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described by that justly celebrated writer. Had the assertions however
been made in the hearing of that ornithologist, he would doubtless
at once have refuted the speech of this _extraordinary_ orator, who
continued as follows:—"No more Finches, no more Hawks, no more Owls,
no more Herons, and certainly no more Pigeons; and as to Water birds,
let the list given by WILSON of such as he has not described be filled,
and again I say, there will end the American Ornithology." The orator
has travelled much, having gone a few miles to the eastward of his own
city, and even crossed the Mississippi; but as he had predicted, _he_
never discovered a bird in all his wanderings. Time passed on, and the
orator has dreamed over it; but several industrious students of nature,
doubting if all that he had said might really be strictly correct to
the letter, have followed in the track of WILSON, have extended their
investigations, ransacked the deep recesses of the forests and the
great western plains, visited the shores of the Atlantic, ascended our
noble streams, and explored our broadest lakes;—and, reader, they have
found more new birds than the learned academician probably knew of old
ones. Then, be not surprised when I assure you that our BONAPARTES, our
NUTTALLS, our BACHMANS, our COOPERS, PICKERINGS, TOWNSENDS, PEALS, and
other zealous naturalists, have very considerably augmented the Fauna
of the United States. To the list of these amiable men may be added the
names of learned and enterprising Europeans—PARRY, FRANKLIN, RICHARDSON,
ROSS, DRUMMOND, and others, who with a zeal equalled only by that of
WILSON himself, have crossed the broad Atlantic, and made discoveries in
ornithology in portions of North America, never before visited, in which
they have met with species that, although previously unknown to us, have
since been found to traverse the whole extent of our wide territories.
Then, reader, will you not agree with me in believing that even now,
discoveries remain to be made in a region so vast that no individual,
whatever might have been his exertions, could truly say of it that he
had explored it all?

The bird represented in the plate before you was discovered by my friend,
JOHN BACHMAN, near Charleston in South Carolina, while I was in another
part of our continent, searching for the knowledge necessary to render
my ornithological biographies as interesting as possible to you:—it was
in the spring of 1832, when I was rambling over the rugged country of
Labrador, that my southern friend found the first specimen of this bird,
near the banks of the Edisto River. I have been favoured by him with
the following account of it.

"I was first attracted by the novelty of its notes, four or five in
number, repeated at intervals of five or six minutes apart. These notes
were loud, clear, and more like a whistle than a song. They resembled
the sounds of some extraordinary ventriloquist in such a degree, that
I supposed the bird much farther from me than it really was; for after
some trouble caused by these fictitious notes, I observed it near to
me, and soon shot it.

"The form of its bill I observed at once to differ from all other known
birds of our country, and was pleased at its discovery. On dissection it
proved to be a male, and in the course of the same spring, I obtained
two other males, of which the markings were precisely similar. In the
middle of August of that year, I saw an old female accompanied with
four young. One of the latter I obtained: it did not differ materially
from the old ones. Another specimen was sent to me alive, having been
caught in a trap. I have invariably found them in swampy muddy places,
usually covered with more or less water. The birds which I opened had
their gizzards filled with the fragments of coleopterous insects, as well
as some small green worms that are found on water plants, such as the
pond lily (_Nymphæa odorata_) and the _Nelumbium_ (_Cyamus flavicomus_).
The manners of this species resemble those of the Prothonotary Warbler,
as it skips among the low bushes growing about ponds and other watery
places, seldom ascending high trees. It retires southward at the close
of summer."

The Azalea and Butterflies accompanying the figure of this species
were drawn by my friend's sister, Miss MARTIN, to whom I again offer my
sincere thanks.

To none of my ornithological friends could I assuredly with more propriety
have dedicated this species than to him, the excellent and learned, whose
name you have seen connected with it—to him, who has himself traversed
large portions of America, who has added so considerably to the list of
known species of birds, and who has enriched the science of ornithology
by so many valuable works. Surely, you will allow that on none else
could I with more propriety have bestowed it.


SYLVIA SWAINSONII.


Adult. Plate CXCVIII.

Bill as long as the head, slender, straight, tapering to a point, much
compressed, the ridge rather sharp, the sides of the upper mandible
at the base declinate and flat, the edges inflected. Nostrils basal,
lateral, oblong, half filled above by a cartilaginous membrane. The
form is slender and graceful. Feet of ordinary length, slender; tarsus
compressed, anteriorly covered with a few long scutella, posteriorly
sharp, longer than the middle toe; toes free, but the outer united to
the second joint; claws arched, very slender, very acute, extremely
compressed, with a lateral groove, the hind claw much larger.

Plumage soft, blended, slightly glossed. Wings longish, the first three
quills almost equal, the first being very slightly shorter, secondaries
narrow and rounded. Tail of ordinary length, straight, even, of twelve
rather narrow rounded feathers.

Bill light brown, darker at the tip. Iris brown. Feet and claws
flesh-coloured. The colouring of the plumage is extremely simple, the
whole of the upper parts being of a rich brown, tinged with red on
the head, while the under parts are very pale brownish-grey, the sides
darker. The sides of the head are brownish-white, the feathers tipped
with brown, and a whitish line passes over the eye.

Length 5¼, extent of wings 8½; bill along the ridge 7/12, along the
edges 9/12; tarsus 7½/12, middle toe including the nail ¾.

The species to which this approaches nearest is the _Sylvia vermivora_,
which has been described in Vol. I. p. 177. The bird, however, is very
closely allied to the Wrens, which it greatly resembles in the form of its
bill and feet, although in the form of its wings it differs essentially.


THE ORANGE-COLOURED AZALEA.

AZALEA CALENDULACEA, _Mich._ Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 151.
_Pursh_, Fl. Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 151.—PENTANDRIA MONOGYNIA,
_Linn._

Leaves oblong or lanceolate, downy on both sides; flowers large, not
viscous, of a deep orange colour, the hairy tube of the corolla shorter
than its segments. It is a native of Georgia. If I am not mistaken, none
of the objects represented in this plate have ever been figured before.
The flowers and the butterflies are from the pencil of Miss MARTIN.




THE LITTLE OR ACADIAN OWL.

_STRIX ACADICA_, GMEL.

PLATE CXCIX. MALE AND FEMALE.


This lively and beautiful little Owl is found in almost every portion of
the United States. I have observed it breeding in Louisiana, Kentucky,
and along our Eastern States, as far as Maine, where, however, it becomes
scarce, being, as it were, replaced by the Tengmalm Owl, which I have
seen as far south as Bangor in Maine. It is rare in the lower parts of
South Carolina, where indeed my friend BACHMAN never observed it.

The Little Owl is known in Massachusetts by the name of the "Saw-whet,"
the sound of its love-notes bearing a great resemblance to the noise
produced by filing the teeth of a large saw. These notes, when coming,
as they frequently do, from the interior of a deep forest, produce a
very peculiar effect on the traveller, who, not being aware of their real
nature, expects, as he advances on his route, to meet with shelter under
a saw-mill at no great distance. Until I shot the bird in the act, I had
myself been more than once deceived in this manner. On one particular
occasion, while walking near my saw-mill in Pennsylvania, to see that
all was right there, I was much astonished to hear these sounds issuing
from the interior of the grist-mill. The door having been locked, I had
to go to my miller's house close by, to inquire if any one was at work
in it. He, however, informed me that the sounds I had heard were merely
the notes of what he called the Screech Owl, whose nest was close by,
in a hollow tree, deserted by the Wood Ducks, a pair of which had been
breeding there for several years in succession.

I have been thus particular in relating the above circumstance, from a
desire to know if the European Little Owl (_Strix passerina_), emits the
same curious sounds. The latter is said by several authors of eminence
to lay only two white eggs, while I know, from my own observation, that
ours has three, four, or five, and even sometimes six. The eggs are
glossy-white, and of a short elliptical form, approaching to globular.
It often takes the old nest of the Common Crow to breed in, and also
lays in the hollows of trees a few feet above the ground A nest of our
Little Owl, which I found near the city of Natchez, was placed in the
broken stump of a small decayed tree, not more than four feet from the
ground. I was attracted to it by the snoring notes of the young, which
sounded as if at a considerable elevation; and I was so misled by them
that, had not my dog raised himself to smell at the hole where the brood
lay concealed, I might not have discovered them. In this instance the
number was five. It was in the beginning of June, and the little things,
which were almost ready to fly, looked exceedingly neat and beautiful.
Their parents I never saw, although I frequently visited the nest before
they left it. The Little Owl breeds more abundantly near the shores of
the Atlantic than in the interior of the country, and is frequent in
the swamps of the States of Maryland and New Jersey, during the whole
year. Wherever I have found the young or the eggs placed in a hollow
tree, they were merely deposited on the rotten particles of wood; and
when in an old Crow's nest, the latter did not appear to have undergone
any repair.

This species evinces a strong and curious propensity to visit the interior
of our cities. I have known some caught alive in the Philadelphia Museum,
as well as in that of Baltimore; and, whilst at Cincinnati, I had one
brought to me which had been taken from the edge of a cradle, in which
a child lay asleep, to the no small astonishment of the mother.

Being quite nocturnal, it shews great uneasiness when disturbed by
day, and flies off in a hurried uncertain manner, throwing itself into
the first covert it meets with, where it is not difficult to catch it,
provided the necessary caution and silence be used. Towards dusk it
becomes full of animation, flies swiftly, gliding, as it were, over the
low grounds, like a little spectre, and pounces on small quadrupeds and
birds with the quickness of thought. Its common cry at night resembles
that of the European Scops Owl, but is more like the dull sounds of a
whistle than that of Owls generally is.

In all parts of the United States where this species occurs it is a
permanent resident.


STRIX ACADICA, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 149.—_Ch.
Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 38.
—_Swains. and Richards._ Fauna Bor.-Amer. vol. i. p. 97.

STRIX ACADIENSIS, _Lath._ Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 65.

ACADIAN OWL, _Lath._ Synops. vol. i. p. 149.

LITTLE OWL, STRIX PASSERINA, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iv.
p. 61. pl. 34. fig. 2.


Adult Male. Plate CXCIX. Fig. 1.

Bill short, compressed, curved, acute, with a cere at the base; upper
mandible with its dorsal outline curved from the base, the edges acute,
the point trigonal, very acute, deflected; lower mandible with the edges
acute and inflected, obtuse at the tip. Nostrils oval in the fore part
of the cere. Head disproportionately large, as are the eyes and external
ears, the former, however, less so than in the larger Owls. Body short.
Legs of ordinary length; tarsus and toes feathered, the latter bare
towards the end; toes papillar and tuberculate beneath; claws curved,
rounded, long, extremely sharp.

Plumage very soft and downy, somewhat distinct above, tufty and loose
beneath. Long bristly feathers at the base of the bill, stretching
forwards. Eyes surrounded by circles of compact feathers; auricular
coverts forming a ruff. Wings rather short, broad, rounded, the fourth
quill longest, the first short. Tail of ordinary length, rounded, of
twelve broad, rounded feathers.

Bill bluish-black, yellowish at the base. Iris light yellow. Claws
bluish-black. The upper parts generally are of an olivaceous brown; the
scapulars and some of the wing-coverts spotted with white; the first six
primary quills obliquely barred with white; the tail darker than the back,
with two narrow white bars. The upper part of the head is streaked with
greyish-white, the feathers surrounding the eyes pale yellowish-grey,
the ruff white, and spotted with dusky. The under parts are whitish,
the sides and breast marked with broad elongated patches of brownish-red.

Length 7½ inches; extent of wings 17; bill 7/12; tarsus 1.


Adult Female. Plate CXCIX. Fig. 2.

The female does not differ materially from the male in colouring, but
is somewhat larger.

The Young, like those of other Owls, are at first covered with down,
and are many weeks before they are able to fly. I have not been able to
ascertain whether they raise more than one brood in the season, but am
inclined to think that they do not.




THE SHORE LARK.

_ALAUDA ALPESTRIS_, LINN.

PLATE CC. MALE, FEMALE, AND YOUNG.


It was on the 26th of July 1833, that the Ripley, with every sail set,
was gently bounding over the waves, towards the Harbour of Bras d'Or.
A thin mist covered the surface of the surrounding waters, so that,
although it was already full day-light, scarcely could any of the party
distinguish the coast of Labrador, which was only about a mile distant
from the vessel, that so trippingly moved toward its shores. The person
who had undertaken to act as pilot, proved so inadequate to the task,
that, notwithstanding his having fished for many years in sight of the
harbour we were desirous of entering, he could not afford the least aid
to our captain in navigating the schooner. We neared the land, however,
and through the mist at last discovered the slender spars of several
vessels at anchor. A signal was instantly run apeak, and to our great
joy was immediately answered. Over the waves now came dancing one of
those buoyant crafts used by whalers. In a few moments it was alongside
the Ripley, when my old acquaintance, the sturdy cod-fisher BILLINGS
of Eastport, offered his services, and soon guided us into port, in
entering which we passed through an aperture, guarded by two dangerous
rocks, so narrow that one might have leaped ashore from our bark. Once
entered, our nostrils were assailed by odours that, could Vultures smell,
doubtless might entice them to fly here from the farthest Indies. I was
surprised to find so much bustle in such a place: perhaps more than a
hundred fishing-barks lay at anchor, in so regular array that they might
remind one of the disciplined order of a squadron ready for action,
although the business-like appearance of the fishermen would soon remove
the illusion. Every deck was heaped with fish, the value of which has,
for many years back, brought vessel after vessel to those inhospitable
shores. Each "pickaxe" had its "Hampton boats" well manned and ready to
sail towards the shallows, where the cod is obtained. Some, in search of
bait, were plying their oars and nets, while others were strewing the
salted cod over the naked rocks around, there to lie under the drying
rays of the sun. Stacks of fish, nearly cured, stretched along to the
view, in as close and regular array as haycocks in a meadow. A continued
splash was produced by the garbage as it was thrown overboard, and you
may judge, if you can, how many thousands of cod and ling have been
destroyed, before the whole bottom of this harbour has been paved with
their heads.

The thick fog rolled around us, impelled by the chill breeze of the east.
Mountains high and bleak we knew were near, but as yet the landscape
was concealed from our view. At length the mist disperses, reft by the
northern blasts, the sun appears riding among the fleeting vapours, and
now the curtain rises, when lo! what a magnificent prospect presents
itself! craggy cliffs, with masses of snow still hanging to their sides,
and from whose summits, under sheets of ice, cataracts rush in fury
towards the plain. The dismal table-lands form a striking contrast with
the beautiful verdure below. Turning towards the south-west, where lay
my cherished land, I beheld the precipitous shores of Newfoundland,
with masses of ice between, fixed to the foundations of the deep, their
everchanging prismatic tints dazzling the eye. But hark! the song of
the Shore Lark fills the air, as the warbler mounts on high. "Man the
whale-boat," cries the watchful captain; "young friends, let us off to
the shore," say I; and soon were we all at the place where we had seen
the bird alight.

Although in the course of our previous rambles along the coast of
Labrador, and among the numberless islands that guard its shores, I had
already seen this Lark in the act of breeding, never before that day
did I so much enjoy its song, and never before I reached this singular
spot, had I to add to my joys that of finding its nest. Here I found
the bird in the full perfection of plumage and song, and here I had
an opportunity of studying its habits, which I will now, kind reader,
endeavour to describe.

The Shore Lark breeds on the high and desolate tracts of Labrador, in
the vicinity of the sea. The face of the country appears as if formed of
one undulated expanse of dark granite, covered with mosses and lichens,
varying in size and colour, some green, others as white as snow, and
others again of every tint, and disposed in large patches or tufts. It
is on the latter that the Lark places her nest, which is disposed with
so much care, while the moss so resembles the bird in hue, that unless
you almost tread upon her as she sits, she seems to feel secure, and
remains unmoved. Should you, however, approach so near, she flutters
away, feigning lameness so cunningly, that none but one accustomed to
the sight can refrain from pursuing her. The male immediately joins her
in mimic wretchedness, uttering a note so soft and plaintive, that it
requires a strong stimulus to force the naturalist to rob the poor birds
of their treasure.

The nest around is imbedded in the moss to its edges, which is composed
of fine grasses, circularly disposed, and forming a bed about two inches
thick, with a lining of grous' feathers, and those of other birds. In
the beginning of July, the eggs are deposited. They are four or five in
number, large, greyish, and covered with numerous pale blue and brown
spots. The young leave the nest before they are able to fly, and follow
their parents over the moss, where they are fed about a week. They run
nimbly, emit a soft _peep_, and squat closely at the first appearance
of danger. If observed and pursued, they open their wings to aid them
in their escape, and separating, make off with great celerity. On such
occasions it is difficult to secure more than one of them, unless several
persons be present, when each can pursue a bird. The parents all this
time are following the enemy overhead, lamenting the danger to which
their young are exposed. In several instances, the old bird followed us
almost to our boat, alighting occasionally on a projecting crag before
us, and entreating us, as it were, to restore its offspring. By the
first of August many of the young are fully fledged, and the different
broods are seen associating together, to the number of forty, fifty,
or more. They now gradually remove to the islands of the coast, where
they remain until their departure, which takes place in the beginning
of September. They start at the dawn of day, proceed on their way south
at a small elevation above the water, and fly in so straggling a manner,
that they can scarcely be said to move in flocks.

This species returns to Labrador and the adjoining islands in the
beginning of June. The males are then so pugnacious and jealous of
their females, that the sight of one of their own sex, instantly excites
them to give battle; and it is curious to observe, that no sooner does
one of these encounters take place, than several other males join in
the fray. They close, flutter, bite, and tumble over, as the European
Sparrow is observed to do on similar occasions. Several times while in
Labrador, I took advantage of their pugnacious disposition, and procured
two or three individuals at a shot, which it is difficult to do at any
other time. Several pairs breed in the same place, but not near each
other. The male bird sings sweetly while on wing, although its song is
comparatively short. It springs from the moss or naked rock obliquely,
for about forty yards, begins and ends its madrigal, then performs a few
irregular evolutions, and returns to the ground. There also it sings,
but less frequently, and with less fulness. Its call-note is quite
mellow, and altered at times in a ventriloqual manner, so different, as
to seem like that of another species. As soon as the young are hatched,
the whole are comparatively mute, merely using the call-note. Only one
brood is reared each season.

The food of the Shore Lark consists of grass-seeds, the blossoms of
dwarf plants, and insects. It is an expert catcher of flies, following
insects on wing to a considerable distance, and now and then betaking
itself to the sea-shore to search for minute shell-fish or crustacea.
It associates with the Brown Lark (_Anthus Spinoletta_), which indeed
breeds in the same places. As I found the nest of the latter in Labrador,
for the first time in my life, I will here describe it. It is always, I
believe, placed next to the foot of a rock, in a tuft of grass, and is
entirely composed of fine bent grass, neatly lined with delicate fibrous
roots, without any feathers. The eggs, usually four, are small, and of
a very dark uniform _chocolate_ colour.

The Shore Larks reach the United States at the approach of winter. When
the weather is severe in the north, they are seen in Massachusetts as
early as October. Many spend the winter there, in the vicinity of the
sea shore and sandy fields; others retire farther south, but seldom
proceed beyond Maryland on the Atlantic, or the lower parts of Kentucky,
west of the Alleghany mountains. My friend BACHMAN never saw one near
Charleston, and only one have I seen in Louisiana, where the poor thing
appeared quite lost, and so fatigued, that I caught it. I am, therefore,
scarcely disposed to believe that _this species_ was ever found on the
table land of Mexico, as asserted by Mr BULLOCK.

At this season they fly in their usual loose manner, over the fields
and open grounds, in search of food, which now consists of seeds, and
the dormant larvæ of insects, mixing with the Brown Lark, and now and
then with the Cow Bunting and others. They become plump and fat, and
afford delicious food, for which reason our eastern markets are supplied
with them. Although they at times alight on fences, I never saw one on
a tree. The ground, indeed, is their proper place; there they repose,
near tufts of dry grass, in small groups, until the return of day, when
they run about in a straggling manner. If affrighted, the whole take to
wing, perform a few evolutions, and alight on the same ground again.

I have given six figures of this beautiful Lark in different stages.
The male birds, which, during the love season, have the black tufts of
feathers on their head, as represented in the plate, nearly lose them
at the approach of winter, when the brightness of their whole summer
plumage is also much diminished.


ALAUDA ALPESTRIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 289.—_Lath._
Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 498.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of
Birds of the United States, p. 102.

SHORE LARK, _Wils._ Americ. Ornith. vol. i. p. 85. fig. 4.
Female.



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