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on trees_; the hollow of a prostrate log, or the excavation of a bank
of earth, suffices for them. They _never lay more than two eggs_, which
are deposited on the bare ground; they are about three inches in length,
rather pointed at the smaller end, thick in the shell, with a pure white
ground, marked towards the greater ends with large irregular dashes of
black and dark brown. Twenty-one days are required for hatching them.
The male and female sit by turns, and feed each other. The young are at
first covered with a light cream-coloured down, and have an extremely
uncouth appearance. They are fed by regurgitation almost in the same
manner as pigeons, and are abundantly supplied with food. When fledged,
which is commonly about the beginning of June, they follow their parents
through the woods. At this period, their head is covered with feathers
to the very mandibles. The plumage of this part gradually disappears,
and the skin becomes wrinkled; but they are not in full plumage till the
second year. During the breeding season, they frequent the cities less,
those remaining at that time being barren birds, of which there appear
to be a good number. I believe that the individuals which are no longer
capable of breeding, spend all their time in and about the cities, and
roost on the roofs and chimneys. They go out, in company with the Turkey
Buzzards, to the yards of the hospitals and asylums, to feed on the
remains of the provisions cooked there, which are as regularly thrown
out to them.

I have represented a pair of Carrion Crows or Black Vultures in
full plumage, engaged with the head of our Common Deer, the _Cervus
virginianus_.


CATHARTES JOTA, _Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United
States, p. 23.

CATHARTES ATRATUS, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna Boreali-Americ.
part ii. p. 6.

VULTUR JOTA, _Gmel._ Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 247.

BLACK VULTURE or CARRION CROW, VULTUR ATRATUS, _Wils._ Amer.
Ornith. vol. ix. p. 104. Pl. 75. fig. 2.—_Nuttall_, Manual,
p. 46.


Adult Male. Plate CVI. Fig. 1.

Bill elongated, rather stout, straight at the base, slightly compressed;
the upper mandible covered to the middle by the cere, broad, curved, and
acute at the end, the edge doubly undulated. Nostrils medial, approximate,
linear, pervious. Head elongated, neck longish, body robust. Feet strong;
tarsus roundish, covered with small rhomboidal scales; toes scutellate
above, the middle one much longer, the lateral nearly equal, second and
third united at the base by a web. Claws arched, strong, rather obtuse.

Plumage rather compact, with ordinary lustre. The head and upper part of
the neck are destitute of feathers, having a black, rugose, carunculated
skin, sparsely covered with short hairs, and downy behind. Wings ample,
long, the first quill rather short, third and fourth longest. Tail
longish, even, or very slightly emarginated at the end, of twelve broad,
straight, feathers.

Bill greyish-yellow at the end, dusky at the base, as is the corrugated
skin of the head and neck. Iris reddish-brown. Feet yellowish-grey;
claws black. The general colour of the plumage is dull-black, slightly
glossed with blue; the primary quills light brownish on the inside.

Length 26 inches; extent of wings 54; bill 2½; tarsus 3½; middle toe 4.


Adult Female. Plate CVI. Fig. 2.

The female resembles the male in external appearance, and is rather less.




THE CANADA JAY.

_CORVUS CANADENSIS_, LINN.

PLATE CVII. MALE AND FEMALE.


I have found this species of Jay breeding in the State of Maine, where
many individuals belonging to it reside the whole year, and where in
fact so many as fifteen or twenty may be seen in the course of a day by a
diligent person anxious to procure them. In the winter, their numbers are
constantly augmented by those which repair to that country from places
farther north. They advance to the southward as far as the upper parts
of the State of New York, where the person who first gave intimation to
Mr Wilson that the species was to be found in the Union, shot seven or
eight one morning, from which number he presented one to the esteemed
author of the "American Ornithology," who afterwards procured some in
the same neighbourhood. This species is best known in Maine by the name
of the "Carrion Bird," which is usually applied to it on account of its
carnivorous propensities. When their appetite is satisfied, they become
shy, and are in the habit of hiding themselves amongst close woods or
thickets; but when hungry, they shew no alarm at the approach of man, nay,
become familiar, troublesome, and sometimes so very bold as to enter the
camps of the "lumberers," or attend to rob them of the bait affixed to
their traps. My generous friend, EDWARD HARRIS, Esq. of New York, told
me that while fishing in a birch canoe on the lakes in the interior of
the State of Maine, in the latter part of the summer of 1833, the Jays
were so fearless as to alight in one end of his bark, while he sat in
the other, and help themselves to his bait, taking very little notice
of him.

The lumberers or wood-cutters of this State frequently amuse themselves in
their camp during their eating hours, with what they call "transporting
the carrion bird." This is done by cutting a pole eight or ten feet in
length, and balancing it on the sill of their hut, the end outside the
entrance being baited with a piece of flesh of any kind. Immediately
on seeing the tempting morsel, the Jays alight on it, and while they
are busily engaged in devouring it, a wood-cutter gives a smart blow
to the end of the pole within the hut, which seldom fails to drive the
birds high in the air, and not unfrequently kills them. They even enter
the camps, and would fain eat from the hands of the men while at their
meals. They are easily caught in any kind of trap. My friend, the Rev.
JOHN BACHMAN, informed me that when residing in the State of New York,
he found one caught in a snare which had been set with many others for
the common Partridge or "Quail," one of which the Jay had commenced
eating before he was himself caught.

In the winter they are troublesome to the hunters, especially when the
ground is thickly covered with snow, and food consequently scarce, for,
at such a time, they never meet with a Deer or a Moose hung on a tree,
without mutilating it as much as in their power. In the Bay of Fundy
I observed, several mornings in succession, a Canada Jay watching the
departure of a Crow from her nest, after she had deposited an egg.
When the Crow flew off, the cunning Jay immediately repaired to the
nest, and carried away the egg. I have heard it said that the Canada
Jay sometimes destroys the young of other birds of its species, for the
purpose of feeding its own with them; but not having witnessed such an
act, I cannot vouch for the truth of the report, which indeed appears
to me too monstrous to be credited.

I have often been delighted by the sight of their graceful movements
on alighting after removing from one tree to another, or while flying
across a road or a piece of water. They have an odd way of nodding their
head, and jerking their body and tail, while they emit their curiously
diversified notes, which at times resemble a low sort of mewing, at
others the sound given out by an anvil lightly struck with a hammer.
They frequently alight about the middle of a tree, and hop with airy
grace from one branch to another until they reach the very top, when
they remove to another tree, and thus proceed through the woods. Their
flight resembles that of the Blue Jay, although I do not consider it
quite so firm or protracted.

The Canada Jay breeds in Maine, in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia,
Newfoundland, and Labrador. It begins so early as February or March to
form its nest, which is placed in the thickest part of a fir tree, near
the trunk, and at a height of from five to ten feet. The exterior is
composed of dry twigs, with moss and grass, and the interior, which is
flat, is formed of fibrous roots. The eggs, which are from four to six,
are of a light grey colour, faintly marked with brown. Only one brood
is raised in the season. I found the young following their parents on
the 27th June 1833, at Labrador, where I shot both old and young, while
the former was in the act of feeding the latter.

The young, which was fully fledged, had no white about the head; the whole
plumage was of a very deep slate colour approaching to black, excepting
the ends of the tail feathers, which were of a sullied white, the lower
mandible almost white. The bill was (of course) shorter than that of the
old bird, more dilated at the base, the bristles there proportionally
shorter. The legs were of a deep purplish black. In short, it bore a
perfect resemblance to the bird called the "Short-billed Jay, or Whiskey
Jack, _Garrulus brachyrinchus_," of my excellent friend Mr SWAINSON, as
described and figured by himself and Dr RICHARDSON in their beautiful
and valuable Fauna Boreali-Americana, (Vol. II. p. 296. Pl. 551.) So
unlike the parent birds did the young of this species appear, that
before I saw them fed by the old ones, I urged my young companions to
shoot every one of the brood, thinking they might be of a new species.
The contents of the stomach of both young and old birds were insects,
_leaves of fir trees_, and eggs of ants. The intestines measured one
foot eleven inches. The flesh of both was of a dark bluish colour, and
smelt strongly of their food.

I have represented a pair of these birds on an oak branch, with its rich
autumnal tints, and have attached to it the nest of a hornet, having
observed the bird in the State of Maine pursuing that insect.


CORVUS CANADENSIS, _Linn._ Syst. Nat. p. 158.—_Lath._ Synops.
vol. i. p. 389.—_Ch. Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United
States, p. 58.

CANADA JAY, CORVUS CANADENSIS, _Wils._ Amer. Ornith. vol. iii.
p. 33. Pl. 21. Fig. 1.—_Nuttall_, Manual, p. 232.

GARRULUS CANADENSIS, _Swains. and Richards._ Fauna
Boreali-Americana, part ii. p. 295.


Adult Male. Plate CVII. 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 rather slight.
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, slightly glossed. A tuft of reflected, adpressed,
bristly feathers over the nostril on each side. Wings short; first quill
very short, fourth and fifth longest. Tail longish, much rounded, of
twelve rounded feathers. During winter, there is an accumulation of
soft, downy feathers on the rump.

Bill and feet black. Iris brown. Forehead and feathers covering the
nostrils brownish-white; throat, a collar passing round the lower part
of the neck, and the lower parts generally of a white colour, slightly
tinged with yellowish. The general tint of the upper parts is a dull
leaden grey; the back of the neck black; the margins of the quills and
coverts dull-white, as are those of the tail feathers, which are broadly
tipped with the same.

Length 11 inches, extent of wings 15; beak 1; tarsus 1½.


Adult Female. Plate CVII. Fig. 2.

The Female scarcely differs in any perceptible degree from the Male; the
light coloured tints being only more tinged with brown, and the grey of
the upper parts somewhat duller.


THE WHITE OAK.

QUERCUS ALBA, _Willd._ Sp. Pl. vol. iv. p. 429.—_Michaux_, Arbr.
Forest. de l'Amerique Sept. vol. ii. p. 13. pl. 1. _Pursh_,
Flor. Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 633.—MONŒCIA POLYANDRIA, _Linn._
AMENTACEÆ, _Juss._

Leaves oblong, pinnatifido-sinuate, downy beneath, the lobes
linear-lanceolate, obtuse, attenuated at the base, entire on the margin;
the fruit pedunculate, the cupule tubercular, flat at the base, cupshaped,
the acorn ovate. Although this species of oak is not abundant in Maine,
where the Canada Jay chiefly occurs, I have employed it in my drawing,
on account of the rich colouring of its fine leaves during the autumnal
months. It is in Louisiana, where it is plentiful, that one must see it,
to judge of the grandeur which it attains under favourable circumstances.
I have often seen these oaks spreading their young branches amid the
tops of Magnolias fully one hundred feet above the ground, with stems
from four to six feet in diameter, to the height of fifty or more feet,
straight as a line, and without a branch to that height. When left in
fields, their tops, naturally inclined to spread, render their aspect
majestic; and one is tempted to try to calculate the many years these
noble trees have stood against the blast of the tempest. The wood, which
is of excellent quality, being hard and durable, is applied to numerous
uses. Its distribution is very extensive in the United States, it being
found in the forests from Louisiana to Massachusetts, and in the western
countries beyond the Mississippi.




THE FOX-COLOURED SPARROW.

_FRINGILLA ILIACA_, MERREM.

PLATE CVIII. MALE AND FEMALE.


Although the Fox-coloured Sparrow visits us regularly at the approach
of winter, it merely remains during the few months of the year which
are too severe in the more northern parts of our continent, where it
resides at all other periods. It wanders, however, as far southward as
the lower parts of Louisiana, is also met with in Kentucky, and in the
countries bordering on the Ohio, Missouri, and Mississippi, and visits
the Floridas, Georgia, the Carolinas, and in short every State south of
Massachusetts. In the latter State, and in that of Maine, few individuals
are seen after its passage through these districts, late in October.

In the northern parts of America, where it breeds, it replaces the Towhe
Bunting, so abundant in our middle States, where it delights us with
its song. To that species the Fox-coloured Sparrow comes next in size,
while it greatly surpasses it in its musical powers.

While in the United States, it lives retired, and separates itself from
most other species. Little flocks, consisting of a family or two, take
possession of some low well-covered thicket, by the side of some clear
streamlet, where they spend the winter unmolested, searching for food
among the fallen and withered leaves, or among the roots and dead branches
of trees. Should a warm morning dawn on their retreat, the male birds
directly ascend to the middle branches of the brambles, and in a soft
under tone cheer the females with their melodies. At all other times
they remain comparatively silent, merely emitting a note to call each
other, or to assure their little family that all is safe around them.
Towards spring a kind of bustle takes place in their camp: the males,
already warmed with affection and love, renew their attentions to their
mates; new connections are formed by the young; their song becomes much
improved; and the passer by may here and there see a pair moving slowly
and cautiously towards the land whence they had emigrated some months
before.

Follow these birds wherever you will, you invariably find them not in
deep woods, but along the fences, and amid patches of briars and tangled
underwood, which at all times seem so pleasing to them. They traverse
the whole of the Union by day, resting here and there awhile, to watch
the gradual improvement of the season.

They enter the British Provinces full of joy, and lavish of song. Many
are well pleased to remain there, but the greater number pursue their
course to revisit the Magdeleine Islands, Newfoundland, and the country
of Labrador. There you find them in every pleasant dell, where no sooner
have they arrived than each searches for a safe retreat in which to
place its nest. This is in due time replenished with eggs; and, while
the female sits on them with care and anxiety, her devoted lover chants
the blessings they both enjoy.

The flight of this bird is low, rapid, and undulating. While passing over
the Gulf of St Lawrence, it flies swiftly, at a moderate height, without
uttering any note. They appear to be able to travel to a considerable
distance, without the necessity of alighting, and I have thought that
they may accomplish the passage of the Gulf without resting on any of its
islands. As soon as they alight, they betake themselves to the deepest
thickets.

During the breeding season, their plumage has a richness which it does
not exhibit in the winter months, while with us. Indeed some of the
males at that time are so highly coloured as to be of a bright red rather
than of a brown tint; and their appearance, as they pass from one bush
to another, or skip from stone to stone, is extremely pleasing. I have
attempted to represent this colouring in the Plate.

Would that I could describe the sweet song of this finch; that I could
convey to your mind the effect it produced on my feelings, when wandering
on the desolate shores of Labrador!—that I could intelligibly tell you
of the clear, full notes of its unaffected warble, as it sat perched on
the branch of some stunted fir. There for hours together was continued
the delightful serenade, which kept me lingering about the spot. The
brilliancy and clearness of each note, as it flowed through the air, were
so enchanting, the expression and emphasis of the song so powerful, that
I never tired of listening. But, reader, I can furnish no description
of the melody.

While in South Carolina, in January 1834, after I had returned from the
country where this species breeds, I happened, one fair day, to meet
with a group of these birds. They were singing in concert. Never shall I
forget the impression which their notes made on me: I suddenly stopped
and looked around; for a moment I imagined that I had been by magic
transported to the wilds of Labrador; but how short was the duration of
these feelings!—a hawk sailed over the spot of their concealment, and
in an instant all was silent as the tomb.

The nest of the Fox-coloured Sparrow, which is large for the size of the
bird, is usually placed on the ground, among moss or tall grass, near
the stem of a creeping fir, the branches of which completely conceal it
from view. Its exterior is loosely formed of dry grass and moss, with a
carefully disposed inner layer of finer grasses, circularly arranged;
and the lining consists of very delicate fibrous roots, together with
some feathers from different species of water-fowl. In one instance I
found it composed of the down of the Eider-duck. The period at which the
eggs are laid, is from the middle of June to the 5th of July. They are
proportionally large, four or five in number, rather sharp at the smaller
end, of a dull greenish tint, sprinkled with irregular small blotches
of brown. I think that the description given in the splendid work of
my friends SWAINSON and RICHARDSON, of the eggs of this species, must
have been taken from those of the White-crowned Bunting, as it agrees
precisely with eggs which I have found in many nests of that bird.

When one approaches the nest, the female affects lameness, and employs
all the usual arts to decoy him from it. They raise only one brood
in the season. The young, before they depart for the United States,
already resemble their parents, which have by this time lost much of
the brilliancy of their colouring. They leave Labrador about the 1st
of September, in small groups, formed each of a single family. When in
that country, and in Newfoundland, I frequently observed them searching
along the shores for minute shell-fish, on which they feed abundantly.

Many of these birds are frequently offered for sale in the markets of
Charleston, they being easily caught in "figure-of-four traps!" Their
price is usually ten or twelve cents each. I saw many in the aviaries
of my friends Dr SAMUEL WILSON and the Reverend JOHN BACHMAN, of that
city. To the former I am indebted for the following particulars relative
to this species, part of which I was myself witness to.

Dr WILSON, who was almost in the daily habit of visiting my friend
BACHMAN, with whom it was my good fortune to reside while at Charleston,
was fond of talking about birds, many of which he knew more accurately
than ordinary ornithologists are wont to do. "My Dear Mr AUDUBON," he
said, "I have several beautiful Fox-coloured Sparrows in my aviary, but
of late some of them have been killed, and I wish you would tell me
by what other birds the murders can have been committed." I laid the
charge first on the Blue Jays; but he replied that even they appeared
as if greatly molested by some other species. A day elapsed, the Doctor
returned, and astonished me not a little by informing me that the culprit
was a Mocking-bird. I went to his house on the 8th December; and, while
standing on the piazza, we both saw the Mocking-bird alight on one of
the Fox-coloured Sparrows, in the manner of a small hawk, and peck at
the poor bird with such force as to convince us that its death must soon
ensue. The muscular powers of the finch, however, appeared almost too
much for the master songster of our woods; it desisted for a moment,
out of breath, and we could observe its pantings; but it did not fail to
resume its hitherto unknown character of tyrant. A servant was dispatched
to the rescue, and peace was restored; but the finch was almost reduced
to its last gasp, and shortly after expired. This very Mocking-bird we
strongly suspected of being the individual that had killed a Blue Jay
of exceedingly meek disposition, a few weeks before. It was ultimately
removed into a lonely cage, where it is yet passing its days, perhaps
in unavailing penitence.


FRINGILLA ILIACA, _Bonaparte_, Synops. of Birds of the United
States, p. 112.

FOX-COLOURED SPARROW, FRINGILLA RUFA, _Wilson's_ Amer. Ornith.
vol. iii. p. 53. pl. 22. fig. 4.—_Nuttall_, Manual, vol. i.
p. 514.

FRINGILLA (ZONOTRICHIA?) ILIACA, _Swains._ North Zool. vol. ii.
p. 257.


Adult Male in Summer. Plate CVIII. Fig. 1.

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

Plumage compact above, soft and blended beneath; wings short, curved,
rounded, the second, third and fourth quills longest, and nearly equal;
the first and fifth equal; tail longish, even, or slightly rounded.

Bill dark brown above, the base of the lower mandible yellow, its tip
bluish; iris deep brown; feet flesh-coloured; upper part of the head and
neck smoke-grey; back dusky brown; rump, tail, wing-coverts, and outer
part of the quills bright ferruginous; tips of the coverts whitish,
forming a narrow bar, space from the upper mandible to the eye pale
reddish; ear-coverts chestnut. The ground colour of the lower parts is
white anteriorly, pale greyish behind; the sides of the neck, the throat,
and flanks, marked with triangular spots of chestnut, which are darker
on the hind parts.

Length 7½ inches; extent of wings 10½; bill 5/12 along the ridge, 7/12
along the gap; tarsus 8/12, middle toe 1.


Adult Female. Plate CVIII. Fig. 2.

The Female differs little from the Male, the tints being merely somewhat
fainter. Length 7½ inches.




THE SAVANNAH FINCH.

_FRINGILLA SAVANNA_, WILS.

PLATE CIX. MALE AND FEMALE.


This species is one of the most abundant of our Finches. It is also one
of the hardiest, standing the winter of our Middle Districts, ranging as
far north as Labrador, and crowding our old fields and open woods of the
south, from October to April. It is nearly allied to the Yellow-Winged
Sparrow and Henslow's Bunting, but differs from both in many important
particulars.

It confines itself principally to the ground, where it runs with extreme



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