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have found an egg of both Cowbirds in the same nest ; in four of
these there were eggs of the rightful owner,* who was sitting ; in
the other two the Cowbird*s eggs were alone in the nests, which

* It wonld be interesting to know what would have become of the three
species in one nest, and had the latter been near the fort, where I could have
visited them daily, I should not have taken the eggs. It is probable, however,
that M. ceneut would have disposed of the young Dwarf Cowbird as easily as of
the young Orioles.



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ORmTHOLOGICAL CLUB. 87

were deserted : but I have known the Hooded Oriole to sit on an
egg of M. emeus, which was on the point of hatching when found ;
how its own disappeared I cannot say. Once two eggs of cenetis
were found in a nest of the small Orchard Oriole (var. affinis). Twice
I have seen a broken egg of aneus under nests of Bullock's Oriole
on which the owner was sitting.

Early in June a nest of the Hooded Oriole was found with four
eggs and one of M, ctnem, all of which I removed, leaving the nest.
Happening to pass by it a few days later, I looked in, and to my
surprise found two eggs of ceneus, which were taken ; these were so
unlike that they were probably laid by different birds. Still an-
other egg, and the last, was laid in the same nest within ten days.
But the most remarkable instance was a nest of the small Orchard
€ftielft^ found June 20, containing three eggs of ameus, while just be-
neath it was a wkajhs egg of this parasite, also a broken one of this
and of the Dwarf Cowbird (var. eUcunts), Two of the eggs in the
nest were rotten; the third, strange to say, contained a living
embryo. As the nest was certainly deserted, I ctti only account for
this by supposing that the two rotten ones were laid about the first
week of June, when there was considerable rain, and that the other
was deposited soon after, since which time the weather had been
clear and very hot. On one occasion I found a female cenrus hang-
ing with a stout thread around its neck to a nest of the Bullock's
Oriole. The nest contained one young one of this Cowbird, and
it is probable that its parent, after depositing the egg, was entangled
in the thread on hurriedly leaving the nest, and there died ; it had
apparently been dead about two weeks. This case supports the
view that the eggs or young of the owner are thrown out by the
young parasite, and not removed by its parent, though I could find
no trace of them beneath the nest.

Twenty-two eggs of J?, (mteus average .90 X .70, the extremes
being .95 X .75 and .82 X .65. The color is a greenish-whitey un-
spotted^ soon fading to a dull opaque white. There is more than the
usual variation in shape. Some are almost perfectly elliptical, others
are nearly round ; some are quite pointed at the smaller end, while
others still are there abruptly truncate.

The young, soon after leaving the nest, have the plumage uniform
dull black ; cheeks and sides of bead bare ; iris brown.

Fort Broum^ Texas.



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88 BULLETIN OF THE NVTTALL



, ON SEVENTY-FIVE DOUBTFUL WEST-COAST BIRDS.

BT J. O. COOPER, M. D.

In Omitbological works written previous to 1860 we find many
species of birds mentioned as from " California ** and the " North-
west Coast," which have not been confirmed as from that region,
and are therefore not referred to in more recent works. It is an
interesting question whether they were always wrongly allocated
there, or whether they may not, in many cases, have actually occurred
ns stragglers, and deserve, therefore, a place in our Fauna. *As an aid
in deciding these questions, I have compiled a list of all I can find,
with such remarks as seem required respecting the chances of their
occurrence, based on my own experience as a collector there for
more than twenty years, and the observations of others on their
usual range of distribution.

In 1852 Professor Baird published in Stansbury's Report of his
Exploration of the Great Salt Lake, p. 327, a list of such species as
were then known, including all given by authors as from west of the
Mississippi, but not figured by Audubon. The one hundred and
fifty-three nominal species included ninety-one from the Pacific
slope, of which only twenty have not been since confirmed as
belonging to our Fauna. Most of these were referred to again in
his '* Birds of North America." Mr. Cassin undertook to figure
and describe *' all " of these in his '^ Illustrations," but was un-
doubtedly saved from the repetition of many errors by the extensive
collections soon after made by the Pacific Railroad Expeditions,
although he has introduced several not since found in the United
States.

In Volume XII, Part II, p. 288, of the Pacific RaUroad Reports
('* Natural History of Washington Territory") Dr. Suckley and
myself, in 1859-60, printed a hastily prepared list of birds, not
confirmed by us as from the '^ Northwest Coast," most of which,
however, do not require to be excluded at present, only twenty
out of one hundred and twenty-three coming into this list. I
have car^ully reviewed every accessible authority, and included
only such as are distinct species and not represented within the
regions named by geographical races or near analogues^ which might



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ORNITHOLOGICAL CLUB, 89

reasonably be mistaken for them. The older authors in confound-
ing the races were quite excusable in giving them the same
specific names. Those now to be noticed come under three divis-
ions as to geographical distribution, viz. : first, those of tropical
and South America ; second, those of Asia ; third, those of the
Eastern United States. All circum]X)lar species, even if not re-
cently found on this coast, are omitted as very likely to be found.
The probability of the occurrence of the others varies chiefly with
the nearness of their usual range and their powers of flight, so that
we may frequently consider their occurrence r.s next to impossible,
as with the Mexican Quails and Jays which have been so often
credited to " California."

What we know of the' Asiatic stragglers to Alaska shows that
they are usually strong flyers, and I may here mention two of the
Raptores found only in California so far, and each but once, which
have a yery Asiatic aspect, viz. Buteo cooptri and Onychotes gru-
bert.

The first doubtfnl West-coast birds were'given by Gmelin as from
" Unalaska, Nootka," etc. ; the next came from " Oregon" ; and not
until 1830 did species begin to be credited to " California." At that
time the peninsula was included in this name, and yet very few
species, if any, were wrongly located on that account, most of those
not found in ''Upper California" being now unknown on the
peninsula, though often found on the West Mexican coast. The
cool sea-breezes of the coast act as an obstacle to the northward
migration of many tropical species occurring on the Atlantic coast
in summer much farther north, while the Colorado Desert, over
one hundred miles wide, debars many more from the hotter
interior.

A few have been called " Califomian " which occur about the
Gulf, but not within sixty miles of our line, though of course the
water-birds may follow so far up the Colorado River. Many were
no doubt carelessly labelled by collectors, or designedly misrepre-
sented as from regions then almost inaccessible, to increase their
value.

As to "Oregon" of authors before 1853, it must also be re-
marked, that they included under the name the whole country
drained by the Columbia River ; and even now the State includes
part of the " Middle Province " of Baird, in which are found birds
not known from the coast. Captain Bendire is now for the first



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90 BULLETIN OF THE NUTTALL

time collecting thoroughly the birds of Eastern Oregon ; and his
published notes, as well as those of Allen and Henshaw for Utah,
of Kidgway for Nevada, and Coues, Henshaw, and others for
Arizona, show veiy clearly what species distinguish the Middle and
Western Provinces. Although about fifty species of Land Birds
are given in the first volume of " Ornithology of California," which
belong properly to the Middle Province or to Lower California,
their habitats are so carefully described there that it is not neces-
sary to include the species here, except in a very few striking
cases.

As shown by Professor Baird from the Xantus collection made at
Cape Saint Lucas, the Middle Province birds become common on
the coast and peninsula south of latitude thirty-five degrees, to the
exclusion of most of the characteristic CaJifomiau species, while
very few of those of tropical Mexico occur on the peninsula, so that
the chances are largely against the occurrence of the latter within
our limits. Assistance derived from original observations and
investigations by scientific friends, often unpublished before, is ac-
knowledged by giving their names as authority.

1. Tardus flavirostiis, Svmns.y 1827, = T, rufopaUicttus^ Lafres.,
1840, *' Monterey, Cal." An abundant West Mexican bird, which may
Btlraggle northward with flocks of T. migratoriuis, which it cloeely resembles
in habits.

2. Harporhynohiui mliis var. longirostriB {Lafre$.\ 1838. " Cali-
fornia and Mexico." The occurrence of this Eastern Mexican form is not
improbable, and it may have been the bird seen by me at Clear Lake, CaL»
as recorded in History of N. A. Birds, III, 500.

3. JBgithlna leuoopteni, VieilLy 1807, "North America," = ?Afoto-
cUla leucoptera, Vig., 1839, " Western North America," Baird, list, 1852
(not of Quoy and Gkimard, which is a Palaeotropical bird). If = Sylvia
leucopteroy Wilson, Index, it is Dendraca carruleKerUy not known far west
of the Mississippi (Coues). [JSgithina Uucoptera^ Vieill., according to Gray
(Hand-List), is from India, while M. leucoptera, Vigors, is from Persia
(Lawrence).]

4. Sialia sialls (Linn.). " Columbia River," Aud. Syn., 1839 (error 1).
Not mentioned from there by Townsend nor Nuttall, who were then
the chief authorities. Still it very probably will occur west of the Rocky
Mountains. Some specimens of S. mexicana are stated to approach very
near it, from which Audubon's statement may have arisen.

5. ParuB oarolinensiji, Aitd, ^^ Oregon," Nuttall, 1840, by error for
P. atricapiUtis var. occidentalUf which is very near it.



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ORNITHOLOGICAL CLUB. 91

6. OeothlyplA TeUtiui {VieiU,) = Triehas delafieldi, Aud., 1839,
Nutt, 1840, Heermann, 1858. "Oregon and California," It seems
etrange that a bird so common as G. trichas is in the East should be con-
founded with such a different South American species. Townsend's speci-
men was doubtless from South America, but Heermann's were only G,
trtcha$. Lately recorded from Mazatlan, Mexico, and may therefore reach
the Lower Colorado.

7. Slunis aoricapillTUi (Linn,), '* Oregon," Nuttall, 1840, and recently
recorded from Idaho, as well as Alaska and Mazatlan. ''California,"
Bonap., Notes Delat, 1853, but may have been obtained in Nicaragua.
Still it very probably migrates occasionally through California.

a DendrcBoa montana (Wilt,). " California," Aud., 1830 - 41, Nutt.,
1840. Th^re ia no further information respecting this very rare and
scarcely known bird than is given by the above-named authors.

9. DendroBoa striata (Font). "Oregon," Aud. Syn., 1839. Not
given by Townsend nor Nuttall, though it should pass west of the Rocky
Mountains in going from Alaska to the tropics. Yet it is not recorded
as from the Rocky Mountains or Mexico.

10. DendrcBoa oasmlea {fVils.) = assurea, Steph. "Oregon," Towns-
end's List, 1839, Aud., 1839, Nutt, 1840. Recently found west of the
Rocky Mountains, so that it may not have been confounded by Towns-
end, etc, with Polioptila, as I Suspected. It has not been detected near
the coast

11. Setophaga rutioilla (Linn.). "California," Bonap., Notes Delat,
1853, but was perhaps from Nicaragua. Still, as it is common through-
out the Rocky Mountains in summer, it may occur in California, though
not known from Western Mexico.

12. CoUocalia ? imalaachkeiisia (Gmel,). According to Cassin (II-
lust., 1855, 251), Gmelin's bird belongs to the genus CoUoccUia, which is
peculiar to the Pacific (tropical) islands, Japan, etc If really found on the
Aleutian Islands, some may be expected to straggle to our coast in winter,
with other Asiatic species found there by DalL

13 Hypooolius ampeliniui, Bonap., 1850 (Consp.). "California."
This ipecies is now known to be from Sennaar, Upper Egypt, and is un-
doubtedly to be removed from the list of West-coast birds.

14. LaniTUi lahtora, Sykei, ^ L. degans, Swains., 1831, Nutt, 1840.
Supposed to have been received from Northwest America, but it inhabits
Siberia. Stragglers may, however, cross Behring's Straits, like several
other birds. " L, elegant" of other American authors is CoUtbrio ludovi-
cianus (L.) var. robustus, Baird, 1873.

15. Vlreo agilis, LichL, 1823, = V. virescens, Cass., not of Vieill., which
is V. hartramif Swains., 1831; not of Aud., 1839, nor Nuttall, 1840.
This species, confounded by former authors with V. gilvus var. swainsoni,
has not been found north of Mexico, nor perhaps in North America, unless
Douglas really found it at the Columbia River, as supposed by Swainson.



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92 BULLETIN OF THE NUTTALL

16. Cooootiiranstes ferreirofttriB, Vigws, 1839, ^^papa, Eittl., 1830.
"California," Baird, 1862.* [This is now recognized as the papa of Kit-
tlitz from the Bonin Islands (Allen).]

17. PjrrrhnU inomata, Vigors^ 1839. " Northwest coast of America,"
Baird, List, 1852. Probably Asiatic ; certainly not North American.

18. RamphopiJi flammiganui, Jard., about 1830, " Columbia River."
[Now known to be South American, — Columbia, Sclater and Salvin ;
New Qrenada, Gray (Allen).]

19. Chrysopoga typioa, Bonap., 1850. "California." [A Mexican and
Central American species, not yet confirmed as from California (Allen).]

20. "Bmberlsa" atrloapilla, GtmI,, 1788, AueL, 1839-41. These
authors confound this Sandwich Island bird with the Zonotrickia coronata,
Pall., a common California bird described in 1831.

21. "Fringilla mactilata," Aud., 1839 (Townsend's List), was a con-
fusing of Hedymeles melanocephaluSf Swains., with some foreign species,
perhaps Pipilo maetUata, Swains. It occurs only in Audubon's plate, t

22. Pyrgisoma biaroaatas (Lafrea.), 1855, "California," is a Central
American bird.

23. Saltator rnfiTentris, Vigors, 1839, " West coast of North Amer-
ica," Baird, List, 1852. [A Bolivian species (Allen).]

24. lotenui baltimore (Linn.), "Columbia River." Aud. Syn., 1839.
No authority is given, and it is not mentioned [by Towusend or NuttalL
Like the Sialia, it can only be a straggler.

25. lotenui puatulatoa, Lichty " California," Bonap., Notes Delatt,
1853, probably for Nicaragua. Some of these species may be looked for
along the Colorado River.

26. Ictenui " califomious " (Lesson), 1844; "California," Bonap.,
Consp., 1850. [This is a synonym of /. piLstul%ttu (Lawrence).]

27. lotanu iotarooephalTUi (Linn.), Bonap., 1825, Nuttall,1832-40.
This well-known South American bird was only at first confounded with
our Xanthocephcdtis, and should not have been credited to California by
Nuttall.

28. Xanthomiui mezicanas (Briss.). "Pacific coast of (North?)
America," Baird, List, 1852. [Probably Gymnomystaxmelanicterus (Vieill.)
of tropical America (Allen).]

29. Trnpialls miUtaris (Ltnn.). " Monterey, Cal.," Neboux, Voy. de
la Venus, 1855 ; " San Francisco," Cutts, in Baird's N. A. Birds, 1858.

♦ Chrysomitris yarrelli (Aud.) and Hypocanthus stanleyi (Aud.) are now
generally believed to be (if not hybrid cage-birds) from South America, and as
he gives no authority for •• Upper California," they may be omitted.

t Pleetrophanes maceovmi, Lawr., is quoted from "California" by Ca^in
(111, p. 229), but has not lately been found west of Arizona. Oalamospiza
bicolor. Towns., before reported doubtfully from "California," has been found
as a rare bird near Tulare Lake, by Mr. W. A. Cboper.



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OBNITHOLOGICAL CLUB, 93

Although not recently obtained in North America, it has thus been twice
reported from California.

30. QnisoalTUi major, VieUL -^^ California,'' Gambel, 1847, bnt he
obtained it only at Mazatlan. It may be looj^ed for on the Lower Colo-
rado.

31. QidfloalTUi pnrpnreTUi {Bartr). " Oregon," And., 1839, without
authority. "California," Qambel, 1847, Newberry, 1857, who probably
both mistook ScoUcophagus cyanoeephalus for it ; no specimens are known
from the west slope. S, ferrugineus (Gm.), " Oregon," Townsend, was ob-
tained there by Peale, and is common in Alaska.

32. Corms ossifragoa, WiU. ''Oregon," Townsend's List, And. Syn.,
1839 ; " California," Woodhouse, 1853 ; all mistaking C. americanus var.
eanrinus for it

33. Cyanooitta beeoheyi (Fi^or*), 1829. "California," Botta in
Eydoux's Voy. de la Favorite, 1839, but not known from the peninsula
recently, or found north of Mexico.

34. Cyanooitta ultramarina (T^mm.). Audubon (1839-40) and
Nuttall (1840) confounded this Mexican species with C, ccUifomica (Vig.).
The var. arizoruB^ Ridgw., may reach California at the Lower Colorado
River.

35. Calooitta coUiei (Vigtyr), 1829,— Pica hullocJd, Aud., 1831-42
(not of Wagler), Nuttall, 1840, both of whom described it as from the
"Columbia River," but without good authority, while Nuttall denies
ever having seen it there or in California. It probably does not even
straggle north of Mazatlan, Mexico.

36. Cyanooorax geoifiroyi, Bonap.j 1850. " California." [This is
a synonym of Cyanocitta beecheyi (Lawrence).]

37. Sayomis foacTUi (Grnel.). "Oregon," Townsend's List, 1839, but
it is not now known west of long. lOO*'. He may have mistaken S.
nigricans for it, as that reaches Southern Oregon.*

38. Antrostomiui? macromystax (Wagl), Cassin, p. 240. " Cali-
fornia," from a label in Mus. PhiL Acad. A well-known Mexican spe-
cies.

39. Antrostomus nigrescena? C^., bb^. " co/i/bmtanu^," Bonap.,
1850, New Grenada. I think some of the larger tropical species of
this family may stray into California, as I saw what appeared to be one as
large as A. carolinensis in Ventura County in 1872, but could not obtain
it, and heard no note.

40. Pious lineatoa, Linn, " Oregon," Aud., 1839 - 41, from a speci-
men in Edinburgh "sent by Dr. Gairdner." Not known from North
America, and was probably collected in South America.

♦ SauTophagiia bairdi, Gamb., 1847, has been attributed to California, but
was given by the author as from the Gulf Region of Mexico. It is South
American, and has not recently been reported from Mexico.



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94 BULLETIN OF THE NUTTALL

41. Dryotomiu delattri, Bonop., 1854. Doubtless labelled ^ Califor-
nia" by error for Nicaragua.

42. CampephiliM imperialls (Goti^, 1832. ''California," Aud., 1839,
Nutt., 1840, Cassin (figure^, 1855. Although Nuttall states that Towns-
end shot a specimen in the Rocky Mountains, near the head of the Colo-
rado River, it is not mentioned in Townsend's list, nor figured by Au-
dubon. Townsend, however, states that he shot, but lost, a Woodpecker
resembling this on Malade River (now in Idaho). Cassin gives reasons for
supposing it may also occur in California, and it is to be looked for in
Arizona.

43. Melanerpas erythrooephaliu {L\nn,\ ''California," Grambel,
1847, Baird in Omith. of CaL, 1870. Dr. Gambel does not seem to have
preserved any specimens, and aa no later collectors have found it west of
Salt Lake City (" one seen," Ridgway), its occurrence in California must be
merely accidental.

44. Ceryle amerioana {Gmd.), " Colorado River," Coues, 1866. As
Dr. Coues only thought he saw this species along the river, and as such a
large bird could scarcely escape the many collectors who have been at Fort
Yuma and along the Qila River (whose clear waters are better suited for
it than the muddy Colorado), we may doubt its occurrence until speci-
mens are obtained its range in Texas not being north of lat 30^.

45. Haliaetus pelagious {PalL\ 1831. "Aleutian Islands." Al-
though not obtained by late collectors in that region, its occurrence as a
frequent visitor from Kamtschatka is more probable even than that of H,
aUncUla to Greenland, and it may be looked for at least as far south as
lat 50° on our coast

4& Bymiom nebolosum {Fwsi.). "California," Woodhouse, 1853.
The birds seen by him in .Arizona, also,>ere probably S, occidentale,
Xantus, 1859. See Baird in Om. of Cal., 1870, p. 431. There are several
instances besides this in which southern species of Owls do not extend
across the continent, although those of the arctic regions, being mostly
circumpolar, are common to both sides. Thus Nyctale tengmalmi might
have been included in the Om. of CaL instead of this, it having been found
in Oregon by Townsend.

47. Catharlsta atrata (Bartr,). " Columbia River," Douglass in Faun.
Bor. Am., 1831, Aud., 1839, Peale, 1848, Cassin, 111., 1853, 1858. It is
possible that these references were to the young of Ehinogryphtu aura,
although an actual specimen seems to be alluded to. Dr. Gambel found
it quite common about the Gulf of California, but does not add California
as in other cases, nor has it been detected, though very likely to be, along
the Colorado.

48. Baroorhamphoa grjphum (Linn,), "Southwestern States,"
Bonap., 1828-33; "Rocky Mountains," 1832-40, quoting Lewis and
Clarke's " bustards," and the bill and talons brought by them to Peale's
Museum. These were, however, probably those of Pseudogryphtu colt/or'



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ORNITHOLOGICAL CLUB. 95

niantu, and from the Lower Columbia River. The Condor is doubtless
confined to South America, though quite able to visit our latitude.

49. Melopella lencoptera {Linn,). This species, common in Ari-
zona, has not been collected in California, but in 1853 I saw white-winged
wild Pigeons, which I then had no doubt were this species, in the San
Francisco market. As they are often caged in Mexico, these may have
come from there, but it is also very probable that they may wander so far,
like the little Ground Dove, which has been shot at San Francisco.

60. Ortyz fiuoiatns, Natterer MSS. "California," Gould, 1843, but
it is not DOW known north of Colima, Mex., and not at all likely to be found
north of that point.

61. lK>phort7z elegans (Lessm), 1831. " Upper California," Nuttall,
1840, who, however, did not see it. Found at Mazatlan, but not much to
the northward. L, dauglassi, Vig., is probably young of L, ccUifomicm.

52. Bupsyohortyz crlstatus (Ltnn.)=» 0. neoocenusy Vig., 1830, Aud.,
1839 - 42, Nutt, 1840. " Northwest coast of America," Beechey ; "Califor-
nia," Audubon. This species is not given in any recent lists of birds of
western tropical America. Beechey's specimen may have been a cage-
bird, or obtained in Costa Rica.

53. GambetU flavipes (Gmd.). " Oregon," Townsend, 1839 ; " Cali-
fornia," Woodhouse, 1853, Newberry, 1857. Although some undoubtedly
occur for a considerable distance west of the Rocky Mountains and in
Alaska, it is a curious fact that no specimen seems to have been collected
in California, Nevada, or Arizona, nor have I seen it, while the larger
species is abundant.

54. HcBmatopiui ater, VieiU,, ■> H. Uyumsendi^ Aud., 1839. " Oregon,"
Aud., not Townsend. Doubtless collected in South America, but, like
other shore birds, may be also more or less comnwa to the coast of North
America.

55. Namenias mfiventria, Vig,, 1828. "Pacific coast of North
America," The name would apply well to a common variety of N, Ion-
girostris; but it is not yet quoted as a synonjrm of that species, though
there seems to be no other species on the coast to which it is referable.*

56. Gma americana, Forst. " Oregon and California," Townsend and
Audubon, 1839. The error arose from confounding G, amadenais with
this, which is not now known to go west of long. 100°.

57. Aadal>onia oooidentalis (Attd,), " California," Gambel, 1847,
" to Columbia River " ; Newberry, 1867. No specimens were obtained, and
they no doubt mistook the large var. " ccUifomica " of Ardea egretta for it

58. PlataleaaiaJa,i/tnn.-="P.mexicana,"? Willoughby. "California
to San Francisco," Gambel, 1847. Not seen since then north of the Gulf of

* Aetodromtu **bonapartei,** Cassin, 1858, not of Schlegel, was confounded by
him with A, bairdi, Coues, 1861, and is still doubtful as a West-coast bird, as
is the more northern and Alaskan Aditunu bartiumiw (Wils.).



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96 BULLETIN OF THE NUTTALL

California, and not very likely to straggle so far north, although Tantalus



Online LibraryNuttall Ornithological ClubBulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club: a quarterly jjournal of ornithology → online text (page 22 of 50)