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Studer, Jacob Henry, 1840-1904. / Birds of North America
(1903)

Plate XXXVI. The blue yellow-backed warbler. (Parula americana.),   p. 48


Page 48


DUCK-WARBLERS-THRUSH.
PLATE XXXV.
The Golden-eyed Duck. (Bucepjhaia americana.)
Fig. x, Male. Fig. 2, Female. Fig. 3, Young Male.
This bird, known also as the Whistle Wing and the common
Garrot, is a resident of both continents. The length of the body
is from sixteen to nineteen inches, of the wing from eight to nine
inches, and frequently weighs from two to three pounds. The
head and upper part of the neck are of a beautiful, dark, glossy
green; the under surface of a soft, velvety, purplish-black; rump
and tail black; bill black, with yellow end; eyes golden, from
whence it derives its name. Mudie, in his Feathered Tribes of
the British Islands, tells us that these birds appear on the shores
and occasionally on the inland waters of England during the win-
ter months, retiring far into the North during the summer. They
are abundant throughout North America, even in the high arctic
latitudes. They breed extensively in the lake counties of Maine,
all along northern New England, and on the borders of the great
inland seas. They are found in all the water-courses of the United
States, from Maine to Florida. Audubon is disposed to credit
them with greater intelligence than is ordinarily found in the fam-
ily to which they belong. They avoid, with the utmost diligence,
all near approaches with the rifle, placing sentinels to watch while
they are feeding, who are sure to take cognizance of the most
stealthy movements of their natural enemy-the sportsman. They
dive with the utmost celerity and at the faintest warning, and only
associate with birds whose habits are as quick as their own. Their
flight is very rapid, long sustained, and very powerful. Audubon
claims that they can easily traverse a space of ninety miles in an
hour-a feat which seems incredible considering the weight of
their bodies. The whistling made by the movement of their wings,
he also assures us, can be heard for full a half-mile.
Their food, on the sea-shore, consists of mollusks, crustaceous
and small fish, which give to their flesh an unpleasant flavor; on
inland waters, where the diet is more varied, they are eagerly
sought for, for the table. Their nests are usually built in the hol-
low top of some tall stub of a tree, and are composed of grass, dead
leaves, bits of moss, and lined with down from its own breast.
In it they lay from six to ten eggs, which are almost equally
rounded on both ends, of a greenish-blue color, and average from
nearly two and one-half by one and three-quarter inches in di-
mensions. And Shioldebrand adds, that in common with the Vel-
vet Duck, it breeds abundantly in Lapland, on the banks of the
Tornea, within the arctic circle, and nearly to the northern ex-
tremity of Europe.
In their autumn migrations the males usually precede the fe-
males by at least a fortnight, and spend the early part of the win-
ter apart from them.
PLATE XXXVI.
The Blue Yellow-baoked Warbler. (Parula americana.)
Fig. z.
According to Dr. Coues, the male, in spring, blue; back with a
golden-brown patch; throat and breast yellow, with a rich brown
or blackish patch, the former sometimes extending along the sides;
belly, eyelids, two wing-bars, and several tail-spots, white; lores
black; upper mandible black, under flesh-colored. The female,
in spring with the blue less bright; the back and throat patches
not so well defined; young, with the blue glossed with greenish,
and these patches obscure or wanting; but always recognizable by
the other marks and very small size-four and one-half to four and
three-quarter inches; wings two and one-third inches; tail one
and three-quarter inches.
The Blue Yellow-backed Warbler is claimed by many ornithol-
ogists to be a species of the Titmouse. Wilson says: " Its habits,
indeed, partake something of the Titmouse; but the form of its bill
is decidedly that of the sylva genus. It is remarkable for frequent-
ing the tops of the tallest trees, where it feeds on the small winged
insects and caterpillars that infest the young leaves and blossoms.
It has a few, feeble, chirping notes, scarcely loud enough to be
heard at the foot of the tree. It visits the Middle States from the
South the latter part of April, or early in May; is said to be very
abundant in Kentucky." According to Audubon, the nest is small,
formed of lichens, beautifully arranged on the outside, and lined with
cotton substances found on the edges of different mosses; it is placed
in the fork of a small twig, near the extremity of the branch.
The eggs are pure white, with a few reddish dots at the longer end,
and thinks two broods are raised in the year.
The Black and Yellow Warbler. (Dendroica maculosa.)
Fig. 2.
This species is about five inches long and seven inches broad;
the wing measures two and a half inches, and the tail two inches;
crown clear ash; front, iris, and behind the ear, black; over the
eye a fine line of white, and another small touch of the same im-
mediately under; back nearly all black; shoulders thinly streaked
with olive; rump yellow; tail-coverts jet-black; inner vanes of
the lateral tail-feathers white, to within half an inch of the tip,
where they are black; two middle ones wholly black; whole lower
parts rich yellow, spotted from the throat downward with black
streaks; vent white; tail slightly forked; wings black, crossed
with two broad transverse bars of white; legs brown; bill black.
This beautiful little species is abundant in the woodlands of the
eastern part of the United States. Wilson claims to have found it
among the magnolias, not far from Fort Adams, on the Mississippi,
and that he first met with it on the banks of the Little Miami, near
its junction with the Ohio. Mr. Peale is said to have first discov-
ered this species near Philadelphia. The notes of the Black and
Yellow Warbler have a peculiar chirping sound. It may mostly
be seen darting about on the outer branches of trees on the border
of water-courses.
The Blackburnian Warbler. (Dendroica blackburnia.)
Fig. 3, Male. Fig. 4, Female.
This active and most lovely species of Warblers is abundant in
woodlands in the Eastern States. On the Magdalen Islands in the
Gulf of St. Lawrence, in June, Audubon remarks that he heard
the song of this beautiful Warbler, consisting of five or six loud
notes, which it uttered from the branches of a fir-tree while en-
gaged in quest of its prey.
The Blackburnian Warbler is about four and a half inches long
and seven inches broad. A stripe of rich orange passes over the
eye, and there is a small touch of the same beneath it; the throat
and breast brilliant orange; other under-parts whitish, more or less
tinged with yellow, and streaked with black; vent white; the back
black, more or less interrupted with yellowish; wings marked with
a large lateral patch of white; tail a little forked; bill and legs
brown. The female is yellow where the male is orange; the
black streaks are also more obscure and less numerous.
The Hermit Thrush. (Turduspallasii.)
Fig. 5.
This shy, but exquisite songster, known also as the " Swamp
Angel " and the " Swamp Robin," like nearly all birds gifted
with
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