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inferior size, which hardly exceeds that of a teal, the different color of the
bill and feet, and the singular discrepancy in the lamellso of the bill,
which are much smaller, and one-third more numerous.

Habitat: Washington Island, one of the Fanning Group, situated about
latitude 6** N. and longitude 160® W.

I dedicate this new species to one of our most distinguished ornithol-
ogists, Dr. Elliott Coues, U. S. A., as a slight testimonial of regard, and in
consideration of the service which he has rendered to the science of

^tctnt W.iUvatnvt,

Descriftioks of New Species of American Birds. — Mr. George
N. Lawrence has recently described seven new species of birds from tropi-
cal America. Two of these are Jays,* one of them {Cyanocitta pulchra)
being from Ecuador and the other {Cycmocorax orUmi) from Northern Peru.
The others t are two new species of Tanager of the genus Cfdorotpingus {C.
tpeculifems and C. nigrifrons)^ respectively frt)m Porto Bico and Ecuador,
and three new species of Flycatcher (Serpophaga leucura, from Ecuador,
Orchiltii atrieapilltu, from Costa Bica, and Empidonax nanus^ from St. Do-
mingo). The descriptions of two of the species (Chlarospingus spectUifera
and Serpophaga leucura) are accompanied by colored figures. — J. A. A.

Birds of Kansas. — Professor F. H. Snow has recently published a
third edition of his ''Catalogue of the Birds of Kansas,'' X giving an
annotated list of 295 species. Twenty-three species and one variety have
been added since the publication of the second edition in October, 1872 ;
and it is believed a few others will still be added by further research.
The list is very creditable to the zeal and energy of Professor Snow and

* Description of a New Species of Jay of the Genus CyanodUa; also of a sup-
posed New Species of Cyanoeorax. By George N. Lawrence. Annals of the
Lye. of Nat. Hist N. Y., Vol. XI, pp. 168-166. [PubHshed Feb. 1876.]

t Descriptions of Five New Species of American Birds. By Geoige N. Law-
rence. Ibis, 3d Series, Vol. V, pp. 888-387, Plate IX, July, 1876.

t A Catalogae of the Birds of Kansas. Contributed to the Kansas Academy
of Science. 8to. pp. 14. November, 187S.

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his fellow-workers, who have done so much to make known the aTian
fauna of Kansas. — J. A. A.

Ornithology op Kerguelen Island. — In addition to the ver}' in-
teresting and valuable report on the birds of Kerguelen Island ♦ published
some months since, Dr. Kidder has recently, in conjunction with Dr.
Coues, given an account of the Oology of the i8land,t including detailed
descriptions and measurements of the eggs, together with an account of the
breeding habits of all the species found breeding there. These are about
twenty in number, and all but one are aquatic. They include the hereto-
fore little-known Chionis minora the recently described Querquedula eatoni,
Graculus carunctUatuSy J three species of the Gull family (Laridos), eleven
species of the Petrel family (Procellariidas)^ and four species of Penguins
{Spheni3cid(B)y the eggs of a considerable proportion of which had not
been before described.

With this paper is published, by the same authors, " A Study of Chio-
nis minor with reference to its ^Structure and Systematic Position." §
This essay opens with a rdsum^ of the literature of the species, beginning
with the founding of the genus Chionis by Forster in 1788. Then fol-
lows a description of its anatomy, including an account of its myology, of
the viscera and the skeleton ; of its habits, general appearance in life, and
external characters. In some features Chionis is found to have a considera-
ble superficial, as well as osteological resemblance to the Gulls, and also to
the Grallce, with which latter group it has heretofore been usually asso-
ciated ; but other features point to its association with either of these
groups as unnatural. In summing its external characters, say these
authors, "we see how exactly Chionis stands between grallatoiial and
natatorial birds, retaining slight but perfectly distinct traces of several
other types of structure." Its digestive system is regarded as " decidedly
rasorial in character," while its cranial and sternal characters show its
strong alliance to the Gulls, with a less close relationship to the Plovers.
On the whole, Chionis seems to be made up of distinctive characteristics
amounting almost to anomalies, and in view of its remoteness from any
other group, it is regarded by our authors as entitled to distinct super-
family rank, standing between the Gulls and Plovers, but rather nearer to

• Contributions to the Natural History of Kerguelen Island. By J. H. Kidder,
M. D., Passed Assisant Surgeon U. S. Navy. I. Ornithology. Edited by Dr.
Elliott Coues, U. S. A Bulletin of the United States National Museum, No. 2.
Washington: Government Printing-Office, 1876. 8vo. pp. 61.

t Contributions to the Natural History of Kerguelen Island. By J. H. Kid-
der. II, pp. 6-20. Bull U. S. Nat. Mus. No. 3. Washmgton [etc.], 1876.

X [Gfraculus verrucosus — HalicBus{Hypolucus) verrucosuSf n. sp. Cab., Joum.
f. Om., Jahrg. XXIII, Oct. 1876, p. 460. —Elliott Coues.]

§ Contributions to the Natural History of Kei^elen Island. By J. H. Kid-
der. II, pp. 85-116. Bull. U. S. Nat Mus. No. 8. Washington [etc J 1876.

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tlie former. For this group the snper-family name ChianomorphcB is pro-
posed. In view of some differences between Chionis aWa and Chumis
fiunor that are noted as of probably supra-specific value, the new generic
title of C^wnarckus is proposed for C, minor, — J. A. A.

Extinct Birds with Teeth. — A few months since, Professor 0. C.
Marsh of New Haven described * several species of extinct birds with
teeth from the Cretaceous of Kansas. One of these {Ichthyomis dispar,
Marsh) was an aquatic bird of about the size of a pigeon. Its jaws and
teeth show it to have been carnivorous, and its powerful wings indicate
that it was capable of prolonged flight The teeth were numerous, small,
compressed and pointed, set in distinct sockets, and their crowns were
covered with nearly smooth enamel. A second species (Apatomis celery
Marsh) is of about the same size as the first named, but of more slender
proportions. Another species (Hesperomis dispart Marsh), one of the most
interesting of the group with teeth yet found, was a gigantic diver. Its
teeth had no true sockets, but were placed in grooves and supported on
stout fangs. In form they somewhat resemble the teeth of the Mosasau-
roid reptiles, and they had the same method of replacement.

Professor Marsh has since described t two other species of the same
group, both of gigantic size. One of these is named Hesperomis gracilisy
and the other Lestomis crassipeSy the latter representing a new genus as
well as a new species. These interesting forms are regarded as represent-
ing two distinct orders (Odontotorma and Odontolcce) of the subclass Odon-
tomithes {Aves dentatce) or toothed birds, which combine in a peculiar
manner many reptilian characters with others truly avian. — J. A. A.

"Life-Histories op the Birds of Eastern Pennsylvania." J —
Under this title Mr. T. G. Gentry has given tlje public a most welcome
volume of biographies of the birds of Eastern North America. The work
is based on the author's careful studies of the birds of Eastern Pennsyl-
vania, and bears strongly the stamp of originality. The general habits
and songs of the different species are faithfully described ; while the char-
acter of their nests, the manner of building, periods of incubation, the age
of the young on quitting the nest, etc., etc., are dwelt upon in detail ; the
food of each is also carefully noted. The author's style is unostentatious
and simple, at times lapsing into carelessness ; but the chief defect of the
book is its unprepossessing typographical appearance, printer's blunders
of every description abounding, while the paper and type are wholly un-

♦ American Joum. Sci. and Arts, Nov. 1875, pp. 403-409, Plates IX, X,
(reprinted in Amer. Nat, Vol. IX, pp. 626-631, Plates II, HI).

+ Amer. Jour. Sci. and Arts., June, 1876, pp. 509-511.

X Life-Histories of the Birds of Eastern Pennsylvania. By Thomas G. Gen-
try, Member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, and of the
Canadian Entomological Society of Toronto. In two volumes. Vol. I: Phila-
delphia. Published by the author, 1876. 12 mo., pp. xvi, 809.

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worthy of so yaluable a work. These faults of mechanical execution can,
however, be easily remedied in a future edition, which we sincerely hope
the demand for the work will soon call for. The present volume includes
the Song-Birds as £eu: as the Corvidcs of Dr. Coues's arrangement, and forms
a work that no ornithologist can be without, while its popular character
ought to insure it a wide range of readers. — J. A. A.

etntval 0atti.

Brsedino op the Canada Goose in Trees. — Dr. Coues, in his
^ Birds of the Northwest " (p. 554), alludes to the breeding of the Canada
Goose (Branta canadensis) in trees in " various parts of the Upper Mis-
souri and Yellowstone regions." He refers to the fact as being little known,
\and as not personally verified by himself, though perfectly satisfied of the
reliability of the accounts furnished him by various persons, including
Mr. J. Stevenson of Dr. Hayden's Survey. Dr. Coues further adds that
he found the circumstance to be a matter of common information among
the residents of Montana Territory. ** The birds," he says, " are stated to
build in the heavy timber along the larger streams, and to transport their
young to the water in their bills."

The fact of the breeding of the Canada Goose in trees is further con-
firmed by Captain Charles Bendire, who reports its breeding in this man-
ner near Camp Harney, under, however, rather peculiar circumstances.
In a letter dated Camp Harney, Oregon, April 24, 1876, Captain Bendire
writes as follows : " The season is very backward, and scarcely any of the
small species of birds have commenced to build yet. The water is very
high, and the whole lower Harney valley is flooded. The Western Can-
ada Geese seem to have anticipated such a state of affairs, as last year I
did not see a single nest of theirs off the ground, while this spring all of
them, as far as I have observed personally or have heard of through others,
are built in trees off the ground, mostly in willows. Some make use of
Herons' nests, and one of a Raven's nest, the only Raven's nest I found
last year in a tree." Apropos of this change of habit with circimistances,
Captain Bendire asks the pertinent question, " Is it instinct or reason ?"—
J. A. Allen.

Tarsal Enveix)pe in Camptlorhtnchus and allied Genera. —
Impressed with certain differences observable between typical Wrens and
the three Western genera, Campylorhynchw, Salpinctes, and Catherpss, gen-
erally assigned to the TroglodytidcSf I have been led to look into the tech-
nical aspects of the case, with the result of becoming dissatisfied with the
alleged position of these forms among the Wrens. In establishing the

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genas Catherpes as distinct from SalpvncteSy Professor Baird noted certain
discrepancies in the structure of the feet ; and in 1864 (Review, p. 109),
be enlarges upon the remarkable structure of the tarsus oi Salpinctes, which
he characterizes as *' especially peculiar among all its cognate genera by-
having the usual two continuous plates along the posterior half of the
inner and outer faces of the tarsus divided transversely into seven or more
smaller, plates, with a naked Interval between them and the anterior scu-
tellsB." This is certainly a remarkable feature for a presumed thoroughly
Oscine bird to exhibit, since it is highly characteristic of Oscines to have
the postero-lateral tarsal plates continuous, meeting in a sharp ridge be-
hind. I verify the state of the case in Salpinctes as given by Professor
Baird, but I find, to my surprise, that in Campylorhyiichus the lateral
plates, but especially the outer one, are broken up into a series of conspic-
uous scutella ; and that Catherpes shows a tendency, not so fully expressed,
to similar division of the tarsal envelope. If this structure really possesses
the significance attributed to it by many of the best writers, the question
whether these birds are Wrens at all is reopened. That they possess de-
cidedly Wren-like habits is no strong argument, for nothing is more falla-
cious than such teleological bending of diverse structures to similar ends.
It will be remembered that Lafresnaye, and other writers of repute, have
placed species of Campylorhynckus in the genus Picolaptes, which is a
member of the large family DendrocolaptidcB ; some of these birds have
rigid acuminate C7er^ia-like tail-feathers, and Creeper-like habits ; in oth-
ers, however, the tail is soft, and among them is witnessed the greatest
diversity of habits. On comparing our Campylorhynchus with a typical
Dendrocolaptine {Dendromis erythropygia\ I find that the bills of the two
are extremely similar, and that the tarsal envelope of Dendromis is broken
up posteriorly into a number of plates, of which those on the inner aspect
are continuous with those in front, while the postero-exteriot ones are a
series of rounded and isolated scales. Again, in the case of ScUpinctes, it
will be recollected that Bonaparte placed it in the genus Myiothera, and
considered it an Ant-thrush (Formicariidce), On examining the tarsus of
a species of ThamnophiltUy a typical Formicarian, I find that the plates are
divided behind, and the general structure is substantially the same as in
Salpinctes, The case of Catherpes is less clear, but it would doubtless go
with Salpinctes, These points may not suffice for the summary dismissal
of the genera under consideration from the Troglodytidce, but they go to
ahow that their position in that family is not assured. — Elliott Coues.


Charles I. Goodale, our accomplished Boston taxidermist, has a fine
Curlew Sandpiper {Tringa subarquata) which was sent to him to be
mounted. It was shot in East Boston, Mass., early in May, 1876, as it
was feeding on a sandspit among a fiock of *^ Peeps.'' This bird is in
very perfect spring plumage, and furnishes the second authentic instance

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of the occurrence of this species in New England. In its claims to he
r^aided as a hird of North America it may hest be compared with the
Ruff {MacktUs pugnax), , Both are probably not infrequent stragglers to
our continent — William Bbewstbr.

The Ipswich Sparrow in New Brunswick. — On April 11, 1876,
while collecting at Point Lepreaux, N. B., in company with Mr. William
Stone, we secured a fine female of the Ipswich Sparrow (Passerculus prinr
cepsj Maynard). It was sitting on a rock on the extreme end of the Point
when first seen, and was very easily secured. The yellow over the eye in
this specimen is more intense than in any other I have ever examined,
and quite equals in this respect the average coloring of the same area in
P. savanna. This is the third spring specimen that has been thus far re-
ported. The first, a male, was taken by Mr. Maynard at Ipswich, April
1, 1874 ; and the second by Mr. Willey of Portland, at Cape Elizabeth,
Maine, March 15, 1875. The former is now in my possession, and the
latter graces the collection of Mr. N. C. Brown of Portland. — William

Passerculus princeps and Parus hudsonicus in Connecticut. —
On November 4, 1875, while collecting along the beach at " South End,"
a few miles below New Haven, I was fortunate enough to secure a fine
specimen of the Ipswich Sparrow {Passerculus princepSy Maynard). The
specimen was a female, and in excellent condition. Its mate was seen,
but escaped capture.

On November 13, 1875, Mr. Robert Morris, while shooting in a wooded
ravine a few miles from town, killed a female Hudsonian Titmouse (Parus
hudsonicus). The specimen is now in the collection of Mr. Thomas Osbom
of thb city. It is, I think, the first occurrence of this species south of
Concord, Mass. — C. Hart Merriam, New Haven, Conn.

Anser rossii in Oregon. — Captain Charles Bendire, U. S. A., in a
recent letter to the writer, announces the capture by him of a female of
this rare species at Camp Harney, Oregon, " the first and only one," he
says, " I have seen killed about here." He states in a later letter that
the specimen was shot from a flock of twelve to fifteen individuals, and
adds that several parties have since told him that they had killed such
small geese before, but supposed them to be the young of the Snow Goose
{Anser hyperboreus). Captain Bendire, however, believes them to be very
rare at that locality, and has never seen any brought in by the numerous
hunting parties from the Post. He gives the length of the specimen taken
as twenty-two inches, with the body not larger than a Mallard's. The
only other United States record for this species that I have seen is Cali-
fornia (Coues). — J. A. Allen.

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Vol. I. SEPTEMBER, 1876. -No. 3.



Unfortunately very few data are obtainable relative to tbe
birds which inhabited Massachusetts at the time of its first ex-
ploration and settlement, nearly three hundred years ago. The
smaller species attracted little attention here, as elsewhere in North
America, prior to the beginning of the present century. A few
notices of the larger species occur in the early accounts of the pro-
ductions and "commodities" of the State, which are sufficiently defi-
nite and trustworthy to show that a few species then common have
since been nearly or wholly extirpated, and that a number of others
are far less numerous now than they were in the early colonial days.

The number of indigenous species thus far recognized as belong-
ing to the fauna of the State is about three hundred and ten. Two
of these (the Great Auk, Alca impennU, and the Wild Turkey, Melea-
grU gallopavo var. occidmtalU) have become wholly extirpated, and
two others (the Pinnated Grouse, Cupidonia cupido, and the Ameri-
can Swan, CygnuB americanus) are so nearly that the former is
found at only one or two limited localities and the latter is but a
chance visitor. Another (the Brown or Sandhill Crane, Grus cana-
densis), and perhaps a second (the White or Whooping Crane, Grus
amencanus), will be presently shown to have been formerly inhab-
itants of the State, though extirpated at so early a date that they
have not as yet been recognized as belonging to its fauna. That
several others have likewise greatly decreased in numbers will be
shown in the present article. These are the Red-winged Blackbird
{Agel<eus phoeniceus\ the Purple Grakle {Quiscalus purpureus), the
Crow (Corvus amertoanus), the Raven (Corvus carax), the Pileated

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Woodpecker {Hylotomus pileatus)^ the Red-headed Woodpecker
{Melanerpes erythrocephaluB)^ the Wild Pigeon (Ectoputes migrato-
Hub), and the Snow Goose {Amer hyperhoreus). Besides these
might be added, as among those which have also notably decreased,
most of the wading and swimming birds, and nearly all of the rapa-
cious species. None of the Ducks and Geese, and probably few of
the limiooline species, are probably one tenth as numerous now as
they were two hundred and fifty years ago, while a great depletion
has also occurred amongst the Gulls and Terns. This great dimi-
nution, however, is not of course limited to the State of Massachu-
setts, but likewise characterizes most of the Atlantic States, and
some of the older States of the interior.

This reduction has been mainly brought about by what may be
considered as inevitable and natural causes, as the removal of the
forests, and other changes necessarily attending the agricultural
development of the country. Excessive use of the gun, however,
has had not a little to do with it. The rapacious species have ever
been regarded a^ the natural enemies of the husbandman, and with
them all species that have in any way preyed upon his crops.

In early times premiums were paid by the local governments for
the destruction of many of these species, and not without cause.
The early records show that such was the abundance of the Black-
birds and Crows that their destruction in large numbers was abso-
lutely necessary, in order to secure more than a small portion of the
maize harvest. While most, or at least many, of the towns early
encouraged the destruction of the noxious mammals and birds by
the offer of rewards therefor, others passed enactments rendering it
obligatory upon each householder to destroy a certain number of
blackbirds annually, and to bring their heads to the selectmen of
the towns to show they had complied with the requisition, on pen-
alty of a small fine for each blackbird lacking to complete the re-
quired number.* These means seem to have been immediate, and
in some cases disastrous, in their results. The traveller, Ralm,
relates that Dr. Franklin told him, in 1 750, that in consequence of
the premiums that had been paid for killing these birds in New
England, they had become so nearly extirpated there that they
were " very rarely seen, and in few places only.*' In consequence of
this exterminating warfare on the '' maize-thieves," the worms that

* See Alonzo Lewis's History of Lynn, p. 186.

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pveyed upon the grass increased so rapidly that in the summer of
1749 the hay crop was almost wholly cut off by them, the planters
being obliged to bring hay from Pennsylvania, and even from
£ngland, to Massachusetts, to meet the deficiency caused by the

In scores of the early enumerations of the birds of New England,
and of the Atlantic States generally, the Raven, as well as the
Crow, is mentioned. This seems to imply that the Raven, at the
time of the first settlement of the country, was more or less com-
mon from Vii^nia to Maine, and that persecution, combined with
its natural timidity, has caused its expulsion frt>m the more thickly
settled parts of the Eastern States.

That the Pileated Woodpecker {ffyloiomu$ pileatus) was once a
common inhabitant of all the primitive forests of this State seems
to be unquestionable, though absolute proof of the fact may not be
available. It still occurs in abundance throughout the older States,
wherever the forests remain comparatively undisturbed, while it is
well known to quickly retire where its haunts are invaded by the
destroyhig axe of the woodsman. It is also a matter of record that
the Red-headed Woodpecker has nearly disappeared, almost within
the present generation, from all the region east of the Hudson
River, where it was formerly as common, apparently, as it is now
in any of the Middle or Western States. lu this case, however, the
disappearance is without an evident cause. The deforestation of the
State has undoubtedly produced a vast decrease among the other
species of the Fieida?, as well as generally among all the strictly
forest birds, through the great restriction of their natural haunts.

The Wild Turkey {MeleagrtB gallopavo var. occidentaiui)^ though
once a common inhabitant of New England from the more southerly
parts of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, southward, long
since ceased to exist here in a wild state. Its former abundance in
Massachusetts is well attested. I will give here, however, only a
single reference indicative of the former great number of these
birds in the eastern part of the State. Thomas Morton, who re-
sided here "many years" prior to 1637, says : "Turkies there are,
which divers times in great flocks have sallied by our doores ; and
then a gunne (being commonly in a rediuesse,) salutes them with
such a courtesie, as makes them take a tume in the Cooke roome.

* Kalm'a Travels, Fonter's translatioB, YoL II, p. 78.

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They daunce by the doore so well .... I had a Salvage who hath
taken out his boy in a morning, and they have brought home their
loades about noone. I have asked them what number they found
in the woods, who have answered Neent Metawna, which is a tho-
sand that day ; the plenty of them is such in those parts. They

Online LibraryNuttall Ornithological ClubBulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club: a quarterly jjournal of ornithology → online text (page 6 of 50)