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think the next step will take you near enough to fire with certainty,
the wary bird flies off before you can reach it. Even in the wildest
parts of Eastern Florida, where I have at times followed it, to assure
myself that the birds I saw were of the same species as that found in our
distant Atlantic States, its vigilance was not in the least abated. For
miles have I chased it from one cabbage-tree to another, without ever
getting within shooting distance, until at last I was forced to resort
to stratagem, and seeming to abandon the chase, took a circuitous route,
concealed myself in its course, and waited until it came up, when, it
being now on the side of the tree next to me, I had no difficulty in
bringing it down. I shall never forget, that, while in the Great Pine
Forest of Pennsylvania, I spent several days in the woods endeavouring
to procure one, for the same purpose of proving its identity with others
elsewhere seen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Adult Male. Plate CXI. Fig. 1.

Bill long, straight, strong, polyhedral, tapering, compressed and
slightly truncated by being worn at the tip; mandibles of equal length,
both nearly straight in their dorsal outline; their sides convex. Tongue
worm-shaped, capable of reaching four inches beyond the bill, horny near
the tip for about one-eighth of an inch, and barbed. Nostrils basal,
oval, partly covered by recumbent bristly feathers. Head large. Neck
rather long, slender. Body robust. Feet rather short, robust; tarsus
strong scutellate before, scaly on the sides; two toes before and two
behind, the inner hind toe shortest; claws strong, arched, very acute.

Plumage compact, glossy. Feathers of the head elongated, loose, and
erectile. Wings large, the third and fourth quills longest. Tail long,
cuneate, of twelve tapering stiff feathers, worn to a point by being
rubbed against the bark of trees.

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

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


Adult Female. Plate CXI. Fig. 2.

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


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

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


THE RACOON GRAPE.

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

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




THE DOWNY WOODPECKER.

_PICUS PUBESCENS_, LINN.

PLATE CXII. MALE AND FEMALE.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Adult Male. Plate CXII. Fig. 1.

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

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

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

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


Adult Female. Plate CXII. Fig. 2.

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


THE RAMPING TRUMPET-FLOWER.

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

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




THE BLUE BIRD.

_SYLVIA SIALIS_, LATH.

PLATE CXIII. MALE, FEMALE, AND YOUNG.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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