Chester A. (Chester Albert) Reed.

The bird book : illustrating in natural colors more than seven hundred North American birds, also several hundred photographs of their nests and eggs online

. (page 1 of 53)
Online LibraryChester A. (Chester Albert) ReedThe bird book : illustrating in natural colors more than seven hundred North American birds, also several hundred photographs of their nests and eggs → online text (page 1 of 53)
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Male.                Female. Young.

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Garden City            New York DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 1915

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Copyright, 1914, by CHARLES K. REED

All rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign languages, including the Scandinavian.

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Diving Birds. Order I. Pygopodes                              10
  Grebes. Family Colymbidæ                                    11
  Loons. Family Gaviidæ                                       17
  Auks, Murres and Puffins. Family Alcidæ                     21
Long-winged Swimmers. Order II. Longipennes                   35
  Skuas and Jægers. Family Stercoraridæ                       35
  Gulls and Terns. Family Laridæ                              38
  Skimmers. Family Rynchopidæ                                 58
Tube-nosed Swimmers. Order III. Tubinares                     59
  Albatrosses. Family Diomedeidæ                              59
  Fulmars, Shearwaters and Petrels. Family Procellariidæ      61
Totipalmate Swimmers. Order IV. Steganopodes                  72
  Tropic Birds. Family Phæthontidæ                            72
  Gannets. Family Sulidæ                                      74
  Darters. Family Anhingidæ                                   77
  Cormorants. Family Phalacrocoracidæ                         78
  Pelicans. Family Pelecanidæ                                 83
  Man-o'-War Birds. Family Fregatidæ                          86
Lamellirostral Swimmers. Order V. Anseres                     87
Lamellirostral Grallatores. Order VI. Odontoglossæ           115
  Flamingoes. Family Phœnicopteridæ                          115
Herons, Storks, Ibises, etc. Order VII. Herodiones           115
  Spoonbills. Family Plataleidæ                              115
  Ibises. Family Ibididæ                                     117
  Storks and Wood Ibises. Family Ciconiidæ                   118
  Herons, Bitterns, etc. Family Ardeidæ                      119
Cranes, Rails, etc. Order VIII. Paludicolæ                   127
  Cranes.  Family Gruidæ                                     127
  Courlans.  Family Aramidæ                                  129
  Rails, Gallinules and Coots. Family Rallidæ                131
Shore Birds. Order IX. Limicolæ                              137
  Phalaropes.  Family Phalaropodidæ                          137
  Avocets and Stilts. Family Recurvirostridæ                 139
  Snipes, Sandpipers, etc. Family Scolopacidæ                140
  Plovers. Family Charadriidæ                                161
  Surf Birds and Turnstones. Family Aphrizidæ                169
  Oyster-catchers.  Family Hæmatopodidæ                      170
  Jacanas. Family Jacanidæ                                   172
Gallinaceous Birds. Order X. Gallinæ                         175
  Grouse, Partridges, etc. Family Odontophoridæ              175
  Turkeys. Family Meleagridæ                                 178
  Curassows and Guans. Family Cracidæ                        191
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Pigeons. Order XI. Columbæ                                   192
  Pigeons. Family Columbidæ                                  192
Birds of Prey. Order XII. Raptores                           198
  American Vultures. Family Cathartidæ                       198
  Hawks, Eagles, etc. Family Buteonidæ                       201
  Falcons, etc. Family Falconidæ                             218
  Osprey. Family Pandionidæ                                  225
  Barn Owls. Family Aluconidæ                                227
  Owls. Family Strigidæ                                      227
Parrots, Paroquets. Order XIII. Psittaci                     241
  Parrots and Paroquets. Psittacidæ                          241
Cuckoos, etc. Order XIV. Coccyges                            241
  Cuckoos, Anis, etc. Family Cuculidæ                        241
  Trogons. Family Trogonidæ                                  246
  Kingfishers. Family Alcedinidæ                             247
Woodpeckers, Wrynecks, etc. Order XV. Pici                   249
  Woodpeckers. Family Picidæ                                 249
Goatsuckers, Swifts, etc. Order XVI. Macrochires             262
  Goatsuckers, etc. Family Caprimulgidæ                      263
  Swifts. Family Micropodidæ                                 268
  Hummingbirds. Family Trochilidæ                            271
Perching Birds. Order XVII. Passeres                         280
  Cotingas. Family Cotingidæ                                 280
  Tyrant Flycatchers. Family Tyrannidæ                       280
  Larks. Family Alaudidæ                                     297
  Crows, Jays, Magpies, etc. Family Corvidæ                  300
  Starlings. Family Sturnidæ                                 314
  Blackbirds, Orioles, etc. Family Icteridæ                  314
  Finches, Sparrows, etc. Family Fringillidæ                 324
  Tanagers. Family Tangaridæ                                 369
  Swallows. Family Hirundinidæ                               372
  Waxwings. Family Bombycillidæ                              375
  Shrikes. Family Laniidæ                                    376
  Vireos. Family Vireonidæ                                   378
  Honey Creepers. Family Cœrebidæ                            385
  Warblers. Family Mniotiltidæ                               385
  Wagtails. Family Motacillidæ                               418
  Dippers. Family Cinclidæ                                   419
  Wrens. Family Troglodytidæ                                 423
  Thrashers, etc. Family Mimidæ                              429
  Creepers. Family Certhiidæ                                 430
  Nuthatches. Family Sittidæ                                 431
  Titmice. Family Paridæ                                     431
  Warblers, Kinglets, Gnatcatchers. Family Sylviidæ          433
  Thrushes, Solitaires, Bluebirds, etc. Family Turdidæ       442
Index                                                        451

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Grebes are birds having a ducklike body, but with pointed bills. Their feet, too, are unlike those of the Ducks, each toe having its separate web, and having a broad flat nail. Their wings are very small for the size of the body, making it impossible for them to rise in flight from the land. They rise from the water by running a few yards along the surface until they have secured sufficient headway to allow them to launch themselves into the air. After having risen from the water their flight is very swift and strong. On land they are very awkward and can only progress by a series of awkward hops; they generally lie flat on their breasts, but occasionally stand up, supporting themselves upon their whole tarsus. Grebes, together with the Loons, are the most expert aquatic birds that we have, diving like a flash and swimming for an incredible distance under water.

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Western Grebe.             Holboell's Grebe.

1. Western Grebe. Aechmophorus occidentalis.

Range.--Western parts of North America, from southern Alaska southward; east to Minnesota and south in winter to the southern parts of the United States and Mexico. Breeds from the Dakotas and northern California northward. These are the largest of the American Grebes; owing to their unusually long necks, they are frequently called "Swan Grebes." They are very timid birds and conceal themselves in the rushes on the least suspicion of danger.

Chalky bluish white, stained buff.

At times, to escape observation, they will entirely submerge their body, leaving only their head and part of the long neck visible above the water. This Grebe cannot be mistaken for any other because of the long slender neck and the long pointed bill, which has a slight upward turn. They nest abundantly in the marshes of North Dakota and central Canada. Their nests are made of decayed rushes, and are built over the water, being fastened to the rushes so that the bottom of the nest rests in the water. The nesting season is at its height during the latter part of May. They lay from three to five eggs, the ground color of which is a pale blue; this color is, however, always concealed by a thin chalky deposit, and this latter is frequently stained to a dirty white. Size 2.40 × 1.55.

White, stained buff.

2. Holboell's Grebe. Colymbus holboellii.

Range.--Throughout North America, breeding from northern United States northward and wintering from the middle to the southern portions of the United States. In regard to size this Grebe comes next to the Western, being 19 in. in length. This bird can be distinguished by the white cheeks and throat and the reddish brown foreneck. They breed abundantly in the far north placing their floating islands of decayed vegetation in the water in the midst of the marsh grass. They lay from three to six eggs of a dingy white color which have the stained surface common to Grebes eggs. Size 2.35 × 1.25.

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NEST AND EGGS OF HOLBOELL'S GREBE Lake Winnipegosis, Manitoba.

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Horned Grebe.        Eared Grebe.

3. Horned Grebe. Colymbus auritus.

Range.--The whole of North America, breeding in the interior from North Dakota northwest; winters along the Gulf Coast. This species is one of the most beautiful of the Grebes, having in the breeding season buffy ear tufts, black cheeks and throat, and chestnut neck, breast and sides. They breed abundantly in the marshy flats of North Dakota and the interior of Canada.

Buffy white, nest stained.

They build a typical Grebe's nest, a floating mass of decayed matter which stains the naturally white eggs to a dirty brown. The number of eggs varies from three to seven. Size 1.70 × 1.15. Data.--Devils Lake, N. Dakota, June 20, 1900. 6 eggs much stained. Nest floating in 4 ft. of water, a large mass of rotten rushes and weeds. Collector. James Smalley.

4. Eared Grebe. Colymbus nigricollis californicus.

Range.--North America west of the Mississippi, breeding from Texas to Manitoba and wintering along the Pacific Coast of the United States and from Texas southward.

Bluish white, stained.

Eared Grebes differ from the preceding in having the entire neck blackish. They nest very abundantly throughout the west, in favorable localities, from Texas to Minnesota and Dakota. Their nests are constructed in the same manner as the preceding varieties and are located in similar localities. As do all the Grebes when leaving the nest, they cover the eggs with the damp rushes from around the base of the nest. This is probably for the purpose of assisting incubation during their absence, by the action of the sun's rays on the wet mass. As they are nearly always thus covered upon the approach of anyone, this may be done also as a protection from discovery. They lay from three to eight bluish white eggs with the usual chalky and discolored appearance. The breeding season is at its height early in June, or earlier, in the southern portion of its range. Size 1.75 × 1.20. Data.--Artesian, S. Dakota, June 21, 1899. Nest of rushes, floating in three feet of water. Large colony in a small lake. Collector, F. A. Patton.

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NEST AND EGGS OF HORNED GREBE Saltcoats Marshes, Assiniboia, June 6, 1901.

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Mexican Grebe.                  Pied-billed Grebe..

5. Mexican Grebe. Colymbus dominicus brachypterus.

Range.--Southern Texas and Lower California southward to South America, breeding throughout its range.

Deep buff or rich brown.

The Least Grebe is by far the smallest of the Grebes in this country, being but 10 in. in length; it can not be mistaken for any other, the Eared Grebe being the only species of this family found in the same localities during the summer. These little Grebes nest very abundantly along the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, the nesting season lasting from the latter part of May until well into December.

Their nests are floating piles of grass and weeds upon which they lay from three to five chalky white eggs, which are always discolored, sometimes to a deep chocolate hue. These eggs average a great deal darker in color than do any of the other Grebes. In a series of fifty sets fully half were a rich brown tint. Size 1.40 × .95.

6. Pied-billed Grebe. Podilymbus podiceps.

Range.--From the British provinces southward to Argentine Republic, breeding locally throughout the northern portions of its range.

Deep buff.

The Dabchick, as this bird is called, is the most evenly distributed bird of this family. It is nowhere especially abundant, nor is it, except in a very few localities, regarded as rare. Consequently it is the best known bird of the species. They do not congregate in such large numbers as the other Grebes during the nesting season, but one or more pairs may be found in almost any favorable locality. These birds render their floating nest a little more substantial than those of the preceding varieties by the addition of mud which they bring up from the bottom of the pond; this addition also tends to soil the eggs more, consequently the eggs of this bird are, as a general rule, browner than the other Grebes with the exception of the Least. The bird may always be known by the shape of its bill which is higher than it is broad, and in the summer is white with a black band across the middle. The throat is also black at this season. They lay from five to nine eggs commencing about the middle of May. Size 1.70 × 1.18.

Online LibraryChester A. (Chester Albert) ReedThe bird book : illustrating in natural colors more than seven hundred North American birds, also several hundred photographs of their nests and eggs → online text (page 1 of 53)