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Studer, Jacob Henry, 1840-1904. / Birds of North America

[Plate XII. The Baltimore Oriole. (Oriolus--Icterus Baltimore.) cont.],   p. 13

Page 13

tree, take a little rest, and, having quickly picked up some food,
go to sleep. Next morning after a slight breakfast, the journey is
resumed. The movement of these birds is pleasant and easy; their
flight straight, and their walk on the ground quiet. They mani-
fest great skill in climbing branches; in this respect almost surpass-
ing the Titmouse.
The Orchard Oriole. (Oriolus-Icterus Spurius.)
Fig. 3.
This bird chiefly frequents orchards, whence the name. It is
gay and frolicksome, and seems tobe always in great haste, hopping
among the branches or upon the ground, and flying in the air. Its
notes are short but lively, and uttered with such rapidity that it is
difficult to follow them distinctly. Sometimes it utters only a single
note, which is very agreeable. Its food generally consists of in-
sects and their larvae. Of the insects that infest fruit trees, they
destroy great quantities, and are therefore benefactors to farmers
and fruit-growers.
The Orchard Oriole builds his nest similar to that of the Balti-
more. For material it uses a long fibrous grass, and generally
hangs the nest on the outward branch of an apple tree. The nest
is semi-globular in shape, about three inches deep and two wide;
the inside is lined with wool or a down from the seeds of the pla-
tanas accidentalis, or buttonwood tree. The eggs are commonly
four in number, having a pale bluish tint, with a few small specks
of brown and dots of purple. The female sits fourteen days; the
young remain from two to three weeks in the nest, which they leave
about the middle of June. The upper portion of the female is col-
ored with a yellowish olive, inclining to a brownish tint on the
back; the wings are dusky brown, and the lesser wing coverts
tipped with yellowish white; the tail is rounded, the two exterior
feathers three-quarters of an inch shorter than the middle ones;
the lower parts of the body are yellow. The plumage of the male
nearly corresponds with that of the female.
The Indigo Blue Bird. (Cyanostiza cyanea.)
Fig. 4.
This beautiful little bird inhabits, it seems, all parts of the
North American continent from Mexico to Nova Scotia, and from
the sea-coast west, beyond the Appalachian and Cherokee Mount-
ains. It is chiefly seen in gardens, fields of clover, on the borders
of woods, and on roadsides, where it is often observed perched on
fences. It is very neat and agile, and a good singer. Mounting
to the highest top of a tree it sometimes chants for half an hour at a
time. Its song consists of short notes often repeated: the first ones
are loud and rapidly succeed each other; then they are gradually
dropped until they are hardly audible, the little singer appearing
to be quite exhausted; but after a pause of about half a minute,
he begins again as fresh, lively, and loud as at first. The song
is heard during the months of May, June, July, and August. When
frightened it utters a single chirp, sounding almost like two pebbles
struck together. The color of its plumage is changeable, depend-
ing on the light in which it is seen. Instead of indigo blue, it some-
times appears in a verdigris dress; at other times the dress appears
green, and at others blue. Its head is of a deep blue, and its color
is not changeable like that of the rest of the body. Its nest is usu-
ally built in rank grass, grain, or clover, and is generally suspended
between two twigs, one passing on each side; it is composed of flax
or other fibrous material, with an inside lining of fine dry grass.
The eggs, numbering five, are light blue, with a purplish blotch on
the larger end. Insects and a variety of seeds constitute its prin-
cipal food. The female is of a light flaxen color; her wings are
of a dusky black, and the cheeks, breast, and the lower portions
of her body are clay-colored, streaked with a darker color under
the wings, tinged so as to be bluish in several places. Toward
fall, after moulting, the mate appears almost in the same colors as
the female. The Indigo Blue Bird is frequently kept in cages; and
those taken in trap-cages soon become reconciled to their captivity,
but never sing so well nor so loud as those reared by hand from
the nest. They are fed with different kinds of'seeds, such as rape,
turnip, hemp, and canary seed.
In Europe they are invariably found in every collection of birds.
The Hooded Fly-catcher. (Musicapa-Setophaga mitrata.)
Fig. 5.
This bird is chiefly found in the southern parts of North Amer-
ica, abounding in the Gulf States. It is a lively bird, and has in
a good degree the manners of a true Fly-catcher, while in some
respects it resembles the Warbler. It is in an almost constant chase
after insects, its principal food, uttering now and then a very lively
"twee, twee, twitchee." In the Northern States it is rather scarce,
and when met with there it is shy and timid, like a stranger far
from home.
It spends the winter in Mexico and the West India islands. The
nest of the Hooded Fly-catcher is very neatly and compactly built
in the fork of a small bush: it is on the outside composed of flax
and other fibers, and moss, 'or pieces of broken hemp; the inside
is nicely lined with hair and feathers. The eggs are five in num-
ber, grayish white, with reddish spots on the larger end. In the
United States it is a bird of passage. The female nearly resem-
bles the male, except that the yellow of her throat and breast has
a slight blackish tint; the black does not reach so far down on the
upper part of the neck as in the male, and it is also of a less deep
Townsend's Cormorant. (Phalacrocorax lownsendii.)
Fig. i.
Cormorants are generally found in all parts of both hemispheres;
in middle Asia, and, in winter, in great numbers in Africa. They
are most numerous in rivers bordered by large forests. Thousands
congregate on the Columbia river. The bird from which the draw-
ing is made, was presented to us by Dr. W. T. Shepard, who shot
it in the " Reservoir," in Licking county, Ohio. It proved, sn
section, to be a female.
Cormorants are common in winter in all the southern seas-in
Greece, in China, and India. Wherever water and fish are to be
met with, Cormorants are seen. These birds manifest many pecu-
liarities. They are gregarious, usually congregating in flocks, and
sometimes in considerable numbers. They are seldom seen singly
or in pairs. Almost all the different kinds of Cormorants are often
collected in the same flock.
During the morning hours, Cormorants are busy in fishing. The
afternoon is generally devoted to repose. Toward evening another
fishing excursion is made, and after this they retire to sleep. For
this purpose, they select, in the interior of the country, high trees
on islands, or those standing in lakes or rivers. Such trees also
serve them for breeding-stations. On the coast or on the ocean,
they choose a rocky island, affording a wide range of vision, and
also a harbor, from whose every side they can easily take flight and
return. Such islands can be seen and recognized from a distance,
as they are literally covered with the white excrements of these
birds. Ship-loads of guano could be collected on these islands, if
it could only be dried by the tropical sun of Peru. Such a sight in
mid-ocean never fails to attract the attention of the mariner or the

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