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United States (Geological Survey, during the summer of 1875, I was so
fortunate as to observe large numbers of the Bi*oad-tailed Humming- Bird.
Our party was encamped on a small spring-rill, along the bunks of which
a thick hedge of dwarf willows had sprung up, and through and over this
thicket these little birds were darting and chattering all day long. On
July 26 I searched the bushes for nests, and in a couple of hours I discov-
ered Jlw, each containing two diminutive white eggs. Mr. W. H. Holmes
found two more. I contented myself with securing two sets, picking
out those which represented extremes of form. Both nests were composed
of vegetable cotton and thistle-down, and were covered externally with
lichens and bark-fibre, so that in color they resembled the twigs to which
they were attached. The color and form of the two nests, however, dif-
fered materially, — one was broad, shallow, with thick walls, and of a
brown color ; while the second was narrow, elevated, and of a light yel-
lowish hue. Each of the nests was built not more than three to five feet
above the ground, and not one of them was fastened to the main trunk or
larger limbs of the shrubs, like the nests of our Ruby-throat. On the
contrary, they were all suspended by slender swaying tMigs, often directly
over the flowing water. One was attached to a little piece of curled bark,
which presented a horizontal resting-place, just large enough for the nest.
The eggs are not distinguishable from those of Trochilus colubris, except
that, in some instances, the former may be a trifle larger than the latter.
The fact that the nests were found containing eggs in the latter part of
July would indicate that two broods of young are raised during the sea-
son. All of my specimens of eggs had been laid for the space of about a
week, as the embryos were all advanced to about the same stage of develop-
ment, and I had great difficulty in blowing them. I believe there is no
other case on record where the eggs of this species have been found in
such numbers within^ a limited space.** — Elliott Coues, Washington,

D.a

Nesting op Vibeo olivaceus. — Mr. W. L. Collins, of Frankford,
Philadelphia, Pa., writes : **' Whilst walking in a grove I found a nest of
this species, upon which the female was sitting, although the framework
was barely completed. Watching awhile, I presently saw the male fly to
the nest with some soft substance in his bill, which he gave to his mate
to arrange on the nest while he went in search of more. On then looking
into the nest, I was surprised to find that it contained three eggs. Three
or four days afterward, I again visited the spot, and found that the struc-
ture had been completed in the interval. Thus the female had begun to
lay some time before the nest was ready for the reception of eggs." —
Elliott Coues, Washington, D. G,



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96 General Notes.

Californtan Prairib Chiokibnb. — It is always safest for natuialists
to salt dovm newspaper extracts on scientific subjects, and usually best to
leave them permanently in pickle, as the proverbial "grain of salt** is
rarely sufficient to correct their bad savor. The severe attempts to cater
to the marvelling tastes of their readers lead editors of newspapers to cor-
rupt the foundation of facts on which stories sometimes rest, until we
scarcely know whether they have any real foundation. Thus, as quoted in
the " Naturalist,** for February, p. 124, the " Salinas Index** of California
tries to make out that the Prairie Chicken has followed the Central Pacific
Bailroad-track from Nebraska west to Winnemucca, and from there strik-
ing *< off the track,** reached Surprise and Shasta valleys, California. I can
scarcely believe that Dr. Coues or any well-posted ornithologist should let
such a blunder go uncorrected, but as it is, it needs only a few references
to set it right

In VoL VI of Pacific R. R. Reports, p. 94, Dr. Newberry, in 1857, wrote
that he found Tetrao phasiandlui from Canoe Creek, fifty miles north-
east of Fort Reading, CaL, more and more abundant toward the northeast
into Oregon. It was, indeed, from its abundance in the Upper Columbia
River country, that Ord, as long ago as 1815, named it T. colymbiantUy
now retained as the name of this variety as compared with the true 71
phasianelhis of British America, both being chiefly Western birds, though
extending east to Wisconsin, perhaps to Illinois, where they are con-
founded with the more eastern Prairie Chicken.

All this was clearly set forth in the latest work on Califomian Ornithol-
ogy, published in 1870, and even the southern limit near lat 39^ in Ne-
vada indicated.*

If the species had any tendency to spread in California with the in-
crease of agriculture, it has now had more than twenty years to do so, but
from the account quoted does not seem to have made much if any prog-
i«ss. Attempts to naturalize it just north of San Francisco Bay have been
made, but though it may succeed there, the climate of most other parte of
California does not appear well suited to it. — J. Q. Cooper, M. D., Hay-
wood, CaL

Report of the Second Capture of the Oranqe-crowned War-
bler {Helminthophaga edata) in New Hampshire. — Mr. Edward G.
Gardiner, of Boston, informs me that a specimen of this rare Warbler was
taken at the Isles of Shoals, September 9, 1877, by two young coUectors,
Messrs. Outram and Edward A. Bangs. The bird was a female, and was
in company with a small flock, supposed to be of the same species, though
no more were captured. Three specimens of this bird have been recorded



♦ Ridgway, in Bull. Essex Inst 1874, gives only "Upper Humboldt Valley,"
near lat. 41^, but it was found near Salt Lake City, by Nelson, in 1872.



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Gmetal Notes. 97

from M^isfiachusetts and one from New Hampshire.* — John Murdoch^
Baxbury, Mass,

Robins' Eggs, Spotted. — My friend, Mr. Oliver Lockbart, of Lake
George, early in June, found a Robin {Turdus migratorius) building in a
pine-tree near his house. When the nest was completed, and the bird had
laid her eggs, he was surprised to find them spotted. One, which he kindly
sent me, was marked very much like a Scarlet Tanager's {Pyranga rubra)
egg, the greater number of spots being at the larger end ; the rest of it ,
was sparingly spotted ; otherwise it was a normal Robin's egg. — A. K.
Fisher, Sing Sing, N. Y,

Some New Traits for the Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes
erythrocephalus), — A remarkable instance of foresight in several birds of
this species in " looking out for a rainy day ahead " has been communi-
cated to me by my friend Mr. Q. S. Agersborg of Vermilion, Dakota Ter.,
and I cannot do better than quote extracts from his letter : " I have for-
gotten to mention to you an interesting fact about Melanerpes erythroceph-
clis. Last spring in opening a good many birds of this species with the
object of ascertaining their principal food, I found in their stomachs noth-
ing but young grasshoppers. One of them, which had iis headquarters
near my house, was observed making frequent visits to an old oak post,
and on examining it I found a large crack where the Woodpecker had in-
serted about one hundred grasshoppers of all sizes (for future use, as later
observations proved), which were put in without killing them, but they
were so firmly wedged in the crack that they in vain tried to get free. I
told this to a couple of farmers, and found that they had also seen the
same thing, and showed me the posts which were used for the same pur-
pose. Later in the season the Woodpecker, whose station was near my
house, commenced to use his stores, and to-day (February 10) there are
only a few shrivelled-up grasshoppers left I have now not seen this Wrd
for over two weeks."

A similar habit is related of the Cftlifomia Woodpecker (Melanerpes far-
fiUciwrus) by Dr. Heermann in California, and Mr. J. K. Lord in British
Columbia ; the food in this instance being acorns, which were wedged
tightly in crevices, and in some cases the hollow stems of reeda were used.!
— H. B. Bailey, New York Oity,

Spurious Primaries in the Red-eyed Vireo. — On September 3^
1877, at Bar Harbor, Me., I shot a Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)
which is curiously abnormal in having well-developed spurious first pri-

♦ See note hy William Brewster, with references, Bulletin of the Nntt Cm.
Chib, Vol. I, No. 4, p. 94.

t See Baird, Brewer^ and Ridgway, History of Birds of North America, Vol.
II, pp. 668, 669.



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98 General Notes.

maries, which measure 1.16 inches in length, the wing measuring 3.15
inches. Through the kindness of Mr. J. A. Allen, I have examined the
Vireos of this species in the collection of the Museum of Comparative
Zoology, and find in a series of about seventy specimens four more cases of
the same variation. They are as follows : No. 23,281 (ColL M. C. Z., from
Coalbuig, W. Ya.) with spurious primaries on both wings measuring 1.17
inches (wing, 3.23) ; No. 23,274 (Coll. M. C. Z., same locality), with a
spurious primary only on the left wing, measuring 1.10 inches (wing, 2.92) ;
• No. 4285 (Coll. M. C. Z., from Newtonville, Mass.), with spurious primaries
on both wings, measuring 1.09 inches (wing, 3.02); and No. 4793 (Coll. M. C.
Z., same locality) with a spurious primary on the left wing, measuring 1.15
inches, the wing measuring 3.21. It may be well to say that they are not
the first primary coverts, but are true spurious primaries, lying in the same
plane as the other primaries, and diflfering from the spurious primaries of
other species of this family only in being somewhat smaller. This varia-
tion seems particularly interesting from the fact that the presence or ab-
sence of a spurious primary has been to some extent taken as a basis of
classification in this family. — Charles F. Batchelder, Cambridge, Man.

The European Widgeon (Mareca penehpe) in the United States. —
I take great pleasure in noting the capture on the Atlantic coast of the
United States of two specimens of Mareca penehpe, which I am assured
have not been recorded.

One is in the collection of Mr. Qeo. N. Lawrence, who has kindly given
me the facts concerning its capture, as far as known ; the other in my
own. The first, which is a fine adult male, Mr. Lawrence said he pro-
cured from a gunner who captured it on the coast of Virginia, in 1855.
My specimen, an immature male, I procured in Fulton Market, N. Y.,
January 6, 1873, and as far as I could ascertain, it came from Southamp-
ton, L. I. — N. T. Lawrence, New York.

The Sharp-tailed Finch (Ammodramtu caudacutus) in Maine. —
Dr. Brewer strangely misquotes me on page 48 of the present volume of
the " Bulletin," in reference to the Sharp-tailed Finch {Ammodram^is cau-
dacutus). In my note to which he refers, no mention is made of the cap-
ture of a ** single ** specimen in Scarboro', Me., nor indeed of the capture
of any specimen at all. What I did say (see Bulletin, Vol. II, p. 27)
was that I had found the species a rare inhabitant of a part of Scarboro'
Marsh.

Late in October, 1876, I observed a few individuals of this species on
Pine Point, — a sandy strip of land which forms the seaward extremity of
the great Scarboro' Marshes. Aside from the fact that this was consider-
ably to the east of their previously known range, I was surprised to find
them here, for I had carefully examined the Point and its vicinity, at
other seasons of the year, without detecting a single specimen. Accord-



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I



General Notes, 99

ingly, during the season of 1877, 1 made the Sharp-tailed Pinch the ob-
ject of almost daily expeditions, from early spring until late autumn ;
but, in confirmation of my suspicions, not a bird was to be found until
about October 1. At that date great numbers appeared on the marshes
and sea beaches adjacent to Pine Point, and for a couple of weeks they
fairly swarmed in their favorite haunts. They were noticeably less
numerous during the latter part of the month, and by November 1, only
stragglers remained. I captured the last of the season on November 15.

To the best of my knowledge, then, although abundant during the
autumnal migration, the Sharp-tailed Finch is not to be found in this
vicinity during the spring and summer months. — Nathan Clifford
Brown, Portland, Me,

The Whitb-Throated Warbler (Helminthaphaga leucobronchidlU)
IN CoNNECTicDT. — Through the kindness of Mr. Charles M. Carpenter
of Providence, R. I., I have lately had the pleasure of examining a speci-
men of this recently described Warbler, which was shot by that gentle-
man at Wauregan, Conn., May 25, 1875. The locality was a wild hill-
side covered with scrub-oaks and a sprinkling of young pines. Mr.
Carpenter's attention was first drawn to its presence by its song, which at
the time he mistook for that of the Golden- winged Warbler (ff. chrysop-
tera), though he thinks that it differed in being somewhat higher and
shriller. The sex of this bird was not determined by dissection, but it is
unquestionably a male. It agrees closely in every particular with my
type of the species, as does also Mr. Wood's specimen, which I have like-
wise seen at Philadelphia. Indeed, it would be difficult to select three
individuals of any species which vary so little inter se. The olive-green
wash which is spread over the upper parts, with the exception of the
nape, where an area of unmixed bluish-ash forms a narrow collar, is a
marked feature in all three specimens, though the silky white of throat,
cheeks, and lower eyelids, with the narrow restricted black line through
the eye, may be regarded as the most salient points. The validity of this
distinctly characterized species must now be regarded as established, but
further facts relating to its habits and distribution remain tb be elicited
by future investigation. — William Brewster, Cambridge^ Mass,

The Occurrence op Myiarchus crinitus var. ertthrocercus,
ScLAT., AT Fort Brown, Texas.* — This bird appears to be a rather abun-
dant summer visitor in the vicinity of Fort Brown, and during the last
two summers I have taken specimens at intervals from April 1 until the
latter part of September. It bears a close resemblance to var. crinitus,

♦ In justice to the author it should be stated that this note was received
for publication December 5, 1877, and was unavoidably omitted from the January
number. Compare Bull. U. S. Geol. and Qeogr. Survey of the Terr., Vol.
IV. No. 1 (Feb. 6, 1878), p. 83, fifth paragraph. — Eds.



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100 Gmeral Notes.

and I was not aware of its being a distinct variety for a eonsidecable time.
I cannot at present say certainly whether var. criniMns breeds here, but am
inclined to think that it occurs only in the spring and autumn.

A set of eggs, identified by the capture of one of the parents, was taken
on the 10th of May, 1877. The nest was placed in the end of a broken
branch of an anacahuite tree, about ten feet from the ground ; it was made
of locks of wool and hairs, and contained five eggs slightly advanced.
These measure .94 x .69. Besides this identified nest two others were
found, but, thinking at the time that they were of tnie crinitui^ I did not
shoot the parents. Of these, one was taken. May 14, in an old excava-
tion of Oenturus aurifrons, and contained three fresh eggs. They are lai^r
than those of the first set (1.01X0.70), the ground-color darker, and the
markings heavier. The third nest was in a hollow stump less than two
feet from the ground, and on June 4 contained six young.

It is worthy of note that no snake-skins were used in the construction
of these nests. — J. C. Merrill, M. D., Assistant Surgeon, U, S, A,,
Fort Brovm, Texas,

[I have carefully compared the two sets of the eggs of Jf. erythrocerus,
here referred to, with sets of M. crinitusj M. cin^ascensj M, cooperij and
M, stolidw. These all have a strong family resemblance, those of the
erythrocercus being distinguishable by lai>5er size and much greater abun-
dance of large confluent blotches of lilac and purplish brown. The eggs
described in North American Birds (Vol. II, p. 339) as those of M. dm-
rascens undoubtedly are really eggs of this species. — T. M. Brewer.]

The Golden Eagle in the Hudson Highlands. — This splendid
bird, which was formerly quite characteristic of this wild mountainous
region, is now becoming quite scarce. It was formerly known to nest upon
the cliffs on the west side of the Hudson, north of West Point ; and it is
still a problem whether at least one pair do not still breed there.

I have never been able to discover any nest, though I have carefully ex-
amined each of the three principal ledges lying between West Point and
Cornwall ; but these clifls are so vast and inaccessible, that it is impossible
to examine them satisfactorily from either top or bottom, even with the
aid of a good glass. As I have seldom undertaken these fatiguing excur-
sions during their breeding season, I have not ascertained the fact of their
presence there at that season ; but in winter I have occasionally seen a
single individual flying near the top of the mountains.

Several years ago, a Golden E^le was shot opposite those cliffs by a
farmer at Cold Spring, while in the act of destroying a goose belonging to
the farmer.

A few days since, through the kindness of my friends, Professor Robert
Donald and Mr. Sanford R. Knapp, of Peekskill, I examined a finely
mounted specimen of this Eagle, in the possession of the latter gentleman.
It was iu the plumage of the young male (the basal two-thirds of the tail



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Oeneral Notes, 101

being white), and measured seventy-eight inches in expanse. It was shot
by a farmer three miles east of Peekskill, on the 16th of November, 1877.
A third specimen was taken in the Palisades of the Lower Hudson in
October, 1875. This was a fine adult specimen. The sportsman who shot
it said that ** Ije saw it in a tree over his head, and killed it with a charge
of No. 9 shot."

I have seen this Eagle on several occasions, but never in summer. In
March, 1876, two Golden Eagles were found in a certain spot in Put-
nam County for several weeks, but I did not succeed in shooting them.
In April, 1872, I saw one twice, whose tail was all white, save a narrow
terminal bar of black.

An aged hunter, Mr. William LeForge, positively asserts that Eagles
nest upon the cliflfs north of West Point In support of this statement, he
related to me, in substance, the following circumstance : A few years ago,
(about ten T) on the occasion of the death of an old man, who lived the
life of a hermit, near the summit of a mountain between " Oo's Nest "
and ** Storm King," the remains had to be carried down to the foot of the
mountain to the river. On their way down the company (conducted by
LeForge) halted at the foot of a ledge, where their attention was attracted
to the " hissing " of some young Eagles on the rocks above them. — Edoab
A. Mbabns, Highlcmd FaXls, N. Y,

Meanikg of thi Word "Anhinga.** — Correspondence of interest
respecting etymologies of ornithological names with W. C. Avery, of
Contentment, Ala., elicits the following derivation and meaning of the
strange-looking word " Anhinga," as applied to the Snake-birds (species of
Plotus).

"Thinking it probably Spanish, I sought it in Leone's Dictionary,
where I found, not Anhingaf but Anhina, * an aquatic bird of prey in
Brazil, called the Darter, Plotus,* Anhina is undoubtedly the Spanish or
Portuguese wo^d ; but how has it been corrupted into Anhinga ? lii a
French Encyclopaedia I find the following : ' Anhinga, nom br^ilien de
ces oiseaux. .... La longueur ddmesur^e de leur cou, jdinte & sa minceur,
leur donne une figure dtrange .... on dirait des canards qui ont pour cou
un long serpent* Hence the name * Snake-bird,' Portuguese Anhina,
from the Latin Angtiina 1 (AnguiSf a snake)/' This derivation seems to be
undoubtedly correct, Anhinga being corrupted from Anhina. — Elliott
CouKS, Washington, D, C,

Late capture op the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher in Massachu-
setts. — Mr. W. B. Barrows informs me that on November 29, 1876, he
took a male Empidonax flaviventris, at Reading, Mass. The day was so
cold that ice was forming rapidly in the shade ; yet the bird had the
same motions which characterize it in June, and though it had an empty
stomach, was very fat and apparently in the best of spirits. It was, how-
ever, silent so far as was observed. I also learn from Mr. H. A. Purdie



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102 GerurcU Notes.

that a specimen of this species was taken by Mr. W. W. Eager in Newton,
Mass., December 1, 1876. These are certainly late dates for the cap-
ture of any species of the genus Empidonax in Massachusetts. — J. A.
Allen, Cambridge, Mass,

The Ipswich Sparrow (Passerculus princtps) on Long Island, N. Y.,

— On the Ist of January, 1878, I took a fine specimen of the PassercvXus
princeps at Rockaway, Long Island. The bird when taken was in com-
pany with Savanna and Tree Sparrows (Passerculus savanna and SpizeU a
monticola), and was found among a low range of sandhills that skirt
the main shore of the bay at Far Rockaway. Another was observed the
same day, but, being very wild, I was unable to procure it This makes
the fifth specimen that has been taken in the same locality : the first in
December, 1870, the second and third in November and December, 1872,
the fourth, November, 1874, and the fifth, January, 1878. — N. T. Law-
rence, New York City,

The Stilt Sandpiper (Micropalama himantopus) at Portland, Maine.

— Mr. H. A. Purdie, in his review of a recent " Catalogue of the Birds of
New England," stated (this Bulletin, Vol. I, p. 73) that Micropalama
himantopus is migratory along the whole New England coast. This
elicited the rather sweeping assertion from the author of the Catalogue
that the bird had " not been found in any part of that coast from St.
Andrews to Kittery " (Bull., Vol. II, p. 48). I desire to contribute my
evidence in support of Mr. Purdie's statement. M, himantopus has been
repeatedly taken on the marshes and sandbars in the vicinity of Portland,
Me., during the early part of autumn. — Nathan Clifford Brown,
Portland, Me,

Nesting-Habits of Parus montanus.* — The nest was built at the
bottom of a seam in a very rotten stump. The top of the seam was
two feet from the ground, the bottom about a foot below the entrance.
The bird had slightly and irregularly enlarged the passage to the nest,
which was composed of fibrous roots, lined with wool gathered from the
bushes where sheep had grazed, and contained seven white eggs.t

I visited the nest daily for some time, and finally found the female
sitting. As I neared the stump I was somewhat startled by a loud hiss-
ing noise, and looked in at the nest expecting to find a snake, but discov-
ered only the owner, who, with wings outspread, mouth open, and eyes
glistening, hissed almost continually. I desired to see the nest, and tried
to drive her from it by violently striking the stump, but she was not to be
dislodged so easily, and I left her, hoping to find her not at home next

♦ Communicated by R. Ridgway.

t It would be interesting to know whether the eggs are spotted or not ; if
unspotted, they form a notable exception to the rule in this genus. — R. R.



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General Notes. 103

morning. Upon my next yisit, the day after, she greeted me again with
hisses and other demonstrations of anger ; and after watching her several
minutes, during which time she kept up her attitude of defiance, I again
left her mistress of the situation. The next morning she saluted me
as before, but being by this time determined to examine the nest I
inserted a stick, at which she advanced, pecking and hissing vigorously.
She fought long and well, but might finally prevailed, and she slipped
out, as she could have done at any time if so inclined, and flew to a
neighboring tree, from which she watched me with much interest and in-
dignation. She returned to her nest soon after I had left it. After the
rough treatment of this occasion, she would invariably leave the nest at
my appi*oach, doubtless hearing my footsteps, as she could not possibly
see me.

Some days after this, I found a pair of these birds building in a low
stump which stood in a meadow, but I did not remain in the neighbor-
hood long enough to learn the numl)er of eggs or test the courage of the
female while incubating. — L. Beldino, Marysville^ Gal,

Persistency in Nest-building by a Pair op City Robins.— Mr. H.



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