address the Publisher by mail. 

N. E. SELMAR HESS, Publisher, New York. 



■>« 



I 



ISSUED BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY, AND NOT FOR SALE IN BOOK STORES. 




PART 41 



COMPLETE IN 68 PARTS. 



25 CENTS. 



THE AUSTRALIAN JUNGLE FOWL. 457 

woods would ring with the din of a hundred voices, as the happy couples met after the 
period of separation and repose." The eye of this bird exhibits the same expression of lire 
and animation seen in the game-cock. 

The general appearance of this bird is that of a long-tailed pigeon of rather superior size. 
Its colors are plain greenish-olive. 

Several very singular birds are found in Australia and New Guinea, called by the name 
of Megapodinse, or Great-footed birds, on account of the very large size of their feet ; a pro- 
vision of nature which is necessary for their very peculiar mode of laying their eggs and 
hatching their young. 

The first of these birds is the Austealian Jungle Fowl, which is found in several parts 
of Australia, but especially about Port Essington. In that country, great numbers of high 
and large mounds of earth exist, which were formerly thought to be the tombs of departed 
natives, and, indeed, have been more than once figured as such. The natives, however, dis- 
claimed the sepulchral character, saying that they were origins of life rather than emblems 
of death ; for that they were the artificial ovens in which the eggs of the Jungle Fowl were 
laid, and which, by the heat that is always disengaged from decaying vegetable substances, 
preserved sufficient warmth to hatch the eggs. 

The size of these tumuli is sometimes quite marvellovis ; in one instance, where measure- 
ments were taken, it was fifteen feet in perjiendicular height, and sixty feet in circumference 
at its base. The whole of this enonnous mound was made by the industrious Jungle Fowl, by 
gathering up the earth, fallen leaves, and grasses with its feet, and throwing them backwards 
while it stands on the other leg. If the hand be inserted into the heap, the interior will always 
be found to be quite hot. In almost every case the mound is placed under the shelter of 
densely-leaved trees, so as to prevent the sun from shining upon atiy part of it. This pre- 
caution is probably taken in order to prevent the rays of the sun from evaporating the moisture. 
The aspect of the heap depends much on the surrounding objects ; and in one instance it was 
placed close to the sea, Just above high-water mark, and was composed of sand, shells, and 
black mould. It was situated in the midst of a large yellow-blossomed hibiscus, by which it 
was enveloped. 

The bird seems to deposit its eggs by digging holes from the top of the mound, laying 
the egg at the bottom, and then making its way out again, throwing back the earth that 
it had scooped away. The direction, however, of the holes is by no means unifonn, some 
running towards the centre and others radiating towards the sides. They do not seem to be 
dug quite perpendicularly ; so that, although the holes in which the eggs are found may be 
some six or seven feet in depth, the eggs themselves may be only two or three feet from the 
surface. 

A further detailed account of these tumuli and the manner in which the bird lays its eggs 
is given by Mr. Gilbert, whose researches are quoted in Gould's Birds of Australia : — 

' ' The birds are said to lay but a single egg in each hole, and after the egg is deposited, 
the earth is immediately thrown down lightly until the hole is filled up ; the upper part of the 
mound is then smoothed and rounded over. It is easily known where a Jungle Fowl has been 
recently excavating, from the distinct impression of its feet on the toji and sides of the motind ; 
and the earth being so lightly thrown over, that with a slender stick the dii'ection of the hole 
is readily detected, the ease or difficulty of thrusting the stick down indicating the length of 
time that may have elapsed since the bird's operations. 

"Thus far it is easy enough, but to reach the eggs requires no little exertion and jjer- 
severance. The natives dig them up with their hands alone, and only make sufficient room to 
admit their bodies and to throw out the earth between their legs. By grabbing with their 
fingers alone, they are enabled to feel the direction of the hole with greater certainty, which 
will sometimes, at a depth of several feet, turn off abruptly at right angles, its direct course 
being obstructed by a clump of wood or some other impediment. 

" Their patience is, however, often jiut to severe trials. In the present instance, the 
native dug down six times to a depth of at least six or seven feet, without finding an egg. 

Vol. n.-58. 



458 THE NATIVE PHEASANT. 

and at the last attemjit came up in such a state of exhaustion that he refused to try again. 
But my interest was now too much excited to relinquish the opportunity of verifying the 
native's statement, and by the offer of an additional reward I induced him to try again. This 
seventh trial proved successful, and my gratification was complete when the native, with equal 
pride and satisfaction, held up an egg, and after two or three more attempts, produced a 
second ; thus proving how catitions we should be in disregarding the narratives of these poor 
children of nature, because they happen to sound extraordinary, or difl'erent from anything 
with which we were previously acquainted." 

On one occasion, Mr. Gilbert caugiit a young Jungle Fowl in a hole, about two feet in 
depth, and the little creature, which appeared to be only a few days old, was lying upon some 
dry leaves. It was a wild and intractable bird despite its tender age, and though it was 
treated well and ate largely of the food with which it was supplied, it continued to be restless 
and uneasy, and in two or three days contrived to escape. Even at that age, it possessed 
the earth-heaping propensities of its Idnd, and iised to be continually flinging about the 
sand which filled the box in which it was placed. Although so small a bird, not larger 
than young quail, it could grasp a quantity of sand, and throw it from one end of the box 
to the other, without apparently exerting itself, and was so constantly engaged in that 
occupation that it deprived its owner of sleep during the few nights that it remained in his 
possession. 

The same patient and acute observer gives the following account of the general habits of 
this species : — 

"The Jungle Fowl is almost exclusively confined to the dense thickets immediately 
adjacent to the sea-beach ; it appears never to go far inland except along the banks of creeks. 
It is always met with in pairs or quite solitary, and feeds on the ground ; its food consisting 
of roots, which its powerful claws enable it to scratch up with the utmost facility, and also ol 
seeds, berries, and insects, particularly the larger liind of coleoptera. 

" It is at all times a very difficult bird to procure; for although the rustling noise pro 
duced by its stiff pinions when flying away be frequently heard, the bird itself is seldom t<j 
be seen. Its flight is heavy and nnsustained in the extreme. When first disturbed, it 
invariably flies to a tree, and on alighting, stretches out its head and neck in a straight line 
with its body, remaining in this position as stationary and motionless as the branch 
upon which it is perched ; if, however, it becomes fairly alarmed, it takes a horizontal 
but laborious flight for about a liundred yards, with its legs hanging doAvn as if broken. 
I did not myself detect any note or cry, but from the natives' description and imitation 
of it, it much resembles the clucking of the domestic fowl, ending with a scream like that 
of the peacock. 

" I observed that the birds continued to lay from the latter part of August to March, when 
I left that part of the country ; and, according to the testimony of the natives, there is only 
an interval of about four or five months, the driest and the hottest j^art of the year, between 
their season of incubation." 

The coloring of this bird is simple, but the tints are soft and x^leasing. The head is rich 
ruddy brown, the back of the neck blackish-gray, and the back and wings brownish -cinnamon, 
deepening into dark chestnut on the tail-coverts. The whole of the under surface is blackish- 
gray. The legs aie orange, and the bill rusty-brown. 



PHEASANT, TURKEY, AND PEACOCK. 

The Leipoa, or Native Pheasant of the colonists, so called on account of the pheasant- 
like aspect of its head and neck, and the general outline of the body, is also an Aus- 
tralian bird, inliabiting the northwestern parts of that country, and the sandy plains of the 
interior. 

Like the preceding species, it lays its eggs in a mound of earth and leaves, but the mound 
Is not nearly so large, seldom exceeding three feet in height and eight or nine in diameter, so 



THE BRUSH TURKEY. 459 

that it bears some resemblance to a large ant-lieap, a similitude wliicli is greatly strengthened 
by the large number of ants which are always found in the mounds, and by the indurated 
substance of its lower portion, which is sometimes so hard that the eggs cannot be got at 
without the aid of a chisel. These nests are generally well hidden away from observation, 
being placed in the driest and sandiest spots, in which a thick dense bush grows so jjlentifuUy 
that a human being can hardly force his way through them, though the bird is able to traverse 
their intricacies with great celeiity. 

The mound is composed of sand and soil, containing a mass of leaves and grass, m the 
midst of which the eggs are laid, each egg being carefully placed separately from the others. 
There are many eggs, often more than a dozen, and one of these mounds is quite a little 
property to the person who is fortunate enough to hnd it, as the bird will suffer her nest to be 
robbed repeatedly, and will lay over and over again, thus affording a bountiful supply of eggs 
to the discoverer. The color of the eggs is white with a very slight tinge of red. 

Tlie Leipoa is an active bird, chiefly depending on its legs, like the pheasant, and never 
seeking to escape by flight unless absolutely driven to such a course. When startled, its 
usual plan is to take to its legs, and run off at full speed, threading the bushes with great 
rapidity and being very likely to escape if the bush be thick. But if it be surprised when the 
ground is tolerably open, it may be run down and captured without much difficulty, as it 
IK)Ssesses a stupid habit which was formerly attributed to the ostrich. Looldng naturally 
upon the bushes as its home, it makes at once for the nearest bush, dashes into it, and there 
remains until the piu'suer comes up and drags it from its fimcied refuge. 

The head of the Leipoa is decorated with a well-defined crest, which, lUie the remainder 
•of the head, is blackish-brown. The neck and shoulders are dark ashen-gray, and the front 
of the neck and the upper part of the breast are covered with long black pointed feathers, 
each having a white stripe along its centre. The primary feathers of the wings are dark 
brown, having some sharply-toothed lines near the tip, and the feathers of the back and 
remainder of the wings are marked near their extremities with three bands of grayish-white, 
brown, and black, forming a series of "eyes" upon the feathers. The under sirrface is 
buff, the flanks being banned with black. The tail is deep blackish-brown with a broad buff 
tip, the bill is black, and the legs blackish-bro\vn. In size the Leipoa is about equal to a very 
small turkey. 

Another very remarkable bird possesses many of the same habits as the two preceding 
species. This is the Buusn Turkey, sometimes called the Wattled Tallegalla or the 
New Holland Vulture, the latter extraordinary title having been given to it on account of 
its head and neck, which in some parts are devoid of feathers, in others are covered only with 
short hair, and in others are decorated with naked fleshy wattles. The native name is Weelah. 

This bird is far from uncommon in many jiarts of New South Wales, and inhabits the 
densest bushes of that country. Like the Leipoa, when pureued it endeavors to effect its 
escape by running through the tangled brush, a feat which it can perform very adroitly, but it 
is not so silly as to allow itself to be taken by hand as in the case of the preceding species. 
When very closely pursued, and imable to escape by speed, it jumps into the lowest branch of 
some tree, leaps fi'om bough to bough until it has reached the top, and either perches there or 
flies off to another part of the brusli. 

The Brush Turkey is a gregarious bird, living in small companies, and, like the true 
turkey, is very wary ajid suspicious. The great enemy of this bird is the dingo or native dog, 
which persecutes the flocks sadly, and often hunts them down. From this foe they are safe 
by flying into a tree ; but this elevated position only makes them the more subject to the 
colonist's gun, and as the birds seem stunned or bewildered by tlie report, they will Suffer 
several rounds to be fired before they mil fly away. Moreover, they have a habit of resorting 
to the trees at midday, and sheltering themselves from the sun under the sj^reading foliage, so 
that any one who has a knowledge of the customs of this bird may be sure of good sport and a 
heavy bag. 

The food of the Bnish Turkey mostly c^onsists of seeds and vegetable substances, though 



4G0 



THE BRUSH TURKEY. 



insects of various kinds have been found in its stomach, which is exceedingly muscular. Like 
other gallinaceous birds, it is fond of dusting itseK, and as it loves to resort to the same spot, 
it scrapes considerable depressions in the earth, which lead the practised hunter to its resi- 
dence. The voice of the Brush Turkey is a rather loud clucking sound. Its flesh is particu- 
larly excellent, and there are hopes that this fine bird may also be in time added to the Ust of 
domesticated poultry. 

The egg mound — for it cannot rightly be called a nest— of this bird is extremely large. 







BRUSH T0KKEY.— ro&ya^M latkana. 



containing, according to Mr. Gould, several cartloads of materials, and being formed into a 
conical or somewhat pyramidal shape. It is not made by a single pair of birds, but is the result 
of united labor, and is used from year to 3^ear, fresh materials being supplied each season In 
order to make up the deficiency caused by the decomposition of the vegetable matter below. 
Mr. Gould, to whom we are indebted for the greatest part of our knowledge respecting these 
curious birds, gives ihe following account of the nidification of the Brush Turkey : — 

" Tlie mode in vvliich the materials composing these mounds are accumulated is veiy singu- 
lar, the bird never using its bill, but always grasping a quantity in its foot, thromng it back- 
wards to one common centre, and thus clearing the surface of the ground for a considerable 
distance so completely that scarcely a leaf or a blade of grass is left. The heap being accumu- 
lated, and time allowed for a sufficient heat to be engendered, the eggs are deposited, not side 
by side as is usually the case, but planted at the distance of nine or twelve inches from each 
other, and buried at nearly an arm's depth, perfectly upright, with the large end upwards ; they 
are covered up as they are laid, and allowed to remain until hatched. I have been credibly 



THE BRUSH TURKEY. 401 

iuformed, both by natives and settlers living near their haunts, that it is not an nnusual 
event to obtain nearly a bushel of eggs at one time from a single heap ; and as they are deli- 
cious eating, they are eagerly sought after. 

" Some of the natives state that the females are constantly in the neighborhood of the 
lieap about the time the young are likely to be hatched, and frequently uncover and cover 
them up again, appai'ently for the purpose of assisting those that may have appeared ; while 
others have infonned me that the eggs are merely deposited and the young allowed to foice 
their way unassisted. In all probability, as Nature has adopted this mode of reproduction, she 
has also furnished the tender birds with the power of sustaining themselves from the earliest 
period ; and the great size of the egg would equally lead to this conclusion, since in so large a 
space it is reasonable to suppose that the bird would be much more developed than is usually 
found in eggs of smaller dimensions. In further conlirmation of this point, I may add that in 
searching for eggs in one of the mounds, I discovered the remains of a young bird, apparently 
just excluded from the shell, and which was clothed with feathers, not with down, as is 
usually the case." 

Mr. P. L. Sclater has given the following most valuable account of the habits of this bird 
in a state of captivity : — 

" The singular phenomenon of the mound-raising faculty of the Talleg-alla, which had been 
well ascertained in Australia by Mr. Gould, lias been annually displayed in the bird's state of 
captivity. 

"On being removed into an inclosure, with an abundance of vegetable material within 
reach, the male begins to throw it up into a heap behind him, by a scratching kind of motion 
of his powerful feet, which project each footf ul as he grasps it for a considerable distance in 
the rear. As he always begins to work at the outer margin of the inclosure, the material 
is thrown inwards in concentric circles, until sufficiently near the sjjot selected for the mound 
to be jerked upon it. As soon as the mound is risen to a height of about four feet, both birds 
work in reducing it to an even surface, and then begm to excavate a depression in the centre. 
In this, in due time, the eggs are deposited as they are laid, and arranged in a circle, about 
fifteen inches below the summit of the mound, at regular intervals, with the smaller end of the 
egg pointing downwards. The male bird watches the temperature of the mound very carefully ; 
the eggs are gener'aUy covered, a cylindrical opening being always maintained in the centi-e of 
the circle for the purpose of giving air to them, and probably to prevent the danger of a sudden 
increase of heat from the action of the sun or accelerated fermentation in the mound itself. In 
hot days the eggs are nearly uncovered two or three times between morning and evening. 

" On the young bird chipping out of the egg, it remains in the mound for at least twelve 
hours without making any effort to emerge from it, being at that time almost as deeply covered 
up by the male as the rest of the eggs. 

" On the second day it comes out, with each of its wing-feathers well developed in a 
sheath which soon bursts, but apparently without inclination to use them, its powerful feet 
giving it ample means of locomotion at once. Early in the afternoon, the young bird retires 
to the mound again, and is partially covered up for the night by the assiduous father, but at 
a diminished depth as compared with the circle of eggs from which it emerged in the morning. 
On the third day, the nestling is capable of strong flight, and on one occasion one of them, 
being accidentally alarmed, actually forced itself, while on the wing, through the strong 
netting which covered the inclosure. The accounts of the habits of the Tallegalla, given by 
Mr. Gould in his Birds of Australia, in 1842, strange as it appeared at the time, are thus 
perfectly verified in every respect." 

The general color of the adult male Tallegalla is blackish-brown above, and the same on the 
under surface with a silver gray gloss produced by the gray tips of the back feathers. The 
cheeks are naked, the head and neck covered with short hair-like feathers of a dark blackish 
hue, and the front of the neck is furnished with a large naked fleshy wattle, something like 
that of a turkey, and being of a bright yellow warming into orange-red at its junction with the 
neck. The bill is black ; the eyes brown chestnut, and the legs and feet dark brown. The 
male bird is about the size of an ordinary turkey, and the female is about one-foui-th less. 



462 THE PEACOCK. 

Her plumage is like that of the male, from which she may be readily distinguished by the 
smaller size of the wattle. 

The large family of the Peacocks, or Pavoninse, now claims our attention. For con- 
venience of description, these birds have been separated into several sub-families, which are 
defined with tolerable certainty. Of the Pavoninge, we shall find two examples in the follow- 
ing pages. 

The Peacock may safely be termed one of the most magnificent of the feathered tribe, 
and may even lay a well-founded claim to the chief rank among birds in splendor of plumage 
and effulgence of coloring. We are so familiar with the Peacock that we think little of its 
real splendor ; but if one of these birds had been brought to Europe for the first time, it would 
create a greater sensation than even the hippopotamus or the gorilla. 

The Peacock is an Asiatic bird, the ordinary species being found chiefly in India, and the 
Javanese Peacock in the countiy from Avhich it derives its name. In some parts of India the 
Peacock is extremely common, flocking together in bands of thirty or forty in number, cover- 
ing the trees with their splendid plumage, and filling the air with their horridly dissonant 
voices. Captain Williamson, in his "Oriental Field Siiorts," mentions that he has seen at 
least twelve or fifteen hundred Peacocks within sight of the spot where he stood. 

These birds are great objects of sport, and are mostly killed by the gun, though a good 
rider may sometimes iiin them down by fair chase. The Peacock takes some little preparation 
to get on the wing, and if hard pressed is not able to rise into the air. The horseman then 
strikes at the bird with his long lashed whip, so as to get the lash round its neck, and soon 
masters the beautiful quarry. "When upon the wing," says Captain Williamson, "they fly 
very heavy and strong, generally within an easy shot. It may reasonably be supposed that 
they fall very heavy, but if only winged they soon recover, and if not closely pursued will, 
nine times in ten, disappear. When the peepul berries, or figs, are in season, their flesh is 
rather bitter ; but when they have fed a while among the corn-fields, they become remarkably 
sweet and Juicy. This is to be understood of the young birds, which make excellent roasters. 
The older birds are sometimes put to the spit, but are by no means so good as when the 
breasts are made into cutlets, and the residue boiled down into a rich soup. I have always 
thought such Peacocks as frequented the mustard-fields after the pods were formed to be very 
superior. 

"They abound chiefly in close wooded forests, particularly where there is an extent of long 
grass for them to range in. They are very thirsty birds, and will only remain where they can 
have access to water. Khur i:)lantations are their favorite shelter, being close above so as to 
keep off the solar rays, and open at the bottom sufficiently to admit a free passage for the air. 
If there be trees near such spots, the Peacocks may be seen mounting into them every evening 
towards dark to roost ; and in which they generally continue till the sun rises, when they 
descend to feed, and pass the midday in the heavy coverts. 

"They are very Jealous of all quadrupeds, especially of dogs ; no doubt from finding the 
jackal, and probably the tiger, to be such inveterate enemies. When Peacocks are discovered 
in a tree, situated on a plain, if a dog be loose and hunt near it, the bird will rarely move 
from it, though it will probably show extreme uneasiness. 

"But the most certain mode of killing one or two birds is by stealing under the trees at 
night ; if there be a clear moon, so much the better. In this way, by looking up among the 
foliage, the Peacocks may be readily distinguished. When they are very numerous, and only 
one l:)ird is wanted, as certain a mode as any is to lie in wait behind a bush near their feeding 
haunts ; but without the most perfect silence this will not succeed. 

" Though Pea-fowls invariably roost in trees, yet they make their nests on the ground, 
and ordinarily on a bank raised above the common level, where in some suificient bush they 
collect leaves, small sticks, etc., and sit very close. I have on several occasions seen them in 
their nests, but as I refi-ained from disturbing them, they did not offer to move, though they 
could not fail to know that they were discovered. They usually sit on about a dozen or fifteen 
eggs. They are generally hatched about the beginning of November ; and from January to 



HABITS OF THE PEACOCK. 4(5 ;i 

the end of March, when the corn is standing, are remarkably Juicy and tender. When the 
dry season comes on, they feed on the seeds of weeds and insects, and their flesh becomes dry 
and muscular." 

Peacock-shooting, although an exciting sport, is a dangerous one, the tiger feeling him- 
self suited by the rhur and other vegetation in which the Peacock delights, so that an inex- 
perienced sportsman may suddenly find himself face to face with a tiger, and run a strong 
chance of being himself the object of pursuit. Old hunters, liowever, who know the habits 
of the Peacock, find that bird extremely useful in denoting the presence of tigers. When the 
Peacock finds itself in dose proximity to a tiger, or even a wild cat, it raises the sound of 
alarm, which is a loud hoarse cry, answered by tliose within hearing. The bird then utters a 
series of sharp quick grating notes, and gets higher into the trees so as to be out of reach of 
the tiger's claws. 

The Peacock is everywhere very common, and forms a magnificent adjunct to the lawn, 
the park, the garden, and the farm-yard. The evident admiration and self-consciousness with 
which a Peacock regaj'ds himself are truly amusing, the bird always looldng out for sj^ectators 
before it spreads its train, and turning itself round and round so as to display its beauties 
to the best advantage. At night it always roosts in some ele\'ated spot ; and invariably 
sits with its head facing the wind. Several Peacocks, which I used to see daily, always 
roosted upon the thatch of a corn-rick, their long trains lying along the thatch so closely 
that towards dark they could hardly be seen. In character, the Peacock is as variable as 
other creatures, some individuals being mild and good-temjiered, while others are morose and 
jealous to the extreme. 

One of these birds, living in the north of Ireland, was a curious mixture of cruelty and 
fun. He had four wives, but he killed them all successively by pecking them to death, for 
what cause no one could find out. Even its own children shared the same fate, until its owner 
put the Pea-fowl eggs imder a sitting hen, and forced her to hatch the eggs and tend the 
young far out of his sight. 

His great amusement was to frighten the chickens. There were two iron troughs in which 
the food for the chickens was placed daily, and to which they always resorted as soon as their 
food was jjoured into their troughs. No sooner had they all assembled than the Peacock 
would erect his train, I'attle his quills together with that peculiar rustling sound that is so 
characteristic of these birds, and inarch slowly towards the chickens. The poor little birds 
would slowly back away from the trough as the Peacock advanced, not liking to lose sight 
of their food, and not daring to remain in defiance of their persecutor. By degrees he got 
them all into a corner, crouching together and trembling, when he would overshaxlow them 
with his train, place the ends of the feathers against the wall so as to cover them completely, 
rattle the quills heartily so as to frighten them extremely, and then would walk off, looking 
quite exultant at the trick he had just played. He did not care for eating their food, but left 
the trough untouched. 

The train of the male Peacock, although jjopularly called its tail, is in reality composed 
of the upper tail-coverts, which are enormously lengthened, and finished at their extremities 
with broad rounded webs, or with spear-shaped ends. The shafts of these feathers are almost 
bare of web for some fourteen or fifteen inches of their length, and then throw out a number 
of long loose vanes of a light coppery -green. These are very brittle and apt to snap off at 
different lengths. In the central feathers the extremity is modified into a wide flattened 
battledore-shaped form, each barbule being colored with refulgent emerald-green, deep violet- 
pui-ple, greenish bronze, gold and blue, in such a manner as to form a distinct "eye," the 
centre being violet of two shades, surrounded with emerald, and the other tints being arranged 
concentrically around it. In the feathers that edge the train there is no "eye," the feathers 
coming to a point at the extremity, and having rather wide but loose emerald-green barbules 
on its outer web, and a few scattered coppery barbules in the place of the inner web. The 
tail-feathers are only seven or eight inches in leng-th, are of a grayish-brown color, and can be 
seen when the train is erected, that being their appointed task. 

On the head is a tuft or aigrette of twenty-four upright feathers, blackish upon their 



464 THE ARGUS PHEASANT. 

almost naked shafts, and rich golden-green, shot with bhie, on their expanded tips. The top of 
the head, the throat and neck, are the most refulgent blue, chauging in different lights to gold 
and gi-eeu. On the back the feathers are golden-green, edged with velvety black, giving a 
peculiar richness of effect. The wings are darker than the rest of the plumage, the quill- 
feathers being marked with black, and having some red about them. The abdomen is blackish, 
with a green gloss, and the feathers of the thighs are fawn. The female is much smaller than 
her mate, and not nearly so beautiful, the train being almost wanting, and the color ashy- 
brown with the exception of the throat and neck, which are green. A white or albino 
variety of tliis bird is not at all uncommon, and in this case the characteristic "eyes" are 
faintly indicated in neutral tint. 

The generic term Polyplectron signifies "many-spurred," and is given to a genus of gal- 
linaceous birds because they have two or sometimes three spurs on each leg. There are several 
species, all very handsome birds, and one of the most conspicuous is the Crested Peacock 
Pheasant. As is the case with all the species, the tail is greatly enlarged, so as to be spread 
into a flat, wide, fan-like form, with two ranges of feathers placed one above each other, and 
decorated with a double row of large lightly-colored spots. It probably inhabits Soudan and 
the Moluccas, but there is little known of its habits. 

The beautiful crest which adorns the head is very deep shining violet-blue, and the head, 
neck, and breast, are of the same color. Over the eye runs a white streak, and a white patch 
is placed just below and behind the eye, contrasting very boldly with the deep violet of the 
surrounding plumage. The back is brown, covered with irregular wavy lines of a paler hue, 
and the wing-coverts and secondaries are bright azure tipped with velvety-black. The taU is 
brown, covered with innumerable little spots of yellowish-white, and each feather is marked 
near the tip with a large oval spot of shining metallic green, surrounded first with a waved 
line of black and then with a broader line of pale brown. Close to the tip each feather is 
boi'dered with black, and the extremity is jjale fawn. The abdomen is dull black. In total 
length, this bird measures about twenty inches. 

The Pheasants comes next in order, and the grandest and most imposing of this group, 
although there are many others that surpass its brilliant coloring, is the Argus Pheasant, 
so called in remembrance of the ill-fated Argus of mythology, whose hundred eyes never slept 
simultaneously until chai'med by the magic lyre of Mercury. 

This magnificent bird is remarkable for the very great length of its tail-feathers and the 
extraordinary development of the secondary feathers of the wings. While walliing on the 
ground, or sitting on a botigh, the singular length of the feathers is not very striking, but when 
the bird spreads its wings, showing the full expanse of the secondaries, they come out in 
all their beauty. As might lie supposed from the general arrangement of the plumage, the 
bird is by no means a good flier, and when it takes to the air, only flies for a short distance. 
In running its wings are said to be efficient aids. 

Although the Argus is hardly larger than an ordinary fowl, tlie plumage is so greatly 
developed that its total length measures more than five feet. The head and back of the neck 
are covered with short brown feathers, and the neck and upper part of the breast are warm 
chestnut-brown covered with spots of yellow and black, and similar tints are formed on the 
back. The tail is deep chestnut covered with white spots, each spot being surrounded with a 
black ring. When the bird chooses, it can raise the tail, so that it stands boldly in the air 
between the wings jmd is partially s])i'ead. The secondaries of the vsdngs are most wonderful 
examples of jilumage, and would require many pages to describe them fully. Suffice it to say 
that the gradations of jetty-black, deep rich brown, orange, fawn, olive and white are so justly 
a,nd boldly arranged as to form admirable studies for the artist, and totally to baffle description. 

In one feather now before me there are seventeen large "eyes" on the outer web, each 
being surrounded with a ring of jetty-black, then with a dash of chocolate, within the ring, 
then olive with the least possible tinge of purjile, and lastly with a spot of pure white near 
the ti]), fading imperceptibly into the olive on one side and the chocolate on the other. 



THE PHEASANT. 4G5 

between these "eyes" some leopard-like mottlings diversify the rich fawn of the ground 
color, and outside them four wavy bands of dark brown run along the feather towards the 
edge, breaking up into spots about an inch before they reach the edge. The inner web is pale 
fawn covered with black spots, surrounded with buff, and the tij) of the whole feather is deep 
brown, spotted profusely with white. The shaft is black at its base, and yellow towards its 
termination. 

In another feather both webs are marked just like a leopard, with dark spots on a fawn 
ground, only the spots are arranged in diagonal rows. But along the shaft runs a band, about 
three-quarters of an inch wide, of rich chocolate, profusely speckled with the tiniest white 
spots, also arranged in rows. This band does not quite extend to the end of the feather, 
which at its tip is pale fawTi very sparingly studded with deep brown rosettes, surrounded 
with chestnut. ' These are but two feathers, and I might take twenty as wonderful. In the 
female the secondary feathers, instead of measuring nearly a yard in length, are little more 
than a foot, and the eyes are much more obscure. The Argus Pheasant inhabits Sumatra and 
neighboring localities. 

The well-known Pheasant affords a triumphant instance of the success with which a 
bird of a strange country may be acclimatized to another with some little assistance from 
its owner. 

Originally the Pheasant was an inhabitant of Asia Minor, and has been by degrees intro- 
duced into many European countries, where its beauty of form and plumage and the delicacy 
of its flesh made it a welcome visitor. In northern countiies, it is probably dependent to a 
great extent on " preserves " for its existence, as, even putting aside the marauding attacks of 
poachers, whether biped or quadi'uped, the bird requires much shelter and plenty of food. 
Even with the precautions that are taken by the owners of preserves, the bi'eed is to some 
degree artificially kept up by the hatching of Pheasant's eggs under domestic hens, and feed- 
ing them in the coop like ordinary chickens, until they are old and strong enough to get their 
own living. 

The food of this bird is extremely varied. When young it is generally fed on ants' eggs, 
maggots, grits, and similar food, but when it is fully grov^'u it is possessed of an accommodating 
appetite, and will eat many kinds of seeds, roots, and leaves. The tubers of the common 
buttercup form a considerable item in its diet, and the bird will also eat beans, peas, acorns, 
berries of various kinds, and has even been known to eat the ivy leaf as well as the berry. 

The Pheasant is a ground-loving bird, running ^^•ith great speed, and always preferring to 
trust to its legs rather than its wings. It is a crafty creature, and when alanned, instead of 
rising on the wing, it slips quietly out of sight behind a bush or through a hedge, and then 
runs away with astonishing rapidity, always remaining under cover until it reaches some spot 
where it deems itself to be safe. Tlie male Pheasant is not in the least given to the domestic 
affections, passing a kind of independent existence during part of the year, and associating 
with others of its own sex during the rest of the season. It is a very combative bird, and can 
maintain a stout fight even with a barn-door cock. When the two fight, an event of no very 
unfrequent occurrence, the Pheasant often gets the better of the combat by his irregular mode 
of proceeding. After making two or three strokes, up goes the Pheasant into a tree to breathe 
awhile, leaving the cock looking about for his antagonist. Presently, while his opponent is 
still bewildered, down comes the Pheasant again, makes another stroke and retires to his 
branch. The cock gets so puzzled at this mode of fighting that he often yields the point. 

It is rather curious that the Pheasant should display so great a tendency to mate with 
birds of other species. Hybrids between the Pheasant and common hen are by no means 
uncommon, and the peculiar form and color of the plumage, together with the wUd and sus- 
picious mien, are handed down through several generations. The grouse is also apt to mate 
with the Pheasant, and even the turkey and the guinea fowl are mentioned among the mem- 
bers of these curious alliances. 

As these pages are not intended for sporting purposes, the art and mystery of Pheasant 
shooting will be left unnoticed. The ingenious mode employed by Mr. Watei-ton for the 

Vol. n.— S9. 



466 



THE NEST OF THE PHEASANT. 



deception of poachers, is, however, too amusing to be omitted. Those nocturnal marauders 
were accustomed to haunt the fir plantations at niglit, and by looking upwards could easily see 
the Pheasants as they sat asleep across the branches, and bring them down with the gun, 

or teven a noose oii 
a long rod. So, 
thinking that pre- 
vention was better 
than prosecution, 
he fii'st planted a 
number of thick 
holly clumps, dark 
as night in the in- 
terior, and quite 
impervious to hu- 
man beings unless 
cased in plate ar- 
mor. The Pheas- 
ants soon resorted 
to these fortresses, 
but their places 
were filled vsdth a 
few hundi'ed rough 
wooden Pheasants, 
which were naDed 
upon the fir 
branches, and tit 
night looked so 
exactly like the birds tliat the most practised eye could 
not discover the difference. After these precautions had 
l^een taken, the astute inventor was able to rest quietly 
at home and chuclde to himself at the nocturnal reports 
in the direction of the fir-wood. 

The nest of the Pheasant is a ^■ery rude attempt at 
building, being merely a heaj) of leaves and grasses col- 
lected together upon the ground, and with a very slight 
depression, caused apparently quite as much by the 
weight of the eggs as l)y the art of the bird. Tlie eggs 
are numerous, generally about eleven or twelve, and their 
color is an uniform olive-brown. Their surface is very 
smooth. When I was a boy I well remember finding a 
Pheasant's nest in a copse, taking the whole clutch and 
blowing them on the spot with jjerfect openness, being 
happily ignorant of the penalties attached to such a pro- 
ceeding, and not in the least acquainted with the risk 
until I exhibited my prize to some friends, and saw their 
horrified looks. 

The adidt male Pheasant is a truly beautiful bird. 
The head and neck are deep steely-blue, "shot" with 
greenish-purple and brown ; and the sparkling liazel eye 
is surrounded with a patch of bare scarlet skin, speckled profusely with blue-black. Over the 
ears there is a patch of brown. The upper pai't of the back is beautifully adonied with light 
golden-red feathers, each being tipped with deep black ; and the remainder of the back is of the 
same golden-red, but marked with brown and a lighter tint of yellow without any admixture of 
red. The quill-feathers of the wing are brown of several shades, and the long quills of the tail 




■:p.:.^\ 



THE GOLDEN PHEASANT. 467 

are oaken-brown changing to purple on the edge of the outer web, and barred with jetty-black 
on the outer web and brown on the inner. The breast and front of the abdomen are golden-red 
with purple reflections, and diversified by the black edge of each feather ; the rest of the 
abdomen and under tail-coverts are blackish brown. In total length the full-grown male 
Pheasant is about three feet. Tlie female is much more sober in her colors and less in size 
than her mate, her body being of a pale yellow-brown, and her length only some two feet. 

The gorgeous bird which is now known by the name of Reeves' Pheasant, but which 
has undergone so many changes of title, is a native of Surinagur and Northern China. 

It is a truly remarkable bird, for although its body does not surpass the ordinary Pheasant 
in size, the total length of a full-grown male will often exceed eight feet, owing to the very great 
develoijment of the two central tail-feathers, which alone will measure six and seven feet in 
length, and are very wide at the base. This species has been brought alive to foreign countries 
and placed in the Zoological Gardens and aviaries, where it thi'ove tolerably well ; and was 
sufficiently hardy to warrant a hope that it might be acclimatized to moderate climates. Its habits 
in a wild state are little known, but those specimens which have been kept in captivity behaved 
much like the ordinary Pheasant. Although so splendid and liighly colored a bird, it inhabits 
very cold regions, the mountains of Surinagur being covered with snow. In that country it is 
known by the appropriate name of Doomdurour or Long-tail. 

No amount of artificial coloring could give the full effect of the gorgeous and ever- 
changing beauty which adorns the plumage of this magnificent bird ; while the simple black 
and white of an engraving gives but a very faint notion of its real magnificence. The 
absence of colors must, therefore, be faintly supplied with a brief description in words. 

The head is white, except a patch of light scai'let naked skin around the eyes, edged by a 
band of black which runs over the forehead, under the cliin, and is rather broader over the 
ear-coverts. The neck is also broadly collared with white. The back of the neck, and the 
. back itself are covered with shining scale-like feathers, each being a light golden-yellow and 
edged at the extremity by a band of deep velvety-black, thus producing an extremely rich 
appearance. The feathers of the breast and abdomen are snowy-white, banded and tipped 
with the same velvety-black as those of the upper parts with the exception of the middle of 
the breast and abdomen, which are deep black, and the under tail-coverts, which are also black 
covered with golden-yellow spots. Tlie two central feathers of the tail are delicate gray, 
covered with numerous ti'ans verse and rather curved bands of rich dark brown, edged with a 
lighter tint of the same color. In one of these feathers, only four feet in length, ]\Ir. Tem- 
minck counted forty-seven bands. The remaining feathers of the tail are grayish-white, also 
profusely barred with deep brown, and passing into chestnut at their edges. They can be 
folded over each other, and they appear very narrow. 

Two very lovely birds are shown in the next illustrations, one glowing like the sun in the 
full radiance of gold and crimson, and the other shining like the moon with a soft silvery 
lustre, not so splendid, but even more pleasing. 

The Golden Pheasant is a native of China, where it is a great favorite, not only for its 
splendid plumage and elegant form, but for the excellence of its flesh, which is said to surpass 
in delicacy even that of the common Pheasant. 

For the purposes of the table, however, it is hardly likely to come into general use, as there 
are great difficulties in the way of breeding it in sufficient number, and one feels a natural 
sensation of repugnance to the killing of so beautiful a bird merely for the sake of eating it. 
As it is a tolerably hardy bird, liearing confinement well, and breeding freely, it has been 
turned out into preserves with the common Pheasant, but as yet without sufficient success to 
warrant the continuation of the experiments. 

This bird, together with another which will be briefiy mentioned, is remarkable for the 
large ruff of broad squared feathers which folds round its neck, as well as for the finely devel- 
oped crest. This crest is of rich golden-yellow with a tinge of carmine. The feathers of the 
ruff are squared, and disposed in a scale-like fashion ; their color is rich orange edged with 



468 



THE SILVER PHEASANT. 



velvety-black. The whole raff can be raised or depressed at will. Fly-fishers hold the crest 
and riiff of this bird in great value, as many of their best artificial baits owe their chief beauty 
to the Golden Pheasant. Jnst below the rnff comes a patch of scale-like rounded feathers o! 
dark glossy-green, over which the ends of the ruff feathers play as the bird moves its head, 
and below them the 
back is wholly of a 
bright golden - yel- 
low, enriched on the 
upper tail - coverts 
by a crimson edg- 
ing. The primary 
and the second- 
ary feathers of the 
wings are a rich 
brown barred with 
chestnut, and their 
bases are deep blue. 
The breast and ab- 
domen are brightest 
scarlet, and the tail 
is rich chestnut 
mottled with black. 
The eye is bright, 
glancing, and of a 
whitish yellow. 

These magnifi- 
cent colors only be- 
long to the male 
bird, the female be- 
ing reddish-brown spotted and marked with a darker hue, 
and the tail is short. 



The second ruffed Pheasant is that which is known by 
the name of Amiieest's Pheasant {TJumnuilea amMrs- 
ticp), also a native of China. This magnificent bird has 
a wonderfully long and broad tail, quite as remarkable as 
that of Reeves' Pheasant. The crest of this beautiful bird 
is scarlet, the tippet is snowy-whit(% each feather being tipped with 
velvety -black, the shoulders are rich shining green, the abdomen 
pure white, and the tail is white, barred with dark gi-een, and strik- •;,• 

ingly varied with the scarlet tips of the upper tail-coverts, which are 
much elongated. 

The Silver Pheasant is another inhabitant of China, and is found 
chiefly in the northern portions of that country. 

It is one of the largest and most powerful of the tribe to which it 
belongs, and is said to be a match for a game-cock in fair combat. It is 
a hardy bird, and, like the Golden Pheasant, has been turned loose into preserves, 
but Avith even less success. The weight of the bird is generally too great in 
proportion to its strength of wing, so tliat it does not readily raise itself from the 
ground, and thereby runs a risk of being devoured by the carnivorous quadrupeds that 
infest every preserve. Moreover, it is so large, so strong, and so combative, that it fights 
the common Pheasants, and drives them out of the coverts, so that at present we have to 
content ourselves with rearing it under the safe protection of brick and wire. 




THE FIREBACK PHEASANT. 



46& 



The crest on the top of the head is deep jiurple-black, and the naked skin round the eyes, 
which forms a kind of wattle over the nostrils and below the chin, is a bright scarlet. The 
upper surface of the body is pure silver-white, delicately pencilled with wavy black lines. 
The taU is also white, pencilled boldly with black, except the two central feathers, which are 
wholly white, long, and curved. The breast and abdomen are of the same deep pui-ple-black 
as the crest. The colors of the female are quite dissimilar, so that the bird would hardly be 




^ ^/ii^^e^'^ Y^^eS^^ 



X j-f. kJ>'* 



AMHERST'S PBEASAN'T.— TAaumatea amherstUB. 



recognized as belonging to the same species. She is much smaller in size, has a smaller crest,, 
and a shorter tail, of a brown color, streaked on the outer feathers with black and white. 
Instead of the silvery- white of the male, her back is grayish-brown, irregularly marked and 
waved with narrow black bars. The breast and abdomen are grayish-white, marked with 
brown and barred with black. (For illustration, see page 470.) 



The very handsome Fireback is an Asiatic bird, inhabiting Sumatra, and in all proba- 
bility several other neighboring localities. 

The popular name of Fireback is very appi'opriate, being given to the bird on account of 
the fiery red feathers which decorate a considerable portion of the back. It is remarkable for 
the great size of the naked skin about the eyes, which nearly covers the whole head, running 
over the ears and foi'ehead, and descending well below the chin. The color is of a bluish 
purple during the life of the bird, but after its death the color darkens into dark brown, as is 
generally the case with bare skin both in beasts and birds, and in the stuffed species it shrinks, 
like wetted leather, and entirely loses its former fulness and shape. 



47U 



SONNERATS JUNGLE FOWL. 



The head is decorated with an elegant crest of upright feathers, theii- shafts being nearly 
devoid of web, and expanding at the extremities into a number of delicate barbs. The general 

color of the bird 

C"'^S-^J'^"\[f\ !) 1 ^\ ■ c-^Srf^ ; V _ is rich deep sat- 

e4'J'P^.\i'\li \l,^_-^ / Kn ^'^^^^^^^ .rf^^fS.-. iny-violet, ap- 

pearing black 
except in certain 
lights, and the 
feathers of the 
lower part of the 
back are flaming 
orange - red, the 
depth of hue be- 
ing changeable, 
according to the 
light. The tail 
is smaller than 
that of the do- 
mestic cock, and 
The central feath- 
ers are snowy- 
white, the others 
I eing deep green 
glossed with pur- 
ple. The total 
length of the 
adult male is 
about two feet. Tlie female is smaller, and her plumage is 
warm cinnamon-brown above and grayish-white below. 




SILVER PM&AShS'i.—Euplocomus nycUwrnerus. 



BARN-DOOR POULTRY. 



We now arrive at the typical genus of the Gallinffi, to which the ordinary barn-door 
poultry, with all its multitudinous varieties, belongs. Our first example of this genus is the 
beautiful Sonnerat's Jungle Fowl. 

This fine bird is a native of India, and is found chiefly in the wooded districts. Although 
smaller than the common domestic fowl, it is a wonderfully powerful bird in proportion to its 
size, and so fierce and deteraiined a combatant that the native s])ortsmen, who set great store 
upon fighting cocks, always prefer a Jungle Cock as their champion. As in general appear- 
ance it is something like the domestic fowl, some persons have supposed that it is the stock 
from which oiir poultry were der'ived. The Bankiva Fowl, however, is thought with more 
reason to be the original progenitor of these useful birds. The very peculiar formation of the 
hackles affords a good reason for believing that the domestic fowl is not the offspring of 
Sonnerat's Jungle Fowl. The webs of the hackles and upper tail-coverts are dark gray, but 
their shafts are bright orange, dilating in the centre and at the tip into flat, shining horny 
7)lates of a brilliant orange htie, which give a peculiar splendor to the plumage, and are 
discernible at a considerable distance, their tips being rounded instead of lancet-shape. 

The voice of this liird is rather startling, for at first sight it looks so like a game-cock, that 
its crow strilces the ear in a very absurd manner. Every one knows the ludicrous attempts 
made by a young cock to crow like his elders ; how he breaks down just when he thinlis 
he is doing best, like a young lad with a cracked voice, trying to talk with a manly intona- 
tion, and going unexpectedly from hoarse bass to sharpest treble. Give the young cock a sharp 



THE GAME FOWLS. 471 

attack of whooping-cough, and that will afford a tolerably good notion of the crowing of this 
Jungle Fowl. 

The head of this bird is adorned with well-developed wattles, deeply notched at the tip. 
The beautiful hackles have already been described, with their flattened ends shining like the 
gold coins gleaming on the dark tresses of Oriental beauties. The back and lower portions of 
the body are deep gray, and the tail is long, arched, and beautifully colored with changing 
hues of purple, green, and gold. The female is a smaller and very sober-looking bird, without 
comb or wattles, and devoid of the curious horny hackles that decorate her mate. 

The Bankiva Jungle Fowl is now supposed to be the original stock of the domestioa,ted 
poultry. 

It is a native of Java, and the male very closely resembles the game-cock. It is a splendid 
creature, with its light scarlet comb and wattles, its drooping hackles, its long arched tail, and 
its flashing eye. The comb and wattles are of the brightest scarlet, the long hackles of the 
neck and lower part of the back are fine orange-red, the upper part of the back is deep blue- 
black, and the shoulders are ruddy chestnut. Tlie secondaries and greater coverts are deep 
steely-blue, and the quill-feathers of the wing are blackish-brown edged with rusty yellow. 
The long, arched and drooping tail is blue-black glossed with green, and the breast and under 
parts black, so that in general aspect it is very like the black-breasted red game-cock. 

The domesticated bird is of all the feathered tribe the most directly useful to man, and is 
the subject of so many valuable treatises that the reader is referred to them for the best mode 
of breeding, rearing, and general management of poultry. Of the most useful or remarkable 
of the varieties of this bird we mention the following : — 

One of the most famous l)irds of this class is the Cochin Fowl. It is of enormous size and 
ungainly appearance. Nothing was talked of but Cochin China Fowls, and the sums given 
in Europe for these birds, some few years ago, almost rose to the fabulous. A first-rate 
hunter, or three or four valuable cows, or a tolerable flock of sheep might have been purchased 
for the money that was freely given for a single Cochin China Fowl. 

The Game Fowls, certainly the finest of all the varieties, we describe in tlie following 
lines. The time has now almost passed away, when these splendid birds were openly trained 
for combat, and cock-fights were held hi every village and town. The law has rightly pro- 
hibited this savage amusement, and cock-fighting, like dog-fighting, is now confined to a small 
and continually decreasing knot of sporting men. For this purpose, the birds are trained in 
the most regular and scientific manner, as great pains being taken about them as about a race- 
horse on the eve of the Derby. In order to deprive the antagonist of the advantage which it 
would gain by pecking the comb, which is very tender and bleeds freely, the comb was cut off 
and the horny spurs were rejilaced by steel weapons, long, sharp-edged, and pointed. These 
precautions were, after all, not so barbarous as they seem on a first view, for the comb was 
" dubbed " at so early an age that its growth was prevented rather than its substance mangled, 
and the substitution of metal for horny spurs served to set the combatants on more equal 
terms, just as a sword sets a small man on an equality with a large one. Irrespective of these 
advantages, the Game-cock is an hereditary gladiator, delighting in combat, and instinctively 
practising the art of defence as well as that of assault. So superior is it to the ordinary breeds 
in these respects, that I have seen a little, old, one-eyed Game-cock cut down, as if with a 
sword, a great, swaggering barn-door cock that looked as if it could have kUled its puny 
antagonist with a blow and eaten liim afterwards. 

There seems to be no limits to the courage of the Game-cock, which will attack not only 
his own kind, but any other creature that may offend it. One of these birds has been known 
to fly at a fox that was carrying off one of his wives, and to drive his spur deep into the 
offender's eyes. There are instances innumerable of similar rescues from cats, rats, and other 
marauders. Sometimes, however, the Game-cock takes upon himself to defend certain locali- 
ties, and then often becomes dangerous. One such bird, of whose ferocity I have often had 
personal proof, was accustomed to parade, with the air of an emperor, tlie yard in which he 
was necessarily confined, and would fly at every living being that came within the prohibited 



472 



DOMESTIC FOWLS. 



precinct. A besom was kept by the door and always nsed by every one who passed through 
the yard, for the purpose of repelling the attacks of this savage bird. Many a time have I 
tried to tire him out, knocking him over with the broom, or pushing liim back against the 
wall, but I was always tired first, and liad to vacate the premises, leaving him to get on a 
water-butt and crow forth his triumph. Sometimes he would sli]i past the broom, and then 
the stroke of his spur was no trifle, feeling like the blow of a stone thrown by a strong arm, 
and leaving a black-and-blue mark for days afterwards. 

The flesh of the Game breed is very excellent, but they are troublesome birds to keep, the 
males always fighting among each other, and having to be separated before they are fully 
grown. Crosses with the Game breed a,re common. 

An odd-looking creature is the Polish Fowl. Its head is so covered with a monstrous 
plume of drooping feathers that its features are not more discernible than those of a Skye- 




HORNED TRAGOPAN. - Cmomis .^ati/ia. 



terrier under his thick hair. This wealth of cranial plumage seems, however, to imjioverish 
the brain, lor the large-crested Polish Fowls are generally stupid birds, and apt to meet with 
accidents which might easily be avoided. 

The Spanish Fowl, a very fine variety, is glossy black, with a very large comb, and notable 
for the white, naked skin below the ear. It is a very large breed, coming next in size to the 
Cochin China, and very far surpasses that large but uncouth bird in the symmetry of its fonn. 
The flesh of this breed is excellent, and as tlie hens are regular layers, these birds are deservedly 
favorites among poultry owners. 

A bird whose many excellencies have rendered a town famous is the Dorking Fowl. It is 
short-legged, round-bodied, plump-fleshed, and remarkable for having at least one, and some- 
times two supplementary toes. The Dorking Fowls are excellent for the table, their flesh 
being peculiarly ]ilump and white, and the hens are remarkably prolific layers. 

Lastly comes the odd, quaint, opinionated little Bantam, with its feathered legs, full 
breast, and bold, fearless carriage. This minikin member of the poultry tribe is, despite his 
Bmall dimensions, as bold as any of them, and if he thinks himself aggrieved will attack a 
great Cochin China or Spanish cock with such spirited audacity that he vdll not unfrequently 



THE WILD TURKEY. 473 

come off victor in the contest. The Bantam is of little use to the poultry -keeper, and may be 
classed among the fancy fowls, of which there are so many and ever-varying breeds. 

The common Barn-door Fowl is of no particular breed, no pains being taken to prevent 
crossing, but is a kind of compound of all the preceding, except, perhaps, the bantam, which 
ought to be kept away from them as tending to diminish the size of the birds and their eggs. 
The regular egg trade is a very complicated and curious affair, giving a livelihood to thousands, 
and possessing a national importance of which few would dream whose only notion of eggs is 
connected with the breakfast- table or the salad -bo^vl. 

A MOST singular group of l)irds now comes before our notice, of which the Horned Tra- 
GOPAN affords an example. The males are remarkable for the loose, pendent skin which hangs 
from the base of the lower mandibles, and can be inflated at the pleasure of the bird, and for 
the two lengthened protuberances behind the eyes which generally hang listlessly down the 
cheeks, but can be erected at will, and then look as shown in the illustration. In all these 
birds the plumage is ample and the tail short. As far as is at present known they are found 
in the higher and more mountainous districts of Asia, having been taken in Thibet, Nepal, 
and the Himalayas. 

They are all beautifully colored, and the present example may challenge competition with 
any of the species, if not for absolute brilliance of plumage, yet for delicacy of tint, and 
pleasing marking of its feathers. The bare skin around the eyes, together with the wattles 
and horns are bluish -purple, and the feathers of the^crest, together with the chin and back 
of the neck, are deep black. The upper part of the breast, the neck, and shoulders, are light 
cinnamon with a dash of carmine and purple, and variegated by the white eye-like tips of 
the feathers. The wings and part of the back are rich amber mottled with bro\vn, and also 
decorated with white spots. The spots are largest and most conspicuous upon the flanks. 
The tail-coverts are also amber-brown, spotted with white, and extend to such a length as 
nearly to conceal their short rounded tail. In size, the Tragopan about equals a common 
Spanish fowl. 

The Turkey family, 3feleagrifi, is an American one exclusively. Three species comprise 
the entire group. The Honduras Turkey is a very rare species, having much of the brilliancy 
of plumage seen in the pheasants. 

The common Wild Turkey {Meleagris gaUojxiiw) inhabits the region from North Caro- 
lina northward, and from the Atlantic to Texas and Arkansas. In New England, where it 
was once abundant, it is extinct. In the unsettled portions of the Southwest and Western 
States, watered by the Mississippi and Missouri, it is abundant ; though its flnal extinction 
in all quarters is thought to be in the near future. ItstiU occurs along the line of the 
Alleghanies. 

The Wild Turkey is sometimes domesticated, but soon manifests a disposition to seek its 
liberty. 

Late in October it assembles in flocks in the rich bottom lands of the Western rivers, 
the males keeping apart, and associating in groups of a hundred or less. The females move 
at the same time, and towards the same point, leading their brood of the season. It is said 
they avoid the old males, who have a disposition to fight the young birds. They move in 
these migrations on foot, excepting when a stream is to be crossed. An amusing delay is 
seen at this point ; they don't attempt the crossing for a day or more. Meantime the old 
males strut about and marshal the forces, as if to make ready for a simultaneous rising. The 
females and young partake in these demonstrations, emitting a purring noise while strutting 
up and down the river banks. When all is ready, they mount to the tops of high trees, and 
at a signal, take flight for the opposite shore. 

Wild Turkeys are hunted in a variety of ways. In the spring they are attracted by 
drawing the air in a peculiar manner through one of the second joint bones of a wing. The 
sound thus produced resembles the voice of a female, on hearing which the male quickly 
appears, and is an easy game for the hunter. The cry of the barred owl is imitated, which 

Vol. n.-80 



474 HABITS OF THE TURKEY. 

alarms the Turkeys, and thus betrays their presence in the darkness of night. A most com- 
mon method for cajituring the Turkeys is by means of a trap, constructed as follows : A 
covered inclosure is made of trees, about four feet high, closed excepting at one end, where a 
small opening is left, through which a small trench is dug, sloping very gradually at both 
ends, into and from the pen. The portion nearest the inclosure is covered. This passage- 
way, the interior of the pen, and the vicinity of the opening, to some distance into the forest, 
are strewn with corn. TIk* Turkeys, attracted by tlie corn, follow into the jaen, and when 
they wish to leave endeavor to get out at the sides, but have not intelligence to escape by the 
o]jening through which they entered. In this way they are sometimes entrapped in great 
numbers. 

In unsettled parts of the country the Wild Turkeys are seen to associate with tame ones, 
and to fight them. Wild Turkeys have been known to rear broods in confinement, though rarely. 

The now well-known Turkey is another example of the success with which foreign birds 
can be acclimatized in European countries, and is one of the creatures that affords great 
encouragement to the members of the Acclimatization Society to persevere in their valuable 
efforts. Indeed, if so wild a bird as the Turkey, and one so delicate in its youth, can be thus 
transferred from America to Europe, there seems every reason that the numerous birds and 
beasts mentioned by Mr. Buckland in his well-known lecture on this subject, may find a 
suitable home somewhere abroad. 

As to its qualities as a poultry bird, there is little to be said, as every reader wUl have had 
practical experience thereof, and the mode of breeding and rearing it belongs to the regular 
treatises on poultry, and does not come within the province of this work. 

Admirable descriptions of the Turkey when wild are given by Audubon and other 
writei's, and their narratives must be condensed very briefly in consequence of our rapidly 
decreasing space. 

The Turkey is spread over many parts of America, such as the wooded parts of Arkansas, 
Louisiana, Alabama, Indiana, etc., but does not seem to extend beyond the Rocky Mountains. 
It begins to mate about the middle of February, and the males then acquire those ludicrous 
gobbling sounds which have caused the bird to be called Gobbler, or Bubbling Jock, by the 
whites, and Oocoocoo by the Cherokees. In Persia, a pair of these birds, which had wandered 
there in some strange manner, were thought to speak very good Arabic, though the particular 
dialect was beyond the comprehension of the hearers. 

The female makes her nest in som.e secluded spot, and is very guarded in her approaches, 
seldom employing the same path twice in succession ; and if discovered, using various wiles 
by which to draw the intruder from the spot. As soon as the young are hatched, she takes 
them under her cliarge, and the whole family go wandering about to great distances, at first 
returning to the nest for the night, but afterwards crouching in any suitable spot. Marshy 
places are avoided by the Turkey, as wet is fatal to the young birds until they have attained 
their second suit of clothes, and wear feathers instead of down. When they are about a fort- 
night old they are able to get up into trees, and roost in the branches, safe from most of the 
numerous enemies which beset their path through life. 

The great horned owl is, however, still able and willing to snatch them from the branches, 
and would succeed oftener in its attempts were it not bafHed by the instinctive movements of 
the Turkey. Even the slight rustling of the owl's wings sets the watchful Turkeys on the 
alert, and with anxious eyes they note his movements as he sails dark and lethal over them 
in the moonbeams, his large lambent eyeballs glowing with opalescent light ; a feathered 
Azrael impending over them, and with fearful deliberation selecting his victim. Suddenly the 
stoop is made, but the intended victim is ready for the assault ; ducks down its head, flattens 
its tail over its back, and the owl, striking upon this improvised shield, finds no hold for his 
claws, and slides off his prey like water from a duck's back. The whole Hock drop from the 
boughs, and are safely hidden among the dark underwood before their enemy has recovered 
himself and renewed the attack. 

The lynx is a terrible foe to the Turkeys, bounding suddenly among them, and as they 



HABITS OF THE TURKEY. 475 

hastily rise into the air to seek the shelter of the branches, the lynx leaps upwards and strikes 
them down with his ready paw, Just as a cat knocks down sparrows on the wing. Various 
other animals and birds persecute the inoflFensive Turkey throughout its existence, but its 
worst enemy is the featherless biped. Snares of wonderful construction, traps, and "pens," 
are constantly employed for the capture of this valuable bird; the "pen" being so simple 
and withal so ingenious, that it merits a short description. 

A little square hut is made of logs, without window or door. A trench is cut in the 
ground, some ten or twelve feet in length, passing under the wall of the hut and terminating 
in its centre. A kind of bridge of flattened logs or sticks is then laid across the trench in the 
interior of the hut, close to the wall. Tlie roof is then laid, and the pen is complete. Its 
mode of action is as follows : A quantity of corn is strewn in the pen and along the trench, 
and is sparingly scattered at intervals so as to lead the Turkeys to the trench. When they 
see the corn they follow it up, feeding as they go, and finding that the trench is so well sup- 
plied, they traverse its length and pass into the pen. There is no trap-door to prevent them 
from escaping, neither is there need of it. As is the custom of trapped birds in general, they 
walk round the walls of their prison, trying to find a hole at which to escape, and peering 
anxiously through the interstices between the logs. When they come to the trench, they 
never think of going out by the way that they entered, but keeping close against the wall, 
they walk over the little bridge and recommence their tour. In this way great numbers of 
Turkeys are taken annually. 

The Turkey is a very migratory bird, passing over great distances, and retaining the habit 
in its tamed state, giving no small amount of trouble to the poultry owner. In describing one 
of these migrations, Audubon speaks as follows : — 

"About the beginning of October, when scarcely any of the seeds and fruits have fallen 
from the trees, tliese birds assemble in flocks, and gradually move towards the rich bottom- 
lands of the Ohio and Mississipi)i. The males, or, as they ai-e more commonly called, the 
gobblers, associate in parties from ten to a hundred, and search for food apart from the females, 
while the latter are seen either advancing singly, each with its brood of young, then about 
two-thirds grown, or in union with other families, forming parties often amounting to seventy 
or eighty individuals, all intent on shunning the old cocks, who, when tlie young birds have 
attained this size, will fight with and often destroy them by repeated blows on the head. 
Old and young, however, all move in the same course, and on foot, unless their progress be 
intercepted by a river, or the hunter's dog force them to take wing. 

"When they come upon a river, they betake themselves to the highest eminences, and 
there often remain a whole day, and sometimes two, as if for the purpose of consultation. 
During this time the males are heard gobbling, calling, and making much ado, and are seen 
strutting about as if to raise their courage to the pitch befitting the emergency. Even the 
females and young assume something of the same pompous demeanor, spread out their tails, 
and i-un round each other, purring loudly and performing extravagant leaps. 

"At length, when the weather appears settled, and all around is quiet, the whole party 
mount to the tops of the Mghest trees, whence, at a signal, consisting of a single cluck given 
by a leader, the flock takes flight for the opposite shore. The old and fat birds get easily 
ovei', e^'en should the river be a mile in breadth, but the younger and less robust frequently 
fall into the water, not to be drowned, however, as might be imagined ; they bring their wings 
close to their body, spread out their tail as a support, and striking out their legs with great 
vigor, proceed rapidly towards the shore ; on approaching which, should they find it too steep 
for landing, they cease their exertions for a few moments, float down the stream until they 
come to an accessible part, and by a violent elTort generally extricate themselves from the 
water. It is remarkable that immediately after crossing a large stream, they ramble about for 
some time as if bewildered. In this state they fall an easy prey to the hunter." 

The coloring of the wild male Turkey is briefly as follows : The small head and half of the 
neck are covered with a warty, naked, bluish skin, hanging in wattles from the base of the bill 



476 



THE HONDURAS TURKEY. 



and forming a long, fleshy protuberance, hanging from the base of the bill and having a tuft 
of hairs at its tip. This excrescence is capable of elongation under excitement. There is also 
a long tuft of strong black hairs hanging from the junction of the neck and breast. The general 
color of the plumage is very beautiful, gleaming with golden bronze, banded with black, and 
"shot" with violet, green, anel blue. In total length this bird measures about four feet. 

The splendid Hokduras Turkey is even a more magnificent bird than the preceding 
species. It is found, as its name imports, in the wooded districts of Hondnras and Yucatan. 

Two specimens of this splendid bird, a male and female, were brought to aviaries ; and 
I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. T. W. Wood for the following short account of its 
habits while in a state of captivity, I being at the time unable, through ill health, to visit the 



f-- 



:■! 









,>r'/V);.v 







HONDURAS TVRKEY. —Meleagris oceUmo. 



aviaries: "In the spring, the male became highly excited and stalked about mth his tail 
spread, wings drooping, and all his feathers puffed up, looking as if he would burst with 
pride. At such a time his head was thrown back so far and his breast-feathers projecting so 
far that he could not observe the ground beneath Mm, and (!onsequently he often stepped into 
the water, much to his annoyance and the visitor's amusement." 

Tlie coloring of this bird is i^eculiarly fine. The naked skin of the head and neck is 
delicate violet-blue, covered with a number of round, pea-like knobs, arranged in a cluster 
upon the crown and of a pale buff -orange, a row over the eye, and others scattered about the 
neck without any particular arrangement. The wattle hanging from the base of the- neck is 
light oi"ange at its tip. The skin round the eyes and the knobs on the neck are carmine. The 
hairy tuft on the breast is not seen in tliis species. The feathers are finely webbed, rounded, 
and scale-like, and their colors are truly splendid. On the lower part of the neck and upper 



THE GUINEA FOWL. 47 7 

part of the back they are bronze-green banded with black and gold ; and towards the tail the 
^'reen assumes a flashing emerald hup, and the gold band becomes wider and darker with fiery- 
red, like the throat of the ruby-tliroated humming-bird. The tail-coverts are furnished with 
bold "eyes" at their tips, and the lower parts of the body are also bronze-green and black, 
but without the lustre of the upper parts. The primary feathers of the wings are black edged 
with wliite, and the secondaries have the outer webs wholly white. The greater coverts are 
rich chestnut, and the legs and feet are lake. In size this bird is rather smaller than the 
common Turkey. 

The ^Mexican or Honduras Turkey is a variety of the Western Wild Turkey, differing in 
the coloration and strength of metallic gloss. In this bird the black, sub-terminal zone of the 
tail has a more or less distinct metallic bronzing. The tips of the upper tail-coverts have a 
pale ochraceous, instead of pure white. 

This variety is the one from which our domestic Turkey originated, and not the one found 
in the eastern parts of the United States. 

Professor Baird says of the history of this bird as a domestic one: "So involved in 
obscurity is the early history of the Turkey, and so ignorant do the writers of the sixteenth 
century appear to have been about it, that they have regarded it as a bird known to the ancients 
by the name meleagris (really the Guinea Fowl, or Pintado), a mistake which was not cleared 
up till the middle of the eighteenth century. The appellation of Turkey which this bird bears 
in England arose from the supposition that the bird came originally from the country of that 
name, — an idea entirely erroneous, as it owes its origin to the New World. Mexico was first 
discovered by Grigalva in 1518. Oveido speaks of the Turkey as a kind of Peacock abounding 
in New Spain, which had already, in loSO, been transported in a domestic state to the West 
India Islands and the Spanish Main, where it was kept by the Christian colonists. It is reported 
to have been introduced into England in 1541. In lo73 it had become the Christmas fare of 
the farmer." 

It is stated that zoological gardens were kept in Mexico at tlie time of the Conquest, and 
that then wild Turkeys were fed out to the animals, so abundant were they. It is thought 
that these birds were then domesticated, and had been, perhaps, a long time previously, and 
that they were introduced into Europe about the first of the sixteenth century. 

The prettily spotted Guinea Fowl, or Pintado, is, although now domesticated in foreign 
countries, a native of Africa, and with some exceptions, has much of the habits and propen- 
sities of the turkey, which bird it evidently represents. 

Like the turkey, it is a confirmed wanderer, travelling continually during the day, and perch- 
ing on the branches to roost at night. It differs from the turkey, however, in its choice of local- 
ity, for whereas the turkey always keeps itself to the driest spots, shunning the low-lying lands 
as fatal to its young, the GuineA Fowl has a special liking for the marshes, and may generally 
be found among the most humid spots or upon the banks of rivers. It is a gregarious bird, 
assembling in large bands, which traverse the country in company. The flight of the Pintado 
is seldom extended to any great distance, as the body is heavy in proportion to the power of 
wing, and the bird is forced to take short and hasty flights, with much flapping of the wings, 
and to trust mostly to its legs for locomotion. On the ground the Guinea Fowl is a very swift 
bird, as is well known to those who have tried to catch'it in an open field. 

Both in the wild and the captive state the Guinea Fowl is wary and suspicious, and par- 
ticularly careful not to betray the position of its nest, thus often giving great trouble to the 
farmer. Sometimes when the breeding season approaches, the female Pintado will hide her- 
self and nest so effectually that the only indication of her proceedings is her subsequent 
appearance with a brood of young around her. The number of eggs is rather large, being 
seldom below ten, and often double that number. Tlieir color is yell()wish-red, covered with 
very little dark spots, and their size is less than that of the common fowl. Their shells are 
extremely hard and thick, and when boiled for the table require some little exertion to open 
properly. 

Every one knows the curious, almost articulate cry of the Guinea Fowl, its " Come-back ! 



478 



THE IMPEYAN PHEASANT. 



come-back !" being continually uttered wherever the bird is kept, and often affording a clue to 
its presence. This bird has been imported into America and several of the AVest Indian islands, 
where it has entirely acclimatized itself, and has increased so much in numbers as to be reck- 
oned among the game birds and shot accordingly. In the poultry-yard it is not always a 
desirable inmate, partly on account of its wandering habits, sometimes extending over a mile 
or two of the surrounding country, and i^artly because it is so pugnacious, quarrelling with 
the fowls and pecking them sharply with its hard beak. Still, as its flesh when young is very 
good, and the cost of its keep very trifling, it is a profitable bird if well watched. 

The forehead of the Guinea Fowl is surmounted with a horny casque, and the naked skin 
round the eyes falls in wattles below the throat. In the male the wattles are purjiHsh-red^ 




GXJINEA FOWL.— Auwiii/a fjucluiani and crwtata, 

and in the female they are red without any mixture of blue, and are of smaller size. The legs 
are without spurs. The pretty spotted plumage of this bird is too well kno\vn to need descrip- 
tion. Another species of the same genus, the Crested Guinea Fowl, is remarkable for a 
large crest of arched feathers upon its head, taking the ytlace of the casque of the common 
species. Tlie color of the Crested Guinea Fowl is blue-black, each feather having from four to 
six grayish spots. The primary feathers of the wings are oaken-brown, and the edges of the 
secondaries snowy -white, forming a bold contrast with the extremely dark plumage of the body. 



A.LTH0UGH less In size than the peacock, and without the wonderful train of that bird, the 
Impeyan Pheasant, or Monal, is nearly as splendid a creature, and but for the absence of 
the train, would even surp^iss it in the glory of its hu(>s. 

On looking at a living or well-stuffed male Monal it strongly reminds the observer of the 



THE PARTRIDGE. 479' 

humming-birds and looks as if one of those glittering little beings had been suddenly magni- 
fied to a thousand times its size. The plumage of the Impeyan Pheasant has tlie appearance 
of having been cut out of thin Hakes of nacre or mother-of-pearl, their shining polished sur- 
face, their deep changing hues of azure, metallic-green, ametliystine-purple, and fiery-orange, 
being just like the effect produced by the finest nacre when rightly cut. 

Although possessed of such flashing hues, which are mostly the offspring of a tropical sun, 
the Impeyan Pheasant inhabits the cold, snowy regions of the Himalayas. This wondrously 
magnificent bii'd breeds without difficulty, and endures severe frosts with impunity. As far 
as is known, it remains entirely in the higher regions of its native land, and never descends to 
the plains. The food of this bird consists mostly of bulbous roots, which it digs out of the 
ground with its peculiarly curved and sharp beak. Even in captivity the Impeyan Pheasant 
will often indulge in many quaint and grotesque actions, especially towards the pairing-time, 
when all birds like to show themselves off to the best advantage. 

The coloring of this gorgeous bii-d may be briefly described as follows : The head and 
throat are of a metallic golden-green, and the feathers of the crest are bare shafted for the 
greater part of their length, and spread at their tips into flattened spatula- shaped ends. The 
lower part of the neck and top of the back are rich shining purple with green and red reflec- 
tions, and the feathers are all lancet-shaped. Across the lower part of the back there is a 
broad band of pure snowy-white, and the tail is reddish-brown, baiTed irregularly with a 
darker hue. The rest of the plumage is deep steely blue. The legs are spurred, and the gen- 
eral form is strong and robust. The female is a very sober-plumaged bird, without the lofty 
crest or gorgeous colors of her mate. Her feathers are mostly dull brown, mottled with gray 
and ochry-yellow, and there is a broad white patch imder the chin and throat. She is also 
smaller than her mate. 

PARTRIDGES. 

Of the many members of the Perdicine gxoup, we shall take only five examples, the first ' 
of which is the well-known Partridge. 

This bird, so dear to sportsmen, is found spi'ead over the greater part of Europe and North 
America, always being found most plentifully near cultivated ground. It feeds upon various 
substances, such as grain and seeds in the autumn, and green leaves and insects in the spring 
and early summer. In all probability this bird, although it may do some damage to the corn- 
fields, may stiU be very useful to the farmer by its unceasing war upon the smaller " vermin," 
that devastate the fields and injure the crops. Small slugs are a favorite diet with the Par- 
tridge, which has a special faculty for discovering them in the recesses where they hide them- 
selves during the day, and can even hunt successfully after the eggs of these destructive 
creatures. Caterpillars are also eaten by this bird, and the terrible black grub of the turnip is 
consumed in great numbers by the Partridges. Even the white cabbage butterfly, whose 
numerous offspring are so hurtful in the kitchen garden, falls a victim to the quick-eyed Par- 
tridge, wliich leaps into the air and seizes it in its beak as the white-winged pest comes flutter- 
ing unsuspectingly over the bird's head. 

The Partridge begins to lay about the end of April, gathering together a bundle of dried 
gi-asses into some shallow depression in the ground, and depositing therein a clutch of eggs, 
generally from twelve to twenty in number. Sometimes a still greater number have been 
found, but in these cases it is tolei-ably evident from many observations that several birds have 
laid in the same nest. Now and then a number of pheasants' eggs are found in the nest of a 
Partridge, and vice versa, the pheasant seeming, however, to be the usurper in most instances. 
The Partridge is singularly careless of the position of her nest, placing it in the most exposed 
situations, and sitting upon the eggs with perfect contentment, although within a yard or two 
of a footpath. Indeed, I have found the nest of this bird, with six or seven eggs, so close to a 
frequented pathway running through a little copse, that a careless step to one side might have 
broken the eggs. In color the eggs are not unlike those of the pheasant, being of a smooth 
olive-brown. 



480 THE PARTRIDGE. 

The mother-bird sits very closely, and is not easily frightened from her charge ; and during 
the last day or two of incubation she is so fearless that she will not suffer herself to be dis- 
tui-bed, and will allow the scythe of tlie mower to kill her on her nest rather than desert her 
home. Sitting Partridges have sometimes allowed themselves to be taken by hand. When 
imminent danger threatens the nest, the mother-bird has been known to carry off the eggs and 
convey them to a place of safety, executing the task in a wonderfully short space of time. Mr. 
Jesse mentions one such instance, where there were twenty-one eggs, the whole of which were 
removed to a distance of forty yards in about twenty minutes. It is probable that the cock 
bird assisted his mate in her labors. 

When the young are hatched they are strong on their legs at once, running about with 
ease, and mostly leaving the nest on the same day. The mother takes her little new-born 
brood to their feeding-places, generally ant-hills or caterpillar-haunted spots, and aids them in 
their search after food by scratching away the soil witli her feet. Tlie nests of the wood-ant, 
which are mostly found in lir plantations or hilly ground, being very full of inhabitants, very 
easily torn to pieces, and the ants and their larvae and pupae being very large, are favorite 
feeding-places of the Partridge, which in such localities is said to acquire a better flavor than 
among the lower pasture lands. 

The young brood, technically called a ' ' covey, ' ' associate together, and have a very strong 
local tendency, adhering with great pertinacity to tlie same field or patch of land. When 
together they are mostly rather wild, and dart off at the least alarm with their well-known 
whirring flight, just topping a hedge or wall and settling on the other side till again put up ; 
but when the members of the covey are separated they seem to dread the air, and crouch 
closely to the ground, so that it is the object of the sportsman to scatter the covey and to pick 
them up singly. They are always alarmed at a soaring bird, whether of prey or not, and squat 
closely to the ground. When they are very wild and shy, the sportsmen take advantage of 
this propensity, and fly a kite shaped like a hawk over them, thus inducing them to lie 
frightened on the ground until the dog can point them in the proper fashion. Even a common, 
long-tailed, round-shouldered boy's kite vdll answer the pift'pose well enough. Some punctil- 
ious sportsmen, however, denounce the kite as a trick only worthy of a poacher, and would 
i-ather walk after the birds all day without getting a shot than secure a full bag by the use of 
such a device. 

About the middle or end of February, according to the mildness or inclemency of the 
season, the Partridge begins to pair ; and as the male birds are very numerous, they fight 
desperate battles for the object of their love. While engaged in combat, they are so deeply 
absorbed in battle, that they may be approached quite closely, as they whirl round and round, 
grasping each other by the beak, and have even been taken by hand. So strong, however, is- 
the warlike instinct, that, when released, the furious birds recommenced the quarrel. 

The females take no part in these battles ; waiting quietly, like the strong-minded heroines 
of romance, to abide the issue of the combat, and to reward the victors with their love. Not 
that they are devoid of courage, but they reserve its display for a better purpose, namely, the 
defence of their young. Should a hen Partridge be disturbed while in charge of her little 
brood, she will endeavor to put them out of dangei', and to draw the intruder aside by the 
exertion of many a crafty while. But should the enemy come upon them too suddenly to 
be deceived by cunning, she will boldly dash at the foe, and, with self-sacrificing courage, 
attack with beak, foot, and wing, until the enemy has left the ground, or herself is killed, 
knowing that her young charge are taking advantage of the time to place themselves in 
safety. Small though the bird may be, it can strike with considerable force, and has been 
known to inflict some i:)ainful wounds on the faces of human beings who have suddenly dis- 
turbed a brood of young. 

Though strong and rapid of flight for a short distance, the Partridge loves not to trust 
itself over much to the air, and cannot fly to any great distance without alighting. When 
these birds are forced to pass over wide livers or arms of the sea, they are often so wearied 
that they fall into the water, and these are mostly drowned, having but little idea of swim- 
ming, beyond the idea that they are to sit still and trust to their fortune. A bird thus fallen 




SELMAR HESS. PUBLISHER, N y. 



PARTRIDGE. 



THE RED-LEO GED PARTRIDGE. 



481 



into the sea will sometimes be washed to shore, should the tide be favorable, but in fresh water 
it is generally drowned, or snapped up by a hawk from above, or a big pike from below, should 
such fresh-water sharks feed in that locality.- 

The plumage of the Partridge is brown of several shades above, mingled with gray. The 
breast is gray, with a horseshoe-like patch of Tich chestnut on its lower portion, and the 
sides and flanks are barred with chestnut. The total length of the male bird is rather more 
than a foot ; the female is smaller than her mate, and the chestnut bars on the flanks are 
broader than those of the male. 

The Red-legged Partridge is a larger and stronger bird than the common species, from 
which it may at once be distinguished by tlie black bar over the forehead, behind the eye and 



2flSii- '■• 







EED-LEGGED fAHTRlDQE.- Caaabu ruUra 



round the breast, as well as by the black streaks that pass from the neck towards the tail, 
and the conspicuous gray, fawn, and black bars on the flanks. 

This bird is common in England, France, and Italy, and thrives so well that, like the Nor- 
wegian rat, it has in some places fairly driven away the original breed, and usurped their 
territory. It is much stronger on the wing than tlie common Partridge, and yet is so swift and 
active of foot that it cannot easily be induced to rise, but runs away from the dogs \vith such 
speed that it often baflies their best efforts to start it within sliot range. According to Yarrell, 
they are difficult of capture even when wounded, as they have a habit of running into rabbit- 
holes or similar sanctuaries, whence they cannot be dislodged without costing too much of the 
sportsman's time. These birds seem to prefer heaths and commons to the turnip and corn- 
fields as frequented by the common Partridge. 

The eggs of this species are very numerous, averaging sixteen or seventeen in each 
nest ; and their color is unlike those of the ordinary species, being yellowish-white, with 
a dash of yellow, and covered with spots of reddish -brown. The food is the same as that of 
the ordinary breed. 

The plumage of this bird is altogether smoother than that of the last-mentioned species. 
The upper parts of the body are soft brown. Before and behind the eye there is a line of 
white, and a bold stripe of black runs over the forehead to the eye, then starts from behind 

Vol. n.-6t 



482 THE QUAIL. 

the eye and runs along the sides of the neck over the breast, where it is very broad. A num- 
ber of h\-M-\\ dotted streaks extend from the black stripe so as to form an interrupted band of 
black over the shoulders. The breast is gray, +he abdomen is fawn, and the feathers of the 
flanks and sides are marked with curved bands of gray, white, black, and fawn. The legs and 
beak are red. The total length of this bird is between thirteen and fourteen inches. The 
female is like the male, but smaller and not quite so brightly colored. 

The Sanguine Francolin may fairly be reckoned as the finest of its group. 

This splendid bird inhaliits the great Hirualayan range, and is thought to be peculiar to 
that region. Very little is known of its habits, the fullest account being that given by Dr. 
Hooker, and quoted by Mr. Gould in his " Birds of Asia." 

"This, the boldest of the Alpine birds of its kind, frequents the mountain ranges of 
Eastern Nepiil and 8ikkim, at an elevation varying from 10,000 to 14,000 feet, and is very 
abundant in many of the valleys among the forests of jjine {Abies Webbiana) and junijier. It 
seldom or never crows, but emits a weak cackling noise. When put up, it takes a very short 
flight, and then rims to shelter. During winter it appears to burrow under the hills among 
the snow, for I have snared it in January, in regions thickly covered with snow, at an altitude 
of 12,000 feet. I have seen the young in May. 

"The principal food of this bird consisting of the tops of the pine and juniper in spring, 
and the berries of the latter in autumn and winter, its flesh has always a very strong flavor, 
and is, moreover, uncommonly tough ; it was, however, the only bird I obtained at these great 
elevations in tolerable abundance for food, and that not very frequently. 

" The Bhoteas say that it acquires a distinct spur every year ; certain it is, that they are 
more numerous than in any other bird, and that they are not alike on both legs. I could 
not discover the cause of this difference, neither could I learn if they were produced at differ- 
ent times. I believe that five on one leg and four on the other is the greatest number I have 
observed." 

The coloring and arrangement of their plumage are very complete, and entirely different 
in the two sexes. In the male, the forehead and a line round the eyes are black, and the crest 
is gray with buff streaks. The chin and tliroat are deep blood-red, and the upper part of the 
breast is white streaked with black. The feathers of the back and wh<;le of the upper surface 
are slaty-gray, each having a streak of white crossed with black down the centre ; and the 
breast and upper part of the abdomen are light green, streaked witli blood-red and white. 
Tiie lower part of the abdomen is biown-gray. The upper tail-covei'ts are blood-red, with 
a long narrow streak of yellow down the centi-e of each feather ; and the tail is white at the 
ti}), and each' feather is broadly crossed with blood-red at the base. The bill is black at the 
tip and red at the base, and the legs and feet are deep pinky-red. The female is a bird of very 
sober plumage, being reddish-brown, lighter on the head and neck, and freckled with black 
on the back. The under surface is rather redder than the upper. In size, the Sanguine Fran- 
colin about equals an ordinary fowl. 

The odd, short-legged, round-bodied, quick-footed Quail is closely allied to the partridge 
in form and many of its habits. Of these birds there are many species ; but as all are much 
alike, tliere is no need of many examples. 

The common Quail is found spread over the greater part of Europe, and portions of Asia 
and Africa, coming in the summer, though not in very great numbers. In Italy and some of 
the warmer lands which the Quails traverse during their periodical migrations, the iidiabitants 
look forward to the arrival of the Quail with the greatest anxiety. In those countries they are 
shot, snared, and netted by thousands ; and it is chiefly from the foreign markets that our game 
shops are supplied witli these birds. When fat, the flesh of the Quail is veiy delicious ; and 
the most approved way of coolung the bird is to envelop it in a very thin slice of ba(!on, tie it 
up in a large vine-leaf, and then roast it. 

In Iheir migrations the Quails fly by niglit, a peculiarity which has been noted in the 
Scriptural record of the Exodus, where it is mentioned, that "at even the Quails came up and 



THE NEST OF THE QUAIL. 



A^':i 



•covered the camp." Mr. Yarrell suggests, that the object of this nocturnal journeying may be 
to save the defenceless birds from the attacks of the numerous birds of prey, which would 
probably assail tlieni were they to travel during the daytime. There are, however, larger and 
more powerful birds, which need no such safeguard, and yet are in the habit of travelling by 
night, as well as the Quail. 

It is rather curious, that the males precede the females by several days, and are conse 
quently more persecuted by the professional fowlers. 

The male bird does not pair lilie the partridge, but takes to himself a plurality of wives, 
iind, as is generally the case with such polygamists, has to fight many desperate battles with 










lil}AIL.— CoturHij; commuiiie. 



others of its own sex. Although ill provided with weapons of offence, the Quail is as fiery 
and courageous a bird as the gamecock ; and in Eastern countries is largely kept and trained 
for the pui-pose of fighting prize-battles, on the result of which the owners stake large sums. 
The note of the male is a kind of shrill whistle, which is only heard during the breeding 
season. 

The nest of the Quail is of no better construction than that of the partridge, being merely 
a few bits of hay and dried herbage gathered into some little depression in the bare ground, 
and generally entrusted under the protection of corn-stalks, clover, or a tuft of rank grass. 
The number of eggs is generally about fourteen or fifteen, and their color is buffy-white, marked 
with patches or speckles of brown. The young are able to run about almost immediately after 
they leave the eggs, and are led by their parent to their food. However wild they may be, 
many of these birds are killed by a very simple device. The sportsman having marked down 
a covey of Quails, walks round them in circles sufiicientiy large not to alarm them, and as he 
returns towards the spot whence he started, he strikes off for anotlier circle of less diameter. 
By d,escribing a gradually lessening spiral, he drives all the Quails together in the middle, 
where they pack closely and suffer themselves to be Idlled in numbers. 

The coloring of the Quail is simple, but pleasing. The head is dark brown, except a 



484 THE VIRGINIAN QUAIL. 

streak of pale brown over the eyes, and another on the top of tlie head jiassing towards the 
nape of the neclv. The whole upper surface is brown streaked with yellow-brown, and the 
feathers with lighter shafts. The chin and throat are white, and around the throat run two 
semicircular bands of dark brown, their points reaching as high as the ear-coverts and having 
a black patch in front. The breast is rather pale but warm brown, variegated by the polished 
straw-color of the shafts, and the remainder of the under surface is ochry-white deepening 
into chestnut on the flanks. The female may be known by the absence of the two dark semi- 
circles on the throat, which even in the male are not acquired until the second year, and 
the little dark spots on the feathers of the breast. The total length of the Quail is about seven 
inches. 

An allied species is found in many parts of North America, and is known by the name of 
the Virginian Quail. In popular parlance, however, it is generally called the Partridge, 
greatly to the confusion of young ornithologists. On account of its peculiar cry, it is also 
called " Bob- White," its clear call-note bearing considerable resemblance to those words. 

The Virginian Quail genei'ally keeps itself to the open ground, preferring those spots 
where grain is plentiful. Sometimes, however, it shelters itself among the trees or brush- 
wood, but even then seems to pass but little of its time in such retreats. During the winter 
it gains courage by hunger, approaching human habitations in search of food, and boldly 
fighting with the poultry for the grain thrown to them. Oftentimes the eggs are placed under 
the domestic hen, and in that case the young birds are very tame, provided that the foster- 
mother is of a quiet stay-at-home temper, and not given to roam. Wilson informs us that 
two young Quails, wMch had been hatched by a hen. attached tliemselves to the cows, accom- 
jianyingthem regularly to the field; standing by them when they were milked, retiring with 
them in the evening, and roosting in the stable. These interesting little birds unfortunately 
disappeared in the sijring. 

As the flesh of the Quail is particularly excellent, it is greatly persecuted in the winter 
time, when it is easily attracted by baits. Ten or fifteen at a time are often caught in a con- 
trivance that much resembles the common sieve-trap, saving that a kind of coop supplies the 
place of the sieve. 

In the wild state the Quail makes its rude nest under the shelter of corn or grass-tufts, 
and then lays from fifteen to twenty -four pure white eggs. As is the case with the European 
Quail, the young are able to run about as soon as they are fairly free of the shell, and are 
guided by their mother to tlie best feeding-places. Tlie old bird is peculiarly watchful of her 
charge, and if she should be suddenly surprised, she endeavors to draw off the attention of 
the intruder by feigning lameness, flai:)ping along the ground as if with a broken wing, in 
order to gain time for the helpless young to conceal themselves. At night the Quails prefer to 
roost on some elevated spot in the middle of a field, and it appears that they sit in a circle 
with their heads radiating outwards and their tails almost touching each other. 

The top of the head and the upper part of the breast are warm reddish-brown, the chin is 
pure white, and a streak of white runs from beliind the eye along the neck. The sides of the 
neck are also reddish-brown spotted with black and white. The upper surface of the body is 
reddish -browai sprinkled with ashy-gray and black. The wings are gray-brown, and the 
tertials edged with yellomsh-white. The abdomen and lower parts of the breast are yellowish- 
white, marked with spear-head dashes of black. The female is known by the yellowish brown 
of the chin and sides of the head. It is a larger bird than the European Quail, being about 
nine inches long. 

The genus Ortyx embraces numerous species more or less resembling the well-known 
Bob- White of North America. Most of them are found in Mexico, Central America, and the 
West Indies. North America and the West India islands contain but one species, which is 
extremely variable in plumage. 

The Virginian Quail, so called, but more properly Bob- White, is, perhaps, one of the 
most fandliar of American birds. Its well-known call is adopted by American naturalists aa 



^^^ Hnimate Creation. &.^^ 



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S 'iS\^7'E have concluded to submit for public patronage a work with the above title, being a series 
g 'n V\y' of exquisite Engravings representing the Animal VVokld, executed with great scientific 
t g accuracy, and accompanied by full Descriptive Text, written in popular terms, so as to 

^ delight and instruct the people. Anyone who has considered the subject must be at a loss to under- 
£ -S stand why an ILLUSTRATED Natural History, comprehensive and at the same time popular, 

- "o has not before this been published in this country. Indeed any lover of animals who has visited the 
great museums and zoological gardens and has had access to books of engravings in the public 
libraries, could not fail to remark the wealth of material in existence devoted to this subject. Being 
confirmed in our conviction of the desirability of such a work-, we laid under contribution the best 
existing authorities for the production of most perfect representations of all the more important 
living creatures, and among the artists whose delineations will delight the reader, we may mention 
Harrison Weir, Wolf, Coleman, Fr. Specht, and Mutzel. By far the majority of the engravings in 
these volumes are from drawings made from the living animals, many at the Zoological Society's 
Gardens in London, England. 

We purpose that our patrons shall be aided and interested in their study by such an array of 
pictures as has never before embellished any Natural Historj'. In numerous instances the engra\'ing 
is printed in oil-colors, and this portion of the illustrations has been taken charge of by Messrs. L. 
Prang & Co., of Boston, who we believe rank foremost for high artistic results in this department of 
printing. These Oleographs were copied under the superintendence of Mr. Prang from the renowned 
" Tafeln " of " Brehms Thierleben," so that they may be declared perfectly reliable. 

We sought competent advice from various sources as to the most suitable text that should ac- 
company this panorama of handsome Engravings. It was found impossible to embody all the present 
ideas of naturalists in a single work like this on account of the rapid advances and constant changes in 
their knowledge of, and habits of thought respecting, the Animal World. And it seemed to us cor- 
rect that the true object of Zoology is not to arrange, to number, and to ticket animals in a formal 
inventory, but to inquire into their life-nature, and not simply to investigate the lifeless organism. 

What do we know of " Man " from the dissecting-room ? Is it not Man, the warrior, the states- 
man, the poet, etc., that we are interested in? With all venei-ation which attaches itself to those 
who are the accredited possessors of abstruse learning, their inordinate use of phraseology detracts 
too much, we fear, from the fascination that the study of the Animal World would otherwise yield, 
and as we are not content to have our work restricted to a favored few, we thought the task placed 
in our hands to be to keep the work free from a repellant vocabulary of conventional technicalities. 
'^ t! £ ^ u Our endeavor has been to find an author whose work would be noted for its fund of anecdote and 
*-• -Q > o ^ vitality rather than for merely anatomical and scientific presentation, and we arrived at the conclu- 
>Si J -c "^ i sion that we could not do better than avail ourselv'e^ of the Rev. T. G. Wood's comprehensive work 
j; -g o S — a work most popularly approved by speakers of the English language. It would be superfluous to 
<" E .M .S say one word concerning the standard character of his book, from the pages of which old and young 
■B o -H °* at the other side of the Atlantic have obtained so much instruction and rational amusement. Avoid- 
S -o " § ing the lengthened dissertations and minute classifications of specialists, he presents to his readers in 
S S I " popular terms a complete treatise on the Animal Kingdom of all climes and countries. The one 
.S 1 '3 I objection that could be urged against it was, that animal life in America might be treated more fully 

- ^> 5 and American forms given more consideration. ' In order to obviate this drawback and to do full 
J. g_'| i justice to the creatures of our own country, we secured the aid of Dr. J. B. Holder, of the Ameri- 
•■$ Z J A '-^'^ Museum of Natural History in New York, an undoubted American authority, who has adapted 

1 M u J Wood's work to American wants and given prominence to American forms of Animal life. 

S M ."i. The splendid work on Rodentia, by Allen, Coues, and others, will be fully consulted. The 

^ 13 M R valuable work on North American Birds, by Baird, Brewer, and Ridgvvay, will be the guide in the 
^ u .''^. : treatment of birds. The late arrangement of the classification and nomenclature of North American 
iii J o S = Birds, by Mr. Ridgway, and the Committee on that subject of the Ornithologists' Union, will be 
^ V I w ^ utilized in full. The arrangement of Mammals will be after the latest classification by Professor 
^ S ';^ ^ So Flower, of the Zoological Society of London. So that this will be the first popular Natural History 

worthy of the name that has made its appearance here, which gives due and full recognition to the 

animate world surrounding us. 

Zcx\w5 Of publication. 

The extent of the work will be 68 parts of 28 pages, at the price of 25 cents each. The entire publication will 
contain 34 Oleographs and <J8 Full Page Engravings on Wood, besides many hundreds of exquisite Illustrations 
interspersed through the text. The parts will be issued every two weeks, and are payable only as delivered. No 
subscriber's name will be received for less than the entire work, and anyone removing, or not regularly supplied, will 
please address the Publisher by mail. 

N.E. SELMAR HESS, Publisher, New York. . 






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ISSUED BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY, AND NOT FOR SALE IN BOOK STORES. 




PART 42 



COMPLETE IN 68 PARTS. 



25 CENTS. 



GAMBEV8 QUAIL. 485 

a good designation, and we hereby unite with them in a desire to droi^ the name Quail, wliich 
is only appropriately applied to the European migrating bird of that name. Though so com- 
mon in New England, it is not found in Maine and the northern portions of Vermont and New 
Hampshire. In most ^Vestern States, including New York, it is seen farther north, and it has 
even been seen near Hamilton, in Southern Canada. 

This bird is not migratory, rarely leaving its breeding-places. In severe winters it suffers 
from hunger, large numbers often succumbing when the snow has buried out of reach the 
sparsely distributed dried fruits of the forest. 

In country towns, where the Bob- Whites are not molested, they become quite tame, and 
resort to the barn-yards to eat scattered grain with the poultry. They are much esteemed 
as a.n article of food of great delicacy. 

Dr. Brewer thinks that the large number of eggs is owing to several females laying in the 
same nest. He thinks that the nundwr of one bird is never more than eight. They have two 
broods in a season; the second one comes out in August, when the males are engaged in lead- 
ing the first brood, of which he takes charge when they are not more than half-grown. 

Dr. Bachman, of Charleston, S. C, made very successful experiments in domesticating 
this bird, hatching their eggs under a bantam hen. 

An experiment was instituted in Great Salt Lake ^^alley of introducing a number of these 
birds, and proved very satisfactory. A variety found in Texas differs in color of plumage ; it 
is there called Common Partridge. Other varieties are noticed ; tliose found in Florida consti- 
tuting one. 

The MotTNTAiN Quail (Orenrtyx ■picfn-'^) is a beautiful species ; not aliundant in any 
locality, but occurs sparingly in Oregon and California. It is essentially a mountain bird. 
Its habit of frequenting the chapai'ral renders it safe from intrusion, and, seemingly knowing 
this, it seldom takes flight. Its call note, when the flock is scattered, is almost like that of 
the hen-turkey, or propoi'tionally weaker. The male has a pleasant crowing note. The 
settlers in Nevada say that these l)irds were not known tliere until after the settlement by the 
whites, and regard their presence now as the result of numbers following the baggage wagons 
of the travellers to pick tip grain left by the cattle. 

California Quail {Lnphortyx callfornica). Tliis is rather superior, in point of beauty 
of form and gracefulness of carriage, to the other species. The pompon-like tuft on its head 
is especially stylish, so to speak. Its local name is Valley Quail, to distinguish it from the 
preceding. It inhabits the prairies and grain-fields of the cultivated districts, and frequents 
the thickets that border the sti-eams, usually in coveys of fi-om a dozen to a hundred indi- 
viduals, except during the breeding seasons, when it is found only in pairs. 

It has the same habit of mounting a log or fence, and uttering its peculiar note, but, 
instead of the pleasant notes of the Bob-AVhite, its utterance is harsh, and resembles the 
syllables l-uc7c, AylcA; A-ucJc-M., the first tliree notes being rapidly repeated, the last prolonged 
with a falling inflection. 

This, as is the case with other species, is not esteemed for eating as is the Eastern or 
Virginia Quail, Bob-White. It is easily domesticated, and forms a beautiful addition to the 
poultry-yard or park. 

A number of these birds were introduced into Long Island, and promised to thrive, but 
the numerous gunners soon exterminated them. r- 

Gambel's Quail {LopTiortyx gamhel'i). This species is confined to a narrow belt of 
country between the 31st and the 34th parallel of latitude, from the Pecos River, in Texas, 
to the Sierra Nevada and the contiguous desert in California. It has not been found on the 
western side of those mountains. It is abundant around the sources of the Gila River, and 
also common along the Colorado, as far as the mouth of the Gila. It is regarded as less wild 
than the preceding. The voice of the male is very pleasant ; it is like Ma-wale, kaa-ioale, 
slowly uttered in a low tone, yet the voice is heard at a great distance. This is heard at 



486 



MA8SENA rARTRIDGE. 



evening during short intervals, for about an lioui-. ^Vhen the brood is grown and dispersed, 
the call is said to be qiia-el, qun-el. Like the other species, it feeds on insects and berries. It 
is so tame that it fearlessly resorts to the Mexican villages to feed -with the poultry around 
the ranches, and readily becomes partly domesticated. \Vhen pursued, it rarely Hies, but 
trusts to its feet as the safest aid to escape. It I'aises two and, sometimes, three broods in a 
season. A single brood sometimes has twenty young. It is said to have three distinct notes: 
the common cry, a single mellow clear diiil; with a metallic resonance, then a clear loud 
energetic whistle, resembling the syllables killink, hllUnJc, heard mostly in the pairing season, 
and is analogous to the Bob-White of the common Quail. The third is the love song, which, 
Dr. Coues saj^s, is most unmusical. It is uttered l)y the male while the mate is incubating. 



/Xi^ljA i^ 



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^Uftlun i, ' 



CALIFORNLA. <^VA.\\^.—LuijlioHy.c adlfuiiuca. 

This song is poured forth at sunrise and at sunset, from the topmost twig near the spot where 
his mate is sitting, while with outstretched neck and drooping wngs, and plume negligently 
dangling, he gives utterance to his odd, guttural notes. 

The tiight of this Quail is remarkably rapid, even, and direct. 

Scaled or Bltie Partridge (GaUifpepla squamata). This species inhabits the entire 
valley of the Rio Grande, which embraces every variety of climate. It is always resident 
where found. It is wild and watchful, and exceedingly swift of foot, rivalling all other 
species in this respect, and seldom or never resorting to flight for escape. Its quality as an 
edible is superior. Quite unlike other sjiecies, it seems to be intractable, resisting all attemi)ts 
at dcjmestication, though in Mexico it is said to be in the habit of visiting the ranches to pick 
up grains. 



Massena Partridge {Cijrfoayx mnsifienn) has somewhat tlie same range of habitat as 
the preceding, along tlie valley of the Rio (frande. It is said to be much more retiiing than 
other species, living far from the habitations of man, and preferring thickly-wooded places. 
Its habits are quite different from all others. Its pecsuliar form is owing to a habit of carrying 



THE GAPBRCAILLIE. 



487 



its head resting on its shoulders. It has the reputation of being exceedingly gentle and 
amiable, and is more tame and more disposed to be domestic than any other, even permitting 
one to take it up by the hand. Its movements are habitually slow and deliberate. 

The Capercaillie, also known by the names Cock of the Woods, Mountain Cock, 
Auerhahn, and Capercailzie, is now mostly frequently found in the northern parts of Europe, 
Norway and Sweden being very favorite homes. 

The CapercaiUie is celebrated, not only for its great size and the excellence of its fiesh, 
but for its singular habits just previous to and during the breeding season. Mr. Lloyd has 
given so excellent an account of these curious proceedings, that they must be told in his own 
words : — 




CAPERCAn.LIE.— 7V<?-oo urogaUus. 



" At this period, and often when the ground is still deeply covered with snow, the cock 
stations himself on a pine and commences his love song, or play, as it is termed in Sweden, to 
attract the hens about him. This is usually from the first dawn of day to sunrise, or from a 
little after sunset until it is quite dark. Tlie time, however, more or less depends upon the 
mildness of the weather and the advanced state of the season. 

"During his 'play,' the neck of the Capercaillie is stretched out, his tail is raised and 
spread like a fan, his wings droop, his feathers are ruffled up, and, in short, he much resembles 
an angry turkey-cock. He begins his play with a call something resembling Peller ! peller ! 



488 THE CAPERCAILLIE. 

peller ! These sounds he repeats at first at some little intervals ; but as he proceeds, they 
increase in rapidity, until at last, and after perhaps the lapse of a minute or so, he makes a 
sort of gulp in his throat and iinishes with sucking in, as it were, his breath. 

"".During the continuance of this latter process, which only lasts a few seconds, the head 
of the Capercaillie is thrown up, his eyes are partially closed, and his whole appearance would 
denote that he is worked up into an agony of passion. At this time his faculties are much 
absorbed, and it is not difficult to approach him. . . . The play of the Capercaillie is not 
loud, and should there be any wind stirring in the trees at the time, it cannot be heard at any 
considerable distance. Indeed, during the calmest and most favoi'able weather, it is not 
audible at more than two or three hundred paces. 

" On hearing the call of the cock, the hens, whose cry in some degree resembles the croak 
of the raven, or rather perhaps the sounds, Gorli ! GocJc! GocJi ! assemble from all parts of 
the surrounding forest. The male bird now descends from the eminence on which he was 
perched, to the ground, where he and his female friends join company. 

" The Capercaillie does not play indiscriminately over the forest, Init he has his certain 
stations (Tjader-lek, which may perhaps be rendered, his playing-grounds). These, however, 
are often of some little extent. Here, iinless very much persecuted, the song of these birds 
may be heard in the spring for years together. The Caiwrcaillie does not, during his play, 
confine himself to any particular tree, for, on the contrary, it is seldoui he is to be met with 
exactly on the same spot for two days in succession. 

" On these lek, several Capercaillie may oci'asiomdly ))e heard phiyiug at the same time ; 
Mr. Grieff, in his quaint way, observes, ' It then goes gloriously.' So long, however, as the 
old male birds are alive, they will not, it is said, permit the young ones, or those of the 
preceding season, to play. Should the old birds, however, be killed, the young ones, in tlie 
course of a day or two, usually open their pipes. Combats, as it may be supposed, not 
unfrequently take place on these occasions ; though I do not recollect having heard of more 
than two of these birds being engaged at the same time. 

"Though altogether contrary to law, it is now that the greatest slaughter is committed 
among the Capercaillie ; for any lump of a fellow who has strength to draw a trigger may, with 
a little instruction, manage to knock them down. As the iihin, liowever, of shooting these 
noble birds during their play is something curious, I shall do my best to describe it. 

" It being first ascertained Avhere the lek is situated, the sportsman proceeds to the spot and 
listens in profound silence until he hears the call of the cock. So long, however, as the bird 
only repeats his commencing sound, he must, if he be at all near to him, remain stationary ; 
but the instant the Capercaille comes to the wind-up, the gulp, etc., during which, as I have 
just now said, its faculties of both seeing and hearing are in a degree absorbed, then he may 
advance a little. This note, however, lasts so short a time, that the sportsman is seldoui able 
to take more than three or four steps before it ceases ; for the instant that is the case, he nuist 
again halt, and if in an exposed situation remain fixed like a statue. This is absolutely neces- 
sary ; for during his play, excepting during the gul]), etc., the Capercaillie is exceedingly 
watchful, and easily takes the alarm. If all remain quiet, however, the bird usually goes on 
again immediately with Ins first strain, and when he once more comes to the final note, the 
sportsman advances as before. 

" To become a proficient at this s]iort requites a good deal of practice. In the first i^lace. a 
person must know how to take advantage of the giouud when advancing upon the Capercaillie ; 
for if in full daylight, this is hardly practicable in exposed situations ; and in the next, that 
he may not move forward excejtting u])on the note which is so fatal to that bird. This is likely 
enough to happen if it be an old cock that has been previously exposed to shots, for he often 
runs on with Peller, peller, peller, until one supposes that he is just coming to the ga\\), when 
he suddenly makes a- stop. If, therefore, a person were then incautiously to advance, he 
would, in all probability, instantly take to fiight." 

The nest of the Capercaillie is made ui»on the ground, and contains eight to ten eggs : 
when hatched, the young are fed ujiou iusects, >iiore esi)erially ants and their pupa?. The 



THE BLACK GUOUSI':, OR BLACK COCK. 489 

adult birds feed mostly on vegetable substauces, such as juiiii)er, ciauberry, and bilberries, and 
the leaves and buds of several trees. 

The color of the adult male bird is chestnut-brown covered with a number of black lines 
irregularly dispersed, the breast is black with a gloss of green, and the abdomen is simply 
black, as are the lengthened feathers of the thi'oat and the tail. The female is easily known l)j' 
the bars of red and black which traverse the head and neck, and the reddish-yellow barred 
with bhick of the under surface. In size, the Cai)ercaillie is nearly equal to a turkey. 

The Cock of the Plains is closely allied to the preceding species. 

It is an American bii-d, being found in the dry plains in the interior of Southern California. 
Like the cock of the woods, this bird is accustomed during the breeding season todis^jort him- 
self after a peculiar and grotesque mannei', drooping his wings, spreading his tail like a fan, 
puffing out his crop until the bare yellow skin stands i>roniinently forward, somewhat after 
the fashion of the pouter pigeon, and erecting the long silken plumes of the neck. Thus 
accoixtred, he parades the ground with much dignity, turning himself about so as to display 
liis shape to the best advantage, assuming a variety of rather ludicrous attitudes, and uttering 
a loud booming cry that is compared to the sound made by blowing strongly into a large 
hollow reed. 

The nest of this bird is made of dried grasses and small twigs, and is placed on the ground 
under the shelter of bushes or rank herbage. It is rather carefully made, and generally con- 
tains from thirteen to seventeen brown eggs Idotched with chocolate on the large end. The 
Cock of the Plains is a gregarious bird, assembling in little troops in the sumirier and autumn, 
and in large flocks of several hundred in nuniber during the winter and spring. The flesh of 
this bird is eatable, but diU'k in color and not of a very good fla\or. 

The male is a very handsome bird, brown on tlie upper surface and mottled with very 
dark brown and yellowish-wliite. The skin of the croj) is deep orange-yellow, and on each side 
of it is a tuft of long and very slender feathers, having the shafts nearly naked, and dotted at 
the tip with a pencil of black bands. The throat and head are white profusely variegated with 
black, and the white featheis of the sides are firm, rounded, and of a scale-like foi'm. Tlie 
shafts of the breast-feathers are black and stiff. In total length this biid measures about 
twenty-two inches. Tin; female is less in size, is without the feather-tufts tm the neck and the 
scale-like plumage of the sides. 

The Sage Cock (Oentrocercus uropli.asianuii\ or Cock of tlie Plains, is the largest of aU 
the family. It seems confined to the sterile regions from the Black Hills to California and 
Oregon, and from British Columbia nearly to Arizona — but only on tiiose idains where the 
wild sage (ai'temesia) gi-ows — hence, the trivial name of the bird. It is natiu'ally tame, and 
clumsy, but when really alarmed flies witli great rapidity, and at considerable distance. Its 
notes strongly resemble those of the common hen. It seems to be partial to open plains, and 
localities away from the sea-coast. 

Its habits are similar to those of the turkey. In winter it flocks in great numbers ; in the 
spring it goes in pairs, and in the fall in small family groups. It is abundant on the jjlains of 
California, and also on the nortli branch of the Platte. 

From feeding so much on the wild sage, its flesh becomes impregnated with a bitter 
quality, which ruins it for food. The weight of an ordinary-sized Sage Grouse is about six 
pounds. The large orange-colored, ball-shaped neck ornaments, and the long acuminate tail 
are characters that are quite distinctive, added to its great size. A very cairious anatomical 
peculiarity is seen in this species. They have no gizzard, having instead a soft membraneous 
stomach, which is not cai«d)le of digesting hard food. It is not known to eat grain, but seems 
to feed wholly on vegetable matter, and that almost exclusively of the wild sage. Possibly 
the grasshoppers and other soft insects may be eaten. 

The well-known Black Grouse, or Black Cock, is a native of the more southern coun- 
tries of Europe, especially those localities where the pine woods and heaths afford it shelter, 
and it is not dislodged by the presence of human habitations. 

Vol. U.-«8. 



490 



THE BLACK GROUSE, OR BLACK COCK. 



Like the two preceding species, the male bird resorts at the beginning of the breeding 
season to some open spot where he utters his love-calls, and displays his new clothes to the 
greatest advantage, for the purpose of attracting to his harem as many wives as possible. The 




BLACK GROUSE.— rc^roo tetrix. 



note of the Black Cock wlien thus engaged is loud and resonant, and can be heard at a, consid- 
erable distance. This crowing sound is accompanied by a harsh, grating, stridulous kind of 
cry, which has been likened to the noise produced by whetting a scythe. The Black Cock 
does not pair, but leaves his numerous mates to the duties of maturity and incubation, and 
follows his own desires while tliey i)repare their nests, lay their eggs, hatch them, and bring 
up the young. The raother-bii-d is a fond and watchful parent, and when she has been alarmed 



THE PINNATED GROUSE. 



491 



by man or beasts of prey, has been known to remove the eggs to some other locality, where 
she thinks they will not be discovered. 

The nest is a careless kind of structure, of grasses and stout herbage, and is placed on the 
ground under the shelter of grass or bashes. The female lays about six or ten eggs of a 
yellowish -gray diversified with spots of light brown. The young are fed first upon insects and 
their larva), and afterwards on. berries, grain, the buds and young shoots of trees. 

It is a \vild and wary bird, requiring much care on the part of the spcirtsiuan to get within 
fair gunshot. The old male which has survived a season or two is particulaily shy and crafty, 
distrusting both man and dog, and lumiing away as fast as his legs can carry him as soon as he 
is made aware of the approaching danger. 

In the autumn the young males separate themselves from the other sex, and fomi a 
number of little bachelor establishments of their own, living together in harmony until the 
next breeding season, when they all begin to fall in love ; the apple of discord is thrown 
among them by the charms of the hitherto repudiated sex, and their rivalries lead them into 
determined and continual battles, which do not cease until the end of the season restores them 
to peace and sobriety, and they need fear no foes save the beasts and birds of prey, and their 
worst enemy, the autumnal European statesman. 







PINNATED GROUSE.— ft/yjMwiia cuiMo. 



The general color of the adult male bird is black glossed with blue and purple, except a 
white band across each wing. The under tail-coveiis are white. The remaikable form of the 
tail is caused by the peculiar development of the exterior feathers, three, four, or even live of 
which are laterally curved, the outermost being the longest and having the most decided curve. 
Their ends are somewhat squared. The coloring of the female is quite difPerent. Her general 
color is brown, with a tinge of orange, barred with lilack and speckled with the same hue, the 
spots and bars being larger on the breast, bac-k, and ^vings, and the feathers on the breast more 
or less edged with white. The under tail-coverts are grayish-white. The total length of the 
adult male is about twenty-two inches, and that of the female from seventeen to eighteen 
inches. 
Heath Hen. 



She also weighs nearly one-third less than her mate, and is popularly termed the 



Another fine species of this group is the Pinnated Grouse of North America. 

This bird is found almost wholly in open dry plains on which are a few trees or tufta 



492 THE PINNATED GROUSE. 

of brushwood, pines and shrub-oaks being the most favored shelter. Like the greater part of 
the group, the males "j)lay" at the breeding season, rufflmg their feathers, erecting their 
neck-tufts, swelling out their wattles, and uttering their strange love-ciies. At this time the 
Pinnated Grouse is particujurly remarkable for the large size and l)right orange color of the 
naked sacculated aiipendages which hang at each side of the neck, and which can be filled 
with air until they are nearly of the same size and color as a Seville oiange, or can be per- 
mitted to hang loosely along the neck. The males are great lighters on these occasions, and 
dash fiercely against each other, though to all appearance these combats are more notable for 
display than for effect, little or no damage seeming to be done or suffered by either party. 
Mr. Webber gives the following interesting account of some of the habits of this species :— 

" The most extraordinary phenomenon produced by the necessities of the climate, and as 
a protection against the terrilile winds which sweep over that apparently illimitable beach at 
the approach of winter, consists in the assembling of these birds, from a distance of many 
miles around, to roost upon the same spot, something after the manner of the wild pigeon. 
This fact seems also to have escajjed M. Audubon's notice. 

"At the opening of winter, a spot is selected on the open jirairies, in the upper part of 
the Missouii country, which is more sheltei'ed than tlie surrounding regions, by the character 
of the ground, from tlie l)iting forc-e of the northeast winds. Here the prairie-hens begin to 
assemble early in the evening; ;ind by the time dusk comes, an immense number are collected. 
They approach the scene in small fiocks, in a leisurely manner, by short fiights. They approach 
the place of gathering silently, with nothing of thfit whirr of wings for which they are noted 
when they are suddenly put up, Init they make ami)le amends when they arrive ; as in the 
pigeon-roost, there is a continued roar, caused by the restless shifting of the birds and sounds 
of impatient struggle emitted by them, v^hich can be heard distinctly for several ndles. The 
numbers collected are incalculably immense, since the space covered sometimes extends for 
over a mile in length, with a breadth determined l)y the character of the ground. 

"This is a most astonishing scene wlien approached in the early part of the night on 
horseback ; the hubbub is strangely discordant and overwhelmingly deafening. They will 
pei'mit themselves to be killed in gi-eat numbers, with sticks or any convenient weapon, without 
the necessity of using guns. They, however, when frequently disturbed in the first of the 
season, win easily change their roosting-place ; and when the heavy snows have fallen, by 
melting which by the heat of their bodies, and by trampling it down, they have formed a sort 
of sheltered yard, the outside walls of which defend them against the winds, they are not 
easily driven away by any degree of persecution. Indeed, at this time they become so emaciated 
as to afford but little inducement to any human persecutors^ by whom they are seldom troubled, 
indeed, on account of the remoteness of these locations ; from foxes, wolves, hawks, and owls, 
etc., their natural enemies, they have, of course, to exjiect no mercy at any time. 

"The noise of their restless duckings, flutterings, and shif tings, begins to subside a few 
hours after dark. The l)irds have now an-anged themselves for the night, nestled as close as 
they can be wedged, every bird with his breast turned to the quarter in which the wind may 
be prevailing. This scene is one of the most curious that can be imagined, especially when 
they have the moonlight on the snow to contrast with their dark backs. At this time they 
may be killed by cart-loads, as only those in the immediate neighborhood of the aggressors are 
disturbed apparently. They rise to llie height of a few feet with a stupefied and aindess tiut- 
tering, and plunge into the snow within a short distance, wliere they are easily taken by the 
hand. In these helpless conditions sucli immense numbers are desti'oyed, that the family would 
be in danger of rapid extermination but that the fecundity of the survivors nearly keeps jjace 
with the many fatalities to which they are liable. 

" These birds are distributed over an immense northern territory; and though they are 
everywhere in the more sheltered regions found to exhibit the propensity to collect in numbers 
greater or smaller, during the extreme cold weather, in low spots where they will have some 
shelter from the accidental peculiarities of the locsility, yet nowhere else except just upon 
these wide plains are they to be found in such astonishing congregations as we have here 



THE RUFFED GROUSE. 493 

described. The universal habit of all this family of Gallinacete is rather to run and roost in 
little squads or flocks. Whence this diflferen(« in the habits of the same bird, who knows ? 
Ah ! whence the difference ? That is the question." 

The nest of the Pinnated Grouse is a rude structure of grasses and leaves, and placed 
under the shadow of a bush or a tuft of thick grass. The eggs are brownish- white, and about 
fifteen in numl)er. 

The color of the Pinnated Grouse is mottled with black, white, and chestnut-brown, 
the male having two wing-like appendages on the neck, composed of eighteen feathers, five 
long and black, and thirteen shorter, streaked with blaclc and brown. The male is also 
known by the slight crest on the head, a semicircular com):) of orange-colored skin over 
each eye, and the naked appendages to the neck already described. He is also larger 
than his mate. The under parts are brown, marked witli white in broken transverse bars, 
and the throat is white with mottlings of reddish-brown and black. The length is about 
nineteen inches. 

The Prairie Cliickeu, as this bird is also called, a most familiar and valuable species, is 
confined to the valley of the Mississippi, and eastward to Pocono Mountains, in Pennsylvania. 
It was formerly common in New England, and some have been seen lately in Martha's Vine- 
yard. In the earliest days of spring the Prairie Chickens separate into small parties, and 
when the nesting season commences their peculiar movements are commenced. A space is 
selected, where the males meet and engage in furious battles. At this season they are espe- 
cially pompous. With outspx-ead tails, and uplifted heads, and their orange-colored neck-bulbs 
extended to their utmost, they utter their characteristic booming sound. Their wings are 
declined, like those of the turkey, in such demonstrations. They rise in the air and strike at 
each other as the game-cock does in combat. On the appearance of a female in answer to 
their calls, they at once engage in terrific combat. The booming sound is heard before day- 
break, and also before sunset. 

The eggs are said to be from eight to twelve in number. This Grouse is easily tamed, and 
is domesticated to a certain extent. Mr. Audubon kept a large number, and had several 
broods of young from them. The old ones fought the turkeys, and even the dung-hill cock — 
exhibiting great courage. The flight of these birds is strong and swift, though less so than is 
the case with the ruffed Grouse. 

The flesli, as an edible, is gamey, but is esteemed as excellent. The New York market is 
now constantly supplied with it in the season. Tlie name Prairie Grouse was probably given 
it from the fact that it habitually seeks the open field, even when hunted. 

A variety found in Texas differs somewhat in color of plumage. 

The Ruffed Grouse {Bonasa umhellus), called Partridge in New England, Birch Par- 
tridge in the British provinces, and Pheasant in the Middle States, is found in all parts of the 
wooded i-egion of eastern North America, from Georgia to Nova Scotia, and from the Atlantic 
to the Rocky Mountains. 

In the spring, this bird feeds on buds of several kinds of trees, the birch being a favorite, 
which gives a peculiar and agreeable flavor to the meat. Tlie flight of this Grouse is low, 
straightforward, and continues for a few hundred yards, at the time beating his wings. It 
rises with a loud, whirring noise when disturbed. Unlike the prairie chicken, it seeks the 
woods when flushed. Early in May the drumming of the males commences. Tliey stand on 
a log or elevated si:)ot in a retired pait of the woods, lower the wings, expand the tail, and, 
inflating the whole body, with neck thrown back, strut about pompously. They then begin 
to strike the wings against the body with a short, rapid motion, jDroducing a sound resembling 
the beating together of two distended bladders. The rapidity is increased to such an extent 
the sound appears to be continuous. These sounds may be heard at all hours, but more gen- 
erally early in the morning. The broad fan-tail of this Grouse is especially beautiful, and is 
exhibited in full when it is parading before the female at the commencement of the breeding 
season. 



494 



THE SHARP-TAILED GROUSE. 



It is a constant resident where it has been bred, and is not, as a rule, migratory. Audu- 
bon, however, says, it sometimes, when gathered in considerable numbers in one locality, 
moves away in the autumn, probably in seairh of food. 

A variety called the Mountain Partridge occurs among the Rocky Mountains. It is one- 
third smaller than the Eastern bird ; its plumage is grayer, and the rulile shorter. It is known 
there as the Pine Hen. 

Another variety is called Oregon (Irouse, and found on the Pacific coast. The same pale, 
gray plumage is seen in it. The nest, usually placed under a log, and lined with dried grasses, 
bits of moss, and feathers, has from ten to fourteen eggs. The chickens leave the nest at once, 
and follow the mother, who clucks and otherwise acts like the domestic hen. The mother 
exhibits various schemes to lure an intrutler away, always giving time for the chicks to hide, 
when she flies or runs off quickly. 




WILLOW GSXiV^K.—Lmjopm atbu«. (Summer Plumage.) 



The SiiARr-TMLEi) (tiioiise {PerUocetes pJuisianeUiifi) is a species resembling very closely 
the conunou ]irairii' chicken. Tt inhabits the British provinces, and westward to Alaska. It 
prefers the oi)en lowlands and thickets near lakes and rivers. At all seasons, it seems to be 
found in small flocks of a dozen or more. In winter it perches on trees, probably in the same 
manner as the other species, in a pai'tially hybernating state. 

It is said to have its own peculiar method of parading in the breeding season. It selects 
a clear space, and in numbers, a small covey, run around in a circle of about twenty feet in 
diameter. This is kept up so persistently a bare space is worn in the grass. 

If disturbed, the birds squat closely. Some run to the right and others to the left, when 
not disturbed, meeting and crossing each othei'. These dances continue several weeks, or until 
incubation commences. 

In winter, the Sharp-tail penetrates the soft snow, and is able to gather food among the 



THE WILLOW GROUSE. 



495 



berries that lie on the ground, aud on the buds of the wiUow and larches. The eggs of a single 
nest number twelve or thirteen usually. 

The Columbian Sharii-tail is found more to the southward. The j)lains and j)rairies of 
Wisconsin and Illinois abound with them. This bird is found much farther west than the 
prairie chicken, the latter being confined to the region east of the Mississippi valley. A strik- 
ing peculiarity is seen in the two middle tail-feathers being two inches longer than the others. 

The Willow Grouse {Lagopus albu.s), or AVhitk PiAUMiciAN, so called, inhabits the 
fur countries as far north as the seventieth parallel. Between that to the fiftieth it is partially 
migratory. It is known to bi'eed among the Rocky Mountains on the barren grounds, and 
along the Arctic coasts. It assembles in vast liocks during the winter, on the shores of 




WILLOW QROVSE.— Lagopus albus. (Winter Plumage.) 



Hudson's Bay. Many thousands of these birds are captured at Severn River. They seek the 
willows in winter, feeding on the buds. At night, they penetrate the snow and lie concealed, 
and do the same when pursued by birds of prey, working their way into a mass of snow with 
considerable facility. 

This species is an interesting example of the adaptation of plumage to surroundings as a 
protective means. The winter plumage is pure white, thus being as well prote(;ted as is possible 
to any object exposed in open plains covered with snow. As the spring comes, and the bare 
rocks begin to api)ear, the plumage changes gradually, both by the fading of some coloration 
and by the moulting t)f feathers, until the red plumage is fully assumed, closely agreeing with 
the reddish and gray colors of the rocks. The males are said to assume this darker plumage 
sooner than the females. The former mount some rocky eminences, and call upon their mates, 
wlio are yet buried in the snow, and have not yet changed their colors. These birds are 
fond of the twilight, and are more frequently seen at sucli times. An unusual attachment is 
said to be exhibited by the male of this species for its mate, especially during the breeding 
time. 



496 , THE COMMON PTARMIGAN. 

The Rock Ptarmigan {Lagopus rupestris) is identical with the same-iiaiued form in 
Europe. It is found in tlie colder i)ortions of North America, especially about Melville 
peninsula. 

The White-tailed Ptarmigan {Lagopus leucuruf<). This species is confined entirely to 
the region of the Rocky Mountains, inhabiting the highest points. It is common on the snowy 
range of the Colorado Mountains. It is regarded as an essentially Arctic species, not being 
met with below the region of snow. But little reliable information is had concerning this bird. 

The Red GnotTSE seems to be exidusively confined to the British Islands, and is found in 
the north of England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, and some of the Channel Islands. The 
birds of this genus are seimrated from the remainder of the group in consequence of the 
feathered toes, which are thickly clothed with short plumage, earning thereby the name of 
Lagopus, or Ilare-footed. 

It inhabits the moors, where heather is in abundance, as it feeds chiefly on the tender 
leaves of that plant, together with whortleberries, grain, and similar substances. The bird 
pairs early in the sirring, and makes its nest of grass and ling stems, occasionally interspersed 
with feathers, and i)laces it on the ground imder the shelter of a heather-tuft. As soon as 
hatched, the young are able to run about, and are led to feed by both parents. These 
birds are gi-eatly persecuted l)y spoi'tsmen ; but, in spite of their annual losses, they increase 
rather than diminish in number, except in seasons when they are suffering greatly from 
internal parasites. 

The color of the Red Grouse is extremely variable, differing according to the locality or 
the season of year ; and cream-colored and speckled varieties are most uncommon. The 
ordinary plumage is as follows : In winter the adult male is chestnut-brown upon the upjier 
surface, barred and speckled with l)lack, and diversified by a few feathers of light yellowish- 
brown. The head and neck are also chestnut-brown, but of a warmer tint than the back. 
Over the eye is a crescent-shaped patch of light scarlet bare skin, slightly fringed above. 
The tail is brown, with a tinge of red on the central feathers. The breast is brown, and 
tlie remainder of the under surface and flanks is of the same hue, each feather being 
ti])ped with white. The short plumage of the legs and toes is grayish-white. In summer 
the red is lighter, and the body is sprinkled with yellow. The female is smaller and 
lighter than her mate, with more yellow and less red. In total measurement the male 
bird is al)out sixteen inches in length. This bird is also called the Red Ptarmigan and the 
Brown Ptarmigan. 



^o" 



The Common PrAUMjaAT^ (Ldgo/n/s m/Jgdrfs-) lielongs to the same genus. This is the 
smallest of the Eurojjean Giouse, and is found in northern and mountainous Europe, espe- 
cially in Norway and Sweden, and is also an inhabitant of North America. 

This ))ird has a habit of resorting to stones and broken ground covered with lichens, 
which so (^xa(;tly harmonize with the colors of its plumage that it is hardly distinguishable 
from the ground on which it is sitting, and under such circumstances it squats very closely. 
A i^erson may walk through a flock without seeing a single bird. Mr. McGillivray says : 
"When squatted, they utter no sound, their object being to conceal themselves; and if you 
discover the one from which a. cry has proceeded, you generally find him on the top of a stone, 
ready to si)ring off the moment you show an indication of hostility. If you throw a stone at 
him, he rises, utters his call, and is iuunediately joined by all the individuals around, which 
to your surprise, if it be your first rencontre, you see spiing uj:) one by one from the ba-i'e 
ground." A flock of these birds flitting along the sides of a mountain has a very curious 
effect, their speckled bodies being hardly visiljle as they sweep along, and when they alight 
they vanish from view as if by magic. In the winter, too, when the snow lies thickly on the 
ground, the Ptarmigan assumes a white coat, hardly distinguishable from the snow. When 
perceived by a hawk, the Ptarmigan has been seen to dash boldly into the deep snow, and to 
find a refuge under the white covering until its enemy had left the spot. 



THE DUSKY GROUSE. 



497 



In the winter, the plumage of the male Ptarmigan is almost wholly white, the exceptions 
being a small patch behind the eye, the shafts of the primaries, and the bases of the fourteen 
exterior tail-feathers, which are black. There is also a patch of red, bare skin round the eye. 
In the summer, the black retains its position, but the white is mottled and l)arred with black 
and gray. The length of the adult male is rather more than iifteen inches. 






■ "'iSi: 







PTABMIUAH.-Lagopm rupestris. 



Of the Tetraonidw, or Grouse family, there are nine species in North America, several of 
them having varieties in widely separated portions of the country. 

Spruce Partridge, or Canada (trouse {Canace canadens/'s), called also Wood Par- 
tridge, Black, or Spotted Grouse, is found in the northern United States and as far north 
as forests are known to extend. It abounds in all the great northern spruce woods and 
swamps. Its migrations are not extended, as its movements depend more on the presence or 
absence of food than temperature. Audubon found it breeding in May, in Eastport, Maine, 
among the spruce and larches. Its habits are something like those of the turkey, and other 
species of Gi'ouse ; strutting before the females, and occasionally rising in the air in a spiral 
manner, and beating their wings against the body to produce the drumming sound so charac- 
teristic of the Ruffed Grouse. Unlike the quails, the male deserts the female after incubation 
commences, and remains in small flocks. 

This bird is curiously averse to being disturbed or driven away. When driven to a tree 
it persistently remains, though threatened in every possible manner — even allowing itself to be 
taken by net or noose. It is easily reared in confinement, and soon becomes domesticated. 
Several varieties of the Spruce Partridge are recognized. Franklin's Grouse is a notable one. 
It inhabits the valleys of the Rocky Mountains, from the sources of the Missouri River t» 
those of the Mackenzie, and is sometimes seen on the elevated plateaux of Mount Hood and 
other high snowy peaks, it is said to be confined to the region of the Rocky Mountains and 
the country between them and the Pacific. 

Dusky Geoxjse {Canace obscurus). This is only next lower in size than the great Sage 
Grouse, being considerably larger than the other species. Dr. Newberry regards it as the 
handsomest of all the American birds of this family, though we must give the palm to our 

Vol. II. -63. 



498 



THE SAND GROUSE. 



familiar house species, the Ruffed Grouse, or "Partridge" nf the New England country-side. 
Mr. Say, the nccomplished naturalist, first discovered this bird in 1820. In the spring, the 
male sits on a branch and utters its ])ecnliai' liooming call, which is so ventriloquial in effect 
that one is sure to be deceived and misled by it. Dr. Cooper, of California, testifies that it 
may be directly overhead, and yet its voice so deceive you as to appear to be at a distance. 

The Dusky Grouse inhabits the jiiountains about Sante Fe, in jN'ew Mexico, and in the 
Sierra Nevada. It has be«n seen in considerable numbers around Salt Lake City. It has been 
seen in Oregon in considerable numbers. The Black Hills of Nebraska is the most eastern 
limit of its range. The love-notes are said to be deep, soft, plaintive, but unmusical — in our 
view of it — for, no doubt, the gentle creature that sits near by on her nest has different appre- 
ciation of their nature. These notes are likened to the sound produced by rapidly and by 
jerks swinging a ratan. 




SAND lidOUSE.— /'frcocfcs e.rmtus. 

A most remarkable habit in winter is noticed : These birds retire to the tops of the loftiest 
fir-trees and j^ass tht? season in nearly a complete state of hybernation. The flesh of this 
Grouse is said to surpass in flavor and delicacy that of the famous Ruffed Grouse. 

A variety called the Oregon Dusky Grouse is found inliabiting the country along the 
coast from the Columbia River to Alaska, where it is known as the Blue Grouse, and in some 
quarters. Pine Grouse. The orange-colored featherless sacks that are seen on the sides of the 
neck in this ))ii'd are known to produce their peculiar notes by alternately contracting and 
expanding. The somln-e color of its xilumage is effective in its efforts at concealment, as 
when it is pursued it flies dirnctly to the top of some tall fir-twe, and hugs closely the limb 
on which sits ; which limb is very much like the plumage in color. 

Another variety is called Richardson's Dusky Grouse, named after the celebrated trav- 
eller and naturalist, Sii- John Richai'dson. It is the form that inhabits the interior of British 
North America. It is met with in tlu^ pine woods on the slopes of the Rocky Mountains. 



The Sand Grouse are mostly found in the sandy deserts of Africa and Asia, though 
one or two species are inhabitants of Europe. 



The wings of all these birds are long and 



THE ELEGANT TINAMOU. 499 

pointed, denoting consideralile powers of fliglit, and in many species the two central feathers 
of the tail are much elongated and project beyond the others. 

These birds are mostly gregarious, assembling in large Hocks, but still retaining a division 
into pairs. One species, the Pin-tailed Sand Grouse, is found in such vast multitudes that 
they are killed by boys, who arm themselves witli sticks and Hing these rude missiles at the 
winged armies. It has been suggested by some writers tliat this bird is the quail of Scripture. 
The Sand Grouse runs with considerable rapidity ; and as the legs are very short, and the 
body consequently carried close to the ground, the effect produced very mucli resembles the 
toy mice which are wound \\\^ like watches, and run about the floor; When coming directly 
towards the observer, the bird has a very comical aspect, the feet being liardly visible beneath 
the broad body, and the steps being very short, quick, and tripping. 

The female Sand Grouse makes no nest, but lays her eggs, generally about two or three in 
number, on the bare ground. The young birds are very strong of foot, and as soon as their 
plumage has dried, after their exit from the shell, they run about with their mothei", and can 
afterwards lead a vagrant life. 

The male liird has its forehead whitish, then a black jiatcli and then white. The upper 
part of the plumage is dusky brown, mottled with buff ; and its tail is buft* barred profusely 
with blackish-brown, the tip bein.g buff, and the last bar very broad and black. The breast 
is pale buff, and between the breast antl alxlomen riins a semilunar white band, reaching 
up to the shoulders. Just below the white there is an equally conspicuous black band, 
also running up under the wings to the shoulders. The abdomen and flanks a)-e pale buff, 
mottled transversely with black-brown. In the female the plumage is of ;i more yellow cast, 
the black patch on the forehead and black band round the chest are wanting, and the white 
band has a gray tinge. 

Another curious gi'oup of birds is knowni by the title of Sheath-1)ills, on account of the 
remarkable sheath of homy substance, which is situated on tlie base of the bill, and under 
which lie the nostrils. The use of this appendage is rather obscure. The wliole of the bill is 
short and stout, and it is considerably arched towards the tip. 

One of the commonest species of this group is the White Sheath-bill, a native of Aus- 
tralia, New Zealand, and neighboring islands. 

This bird is almost exclusively found upon the coasts, finding its food among the mol- 
lusks, small Crustacea, and bestranded fish and other similar substances. Perhaps, under 
some circumstances, it may subsist on carrion, and thereby give an evil flavor to its flesh, as 
there are very contradictory reports as to its value for the table, some specimens having been 
of so vile an odor that even the sailors, with their jiroverbial a])petites for fresh meat, could 
not touch the ill-savored flesh, while in other cases the bird is reported to be of excellent 
quality, and equal to duck in tendertiess and flavor. The legs of the Sheath-bill are rather 
long in jH-oportion to the size of the body ; and as it always frequents the sea-side, running 
in and out of the water- in search of its food, and possesses many of the habits of the waders, 
it has been classed by some naturalists among these birds. 

The White Sheath-bill is a pretty bird, its whole plumage being jiure white, and the legs 
reddish-black. The generical name, Chionis, is derived from a Greek word, signifying snow, 
and is given to this bird in allusion to its pure snow-white plumage. In total length the adult 
male measures about fifteen inches. 

The Elegant Tinamou is one of the handsomest, though not the largest, of the family 
to which it belongs. 

The Tinamous are only foimd in South America, where they are tolerably common. The 
word Tinamou is the native name for these birds ; and as they bear some resemblance to bus- 
tards, the generic title of Tinamotis, although rather a l»arbarous combination of languages, is 
sufficiently appropriate. 

The Tinamous are found in the open fields, preferring those which lie on the borders of 
woods. They are very seldom known to perch on branches, and are not very willing to use 



500 



THE ELEGANT TINA MOD. 



their wings, trusting rather to the swiftness of their legs. Of one species of Tinamou, Mr. 
Darwin writes as foUows: "These birds do not go in coveys, nor do they conceal themselves 
like the English kind. It appears a very silly bird. A man on horseback, by riding round 
and round in a circle, or rather in a sj)ire, so as to aj^proach closer each time, may knock on 
the head as many as he pleases. The more common method is to catch them with a running 
noose or little lasso, made of the stem of an ostrich's feather, fastened to the end by a long 
stick. A boy on a quiet old horse will frequently thus catch thirty or forty in a day." 

The food of the Tinamous consists mostly of grain ; and after the fields of com and maize 
are sown, these birds do considerable damage by running over the ground, and picking out all 
the seeds whicli have not been entirely covered by the soil. The eggs of these birds are about 
seven or eight in number, and are laid in the centre of some convenient tuft of herbage. 

The Elegant Tinamou is a native of Chili, and is rather larger than the generality of its 
kind, as it slightly exceeds a grouse in dimensions, and has a much longer neck. The head 
and neck are light grayish l)uff with short delicate longitudinal streaks, and upon the head 
there is a long curved crest, each feather being brown with a dark streak along its centre. The 
back is spotted and barred with buff and blackish-brown, and on the breast and general under- 
surface the feathers are irregularly barred with the same hue, the bars being wider and darker 
on the flanks. 





■'m-a-A, 



O&TSiCa.—airul/uu camelus. 



CURSORES, OR RUNNING BIRDS. 

ITTI the Ostrich commences a most imixjrtant gronp ol" birds, containing the 
largest and most powerful members of the feathered tribe, and termed Cursores, 
or Running-Birds, on account of their great speed of foot and total impotence of 
wing. All the birds l)elonging to this order have the legs developed to an extra- 
oi'diuary degree, the l)ones being long, stout, and nearly as solid as those of a 
horse, and almost de\'()id of the air-cells \\hich give such lightness to the 
bones of most birds. By the aid of the mi(^roscope, the peculiar character of the 
bone is clearly shown, though the 1)one of an Ostrich or Cassowary is very different from the 
same bone in a fowl or a pigeon. The wings are almost wanting externally, their bones, 
although retaining the same number and form as in ordinary birds, being very small, as if sud- 
denly checked in their growth. Tlie huge mng muscles which give such prominence to the 
breast of flying birds, are therefore not reqnired, and the breast-bone is consequently devoid of 
the projecting keel, and is quite smooth and rounded. 




502 EGGS OF THE OSTRICH.. 

The common Ostrich is so well known tliat little need be said of its hnbits, its nse to man- 
kind, and the mode of hunting it, a ^■ely l>]ief descrii)tion being- all that is necessary. 

This magnificent cn'ature, the largest of all existing birds, iidiabits the hot sandy deserts 
of Africa, for which mode of life it is wonderfully fitted. In height it measures from six to 
eight feet, the males being largei' than their mates, and of a blacker tint. The food of the 
Osti'ich consists mostly of the wild melons which are so beneficently scattered over the sandy 
wastes, alisorbing and retaining every drop of mtjistnre condensed in the comparatively cool 
temperature of nigiit, or fallen in tlie biief but sev<'re luin-storms which serve to give new vigor 
to the scanty desert vegetation and to rtqjlenish the rare watei' springs. 

Besides these melons, which the Ostrich, in common with the lion and other inhabitants 
of the desert, eats as much for drink as for food, the bird feeds on grasses and hard grain, 
which it is able to crush in its powerful gizzard, the action of which internal mill is aided by 
stones and othei- hard substances, wliich the Ostrich picks up and swallows just as ordinary 
grain-eating birds swallow sand and small pebbles. In ca|)tivity the Ostrich will swallow 
almost anything that comes in its way, such as brickbats, knives, old shoes, scraps of wood, 
feathers, and teni>enny nails, in addition to the legitimate stones. It has even been seen to 
swallo\\' in succession a. brood of duclvlings; but whether in that case the bird was imjielled by 
normal hunger, wiiether it was afflicted by a- morbid appetite, or whether it was merely eating 
the young birds for sheer mischief, are questions open for consideration. 

The Ostrich is a gregarious bird, associating in flocks, and being fieqiiently found mixed 
up with the vast herds of quaggas, zebras, giraftes, and antelojjes wliich inhabit the same 
desert plains. It is also polygamous, each male bird having from two to seven wives. The 
nest of the Ostrich is a mere shallow hole scooped in the sand, in which are jilaced a large 
number of eggs, all set ui:)right, and with a number of supplementary eggs laid round the 
margin. 

The eggs are hatched mostly by the lieat of the sun ; but, contrary to the popular belief, 
the pai'ent birds are veiy watchful over their nest, and aid in hatching liie eggs by sitting 
upon them dining the night. 15oth parents give thi^ir assistance in this task. The eggs which 
are laid around the margin of tlie nest are not sat ui)Oii, and consequently are not hatched, so 
that when the eggs within the nest are quite hard, and the young bird is nearly developed, 
those around are quite fit for food. Their object is supposed to be tu give nourishment to the 
young birds before they are strong enough to follow their parents and forage for themselves. 

Each egg will weigh on the avei'age aliout three pounds, being equal to two dozen ordinary 
fowl's eggs. Yet one of them is not thought too much for a single man to eat at a meal, and 
in one instance two men linished live in the course of an afternoon. The ajjproved method of 
dressing Ostrich eggs is to set the egg upright on the fire, break a round hole at the top, 
squeeze a- forked stick into the ai)erture, leaving the stem i)rotruding. and then to twist the 
stick rapidly between the hands so as to be;it up the contents of the egg while it is being 
cooked. Within each egg there are generally some little smooth bean-shaped stones, which 
are composed of the same substance that forms the shell. 

These eggs are put to various usefid pui-poses. Not t)nly are they eaten, but the shell is 
cai'efully preserved and chipi)ed into si)oons and ladles, or the entire shell employed as a 
wat*?)' vessel, the aperture at the to]) being stuli'ed with grass. The mode of filling these shells 
from sandy pools is ingenious and simple. The business of procuring water is entrusted to 
the women, eacli of whom is finnished with a hollow reed, a bunch of grass, and her egg- 
shells. Slx' makes a hole in the l)ed of the water-pool as deep as her arms will reach, ties the 
bunch of grass at the end of the leed, ]»ushes it to the l)ottom of the hole, and i-anis the wet 
sand tightly I'ound it. After waiting a little for tlu^ water to accumulate, she applies her 
tnoulh to tile upper end of the reed, drawing the watei' thi'ough the tuft of grass at the bottom 
and so lUtering it. Having filled her mouth with water, she puts another reed into the egg- 
shell, and i)ours the water from her month into the shell. In this manner a whole village is 
supplied with water, the shells being carefully buried to prevent evaporation. 

The Bushmen make terrible use of these water shells. When they have determined on a 
raid, they send successive parties on the line, loaded with Ostrich egg-shells i\\\\ of water. 



SPEED OF THE OSTRICH. 503 

■which they bury in spots known to themselves alone. The tiny but resolute little warriors 
start off on their expedition, get among the dwellings of their foes, carry off as many cattle as 
they can manage, shoot the rest with poisoned arrows, and then retiring over the burning 
desert are able to subsist uj^ou their concealed water stores, while their enemies are totally 
unable to follow them. 

After removing the eggs from the nest, the ajjproved method of carrying them is to take 
off the "crackers" or leather trousers, tie up the ankles firmly, lill the garment with eggs, 
and set it astride the shoulders if the captor be a pedestrian, or in front of the siiddle should 
he be on horseback. The shells are so strong that tliey are able to bear this rather cnrious 
mode of conveyance without damage, inovided that no extreme jolting take place. A frisky 
horse will, however, sometimes smash the whole cargo, with disastrous consequences to him- 
self and the vessel in which they wei'e carried. 

Among the Fellatahs, an Ostrich egg on the top of a pole fixed to the roof of the hut is 
the emblem of royalty. The Copts call it the emblem of watchfulness, and carry out the idea 
by making the empty shell defend their church lamps from the rats, which crawl down the 
cords by which the lamps are suspended, and drink the oil. Their plan is to run the cord 
through an Ostrich shell, which is placed at some little distance above the lamp, and, by its 
smooth i:)olished surface, forms an impassable barrier even to rats. 

The feathers are too well known to need description. On an average, each feather is 
worth about a shilling. The best time for obtaining tliem is in the months of March and 
April. The greater number are furnished by means of the ])oisoned arrow, the native hunter 
scraping a hole in the sand near the nest, and lying concealed there until the birds come to 
their eggs, when a few rapid discharges will kill as many birds. Sometimes the hunter 
envelops himself in the skin of an Ostrich, his natural legs doing duty for those of the bird, 
and his arm managing the head and neck in such a way as to simulate the movements of 
the bird when feeding — an imitation so adndrably managed that at a short distance it is 
impossible to distinguish the sham bird from the true. Tlie enterprising little hunter is 
thus enabled to get among a flock of Ostriches, and to shoot one after the other with great 
ease, the birds not being able to understand the reason why their comrades should suddenly 
run away and then lie down, and permitting their enemy to follow them uji until they share 
the same fate. 

In some tribes each Ostrich feather worn on the head is an emblem of an onemy slain 
in battle. 

The flesh of the Ostricli is tolerably good, and is said to resemlile that of the zebra. It 
is, however, only the young Ostrich that furnishes a good entertainment, for the flesh of the 
old bird is rank and tough. The fat is highly valued, and when melted is of a bright orange 
color. It is mostly eaten with millet flour, and is also stirred into the eggs while roasting, so 
as to make a rude but well-flavored omelet. 

Those who are fond of hunting, employ a more sportsman-like though less profitable mode 
of procui'ing this bird. Mounted on swift horses, they give fair chase to the nimble-footed 
bird, and generally manage to secure it by sending one of their number to head it on its 
course, and shooting it as it dashes h\. The speed of the Ostrich is very great, though hardly 
so considerable as has been supposed. Some writei"s set it down as running sixty miles per 
hour, while others only give it half that rate. When going at full speed, its legs move s^o 
rapidly that they hardly seem to touch the ground ; and as the pace of a running adult 
Ostrich is from ten to fourteen feet in length, its exceeding swiftness may be imagined. 

Foi- a short distance, the speed of tlie Ostrich is perliaps quite as great as the higher of 
the above statements ; but it seldom keeps up that astonislnng rate of going for more than 
half a mile, and then settles down into a, more steady rate of progress. Being a long- 
winded bird, it would tire out most horses, did not it always run in curves, so that the 
horseman by taking a direct course saves much ground, and is able to get a shot as the huge 
bird comes dashing by him. The reader wiU be better enabled to understand the great 
powers of the bird and the curious modifications of its structure better by referring to a 
skeleton of the bird, than by many pages of description. The long and powerful legs, with 



504 THE EMEU. 

their two toes at their extremity, are firmly yet flexibly jointed into their sockets, and theii 
fonn is wonderfully adapted for the attac-hment of the stalwart muscles wMch move them. 
Not only are the legs eiHi)loyed for x)rogression, but they can be used with tremendous effect 
as offensive weapons, knocking over a hyena with a stroke, and detening even the agile 
leopard from coming within their reach. Tlie Ostrich always kicks forward, and when hunted 
with dogs it is sure to inflict severe injuries on young and inexperienced hounds before it is 
pulled down. The strong sharp claw witli whii^h its toe is armed gives dreadful effect to the 
blow, and, like the claw of the kangaroo, has been known to rip up an antagonist at a stroke. 
When driven to bay, it will turn ;ind light desperately even witli man, and, unless due precau- 
tions are taken, will strike him down and trampUi upon him. In cai)tivity, tlie bird has been 
frequently known thus to assault intruders or strangers, and to be very fornudable to them, 
although to its keeper it soon becomes affectionate. 

The voice of the Ostrich is a deeji, ]u)llow, rumbling sound, so like the roar of the lion 
that even pi'actised ears have been deceived by it, and taken the harmless Ostrich for a ju'owl- 
ing lion. In its wild state the Ostrich is thought to live from twenty to thirty years. 

In the male bird, the lower part of the neck and the body are deep glossy black, with a 
few white feathers, which are barely visible except when the jjlumage is rutfled. The plumes 
of the wings and tail arc white. Tlie female is ashen-brown, sprinkled with white, and her 
tail and wing-plumes arc white, like those of the male. The weight of a fine adult male seems 
to be between two and three hundred jumnds. 

TiiK Emkii inhal)its the iilains and open forest country of Central Australia, where it was 
in former days very common, but now seems tt) be decreasing so rajudly in numbers that Dr. 
Bennett, who has had much jiersonal experience of this fine bird, fears that it will, ere many 
years, be numbered with the Dodo and otlier extinct birds. 

The Emeu is not unlike the ostrich, whicli it resembles in many of its habits as well as in 
its foriri and general aspect. It is very swift of foot, but can l)e run down by horses and dogs 
without much difficulty. The dogs are trained to reserve the attack until the biid is thor- 
oughly tired out, and then spiing uijon tlie throat in such a manner as to escajDe the violent 
kicks which the Emeu deals fiercely around, and whi<'h are sufficiently ]>owerful to disable an 
assailant. The Emeu does not kick forwards like the ostrich, but delivers the blow sideways 
and backwards like a cow. 

The flesh oi the Emeu is thought to be very good, especially if the bird be young. The 
legs are always the coarsest and worst-flavf)red portions, the flesh of the back being thought 
equal to fowl. The natives will not permit women or boys to eat the flesh of the Emeu, 
reserving that diet for wai-riors and counsellors. A rather valuable oil is obtained from this 
liird, as much as six or seven quarts lieiiig set'ured from a fine specimen. It chiefly resides in 
the. skin, but also collects in great tpiantities about the rump, and between the scapularies and 
the sternum. It is obtained easily enough by plucking the feathers, cutting the skin into 
pieces, and lioiling them in a common cooking-pot. A still simi')ler j)lan, though not so pro- 
ductive, is to toast the skin before the fii'e, and catch the oil in a vessel as it drix)S from the 
heated skin. This oil is of a light yellow color, and is considered very valuable, being 
largely used as an embrocation to bruises or strains, either Ijy itself or mixed with turpen- 
tine. As it does not re;idily congeal, or become glutinpiis, it is useful for oiling the locks of 
fire-arms. The natives jirefer to roast the Emeu with the skin still upon it, thinking that the 
oil makes the flesh more luscious. When quite fresh, it is almost free from taste or smell, 
and is quite transiiarent. 

The food of the Emeu consists of grass and various fruits. Its voice is a curious, hollow, 
booming, or diumming kind of note, produced by the peculiar construction of the windpipe. 
The legs of this bird are shorter and stouter in proportion than those of the ostrich, and the 
wings are very short, and so small that when they lie closely against the body they can hardly 
be distinguished from the general plumage. 

The nest of the Emeu is made by scooping a shallow hole in the ground in some scrubby 
spot, and in this depression a variable number of eggs are laid. Dr. Bennett remarks that 



THE RHEA. ' 505 

"there is always an odd uumber, some nests having been discovered with nine, others with 
eleven, and others, again, with tliiiieen." The color of the eggs is, while fresh, a rich green, 
of varying quality, but after the shells are emptied and exposed to tlie light, the beautiful 
green hue fades into an unwholesome greenisli-brown. The parent birds sit upon their eggs, 
as has been related of the ostrich. The Emeu is not jjolygamous, one male l)eing apportioned 
to a single female. 

In captivity, the Emeu soon accommodntes itself to circumstances, and breeds fi-eely, and 
seems as much at ease as if it were in tlic state of freedom. It is a most inquisitive bird. 
inspecting every novelty with great attention. "I once," writes Dr. Bennett, "saw a fine 
pair of full-grown specimens in a paddock near Sydney. Stopping to observe one which was 
at a short distance from the fence, he immediately came down to have a look at me. 
The second bird was some distance oif, but, ^vith their usual keenness of vision, on per- 
ceiving me viewing his companion, he came stalking down rapidly, and they both stared at 
me most attentively, stretching out their necks for the sake of making a nearer acquaintance, 
when, linding no result from our interview, and their curiosity being satisfied, they quietly 
stalked away. 

"In the Domain, near the Government House, some tame Emeus maybe seen walking 
about, and often, near the Grand House, marching witli measured pace, as if keeping guard 
with the soldiers on duty. One day, during the levee, wlien the Domain was ciowded with 
people to see the arrivals and listen to the band, the Emeus mingled with the crowd, appar- 
ently enjoying the gay scene around them, when some strangers, who were afraid of these 
birds, ran away. On seeing this, the Emeus, enjoying a chase, i)ursued, and overtaking one 
of tlie gentlemen, took off his liat, to his great surpi-ise. The above circumstance demonstrates 
their fearless nature, and how readily these noble birds might be domesticated." 

The color of the adult bird is lightish-brown and gray, but when it is young, its plumage 
is decorated with four l)road, lilack, longitudinal stripes down the back, and four on each side, 
and four more down llie neck and breast. These stripes run in pairs, the two streaks of eai'h 
pair being divided by a narrow line of wldte. Towards the head, the stripes are broken into 
sjjots and dashes. The feathers are very loose, and hairy in tlieir appearance, and, as is the 
case with all the Struthiones, will repay a close examination, on account of the great develop- 
ment of the accessory plumes, springing from the shafts of the feathers. Tlie height of a fine 
male Emeu is from six to seven feet. 

Another species belonging to the same genus, tlie Spotted Emeu {Drouiaius irrordtus), 
is found in the same country, and can l)e distinguished by its black head and neck, and the 
dashes of brownish-black and gray upon its plumage. 

America is not without representatives of this fine group of birds. 

The Rhea is a native of South America, and is especially plentiful along the River Plata. 
It is generally seen in jiairs, though it sometimes associates together in flocks of twenty or 
thirty in number. Like all the members of this group, it is a swift-footed and wary bird, but 
possesses so little presence of mind that it becomes confused when threatened with danger, 
runs aimlessly first in one direction, and then in another, thus giving time for the hunter to 
come up and shoot it, or bring it to the ground with his "bolas" — a terrible weapon, consist- 
ing of a cord with a heavy ball at each end, which is flung at the bird, and winds its coils 
round its neck and legs, so as to entangle it, and Ining it to the ground. 

Tlie food of tlie Rhea consists mainly of grasses, rocjts, and other vegetable substances, Ibut 
it will occasionally eat animal food, being known to come down to the mud banks of the river 
for the purpose of eating the little fish that have been stranded in the shallows. 

Our knowledge of tlie Rhea and its habits is almost wholly derived from Mr. Darwin's 
writings, and, as an original narrative is mostly superior to a second-hand description, part of 
his account will be given in his own words. The reader must remember that the Rhea is 
pofjularly called the Ostrich in South America. 

" This bird is well known to abound on the plains of La Plata. To the north it is found, 
according to Azara, in Paraguay, where, however, it is not common ; to the south, its limit 

Vol. n.— 64. 



606 



THE RHEA. 



appears to have been from 42" to 43°. It has not crossed the Cordilleras, but I have seen it 
within the first range of mountaius in the Uspallata plain, elevated between six and seven 
thousand feet. They generally prefer running against the wind, yet, at the instant, they 
expand their wings, and, like a vessel, make all sail. On one tine hot day I saw several 
Ostriches enter a bed of tall rocks, where they squatted concealed till nearly approached. 

" It is not generally known that Ostriches readily take to the water. Mr. King informs 
me that at Patagonia, in the Bay of St. Bias, and at Port Valdez, he saw these birds swim- 
ming several times from island to island. They ran into the water both when driven down to 
a point, and likewise of their own accord, when not frightened. The distance crossed was 




HH^K.—Iikea americana. 



about two hundi'ed yards. AVhen swimming, very little of their bodies appears above water 
and their necks are stretched a little forward ; their progress is slow. On two occasions I saw 
some Ostriches swimming across the Santa Cruz River, where it was about four hundred 
yards wide, and the stream rapid. 

" The inhaliitants who live in the country readily distinguish, even at a distance, the nu.le 
bird from the female. The former is larger and darker colored, and has a larger head. Tlu' 
Ostrich, I believe the cock, emits a singular deep-toned hissing note. When hi'st I heard it, 
while standing in the midst of some sand hillocks, I thought it was nuide by some wild beast, 
for it is such a sound that one cannot tell from whence it comes, or from how far distant. 

' ' When we were at Bahia Blanca, in the months of September and October, the eggs were 



THE CASSOWARY. HOT 

t'uuud in extraoidinary iiuimIxts all over the coiintiy. They either lie scattered singly, in 
which case they are never hatched, and ai'e called by tiie Spaniards 'huachos,' or they are 
collected together into a hollow excavation, whicli forms the nest. Out of the four nests 
which I saw, thi-ee contained twenty-two eggs each, and the fourth twenty-seven. In one day's 
hunting on liorseback sixty-four eggs were found; forty-four of these were in two nests, and 
the remaining twenty, scattered huaclios. The (Tauchos unanimously affirm, and there is no 
reason to doubt their statement, that the male bird alone hatches tht^ <'g'gs, and that he, for 
some time afterwards, accompanies the young. The cock, while in tiie nest, lies very cLjse ; I 
ha\'e myself almost ridden over one. It is asserted that at such times they are occasionally 
fierce, and even dangerous, and that they hav(^ bt'cn known to attack a man on horseback, try- 
ing to kick and leap on him. My inlVuniant i)oin1ed out to me an old man whom he had seen 
much terrified by one of these birds chasing him." 

In captivity it is rather an amusing bird, and easily domesticated. Sometimes it seems to 
be taken with a fit, and ]-uns up and down its inclosure as if it were being chased, holding its 
wings from the body and appearing in the most desperate state of alarm. This is only a sham 
after all, a mere outl)urst of frolic, foi- the bird immediately suljsides into quietude, and 
resumes its leisurely walk as if nothing had luippened. If startled or vexed, it utters a kind 
of grunt as a warning, and if the offenc-e be re])eated, hisses sharply, draws back its head, and 
seems poising itself for a stroke. The grunt is a hollow sound, something like the noise pro- 
duced by striking a tin can with a wooden mallet, and every time that it is ])roduced the 
throat swells and sinks convulsively. The young are pretty little birds, pert, brisk, and 
lively, and are colored rather prettily, their general hue being gray, striped with black, each 
stripe having a cream-colored line along its centre. 

The Rhea is darkish-gray, taking a blackish hue above, and being rather lighter below. 
The plumes of the wings are white, and a bla(;k band runs round the neck, and passes into a 
semilunar patch on the breast. The niu'k is completely feathered. Tin- average height of the 
Rhea is about five feet. 

Three species of Rhea, an', however, all iidiabitantsof South America, namely, the common 
Rhea just described, Darwin's Riika {Rhea darwliui), and the Lakge-billed Rhea 
{Rhea macrorhyncJia). 

The well-known (^as.sowaky, long thought to !»■ the only exanii)le of the genus, is foimd 
in the Malaccas. 

This fine bird is notable for the glossy-black hair-like plumage, the helmet-like protuber- 
ance upon the head, and the light azure, puri)le and scarlet of the upper part of the neck. 
The "helmet" is a truly lemarkable apparatus, being (iomposed of a honey-combed cellular 
bony substance, made on a principle that much resembles the structure of the elephant's skull, 
mentioned in the previous volume of this work treating of the Mannnalia. It yields readily 
to a sharp knife or a fine saw, and maybe cut tlnough by a steady hand without leaving 
ragged edges. This helmet is barely perceptible in the young bird when newly hatched, and 
increases in jjroportion with its growth, not reaching its full development until the bird has 
attained adiUt age. A similar phenomenon may be observed in the common Guinea fowl. 
The beak is high in proportion to its width, and is therefore unlike the flattened and com- 
paratively Aveak bills of the Ostrich. 

The plumage of the body is veiy hair-like, being composed of long and almost naked 
shafts, two springing from the same tube, and one always being longer than the other. At the 
roots of the shafts there is a small tuft of delicate down, sufficiently thick to supply a wann 
and soft inner garment, but yet so small as to be hidden by the long hair-like plumage. Even 
the tail is furnished with the same curious covering, and the wings are clothed after a similar 
manner, with the exception of five Ijlack, stiff, strong, pointed quills, very like the large quills 
of the porcupine, and being of different lengths, the largest not exceeding one foot, and gen- 
erally being much battered about the point. When stripped of its feathers, the whole wing 
only extends some three inches in length, and is evidently a mere indication of the limb. 

The eye of the Cassowary is fierce and resolute, and its expression is carried out by the 



508 THE MOO RUE. 

character of the bird, which is tetchy of disposition, and apt to take offence without apparent 
provocation. Like the bull, it is excited to unreasoning ire at the sight of a scarlet cloth, and, 
like the dog or the ciij., lias a great antipathy towards ragged or unclean persons, attacking 
such individuals with some acerbity merely because their garments or general aspect do not 
please its refined taste. It is a determined and rather formidable antagonist, turning rajjidly 
about and launching a shower of kicks which can do no small damage, their effect being con- 
siderably heightened by the sharp claws with which the toes are armed. In the countries 
which it inhabits, the native warriors are accustomed to use the innermost claw of the Casso- 
wary's foot as the head of their spears. 

The food of this bird in a wild state consists of herbage and various fruits, and in captivity 
it is fed on bran, apples, carrots, and similar substances, and is said to drink nearly half a 
gallon of water \:>e\' diem. The eggs are somewhat like those of the rhea, save that their sur- 
face is more tubercular, and the shades of green more varied. Tlie color of the i^lumage is 
black, glossy above, as if made of shining blacli horsehair, and rather duller below. At the 
lower part of the neck there are two wattles, and the upper part of the neck is colored with 
beautiful blue, purple, and scarlet. The legs are feathered. An adult male is about five feet 
in height. 

The other species of Cassowary was discovered by Captain Devlin, and, having been taken 
to Sydney, was there purchased and then brought to Europe by Dr. Bennett, after whom it 
has been very appropriately named. Its native title is Mooruk, and its home is in the island 
of New Britain. 

Dr. Bennett's description of the Mooruk is as follows : "The height of the bird is three 
feet to the top of the back, and five feet when standing erect. Its color is rufous, mixed with 
black on the back and liinder portions of the body, and raven-black about the neck and breast ; 
the loose, wavy skin of the neck is beautifully colored with iridescent tints of bluish -purple, 
pink, and an occasional shade of green, quite different from the red and purjile caruncles of 
the Cassowary ; the feet and legs, wliich are very large and strong, are of a pale ash color, and 
exhibit w. remarkable peculiarity in the extreme length of the claw of the inner toe of each 
foot, it being nearly three times the length which it attains in the claws of tlie other toes. 
This bird also differs from the Cassowary in having a horny plate instead of a helmet-like pro- 
tuberance on the top of the head, which callous plate resembles mother-of-pearl darkened with 
black lead." 

The voice of the Mooruk is a kind of whistling chirp. It is a very cleanly bird, keeping 
its plumage free fi'om stain, and being very fond of wasliing, lying down to liave repeated 
bucketfuls of water poured over its body, and squatting on the ground in heavy rain. Their 
proceedings when in captivity aie most amusingly told liy Dr. Bennett, in his valuable " Gather- 
ings of a Naturalist in Australasia," and although too long to be entii-ely inserted, are so 
interesting and so indicative of the Mooruk' s character, that a portion must find a place in 
these pages :— 

" I succeeded in purchasing the birds. When placed in the yard, they walked about as 
tame as turkeys. They approached any one who came in, as if desirous of being fed, and 
were very docile. They began pecking at a bone they found lying about (proliably not having 
tasted any meat for some time), and would not, wliile tmgaged upon it, touch some boiled 
potatoes which were thrown to them ; indeed, it was found afterwards that they fed better out 
of a dish than from the ground, liaving no doubt been early accustomed to be fed in tliat 
manner. Tliey seemed also fond of scraping about the dunghill, and appeai-ed to pick up food 
from it, probably insects or grubs. They were as familiar as if bcn-n and bred among us for 
years, and did not require time to reconcile them to their new situation, but were sociable and 
quite at home at once. 

"We found them on the following day rather too tame, or, like spoilt pets, too often in 
the way. One or both of them would walk into the kitchen, and wliile one was dodging 
imder the tables and chairs, the other would leap up on the table, keeping the cook in a state 



HABITS OF THE MOORUK. 509 

of excitement ; or they would be heard iu the hall or iu the library, in search of food or 
infonuatiou ; or they would walk upstairs, aud then quickly descend again, making their 
peculiar chirping, whistling noise ; not a door could be left open, but iu they walked. They 
kept the servants constantly on the alert: if one went to open the door, on turning I'ound she 
found a Mooruk behind her ; for they seldom went together, generally wandering ajjart from 
each other. 

"If any attempt was made to turn them out by force, they would dart rapidly about the 
room, dodging about under the tables, chairs, and sofas, and then end by squatting down 
under a sofa or in a corner ; indeed, it was impossible to remove the bird, except by carrying 
it away. On attempting this, the long muscular legs would begin kicking and struggling, 
when it would soon get released, and politely walk out of its own accord. I found the best 
method was to entice them out as if you had something eatable in your hand, when they 
would follow the direction in which you wished to lead them. On the housemaid attempting 
to turn the bird out of one of the rooms, it kicked her and tore her dress. They walk into the 
stables among the horses, poking their bills into the manger. ^Vhen writing in my study, a 
chirping, whistling noise is heard ; the door, which is ajar, is pushed open, and in walk the 
Mooruks, who quietly pace round the room inspecting everything, and then as peaceably go 
out again. 

" Even in the very tame state of these birds, I have seen sufficient of them to know that, 
if they were loose in a wood, it would be inii)ossible to catch them, and almost as difficult to 
shoot them. One day, when a|)parently frightened at something that occurred, I saw one of 
them scour round the yard at a swift pace, and disappear under the archway so rajjidly that 
the eye could hardly follow it, upsetting all the poultry in its progress, as they could not get 
out of the way. The lower ludf of the stable door, about four feet high, was kept shut, to 
prevent them going in ; but this proved no ol)stacle, as it was easily leaped over by these birds. 

'•Tkey never appeared to take any notice of or be frightened at the jabiru, or gigantic 
crane, which was in the same yard, althougli that sedate, stately bird was not pleased at their 
intrusion. One day I observed the jabiru spreading his long wings, and clattering his beak, 
opposite one of the Mooruks, as if in ridicule of their wingless condition. The Mooruk, on 
the other hand, was preening its feathers, and spreading out its funny little ajjology for wings, 
as if proud of displaying the stiff, horny shafts with which they were adorned. The Mooruks 
often throw up all their feathers, ruffling them, and then they suddenly fall flat as before. 
Their wings aid them iu running, but are never used for defence. Captain Devlin says, that 
the natives consider them to a certain degree sacred, and rear them as pets. He does not know 
whether they are used as food, l)ut if so, not generally ; indeed, their shy disposition, and 
power of rapid running, darting through brake and bush, would almost preclude their cai^ture. 

"The natives carry them in their arms, and entertain a great affection for them, which 
will account for their domesticated state with us. The noise of these birds, when in the yard, 
resembled that of the female turkey ; at other times, the peculiar chirping noise was accom- 
panied by a whistling sound, which often reminded me of the chirp of the Guinea fowl. The 
contrast of these birds with the jabiru, or gigantic crane (Ilyettrla aitsfrdlis), was very great. 
The Mooridvs were sometimes seen moving about like the female turkey, but were more often 
in a state of rapid motion or excitement ; when walking quietly, they were very inquisitive, 
poking their beaks into everything, and familiar with every person. The jabiru, on the other 
hand, was a perfect picture of sedate quietness, looking upon all play as injurious to his con- 
stitution or derogatory to his dignity, remaining stiff in his gait and serious in his demeanor. 
The Mooruks, by their activity and noise, woidd let every one know they were in the yard, 
whereas no one would be aware of the presence of the jabiru except by sight ; and when he 
moves away, it is with a quiet sedate gait. 

"The Mooruk has, when seen in full face, a fine eagle-like expression of countenance, 
having the same vivid, piercing eye and curved beak. The instant the Mooruk saw an egg 
laid by a hen, he darted upon it, and breaking the sheU, devoured it immediately, as if he 
had been accustomed to eggs all his life. A servant was opening a cask of ale ; as soon as 
the birds heard the hammering, they both ran down to it, and remained there while it was 



510 TAME MOORUKS. 

unpacked, squatting down on each side, most intently watching the pi-ocess, and occasionally 
pecking at the straw and contents. 

" When the carpenter was in the yard, making some altenition in the cage of tljese bix'ds, 
it was very amusing to see them squat down upon their tarsi, like dogs, watching the man, 
with the greatest apparent interest in all his actions, enjoying the hammering noise, and occa- 
sionally picking uj) a nail, whicli was not in this instance swallowed, but again dropped ; one 
one of them swallowed his 'oilstone,' wliicli so alarmed the man that he considered the bird 
had committed siacide, and hurried to inform me of the circumstance, when, to his surprise, I 
told him if he did not take care they would swallow Ins hammer, nails, and chisel. The birds 
kei)t close to the man until he left foi- dinner, when they went about the yard as usual, resum- 
ing their i)Osition near him as soon as he returned to his work, and not leaving until he had 
finished. 

" These birds invariably retire to roost at dusk, and nothing more is seen or heard of them 
until daylight, as they never leave their usual roosting-i)lace after retiring ; indeed, their usual 
time of roosting is as soon as the sun is on the verge of setting, even before the poultry depart ; 
and on looking at them about this time in their retirement, they utter their usual gi'eeting 
ciurps, and one may be observed ivposing ui)on the breast, the other upon the tarsi. The 
door may be safely left ojien during the night, as they will not move, nor leave their sleeping- 
place, until the dawn of day. If, during any hour of the night, I approached their resting- 
place, they innnediately greeted me with their jieculiar chirping noise, being evidently, like 
geese, very watchful, or, according to the common saying, ' sleeping with one eye open ; ' 
when gazed at, they not only chiri^ed, but, if I continued too long, I was saluted by a loud 
growl. 

" One morning the male Mooruk was missing, and was found in the bedroom upstaii's, 
drinking water out of the water-Jug. There wer(^ some silkworms in the room at the time, bat 
they were fortunately covered ; otlierwise, I have no doubt, he would have made a meal of 
them. The same bird swallowed a bung-cork which measured one and a half inch in diameter ; 
indeed they both seem to swallow anything from butter and eggs to iron, in the form of small 
bolts or nails and stones. The bird did not api)ear well ; he was sulky and heavy all day ; and 
when, in tins sickly state, any one approached him, instead of being greeted with a cheerful 
chiri)ing, he uttered a loud sulky growl ; we wei'e afraid he was dying. On the following day 
he was as lively as ever, having passed the coi'k in a perfectly undigested state. 

"To show how dangerous it was to leave any object capable of being swallowed, I will 
relate the following occuiTence : The servant was starching some muslin cuffs, and having com- 
pleted one and hung it up to dry, she Avas about to finish the other, when, hearing the bell 
ring, she squeezed up the cuft", threw it into th(^ starch, and attended to the siimmons. On her 
return the cuff was gone, and she could not imagine who had taken it during her brief absence, 
when she discovered that the IMooruk was the thief, its beak and head being covered with 
starch; he had without doubt swallowed it. This occurred at eleven a.m., and at half-past 
five 1'. M. the cuff was i)assed, quite undigested and uninjured, and with a little washing was 
as good as evei'. 

"They ccmld not digest unboiled 2)()tato. Maize, or any unboiled grain, was likewise 
indigestible. When a piec(_^ of ))read was offered them at a height beyond their reach, they 
woidd first strelcli up the body and neck as much as possible, and tlien, finding they could not 
get it, they would jump up for it like a dog. They were frequently seen running and tumbling 
about the yard together in high sjjirits. It is well to warn persons, inclined to keep these 
birds as pets, of their insatiable ])ropensities. AVhen about the house, they displayed extraordi- 
nary delight in a. va-iiety ()f diet ; foi', as I have previously related, one day they satisfied their 
appetites with bones, whetstones, corks, nails, and raw i)otatoes, most of which passed per- 
fectly undigested ; one dived into thick starch and devoured a muslin cuff, whilst the other 
evinced a great partiality for nails and pebbles ; then they stole the jal)iru's meat from the 
water. If eggs and ))utter were left upon the kitchen-table, they were soon devoured hy these 
marauders ; and when the servants were at their dinner in the kitchen, they had to be very 
watchful, for the long necks of the bii'ds appeared between their arras, devouring everything 



THE APTERYX. 511 

off the plates ; or, il" the dinner-table was left for a monieiit, they would mount upon it and 
clear all before them. 

"At other times they stood at the table, waiting for food to be given to them, although 
they did not hesitate to remove anything within their reach. I have often seen them stand at 
the window of our dining-room, with keen eye, watching for any morsel of food that might be 
tllro\^^l to them. The day previous to the departure of the pair for their new home, the male 
l)ird walked into the dining-room, and remained by my side during the dessert. I regaled him 
with pineapple and other fruits, and he behaved very decorously and with great foi'l)ea ranee. 
Having had tliese birds for a consideiable time in my possession, I had ample opportunity of 
hearing all the notes uttered by them. I never heard them utter a sound like 'Mooruk.' I 
am inclined to consider the name signifies, in the native language, ' swift' — resembling closely 
the Malay term 'a muck,' or mad career." 

Inutile same work is much more curious and valuable informntion I'especting this bird, and 
to its pages the reader is I'eferred for further information concerning this and many other 
objects of natural history. 

The Mooruk is not devoid of offensive weapons, for it can kick very sharply, delivering 
the stroke forward like the ostrich, and deriving much aid from the long-pointed claw which 
has already been mentioned. Its attitudes are much more various, and its form more flexible, 
than would be supposed by ])ersons who have not seen the bii'd in a living state. Sometimes 
it stpiats down with the legs bent under it, and so sits upright like a dog that has been taught 
to "beg;" sometimes it ]i(>s on its side, stretching the legs straight behind it ; sometimes it 
flattens itself against the gi'ound, its legs tucked under its body, and its head and neck 
stretched at full length on the grouu<l. This latter position is a, favorite one. Like the emeu, 
it is often taken with an ebuUitioJi of joyousness, and then dashes about its inclosure as if halt 
mad, jumps against a tree or post, trying to kick it at a great height from the ground, and 
tumbling flat on its back when it misses its aim. Then it will suddenly cease its vagaries, 
and walk about very composedly, but ])anting for breath with open bill. 

This bird may be distinguished from the cassowary by the four (instead of five) spines of 
the wings, and the shape of the lielmet. 

Perhaps the very strangest and most weird-like of all living birds is the Aptertx, or 
Kiwi-Kiwi. 

This singular bird is a native of New Zealand, where it was once very common, but, like 
the dinornis, is in a fair way of becoming extinct, a fate from which it has probably been hitherto 
preserved by its nocturnal and retiiing habits. 

Not many years ago the Apteryx was thought to be a fabulous bird, its veritable existence 
being denied by scientific men as energetically as that of the giraffe in yet older days, or the 
duck-bill in more modern times. A skin brought from New Zealand was given to a taxider- 
mist to "set up," and the man, taking it for one of the jienguins on account of its very short 
wings and the total absence of a tail, stuffed it in a sitting posture, such as is assumed by the 
])enguin tribe, and arranged the head and neck after the same model. 

In this bird there is scarcely the slightest trace of wings, a peculiarity which has gained 
for it the title of Apteryx, or wingless. The plumage is composed of rather curiously shaped 
flat feathers, each being wide and furnished with a soft, shining, silken down for the basal 
third of its length, and then narrowing rapidly towards the extremity, which is a single shaft 
with hair-like webs at each side. The quill portion of the feathers is remarkably small and 
short, being even overlap)>ed by the down when the feather is removed from the bird. 

The skin is very tough and yet flexible, and the chiefs set great value upon it for the 
manufacture of their state mantles, permitting no inferior person to wear them, and being 
extremely unwilling to part with them even for a valuable consideration. The bird lives 
mostly among the fern ; and as it always remains concealed during the day in deep recesses of 
rocks, ground, or tree-roots, and is remarkably fleet of foot, diving among the heavy fern-leaves 
with singular adroitness, it is not very easy of capture. It feeds upon insects of various kinds, 



512 



THE APTERYX. 



more especially on worms, which it is said to attract to the surface by jumping and striking 
on the ground witli its powerful feet. The natives always hunt the Kiwi-kiwi at night, taking 




APTEltyX, OU KlWl-KlWI.— Jyj/itvy.c uualnitis. 



with them torches and spears. The sjjeed of this bird is very considerable, and when running 
it sets its head rather back, raises its neck, and plies its legs with a vigor little inferior to that 
of the ostrich. 



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^^^ Hnimatc Creation, fe^^^^ 

E "X^l^/'E have concluded to submit for public patronage a work with the above title, being a series 
■s ^i/y/^ of exquisite Engravings representing the Animal World, executed with great scii;nlific 
§ accuracy, and accompanied by full Descriptive Text, written in popular terms, so as to 

~ delight and instruct the people. Anyone who has considered the subject must be at a loss to under- 
•£ stand why an Illustrated Natural History, comprehensive and at the same time popular, 
"o has not before this been published in this country. Indeed any lover of animals who has visited the 
S great museums and zoological gardens and has had access to books of- engravings in the public 
2 libraries, could not fail to remark the wealth of material in existence devoted to this subject. Being 
■S confirmed in our conviction of the desirability of such a work-, we laid under contribution the best 
."&) existin" authorities for the production of most perfect rejjresentations of all the more important 
"^ living creatures, and among the artists whose delineations will delight the reader, we may mention 
" Harrison Weir, Wolf, Coleman, Fr. Specht, and Mutzel. By far the majority of the engravings in 
these volumes are from drawings made from the living animals, many at the Zoological Society's 
"" Gardens in London, England. 

We purpose that our patrons shall be aided and interested in their study by such an array of 
pictures as has never before embellished any Natural Histor)'. In numerous instances the engraving 
is printed in oil-colors, and this portion of the illustrations has been taken charge of by Messrs. L. 
Prang & Co., of Boston, who we believe rank foremost for high artistic results in this department of 
printing. These Oleographs were copied under the superintendence of Mr. Prang from the renowned 
" Tafeln " of " Brehm's Thierleben," so that they may be declared perfectly reliable. 

We sought competent advice from various sources as to the most suitable te.xt that should ac- 
conipany this panorama of handsome Engravings. It was found impossible to embody all the present 
iileas of naturalists in a single work like this on account of the rapid advances and constant changes in 
their knowledge of, and habits of thought respecting, the Animal World. And it seemed to u;? cor- 
rect that the true object of Zoology is not to arrange, to number, and to ticket animals in a formal 
inventory, but to inquire into their life-nature, and not simply to investigate the lifeless organism. 

What do we know of " Man " from the dissecting-room ? Is it not Man, the warrior, the states- 
man, the poet, etc., that we are interested in? - With all veneration which attaches itself to those 
who are the accredited possessors of abstruse learning, their inordinate use of phraseology detracts 
too niuch, we fear, from the fascination that the study of the Animal World would otherwise yield, 
and as we are not content to have our work restricted to a favored few, we thought the task placed 
in our hands to be to keep the work free from a repellant vocabulary of conventional technicalities. 
Our endeavor has been to find an author whose work would be noted for its fund of anecdote and 
vitality rather than for merely anatom.ical and scientific presentation, and we arrived at the conclu- 
sion that we could not do better than avail ourselves of the Rev. J. G. Wood's comprehensive work 
• — a work most popularly approved by speakers of the English language. It would be superfluous to 
say one word concerning the standard character of his book, froni the pages of which old and young 
at the other side of the Atlantic have obtained so much instruction and rational amusement. Avoid- 
ing the lengthened dissertations and minute classifications of siJecialists, he presents to his readers in 
popular terms a complete treatise on the Animal Kingdom of all climes and countries. The one 
objection that could be m-ged against it was, that animal life in America might be treated more fully 
and American forms given more consideration. In order to obviate this drawback and to do full 
justice to the creatures of our own country, we secuied the aid of Dr. J. B. Holdkr, of the Ameri- 
can Museum of Natural Ilistorj' in New York, an undoubted American authorit}-, who has adapted 
Wood's work to AmericTm wants and given prominence to American forms of Animal life. 

The splendid work on Rodcntia, by Allen, Cones, and otheis, will be fullj' consulted. The 
valuable worlc on North American Birds, by Baird, Brewer, and Ridgway, will be the guide in the 
treatment of birds. The late arrangement of the classification and nomenclature of North American 
Birds, by Mr. Ridgway, and the Committee on that subject of the Ornithologists' Union, will be 
utilized in full. The arrangement of Mammals will be after the latest classification by Professor 
Flower, of the Zoological Society of London. So that this will be the first popular Natural History- 
worthy of the name that has made its appearance here, which gives due and full recognition to the 
animate world surroimding us. 

Serine of publication. 

The extent of the work will be 68 parts of 2S pages, at the price of 25 cents each. The entire publication will 
contain 31 Oleographs and C8 Full Page Engravings on Wood, besides many hundreds of exquisite Illustrations 
interspersed through the text. The parts will be issued every two weeks, and are payable only as delivered. No 
subscriber's name will be received for less than the entire work, and anyone removing, or not regularly supplied, will 
please address the Publisher by mail. 

N.E. SELMAR HESS, Publisher, New York. 



ISSUED BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY, AND NOT FOR SALE IN BOOK STORES. 




PART 43 



COMPLETE IN 68 PARTS. 



25 CENTS. 



THE APTERYX. 513 

The fine specimen kept in captivity proved a very valuable bird, as she has laid several 
eggs, thereby setting at rest some disputed questions on the subject, and well illustrating the 
natural liabits of the species. During the day she remains hidden behind the straw, which is 
piled up in a corner of her box, and declines to come forth unless removed by force. When 
brought to the light, she looks sadly puzzled for a short time, and when i)laced on the ground 
she turns her back — not her tail, as she has no such appendage— and runs off to her box in the 
most absurd style, looking as if she were going to topple over every moment. I noticed that 
she always goes round her box and slips in between the box and the wall, insinuating lierself 
behind the straw without even showing a feather. Before hiding herself, she lingered a few 
moments to eat some worms from her keeper's hand, taking them daintily with the end of the 
bill, and disposing of them at a rapid rate. 

Upon her box is placed, under a glass shade, the shell of one of her eggs. These eggs are 
indeed wondei-ful, for the bird weighs just a little more than four pounds, and each egg weighs 
between fourteen and fifteen ounces, its length being four inches and three-quarters, and its 
width rather more than two inches, thus being very nearly one-fourth of the weight of the 
parent bird. There have been six eggs laid between the time when it was captured and nine 
years later, when I last saw the bird, and each egg has varied between thirteen and fourteen 
and a half ounces in weight. 

The long curved beak of the Apteryx has the nostrils very narrow, very small, and set on 
at each side of the tip, so that the biid is enabled to pry out the worms and other noctuinal 
creatures on which it feeds, without trusting only to the eyes. The general color of the 
Apteryx is chestnut-brown, each feather being tipped with a darker hue, and the under parts 
are lighter than the upjjer. The height is about two feet. 

Three species of Apteryx are known — namely, the one already described, Owen's 
Apteryx {Apteryx owenii), remarkable for the puffy downiness of its plumage, and Man- 
tell' s Apteryx {Apteryx mantellil), and it is very probable that there are still other species 
at present unknown. 





GREAT BUSTARD.— Ofe tarda. 



THE GRALL^ 



BUSTARDS, PLOVERS, CRANES. HERONS, ETC. 

LTIIOliGII the progress of civilization has conferred many benefits on Europe, it 
has deprived it of many of its aboriginal inhalntants, whether fnrred or feathered, 
the Grp:at Bustard being in the latter category. 

This splendid bird, although in former days qiiite a usual tenant of plains and 
commons, and having been an ordinaiy- object of chase on Newmarket Heath, is 
noAv so very rare, that only an occasional specimen makes its appearance at very 
I'are intervals, and is then generally found — and shot- — on Salisbury Plain. In 
the countries whicli it still inhabits, it is a most wary bird, and very diflicult of approach, 
being generally shot with riHes after a careful and lengthened chase that rivals deer-stalking 
in the watclifulness and ])erseverance that are requisite before the sportsmen can get within 
shot. They are carried in carts, covered with ordinary farm produce, and having an aperture 
through which they can aim ; they put on various disguises; they enact the part of agricul- 




THE LITTLE BUSTARD. 



515 



tiiral laborers, plying their work, and gniJually slipping towards the wary birds; they walk 
behind cows, and, in fine, put into practice every device which their ingenuity, sharpened by 
experience, can suggest. 

The Great Bustard is not fond of flying, its wings having but a slow and deliberate move- 
ment; but on foot it is very swift, and tests the speed of dog and horse before it can be 
captured. 

The nest — if a hole in the ground may be called a nest — of this bird is generally made 
among corn, rye, etc., although it is sometimes situated in rather unexpected localities. The 
eggs are two or three in number, and of an olive-brown color, splashed with light brown, in 
which a green tinge is perceptible. The food of tlie Inrd is almost wholly of a vegetable nature, 







LITTLE BUSTARD.— O^fo telrax. 



though it is said to feed occasionally upon mice, lizards, and other small vertebrates. The 
fiesh of the Bustard is very excellent, but the extreme rarity of these birds prevents it from 
being often seen upon the tables. When caught young, the Bustard can be readily tamed, 
and soon becomes quite familiar with those who treat it kindly. 

The head and upper part, of the neck are grayish-white, and upon the side of the neck 
there is a small patch of slaty-blue bare skin, almost concealed by the curious feather tuft 
which hangs over it. The upper part of the body is pale chestnut, barred with black, and 
the tail is of similar tints with a white tip, and a very broad black liand next to the white 
extremity. The wing-coverts, together with the tertials, are wliite, and the primaries black. 
The under siirface of the body is white. The total length of an adult male is about forty-five 
inches. 



The Little Bustakd is an occasional visitor to the northern parts of Europe, and when- 
ever it does make its appearance, it almost invariably chooses the winter time. 



516 THE CORAN. 

It is by no means nncommon in several parts of Europe, and in Russia assembles in little 
flocks. Towards the shores of the Caspian Sea it is found in greater numbers, the flocks being 
of considerable size, and all appearing (in the month of December) to consist of birds whicli 
have not put on, or which have alivady put ofl", their nuptial plumage. This bird feeds upon 
insects, herbs, grasses, and seeds, and its flesh is very good, having been compared to that of a 
young pheasant. The eggs are placed on the ground among a tuft of rank lierbage in which 
the bird can lie concealed ; their number is a])Out four, and their color olive-brown. 

The male, when in full phamage, is a decidedly handsome bird. The top of the head is 
fawn and black, and the sides of the face and neck are slaty -gray. Around the neck runs a 
broad gorget of black, cut by two white bands, one narrow and forming a ring round the neck, 
and the other broader and of semilunar shape, just across the top of the breast. Tlie upper 
parts of the body are fawn, mottled profusely with black, and the wings are beautifully 
marked with black and white. The xmder surface of the body is white. The female is with- 
out the beautiful black and white stripes on the neck and chest, and her breast, sides, and 
flanks are barred with black. Except during the breeding season, the male has the same 
plumage. The total length of this bird is about seventeen inches. 

There are many other Bustards scattered over the world, some being well known in India 
under the title of Florikans, and others being distributed over Africa. The Houbaka, or 
RuFP^LED Bustard, is well known on account of its curious-plumed ruffles and the sport which 
it affords to Algerian falconers. There are also two South African species, the Pauw and the 
Coran, which are often casually mentioned in the works of African travellers. Both these 
birds belong to the genus Eupodotis, and of them Captain Drayson has kindly given me the 
following account : — 

"The Pauw bird is more sought for by the pot-hunter than any other in South Africa. 
Its size is about that of a turkey, and its flesh delicious. On the breast of this bird there are 
two colored meats. First, there is a dark brown, similar to that of the grouse ; but beneath 
this there is white meat, whic-h is similar in appearance to chicken's flesh. 

" The Pauw is usually found on tlie plains, wliicli it prefers to bushy country ; for as it is 
a very crafty bird, it does not like to give tlie sportsman an opportunity to stalk it. When 
the long grass of the plains has been burnt, and the young grass began to shoot ujj. then would 
numbers of Pauws assemble on the ground, and search for the worms and slugs which became 
visible. There was little chance, however, of approaching within two hundred yards of the 
bird at these times, as the whole flock would take flight immediately they believed them- 
selves in danger, and they had formed a very fair estimate of the distance at whicli a smooth- 
bore would be dangerous. The flight of the Pauw was something like the heron's, except 
that when it puiiDosed settling, it would skim for a considerable distance with its wings quite 
rigid. 

"The bird being rather heavy, with the appearance of a full habit of body, it could not 
take flight very readily. When it was possessed of a good feeding locality it seemed disin- 
clined to fly away, although its sense of danger was apparent. The sportsman might then 
probably reach to within one hundred yards of the bird, particularly if there happened to be 
only one near him, and if he did not look attentively in the direction of the Pauw. It was 
still necessary, however, to ride round the circumference of a circle of which the Pauw was 
the centre, and, by decreasing the radius, to approach nearer and nearer. If the Pauw 
crouched, then it usually depended upon the accuracy of the shooting whether or not the bird 
was killed ; for the sportsman might then gradually narrow the radius of his circle, until he 
was within seventy or eiglity yards, when he might dismount, if on horseback, and run in 
towards the bird, discharging the dose of buck-shot just as the Pauw opened wide his wings. 
These birds are not confined to any particular locality, but seem to range over any country 
within a radius of a hundred miles or so. 

"The Coran is much smaller than the pauw. is longer, in proportion, in the leg. and is 
i"arely seen in flocks. It is quite as much esteemed for the table as the larger bustard, and 



THE GREAT PLOVER. 



517 



possesses aiso the two colored meats. The Coran may be expected where the grass is long, 
near livers or ponds, and where there are some portions of marshy ground ; but it avoids 
showing itself much in the open. The poet has very appropriately designated this bird as the 
'listless Coran,' for its tlight is slow and short, and, if possible, will bfe avoided altogether. 

"In consequence of these characteristics this bird, if once seen, is almost certain to be 
'bagged.' It wiU allow the sportsman to almost ride over it before it will rise ; then a slow, 
lazy, owl-like flight of about two hundred yards will satisfy its organ of caution. Upon being 
pursued, it will again lie close, and has to be almost kicked before it will leave the ground ; 
after which its slow flight affords even an indifferent shot an excellent chance of killing, for 
the Coran can carry off very little shot." 



^ 







■^r-. 














GREAT PLOVEK OE TBlCKKHEK.— CEdicnemus ciepUum. 



The Wading Birds are well furnished with legs and feet formed for walking, and in 
many species the legs are greatly elongated, so as to enable them to walk in the water while 
the}' pick their food out of the waves. 

The Plovers head the list of Waders, of which our first example is the Great Plover, 
or Thick-knee. 

It is found in various parts of Europe, where it is known under the names of Stone Cur- 
lew and Norfolk; Plover. As it comes from the south, it is more common in the southern 
than in the northern countries. It moves about chiefly in the dark, its large full eyes enabling 
it to take advantage of the waning light, and to pounce upon the slugs, worms, and insects 
that come forth by night. The bird is also thought to kill and devour lizards, frogs, and 
mice ; and the remains of the large hard-shelled beetles have been found within its stomach. 

The note of this Plover is almost human in its intonation, sounding like that strange 
whistle produced by putting the fingers in the mouth and blo\ving shrilly through them. The 
Thick-knee frequents open country and plains, disliking inclosures, and being very fond of 
downs where sheep are fed in large flocks. It is a cautious and very shy bird, so that the 
sportsman cannot, without great trouble, come within shot range. ]\Ioreover, it is singularly 
tenacious of life, and will carry away a large charge of shot without seemiag much the worse 
at the time. 



518 



THE PRATINCOLE. 



The eggs of this bird are laid npou the bare ground, and are two in number. Their color 
is rather Mghl dingy-brown, covered with splashes and streaks of slaty-blue and dark brown. 
The male bird is supposed to aid in the duties of incubation. When hatched, the young birds 
are covered with a soft spotty down, so like the stones and soil in which they repose, that they 
can hardly be discovered even within a yard or two. For the same reason, the eggs are very 
safe from unpractised eyes. About October, the birds take their departure, assembling 
together in Hocks before they stai't on their travels. 

The general color of the TJiick-knee is mottled lu'own and black. The head is brown 
streaked with black ; there is a light-colored strij^e from the foreliead to the ear-coverts, and 
the chin and throat are white. The back is brown streaked with black, and the quill-feathers 
of the wing are nearly black, with a few j^atches of wliite. The neck and breast are extremely 
pale brown, streaked with a darker hue, and the abdomen is nearly Avhite, with a few long and 
very narrow longitudinal streaks. In total length the bird measures about seventeen inches. 




PRATINCOLE. — Gtor«rfa pratincola. 



The close compact plumage of the Pratijs^cole, its long pointed -wings, its deeply forked 
tail, and swallow-like form, point it out as a bird of swift wing and enduring flight. 

The Pratincole is a usual resident of the east of Europe and Central Asia. Like the swal- 
lows, to which it is so similar in form and habits that even modern zoologists have doubted 
whether it ought not to find a place among those birds rather than with the Waders, the 
Pratincole feeds much upon the wing, snapping up the insects as they come across its patli, 
and especially delighting in picking the aquatic insects out of tlieir native element without 
even staying its aerial course. Its endiirance is equal to its speed, and a fliglit of two or three 
hundred miles is but an easy journey to this bird, wliich can thus pass over a very great 
extent of country in a few days. 

The nest of the Pratincole is made among thick aquatic herbage, and the eggs are gener- 
ally about five or six in number. The general color of the Pratincole is shining yellowish- 
brown above. The chin is whitish, and the front of the throat reddish-white. A narrow bla<>k 
streak runs from the eyes over the ear-coverts, and round the throat, forming the "collar,'' by 



THE LAPWING, OR PEEWIT. 



519 



which tlie bird is so readily known. The breast is light brown, and the abdomen as well as 
the upper tail-coverts, is white. Tlie quill-feathers of the wings are dark blackish-brown, and 
the deeply forked tail is white at its basal half, and dark blackish-brown to the tip. 

The very rare bird which, on account of its speed of foot and the color of its plumage, is 
termed the Ceeam-colored CoirKSER, is found even less frequently than the preceding 

species. 

It seems to live chieiiy in Barbary or Abyssinia, though specimens have been obtained from 
almost every country in Europe. One of these birds, shot in Kent, was lemarkable for its 







CREAM-COLORED COURSER— Ayas agyptia. 



boldness. When the gun that was aimed at it missed tire, the bird only flew away for a short 
distance, and then alighted within a hundred yards of the gunner. It ran with great velocity, 
]ncking up objects from the ground in its course, and it was with difficulty raised from the 
ground so as to afi'ord a fair shot. The note of this species is very peculiar, and is uttered 
on the wing. 

The crown of the head is fawn, fading into gray behind, and the chin is white. From the 
eye over the ear-coverts is a black curved streak, and immediately above it is a similar white 
streak. The whole upper parts of the body are pale reddish-brown, the primary feathers of 
the wing are jetty-black, and there is a curious black spot near the end of each tail-feather. 
Tlie whole under surface is cream-white, becoming white on the under tail-coverts. Both sexes 
are similarly colored, and the total length is rather more than ten inches. 

The well-known Lapwing, or Peewit, is celebrated for many reasons. Its wheeling, 
flapping flight is so peculiar as to attract the notice of every one wdio has visited the localities 
in wMch it resides, and its strange, almost articulate, cry is equally familiar. When it fears 
danger, it rises from the nest, or rather from the eggs, into the air, and continually wheels 
around the intruder, its black and white plumage flashing out as it inclines itself in its flight, 
and its mournful cry almost fatiguing the ear with its piercing frequency. "Wee- whit! 
wee-e whit ! " fills the air, as the birds endeavor to draw away attention from their home; and 



520 



THE LAPWING. OR PEEWIT. 



the look and cry are so weird-like that the observer ceases to wonder at the superstitious 
dread in which these birds were formerly held. The French call tlie Lapwing " Dix-huit," 
from its cry. 

It is the male bird whicli thus soars above and around the intruder, the female sitting 
closely on her eggs until distur))ed. when she runs away, tumbling and liapping about as if 
she had broken her wing, in hojjes that the foe may give chase and so miss her eggs. It is 
certainly very tempting, for she imitates the movements of a wounded bird with marvellous 
fidelity. 

The eggs of the Lapwing are laid in a little depression in the earth, in which a few grass 
stalks are loosely pressed. The full number of eggs is four, very large at one end and very 
sharply pointed at the other, and the bird always arranges them with their small end inwards, 







^VV.^ ^ 



eo^^i^^''^; 






V^V" 



^ -3% 



.:.A^ 



ULPWma.—Tandlus aismtus. 



SO that they present a somewhat cross-like shape as they lie in the nest. Their color is olive, 
blotclied and spotted irregularly with dark blackish-brown, and they harmonize so well with 
the ground on which they are laid that they can hardly be discerned from the suiTounding 
earth at a few yards' distance. Under the title of "Plover's eggs" they are in great request 
for the table, and are sought by persons who make a trade of them, and who attain a won- 
derful exj)ertness at the business. The eggs are generally laid in marshy grounds, heaths, and 
commons, where they are sometimes found by dogs trained for the purpose. They are, how- 
ever, often placed in culdvated grounds, and I have found numbers in ploughed fields in the 
months of April and May. At first, the novice may pass over the ground three or four times 
without finding an egg, and may have the mortification of seeing a more experienced egg- 
h unter go over the very same ground and fill his bag. After a wliile, however, the eye becomes 
accustomed to the business, and tlie speckled eggs stand out ))oldly enough against the ground. 
Even the protruding ends of the bents and grass stems on which they are laid take the eye, 
and tlipre are very few eggs that can escajie. 



THE GOLDEN PLOVER. 



521 



The food of the Lapwing consists ahnost wholly of grubs, slugs, worms, and insects. It 
is easily tamed, and is often kept in gardens for the purpose of ridding them of these destruc- 
tive creatures. In the garden next our own a Lapwing was kept, and lived for some years, 
tripping featly over the grass and thoroughly at home. 

In its coloring the Lapwing is rather a handsome bird. The top of the head is black, as 
is the long-pointed crest, which can be raised or depressed at will. The sides of the face and 
neck are white, speckled with })lack ; the chin, throat, and breast are jetty-black, and from the 
chin a black streak runs under the eye. The upper part of the body is shining coppery -green, 
glazed with pxii-ple, and the primary feathers of the wing are black, with some grayish- white 
at their tips. The upper tail-coverts are chestnut, and the tail is half w^hite and half black, 
the exterior feather on each side being almost wholly white. The under parts are white, 
changing to fawn on the under tail-coverts. In winter the chin and throat are white. The 
yearling birds are mottled with buff on the back. The total length of tlie bird rather exceeds 
one foot. 

The Lapwing is now enumerated with North American birds, on the strength of the fact 
that it is occasionally seen as a straggler here. Several other instances are known of similar 
character. Usually, in these cases of exceptional migration, there is seldom more than one 
indi\idual noticed. Occasionally, perhaps, a pair is observed. 



:\ i- 













DOTTEREL and GOLDEN VUyfER.—Charadrius TnoHnettm and pluvlalis. 



The two Plovers represented in the engraving are common throughout Europe. 

The Golden Plover, sometimes called the Yellow Plover from its prettily colored 
plumage, is very common in many parts of Europe, being found mostly in the moi'e northern dis- 
tricts, moving southward in the autumn. The spots which it selects for its breeding-places are 
generally situated on open moors, where the vegetation is but scanty, and water is at hand, 

Vol. n.— 66. 



522 HABITS OF THE GOLDEN PLOVER. 

although well below the level of the nest, rather liigli ridges, with a dell slope, being its most 
favored spots. It makes its simple preparations in the beginning of April or the end of 
March, according to the season, choosing some little depression in the soil, scratching it toler- 
ably level, and laying in it a few bents and grass stems. The eggs are usually four in number, 
and their color is yellowisli-olive, blotched with dusky brown. Like the eggs of the lapwing, 
they are arranged with their small ends inwards. The Golden Plover also puts in practice 
sundry devices to draw an intruder away from the nest, rising into the air when it has suc- 
ceeded in its object, and uttering an exultant, whistling cry as it wheels off in safety. The 
female is very careful about her eggs. While sitting, she cro^^ches so low upon them that her 
speckled plumage can hiirdly be distinguished from the earth ; and when she leaves her nest, 
she runs to some little distance along the ground before she rises into the air, and returns after 
the same cautious fashion. 

The young birds are active on foot, and are able to follow their parent within a very short 
time after their escape from the egg-shell. They are pretty little creaturss, covered with thick 
dusky mottled down, and not easily to be discovered. 

The plumage of the Golden Plover varies generally according to age and the season of the 
year. In the summer, the toj) of the head and whole of the upper surface are grayish-black, 
mottled with triangular spots of golden-yellow. The face, chin, throat, and under surface of 
the body are jetty-ljlacl'i, a white streak i^assing over the eyes and forehead, and separating 
tl)e mottlings of the head from the Ijlack of the face. The primaries are nearly black, and the 
taU is barred with whitish-gray and blackish-brown. Below the wing there is a band of white, 
and the under tail-coverts are white. In the winter the chin is white, and the breast also 
dusky-wliite, spotted with yellow ; and in late autumn and early spring the clianging plumage 
is curiously mottled with black, yellow, and white. The yearling birds are more gray on the 
breast and lower parts than when they have attained their second year's plumage. In total 
length this bird measures not quite one foot. 

The Golden Plover was for a long time regarded as identical with the American bird of 
that name. Wilson says : "This beautiful bird visits the sea-coasts of New York and New 
Jersey in spring and autumn, but does not, as far as I can discover, breed in any part of the 
United States. They are most frequently met with in the months of September and October, 
soon after which they disai>pear. The yonng birds of the great Black-bellied Plover are some- 
times mistaken for this species. Hence the reason why Mr. Pennant remarks his having seen 
a variety of tlie Golden Plover, with black breasts, which he supposed to be the young. They 
usually fly in small flocks, and have a shrill, whistling note. They are very frequent in 
Siberia, where they likewise breed, and extend into Kamtschatka, and as far south as the 
Sandwich Islands. ' In the latter place,' says Mr. Pennant, 'they are very small.' " 

'ITiis account shows the belief then existing that tlie European bird was identical with the 
American. AVilson's account of the breeding localities is just opposite to that of the above 
text. The latter is, pi-obably, the correct one. 

The American Golden Plover (Gharadrius dominieus) is distinguished by the ashen- 
gray of the inner surface of the wings, the latter being white. The C/idm/s of Asia is nearer. 
The Golden Plover is seen on all jjarts of our coast, hut is never abundant, and is never met 
with in the interior. Dr. Coues saw it in consideral)le numbers on the Paciflc coast. They 
were seen in company with the Tattlers and Esquimaux Curlews, and were quite tame, running 
lapidly and lightly in search of food ; flew, with a mellow, whistling note, and settled again, 
with a momentary, graceful pose of the upturned wing. Audubon gives the followiug descrip 
tion of the bird : — 

" The Golden Plover spends the autumn, winter, and part of the spring in various portions 
of the United States, appearing in considerable numbers both along the coast and in the 
interior, and not unfrequently on our highest grounds. A much greater number, however, 
proceed in severe winters beyond the limits of our Southern States, and the partial migrations 
of this species are much influenced by the state of the weather. They are more abundant along 



THE BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER. 523 

the sea-shores of the middle and eastern districts from the middle of April to the beginning of 
May ; whereas in autumn they range over the interior, and more especially the Western 
prairies. In the early part of May, they congregate in immense ilocks, and commence their 
journey toward more northern regions, where they are said to breed. 

"This bird. moves on the ground with sprightliness. When observed, it often runs with 
considerable rapidity to some distance, suddenly stops short, nods once or twice, vibrating its 
body at the same time, and if it should imagine itself unnoticed, it often lies down and remains 
crouched until the danger is over. At the time of their departui-e from the north, and while 
on the sands of mudbai's on the sea-shore, they often raise their wings as if to air them for a 
few moments. AYhile searching for food, they move in a direct manner, often look sideways 
toward the ground, and pick up the object of their search by a peculiar bending movement of 
the body. They are frequently observed to pat the moist earth with their feet, to force worms 
from theu' burrows. In autumn they betake themselves to tlie higher grounds, where berries 
as well as insects are to be met with, and where thej^ find abundance of gi'asshoppers. 

'' "\Yhen travelling to a considerable distance, the Golden Plover flies at the height of from 
thirty to sixty feet, in a regular manner, with considerable velocity, the flock, when large, 
forming an extended front, and moving with regular flappings, an individual now and then 
uttering a mellow note. Before alighting they often perform various evolutions, now descend- 
ing and flying swiftly over the ground, then curving uj:) wards or sidewise, closing and extending 
their ranks, until the sportsman is often tired of watching them, and after all, the flock. Just 
when he expects it to aliglit, may suddenly shoot off and fly to a distance. When they alight 
without shooting distance, the moment their feet touch the ground is the critical one, for they 
are generally in a compact body, and almost immediately afterwards they disperse. I have 
often observed them, while flying from one place to another, siuldenly check their course for a 
moment or two, as if to look at the objects below, in the manner of Curlews. 

" While at New Orleans, I was invited by some French gunners to accomjiany them to the 
neighborhood of Lake St. John, to witness the passage of thousands of these birds, which were 
coming from the nortlieast and continuing their course. At the first appearance of the birds 
early in the morning, the gunners had assembled in parties of from twenty to fifty at different 
places, where they knew from experience the Plovers would pass. There, stationed at nearly 
equal distances from each other, they were sitting on the ground. When a flock approached, 
every individual whistled in imitation of the Plover's caU-note, on which the birds descended, 
Avheeled, and passing within forty or fifty yards, ran the gauntlet, as it were. Every gun 
went off in succession, and with such effect that I several times saw a flock of a hundred 
or more reduced to a miserable remnant of five or six individuals. The game was bi'ought up 
after each volley by the <logs, while their masters were charging their pieces anew. This sport 
was continued all day, and at sunset, when I left one of these lines of gunners, they seemed as 
intent on killing more as they were when I arrived. A man near the place where I was seated 
had killed sixty-three dozens. I calculated the number in the field at two hundred, and sup- 
posing each to have shot twenty dozens, forty-eight thousand Golden Plovers would have 
fallen that day. 

"On inquiring if these passages were of frequent occurrence, I was told that six years 
before, such another had occurred immediately after two or three days of very warm weather, 
when they came up vnt\\ a breeze from the northeast. Only some of the birds were fat, the 
greater number of those which I examined being very lean ; scarcely any had food in their 
stomach, and the eggs in the ovaries of the females were undeveloped. The next morning the 
markets were amply supplied vnth. Plovers at a very low price." 

According to Wilson, this bird is ten inches and a half long, and twenty-one inches in 
extent of mng. The sexes differ but little in color. 

The Black-bellied Plovee {Squatarola helvetius) is an American bird. In September 
it is abundant on Long Island, feeding on the great plains. It is known among the gunners 
here as Black-bellied Killdeer. It is especially fond of ploughed fields, where it constructs its 
nest, — a few coarse materials, slightly put together. The female frequently has two broods in 



524 THE KILLDEER PLOVER. 

one season, laying four large eggs, of a light olive, dashed witli black. It is extremely shy 
and watchful, though noisy enough during the season of breeding. 

According to Wilson, this bird is known in some parts of the country by the name of the 
large Whistling Field Plover, and tlie Bostonian naturalist, Charles B. Cory, places it among 
the "birds of the Bahama Islands." He writes: 

'' The Black-bellied Plover is a regular winter visitant to the Bahama Islands, although it 
cannot be considered as common. A single specimen was taken on Andros Island in January, 
and I observed several small Hocks during the latter part of the month. They frequent the 
salt marshes and beaches." 

Full information of this bird is given in Audubon's admirable work on the "Birds of 
America." 

" This beautiful bird makes its appearance on our Southern coasts in the beginning of 
April, as I had many opportunities of observing in the course of my journey along the shores 
of tlie Gulf of Mexico. Instead of being congregated in large flocks, as is the case during 
their southward migration in autumn, they are seen coming in small numbers, but at short 
intervals, so as almost to form a continuous line. Tliey travel chiefly by night, and rest for a 
great part of the day along the margins of the sea, either reposing on the sands in the sun- 
shine, or searching the beaches for food. After dusk, their well-known cries give note of their 
passage, but by day they remain silent, even when forced to betake themselves to flight. On 
such occasions, they generally wheel over the waters, and not unfrequently return to the sj^ot 
which they had at first selected. I have traced this species along the wliole of our eastern 
coast, and beyond it to the rugged shores of Labrador, where my party procured a few on the 
moss-covered rocks, although we did not then find any nests, and where some young birds 
were obtained in the beginning of August. 

''Individuals of this species spend the summer months in the mountainous parts of Mary- 
land, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, where they breed. I found their nests near the waters 
of the Delaware and the Perkioming creek, when I resided in tlie first of these States. 

"Unless during the breeding seasons, they are exceedingly shy ; but their anxiety for 
their young renders them forgetful of the danger which they incur in approaching man. The 
young, when two or three weeks old, run with great celerity, and squat in perfect silence when 
apprehensive of danger. When they are able to fly, several families unite and betake them- 
selves to the sea-shore, Avhere other flocks gradually arrive, until at length, on the approach 
of cold weather, almost all of them begin to move southward. Although the great bodj^ of 
these Plovers pass beyond the limits of the United States, some remain on the shores of the 
Floridas daring wintei-. In their habits they are more maritime than the Golden Plovers, 
which, when migrating, generally advance over the land. 

"The flight of this bird is swift, strong, and well sustained. When roaming over large 
sand-bars, they move in compact bodies, whirling round, and suddenly veering, so as alternately 
to exhibit their upper and lower parts. At this time old and young are intemiixed, and many 
of the former have lost the black, so conspicuous on the neck and breast in summer. During 
winter, or as long as they frequent the sea-shore, they feed on marine insects, Avonns, and 
small sliell-fish ; and when they are in the interior, on grasshoppers and other insects, as well 
as berries of various kinds, on which they fatten so as to become tolerably good eating. 

"As its habits agree Avith those of the Plovers generally, and as its form is similar to that 
of the Golden Plover and other species, tlie only difference being the presence of a rudimentary 
hind-toe, it was scarcely necessary to distinguish it generically from Charadrius, as many 
recent authors have done." 

Tills bird resembles the Golden Plover, though it is considerably larger. The presence of 
the small hind-toe readily distinguishes it — no other Plover has it. 

The KiLLDEEii Plover {Oxyechus vociferus). This is one of the most familiar of the 
wading birds, known to gunners and visitors of the lowlands as a noisy, but exceptionally 
handsome bird. Its peculiar note, MUdeei\ Mlldeer, is uttered as it s\viftly courses overhead. 
Its cries are heard after dark, and on moonlight nights. It is one of the few birds of this 



THE RING PLOVER. 



020 



group that breeds in all parts of the United States. Though so familiar iu all parts, it migrates 
extensively, even so far as iSouth America. 

This bird usually nests in a very simple manner, but AVilson saw one of its nests lined 
with bits of clam-shells, and surrounded by a mountl or border of the same placed very neatly. 
In some cases there is no vestige whatever of a nest. The eggs are four, of a rich cream, or 
yellowish-clay color, thickly marked with blotches of black. They are large for the size of 
the bird, being more than an inch and a half in length, and a full inch in width, tapering to a 
point at one end. 

Concerning the breeding season, and the cries of the Killdeer Plover, Wilson speaks in 
the following words : — 

" Notliing can exceed the alarm and anxiety of these birds during the breeding season. 
Their cries of Killdeer, killdeer, as they winnow the air overhead, dive and course around you, 
or run along the ground counterfeiting lameness, are shrill and incessant. The moni»^iit they 
see a person approach, they fly or run to attack him with their harassing clamor, continuing 
it over so wide an extent of ground, that they puzzle the pursuer as to the particular spot 
where the nest or young are concealed, very much resembling, in this respect, the lapwing of 
Europe. During the evening, and long after dusk, particularly in moonlight, their cries are 
frequently heard with equal violence, both in the spring and fall. From this circumstance, and 
their flying about, both after dusk and before dawn, it appears probable that they see better 
at such times than most of their tribe. Tliey are known to feed much on worms, and many 
of these rise to the surface during the night. The prowling of owls may also alarm their feara 
for their young at those hours ; but whatever may be the cause, the facts are so." 

In the months of February and March, these birds are abundant about the lice-fields of 
South Carolina. Their flesh is not esteemed like that of other species. 

The flight of the Killdeer is something like that of the Terns, but more vigorous, some- 
times extending to great heights. It runs with great swiftness, and in walking has a pecu- 
liarly stifl' and horizontal aspect of the body. During extreme droughts, in summer, it visits 
pools and rivulets, but after the cooler season commences it returns to the sea-shore in small 
flocks, when it is more silent, and difficult to approach. It is ten inches in lengtli, and twenty 
inches in extent of wing. 



-"&• 



The Ring Plover {^Mgialiies liiaticuld), also called Semipalmated Plover, is closely like 
the European species of that name. Wilson was aware of this relationship, and was somewhat 
puzzled to reconcile it. 

Audubon gives the following account of this bird : "I have had great pleasure in observ- 
ing the migrations of this species, particularly in early spring, when great numbers enter the 
southern portions of the United States, on their way northward, where it is well known to 
breed. At that period, whatever attempts you may make to prevent their progress, they 
always endeavor to advance eastward ; whereas in early autumn, they will rove in any direc- 
tion, as if perfectly aware that the task imposed upon them by Nature having been accom- 
plished, they may enjoy theii' leisure. Those w hich pass the winter within the limits of the 
Union are mostly found along the shores of South Carolina, Georgia, the Floridas, and as far 
south as the mouths of the Mississippi ; there being no doubt that many remain on tlie coasts 
of the Gulf of Mexico, as I have found some there early in the spring, before observing those 
which I knew by their manners to be recently arrived. In the course of my late visit to Texas, 
I found them on Galveston Bay, where I observed some arriving from the westward. 

"During their polar migration, they proceed rather swiftly, for, although they ajipear to 
touch at every place likely to afford them food and repose, they seldom tarry long. Thus, 
many individuals, which may have been in Texas early in April, not unfrequently reach 
Labrador by the middle of May, although some are a montli later in reaching the ultimate 
point of their journey, which, according to Dr. Richardson, sometimes extends as far as the 
Arctic regions. 

"While with us in spring, thej^ confine themselves to the sandy beaches of our sea-coasts, 
whether on the mainland or on islands, but when they arrive at their breeding stations, they 



626 MOUNTAIN PLOVER. 

abandon their maritime life, and resort to mountainous, mossy lands, as is also the custom 
with several other species. On my way to Labrador, I saw some of them in almost every place 
at which we landed ; and when I reached Nartasguan Bay, they were breeding in all the spots 
that were adapted for that purpose. Their manners formed an agreeable subject of observa- 
tion to all the membei's of my party. As soon as one of us was noticed by a Ring Plover, it 
would at once stand still and become silent. If we did the same, it continued, and seldom 
failed to wear out our patience. If we advanced, it would lower itself aud squat on the moss, or 
bare rock, until approached, when it would suddenly rise on its feet, droop its wings, depress 
its head, and run witli great s])eed to a considerable distance, uttering all the while a low, roll- 
ing, and querulous cry, very pleasing to the ear. On being surprised, when in charge of their 
young, they would open their wings to the full extent, and beat the ground with their extrem- 
ities, as if unable to rise. If pursued, they allowed us to come within a few feet, then took 
flight, and attempted to decoy us away from their young, which lay so close that we very 
seldom discovered them, Init \\hich, on being traced, ran swiftly off, uttering a plaintive peep, 
often repeated, but never failing to bring their parents to their aid. At Labrador, the Ring 
Plover begins to breed in the beginning of June. On the 2d of July I procured several young 
birds, apparently about a week old ; they ran briskly to avoid us, and con(;ealed themselves 
so closely by squatting, that it was very difficult to discover them even when only a few feet 
distant. 

"This species, like the Piping Plover {Ji^ijiaUtes melodiis, Orel.), fonns no nest; and 
whilst the latter scoops a place in the sand for its eggs, the Ring Plover forms a similar cavity 
in the moss, in a place sheltered from the north winds, and exposed to the full rays of the 
sun, usually near the margins of small ponds formed by the melting of the snow, and sur- 
rounded by short grass. Some of these pools are found on the tops of the highest rocks of 
that country. The eggs, like those of all the family, are four, and placed with the small ends 
together. They are broad at the larger end, rather sharp at the other, measure 1^ inches in 
lengtli, 1\ inches in their greatest breadth, ai-e of a dull yello\vish color, irregularly blotched, 
and spotted all over with dark brown of different tints. The young are at first of a yeUowish- 
gray color, prettily marked with darker spots on the shoulders and rump. As soon as their 
parents dismissed them, they were observed searching for food among the drying cod-fish, and 
along the beaches. 

"By the 12th of August, all the individuals which had bred in Labrador and Newfound- 
land, had taken their departure, migrating southward in company with the Plialaropes and 
Sandpipers. Many of these birds i3r(_)ceed by our great lakes and rivers, they being sometimes 
seen in September along the shores of the Ohio and Mississippi. At this period they are now 
and then observed on ploughed lands, where they a])i3ear to procure different species of seeds 
and insects. Along the whole extent of our Atlantic shores they are numerous at this season, 
and great numbers are killed, the flesh of the young birds especially being juicy and tender. 

"The flight of this species is swift and sustained. They are fond of associating with other 
birds of similar habits, and are generally unsuspicious, so that they are easily approached. 
When on wing, their notes are sharp, sonorous, and frequently repeated. Tlie young members 
of my party were often much amused by witnessing our j^ointer chasing the old birds, whilst 
the latter, as if perfectly aware of the superiority in speed, would seem to coax him on, and 
never failed to exhaust him by flying along the declivities of the rocks up to their summits, 
and afterwards plunging downwards to the base, thus fonning great circiiits over a limited 
range. Their food consists of small Crustacea, mollusca, and the eggs of various marine animals. 
The old males are very pugnacious in their breeding season, and engage in obstinate conflicts, 
drooping their wings, and having their tail fully spread out in the manner of some species of 
Grouse on similar occasions." 

The Mountain Plover {Podasocys montanus). This is remarkably circumscribed in 
its habitat, being confined to the region bounded by the northern line of the United States, the 
centre of Kansas, Nebraska, South-western Dakota, Mexico, and the Pacific Coast. Mr. Cassin 
surmised that it i^enetrated to South America in winter. It is known to breed in the northern 



WILSON'S PLOVER. 527 

jiortions of its range. The name Mountain Plover is scarcely appropriate. The bird inhabits 
high j)lains, but not, in any sense, mountains. Quite unlike other Plovers, it does not frequent 
the seashore, and is in no degree an aquatic bird, but prefers dry, sterile iilains ; accompany- 
ing Shore Larks, Titlarks, and the Burrowing Owl. It sometimes inhabits sandy plains, where 
the prickly pear and wUd sage grow abundantly. It is seen in New Mexico, between the 
Rio Grande and the base of the mountains, in great abundance, associated with Long-bUled 
Curlews. Dr. Cones teUs us that they, on being disturbed, "lower tlie head, and run rapidly 
a few steps in a light, easy w-ay, and then stop abruptly, drawing themselves uj) to their full 
height, and looking around with timid yet unsuspicious glances. Their notes are rather pecu- 
liar, as compared with those of our other Plovers, and vary a good deal, according to circum- 
stances. "When the birds are feeding at their leisure, and no way apprehensive of danger, they 
utter a low and rather pleasing whistle, though in a somewhat drawling, or rather lisping, 
tone ; but the note changes to a louder and higher one, sometimes sounding harshly. When 
forced to fly by persistent annoyance, they rise rapidly, with quick wing-beats, and then pro- 
ceed, vrith altei'nate sailing and flapping, during the former action holding the wings decurved. 
They generally fly low over the ground, and soon re-alight, taking a few mincing steps as they 
touch the ground. They then either squat low, in hopes of hiding, or stand on tip-toe, as it 
were, for a better view of what alarmed them." 

The food of this Plover consists of insects mostly, especially the grasshopjiers, when great 
numbers are present. It is then this bird is excellent eating, becoming very fat from the 
superabundance of food. 

Wilson's Plover {OcJitlindromxfs ip/honit/s). This bird is almost as circumscribed in 
habitat as the preceding, but on precisely opposite sides of the hemisphere ; its range being con- 
flned to the eastern and southern portions of the United States, and the same in South America. 
Its long, stout bill renders it easily knowTi ; its short tail also is a characteristic feature. 

When Wilson wrote about the birds of America, this bird was regarded as new to him. 
It was subsequently named in liis honor, by Mr. Ord. Referring to this bird, he \vi-ote : — 

" Of this neat and prettily marked species, I can find no account, and have concluded that 
it has hitherto escaped the eye of the naturalist. The bird was shot on the shore at Cape 
Island, New Jersey, by my evei'-regretted friend, and I have honored it with his name. It was 
a male, and was accompanied by another of the same sex, and a female, all of which were 
fortunately obtained." Its favorite resort is the sandy flats near the sea-shore. 

The ever-enthusiastic Audubon praises the liird in the highest terms : — 

"Reader, imagine yourseK standing motionless on some of the sandy shores between 
South Carolina and the extremity of Florida, waiting with impatience for the return of day ; 
or, if you dislike the idea, imagine me there. The air is warm and pleasant, the smooth sea 
reflects the feeble glimmerings of the fading stars, the sound of living thing is not heard. 
Nature, universal Nature is at rest, and here am I, inhaling the grateful sea-air, with eyes 
intent of the dim distance. See the bright blaze that issues from the verge of the waters ! and 
now the sun himself apjjears, and all is life, or seems to be ; for, as the influence of the 
Divinity is to the universe, so is that of the sun to the things of this world. Far away, 
beyond that treacherous reef, floats a gallant bark, that seems slumbering on the bosom of 
the waters like a silvery sea-bird. Gentle breezes now creep over the ocean, and ruflie its 
surface into tiny wavelets. The ship glides along, the fishes leap with joy, and on my ear 
comes the well-known note of the bird which bears the name of one whom every ornithologist 
must honor. Long have I known the bird myself, and yet, desirous of loiowing it better, I 
have returned to this beach many successive seasons for the purpose of observing its ways, 
examining its nest, marking the care with which it rears its young, and the attachment which 
it manifests to its mate. ^Vell, let the scene vanish ! 

"Wilson's Plover! I love the bird and its name, because of the respect I bear towards 
him to whose memory the bird has been dedicated. How pleasing, I have thought, it would 
have been to me, to have met with him on such an excursion, and. after having procured a few 
of his own birds, to have listened to him as he would speak of a thousand interesting facts 



528 THE KENTISH PLOVER. 

connected with his favorite science, and my ever-i3leasing pursuits ! How delightful to have 
talked, among other things, of the probable use of the double claws which I have found 
attached to the toes of the species which goes by his name, and which are also seen in other 
groups of shore and sea birds ! Perhaps he might have informed me why the claws of some birds 
are pectinated on one toe and not on the rest, and why that one itself is so cut. But, alas ! 
Wilson was vdW\ me only a few times, and then nothing worthy of his attention was procui'ed." 

It resembles the Ring Plover, except in the length and color of the bill, its size, and in 
wanting the yellow eyelids. The sexes differ somewhat, but the male and female of Ring- 
Plovers are alike. At Cape May, the Wilson Plovers were quite abundant at this time, going 
in flocks of considerable numbers, yet it was regarded as a rare bird. 

The voice is an agreeable piping note. Its length is seven inches and three quarters, and 
extent of wing fifteen and a half inches. 



-'tj 



The Dotterel, which is represented in the illustration on page 521, has long been held 
as the type of stupidity, and to call a man a Dotterel is considered as great an insult as to 
term him a goose or a donkey. 

Certainly, the Dotterel is not a very wise bird in some things, having but little of the 
general wary habits of the Plovers, and allowing itself to be approached without displaying 
much uneasiness. It was once thought to be so very inquisitive and so foolish as to imitate 
all the actions of the fowler, holding out a wing if he held out an arm, lying flat if he did the 
same, and so permitting the net to be thrown over it before it Avas aware of any danger. It is 
not now so jilentiful as it used to be, its numbers having been much thinned by guns and nets. 
Its flesh is thought very good, and the bird finds a ready sale in the poulterer's shop. The spe- 
cific title Morinellus, signifies a little fool. The cry of the Dotterel is a kind of piping whistle. 

The breeding-places are selected on high grounds, and the eggs, mostly three in number, 
are placed on a few grass stems laid carelessly in a depression in the soil, sheltered in 
most cases by a large stone or fragment of rock. The color of the eggs is like that of the 
Golden Plover. 

The top of the head and back of the neck are dark brown ; above the eye a rather broad 
white streak runs towards the nape of the neck, and the chin and sides of the face are 
white, speckled with darker tints. The back is ashen-brown, and the scapularies and wing- 
coverts are edged with buff. The primaries are ashen-gi'ay mixed with white. Tlie throat is 
ashen-gray, and the breast is rich dark fawn, crossed by a bold white streak, extending com- 
pletely across the bi'east and terminating at the shoulders. The abdomen is black, and the 
under tail-coverts buffy white. In the summer the breast is buffy white. The total length of 
this bird is not quite ten inches. 

The pretty little Kentish Plover may be seen on some of our shores, running along the 
edge of the waves with surprising celerity, pecking here and there as the waves retreat, and 
uttering its happy whistling little notes as it mns. 

It bears a considerable resemblance to the ringed Plover {Oharadrius Maticula), but may 
be distinguished from that bird liy the smaller size and the broken black collar on the neck, 
which does not extend completely across the breast. The best mode of observing this bird, 
or, indeed, the many species that haunt the shores, is to get on the cliffs, lie down among the 
high gi'ass and herbage, and make use of a good double field-glass. With an ordinary 
telescope the birds get out of the field too rapidly, and they are liable to be alai'med by the 
movements of the tube. 

The eggs of this bird are laid in a hollow scraped in the sand or the fine shelly shingle. 
There is no nest excepting the sand. The color of the eggs is yellowish- olive with streaks and 
sj^ots of black. 

The top of the head is rich chestnut, the forehead white, with a black patch immediately 
above the white, and a slight streak of white passes near the eye. The ear-coverts are black, 
and the edge of the neck is grayish-white. The chin, sides of the throat, breast, and under 
parts are white, excej)t a black collar which very nearly crosses the breast, but leaves a white 



THE OYSTER-CATCHER. 



529 



space in front. Tlie back and upper parts are ashen-brown, and the primaries duU black. 
The length of the adult bird is not quite seven inches. 

The handsome Oyster-Catcher is another of our coast birds, and is tolerably plentiful 
upon the shore. From the black and white hues of its plumage, it is sometimes called the 
Sea-Pie. 

It generally keeps to the shore, haunting sandy bays, interspersed with partially sub- 
mersed rocks, and picldng up its subsistence with great animation. It feeds mostly on 
mollusks, mussels and limpets being ordinary articles of its food. It is able to detach the 
tirmly-clinging limpet from the rock by striking a sharj) blow %\-ith its wedge-like beak. 




OYaTEK-CATCHEE.— if(£»iofc';/iM ostralegxis. 



and detacliing the mollusk before it has had time to take the alarm and draw itself fiimly 
against its support. It is swift of foot, and a good swimmer, frequently taking to the 
water in search of food, and being able to dive when alarmed. Diving, however, does not 
seem to be a favorite accomplislunent, and is seldom resorted to unless under peculiar 
circumstances. 

In some parts of Europe, the Oyster-Catcher makes short inland migrations during the 
summer, but even in such cases it displays its aquatic propensities by keeping near the river 
banks, and feeding on the worms, slugs, and similar creatures. 

The nest of the Oyster-Catcher is merely a hole scraped in the ground, wherein lie three 
or four eggs of a yellowish-olive, spotted with gray and brown. They are generally placed on 
the beach, well above high- water mark, but the bird sometimes makes its home at some distance 
from the sea. The flat sandy coasts seem to be the localities most favored by the Oyster- 
Catcher. The young are covered mth soft down of a gra^dsh-brown color. 

The head, neck, upper part of the breast, scapularies, quill-feathers, and latter half of the 
tail-feathers are deep shining black, and the rest of the plumage is pure white. The curious 
beak is three inches in length, very much compressed — i. e., flattened sideways — and towards 
the point is thinned off into a kind of wedge or chisel-shaped tennination. The rich ruddy 

Vol. n.— 67. 



530 THE AMERICAN OYSTER-CATCHER. 

color is deepest at the base. During some of the winter months there is no white collar round 
the throat, and in the yearling bird the back and wings are mottled with brown. The total 
length of the Oyster-Catcher is about sixteen inches. 

This European Oyster-Catcher is occasionally found in America. 

The American Oyster-Catcher {Hcematopus jmlliatiis). This interesting bird fi'e- 
quents the sandy shores of the United States. It is extremely shy, seldom permitting any one 
to approach it within gunshot. It walks with a stately, watchful manner ; now and again 
probing for shellfish. Its great love for oysters has given the species its name. The thick 
shells naturally present a complete barrier to their bills, stout as they are, but the bird is said 
to watch quietly until the shells are wide open, when the bill is suddenly thrust in and the 
meat abstracted. It flies with great vigor and velocity, uttering a deep, shrill wliistling, 
wTieep-wheep-wTieo. A flock will rise as one body, wheel, and sweep the air with great uni- 
formity, reminding one of a squad of drilled soldiers ; the white of their wings now and then 
conspicuously showing. 

The Oyster-Catcher can dive and swim well, and takes to the water when wounded. 

The only means of studying tlie habits of the shy bird Audubon found to be the use of a 
telescope, with which he could trace its motions when at the distance of a quai-ter of a mUe. 
According to his statements, the bird fonns no regular nest, "but is contented with scratching 
the dry sand above high-water mark, as to form a slight hollow, in which it deposits its eggs. 
On the coast of Labrador, and in the Bay of Fundy, it lays its eggs on the bare rock. When 
the eggs are on sand, it seldom sits on them during the heat of the sun ; but in Labrador, 
it was found sitting as closely as any other bird. Here, then, is another instance of the 
extraordinary difference of habit in the same bird under different circumstances. It struck 
me so much, that had I not procured a specimen in Labrador, and another in our Middle 
Districts, during the breeding season, and found them on the closest examination to be the 
same, I should i)erhai)s have thought the birds different. Everywhere, however, I observed 
that this bird is fond of places covered with broken shells and drifted sea-weeds or grasses, as 
a place of security for its eggs, and where, in fact, it is no very easy matter to discover them. 
The eggs are two or three, measiire two inches and one-eighth in length, by an inch and a half 
in breadth, and are of the form of those of a common hen. They are of a pale cream-color, 
spotted with irregular marks of browTiish-black, and others of a paler tint, pretty equally dis- 
jiersed all over. The birds, even when not sitting on them, are so very anxious about them, 
that on the least appearance of an enemy, they scream out loudly, and if you approach the 
nest, fly over and around you, although always at a considerable distance. A\Tien you meet with 
the young, which run as soon as they are hatched, the old birds manifest the greatest anxiety. 
They run before you, or fly around you with great s^\iftness, and emit peculiar notes, which at 
once induce their little ones to squat among the sand and broken shells, where, on account of 
their dull grajish color, it is very difficult to see them unless you pass within a foot or two of 
them, when they run off, emitting a j)laintive note, which renders the parents doubly angry. 
Their shape is now almost round, and the streaks of their back and rump, as well as the 
curved points of their bOls, might induce you to believe them to be anything but the young of 
an Oyster-Catcher. I have caught some, which I thought were more than a month old, and 
yet were unable to fly, although full feathered. Thej^ appeared weakened by their fatness, 
and were overtaken ))y running after them on the sands. Tliere were no parent-birds near or 
in sight of them ; yet I must doubt if they jirocured their own food at this period, and have 
more reason to believe that, like some other species of birds, they were visited and supplied 
with food at particular hours of the day or of the night, as is the case with Herons and Ibises, 
for the Oyster-Catcher is scarcely nocturnal. 

"By the beginning of October these birds return to the south. I saw them at Labrador 
until the 11th of August. 

"The flight of the American Oyster-Catcher is powerful, swift, elegant at times, and 
greatly protracted. AVhile they are on the wing, their beauties are as effectually displayed as 
those of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker of our woods, the colors of which are somewhat similar. 



THE TURNSTONE. 



531 



The transparent white of their -vA-ings contrasts with their jetty tips, and is eni'iched by tlie 
coral hue of the bill, while tlie beautiful white of their lower parts has a very pleasing effect/' 

■ The Black Oyster-Catcher {Hcematopus niger) is another American species. 

The handsomely plumed Turnstojje is, though a little bird, so boldly decorated with 
black, white, and ruddy orange, that it is more conspicuous upon the coast than birds of 
double its size. 

The name is derived from its movements when feeding, at which times it ntns along the 
beach, picking up sandhoppers, marine woims, and other creatui'es, and turning over the 
stones in its course for the purpose of getting at the small Crustacea that are generally found 




TURNSTONE.— iYrtps«as interpret. 



in such situations. This bird is spread over a considerable portion of the world, and is found 
even in Northern America, where it retains the same habits which distinguish it in Europe. 
According to Wilson, it feeds almost wholly, during May and June, on the spawn of the king- 
crab, and is known by the name of the Horse-foot Snipe, the king-crab being popularly called 
the horse-foot crab. It runs with some speed, but not the rapidity that characterizes many 
shore-loving birds, and spends some time in examining any spot of ground to which it has taken 
a fancy, tossing the pebbles from side to side, and picking up the unfortunate being that may 
have lain under their shelter. 

The nest of this bird is situated upon the coast, and the bird is very valiant in its attacks 
upon the gulls which approach too near its home. A nest found by Mr. Hewitson ' ' was placed 
against a ledge of rock, and consisted of nothing more than the drooping leaves of the juniper- 
bush, under a creeping branch, by which the eggs, four in number, were snugly concealed, 
and admirably sheltered from the many storms by which these bleak and exposed rocks are 
visited, allowing just sufBcient room for the bird to cover them. The several nests that we 
examined were placed in the same situation as the one described, with the exception of two, 
one of which was under a slanting stone, the other on the bare rock ; all the nests contained 



532 THE GOLDEN-BREASTED TRUMPETER. 

iowx eggs each. Their time of breeding is about the middle of June. The eggs measure one 
inch seven lines in length, by one inch two lines in breadth, of an olive-green color spotted 
and streaked with ash-blue and two shades of reddish brown." These nests were found on 
the coast of Norway. 

A peculiar characteristic is seen in this bird ; the plumage is scarcely alike in any two 
specimens ; the coloration varies extremely, but, for example, the coloring of one specimen 
may be described : — 

The top of the head is white streaked with black, and a black band crosses the forehead 
and passes over the eyes. The chin, face, and sides of the neck are white, and the breast is 
jetty black, throwing out black branches shaped like the gnarled boughs of the oak, which 
run to the base of the bill, tlie lower eyelid, the back of the neck, and the shoulders. The 
upj)er part of the back is also l^lack, with a band of l)right rust-red, and the lower part white, 
with a broad band of black just above the tail-coAerts. The under j^arts are pure white, and 
the legs and toes are scarlet orange. The length of the l)ird is rather more than nine inches. 

The Turnstone is rather solitary in habit, seldom mingling with other birds in flocks — 
either coursing the sands alone or in company with a few of their own species. The bill is 
tiirned upwards a tritie, seemingly so designed to aid it in turning up stones. It is abundant 
in Hudson Bay and Greenland, and in the Arctic flats of Siberia, where it breeds, wandering 
southerly in autumn. It flies with a loud twittering note, and runs with its wings lowered, 
but not with i\\e rapidity of others of the tribe. It has a habit of examining the same spot 
for a long time, tossing up pebbles with its bill, and searching ^vith great persistence for 
worms and small mollusks. The lengtli of body is eight inches, extent of wing seventeen 
inches. The sexes are much alike. 

Sea Dotterel is an old name for this bird. It extends its JtaMtat to Cape Good Hope and 
Senegal. It is naturally vdld in disposition and solitary, coursing in pairs, or small families 
whicli have been bred in families. 

The Black Turnstone {Strepsilas m.elanocep7iala) is another species, rather common 
on the Atlantic coast. 

The bird represented on the following engraving is a native of Tropical America. 

The Golden-breasted Trumpeter is a handsome bird, remarkable for the short velvety 
feathers of the head and neck, and their beautiful golden-green lustre on the breast. The 
body of this bird is hardly larger than that of a fowl, but its legs and neck are so long as to 
give it the aspect of being much larger than it really is. Like most birds of similar structure, 
it trusts more to its legs than its wings, and is able to run with great speed and activity. It 
is generally found in the forests. 

As it is very easily tamed, it is a favorite inmate of the house, where it soon constitutes 
itself the self-chosen guardian, watching the premises as jealously as any dog, and permitting 
no other bird or beast to share its owner's favors at the same time. Dogs and cats it dislikes, 
and turns them out of the room when meal -times approach. The dog sometimes fights for its 
privileges, but mostly in vain, for the Trumpeter has a way of rising into the air, coming 
down on the dog's back and striking him witli bill and feet, that eft'ectually puzzles the four- 
footed foe and forces him to vacate the field of battle. It is said to learn to diive sheep, and 
to perform this arduous duty as well as any dog. 

The name of Trumpeter is derived from tlie strange hollow cry which it utters without 
seeming to open the beak. This cry is evidently produced by means of the curiously formed 
windpipe, which is furnished with two membranous expansions, and, during the utterance of 
the cry, puft's out the neck very foi'cibly, just as the rliea does when grunting. The nest of 
the Trumpeter is said to be a hole scratched in the ground at the foot of a tree, and to contain 
about ten or twelve light green eggs. The head and neck are velvety black, and on the breast 
the feathers become large, roimded, and more scale-like, and their edges are beautifully 
bedecked with rich shining green with a purplish gloss in some lights and a lustrous golden 
hue in others. The back is gray, the feathers being long and silken and hanging over the 



THE Q4RIAMA. 



bm 




GOLDEN-BREASTED TRUMPETER.— /"so/i/ua crepitans. 



wings. The wings, nnder surface, and tail :in! blaclc, and the feathers of tlie tail are soft 
and short 

The (,'ARiAJtA is rather larger than the trumpeter, and has many of the same habits. It 
is chiefly remarkable for the feathery crest on the crown and forehead. Its picture is given on 
the next page. 

The Cariaina is an admirable runner, getting over the ground with astonishing speed, and 
turning and twisting with such atboit rapidity that even the admiralile horsemen of its native 
land find it put their skill to the sharpest test. Not until it is quite wearied out, and crouches 
under a bush or other shelter, does the hunter endeavor to use either rifle or lasso, the two 
deadly weapons of his land. The walk of this bird is peculiarly bold and easy, its paces are 
long, its lithe neck moves with every step as it continually turns its little shai-p-looking head 
from side to side, and its full intelligent eyes gleam through their lieavy lashes as they survey 
every object within their ken. The eyes are truly beautiful, large, round, and translucent, of a 
clear pearly-gray, with many little dark changing spots, much like the eye of a living dragon-fly. 

It is easily tamed, and soon becomes so attached to its new home that it is accustomed to 
roam about at will, and to return to its owner like the common fowl. The nest of this bird is 
placed upon the brandies of a rather low tree, is made of sticks, and generally contains two 
white eggs. 

The general color of the <yariama is pale brown, with numerous irregular splashes of dark 
brown. The crest is always held erect, and the feathers of the forehead project slightly over 
the beak. The wing is blacker brown than the rest of the body, and is covered with narrow 
white streaks, dotted with black. The under parts are grayish-white, the bill is red, and the 
legs orange. In total length it measures about thirty-two inches. 

Although in former days tolei-ably common all over Europe, the Crane has now, with 
the bustard, almost disappeared from the northern countries of the Eastern hemisphere. A 



534 



THE CRANE. 



single specimen may be seen there at very long and increasing intervals. In some countries 
the i)opular name of the heron is the Crane, so that the occasional reports published here 
respecting the Crane, \vhich sometimes find admission into newspapers, liave often reference, 
not to that bird, but to the heron. 

The Crane is found in various parts of the continent of Europe, migrating from place to 
place, and flying in large flocks at a great elevation in the air. They continue their aerial 
journeys for great distances, and seldom descend but for the purpose of feeding. When they 
alight, it is generally on marshy ground, the banks of rivers, or the coasts of the sea, where 
they can find a bountiful supply of marine and aquatic animals ; and sometimes they are 
attracted by a field of newly-sown corn, among which they make sad havoc, stocking up the 
seed with their long bills, or eating tlie newly-sprouted blades. The food of the Crane is 



.1 



-'-'■} (i i ^kj'' 



<\i "'* 




i^ARTAM A — Di^holoyhus ciistatus. 



various, mostly consisting of worms, slugs, frogs, lizards, newts, and similar creatures ; but 
tlie bird will often feed upon grain and the leaves of different plants. 

The voice of the Crane is loud, resonant, and trumjiet-like, and has a singular effect, when 
heard from the great elevation at whicli the bird prefers to fly. Tlie peculiar resonance of the 
note is caused by a remarkable structure of the windpipe, whicli is elongated, and instead of 
running straight down the neck, passes into the breast-bone, lodges between the two plates of 
bone which form the keel, and, after making some contortions which vary according to the age 
of the bird, leaves the breast-bone and proceeds as usual to the lungs. 

The Crane makes its nest mostly on marshy ground, placing it among osiers, reeds, or the 
heavy vegetation which generally flourishes in such localities. l?ometimes, however, it prefers 
more elevated situations, and will make its nest on tlie summit of an old deserted ruin. The 
eggs are two in number, and their color is light olive, covered with dashes of a deeper hue and 
brown. The well-knowi plumes of the Crane are the elongated tertials, with their long droop- 
ing loose webs, which, when on the wings of the bird, reach beyond the primaries. 



THE DEMOISELLE CRANE. 



535 



The forehead, top of the head, and neck are rather dark slaty-ash, and a patch of grayish- 
white extends from behind the eyes, partially dowTi the neck on each side. The general sur- 
face of the body is soft ashen-gray, and the primaries are black. The long plumy tertials form 
two crest-like ornaments, whicli can be raised or depressed at will. The eyes are red, and the 
beak is yellow, with a green tinge. The total length of the adult Crane is about four feet, but 
it is rather variable in point of size, and the males are rather larger than the females. 

The two following birds are remai-kable, not only for their beauty of form and plumage, 
but for the extraordinary antics in which they occasionally indulge. 

The Demoiselle, or Numidian Crane, is common in many parts of Africa, and has been 
seen in some portions of Asia, and occasionally in Eastern Europe. The movements of this 




DEMOISELLE C^LKH'&.—Anthropoides virgo. 



CROWNED CElAyE.—Balearica pavonina. 



beautiful bird are generally slow and graceful, with a certain air of delicate daintiness about 
them which has earned for it the title of Demoiselle. But on occasions it is seized with a fit 
of eccentricity, and puts itself through a series of most absurd gamliols, dancing about on the 
tips of its toes, flapping its wings, and bowing its head in the most gi'otesque fashion. It may 
sometimes be seen perfonning these antics in the Zoological Gardens, but it is very capricious in 
its habits, and, like the parrot, will seldom perform its tricks when it is most desired to do so. 
It is a very pretty bird, the soft texture of the flowing plumage, and the delicate grays of 
the feathers, harmonizing with each other in a very agreeable manner. Tlie general tint of the 
plumage is blue-gray, taking a more leaden tone on the head and neck, and offering a beauti- 
ful contrast to the snowv-white ear-tufts, issuing from velvety-black, which decorate the head. 



There is also a tuft of long flowing plumes of a deep black gray, hanging from the breast. 



Its 



536 THE WHOOPING CRANE. 

secondaries are much, elongated, and hang over the primaries and tail-feathers. In height tlie 
Demoiselle Crane is about three feet six inches 

The Crowned Ceane is even more strildng than the demoiselle, its coronet of golden 
plumes and the scarlet cheeks making it a very conspicuous bird. 

This species is a native of Northern and AVestern Africa, where it is usually found in 
swampy and marshy localities, which it frequents for the purpose of feeding on the insects, 
mollusks, reptiles, and fishes which are to be caught abundantly in such places. Like the 
demoiselle, the Crowned Crane occasionally indulges in fantastic gambols, and on account of 
the conspicuous crest and general aspect of the bird, they have an efi'ect even more ludicrous. 

In captivity the Crowned Crane thrives well, and its habits can be readily v.atched. At 
the Zoological Gardens there are some fine specimens of these birds, and an hour may V)e 
pleasantly spent in watching their pi'oceedings. Sometimes they rest still and stately, one 
leg tucked under them quite out of sight, and the body balanced on the other. Sometimes 
they like to sit on their bent legs, their feet projecting far in front of them, and their knees, or 
rather their ankles, sustaining the weight of the body. At another time they will walk 
majestically about their inclosure, or begin their absurd dances, while a very favorite amuse- 
ment is to run races at opposite sides of the wire fence, and then come to a halt, each bird 
trying which can yell the loudest. The voice is very loud, and has something of a trumpet in 
its hollow ringing resonance. 

The forehead is black, the feathers being short and velvety. From the top of the head 
rises a tuft of long straight filamentary plumes, of a golden hue, fringed with very delicate 
black barbules. The skin of the cheek is bare, and the greater part of it is bright scarlet, the 
upper part being white, and running into a small wattle on the throat. The general color of 
the plumage is slaty-gray, and the primaries and quill-feathers of the tail are black, the long- 
secondaries are brown and the wing-coverts snowy- white. The height of this species is about 
four feet. 

The Whooping Ceane {Grus arnerieana). The habitat of this bird is tlie restilcted 
region of the middle of North America. It ranges up tlie Mississippi valley, spreading through 
fur countries. It is also found in Texas and Florida, and occasionally up the coast to the 
Middle States. Dr. Turnbull states that in Wilson's time it bred in New Jersey. It is thought 
to breed from Dakota and Minnesota northward. This is the largest and most stately bird in 
this country. It is not equalled, perhaps, unless the largest wild turkey may be about the 
size. The long neck and long legs are features that render the Crane much the more imposing. 
Dr. Cones says of it : "I have only seen it on the broad prairies, or soaring on motionless pinions 
in spiral curves high overhead. Its immense stature is sometimes singularly exaggerated by 
that quality of the prairie air which magnifies distant objects on the horizon, transforming 
sometimes a bird into a man, or making a wild tui'key excite suspicion of a bufl'alo." 

This Crane is extremely shy and vigilant, so that it is very difiicult to approacli. It some- 
times rises to a great height, its voice being heard when it is even out of sight. On such occa- 
sions several fly around in large circles, as if reconnoitering the country to a vast extent for a 
fresh quarter to feed in. Their flesh is said to be well tasted. 

" Cranes are distinguished from all other families of birds by the comparative baldness of 
their heads, the broad flag of plumage projecting over the taU, and in general by their superior 
size. They also differ in internal organization. The leng-tli of this bird is four feet six inches, 
from the point of the bill to the end of the tail, and when standing erect, it measures nearly 
five feet. The bill is six; inches long, straight, and extremely sharp ; the forehead, whole crown 
and cheeks are covered with a warty skin, thinly intersi^ersed with black hairs ; head is of an 
ash color ; the rest of the plumage, pure white, tlie primaries excepted, wliich are black. From 
the root of each wing arises numerous large, flowing feathers, projecting over the tail and tips 
of the wings ; the ujipermost of them are broad, drooping, and pointed at the extremities ; 
some of them are also loosely webbed, their silky fibres curling inward, like those of an ostrich ; 
they seem to occupy the place of the tertials." — Wilson. 



TEE AMERICAN EORET. 537 

A very remarkable anatomical character is noticed in this species, very similar to that 
in the Trumpeter Swan. These birds are noted for their extremely loud and discordant voices. 
The presence of the peculiar development may be said to liave some relation to the latter. 

The keel of the breast-bone is usually quite narrow and even in thickness. In the Whoop- 
ing Crane this bone is enlarged to admit the windpipe, which it does by enteitng the front 
edge, pressing the two sides apart; continuing on and coUed within the substance of the breast- 
bone, it emerges in front agdin and passes into the lungs. All this makes the trachea or 
•windpipe fifty -eight inches in length, twenty -eight inches of it being inside the keel of the 
breast-bone. 

The Sand-hill Crane {Ch-us canadensis) inhabits the United States from Florida, through 
the Mississippi valley, north to the Yukon and Baffin's Bay. It is also found in Cuba. It 
breeds nearly througliout tliis range. K'o record of its appearance in the Eastern States is 
known, or east of the Mississippi and its tributaries, according to Dr. Coues, excepting in 
Florida, where it is abundant. In Northern Dakota it breeds abundantly. To those not 
familiar with the great numbers of wild birds, and numbers of species, the accounts by authors 
would seem to V)e almost fabulous. Dr. Coues is always at the front in his pleasing and scholarly 
descriptions; his account of this Crane is as follows: "Often, as we lay together, encamped 
on the ]\Iouse Kiver, the stillness of midnight would be broken by the hoarse, rattling croaks 
of Cranes coming overhead, the noise finally dying in tlie distance, to be succeeded liy tlie 
shrill pipe of numberless waders, the honking of geese, and the whistle of the pinions of 
myriads of wild fowl that shot past, sounding to sleepy ears like the rushing of a far-away 
locomotive.'" 

"In the fall, the Sand-hill Cranes are found on aU the praiiies near Fort Steilacoom, 
but are not indifferent to a choice of certain spots. These are generally old 'stubble fields,' 
or spots of ground that have been ploughed. They rise heavily and slowly from the ground 
on being disturbed, and, tljing in circles, at length find the desired elevation. When proceed- 
ing from one feeding point to another, or when migrating, the flight is high, and not unfre- 
quently their approach is heralded before they are in sight by their incessant whooping clamor. 
While feeding they are generally silent." — Dr. Suckley. 

Dr. Newberry says they are common in the markets of California, where they are esteemed 
as food. He adds that they " were abundant about Klamuth Lake, and early in September, in 
the Cascade Mountains, in Oregon, the Cranes were a constant feature in the scenery of the 
lonely mountain meadows in which we encamped. We found them always exceedingly shy, 
and diffident of approach, but not unfrequently the files of their tall forms stretching above 
the prairie grass, or their discordant and far-sounding screams, suggested the presence of the 
human habitations of the region, whose territory was now invaded for the first time by the 
white man."' 

A smaller species, or rather one standing lower than the preceding, is found in New 
Mexico, called Little Crane {G-rus f rater cuius). 

The bird represented by the accompanying illustration affords an example of the Egrets. 

The American Egret {Herodias alba egretta) is a native of several parts of America, 
having its principal residence in the southern portions of that continent, and visiting the 
more northern districts during several months of the year, arriving generally about February 
or March. As it finds its food among inundated and swampy grounds, it is generally seen 
haunting the rice-fields, the marshy liver-shores, and similar localities, and seldom if ever 
visits the high inclosed regions. The food of the Egret consists of the smaller mammalia, 
little fish, frogs, lizards, snakes and insects. It is a handsome and elegant bird, and is con- 
spicuous among the low marshy grounds whicli it frequents, on account of its large size, 
being about three feet in length. 

The beautiful loose feathers of the train, which fall from the shoulders over the back, 
are not fully developed until the third year. The term Egret is applied to certain of the 

Vol. n.— 68. 



538 



THE EGRET. 



herons, from the fact that these flowing feathers are suggestive of plume the French of 
which is aigrette. The train-feathers are also employed in the decoration of head-dresses. 
The Egret breeds chiefly in extensive cedar-swamps, placing its nest on the branches of ti-ees, 
and laying three or four large pale blue eggs. The young are usually hatched about the end 
of June ; and when they are strong enough to walk about, they associate in little flocks of 
twenty or thirty in number. 

The color of the Egret is pure snowy- white, with the exception of the train, which has a 










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'■^c 



AMKKICAN EGRET.— flerociiod alba eyreUa. 



creamy-yellow tinge. Tlie feathers of the tmin are so long that when they are fully developed 
they hang over the tail and quit<:> conceal it. The long sharp bill is nearly six inches in length, 
and its color is rich golden-orange, darkening into black at the tip. The long legs are black 
and the eye is rather pale orange. In total length the adult bird is about four feet, if the 
measurement be taken to the end of the train. Both sexes have the same plumage. 

The White Egret is rather delicate, preferring wanu weather, and consequently restricted 
in geographical distribution. In New England it is only a rare' visitor, and is not known to 
breed. Massachusetts is the northernmost limit. On the Pacific coast it is not known north 
of California. Wilson says it breeds in the cedar swamps of New Jersey. Like other Herons, 
it builds on the tops of high trees, in societies. 



THE NEST OF THE HERON. 539 

The well-known Heron was once one of the commonest European birds, but on account of 
the draining of swamps and their conversion into fertilized and habitable ground, is now seldom 
to be seen except in certain localities which still retain the conditions that render them so 
acceptable to this bird. There are some places where Herons are yet jilentiful, especially those 
localities where the o\\'ner of the land has established or protected the nests, or where a wide 
expanse of wild imcultivated ground affords them a retreat. Only a few days ago I came sud- 
denly on three of these beautiful birds fishing quietly in a creek, and permitting my approach 
within a few yards before they spread their wide wings for flight. 

The food of the Heron consists mostly of fish and reptiles, but it will eat small mammalia, 
such as mice, or even Avater-rats. In the stomach of one of these birds were found seven small 
trout, a mouse and a thrush. Eels also are a favorite food of the Heron, but on account of 
their lithe bodies and active wrigglings are not so easy to despatch as ordinary fish, and are 
accordingly taken on shore and banged against the ground imtil disabled. Dr. Neill, quoted 
by Yarrell, mentions a curious instance of the Heron feeding on young water-hens. " A large 
old willow-tree had fallen down into the pond, and at the extremity, whicli is partly sunk in 
the sludge and continues to vegetate, water-hens breed. The old cock Heron swims out to the 
nest and takes the young if he can. He has to swim ten or twelve feet, where the water is 
between two and tliree feet deep. His motion through the water is slow, but his carriage 
stately. I have seen him fell a i-at at one blow on the back of the head, when the rat was 
munching at his dish of fish." 

Like many other birds, the Heron is able to disgorge the food which it has swallowed, 
and resorts to this measure when it is chased by birds of prey while going home after a day's 
fishing. 

While engaged in its search for food, the Heron stands on the water's edge, mostly with 
its feet or foot immersed, and there remains still, as if carved out of wood, with its neck 
retracted, and its head resting between the shoulders. In this attitude its sober plumage and 
total stillness render it very inconspicuous, and as it mostly prefers to stand under the shadow 
of a tree, bush, or bank, it caimot be seen except by a practised eye, in sjjite of its large size. 
The back view of the bird while thus standing partakes largely of the ludicrous, and reminds 
the observer of a large jargonelle pear with a long stalk stuck in the ground. Sometimes it 
likes to squat on its bent legs, the feet being pushed out in front, and the knees, or rather 
ankles, bent under its body. It generally suns itself in tliis position, partially spreading the 
wings and slightly shaking them. Usually it sits vsdth the head resting on the shoulders ; but 
if alarmed at any unexpected soujid, it shuts its wings, stretches its neck to its utmost extent, 
aiKi then presents a most singular aspect. 

The flight of the Heron is grand and stately, for the wings are long and wide, and in spite 
of the long neck and counterbalancing legs, the bird moves through the air with a noble and 
rapid flight. It is curious to see a Heron pass directly overhead. The head, body, and legs 
are held in a line, stiff and immovable, and the gently waving wings carry the bird through 
the air with a rapidity that seems the effect of magic. 

The long beak of the Heron is very sharp and dagger-like, and can be used with terrible 
force as an offensive weapon. The bird instinctively aims its blow at the eye of its adversary, 
and if incautiously handled is sure to deliver a stroke quick as lightning at the captor's eye. 
There seems to be some attraction in the eye, for a gentleman who turned a tame Heron into 
an aviary where five owls were kept, found next day that the Heron had totally blinded four 
owls and only left the fifth with a single eye. Even the game-cock can malte nothing of the 
Heron, as has been seen in a short battle that raged between those birds. The cock made 
his first fly veiy boldly, but not being used to such long-legged foes, missed his stroke. 
Returning to the attack, he was met by a blow from the Heron which astonished him to 
such a degree that he declined further combat and ever afterwards avoided so unpleasant 
an antagonist. The beak of a species of Heron set upon a stick is used by some savage tribes 
as a spear. 

The nest of the Heron is almost invariably built upon some elevated spot, mostly the top 



540 THE GREAT WHITE HERON. 

of a large tree, but sometimes on rocks near the coast. It is a large and rather clumsy -looking 
edifice, made of sticks and lined with wool. The eggs are from four to five in number, and 
their color is pale green. 

The general color of the Heron is delicate gray on the upper surface of the body, with 
the exception of the primaries, which are black, and the taU, which is deep slaty -gi-ay. The 
head is very light gray, and the beautiful long jjlume is dark slaty-blue. The throat and 
neck are white, covered along the front with dashes of dark blue-gray, and at the junction of 
the neck with the breast the white feathers are much elongated, forming a pendent tuft. 
The breast and abdomen are grayish-white, covered with black streaks. The total length of 
the bird is about three feet. On the inside of the middle claw of each foot the homy sub- 
stance is developed into a sort of shallow-toothed comb, the use of which is very problematical. 
This peculiarity runs through the genus, and several objects have been assigned to it, combing 
the plumage being the favorite theory, but clearly untenable on account of the shortness of 
the teeth. 

The Great White Herok {Ardea occidentalis), called also Wurdeman' s Heron. 
About this species thei'e has long been a dispute among ornithologists, who difl'ered in regard 
to its proper classification. But at last every doubt vanished, and the accounts given by 
Wilson and Audubon were considered as correct. The latter describes the bird ' ' as the largest 
species of the Heron tribe hitherto found in the United States ," and continues : — 

"The Great WMte Heron is indeed remarkable, not only for its great size, but also for 
the pure white of its plumage at every period of its life. Writers who have subdivided the 
family, and stated that none of the true Herons are white, will doiibtless be startled when 
they read this report. 

"Immediately after my arrival at Indian Key, in Florida, I formed an acquaintance with 
Mr. Egan. He it was who first gave me notice of the species which forms the subject of this 
article. The next day after that of my arrival, he came in with two young birds alive, and 
another lying dead in a nest which he had cut off from a mangrove. You may imagine how 
delighted I was, when, at the very first glance, I felt assured that they were different from 
any that I had jireviously seen. The two living birds were of a beautiful white, slightly 
fringed with cream-color, remarkably fat and strong for their age, which the worthy pilot said 
could not be more than three weeks. The dead bird was quite putrid and much smaller. It 
looked as if it had accidentally been trampled to death by the i^arent birds ten or twelve days 
before, the Ijody lieing almost fiat and covered with filth. The nest, with the two live birds, 
was j)laced in the yard. The young Herons seemed quite imconcemed when a person 
approaclied them, although, on displaying one's hand to them, they at once endeavored to 
strike it with their bill. My Newfoundland dog, a well-trained and most sagacious animal, 
■was whistled for and came up ; on wliich the birds rose partially on their legs, ruffled all their 
feathers, spread their wings, oisened their bills, and clicked their mandibles in great anger, 
but vdthout attempting to leave the nest. I ordered the dog to go near them, but not to hurt 
them. They waited until he went wdthin striking distance, when the largest suddenly hit him 
with its bill, and hung to his nose. Plato, however, took it all in good part, and merely 
brought the bird towards me, when I seized it liy the wings, which made it let go its hold. It 
walked off as jjroudly as any of its tribe, and I was delighted to find it possessed of so much 
courage. These birds were left under the charge of Mrs. Egan, until I returned from my 
various excursions to the different islands along the coast. 

"On the 2Gth of April I visited with my companions in a bai'ge some Keys on 
which the Florida Cormorants were breeding in great numbers. As we were on the way, we 
observed two tall AVhite Herons standing on their nests ; but although I was anxious to pro- 
cure them alive, an unfortunate shot from one of the party brought them to the water. They 
were, I was told, able to fly, but probably had never seen a man before. While searching 
that day for nests of the Zenaida Dove, we observed a young Heron of this species stalking 



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7T/ E have concluded to submit for public patronage a work with the above title, being a series 
of exquisite Engravings representing the Animal World, executed with great scientific 
accuracy, and accompanied by full Descriptive Text, written in popular terms, so as to 
delight and instruct the people. Anyone who has considered the subject must be at a loss to under- 
stand why an ILLUSTRATED Natural History, comprehensive and at the same time popular, 
has not before this been published in this country. Indeed any lover of animals who has visited the 
great museums and zoological gardens and has had access to books of engravings in the public 
libraries, could not fail to remark the wealth of material in existence devoted to this subject. Being 
confirmed in our conviction of the desirability of such a work, we laid under contribution the best 
existing authorities for the production of most perfect representations of all the more important 
living creatures, and among the artists whose delineations will delight the reader, we may mention 
Harrison Weir, Wolf, Coleman, Fr. Specht, and Mutzel. By far the majority of the engravings in 
these volumes are from drawings made from the living animals, many at the Zoological Society's 
Gardens in London, England. 

We purpose that our patrons shall be aided and interested in their study by such an array of 
pictures as-has never before embellished any Natural History. In numerous instances the engraving 
is printed in oil-colors, and this portion of the illustrations has been taken charge of by Messrs. L. 
Prang & Co., of Boston, who we believe rank foremost for high artistic results in this department of 
printing. These Oleographs were copied under the superintendence of Mr. Prang from the renowned 
" Tafeln " of " Brehm's Thierleben," so that they may be declared perfectly reliable. 

We sought competent advice from various sources as to the most suitable text that should ac- 
company this panorama of handsome Engravings. It was found impossible to embody all the present 
ideas of naturalists in a single work like this on account of the rapid advances and constant changes in 
their knowledge of, and habits of thought respecting, the Animal World. And it seemed to us cor- 
rect that the true object of Zoology is not to arrange, to number, and to ticket animals in a formal 
inventory, but to inquire into their life-nature, and not simply to investigate the lifeless organism. 
C i 'a " ui What do we know of " Man " from the dissecting-room ? Is it not Man, the warrior, the states- 

Si &■ K .S -2 man, the poet, etc., that we are interested in? With all veneration which attaches itself to those 
who are the accredited possessors of abstruse learning, their inordinate use of phraseology detracts 
too m.uch, we fear, from the fascination that the study of the Animal World would otherwise yield, 
and as we are not content to have our work restricted to a favored few, we thought the task placed 
in our hands to be to k'eep the work free from a repellant vocabulary of conventional technicalities. 
_ 1! 2 S J) Our endeavor has been to find an author whose work would be noted for its fund of anecdote and 
♦^ .S j; o ^ vitality rather than for merely anatomical and scientific presentation, and we arrived at the conclu- 
O .c •« ,^ o sion that we could not do better than avail ourselves of the Rev. T. G. Wood's comprehensive work 
a -g o g — a work most popularly approved by speakers of the English language. It would be superfluous to 
" E ji .§ say one word concerning the standard character of his book, from the pages of which old and young 
S o 2 °" St the other side of the Atlantic have obtained so much instruction and rational amusement. Avoid- 
ing the lengthened dissertations and minute classifications of specialists, he presents to his readers in 
^ ^ ^ I !:" popular terms a complete treatise on the Animal Kingdom of all climes and countries. The one 
g "^ 'l objection that could be urged against it was, that animal life in America might be treated more fully 
>^> 2 and American forms given more consideration. In order to obviate this drawback and to do full 
■• S. I S justice to the creatures of our own country, we secured the aid of Dr. J. B. HOLDER, of the Ameri- 
•■S -S jj' _" can Museum of Natural History in New York, an undoubted American authority, who has adapted 
S " H J Wood's work to American wants and given prominence to American forms of Animal life. 
I'm . ^. The splendid work on Rodentia, by Allen, Coues, and others, will be fully consulted. The 

§ § n R valuable work on North American Birds, by Baird, Brewer, and Ridgway, will be the guide in the 
^ u .-'*. : treatment of birds. The late arrangement of the classification and nomenclature of North American 
5 .c g g ^i" Birds, by Mr. Ridgway, and the Committee on that subject of the Ornithologists' Union, will be 
utilized in full. The arrangement of Mammals will be after the latest classification by Professor 
Flower, of the Zoological Society of London. So that this will be the first popular Natural History 



< c 5 
a § ^ 

ai "5 






g . worthy of the name that has made its appearance here, which gives due and full recog,nition to the 
animate world surrounding us. 

(Terms of Ipublication. 

The extent of the work will be 6§ parts of 2§ pages, at the price of 25 cents each. The entire publication will 
contain 34 Oleographs and 6§ Full Page Engravings on Wood, besides many hundreds of exquisite Illustrations 
interspersed through the text. The parts will be issued every two weeks, and are payable only as delivered. No 
subscriber's name will be received for less than the entire work, and anyone removing, or not regularly supplied, will 
please address the Publisher by mail. Ko order can be <-aiiot'll('(l after acoeptaiiec. 

N- E. SELMAR HESS, Publisher, New York. 



ISSUED BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY, AND NOT FOR SALE IN BOOK STORES. 




PART 44 



COMPLETE IN 68 PARTS. 



25 CENTS. 



THE GREAT WHITE HERON. 541 

among the mangroves that bordei'ed the Key on which we were, and immediately pursued it. 
Had you been looking ou, good reader, you might have enjoyed a hearty laugh, although few 
of us could have joined you. Seven or eight persons were engaged in the pursuit of this single 
bird, which, with extended neck, wings, and legs, made off among the tangled trees at such a 
rate, that, anxious as I was to obtain it alive, I several times thought of shooting it. At length, 
however, it was caught, its bill was securely tied, its legs were drawn up, and fastened by a 
strong cord, and the poor thing was thus conveyed to Indian Key, and placed along with its 
kinsfolk. On seeing it, the latter immediately ran towards it with open bills, and greeted it 
with a most friendly w^elcome, passing their heads over and under its own in the most ciirious 
and, indeed, ludicrous manner. A bucketful of fish was thrown to them, which they swallowed 
in a few minutes. After a few days, they also ate pieces of pork-rind, cheese, and other 
substances. 

" While sailing along the numerous islands that occur between Indian Key and Key West, 
I saw many birds of this species, some in pairs, some single, and others in flocks ; but on no 
occasion did I succeed in getting within shot of one. Mr. Egan consoled me by saying that he 
knew some places beyond Key West where I certainly should obtain several, were we to spend 
a day and a night there for the purpose. Dr. Benjamin Strobel aftei'wards gave me a similar 
assurance. In the course of a week after reaching Key West, I, in fact, procured more than a 
dozen birds of different ages, as well as nests and eggs, and their habits were carefully exam- 
ined by several of my party. 

"At thi-ee o'clock, one morning, j^ou might have seen Mr. Eg;in and myself, about eight 
miles from our harbor, i)addling as silently as possible over some narrow and tortuous inlets, 
formed by the tides through a large flat and partially submerged Key. There we expected to 
find many White Herons ; but our labor was for a long time almost hopeless, for, althoTigh 
other birds occurred, we liad detenuined to shoot nothing but tlie Great White Heron, and 
none of that species came near us. At length, after six or seven hours of hard labor, a Heron 
flew right over our heads, and, to make sure of it, we both fired at once. The bird came down 
dead. It proved to be a female, which liad either been sitting on her eggs, or had lately 
hatched her young, her belly being bare, and her plumage considerably worn. We now rested 
awhile, and breakfasted on some biscuit soaked in molasses and watei', reposing under the 
shade of the mangroves, where the mosquitoes had a good opportunity of breaking their fast 
also. We went about from one Key to another, saw a great number of White Herons, and at 
length, towai'ds night, reached the Marion, rather exhausted, and having a solitary bird. Mr. 
Egan and I had been most of the time devising schemes for procuring others with less trouble, 
a task which might easily have been accomplished a month before, when, as he said, the birds 
were 'sitting hard.' He asked if I would return that night at twelve o'clock to the last Key 
which we had visited. I mentioned the proj^osal to our worthy Captain, who, ever vdlling to 
do all in his power to oblige me, when the service did not require constant attendance on board, 
said that if I would go, he would accompany us in the gig. Our guns were soon cleaned, pro- 
visions and ammimition placed in the boats, and after supping we talked and laughed until 
the appointed time. 

'"Eight Bells' made us bound on our feet, and off we pushed for the islands. The 
moon shone bright in the clear sky ; but as the breeze had died away, we betook ourselves 
to our oars. The state of the tide was against us, and we had to drag our boats several 
miles over the soapy shallows ; but at last we foimd ourselves in a deep channel beneath the 
hanging mangroves of a large Key, where we had observed the Herons retiring to roost the 
previous evening. There we lay quietly until daybreak. But the mosquitoes and sandflies ! 
Reader, if you have not been in such a place, you cannot easily conceive the torments we 
endured for a whole hour, when it was absolutely necessary for us to remain perfectly motion- 
less. At length day dawned, and the boats parted, to meet on the other side of the Key. 
Slowly and silently each advanced. A Heron sprung from its perch almost directly over our 
heads. Three barrels were discharged, — in vain ; the bird flew on unscathed ; the pilot and I 
had probably been too anxious. As the bird sped away, it croaked loudly, and the noise. 



542 THE GREAT WHITE HERON. 

together with the reports of our guns, roused some hundreds of these Herons, which flew from 
the mangroves, and in the gray light appeared to sail over and around us like so many spectres. 
I almost despaired of procuring any more. The tide was now rising, and when we met with 
the other boat we were told that if we had waited until we coidd have shot at them wliile 
perched, we might have killed several ; but that now we must remain until full tide, for the 
birds had gone to their feeding groiinds. 

"The boats parted again, and it was now arranged that whenever a Heron was killed, 
another shot should be iired exactly one minute after, by which each party would be made 
aware of the success of the other. Mr. Egan, jjointing to a nest on which stood two small 
young birds, desired to be landed near it. I proceeded into a narrow bayou, where we 
remained quiet for about half an hour, when a Heron flew over us and was shot. It was a very 
fine old male. Before tiring my signal shot, I heard a report from afar, and a little after mine 
was discharged I heard another shot, so I felt assured that two Inrds had been killed. When 
I reached the Captain's boat I found that he had in fact obtained two ; but Mr. Egan had 
waited two hours in vain near the nest, for none of the old birds came up. We took him from 
his hiding-place, and brought the Herons along with ns. It was now nearly high water. 
About a mile from us, more tlian a hundred Herons stood on a mud-bar up to their bellies. 
The pilot said that now was our best chance, as the tide would soon force them to fly, when 
they would come to rest on the trees. So we divided, each clioosing his own place, and I went 
to the lowest end of the Key, where it was sejiarated from another by a channel. I soon had 
the pleasiu-e of observing all the Herons take to wing, one after another, in quick succession. 
I then heard my companions' guns, but no signal of success. Obtaining a good cliance, as I 
thought, I fired at a i-emarkably large bird, and distinctly heard the shot sti'ike it. The Heron 
merely croaked, and pursiied its course. Not anotlier bird came near enough to be shot at, 
although many had alighted on the neighboring Key, and stood perched like so many newly 
finished statues of the purest alabaster, forming a fine contrast to the deep blue sky. The 
boats joined us. Mr. Egan had one bird, the Captain another, and both looked at me with 
surprise. We now started for the next Key, where we expected to see more. When we had 
advanced several hundred yards along its low banks, we found the bird at which I had shot, 
lying with extended wings in the agonies of death. I was satisfied with the fruits of this day's 
excursion. On other occasions I procured fifteen more bii'ds, and judging that number 
sufficient, I left the Herons to their occupations. 

"This species is extremely sliy. Sometimes they would rise when at the distance of half 
a mile from us, and fly quite out of sight. If pursued, they would return to the very Keys, 
or mud-flats, from which they had risen, and it was almost impossible to approach one while 
perched or standing in the water. Indeed, I have no doubt that half a dozen specimens of 
Ardea lierodias could be procured for one of the present, in the same time and under similar 
circumstances. 

" The Great White Heron is a constant resident on the Florida Keys, where it is found 
more abundant during the breeding season than anywhere else. They rarely go as far east- 
ward as Cape Florida, and are not seen on the Tortugas, probably because these islands are 
destitute of mangroves. They begin to pair early in March, but many do not lay their eggs 
until tlie nnddle of A] ail. Their courtships were represented to me as similar to those of the 
Great Blue Heron. Tlieir nests are at times met witli at considerable distances from each 
other, and although many are found on tlie same Keys, they are placed farthei apart than 
tliose of the species just mentioned. They are seldom more than a few feet above high water- 
mark, which in the Floridas is so low, that they look as if only a yard or two above the roots 
of the trees. From twenty to thirty nests which I examined were thus placed. They were 
large, about three feet in diameter, formed of sticks of different sizes, but without any appear- 
ance of lining, and quite flat, being several inches thick. The eggs are always three, measure 
two inches and three-quai'ters in length, one inch and eight-twelfths in breadth, and have 
a rather tliiclt sliell, of a uniform plain light bluish-green color. Mr. Egan told me that 
incubation continues al)out thirty days, that both birds sit (the female, however, being most 



THE GREAT WHITE HERON. 543 

assiduous), and with their legs stretched out before them iu the same manner as the young 
when two or three weeks old. The latter, of which I saw several from ten days to a month 
old, were pure white, slightly tinged with cream color, and had no indications of a crest. 
Those which I carried to Charleston, and which were kept for more than a year, exliibited 
nothing of the kind. I am unable to say how long it is before they attain their full plumage. 

"These Herons are sedate, quiet, and perhaps even less animated than the A. Jierodias. 
They walk majestically, with firnmess and great elegance. Unlike the species first named, 
they flock at their feeding-grounds, .sometimes a hundred or more being seen together ; and 
what is still more remarkable is, that they betake themselves to the mud-fiats or sand-bars at a 
distance from the Keys, on wliich they roost and breed. They seem, in so far as I could judge, 
to be diurnal, an opinion corroborated by the testimony of Mr. Egan, a i^erson of great judg- 
ment, sagacity, and integrity. While on these banks they stand motionless, rarely moving 
towards their prey, but waiting until it comes near, when they strike it and swallow it alive, 
or when large, beat it on the water, or shake it violently, biting it severely all the while. They 
never leave their feeding-grounds until driven off by the tide, I'emaining until the water reaches 
their body. So wary are they that, although they may return to roost on the same Keys, 
they rarely alight on trees to which tliey have resorted before, and if repeatedly distui'bed 
they do not retrirn, for many weeks at least. When roosting, they generally stand on one 
foot, the other being drawn up, and, unlike the Ibises, are never seen lying fiat on trees, where, 
however, they draw in tlieir long necks, and place their heads under their wings. 

"I was often surprised to see that while a fiock was resting by day in the position just 
described, one or more stood with outstretched necks, keenly eyeing all around, now and then 
suddenly starting at the sight of a porpoise or shark in chase of some fish. The appearance 
of a man or a boat seemed to distract them ; and yet I was told that nobody ever goes iu pur- 
suit of them. If surpi'ised, they lea^e their perch with a rough croaking sound, and fiy 
directly to a great distance, but never inland. 

" The flight of the Great "White Heron is firm, regular, and greatly protracted. They 
propel themselves by regular, slow flaps, the head being drawn in after they have proceeded a 
few yards, and their legs extended behind, as is the case with all the other Herons. They also, 
now and then, rise high in the air, whei'e they sail in wide circles, and they never alight with- 
out performing this circling flight, unless when going to feeding-grounds on which other 
individuals have already settled. It is ti-uly suri3rising that a bird of so powerful a flight 
never visits Georgia or the Carolinas, nor goes to the mainland. When you see them about 
the middle of the day on their feeding-grounds, they ' loom ' to aboiit double their size, and 
present a singular aj^pearance. It is difficult to kill them unless with buck-shot, which we 
found ourselves obliged to use. 

"AVlien I left Key West, on our return towaids Charleston, I took with me two young 
birds that had been consigned to the care of my friend, Dr. B. Strobel, who assured me that 
they devoured more than their weight of food per day. I had also two young birds of the 
Ardea Jierodias alive. After bringing them on board, I i:)laced them all together in a very 
large coop ; but was soon obliged to separate the two species, for the white birds would not 
be reconciled to the blue, which they would have killed. While the fonner had the privilege 
of the deck for a few minutes, they struck at the smaller species, such as the young of Ardea 
rufescens and A. ludoinciana, some of which they instantly killed and swallowed entire, 
although they were abundantly fed on the flesh of green turtles. None of the sailors suc- 
ceeded in making friends with them. 

" On reaching Indian Key, I found those which had been left with Mrs. Egan in excellent 
health, and much increased in size ; but, to my surprise, observed that their bills were much 
broken, which she assured me had been caused by the great force with which they struck at 
the fishes thrown to them on the rocks of their inclosure, — a statement which I found con- 
firmed by my own observation iu the course of the day. It was almost as difiicult to catch 
them in the yard as if they had never seen a man before, and we were obliged to tie their bills 
fast, to avoid being wounded by them while carrying them on board. They thrived well, and 



544 THE GREAT BLUE HERON. 

never manifested the least animosity towards each other. One of them which accidentally 
walked before the coops in which the Bhie Herons were, thrust its bill between the bars, and 
transfixed the head of one of these birds, so that it was instantaneously killed. 

" When we arrived at Charleston, four of them were still alive. They were taken to my 
friend, John Baehman, who was glad to see them. He kept a pair, and offered the other to 
our mutual friend, Dr. Samuel Wilson, who accepted them, but soon afterwards gave them to 
Dr. Gibbes, of Columbia College, merely because they had killed a number of ducks. My 
friend Baehman kept two of these birds for many months ; but it was difficult for him to pro- 
cure fish enough for them, as they swallowed a bucketful of mullets in a few minutes, each 
devouring about a gallon of these fishes. They betook themselves to roosting in a beautiful 
arbor in his garden, where at night they looked, with their pure white plumage, like beings 
of another world. It is a curious fact, that the points of their bills, of which an inch at least 
had been broken, grew again, and were as regularly shaped at the end of six months as if 
nothing had happened to them. In the evening, or early in the morning, they would fre- 
quently set, like pointer dogs, at moths which hovered over the flowers, and with a well-directed 
stroke of their bill seize the fluttering insect and instantly swallow it. On many occasions, they 
also struck at chickens, grown fowls, and ducks, Avhich they would tear up and devour. Once, 
a cat which was asleep in the sunshine, on the wooden steps of the veranda, was pinned through 
the body to the boards, and killed by one of them. At last, they began to pursue the younger 
children of my worthy friend, who therefore ordered them to be killed. One of them was 
beautifully mounted by my assistant, Mr. Henry Ward, and is now in the museum of 
Charleston. Dr. Gibbes was obliged to treat his in the same manner, and I afterwards saw 
one of them in his collection. 

"Mr. Egan kept for about a year one of these birds, which he raised from the nest, and 
which, when well grown, was allowed to ramble along the shores of Indian Key in quest of 
food. One of the wings had been cut, and the bird was known to all the resident inhabitants, 
but was at last shot by some Indian hunter, who had gone there to dispose of a collection of 
sea-shells. 

" Some of the Herons feed on the berries of certain trees daring the latter part of autumn 
and the beginning of winter. Dr. B. Strobel observed the Night Heron eating those of the 
'Gobolimbo,' late in September, at Key West." 

The Great Blite Heron {Ardea herodias) is a very familiar bird in the eastern United 
States. It is common to the whole continent, south to Guatemala and the West Indies. 

It breeds in all these regions, and winters in the South. It is only equalled in its wide 
distribution on this continent by the Bittern. This is one of the handsomest, most striking, 
majestic-looking birds in America. In the high inland portions of the country, this Heron is 
not often seen, but is a constant inhabitant of the Atlantic coast. In the lower parts of New 
Jersey it bi-eeds in considerable numbers. The breeding -places are usually gloomy cedar 
swamps, where, upon the tallest trees, the nests are constructed. The Herons generally breed 
many years in succession in the same places. 

The principal food of this Heron is fish, for which he watches with great patience. His 
long, lance-shaped bill quickly transfixes his game when opportunity offers. Wilson says of 
him : "In our vast fens and meadows this stately bird roams at pleasure, feasting on the 
never-failing magazines of frogs, fishes, insects, etc., witli which they abound, and of which 
he, probably, considers himself the sole lord and proprietor. I have several times seen the 
bald eagle attack him, and tease him, but whether for sport or to make him disgorge, I do not 
know. 

"The common Heron of Europe very much resembles this bird, which might, as usual, 
have probably been ranked as the original stock, of which the present was a mere degen- 
erated species, were it not that the American is greatly superior in size and weight to the 
European, the former measuring four feet four inches, and weight of upwai'ds of seven pounds ; 
the latter, three feet three inches, and weighing rarely more than four pounds. Yet, with the 



THE BITTERN. 545 

exception of size, and tlie rust-celored thighs of the present, they are extremely alike. The 
common Heron of Europe is not, however, an inliabitant of the United States." Since 
the days of Wilson, it has been ascertained that the Eui'opean Heron {Ardea cinerea) 
is occasionally a straggler in this country, and, consequently, is enumerated with birds 
of North America. The Great Heron does not assume the full plumage during the first 
season, nor until tlie summer of the second. A\Tien in complete plumage, the sexes are 
exactly alike. 

The length of this Heron is four feet four inches, from bill to tail, and to bottom of the 
feet, five feet four inches. The extent of wings, six feet. The bill is eight inches long. 

The Snowy Heron {Garzetta candidissima) is in some respects more attractive than the 
preceding. It is much smaller, but its graceful attitude, and delicate, flowing plumes render 
it exceedingly beautiful, its plumage being wholly white. It is properly a southern bird, 
peculiar to America, yet, as other species, a straggler now and again finds its way northward, 
even as far as Massachusetts. It inhabits Mexico, AVest Indies, and Central and South 
America. It resembles the "Little Egret "of Europe. The plumes and larger size of the 
American bird distinguish it. Like most of its tribe, this Heron prefers the salt marshes, near 
its breeding-places, where, also, it can quicldy reach its accustomed feeding-grounds. For this 
reason, it seldom goes far inland. 

The length of this species is two feet one inch ; extent of wings, three feet two inches. 
The sexes are alike in size and plumage. 

Peale's Egret {Dichromanassa rtifa\ called also Keddish Egret, is another species, 
having in the breeding season a pure white plumage, and at others a red -colored one. 

Green Heron {Butorides vlrescens). This Heron is found throughout the United States 
generally, breeding throughout and wintering in the South. It ranges from Canada West to 
Venezuela and the West Indies. It is only noticed in the West in the southern and eastern 
portions of the Missouri region. 

This bird is a common one in the Eastern States, but is not frequently seen, as it frequents 
the most secluded swamps, pools, morasses, where its most favorite food is to be found. 

When alarmed, the Green Heron rises w4th a hoUow, guttural scream ; does not fly far, 
but usually alights on some old stump, tree, or fence, and looks about with extended neck, 
though sometimes this is drawn in so that his head seems to rest upon his breast. As he walks 
along the fence, or stands gazing at you with outstretched neck, he has the habit of jerking 
his tail. He sometimes flies high, with doubled neck and legs extended behind, flapping the 
wings smartly, and ti-avelling with great expedition. During the whole summer, until late in 
autumn, these birds are seen in our marshes, but never in winter. Unlike many of the Herons, 
this species is found in the interior, wherever there is water. It is eighteen inches long, and 
twenty-five in extent of wnng. The prevailing color is green. Few groups of birds have such 
varied coloration as the Herons. The sexes are alike in markings and size. 

The Bittern is now seldom seen in this country, partly because it is a rare bird and 
becoming scarcer almost yearly, and partly because its habits are nocturnal, and it sits aU day 
in the thickest reeds or other aquatic vegetation. The marshy grounds of Essex seem to be 
the spots most favored by this bird at the present day, although specimens are annually killed 
in various parts of the country. 

In habits and food, the Bittern resembles the heron, except that it feeds by night instead 
of by day. Like that bird, it uses its long sharp beak as a weapon of offence, and chooses 
the eye of its adversary as the point at which to aim. The feet and legs are also powerful 
weapons, and when disabled from flight, the Bittern will fling itself on its back, and fight 
desperately with foot and bill. 

The nest of the Bittern is placed on the ground near water, and concealed among the rank 

Vol. n.— 69. 



54(J 



THE AMERICAN BITTERN. 



vegetation that is found in such localities 



It is made of sticks and reeds, and generally con- 
tains about four or five pale-brown eggs. The voice of the Bittern varies with the season of 
year. Usually it is a sharp harsh cry uttered on rising, l)ut in the breeding season the bird 
utters a loud booming cry that can be heard at a great distance. 

The general color of this line bird is rich brownish buff, covered with irregular streaks and 
mottlings of black, dark brown, gray, and chestnut. The toji of the head is black with a gloss 
of bronze; the cheeks are buii', and The chin white tinged with buff. Down the front of the 
neck the feathers are marked with bold longitudinal dashes of blackish and reddish-brown, 
and the feathers of the breast are dark brown broadly edged with buff. The under surface of 
the body is buff streaked with browu, the beak is greenish-yellow, and the feet and legs are 




BITTERN.— Jci/ea sleltaris. 



green. In total length the Bittern measures about thirty inches. Several species of herons 
have been seen in Europe, nine being mentioned by Yarrell, including one species of Egret, 
two Bitterns, and a Night Heron. 



The Ajierican Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosits) inhabits the entire temperate North 
America, Cuba, and southward to Guatemala. It breeds chiefly in the middle districts north- 
ward, wintering southward. It is regularly migratory ; and accidental in Europe. Dr. Cones 
notices an extraordinary variation in size of this s^jecies. Individuals measured from 23 to 
34 inches, and 32 to 43 in extent of wing. The Bittern is somewhat familiar, but its habits are 
not well known. It is peculiar in not assembling in conuuunities like the Herons, and its nest 
is iisually placed on the ground. Samuels says: "It breeds in communities, sometimes as 
many as a dozen pnirs nesting within the area of a few rods. Tlie nests are placed on low 
bushes, or tufts of grass." It seems evident that this bird's history has heretofore been little 
known, as in sevei'al other respects recent accounts are diametrically opposite to those of 
Audubon and other contemporary authors and observers. For example, the nesting-places are 
said by Samuels to be continuously inhabited for many years, while Audubon states the 
opposite. 



THE BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON. 547 

The "booming" of the Bittern is legarded as a myth. Xo such sound as can be under- 
stood as similar is uttered by it. It has a hollow croak, when alarmed. Audubon likens it to 
a '-hoarse croaking, as if the throat were fiUed with water." Nnttall more successfully 
likens it io piimp-ait-gah. Mr. Samuels renders it as follows: "In the mating season, and 
during the first part of the period of incubation, the male has a peculiar note, that almost 
exactly resembles the stroke of a mallet on a stake ; something like the syllables chimk-a-Ju.nJc- 
chunJc, quank-c?iitnk-a-lanJi-chu)iJc. I have often, when in the forests of Northern Maine, 
been deceived 'by this note into believing that some woodman or settler was in my neighbor- 
hood, and discovered my mistake after toiling a mile or so through swamps." Besides this 
peculiar note, the bird has another, its ordinary cry. This is a single, abrupt, explosive 
syllable, something like quark, or Timtk, delivered with a rough, guttural intonation. Ordina- 
rily the Bittern is a silent bird. It is migratory, and, excepting the Blue Heron, no bird is 
more extensively dispersed. It is wild, shy, and somewhat solitary. When disturbed, he 
gives a vigorous spring, croaks at the moment in a manner highly expressive of disgust, and 
flies off as fast as he can, though in rather a loose, lumbering way. For some distance he flaps 
heavily with dangling legs and outstretched neck. 

Least Bittern {Ardetta exilis). Inhabits the United States and British provinces, Cuba, 
Jamaica, Central, and possibly South America. It breeds throughout its range in the States, 
and winters in the South. It is not anywhere abundant, though very generally distributed. 
It inhabits reedy swamps, and is regularly migratory, passing northward in April, and return- 
ing in September. It is rather more numerous in the Gulf States than elsewhere. Unlike the 
other species of Herons, it does not gather in communities to breed, but is oftener found in 
single pairs, or, at most, three or four. It is the smallest kno\^^l sj)ecies of the whole tribe. It 
rarely visits salt meadows. Wilson says it is an uncommon bird to the sea-coast peoples of 
New Jersey, but a few breed near Philadelphia, in the fresh meadows of the Schuylkill River. 
When alarmed, it seldom flies far, but takes shelter among the reeds, seldom being seen, as it 
feeds at night. Its length is twelve inches, and sixteen inches in extent of wing. The eyes 
are bright yellow, which gives the bird a bright look. The sexes are nearly alike in color. 
Audubon says: "The nest is sometimes placed upon the ground, amid the rankest grasses, 
but more frequently it is attached to the stems, several inches above it. It is flat, composed 
of dried or rotten weeds. In two instances, I found the nests of the Least Bittern about three 
feet from the ground, in a thick cluster of smilax and other briary plants. In the first, two 
nests were placed in the same bush, within a few yards of each other. In the other instance, 
there was only one nest of tliis bird, but several of the Boat-tailed Grakle, and one of the 
Green Heron, the occupants of all of which seemed to be on friendly terms. ^\^ien startled 
from the nest, the old birds emit a few notes, resembling the syllable qua, alight a few yards 
off, and watch all your movements. If you go towards them you may sometimes take the 
female in your hand, but rarely the male, who generally flies off, or makes his way through 
the woods. Like the other Herons, its food is small reptiles, fishes, insects, etc. Often shrews 
and field mice are found in their stomachs. The eggs are three to five in number, resembling 
pigeons' eggs." 

The Black-crowned Night Heron {Nyctiardea grisea ncevia) inhabits the British 
provinces, breeds abundantly in New England, winters in the South and beyond. It is also 
found in the West Indies and Mexico. The Night Herons derive their name from their noc- 
turnal habits. Like other species, this bird prefers the solitary swamps for breeding and 
feeding places, where numbers of them build in proximity. At dusk, the Night Herons, called 
also Qua Birds, frojn their peculiar cry, make wing for the marshes, or beaches, where they 
stand motionless in watch for their game — small reptiles or fishes. These they capture by 
darting forth their sharp, long bills, which transfix the luckless toads or fishes. Wilson says : 
"At this hour, also, all the nurseries of the swamp are emptied of their inhabitants, who 
disperse about the marshes and along the ditches and river shore in quest of food. Some of 
these breeding-places have been occupied, every spring and summer, from time immemorial, 



548 



THE BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON. 



by from eighty to one hundred pairs of Qua Birds. In places where the cedars have been cut 
down for sale, the birds have merely removed to another quarter of the swamp, but when 
personally attacked, long teased, and plundered, they have been known to remove from an 






^ 

^r^- 







%M 



K.1lUUL>--^'^ 



DAY AND NIGHT HEKONS.— -Jrdea nyclicorax. 



ancient breeding-place in a body, no one knew where. Such was the case with one on the 
Delaware, which, having been repeatedly attacked and plundered by a body of crows, after 
several severe rencontres, they suddenly disappeared, and abandoned the place. On the 



THE JSfANKEEN ^UOHT HERON. ' 549 

cedars near Cape May are several of these breeding-places, intermixed with those of the Little 
Egret, Green Bittern, and Blue Heron. The nests are built entirely of sticks, in considerable 
quantities, with frequently three or four nests on the same tree. On entering the swamp in 
the neighborhood of one of these breeding-places, the noise of the old and the young would 
almost induce one to suppose that two or three hundred Indians were choking or thiottling 
each other. The instant an intruder is discovered, the whole rise in the air in silence, and 
remove to the tops of the trees, in another part of the wood, while parties of from eight to 
ten make occasional circuits over the spot to see what is going on. 

"Though it is pi'obable that those birds do not see well during the day, yet their faculty of 
hearing must be exquisite, as it is almost impossible, with all the precautions one can use, to 
penetrate near their residence without being discovered. Several species of hawks hover 
around, making an occasional sweep among the young, and the bald eagle himself has been 
seen reconnoitering near the spot, probably vnt\\ the same design." The sexes are so alike in 
color of plumage they can scarcely be distinguished. 

The length of the Night Heron, as this bird is called in the Northern States, is two feet 
four inches ; the extent of wing is four feet ; bill, four and a quarter inches. The iris is a 
brilliant blood-red. The eye is large, and gives a striking, beautiful appearance to the bird. 
This bird breeds in great numbers in the vicinity of New Orleans. 

The White-crowned Night Heron {Wyetherndias violaceus) is a Southern species, 
quite common in the Gulf States, but not seen north of Pennsylvania. It is about the size 
of the preceding, and has much plainer plumage. 

The Nankeen Night Heron is a native of Australia, and is thiis described by. Mr. 
Gould:— 

"This beautiful species is universally dispersed over the continent of Australia, but is far 
less abundant over the western than over the eastern coast. In the summer latitudes it is only 
a summer visitant, arriving in New South Wales and South Australia in August and Septem- 
ber, and retiring again in February. As its name implies, it is nocturnal in its habits, 
and from its frequenting swamps, inlets of the sea, the sedgy banks of rivers, and other 
secluded situations, it is seldom seen. On the approach of morning it retires to the forests, 
and perches among the branches of large trees, where, shrouded from the heat of the sun, it 
sleeps the whole day, and when once discovered is easily taken, as it seldom moves unless shot 
at, or driven from its perch by some other means, and when forced to quit its perch, it merely 
flies a short distance and again alights. Its flight is slow and flapping, and during its passage 
through the air the head is drawn back between the shoulders and the legs are stretched out 
backwards after the manner of true Herons. When perched upon the trees or resting on the 
ground, it exhibits none of the grace and elegance of those birds, its short neck resting on the 
shoulders. 

"When impelled by hunger to search for a supply of food it naturally becomes more 
animated, and its actions more active and prying ; the varied nature of its food, in fact, demands 
some degree of activity — flshes, water-lizards, crabs, frogs, leeches, and insects being aU par- 
taken of with equal avidity. It breeds in the months of November and December, and gen- 
erally in companies like the true Herons ; the favorite localities being the neighborhood of 
swampy districts, where an abundant supply of food is to be procured ; the branches of large 
trees, points of shelving rocks, and caverns, are equally chosen as a site for the nest, which is 
rather large and flat, and generally composed of crooked sticks loosely interwoven. 

"The eggs, which are usually three in number, are of a pale-green color, and average two 
inches and five-eighths in length by one inch and a half in bi-eadth. So little difference exists 
in the coloring of the sexes, that it is extremely difficult to distinguish the male from the 
female, and never with certainty, unless dissection be resorted to ; both have the three beauti- 
ful elongated occipital plumes, the use of which except for ornament is not easily imagined. 
The young, on the contrary, differ so greatly from the adult, that they might readily be 
regarded as a distinct species." 



550 



THE BOAT-BILL HERON. 



The general color of the adiilt bird is a rich cinnamon-brown, the top of the head and nap- 
of the neck are black, and the head-jjlvinies, cheeks, a stripe over the eye, and whole of the 
lower surface are pure white, melting softly into cinnamon-brown on the sides of the neck. 
The bare skin round the eye is greenish-yellow, and the eyes orange. The bill is black, with 
a little yellow at the tip or on the lower mandible, and the legs and feet are rich yellow. As 
is frequently the case among the feathered tribes, the plumage of the young bird, instead of 
being adorned with broad uniform tints, is richly mottled and streaked, the upper surface 
being buff streaked with deep brown, and the under surface ochry white diversified with a 
dark stiipe down the centre of each feather. The primaries of the wings and quill-feathers of 
the tail are very dark chestnut at their base, deepening into black near their extremities, which 
are buff-white. 




J"- '*^'-'y'c-_^^£^^^^^g 



BOAT-BII.L.— C'ancfoma coc/dearea. 



The very remarkable Boat-bill Heuo:n^ inhabits Southern America, and is tolerably 
plentiful in Guiana and Brazil. 

It derives its popular name from the singular form of its beak, which, although it really 
X^reserves the characteristics of the Heron's bill, is modified after a rather strange fashion, 
jirobably for the purpose of aiding it in its search aftei' food. (Tcnerally the beak is straight, 
slender, and sharp; but in this case, although it retains the same amount of substance, its 
shape is materially altered. Both mandibles ai-e much shortened, rather fiattened, and greatly 
hollowed, so as to assume the aspect of a pair of boats laid upon each othei' gunwale to gun- 
wale, the keel being well represented by the corresponding portion of the upper mandible. 

This bird is generally ftmnd near water, haunting the rivers, marshes, and swamps, where 
it finds ample supplies of food. Sometimes it traverses the sea-coast, picking up the various 



THE SPOONBILL. 



551 



Crustacea that are to be found at low water, but its usual places of resoi-t are rivei's and inland 
swamps. Its mode of angling is not unlike that of the kingfisher, as the Boat-bill perches 
upon some branch that overhangs the water, and thence pounces upon the prey below. It is 
not a large bird, the body being hardly bigger than that of a common duck, and the legs are 
rather short in proportion to the size of the body. 

The adidt male bird has the top of the head decorated with a long and full plume of jetty 
black feathers, pointed and drooping over the back. In the female the elongated feathers are 
wanting. The tuft or plume of the neck and breast is grayish-white. The feathers of the 
back are elongated, and their color is gray with occasionally a wash of rusty red ; there is also 
a patch of the same hue, but of a deeper tone, upon the middle of the under surface. The tail 
is white and the sides black. The bill is blackish-brow^l, and the legs nearly of the same 
color, but not quite so dark. Specimens of this bird have been kept in captivity, and were 
fed principally upon fish. 



t 










SPOONBILL. —I'latalea leucorodia. 



The well-known Spoonbill affords another instance of the endless variety of fonns 
assumed by the same organ under different conditions ; both the beak and the windpipe being 
modified in a very remarkable manner. 

The Spoonbill has a very wide range of country, being spread over the gi-eater part of 
Europe and Asia, and inhabiting a portion of Africa. Like the bird to which it is closely 
allied, this species is one of the waders, frequenting the waters, and obtaining a subsistence 
from the fish, reptiles, and smaller aquatic inhabitants, which it captures in the broad, spoon- 



552 THE STORK. 

like extremity of its beak. It is also fond of frequenting the sea-shore, where it finds a boun- 
tiful supply of food along the edge of the waves and in the little pools that are left by the 
retiring waters, where shrimps, crabs, sand-hoppers, and similar animals are crowded closely 
together as the watwr sinks through the sand. The bird also eats some vegetable substances, 
sach as the roots of aquatic herbage, and when in confinement will feed upon almost any kind 
of animal or vegetable matter, providing it be soft and moist. The beak of an adult Spoonbill 
is about eight inches in length, very much flattened, and is channelled and grooved at the 
base. In some countries the beak is taken from the bird, scraped very thin, and polished, 
and is then used as a spoon, and is thought a valuable article, being sometimes set in silver. 

It has often been found in northern countries, but is now there very scarce, owing to the 
increasing drainage of marshy soil. The breeding-places of the Spoonbill are usually open 
trees, the banks of rivers, or in little islands and tufts of aquatic herbage. In the latter cases 
the nest is rather large, and is made of reeds piled loosely together, and set on a foundation 
of water-weeds heaped sufficiently high to keep the eggs from the wet. There is no lining to 
the nest. The eggs are generally four in number, and their color is grayish-white, spotted 
with rather pale rusty brown. 

The Spoonbill seems to have no power of modulating its voice, a peculiarity which is 
explained by the structure of the windpipe. Upon dissecting one of these birds, the windpipe 
is seen to be bent into a kind of 8-like shape, the coils not crossing, but just applied to each 
other, and held in their place by a thin membrane. At the junction of the windpipe with the 
bronchial tubes that communicate with the lungs, there is none of the bony structure nor the 
muscular development by which the modulations of the voice are effected, and which are found 
so strongly developed in the singing and talking birds. This curious formation does not exist 
in the very young bird, and only assumes its pei'fect form when the Spoonbill has arrived at 
full age. 

The color of the adult bird is pure white, with the slightest imaginable tinge of soft pink. 
At the junction of the neck with the breast there is a band of buffy yellow. The naked skin on 
the throat is yellow, the eyes are red, the legs and feet black, and the biU yeUow at the 
expanded portion, and black for the remainder of its length. The total length of the male 
bird is about thirty-two inches, but the female is not quite so large, and her crest is smaller 
than that of the other sex. There are six or sev^n known species of these cui'ious birds. 

Roseate Spoonbill {AJaJa rosea). This beautiful and singular bird inhabits from 
Georgia and the Gulf States to South America. It is also seen up the Mississippi occasionally. 
Mr. Wilson's specimen came from Natchez. It measures two feet six inches in length, and 
nearly four feet in extent of wings. The bill is six inches and a half in length, and is flat 
horizontally, resembling the body of a violin. The delicate rose-colored and pink shadings of 
the plumage are very beautiful. 

THE STORKS. 

The Stork is another of the birds which now seldom make their appearance in such 
inhospitable regions, where food is scarce and guns are many. 

It is suflaciently common in many parts of Europe, whither it migrates yearly from its 
winter quarters in Africa, makes its nest and rears its young. In most countries it is rigidly 
protected by common consent ; partly on account of the service which it rendei's in the destruc- 
tion of noisome reptiles and unpleasant offal, and partly because it is surrounded with a kind 
of halo of romantic traditions handed dov^n from time immemorial to successive generations. 

The Stork is not slow in taking advantage of its position, and attaches itself to man and 
his habitations, building its huge nest on the top of his house, and walking about in his streets 
as familiarly as if it had made them. It especially parades about the fish-markets, where it 
finds no lack of subsistence in the offal ; and in Holland, where it is very common, it does 
good service by destroying the frogs and other reptiles, which would be likely to become a 
public nuisance unless kept down by the powerful aid of this bird. 



THE ADJUTANT, OR ARGALA. 553 

The habits of the Stork are well told by Colonel Montague in Ms account of a Black Stork 
{Ciconia nigra) domesticated by him : — 

"Like the white Stork, it frequently rests upon one leg, and if alarmed, especially by the 
approach of a dog, it makes a considerable noise by reiterated snappiugs of the bill, similar to 
that species. It soon became docile, and would follow its feeder for its favorite morsel, an eel. 
When very hungry, it crouches, resting the whole length of the legs upon the ground, and 
suppliantly seems to solicit food by nodding the head, flapx^ing its unwieldy pinions, and 
forcibly blowing the air from the lungs with aiidible exjriirations. "Whenever it is approached, 
the expulsion of air, accompanied by repeated noddings of the head, is provoked. 

"The bird is of a mild and peaceful disposition, very unlike many of its congeners, for it 
never makes use of its formidable bill offensively against any of the companions of its jirison, 
and even submits peaceably to be taken up without much struggle. From the manner in wliicli 
it is observed to search the grass with its bill, there can be no doubt that reptiles form part of 
its natural food ; even mice, worms, and the larger insects probably add to its usual repast. 
When searching in thick grass or in the mud for its prey, the bUl is kept partly open ; by this 
means I have observed it take eels in a pond with great dexterity ; no spear in common use 
for taking that fish can more eflfectually secure it between its fangs than the grasp of the 
Stork's mandibles. A small eel has no chance of escaping when once roused from its lurking- 
place. 

" But the Stork does not gorge its prey instantly, like the cormorant ; on the contrary, it 
retires to the margin of the jjond, and there disables its prey by shaking and beating it with 
its bill before it ventures to swallow it. I never observed this bird attempt to swim, but it will 
wade up to the belly and occasionally thrust the whole head and neck under water after its 
prey. It prefers an elevated spot on which to repose ; an old, ivy-bound weeping-willow that 
lies prostrate over the pond is usually resorted to for that purpose. In this quiescent state 
the neck is much shortened by resting the hinder part of the head on the back, and the bill 
rests on the fore part of tlie neck, over which the feathers iiow partly so as to conceal it, mak- 
ing a very singular appeai'ance. " 

The Stork is fond of making its nest upon some elevated spot, siich as the top of a house, 
a chimney, or a church spire ; and in the ruined cities of the East, almost every solitary pillar 
has its Stork's nest upon the sumndt. The nest is little more than a heterogeneous bundle of 
sticks, reeds, and similar substances heaped together, and with a slight depression for the eggs. 
These are usually three or four in number, and their color is white with a tinge of buff. The 
young are puffy, big-beaked, long-necked, ungaiidy little things, and remain in their lofty 
cradle until they are well fledged and able to achieve the downward flight. The mother-bird 
is exceedingly devoted to her young, and there are many well-known tales of this parental 
affection. On account, probably, of this trait of character, the Stork is looked upon with a 
feeling of reverence in many countries, and is encouraged to build its nest on the houses, the 
inhabitant thinking that the bird will bring him good fortune. 

The flight of the Stork is extremely high, and the birds fly in large flocks, in some instances 
numbering many thousand individuals. So great an aerial assembly of such large birds neces- 
sarily causes a loud and peculiar rushing sound of huge wings ; but except an occasional sharp 
clattering of beaks, the flocks make no noise. Like many of the long-legged birds, the Stork, 
when resting, stands on one leg, its neck doubled back, and its head resting on its shoulder. 

The color of the adult Stork is pure white, with the exception of the quUl-feathers of the 
wings, the scapularies and greater wing-coverts, which are black. The skin round the eye is 
black, the eyes are brown, and the beak, legs, and toes red. The length of the full-grown 
bird is about three feet six inches, and when erect, its head is about four feet from the ground. 

Some remarkable members of this group now come before our notice. The first is the 
well-known Adjutant, or Argala of India, the former name being derived from its habit of 
frequenting the parade-grounds. 

This fine bird is notable for the enormous size of the beak, which is capable of seizing and 
swallowing objects of considerable size, a full-grown cat, a fowl, or a leg of mutton being 

Vol. U.— 70. 



554 



THE ADJUTANT, OR ARGALA. 



engulfed without any apparent difficulty. The Adjutant is a most useful bird in the countries 
which it inhabits, and is protected with the utmost care, as it thoroughly cleans the streets 
and public places of the various oflfal which is flung carelessly in the way, and would be left 
to putrefy but for the constant services of the Adjutant and creatures of similar habits. The 
vulture is valuable in devouring dead animals of a large size, as its beak is capable of tearing 
the hide and flesh from the liones, wliich are in their turn the prey of the hyena ; but the 
Adjutant is chiefly important in swallowing the refuse, of slaughtered animals, and killing 
snakes and other unpleasant reptiles. It is remarkable that the bird, though very far removed 
from the vulture, should have a decidedly vulturine aspect ; its nearly naked head and neck 
adding greatly to the semblance. 










ADJUTANT.— ify?/ap^i7«s cruith^nijtr. 

Tlie attitudes assumed by the Adjutant are varied, and genei'ally partake of the grotesque. 
It has a curious habit of airing itself on a hot day, by standing still with the huge beak droop- 
ing towards the ground and nearly touching the earth, and its wings stuck out straight from 
the body. In this odd attitude it will remain for a considerable time immovable, as if carved 
in stone, and has about as grotesque an appearance as can well be imagined. Sometimes it 
squats on the ground with its legs tucked under its body, and sits looking about it with a 
superb air of dignity as of an enthroned monarch. Sometimes it stalks menacingly along, its 
neck stretched to the utmost, its head thrust forward, and its huge bill open, looking a most 
formidable creature. 

It is, however, a cowardly kind of bird, and its assum])tion of valor is of the most flimsy 
description, for it will run away from a child if boldly faced, and would as soon face a bantam 



THE AUSTRALIAN JABIRV. 555 

cock as a tiger. Some enemies, however, from whicli man would flee, are attacked and kiJIed 
by the Adjutant, which thus redeems himself from a wholly pusillanimous character. Serpents 
fall an easy prey to this bird, which has a fashion of knocking them over before they can 
strike, and after battering them to death swallows them whole. During the inundations the 
Adjutants are invaluable, as they follow the course of the rising waters, and make prey of the 
reptiles that are driven from their holes by the floods. 

The capacity of the Adjutant's stomach seems to be almost unlimited, and its digestion is 
so rapid that it can consume a very large amount of food daily. It will swallow a whole joint 
of meat, or even so impracticable a subject as a tortoise, its stomach being endowed with the 
power of dissolving all the soft and digestible parts, and ejecting the indigestible, such as the 
shell and bones. 

It is easily tamed, and soon attaches itself to a kind owner ; sometimes, indeed, becoming 
absolutely troublesome in its familiarity. Mr. Smeathriian mentions an instance where one of 
these birds was domesticated, and was accustomed to stand behind its master' s chair at dinner- 
time, and take its share of the meal. It was, however, an incorrigible thief, and was always 
looking for some opportunity of stealing the provisions, so that the servants were forced to 
keej) watch w\t\\ sticks over the table. In spite of their vigilance it was often too quick for 
them ; and once it snatched a boiled fowl off the dish and swallowed it on the spot. 

The exquisitely fine and flowing plumes, termed "Marabou feathers," are obtained from 
the Adjutant and a kindred species, the Marabou of Africa {Leptojjtnox marahox). 

The general color of the Adjutant is delicate ashen-gray above and white beneath. The 
great head and proportionately large neck are almost bare of covering, having only a scanty 
supply of down instead of featliers. From the lowei- j^art of the neck hangs a kind of dewlap, 
which can be inflated at the will of the bird, but generally hangs loose and flabby. 

The Jabirus rank among the giants of the feathered race. They are very similar in gen- 
eral form to the marabous, but may be distinguished from them by the form of biU, which 
slightly tiirns up towards the extremity. The head and part of the neck are also nearly desti- 
tute of feathers. Tliere are very few species knowTi, and they all seem to have similar habits ; 
haunting the borders of lakes, marshy grounds, and the banks of rivers, where they find 
abundance of the fish and aquatic reptiles on which they feed. Of one species, the Austra- 
lian Jabiru, Dr. Bennett has treated so fully and with such grapiuc powers of narration, that 
a condensation of his interesting account must be transferred to these i)ages. The whole nar- 
rative may be found in his " Gatherings of a Naturalist in Australia." One of these birds was 
taken at Port Macquarie and brought safely to Dr. Bennett's home: — 

'"The first evening it was at my house, it walked into the hall, gazed at the gas-lamps 
which had just been lighted, and then proceeded to walk upstau's seeking for a roosting-place ; 
but not liking the ascent came quickly down again, returned into the yard, and afterwards 
went to roost in the coach-house between the carriages, to which place it now retires regularly 
every evening soon after dark. It may always be found in that ])art of the yard where the 
sun is shining, and with its face invariably directed towards it. AVhen hungry it seeks for 
the cook, who usually feeds it ; and if she has neglected its food, looks into the kitchen as if 
to remind her of her neglect, and waits quietly, but with a searching eye, during the time the 
meat is cutting up, until it is fed. 

'' It is amusing to observe this bird catch flies ; it remains very quiet as if asleep, and on a 
fly passing, it is snapped up in an instant. The only time I observed any manifestation of 
anger in it, was when the mooruks were introduced into the yard where it was parading about. 
These rapid, fussy, noisy birds, ruiming about its range, excited its indignation ; for on their 
coming near, it slightly elevated the brilliant feathers of the head, its eyes became very bright, 
it ruflled its feathers, and chattered its mandibles, as if about to try their sword-like edge upon 
the intruding mooruks, but the anger subsided without farther demonstration than an occa- 
sional flapping of its powerful wings. One day, however, on one of the mooruks approaching 
too near him, he seized it by the neck with his mandibles, on which the mooruk i-an away and 
did not appear in any way injured. 



556 HABITS OF THE AUSTRALIAN JABIRU. 

" Wlien he was first placed in the yard where some poultry were kept, he stared at the 
fowls, and they ran away on his approach, although he did not make the least attempt to 
molest them ; and when striding round the yard, all the poultry fled before him, although it 
did not appear to be an intentional chase on his part. 

" There happened to be a j)ugnacious fussy little bantam-cock in the yard, who would not 
permit the intrusion of any stranger, and on seeing the Jabiru, he strutted up with expanded 
and fluttering wings and ruffled featliers in a violent state of excitement, cackling and scream- 
ing most vehemently, and making eftorts as energetic as so diminutive a bird was capable of, 
to frighten and drive him out of the yard. The Jabiru with his keen bright eyes regarded the 
little fluttering object with cool contempt, and walked about as before ; the bantam followed. 
At last the Jabiru turned and strode after the consequential little urchin as if to crush him under 
his feet ; when the bantam, seeing matters take this serious turn, made off as fast as possible, 
like all little bullies, and did not again venture to attack so formidable an opponent. In a few 
days the Jabiru became quite domesticated among the poidtry, and tliey evinced no fear ; even 
the little bantam tolerated his presence, but. whether from fear or affection I know not. 

"This bird is as tame as my ISTative Companion when in captivity, but it Avill not follow 
any one about as that bird will, nor has it uttered any sound ; it seems to be voiceless. 

"The bird appears timid when any one is looking at him from a short distance, and he 
then watches acutely all the actions of the intruder ; but when startled by any one coming 
suddenly upon him, he appears frightened, and spreads his wings as if prei^ai-ing for flight ; it 
is then possible, by a little activity, to capture him by his long bill and wings. When the 
mooruks came too close to him, he looked at them with flashing eyes, and flapped his wings as 
if to express his contempt towards them on account of their wingless condition, and at the 
same time the mooruks sjjread their rudimentary wings, as if to show that they have some 
stumps resembling wings, and appeared proud of their appendages also. 

"Allien the Jabiru was sunning himself as usual, and any of the mooruks came between 
him and the sun, he manifested great indignation at their intrusion by clattering his beak, 
ruffling his feathers, and flapping his wings at them ; if these hints were disregarded, he gave 
them a blow with his beak, which soon made them walk away. 

" The Jabiru was occasionally observed lying upon its breast, with its legs doubled up 
underneath so as to resemble a large goose with a most disproportionate size of bill. I have 
Doticed him watch the ground very attentively under the trees, and then dart his bill into the 
ground and bring up larvfe, which I found to be tliose of the locusts {Tettigonia, or Tree- 
hoppers). When the bird observed a slight motion of the soil, he darted his beak down and 
devoured the insect as it was emerging from the soil. On any of these insects falling fi'om the 
trees upon the gi-ound, lie would rapidly pick them up and devour them. On giving him one, 
he first crunched it between his mandibles, and thi'owing it up caught and devoured it. He 
appeared to relish these insects very much, and was eager to procure them. 

"He became latterly so familiar and domesticated that he would permit the person who 
was in the habit of feeding him to touch and examine his plumage and wings. When called 
to be fed, he ran from any part of the yai'd, and so regular was he in his habits, that when not 
called at the usual hour, he would stand at the place where he was accustomed to be fed, until 
his meat was given to him. When the person who fed him called him, he clapped his mandi- 
bles and ran up. He seemed to delight in standing in the rain, and did not appear in the least 
uncomfortable when his feathers were dripping w^et. He frequently slept in the open aii- all 
night, preferring it to the shelter of the coach-house. He strutted about the yard a long time 
after dark. When caught by the \vings or otherwise annoyed, he displayed his anger by no 
other sound than a loud and violent clattering of the mandibles, nor did he attempt any act of 
aggression upon liis captors with his powerful beak. He would often run about the yardj 
spreading and fluttering his wings, merely for exercise." 

The Australian Jabiru appears to be a very rare bird ; and as it is extremely wary, and 
haunts wide expanses where but little cover can be found, it can with difficulty be approached. 
The natives, with their eagle eyes, their snake-like movements, and the exhaustless patience of . 



THE WHALE-HEADED STORK. 557 

men to whom time is of no valne, manage to creep within range of tlieir weapons ; but even 
to them the taslv is a difficult one, and to Europeans almost impracticable. One good sports- 
man, who succeeded at last in killing a Jabiru, followed it several days before he could get 
within long range of the susi^icious bird. 

The food of this species mostly consists of fish, and eels seem to be their favorite diet. 
Ordinary fish it swallows at once, but eels and gar-fish are battered about until dead before the 
bird attempts to devour them. ]yearly two pounds of eels and small fish have been found in 
the stomach of a shot Jabiru. 

In its coloring the Australian Jabiru is a very handsome bird, and its movements are quiet, 
majestic, easy, and graceful. The large head and neck are rich shining green, changing to 
rainbow tints of violet and purple upon the back of the head, the feathers gleaming in the sun 
with a light metallic radiance. "The greater wing-coverts, scapularits, lower part of the 
back and tail are dark brown mixed with rich bluish-green, which changes in the adult to 
a rich glossy green tinged with a golden lustre. The smaller wing-coverts, lower part of the 
neck and back, and upper part of the breast are white speckled with ashy-brown, but become 
pure white in the adult ; lower part of the breast, thighs, and inner part of the wings, white. 
Eyes brilliant and hazel in color. The legs are blackish with a dark tinge of red, becoming of 
a bright red color in the adult ; and when the bu'd iiies with the legs stretched out, looking 

like a long red tail My specimen measures thi'ee feet ten inches to the top of the 

head, and is not yet full grown; they are said to attain four or five feet in height." The 
specimen belonging to Dr. Bennett died after a captivity of about seven months, nearly four 
of which were passed in Dr. Bennett's residence. The cause of his death was not known — 
probably the diet might have been injurious. 

The singular Whale-headed Stork is the most striking of its tribe. 

This bird lives in Northern Africa, near the Nile, but is seldom seen on the banks of that 
river, preferring the swampy districts to the running water. Mr. Petherick found it in the 
Rhol district, about latitude 5° to 8°, in a large tract of country about a hundred and fifty miles 
in extent, where the ground is continually swelled by rains, and has by degi'ees modified into 
a huge morass, some parts flooded with water, others blooming with vegetation, and the whole 
surrounded by thick bush. "This spot," writes Mr. Petherick in his "Egypt, the Soudan, 
and Central Africa," "is the favorite home of the Balaeniceps. 

"These birds are seen in clusters of from a pair to perhaps one hundred together, mostly 
wading in the water ; and when disturlied, will fly low over its surface and settle at no great 
distance. But if frightened and fired at, they rise in flocks high in the air, and after hovering 
and wheeling around settle on the highest trees, and as long as their disturbers are near, will 
not return to the water. Their roosting-place at night is, to the best of my belief, on the ground. 

" Their food is principally fish and water-snakes, which they have been seen by my men to 
kiU and devour. They will also feed on the intestines of dead animals, the carcases of which 
they easily rip open with the strong hook of their upper bill. 

"Their breeding time is in the rainy season, during the months of July and August, and 
the spot chosen is in the reeds or light grass immediately on the waters edge or on some small 
elevated and dry spot entirely surrounded by water. The bird before laying scrapes a hole in 
the earth, in which, without any lining of grass or feathei's, the female deposits her eggs. 
Numbers of these nests have been robbed by my men, both of eggs and yoimg, but the young 
birds so taken have invariably died. After repeated unsuccessful attempts to rear them, con- 
tinued for two years, the eggs were eventually hatched under hens, which were procured at a 
considerable distance from the Raik negToes. 

"As soon as the hens began to lay, and in due time to sit, a part of their eggs were replaced 
■with half the number of those of the Balfeniceps, as fresh as possible from the nest, the locality 
of which was previously known, and several birds were successfully hatched. These young 
birds ran about the ])remises of the camp, and, to the great discomfort of the hens, would per- 
sist in performing all sorts of unchickenable manoeuvres, with their large beaks and extended 
wings, in a small artificial pool constantly supplied with water by several negi-esses retained 



558 



THE WHALE-HEADED STORK. 



for their especial benefit. Negro boys were also employed to supply their little pond with live 
fish, upon which, and occasionally the intestines of animals killed for our use, chopped into 
small pieces, they were reared." 



6- 






^'^^''"''^M^ 



'^M^M-^ 




WHALE-HEADED STORK. - Baltmiceps rex. 



The chief point in this fine bird is the huge bill, wliicli from its resemblance in size and 
shape to a shoe, has gained for its owner a second title, namely. Shoe-bird. It is enonnously 
expanded at each side of the beak, the edges of the upper mandible overhangs those of the 
lower, and its tip is furnished with a large hook curved and sharp as that of an eagle, and 



THE SACRED IBIS. 



559 



well suited for tearing to pieces tlie substances on which the bird feeds. Its color is brown, 
mottled profusely with a deep mahogany tinge. The general color of the plumage is dark 
slaty-gray above, each feather being edged with a narrow band of grayisli- white. The feathers 
of the front of the neck are pointed, very dark in the centre, and broadly edged with gray. 
The under surface is gi-ay. 

IBIS. 

The Sacred Ibis is one of a rather curious group of birds. "With one exception they are 
not possessed of brilliant coloring, the feathers being mostly white and deep purj^lish -black. 
The Scarlet Ibis, however, is a most magnificent, though not very large bird, its plumage being 
of a glowing scarlet, relieved by a few patches of black. 

The Sacred Ibis is so called because it figures largely in an evidently sacred character on 
the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt. It is a migratory bird, arriving in Egypt as soon as the 



^^-^mi!^^ > ■ / '"^"^IL 




SACHEH IBIS. ItiisoU/iiofiica. 

waters of the Nile begin to rise, and remaining in that land until the waters have subsided, 
and thei'efore deprived it of its daily supplies of food. The bird probably owes its sacred 
character to the fact that its appearance denotes the rising of the Nile, an annual phenomenon 
on which depends the prosperity of the whole country. 

Sometimes the Ibis stalks in solitary state along the banks of the river, or the many water- 
courses that intersect the low country, but sometimes associates in little flocks of eight or ten 
in number. Its food consists mostly of mollusks, both terrestrial and aquatic, but it will eat 
worms, insects, and probably the smaller reptiles. The Ibis was at one time thought to kill 
and eat snakes, and this idea was strengthened by the fact that Cuvier detected the scales and 
bones of snakes within a mummied coii^se of an Ibis which was found in the tombs of Egypt, 
and which is known to be identical with the present species. Recent sx^ecimens, however, 
seldom contain anything but mollusks and insects. 

Tlie walk of the Ibis is quiet and deliberate, though it can get over the ground with con- 
siderable speed whenever it chooses. Its fiight is lofty and strong, and the bird has a habit 



560 THE STRAW-NECKED IBIS. 

of uttering a loud and peculiar cry as it jiasses through the air. By the natives of Egypt it is 
called the Abou Hannes, /. e., Father John, or Abou Menzel, /. e., Father Sickle Bill, the former 
name being in use iu Ui^per and the other in Lower Egypt. 

The color of the adidt l)ird is mostly pure silvery white, the feathers being glossy and 
closely set, with the exception of some of the secondaries, which are elongated and hang grace- 
fully over the wings and tail. These, together with the tips of the primaries, are deep glossy 
black, and the head and neck are also black, but being devoid of feathers, have a slight 
brownish tinge, like that of an ill-blacked boot, or an old, crumpled black kid glove. While 
young, the head and neck are clothed with a blackish down, but when the bird reaches 
maturity, even this slender covering is shed, and the whole skin is left bare. The body is 
little larger than that of a common fowl. 

Anc»ther species, the Glossy Ibis, is also an inhabitant of Northern Africa, but is some- 
times found in Europe, where the fishermen know it by the name of Black Curlew. It is prob- 
ably the Black Ibis mentioned by Herodotus. 

Tlie Glossy Ibis is sometimes found in diiferent parts of America, rarely in tlie northern 
States, but of more frequent occiirrence in the centre or south. Audubon remarks that he has 
seen great numbers of these birds in Mexico, where it is a summer resident only. The habits and 
food of the Glossy Ibis are much the same as those of the last-mentioned species, and, like that 
bird, it was invested while living with sacerdotal honors by the ancient Egyptians, embalmed and 
honored after death with a consecrated tomb, in common with the bull, the cat, and the sacred Ibis. 

The plumage of the Glossy Ibis varies somewhat according to the age of the bird ; so that, 
according to Yarrell, the same species has been termed the Glossy Ibis, tlie Green Ibis, and the 
Bay Ibis by various authors, the difference of color being due to the moi'e or less advanced age 
of the individual. Both sexes have similar plumage, but the female is smaller than her mate. 

In the full-grown bird, the head, neck, and pait of the back between the shoulders are 
dark chocolate, and the wing-coverts and tertials are a still darker brown, glossed with purjjle 
and green. The quill-feathers of the wings are dark blackish-brown glossed with green, and 
the tail is of a similar hue, but glossed with purple. The breast and under surface of the body 
are chocolate-brown, changing to a duller hue under the wings and upon the under tail-coverts. 
The beak is dark brown with a tinge of purple, the naked skin round the eyes is grayish- 
green, the eyes are hazel, and the legs and toes green. In total length this species measures 
not quite two feet. The young bird is more mottled than the adult, and has little of the bright 
glossiness of the plumage. The head and neck are dull brown streaked with gray, the whole 
of the upper surface, together with the wings and tail, are dark reddish-brown, and there are 
a few irregular patches of white upon the breast. 

The Americax Glossy Ibis. At the time of Wilson, this bird had not been recognized as 
an American species. In 1817, a specimen was taken by Mr. Ord, in New Jersey, and after- 
wards the si^ecies was named in his honor. It has since been found at times along the Atlan- 
tic coast, a few times as far north as Massachusetts. Its home seems to be, however, where 
the egrets and herons are so numerous, in Florida and other Gulf States. The eggs of Ibises 
are very different fi'om those of herons. The shell is rougher, heavier, and more granular, the 
difference in texture being very perceptible. They are ovoid, and not ellipsoidal. The female 
is similar to the male, but somewhat less. 

The Scarlet Ibis {Eudooemus ruher). Audubon says : *' I have not met with more than 
three specimens in a state of liberty in the whole range of tlie United States. These birds 
occurred at Bayou Sara, in Louisiana, in 1821. They were travelling in a line, in the manner 
of the white Il)is, above the tree-tops. Although I had only a glimjtse of tliem, I saw them suf- 
ficiently well to be assured of their belonging to the present species, and therefore I have thought 
it pioper to introduce them into our fauna." This is the authority, not since corroborated. 

The Straw-necked Ibis derives its name from the tuft of stiff, naked feather-shafts 
which hang from the front of the neck and breast, and greatly resemble small, yellow straws. 



THE WOOD IBIS. 561 

These curious feathers, with their light polished, golden surface, afford a pretty contrast to 
the glossy green-black of the chest and wings, and the pure white of the neck and abdomen. 
The following description of the bird and its habits is written by Mr. Gould, in tlie " Birds of 
Australia." 

' ' This beautiful Ibis has never yet been discovered out of Austi'alia, over the whole of 
which immense country it is probably distributed, as it is more abundant in certain localities 
at one season than at another ; its jjresence, in fact, appears to depend upon whether the season 
be or be not favorable to the increase of the lower animals upon which the vast hordes of this 
bird feed. After the severe drought of 1839, it was in such abundance on the Liverpool plains, 
that to compute tlie number in a single liock was impossible. It was also very numerous on 
the seaside of the great Liverpool range, inhabitmg the open downs and fiats, particularly such 
as were studded witli shallow lagoons, througli which it would wade knee-high in search of 
shelled mollusks, frogs, newts, and insects ; indejiendently of the food I have mentioned, it 
feeds on grasshoppers and insects generally. The natives informed me that sometimes many 
seasons elapsed without the bird being seen. Where, then, does it go 'i To what country does 
it pass ? Does there not exist a vast oasis in the centre of Australia, to which the bird migrates 
when it is not foimd in the located parts of the country 1 We may reasonably suppose such 
to be the case. 

" The Straw-necked Ibis walks over the surface of the ground in a very stately manner ; it 
perches readily on trees, and its flight is both singular and striking, particularly when large 
flocks iiva passing over the plains, at one moment sliowing their white breasts, and at the next, 
by a change in their position, exhibiting their dark-colored backs and snow-white tails. During 
the large semicircular sweeps they take over the plains, and when performing a long flight, 
they rise tolerably high in the air ; the whole flock then arrange themselves in the form of a 
figure or letter simihu- to that so frequently observed in flights of geese and ducks. 

"The note is a loud, hoarse, croaking sound, which may be heard at a considerable dis- 
tance. When feeding in flocks they are closely packed, and from the constant movement 
of their bills and tails, tlie whole mass seems to be in perpetual motion. In disposition this 
bird is rather shy than otherwise ; still, with a very little care, numerous successful shots may 
be made mth an oi'dinary fowling-piece. 

" The sexes, when fully adult, exliibit the same beautiful metallic coloring of the plumage. 
The female is, however, smaller, and has the straw-like appendages on the neck less prolonged 
and less stout than in the male. Mature birds only have the whole of the head and back of 
the neck quite bare of feathers." 

" The coloring of the Straw-necked Ibis is very conspicuous, and the lines of demarcation 
between the different tints are sharply drawn. The head and part of the neck are deep 
sooty-black, which suddenly changes into a beautiful white downy plumage, clothing the 
remainder of the neck. From the fore part of the neck and throat hang a number of delicate 
fringe-like feathers. Tlie whole of the upper surface is colored of a deep and glistening green- 
black, "shot" with purple, and changing its tints at every variation of light. Irregular bars 
of the same color as the head are draw-n across the back, and the entire under-siirface is pure 
white. During the life of this bird the thighs are slightly colored with crimson, but this tinting 
soon vanishes after death. 

Wood Ibis {Tantalus loculator). This is a bird of considerable size for an Ibis. It 
inhabits the South Atlantic and Grulf States; ranging north to Ohio, Illinois, and the Carolinas ; 
southward, it reaches Cuba and South America. It is a remarkable and interesting bird. It 
resembles a crane, being nearly foui' feet in length ; standing higher than that when erect. 
It is pure white, with the tips of wings and the tail black. The adult bird has an entirely 
bald head, and an enormously thick, heavy bill, tapering and a little decurved. 

In Florida it is absurdly called the Gannet, a term properly applied to a sea-bii'd. In 
Colorado it is named Water Turkey. In Florida, on the Upper St. Jolin's, it is quite common. 
A large breeding-place is known on the borders of Lake Ashley, in Florida. It is estimated 
that a thousand pairs breed there- Dr. Bryant, who visited this place, says: "I almost 

Vol. U.— 71. 



562 THE CURLEW. 

invariably saw flocks both at tlieir breeding-places, and on their feeding-grounds, and flying, 
they varied in numbers from a dozen to a hundred." Dr. Coues says: "While I would 
not advise the reader to visit Fort Yuma, from any great distance, merely to study the habits 
of this bird, yet, if he should by any inifortunate chance And himself in this uncomfortable 
place, he will have an excellent opportunity of doing so, for the Water Turkeys are very com- 
mon there. Meanwhile let my experience answer the purpose. 

"We will walk abroad, in imagination, this fine September morning; we leave camp 
as soon as it is light enough to see, for when the sun is two or three hours high, we shall 
be glad enough to return to the shelter of the verandah. Just now it is pleasant and compara- 
tively cool, for since midnight the thermometer has fallen below 90° ; it was 115° in the shade 
yesterday afternoon, and will mark a hundred perhaps to-day at breakfast-time, when we 
return with an Ibis or two. 

" The Colorado makes a bend around a bluii we stand upon. . . . The Ibises will very 
likely be found m the swampy covert, into which we descend by a steep, well-worn path, and 
are at once lost in the bushes. . . . Coveys of plumed quail are trooping along half -covered 
ways, clinking in merry concert. Abert's finches rixstle in every tangle; in the green willow 
clumps, orange-crowned warblers are disporting, and sipping dew from leafy, scroll -like cui^s." 

After pi'ocuring a few specimens, the heat drove the Doctor in, and he settles himself for a 
shady rest, when, "A long line of wliite, dimly seen at first in the distance, issues out of the 
gray-gi'een woods. It is a troop of Wood Daises, leaving their heated covert for what seems 
the still less endvu'able glare of day, yet recognizable, for they have before enjoyed the cooler 
current of the upper air. They come nearer, rising higher as they come, till they are directly 
overhead in tlie bright lilue sky, flapping heavily until they have cleared all ol^stacles. 
Then mounting faster with strong regular beats of their broad wings ; now they sail in circles, 
with widespread, motionless pinions, supported as if by magic. A score or more cross each 
other's paths in tntenninable spirals, their snowy bodies tipped at the vdng-points with jetty 
black, clear cut against the sky ; they become specks in the air, and finally pass from view. 
They are often joined by turkey buzzards in nuuibers." Audubon describes the feeding of 
tlie Wood Ibis thus: " It feeds entirely on fish and aquatic reptiles, of which it destroys an 
enormous quantity — in fact, moi'e than it eats ; for, if they have been killing fish for half an 
hour, and gorged themselves, they suffer the rest to lie on the water untouched, to become 
food for alligators, etc. 

"To procui'e its food, the Wood Ibis walks through shallow, muddy lakes or bayous in 
numbers. As soon as they have discovered a place abounding in fish, they dance, as it were, 
all through it, until the water becomes thick with the mud stirred from the bottom. The 
fishes on rising to the surface are instantly struck by the beak, and on being deprived of life, 
turn over and remain so. In the course of ten or fifteen minutes hundreds of fishes, frogs, 
water-snakes, etc., cover the surface, and the birds greedily swallow them, until they are com- 
pletely gorged, after which they walk to the nearest margins, place themselves in long rows, 
with their breasts all turned towards the sun, in the manner of pelicans and vultures." 



VA RI ETI ES. 

The two birds which have been chosen to represent the large genus Numenius are the 
Curlew, or Whaup, and the Whimbrel. 

The CuKLEW is mostly found upon the sea-shore and open mooi-lands, and partly on 
account of its wild, shy habits, and partly because its fiesh is very delicate and well fiavored, 
is greatly pursued by sportsmen. These birds are most annoying to a gunner who does not 
understand their ways, having a fashion of keejiing just out of gtm-range, rising from the 
ground with a wild mournful cry whit^h has the effect of alarming every other bird witliin 
iiearing, and flying oil to a distance, where they alight only to play the same trick again. 
Moreover, they are strong on the wing and well feathered, so that they require a sharp blow 
to bring them down, and necessitate the use of large shot. When thus alarmed they generally 



THE CURLEW. 



563 



skim along at a low elevation, averaging about four or six feet from the ground, and con- 
sequently afford little mark. 

Sir W. Jardine writes as follows concerning the habits of the Curlew: " They retired 
regularly inland after their favorite feeding-places were covered. A long and narrow ledge of 
rocks runs into the sea, behind which we used to lie concealed for the purpose of getting shots 
at various sea-fowl returning at ebb. None were so regular as the Curlew. The more aquatic 
were near the sea and could perceive the gradual reflux ; the Curlews were far inland, but as 
soon as we could perceive the top of a sharp rock standing above water, we were sure to 
perceive the first flocks leave the land, thus keeping pace regularly with the change of tides. 
They fly in a direct line to their feeding-grounds, and often in a wedge shape ; on alarm 
a simultaneous cry is uttered, and the next coming flock turns from its course, uttering in 
repetition the same alarm-note. In a few days they become so wary as not to fly over the 
concealed station." 










CURLEW.— iVM//i««i?i*' ar(faaius. 



The breeding-grounds of the Curlew are more inland, the locality varying according to the 
character of the district, wild heath and high hilly grounds being chosen in some places, while 
marshy and boggy soils are favoretl in others. The nest of this bird is very slight, lieing only 
a small heap of dry leaves or grasses scrajjed together under the shelter of a tuft of heather 
or a bunch of rank grass. There are usually four eggs, j^laced, as is customaiy \\-ith such 
birds, with their small ends together, and being much larger at one end than at the other. 
Their color is brownish -green vnth some blotches and splashes of dark brown and a darker 
green. The young are curious little birds, long-legged, short-billed, covered with piiffy down, 
and with very little indications of either wings or tail. 

The general coloring of the Curlew is brown, lighter upon the head and neck, and darker 
upon the back, each feather being darker in the centre than on the edges. The iipper tail- 
coverts are white streaked with brown, the smaller wing-coverts are edged with grayish-white, 
and the tail is gray-white barred with lu-own. Tlie wings are black, and some of the quills 
have white shafts. The chin is white, and the under parts are also white, but with a tinge of 



564 THE HUDSOMAX CURLEW. 

gray aud streaked with short marks of dark brown. The under tail-coverts are white. Both 
sexes are colored alike, and the average length is rather more than twenty inches. 



The Long-billed Cuklew {JVirmenius longirostris) inhabits the United States generally, 
and the British provinces, breeding nearly throughout its range. It reaches south into 
Mexico. It is regiu'ded as rather uncommon in New England. Great numbers breed about 
Great Salt Lake, and in Texas. It is quite as often seen in the interior as on the coast, visit 
ing often the great dry plains, where it feeds on moUusca, insects, etc., and even berries. Dr. 
Newberry found them associating in giea-t numbers with geese and other water-birds, which 
were congregated in countless numbers on the low lands bordeiing the Columbia Elver, in 
October. This bird was, for a, time, thought to be identical witli che European, Init is now 
known to be distinct. It breeds in Labrador, and the neighborhood of Hudson's Bay. This 
species is twenty-five inches in length, and thirty-nine inches in alar extent. The bill is eight 
inches in length. The bill continues to grow in length until the second season. In the front, 
under the skm, there are two thick callosities, which border the upjjer side of the eye, lying 
close to the skull. These are common to most of this group of birds, and are designed, prob- 
ably, to protect the eye from injury as it thrusts the bill into the soil. The sexes are alike in 
plumage. This Curlew Hies high and lapidly, generally throwing itself with others, when in 
company, into an angular wedge, after the manner of wild geese ; uttering, as they fly and 
when aD. alarmed, a loud, sharp, whistling, and almost barking note, sometimes, as in other 
species of the family, strongh' reseml>ling the sibilatiou of the word liiirlew, and from whence 
they derive their characteristic name, adopted in many languages. By a dexterous imitation 
of this note, the sportsman very successfully arrests its flight. "In the Boston market," says 
Nuttall, ' ' they are seen as early as 8th of August, having already raised their brood, and pro- 
ceeded thus far towards their winter quarters." 

The Hudsonian Curlew {Numenius Tiudsomus). This much less common species is 
native to North America, Greenland, Central and South America. It breeds in higii latitudes. 
In Labrador it is seen in small numbers with the countless thousands of the Esquimaux Cur- 
lew that throng the shores in August and Sejitember. It is rare in New England, but is seen 
on the Jersey coast. 

Audubon writes: "I have found this species abundant on the shores of New Jersey in the 
month of May, and there they remain a few weeks. I once saw a large flock of them near 
Charleston, in the month of December, and I have found them in the Boston market in Sep- 
tember. None were ever seen by me in any pai't of the interior, where, indee.d, it is probable 
they very seldom make their appearance. Having compared specimens of the i)resent sj)ecies with 
the Whimbrelof Europe {JSfumeii'ms phceopus), I am satisfied that they are perfectly distinct." 

As Audubon lias nothing of any importance to add, we may present a few extracts from 
Wilson aud Nuttall, botli of whom have had opportunities of observing this species. 

"The Short-billed Curlew," says the former, "arrives in large flocks on the sea-coast of 
New Jersey early in May, from the south, frequents the salt-marshes, muddy shores, and 
inlets, feeding on small worms and minute shellfish. They are most commonly seen on mud- 
flats at low water, in conqiany with various other wadei's, and, at high water, roam along the 
mai-shes. They ily high, aud witli great raj^idity. A few are seen in June, and as late as the 
beginning of Jul}', when they generally move off toward the noi'th. Their appearance on 
these occasions is \ery intei'esting. They collect together from the marshes as if by pre- 
meditated design, rise to a great height in the air, usually an hour before sunset, and, forming 
in one vast line, keeji up a constant whistling on their way to tlie north, as if conversing with 
one another to render the journey more agreeable. Their flight is then more slow and regular, 
that the feeblest may keep up with the line of march ; while the glittering of their beautifully 
speckled wings, sparkling in the sun, pioduces altogether a very pleasing spectacle. 

" In the month of June, while the dewbeiTies are ripe, these birds sometimes frequent the 
fields, in company with the Long-billed Curlews, where biambles abound, soon get very fat, 
and are at that time excellent eating." 



THE MARBLED GOD WIT. 565 

Nuttall says : "From the middle of August to the beginning of September, they arrive in 
the vicinity of Massachusetts Bay, and other parts of New England, frequenting the pastures 
as well as marshes, and fatten on grasshoppers and berries, till the time of their departure, 
about the close of September, and they wholly disappear from New Jersey, on their way to 
the South, early in the month of November." 

The Esquimaux Curlew {IS'umenius horealis). This species inhabits the middle and 
northern portions of America. Supposed not to be found north of the Rocky Mountains. It 
breeds within the Arctic Circle, and is nugratory through the United States, where it seldom 
winters, and never breeds. It migrates in immense numbers through the Missouri region, in 
May. Flocks of from fifty to several hundreds are seen at such times on the prairies. 

Dr. Coues' delightful description we will quote : — 

"The Curlews associate in flocks of every size, but they generally ily in so loose and 
straggling a manner, that it is rare to kill more than half a dozen at a shot. When they wheel, 
however, in any of their many beautiful evolutions, they close together in a more compact 
body. Their flight is firm, direct, very s^nift, when necessary much protracted, and is per- 
formed with regular, rapid beats. They never sail, except when about to alight, when the 
wings are much incurved downward, in the manner of most waders. As their feet touch the 
ground, their long, pointed wings are raised over the back until the tips almost touch, and 
then deliberately folded, much in the manner of the solitary sandpiper. Tlieir note is an 
often-repeated, soft, mellow, though clear, whistle, which may be easily imitated. . . . When in 
very extensive flocks, they have a note which, when uttered by the whole number, I can com- 
pare to nothing but the chattering of a lot of blackbirds. "W^ien wounded and taken in hand, 
they emit a very loiid, harsh scream, like that of a common hen under such circumstances. 
Curlews are most excellent eating, and are favorite game. This bird is called by the gunners 
of the seacoast, Short-billed Curlew. It was once thought to l>e the same as the English 
Whimbrel. Wilson says- that the Esquimaux Curlew arrives in large flocks on the seacoast 
of New Jersey, early in May. They are commonly seen on the mud -flats, in company with 
other waders, and at high water roam along the marshes. They fly high, and with great 
rapidity. A few are seen in June and as late as the beginning of July, when they generally 
move off to the South. Their appearance on those occasions is very interesting. They collect 
together from the marshes, as if by premeditated design, rise to a great height in the air, 
usually about an hour before sunset, and forming one vast line, keep up a constant whistling 
on their way to the North, as if conversing with one another. Their flight is then more 
regular, presenting a beautiful spectacle. This bird is eighteen inches in length, and thirty- 
two inches in extent of Aving. The bill is four inches and a half long." 

A species, called the Bristled-thighed Curlew {Numenius tahatiensis\ is found as a 
straggler in Alaska. The Numenius pTiceopsis is casual, according to several records, in 
Eastern North America. 

At first sight the Whimbrel looks something like a diminutive curlew, save that the bill 
is not so long, so thick, nor so sharply curved as in the preceding species. On account of this 
resemblance it is in some places known by the name of Half-Curlew, and in others it is called 
the Jack Curlew, or by the popular name of Tang-Whaap. 

Two species of Godwits are known in Europe, the Common, or Bar-tailed, and the 
Black- tailed God wit. These birds maybe known from each other by the peculiarity from 
which they derive their name, the one species being distinguished by the uniform black hue 
of the latter two-thirds of the tail, and the other by the brown and gray bars which cross the 
tail-feathers. 

The Marbled Godwit {Limosa fceda) is found in all parts of the sea-coast of temperate 
North America, Central and South America, and the West Indies. Dr. Coues says: "The 



566 THE SOLITARY SANDPIPER. 

centre of its abundance in summer, and its main breeding-grounds are, apparently, the Northern 
Mississippi and Eastern Missouri regions, and thence to Saskatchewan ; for, unlike its relative, 
the Hudsonian God wit, it does not proceed very far north to breed. It breeds in Iowa, and 
Minnesota, and Eastern Dakota. I found it on the plains, feeding with long-billed curlews, 
and great numbers of Bartram's sandpipers. In its habits at this season it more nearly resem- 
bles the curlews. On intrusion near the nest, the birds mount in the air with loud, piercing 
cries, hovering slowly around with laboied flight in evident distress, and apjjroaching some- 
times within a few feet of the observer. 

Gunners call this bird Strait-billed Curlew, and often Red Curlew. It is shy and cautious, 
yet strongly attached to each other. AVhen one is wounded, the whole flock is arrested in 
flight, and they hover over the unfortunate bird. Like the curlew, this liird can be called by 
imitating its voice. A slight difl'erence in marldiig distinguishes the sexes. The male bird 
is nineteen inches long, and thirty-four in extent of wing. The bill is nearly six inches in 
length ; unlike that of the curlew, it is nearly straight. 

A species is found on the western, or Pacific coast, called the Limosa lapponica. 

The HuDSOJS'iAN Godwit {Limosa 7i(Bmastica) inhabits eastern North America, the West 
Indies, and South America. It is rare along the Atlantic coast. This bird is called Black-tail 
Godwit in some quarters, though the following is now regarded as the true one of that name 
— Limosa cEgocepJiala. 

The Greater Yellow Shanks, or Tell-tale {Totanus melnnoleucus), called also 
Tattler, is an exclusively American bird, found in all pai'ts of this continent. It is abundant 
in winter and during the migrating season. Breeds mostly in high latitudes. Wherever 
there is water in the Missouri region these birds abound. In some places they are the most 
numerous of all the waders. 

The term Tell-tide was applied to tliis bird from the fact that it is so noisy. Its whistle, 
which consists of four notes I'apidly repeated, is so loud, shrill, and alarming, as instantly to 
arouse every duck within its hearing, and thus disappoint the eager exjjectations of the marks- 
man. The bird arrives on our coast in April, breeds in the marshes, and continues untU 
November, about the middle of which month it generally moves ofl' to the South. 

The Tell-tale seldom flies in large flocks, at least during the summer. On the least appear- 
ance, it utters its shrill whistle and mounts on wng, generally accompanied by all the feath- 
ered tribe within hearing. It sometimes rises to a great lieiglit in the air, and can be distinctly 
heard when it cannot be seen. 

The Tell-tale is fourteen inches in lengtli, and twenty-five inches in extent of wing. 

Yellow-legs, or Lesser Yellow Shanks {Totanus Jlavipes). The Tuthitat of this 
species is the whole of the AVestern hemisphere. Its breeding-places are from the northern 
States, northward. Many winter in the Southern States. It is found in Europe as a straggler. 
The Yellow-legs associates with the preceding in equal abundance. East of the Rocky Moun- 
tains it is abundant, and generally distribiited, but on the western slope very sparingly. 
Great nuinbers are l^rought into the marlsiets of our large to\vns, particularly in autumn. Its 
flesh is in great favor. Its voice is a sliarp whistle of three or four notes, \\lien al>out to take 
wing and when flying. Tlie length of this bird is ten inches ; extent of wing twenty. The 
bill is slender and straight, about an inch and a half loun'. Tlie female is closely like the male. 

The Solitary Sandpiper {Rliyacopliilus soUtarius), called also Wood Tattler. This is 
an American species, confined to the Western hemis])liere. It is accidental in Europe. It 
breeds in the nortliern ])art of the United States and nortliward. It is abundant, and migra- 
tory, wintering quite within the tropics. 

Br. Cones says : "About Washington, D. C, it is very common indeed at certain seasons. 
It arrives late in April, and for two weeks or so is to be found in all suitable situations ; then 
none are to be seen, excejit a few straggling young, just at the end of summer, until late in 



BARTRAM'S PLOVER. 567 

September, when, after an equally late sojourn, the birds pass on. They diflFer from most of 
their relatives in their choice of feeding-grounds, or of places where they originally alight to 
rest while migrating ; a difference accompanied, I suppose, by a cori-espouding modification of 
diet. Their favorite resorts are the margins of small, stagnant pools, fringed with rank grass 
and weeds, the miry tide-water ditches that intersect marshes, and the soft, oozy depressions 
in low meadows and watery savannas. They frequent, also, the intei'ior of woods, not too 
thick, and collect there about the rain-puddles. They cannot be said with entire propriety to 
be solitary, though the name is well enough to indicate less social propensities than most of 
the waders possess. I generally found from one or two to a half dozen of these birds 
together." 

This bird seems to be rather exclusive ; differing quite distinctly in this respect from many 
other waders. It has the curious habit of "bobbing" up and down. 

This bird rises easilv on wing, living slowlv, \\'ith legs dangling and neck outstretched, 
then alighting and gazing around listlessly. As the feet touch the ground, the long, pointed 
wings are lifted until their tips nearly meet, and are then deliberately folded, — in these 
motions resembling the habits of the Esquimaux curlew. "When suddenly alarmed, the Tattlers 
utter a low and pleasing whistle as they tiy off. They are thought to be extremely tender, 
and easily killed ; a charge of fiue shot, that would not bring down a warbler, killing the 
Tattler even at long range. 

"The Solitary Sandpiper," says Wilson, "inhabits the watery solitudes of our highest 
mountains during summer, from Kentucky to New York, but is nowhere numerous, seldom 
more tlian one or two being seen together. At the approach of cold weather, it descends to 
the muddy shores of our rivers, where it is occasionally met with singly, on its way south- 
ward. They regularly breed in Pennsylvania, on the Pocouo Mountains. It is usually silent, 
excepting when it is iiushed, when it utters a sharp whistle. It is eight inches in length, and 
fifteen inches in extent of wing. The sexes are alike in color." 

Wilson says that this species bears considerable resemblance to the Green Sandpiper of 
Europe. This latter bird is enumerated with North American species, on account of its occa- 
sional visits to this country. 

The Willet {Symphemia semipalmata). This fine bird is an American species, found 
as a straggler in Europe. It breeds in most portions of the United States. On the North 
Carolina coast it breeds in great numliers. Usually, Willets are noisy, restless, and wary. 
Botli parents take turns at incubation. The half webbing of tlie toes renders it able to swim, 
thoTigh it does not resort to swimming unless pushed to it. 

Wilson calls this bird the Semipalmated Snipe. It is also called Stone Snipe, and Semi- 
palmated Tattler. It is one of the most noisy birds that inhabit our salt marshes. Its note is 
PlU-ioill-'Willet — hence the name. This is heard at a long distance, uttered incessantly. The 
flesh of this bird is excellent eating, and the good size makes it a desirable game bird. The plu- 
mage is changed for the two seasons, varying to such an extent as to appear like that of two 
distinct species. Its length is fifteen inches ; extent of wing thirty inches. It stands high, 
like the curlews. The female is larger than the male. 



'^o^ 



The Ruff {Machetes 'pugnax) is so frequently a straggler into this country, that it has been 
entered on the list of North American birds. The Wandering Tattler {Heterosceles incanus) 
also has the same standing as an American bird. 



'■o 



Baetram's Plover {Bartramia longicauda), or Sandpiper, also caUed Upland Plover. 
This species has a wide dispersion in the Western hemisjihere, and is an occasional visitor in 
Europe. It is not known west of the Rocky Mountains ; Nova Scotia seems to be its northern 
limit. It breeds in the middle of summer. 

It winters in Mexico and the West Indies, and southward to South America. It occurs 
in summer as far north as the Yukon, tliough great numbers breed within the United States. 
Grass Plover is another name applied to it in the Eastern States, while in the region between 



668 THE GREEN SANDPIPER. 

the Mississi])pi River and the Rocky Mountains it is called Prairie Pigeon, where it is very- 
abundant during migration. 

Dr. Coues says : "Their ordinary note is a long-drawn, soft, and melancholy whistle, of a 
peculiarly clear, resonant quality ; but besides this, they have a note peculiar, I believe, to 
this period of their lives. This is a very loud, prolonged cry, sounding more like the whistling 
of the wind than a bird's voice. The wUd sound, which is strangely mournful, is generally 
uttered when the bird, just alighted, holds its wings for an instant perpendicularly, before 
adjusting them over the back. It is frequently heard in the niglit. There is another note 
that this Tattler has, chiefly when distui'bed breeding ; this is a harsh scream, quickly and 
often repeated, much like that given by other waders under the same circumstances. It is 
esteemed as a delicacy. There is no difference in the plumage at different seasons, and the 
sexes are alike in size and coloration. Its length of body is about twelve inches, and 
extent of wing twenty-three inches. This bird was named after Bartram by Wilson. It 
runs with great rapidity, spreading the tail and dropping the vsdngs. When it alights it 
stands very erect, and has a few sharp, whistling notes as it mounts to fly. Its flesh is 
regarded as superior in jioint of delicacy, tenderness, and flavor to any other of its tribe. 
The sexes are nearly alike. 

The Buff-breasted Ploveu {Tryngifes 7 vfescens) inhixhiis the whole of North America. 
It is migratory in the United States, but is not often seen on the Eastern coast. It breeds in 
the fur countries, in the interior, and extends its habitat to South America. Its habits are 
similar to Bartram' s Plover. A few of these birds are observed every season on Long Island. 

Nuttall says: "This elegant species, some seasons, is not uncommon in the market of 
Boston, being met w4th near the capes of Massachusetts Bay." 

Wilson does not mention it. Its length is eight inches, and extent of wing about fourteen. 

Spotted Sandpiper {Tringokles macularli/s). Native to North America, and breeds 
nearly throughout its extent of country, wintering in the Southern States and beyond. It is 
also found in South America, and is a straggler in Europe. Although it reaches the high 
latitudes, it breeds equally well in every part of America, and is one of the best known and 
most abundant of its tribe. It nests in a field or orchard, generally near water, visiting equally 
the interioi- and sea-coast. 

Wilson says that this species is as remarkable for perpetually wagging the tail as others for 
nodding the head ; even the young just out of the shell run about, constantly wagging the tail. 

On the approach of an intruder in the breeding-season, the parents exhibit great distress, 
limping and othei-wise counterfeiting lameness, and fluttering along the ground. Its flight is 
usually low, skimming along the surface of the water, its long wings making a considerable 
angle downward from the body, while it utters a rapid cry of weet-weet-weet as it flutters 
along, seldom steering in a direct line up or down the river, but making a long, circuitous 
sweep. It i-arely associates with other Plovers. 

The length of the Spotted Sandpiper is seven and a half inches, with an extent of wing 
of thirteen inches. The sexes are much alike. 

The two birds, the Green Sandpiper aud the Avocet, belong to the species of the 
Totaninse. 

llie Green Sandpiper is, like the whole of its tribe, a fi'equenter of wet and marshy 
lands, and seems not to be so fond of the sea-shore as many allied species. Salt-water marshes 
are, however, favorite spots with these birds, and whenever the brackish water spreads from 
the sea-coast over the adjoining country, there the Green Sandpiper may generally be found. 
It is a quick and active bird, running about with much agility, and flirting its short tail up and 
down as it moves along. It is rather noisy, its ci'y being a shrill w histle remarkably loud in 
proportion to the size of the bird, and very constantly repeated. When flushed it begins to 
scream, and flies rapidly away at a low elevation, keeping as much as possible over the 
water. 



^^ Hnlmate Creation, ^^^^ 

"5 c 'wlC^T^ have concluded to submit for public patronage a work with the above title, being a sciies 

g '^ yyr of exquisite Engravings representing the Animal World, executed with great scientific 

S g accuracy, and accompanied by full Descriptive Text, written in popular terms, so as to 

S delight and instruct the people. Anyone who has considered the subject must be at a loss to u«der:- 
5 •£ stand why an ILLUSTRATED Natural History, comprehensive and at the same time popular, 
•° "o has not before this been published in this country. Indeed any lover of animals who has visited the 
•o S great museums and zoological gardens and has had access to books of engravings in the public 

S 2 libraries, could not fail to remark the wealth of material in existence devoted to this subject. Being 

" u confirmed in our conviction of the desirability of such a work, we laid under contribution the best 

". u existing authorities for the production of most perfect representations of all the more important 

living creatures, and among the artists whose delineations will delight the reader, we may mention 
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these volumes are from drawings made from the living animals, many at the Zoological Society's 
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We purpose that our patrons shall be aided and interested in their study by such an array of 
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printing. These Oleographs were copied under the superintendence of Mr. Prang from the renowned 
" Tafeln " of " Brehm's Thierleben," so that they may be declared perfectly reliable. 

We sought competent advice from various sources as to the most suitable text that should ac- 
company this panorama of handsome Engravings. It was found impossible to embody all the present 
ideas of naturalists in a single work like this on account of the rapid advances and constant changes in 
their knowledge of, and habits of thought respecting, the Animal World. And it seemed to us cor- 
rect that the true object of Zoology is not to arrange, to number, and to ticket animals in a formal 
inventory, but to inquire into their life-nature, and not simply to investigate the lifeless organism. 

What do we know of " Man " from the dissecting-room ? Is it not Man, the warrior, the states- 
man, the poet, etc., that we are interested in? With all veneration which attaches itself to those 
who are the accredited possessors of abstruse learning, their inordinate use of phraseology detracts 
too miuch, we fear, from the fascination that the study of the Animal World would otherwise yield, 
and as we are not content to have our work restricted to a favored few, we thought the task placed 
in our hands to be to keep the work free from a repellant vocabulary of conventional technicalities. 
Our endeavor has been to find an author whose work would be noted for its fund of anecdote and 
vitality rather than for merely anatomical and scientific presentation, and we arrived at the conclu- 
sion that we could not do better than avail ourselves of the Rev. J. G. Wood's comprehensive work 
— a work most popularly approved by speakers of the English. language. It would be superfluou- • 
say one word concerning the standard character of his book, from the pages of which old and young 
at the other side of the Atlantic have obtained so much instruction and rational amusement. Avoid- 
ing the lengthened dissertations and minute classifications of specialists, he presents to his readers in 
popular terms a complete treatise on the Animal Kingdom of all climes and countries. The one 
objection that could be urged against it was, that animal life in America might be treated more fully 
and American forms given more consideration. In order to obviate this drawback and to do ''•jll 
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The splendid work on Rodentia, by Allen, Coues, and others, will be fully consulted. The 
valuable work on North American Birds, by Baird, Brewer, and Ridgway, will be the guide iitihe 
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worthy of the name that has made its appearance here, which gives due and full recognition to the 
animate world surrounding us. 

ZcxxwQ Of publication. 

The extent of the work will be 6§ parts of 2§ pages, at the price of 25 cents each. The entire publication will 

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please address the Publisher by mail. IXo order vnn be eaiieelled after aeceplancc. 

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ISSUED BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY, AND NOT FOR SALE IN BOOK STORES. 




PART 45 



COMPLETE IN 68 PARTS. 



25 CENTS. 



i 

i 



THE AVOCET. 



5()9 



The Common Sandpiper, or Summer Snipe, is a well-known visitor to northern Europe, 
and has derived its name of Summer Snipe from its habit of remaining there only during the 
summer months, arriving about April or May and leaving before October. 

The Stilt Sandpiper {Micropalma Ivimantopus) is a native American bird. It is not 
observed west of the Rocky Mountains, and is rather rare in the United States. In the West 
Indies, Central America, and the most of South America it occurs. It breeds in high latitudes, 
and is occasionally taken in New England during the migrating season. 

Dr. Coues says of it : " This is a very remarkable Sandpiper, connecting this group with 
the true snipes by means of MacrorJiamphus, with which its relationsliips are very close. Its 
pattern of coloration and changes of plumage are much as in M. griseus. The bill is quite 
snipe-like, though shorter ; the legs are very long, relatively exceeding those of Macrorham- 

plius, and there are two basal 



=^ 



webs to the toes, as in Ereunetesy 

The Avocet is one of the 
most remai'kable among Euro- 
pean birds, and is easily recogniz- 
able by its long, curiously-curved 
beak, and its boldly pied plum- 
age. 

The Avocet is not a common 
bird in nortliem countries of 
Europe, and is now but seldom 
seen, though in former days it 
used to be tolerably plentiful on 
the sea-coasts and in marshy 
lands. The long and oddly- 
curved beak is very slender and 
pointed, and from its peculiar 
shape has earned for its owner 
the name of Cobbler's Awl Bird. 
While obtaining its food the 
Avocet scoops the mud with its 
beak, leaving sundry unmistak- 
able marks behind ; and is called 
in some countries the Scooper. 
The food of the Avocet consists 
almost wholly of worms, insects, 
and little crustaceans ; and while 
the bird is engaged in the search 
after these creatures it paddles 
over the oozy mud with its 
webbed feet and traverses the soft surface with much ease and some celerity. The cry of the 
Avocet is a sharp, shrill Idud of yelp, and is uttered whenever the bird is alarmed. The 
tlight is strong and rapid. 

The nest of the Avocet is placed on the ground in some convenient hollow, and the eggs 
are yellowish-brown with black marks. The mother will feign lameness when observed, like 
the preceding species. 

The greater part of the plumage of this bird is pure white, but the top of the head, the 
back of the neck, the scapnlaries, lesser wing-coverts, and the primaries are jetty black. It is 
a rather large bird, measuring about eighteen inches in total length. The beak is extremely 
thin, and has been well compared by Yarrell to " two thin pieces of whalebone coming to a 

point and curving upwards." 
Vol. n.-Ta. 




&NOCM,'i.--Recurmrostra avoceUa. 



570 THE STILT PLOVER. 

Ameeioan Avocet {Recurmrostra americana). Tliis long-legged bird inhabits the United 
States and the British Provinces, north to the Great Slave Lake. It is rare in New England, 
and breeds in all parts of its range. From its excessive clamoring it is called by the Jersey 
gunners Lawyer. This bird associates in numbers on the beaches, uttering click, click, click, 
incessantly. The male is eighteen inches and a half long, and two feet and a half in extent of 
wing. The female is a few inches smaller, and differs somewhat in coloration. It is, unlike 
many of the wading birds, more abundant in the interior than on the sea-coast, the Mississippi 
Valley being a favorite region. 

Dr. Coues says: " They were quite gentle and familiar and not at all disturbed by my 
approach, displaying a characteristic of theirs during the breeding-season — at least in regions 
where they are not often molested — and have, therefore, not learned a wholesome dread of 
man. They walk leisurely about, up to theii* bellies in water, with graceful, deliberate steps, 
each of which was accompanied by a swaying of the head and neck, as usual with birds of similar 
form. When approached too closely, they rose lightly from tlie water, uttering their jjeculiar 
cries, flapped leisurely to a short distance, and again alighted to pursue their peaceful search 
for food, forgetting, or at least not heeding, their recent alarm. As they rose from the water, 
their singularly long legs were suffered to dangle a few moments, but were afterwards 
stretched stiffly backward, as a counterpoise to their long necks ; and, thus balanced, their 
lithe bodies were suj)ported with greatest ease by their ample wings. When about to re-alight, 
they sailed without flapping for a little distance, just clearing the water, their legs again hang- 
ing loosely. As they touched the ground, theu* long wings were held almost upright for an 
instant, then deliberately folded, and settled in place with a few slight motions." 

Avocets and Stilts correspond in habits as closely as they do in form. One of the most 
marked characteristics is seen in the feet. Avocets have a hind toe, which the Stilts have not, 
and their feet are almost completely webbed. They are, therefore, the best swimmers of the 
long-legged waders. 

The Black-necked Stilt (Hiviantopus mexicamis). This bird inhabits the United 
States generally, Culia, Mexico, Central and South America. Besides having singularly long 
and slender legs, tliis bird has long j^ointed wings, but of ami)le width ; its flight in con- 
sequence is firm, vigorous, and swift. When folded they reach beyond the tail, and as the 
under-coverts reach to the end, the bird tapers off behind to a fine point. On the ground, 
whether walking or wading, it moves gracefully, with measured steps ; the long legs are much 
bent at each step — only at the joint, however — and planted firmly, jjerfectly straight. 

The Stilt Plover is nearly as conspicuous for its long legs as the Avocet for its 
curved bill. 

This bird, which really looks as if the legs were intended for a body at least twice its size, is 
sometimes, but very rarely, found in northern districts of Europe, and whenever it is found 
there, generally prefers the swam2)y or marshy ground. Owing to the great scarcity of this 
species, and its speedy fate from powder and shot, very little is known of its habits; but if we 
may judge by the Black -necked Stilt of America, it employs its long legs in wading through 
the water in seardi of food, and picks up the various aquatic inhabitants which come in its 
path. 

Wilson remarks of the Black -necked species, that wdien these birds alight on the ground 
" they droi3 their wings, stand with their legs half bent and trembling as if unable to support 
the weight of their bodies. In this ridiculous position they will sometimes stand for several 
minutes, uttering a curring sound, while from the corresponding quiverings of their wings and 
long legs they seem to balance themselves with great difficulty. This singular manoeuvre is 
no doubt intended to induce a belief that they may easily be caught, and so turn the attention 
of the person from the pursuit of their eggs and young to themselves." 

The Stilt is able to swim, but generally contents itself with wading up to its belly in 
water. The flight of this bird is strong, and the long legs are trailed far behind the tail, look- 
ing at a little distance as if it had carried oft' a piece of string fastened to its toes. Five or six 



THE KNOT. 



571 



species of Stilt are known to science. The eggs of the Stilt are of a bluish hue, covered with 
streaks and blotches of dusky green and dark brown. 

The greater part of the plumage of this bird is white, but the back and wings are of a deep 
black with a gloss of green. In tlie female the black takes a brownish tone. The beak is 



black, the eggs red, and the legs and toes pink, 
inches. 



The total length of this bird is about thirteen 



Like many other birds, the Ruff depends for its existence upon marshy and uncultivated 
grounds. 

It is one of the migratory species, arriving in this country in April and leaving by the end 
of September. Formerly it was so common in the fenny disti'icts that six dozen have been 
taken by one bird-catcher in a single day. The flesh of these birds is remarkably excellent, 
and they fatten fast, so that the trade of catching and fattening Ruflfs was at one time a very 




V 







.-- -K 













^WV.— Machetes pugnax. 



lucrative occupation, though it now hardly repays the trouble, time, and expense. So readily 
can these birds be fattened, that a Ruff weighing only six ounces when first placed in the cage, 
will weigh ten when removed for the table. Generally the young birds of the first year are 
chosen for slaughter, as they are more tender and bear captivity better than the older birds. 
As soon as captured the Ruffs will begin to eat, and if a basin of food be placed among a 
number of these birds they will fight so eagerly for it that each bird would starve rather than 
allow any but itself to partake of the provisions. The feeders, therefore, humor their selfish 
disposition by placing several dishes of food in the cages and filling them all. 

The Knot, so called in honor of King Knut, or Canute as the name is generally spelled, is 
one of the members of the interesting genus Tringa. 

This pretty bird is found in varying numbers, at one season flying and settling on the 
shore in flocks of a thousand or more in number, and at another being so scarce that hardly 
one bird can be seen where a hundred had formerly made their appearance. Mr. Thompson 
mentions that he has seen them in such profusion, that upwards of one hundred and seventy 
were killed at a single discharge from a swivel-gun. Sometimes they are silent while on the 



572 THE PECTORAL SANDPIPER. 

oiound, but at others they utter a peculiar chucking kind of note, wMch seems to indicate 
their i^osition to the expectant female. 

The Knot loves to feed on the large expanses of sea-grass {Zostera marina) which are left 
bare by the receding tide, and is often found with a mixed assembly of godwits, dunlins, and 
redshanks. 

The Knot is also called Robin Snipe {Tringa canutus), and Red-breasted Sandpiper, and 
Ash-colored Sandpiper. It is found in the northern portion of botli hemisi>heres — Australia, 
New Zealand, and South America. During winter it is abunthint along the Atlantic coast, but 
is rare in the interior, and westward. Its breeding places are far north, in the utmost habit- 
able limits of the Arctic Circle. The eggs are five iu number, and are merely laid on a tuft of 
grass. 

The regularly disposed concentric semicircles of wliite and dai'k brown that mark the 
upper parts of the plumage of this species, distinguish it from all others. When attired in its 
full summer plumage the male Knot is a leally handsome bird. The sides of the head are 
bright chestnut with a few dark spots, and tlie toj) of the head is a deeper chestnut with dark 
brown streaks. The upper part of the back is richly mottled, the centre of each feather being 
black, and the edges warm chestnut and white. The greater wing-coverts are ashen-gray, the 
primaries black with wliite shafts, the secondaries edged with white, and the upper tail- 
coverts rusty- white, edged with white and barred with black. The tail is dark ash edged with 
white, and the under surface is warm ruddy chestnut fading into white on the under tail- 
coverts. After the breeding season all the rich warm tints are lost, and the bird assumes a 
sober dress of ashen-gray above, black wings, and the imder surface white streaked with gray. 
The length of the Knot is about ten inches. 

In activity, it is sujierior to the preceding ; and traces the flowing and recession of the 
waves along the sandy beach with great nimbleness ; w^ading among tlie loose pai^ticles for its 
favorite food, which is a small, thin, oval bivalve shell-fish, not larger than the seed of 
an apple. These usually lie at a short depth below the surface. They constitute the food of 
this bird, and render it vei'y fat. It is a pleasing spectacle to watch groups of these birds 
follow adroitly the line of breaking surf, busily engaged in picking up their choice moi'sels as 
they are separated from the sand and are rolled inward on the tide. The length of this bird is 
ten inches ; the extent of wing, twenty inches. 

Purple Sandpiper {Arquatella maratima). This species inhabits the whole of North 
America, particularly on the sea-coast. It is migratory, and winters within the United States, 
breeding in high northern localities only. It is also found in Europe and Asia. Though its 
name would indicate its maritime habits, yet it is often seen on the margin of the Great Lakes. 
It is said to he very common on the shores of Lake Michigan. In New England it is rather 
abundant ; frequenting the rocky shores where the sea-weed grows, rather than the sandy 
beaches. 

Another species, of late determination, is called the Aleutian Sandpiper {Arquatella 
cov£si), found on the northwestern coast. 

Another from the same region is named Prtbilov Sandpiper {Arquatella ptilcenensis). 

The Sharp-tailed Sandpiper {Actodro-mas acuminata) is a late addition to the American 
bird fauna. 

The Pectoral Sandpiper {Actodromas maculata) is a familiar sj)ecies, and common to 
the whole continent. It is also found in Europe. It is called variously Grass Snipe, Jack 
Snipe, and Meadow Snipe. Its game-like habits render it a favorite with the sportsmen. In 
summer it is abundant in Labrador, where it frequents low, muddy flats. When it arises 
from the grass to alight again at a little distance, it flies in silence, and utters a single tioeet ; 
the wings being deeply incurved ; but when suddenly startled, and much alarmed, it springs 
quickly, with loud repeated cries, and makes off in a zig-zag, much like the common Snipe. 



THE PIGMY CURLEW, OR CURLEW SANDPIPER. 573 

Sometimes gaining a considerable elevation, it circles for several minutes in silence overhead, 
flying with great velocity, perhaps to pitch down again nearly perpendicularly to the same 
spot it started from. 

The migration southward occurs in August, and at about the first of April it leaves for the 
north. A foi-m of this seen on Long Island occasionally has been called Cooper's Sandpiper. 

Unlike most Sandpipers, it does not flock to any extent ; being oftenest seen singly or in 
pairs. In the United States it is mostly a bird of passage, though a few winter in the South- 
ern States. 

Bonafakte's Sandpiper {Tringa fuscicolUs), called also the White-rumped Sand- 
piper, inhabits the eastern portion of North America, or east of the Rocky Mountains, 
breeding in the far north. It is migratory through the Eastern United States, wintering 
in the South. It is also found in Greenland, West Indies, Central and South America. It 
is very abundant along the entii'e Atlantic coast, and readily distinguished by its white upper 
tail-coverts. 

Baird's Sandpiper {Tringa bairdi). This bird has only lately been introduced into our 
fauna. Specimens were found in Alaska and Arctic America, where they breed. It is found 
in the interior east of the Rocky Mountains, and has been regarded as a. stranger to the 
Atlantic coast, though one specimen has lately been found tliere. Dr. Cones met with it in 
Dakota, during August, associated with the Red-breasted Sni])e and AVilson's Phalarope. 

Least Sandpiper {Actodroinas 'miiiutiUa). This little bird is found in every part of the 
American continent, and is sometimes noticed in Eurojae. It resides chiefly among the sea- 
marshes, and feeds on the mud-flats at low water. It is not altogether confined to the neigh- 
borhood of the sea. It is abundant in the Missouri region during migration. 

The popular name Teef or Peej) is applied to it in every portion of the globe where it 
is found. Besides being gregarious among themselves, the Peeps are sociable witli other shore 
birds ; and there is not often seen a group of beach-birds that has not moi'e or less numbers of 
this bird. 

Dr. Coues pleasantly says of them: "Gadabouts they may be, but no scandal-mongers; 
ubiquitous, turning np everywhere when least expected, but never looked ill upon ; bustling 
little busy-bodies, but minding their own business strictly. Besides environing a continent on 
three sides at least^ — and perhaps on the Arctic shores as well — not a river or lake, not a creek 
or pond, the banks of which are not populated at one season or another ; the track of their 
tiny feet, imprinted on the sand of the sea-shore, and the soil of the inland water, shows 
where they have been. Their numbers swell in no small degree the great tide of birds, that 
ceaselessly ebbs and flows once a year, in the direction of the polar star ; they taken away, a 
feature of the land would be lost. Altogether, they become imposing, though singly insig- 
nificant. If we do not know just what part is given out to them in the grand play of Nature, 
at least w^e may be assured they have a part that is faithfully and well performed." 

Wilson says : " This is the least of its tribe in this part of the world, and in its mode of 
flight resembles the snipe more than the Sandpiper. It springs with a zig-zag, ii-regular flight, 
and feeble twit. It is not entirely confined to the neighborhood of the sea. Its length is five 
inches and a half, and extent of wing eleven inches. The sexes are very closely alike. 

The Piomt Curlew, or Curlew Sandpiper {Pelkliui sudarquata), is so called on 
account of the form of its beak, which bears some I'esemblance to that of the Curlew, although 
it is much smaller and not so sharply curved. 

Mr. Thompson remarks that " as it appears on the shore it is a graceful, pretty bird, and 
particularly interesting from presenting so pleasing a miniature of the great Curlew. I have 
of ten known the Pigmy Curlew to be killed in company with dunlins, occasionally with them 
and ring dottrells, once with those two -species and godwits, in a single instance with red- 
shanks and knots." In some years these birds are more plentiful, and maybe seen in little 



574 



THE DUNLIN. 



flocks of thirty or forty in numbei-. Sixty were once killed at a single shot in a harbor in the 
month of October. 

The Curlew Sandpiper is regarded as very rare in America ; indeed, it is scarcely more 
than a straggler along the Atlantic coast. It is found in most parts of the Old World. 

Semi-palmated Sandpiper {Ereunetes pusillus). The liabitat of this species is the 
whole northern and a portion of the southern continent. It is abundant and well known 
on the Atlantic coast. It is one of tlie smallest of its tribe ; the length being six inches, and 
extent of wing twelve. The males and females are alike in coloration. Though properly 
a sea-shore bird, it is occasionally seen on the shores of inland lakes. It is seen in the Mis- 
souri region during migration. Its half-webbed feet, whiqh gives it a si^ecitic name, readily 
distinguish it. The birds vary greatly in size. In general appearance they resemble the 
stints or peeps. 

A variety, called the Western Sandpiper, is found in the Western States. 







SANDERLING. - Calidris a/e/iaria. 



The Sanderling {Cal/'dris arenaria), called also Ruddy Plover. This bird has an 
extended hab/lat, covering the coasts of all countries. It visits New England during the 
lattei" weeks of summer, after the breeding season in the far north. While feeding on the 
beaches it utters a plaintive whistle. It is abundant on the coast generally. Tlie length of body 
is eight inches, and extent of wing iifteen inches. 

Temminck's Stint is remarkable for being the smallest of the European Sandpipers, the 
average length being about five inclies and a half. 

This little bird is rarely found on the far northern coasts, preferring inland rivers and 
sheets of water, where it feeds upon worms and aqmitic insects. It is said by Nilsson to breed 
on the shores of the seas of northern Europe. 

The Dunlin is known under a variety of names, such as the Stint, the Ox-bird, the Sea- 
snipe, and the Purre, the last of which is the most common. 



WILSON'S SNIPE. 575 

This bird is the commonest of the sea-loving Sandpipers, and comes to the shores in large 
flocks, keeping close to the edge of the waves, running along the sands and pecking eagerly at 
the mollusks, worms, and smaller Crustacea, which are so plentiful on the margin of the 
retiring waves. They are nimble-limbed birds, always on the move, and are sure to be either 
engaged in running about after food or flying from one feeding-place to another. While 
flying they present rather a curious aspect, as they seem to change from white to black 
alternately, according to the point of view in which they are seen ; their dark backs and 
white under siirfaces contrasting boldly with each other. 

The Dunlin is occasionally found in America, and a variety is resident, called Black- 
bellied, and also Red-backed Sandpiper. It is found along the whole Atlantic coast. It 
migrates, wintering in the States, and breeds far north. It h-as been found as far west as 
Leavenworth. Wilson says the name is Gray-back with sportsmen, and that it is a particular 
favorite with them. It associates in small flocks, aligliting in close bodies together on the 
flats, where it flnds small mollusca to feed upon. It is less timid than otlier species, standing 
unconcernedly for a time on the approach of the sportsman. In November it migrates for the 
South. The length of body is ten inches, extent of wing twenty inches. The sexes are alike 
in genei"al appearance. 

The (tkeat Snipe may even on the wing be distinguished from the common species, by 
the peculiar, fan-like shape of the tail. While flying it hardly looks larger than the common 
Snipe. It is not readily roused from the ground, but will pennit itself to be almost trodden 
on before it will rise, trusting to its brown mottled plumage, which harmonizes so well with 
the ground that the bird is not readily perceived. When flushed, it only flies to a little dis- 
tance, and then settles among heather or rank grass. The flesh of this species is very good, 
as the bird becomes exceedingly fat when it finds a good feeding-place, so much so, indeed, 
that it can hardly fly, and, according to Mr. Giieff, is in autumn so fat that it almost bursts 
its skin. 

The Common Snipe is too well known to need much description. Its habits, however, 
are interesting, and deserve some notice. 

This bird may be seen all over Europe, wherever damp and swampy places are found. 
When first flushed, it shoots off in a straight line for a few yards and then begins to twist and 
turn in a strangely zigzag fashion, and at last darts away, thereby puzzling juvenile sportsmen 
greatly, and often escaping before its enemy has got his aim. 

The nest of the Snipe is a simple heap of leaves placed under the shelter of a tuft of furze, 
heath, or grass, and the eggs are four in number of an olive-white, spotted and dashed with 
brown of different tones towards and uj^on the large end. The mother-bird has been known 
to carry away her young when threatened by danger. 

The coloring of the Common Snipe is briefly as follows : The top of the head is dark 
brown ; a light brov\Ti streak runs along the centre ; the cheeks are pale brown with a dark streak 
from the bill to the eye, and over the dark streak is another of a paler hue. The back is 
beautifully mottled with two shades of brown, and four bold lines of warm buff run along the 
upper surface of the body. The wings are black, some of the feathers being tipped with 
white. The chin is very pale brown, the neck is also light brown, but sj^otted with a darker 
hue ; the breast and abdomen are white, and the flanks giay-white with dull black bars. The 
under tail-coverts are cream-colored with a brown tinge and barred with gray-black. The 
average length of the Snipe is between ten and eleven inches. 

The English Snipe is the name this bird bears in America, as it is an occasional visitor here. 

Wilson's Snipe {ZaUinago wilsoni) is now regarded as a variety of the preceding. Its 
range is throughout the whole of North America, and southward to South America, Mexico, 
and the West Indies. It breeds from northern New England northward. It is a migrant 
through the region of the Missouri, though it is thought that some winter in the southern 
portions. 



576 THE JACK SNIPE. 

The nest of this Snipe is a mere depression in the grass, or moss of a meadow. 

Wilson says of this bird, which was named in his honor: "It arrives in Pennsylvania 
about the 10th of March, and remains in tlie low grounds for several weeks ; the greater part 
then move off to the north, and to the higher inland districts, to bi'eed in our low marshes 
during the summer. Great numbers of tliese birds winter in the rice grounds of the Southern 
States, where, in the month of February, they appear to be much tamer than they are here in 
the north. On the 20th March I found them extremely numerous about the boiders of ponds 
of Louisville, Kentucky. They have the same soaring, irregular flight in the air in gloomy 
weather as the English Snipe ; the same bleating note and occasional rapid descent ; spring 
from the marshes with the same feeble squeak ; and in every respect resemble the latter bird, 
except in being about an inch less, and in having sixteen feathers in its tail instead of 
fourteen. 

This Snipe is eleven inches long, and seventeen in extent of wing. The sexes are much 
alike, save that the colors of the female are somewhat more obscure and less defined than in 
the male. 

The Red-breasted Snipe {MarrorhannpTius griseus), called also Brown-back, Gray 
Snipe, and Dowitcher, inhabits the whole of North America, Greenland, and Mexico, West 
Indies, Central America, and much of South America. It is occasionally seen in Europe. 
Distinguished from the former, it has longer legs, and a web between outer and middle toes, 
twelve instead of sixteen tail-feathers, and some other less important characters. 

In migrating, this Snipe moves in vast numbers northward in A^jril, whei'e they breed, 
returning in August. 

I)r. Coues met with the Gray-backs in considerable numbers in Dakota. He found it 
unsuspicious and gentle, sociable in company with other waders and with various sea-fowl that 
congregate on the borders of the great lakes and rivers of the West, where they congregate, 
]"irobing here and there the mud-flats for food, sticldng their bills perpendicularly into tlie soil 
tlie full length with a quick, dextei-ous movement, and sometimes even submerging the whole 
head for a moment. All the while they chat with each other in a low, pleasing tone. When 
flred at, notwithstanding some of their companions may lie dead, o