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eggs_. These are large, of a light cream-colour, splashed toward the
great end with large irregular markings of black and brown. The young
somewhat resemble those of the Black Vulture, and take a long time before
they can fly. Both species drink water freely, and in doing this immerse
their bill to the base, and take a long draught at a time. They both
breed at the same period, or nearly so, and raise only one brood in the

I have found birds of this species apparently very old, with the upper
parts of their mandibles, and the wrinkled skin around their eyes, so
diseased as to render them scarcely able to feed amongst others, all
of which seldom failed to take advantage of their infirmities. I have
represented the adult male in full plumage, along with a young bird,
procured in the autumn of its first year. The average weight of a full
grown bird is 6½ lb., about 1 lb. less than that of the Carrion Crow.

CATHARTES AURA, ILLIGER, _Prodr._ p. 236.—_Ch. Bonaparte_,
Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 22.—_Richards. and
Swains._ Fauna Boreali-Amer. part ii. p. 4.

Ornith. vol. ix. p. 96. pl. 75. fig. 1.—_Nuttall_, Manual,
part i. p. 43.

Adult Male. Plate CLI. Fig. 1.

Bill nearly as long as the head, strong, straight at the base, compressed;
the upper mandible covered beyond the middle by the cere, its dorsal
outline nearly straight, being slightly undulated, its tip large, curved,
and pointed, and of a boney hardness; the edge with a slight undulation;
lower mandible with the end rounded, and having a broad groove. Nostrils
medial, approximate, oblong, pervious, of very large size, and forming
an open space, into which posteriorly open the two nasal tubes, which
are furnished each with a valve. Head elongated, small, neck rather
long, body robust. Feet strong; tarsus roundish, covered with small
hexagonal scales; toes scutellate above, the middle one much longer,
the two lateral nearly equal, and united to the middle one at the base
by a web, the hind-toe small. Claws arched, strong, acute, that of the
hind-toe smallest.

Plumage rather compact, with ordinary lustre, the back somewhat metallic.
The head and upper part of the neck are destitute of feathers, having
a red wrinkled skin, sparsely covered with short black hair, and downy
behind. Feathers of the neck full and rounded, concealing the naked crop.
Wings ample, long; the first quill rather short, the third and fourth
longest. Tail longish, rounded, of twelve broad straight feathers.

Bill at the tip yellowish-white; the cere and the naked part of the head
of a tint approaching to blood-red. Iris dark brown. Feet flesh-coloured,
tinged with yellow; claws black. The general colour of the plumage is
blackish-brown, deepest on the neck and under parts, the wing-coverts
broadly margined with brown; the back glossed with brown and greenish
tints; the tail purplish-black; the under parts of a sooty brown, on
the breast glossed with green.

Length 32 inches, extent of wings 6 feet 4 inches; bill 2½ along the
ridge, 2-2/12 along the gap; tarsus 2½, middle-toe 3½.

Young fully fledged. Plate CLI. Fig. 2.

The bill is, of course, shorter and more slender, its horny tip pale
blue, black on the back; the skin of the head is flesh-coloured, the
iris yellowish, the feet flesh-coloured. The plumage is nearly of the
same colour as in the adult.




Only three species of Nuthatch have as yet been observed within the limits
of the United States. My opinion however is, that at least two more will
be discovered:—one larger than any of those known, in the high wooded
plains bordering the Pacific Ocean; the other, of nearly the size of
the present species, towards the boundary line of Mexico and the United

Although the species now under consideration is found in all parts of our
extensive country, it is yet the least numerous; there being to appearance
more than three of the Brown-headed, and two of the Red-bellied, for
every one of the White-breasted. It is an inhabitant of the forest and
the orchard, frequently approaching to the very doors of the farm-houses
during winter, when it is not unusually seen tapping at the eaves beneath
the roof, thrusting itself into barns and houses, or searching for food
among the poultry _on the ground_, where it moves prettily by short hops.
During summer it gives a preference to the interior of the forest, and
lives in a retired and secluded manner, especially during the breeding
season. Although a lively bird, its actions are less animated, and it
exhibits less petulance and restlessness than the other species. It moves
alertly, however, when searching for food, climbing or retrograding
downwards or sidewise, with cheerfulness and a degree of liveliness,
which distinguish it at once from other birds. Now and then it has a
quaint look, if I may so speak, while watching the observer, clinging
to the bark head downward, and perhaps only a few feet distant from
him whom it well knows to be its enemy, or at least not its friend, for
many farmers, not distinguishing between it and the Sap-sucker (_Picus
pubescens_), shoot at it, as if assured that they are doing a commendable

During the breeding season, the affection which this bird ordinarily shews
to its species, is greatly increased. Two of them may be seen busily
engaged in excavating a hole for their nest in the decayed portion of
the trunk or branch of a tree, all the time congratulating each other
in the tenderest manner. The male, ever conspicuous on such occasions,
works some, and carries off the slender chips, chiselled by the female.
He struts around her, peeps into the hole, chirrups at intervals, or
hovers about her on the wing. While she is sitting on her eggs, he seldom
absents himself many moments; now with a full bill he feeds her, now
returns to be assured that her time is pleasantly spent.

When the young come from the egg, they are fed with unremitting care. They
now issue from their wooden cave, and gently creep around its aperture.
There, while the genial rays of the summer's sun give vigour to their
tender bodies, and enrich their expanding plumage, the parents, faithful
guardians to the last, teach them how to fly, to ascend the tree with
care, and at length to provide for their own wants. Ah! where are the
moments which I have passed, in the fulness of ecstacy, contemplating
the progress of these amiable creatures! Alas! they are gone, those
summer days of hope and joy are fled, and the clouds of life's winter
are mustering in their gloomy array.

This species breeds twice in the year, in the Southern and Middle States;
seldom more than once, to the eastward of New York. In the State of
Maine, they work at their nest late in May; in Nova Scotia not until
June. Farther north I did not find them. Sometimes they are contented
with the hole bored by any small Woodpecker, or even breed in the decayed
hollow of a tree or fence. The eggs, five or six in number, are dull
white, spotted with brown at the larger end. They are laid on detached
particles of wood.

The notes of the White-breasted Nuthatch are remarkable on account of
their nasal sound. Ordinarily they resemble the monosyllables _hānk_,
_hānk_, _kānk_, _kānk_; but now and then in the spring, they emit a
sweeter kind of chirp, whenever the sexes meet, or when they are feeding
their young.

Its flight is rapid, and at times rather protracted. If crossing a river
or a large field, they rise high, and proceed with a tolerably regular
motion; but when passing from one tree to another, they form a gently
incurvated sweep. They alight on small branches or twigs, and now and
then betake themselves to the ground to search for food.

Their bill is strong and sharp, and they not unfrequently break acorns,
chestnuts, &c., by placing them in the crevices of the bark of trees, or
between the splinters of a fence-rail, where they are seen hammering at
them for a considerable time. The same spot is usually resorted to by
the Nuthatch as soon as it has proved to be a good and convenient one.
A great object seems to be to procure the larvæ entombed in the kernels
of the hard fruits, insects being at all times the favourite food of
these birds. They are fond of roosting in their own nest, to which I
believe many return year after year, simply cleaning or deepening it for
the purpose of depositing their eggs in greater security. Like others
of the tribe, they hang head-downwards to sleep, especially in a state
of captivity.

The young obtain their full plumage during winter. The only differences
between the male and the female are, a slight inferiority of the latter
as to size, and a somewhat less depth of colouring. Like the other two
species, they now and then alight on a top branch for an instant, in
the manner used by other birds.

SITTA CAROLINENSIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 177.—_Lath._
Index Ornith. vol. i. p. 262.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of
Birds of the United States, p. 96.

Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 10. pl. 2. fig. 3.—_Nuttall_, Manual,
vol. i. p. 581.

Adult Male. Plate CLII. Fig. 1.

Bill straight, of the length of the head, very hard, conico-subulate, a
little compressed, acute; upper mandible with the dorsal outline very
slightly arched, the edges sharp towards the point; lower mandible
smaller, of equal length, straight. Nostrils basal, round, half-closed
by a membrane, partially covered by the frontal feathers. The general
form is short and compact. Feet rather strong, the hind toe stout, and
as long as the middle toe, with a strong hooked claw; the claws arched,
compressed, acute.

Plumage soft, blended, with little gloss, excepting on the head. Wings
rather short, broad, the second primary longest. Tail short, broad,
even, of twelve rounded feathers.

Bill black, pale blue at the base of the lower mandible. Iris dark brown.
Feet brown. The upper part of the head and the hind neck deep black,
glossed with blue, that colour curving down on either side of the neck at
its base. The back, wing, and tail-coverts, and middle feathers of the
tail, light greyish-blue. Quills black, edged with bluish-grey; three
lateral tail feathers black, with a broad band of white near the end,
the rest black, excepting the middle ones. The sides of the head, space
above the eye, fore neck and breast white; abdomen and lower tail-coverts
brownish-red, with white tips; under wing-coverts black.

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 11; bill along the ridge 8/12, along
the gap 10/12; tarsus 8/12, middle toe 10/12.

Adult Female. Plate CLII. Fig. 2, 2.

The female resembles the male.




This very abundant species I observed in East Florida, on the 1st of
March 1831, in full summer plumage. In South Carolina, no improvement
on its winter dress could be seen on the 18th of the same month. On the
10th of April, many were procured by my friend BACHMAN and myself, in
the neighbourhood of Charleston. They were in moult, especially about
the head and neck, where the new feathers were still inclosed in their
sheath; but so rapidly did the change take place, that, before a few
days had elapsed, they were in full plumage.

During a winter spent in the Floridas, I saw these birds daily, and
so had abundant opportunity of studying their manners. They were very
social among themselves, skipped by day along the piazzas, balanced
themselves in the air, opposite the sides of the houses, in search of
spiders and insects, rambled among the low bushes of the gardens, and
often dived among the large cabbage-leaves, where they searched for worms
and larvæ. At night they roosted on the branches of the orange trees,
in the luxuriant groves so abundant in that country. Frequently, in the
early part of warm mornings, I saw flocks of them fly off to sea until
they were out of sight, and again observed their return to land about
an hour after. This circumstance I considered as indicative of their
desire to migrate, and as shewing that their journeys are performed by

In the beginning of May, I found them so abundant in Maine, that the
skirts of the woods seemed alive with them. They appeared to be merely
waiting for warmer weather, that they might resume their journey
northwards. As we advanced towards Labrador, I observed them at every
place where we happened to land. They were plentiful in the Magdaleine
Islands; and when we landed on the Labrador coast, they were among the
first birds observed by our party.

As Professor MACCULLOCH of the Pictou University informed me, few
breed in the province of Nova Scotia, nor had his sons, who are active
collectors, ever found one of their nests in the vicinity of that town.
I am indebted to his liberality for a nest with four eggs, which formed
part of his fine collection. Although they are abundant in Labrador, we
did not find any of their nests; but we had the good fortune to procure
several young birds scarcely able to fly. The nest above mentioned
was placed near the extremity of the branch of a low fir-tree, about
five feet from the ground. It resembles that of the _Sylvia æstiva_ of
Latham, being firm, compact, the outer parts formed of silky fibres from
different plants attached to the twigs near it by means of glutinous
matter, mixed with stripes of the inner bark of some tree unknown to me.
Within this is a deep and warm bed of thistle-down, and the inner layer
consists of feathers and the fine hair of small quadrupeds. The eggs
are rather large, of a light rosy tint, the shell thin and transparent;
they are sparingly dotted with reddish-brown near the larger end, but
in a circular manner, so that the extremity is unspotted.

This species feeds on insects, is an expert fly catcher, and a great
devourer of caterpillars. During winter, however, its principal food
consists of berries of various kinds, especially those of the Myrtle
and Pokeweed. They also feed on the seeds of various grasses. When, at
this season, a warm day occurs, and the insects are excited to activity,
the Warblers are sure to be seen in pursuit of them. The rows of trees
about the plantations are full of them, and, from the topmost to the
lowest branches, they are seen gliding upwards, downwards, and in every
direction, in full career after their prey, and seldom missing their
aim. At this time of the year, they emit, at every movement, a single
_tweet_, so very different from that of any other Warbler, that one can
instantly recognise the species by it among a dozen. They rarely enter
the woodlands, but prefer the neighbourhood of cultivated or old fields,
the nurseries, gardens, and trees about towns, villages, or farm-houses,
or by the sides of roads. They are careless of man, allowing him to
approach within a few yards, or even feet, without manifesting much
alarm. As they breed so far north, it is probable that they raise only
one brood in the season. They return south early in September, already
clad in their winter dress.

SYLVIA CORONATA, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 538.—_Ch.
Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 78.

vol. ii. p. 138. pl. 17. fig. 4. and vol. v. p. 121. pl. 45.
fig. 3.

_Nuttall_, Manual, p. 361.

Adult Male. Plate CLIII. fig. 1.

Bill short, straight, rather strong, tapering, compressed towards the end;
upper mandible nearly straight in its dorsal outline, the tip slightly
declinate, the edges sharp, with a slight notch near the tip, nostrils
basal, oval, covered above by a membrane, and partially concealed by the
feathers. Head of ordinary size, neck short, body rather slender. Feet of
ordinary length, rather slender; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly
with a few long scutella, sharp behind; toes slender, free, the outer
united to the second joint, the hind toe proportionally large; claws
arched, slender, much compressed, acute.

Plumage blended, soft, without lustre. Wings longish, little curved;
second and third quills longest; fourth almost equal; first scarcely
shorter. Tail rather long, slightly emarginate, nearly even, the lateral
feathers bent outwards.

Bill and feet black. Iris brown. The general colour of the plumage above
is deep ash-grey, streaked with black; crown, rump, and sides of the
head, rich yellow. Secondary coverts, and first row of large coverts
tipped with white, of which there are thus two bars across the wing.
Quills and tail dark-brown, slightly margined with greyish-brown; outer
margin of the two outer tail feathers on each side white, and a spot of
the same colour on the inner webs of the three outer towards the end.
A small white line over the eye, and a touch of the same under it; lore
and cheek black. Throat white, lower neck, fore part of the breast and
sides variegated with black and white, the crest of the under parts white.

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 8½; bill along the back 4/12; along
the edge 5½/12; tarsus ¾.

Adult Female. Plate CLIII. Fig. 2.

The Female is rather less, and wants the yellow spot on the crown,
although the feathers there are tinged with that colour at the base.
The upper parts are of light brownish-olive, streaked with dusky, the
lower parts whitish, tinged with olive, and streaked with dusky; the
yellow spots on the breast and rump paler, and tinged with green. Feet
and legs blackish-brown.


IRIS VERSICOLOR, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. i. p. 233. _Pursh_,
Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 29.—TRIANDRIA MONOGYNIA, _Linn._
IRIDES, _Juss._

Beardless; the stem round, flexuous, equal in height to the leaves,
which are ensiform; the stigmas equalling the inner petals; capsules
ovate, with their angles obtuse. This Iris is extremely common in all
the swampy parts of the Southern States, and extends far up along the
Mississippi. In many places I have seen beds of a quarter of an acre.
It is cultivated here and there in gardens.

The Smilax represented grows abundantly in the same localities, climbing
over any low bush so profusely as to cover it. The berries when ripe
are eaten by many species of birds.




So very rare does this little bird seem to be in the United States, that
in the course of all my rambles I never saw more than three individuals
of the species. The first was procured near Bayou Sara, in the State of
Louisiana, in the spring of 1821, when I drew it with the holly twig on
which it was standing when I shot it. The second I obtained in Louisiana
also, not many miles from the same spot, in the autumn of 1829, and the
last at Key West, in May 1832. Of its migrations or place of breeding
I know nothing.

It is an active and nimble species, an expert catcher of flies, fond
of hanging to the extremities of branches, like several others of the
tribe. It utters a single mellow _tweet_, as it passes from one branch
to another in search of food, or while on the wing, when it moves in a
desultory manner for some distance, diving suddenly towards the tree on
which it intends to alight. All the individuals which I procured were

SYLVIA PEREGRINA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
United States, p. 87.

vol. iii. p. 83. pl. 25. fig. 2.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i.
p. 412.

Bill of moderate length, thick at the base, tapering, straight, acute;
upper mandible nearly straight in its dorsal outline, the edges sharp,
without a notch. Nostrils basal, oval, covered above by a membrane, and
partially concealed by the feathers. Head of ordinary size, neck short,
body rather slender. Feet of ordinary length, rather slender; tarsus
compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long scutella, sharp behind;
toes slender, free, the outer united to the second joint, the hind-toe
proportionally large; claws arched, slender, much compressed, acute.

Plumage blended, soft. Wings longish, little curved; the second and third
quills longest. Tail rather longish, nearly even, the lateral feathers
bent outwards.

Bill dark brown, paler beneath. Iris hazel. Feet brown, tinged with blue.
The general colour above is yellow-olive, the head darker, the under
parts cream-coloured, fading behind into white. A pale yellow line over
the eye; quills dark brown, the primaries margined with yellowish-grey;
the wings without bands.

Length 4½ inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the back 4¼/12, along
the edge 6/12; tarsus 8/12.


ILEX LAXIFLORA, _Pursh_, Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 117.

Leaves ovate, sinuato-dentate, spinous, shiny, flat; peduncles
supra-axillar, aggregated on the younger branches. An evergreen shrub,
with yellowish-red berries.




I have met with this species in every portion of the Southern and Western
States, where, however, it is seen only in the early part of spring and
in autumn, on its passage to and from its summer residence. In South
Carolina it arrives about the 25th of March, and becomes more abundant
in April; but it has left that country by the 10th of May. During its
stay there, it keeps in deep woods, where it may be seen passing among
the boughs, at a height of from ten to twenty feet from the ground.

Proceeding eastward, we find it more numerous, but residing only in
the depth of the morasses and swampy thickets. I saw many individuals
of the species in the Great Pine Forest of Pennsylvania, after which I
traced it through the upper parts of the State of New York into Maine,
the British Provinces, and the Magdaleine Islands, in the Bay of St
Lawrence. In Newfoundland I saw none, and in Labrador only a dead one,
dry and shrivelled, deposited like a mummy in the fissure of a rock,
where the poor bird had fallen a victim to the severity of the climate,
from which it had vainly endeavoured to shelter itself.

I am indebted to the generous and most hospitable Professor MACCULLOCH
of Pictou for the nest and eggs of this Warbler, which had been found by
his sons, who are keen observers of birds. The nest is usually placed on
the horizontal branch of a fir-tree, at a height of seven or eight feet
from the ground. It is composed of slips of bark, mosses, and fibrous
roots, and is lined with fine grass, on which is laid a warm bed of
feathers. The eggs, four or five in number, are of a rosy tint, and,
like those of most other Sylviæ, scantily sprinkled with reddish-brown
at the larger end. Only one brood is raised in a season. The young, when
fully fledged, resemble their parents in the colours of their plumage,
which, however, is mixed with duller tints, the differences indicative
of the sex being already observable.

The Black-throated Blue Warbler is an expert catcher of flies, pursues
insects to a considerable distance in all directions, and in seizing
them snaps its bill so as to produce a clicking sound. It now and then
alights on a low plant, such as that represented in the plate, and moves
along the branches searching for pupæ, ants, and insects. I have never
heard its love-song, but its common note is a rather melancholy _cheep_.
I am inclined to believe that it breeds in the State of Maine, having
seen several individuals of both sexes not far from Eastport, in the
beginning of June 1833, when several other species had nests.

SYLVIA CANADENSIS, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 539.—_Ch.
Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 84.

BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. ii.
p. 115. pl. 15. fig. 7.—_Nuttall_, Manual, p. 398.

Adult Male. Plate CLV.

Bill short, nearly straight, tapering, depressed at the base, compressed
towards the end; upper mandible slightly arched in its dorsal outline,
and in the sharp notchless edge. Nostrils basal, oval, covered above by
a membrane, and partially concealed by the feathers. Head of ordinary
size, neck short, body rather slender. Feet of ordinary length, slender;

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