Wilson, Alexander, 1766-1813. / American ornithology; or The natural history of the birds of the United States
Genus 69. Ardea. Heron. Species 1. A. minor. American bittern, pp. -53
GENUS 69. ARDEA. HERON. SPECIES 1. R. MINOR. AMERICAN BITTERN. [Plate LXV.-Fig.- 3.] Le Butor de la Baye d'Hudson, BRISS. v, p. 449. 25.-BUFF. VI1, p. 430.-.EDW. 136. var. .1.-LATH. Syn. III, p. 58.-PEALE'S JIuseum, JVo. 3727. THIS is a nocturnal species, common to all our sea and river marshes, though no where numerous; it rests all day among the reeds and rushes, and unless disturbed, flies and feeds only during the night. In some places it is called the In- dian Hen, on the sea coast of New Jersey it is known by the name of Dunkadoo, a word probably imitative of its common note. They are also found in the interior, having myself killed one at the inlet of the Seneca Lake, in October. It utters at times a hollow guttural note among the reeds; but has nothing of that loud booming sound for which the European Bittern is so remarkable. This circumstance, with its great inferiority of size, and difference of marking, sufficiently prove them to be two distinct species, although hitherto the present has been classed as a mere variety of the European Bittern. These birds, we are informed, visit Severn river, at Hudson's Bay, about the beginning of June; make their nests in swamps, lay- ing four cinereous-green eggs among the long grass. The young are said to be at first black. These birds, when disturbed, rise with a hollow kwa, and are then easily shot down, as they fly heavily. Like other night birds their sight is most acute during the evening twilight; but their hearing is at all times exquisite.
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