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The birds of prey most strikingly distinguished from the rest, are the bird of Washington, the bald eagle, and the fishhawk. The latter balances itself on its wings over the water, and, when it marks its victim, either glides or plunges upon it, generally, though not always, with success. The bird of Washington glides over its prey and secures it like the gulls. The bald eagle, not confined to fish, like the former, secures it sometimes by robbing the fish-hawk, sometimes by wading, and varies its fare by destroying small quadrupeds and other birds.
From this volume we learn, that our own sweet blue-bird has relatives in those parts of America, which have hitherto been little explored. Its own range is not small; Dr. Townsend found it at the head waters of the Missouri, though it has not yet been seen on the west of the Rocky Mountains. Dr. Richardson traced it as far as the 48th parallel of latitude, where it disappeared, and Mr. Audubon himself found it breeding in Texas, where it abounds. The arctic blue-bird, Sylvia arctica, was found by Dr. Richardson in the fur countries, and Mr. Nuttall and Dr. Townsend encountered it on the Platte and Columbia rivers. It resembles the common species in color and note, but is more shy, with a less powerful song. It is distinguished from it by its breast of greenish blue, and its longer and more pointed wings. Another, called the western blue-bird (Sylvia occidentalis), was discovered by Dr. Townsend, nearly resembling both the others, except in its having a chestnut band across the back, with the throat blue, but the fore part of the breast red. The song of the latter is more varied, sweet, and expressive than that of ours, but it has the same gentle and affectionate disposition to its own. The nest of the arctic blue-bird was found in a cliff of the Sandy River, a branch of the Colorado of the
The western builds in the knot-holes of the oaks, in California and other places, where it abounds.
A considerable addition has been made to the number of our warblers, to whose sweet strains we are indebted for so much of the loveliness of spring and summer ; but it is a little singular, that, after all Mr. Audubon's researches, some, of which single specimens only were known to Wilson, remain represented by single specimens still. Such are the carbonated and the blue mountain warbler, which last was found
near the range from which its name is derived. Others have grown common in places where they were formerly rare. Swainson's warbler, which was once scarce in South Carolina, where it was discovered by Dr. Bachman, was lately found by Mr. Samuel Cabot, Jr., in the vicinity of Boston. The same is true of other species. For a long time, Mr. Audubon saw only single specimens of Bewick's wren and Stenslow's bunting ; but now the former is common on the Virginian mountains, and the latter in New Jersey, as well as more southern States. The Pipirie fly-catcher was not known to exist eastward of the Floridas, till Mr. Audubon had found it there ; but now it breeds within the city of Charleston. Traill's fly-catcher, which Mr. Audubon discovered on the Arkansas, is now known to abound near the Columbia River. Dr. Brewer has supplied information concerning various birds, which have lately made their residence in Massachusetts, and which formerly were thought always to keep at a great disa tance from its bounds.
One of the warblers in question has been named in honor of Mr. Audubon, or, to speak more properly, has been honored with his name. Sylvia Auduboni was found by Dr. Townsend near the Columbia River, where it remains from the middle of March to the last of June, and again appears in October. Its note resembles that of our familiar yellow-bird, and breathes life into the dreary wilds of the Oregon, when it comes in the train of spring. In its markings, it is so like the myrtle-bird, that it is difficult to know them apart. Another species, resembling the mourning warbler, bears the name of Macgillivray (S. Macgillivraii). It is common in the woods and plains of the Columbia, where its haunts, like those of the Maryland yellow-throat, are in low and shady bushes. Another of Dr. Townsend's discoveries bears the name of Delafield (S. Delafieldii), also resembling the one just mentioned ; it was a young yellow-throat of this species, to which Mr. Audubon gave the name of Roscoe. There is yet another, which resembles the black and white warbler in colors, though in other respects it is like the yellow-crowned and Audubon's. To this, the discoverer, Dr. Townsend, bas given the name of black-throated grey warbler (S. nigrescens) ; it remains till winter in the forests of the Columbia, where it breeds. Its song is delicate, but monotonous. VOL. L. - NO. 107.
The list of our woodpeckers is greatly extended by this volume, and much information supplied concerning those, which were formerly known. All our knowledge of the redcockaded, Picus querulus, was compressed, by Nuttall, in five lines of his work; of this, Mr. Audubon has given an ample description. He was fortunate enough to secure two males in Louisiana, which resisted his attempts to seize them, and, when they were confined in his hat, hid their heads if he looked at them, as if ashamed of their bondage. One died before he reached the house ; and, as the other could procure no food, he let it go. In its wild state, it sed not only on insects, but on fruits and seeds. In winter, he has seen several of them enter a hole at evening, where they probably spent the night ; in rainy weather, they do the same at various hours of the day. He tells us, that there is a species, which he ca'ls the Canadian (Picus Canadensis), confounded with the hairy woodpecker ; the difference never has been suspected, though the new species is considerably larger than the other. He first became aware of the difference in the State of Maine, where it abounded near the woods, roads, and farms, often resorting, like the log-cock, to decaying logs, in search of food. Its motions are heavier than those of Picus villosus, and accompanied with a rustling sound of the wings; its notes are much louder and more shrill ; but the principal difference is in size, the length of this one being an inch and a half, and the extent two inches and a half, greater than those of the other. The pileated woodpecker, which is found in our younger settlements, is ascertained to inhabit the Oregon Territory, Texas, and probably all the region between. At Galveston Island he saw one tapping against the roof of a house, a most unusual familiarity in one of our wildest birds. In winter, he has seen it with its head out of its hole, as if speculating upon the weather, and considering how long the season was likely to last. He tells us, that a nest of one of the golden-winged woodpeckers (P. auratus) was taken by Mr. McCulloch, of Nova Scotia, which contained eighteen young birds, beside three eggs, more than three times the number, which they have ever before been known to lay.
Of the newly discovered birds of this species, Picus Auduboni is one, so called by Dr. James Trudeau, who first encountered it in a wood, not far from New Orleans. His attention was struck by an unusual note, and, after some difficulty, he succeeded in getting possession of the bird from which it proceeded. He found it to resemble the hairy and downy woodpeckers, being in size intermediate between the two. Another, nearly resembling the downy woodpecker in form and color, bears the name of Gairdner's (P. Gairdnerii) ; he does not say by whom it was named, nor where it is found. He has named one, discovered by Dr. Townsend, near Columbia River, after Mr. Harris, to whose friendship he acknowledges himself deeply indebted. A specimen of great beauty, found by Mr. Nuttall, in Massachusetts, bears the name of P. Phillipsii, after Benjamin Phillips, Esquire. He has also complimented his friend, Miss Martin, who is often honorably mentioned in his volumes, by calling one, which was found near Toronto, Maria's woodpecker (P. Mariæ).
A splendid bird of the West, is called the Imperial (P. imperialis) ; it was shot by Dr. Townsend, who succeeded in bringing it to the ground, but was not able to secure it, because pursued by Indians, and left behind by his impatient party ; but it was described by Mr. Gould, who found it in California. It exceeds the ivory-billed in size, and, from his account of it, must be a powerful and noble bird. Near Fort Vancouver, on the Columbia River, Dr. Townsend observed a woodpecker, which was black, with a large red space between the shoulders. It was flitting about among the pines, very shy, and sending out a guttural sound, which
was new to him. After pursuing it a while, he shot it, and it fell apparently dead; but it came down in tangled bushes, and, while he was gone to the fort for a large knife to clear a way to it, it escaped, and he never saw another. He procured some specimens of the red-breasted (P. ruber) of Gmelin, and flaviventris of Vicillot, but did not succeed in obtaining much information concerning its habits. The red-shafted (P. Mericanus), first described by Mr. Swainson, was often seen west of the Rocky Mountains ; but it is so similar in habits to our golden-winged, that it hardly needs any description. Mr. Audubon has also given a drawing and description of a threetoed woodpecker (P. hirsutus), which resembles the Canadian, and was confounded with P. tridactylus, till the difference was pointed out by Mr. Swainson. It is the most common species north of the Great Slave Lake, and is found in all the spruce-fir forests between Lake Superior and the Arctic Sea.
The new fly-catcher, first described in the “ Fauna BorealiAmericana," where it is called Tyrannula pusilla, is here called Muscicapa pusilla, with information concerning it supplied by the indefatigable Nuttall. Dr. Richardson saw it at Carlton House in May ; Mr. Nuttall found it on Wapatoo Island, formed by the junction of the Multnomah with the Columbia River. Mr. Audubon, however, has himself been acquainted with it in Labrador and Newsoundland, where it resorts to the haunts of insects, and, like our fly-catchers, takes its station on a branch, or twig, for the sake of watching their motions. He found a nest between two small twigs of a low bush, containing eggs, that he would have mistaken for those of the redstart, if he had not seen the owner.
The Rocky Mountain Ay-catcher (M. nigricans), described by Mr. Swainson among the birds of Mexico, was also found in California by Mr. Nuttall; but concerning its habits and peculiarities very little was known. On the coast of Labrador, Mr. Audubon found the short-legged pewee (M. Richardsonii) ; it resembles our common pewee so much, that it is not distinguished from it on a careless view. He observed a difference in certain of its habits, but was not struck with it, because the ways of common birds often vary, to suit a change of circumstances and situation ; but, on examination, he found, that the nest of this species was always placed on a bush, suspended between the forks of two twigs, and its eggs, instead of being white, were spotted with brown upon a bluish ground.
Some addition has been made to the gloomy family of owls. Mr. Audubon shot one at Green Bay, about the size of the Acadian, but unfortunately lost both the drawing and the description ; from its most obvious peculiarity of appearance, he named it the fork-tailed owl (Strix forficata). He als
He also furnishes a drawing of the little night-owl (Strix passerina) of Gmelin, from a specimen sent to him from Nova Scotia. Dr. Townsend supplied him with another, called the little Columbian (S. passerinoides); he had previously seen it in the Edinburgh Museum, to which it was brought from Fort Vancouver.
Mr. Audubon and Dr. Bachman have both seen a hawk, repeatedly, in South Carolina, which they are not able to de