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The flesh of this bird is tough and unfit for food, but this indicates
its great strength. When wounded, it bites severely, and scratches with
its claws as fiercely as a Hawk. Like the latter also, it disgorges
indigestible substances, as bones, hair, and feathers.

I have represented a very old male Raven on a branch of the Shell-bark
Hickory; not because the bird alights on any particular kind of tree by
preference, but because I thought you might be interested in seeing so
fruitful a branch of that valuable ornament of our forests.


CORVUS CORAX, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 155.—_Lath._ Ind.
Ornith. vol. i. p. 150.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds
of the United States, p. 56.—_Swains. and Richards._ Fauna
Boreali-Americ. part ii. p. 290.—_Lath._ Gen. Synops. vol. i.
p. 367.

RAVEN, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. ix. p. 113. pl. 75. fig. 3.
—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 202.


Old Male. Plate CI.

Bill longish, thick, robust, somewhat compressed; upper mandible with
the dorsal line arched and declinate, the sides convex; lower mandible
straight, the sides inclined obliquely outwards; the edges of both
sharp, the tip slightly deflected. Nostrils basal, lateral, round,
covered by bristly feathers, which are directed forwards. Head large,
neck short, body robust. Legs of moderate length, strong; tarsus covered
anteriorly with scutella, shorter than the middle toe; toes scutellate
above, separated almost to the base; first, second, and fourth nearly
equal in length, third longest; claws moderate, arched, acute, compressed,
channelled beneath.

Plumage compact, highly glossed. Stiff, bristly feathers, with disunited
barbs over the nostrils, directed forwards and adpressed. Feathers
of the hind neck with disunited barbs, of the fore part of the neck
elongated, lanceolated, and pointed. Wings long, first primary short,
fourth longest; primaries tapering, the third, fourth, and fifth, cut
out towards the end externally; secondaries very broad, the outer abrupt
with a minute acumen, the inner rounded. Tail rather long, rounded, of
twelve slightly recurved feathers.

Beak, tarsi, toes and claws, deep black and shining. Iris brown. The
general colour of the plumage is deep black, with purple reflections
above, greenish below. Tints of green on the back, quills, and tail.
Breast and belly browned, with green reflections, and a slight mixture
of purple tints.

Length 26 inches, extent of wings 50; beak along the ridge 3, along the
gap 3¼; tarsus 2¼, middle toe 2¾.

The Female is usually somewhat smaller, but in all respects resembles
the male.

The Young Males are three years in acquiring the full development of
the long-pointed feathers, which hang, as it were, from the throat and
fore-part of the neck.


THE THICK SHELL-BARK HICKORY.

JUGLANS SULCATA, _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 637.—J.
LACINIOSA, _Mich._ Arbr. Forest. de l'Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 199.
pl. 8.—MONŒCIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._ TEREBINTHACEÆ, _Juss._

Leaves pinnate, with about nine obovato-lanceolate, acuminate, serrate
leaflets, which are downy beneath, the terminal one nearly sessile
and attenuated at the base; fruit roundish, with four longitudinal
prominences; nut nearly globular, slightly compressed, smooth, with
an elongated tip. It occurs from Louisiana to Massachusetts, although
not, I believe, farther eastward, and also exists in the whole of the
western country, as far as I have travelled. It grows in almost every
kind of soil, and in some parts acquires a great size. When detached,
it forms a fine ornament to the meadows and fields. The wood, which is
hard and extremely pliant, is greatly esteemed for various purposes, and
when kept dry is lasting. Excepting the Pacan nuts, none in America are
considered equal to those of the present species. They are generally
collected after falling, late in autumn, and are abundant in most of
our markets, large quantities being shipped to Europe.




THE BLUE JAY.

_CORVUS CRISTATUS_, LINN.

PLATE CII. MALE AND FEMALE.


Reader, look at the plate in which are represented three individuals of
this beautiful species,—rogues though they be, and thieves, as I would
call them, were it fit for me to pass judgment on their actions. See
how each is enjoying the fruits of his knavery, sucking the egg which he
has pilfered from the nest of some innocent dove or harmless partridge!
Who could imagine that a form so graceful, arrayed by nature in a garb
so resplendent, should harbour so much mischief;—that selfishness,
duplicity, and malice should form the moral accompaniments of so much
physical perfection! Yet so it is, and how like beings of a much higher
order, are these gay deceivers! Aye, I could write you a whole chapter
on this subject, were not my task of a different nature.

The Blue Jay is one of those birds that are found capable of subsisting
in cold as well as in warm climates. It occurs as far north as the
Canadas, where it makes occasional attacks upon the corn cribs of the
farmers, and it is found in the most southern portions of the United
States, where it abounds during the winter. Every where it manifests
the same mischievous disposition. It imitates the cry of the Sparrow
Hawk so perfectly, that the little birds in the neighbourhood hurry into
the thick coverts, to avoid what they believe to be the attack of that
marauder. It robs every nest it can find, sucks the eggs like the crow,
or tears to pieces and devours the young birds. A friend once wounded a
Grous (_Tetrao umbellus_), and marked the direction which it followed, but
had not proceeded two hundred yards in pursuit, when he heard something
fluttering in the bushes, and found his bird belaboured by two Blue
Jays, who were picking out its eyes. The same person once put a Flying
Squirrel into the cage of one of these birds, merely to preserve it for
one night; but on looking into the cage about eleven o'clock next day,
he found the animal partly eaten. A Blue Jay at Charleston destroyed
all the birds of an aviary. One after another had been killed, and the
rats were supposed to have been the culprits, but no crevice could be
seen large enough to admit one. Then the mice were accused, and war was
waged against them, but still the birds continued to be killed; first
the smaller, then the larger, until at length the Keywest Pigeons; when
it was discovered that a Jay which had been raised in the aviary was
the depredator. He was taken out, and placed in a cage, with a quantity
of corn, flour and several small birds which he had just killed. The
birds he soon devoured, but the flour he would not condescend to eat,
and refusing every other kind of food soon died. In the north, it is
particularly fond of ripe chestnuts, and in visiting the trees is sure
to select the choicest. When these fail, it attacks the beech nuts,
acorns, pears, apples, and green corn.

While at Louisville, in Kentucky, in the winter of 1830, I purchased
twenty-five of these birds, at the rate of 6¼ cents each, which I shipped
to New Orleans, and afterwards to Liverpool, with the view of turning
them out in the English woods. They were caught in common traps, baited
with maize, and were brought to me one after another as soon as secured.
In placing them in the large cage which I had ordered for the purpose
of sending them abroad, I was surprised to see how cowardly each newly
caught bird was when introduced to his brethren, who, on being in the
cage a day or two, were as gay and frolicksome as if at liberty in the
woods. The new comer, on the contrary, would run into a corner, place
his head almost in a perpendicular position, and remain silent and
sulky, with an appearance of stupidity quite foreign to his nature. He
would suffer all the rest to walk over him and trample him down, without
ever changing his position. If corn or fruit was presented to him, or
even placed close to his bill, he would not so much as look at it. If
touched with the hand, he would cower, lie down on his side, and remain
motionless. The next day, however, things were altered: he was again
a Jay, taking up corn, placing it between his feet, hammering it with
his bill, splitting the grain, picking out the kernel, and dropping the
divided husks. When the cage was filled, it was amusing to listen to their
hammering; all mounted on their perch side by side, each pecking at a
grain of maize, like so many blacksmiths paid by the piece. They drank a
great deal, eat broken pacan nuts, grapes, dried fruits of all sorts, and
especially fresh beef, of which they were extremely fond, roosted very
peaceably close together, and were very pleasing pets. Now and then one
would utter a cry of alarm, when instantly all would leap and fly about
as if greatly concerned, making as much ado as if their most inveterate
enemy had been in the midst of them. They bore the passage to Europe
pretty well, and most of them reached Liverpool in good health; but a
few days after their arrival, a disease occasioned by insects adhering
to every part of their body, made such progress that some died every
day. Many remedies were tried in vain, and only one individual reached
London. The insects had so multiplied on it, that I immersed it in an
infusion of tobacco, which, however, killed it in a few hours.

On advancing north, I observed that as soon as the Canada Jay made its
appearance, the Blue Jay became more and more rare; not an individual
did any of our party observe in Newfoundland or Labrador, during our
stay there. On landing a few miles from Pictou, on the 22d of August
1833, after an absence of several months from the United States, the
voice of a Blue Jay sounded melodious to me, and the sight of a Humming
Bird quite filled my heart with delight.

These Jays are plentiful in all parts of the United States. In Louisiana,
they are so abundant as to prove a nuisance to the farmers, picking
the newly planted corn, the pease, and the sweet potatoes, attacking
every fruit tree, and even destroying the eggs of pigeons and domestic
fowls. The planters are in the habit of occasionally soaking some corn
in a solution of arsenic, and scattering the seeds over the ground,
in consequence of which many Jays are found dead about the fields and
gardens.

The Blue Jay is extremely expert in discovering a fox, a racoon, or any
other quadruped hostile to birds, and will follow it, emitting a loud
noise, as if desirous of bringing every Jay or Crow to its assistance.
It acts in the same manner towards owls, and even on some occasions
towards hawks.

This species breeds in all parts of the United States, from Louisiana
to Maine, and from the Upper Missouri to the coast of the Atlantic. In
South Carolina it seems to prefer for this purpose the live oak trees.
In the lower parts of the Floridas it gives place in a great measure to
the Florida Jay; nor did I meet with a single individual in the Keys of
that peninsula. In Louisiana, it breeds near the planter's house, in the
upper parts of the trees growing in the avenues, or even in the yards,
and generally at a greater height than in the Middle States, where it is
comparatively shy. It sometimes takes possession of the old or abandoned
nest of a Crow or Cuckoo. In the Southern States, from Louisiana to
Maryland, it breeds twice every year; but to the eastward of the latter
State seldom more than once. Although it occurs in all places from the
sea shore to the mountainous districts, it seems more abundant in the
latter. The nest is composed of twigs and other coarse materials, lined
with fibrous roots. The eggs are four or five, of a dull olive colour,
spotted with brown.

The Blue Jay is truly omnivorous, feeding indiscriminately on all sorts
of flesh, seeds, and insects. He is more tyrannical than brave, and, like
most boasters, domineers over the feeble, dreads the strong, and flies
even from his equals. In many cases in fact, he is a downright coward.
The Cardinal Grosbeak will challenge him, and beat him off the ground.
The Red Thrush, the Mocking Bird, and many others, although inferior in
strength, never allow him to approach their nest with impunity; and the
Jay, to be even with them, creeps silently to it in their absence, and
devours their eggs and young whenever he finds an opportunity. I have
seen one go its round from one nest to another every day, and suck the
newly laid eggs of the different birds in the neighbourhood, with as
much regularity and composure as a physician would call on his patients.
I have also witnessed the sad disappointment it experienced, when, on
returning to its own home, it found its mate in the jaws of a snake,
the nest upset, and the eggs all gone. I have thought more than once on
such occasions that, like all great culprits, when brought to a sense
of their enormities, it evinced a strong feeling of remorse. While at
Charleston, in November 1833, Dr WILSON of that city told me that on
opening a division of his aviary, a Mocking Bird that he had kept for
three years, flew at another and killed it, after which it destroyed
several Blue Jays, which he had been keeping for me some months in an
adjoining compartment.

The Blue Jay seeks for its food with great diligence at all times, but
more especially during the period of its migration. At such a time,
wherever there are chinquapins, wild chestnuts, acorns, or grapes, flocks
will be seen to alight on the topmost branches of these trees, disperse,
and engage with great vigour in detaching the fruit. Those that fall
are picked up from the ground, and carried into a chink in the bark,
the splinters of a fence rail, or firmly held under foot on a branch,
and hammered with the bill until the kernel be procured.

As if for the purpose of gleaning the country in this manner, the Blue
Jay migrates from one part to another during the day only. A person
travelling or hunting by night, may now and then disturb the repose of a
Jay, which in its terror sounds an alarm that is instantly responded to
by all its surrounding travelling companions, and their multiplied cries
make the woods resound far and near. While migrating, they seldom fly
to any great distance at a time without alighting, for like true rangers
they ransack and minutely inspect every portion of the woods, the fields,
the orchards, and even the gardens of the farmers and planters. Always
exceedingly garrulous, they may easily be followed to any distance,
and the more they are chased the more noisy do they become, unless a
hawk happen to pass suddenly near them, when they are instantly struck
dumb, and, as if ever conscious of deserving punishment, either remain
motionless for a while, or sneak off silently into the closest thickets,
where they remain concealed as long as their dangerous enemy is near.

During the winter months they collect in large numbers about the
plantations of the Southern States, approach the houses and barns, attend
the feeding of the poultry, as well as of the cattle and horses in their
separate pens, in company with the Cardinal Grosbeak, the Towhe Bunting,
the Cow Bunting, the Starlings and Grakles, pick up every grain of loose
corn they can find, search amid the droppings of horses along the roads,
and enter the corn cribs, where many are caught by the cat and the sons
of the farmer. Their movements on the wing are exceedingly graceful, and
as they pass from one tree to another, their expanded wings and tail,
exhibiting all the beauty of their graceful form and lovely tints, never
fail to delight the observer.


CORVUS CRISTATUS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 157.—_Lath._
Synops. vol. i. p. 386.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of
the United States, p. 58.

GARRULUS CRISTATUS, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna
Boreali-Americ. part ii. p. 293.

BLUE JAY, CORVUS CRISTATUS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 2.
pl. i. fig. 1.—_Nuttall_, Manual, part i. p. 224.


Adult Male. Plate CII. Fig. 1.

Bill short, strong, straight, compressed, acute; upper mandible with
the dorsal outline slightly arched, the sides sloping, the edges sharp
and overlapping, the tip slightly declinate; lower mandible with the
back narrow, the sides sloping. Nostrils basal, open, covered by the
reversed bristly feathers. Head rather large, neck short, body robust.
Feet of ordinary length; tarsus about the same length as the middle toe,
anteriorly scutellate, compressed, acute behind; toes free, scutellate,
the inner shorter than the outer; claws arched, compressed, acute.

Plumage soft, blended, glossy. A tuft of reflected, adpressed, bristly
feathers over the nostril on each side. Feathers of the head elongated,
and erectile into a tuft. Wings short, first quill very short, fourth
and fifth longest. Tail much rounded or wedge-shaped at the extremity,
rather long, of twelve rounded feathers.

Bill and feet brownish-black. Iris brown. The general colour of the
upper parts is a beautiful bright purplish-blue; the ends of the
secondary coverts, secondary quills and tail feathers white; the larger
wing-coverts, secondary quills, and tail transversely barred with black.
Feathers along the base of upper mandible black, and a broad band of
the same colour from the occiput, passing behind the eye, down to the
lower part of the neck, forming a kind of curved collar. Sides of the
head pale blue, throat white. The lower parts are whitish, tinged on
the breast and under the wings with reddish-brown.

Length 12 inches, extent of wings 14; bill ⅞; tarsus 1-2/12, middle toe
nearly the same.


Adult Female. Plate CII. Fig. 2, 3.

The female scarcely differs in appearance from the male, being merely
somewhat smaller, with the blue of the upper parts less rich, and the
breast more tinged with brown.


THE TRUMPET-FLOWER.

BIGNONIA RADICANS, _Pursh_, Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 420.

The plant on which this Jay is represented, has been already noticed at
p. 254 of vol. i.




THE CANADA FLYCATCHER.

_MUSCICAPA CANADENSIS_, LINN.

PLATE CIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


What a beautiful object, in the delightful season of spring, is our
Great Laurel, covered with its tufts of richly, yet delicately, coloured
flowers! In imagination I am at this moment rambling along the banks
of some murmuring streamlet, overshadowed by the thick foliage of this
gorgeous ornament of our mountainous districts. Methinks I see the
timid trout eyeing my movements from beneath his rocky covert, while
the warblers and other sylvan choristers, equally fond of their wild
retreats, are skipping in all the freedom of nature around me. Delightful
moments have been to me those when, seated in such a place, with senses
all intent, I gazed on the rosy tints of the flowers that seemed to
acquire additional colouring from the golden rays of the sun, as he rode
proudly over the towering mountains, drawing aside as it were the sable
curtain that till now hung over the landscape, and drying up, with the
gentleness of a parent towards his cherished offspring, the dewy tears
that glittered on each drooping plant. Would that I could describe to
you the thoughts that on such a morning have filled my whole soul; but
alas, I have not words wherewith to express the feelings of gratitude,
love, and wonder that thrilled and glowed in my bosom! I must therefore
content myself with requesting you to look at the blossoms of the laurel
as depicted in the plate, together with two of the birds, which, in
pairs, side by side, are fond of residing among its glossy and verdant
foliage.

A comparison of the plate in which I have represented this interesting
species, with that exhibiting the bird named by me the Bonaparte
Flycatcher,[1] will suffice to convince you, good reader, that these
birds are truly distinct. My excellent friend Mr WILLIAM SWAINSON, is
quite correct, when, after describing the present species, he says, "we
can perceive no character, either in the figure or the description of
WILSON, which does not accord with our bird," but is certainly mistaken
in supposing me to have informed him that the Canada Flycatcher and that
named after the Prince of Musignano, are one and the same[2].

The Muscicapa Bonapartii was met with in Louisiana, where, during a
residence of many years, I never saw the present species. Nay, the Canada
Flycatcher, although a migratory, may be said to be truly a northern
bird, never having been observed south of Pennsylvania, east of the range
of the Alleghany mountains, or below Pittsburg, on their broad western
slope.

I first became acquainted with the habits of the Canada Flycatcher in the
Great Pine Forest, while in company with that excellent woodsman JEDIAH
IRISH, of whom I have previously spoken; and I have since ascertained
that it gives a decided preference to mountainous places, thickly covered
with almost impenetrable undergrowths of tangled shrubbery. I found it
breeding in the Pine Forest, and have followed it through Maine, New
Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and the country of Labrador, in
every portion of which, suited to its retired habits, it brings forth
its broods in peaceful security.

It no doubt comes from the southern parts of America, or from the
West Indies, but the mode of its migration is still unknown to me. In
Pennsylvania, about the middle of May, a few are seen in the maritime
districts, where they seem merely to be resting after the fatigues
of a long and tedious journey, before they retreat to their favourite
haunts in the mountainous tracts. There they are heard while concealed
among the opening blossoms, giving vent to their mirth in song, perhaps
thanking the Author of their being for their safe return to their
cherished abode. Their notes are not unmusical, although simple and not
attractive. Wherever a streamlet of rushing water, deeply shaded by the
great mountain laurel (_Rhododendron maximum_) was met with, there was
the Canada Flycatcher to be found. You might see it skipping among the
branches, peeping beneath each leaf, examining every chink of the bark,
moving along with rapidity and elegance, singing, making love to its
mate, and caressing her with all the fervour of a true sylvan lover.

The nest of this bird which I found, was filled to the brim with four
young ones ready to take wing; and as it was on the 11th of August,
I concluded that the parents had reared another brood that season.
When I put my hand on them, they all left the nest and scrambled off,
emitting a plaintive _tsche_, which immediately brought the old ones.
Notwithstanding all the anxious cares of the latter in assisting them to
hide, I procured all of them; but after examining each minutely I set
them at liberty. They were of a dull greyish tint above, of a delicate
citron colour beneath, and without any spots on the breast or sides. The
nest was placed in the fork of a small branch of laurel, not above four
feet from the ground, and resembled that of the Black-capped Warbler.
The outer parts were formed of several sorts of mosses, supporting a
delicate bed of slender grasses, carefully disposed in a circular form,
and lined with hair. In another nest found near Eastport, in the State
of Maine, on the 22d of May, five eggs had been laid, and the female was
sitting on them. They were of a transparent whiteness, with a few dots
of a bright red colour towards the large end. This nest also was placed
in the fork of a small bush, and immediately over a rivulet.

The flight of the Canada Flycatcher is rather swifter than that of
sylviæ generally is; and as it passes low amid bushes, the bird cannot
be followed by the eye to any considerable distance. Now and then it
gives chase on the wing, when the clicking of its bill is distinctly
heard. By the 1st of October not one remained in the Great Pine Forest,
nor did I see any in Labrador after the 1st of August. A few were seen
in Newfoundland in the course of that month, and as I returned through
Nova Scotia, these birds, like my own party, were all moving southward.


MUSCICAPA CANADENSIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 327.

SYLVIA PARDALINA, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the
United States, p. 79.

SETOPHAGA BONAPARTII, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna
Boreali-Americana, part ii. p. 225.

CANADA FLYCATCHER, MUSCICAPA CANADENSIS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
vol. iii. p. 100. Pl. 26. fig. 2. Male.


Adult Male. Plate CIII. Fig. 1.

Bill of moderate length, straight, broad and depressed at the base,
acute; upper mandible slightly notched, and a little inflected at the
tip, lower mandible straight. Nostrils basal, lateral, roundish, partly



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