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matters take a very different course, and you may recollect the combats
of a Purple Martin and a Blue Bird, of which I gave you an account in
my first volume.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adult Male. Plate CXIII. Fig. 1.

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

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

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

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

Adult Female. Plate CXIII. Fig. 2.

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

Length 6½ inches.

Young Bird. Plate CXIII. Fig. 3.

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


VERBASCUM THAPSUS, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 1001. _Pursh_,
Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 142. _Smith_, Engl. Flor. vol. i. p. 512.

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ornith. vol. iv. p. 49. pl. 31. fig. 4. Male.

Adult male. Plate CXIV. Fig. 1.

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

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

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

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

Adult Female. Plate CXIV. Fig. 2.

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

Length 7¼ inches.


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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adult Male. Plate CXV.

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

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

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

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


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

The leaves of this species of Azalea are oblongo-obovate, acute, smooth
on both sides; the flowers white, sweet-scented, with a very short calyx.
It grows abundantly in almost every district of the United States, in

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