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covered by the frontal feathers. Head and neck moderate. Eyes moderate.
Body slender. Legs of ordinary size; tarsus a little longer than the
middle toe; inner toe a little united at the base; claws compressed,
acute, arched.

Plumage ordinary, blended. Wings of ordinary length, the second primary
longest. Tail rather long, slightly emarginate, straight. Basirostral
feathers bristly, and directed outwards.

Bill pale brown above, flesh-coloured below. Iris deep brown. Feet
and claws flesh-coloured and semitransparent. The upper parts are of a
light brownish-grey, the quills brown edged externally with paler, as
are the tail-feathers, except the two middle, which are grey like the
back. The head mottled with brownish-black; spots of the same colour,
descending in a line from the lower mandible to the upper part of the
breast, forming an interrupted gorgelet. A bright yellow line from the
base of the mandible over the eye. The lower parts of a fine bright
yellow, excepting under the tail, where they are white.

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 9; bill ⅜; tarsus ⅞, toe about the
same length.


Adult Female. Pl. CIII. Fig. 2.

The female has the grey of the upper parts more tinged with brown, and
the yellow of the lower parts less brilliant; but in other respects so
resembles the male as not to require any particular description.


THE GREAT LAUREL.

RHODODENDRON MAXIMUM, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. ii. p. 600.
—_Pursh_, Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 297.—DECANDRIA MONOGYNIA,
_Linn._—RHODODENDRA, _Juss._

This beautiful species frequently attains a height of 15 or even 20 feet.
It is characterised by its oblong, acute leaves, its terminal umbels or
clusters of pink campanulate flowers, the divisions of the calyces of
which are oval and obtuse. It exhibits several varieties depending on
the shape of the leaves, the colour of the flowers, and the comparative
length of the stamens and style. The wood, which is tough and stubborn,
is well adapted for turner's work. The species is found on all the moist
declivities of our mountainous districts, from Carolina to Massachusetts.




THE CHIPPING SPARROW.

_FRINGILLA SOCIALIS_, WILS.

PLATE CIV. MALE.


Few birds are more common throughout the United States than this gentle
and harmless little finch. It inhabits the towns, villages, orchards,
gardens, borders of fields, and prairie grounds. Abundant in the whole
of the Middle States during spring, summer, and autumn; it removes to
the southern parts to spend the winter, and there you may meet with it
in flocks almost anywhere, even in the open woods. So social is it in
its character that you see it at that season in company with the Song
Sparrow, the White-throated, the Savannah, the Field, and almost every
other species of the genus. The sandy roads exposed to the sun's rays are
daily visited by it, where, among the excrement of horses and cattle,
it searches for food, or among the tall grasses of our old fields it
seeks for seeds, small berries, and insects of various kinds. Should
the weather be cold it enters the barn-yard, and even presents itself
in the piazza. It reaches Louisiana, the Carolinas, and other southern
districts in November, and returns about the middle of March to the
Middle and Eastern States, where it breeds.

Early in May the Chipping Sparrow has already formed its nest, which it
has placed indifferently in the apple or peach tree of the orchard or
garden, in any evergreen bush or cedar, high or low, as it may best suit,
but never on the ground. It is small and comparatively slender, being
formed of a scanty collection of fine dried grass, and lined with horse
or cow hair. The eggs are four or five, of a bright greenish-blue colour,
slightly marked with dark and light-brown spots, chiefly distributed
towards the larger end. They are more pointed at the small end than is
common in this genus. Although timorous, these birds express great anxiety
when their nest is disturbed, especially the female. They generally raise
two broods in the season, south of Pennsylvania, and not unfrequently
in Virginia and Maryland.

The song of this species, if song it can with propriety be called, is
heard at all hours of the day, the bird seeming determined to make up by
quantity for defect in the quality of its notes. Mounted on the topmost
branch of any low tree or bush, or on the end of a fence stake, it emits
with rapidity six or seven notes resembling the sounds produced by smartly
striking two pebbles together, each succeeding note rising in strength,
although the song altogether is scarcely louder than the chirping of a
cricket. It is often heard during the calm of a fine night, or in the
warmer days of winter.

These gentle birds migrate by day; and no sooner has October returned
and mellowed the tints of the sylvan foliage, than flitting before you
on the road, you see family after family moving southward, chasing each
other as if in play, sweeping across the path, or flocking suddenly
to a tree if surprised, but almost instantly returning to the ground
and resuming their line of march. At the approach of night they throw
themselves into thickets of brambles, where, in company with several
other species, they keep up a murmuring conversation until long after
dark. Their flight is short, rather irregular, and seldom more elevated
than the height of moderate-sized trees.

With the exception of the Sharp-shinned Hawk, the Marsh Hawk, and the
Black Snake, these birds have few enemies, children being generally fond
of protecting them. Little or no difference is perceptible between the
sexes, and the young acquire the full plumage of their parents at the
earliest approach of spring.

I did not find one individual of the species in Newfoundland, Labrador,
or Nova Scotia.


FRINGILLA SOCIALIS, _Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. p. 109.

CHIPPING SPARROW, FRINGILLA SOCIALIS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith.
vol. ii. p. 127. Pl. 16. Fig. 5.—_Nuttall_, Manual, vol. i.
p. 497.


Adult male. Plate CIV.

Bill short, rather small, conical, acute; upper mandible rather narrower
than the lower, very slightly declinate at the tip, rounded on the sides,
as is the lower, which has the edges inflected and acute; the gap line
straight, slightly deflected at the base. Nostrils basal, roundish,
concealed by the feathers. Head rather large, neck short, body robust.
Legs of moderate length, slender; tarsus longer than the middle toe,
covered anteriorly with a few longish scutella; toes scutellate above,
free, the lateral ones nearly equal; claws slender, greatly compressed,
acute, slightly arched, that of the hind toe little larger.

Plumage soft, rather compact. Wings shortish, curved, rounded, the third
and fourth quills longest, the second nearly as long, the first little
shorter. Tail rather long, emarginate.

Bill dusky. Iris brown. Feet flesh-colour. Upper part of the head,
anterior portion of the back, and scapulars, bright chestnut, with
blackish-brown spots, the middle of each feather being of the latter
colour. Sides of the neck and rump light greyish-blue, as are the smaller
wing-coverts. Quills, larger coverts and first row of smaller, dusky,
the two latter tipped with white, the former more or less margined with
chestnut. Tail dusky, the feathers edged with pale ochre. A white line
over the eye, and the lower parts generally of a greyish-white.

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 8; bill little more than ¼.

The Female differs only in having the tints generally less intense. In
winter, both have a blackish frontlet.


THE BLACK LOCUST OR FALSE ACACIA.

ROBINIA PSEUDACACIA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iii. p. 1131.
_Pursh_, Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 487.—DIADELPHIA DECANDRIA,
_Linn._ LEGUMINOSÆ, _Juss._

This beautiful tree grows in the mountainous parts of the United States,
from Canada to Carolina. Its wood, which is of great durability,
is employed for various purposes, and particularly for gates and
fence-stakes. The species is characterised by its spinescent stipules,
pendulous racemes of white, sweet-scented flowers, and large smooth
legumes. Although abundant in the natural state, it is now planted around
farms and plantations, on account of the great value of its timber. It
is besides a charming ornament of our avenues, either in the country,
or in the streets of villages and cities.




THE RED-BELLIED NUTHATCH.

_SITTA CANADENSIS_, LINN.

PLATE CV. MALE AND FEMALE.


While the Brown-headed Nuthatch perambulates the southern districts, the
Red-bellied species spends its time in the eastern and northern States,
the two dividing the country, as it were, nearly equally between them.
The southern limits of this little bird seldom extend farther than
Maryland. It is more plentiful in Pennsylvania, particularly in the
mountainous parts of that State, and becomes still more abundant as you
proceed towards Maine and Nova Scotia, where the greater number spend
even the coldest winters. Yet I saw none in Newfoundland, and only one
in Labrador, which had probably been blown thither by a gale.

I found it building its nest near Eastport in Maine, on the 19th of May,
before the Blue Bird had made its appearance there, and while much ice
still remained on the northern exposures. The nest is dug in a low dead
stump, seldom more than four feet from the ground, both the male and
the female working by turns, until they have got to the depth of about
fourteen inches. The eggs, four in number, are small, and of a white
colour, tinged with a deep blush, and sprinkled with reddish dots. They
raise, I believe, only one brood in the season.

The activity and industry of this little creature are admirable. With
the quickness of thought it moves up and down the branches of trees,
assuming various positions, examining every hole or cranny in the bark,
frequently rapping against it with its bill, and detaching now and
then small fragments, in order to get at the insects or larvæ concealed
beneath. It searches for its food among the leaves of the tallest pines,
along the fences, and on the fallen logs, ever busy, petulant, and noisy,
probably never resting except during the night, when, like other species
of the tribe, it attaches itself by the feet to the bark, and sleeps
head downwards. Like other birds of this genus also, it is careless of
man, although it never suffers him to form too close an acquaintance.
During the breeding season, they move in pairs, and manifest a strong
mutual attachment. Their almost incessant _hink_, _hink_, _hink-hink_,
is heard at every hop they take, but less loudly sounded than the notes
of the Brown-headed species, the male being more prodigal of noise than
the female, which, however, now and then answers to his call.

It is pleasant to see such a pair leading their offspring through the tops
of the tall trees of our great pine forests of the north, accompanied by
a train of small Woodpeckers and Creepers, all bent on the same object,
that of procuring food. Gaily they move from tree to tree, each emitting
its peculiar note, and all evincing the greatest sociality. If danger
is apparent, dead silence takes place, but as soon as their fear is
removed, they become as clamorous and lively as before.

The flight of the Red-bellied Nuthatch is seldom protracted farther
than from tree to tree; and in this manner a certain number go south at
the approach of winter, some at this season venturing as far as South
Carolina, although they are never seen in the maritime districts of
that State. They are plentiful during summer in the Pocano mountains of
Pennsylvania, and many breed there. Those which remain in our northern
States during winter, now and then shew themselves in the orchards and
farm-yards, alighting about the eaves of the out-houses, to seek for food.

While at sea, on one of my migrations from Europe to America, and at
a distance of 300 miles from land, I saw one of these birds come on
board one evening, during a severe gale. It alighted on the rigging, and
proceeded at once to search for food in its usual manner. It was caught
and brought to me; but although I gave it flies and some bits of cheese,
it refused to touch them, generally sitting in the bottom of the cage
with its head under its wing, and it died in the course of the night.
On opening it, I could not perceive a particle of food in its stomach,
so that its sudden death was probably occasioned by inanition and fatigue.


SITTA CANADENSIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 177.—_Lath._
Ind. Ornith. p. 262.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synopsis of Birds of
the United States, p. 96.

RED-BELLIED BLACK-CAP NUTHATCH, SITTA CANADENSIS, _Wilson_,
Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 40. Pl. 2. fig. 4.—_Nuttall_, Manual,
vol. i. p. 583.


Adult Male. Plate CV. Fig. 1.

Bill straight, of moderate length, very hard, conico-subulate, a little
compressed, more or less wedge-shaped at the tip; 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, with a strong hooked claw; the claws arched, compressed, acute.

Plumage soft, blended, with little gloss. Wings rather short, broad, the
second and third primaries longest. Tail short, broad, even, of twelve
rounded feathers.

Bill black. Iris brown. Feet and claws flesh-coloured, tinged with
yellowish-green. The general colour of the plumage above is a light
leaden-grey, beneath pale brownish-red. The top of the head is
bluish-black. A long white line passes over the eye; a broader line of
black from the bill to the eye, and beyond it down the neck; the throat
white. Primary quills dusky margined with greyish-blue; tail-feathers
blackish, the two middle ones of the general colour of the back; the
lateral ones white towards the end.

Length 4½ inches; extent of wings 8; bill along the ridge 5/12; gap-line
7/12.


Adult Female. Plate CV. Fig. 2.

There is scarcely any perceptible external difference between the sexes,
the lower parts of the female being merely a little paler, and the black
of the head not so deep.




THE RUNAWAY.


Never shall I forget the impression made on my mind by the _rencontre_
which forms the subject of this article, and I even doubt if the relation
of it will not excite in that of my reader emotions of varied character.

Late in the afternoon of one of those sultry days which render the
atmosphere of the Louisiana swamps pregnant with baneful effluvia, I
directed my course towards my distant home, laden with a pack consisting
of five or six Wood Ibises, and a heavy gun, the weight of which, even
in those days when my natural powers were unimpaired, prevented me
from moving with much speed. Reaching the banks of a miry bayou, only a
few yards in breadth, but of which I could not ascertain the depth, on
account of the muddiness of its waters, I thought it might be dangerous
to wade through it with my burden; for which reason, throwing to the
opposite side each of my heavy birds in succession, together with my
gun, powder-flask, and shot-bag, and drawing my hunting-knife from its
scabbard, to defend myself, if need should be, against alligators, I
entered the water, followed by my faithful dog. As I advanced carefully
and slowly, "Plato" swam around me, enjoying the refreshing influence
of the liquid element that cooled his fatigued and heated frame. The
water deepened, as did the mire of its bed; but with a stroke or two I
gained the shore.

Scarcely had I stood erect on the opposite bank, when my dog ran to
me, exhibiting marks of terror, his eyes seeming ready to burst from
their sockets, and his mouth grinning with the expression of hatred,
while his feelings found vent in a stifled growl. Thinking that all
this was produced by the scent of a wolf or bear, I stooped to take
up my gun, when a stentorial voice commanded me to "stand still, or
die!" Such a "_qui vive_" in these woods was as unexpected as it was
rare. I instantly raised and cocked my gun; and although I did not yet
perceive the individual who had thus issued so peremptory a mandate, I
felt determined to combat with him for the free passage of the grounds.
Presently a tall firmly-built Negro emerged from the bushy underwood,
where, until that moment, he must have been crouched, and in a louder
voice repeated his injunction. Had I pressed a trigger, his life would
have instantly terminated; but observing that the gun, which he aimed
at my breast, was a wretched rusty piece, from which fire could not
readily be produced, I felt little fear, and therefore did not judge it
necessary to proceed at once to extremities. I laid my gun at my side,
tapped my dog quietly, and asked the man what he wanted.

My forbearance, and the stranger's long habit of submission, produced the
most powerful effect on his mind. "Master," said he, "I am a runaway.
I might perhaps shoot you down; but God forbids it, for I feel just
now, as if I saw him ready to pass his judgment against me for such a
foul deed, and I ask mercy at your hands. For God's sake, do not kill
me, master!" And why, answered I, have you left your quarters, where
certainly you must have fared better than in these unwholesome swamps?
"Master, my story is a short, but a sorrowful one. My camp is close by,
and as I know you cannot reach home this night, if you will follow me
there, depend upon _my honour_ you shall be safe until the morning, when
I will carry your birds, if you choose, to the great road."

The large intelligent eyes of the Negro, the complacency of his manner,
and the tones of his voice, I thought, invited me to venture; and as
I felt that I was at least his equal, while, moreover, I had my dog
to second me, I answered that I would _follow him_. He observed the
emphasis laid on the words, the meaning of which he seemed to understand
so thoroughly, that, turning to me, he said, "There, master, take my
butcher's knife, while I throw away the flint and priming from my gun!"
Reader, I felt confounded: this was too much for me; I refused the knife,
and told him to keep his piece ready, in case we might accidentally meet
a cougar or a bear.

Generosity exists everywhere. The greatest monarch acknowledges its
impulse, and all around him, from his lowliest menial to the proud nobles
that encircle his throne, at times experience that overpowering sentiment.
I offered to shake hands with the runaway. "Master," said he, "I beg you
thanks," and with this he gave me a squeeze, that alike impressed me
with the goodness of his heart, and his great physical strength. From
that moment we proceeded through the woods together. My dog smelt at
him several times, but as he heard me speak in my usual tone of voice,
he soon left us, and rambled around as long as my whistle was unused.
As we proceeded, I observed that he was guiding me towards the setting
of the sun, and quite contrary to my homeward course. I remarked this
to him, when he with the greatest simplicity replied, "merely for our
security."

After trudging along for some distance, and crossing several bayous, at
all of which he threw his gun and knife to the opposite bank, and stood
still until I had got over, we came to the borders of an immense cane
brake, from which I had, on former occasions, driven and killed several
deer. We entered, as I had frequently done before, now erect, then on
"all fours." He regularly led the way, divided here and there the tangled
stalks, and, whenever we reached a fallen tree, assisted me in getting
over it with all possible care. I saw that he was a perfect Indian in
the knowledge of the woods, for he kept a direct course as precisely as
any "Red-skin" I ever travelled with. All of a sudden he emitted a loud
shriek, not unlike that of an owl, which so surprised me, that I once
more instantly levelled my gun. "No harm, master, I only give notice to
my wife and children that I am coming." A tremulous answer of the same
nature gently echoed through the tree-tops. The runaway's lips separated
with an expression of gentleness and delight, when his beautiful set
of ivory teeth seemed to smile through the dusk of evening that was
thickening around us. "Master," said he, "my wife, though black, is as
beautiful to me as the President's wife is to him; she is my queen, and
I look on our young ones as so many princes:—but you shall see them all,
for here they are, thank God!"

There, in the heart of the cane-brake, I found a regular camp. A small
fire was lighted, and on its embers lay gridling some large slices of
venison. A lad nine or ten years old was blowing the ashes from some fine
sweet potatoes. Various articles of household furniture were carefully
disposed around, and a large pallet of bear and deer skins seemed to
be the resting-place of the whole family. The wife raised not her eyes
towards mine, and the little ones, three in number, retired into a corner,
like so many discomfited racoons; but the Runaway, bold and apparently
happy, spoke to them in such cheering words, that at once one and all
seemed to regard me as one sent by Providence to relieve them from all
their troubles. My clothes were hung up by them to dry, and the Negro
asked if he might clean and grease my gun, which I permitted him to do,
while the wife threw a large piece of deer's flesh to my dog, which the
children were already caressing.

Only think of my situation, reader! Here I was, ten miles at least from
home, and four or five from the nearest plantation, in the camp of runaway
slaves, and quite at their mercy. My eyes involuntarily followed their
motions, but as I thought I perceived in them a strong desire to make
me their confidant and friend, I gradually relinquished all suspicion.
The venison and potatoes looked quite tempting, and by this time I was
in a condition to relish much less savoury fare; so, on being humbly
asked to divide the viands before us, I partook of as hearty a meal as
I had ever done in my life.

Supper over, the fire was completely extinguished, and a small lighted
pine-knot placed in a hollowed calabash. Seeing that both the husband
and wife were desirous of communicating something to me, I at once and
fearlessly desired them to unburden their minds; when the Runaway told
me a tale of which the following is the substance.

About eighteen months before, a planter residing not very far off, having
met with some losses, was obliged to expose his slaves at a public sale.
The value of his negroes was well known, and on the appointed day, the
auctioneer laid them out in small lots, or offered them singly, in the
manner which he judged most advantageous to their owner. The Runaway, who
was well known as being the most valuable next to his wife, was put up
by himself for sale, and brought an immoderate price. For his wife, who
came next, and alone, eight hundred dollars were bidden and paid down.
Then the children were exposed, and, on account of their breed, brought
high prices. The rest of the slaves went off at rates corresponding to
their qualifications.

The Runaway chanced to be purchased by the overseer of the plantation;
the wife was bought by an individual residing about a hundred miles off,
and the children went to different places along the river. The heart of
the husband and father failed him under this dire calamity. For a while
he pined in deep sorrow under his new master; but having marked down in
his memory the names of the different persons who had purchased each dear
portion of his family, he feigned illness, if indeed he whose affections
had been so grievously blasted could be said to feign it, refrained from
food for several days, and was little regarded by the overseer, who felt
himself disappointed in what he had considered a bargain.

On a stormy night, when the elements raged with all the fury of a
hurricane, the poor negro made his escape, and, being well acquainted
with all the neighbouring swamps, at once made directly for the cane
brake, in the centre of which I found his camp. A few nights afterwards
he gained the abode of his wife, and the very next after their meeting
he led her away. The children one after another he succeeded in stealing,
until at last the whole objects of his love were under his care.

To provide for five individuals was no easy task in those wilds, which,
after the first notice was given of the wonderful disappearance of this



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