Agassiz Association. Wilson Ornithological Chapter.

The Wilson bulletin (Volume 13, 1901) online

. (page 1 of 10)
Online LibraryAgassiz Association. Wilson Ornithological ChapterThe Wilson bulletin (Volume 13, 1901) → online text (page 1 of 10)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


/,«•.■



.M'



L671
W5 7











FORTHE PEOPLE

FOR EDVCATION

FORSCIENCE






LIBRARY

OF

THE AMERICAN MUSEUM

OF

NATURAL HISTORY





Old Series, Vol. XIII. New Series, Vol. VIII.

THE WILSON BULLETIN
Volume VIII.



Issued Quarterly by the Wilson Ornithological Chapter
of the Agassiz Association.



EDITED BY FRANK L. BURNS
. Berwyn, Penna,

I90K



t^.^/ C 6^, ^b^lrh^J



INDEX



Bittern, American, 60.

Blackbird, Redwing, 18,60,70,71,101

Blackbird, Rusty, 60.

Bluebird, 18, 61, 63, 100.

Bobolink; 13. 18, 60, 63.

Bobwhite, 13, 18, 60, 63, 90.

Bowers, Lionel F. Colony of Black-
crowned Night Herons, 72

Bunting, Indigo, 18, 60, 94

Burns, Frank L. Crow Language 5.
Unusual Actions of a Turkey
Vulturt", 15. Vernancular Or-
nithology of Delaware-, 17.
Three Days with the Warblers,
39. Pottowattoniie Name for
the American Crow, 44. Song
of the Kentucky Warbler — a
correction, 44. Further Sug-
gestions for the Taking of a
Bird Census, 52. Little Blue
Heron, 72. A vSectional Bird
Census, 84.

Cardinal, 18, 34, 38, 60,68, 70, 93.

Catbird, 10, 17, 61, 81, 98.

Chat, Yellow-breasted, 38, 42,
61, 98.

Chickadee 10, 13, 61.

Chickadee, Carolina, 38, 99.

Cowbird, 40, 60, 92.

Creeper, Brown, 29, 61, 81.

Crow, American, 5, 12, 13, 18, 44,
60, 92.

Crow, Fish, 18, g2.

Cuckoo, Black-billed, 91.

Cuckoo, California, 77.

Cuckoo, Yellow-billed, 18, 90.

Daniel, John W., Jr. On the Oc-
currence of two Southern Birds
in Virginia, 29. spring Hori-
zon near Lynchburg, Va., 37.

Dove, Ground, 29.

Dove, Mourning, 18, 60, 90,

Duck, Black, 70.

Editorial, Aims and Accomplish-
ments of the Wilson Bul-
letin, 19. A Suggestion, 20.
Walter Hoxie, 21. Future
Numbers, 21. Dichromatic
State of Plumage of the
Screech Owl, 21. Call for
Manuscript, 22. Careless Proof-
reading, 39 Call for Migra-
tion Notes, 39. Rlue-winged
Warbler Mating with the > ash-
ville Warbler, 39. Ornithologi-



cal Work of Members, 40.
Announcement of Special Bul-
letin, 73. Contemplated New
F^dition of Audubon's Birds of
America, 73. The Jean Bell
Collection of Fvggs, 73. Con-
tinuation of Bendire'sLife His-
tories, 74. The Ornithological
Periodicals, 74.
Falcon, Prairie. 77.
Finch, House, 81.
Finch, Purple, 81.
F. L. B. Review of the Bittern, 22.
The Petiel, 22. American Or-
nithology, 22. Birds of Penn-
sylvania, et al, 24. Birds of
Springfield and Vicinity, 54.
Abstract of the Proceedings of
the Delaware Valley Ornitho-
logical Club of Philadelphia,
55. Year Book of the United
States Department of Agricul-
ture, 81 .

Flicker. 13, 20, 3S, 60, 63, 68, 91.

Flycatcher, Crested, 38, 60, 91.

Flycatcher, Green-crested, 60. 92.

Flycatcher, Least, 60.

Flycatcher, Traill's, 60.

Gault, Benj. F. A Suggestion, 13.
A Late September Horizon at
Cairo, Ills., including A Brief
Visit to "The Point,' 65.

Gibbs, Ella S. A Wisconsin Bird
Paradise, 6. The Evening Gros-
beak, 15.

Gnatcatcher, Black-tailed, 77.

Gnatcatcher, Blue-grey, 18, 38,
61, 71.

Goldfinch, American, 13, 38, 60, 93.

Grackle, Bronzed, 60. 67, 68.

Grackle, Purple, 93.

Grebe, Pied-billed, 60.

Grosbeak, Blue. 38.

Grosbeak, Evening, 15.

Grosbeak, Rose-breasted, 9, 10,
38, 60.

Grosbeak, Western Evening; 45

Grouse, Ruffed, 100.

Gull, American Herring, 12, 13,
58, 60, 71.

Hawk American Sparrow, 12. 13.
18, 24, 60, 90.

Hawk, Broad-winged, 24, 60, 90.

Hawk, Cooper's 18, 24, 90.

Hawk, Fish, 18.



Hawk. Marsh, 24.

Hawk, Red-shouldered, 13, 18, 24,
60, 68.

Hawk, Red-tailed, 18, 24, 60, 102.

Hawk, Sharp-shinned. 24, 60, loi.

Haynes, William. B. Notes on the
Merganser sub-fauiily. 10.

Henderson, Junius. The Wesi-
ern Evening Grosbeak in Col-
orado, 45.

Heron, Black-crowned Night, 7.\

lOI.

Heron, Great Blue, 18, 38, 70, loi.

Heron, Green, 19, 60, 70, loi.

Heron, Little Blue, 72.

HoUister. N. Helniinthophilapinus
in Wisconsin, 30.

Hoxie, W. J. The Rough-wings of
tae Hercules, i. 'the Redpoll
in South Carolina, 36. Pa.ssen-
ger Pigeon. 44.

Hummingbird, Ruby-throated, 38,
60, 68, 91.

Jav, Blue, 13, 35, 38, 60, 68, 92.

Jones, Lvnds. The firsi. 20th Cen-
tury'Honzon at Oberlin, Ohio,
II.' A new Bird for Lorain
county, Ohio, 43. An Open
Question, 45. A Si gge.stion
for Work, 49. Migraiion Notes
Wanted, 53. All Day with the
Birds, 57. Five Days among
the Islands of Lake Erie, 70.
A Criticism, 76

Junco, Carolina, 29, 33, 34, 35-

Junco, Slate-colored, 13.

Keini, Thomas D. Cardinal, 38.

Kenny. Muriel. Snowilake, 46.

Killdeer. 18, 60, 90.

Kingbird, ^8, 60, 91.

Kingfisher. Belted, 18, 3S, 60, 70,

lOI.

Kinglet, Golden-crowned, 38, 61.

Kinglet, Ruby-crowned, 38, 61.

Lark, Meadow. 12. 13. 60, 92.

Lark, Prairie Horned, 12. 13, 60.

L. J., Review of Our Feathered
Friends, 23. A Ouantitive
Stufly of Variat-on of the Small-
er North Ar.erican vShrikes, 54.
Pacific Coa-^t Avifauna No. 2, 7.^

Martin, Purple. 38, 60, 64, 70, 94.

Merganser, American, 10, 12, 13.

Merganser, Hooded, 11.

Merganser, Red-breasted, 11.

Mockingbird, 17, 19, 37, 3^, 62, 64.

Nighthawk. 19, 60, 91.

Nuthatch. Red-breasted, 61.

Nuthatch, White-breasted, 13,61,99.



Oriole, Baltimore, 38, 60, 61, 92.

Oriole, Orchard, 38. 60, 92.

O.sprey, American, 18.

Ovenbird, 9, 38, 42, 61, 96.

Owl. Acadian, 24.

Owl, American Barn, 18. 24, 102.

Owl, Barred, 60.

Owl, Great Horned, 18, 24, 102.

Owl, Long-eared, 24, 102.

Owl, .Screech, 18, 21, 24, 60, 90.

Owl, Short-eared, 24

Periodicals Received, 83.

Pewee, Wood, 60, 92.

Phoebe, 38. 60, 92.

Pigeon, Passenger, 44.

Pipit, American, 61.

Publications received, 22. 54, 78.

Rail, Clapper, 37.

Rail, j\ing, 70.

Rail, Sora. 6 >.

Rail, Viiginia, 60.

Redpoll, 36. 37.

Redstart, American, 45, 61.

Rol)in, .American, 17, 61, 81, 99.

Sandpiper, Bartraiman, 60, 101.

Sandpiper, Solitary, 60.

Sandpiper, Spotted, 19,38, 60, loi.

Shrike, Loggerhead, 37.

Shrike, Migrant, 60.

Smith, Rol)eri Windsor. Bach-
nian s Sparrow 111 DeKalb Co.,
Georgia, 3. F'ood and Gravel,
16. The Cold Wave of Febru-
ary, 1S99 in DeKalb County,
CTeorgia,32. An Albino Towhee
47. The Passing of the Bird,
61. Blue-Grey Gnatcat-cher, 71.

Snowflake, 12, 13, 46.

Sparrow, Bachman's, 3, 29, 38.

Sparrow, Clipping, 10, 18. 33, 60. 93.

Sparrow, European House, 37, 64,
100.

Sparrow, Field, 18, 60, 93.

Sparrow, Fox, 35.

Sparrow, Grasshopper, 37, 60, 102.

Sparrow, Samuel's Song. 77.

Sparrow-, Savanna, 37, 38.

Sparrow, Sharp-tailed, 37.
Sparrow, Song, 12, 13. 16, 17, 33.

34, 37. .38. 60, 93.
Sparrow, Swamp, 37, 60.
Sparrow, Tree, 13.
Sparrow, Vesper, 33, 37, 38. 60 93.
Sparrow, White-crowned, 60.
Sparrow, White-throated, 33, 34,

38, 60.
Strong, R. M. Notes on Terns, 69.

President's Address, 75.
Ssvallow, Bank, 38, 60.



Swallow, Barn, 37, 38, be, 94.
Swallow Kouyh-wingcd, 1 ,38,60, 102
Swayiie, lidward. The Might Song

of the Kentucky U'aibler, 16.
Swift, Chimney, 37, 60, 91.
Tanager, Scarlet, 9, 60, 94.
'Jhrasher, Brown, 17, 19, 38, 61, 98.
Thrasher, California, 77.
Tern, Black, 71 .
Tern, Common, 69, 70, 71.
Ttrn, Least, 69.
Tern, Roseate, 69.
Thrush, Hermit, 29, 38.
Thrush, Louisiana Water-, 42, 61,

102.
Thrush, Olive-backed, 61, 68.
Thrush, Water, 61.
Thrush, Wilson's, 31, 61,
Thrush, Wood, 38, 61, 99.
Titmouse, Tufted, 13, 61, 68.
Towhee 34, 38, 47. 60, 93.
Towhee, Green-tailed, 77.
Vireo. Blue-headefi, 38, 60.
Vireo, Red-e^ed, to, 38, 60, 94.
Vireo, Solitary, 38, 60.
Vireo, VVa>bling, ,8, 60, 94.
Vireo, While-eyed, 38, 95.
Vireo, Yellow-throated, 45, 60, 95.
Vul ure, Turkey, 15, 18, 64, 68, 102.
Warbler, Baj^-breasted, 29.
Warbler, Black and White, 10, 38,

41, 42,, 60, 95.
War ler, Blackburni.u, 10,29,38,61.
Warbler, Black-throated Green, 10,

29. 3«.
Warbler, Black-poll, 38.
'A'ar 1 T. Blue-winged, 18, 30, 31,

32, 40, 41, 42, 48 60, 96.
Vir')l U-, Cape May, 29,38.
Warbl i. Cerulean. 61.
vVaib''', Chestnut-sided, 10, 38,

56,61.



Warbler, (joiden-winged, 58, 60.
Warbler. Hooded, 43, 58, 61.
Warbler, Kentucky, 16, 40, 41, 42,

44, 96-

Warbler, Magnolia, 38, 61.

Warbler, Mourning, bi.

Warbler, Myrtle, 38, 61.

Warbler, Nashville, 29, 31, 32, 38,
48, 60.

Warbler, Orange-crowned, 60.

Warbler, Palm, 61.

Warbler, Parula, 10, 38.

Warbler, Pine, 38.

Warbler, Prairie, 38.

Warbler, Swainson's, 29.

Warbler, Tennessee, 6c,

Warbler, Worm eating, 40, 41, 95.

Warbler, Yellow, 18, 37, 61, 68,
70, 96.

Warbler, Yellow-throated, 38, 61.

Wax wing. Cedar, 81, 94

W. E R. Reviews. On the Os-
teology of the Striges, 79. Os-
teologv of the Woodpeckers, 80.
Osteology of the Cuckoos, 80.

Whippoorwill, 19, 60, loi.

Woodcock, American, 35, 60, 89.

Woodpecker, Downy, 13, 18, 60,91.

Woodpecker, Kairy, 13, 18, 60, I02.

Woodpecker, Pileated, 18.

Woodpecker Red-bellied, 13.

Woodpecker, Red-headed, 37, 60,
63, 91.

Wren, Bewick's, 38.

Wren, Carolina, 38, 66, 68, 70, loi.

Wren, House, 29, 38, 61, 99.

Wren, Long-billed Marsh, 61.

Wren, Short-bided Marsh, 78.

Wren, Western Winter, 77.

Wren, Winter, 29.

Yellow-throat. Maryland, 38, 40,
61. q8.



ERRATA.

2nd page, 19th line from top, 4th word, for "tucket" read

"tucked."
3rd page, 8th line from foot, 4th word, for " immindful " read

" unmindful."
6th page, 2nd line from top, last word, for "without" read

"with."
6th page, last line 2nd word, for "are " read "a."
8th page, 15th line from top, 4th word, for " movements " read

" moments."
loth page, 9th line from top, loth word, for "pruning" read

" preening."
i6th page, 12th line from top, 8th word, for " indentify " read

" identify."
i8th page, ist line from foot, 9th word, for " Pihated " read

"Pileated."
19th page, i6th line from top, last word, for "donated " read

"designated."
20th page, ist line from top, last word, for " envolved " read

" evolved."
22d page, 3rd line from top, 2d word, "a" should be

omitted.
22nd page, 2rd line from top, 2nd word, lor " Bittern" read

"Bittern."
24th page, loth line from foot, 7th word, for " ^/o;c " read

" velox."
25th page, 6th line from top, ist word, for "persons" read

" person."
25th page, i6th line from top, 9th word, for " authorzing "

" authorizing,"
26th page, 7th line from top, 6th word, for "this" read "the."
27th page, 3rd line from top, 2nd word, for "trouble" read

"truth."
^oth page, ist line from top, 3rd word, for "OCCURENCE"

read "OCCURRENCE."
30th page, i8th line from top, 5th word, for "tro/odvtes " read

" troglodytes "
30th page, 19th line from top, last word, for " ruficappilla "

read " nificapill a ."
38th page, 6th line from top, 6th word, for " Praire " read

" Prairie."
38th page, 4th line from top, 5th word, for " diflerent " read

"different."



4ist page, 2nd line from top, 3d word, for " Worm-earter "

read " Worm-eater."
44th page, 2nd line from foot, 6th to 8th words, for " peer-nv "

etc., read peer-rv," etc.
45th page, loth line from foot, 5th and 6th word, for " coc-
. cothraustus vespertinus" read " Coaothraustes vespertina."
45th page, nth line from foot, 5th word, for "evening " read

"Evening."
46th page, 7th line from top, 3rd word, for "vivalis" read

"niva/iS."
47th page, loth line from top, ist word, for "Popular " read

"Poplar."
48th page, 8th line from foot, last word, for " suppected "

" suspected,"
54th page, I2th line from top, 7th word, for " through " read

" thorough."
56th page, 9th line from top, 2nd word, for "record" read

" records."
56th page, 8th line from foot, 3rd word, for "Lodd" read ''Ladd."
60th page, I2th line 2nd column, for "Sparrow" read "Swallow"
68th page, 4th line from foot, 3rd word, for " Thush " read

"Thrush."
68th page, 2nd line fiom foot, last word, for " spieces " read

" species."
73rd page, 5th line from top, 2nd word, for "stretch" read

"sketch."
74th page, loth line from top 3rd word, for "Skite" read " Kite."
77th page, I2th line from foot, ist word, for " frange " read

"range."
87th page, 2nd line from top, 9th word, for " prospective" read

" perspective."
94th page, i2th line from foot, ist word, for " Cepar " read

"Cedar."



THE ROUGH-WINGS OF THE HERCULES.



Tlie Hercules with lier ,^uns and war-paint taken off, was
our station tu.u; at Port Royal. A powerful old sea-o;oin*i tu,u
thoroughly refitted and just what we needed. 1 was on the
Nantucket then and came astern one morninii in the li^ht skiff
with the re.uular report. Forward on the Hercules was old
Johnn_\' Greek, who oidered me to moor m\' boat further aft so
as not to disturb his birds. He didn't seem to be as crusty as
usual, so 1 asked to see his birds, supposin^i he was tryinjj; to raise
some \-oun.Li Mockin,iilMri.ls. I was much amused when he
pointed out a pair of Kituiih-win^fed Swallows that \yerefrollick-
\n}l around aboye the Jivv dock that was just ahead of us.
Johnn\- stoutly asserted his claim to them, and in a minute or
two one had procured a straw and with much chatter and con-
;i;ratulation from its mate, flew with it right into the port hawse-
pipe of the Hercules. This was somethin,^ new to me. 1 had
always seen the Rou.uh-w ings burrow in sand banks, thoujj;h 1
had read of their nestin.Li; under brid,u;es and in sheltered crannies.
The old Greek sailor I found was protecting them well. He
had the deck plu^i of the havyse-pipe neatly battened down and
vyould not let any of the crew handle the hose forward but him-
self when they washed down decks. He was worried about
their feed he told im.'. Said they wouldn't eat potatoes, or
e,!j;}^s or rice, and he was afraid they would ^o somewhere else
if he didn't furnish them with the proper dainties. 1 explained
the matter as well as 1 could to him, and every trip after we had
little consultations and he uaye me all the news about his pets
and their smart doings. They seemed to occupy a very bi,Li
place in his old heart. One day he called me in to back a letter
to his mother, w hich 1 used to do for him every pay day be-



2 BULLETIN No. 34.

cause I could write her name in Greek, an J he confiJeJ to me
that he had told her about the little " Rough birds."

Three times a week the tug went up to Beaufort for gro-
ceries, etc., and the little birds seemed to think it was a pleasure
trip for their special enjoyment. In town they tried to make
friends with the Sparrows about the wharf, and came near hav-
ing a pitched battle over some building material one day, but their
watchful guardian scattered the contestants and brought away
half a bucket full of rubbish for them to select from in peace.

Then there were eggs at last. When John tried to peep
at them, the little hen " bit him " and he had the finger to show
for it too. She was " scrabbich too much " he said. Trouble
was nearby. A- big derelict was drifting around somewhere
about Cape Romain and several ships had narrowly missed dis-
aster by it. The Hercules was ordered to put to sea, fmd it and
blow it up. Away she went bright and early one morning, and
was gone five days. When she came back a very dragged
looking little Swallow was on the truck above the pennant. The
other, Johnny had tucket away somewhere below. When the
first big sea struck her down on the bar, Johnny had pulled out
the plug and rescued the little mother, but her eggs and nest
were past his aid. A day or two they mourned around, but soon
set up housekeeping again in the same place. All went well and
a young brood tried their wings from the rail of the Hercules but
never came back. The same little pair, much more sober and
sedate now and with much less chatter than in their younger
days, at once began to renovate their old quarters. But the
Hercules was ordered to Norfolk with all her crew. When she
started off gayly that morning with much saluting of whistles
and all her gay bunting flying, do you suppose those wise little
birds went with her .-' No indeed. 1 became Johnny Greek's
residuary legatee. For they came on board the Nantucket,
made a careful survey and then took up their residence in one
of the peep holes of the conning tower. Wiien the Nantucket
in tiu'n was taken away, they were at some fashionable winter
resort in the tropies. 1 look for them back this Spring. The
Accomac has just as good haWse-pipes as those they liked so
well on the Hercules.

W. J. HOXIE, Beaufort, S. C.



BULLETIN No. 34. 3

BACHMAN'S SPARRO\V, IN DeKALB COUNTY,
GEORGIA.



On the nidrninij: of Junt- ist, 1899, while trampinti over an
old field, a short distance troni my home, my attention was at-
tracted by the son^j; of a bird, the peculiar notes of which I had
never heard before.

It was some little time before I succeed in locating him, as
he possessed a wav of his own, of evading every effort on my
part to find him.

He seemed to be here, there and everywhere, all at the
same time, for when 1 advanced toward the direction of his
\-oice, his song would cease, then in a few moments it would be
heard agiin in some other part of the field.

He did not at an\' time appear to be far away, but like some
invisible airy nothing, he stole around, and about me, without
my obtaining the slightest glimpse of him.

Finally 1 secreted myself beneath the branches of a low
persimmon tree, with the avowed determination of remaining
with my new found friend for the day. After a short time of
eager waiting I saw a bird fly from a clump of blackberry bushes
and light on the dead limb of a pine sapling but a few yards
away. As soon as he touched the tree he assumed a crouching
position, much in the manner of a bird attempting to screen
himself from view, but in a trice he sto(jd erect, and then that
little bit of a wee mite (jf a bird begun his wonderful song, which
eclipsed anything in the shape of bird music I had ever heard.

Without an effort he stood upon that old dead branch and
warbled the song he had learned so well. No turn of head, no
jerk of his tail, no spread of his wings, or movement of his
feathers, save a slight swelling of his throat, as he pt^ired forth
his sweet refrain immindful of the world around him. The song
continue for one or two minutes, when there would be a kind of
of intermission of one or two mintues more, during which time
the bird would busy himself arranging his plumage prepara-
tory to another performance, which made me want to clap my
hands by way of encore, but fearing he would not respond, 1
dared not to do it.

Tone of the notes were similar to those of the Indigo,



4 BULLETIN No. 34.

BLintin*^, but more continued, louder and stron.iiier, while the
wind up of this indescribable melody, was not unlike tlie me-
talic clink of the well-known Bobolink.

In some parts of his sonii the bird became a veritable ven-
triloquist. At times I caught myself turning my head to better
hear the notes of the same bird, which appeared to come from
a songster in another direction.

A slight but intentional movement on mv part startled the
bird, causing him to tly to another pine tree some thirty yards
away; so to avoid a misfortune, 1 " brought him down," and
sot)n held him in my hand.

The specimen was sent to Mr. F. L. Burns, of Berwyn,
Pennsvlvania, who withcuit being positive, pronounced my find a
Bachman's Sparrow, it was afterwards sent to the Smith-
sonian Institution, where Dr. Richmond verified Mr. Burn's
identification.

The spot where the bird was captured is an old turned out
field, so common in our Southern Country, and is well adapted
to the wants of the Bachman's Sparrow. For years this field
has remained uncultivated, and has a waste of broom sedge, a
kind of coarse grass which grows wild on barren and neglected
places. For the purpose of pasturage this field has been ' ' burned
off" ever\' Spring. This, with the constant grazing of cattle has
caused a short stiff stubble to form upon it. Here and there
over the entire field grow blackberry briers, and thorn bushes,
while the whole is overgrown with low stunted growth of persim-
mon, oak, pine and sumach. The field includes an area of
about twentv acres, with a common country road running
through it, dividing it into two nearly equal divisions. This
road is used constantly by teams going to and from Atlanta, and
the tree from which the bird was shot, stands not more than a
dozen yards fiom the center of this thoroughfare. I mention
this road as argument to show, that while the Bachman's Spar-
row, though a shy and timid bird, never courting the presence
of man, does not turn from his chosen haunts to shun him.

On the 20th of June of the same year, while walking over
the same field again, 1 secured one male, one female and two'
\-oung but full\' fledged birds, the sex of which 1 was unable



BULLETIN No. 34. 5

to determine. 1 afterward toLind an empty nest about fifty
yards from where the birds were taken.

On April 28th, 1900, 1 secured anotlier male in the same
field, about two hundred yards from where the other specimens
were found. This was a smooth, clean bird and probably had
not \et found a mate. Thus ends my experience with the
Bachman's Sparrow.

Some other time, 1 trust 1 may be able to write of this bird,
that it is " fairh' comnKjn " in DeKalb County, Georij;ia.

ROBT. Windsor Smith, Kirkwood, Gcoygia.



CROW LANGUAGE.



While watchinjj; Corviis anicricanus. at all seasons of the
\ear and listening]; to their various cries, 1 have frequently been
impressed by the individuality shown in their most common
notes, no two birds appearino; to have voices exactK' alike,
whether found in pairs, small companies or .i^reat flocks. Per-
haps they are few collecting oologists who have not noticed the
dissimiliarity in the notes of the sexes about the nest. While
not doubting but that they possess a simple language of their own,
the difficulties of interpretation are greatly increased by tb.e
wide variation occasioned by this same individuality, hi saying
that the Crow probably possesses -a language, it need not be in-
fered that it is meant to assume that it has acquired conversa-
tional powers, but merely through the articulati(jn of a few
sounds it is able to convey to its own species its sense of pleas-
ure, fear, anger, etc., in other words a vocal code of signals
familiar to its associates.

In my mind there is no question but that the manner of
utterance is of higher value than mere difference in note. A
note possesses various meanings according to the pitch and man-
ner of uttering it. It would be difficult if not utterly impossible
to discover and record the language or dialect of a savage tribe of
our fellow human beings merely by a stolen and occasional hearing
of scraps of conversations, then how much harder it would be



6 BULLETIN No. 34.

ti) fully interpft the Crow unJer simili;ir conJitioiis witlioLit be-
ing able to analyze their feelin.gs and conditions, and without
imperfect means for the correct portrayal of their voices. The
national note of Crowdom is a loud and harsh c.iiv, Ccizv/i, as
ifjven by Bendire, or K/irali according to L-m^ille. It has variety
of meanings, pitched high it may be a call, an alarm or to attract
attentioii. Falling inflection: — ai^.swer to call, reassurance, an
all is well signal, uttered with more than ordinary energy it
denotes alarm, anger, or merely that the argumentative powers
have been aroused. Softly — caution but not immediate danger,
often used by sentinal and (xcasionally about newly constructed
nest. A soft and caressing Ca-ax'h while working upon the
nest, relieving brooding mate, or training \'oung, sometimes
heard, most frequentl)' voiced by the male. The next most
popular note is the clear and ringing Co, the most musical of the
whole vocabulary. It is usuallv given four or five times in suc-
cession and is nearly always in the form of a call. Kar-i-r-r-r is
ordinarily or brooding note of warning. Very soft if onlv to
warn mate into silence, but hard and \'icious if voiced in face of
intruder. Bendire gives it as Krah; other modifications are A'j-
r-r-r and Kur-r-r-a.

Kar-nick, (emphasized on the last syllable) has an indes-
cribable hollow, guttural, clicking sound, most frequently heard
in the late winter or early spring, although 1 have heard it not
infrequently late in November. Probably the best attempt at
song, although I am inclined to attribute it largely to individ-
uality, as 1 have marked birds in flocks during the winter and
in certain groves in the breeding season which have regularl\-
used it; while the majority do not appear to have included it in
their vocabulary at all. The modification are Kar-r-r-ruck, k\n-
rack, and Ku-rack.

A loud and quick clock-clock-clock is rather unusual, it


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Online LibraryAgassiz Association. Wilson Ornithological ChapterThe Wilson bulletin (Volume 13, 1901) → online text (page 1 of 10)