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think there was no ice at that time on the pond." — T. M. Brewer, Bos-
ton^ Mom.

The Ground Dove {Ckamaspdeia pas3er%7ia) in New York. — In the
month of October, 1862, while shooting Robins and Golden-winged Wood-
peckers near 158th Street and^ 12th Avenue, New York City, I killed a
bird of this species. It was one of a flock of seven which were sitting in
a tall tulip-tree near the road. At that time, being but a young boy, the
only interest attaching to the specimen arose from the fact that it was the
first " Pigeon ** that I had ever shot, but as I was somewhat familiar with
the plates of Audubon's Birds of America (the original edition, folio) I
recognized the bird as one that I had seen, and, on comparison with the
plate (CLXXXII), I decided that it was a young Ground Dove. I subse-
quently took the specimen to the late John Woodhouse Audubon, who,
after examination, confirmed my previous conclusion, and told me that it
was a southern bird which he had never seen so far north before. The
specimen was not preserved, nor can I give, more exactly than I have
already done, the date of its capture. — George Bird Grinnell, New
Haven, Ct.

Swallow-tailed Kite in Dakota in Winter. — I am informed by
my valued correspondent. Dr. C. E. McChesney, U. S. A., of the occurrence of
Elanoides forficaitu at Fort Sisseton, Dakota, during nearly the whole of
last winter. The Indians also informed Dr. Mc Chesney of the residence
of the bird along the James River in the winter and early spring months,
and of its giving them some trouble by springing their traps, occasionally,
however, getting caught itself. This account tallies with Trippe's Minne-
sota record (north of Mille Lac, lat. 47°). While at Pembina, Dakota,
lat 49°, I was assured by an officer of the occasional appearance of the
bird there. — Elliott Coues, iVashington, D. C,

Apologetic. — I sincerely regret that my hasty and inaccurate reference
to Mr. N. C. Brown's brief mention of the occurrence, near Portland, of
the Sharp-tailed Finch should have given to that gentleman even a mo-
ment's annoyance. Nothing could have been farther from my intention
than to ^ misquote " him. Indeed, had I quoted him the mistake could



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148 General Notes.

not have been made. My point of interest was the JocalUy, the number
seen was to me of no moment Remembering that he had spoken of the
^* bird " in the singular number, I had a mistaken impression that he had
seen but one. Certainly the readers of the Bulletin have no occasion to
regret my careless mistake, since it has been the means of eliciting an in-
teresting and more full account of the occurrence of this species in a before
unknown and unusual locality.

My statement that not a specimen of the Micropaiama was the% known
to have been taken along the entire coast of Maine may have been " sweep-
ing." It was so intended to be. At the time it was made it was literally
and exactly true. Of the occasional and irregular occurrence of this bird
in the vicinity of Portland I am well aware (see Proc. Boston Soa Nat
Hist, Oct 3, 1877). Its presence at a single point on the western portion
of the coast of Maine, so long as all the rest of the coast is destitute, does
not prove either that it is regular in its migrations, or that these extend
along the whole New England coast — T. M. Bbbwer, Boston, M<u$,

The Stilt Sandpiper (Micropaiama himantopus). — In a late paper
read before the Linnean Society of New York, Mr. N. T. Lawrence speaks
of this species as being common on the south side of Long Island (N. Y.).
He has quite often, while Bay-Snipe shooting, had parties of from three to
five, and very firequently a single bird or a pair, come to his decoys. And,
of the four specimens in his collection, two, in adult breeding plumage,
were taken in July, the others, in fall plumage, in September. This note
is interesting as presenting different conditions from any recorded in New
England. But one occurrence of this species is known in July, and that
in the last part of the month and fifteen miles from the sea. Mr. Geo. N.
Lawrence writes me, in reference to this same species, that he lived at Rock-
away for five summers, and on one occasion, when he was there, there was
a flight of this species and Gambetta flavipes, the latter the most abundant,
and of the two species there were killed over one hundred and twenty
individuals. He remembers killing six of M, Jmnantopus at one shot
He never saw so many together as on that day, but all through the season
scattering ones Were shot. — T. M. Brewer, Boston, Mass*

Occurrence of three Species of Sea-Ducks at St. Louis, Mis-
souri. — Mr. Julius Hurtur, of St Louis, Mo., informs me in a recent
letter that he has taken the following-named species of ''maritime"
Ducks in the neighborhood of that city. They were captured in the so-
called ** American Bottom,'' on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River.
The record is of special interest as indicating how widely these birds wan-
der beyond their supposed usual range.

1. CBdemia amerioana, Swain. American Black Scoter. *' A sin-
gle immature bird, ^ot November 24, 1875."

2. CBdemia fosoa, Swain. Velvet Scoter. *^ Two specimens, both
immature, taken November 24, 1877."



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General Notes. 149

3. OEIdemia panpioillata, FlemiDg. Surf-Duck. '^ One specimen,
immature, procured M^y 3, 1876. It was observed in company with
' Black Jacks' {Fuligula affinUy.

Mr. Hurtur also writes that he took a fine specimen of the Purple
Gallinule (Porphyrio marUmca) at the same locality, April 18, 1877.
These biids are now all preserved in Mr. Hurtur^s collection, which em-
braces nearly all the species common to the Ticinity of St. Louis. — J. A.
Allbn, Cambridge, Mass.

The Caroliniaji Fauna. — In Mr. E. P. Bicknell's excellent paper on
southern birds occurring at Eiyerdale, N. Y. (see this number of the Bul-
letin, pp. 128 - 132), I am pleased to find so strong a confirmation of what I
ventured to write in 1871 (when the accessible data bearing on the subject
of the northern boundary of the Carolinian Fauna were much fewer than
now), namely: "On the Atlantic coast this fauna [Carolinian] includes
Long Island and a small portion of Southeastern New York, which form
its northern limit." I also enumerated thirty-two species as being in a
general way " limited in their northward range " by this fauna, adding
that a few of them occur also " as stragglers in the Alleghanian Fauna." ♦
These thirty-three species include not only those enumerated by Mr. Bick-
nell, but also many others equally characteristic of the Carolinian Fauna.

Boundaries between faunae cannot of course be drawn trenchantly;
there must be a slight overlapping of northern and southern species, re-
sulting in a debatable or transitional narrow belt between two contiguous
faunn where neither are typically developed. As Mr. H. A. Purdie stated
in 1873, "no part of New England has been embraoed within the Caro-
linian Fauna, and properly so, but that its southern border has a tinge of
it is quite evident." f While no part of Connecticut is perhaps typically
Carolinian, its southern border, especially about the mouth of the Con-
necticut River, is so strongly tinged with it that it may be regarded as
doubtful whether it is not as much Carolinian as Alleghanian. t Several
of the Carolinian birds, in certain years at least, straggle northward,
especially in the valley of the Connecticut, to Massachusetts, while some
are of quite regular appearance, in very small numbers, as far northward
and outward as Essex County. Yet they are too few in number and too
uncertain in their occurrence to form a characteristic element of the
fauna.

In the opening paragraph of Mr. Bicknell's paper he refers to the limi-
tation of faunee and flores as being " to a certain extent uncomformable

* Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., Vol II, pp. 898, 894, April, 1871.

t Amer. Nat., Vol. VII, p. 698, November, 1878.

I This '' tinge" in Southern Connecticut, and in fact in the extreme south-
eastern (maritime) portions of New England generally, is especially shown by the
distribution of reptiles, where several southern species are ^Moingly represented
which do not occur at all at more northerly localities.



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15^; General, Notes,

with isothermal lines." As regards local details this is doubtless in some
measure true, but, considering the subject broadly, it may be safely
asserted that if there is any principle in ontological geography about
which students of the subject generally agree, it is that temperature exerts
a direct and controlling influence upon the distribution of life over the
surface of the globe. As regards birds, and probably plants and marine
life, if not animal and vegetable life in general, the phrase '^isotheral
lines " should not be taken as meaning lines of mean annual temperature,
but lines of equal temperature for particular seasons of the year, since in
different groups it has been found that the isochrymal or isotheral lines
are more strictly the boundary -lines for species and faunae and florae than
the mean annual lines. Professor A. E. Verrill * long since pointed out that
the mean temperature of the breeding season is of more importance as
regards the limitation of birds than that of the whole year, — a suggestion
well supported by later investigations.t It is to be borne in mind, how-
ever, in this connection, that the lines of mean temperature a» laid down
on charts are only approximate, and do not follow in detail all the minor
curves, as becomes apparent at once on a detailed study of any limited
region of diversified areA. Hence we cannot expect to find the limits of
species agreeing in detail with any of the lines as represented on our best
meteorological charts. Again, the boundary-lines of species are not con-
stant, and the same is also true of lines of mean temperature, var^-ing as
they do more or less in different years. These facts obviously show that
we need never expect to be able to lay down an absolute or rigid line
of demarcation for either species or faunse, but that such boundaries must
ever be provisional and approximate, and hence somewhat open to differ-
ences of interpretation. — J. A. Allen, Cambridge, Mass.

Phalarope, — An Etymological Blunder. — Happening, not long ago>
to be a little curious about the exact meaning of the word Phalarope or Phor-
laroptLSy I took occasion to consult a Greek dictionary on the question, and
by so doing unearthed a somewhat curious etymological blunder. Bris-
son, who was the first to give the name to the genus, t explains it as fol-
lows : ** Phalarope, a name that I have given to the birds of this genus,
because of the resemblance of their feet to those of the Coot, called, in
Greek, (JMKapig" Now, Phalaropus, according to all rules for the compo-
sition of Greek and Latin words, does not mean " coot-foot " at all, as Bria-
son intended it should, but "white-patched-foot" (bom pkcUaros, '^ patched
with white," and pous, "foot"), which is a manifestly inapplicable name,
since the Phalaropes all have black or green feet. Phalaridoptis (from
phalaris, genitive phalaridos, " coot," and poiis) would mean " coot-foot,"

♦ Amer. Journ. Sci. and Arts, 2d Ser., V 1. XLI, 1866, p. 249.
t See Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., Vol. II, 1871, p. 890. Meriiam, Rev. Birds
of Conn., 1877, p. 2, etc

X Omithologie, VI, p. 12, 1760.



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General Notes, 151

and this is what Brisson should have written. Nevertheless, the name
has served so long as a distinguishing mark of the genus, that it would be
by no means advisable to attempt to make an exchange for the etymologi-
cally correct form. It is, however, an interesting example of the necessity
of a little care in compounding scientific names, if we wish to have them
retain any meaning. — John Murdoch, Roxbury, Mass.

Breeding of the Woodcock in Georoia. — Mr. A. T. Cunningham of
Atlanta — an enthusiastic sportsman and competent observer — informs
me that one' of a party consisting of his brother Mr. C. M. Cunningham,
Mr. Martin Tuflfts, Mr. Rusell (all of Savannah), and himself, while wood-
cock-shooting on February 17, 1878, at Winkler^s and Bead's rice-planta-
tions on the Savannah River about twelve miles from that city, in the
swamp through which runs the trestle-work of the Charleston and Savan-
nah Railroad, flushed a female Woodcock from a nest containing four eggj».
The nest was found after the bird had been shot. Upon this discovery
the party gave up shooting. From the actions of other birds of the same
species seen on that day, showing an unwillingness to go far from the
spots whence they were first flushed, Mr. Cunningham is of the opinion
that they were laying. He states that he has frequently seen Woodcock —
single birds — at various times throughout the sunmier, in the svf-amps
near Savannah. The inference is that they breed there. — J. F. Head,
Atlanta, Ga, {Communicated by E. G.)

[The Woodcock has been found breeding as far south as Jacksonville,
Florida {Boardman, Forest and Stream, VIII, 82). While in' Jacksonville
I had the pleasure of examining ^he young birds spoken of by Mr. Board-
man, and also four chicks of another brood taken near the city on March
10, 1877 ; all were of about the same size, perhaps a week old. Old
hunters at Saint Mary's, Camden County, Greoigia, have also assured me
that the Woodcock remains in that neighborhood throughout the year. —
William Brewster.]

Interesting Captures. — My near neighbors, the brothers E. 0. and
Outram Bangs, have received during the past week two species whose
undoubted occurrence in Massachusetts is worthy of mention : —

IbiB faloinellus. Qlosst Ibis. — A specimen of this species, now con-
ceded to be identical with Ibis ordi of Bonaparte, was purchased in
the Boston market. It was a fine adult specimen, and had been secured
at Orleans, Cape Cod, May 5. Its previous capture here has been re-
corded by Emmons, Cabot, Nuttall, and others, most recently by Mr. J. A:
Allen, from Nantucket (Am. Nat., Ill, 637), and by Dr. Palmer, from
Alton, N. H. (Am. Nat., V, p. 120).

Phalaropna hyperborena, Temm. — Northern Phalarope. — A
single specimen, not in full plumage, was shot at the same place, and
found inthe market May 10. It had been dead several days, and the exact
date of its capture cannot be given, but probably about May 5. — T. M.
Brewer, Boston, Mass,



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15? Omeral Notu.

[I have found Phalaropus hyperhoreut to be of by no means rare occur-
rence in Boston market, from Cape Cod and elsewhere along tbe Massa-
chusetts coast, and remember upon one occasion purchasing four specimens
there. It is, however, like several other off-coast species, not commonly
found near the land unless forced to take shelter from severe storms. —
William Brewster.]

The Globst Ibis in MASSACHuaETTS. — I have had the pleasure of
examining a fresh specimen of the Glossy Ibis {Ihis falcineUus), which was
takeUf May 4, 1S78, on Cape Cod, Mass. — Charles E Cort, Boston,
Masi.

A note from Mr. Ruthven Deane, respecting the above-mentioned speci-
men, states that it was shot at Eastham, Mass., by Mr. Augustus Denton.

Mr. N. Yickary, of Lynn, Mass., writes me that he has in his possession
also a specimen of this species (Plegadis falcineUuSy Kaup, the Falcinellui
igrieus of recent writers, the Ibit ordi of most American writers*) taken at
East Orleans, May 5, 1878. This, with the specimens above recorded by
Dr. Brewer and Mr. Cory, nuikes three that were taken at nearly the same
date and near the same locality on Cape Cod, during the first week of
May, the present year. — J. A. Allen, Ccmbridge, Mom,

Two MORS Birds new to the Fauna of North America. — Professor
Baiid writes me that among some birds recently taken by Dr. James C.
Merrill near Fort Brown, Texas, and forwarded to the Smithsonian Insti-
tution, are examples of Vireo Jlavo-viridis and Stumdla mexicana. Both
of these species are new to our fauna. — T. M. Brewer, Boston^ Mom.

* Opinion varies much among recent writers respecting the proper generic and
specific names of this species. Neariy all late writers have adopted Faleinellttt
("Bechstein, 1803'*) for the generic name, and igTuiLS (Gmelin, 1771) for the
specific name. Beichenow, however, employs rufut (Scopoli, 1769). Salvin
and Sckter have recently claimed Plegadis (Kaup, 1829) for the generic name,
thereby rendering/aZctne//tM (Linn^, 1766) available for the specific designation.
On this point these authors write as follows : *' A reference to Bechstein's work
shows that that aathor called the Glossy Ibis NumeniuM foUcineUus^ and in no
way employed the latter title in a generic sense. Failing FcUcineHus^ PUgadis^
Kaup (Skizz. £ntw. Gesch., p. 82, 1829), appears to stand next in order of date;
and thus Plegadia falcinellus (L.) would be the correct name for the Glossy
Ibi8."~/W5, 4th Ser., VoL II, January, 1878, p. 112.



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BULLETIN



NUTTALL OKNITHOLOGICAL CLUB.

Vol. III. OCTOBER, 1878. No. 4.

THE PROTHONOTARY WARBLER {PBOTONOTARIA CITREA).

BY WILLIAM BBEWSTER.

It is Dot SO much my present purpose to go over what has been
already written concerning this beautiM and striking Warbler, as
to present the result of some original observations, made under very
favorable circumstances, in Wabash County, Illinois, and Gibson and
Knox Counties, Indiana. Nevertheless, a brief preliminary reference
to its past biography may not be out of place here.

The species was first described by Boddaert in 1 783. Very little
concerning its life history has been put on record by our earlier
ornithological writers. Audubon's account is decidedly the best^
though it is somewhat brief, and in some respects probably erroneous.
Recently more light has been thrown upon the subject, especially
in regard to its geographical range and nesting. Judging from the
evidence recorded, its distribution is somewhat irregular and erratic,
though future investigation may probably be relied upon to fill
many apparent gaps. Along the Atlantic coast it occurs more or
less regularly — but nowhere, so far as known, numerously — as far
north as Charleston, S. C, and as a straggler to Washington, D. C.
(Coues and Prentiss); Pennsylvania (Turnbull); and even, as a
purely accidental wanderer, to Calais, Me. (Boardman). Westward it
is found more abundantly throughout the Gulf States, and extends
its migrations north to Kansas, Missouri, and Southern Illinois and
Indiana. Indeed, it is probable that its maximum abundance during
the breeding season is reached in the States lying about the junction
of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

The middle of April, 1878, found me at Mount Carmel, 111., in

VOL. III. 11



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154 Brewster on the Prothonotary Warbler,

the pleasant company of Mr. Robert Ridgway, with the delightful
anticipation of a prospective four weeks among the birds of a, to
me, new region. What ornithologist but has felt the sensations
arising at such times, — the pleasing certainty of meeting many
species that are known %o occur ; the stimulating hope of detecting
others that may, nay, probably will, be found ; and the vague dream
of securing some rare prize that shall excite the interest of the whole
ornithological world % But most potent of all to encourage and sus-
tain are the possibilities, without which the toils and hardships of field
collecting would be but sad dnidgery. A person of prosaic temper-
ament can rarely if ever make a good field-worker. Enthusiasm
must be the spur to success. At the time of our arrival there was
a temporary lull in the development of the season. March and early
April had been unusually warm and pleasant, and vegetation had
far advanced. Many of the forest trees were already green with
young foliage, and the leaves of others were beginning to unfold.
But a period of cold rainy weather succeeded, and everything for
a time was at a stand-still. On April 19 the first Prothonotary
Warblers were seen. They seemed to be new arrivals, forerunners
of the general migration ; shy, comparatively silent, and with that
peculiar restraint of manner observable in the first comers of most
migratory birds, — a restraint not so much to be wondered at, for a
subtile chill and gloom still brooded over the budding forest. Nature
seemed to hold her breath in expectancy, and the birds, as well as all
wild creatures, are her children, and sympathize in all her varying
moods. What lover of the woods has not observed the effect pro-
duced upon them by a sudden undefinable something that comes
at times over the face of everything, — a slight imperceptible chill,
perhaps, or a brief period of cloudiness ; where a moment before all
was life, bustle, and joyous activity, there is now brooding depres-
sion and almost death-like silence. Oftentimes the effect is but
transient, and the former state of things soon resumes.

With a few warm days the change came, and Nature entered upon
her gala-day. The tree-tops became canopies of dense foliage ; from
the starlit heavens at night came the nrysterious lisping voices of
numberless little feathered wanderers pushing their way northward
amid the darkness, guided by some faculty which must ever remain
hidden from mortals. Each succeeding rooming found new-comers
taking their places in the woodland choir, and every thicket was
enlivened by glancing wings and merry bird voices. The spell was



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Bkewster on the Prothonotary Warbler, 155

broken, and among all the gay revellers none were more conspic
uous than the beautiful Prothonotaries. Day by day their numbers
rapidly increased, until by April 27 all had apparently arrived.
We now found the Prothonotary Warbler to be, in all suitable
localities, one of the most abundant and characteristic species.
Along the shores of the rivers and creeks generally, wherever the
black willow {ScUix niger) grew, a few pairs were sure to be found.
Among the button-bushes (Cephalanthv^ occidentalis) that fringed
the margin of the peculiar long narrow ponds scattered at frequent
intervals over the heavily timbered bottoms of the Wabash and
White Rivers, they also occurred more or less numerously. Potoka
Creek, a winding, sluggish stream, thickly fringed with willows, was
also a favorite resort ; but the grand rendezvous of the species seemed
to be about the shores of certain secluded ponds lying in what is
known as the Little Cypress Swamp. Here they congregated in
astonishing numbers, and early in May were breeding almost in colo-
nies. In the region above indicated two things were found to be
essential to their presence, namely, an abundance of willows and
the immediate proximity of water. Thickets of button-bushes did
indeed satisfy a few scattered and perhaps not over particular in-
dividuals and pairs, but away from water they were almost never
seen. So marked was this preference, that the song of the male
heard from the woods indicated to us as surely the proximity of
some river, pond, or flooded swamp, as did the croaking of frogs or
the peep of the Hylas. In rare instances, it is true, nests were found
several hundred yards away from any water ; but such apparent ex-
ceptions were in nearly every case explained by unmistakable indi-
cations that the place, or its immediate vicinity, had been flooded
earlier in the season, probably at the time when the site was selected
and the nest built Owing to the exceeding variability of the water-
level in the Western rivers, it is not at all improbable that whole
tracts of country where these birds bi'eed may be sometimes left
high and dry by the receding element before the eggs are hatched.
Everywhere now, from the willow thickets along the streams and
the button-bushes on the pond edges came the songs of numerous
males, and occasionally one would appear among the foliage or
glance across the open water like a ray of golden light Little idea
can be had from preserved specimens of the wondei-fiil beauty and
brilliancy of this bird's plumage when alive. Although at times
somewhat hard to discover among the yellowish green of their favor-



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156 Brewster on the Prothonotary Warbler,

ite willows, at others, when clinging against the side of an old log
or tree-trunk, the yellow head and breast, turned outward to the
light, seemed fairly to glow with color, in contrast with the green
moss or dusky wood. On cloudy, lowering days I have been sur-



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