Nuttall Ornithological Club.

Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club: a quarterly jjournal of ornithology online

. (page 30 of 50)
Online LibraryNuttall Ornithological ClubBulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club: a quarterly jjournal of ornithology → online text (page 30 of 50)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

cluding the locality from those known to have been actually taken. They
number aboat forty species, mainly Sandpipers, Plovers, and Terns, and
embrace only such as are certainly likely to occur. The list is evidently
prepared with care, and gives a convenient and undoubtedly trustworthy
summary of the Avian Fauna of the locality of which it treats. — J. A. A.

Birds of Central New York. — Through the kindness of the author
we have received a catalogue of the birds of Cayuga, Seneca, and Wayne
Counties, New York,t published in the "Auburn Daily Advertiser"
(newspaper), of Auburn, New York. The list contains one hundred and

• A Catalogue of the Birds of the Vicinity of Cincinnati, with Notes. By
Frank W. Langdon. 8va pp. 18. Salem, Mass. : The Naturalists' Agency.

t A Partial Catalogue of the Birds of Central New York, from observations
taken in the Counties of Cayuga, Seneca, and Wayne by Mr. H. G. Fowler,
of Auburn, N. Y., and from the Cabinet of Skins of New York Birds collected
by Mr. J. B. Gilbert, of Penn Yan, Yates County. Divided and arranged in
accordance with the '* Check List of North American Birds," by Elliott Coues,
M. D., U. 8. A., and dedicated to the Cayuga Historical Society. By Frank B.
Bathbun. Auburn Daily Advertiser (newspaper) of August 14, 1877.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

Beeent Literature, 35

ninetj^ne species, with brief notes on their relative abundance, times of
migration, etc The list bears evidence of trustworthiness, and we
would gladly see it reproduced in a more permanent and accessible form.
It appears to be a reprint of Mr. H. Q. Fowler's list in ** Forest and
Stream " (Vols. VI and VII, 1876), with the addition of quite a number
of species, and additional observations on others. In this list we find
Anihtu ludovicianui recorded as breeding ('' a few remain and breed ") in
New York, the authority being Mr. J. B. Gilbert, of Penn Yan, Yates
County, New York. We know not as yet on what evidence the record
of so improbable an occurrence is made, but wouldjsuggest that it certainly
needs strong backing, the locality being climatically and topographically
BO wholly unlike that usually chosen by this exceedingly boreal species as
its breeding station. In a later issue of the same paper (September 6,
1877), Mr. Rathbun adds further remarks on Dendrceca canrulea, and Dn
T. J. Wilson on sixteen species, including a few species not given by Mr.
Rathbun. — J. A. A.

Brown on the Distribotion of Birds in North-European Russia
— During the last year (1877) Mr. J. A. Harvie Brown has contributed
a series of important papers upon the distribution of birds in " North
Russia,"* in which all information at present accessible is epitomized in a
series of tables through the use of arbitrary signs or ** symbols.'' The first
paper relates to the region of the Lower Petchor% explored by himself and
Mr. Seebohm, and is supplementary to a joint paper by these gentlemen
published in the "Ibis** for 1876 (January, April, July, and October).
Parts II and III treat of the general range of the birds in European
Russia, north of the parallels of 58^ to 60°, in which are presented in tab-
ulated form the records relating to this extensive r^on. The area con-
sidered embraces (contrary to what the above-given titles might imply)
only that portion of the Russian Empire west of the Ural Mountains, and
north of about the latitude of St. Petersburg. This is divided latitudi-
nally, near the parallel of 64** 30', into two regions, a northern and a
southern, and these are again each divided longitudinally into three re-
gions. By means of a system of symbols the range of each of the two
hundred and eighty-one positively identified or authentic species is given
in tables, in such a way as to indicate the abundance or scarcity of the
species in each of the several districts. This system of presentation is
perhaps as satisfactory as any that can be devised short of graphic repre-

* On the Distribution of Birds in North Russia. Part I. On the Distribution
of Birds of the Lower Petchora, in Northeast Russia. Part 11. Longitudinal Dis-
tribution of Species North of 64* 80' N. lat, or the Northern Division. Part III.
On the Longitudinal Distribution of the Birds of the Southern Dirision (be-
tween eH'' N. and 58* - 60* N.). By J. A. Harvie Brown. Annals and Maga-
zine of Natural Histoiy, April, Jidy, and September, 1877.

Digitized by


36 BecerU Literature.

•entation bj maps, and is well worthy of careful consideration on the part
of those interested in the detailed study of the geographical distribution
of animals. In addition to the tables a descriptive list of authorities is
given, to which references are made by numbers in the tables, as also a
long list of "Notes and Criticisms of Doubtful Records," to which are also
references in the tables. We have thus here presented the bibliography
of the subject, a summary of the facts, and a critical discussion of doubtful
records, based on a thorough elaboration of all accessible means of infor-
mation. It is good work in a most important direction ; the method is
novel and ingenious, and the results may be grasped at a single glance.
It is to be hoped that Mr. Brown will soon extend his labors to other
regions, and that there will be presently numerous followers in the same
line of research. The number of circumpolar species (nearly fifty) em-
braced in these lists render these papers of special interest to students who
commonly confine their attention to the birds of the North American
Begion. — J. A. A.

^ Summer Birds of thb Adirondagrs. — Messrs. Rooseveldt and Mi-
not have published a very acceptable list of the summer birds of the
Adirondacks,* embracing ninety-seven species, with short notes respect-
ing their abundance, — the first list known to us of the summer birds of
this ornithologically little-explored region. — J. A. A.

Birds of Southern Illinois. — Ornithologists are indebted to Mr.
E. W. Nelson for a second important paper on the " Birds of Illinois." t
Although less elaborate and comprehensive than his former '* Birds of
Northeastern Illinois " (noticed in this Bulletin, Vol. II, p. 68), it contains
much^information respecting the distribution, habits, and relative abun-
dance of the sunmier birds of the southern portion of the same State.
It is based on observations made chiefly in July and August, and gives
partial lists of the birds of several localities in Richland and Union Coun-
ties, embracing altogether notices of one hundred and thirty-three species.
Mr. Nelson left some months since for a protracted sojourn in Alaska,
where, it is hoped, he will find leisure for much ornithological work in
connection with his duties as United States Signal Officer at St. Michael's.
His intelligent labors in Illinois lead us to expect that no opportunity of
further increasing our knowledge of the ornithology of a region so little
known as Alaska will be neglected. — J. A. A.

Qbntrt'>s " Life-Histories of the Birds of Eastern Pbnnstlva-
HIA." — Mr. Gentry has recently brought out the second volume of his

• The Summer Birds of the Adirondacks in Franklin County, N, Y. By
Theodore Rooseveldt, Jr., and H. D. Minot. 8vo. pp. 4. 1877.

t Notes upon Birds observed in Southern Illinois, between July 17 and Sep-
tember 4. 1876. By K W. Nelson. Bulletin of the Essex Institute, VoL IX,
pp. 82-65, June, 1877.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

General Notes. 37

"Life-Historiea," • carrying the subject from the Crowe (Corvidag) to the
Waders, these and the Swimming Birds being reserved for treatment in a
third volume. This volume differs little in general character from the first.
It abounds in original observations, combined with much that is gleaned
fix>m other authors. The nature of the food of the different species
has received at Mr. Qentry's hands very careful attention, his pages
fairly bristling with the technical names of the various species of insects
and plants, the fragments of which he has detected in examining the
contents of their stomachs. The freer use of vernacular names, in the
case of the more common and well-known species, would doubtless have
added interest to his extensive ** bills of fare" for the non-scientific reader.
The occasional adoption of such familiar terms as red-legged locust or
** grasshopper," black cricket, sulphur butterfly, cankerworm, pine weevil,
etc, in place of the ever-recurring CcUoptenus femur-rubrum, Acheta nigra^
Colias philodicey Anisopteryz vemata and A, pometaria^ Hylobius paleSy etc.,
or chestnut, oak, alder, birch, woodbine-honeysuckle, and strawberry, to
take mild examples, instead of Castaneay Quercus, AlntiSj Betula, Lonicera
penclyTnenum, Fragaria virginiana, etc., would certainly have savored less
of pedantry, and been far more intelligible to ordinary readers. Mr.
Gentry is evidently a friend and admirer of the feathered tribes, and often
describes their habits most minutely, especially in relation to their nidifi-
cation. Despite some faults of execution, the work before us contributes
much of value respecting the habits of our birds, and records many inter-
esting points in their history not given by previous writers. — J. A. A.

etntv&l 0ttUi,

^ Threb Additions to thb Avifauna op North America. — Mr. Lu-
cien M. Turner, United States Signal OflScer, stationed for the past three
years at St MichaePs, Norton Sound, Alaska, collected during his resi-
dence at that post a considerable series of birds, among which are the
following species not previously recorded from this continent :' —

1. Parus cinctUB, Bodd. (=. sibiricuSf QmeL et auct.). — A species very
closely resembling P. hudsonicuSf but differing in having the whole side of
the neck pure white instead of ashy, conspicuous white edging to reniiges
and rectrices, and other minor features^ Found in company with P. hud-
sofUcus, and not rare, though less common than the latter. Several speci-
mens obtained at St. Michael's, March 15, 1875.

.2. Sjmiain lapponlouin, Retz. — A specimen obtained at the Yukon
delta, April 15, 1876. This form resembles S. cinereum, which was also
obtained in the same locality, but is very much paler colored.

* Life-Histories of the Birds of Eastern Pennsylvania. By Thomas 0. Gen-
try. YoL II, 8vo^ pp. 886. The Naturalist's Agency, Salem, Mass. I877.

Digitized by VjOOQlC

38 General Notes.

3. Snmia nlula, Linn. — St MichaeVs, October, 1876, said to be very
rare. This bird also differs from its American representative, S. fymuren,
Linn. -» (S. Mltda var. Kud$oma^ B. B. & R., Hist N. Am. Birds, III, p.
75) in the gi^t predominance of white on the plumage.

Owing to the arduous nature of his duties as Signal Observer, which
necessitated his presence at or near the post the whole time, Mr. Turner
was not able to pay as much attention to the natural history of the re-
gion as could be desired, and had to depend in a great measure upon the
natives for the specimens which he secured. The results of lus endeavors,
however, are, considering the circumstances, very satisfactory. He found
SUma aUfuUca, of which but a single specimen had been collected, very
numerous, and obtained a good series of both skins and eggs. AdyUi
flava was also exceedingly abundant, and its nest and eggs secured, besidefl
many skins of both adult and young lords. — Robsbt Ridgwat, ^oh^-
ington, D. C,

(n^ The Rook Ptabmigav (Lagopus rupegtris) IK the Aleutiak Islands.
— In the Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, February 8,
1873, in a paper entitled " Notes on the Avifauna of the Aleutian Islandii,
from Unalashka eastward," Mr. W. H. Dall states th^t Lagopus ctUnts is
a '^ resident from the Shnmagins to Unalashka,'' and^adds : '* I made in-
quiries in regard to X. rupestria, but could get no information, and do not
think the species is foimd in the islands/' In a second paper on the Avi-
fauna of the Aleutian Islands west of Unalashka, in the Proceedings of
tbe same society, March 14, 1874, he states that L. albus is ** more or leas
abundant in all the Aleutian Islands," and that, " from careful examina-
tion of many specimens, most of which were killed for the table, I feel
sure that this is the only species of Grouse found on the islands, and I be-
lieve there is no authenticated instance of the occurrence of X. rupestrU
west of the 156th meridian."

From my own observations I am led to believe that Mr. Dall has mis-
taken L, rupestrii for X. cUbuSf since I found the former to be very nu-
merous at Unalashka during portions of May and June, 1877, and I also
found them common on the Akoutan Islands east of Unalashka, and by in-
quiry among the residents of the islands,* both native and foreign, I- could
only learn of the occurrence of this species. I was informed, however,
that another species of Ptarmigan is found on the peninsula of Alaska.

Since arriving at St Michael's, I learn from Mr. Turner, who has been
collecting at this place for the last three years, that L. rupestrU is common in
the vicinity of St Michael's, being as numerous as L. aXbue on the hills
of the neighboring mainland. He also informs me that on a single moun-
tain on Stewart Island, about twenty-five miles from the mainland, this
species is quite numerous. In all of the above-named places the bird
breeds and is resident throughout the year. — R W. Nelson, 8L Mv-
ehacTi, Aloika,

Digitized by


General Notes. 39

OoTURNiouLUB HBXBLowi IN Niw HAMPSHIRE. ~- At the norfcliem
nnge of Henslow's Sparrow has not previonsly been recorded beyond the
MaBsachosetts line, the following notes, which have been kindly placed at
my disposal by Mr. Chas. F. Goodhue of Webster, N. H., will be of interest
He writes : " I detected my first specimen on April 17, 1874, in Webster,
N. H., and shot another on April 26, 1876, in Boscawen, N. H. On Au-
gust 16, 1877, I found several pairs in a large meadow in Salisbury,
N. H. They were all apparently breeding, aiid I was so fortunate as to dis-
cover a nest containing four young large enough to fly. The nest, which
was a bulky structure composed externally of coarse grass and lined with
finer of the same, was placed in a bunch of grass where the water was
about two inches in depth. These birds were not at all shy, but remained
singing on some low bushes until I approached them within a few yards."

I have a specimen which Mr. Goodhue shot on Salisbury meadows, and
kindly presented me. — Ruthven Deane, Cambridge, Man,

Breeding Habits op Geococctx californianus. — In 1872, while in
Southern Arizona, I found some twenty nests of Geococeyx californianuBy the
first nest on April 8, the last on September 10. During the month of April,
in which I found several nests, not one contained more than three eggs,
although I allowed incubation to begin before taking the eggs, as I ex-
pected the birds to lay more. Nearly every nest I found after the middle
of May contained four or five eggs, and I account for the greater pumber
laid later in the season by the fact that insect food during the dry season,
which includes April .and May, is comparatively scarce. The birds be-
ing aware of this content themselves with rearing a small brood the
first time, and a larger one at the second laying, when the young are
hatched about the beginning of the rainy season, which sets in in June.
At this time all kinds of insects and reptiles become exceedingly abun-
dant, and the birds have less trouble in providing for a family of five than
earlier in the season for one of three. Only occasionally have 1 found
eggs in different stages of incubation, and I do not believe that there was
over a week's difference in the time of laying of the eggs in any nests I

The food of this species consists chiefly of [insects, particularly grass-
hoppers, but embraces occasionally a lizard or a field mouse. I do not
believe they kill and eat rattlesnakes, as has been sometimes reported. —
Charles Bendire, (Janvp Harney, Oreg(m,

Occurrence of a Second Specimen of Swainson's Buzzard (B%Uio
swaimant) in Massachusetts. — The claim of the above-named species
to be regarded as a bird of New England has hitherto rested solely upon
a specimen in melanistic plumage (formerly specifically separated as B, ir^
iignatua, Cassin) shot a few years since at Salem, Mass., and now in the
museum of the Peabody Academy.

It is with much pleasure that I can now announce the capture of
a second individual at Way land, Mass., on or about September 12,

Digitized by VjOOQIC

40 GmeraL Notes.

1876. Thiongh the kindneas of Mr. Arthur Smith of Brookline, to whom
it was originally sent in the flesh, this hird has recently come into my pos-
session. It is a young male in nearly perfect autumnal dress, and, though
not typically melanistic, it still inclines strongly towards that cohdition.
— William Brbwbteb, Cambridge, Moat.

Breeding of the Hooded Merganser {Mergus cucuHatus) in Flor-
ida. — In view of the fact that we have no published record of the breed-
ing of this species in the Southern States, I was much surprised to find
that it does breed in Florida, at least oecasionallyy and I think regularly.

While descending the St John's River by steamer on March 28, 1877,
I saw, near Blue Spring, a female Hooded Merganser, accompanied by a
large brood of yoimg, which were perhaps a week old. As the boat
rounded a sharp bend of the river the little family, taken by surprise, was
nearly run over, but after the first moment of paralyzed inaction, the
mother flew heavily and reluctantly off, while the ducklings scattered in
all directions, and escaped by diving. As I was standing in the steamer's
bows at the time, there was no possibility of mistaking the identity of the
species, for when first seen the whole brood was within ten yards of me,
so near, in fact, that I could distinctly see the color of the parent's irides.

On the Wekiva River, about a week previously, I saw many Meigansers
of this species, and although it did not then occur to me that they might
be breeding, I now recall many circumstances that induce me to consider
this not improbable. While at Pilatka, Fla., Mr. J. H. Fry showed me
a number of specimens in full breeding plumage, stating that in his
opinion the birds nested in the vicinity of that place. On the Wekiva
the Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) was the only other species of Anatidas ob-
served. March 19 and 20, I saw several broods of young a few days old,
accompanying their mothers. As the eggs of this duck are rarely or
never laid in New England before May, and oftener, I think, especially
in the more Northern States, not until June, this latter fact may be not
devoid of interest — William Brewster, Cambridge^ Mas$,

Breeding of the Shore Lark in Western New York. — The
Shore Lark (Eremopkila alpestris) is common during October, Novem-
ber, the latter part of February, and March, and occasionally a speci-
men is seen in April, but on May 29, 1876, I observed a bird of this
species, with a worm in its bill, fly into a meadow, and on June 11 I found
an old bird accompanied by three young ones, in a highway adjoining.
The young were just able to fly. A flock, mostly composed of young
birds, was seen on some ploughed land, September 1, 1876. I do not
know of a previous instance of this bird's nesting in this State. — John
M. HowEY, CanandaigiM, N, Y.

The Northern Phalaropb in North Carolina. — Dr. George H.
Moran sends me a specimen of Ldbipes hyperboreus which was lately shot
on the Catawba River, near Morgantown, N. C. The capture is interesting

Digitized by VjOOQIC

Otneral Notes. 41

from the sontherly and inland character of the locality. The specimen
is in incomplete breeding dress. — Eluott Coues, WathingUm, D, C.

Relaying of Hawkb in thb same Nest when bobbed. — In an old
partly decayed chestnut-tree, at a locality in Southeastern Pennsylvania,
was found, in the spring of 1872, the nest of a Sparrow-Hawk (Tinnuncu-
lui gparveritts). From this tree, at intervals of about ten days, were taken
three sets of five eggs each, making fifteen in all. The first and second
sets were taken from the same hole. In the spring of 1873, from the same
hole from which sets one and two of the previous year were removed, were
taken, April 24, five eggs ; on May 6, from the same hole, four more eggs ;
on May 23, from the same hole, two eggs, and two others were left. Onr
May 29, when the nest was again visited, another egg had been deposited,
makingVbr this season, also, a total of fifteen eggs, deposited by the same
pair of Hawks. The last eggs laid vary greatly from those laid earlier.
Two of them are much smaller, measuring 1.41 X 1.19 and 1.31 X 1.10,
while the average size of the earlier laid eggs is about 1.44 X 1.20. The
greatest difference, however, is in color, two of the last laid eggs (the
smallest) being slightly marked, one being almost white.

In the spring of 1874, from a nest of a Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter coopert)
four eggs were taken on April 24 ; May 6, two more ^gs were taken from
the same nest ; and May 11, two others. Later in the season (about Au«
gust 1), on visiting the same locality, two young Hawks of this species
were seen, but I do not know that they were reared in this old nest —
C. J. Penkock.

The Willow Gbousb in New Yobk. — Mr. Bomeyn B. Hough, Cor-
nell University, Ithaca, N. Y., writes : " Not finding the Willow Qrouse
(La^opus albus) hitherto credited to the State of New York, I take the
liberty of informing you that there is one in my collection which was
token in Watson, Lewis County, on May 22, 1876. It was killed by the
person who brought it to me, who said that it was the only one he saw,
and that it was not very shy. It was a male, changing plumage, — mostly
white, but with brown head and neck. This is the first instance that has
come to my certain knowledge, though I have heard of some limibermen
catching in winter what they called a * White Partridge,' and which was
probably a Ptarmigan, though possibly an albino Spruce or Buffed Grouse."
— Elliott Coues, Washington, D, C.


Jouy, of Washington, D. C, submits to my inspection an interesting speci-
men of the Eastern Towhee, shot May 4, 1875, in the District of Colum-
bia, and requests me to make a note of* its peculiarities for publication in
the Bulletin. The outer scapulars are distinctly and strongly marked,
near the end of the outer webs, with streaks of pure white ; there is much
concealed white in the black of the throat ; and in other respects, as the

Digitized by VjOOQIC

42 General Nates.

extent of wliite on the primaries and lateral tail-featheift, the tpedmen
resembles P. *' arcHctuJ' Nothing is wanting, in fact, to make it a typical
"arcttctw" but the spots on the wing-coverts. Another specimen, shot
hj the same gentleman in the same locality, also shows a trace of white
on the scapulars. Examples intermediate between erythrophthedmus and
" arctiau " have long since been noted by Baird, myself, and others, but
all such hitherto known, so far as I am aware, have been from localities
where the respective hahitaU of the two forms adjoin. The present case
offers additional and very strong evidence against the specific distinction
claimed for P. " orcticw." — Elliott Coues, WaskiiigUm, D. G*

[A considerable proportion of the specimens of P. erythropfUhalmus taken
by me in 1871, in the vicinity of Leavenworth, Kan. (mainly in East
Leavenworth, Mo.), showed white spots on the scapulars and more white
on the wings than eastern examples, thus exhibiting a decided tendency
toward the characters of P. '' arcticus" the eastern limit of the range of
which, in its typical aspect, is the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains in
Colorado, some six hundred miles west of Leavenworth. — J. A. Allen.]

YiREO viciNiOR IN CALIFORNIA. — I have found this Yiieo to be not
uncommon in the vicinity of Campo, San Diego Co., Cal., fifty miles east
of San Diego Bay. It ranges through the mountains from the lower limit
of the pines down to about an altitude of three thousand feet It is found
in thick low brush, very seldom going into or near trees. I have never
met with more than three together, having generally met with them singly.
They are shy and active, keep near the ground, and usually search a bush
thoroughly before leaving it, although not always going to the top. On
leaving the bush they commonly fly several yards before alighting in an-
other. They sing pretty steadily, the song consisting of a couple of syl-

Online LibraryNuttall Ornithological ClubBulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club: a quarterly jjournal of ornithology → online text (page 30 of 50)